Scattered Thursday Thoughts

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to a Thursday that for some reason feels like either a Wednesday or a Friday but is, in fact, still Thursday.

This has kind of been the tone of my week – just a bit off-kilter. I finally finished the project I’d been putting off for work, and now that the stress of that is past, my immune system seems to think it’s time to take a vacation, and I’ve been feeling sniffly and achy and generally under the weather the past couple of days. Nothing too awful, mostly just annoying.

My husband made it back from Chicago on Monday after doing the final cleaning of our old place and dropping off the keys with the landlord there. It was weird being in this new place alone for five days.

I don’t have a ton to write about this week. One of the things that’s been occupying my free time is trying to figure out how to find a local D&D group – I am continuing to play with the friends I’ve been gaming with throughout the pandemic, and I’m so, so grateful for those games, but in the interest of meeting some new people, making new friends, and getting to bring some of the characters running around in my brain to life, I’m hoping I can find something local to add to the mix. So far I haven’t had much luck, but it’s been less than a week, so I’m trying to be patient. I knit myself a new dice bag last week that I’m really happy with, because my collection has finally outgrown the bag I knit myself a decade ago:

It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but compared to my old dice bag it’s enormous – it holds all of my dice with lots of room to spare. I also got myself a dice tower and tray from Elderwood Academy (highly recommend, fellow nerds – they’re gorgeous) to make rolling physical dice more fun/less likely to end with me crawling on the floor trying to figure out where they ended up.

Anyway, I think that’s it from me this week. I hope you’re all hanging in there.

AnxietyBrain

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s a bit of a weird week here. I’m feeling a bit off my game anyway, and my husband is back in Chicago getting our old apartment fully cleaned out and turning in keys to the landlord there, so I’m alone in a new space, which feels a little strange.

The week started out with discovering a handful of fraudulent authorization charges (thankfully for $0, but still from places I have definitely not attempted to spend money) on my debit card. When I called to cancel the card, the customer service rep “ma’am-ed” me at the end of literally every sentence. When they asked if I wanted to order a new card over the phone or go into a branch and get one instantly in person, I said I’d go to a branch (mostly because I wanted to escape the rampant misgendering and because it sounded faster)…only to realize my bank doesn’t have any branches in downtown St. Paul. I texted a few friends to see if anyone could take me to the bank (we don’t have a car yet), and my college bestie came through. We got to the bank, I went in, and was informed that their card machine had gone down and it was a company-wide problem, so I’d have to come back another day. (Thankfully, I was at least able to get coffee with my friend before we headed home, and it was lovely to see her, so the trip wasn’t a total waste of our time.) I’m planning to have an adventure on the light rail train Saturday morning to try again.

I’ve been rather anxious this week, I think largely because I have some projects I’ve been procrastinating on that I can’t procrastinate on any longer, and I’m regretting my procrastination pretty intensely. Anxiety is a tricky thing – sometimes it can be catalyzing and motivating to some degree, but often it’s just paralyzing, which gets you into the feedback loop of “I didn’t get this thing done earlier and now I’m anxious it won’t get done but my anxiety is making me avoid the thing further and now it’s even less likely to get done…” So that’s a thing I’m working my way through.

Last night I got to go out for drinks with one of my oldest friends (the friend I ran into on the street last week), and it was so wonderful. I love having friends I can just jump back into conversation with even though we haven’t really sat down for a chat in years. We ended up hanging out for a couple of hours, and honestly one of the best parts of the whole time together was realizing how far we’ve come in the time that we’ve known each other. We’re both in really good places overall right now, and it was great to be able to celebrate that.

I think that’s it from me this week. I really am loving our new space as we get settled in. I hope your weeks are treating you gently and that you’re all hanging in there.

Minnesota!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I will admit I have been completely confused about what day it is all week – between taking all of last week off of work to move, and having Monday off for the holiday, my internal calendar is all sorts of turned around. But hey, I’m here. And by here, I mean in our new apartment in St. Paul!

