Thursday, August 12, 2021

Wallowing

 I've been sensing an undercurrent of despair throughout my virtual and real life social circles. I feel it too. It started slow & behind the scenes and is now full-force, doom spiral level that I have to consciously decide to push aside so I can get through this hour, this day, this LIFE.

I am in the middle of the time I've SO looked forward to---a few days alone without my family--and instead of using the opportunity of lessened obligations to plan some fun activities, or get ahead on work/house stuff,  I am feeling stagnant.

I don't want to do anything. I don't want to see anyone. When I come home from work, I just want to sit and do a puzzle while I listen to an audiobook. Or watch 3 episodes of the Handmaid's Tale in a row while I eat cereal for dinner.  

I was thinking about those long ago days, when after a hard day or a hard week, I could spend some time re-reading or re-watching a particular comfort book or show. It felt good to just lose myself in something that felt familiar and cozy. To myself, I was "having a wallow". I always felt more refreshed the next day/week then when I tried to force myself to be social or productive. 

My life these days doesn't lend itself to that. No matter how shitty a day, I need to deal with dinner & bedtimes (or just generally participate in my family life), and weekends doing "nothing" kinda suck with my kids and then when the hell will the laundry and shopping get done? 

So its actually...kind of nice to have a chance to wallow. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Saturday Musings

 I slept well and did a really hard LIFT4 legs workout this morning. Now I'm supposed to be catching up on work but...reading and commenting on blogs instead. 

I realized that this is actually the only weekend this summer that we are all at home with no traveling plans. 

  • June 11-13th (last day of school): Camping with friends
  • June 19th: I drove the kids to my parents, stayed the night, and drove back myself*. They stayed for the week
  • June 26th: Drove to my parents, picked up them and kids, and drove to S.C. for the beach trip (this was a long LONG day, 6 AM to 10 PM)
  • July 3-4th: Drove back, stayed overnight at parents' and drove home in AM
  • July 10-11th: Camping with friends
THIS WEEKEND
  • July 24th: fly to MIL-town
  • July 31st: G & I fly back home, leaving kids
  • August 10th G flies back and then returns with kids on August 15th
  • August 21st: Drive to ME
  • August 28th: Home from ME
  • August 31st: School Starts

Oh and then my sister visits for Labor Day, I'm on call the next weekend, speaking at a conference (in town) the next weekend, and we are planning an amusement park trip for L's birthday the next weekend.

BUT! I will have 2 weeks kid free while they stay with MIL and 5 days ALL TO MYSELF when G goes back to spend more time with his family. I am so excited. I had a weekend all to myself once, 2 years ago, and it was THE BEST THING EVER and I was so calm and happy and ready for them to be back. G's had a couple of weekends to himself lately (I've taken the kids to my parents) and he says he's lonely.

We are different people clearly. I need a lot of time to myself. I have not been getting it. It has affected my mental health & my relationships. I need some absence to make my heart grow fonder.

I should get to work. We have friends coming over for a play date/dinner and they have many food restrictions and I need to figure something out without dairy or gluten.  

*I actually remembered that I enjoy driving. I do NOT enjoy sitting in the car while someone else drives, for hours on end. 

 


Friday, July 16, 2021

Highlights, Lowlights, and Things I Learned

 Highlights of the week: 

  • I got the kids to bed (like said goodnight, closed the door) by 9:30 every night. This is (sadly) an improvement
  • The Loki season finale. So fun to have a show to look forward to together. 
  • The Kindle Paperwhite I ordered 3 weeks ago finally came in 
Lowlight
  • Surging COVID numbers all over the place and 2 unvaccinated kids and travel plans
Things I Learned About Myself This Week
  • I cannot do "deep work" in the afternoon after a morning clinic, especially when I cram in a full day's patients into a 5 hour session
  • I am a moderator. Except for extra toasty Cheez-Its. I need to abstain and be "free from Cheez-its"
  • I am still terrible at saying no to things that "sound interesting" and are WAY in the future where time and energy seem boundless. I need to remember "If its not a HELL YES it should be a HELL NO" (heard on a podcast, not sure which?)
Have meetings scheduled today 10-4 (last one ended early, hence this post). Looking forward to a weekend with absolutely nothing planned. I need to catch up on the work I didn't do yesterday afternoon and will obviously not be doing today 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Unexpected Day + Bedtime Woes

We went camping this weekend and for the first time ever, packed it in and came home a day early. It looked like heavy rain and the friends we were with had decided to leave---we've camped in worse, but the boys would've been very disappointed without their friends, and camping in the rain isn't exactly fun so...

