Five for Friday, v. 8

 
one I can’t believe it’s been two years since I went to Vegas with a bunch of strangers from the Internet. I’m also surprised at the fact that I’m still in contact with a decent number of them. I’m completely thrilled that there is discussion of a reunion trip next year, and I really hope that we can make it happen. These people have made my life so much richer and I feel blessed to call them friends. 

 
two Loki and I are trying to find a stride with running together. Since B dragged us both on a three mile run, we’ve gone a few times. Our best runs seem to involve intervals, which is great for me. Loki likes them because he still gets a chance to meander and sniff things. Now if only I could convince him that he doesn’t need to poop three times on a run. Or to at least not wait to pee/mark until the running portions. On my part, I just need to get better at figuring out how to handle my rare earlier mornings. So far they just mean no run, but that’s not going to work long term. I like my runs because both Loki and I need the exercise. 

  

three In a direct reversal from last year, when B stepped in to give me what my parents originally planned fory birthday; my parents decided to send us to see Phantom for my birthday. I’m beyond excited. B has taken to humming it to me randomly, which thrills me because I love sharing experiences with him. I know that I am blessed to have family that cares so much about making me happy. 

 
four Our complex has been painting the exterior of our building for the last three weeks, which has required us to keep all our patio furniture inside. It has also greatly disgruntled Loki between people climbing on to our balcony and the evil paper that scared the crap out of him. He barked at that every chance he got for twenty-four hours. At least, until I remembered we have blinds and utilized those to save everyone’s sanity.   

 

five A couple of B’s friends are joining us this weekend for the holiday! About the only downside is they came in Friday morning just after midnight and B had to be up for work three hours later. Oh well, they’re all off enjoying shooting and we’ll all meet up for sushi this evening. On Saturday we’re heading to the Chinese Theater to watch Mad Max and going out to a Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner. Sunday will be brunch and the beach, if the weather cooperates and it isn’t ridiculously crowded. Somehow, I don’t see both of those happening. They fly out Monday morning, for which I’m grateful as it will give us a day to ourselves before the next week begins. 
Anyone have special plans this weekend? 

   

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Dream Living

 
From the first moment that California made an appearance on our list of places to potentially live, I nurtured a dream about our life here. We would live close enough to the coast that I could go to the beach whenever I wanted. I would live in shorts or maxi skirts. My job would be flexible enough to accommodate my beach and maxi dress lifestyle. 

After years of the USAF telling us where to live and controlling my job prospects, I was beyond excited to set my own pace of life. I want to put down roots for awhile. I want to be part of a community and actually see my students progress past the first level of books. 

When B decided to accept the job here in LA, there was trepidation. We were giving up other dreams to chase this one. That is the way of life, you can’t live every dream at once. 
I’m rapidly closing on two months of my new life. The one I started after quitting my first job here in SoCal. The one I started when I decided to embrace my music teacher identity. I have a lot of thoughts about why I tried to fit so many different molds, but those aren’t for today. 

Today, I’m finally living my dream. I wake up and have time to walk Loki and enjoy this gorgeous weather. My windows are open to let in the fresh air. I go to work to teach small group music classes to preschoolers or private piano/fiddle lessons to individual students. My schedule is flexible and of my own creating. I’m living and breathing a wonderful life. 

There were risks along the way. But the rewards, oh the rewards, have been very grand. Every morning, I am thankful because I love my life and can’t wait to keep living it.

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Worthiness

 
Somewhere along the line I internalized the idea that I’m not enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I don’t cook enough. I don’t work out enough. I’m not thoughtful enough. I’m not smart enough. The litany rings on endlessly in my head. 

I jest about imposter syndrome, but it’s worse than that. Somehow, I’ve gotten so used to talking down to myself that I’ve decided to believe. I talk so much about feeling like an imposter that I began to believe I was one. 

Today, after having an argument with B, we went on a run. The plan was for him to take Loki and me to trail behind at my own pace. Only Loki freaked out when B tried to run ahead. So, instead, he paced me. I was puffing along and kept trying to tell him to leave me, but he wouldn’t. Toward the end of the run, my strength was flagging and I thought to myself that there I was again, holding him back. 

Because I’m just not good enough. 

I almost started sobbing, which isn’t a good idea when running. When I realized, the only way I would fail was if I quit. I told myself I could do it. I told myself I was good enough. And suddenly, each step came easier. On the final stretch, he dropped directly into pace with me and told me that the fountain was our goal and that when we hit the last crosswalk, I was to sprint all out to the end. 

After I caught my breath, as we slowly walked back to the apartment, I told B of my fear of holding him back. He told me that I was being ridiculous.  And I’m choosing to believe him. 

I can’t believe myself right now. I’ve told myself too many negative lies. So now, I’m going to tell myself the truth. Hopefully, just like when I told myself I could keep running, it will come easier with time. Even more, my goal is to believe the truth. Because I am enough, just as I am. 

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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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