Goals // Week 46

This week should be a lot easier than the last two with my work responsibilities winding down for a while and I plan to spend that time catching up on all the time I missed spending on my own hobbies and personal pursuits.

This week I want to:

Take care of myself. I’ve stressed my mind and body too much and skipped too many doses of my medication these last couple of weeks. Moving forward my sleep, food, and medication schedules have to become my top priorities again. Also, as a consequence of my self-neglect, I need to contact my doctor and discuss my returning symptoms before things get any worse.

Update: I made sure to keep my work schedule light, to go to bed on time, to eat my meals on time, to move my body a little more, to get outside a little, and, most importantly, to take my medication. I wasn’t perfect, but I was so much better than the last two weeks. I count that as a win.

Walk on the warm days. The weather forecast is predicting six out of the next seven days will see near 60-degree highs. I know that nothing eases seasonal depression like the warmth, sunshine, and exercise. Soon there will be days and days where the cold wind will blow and the clouds will stick around. Fight the melancholy while you can!

Update: I’ve been feeling so tired that dedicating any block of time to walking felt beyond any amount of energy I could muster. I did make an effort to take short walks between the buildings at work throughout the day but because I didn’t even hit my step counts goals I can’t count it as a win.

Finish reading the last of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I have less than 150 pages left now and if I buckle down and read a little every day, I could finally move on to something else, something I’m looking forward to desperately.

Update: I did it! Just before bedtime Sunday night I turned the last page of the nearly 1000 page volume and set it down for the last time. I loved the book and I plan to write a proper review soon. I even plan to read it again, next year perhaps, but right now all I want to do is start a new book, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, something to get lost in.

Post a short introductory post to Zen and Pi. I purged the site over the weekend in preparation for a new beginning and like a new notebook or a pristine canvas, it’s only after you’ve marred the perfection that you can allow for creativity and mistakes.

Update: It not very good, and it’s not very interesting, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it isn’t even exactly what I had hoped to say when I started it but it’s up. I plan to post more, weekly, maybe, or closer to monthly, probably, but as often as I can for sure. I only need to work at it every day and to remember that the goal is to get each piece just 80% where I want it.

Mark everything off of my to-do list every day. My list isn’t very intense. It’s just one or two small things to do both during my breaks at work and after I get home from work. I’d like to get these small things done during the week rather than saving all the small things for the weekends and leaving no time for larger projects or time to get out and do something fun.

Update: I was doing really well at first, but just after midday on Thursday I’d lost the momentum. I want to say I got 50% through my weekly list but that might be a little too generous. In my defense, it was the first week since I merged all my lists and put so much effort into completing so many tasks. I made progress.

This week I won’t be too hard on myself and I won’t ask too much of myself either. I need to destress. I need to take a break. I need to focus on me while I can. That isn’t a weakness, and that isn’t wasting time. It’s being protective, disciplined, and healthy, and it’s admirable.


Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Currently // October 2019: The Springtime of Death

“Although I was born in April, I’m quite certain I was not fully awake until October~” 

Peggy Toney Horton, Stop the World and Get Off

I have, and always have had, a love/hate relationship with the month of October. It’s a time of morbid beauty and dark reflections, a time of warm colors, cozy sweaters, vivid flavors, and stunning natural beauty. It’s a time to slow down, to be grateful, and to be kind. It is a time of change, when the world begins to turn cold, barren, and dark. October, the prime of autumn, truly is the “springtime of death“.

This particular October went by way too fast. Halloween is my favorite holiday but I barely got to enjoy it at all. Most years I make it a month long affair but this October I got one good party in and that was all. No haunted houses, no spooky movie parties, no new tattoos! I didn’t even get around to watching The Shining, my favorite Halloween season film. No, I spent the month feeling tired and down. I was working too much and so were my friends. This year’s festivities were a bust, but that’s okay. I plan on having many more, anyway.

And now it is time for November, a time when true winter begins to move and and the holiday season officially begins. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite time of year. I’m no can of turkey, holiday music, shopping for gifts, or snow, but I don’t want to spend the next few months grouchy and grumblings. I want to focus on what I do like. I like family gatherings, Christmas trees, and gift receiving at least. I suppose I can start there and learn to get into the holiday spirit!

