Such a Year is 2016

I’ve been in a reflective mood these past few weeks. This year has been something else and I’ve still been trying to wrap my mind around it. So, in the spirit of introspection, I’ve been trying to figure where I’ve been and where I want to go.

introspection

From a career, or day job, perspective, I worked a major project for most of the last year that went live early this year. The project was very successful and it established me as an expert in my area which, as my father rightly put it, is a double-edged sword. There are days I can hardly do my job for people wanting to tap into my expertise. Not to mention there have been headcount changes and increased responsibilities. I am finally reaching a place where I can feel like I am no longer excessively behind, but it has been stressful. My eagerness to head into work every day has dimmed to an extent.

Also new this year, all of the kids are officially in school as of this August. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time. It means a different chapter in our lives, but it also means there is more maturity in all the children to an extent. This is my one year where everyone is in the same school before Kidlet One heads to junior high next year. But Kindergarten is a busy time so it requires more time commitment. So this often keeps me on my toes.

At some point, I can only guess it was the stress and exhaustion, I inexplicably gained 20 pounds and experienced fatigue so deep I could barely function.My creative well dried up and the thought of writing anything was just overwhelming. I was in a cesspool of unhappiness.

After a few months, I decided I could no longer live like that. I spent some time outside, taking advantage of our unseasonably warm weather. I started on the ketogenic diet, and after a few starts and stops, I can successfully say I am now losing weight and have loads more energy to get through the day.

And while my creative well is not quite flowing anew, it does contain a few droplets. I figured rambling along on some blog posts with regularity might be just what the inner creative ordered. I have a few things to go about over the next few weeks, and my goal is to get back to writing fiction again with some consistency.

Look for more in the coming days and I am excited to be back!

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A Day at a Time

Hello there, you smexy thing. I’m back for another round of blog posting. I’m going to try this new thing were I build my habit by posting every day, even if it’s just a tiny little bit of whatever.

My day started at 2 am when Kidlet Three woke up. It wasn’t all that unexpected seeing as he fell asleep on the way home. I was even pleased when he took one bite of a “hoptart”, drank half a glass of milk, blew out a bunch of snot, and fell back to sleep. I would have happily gone back to sleep too, except our 12 year old Cocker Spaniel/Chow Chow mix thought that I wanted to stay up and proceeded to bark from his kennel for over an hour. So I cleaned out my inbox and deleted a bunch of emails I didn’t need before finally deciding to get up and take a shower.

So now I am caffeinating, because that is the best (and only!) way to start the day. There is a light snow/sleet mix coming down and I need to get ready for work. Yet here I sit at the computer.

My marriage is facing struggles again. Or perhaps I should say that we are back to the same struggle we’ve had. Yesterday it just hit home again. Somehow we got on a path that causes my husband to say that I don’t deserve a break away from the kids or family stuff ever. Unless I want to fork over the dollars for it. I pay a decent wage for my babysitters so that gets expensive fast if I go that route. Meanwhile, all over my real and my online lives, other mothers who have spouses that tell their wives, “Go. Take that break. you deserve it.” And all I can wonder is why I am not worthy. He gets to go do things. Other mothers get to go do things. I NEED that time alone for my sanity and I’m not getting it. I suffer. but I can’t seem to convince him that I would be a much happier, healthier, BETTER wife and mother if I got that time.

So we’ve reached a bit of an impasse. I can’t let it go and he won’t give in. This produces a lot of stress. Coincidentally (or not), this has a produced an increase in my hip pain.  I thought my reduction in pain was from another cause, but multiple variables changed when my pain decreased, and I now suspect stress and anxiety are a big trigger. I was finally able to see a rheumatologist and while he doesn’t think I have signs of ankylosing spondylitis, there appears to be something going on. My bloodwork is normal, but on the borderline of the high end of the range, and  I wasn’t having a lot of pain issues when it was drawn. Today I get X-rays, which I am looking forward to. Hopefully some answers and some better pain management. Now that I’ve made the stress/anxiety connection, I need to figure out how to minimize it. A conflict that cannot be solved doesn’t help.

Getting lost in the crazy world of day job doesn’t sound so bad right now.

It Feels Like Fall. Busy, Busy Fall

While I had grandiose plans of all the things I wanted to accomplish this summer, it mainly fell to two things: doing some things with the kids and resting/rejuvenating myself.

I have been enjoying every Friday off since around the beginning of summer and each week I make a list of the millions of things I am going to accomplish. Each week, I have accomplished very little on these lists. Most of the time, I have demands from the two littlest people in my life to contend with. My middle child doesn’t act like your typical three year old and would give most adults a run for their money. Meanwhile, Mr. ClimberPants is busy trying to scare the daylights out of me and find new, exciting, Dangerous! things to do with his time.

Other mornings, it takes the whole morning before I can enjoy my coffee and catch up on the internet. That may sound like some serious time-wasting to some folks, but the internet is where most of my friends live. Particularly my writer friends. I spend quite a bit of time hanging out with the cool people of the Absolute Write (AW) Water Cooler, so this is my socialization. I don’t get to maintain many real life friendships, so the online ones really count. Plus, the people are really awesome and get all the weird facets of my personality. Fellow writers unite!

But the last couple of weeks have welcomed a change. I think I’ve finally decompressed enough from some of the stress in my life to start living it again, which is a major thing. But I’ve managed to tackle some of those projects waiting out there for me to get done.

I’ve been writing again as well. I think that is an effect of hanging out with the hooligans of AW’s chat more often. They encourage and pester and challenge me to Word Wars until I want to write. Then the words flow like magic, which is awesome. My biggest writing hump is usually getting going. If I stay away too long, I lose my momentum and forget what I was going for when I wrote the last time.

One of the other big things to tackle is to getting rid of the clutter in our house. I have let things get severely out of hand and now the job is enormous. I really just need to break down the cleaning up and tackle chunks at a time. So, I’ll keep making lists and work harder to get more things checked off. Motivation seems to be a hard thing to hang onto these days.

And I’ve got some big things planned for the kiddos for Christmas this year. A kid-sized entertainment area, which requires getting rid of some of the things we have now and implementing new systems to manage and store things. I’m still sketching out ideas in my head, but I think the kids will like having a private area just for them

Quite a bit of the time lately has been me in pain again. It’s all in my hips and lower back. I strongly suspect ankylosing spondylitis, which is a degenerative, inflammatory spinal disease that is autoimmune based. It’s also hereditary and my dad was diagnosed many years ago. I keep putting off going to the doctor to get an official diagnosis, perhaps out of denial? I can’t acknowledge what isn’t confirmed, you know? But the pain is getting out of hand.

Also, I need to take up yoga because that would help a lot. But I don’t really have the time or babysitter to get to any of the classes around here, so I’ve been looking for a good beginner’s video. Then once I get the computer room cleaned out and the kids’ area set up, I should have the perfect spot to do yoga. Maybe I can get the kids to join me. They’d like that.

I have a lot of topics I’d like to write about. I’ve been trying to give my writing the attention it deserves, so I hope to get started on those sometime soon in the future.