Friday, April 29, 2011

Celebrate when you can

I got on the elevator at work today, and one of the volunteers who is frequently there and one of my co-workers shared the elevator with me. The volunteer asked us to what floor we'd like to go, and then immediately started complaining about how stupid it was that people were excited about the Royal Wedding. My co-worker asked her why she was so upset by it, and she said that we should be thinking about the people whose lives have been utterly disrupted, if not lost, by the tornadoes. 

Well, yes. And no. I cannot imagine the pain the victims of the recent storms are experiencing. The closest I've come to that was a tornado that went through Iowa City while I was living there. The storm tore up the town, but no one, thankfully, died or was even injured (as far as I remember). That storm was scary, and it simply did not come close to the tornadoes that have killed hundreds of people in the past couple of days. 

I can appreciate that our hearts should go out to those families, and that relief should be pledged in some way for those victims. 

But I also feel that people shouldn't be berated for trying to experience joy or to celebrate something. There is always bad news. There is always something devastating happening. Please do not think that I am downplaying the tragedies of Alabama, or of Japan. But I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in trying to feel good about something. Especially in times of great loss and devastation, such as there has been all over the world for, well, forever. Good news comes so infrequently. Good things aren't reported as often as the bad, or so it seems. What is wrong with trying to enjoy someone else's happiness? Just for a day? Why is that good thing bad?

Finding happiness and reason to celebrate is much more difficult than feeling despair. Most news is bad news. Embrace what makes you feel good. That's the only way to keep going. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coffee triage

Every time I enter our bathroom, I smell stale coffee. This is because one of the first things I managed to do yesterday at work was let my travel coffee mug (mind you, it was a travel mug, and it was sealed as tightly as it could be) tip over on my music cart and spill itself onto one of my beloved books of music. (Notice I wrote, "let my travel coffee mug," which actually incorrectly implies that I had something to do with it, as if I saw it tipping, and allowed it to follow through. This was not the case. Something knocked it from its secure position, standing freely in the middle of a moving cart. Not secure; I shouldn't have let it there, and I am sorry.)

Sorry doesn't adequately describe how I felt about it, because as I was trying to save the book and my water bottle (that should have been inhabiting the space) from coffee, I was also fully aware that I needed to start my group within minutes, and that there was an alarm going off nearby as a resident was falling out of her chair. Of course (and I hope you didn't question me), I attended to the resident first and fully. 

Which leads me to wonder how in the future I can better lead a group and attend to those residents in the periphery who are clearly experiencing problems of one kind or another. Triage. Needs must be met, by everyone, and in what order is an interesting dance I will continue to learn. 

So the coffee-stained book is now hanging by its spine in the bathroom. I love coffee, but I hate smelling it as it stales on the pages of a book that is very important to me. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter dogs

I notice the massive, inflatable Easter bunnies and their counterparts that live kitty-corner from our house (1. I heard somewhere it's actually "catty-corner," and 2. I love that I can now say "our house") have fallen to the fact that Easter is, once again, past. I was worried about the health and well-being of these neighbors, though, because until only a week ago, they still had their Christmas inflatables attached to their roof and fence, flapping in the wind as their insides had long-since been evacuated. (Good thing they don't have bowels.) Thomas says these neighbors inflate giant decorations for each holiday. I wonder how they'll decorate for No Diet Day on the sixth.

I wonder how Easter was for you. Mine was great. Thomas and I traveled to my parents' farm, where my brother and his son from out of state had been visiting. We spent the whole weekend with family. Even more family than had been there for Christmas. And that's a lot. 

The picture may be bigger than the dog.
We are considering getting a dog... Either a Pomeranian or a mastiff. You know. Something around that size. 

Are you kidding?
(This isn't me. Nor a dog I could feed.)
No, we really don't know. Preferably a dog that won't dig, as we are going to start planting/gardening. I thought maybe a legless dog, then, but Thomas doesn't seem to think that's a wise suggestion.

I am eagerly anticipating May. In May, I will hopefully be getting more hours at work and I will definitely be getting benefits. Wouldn't it be neat to just have a doctor's appointment?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Not me
Man, oh man, does sleep make a world of difference to me. I simply could not sleep last night, and when I got to work, I felt like I was imploding. I couldn't concentrate, and I had a lot of trouble singing well through the songs I was providing, and I was unhappy. I had had a great day the day before, so I knew it had nothing to do with how I was feeling with work. Luckily, Wednesdays are short for me, so I napped really hard and now feel essentially fine.

