Life · Writing

No NaNo November

For the first time in a long while, I am NOT doing NaNoWriMo this November. So much had happened in the past couple of months that I’m still slowly recovering emotionally, there’s no way I can try to focus on writing anything even semi-literate right now. I have been seeing my therapist, and he said that I had a major depressive episode due to outside sources (so it’s not just a general depressive state caused by my own mind, but actual events that had happened), and it looks like I’m clawing my way out of it, but it’ll take time. I suppose that’s good news. Anyway, I’m sure for the rest of the year my productivity will be crap on top of these past horrible two years. Pandemic really messes with people, huh?

As part of me slowly trying for normal, I’m going to blog here again. I’m sorry I was gone for so long, but really, it’s unavoidable, IMO. So much crappy things had happened that I would love to recount every horrible detail, because if I could do that without crying it means I’m getting over them. Well, maybe getting over is too harsh a word – more like moving past them slowly so I can go back to being a functional adult. And isn’t that all we want? Trying to be a functional adult? Nobody told me it’d be this hard when I was a kid. I don’t really miss my childhood, but I gotta say at least things had definitive goals and I had definitive steps to get there. Now? It’s all a haze.

(Off topic, but I’m not a big fan of WordPress’s new interface. What they had before was better. It was cleaner and the text less cramped and is there a way for me to make it so everything isn’t so compact? It’s not the text size’s problem but more about its spacing. Geez, gone for two months and even your blogging UI decides to change on you.)

Anyway, I’m not doing NaNo and it feels kind of weird. The community aspect had always been my favorite, and this year I’m just completely ignoring the whole thing. I won’t even have a temporary icon with the badge on it! It’s a small thing but that always made me very happy, like I’m part of something cool and greater (yeah only writers think NaNoWriMo is cool, right? I mean not even all of us – I’ve met folks in my MFA who thought the whole thing’s kind of absurd haha). I think ever since the site rebranding it’s less, I don’t know, distinct? In that you can basically do your own NaNo anytime with your own trackers and stuff. So does it really have to be in November? I could probably have a “make-up” NaNo in January if I want. I might do that.

I’m going to stop here. When I’m more up for it I will tell you what happened to me in the past few months. It’s not pretty, but it needs to be said, by me, so I can maybe count that as a way to cope and move past them.



Hello folks. I have a very short update on life for ya. So I went through another round of IVF embryo transfer and will be expecting the result tomorrow. I am very nervous, and although my family have been 100% supportive of “what will be will be”, it still makes me scared to find out. My insurance does not cover a single cent of this this time around, so it cost quite a hefty penny on top of all the hopes and fears of someone undergoing this ordeal normally. I have been trying to meditate and distract myself with happy things instead of all nerves like last time. So August was basically a giant wash when it came to creative work. Now it’s September, and I haven’t progressed much anywhere in my life. But I’m not going to think about it today.

I will probably write a longer entry tomorrow about things after I find out whether I’m successfully pregnant or not. No guarantee if I’ll have another miscarriage six weeks from now, but at least I’d have vaulted the first hurdle of at least been pregnant for a week.


Insurance. Ye Gods.

I spent a good chunk of this morning calling insurance. Why? Well, it looks like my lifetime limited coverage of infertility issues have run out, so nowadays every single one of my visit with my doctor (and the subsequent ultrasound) would cost me 800+ dollars per. Yeah…. I’ve been trying to see if I can get it coded a bit differently, especially this time when I’m not actually doing an embryo transfer but just a biopsy. If it’s just billed as regular ob/gyn it would be covered. I’m not holding out much hope, though. It’ll be another few weeks before anything is final, so I’m not paying a cent right now. Even if it’s not covered I’m going to see if I can negotiate the bill down or something. Also, I’m going to ask my doctor to see what is the minimum number of visits I can do before an embryo transfer (this procedure has never been covered by any insurance so it’s about $2500 each time.) If I only have to come in once then at least I can minimize my cost so each cycle would roughly cost me $5000. Otherwise it seems very insane.

