Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Off Kilter

I'm feeling physically and mentally off this week. I saw the psychiatrist on Thursday and she had me increase the P@xil dose, so that may be part of it, but honestly, I was feeling kind of weird before that, too. Maybe I'm just getting back to back minor long-lasting illnesses? Tis the season, after all.

I also think this back injury---and specifically the inability to exercise regularly in my preferred form---has started a vicious cycle of bad habits. Not getting up early to work out leads to variable bedtimes which leads to late night snacking, and also coping with the whole suckiness of the situation in non-optimal ways.  I've gained some weight, stopped meditating (because sitting in any position was painful and distracting), am spending way too much time on social media and games, online shopping, and overall just don't feel completely in control of things.

I keep trying to get up early to catch up on things (home and work) and just keep snoozing. And I can't really stay up much past the kids bedtime, either. I feel like there is so much to do in the next 3 nights. G has really been pulling the weight for both of us these days, and I really hate to leave him in this position for too long, because everyone has their limits.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Where is my easy button?

Its one of those ultra-cold days where my face hurts. Thankfully I had a cancellation and a no-show (because no one apparently wants to leave their house and have their face hurt) so I'm drinking tea and catching up. I can't believe my last post was 13 days ago. I'll blame my annoying upper-to-lower respiratory illness that hit me right after the last post and is STILL lingering, but at least I'm starting to get my energy levels back to normal.

I'm still feeling a bit down in the dumps, despite the glitter and twinkle of the holidays and our impending trip. These things are still going on. And no matter how much I try to give myself a break on the other stuff, I just can't seem to catch one.

Example, that inspired the title of this post: Last Friday. End of a long week, time to relax and get some Fredagsmys going. I was just finishing up patient calls and about to start planning for the next week when I got a call from the aftercare that L had thrown up. So I leave immediately to pick the boys up, and L walks over to me and throws up again. We slowly make our way home and I decide that pizza and movie would be the way to go, and the boys were happy because they adore their screen time!

First of all, we couldn't find a movie they wanted to watch. So we decided they could watch some shows. B got to choose first and L went along with some insipid Mickey Clubhouse Christmas jamboree. Then 22 minutes later when it was L's turn to choose, it became an all out war, because B wouldn't agree to anything. And then there was shouting and hitting. And 20+ minutes of B stomping around, refusing to watch, refusing to do anything else, and refusing to get the hell away from the rest of us who were trying to relax and watch a show (L) or down some cocktails (G and I).

This scenario is repeated in our house over and over again every weekend. Another example: homework. Every day with the freaking homework. Do you know how hard it is to coax a surly kid with ADHD through nearly an hour of homework daily  (math sheet, science packet section, 20 minutes of reading + writing sentences about said reading)? Its fucking hard, especially when there is also another kid that needs to do his daily reading (its a 5 page beginner book but it takes him a while to sound out the words and he  likes to practice over and over which I am certainly trying to encourage). Oh and the daily shit-show that is dinner and making them eat their veggies and L to take his medicine. And that is BEFORE doing teeth and baths which they also complain about and fight through EVERY. SINGLE. TIME as if its brand new that yes they have to brush ALL their teeth every day and wash their bodies once in a while! So for fucks sake when Friday rolls around I just want them to watch a goddamn movie and leave me the fuck alone for 90 minutes.

Sigh. There is also more than the usual BS going on at work and I"m still having the back pain and can't do much to work out and I'm sure that is all contributing to my attitude. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist tomorrow where I was initially going to discuss weaning OFF the SSRI but now I"m thinking I may need something stronger. I better hit post before I start ranting again...

Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy December

I'm feeling very positive today. Its a new month, the weather is lovely, its Friday and we have fun stuff and downtime planned for the weekend. We have what feels like an extra-long holiday season ahead of us and I'm getting into the festive spirit. I did my monthly planning yesterday & also bought a 2018 planner (same Minimalist one, I like it).

Weekend plans:
Friday night: pizza and screen time for the kids. Give them the Lego advent calendar my parents bought them

Saturday: barre class in AM, karate belt ceremony (yellow for L, blue for B), take L to buy B's Birthday and Christmas gifts, date night!

Sunday: make/hang wreath and put lights outside (I bought a string of solar powered LED bulbs to put in the window boxes), take B to see Coco (L says it'll be "too scary" for him), make big pot of soup (suggestions welcome---last week it was a green lentil stew).

I do kind of want the work day to be done. Its only 3:30 but I've been laser focused for 7.5 hours and I'm feeling a bit done. But my schedule says otherwise so off I go to peruse some data and read some articles.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A glimpse of the elephant's ears...

(a little bit about what's on my mind these days)

I hinted at some work-related issues, and while I'm not going to go into detail here, I can share the gist of what's getting me down. On the research front, I had yet another grant rejection---this one on a proposal for which I was actually (despite all my best efforts to lower expectations!) becoming hopeful of receiving funding. It was a resubmission, was very tightly revised and I was actually quite proud of my work. It had moved on to the final round of review and I really started having HOPES and DREAMS and already had the IRB submitted and approved and then I got the rejection two weeks ago.

Beyond the initial sting, which I'm getting used to, I had the depressing realization that I've been working on getting funding on this particular area for SIX YEARS. Many many others have now surpassed me in this niche, which was BRAND NEW when I first started begging for others to take interest and let me explore. That thought is really sobering and is making me question my abilities to succeed in research at all. Enough so that I have completely zoned out and got nothing done for the past couple of weeks.

Of course, when the research part isn't quite working out, I usually console myself in envisioning a possible clinical career. But even this aspect of my job has been disappointing lately. I started working in a new area recently---something I was kind of excited about, joining a team of great people, working with a challenging population. But the reality is that I am all by myself on my days there, with >50% no shows, and patients that are indeed challenging but not necessarily rewarding to care for in this clinic. I feel like I'm unprepared, I've had no specific training in this area, and I have no one to really ask for help since I'm all alone. There are also lots of issues in how the program is run, and I was hoping to be involved in effecting change, but realized that there is a lot of administrative beyond-my-scope BS that is in the way of anything but the status quo.

So yeah, I'm not sure where I'm headed with any of this. I do know that the zoning out was not helping on a professional or personal level, since I then felt guilty and more depressed so I sat down this morning and made myself a very strict schedule for the day with 30 minute blocks and discrete tasks in several different arenas that I need to complete. When inspiration and motivation fail you, discipline and planning are the fall back.

This elephant has another ear that I'll give you a tiny glimpse into, as well. Things on the parenting front have also felt like constant failure and backsliding. I feel like I am failing as a parent. Like I am just not the right mother for this combination of very very challenging children, who need so much patience and acceptance and a form of guidance and nurturing that I haven't yet figured out how to provide for them. Despite my recent post, I've been over-reacting and making things bigger and way way worse. Evenings these days are so stressful and negative and full of nagging and sighing and yelling and then the guilt and zoning out once they go to bed.

A new month is here and that always fills me with optimism, no matter how artificial the "new start". I'm determined to do better. And now my "eat lunch/blog" time is up and I have to outline a paper.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Calling it...

OK. I admit to failure on the whole 30 posts in 30 days things. It was a noble attempt, and it did get me blogging more frequently so I guess it served its purpose even though I'll end up several posts shy of the goal.

The remainder of the long weekend was great. Low-key, because B got sick (and I've mentioned before how I might be terrible because I like my kids better when they are sick, right?) He just doesn't have the energy to be as big of a PITA as usual. We had an  unexpected date night (sitter who wasn't available became available and texted!) on Saturday, friends from out of town come for brunch on Sunday, got the Christmas decorations up, attended a birthday party, etc...

A lot of what's swirling through my mind these days is work-related, and I don't want to go there on the blog, so its hard for me to think of things to post. Its like a big huge elephant in the room is blocking my access to all the smaller more blog-appropriate animals (huh? OK I'll drop the analogy)

I have two evening outings this week, and planning something for next week and the week after. Its like feast or famine! For a whole month I was home every evening (and feeling blah about it) and now I feel like I won't be there for bedtime for a few days at a time...I actually canceled something I had planned on Thursday because 3 days in a row is a bit excessive even for someone who does like to socialize and avoid kids' bedtimes.

We got ranitidine for L yesterday (for what I strongly suspect is GERD) and he threw up immediately after taking it and refused to try again. I took it back to the pharmacy to have it flavored, but seriously, this stuff smells and tastes DISGUSTING. I'm not sure what to do...

Friday, November 24, 2017


This is the mantra I keep repeating to myself these days, mostly regarding my interactions with my children. But it also works well for work, marriage, extended family...

Outside of a few notable exceptions involving safety, there is nothing bad that will come for not reacting negatively to something my kids do or say. "Bad" (i.e. not what I want) behavior is not an emergency.  There is time to step away, take a breath, think it over, before yelling or criticizing.

The other part to this is to remind myself that they are not doing it TO ME, even when it really really feels like it (i.e. when L hits me and calls me stupid). They are just acting out their feelings in the ways that come naturally to them. 

I really committed to this yesterday, in a very intentional way, and it was immensely helpful. I let a lot roll of my back and it stopped the usual escalation. If left to their own devices, they will calm down and distract themselves with some activity or another and eventually behave differently. If, however, we keep criticizing and disciplining, there are more and more bad feelings all around.

Its not that we don't give consequences. I firmly believe in them. But 1) pick battles, 2) make it quick and unemotional i.e. you were throwing this toy so we are taking it. no you cannot have it back today. goodbye. and 3)move on myself (don't keep harping on it, or being grumpy, move on to the next activity).

All of this is easier said then done, and sometimes it just doesn't work, they keep acting out until I crack or the bad mood lasts all day. Its not perfect, but its a good intention to start with and for a back-up, there is wine.

