I suppose I should mention that things have reopened even though there is no cure or vaccine for coronavirus. This is because we value “the economy” over human lives and because we can’t make the connection that if everybody dies, there won’t be anyone to work/consume/feed the economy.
The US is hoarding the only medication approved for emergency use for COVID-19, because we are assholes; I imagine the first treatments will go straight to 45’s donors and their friends and families. Some will probably make it to Putin as well.
Some men seem to think it is unmanly to wear a mask in public. Some people regardless of gender seem to think pulling a mask down below one’s nose or mouth still counts as wearing a mask. Many people think “I don’t have it, so I don’t have to wear a mask.” This is partially an issue with selfishness and lack of paying attention but mostly an issue with governments not providing accurate information and guidance.
Governments also haven’t provided what people need to survive, such as additional citizen bailout checks or rent freezes, which means people are forced to go back to work whether they’re sick or not.
I consider myself extremely lucky at this point, as I am still able to work from home and there is no plan as yet for my group to go back to the office. I’m still sheltering in place. This isn’t over, no matter how much people want to believe it is.
In a new piece in The Atlantic, Ed Yong breaks down how COVID-19 in the US is “not one crisis, but many interconnected ones,” and how that will make it difficult to overcome, especially given the misinformation we are receiving from our own government. I recommend reading the whole thing.
The virus isn’t lying in a bush, waiting to pounce on those who reemerge from their house. It is, instead, lying within people. Its ability to jump between hosts depends on proximity, density, and mobility, and on people once again meeting, gathering, and moving. And people are: In the first week of May, 25 million more Americans ventured out of their home on any given day than over the prior six weeks.
I spoke with two dozen experts who agreed that in the absence of a vaccine, the patchwork will continue.
Prevention is physically rewarding in the long term, but not emotionally rewarding in the short term. People who stay home won’t feel a pleasant dopamine kick from their continued health. Those who flock together will feel hugs and sunshine. The former will be tempted to join the latter. The media could heighten that temptation by offering what Lincoln calls “disparity in spectacle.” Fringe exceptions like anti-lockdown protests and packed restaurants, she says, are more dramatic and telegenic than people responsibly staying at home, and so more likely to be covered. The risk is that rare acts of incaution will seem like normal behavior.
“When this outbreak began in China, everyone said, Thank God it’s not here,” Jha says. “It moved to Western Europe and people said, They have government-run health care; that won’t happen here. Then it hit New York and Seattle, and people said, It’s the coasts. At every moment, it’s more tempting to define the other who is suffering, as opposed to seeing the commonalities we all share.” But as the virus spreads, Americans may run out of others to discriminate against.
It seems to take an average of four or five days, and a maximum of 14, for an infected person to show symptoms. Those symptoms can take even longer to become severe enough for a hospital stay, and longer still to turn fatal. This means that new infections can take weeks to manifest in regional statistics. May’s declining cases are the result of April’s physical distancing, and the consequences of May’s reopenings won’t be felt until June at the earliest. This long gap between actions and their consequences makes it easy to learn the wrong lessons.
This is the update for the weekend of Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, 2020.
I spent most of my time this weekend working on a piece of writing that is past due. I made considerable headway on it, but it’s still not quite done. Unfortunately I’m not feeling well today. I took a sick day and I am not sure I am up to accomplishing much of anything beyond feeding myself.
The weather was beautiful this weekend. I went out in it twice, briefly. On Saturday I drove to Shane’s to pick up my lunch curbside. On Sunday I drove to Smoothie King to get smoothies for Sean and me (they also do curbside pickup now). I didn’t go for a walk or anything, and I didn’t sit on the patio, but at least I got to see some green. I should have gone for a walk on Sunday like I did last weekend, but I didn’t get up early enough to feel comfortable doing so. People are out in force now, as if the pandemic were over. It’s not over, y’all.
I was very anxious yesterday and that seems to have bled into today. I read a description of what it’s like to die of COVID-19, which was probably unhelpful. I also saw a bunch of news stories about the morons who are protesting shelter-in-place because they can’t stand being inconvenienced and don’t care who dies as long as they can get their hair cut. Out there spreading the virus around even further, trying to kill everyone.
I got up sometime after 8 and sorted my pills for the week. I didn’t bother getting dressed. I warmed up the leftover sweet and sour chicken and rice from last night and ate it over the next few hours as a combined breakfast and lunch. My day started at the dining table, but I got really upset and started crying, so I decided to go back to bed. I took my laptop and watched some Haikyuu!! and tried not to get any more anxious.
