Friday Wrap

It’s here! It’s here! I wrapped up my longest run of the week — and the training cycle! — at about 8 miles. It has been raining for about the last 24 hours here, but I just got dressed and made it happen this morning. Running in the rain, and the cold rain — a real downpour — is one of those things I always forget is actually completely tolerable. I wake up and hear the rain and decide to postpone, or I look at the forecast and rearrange my schedule. But why? For no good reason, that’s why! Today was a lovely chance to be outdoors and connect.

And if you saw my menu plan from Sunday, you may remember (I mean OF COURSE you remember; why wouldn’t you remember my menu plan?!) that I scheduled grilled cheese and tomato soup for tonight and it could not have been a more perfect night for it. The recipe from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is super simple (canned whole tomatoes, leeks sautéed in butter, veg broth, nutmeg, tomato paste), but I think the secret lies in the prep: you roast the canned tomatoes with a sprinkle of brown sugar before making the soup. Y’all, it’s so good.

I tied up some loose ends administratively at work and, as per usual, left several boxes unchecked on my to-do list. But I have come to be satisfied with that at the end of the week. Having a few un-done tasks leaves me hungry for more on Monday. (Side note: am I the only academic who doesn’t work weekends? Highly possible, if one believes what people say publicly about their workloads.)

I’m sitting in bed with my laptop and my husband and my dog and a glass of wine and I think in a minute we’re going to try to watch a movie or something, by which of course I mean flip through all our streaming services for an hour before we decide to just go back to puttering around on the internet. It’s! Friday! NIIIIIGHT!

A Thursday in the Life

Were you curious about how I spend my days? I am, actually. I’m mainly curious about how I’ve been going nonstop all day and feel like I’ve accomplished basically nothing. What did I do? Read on for the excruciating detail.

NB: Here’s a day in the life from back in 2014 — pre kids. I reread it and was astonished by the fact that we ate dinner at 7:50 pm back then. Wow. Otherwise, well, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, n’est-ce pas?

5:25 My alarm goes off but I snooze it twice before getting up to take a shower, get dressed, and do my makeup.

6:05 Oddly, it seems that the kids are still sleeping, so I start coffee. L hears me and gets up so we hang out and talk a little bit in the kitchen. He asks me how to spell words so he can try to write them down.

6:20 CW, Egon, and E are all up. I take Eegs to bathroom then help E&L pick out clothes while CW makes their breakfast, then I make my own breakfast (whole grain toast with avocado, a fried egg, and everything bagel seasoning.

6:45 I finally sit down to eat.

6:55 I do E’s hair (one ballet bun with a big black bow clipped below it).

7:45 I arrive in my office to find a new-to-me computer! My old Mac desktop (ca 2011) was due for replacement, but I wasn’t expecting the new one to appear until Friday, so this is a surprise. Kind of a nice surprise, but also Friday is a lower-pressure day and I would’ve had more time to get it set up. Today I have grading to do (on the computer) and students coming to see me. This adds an unexpected element of mostly benign chaos to my morning. Side note: I am non-tenure-track faculty and therefore receive hand-me-down computers at work. This one is circa 2013, so.

8:00 I get started setting up computer while waiting to see if students come by for help on their papers. Most of them opt to come by later in the morning, so things are pretty quiet for a while.

8:30 I’m still trying to get Chrome to install correctly and it will not. It simply will not. WTF, Google.

8:40 I give up and decide to use Safari for my tasks today and attempt to start grading.

8:40-8:55 I get distracted by an email, then reattempt to start working.

8:55-9:12 Students drop in.

9:29 I eat half a Clif bar (pumpkin spice) and drink a generic Aldi seltzer while grading. Aldi seltzer is just as good, FYI. Save yourself some dollars.

9:35-10:15 Students drop in.

10:15 Grading papers.

10:45 It’s the end of drop-in hours. I go downstairs to get a Diet Coke and head back to my office to eat a Sad Desk Salad while I start this post.

11:13 I’m still eating this stupid salad. So much kale and cabbage. SO MUCH CHEWING, SWEET LORD.

