Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: travel

Joyful Travels

As I write this, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, getting a little work done from home before heading to the airport. By the time this goes live, I will be in Minnesota.

With all the darkness in the world this week, it’s nice to have something to be really, genuinely happy about – one of my best friends from my bible college days is getting married, and I’m so glad my partner and I are going to get to celebrate with her and her soon-to-be-husband.

Here are a handful of the things I’m most looking forward to over the weekend:

  1. The wedding. I’m not always the most excited about weddings, but I’m looking forward to this one. This friend and I have been through some things together, and I’m happy to bear witness to anything that is making her happy.
  2. I’m getting coffee with one of my professors from bible college (the only one I still talk to at this point), who I haven’t seen since before I moved to Chicago five years ago. She’s been through a lot recently, and I’m grateful that she’s taking the time to see me.
  3. I get to see my dog and my nephew. My little old lady dog is 15, and she’s slowing down. Every time I’ve seen her this year has felt like the biggest gift, because it was only a year ago that I thought I would probably never see her again (since I wasn’t back in communication with my family yet). I am painfully aware that every time I see her from here on out may be the last, so I’m not taking any opportunity for granted. Our visit to my parents happens to coincide with the time that they’re watching my nephew, too, so I’ll get to hang out with him a bit. From what little contact I’ve had with him, he seems like a bright, creative kid, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again.
  4. This might be the least-packed weekend in Minnesota we’ve had in…well, in a long time. I’m sad that we can’t see everyone, but I’m also looking forward to just relaxing a bit. And I’m hoping it’ll make going back to work on Monday a little easier.
  5. On Sunday, after we get back, we’re going to meet up with a friend at an apple orchard in Wisconsin. Despite my allergies to almost everything outdoors, I love autumn, and apple picking feels like the quintessential autumnal activity.

Weekend Adventures

As many of you may know, I work for a Jewish organization, and one of the best things about this is the fact that I end up with lots of extra days off throughout the year for holidays I don’t personally celebrate. Passover was this past week, and because of where it fell this year, we ended up with a couple of days off last week, and Monday and Tuesday off this week. I had just enough Southwest miles saved up for a free trip to the Twin Cities, so I decided to use my long weekend to catch up with family and some friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

I flew into MSP Saturday afternoon, and dropped my stuff off at my partner’s parents’ house, where I was staying for the weekend. That evening, I got dinner with my parents and brother (which went more-or-less okay – sometimes it’s hard to find things to talk about), and then got drinks with an old friend from church youth group. Catching up and reminiscing was a lot of fun.

Sunday I went over to my parents’ house, where we were joined by my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. The time went well (better than I was expecting, to be honest). I was able to modify the Yoda hat I’d knit my nephew when he was just 7 months old so that it will continue to fit him for at least another couple of seasons (it was still big enough around, but was no longer covering his ears), and deliver the blanket I’d knit for him as a belated birthday gift. We enjoyed watching my nephew (who is three) and my parents’ dog (who is almost fifteen) chase each other around – they are best friends. We went for a walk to the park. All-in-all, it was a nice way to spend the day.

That evening, I went back to my partner’s parents’ house and was able to spend some time with them. We watched Moana, which was great, and I’m a little ashamed I didn’t get around to seeing it until now.

Monday I ended up seeing two of my best friends from college: one for breakfast, and one for dinner. It was wonderful seeing both of them and catching up. I also got to unexpectedly go out to coffee with my best friend in the middle of the day, after she texted me saying her afternoon meetings were canceled. I spent the evening watching baseball with my partner’s parents while we all talked to my partner on speakerphone. It was easily the most delightful Monday I’ve had in ages.

Tuesday morning I got up for an early breakfast with my best friend before leaving town. My flight out boarded on time, and then sat on the runway for an hour – evidently, because of some crosswinds, they were using just one runway for all arrivals and departures, and didn’t really communicate this to anyone ahead of time. But I made it home eventually, and was ridiculously happy when I did. As much as I loved seeing people over the weekend, packing that many visits into such a short time frame really drives home the point that I am an introvert. Being social can be fun, but it is also exhausting.

Thanks to everyone who made time for me this weekend, and apologies to those of you I didn’t see – there are so many of you that I just couldn’t get to everyone!

Pre-Travel Panic

I’m writing this on my way to work Thursday morning. Usually I write my posts Wednesday and schedule them to go live Thursday, but that didn’t happen this week. 

