Tuesday, December 20, 2016

For What Its Worth...

I've thought about posting here, many times. Just never felt motivated enough to actually do it. Its been a fun, full couple of weeks. I am, however, starting to feel a little underlying anxiety about our upcoming long-ass trip to MIL. Its just such a long time to spend together, without the distraction of work and our usual activities at home. I can do anything for 11 days, I can do anything for 11 days,... This mantra got me through tough months in residency, call stretches in fellowship, and many many MIL visits!

Operation Moderation has been a resounding...failure. Not that I'm not moderating. The execution is going pretty well, despite many outings and occasions. Its the OUTCOME that is sub-optimal. I just keep gaining. Now my freaking pajama pants feel uncomfortably tight! I'm pretty sure it is related to the P@xil but I'm not sure what to do about it, besides eat less and less. I'm thinking of tabling this whole thing until January, because holidays/family stress and "dieting" don't mix well for me. Add hangry to the usual frustrations and you've got a disaster waiting to happen.

We had B's 7th birthday party last weekend. Lego Ninjago was the theme, and we had super cute Ninjago cupcakes (that i made & G decorated), a Ninjago pinata, and 45 minutes of karate facilitated by the instructors at the studio B goes to for karate/after-school care. The highlight for all the kids was getting to kick a wooden board in half. Man they were so proud, it was adorable. A lot of his classmates showed up, and some other friends. We had a box of wine for the adults, and plenty of pizza. A good time was had by all. I think we throw good parties. Low-key, low-budget, good fun. The kids were talking about it in the drop off line Monday morning, so clearly it was a hit.

I usually look forward to the fresh clean slate of a new year, but for some reason 2017 is not calling to me. I mean, this was a remarkably shitty year for me personally and as a citizen of the world. I wish I could feel hopeful that next year will be better---and the threshold is set pretty damn low here---but it seems like the world is falling apart around us, spiraling downward faster than I can blink. I will focus on my own little corner and the small ways I can help and then try my best to be present and enjoy the journey. I can do anything for 1461 days...just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Last week

As usual I'm late to the game, and I'll write about my weekend/last week on Tuesday morning.

In some ways it was just a typical quiet weekend at home, but in other ways it was awesome. Just a great combination of stuff. Friday night I had my work holiday party, which I left early to meet some friends for our annual holiday drinks. I got to really practice my moderation. The holiday party was meh but meeting up with friends was amazing.

Saturday I went for a brisk 5 mile run, decorated our house for the holidays with the boys, played endless board games, decluttered a bunch of stuff from our basement, & did 5 loads of laundry, and then went to B's karate belt ceremony. He was SO PROUD to get his yellow belt and didn't even complain about sitting for 2+ hours watching all the older kids get their belts/demo moves/receive long-winded personalized acknowledgements from the teacher. They had cookies, chips, and juice afterwards which also helped. G and I had a "date night in" with pizza & beer after the kids went to bed. I couldn't sleep at night so I drank wine & finished my book (Alain de Botton, the Course of Love...MUST READ with spot-on insights about dating, marriage, and parenting).

Sunday I did a killer HIIT workout at the gym. Helped the kids with a "project" (home made mixed-media birthday cards for grandma). More board games. A park trip. And lots of cooking/food prep. Also lots of yelling at the kids. They had been whining & fighting ALL WEEKEND and I couldn't take it.

This week has been OK so far. I'm going to a short, close-by study group meeting this evening (after dinner), and will be back Thursday by dinnertime. I am planning to enjoy the short break from the whining/fighting and hopefully return with more patience. We are getting lots of RSVPs to B's birthday party and will have to work on prep this weekend (including making another pinata! This time out of cardboard, because papier mache is messy in the house and its too cold to do in the backyard!) I have to figure out what to get L for Christmas (we already picked out some board games, Lego kits and books for B's birthday & Christmas presents). I was going to bake holiday cookies with the boys, but we are getting a sitter for Saturday night to go out with friends and she is bringing over cookie dough as an activity! Outsourcing, woot!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Again with this?

So I mentioned the P@xil was causing some weight gain, right? Well add on the general "holiday" feeling of the past few weeks (L's birthday, Halloween, call week/election clusterf&ck, travel, Thanksgiving) and that "some" has become the difference between fitting in my clothes...and not. When I weighed myself this morning I was 8 pounds up from my pre-P@xil weight---and that was in the past 12 weeks.

It just crept up, you know. A piece of candy here and there. A pumpkin beer with dinner. An extra afternoon snack. Cheese, crackers, cheese curls, wine, cocktails, tacos, french fries, and ETC.... I couldn't wear my non-stretchy jeans this Sunday. Then last night some black work pants I ordered in my "loose" size came in...and would NOT fit. I'm taking them back, I'm not about to waste $$ on pants that may or may not even look good when and if they ever fit, but I'm not really in the mood to buy a whole new sized up wardrobe either. I'm itchy and uncomfortable wearing tights and a stretchy dress today because I couldn't face the idea of pants this morning. But tights are also...tight.

I started thinking about doing low carb, or counting calories, or some other intensive change, but SHU's post (and especially the comments) has made me re-think this method. Sure, it WORKS to do a "re-set" and get the confidence boost of losing weight in a short time frame but unless I think of a long-term solution this is going to be a recurring problem. It already has been. I've written about this before...more than once!

And no "intuitive eating" doesn't really work for me (what does that even mean?) If I "listen to my body", I would be stuffing my face with cheez-its and spicy peanuts all the live-long day. I have to IGNORE my wants and focus on my body's NEEDS. Which is also going to mean feeling a little hungry some times, especially at bed time. I've gotten in the habit (AGAIN) of snacking after dinner. We eat at 6ish, and if I'm still awake at 9:30 or 10, I'm genuinely hungry again. And I'm decidedly NOT in the mood for carrots or apples, which I am all too happy to munch on at 11am or 3pm.

One thing that always works is just...going to bed. If I'm asleep by 9:30, I'm not snacking. And I'm never ever hungry in the morning, so its definitely not like I'm just shifting the snacks to a different time. Not buying things I want to snack on also works well. If here is no cheese, it won't end up in my belly. We need to throw away the candy (we bought WAY too much for Halloween and still have a ton left). Cutting out the drinking. Bringing snacks for work (like raw veggies, fruit, or a small portion of soup) so I'm not tempted to run down to the cafeteria or vending machine for french fries or chips.

We have 4 weeks before we go to MIL for 10 days, and eating & drinking are definitely NOT going to be "clean" for that time, so I want to get on track. Any other tips that work for you?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Backwards and Forwards

The rest of the weekend continued to be awesome. The birthday party/football game was fun---even though we left before half-time, noticing that all the kids were half-asleep (both of mine fell asleep on the way home). It was nice to socialize and do something brand new. The kids got to high-five all the players before they came out for the game, which was super cute and exciting for them.

Sunday I went for a solo run---for the first time in months! It was tough. I was sore from Bodypump on Saturday, and it took my legs a long long time to find my stride. But eventually I did, and I definitely have gotten faster. I can feel the muscles in my thigh being recruited to push my along as I pick up speed. It was fun.

I also did a lot of chores on Sunday---loads of laundry and loads of cooking. I took the boys to see a children's theater production that was really well done, and was a fun & special way to end the weekend. I had planned to go to bed early but G and I just kept talking (and drinking wine)---I guess I didn't want the holiday feeling to end.

This morning was rough. And today has been far from efficient. I'm getting my head back into it, checking things off my list, and working on #1 of the 2 papers I want to submit by year's end. I also wasted indulged lazed decided to spend some time catching up on the news & a whole slew of excellent blog posts that I tried to avoid all weekend.

Did Thanksgiving come early this year? It feels like it. I can't believe its "holiday season" already. I didn't get around to decorating. We will do it Saturday. I want the boys to participate. I'm again re-evaluating how I want to focus our energy for the holidays this year...definitely going with less emphasis on the material gifts for the kids and more on the idea of family/love/sharing/giving.

I think I've met my goal of posting here every working day so far. I'm not sure it has helped me reach my actual intention of improving my writing, making connections, and sharing insights here. A lot of my posts have been phoned-in, so to speak, just trying to get some words out so I can check the box. Yet, before the month I was checking in rarely with bullets and "quick updates", too. I'm not sure how to motivate myself to increase quality and quantity.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

The weekend has been mostly good so far. There were some....moments...on Thursday, where the kids were fighting/hitting/shouting and I lost it, and then I took it out some more on my husband, etc... But overall, we've been relaxing, playing games, eating yummy food, etc...

We had our "traditional" (i.e. we had it last year) Thanksgiving meal of roast chicken, buttermilk biscuits, roasted veggies & dessert. B and I made pumpkin Nutella bread and it was as good as it sounds. I don't really like turkey and even the smallest turkey is too big for the 4 of us, so the chicken is perfect.

I went to the gym this morning while G took the boys to B's karate class and breakfast. Now I'm at work waiting for the media to warm so I can feed some cells (I didn't want to wait another week to grow them up for some experiments I need for the paper I'm writing). Then I'll head to the grocery store. We have a birthday party for L's friend this evening that involves going to a college football game which starts at 7:30 (they didn't know the game time when they planned this & bought the tickets, it was only announced this week). Its L's best friend, and we really like the parents, so hopefully it'll be fun.

I want to get the tree put up this weekend, and the other holiday decorations. I'll cook for the week tomorrow, too, because we have a busy few days coming up. Its nice to have this pause in our lives to chill out for a few days.

Hope you are all having a relaxing long weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately

I've been reading a lot (as usual!)

Here's a rundown of what I've read in the past few months:

Intuition (Allegra Goodman): This was a book club read. We all found it sort of meh. The premise is really interesting--about scientific misconduct in an academic (life sciences) lab, and they got a lot right about the environment. But the character development was terrible, and I didn't care about anyone. Also she left the ending very vague, which sometimes works, but really didn't here.