11:30 After lunch, I switch focus to providing some feedback on an ongoing group project for another class. Groups are working on the next phase this week, so they need feedback on the last phase. I’m able to work with my office door closed during this time, so I can get things done a little more efficiently.

11:56 Finish writing and sending feedback but Safari is about to drive me BANANAS, so I try again with Chrome and knock wood but I think I get it working this time. (See how this new desktop situation is filtering through my day? Sigh.)

12:04 Mess around on the internet while eating a mini-bag of Skittles leftover from Halloween.

12:15 Out the door for class.

1:57 Back from class and I’m equipped with a hot coffee to fuel the next couple of hours. I had planned on grading more essays during this time, but I realized a more urgent priority is creating some online content for one of my classes that needs to be ready for next week, so I’ll turn my attention there.

3:20 Wrap up work on this content, eat the other half of the Clif bar, handle a few neglected emails, and shut down my office for the day.

3:22 Head to the gym for a cross training workout.

3:43 Arrive in the locker room, unpack my gym bag, and realize I’ve forgotten a sports bra. Well then. I’m glad it’s not a running day, at the very least. I get changed and hop on the elliptical. I’m listening to the latest episode of the Road to the Olympic Trials podcast with guest Carrie Tollefson. Love her.

4:02 I’m finished with the RTTOT episode, so I tune in to Ali on the Run’s episode with awesome pro runner couple Nikki Hiltz & Therese Haiss. The elliptical is the worst, seriously. I manage thirty minutes and then switch to the erg, but it’s kind of bothering one of my right quads and I have a long run tomorrow, so I bail.

4:35 On my way to pick up the kids at daycare.

4:50 The evening chaos begins the moment I step into their classroom: both kids are climbing up me and shouting at me about various bits of Exciting Preschool News, and I’ve got to respond to them and speak to their teachers and get their coats on and empty their cubbies and get out the door without forgetting to sign them out. So! Much! Stuff! Then, in the hallway, they both insist on putting on their gloves, so I help L first and then E and then L turns to me and hands me his gloves back because he’s decided he doesn’t want them after all.

5:02 We’ve made it to the car.

5:25 Everyone is home and I’ve changed into a cozy sweatshirt. Soup is on.

5:45 Dinner.

6:04 Post-prandial chaos including a kitchen dance party. I am too tired to participate so I decide to chill on the couch for a few minutes. Eventually the children are just literally running up and down the hall screaming and kicking/throwing some cheap plastic firefighter hats they got at school last month.

6:30 Pajamas and teeth-brushing while CW and I chat on the couch for a precious couple of minutes. Then we all snuggle on the couch and read a few books.

7:05 We start getting kids to bed, which involves a lot of “discussion” about whether it’s bedtime or not. I need Alexa to handle this shit. The curtain calls begin literally four seconds after we walk out of their room and close the door. They run back out of the bedroom several times in 15 minutes, culminating in a stubbed toe and many tears.

7:15 I remember I need to wheel the recycling bin down to the curb and while I’m there I check the mail. The mail carrier has crammed a package in there that precisely fits the mailbox’s dimensions so I can’t fit a finger alongside it to pry it out. It’s cold and raining and I’m standing out here trying to remove a package from my mailbox like some kind of ding-dong. I wind up bending a fingernail backwards trying to bend it, squash it, and/or poke a hole in the side for purchase. Eventually I pry it loose, cursing the mail carrier and all of his descendants. It’s my Picky Club subscription box and yes that is a referral link.

7:25 I’m finally in my jammies and settling into bed for some reading time. I’ve got flannel sheets and cozy socks and the gentle sound of rain outside.

7:30 But hark! What is that other sound? Aha, the sound of my daily phone reminder to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow.

7:35 I’m back in bed again but guess who is not?!

7:52 I can hear them singing over the monitor. “Happy Birthday,” the alphabet song, etc. How the hell are they still awake? I’m signing off. I love you and good night.