Before you go on rage about America’s utter lack of universal healthcare, I don’t think any country’s insurance covers infertility treatments. If you’re a woman who’s infertile then your option of getting a baby is basically get rich and pay up. Them’s the breaks, yeah? This is why we set aside a very significant amount of savings to try to do this. Also why I’m definitely going to be looking for a job later this year. Well, part of the reason, mostly it’s because my book is killing me yo! But that’s a topic for another time.

Anyways, spending a long time talking to insurance and billing is not a fun way to spend a morning. Add to that my derrière really hurts from the progesterone shots right now, I’m close to just giving up today on other work and just play the Sims haha. But I can’t, because that would be counterproductive to my goals. I might take a painkiller though. I wonder if Tylenol will even help.


And It Begins Again

I’m starting IVF again. Yep, more hormones, painful shots, expenses that insurance doesn’t cover, the whole nine yards. I’m doing a “mock cycle” right now, to prep for a biopsy on Monday. Basically they want to measure that the condition of the uterus is where it should be given the amount of medication I’m on. If it’s not, then they’d adjust the day when implantation happens. Maybe I just have super low hormones so the usual length or dose of medication is just not enough, so they’d wait for it go up longer before trying implantation. Or everything is the way it should be and I just can’t get pregnant easily, even if an embryo is implanted directly in the uterus. In that case it’s just a constant trial and error until I run out of embryos. Fun.

Either way, I’m expecting this whole thing to be over in the next year or two. By then I’d have exhausted all possibility and we’d have to look into adoption. It’s fine, just another huge money pit. But in the meantime let’s just stay hopeful, I guess. I personally am not optimistic, but the main thing this time is to stay calm. Being anxious 24/7 is not good for any pregnancy, let alone a difficult one. So I’m just going to try to stay as calm as I can while being all on kinds of artificial hormones. As of today I have started the painful progesterone shots again. Ugh, but a least this time it’s only for a few days until the biopsy, and I have some ways to try to deal with it. It’s going to be bad, but you know, eventually you get used to it. It’s kind of like how people keep asking someone who’ve survived a tragedy “how do you get through that?” You, uh, are kind of forced to by being alive still? I mean life doesn’t stop just because you’re in pain, so the only thing you can do is just do what you need to and know, at least in my case, that the pain will go away.

And Advil. Lots and lots of Advil. Until I’m actually pregnant, then it’s Tylenol. Modern pain meds are a marvel.


Might As Well Call This Another Adventure in ADHD

Okay, so. I talked about the book I read on coping with ADHD before and how effective it actually is in fundamental ways to help me navigate life. In one chapter the narrator said that sometimes an ADHD person get stuck on one, seemingly insignificant step in the process of tackling a large project, which could end up derailing progress for days, weeks, months. I think she used an example of someone putting away mail and got stuck on exactly where to put a postcard/birthday card because it required many steps to sort out. To a non-ADHD person it would seem like a non-issue; put that thing down somewhere else and move on to other things in the pile. But to ADHD folks they either just freeze completely or put it somewhere and never pick it up again and so the large project will never be completed either. I thought, huh, don’t think I’ve had that experience, and continued on.

Well, now I have just realized that I had a similar thing happen to me last night! (Definitely not the first time this thing happened to me just the first time I mentally acknowledged it’s currently happening.) So one of my big projects in July is to completely sort out my medical records and clean the dining table which is half-covered in all sorts of medical things due to IFV and multiple surgeries. (And after that‘s done is when I can actually tackle the humongous pile of junk/unsorted mail hidden beneath the coffee table but that’s another thing entirely.) I already have some medical things sorted in a folder in a cabinet, along with taxes, old work records, things like that. My plan was to sort out those old folders and then start putting the new stuff away. Well, let’s just say I’ve been not sorting out those old folders for months. Kept on putting them off, and because there’s seemingly no folders to put the new stuff in, I didn’t organize anything, and the pile on my dining table just kept getting bigger.

