If I were a day of the week, I’d be a Monday.
I love the beginning of a fresh new week. (A little less now that Monday means I have to leave Teddy for three work days in a row. Being a working mother is not my fave.)
I love fresh starts and clean slates. And I’ve been finding myself making many resolutions, big and small, that I’d like to put on paper.
This week, I’m kicking off my week working on a new program that I am feeling excited-but-ambivalent about. It’s called the Whole30 Program, and it’s all about food – spending 30 days with a lot of foods eliminated from your diet and then reintroducing them one by one and evaluating how the food affects your mood and your functioning.
I have a complicated relationship with food, so in general I avoid dieting of any kind. However, I’m pretty excited to do this – to learn about how eating dairy affects me, what foods might cause acne or lethargy, etc. (See this website for more info!)
That’s Resolution Number One – eat well.
And for Resolution Number Two? Wean off tea and coffee. With the Whole30 Program, this will happen pretty organically. I’m allowed two cups of coffee each day, but no cream. When I drink coffee, I typically am drinking a cup of coffee-flavored Organic Valley half-and-half, so I’m thinking it’ll be natural to cut back.
And then, there’s Resolution Number Three – improve my bedtime rituals.
My current bedtime ritual is crap. I don’t need to read articles on sleep hygiene to know that I am doing it all wrong.
I really, really, really want to be realistic about this goal. I set this goal for myself all the time – I want to try to fall asleep without listening to a book or a podcast, specifically. I am frequently able to achieve this in the short-term but have trouble sustaining it.
Pretty soon, Teddy’s going to be getting into a standard bedtime ritual. He goes to bed at around 8 p.m. each night – that’s when we start the process, at least. And as we work toward having healthy sleep habits for him, I really want to try to have them for myself, too. This mean: no phone, actual pajamas, and no late night snacks.
I’ll write more about sleep later. Fingers crossed that tonight will be a good night’s sleep for all!
When I was a child, I watched the movie Lady and the Tramp and I fell in love with one of the first scenes.
It’s Christmas, and under the Christmas tree Darling (a young married woman) finds a pretty box with a bow on it – a present from her husband, Jim Dear. IT’S A PUPPY.
I’ve had this dream for a long time. And I’ve dropped hints to Tee about it many, many times.
Then, one day in June, Tee made this dream come true!
This was just weeks before Teddy came home, and I was in a pretty horrible place. The entire year prior to Teddy arriving was intensely difficult for me and Tee. I’m only now beginning to process it, now that I’m so happy that joy is literally spilling out of me. Just yesterday, I started tearing up thinking about how hard things were – how I’d sometimes start to cry just because someone asked how I was doing, how I’d find out we weren’t getting a baby and quietly sob in my office for ten minutes before moving on with my day.
It was awful. Which is such a contrast with the breathtaking joy I feel today.
Anyway – Sunny came into our lives at a perfect time. She really helped me to get through those last few weeks of our adoption wait.
And now, she is a crazy kitten-growing-into-a-cat, who thinks all of the baby toys are hers and likes to pounce on my head while I’m sleeping.
Having Sunny come into my life was a dose of joy at a critical time of need. And a dream come true. #heart
I can’t do everything every day.
No, really. I can’t.
This is one of the lessons I am learning now that I’m (sorta) a grown-up.
I have a tendency to TRY to do everything every day. Yoga, soccer, phone calls – books, writing – friends, family – biking – cooking – baking.
YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING EVERY DAY.
That said, I am realizing the benefits of daily writing. Today, I was running/walking on the trail – two minutes running followed by a minute of walking – and I started thinking about the SNAPSHOT post I’d write when I returned home.
I realize that most of my recent posts have been snapshots. And there’s a good reason for that: with the addition of my sweet and cuddly teddy bear, it’s been difficult to find pockets of time for writing. Which means I am forced to produce snapshots of what’s been happening in my life in balance, rather than widening the lens to take a broader picture – a panoramic view, perhaps – something more expansive – something that looks at themes and motifs rather than simply what is.
It seems impossible, given my current situation, to write every single day.
But I’d like to make more time for it – more time for self-examination, for introspection. More time to reflect and to help my mind to settle.
Writing helps me to settle my mind. On days like today, when I feel a little scattered, it helps me to center. It helps me to answer questions, like Why was today so unproductive? or What can I do to make tomorrow better?
It helps me. And it makes me happy. And I always want to make time for the things that make me happy.