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing blog posts for National Blog Posting Month, or, more accurately NaNo Poblano, a very unofficial version of the same thing. I started 2019 with the hope that by this time in the year I would be putting the final touches on a NaNoWriMo outline but sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I’ve learned that I’m simply not ready to write that book. Basically, I still have a lot to learn. I’m beginning to see sense the depth of what I do not know, and it is vast. So, in the meantime, I’m doing NaBloPoMo instead. I’m keeping up my daily writing habit but working towards writing things of more substance too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages, still. I didn’t get to sit quietly in the creativity room making things out of other people’s words and images. I’m working on doing it more often though because it really does help. It helps to unplug and to remember that you can still make things without a screen. It helps to calm my anxieties and to help me forget my disappointment too. I guess collage would be my true hobby then which actually makes me feel better about considering writing as my work. Writing feels good, but it doesn’t feel like that.

Planning for the holidays. I’ve already said I’m no fan of this time of year but I’ve still got to get through it, same as every year, but this time I’d like to do my best to be proactive and get the worst parts out of the way as soon as possible. This year I would really like to get my shopping done early and to plan all the goodies I’d like to cook and bake for everyone before it’s too late. I want to get the Christmas tree up right away, and to schedule time to spend with my friends now before time gets away.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, still, but I am so close to being done. If I could stick to my scheduled reading times every day, or even most days, it wouldn’t have taken to long. In my defense though the book is incredibly long and quite technical. It’s not an easy read, and it’s harder to sustain excitement for this kind of reading than it is for fiction. I’m hoping by the first week of November I’ll be on to something new and by this time next month I’ll have a few new books to tell you about.

Watching a lot of T.V. I shouldn’t be watching. What I mean is, a lot more hours in October were lost on the living room couch than I feel good about. I watched The Watchmen on HBO, a new superhero drama that picks up 34 after the comic book and the movie of the same name. I’ve finished Mindhunter on Netflix, the crime series chronicling the formation of the FBI’s behavioral crime unit. I also finished Peacher on AMC, another comicbook based series about a bad-ass preacher Jesse Custer, his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, and his vampire side-kick, Cassidy as they search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still, but I hope by this time next month to be finished with at least one of them. I’ve been slacking big time in this department too but I’ve also made a lot of progress. I’m just struggling to stay focused, motivated, and interested. I’m ready to move on but, obviously, the only way to move on is to get through it. I think that’s the lesson I want to take into November most of all.

Feeling down. Seasonal depression is a real pain in the ass, you know? It’s only going to get worse with the time change coming this weekend. I’ve already been experiencing lethargy, sleep problems, lower than usual self esteem, and extreme irritability. I know from experience that hopelessness will set in next and the winter gloom will feel like all that has been and all that will be. I’ll fight it, I always do, and friends and family, laughter, good food, and writing will get me through, but the person I am now won’t be back until spring.

Anticipating some fun events I have planned. I have tickets to a performance of Twelfth Night and for the new (and last) Star Wars film in the Skywalker series, but both aren’t until December. I have nothing planned for November but I think I should try to come up with something besides Thanksgiving, something I want to do, something big! It helps to get out even when the clouds are hanging around and the air is bitter cold. Having something to look forward to reminds you time is moving, you are moving, and things will change for the better, eventually.

Reflecting on how I came to be the person I am today. It’s suddenly occurred to me recently that I was once a small child, and I did things that all small children do, but for some reason I cannot reconcile that version of myself with who I am today except through very, very small increments and incidents, many of which I do not even remember. Sometimes I’m able to reflect beyond my little life and see concretely how who my parents were (how they were shaped) and their parents before them and on into the past and out into society has shaped me too. I am the product of a long line of events, experiences, and ideas so vast it feels like a kind of infinity.

Fearing the end of the year. On the one hand, I’m eager to say goodbye to 2019. I’m ready to start over, but on the other hand, I know that I had plenty of time to be a new me all this year and I didn’t. I’m afraid to end the year because I know I’ll be ending it with a lot of regret and I predict that I will begin the new one with my same old flaws and weaknesses. I’m afraid to end and begin every year just as I am right now, only older, more afraid, and rapidly running out of time.

Hating the way people perceive me sometimes. I’ve noticed that at work, whenever I try to express my needs or boundaries, or give someone constructive criticism people react as if I am admonishing them harshly even if I speak in calm tones and take on a healthy dose of reassurance at the end. There are other people around me and almost all in positions higher than mine who are much more severe in their reprimands and direction but somehow I’m the one who earned the reputation of being a “hard-ass” and that reputation is beginning to precede me too. I hate it because I suspect it is tied to my gender.

