Snowy Sick Day

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! We’ve gotten a whole bunch of snow in the last couple of days here in the Twin Cities. Nova is thrilled.

Last night I went to bed early with a headache, hoping I could sleep it off. I woke up this morning with less of a headache, but a very stuffy nose. I ended up calling off from work in the hopes that resting more will mean I’m not sick on my retreat this weekend. After a few more hours of sleep, I’m feeling somewhat better. Fingers crossed that this cold doesn’t get any worse in the next 24 hours.

I’ve lost some steam with FAWM – I’m holding steady at 9 songs. Hoping to get at least one more written over the weekend, but I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve already tripled my output from last year, and seeing as I’m still working and in school, that feels pretty good.

Not much else to report today. I’m excited to head up north for my solo retreat tomorrow and hoping the weather (and my immune system) hold out so that I can go.

I’ll leave you, as always, with some Nova photos:


Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. This week has felt long for no particular reason, and I’m grateful that we’re nearing the weekend.

We are just over halfway through February, which means FAWM is just over half done. I’ve written 8 songs so far this month! I’m pleased that I’ve been able to do as much writing as I have been, even if it means getting up at stupid o’clock to do it. I’m having fun, which is the point.

Next weekend I’ve decided to take myself on a little solo retreat – I found a retreat center north of us where I’ve rented a little one room cabin for Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to it.

Today is going to be a long day to top off an already long week, but it’s ending with a much-needed massage, so that’s a happy thing.

I don’t really have a whole heck of a lot to report this week. But I’ll leave you, as always, with some Nova moments from this week:

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I’ve been all over the place this week in terms of focus and feelings and I am very glad that it’s nearly Friday.

FAWM is off to a great start, though! It’s February 9 today, and I’ve written 6 songs so far, which is twice as many as I managed last year and nearly halfway to “winning” with 14. I’m still not setting myself any sort of numerical goal this year – my second class of the semester starts tonight and things are going to be a bit busier from here out – but I’m really pleased with how it’s gone so far. I’m getting up at stupid-o-clock in the morning to make writing happen, but it hasn’t been too terrible yet.

I’m really excited about the class that’s starting tonight, which is sort of a continuation to the Intro to Spiritual Direction class I took last semester. I know all of my classmates, and they’re all lovely people that I’m excited to dig into the material with. We’ll be looking more at the practicalities of how to actually build a spiritual direction practice this semester. I’m also still really enjoying my Comparative Religious Ethics class, although I realize I need to start thinking more about what I want to write my final paper on so I can get a head start, since the last few weeks of the class will be immediately post-hysterectomy and I don’t know how much brain power I’ll have at that point.

Work has been a bit of a mixed bag this week. I’m juggling a lot of different priorities and I feel like I’m doing almost none of it particularly well. Thursdays are the days when I have therapy and then four 1:1s with direct reports that are basically back-to-back, which was a choice I made and that I mostly stand by, but it means by the end of the work day my brain is pretty fried. We’ll have to see how sustainable class is on top of that this semester.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. As always, please enjoy these Nova photos:

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday!

It is officially February, which means that FAWM has officially begun, and I am so excited about it! My goal going in this year was to get at least one song written, and I’ve already surpassed that by getting up early the past two mornings to write. FAWM is my favorite part of the internet, and the creative energy and output is truly astonishing. I’m loving listening to what friends and strangers are posting, and feeling inspired to see how far I can get this year. Last year I only managed 3 songs, which was still more than I expected given I was in my first semester of seminary, so we’ll see. My second class starts next week, so I’ll have less time after that.

Other than that, it’s a pretty normal week. Work has been a little up and down, but not as overwhelming as the past few weeks, so that’s nice. I picked up a book this week that a friend recommended that I’m excited to dig into. I’m working on knitting the sleeves of a sweater. I’m glad the sun has been out, even though it’s been pretty cold. I’m just generally in a better headspace this week than I was last week, and that’s nice.

I shall leave you, as always, with some Nova photos:

Thursday Ramblings

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! We had Monday off at work in observance of Lunar New Year, and then I ended up only working half of Tuesday because I was wrestling with a headache, so I’m all sorts of turned around about what day it is this week.

