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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Rage Against the Close of Day

I know I’ve been quiet here. There haven’t been many words that have been writable. Mostly I’ve had one litany running through my head. 

Fuck cancer. Fuck it straight to hell. 

I’m exhausted from saying goodbye. Emotionally I feel eviscerated. I literally can’t even with cancer anymore. 

I have so many thoughts for what I want in 2017. But right now I am looped in a mourning cycle that hasn’t even fully begun. 

and since it falls unto my lot

that i should rise and you should not 

i’ll gently rise and softly call

goodnight and joy be to you all 

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Ugly Duckling

It’s one of those conversations that haunts my memories. All I remember for certain is that it was before high school because we changed churches my freshman year. Probably around 13, because that was when I hit 5’10. I went from half an inch shorter than my older sister to three quarters of an inch taller than her in one week.  

We were in Sunday school. Front row, closest to everything in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church. And up walked a church member and family friend to my sister and I. She effused to my sister about how beautiful and lady like my sister was (is) and turned to me and commented dismissingly about how tall, gangly, and awkward I was. 

She honestly wasn’t wrong. I was an awkward adolescent, teen, and hell young adult. Puberty did not bring about magical Neville Longbottom style transformations. I look back on pictures of younger me and I can see that my nose, chin, and forehead seem too big for my face. I just exuded awkwardness. 

I wonder how much of it stemmed from comments such as that church lady’s that burrowed their way into my soul. 

It took a long time. But I feel like the grown up version of the ugly duckling now. I’ve worked hard to get where I am physically. And for the rest? I finally seem to have grown into myself. Body, mind, and soul. 

The best part about reaching my 30s has definitely been loving myself. And maybe that’s what has made all the difference. 

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Hopes Dashed

Back in June, I found an incredible opportunity for a new job. I was so excited. I busted my butt on updating my resume and cover letter. I did a phone interview the day after I had my wisdom teeth removed and I nailed it. I was one of two candidates chosen for an in person interview.

I let myself dream. Moving back into non-profit, but still working with music. Regular hours, vacation pay, benefits. I was so excited. As my students headed out for vacations, I made sure they knew how much I enjoyed teaching them. Just in case I didn’t come back.

The final interview was amazing. I felt great. My only knock was a lack of management experience, but I still felt really good.

And then I didn’t get the job.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I cried about it for the next week. I had let myself dream. Dream of what we could accomplish if I was fully employed. Dream of the people I could reach in my new position. Dream of something different and new.

It took a bit of time for me to not resent going to teach. I had thought I was moving on to the next step. When, instead, I was still where I ever was. It was probably my toughest moment all year.

I do love teaching. But I also still wish for what might have been. I’m working toward building my resume to that which can help me transition down the line.

As I’m looking back on 2016, this was a pivotal moment for me. The reality is that I want to do more than just teach. So, I’ll keep working and see where I end up.

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As I geared up to run after work tonight, I stopped by our guest bedroom to dig out my husband’s old reflective belt from his military days. It’s dark out well before I finish teaching, so I want to be extra safe on night time runs. I watched the Christmas lights as I ran, smiling a bit every time they reflected off of the belt.

I still miss the community from doing Reverb every December. I miss the connection of shared prompts and finding the stories from the last year. Some of my closest blog friends popped up because of Reverb10. Of course, I was also depressed as hell at the time and my stories focused on the darkness of what was actually a wonderful year.

I’ve searched for prompts for myself this year. I haven’t found any that resonated. 2016 has been a hard year for a lot of people. But it’s also been an amazing year too. And I want to focus on the light, the dark, and everything in between.

I want to spend the last month of this year, reflecting on what has been and projecting what I want for the next year. Prompted/guided/accompanied or not, I’m going to go find my story to tell.

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