Five for Friday, v. 11

IMG_1546one I am so glad it’s finally July. B graduates this month and for the first time in three and a half years he won’t be doing school in the evenings. I’m not sure we’ll know what to do in all our free time. On the flip side, aka my side, my teaching will pick back up this month. I’m teaching the five week summer session and currently have five confirmed classes, plus one that we just opened yesterday. I’m looking forward to having some busy days again, especially as B leaves his M-F portion of working and heads into shift work.

2015-06-21 18.04.21two We went to go see Phantom of the Opera for my birthday. It was such a treat. I’ve loved the musical for years (what girl hasn’t?) and we watched it with B’s parents while living with them, which is what got him thinking about taking me. Prior to watching it with his parents, I’m pretty sure the last time I watched it was with a friend in SA while waiting for this hot guy I’d gone on a date with to text me back. Phantom was supposed to distract me, though it didn’t really work. Luckily, he eventually texted and the rest is history. In typical us fashion, our fancy night out was ended at a fast food place. We can only take being so fancy in one evening.

2015-06-12 15.03.26

three We finally visited the dog beach when B’s parents came down last month. It’s not far from us geographically, though a Friday afternoon was totally the wrong time to head south towards the beach. Loki loved being back in the water, though he did get wiped out by waves a couple of times. It didn’t take him long to watch the waves and wait for them to break before going after the ball. Sam, on the other hand, was fairly miserable. She was barking at every other dog, which isn’t at all like her. Plus, she’s not a big fan of water. Still, it was fun to explore and share the experience with B’s parents.

2015-06-21 21.52.23four I’ve been playing with adding texture to my hair instead of just straightening it. I saw on Pinterest a suggestion to add waves by flipping your straightener different directions while pulling it through your hair. Surprisingly enough, it actually works to give me some casual, beachy waves. Which, I adore. I’m not sure if it’s my latest cut, or just me changing, but I’m really not a fan of my hair straightened with a kick out or under at the ends any more. I love the curly look, but don’t always feel like busting out my curling iron. Embracing my waves, which I’ve always sought to subdue, feels really good. Plus, it’s me – a little messy, a little out of control, and ready for fun.


five Shutterfly had a promotion this last week for 50% off of their hardcover photo books, free shipping on orders over thirty-nine dollars, and a couple of free 8x10s. Which, of course meant that I decided it was time to do the 2014 photo book, our wedding album, and get all of my pictures off my phone and onto my computer. I started with transporting the photos, I don’t sync my phone to my computer (long story, it syncs to my old laptop that still has all my iTunes on it) so I went through Dropbox. This took forever. I probably need to just bite the bullet and sync my damn phone. Then I decided to make a folder on my computer for the pictures I wanted to use. This actually worked really well. Still, I spent at least four hours on Sunday getting it all done. And, in the process rediscovered some of my favorite wedding photos. I’m pretty sure the above is my all time favorite. It definitely feels like they captured a stolen moment. Now I’m waiting impatiently for them to come in. I can’t wait to see how they all turned out.

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No One

He received his assignment yesterday. A list of names that are honestly meaningless to me. Areas were picked based on their proximity to where we live. He wants a short commute. Underneath it all, of course he wants to see action. No one goes into this expecting to sit behind a desk and push papers.

He got his second choice. I celebrated with him yesterday. No one got to go where his first choice was, so he still received the best option that was available to him. Today, he let slip that it’s a happening area. And not in a good way.

I sit here, eyes filled with unshed tears and don’t know what to do. I want to cry. I want to talk about how hard this is for me. How scared I am for him, for us. But I don’t want to burden him. I don’t want to weigh him down with my fear.

Right now, it feels like there’s no one to talk to about it all. No one who will understand. No one to share the burden. So I will sit, smile with him, and keep the tears at bay.

God keep him safe.

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About the Journey

I’ve heard it said many times that it’s all about how you get there and not where you’re going. My family used to vacation with this mentality – we towed a travel trailer and our vacations were meandering road trips. Nothing was too small to result in a detour. We had no set itinerary. Because it was all about the journey.

It’s a great life philosophy too. Because, of course, the journey of life ends only in death. I doubt most of us want to actually rush our way to that destination. Making life the ultimate journey.

