Library of Progress

Winding Down

November 13, 2016
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I’ve been feeling the pull back to writing, so in dusting off the ol’ blog, and in poking around my most recent (cough, eight months ago) entries, I found my 2016 funlist and also my 2016 resolutions. As the year is begins to wind down, what better time to check my progress?

Well, uh, turns out I barely did any of them, and that realization made me feel pretty damn crappy at first. But then I realized it wasn’t exactly for lack of trying.

  • Paddleboarding – I signed up for a class, which turned out to be the last one of the season, which was then cancelled due to low attendance (i.e. I was the only attendee).
  • Pimsleur Spanish CDs – I actually did start listening to these, and found them way too boring and unchallenging to continue. Perhaps I should have skipped ahead to disc two…I’m now eyeing a subscription to the Babbel website instead.
  • Personal shopping session at the thrift store – you can only make appointments by phone and they never, and I mean never, pick up. I got into Gwynnie Bee instead. A lot more expensive, but also a lot more reliable.
  • Weekend getaway – nope. I did actually get to Chicago for work and ate at several fabulous restaurants while there, none of them belonging to Rick Bayless. I’m not too broken up about this one.
  • London + Paris with David – we did achieve this, and it was fab and basically cancels out the weekend getaway.
  • Dance performances – nope.
  • Float spa – ditto, but I can probably still squeeze this one in this year if I really want to.
  • Downhill or X-country skiiing with David – nope. In February, we did actually sign up for a candlelight cross-country ski event through the park service but it too was cancelled due to poor conditions and I was secretly relieved. One of those things that sounds fun and romantic in theory but is miserably freezing in reality. If this is gonna happen in 2017, it absolutely needs to be in the daytime.
  • More pictures of me, and of our family as a whole – nope, not even candids and only one decent selfie. ūüė¶ WTF, self? This should be the easiest one, and is probably the one I feel most bummed about.
  • Basement – it’s pretty well de-crappified but it’s not any cleaner nor more organized nor more fit for a child to hang out in. In fact, it is even dirtier. I think about it all the time, but the truth is that I really don’t know where to start.
  • Pay off all our debts – yes!…and then acquired some new ones in the form of a new car, porch furniture, and a new water heater. They are all low/no interest, though, and only the car will take more than a few months to pay off.

Resolution-wise, I resolved to continue paring back my relationship with Facebook (and improve other internet habits in the process – this will always be a work in progress but mostly continues to go fantastically well), put my feet on the path most days (lol), and eat to 80% full (nope, in fact I have probably gained a few more pounds).

So, then…what have I been doing instead? Well, after work/parenting/commuting/sleeping, I mostly read. I’ve just finished my 68th book so far this year and realistically will probably break 75+ by the end of the year. I’ve been gradually building a mindfulness and meditation habit (props to the Buddhify app above all others – I listen to it in the car going to and from work, and at home as needed).¬†Over the summer, I had two long work trips and took a lot of long walks in the evenings and took C¬†to the beach several times. We’re cooking at home more and C has acquired more toys, so I spend more time tidying up the joint. I’ve been doing hatha yoga almost every Sunday morning for a couple months and am really enjoying it and hope to try yin or restorative soon. In lieu of a dance performance, I took a day off work and spent it visiting local art museums, which is one of my favorite memories from the year. In October, my team at work agreed to do a “journal challenge” that only two of us ended up participating in, and I ended up carrying on with it to the point that I purchased a 750words subscription.

My mistake, if you want to call it that, was probably not posting my goals and interests anywhere I could regularly see them, and yet…I’m happy with what my “projects” for the year ended up being. Some of them, like yoga and journaling and meditation, have been dormant desires for years. Who knows if I’ll be able to keep up with them into 2017, but I’m enjoying them for now.