And so, in a sudden epiphany while having dinner last night, my brilliant brain came up with a conclusion of JUST GO BUY MORE FOLDERS! If I need folders to put the stuff in, but currently they’re all used up, obviously the solution is to just acquire more fucking folders! I can’t believe I literally wasted months not starting on this project because I cannot make the leap from lacking folders to buying more. If I want to organize the old stuff first before tackling the new stuff, but the new stuff is getting out of hand, then it’s okay to just organize the new stuff first and then incorporate the old stuff into it! Old stuff is not getting bigger by the day, after all. I talked to my husband about this and I was like, what would you say if I came to you with this problem? He was like, well, I have hoarder tendencies so the minute I realize stuff is spilling out existing containers my go-to solution is buy more containers instead of actually organizing or throwing stuff away. I was like that does not help in the long run and he’s like, well, yeah but the room you want cleaned will be clean. Anyway, had I asked him this months earlier, when I was first stuck, then his answer would’ve probably prompted my brain to think BUY MORE FOLDERS!! sooner and we won’t be in this mess now still.

So I went on Amazon today and bought some nice thick folders. There’s my weekend planned out – cleaning! Hopefully my brain doesn’t come up with new ways to derail me, but I have faith. Have to at this point. Christ.


Good Mondays – Reunions

Today I want to celebrate all the reunions and gatherings – family, friends, people you haven’t seen in over a year because of the pandemic – that are happening now. I saw my family during my trip to Hawaii, and a few friends came down from Nor Cal to meet up with the rest of us So Cal gang for the first time in a year. I’ve done more social things these past few weeks than I’ve done since 2019, and I think it’s something to be cheerful about. (This is a lot coming from an extreme introvert.) It also coincided with the Fourth of July weekend, so celebrations all around!

The Hawaii trip was very, very relaxing. It was so great seeing my parents. They both got more white hair than I last seen them, and it’s such a stark reminder that they’re indeed growing older every day. It makes me want to visit them more, which also reminds me that I need to call my family in China more, too. They’re doing okay, I guess? My grandma is still hanging on despite being very sick for a very long time, which I consider a miracle. I’m not sure if I would be able to see her though, because right now to go to China as an American citizen is pretty much impossible. With my mom though I hopefully will visit her in half a year or so. Preferably after all the insane airline prices go down (and the South not have a winter Covid outbreak). Family is so important and I did not realize how much I missed them until this very prolonged time of no visitation. Will definitely keep that in mind in the future.

As for my friends, well, everybody’s vaccinated, everybody’s happy to see everybody else, so just drunken parties all around haha. Okay, not really, but we did meet up at a nice bar with a beach view and threw down some cocktails and beers. In August I will be driving up to Nor Cal to attend a friend’s wedding. They were supposed to have it last year in June but, you know, lockdowns and Covid. So they’ve pushed it to August of this year. I imagine it’ll be a small gathering? I’m not sure. Anyways, I now need to buy more clothes because I don’t think I have anymore formal clothes that fit haha. Or lose like 10 lbs in a month and a half, so, I think buying new things is a more feasible endeavor.

So for everyone out there who hasn’t seen family yet, or still couldn’t due to various reasons, I wish you a happy reunion in the future. For everyone already seeing friends, carry on! We deserve some partying as we emerge from this awful year.


Good Mondays – Traveler’s Notebook

Hello! Today, for a good, cheerful topic, I will talk about my upcoming trip, but more specifically, the travel notebook I bought for this trip. I’ve always wanted to start a traveling journal, an analog record where I can put down all my thoughts on the sights, the food, the whole experience. However, I don’t travel that frequently (not rich enough haha), and I wasn’t that big a stationery fan until recently, right in the middle of the pandemic where I couldn’t go anywhere. So I just put it off.

But no more! I now have a complete “system” of a travel notebook, bought from the aptly named Traveler’s Company. I got the basic starter pack from and also a whole lot of accessories. It’s unnecessary, I know, but right now I have a perfectly tailored notebook for me, with a lined and a blank paper refill, zipper bag, stick-on back pocket, and more. You can definitely go a lot more in depth than me, though – I think it’s perfectly possible to use this notebook as a one-stop traveling wallet/purse if you customize it enough. I’m just going to use it as a journal/scrapbook, though. Mostly because I want it to be relatively light, and also, I already spent quite a bit of money decking this one out. Anymore I’d feel like I’m being too extravagant.