The Secret History (Donna Tartt): Oh my. Don't bother. Tedious, long, hated every single character more and more as the book went on, and an undercurrent of creepiness that just made me feel gross reading it.

Sleeping Giants (Sylvain Neuvel): I surprisingly loved this! Sci-fi, and with an extremely wacky, out-there premise, but also good character development and relationships and a fast-moving plot. A quick read, and it looks like there is a sequel in the works.

A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles): I already mentioned how much I love this, but can I say it again? LOVE. Such witty, sharp writing. Interesting, lovable characters. And the book cemented my belief that the meaning of life (or at least the path the happiness) lies in finding a purpose, and making connections.  The backdrop of the Bolshevik revolution in Moscow added quite a bit of intrigue (and some education, on my part). 

A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry): This book was...not for me, at least not right now (sorry SHU!). It was long. So very very long. I read it off and on since September and JUST finished it. And it was, far and away, the most depressing book I have ever read. All the characters were just so pitiful. It just went from bad to worse...and then there was a faint glimmer of hope around 2/3 through, and I started really liking it...and then it all went to absolute utter shit. Don't get me wrong, it is interesting---there are a LOT of deep themes about the society of the time, politics, culture, love and friendship, privilege and bigotry---I think it'd make a great book club or classroom discussion (except for the length), but oh man, this is not what I needed at the moment, and it left me in despair, without even a flicker of hope for the world.

Library of Souls (Ransom Riggs): 3rd (and last?) in the Miss Peregrine's fantasy series. I like these, it was action-packed, moderately creepy and complex. There is a teen love story mixed in that straddled the line into cheesy at times, but overall good.

Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon): I tore through this short YA read in one day. It reminded me of a cross between Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park & Attachments...until the twist at the end. About young love, parent-child love, and what it means to be ALIVE. Recommend. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Today I am grateful for:
  • My super-warm sherpa-lined boots. No matter how cold it is, my feet are nice and toasty!
  • My early morning workouts. In and out & home for breakfast after a major calorie burn
  • A positive parent-teacher meeting. "B is a great kid, very polite and inquisitive" she started off. There were definitely things to work on ("following directions"), but its so nice to hear something good about your kid!
  • L and his goofy drama-queen self. He went to the doctor and got 2 shots yesterday. Oh man, the kid carried on ALL NIGHT as if he'd had his leg amputated. "But make sure you take my shirt of carefully" "But how am I going to sleep because my arm hurts" "OH you touched my arm where it hurts!"(when I barely grazed against him). It was so funny---until he woke me up at midnight because his arms hurt again. BUT I'm grateful that...
  • G was already up, just coming to bed, and took over, so I could go immediately back to sleep in the warm bed.

Monday, November 21, 2016

No sleep until...

We had our weekend away. It was mostly...challenging. The kids were in rare form---an 11 out of 10 on the grumpiness/uncooperative scale. The weather made a sudden turn for freezing and awful Sunday. As usual when we are somewhere new (especially with all 4 of us in one room), I slept like crap. I was SO TIRED when we got home yesterday evening (in an Uber, since we missed our train connection), yet we had to cook & prep lunches & get groceries because Monday always comes.

The bright spot was G & I getting to go on a date night Saturday night, while his cousin watched the boys and got them ready for bed. We did get home before they fell asleep, but we had fun. I drank one glass of wine too much because we just weren't ready to leave the restaurant, and I paid for it big time Sunday morning. We had some fun with the kids Saturday morning at the park, too, when it was warm and picturesque.

Today I am dragging. I've had a headache all day despite going to bed before 9 last night, after a simple meal and lots of hydration. Its cold & windy outside, though it looks like the sun came out. I have to go to a parent-teacher conference at B's school & then rush to go get him from aftercare, a mile away (G is taking L to his 5-year-old check up). I haven't been super at all productive.

Thankfully we have a HelloFresh delivery waiting on our doorstep for dinner (btw, if you want to try it out, email me & I can hook you up with a free box). I'm a little in love with the brainless approach to getting food on the table. I do pride myself with being good at pre-planning and re-using and being creative in the kitchen but one less thing these days is sometimes the difference between sanity and completely losing it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

So Little Time...

I feel super pressed for time the past few days. We are traveling for the weekend, leaving right after I finish a morning clinic and journal club presentation. I haven't packed; we haven't done laundry in a while. I went on a field trip with L this morning, we made it home in time to pick B up from school. I supervised homework & snacks and planted the tulip bulbs that probably won't grow because they were already starting to sprout from being indoors & too warm too long.

I also threw in some laundry. Now the boys are bugging me to play games, but I had to deal with some patient phone calls & I'm quickly writing this post before I change over the laundry. Then I have to walk the dog and start dinner & making lunches for tomorrow for the kids. And then pack.
(G is working late, which we had already planned, since I was not going to work today). And parcel out dog food & get things ready for the dog sitter.

Next week there are only 3 days of work, and I've got to finish the paper I'm writing, plus a pilot grant application, some experiments we are trying to optimize, and the usual clinical stuff. And B has half days all 3 days (though he'll go to aftercare) and I have to go try to reschedule the parent-teacher conference they scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 2pm because that is just not happening!

Add to that the fact that we've planned NOTHING for Thanksgiving---either the meal or the long weekend, and its suddenly "holiday season" and we have to start getting gifts for teachers, etc... as well as think of what to get for the kids! And B's birthday party is in a month, and I've thought of nothing except booking the venue (his karate/aftercare place). We need to get out invites, and first pick a theme, plan food/cake/activities.

Yes, this post is basically my to-do list for the next few weeks, and if it reads a bit frantic its because I'm feeling that way. Now to go try and focus on "games" while my mind keeps thinking of what needs to happen next!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Book with Many Faces

Aaagh Facebook. Of course, every blogger has to ponder their "relationship with social media" so indulge me for a minute.

I generally like FB. I like keeping up with long last family/friends, and getting "likes" on cute/funny kid pictures. I like being on top of local happenings. I love Love LOVE the BuyNothing Project, which is run as a FB group.

I've also been involved in some huge time-suck FB groups that don't bring anything valuable to my life other than distraction. I've had to unfriend/unfollow annoying random people. There is a friend of my mom's who comments on EVERY SINGLE POST I ever put up, even though I only met her once. And I've found myself at times in the quandary of wanting to share but feeling uncomfortable because of the whole friends of friends seeing my post situation, because I don't friend people I currently work with but am friends with some previous colleagues who are also friends with everyone I work with (get it?).

Around the middle of last week, I found FB to be a lifeline. I commiserated with like-minded friends about the election results, and we had some really interesting and nuanced discussions. I was grateful to see people post about concrete actions we could all take, opportunities to do some good in the world.

But by the end of the week, my lifeline began to feel more like an anchor weighing me down, when I was actually ready to resurface. I realized what an echo-chamber of outrage it had become. So much re-hashing of the same thing. So many empty pledges. Nothing that was increasing my understanding, or even strengthening my friendships (maybe the opposite?). Nothing that was bringing any value to my life at all (other than Joe Biden memes, which STILL crack me up and probably will forever).

I opted out for the weekend, and honestly, it was good for me. I'm back on this week, and definitely, I feel more drawn back in to drama.Most people get off FB for OPPOSING political views, but I'm being driven away by those with identical views...because echo chambers get really loud, and I think better in quiet.

I decided this morning to quit for the month. It'll actually be good to not have to deal with the holiday FOMO I always get when we spend a quiet holiday alone at home, which we are planning for Thanksgiving. I'll broadcast my thoughts only in long form, to selectively bore my loyal blog readers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Looking back

I have some weighty long posts I want to write but today is not that day. Honestly I haven't got much to say but I promised myself I'd write, so here I am.

I saw my therapist yesterday, for the first time in over 2 months. She was amazed at how much better I'm doing. I can hardly remember what a mess I was this summer. Oh wow, it was terrible. I'm so glad I'm back on solid ground.

I'm scared of being back there, having to start over. Not sure when/if I'll consider stopping the medication, even though there are some significant side effects. 

I submitted my 2nd grant today, as well as an IRB proposal. Next up: paper #1 (the plan is to submit 2 by the end of the year). I've also got a pilot grant (small, 3 page proposal) I want to submit, that's due in early December.

I've been more productive the past few months than I was in the past YEAR. In retrospect, I realize I was depressed for that whole year. Its hard to see when you're in it, but its so obvious looking back.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Back from my very short break. I also took a very short break from Facebook, which convinced me that I actually needed a longer break. I logged back in this morning and realized, after wasting way too much time scrolling and reading links and getting aggravated again, that I missed nothing of actual substance other than Joe Biden memes (which I will have to find some other way to hunt down, because they are hilarious).

The weekend was OK. There were good moments, like our fun and yummy date night dinner, my workouts, reading great books, playing board games with the kids. And there were meh moments, like B being sick and being a real pill all weekend, the freezing weather, realizing I forgot to cancel or modify our meal delivery for the week and that we were paying for and getting two meals I won't even eat (pork chops and steak).

I definitely need a take a step back from thinking/fretting/raging about politics and our country...for my mental and physical health. At the same time, I don't want to forget, or get complacent.  On the continuum between outrage and apathy, there is a healthy and sustainable place and I'm looking for it.

Being off FB, I didn't see the SNL performance until Sunday afternoon (and it definitely made me cry!) But before that, G had been playing music, and he was playing "Hallelujah", remarking that he'd never actually heard it before. I was flummoxed because he is a music buff and that song seems to be everywhere. It is one of my all time favorites and the haunting chords and lyrics really hit home for me right now. I played it on repeat all evening, so that L eventually began to sing along, though he heard it as "Halle---booo---yah".

Another week. Lets do it!

