Friday, January 31, 2020

January and February Goals (Progress not Perfection)

The longest month of the year is finally ending (it can't be just me, can it?). Its been a lighter week, work-wise, and more (spontaneous!) fun stuff than usual. Wednesday we went out to dinner with the kids and it was nice not to cook/clean (and have nachos!). And Thursday after B's IEP meeting, G and I had a lovely lunch date before heading to work. 

I am definitely in a better mental state than before, and kind of excited to review & set new goals and plan for next month.

January Goals (which I never posted here but just copied out of my planner):

  • Work out at least 30 minutes daily: I DID THIS!  30 minute beach body workouts or run. 
  • Run twice/week: DID THIS (second run for this week is tomorrow AM). Mostly with a friend, once alone, 3-4 miles so far, going to push for 5 miles tomorrow
  • Meditate daily: PARTIAL I did really great until this past week where I skipped 3 days. 
  • Avoid alcohol: PARTIAL I think I may have mentioned something out loud at home about "Dryuary" and then my kids were scolding me for having some wine last night---I did consume some alcohol this month but MUCH LESS than the previous month and that does meet the spirit of the goal without feeling restrictive
  • Plan water park weekend: DONE and going next weekend with sister & her fam
  • Plan summer & register for camp: PARTIALLY DONE---dropping off camp forms/check  today but still haven't figured out the week we are taking our family trip north
  • Figure out spring activity for both kids and sign up: PARTIAL---L is signed up for baseball (oh lord) B decided to try scouts, G is working on trying to sign him up. 
  • Put $ into 529 and investment accounts, submit FSA claims: DONE
  • Consultant List: DONE (this took WAY longer than I thought)
  • Revise 2 papers: PARTIAL---one down, one awaiting statistical input
  • Draft manuscript: NOPE didn't even start this---its been on my list since SEPTEMBER OMG
  • Survive holiday weekend/call week: DONE! (barely)
So yeah, not bad! Some new work stuff popped up to work on that was much more urgent than the lingering paper so I had to push it YET AGAIN to another month. I may need to take a weekend and just grind this thing out. 

I also have to remind myself to let go of perfection. Missing 4 meditation sessions means that there were 27 times this month that I focused on my breath and well being. And any day I stuck to water instead of wine or grabbed a La Croix instead of a beer is keeping me healthier. 

February Goals (very similar to January, adding and specifying a few things)

  • Work out daily when at home (so I have an out when we are at the water park and I'll be active & exhausted and not wanting to worry about fitting in a "work out"
  • Run twice/week
  • Meditate daily
  • Drink max 3X/week and NOT on a night before a run
  • Finalize summer plans & book campsite for August trip
  • 1:1 time with each kid one hour/week doing their choice of activity
  • At least 3 date nights 
  • Plan girls trip with home-state friends
  • Plan Broadway trip with book club friends
  • Lunch/dinner with C for VERY belated bday celebration
  • Have J family over for dinner (neighbor with kid that both boys play with)
Work (this is on top of a week of call and 20 clinic sessions, so may be overly ambitious)
  • Draft new manuscript
  • Submit manuscript revision
  • Put together talk for local PCP office
  • Compile teaching activities/evals for packet
  • meetings/planning re: possible new role 
  • Recruit at least 10 subjects for study
  • Discuss reduced schedule and get specifics 
Happy weekend. My Friday night plans: eat leftovers, do laundry, play Nintendo (they are currently obsessed with Just Dance) with the kids and go to bed early so I can go running tomorrow. Whoo hoo. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


I've been fairly uninspired about writing here lately. I open up the site but can't think of anything worth putting out into the world. Blah blah, call week sucked, falling so behind on work, the world is burning and the lack of terrible winter weather is freaking me the f out because IT SHOULD NOT BE SPRING IN JANUARY (why are my tulips growing???), etc...

Insight from therapy: even the self-critical judgy part of myself means well and is trying to help. When she calls me "lazy" and "fat", its an attempt---however misguided---to keep me working towards my goals. And apparently if I just acknowledge that, instead of railing against it, I can start the process of making that voice less of a raging b- a little nicer. Understanding this is also helping me talk to my kids, who have a tendency to get down on themselves. Its really a family trait.

Anyways, back to work!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Long weekend, Silver linings?

Like---the longest ever. We all had Monday off of work/school for MLK day but I was on call. We had an extraordinarily busy service and I didn't get to leave the hospital until after 4pm Sat and Sunday, and 3:30 on Monday (after starting at 7:30 AM). Lots of pages & texts throughout the evening/night. I was completely and totally done and useless at home those evenings. Blah.

Still on call through Friday evening, and literally counting down.

