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.

Life

Sleep Schedules? What Is Even?

Yeah so my sleep schedules are just completely messed up right now. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve finally started consuming caffeinated beverages again, or I’m actually sleeping terribly late and don’t feel it because of said caffeine boost, or what. All I know is that I’m waking up super late again, like before I started the daily morning progesterone shots, but I’m not sleeping as late as before! Like, I fell asleep around 1 am yesterday and woke up today at 11 am. What the heck? I usually don’t need 10 hours of sleep – 7 would do fine. And this happened the day before too. I understand before I would go to sleep at 3 or 4 am and wake up at noon, well, yeah, I went to sleep at an ungodly hour. However, I’m now trying to start getting ready for bed at midnight and still wake up 10 hours later. Crazy.

I’m going to try to adjust my schedule more. I don’t want to be in bed by 11 pm, like my mother said I would, because that’s for when I’m 60 not when I’m not even 40 yet. My perfect bed time would be 12:30 or 1 and wake up around 9 or 9:30. But no, if I go to sleep at like 12:30 I end up waking up at 7 am, and then be tired for the rest of the day, or I end up waking at 11 am, and wonder what happened to all the time lost. Ugh.

I assume I’m just getting terrible sleep for whatever reason and so my body is making up for it by sleeping longer. I’m thinking of using a sleep aid, like those apps where you listen to something relaxing and be asleep in 5 min, or so they claim. I’m skeptical, but maybe it’ll help? I heard about this app called Calm that everyone’s listening so I’m going to give that a try. I finally feel like I’m on a good work/food/exercise schedule, I don’t need erratic sleep to mess it all up.

Life

Good Mondays – A Cup of Coffee

Well hello there! It’s Good Mondays time, because Mondays suck! So, today I want to talk about something that happened a couple of weeks ago actually, and that was that I went out to a bakery, bought some nice pastries, and ordered a cup of Iced Sea Salt Caramel Coffee.

OK, so here’s something y’all gotta understand. Because of my asthma and all the IVF procedures, I’ve basically been housebound since March. We didn’t start ordering takeout until last month, and I rarely venture out anywhere because of the spread. But as the months dragged on and California’s use of masks become more ubiquitous, I feel less stressed about strictly staying home. Where I live people are very diligent about masks, and stores absolutely enforce the rule (or I just don’t visit stores that don’t do it. Also helps that Walmart is like banned within 30 mile radius from the city or something.) So I went out and got groceries and went to farmer’s markets, but I still have not gone into a restaurant that allows indoor dining (I’m not sure there are any right now where I live, actually – outdoor seating only – but still.) I miss going to restaurants. My husband and I are pretty big foodies and part of the draw for us is in the dine-in experience. For a lot of our special occasions we’d save up so we can go to the few Michelin-starred restaurants around the city. So this whole Covid thing took away a large part of our enjoyment of life, and it hurt more than I realized.

Anyway, we went to a bakery when we went shopping for groceries, and I ordered a cup of caramel coffee from there. It was the first beverage made by someone else professional I’ve had since March. I was staring at the cup with the swirl of whipped cream on top and almost burst into tears because it was a sign of normalcy again. Talk about an emotional wreck haha. Not only because of Covid, though, but I also hadn’t been able to have any caffeine for a while due to the whole pregnancy/miscarriage situation. Being able to consume a caffeinated beverage now seemed like a greater deal than it should be. Again, a sign of normalcy, to life before 2020, before the pandemic, and I’m feeling hopeful in 2021 we’ll be able to get back to what was before, somewhat. Meanwhile I will take what I can, and perhaps visit the bakery more often to get more things I missed in the nine months so far of isolation.

Life

Back to Normal

I slept for a full 10 hours yesterday. Granted I went to bed super late, as I have been for the past week because of stupid reasons, but I woke up today at almost noon and felt more rested than I’ve had for a long, long time. Note to self: stop keeping crazy, inconsistent sleep schedules. This is what happens when your body gets confused and therefore, needs much more rest than you realize.

I’ve also washed my face, used a face mask at night, and painted my nails. Why is this significant? Well, considering I haven’t done any of these things for the past, oh, 8 weeks at least? Probably longer than that, really, and yes, it does sound absolutely disgusting that I haven’t washed my face for more than 2 months. It’s not that bad, though, in that I still showered and I still splashed my face with water, just not with the full routine (you know the crazy 11-step thing Korean beauties do? I don’t have to that extreme but there’s at least 6 or 7 steps in mine). And with nail polish I absolutely could use them while pregnant. All of my stash are at least 5-free, so there are no iffy chemicals that may or may not have some effect on pregnancy (the verdict is still out on that one, but better be as safe as possible). Anyway, the reason I haven’t done any of that is simple: stress. I’ve been stressed about everything involving my pregnancy that I basically fell into a mini-depression when it comes to some areas of my life. They say that estrogen might contribute to depression, add on the miscarriage and all the IVF problems (not to mention Covid), yeah I barely had energy to get out of bed, let alone doing extra things like painting my nails.

