Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I've had the week off and have been able to read so much- honestly, it's all I want to do right now. I think after months of half marathon training, the holidays, and feeling so tightly wound, my body just craves sweatpants, the couch, and books. In a perfect world it would want some spinach and 80 ounces of water a day, but alas, it does not. I haven't been able to quite succumb to total literary slothdom, but I have been able to finish four books in the last nine days, so I'll take it. 

Other than reading, this week has been pretty great. Sawyer has been in school most of the time, and my husband was on a business trip for a few days, so I was gifted with a lot more alone time than usual. I think I've had seven or eight appointments this week, some fun, like getting a pedicure, and some not so fun, like the dentist and the passport office (but that leads to fun, I guess). I've been able to have a few different friend dates, Sawyer and I went hiking at a spot we haven't been to for awhile, and on Monday we're going to go walk around the beach for a nice change of scenery (and find something fun to eat). I've gotten some annoying house tasks out of the way (here's looking at you, dusty ceiling fans and unorganized pantry), worked on a for-fun embroidery hoop, gotten in a ton of solid work out sessions, and even a few naps. Going back to work is going back to work Tuesday is going to be tough (I know, everyone feels so bad for me). 

One nice thing about going back to work, besides my students, who are at the point where we've really hit our stride as a group, is that we're moving from Sylvia Plath poetry to Shakespeare's Macbeth soon, which is always a fun challenge. I don't have a natural love of The Bard, but I've taught myself how to enjoy and appreciate certain plays and am able to tap in on that sort of literary-manipulation to use with the kids, too. After that we have only one more book for the year! It's Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which elicits some really great discussions.

My husband got me a gift card to the bookstore for V-Day, and I hustled on over the next day to spend that sucker. I picked up Deepti Kapoor's Age of Vice (just started), Mason Currey's Daily Rituals (also just started... I often have a novel and a nonfiction going on at once), SE Boyd's The Lemon and Fiona McFarlane's The Sun Walks Down. I also ordered four other books last week. Plus alllllllll the ones I bought at Vroman's last month. I don't really believe in book-buying bans (unless it's a financial issue, than I totally get the need to budget), since I think they just result in binging, but I need to tap the breaks. I think I have like... 142 unread books. I KNOW. My goals is to have it down to double digits by the end of the year, which means I basically need to read a little over 4 of the books each month that I currently own, leaving space to buy like 2 a month. 

Sometimes I worry about running out of space for my books on the shelves we have, but then I remember all the space in the guest bedroom. I mean, what guest wouldn't want a cozy wall of books next to their bed, right? I joke that someday when Sawyer moves out I'm turning his room into the nonfiction annex. 

We met with our wonderful tax-preparer today, which stresses me the eff out for absolutely no reason since she's incredibly knowledgeable and I'm incredibly organized (plus Scott and I both claim single-zero, which means they take a bajillion dollars out of our checks). We were talking about my regular monthly charitable donations (Doctors Without Borders and Planned Parenthood) and how much you can tell about a person from where/who they give to. It's so interesting! Not only their political ideologies, but social concerns, pet projects, interests, etc... I keep meaning to set up another one for The Sierra Club, which I'm sure would surprise NO ONE.

Reframing My Tiredness

Obligatory preface: this is me and my take on a topic that impacts everyone differently. We all have different ways of living life and handling our bodies. This is what works for me and my life philosophy- you do you! I just wish I had had this insight a long time ago, so if it helps bring someone perspective, cool. 

I think I've been tired for at least nine years- probably since the last trimester of my pregnancy. I was tired before that, too, but I could squeeze in weekend sleep-in sessions pretty easily, so it felt doable. But once I had my son it was all over- he was a horrible sleeper for the first two years of his life (don't come at me with your sleep training lecture, I tried and it didn't work for us) and then was just habitually a super duper early riser. Once we started using one of those color-coded alarm clocks we got the dog who also likes to greet the sun. Pairing the early wake ups with my high activity level during the day (combining my constant need to win the gold medal for productivity and working out) just perpetually zaps my energy. 

So, yeah, super tired. All the time.

But the last few months I've decided to reframe this tiredness (I actually started this post last September and it has been sitting in my drafts since then). Sure, I'm tired of being tired, but more than anything I was tired of being mad about being tired. So, I decided to look at why I'm tired, what I can do about it (if possible... I can't quit working or being a parent!). Based on this I was able to shift my perspective, at least part of the time! 

First, I get up early- 5 during the week, 7ish on the weekends, if we aren't going somewhere (earlier when it's hot out, though, so I can walk the dog before the sun is up). The only thing that can really be done is going to bed earlier than I already do, which would then take away from the very little precious alone time I have at night. Not doing so is a choice I make. 

Secondly, I take care of the kid, dog, and house pretty much all the time. My husband works long hours, some of which are in LA, which means on those days he commutes he's gone well over twelve hours. There are some other things at play here that I won't go into, since they're what our family calls "house business," but at the end of the day having a home, kid, and pet, while knowing my husband's job habits and use of time is a choice I made. 

