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Daily Grind

I sat down wanting to write about so many different things but the moment I put fingers to keyboard everything flew right out of my head. I’m tired, but things are good. Mike’s two classes are going really well. He gets to watch his Anatomy professor cut dead people up into little pieces and I’m only a little bit jealous. Not that I want to see people being cut into little pieces. I don’t mean to the give the wrong (and super creepy) impression. But I have always wanted to dissect a human cadaver, so yeah, I’m a little bit jealous.

Thank you very much to Dori and Kim for donating to support research for Epilepsy! You girls rock my world. If I can convince eight more of you to donate five bucks each, I’ll have reached my very reasonable goal of $100. Come on guys! You can do it! End Epilepsy! Donate $5 HERE.

airsoft

I found this picture the other day while I was sorting through old photos on my computer. I haven’t played airsoft in AGES. It has literally (not figuratively, literally) been months. You like my gun? You know you do. It’s a – um, I have no idea what kind of gun it is. It’s an airsoft gun and it’s rad. My brothers are playing WWII reenactment airsoft this weekend. Ty pointed out that it’s just about the geekiest thing we could ever do because it involves playing dress up. Mike and I aren’t playing because we don’t have 1940’s outfits yet, but we’re putting them together. We’re going to be partisans and I’m going to dress up like this woman:

skirt gun

I can’t imagine the courage it must take to pick up a weapon and fight for your country. God bless our troops. That said, there is something pretty remarkable about a woman in the 1940’s who’d take a gun off a dead man and fight in the resistance. That is some serious nettle. I have no idea if I could ever be that woman, but I can spend an afternoon pretending to be her.

Kids dress up like super heroes, grown-ups dress up like war heroes. Er. Geeky grown-ups dress up like war heroes.

Mike and I are trying out the various fitness clubs in our neighborhood. We’re getting guest passes at all the gyms and hopping from one to the next every week. Last week was Spectrum, this week is LA Fitness, next week is 24-Hr Fitness. We’re trying to decide which one to join, but so far, I’m just thrilled to be getting back into a consistent work-out routine. We haven’t had a good, solid routine down since 2008, so this is a little overdue. Our workout consists of twenty minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes of abs and calves, followed by thirty minutes of weights. We’re on a three-day split; Sunday legs, Monday arms, Tuesday back, Wednesday legs, Thursday arms, Friday back, Saturday rest. It’s kicking my ass. I can barely walk  up the stairs. I can barely lift my arms over my head. It hurts to sit down, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to breathe. But it hurts so good. I love the feeling of sore, hard-worked muscles. It makes me love my body and how strong it is. Mike is a relentless coach, upping my weight when the exercise is too easy, coaxing me through an extra five reps at the end of a set. I love working the machines together, changing each other’s weights, counting each other’s reps, spotting one another. It’s the only real time we spend together during the week so it feels sacred. I’m a little nervous I’m going to get giant man-muscles, but Mike promises that no one will ever mistake me for a dude. He better be right or else I’ll have the man-muscles to make him sorry he was wrong.

Work is good – it’s busy and getting busier. I feel like I’m spinning a dozen plates but for now they’re all spinning happily away. I just have to keep them going nice and steady. I’m hoping to spend a little time this weekend writing more about Bolivia. It seems so far away now. I am eager to get all my memories down before they evaporate. There are also half-a-dozen projects I’d like to do around this place, and of course, a husband I’d like to spend some time with. And there are chores, too. And lots of pictures I’ve been taking and meaning to post here, but haven’t gotten round to yet. I just want an easy weekend filled with nesty things. I’ll do a project or two, write a little, do a few chores, maybe read a little. What are you doing this weekend? How’s your week? I’ve been talking all about myself. Now tell me, what is new with you?

Weather Check

Yesterday marked one-month since we arrived in Los Angeles and started living with my parents. One month with all of our belongings in boxes in their garage. One month of shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. One month of little dogs with muddy feet on white linen slacks, one month of cats leaping from dark bookcase corners.

My parents are incredibly gracious. They even seem to enjoy having us here, and thank goodness, because being able to land here, with them, to have a home base while we gather ourselves together and get ready to move on to the next phase in our life has been invaluable. And wonderful.

Friends keep asking how the apartment hunt is going, but we haven’t even started looking. For one thing, I’ve been too busy at work to do anything else, and as long as Mike is still looking for an apartment manager job, why should we sign a lease? In the meantime we’re enjoying the shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. Mike’s been wonderful about chipping in with chores and cooking, and I’m trying too. The dogs are enjoying the backyard and the cats are taking full advantage of sharing a room with us. They spend their nights tracing our faces with their whiskers, leaping back and forth from our bellies to our pillows and back again.

I’m sure it’s not easy for my parents to share their home with another family, especially one that consists of so many animals. But every time I ask them if we’re driving them crazy yet, they just laugh and insist that Mike’s cooking is worth it. And honestly? I’m a little surprised at how easy it’s been for Mike and me to adjust to sharing our life with another family. Granted the other family is our family too, but I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough privacy, or we’d impede on their privacy, or Theo would pee all over the garden furniture and drive my mother nuts, but so far it’s been fine.

