Monday, September 16, 2013

In Which I Am... Happy

This is the start of my third week back at work, though only my second week with students in the building.

Unlike a teacher, my year starts off slowly, as students usually don't get sick immediately upon returning to school. So I've been averaging about five patients a day.

I was nervous to return to work, but after a two week staycation with Calliope (and no friends around to entertain us), I was more than ready for a break from full time parenting. I adore my child... but I treasure the time more when I'm not with her constantly.

I've felt badly the last few years, while pregnant and then while caring for an infant and young toddler, that I wasn't more "present" at work. So I made a plan to be more organized and proactive at work, in hopes that greater engagement would increase my enjoyment. So far, it's working! I'm really happy at work.

And I'm really happy at home. Calliope is a delight. More on her progress in her 25 month post, but suffice it to say, she's a delight. Her language is growing by leaps and bounds and she's just a lovely little person. Most of the time, anyway.

This weekend, her little friend Eleanor started potty training. And her parents are constantly asking her, "Eleanor, do you need to go potty?"

Naturally, she responds, "No!" every time.

So I encouraged them to only schedule potty time once every one to two hours, and to stop asking. And when they decided that Eleanor needed to sit on the potty (as opposed to asking) and we were around, I asked Calliope if she would come sit on the potty too, to keep Eleanor company. And she agreeably lowered her pants -- she can lower and raise her own pants! -- and sat down companionably with Eleanor. And as a result, Eleanor would pee on the potty, every time.

What a wonderful friend, eh?

I've been going out more the last few weeks. My best friend (an ex-boyfriend from many years ago) pays for babysitting and dinner, so the only impediment to plans in the past was my not wanting to miss my girl, or my sleep. Now, I'm willing to miss bedtime now and then. And as I go out more regularly, Calliope seems to have an easier time with it, and goes to sleep more quickly.

We had dinner last night, and I loved catching up on adult conversation. And seeing an infant across the restaurant, and thinking, "I'm so glad I don't have a baby in my arms, and that I don't have to spend the whole meal waiting for things to fall apart."

I'm happy about my very slowly blossoming romance. I wouldn't say that we are dating. I'd say we like each other, and we are taking it very slow. We talk every few nights, and it's nice. I'm busy with my life. And I'm safeguarding my heart, as much as I can. I'll see him again in mid-October, and I'm mostly glad it won't be sooner. I'm trying to keep from getting too attached until his divorce is finalized. He hope that will be by the end of 2013, but I'm not holding my breath. I know that delays are incredibly common.

And I think we won't know if we even like each other enough to pursue being a couple until he's wrapped things up with his marriage. And that the tumult of a divorce could make him more needy, and that I need to be careful to not mistake that for a genuine interest in me. So I'm trying to be cautious, and I'm glad he seems to be doing the same, since my self restraint is historically not that great.

A fellow SMC is giving me banjo lessons via Skype and I'm enjoying that a lot, too. It's slow going but I love that I have this interest I'm pursuing that has nothing to do with anyone else but me.

I'm still working out, and gradually trying to work Insanity workouts into my back to school routine. I started weaning myself off lazy mornings the week before I returned to work, and started setting an alarm clock. It was painful. But I'm so grateful I was dragging around at home instead of waiting to do it at work. So now I have to learn to get up even earlier to work out before work. I've done it a couple of time so far, including this morning, but I'm not leaving myself quite enough time to finish. I haven't yet done Insanity and a bike commute on the same day.

So many great things.

The only thing that's bothering me is increasing doubts about wanting to interrupt my happy new equilibrium with T42. But that's another post for another day.

And as for my mom... well, I guess I've reached equilibrium with that for the time being as well. Her abscess is flaring up again, so more delays with chemotherapy. So we are just waiting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Feeling Better Today

As expected, I'm much better today. It just seems to take me a day to acclimate to bad news.

Work is gradually picking up, which is good. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf at work this year, being proactive and extra organized, and so far, it's making me enjoy work more. I think there's also something about leaving a feisty, talkative two year old at home that feels a lot easier than leaving a tiny infant or dimpled crawling baby. Calliope's more ready to be out in the world now, and so am I.

This was a good release for crying tonight: a Home Depot marriage proposal (one man to another).

Old Flame texted me last night that he was free to talk, so about a half an hour later, once I was safely in a cab on my way home from dinner, I called him. We chatted briefly and then I said, "you know how you said I was welcome to ask questions about your divorce? Well, I wanted to ask where you were at with it now."

