Monday, September 15, 2014

Back to Work!

Hello

Well, well, well!  Guess who hardly took any photos last week?  That would be moi, so you get a close-up of Lu’s face.  Check out those pretty white whiskers!

The cold front this weekend brought some spectacular weather to Texas.  It was cool and rainy and we all just basked in it.  I went running twice, only to realize how desperately out of running shape I am.  Oh well—it comes back, right?

FLF_Week of September 8 cropped

On a different note, our lives are getting busier here at Feels Like Flying headquarters.  The academic semester is picking up speed; all three of us here in this house have tutoring gigs this week.  I completed 12 billable hours this week, which is only 8 short of my minimum goal of 20 hours.  That might not sound like a lot, but when you’re freelancing and still pretty new to the game, landing billable hours can be really hard.  Or maybe it’s not so much that it’s hard as it’s a game of putting your best stuff out there and waiting patiently to see if anyone wants to work with you.  The waiting is hard.  Being patient is hard.  Doing the work?  That’s a lot easier.

But all of that is to say that we are all feeling hopeful that our house will land on its feet, financially.  I’m writing about some of this stuff over at my other blog in a series called “Budgeting for Freelancers.”  Rather than rehash the boring generic advice that one can find via a simple search, I want to tell our story and what budgeting means for us, real people with hopes and fears and savings and debt and the unknown future, winking at us in secret collaboration.

Because that’s what it’s all about, right?  Our stories.  Generic advice is meant for a generic audience.  But you, my dears, you are the ones to whom I tell my stories.  And even though I’m totally rusty at this writing thing, I’d like to start writing again more regularly.  Why is routine so hard at some points in life?  I’d like my routines back, please.  Or maybe I just want my writing time back.

Things may be getting busier, but they are starting to feel more like a routine.  Slowly, surely, I’ll get back to my running and writing routines, right?  Right.

Happy routine-following, my dears.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let’s Do This

First some art…

Spider House

Good Advice

…and now something funny!

ORLY

Hey, hey!  Happy September!  Even though my last post was on September 3rd, today’s chilly temperatures feel more like September than the close-to-100 temps we’ve had lately.  My friend Emily and I were joking that today is the day to do ALL THE FALL THINGS, like buying a pumpkin, eating an apple pie, and wearing every scarf you own.  We Northerners share a longing for the autumn we once loved.  Texas may win a prize for its spectacular springtime beauty, but autumn here is nothing to invite your friends to see.

My roommate Courtney (whom you can see poking out at the bottom of the semen donor photo) and I have been running around town putting up flyers for our two businesses.  She recently launched The Austin Writing Shop, a coaching and editing business for writers.  And I of course have gone full-time as a biology and chemistry tutor.  Together, we’ve gone out on three field trips to advertise our stuff around Austin; the photos above are from our trip to the University of Texas’s campus, where our first stop was Amy’s Ice Cream.  That was a good choice, as we needed fuel to keep us going for countless blocks of city walking, ducking in and out of shops to see who had bulletin boards and who did not.  Visiting that part of town made me really excited to get back to Spider House, a place I visited once with Matt.  It’s quirky, artsy, humming with a creative vibe.  It’s lovely, really.

On a different note, Paul and I had to abort our Sunday morning bike ride along the river trail after he fell off his bike.  We had just arrived at the trail and were about to start the scenic part of our ride when Paul was trying to mount his bike and it slipped out from underneath him.  He landed so hard on his bike frame that we think he broke a rib; he’s had some pain this week that would be consistent with a hairline fracture, I think.  He had some scrapes and bruises elsewhere too.  So this week he’s been recovering from that.  We probably won’t head out on our bikes tomorrow, which is super sad, but if he needs to heal, then it’s the right decision.

As for me, it was a pretty good fitness week!  I had forgotten that I ran twice, which is really good for me these days.  I’m still feeling really challenged by my lack of running routine; just how DOES one go about starting a new routine?  Between the heat, no consistent work routine, and my love for walking, running feels like something I used to do, not something I actually do now.  I’m kinda thinking about trying a streak for this upcoming week, just to break my own running stasis.  Run EVERY DAY?!?  It’s so crazy, it just might work. 

FLF_Week of September 1 cropped

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with another update from this current week.  Until then, happy trails to you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Slow Finish to August

First, a few photo highlights from last week!