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What I Read in February

March 2, 2016
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The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain ‚ÄĒ Like Jan Karon, I will read anything Bill Bryson writes. I’ve been a big fan since my early twenties, when a friend gave me a copy of¬†Notes From a Small Island¬†right before I departed for England to study abroad, and then returned later to work. This is basically the same book, revisited 20 years later. He even cracked many of the exact same jokes, which earned him the side-eye from me at times. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly in the end. I’ve been to a number of the places¬†he returned to, and was fascinated to hear how they’ve changed in my absence. The update on Stonehenge in particular, which included new research on the stone circle as recent as 2009, absolutely captivated me, and now I am dearly hoping I can fit in¬†a second visit when I’m in London for work this summer.

Design Mom: A Room-by-Room Guide to Living Well with Kids ‚ÄĒ Once I got past the the incredibly irritating images of massively over-styled living rooms where no child had clearly ever set foot, let alone lived well or otherwise, I found a lot to like in this book. Some¬†stuff that spoke to me:¬†implementing¬†vertical storage, avoiding stuff with licensed characters, dealing with the high volume of kid art (something¬†Clutterfree with Kids totally failed to address), making even unfinished spaces like basements and laundry rooms look and feel nicer, and more. Granted, I haven’t read the author’s¬†blog, but the book gave me the impression that her own house contains a¬†real-life mix of familial pieces both antique and¬†hand-me-down, nice anchor pieces like a leather sofa, stuff salvaged secondhand from friends/Craigslist/etc., and even furnishings¬†from the likes of IKEA and TJ Maxx. It all felt actually attainable, I guess is what I’m saying, which is not something I usually get from “design” bloggers. I¬†also liked her discussion of how there’s no “timeline” on this – that designing your home is a lifetime project and your needs are going to change constantly as you and your kids get older, so your space and your design is going to change a lot accordingly, and you just need to roll with it. As someone who really craves the feeling of being “done” and checking off a project, and who struggles with the perpetually ongoing nature of just about everything home-related, that was soothing to me.

Life Among the Savages ‚ÄĒ I’ve had the sample on¬†my Kindle forever, and there was no wait at the library for the ebook, so I gave it a shot. I made it to page 100 – it’s a fast read – but had to quit for my own sanity. Even after controlling for the social and cultural mores of the 40s and 50s, when the events of the book took place, I was unable to look past her husband’s absolutely staggering degree¬†of douchebaggery. I saw a Goodreads review that described the book as “not for feminists with high blood pressure” and that about sums it up.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too ‚ÄĒ¬†We’re very undecided on potential kid #2. Contrary to most couples, it seems like, a big blocker (for me, at least, I won’t speak for my husband) is the sibling rivalry issue. I grew up with what I feel like was a higher than average degree of sibling rivalry (that may or may not be true, but that’s how I perceive it) and my brother and I are still not particularly close.¬†It wasn’t a super pleasant way to grow up, and not wanting to experience that again in any form or to any degree, even from the parent side, is a huge deterrent to considering #2. Soooo, I picked up this particular book to see if it might reassure me that it might not be as big an issue as I have built it up to be in my mind. In that regard, it utterly failed. It was filled to the brim with horror stories. I realized afterwards that that was probably natural, as the author framed the book by recounting the questions and discussions from a series of classes she gave on sibling rivalry, and of course parents who have kids with that issue are going to be the ones seeking her class out. You won‚Äôt hear from the (numerous, I‚Äôm sure) parents of kids who DON‚ÄôT fight in this book. All that being said, it had a number of interesting techniques that this person has already helpfully recapped here.

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up ‚ÄĒ It’s essentially a rehash of much of her first book, so I¬†skimmed heavily at times, but the tone is very different. Much more methodology (especially about dealing with komono, which was pretty glossed over in her first book¬†–¬†this time, she actually goes room by room, so kitchen, office, bathroom, etc.), less animism (although there is some), and a whole lot¬†less of her own personal background. She also addressed a few¬†practical issues that¬†the first book lacked, like how to handle stuff that lives in storage most of the time, and how to deal with stuff like your screwdriver or colander or spare light bulbs or whatever¬†–¬†stuff that don’t necessarily¬†spark “joy” in the traditional sense but that you can’t get rid of either. On the whole, it’s a more balanced presentation than her first book¬†–¬†a lot more human, a lot less “my way or the highway.” It says “illustrated” in the title, but it’s not, really. There’s cute drawings of various spaces, and an illustration of folding.