Last night, we stayed up late doing chores and wrapping gifts and planning what we’re packing for our weekend in Minnesota. I’m feeling a little frazzled and overwhelmed. This is my least favorite part of travel: the pre-travel anxiety that my brain so loves to latch onto. 

Tomorrow morning I pick up our rental car. Tomorrow afternoon we hit the road. Once we’re actually underway, chances are I’ll be far less anxious. Until then, though…

Thankfully, we’re getting together with some of our favorite knitters tonight. On the one hand, this means we won’t be packing until late tonight. On the other, though, it’ll be a good distraction from my anxious brain. 

Returning to Reality

Last weekend, I finally went on the solo retreat I’d been planning for over a month. I went camping by myself up north near Lake Superior.

Before I left, I had sketched out a rough plan for what I wanted to get done while I was away. I was going to spend a lot of time meditating and playing my guitar and hiking around the north woods.

Almost none of that happened. The weekend wound up being somewhat different (at least in terms of activities) than I had planned…but it turned out to be exactly what I needed:

  • I didn’t talk more than was absolutely necessary. (I was appropriately charming with the waitstaff and cashiers I encountered, but other than that, I didn’t say much.)
  • I didn’t check social media at all. (I had my phone on so I could use the flashlight feature and keep track of the weather, but it spent most of the time in airplane mode.)
  • I rested. I went to bed ridiculously early both nights I was camping, and spend a fair bit of one of the days napping as I listened to the wind ruffle the leaves of the trees.
  • I spent a lot of time thinking, but not much time worrying.
  • After I was done camping, I spent a little bit of time debriefing and catching up with a couple of particularly dear people.

And then I came home, feeling much more human and much more alive than I’d felt in several weeks. I have a lot more thinking to do, and there are other things that need to be done in order to stay in a place where I feel human and alive. But taking time to be quiet and relax seems to have been an important first step.

Dreams and Schemes

It’s been a week of weird (and sometimes unsettling) dreams, which have run the gamut from unknown attackers trying to kill me to being unable to beat a level of a video game. It’s been full of particularly restless nights and disorienting awakenings. I think it’s a sign that I’m heading into a more manic phase. I’m in that space where my body is constantly tired and achy, but my brain is running a thousand miles a minute, and I’m just hanging on and hoping to reach equilibrium relatively soon.

With the arrival of September comes my month of shortened work weeks thanks to the variety of Jewish holidays that are happening (I am not Jewish, but my employer is), which I suppose makes this as good a time as any for me to be more than a little distracted.

The one area in which I’ve been strangely focused the past several days has been my knitting. By the time this post goes up, I will have finished the second sleeve of one of the sweaters I have on the needles (with plans to start the body at knit night tonight), and I’ve gotten it into my head that I should finish this thing in time for a little solo retreat up north that I’ve planned for myself at the end of the month. In theory, it should be possible…we’ll see if my enthusiasm is maintained over the next couple of weeks (and if the weather cooperates and goes back to some sort of reasonable fall range of temperatures so I can actually wear the damn thing).

I’m getting excited about the aforementioned solo retreat. I’m not particularly outdoorsy if I’m truly honest with myself – I quite like the convenience of city life (and air conditioning, at this time of year) – but I go a little mad if I don’t get out in nature on occasion. So I’m renting a car and going camping for a couple of nights (in a tent, but armed with a cot – I’ve come to grips with the fact that I can’t sleep on the ground anymore), and bringing my guitar and my tarot cards and journaling materials and a camera, turning off my phone, and spending a few days getting reacquainted with myself as an introvert. I’m not making a lot of firm plans for my time, so I’m not particularly worried about anything not going as planned (aside from weather, which I am confident I can work around). My hope is that disengaging from my usual routine for a few days will allow me to come back at it feeling refreshed and refocused.

Until then, I’ll be spending most of my time adjusting to life at the office without my boss on site, and knitting like mad. While I’m not thrilled with how achy my body is, in general I’m looking forward to the adventures that September has in store.

I’m Back!