Perfectly Pleasant

The wondrous joy of low expectations! Our Thanksgiving was actually quite a nice day, partly by design, partly by serendipity, and overall because I expected NOTHING.

I made sure we had the essential elements: active time, time outside, social time, screen time for the kids. We planned a fairly simple meal and I nagged gently reminded G to start the turkey early enough that we could have everything ready by 6pm.

Our Turkey Trot ended up being an outing with the boys' friend and his mom---we went "running" at a big park, racing from one area to another. Overall we got in 1 mile, quite interrupted, but I'm calling it "interval training". Bonus: my back felt great afterwards, so I am going to do 2 miles tomorrow.

The best/worst part? The kids became MONSTROUS at the end, all three hitting/grumpy/whiny. I let it roll of my back. I did not engage, I did not get angry, I did not get filled with despair that my children are terrible and our holiday is ruined. I laughed (which enraged them) and commiserated with my friend and moved on to the next thing.

Same friend also came over later with leftover pie and stayed for a beer. I don't usually like drinking in the afternoon, but I couldn't let her drink alone, so we had a really nice break in the day while the boys watched a movie. We will take them leftover turkey today.

Our meal came together nicely: G made a turkey (our first time) and it made the whole house smell amazing all day with all the butter and fresh herbs and citrus and beer involved. This was the one thing everyone enjoyed eating. We also had biscuits (fave for me and B), herbed rice (L's love), and roasted cauliflower (the kids put a tiny bit in their mouths). G and the boys made brownies from scratch in a complicated recipe involving a double boiler, and we had the aforementioned pie.

Since we don't do it often, it was actually special all sitting down together to eat the same thing. We went around the table saying what we were thankful for before we dug in. And then we did our usual routine, got the kids to bed, and G and I watched another episode of our show & I got to bed on time so that I could get up at 6AM to get ready, have coffee, walk dog, and be at work in time for clinic.

It helped immensely to stay off social media. Definitely need to institute that as a hard rule during holidays. No matter how nice your day is going, its hard not to compare to others. Its just...human.
We did stay in touch with family---we facetimed everyone we wanted to talk to.

I'm writing this during a cancellation+no-show break in the schedule. I may write another one if I have another no-show, I know I'm way behind if I want to get to 30 in the next 6 days (yikes!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Defense of the Meal Kit Delivery Services

I've been seeing a lot of hate about the meal kit delivery services around, and I get it...until I tried it I never understood the point. Its expensive & time-consuming & there is so much packaging!  But we've been trying them for about a year now, and I have to say, I find the occasional box to be a helpful addition to our dinner-cooking arsenal.

Most weeks we still use our tried and true strategy of batch-cooking a big meal on Sunday and eating it all week. Burrito bowls, chili, lasagna, curries, etc... work really well for this. But sometimes we get tired of eating the same recipes we've been having for years (and you really have to test the recipe a few times before you can agree to commit to a week of it!) Also, not everything works that well as leftovers (i.e. seafood). If you have to cook some portion of the meal fresh each night it doesn't end up saving time.

So once a month on average, I order a box with 3 meals that look good for the adults. G and I take turns making them that week, though I tend to make more, because I enjoy it, whereas he has a bit of undiagnosed ADD and has trouble following multi-step recipes. We will have the kids try a few bites (sometimes) from our meals, but they generally get easy kid-food on these weeks.

We've tried several so far (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Marley Spoon, Terra's kitchen, and Plated) and my favorite is Plated. They have the best selection, easiest process to choose/order, and best tasting recipes. But these are all subjective attributes, so try them yourselves if interested, they all offer free/reduced kits for new customers.  There are many more out there that I just haven't tried.

What I like about the kits:
  • new and interesting recipes
  • learning new cooking techniques
  • portioned ingredients (no waste)
  • ingredients that are hard to find (i.e. would involve going to ethnic stores or multiple stores for one recipe)
  • eliminates mental energy needed for meal planning and then finding all the ingredients, and especially planning meals with overlapping ingredients to reduce waste because you cannot buy just one stalk of celery for example (but they will send you one in your kit!) 
The kits are not cheap. They are not for people on tight budgets. But I actually went this summer and bought the ingredients for 3 meals and I spent MORE than the price of a box. Organic, free range meat and exotic veggies and spices are not cheap.  I do purposefully choose more "bang for your buck" options so I feel like I am getting my money's worth----I avoid vegetarian meals and choose seafood for 1-2 meals.

They are not "easy" meals. Part of this is by design---I choose things that look challenging and fun to cook & eat. I can make "easy" meals on my own without step by step recipes! I enjoy cooking and learning new techniques that I can then translate to our own meals. Something about the fact that everything is portioned and packaged together, and the step by step instructions, make the whole process fun for me. You just grab the bag from the fridge, pull out the card for the recipe, and get started.

The one big con I have is the packaging. There is some waste. It is getting better, with more of the packaging recyclable or biodegradable, but still...there is cardboard and ice packs involved. Various services to vary somewhat on this, but not by much.

I totally get that its not for everyone, but its working for us right now. We had a yummy Plated dinner last night (cod cakes with creamy mustard sauce over arugula) and I'm looking forward to another one tonight (fish tacos with avocado sauce and crunchy slaw) and Friday (chicken chili rellenos)! 


I'm feeling better. Physically, that is. Mentally....meh. I've got a full day of patients ahead (and they seem to running late). Thanksgiving is always more fun in the anticipation than the execution. And I'm sort of annoyed about having to work on Friday.

I have posts ideas that I get excited about in my head, but when I sit down to write them I just freeze. It all seems very boring. Maybe I truly have nothing to say?

I realized I get a bit of FOMO around this holiday, seeing/hearing about everyone's big family gatherings. Its really stressful & expensive to travel this weekend; we prefer to save our energy/$ for a longer trip, and we don't live close enough to family to just drive down for a day. So its just the 4 of us, and we somehow still haven't quite hit the groove of a tradition. The idea of a big group gathered around a table loaded with food sounds so cozy and fun (in theory...I'm sure there is also a lot of drama as there tends to be when families unite).

Things I am legitimately looking forward to:
  • A glass of wine
  • Staying up a little late and watching an episode of our new show: Ozark. I like it so far though it is quite dark, and I feel the need to follow up an episode with a light-hearted comedy to clear my head.
  • Going on a (short, slow) run with B tomorrow morning. He was quite taken by the term "Turkey Trot". This will be my first exercise in about 4 weeks.
  • Biscuits for dinner tomorrow. (we are also having other stuff but the only thing I'm actually excited about is the biscuits). 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


So I said I felt great yesterday, but alas. That mildly queasy feeling I had in the morning that I thought was just a lingering side effect of the weekend's excess turned into a full out yucky GI illness.

I really wanted to go home but the housekeepers were there, so I just slumped on my desk and waited until time to leave, answering emails/phone calls sporadically as necessary. The evening was useless. I managed just enough energy to cajole the kids through their homework and eat some toast before I crashed into bed, lying awake as waves of nausea/cramps kept coming & going.

I feel tentatively OK today. I'm sipping tea and prioritizing. I do have to give a talk to the fellows at noon which I can't reschedule. I have a long overdue grant closeout to complete (I had my part done on time but was waiting on a letter from someone who apparently was out on leave and not checking email). I have crackers & soup & fizzy water and I will get through the day. I'm hoping I feel all better by Thursday because G brought home a freaking turkey and I need to do my part in eating some of it!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Back on the Wagon?

Whoa, I fell off the blogging wagon big time! One busy day after another and then I just forgot. I'm just sorry that I left off on such a negative note last week. I did find writing that post to be helpful---once I identified the things bringing me down, I could go through and take steps to change things.
For example, I made myself stay up a little later to hang out with G and I scheduled a date night in early December. I contacted a friend about running together in the evenings, since I can't motivate myself to go alone in the dark.

The weekend was good. My sister and her family came down Saturday morning and stayed until Sunday afternoon. The kids had a BLAST with their cousins and basically left us adults alone to chill out and chat all day, which was great. We also took it a step further and were up past midnight drinking & eating too much. It was extremely fun but I paid for it BIG TIME Sunday. I haven't been this hungover in a long long time. 4 hours of sleep after mixing cocktails, beer, and wine just...ugh.

Thankfully G was feeling fine and able to pick up some slack with chores. I did manage to plant my fall bulbs (tulips, daffodils, hyacinth) and do laundry. I went to bed at 8:30 PM and woke up 9 hours later feeling 110% better.

I had my PT appointment this morning and am feeling hopeful! My back feels better and we "challenged it" a little with some strengthening exercises. I like forward progress. My sister is letting me use her barre3 subscription and actually made a list of "back-friendly" workouts from when she had an issue last year, so I may try a few of those out this week.

