Busy, Busy

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I am rather late in posting today because it’s a busy week and, in particular, a busy Thursday for me. I am interviewing three people for an open position on my team today (in addition to everything else I usually have to do on Thursdays), which has me feeling a bit off-kilter. However! Next Thursday begins a week and a half of PTO so we can go to Song School, so things are looking up.

This whole week is busy, though. Between work being extra chaotic lately and regular homework and the final paper I’m starting to work on (and hoping to at least get to Shitty First Draft status before leaving for CO), I feel like I’m juggling a lot of things and I’m not quite sure I can keep everything in the air. I’m working on trusting my ability to manage multiple projects at once. It’s a process.

Not a lot to talk about this week, but I’ll leave you with your weekly Nova photodump:

Rest and Reset

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I’m a little late writing and posting this today; it’s my first day back to work after an extended long weekend, and I have been working on getting my bearings again.

My four-week intensive class wrapped up last Thursday night, and in honor of that, I took Tuesday and Wednesday off from work (in addition to Monday’s holiday). The time off has been a bit of a mixed bag. Mostly, I’m so used to having so much to do and such a regimented schedule that I felt a little aimless and drifting without things on the calendar. Still, I managed to rest and have some fun, so that was good. Here are some of the highlights of the week:

  • On Sunday, we had a four hour Zoom hangout with my best friend who lives out in WA. It had been way too long since we’d talked like that, and it was absolutely delightful.
  • Monday we went to my in-laws to have ribs for dinner; it was delicious (and it was great to see them)!
  • Tuesday was a busy day:
    • That morning I met with my academic advisor and got a better sense of what’s going on with my degree program (when I entered, the partner school that was offering the concentration courses had just announced they were discontinuing that program; thankfully, my school is going to pick them up and the program will there), which was a relief and gave me a little more of a sense of direction.
    • I got my hair cut, which always makes me feel like a new person.
    • Nova and I went for a lovely walk with my parents, including a stop at a little riverside bar to rest on the shaded patio before heading home.
    • That evening, I got to play D&D!
  • Yesterday, I was struggling a bit – I had nothing on the calendar, but because of the intensity of the last month, I kept thinking there was something I must have been forgetting, so I had a bit of a hard time relaxing. But I did end up having some fun – I recorded some guitar tracks for a couple of songs, and finished listening to the audiobook of Terry Pratchett’s Witches Abroad, which I’d started on my trip to New York back in May.

I will leave you, as always, with a few Nova photos from this week:

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Thursday, but now it’s actually here and Friday is almost upon us. My week was a bit thrown off because my Tuesday night D&D session ended up getting canceled, and my schedule is so regimented these days that suddenly having a 4 hour block back in my evening really threw me for a loop.

The big news this week is that I finally got my Carrie Fisher tribute tattoo on Saturday! It’s in the unpleasant, flaky stage of healing right now, but this is what it looked like fresh:

It’s Leia’s lightsaber, and the banner text is my favorite Carrie Fisher quote: “Be afraid, but do it anyway.” I love how it turned out!

Other than that, it’s been a pretty normal week. I have the final session of my four week intensive class tonight, which is wild. I have to give a brief presentation tonight and then our final project is technically due next Friday, so I’ve got some time to polish it up before I turn it in. I’m taking an extra long weekend this weekend to celebrate being done with that part of summer semester, and I’m looking forward to that!

I will leave you with a few photos of some great Nova naps from the past week:

Planning

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday.

It’s been a decent week here, for the most part. The weekend was lovely. On Saturday, my husband and I attended a Zoom workshop that two of our beloved Song School teachers put on about tips and tricks for managing a neurodivergent brain. There was a lot of useful information and we’ve been working on starting to implement some of the tips this week. One of the big things we’re working on is having a quick check-in every morning to run through the major schedule items and tasks for the day, so that we are on the same page and can better support each other in getting things done. We also got some great reminders and tips about the difference between projects and tasks, and help in breaking down projects into tasks. Did I use what I learned in the workshop as an excuse to buy a new planner? …maybe. But all in all I’m excited to work a little more gentle structure into my day and have a broader toolset for the two of us to support each other.

I’m really enjoying the in-person D&D game I joined a few weeks ago. It’s been a bit of a tumultuous start – I was really excited about the character I created, but halfway through the second session, she died. It wasn’t malicious on the part of the DM – I got unlucky with my dice rolls. Thankfully, I had a backup character rolled up and ready to go. I was sad about the loss of the original character, but I actually think this new character will be a better fit for the group.