Friday, November 11, 2016

TGI f-ing F

Only 8.5 more hours until I sign out the service and walk out of here, to pick up B, walk the dog and finally finally sit down to a very very much needed glass of wine.

I am going off-line this weekend. I need a break. I vacillate between acceptance and anger (Noemi sums it up here). If you're ready to consider action read Cloud's thoughtful and logical action plan. I agree 100% with every word of it.

On the plus side: My grant is in great shape, and I'll be submitting for internal review today. Once I get the review back, I'll revise next week. The weekend is free! We have a sitter scheduled for Saturday. We haven't had a date night since August, so I'm very much looking forward to it. I have plans to work out both days and spend lots of time playing with the kids. B's into playing Monopoly now, and despite my issues with real estate moguls, I have to admit its pretty fun. Its going to be cool and sunny. We'll go to the library and the park. I'm going to bake something.

I'm still enjoying "A Gentleman in Moscow". Its not deep, but the language and the humor are charming and keeping drawing me in. Its a mostly happy book about human connections and finding your purpose, despite being set in a depressing political climate. My book club is going to see the movie of "A Man Called Ove" next week. I'm excited about this because 1) an outing! and 2) that story is so hopeful and soothing to my soul.

I hope you find something soothing to your soul this weekend. Back Monday.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Upside Down

Title reference

As a wise man said, the sun will come up. It might have, but I couldn't see it through the clouds because yesterday loomed dark and rainy. When I picked B up from aftercare, I told him (with a smile), that the world was crying. He asked, "is it because Donald Trump won?" And I laughed, and said "no, sometimes everyone just needs a good cry. And rain is good for the plants and the earth". And then it all came tumbling out...

"A said that Donald Trump was going to hurt people. B said we should kill him. C said he hates girls and wants to hurts girls. D's mommy cried so much, she was still crying when she dropped her off. E said she is sad about moving to Canada, F is worried his aunt will have to go to her other country..." and so on

We tried really hard to keep our kids feeling innocent and safe. We never discussed the disgusting things that were said in this election. We kept things general, and let them know who we supported, and generally why, but I didn't want to shake my boys' innocence that most people are good (and the bad guys go to jail). It was really hard to reconcile, but I think we made it work while still being honest.

Until yesterday. When I had to reassure B with what was mostly a pack of lies. Checks and balances (ha). He'll get good, smart people around him (hahaha). Maybe he'll learn and change and grow (HA!...but maybe?). Its only for four years (truth). And that OUR focus would remain on kindness, and learning, trying to help others, and having fun along the way. That his friends would be OK, because us...the grown ups in the neighborhood...love them all and will keep them safe.

And G and I talked more about this last night. This is OUR job. WE are the grown ups. We need to stand up, speak up, and fight for what we believe in...for ourselves and for our children. We are donating money, we'll be calling/emailing/writing our state and local representatives frequently. We are brainstorming places to volunteer our skills and time. We know we want to be more involved with the process than just showing up to vote next time.

I feel better today. A lot better, though there is still a deep undercurrent of sorrow and disappointment. Its helpful to have a plan and a focus for those feelings. The sun is up today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.


AKA what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck I can't even

AKA Like when you're all dressed up and excited for your anniversary dinner with America, thinking she's going to propose, and then she is all "we need to talk...its not you its me" and breezes out of there, leaving you with the check and no way home, devastated and betrayed.

AKA How do I explain this to my kids?

AKA Seriously...what the fuck? We must be living in the quite the bubble given how much this took everyone by surprise

AKA I don't actually want to move to Canada so what now?

AKA We didn't do enough. What can we do now? How can we stop this from happening again?

AKA How many days til I can have a cocktail? 

Hugs, hope, light and love to everyone. I will eventually be able to form more coherent sentences. Until then I am burying myself in work, and my kids, and really good books. Because life goes on, even when your heart is broken.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


While they no longer thought we were "boating" for "presents",  the boys were a little thrown off about going to the "bowling" (polling) place this morning.

I don't own a pantsuit. I showed up in sweaty post-work out gym clothes. We bundled the kids up in their PJs and stopped the whining temporarily with chocolate chip Clif bars and Doritos from the vending machine. We waited over an hour. I showed up to work tired, hungry, and 20 minutes late. But we did it.

B read out the names as I pushed the buttons and we both pushed the green VOTE button together at the end.

We voted our values--which include love and unity and equality and hard work and compromise. We believe a woman's place is anywhere she damn well wants to be and works hard enough to reach.  We believe in a leader we we are proud of and can explain to our children.

We are with her. And I'm so proud to have cast my ballot today. Lets make history.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday Morning

I have a long list of topics to write about, but most are weightier than I feel like tackling in between rounding & grant writing today.

I started my new schedule of early rising to work (more on that another day), and it went wonderfully, even though B did wake up in the middle of it and complained about being tired (I sent him back to bed, and then they both woke up 15 minutes late wanting breakfast). I'll have more time once they recalibrate from the time change, but I'll miss how EASY bedtime was last night.

I'm motivated to work hard by the goal of NOT working next weekend. I really want this grant to be 90% done by Friday at 5 pm so I can forget about it until I proofread and tweak minor things on Monday and then get it submitted by Tuesday. One can dream.

I've nearly decided to NOT watch election coverage tomorrow evening and just go to bed early and see the results when I wake up. I need to wake up extra early Wednesday anyways, and have a long day ahead. It won't be good for me to stay up fretting (and stress eating).

I am, however, excited to go vote. It never gets old, but it'll be particularly meaningful this time, I think. I'm definitely planning to take the kids, too.

Lunch is sounding good right now...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

24 Hours

The rest of yesterday ended up being quite rejuvenating. Almost luxurious. And it was 100% due to the unconditional understanding and support of my husband. He really (finally) seems to get how much call takes out of me, and how impossible it is for me to treat it as a normal weekend, where I jump back into the chores & childcare as soon as I walk through the door.

Yesterday, he took it all off my plate. And I was so grateful. The fact that I do this rarely makes it possible for us, of course. I have 6 weeks of weekdays on call, and even fewer weekends (because it doesn't make $en$e for full-time clinical providers to cancel 8 clinics during a week to do consults, they are only on the weekend rotation schedule)*

This was my 24 hours, beginning Saturday morning:

6:15 Wake up---drink coffee, shower, get ready, eat breakfast. Kids are sleeping.
7:30 Walk to work
8:00-10:00 Round on inpatients and consults. Plan to reconvene to see patient once out of OR, and new consults
10:00-12:00 Work on grant
12:00 get called about "bad news" situation
12:00-2:00 Deal with & deliver bad news, see new consult, patient out of OR
2:00-3:15 Get & eat lunch, write blog post, finish editing/cosigning resident & fellow notes
3:15 Leave hospital---find out husband & kids are out, go to grocery store & pharmacy for a couple of items
4:00 Get home. Change clothes. Text G to see when they are coming home but he doesn't respond so I think they may be on their way. Sit on couch and pick up new book.
4:00-5:00 Read book. Love it.
5:00-5:45 Walk & feed dog. Get text from G at 5:15 that they are heading home but may stop for dinner. I'm not hungry so I opt out.
5:45-6:45 Read some more.
6:45 They get home, all having eaten. BIG HUGS from kids.
6:45-8:00 Play with kids, get them ready for bed, deal with phone calls for work.
8:00-8:30 Make & eat dinner while G reads bedtime stories. Read more book. Obsessed.
8:30-9:00 Extended bedtime shenanigans. (hugs, sleep with me, water, etc...)
9:00-9:45 Hang out with G talking about day and shopping online for kids' shoes & coats, eat a dessert
9:45-10:15 Get ready, work phone calls, go to bed. Woken up once for work, and once for no reason.
5:00 Wake up and check time. Think about going for a run. Think about it for a minute...
6:15 Get up---kids are up already.

If I knew they weren't going to be home for hours, I would've opened up my laptop to do work. While simultaneously doing laundry. I thought they'd be home any minute so I wanted to steal a moment to relax. I don't regret it. When do I get to sit down in the middle of the day and read a book? It was amazing.

*I'm not "lucky" to have this schedule, it was a deliberate choice, and the trade-off is that my income is too low to even make it on those graphs you see if "physician income by specialty/gender/region/etc...".

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Its Sunny Outside

Um...that is literally the only positive thing I can think of right now. I feel a little fried. There weren't so many patients they were just...complex. Hard. Mentally & emotionally. Its hard for me not to get drawn in, and imagine myself on the other side. Its so so tough to give bad news.

On the plus side, I did NOT drown my sorrows in french fries (because they were out of french fries). I got a healthy brown rice bowl with chicken & vegetables instead. (Hopefully tomorrow there will be fries).

Also, in between some of the drama, I did manage to do some of the super-low-hanging-fruit of my grant prep. Super exciting things like "Facilities" and "Data Sharing Plan".  I wrote them all down and crossed them off just for the feeling of satisfaction.

Black pants sound like a good idea until I remember that I have a very very sheddy tan dog. Also I have been feeling pants-challenged. Other than jeans, finding pants that fit properly eludes me. I am wearing ill-fitting, but comfortable and properly hemmed, cream colored pants today and I just spilled curry sauce on them so oh well.

I might just sit here for a minute before I head home to deal with...everything else.

This is probably the lamest post ever.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Call Week Cluster$&#*

A call weekend/week is bad enough by itself but to top it off, next week we also have:
  • 2 days off of school for B (he will go to a "camp" at his aftercare place but it starts at 9)
  • End of Daylight Savings Time
  • A grant due on Friday
  • An abstract I'm writing with a fellow, due on Tuesday
  • G with work deadlines such that he'll have to work on the weekend and some evenings also
  • And oh yeah, the freaking ELECTION
 SO. There will be a lot of juggling and take out and a lot less routine and downtime then we are all used to.

