She’s a Supernova

Hello, dear readers! Welcome to Thursday. So much has happened in the last week!

I got my first professional haircut and beard trim in 18 months.

Freshly shorn

It feels really good to feel like me again in a way I haven’t I’m a while. Even though I’ve been cutting my own hair every couple of months, I don’t do nearly this good of a job.

The most important news of the week, though, happened on Saturday morning.

Headed home!

We adopted a dog! Nova Sibirsk Hanson-Draeger is a Siberian Husky mix who was originally going to be adopted by her foster, but she didn’t get along with the resident cat. Lucky for us (though we did feel bad that the foster was heartbroken to see her go)!

We had an odd first few days (lots of people in and out, including a couple of friends staying with us Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning), but she has been an absolute dreamboat of a dog so far. You’d never know by the way she’s already settled in that it’s been less than a week.

We love Nova to pieces already and we’re looking forward to spoiling her rotten for many years to come!

I’m Back!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! My apologies for the lack of post last week – I was on the road most of the day and by the time it occurred to me that I hadn’t blogged yet, it was late enough I decided to just skip it entirely.

Last week I was on PTO all week (it was the week of Song School, and even though we decided not to go this year, I’d requested the time off a while ago and decided I should keep it). It turned out to be a good thing – my in-laws moved to a new house, we had a houseguest for part of the week, and it was just generally busier than I expected it to be, and I don’t think I could have worked on top of all of that. It did make me realize that I need to get better at taking vacations that are actual vacations, though.

Last Thursday I drove down to northeast Iowa to kidnap one of my favorite cousins (with her consent, of course) and bring her up to stay with us for a few days. It was really lovely having her here and getting to just hang out and explore a few more places in the Twin Cities that we hadn’t been to yet. My favorite sorts of houseguests are the ones who are okay with just hanging out a lot of the time, and that was definitely the case here. It was great.

On Friday, I started looking up local pet rescues on Instagram, and stumbled across a very sweet looking dog who was up for adoption. We ended up spur-of-the-moment applying to adopt her. Unfortunately for us (but fortunately for her), the rescue determined over the weekend that she needed another dog in the home in order to really thrive, so she’s not the dog for us. We did put in an application for a different dog with another agency, though, and are both anxiously awaiting a response and anxiously hoping we can get the last few things unpacked here before they call.

Today is my husband’s birthday! Not really sure what we’re doing to celebrate, yet, but I’m happy for the extra excuse to celebrate them.

I think that’s about it from me this week. Hopefully next week we’ll have some updates on the canine companion front! I hope you’re all hanging in there and masking and vaxxing and staying as healthy as possible.

Time for Change

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I have been all over the place about what day it is this week – I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday, most of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday, and today it feels like Wednesday again. Not sure what that’s about.

Anyway, I’ve been hinting for the last few weeks that big changes were afoot that I couldn’t yet talk about publicly. I’ve announced this to enough of the right people at this point that now I can safely blog about it – my husband and I are moving back to Minnesota! We move into our new place six weeks from today, actually, which is wild.

When we moved to Chicago in 2012, we knew it wasn’t going to be forever – our families are still in the Twin Cities and we knew we’d eventually want to move back to be closer to them. We figured that’d be 7-10 years away. The trouble was, we never changed that “7-10 years away” number in our heads as the years ticked by. Nine years later and we’re realizing it is, indeed, time.

There are so many people I’m going to miss in Chicago, but the weird mixed blessing of 2020 is that most of the places/things we’d have to say goodbye to we’ve…kind of already done that with, since we haven’t been able to do anything in person in over a year. (I’m thinking in particular of the Old Town School and the songwriting community we’re part of here…it’s all been online.)

I will, at least, still be back somewhat regularly for work, so I know I can continue to connect with friends here. I am also genuinely excited to return to the Twin Cities and the friends and family we still have there. We’re moving into a beautiful apartment with in-unit laundry (which has been a dream for forever), and a den where I can set up my office space (no more working out of my dining room). I’m overwhelmed by the process of the move itself, but I’m looking forward to being moved into the new space. I’m super grateful I have a job that I can continue to do remotely even when the rest of my team returns to the office in some capacity.

It’s weird to leave this apartment, though. We got married in this apartment. We’ve learned how to coexist in this one-bedroom space while being together 24/7 over the past year. There have been enough minor annoyances around maintenance that I’m not exactly sad to leave it behind, but it is weird.

So that’s the big news! In other news, next week there will likely not be a blog (or it will go up late) – we’re headed up to Minnesota for a visit over Memorial Day weekend (hopefully bringing up a load of fragile things to store at my parents’ place until the move, and doing a tour of the building we’re moving into, and just seeing family) and will be driving on Thursday at the time that I usually write this blog. If I’m super on top of things and get something written Wednesday night, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.

Keep hanging in there and taking care of yourselves and each other. I believe in you.

Little Gratitudes

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. For a number of reasons, I’m feeling like it’s already been a long week, and it’s not over yet. Thankfully, things have been mostly good and I’m feeling okay about it.