I’m afraid Sean was exposed to the virus when he went into the Kroger and he brought it back to me and I’m going to get sick. It’s not really an irrational fear, but it’s certainly an unhelpful one.
My chest feels congested and I’ve been coughing the past couple days, but this could be related to pollen. I’m really trying not to overreact to everything.
I’m just a giant ball of fear and anxiety and despair today. It’s not pleasant.
I’ve gotten super behind on these. So here’s Sunday, April 12 through Friday, April 17, 2020. This post includes a detailed description of the decontamination procedure I use when I get takeout, if you’re at all interested in that.
They keep sending me emails about how they’re still open, and what all is blooming now, and how they are in compliance with Gov. Kemp’s shelter-in-place order. Right now there is a lot in bloom, and I really want to go.
“Easy to maintain 6ft. of social distance” is an irresponsible thing to say. The virus is airborne. If you walk through a spot where someone just walked, even if there is six feet between you, you’re still breathing in air that they just exhaled. In a garden, all you are doing is walking along trails where a bunch of people have walked ahead of you.
The virus can also live on surfaces for hours all the way up to days, depending on the surface material. “Restrooms available” does not tell me what precautions you are taking. I highly doubt that you are only letting one person in at a time and that you are scouring your facilities after each person.
These constant emails telling me that everything is fine and that I should come see the pretty flowers are basically torture, because ever since this began I have wanted to go there SO BADLY. It is KILLING ME that I am missing all the spring blooms. Apparently right now the cherry trees, azaleas, pansies, Spanish bluebells, and snowball viburnum are at peak, and I AM MISSING IT.
I did sort of overwhelm myself by making that list in the previous post. However, I’m happy to report that I’ve actually done some of the items.
Sean is now doing the grocery shopping and packing my breakfasts and lunches every workday. This is such a huge load off my mind. Food stresses me out to no end, so to not have to worry about two meals or the shopping for the third one is huge.
I make dinner, and to make them healthier we have decided to stop getting bagged noodles and rice. This cuts down on a lot of salt. We instead have plain rice, potatoes from scratch, or no starch at all alongside our protein and steamed frozen veggies. Eventually I might get back into cooking real pasta, but this is working for now.
I did actually audit the wall art, and I now have a list of all the pieces and their dimensions. I’m still not sure where to hang everything, as I keep thinking I want to rearrange my office again, but I can’t quite figure out the best configuration.
But this next part is the most fun. As I mentioned wanting to do in the first of the three posts I made on May 19, I have gone on a ton of hikes this year, as well as back to Gibbs Gardens and even on vacation.
In late June I went to the new-to-me Long Creek Falls, which was quite an adventure. I had to drive deep into the mountains on forest service roads to get to the trailhead; the trail to the falls is a spur off the Appalachian Trail. My car was covered in gravel dust by the end, but the hike was fantastic and the falls were absolutely beautiful. There were some lovely flowers in bloom in the forest, and the trail crossed streams frequently, necessitating some jumping from rock to rock. Adventure!
In September I went to another new-to-me site, James H. Floyd State Park. It was one of the nicest state parks I’ve been to, really set up well for staying overnight and having fun. I want to go back and spend a weekend in a cabin someday. This visit, I took the Marble Mine Trail to the ruins of (you guessed it) an old marble mine, then hiked up and along and back down Taylor Ridge, which overlooks the park. The ridge hike was kind of intense. At one point on the descent I fell right on my ass! Fortunately my backpack broke my fall, so the only injury was a little scrape on my forearm. When I was done hiking I was utterly drenched in sweat, as if I had jumped into the pond. I felt triumphant. I was so excited about this hike that I actually edited and uploaded pictures soon after I got home.
In late October I headed home to Kentucky to go camping at Cave Run Lake with AJ, Krystal, Connor, Logan, a few of Connor’s friends, and three dogs. It was amazing. There was beautiful fall color everywhere in Daniel Boone National Forest. We made s’mores and played Cards Against Humanity and AJ made us a big camp breakfast with eggs and bacon and hash browns. We hiked around the campground and the lake a little. And we just had a really good time together. After we got back, we had a big party and cookout for Connor’s 20th birthday.
So far in November I have gone to two new-to-me places: Providence Canyon and Red Top Mountain State Park. Providence Canyon is absolutely incredible. It looks like the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale (but it’s still pretty big). The rock formations are amazing; the state parks website explains that they are “unusual geological formations created by erosion of the Coastal Plain after years of poor agricultural practices.” The result is that you get to see spires and ridges formed of layers of different types of rock. I had no idea such a place existed in Georgia. It was amazing to explore. I hiked the canyon floor first, then went up and hiked a complete circuit around it. It ended up being a pretty long hike, but it was totally worth it.
