Fri-day, Fri-yay: November 30th, 2018

& (1)I made it!  I don’t talk much about work, but I went through a substantial change at work this past week that I was not negative, bus was (as I said) a big change and, subsequently, incredibly stressful.  I’m immensely glad for the weekend, and for celebrating Bear’s 4th birthday tomorrow with some friends and family.

Things carrying me along this week:

I just discovered Sugar Rush on Netflix and I’m so upset that it’s only eight episodes!  It doesn’t have quite the same level of drama as some of the other cooking shows I watch, but I think that’s because unlike some shows (Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped) there’s no “bizarre” ingredients they need to add or outrageous challenges they need to overcome, and unlike others (Worst Cooks in America, Nailed It), the contestants are professionals.  The biggest obstacle is the time limit, but still — the cakes they make!  Ahhh!  I’ve been a Cutthroat and Chopped fan for a while, but I’m seriously grooving hard on baking shows lately.  Well done cakes are just so damn aesthetically pleasing.

Also – speaking of Netflix – if you have kids, you should think about checking out Brain Child and The Who Was? Show Both of them are ostensibly “too old” for my son, but he asked me to put them on,, and he’s watched them both a dozen times now.  He can now talk quite authoritatively about germs, human cells, and the sleep cycle, so that’s cool.  I find them genuinely funny and charming, too, which is again, icing on the cake (I’ll tolerate a lot if my son likes a show and I can see educational value it it, but some of them are grating as hell.  These aren’t (I mean, your mileage may vary, but I sincerely like them)).

Guys, I don’t even like eggnog, but I tried Winterhaven Farms Eggnog at Friendsgiving on Saturday and it is chock full of holiday goodness; “holiday goodness” here meaning rum, whiskey, and brandy.  It legit made my ears burn.  It’s not something I would recommend drinking a lot of, but I could see having a holiday party and pouring out a round or two for friends.  Given the price, I might have to buy some for myself, and I’d wager my father and brother might appreciate it as well.

I’ve got some work to do on this blog this weekend, and I’m happy with what I’ve got to share — I have updated checklists for daily life, holiday checklists and organizers, lists for kids, planner reviews and suggestions, new mail art/exchanges, and a menu options to find and read my creative writing.  I’ll go more into all that later, but I’m happy to make this a more comprehensive compendium of my life and interests.

That’s all for this week.  What’s keeping you motivated?

Friday, Fri-yay: November 23rd, 2018

& (1)I’m trying so, so hard to stay positive about some changes going on right now, guys, I really am.  I never react well to change – I adjust, of course, and I’ve learned to conceal the emotional turmoil, but while there are a few situations in which I enjoy being sort of surprised, I internally freak out and hand-wring bout disruptions in my routines and expectations.  So while I know that I will be fine, I’m a little on edge.

Here are things that are keeping me cheery and distracting me from my anxiety for a while.

I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last weekend, and I loved it.  I know there is a significant disparity between the critic’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes (62%) versus the audience rating (92%), but I just loved seeing my boys up on the big screen.  Queen were an essential, formative part of my life growing up; I can’t explain exactly why I loved them with the intensity that I did, but Freddie and his story were a big, big part.  I could easily have sat in the theatre and nit-picked – besides owning and knowing by heart the entire Queen catalogue (including several solo albums, all the music videos, and numerous officially released and bootleg concerts), I’ve also watched four separate documentaries and read five books written about the band.  The movie is not wholly accurate, but it’s just so, so good to see “Freddie” humanized on screen.  Rami Malek is amazing, and seeing so many new fans flooding the fandom is invigorating and beautiful.  Tomorrow marks twenty-seven years since Freddie died.  If I had the budget to see the movie again tomorrow, I would.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Friendsgiving at our friend Raeanne’s house, followed by game night, which it feels like forever since we’ve done.  It’s been a pretty regular monthly occurrence for – wow – almost four years now, plus we’ve done lots of other parties and celebrations in the intervening weeks, and then more recently we ht a patch where people were busy, I guess, and so it’s been a while since we’ve gone to one.  I’m excited to hang out with Raeanne and company, and have a last culinary hurrah before I start calorie counting again (yes… that’ll be another post, but yes).