We have some big life changes coming up (which I will hopefully be able to go into more detail about in a few weeks). I am incredibly grateful to be in a place where I have the bandwidth to deal with these changes and make plans around them.

I feel like until I can talk about more details, I don’t have a whole lot to write about, so I’ll fall back on what I often do when I’m feeling less wordy. Here are a few things I’m grateful for right now:

  • Friends/Community. This has been one of those weeks when I’ve been super aware of how many incredible communities I have supporting me in different areas of my life. I think I sometimes get it into my head that since I’m an introvert, I must only have a few friends, which is absolutely untrue. I have so many wonderful people in my life supporting me in myriad ways. I’m particularly grateful this week for those friends who have known me forever, who I don’t get to talk to often, but who are always willing to pick things right back up where we left off.
  • Family. I’m really grateful that my family (and I’m including myself in this) has been willing to put in the work to make our relationships smoother. I’m glad to be talking with them more. I’m especially glad for the photo updates we get from my sister-in-law of our nephews.
  • Stories. I come back to this one a lot. Whether it’s playing D&D and collectively telling stories with friends, reading books, or letting myself dream of possible futures, stories are such a crucial part of my life, and I’m so happy that that’s true.

Keeping it short and sweet this week – time for me to dive into my work day. I hope you’re all hanging in there!

Christmas 2020

Hello, dear readers! It’s Christmas Eve, so I’m not even going to apologize for posting late – I’m off work, I slept in, it happens.

It’s obviously a weird holiday. We’re connecting with family and some friends for virtual celebrations throughout the weekend. It’s very weird to not be in Minnesota right now, and I’m missing a lot of people pretty fiercely.

But yesterday the plumber came and fixed the clog in our sink that had kept us out of the kitchen for days, so this morning I made actual breakfast and we can clean things up and make actual food for Christmas, so that’s something. We’re going to put up our tree and wrap presents. It’s slowly but surely coming together.

I hope that your holidays are as full of peace and light and joy as they can be right now. If they’re not full of those things (heck, even if they are), I wish you the space to be able to grieve what you’re missing this year.

A Little Gratitude

Hello, dear readers – we’ve made it to Thursday. I haven’t had a bad week, per se, but it’s definitely been an anxious one, between the increasing number of COVID19 cases in the Midwest, and the upcoming election, and… *gestures at the general 2020 dumpster fire*. I don’t expect that to ease up any time soon, so in an attempt to counterbalance that, let’s do a little gratitude list this week.

  • I had to do my final presentation of my big quarterly stretch project at work to our leadership team on Monday, and it went well! I was feeling very behind in the past couple of weeks and wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off, so the fact that everything came together in the end was a nice little boost at the start of the week.
  • Also, Monday was my Grandma’s 93rd birthday. We have a complicated relationship, but I ended up getting to chat with her on the phone for a few minutes in the evening, and that was nice.
  • Last night I started a new (online) songwriting class with Sue Demel, who is one of my favorite people. This is my third time taking this particular class, and it always draws out really interesting material. I’m very excited to see where the next eight weeks take us.
  • I have spent an inordinate amount of time this week creating a character for a spooky D&D one-shot that I’m playing with some friends tonight, and I am SO EXCITED. D&D has been one of the major bright spots in my life lately – I love collaborative storytelling so much, and I have the most wonderful people to do it with.
  • I dropped off my mail-in ballot at the nearest early voting site on Sunday, and got the notice this week that it was accepted and my vote will be counted. Terrified as I am about this election, I appreciate how easy it is to vote in Chicago, and I appreciate the abundance of resources online that helped me to sift through the ~65 judges we were voting to retain (or, in several cases, not retain).

Hang in there, everyone. Keep wearing your masks and physically distancing (I know it’s hard and we’re all tired of it, but the pandemic doesn’t care and it’s not over). Keep checking in on each other. And if you’re in the US and you haven’t voted yet – please, please, please vote. If you need help making a plan, send me a message.

History

Hello, dear readers! I woke up this morning completely convinced it was Friday (despite the fact that I took Monday off from work), but have since figured out that it is, in fact, Thursday, so here we are.

My parents came to visit last weekend, and that was nice. We all stayed masked except when we ate, which felt a little strange – it was also the first time we had anyone besides us in our apartment since March, so that was also a little strange. But it was nice. My dad hung curtain rods for us, so now after a year of living in this apartment without window coverings, we finally have curtains!

It feels very dreamy and ethereal in here right now, and I’m into it.

We went for a walk around the neighborhood, which was also nice-but-strange, as between the late summer heat and the pandemic I had been inside most of the time lately.

My parents also brought me a couple of boxes of my old stuff that were still taking up space at their house. One box had blankets and stuffed animals and “baby’s first year” things in it, and the other had yearbooks and bibles and some other miscellaneous stuff:

I haven’t dug too deeply into this box yet. It’s a little surreal seeing those yearbook photos. It often feels like those years happened to someone else (I’m working through that in therapy these days). But I’m looking forward to taking my time and remembering some parts of my history that have been lost for a while.