The War that Saved My Life ‚ÄĒ This is technically a YA book but doesn’t really read like one, aside from being told from the POV of the nine-year-old main character. It was a really, really lovely story. The main character’s growth and development was wonderful to watch, and the ending was a tearjerker, but happy tears. And I haven’t been made to cry by a book since HP #5!

total: 6
abandoned: 1
loved: 3
enjoyed: 2
meh: 1
print: 6
audiobook: 0

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Now is the Winter of Our Discount Tent

February 15, 2016
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Hi there. Long time no blog, huh?

There’s been a couple¬†reasons for that. Near¬†the end of January, work turned¬†uber stressful for three weeks straight.¬†A new and challenging element was added to my responsibilities abruptly and without much in the way of acclimation or training.¬†Things are better now but it was not super fun to feel like I was a total noob¬†at my job again.

The other reason is that winter has been completely sapping what little of my energy that remains. By this point, we have left¬†“cozy” and other associated joys (or should I say “joys”) of this particular season behind weeks ago¬†and are now squarely¬†in the middle of “death by a thousand paper cuts” territory. I am¬†completely¬†at the end of my rope with the many trying little irritants of winter that make even just¬†the activities of daily living feel that¬†much harder. Coats that are perpetually¬†filthy from brushing up against the car, waking up several times a night¬†with a throat that feels like sandpaper, flaking skin on my face that makeup only accentuates rather than camouflaging, cracks in fingertips that won’t heal, hats and mittens constantly going¬†missing, staticky hair, hat head, constantly clammy toes, the giant-ass pile of boots in my entryway dripping snow, grit, and salt all over my floors. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg (what an appropriate analogy).¬†I could go on and on and on. I have had ENOUGH. I am DONE. I could not BE more done.

Maybe I should have bought that SAD lamp after all.

I’ve already warned David that we WILL be making a winter getaway trip next year instead of just talking about it like we always do.

The good news, I guess, is that if we can make it to March, the terrible hard freezes are generally behind us. We typically get at least one last huge dumping of snow during that month, but temperatures stay fairly reliably in the thirties during the day, the ice on the sidewalks finally clears up, and occasionally you even get a glimpse of a curb. Last year everything miraculously melted by mid-March and I remember one particularly glorious weekend where we broke out the grill two months earlier than expected and grilled brats for dinner.

Another good thing is that my mom is back from her world travels, and she took C¬†for an overnight this past weekend. With our free time, David and I ran a couple errands, revisited a favorite lunch spot in our former neighborhood, took a nap, saw a movie, went out for a nice dinner on Saturday, and had a nice brunch on Sunday. He got me pink and red tulips and we both exchanged cards.¬†Valentine’s Day is actually the anniversary of our getting together. Eleven years ago, we had recently met online through Yahoo! Personals, and after emailing back and forth for a week or so, we decided to meet in person. The first¬†available day¬†we both had open just happened to be Valentine’s Day, so¬†I proposed the following night instead, thinking that having a first date on V-Day might be weird. “Why would it be weird?” he said curiously. We went bowling, ate some truly terrible Chinese food because all of the classier¬†restaurants were booked solid, and he shook my hand in the parking lot afterward. Ah, the romance. We went out again a few nights later, saw a movie, went to dinner, talked so much we closed the restaurant down, kissed in the car when he dropped me off, and the rest is history. We moved in together eight months later and were engaged two months after that.

So anyway, that was a long way of saying that inspiration has been in short supply around here lately, but I wanted to at least check in. Back with hopefully a lot less weather-related grumping soon!

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What I Read in January

January 31, 2016
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I read a lot (obviously) but perhaps due to the volume,¬†whenever someone asks me what I’ve read recently or if I have any recommendations, I have a very difficult time coming up with any titles beyond¬†whatever my current read is. So I thought it would be fun to recount what I finished each month in hopes of cementing them in my memory a bit better. No links or plot summaries¬†because y’all know perfectly well how to navigate to Amazon and type a book’s name into the search box. Here’s my two-cent reviews of what I read in¬†January, listed in the order consumed.