I’m still working on enjoying every part of the journey. It’s easy to get bogged down and wish for certain times to be over. Like B’s current training academy. We just want him to be done. Or, more personally for me, my ongoing quest to lose weight. I keep getting down to close to my goal and then slacking off and gaining it back. After a rather unhappy moment during B’s swearing in ceremony, I realized I had to quit beating around the bush and actually put the work in. And, I’m trying to embrace the fact that this is a journey without a destination. Just because I get to the lower weight, the higher fitness level, or what have you, doesn’t mean that my journey is over. The journey is never over, because life is in the living.

And the living is in every moment. Dull ones, painful ones, joyful ones, that’s where the living happens. In the small moments. It’s a lesson I’m still learning. Which, I suppose is the entire point.

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Guitar Memories

I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar. Like, always always. My sister took guitar when I took fiddle lessons, but somehow I never got around to asking if I could take guitar too. After all, why would I switch to my own backup instrument? Not to mention, that I didn’t want to learn to just play chords – I wanted to learn to finger pick and play classical music on the guitar. Who even does that at sixteen?

When I took my first post-graduate school job, I taught piano at a private school in the San Antonio area. They offered piano through three teachers, violin/viola, and guitar through two teachers. We all taught in this little music wing that had one big studio, three medium sized ones, and four or so small ones. Our students would hang out in the hallway during free time because we never enforced the no-phone rules.

I was elated when both guitar teachers offered to help me learn to play guitar. I had taught myself some bad habits when a cousin wed and I wrote her a song for her wedding. I would play different songs that I wrote for the classical/acoustic guitar teacher. He would teach me various snippets of classical songs.

Unfortunately, he would also complain about his wife making him sleep on the couch. He would lament their tumultuous relationship. He would ask me where I was when he was single in college.

I would laughingly remind him, that I hadn’t even been born at that time.

Those questions and topics quickly made me withdraw from the lessons. I didn’t want to participate in even someone’s fantasy of an affair. Even after I started dating B, this guy just couldn’t quit with the inappropriate comments.

I hid out in my room, emerging only if there were multiple teachers in the hallway. I quit playing my guitar.

Today, I reminisced about this situation with a studio owner who employs me to teach music. He laughed, and told me that if I had any guitar questions, that he wouldn’t ever ask where I was when he was in college.

And that, dear friends, is how the world is righted. Maybe I’ll learn guitar after all.

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Swing Shifts

Swing shift, how I love thee, let me count the ways.

1. We get to stay up later. Swings means B doesn’t get home until sometime between 11pm and 1am (depending on which version of the schedule he’s on) so we stay up to somewhere between 1am and 3am. Even if we sleep for the exact same amount of hours as when we go to bed at 9pm or 10 pm, it feels more luxurious to wake up later.

2. It fits my body’s rhythms. I rarely fall asleep before midnight. Rarely. Cold medicine helps some, though then I’m often left awake during the witching hours anyway. I can easily get by on only 6-7 hours of sleep, as long as you don’t expect me up before eight in the morning. When I go to bed with B at 9pm? I still don’t want to get up any earlier.

3. We get to share our mornings together. Since my schedule is mostly mid-afternoons into early evenings, it’s nice to be able to wake up, eat lunch together and then spend the late nights together.

4. I don’t have to sleep without him. That’s the one downside to mids shift. He’s gone all night, so even when he is home, he’s probably not in bed for many overlapping hours with me. I miss falling asleep with him, so the swings schedule is particularly grand because he gets the benefit of working the later shift and we still get to sleep on primarily the same schedule.

Too bad he’s only on swings for the rest of this week. Then it’s back to his regular schedule. And then comes the unknown.

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Loving, Living, and Fear

golden hour

golden hour

Sitting in the audience, I try not to hold my breath. After what seems like forever they enter. Applause fills my ears, people stand. The applause fades awkwardly, no one really understands how long it takes for everyone to file in. We’re all still standing, those last few people won’t stop clapping. Finally, a reprieve, we’re instructed to sit.

Such a major moment. A change for every person there. No one will be left completely unaffected. Some will be impacted more, some less, but all will be changed by what is happening.