Working from Home Can Be a Challenge

Things I Did Today

  • One hour powerlifting session (deadlift day)
  • Shopped at TJ Maxx without buying anything
  • Shopped at Target and bought a bunch of things but forgot one of the two key items I was looking for
  • Ordered the forgotten item on Amazon instead
  • Four loads of laundry, including new set of flannel sheets from Target
  • Re-made bed with new sheets
  • Read a few chapters of a novel for class
  • Tidied and organized the kids’ playroom, which was an absolute disaster zone I’m sorry why are there wadded up tissues on the floor?!
  • Sneakily put away a few annoying toys in my Monica Geller closet
  • Prepped/Cooked dinner (crockpot) (vegan red Thai curry)
  • Almost listened to one entire episode of the Rich Roll podcast, the Dean Karnazes interview (if you know, you know these episodes are long)
  • Composed and emailed birthday/Christmas wish list to my husband, including info about how to get discounts at specific retailers (I can be bossy about gifts at times)
  • Handled several work emails
  • Read and considered editing a (collaborative) work document but decided not to make any edits yet as no one else has and I don’t like to be the first one to take a pass
  • Opened the file of papers I need to grade in a separate tab
  • Browsed around online for some Christmas gifts for family
  • Updated my 10K training log
  • Started this blog post

Things I Did Not Do Today

  • Grade any papers

Wants

I am feeling very acquisitive and greedy and covetous lately, but am trying not to spend all my moneys, especially with the holidays coming up. So I basically keep window shopping on the internet and then closing the tabs. Here’s a list of what I’m unreasonably obsessing about right now. How about you?

  • Another dog. I just feel like it’s time to bring another pet into our household and a dog is the right fit and there are always so many available for adoption. We’d want to adopt a younger adult dog who gets along well with kids and with other dogs and who, ideally is already good with crate and house training. And I frequently see dogs fitting that description on the local humane society and rescue websites. But now is not the right time. Maybe this will be revisited after the new year?
  • A Garmin Fenix 6 running watch. Maybe it was Janae’s glowing review or maybe it’s just the fact that my Apple watch, now 3+ years old, is starting to get less reliable. (It randomly crashes and restarts during the day, which is Not Great, Bob.) But really, I’m finding now that when I want to do specific workouts, the metrics it’s able to display don’t necessarily give me the information I need. Case in point: Tuesday’s track workout gone wrong. I used to use Garmins before the days of the Apple watch, and I think I’m about ready to go back. It’s just very likely I’ll choose an older/cheaper model.
  • A pair of marigold point Rothy’s. I just bought a pair of maritime navy points and it was a tough decision, y’all. I really wanted the navy and the marigold but I eventually decided the navy would be more versatile. But my heart still yearns.
  • New jeans. I can convince myself I need new jeans roughly once every three weeks. I have far too many jeans. The linked ones aren’t even available in my size. WHY AM I EVEN LOOKING AT THEM. I love jeans.

Oh, Butter Irony

I started a post about powerlifting earlier today but I am too tired to finish it, oh butter irony*. Tuesdays are usually my most exhausting days of the week, and this one did not disappoint.

On a typical Tuesday, I’m up at 5:30 and out the door by 7:00, teaching classes from 8:00-2:00, in office hours/meetings after that, and then I hit the gym or track. By this time I’ve already walked about two miles on campus in dress shoes that make my feet angry so I’m feeling grimly determined to get the run done nevertheless. Today it was a track workout on tap. I somehow messed up the stats that display on my watch, the end result being that I ran my intervals significantly faster than needed, felt bad about myself because the workout seemed too hard, and almost barfed at the end. My stomach still feels pretty iffy, to be frank.

By the time I get the kids from daycare on Tuesdays, get home, do dinner/bath/bedtime, and so on, I generally start to feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Then, the 30-60 minutes after bedtime when the kids insist on coming back out of their room for Very Important Kid Reasons, but during which I’m also trying to shut down the house by completing my final chores before bedtime, is the most difficult hour of the day. I’m crouching in the bathroom holding a geriatric/paraplegic dachshund over the toilet so I can express his bladder, for example, and suddenly there is a child climbing on my back and shouting in my ear about how they just needed to get back out of bed to see what Egon was doing. And as soon as I get all that taken care of and go to lie down for a minute I’m confronted with a pile of laundry I forgot about or with the ping of my daily phone reminder telling me to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow or or or.