Station Eleven ‚ÄĒ¬†Holy smokes,¬†I could¬†NOT¬†put this down. Brief¬†premise: A flu virus sweeps around the world, wiping out¬†99% of the global population within just a few days. I loved the way it flipped back and forth between 1) the initial aftermath and the survivors’ horrified realization¬†that life as it had been was never, ever coming back, and 2)¬†life as it had shaken out twenty years post-outbreak. I can’t decide which part I wanted EVEN MORE details on. At one point I did the math and thought, huh, 74 million people left, that still sounds like a lot to me, but in reality, it’s hardly any on a planet this size. That would be like if¬†every single¬†country in the world was decimated save for the¬†United Kingdom. Anyway, it gave me lots to think about. I’m still thinking about it, obviously.

The Desire Map Experience: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul ‚ÄĒ¬†Not a whole lot to say about this. I have enjoyed¬†several of Danielle‘s blog posts so I was excited to read this, but it didn’t hit the mark for me at all. Scattered and simplistic¬†platitudes, and it’s a mess of 4-6 different fonts, sizes, and¬†typefaces per page. Not a cohesive or absorbing reading experience, so I moved on.

Last Night in Montreal ‚ÄĒ¬†I picked this one up because I adored¬†Station Eleven¬†so much and wanted to read more of the author’s work. It wasn’t the same. I was downright depressed by so much spectacularly horrible parenting, and maybe I’m completely heartless, but my feeling is that¬†if one’s already deeply idiosyncratic girlfriend bailed on a relationship after just three months, my initial reaction would be more along the lines of “whew, dodged a bullet there” rather than¬†“better empty my life savings and pursue her all the way to¬†another country in order to ‘make sure she’s okay.'”¬†I later discovered that¬†Last Night in Montreal¬†was Emily St. John Mandel’s first¬†novel, so I’ll definitely read anything that comes after¬†Station Eleven¬†but I don’t think I’ll be checking out any more of her earlier works.

Come Rain or Come Shine ‚ÄĒ¬†My grandma got me started on the Mitford series ages ago…high school¬†or early college, maybe?¬†An Episcopal priest living in small-town North Carolina would ordinarily sound precisely¬†like Not My Kind of Book, but I borrowed my grandma’s copy of the first¬†volume¬†when I was visiting them on spring break and short of my own reading material for some reason. Back in the day, Jan Karon’s writing was truly laugh-out-loud hysterical and I loved them a lot. The overall quality of this series has declined over time but I keep reading, because, well, I’m invested now. This one led¬†up to a long-anticipated wedding between two particularly beloved characters and I’m always a sucker for those, so it wasn’t a bad way to pass a handful of hours.

This is Where I Leave You ‚ÄĒ¬†I have no idea why I downloaded this one, as “dysfunctional family comes together and wacky hijinx ensue” is not exactly my favorite trope. I can get that any time I want¬†in real life, thank you. But this one was hilarious. I was hooked from the very first chapter¬†by the excruciatingly detailed (in a good way) description of what happened when the¬†main character walked in on his wife having sex with his boss. On his wife’s birthday. And he’s holding his wife’s birthday cake. The main character’s father, although he wasn’t exactly present (having just died) reminded me a LOT of the Shit My Dad Says dad, and I liked that also.

French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure ‚ÄĒ¬†I was cleaning out a bunch of samples that have been living on my Kindle for ages, found the first chapter interesting enough, and it was available immediately through my library, so why not. I skimmed heavily at times, as it’s largely common sense advice. I’m not exactly in a stage of life at the moment that lends itself to the level¬†of walking, shopping, cooking, and overall attention to food that she advocates, but I wasn’t overly vexed¬†by the dichotomy as I read, it’s just a fact. I highlighted a few passages I found interesting, but nothing life-changing.

