Five for Friday, v. 20

I can’t believe that the last time I posted one of these, we hadn’t move into our home yet. Actually, we didn’t even have keys. And yet, Sunday will mark our third week in the house. Unsurprisingly, moving in means that all the crazy cosmetic changes have slowed down. I just about exhausted myself prior to the move in to get everything done and then after the big move-in day took a break. Today was my first day back at painting since we’ve moved in, besides posting a ton of sample colors on the walls of the living room. It turns out that the pros know what they’re talking about and you should look at colors in your space because our house brings out the intensity of every color we bring in. So my soft white-blue-gray walls are baby blue. Good thing it looks alright in the guest bedroom.


one B grabbed that raggedy teddy bear off the side of the street on one of his last runs at our apartment. Loki needed the comfort. It became his lifeline during the move. Every time I grabbed another suitcase or hauled something else out of the apartment he would go grab his teddy bear and sit and hold it by the door. Once we moved in, the teddy became his solace during all the chaos. It’s pretty cute that if we bring in any boxes, which happens a lot since we’re still moving, that he grabs his teddy from wherever it is in the house to hold onto. I’m grateful he’s doing well with the move and can’t wait to see how he does when we don’t pack up and move 6-12 months down the road.


two A friend of ours sent us a Keurig as a house warming gift. I was completely blown away by the gift. And I’ve been having way too much fun figuring out how to make my ideal cup of coffee. It came with a bunch of sample k-cups, but I also bought a reusable filter because coffee. My Mom sent me some of their favorite coffee, that I love drinking with them and I’m exited to make my first cup of that. Of course, the reusable k-cup has proven to be the most challenging to figure out thus far. The manufacturer suggestion is way too strong and I’ve been playing around with how much makes my ideal cup of coffee. Using cheap coffee because I don’t want to waste a single ground of what my Mom sent.

IMG_1911three Art has always been my metric of being home. I’ve had the above hand-inked map of Middle Earth since my first apartment in college with my sister. It’s anchored my living rooms, dining rooms, and now our game room. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place for it than our cozy entertainment room. I have a gorgeous piece hanging in our living room upstairs that belonged to my grandfather that has hung in every living room I’ve lived in since graduate school. These two pieces are my way of signalling that I’m home. Both are already on our walls. In addition, we’ve collected art together and some of those are also up. Once we hung what we have, we realized that our dining room needed a big piece to help anchor it. So, we found an awesome semi-abstract world map painting that is on its way to us and I am so excited. Paint and art really are taking us from builder empty house, to home.


four One of my favorite parts about B and I’s jobs is that we both end up with weekdays off. It’s been a lot of fun to feel like we’re playing hooky from life by being home during the week. This past week we both had Wednesday off and we took advantage by taking Loki down to the beach. There’s nothing like spending part of a morning letting your dog run wild in the surf of the Pacific Ocean. It’s definitely a lifestyle that we’ve been chasing for a long while. When B first talked about transitioning out of the AF and started applying to all kinds of jobs we had a long talk about what we wanted life to look like. And here we are, living what we wanted. Weekdays off, great hours, a home we love, and an awesome city/area to explore.

IMG_1916five I feel like I’m finally starting to find myself again. It’s been a long journey. But, I’m back into teaching music and loving my job. I spend four days a week teaching private lessons and preschool music classes and I enjoy all of it. I’m running for the first time in my life and every step feels like an exclamation of how happy I am. There are still things I want to work on, like building a network of friends, cutting down my commute, and of course actually finishing this half marathon. But. For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself. Who knew that the girl who loved moving around was just in need of some roots and some sunshine?


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Half Marathon Training Update

Well I’m just totally failing at weekly training updates. It was fun at first to recap every run as soon as I finished. And then we started moving. Along with the move, my runs started having to be flexible as I didn’t always have time to run on the days I was supposed to. I always managed at least three runs a week, including my long run every week.

Six weeks ago, I struggled to run continuously for three miles. I had to take walk breaks, I didn’t finish runs, and when I did finish I felt like I was dying. Today, I ran six miles without a single break. I was tired when I was finished, but not dying.

Which, I guess is to say that this training stuff works.

