Catalina Island

gloomy catalina

gloomy catalina

I keep trying to find the right words to recap this day. But my story hangs in my heart. Early in the morning, before I was even awake in California, my Uncle departed this world. I received the news right as we boarded the tender. I wanted nothing more than to run back to our room and bury myself away from the world. Instead I sat shaking next to my husband, trying to understand why people can’t just live forever. My heart is still raw.

all the boats

all the boats

The day was gloomy, which matched my mood. We hadn’t signed up for any excursions, so we were free to wander the island. I drifted in and out of grief as we meandered. There weren’t many other people pressing around us which left me free to feel what I needed to feel. B was amazing at giving me space to dwell and simultaneously gently cajoling me back to life.

bell tower

bell tower

My pilgrimage point was the bell tower on top of the hill. It was critical to my mental state that we make this point. B’s favorite method of drawing me out of grief was to point at surrounding hills and talk about the fortress he would put up there and how he would defend it. On our way back down to the ship, we visited a few stores including a couple of grocery stores so we could gawk at their food prices.

formal night

obligatory formal night pose

That night was formal night on the ship. I actually love the formal nights as I find that we don’t dress up enough in our every day life. We took advantage of the fun on the ship jumping into karaoke, the comedy club, and of course late night pizza. The only downside to such a short cruise was that we only had one formal night, I seriously wish that formal nights were a regular part of my life.

towel animal the second

towel animal the second

This was a hard day in my life. I think the worst part was being out of touch from my family and not being there with all of them. I was so glad that it was a fairly chill day but also that I was able to distract myself with the festivities during the evening. While it wasn’t the day I originally imagined us having, I was incredibly grateful to have that day be what it was.

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Sail Away

Please be singing Enya right now. Please.

first towel animal

first towel animal

When B got his 2017 vacation confirmed (he puts in for it in Oct for the next year) his parents mentioned doing a family trip since we had missed the last one. I struggled with that because we realized that it had been five years since we took a completely solo trip. It’s one of those military family things. We’ve always lived away from everyone so most of our vacations have been about seeing people. So I immediately put the plan into motion for us to go on a solo trip at the very start of 2017. It was exactly what we needed.

"husband puts up with instagramming wife"

“husband puts up with instagramming wife”

Carnival does a very nifty thing, that I’m not sure if is LA specific or if they do everywhere since this was our first cruise in five years, where you sign up for your boarding time. This was excellent for anxious traveler me. B was able to get home from his shift and sleep for a bit before we headed down. I find it excellent to live within easy driving distance of the port. It was a nice quiet start to the trip.

sam_3902

aforementioned instagramming wife

First thing we did after dropping our bags at our room, was head down to the Guy Fieri burger place to grab a quick lunch. We had Your Time dining, which meant we weren’t sure how late we would end up eating dinner. I honestly didn’t have much expectations for the burgers, but they were quite reminiscent of the ones from his restaurant in Vegas. And they were way better than the burgers I’ve had on other cruises. We ended up eating there every day. It was a terrible food choice but an excellent soul choice.

SoCal at night

SoCal at night

Not much happened on that first night. It was our first hint that the cruise was going to be on the cold side. But it was just so great to get away. We spent a lot of time sleeping, a lot of time reading, and we put in plenty of laps on the track on top of the ship. It really was exactly what we needed to start the year.

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Chugging On


2017 has definitely been a roller coaster. Losing my uncle on the third day of the year derailed me. Having B on nights was also wearing. I was tired of falling asleep alone, waking up alone, eating alone, and not seeing him all week long. 

There’s been good things – our cruise, some exploring, booking our big vacation, and signing up to run a half marathon together. But it’s been hard y’all. 

The darkness is slithering out from the cracks and curling across the void. I just have to remember that even a lone candle can hold it at bay. I just have to remember to turn on my light. 

So here goes. Lights on. Time to get back at this thing I call life.  

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Restart

Grief y’all. 

My heart still hurts. I don’t understand this grief thing. Some days almost feel normal, but I certainly don’t. 