It’s been an okay week – I’ve gotten some knitting done, and am so far staying caught up on homework. I’m really enjoying my Comparative Religious Ethics class, and I’m really excited to start my next Spiritual Direction class in a couple of weeks. I also made the decision last week to switch from going for a MAL (Master of Arts in Leadership) in Spiritual Direction to an MDiv in Spiritual Direction; I’ll get to take more classes I’m interested in, and I think it’ll open up more possibilities for what I might do with the degree post-graduation. It means I’m adding an extra year or so onto my seminary journey, but I’ll still be done before I’m 40, so that’s fun.

Work has continued to feel kind of bananas, but I’m managing to stay afloat at this point. I need to nail down what I’m doing for a stretch project over the next few months (keeping in mind that I’ll be on medical leave for one of those months to recover from the hysterectomy); I have some ideas, just need to get them organized.

I’m very excited that FAWM is less than a week away! It’s always one of the highlights of my year. Even if I don’t get much writing done this time around, I’m excited to hear what everyone else comes up with.

I think that’s about it for me this week; here’s your weekly dose of Nova:

Searching for Focus

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I am all sorts of confused about what day it is – I ended up taking Monday off because I was fighting a headache most of Sunday night into Monday morning, and that always throws the rest of my week for a loop.

It’s been a decent week, but I have been struggling to focus. I got my homework for the week done early. I should have started working on a paper that’s coming due in a couple of weeks, but I didn’t. I need to make sure I have enough sources for the paper I want to write, and even that has been an uphill battle in terms of focus and prioritization. I’m enjoying my classes, but I’m still trying to figure out how to keep my life relatively balanced between work and school and play (and no, I will not be giving up play while I am working and in school – that way lies madness).

I’ve been increasingly excited about music, thanks to FAWM – I haven’t finished any more songs than the one I wrote on the 1st, but I’ve got some snippets of things down that I’m trying to find time to work on. And a couple of days ago I got a new electric mandola, which I’m super excited about and having tons of fun with in whatever down time I find.

Eastwood Airline Electric Mandola

I’m aware that bringing a new instrument home in the middle of when I should be working on homework was a questionable decision, but I don’t have any regrets at the moment.

I’m taking tomorrow off to catch up on homework and hopefully get some music time in, too. So I’m looking forward to that.

I think that’s about all I have to say this week. As always, I’ll leave you with a picture of Nova:

The inside-out ear just slays me

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I hope your weeks are going well. I’ve been feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed, myself, but not to the same degree that I was last week (this is probably because I had Tuesday off from work this week).

FAWM has begun! I realize every year that it has totally changed my perception of the month of February. In the MIdwest, it can reasonably be argued that February is the hardest month of the year – it’s cold and dark (even though it’s slowly getting lighter), and you know that winter is going to continue for at least a couple more months. But because of FAWM, February is genuinely one of my favorite months of the year.

Because I ended up having Tuesday off this week, I was able to actually get one song written, which was my goal this year. Between work and school I don’t know if I’ll get anything else written, but I wanted at least one on the board, so I feel good about getting that done. And it’s incredible to be able to listen to the songs other people are creating! There’s so much talent in the world. It’s inspiring.

I don’t have much else to write about this week, so I’ll leave you with this: Nova went to the groomers on Saturday. When I went to pick her up, they let me know they were going to make a TikTok of her later – “She was very good…just, you know, awkward.” I think they really captured her essence here.

And finally, here’s a picture of Nova napping yesterday that made me laugh:

Sleepy baby

New Routines and Tiny Gratitudes

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. My week has been decent, but underlined by a background anxiety that I’m not going to be able to figure out how to get all my homework done in time. New routines are hard – all change, even if it’s positive, is hard to some degree – and I’m worried I’m not up for the task. I’ve already had to turn down some social plans in favor of getting homework done, which doesn’t feel great. But the work is all really interesting so far, and I really appreciate my classmates and professors.

I realized in therapy last Thursday afternoon that I was particularly anxious for my Thursday night class – Religious and Theological Interpretation. After talking through some things with my therapist, I realized it was largely because the last time I had engaged academically with stuff like this, I was in undergrad at a small, conservative bible college, where I was coming to grips with the fact of my queerness and watching interpretations of religious texts be weaponized against people like me. So it makes sense that I was anxious! Thankfully, I was able to name that, not only in therapy but also in class, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I’m really grateful to have landed where I did.

