Life

Good Mondays – It’s My Birthday!

It’s my birthday today! Yay!!

Because it’s pandemic times, I have absolutely nothing planned for it. No cake, no dining out, no presents, no party. My family sent me text messages saying happy birthday, and say I can buy whatever I want using their credit card. OK, cool, I didn’t really want anything. Usually for birthdays my s.o. and I would go out to a fancy restaurant (like, fancy, as in a set menu with no prices listed kind. We’re both foodies and it’s a good splurge once in a while). He’d buy me some flowers (because we made a deal to not buy uber overpriced flowers during Valentine’s Day and do it on my birthday instead), and we’d custom order a small cake from a nice bakery. But of course this year (and last year) planning went out the window. I’m not even sure the bakery we usually go to is still even in business. We’re certainly not dining in anywhere without vaccinations, and flowers? Too much hassle for no celebration. It’s fine; times are rough so I don’t mind just not doing anything haha. I’m happy just chilling today.

Well, apparently the Earth doesn’t like that, which is why in the wee hour this morning I got woken up twice by earthquakes. The second time it jolted me awake so I screamed really loudly at like 4 in the morning. So I slept terribly because when you get rudely woken up because you’re afraid your house might collapse on your face you kind of don’t get back to sleep for a while. Great. And then my mom called and woke me up to wish me happy birthday but it was too early for me. (In truth it wasn’t, it was 11 am when she called so I should be up, but again, when you get woken up at 4 and then again at 5 am because of earthquakes you kind of need more sleep than usual.) It was lousy. I’m going to need better sleep tonight and hopefully it won’t earthquake again. If I were religious I’d think it’s a sign or something since it was right after Easter.

So I decided that, fuck it, I’m not going to bother working today. I know I also said this yesterday about finally working the full 4 hours, but you know, it’s my birthday and so far it’s been pretty lackluster. So I’m not gonna feel guilty about it and just enjoy the rest of the hours that I’m awake. Pretty crappy to have a Monday birthday already but you know, that’s why I started the Good Mondays series. Mondays suck so I’m going to enjoy every little bit of happiness during it as I can. K.K. Slider sang me a birthday song in Animal Crossing so hey, that’s a pretty good bit eh?

Life · Work

Stomach Ache Delaying Work

Well, so much for working full steam come April haha. Literally one day after my post with all my goals I came down with a severe cramping stomach ache. I don’t know what it was, and it was not bad enough that I had to go the ER, but it was bad enough that I pretty much lay in bed all day yesterday. I tried to work and my s.o. was like, come on, take a sick day. You’re not really concentrating and we have a new villager in Animal Crossing to find. So I guess I got persuaded by that and instead of lying in bed I lay on the sofa and went on Island Tours until I found a good villager for our island haha. I mean I also slept and read and ate soupy food, so I’m not neglecting my health or anything. Just was not up for anything mentally taxing.

Today, I feel much better. Stomach still not feeling 100% so I had soupy pho for lunch although I was craving spicy fried chicken. I guess that’ll have to wait until next week. But I’m definitely well enough to be able to sit in front of a desk and type things. I’d have to watch my caffeine intake, too, which is a bummer. Nothing but boring warm water for a while (maybe with some super diluted lemon juice just to give it a bit of flavor). I’ve stopped taking some of my supplements because, well, I haven’t gone to the doctors in a while due to pandemic, so I’m not sure if I’m like taking too much vitamin D or whatever. My body doesn’t process vitamin D well but I’ve also read that you shouldn’t take too much of it either. I’ll know I’m okay if I had a physical, which probably won’t happen until I get vaccinated, which is most likely in June. So many doctor things coming up! Meanwhile let’s make sure I’m at least functioning, mmh?

Life

Things I’m Going To Do In April

Hello folks. It’s April. Wow. This year feels just like last year – moving incredibly slowly and ridiculously fast at the same time. Feels like eons have passed since January 6th, huh? Yet, my state still isn’t open for everyone to get the vaccine. And that is the first thing that I’m going to to do in April – get vaccinated! Well, at least sign up for getting vaccinated. Who knows when exactly I’ll actually get the jab in my arm. Might be April, might be May. But I’m signing up first chance I can.