Attachments ‚ÄĒ¬†I “read” this one via Audible and, truthfully, I’ve actually been chipping away at it since November but only just finished this month. I had a really hard time getting into it, maybe because I was hearing the emails back and forth instead of reading them, and it took a lot of concentration to remember who was saying what. But exactly four hours in, it totally clicked and I could simply not stop listening. The ending was 100% worth the slow start.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do ‚ÄĒ¬†This was another audiobook, and it was read by the author, which I always enjoy. I first encountered this one while browsing¬†at Target and was intrigued enough by the title¬†to find¬†out more. I believe it was originally published as an article and garnered enough attention and discussion that it was later¬†expanded into a book. I was particularly interested in Amy Morin’s distinction between mental¬†health¬†vs.¬†mental¬†strength, which she discussed as¬†two entirely different‚ÄĒ¬†related, of course, but separate¬†‚ÄĒ¬†facets of a person. And Amy¬†knows of what she speaks¬†‚ÄĒ¬†her research is of course based on¬†her work as a therapist, but also borne out¬†through a fair amount of personal tragedy she went through in early adulthood, and she spoke frankly about it in the book’s introduction. One gem in particular that I’ve been musing on since I finished reading: “You’re only as good as your worst habit.”

Clutterfree with Kids¬†‚ÄĒ¬†This book is is by the same guy who writes the Becoming Minimalist blog and is most definitely geared toward people who have not even begun their minimalism journey yet. As we are already¬†fairly deep¬†into maintenance mode, he was¬†just preaching to the choir. My daughter is still at¬†an age where it’s fairly easy for me to manage her belongings¬†and”disappear” stuff¬†as necessary (or prevent its entry into our house in the first place) to keep us from getting overwhelmed, so¬†I was hoping for more¬†practical tips for when she’ll inevitably gain more autonomy over her own things, and this just wasn’t it. Oh, well.

total: 9
abandoned: 1
loved: 5
meh: 4
print: 7
audiobook: 2

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Bullet-Pointed Life

January 25, 2016
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How are things? Here’s some stuff that’s new in my world lately.

– Project: Basement Cleanout is coming along very nicely. We spent about 3 hours on Phase 1 last Monday when we both had the day off, which included lugging several bags of trash and recycling to the curb and packing an entire SUV full of stuff off to Goodwill. Our remaining belongings still need to be organized somewhat and shelved neatly, but ALL of the trash and junk is now OUT, which feels huge. David said he was going to be “ruthless” and he totally WAS. I was so proud!

– For someone who has only been exposed to Spanish since last July, C’s impeccable pronunciation blows me away. I really wish I could hear more of all that she knows ‚ÄĒ I know it’s way more than she lets on ‚ÄĒ but she doesn’t speak it at home very often, despite my best attempts to engage her in conversation.

– Speaking of daycare, this week they are starting yoga classes with the toddler and preschooler rooms. I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about this and I cannot wait to see the pictures and videos that the director has promised she’ll be taking.

– C provided us our very own “life’s bleachable moment” this weekend. This one, to be exact. So gross, but also pretty hilarious, even in the moment. Fortunately by the time I arrived on the scene, she’d only really gotten one good dunk and swish in, so the cleanup wasn’t that bad.

– After two weekends in a row of subzero temps, it has since warmed up substantially (20s and 30s), so on Saturday morning C and I bundled up in our winter duds and went outside to play. We ended up at the makeshift skating rink at our neighborhood park, which absolutely fascinated her (“That’s amazing!” she said, gazing at it raptly). I pushed her across the ice on the sled for quite awhile, we held hands and shuffled around like penguins, good times were had by all. I guess we’ll need to get the two of us some skates now!

– At 2y3m, C is juuuust closing in on having enough hair for a the tiniest ponytail on the very top of her head. Until now she’s been living vicariously through other people’s hair. We spent quite a bit of time doing and redoing her ponytail and admiring it in the mirror on Saturday. I’m going to have to pick up some more of those minuscule elastics for her, preferably in really bright colors.

– We actually cooked dinners on Saturday and Sunday, rather than just heating up stuff from Let’s Dish! Well, I say we but David does 99% of the cooking around our house. He made these pork soft tacos, which are one of our longtime favorites, and Lidia Bastianich’s bolognese from her Italian-American Kitchen cookbook. I wish I could find the recipe he used online, but trust me when I say it was spectacular.

