The Couple That Shoots Togetether

 
I was feeling rather disconsolate last week. My Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I couldn’t come up with anything. I ended up lamenting to B that I have no hobbies and must be the most boring person on the planet. Only, that isn’t true. 

One of my favorite things to do is head off to a range and put holes in paper via bullets. Plenty of people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them this. But truly, it’s a stress reliever for me. There’s the rules, the control, yes the danger, and the satisfying bang accompanied by a hole in a piece of paper. 

 
Until today, I hadn’t been shooting since sometime last year. Before our wedding. Last weekend, we scoped out some ranges because B has to shoot regularly for his job. The main problem, it’s expensive to shoot in LA. The first range we visited was the cheapest, but the atmosphere there was that guns are dangerous and we should be scared of them. Which, yes, they’re dangerous – but you don’t want people walking on eggshells with guns. Safety conscious is desired, fear mongering is not.

The second range was hella expensive. But I loved it. It was like being back in Texas. There was a healthy respect for the guns, plenty of safety rules, but the attitude was of people who are there because they love shooting and having a good time. Then, they mentioned an event happening the following weekend where the membership would be discounted. We were sold. 

 
This morning we got up and headed up to the range for the event. We joined the range and shot some damn cool guns. And we’re going back next week. Because shooting is something we both love to do. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s ok. I find such peace amid the popping of gun fire on the range. Because, in the end, no matter who you’re there with, it’s just you, the trigger pull, and the target. And one hole at a time, peace seeps back into my life. 

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Five for Friday v. 7

  

one We spent Saturday of last week up hiking at the Castaic Lake recreation area. B’s parents met us there with Sam and we all enjoyed hiking along the lake side. The park was hosting an obstacle run the next day, but was blissfully deserted while we were there. When we pulled in to pay for entry, the lady at the gate told Loki to have fun running and swimming. Which made us completely shameless about letting the dogs tear around off leash. We did have a close encounter with a snake, but luckily it was more interested in sunning than anything else. It’s a good reminder to be more aware when we’re out hiking. 

 

two Loki ran his little paws raw on Saturday, which meant that we socked him off and on over the next two days to give them a chance to heal. He was incredibly unhappy with wearing the socks, to the point of refusing to eat a treat until I took the socks off of him. Speaking of raw, I was terrified about how it would feel to see Sam again. She and Loki yipped and yipped at each other and jumped all over each other. She hesitated a bit at the end, but as soon as MommaD called her, she eagerly hopped back up into their car. It’s nice to know we can see them and her so easily.  

 

three I’m substitute teaching this week at a music studio nearby us. One of the teachers is getting married in Hawaii this week and another went down as a guest. This left plenty of students in need of lessons and I’m getting to teach some of them.  The studio owners left me flowers as a thank you and good luck wish on my first day. It was such a sweet gesture and I already can’t wait to be part of their regular rotation. The other studio is working to get me 3-6 classes going for this summer which would be amazing. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve found here. 

 

four We’re starting to book up having friends come out to see us and I couldn’t be more excited! A couple of B’s friends are coming over Memorial Day, my bff is coming in June, and another childhood friend of B’s is coming in July or August. I wish we had a house with a guest room, but our friends are all excited to see us and don’t care too much about crashing on couches or air mattresses. We’ll be doing different mixes of touristy activities with each friend, which is nice as it will help us continue to explore LA. 

  

five My 30th is rapidly approaching and B and I are struggling with what to do for it. He wanted to take me to go see the Phantom of the Opera when they come down here, but the ticket prices were higher than what I would ideally pay for one night. We’ve tossed around the idea of a quick cruise or trip to Vegas as a combined celebration of both our birthdays and our anniversary. The issue there is timing – with both of us just getting started in jobs, we would probably have to wait until the fall to do that. Now I’m thinking about something simple like a nice dinner or a baseball game. There are a lot of options, I just want to be reasonable while still feeling like I’m celebrating. 

How do you like to celebrate milestones? 