The first thing that I’ve noticed is that, obviously, my stamina is increasing. I’m not feeling tired or like I have to push to maintain my pace until after four miles. Which, is incredible. I can run for four miles before I feel like it becomes work.

My second observation has to do with pacing. The runs where I want to throw up at the end and have to take walk breaks and feel like I’m dying? I ran all of them at way too fast of a pace. I’m not fast – my average is consistently around 11:45, but that’s okay. I’m not trying to win the race. I’m trying to finish it. I’m planning to start pushing myself a bit on my three mile runs to see if I can’t speed up, but I’m listening to my training plan and running my long runs at an easy to maintain pace. Which is mostly slower than 11:30.

I’m already looking to the next races that I want to run. B is training for a relay race with his work and is talking about running a race here in SoCal at the end of January. I’m thinking that after I do this half, that I want to go down to 10k and 5k distances and work on my speed. And then aim for another half next fall. But, I mostly just want to keep running.

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Moving Chaos

painting away

Today marks two weeks since we received our keys. Two weeks since we became home owners. On that Wednesday night, we came over with two carloads of stuff, grabbed our keys, and started painting.

game room

That first week, I painted two rooms plus a feature wall and moved 75% of our belongings by myself while B worked. One trip at a time. When the movers finally showed up, we were convinced it would only be one more car load after to finish cleaning out the apartment. Four one last trips later, and everything is finally here. We have more paint swatches on the wall because while buying unseen worked for the game room/master bed color it tanked when the living room’s lagoon green turned out to seem baby blue during daylight hours.


So now the feature wall where the 60 inch tv is mounted will have to be repainted. Because I’m not looking at baby blue. That shit can go in the guest bedroom. It’s not a bad color, it’s the right most in the above picture, but I was going for more the color next to it. So that will replace it as my main floor color. The bottom color will be the powder room colors. Eventually. My drive to finish fast has faded as things have become livable. But, it’s about time to get started again.

eating ice

Loki likes the new house. Though he would like it more if there would quit being boxes. ┬áHe takes naps on the stair landings and has the doors here all figured out. Thank goodness they’ll touch up paint for us for the whole first year. I think all he needs now is a puppy. People have asked us if we’ll be taking Sam back. The answer is no, with the short answer being that we have two full flights of stairs. She visited with our inlaws this past weekend and had to be carried up the stairs at bedtime. The long answer is that she really has decided they are her family. When they went to leave she was crazy anxious until she realized she was going with them. She was only ours until she met them. And then she became theirs.

sunday night

There’s still so much to do. Lots of painting, getting and installing the shutters, getting and hanging the curtains, figuring out the patio, figuring out bookshelves, finding places for everything. But, we’re home. Even in the midst of the moving chaos, we have a home. And that makes it all amazing.

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On the Cusp

In less than 24 hours we will receive the keys to our first home. This time has been chaotic, exciting, frustrating – a perfect blend of terrifying and wonderful. We’ve laughed, cried, and stayed up sleepless nights while weighing our options. The decision to buy came up quickly and the opportunity even quicker. It’s been a whirlwind that is finally about to settle.

In less than 24 hours we’ll begin our fifth move in five years (my sixth, not that I keep track or anything.) We’ve called many places home together over the last five years – North Dakota, Southwestern Germany, Southeastern Turkey, North Dakota and now California. Every one of those homes and moves shaped who we are. Every one was home while we were there. But every one of those homes came with a clock counting down how many days we had left until we would move on again.

In less than 24 hours, we’ll stop that clock. Oh, maybe not forever the future is nothing if not unpredictable. But, for the first time since I moved to ND in July of 2010, there won’t be a deadline set for when we will say goodbye again. We will make friends who won’t necessarily have their own ticking clock. I’ll get to teach students for more than just a year and actually become part of their lives. We’ll put down roots and find out how we will grow when we aren’t being transplanted every so many months.

In less than 24 hours, we will begin the move home. I cannot wait.