But that’s all behind me now. Mostly. (Not Covid, but, well, the earliest we can expect a difference I suppose is January 2021). I feel hormonally normal. I painted my nails for the first time with a new color last night (just because I wasn’t painting doesn’t mean I wasn’t buying polishes) – a Halloween themed Frankenstein green. My nails are super short because I pick at them when I’m stressed, and I’ve been neglecting moisturizing so they break off all the damn time. I’ve always enjoyed the process of painting my nails, just like I enjoyed the process of going through all the steps of washing/moisturizing my face before bedtime. I did that for the first time last night, too, and you know, it just makes me feel so normal for the first time in ages. I didn’t even realize I’ve stopped doing things I liked until I resumed doing them and realized I missed them. It’s progress, and I’m glad I’ve moved on emotionally enough to have non-crackly skin and an ugly-pretty color on my short stubby nails again.

I will try to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, and start exercising properly again. And work, god, the amount of work piling up is getting out of hand. I am a functioning adult once more, and you know, it really makes me wonder about my miscarriage as a blessing in disguise. At least until I start the whole pregnancy thing again, and I’m hoping next time I’d have enough experience that I am prepared for anything.

Writing

Friday Fictioneers #2

Wow, it has really been a while since I attempted this, huh? Time to pick this up again, and hopefully make it a habit.

Photo Prompt:

© Dale Rogerson

The Wait

It’s stopped snowing but Jessi still haven’t left the house. She can see the bench where Stephen’s supposed to be, but he’s nowhere in sight. He’ll show up, she thinks. He’s a little scatterbrained but there’s no way he’ll forget her birthday.

She shuffles her feet as she keeps looking out the window. Her red jacket and matching boots are ready by the door, and she’s already clutching the housekeys. He’s only five minutes late; no big deal. Stephen is always running behind anyway. Surely he’ll show up, and they’ll go out to dinner, and everything will be fine. Really.

Life

Things Are Looking Slightly Up

Well, the election week from hell is over. I swear 2020 just wouldn’t end and every day drags on longer and longer. I cannot wait until 2021 comes around! Granted things could arguably get even worse in 2021 – Yellowstone could erupt and that’s basically goodbye humans we had a good run – but the future is not decided yet and no use worrying until the doomsday scenario’s here, eh? Trump did NOT get elected, no matter what he claims with zero evidence, and that is already a plus for 2021.

I’ve been putting off talking about my pregnancy. Well, that’s because I’m no longer pregnant. I had a miscarriage two weeks ago, and I’m still grappling with coming to terms with it. I’m doing alright coping – journaling, meditation, talking about it with as many people as I can including professionals – they all help. I will definitely dedicate an entry to it, just not yet, because I’m not done coping with it yet. I am getting there, however, and so I look forward to the day that this won’t bring me to tears immediately upon thinking. My doctor also decided we should take a good, long break mentally and physically before we try IVF again. So sometime next year – probably January – we’ll resume the treatments. Until then I just have to physically take care of myself and get my mind in order. I still consider this as a thing to look forward to, because like I said many, many times before, 2020 is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and we all are anxiously waiting for it to be over.

Life

Voting

Well, this blog entry is going up very late, but I had been going through some tough times and I…still am not ready to talk about it. Well, I will eventually, probably very soon, but not in this particular entry. Today (tonight, really, it’s like 7 pm) I just want to say: I voted in the election this year. It’s my first time voting, and I am pretty happy that at least I played a part in the upcoming craziness. Yikes!

Okay, so I’ve always been the non-political kind. Very meh about both parties, even though I’m firmly a Democrat, but sometimes some Republican candidates sit alright with me (McCain, for example, when he ran against Obama). It didn’t matter because, again, I didn’t vote, so nobody cared what I think. I also reside in a very very blue state, so once more, it didn’t matter that I didn’t vote.

Obviously everything went bonkers these past four years, and we now have some serious autocratic despotic shenanigans going on with declaring victories before all the votes are counted, throwing out perfectly legitimate votes, voter intimidation, and other ridiculous suppression tactics. Still, I wasn’t going to register because, again, neverwaver blue state, but I was talking to a girlfriend of mine (who also lives in a solid blue state), and she said, ‘you know, we’re here joking about moving to Canada and internment camps for Asians as future possibilities, maybe you should, you know, actually go vote?’ and I was like, wow, she’s right. She then said ‘what would you say if your future children ask you “mom, what happened during the 2020 election and what did you do during it?” You’re gonna tell them you didn’t do anything?’ and again I was like, wow, she’s super right. I am part of the political process, no matter how small, and I really should exercise such hard-won rights, especially when this year there are so many people getting their rights taken away. So yeah, my friend (who already voted) convinced me, and I went to register for the first time as a voter online.