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Five for Friday v. 6

  

one When we first moved down here we decided to embrace exploring the city, one restaurant at a time. The idea being that for the first time in our married lives, we live in a big city and there are lots of food options to explore. We try to hit one new place a week. This past Saturday, we wandered into the little town right between us and the coast and wandered the streets before picking a place to eat. We ate outside, relishing the weather and the fact that this town has a distinctly Mayberry feel all tucked up in the larger metro area of the city. After, we wandered some residential streets with me dreaming of one day. 

  

two Loki has always been a cuddle monster. Always. But, in the last two weeks since he became an only dog again, he’s really reverted to climbing onto the couch to snuggle with me. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. He and I are both doing better at missing Sam. We are supposed to see her on Saturday for some hiking. I’m hoping it will go well and not lead to a multitude of tears. 

 

three I joined my recent ex-coworkers this past Tuesday to go to the second Dodger’s game of the season. They haven’t had a rain out since 2000, and while we did end up delayed by 20 minutes, that streak continues. It was wet and cool and they lost, but I definitely enjoyed going out to watch a live game. The only thing I hadn’t missed was how expensive ball park food is. I would definitely eat first next time. 

 

 

four Girls nights out have been few and far between for me over the last few years. B has had a bit more luck with guys nights, but really it’s been sparse for both of us. I used to go out way too much when I was single. I miss that though. I think we’re both hoping to make friends and start doing more than just hang out with each other. We like spending time together, but it’s nice to have other options. 

 

 

five B’s schedule right now blows. He’s in bed anywhere between 8 and 9 pm and up and gone before 5 am most mornings. Up until this week, I’ve been going to bed with him. Since I had the game on Tuesday, I’ve been tucking him in and then doing my own thing until I’m actually tired. It’s pretty much my least favorite way to live. But, it beats going to bed with him just to toss and turn and keep both of us awake. That always leads to a night of fitful sleep for everyone involved. I’m definitely counting down the weeks until this is over (13) and we can hopefully settle into a better routine for seeing each other.  

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Constructive Quitting

I used to be vehemently anti-quitting. I didn’t quit anything. I would read books  until the end. I followed through on every plan, every invite. Any commitment I made, I saw through. Pretty much, if I started it, I would finish it – there wasn’t another option.

Even when I was bored by or hated the book. Even when I was exhausted and just needed some time to myself. Even when the commitment kept me from sleeping. Hell, I blew out my arm practicing piano because I didn’t want to back out of a commitment.

The first time I quit something, it made me ill. I had been asked to accompany a cello recital while living in San Antonio. I was asked some four months in advance of the anticipated started rehearsals. I wasn’t contacted to be given the music until two weeks out. I couldn’t practice enough due to my injury, so I said no. It was hard. I hated myself.

The next big thing that I quit was really two things. In rapid succession, while living in Turkey, I quit the spouses club position I had been elected to and then my job. On the spouses club position – I realized that I was completely incompatible with the president who was the darling of the base commander’s wife, so there would be no negotiating things to a better place. I didn’t need that drama, so I walked. It was hard. I wasn’t happy with quitting. On the job front, I was miserable. Like, crying in the bathroom during my fifteen minute breaks miserable. My coworkers were full of drama and the job itself was exhausting and not rewarding. But I had waited for three months to get the job, only to work it for three months before I quit. Again I went through the spiral of shame and self hate.

The thing is, none of the things I have quit have been good for me. They were all causing me some kind of detrimental effect. Emotional or physical, the result was me hurting. Still, feeling like I let someone (myself) down was hard. I felt broken, like I couldn’t pull my weight.

I disliked my job in North Dakota, but I actually liked the people I worked with and I knew it came with a predetermined end date. I was also busting at the seams to prove to B (myself) that I could work a normal 9-5 type job without bailing. When we moved here, even though what I wanted to do was get back to teaching, I convinced myself that I needed to continue this 9-5 routine.

Hate is not a strong enough word for the job I took here. There were so many bees at that place. Bosses who promised their assistants six figure salaries while paying them less than fifteen an hour. Bosses who explained that you were special and different and the only one in the office they could trust. Bosses who were sexist and racist all while happily telling you that they were no such thing. It was an experience. My ex-coworkers and I are enjoying getting together to reminisce about those few weeks we all worked together. I was only there for six weeks.