I only have two class sessions left of my four week intensive! I can’t believe it’s almost over already. It’s been a really good class, and while I’m overwhelmed by getting the last of the work done while having the first bigger paper of my longer class due right as this class ends, I’m confident I’ll be able to do it.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Nova from yesterday – there was a pigeon on a windowsill across the alley and she was absolutely TRANSFIXED:

Between Semesters

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been an interesting week.

Last Friday, one of our favorite Chicago friends came into town and we went to the My Brother, My Brother, and Me live show in Minneapolis. The show was hilarious, and it was so delightful to have her here for a couple of days, even though I was still quite under the weather and we had to keep things pretty low-key. Nova absolutely fell in love with her, and was very disappointed when she left.

Unfortunately, pretty much right after our friend left, my husband came down hard with the cold I was recovering from. It’s been a rough week from that perspective, but thankfully we’re both on the mend now.

In continued adventures with my PAP machine, things were going pretty well while I was sick, actually, because I was propping myself up at night and not moving around much. Unfortunately, the last few nights have been harder – the mask keeps leaking air up over the bridge of my nose and waking me up with the whooshing noise. I am going to call today to see if I can get a different mask configuration to try. Overall I’m still really hopeful that this will bring some major changes to my quality of sleep, and I’m grateful it’s gone as smoothly as it has so far.

We also bought a new mattress that we got to sleep on for the first time last night! It’s a Big Fig, and it’s a MAJOR upgrade from the cheap foam IKEA mattress we’ve been sleeping on for the last 12 years. We woke up with some aches in different places because we’re not used to so much support, but it’s really comfy and I’m very excited about it. Nova is enjoying the fact that the old mattress is hanging out on our living room floor for now.

I’m in between semesters for the next couple of weeks, and it feels good to be through the first semester of seminary, but also weird to not be in classes/doing homework. I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something. Over the summer I’m taking one asynchronous class at United (History of Modern Theologies), and one intensive class for the month of June at St. Kate’s that’s specific to my concentration (Sacred Activism). I’m really excited about the St. Kate’s class, even though I recognize June is going to be…a lot. All my books are ordered and at least half of them have arrived, so I’m feeling good about that.

In two weeks I’m going to New York for work for a big company get-together. I’m extremely nervous about traveling now that mask mandates are lifting, but it is what it is. I’m excited to get to meet colleagues in person for the first time – the global team is coming in, so I’ll get to meet coworkers from London and Singapore in addition to my NYC and Chicago colleagues. I’m already kind of exhausted by the thought of socializing that much, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Nova went to the groomer on Saturday and they got so much fur off of her that I actually had to resize her collar. She’s looking very sleek and we have slightly fewer tumbleweeds floating around our apartment. I will leave you with a few pictures of her, as always.

At Last

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I am all mixed up about what day it is this week – I’ve been fighting a cold all week and ended up taking a couple sick days from work and so my routine is way off. (Thankfully I tested negative for covid over the weekend.) I’m on the mend but still very stuffy and occasionally getting hit with coughing fits. It’s not my favorite thing.

However, in happy news, I finally got my PAP machine on Monday! It’s technically an APAP rather than a CPAP – the machine adjusts the amount of air pressure based on what I need throughout the night. This has been great, because I was really worried I was going to feel claustrophobic if I had constant air blowing at me all night long. I’m still not sleeping great, but that’s largely because of the cold and not because of the machine. In fact, the machine is super quiet – my husband noted it’s eerily quiet in the bedroom now because I’m not snoring all night. Nova has not really reacted to it at all, which is great, but I guess she’s used to seeing me wearing stuff on my face.

I’m also wrapping up my first semester of seminary this week! I just have one class session left tonight and then I’m done. It’s wild to think it’s been a whole semester already. I just ordered my books for my summer classes, and I’m looking forward to continuing to dive into this program.

Last week I recorded the beginnings of a song I’m hoping to release this year. This inspired me to finally get a website launched for my music! There’s not much there yet, but if you want to keep up with my musical happenings, you can find me at https://alyxanderjames.com.

I’ll leave you with your weekly dose of Nova – here are a few pictures of her enjoying the sunshine over the weekend:

Penultimate Week

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. This week I spent much of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday and much of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday, but I think I’ve finally gotten my days straightened out in my brain.