Red Top Mountain State Park, which I went to the following weekend, has lots of nice trails, and there’s also an adorable Trading Post that had served as the visitor’s center until a new building was recently constructed. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t been there since 2014. It was lovely to explore the park and to see the fall leaves. The Trading Post has one of the best selections of magnets I’ve seen; I got one that was made to resemble the “US Engineer Department” (now the US Army Corps of Engineers) benchmark that exists somewhere in the park.
The day after I went to Red Top Mountain, I went to Tallulah Gorge, because I remembered the views from going for the first time back in April of 2018, and I figured it ought to look amazing with fall color. I stopped at Tallulah Point Overlook first, then went to the state park proper and hiked all the overlooks around the gorge. On my previous visit, I did the North Rim Trail, took the stairs down into the gorge, crossed the suspension bridge, and took more stairs back up to the South Rim Trail. That hike is extremely strenuous, and I didn’t want to overdo it this time. So instead of going down the stairs, I went all the way around the gorge to get to the South Rim Trail. It was a Sunday, and apparently the kayakers and rafters all come on Sunday. To get back out of the one-way South Rim Trail, I had to literally climb over people’s boats as they waited along the trail for permission to descend to the river. So that was funny. All in all, I had a great time. L’Eau d’Or Falls was absolutely beautiful, and I saw a ton of fall color. It seemed a bit past peak, but it was still gorgeous. The hike was great too, and I got a better view of the dam than I did the last time.
Of course, aside from visiting state and national parks, I’ve also gone to Gibbs many times since May—in June, July, August, and November—and I’ve also taken a few nice long neighborhood walks. The fall color has lingered around here, so I’ve been getting as many pictures as I can of it.
I’ve done some fun things other than hiking too. In September I went to JapanFest 2019, and in mid-October I went to the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay with Heidi.
And then, of course, there’s that vacation I mentioned.
This year, when Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told her that I wanted her to go to St. Augustine with me. To my surprise and delight, she said yes. So we spent a few months working out the details, and then at the end of July we actually did it.
Mom drove down to Atlanta on July 22, and then we left together the evening of July 23, stopping in Savannah for the night. We stayed at Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn, which was beautiful and cozy. The next day, we looked around Forsyth Park, walked River Street, and had lunch at The Lady & Sons before heading on to St. Augustine. The drive was rainy most of the way, and we were very glad to arrive. We got settled in at the homey and welcoming Ocean Sands Beach Inn, had dinner at a lovely oceanfront restaurant down the street called The Reef, and then went to Publix to grab some groceries for the week’s breakfasts.
We packed a lot into our first full day in St. Augustine: trolley tour in the morning, lunch at Burger Buckets, strolling St. George Street, exploring Ripley’s Believe It or Not, having dinner at a mom and pop Italian restaurant called Casa Benedetto’s, and then heading to our hotel’s private beach at dusk for a view of the ocean.
Our second day, we went to the Colonial Experience and watched a few demonstrations. Then we had an incredible lunch at The Floridian; we shared a cheese board and we each had a sandwich and everything was absolutely divine. After that we took the trolley to the other side of town for tours of the Old Jail and the Oldest Store Museum. They were both really fun. That evening, we had a huge dinner at Aunt Kate’s Restaurant at the River, then spent some time on the dock out back watching passing boats and birds and enjoying the sunset.
On the third day, we went to the Pirate and Treasure Museum, which is always a good time. Then we took the trolley to Whetstone Chocolate Factory, but we didn’t get there in time for a tour, so we just bought some chocolates to enjoy. We did a little more walking in historic St. Augustine and I got a nice ice cream cookie sandwich before we caught a shuttle bus to St. Augustine Beach. I had never been there before and was interested to see how it was different from the hotel’s beach. The whole area was basically a beach resort, filled with hotels and restaurants and surf shops. We had lunch at the Beachcomber restaurant on A Street, and then Mom had a rest while I walked down to look at the ocean. It was a very hot and sunny day, and I ended up not spending much time there. We also were a little nervous about catching the shuttle back to town! But we made it just fine. For dinner we got cleaned up and went to the Raintree, which I love and had been to before. We shared lobster bisque, Beef Wellington, and crème brûlée, and it was all absolutely amazing.
