Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Diary of a Couch Potato

 

Earlier this month Husband was in San Diego for a over a week presenting at his company's big yearly conference. I didn't want to balance 12-hour shifts and single parenting so I said why not and took 7 days off of work, which ended up being 10 days when the schedule was all said and done. I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to sleep train myself (morning person aspirations!), cross a zillion things off my to-do list, and hang out with my handsome but ornery teenage child. (Tell me they outgrow the sassy stage? Pretty please? Lie to me if necessary.)

The list of things I hoped to accomplish was looong. The list of things I didn't accomplish? Longer. Because in addition to getting almost nothing done, I found even more things that needed doing. The struggle is real, yo.


By day two I had burned through my scant DVR recordings and was this close to clicking on a Twilight movie. (Desperate times call for desperate measures.) I had started several embroidery projects that weren't clicking, which led to a growing fear that my interest in the hobby was rapidly waning. I wanted to be home, but idle hands and restless mind and all that. (#firstworldproblems) After a couple days I ventured into the city and began working on an online social media/phone photography course I had signed up for. One day I spent 5 hours at a coffee shop catching up on a weekly journal I'm doing and writing down my goals and intentions for the year. Oh, and I blogged again which was rather refreshing. 


The break is over and I'm (three 12-hours shifts in a row) back in the game. At the start of my staycation I thought I'd become terribly bored and look forward to going back work, but I was surprised to find that it didn't happen. I'm sure with time it would have, especially with Mario back home and working in his home office, but ten days was clearly not my threshold. I liked being available to Kiddo and home for dinner every night and free of all the workplace frustrations that have tempered over time but still plague me on occasion. When you are sitting home in elastic waist pants and fuzzy slippers midday on a rainy Tuesday, working seems like the worst idea ever. As are the things a burned out homebody tends to think when faced with the proposition of abandoning the couch cushion that has molded so perfectly to her bum.

The listlessness passed and the house got tidied, homemade meals were planned and executed, and the beginning of a closet overhaul occurred. I signed up for a website that will get me ready for the GREs in 2-3 months if I follow a 1 day/week study schedule. One morning last week, Mario and I grudgingly followed through on the two hour garage cleaning session we had agreed upon and put in our shared calendar. Progress: We're getting there. I'm getting there.

This post is an ode to taking time off when you need it. When it makes life easier. Even if it means I logged 24 less healthcare hours this month. It won't make or break my grad school acceptance. However, not taking it off might have broken me and so I have nothing but gratitude for a life and job that allow me to walk away when I need to. And so, here's a list of things that kept me out of my own head.

I'm in a bit of a television rut when it comes to shows I watch solo. (Mario and I have plenty of series we watch together: Quantico, The Good Wife, Arrested Development, Scandal...) Right now I'm enjoying Younger (binge-watched the first season, Season 2 is set to record...it's cute and fun) and Odd Mom Out (inappropriate + satirical + funny). And Fixer Upper, obviously. (I've grown bored with The Biggest Loser and Jane the Virgin, and last year I eliminated anything Housewife from my life which has been most excellent.) Kiddo became suddenly obsessed with the idea of watching The X-Files from the very beginning which is what we did last weekend. We made it to Episode 8 where that weird alien worm crawls under the skin of scientists in the arctic. Then he was all "Nope! That's disgusting!" and we moved on to something more lighthearted. iZombie is also a fun, silly show Kiddo and I watch, but it's currently on "mid-season break." (Mid-season finales: Why is that a thing now?) As a family we watch The Flash, Arrow (because, boys) and Castle. I've opted out of Agents of Shield and Scorpion, but the boys watch those together. I should mention that we watch very little television during the week, lest it seem we are a family of potatoes, so we always have a healthy DVR queue when it comes to family shows, which we work our way through on Friday nights while eating Papa Murphy's. Oh, and Making a Murderer is great, too. But you probably already knew that.

[I'd like to take a moment out of this post to discuss my new favorite show, The Vampire Diaries. I watch Pretty Little Liars so it came up as a suggestion on Netflix and I decided to give it a go during my semi-vacation from work. It was hands-down the best decision I've made next to getting my degree and marrying my husband. It's campy and sexy and everything Twilight could, no, should be. And there are six past seasons + the current season to sink my teeth into! (See what I did there.) I feel like a romantic teenager when I watch but with better skin and, oh yeah, holy hell are you even real Ian Somerhalder. You did me a solid, Netflix.]

 

I mentioned my embroidery funk, which was relatively brief and stemmed from doing things that didn't entertain or inspire me. I've since learned I have a type: whimsical designs, woodland creatures, and vivid colors. So I followed my instinct and went back to what I like and know and the joy immediately returned. It's one of the ways I am learning to let myself off the hook: to do things in my private life because they bring me pleasure, not because I feel obligated by a $5 pattern purchase. I've tackled nearly all of the most common stitches and no longer consider myself an embroidery novice. I plan to do a whole post on supplies, designs, etc soon.

Last year's reading goal went over so well, I've decided to make it a mainstay in my life. I didn't finish my third classic, Wuthering Heights, before the end of the year, though I'm on track to finish by the end of January. My in-laws gifted me the Puffin in Bloom Collection for Christmas, so I've already got a year's worth of classics to read. Mario also gave me many books off my Amazon Wishlist, so I'm set on new reads for quite a while. Last year's book recommendations is a post in and of itself, so that is also on my to-do list. I'm really proud of this goal: it brought about so many positives and is the first resolution I've ever stuck to all year, let alone continued into the next calendar.

In the audio world, I've been listening to The Discovery of Witches audiobook here and there for some time now, usually while I do household chores. There's The Weeknd's newest album (more explicit than I thought, so it's a solo listen), Kenny Loggin's greatest hits album (nerdy, I know), and of course Adele. Sia has a new album coming out Thursday, so that's on pre-order.


Other diversions:

Giant knitting. Worth the $240 price tag? (+ learning to knit?)

Got the supplies to make these Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

A renewed love of vintage bakeware thanks to the discovery of English Pyrex.

Kitchen science experiments.
 



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