My husband also voted for the first time. He registered before I did, because there were actually Props on the ballot that he wanted to vote for, so it’s not the presidential race he’s concerned with as much. He’s a Democrat now but if this were the 70s he’d be a Republican, you know, one of those fiscally conservative socially liberal moderate Republicans that no longer exist. We looked over the ballot together and researched everything on it, and dropped it off a couple of days ago at a dropbox. And btw it’s ridiculously easy to vote in my state. I registered (with driver’s license) online, they sent me a mail-in ballot, I filled it out and found a 24-hour drop-off box 5-min drive from my house, drove over and dropped it in, and that’s it. No contact (COVID’s still here yo!), no lines, no fuss, and there’s a handy tracking website that told me when ballot’s being mailed, processed, etc. I checked it today and it said my ballot’s been received and will be counted. The end. Man, democracy really should be this easy, and not whatever that’s going on in other contested states.

Anyway, I did my part and now we can all wait like ants on fire for the results tomorrow. Or the day after, or the day after that. This week is going to be brutal. I really hope things go smoothly and no one gets hurt more in the process. It’s been a significantly trying year as is.

Life

And We March On in Small Steps

I had my first pregnancy ultrasound on Monday. At this point I’m only at week 5 and this one basically was to confirm the embryo had actually implanted in the uterus and not ectopic, which was exactly what I was afraid of ever since my positive pregnancy test. My doctor was out sick – I hope she didn’t catch Covid!! – and so another doctor came in her place. I’ve met her before and she helped with one of my previous procedures – I actually don’t quite remember what; there’s been so many things I had to go through this past year that a lot had blended all together. Sidenote, I probably should actually recall this entire year as much as I can and write it down in my journal. Not because I want to publish a memoir or anything like that, but to get me pregnant was such a long process and a huge chunk of my life that I think it deserves an actual, thoughtful write-down.

Anyway, everything looked on track on the ultrasound, although it was too early for detecting a heartbeat. I asked the doctor if the baby was alive and she said, well, right now we can’t tell, but all the measurements seem to be okay so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Yeah, telling me not to worry totally would keep me from worrying, uh-huh. I will try, though; pregnancy is such a long and hard and stressful road, I really don’t know how people did it. The miracle of aggregate numbers, yeah?

I will go back next week for another ultrasound to see if there’s a heartbeat. God I hope so. I dread counting the days but every day feels like a year, on top of the whole Covid situation. Will 2020 ever end? Like seriously.

Well, it is what it is, right? Fretting does me no good, and I think blogging in general is healthy, so I’m going to try not to fret and also post more here. Like I said before, when I get stressed/nervous I just stop writing, period, which is probably the exact wrong thing to do to relieve stress. So I’m going to post more here, and write more altogether. God knows I need to finish my novel before the baby comes because, well, because! At least it’s a good 7+ months away. Come on, I gotta get myself into shape, both physically and mentally, so I can live like a responsible adult again.

Life

Apprehensive, But Good News

So there’s a reason that I haven’t been posting this past week or so. I didn’t want to type everything out yet, because for some reason writing things down seem to make them more permanent, even when in reality it has no impact on those things whatsoever. Similar to why you don’t want to say a good or bad news out loud – whether you just jinxed yourself or made the bad news feel more real, it’s a nervous feeling. Again, completely irrational and baseless most of the time, but you just worry about that minuscule probability, you know?

Well, what has happened, you ask. Well, after more than a year and a total monetary amount that I’m afraid to tally up, so far, I’m finally pregnant. Yep. Second IVF implantation – success! It’s still super early, so I’m definitely still in the “miscarriage can happen any time” phase i.e. the first six weeks. I’m going to my first ultrasound next week, and boy, you don’t know how jittery I am about that. I know stress does not help with pregnancy, but it’s like saying “just don’t be depressed” to a person suffering from depression. I have told very few people about this positive news as of yet – but I feel like writing and blogging about it might make me feel better. The road to a successful birth is very, very long, and from what I’ve read people can lose their baby, well, due to many many reasons even very late into the pregnancy. So it’s not over until it’s over. I’ve barely begun, and my road to even this point is ridiculous compared to other people’s. Modern science really is something, eh? If this were even 40 years ago I’d totally just be childless for the rest of my life.

Right now I’m such a ball of nerves that I’m interpreting every little thing going on in my body as a sign of something bad. Is that cramp on one side possibly be ectopic pregnancy? Early sign of a potential miscarriage? Is my body temperature high because that’s just a normal symptom is or do I have a fever? Am I exercising too much or too little? Am I eating too much? I’m prone to gestational diabetes (have PCOS, am Asian – a group that even with lower BMI than other ethnic groups is still twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes at a rate of 15%), so should I do more glucose tests and up my intake of Metformin? How much is insurance going to cover now that I’ve run out of the fertility allowance? Etc. etc. etc. I’ve been keeping a journal religiously as a way to mitigate all this. There are more things piling on top of this in my life that I don’t want to talk about right now, but this is the big one, so I figure today is a good day to at least let it loose into the ether, so to speak.

So yeah, I’m pregnant, as of today. It might be different tomorrow (cross fingers knock on wood!), but it also might not. I might have a perfectly uneventful and normal pregnancy and in 9 months I’ll have a beautiful baby (I opt to not know the gender yet even though it’s like, clearly on file) and I’ll be a mother. Wow. What a crazy phrase – I’ll be a mother. I know so many people get to this step but for it to apply to me? Feels very surreal.