All or nothing

I have a lot of inter­ests, and a love/hate bat­tle with hav­ing things all together, or noth­ing together at all.

Sometimes I want one place to put every­thing. Sometimes I want every­thing to have it’s own place.

Mostly I just want some­thing sim­ple. But by try­ing to orga­nize it all, it’s just a mess in either case.

I want to do so many things, and end up doing noth­ing. Write a novel or five, read a book a week, but also have friends online and offline — inter­act with them, see what they’re up to. Draw or color, or sew, or cro­chet, or paint. Remodel the house, plant a gar­den. Blog about it all.

We’ve decided to start try­ing again, and I’m wor­ried that this back and forth, all or noth­ing approach to life is going to have me falling flat in any attempt at san­ity once a small human is intro­duced to the mix.

On the one hand, I’m look­ing for­ward to it. When you have too many balls to jug­gle, but one more is tossed in, you catch the one that’s the most impor­tant to you. On the other hand, I’m ter­ri­bly unco­or­di­nated and I’m wor­ried about just drop­ping every­thing and giv­ing myself a black eye.

I had a miscarriage

… and that shouldn’t make me feel like I’ve done some­thing wrong, or that it’s some­thing to hide, but it does.

The whole preg­nancy and mis­car­riage expe­ri­ence is some­what shrouded in mys­tery. But, it really shouldn’t be. Until I went through it, I never knew how many oth­ers had also been through that pain. After read­ing about, or hear­ing their sto­ries, I feel lucky that it went as “smoothly” as it did.

It did not.

But it could have been much worse.

We found out when I was 8 weeks, that the baby had stopped grow­ing at 6 weeks. The Dr. rat­tled off three options over the phone, 1) wait 2) med­i­cine that may not work 3) surgery with a name I didn’t catch, because panic — we’ve lost the baby. I was in shock and didn’t know what to do, what to think, so I chose to wait. He said not to call back for at least 3 weeks and that was the end of that.

3 weeks later, I still felt preg­nant, or the same symp­toms I’d had for about two months.  Nauseous like I’d just stepped off a roller coaster, but not enough to throw up. Just a con­tin­u­ous yuck. Exhausted beyond the nor­mal exhaus­tion I always feel. If I ate any­thing, I could only force down a few bites before feel­ing over­stuffed, but in a max­i­mum of 2 hours I’d feel like I was starv­ing. If I went more than 2 hours with­out some food, I’d get such a belly­ache. I never slept well. The whole time period just sort of went by in a blur. I wasn’t really men­tally around for any of it.

I lost about 8 pounds through­out the 3 months I was going through all this. I also gained a cup size, and a big­ger belly pooch, so I don’t know exactly where I lost it from.

I’ve kept off about 5 since.

After those long 3 weeks, I called the Dr back, ready for any­thing to make my life nor­mal again. I just wanted to not feel sick, to not be late to work, to make it through a day.

I had the D&C surgery a lit­tle over a week ago. I felt bet­ter, a lot bet­ter, almost right away. Every day I feel more and more like myself. I’m still deal­ing with some after effects, but I can go to work, feel like I’m doing a good job, come home and be able to do some­thing else.

And that’s huge. I had no idea just how awful I felt until I felt bet­ter again.

My point is this: I went through a trau­matic expe­ri­ence and only told peo­ple when I couldn’t find another way out of it (my mom because I needed a ride home after surgery, my boss’ because I needed to use sick leave). It shouldn’t be some­thing to hide, to lie about, or be kept stig­ma­tized in secrecy.

Early mis­car­riages are more com­mon than I ever knew. If I had known, I wouldn’t have felt so ter­ri­ble about telling peo­ple. I wouldn’t have felt like I was ruin­ing things, or that I’d be writ­ten off as a fail­ure, or dra­ma­tiz­ing things for atten­tion. It wouldn’t have taken away the pain of the loss, but it would have helped to have some­one to talk to.