Moving went about as smoothly as it could have, but it was exhausting. I’m so grateful for the help we had from family and friends, and that we were able to afford movers to load and unload the truck. The new apartment is delightful – it’s spacious and feels like a major upgrade from where we were before.

It feels good to be back in Minnesota. It’s also weird. I’m learning how to navigate the fact that I’m now a couple of states away from the team I lead at work. We’ve all been remote pretty much the entire time we’ve worked together, but it still feels different. I’m slowly starting to reach out to friends here to reconnect, hoping that I can reestablish a sense of community in the Twin Cities. I did have the delightful experience of running into an old friend on the street the other day – she works downtown and spotted me from the skyway and it was so fun to get to see her!

All in all I’m feeling good about where we’re at – we have a lovely home that’s honestly more unpacked than I expected it to be by this point. I have an office to work out of, which is a vast improvement from working out of my dining room. We’re figuring out routines.

I think that’s it from me for this week. I hope you’re all hanging in there!

Counting Down

Hello, dear readers! It is Thursday, and the last Thursday I will wake up in this apartment. Next Wednesday we are packing all our stuff up in a truck and driving to Minnesota, and next Thursday we’re moving into our new apartment!

Related sidebar: there will probably not be a blog next week.

I am a tightly-coiled ball of anxiety this week. I’m struggling to focus on anything aside from the boxes that need filling and the other little administrative tasks that need doing related to the move. But unlike some past instances of anxiety at this level, I’m not totally paralyzed by it, and I haven’t succumbed to the idea that this is just my life now. I know this is temporary, and that I will get through it and come out the other side relatively unscathed. And that’s a nice feeling.

I’m taking all of next week off from work, both to give myself extra time to help my husband finish packing, and to give us the chance to maybe visit a few favorite Chicago spots to say farewell.

It’s weird saying goodbye. I’ve never been great at goodbyes in general, but…I don’t know. Leaving Chicago feels like a big deal. When we moved away from Minnesota to Chicago, it was different – we knew we’d be moving back eventually, and for me at least, there were things in Minnesota I needed distance from. But now returning to Minnesota, while I know that I’ll be back to visit Chicago as often as I can manage it, I don’t know if this will ever end up being a place that I live again. I don’t currently think it’s in the cards, but I guess we’ll find out. Chicago has been a great home for the past 9 years. So many people I love so dearly are here. I made incredible friends. I figured out a lot of what it meant to be Alyx while I was here, and I’m sure that would have been a very different journey without Chicago. I started writing songs again in Chicago, and actually performed them for people – for strangers! I’m sure the next week is going to bring its fair share of tears as we say goodbye to our life here.

At the same time, I’m really excited to be returning to Minnesota. I’m so excited about our new apartment, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic space for us to grow into. There are friends in Minnesota that I’ve missed terribly who will be minutes away now. We’ll hopefully get to be more involved in our nephews’ lives. I’ve already heard from several friends I’d not talked to in a long time who want to reconnect. I think it’s going to be good to be closer to family. While Chicago feels like home to me now, Illinois doesn’t. Minnesota, on the other hand, is home in a sense I can feel in my bones. I noticed it the most when we were driving back from Song School the first year we went. We were swinging through Minnesota on the way home because we’d borrowed my father-in-law’s car for the trip, and the second we crossed the state line into Minnesota, my whole body relaxed, even though logically I knew I was no safer in that part of the state than it had been in South Dakota. I’ve noticed it since then, too, on road trips back to visit family. Minnesota is in my bones, and it’s calling me home.

Like I said, probably no blog next week (unless I’m really on top of things and write it early, but don’t hold your breath). Next time I write, I will officially be in my new place! I hope you’re all continuing to hang in there. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Brief Thursday Thoughts

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. It’s going to be a pretty quick blog this week – I have a lot to pack in at work today since they’ve given us tomorrow off in recognition of Juneteenth.

This week I’m delivering performance assessments to my direct reports at work for the first time. It’s nerve-wracking, because I want to be supportive and encouraging and also help them grow and deliver it all in a way that’s motivating rather than paralyzing. The upside is that I was not at all nervous for my own performance assessment this time around – usually I get really in my head about it, but I’ve been so focused on getting assessments written that I didn’t have the brainspace to worry much about it.