Loving my job. Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a stressful month there. I’m taking on a lot more responsibility now than I ever have in the past but I’m not the only one. Everyone is taking on more because there have been less of us around to carry the load but it’s easier to lift more when everyone is lifting together. I’m doing my part to make it better and that feels good. People are noticing my work and that feels good too. I’m excited to move forward and for the possibility of moving up too. I’m grateful for every opportunity and for every understanding and allowance too.

Needing talent. I have a desire but not much talent and without the aha! moments and the great ideas flowing desire turns quickly into disappointment. I love writing but I wasn’t born a writer. I’ve just want to become one someday and that has meant condemning myself to grueling work and psychological pain. I have doubts. I have regrets. I have failures and false starts. I wish I was someone with an unstoppable drive, a genius for whom the craft comes easily, someone who simply knows what to do and how to do it well. I just need a little of that or some small certainty that I will find it one day.

Hoping for an easy holiday season. This year has been one of the most stressful in recent memory and I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way, but I am beginning to feel burned out and longing very much for a bit of peace. The holiday season is, of course, not that time, but I hope this one will be easier than the rest. I hope there will be no family fighting, resentments, or misunderstandings. I hope gift shopping will be easy and I hope in the end I’ll feel like I did enough.


So, yeah, all in all, October was an okay month, not bad, but not as good as I’d hoped either. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make more of it but little all things, writing down helps to let it go. I can move into November with a clearer head and a few lessons learned.

But what about you? Did you enjoy the spooky season? How did you celebrate? Are you growing increasingly depressed as winter draws nearer too? How are you planning to spend the winter holidays this year?

Let me know in the comments.

“Golden October declined into sombre November…”

— T.S. Eliot


The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love

Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash

It’s a snow day!

It’s actually not snowing that much anymore but by the looks of things it was falling hard all night.

So, I have a whole day to myself and I’m conflicted as to how I should use it. On the one hand, I want to do nothing. Snow days are days that exist outside of time. They are perfectly packaged gifts of time that contains no expectations, no obligations, just hours and hours within which I can do nothing at all without guilt or shame.

On the other hand, they are days when I can be most productive. Snow days can be hours and hours of free time for all the things I wish I could be doing on days when I have work. I have pages of read to catch up on and posts to write here for National Blog Posting Month beginning in just two days.

Maybe it can a bit of both? Maybe I can write and watch T.V. or read and rest all at once. Maybe it doesn’t matter what I do. Maybe all that I have to do is be present and grateful.

They said it wouldn’t get bad until midmorning; they were wrong.

I left the house at 6:00 AM and it was already snowing. It’s 9:30 now and the snow is already over ankle deep. I’m hearing rumors that we may close the district early, something we very, very, very rarely do. It’s going to be chaotic.

Luckily, I’m far from dealing with that stress. I’m teaching the new class of employees instead. It’s actually going really well and I’m not doing it alone as I had feared. The weather may affect how much we can get through today and with a class this big, and all the questions being asked, and the nearly certain snow day tomorrow, the timeline may end up twice as long as we thought.


The rumors turned out to be true. We did what I never would have predicted, an early release. The snow has gotten worse since the morning and according to reports we’re far from the worst of it. I’m letting the new people go home now, for their safety, and I’m heading home too, for mine. Hopefully, I won’t be back until Thursday.

I didn’t let myself hope for a snow day but damn do I wish we had gotten it. Instead we’re on a “delayed schedule” this morning so while we’re picking up the kids later we had to be at work 20 minutes early. That means freezing and fighting with the snow for longer hours filled with more risk. I wish the powers that be understood that. Regular schedule or close the whole district down, please!


We got hit bad but most of it has melted by now. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get more of the same—cold, snow, icy roads, and dangerous traffic—but once again I have no hope for a snow day. The storm won’t be in until midmorning they say and by then we’ll be out on the road with the kids, and by afternoon, when it’s forecasted to be at it’s worst, we’ll be fighting nature to get them back home.

The weather, and the new class of employees I’m scheduled to teach, has me wound up tight. I’ve never done this before and there’s a chance I’ll be doing it all on my own.I’m freaking out. I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid to say the wrong thing, to give the wrong answer, and, worst of all, to have no answer to give at all.

Goals // Week 44

This week is starting off on a very stressful note. Winter is rearing its ugly head, promising days of freezing temperatures, snow, and slick roads. On top of dealing with the weather, both physically and emotionally, I have the busiest work schedule ahead me than I’ve had all year! That means I have very little time for myself and it means I have to be mindful of how I spend what little time I get. This week I want to:

Make it into work every day this week. This is pretty basic but with 3 days of snow and more of below freezing temperatures, plus the cold, the flu, the upper respiratory infections, and strep throat floating around I’m worried about ruining this opportunity for more overtime than I have been offered ever. I need the hours. I need to take care of myself and get here every day.