I am definitely feeling less blah. Maybe because the sun is shining. Or the 9 hours of sleep I got last night. Or the prospect of a day off (I do have to work on Friday). I'll try to make up for the lost posts this week (I think I owe you guys 5 extra).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Getting me Down

I've been feeling a little blah lately and I was trying to figure out why. Turns out, I have good reason. here is a list, in no particular order:

  • Not being able to work out. I miss it. It's one of the few things in my day to day life that is just for me and is actually fun. I just start off the day feeling energized and confident after a good workout. I need to think of some way to re-incorporate some fun (i.e. not indoor elliptical machine at the gym by myself)  physical activity that does not aggravate my back pain.
  • The news. I spend minimal time trying to stay up to date, but even 2 minutes is enough some days to make me doubt humanity.
  • The impending holiday season. I mentioned that I love Halloween because its a holiday that lacks family obligations and drama. Thanksgiving and Christmas are ALL ABOUT obligation and drama. I feel like its all on ME and me alone (because G is completely uninvested) to create some sort of joy and magic and tradition for the next 6 weeks, and its exhausting. 
  • The kids have been in bad moods. Especially L, who is tired in the morning and tired in the evening and I think has reflux (we have his well child in 10 days so I'll discuss a trial of H2 blocker) which makes meals an post-meals quite grumpy (poor guy). But I am over him hitting me and calling me names. Then I yell. Then I don't like myself for yelling. Vicious terrible cycle which is pretty much our everyday lately. I'm not sure when he made it to school today because I left him after 10 minutes of him not putting his coat on, so that B wouldn't be late. (G was getting ready & took him when he was done, but I don't know the timing of all that).
  • G and I haven't really spent much quality time together lately. Its been over a month since we've had a date night, and at home, I either go to bed right after the kids, or we watch TV. 
  • I also haven't had much social interaction lately. I need some quality time with friends every couple of weeks and again, its been about a month. 
  • Our amazing (seriously, best ever in the whole world) dog is getting old and its starting to show. I probably shouldn't have read Lily and the octopus, its making me look at her with a sense of impending loss. We had to get an afternoon walker because she's been having accidents frequently. She is 11ish (we don't know her actual birthday), which is really quite old for a big dog. :(
Thought download over. Next up, how to cheer myself up. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Phoning it In

I've written and deleted a few different post ideas for today, so I'm just going to make this a quick and theme-less collection of thoughts.

The recipe for the soup I made this weekend.  I doubled the recipe since I was making 10 servings. I mixed the coconut milk in after blending it, instead of the pretty swirls, and I skipped the lime. Yum. I just had it for lunch.

The boys are trying a new aftercare place for 3 days this week. today is the first day. Its WAY more convenient to our home, which is the huge plus. Also cheaper. But there is no karate, which is why we wouldn't move them full time.

I finished a book: Lily and the Octopus. I was, predictably, crying at the end. but the story itself was not completely predictable. I'm not sure if I recommend it. This reminds me that I need to do a books post again. Next up: Freedom.

One of my goals for this week is to plan out a nice Thanksgiving dinner for the 4 of us. B has already petitioned for pumpkin pie, which I hope to add some kind of chocolate into. I want something that isn't roasted root vegetables for a change. I'll let G handle the meat portion of the meal, as usual.

This is the first day in a LONG time that I'm not seeing patients. I've been decompressing a bit, just taking care of odds and ends, most work-related, some not (I need a new dentist, I need to follow up on why my black pants haven't been delivered when they were shipped 2 weeks ago).

I love love LOVED the finale of Stranger Things 2. I was whooping with joy during the last scene. Cuteness overload. And an implied promise of season 3. We may try Black Mirror next, or just watch old episodes of The Office or The West Wing as a palate cleanser. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Weekend 11/11...the good/bad/ugly

Forgot to write yesterday so you'll get double posts one day this week, because my goal was 30 in 30.
here on a rainy Monday morning, with a hopefully not too negative perspective on the weekend.
The Good:
  • Friday night movie night was definitely a win-win. The boys watched Charlotte's Web while G and I had cocktails and conversation.
  • I gave a talk at a CME program my division put on for primary care providers. It went well despite minimal preparation and I got good questions
  • We went to my cousin's house for dinner and it was nice. She lives in the area yet we never see each other, because an hour drive is still a bit much. She is pretty cool and a fantastic cook and this was a good step in trying to establish a closer relationship.
  • I made a big batch of Thai curry butternut squash soup for the neighborhood soup group (6 households take turns making soup and sharing). It turned out perfect, and I've got 3 servings for lunches in the fridge.
  • I tried on all my new clothes/shoes and had many winners! I'm wearing my gray wedge boots today!
The Bad:
  • I didn't get to exercise at all. My back hurt at baseline and I didn't feel comfortable pushing my luck with a run.
  • I overate/drank all weekend
  • The new pizza place was meh.
  • I forgot to plant my bulbs. Its getting pretty late in the season.
The Ugly:

  • The undercurrent to all of this was that the kids were in terrible form all day Saturday and most of Sunday. B just woke up grumpy and complained his way throughout the weekend. L likes to egg him on and there was lots of fighting/hitting. Ugh.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Ummm. Sorry for the depressing, heavy post on a Friday. Shall we talk about clothes?

(click away if you aren't into the topic)

None of my pants fit anymore, literally falling off my hips as I walked around, necessitating constantly pulling them up so I didn't a) step on the hems or b) flash anyone.  I also realized I had  very few winter clothes. I was making do the past few winters, layering cardigans over tanks and tees, but sometimes you just want to wear a pair of pants and a sweater and be done with it.

So I've been doing some shopping. I mentioned I ordered a bunch of stuff and most of it has come in!

The winners were 4 pairs of the extreme stretch Columnist fit mid-rise "barely boot" pants from Express, in SHORT sizes (whoo hoo). Fit straight out of the box and work with flats and low heels, no need to hem! I got 2 kinds of gray, a navy, and black.

I also ordered several different kinds of gray booties, from Nordstrom and Anthro. I've already returned a couple to Anthro, and am debating between the other Anthro and the Nordstrom ones. I have black ankle boots and tan booties, so I think gray will round out my winter shoe needs.

Yesterday the package with OODLES of tops from Loft came in. Loft is really good at certain things, and I've always love their "interesting back" sweaters (pattern, bow, zip in the back of a plain-front sweater so its all "business in the front, party in the back") This season, they've also added in crazy sleeves. I'm not a huge fan of the crazy sleeves. I don't mind a subtle puff or ruffle or bell, but I got a couple of tops that were full-out clown and they are going back.

I realized I hate 3/4 length sleeves. My wrists get cold, and its hard to layer because the sleeves get pushed up to your elbows as you put on a cardigan. Blah. So I'm still working on the tops/sweaters situation.

Last but not least, I am going to buy myself my first ever pair of designer-ish (i.e. not from Express) jeans. I have one pair of Rag and Bone high rise skinny jeans to try on later today. (On sale, Nordstroms, under $100) If those don't work, I'm eyeing a Madewell high rise pair.

Maybe I'll come back and add some (non-affiliate, of course, duh) links but I'm out of time now!

Friday, November 10, 2017


I didn't have anything planned to write about today so I'm going with what's on my mind as I sit here post-rounds*.

We were walking into a patient's room this morning when the nurse stopped us and informed us that he had passed away this morning and there was a lot of family at the bedside. We hadn't met the family yet this week, it was a patient whose care our team was peripherally involved in, and we were just checking in today so we could write a formal follow-up note indicating a minor medication adjustment we were making, to tie things up before the weekend. So really, we had no personal relationship to this patient and we knew that the prognosis was poor so it wasn't a complete shock. Yet it still affected us. We were sad, subdued. We took a moment and then went to the next patient on our list, but we walked slowly and didn't talk. I felt like the loss of a life too soon needed to be acknowledged in some way. I never get used to it, and I don't want to.

There is a patient on our service with one family member that is very aggressive. Verbally abusive. Whenever I see this kind of thing, my first thought it "don't you think your loved one would get better care if you weren't scaring and angering the providers caring for her?" But yet, when I dig deeper, I realize that there is likely profound and utter fear underlying this behavior. He can't control the disease that is taking away the life he knew, he can't control the emotions that are overwhelming him, so he tries to control the day to day care, and the minute details, in some hope that this will all make senses somehow. Does he realize he needs to change his behavior, but can't figure out how? I still am glad he wasn't at the bedside today but maybe I am developing some modicum of empathy for him.

Friday afternoon is a always a wild-card. People love to squeak in non-urgent (often B.S.) new consults at 4:30 PM, as if that is more humane than calling on Saturday when you actually have the whole day ahead of you. I am looking forward to my pizza & wine tonight (with the kids watching a movie so we can chill) so so so much.  

*details have been altered, etc...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

thursday Tidbits

  • Tidbits is a funny word. But I don't really care for the word "bullets" right now
  • I went to PT again today bodypump or barre for me for a few more weeks. Its not about the level of impact, its avoiding putting flexion on my spine, which squats apparently do. But I can do a short, non-early-morning run on Sunday if I'm feeling OK. Sigh. Trying to keep this in perspective but it is definitely getting me down.
  • B had been having trouble falling asleep at night, and his constant coming to find us to tell us about it was really messing with my evening relaxation and our couple-TV-time (its almost 9pm by the time we finish bedtime these days and I am done by then. DONE). So I got him a little adjustable book light that clips to his bedrail. We can adjust it so it doesn't bother L, and he reads away until he feels sleepy. I think reading in bed helps him wind down (duh) and also gives us back our evenings. Win win.
  • He's reading through the Magic Treehouse books. But they must be read in order, and the library had 6-9, and then 11-14. I have to hunt down 10. I think I can borrow from a neighbor. I better get on it, because he reads one per night and he'll need #10 on Saturday.
  • Exactly one year ago today was...not a good day. Can you believe its already been a year? that its only been a year? Sigh. 
  • B's teacher stopped me at drop off today to ask how things were going, and told me he seems to love writing. I was surprised to hear that because he complains about writing in his reading journal, but what you like to do in the middle of the school day and what you like to do at 7pm when your brother is playing Legos are obviously not always a perfect match. 
  • I told her that he went on and on about how FUN the math homework on Monday was. So she asked if he said the same about Wednesday's homework. Ummm....he told us he didn't have any, and he hadn't brought anything home. He also said that the teacher took the reading log out of his folder and he didn't have to do it that night...which, apparently also wasn't true. ADHD (and being 7 and having to remember things) is a bitch, but why you gotta lie, kid? just tell us you forgot it so we can start working on systems to help you remember!
  • Two more days of call. Its been the longest week eeeeeeeevvvvveeeerrrrr

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dinner Delight

We went back to our old ways for this week and batch cooked a big ol' meal on Sunday. Burrito bowls with meat, rice, veg, and various toppings, including store-bought guacamole and salsa. Easily customizable for picky kids and change-able so we are not eating the exact same thing every day. Maybe today I'll throw the fillings in a taco, or on some chips. Even the kids aren't complaining, which is pretty remarkable.