My husband and I celebrated our engagement anniversary (yes, we occassionally celebrate it, still – he calls it “Ring-a-versary”) at a place called Yujo, which is actually a really good sushi joint.  Our first date and his proposal both took place at the same sushi restaurant that has since closed down, and we had yet to really find another one we liked as much.  This one was really good, and had the strongest drinks I’ve ever had in my life.  I had one (I swear!) Long Island Iced Tea, and I was smashed.  You certainly get your money’s worth.

That’s about it for this week.  What’s been making you happy?

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate!

As much time as I spend complaining about the little things, I have to step back and recognize how many big things I have to be thankful for.  I’ve got a good husband, a sweet son, a working car, a house we own, a decent-paying job, food on the table, and some pocket money.  That’s pretty damn good.

Hope you’re having a wonderful time with friends and family.

Friday, Fri-yay: November 9th, 2018

& (1)Oh guys, this… has been a draining week.  Nothing bad has happened, but everything that’s happened has been emotionally charged and has tested my anxiety to the limit.  With that in mind, I’ve got to stop and reflect on the little positive things that have been keeping me grounded.

First, I have a three day weekend – and a well-deserved one, if I do say so.  Monday is Veteran’s Day, and I legitimately forgot that I had the day off until mid-way through the morning yesterday (at which point I made a triumphant Facebook post because i couldn’t contain my sheer joy).  I plan on playing with Bear, reading, and catching up on NaNoWriMo.  I will also be tearing the house apart and doing a deep-cleaning, because…

…We finally bought a carpet cleaner!  I feel like it’s time for a sequel to my Ways I Know I’m Getting Old post, because I feel like the level of sheer joy and excitement I felt upon purchasing the carpet cleaner makes me officially Old (or puts me at Peak Parent Mode, at least).  But the one thing I’ve hated about this house almost since the moment we moved in is how filthy the carpet got, and how fast (though what did I expect with cafe au lait colored carpets and a toddler?)  We were going to just rent a cleaner, but Amazong was having a sale and the Bissel cleaner we got cost $75, and it would cost us $34 just for a one time rental from Home Depot.  The decision was easy.  I’m so excited.

I’ve also been starting to poke my head around AuthorTube, which is the section of YouTube populated by authors and aspiring authors.  I’ve started doing vlog style videos about my NaNoWriMo experience, and I’m trying to find time to watch and interact with others doing the same thing, hoping to create a habit that will sustain through November and beyond.  It looks like a nice community and I’m hoping to find a groove that allows me to be active in it.

Also – Christmas!  Dollar Tree Haulers are doing holiday hauls and DIYs, the stores are filled to the brim with Christmas stuff, and I’m getting ready to bring up all my holiday decor (and buying a ton of it from Dollar Tree and Target).  I’ve said on an earlier iteration of this blog that I understand why some people are put off by the earlier and earlier onset of the Christmas season — people who don’t celebrate/celebrate different holidays, people who have family issues exacerbated by the holidays, people who just prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time — and those are all valid complaints.  And I do agree that we are hauling out Christmas waaay too early — I saw some on display prior to Halloween — but for my own personal celebration, this is the time of year I start prepping.  Christmas makes me happy, and I’m going to do what makes me happy, okay?

I also just finished the book adaptation of Alice Isn’t Dead, and oh my gosh, I loved it.  It’s so… relevant?  So… visceral?  So refreshing to see a queer female protagonist with anxiety who uses that anxiety as a weapon and it totally works??  It’s such a good story, and I love Keisha’s character so much, and I know I speak only for myself, but this was such a well-written female character written by a male author, and some male authors could take lessons on this from Joseph Fink.

I desperately want to include NaNoWriMo on here, but that’s a little more complicated; I’ll probably have a post about it later, though.

What’s kept you afloat this week?

The Importance of a Routine

organizing my lifeI never really had a morning routine.

There were things I did every morning, sure.  I used the bathroom.  I got dressed.  Sometimes I ate.  But the idea of a routine has an implication of purpose or mindfulness behind it.  It implies thought and intent.  For most of my life, I’ve rolled out of bed at the last possible minute, thrown clothes on, and rushed out the door looking like hell warmed over.  I’d routinely overlook eating a meal, combing my hair, or brushing my teeth.

My rationale for this was I really didn’t get a lot of sleep at the front end of the night; going to bed early was not something I could manage (and often, even when I made it a point to turn in early, I could not usually get to sleep), so I allowed myself to sleep in on the back end, meaning I’d squeeze in an extra hour of sleep, but I’d be running out of the house to start my day unkempt, cotton-mouthed, and still half asleep.

