Dreary Spring Brain Dump

It’s another case of not wanting to write anything until the things in my mental queue have been posted: namely, Operation Braceface Day 1272 (debonding + retainers) and a Muffin Round-Up (since I’ve had multiple requests for my three-point muffin recipes). I need to get some of this out, though, even if just so I can look at it and realize how #firstworldproblems it all is.

I’m just meh. The weather is getting me down, I think: it’s been dreary and overcast and drizzly for the past several days. (I wouldn’t do well in the Pacific Northwest.)

I’m also adjusting to wearing retainers full-time, and having to remove them for eating or drinking anything except water. That makes my morning coffee a bit more tedious, since I have to schlep down to the ladies’ room to remove my retainers while my Keurig is brewing. When I was wearing braces, I had to remove my elastics, sure, but I could do that surreptitiously at my desk. Not so with the retainers. I’m getting better at removing them, but I still slobber all over myself.

I’m also feeling — as usual — like I have so many things to get done, and I’m not motivated to do any of them in the hour I get after Connor goes to bed. Things I need to do, like getting the box of shit from my old desk filed into my new desk, and mending Connor’s torn pants before he grows out of them, and going through Connor’s preschool papers and projects that are languishing on the kitchen counter, and filling out some life insurance paperwork, and logging our donations to charity so we don’t have to guesstimate when tax time rolls around next year. Things I want to do, like editing together the video I took in the front garden on Monday, or ordering more prints for my photo album, or repotting some houseplants that desperately need it, or reseasoning the rest of the cast iron, or baking more muffins, or inviting people to our annual shindig that’s supposedly happening in 2½ weeks (update: did that one today).

My TeuxDeux list keeps rolling over to the next day, and over, and over, and I just can’t seem to muster up any fucks to give.

Oh, and just as I was getting excited for Spring, I had to order plant covers on Amazon for the three tomatoes I planted prematurely, since the low temps this weekend are supposed to dip near freezing. Luckily, as we approach closer to the weekend, the forecast gets increasingly less freezy, so I shouldn’t lose any plants to the cold. Hopefully.

I don’t know. I guess maybe I’m just hormonal and blah. Maybe I’m low on sunshine or exercise. All I know is that it’s really hard to break out of one of these funks — for more than a few hours at a time, anyway — and there’s no good reason I should be all funky like this. I’ve got plenty of good things going for me right now.

Oh, No! Four-Oh!

I haven’t really been feeling the blogging thing lately, but I can’t let a big birthday like this get too far past me without writing about it.

Actually, turning 40 was not nearly as big of a deal as turning 30 was. I had kind of a weird, hormonal, existential crisis surrounding age 30, where turning 40 felt more… Zen. I’m in the best shape of my life, physically; I feel comfortable with being myself; and most aspects of my life are stable (even my son, who is constant in his ever-changing nature).

My big present from Aaron was a new desk:

New Desk

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I broke up with my hairstylist this morning.

Well, technically, we really just agreed to see other people. Our long-distance relationship just wasn’t working out for me anymore.

We were pretty serious: over seven years together, exclusive. I never saw anyone else — although I will admit I trimmed my own bangs from time to time over the years.

My first experience with Kristie was when she rescued me from a grown-out discount haircut. She earned my trust with that first haircut, after I’d lost faith in hairstylists with that K.D. Lang haircut debacle.

Once I had my son in late 2011, though, evening haircuts were no longer an option, so that meant going in before work and being her first client of the day — and she would even come in a half hour early, just for me. It was still just a ten-minute drive from my house, though. Not that big of a deal, apart from coming to work late.

Then we moved to a new house in early 2013, and my ten-minute drive to the salon became fifteen on a good day. Then the salon moved to a new location last year, in an outdoor mall south of town, and my 15-minute drive on surface streets became a 15-minute drive on the expressway plus a half hour of hanging out in the parking lot (or mall-walking), since the mall forbade them from opening before 9am (and they had to negotiate for even that early).

Meanwhile, this salon has another location only a five-minute drive down the street from my house.

I finally decided that I’d take the plunge today. I’d been meaning to break it to her the past couple of times, but I kept chickening out and just scheduling another appointment with her. As we were finishing up the last touches on my hair this morning, I finally told her I was thinking about trying out the other location, being that it’s only five minutes from my house.

She took it relatively well, and gave me three referrals at their other location, so I can have some options and see who I like the best. I gave her a 40% tip and promised to come back every now and then.

It’s seriously like breaking off a long-term romantic relationship. It’s a long-term interpersonal relationship based on trust and confidence. It feels weird to know that the next time I get my hair cut, it will be done by a complete stranger again.

But it’s good to know that, unlike most romantic breakups, Kristie will always be happy to see me again.

Saw the best vanity plate on my evening commute: “RAAAWR”

I salute you, Mr. Smoker In A Subaru.

Brain Dump

I’m one of the rare birds who keeps a personal blog about all aspects of my life, not just one. My blog is about Diana Schnuth, not about just gardening, or diet and fitness, or photography, or parenting, or any other single aspect of my life.