Speaking of journaling, I bought my first customizable multi-pen to pair with the notebook. It’s a Pilot Hi-Tec-C with 4 pen inserts. I love to use different vibrant colors for journals, and a multi-pen would get me many colors in one pen barrel – great for traveling! I tested how it writes on the Midori paper and it flows like a dream! So smooth and also dries quickly. The only downside I read from reviews is that the pen inserts tend to run out of ink quickly because they’re so small. Well, I’m only going to be gone for like 4 days, so I imagine it’ll be enough. On longer trips in the future I’ll be sure to bring back ups (or if I’m going to Japan, I can just buy more there. My next trip to Tokyo will definitely be a giant stationery haul.)

So yeah, for this Good Monday, I’m getting hyped up again about my upcoming trip. So getting ready to get the hell out, you know? I’m going to start packing the small things tomorrow – way too early to pack, but my mom has already started packing like last month, so in comparison I’m the lazy and unprepared one haha. And of course I’ll start writing the whole prep into my traveling journal, because anticipation is part of the journey, too.


Some Small Wins!

So, today I went to the DMV to get my stupid driver’s license re-renewed. It was an ordeal, simply because of bureaucracy. When I made the appointment it was super obtuse on the website as to what I needed to so I kind of had to wing it in line. However, I managed to get it all done with the help of a DMV employee (I thanked him properly of course), and now, I have a temporary license in the car, and my actual license will be here in a few weeks. Hopefully. God.

Also, I actually finished cleaning the pantry yesterday! Believe me it’s been a project I meant to do for a long, long time, and it’s not even that complicated! I just have to go into the pantry and throw out packaged food that’re like two years old because we forgot about them. That’s it. And I just kept putting it off, and off, and off. Well, no more! Because I finally got rid of them yesterday afternoon (two large trashbags’ worth, so not that much but still). I don’t know what the roadblock in my mind was – I’ll just have to chalk it up to me being my undiagnosed ADHD self I suppose. Seriously, it’s so pathetic that I couldn’t get myself to do it when it literally just involved picking up a package, deciding if I still want to keep it, and throwing it away if the answer is no. That. Is. It. Sigh.

Well, the point is that I did it, finally, and I feel so happy, because now I can move onto the next big project, which is going through all of my medical records and sort them. This will involve buying new folders if I deemed what I currently have as inadequate, put things away (whether in folders or in a giant box for old records that we keep in the basement), and then tackle the mountain of old mail and other medical-related things we have stacked under the coffee table. It’s a real ordeal and I’m not expecting to finish it any time soon, but at least I could START, you know?

After we successfully navigated the DMV my s.o. and I had a small celebration haha. We went out to eat (yeah vaccination!) at a cute café. Then we bought some pastries and had ice cream! It’s lucky that he just happened to have a bit of extra time at work, because apparently things are fairly lax at his job on Fridays. I still felt like it was totally worth celebrating, though. Tomorrow we’re going proper shopping at a mall (again yeah vaccination!) to buy Hawaii-trip related things, like swimsuits and beach bags and travel skincare. It’s so nice to feel good for once. I am really looking forward to this weekend, and I hope you have a good one too!


So Many Issues!

Okay, so this trip to Hawaii is super complicated apparently. Mostly due to Covid and the changing restrictions, but also because I am an idiot and suck. But first, let me talk to you about my mom.

Yeah, so you know the whole older generation doesn’t understand technology stereotype? Add to that the immigrant and speaking bad English stereotype, and we got an accurate picture of my mother. She’s not hopeless; she knows how to use a smartphone and can answer email and upload pdfs and pictures and such. But how to navigate a website so she can do all the pre-travel registrations to Hawaii? Yeah, no. (My dad’s even worse than her so he’s of zero help.) So what that meant was me staying on video chat with my five-year-old phone with her for hours, showing her step-by-step where to click and what to put in. My phone’s usually out of battery by the end and running super hot – yeah, guess who’s not upgrading to ios15 when it comes out? And before you ask why don’t I just enter everything myself, I can’t. It’s her email, her vaccine card, her travel itinerary, and also she usually tries to do things herself, and then get stuck, and then call me. Rinse repeat. And so, I also conveniently discovered that I literally cannot work if I get multiple phone calls from my mother throughout the day. Like, she’ll need help and call me, and then I help her for like 20 min. Then I hang up and try to go back to work, and takes like 20 min to get back in work, and then after 10 min she calls again. And it takes me even longer to get back into work mode. Whole work day wasted.