I don't know what the best part is, the fact that the meal is absolutely delicious (seriously, it made my "3 good things" for the past 3 days) or the lovely feeling of coming home and not having to do any dinner prep or clean up other than throwing things in a bowl and heating in a microwave. Yesterday it was pouring rain and cold and late when I came home, and yet I kept myself cheerful knowing that a hot filling meal and PJs was in my very near future. Of course I changed my clothes and heated up my food just as G reminded me I hadn't voted yet, so back into regular clothes and into the rain I went (because of course I'm going to vote), but still.A break from the dinnertime disasters is quite welcome.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Things I am Excited About

Continuing in the vein of positivity...

  • Trying out pizza & movie night this Friday
  • The new pizza place we will order from (exciting options)
  • Having a cocktail (or 2) on Friday after work
  • Working out Saturday morning (assuming my knee is still OK I will go to BodyPump, which is low impact repetitive weight training and should be fine for my back)
  • Making and eating soup this weekend (hope the butternut squash is still OK, its been a while...)
  • Arrival of new boots, sweaters, and pants I ordered online in a fit of retail therapy (and annoyance at nothing fitting)
  • Getting to watch a couple more episodes of Stranger Things with G 
 So...basically I am looking forward to this weekend.

Monday, November 6, 2017

One at a time

I try really hard to take each day as it comes, and appreciate the good parts and make it through the rest. One of the biggest changes in my mindset over the past few years has been learning not to automatically "count down" big chunks of my life, and also to let go of the pre-emptive worry and dread which basically doubles (if not triples) any given misery.

Most days do have some upsides. A really invigorating workout, a cozy moment with the kids, nice weather, getting to read a good book, a delicious meal, etc... I've gotten myself in the habit of noticing and writing down three good things each day. Sometimes that involves digging really deep. Ummm...the leaves look nice? I finished a lingering task?

Call weeks are when its hard to put this into practice. Call weeks where I can't work out and I'm in chronic pain and I'm attempting not to cope with carbohydrates and even the weather is gray and wet are even worse. Five more days. It was easy to wake up early this morning and I got some laundry done. The patient's family who yelled at us yesterday wasn't there during rounds today.  Its the little things.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fallng Apart

Quite literally. My body is failing me, after several decades of good service. The lower back pain I was dealing with late summer is an ongoing saga. I've been going to physical therapy regularly, and while I've learned some ways to ease the pain, I've also figured out that it is a disc issue and it is aggravated by certain kinds of exercise. My favorite kinds of exercise.

I was basically told by the PT last week not to do the following for a few weeks: high impact workouts, running more than 20-30 minutes, and exercising in the morning (when the disc is swollen and more prone to injury). Other exercise is on probation---I can try out a weight training or barre class, an evening run, etc... and see how I feel after ( I have pain running down my leg or not).

OK. So I decided this weekend would be the perfect test...I had to be at work pretty early, so I planned to run 3-ish miles (which took me about 25 minutes last week) after I got home. Then on Friday my right knee was achy. It got achier throughout the evening and I realized it was swollen. I have NO IDEA what happened but it still hurts. No running. No barre. No squats.

I have to do these back extension exercises multiple times daily which are basically like triceps pushups. Doing them one morning at 5:30, I felt a twinge in my shoulder. The twinge intensified and now I have a sore shoulder on top of everything else.

I HATE not being to exercise in the morning. A morning workout leaves me feeling amazing. Motivated, energized, ready to tackle the day. I want to do what I can to prevent anything from worsening (the PT said the next stop is the spine surgery center for imaging and possible steroid injections and...ugh) so I will follow instructions. But I hate it. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday Night Fights

Friday night is where the distance between reality and expectation is a long and insurmountable void in our house these days. We crave an evening to kick back and relax, give in to the building fatigue of the week and just relax and have fun for a few hours. I've tried to create some kind of ritual, pizza & board games is the latest. But yet...

We are all tired. And kids don't just chill out and go to bed early the way sensible adults do when they are tired. They get a bit wild. They act out. Defiance, moodiness, tears. And the adults, who just want one evening that is EASY for the love, are not in the best state to deal with these emotions.

Anyways, Friday night usually ends in someone yelling at someone, consequences of some sort, and an overall feeling of disappointment. If, by some chance, we get the kids to bed without incident, Friday night is also when the majority of our special couple bickering and arguments crop up.

As much as I want us to connect and enjoy our time together without activities or homework in the way, I'm thinking Friday night is not the best time for meaningful interaction.  I think our new Friday night tradition is going to involve screens for all.

Do you have a Friday night ritual I can steal? Or is pizza and movie the secret that I have somehow failed to pick up on all these years?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Yay November!

I've unfairly harbored a mental association of November with dark, gloomy and dreary. In reality, its a lovely month, mild in weather, yet encompassing all that is good about fall.  So I'm trying to switch my mindset and embrace the month.

Alas, I'm on call this weekend/next week and I'm also trying to be more cheerful about that, as well. Not quite "Yay call!" but at least looking forward to some aspects of the weekend.

Things I am looking forward to in November:
  • Sister visit which is always SO fun for the kids. Nothing beats cousins.
  • Low key Thanksgiving
  • A break from our kids' activities
  • Soup! Chili! 
  • A date night or two I'm trying to set up
  • Perfect outdoor running weather
 Things I will try to do this weekend if call schedule allows:
  • Run
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Make butternut squash soup (we have the squash already)
  • Watch a couple of episodes of Stranger Things with G
  • Read more of my book (The Girl with All the Gifts). Its weird and a bit creepy but also enthralling so far. I have no idea where it will go.
Back tomorrow!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dinner Disasters

Family dinner is just not happening at our house these days. Blame after-school activities, homework, cranky kids, tired parents, laziness...I don't know, its probably a combination of all of those and more. I get the benefits of a family dinner---where you sit and nourish your body and soul and reconnect after a long day apart, with thoughtful conversation and curiosity and listening---in an ideal world. In the real world? There is a lot of yelling. And whining. Saying food is yucky. Asking for treats. Getting up from the table. Throwing forks at brothers. You know what doesn't help me connect with my children at the end of a long day apart? Any of those things.

So here, for your reading pleasure, is a play by play of my family dinner shame.

Monday: G takes B to social skills class; I pick up L and bring him home by 5:30. We both are hungry when we get home and eat loads of cheese & crackers & fruit and carrot sticks. L is full and that's his dinner. I make some Annie's shells and cheese for B and add in peas and some chopped up grilled chicken breast which he devours after arriving home at 6:45 wailing "I'm HANGRY" over and over until I set the bowl in front of him. I'm waiting for our Plated meal box to arrive, but by 6:30 it still hasn't been delivered and I have no plan for adult dinner. G hunts around the freezer and decides we can have samosas and frozen TJ Indian meals. We make the samosas and eat them around 7:30 and realize we have eaten 2 servings each and are full.

Tuesday: eat snacks/pizza/candy at Halloween party

Wednesday: We all get home around 6. L is starving and asks for cheese & crackers and fruits which I give him, and then he eats half and says his belly hurts. I eat the rest. During this time B is happily counting & making lists of his Halloween candy. Make a Plated meal for G and I, but have to stop halfway through when a potential new dogwalker stops by at 7. I finish our meal and we eat at 7:30. While I'm talking to the dogwalker, G takes L upstairs for his reading practice. Somewhere in there, B has eaten the leftover mac & cheese/peas/chicken and gets back to his list-making. L gets hungry again and eats strips of chicken and fruit while I'm making lunches & B is having his bath. I give him carrots but he refuses them.

You know what didn't happen during any of those eating experiences? Yelling. Whining. Yucky/gross/disgusting. (throwing things at brothers and getting up from table will never ever not happen in my house, I'm convinced). I would like to get back on track with all of us eating the same thing together...someday. But I just...can't. We will always have cheese, crackers, mac n cheese, frozen peas, fruit, carrot sticks and frozen TJs meals on hand, and we will all be adequately nourished. We will get our connection outside of the dinner table.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Spooky Spirit

I am now certain that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love that its just and friends and letting your freak-flag fly. There is little weighty tradition and zero family expectations around the day. You do your usual school/work/etc... and don't have an entire day to try to make special. It does not involve hours in the kitchen to make a meal half of your family will not enjoy.

We went ALL IN this year. We decorated the outside of our house with spider webs and bats hanging from the tree, and strings of bat-shaped lights. We all dressed up in completely non-complementary costumes of our choosing (L: Lloyd the green Ninajgo ninja, B: a runner, me: Wonder Woman, and G: Obi-Wan). The boys and I dressed in our costumes for the neighborhood run (5K for me, 1 mile for the boys), and we ROCKED it and had a blast (I finished at an 8:30 pace which amazed me because I hadn't run in months, and the boys both finished which amazed me because they've never run a mile before). G didn't run but volunteered as a marshal so it was a family affair. We topped off the run with games and candy at the school yard and then carved pumpkins at home.

Yesterday we left work a little early to get the boys who had already enjoyed fun at school and aftercare (treats, movie, a parade in the school yard, costume karate with candy for good performance) and got ready for trick or treating. I think I've written about this before but Halloween in our neighborhood is so much fun! Everyone is hanging out on stoops, drinking and giving out candy and we ran into so many friends and neighbors. There are also some impressive decorating displays on certain well-known streets. We were out early and kept going until the boys filled up their pumpkins with candy and then settled in at a friends' for beer/pizza/snacks while the kids burned off some energy. I didn't even have to make dinner. I didn't have any candy but I had 2 beers so I guess that is treat enough for a Tuesday night.

