I got a call from my husband Aaron yesterday on my work phone. Calling on my work phone is generally reserved for things that would take too long to text, or things that are urgent, surprisingly time-sensitive, or otherwise important. I’m instantly in a tense, reactive mode.
“Do you know if Mei has a new hiding spot?” he asks, after we exchange the usual telephone pleasantries.
It was just as well that the fireworks roused me at the stroke of midnight last night, as I had fallen asleep on my stomach, with my arms folded beneath me, and my hands were numb and tingly.
This year makes two — or maybe three? — years in a row when I haven’t even attempted to make it until midnight on New Year’s. I pretty much turn into a pumpkin by 10:30 or 11pm, and I know my son is going to rouse me at 8am on New Years Day, anyway. (I long for the day when he decides that really sleeping in is a thing.)
Memaw used to say that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll be doing all year, so the half-joke was that we wouldn’t do any laundry or house-cleaning on New Year’s, but Memaw would cook, of course. That superstition never made any sense to me, though, since New Year’s was a holiday. Of course you’re going to be off-schedule and not doing the things you’d normally be doing all year, like going to school (or work).
Even though New Year’s Day is honestly a pretty arbitrary date, I still like to take this opportunity to reflect on my habits and goals. What do I want to accomplish this year? Did I accomplish what I set out to do last year? (more…)
Today was “Polar Express Day” at Connor’s school (jammies FTW!), after which he gifted a box full of homemade cookies to the ladies at the after school program.
Tomorrow is his class’s Winter Party (not the “Christmas Party,” partially because they have children from Jewish and Muslim families in their class), where he’ll be gifting cookies and a gift card to his teacher. (I’ll be there along with some other parents, helping with the festivities.) Come evening, I’ll probably assemble all the recipes for the weekend’s cooking exploits to make sure all the necessary ingredients get on the shopping list.
Saturday, we’ll be doing laundry and grocery shopping (which are normally Sunday tasks), and I’ll be making an old family recipe for Christmas pudding that involves cracker crumbs and takes some four hours in the oven. (I’ve never made it before, so this should be interesting.) I’ll probably also make the cranberry sauce come evening, and we need to take some books back to the library.
Sunday — Christmas Eve — is our family gathering. Before the cooking starts in earnest, though, Connor and I will be going to let a friend’s dog out while they’re out of town for the holiday. Then I’ll be cooking the ham (from frozen, since we don’t have room to thaw it in the fridge, so it’ll take a while longer than usual), and making the side dishes I’ve planned. We’ll be hosting seven adults and two children total, which is the biggest Christmas we’ve had at our house yet. We’ll be opening some gifts, but saving the big ones for Christmas Day.
Monday is Christmas Day, where we open our gifts from Santa and from each other. Connor and I will check the stockings first thing, and our breakfast will likely be the candy Santa has left us (unless I decide to prep some sort of make-ahead bake-in-the-morning breakfast after everyone leaves the night before). Dad will get up around noonish, and maybe we’ll open presents before lunch, but probably after. Lunch will probably be Chinese, because that’s how we roll. It’s kind of a tradition.
I still don’t have the whole Christmas Spirit thing going on yet, though. I’ve felt glimmers of it, like when Connor and I were making cookies this week, or while I was packaging them up for the ladies at Extended Time last night, but… I mean, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, and this is going to be the last Christmas I’ll get to spend with my Mom for who knows how long, since she and her new husband are moving to Florida come spring.
I’ve felt like this before: last year, for one, and many other years where I haven’t documented the occasion because LA LA LA NOPE I’M JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Honestly, I’m really just looking forward to a joyous Christmas Eve with my family and, later, a chill Christmas Day full of presents and Chinese food and leftover ham.
Some ten years ago — maybe more like thirteen — my blogging M.O. was to sit down at my computer every evening and tell my friends what was going on in my life. One blog post could run the gamut, talking about my weight, my job, vacation plans, photography, candlemaking, links I’d found online… which made categorizing those blog posts later on quite a trip.
I don’t do that much anymore. Matter of fact, I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to, and most of my blog entries are more of digital journaling or scrapbooking or whatnot — I feel obligated to keep up with documenting what’s going on in my life. I’ve kept a journal since I was seven or eight years old (off and on at times), and my journal nowadays is my blog. (I do still keep a longhand journal by my bed for stuff I need to get out of my head that isn’t appropriate to share with the entire internet.)
I’ve got that running-up-the-down-escalator feeling again.
It’s mainly an issue of priorities, I think, plus a lack of physical activity (again, due to priorities and scheduling conflicts). I feel better when I can get outside and walk, or go to the Fitness Center and take a class, but the past week or so hasn’t been conducive to that. Chiropractor, salon, Weight Watchers open house, standing lunch date…
I also have stuff I want to do at home in the evenings, like process and post the photos from my son’s sixth birthday, and post my regular Dear Connor birthday blog entry (which is currently waiting on photos), and just write to get stuff out of my head, and start some sewing projects, and clean up my home office area, and — and — and.
What actually happens in the evenings, though?
- Get home from work. Catch up with husband for about half an hour.
- Hubby goes to work. Make dinner while son plays Kindle Fire or Nintendo DS.
- Eat dinner with son.
- Clean up kitchen while son eats dessert (and sometimes a snack) and watches TV.
- I supervise while son takes a bath, brushes teeth, and takes allergy meds.
