Thursday, December 12, 2019


I saw a post recently that the inane "Are you ready for the holidays?" is a question asked exclusively to women, assuming they bear the brunt of orchestrating a magic-filled and memorable holiday season for their (nuclear and extended!) family. Yes lets pile on more expectations! There isn't enough to be stressed out about with work and parenting and trying to stay sane and healthy!

Yes, I guess I am "ready" for the holidays. We did a little decorating, I got some presents for the kids online that have been delivered either here or to MIL's house, and we booked our travel (several months ago, actually). When we show up at MIL's house we can put up her little (fake, pre-lit) tree and wrap presents.

This weekend is B's birthday party---just a few friends, like he wanted. We made this super-simple---rented 2 lanes at bowling alley for 2 hours and bringing (per his request): Doritos (3 kinds!), donuts, pizza, and Sprite. I need to double check that we have plates/napkins/cups left-over from L's party---if not, we will get them at the same time we get the Dorito's and Sprite on Saturday AM. We will pick up 2 dozen fresh donuts, and order pizza. He didn't want party favors (they are babyish) or decorations (same).

His actual birthday is 2 weeks away---he asked for one gift (Harry Potter Yule Ball Lego set) that we ordered, and for pizza and chocolate cake (we will bake the cake and order the pizza). He also wanted to go see the new Star Wars movie on his birthday so we can make that happen.

The holidays are so chock-full of stress for me, because of (ugh) family stuff, and so much togetherness, and no time or space for myself---just surviving without having a freaking meltdown is really all I want this and every year.  Happy %*#$&* holidays. I can't wait until January 2nd.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

On the plus side

There is absolutely no way we can financially make it work. I've accepted that. I am still very happy I came out to see how different it can be in a less toxic but still highly regarded academic environment, and to get the incredible ego boost of knowing I had something valuable to offer. I gave a talk, which will go on my CV, and I also met some potential collaborators.

Basically, the answer I got (repeatedly) when I wondered how people made it work on our poorly-paid salaries was "marry rich". Too late for that and even if I wanted to find a sugar daddy I am well past my prime and doubt I'd be in demand (lol).

While work stress is problematic, living beyond our means is an even worse soul-sucking proposition. The day after the interview, after falling asleep perusing real estate, I woke up at 3 AM (as one does traveling 3 hours west) in an intense panic about how we would pay double our mortgage amount (and that's for renting a small apartment in a not-great area with a long commute) and could only breathe again when I remembered that I still have a job here and have no requirement to move anywhere.

G agrees, he likes our financial stability and the opportunity to work not-so-hard at a job he likes well enough for not that much money---so that he can spend his energy on hobbies and other interests as well as lots of time with the boys.

I'm looking out for other opportunities in other (less insane COL) areas, and will absolutely go interview if anything catches my interest. And I'm reveling in our ability to enjoy our lives, with lots of lots of extras, and still save and plan for the future.

Friday, December 6, 2019


I just completed a job interview. At a very different place, in a very very very (very) high COL area. I absolutely loved this job. I would/will take it (its not officially offered to me but I think my chances are good) if we can find a way to remotely afford to live here. I've been furiously looking at real estate websites for homes for sale or for rent in the school districts I was told were good (i.e. people with similar aged kids felt comfortable with their kids in public school for elementary/middle) and...yeah.

Given the salary (I don't have exact numbers but our specialty is not highly paid and the even if I negotiate it up a bit its still not...a lot), and the fact that G would not have a job necessarily when we move here, its just not feasible.

And I'm so sad, because everything about this job is absolutely what I want. Its academic but SO SO SO SO much less intense. I could have a good mix of clinical time with a a reasonable amount of space for teaching/research (and the opportunity to grow that should I wish) AND a lot of people working in similar areas to easily collaborate with (because doing it all on your own when you are also seeing a LOT of patients is hard/impossible). When I asked about the metrics for promotion I was basically told that there aren't hard and fast metrics and there is NO WAY I wouldn't have been promoted years ago. Whereas our institution can easily pull up the 50 publications (x% in high end journals), 5 talks/year, 100 teaching hours, blah blah blah and I am barely crossing the line to even be considered for promotion.

Anyways. My head was turned. I had the best sushi of MY LIFE, the weather cannot possible be beat (at least at this time of year), and the people and mentality were so much more my speed (passionate and enthusiastic let...laid back and fun, and focused on "balance") and going back to being on call next week and freezing my ass off is going to be rough.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Schedule

I'm taking the advice of a commenter and staying a bit later today (the sitter doesn't have a hard cutoff and I'm sure she'll be glad of the $) just to...chill. I had a full day of patients, and was running around and talking and listening all day and I just need still.

I did a 5 minute meditation, wrote in my planner, did the crossword, and am writing here. I usually rush home the minute I'm done so I can walk the dog and start dinner and get to whatever chores I need to do but....they can wait 15-20 minutes.

I don't have clinic every single day---technically I have all Tuesdays and all but one Thursday a month for research/admin time BUT not when I'm on call (which has been one week/month and will be until April). AND literally every non-clinical Thursday since October and through December has been filled with...something. Jury duty, out of town meeting, talk, thanksgiving, etc... So its just Tuesdays that I can be in my office all day. EXCEPT, I've scheduled therapy on Tuesdays. And research subjects. And meetings. And sometimes I have to pick up the kids at 3. And and and and and suddenly I realize I haven't actually sat at my desk in my office for 2 weeks at a time!

So I've been working more on weekends, and I gotta say that a few hours on Sunday morning does WONDERS for feeling more on top of things and starting the week off right. Yesterday I knocked several work AND home tasks off the to-do list and it felt AMAZING.

I also need to work on carving out time during the week for focused work and silence.  I can't really change my work schedule much until the next academic year---but I need to be ruthless about keeping my Tuesdays and Thursdays as free as I can (though if I have things I need to do, I can ONLY do them when not in clinic so...its a conundrum). I am considering adding on a couple hours on Monday so I can have Friday afternoons free. When/if we finally find a long-term sitter, I can ask about one late day/week as well---I could go in late that day and stay late, so I have the morning to myself PLUS time to work.

And I need to get better about asking for and taking the opportunity for some quiet time on weekends as well. Even when we are super full of fun stuff, I could wake up early, or take an hour for a walk, just to have that break from the noise.

Lots of solutions to think about, and hopefully some time to actually think about them!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Time to Think

Lately, life has felt like a never ending treadmill session---just going and going and going without a moment to pause, think, recalibrate. Part of this is the change on my work situation---full day clinic sessions leave zero time for planning and introspection---just see the next patient and the next and the next, trying to finish documentation, make phone calls, and put out other fires in between. If there is an unexpected break (because of patients not showing up, usually) I am still in a busy touchdown room with up to 10 other people and lots of conversations going on around me.

Then its straight home for a few hours of non-stop chatter from the kids (seriously they will. not. ever. stop talking and asking me questions and bickering and arguing) until 9 pm (or later) when they fall asleep stop getting out of bed and I zone out however I can* before going to bed myself. Weekends are similar---whether we are at home or away, there is constant interactions with G, the kids, their friends, our friends, family, etc... and often trying to fit in work these days, too.

I'm an introvert. I need some time to myself to recharge. And I've been SO reactive and quick to anger at the kids and...everyone really. I've found myself being much more negative about work and home life overall and I feel like EVERYTHING, even the supposedly fun things, are just a slog to get through before I can finally be alone and go to bed. Its not a great way to get through life, and I want to be more intentional and mindful about the things I do every day. Because the things I do everyday IS my life, and if it is truly all a dreaded slog then it needs to change!

I escaped to the basement today to work on a talk I am giving later this week (these talks sneak up on me, and I just don't have the space in my clinic-heavy workdays to do this kind of work (Even though its an integral part of my job description---more on that another day, or not). I'm taking a few extra minutes to make a to-do list for the week, plan out workouts and errands, and write here.

I realize that I need to build in a morning routine that involves thinking & planning, instead of trying to simply get another chapter read in my current book, or worse---scrolling social media and news---while I drink my coffee before heading to the basement for my quick workout/quick shower/race to work. Maybe also 10-15 minutes after a clinic day to retreat to my office to journal, and simply decompress. I have my 2020 planner and haven't even started it!

On the docket today: work on talk (amalgamation of two different talks I've given previously, with updated lit review and data), finalize invite/guest list for B's birthday party, re-write and post baby sitter ad on all possible sites (yes, this is still an ongoing saga), and make dinner casserole. G is taking the boys to a birthday party at the science museum and...I don't know or care what else they do I just can't be involved for a few hours.