The worst part of call for me is the uncertainty (and the sometimes overwhelming feeling of responsibility). I don't know what time I'll get home any day of the week. I don't know when I'll be woken up. Etc... Also there is a LOT more interpersonal challenge than I'm used to---talking to angry/upset/scared patients, dealing with trainees, negotiating with the primary team, nurses, and so on. My introverted self is FRIED by the end of the day.

To keep my sanity, I've got to focus on "self-care". I've come up with some goals:
  • Go to bed early! I've been terrible at this lately and paying for it. I am so tired today I can barely focus (I was woken up by something and couldn't go back to sleep last night, but I also went to bed later than I should have). I'll be much more focused, productive, and calm with enough rest
  • Fuel myself. I'm not one to "forget to eat"...EVER, but I sometimes don't make the time to eat right. I.e. grabbing junk (which recently has involved piles of leftover candy) instead of taking 2 minutes to scramble an egg or peel an orange. 
  • Exercise. This is tough. I have to go in early most days and it'll be hard to fit in, especially on the weekend. But I want to try to get ONE short run in this weekend, and make it to my workout class at least once this week. On top of that I'm going to make sure I walk---its supposed to be lovely weather and outside time is soothing for me. 
  • Plan & prep. I'm going to pick out my clothes tonight so I'm not fumbling around in the dark in the mornings. Its a bit challenging to find SEVEN professional yet comfortable outfits.  I already made our meal plan, and I'll complete the grocery list for G. I'm booking dog walking for every evening next week in case I'm home late.
  • Cut myself slack. Easy meals or take-out, messy house, screen time for the kids. I've basically told G I'll be out of the picture most of the weekend so he's planning to entertain the kids & get stuff done on his own.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bigger Kids= (part 2)

Bigger worries

I think the fun way way outshadows the negative, but I do find my worries about my kids getting bigger and deeper as they move on to new stages

1) The stakes are higher. I struggle, I really do, with trying to find the right mix of encouragement vs. pushing. To instill the value of hard work and education and yet not drive them to hate school and homework at so early of an age. To make sure they explore there interests yet not push them to spend hours in activities they don't really enjoy.  I know these things will affect them throughout their lives, and I don't want to mess it up.

2) They remember everything. Seriously. You know when they are toddlers, and you have a bad day and maybe yell too much & the next day its all good again like it never happened? Its not like B holds a grudge, but he will remember and bring it up. Two weeks later. Two months later. Or when you promise you'll do something "someday" and hope they will conveniently forget it? They don't. Its all etched in there. Every good & bad experience. Sure he may not remember when he's 40, but he certainly will when he's 8.

3) They are out in the world. School is WAY different then daycare. You don't just walk in and hear about the day from the teacher. I usually pick B up from a whole different place (after care) and have NO IDEA what happened at school until he tells me...and while he seems to remember everything, relaying that information reliably is still quite tricky. He is with lots of different teachers and kids, some of who I've never met or seen. He had the same daycare teacher for years...and now he has a main teacher, substitutes, art teacher, gym teacher, spanish teacher, 6 different people that alternate picking him up and playing with him at aftercare, 2 karate instructors, etc...

4) And the world is judging them. We were in the same daycare since B was an infant. He's grown up there. The teachers see him as one of their own, and can compare him from year to year to see how he progressed. In school? He's one of many that just show up in September. They notice how he is different and have no frame of reference to how much improvement he has made or whether he may simply be having an off day. And little kids? They are ALL weird. They don't really think anything of their playmates idiosyncrasies. 6 year olds do, though. They notice & the judge & the tease & they exclude. We've only noted this on a very small scale so far, and it comes and goes (First day: A teased me and said we are not friends she doesn't like me. Next day: A and I played tag together and she is inviting me to her party and we are friends)

So yeah, its not all sunshine, but we're navigated the challenges as they come.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bigger Kids= (part 1)

Bigger fun!

I really feel like we are in a sweet spot with our kids' ages. They are much more independent, yet still adorable and love to be with us. At 5 and nearly 7, our lives look so different then those oh-so-hard early years, for reasons expected & surprising.

1) Independence. They can play on their own or together for large stretches of times. This means we can do our own thing, or at least work together on chores instead of one person having to constantly be on "kid duty". Mornings are so much easier, too. They wake up and play until breakfast is ready. Then they go up themselves and brush teeth & change clothes & play until its time for school. They can go to the bathroom on their own, completely and totally.

I can't even express what a game-changer this is, in terms of being able to relax and enjoy our time together in addition to getting things done. There were several days this fall where I even worked from home while the kids were there! Without having to resort (too much) to screen time.

2) Actual fun. The things they want to do with us (and they still DO want to play with us, a lot) are actually fun! Playing boardgames like chess and checkers (we got rid of the inanity of CandyLand) is FUN for me. Racing each other at the park (and them actually winning sometimes even when I try), cooking/baking together when they actually can do things (they can crack eggs, level measuring cups, etc...), working on large (500 piece) puzzles, watching movies we ALL enjoy (though they mostly want to watch Lego Starwars yoda chronicles over and over). It helps that the two of us like different things, so I'll play chess and G will do legos (ugh).

3) Advanced thinking. Anticipating something and planning for it adds so much joy to the event. For L's birthday this year, B wanted to buy him a present with his own money, and picked a day he had off from school to go to the store. For the next few weeks, there were whispered conversations (because he just HAD to talk to me about the present when L was around), and giggling plans. B also helps me plan our weekends, meal plan (he'll look through cook books and show me things...they are usually deserts, but he gets the point). They both like looking at the calendar and counting down until fun events. And then they are able to remember details---more than I ever could---and live to relive our memories over and over, stretching out the enjoyment even more.

4) Challenging conversations. I actually love navigating their questions about politics, race, how babies get out, science, etc... They ask really interesting questions and demand an honest answer. I love being the one to shape their early views and get to hear their own (naive but thoughtful) perspective on things.

This is the part of parenting I'm best suited for and I'm loving and savoring it. I was not really a "baby mom" or a "toddler mom" and I have no idea how I'll feel about being the mom of a teen (ha ha, not "teen mom"), so I'm really glad we have a few more years in this little-big-kid stage.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


For some reason, I've always had this idea of November as a cold, dark, dreary & dingy grey month. In fact, at least where we live now, its quite lovely---full of sunshine, fall colors, crisp but not freezing weather, and plenty of fun. Its time to embrace November.

I have committed to blogging every weekday. I really can't promise to write on the weekends, because I don't want to create a reason to spend time on my computer when I'm actually trying for the opposite! Plus we are going away one weekend and I'm not planning on bringing my laptop to a fun weekend away. I'll blog this weekend, since I'm on call and will be spending time on my computer anyways.

That makes 22 posts this month, which isn't quite 30 but is a lot more than the 3 or so I wrote last month.

What November has in store for me:
  • Weekend/week on call coming up. Will be re-reading these posts to help keep in a positive mindset.
  • Election Day. We will all go to vote in the morning. The kids will get it this time instead of being disappointed in the lack of "boating" and "presents". 
  • Grant deadline
  • Date night! Sitter already booked. We haven't had a night out since AUGUST
  • Weekend away to visit G's cousins
  • Thanksgiving. we are laying low, just the 4 of us at home again. I'm not really into traditional Thanksgiving food (turkey/stuffing/cranberry/pumpkin pie/blah). but its fun to do it with the kids.
  • Hopefully: lots of runs, board games, reading (I'm ditching A Fine Balance, I haven't picked it up in over a week, and really need to read something good to get back in the reading habit)
Happy new month! See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Goings Ons (Spooookkkkyyyy edition)

Happy Halloween! Doesn't it feel that the Halloween that never ends? We've been celebrating in some form or another since Friday. On the plus side, the kids' costumes are getting a lot of use. On the minus side...well, really there is no minus, I do like Halloween, and my we've been keeping the sugar consumption in high-moderate range. We are going trick or treating this evening, with two Darth Vaders, a Jedi, and Princess Leia. We* also made a super cute BB8 pumpkin.

Stuff that I wanted to tell you about...mostly good! 
  • I've become a faster runner! I ran a 5K on Saturday, without training, and was shocked to realize I finished in <27 minutes! I figured I was running my usual 9-10 minute/mile pace. Though I was alarmed at how exhausted I felt, I figured it was the lack of training. I was so proud of myself. I'm looking for another 5K to run to see if it was just a fluke. 
  • I tried (and really liked) a subscription meal delivery service. I've always been opposed to these things because a) the $, b) the inefficient packaging and c) the work involved (i.e. if I'm paying the $, why not get take out?), but my sister gave me a code for a completely free week to a service, and so we got a 4-meal box last week. We both found it easy and sort of fun to open up a kit with everything you need and follow the (simple) directions to get a new & healthy meal on the table in 30-40 minutes. The real beauty, though, was that we didn't have to plan & prep last Sunday. I think it'd be a great option for when we are away or super busy on the weekend. 
  • We finally made it to a farm yesterday, for a birthday party. It was almost an hour away, but really was idyllic, with hay rides, pumpkin patch, animals to feed and a beautiful (80 degree!!??) fall day. I even got to eat a caramel apple (yumm! it had nuts and chocolate on it!) 
  • Not so positive---we found an engorged tick on L's head last night, probably from hiking last weekend. So now I'm freaking out about Lyme disease and made myself nuts reading CDC vs AAP vs. etc.. recommendations. We have a call out to the pediatrician because I need someone else to take over the decision-making. I even CHECKED his head when he got home but a tiny black tick in his thick black hair was easily missed. Over the course of the week this sucker got SO BIG G felt something weird on his head when they were wrestling. WEAR HATS if you go in the woods. (there was no rash on his head and he's fine so far)
  • We met with B's school teacher/counselor/psychologist last week and they determined he is doing really well but could use some minor modifications to help him with social and attention issues. We are waiting for the 504 plan they are writing up. I really do think he's doing better, we can see it at home. Maybe he's just growing into himself more slowly than we all want him to? I also need to talk to the psychologist who runs his social skills group to tell her we want to take a break. Its a PITA to get to every week, its $$$$, and it's unclear what the goals are & if we are actually meeting them. Plus he would rather use that day, when I pick him up directly from school, to get in another day of karate or have a playdate with a friend, which both sound like social-skill-building activities to me, and don't cost another $75/hour. 
  • I am debating doing NaNoBloPoMo (posting daily for the month of November) vs. doing a complete social media break for the month. I feel the need to go extreme. You will know by tomorrow which one I chose!
Wishing you more treats than tricks!

