Resolutions–October Check-in!

Guys, it was summer and a lot happened! In many ways I’m feeling better about life all around, perhaps in part because I have now been on an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication for about 3 months! That was not on my list of goals for the year, but hey, it’s good stuff. So, how are we doing on the list?

  1. Drink more water. Never!
  2. Sleep at least 6 hours per night. This got better for awhile, and now it’s getting worse again, for the silly reason that I have gotten totally absorbed in the Outlander series, and where I used to go to bed and read for like 15 minutes before fell asleep, I will now literally read for an hour and a half and not realize how much time has gone by. Not so healthy, but kind of…..charming? Enjoyable? To be so swept up in an escapist delight (though a weirdly, grossly homophobic one–not OK) that I forget to sleep. Feels like middle school. Except that I’m not 13 anymore. 
  3. Aim for 7. NOPE.
  4. Exercise 5 days per week. So! I’m doing this! Well, kind of. At the same time that I started my medication I committed to doing yoga videos every morning. And I do! OK, sometimes they are like 11 minutes long, and most of the time they do not even lead to breaking a sweat, so it’s not exactly *exercise*–but I’m stretching, working on balance, focusing on breathing, building strength in my wrists and ankles, thinkinging about posture, etc. It’s all better–a lot better!–than doing nothing. And the biggest surprise was that I *already had time for it*–I was just dicking around in the mornings. Ongoing, but I took the first big leap, and I’ve been keeping it up for close to three months now, so I’ll go ahead and say goal complete!
  5. Eat more vegetables. On the whole we’re doing OK. We grilled a LOT of vegetables (a lot of cauliflower, esp!) this summer, which was exciting. Right now L. is obssessed with frozen peas and corn, like, from your school lunch. So…that’s not the *best* vegetable option (actually, isn’t it a starch and a legume?) but we sure do have a lot of it around…Good enough/goal complete. 
  6. Be kinder to my spouse. Wasn’t there a goal on this list related to going out with my spouse? Why can’t I find it now? I have no idea. Anyway, we’ve been doing a somewhat decent job of getting out alone together somewhat regularly, with another fun date night on the near horizon.
  7. Be less rigid.
  8. Have more fun.
  9. Roll with the punches.
  10. Take the long view. Everything is temporary. Everything can change. Indeed, everything will change, whether I want it to or not. I think I’m seeing this manifest itself more and more in being willing to take baby steps on projects in life and around the house. I can be an obsessive completist, which means either I go overboard and stay up for 30 hours straight sorting books and can’t do anything else until it’s done, *or* if I have any doubt or hesitation about my ability to complete the whole job, I just procrastinate and don’t do it at all. Lately I have been able to tackle one or two unpacked boxes of books in an evening, stop at a reasonable hour, be satisfied, know that I’ll have to come back and do more tomorrow, but that I’m further along than I was yesterday. That’s pretty satisfying. On the other hand, with friends and family and stuff I’ve gone the other way: it was way too easy for awhile to think we’d have lots of time later, and for somehow five years to pass between seeing each other, because….life is long. Not anymore. I’ve gotten increasingly aggressive about trying to get folks together as frequently as possible. And I’ve never regretted it. 
  11. Take myself as seriously as I expect other people to take me (like, carry business cards and shit). This is always a challenge for me, but I’ve been feeling better about it lately. 
  12. But also take stuff in general less seriously.
  13. But also do not become complacent/paralyzed/apathetic re: the world/our nation/social justice. Hey I did the RESISTBOT re: the Cassidy-Graham Bill the other week and it was the first thing I’d done in months (besides the ongoing donations, which are in fact ongoing and do in fact count). This is one of those areas where routine makes all the difference. 
  14. Just keep grieving. Yes. Grief is a living thing. It comes and goes and rises and sinks and changes. I’d like to write another post on the books and media that I have found most valuable in the last 18 months of processing, some of the most important of which were just in the last few months. I *have* gotten to a point where I’m far enough away from the initial event that I can actually feel empathy for others again. I remember shortly after my dad’s death, I thought something like, ‘Well, if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that I’ll be more compassionate to others in the same boat.” I wasn’t.  For a long time. But I am now. 