On the plus side I did manage to work out every day (to continue my January daily exercise streak). I took 15 minutes yesterday to plan out the week. And I had a few notable fun moments with G & the kids over the weekend---we watched the Princess Bride & had pizza on Saturday night, played Mario Kart Sunday night, and had one family dinner without whining somewhere in there.

And, it was cold and icky most of the time so if I have to spend the entire weekend at work I'd rather it be now than in spring/summer/fall. Or even last weekend, when it was weirdly warm and gorgeous.   Admittedly, having MLK as my "holiday" was also a pretty lucky break (though I really did want NY because it is a nice out from having to "do something" and I could've cut our trip to MIL short).

Maybe. I'm reaching here. Mostly I came home and scrolled on my phone to give my brain a break from thinking & talking & interacting with others. Anyhoo. Off to round!

Friday, January 17, 2020

20 for 20

My list that I wrote in December and finally found (in my 2019 planner)

1. Go to 2 live music concerts
2. See "The Cursed Child" on Broadway
3. Trip to Maine
4. Girls trip
5. Camping trip with my sister
6. Indoor water park weekend (this is scheduled for next month!)
7. Summer staycation (1 week off work/school, doing local stuff/day trips)
8. Run a 5K as a family
9. Volunteer in some capacity for the democratic presidential candidate
10. Teach B to make one meal on his own
11. Do all the new puzzles in our house
12. Plant herb garden
13. Finish laser hair removal treatments
14. Couples weekend trip
15. Chaperone a field trip for each kid
16. Short hair cut (DONE!)
17. Quit facebook for 2 months in a row (in progress)
18. A weekend at home alone
19. Read one "actual" (physical) book per month (I've got at least 12 on my shelf that I've ignored because reading on the Kindle app is so much easier!)
20. Take a dance and/or music class

I think of this list as more personal and fun, vs. goals that are more about improvement and achievement. Thus, no work stuff, and lots of travel stuff.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Running, Theater, Babysitters, Booze, and Work

i.e. random catch up post

I'm finishing up some work I had to get done.  G is getting B ready for his basketball game, L is reading on his kindle, dog is snoozing on the basement couch next to me, and laundry is going in the washer and dryer. So...I have some time to write!

Its oddly warm today, like 60 degrees. At some point will get the kids to the park. We thought about doing a quick hike but in between basketball game & practice, and both of us needing to get some work done...its not going to happen.

I started running with a friend at the end of December, and it went so well we decided to keep it up---our goal is twice a week, 30 minutes if a weekday and longer on the weekend. Today we did about 4 miles, going up & down the art museum steps a few times in the middle, so it took about 45 minutes. I bought myself some new leggings with a pocket for my phone so I can actually track distance. I have no way to track my pace, but I suspect I'm pretty slow (had to beg my friend to slow down!)

We had a date night Thursday to see one of our theater subscription shows (The Band's Visit, it was great---very low key, quirky, funny, but also poignant). Our old after school guy came to babysit and all of us were so happy to see him again! No one else we've had, including our current person, has been even half as fun, sadly.

I went for reliable over enthusiastic with babysitters this time, and the woman we chose is super sweet, but...the kids haven't really taken to her and just do their own thing while she's around, instead of playing with her. I need her to stay through the end of this school year. Next year I will make sure they are in the after-care program at school (we didn't get them in on time this year and they were full when I tried later). I can write a whole post on pros/cons of the sitter vs. aftercare (ooh...idea)!

G and I have been cutting back on booze (i.e. not drinking at all) after LOTS of wine to cope with winter break, but since we had some time to kill before the show, we went to a funky bar near the theater and I had a cocktail. And then a glass of wine at the show. It was fun but I remembered at 5:30 AM the next morning why I shouldn't drink on weeknights. Oh aging.

Work this week wasn't too bad. I had 5 clinics, so 2.5 days for other stuff and I got a lot done on Tuesday & Thursday. Friday afternoon was kind of a wash because of meetings and random patient care stuff that came up...which is why I'm working today. Next week I have 6 clinics, & lots more meetings, so I doubt I'll get much else done. And I'm on call next weekend/week after. Blah. Three more call weeks of this academic year and then I get a break from April----at least June, hopefully September.

I have my meeting to discuss next years schedule in February so I need to spend some time thinking a bit more about this. Part of me really wants to go to 80-90%, but G keeps telling me that he thinks I will end up working the same for less $, which is a very fair point. I also have a meeting to discuss a possible leadership role (I'd looked into this last year and it wasn't a good fit at the time, but they are willing to be flexible on some things now so I'm open to more discussion). So who knows what July will bring.