Quitting sucked. I worried that I was letting B (myself) down. We talked. He reminded me that he doesn’t want to work a 9-5 desk job. He told me that no matter what he loved me.

So I quit.

Only this time, I don’t hate myself for it. I’m sleeping at night again. My anxiety is gone and the weird rash that I sported for the last two weeks of my job cleared up almost over night. I’m subbing at one music studio that’s only ten minutes from our house for most of the rest of the month. I’m beginning training to take over the group music classes at another studio, plus I’ll be taking on students there.

I almost cried at the end of the class I was observing on Wednesday. The kids were singing this song about how we all sing the same song with the same voice and I was overwhelmed with realizing that this is what I am meant to do.

I’m a damn good music teacher. And it’s time that I quit apologizing for not fitting a more normal job mode. Also, it’s time I quit beating myself up for not finishing a bad book. Life is too short for that shit.

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Five for Friday, v. 5

 

one I’ve been planning a gallery wall to go along a staircase in our home for long before we’ve ever had a staircase. I love the idea of mixing paintings, pictures, signs, license plates and anything else I can find to create a wall with texture. I love that it tells the story of our life. Right now we mostly have wedding photos up there, since I just ordered free prints from the wedding, but I intend to mix in vacation photos too. It’s my modern spin on the old wall of pictures. 

 

 

two We spent last Sunday out on the beach playing volleyball and it was just the best. There was no pressure to be good and plenty of laughter. It was also a good reminder that beach season is here in SoCal. I’ve been getting up at 0515 every morning to hit the gym before work. My stress is down, I’m less tired, and the bonus is that my weight is down as well. I won’t pretend I don’t want to drop a few pounds, but the other two factors are way more awesome to me right now. 

 

three Our apartment complex brings in a food truck every three weeks or so and we’ve thoroughly embraces this aspect of LA culture. This week’s truck was MeSoHungry and it was beyond delicious. We ordered the Flying Hawaiian Chicken sliders and the KTM sliders – both were utterly amazing. After living in places with somewhat limited food options, it’s nice to have an overwhelming amount of good food to try. We try to hit at least one new place a week, which is all kinds of fun.  

 

four I’m slowly coming to accept our decision to rehome Sam. I know it’s the right one. She’s struggled with he stairs all week – slipping and sliding her way up and down them. It is both easier and harder knowing how excited my inlaws are to have her. Easier because their joy is contagious. Harder because I’m still losing my baby girl. It’s pretty funny though, after all this time of my FIL talking about how much he would take Loki and how he wasn’t ever going to get another dog, he’s head over heels for the idea of having Sam. Still, it’s hard to know I won’t have both of them watching me come up the stairs anymore. One more week.

 

 

five Something that I’m blaming on my rapidly approaching thirtieth birthday is my utter acceptance and happiness with myself. I’ve recently come to determine that I’m pretty and don’t need to hide behind a wall of makeup. I’m also embracing my love of color and wearing what makes me happy, regardless of if it is cool or not. There’s something crazy exciting about deciding to accept and love yourself. I’m not even sure I decided though, it just sort of happened. If this is that mellow chillness people refer to when talking about how awesome their thirties are/were – I can’t wait to experience more of it.  

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She Rescued Me

my baby girl

my baby girl

I remember seeing her for the first time. Standing in the too-empty living room, she was bouncing at the back door, quivering as she begged for attention. We stepped outside and I crouched down, she immediately snuggled into me. I gazed down into her deep brown eyes and instantly made a promise from my heart to hers – she would be loved and she would be taken care of for always.

my loves

my loves

She came home and stuck to me like glue. In the kitchen, she would curl up directly behind my feet. On the couch, her bony hips would press into mine leaving an ache that never quite would go away. In the bathroom, she would always try to follow me in and would sit and cry by the door if I didn’t let her. I had to sit with her while she was eating, even hand feeding her at times just to get her to eat. Nothing was too much for my beloved rescue.

pretty girl on a pretty day

pretty girl on a pretty day

Turkey was not an easy place for me. Which is a nice way to say that Turkey was the darkest period of my life. Turkey was home to too many deaths. Turkey was home to a deep anguish that pervaded my very being and left me with a lead weight in my chest instead of my heart. Turkey was home to not knowing how I would keep going.

