Thursday, February 14, 2019

Serenity Now

Happy Valentines Day! Life is chugging along with its ups and downs. I am doing really well in some realms and falling behind in others, as per usual. We don't have any couple or family V-day traditions really. L took cheap drugstore Valentines in for his class, B didn't want to this year which was more than OK by me. The boys did pick up some flowers for me on the way home yesterday. I think I'm allergic to them, my throat & eyes got itchy. We will have dessert after dinner and maybe some wine for G and I after the kids go to bed.

I've been yelling a LOT at the kids lately and I'm trying to be less reactive. Its so much easier said than done. The mornings are the worst. We get them up early enough to have plenty of time for breakfast and getting ready, but then they have 2-3 minutes to spare, start playing, and end up late leaving the house. When I call them down to get going (we set an alarm that goes off, but they ignore it), they inevitably fight with each other, dawdle and get distracted (i.e. put one shoe on, then start walking over to the kitchen again), and generally need LOTS of prompting to put on shoes and coats and grab their bags. Many MANY mornings our short walk to school involves crying/grumpiness. Not an ideal start to the day and it doesn't feel good to send them out into the world feeling bad. 

I actually had a talk with them and we figured out a system of good behavior for X days will equal a treat/prize. I know I know, I always resort to the bribery. Today was Day 1 and it did go better. I'd be happy to take suggestions. 

Starting tomorrow I begin a stretch of call. Again, trying for a good attitude about this. I am definitely hoping to stay at work and catch up on some things that are urgent but not important so I can get them off my plate and focus on paper writing during the week. I'm also hoping to somehow get in workouts and all the other weekend stuff. I am dumping meal planning and prep on G (usually my job). We also need to finalize some of our summer plans & start looking at flights. 

Honestly I have no love for February and this month has been no exception. The weather is gross, there are no holidays (for me, the kids & G have president's day), the energy of the New Year is fading, and I'm just really ready for spring. At least the days are getting longer?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Purpose of Guilt

I've had a few different instances of feeling guilty lately---both at work and at home. I know the societal narrative these days is that guilt is useless and we should "banish guilt" and certainly my instinct is to push down and ignore any unpleasant emotions.  But I do believe that guilt serves an important purpose in guiding us to act in tune with our moral compass. So I decided to investigate what it was about the specific situations that made me feel guilty, and how I could act differently in the future to prevent that outcome.

At work there were 2 end-of-day routine follow up patients that showed up late and I had to refuse to see them because I was already leaving/left for the next thing on my agenda (an important 5 pm meeting once, picking up kids and walking dog the other time). I felt terrible because they traveled quite a ways, and I understand that our patients have many circumstances making it difficult for them to get here on time. On the other hand, I carefully create my clinic schedule so that (barring emergencies) I can deal with my other responsibilities.

Then there is the review article I said I would write and submit LAST FALL. That I haven't started. I did ask for an extension, and they are awaiting other submissions but we are a whole season away now and its getting ridiculous. I have been been ignoring the follow up emails politely enquiring as to when I would be able to submit the review.

On the home front, G's been a little overwhelmed with a few weeks of back to back outings I've had (on the calendar, discussed beforehand). He just forgets and when I remind him the day of, he has this dejected look on his face. My kids also keep asking why I'm "always going out" and when will I take them with me, and etc.... And I seriously NEVER feel bad about fulfilling my need to socialize and live my life but this time, it just got to me.

And this weekend, G managed to clean all 3 bathrooms and vacuum, and change the sheets (basically everything the house cleaners used to do), plus get groceries from 3 different stores...while he was sick (he did these things while I took L to soccer, and supervised a play date, made kids lunches, meal planned...I wasn't sitting around eating bon bons, but he definitely drew the short straw). He was so tired and I had promised to take over clean up Sunday night. But...we had our neighbors over to watch the first half of the Super Bowl. And I had a beer (or two) too many and just fell asleep leaving him to get the kids to bed & take out the trash and clean up the kitchen. Oh man, I felt like &h^t.

So, back to the whole "purpose" part. Here's what I figured out.

For the late patients: I am working with the clinic to clarify our late policies, making sure the front desk staff is aware to ASK providers before rooming a late patient, and also remembering to let the staff know that I am leaving for the day and won't be able to see anyone else. If all that is done, I should have no guilt. Hey, I accidentally had the time wrong and showed up 20 minutes late for an appt and had to reschedule. It sucks but its life.

I went back and forth about the review, but basically decided I had to write it asap or let them know I'd backed out. I gave it some thought, discussed with colleagues, and decided it was worth my time to get my name on a review on a topic I'm trying to position myself as an expert on, so I made a writing schedule and I'm working on it. When it was just another task to be done I had no motivation to do it, but now that I actually see the career advantage, I'm actually excited to make it good.

As much as I wish he would, G just doesn't constantly review the calendar(s) the way I do, and if I want to spare him the surprise, we need to sit down and go over the week together. We did it this weekend (I have nothing going on any evening, so it was quick!) and hope to make it a habit. The kids can suck it with their whining, I am home 90% of evenings.

I promised to clean the bathrooms next time, and we are making a chore chart for the house cleaning. I need to make G promise NOT to do my chores on the chart even though he thinks he will do them better. Also no more beers for me for a good long time (I felt ugh the next morning, I cannot indulge like that anymore!).

Friday, February 1, 2019

January wrap-up and books

Turns out G isn't feeling well (just a run of the mill winter respiratory thing), so we nixed any entertaining plans for the weekend which gives me more time to plan something for NEXT weekend.

Since I made all those goals this month, I wanted to step back and see how its going so far.

I did NOT make it through Dry January and don't really feel bad about that. I am back into the gym habit more or less. Meditation is 50/50. I have lost zero pounds on average (down 2, up 2, etc...).

On my 19 for 2019 list I've done 4 things. I knocked off the low-hanging fruit by signing up for the compost service, getting my glasses, going for a laser appointment, and using the Instant Pot (just this week, I made this with coconut milk instead of heavy cream and it was yummy).

On the work front, I've gotten 2 papers off to the next stage: one submitted, one to co-authors yesterday and did the outline and delving into lit review for #3, with plans to finish the outline for #4 next week. After that: grants. I also cleaned out my patient in box last week and kept it up!

G and I did 2 date nights this month, one out and one at home. We also had a sitter come last weekend to go to a party, but that was more social than "couple" time. We have planned a day date and an evening outing (I got the sitter & made reservations) for February.

Books I've read this month:

1) I am the Messenger by Markus Zuzac (author of The Book Thief). This was an interesting concept, but could've been done better. It got trite toward the end.
2) and 3) Year of the Flood and MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.  These are the sequels to Oryx and Crake. The 2nd book was great, but while I enjoyed that the 3rd book filled in the holes in the story, the romance was a bit OTT and hard to believe.
4) The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jennifer Lewis. I had no idea who she was, this was a book club pick. I almost gave up until I got past the 50% mark when it all fell into place. I mentioned that I really don't like celebrity memoirs but this was one of the better ones:  raw and honest, very self-aware, you could see her personal growth.
5) Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I listened to this, which may have colored my perception---I was in the minority in my book club for not loving it, in fact, I REALLY disliked it. Confusing, yet depressing, and the magical realism wasn't doing it for me here. I may have preferred reading it.
6) The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Sean Greer. I LOVED this and tore through it. Fun and thought-provoking.
7) Alias Grace I'm on an Atwood kick! Kept my interest, though it is very VERY slow moving.