I just can’t find any words right now. Between his loss and the state of the world, I’m hurting.

I cut my drinking way back in January. Cutting the bullshit, I’ve had a bordering on unhealthy relationship with alcohol for years. Going to bed sober was an interesting feeling. Now it’s one that I cherish. Also nice is not needing to question my emotions as being alcohol fueled. Don’t get me wrong, I still drink but never alone anymore. 

Night shift has been so hard. We go weeks without really seeing each other. I’ve become possessive over our time together and that really isn’t healthy. It won’t be resolving itself this month. 

A couple we had been friend dating is on the verge of divorce. She’s moving across country while he stays here until he can get a job back there. They’ve been together for over a decade. But this job. It’s terrifying to see so many marriages that crumble apart. 

There are good days. Right now they just seemed lost in the swirl of hard ones. So I run. And I stare into nothing. And I take bubble baths. Hopefully the next set of good days lasts longer. 

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Roller Coaster

January has probably been more like a minefield in the middle of the beach than a roller coaster, but somehow that seems too raw.

Which is how I feel right now. Too raw. I’ve worked really hard at not stopping long enough to think, or more importantly, to feel.

The first morning of our cruise was Catalina. We got on the boat for the tender to the island and that’s when my cell phone grabbed reception. It buzzed.

Heaven has one more cowboy.

How do you break down when you’re on a boat with fifty plus strangers? How do you hold it together?

You don’t think. And you try really hard not to feel.

Today marks one week since he slipped the bonds of life. One week without him feels like one week too long.

I’m still riding this roller coaster. I’m fine as long as I don’t stop to think. Don’t step on a mine.

I’m back to work today. Part of me is hoping I’ll be able to stay distracted. Part of me knows I need to take the time to feel it all. But I can’t yet. It’s still too raw.

Heaven has one more cowboy, and I’m missing the one I called Uncle.

 

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2017: A Year of Intentional Living

img_7157Last year was the first year that I picked a word that I wanted to encompass my entire year. That word was joy. And what a great word it turned out to be for this last year. Even when things were hard, I was seeking the joy in the situation.

This year, my word is intentional. I want to be deliberate in my life choices in 2017. I left too many things to chance and happenstance in 2016, and I want to make sure that I get the most out of my 2017.

I want to be intentional in how I spend my off time. I want to spend less time mindlessly browsing the internet and more time reading, knitting, and creating.

I want to be intentional in my health. More running and more lifting. I have mileage goals and lifting goals that I want achieved this year. More cooking, less eating out. When we do eat out, I want it to be because we want to eat the food and not because nothing sounds good but at least it’s fast. Less drinking. This probably deserves it’s own post, but I’m ready to cut back my alcohol consumption in the New Year. Here’s to more early morning runs and less hangovers.

I want to be intentional in exploring. More new places, more deliberate choices of getting out there. Less sitting at home saying I don’t know, what do you want to do. More adventure is my goal all around. We live in an amazing world and I’m ready to keep exploring it.

I want to be intentional in my friendships. I want to take more time to put myself out there. I have my second book club meeting in two weeks and I’m looking forward to getting out there again. I want to spend time cultivating the friendships I already have and to dedicate time toward finding new friends.

I want to be intentional in my relationship. It’s too easy to let things slide when you live together. I want more date nights and less going to bed realizing we wasted a whole day. I don’t mean we can’t choose to spend a day being lazy and doing nothing, but I want us to deliberately choose that and not just fall into it.

That’s really how I feel about 2017. I want to deliberately choose things and not just fall into them.

