Sunday, July 15, 2018

Daring Greatly

I wasn’t unhappy. I guess I’ve spent the last three years trying to decide if that was OK. Contentment. Safety. Comfort. Companionship. All the things we crave as humans. I had that. But I wasn’t thrilled about it. I never at any point felt that giddiness or spark that people feel—never had that deep connection.

You know what I mean. The giddiness that eventually goes away when you find out that there’s a real human under that first impression. A real human with real struggles and flaws.

And what we did have after five years was a pretty darn good understanding of each other’s struggles and flaws. And a pretty ready acceptance of those things, for the sake of having someone around to rely on and spend time with.

Have I been wrong to want more? Is it too demanding of me to want somebody to look at me occasionally with eyes of admiration, love, and tenderness? Shouldn’t a woman feel lucky to have a dependable man who would do anything for her (I had that)? Shouldn’t that be enough? Why does he have to look at you any certain way? Why does he have to express his tender feelings for you? Why can’t his actions and devotion be enough? Why are you so ungrateful? What right do you have, Janae?

I wish I had the answers. But I am thanking the Lord that I love to read self-help, because the timing of me reading Daring Greatly couldn’t have been better.

Brene Brown seems to put it best. She says, “If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” She also says, “To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.” Finally, she says, “We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love, and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging, is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

So when he told me after all these years that he’s “just not wired that way,” I both don’t believe him, and feel confident in my decision. It is normal to seek that connection, love, and belonging—that deep meaningful thing that takes time, and trust, and disclosure.

The brave, courageous thing to do is to navigate through our shame to become vulnerable—to become vulnerable to have a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. That is what I want. I don’t think it comes easily. I think it takes a lot of work and time: therapy, self-exploration, rawness, and a real attempt to be your whole, honest, self.

Please understand what I am giving up, for maybe the 11th time in three years. I am giving up companionship, consistency, reliability, friendship, acceptance, a shoulder to cry on. I’m giving up the person who on Monday night when I was going to pass out from a bad plasma donation, lovingly had me sit down, and followed my instructions for weighing and heating up my dinner. I’m giving up the person who answers all my technology questions and fixes all the things around my house. I’m giving up good morning texts, someone who cares about all my unimportant daily thoughts and experiences. I’m giving up reassurances and guiding words, the buoying up of someone who knows me and my intentions and can encourage me through my crippling mistakes and bad days. I'm giving up someone whose priority is my comfort and safety. Am I nuts? 

It’s hard to remind myself that I am giving up these things so that I don’t foreclose on my emotional life. I want to find connection. I want to feel someone’s love for me. I want someone who can explore his own inadequacies like I explore mine, who can do this while walking beside me and accepting me as I am, but also as we expect more from ourselves. I want to be with someone who is OK being uncomfortable with me because growth matters.

I know he can’t see that “Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears—the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable.” I know that this is where his inability to connect and engage comes from. I wish I could make him feel safe, worthy, and loved. But I can’t. These are things he has to work through on his own. We as humans have to work through a lot of issues to locate our sense of worthiness, love, and belonging. I respect that he doesn’t want to, but I need someone who does want to. I need someone to be in the arena with me, battling with me to be better and more open.

Because something else I am giving up in all this is someone who could not and would not share his deep thoughts and feelings. Someone who hides things, big and small. Someone who had trouble being grateful and expressing gratitude. Someone who would often complain but do nothing to change the factors he could control. Someone who just wanted to be comfortable and steady in life, without aspiring to more. Someone who would be a spectator and a support, but not take on challenges with me. And these things are all pretty important in my mind. All this is NOT to make him look bad, or make myself look better than he was. I only mean to say that these are important qualities and traits, non-negotiables, as it were. And he is a good, good man. But when “enough” is “good enough,” we have conflicts of interest for life. And that’s OK, we just need to find someone better suited for us.

So? Is isn't it OK to just not be unhappy? Are contentment and stability and predictability enough? Am I ungrateful for wanting more?

No. I’m normal. I am normal for wanting to feel that connection. I am just like every other human.

Will I find it? Isn’t that always the question, even more so now at age 31? Isn’t that why I always come back to what is safe, familiar, and comfortable every time? Because I am afraid that I won’t find what it is I’m looking for? And why am I afraid? Do I doubt my own worthiness? Do I really believe that there just aren’t that many options out there (read: 4 amazing women to every 1 mediocre dude)? I guess these are some things I have to work through with the Lord.

