Patience and Balance

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I don’t know about you all, but I’ve felt for the past couple of days that this week should be farther along than it is…it’s been a long one. Work has been kind of bananas, and summer term at school started this week.

First things first: we’re still a single-dog household. The dog we met on Saturday was not a good personality fit with Nova. Thankfully, someone with the rescue who’s a certified dog trainer was able to sit with us and the two dogs and help us better interpret what was happening. Turns out Nova is not the kind of dog with the maternal instinct for teaching another dog how to be a dog. She needs a companion who will let her be top dog but will still engage and not be overly submissive. So, we’ve learned things about Nova and the rescue is willing to work with us to find a better personality fit. We’ve sent them a list of other dogs we’re interested in meeting, and they’ll set something up with us based on what they know of those dogs and Nova. We’re doing our best to be patient and to trust the timing will work out the way it’s meant to.

As I was looking over the syllabi for my two summer classes over the weekend and setting up my homework plan for myself, I realized that I had probably bitten off more than I could chew. We’re traveling the last week of the term, so that means I’d have to get final projects in a week early, and the one class I was planning to take asynchronously had a LOT of work due each week in addition to the big final paper. I talked it over with my husband and thought it through, and decided to drop the asynchronous class and just take one class this summer. I’m feeling much more settled about my summer schedule now, and much more confident that I can succeed without burning myself out. It wasn’t easy to let go of the idea that I’m supposed to be able to keep up with that level of work consistently, but I’m doing my best to give myself grace and remember that I can take my time.

And I think that’s where I’m going to leave things this week. But first, some Nova photos:

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:

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:

Discombobulated

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. This post is going up late because it has been A Week. I was anticipating a fairly laid-back January at work, and the last two weeks that has…not panned out as expected. It’s been kind of bananas, with a lot of people needing things from me and me also trying to do a better job of staying on top of the myriad of things that fall under the purview of my position. In addition to work being wild, school has started back up and there have been some technical difficulties with getting my class rolling (not just for me, but for the whole class). And today, for reasons I have yet to figure out, my back and several other joints are cranky. So I’m feeling a bit discombobulated and out of sorts today.

There’s been good stuff lately too, though. Monday I got to spend a lot of the day hanging out with my best friend, and that was lovely. I’m also experimenting with a new hobby (although now that I’ve figured out the basics it’s on pause until I get the proper equipment) – tablet weaving!

A knitting podcast we listen to sometimes was talking about weaving, and my brain latched onto the idea, and then one thing led to another and here we are.

I’ve also been reading a really lovely book called Legends & Lattes, which is billed as a novel of “high fantasy and low stakes” and is basically the fantasy equivalent of a cozy mystery, I think. It’s so good! The writing is excellent and the characters are interesting and it’s just a blast to read.

I think that’s where I’ll leave you for this week. As always, here’s your Nova fix:

Is It Friday Yet?

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. Every day since Monday I’ve had a thought along the lines of “Ah, yes, Friday!” and then realized it was not, in fact, Friday. It’s still not Friday. It is Thursday. But that means it’s almost Friday, which is more than I could say on Monday when I got confused about what day it was.

Aside from my utter inability to remember what day it is, it’s been a pretty unremarkable week. Work has been frustrating at times, but I’ve felt reasonably productive and like I’m doing a better job of staying on top of the various pieces of my role lately, so that’s encouraging, at least. This week marks the first week of the semester for me, and the asynchronous class I’m taking has started (my other class doesn’t start until February). I’m really rather excited about this class (even though there have been some technical difficulties at the outset with getting information out to students) – it’s a Comparative Religious Ethics class, and while there’s going to be a fair bit of reading for this one, the titles of all of the readings sound really interesting. Thankfully, there are no big papers or anything due the week of and the week after my surgery in March, so I’m hoping I can work ahead a little bit and not fall behind when that happens. I did already email the professor to let him know I might be a bit less active on the online forum those weeks.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot else to report this week. I shall leave you with some Nova naps from the past week:

Happy New Year!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the first Thursday of 2023! We made it. I hope you’re all hanging in there and that your new years are starting off gently.

I’m having a decent start to my new year so far. I found out yesterday that I somehow managed to swing A’s in both of my classes last semester – I was not expecting an A in the one class I was really struggling with, so that was a pleasant surprise. I also started a new morning routine a few days before the new year, and I’m now 8 days into meditating and journaling in the mornings before I get into my day. I’m not particularly a morning person, but I do tend to function better if I can ease into my day and have extra time in the morning, rather than rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth, and logging into work. So that all feels really good.

It’s been snowing for the past few days here – I think we’ve gotten a bit over a foot here in St. Paul. Nova is over the moon about it. It’s made me want to be extra cozy, so I made a big batch of soup a few days ago, and that’s been great to be able to have on these snowy days.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to write about this week – things are going okay and also I feel like I’m still in the liminal space between holidays since my first spring semester class doesn’t start until next week. I’ll leave you with some photos of Nova enjoying the weather:

Let it Snow

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a long week for not particularly concrete reasons, and I spent a lot of yesterday feeling like it should be Friday, but here we are. It’s snowing in the Twin Cities today – last I looked they’re predicting we’ll get 5-8 inches. Part of me wants to be grinchy about it, but Nova is so happy that it’s hard to be upset. And it is pretty, and it’s covering all the gross, grey, dirty snow that was mostly melted, which is nice.