Another thing in April – Camp NaNoWriMo, of course! I’ve never actually used these challenges as intended, though. I don’t care much about the word count, but I do use them as a springboard to get myself into writing shape. There’s been some instability in my family life all through February and March, and so my productivity had gone down to the toilet. I’ve finally started back up this week, and luckily April marks a new beginning, so to speak. Combined with Camp NaNo and the fact I’m (bravely) submitting some of my work to my writers’ group (stake is still very small, but there is a stake now, as opposed to none) for critique this month, all of this probably will propel me to write on a more dedicated schedule. I still don’t think I’m operating like a “writer”, per se. I love writing; it seems as natural as breathing (don’t @ me I know where the original quote came from lol). How do you turn existing into a job? Anyway, existential crisis aside, I have goals to meet and schedules to keep. Because of my budding realization that I probably have ADHD, it’s more imperative I strictly follow a routine in order to be productive. Or at least try this month and see where it leads.

I’m also going to resume my healthcare journey soon. IVF waits for no one, yo! I’m going to meet with my doctors (via telehealth) later next week for a roadmap of what to do once I’m fully vaccinated. So really, it’s just the beginning of the planning stage due to Covid. I probably won’t step foot back into a hospital until well into May. But I should schedule things regardless. There’s going to be some healthcare provider changes in my house, too, so it’s good that I’m waiting. The US healthcare system is a nightmare and I want to make sure I’m well covered before going in and accrue tens of thousands of dollars in surgeries and the like. I’ve waited over half a year. What’s a few weeks more?

And last but not least, I am 100% following my previous media black out goals. The last couple of weeks I’ve been pretty stressed, so I didn’t follow all my blockers, and went on to read reddit and comments under Youtube (yeah I know I know) and other news publications. And guess what happened? It got me even more stressed! I mean, duh, but it’s good to see empirical evidence of it. So April I have to be good, and block what I need to and NOT, absolutely NOT, visit reddit. Like I said, I only allow myself to open NPR for actual news, and sometimes LATimes for local ones. They’re the least sensational/click-baity news sites I can find and they have factual reporting. On such a work-heavy month I can’t afford to feel terrible about the state of the world and become depressed in the middle. It absolutely will destroy my productivity, and that’s the whole point of this April exercise. So site-blocking extensions full throttle! And maybe instead of wasting time on the web I’ll actually read a book for once. It’s been long due.

Life

Good Mondays – Nice Weather

Let’s just appreciate a very mundane and small thing today – the weather. Today I’m grateful that the weather is nice. Of course, I live in So Cal, so the weather is always “nice” compared to a lot of places. But the cold front did not leave our area unscathed. It had been relatively cold (40s and 50s) and rained a whole lot. Rain here in the desert is not fun. It causes mudslides, so bad that an entire portion of the PCH has collapsed off the continent, and brings out the oil from the roads so it’s more dangerous to drive. Coupled with the plethora of sports cars with no traction and drivers who lose their collective minds when water falls from the sky, let’s just say whenever it rains your safest bet is just stay the hell home.

But finally, the sun has come out and we’re back in the usual “wintery” temperatures of 60s/50s. It means I can now exercise again. I’ve been putting on weight and it’s mostly because I’ve stopped my walks when it got cold. I would walk during the day, but I usually want to go with my husband (because he will never exercise unless I’m with him. It’s one of those things you just can’t change about a person no matter how hard you try), and he doesn’t feel comfortable walking during the day because there’re too many people outside doing the exact same thing. So we always walk at night, when there’re very few people and we don’t have to wear the heavy duty masks (I wear KN95s when I need to go somewhere surrounded by people, and they’re not the greatest when you try to exercise, so instead I wear cloth masks). However, if it’s rainy or too cold we skip it, and it has been that way for a good few weeks. But now that’s mostly over, I can pick my routine back up, and hopefully lose some weight and get back in shape before I try to attempt IVF again.

So a toast, to the sun, to warm weather, to the oncoming spring. I think we all deserve it after such a harsh three months.

