Hello my dudes! Life happens like crazy. Right now I’m sitting in a 300 square foot cabin by Silverwood Lake in the San Bernardino mountains. I decided to come here on… Friday? On Sunday, I packed up my life and made the drive down. I’ll be here for a couple weeks, possibly the month.
I wasn’t great about writing at the end of last year. While I’m out here in the woods experiencing my own personal Walden (except with a wifi connection), it seems as good a time as any to bring things up to speed here on the blog.
In September I decided to leave my wonderful job, the place where I’d grown the most in my career, a job that I truly loved, and apply for remote jobs. I wanted flexibility, no commute, a more relaxed pace, the ability to do dishes and laundry on my lunch break so I could spend my free time doing more meaningful stuff. I also wanted to take one more variable out of the equation of wanting to move somewhere new, or take a monthlong getaway, like I’m doing now. Sometimes I still miss my old team and the problems we were working on, but this feels like the life for me. It’s extremely balanced and I see it as really sustainable long-term. I’ve also had the chance to travel 1-2 times each month, and a job I can take on the road really helps with that.
Seth’s mom is a poodle breeder and it’s been really fun helping out with the puppies from the last litter. There was this little runty one we all loved and gave special attention; we called him Tiny Kyle. When the puppies started going to their new homes, we realized we were pretty attached and didn’t want to see him go, so we decided to keep him around. I’ve been able to spend lots of time with him since he was born in September and he’s just the happiest and floppiest and softest.
Seth and I took a cruise to Mexico and it was a blast. We did scuba diving, sketchy horseback riding in which we nearly fell off the horses several times, and just lots of eating and drinking and talking in the sun. It gets me pretty stoked that we’re both scuba certified and can make that an aspect of our travels together.
I spent Christmas in Utah this year — my first white Christmas! It was all really nice. The love and gifts and hospitality from everyone on Christmas meant so much to me. It was a nice day.
A few weeks ago, I made a really tough decision to place Ellie in a new home with help from the rescue organization I originally adopted her from. When I adopted her a year ago I knew that any animal I’d be bringing into my living situation would need to be relaxed and non-aggressive. I live in a busy city surrounded by unfamiliar people and animals and statues and noises, and in order to get the dog the best exercise, I’d need to be able to take it hiking and running with me. We thought Ellie would be a good fit, even though her past was a bit of a mystery. She was gentle and sweet and seemed to take everything in stride. Soon after I adopted her though, it became clear that she had some reactivity problems in stressful situations. We think it may have been that her disposition changed from having puppies, and then she became anxious again after the puppies were grown and separated from her. I worked with her for a long time on desensitization and gentle positive reinforcement, but it was nearly impossible to keep a safe distance from all of her triggers, and since she is a large powerful dog, things could get dangerous, and I was constantly on edge. Finally an incident occurred after which my vet recommended it would be best for her to be placed in a different home. I cried a lot. The rescue was incredibly kind and helpful; I am so so thankful for people who work in animal rescue. I know she is going in a great direction and will be an amazing companion for her new family.
A couple weeks later, I began thinking about adopting a cat. I adore cats, and also, if we’re being honest, I was a bit emotionally beaten down from working with a reactive dog for the better part of a year, and I knew a cat would be lower maintenance. So through a series of crazy perfect coincidences, I found myself bringing home a little white male kitten. He wasn’t getting along with his previous owner’s other cat, he needed a new home, and I adored his lil face in the pictures I saw. It was a bit overwhelming at first; it’d been awhile since I owned a cat. Within hours, though, he completely won me over and now I’m #blessed to be owned by this spoiled bb. This is Simon. He likes purring on my shoulder while I work.
So. The first month of 2018 is basically over which is nuts. On January 3, I made a list of some goals for the year. Most of it revolves around experiences and connections.
Watching crappy reality TV will happen sometimes when I need to just relax, but I know I’ll be happy if I can get out there and do things and see things and create things as much as I can. I want to draw and paint, cook, read books about science, go to museums, journal and blog.
I want to keep in touch with faraway friends and family and make sure they know I care about them. I want to build more relationships in Utah by initiating plans, being open and positive in social situations, and building people up however I can. I want to be friendly to everyone I meet, from new friends and coworkers to service workers to people I pass on the street, completely let go of judgement, and always assume the best.
I also want to be fully responsible for my emotions and happiness and to take time to think about my own needs. I want to practice good stuff like eating healthy and exercising and getting good sleep, keeping balance and boundaries in relationships, speaking up for myself, etc.
I want to kick ass at my job. I want to take initiative to improve things when I see deficiencies. I want to be ultra communicative and present and focused.
Also at the end of the day I want to just keep living a joyful existence and if that means my goals change throughout the rest of the year, then I’m totally cool with that.