– Late Saturday night I was sitting downstairs reading when C started to toss and turn and whimper. I waited to see if she’d settle on her own, but when she was still at it fifteen minutes later, I went in and asked if she needed a cuddle. She tucked up against my shoulder when we sat down in the glider and was snoring again within minutes. I sat and rocked with her for another half hour because it was so just so damn sweet and peaceful, and I so rarely get to see her sleeping these days unless it’s through the video monitor.

– Other weekend highlights included an hour-long massage (finally cashing in a gift certificate from my last birthday…uh, in June) and a lovely brunch at my dad’s house with his wife, my brother and sister-in-law, my one-year-old nephew, and my grandpa. The purpose was to get together one last time before they head west for the rest of winter like they do every year ‚ÄĒ first to California for a month in wine country, then to Utah to ski. I really wish we could join them for a few days but we don’t have the financials if we want to finish up our debt repayments by summer, and that’s our top priority right now. Maybe next year…

– Goals for the week: get to work earlier! And hit the gym at least three weeknights.

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Time Tracking: What I Learned

January 21, 2016
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As I mentioned in my last post, I ended up not tracking every second of my week, but I think I got enough to draw some conclusions.

I worked 40 hours on the nose. I spent 4.5 hours in the car between commuting and daycare drop-off and pickup, which seemed like a lot given that daycare is ~5 minutes from our house and my office is ~15, but I guess it all adds up. I try to mitigate the time in the car with audiobooks.

If I average out all my nights, my data says I slept ~7.5 hours a night. I…tend not to believe this. I know LV has reported that people consistently underestimate how much sleep they get, but I believe this figure is a better representation of¬†hours spent in bed, not necessarily hours¬†sleeping. I felt extremely¬†under-rested all week long as a result of staying up until 11 pm or later and had¬†insomnia on at least one night. That it took me 30-45 minutes every single day to drag myself out¬†of bed all week reflects this also. Not good. That chunk of time would have been much better spent on the front end of the night.

I exercised twice, once on a weeknight and once on the weekend. I’d like to get this up to at least 3 or 4 in total.

I spent time with my husband and daughter every weeknight, and all weekend together. We did a family outing on Saturday and just hung out at home on Sunday. I didn’t spend much alone¬†time with David doing anything particularly special or date-like (aside of chatting over dinner and before lights-out), and the reason for that is largely that it’s winter ‚ÄĒ¬†I beelined it straight to the warmth and¬†comfort of my electric mattress pad most evenings after¬†C was in¬†bed. But in nicer weather, we typically¬†spend large parts of every evening sitting¬†together and talking, either out in our yard or on the three-season porch.

I can also see some lifestyle changes¬†reflected in my data since the last time I tracked time. We no longer live in a major commercial area, so we run fewer errands and do a lot less shopping since it’s not as convenient to just run out on a whim. I’ve also dialed back the amount of time spent on housework compared to what I used to do ‚ÄĒ¬†it’s true that our stuff fits more comfortably in our new house, and it’s easier to keep things tidy, but this is also a conscious decision on my part to try to relax my standards. I still did general pickup, kitchen cleanup, and laundry, but generally no more than 15-30 minutes each weekday. Weekend days¬†involved more kitchen cleanup¬†due to cooking all three¬†meals a day at home.

Finally, I¬†seem to have quite a bit¬†of leisure time ‚ÄĒ¬†essentially¬†the rough equivalent of a part-time job. The vast majority was spent reading, but I also took in plenty of internet and social media, did an¬†e-course, went out for dinner with my family, spent an evening at a friend’s house, and sat in the hot tub at the gym. Of course, keeping one¬†eye on the clock all week meant that I was more purposeful about leisure than I might have otherwise been (no puttering, for example), but that’s never a bad thing. Seeing the exact number of hours spent on leisure¬†was¬†fairly eye-opening and makes me feel like I can safely allocate more of that time to exercise and sleep without feeling like I’m missing out too much on other things I want to do.