G and the boys are doing errands/chores while I catch up on work. It was going to be an admin day for me, one of VERY FEW this month, so I am actually relieved to have it back. I've dealt with a bunch of backlog and using this time to plan out work projects for the rest of the summer so I can reach my (somewhat ambitious) goals. 

You may notice that I've also used some of this unexpected time to comment on your posts! I am always reading, but I can't comment from work or from from my phone, and when I actually sit down to my laptop I am usually back to back with meetings, so don't get used to it :)

As I read and comment and plan, I am always jotting down ideas for "life goals" to work on this summer. I already have grand plans to declutter and organize EVERYTHING while the kids are away with my MIL in August (I did this 3 years ago and its all devolved to shit again, so the whole "do it once" thing is obviously nonsense). Bedtime in our home is a major source of frustration for me right now---I am inspired by SHU and Gwinne to do something about it. I am also revisiting the idea of one on one time with the kids, something we have not done in YEARS as they currently do every single activity together except very occasional play dates (but even then, since usually outdoors, I just bring them both). And then the terrible (lack of) screen time rules in our home currently. 

Lets start with bedtime:

Current bedtime in our house (its summer, they go to day camp that starts at 9 so wake up around 8): we try to get them to bed by 9:30 but its often closer to 10 (omg). Unless its before 9, I will NOT read to them nor are they allowed to read by themselves (they are tired anyways lately, from being outside all day). We lay on their pillows for a few minutes each (though if I'm too tired I may just kiss them goodnight and go to bed myself). 

Not only is this TOO LATE for my liking (I have zero time to myself or with G regardless, but it actually pushes my own bedtime later than I need for my early wake-up) but the process of getting them upstairs and ready is a disaster. They 1) don't listen 2) fight or play with each other and 3) get distracted in the middle of simple tasks (B, the ADD kid, who will take off his clothes and then forget to put new ones on, or will be just sitting their staring at a book with one sock on and one sock off OMG!). They decide they are hungry. They decide they are "itchy" and want a shower. It is one thing after another.

Obviously, we need to think backwards from when we actually want them in bed so that we can make it work. Currently dinner is just too late, thus "family time" (watch a show or play a game) runs late, and the whole thing gets later and later. 

Ideally: Dinner 6:30-7 (I wish this could be earlier, but only possible if we stop work early), clean up/prep tomorrow's lunches/coffee/etc... 7-7:30, family time 7:30-8:30, up to brush/change, read (if time, which there should be if they get ready quickly but will never actually be because they won't), lights out 9:15

On days I'm at work, I'm not home until about 5:45-6. G drops them off and picks them up from camp (at 3 pm) so he doesn't stop work until about 6-6:30. Thus, earlier dinner is only possible if I am at home or have an early day, or if we don't have to cook (leftover days are the best). 

This week actually looks unusually good because I have a few admin days. We planned for pizza tonight. I will marinate chicken for a double-batch of chicken tikka which we will eat tomorrow and Thursday. Wednesday is an early day & Friday I am working from home, so I can start cooking at 5 those days. Saturday take-out and then start over again! 