Last weekend I dove full-force back into being a social human, and ended up needing to take Monday off to recover (and also because I woke up with a massive sinus headache). Friday night I went out for dinner and drinks with some coworkers, a couple of which I’d never met in person (and then rest of which I’d only seen in person once or twice, basically). It was fun getting to know them a little better IRL, and to see how tall they actually are. Saturday, we got dinner with some dear friends, and then I ended up going over to their house afterward and we wound up playing D&D until 1am (which is SEVERAL hours past my usual bedtime, but it was worth it). I cannot put into words how delightful it was to get to play in person with some of my favorite fellow nerds. And Sunday we got up early to grab coffee with another friend at the park near our apartment, and then I had a virtual D&D game that night (which only went until 10, thankfully). I am definitely swinging wildly between, “I want to see all my friends and do all the things!” and, “I am way too anxious for being social right now.”

We’re down to two weeks away from moving, and I’m trying not to panic. We’ve made good packing progress already. The big thing that’s hanging over my head right now is figuring out how to get rid of the furniture that’s not coming with us to Minnesota. I’m sure it’ll all work out, though.

I think that’s it from me for this week. I hope you’re all hanging in there and taking care of yourselves, whatever that looks like, as many of us start taking our first shaky steps back into social life.

It’s Too Darn Hot

Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. I am extremely scatterbrained this week. It’s been so hot and sticky here in the Midwest (and I shouldn’t even complain, because it hasn’t been as bad in Chicago as it’s been in the Twin Cities), which always makes me a little crabby. I overheat pretty easily and humidity does weird things to my joints and it’s just hard to focus when you feel like you’re melting. Even though my desk is basically directly in front of our window AC, it’s still pretty humid in our apartment, and it’s like my body knows that it’s hot outside and is responding to that instead of the cool air I keep trying to plant myself in front of.

We’re moving in three weeks and I’m trying (with middling success) not to panic about everything that needs to get packed between now and then. I know it’ll all come together, and we’ve done a good job of making lists and keeping track of all the logistical details, but there’s this part of my brain that is absolutely convinced that I’ve forgotten some major detail somewhere along the line. Anxiety, woo!

This weekend we have a handful of social things set up that I’m looking forward to. And in between packing and socializing I’m trying to decompress with Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing on my Switch Lite (I was knitting a sweater but it is obviously way too warm to have a pile of wool in my lap right now). I don’t play a lot of video games and I don’t play any of them very well, but it’s good to have a thing I can do where my hands are busy but I’m not doom scrolling.

I think I’m going to keep this one short, because I have already gotten distracted after basically every sentence I’ve written, and I don’t have a lot of other coherent thoughts. I hope you’re all hanging in there. I’ll leave you with a clip of the inspiration for the title of this blog post. I’ve seen Kiss Me, Kate exactly once, probably close to 20 years ago, but fragments of this song get stuck in my head every time the temperature rises to uncomfortable levels:

I remember literally nothing else from this movie, but this song spoke to me lol

This is 33

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. There’s definitely a part of my brain that thinks it’s Tuesday, because the beginning of my week was a departure from routine, but it is, in fact, Thursday.

It is also my birthday today! I kind of forgot it was coming until about a week ago. I didn’t really make any plans. I’m working today, which is fine. It looks like it’s going to be pretty warm out, so I’ll likely be hiding in my apartment next to my air conditioner for most of the day.

I don’t know how I expected to feel about turning 33, but right now I’m feeling pretty neutral about it. I like the number 3 a lot, so it feels like a fun age to be. I wonder when or if I’ll start to have particularly negative/existential crisis feelings about getting older. Mostly, as someone who’s dealt with mental health issues for most of their life, I’m just glad to still be around. I didn’t know how to picture myself in my 30s when I was younger. (I wonder now if some of that was tied up in gender stuff, that I couldn’t see myself as a grown woman, but I didn’t know there were other options, and so everything was just a hazy blank space.) My 20s were pretty tumultuous, and so I was glad to leave them behind when I hit 30, even as I watched a lot of my friends wrestle with feeling like they hadn’t done enough to be in their 30s yet. I imagine I’ll have a similar experience at 40, but who knows? A lot can change in a few years.