And now its November. We will make our way through the candy in small near-daily doses. And, surprise!, you will also start seeing me here in small near-daily doses as I plan to post 30 times in November (mostly daily but sometimes I'll double up if I need a day off).

Friday, October 27, 2017

This is your brain on...(Part 2)

The digital distraction edition.

You guys know my new thing is binge-listening to podcasts and in late summer I was on "Note to Self" with Manoush Zomorodi. I was intrigued by the concept of "Bored and Brilliant"---of needing some distraction free time to let your mind roam in order to facilitate creative thinking. I realized, somewhat ironically, that I had lost a lot of that much-needed empty brain space to...podcasts.

I always used my walking commute to think things over, process, brainstorm, problem-solve, and write blog posts in my mind. It also served as a nice transition between the dueling demands of work and family life. While having soothing voices imparting wisdom or humor into my ears is pleasant, it also ends up with me feeling unprepared to take on the tasks that await at the other end of the commute. I resented having to turn off the podcast to see a patient or pick up the kids and interact with them (they are real pills in the evening, in my defense).

So I decided to reinstate quiet into my commute and the blank space is back! Plus I get to save up the podcasts to add some joy to the truly uninspiring moments of life, like laundry-folding and kitchen-cleaning.

Of course there is more to discuss here, because like many, I struggle with the role of technology in my life and specifically the negative effects of constant pull of social media and other online distractions on my productivity and mindset.

I'll admit this here---I'm back on facebook (I put the app back on my phone when they d/c the Groups app in September) and I'm OK with it. I thought about it seriously (on one of my "boring" commutes) and realize that there are definitely more positives than negatives at this point. I  only check briefly 1-2X a day to make sure I haven't missed anyone giving away a Sodastream on BuyNothing (this has happened twice this month), to note/share any school/PTA related posts, and to keep up with book club and other neighborhood events. I've removed myself from any non-local super-large groups that  allow/encourage endless scrolling and toxicity.

I rarely check other social media accounts---I have to remember to check WhatsApp and realized my cousin had a baby 3 weeks ago when my mom told me (we have a huge extended family/international group chat going) and I joined instagram so L could browse Lego updates while on the bus.

I have whittled my blog reader feed down considerably. I follow people I feel personally invested in (i.e. all of you!). I usually do my blog-reading on my phone while I have my morning coffee (its so exciting to see bunches of new posts like today!) so I don't comment as much as I'd like, but I am definitely reading and feeling everything you guys post.

I do have one guilty blog pleasure that I am trying to eliminate--shopping-enabling fashion blogs. I just get filled with longing & wanting and I honestly don't need any more clothes right now so I took those out of my reader and am trying not to even check in (I am so tempted because one of the bloggers I followed lives in my neighborhood and always posts cool local stuff that I am not hip enough to have been aware of on my own).

Funny that the one thing that was a supposedly better alternatives has turned out to have a downside for me---reading books on my phone. I have books on the overdrive and kindle app and I definitely end up reading more if I pick up my phone in spare minutes and get little chunks read. The problem is that when its a really good book, I resent the interruptions from my family, which lead to an annoyed and impatient mindset, waiting for the next minute no one freaking needs anything and I can get back to my book god dammit!  I'm calmer if I just give myself over to family time and use a larger block of uninterrupted time to do my reading.

And last but not least...the games. Basically if I have a game I'm playing I'm apt to want to play constantly so I don't play at all in daily life, but will sometimes intentionally decide to play unlimited amounts of a game when I'm traveling. When I find myself WANTING to play, its a tell that I'm anxious. I was really intrigued by the Note to Self episode with Jane McGonagell about purposefully USING games, in pre-prescribed doses, for stress reduction or mood boost. I've been trying that this week. I'm about to give up on my current book, and we don't have a show to watch, so I've been playing a game for 15-20 minutes before I go to bed to unwind. So far its working, but if I feel pulled to play at other times, I'm going to delete it.

I think I've found a good balance for now. This is obviously something that I'm going to regularly revisit with evolving technology and changing demands on my life. The next challenge is finding time to blog regularly, I really have so much to say, but when I have the time & energy I feel compelled to use if for getting caught up on so many other things.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Behind behind behind

After a whole weekend at home just the 4 of us, I definitely feel more on top of things on the homefront, but still feeling woefully behind at work. Not sure exactly why, but I've been fuzzy headed and tired, having trouble concentrating, so everything feels like a slog. Also, as usual, new things keep coming up that take precedence over my plans and I just don't know when I'm going to catch up. I am on consults this week, have three days of clinic next week, and so on.

Anyways, you guys don't want to see my to-do list, so I'll update you on some other things.

L is having a surprisingly rough transition to kindergarten. He misses his old pre-K teacher & friends, and the long day with no rest is getting to him. We've had meltdowns in the morning for a while and several evenings where he basically just screamed from the time we picked him up from aftercare, until he fell into bed, a writhing, snotty, tearful mess.  No, he's not an infant. He turned SIX this month. He just has trouble articulating his big big feelings. And while I do get it, I really truly do, I am also not a fan of being abused by a tiny tyrant. He enjoys taking his emotions out on me, hitting/spitting/calling me names. Things seem to be settling down and I am grateful.

No one is traveling anywhere until we all go away for winter break. Activities are winding down, by November we'll just have the afterschool karate. Just in time for me to really push into grant writing. I need to have EITHER work or home be chaotic. I can't deal with both. Maybe you can, but I need my margins somewhere.

Speaking of margins, I have been experimenting with more ways to create blank space and time for thinking/processing. Its working. And its helping my time at home immensely to be more engaged and present. (blah blah buzz words, I know, but seriously! Its true!) More on that later. I need to actually eat my lunch during the break from rounds.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Process

I was having a text exchange with a friend yesterday about how I tend to write more "negative" posts here because it helps me process my thoughts. Its very much a version of therapy for me. Having the space to not only express my issues, but the additional necessity of articulating them in a way that is understandable to another person, often helps me see my problems more clearly and often identify my own solutions.

In fact, this post began as a "woe is me" litany of all the things making me frantic and overwhelmed right now. Its been feeling like an unusually busy month and I keep waiting for things to calm down.
Then I realized I'd written a similar post this summer. And probably another one a few months before that. In other words, the "extra" in my life may actually be my new normal.  I can continue to feel overwhelmed and frantic and count down until I can reclaim my precious margins in my life, or I could work to find some moments of peace amidst the craziness.

One of the worst things I've noticed in the past few weeks is the distance I've been feeling in my marriage. We've both been traveling a few times, and have had to divide and conquer a lot of household projects and kid management, and then I head to bed early and exhausted. We haven't had time to talk or even watch a TV show together in weeks. And since we are both feeling stressed and overwhelmed and not quite clear what all the other person has on their plate, we can't really help, and we find ourselves getting easily annoyed and snippy.

I realize it would have been a good idea to realize this ahead of time and book some date nights into our month. I have a tendency to put that off when we are too busy but in actuality, that is when we need it most. Thankfully we have greatly expanded our arsenal of sitters this month, as we've had "needing to be in two places at one time when only one parent is in town" happen a few times and we've got a few excellent kid-approved neighborhood sitters on the ready.

We also have had some drop-the-ball moments, like the day neither of us made it home early enough for our old dog's poor bladder's liking.  We discussed that I would get the kids and whoever "got home first" would take out the dog...which was unwise, as we both got home the exact same time which was clearly too late. With the different evening activities, we need to sit down, calendar in hand, EVERY week and clarify who is doing what, and book dog-walkers as needed.

That same night, I found myself resentfully eating bowls of chips for dinner because we didn't actually have enough leftovers for all of us and I wasn't about to cook at 8:30 pm when the kitchen had already been cleaned (I'm not knocking chips for dinner as a valid option, I just was in the mood for the hot meal I thought I'd be having, thus the "resentfully"). We were completely out of the TJ's frozen meals because we've been resorting to those options a lot lately. We just need to keep them permanently on our shopping list and buy extra so there is always a yummy, no-cook option.

My parents are in town, and I have to head home to walk the dog and bake cupcakes for L's birthday party tomorrow so I better finish up work. I will be back next week, still have a lot to say, positive and negative and in between.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

This is your brain on... (Part 1)

"To alcohol...the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems"--Homer Simpson

G and I realized our drinking had really ramped up over the summer, what with vacation and rosé and not having our kids in the house. It had gotten to a point that was making me uncomfortable, as I found myself thinking "ooh, a drink would make this more fun!" about pretty much every experience, from play dates to movies to board games with the kids. I've definitely successfully cut back before, but I often felt deprived, and I realized to my shock that I hadn't gone longer than a week of call without drinking since my last pregnancy six years ago.

I was idly googling "cut back drinking", as you do, and came across a slew of blogposts singing the praises of "The Naked Mind", by Annie Grace, which is a short book (that I somehow got a link to a free copy) about changing your thought processing around drinking so that you can quit/cut-back without feeling deprived. In brief, she talks about the neurologic changes that occur with habitual drinking, and the dopamine surges that alter your hedonic setpoint so that things really aren't as fun for you without a drink. She also lays out how alcohol actually worsens anxiety and depression and that you don't really relax/sleep well/become more social under the influence, despite popular opinion. It was eye-opening and encouraging. When she started a 30-day-alcohol-free Experiment, we decided to try it for the month of September (I actually signed up for the on-line program, G just said he wouldn't drink).

The underlying mantra of the program is to use this time to see how your life may (or may not, who knows, its an experiment!) be better without alcohol. She is a classic Questioner (like me!) so obviously this approach spoke to me much more than any kind of "challenge" or "streak" or "accountability" would. Every day there was a blog post and a video that centered around, basically, do-it-yourself cognitive behavioral therapy. Teaching your brain different ways to respond to cravings, to find new go-to ways to respond to stress/boredom, to convince yourself into a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will have fun at the party drinking seltzer instead of wine.