  15. Pull my weight re: nurturing friendships; do my fair share of organizing, hosting, prodding, reaching out, reminding, and lowering the overhead as much as possible for busy people to spend good time together. I am so satisfied with progress on this front that I’m going to cross it off the list as goal achieved, even though I intend to continue on. Every week that we were in town this summer we invited people over for drinks in the evening. Sometimes no one came, a couple times lots of people came, most of the time 1-4 people came (which was perfect). As a result, I helped my friends get out of the house, and I spent real time talking and laughing with all the best people probably at least 8-10 times in the last 3 months. 
  16. Participate in the weekly Sunday night potluck dinner organized by a former neighbor at least quarterly. Aim for monthly. Goal retired.
  17. Cook more real food for dinner at my house. I’m not even conscious of this anymore, which means that we’ve struck enough of a balance that it’s starting to become routine. It’s still a mix of actual homemade and semi-homemade, but overall we do ok. Goal achieved. 
  18. Eat dinner as a family, at the table. Guys! This is happening! We pretty much always eat dinner together now. And Liddie is even starting to help in the kitchen! It took time and for a long time she just wasn’t ready and I was impatient. But we’re getting there, and it’s delightful. On a good day, I actually sit down to eat and have a conversation (such as it is) with my kid at the table. Whoulda thunk this day would ever come? Goal achieved. 
  19. Make time to speak with my mom at least weekly, more if possible. Things got better for awhile there in the summer but now that the school year has started up again this is hard. Will keep at it. 
  20. Make time to speak to my aunt and my grandma at least monthly, more if possible. I have not kept up with this, and I need to. My grandma has been through tons of health trauma this summer, and is now in a nursing facility. I tried calling her several weeks ago and she didn’t answer. I sent her a postcard last week, and since I have three more work trips this fall, my plan is to send her one from each destination. That feels really insufficient, but I will do it nonetheless. 
  21. Curtail Facebook usage (unless actually writing meaningful messages to the above or others) NOPE. GOAL RETIRED BECAUSE I NO LONGER CARE ABOUT THIS. 
  22. Blog more. Not lately. It’s OK–I don’t feel like I’m failing or anything. But there are a few things that have been percolating in my mind that I want to say. I’ll get to them some day. 
  23. Write more letters. Nope
  24. Make a weekend with Kelsey and Robyn happen.
  25. Visit my aunt and grandma in Denver .
  26. Get my high school girlfriends to Michigan for a visit. Goal achieved!
  27. Take one awesome, adventurous, ambitious family vacation. It’s booked! Roma, here we come! 
  28. Make our bedroom a nice, warm, comfortable, functional, attractive, calming, intentional place to be, rather than the garbage pile where we hide everything that we don’t want anyone else to see. Paint. Window treatments. Closet. A bed. OK, we’re making virtually no progress on our bedroom, but instead, we’re making progress on the other upstairs room, which we want to convert into Liddie’s room, hopefully by the end of the year. So….goal changed. 
  29. Renovate our kitchen. NOPE.
  30. Establish a personal desk/table/corner/space for my crafts/personal projects/special off-limits pens/whatever YES, DONE, AND IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE! 
  31. When not on vacation/sick/out of the office, respond to email within 48 hour. LOL 
  32. Fix our goddamn roof. YES DONE! And then we sprang leaks in other places and ultimately replaced our whole roof. (Sam even *mostly* fixed the ugly stains and bubbling paint where the leak was, but it needs a little more work to really be done)
  33. Obtain access to a functional and comfortable bicycle. Not yet, but I’m actively working on this. I have asked for a bike for “Christmas”, by which I mean, make it my Christmas present, but I actually want to get it ASAP in order to ride while the weather is nice. The main thing here is that I’m startled by how expensive they are (I guess I shouldn’t have been but I’ve literally never bought a bike) and trying to wrap my head around how to get started. Suggestions? 