I hope all of you are hanging in there. It’s been a hard week, between Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and the total lack of consequences for the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, to say nothing of the upcoming election and a president who’s increasingly blatant about his desire to be a dictator. Be gentle with yourselves, and also, let’s put that sorrow and rage to good use.

It’s Almost Here!

Hello, dear readers! It’s gonna be a short blog today.

It’s been a busy week – we’re getting married on Saturday! So most of this week has been cleaning and getting the final administrative details in place. Tonight we’re doing a rehearsal for the technology piece so we can figure out where we want to set everything up. Yesterday our cheesecake arrived, which was one of the pieces I was most nervous about – so many places have had unexpected shipping delays lately that I didn’t really trust the estimated delivery date.

I’m looking forward to (virtually) gathering and celebrating with friends and family on Saturday. I’m extremely overwhelmed in this particular moment (some of my body’s most annoying stress responses are raising their heads right now), but I know it’s going to be worth it. I’m also kind of glad this is the format the wedding is happening in – it meant we could invite people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to join us. I’m having some Feelings about my grandparents not being present (three of them are gone and the one remaining isn’t interested in attending), but I’m also just really grateful for the community we’re going to have around us on Saturday.

Now I’m off to try to kick ass at work so I can leave for a long weekend on a high note. Hang in there, everyone – stay hydrated, wear your masks, take care of yourselves and each other.

What Day Is It?

Greetings, readers, from my home to yours. (I really hope you’re all at home. This is what we need to do to keep each other safe right now.)

It’s a weird time. The fact that I am working helps give me a bit of structure, but I’ll be honest, I’m having a hard time keeping track of my days. Everything’s sort of blending together. I missed my usual 9am deadline for posting this morning because I kind of forgot it was Thursday.

I’ve gotten my first two support tickets at my new job, so I’m actually doing work now instead of just reading about how to do work, which is a nice change of pace. I’m learning a lot and ending pretty much every day exhausted from the amount of information I’m taking in.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Chicago, so after work I ordered a pizza for pickup. As I walked to the restaurant, I was…alarmed by how many people do not seem to be taking the social distancing thing seriously. It was a toss up – some people that I passed were considerate and moved to the opposite side of the sidewalk or the grass so we could maintain 6ft of distance…a lot of people did not. I went pretty quickly from enjoying the beautiful weather to just being really anxious.

There’s a musician acquaintance of mine who lives in northern Italy. He’s been posting about some of his experiences in English for his American friends. The posts are incredibly sobering. I worry about him every day…and I worry about us, here in America, because we’re just not responding well to this crisis.

I’m worried a lot of the time right now. I worry about my nephew, who has asthma. I worry about my mom, who’s a nurse and at an age where she’s probably more vulnerable to this thing. I worry about my friends and family members who are out of work right now, or who are still having to go to work rather than working from home. I try not to worry too much about myself, but I’m allergic to many things outside right now, and every time I cough or sniffle I have to suppress the urge to panic.

But I’m also trying to find the light in all of this. We’re connecting with a lot of people virtually. Last weekend we had virtual brunch with a friend that we have regular brunch with every couple of weeks via Google Hangouts. I played Monsterhearts 2 with friends on a Discord server. We had a little song circle with Song School friends in California via Zoom. We’re in frequent contact with family and friends and I feel really held by the communities I’m a part of, even as I do my best to hold them. If anything good comes of this mess, I think it’s going to be a greater sense of connection. I am so grateful to live in this time where physical isolation doesn’t have to be social/emotional isolation. While it is hard to balance not being glued to a screen reading the news and using that screen to stay connected, I think it’s worth it.

I hope you’re all hanging in there (and staying at home). Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. If we’re going to get through this, it’ll be together (from our own places of residence) or not at all.

Home for Christmas

We’re on our way back to Chicago today, but we’ve been in Minnesota since Sunday celebrating Christmas with our families. It’s been a good week. Here are some highlights:

We learned that the coffee shop where we had our first date is closing at the end of the year. We tried to go to say goodbye, but they were closed until Friday, so we went for a selfie outside.

Outside the Dunn Bros. where we had our first date just over nine years ago

We made the questionable decision to go shopping on Christmas Eve. Found this giant moose made of lights at the mall.

Merry Christmoose!

We celebrated with my partner’s extended family, and his aunt made me a stocking like she’s made for everyone else in the family. His family has always been welcoming, but this was an extra sweet reminder that I belong.

A beautifully cross stitched stocking from my partner’s aunt

We celebrated with my family, and my nephew was very excited to see us. We got many hugs, which were the best presents (which is saying something, because the other presents were also lovely)!

My nephew helped us open the present he gave us.

We had a smaller celebration on Christmas Day with my partner’s immediate family. I made the Yorkshire puddings this year from a recipe by Nancy Birtwhistle of Great British Bake-off fame, and they turned out so great!

Gluten-free Yorkshire puds!

It’s been a lovely week. I’m writing this Christmas night and feeling very loved and content. I do NOT want to go back to work on Friday, but that is what it is.

I hope you’re all having your own lovely winter holiday season, whatever that looks like for you. If you’re not, I hope you can take comfort in the fact that we’re slowly returning to the light now that we’re past the Solstice.