I guess I should've been more specific and asked, "what's your timeline?" I eventually got that question answered, but also heard some ranting about the ex. (Can she even fairly be called the ex?). I have to figure out a way to very politely cut him off. I was worried about hurting his feelings if I interrupted mid-stream. But I really don't enjoy being exposed to that sort of venom. Even if it's not directed at me, it's still ugly.

After a few minutes he stopped, and I sort of gently reiterated that I'm not a good person for him to process with. And then he said, "my therapist says I have to make peace with the fact that I will probably never know the reason that she ended things."

So I'm glad he is still talking to the therapist.

I'm definitely going to DC for the Red Dress Run... and my best friend -- I went to the fancy schmancy work dinner with him last night at the Big Boss's house in NJ -- offered to pay for a weekend of babysitting so I don't have to bring Calliope along!

Sweet! Much more of a break this way, and also, I think it wouldn't hurt to limit her contact with Old Flame. Not that I'm worried about her getting attached, but I'm worried about him getting overly attached. I don't need that complication.

I'm feeling pretty solid about the whole thing. He said he hopes to have the divorce finalized by the end of 2013. I have no idea if that is realistic. I have a feeling it might not be, but I'm not sweating it too much. Regardless, my goal now is to just keep things light until the divorce is finalized. Ideally, to not even talk about being in a relationship until after that happens. If he brings it up, then so be it, but I'm not going to encourage it.

And then, once the divorce is finalized, then we can both begin to see just how much we even like each other. It may turn out to just be a fun flirtation and attraction and not a lot more. Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It Turns Out That Maybe You Can't Just Refuse To Be Sad

I was feeling cranky and then my friend Stephen stopped by my office. He's a teacher, and he's become a dear, if offbeat, friend. Along with his wife and son. He brought me leftovers 'most every day when my Dad was sick and dying, especially when I commented that sometimes the thought of going grocery shopping was just too overwhelming.

So I mentioned the bad news, and added, "So I guess I'll be expecting a lot more home cooked meals, eh?"

He nodded solemnly as the tears welled up.

I don't want to go through this again.

I know I just have to get through today. I have a car service picking me up at 4 pm and transporting me to NJ where I will be my friend's date for his work shindig. This is my other best friend, Scott, my (long ago) ex boyfriend. He's my family, too, and being with him will be nice. Though being with his boss and the New Board Member won't be relaxing. Then we will have a nice ride home together.

I know my pattern now. I just have to survive today and I will wake up composed again tomorrow.

It's just, I thought I could get through this without being sad like this. By just refusing to feel sad.

It doesn't seem to work that way.

I'm So Mad

I know, not exactly the words that reach you and grab you and make you want to read a post.

But my mom's cancer has returned. She has enlarged lymph nodes in her abdomen. Already.

She's had abscesses since her surgery which just won't seem to finish healing. And can't start chemotherapy until they are healed.

Her oncologist says that a few weeks one way or the other won't make a difference. And that the chemo will beat back the cancer... for a while. I gather she might even have years to live. (Though I doubt that.) But it will definitely get her.

Unless, of course, she gets taken by something else in the meantime.

I've lost a parent already.

It sucked.

I don't want to do this again.

Given that I don't have an option, I'm trying to just steel knuckle my way through. But that's not helping today.

I don't want to do this. I don't want Calliope and my family to get even smaller.

So I'm really mad. (And a little sad, too, underneath.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Change of Heart, One Hour Later

I called "Auntie Salt Lick" and hashed it all out with her.

She made me feel better.

She's known the guy in question for seven years. She did not like him much at first, felt he hadn't done right by me. But he's won her over, by always treating me with caring and respect.

So she said, "Look, you have "hand." For the first time, with any guy, besides your anonymous donor, since I've known you. You get to call the shots. So instead of thinking about what he wants, think about what you want. You don't have to make any rules. Just warn him that you are allowed to change your mind at any point."

And this made me think that maybe I'm wanting more just because I felt like he wanted more.

Maybe instead I can just work on paying more attention to my boundaries.

This is not an easy thing for me. I'm terrible at boundaries in my romantic relationships.

I also realized, through this conversation, that I really, really want to go to this Red Dress event in DC. Not just because of him. But because I really want to dance in my underwear with like minded folks again. Because it made me feel sexy and strong and confident. And I loved that feeling.