Hello, internet! I have returned from my tiny hiatus! I honestly didn’t give a whole lot of thought to what I’d kick things back off with once I returned, and I haven’t really done any writing in the past few weeks. So in order to shake some of the rust off the writing gears in my brain, I’m going to go with the old fallback of a five-item list of things that happened while I was away:

  1. I went to Seattle for 16 hours to attend my high school best friend’s wedding. It was lovely; she and her husband are adorable, and I am so, so, so happy I was able to be there!
  2. Between Seattle and another trip with my partner, I went through airport security four times in two weeks…and got patted down every. single. time. Dear TSA: your security lines aren’t moving slowly because someone forgot to empty their water bottle or take their laptop out of their bag. They’re moving slowly because you’re making everybody go through those goddamn useless body scanners twice. (The first thing you see once you’re through security at Midway is a Ben & Jerry’s. Well played, sirs. We definitely had coffee ice cream for breakfast on our way out of town.)
  3. I threw out my back. Thankfully, it hasn’t held a candle to whatever the hell I did back around Christmas, and I’m already feeling better. But since my partner currently isn’t supposed to lift more than five pounds and can’t raise his arms over his head, it’s made for an interesting week.
  4. I had my intake call for mental health services at our local LGBT clinic. I’ll find out later this week if they’re able to fit me in with someone there; if they can’t, they’ll work with me to find a competent provider elsewhere. It’s definitely time for me to work through some of the heavier emotions I’ve been ignoring.
  5. After a couple of weeks of letting it slide, I started getting back into the habit of taking at least a few minutes each day for guided meditation with my tarot cards while we were out of town. Since I’ve been feeling a little rocky this week (mostly, I think, due to the back pain), it’s been a really great, stabilizing influence.

This Week in a Five-Item List

On Monday, we laid Grandma to rest after a service that paid great tribute to her life and character. The surrounding circumstances have left me feeling uncreative and exhausted, but make for some decent stories, so that’s what I’m going to tell you about for this week’s installment of the blog.

  1. Finding reasonably priced flights at the last for Mother’s Day weekend leaves you with few options. The only real option there was, in the end, was Spirit Airlines, which still felt exorbitant for a flight lasting just over an hour and thirty minutes, but was reasonable enough that my dad was willing to fund the trip not only for me, but also for my partner, who graciously agreed to take unpaid time off work and come with me for moral support.
  2. Spirit Airlines is…interesting. We’d flown Spirit before, but this was a flight to remember. While we waited at the gate, we were entertained by a couple of year-old babies who were becoming fast friends, their interactions narrated by the boisterous grandmother of the smaller-but-older child of the pair. Once we were on the flight, we found ourselves behind a couple of men who appeared religious and looked like they’d fit right in on the youth ministry team of an evangelical megachurch somewhere (one of them was reading a slim volume entitled Jesus Christ: The Real Story)…and who also appeared to be completely stoned out of their brains. The one who wasn’t reading was extremely chatty and spent the entire flight talking with the Russian woman across the aisle. At the end of the flight, he tried to tell my partner and I that we should stay on the plane and continue on to Vegas, which prompted the following exchange:

    Me: This isn’t that kind of trip.
    Him: Why not?
    Me: Grandma’s funeral.
    Him: Oh, man, I didn’t know that. That sucks…You should smoke some weed!

  3. I have really wonderful family with whom I share no actually biological ties. My dad is an only child, but he’s known his two best friends since kindergarten and junior high, respectively, and I think I was well into my teens before I realized my Uncles weren’t actually related to me in any way. As we gathered to remember Grandma, I was struck by how wonderful it is to know that the chosen family members I was handed as a child have truly chosen me as an adult.
  4. The trip home was…an adventure. We were supposed to fly out of Minneapolis at around 6:30 Monday evening. Our flight was delayed five times (I’m not even exaggerating when I say that) before ultimately being canceled. Not wanting to deal with the airline any longer, we decided to get the tickets refunded and rent a car to drive back to Chicago instead. We slept a few hours at my partner’s parents’ house before heading out just after 3am, which mostly meant that Monday felt like the longest day ever and I think we skipped Tuesday entirely. When we finally stumbled into our apartment, we literally kissed the door frame, we were so happy to be home.
  5. I have the world’s best support system. From a partner who was willing to travel with me at the last minute, giving up paid days at work to be my moral support, to the friends who were willing to be our transport to and from the airport at all sorts of hours, this whole trip really drove home the fact that I have been blessed with a strong, unbelievably wonderful network of support. If I had needed to make that trip home by myself, I don’t know what I would have done. Probably cried and screamed and possibly done someone bodily harm. As it was, I had my partner with me, who remained calm (cheerful, even) for the entire airport experience, and who was loopy and exhausted with me all the way home. I’m one seriously lucky human.

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