Any bedtime tips or commiseration greatly appreciated!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Quick Updates and June goals

 Its been a month. In no particular order, some things that happened:

  • B got bit by a dog and got a full set of rabies shots (still awaiting the bill for the 4 ER visits)
  • My MIL came for 3 weeks and created a wave of drama and anxiety all around
  • We spent a cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend in a lovely house in the mountains---which we only left for 5 minutes at a time to walk the dog 
  • Finished a chapter, prepared a talk for a conference, co-writing another paper to submit next month
  • Planned our summer (yay!)
  • Read a lot of good books and some meh ones
  • Ate too much junk and drank too much booze and thus gained too much weight 
June Goals:
  • Exercise daily 
  • Book travel arrangements for all summer adventures 
  • No alcohol on weekdays; only when out with others on weekends
  • Write review article, finish co-written manuscript 
  • Start new clinic initiative
  • Create a chore/responsibility schedule for the kids
OK! I can do a post in 7 minutes, so no excuses to leave for so long again!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday Musings

Writing this from my home office, listening to the sound of construction next door and...nothing else. BECAUSE THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL! Only 2 days a week but omg.

Weekend was nice---spent a lot of time outdoors---the kids had soccer on Saturday and it was gorgeous, G and I sat and planned out our summer. Sunday, me and the kids did this climbing/zip line thing with a bunch of friends and I loved it---its the right amount of scary/thrilling for me, such that I feel "present" but not "about to have a heart attack". We also spent a lot of time trying to find new backpacks for the kids, but no luck. Did make some returns and buy a new iPad though.

I also got to sleep in (i.e 8 am!) & read. It was nice after a weekend/week on call to have some breathing room. I was physically/mentally exhausted. I finished "Black Buck" which I LOVED. I had no idea what it was about heading in and it was...funny & sad & action-packed and completely over-the-top but worth it. I think it'd make a fantastic movie. I've already casted it in my head. Currently on "White Ivy" (ha, didn't see the juxtaposition of those titles), which is...fine so far. I'm only a few chapters in so will report back. G and I started "The Morning Show", which I'm liking.

On that note, we got a year of free Apple TV+ because I got a new phone! I had cracked my old one (an iphone 10) a few months ago, but it started weirdly short-circuiting, like just possessed and clicking things automatically---it was unusable. I got a loaner from work and it was nice at first (so small! touch ID!) but started to annoy me (so small! also...so small it frequently just...fell out of my pocket and also cracked) so I was much relieved to get my new navy blue 12 (which I immediately put a study case & screen protector on). I also ordered a new laptop/monitors for work, since my current devices are too old to run updated work software. In fact, spent 30 minutes with IT this morning figuring out a work around so I could do telehealth, after a recent software update made it impossible for me to get onto Epic.

Anyways. What more. MIL is coming this week, which...ugh. But at least G & I can have some date nights? He is getting shot #2 on Wednesday. 

Ok, back to work. I still can't believe my kids are in school. 



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Work Related

 Some things I've been struggling with lately:

Management vs. Leadership. This concept is new to me and very eye-opening. I spend a LOT of time on "management" of my program---handling day to day issues, schedules, staffing, increasing patient volume. I spend little to no time on "big picture thinking"---i.e. articulating the long term goals for the clinic. Things like research ideas and collaborations, optimal care models, enhancing our education strategies, etc...

And that is what really counts. When people look at my performance as a leader, they will not see the fires I put out, or the optimization of schedules & fill rates. They will look at the research output, the novel care models, the recognition from trainees.

Similarly

Deep Work. I have been time-block planning before I knew it was a thing, and it used to work pretty well, but lately my "blocks" for writing/research are being consistently encroached upon, and I have a lot less of them overall given my clinical work & meetings related to the admin role. Its all about hyperactive hive mind here (Cal Newport's term)---checking emails or EMR and reacting. I actually lost a 2hour block of writing time yesterday morning and tracked what I did in that time. Its boring but it was related to rotation schedules for student, editorial role for a journal, scheduling meetings, and patient messages. Those things didn't take up the WHOLE time, but the constant task switching made it impossible to actually make progress. 

Other things that take up my deep work blocks: appointments for myself or kids (they can't happen during patient care so...) and other similar "homing from work" activities. And then...general laziness/distraction. If 85% of my week is taken for, my brain sometimes sees this time as a break. 

I know discipline is the answer---discipline to not schedule things, check email or EMR, and just DO the thing I'm supposed to do without wasting time. 

I'm also still working on the "showing up" part. 

Damn this year has been hard.

Just writing this out was motivating. I need to do better here.