In my quest for wholehearted living, I am taking a huge risk. And I need to work on building my faith and trust that things will work out.

Having courage in these moments is so indescribably hard. But I am grateful for the people who have been there all along in my process, who have let me get to this point on my own without telling me how weak or dumb I am for always going back to what is safe. For listening to the same thoughts and feelings I’ve had for years, and for passing no judgment on me. I’ve felt so blessed this week by the good people in my life, who are probably so much more frustrated with me than they let on.

Here’s to doing the hard work of letting go of something good in the hopes of finding something great. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

June 2018 In Review

I have attempted to design my summer once again, which meant plugging in events like Taylorsville Dayzz along with High Fitness classes, hikes, pool time, and all other summer things that I enjoy.

That all makes for a pretty excellent start to my summer.

We'll start with the most important thing, and that was National Donut day, obviously.

I went to R&R BBQ with my mom, where I had chicken nachos. And they were amazing.

I have done a LOT of grilling. Like, weekly. Lots of grilling. 

I had a Yelp event at Laid Back Poke shack, and the poke obsession continued. I seriously love it so much. 

I went to a Favorite Things party with my Relief Society. We had to bring two of our favorite things, so I brought the makings of a Swig Texas Tab and my favorite popcorn: homestyle from Pop Secret.

I went to Pizza Studio with Rachel. Oh and I ordered high ponytail hats. A few of them. They're the best. 

I love Bees games! It's not summer without baseball. 

I made many, many acai bowls. They're just such a delicious summer treat. 

Hat day at work with Brittney. :)

I tried the Normal ice cream truck. It was delish. I got the olive oil soft serve, but it was the brown butter and apricot composed cone. So good. 

I went to Coconut Island Grill with Kristen. 

I spent a few afternoons by the pool and have a decent tan going. 

I went to the Pirates symphony with good old Dan! It was SO GOOD!!!!

I did a mobility challenge with @docjenfit on Instagram. Just brought to light how many limitations I have in my range of motion and flexibility.

I went to two nights of Taylorsville Dayzz. The first night was an Eagles tribute band called Desperado, and I went with Joyce. The second night was a Beegeez tribute band called Stayin' Alive. Apparently Saturday is the day everyone goes, because getting out of there was an absolute nightmare. Friday night we went from the lawn to home in 20 minutes! But the fireworks were great, especially last night. It was a half hour show!

Saturday afternoon I got my eyes checked. I hate the eye doctor.

Thankfully I got my prescription and pupillary distance, so I can just go order some glasses from Zenni. Also saw Won't You Be My Neighbor? yesterday. This month I also saw Solo, Avengers, Ocean's 8, Incredibles 2, and the Catcher Was a Spy. I may have seen more, but just don't know if it was in June. I saw Deadpool 2, Quiet Place (twice), I Feel Pretty, and Ready Player One. I like to see lots of movies, especially in the summer.

I've played softball every Tuesday with work. We've lost almost all our games. We have two games left. Huzzah.

I had a massage on June 14, so that was amazing.

I started Orange Theory fitness on June 23 and have immensely enjoyed it. I'm dying today though. I went too hard yesterday.

I started donating plasma last week for some extra monies.

I got a Dexa scan on Thursday to tell me the breakdown of my muscles and fat and all those fun things. Positive conclusions were that I have great skeletal muscle, and amazing bone density. So that was good news.

Anyway, I'm off to a strong start with my summer and hope to have excellent things to cover at the end of that month. I have plans to attend the temple, my cousin's baby shower to attend, hopefully another Bees' game or two (July 16 and 30), and a Sunday school lesson to teach.

Happy summer! :)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend

I left work just after noon so I could go to the mall to finally end the saga of my phone. It got fixed. I finished packing and restored my phone. I was out the door and on the way to Swig, then to Rachel’s. We loaded up and left her place before 3pm, earlier than planned.

We drove to Brigham City and had dinner at Maddox Ranch House. It was so yummy. The bread and the raspberry butter were awesome. The cornpones were so good too! I had the fried chicken and fries, and Rachel got the shrimp and baked potato. The service was great, and the atmosphere was quiet and pleasant. I got some candies on the way out: every kind of soft caramel, plus a hard toffee or two.  I proceeded to divvy those out throughout the weekend.