And you know something?

I don't think I would feel half so strong and sexy and confident if not for the fact that I've taken this SMC journey. That's not to say I wouldn't consider being in a relationship. But that I don't have to be. I've shown myself and the world that I can carry a pregnancy and give birth to a child and raise that child and work full time and make it all work. And be happy.

You bet I feel strong and sexy and confident.

And if this strong and sexy and confident SMC wants a chance to go crazy and dance in her underwear a few times a year... well dammit, she deserves to.

The Letter I'm Writing In My Head

After walking around all morning with a sense of wonder, I shared my story with my SMC sisters on the Forum.

They were happy for me, but shared cautionary tales. Tales I wanted to hear. Before I'm fully vested in this romantic adventure.

Here's the letter I composed in my head on my bike ride home from work. I won't send it, but I might share the contents on a phone call sometime soon.

"I had an amazing time this weekend. Thank you for driving up to visit. 

Even though I want to be fun and light hearted, I think it's more important that I be honest with you, and more importantly, with myself.

Here's what's going on with me: I thought I just wanted a friend with benefits. But spending this weekend with you, and seeing  you in my real life, made me think that maybe I want more. I think maybe you're thinking you want more, too?

I'm worried that I could end up getting hurt. And I feel like I need to be cautious of my heart, especially now with a young child in my life. I think I need you to sort out your own life before you should mingle too much with mine. I am afraid that I (or worse, we) are a distraction from your divorce.

A friend suggested I read called "Surviving Your Boyfriend's Divorce." I know you're not my boyfriend yet. But just in case you might be interested in that position at some point. Amazon readers suggests you should should read it too. I just ordered it on Amazon today. I will let you know what I think.

I'm curious to see if advises us to take time apart. I think it might make sense for you to finalize your divorce before we embark on anything together. That's not the solution I'm hoping for, so I hope there's another way. But I'm guessing there's not?

Some even say to wait a year after the divorce is finalized. That seems like a long time. But seven years have passed already. What's another year or two? (Okay, I admit I'm hoping it won't be that long.)

I don't know where I will be in T42 efforts by then. You made some comments at the weekend in August about wanting to be my sperm donor, but I don't think what you meant is that you want to be just my donor. 

My thoughts about T42 have been in turmoil (again) since that August weekend. I so loved getting to have a weekend where I wasn't just about being a Mommy. I adore my daughter, but having a break and cutting loose was amazing. 

So who knows? Maybe I won't have another child in the meantime, after all. If I didn't feel time pressure to match up #2 with my nanny-sharers, the timing might not be an issue at all. And keeping up with them is probably not a good reason to proceed when I'm not sure. 

But I digress.

I need to be careful with my heart, and with my daughter's heart. And it will only get harder to back away if we have more weekends like the one we just had. 

So I encourage you, if you want to pursue things with me, or even if you don't, to get your affairs in order. To finalize your divorce, taking however many arduous steps you need to get there -- I'm sure they are numerous. To continue the therapy you started. To work through some of the pain you're feeling about the ending of your marriage, and especially, giving up the dream of being there to see your daughter every day. I can't imagine what that must feel like, and I'm sorry you have to experience that.

But I can't help you through that. Calliope and I can't just slide into the hole in your heart that was left behind. You have to clear out the rubble and rebuild and then, maybe, there will be some other little space for us. Or maybe not, too. But I think we can't know while you are hurting so much. 

Whatever happens, I wish you peace and light and happiness at the end of this painful journey through divorce."

Calliope Is Two -- Lots of Firsts (and LOTS of photos)

Turned out she didn't know anything about blowing out candles since, duh, I hadn't 
taught her. So we both just kept leaning closer and closer to the candles, and glancing
expectantly at each other. Eventually her cousins pitched in and we all blew the candles 
out together.
Luckily I remembered to teach her the "Happy Birthday" song ahead of time. That 
was a huge thrill for her, having a room full of people singing to her.
Please note that I had a lovely outfit picked out for her. But she had other ideas. Training
pants was the compromise we settled on.

Feeling super bad at her two year well baby visit 
(found the sunglasses under the chair in the exam room).
33 inches (40%) and 22 lbs 6 oz (5%).
Doctor is happy with her growth and I don't have to bring her back 
for a whole year -- feels very strange!