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Five for Friday, v. 19

It’s been an incredibly busy week. I’ve taken all of fourteen photos since the ones I posted last week. One was of B’s new schedule, two were of books that I was selling to students, two were of the carpet being down in our new house, two of the paint chips we went with for paint colors, four were of furniture we’re selling on Craig’s List, one was of the couch we bought, one selfie, and one landscape picture. Which is to say, it’s been a busy, but boring week.

one Work as a freelance music teacher is interesting. I’ve never really done it. I mean, I’ve taught for myself, taught for other people, but I’ve never really been a contractor with multiple positions. And, I’m still really not. I work for one studio primarily – teach classes for them along with private lessons and they’re amazing at filling my schedule. I just picked up a preschool one morning a week to do their music enrichment program. I’m pretty excited. I love what I’m doing, which to me really is the most important part. It’s just nice that it also pays really damn well.

two Loki is not happy. Last week we decided to list our couch, recliner, dining table, and patio furniture on Craig’s List. All of it is being replaced upon the move and I would rather sell it for super cheap than throw it away. We thought we sold the couch right away, so we dismantled it and moved it from our loft to the main floor. Unfortunately, it turns out that Craig’s List buyers are much more fickle than small base yard sale buyers. I’ve been contacted over a dozen times, I’ve actually sold one thing so far. Still, the house is now missing a dining table and our couch is in sections. So, poor Loki has that upheaval along with all the boxes and suitcases that I busted out during this week’s packing sessions. He’s really not happy. Still, on Thursday night, I got him to sit and lay down with just a snap of my fingers and pointing (ok, I was totally holding a treat) then he stayed still while I placed a treat on each paw and he didn’t go for them until I told him it was ok. It’s amazing what a little training will do. I can’t wait for him to have more room in our new place.

three Speaking of the new place, we signed all our documents with Escrow on Wednesday. Talk about anti-climatic. We sat in a windowless room with a Notary Public and scrawled our John Hancock’s a bunch of times. B faithfully read everything. I skimmed it all. Mostly. A lot of the documents were pages we had already electronically signed, so I had read most of it before. We wired our down-payment over on Thursday, only because it was too late to do so by the time we finished signing on Wednesday. And now, we wait. Good news is no news right now. They should fund the loan on Tuesday and we should get keys on Wednesday. But, they can’t control how early the county will record our deed, which is what controls us getting keys. I really hope it’s earlier on Wednesday as B is off that day. If they don’t come until late, I will be 100% moving all our stuff alone prior to the arrival of our movers to move the furniture on Sunday. Plus I need to paint.

four We bought paint this last week while it was on sale. A few commercials about the awesomeness of Behr’s Premium Marquee paint had me convinced. We color matched to three colors and I can’t wait to see them on the walls. The two bedrooms and the bonus room will be a dark tealish gray. And by dark, I probably mean medium. Nothing is that dark. The main floor will be a light, icy-gray-teal. That’s totally a color. Light and bright is my hope. The bathrooms will all be a slightly more intense aqua-teal color. My hope is to achieve a spa-like atmosphere. Here’s hoping it works. If not, we’ll live with it for quite some time. Paint ain’t cheap. We also bought a couch. We had been discussing getting a sleeper sofa for the bonus room. But, it had to be comfortable. The bonus room will be our gaming room, aka where we spend 90% of our time. But, with only two bedrooms, we wanted a third area where people could sleep that wasn’t just on a couch. My parents bought a La-Z-Boy sleeper on the Labor Day sale, raved about how comfy it was. So, we went, we sat, and we bought. Only, we went for the full sized to save on space.

five I feel like I mentioned awhile back that I’m looking into resetting my original engagement ring. I know some people are think that an engagement ring is a gift you should wear forever, but B proposed without a ring. We rushed out and bought one uninformed about pretty much everything. I had regrets. Last year we upgraded from a diamond to a moissanite and I LOVE my new ring. Lots of sparkles, still money for a down payment. You know, that we just made on the house we’re moving into next week. But, I had my original ring just sitting there. It’s in a box. I’m always worried that I’ll misplace it. I’m good at losing things. So, I want to reset the stone into something I could wear on my right hand on a regular basis. I want a three stone ring, with London Blue Topaz or something similar as the flanking stones to my diamond. I want it in Rose Gold. I want a flowing bezel set that arcs into an infinity band. And, last night, I finally contacted a custom designer about making my wants into reality. Here’s hoping I get to start working toward it sooner rather than later. Because sparklies.

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A Reminder

IMG_1838I sat on the floor after class was over and the students were all gone. I sat on the floor, sipped my drink, all while relishing the brief silence. I sat on the floor, looked at class rosters, and sang to myself. I sang the songs for Saturday’s class, working on tempo, rhythm, and pitch. I sang the songs from today’s class, thinking how to rework them for next week. I sat on the floor, singing to myself, and remembered.

Half an hour later, she asked me a simple question. This little violin student of mine who tells me that violin is so hard but push ups are super easy. This precious student that I get to teach each week brings me pictures and flowers and smiles. She asked as only the innocent can ask questions, “is this your job?” I told her, with a smile, that it was. She seemed shocked and followed up with an adorable, “you mean people pay you money?” The incredulous tone of her voice made me want to laugh, instead I answered her truthfully that they do.

A quiet reminder after a peaceful moment. This is my job and I get paid to do it. Paid to sing and dance with toddlers and preschoolers. Paid to guide precocious young children along their musical path. Paid to smile, laugh, and share my deepest passion.

Ask me if I love my job and I will laugh and tell you yes. Some days more than others. It has it’s ups and downs. All true. So, a reminder that I am incredibly lucky to be paid to do something that I love.

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SA Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon: Week Two

I still can’t believe that I ran 14 miles during week one. Or that week two will have me running 16. I’m the girl who runs one mile and then walks the rest. I blame Loki, but let’s be real. I am tired of my legs always feeling like jello, does that ever get better?

Run One: A three mile maintenance run. Only, it’s hard for it to feel like an easy maintenance run when it’s still my second longest distance. Three miles is no joke. My hat is off to all the 5k racers. Today I learned yet again about the importance of pacing. I was supposed to run the first two miles easy and then speed up at the end. Did I? Of course not. I decided to just run fast, for me anyway, and see what would happen. Surely my endurance and stamina are way up and I can do that now, right?

I mean, I wasn’t totally wrong. I ran the first mile in 10:50, my new fast pace. The second mile I only slowed down to 11:17. And then I tanked. Hard. The third mile involved the most walk breaks yet and a couple of pauses with my hands on my knees. And clocked in at 12:36. Which is far from a total failure. But I have learned again that I can’t just run fast and hard and make it the whole way. I can make it farther than before, which is good, but I want to be smart. At the same time, how will I ever learn that I’m faster if I don’t push?

Run Two: Five miles, with the middle three being fartleks. The run that didn’t really happen. I was sick the night before, sickish the morning of, and still tried to run. 1.8 miles in, I realized I didn’t have it in me. So I stopped the run, fought the tears, and walked home to grab Loki and take him for a walk. By the time I did all of that, I ended up covering almost 5 miles anyway, but it was by no definition, a run. I have to remind myself that a) I have tons of training time left, and b) running when sick/hurt is not a good idea. I really struggled with being down on myself though, for not finishing the run. This led to me realizing that I have to cut myself some slack, especially as the real training doesn’t start for almost two weeks still. And, even if I miss or stop a run here or there, it doesn’t make me a failure.

Cross-Training: I’m counting our long hike on the beach/run through the sand as this. I didn’t do any dedicated cross-training this week as we had a guest and Tuesday night was spent drinking, so Wednesday was all about the recovery. We did walk on the beach for over an hour that evening, so I figure it’s close enough. My attitude shift means I’m more about going with the flow rather than beating myself up for not doing it right.

Run Three: Three miles. My plan was to run this first thing in the morning. What happened was that I woke up to a phone call from our mortgage broker, called our insurance company, decided to walk Loki and then run, only to again be called by our mortgage broker and insurance company in rapid succession. I had to go home and fix things, which ended up taking a lot of emails, and three more phone calls to somewhat resolve. By then, I had eaten breakfast and lunch. But, I went out for an afternoon run. My only goal was to run every step. And I did. I even managed to speed (back) up on the final mile, after slowing down in the middle. Every step felt good. It was much needed after the disaster of my 5 miler earlier this week.

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