- He puts on jammies, chooses a daily calendar sticker, and we read a book.
- Lights out.
After lights out, I stay within earshot for the next half hour until he calls me back upstairs to talk some more and massage his feet. That means no going into the back office to edit photos on my desktop computer or going into the sunroom to sew.
By the time I get back downstairs and I finally have some uninterrupted “me” time, it’s 8:30pm (or later) and I’m mentally done for the day. I’m only good for reading or playing on my phone or watching TV — I don’t have the oomph to create, only consume. I turn into a pumpkin around 9:30pm, but I’ve been much better about going upstairs and getting my own bedtime routine happening, and turning my own lights out between 10pm and 10:30.
During that hour after Connor goes to bed, though, if I’m not totally exhausted, there’s plenty I could do. I’m going to have to just prioritize it somehow: figure out what’s most important and carve out time for it. One task a night, whether I feel “up to it” or not. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I should be able to get up and do the things that need done, even when I’m tired. Even if I tell myself I’ll only do it for ten minutes, and set an alarm; or if I manage to get all the ingredients of the muffins or quickbread or whatever set out before I put my son to bed; or if I go straight across the hall to my bedroom to quietly tidy my closet while I’m waiting for Connor to request his nightly masseuse visit. Shit can get done one way or another.
Small bites of big projects. Baby steps. Specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, timely goals — not vague ideas of Getting Something Done After My Son Goes To Bed.
Yeah, yeah, I can do that.
Back in December, I procured three pairs of eclipse glasses online, in preparation for the (partial) solar eclipse that happened this past Monday.
It just so happened that the day of the eclipse was also my son’s last day of Pre-K. I sent one pair to school with him, in the hopes that his teacher would be willing to let him look at the eclipse during or after naptime; I brought one pair with me to work; and I left one pair at home for my husband.
Around 2pm, I headed outside.
I texted my husband at home, who also donned his eclipse glasses.
As it turned out, my son also got to check out the eclipse at Pre-K. Not only that, but he insisted on sharing his glasses with his classmates and teachers, so everyone got to enjoy the eclipse!
Alas, I didn’t have my photography equipment with me (and I didn’t have a proper filter for eclipse photography, anyway), and putting the eclipse glasses in front of my iPhone camera just didn’t cut it. But! One of the videos I took of my view of the eclipse had a bonus eclipse-shaped lens flare at the end.
Even though I wasn’t in the path of totality, that was still WAY cool to see.
Come April 2024, for the next solar eclipse in America, my city will be in the path of totality — and my son will be finishing up sixth grade, if I’ve done my math right. Unless I make plans to pick him up from school, or his Junior High has an after-school eclipse-viewing party, chances are that he’d be on the bus on the way home during totality. One way or another, though, he’ll see it… and I’ll send him to school with the same eclipse glasses he took to his Pre-K class so many years before.
I took a break from posting daily to the blog when I decided that pulling something notable out of my ass before I went to bed at night just wasn’t worthwhile. As usual, I have a backlog of relevant topics to write about — my son’s Pre-K graduation, my monthly “weight loss” update, various camera tests from months ago — but I just can’t get enthused enough to sit down and blog.
My son has regressed to getting up several times a night after lights out (we had been down to once max). That irritates me at a very vulnerable point in my evening: I’m winding down and anticipating those glorious 90 minutes of my day that belong only to me. When that time is interrupted, I get cranky and I yell and I eat and I don’t do anything I had wanted to do because now I seriously am not in the mood and fuck it all anyway I’m gonna watch Good Eats and mess around on my phone instead.
(Edit: I also somehow smashed my right index finger when I turned off the bathroom faucet after my son left it running, and my legs are way stiff and sore after yesterday’s 20-minute slow-ass run for the first time in nearly a year, plus did I mention I’ve gained like ten pounds in the last year, so I’m uncomfortable and my clothes don’t fit right.)
On top of that, now I’ve got a hair up my ass to update my professional website so it actually reflects my current skillset, instead of what I did ten years ago. If I can’t make time to fart around on my personal blog, how am I going to squeeze in PHP coding to surface visualizations based on relevant Google Sheets data?
What the hell is up with me? I don’t know.
*checks menstrual calendar app*
Well, fuck. Yeah, I guess I do know. And being told you’re PMSing by your phone is only mildly less irritating than being told (or having it ever so gently suggested) by your significant other.
Work meeting first thing in the morning, so I’d better wrap this up so I can lay awake for an hour, exhausted, like I have for three of the last seven days.
I’ve had more than one person do a double-take at my driver’s license photo lately. It’s just as well it was coming up for renewal.
I remembered before my birthday that my renewal was this year — then I forgot again, until yesterday.
My birthday was April 22nd. Oops.
As it turns out, you have up to six months after expiration in the State of Ohio before they make you retake the driving test. Not sure how the police would react if I got pulled over with an expired license… but now I don’t have to find out.
I loved my experience at the Downtown License Bureau so much that I left them a four-star review on Yelp. A+ would renew again. The whole visit took five minutes, ten tops. I wasn’t really timing it, but it was superfast.
My hair is now officially red instead of brown (guess I’m keeping up with this dye job for a while), my height is one inch shorter, my weight is ten pounds less, and my license doesn’t expire until my son is finishing up the third grade.
Now that’s some perspective.