We didn’t arrive to Ketchum until it was already dark. The condo was really cute, but much smaller than we had anticipated. We unloaded the car via the balcony because we could literally set things on the balcony edge, go inside, the condo, and bring it all in. So quick and nice. I took the couch, and Rachel took the bed.

Saturday morning, I did my workout in the living room via Beachbody on Demand, using their Apple TV (so convenient). We had a small breakfast at home and then proceeded to wander the town for several hours. We went into a cute gift shop, where I got a shirt, some tea, honey, and a magnet. We eventually wandered into a little café where I had a nonfat matcha latte. It was a really cute place on the inside, but sadly was under construction on the outside. Thankfully we were not deterred. It was a really good experience. They had a lot of delicious looking menu items, too, but we didn’t end up going back there to eat.

After that, we wandered around some more, visited a Woo Woo Shoppe (literally that was the name of it), where I got in trouble for taking pictures without asking because when you take photos of spiritual items, you take away some of its nature. So that was fun. Rachel asked about the woman’s story. She was originally from Sandy, left home at 14 or 16? And ended up in Idaho. She had a period of time where she lived in her car. She fell into mortgage lending. And eventually opened up this shop, which was her passion. I tried to listen intently and be respectful even though I felt embarrassed that she had been upset with me.

We did lunch at a little sports pub called Lefty’s. I had a club sandwich and these spicy chip-fries. Rachel had a burger. All of it was really yummy. We listened to some of the town’s best characters have some great conversation about the g--d--- coyotes.

From there, we walked over to the cemetery to find Ernest Hemingway’s grave. His son was buried next to him, as well as his last wife. There were coins, rocks, and bottle caps decorating his grave.

More meandering occurred. Then we went into another little café because I wanted a treat, but they were 30 minutes from closing, and the lady seemed like she was about to poop her pants from the stress. I had a delicious pecan cinnamon roll. It was really, really good.

That entire day, I was dealing with a considerable amount of back pain. It was deep in my lats, but didn’t feel muscular. It was almost like my muscles were catching onto bone when I breathed. So every sneeze or cough or honestly any random movement gave me intense spasms of pain. We walked from that café over to a local grocery store, where I picked up some kombucha and some Icy Hot to see if it would help with my muscle spasms.

After that, we wandered into a book store. It was really cute and tiny. Upstairs I found a Swiss Ball exercise book, which I got for $3. I was pretty excited about that find.

We walked home, chilled on the couch and bed, read a little bit, and both passed out for an hour or two. We woke up hungry and decided to get Italian at Rico’s for a late dinner—like 8pm. Thankfully they weren’t busy, but we had some mishaps with our orders and such, so that was weird. Still, the food was overall pretty good, and I’d go back.

I obviously needed a treat that night, since lunch at a pub, a midday treat, and an Italian dinner wasn’t enough food. Rachel managed to navigate us to A La Mode, where I got a scoop of coffee ice cream with whipped cream on top. It was decent and mostly hit the spot. She also took me in to the market where I got some ibuprofen to see if the inflammation in my back would go down.

That night we watched Jumanji, which we got from Redbox. Thankfully, Rachel was entertained, which was a relief because she had no interest in seeing it. Rachel was also so kind as to rub my back with the Icy Hot we got at the store.

On Sunday morning, I wrapped up in my blanket and sat on the balcony for a little while. I loved to just sit there and smell the air and listen to the birds. I made some tea and just sat there. It was so relaxing in the best way. While I showered and such, Rachel made us some delicious bacon, egg, and cheese croissants. I also had some strawberries and pineapple, and a couple of Rachel’s raspberries. We packed up our notebooks and some snacks, loaded up the car, and drove through the mountains to Redfish Lake. It was a beautiful and scenic drive. Initially it was really foggy and cloudy, which I think looked really cool. But there were some clear spots and great photos.

We initially missed the turn off for the lake and drove a few extra minutes to Stanley, Idaho. I had to use the restroom, so I went into the museum, which used to be the residence of the rangers and their families. I LOVE looking at old stuff and learning some new things. For whatever reason, I have a strange obsession with wood burning stoves and other antiques. It was super cool. And the man working there was so nice and informative.