We both succeeded (well, I made it 28 days, with a planned ending before my weekend at the retreat, and G did take a 2 day break during his work trip) and it absolutely worked. We drank liters of seltzer, and on crazy Saturday nights we'd spike it with some juice! I made it through a family vacation, work trip with networking events, date night, book club, and countless evenings that I would've just reached for a glass of wine (or two, or three). I totally feel like I can moderate better going forward, and if not, I will abstain again, maybe for longer, because I know I can do it and I won't feel like I'm missing out.

The downside? I did not lose weight like I thought I would. Maybe it was because I took a 2-week hiatus from exercise thinking it would help my back. Most likely it was because I weirdly developed a sweet tooth for the month (that promptly disappeared last weekend after the Friday night wine social), craving the dopamine hit in the form of cookies and ice cream. So it made me wonder---am I just replacing one bad habit with another? Can I really train myself not to look for those mini-doses of "fun" and "excitement" in the form of unhealthy addictions? I think I finally understand the "food should be boring" thing from Katrina Ubell's podcast I mentioned earlier---its not that food should literally be bland and unsatisfying, but that if you do want to lost weight or change your relationship with food, you absolutely do need to find a non-caloric way to meet those needs.

Someday maybe I'll figure this out. For now I'll look forward to ending my day with 2 squares of dark chocolate, a 100-calorie Yasso yogurt bar, or a sensible serving of wine.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Finally Fall

Hello hello! I promised I'd be back and here I am! The crazy continues, this week includes L's 6th (OMG how???) birthday and treats we have to take into school, my parents flying in to help him celebrate, L's birthday party and the pinata/cupcakes/planning involved, and me traveling again for work (leaving Sunday night-Tuesday afternoon). And that's on top of, you know, work, the kids karate/soccer/running club/woodworking class/therapy, and the usual needing to be fed, read to, consoled and put back to bed for the 1000th time.

Honestly, our lives are usually quite full of blank space, but everything just sort of coalesced into a clusterf&ck of crazy, as it does, and we will have our usual boring routine back soon enough, so I'm trying to just go along for the ride.

I was away this weekend, but it was NOT for work, it was an amazing 2 nights away in the mountains for a "Women's Wellness Retreat" with my BFF and a bunch of women from my neighborhood book group. We drove up Friday and came back Sunday. In between we hiked, rode horses, rock climbed, did yoga & archery, zip-lined, and ate and drank and talked for hours. It was many women (some strangers) in one cabin several of whom found it appropriate to set early AM alarms and snooze them, and some of whom snored & coughed & sleep-talked, so I did NOT get much sleep and came home way more tired than I left. But happy. Very happy. I highly recommend doing something like this should you get the chance. It was super-empowering and rejuvenating. Just bring ear plugs.

G did amazing holding down the fort at home (i.e. keeping children & dog alive and fed), but there were ALL the weekend chores to be done when I got home at 3pm yesterday and I just wasn't up for it. So I am working from home today so that I can simultaneously change out laundry and can get dinner prepped before I go pick up B for his group therapy session.

Things I have to tell you about: recent self-improvement projects, the ongoing back pain saga, L and his kindergarten woes, recent books I've read, and much much more. But I just heard the cute little tune the washer plays when its done, so time to put the clothes in the dryer and work on the "final scientific/invention report" for my completed grant.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Its a little nuts around here...

Guys, these past few weeks have been unusually busy and its not letting up anytime soon. I just have no energy or desire to put my thoughts down on the page right now. They great thing is that...I don't have to! And since every single other goddamn thing on my list is a "have to" or at least a "really really should do for the long term benefit of my health/children/marriage/carrier" I'm going to put the blog on the back burner for a couple of weeks. I'll be back in October!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Goodbye Summer

We are all back home and into our routines (sort of). G went last Friday to get the kids, but they couldn't fly out until Monday. So I got a few relaxing/boring days at the beach alone with my parents until the boys joined us Monday night. Wednesday we flew home and Thursday B went to school. Of course while they were away I imagined a glorious reunion with lots of hugs and happiness and patience. The hugs did happen...

While at the beach, the lower back pain that had been bothering me off and on all summer began to more than bother me, and our flight on Wednesday was excruciating. I ended up spending Thursday (when I was supposed to be working from home, with L, since KG doesn't start until the 12th) dealing with this, starting by going to the doctor. She told me she had no idea what the problem was, but prescribed steroids, muscle relaxants, and PT. I went and got the meds, which did help some, though the non-sedating muscle relaxants still made me slightly loopy. I also got the appointment and referral for PT, and found some exercises online to do, which also helped some. I got zero work done that day. I'm feeling antsy because I can't exercise---I need to take two weeks to relax/heal---but it hurts the worst to sit, so I'm just really restless, and spending a lot of time pacing.

So the summer is over. While I definitely had some fun moments, it was overall a string of mild to moderate stressful things happening one after another, all on a background of constant kid whining and fighting and the crescendo of pre-apocalyptic horrific current events. I've been extremely distracted the past couple of months and have been sucked back into non-ideal coping mechanisms (booze, social media). Add to that my sudden increase in clinical duties (I went from 20% to 50% clinical in July) and I completely dropped the ball in prepping for a major grant submission. I am going to have to postpone the submission until the next cycle which sucks, but is also a relief.

I absolutely love early fall. The crisp, cool air renews my energy and clears my head. I'm ready to focus and get things done. I'm actually at work right now, finishing up a poster for a conference I am going to next week, so I will stop here. I have so much to say and hope to find time to write more this week, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

When you can't breathe...

Soon after I hit post yesterday, I had one of the scariest hours I've experienced. G called me to tell me that water was rising up the driveway in MIL's house and neighbors were going to help them leave, using a KAYAK (!!!!) to navigate the flooded streets to a van waiting nearby that would take them to a family member's home a few miles away.

I gave them about an hour to undertake this mission (and thankfully had a scheduled catch-up phone date with a friend/collaborator) and then began to call. And MIL's phone isn't working. So I called the aunt who's house they were going to---no answer. And then I freaked the fuck out because OMFG. I called my parents, texted my sister, and then had no idea what to do while I waited.

So I turned on a podcast, found a long ignored addictive game on my phone, and opened up some cheese puffs and distracted my way through the hour or so until MIL finally called me (they are completely fine).

Guys, this is so hard. I'm doing the absolutely necessary things at work and home, and trying to exercise/meditate/sleep/eat well, but I've also been spending LOADS of time on social media (including facebook, which has been a good way to keep up with what's going, since I have lots of friends/"friends" near where the kids are and also keep people updated & get support), and overall wasting time and drinking more wine than I should.

I did get a lot of things on my list done, and had thankfully planned a lot of outings for this week, because the last thing I need is MORE time to sit at home & fret. But man, it has not been the least bit relaxing and I'm farther behind then ever at work.

Oh, and please donate to hurricane relief AND (or) efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change. Because we know there is no government looking out for us in any regard at all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


They are OK. No flooding in the house as of last night, but its still raining for the foreseeable future and they can't actually LEAVE the house, so hopefully provisions last.

G changed his flights and will hopefully hopefully fingers crossed go on Saturday morning and bring them to the beach Sunday. I am keeping my flights and will go on Friday as scheduled. I can fret on the beach, with my parents, as well as I can fret here.

I'm feeling much calmer today. Got a lot of work stuff crossed off the list this morning which helps with that frantic sense of overwhelm. I skipped my work out and slept in, which I desperately needed, too.

Things that are helping me stay sane: exercise & walking, friends, music & podcasts, G's optimism. Had a very fun evening out with good friend yesterday and it just felt good, though the wine did catch up to me (explains the sleeping in this morning).

Everything is going to be OK.

Monday, August 28, 2017

What was I saying about raining and pouring?

It was a gorgeous weekend here. And instead of relaxing and enjoying it, I spent the weekend in a frenzy of chores and activity to keep my mind off the fact that my children are 1000 miles away from us in a freaking hurricane. 

They are safe and sound and hyped up on sugar and screentime and the sense of adventure. But I'm not going to relax until I hold them again. G was supposed to get them on Thursday and bring them to our beach vacation with my parents this weekend. But I don't think he's going to be able to get in/out of there safely until later this weekend. And there may be another "tropical weather condition" affecting the beach locale. So yeah.

Instead of working on the thing that's due on Thursday I've been reading GoT recaps all over the internet, and refreshing facebook and the weather reports incessantly. Summer 2017 has been kicking my ass from every angle. I sort of want school to start and to get back into our boring, predictable, contained in a 1-mile radius life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We left our hearts...

The kids are with MIL for the next 11 days. G and I got home Saturday night after a pretty busy and not-quite-relaxing week with all of us together. I feel like we should REALLY TAKE ADVANTAGE of our kid-free time, and yet, we have nothing major planned.

I feel like I've been given an incredible opportunity that I don't want to squander away.

Things I want to do (other than the usual "catch-up and hopefully get ahead on work" list that is miles long after a week away).
  • Cook a few fancy meals for the two of us
  • Visit 2 summer beer gardens
  • Harvest and do something with the overgrown herbs in the backyard (suggestions for what to do with basil that isn't pesto? How about oregano, sage, and thyme?)
  • Re-organize the boys clothes for the school year and fill any wardrobe holes
  • Massive de-clutter of clothes & toys and give away/donate (i.e. get the hell out of my house) everything
  • 2 outings with friends
  • Use restaurant gift card for low-key dinner out
  • Buy myself some new pants for work (its SO FREEZING in our clinic space that I can't wear my standby of dresses/skirts until I can add tights again, and now that I'm there for full days, its a quality of life issue!) Current pants are all too big! I will keep them for sure, but now I wish I didn't get rid of all my old ones when I gained weight)
  • Try a couple of workout classes: BodyCombat at the gym, beginner yoga, SolidCore  and try some evening workouts too for the days I have to get into work too early to workout
  • Think through some ideas/changes for our new routine this fall. With L starting KG and aftercare, new activity schedules, and my new work schedule, we are going to need to shake-up our mornings/evenings some. I want to streamline dinner so we can actually just PLAY and hang out in the evenings and come up with ways to further decrease the "chore footprint" on the weekends so we can relax
Writing it all out makes it seem pretty ambitious, actually. I'll report back on the 31st.