I’m going to wrap up this post with a brief little list of things I’m particularly grateful for right now:

  • Supportive communities. My husband and I have incredible support networks (some of which we share, and some that we don’t), and I’m so grateful to know that there are multiple communities of folks looking out for us, both when life is particularly chaotic and when things are really wonderful.
  • New (to me) ideas. My classes are introducing me to concepts I’d never considered before, and I am enjoying the challenge.
  • FAWM. While February has not started yet, the FAWM website is up and running and people are starting to gather. I have no idea if I’ll write any music this February, but I’m excited to listen to what other folks come up with.

And, as always, here’s your weekly dose of Nova:


Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. (I’m pretty sure it’s Thursday, since that’s what my computer is telling me, but I was definitely certain for most of yesterday that it was Tuesday, and just a moment ago was completely convinced it was Friday today…time feels particularly wobbly this week, for some reason.) FAWM has ended – I wrote 19 songs last month, and I’m actually reasonably pleased with several of them. The songwriting class I’ve been in for the past two months has also wrapped up – I’m really pleased that my classmates want to stay in touch, and we have an email thread going.

Yesterday, I started private lessons with one of my favorite songwriting instructors at the Old Town School, Sue Demel. I’ve never taken private lessons before (though I’ve taken many group classes, including group classes that Sue was teaching over the past four months), and it’s a little intimidating to get that kind of 1:1 attention. But it’s also great, because I adore Sue and her enthusiasm for helping singer-songwriters find their most authentic singing voices. The goal of our work together is to get me ready to record an album this year – I bought a bunch of recording equipment recently, and my husband is taking a class to learn how to make the best use of it, and we’re both experimenting a bit in GarageBand and Logic – it might be a self-produced album, or it might be something I start at home and finish in a studio this fall if enough folks get vaccinated and things open back up a bit. One of my goals for today is to nail down my track list (I have done a lot of brainstorming on this, but Sue has encouraged me to make an actual decision so we can narrow the focus of what we’re working on in our lessons). I’m very excited, even though I also feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew – I’ve been writing songs since I was 10, and since I started keeping track in 2012 I’ve written over 240 of them. It’s time to get some nicer recordings done and out into the world.

In non-music news, my new role at work is going well. I’m one month in and learning a tone – I started taking over 1:1s with my direct reports this week, and that’s been great, although I’m already realizing things I can adjust there. I also did a Mental Health First Aid training through work this week, which was super informative.

I hope you’re all hanging in there and continuing to stay safe and healthy and taking care of yourselves and each other.

February Winding Down

Hello, lovely readers, and welcome to Thursday. Yesterday felt a lot like a Thursday to me, and today feels like a Friday, which means tomorrow will likely be a challenge. I have just been tired this week for no particular reason. Thankfully, the weather in Chicago is turning warmer and sunnier, and that makes things feel a little better (I like cold weather, but my joints have other opinions).

February is winding down. I have 18 songs posted on FAWM and, assuming I can get a song done for class this week, should round out the month with at least 19, which ties for the most songs I’ve ever written in a month (I also wrote 19 songs the first year I did FAWM). I got a bit overwhelmed by it all sometime last week and haven’t been writing or posting or engaging with the site in general as much as I was at the beginning of the month, but it’s still been a major source of joy in my month.

Work has been good, although I feel like I’m behind on a couple of larger projects. In reality I probably didn’t have super realistic expectations at the outset of these things, and I’m trying to be gentle with myself about it. I’m still definitely feeling a fair bit of burnout from being at the computer all the time, and am going to look today at when I can take a little time off next month to reset.

I’ve been quite achy this week, I think in part because I forgot to take my glucosamine supplements over the weekend, and also because of the weather shifting. I think that’s also impacted how much I’ve been writing this week, because it’s hard to really play an instrument very well when your elbows and hands ache. It’s also made knitting harder. Sigh. The good news is that in general I’ve been in a bit less pain in between shifts in weather and the times when I forget my supplements. Unfortunately this is just a really volatile weather time in the Midwest.

I hope you’re all hanging in there, friends. I am looking forward to the day when vaccines are more widely accessible and we can hug each other again. I’m still planning to wear a mask in public for the foreseeable future, but hopefully after we’re all vaccinated, hugs will feel safer.