First trip to the dentist. Calliope's idol, five year old Annabelle, does
all the work and the dentist just watches. (When he tried to count her
teeth, she laid down on my chest and stuck her thumb in her mouth.)
But she let Annabelle swab at her teeth with the special toothpaste.

Eventually the dentist got a quick peek for about two seconds. He could
tell she sucks her thumb -- her teeth are moving -- from SMC Jen says
not to worry about his recommendation to wean her from her thumb
just yet -- phew!

My triumphant dental superhero on the walk home from the dentist. 
Note the toothbrushes clutched in her hand. And the awesome outfit from Annabelle's
mom, Emily.

First time on the thing that spins really fast on the playground.
Note the bathing suit. She's obsessed with them lately.
Whenever she isn't allowed to be naked. 

Adopted by a sweet older girl on the spinning thing. Who
held on tight so C wouldn't fall off. 
C seemed a little stunned by the affectionate help, but
went along with it. 
Playing in the waves with Auntie Salt Lick
Spending the morning with her new nanny. The separation
went pretty well the first time they went out. When they
came back for lunch, C fell apart. Oops.
She will be back in full time care with the nanny next week.
I'm hoping for a relatively easy transition.
She adores carousels. This was the one at Coney Island.

Finally, a photo of Calliope, her godmother, and Mommy.
All of us in the same photo. At Coney Island.

"I don't know why Mommy is always trying to keep the good stuff 
-- like chocolate -- away from me. I bet this red onion is 
perfectly delicious. Thank goodness she finally agreed to let
me taste it."
I don't really care for all the rides that Mommy paid for... but what could be better than
reuniting with Luna for some more puddle stomping???

I'm still envious of Luna's ability to clear the ground when she jumps, but I don't let that
get in the way of a good time.

At Victorian Gardens, a toddler amusement park in Central Park
Long wispy hair in the back
Notice the pseudo rat-tail

Enter: baby's first haircut.
(Not shown: tremendous battle getting her to agree to wear 
even that pair of underwear.)
Feeling a little remorse, even though those long stringy threads really 
needed to come off. 

My shorn little sheep. Err, lamb.

Short haired girl at Coney Island (another trip -- 
we made several since it's so close).

Mother daughter trip to the Aquarium.
All part of Camp Mommy -- my effort to make our two week staycation
Perhaps somewhat wasted on a toddler who won't remember, anyway?
We had a good time, regardless.

Her birthday present from me -- a child sized Ergo for carrying dolls
-- was a huge hit. I'm glad she isn't walking around with the full
size baby carrier anymore -- it was a  definite tripping hazard.

Giving the well-loved Baby Jenna an extra snuggle. Or else
nursing her. It's hard to tell sometimes.

Using the full size baby carrier. Pre-doll-carrier, pre-haircut,
pre-potty training. Total safety hazard.

Plus poor Teddy was forced to ride very low, indeed.

On her actual birthday. Wearing her 
awesome "two" outfit. 

Thanks Surlymama for the awesome dress!
I just don't understand why Mommy won't
let me wear the matching underwear
every single day. They are my favorite!
Looks so cute from the back!
 Has great coverage for sliding AND
easy access for the potty -- perfect!

What's not awesome about naked plus older cousin's backpack?

A hand towel is the perfect size for staying up while wrapped and
tucked around her, just like Mommy

Obsessed with sunglasses, and actually keeping them on for a moment.
New sayings: "I need that!" -- generally something of mine that she most assuredly does not need.

She also walks around saying "proud me" because I say, "I'm proud of you" when she tells me she needs to use the potty. This is an example of a time when she uses pronouns correctly. But she still says "help me" when she wants to help, well, me, and means "help you."

She is suddenly helpful in putting books and toys away, sometimes, and sings "Cleam up, cleam up" as she does so. Of course, when I actually ask her to "cleam up" she generally refuses.

She loves being asked "are you okay" and will often prompt me with a "you okay?" question, just so I will ask her and she can gleefully respond, "yeah!" Sometimes I hear her practicing in the crib, "Kyopee (Calliope), you okay? Yeah!"

When I want her to say please, I say, "can you ask me nicely?" and she responds, "Nice!"

She is starting to recount things from the past. When we were playing with a plastic airplane toy, I asked if she remembered flying on an airplane to see Grammy in Boston. She replied, "Ana! Swimming!"