Six Kinds of Quinoa

“Go buy some quinoa from Whole Foods,” Paul tells me.  I oblige, only to find that Whole Foods sells six (SIX!) different kinds of quinoa.  I buy the cheapest one because, starting at $4.99/pound, quinoa is much more expensive than rice or tortillas.  Still, the number of options was impressive, so I had to document them.

Yeah!

August has been a really nice balance of working at home and exploring Austin.  The mug above, featuring Austin’s best slogan, is from Book People, a wonderful independent bookstore in downtown Austin.  (The mug belongs to my roommate Courtney.)  I’m pretty sure that I myself am not weird enough for Austin, but I love the mug nonetheless.

Moving on to last week’s work-outs…

FLF_Week of August 25 cropped

It’s still, of course, beastly hot here in Texas, so I finished up August with more walking and a bike ride with Paul.  I promised myself that once September arrived, I’d get back into running, but I’ll save that story for next time.

After a pretty stressful summer of working and moving to Austin, we definitely took advantage of the slower pace of August.  I feel like my walking routine is symbolic of the ease that August gave us.  But now that August is over and we are getting down to business in Austin, I feel ready to run and maybe to even log more than 10 miles in a week!  Hey, that would be novel! 

Lu Likes Vegetarian Times Too

Finally, here’s Miss Lu, sitting in one of her favorite spots in front of the balcony door.  She loves the sunshine we get in the morning and will even wedge herself between the blinds to sunbathe.

Happy day to you, dear reader!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

You Are Here

You Are Here

On the Bike Trail

Tonight I’m taking a break from genetics to catch up around here!  I know that blogging isn’t real work in the I-get-paid-for-it sense, but I always feel a tingle of accomplishment when I catch up on the just-for-fun writing that I do.

Paradoxically, we are settling into daily life in Austin as our schedule is about to become much busier with work.  I did well with my exercise last week, getting outside for some movement six days out of seven.  On Monday, we took the bus to downtown Austin, theoretically to buy me some study/tutoring materials for chemistry.  We checked out Book People, where they keep the college study references in just the right place: next to the incense!

Incense and College Reference 

They didn’t have any chemistry references for me, so I settled for a votive candle and Paul bought a new journal.  (We’re big on journaling in our house!)  From there, we headed over to Whole Foods to buy a few groceries, then we caught the bus home.  Note for the record that we did NOT go into Anthropologie because I’m saving it for a special treat: when I hit 100 tutoring hours on WyzAnt, I’m giving myself permission to buy something from Anthro if I want.  It’s a store that is, I think, generally out of my price range (and I don’t have the patience/desire to stalk sales the way other people do), but I’m happy to use it as a reward now that there is a store near me.

On Sunday morning, we headed out on the riverside bike trail for a LONG bike ride in the sunshine.  (The photos at the top are from our ride.)  This time, we didn’t get any flat tires, so we were able to enjoy our bikes all the way back home, where the uphill was so steep that I had to hop off my bike and walk it.  My legs were trashed by the end, but it was a deliciously tired feeling.

FLF_Week of August 18 cropped

And that brings this blog officially UP TO DATE!  Hurray!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Work Hard, Play Hard

At home, working…

She's Done with Her Homework

Study Time

…and out on the road.

Dallas

En Route to College Station

Another week over and another week closer to the start of the fall semester!  The week of August 11th was a good “work hard, play hard” week.  I made good progress on my tutoring work, and oh, Paul and I had our interview that week!  More on that soon if we get hired.  On Thursday, we headed north to Dallas to see friends and so Paul could go to a concert with another friend of ours.  I love the Dallas skyline and wish I could better capture it with my camera.  Alas, that third photo down (a rather mediocre shot) will have to do for now.  The fourth photo down is a photo of the sunrise as we made an early-morning drive to College Station to finish up some work there.

I did well with my exercise before we went to Dallas, but I didn’t keep up with it while we were on our mini-vacation.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: August is such a punishing month in Texas.  I miss being outside more often and can’t wait until we start seeing cooler temperatures again.

But hey, how cute is my work-out summary this week?!

FLF_Week of 8_11_14 cropped

Monday, August 11, 2014

The First Week in Austin

Out and about…

From the Passenger Side

Out on the Bike Trail

…and at home in Austin.