I am currently pumped.
The third presidential debate is over, and I think Hillz did a wonderful job.
I will admit – I’ve been terrified prior to each presidential debate, quaking in my shoes at the thought of Hillary having to stand on stage with her opponent.
But, I underestimated her. Which maybe makes me part of the sexism problem in this campaign. Because, really – what reason did I have to doubt her?
It probably goes without saying that I am a Hillary supporter. And her candidacy is running alongside my discovering myself as a baby feminist.
Growing up in New York, I didn’t really think a lot about feminist causes. I certainly got pissed any time someone implied that men were stronger than women. But I never found myself very motivated to follow feminist causes or to learn more about women’s studies. (Privileged? Perhaps.)
A while ago, I was trying to navigate a work situation, and I called my standby profession career consultant, who I keep on retainer – my big sister.
My sister gave me a pep talk, the gist of which was: Beware the patriarchy.
Sing it, sister.
I hate asking for money. I hate talking about money. I hate negotiating. I hate trying to advocate for a fair salary. I couldn’t even negotiate when I was buying things on the streets of New York, when you are SUPPOSED to negotiate; I found it way too awkward.
Some of that comes from my personality. But some of it, I believe, comes from me being a woman – not wanting to offend, not wanting to upset, not wanting to ask for too much. Maybe it hasn’t felt this way for every woman – but it certainly has for me.
My sister’s advice worked out well, job-wise. Her words also came at a time when a lot of different forces in my life seemed to be aligning to help me to get in touch with my inner feminist.
FORCE # 1 – one of my new favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend, is all about lady power.
FORCE # 2 – reading the Notorious RBG book. I love RBG. I worship at the altar of RBG.
FORCE # 3 – reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a short essay that originated in Adichie’s 2012 TED Talk and it makes me wonder why I haven’t been wearing a T-shirt that says Feminist As F*ck every day of my life.
FORCE # 4 – following the 2016 presidential campaign. I haven’t always been a Hillary Clinton supporter – I voted for Obama – BUT #I’mWithHer this time around! And it’s not just about who she’s up against. I think she’s smart and qualified. I trust her more than a lot of her opponents seem to. AND I am uber-annoyed by the sexism she faces. I don’t know if I realized how much sexism still existed in modern society until Hillary began her run for president.
I find myself giving pep talks to friends, pointing out inconsistencies in the workplace and the community, and noticing when women are treated differently than men. This is not making me miserable and pessimistic – it’s helping me to feel awake and powerful. And – you know.
Wild Peace Farm is moving!
Tee and I found a farm to rent in northern Baltimore County, and we are so excited.
I love moving. It’s a chance for a fresh new start – to set up new systems, to put things in their place. It’s a time to discard things, and I always get a big charge out of decluttering and making a big donation box to drop off at Goodwill.
Additionally, I just finished reading a life-changing book – The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. I am obsessed at the moment. It’s helping me to look at my everyday life and my stuff with a whole new light. Also, Kondo promises that even the messiest, most disorganized person can do a big bout of tidying and then be able to maintain it forever effortlessly. (Whaaaaaaaat?) Reading this book when we’re about to move is pretty perfect timing; it’s making me even more excited to settle into our new home and to find a place for everything and to put all in its place.
When he opened it, he looked at it skeptically. His mother told him it was a book of poems, and that she’d had a copy, too, when she was a little girl. He told her, “You can have it if you want, Mom.”
It was the first time I’ve ever had a present re-gifted immediately after it was opened. (Luckily, we had also purchased some Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle dolls as well. They were more of a crowd-pleaser.)
Eventually, our nephew learned to love the Silverstein book. We were going through his bedtime routine a few months ago; since he’s seven now, he usually reads to us before bedtime, rather than the other way around. He read several poems out loud to us, giggling uncontrollably the entire time in that adorable way seven-year-old boys giggle. It was so sweet to see him laughing at poems like Cloony The Clown (a poem I once recited in front of my sixth grade English class) and Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout.
Currently I have two favorite Shel Silverstein poems, and they do more than just make me giggle. The first is Hug O’ War, pictured above, which is cheesy and adorable and a pretty dead-on tribute to the way I wish the world worked.
The other poem is The Voice, which is taped to my desk at work. It’s a poem that doesn’t really have the Shel Silverstein silliness – it’s just simple and sweet and true. There’s a voice inside all of us that guides us, if we’re quiet and still enough to listen.