Right now, I’m just glad to still be here.

I started writing a new song a couple of days ago. It’s not going the way I’d like it to, but it’s the first songwriting I’ve attempted since FAWM ended in February. I haven’t gone this long without writing a song in years. So even though I’m somewhat frustrated with this song’s progress, I’m glad to know I haven’t completely lost my ability to write.

My coffee pot just beeped at me to let me know that the coffee is done brewing, so I think I’ll leave this one here. Cheers to another trip around the sun – thanks for coming on this journey with me!

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.

Gratitude on a Sunny Thursday

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday, which I keep thinking is Wednesday…which is, I suppose, better than thinking it’s Friday. I hope you’re all hanging in there.

As of a couple of days ago, I’m officially two weeks out from my second covid vaccine and therefore as immunized as I’m going to be for the time being. It feels good to feel like I can start making some plans with (also immunized) friends again. It also feels weird. I am definitely going to need to relearn how to be social in person, and I’m sure my limit for how many people I can tolerate being with for an extended period of time has changed over the past year of isolation. (I’m an introvert, so that wasn’t a huge number to begin with…I’m a bit nervous about going back to group activities, to be honest.)

My tattoo is healing up nicely, though it’s in a very itchy stage right now. I can’t tell how much of that is the tattoo itself and how much is the hair growing back on my arm, but I’m trying to be careful about not absentmindedly scratching at it.

I don’t really have a lot to talk about this week, but let’s end this with a little list of things I’m grateful for right now:

  • I am grateful for my job. It’s still mindblowing to be in a place where I feel both challenged and appreciated, where I feel like my value is being recognized. It’s wild that I’m in a leadership position and enjoying it (not that it’s easy, but that it feels like a good use of my skills). It’s wild to have a degree of financial stability I have not had since moving out of my parents’ house.
  • I am grateful for my friends. I’ve had a lot of really great conversations lately that remind me that my people are the best people. I’m grateful for their trust and their insight and their love. I’m so glad I don’t feel like I have to carry everything on my own, or pile everything onto my husband or my therapist, but I have whole communities of people supporting me.
  • I am grateful for music. In the past couple of weeks, I rediscovered how much I absolutely adore P!nk. In college, I went from listening pretty exclusively to contemporary Christian music to dipping my toes into the waters of other options, and P!nk was one of the first artists I heard that really connected with my angsty, troubled heart. I hadn’t kept up with her music after graduation, really, but in diving into her newer stuff, it’s been a delight to see that, even though I am not an angsty college student anymore, her music still connects. We’ve both grown since then. I have immense respect for her as an artist. My current favorite track is this one (in case the link doesn’t work, or you don’t use Spotify – it’s the last song on her 2019 album Hurts 2B Human; the track is called “The Last Song of Your Life,” and it’s beautiful), but her newest singles (from the current year) are also incredible.

That’s it from me this week – keep taking care of yourselves and each other.

Spicy Dragon

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I nearly forgot it was Thursday today – I’ve been attending a virtual conference the past few days for work and it’s got my routine a bit out of whack.

I don’t have too much to report this week, except that on Friday, I got color added to my dragon tattoo, and I am SO EXCITED about it!

A bright red dragon clutches a purple and pink d20 and grins mischievously.

It turned out SO GOOD. It’s currently at a very gross stage of healing (the photo above is from when it was fresh), but I’m excited to get past that so I can show it off all the time.

While she was working on it, the artist was joking about this being a “spicy dragon” (by the end of the 3 hour session I was pretty sore), and that nickname has stuck, particularly since it was pretty tender for several days. They’ll get a better name eventually, but this spicy little dragon is bringing me a lot of joy this week.

I will have more news to report in the next few weeks (there are some big life changes afoot), but in the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other, keep wearing masks and washing your hands, GO GET VACCINATED if you haven’t yet.