Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: seasons

Spring Plannings

For good or bad, spring has officially sprung here in LA. While the east coast is pummeled by snow storm after raging snow storm, and spring seeps gently in other states, here, it is as if someone flipped a switch.

We went from chilly air, cool breezes, weak sun and foggy mornings to the full-blown technicolor that is California sunshine. Where in the shade it’s perfect, under direct rays, it can feel like you’re on the wrong end of a kid’s magnifying glass experiment of fried bugs.

While the heat is not my thing at all, the sudden burst of vibrant pink and white from the magnolias and jasmine plants is brilliant.

And the smell… swoon.

The internet says Leo Tolstoy wrote, in Anna Karenina, “Spring is the time of plans and projects” and that is what this week feels like to me. The past 2 weeks, I spent quite a bit of time catching up, digging out of email, and running errands – basically recovering from the first month and a half of the year.

Now that I’m caught up, Mercury’s direct, and my birthday is this week, I am ready to dive into those plans and projects – lining up with the seasonal shift, the glow of nature returning.

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Welcoming December

November was a month full of travel – leaving home for work once and fun twice.

December is home-bound all the way.

We got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Joshua Tree yesterday afternoon – driving home in the rain that visited SoCal (gosh, we need it). We spent the later afternoon reading (me) and napping (H & Carter Cash). It was a very active, fun, adventurous weekend. I plan on writing more about it this week.

This morning I welcomed in December with a quick trip to Starbucks to write out all of the swirling ToDos in my head. Getting things down on paper is not only a relief, but also gives me a solid way to keep track of the next thing I want to / need to work on.

The season of red cups, Christmas music and gift-list making is upon us. We have family visiting in T-2.5 weeks and we’re hosting everyone for Christmas, officially, for the first time this year.

After work I am going to pack up the Thanksgiving decorations and pull out the Christmas ones. The weather plus end of daylight savings time has made the evenings dark and long. I think it’s 6pm when it’s only 4pm. I think it’s time for bed around 7pm. We’re asleep most night by 9:30pm, and sleep 8hrs straight. We wake before the sunrise, moving through the dark apartment by 5:30am.

But it’s part of the season, part of the change, part of the flow. I can’t believe we’re in the last month of 2014, I’m holding on to every last bit of it as the days go by.

The photo above is for day 1 of December Reflections, hosted by Susannah Conway. I don’t plan on sharing the photos here in that exact capacity, but feel free to follow / join over on Instagram.

And lastly, a happy 50th birthday to my awesome MIL who embodies the spirit of the (Sagittarius) with her enthusiasm for life. xo

Busy, Simple Boston Trip

Another trip to Boston for work is in the books.

This trip was quick and dirty – flew in on Monday after the weekend in Joshua Tree and seeing Jimmy Eat World again – worked all the hours Tuesday through Thursday, and flew home Thursday night.

Glad I went to sit in on a few important meetings, connect with colleagues and bounce ideas around. It was gray, dark and chilly – it poured the last day.

Highlight was getting to meet Lindsey of A Design So Vast in person – yay for meeting people from the Internet. She was just as engaging, kind and thoughtful as her writing portrays her to be. So thankful she made the time for me.

I broke out the puffy coat for the cold, did HIIT exercises in my hotel room, tramped around in my new maroon boots, and made sure I ate a bagel with lox. I consumed many chai lattes, didn’t drink too much this time and ate seared Ahi tuna steaks at more than one meal. I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for a glazed donut and hot tea, sipped french onion soup and spoke to 5 student groups. I had dinner with one of my best friends and heard about her wedding plans and hung out with her puppy for a few minutes. I got to hug my two favorite colleagues. I had deep conversations with people I consider mentors and friends.

My flights felt long, but were as easy as flying across the country can get.

I stayed up too late and didn’t get enough sleep.

Once student event had a small number of people show up and my presentation wasn’t working – so I decided to improvise. The the fire alarm went off, forcing us to change locations. Somehow, we all reconvened and the students who stuck around said they really enjoyed the entire event. Proud of myself for going with the flow.

And lastly, when I tried to catch a cab in the rain to the airport, there were no cabs to be found. A women, my age or younger, was also waiting. She said she was going to call an Uber and that I could tag along with her. I didn’t get her name or info but I’d like to send her a thank you for that ride – which was quick, warm and got me to the airport with plenty of time.