December goal: phone-free morning routine, meditate 5 minutes/day (maybe will help with reactivity? I think it did when I was doing it regularly in the past but its been...months), journal after work or at night

*this is where the unhealthy habits often kick in---the wine, the chips, the scrolling. On the best days, I simply put myself to bed extra early so there is no time for that. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

19 for 2019 update

I was curious, so I looked...overall doing pretty well and looking forward to 20 for 20!

1. Compost. We've been doing this all year. Its cut down on our trash for sure. 

2. Get glasses Done. Next up: "remember to wear glasses" 

3. Use Instant Pot I use it pretty regularly. Not weekly, but definitely once/month. 

4. Laser bikini/legs Need to schedule my next appointment actually. 

5. Find a therapist Been going for a few months now and its very helpful overall

6. Reach xxx weight (i.e. jeans fit comfortably) Hahahah. work in progress. 

7. Read War and Peace. NO, I have no idea why I wanted to do this and not planning on it...

8. Drive our car once/month. Now that I drive for work twice/month I'll consider this goal met. 

9. Renew passports & get TSA precheck No! Have to get on this!!!

10. Try going without housecleaner X 6 months 11 months later I'm looking for a new one

11. One-on-one dates with kids once/season Did not do this at ALL this year. 

12. Date nights out twice/month Most months.

13. Go to play on Broadway with friends We saw "To Kill a Mockingbird" in May. It was great.

14. Go to the beach 2 day trips in September

15. Plan a holiday/winter trip somewhere warm We decided against this one to save up for next summer.

16. Camping with the dog Once in July and going again this month.

17. Summer road trip somewhere cool Our camping trip counted for this

18. Host brunch 3 times with different groups of friends. We try to do this regularly. Its fun and low-key

19. Submit 2 big grants Decided against this to focus on papers. Next year.

13 completed, 2 I am trying do to before the end of the year (lose weight/TSA pre-check) and 4 I abandoned (War & Peace, kid dates, grants, and winter trip). I'm actually pretty happy with the progress!

Monday, November 11, 2019


The happiness was short lived. Wednesday the NEW babysitter texted that her "other job" fell through and she can't commit to working part time for us without something else in the mix so she's looking for full time work. She did agree to cover the next 2 weeks and I am very very very grateful even though UGH.

So now we are going back to the drawing board. I have someone great (a friend's morning sitter) who is available MWF but...I need T/Th covered. We could send them to the karate studio but OMG they hate it there. Another girl who I didn't get around to interviewing last round is coming this evening. She's a college student in her senior year so hopefully won't need to leave for full time work, but I worry about reliability with the younguns.

The talk on Thursday was...OK. I dunno. Maybe not the right group for the subject? It was at 2 pm and 3 people were noticeably a group of about 15. Others were interested & asking questions but the 3 sleepyheads were really demoralizing. I then had a very quick meeting with a faculty member in the group (one of the sleepers) who had to leave in 15 minutes to pick up his kid but even THEN it was hard to fill the time because we literally had NOTHING in common with our professional interests so I just kept asking him questions about his research. And I got what seemed like the last seat on the crowded train and came home to pouring rain and blah.

This weekend I was on call. It...went. It was really busy and there were some complex patients and sad stories. I was mentally/emotionally/physically drained when I got home and NOT in the mood to deal with the moods of the children/husband. And there were MOODS. Apparently the kids misbehaved Sunday on errands and G yelled at them and took away treats/screen time and nobody was talking to each other when I got home. Sigh.

I did manage to get up early to work out both days which was honestly the best part of each day. And going to bed early. So at least there was that.

I'm still on consults all week but there are some breaks in the day (like...right now). And I'm NOT on call tonight (though back on T-Th) so I'm definitely planning on a glass of wine or two tonight. More later on: my 19 for 19 list and goals for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Happy Day

I'm writing this from a neighborhood cafe, where I came to get some work done while the sitter is hanging out with the boys. They had the day off school and I was originally planning to take the day completely off but panicked when I got behind last week and scheduled him to come for 6 hours.

But I spent 6 hours Saturday working on my talk was pretty much done. I polished it up a bit (I need to practice it tonight or tomorrow), and did a few more nagging things and...its 3 pm and I'm taking a little break and will start outlining my next paper since I've got another couple hours of paid childcare.

Maybe its the time change? But yesterday and today I felt great, lots of energy and motivation to get &*( done. This morning I did my work out (BB extreme, ABC---abs/butt/core, I love this one), took the kids with me to the store for a couple things we needed (and picked up litter on the way home), and made a nice Africa peanut stew for our dinner (I made it vegan but also cooked up chicken & added it to half of the stew so that kids will---hopefully-- eat it). I played 3 games of chess with B (he won 2/3) and had a snack and then it was time for work. I could get used to a day like this :)

I really am trying to enjoy it while I can because call starts Friday night (after a FULL day of clinic, no less) and its going to be a long weekend/week before I can relax again.

Friday, November 1, 2019


Well, I didn't get much work done this week but I hired a babysitter. We met her yesterday, and while I was going to meet 2 more people this weekend, one already canceled and I got nervous, and she seemed great so I snapped her up before someone else did!

I am feeling incredibly relieved right now, and looking forward to finishing up here and going home for pizza/movie/wine night.

I will have to work this weekend, since I'm giving a talk next week that I have not even started preparing. But we have a family bike ride with my cousin, and a date night planned Saturday as well.
Also the incessant drizzle finally moved on, and its crisp and cool and sunny, which always cheers me up (it was nearly 80 degrees yesterday, the kids were broiling in their halloween costumes!)

I did NOT go trick or treating, so I owe one to G for going out for HOURS with the boys. I sat on the stoop to hand out candy for a little while but got bored since not too many people came by, so I just put a big bin of it outside (people don't really knock in our neighborhood, people just hang out outside and its usually really fun, but it was sparse this year).

G and I need a new TV show to watch together that is on Hulu or Amazon (we temporarily got rid of Netflix and HBO), any recs? I love when we have a show we look forward to watching a few times a week and we haven't done that since we watched Chernobyl this summer.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Uncertainty/Change and needing support

So, for those who've been keeping up, we decided to hire an after school sitter this year, and its been working out fantastic! He brings them home, supervises homework, takes them to activities, and is really good at keeping them active with park trips, bike rides, and indoor activities on the rainy days. Many of our friends have met him and say he's awesome and my kids straight up love him.

Literally after I wrote yesterday's post, I got an email from him giving me 2 weeks notice. He had been working for us in addition to another park time job. That job was ending and he landed a full time gig. Which makes total sense! He can't live off our 15 hours/week. But damn, now I have to find someone new.

And thus, my panic spiral began, as I called after care places near by to hear they have a waitlist, and placed an ad that no one was responding to hour after hour and I looked at my schedule trying to figure out how I would cover the FOUR half days this month even if they could stay at the school's after care on the other days.

Literally my whole day began to revolve around alternatively taking action to deal with this logistical issue and fretting about "what if" it didn't work out. And all I got from G was a text back "oh no, that sucks". And later that evening when I mentioned how stressed I was we made a generic remark like "Uncertainty is just part of life, its just a matter of dealing with it productively".

Turns out (shocking!) I really needed someone to commiserate with me, and tell me it was OK, and maybe offer to help? But I didn't realize it at the time and I got snippy and had a headache and went to bed early.  When I thought about it this morning, I realized that maybe I did the same thing a couple weeks ago while G worked on a home repair issue that was stressful and $$$ and involved a lot of time and coordinating on his part. I got to keep working and say "oh no, that sucks" while he spent hours calling plumbers, and the insurance, and then going home when they came to see the issue. Maybe he needed something more from me? Its great to have that division of labor so no one person is overwhelmed, but in a marriage, we probably do owe each other a little more than "sucks to be you, good luck with that", right?

My therapist says that was very astute of me, and I need to talk to him about it, so that we can work on being more supportive of each other while we deal with stress & uncertainty. On the one hand, sure, healthy relationships do require communication. On the other hand, ugh. That is NOT our strong suit as a couple (you may ask us what IS our strong suit and I...have no answer for you).

Anyways, just venting I guess. And I've got 4 phone interviews lined up in the next 2 days with promising candidates who did eventually respond to my ad. My new goal is to find someone good---but also just a bit cheaper so we can hire a housecleaner again because I'm over it.

Monday, October 28, 2019


Pretty good weekend, though I was extremely tired all day Saturday because G and I were out late Friday and had to wake up extra early to volunteer at our school fundraiser 5K.

Come From Away was AWESOME. I loved it, highly recommend. G also loved it, and he's not really the musical theater type. The show was much shorter than I had planned (only one act, no intermission) so instead of going home and getting to sleep, we went to a nearby bar for a couple of drinks and hence, the late night.

All 3 boys ran the 5K, I was very proud of L, who had signed up for the kids run (one loop, about 1.5 miles) but ran the longer distance. And I helped keep cars off the course and cheered on everyone. I love this annual event, people run in costumes which is great, and its just a fun neighborhood feel-good vibe.

It was a beautiful day, so we took advantage and took the dog to a nearby state park for a hike, and then lunch (and some delicious pumpkin beer) at a brewery. After that I was SPENT and laid in bed for a while and then laid on the couch while we watched a movie. I can't believe one night short of sleep knocked me out that much, but there you have it.

I slept for many hours and Sunday felt much better. It was a rainy stay-at-home day and we organized physically and logistically, cooked & cleaned, and painted pumpkins! Halloween is almost certainly going to be rainy this year, which is a real bummer. I may stay home and hand out candy, I don't really feel like dressing up and walking around with a rain poncho and umbrella. The boys chose Marvel Avengers as their theme, L will be Captain America and B will be Thor. G got an eye patch for Nick Fury. They want me to go as Black Widow but I'm not super into the idea of wearing skin tight clothing right now. There is nothing in the world that would keep the kids from their trick-or-treating, so I'm hoping G will go with them so I can chill.

This week is less clinic-heavy, so I've got a LOT of writing and analyzing to do. If only I was feeling focused. Monday mornings are hard.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Better Than The Alternative?

Turns out I have osteoarthritis in my thumb. I though I had just "hurt something" but eventually got an Xray since its been going on for months and there it is. Osteophytes. So its only going to get worse over time and I have to go back to texting with my index finger like an old lady.

Which I apparently am because I think I'm in (peri?)menopause! I stopped my hormonal BC this July and have not had a real period since. My other thought is that my rather mild (discovered during IF workup) PCOS has worsened with my recent weight gain. So I'm going to start with trying to losing said weight, and see if my period returns. By then it'll time for my annual exam and I can ask for labs.

Which leads me back to therapy, and how I deal with my emotions with food & alcohol and that I need to get more comfortable with discomfort so that I can break those patterns and move on. I'm frustrated that I haven't figured this out by now, but turns out I wasn't taught a damn thing about dealing with emotions as a child, so here I am. The goal is to put some space between my feelings and my immediate need to make them go away. So that I can figure out what it is I really need. Which probably isn't more chips or wine.

I did a BeachBody workout this morning after more than a week off and it was a struggle! I also did push ups for the first time in a couple months (I was trying to keep pressure off my achy shoulder) and I could barely do 10 on my toes. Welp. It sucks that my hard-earned strength is so easily lost but I'm going to commit to doing this exact workout (21 day fix, upper fix) once/week so I can build back up.

On a positive note, we (the whole fam) went and saw Hamilton this weekend and it was amazing! G & I saw it in NY last year but we decided to take the kids, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they behaved & how much they enjoyed it (after last year's Lion King fiasco). B was rapt the entire time, and is begging to go back one day. L got really squirmy and said it was "great...but too long" and I had a lot of stress trying to keep him from accidentally kicking the seat of the guy in front of us who kept turning around & admonishing him during the first act. Maybe because of that, but I enjoyed the second half much more this time. So many tears.

The first show of our Broadway subscription is this week, too, and I'm really excited to see Come From Away with G. Though I'm taking the train back into town from a meeting and will barely be able to drop my stuff off and grab a slice of pizza before we have to be at the theater. I love theater.

Last but not least---I got myself out of a reading rut with 2 enjoyable books this week. I read "The Other Americans" by Leila Lamini. It was sad, and quiet, had a bit of drama/tension, and touched on a lot of tough topics in a very gentle not-in-your-face way. It was a short read, and the character development wasn't as deep, unfortunately. I'm still not sure if I like any of the characters, but maybe that's the point? I'd like to read more by her.

The second was pure fluff teenage romance---"What If its Us" by Becky Albertalli (of "Simon vs...") and Adam Silvera (who is new to me). "Simon" is one of my favorite books ever, and this had a similar vibe. Like Dawson's Creek in written form, the characters are so precocious and self-aware for their age! But the romance was beautiful, I'm a sucker for "first love" stories. It reminded me a lot of "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell. I stayed up way too late Sunday night with this one, because it just made me happy to keep reading.

Now I have no e-books left for a bit, so I'll actually have to pick up a real book & turn my own pages like a sucker. The next e-book up on my Overdrive holds list is still 2 weeks away. (#librarypeopleproblems)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Feeling Lighter

Finally, the blues are gone! Was it a weekend away from home? Hormones? The position of the planets in relation to the sun? Who knows and who cares, I'll take it. I'm still sick though, but decongestants and NSAIDs work wonders.

For some reason, I can no longer reply to comments on my own blog. I've tried on 2 different browsers and on my phone and the comments just disappear instead of posting. Anyone else have this issue with Blogger and if so, any solutions?

So I am reading your comments and thinking of replies, and then frustratingly cannot post them.

But to clarify about the whole "feeling your feelings" thing, I obviously cannot do this all day every day because there is *&*( to do. Ideally, I am supposed to carve out a few minutes in the day to "check in" and see how I'm feeling and acknowledge and accept whatever is there. I actually do appreciate taking a moment every morning and evening (as I walk to/from work) to see how I feel, and what I need. Time alone? Sleep? Socializing? It helps me be more intentional with any flexible parts of my day and how I use my energy.

Anyways, I'm growing to really appreciate my therapist, though I was very skeptical of the somewhat woo-woo nature of her approach at first. Like I told her at our first visit, though, nothing else has really stuck so I'm going to be open-minded and see what happens.

I had a regrettable parenting moment last weekend that we talked through today and I ended up seeing an entirely new side to B's behavior, and why he gets under my skin so easily. While its certainly easier said than done, the idea of "coming into the interaction from a place of curiosity" (her words, not mine) does seem like a better approach then trying to endure until I snap and then feel like *&^t later.

How I feel right now? Hungry. What I need. Lunch.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Power Through

Still have the blahs. Maybe its seasonal, as OMDG suggested, though doesn't seem to be easing up yet. But now I'm sick so YAY! I have a long, full day of patients (with a short mid-daybreak, that I am using to eat lunch and type this) and we are heading straight out the minute I get home for a camping trip with friends.

I briefly considering skipping out on the trip, but I already missed the last one, and this is likely our last camping weekend before next spring. And it'll probably be more relaxing than being at home feeling compelled to work and clean and shop and cook. Also the weather will be perfect and our friends are great fun.

When I talked to my therapist this week about my mood, she reiterated that the goal is to acknowledge and accept any negative feelings, instead of trying to push them down, numb, or distract, which are all my go-to methods of dealing with life. It sounds so easy in principle, but in reality...its really hard! I don't WANT to feel bad feelings. And its so easy to distract/numb with my phone, or food, or wine.

The past couple of days I've been meditating, and leaving some time for thinking/reflection as I walk to and from work. I've been writing "3 good things" in journal every day. But then last night I was exhausted, and I reached for a couple glasses of wine to relax and get through the rest of the evening.

Ah well, every day is a new start. I'm a work in progress.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Maybe its hormonal or maybe 10 mg of Paxil is just not enough but I'm feeling super "down in the dumps" as L says, this week. Just---sad. On the verge of tears. Nothing is wrong, nothing happened, I can't pinpoint ANYTHING to explain it.

I had a fabulous weekend on my own (the play was great and the dinner was awesome). I got work done,  cooked and prepped for the week but also got to go to the play/dinner, ordered take out, slept in, and watched loads of TV.  My parents were here M-W which was nice, and absorbed some of the childcare load.

It sucks because I generally love this time of year. L's birthday is Saturday and we have a great party planned, that I still need to do a LOT to prep for, and I'm just not feeling the mojo. The thought of all that small talk and cheerfulness seems exhausting to me right now, even though I generally love all the parents and was looking forward to seeing everyone together.