By the next day, we were both slowing down. We decided to keep getting trolley passes so we wouldn’t have to do too much walking. The first thing we did this day was take a narrated boat tour of the river. It was kind of rainy, so we were happy to be below deck, but we still got great views of the skyline and the Castillo and the lighthouse. We also saw some cool birds. After that we had a late lunch at Harry’s. We had meant to go there the day before, but we had to leave shortly after being seated so we wouldn’t miss the beach bus, so we were happy to come back and actually eat! After that, we were both pretty tired, so we went back to the hotel and relaxed, goofing around on our computers and watching TV. For dinner, we ordered pizza and lay in bed and watched a movie.
For the fifth day, we planned ahead and scheduled a Whetstone tour. It was just as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be; we got to see some cool equipment and taste some incredibly delicious samples and hear some really interesting history. We had fish and chips at the Prince of Wales for lunch, sitting outside and enjoying the cool breeze and the ambiance of historic downtown. Then we did a little browsing for souvenirs along St. George Street, finishing with some Dole Whip (a must). We spent the afternoon at the Fountain of Youth, where I got an inordinate number of pictures of peacocks. And then we did what I’d been hoping to do the whole trip, but which had never worked out until that day for various reasons: we went to Cap’s on the Water, sat right along the front of the deck with an excellent view of the river, and leisurely ordered appetizers while watching the sunset. It’s one of my favorite St. Augustine experiences, and I’m so glad I got to share it with Mom!
That was our last day. The next day, we packed up and headed back to Atlanta, bidding St. Augustine a fond farewell. I had always gone to St. Augustine by myself before, so bringing someone with me was new and fun. I really enjoyed sharing my favorite things with Mom and also discovering new things with her. Hopefully she and I will be taking another vacation together next April.
So while I haven’t fixed my entire life just yet, I have made some good changes and had some great experiences in the latter half of this year. There is more going on with me than just these things, too. But this is a pretty nice update, I’d say.
I’m going to try to reincorporate journaling into my life. I’m hoping that will help me with figuring out what I want and how to get there.
(WordPress has completely changed the layout of the posting screen since I last used it. It looks like there are a ton of exciting new features. I’m trying to focus on that rather than on my initial “Why do things have to change! I’m old! Get off my lawn!” reaction.)
A general life update: I’ve been at the same company for going on seven years, though my position changed from contract copywriter to associate after the first year, and the things I’ve been writing about have changed a lot. It started with a specific product, expanded to a product category, and now comprises several product categories. When I started I was writing for web, and a little over a year ago I shifted to print, and now I’m doing both. It’s just challenging enough to keep me happy without overwhelming me, so I have to say I am happy in the job arena.
As far as hobbies, I’ve been focused on writing. I don’t write anything that is traditionally publishable, but I am able to publish on the web and get feedback, which I enjoy. However, I’ve been kind of rethinking it lately. The community I’m part of moved from Tumblr to Twitter after Tumblr made the ludicrous decision to ban adult content, and I’m finding this new way of communicating to be really hard on my mental health. While I’ve had a Twitter account since 2007, I had never really used it much for fandom stuff until recent years. The functionality is best for quick, punchy ideas. It means there is a lot of negativity (it’s easier to be “clever” by tearing things down), and it also means I feel a lot of pressure to continually produce “content.” It feels as if I will fade into obscurity if I am not constantly posting something new, whether it be a full fic, a chapter, or a tweet thread. Unfortunately this is not how my writing has ever worked; I’m slow and inconsistent, and I have trouble joining in on the “headcanoning” that is popular (where you come up with a ton of personal details about characters based on how you interpret their personalities).
This situation makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me, like if I just stopped being a lazy loser I could make regular updates like Real Writers, and until I do that, I’m worthless.
So that’s not great. I’m starting to feel like leaving Twitter is my best option, but there is nowhere else for me to interact with the majority of my fandom friends…so I would essentially be leaving fandom.
I’m still taking tons of photos, so much so that I have run out of hard drive space. I have an enormous backlog of photos to process, going back to 2014. I plan to get a spare hard drive so I have room to breathe, but I really want to come up with a plan to work through all those photos. There are so many steps: the initial pass, during which I delete rejects and rename files to put them in chronological order (since I have photos from two cameras); the edit pass, during which I straighten and adjust colors and whatnot; the actual upload; and captioning/tagging, which can be very time consuming. (It’s even harder when the photos are years old and I have to try to remember the context.)