I remember hardly sleeping when I was in college. I had a number of consecutive semesters in which I had 20 to 23 credit hours, and I stayed in the library all night some nights. Sure, some nights were not spent at the library, but I wasn't the person who shoved something like 40 bars in a two-block radius in the ped mall.

Either I am getting older (of course this is true), or I simply didn't notice what effect sleep deprivation had on me those years ago.

Some people have religious leaders to whom they look for guidance, but I am telling you, I am not ashamed to admit that I really love Gretchen Rubin. Here is some of what she finds to be important about sleep. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Staying clear

Thomas registered me (per my request) for a half marathon in October. Hopefully my training for it will help my physique for our wedding. But, as much as I'd love it, I somewhat doubt I will ever get any smaller than I already am. Regardless, I will try. 

In my music therapy blog reading, I found the site Musicovery. I gave it a C on an A-F scale. Tell me, how do you grade it?
Where I thrive

I remember forming ideas for the coming year once the end of last year came upon us all. I remember saying I wanted to focus on music and my relationships. I want simplicity, so that the things in which I invest grow really well. I'm engaged, which is huge and wonderful. Hopefully I will continue to develop that relationship. :) And I have chosen to focus on my work more intensely and to clarify my needs in the world of music. Also, a good thing. So far in 2011, I am doing well. 

I thrive in Minneapolis. Thrive. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snow globe phase II (at least)

I have entered another snow globe phase. Not to say that much of life here, with me, had become settled in any respect. Its pieces had at least begun their drift down to the ground, though. Thomas and I are moving my stuff from my studio apartment to his house, which alone is enough to send me into a shake-up. But we are also trying to nail down a wedding date and make the first few big decisions that come in wedding planning. And considering getting a dog, in the next few weeks. All of these things are lovely and fantastic.

I am looking for more work, and it sounds like I may get another position in a facility affiliated with my current one. I am also considering "opening" my own "practice," and by that I mean, taking on some individual clients. I recently got a gig as a substitute violinist in a wedding trio, and I am trying to learn more music for work. 

All kinds of beginnings. Beginnings are exciting, but also intense and time-consuming (for me). Where do I concentrate? Where do I focus? Oh, and I've decided to register for my first half-marathon, coming this fall. Again, exciting, but exhausting. I get invested in work when I'm at work, but when I leave, I become consumed by home life (which is natural and probably best, I know), but, how do I divvy up my attention?

Another snow globe
You know?

I think I've had a lot of snow globe phases this year. 

I will try to be nice to myself as all of these newnesses come to be. I am still a new music therapist in a new position, and I am still newly engaged (my favorite). 

Anyway, I am happy to have all of my clothes in one physical space. That fact alone will make daily life easier. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moving out and moving in

One of the closest friends I've made here since I moved a year ago moves away this weekend. I was so fortunate to have been interning at the same site as Courtney, and I will miss her dearly! She moves on to a full-time music therapy position out of state. Good luck to her. 

I, too, will be moving this weekend, but within city limits. I truly detest moving, but it simply has to happen. I am excited to becoming settled and grounded in one physical space with Thomas.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday, Monday

Didn't finish.
After a really busy and productive few days, I sat down last night to watch a movie. Granted, the movie wasn't what I wanted to see, as I was looking for a simple, Jennifer Aniston-esque wedding movie. I chose "The Answer Man," which stars Jeff Bridges and that woman from "Gilmore Girls." I don't think I have ever seen anything with Jeff Bridges in it that resembles an Aniston movie in any way, but regardless, my choice had been made and I watched the damned movie. Until I got mad at myself because I was up so late and made myself go to sleep. But I watched half of the movie. Something close to half. I got to the part where Bridges' character, who had written a very popular book called Me & God, exchanged books he was trying to sell for answers to "god questions" the bookstore owner had for him. One of the owner's questions was, "Why can't I do what I want to do? I have all these ideas, and nothing ever pans out." Bridges' character's answer was that it was important to remember that everything one does is what he wants to do; no one can be made to do anything. 

Having little to nothing to do with the movie, I decided today to be in a decent mood (I had been feeling that work was the boundary between my getting to see Thomas tonight). I decided to sit back a little and consider the current moment instead of plan the next. How was my day, as a result? 