I was lost. Worse, I wasn’t sure how to find myself. Until she rescued me. She gave me purpose, I made a promise and I had to keep it. I had to get out and walk her. I had someone who sensed my every mood and would put her head on my lap to tell me it was okay because I wasn’t alone. As she gained strength and confidence, I recovered little pieces of my broken heart and soul. As she blossomed into herself, she knit me back together again.

I promised to keep her happy, whole, and safe. I just didn’t know that she would do the same for me. Today, we’re both much better. Today, the only thing threatening to tear me apart is keeping my promise to her.

She isn’t doing well here. There are lots of factors to it, but the reality is that she’s failing to thrive here. My in-laws have offered to give her a good home. They’re excited to have her join them and will spoil her absolutely rotten. But it’s breaking my heart to do right by her. I do know it’s best for her to go live with them. And I will keep my promise to her, but my own heart and soul feel incredibly fragile right now.

I thought I had rescued her, but the truth is that she rescued me.

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Random

It’s beach weather here in SoCal. The days are gorgeously sunny, the nights are still crisp and cool, and the sun is perpetual. I’m pretty sure I’m living in heaven. People keep trying to complain about it being too hot and I’m just not hearing them. I spent a whole year not seeing temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I think I’ve earned my actually-warm-enough-for-a-bikini weather. Yep.

We’re heading to the beach tomorrow to hang out with some of B’s classmates. He’s promised that they’re bringing significant others. I don’t mind hanging out with the guys, but it would be nice to meet some of the girlfriends/wives/what have you of the people he’s in class with. We’re doing brunch at an awesomely boozy spot and then hanging out and playing volleyball for awhile. I’m pretty excited about the fun we should have.

Work has been an interesting mix of ups and downs for me. The ups are that I have leeway to do what I want regarding pretty much everything. The downs are not getting paid on time due to interpersonal issues in our office (seriously, if it happens again, I’m lodging a formal complaint with the partners), and other people doing stupid things that reflect poorly on the firm. I’ve earned 4 hours of “overtime” which they don’t pay, so I get it in comp time. I’m hoping to take off a day B already has off and enjoy a three day weekend with him.

I started working on our gallery wall today. I’ve been obsessed with mixed media gallery walls for quite some time now. Ours has paintings that I’ve done of all the states/countries we’ve lived in (except California! I need to fix that!), pictures from our wedding/travels, and license plates/signs from living overseas. I’m hoping to add more travel/wedding pictures, pictures of the dogs, and a couple of small signs to tie everything together. Regardless, having our pictures on the walls makes this place feel more like home.

I told B today that I was feeling my biological clock ticking. At least so far as owning a home is concerned. I’m tired of renting. I’m aching under the knowledge that we’re going to pay over 30k this year in rent. That we’ll never see back. But, we’re also not quite in the place to buy. Next year, when our lease is up, will be perfect, but that doesn’t make it easy to avoid open houses or searching/dreaming of owning a home. Surprisingly, hanging all of our artwork has actually helped make this place feel more like home. Which, makes me more content to stay here for another 11 months. Even if what I really want is to buy. If you know anyone who wants to sell a townhome with a small yard in the South Bay area of LA, let me know. Haha.

I’m still worrying about my Sam. Today, I had all the pictures laid out on the floor for the gallery wall, so B called her upstairs. It took her three or four tries to get up them. She kept falling and it was clear that she was uncomfortable/in pain/not happy about going up them. It hurts me. I don’t know what to do for her. Do I give her to my in-laws, knowing they will love her and she won’t have stairs but will miss us or do I keep her with us but know that she will continually struggle with the stairs? Sometimes it seems like a no-brainer. But mostly, my heart hurts and I can’t make a good decision.

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