 Rachel drove us back down to Redfish Lake. Initially we parked and hung out at the shore for a few minutes. Raytch put her feet in the water, and I mostly looked for rocks. When I put my feet in, it was way too cold for me, so I didn’t last very long. But I did find some awesome rocks.

We drove to another spot on the lake and wandered over to a dock, where we spent somewhere around an hour just sitting quietly, reading, writing, and relaxing. The clouds would occasionally drift in front of the sun, bringing shade and coolness. It was really nice. Neither of us brought our bathing suits and wished we had.

We got back to Ketchum around 4pm and decided on an early dinner at Wise Guys Pizza. It wasn’t amazing, but not terrible. The crowd was pretty rough and mostly local, so it was fun to people watch. I got two slices of pizza but added ham and mushroom to mine. I didn’t realize the slices were so big, or I’d have gotten just one. We shared a salad and some garlic knots as well. We rented Thor: Ragnarok, which both of us have seen more than once. But it’s still the best. We watched it, and it was still early when we finished, so we went on a long walk.

We found the parkway that runs next to the river. I would love to do long training runs there. It was beautiful. We also found a huge sculpture called “Spur,” which was designed to imitate the interior of a lava tube. It was really neat. We also saw a deer and stood watching her for a few minutes.

After getting back to the condo, I decided I needed a treat again. Rachel walked with me to a local market a couple of blocks away. I got a couple of cookies from the bakery case, some tea, and some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which were pretty disappointing. Nothing really hit the spot. The only problem with moving to Ketchum would be a lack of dessert options. I mean, that might help me out in a lot of ways, but I’d be sad about it.

We ate some snacks and watched some of Star Wars: A New Hope. We went to bed fairly early.

I was up early again the next morning and did my workout and went on a 1.5 mile run down to the river and back. It was lightly sprinkling rain, and so cold, and so beautiful. During all this time, Rachel was packing up her bags, her ice chest, and the car. I felt panicky because I don’t like anyone waiting on me. I showered, packed, and got ready as fast as I could. I didn’t do makeup, but filled in my eyebrows in the car.

We drove over to The Kneadery and had about a 20 minute wait, which wasn’t too bad for a holiday. I had Brioche French toast, 2 eggs, and bacon, along with some Earl Grey tea. Rachel had the Cowboy. All the food was delicious, and I loved the environment at the place. It would be fun to eat there on a non-rainy day, on their patio or in the front. It was so cute.

We drove from 11-1 and stopped at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. We took an hour or so break there. It was so cool. Very busy, since it was Memorial Day, but very cool. I’m glad Rachel wanted to stop and visit.

We had some snacks and drinks at the falls, then we drove from 2-5pm. We hit some traffic outside of Logan and even saw a small tornado on our way back!

During our drive we listened to the book Grit by Angela Duckworth. Lots of great gems so far, and I downloaded the audiobook so I could listen to the rest of it.

As soon as we got to Rachel’s, I helped her unload, and she helped me unload into my car. I went straight to the grocery store, got home, put laundry in, and got chicken in the Instant Pot. I jumped right back in to real life.

The trip was beautiful, relaxing, and amazing. I need to be better about taking advantage of long weekends and seeing new places. I’m thankful Rachel invited me on her personal restorative trip and was happy to accompany her. It was low-key, but we still did a ton. We enjoyed rainstorms and sunshine, and overall just had a lovely time enjoying the quiet town of Ketchum. If you ever want to get away from the noise for a little bit, I know of a cute condo in a great resort town you can go to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Springtime Trip

Brittney and I landed in Long Beach on time, just before 10am. We wandered out and over to Hertz Car Rental, where we waited in line for a ridiculous amount of time because people didn’t make reservations and thought they did, or they didn’t know the license and credit card had to match. Normal things I feel adults should know, but I guess I expect too much.

We got a free upgrade because they were out of compact cars, so we chose a Ford Fusion to save money on gas. We never had to fill it up—only used a half a tank the entire time.

We went straight from the airport to Wal-Mart, where we bought some sun block and high protein goods and healthy snacks, like tuna packets, jerky, sugar snap peas, and pre-cut mixed fruit. Brittney got herself some protein shakes, but I can’t do those because whey. The one thing we forgot here was a massive water bottle. So we stopped at CVS on our way to Seal Beach and grabbed ourselves some big water bottles.

