Friday, March 14, 2014


So far this year has been a year of reflection and gaining insight. About my marriage and what makes it work, and what threatens to break it apart. About how I work, what motivates me, and how I sabotage myself. About how my children push me over the edge, and what I can do to back up a few feet so I don't fall. About what feels right for my family, and ways to make our lives fit that dream.

I'm collecting insights like…things you collect (sea-shells? stamps? coins?) but the challenge, of course, is putting them into action. I know I should plan my work days better, not snap at my husband, take a deep breath before yelling at my kids---but I don't always do those things. In fact, I rarely remember to do them. Its quite hard to change patterns of learned behavior, especially those that have been there for years.

In biomedical research, we talk a lot of "translation", the critical process of taking molecular and functional insights gained from basic science and using that knowledge to actually improve clinical care; "bench to bedside", as they say. It doesn't always work, of course. Understanding how a gene or pathway functions in a mouse or in a cell line isolated in a laboratory with exposures that you carefully control doesn't necessarily tell you what's going to happen when you modify that gene or pathway in a human actually interacting with the world and making independent decisions.

Similarly, knowing what I should be doing given in the hypothetical situations I've created in my head doesn't necessarily translate to what I actually do in the heat of the moment, with emotions and discomforts and the wants and needs of others. Yes, next time B starts whining about not wanting to go to school, I should really sit down and talk to him about why he doesn't want to go, to figure out if something happened, or something is bothering him. But when its already 8:30 AM, and L is painting the sofa with watercolors, and I haven't eaten anything in the 3 hours I've been up---I simply snap "I don't care, you're going". And I know in the mornings that I need to get to work, sit down, and start working on my most important project first. But when I've had a morning of bickering kids, snappy spouse, no breakfast, and just walked for half an hour in 15 degree windy weather, I make myself a cup of tea and tell myself its "just a little break" before I realize I've spent 30 minutes on decidedly non-work activities. And at the end of the day, I know I should talk to my husband. At least a few minutes of connection, and find out why his day was so "awful", but by the time I've finally got B to stop getting out of bed because "I'm not tired. I want to sleep with you. I want a NEW bed. I want to watch a movie", etc… I just don't have it in me to be encouraging or supportive. So I nip any any possibility of connection in the bud with a quick "I'm tired, goodnight" and go upstairs to read while he hangs out downstairs.

I guess what I'm realizing is that learning about myself is great, but I need to get a lot more practice to ensure that this education actually leads to any positive impact on my life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lets just pretend that never happened...

Jumping in with updates on my resolutions:

Marriage: Continues to go mostly well. However, that date night I was excited about in my last post---ended in a huge fight over little nonsense and the whole evening sucked. The whole fight centered around trying to impromptu plan where to go after our quick dinner. Our next date is coming up soon…this time  we have planned well in advance. We are still having weekly date nights at home. And spending plenty of time snuggled on the couch with wine and TV (we finished House of Cards…sad!)
Still no eye rolling. Doing better at expressing my feelings. We've watched two movies together so far this year: Argo and Cloud Atlas, both of which I loved.

Parenting: Constant work in progress. Yes, I still yell at my kids more than I'd like to. I also do read them lots of books, make up tons of silly songs and stories, and yesterday I took them to the park for an hour and a half after work. We've been doing swimming for 2 weeks, and soccer starts on Sunday. My goal for the spring is to do more after-school park trips, and other things that may deviate every so slightly from our routine.

Work: Another constant work in progress. I've slacked on my weekly planning and my long-term goal planning. The paper planner didn't really work out, its buried under mounds of papers and I'm mostly back to google calendar. I just downloaded a Safari plug-in called "WasteNoTime", basically leech block for Safari and its working pretty well at keeping me from a few major time wasters.

Other stuff:

  • I'm starting to up my distance with running. I did a gorgeous 5 mile run outdoors on Sunday---working my way up to 10 miles over the next 6 weeks.
  • I have FOUR books from the library on my Kindle that I need to finish. Our library lets you put e-books on hold but then when they become available you have to download them within 72 hours and finish them in 14 days, without an option to renew. I had all these books on my holds that suddenly became available. (Currently I've got: Someday, Someday Maybe; The Lowlands; The Husband's Secret, and Life After Life). I'm halfway through "Someday, someday Maybe" and its an easy read. 
  • Realized I'd gained about 8 lbs since last fall. Yikes. Working on eating less.
  • Very much looking forward to wearing spring clothes again, and shoes that aren't snow boots! And ditching the winter coat. Alas, not yet, its dropping into the teens later this week. 
  • Daylight Savings Time is kicking my ass this year. We've had 2 days of being late for work because no one is waking up on time. Also the kids are going to bed late and then waking up multiple times overnight because they are off their schedule. 
  • We went to Ikea this weekend and bought a bunch of stuff for the kids. Really, all of it was for the kids. We got them a little table & chairs for their "projects" so they don't take over the dining table with their water painting (current obsession), and B a twin bed because he and his 10 billion blankets, toys and animals he insists on keeping in there are spilling out of the toddler bed, and black out curtains for the guest room where L naps, and a clock so that we can teach time-telling (we didn't have one!), and more cloth napkins to use since they go through about 8 per day. Plus they got ice cream at the end of the trip. Oh! We did get some beer glasses for us. 
  • I lost L at Whole Foods the other day. We were eating in the eating area and he ran off and then B ran off. B ran OUTSIDE the cash registers to the exit, so I went that way. L snaked IN past the cash registers into the store but I hadn't seen where he went. A really nice women who saw this happen bolted after L and caught him all the way across the store and carried him back to us. L became a minor celebrity and all the other diners were playing with him and talking to him, which he obviously adored, so no lesson was really learned.
  • They both also ran away multiple times at IKEA, several times where I couldn't see them. This is why we order everything online and avoid going to stores. 
Back soon, promise!