This week…

at work: has been tough. It was filled with the type of work that takes a lot of mental and emotional energy, so I was worn out at the end of each day. Yesterday, my brain was flitting from thing to thing to thing and I just could not get it to stick to what it needed to. But it was Friday, and then it was over, and I’m breathing a giant sigh today.

at the Nest: The pattern of barely cleaning unfortunately continues, and while we have many boxes unpacked, there are several sitting here and there downstairs and upstairs. BUT! Today the rest of the books made it to the shelves! And I have designs on some things from Target that have not yet been purchased…heheheh.

(Oh yeah – we bought a house. Lots of photos over on Instagram…and later on, when everything’s really arranged, I’ll take my husband’s fancy camera and get some good pictures for a blog post.)

in books: Just finished The New New Journalism, a collection of interviews with authors of literary nonfiction, including Jon Krakauer and Eric Schlosser. Takeaways: 1) Truth is relative. 2) Writing is hard. 3) Reporting involves persuasion techniques.

Also reading:

  • The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman
  • Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow (apparently, the one that inspired the musical)
  • Rescuing Jesus, by Deborah Jian Lee (with our church)
  • Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner — it was recommended on the “What Should I Read Next?” podcast, and so far I’m really enjoying it. I haven’t been reading much fiction of this type lately.

on the tv: not much…for the past month or two I’ve barely been watching anything, instead reading or puttering around on my phone (which usually means Instagram or reading blog posts or articles). But lately my husband and I have been watching Nurse Jackie together. We meant to watch The Big Short together last week but didn’t pan out, so moved it to tonight!

with the kiddo: visited a big antique store, “special drinks” at Starbucks – she always gets the strawberries and cream frappucino “with whipped cream!!” – and then the library, where she quickly picked out three books and a movie to check out, then spent almost an hour playing with blocks, or puzzles, or walking around taking photos of everything with my phone camera. I came over to check on her at one point, and she said “you can go back now” as soon as I walked up. She’s so confident, so completely herself, and it’s painfully beautiful to see because when did she get so big?! and there she is. She starts kindergarten in a month.

pondering: ways to make my mornings better, and how to get myself to start exercising regularly. I’ve been oversleeping nearly every morning for the past week or two, which means I have about 20 minutes to myself on mornings when I work. So I can choose either journaling/coffee/being still, or exercising. Clearly, the former has been winning hands down. But exercising is so important, so I need to figure that out.

enjoying: Starbucks’ vanilla sweet cream cold brew, the soothing color palette that greets me every time I walk into my bedroom, and watching my husband and kiddo play together.

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The importance of good healthcare

On Tuesday, I found out that I need glasses. I’m farsighted with astigmatism, and since my left eye is much weaker than my right eye, there’s a significant amount of eye strain. My vision deteriorated to 20/30 and it was so subtle I didn’t notice. So I am getting glasses, and thanks to the generosity and love of my in-laws, I also get to have prescription sunglasses to drive.

On Thursday morning, I found out that I need to go back to the dentist to find out what’s going on with my jaw.

Then they administered the breathing test I’d requested…and I failed it. Even after an inhaler. The doctor told me I probably have reactive airway disease; the way he explained it, it sounds to me like asthma that’s specific to irritants alone. What he described sounded so familiar, like my entire life experience.

So I left the doctor’s office and went to find my husband, and I started crying because I realized that this could have been found years ago and I could have had a much more enjoyable and productive high school, college, and adulthood experience. But it wasn’t caught, quite possibly because life conspired against my parents’ ability to take us for regular checkups, and they didn’t realize there was a problem. And why would they have? It was so subtle, I never noticed.

But as I was sobbing in my husband’s arms, in the waiting area at his work, I realized:

I was crying, but I was also breathing.

I had never, in my life, been able to breathe well while in tears.

 

The next day, I was singing along with the radio in the car, and I realized:

Singing is not that effortful all of a sudden.

I’ve always thought singing was effortful, that’s just how it was….

And I was wrong.

 

So yesterday, and today, I’ve started the journey of learning how to breathe with an inhaler. This is especially challenging because the tiredness that’s a side effect of the inhaler when you first start it is making my eye strain much worse, so much so that I can’t safely drive long distances right now — and I work half an hour away. I also can’t focus on my work’s computer screen for long at all — TLC’s Library.Solution is a wonderful program, but their highly unfortunate color choice for the background of Cataloging makes it immensely difficult to look at when one’s eyes are tired.

