Life

It’s the Holiday Spirit!

I have been doing nothing but buying things these past few weeks. It doesn’t help that everything is on sale, and sometimes the deals are just way too good. I know, I know, that’s how they trick you into spending. But for me it’s more like, well, I’m going to buy this anyway, so might as well buy it while it’s 30% off, you know? It’s doing trash to my wallet, but as we’re inching toward the end of this horrible year, I feel like I want to celebrate a little bit. And since we can’t go out and drink/eat/watch movie or anything collectively fun, online shop therapy will have to do.

It’s not all frivolous. I bought something for my parents for Christmas for the first time in a long time. We’re Chinese, so we never really celebrated Christmas as a huge tree-decorating/gift-giving holiday. Hell, in recent years I never really went home for Christmas or Thanksgiving – our family gathering day is Chinese New Year in Jan/Feb, and usually I couldn’t get time off work to go anywhere because Americans don’t celebrate that. My mom usually go back to China then, and she did this year too and almost didn’t make it back because of Covid. Anyway, this year I decided I should buy them something small at least – it’s the spirit of the thing. So I bought my mom a cute pair of house slippers because she’s cold all the damn time, and my dad wants some music CDs (yeah, so old-school, but I don’t think they know what streaming is, and I tried to convince them to buy an Amazon Echo over Black Friday but they’re like, we don’t understand this so, no). He also wants to buy a model kit for the Japanese battleship Yamato, which on the higher end is around 300 bucks. I mean, I could buy it for him, but both of them were like no, it’s a splurge and we really really don’t want you to spend the money. So, Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies it is.

Coincidentally, my iPad died last night. Completely dead – battery won’t charge no matter what, so it’s kaput. I’ve been eying the new iPad Airs this year. They’re so pretty and I think definitely worth the upgrade, but they also do cost a pretty penny so I was going to do it next year around my birthday or something. Well, looks like luck have other plans. My husband’s like, sure, I’ll buy you a replacement one, but it looks like the color I want is sold out completely, and won’t be back until January. Oh well. I’m going to go to the Apple store tomorrow to recycle my dead iPad, and I guess I’ll get a new one whenever it’s available again.

Yeah, a holiday of consumer consumption! At least I bought stuff on sale, though, including a new Steam game (Oxygen Not Included – been wanting this for years just waiting for it to go on a good sale because I’m cheap, and have a lot of backlog). It’s not like I can go anywhere because insane Covid spread Batman! But I have something to play over the break, eh?

Work

Be Gentle, Be Kind

I had a terrible day yesterday. And the day before, but more so yesterday. No, nothing significant happened, just that I woke up anxious and therefore couldn’t really concentrate on work. And then because I couldn’t concentrate, I got more anxious, and the spiral of anxiety just went on until I basically stayed in bed all day and didn’t do anything. And then one of my packages from USPS didn’t get delivered due to a mistake. Totally understandable, since they’re so overwhelmed right now, but that seemed to be just the straw that broke the camel’s back and I burst out ugly crying on my husband’s shoulder while talking about how this completely non-essential delivery is going to be a few days late. I guess it really was just one of those days.

I woke up today still feeling horrible, still worrying about that super stupid package, and when my husband asked me if I could make some rice I burst out crying again. Yeah… He then was like, um, are you okay? Is something else bothering you that’s not just this package being late because it seems a little dramatic, and of course I said “I don’t know whatever” when of course I knew exactly why. In fact, I could just say that “I’m terrified I’ll never finish my novel why is it going so slowly omg???” and “I’ll never make money and I’ll be broke and homeless when I’m old due to no social security payments” and “I might as well kill myself and end it right here the future is so bleak.” And of course that’ll only get everyone more upset so I didn’t say anything.

So we ate lunch and after that I forced myself to just follow a routine. Not even a good routine, just a routine, just so I can stop moping around in bed. I played some games, put on my usual skincare that I’ve been neglecting, cleaned up the dishes, listened to a podcast, and then took out my bullet journal and started my usual checklists and other planning that I always do before starting work. I’m writing this entry now also as part of the routine. After this I’ll start on my novel again. (I did call the post office before lunch and everything seems okay – I just have to wait for the delivery for a few more days.) I still don’t feel that much better, but keep working seems to be the cure for, well, I think all of my woes. So I guess no matter what happens I just need to keep working until I’m done. Easier said by a wide margin, for realz.

