Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooky stuff: Haunting tales from my three homes


  1. Did you know the "most haunted hotel in America" is in San Antonio? I wonder if Nick would take me there on a little ghost hunt.
  2. There are also plenty of haunted houses in our beloved Cape Cod! I think I will stick to reading about them and pass on visiting!
  3. This one should provoke some nostalgia for my fellow Alabamians... Remember 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey? If not, time travel back to your childhood, and read some proper ghost stories.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Perpetual Messy Spot: The Dining Room Table

This is what my dining room table looked like for about a week. Then the book stack doubled (how did that happen???), and I finally cleared it all off.

Nick thinks I'm weird for using the dining table as an office when I have an actual office upstairs.

I'm proud to say my real office is finally decluttered and unpacked enough to be in usable condition! And the family room upstairs is pretty well decked out with kid activities, so Mamie is occupied when I do want to work in my office.

Now I am trying to gradually reduce the amount of stuff I have permanently parked on the table. However, I'm leaving up the decorations from our birthdays in September because it's still cute that Mamie comes in here saying "Party!"

(Yes, I said "in here" because I'm writing this post at the dining room table. Gradual. Transition.)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dear Diary Rewind: Same Worry, Different Problem

(Let's take a fun look back at what I wrote about in my journal exactly one year ago....)

October 22, 2014

Still awake.  Thinking mostly about tomorrow's first visit to the gym. It is so hard for me to relax about things when I am unfamiliar and don’t know what to expect. What will probably happen: everyone will be nice, Mamie will have fun and not even miss me, the yoga teacher will be welcoming and the class will be small and moderately paced.  I will leave feeling happy and probably tired from being up this late.  Stupid coffee at 5 pm!!!

Yeah, in case you didn't guess, Mamie loved the gym day care from the first minute, yoga was great, and everyone was nice. This flashback to a year ago coupled with my worries about whether I can handle a second baby have made me realize something big.

If you peaked in on any moment in my life, you would probably find me worrying about something that turned out OK, if not great.

Lesson: Stop being so traumatized, geez.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 dumb reasons I'm afraid of having a second baby


It could be because I'm so weak, both physically and emotionally. That's why I tell myself I'm afraid of having a second baby. I found the first year of motherhood so unfathomably difficult, I fill to the brim with self-doubt when I imagine adding a second child to the equation.
These are just 10 of the undermining excuses my my anxiety comes up with when I think about a second pregnancy:
  1. School is expensive. Tuition for two kids costs twice as much. Like, If kids are crops and school is soil and money is fertilizer... I'm confused by my own analogy.
  2. I’m old. I thought I was old when I first got pregnant at 37, but now I'm 40. Being pregnant was fun and easy back then, three whole years ago, but now? Who knows what might fall apart. If a pregnancy is officially "geriatric" at 35, am I seriously playing with fate at 40? And I keep getting older; I might be 41 before this theoretical baby is born!
  3. I only have two arms. Logic could console me with a reminder that's one hand for each kid, but I'm skeptical. It currently takes both my arms and superhuman strength to carry the groceries, the toddler, and all her accompanying props. Supposedly she will one day reliably walk on her own -- and maybe even help with carrying things -- but I'm still waiting. And you never know when she will stop in her tracks to scream "Hand! Hand! Hand!" regardless of how full my Hands! are.
  4. I will be paralyzed by postpartum depression. Or postpartum anxiety, again. I will be too overwhelmed to remember how to ask for help. I will be too ashamed to admit I need help.
  5. I just started to get the hang of this. Yeah, my kid is two, and we get stuff done. We have fun, the house is semi-clean, I exercise every day, and I have time to write sometimes. How long will it take to get back to this sweet spot?
  6. The next one will not be as sweet/well-behaved/smart/perfect as the first one. How could any poor second child live up to the standard set by my totally perfect first child? Am I a good enough person to not constantly compare them, looking for a winner? Am I smart or nurturing enough to recognize and encourage their individual gifts?
  7. Diabetes. Being diabetic wasn't that hard in my first pregnancy, but what if I'm broken this time around? What if all the hysterical warnings about diabetes in pregnancy are realized this time? Like a giant baby with insulin regulation problems at birth. What if my best effort to control my blood sugar for the baby isn't good enough?
  8. Pregnancy will make me too tired to properly care for my first kid. I was very lucky to have no morning sickness the first time I was pregnant. I worked until a few weeks before she was born and only got very uncomfortable the last few days. But who knows if that will be flipped upside down the second time! Could I handle my active toddler throughout a rough pregnancy?
  9. Goodbye, sleep. Our family has a pretty sweet situation here. My daughter sleeps 12 or 13 hours every night and has done since she was a few months old. Remembering those first few months without sleep makes me want to hide under the bed. 
  10. Fertility treatments are hard. Injections, tests, appointments, disappointments... weeks of worry. Months of worry if you don't get lucky the first time. I don't know how I did it and kept my job the first time. I was an aching, crying mess, and I couldn't even tell anyone why.
I guess No. 10 is deep in the dark heart of my excuses. It might not work, and then what?
This is my process for accomplishing anything major: 
First, freak out.
Second, seek repeated reassurance.
Third, do it. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

7 Things I Like to Do in Austin (There is no BBQ* on this list)

Austin is just a little over an hour away, so it's no big deal to run up there for an afternoon. Whether we stay for a few hours or a few days (like we did last week while Nick attended a conference), we tend to keep to a routine of places to shop and eat.