Take all of my medication every day, on time. Since the URI I had a few weeks ago I have been struggling to get back on a steady meal and medication schedule. I have pills that have to be taken 12 hours apart, pills that have to be taken 30 minutes prior to meals, pills that have to be taken with meals, etc. It’s hard to keep straight and easy to forget.

Get a Goodwill donation box filled. This past weekend we moved some furniture around, new furniture in, and old furniture out. By the end, we had more things than we had space for and a large bag started of old things to give away. There is still a long way to go but I do not want to procrastinate another week (or year!) on getting this room cleaned out.

Write five posts for NaBloPoMo in advance. This one is going to be hard without long blocks of time to devote to writing but a 15-minute break here, an hour lunch there, and writing while the T.V. is on should get me most of the way there. I don’t want to fail another blogging challenge and I don’t want to let myself down.

Read 50 pages, total, of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. That’s just ten pages a night, that’s all I’m asking of myself. Of course, these aren’t easy pages and after a long day keep my eyes open longer than a couple of paragraphs is almost impossible, but 30 minutes before bed every night should get me there. I’ll even settle for five pages. I’ll settle for any number over zero!

Finish one week of one Coursera course. This one is pretty low on my priority list this week. I just don’t won’t have the time with work, writing, and reading, but if I do find myself with ahead of schedule (or enjoying a snow day!) then I will see what I can do.

Share one small thing you didn’t make on a screen. Work is stressful and on some level so are the other things I love since I carry so much expectation of myself, but making cut up and blackout poems and collages are the only things I do that feel truly relaxing. I need to make time for them.

This week I will just do my best and no matter what that looks like at the week’s end it will (have to) be enough. The trick will be keeping a positive outlook, doing the work expected of me, and keeping always in the back of my mind these little goals and brining them shapely into focus whenever I have even a minute of my own.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 43.

Photo by Kamil Lehmann on Unsplash

Today was all the weekend that I had to myself and even in there was so much that I had to do. I hate having to do things, but, I also love all the parts of my life that make having to do things necessary. My home, my family, my work, my friends, my community, being alive, these are reasons to have to do things.


The snow is falling already but nothing is sticking so I’m not hoping for a snow day. Tomorrow will be miserable, and so will the rest of the week according to the forecast, I’ve resigned myself to that reality.

Sunday nights are hardest in the winter.

The sun is out, and it’s finally Friday! I feel like nothing at all can go wrong.

I like my job the best on Fridays because hardly anyone sticks around in the middle of the day since preschool isn’t running. It’s quiet and sometimes I even treat myself and order delivery for lunch. Today’s treat was a delicious “holy aioli” burger and a side of sweet potato fries from Dog Haus.

Tonight we’re taking my cousin out for an early birthday dinner and tomorrow we have to quit procrastinating and get our costumes ready for our friends Halloween party. I’m both looking forward to it all and dreading it too. I want to be the kind of person who has a social life but my body can’t keep up. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it.

It’s a frigid and snowy day today, the exact kind of day I hate. Of course the one day of the week winter decides to show up is the one where I have the busiest schedule and, of course, the very people who where supposed to help me stayed home. It might be a good thing though. I’ve always preferred the solo projects.

I’m just being crabby because I haven’t been able to do anything much for me and I know that this weekend will be busy too and now that I think about it next Monday feels awfully close already. The days are growing drab and mundane and nothing feels all that important or worth the effort. Everything is exhausting. Everything is at best an irritation and at worst a waste.

Let the seasonal depression begin.

Today is another easy day, and my mood is much improved from yesterday. It’s definitely a better day than yesterday. Time is moving along a lot faster and I’m much more inclined to speak to and even hold conversations with my coworkers. I’m not being as productive as I would like though.

But, there is a tradeoff between interacting with other people and working toward my goals. I can’t do both at once, but both are essential to my well being so how do I choose? I swing wildly between wanting to do one or the other and often regret whichever I end up doing. Perhaps that’s because I don’t know how to end one and switch to the other. I spend all day with others or alone, never half-and-half, never even a 90/10 split. It’s always all or the other.

Balance, boundaries, and having the courage to say no are all skills I have to strengthen.