Even one of my long-term patients and the MA in our clinic noticed that I seemed tired/not my usual self this week, and L made the "down in the dumps" comment, so I have to try harder to keep a smile plastered on my face I guess. Oh well, off to fake it til I make it some more!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Action v Anxiety

Not sure where I first heard this "the antidote to anxiety is action" but it immediately rung true for me, and yet I continue to forget/ignore the lesson.

I've had a roiling pit of free flowing anxiety and fear over some work-related stuff I need to do for the past couple of weeks. So of course, I did the reasonable thing and completely ignored it, busying myself with all manner of other work to avoid having to deal with it ("work is the most dangerous form of procrastination", which I'm sure I heard from Gretchen Rubin and was skeptical about, because I have LOTS of other procrastination tools). And the pit grew. I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about it. Every day it was on my list and every day I decided other things were more pressing.

Yesterday morning I sat down, opened up the files, and just started typing. I worked for hours (even more hours after I wrote yesterday's post). And I FINISHED.

I got comments back today, and did more proofreading and editing, but I feel pretty good about it.

All done, 2 weeks ahead of deadline.  A big HUGE load off.

NOW I'll watch some more TV and read a book.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

On My Own

So I have a weekend to myself! G and the boys went camping, since the kids had Friday and Monday off school and he was able to take time off. My Friday and Monday clinics are packed and I have a lot of work to do (call week followed by a very clinic heavy week!) so I stayed behind. I miss them and the fun they are having, but I was also very much looking forward to a chance to catch up.

So far its been boring and glorious. Yesterday I came home and just...chilled. I ordered Thai food, poured some wine, finally watched the last episode of Handmaid's Tale (OMG! If you are not watching this, you 100% need to be!) and binged a new show, Ramy, on Hulu (very funny/cringy and unique, which is my jam, I wholly recommend). I went to bed at 10 and slept amazingly well for 10 (!!) hours.

I woke up, had coffee, took the dog on a walk, and sat down to work. I haven't budged from this chair in the living room for 5 hours but I completed and sent off several documents well ahead of deadline! Tomorrow I will probably go into my office to do stuff it is easier to do on the intranet and with a large monitor, like an IRB continuing review, updating my CV in the university faculty database, and closing out clinic charts. I can do all this from home but its clunkier on my tiny Mac Book Air and I don't mind the change of location. I'm also going to go to a yoga class tomorrow morning, which I generally avoid because its at a bad time for family stuff. I skipped working out today because I was so very sore from back to back beach body extreme workouts this week and needed a rest day.

It is now only 3 pm. Brain is tired so no more work but I'll do some light housework (laundry and changing sheets) and then watch more TV (I need to finish Season 2 of Fleabag). I am going to watch a play, all by myself, tonight (I have season tickets with friends, but I couldn't go with everyone else so changed my ticket to tonight because why not?) Would it be weird to take myself out to dinner beforehand?

Monday, September 16, 2019

I need a weekend from my weekend...

We've had some extremely fun, but also very full weekends lately. Lots of adventures---we did day trips to the beach the past two Sundays, family bike rides and hikes and picnics, get-togethers with friends, G and I went to a concert Friday night, etc... I purposefully made plans to take advantage of the weather and ample opportunities, but when you are out the whole time certain things fall to the wayside.

The house is a MESS, and I haven't been keeping up with the kids new whiteboard system, laundry is piling up, and the guest room remains a staging area for bags of stuff (well, it WAS in bags until the kids dumped it all out at some point) to donate/recycle/otherwise deal with.

I am a big fan of going out and doing things, especially things that actually bring me joy*. And I know that there is nothing relaxing or refreshing about a weekend doing chores and refereeing siblings squabbles in the house. But I WOULD like to be able to sleep in, and go do a workout at the gym (instead of setting my alarm to a crazy hour to fit in an abbreviated at-home workout), and sit down for an hour or two to deal with all the random minutiae that are falling through the cracks. And plan Halloween costumes, and L's birthday party. And maybe have some energy at the end of the evening to actually watch a show!

We are out again next weekend, so I gotta keep waiting though.

*The best part about older kids is that so much of what we all do together is really and truly fun for me, too. Except for 3-hour long games of Monopoly.  And certain Super-hero movies. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Whenever I tell my therapist I feel something or think something negative about myself or my life, she rephrases it as "a PART of you thinks/feels/believe that". And then points out the various other parts of me that made the choices and decisions for some reason. Even if that reason was "I felt like it at the time". The whole thing she is doing is getting me to see which emotions/impulses bring on which behaviors, so that instead of being triggered and reactive, I can step back and be intentional about my actions, decisions, and coping mechanisms.

For example, last night I was so mentally drained after a painful clinic and frustrating evening with the kids (I rushed home and dragged them to swim lessons only for the instructor to not show due to a miscommunication and they were grumpy and annoying the whole time there/waiting/back). Also my shoulder is hurting again and its a constant, tiring ache. When they finally got to bed at 9 pm I was spent, and probably should've gone to bed, but I had that (rare for me) feeling that I wanted to stay up and take some time for ME, probably because nothing in the entire day brought me joy or even satisfaction (and I didn't have a book to read!). But I was didn't have the motivation to actually DO anything, so I poured a glass of wine and grabbed a snack and set to scrolling and wasting time for a good 30-45 minutes. I may have refilled the wine along the way.

It was later then I wanted to go to bed, I slept poorly because of the wine, and was beating myself up this morning for setting back my health goals. The typical cycle of being depleted, seeking comfort/relief in "easy" ways and then feeling like crap about my choices. Why do I keep doing this?

Apparently I've never learned to "feel my feelings" nor have I learned how to deal with them except by distraction and numbing---scrolling, eating, drinking, shopping (I've gotten WAY better about this, but the urge strikes sometimes)...even some seemingly positive behaviors like reading, exercise, and planning can be used as distractions if I'm trying to avoid unpleasant emotions. (and I definitely admit I've been staving off work stress by planning NEXT SUMMER).

Tonight I'm supposed to take 10 minutes after the kids go to bed to just sit by myself and think or journal about my feelings and what I actually need in the moment. I'm almost 100% sure what I really need would be to go to bed. I'm very tired, every part of me.

Friday, September 6, 2019

In the swing of things...

Kept procrastinating on the camping vacation post and lost the momentum to write it and well, you know how it goes.

Kids are back in school this week. The sitter has been coming and its going quite well, though we're all still getting to know each other. Its been an easy week, no homework or activities yet, so next week will really put things to the test.  Both kids are doing swimming (the same class) once/week. This is the "pre swim team" level to work on breathing and stroke techniques, since they both want to do swim team later in the year (its at the Y and very chill according to a friend whose kids are in it). L is doing soccer at the park nearby (this particular program only goes to age 7, so B can't do it). We are also trying to set up social skills again for B, but so far the only time she offered me was 7:30 PM. Um no. We are trying really really hard to get the boys into their room by 8 and lights off by 8:30.

So after school the past few days they've just been playing tag and riding bikes at the school park for hours on end (as if they hadn't spent the whole day there already, "but mom, we can't ride bikes at school", fair enough).  Its been challenging trying to get dinner done and them into bed on time, but I also know this nice weather and sunlight is fleeting and there will be plenty of evenings at home soon enough. Both kids have been OBSESSED with playing Monopoly lately so I suspect they make be breaking that out right now (its rainy). Better you than me, babysitter...

This has been a light week clinic-wise, yet I didn't make much progress on writing. I'm in a weird headspace related to work and on the brink of some big decisions, so its been hard to work on boring & trivial-seeming shit like incorporating a THIRD (fourth?) round of nitpicky co-author changes into a manuscript we've been sitting on for YEARS...I mean I honestly don't give a fuck care enough at this moment.

I'm very happy its Friday and looks like a lovely weekend ahead. We don't actually have any set plans, but I've got some  ideas of outdoor things we can do (day trip to beach, long family bike ride)...I'll have to chat with G tonight and figure it all out. At the very least we can spend hours and hours at the park and the boys will be happy. And Friday is always pizza & movie night which we all really need. No cooking/cleaning and easy entertainment. We have been doing really well planning and cooking meals the past couple of weeks (maybe I'll start posting a menu?) but its definitely hard work.