I was amazed -- she remembered seeing her cousin, Eliana, aka "Ana" and going swimming with her, several weeks prior. That was the first time I'd seen that. She also talks about "cats, hiding" after feeding the cats downstairs for a few days.

When I get out my bike, she stands in front of me and calls out excitedly, "Here comes, bike!" as she helpfully beckons the bike to roll towards her.

She's making good progress with colors. She has added yellow, white, and blue to her reportoire over the last several weeks. Green is a work in progress, and black is on the distant horizon. Purple, pink, red and orange are firmly established.

She went through a phase right around her birthday of being very concerned about her belly. Namely, where was it when it was covered by her pajamas. So we went through a couple of weeks of "Belly?" "Still there!"

During the day, she prefers to be naked at all times, and going out requires a careful negotiation, explaining that we aren't allowed outside without clothes. She finally understands that we also have to sit on the potty before we go outside.

Potty training continues to go well. She's still averaging one accident a day, most days. Generally at the end of the day when she's tired. But so far we haven't had any disastrous accidents, so I'm pleased with her progress. Our next step is working on using the toilet more. Yesterday she did so several times, which was great. I'm still bringing the potty with us wherever we go. I have to figure out when it will be safe to just hurry her out of the playground and to the closest public restroom. Am I alone in feeling like this will be a lot more work for me?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I Might Have Had A Romantic Weekend

Old Flame visited, as promised, this weekend.

Amazing. I was convinced he was going to flake on me until he finally called Thursday night. I was working very hard on getting okay with whatever the outcome was, practicing being in the moment, and was very tired, so fell asleep at 9 pm. He called before 10, as requested, and woke me. (Normally I never sleep with the phone where it can wake me but since I went to bed before nine, I decided to give him a pass.) So we chatted a little, he confirmed his travel, and since I was half asleep, I admitted, "Oh, I thought you were going to cancel."

We went to a party on Saturday afternoon so I could see our mutual friend, Calliope's godmother, who had a really rough week.

After that, we left Calliope with my downstairs neighbor (who is one of my closest friends) so we could go out to dinner at a nearby (and totally amazing) restaurant.

It was so much fun to be on a date! To have dinner in a nice restaurant, and sip a glass of wine, and flirt, for God's sake. We had tons to talk about and he gave me quite a few sort of smoldering looks that I don't know how to react, because I'm awkward like that, so I grin sheepishly and quickly drink some wine and look away.

Today: the farmer's market and playground, then the beach at Coney Island. It turned out that the beach with a toddler wasn't great as a romantic destination because Calliope mostly wanted to run along the water's edge, trailing a discarded Mylar balloon, but it was fun. This makes conversation challenging when someone has to stay near the stroller with all of our valuables. Still, he was great and made sand castles with Calliope, and even took her swimming (I was too much of a wimp to go in).

He left late this afternoon, after reading a few books to Calliope. She can't say his name, Chris, so calls him "Kiss."

Oh, the irony.

I'm not bothering to keep her away from him because she's too young to be aware, and she meets lots of my friends. But she definitely took a shine to "Kiss."

Probably because he was completely amazing with her.

Like, on the beach, he starting digging a big hole in the sand with her. Without prompting. It never occurred to me to show her how to dig. She was in heaven, knocking over the little piles of sand he built up for her.

He was also really nice to me. Very generous and kind and nurturing.

This afternoon, right before Calliope was removed from her imprisonment from the crib, I asked if he wanted to have a conversation about his two comments from the Ithaca weekend (the "I'll be your sperm donor" and the "I love you," neither of which I responded to) and he said "maybe" and then made sure to, ahem, distract me. So I decided to leave them alone.

He made multiple allusions to coming back soon, talking about how he could travel directly to LA for work from NYC and then come back again for a second weekend... but we didn't make any actual plans.

Which is fine by me. I think I need some time to digest.

It was a really great weekend. It felt easy, and fun.

It also made me feel like my head was going to explode.

Having my child and my... lover?... in the same house was completely bizarre.

The idea that he could see me in my natural habitat, doing my deal as a single mother, and still be interested in me romantically seems unfathomable. I mean, what's sexy about mothering a toddler? (Answer: nothing. At least from my perspective.)