My hus­band has been a sweet­heart through the whole thing, but there’s noth­ing like some­one who’s been there to under­stand. And that’s what this comes down to, if as women we talk to each other about these types of things, than we’ll feel less alone. If we don’t feel alone, or dif­fer­ent on top of every­thing else we’re feel­ing, than it won’t be as bad. It may still be bad, but at least we’ll know it’s not just us.

It’s not easy

I hate the phrase you see over and over in begin­ning help posts about fit­ness. It’s always some vari­a­tion of “it’s not hard, just do it.” It’s like every­one in the fit­ness blog­ging world works for Nike.

Well, it is hard. If it wasn’t, more peo­ple would run marathons on their Sundays.

You’re not sup­posed to make excuses, but really, some­times it’s just real­ity and facts. Sure, I could push myself to do more, to go out and run, or to lift weights, and maybe I’d even feel bet­ter after.

But start­ing is hard.

When your body is tired, worn out and just not up to any­thing, then it’s not just hard. It’s not just mental.

I may not be that over­weight, and I may not even be that out of shape. But I’m exhausted.

I’ve been sick since January for unre­lated rea­sons, and that has sapped every­thing from me. My energy, my spirit, any moti­va­tion I might have had.

It’s also made it really essen­tial that I start tak­ing bet­ter care of myself. I’ve cut back a lot on my sugar and processed foods con­sump­tion. I still need to work on pack­ing bet­ter lunches, but mostly I’ve just con­cen­trated on get­ting through a work day. My work days are long, and there are six of them all in a row with a day to play catch up on house­work before doing it all over again.

It’s not easy.

A few months ago, I started wear­ing a step counter. On my lazy at home days I aver­age about 8000 steps, on my busy work days I can eas­ily clear 14000 steps. That was just a base­line. With this sick­ness I’ve had, I’ve lost 5–7 pounds. Mostly from eat­ing smaller por­tions and giv­ing up a lot of sugar.

I don’t have a plan. I’m not going to say that I’ll get out to start walk­ing more, or that I’ll start using my tread­mill. Since I prob­a­bly won’t. Just like with eat­ing bet­ter, I’m only going to con­cen­trate my effort into mak­ing bet­ter choices as I face them.

Then we’ll see what hap­pens. Maybe when it’s nice out, I’ll decide to go for a walk one morn­ing. Maybe I’ll just stroll around the nearby park. Maybe I’ll enjoy that, and decide that on Thursday morn­ings I’ll start going for walks.

We’ll start with that in mind: no pres­sure, no dead­lines, no stress.

Room progress

Last week­end, I had an actual week­end! Two days off, in a row. It was amazing.

So, I cleaned my room. I now have actual space on my desk. There are no papers on the floor that the cat likes to lay on.

Hinata on star rug

Hinata on star rug

She lays on the clean floor now.

There are actual files in my fil­ing cab­i­net — one of the draw­ers anyway.

I still have plenty to do. My book­cases need some help, I have two bro­ken chairs which are hold­ing blan­kets, and I’m using a din­ing chair as my com­puter chair. My desk, no mat­ter how much of it I uncover, is still too small.

But, it’s a whole lot more usable than it was before.

I can’t say the same about my laun­dry room.

ugly frozen sink

ugly frozen sink

Yuup. This is how we do laun­dry in a house built before laun­dry machines. Except, add a space heater. So, since I had to get my hus­band to explain what was mak­ing my wash­ing machine not drain, this is what’s going on:

That lit­tle u-bendy white pipe is the drain for the big-olé cement sink. The black pipe is the direct line to the sewer/drain out of the house. The yel­low insu­la­tion all around doesn’t actu­ally insu­late any­thing because that white pipe keeps freez­ing. Also, the big cement sink has a crack down the back side of it which is only patched halfway up. On a nor­mal day, that’s fine, because the sink will drain the water before it reaches the crack.