Damn I miss the "Ana method" of one big meal for the week, but the truth is that the boys eat enough that we literally can't ever cook enough to last more than 2 dinners without it being ridiculous, and they are also much more willing to try new things these days so we are enjoying more variety.  This week we had: chicken & spinach quesadillas, salmon burgers with arugula salad, hot dogs for kids/leftover salmon burgers for adults (kids choice, first day of school), Indian style roasted chicken thighs with rice and roasted cauliflower, & huevos rancheros with chorizo. We've been going through our meal delivery kit recipes for a couple meals a week and then improvising/or using our own recipes the others.  If they don't like the meal (or, as often happens, are still hungry afterwards) they get: fruit, PB toast or cheerios & milk. If they don't like the veggie (they never do), I always have steamed broccoli or peas for B and raw carrots or cucumber for L.

I already planned for next week (L asked for turkey burgers and both kids begged for Indian chicken)
Saturday--leftovers from the week (we have roast chicken, rice, huevos fixings and will have pizza)
Sunday--Indian chicken curry, Instant-pot daal (I made extra and froze it last time!), and eggplant curry with naan/rice
Monday---pasta with vegan Alfredo sauce and peas (from this month's Real Simple)
Tuesday--(back to school night so needs to be quick) leftover Indian food
Wednesday--Turkey burgers, salad
Thursday--omelets with bacon/veggies & toast

I've also been getting up to do beach body workout most days the past 2 weeks. I alternate amongst the 21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme workouts which gives me about 3 weeks of unique 30 minute combinations so I don't get bored. I'm also trying to get to 1 barre class a week & may try to go to beginner yoga on Sunday. I will say that the BB (especially the extreme, but even the regular if you really use good form and heavy weights) workouts are HARD. I'm sweating like crazy even in our cool basement and sore in new places the next day. I"m so glad I found something I can easily do at home, since a lot of my fave Y and barre classes have been cancelled for various reasons.

Have a great weekend! Back to my boring trivial shit!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Admitting defeat...and smashing the patriarchy?

Doing it all, its tough ya'll. For years we ran ourselves pretty ragged every evening picking up hangry and tired kids and bringing them home from various after care facilities (some better than others) only to get home to a dog needing walking, dinner to be made, and homework to be done (completely forgotten during "homework time" or purposely left for parental help). Every weeknight was a whirlwind and bedtime was getting later and later as we tried to do all of the above plus find some time for connection.

We muddled along like this for a few years until I had an epiphany last spring and tried out having an after school sitter a couple of days a week. You was a GAME CHANGER. The kids LOVED it. They would come home, have a snack---as much as they wanted until they weren't starving anymore!---get homework done, and then play with the sitter, go to the park, read, whatever. Then I could get home & walk the dog as she was gearing up to leave, and they were happily occupied while we got dinner together.

We had to struggle a bit with the cost difference and the lack of structure (the kids what they want after homework?) and reliability (our aftercare was open for unexpected half days and had camps on random off days) and having someone in my home, but in the end we decided that we would get an after school sitter for this school year. I did not realize how much time & mental energy it would take! I placed an ad, got replies, started writing back and setting up phone calls and asking for references and quickly became frustrated with flakey people who never called back, or applicants that had already taken a job, or only available 1-2 days of the week, were allergic to dogs (it was clearly in my ad that we had a dog!) or lived an hour away in another state and had their own kids, but swore it would be totally fine to drive here and park and never be late.

Finally, I found 2 people who sounded great on the phone, and had references who responded to my queries, called me back, and enthusiastically supported them.

First we met candidate 1: perfectly nice and sweet, loves dogs, had experience as an au pair, spoke fluent Spanish as well as flawless English, charged reasonable rates,  and lived in the city.

And then we met candidate 2:  funny and easy to talk to, loves dogs, had worked as a teacher for years (but became disillusioned with the school system is in transitioning careers) offered to do food prep, teach chess, and teach an instrument if we wanted, had a flexible schedule and could commit to covering half days, lived in the city (and had easy bus access to our house) and charged only slightly more.

While it seems like a no brainer, there was actually a lot of internal discomfort with our decision (mostly on my part) because candidate 2 was male. In the end I got over myself and offered him the job (pending security check) and everyone is very happy and all my mom friends and jealous.

I am honestly disappointed in myself for my knee jerk reaction---I discussed this with a colleague and she realized she had the same bias---"why is a man in his 30s looking for a babysitting job?" that is based on societal expectations and sensationalist news. As a mother trying to raise two boys to be feminists, I have always tried to be cognizant of the fact that feminism involves erasing the (patriarchy-approved!) distinctions of "men's work" and "women's work" and for women to have the freedom to run the world, the men may have to watch the kids. Play to your strengths, whether they are corporate ass-kicking or nurturing young lives!

My kids are actually really excited about having a "boy babysitter" and I'm glad they will get to see more examples of men in different kinds of jobs (obviously G has already instilled into them that dads raise kids, clean the house and cook dinner). And I will hopefully get to come home to a less chaotic evening.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Digital Minimalism, High Quality Leisure, and Real Life

So I just read Cal Newport's latest book, Digital Minimalism. I had recently finished Deep Work and loved it, so I was expecting to enjoy this one as well but I gotta say that while he had some good ideas about the role of social media in modern life, he completely lost me in the second half of the book in which he expounded on what you could (should?) be doing with all the free time you've gained back from not scrolling and posting and what-not, this "high quality leisure" concept.

While he did put one tiny line in their about mothers and kids, it really struck me that his key audience was the young and childless. While I completely agree that life can be better by opting out of the intrusion and competition and mindless time suck of most social media, I am not suddenly going to have hours and hours of free time to need help filling.

He was inspired by frugal living/early retirement bloggers (the most annoying ones, in my book) and urges us to "fix something every week" and waxes poetic about 3 glorious weekend hours spent repairing the bathroom fan. Cal advocates that this was a noble use of his time and we should all do something like this every weekend. Sure, its satisfying to fix something yourself, and to learn some new skills while doing so, but what Cal doesn't clarify is what his wife and 3 children were doing in those 3 hours. Or more importantly, when did SHE get to spend 3 hours fixing something in the house with no kids underfoot? Furthermore, the thought of fixing something as a leisure activity seems a bit masochistic to me. There may be a certain kind of person who enjoys that, but not all of us would. I wish he'd been more broad in his advice---the idea of "learning a skill" or "trying something new" sounds much more appealing to me. This could include a yoga position, a knitting stitch, a recipe, a language, a craft---possibilities are endless and don't need to involve studying YouTube videos of appliance innards.

Other recommendations for filling your time: joining groups (social activity too!), journaling, enjoying "slow media", walking, etc... These are all great! I do most of these things. I also read a lot, do puzzles, exercise, and occasionally enjoy an intentionally selected "high quality" TV show. My free time is full. Should 3 additional hours open up in the middle of a Saturday I will consider finding something to fix but more likely I will take a nap (or play a really long Monopoly game with my children, which is how I spent Sunday afternoon).

I was also turned off by the dismissal of digital communication as a tool to strengthen relationships. The argument (illustrated by the bizarre example of a rock-paper-scissors tournament) is that humans are built to discern social cues conveyed by tone, body language, and other subtle nuances that can only be transmitted in person or, at least partially, on the phone. So texting/emailing is a very weak social connection and may actually hurt your relationships since you can use this to avoid actually picking up the phone and navigating the tone and tenor of a true conversation.

OK, maybe this is true, but for an introvert like me, the thought of actually calling someone to talk after a full day of complex and emotionally charged face to face interaction sounds awful. I would never ever ever do it. I will, and regularly do, have long back and forth texts with my sister about our kids, work, lives, whatever. I've revealed a LOT more in those texts than I ever would in person, and I do think our frequent texting is making us closer. We certainly do try to get together when we can, but those visits are full of logistics, kids, and spouses and one-on-one conversation is sparse.

My dad texts us regularly, we have an ongoing family chat (that I have silenced notifications for, so I only look at it at the end of the day usually---I know they will call for emergencies) and we share practical things and random tidbits of our lives. I do call my parents, we talk about once a week, but those phone calls tend to be short and interrupted by my kids.  My mother-in-law doesn't text, she prefers phone calls. You know how often I call her? I can count on one hand. Sure it'd be NICE of I called her more, the absence of me or her having a personality least SOMETHING would be better than NOTHING.

All that said, I did have some useful take aways from the book. I appreciated and agree with his overall argument that the urge to scroll continuously is not due to laziness or personal failing but the purposeful machinations of tech companies to commodify our time and attention by making their product addictive (or "sticky" as they say). And I really liked the re-framing of avoiding any platform as the default (rather than the reality---that everyone is on it and if you're not, you're the odd one) unless you can find a compelling benefit that outweighs any potential cost to your time/productivity/mental health. Since I finished the book, I deleted IG and the news app from my phone and I decided to stop listening to podcasts while I walk so that I can use that time to think and reflect (I'll still listen in the car or while doing chores!) I've already been (mostly) off FB for a while now, I log on now and then to post things or buy nothing or double check event details (because I can't convince my neighborhood/school group/book club, etc... to move off FB). Its only been 2 days, I'll have to report back after a month or so to see if its helped.