*Which means, I found it, said "we" should make it, and G executed 100%. I am nothing but the brains behind this operation.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Getting Over Myself

I realize that there are certain personality traits that again & again get in my way of success/happiness/etc... I am trying really hard to get over these things because I realize they have been holding me back for years (decades!) Just this week I've had a couple of successes!

#1 Shyness/introversion/imposter syndrome: Overall the feeling that reaching out to anyone for collaboration is annoying & burdensome, that people will not want to work with me because my ideas are lame/I'm not as smart as them/they are too busy or whatever. This has been a major issue for me in my research. I don't reach out, or I wait too long, or I over-analyze a delayed response to my initial contact as a sign that they are uninterested (because my work is lame, I'm not that smart...) when in reality, once I DO make contact, I've only heard positive things "That sounds cool! We'd love to help! Maybe we can write this up!" Etc... I just sent an email to a stranger (who I was recommended to contact by someone I was discussing an upcoming grant with at a networking event) and she immediately wrote back that she would love to be involved. This could open a new (and really cool!) area of study for me.

Lesson learned: networking is important and don't be afraid to reach out for collaboration. Its like dating, it won't happen if you don't put yourself out there.

#2 Time stress/overwhelm/schedule rigidity: This one annoys the hell out of husband, and leads to a lot of unnecessary stress/panic at home. We get behind on chores or weeknight routine, I start fretting about how "there is SO MUCH TO DO!" and get snippy, frustrated, and overall it sucks. This may sound overly philosophical, but my stress about chores really stems from lack of ability to stay in the moment. I am stressed because I want to be DONE and relaxing/sleeping/back to work. If I can just stay in the moment and do the thing in front of me, one at a time, there is no problem. On Tuesday evening it was nearly 7, no one had eaten dinner, the dishwasher needed to be unloaded & reloaded, lunches packed for the next 2 days, kitchen cleaned, kids bathed, stories etc... (and G was not home). I put on some music, fed the three of us, felt much better because I wasn't starving, and then tackled one chore at a time as the kids laughed & played at the table. It all got done, I was in a good mood, and they even went to bed on time.

Lesson learned: take one thing at a time, it'll all get done and be less awful in the doing.Also music helps.

#3 Avoidance of potentially stressful things: I avoid addressing them and then they hang over my head, infiltrating my day, adding this undercurrent of anxiety. I honestly haven't had any wins on this one recently, but I have a couple of things I need to tackle, at home & at work (home: planning holiday travel and buying tickets---stressful because family pressures and $$$; work: scheduling a long overdue meeting with division chief re: lack of grants/papers in past year---stressful because...duh).

Lesson (still not) learned: Eat that frog

What have you learned lately?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I just submitted my grant! Whoo. Now to start thinking about the next one (and then the next one, and so forth). Its been crazy busy but in a productive, challenging way. I love this part of my job. Even if I worked a good chunk of the weekend to get this done.

Everything else has been good. The kids are adorable and fun (most of the time). G and I are fine, though we have had very limited time together in the past few weeks. I'm working out, eating too much, not sleeping enough---all the same.

I got a Darth Vader costume from a neighbor that fits B, so now L wants to be Darth Vader and I ordered him a costume. Same neighbor also had an adult costume (Darth Vader), which looks HUGE so maybe G can wear that? I guess we will have Vader Clones. Not sure what I'm going to be (probably not Darth Vader...) I like dressing up (nothing elaborate, maybe just some accessories) to go with the kids. I don't really go "all in" on the holidays in general, I figure if I'm going to pick one, Halloween is a low-key fun one. We have a pumpkin we will carve this weekend. The boys wanted "decorations" so maybe I'll get some of that webbing and put some creepy crawly toys on it and put that outside.

I know there are 168 hours, etc... but there never seem to be enough hours to get in all the stuff I want to do---at work, at home, with the kids, with friends, with G, for myself. I have backlogs of books and cooking projects and home projects and our "fall fun" list, and work outs...I just keeping finding things to add. I think its a good problem to have.

I completely fell off the YNAB wagon for the past 2 months. I'm not sure how to re-start. Should I zero everything out and start from scratch? Start where we left off? G has been adding stuff, but I haven't so the budget looks bizarre. Anyone do this before? 

Now its 84 degrees out, and B was feeling sick this morning and probably needs some rest, and G forgot to buy the things I need to make salads for lunch. I am out of here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunny Days

This past few weeks really flew by! I am up against a deadline, and definitely plan to take a day off at home to myself when my grant is in just to catch up on random stuff (and reading and vegging). I try to do this every 6 months and its the absolute best.

L's birthday week is over. I can't believe my youngest is FIVE. This big-kid world is everything I've dreamed of, though, even though we're not fully two feet in (next year, when he starts KG, and they are both in the same place every day will be so much easier, though the thought of saying goodbye to our daycare makes me cry).

This weekend my sister & family came to visit. The kids had a cousin-y good time, as usual, even though it rained the entire time. Our apple-picking plan got changed to indoor children's museum, to my disappointment. At least the kids still had fun. Of course its sunny all week & rainy all weekend. OF COURSE IT IS.

I woke up in the middle of Friday night with the cold sweats & waves of nausea. It was not a good night. Something I ate at our work meeting I'm thinking, because it finally wore off by Saturday evening and I devoured pizza, wine, and chocolate and felt great. But most of Saturday was a wash. I finally fell back asleep around 6 am and slept til 9. G took one look at me and took the boys to the park for a couple of hours while I sipped water, nibbled crackers, and slumped around.

I'm trying really hard to balance everything so I get stuff done & not get overwhelmed & stressed. I am taking advantage of energy when I have it, to tackle long overdue home-related tasks. Yesterday, I went to bed before 9. Hopefully tonight I can sort through our summer clothes to donate all the unworn ones and put the rest into the off-season bins.

I'm taken by the idea of a fairly minimal wardrobe for myself. All summer, I rotated through 6 shift dresses with pockets, and it was awesome not really having to think about what to wear. Too many options, clothes jammed into closets and drawers, blah. And I'm doing WAY BETTER then ever, and it still seems like too much. I think I may be on a "journey towards minimalism" (ha!)

I'm finding moments of anxiety creeping back up. I never did see my therapist again in September. I just don't have time to take a couple hours off work to do that. I should email the old therapist, who should finally be back from maternity leave, to get on her schedule later this month.

I am still working on my goals from September. "Fall goals" I will call them. I came across a page I wrote in my planner back in March about "life plans" where I outlined what I ideally wanted from each area of life. It was spot-on. I need to think about where I am with those and get back on track with some that've fallen by the wayside.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

And the Dark Side

And here are some updates on the not-so-awesome stuff

  • B is again having trouble paying attention and staying on task at school. I thought maybe it'd be better this year, especially since his behavior is so different at home...but a few minutes with his teacher confirmed otherwise. We are awaiting a phone call from the school psychologist and "service coordinator" to discuss how to best help him. 
  • L is still full of fury and lashing out. Its mostly at me, but sometimes he gets a little too carried with the the "pretend fight play" at school and inadvertently hurts his friends, too. Its a good thing he is tiny and tires easily---it keeps him from exerting too much damage. 
  • I'm still exhausted most of the time. Just utterly devoid of energy, like I'm coming down with something (or pregnant). I just feel like sitting and often can't muster up the energy to do what needs to be done around the house. G has had to fill in quite a bit. When I DO have energy, I run around like crazy, trying to accomplish things which leaves me...tired. I'm pretty sure its the P@xil, I can't pinpoint anything else (yes, I've had my thyroid/iron/etc.. checked)
  • I also have various other random common and not-so-common side effects. UGH. Teeth grinding? Increased sweating? Who knew!?
  • As a result of the exhaustion, everything is unorganized and its starting to wear on me. The boys' floor is covered in pants (many of which don't fit anyone) and sweaters and jackets as we are in-between seasons, and there is no room for shorts AND pants, long sleeve AND short-sleeved tops in their drawers. B is wearing high waters and crop tops. I've got various piles of things to give away all over the house. Our plants all died when it didn't rain for a couple of weeks, and only a few came back to life after the rainy season returned. ETC....without end. I am trying out a "weeknight chore schedule" with one unessential but long overdue 15-20 minute task. Last night was "swap out shorts for pants", and tonight's is "wrap L's presents"...so nothing onerous. 
  • Speaking of pants, the other side effect---weight gain. My pants do not fit and its annoying. I tried to look up the mechanism for this but it is unknown but suspected to be at least partially due to the decreased energy (leading to decreased movement). I can buy that. I'm also paradoxically more hungry, though. Nothing to do but the old "eat less, move more" routine. Or buy new pants. I haven't chosen. 
  • There is no "magic system" to being motivated and getting s&it done at work. It just either IS or ISN'T. Some days there IS...so much. But I can't make it happen. I CAN rely on good ol' self-discipline though, and just march myself through the tasks. That's what planning is for...I don't need it on the good days, but on the off days, having it all laid out makes it easier to take that next step. And some days you just cut your losses. 
  • Today may be one of those days. I had a great morning---made good progress on my "research strategy" and then the headache set in; even lunch, water, and NSAIDs haven't touched it. I think I'll take a real break away from the laptop for a little while to see if that helps. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Light Side of the Force