Hand-in-hand with photography is my hiking hobby. I bought a book called 50 Hikes in the North Georgia Mountains and I plan to go through it to find new places to go. I’ve been to lots of trails already (need to get those pictures posted…) but this year I’ve mostly gone to Gibbs Gardens, which isn’t really a hike so much as a stroll, though there are some good uphills. In any case, I need to get out to a mountain trail soon.
I also want to get back into shape. Since recovering from Heart Failure Part Deux and going back to work, I’ve slipped back into my old bad habits: eating unhealthy food because it’s faster and spending most of my time sitting around on my computer or phone. I would like to come up with a plan for meals and exercise that would actually be feasible with my schedule, and not so difficult that I would hate doing it. I went on a really nice walk through my neighborhood today, about 3.5 miles, and I think walking should definitely be part of whatever exercise plan I come up with, but I think I need to do weight training of some kind as well, and definitely stretching.
Another goal, getting my spending under control, goes right along with the health goal, since cooking at home would save money as well as be healthy. Right now, a usual weekday starts with me getting a smoothie for $8, and then at work I either buy lunch in the cafeteria (roughly $8) or go out somewhere (roughly $15). I have also been going to a restaurant after work to write every now and then, so that’s another $14 on those days. On other days, Sean and I have worked out a few meals that are easy to make, so we do those…but they are not healthy. They are: crab alfredo, hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, turkey sausage and creamy garlic shells, Hungry Man frozen dinners, and Marie Callender’s pot pies. Sometimes I will make chicken curry or cheeseburgers; these are more time consuming so they’re rarer. On weekends, I usually go to the restaurant to write at least one of the days. Breakfast is sometimes an $8 smoothie, sometimes leftovers, sometimes nothing. Dinner is either one of the unhealthy at-home meals or something from a restaurant (could range from cheap fast food to nice sushi).
And finally, my home. I’ve never had a system for doing chores; it’s always just been “when it looks like it needs it.” Laundry is fairly consistently done on the weekends, and Sean handles the dishes every day, but everything else is just random. Dust piles up over everything, and crumbs and dirt get on the floor, and nothing gets dusted or vacuumed until we have guests coming. I don’t have a system to deal with paperwork, so it’s just a big pile that I occasionally go through. And I have a ton of wall art just waiting to be hung up, but I haven’t figured that out yet. I want the apartment to be nice all the time, not just after a last-minute deep cleaning. And I want it to feel comfortable to me instead of like a place where there’s always something that needs to be cleaned or organized. Maybe I could spend more time writing there instead of at a restaurant if I felt relaxed.
So yeah, this is all a mess, and I would like to get it under control.
I realize this blog is basically a record of me coming to the conclusion that I need to organize my life and then never actually doing anything, so I want to approach it differently this time. I think what shoots me in the foot is thinking I have to figure it all out at once. So what I will try to do is come up with a plan for making changes over time—an adaptable plan that can grow as I move forward. What can I do here and there during a week to start?
This plan also has to take my ups and downs into account. There are times (like today) when I’m feeling very motivated and energetic, and then there are times when it’s a victory just to get through the bare minimum. The plan has to allow me to have down days instead of expecting me to be on all the time.
And finally, the plan has to be flexible enough that I won’t feel smothered by it. I tend to not do well with rigidity; I get bored and recalcitrant. So I need something that gets things done regularly but doesn’t feel too regular. Heh.
So anyway, this has been kind of a catch-up-and-see-where-I-am post. Now that I’ve gotten all those thoughts out of my head, I can start trying to actually work on the problems. Here we go…
I feel like this blog, among other things, is just a huge record of me trying to do things and failing, but here I go again.
This past week I have tracked what I ate every weekday using MyFitnessPal. I also packed food for breakfast and lunch every day except Friday, on which day I only packed breakfast because we went out for lunch to celebrate Tobi’s birthday. Dinners were all cooked at home.
The primary goal was to not eat out as much as possible to save money, since the account was low and I didn’t get paid until Friday, but I also decided to try to eat more healthily at the same time. So as I mentioned before, I paid attention to various nutrients while I was tracking.
Despite saying I wouldn’t start exercising until after my vacation at the end of the month, I have been trying to do some walking. Partly this is because since going to Tallulah Gorge on April 29, my left knee has been in near-constant pain. I am trying to rebuild muscle strength there so something like that doesn’t happen again. (A friend said I should see a physiotherapist. My boss says it is probably arthritis. I don’t know. I just want to be able to hike…) On one of my walks my right knee started having shooting pain, and now both of them are sore, but I feel better after today’s walk, so hopefully I am not just destroying them.