  34. Create playroom space in our basement. We made the space, but it weirdly turned out to be closer to a mancave than a child’s playroom, and in any case we’re not using it for anything yet, except that the cats throw up in there regularly. *shrug*
  35. Swimming lessons for Liddie. No, but I’m very happy with the swimming practice and exposure she got this summer. Now that the outdoor pool in our neighborhood is closed, I think lessons in the winter would be a good idea to keep her acclimated and build some new skills.  
  36. Take Liddie ice skating. Not yet, but I think we could manage this in the last quarter of the year. 
  37. Help my mom move out of our family home. Ease this transition as much as possible with significant practical and emotional support, i.e. a substantial stay with her this spring.  Cry as much as needed. Do not withdraw, do not fail to show up for this. Goal achieved. 
  38. Cruise on my brother’s schooner!!! Goal achieved.
  39. Make regular donations to worthy causes. Ongoing monthly donations to ACLU and PP. Renewed our children’s museum membership and Detroit Institute of Art membership. Soon we’ll renew our Detroit Zoo membership as well. I will go ahead and consider this achieved. 
  40. Visit with Liddie’s birthmother in person at least once. Aim for three times. This has not panned out and I’m beginning to wonder how realistic it is, and how much I should push vs. back off. But I will continue to remain in contact via text and open to whatever possibilities might arise. 
  41. Do something fun on purpose for my birthday. YES! Over the weekend Kelly, Mallory, and I went to East Lansing to see Fun Home–which I am still thinking about constantly–and enjoyed a sushi feast with tasty cocktails to boot. Good birthday. Alos, on my actual birthday, I told L. what day it was and completely unprompted she started singing to me, so, best present ever. Goal complete. 
  42. Participate in the neighborhood yard sale. Done, though not as spectactularly successful as in years past. We made a dent in the stuff in the basement, and then the next day realized that we completely forgot to put out a stupid chair and lamp that are taking up a huge amount of space in the basement. I really, really don’t want to hold them till next year, so maybe we’ll just put them on the curb. Goal complete. 
  43. Go to the beach. Goal achieved
  44. Find a way that also works for spouse to regularly schedule to space and time to myself that does not involve staying up puttering until 1 a.m.: mental health days, Saturday mornings out, whatever. I have significantly improved my morning routine, and it helps a lot, though I still wouldn’t mind more organized time out to myself. 
  45. Set up auto-pay or reminders as appropriate to pay all bills on time. Seriously. I suck at this. Missed my credit card bill *again* last month. Why? Why? Why? 
  46. Clean house more consistently. Sweep, vacuum and bathrooms weekly, that would be  a significant improvement and good enough. Nope. Has completely fallen off a cliff.
  47. See more movies in the theater. Enough movies that I’m not devastated every time I manage to go and it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I love going to the movies. It brings me joy and it is probably the number one thing that I used to do a lot of and now do practically none of. Not making a ton of progress here, but add Atomic Blonde to my previous screenings of Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman. (In short, I’m seeing movies in order of escalating female bad-ass-ness.) And I liked all of them, which is a much better track record than 2015 or 2016. Maybe I’m choosing more carefully. I’m really intrigued by what I’m hearing about Blade Runner 2049, so I think I’d like to make a point to see that. Next weekend we are also seeing Loving Vincent at the Detroit Film Theater, which should be an experience! So, this is ongoing, but with 3/3 positive movie going experiences and two more on the horizon I think I’ll go ahead and call it complete. 
  48. See at least one live theater performance. YUP–Fun Home, as above. I absolutely loved it and feel every human should see it. Was hoping to also take my mom to My Fair Lady at the Lyric Opera, but that didn’t quite work out. Will try to be more proactive about looking for more opportunities, but technically, goal complete. 
  49. Have a big-ass Christmas tree. Brought back an artificial tree from my mom’s house. I don’t think it’s that big, but at least we’ll definitely have a full size tree this year. And it was free, so that’s cool. I love decorating a Christmas tree, so looking forward to it. 