Just an update on the awesome stuff.
  • B has been much more balanced and cheerful lately. He is happy and pleasant maybe 2/3-3/4 of the time now, as opposed to the near-constant grumpiness and bad attitude that was his norm. I've spent a lot of one on one time with him and its been so much fun, I actually look forward to it!
  • The kids are playing together so well these days! It may be related to above, since L always adored his older brother but B never deigned to give him much attention before. But it makes our job so much easier! Yes they still fight and bicker, but they also ask each other to play, help each other, and play legos for up to an hour at a time, jabbering away about who knows what the whole time.
  • We had L's birthday party yesterday and it was a resounding success. We made this pinata and I made these cupcakes and they both turned out just like the pictures (and delicious, the cupcakes I mean). We had to move the party from Saturday because it was forecasting rain so I had all day to methodically and obsessively follow the recipe which is really my problem with baking---I am impatient and try to be "efficient" but f it all up. L's best friends all came and they had a blast fighting with the light-up lightsabers we got, and running around the park. Such a low-key and fun party!
  • I took Friday off since B had the day off school. I did spend 5+ hours working (while B built a large lego kit and read books), but took a break to help him empty his entire piggy bank and count up the $9.72 and then walk >1 mile to Target to buy his brother a birthday present. He bought a small lego kit and could NOT WAIT to give it to him, so he got his present Friday night. I think B was way more excited about it then L it was ADORABLE. 
  • I'm working from home tomorrow (B had today/tomorrow off, too...G's at home with both boys today) and I will take a break to bake birthday cookies for L's actual birthday on Wednesday. I will also wrap his presents and I can't wait either and may give them to him early (since I have to leave super early for work and probably won't see him Wednesday morning)
  • We are planning Halloween costumes. I think October may be my favorite parenting month ever, since L is the perfect kid for a theme party and Halloween is just fun. 
  • I'm reading a new book that is entertaining so far.
  • I had a super productive day today.
  • It stopped raining. 
  • We won't see 90 degrees again for at least 9 months. I can wear pants! Boots! Cardigans! Dresses with linings! (sorry SHU, you can rub it in come January)

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Remember how my therapist wanted me to start thinking about where I want to be in 5, 10, 15 years? Well, I am doing a faculty development course this year, and the very first assignment was to write a 15 year life plan! I actually put some thought and time into this, and I found it really helpful to try to visualize where I saw myself under ideal circumstances.

The course utilizes this book, which title non-withstanding, has absolutely nothing to do so far with being a "leader" in the traditional sense (leading a group). Its actually about work/life "integration" (as the author urges us to think about it) and how to take control of your time and energy and create the life you want for yourself. Obviously this concept is something of great interest to me and my readership, so I thought I'd share some insights.

The book proposes a "four way view" of life, which includes work, family, self, and community. At the first meeting we did an exercise in which we had to assign a % of importance to those 4 areas. We then had to assign a % of time currently devoted to those areas. Everyone had the same dilemma---we found all the areas important, but devoted the vast majority of our time to work.

I was obviously not surprised by this.  Actually, I don't know how honest people were even being with the exercise. The cult of busyness, and bragging about how much you work to the exclusion of all else is huge here. I am always hearing disparaging comments like "who has time for THAT?" when discussing reading or other hobbies. Its basically OK to talk about spending time with children and working. Anything else is clearly a waste of time and a signal to all of your lack of dedication.

Someone actually brought this up, by contrasting her experience at another place with what she's noticed here. This led into some really interesting discussions about the culture of our university, and the emphasis on work to the exclusion of other pursuits, and whether there was a way to shift the culture that over time. 

One part of this course involves using peer to peer "coaching teams". I was randomly teamed up with 2 guys, both with vastly different work and non-work commitments from me. We started off talking about our goals and what we saw as obstacles to meeting them. Then we helped each other think through solutions. I offered visionary advice such as "make a list", "sync calendars with your spouse", and "work from home on occasion if people keeping interrupting you in your office". I was given the advice to spend some time on Friday planning out the week ahead---to include work and non-work commitments, and to leave 1-2 days a week free from any meetings.

Cheesy as it seems, the "4 way" thing is actually working for me. Our 15 year plans had to include our visions for all 4 aspects, and I realized that certain things ARE important to me, but woefully neglected. I really value the idea of community. We live and work and play and learn all within a 1.5 mile radius. In fact, we spend 90% of our non-work time within a few blocks of home (this includes the elementary school, which is 1 block away). Being involved in our community in a more meaningful has always been on my "someday" list, but I realized that there are definitely things I can do now. So I said YES when I got the email to help out with a fundraiser 5K for the school (and I'm running in it). I am going to the school PTA meeting next week (its at 5:30 PM, not 10AM!!). I was tired, but I went to the neighborhood book group meeting, and despite the last meeting being awkward (I didn't know anyone, yet they seemed to be friends), things really clicked and I had a great time (even though we were only drinking tea).

I think I'm doing a better job than most in the category of "self". I have pinpointed what I need, and my workouts and sleep and alone time are non-negotiables in my life. My family obviously gets a large amount of time and energy, though maybe 99% of that is my kids, and I need to shift a bit of that to poor neglected G and even to keeping up extended family relationships (so I've been calling my parents & MIL and texting my sister more).

Its such a great coincidence that this course focuses on the exact thing I've been pondering and planning on my own (when I applied for it, it was unclear exactly what it entailed, but it seemed prestigious and a friend/colleague recommended the experience). Astute readers may notice that some of what I wrote here matches up exactly with my previously stated September goals! Reinforcements from all sides definitely make my resolve stronger.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What I didn't Learn by not Tracking My Time

I know how I spend my time---there would be no earth-shattering breakthroughs to come of carefully documenting it. I know when I'm being productive and when I'm being lazy and how much I exercise and how much I sleep and commute and waste on my phone. Its not that I don't know. Its just hard to change your natural inclinations sometimes.

Overall its been a good week on all fronts, except the sleeping (mine). But I'm ready for the weekend. It promises to be a nice and low-key one. We have plans to be outside tomorrow morning, then come home and start to work on the DeathStar pinata for L's birthday. B and I will go grocery shopping because he helped me with the meal plan and wants to participate in the purchasing of food. Maybe he'll help me put our casserole together Sunday? We should probably get L a birthday present. Its cooling down, finally and yet suddenly, so I need to hunt for sweaters and pants.

I got bleach on my most favorite dress this afternoon, working in the lab. I even wore a lab coat, but it didn't cover the bottom of my dress. They do not sell this dress anymore, even though I just bought it in May (and I probably wore it 20 times since then...its really truly my fave). I spent more time than I should have researching how to fix it and ended up buying a fabric marker on Amazon.

I am definitely in a better place than I was a few months ago, and I'm grateful for that. But I'm also ready to be done with the medication (and the side effects). 6 months? 12 months? I don't want to rock the boat, but I can't not sleep (and other annoying stuff) forever.  I think the key will be to fully develop my OTHER coping mechanisms over the next few months. I'm on an eleven day streak of meditating! Only 5-10 minutes/day, and not every day does it really even seem to "work" (i.e. I am able to stop thinking and really focus on my breathing for a few minutes at a time). I tell myself its a "practice" so I need to practice. And one day it'll click.

I'm telling myself the same thing about work. Some days are awesome and I'm able to dive in and get excited and write and think and plan and execute. And others...meh. But I make myself keep trying, because the good days do seem to more frequent than the not-so-good, and the start-up energy required may be slightly decreasing...maybe.

I have a plan next week for more writing here, and hopefully it will happen. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Two Front Teeth

B lost the second of his two top front teeth yesterday. Its weird, but I find the tooth-losing to be quite an exciting milestone...maybe because there aren't so many at this age? His gap-tooth grin is adorable, and particularly poignant because of its fleeting nature. And, if may so myself, my Tooth Fairy game is STRONG. I may fail at every other holiday/special time but this I've got down. B was super super excited about his $2 and the card he got this morning. (He got $2 for the very first tooth, then $1 for the second 2, and I gave him $2 this time because he won't lose any more teeth for about a year...I checked according to the charts).

Of his own accord, L decided to wear a pull-up last night. He admitted he's not ready, because he had no idea he needed to go. He is pretty fastidious these days, and "I don't WANT to have pee in my pants"...its been at least a year, if not two, since he's had a daytime accident. I don't believe in the concept of "night training" because its not a behavior issues...its mostly physiologic. L is almost 5 but he's small, and I bet his bladder is, too. And he has high sleep needs and is dropping his nap. He's out like a rock for 11+ hours most nights. We had a similar experience with B...he wanted to try at 4.5; he wasn't ready and he was exhausted from waking up wet. Went back to pull-ups for a month or two until he wanted to try again---NOT ONE single accident in the past 2 years.

I slept much better last night, and I feel great today. It hasn't been a "deep work" kind of day because I had other random clinical/administrative/service things to do, but its been a good mix of stuff and I am about to do a detailed plan for next week so I can dive right in Monday morning. 

Its a beautiful day. I want to leave slightly early and take B and the dog to the park. We have weekend plans of running and park and bagels and reading and board games and movies and library trips. Its the first full five day week we've had in over a month and the time apart did its trick. I'm so ready to spend time with the boys again, and they are ready for some down time & unstructured fun.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

You win some...

After having THREE amazingly productive and focused days in a row, and some really good work time last night, today has been...meh. I'm tired. I'm still waking up a lot at night, and it takes a while to fall asleep, so I'm not getting enough sleep on the weekdays (I've been sleeping later on weekends, like 7:30). On top of that, L decided he wanted to wear underwear at night, and while I tried to dissuade him, G (rightly) reminded me that we need to encourage this step. So there have been a lot of night wake-ups and bed changes and laundry.