Have any of your read Digital Minimalism, and what did you think? Any suggestions for how to stay up to date on the news (I tried and disliked The Skimm and the NPR UpFirst podcast)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

One more month...

Of summer left. We had an extra week or 2 this year and it feels absolutely luxurious!

I leave on Thursday to go pick up the kids, so we are trying to make the most of the kid free time with lots of dinners out and also simple and quiet dinners in. Instead of working out every day I've been sleeping in, which means I have the energy to stay up and hang out with G in the evenings, which is fun. We've played some board games, watched shows, went for walks.

Its really nice to have this time--for us and also for the kids to bond with cousins and grandparents--and we will definitely do it again next summer. I am also thinking that it would be fun to do a staycation week with the kids, so we can explore the summertime city. Its hard to cram everything into the weekend, especially when we have chores and other routines we need to get through.

Here I am, planning out Summer 2020 already! Its much more cheerful than looking at my fall schedule (Call weeks galore!) or figuring out the logistics of how we will handle half days and random no school days now that we are no longer using the always-open aftercare program. And there are the doctor and dental appointments I have to schedule, FUN!

I am excited to see the boys again, and I'm really working on my expectations for the next few weeks so that I can handle the angst that will surely come our way. They are going to a new camp for a couple of weeks and have been complaining before it even began, and they aren't getting picked up until 5:45-6 since they offer aftercare and its near G's work. We are also going back to no screen time on weekdays, "treats" only a couple of times a week, and bedtime at 8:30. I'll give them a while to settle back in before I throw in the new chores (that I have yet to figure out, but they definitely need to do more than they are doing currently, which is: folding and putting away their clothes every weekend, and alternating collecting trash or towels from all 3 bathrooms for trash/laundry day).

We do have a week of vacation left too! Our camping adventure, that I am also trying to temper expectations about, because it could literally rain the entire time. I'll post about it after the fact.

Alright, back to work/organizing calls with potential after school sitters. Its like a part time job managing these logistics!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Catching Up and Looking Ahead

Still here! Just really overstretched the past 6 weeks with travel, summer schedules, and a pretty intense work schedule. I've been trying hard to keep focus on the things that really matter and giving myself slack on everything else.

The kids are away again and I really miss them this go-round. We dropped them off with my parents last week and they are there, with their cousins, being loud and having a blast until later next week when I go pick them up.

I was planning to use this time to work and exercise and cook and clean and organize and overall be ridiculously healthy and productive. This is not happening. Two days in a row I overslept by 2 hours and skipped exercise. I've cleaned nothing. And we ordered pizza last night because I couldn't fathom cooking for the two of us. So yeah...I guess I needed to rest.

We did have some fun in July. We had a really fun camping trip with friends, and brought the dog along. We had friends over for grilled foods & sparklers on the 4th. Many weekend days were spent at the pool, and the kids did a lot of biking despite the heat wave. I was on a roll with BeachBody workouts in the basements, and read a lot of books too!

But I also submitted 3 papers, and have 2 more awaiting some co-author input. I have added several more clinics to my week, including a bi-monthly trek to the 'burbs to staff a satellite. So now I (sometimes) have a driving commute, which does allow for nice podcast/audiobook time but really just sucks. I need to make some major decisions about my career in the next few months, and I've been working through some weird and hard stuff with my therapist. I stopped my birth control pill that I was taking continuously to avoid migraines, just to see if I still need it, and hormones are going wacky. I'm also tapering the P@xil, yet again, but much slower this time, with therapy and other strategies to manage the anxiety. I was starting to feel numb and while its nice to not feel the bad stuff, I was also missing out on the good stuff. Throw in having to see extended family and all the feelings that entails, and its all just...a lot. And I'm physically, emotionally and mentally tired.

Nothing like the clean slate of a new month to energize me, though!

August Goals:

  • Work out at least 4 times/week (BeachBody supplemented with some barre/HIIT at the gym as time/schedules allow)
  • Find after-school sitter and finalize aftercare/sitter schedule
  • Plan a fall/winter girls trip (off season travel to the south is economical and enjoyable!)
  • Organize for and enjoy (hopefully?!) our long family camping adventure
  • "Quiet" time in the morning---no podcasts while walking to work, no social media scrolling (I read "Deep Work" and am starting on "Digital Minimalism" and am experimenting with some of Cal's suggestions to improve mental clarity and focus
  • One on one time with each kid at least once (I can't swing more time off work for a whole "mommy day" but I can do an evening activity/dinner date)
  • Submit the 2 papers that are mostly ready and start on 3rd

Honestly not sure if anyone is still reading, but if so, thanks for sticking around!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


When the kids are away, the mom will...organize and declutter all weekend! I got rid of SO MUCH stuff and now there are clean surfaces, empty spaces, and things grouped together in logical ways. It gives me so much joy to look around our living room alone, not to mention the bathrooms, guest rooms, kids room, and basement that I also tackled.

Of course the boys return in 3 days, and our nightly facetime sessions have revealed that MIL has pulled no punches when it comes to overbuying clothes and toys and books that we will all need a new home.

I gotta say there are mixed emotions about the big return. I miss the kids so much, I want to cuddle with L and have conversations with B, read books and play games and start working through our summer fun list. But...its also really nice to have some SPACE in my life.

It took about a week for it to really sink in---the first week I kept super busy, was out with friends or G most nights, and was frantically getting through my list of long overdue projects at work and at home. And then there was a moment Sunday evening when I realized that...I had done enough. I started working on a puzzle, I took a longer than necessary walk with the dog. I walked to the grocery store to get the ingredients for ONE completely unplanned dinner (I just went there and picked what I felt like preparing and eating THAT DAY). And as I walked, my mind wandered and I actually had a sudden flash of inspiration for a novel that I've spent the next few days writing in my head as I commute and cook. I'm never going to write it, but its been YEARS if not decades that I've had a creative impulse of any kind. It was FUN.

So yeah, I love being with and caring for my kids. They are at an amazing age, and I am thoroughly enjoying seeing who they are becoming. But its also nice to get to know myself again.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Step Ahead

Hello again friends! The last few weeks at work and at home were exceptionally busy so somethings (including writing/reading/commenting on blogs) had to give. Then we all spent some lovely days swimming, biking, eating delicious food, and watching movies in MIL-land.

But now I'm back and it is DAY NUMBER 1 of our first kid-free stint this summer and I have PLANS. The general theme of all my goals is to get ahead and build a cushion for when life...happens again. At work this means longer days and weekend hours to get several lingering papers out. At home, I'm doing a full-scale decluttering and organizing spree, figuring out childcare plans for the fall, and planning travel for the next academic/school year.

I also, of course, want to have some fun, so G and I have planned some dinner dates, friend outings, and a weekend hike. Add on the usual exercise, chores (though these are MUCH diminished by the absence of the kids! so much less to clean and no need to have hunger-avoidance plans for every minute of the day), and my ridiculous large TBR list (why is it either feast or famine for my Overdrive hold?!) and I know these 2 weeks will fly by. Which is good because I do miss my little monsters. I love this age with them, and am already looking forward to our later summer adventures!

More soon! Now back to work.

Friday, May 31, 2019

In the Flow

I've read and thought about the coveted "flow state" as it relates to thought-work, but my sessions with my new therapist have made me realize that its really the ideal for all aspects of life.

I was talking to her about the past weekend, and how it was glorious. Sure, some of it was just regular ol' good planning and the fact that it was my birthday and G unofficially gifted me a chore-free weekend. But I also just felt more present with my kids and fully immersed in the moment. I wasn't thinking about what was ahead or ruminating on what happened before...and it made each moment much more relaxed and refreshing.

I've been noticing this during my clinic sessions as well. Sometimes it just flows well and I feel like I'm giving each patient my full attention and meeting their needs and the day flies by, and sometimes I get hung up and derailed by little annoyances, delays, or a bad interaction and I'm counting down until the end of the day. If I can let it go (easier said then done!), or just table it until I have the bandwidth to think about it more clearly, I can be more effective AND actually enjoy the work.