Life

Good Mondays – General Gratefulness

This is going to be a short one. I don’t have anything specific for today, but I do want to just express my gratitude for everyone fighting in this pandemic. The healthcare workers, the grocery store workers, the people keeping our infrastructures running, the USPS folks (who’re ridiculously overwhelmed right now due to all of our online holiday shopping), the people in the government who are trying and meeting slabs of brick walls from all sides impeding their progress, but still going despite everything, everyone who were actually social distancing and wearing masks and staying home since March, everyone who give a fuck about their fellow human beings and community outside their immediate families and themselves. We’re all stuck here together (well, most of us save the lucky rich few who are sequestered in their mansions with their concierge healthcare), and we’ll still be here in a few months time because vaccine distribution is probably going to be slow and very, very messy. I wish everyone well, and I hope y’all hang in there for just a bit longer.

Life

Hunkering Down – Again

I don’t know if you noticed, but Covid is rampaging right now through the US. In So Cal where I am, things are really coming to a head. Our ICU availability is now at only 10%, so our governor put a pretty restrictive shutdown in place. I mean, in theory, that is, because no cops are going to actually bust in people’s house to arrest them for partying. But the restaurants are only allowed takeouts, and all the barbershop and etc. are shut down. There’s an 100% mask mandate, but again, only works if cops enforce it. Gosh, Biden needs to be president already and start some stimulus talk going, because Trump certainly isn’t going to do it during the lame-duck period.

Our regional restriction starts tonight at 11:59 pm, so yesterday we went on our grocery run so we can have everything before people start hoarding things again (we’re not hoarders, we don’t buy pallets of toilet paper, but we do buy enough paper goods to last us 3-4 weeks). We went late last night instead of today to avoid the potential crowds. You know, my husband and I have both been pretty good with quarantining since March. I barely leave the house and he only leaves the house to go shopping for groceries. We wipe down all groceries with antibacterial wipes, keep hand sanitizer and wipes in the car, leave all packages alone for at least a day before opening, and wear masks almost every time we leave the house (almost because we take walks around our neighborhood for exercise, and if it’s late at night and few people are out we just keep our distance and don’t wear masks, although I’ve started wearing some anyway since it’s cold now and a mask keeps my face warm). We haven’t seen anybody except on zoom or when we had to go do medical check-ups at hospitals and IVF. So all in all the restriction doesn’t impact us that much, except we need to be extra careful to not get in a car accident, or fall, or have a heart attack, or many things that we can’t really control because if that happens, we won’t get care because the hospitals are overrun. It’s an extra layer of fear and worry, but I’m not going to let that impact me mentally because, realistically, there’s not much more I can do.

In other, slightly more cheery news, I’ve been fairly diligent at keeping up my work hours since December started. I know it’s only been 6 days, but it’s better than my track record before. So I guess that’s something.

Life

Flu Shots – Get Them!

I got a flu shot today – finally, after weeks of procrastinating. Got my husband to get them too. He was supposed to get one when he went for a physical a couple of weeks ago, and he forgot! Like, I scheduled one for him, and he was at the doctor’s office, and he friggin’ forgot. What the hell, man? But anyway, I scheduled one for both of us today, and so we went. Now my arm hurts and I’m sleepy and have a headache. Boo. But at least I won’t catch the flu this season, or even if I did, it would be milder compared to no vaccination.

I asked the nurse if she’s getting Covid vaccination once they come out, and she said that no, the hospitals are getting that first (this was just a private doctor’s office), which makes sense. I really hope the distribution of the vaccine doesn’t hit snags, or if they do they’re minor. Probably going to be front line nurses/doctors first, then other healthcare providers, then nursing homes and other older folks (which my parents are, I guess that’s something to be happy about?), and then immuno-compromised younger individuals, and then the general public. Which means by the time it gets to people like us it’ll be like, June, if we’re lucky. If I got lucky and got pregnant then I won’t be taking the vaccine at all. I’ll just stay inside the house and not leave until I give birth, or until the CDC or someone reputable tells me it’s safe for pregnant women to get the vaccine, as they were excluded from all trials. Also, this would be the Western vaccine, which doesn’t tell me how many people of East Asian descent was included in the trials. What if there were some complications that’re particular to Asians but only the Asian vaccine trials had Asians in it? (Same thing for Black folks, too.) So many questions, so little answers. I’m not anti-vax at all – I mean I just got the flu vaccine, didn’t I? But we live in times of uncertainty, so I’m just going to do my own risk management and hopefully everything works out.