My blog isn’t monetized, and I don’t have a “following,” per se, outside of my spouse and a few of my close friends — and even my friends (the original intended audience) don’t read my blog as much as they used to, now that they all rely on Facebook to keep them updated on their other friends’ lives.

Basically, my blog is for me. It’s my digital journal that happens to be public.

Last year, I set myself monthly word-count goals or other blogging-related goals; this year, not so much. As a result, I haven’t set blogging as a priority, and I can tell when I look at my posts so far in 2016. They’re mostly time-related — the 15th of the month is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, and I always post a Year In Review sometime in January, and I post an Operation Braceface update any time I go to the orthodontist, and I like to post monthly Weigh-In updates in the weight loss category.

I rarely post about general life happenings anymore, and that used to be what my blog was all about.

So, here I am, during my lunch hour at work, with some unexpectedly free time — my normal Wednesday lunch buddy had to stay home sick with her daughter, and there weren’t any fitness classes I wanted to drop in on last-minute.

Let’s pretend that you and I are sitting in the back corner of the local indie coffee shop, watching this crazy rain coming down outside, knowing it’ll turn to snow overnight. Let’s pretend we haven’t talked in a while, and you just asked me how things are going — and meant it.

Thanks for asking.

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Resolutions 2016

Show, don't tell.

Instead of resolutions, I’ve been adopting mantras for each year, and monthly mini-goals throughout. I find that my focus tends to shift, and things that once seemed important — say, scanning in all my child’s preschool artwork — takes a back seat to other goals over time.

So, let’s see how I did with my monthly 2015 goals, shall we? Perhaps I’ll look at these results and decide that one monthly focus is sufficient, rather than the three I tried to accomplish.

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Backblogged Again

I have this tendency, when I have specific events to cover in my writing queue, to avoid writing about anything else until I have those entries finished and polished and posted. Unfortunately, this means I sometimes leave these entries unwritten due to a lack of time or energy or other resources, until I finally declare blog bankruptcy and relegate these half-finished entries to a digital file of Stuff That Will Never Get Blogged.

I’m hoping to avoid that this time, even though I have things to say about Mom’s visit nearly a month ago, and Halloween, and my Physical Therapy regimen (which is about half over now), and my braces adjustment from a week and a half ago, and pictures from Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day last weekend, and a few non-time-sensitive things I have shaking around in my brain, too. There’s also some stuff I want to say about Connor — and that’s always time-sensitive, since he’s always growing and changing.

Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday — if I apply myself, that is. Just because I have a few days off doesn’t mean that writing time will spontaneously become available to me if I don’t plan for it. Especially since I’d also like to spend some time with my family.

Writing is important to me. It’s so easy to forget the day-to-day things, to get wrapped up in stuff, and I love being able to look back on days past and remember the details I hadn’t realized I’d forgotten.

The Responsible (vs. Convenient) Thing To Do

I got a call from my husband yesterday while I was at work. That usually means something requires immediate discussion — failure of a major appliance, gutters falling off the house, that sort of thing.

Luckily, this wasn’t quite so drastic. Even so, it needed to be discussed.

He told me he had heard a scratching sound coming from outside the living room window, and looked outside to investigate. Long story short, the cat that’s been frequenting our property decided to have her kittens in the bed of pachysandra just outside the window. They’re big kittens, though, so she probably had them a couple months ago. Surprising that it’s taken us this long to notice.

Mama Cat

The mama cat and her kittens, according to Aaron, are skittish and won’t approach him. That means they’re not considered strays — they’re feral. Wild. “Community” cats. That also means we can’t take them to most shelters or volunteer operations that would adopt them out, like Planned Pethood or the Humane Society.

So, the responsible thing to do would be to round up the mama cat and her three kittens and take the whole lot of them to be spayed and/or neutered (and eartipped to mark them as neutered ferals), then release them back into our yard where we found them. It’s called Trap-Neuter-Release, or TNR, and it’s apparently a common practice nationwide to control feral cat populations.

There’s only one spay/neuter clinic I know of in the area that does this. They rent humane traps for a returnable $60 fee, and charge $25 per spay/neuter. There’s a time commitment involved, though — going out to borrow the trap(s), setting the trap(s), bringing the trapped kitties into the garage for the night, driving them out to the clinic first thing the next morning, and going out to pick them up first thing the next day after their surgery.

I don’t have that kind of time.

It doesn’t seem like much of a time commitment, I know, but working full-time plus solo-parenting in the mornings — plus already having used up my paid time off on things like pediatric visits and the salon and oil changes and buying a new fridge — means I don’t have any time left to take feral kitties to and from the clinic.

The spot they found is actually quite sheltered — there’s a concave sort of corner of the house there that blocks the elements, plus the pachysandra is evergreen — and they all look well-fed, so either Mama Cat is a good huntress (birds and chipmunks abound on our property), or someone’s feeding them. Apart from making sure they can’t keep making more kitties, I’m not particularly worried about them.

But I still feel just a little negligent for standing by and doing nothing.