Even in my morning workout class yesterday, I caught myself thinking about my to-do list and mindlessly doing the exercise and I forced myself to really pay attention and make each rep count.

I get that this is nothing groundbreaking and is just rehashing the trite concepts of "mindfulness" and "being present" that are part of the current zeitgeist, but something did click for me. As I plan my summer goals (today!) I am going to think about how to best incorporate this intention.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Berry Season

As Laura says, "the berry season is short". So you gotta jump in and enjoy it before its gone!

The kids had the day off Tuesday for primary elections, and I had the forethought to take the day off in advance so we could have some springtime fun. We crossed off "strawberry picking" from our list and are now savoring pounds & pounds of perfectly red, ripe, juicy, & sweet berries. We couldn't have asked for a better day for it either---sunny with a slight chill, and no crowds at all given the random weekday off.

I've been spending as much time as possible outdoors. The friends trip last weekend was even more fun than I'd hoped for---the play was amazing, the weather was suddenly warm and sunny, and we walked miles and miles and miles and ate and drank as much as it was humanly possible to ingest in 2 days.

We've been heading to the park before or after dinner every night, and while its a struggle to get the boys to ever leave, and bedtime has been pushed back more than I'd normally like,  seeing the entire neighborhood gathered together with kids of all ages playing pickup sports and massive games of tag until the sun goes down is so deeply satisfying.

My birthday weekend is coming up, and I've planned a few "anchor events", and also left some time for chilling out that we all seem to need.  We have a date night out, dinner with friends, family brunch, and some non-food-related outings as well! I've got my workouts on the calendar and I've also scheduled a much much needed haircut (its been over 2 years and suddenly looking terrible with split ends, breakage, and frizz). I never remember nor want to spend time and money for "trims", I let it grow and grow and then get it short when I am ready for a radical change. 

I may also need to make some kind of strawberry dessert with the leftovers...any recommendations?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Hooray! A sunny day after several days of rain (and cold! in May! yuck). I also slept pretty well last night (the other nights this week have been terrible) and have been much more productive today.
I'm writing this in an unexpected chunk of time waiting for a patient I fit in on my non-clinic day as a favor.

Anyways. The weekend was fine. Saturday was busy out of the house,  doing kid activities and Sunday was dreary and spent almost entirely at home. The boys had their last race of the 5-week running series which was actually fun, since we have a bunch of friends there, and G ran the parent mile (as did B, after already doing his 1/2 mile race, and he kept up too!) The did the awards and both boys placed! L was first place in his 1/4 mile and B was 3rd in the 1/2 mile. I love the running series so much.

I had some one-on-one time with B which I haven't had in a long long time and we both enjoyed going to lunch and the library before his eye appointment. On Sunday G cooked us a brunch which was yummy, and I had the forethought to book a sitter for Sunday night so we could go out for a fairly quick but nice dinner. We made it home just in time for GoT which...ugh. Lets just leave that for now.

VERY excited about this weekend. Actually taking Friday off and taking the train to bigcity to watch a show with friends. We are staying the night and will brunch and hang out Saturday and get home late enough that most people's kids will be asleep (not mine). And then another 3 day weekend next week which includes my birthday! Not sure how we will spend those 3 days, but I did book a sitter & make a reservation at a place we've been wanting to try for a while.

The other VERY exciting thing about this weekend is that it looks like its not going to rain. So we can go to the park, or just hang out in the backyard, and even doing errands is WAY BETTER without  rain boots & umbrellas. The kids have off next Tuesday as well for primary elections, and I took that day off and if the weather still looks OK we will plan an outdoor adventure to either the zoo or a farm (I don't quite think its berry season yet?)

I am also hoping to get a "me day" or at least half day sometime this month to get a pedicure, haircut (been 2 years, and though I like the long length, I've been noticing split ends), and do a little shopping. I try to do this every year around/on my birthday.

Alright! Patient here, more later!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Faves

Continuing on the positivity theme...some things I'm loving lately.

Two books I've read recently: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and Evicted by Matthew Desmond. The first is fiction and the concept just blew my mind, though the first story was a little raw and tough to get through. The second is non-fiction and really opened my eyes to the systemic injustice of housing inequality. It was depressing and infuriating how the system is set up to keep people from rising themselves up, by continuing to kick them lower down the ladder.

Game of Thrones Season 8. Yes, I'm basic. I'm continuing to revel in unabashed fandom, and for once being part of the cultural conversation. While I vehemently disagree with some of the story/character decisions for this season, I can still enjoy the hell out of watching & critiquing the episodes! We rewatched select episodes, and I listened to all the Binge Mode podcast to prepare, which makes it extra fun.

Madewell. I seriously want almost EVERYTHING on their website. I am loving my new super-high-rise button front jeans, and change into my cropped flare relaxed fit jeans (I sized up so they are SOOO comfy) practically every evening after work.  I got a birthday $20 off birthday coupon and want to go to the actual store to get a cute top.

Over-the-ear bluetooth headphones. My ear canals are weird, I can't wear regular earbuds because they hurt & fall out, so I've had cheap-o ones I plug in (and that fall apart every few months so that over the course of several years I've probably spent way too much on them....) so G finally convinced me to spring for these Jabra move ones. the sound is amazing, I love that I can put my phone down somewhere when I'm doing housework, and I suspect they will last much longer than the cheapies. Perfect for podcast listening!

Our new family iMac. With nice largish screen so working from home is not so tough on my eyes (the tiny MacBook Air had me constantly squinting and zooming in to see things!) The cordless keyboard and mouse have a charger, which I don't have in my office, so I need to make sure I always have a stash of AAA batteries.

Happy weekend (and Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate*).

*I kinda hate those obligation-ridden holidays (getting stuff for my mom and MIL and then listening to MIL sigh and complain that we aren't there with her...) so...meh. I booked a sitter Sunday night for a date night and asked G to get a bottle of prosecco we can have with lunch. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Planning ahead

In addition to the fun stuff I'm trying to sprinkle onto our calendar, I also have to do a major revamp of my work schedule. I suspect the following will be interesting to no one but myself but its helping me think this through---and if you have any tips/hacks or opinions on the matter I'm happy to have them before I set anything in stone.

The "stressful thing" I was vague-blogging about is basically more clinical time due to lack of funding, including 2 days/month in a suburban clinic about an hour drive away.

I found out about this last week, and initially freaked out, but some time/distance helped with perspective as usual, and I'm actually using the opportunity to rethink and make changes to the rest of my schedule as well.

Currently I'm at about 50% clinic and I'm going up to 70%, which means 6 more 1/2 days per month and 2 additional weeks of consults/call (I was at 4, going to 6). The other 30% is internal grant funded research time that is only guaranteed for the upcoming academic year. I need to spend that 30% of my time writing grants & papers, meeting with collaborators, and inputing/analyzing data from ongoing projects.

I've realized over the past couple of months that I am happier/less stressed when I can leave from work before 5 pm most days---it feels like I HAVE an evening, rather than jumping directly into dinner/bedtime routine.  I do not mind scheduled evening hours on occasion, when I can plan for them. I don't mind coming in early; on the days I come in at 9 after dropping my kids off to school at 8:30 it feels much more rushed and like I'm already behind.

I am considering leaving 100% the AM to G and starting at/before 8 AM all days. This will mean I don't get to see my kids at all in the morning. It also means I don't have to deal with their shenanigans   and just having myself to handle first thing, which...sounds kinda great. I am just more focused and productive in the morning which means its easier for me to get work done but I also have less patience for the boys' messing around since I'm ready to get going and get.s&%t.done.

For the satellite clinic, starting early/ending early will also help with traffic/parking so is 100% necessary. For the local days, it still feels good to be done and have a buffer at the end of the day. 7:30/8 to 4/4:30 would be ideal for me, in terms of actually having to be IN the clinic, with the caveat that I'll likely have to do catch up on notes at the end of the day or in the evenings. To accommodate patients who need later visits, I was planning to add on 2 days/month where I stay late (until 6:30-7).

I'm also trying to have my days be either/or clinic or research rather than split in half. I'm just MUCH less productive on those days, maybe because I feel like I've already done/will do the clinical work so I can slack a bit? I know these are just my own weird issues, but I have to work with what I've got.

I printed out a month calendar and grabbed a pencil and have been experimenting with different options and think I've found something that may work!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Shaking off the Blahs

After months of being stress and exhausted, and just dealing with one (minor) crisis after another, I am so ready to just...have a little fun? 