I was hoping this week would result in some weight loss, but it did not. I didn’t take my weight till Wednesday, at which point I weighed 159.8. Today I weigh 159.7. This is not significant, lol. However, I need to let more time pass before I can really know if my food changes are helping or not. (Also, I ate an ice cream cone and four Oreo cookies yesterday, which is not exactly nutritional.)
The main goal, of course, was to save money. According to Mint we spent $189 this week on food vs. $263 last week. That’s pretty good, especially considering I spent $40 at the lunch place I went to yesterday. (I’m gonna mess it up by going out to breakfast today, but eh.)
So I’m cautiously hopeful.
Ta-das for today:
Went for a 30-minute walk as soon as I got up. I did three brief jogging intervals and briskly walked the rest. My knees feel sore but good.
In order to save money, primarily, and also possibly to eat more healthily, I am going to once again try to pack my breakfasts and lunches and cook dinners during the week. So far I have done so yesterday and today. Wish me luck.
For breakfasts and lunches, I have amassed a few staples: hard boiled eggs, cheese snacks, yogurt, grapes, carrots, and supplies for sandwiches. On Monday I packed with abandon, not paying attention to the nutrition info. On top of my morning protein shake I had two boiled eggs, a yogurt, and a slice of bread with peanut butter for breakfast. For lunch and snacks I had some leftover Kraft macaroni and cheese, a bologna sandwich with two slices of bologna and a Kraft single, a banana, a serving of barbecue chips, grapes, and two Oreos. Dinner was beef knockwurst with four-cheese pasta and steamed veggies. I also splurged and had a Drumstick ice cream treat.
It turned out that was a lot of food. I was way over most of my nutrition recommendations, in some cases double. So today, I tracked all the food I packed for breakfast and lunch while I was packing it, making sure not to pack too much. I didn’t have a protein shake. I had one boiled egg, a yogurt, and two cheese snacks for breakfast. For lunch I had a bologna sandwich with only one slice of bologna, a snack bag of baby carrots, and a banana. For a snack later I had grapes. Dinner was chicken curry with steamed white rice. After tracking everything I found that while I was still over in most categories, it wasn’t by very much, and I was actually under for fat and sodium. Huzzah!
My highest sugar items today were the yogurt, banana, and grapes. I may need to cut back on fruit, or maybe try to find yogurt that isn’t so sweetened. I had too much rice at dinner, and that added a lot of carbs. The banana is the next-highest big-ticket carb item, then the bread from the sandwich, then the yogurt. Not having a protein shake and sticking to one egg and one slice of bologna seems to be a good idea in terms of not going totally crazy with protein. I don’t really mind the protein or the overall calories being a little over, because my digestive system isn’t as efficient as it used to be due to weight loss surgery, so I need to get a little extra in order to have proper nutrition anyway.
I’m happy to have managed two days so far, and I hope I can keep it up for the rest of the week. My goal is to do this for three weeks in a row, and then at that point start integrating regular exercise too. Fingers crossed.
Since this past weekend, I’ve been working on goal-setting and breaking big dreams down into achievable targets and tasks. My overall goals fall into these general categories: improve as a writer, improve my health, enrich myself/experience the world, and give back. Under these categories I have various broad targets, and under those targets I get more and more specific until I have drilled down to tasks. For example, under improve as a writer one of my targets is read consistently, and I have laid out some tasks for myself to help me get to the point where I am reading more. My first task is “create prioritized list of books.”
A lot of my initial steps have been the creation of some sort of list. And I have set up a spreadsheet that has a list of all my current tasks, Getting Things Done-style. But one list I haven’t quite figured out yet is my Ta-Da List.
Alongside having targets to reach, I want to have a place where I can look back and see all the things I have accomplished. I feel like this would be a great motivator. In the individual project tabs on my spreadsheet I do leave finished tasks in with their completed dates, but over time this will become infeasible–I’ll need to delete them just so I can keep the spreadsheet manageable. So I’m thinking I will need some sort of area to round up achievements. A daily report might be too hard to maintain, but perhaps weekly or monthly. I haven’t quite figured it out yet.
For now, I thought I’d list out here all the tasks I’ve done since I started this effort on Saturday.