The names ring out one at a time, in alphabetical order, into the silence. Applause, an awkward handshake, and the smiling embrace of family. The pride is oozing out of every pore of the room. Finally, they are reminded – pin on first and then take your pictures.

It’s the next step in our lives. The camera flashes. Don’t forget to smile. But don’t share. You can’t share. It isn’t safe.

Finally it’s his turn. Up I go, with his parents behind. I take the badge from his hand. “I love you,” I whisper, “and I’m so proud of you.” He smiles. I drop the badge in place, kiss him, and turn to smile for the flash of the camera.

Emotions wash over me. Then and now. I’m so proud. I’m so scared. He hasn’t chosen an easy path, but we will live it together.

Eventually, they are all pinned. They march back to the front. Take the oath. Take another. There are smiles. There are tears. There is purpose. At the end, a reminder – there’s still more time to be paid. They aren’t done yet.

A time to celebrate. A time to enjoy. A time to keep moving forward. A time that you can’t share with everyone. A choice that not everyone will understand.

Outside, after, we mill about. Families are chattering. Pictures are taken. We pose with our dearest friends and text each other the pictures. No facebook, no twitter, no social media.

I am so proud of him for his choice to be in law enforcement. I know that the popular opinion is rather anti-police at the moment. It scares me more than I like to admit that he’s going into this field. But we need more people like him. More who believe that justice is something everyone deserves. More who will do what is right when no one else will. The pride, the love, will help us live through the fear.


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so this is 30

i'm on top of the world

i’m on top of the world

Shortly after we moved to LA, I was browsing A Practical Wedding (okay, yes, I’ve been married almost five years and am almost a year out from our renewal and I still read every day, it has amazing articles on life and I love weddings) when I came across a small wedding up on Temescal Ridge overlooking both LA and the Pacific Ocean. I immediately put it at the top of our lists to visit when hiking. The only snag? They don’t allow dogs on the trail at all and the majority of our hiking is with B’s parents and both dogs. We decided to wait on that hike. When my parents briefly entertained the idea of coming to LA for my birthday, my Mom mentioned joining us on this hike since she knew I wanted to do it. While they ultimately ended up not coming, I decided that I wanted to do this for me. We left the car, thinking we had a several mile hike to get to the view and were thus shocked to find it right at the start of the path. We agreed to at least see the top of the next hill before making a decision on what to do. But, every hill led to another further on down the path, and thus we enjoyed the hike as each crest led to a more stunning vista.

IMG_1504This last year has proven interesting to me. I’ve made great strides in accepting who I am and taken steps in embracing that self. I’ve tried new career paths, come back to my true calling in teaching, accepted that I love big sparkly jewelry, and even had breast augmentation surgery because I wanted it. In the end, I’ve been more true to myself this last year than ever before. I’ve faced hard truths about myself. I’ve struggled to change my bad habits. I’ve fallen in love with who I am. Every time I think I have a handle on it, I top the hill and realize the path continues on. I suppose that is what life is, learning about yourself, being yourself, and figuring out how to truly live and realizing that it is a life-long journey.



Turning thirty has had its ups and downs. I’m not immune to the fear of growing older. I’m susceptible to the struggle with making a difference and living life and what am I doing with my life anyway? But. My return to teaching has meant a return to being true to myself. After well over a year away from it, I know it was the right call. I’m able to be true to myself because I’ve tested other paths. I know that trying new things and returning to the old isn’t about making mistakes and turning around in defeat. It’s about confirming my happiness and my sense of self. I’ve learned that life is meant to be lived and that by doing so, we all do what we’re supposed to do in this life. Live, laugh, love.

IMG_1521I know I don’t have all the answers. Possibly, for the first time in my life, I’m okay with this. I have the answers I need right now. I love. I am loved. That is enough for today. Tomorrow will come regardless of if I worry about it or not. Today, I’m choosing not to worry. What I want is to live.


Thus, my birthday gift to myself this year is to continue being fully myself. I’m accepting my flaws while still working to improve on them. I’m embracing my quirks. I’m celebrating what makes me tick. I’m living because, in the end that is what matters.


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