Hard at Work_Selfie Break

Big Belly Boo

Hello, hello!  I’m so ready to get back into weekly updates on this blog.  We’ve been settling into Austin quite nicely, though I’ll confess that much of my time here thus far has been spent at my desk.  It’s a good busy, a happy busy, as Paul and I get ready for the upcoming semester and try to get our names out there so that students can find us.  When I work at home, Lucy sprawls out behind me or she sneaks into the closet and sleeps on my slippers.  It’s pretty adorable.

When we sneak away from our desks, it’s often on bike.  On Saturday, we headed down to the bike trail by the river and enjoyed the sites, like the one in the second photo from the top.  Unfortunately, Paul got a flat tire on the trail, and we had to walk our bikes all the way home.  Since then, he’s done a bunch of work on his bike and on mine, which is fantastic.  I love dating someone who is so handy and caring.

If I head out of the house without Paul, I usually do so on foot.  I’ll tell you more about my future running plans in my next post, but suffice to say that I’m taking advantage of the newfound stability in my life to start training again.  I got two short runs in last week and I went out tonight for a longer run.  To illustrate, I present the following:

FLF_Week of 8_04_14 v3

Paul and I bought digitizer tablets for tutoring!  They’re like electronic notebooks that you can use for sketching, drawing, or, in our case, lots of problem solving with students.  I’m still getting used to the tablet, but I’ve decided to do my weekly work-out log on the tablet.  I like its hand-drawn quality!

How is your week going, dear reader?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July by iPhone

Tonight I write to you from Austin, TX.  We finally finished our move from College Station to Austin after a very long week and several trips back and forth between the two cities.  We’re still not fully unpacked, but we’ve bought groceries twice and cooked several meals in our new kitchen.  The feeling that “this is home” is startling to settle into my heart.  Truly, the next chapter begins.

In keeping with my monthly recaps on this blog, I’m going to skip lightly over June (because I barely remember it, to be honest) and jump into something more exciting: July by iPhone!  I am now the proud user of a refurbished iPhone.  Paul was able to fix an old phone from his sister, and we finally activated it this summer.  (I can’t even tell you how long it sat in my desk…let’s just say it’s been a while.)

July was a crazy, intense month.  We enjoyed the pants off of it, until the end when the move to Austin completely dominated our lives.  But before that, we had…

Late Night Joy Ride in the New Car

…an evening joy ride in our new car.  I took a terrible selfie to mark the event.  It’s an awful photo, but it marks a huge turning point for Paul and me: co-ownership of a vehicle.  I think it’s safe to say we love each other more than we love the new car.  (But we do love the new car!)

Connect Four at Hullabaloo

…Connect Four while waiting for our table at Hullabaloo Diner.  Hullabaloo is legendary in College Station, and I had wanted to eat there at least once before we left CS.  Lucky for me, the guys decided to go to Hullabaloo to celebrate our friend Matt’s birthday, so we drove out there for delicious breakfast-for-dinner entrees and a huge platter of green chili cheese fries.  I wish we'd had room for pie, but we were so stuffed that common sense got the better of us and we rolled outta there without dessert.  Next time! 

Before our table was ready, we sat outside and played some games.  Paul is a champion Connect Four player, and he whomped me thoroughly in several rounds.  But I think I got at least one win in there!

Wisdom from Courtney's Wall

…an important reminder.  On July 1st, Paul and I moved our roommate Courtney into our new house.  She took down her inspiration wall, but I snapped this photo before the wall came down.  Everything about what we’re doing is experimental, our living arrangement and career changes being the biggest experiments.  Of course I’m rooting for success and happiness, but it’s good to be reminded that failing at something does not make you unworthy of love…or trying again.

Miss Lu

…a furry companion at my feet.  While we were still living in the old apartment, adorable Lucy started using my work bag as her resting spot whenever I worked at home.  She’s so sweet and beautiful.

New Journal from Half-Price Books

…a new journal for a new chapter of life.  I finished up my old journal when I started working on May Cause Miracles, so when Paul and I were in Houston, I bought a new one at Half-Price Books.  They have the most gorgeous selection of journals.  I love that store.

* * *

Tonight I was able to go for a walk for pleasure for the first time in a week.  Very near our apartment we had spotted a walking path; it turns out that it’s a wildflower preserve!  I strolled through it and a feeling of utter peace and contentment settled over me.  I have a really good feeling about this Austin experiment of ours.  Austin is a place we can explore, enjoy, maybe even stay for a while.  It’s a good thing I bought a new journal because I think there is going to be a lot to write about.