It hasn’t been a nor­mal win­ter. It’s been cold. So, with insu­la­tion that doesn’t do it’s job, and a cracked sink, the pipe freezes, so it won’t drain, so the sink backs up, and rises enough so that it starts leak­ing out the top and down the back of the insu­la­tion. The bucket is to catch the water, but under­neath it is just dirt so I’m not sure why we bother. Probably because the ground is frozen and might leak onto the wood floor.

Fortunately, run­ning the space heater while the washer is going seems to have fixed the sink back­ing up issue. It’s rather annoy­ing though, since it’s the one we use in the bath­room so I have to keep bring­ing it up and down stairs. Not that we can shower while the washer’s going any­way, so it’s not like we need it in two places at once.

And, yes, we have the space heater in the bath­room because the heater that’s in there doesn’t work. At least there is a reg­is­ter in the bath­room, two of the bed­rooms don’t even have that.

My room is a mess

In the gen­eral busy­ness that hap­pens as a result of the hol­i­days, my room became a dump­ing ground for every­thing else in the house that was out of place. As a result there are boxes, papers, and extra chairs in here so that I don’t even want to be in the space. I go through spurts of really clean­ing out and it always seems like no mat­ter how much I clean, it stays the same.

I’m not about to say I’m going to change any­thing. We don’t have the time or money to actu­ally do any­thing about it, but it does make me reflect on the space some and it’s use­ful­ness. It’s obvi­ously not serv­ing its pur­pose. I think that’s in part because it has to be so many things.

  • It houses my books. So, it’s a library, but with no place com­fort­able to sit in read. Somehow I’ve acquired 3 com­puter chairs, but they’re all bro­ken to some degree.
  • It’s where I pay the bills and keep track of all the paper­work. I have to clear off space in front of my key­board to write a check, and some­times have to hunt down where I last put the check­book. Luckily, it’s only a once a month occur­rence since the bulk of things are on auto­matic with­drawals, sav­ing me hav­ing to remem­ber to pay them.
  • I write in here. Well, wrote, in here, at some point. Mostly I write at work, but all my notes are in here, and my ref­er­ence books, and the com­puter where I type what I’ve writ­ten. I would write in here if I had a place to put my note­book down.
  • I have the sup­plies to craft in here, but no actual sur­face to craft on. I seem to be fol­low­ing a trend. I need a big­ger desk. And less stuff on it.
  • I also have a yoga mat, hand weights and blocks for doing fit­ness things, with the inten­tion of fol­low­ing videos on YouTube, but not floor space because of all the pre­vi­ously men­tioned boxes and papers. Also, time, but that’s not some­thing I can do any­thing about.
  • There are col­lec­tions of can­dles that I never light, and stuffed ani­mals that have sen­ti­men­tal value but no actual purpose.
  • I have a light table I bor­rowed from my Dad to cre­ate the map for my novel. I should just give it back.
  • There’s also a cat box, and bed, extra blan­kets from when we had com­pany over for the holidays.

My closet is fairly orga­nized still from the last time I fixed it up, so I’m not wor­ried about it. Although I should be. Just because the stuff is out of the way, doesn’t mean it’s needed.
I could get rid of a lot of stuff. I can eas­ily make that deci­sion for a lot of the paper that I really don’t need to save. I should do that, since it’s tak­ing over my desk.
The hard deci­sions, is what to do with my craft­ing sup­plies. A lot was bought with good inten­tions. I want to make the projects I’ve planned, but I know I don’t have time. I know that, even if I had time, that there are other things I want to do with that time. When throw­ing things away is not only waste­ful, bad for the envi­ron­ment, but it also costs $1 per bag that can only hold up to 10 pounds … that is why I hold on to things.