I don't know what to think about how great he was with Calliope. I never imagined that. He said that ages 2-3 are his favorite. But it's still somehow shocking to see him initiate interaction with her way more than he had to. It made me feel really strange... because I kind of loved it. It never occurred to me that someone could actually really enjoy my child like that. Of course, it also freaked me out a bit. But I found myself smiling a lot. Which, again, freaked me out.

I haven't asked him what's going on with divorce, or when it's supposed to be final. (He has previously offered to answer any questions I have; I haven't asked any so far.) I know that he is in prime territory for a rebound relationship. I know I wasn't looking for any sort of relationship. So I'm cautious. At least, I hope I am.

I also know I really liked being with him. And it didn't feel like I was trying hard, or being someone that isn't really me. Which hasn't been true with my dating experiences in recent years. And that felt really great.

My goal for the next few weeks is to stay calm, to enjoy this, and to stay in the present. Not an easy challenge for me sometimes. I feel good, if a bit overwhelmed, right now. I hope I can hold on to the good part.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day Three of Biking, Lots of Anxiety, and Other Tidbits

Today was my third day of biking to work. Well, third morning -- I'm still at work. (Not working, though. There's no students and I haven't done a single productive thing so far. Way to go.)

I'm beginning to see that it could be enjoyable. It was only mildly stressful this morning. Which was a huge improvement.

I'm also leaning on the brakes a bit less, which should be improving my transit time. It also feels about a mile shorter each time I do it. The first morning, just getting to Prospect Park took forever. Today, it felt like a momentary blip.

I'm not sure if the biking is related, but I'm coming out of my skin with anxiety, though.

My first day back at work, Tuesday (today is Thursday), my two co-workers mentioned that our hospital merger of ?two years ago was declared illegal. The hospital that merged with us had been trying to shut us down. And now apparently found a loophole to dump us in a different manner. But the hospital group that originally owned us doesn't want us back. And is in the midst of merging with yet another hospital. Who presumably doesn't want us either. There will apparently be a court ruling tomorrow when more will be revealed.

So no new news. Just more craziness.

Then my friend, Calliope's godmother, called me yesterday morning in a panic. She was supposed to work from home but her boss and just called her to come in to the office and to clear her schedule. She was panicking, worried she was going to be fired for some unknown reason. The thing is, she's a kickass employee. She works all the damn time. I can't imagine why she would be fired. But then she texted me later to tell me, "I might lose my job. I have to talk to the chairman. I don't want to get into it now. Will discuss in person."

I'm not sure when we will see each other in person -- perhaps at a party this weekend if Old Flame doesn't come to visit. But I'm very worried on her behalf.

Then there's Old Flame. He's supposed to come visit this weekend. Three nights ago, we had a great talk on the phone. While he was driving from upstate NY to DC. So maybe my company was better than talk radio? Or maybe he really wanted to talk to me. Two nights ago, I was expecting him to call to let me know his plans, but he didn't. So yesterday morning, I texted to ask his plans. He texted back that he would call last night. Last night I wanted to go to bed early, so I texted and called... no response. This morning I had a text apologizing about last night -- a friend had stopped by unexpectedly (he didn't say this, but I'm pretty sure his six year old daughter was also there). He promised to call tonight. I wrote back asking him to call before 10 pm. He responded that he would call around 1 pm.

I don't know. I keep waiting for him to cancel. I'm guessing that the above behavior would be considered flaky? I don't know how much to tolerate. I don't know what we're doing. I don't know what I want.

Theoretically, I want a friend with benefits. But it sure seems like I'm acting like I want more than that. If he was just coming up for sex, I wouldn't care if he waited until the last minute to make plans, right?

And maybe some stuff with my mom is in the background. That deserves a post of its own, but I never feel like dwelling on it. The short summary is that she's had a complicated recovery from bladder removal -- a total of three abscesses, which have made her weak and tired and times. And her final pathology report showed that they got the entire tumor... but that it was an unexpectedly aggressive cell type. Which penetrated the fat of the abdominal wall. So her doctor recommends an additional six cycles of chemotherapy. Which she can't start until the abscesses heal. Which has taken many weeks. But hopefully is nearly complete.

I think the job thing is my main anxiety. With Old Flame taking up a certain amount of mental real estate. And biking just making me keyed up.

Whatever the cause, the first three days of work have me walking around with my shoulders up to my knees and my stomach aching. I'm trying to center myself, to do cleansing breaths, to "not have my pain in advance."