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2016: Joy in Review

My word for 2016 was joy. It’s a strange one to look back on right now. This was a hard year personally, in addition to all the global shit that happened. And yet, I did find joy in this year.

first 10k

first 10k

In January, we ran our first race together – LA’s Run to Remember honoring fallen first responders. It was an excellent event, particularly for a first year race, that let us run through Paramount Studios. It also got me excited for the year of running to come. We  took the time to visit the Museum of Natural History to check out the mummy exhibit, which reminded us both of how much we like exploring.

new car

new car

February brought with it our one year anniversary of moving to LA. It’s still hard to believe that it’s now been two years since we left the USAF and moved to SoCal. We took B’s car in for a brake job and walked out with a new car. I also finally painted our living room, though I still need to finish the touch ups.

vegas baby

vegas baby

In March we visited Vegas for B to run the Baker to Vegas relay. His team took third in their division. It was a quick trip, but we managed to squeeze in a Penn and Teller show amidst all the race activities. We also were finally able to have our concrete patio poured – something we had been working on since the previous November. It was nice to take the first step of turning our patio into usable space.

img_2941-1April saw us return to Vegas less than two weeks after our initial visit. We had originally planned to spend that weekend in San Francisco, but changed our minds last minute. This time we drove out to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. We also visited the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum. Instead of hitting any shows, we just wandered the Strip during the evenings.

img_3052In May we visited with B’s Dad and hiked up a hill that just the previous year had been painful for me. This time, even hungover and post a 5k run, it seemed easy. It was a great NSV for my fitness, to realize how much my overall health had improved since I started running. We spent most of the month at home though, staining the patio and taking on a lot of organizing projects. Slowly but surely we turned our house into our home. I took on the challenge of running at least a mile every day, and ended up only missing two days in the month – it was a great rejuvenation for me with running.

img_3221June was a most excellent month. My parents came out to visit for my birthday. It was the first time we got to host both of my parents and we had a great time. We took them (and Loki) to the dog beach at Huntington Beach, went hiking at Griffith Observatory, and puttered around Manhattan Beach. At the end of the month, we took a weekend trip to San Diego with B’s parents and enjoyed playing tourist.

img_3376July was a quieter month. Over the July 4th weekend we trekked up to see the Trail of Giants in the Sequoia National Forest. My cousin came down a bit later that month and we ventured to Laguna Beach. It was awesome to reconnect with her and for both of us to finally meet the other’s husband.

photo-aug-14-13-46-16 August was the month I had been dreading most this year. B left halfway through the month to do a month in Colorado for the USAF Reserves. Before he left, we made the most of him having extra time off. We went hiking in Palos Verdes with Loki, discovering some of my favorite trails around LA. On B’s birthday we headed into downtown LA and visited the Sky Experience at the US Bank building. We slid down a glass slide on the outside of the building that connected the 70th floor to the 69th floor. I also snuck in a visit to the San Francisco area to visit my brother in law and sister in law – we checked out Napa and wandered San Francisco in a packed three day trip.

img_3840September saw B come back home which made it the best month. We flew to TX for my Dad’s 70th birthday and I arranged professional family photos of our family. Our return to LA coincided with one of B’s childhood friends coming to visit. They attended a writing conference, where an agent asked for the full manuscript of their joint novel. We spent an excessively hot day out at Universal Studios. And, saving the best for last, we brought Thor home to expand our family.

img_3975October found us slogging our way through B working nights again. It was also the month of the puppy. Thor stole both of our hearts, not to mention he managed to worm his way into Loki’s heart too. It was a quiet month spent mostly at home thanks to having a puppy who couldn’t go off very far. I was sick with a cough for most of the month that seriously impeded my race training. To top it all off, I pulled a muscle in my side right at the end of the month.

img_4153In November we made our third, and final, trip of the year to Vegas. We ran the Run Rock N Roll 10k with B’s dad, brother, and sister in law. I was slower than I wanted to be, but considering my injury from October I was still happy with finishing. Thor continued to grow, though not as much as we first expected. He and Loki became inseparable buddies.


Which brings us to December. Thor is finally free and clear to be out and about so we spent a decent amount of the month going on walks and visiting the dog park. B’s work holiday party was a fun Saturday night out for the two of us. He was working the holidays, so I made a solo journey back to TX to see my family. I got to meet my brother’s significant other and I fell for her just as much as the rest of the family has.


In all, I think I did a good job of finding the joy in 2016. It hasn’t been the easiest year, but it has still been a good year. I’m looking forward to 2017 an all it has to offer.

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