Three quarters of the way through the year, I have completed or made enough progress to feel like it counts, on 21 of 49–most of the concrete, actionable ones. Considering some of these things are impossible, vague, never ending, or badly defined, I think that’s not bad!

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Resolutions-February Check-in

This list is rapidly splitting into stuff that is really happening and that stuff that is clearly wishful thinking and will never happen! Unfortunately it seems to be the most basic self-care items that land on the “never happening” list. Two months down, where do we stand?

  1. Drink more water. BIG FAT NOPE. 
  2. Sleep at least 6 hours per night. This one is a disaster. For the last month or so I’ve been working 3-4 hours after dinner, 3-4 nights a week. My alarm goes off at 5 a.m.I regularly go to bed anywhere between 12 and 1 a.m. I know I shouldn’t do this, but when I don’t I feel like I just get more and more behind each day. It’s catching up with me–or rather, it has caught up with me–and the ongoing fatigue is spilling over into every part of my life.  There’s too much on my plate right now and I’m not handling it well–i.e., by finding a way to delegate, prioritize, etc. It’s a busy/crazy time for *everyone* in our office, is part of the problem, so it doesn’t feel like there’s any alternative/backup/way out. Some of this stuff is temporary and will pass in the next month or three. Sigh. 
  3. Aim for 7. NOPE.
  4. Exercise 5 days per week. ZERO EXERCISE IS HAPPENING IN THIS HOUSE. 
  5. Eat more vegetables. Guys, right now for breakfast I am eating a pile of potatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, shallots, and cauliflower, all roasted by me, all leftovers from various meals this week. With a fried egg on top and a drizzle of red pepper sauce, also made by me. I cooked CHARD this month for the first time ever. My vegetable game is still minimal compared to many of my friends, but in terms of growth, it’s about the only area where I feel I’ve made significant improvement. P.S. Roasted red cabbage is delicious
  6. Be kinder to my spouse. We’ve both had the opportunity to be generous to one another this month with colds and sinus infections abounding. Sam’s been down and out for much of this month. With various travel and work obligations we’ve been kind of like ships in the night lately. But we did have a fun Valentine’s Day at the Creature Conservancy. Got to focus on another date night this month. 
  7. Be less rigid. NEVER. YOU BE LESS RIGID.
  8. Have more fun. I feel like I’m doing OK at finding pockets of fun–like book clubs, “lunch dates” with friends, and trips to see my friends. I feel like I’m not doing so well at actually having more fun with life–taking a lighter attitude, being more relaxed in my day-to-day life. Over the last two days I have spent an unreasonable amount of time creating mashups of LaLa Land and the Goofy Movie, which has brought me an extraordinary amount of joy, even though apparently no one else in the universe appreciates this particular cultural juxtaposition.  But doing something completely frivolous, silly, and creative feels really good. Last night when showing Sam one of these videos he said it was the happiest he’d seen me in weeks. That’s probably….not ideal. 
  9. Roll with the punches. All of 6-9 feels difficult/impossible when I’m exhausted and dehydrated and badly nourished and my body is all tightly wound. That’s why I put all that stuff about nutritious food and exercise and water and sleep at the top of the list. Ha. The struggle continues. 
  10. Take the long view. Everything is temporary. Everything can change. Indeed, everything will change, whether I want it to or not. Nothing proves this like potty training! 
  11. Take myself as seriously as I expect other people to take me (like, carry business cards and shit).
  12. But also take stuff in general less seriously.
  13. But also do not become complacent/paralyzed/apathetic re: the world/our nation/social justice. I’ve done effectively NOTHING in February. 
  14. Just keep grieving. We’re closing in on one year since my dad got sick and went into the hospital–that happened at the end of March last year. It was another month later that he died. So we’re not quite at the anniversary yet, but stuff is starting to creep up again. For example, my aunt was recently talking about her granddaughter’s upcoming first birthday. I was trying to remember exactly when she was born and it turned out it was like 36 hours before my dad was hospitalized. My mom admitted she had no memory of any of this. I mean, she remembered that the baby was born. But not at all when her birthday was and how that all went down. We all went into a different zone from late March onward, and a lot of stuff that I’ve set aside a bit (I know, right? You wouldn’t think I’d set anything aside, but apparently I did, cause it’s all coming back now) is re-surfacing. 