One of the more concrete things that has made this week feel very long is that I’ve been dealing with a lot of auditory sensitivity. This has been one of the most persistent clues in my life that I fall somewhere on the neurodivergent spectrum of existence – perfectly ordinary sounds suddenly feel unbearably loud, not in a way that gives me a headache or would be a sign of a migraine or something, but they’re just…too much, and if I can’t mitigate the sounds somehow, suddenly everything feels too loud, from lights to texture, etc., and I’m stuck fighting a meltdown. In a fit of overwhelm earlier in the week I ordered some fancy ear plugs that Facebook and Instagram have been advertising to me for forever. They arrived yesterday, and…holy shit, y’all. These are a game-changer. I could tell they were sort of helping when I was wearing them while I was working and felt a little better able to focus, but then as I was wrapping up work, my best friend (who lives upstairs) asked if she could come down to play our piano for a bit. Now, I love our piano, but in our old industrial apartment with its 12 foot corrugated cement ceilings, it is VERY bright, and I often find that it’s too much for my system to handle. In the back of my head I was trying to think of polite ways to excuse myself from the apartment if I got overwhelmed, but it turned out I didn’t need to worry. These ear plugs cut the bright frequencies that I find really hard to cope with, and what was left was a perfectly pleasant experience of listening to a friend make music. I’m blown away. So for my fellow neuro-spicy types out there, if you’ve also been receiving targeted ads for Loop ear plugs, I can say they get two thumbs up from me. I got the Engage Plus variety for myself, and while they weren’t cheap, so far I’m confident they’re going to be worth it for my (relative) sanity.

I’ve mostly managed to convince my brain at this point that I don’t need to worry that I’ve forgotten a homework assignment, which is great. I’m still waiting on final grades, but I’m not too worried about that – I know that I passed both classes and that was my goal. (I think I probably broke my straight-A streak, but that’s also okay, even if the perfectionist part of my brain is fighting me on that.) I’m happy to have a break between semesters, and am also really looking forward to next semester’s classes!

I think that’s where I’ll wrap this up this week. As always here’s your weekly Nova spam:

Hurry Up and Wait

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been one of those weeks where I’m never quite sure what day it is, for one reason or another. It’s been an ordinary week in some ways and a big week in others.

First big item: I’m done with my semester, which means I’m done with my first year of grad school! It’s wild to me that it’s already been a year. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned so far and the connections I’m making with classmates and instructors. I’m continuing to have a deep sense of rightness in pursuing this degree, even if I’m still not 100% certain what life after I graduate will look like and how I’ll be using it. The vision of the future is slowly gaining some clarity, and I’ve got time to figure out the details.

The other big news is that the surgery scheduler called and I have a date for my hysterectomy! And…it’s not until March. But at least it’s scheduled, and three months isn’t all that long to wait when I’ve already been waiting basically half my life. It’ll be happening in the middle of the semester, so I’m going to end up taking about a month of medical leave from work to recover, but I’ve gotten that process kicked off and I think everything is going to work out.

I think I’m going to leave it there for this week. As always, here’s your weekly dose of Nova:

Fighting for Focus

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I started my day off nearly forgetting I had a 7:30am meeting scheduled (I usually start working at 8), but I managed to be almost on time, so that was a win.

I have been struggling this week to find focus. I’m still behind on the project for my Monday class, although I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to get caught up tomorrow since I have work off for Veterans Day. I at least got the parts rewritten that I needed to rewrite, and if I can get this next piece taken care of tomorrow, I’ll be in a good place to be on time with the rest of the pieces. Even at work, though, I’m feeling scatterbrained and stretched thin, even though it objectively hasn’t been a particularly wild week for me. Some of it might be the weather – it’s been overcast and rainy here the past few days, and that always makes me want to just curl up with a book and ignore all responsibilities. Moving off of DST last weekend also threw me for a bit of a loop, I think.

Tonight is the penultimate session of my Intro to Spiritual Direction class, and I’m kind of sad that it’s winding down. I mean, on the one hand, it’s exciting to be moving forward with it. But on the other…it’s just a really lovely group of people, and while I know I’ll still be in class with many of them next semester, each class creates and holds a unique sort of space, and this one has been particularly lovely and supportive.

This weekend should be fun – Sunday we’re going to a drag brunch for my cousin’s roommate’s birthday, and then that evening we’re going to see Semler in concert. It should be a good time. Fingers crossed that Nova behaves for her babysitters.

Speaking of Nova, I’ll leave you with some sleepy puppy pictures this week:

Hibernation

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I really wish it was Friday, but alas, it is not.

It’s been a decent week here. After quite a bit of frustration and feeling really demoralized by one of my classes, I was able to meet with my professor before class on Monday and work some things out, and I think I’m in a better spot – while there are still things I’m finding frustrating, I at least feel like I know what I need to do to make it through the class now.

It’s been cold in the Twin Cities this week…below freezing in the mornings most days. Nova’s been happy about it, at least. It’s supposed to hit 70 again this weekend, though. I don’t mind the cold so much, but I do wish the weather would pick a general range and stick with it. The up and down tends to make my joints hurt.

The weather and the shorter days are making me want to hibernate. I’ve been knitting a bit more, which is lovely and cozy, but also a challenge to balance with schoolwork. Next week is symposium week at school, which means no classes, so I’m taking a few days off at the beginning of the week to get caught up on some things. I’m really looking forward to that.

I think that’s about it for this week. Here’s your weekly Nova fix: