North Georgia

Over the holiday break, I decided to do a little special something for Timmy. This past year, he has traveled on average for work almost 2.5 weeks of every month. That’s a lot of airports, rental cars, losing things in rental cars, contacting rental car company and getting stuff back, ubers, luggage, hotel stays, hotel food, and stuff. Needless to say, by November, he was over it. I was over it. Floyd was very over it.

Traveling that much, I just can’t imagine. Going back and forth to Miami and Atlanta over and over and over again can really wear a person down, and in 2018, not only has travel started back up in high gear again, but he has now been given Alabama and Mississippi (the most shameful states in the Union I must say) to boot. My schedule will also be insane this spring semester, so quality time will be prioritized over most everything.

I wanted to do something special to show him how much I appreciate what he does to provide for us, and really give us a comfortable life through sacrificing time with me and Floyd so I secretly started planning a getaway.

When we lived in Atlanta, there was a bed and breakfast only about 2 hours away in Hiawassee that was beyond adorable. It was also the area that Timmy’s family owned a lake house that contained many happy times and the most sad memory ever for them.

We loved going there. I had never really been in my life and it’s just so beautiful in the North GA mountains. I also loved being able to give Timmy new memories of a town that had given him and his family so much despair and sadness as that was where his father had his accident before passing away nearly 14 years ago. It was healing for him in a way that I wish could be possible for everyone. Since we moved to FL, we haven’t been back up there, and we’ve missed it.

The holidays, year after year in FL, just SUDDENLY happen because we have no seasons, so out of nowhere it’s HalloweenThanksgivingChristmasYearOver. I wanted to experience cold again, and winter, and heavy clothes, and all that crap. Each year we’ve gone home for Xmas, it’s been barely cold enough to wear gloves, which is a real let down over the holidays.

My gift to him was a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. We had been to dinner there once but never stayed, and I always wondered what it would be like to stay in a resort in the mountains. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

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On our way up, we stopped in Helen, GA for a quick bite and a beer. If you’ve never heard of Helen, it might be the most random town in the world. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere GA (which is never a good place to be in my opinion), completely German-ized. German architecture, German food, German music, all of it German. It’s kind of crazy yet awesome.

We arrived at the resort on the Wednesday before New Year’s to a nearly empty lodge. It was full of old people (hey, we’re Floridians now so it felt totally normal) and MY GOD WAS IT COLD. I left my heavy coats at my parents’ house since I have zero need for them in FL, and thank the Lord above I did that because my knee length down coat was a savior. Along with the hat and leggings I bought in Helen, I finally felt like winter had arrived for the first time in years.

[BTW, a high of 31 degrees is cold for anyone, so none of this “You think you were cold??? Let me tell you…” nonsense that I know some of you are thinking.]

I had reserved a cabin, which was like having a private hotel room in a cabin. We had a fire place, rocking chairs, and a really pretty view. As soon as we arrived, we got drinks from the bar (a hot chocolate with Bailey’s for me, thank you very much) and watched the sunset behind the mountains. It was just magical.

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the hot chocolate was the star of the show

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IMG_0969.jpgI didn’t do the greatest job planning because we tried to make spa reservations and they were completely booked up which was a bummer. No way in hell was horseback riding going to happen in that cold, so we opted for a 2-mile hike along one of the resort’s trails where Timmy proceeded to take a work call because hey, you can’t totally unplug sometimes in his profession.

If you ever get a chance, go there. It was definitely worth it and for us to experience winter during the holidays (finally), well it’s just another memory to treasure.

♥, VB

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Motivation

No, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to update this blog in a long time. Part of it was I had too much to say and the energy required to write it all down was too much. The other part was that life has been more difficult than I’d like to admit this past year and while everyone around us has been like, “Oh great, life milestones, amazing, be happy, you’re going places,” for us it’s felt stifling, stressful, and oh so not amazing a great majority of the time.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining or ungrateful, but the reality of my emotions is far from that. But stress is stress, and in one year, we planned a wedding, got married, bought a house, renovated the house, moved, and tried to find our normal again. Which is so hard when for nearly 2 years straight, you haven’t had a real normal. Timmy moved from Lake Mary to my tiny apartment last January, we were on top of each other all the time, he traveled a lot, and between the wedding planning stress, the house hunting stress, the house buying stress, the renovation stress, the money stress, and then the moving into said house stress, I had literally used up all my coping methods.

I was a ticking time-bomb that went off in January.

The reality of our life is now more normal, more settled, more calm for sure. But that reserve of emotional mess that I had been carrying around and stockpiling just became too much and I broke in a very real way. I was ready to run away and leave this all behind. Which is not at all a very adult way to handle everything, but I was struggling big time. And my partner was struggling in his own way too, and we just weren’t clicking.

I absolutely sank around election time. Trump and the racial hate and misogyny and general hopelessness became the weight that sank me even further, as though the stress of everything else in our lives wasn’t enough. I cried for nearly two weeks straight. I have been off of Facebook since November, about a few days after the election because I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I miss it a little, but after the withdrawals wore off, I’m good without it.

I took on an additional class, Human Sexuality, to teach this semester, so my life is really busy and full, but emotionally, it’s been challenging to catch the happy ride back up the downward slope. My back pain has been worse than ever, and after a failed radiofrequency ablation (where they burn the nerves in a particular area), I’ve been depressed about my back and wondering if life can ever feel normal when all I think about is my pain.

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Maybe it’s the January/February/March blues that get us all. Maybe it’s a combination of our stress, Trump for me, and the winter meh that got us. But we’ve been in a dark place, and we keep wavering in and out of it. Lately, more out of it than in it, which is definitely progress.

It certainly helps that all the boxes and wedding gifts have been unpacked. Our house is beautiful and we still have a few more projects to go, like painting a few spots, rescreening our porches, redoing the floors in our garage, but those weren’t necessities to getting settled. We’ll be getting started on those soon enough.

We love our neighborhood and the quiet nature that surrounds us. We are starting to fish on our fishing pier with the addition of new fishing equipment, courtesy of Timmy. My parents came to visit a few weekends ago (which was so needed) and they brought my bike. So the other night Timmy and I biked close to St. Pete Beach (and stumbled through a ridiculous argument, again), then to a local restaurant for drinks and games.

It was awesome and it felt like us.

The sun is out more, and it’s warmer, so me likey. I can’t wait to start spending afternoons after work paddleboarding around the waterways, and really soaking up the mood-improving Vitamin D. And we’ll get there soon.

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But Timmy misses Jake and his dad and James, and I’m missing my friends and family a lot. Timmy and I working on our connection harder than we have before, but we need our support system around us to help ground us. So friends and family, come visit us! We have space, and it’s close to everything. It’s honestly like being on vacation all the time, living in our new house.

It’s just now starting to sync for us. Just now. If we haven’t been reaching out to you as much, be patient because the ground is just now starting to solidify underneath us again. That’s just life, I guess, and I know we’ll get back. It’s always ups and downs, and we just have to have faith and put the work in.

Winter sucks. Trump sucks. Hate sucks. But we will rock again.

♥, VB

 

1st Month Down

I’m now nearing the end of my first month living in St. Pete and it’s been quite a delight. As I’ve said before, my now 15-min commute makes my old 60-min+ commute seem so very long ago. It’s almost like it never happened.

But it did. A slight PTSD-shiver will run through my body when I have to get on the interstate (to go 11 miles as opposed to 62). The last few weeks of that hellish commute were probably the worst. Three Fridays in a row, it took me nearly 2 hours to get home. TWO HOURS. The last day of the week, you’re fatigued and ready to drink, then your commute home happens. Worst feeling ever.

But now, I get home and I’m like, wow, there’s literally ANYTHING to do right now! And I have the energy and time to do it! I can go to yoga after I walk the dog, or I can nap, or I can continue my binge Law & Order: SVU watching on hulu, or work out in the gym, or…ANYTHING I WANT, I CAN DO. I can cook whatever and whenever I want (even though cooking for one is still a bitch), and feel satisfied at the end of the night when it’s time to go to bed.

We moved Timmy into his new place in Lake Mary last weekend, and it’s pretty awesome. It’s a 2.5 hour drive between us, which isn’t a bad drive every other weekend when you consider that it was a usual commuting day for us before. It’s a huge place where he now owns a big-boy bed complete with a headboard and footboard, as well as a power mattress that moves. Like in hospital beds. Because he’s an old man at nearly 31 years old.

He got the idea from our good friend Jake, who also owns the same type of mattress. Timmy and Jake had a good time spending the day in bed together a few months ago, in a very “I wish we could express our love for each other without people thinking that we’re gay even though we kinda are” way. Those two are so cute in their man-love for each other.

Surprisingly, I’ve found this January, unlike other Januaries, that I’ve been happier than I expected to be. Normally, this month kinda blows. You know it does. It’s that month that comes after all the holiday cheer and family/friend love and then you’re separated from all the happiness and back to work. You inevitably start comparing your life to others, thinking that this year, you’ll match up to others. You’ll become that “new you” you’ve always dreamed about in the new year.

But with all that comparing comes feeling like crap about your own life. Why can’t you get to where you want to go? Why am I here, again, another year gone, and I’ve really changed nothing?

But for me, none of that happened this month. I made the decision to move and I did. I made the decision to re-dedicate myself to our relationship, and I have. I compare my life to no one’s because that’s not fair. No one else has gone through what I’ve gone through the last year in the way that I went through it.

I’m 30 and no closer to marriage or babies or buying a house, even though the majority of my friends have reached one or all of those steps. But I’m closer to my partner. I’m closer to my goals. I’m happy. Truly and honestly, this is where I dreamed of being in my life at 30.