I’ve read blogs and arti­cles in books, which all give the same advice. To clear up a space you have to get rid of stuff, then decide what you want the room to be, and set up clear zones so that every­thing has a home. I get that, I agree with that, but … I fail at the actu­ally get­ting rid of stuff part.
So, maybe that’s my goal for this year? The goal I thought I wasn’t going to set. Get rid of stuff.

Thoughts on the upcoming year

A lot of peo­ple have had pretty bad years for 2014. I’m not sure mine was bad, but I don’t remem­ber most of it. I worked a lot, and that’s kind of it.

I had an awe­some vaca­tion, and that’s lit­er­ally the high­light of my year, one week in June.

Preservation Station

Playing with tiger cubs, pet­ting wolves, shak­ing hands with an orang­utan, hold­ing a chim­panzee, feed­ing an ele­phant, pet­ting a bin­tur­ong, snug­gling up to a lynx cub, see­ing a chee­tah, an otter, ligers, and an eagle up close.

The rest of the year is kind of a blur. I’m sure we did things, saw peo­ple, but we mostly just worked. It was bet­ter than 2013, I know that. I’m more con­fi­dant in my jobs, and was able to do some new stuff. I think if things con­tinue the way they’ve been, than 2015 will be even better.

My favorite room is the dining room

The din­ing room is more of a liv­ing room than our liv­ing room is (that is more of a tv watching/eating din­ner day to day room). It’s where we have the room to move, and breathe, to sit and talk or just look out over the backyard.

kitchen-entrance-2

View of the kitchen. Those chairs don’t live here. We have dreams of some­day turn­ing that odd win­dow into a bar of some sort.

dining-hutches-2

These are why I like this room. The bot­tom houses use­less kitchen junk, but the tops are filled with games. It’s also a the biggest room in the house, and the best lit. When peo­ple come over, we sit in here and play games, chat, or eat some­thing my hus­band has cooked (per­son­ally, that’s the best part of hav­ing peo­ple over, he cooks. Although, to be fair, he does a fair amount of the cook­ing even when it’s just us).

It’s got it’s prob­lems. The ugly car­pet and pan­eled walls trend con­tin­ues in here, and there’s clut­ter. But, we’ve fit 3 tables and 15 peo­ple in here more than once. Or, two tables a giant tree that spins and is awesome:

20141224_135126

My least favorite room is the kitchen

It’s sec­ond only to the spider-filled base­ment, and that one I don’t even con­sider a room, really. It’s just a hole at the bot­tom of the house with my wash­ing machines in it.

Why do I hate the kitchen?

The most obvi­ous is that it’s in dire need of a ren­o­va­tion (as is the rest of the 160+ year old house — not sur­pris­ingly). The stove doesn’t even have a dig­i­tal clock on it, and there’s no hood/vent over it. There’s a hole in the floor, from under the sink which leaks. It has leaked enough to cre­ate the hole in the floor, drip by drip, and now the freez­ing cold base­ment air comes up through that hole.

I also hate doing the dishes. Loathe it. I’d rather scrub the bath­room than wash dishes. When we first moved in, I spent three months wash­ing dishes by hand. For two hours on my one day off a week. It took that long after we moved in to save up enough for a portable dish­washer. It’s not a per­fect sys­tem, my kitchen hasn’t been as clean as it was in those three months, but I’m not con­stantly angry every time I go in there anymore.

kitchen-left

This is when we were tour­ing the house before we bought it. That table didn’t move in with us. Imagine the far counter cov­ered in a microwave, bot­tles, bags and tin foil wrapped pack­ages of food. The near counter and sink, imag­ine those cov­ered in dirty dishes. It’s ugly. The whole house is, to be hon­est. I love the loca­tion, and the lay­out is fine, but the design is … really not my style.

kitchen-right

I was afraid to use this stove for the first week we lived here. I touched it and a knob fell off. Luckily our awe­some neigh­bors gave us a zuc­chini bread as a wel­come to the neigh­bor­hood present. It lasted a week, then I had to brave the stove. The fridge is the newest appli­ance in the whole house, dat­ing back to 2001, until we bought the dish­washer. That door leads to a back porch which is slowly falling off the house.The pan­el­ing and the fake-painted brick are also not my favorite design choices.

