Sunday, January 22, 2017

This week I'm seeing why I tend to read less these. It's a combination of ambitious (for me) reading plus getting overwhelmed by life and kids.

A weird thing happened when I got pregnant and had Molly: I lost a lot of my interest in romance novels. There was no conscious thought process involved, I have no good reason for it, I just find I don't care as much about romantic stories. The romances I've read in the past year or so have been parts of a series where I already knew the characters and wanted to see what happened, more than I wanted to vicariously experience the romantic tension and falling in love. Saying this, I may dip in again sometime soon and see if that's changed, but man, isn't that a weird, possibly hormonal, reaction?

When I (mostly) stopped reading romance novels, my go to quick and satisfying read was gone. Romance novels were books I'd pick up at moments like this (it's early morning, my kids both have screens). While I love the biography of Montaigne I'm reading and I'm getting a lot from the book on ADD, I don't have it in me to focus on either of those while interrupted by various cereal and yogurt requests and "oh god don't jump off of the back of the couch" moments. Those aren't grab a page or two here and there books. They take longer, I read them in actual quiet moments in bigger chunks.

Now, I do read other things, and there have been books in the past year or so that I would be reading right now. It's mostly science fiction and fantasy. I'm just slower to start them, because it takes a little bit more of an effort, both in the choosing and the getting into the story. Right now, I'm also reading through Y: The Last Man, but graphic novels are also something I don't tend to pick up when I'm hanging out with the kids.

It seems to me that I need to be quicker to choose my next fiction read if I want to be reading more. I think I'll do that this morning, but first I need to put a game disc in and probably play babies with my toddler for a while because she's done with her screen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

One of the random mental things I do sometimes is consider what things I really ought to do every day. It's one of the ways I grapple with feeling overwhelmed--I think, okay, leaving aside all else and ignoring what will happen on auto-pilot, what should happen every day. Here's my list:

1. Dirty laundry consolidated, washed if there's enough for a load, and put away.
2. Kitchen cleaned.
3. Work email answered.
4. A few specific work tasks that I won't list.
5. Litter boxes clean.
6. Exercise of some sort.
7. Pick up the living room and kitchen areas.
8. Bed made.
9. Plan and cook dinner (with planning done at some point before, say, 5 PM).

Of these, I tend to get the kitchen and litter clean most days, I make my bed before I get into it at night, and I always get through at least some portion of work email (though it's been a while since I got through it all in one day). I plan and cook dinner more often than not (but go through bad streaks), and I rarely stay that on top of laundry, though I wish. Exercise is another thing that happens in streaks of good and bad, and I tend to be consistent within a streak (I know if I get started, I can stick with it for a while, but I get into ruts). I tend to pick up the living room unless work is really busy/overwhelming or I have to run a lot of errands.

Frankly, I am better at this sort of every day thing than I am at projects, which is a result of having a pretty standard ADD brain that likes everything broken down into manageable chunks (break the projects into chunks, yes, I know, but projects are finite and, er, let's not even get into this digression today). This is probably why I think about things this way. In my ideal world, I'd add these things to my list:

10. Read something challenging for 30 minutes a day.
11. Write for 30 minutes a day.
12. Clean the house/work on house projects for 30 minutes beyond the basics in the first list.

My actual job obviously plays into this, but we're talking ideal world, and work projects tend to be a different beast than other parts of life, with external, other people focused motivation that works differently than whatever drives all the rest.

I have a REALLY hard time with those last three things (10-12), and in the long term I'd want to spend more time than that on the first two. Once in a while, I'll take a shot at adding them in to my life, but it always kind of peters out, and I know that it's because that stuff is based almost purely on internal motivation. Everything on that first list has strong external motivation for me. Numbers 10 and 11 are about me and my own personal development, and number 12 is about a larger kind of satisfaction with my own house (and seeking a sort of smooth running that I feel we lack). Those things are harder to wrap myself around, and they always have been, but oh they lurk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How about an update?


The Librarians is an utter delight. I'm at the end of the second season, and there were Doctor Who references, and it's all about narrative and stories, and it's cheesy good fun.

Supergirl is also a delight, a nice antidote to the current political climate.


Y: The Last Man. I'm still not sure about this. It's weirdly sexist in places, but it's beginning to acknowledge that the characters are flawed, and it's developing layers, and I'm going to keep going with it for a while. I like that it's a slow build.

Scattered. This is a book about ADD written from an attachment theory perspective. I went into it looking for advice for myself, and I'm finding that it's got me thinking a lot about how much my parenting matters to my kids--not so much the overarching theories and goals, but the moment to moment warmth and kindness. There was a lot of neurophysiology stuff that, I admit, blew past me, but now we're getting into parent-child relationships and how they're shaped by circumstance and I do find it interesting.

How to Live. This is a biography of Montaigne structured as a series of answers to the question "How to live?" I'm loving it but it's making me mad at myself for not remembering books very well. I should be taking notes (hence this little bit of writing, probably). Right now, I'm at the part about Montaigne's travels, and it makes me want to read his secretary's journal of some of their journeying, even if it is in part about poop and kidney stones. It's also making me interested in philosophy again (I almost had enough courses for a minor in philosophy in college), and I've enrolled in a coursera intro to philosophy course. This book is very, very well written, extremely compelling for the material. I'm about 2/3 through it right now.

That's it right now. I'm trying to read a lot more than I have been, because I swear, not reading feels like leaving a part of myself lying by the side of the road.

Social Media

Still I waffle. Still I log into Facebook and Twitter over and over, and still I feel like it's either a waste of my time or a complete overload of information. I think a lot about how I kind of hate being instantly accessible, and being on social media means that any piece of information someone drops goes right into my face. With text and such, I also feel like I'm supposed to respond quickly (and I get so irritated about this expectation), and that's even worse, but Facebook and Twitter are a kind of instant accessibility, a way that I am confronted with everyone's thoughts. Even though I can choose what to follow, it often feels like way too much for me.

So I experiment here, for now. I'm a little bit at sea with my writing, whether it's journaling or other stuff, so this is me throwing things at the wall to see what etc.