  15. Pull my weight re: nurturing friendships; do my fair share of organizing, hosting, prodding, reaching out, reminding, and lowering the overhead as much as possible for busy people to spend good time together. This one I continue to feel really good about as well. I have catalyzed or facilitated a number of social gatherings and a couple of weeks ago leapt at the spontaneous opportunity to haul the two-year-old across the state for an afternoon to spend time with her gramma, great-aunt, and second cousins, and some of our dearest friends. If this and eating vegetables turn out to be the two areas where I’m successful this year, that would be enough. Feeling bummed this week because two lunches with friends have been cancelled due to illness (theirs). I know I should just be grateful for good health. Per usual. But it’s hard not to feel like everyone is flaking out on me. 
  16. Participate in the weekly Sunday night potluck dinner organized by a former neighbor at least quarterly. Aim for monthly. At this point I just don’t see this happening and maybe I should just admit it and take the pressure off. Goal retired? 
  17. Cook more real food for dinner at my house. I would say we properly cooked fewer times in February than we did in January due to illness, travel, eating all of January’s leftovers, and trying to balance evening time challenges. But I still feel good about this one, and I feel like I’m starting to see the cascading benefits of being more in practice with cooking: there are more fresh foods in the fridge on a regular basis, and I am starting to be able to see more and do more successfully with them. Not necessarily anything terribly exciting. But stuff that means it gets eaten, not wasted, and it usually turns out pretty well. This is translating to maybe 2-3 actual cooked from scratch meals per week (plus other, mostly semi-homemade, assembled meals), plus leftovers, plus making interesting breakfasts out of the odds and ends. Again, other people do a lot more than we do, but this represents real progress, a real change in how we engage with food, and we seem to be able to keep it up at this pace, and I am really happy with the direction we’re headed. Dude. We’re *not* eating frozen pizza twice a week. 
  18. Eat dinner as a family, at the table. When we can. This also entails being realistic about the toddler’s abilities. She’s a sleeper, thank the Lord, she always has been, but this means if we’re not starting bath/bedtime stuff by about 7, things go downhill rapidly. We walk in the door at 6, so with walking the dog and cooking it is rarely possible to get dinner on the table by, say 6:30. Last night she ate yogurt and grapes while I cut all the vegetables, and then as soon as I got them in the oven she completely melted down and just went straight to bed. We haven’t figured this out. I think it’s one of those things that will just have to come in its own time–but I do like at least being conscious of trying to do it when possible. 
  19. Make time to speak with my mom at least weekly, more if possible. This is going pretty well, though we’ve been off-cycle the last two weeks or so with conflicting schedules. 
  20. Make time to speak to my aunt and my grandma at least monthly, more if possible. I think I managed this. Also since I saw them in person I’ll give myself a pass. 
  21. Curtail Facebook usage (unless actually writing meaningful messages to the above or others) NOPE.
  22. Blog more. Meh. I guess monthly re-hashes are better than nothing? 
  23. Write more letters. Not yet. 
  24. Make a weekend with Kelsey and Robyn happen. YES, DONE! Woooooo it was the best ever. 
  25. Visit my aunt and grandma in Denver YES, DONE! Next step is to try to get aunt and company here for a visit, but we’ll get there when we get there.
  26. Get my high school girlfriends to Michigan for a visit. Not yet. 
  27. Take one awesome, adventurous, ambitious family vacation. Not yet. 
  28. Make our bedroom a nice, warm, comfortable, functional, attractive, calming, intentional place to be, rather than the garbage pile where we hide everything that we don’t want anyone else to see. Paint. Window treatments. Closet. A bed. Our bed is still unfinished. I got a “portable” canvas closet, so at least my clothes are in the room now and I can expand my wardrobe beyond the same three turtlenecks. I’m not really sure if this counts as a step toward “finishing” the room, though, as it looks worse. Basically, static. 