Life

Jury Duty and Covid

My husband got summoned for jury duty. It was the reason why we didn’t vote for the longest time haha, so we won’t be on the list for it. Yes, I know it’s an American duty and I’m being bad and un-American and everything, but come on, don’t tell me people really want to go do jury duty, especially if their work is not accommodating. And yes, there’re laws saying your work can’t fire you if you’re stuck in a long case, but we all know how things on paper translates to real life – not very well if it doesn’t hurt corporations. I’ve heard of folks who had to go do jury duty for a year (like the case literally lasted all year), and then of course their work fired them! I’m not sure if they pursued legal actions. If they had no job you think they could afford a lawyer, though?

Also, there’s still the problem with Covid. Neither one of us are vaccinated yet, and being stuck in a room full of random others for a whole day? Uh, yeah, spreader event just waiting to happen. We’ve been so careful all this time only to be thwarted by stupid jury duty? Nuh-uh. So my husband’s going to try to defer it for three months. He’s allowed to at least once, I’m sure, and by the end of June I’m fairly certain at least one of us will be vaccinated. I hope. By then he can go – he’s not going to shirk his duties, but it’s just a safety precaution. I mean seriously what if he’s next to some anti-vaxxer who hates masks? Yes, the court mandates people to wear masks, but do you really think people will comply? They’ll just wear the mesh-like ones or just keep on taking it off and, yeah, no. Not safe at all.

Life · Work

Media Blackout

I’m posting super late because, well, I’ve been kind of super demotivated lately. Starting with the last week of February – I had that weird insomnia episode and everything just kind of went into a haze afterwards. I had zero motivation to do anything, which I’m not proud of. Finally, I got myself motivated enough yesterday since it was the first of the month – a great fresh start, right? Nope! I sat down with the full intention of doing my normal planning and bullet journaling and blogging, only to be sidetracked by a news article. And then it was off to the races! I spent a good hour just browsing news and get demotivated by all the shit that’s going on in the world, and then I got on reddit, and, yeah, it was just a bad spiral all the way down. My plan of doing any work went to nil. And the day was wasted, with me being super upset to boot.

Well, because of all that, I’ve decided this month I’m going to put myself on a media and social media blackout. I will be completely blocking click-baiting sites like cnn.com, and of course no access to reddit or twitter or other forum-like places. (I do not have an active facebook, so at least there’s that.) I, however, will allow myself to look at npr.org, because I found that I can read NPR articles and stop at 1 or 2 articles, because their headline is factual and non-sensationalist. Because of that, I can read a report, get the info, and then go back to work. If it was CNN I’d be continuously clicking titles and skimming the barebones article and then immediately move on to the next one. Their marketing and clickbaiting works! So I’m going to cut myself off from going to that website at all. Ditto for reddit and other social media sites. It’s one thing if there’s amusing content, it’s another that, 4 out of 5 times, I leave feeling stressed, anxious, and upset. And that impacts my creativity so much. (I also give leeway to covid vaccine news, but I go straight to my state’s dashboard for that, so no clicking anything there).

I successfully blocked myself from these distractions today, and lo and behold, I’m finally beginning to get myself back into work-mode. Still didn’t write anything creatively, but at least I’m blogging, and journaling, and doing something productive for my mental health. I’m hoping I’ll return to writing tomorrow. At least a little bit. I can fill my time not doomscrolling with reading or playing a video game. Speaking of reading, I really need something lighthearted and fun for this month. I would like to keep up the habit, too. Well, I guess that’s the next goal.

Life

Weird Insomnia

I did not sleep a wink on Sunday night. I have no idea why. I’m guessing it’s because I had some coffee? But I had coffee in the morning! And no other things of caffeine during the day. Whatever. The point is, I did not sleep a wink the whole of Sunday night. Just couldn’t get my mind to calm down and before I knew it, it was light outside. So I decided to get up and read random things on my iPad for a while. Miraculously, I got sleepy around 9 am, so I went to bed, finally, and slept to around noon. And that was all I got.

So my Monday was terrible. I was a zombie, with a headache and a cloud of tiredness. I wanted to see if I could do any work – ha! Futile attempt. I couldn’t even get enough energy to sit on my computer and play a video game! The only thing I did was stay in bed and watch youtube mindlessly. Insomnia is horrible. Unexplained even worse. But yeah, Monday was a complete wash, but Monday night thankfully I actually slept. Whatever weird insomnia I had went away, at least, for also no apparent reason. I hate the human body sometimes.