And¬†of course¬†now that I feel like I’ve got a handle on where my routine could be refined a bit, we’ve just switched things up again ‚ÄĒ¬†David is doing drop-offs so he can exercise right¬†after work instead of in the mornings, and I’m now doing pickups, so I’ll only be getting¬†myself out the door in the morning. I’d like to say that would make it faster, but I know myself. So perhaps one more week of tracking is in order for some new insights. Not this week, though. I need a break. ūüôā

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Time Tracking: Uh…

January 18, 2016
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Well, I kind of petered out there near the end and ended up not¬†physically¬†logging days 5, 6, and 7. But here’s a snapshot of how¬†I spent those three days.

I woke up on Friday morning feeling like crap.¬†Weak, achy, my sinuses hurt, lots of post-nasal drip, lots of coughing, raw (but not sore) throat. But nor did it feel precisely like a cold, flu, or sinus infection. Your standard winter crud? I¬†feel like it’s been waxing and waning since November. I had told David I wanted to attempt a morning workout at the gym to see if that would be feasible over the long-term, but given the way I was feeling, that was a nonstarter. I got C¬†ready and sent her off with David and then showered and went to work and picked up my computer and came back home. I worked all day but was able to toss¬†in some laundry here and there, and baked a double batch¬†of banana bread at lunchtime. David was home with C around 4:30. We chatted for a bit. He wasn’t feeling well, so he¬†went upstairs for a nap and I hung out with C, gave her dinner, ate my own dinner, and got her ready for bed. I’m not 100% sure what I did with the evening, but it involved some puttering, some blog reading, and some book reading.

Saturday I woke up feeling better physically but really crappy mentally. It was even colder this weekend than it was LAST weekend ‚ÄĒ with “feels like” temperatures as low as -35 degrees¬†‚ÄĒ and I was fed up as hell with the cold. For all the waxing poetic I did last weekend, being forced to hibernate instead of it being a choice¬†gave¬†the experience a definite shift from “cozy” to “claustrophobic.” I felt chilled to the bone,¬†extremely dried out and dehydrated in every way, and just plain DONE with winter. We killed some time in the morning drinking coffee and watching a TLC show called The Lottery Changed My Life ‚ÄĒ¬†sort of interesting in the wake of the $1.6 billion Powerball¬†‚ÄĒ and then we pulled ourselves together and went out anyway. We visited¬†a train store near our house that has tons of train tables for kids to play with, and to one of our favorite delis for lunch. When we got home, I tried to nap while C did, but I couldn’t sleep, so that irritated me further. I gave C a bath, we heated up enchiladas for dinner, and once C was in bed, I went to a friend’s house for movie night. I was home and in bed by 12:30 but couldn’t fall asleep until almost 3. Story of my life this week, apparently. I read my Kindle in the dark until I finally drifted off.

Sunday was better.¬†We didn’t do much, but I felt less hostile about it than I had the day before.¬†David made us breakfast of oven-cooked bacon and “fancy” eggs scrambled with cream cheese and chives, and¬†gave me my pick of time slots for the gym. I opted to go¬†first, and walked for an hour on the indoor track while listening¬†to my audiobook. That was nice. I came home and had lunch¬†and put C down for a nap (which was short and extremely restless), then showered and watched a movie while¬†David took his turn¬†at the gym. We scrounged leftovers for dinner and just hung out and relaxed in the late afternoon and evening. C had a slight fever yesterday so she went down easily at 7:30¬†after her non-nap earlier in the day. Around 8:45¬†I¬†cleaned up the kitchen, took care of some household stuff like changing our¬†bedding, and got in bed to read until lights-out at 11:30.


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Time Tracking, Day 4

January 15, 2016
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Are you bored with these yet? I kind of am. Not so much variety on weekdays for me. But for the sake of completion and posterity, I’m going to forge ahead.

On Thursday, I snoozed my alarm and didn’t fully wake up until almost 7:15. I grabbed my phone as usual but only for 15 minutes this time. C and I left the house closer to 8:30 (ack) and so between that and a quick stop to pick up some breakfast, I was at my desk by 9.