Wrote out a list of all the goals I’d like to work on
Created a spreadsheet to manage the goals
Features a main tab listing current tasks for all projects and then a tab for each project
On project tabs, automatically strikes out tasks for which I enter a completed date
On task tab, automatically turns items due that day orange and overdue items red
Note: I’d like to automatically pull tasks and due dates into the task tab from the project tabs, but I haven’t figured out how to do that, or if it’s even possible
Came up with tasks for each goal
Set due dates for each task
Next step: figure out how to do a ta-da list
Create a Writing Routine or System
Next step: set a plan or schedule to test out for each target, or perhaps a combination of them
Created a list of desired travel locations
Included driving time for close locations and flight cost for farther locations
Next step: continue pricing out each location (lodging, transit, activities) and then prioritize
Created lists of easy-to-pack proteins, fruits, vegetables, and starches
Purchased supplies for a test run for the last three days of this week
Next steps: create a list of example meals so shopping is easier; purchase a single-serving set of dishes and flatware to keep at work
Made a list of aerobic exercise options
Next step: make a plan/checklist for weekly aerobic exercise
Also, I walked for two hours on Sunday :D
Read More, Photography, Explore, Politics, and Volunteer
I have set tasks but I haven’t done anything on these projects yet.
Next steps: create prioritized list of books; finish editing and uploading Hawaii pictures; make lists of local gardens, museums, restaurants, hiking locations, and festivals; make a list of all my various representatives in government; make a list of local volunteer opportunities
I also used my spreadsheet to keep track of a couple errands I’d been putting off.
Paid medical bills
Shipped some packages
This is looking pretty impressive, and it’s only been four days. If I continue to complete tasks at a decent rate, I probably won’t be able to sustain doing a post like this every week. Or if I do, I will have to reformat so I can just copy and paste from my tabs. But this is a start!
So I see from old posts that I’ve been over 150 since the end of March. I was wondering how long it’d been. I had to buy new jeans, size 12, and even those are now getting tight. I don’t know why I am retaining so much weight. I briefly tried to diet a couple weeks ago and I felt like I was starving the whole time. I feel awful, I have digestive issues, and lately I have acid reflux as well. I guess I am just eating badly and not getting enough exercise. I’m also really stressed out and generally unhappy.
I’m going on vacation soon, and I’m hoping that will give me the opportunity to relax and remember what it’s like to enjoy myself.
One good thing: I started taking Super B Complex, and I no longer have the sort of depression where I loathe myself. I still get depressed, but it’s more over feeling trapped and helpless than over feeling useless and stupid and ugly and terrible. So that’s been a nice change, at least.
Let me try to let you know what’s happened since I stopped doing the daily recovery posts back in December.
I guess the most important thing is that my heart recovered.
This news came on February 1 with an echocardiogram. I was astonished; I thought my heart might have improved a little, but the result was an ejection fraction of 55-60% (normal). Heart Failure Part Deux was far shorter than the first time around! I credit it to three things: 1) the heart medication, obviously; 2) I changed my diet and started exercising right away; and 3) I started out 120 pounds lighter than I was the last time. I am pretty confident that #3 played a major role, and I am so thankful to have had weight loss surgery.
Other than that, I have been playing Medication Roulette and going to therapy to deal with various things. Sometimes it seemed to be going well and then something would go wrong. Things seem to be looking more promising now. We’ll see, I guess. The latest issue is that a medication I was taking was causing me to be tired all the time. No amount of sleep was ever enough; I was always drowsy and had no energy to do anything. So I switched off it back to a lower dose of one I had been taking before. We had switched off that one because I had an anxiety attack and things got really, really bad, but I think the problem was that the dose had been increased. So back to the original dose. Fingers crossed. (I can’t take extended release medications, and this seems to rule out a lot of options.)
Unfortunately, coming off the medicine that made me drowsy has been very difficult. At first we tried cold turkey, but doing that made me too sick to function. Next we tried to wean me off it, which went better at first, but now, at the end of the weaning period I seem to not have weaned slowly enough. More on this below, but first some fun things.
The winter was pretty mild, with occasional arctic blasts, resulting in Gibbs Gardens’ daffodils blooming early. They moved their opening from March 1 to February 18; I went on Sunday, February 19, because Saturday was rainy. It was a beautiful day and the daffodils were everywhere.
There were also cherry blossoms!
It got kind of cold again for awhile, but then on March 11 I went hiking at Vickery Creek in Roswell. It was a fantastic hike and I want to go back soon…especially since I didn’t get to see the mill ruins. (I did see the manmade waterfalls though!)
On March 19 I went to Arabia Mountain with Charles and Heidi. We took their dog Ginny with us :) I had been to the area before on my own, but I was on the wrong side of the street and never climbed the actual mountain. We did the Mountain Top Trail. Arabia Mountain is like Stone Mountain, except it’s smaller and it has these amazing little pools of plant life in its “craters”. One of the plants is this strange, almost coral-looking red stuff called diamorpha. It was everywhere and I got lots of pictures.