As I got older, I got better about being able to squeeze in slightly more prep into slightly less time; I packed a breakfast to take on the go, and shaved off most of my hair (bye bye, combing!), but it was still literally fifteen minutes between throwing off the sheets and getting into the car.

This year I made it a point to create a night time/morning ritual – you might remember, yes?  Last I updated you, I said it was going “okay,” that I still hadn’t mastered including all the elements, but that it seemed to be an improvement over what I had been doing prior to that point.  Well, I want to re-update you and say, holy hell, I hadn’t realized how much of an improvement it has been, even without all the bells and whistles (still haven’t been able to work in morning pages or exercise).

This morning, my alarm never went off, and because I was keeping with my son in his room (rough night for him), I didn’t wake up with Andy’s alarm either.  Instead, I woke up when Andy came in looking for me at 6:20. And I flipped. the frig. out.  I was running nearly an hour late, and it messed up my entire attitude, and my entire morning.

The weird thing was, it was exactly the time I used to get up prior to instituting my new schedule, and it was a huge wake up call (ha!) as to how significant that extra time in the morning, combined with the prep work I do at night, had become.

Moving my wake up time up by an hour meant an hour in the morning during which I could shower – like, I had time and space to shower, instead of hoping I could squeeze it in at the end of the day, when I was already so loopy and so drained I’d just as often as not forget it.  I could apply makeup, on those days where I felt suited to makeup, and I – even though I made the change to laying out my clothes the night before  as part of this shift – if I had an unexpected, last minute shift in how I felt about my body, I had time to thoughtfully tweak my outfit.  My extra hour gave me time while I showered and dressed to listen to a podcast or two, which meant I got to wake up laughing along with some pretty fun, clever nerds every day.  My extra hour meant I don’t leave the house without brushing my teeth anymore.  I’ve moved to prepping my lunch (when I need it) and my breakfast the night before as part of this routine as well, but my extra hour means I have time to go downstairs and eat it in the comfort of my own home.  It means I forget fewer things, and am more fully awake before I leave the house.  It means I leave the house earlier, and get to spend a little extra time enjoying coffee at my mom’s when we drop Bear off.

I till want to try to work in morning pages (I think including writing in my routine would be so beneficial in so many ways), but I’ve realized that the benefit of establishing the routine is less about exactly what actions I’m able to perform (I can always downsize my makeup routine to make time for morning pages, or eat a quicker breakfast), but that it gives me time to work with, time that I can decide to use as I wish, time in which to just friggin’ breathe.  Time when I’m not running at full kilter, bleary eyed and groggy, out the door.  And that’s when I realized that I didn’t need more activities to add to my morning – I just need to add more time.

Rather than trying to cram your routine with more stuff (exercise can be incorporated later in the day – maybe taking a few laps during lunchtime!), just… give yourself more damn time.  Even if you only get through the essentials, dammit, do it at a leisurely, relaxing pace.  Give yourself that space to breathe.

I’m glad tomorrow is Friday, and I’m hoping to end the week with a distinctly less rude awakening than I was greeted with today.

 

How is He Mine?

 

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I mentioned we took Bear to the library the other day, but had to cut is short; I had a headache, we had to go grocery shopping, and I needed to go home and cook.  I honestly wanted to skip the library all together, but I can’t deny Bear that simple pleasure.  He adores the library, and the last thing I want to do is discourage him from that love in any way.

I’m thrilled that Bear is developing a love of books, and excited that he’s already starting to sound out words (pretty successfully!) months before his fourth birthday, but I also love watching him interact with the other kids.  It’s both a joy and a complete and utter mystery to me.

I have several people in my life with kids around Bear’s age; friends, acquaintances, coworkers.  Almost without fail, they are all sweet kids, but most of them have the typical shyness I always associated with small children; the coy, peeking-out-behind-mom’s-legs sort of shyness that people fawn over as being “sweet.”

I was one of those kids, except I never really grew out of it. I present, I think, as a pretty friendly person, and I feel like that’s what most people see; but from the other side, I spend a lot of time in my own head second guessing everything I do, hyper-critical of everything I say, overly anxious and worried about how to navigate socially.  I definitely have good (even great!) days and bad days, but being social and interacting (broadly) with people will always feel draining and slightly uncomfortable to me.