Today, Tuesday, I woke up again around noon (slept for like 12 hours straight) with a thumping headache. It went away as soon as I ate food and had some water, so, not that worried. But my concentration is shot today too. Didn’t get any work done – small wonder, eh? Hopefully I will fully recuperate tomorrow and get back to writing. Fingers crossed.

Life

ADHD and Me

So I was browsing tumblr earlier, and came across this reblog of ways to deal with ADHD. They talked about how one might need a concrete timer instead of an arbitrary one – case in point, a timer counting down is just a number you can ignore, a pot of water boiling has an absolute “finish” point. So when you’re waiting for the water to boil, do the dishes. Or, put on this album (or Spotify playlist for an hour) and work until that stops. Things like that. And as I read the entry, completely fascinated, I realized that some of the suggestions are 100% how I deal with my own unproductivity. I absolutely put on a podcast when I do dishes, and whatever time left after I’m done with dishes (podcast is usually half an hour and my dishes take about 15 min) I use the rest to do other chores. I have an actual timer that beeps at me after a period so I work until it beeps. I use other podcasts for all menial tasks you have to do around the house. If I don’t do these things, chores don’t get done, I don’t work, and all that jazz.

Except I came up with these ways on my own, through trial and error to see what makes me work, without ever even realizing these relate to ADHD. I’ve never been diagnosed, and never thought I had an issue. I thought I was lazier than most people, and since I’m prone to depression, I also put these all on depression and anxiety. I then went on a Google spree about signs of adult ADHD, and, yeah, I do a lot of the things they said ADHD sufferers do. And it has been absolutely devastating to my creative career in that I just can’t get myself to finish things. It’s why my novel’s going at a snail’s pace, and I’m terrible at creative deadlines, and I never seem to get to the end of anything no matter how much I work. I fidget – not a lot, but I do, I realized that now. And they even said having ADHD is connected to anxiety and depression. So, a few boxes got checked. Of course, I can’t really rely on web-diagnosis because, you know, everything’s cancer and all. But it did get me thinking about actually getting diagnosed by a professional.

My therapist told me during my depression treatments that, he’d seen a lot of patients with productivity issues, but none of them were because they were “lazy.” Now I’m definitely over my depression, and am still not progressing as much, so maybe this is why. I talked to my s.o., who has subclinical OCD so he’s no stranger to mental health issues, and he said, maybe it’ll help you. Maybe some medication or other therapy would be the push that you need to get going in your career. And I agree. A little push is all I need, really, and who knows, maybe I’ll end up with a steady supply of Adderall and become super human or something. (Joking, okay? I know it’s addictive.)

Well, everything will have to wait until I get vaccinated, though. Plus, I’m sure if I become pregnant I shouldn’t take any medication regardless, so it’ll be a while before anything happens. I’ll revisit everything in June, probably, at the rate we’re going with vaccinations in our state. The only thing I can do is just keep trucking.

Life

Our Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul, If They Work

So I went to the doctor’s on Monday. A retina specialist, to check up on my eye condition after I had a vein occlusion. (Yes, I realize 30s is super young for vein occlusion when I don’t have underlying conditions, but you know, them’s the breaks?) For the past year or so I’ve been seeing flashes of light every time I move my left eye to the right. It’s most likely something is tugging on the retina and causing weird effects, which is why I had to go make sure my retina’s not detaching. Because of the pandemic I put it off until now. It’s gradually getting bigger – the area of flash of light, I mean – but more of a nuisance than something debilitating. Anyway, I finally scheduled an appointment on Monday, and went.

Well, the good news is that my retina is structurally fine, so far. No tears, no sign of detachment, etc. The bad news is that the doctor doesn’t know why I’m seeing this flash of light. His theory is that my vitreous liquid in the eye is shrinking, something that happens to near-sighted people as we age, and that is causing the problem. It doesn’t mean that the retina is going to detach, but it might, so the only thing we can do is just keep an eye on it (ha!) with routine check-ups. Not great, not terrible? At least I’m assured that so far, I can continue to see, which is a plus in my book!