I was unable to hike, or really go anywhere, this past weekend due to withdrawal symptoms from the medication I switched off of. I actually had to leave work early because of it. I would get extraordinarily dizzy, and when I’d move my eyes I’d hear strange echoes in my head. It was very unpleasant. The symptoms lasted until Monday morning, when I gave in and took half a pill. Since then I’ve been all right, but I’m prepared to take another one tomorrow if necessary, because that dizziness is no joke.
I want to try to hike/visit a garden every weekend now that the weather’s nice, because being outside makes me feel so great. I’m considering Piedmont Park and the Botanical Garden for this weekend but I heard on the radio that Zoo Atlanta has a new Treetop Trail and it sounds really fun. There’s also Kennesaw Mountain, which I’ve been to before but never in spring, and Smith-Gilbert Gardens, and Sweetwater Creek, and Stone Mountain, as well as plenty of places I haven’t been yet.
Just thinking about being outside has made me feel a lot better than I did when I started writing this post :)
Well, I’m sure I could ramble on about more stuff, but it’s past my bedtime, so I’ll sign off here.
Weighed myself and discovered I am now 152; no wonder all my pants are uncomfortably tight
Realized I had completely missed taking my meds yesterday morning
Bought breakfast in the cafeteria (cottage cheese, fruit, a boiled egg, and a bagel) instead of going to Starbucks (thereby avoiding the sugar and expense of the chai latte and protein bistro box and pastry I always end up getting); should have gotten more cottage cheese but otherwise I was happy with it
Did some calculations and realized I had completely misjudged how long a project would take
Came home on my lunch break for comfort snuggling with Sean (this was nice)
Went to the new self-service kiosk in the cafeteria to grab a quick lunch, and had to try to scan my sandwich a million times (and yesterday, I didn’t leave my card in the reader long enough, and then I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t processing, and there was a huge line behind me; today there was just one guy and I let him go ahead of me)
Bought a pack of donuts because I was feeling harried, even though I had decided that I would eat more healthily
Ran into Josh on the way back upstairs; chatted with him a bit, another bright spot
Things got better with the project, although I ended the workday feeling harried
Went to our favorite Thai place to pick up dinner
Went to Kroger to pick up a prescription; paid $10 for it; realized when I got home that I don’t take that med anymore
Also bought a bag of Robin Eggs and six Cadbury Creme Eggs at Kroger; I am a lost cause
I had been thinking all day that there was something important about March 28, some nice thing, but I couldn’t remember what it was. As I pulled into the apartment parking lot I realized: it’s Maggie‘s birthday
Changed into pajamas as soon as I got in the door; installed myself on the couch with Sean and we ate dinner and watched Great British Bake Off
Someone rightfully told me that a post I had made yesterday on Tumblr could be hurtful to others; by writing the post the way I did I inadvertently made a type of statement that I actively try to avoid making, but somehow it didn’t occur to me that the post fit that situation
Apologized and thanked them, going on and on unnecessarily
Edited the post
Freaked out about it for awhile by:
Telling a bunch of people
Being suddenly seized by the desire to disappear off the face of the Earth
Telling someone else
Editing the post again
Sat down at my computer to write this post and began eating Robin Eggs :P
I do like that I have been keeping a nice record of my life, since I hadn’t been doing that for a long time and I missed it, but remembering to write something every day is getting difficult. Or boring. I don’t know.
Anyway, my weight is staying pretty stable, I’m still eating terribly, my mood is great (I feel normal, I still have regular emotions but I am not controlled by them), I’m still getting sleepy during the day and in the evening but it’s not as bad as it was, I have a new online friend and she is really fun, Sean and I have finalized Christmas plans, I still haven’t put up our tree (and now I’m thinking I may not do it), I need to bake cookies today for the cookie swap I organized at work, and I also need to get back to writing (I’ve been slacking off).
I went to Gibbs Gardens yesterday and it was fantastic. No one else was there; it was 40 degrees out. A lot of the trees still had red leaves, so it looked beautiful and I had it all to myself. It was so great.
No red leaves in this picture, but here I am!
I also had therapy yesterday, and my therapist was like “Maybe we should start talking about whether or not you need to keep coming here.” :D I told her I would like some help with setting and achieving goals, so we’re going to start working on that.
Heart-wise, today my dose of coreg doubled. My dose of lisinopril doubled two weeks ago. The last time I had CHF, I could not tolerate this dose of coreg; I had weird visual side effects. I guess we’ll see what happens.