In the late afternoon, after another frazzled day, I called David, who had also had a stressful few days at work, and proposed a rare dinner out. We bandied around a few options but in the interest of simplicity and proximity (the places we were more interested in would have meant sitting in traffic), we decided on our neighborhood pizza joint. I left work around 4:45 and picked C up, and we met at the restaurant around 5:15.

We had a lovely meal out. C has always been an extremely good restaurant-goer, even as an energetic toddler, and we left around 6:30 feeling much more relaxed and looking forward to the rest of the evening. David took C home while I headed to the library nearby to pick up my reserve items. I was home by 6:45 and surprised to find C already completely ready for bed. I put my stuff down and commenced her book time at 7, which she dragged out until 7:45. I have a hard time cutting off books.

I got myself ready for bed and made a beeline upstairs for the comfort of my heated mattress pad, spent 30 minutes or so interneting and the rest of the time reading until lights out around 11. I couldn’t sleep, though. I tossed and turned until 12:30 and ended up grabbing my Kindle to read in the dark for a half hour until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and then I was out for good.

On a related note, I am seriously enjoying this series about how prominent New Yorkers spend their Sundays. Except for how poor I feel after reading them. ūüôā

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Time Tracking, Day 3

January 14, 2016
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I’m staying up too late this week, so I moved my alarm back to 7 and spent half an hour in bed with my phone upon waking. David was working from home, so he got C up and dressed while I got ready and we were out the door at 8:15, at work by 8:45. Same as as the other weekdays. I’d actually like to get her to school at least 15 minutes earlier, if not more. It’s good to see I can speed up my morning hygiene if I need to, so I guess I’ll either need to get up earlier or take it out of my phone time. ūüôā

Wednesday was a rather trying workday and I felt pretty tightly wound and low-blood-sugar-y when I left shortly after 4:30. Since David was home, I asked him to start prepping dinner so we could eat early, and I picked C up on the way home. We chatted about our days while he finished getting food on the table and we had dinner together as a family, including lingering at the table for about 15 minutes after we finished eating. I then gave C a bath and got her ready for bed while David cleared the table, unloaded the dishwasher, and stacked everything else in the sink.

While I was driving home from work earlier, I’d taken a page from this awesome book and asked myself: What would feel good right now? The answer came to me immediately: swimming. So as soon as C was in her jammies and snuggled up on the couch with David, I got myself ready for the gym and headed out at 7. I was in the pool by 7:15, swam laps for 45 minutes, and relaxed in the hot tub for 15. I was home by 8:30 and said hello to David and made myself a snack of air-popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. I finished cleaning the kitchen, got ready for bed, and read from roughly 9:30 to 11, when I turned the lights out.

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Time Tracking, Day 2

January 13, 2016
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Awake at 6:30; this time I spent 45 minutes in bed with my phone before physically getting up (on one hand: sigh; on the other: not so surprising, given how late I was up the night before). I shortened my getting-ready time by fifteen minutes accordingly (meaning I skipped blow-drying) and was out the door at 8:15 again. I did daycare drop-off and was at work by 8:45.

I left work at 4:45 and was home fifteen minutes later, David having picked C up. We hung out as a fam while David started preparing dinner. The rice burned just as everything else was coming off the stove, so I dashed to the grocery store that’s <5 minutes from our house for microwavable brown rice packets. Dinner was done by 6:45 and I attacked the cleanup while David got C ready for bed. I even pulled together the batter for banana bread in this time.

From 7 to 7:30 was C’s book time, although she kicked me out of her bedroom halfway through so SHE could sit in the glider instead of having to sit on my lap. I gave her a few books from her basket and she was more than happy to page through them on her own, “reading” the parts she recognized out loud. So incredibly freaking cute. I kept an eye on her through the open door while I finished picking up and put the banana bread in the oven.

Once she was down for the night, I puttered around and got ready for bed while waiting for the oven to ding, then moved upstairs to our bedroom to internet (45 minutes) and read (just over an hour or so). I tried to go to sleep around 10:30 but was feeling pretty restless and wound up still, so I ended up turning the light back on and reading for another half hour before falling asleep around 11.

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