After getting up at 4:45 with L, I couldn't get back to sleep, and then my alarm went off at 5:30. I got up, got ready, went to the gym, walked the dog, showered and got ready, made myself breakfast, cleaned up kids' breakfast, took B to school, started soiled sheets laundry, did one round of work on my grant, did a phone conference, and then...petered out around 10 AM. (I'm working from home because I'm picking B up at 3 to go to his social skills group...I've planned this short day into my week for this fall). I've been skipping around between this and that non-urgent task and email and I just decided to sit down and blog. I did get a few necessary things done, so it wasn't a total loss, but I didn't make significant headway on my 3 major projects (which is my goal for each day this week) so I feel disappointed.

I'm trying to remind myself that my worst day this week (because I'm optimistic that today will be better) is not much worse than my BEST days in the past several months. That not every day can be 100% and the 120% I got done the best 3 days buys me some leeway. But...still...meh.

I have 15 minutes before picking B up so I'm going to do my 10 minute meditation now. At least I can cross THAT off my list! Don't want to break that chain.

Monday, September 12, 2016

So far, so great!

Whoo hoo, I am so proud of myself today. I tried a new method to motivate myself and plan my day and it worked...but I won't share it yet because I need to give it more than one day before I get too evangelical. Also its convoluted and sort of backwards and may only work for me, so there's also that.

I just finished everything I planned to get done and then some, and its not even 4 pm. I figured there should be SOME incentive to being focused and efficient, so I'm knocking off a bit early. I'll write a little here and then empty the dishwasher (I'm working from HOME), walk the dog, and go get B a little early and take him for a "first day of aftercare" treat.

Oh boy were there TEARS this morning. He must have really been nervous about aftercare, because the kid was really not doing well. It took a lot of concerted effort and time from both G and myself to get him to eat breakfast and get ready.

Good news: B is not sick anymore. Bad news: as the sickness wore off, the sweet & needy was replaced by surliness. It was not my favorite weekend. Too sick to really go anywhere, but not sick enough to sleep and not fight with his brother. Lots of indoor time, "I'm bored", play with me, I want to eat but I don't know what and every single thing you name is NO, and finally something sounds good but then I will refuse to eat it after you give it to me and I touch my sick germy hands all over it.

If you happened to walk by Sunday evening, you may have heard me shouting such things as: "No YOU'RE mean and stinky and I don't want to play with you EITHER" (this to L) or "THANK THE WORLD tomorrow is Monday and you guys go to school for FIVE WHOLE DAYS"(this to B).
Not my finest moment, but...its been a rough several days.

I'm hoping to continue on my productivity streak the rest of the week so you may hear from me again!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Deep Breath

Well, my optimism and our lovely Labor Day weekend crashed right into a clusterf&ck of a week. B has had a fever on and off since Monday and now has a deep, productive, terrible cough that I'm worried might be bronchitis or pneumonia. G took the day off and he's at the pediatrician with him right now. There was only a half day of school today anyways because its TOO HOT*.

We have been taking turns staying home with one or the other kid (or in G's case, for himself, because he got pretty sick, too). Since last Friday, we've both been at home 2.5 work days. We're working from home, but no one is pretending that productivity is excellent when you're dealing with a sick but still restless and bored kid.

I'm not SICK sick, but I've been exhausted (likely medication-related) and headache-y (sleep-related?) and having trouble breathing (allergies/virus + asthma related). I love my kids and loved spending time with them last weekend. But we have had WAY too much togetherness this week and now its the weekend again. I am feeling quite done. Also, the gym is closed and there are no classes until Monday. I've been trying to run, but HEAT and the breathing thing are limiting.

On the first day of school, B actually woke up with no fever and the cough hadn't started yet, so he made it to school and had a good day, so that was a plus.

Here's hoping that Monday morning finds us all where we are supposed to be, in 4 separate places, happy & healthy and ready to see each other again in the evening.

*climate change wtf

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September GOALS

Yay! I'm writing about goals again! I'm going to divide them up by category:

  • Revise patient education templates for common conditions to include up-to-date information
  • Finish THAT paper (the one I've been trying to write for months) and submit to medium-tier journal. Its half written, but according to the computer, the last time I opened it was in June. 
  • Work towards mid-October grant submission. Start by making DETAILED checklist of each next step, no matter how trivial. 
  • Detailed weekly and daily plans; build in time for planning on Friday PM
  • Stay up later at least 3 nights/week to hang out with G. I've been going to bed SO EARLY, like literally the minute the kids are in bed, because I've been so tired and just DONE at the end of the day, but its not a good long term plan. 
  • Call my parents weekly and MIL at least 2X this month.
  • Meet with B's new teacher to go over his issues & make sure school psychologist still has him on the list to do his evaluation for an IEP
  • Pick B up from school once/week and do homework with him to stay tuned in to what he's doing and how he's struggling
  • Run at least once a week---work on speed. I signed up for a 5K this fall and want to have a decent time. 
  • Meditate 4X week (M/W/F and one weekend day)
  • Therapy at least 2X this month (I keep canceling because I don't feel like going--I'm not sure what to talk about...this is a good sign I think, but I know I should keep going. I will text her today to re-schedule for next week)
  • Post decluttered items to buynothing group (they are sitting in a pile in the guestroom)
  • Plan L's birthday party & buy items by the 10th (G made & gave out invites today)
  • Sign kids up for soccer and swimming 

It looks like a lot all listed out like that, but it feels doable. Is it just me who keeps thinking today is Friday? Maybe because the rest of my family has tomorrow off. Oh well, back to work, these goals are not going to complete themselves after all!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fresh Start

While part of me is sad that the summer is over, the other part acknowledges that this summer completely sucked and I am more than ready for a clean slate. Obviously I've made no headway on any "summer goals" but I continue to be hopeful that I'm returning to myself. I'm making plans! In my planner! The last week I planned out in my planner was from mid-June. Hooray for the "un-calendar" so that the pages aren't wasted. The shorter days became suddenly obvious this week, in the mornings and evenings. The passing of seasons still seems wondrous, if bittersweet.

My eating got completely out of hand the past few weeks, so I'm working on cleaning up my diet, and I've gotten back into working out (I really only skipped the week and a half during/after my trip). Sleeping is going less well. I'm usually able to fall asleep (with or without amb!en) but my sleep is fragmented---I keep drifting in and out of sleep and wake up later than usual and STILL exhausted. Its a known SSRI thing and may not go away. I'm trying to get in bed earlier so I have overall more sleep but its so inefficient!

B starts 1st grade next week. I'm worried a bit about this. He's been SO GREAT this summer, just so much more pleasant to be around. Having more down time and more physical activity is so good for him. He loves to read and write and do math in his head and listen to stories but he does all things while jumping all over the house and bouncing off the walls. The whole sit-still-pay-attention thing does not work for him right now. I don't know if it ever will. I was a perfect fit for traditional schooling so it never occurred to me before how limiting it can be.

L on the other hand has been challenging, a tiny whirling dervish of rage, that spits & hits & scratches & calls me names; "meany-head stupid mommy" has bruises). I'm so glad he is not starting KG this year, though I had initially lamented another year of daycare tuition. He's slowly dropping his nap and the evenings after he doesn't nap he transforms into a little monster until he eventually spits & hits & screams himself to sleep on the floor for a catnap.We are planning his birthday party---he'll be FIVE in a month. WHOA.

I made a list of posts I want to do: recent reads & one-liner reviews, September/fall goals, how things are easier these days with my kids. What else should I write about?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Crawling out...

Obviously I never did get around to blogging during our trip. I think I forgot to mention that, in addition to me being alone with the two boys for the week at my parents, my sister and BIL dropped their kids off and went on a vacation. So really there were FOUR kids, 3 6-year-olds and a 4 year old. So it was chaos. But also a good way to get out of my own head for a bit. On the plus side: we went to the park and splash pads, I organized "Olympics", I did a 1000 piece puzzle with my mom, I read some mediocre books, we played Uno and Scrabble Junior, I got lots of cuddles. I also broke up lots of fights, untangled my niece's thick and long hair several times, gave baths to everyone in an assembly line fashion, dispenses 1000 snacks, dealt with picky eating and tantrums and "forgetting" to flush the toilet (why!).

So when the kids were settled down to the antics of their favorite monkey, I had no desire to "connect" or communicate, I just wanted to be alone and recuperate before it started again.

I picked up the benzos before the trip but never took them. One, I didn't really need it---the ramp-up anxiety was pretty much gone by the day we left. But also, I didn't know how it would affect me and I felt uncomfortable potentially being knocked out or loopy when I was solely responsible for the kids. But they are there if I need them. I upped the dose of the P@xil from 10 to 20 mg on Monday and I felt extremely tired all day (and wired at night) for a few days. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday who told me to take it at night---so I skipped it this morning and omg its been the most productive day I've had in WEEKS if not MONTHS. I've worked through a big backlog of stuff---no big thinking projects, unfortunately, but stuff that I've been putting off like student evals, patient phone calls, prepping for a course I'm taking that starts next week, submitting reimbursements, sending off lab letters to referring docs, etc... Also made doctor appointments for the kids, rescheduled my therapy & dentist appointments, signed B up for aftercare, updated my budget for next month, and donated $ to B's school fundraising drive. And its only 3PM!

I also have been feeling flashes (short-lived, but definitely there) of what seems a lot like contentment. That general feeling of being OK with life in the moment that I haven't felt in several months. I felt it last night, snuggling with the kids on the couch after we all came home exhausted our first day back into camp/work/daycare routine. And this morning, walking in to work after a sweet goodbye from my boys.

It faded quickly, and I started to feel the usual panic about all I have to do and discomfort with the uncertain parts of life. But it was THERE. It gave me hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stream of...something...