Irritating. I was irritated today. A co-worker complained about it being Monday, and I chose to admit that I wasn't feeling so hot about the workday-- on Mondays, I don't facilitate music therapy sessions. Instead, I facilitate other recreation therapy sessions. Sometimes that's a nice change, but today I was just irritated. Soon, though, I will be happy to see Thomas after his trip.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Local Rhythm

Tonight I had this explosion of interesting things to do. I was going to attend an arts workshop, but it got canceled. After this, I saw Local Rhythm downtown. I was super impressed and am excited to hear them play out again. I thought they were great. Following, I saw O'Death (who were much better than their name) in St. Paul. 

Why, oh why, do some bands insist on being too loud? (I didn't think O' Death was too loud, but one of their opening bands most certainly was.) When less volume will accommodate the venue, then less volume should do. I am of the school that more volume pushes the audience away, and less volume (and a tight ensemble) invites an audience closer. I hate amplification. I do. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Candy and tasks

I have spent a substantial amount of time over the past few days tidying up and organizing and doing things I generally don't like to do. Things I do much too irregularly. Things I spend an exorbitant amount of energy loathing. And in doing them, I have found, once again, as I have always found, relief. Not quite the relief I have mentioned in posts past, but relief nonetheless. That relief translates into a kind of happiness that is impossible to experience without finishing troubling tasks.

What do I do to reward myself? I eat left-overs from the brunch (including drinking some of the corked champagne) and watch a "Cougar Town" marathon. (Take it easy with your judgments. If there were Bravo to watch, I'd be watching. That crap is like candy for me. Empty calories that bring temporary joy, followed by self-disgust and regret.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I used the drive-through ATM today, during regular business hours, and was not at all surprised to see two other cars using the same ATMs. I wasn't surprised because I knew the drivers must be thinking what I'm thinking: I don't want to talk to people, especially about my money, when I can have the same service rendered me by a machine. The weather was gorgeous and there were plenty of pedestrians on the sidewalks, yet we drivers much preferred sitting in our cars to parking and getting out and carrying on conversations about the weather with strangers in line. So no, the ATM driving-through didn't surprise me. 

Not me.
What did give me pause was the realization that, in thinking back to similar circumstances not involving banking, I do the same thing. I'd rather go through a drive-through than be with strangers. I know I'm not the only one who would rather eat in the car than in a restaurant. I suppose that since these options have been provided us, we are clearly more able to be lazy. And I don't mean lazy in the physical sense, but in the social sense. Had I spent the energy to park my car and get myself inside the bank today, I imagine I'd be somewhat healthier now for having exposure to others. Socialization positively influences health. Now that I have options that enable isolation, I more often than not will take advantage of these. Why? Because doing so is so much less work, but brings so little benefit. 

My favorite part of the ATM drive-through is when one of the cars honked at another ahead of it. In the time spent waiting, he could probably have gone inside.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Re-frame and relax

I am again and again amazed at how rehabilitative telling myself to relax is. My Tuesdays are very full, and there is one group in particular I don't feel I do well facilitating. And I have thought, "Man, they all know how much I suck at this." But today, I decided that if I concentrate on the goals I have for the group and take myself out of focus, all will be better. Of course, I have aspects of my facilitation to improve, but re-framing my thoughts about the group helps tremendously.

Thomas might appreciate this.
I also must point out that, not only did Thomas and I announce our engagement on Sunday, we opened the first of the beer that we made. And not only did we try it, we served it to our friends; the beer was tasty! Success.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In flux again

One of the biggest reasons I started this blog was so that I would have something that I would try to do on a daily basis throughout transitions that I was experiencing. Hence, "In Flux." At the time I began writing, I was about halfway through my music therapy internship, and was finding that I was having trouble feeling grounded. On a regular basis, my patients were dying, or declining, or losing their independence. I wanted to use this venue to write about seeing those transitions and feeling my own transitions on personal levels having little to do with the internship. My point is that the birth of this blog had much to do with sad transitions. 

However, now I get to feel happy transitions. :) I won't write specifically about the engagement or wedding planning here, but likely I'll find this place to be beneficial to come back to on a (hopefully) daily basis in order to check in. Should be good. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My news

Well! I've had an eventful day... and an eventful two weeks, actually. I'm engaged and today we had an engagement announcement brunch, which was really fun. We are fortunate to have so many great friends. (Special thanks to one of my very best friends, Claudia, for driving in from out of state to surprise us!)

Now, to sleep.