Work

Be A Better Me Every Single Day

Let me explain the title a bit. It’s a quote I read in an article from Vogue, said by the artist Lizzo in an interview. For some reason it really struck a chord with me. I guess it was because I was in a writing slump and felt like I could never accomplish what I wanted to do. Like I just don’t have the willpower or something. But then I read that quote and thought, oh, I don’t have to be the best perfect self all the time. If I can just strive for the goal of doing better than yesterday (or if yesterday I did really well, keep up the same work), then that’s enough. If I worked on some part of my novel today, then tomorrow I will work on that plus an extra half hour, and add more the next day and on and on until I reach my maximum work potential. All sounds a bit new age-y, I know, but if you just break it down to the most basic components, it’s just a practical way to approach work (independent creative work, that is, I’m well aware there’s tons of difference between this and office politics, physical labor, etc.)

I also remember this interview with this small business owner I’ve heard on the podcast NPR’s Marketplace. She has a day job and her own side business, so her schedule is basically go to work from 9 to 5, come home, eat dinner, work on her own business at night for a couple of hours. Rinse and repeat every weekday. Weekends she devotes a lot more time to her own business but also give herself some more downtime. She called herself a work horse, and it just floored me that people work so much harder than me and I, well, felt bad about my lack of progress. I know you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others especially if you’re anxiety- or depression-prone, but I couldn’t help it. I feel like I’m not doing anything, and that just makes me even more discouraged. But at the same time I feel a tiny bit of motivation – like, I could actually try to be like her. Emulate her work ethics, you know? It’s worth a try.

So yesterday I actually worked the full 6 40-min slots I always aimed for but never got to (always zonked out around 4 or 5 slots, sometimes 3). Well, today I will aim for the same. My sleep schedule is still off, though, due to waking up super late and drinking copious amount of caffeine. So today I’m not going to drink any caffeine and will try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I don’t miss the morning progesterone shots days but I do miss the fact I was forced to get up by 8:30 am. So much time to do things, too bad then I was too stressed by hormones to utilize it. Well that’s not going to happen next year. I will get myself in shape and keep to a good schedule, and I will definitely start this month and hopefully watch it run through next year.

Life · Writing

The Last Month

It’s December, y’all! I hope you had a good, safe Thanksgiving, and are keeping up with the safety precautions for the Christmas holidays, too. We had a tiny Thanksgiving dinner – small 12 lb smoked turkey, stuffing, asparagus, cornbread, and cranberry sauce just for my husband and I. (No dessert, but I think next year we might change that. I did miss having a good slice of pie at the end.) We invited no one and zoomed with my parents, who also invited no one and had an even smaller Thanksgiving dinner. None of us have plans for Christmas either, so with the crazy rising cases, I think we’ll be relatively okay.

I feel like this month is akin to whatever that’s going on in the White House right now, i.e. a transition period to 2021. I cannot wait for this horrid year to be over, and mentally I am already in next year mode, even though I still have a full 31 days to slog through. I started using the Hobonichi Techo I bought already, as its calendar starts in December of this year, and I’m pretty delighted. It’s going to be solely a work journal – I’m keeping a separate bullet journal for all the life things, including my endless journey to getting pregnant via IVF. I will start that again next year, after I get my flu shot and depends on distribution rate, the Covid vaccine. I am an avid pro-vaccine person, but I’m not going to get this fast-tracked vaccine if I get pregnant, because it definitely has not been tested on any pregnant women. Anyway, I bought a new nuuna journal for next year. That format is perfect for my bujo needs, and since I want something cheerful, I bought this super colorful one. Gives me a little more optimism, and god knows we all need more of those.

This month is also for me to catch up, writing-wise. I have not gotten much work done in November due to election, miscarriage, holiday preps, etc. Hell, I didn’t even get any fun things done because of those. And no, I’m not proud of that. So December is for resting and re-energizing. I will take care of myself physically and mentally, and I will have more dedication, more drive, to work. Yes, it’s going to be hard, but I believe I can do it. Of course I’ll keep y’all up to date on whether I succeed. Does this count as a new year resolution already? No matter. Everything in my life is a marathon, not a sprint, and so many things are out of my control that worrying, or even planning, is mostly useless. So why give myself anxiety? If I just keep on trucking regardless of what happens, I believe I will get far, even though it doesn’t feel like it any one day of the week.