At the beach, the parking meter thing wasn’t working, so Brittney had to set up an account to pay for it and stuff. Super annoying.

It was cloudy and somewhat cold that morning. I still covered up with sunblock every hour or two, and came away with a decent tan and no burn. Sadly, Britt burned herself. But some lotion at Jason's and some aloe later helped her feel much better the next day.

We spent a few hours on the sand and put our feet in the water. I even fell asleep. It was an early morning for me (I got up at 5 to work out).

We left around 2:45 to head to my brother’s apartment. We got there on time by 4pm. There was more traffic than anticipated, of course.

That night was probably the most special of all my nights at home. Jason and Kellie’s apartment was decorated so cute and Bohemian. We sat around and chatted for a bit, then took the food out to the apartment complex grills. Jason had a heck of a time lighting it, but thankfully a groundskeeper came by and helped us out. He also had a heck of a time cooking the chicken because he didn’t spray the grill, and the chicken was sticking to the foil. Still, after all this hassle, the chicken turned out so, so good. Kellie also made a delicious salad, garlic bread, and mashed potatoes.

It was so awesome to me to have an adult dream realized, and a hope fulfilled. I thought and still think all the time about hanging out with my brothers as adults, at our respective homes, eating food, and having adult conversation. I honestly never thought Jason would be the first to arrive. But it was so special to me to be at his home and have him and his girlfriend cook me dinner for the first time ever. I’m so proud of them and how far they’ve come in their sobriety and in all they’re doing.

After that we headed back to Glendora, and stopped at Stater Bros. where we got some spinach, almond milk, egg whites, and drinks.

We hung out and talked with dad for a bit, and said hi to Jake really quick. But then we left to get a treat because we ate so well early in the day. We went to Donut Man and got a half dozen: maple donut, crumb donut, raspberry cream cheese donut, strawberry donut, tiger tail, and a buttermilk bar that was disappointingly dry. Don’t worry, we didn’t eat all the donuts. We each ate one (Brittney had maple; I had crumb), and took a couple bites of the others.

We went to bed super exhausted and woke up ready to seize the day on Sunday. I checked out breakfast options on Yelp. We decided on a cute café in San Dimas called Rail Side Café. They were full inside, as it’s a tiny place, so we ate outside under a covered table. It was cold and misty rain. I ended up ordering a nonfat Earl Grey latte (with no stomach issues later?) to go with my bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich. Brittney had a chai tea latte. It was a slow and magical morning just sitting there, enjoying the ambiance of the place. The manager came out and offered everyone outside blankets. I thought that was such a cool, personal touch. It was just a really great time.

After that we went to the Dollar Tree where I got a few necessities (including slippers because I can’t do hard wood floor and tile barefoot). We stopped at Robek’s so I could get Jake a gift card, and then we shopped at Old Navy. We made ourselves a protein shake and then headed to Venice Beach.

My GPS didn’t take us south enough. We paid to park and walked down to the boardwalk, and saw Santa Monica pier wasn’t too far north, so we headed there. We looked around and took some pictures. I loved all the Route 66 stuff. We wandered back to the car, and honestly didn’t mind the walk because we were pointing out cute houses on our way.

We headed further south to Venice Beach and had quite the adventure looking for parking—all the lots were $10 and $15, and we weren’t going to be there for very long. Thankfully, smart Brittney said we should try the Post Office. There was a spot in there, and USPS is closed on Sundays, so we should be OK. It was right on Main street, making our walk to the boardwalk really easy. We stopped at a little café where I got a Taro Thai milk bubble tea, and Britt got a passionfruit bubble tea. So good.

Obviously, we wandered around for a good portion of time. There weren’t too many weird folks, but there was a family exploiting their children, who weren’t especially talented. All the usual artists were there, and some musicians/performers. We went to a couple of shops where I picked up a Muscle Beach tee, and Brittney got herself a California hat, and some souvenirs for friends back home. We got some churros from a Mexican lady with a cart, which sadly weren’t that good, especially since they probably needed to be heated up.

We found Afters ice cream, and a chimney place with soft serve, but we resisted those temptations. We drove home. Dad took us to Casa del Rey. We split a burrito, but I ate way too many chips, obviously.

We ended up getting no treats that night, but I did have half of an Almond Joy along with an apricot. I always need a treat, you guys.

