Off-Kilter

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been another kind of weird week here, as my husband has still been helping their mom and brother out this week. We’ve been shuttling Nova between the apartment and my in-laws’ house every couple of days, since I’ve had some evening appointments and she doesn’t love being left alone (plus grandma and grandpa’s house has very exciting windows that look out on a yard with bunnies and squirrels – she loves it there).

It’s going to continue to be a bit of an off-kilter week, too – my husband is picking their dad up at the airport this evening and they’ll be coming home with Nova tonight, but then tomorrow I’m flying out to WA to visit my best friend for the weekend. It’ll be a very quick trip, but I’m excited to see her. I’ll get back late Sunday, and then Monday get right back into work, plus my second fall class starts Monday evening.

I’m trying to be aware of what self-care practices I’m letting slide as my routine gets jumbled, and to figure out how I can make space to continue those practices on the days when they would need to look a little different than usual.

Not too much else to report this week, so here’s your weekly dose of Nova, fun at grandma and grandpa’s edition:

Scattered Thursday Thoughts

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a busy week and work and a week that breaks with routine at home, so I’m a little scrambled this morning.

The first of four new team members I’ve hired in the past month started working with us on Monday. I’m very excited about this batch of new hires! Things seem to be going well so far.

I start the first of my fall classes (Intro to Spiritual Direction) this evening. I’m excited about the class, I think it’s going to be a good one and it’s exciting to be digging into the whole reason I’m in seminary. My second class (Leadership and Strategies for Social Change) starts in a couple of weeks. I initially thought I was going to have to take a third class this semester (because one class is fewer credits), but I learned last week that I do only need to take two classes to get my credit requirements for financial aid, so that was a very exciting discovery!

My husband is currently staying at their parents’ house to help their mom and brother out while their dad is away on a fun trip visiting some New England baseball stadiums. I left Nova over there with them last night; it was weird being completely alone in our apartment last night, but I managed to get some sleep (despite the fact that I drank way too much coffee yesterday), and it sounds like she did great at her sleepover.

I don’t have too much else to report this week, but I’ll leave you, as ever, with some Nova photos:

Happy Birthday, Nova!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a rather hectic week at work for me, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of this hiring marathon I’ve been on, so that’s good.

That’s not the main news this week, though. The star of the show this week (as, let’s be honest, is true every week) is Nova! Her one year adoption anniversary was on Sunday, and her 3rd birthday (according to the estimate by the rescue) was Tuesday, so on Sunday we had our families over to celebrate this magical beast we’re so lucky to live with.

As my husband and I ran around cleaning the apartment Sunday morning, Nova was a bit unsure about the whole thing:

Once people started to arrive, though, she had a great time. She got a burger and some cheese while the rest of us ate burgers, brats, corn on the cob, and potato salad (she scarfed her burger so fast I didn’t get any photos). Then she opened some presents:

This was a lot of excitement for Nova, and she got a bit sleepy mid-party:

Then, while the humans had peach crisp and ice cream, Nova got a cookie:

Among the presents was a Harry Potter-themed BarkBox that arrived that morning. Nova looked very sharp in her Slytherin jersey:

After everyone went home, she settled in to chew on her new fishie Benebone and then rested on the couch with me:

All in all, I’d say the party was a hit! In addition to getting to spoil our baby girl, it was the first time in the nearly 12 years that my husband and I have been together that our families were all in one physical location at the same time, so that was another fun milestone.

I think I’ll wrap things up here for this week – hope you’re all hanging in there and that these Nova photos have brightened your day!

Birthday Weekend Adventures

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! Despite this being a normal work week for me, I’ve been a bit scrambled as to my days this week. But we’ve finally made it; it’s almost the weekend.

I had a truly lovely birthday weekend. I took the day off on Friday, and my husband and I took Nova with us on a little adventure to Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, MN; we stopped at Franconia Sculpture Park on the way back for a picnic and more wandering, and then popped into Wine Haven for a few celebratory bottles before coming home and relaxing for the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday, Nova went to the groomer (which she was not happy about), and that afternoon I went on a tree/plant identification walk with a local druid grove that I recently connected with before going out for drinks with my college bestie that evening. It was a really lovely day.

Sunday we brought Nova to her first restaurant patio for a birthday lunch with my parents, and she did great! She even got her own burger patty.

The week has been good so far; Monday night I started my second summer class, which runs twice a week for four weeks. It’s intense, but I’m excited about it. Tuesday was session 0 for a new in-person D&D game I just joined. I didn’t know anyone at the table, but I think it’s going to be a really fun group!

The other fun thing that happened this week was we got Nova’s DNA results back, with a few surprises:

I hope you’re all hanging in there. I will leave you with one more Nova picture – please enjoy this view of her pouting because I was the meanest and wouldn’t take her to her favorite store last night (because they were closed):

Happy Holidays

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday: Christmas Eve Eve edition. It’s been a wild week of distressing COVID news as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc. It’s the worst sort of deja vu. We’re actively re-negotiating holiday plans to accommodate everyone’s safety and comfort levels. I am anxious, which I think is contributing to the fact that the dog has been extra anxious this week. Thank goodness I have therapy this afternoon!

It’s been a wild week in terms of anxiety. It’s also been an exciting week at work – I’ve started interviewing for the open position on my team, and while I am anxious about making decisions, I have some really strong candidates and I’m excited to fill this position and get my team more support.

I honestly don’t have a ton to write about this week. I do feel accomplished that we got Christmas cards out to some folks this year (first time in the 11 years my husband and I have been together). I’ll leave you, as usual, with some photos of Nova from this week:

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.