A year went by and I survived. I survived disconnection from my life in Atlanta. I survived commuting. I survived living in a town that sucked. I survived my relationship and the downward spiral it took. And even though personally 2013 was blech, everything else about last year was incredible.

This year is going to be even better. And I have the positive, not-hating-myself-and-life January almost behind me to prove it.

♥, VB

P.S. And to all my fellow Southerners who got caught in Snowmageddon ’14, particularly in Atlanta, mega props to you if you were stuck in your car for any amount of time trying to pick up kids, get home, get anywhere. I can’t even imagine. I only wished I could’ve been out there helping others in person rather than praying from afar.

P.P.S. If you’re friends with me on FB, you already saw this, but if you’re not, my mom is one badass mothaf*%a.

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Life Lately, According to My iPhone

Ok, so some of the pix are from October, but it’s been a slow few weeks of picture taking. I can’t lie, it’s been nice to have some down time. But now that I’m moving to St. Pete in two short weeks (O.M.F.G.), and Christmas and NYE are right around the corner, shit’s about to get real, real fast, again. This is what life was like the last month or so. Enjoy!

On our 2nd to last wedding weekend of 2013, we traveled to Atlanta for an old friend of Timmy’s wedding in Greensboro, GA. Not only did I not know where that was, but it was in the middle of nowhere on this gorgeous farm that was just breathtaking. Yes, our shuttle arrived late to the venue and we were the last ones to arrive to the wedding and had to walk IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE GUEST LIST, including the WEDDING PARTY, in order to get to our seats, but hey, embarrassment is my middle name. Drama ensued later on the dance floor, but I chose to focus on the heat lamps because it was 32 degrees outside and the beautiful sunset instead.

Our last wedding of 2013, we traveled to Key Largo, FL for one of my oldest friend’s wedding, Bailey and Nick. I’ve known Bailey since Sunday School at Christ the King in Atlanta, where we met as 5 year olds. Later, when I was kicked out of school, I saw her in the cafeteria of Sutton, and we relaunched a friendship that created so many memories that I hold dear to this day. We also ended up at NYU together for college. Craziness. Nick and Bailey really know how to throw a party, let me tell you, because their wedding band was the most fun I’ve had in a long long time. They were so L.A., it was ridiculous. Plus, Bailey was the HOTTEST bride I’ve ever seen. Rock it girl.

Timmy was in Atlanta for a week, so I took pictures of Floyd doing cute things.

Thanksgiving weekend was a complete blast. We spent time with my family, including my nieces, at my sister and bro-in-law’s new house in Athens. It’s holy shit incredible. Like those were the exact words Timmy and I used when we saw the house. We celebrated the twins’ 3rd birthday a few days early (it’s actually on Dec 2), ate some delicious food, and loved on each other 🙂 We also spent a lot of time with Timmy’s family, which was so nice, since we hadn’t seen his nieces and nephew in MONTHS. We celebrated one of my best friend’s birthday (Alia’s) a little late at their lovely new home in Sandy Springs. We heart Raymond and Alia, they are the greatest. It was beautiful fall weather, and exactly what the holiday of Thanksgiving is all about.

♥, VB

Hello Wedding Season, We Meet Again

For some people, wedding season starts and ends at clear times. For Timmy and I, it’s never ending. I say “season” with a smirk because truly, it’s year-round for us. Last year, we were invited to 13 and made it to 11. By Feb 2013, we had 8 already in the books for the rest of the year. We did have a little respite from November until March, which would’ve been more appreciated if not for the moving to another state, moving from two cities in FL, back and forths to Atlanta, and a hellish commute thrown in for good measure. But I’m not going to lie, if wedding season had to start back up again, it could not have been for a more amazing couple, Denise and Vinnie, and awesome wedding.

Denise and Vinnie

Join me, will you, as a I recap my friendship with Denise and how Timmy and I came to be at this first of many many MANY weddings of 2013.

I met my bestie Denise at NYU during our study abroad in London the summer before senior year. We hit it off immediately, along with her roomie at the time, Nikki, and the next year, the 3 of us were inseparable.

Time to do the car wash dance in London summer 2005!

Time to do the car wash dance in London summer 2005! God I was tan

just another after party in our dorms in London

just another after party in our dorms in London

This is what happens after a lot of vodka. Not bad.

This is what happens after a lot of vodka in NY in your early 20s. Not bad.

I had actually met Denise in my freshman orientation group the summer before college even started, but we never made it past then for some reason. Thinking back, how much did that suck for me?! We should’ve been friends from the beginning!! I could’ve had delicious home cooked Peruvian food for years thanks to her abuela (she is missed)!! I guess we’ll never know what it could’ve been like instead, *sniff, sniff*.

This wedding weekend was to celebrate Denise and Vinnie. My bestie Denise married her mestie (her man bestie) Vinnie, and they are incredible. They are both so cool, calm, collected. Really, the three Cs. I always feel like I smoked a joint after hanging out with them, that’s how chill they are. Continue reading