Life is so simple and easy at times, just going with the flow.

#30daysofdresses – day 2

I mentioned yesterday that today’s dress was a bit more out of my comfort zone, but is still hitting on so many of my favorite things – navy, golden brown, and stripes – not to mention it feels like pajamas.

I know, I’m so classy.

Jess gets credit for this one. She pulled it for me in a size that was slightly too large (too long, droopy in the neck line) and we thought maybe they didn’t have my size in stock. But then Jess found it in another spot and – perfecto!

What I love about this dress is that it feels really sexy because it’s tight, but it’s not so clingy that I feel uncomfortable (again, pajamas) or that I’m revealing too much. The stripes and side panels distract from any one spot and it’s just short enough to be perfect for my height.

This dress made me feel all autumn, put-together and classy in a New England kind of way. Plus, it’s the first time this season I got to break out my favorite boots. Hopefully the weather won’t warm up too much and you’ll be seeing more of them in the next few weeks.

Dress is from H&M. Boots are Clarks from 3+ years ago.

Summer Nights, School Days

Evening roller-blade

Walking at 5am

Math I don’t understand

My view most nights this week

Besides it being post-vacation-blues week, it’s also back to school.

H started his 7th year of teaching. Each year I hope he’ll hit the easy groove that experienced teachers do, and then some huge opportunity/challenge presents itself. Two years ago it was a masters program. Last year it was being department chair, a masters program and 4 different classes. This year, masters program completed, it’s department chair and multivariable calculus, which happens to be the hardest class they teach.

Which he is reviewing every night, all night, after working a 12 hour day.

Which means that it’s just me and the Carter-man for long stretches of time.

I’ve learned that the shift from summer break, having H home all of the time, helping around the house and generally being there for me, to the first week of school, arguably one of the most stressful times of the year, can suck. I love my alone time, but having him around all day, everyday and then not at all puts a strain on our relationship.

Or, should I say, a strain on how I feel about our relationship.

Because in reality, we’re the same as we were last week (well, not entirely the same since last week was still Alaska). I’m just going about my day assuming it’ll be one way and it’s another, totally different yet OK, way…

Luckily, I’ve noticed this pattern, and I let things slide to compensate. So, dishes won’t get put away quickly or he won’t remember to do something (because he hasn’t had a moment to himself) or I have to take the dog on all 3 walks for the day. It’s not easy, but it’s not awful either.

It’s just life.

—–

Yesterday I was up at 5am to be on a 6hr video conference call. Apsht. Somehow I survived, and the early start time meant an early leave time.

Feeling completely burnt from the meeting, I settled on yoga, made green juice, and took the dog to the park to run around a very dry, very hot baseball field. I straightened up and vacuumed. I ate turkey chili cold from the Tupperware. I perused Instagram, cleaned up DropBox and worked on a small project taking photos of our possessions in case we ever have an insurance issue. I cooked zucchini and heated up left-over pizza. I went out with Carter again, this time on roller-blades.

I wrote this sitting across from H as he went through calc problems and muttered things like “oh shit, I found the area instead of the arc length” which may as well be German to me.

We kept the front door propped open so a breeze came through the apartment while it went from twilight to pitch dark outside in what seemed like an instant.

I couldn’t fall asleep the other night and stayed up past 1am.

Carter mopes around looking for H, patiently waiting for him to finish his work so they can play.

It’s a transient time of summer nights, school days, 5am alarms, evenings solo even though H is home, and hot weather. The last of it seems to throw me off the most. Autumn feels like the natural signal for us all to hunker down, do our work, spend more time indoors. We don’t get that here in Southern California, the season or the natural transition.

I miss it.

 

8 of 52: Year of Ocean

The weather for this family walk yesterday was gorgeous. Gloriously sunny, breezy, warm. Nothing like last week’s weather. Spring has definitely sprung here in LA (though the time change springing us forward does not a happy Justine make).

After an incredibly busy week, where one or both of us were out every night, sometimes not getting to bed until midnight, we woke up Saturday refreshed. Being asleep by 10pm on a Friday night has its advantages.