1. Book People 

Could this be the best book store in the country? Easily. I say this with authority, because I am a book store tourist. (I would put used book stores in a separate category.) I've been to Powell's, I've been to The Strand. I still put this one at the top because its scope is thorough without being overwhelming.  Also, great periodicals, children's section, author events, and coffee shop.

2. 24 Diner

There is plenty of good food in Austin, but we go here every trip. Maybe because it's right across the street from Book People? At first, yes, but I think we would go back even if it were out of the way. Their motto should be "Never Not Good Food." Chicken and waffles if you feel like punishing yourself.

3. Waterloo Records

Right next door to 24 Diner, because the universe conspired to put three of our favorite Austin things in one spot. In truth, I don't usually go into Waterloo. I spend extra time in the book store while Nick shops for records. It's one of my favorite places because it makes him happy.

4. Russian House

I still don't exactly know how to categorize this place. We go in there at 6 p.m., it's fairly empty, we are escorted to a doilied dining room for dinner. Dinner starts with complementary shots of icy vodka, bread, salt, and raw onions. And the food is good, and Mamie likes it, and I'm still sort of confused by the whole thing. I think it turns into a raging vodka bar after dark, so I feel strange taking my baby there. 

5. The Herb Bar

Mmmmm, incense. Oils, teas, cards, crystals, books, and more. Even if you don't know what you're looking for, you'll find something magical. Unless your toddler is handsy like mine and decides she really needs that Buddha statue. Then you have to leave without buying anything.

6. South Congress Books

I have to confess -- I've never bought anything here. This is the point in our Austin tour when Mamie starts to break down, and this store is a little too small and close to contain her emotions. But for the few minutes I get to browse, I see amazing special signed copies, gorgeous vintage editions. This is a bibliophile's store. 

7. Ikea

Yeah, I said it. There is no Ikea in San Antonio, so it's nice to make a trip (technically in Round Rock, north of Austin). It's ok to like something that's not weird and indie!

(*If you like BBQ, get BBQ. It will be good if your expectations are calibrated for what Texans consider BBQ. In other words, prepare to be disappointed if you want pulled pork and delighted if you like sausage or brisket. Don't feel like you have to go somewhere and stand in line for two hours to get "good" BBQ. All the BBQ is pretty good. That said, Stubbs is a special experience, especially on Gospel Sundays.)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What I'm Reading: eBook Edition

This week we are in Austin, and I decided to try something radical: I didn't bring a single book with me. That's right, I traveled and brought zero books.  (We've been here 7 hours, and I've already bought two, but that's immaterial.)

Sharing a hotel room with Mamie means lights are out by 8 p.m., but I can read eBooks in the dark!

Because, you know, migraines.

Starting to think maybe we are supposed to eat a spoonful of dirt every so often.

Extremists!

They say it's good, so why not?

Friday, October 9, 2015

I have diabetes burnout

It started in January. The doctors said, "If you want us to build you another sciencebaby, you have to stop being diabetic. Go!"

I appreciate a challenge, and I was determined. I started seeing my endocrinologist monthly, taking more medication each time, acquiring a continuous glucose monitor, living a model diabetic lifestyle.

I thought a few months, no big deal, I can do this. Every month's test results were a disappointment. I didn't have bad test results, mind you. My labs were always marked "Excellent" -- by diabetic standards.

Regardless, I was chasing a unicorn, trying to meet an unattainable standard, be cured of a disease that doesn't just go away when you ask it to.

That means nine months of neurotic attention to blood sugar readings, food, exercise.  Nine months of recurrent guilt for not being able to meet the goal.

Today I had another appointment with the endocrinologist. I've worried about it all week, wanted to cry from nerves in the waiting room. The diabetes doctor said stress from my diabetes management could be contributing to my migraines.

In a way, trying to get well is making me sick.

This is diabetes burnout. The danger of burnout is a patient could give up treatment all together. No way am I going to do that. I'm still driven to win this game. I just think I could benefit from a day or two of not having to constantly worry about it. Y'all, it is hard always trying to be perfect and never being perfect.  My god, it's exhausting.

This a pivotal point when I could say "forget this" and go off the program for a week. I think I'm lucky to recognize the problem now, before I give up, and put some thought into how I can lighten up and still stay on track.

By the way, my numbers were better today, and I don't have to go back to the doctor for two months.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The power of irrational thinking when you are training for a half marathon

This is the phase in my half-marathon training when I start to have vague, pit-of-stomach doubts about whether I will be able to do it. Time telescopes and miles stretch so they are at least three miles long each.

I mentioned my training to the doctor a few weeks ago with a reluctant and doubtful tone.

"I'm still running? Training for a half-marathon? But like, I don't know." 
"When is the race?"
"December?" 
"So three months away." 
"Oh my god you're right, I have three months. It felt so much closer." 
"And you only need to be able to run 6-7 miles before the race." 
"I can do 6 miles, I do that now! And I still have three months!" 
See how powerful the irrational mind can be? I forgot the actual facts of my training program, lost perspective on time and distance, and totally tricked myself into thinking I couldn't do this.

My conversation with the doctor really helped me reclaim my motivation and confidence, but i psyched myself out again just last weekend. I was set to run 6 miles Saturday, but I had my eye focused too hard on the clock. When I saw how slow my pace was after 2 and 3 miles, I said screw this. I quit after 4.5 miles with plenty of steam to finish the full 6. I forgot the distance is what matters on long runs, and I should have ignored my time all together.

Monday I was slow and wobbly after a Sunday night binge on pizza. Today I was fast and optimistic after a day of good fuel and rest.

I now have 9 weeks left to train, and it's time to keep my head in the right place.