Friday, August 11, 2017

When it rains it f'ing pours

In the past 10 days we have dealt with:

  • Lice
  • Fleas
  • Basement flooding
  • B getting stitches on  his face (this is happening right now, G took him to urgent care)
All this on the backdrop of the kids constantly fighting and whining, and me doing full days of clinic every other day.

And of course we have to pack our shit up and fly to visit MIL tomorrow morning.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Wind Down

Those 5 weeks of summer are coming to an end. They have been more challenging than I expected. Parenting has been kicking our asses the past few months. Hopefully its just a phase. I've been looking forward for 2 years to the boys being in school together again, and now I'm terrified that it'll be fighting and whining at drop-off and pick up every day.

I did have an amazing, much-needed break, when I spent 4 days visiting friends at the end of July. I didn't have to worry about ANYONE ELSE. No one's wants, needs, feelings, resentments. I felt so loved and cared for by my awesome friends. We drank and talked late into the night, and I spilled everything and got so much support. It was like therapy. I should try to do it more often.

The changes at work have been tough, too. I haven't quite gotten into a groove with my new schedule. The clinic days are busy and go fast, but I feel like I don't have enough uninterrupted time on the research days to really get going on anything. I may need to move around my clinic schedule so I can have 2-3 days in a row, since there is a lot of start-up energy required to get my head in the game of writing.

We are leaving this weekend to visit MIL. I'm the usual stressed about it, but also somewhat looking forward to a bit of a break from our daily routine. Its not going to be FUN but hopefully it can be a little relaxing. At the very least we can just leave the kids and go watch a movie or something.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Measure of a (Wo)man

There was a fascinating "Note to self" podcast early in the archives about the downside to the use of health-tracking technology. About how logging and seeing every step you take, calorie you eat, water you sip, minutes you sleep can make you anxious and hyper-focused on yourself. I definitely experienced this with calorie tracking, as you may remember from several years ago. I found myself really anxious about going over on any given day, and putting way too much of my self-worth on whether I was "good" or "bad" about staying in my calorie goals (and the app makes it easy to assign value judgements by putting you in the green & giving you happy faces, vs. red & exclamation marks!!!!). I was also running running running without any focus on speed or form, just to get a bigger calorie buffer into my day. My perfectionism came out full on, too, the thought of "incomplete data" when I just could not remember every bite I put on my mouth at a potluck, or had not even a ballpark idea of the ingredients or calorie count of some concoction I imbibed drove my CRAZY. I had to stop.

After a couple years of having it sit in a drawer, I pulled out my old fitbit zip in January and replaced the battery and worse it almost daily. I did it only because I signed onto an app that would import data and then award you points that ultimately translated to $$$. A friend of mine told me about it and I figured free money was reason enough to pin the tiny thing to my waistband or bra step. It took me 6 months to get $10, so its not a get-rich-quick scheme. When the battery died yet again in July I put it back in the drawer. The fitbit NEVER motivated me to walk more, maybe because I know I walk plenty most days and if I don't hit my goal by the end of the day, something in my routine was off enough that it would take way too long to do enough pacing around my house to get there.

The perfectionism thing I noticed with MyFitnessPal extends to spending tracking as well. We had a bit of a snafu that ended up with an overdrawn bank account and scrounging our house for cash for pizza last week (long story, it was a good reminder not to slack on keeping an eye on our bank balance and transferring from emergency fund when needed instead of planning to do it "later"). Said snafu had us updating all our Mint passwords and deciding to go back to YNAB. Notice I said "us". G said, "sure, sounds like a good idea" and then promptly never logged a thing unless I reminded him of it. I logged my few meager purchases for 3 days and when I didn't notice the groceries he brought or the packages that came from Amazon, I started getting all twitchy about the incomplete data. I had two options: remind him (i.e. nag) to do it, or let it go. I chose the latter. I'm keeping a close eye on our bills and balances, but we are NOT going back to logging every purchase. If G ever decides he wants to be consistent with it, I'm on board, but I CANNOT keep reminding him daily or, worse, just looking at bills and ATM withdrawals and trying to piece together his spending FOR HIM to enter into YNAB, which is what I was doing for many months before.

There was an episode on the "Happier" podcast where someone mentioned that YNAB similarly made him nuts because of this intrinsic NEED to account for every single penny and he had to quit, and I was so happy to hear I'm not alone in this lunacy. I don't know if it is the scientist in me or what, but if I am collecting data, I want it to be as complete & accurate as possible! How can you begin to make sense of estimates & guesstimates and days of blanks? What conclusions do you draw from that? I think some would argue that some data is better than no data, and "perfect is the enemy..." etc... but I can't get my brain on board with that.

Things I do track currently: water intake (because I sometimes forget to drink enough & then don't feel well), meditation (just a yes or no, so I remember to do it every day), and my plank challenge (again, yes or no, and I try to do it 3X a week, on non-gym days...I'm up to SIX MINUTES). Yes, sometimes I'm chugging water to meet my goal, but there isn't really much of a downside to this. Maybe forcing myself to meditate at night when I'm falling asleep (sometimes I just completely forget during the day!) isn't necessary, but I like seeing that streak (85 days!). Those things are actually more of a to-do-list then really getting into hard numbers and data, so they don't lead to that sort of hyper-focus and anxiety.  I sometimes write down what I've eaten in my planner for a week or two at a time, to make sure I'm not fooling myself with excess snacks or letting my lunch "creep up" (I sometimes start adding more items just to use up excess fruits or because we bought something I wanted to try, for example).

Anyone else let a tracking app make you crazy, or am I truly neurotic? (actually don't answer that second part!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

They fight and fight and fight and fight and fight...


You get it.

Seriously the boys are in a phase of wanting to be together constantly but then annoying each other, ultimately leading to physical violence and tears and shouting and MOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!

We try to keep them apart but they just gravitate back together. L is like a mosquito, he follows B around and irks and pesters until B lashes out. And B is bigger & stronger. And L is a drama queen.

When they aren't fighting, they are egging each other on to annoy US in inventive and ever-more-irritating ways. Again, L is the mischief-maker, trying to get rule-follower B to go along with his nonsense. Which he does, because he is seven and full of energy and that little-kid-wildness. 

One on one, they are fun, but together they are truly a PITA these days. I am a little worried about leaving G alone for 4 days, I'm leaving Friday straight after AM clinic to visit friends, and won't be back until right after bedtime Monday (I am so excited, I can't wait!). I advised him to go against his instinct and make lots of plans, so they aren't at home too much.

In other news, I am really into bingeing podcasts. I like starting at the very very beginning and listening to every single episode in order. I just finished both Happier, and Happier in Hollywood, and I'm sad, because I loved them both. I know I can listen to a new episode each week, but that style of listening doesn't appeal to me, so I think I'll wait for a whole bunch to pile up and binge again. I'm now on "Note to Self" which is quite good so far. Any podcast recommendations for similar styles?

Also, we are planning on winter break trip. We booked flights already but need to figure out what we are going to do. Anyone live in/near or traveled to San Diego in December and have thoughts for us? (don't tell me any stories about horrible rain, I realized the whole "rainy season" thing AFTER I booked the flights). It'll be the 4 of us (boys 6 and 8 at the time) and my MIL and we will have 5 full days (not counting the 2 travel days). We are doing 2 days at Legoland, but not sure about the other 3 days.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nolite te Bastardes...


I can't believe I never gushed & raved about how much I love love LOVED the Hulu series "The Handmaid's Tale". The book is amazing...and touches almost a little to close to home given the state of the world these days. But the way they brought the story to life...the acting, the scenery, the music...really enhanced the story. I actually literally binge-watched the whole thing in one day and then sort of regretted not stretching it out to really savor (but the kids were coming back and I knew I'd never get this kind of chance to just immerse myself in something so fully again).

This weekend was not great. The one socializing plan we did have, we canceled due to massive thunderstorms Saturday evening, so we didn't really see other people. I've realized lately that all of us do better with some socialization each weekend. The boys have been fighting CONSTANTLY lately, and L has really been pushing boundaries. Of course, us parents don't react as calmly and logically as we'd like every time and overall nobody was really happy or relaxed. On Saturday night I completely forgot to take my P@xil, and I woke up at 5AM Sunday morning, brain racing, unable to go back to sleep. Even though I took it right away, I went through a mini-withdrawal for most of the day and was not in the mood for adventures so we mostly stayed home.

Its G's birthday today. I made most of the components of the strawberry shortcake he asked for yesterday, so I just have to whip cream and assemble tonight. I did have the boys make cards yesterday, which took up a few hours of time, as they got really creative with it. We are going out tonight, for a very very casual dinner.

If I try to think on the positive side, I can say this weekend did include the following: 2 workouts for me, a woodworking class for B & coffee shop adventure for L & G, park trips, reading 2 chapters of "The Prisoner of Azkaban" out loud, me reading a big chunk of my current (very long) book, a great dinner I made on Friday night, a successful baking project, and creative pursuits for the boys. Oh, and G and I watched "Arrival" Friday night (it was $0.99 on iTunes) which was excellent. And of course, Game of Thrones last night.

