Move and Vacation

We are inching ever closer to our move date, and the number of packed boxes in our apartment has increased since last week. We’ve been coordinating some maintenance needs with the new landlord so that we don’t need to have them come and fix things when we’re actually there.

We’re down to the wire for packing now, though.

My partner has been in Minnesota for the past few days, hanging out with his parents before borrowing his dad’s car to drive to Song School. He gets back into town this afternoon. We leave for Song School tomorrow.

I am so excited for Song School, for seeing dear friends and digging into the practice of songwriting. I am also worried that I’ll struggle to be present, knowing that we move two days after we get back. I’m hoping I’ll be able to set that aside and fully engage while we’re on this trip.

On that note: there will be no blog next week, as I will be in Colorado and off my phone as much as possible. The next time I write a blog will be from our new apartment!

Song School!

Hello, friends! First things first: there will be no blog next week. That’s because I will be in Colorado, attending Song School, and will not have internet access (or time to blog).

The past week at work has been pretty ridiculous (read: extremely frustrating). It has frequently felt like every little thing that could go wrong has done so. I am beyond ready for vacation. I am trying really hard not to mentally check out before I actually leave. Today is my last day in the office for about a week and a half. I have one meeting to get through this afternoon, and I’m sure there will be a few last-minute things to sort out. I just have to hang on until 4:30.

I am so, SO excited to be heading back to Song School. My partner and I attended for the first time last year, and it was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends we made last year, and meeting new folks, and learning enough that I feel like my head will explode. It’s going to be great. This year has been extraordinarily productive for me from a songwriting perspective, so I’m excited to see how that impacts my experience of Song School.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about in two weeks, when I’m back to reality. For now, though, I’m on vacation. 🙂

Road Trips and Recovery

Last weekend, my partner and I took a whirlwind trip “home” to the Twin Cities. His dad had gotten tickets to see Paul Simon on his farewell tour. Plane tickets from Chicago were unusually expensive, so we rented a car and drove up, leaving very early Friday morning.

The concert was incredible. I will freely admit that I am not super well-versed in Paul Simon’s music, but I knew enough to not be completely lost, and watching the show as a songwriter gave me a real appreciation for the level of craft he brings to his music. Also, anyone who can perform on stage for that long with that much energy at 76 is pretty incredible in my book.

We tried really hard not to overbook ourselves on this trip (something we often fail at), so Saturday was fairly laid-back. I got coffee in the morning with a professor I knew from bible college. We’ve been trying to get coffee together every time I’ve been in Minnesota for the past eight or nine months, and I’m so glad it finally worked out. That afternoon, my partner and I got lunch with one of our favorite people. It wasn’t a super long visit, but it was great to see them and catch up a bit. In the evening, my partner’s Grandma came over to his parents’ house to join us for dinner, which was also very nice.

Sunday morning, we got an early breakfast with my best friend (another of our very favorite people), which was delightful, as we don’t get to see each other nearly often enough. And then we made our way back to Chicago, which took a couple of hours longer than the trip out, thanks to detours and lane closures between Milwaukee and Chicago.

By the time we got home, we were pretty exhausted. Unfortunately, neither of us could take Monday off, so we dive headfirst into the week and hoped we’d make it.

And for the most part, we’ve managed. Unfortunately, yesterday (Wednesday) it sort of all caught up with me – the cottonwood trees were shedding everywhere (it looked like a snow storm on parts of my commute), which made my sinuses cranky, and the increased heat and humidity combined with already being exhausted all conspired together, and by the time I got home from work, everything hurt. My joints ached. Putting pressure anywhere on my arms or legs hurt like a bruise. I had a headache. My eyes ached when I tried focusing too hard on anything. I was pretty miserable. I ended up taking a Benadryl and heading to bed around 8:30.

I’m writing this Thursday morning on my way to work. I feel better than I did last night, although I definitely wished this morning that I’d gone with my instinct to bring my work computer home with me yesterday so I could work from home today. I’m hoping the extra sleep last night will have been restorative enough that I’ll make it to the end of the week.

I am annoyed that my body can’t handle a low-key weekend road trip without at least one extra day to recover, but I’m not really surprised. I’ve made an appointment with my doctor to talk through what options I might have to manage this better (something I started looking into before I got sidetracked with top surgery prep). So we’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile, I’m trying to be present in the aches and pains, and be grateful for what my body can do.

Song School 2017

Last week there was no blog, because my partner and I were at the Rocky Mountain Song School at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, CO. I spent the week almost entirely unplugged: away from my phone, not thinking about work, not focusing so hard on the news. It was…

Well, it was incredible, really. I didn’t get a lot of writing done (there are classes pretty much all the time, and they’re all fascinating, and it’s impossible to get to all of them), but I learned so much. I met so many amazing, beautiful people doing amazing, beautiful work. We talked about songwriting generally, but also about songwriting as survival, as resistance, as revolution. We held space for each other, cheered each other on and pushed each other to do better. 

I’ve never been in a new place around so many new people and felt so safe to be myself. 

It was an amazing experience. I don’t have adequate words to describe it. 

The road trip there and back was pretty great, too, although we did have some moments in small towns where we didn’t feel so safe (being an obviously queer couple in small town rural America can be frightening). I remembered, once we were finally in Colorado, that getting out of the city and into nature sometimes is essential to my mental health. It’s a thing that’s easy to forget in the convenience of living in Chicago, where I can get everything else I need, but it’s important. 

I’m going to be processing what I learned and working on the new songs I started for a few months, I think. I can’t wait to go back next year!

On the Road Again…

It’s road trip time!

When this post goes live, my partner and I should be a little over halfway to Minnesota, where we’ll spend the weekend running around like mad people getting caught up with friends and family as much as we’re able to in the space of three days.

It’s a beautiful time of year for a road trip. I imagine as you’re reading this that we’re enjoying some gorgeous fall colors as we drive through Wisconsin. The weather’s cool enough to wear all the knitted things. Really, this might be my favorite time of year.

I tend to deal with a fair amount of pre-travel anxiety, and this week is no exception. There’s always too much to get done before we leave, and never enough time to do it all. But I know the payoff is always worth it.

I get to see my nephew this weekend. I get to give him his Yoda hat (which I finished Tuesday night, a whole 30 hours before our departure), and see in person just how much bigger he’s gotten since the beginning of August. I know he’s getting to the age where stranger anxiety is a thing, so I’m nervous that he won’t like me. I want us to be buddies.

This trip marks the last time I’ll be renting a car under this name. So that’s exciting.

It’s also the last time I’ll probably make it to Minnesota this calendar year…probably the last trip for quite some time. Starting next month, we want to really cut back on our spending (particularly what we spend going out to eat), and I want to start seriously paying down my credit card debt, so I don’t really know when our next trip will be. I hope I can keep that in mind this weekend and take full advantage of the time we have in our home state.

Hopefully next week I’ll come back with some interesting stories (and maybe even a few pictures)!