Trying to plan more outings on the weekends and weekend evenings because I'm tired of being in the house. Trying to say yes more often than no, and let things slide with the kids. Also just trying to push the easy button on stuff (which often does mean exchanging $ for time/energy). 

We tried out the after school babysitter and its frankly amazing and seems well worth the $$$. The day she came last week she took the kids to the park after snack and homework and I met them there and we stayed for a couple more hours, enjoying the rare sunny warm day. I am definitely going to arrange this set-up for next year and I've already booked an after-camp sitter for the summer so we aren't all trudging home hot and hangry at 5pm. I can come home at 5:30-6 as usual and the kids will be relaxed and fed. 

If we do this method, we will have to hold off on hiring a new cleaning person, but seriously, the house cleaning has NOT been bad at all. I can put on my headphones and listen to a podcast and clean all the bathrooms in 45 minutes or so, which we do every other week, and we dust/vacuum whenever we feel like it (i.e. someone is coming over, or there are literal dog hair tumbleweeds blowing around). We are teaching the kids how to take over some of this stuff too...they should be able to run a brush around the toilet or sponge down a sink...its a work in progress but its a long game that will hopefully pay off down the road! 

I'm also experimenting with a "no food rules"/intuitive eating mindset. Because the rules were just making me rebel against them. Even if it doesn't work to keep my weight stable longterm, it will at least be fun? Yesterday I felt like having some wine while I cooked dinner. Usually I don't drink on weekdays, except when I do and end up having 2-3 (generous) glasses. I poured myself about 2 oz and then a refill and then was done and switched to water with dinner and felt totally satisfied. Plus, if I didn't have the wine, I would've snacked all through the process but this time I didn't even think about eating until we all sat down for dinner.

Instead of weekday lunches being salad & raw veggies until I start craving (and indulge in) a large burrito from the cafeteria or some ridiculous food cart meal, I am switching it up with...whatever we have or can easily get that appeals to me. I have a Middle Eastern style bowl today with TJ's falafel, cauliflower tahini, hummus, feta, harissa and a pita bread that I'm SO excited about---all with leftovers in our fridge. I've been eating when I'm hungry, which is pretty much never in the morning, and then somewhere between 11-1 for lunch and right after work for dinner. If I happen to be hungry, though, I'll eat breakfast. No deprivation and no going hungry just for kicks. 

Minor thing, but I also deleted all the educational-type podcasts (Planet Money, Hidden Brain) and the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians (which was starting to annoy me) and I'm just indulging in ear candy (BingeMode, PopCast, Happier, By the Book... and BoBW of course). 

I've scheduled some date nights and friend nights later this month to have things to look forward to, and I'm also adding some fun to our summer kid-free calendar.  And we have Mother's Day and my birthday this month which I still need to plan (because if I don't, no one will!)

Basically I feel like a need a vacation and since I can't take a real one, I'm trying to bring some vacation vibes into our life. Just writing this made me happy by the way! 

Thursday, May 2, 2019


OMG, what a month. We had MIL here for 3 weeks, followed immediately by my family, and then work travel for me. AND just when we thought it was all over and we could relax, I got the flu. I actually traveled and gave a talk while I had the flu. It sucked. And while I was gone, G got the flu too. And developed pneumonia on top of it. He's on his 2nd round of antibiotics and finally afebrile and went to work today for the first time in 2 weeks.

I basically had to scale back to only doing what was 100% absolutely necessary for survival/keeping my job. Which...turns out to still be exhausting when you are horribly sick. I'm finally feeling better (but still pretty wiped out). I went to a barre class today and it was...tough...but doable. I'm easing back into exercise and other claims on my energy.

I am really really looking forward to a weekend with no one sick and no extra family in our house. It was MID-MARCH when we last had that.

I found out (today) that my schedule is changing substantially for the next year (beginning in July) and I'm trying really hard not to spiral into despair. Meticulous planning & time management will be needed, thankfully I'm pretty good at those things, but still. I feel tired just thinking about it.

Lots of posts about weight/body image/food/etc... in my feeds lately. I actually enjoyed NOT WORRYING ABOUT IT when I was sick, which is pretty sad if you think about it.

I've gone back to my new therapist 2 more times and its been...somewhat eye-opening. I vacillate between feeling like the therapy will help me uncover and work through some deep-seated issues to being embarrassed that I expend all this time/energy on my privileged-middle-age-mommy first-world-problems. I'm sure it will surprise exactly no one that it turns out I have wide streaks of perfectionism and people-pleasing that may be getting in my own way. All the list-making and habit-tracking and self-improving may actually stem from a lifelong feeling of not being good enough/nice enough/thin enough/smart enough...just not being ENOUGH.

So we are working on acceptance. And "self-love". And as much as it makes me may be the right way to go because it sure feels better than listening to the critical bitch that lives in my head.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ebbs and Flows

No real reason for not writing lately, and no reason I came back today. Lots on my mind/my heart/my plate. I started seeing a new therapist; the first session this week was...interesting. Will report more as it goes along but I'm giving it an open mind.

I've had some realizations about our schedule that will hopefully lead to some change.

  • On the kid-front, as awful as she is overall, its been SO NICE having MIL here to pick them up from school and bring them home. By the time we are home, their homework is done and they are playing and relaxed. They are not starving/exhausted/overwhelmed and its made the evenings 100% better. I am NOT EXHAUSTED when they go to bed. There is no much less yelling. I am searching for an after school sitter because I do NOT want to go back to the way it used to be. May not work out for this school year since there is only a month or so left, but next year.
  • I did a trial clinic in the early evening and it was actually very smooth. I was the only provider there, so the patients were checked in & roomed quickly and I made it home for a slightly late dinner. We are piloting this in our clinic & I enthusiastically approve and would do it regularly in exchange for a more relaxed morning.  I really love the idea of having more control over my schedule and setting up variable "blocks" so that I can maximize all the other stuff I want to do instead of being beholden to a set template. 
Other updates: 
  • B's teachers said the medication was like "night and day" for him so its an unequivocal success! It does seem to wear off around 4 pm, which is another reason getting him home & HW done early makes sense
  • We planned and booked our summer travel. One trip to MIL, trip to my family, and family camping trip. I am excited about summer and have to keep reminding myself that I have a LOT more to do before any of the fun begins.
  • I am challenging myself to exercise daily while MIL is here.  I completed day 10/19! Maybe I can keep it up and have some kind of streak! (but likely not)
  • Have NOT been reading as much as usual---since G & I are staying up late rewatching select episodes of GoT to get ready for the new season. Its been really fun but we had to take a break because ZZZzzzzz
Happy April all. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Spring sprung?

Yesterday was amazing! And today has been pretty good, too, despite having crappy sleep last night.

Good things:

  • I was super productive and really knocked out a lot of things looming over my head and made good inroads into long term projects too. 
  • I got my shiny new work-issued iPhone, one that doesn't have a cracked screen, a speaker that does not work (so I literally could not talk on it, no one could hear me!), and a battery lasting >2 hours. 
  • It was sunny and nearly 70 degrees! 
  • I had dinner and saw a show with friends last night and both were great! Sushi, white wine, and "The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Nighttime"

Of course I got home late, and struggled to sleep between snoring B and snoring pup on either side of this morning was a little tough.

But! I saw my patients quickly this morning, walked home and changed (its warm and sunny again and the tights and boots were a bit much). And got B to take him to his appointment. Where I talked to the Dr. about options and got a prescription for adder@ll sprinkles that we have to try to give him in pudding every morning. We left, got a snack, and I got him back to school within an hour of picking him up and we had a very pleasant time. I'm at home working now (clinic notes and working on review article that I've put off long I'm embarrassed to say) and trying to muster up some energy for tonight.

Weekend plans:
Friday: Basketball game! my first time, the boys' second. I was way more excited before I realized how tired I am and what a late night it'll be, but I'm sure it'll be action packed enough to keep me going. Early pizza dinner before we head out.
Saturday: work out in AM (maybe run? or bodypump at gym if I get up on time) park/outdoor play, chores (get clutter out of guest room for impending MIL visit, laundry, meal planning & shopping) and evening babysitter for school fundraiser party; hot dogs for kids to eat.
Sunday: work out in AM (run or go to late morning barre class since I'll want to sleep in), park, fun solo errands (like take in old jeans to get a discount on new jeans at Madewell, maybe get toenails done) L has a birthday party that G will take him to, so B and I will hang out, make a fun dinner and prep for week.