Then there is my son.

My son is like local celebrity at our library; the librarians know him by name, and he likes to ask them about all the stuff on their desk, and the new displays at the front of the children’s room.  Being that he sees them every week (and we’ve been going there for a couple of years now), I’m not totally shocked that he’s gotten comfortable with them.

But then there are the other kids.  This past visit, we walked in and he noticed two other kids, both slightly older than him, sitting at one of the tables coloring.  Immediately he smiled and walked over.

“Hiiii!  What is your name?  What are you doing?  Are you coloring?  What’s a contest?  I would like to do a contest.  Can I sit and color with you?  I would like to sit and share crayons with you.  Can I have a pink and a blue crayon, please?  Thanks.  Are you coloring a ghost?  What is your ghost’s name?  Is he Casper?  Casper is from a show.  It is called, ‘Casper, the Friendly Ghost!’  He is not a spooky ghost.  What are you reading?”

To my son, the idea of not going up to a person and trying to make friends with them is unthinkable.  His instinct upon meeting anyone new is to try to engage them; to greet them and ask them questions about themselves.  He doesn’t understand other children’s reticence to open up to him; he isn’t mean-spirited about it, but he can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t want to try to make friends with him.

It’s fascinating to watch, as a person who was very much unlike that for the vast majority of my life.  It’s enviable, that level of absolute comfort he must have in himself.  It’s also a little scary.

Because when I say he wants to make friends with everyone, I mean everyone.  Little kids, big kids, the cashiers at the supermarket, people on the train, people waiting for the bus.  Once in Florida, we got off the tram at MCO, and when I turned to look at my son (whose hand I was holding), he was also holding the hand of a strange woman who had been seated near us during the ride.  She was kind and amused at his antics, but while I laughed it off, it gave me pause.

I don’t want to shut my son down.  I don’t want to instill fear into his heart, or make him afraid of talking to people he doesn’t know, or reaching out to befriend others.  But I also need to teach him – in a way that won’t do those things – how to be cautious around strangers, and how not everyone you meet is a kind or friendly person.

The world needs more people like my son, people who go out of their way to try to include and befriend people, and I need my son to be both happy and safe, without depriving the world of his vivacity.  As someone whose native language is, in so many ways, social fear, I’m not totally sure how to do that.

But, as has been the case with literally every other aspect of parenthood, I’m sure I’ll learn.  For now, I’m just going to enjoy watching my son do his thing, wherever we go.

Friday, Fri-yay: October 12th, 2018

& (1)Hey yo, it’s Friday!

I’ve been having an uncharacteristically productive week, creatively, and hope to have a good balance of work/pleasure this weekend, the highlight of which will be my cousin’s wedding tomorrow evening.  All in all, things seem to be moving along pretty smoothly, but I’ve gotta say, it’s still pretty great to hit the weekend.  So, Bear is in bed, I’m sitting here, munching on some homemade empanadas, sipping on some Grand Mariner, and enjoying the quiet.

This week:

Last week I mentioned that The Good Place was back, but did I mention Forking Bullshirt was back, and have I ever mentioned the official The Good Place podcast I love Bullshirt because I love the geeky fan discussion (from the perspective of geeky fans!), and I love the official podcast for the behind the scenes insight and how lovely and adorable the cast and crew all are.  If you are at all interested in the show, you might want to check out the podcasts.

NaNoWriMo prep is starting full-force, and I’m so excited to give it a go this year.  I’m trying my hand at… I guess it would be categorized as magical realism, and I’m kind of nervous but also really psyched to try something different from my usual lit!fic attempt.  I’ve been reading the forums the last few nights and need to find time to incorporate NaNo prep work and NaNo socialization into my schedule.

Did anyone else grow up watching a lot of magic on TV?  Because I recently found a few  old David Copperfield specials on YouTube.  Ahhhh, I don’t have a lot to say about this, except, maaaan I remember these so vividly, and I remember those nights those specials aired on TV being like, a big deal in my house, when we all settled in together to watch them.

I got a lovely compliment at work today from one of our SLPs, who had been talking to one of the school psychologists who had done an observation in one of my classrooms, and was apparently very impressed with how good I am with the kids and how well I work with all of them.  I don’t want to sound snotty – I know that I’m good at my job – but it’s so, so nice to hear someone appreciate my efforts.

I think that’s all for this week.  What’s been carrying you all alone lately?