So I’ve decided I will block her when I work. Turn on DO NOT DISTURB, not 100% block her number. I also told her I’m doing this because I need to get work done so I told her if she needs me to do things call me after 9 pm her time. If it’s emergency leave a voicemail. I will periodically check to see if I have calls so I’ll definitely call her back if something happens. So yeah, I don’t want to not answer my mom’s calls but I think this is the best way. I know there are plenty of people who can continue things after a slurry of interruptions. Well, unfortunately I’m not one of those people. Again, the lesson I learned so far is work with reality not wishful thinking. So if reality is block your mom’s number, then that is what it will be.

And now, let me talk about my own fuck up. So my driver’s license expired. I was going to just get a Real ID one, but then the pandemic happened and everything shut down. So it got put on the back burner. Well, I realized my license expired and so I renewed it online. Except I was an idiot and didn’t realize the address was still an old address! Should’ve checked before I sent for a renewal! Sigh. So now I have scheduled a visit to the DMV to get this dumb thing fixed. 100% my fault, and such a stupid time too because it’ll arrive AFTER I leave for Hawaii. At least my passport is still in date (I definitely checked!). It’s like, not that big a deal by itself but with everything going on it’s just a giant pile of stuff to deal with. I seriously need a vacation.


Taking It Easy

Boy, today started much busier than I thought it would. I was going to do all these chores but then my mom called about my trip to Hawaii, and then I had to make dentist appointments for my s.o. (apparently everyone is trying to go to the dentist right now – they’re fully booked for two weeks out!), and man, that took out a small chunk of my afternoon. I’m catching up with what I planned to do, so it’s okay right now, but I am a lot more wired than I had expected to be today. Didn’t even have time to read my book yet.

From past experience I usually run out of steam by today or tomorrow. Like, I have motivation for two or three days and then bam, nothing. If I somehow managed to wrangle some more work after a week, bam, the entire next week is canceled. I tried so hard to not do that but haven’t been successful, so yeah, it sucks. However, now I’m trying this limit what I’m doing per day method, maybe it’s going to work out? I mean technically today is already the 4th straight of me working. And I had an unexpected hectic morning that just added a lot more work on my plate, but I’m here, concentrating on working and blogging still. I’m going to use Headspace and meditate for like 10 min before I start the actual writing part, because right now I am too wired and my mind’s all over the place, but I know I’ll get work done.

Which brings me to the weekend. So we’re meeting a group of friends whom we haven’t seen in over a year, and it’s going to be pretty much a whole afternoon plus dinner ordeal tomorrow. Then on Sunday I have to get haircut so add grocery shopping to it, it’ll be another whole afternoon ordeal. I was planning to work two hours and do chores on the two days (half of what I work on weekdays), but now I’m rethinking the idea. I know I need to schedule in a rest day, and haven’t really thought about when and stuff. Maybe I should just not do any work tomorrow and do two hours on Sunday? Like, the reason I get burnt out is because I keep on living in this “wishful-thinking” schedule, when I need to be on a “reality-based” schedule. Like today, my mom’s call took me by surprise but I adjusted, which is good. I really do need a day per week where I don’t plan anything and just chill. I think I’ll try tomorrow.

I think the reason I keep on failing is that I never considered a lot of day-to-day stuff I do as “work” when they’re taking up the same amount of energy as what I considered “real work”. Now I’m adjusting and so I’m going to try to schedule out my energy usage. It’s like having to refill energy bars in those mobile games haha. I have to recognize when things are depleting it and accept it when they do that, instead of pretending they aren’t and allot energy that I don’t have to things. Anyway, let’s see how tomorrow works out. If the break makes me feel refreshed on Sunday and I keep working, then I’ll call it a success.