On Monday morning, we got up and did a workout. We each used a 15 pound dumbbell, and I just traded Wednesday and Monday’s workouts (so I did Monday’s today). It was hard but so fun to have someone to work out with. It’s funny, it seems harder having someone else there. Like I just do my workouts and maybe forget that they’re challenging. But then having someone else there reminds me how hard the movements are for me, because I have someone to complain to.

It was sunny and beautiful that morning. We had shakes and left just before 9am. We first went to Donut Queen, where I got a buttermilk, and Britt got a maple bar. She wasn’t disappointed. We then went to Starbucks where I got a nonfat matcha latte (again no stomach issues), and Britt got her beverage. We headed to Huntington Beach. Traffic was pretty bad trying to stay on the 57, as usual. We got to my aunt’s house about 10:15, where I pulled up as my cousin Josh was walking up to the house.

He was our chauffeur for the day. We left pretty quickly, had to get gas, and aunt Lisa wanted a Banzai Bowl (acai bowl). Britt and I were still full, so we split one. We walked from there to the Huntington Pier, where we enjoyed the breeze and the smells, and took a few pictures.

We walked back, and Josh picked us up in the parking lot. We then headed to a few different spots. The first spot was a lookout point. There were a ton of amazing smelling flowers, and you could see the beautiful clear water.

The second spot had a toilet that we used right away. The tide was low enough that we could climb past some areas and get over to tide pools. We treasure hunted a little bit. We also went to Victoria Street and saw some beautiful homes, one of which has their own private castle spiral staircase down to the shore. Not sure who these people are, but holy cow.

The anemones scared her

Due to traffic and Jake’s birthday, we had to cut our visit somewhat short. We left my aunt’s at 2:45 (after I took a really long pee and brushed the tangles out of my hair). We headed to Stater Bros where we got some cake mixes, scratch frosting supplies, frozen California style veggies, some chips, and pineapple and cantaloupe to add to the mango and strawberries at home for a fruit salad. Dad made steelhead and salmon on the grill. Everything was so delicious, and I finished off those damn barbecue chips by myself. Chips are a no-go for me, guys. It’s so hard. I made Jake a lemon cake, made myself a chocolate cake, and made cream cheese frosting for both.

 Jared and Amoreena came over. They hung up a birthday banner for Jake, and also brought him a funfetti cake with sprinkles in a marijuana pattern on the cake. They brought him a present: a banzai tree and care kit for it. They also bought me a present: a Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe kit—to make chocolate frogs and other treats. So, so thoughtful! Those cute kids.

We ate dinner around the round table outside. We took some family pictures on timer—everyone together, just the siblings, siblings and dad, Jake and each person, etc. It was nice to get some current photos.

The conversation and fun at the dining room table went on as normal, us cracking our weird jokes and sharing strange humor. Jake was very appreciative of the cards and gifts. He got a little teary-eyed with dad’s card. It meant a lot to him. He hugged me and thanked me for making his birthday special.

We went to bed—Brittney first, and me just after 11pm. We were up at 5 and out the door by 5:20 to head back. We had an ordeal trying to find a gas station off the freeway exit to the airport. We ended up having to turn around, and then there were two. All we had to do was turn left. Eye roll. We turned in the car with no issues, went through security with no issues, and headed to the gate. I filled up my water bottle, went potty, and Britt got her coffee. We were in zone 1, and in the very back row of the plane.

We landed early at 9:55am. We ordered an Uber WAY too soon, thinking they would come later. So we had to book it out to the pickup area so our ride wouldn’t leave us behind. I got dropped off first, around 10:31am. I put on some makeup and some different clothes, and fixed my hair. I was out the door by 10:53am to head to work. I got myself a DDP from McDonald’s because work. And I clocked in at 11:15am.

The only hiccup in all this was the fact that my phone went haywire on Monday during our beach explorations. Brittney had to be my navigator and middleman texter. I was thankful to have her there because what on earth does anyone do without a phone?

I miss my family and I miss California more than I can explain. I got a little emotional in the Uber, and tried to let myself feel the sadness. But then I had to pull it together because life goes on.

This was one of my best trips home in a lot of years. I am glad Brittney could be there to share it with me. She was such a cool travel companion—so easygoing and didn’t seem irritated with me or my family. I’m feeling all kinds of good feelings and gratitude for this trip we decided to take on a whim because of a good flight price.