(Because someone will wonder: yes, CW is involved in all this work, too. But this is my blog so it’s gonna be all about me, dammit.)

Current status: lying in bed, sweaty and stinky but wearing fresh lounge clothing, next to the aforementioned dog (curled up under my blanket), contemplating getting up to find my roller so I can work on my calves before I fall asleep. It’s 7:56 pm, y’all.

*autocorrect, obviously, but I’ll let it stand.

November is Here

Today feels like one of those days when everything is coming together perfectly. The weather finally got cold, for one thing. I went out for a run this morning and needed long sleeves. I swear there is nothing more wonderfully invigorating than a long-ish run in the cold.

Long-ish, you know. Long-er. Long-adjacent. I went for 6.2 miles today, also known as 10 kilometers. Not on purpose; it just wound up being a perfect 10K route that I ran serendipitously and by feel. The trees are starting to turn; the sidewalks are littered with the pine needles, acorns, and other seasonal detritus; the parks are full of older people walking their dogs and children collecting leaves and sticks. At home afterward I had hot coffee waiting for me and a slice of leftover pumpkin bread I could pop in the toaster.

My main task for work today is to make some significant progress toward finishing the novel I’m teaching in a couple of weeks. It’s rare that I assign a book I haven’t yet read, but I have it on good authority that this one will be a great addition to my class, so it’s time to dig in. I suppose I’ll have to spend some amount of hours today reading, snuggled on the couch with a blanket and another cup of coffee. I cannot complain about this life. It’s a work-from-home day, by the way, which is what allows me to do things like go for a 6-mile run and then read on the couch all day on a Friday. Yes, I am grateful for the flexibility of my job and no, I do not take it for granted.

Tonight is Pizza Friday, and I am making a couple of New York-style pies featuring this dough recipe (which is pretty much flawless) and maybe the kids will be in a happy mood when they get home and maybe we’ll watch a movie and have some leftover Halloween candy. Hell, man; anything is possible.

Hot and Cold

Look, I don’t want to say this too loudly or anything, for fear of jinxing it, but it’s starting to feel like fall might actually be here. The high temperature today is a mere 70 degrees. That’s about 20 degrees cooler than it was just a couple of weeks ago, when we had “feels like” temperatures in the triple digits. It’s truly a sign of how long I’ve been living in the deep south that 70 degrees feels cool to me. 

Why hello, and welcome to my home.

At any rate, our porch is decked out with gourds and mums and even a five-foot-tall plastic skeleton that my daughter has named Sally Rose. The children’s Halloween costumes are ready and waiting in their closets. I made a batch of pumpkin muffins on Sunday and we have a giant bowl of apples sitting on the kitchen counter. I got lowlights in my hair and I’m wearing boots at work today. Things are good. 

The first sense of cooler weather is always such a relief around here: I finally feel like perhaps everything will not actually be terrible and sticky and sweaty forever; that perhaps hope is on the horizon.

Looking very fall-like; actual temperature in the upper eighties.

Take as a contrast, for example, the other morning, when I was standing in the kitchen still in my pajamas trying to do an “Elsa Braid” in the hair of a squirmy 3.8-year-old child. For some reason, the combination of hot coffee and a hot breakfast and the hot chandelier that hangs over our kitchen table* always gives me a serious case of the morning sweats. And that, in turn, makes me incredibly panicky and hopeless and full of sad resignation. Or maybe it’s perimenopause, who can say?

So anyway, there I was that morning struggling through my second attempt at the braiding thing and the child was squirming and complaining and it was… just…so…hot that I dramatically ripped off my long-sleeved pajama top and stomped into the bedroom for a tank top before I could resume the task at hand. Life is hard. But perhaps relief is in sight.

*Yes, fine, we should update the light bulbs and raise the chandelier to a more appropriate height for adult humans. I have no idea why it hangs as low as it does but I do know that if I am standing up and reaching across the table I should probably not be hitting my head on a light fixture, especially one that emits approximately the same amount of light and heat as the sun does. Let’s agree not to talk about why I insist on sleeping in long sleeves and drinking hot coffee in the morning.