My samples are probably done thawing on ice so I better go aliquot. Did I ever mention that my research tech left and I'm all alone until I can hire someone else? And how much it sucks? I have to figure out how to print labels today, something I haven't done in years and years. Everything just takes me FOREVER to figure out, the learning curve is steep.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Five Weeks of Summer

Its actually closer to 4 weeks by now. The amount of time we had in between the boys getting back from their time with cousins/grandparents and us all going to visit MIL (and leave them with her for a couple weeks). I didn't account for the 4 days I'm going to be away on a solo trip visiting friends. So yeah, its short.

I'm trying to plan our weekends to include our summer fun items. Also trying very very hard to say YES to things. I've been playing hours of games with B because he keeps asking, and I know he'll be out of the Phase 10 phase soon enough (that's how he rolls, serial monogamy with obsessions), even when I really really want to just chill out or get started on dinner after work.  We are trying to loosen up on bedtime and treats (but not screen time, because it messes with their heads and makes them crazy). I've thought about doing more stuff in the evenings but its really just so hot, and I'm so tired by the time we get home, that I just want to sit around.

I'm still having that vacation-brain where I don't WANT to work, even though I want to HAVE WORKED. Its taking all kinds of tricks (internet blockers, pomodoro timers, changing locations, giving myself little rewards) to get done what i need to get done. I am coming in early since I have to pick B up by 5 at camp, which is at least taking advantage of my morning clarity.

Hope everyone is having a taste of summer!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The weekend was OK. The kids were really really challenging and I don't think either of us was quite up for the challenge. We did have pizza on Sunday, we went to a neighborhood place and actually sat outside in the gorgeous weather enjoying prosecco and pizza. On Saturday after the park we stopped to get lunch and I had a vegan tahina-based Turkish coffee milkshake which was so so so so good (I can't drink milk so I haven't had a milkshake in decades). So maybe THAT was the highlight.

Despite the bewildering "food should be boring" statement, which I've decided is just not for me, you guys really should listen to that podcast. I keep finding myself thinking about some of the ideas, not for food at all, but for general coping. I don't mind taking what I can from a resource and leaving the rest, and there was a lot of wisdom there that I suspect would be useful to anyone.

On the (long-ignored) advice from our therapist, we started behavior charts for the boys. They get checks for avoiding bad behaviors/executing good behaviors. I tried to keep it simple but it ended up having way too many rows because I was trying to cover EVERYTHING. And that is a lot. No hitting, no bad words, do chores without complaining, etc... G made a joke that we needed one for ourselves and I made those last night. Mine has 3 items: No yelling/mean talk, No junk food after dinner, and Put phone away. Of course I have several other things I am working on, but I track those on an app on my phone (meditate, exercise, go to bed by 10, avoid alcohol, avoid certain foods, etc...).  Sunday I got zero checks, but Monday I hit all 3.

I haven't quite figured out all the details for the charts. What do the boys get when they get x number of checks? Right now I told them it was related to screen time on the weekend (they lost their screen time last weekend, so we never did watch the HP movie), which is their most coveted prize. Last time I bribed them (to stop bedtime shenanigans), I got them books after x number of nights. That was pretty straightforward, and it worked. I have a feeling this may go the way of the "marble system" or "pennies in a cup" we had in the past. They were excited and motivated initially, and then just didn't care anymore and we ended up ditching it. I dunno. My sister has been using her marble jars for YEARS with her kids and they still want to earn them...but my kids are very different from hers.

We are also working on anger/frustration and rigidity with B with his group social skills therapist. We talk about "being bendy" (flexible) and try to place events correctly on the "big deal-o-meter" so that every little slight and injustice is not the end of the world (or of our family's peace). Man this stuff is so so hard. Definitely not an innate skillset for me, but I'm learning as I go. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Back Into It

For such a short week, Friday took a surprisingly long time to come, didn't it?

Our kids are back, the 4th is over, we are back into the grind of camp and daycare and activities and cooking dinner and not drinking every night.

I've been listening to a very interesting podcast and thinking I need to work on my relationship with food. It called "Weight Loss for Busy Physicians" but has practically nothing to do with physicians and is actually applicable to a lot more than weight loss. She talks about stress and coping and basically CBT (changing your thinking so that you can change your emotions, your outcomes, and your results).

One thing she said that I'm still trying to wrap my head around is this: "Make your food boring, and your life exciting".  My first thoughts: "Wait, what? But food is often the ONLY excitement, and reliable source of enjoyment, in my day!" Which, when said out loud, definitely sounds a bit sad and like a person who needs to make some changes in their life. Even when I'm eating exceedingly healthy foods, I still look forward to eating way too much.

To illustrate, I have been considering our weekend activities. Sunday we are going "hiking" (walking on trails in a woodsy park) which may or may not involve whining for snacks and hitting each other with large sticks, and hopefully will not result in us bringing home more ticks. I also told the boys I'd watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with them, and we would get pizza. Its supposed to be nice out, so probably some more park time, and the boys are super into playing Phase 10 (B) and Uno (L) so certainly we will be busting those cards out. Plus the usual chores. Of all of those things, I have to say, the only one I can say for 100% will be enjoyable is...the pizza.  I mean, I can't control weather and wildlife and moods and behaviors of children. And I don't want to stake my expectations too high on any of those things, because disappointment is sure to follow. Food is just such a constant.

If you've figured this whole thing out, help is welcome.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Sound of Silence

The kids have been away since Saturday. Its been...nice. Really nice. We got back at dinnertime Saturday evening and went to have some sushi. Sunday I worked out, cleaned and cooked all day to get ready for a dinner party of friends. Which was quite fun & low key.

We've been at work every day this week, but getting extra workouts. We even ran TOGETHER this morning, which was great, because I wasn't really feeling it and needed the push. We've gone on walks after dinner. The weather has been gorgeous, just perfect so far, so lots of walking and talking.

I've been reading and listening to podcasts a lot. So much less cleaning to do. We actually don't need to clean the kitchen after eating leftovers if the kids aren't here to spill & smear.

Do I miss them? Kind of...maybe? I know I will see them again in 3 days and life will go back to its routine chaos and noise level so for now I'm just enjoying the silence.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Twelve Years (and 5 days)

guys, I've been trying to write this post since MONDAY. (hence the 5 days)

Lets just do some quick bullet points so I can get over it and move on to the next topic:

1) Sunday was our 12th anniversary. What a difference 4 years makes. We were in a VERY different place back then, with a 1 and 3 year old and my untreated anxiety and chronic sleep deprivation.
2) We celebrated by going to a (very big, stadium-type) concert. It was hot and steamy and a late LATE night for a worknight, but work it. Nostalgia galore.
3) The night before we had a fantastic meal, and fab conversation on our (blog-friend + spouses) triple-dinner-date. So fun, like meeting old-new friends.
4) It was also a late night, and I ended up waking up at 9:30 on Sunday and had to rush to get Father's Day Brunch/Late lunch on the table. I was pretty proud of my cooking, though, I made this and this from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.
5) B finished 1st grade. It was anti-climactic because we went to his karate studio/aftercare for camp on Wednesday. Thursday I took him to some appointments, and then today we went to see...
6) L graduate from pre-K. cuteness overload + pizza and cake. Now I'm back at work while G hangs with the kids.Thankfully I got the kids to help me pack yesterday for...
7) Their 9-day-parent-free cousin/grandparent adventure. As pay back for watching her kids over here for spring break, we are dropping the boys off tomorrow (and turning around and driving the 3 hours right back home) to enjoy a nice kid-free week. We've planned minimally, and really just want to relax and maybe work on some home-repair & carpentry projects (G) and do some more adventurous cooking (me).
8) We are making our way slowly through House of Cards. I'm not loving this season. I really want to watch The Handmaids Tale, but we don't have Hulu. I'm reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (thanks for the rec, SHU)---I chose it for our book club in July. I'm also finishing up the Prisoner of Azkaban (I wanted to ensure it was appropriate before I read it to the boys, it is so far). And I've got a couple other books going (phone/Kindle/real...I always have at least 3). I'm giving Josh and Hrishi a break and making my way through the Happier podcast archives.

Have a great weekend all, I'll have loads of time (theoretically) to write next week!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Spring Fever

(or I think I need a vacation)

Its been really hard for me to focus at work lately. I'm writing this now as I obsessively check my phone for texts from G, who is at urgent care with L, to see if his arm is broken  after a fall off the monkey bars last night. So today's version of scatter-brain has a good reason. (UPDATE: its not broken, I still don't want to work)

But for the past few weeks its been a daily struggle. Every morning its that "ugh, I have to go to work now" feeling. Which isn't unusual, mornings are kind of like that. Typically, though, I arrive and dive right in, immersed and productive, until I'm dragged back ashore by my "leave to pick up B" phone alert. These days its like pulling teeth---forcing myself to get through tasks, frequently finding myself daydreaming, or doing completely non-work-related things like planning vacations, shopping, looking up recipes. I'm doing what I absolutely need to do, but I'm hating every minute of it.

I'm not falling into that amazing phase of "flow", where my brain  finds its rhythm and happily runs along, writing/thinking/researching/analyzing and the time just slips away. This is what I love about academia, the reason I put up with all the associated stress. Without it, I question my whole career.

It has been beautiful outside, particularly on the weekdays. I want to enjoy it. I have good books to read, I want to get back to them. I've been wanting to go shopping, to actual stores. I haven't actually had more than one day off from work since the holidays. We usually take a week off in May or June, and I typically go to a spring conference, that I'm skipping this year. So I probably DO need a vacation, or at least a stay-cation, though I don't have spare vacation days and I really really need to get some papers written before our trip in August.

I'm going to try taking my laptop to a coffee shop on campus later today. Or put my head phones on and listen to background noise or music for a change. I can't keep doing the same thing and excepting different results. I don't want to work, but I want to want to work.