H decided on a beach walk for Carter, and of course I tagged along. We ended up south of the Venice pier, walking on the beach, Carter saying Hi to other dogs. We took our shoes off and put our toes in the very chilly sand. (Putting my feet in sand feels like vacation every.single.time.)

South down the beach and then East, we ended up on the Ballona creek / westlands footpath, which I didn’t even know existed. Isn’t it crazy we’ve here for almost 5 years and I’ve never known walked this footpath?

We made our way back to the streets, fantasizing about living in the water-front homes, and ended up at the Cow’s End in Venice.

We ate bacon, egg and cheese on bagels, sipped coffee and tea, and watched the other doggies walk by with their owners. The sun was warm and turned my cheeks red. It was a perfect morning walk and I was grateful for the quiet, alone time with H. Carter was pretty satisfied too.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

Finally, Fall

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, but it’s really chilled out here in Los Angeles. Thank goodness. My running is back, the leaves are on the ground and I even wear a puffy vest when walking the dog at night.

And have you felt the shift in sunlight?! It’s gets dark so early these days. I am kind of loving it. October this years seems to be very much about a cocoon, a pulling back in, a saying No. It’s working. I can feel my physical energy returning (went running 5 days this week with two 3 milers!) and ideas are percolating in my brain. 

How’s your month been?

Lately…

I received a new iPhone 5s and it’s fabulous. Especially the camera + apps. The latte pic above was taken with PicTapGo. Highly recommend.

We had a festive evening with some friends, carving pumpkins and drinking spiked cider. Love me some honey Jack. I went with the graphic and simple Pumpkin Pi (get it?! I am married to a math teacher). Unfortunately, the thing bloomed into a mess of mold after 4 days.

I cleaned (almost) the entire apartment by myself before my parents came to visit – with disc 1 of this DMB concert at Central Park blaring through the TV. I’ve avoided DMB for ~11years now due to major falling-outs around the time I cared about them. Music, and love, will do that to you.

The table cloth I purchased after Christmas last year made it’s debut, complete with tiny pumpkins. It’s finally feeling like Fall here.

My parents visited – which included a Jason Aldean concert, taking professional family portraits on the beach, eating more bread in 4 days than I eat in a normal month, a walk through Abbott Kinney and a visit to The Getty.

I applied for, and was able to process, my passport paperwork. Looking at that puppy arriving in the mail in T-6 weeks.

Now, where should we go?

Sundays Are For (Week 30)

Starting Week In The Life, creating an insert for my One Little Word class, slow-cooking sausage and peppers, eating chili cheese dip, hanging with my sister who came over to watch the Giants’ game (they lost). A trip to the dog park where I felt good and then breaking the vacuum somehow battling the fleas, and having a meltdown. Taking a hot shower and relaxing. Feeling insane and then so good. Walking outside in jeans, feeling the breeze and no more heat wave. Being thankful for H and his calm, for his new skill of making us omelets, for chai tea and saying ‘no thanks’ to alcoholic beverages. For getting enough sleep but still being so sleepy. For Amazon video so we can finish season 1 of Homeland and cookie dough ice cream and creating. For days off and weekends and life.

See more Sundays Are For.

 

Back To School

It’s back to school over here. When you’re married to a teacher, the transition from summer vacation to school back in session can be a harsh one.

After a few years of this, I’m noticing the pattern. The exhaustion on his part, the loneliness on mine. How comfortable we become with him being home and rested and not drowning in papers and activities. How disruptive it is the day it’s gone – no easing into it. One day we slept in until 7:30 a.m. and he was home for lunch, and the next a 5:30 a.m. alarm and not seeing each other for 18hrs.

It’s not being without him that’s so terrible, but that I also work alone – and so the days stretch out before me, taunting with all I could be doing or should be doing.

But this year I’m learning. I’m accepting the loneliness, inviting it in. I’m learning the awkwardness of now only having a few key hours in the evening to spend together – what what do we do with them? And I’m making sure to focus on what I need – sleep, exercise, lovely writings on the internet (here and here), podcasts, calls with friends and a general letting go of doing it all on my own.

He’s made extra effort to communicate when he’ll be home, what he can help with, checking in with me how I am feeling. These are all good things.

My aim is to feel better than I did last year, but more so, to not knuckle down until Thanksgiving, but to really see what this season brings to my work, my marriage and my creativity.