The less obvi­ous rea­son that I don’t like the kitchen is more than just that it’s cramped, dark, clut­tered, and mostly dirty all the time, it’s also the source of frus­tra­tion from food. I don’t like cook­ing either. I eat because I have to, not because I par­tic­u­larly enjoy food. There are foods I like, but those are gen­er­ally the ‘bad for you’ kinds. Junk food, sweets, and snacks. So, I feel guilty because what I want to eat will kill me even­tu­ally through being fat, get­ting dia­betes, or being defi­cient in some major nutri­ents. I think I rein myself in just enough to bal­ance it out from being a diet com­prised of entirely carbs and sugar, but it’s mostly jus­ti­fy­ing just eat­ing fruit. Fruit is healthy, but there is sugar in fruit too, and not all the nutri­ents I need to sur­vive on.

So, like any­thing else in my life, I turned to books.

I started with read­ing Joyous Health, and it made a lot of sense. There are a lot of unhealthy things that I don’t do already; I don’t drink cof­fee, or soda, smoke or drink alcohol.

A friend rec­om­mended that I read the Paleo Approach. It’s intense, and a lot more of the med­ical type than Joyous Health. I’m still work­ing my way through it, but it’s due back at the library soon. I’m not sure that what I have is an actual dis­or­der, or prob­lem. I think I just eat crap and my diges­tive sys­tem is freak­ing out.

For Christmas, my Mom bought me a juicer. I bought a step counter not long ago, and aver­age about 8000–14000 daily steps, and ~10–35 flights of stairs. I want to work in a lit­tle yoga/stretching and a lit­tle weight lift­ing. I have no idea when I’d ever be able to work any of this into my daily rou­tine. The answer from Joyous Health seems to be in baby steps. I only have one day a week off, maybe I should do some­thing for 10 or 15 min­utes on that one day. Once I see that/if it’s man­age­able to do and have it not take up a whole day, maybe I’ll try mak­ing it be 10 min­utes on two days.

I don’t want to plan any sooner than that, because it gets over­whelm­ing. Too much going on, which is the sub­ject of another book I’m work­ing my way through, Overwhelmed.

My kitchen is both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally over­whelm­ing. It’s cramped, clut­tered, and dark, as well as the source of guilt, frus­tra­tion, and remorse. But, I’m try­ing to come to terms with it. Come up with a way to maybe be on speak­ing terms with the kitchen, or dial it back to indif­fer­ence at least.

Separation and anxiety

I’ve done a lit­tle think­ing (only a lit­tle, I seem to flit between good ideas) and have decided to sep­a­rate amandaalwyn.com from notquitepetite.com.

When I bought my name, I didn’t know what to do with it. I wanted it to be an author blog. I’m not pub­lished, and I’m a long way off from hav­ing some­thing ready for that. I also didn’t want to give up Not Quite Petite. I like it, and don’t want to let go. I didn’t think I had enough con­tent for two blogs.

It didn’t occur to me until this week, that they don’t have to be both blogs.

So, I’m mov­ing the writerly con­tent to my name’s domain with the intent to actu­ally share it around, at my writer’s group or wherever.

I’m keep­ing Not Quite Petite[1. even though it’s not accu­rate any­more — more on that later], and turn­ing it into a more per­sonal online jour­nal. It won’t be filled with deep, dark secrets. Mostly because I don’t really have any deep or dark thoughts, and if it’s secret I wouldn’t post it online. But, I want to share things about my life to who­ever might lis­ten. There will be cats, and maybe some crafts or home repair thing. If I ever get the time.

There’s prob­a­bly going to be some com­plain­ing about time, too.

And maybe some book reviews.