 

Everyone I know is surprised by how energetic and happy I am. Some of them, especially my boss, aren’t quite sure what to do with me. And I’m not quite sure yet how this will settle out, except that I’ll have lots of energy and I’ll be much better able to cope with life.

I can’t wait to see what 27 holds.

 

glasses

Mornings

Only recently have I fully realized and accepted something my mother could have told me when I was a baby: I am a morning person. At the age of seven, I used to get up earlier than anyone else and turn on the radio (large silver box, with many knobs) in order to listen to shows only my siblings likely remember now. Nowadays, I get up as soon as I wake up, even on weekends, so that I can enjoy that quiet, peaceful time like no other. The best mornings are ones where I don’t have to be anywhere until later; I can linger, luxuriate in the slowness.

Here’s how those mornings go:

  1. Wake up. I have an alarm set for 7am on weekends, but sometimes I turn it off, and sometimes I wake up before that. I try to get up early lately, because if my child wakes up at the same time as I do, she fills the apartment with singing and questions and a constant stream of chatter, and much as I adore her, that can be a bit difficult for me to deal with first thing…
  2. Make coffee in my Keurig, and head to my chair in the corner by the window. It’s my favorite place in the whole world…and also a bit of a cave, which I find quite interesting.
  3. Do my morning pages, as described in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. This is a recent addition, and it’s a ritual that’s proved quite helpful so far – I look forward to it. This takes about 30 minutes.
  4. Start drinking my coffee (usually after warming it up again…I’m terrible about that) and reading. The end table next to my chair is simply there to hold my books and my coffee. At any given time there are 4 to 6 books there, along with Bella Grace magazine, issues of Entertainment Weekly, and a couple of other books that I read more slowly. Oh, and my journal and my gratitude/happiness book. Right now Steve Jobs is the one I’m focusing on, and it’s quite fascinating.
  5. Get kiddo breakfast when she asks, maybe make more coffee, and keep reading. Maybe get on my phone and putter around a bit, or text a friend or two.
  6. Eventually, get up, do some useful things, decide to write a blog post about my mornings, and probably head back…

Nearly every morning, while sitting in my chair, I feel so much joy – for our little living room, for the view of rooftops and tree branches gilded by sun, for the perfect chair to curl up in, for the variety of coffee mugs, for my kiddo’s singing, for all the pieces that mean I am loved that come up as I write. Joy.

2016 priorities and goals

My priorities have stayed fairly constant over the years, I think, but in the past year or so articulating them and focusing on them has been particularly helpful. Here they are:

  1. Self-care. For me, this looks like spending time reading, journaling, and exercising. I’m no good to others when I’m in a bad place mentally, and these three things help me stay out of that bad place. Reading comes naturally to me (I read 106 books last year, which surprised me), but journaling requires more focus, and exercise is a habit I’m trying to create.
  2. Loved ones. I want to spend more quality time with my family, and see my closest friends regularly.
  3. Work. 

In an attempt to set myself up for success (I know, why would I do that, right?!), I’ve kept my goals specific and the list short.

  1. Run two 5Ks. This is partly to motivate myself to exercise, and partly because I ran one once before, felt accomplished for finishing (despite my terrible time, haha), and I’d like to do it again. I have picked out three possibilities, one in the spring and two in the winter.
  2. Do a weekend away with my husband. We’ve been married for six years and have never done this.
  3. Do four family adventures. It’s always wonderful when we go places as a family. I’d like to make that more structured and add some variety.
  4. Complete a reading challenge. Specifically, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge. The only book I haven’t yet picked out is one published in 2016…but since I am a librarian, I’m sure I’ll be able to find several candidates in the next couple of months without much effort!
  5. Pay off our consumer debt. This is a family goal. Monthly payments on our debt make it even more difficult for us to do without my husband’s income, and that has been postponing his plan to go back to college. Once those payments are gone, we should have enough wiggle room that he can drastically reduce his hours, at least. Happily, we will be almost halfway to this goal by the end of this month.