A fun fact! So apparently the length of dilation of your eye is affected by how dark your eye color is. I have medium brown eyes, so when I get my eyes dilated it takes like 4-6 hours to get better. My husband has super black eyes and he gets over it in like three. And apparently people with super light colored eyes will stay dilated until the next day. I learned this from the nurse when she was dilating my eye for the checkup, and I was like, wow, no wonder some people don’t fear going to the eye doctors because they’ll be fine in a couple of hours. I can’t imagine how someone feels when it takes like the whole day and then some though. You can’t do anything then! Although I myself didn’t end up doing anything on Monday either. It wasn’t the dilation, it was the fact that the doctor was doing a really thorough job of checking my retina, which apparently involved using a metal stick to push back the sides of my eye and shining a ridiculous bright light for a long time. He actually put some lidocaine gel in my eye so I don’t feel pain during. So of course after I got home and the lidocaine wore off my eyes were bloodshot, puffy, teary, and all around miserable because someone just literally poked at it with a stick and blinded me for like, ten minutes straight. Brilliant. but hey, it confirmed that my retina’s fine, so there’s that, at least.

The doctor also suggested I go see my regular eye doctor (ophthalmologist instead of retina specialist) to see if I have glaucoma, and reschedule a checkup in three month. Well, all that will have to wait until I get vaccinated, I think. Maybe I can get my hand on something in May, but who knows. As of now I’m done with hospitals until I’m ready to try IVF again, which is, at the earliest, middle of March. I’m staying in my self-imposed quarantine for now. And on that note, I hope you guys also stay safe and have a good day.

Life

One Step at a Time, and Skincare

So I just want to say I’ve spent most of January basically honing my work/life routine. I know people always say keep a routine, and I’ve never liked that idea, but now, a year into the global pandemic, I realized how much routine is necessary in times of great stress and copious unstructured time. I didn’t think about how my husband going to work, coming back from work, eating out, grocery shopping on weekends, and a slew of other chores kind of naturally formed a loose routine before. I had a concrete starting and stopping time for work: when my husband leaves I work, and when he comes back I stop. Now he’s WFH and it’s so sporadic when he’ll be busy in a meeting or when he’s slacking off, it’s throwing off my rhythm too. My routine just went completely whack over the past year, which was both bad for my productivity and for all the other things in life, like washing my face/put on sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, you know, self-care things. (The IVF surgery/pregnancy/miscarriage hoopla did not help matters, but that’s a different story.)

I decided as part of my new year resolution was to get myself back on a functioning adult track. Which basically meant I started to rigidly follow a schedule of what I’m going to do at specific time of day. In hand-written form, mind you, because I found that writing down checklists with a pen is somehow magically more motivating than typing it out on screen. I bought myself the Hobonichi Techo (which I LOVE. 100%. It’s been so, so helpful with my work), started a random journal and forced myself to record down every thing I’ve done each day, and bought an actual timer (like, the kind you use in the kitchen – it’s cute!) so I don’t stray off course. A bit excessive, I admit, but apparently that’s what it takes to whip myself into shape. Now I’m a month in and have more or less established things, or at least have concrete goals and can see when and why I’ve slipped up (mostly because I kept on getting distracted online, so I installed a web blocker and diligently used it.) You know I’ve always thought writing creatively as a career for me is like an alcoholic trying to stay sober. You have to do baby steps at first and then keep it up every day. You might slip up once in a while, but the goal is to get back on track, hopefully faster every time you failed.

In addition, I’ve also found out that keeping a routine is inadvertently helping out my skin! I’ve developed seborrhoeic dermatitis a couple of years ago (thank you California drought weather!) and have been trying to keep it in check ever since. I’ve been using prescription steroid creams and they do clear it up, however, it always come back after 10 days or so. I don’t want to keep on putting steroid on my face indefintiely, so I’ve been trying all kinds of other creams and serums and etc. to see if I can manage it without medication. Well, turns out that if I consistently keep a skincare routine it gets better. Right now I have minimal redness and peeling, and I’ve honed down what kind of moisturizer works best for me and what kind of ingredients are huge no-nos (alcohol, mainly, and maybe niacinamide, which is a shame because it’s a great ingredient, just not for me). I’m still trying out things but the combo is working well, and I’m super stoked about that. Keeping a routine on my work made me also commit a routine on my health. Who’d have thought?

Now if only I can apply the same to flossing. (Need to go to a dentist, but am waiting for after I get the Covid vaccine, which might not happen until June. Ugh.)