Mike and I started running in the mornings, and since he started a part-time job our run has become our one chance to touch base during the day. He’s working nights, I’m working days, so it’s morning runs or nuthin’. As close as we are, it’s become really important for us to have the opportunity, every day, to clue each other in as to how we’re feeling, what’s going on, and where our heads are at. I’ve found that when we miss that hour alone together too many days in a row, I end up feeling disconnected, insecure, and uneasy. Then when we  run we get awkward. We trot side by side, talking small about the weather, our plans for the day. But by the end, sweaty and out of breath, we’re excited and talking about our future, the fixer-upper we hope to buy, the trip to Nepal, the degree Mike will earn, the family we hope to begin.

Do a “weather” check during the day Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you. — From 10 Tips for Happy Couples, by Dr. Mark Goulston.

Mike’s working in a restaurant, so calling him at work is out of the question. And I really don’t feel comfortable taking personal calls while I’m working, because they distract me too much. But the idea is what’s important, and for us, the hour of running is what is keeping us in tune. So what about you? What do you do to stay connected to your partner? Do you have a weekly date night? Do you share a daily meal? How do you manage sharing a life with opposite schedules?

Sat on a fence but it didn’t work

I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately.  And not even pressure from an outside source, just pressure from within.  I’ve been kind of a freaked-out blob lately.  It’s not pretty.

Except that’s not entirely true.  “Freaked-out blob” implies that I’ve spent the last two weeks eating ice cream in the same pair of dirty sweat pants day after day.  While that is certainly how I’ve been wanting to spend my time, instead I’ve actually been relatively productive.  I started running again.  High-five!  My plan is to fit into my pants again by Memorial Day.*  I also worked a lot this week.  A lot.  More than I’ve worked in a while.  And?  I went out with friends, saw a movie and had drinks afterward.  Right there is more activity than I have participated in since the end of January.  I should be exhausted, and I am, but I didn’t end there, you guys.  I also had two snow days in the last week, took tons of photos, kept my apartment clean, washed three loads of laundry, balanced my checkbook, updated my monthly budget sheet and ran errands.

And while that’s great and everything, did I really accomplish anything?  You know what I didn’t do?  My taxes.  Also?  I’m just barely keeping in step with assignments from work, getting them done in the nick of time, that is unacceptable I should be weeks ahead on all of my assignments.  Also?  I haven’t trimmed my toenails in two weeks, I haven’t checked my Facebook page since February and I went four days without shaving my legs.  FAIL.

Is this normal?  I mean, I assume that everyone feels the way that I feel, that I’m not the only person who expects to get it all done perfectly all of the time.

It’s a lot of pressure.

So that’s where I’ve been.  I’ve been trying, managing, ticking things off one at a time and breathing deeply, namaste.  In case you didn’t notice, one of things on my to-do list that didn’t get done was –

Hi! I’m posting! And did you like the photos?  It’s Friday!  I posted!  And I have news!

There is a project in the works, a project that came about thanks to writing that’s happened on this site, a career-type job-ish, and it’s really exciting and totally terrifying.  I’ll tell you all about it next week, when it launches, god willing.  Until then, here’s to a weekend that will hopefully have at least one morning where I can sleep in past six.

*Between the end of November, when our CSA ended, and the end of January, I gained enough weight that even my bras stopped fitting. What. The. Expletive.

Balancing Act

It’s Friday night. Mike is in his art studio [read: the corner of our living room between his bookcase of school books and my bookcase of plays, where he keeps his easel and paints set up over a tarp on the floor so he doesn’t have to worry about spilling paint. It is my favorite corner in our apartment] and I have, so far, spent my entire evening wandering aimlessly, nervously, unable to sit and write even though it is the only thing I have wanted to do all day. See, I had a schedule today. I started out my week with a precise schedule that I had written to help me manage my time. There are only a few things in life I really care to spend my time on, but there are lots of things I am obligated to spend time on. I need a schedule to help me trudge through the have-to things so I can spend more time on the want-to things.

I’m going to have to go way back to the beginning here, because you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

Shortly after Christmas whirled past, (really? Has it really been weeks since Christmas? Because I still have a stack of un-mailed, un-written Christmas cards) I decided I was absolutely done feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I finally learned how to be punctual, and oh my goodness, it feels good. Now I wanted to learn how to manage my time. So I created a schedule that includes an hour a day for yoga, an hour a day for writing, time to prepare meals and walk the dogs, time to primp, time to read, time to work, to every season, turn, turn, turn. (Name that song and I’ll give you a high-five.)  By writing out, hour by hour, all the things I want and am obligated to do in a day, I proved to myself that there really are enough hours in the day to do it all. My goals were not too steep. I decided to start living this schedule the first Monday after the New Year.

That was this past Monday. Not a single day have I managed to follow my new schedule. Monday came pretty close, except that I over-worked and by the time I came home I was so exhausted I couldn’t do anything that required moving my butt off the couch. Every day after that I over-slept in the mornings, over-worked all day, and came home too tired to move. I fell asleep in front of the television every night this week, slept terribly, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. Then when I finally found a few hours to write tonight, I spent most of them wandering aimlessly around my apartment unable to focus.

How do you do it? How do you balance work, chores, exercise, romance, and play? Because I can’t figure it out.