I'm feeling uncharacteristically optimistic about work overall. I have a few new and exciting ideas for grants I want to write, and I've got a line up of papers to work through---and a game plan for when I'm going to do them (i.e. days blocked off in my calendar). I have this overall sense that I do LIKE what I do, and I'm good at it, and I realize how lucky that make me.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

You don't know what you don't know

I forgot a big one on my list of good things yesterday...therapy.

I've been going regularly for a year now (or is it longer? I honestly can't remember) And its so so helpful.

Today we talked about how reactive I get to B's persistent grouchiness. He's always complaining, saying no, wanting more, unsatisfied, and letting us know it loudly and demonstratively. And in typical therapist fashion she "was curious" about what he was feeling that was driving this behavior. And also curious about why it triggered me so much.

Part of it is that his chronic negativity brings to the surface my underlying fear about his future---his ability to integrate socially, academically, professionally---his ability to become a functional, helpful, contributing member of society. If he can't handle running out of his favorite bread at dinnertime, gives up on a playdate over one difference of opinion in what to do, and resists taking a shower even on our twice-weekly winter schedule---how will he hold down a job, make friends, build any kind of life? (i know, catastrophizing)

But another part is just that I learned early on (and still likely believe somewhere deep down, even after I learned otherwise), that negative emotions should be pushed down out of sight, to make things go more smoothly in the world & not upset others. Don't make a fuss, go with the flow, smile like you mean it, etc...

So my belief that something is "wrong" with him, and that he should change, and just f**($ng be HAPPY for once, because it'd be much more pleasant for all of us---those are my thoughts, not necessarily the facts. And those thoughts drive my feelings of frustration/anger/hopelessness. Which then lead to my actions of yelling at/shaming him or detaching completely. And then guilt and shame for MY behavior. The vicious cycle.

And as much as I read about parenting strategies and KNOW the right thing to do is to validate feelings, and sit with him and let him open up or just be quiet, until it runs it course, it is really f-ing hard to do when HIS big feelings bring up MY big feelings and I sure as hell don't know how to deal with those.

I guess my "homework" this week is to try to step back and focus on what I'm feeling when he begins his inevitable grunting & griping.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2019---The Good Stuff

I was working on a "what worked and what didn't" post, and was getting bogged down in the "didn't" part. So to start the week off on a positive spin, here is a list of good things I remember from last year!

  • Beach Body workouts in the basement
  • Red hair dye
  • Laser hair removal
  • After school sitter
  • Having a deep bench of babysitters
  • Lots of theater
  • Camping with friends
  • Our first annual family summer camping trip
  • Biking as a family
  • Pizza/movie night
  • Family dinners---all 4 of us, sitting together, eating the same thing---about 75% of the time
  • Continuing to read a lot of books!
  • Amusement park weekend with my sister
  • Book club
  • Playing board games with the boys
And that's all I got in 5 minutes. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Word(s) of the Year

Here we are, new year, same me...full of plans & goals & hopes and...less full of energy and motivation to actually achieve them.

No, no, I'm going to be positive!!! But, seriously, I'm tired. And its dark, cold and rainy and we have a million basketball related things this weekend and our house is a mess. Winter break sucked. Like really really blah, boring, stressful. So I'm very relieved actually to be back home, back at work, in the thick of activities and playdates and all of it. Just...tired.

I couldn't decide on one "word of the year" so I'm going with a combo this year. Drumroll please...

Clear and Control

I want to clear my head, my house, my schedule...just get ALL the unnecessary junk out of there. The digital distractions, the wine, the things I say yes to that clog up my writing days, the CLUTTER that is taking over our house after 2 kid birthdays, and Christmas and 2 boys & a husband who are in the middle of a billion different "projects" all in our living room area.

And I want to feel like I am steering the boat of my life instead of being pulled along by the current, sometimes very abruptly and uncomfortably. I am thinking carefully about my work and our family schedule, looking at the year as a whole and trying to anticipate what we will need and building it in.

I've restarted my habit of getting up earlier than I absolutely need to, so I can feel in charge of the day and how it unfolds. And making sure I check in with my planner every morning and evening to re-orient myself to my goals. Later this afternoon I am taking time to think about seasonal goals for self/family/work---and I'm going to do the whole year at once, to take a bigger picture view so I don't keep pushing winter goals into spring and then summer when they don't happen, haha.

Plan for tonight: take down Christmas and hang out with L + make dinner while B is at Bball practice. Dinner/stories/early bed.
Saturday: work out in AM. Plan meals for the week so G can go shop. Take B to basketball game. Clean up/declutter in living room and hang out with B while L at Bball practice. Haircut. Pizza/movie night (please no more Star Wars)
Sunday: work out in AM (run?). take L to basketball game. Cook soup. Dinner/stories/early bed to get ready for the first full week of the year!

Upcoming: my 20 for 2020 list, seasonal goals, best books of 2019