This week is the penultimate week of classes for my first semester of seminary, which is absolutely wild. We have next week off (for holy week), and then the week after I wrap up my first two classes. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling very overwhelmed, but I’m glad I made the decision to do this thing. I’m learning a lot and meeting really wonderful people and I’m excited to see what the next semester has in store for me.

Beyond that, I don’t have too much to report. I’m still waiting to hear back about getting a CPAP machine. Next week since I have school off I’m also taking the week off from work, and I’m excited for a reset. I’m also hoping to maybe start recording a couple of songs; we’ll see how that goes.

I’ll leave you with your weekly dose of Nova:

Under the Weather

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. Spring sort of arrived in St. Paul, and with it, my seasonal allergies…and then yesterday there was snow and freezing rain, and the drastic temperature shifts are making my joints pretty unhappy. Getting up for work has been a struggle this week as a result.

But even though that’s made me a little cranky, things are otherwise okay. I know what I’m doing for my final projects for both of my classes, and I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting those done. We only have a couple of weeks left in the semester, which is WILD. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned over these last few months and for professors who let me push some boundaries on projects to make them fit my own spiritual practices and methods of theological interpretation better.

It’s Transgender Day of Visibility today, which I feel like I should mention. Last year Tuck Woodstock of the Gender Reveal podcast had the brilliant idea of rebranding the day “Transgender Day of Staying in and Having a Nice Snack” and that is very much the energy I’m feeling today – visibility is exhausting sometimes and doesn’t actually help us on its own. Anyway, I’d encourage y’all (especially if you’re cis) to consider donating to a trans mutual aid fund today. The aforementioned Gender Reveal podcast actually does a great job of this if you’re looking for ideas (there are also links to this on the page linked above)!

Anyway, I will leave you with a few pictures of Nova enjoying yesterday’s weather:

Vacation Imminent

Hello, dear readers! We have made it to another Thursday. I kept thinking yesterday was Thursday, even though nothing about the day indicated that it was anything other than Wednesday, and today I woke up thinking it was Friday, so we’re not off to the best possible start. Still, it’s almost Friday, and that has to count for something.

Last weekend I wrote my first real paper for seminary. It was just a few pages long, but it was more academic than any writing I’ve done in over a decade, and the citation style was different than what I used in my undergrad life. It didn’t actually take me that long once I sat down to do the writing, but gathering the materials and trying to make everything coherent was a struggle.

But now, it’s almost a vacation week for me! Next week is symposium week at school, meaning no classes and no homework due. I decided to also take the week off from work (because my brain really needs a break). One of our best friends from Chicago is coming up to hang out for a few days, and it’s going to be great. I am very excited to have almost zero calendar commitments for a whole week.

I am pretty fried and don’t have a whole lot else to talk about this week, so I’ll leave you with these photos of Nova:

It’s a Blog!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. I am struggling a bit this week – I have a lot of things going on between work and school (not to mention the rest of my life), and I’m having a hard time holding it all and prioritizing which balls I need to keep in the air and what I can allow to drop for a bit. I will be fine – I have therapy this afternoon and I know that none of my problems are all that big – but I am tired and my jaw is tight and I’m just a little overwhelmed.

I wasn’t sure what to write about this week beyond the overwhelm, but I thought after showing off how my new electric mandola looks last week, maybe I should share how it sounds, too. Last Friday I took the day off with the intention of spending the morning taking some assessments for school and the afternoon doing music as a chance to kind of reset my brain. The assessments ended up not taking very long, so I was able to record one song I’d already had pretty much figured out and then write and record a whole second song that afternoon. Here’s that second song:

Awake with You by Alyxander James

This was an experiment in GarageBand – it’s not perfect and listening to it again there are definitely things I’d change. But I’m pleased with it overall for not really having a clue what I’m doing.

Here are the lyrics, for the curious:

Today was another hard day
I know you’ve had a lot of those lately
Everything feels like a mess
Been a while since you knew it’d turn out okay
Now you lie in bed
With the day on replay in your mind
Wondering whether the tension will ever unwind

But I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

I am not going to say
That life will look better tomorrow
And I am not going to tell you
That every day you’ll be subject to sorrow
No one can say
What’s waiting for us down the line
But whatever it is, I’ll be right by your side

I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

oo

I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

I’ll leave you with this photo of a Very Good Doggo looking intently at something unseen by the humans in our apartment.