  29. Renovate our kitchen. NOPE.
  30. Establish a personal desk/table/corner/space for my crafts/personal projects/special off-limits pens/whatever This is slooooooowly coming together. I have cleared and claimed a table and started to collect some stuff on it, but there’s a way to go. So far this table has only been used for working until 1 a.m. and not for letter writing and crafts. BOOOOO. 
  31. When not on vacation/sick/out of the office, respond to email within 48 hour.
  32. Fix our goddamn roof. YES DONE! (Now just to fix/clean up the interior wall/ceiling that got all fucked up from the water)
  33. Obtain access to a functional and comfortable bicycle. NOPE
  34. Create playroom space in our basement. NOPE
  35. Swimming lessons for Liddie. NOPE
  36. Take Liddie ice skating. NOPE
  37. Help my mom move out of our family home. Ease this transition as much as possible with significant practical and emotional support, i.e. a substantial stay with her this spring.  Cry as much as needed. Do not withdraw, do not fail to show up for this. Talked to my mom about this last night and we have some dates on the calendar for a longer visit focused on house clean out. I’m not sure anymore whether this will correspond or even be close to when she actually moves, but it’s something anyway. 
  38. Cruise on my brother’s schooner!!! We’re looking at Labor Day weekend. We might book this as soon as today!
  39. Make regular donations to worthy causes. Ongoing.
  40. Visit with Liddie’s birthmother in person at least once. Aim for three times. Have not yet reached out to her to arrange a visit, but I have started talking to Liddie about her more deliberately. Got a photo magnet made of a picture of her and Liddie together from about a year ago, and stuck it up where she can see it and we have looked at it together and talked about it a few times. 
  41. Do something fun on purpose for my birthday. Trip to Lansing to see Fun Home with friends is booked!
  42. Participate in the neighborhood yard sale. The pile is in my basement. 
  43. Go to the beach. I wish. 
  44. Find a way that also works for spouse to regularly schedule to space and time to myself that does not involve staying up puttering until 1 a.m.: mental health days, Saturday mornings out, whatever. Last weekend I got away for a girls’ weekend, which was awesome, but that’s really a one-time/rare event. The week *before* that, though, I got out for a couple of hours and went shopping. That was glorious. 
  45. Set up auto-pay or reminders as appropriate to pay all bills on time. LOL. Credit card bill late again this month. For the second month in a row. 
  46. Clean house more consistently. Sweep, vacuum and bathrooms weekly, that would be  a significant improvement and good enough. Pretty sure I haven’t cleaned since the LAST monthly check-in. I asked Sam to scrub the toilets once when I had Liddie out of the house for a whole Sunday. Fair’s fair. 
  47. See more movies in the theater. Enough movies that I’m not devastated every time I manage to go and it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I love going to the movies. It brings me joy and it is probably the number one thing that I used to do a lot of and now do practically none of. NOPE. Zero movies. Had plans to go with the girls over the weekend, but we decided instead to have ice cream, makeup shopping, and a nap. I don’t regret the choice. I still want to see Hidden Figures and (since Lala Land destroyed my soul) I now have unreasonably high expectations for Beauty and the Beast. 
  48. See at least one live theater performance. BOOKED!
  49. Have a big-ass Christmas tree. LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

Wednesday is the new Monday

Reader, you should know that  this blog was born in an unusually decadent moment: I took two, count ’em, two vacation days in a row, and spent them right here at home with no family, travel, or pet-related obligations whatsoever. I did a bunch of shopping (more on that later) and a bunch of blogging, and as a result, you might have the impression that what I do is sit around my house trying on clothes, looking at pictures of myself, and forcing them upon the internet at large.

OK, well that’s true. But also, I work. And tomorrow I’ll be back at it, feeling refreshed after a much-needed mental break.

The only question is….what should I wear??