I switched to the new med this weekend and here we go again. Total ramped up anxiety, jittery, can't sleep, can't concentrate. I messaged my doctor asking if she could please prescribe something quick acting that I can use until this goes away because I really really just can't deal anymore. Except, of course, I have to deal. So I do. (but I can't)

Also my phone isn't working. Its my work phone, and I need it, so I need to figure it out (the actual PHONE part isn't working, I can't hear anyone on the phone unless I use the speaker which is...not ideal obviously). I called the work telecom support and they told me to take it to the store---and there are no appointments at said store until next week.

The boys and I are leaving in 2 days to visit my parents. G is getting a break (though he has a big project happening at work so will probably just work more while we're gone). It'll be a bit boring, but fine. I haven't spent time with my parents since they came for spring break, so its good that we'll have some time to catch up. I have to make sure my kindle is loaded with books. I may blog to pass the time. I need to finish season 7 of gilmore girls. So you know, to do list getting long.

On the other hand, I had a super depressing conversation with my mom yesterday. She is bored & having a hard time filling her time these days. It made me so sad, because she's pretty healthy and I wish she was enjoying this stage of life more. She takes care of the house and exercises every day, but that doesn't fill all the hours. I told her to take a class, volunteer, get a pet...but there are excuses for all of it. A lot of her friends have moved away to be closer to kids. I wonder if she is depressed. I need to work that out and then convince her to get help if she is. I need to call more.

My dad still works full time...another discussion we are going to have next week. My sister is pressuring him to quit to "spend time with the grandkids" and he said he would retire at the end of this year. But actually I'm scared he will wither away without work; he is still healthy and able, and has no real hobbies, and has plenty of vacation time for travel (plus my parents have traveled a LOT the past 20 years, I think they've gone everywhere they've wanted to go), so why give up the thing that gives you purpose in life? How much time could they spend with the grandkids, really? Even if they move closer to her/us, the kids are in school and activities. My sister and I each try to get down there once or twice a year, and they come up 2-3 times (but only once so far this year), which I think is pretty good given all of us have full time jobs and another side of the family to visit. 

Thinking about my parents and MIL (who has similar issues, though hers are added to by the stress of unemployment) just depresses the HELL out of me, but also makes me want to be proactive about planning for old age...not just financially but also building social support, interests outside of work, etc... I know its decades away for me, but I guess its currently on my radar because of spending time with the older generation.

On a positive note, I read a few good books lately: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (it was partly depressing and partly hopeful) and Eligible (just plain fun, I loved it and devoured it in 2 days). Also a YA futuristic fiction manuscript written by a woman in our neighborhood book group which needs to be published, it is so good and I need to read the second part ASAP. I'm currently reading "Brideshead Revisited" which came with great recommendations but I'm finding boring so far (5% in).

Anyways. Thoughts and feelings. I've got them. I'll share them when I can.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Another Friday

I left the PMD today with an rx for P@xil, more Ambi3n and a tetanus booster. Aaah, primary care!
She thinks the insomnia from the c3lexa will not get better, and in fact, will get worse with increased dose; she finds P@xil to be more sedating and less likely to cause insomnia. I'm game. I'll start it this weekend and see how it goes. The plan is to increase from 10 mg to 20 mg within the next month and then go back to my scheduled psych appointment.

The thought of a 5- or 10-year plan was really overwhelming for me right now, so I started small. I tried to picture the perfect day, or week, or weekend. My ideal evening involves less TV/internet/laying in bed reading and more going out and doing stuff, or just trying something new once in a while (while still allowing time to decompress/chill out). More socialization, less isolation (both at home and at work). Also deliberate time to plan and reflect, rather than just going from one thing to the next and wondering where the day/week/month went.

I'm taken by the idea of giving back to our community with time, in addition to the $ we already give. If we could make it a family activity, even better. Fostering animals for the shelter down the road? (bonus: kittens!) I could get more involved in our school's friends-of group, but it seems really political and extrovert-friendly---with schmoozing and money raising and planning events and manning booths and "partnering" with businesses. Those are not my strong suit. f they need someone to stuff envelopes or keep accounts or something, I'm in, though.

Some of this involves learning (or re-learning) what I actually find "fun". We usually spend our weekends trying to do things to entertain and exhaust the kids, with little regard to what we (or lets face it, I) actually enjoy. Other than my gym classes (which ARE fun for me), the rest of our weekends are fun in an other-focused "oh, I enjoy seeing the kids enjoy themselves" way. On rare occasions I may go out with friends, or we'll have a monthly-ish date night, but those evenings are usually focused on eating/drinking, maybe talking. Ideas I'm mulling over: taking a dance class, G & I taking some sort of class (not dance!) together---cooking? wine tasting?, learning a new hobby---knitting sounds relaxing, doing more relaxing activities like games/puzzles as a couple or family.

Its soothing to think about things, and realize I can make them happen. They are very small things, but small steps begin the journey.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Food for Thought

I saw the therapist again, who thought maybe the apathy was worsened by the traz@done I'm taking for sleep, so I decided not to take it anymore and see how it goes (spoiler: I won't sleep and will be exhausted). She also thought I should be seeing some effect from the SSRI by now, and its probably a good idea to switch. I'm going to the PCP tomorrow so I'll get her opinion too.

I almost canceled the session, because I wasn't sure what to talk about. I just feel so blah. The first half of the session was her asking questions and me sighing, saying "I don't know", and "I don't really care". She looked at me quizzically, because I guess I didn't seem like myself, and asked how long I'd been feeling like this and so we went through the timeline of events, trying to figure out what might have triggered my mood shift this spring. She asked about possible medical stuff and traumatic experiences---nope. Then she asked about any "anniversaries, good or bad" and again, nope, except for turning 40.

"And how did you feel about that milestone?"

Well....  not that great, actually.

And we talked about that. About how starting this new decade also meant closing the door on a decade of tremendous growth and accomplishment, both personally and professionally. What is in store for the future? I don't know. I just can't get excited about it. I still feel wistful about the third child we'll never have. My kids are entering a new phase---which is AWESOME in so many ways---but I feel unready, and unsure of how to best use the space that's opened up in my life.

She thought maybe that was it. That I needed to figure out my purpose for the next 5-10 years, to give me something to strive for and anticipate rather than seeing the future as a string of unending days of the same struggles: work, difficult kids, marital troubles, loneliness.

I need to set aside some time to think about this, because I have no idea.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


So I'm about 4 weeks into the SSRI and I feel...the same. The same constant anxiety and sadness, the difficulty breathing  because of the weight on my chest, the not caring about anything because what does it matter and what's the point anyways? For a while it was a relief, the not caring, but now I'm trying desperately to care. To get excited, or hopeful, or even curious about the outcome. To want more out of the day then simply making it through.

I was reading over old posts and I was struck by how many many things I wanted and strived for in my life. I miss the thrill of embarking on a new project and the satisfaction of seeing it through. I miss being excited about the possibilities held in a day, a weekend, a season. I feel so detached from everything these days. This weekend was, objectively, quite nice. But I didn't enjoy it at all. I know I am missing so much....and yet knowing this doesn't change how I feel and makes me even more sad and anxious!

I have an appointment with the therapist tomorrow and with the PMD to follow up on Friday. I don't know if I should increase the dose of the c3lexa, switch to another SSRI, switch classes of anti-depressants...I was really hoping this little pill was the answer but I guess I've got a longer road ahead of me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fits and Starts

I got bored of life-blogging my mental health crisis so I had to step away for a while. I think I'm starting to feel a little better. Not great, not happy, but not depressed anymore. Still anxious, which validates the psychiatrist's statement that low doses of SSRI are great for depression but don't touch the anxiety very well. The tr@zadone does help me sleep a little better, without too much of a hang-over effect. I feel groggy, yes, but you know what else makes me feel groggy? Yup, not sleeping.

My MIL is here, its day 10/22. Its going OK. Some routine annoyances, generally related to her over-indulging the kids with treats and screen time. But I think we've hit some kind of breakthrough in our relationship, which is freaking me out a bit and will take a while to process.

See, I've hated her for years. Sincerely hated her. And for good reason---she's done some awful shit in the past. I've completely demonized her to the point where even thinking about her was causing me major anxiety, not to mention gearing up for her visits and enduring them. It was always an antagonistic relationship, and while I was civil, I was never warm and I never tried to have an actual relationship with her.

Right before she came this time, G told me she'd been having some issues with panic attacks, mostly due to financial worries (no details, but we are going to need to help her out). She is considering selling the house, is looking aggressively for jobs (she's been out of work for a couple of years, but has been steadily job-hunting, its just hard for a 60+-year old to find a job), and is also the primary care-giver for her mother, who has moderate dementia.  The day she came, I was sitting with her in the living room and she opened up to me about all this.

Maybe it was because I feeling so fragile myself (this was still during the SSRI-initiation horror phase) but I really felt for her. I've always "felt bad" for her---I felt pity on this poor, pathetic, hateful old lady who seemed like she would never be happy. This time, though, I actually felt empathy and compassion. I used to think "well, she should have planned better, she should've saved more when she was working, its her own fault she is terrible with money and now WE have to deal with it?" But I'm realizing that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that she "should've" done this and "could've" done that. She did what she did and she did what she could; it wasn't like she had a high-paying professional career, she got whatever admin type jobs she could with her high school degree, and she saved what she could and then spent down the savings when she couldn't find work because the bills keep coming.

I don't even know who I am anymore! She annoys me on a daily basis, don't get me wrong; we are very different and she's got some f-ed up ways of thinking about things and the superstition and religion drives me batty. But...I don't hate her. I've been helping her cook, and going on outings with her on the weekend with the kids and talking to her. I'm not like "opening up" to her or anything, I am VERY private, even with my family (which is one reason I have this space, because if I don't get it out I will burst!) But we talk a bit about the kids, and about cooking and gardening and Hillary Clinton (she's a fan).

I'm sure there is still a lot of conflict in our future, I don't see that every going away, but its sort of weirdly nice to not have to expend my energy on hating her. I hope it lasts.