Next, I work an exhausting job- teaching all day will take it out of anyone! It's also often enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging and I love the schedule and time off. I think I've been burnt out for years, but I refuse to let that interfere with my performance,  what I give to my students, and quality of life outside of work.  No one made me choose this profession, it's a choice I made. 

I am extremely active in terms of exercise- I walk my hilly neighborhood for almost an hour, total, a day and get in some other sort of workout six or so days a week. Sure, it's great for my health and sanity, but it takes away time from my life and also sucks away more energy. And yup,  it's still a choice I make.

Lastly, I like being on the go and partaking in projects and hobbies. It gives me a lot of enjoyment to fill my calendar with social dates, hikes, excursions with my son, and travel. This means when I am home I have to kick it into high gear to take care of my house, do any work I need to do, and be a good mom/pet owner. Being a busy little bee is, again, you guessed it, a choice I make.

So, that's the secret to reframing my tired: I made/make specific choices to have the life I have and it's a life I really truly appreciate and love, most of the time. Am I in love with it when I am spinning like a tornado taking the trash out, helping with math homework, and prying god-knows-what out of my dog's mouth, all at the same time? No. Do I occasionally and silently lament about patriarchy, societal expectations of women, and the state of education in our country? Of course!  But, I check myself often and remind myself that being tired is the price I am willing to pay to be able to have and do what I want. And I do take the occasional Sunday afternoon naps and spend plenty of time parked on the couch reading. Summers are spent afternoons poolside and I have a pedicure schedule tonight. I do pause, on occasion, but this is my one life. We all want to spend it differently, but I know when I am eighty I don't want to look back and realize I spent a lot of time being unhappy and not having anything to show for my time. I want to go and do and experience, and if it requires a baseline level of tired, so be it. I am claiming responsibility.

*I know that everyone tolerates being tired differently, and when I do reach a certain threshold I become really anxious- I'm not a robot that can just go indefinitely. I know when that point is and can feel the warning signs, so I just adjust life as much as I can

**I also know that there is a certain level of privilege that comes with this conversation. There are people who work multiple jobs, are single parents, etc… who don't have the luxury of packing their weekends with fun activities to counteract the fatigue that the every-day brings. I grew up in that household! That is why I definitely acknowledge that I do have some flexibility in how I manage my time and am grateful for the fact I have been able to create the structure to do so.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

My half-marathon is done! It was fine- not my best, not my worst. Considering that I was coming off a week with a pretty bad cold the fact that I retained the same pace for nearly seven miles that I used to run when I was running them all the time was good enough for me. Miles eight through ten were a bit rougher and then eleven through thirteen made me question all of my life choices. I was beyond exhausted more than sore for a few days after, but now I'm just super happy it's done and I can spend less time running (and diversify my exercise routine again). 

Reading this month has been pretty great. I NEVER read YA, but after all the buzz over All My Rage I decided to give it a try. The writing still felt like it was meant for teenagers (although smart ones), but the content and characters were super solid. I also finished Allende's newest, Violeta, which I enjoyed (although I do like her older books more, especially since they're more magical realism heavy), and just started The Rabbit Hutch, which I have a feeling will break my heart.

I was an idiot and let my passport full-on expire and then Sawyer's is expiring year too, since kid ones are only good for five years. So Saturday we have to go take our pictures and have the paperwork notarized that will let me apply for his without his dad present (this is after I realized I misplaced Sawyer's birth certificate and had to go to the County Clerk's office when feeling like junk last week). And THEN I have to actually fill out ALL the paperwork and go to the passport office next week for our appointment to apply. I fully understand that this is all part of the process and people do it everyday, but this is the part of adulting I hate. Fortunately, it means I get to leave the country in July, so I guess it's worth it (we are going to London!). 

For the first time since we bought our house eleven or twelve years ago our mortgage company over-estimated our escrow account deductions and issues us a check and decreased out payment. I am guessing some mello-roos expired, but the fact that it happened the SAME day as the dog racked up $700 in vet bills seemed like the universe actually wanted to do us a favor. 

Sawyer's school participates in Accelerated Reading (AR), which I have mixed feelings about, but I am definitely amused by the fact that he has 400% of the goal his teacher set for him this trimester met. Clearly she needs to reassess for the next one… I am really proud of his reading, though, since not only is he challenging himself with above-grade-level texts, but also has really strong comprehension skills, too. If only this translated into memorizing his 8 and 12 multiplication facts, haha.

I know it's hard to plan for these things, but if you ever get in an accident and it's the other person's fault, try to make sure they have adequate coverage. HA. The woman who hit me last November only had the state minimum, which was nowhere near the damage she caused to my car or the out-of-pocket rental expenses I accrued. I think things are going to get messy, which is not really my problem, since my insurance handles it, but still a pain.

My students are selecting their outside reading books for the semester right now and it is so fun talking to them about what they want to read and giving out recommendations. I have had a few tell me that they're blowing way too much money at the bookstore on books and one told me she can't wait to get her driver's license so she can go to Barnes and Noble whenever she wants. And these are kids who don't identify as readers!