I also set up my office and cleared up some of the mess. Having things organized always helps my mental state. But there's tons more to do on my Life To Do List.

At least I am at work and all by myself today! I was really ready to come back after two weeks of staycation. Even though it felt terrible to leave this morning with my naked toddler wailing "Mommy! Mommy!"

My poor munchkin. Hugging her this morning has been the best and most cheering part of my day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Thanks, Shannon, for asking!

I did it! I biked to work!

It's not such a big deal, really, but overcoming my anxiety about it -- the timing, the interactions with cars, the sweating, the newness of it -- felt like a major hurdle. So I'm very proud of myself.

It took a lot longer than I expected, mainly on the way to work (not on the way home), but I think that was mostly due to things like unfamiliarity with the route, plus waiting for lots of traffic lights.

I live on a major boulevard with the first bike path in the country, designed by none other than Frederick Olmstead, who also designed Central Park and many other famous parks around the country. It's on its own dedicated sidewalk, so there's no danger of being dinged by a car door opening unexpectedly in front of you. Which is awesome.

But. Since Ocean Parkway is such a major boulevard, there's lots and lots of intersections with traffic lights. Where both cars and bikes and pedestrians are crossing. Which means a lot of waiting. And a constant fear, for me, of being sideswiped by a car turning without looking. This nearly happened to me once before, while Calliope was in the baby seat on the back of the bike. In that instance, the car and I were traveling parallel, just separated by a few feet of grass, so it was really unconscionable that the car cut me off so aggressively -- there was no way he didn't see me.

Unfortunately, in matters of car versus bike, ethics don't matter all that much. Which is scary.

So now I'm debating eschewing the bike paths in favor of quieter streets, and just riding right in the street when it's narrow, or otherwise riding on the side and letting cars pass as needed. I tried this on the way home and it seemed faster and also, maybe, safer? Safer from traffic, I think, if not from parked cars making unexpected moves into traffic.

My goal is to ride for two or three days this week. And then take Friday off, partly because I have a staff meeting at a major hospital (with no easy bike parking, plus a need to look presentable) and partly because Old Flame, it appears, might not be flaking after all. And if he's making an appearance this weekend, I want my girly bits to not be all bruised up from all this unaccustomed time on a bike seat.

Anyway, I'm hoping that by the end of the week, I can make the trip in thirty minutes. If it's much longer than that, I simply can't make it to work on time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Final Day of Summer

I go back to work tomorrow.

After two weeks of staycation with Calliope, I'm ready.

I loved being home with her, but man, it's exhausting.

Well, part of the exhaustion was forcing us back to a school year schedule, more or less. When we were at camp in the early part of the summer, I switched Calliope to an 8 pm - 8 am sleep schedule. Dinner wasn't until 6 pm and I often had a couple of patients I had to tend to before I could put her to bed, so a 7 pm bedtime was impossible.

While we were traveling, she was getting up on the earlier side, often 7 am, but since we've been home, I've several times been lucky enough to enjoy her sleeping until 9 am! Occasionally I sleep that late as well.

Bad habits for the school year, when I have to be at work by 8 am.

So the last week, I've gradually moved her bedtime to 7 pm. She's still sleeping more than 12 hours most nights, but I feel like it's important that she be awake before I leave for work, so I guess she's either going to be permanently overtired, take longer naps, or revert back to a 6:30 pm bedtime.

I've also worked on going to bed earlier myself, and getting up earlier also. More like 7 am though, and on mornings when I work out, I will need to get up by 5:30 am. Ugh.

I'm not looking forward to that. Just transitioning to a 7 am wake up time has been tiring enough. Like being jet lagged.

I've also been working out as much as possible, knowing that it will be hard enough to keep up once I have to revert to dawn workouts. Mid-day workouts, when C is napping, are a million times more pleasant. But totally impossible at work.

I'm hoping to start biking to work, but I'm also really nervous about it. Calliope and I have taken some bike rides together over the last few months, and I've loved them, but biking for transportation is a lot more serious. For one thing, it won't be entirely on bike paths. I'll have to ride in traffic, which always makes me nervous. And I'm worried about getting all sweaty and disheveled on the way to work, and that not being conducive to being focused at work. And remembering to carry work clothes, plus breakfast (I never eat first thing in the morning) and lunch along with me.

Luckily, there's no students this week, so I will have three whole days to unpack my office and get settled in. One day would be sufficient, so I plan to use the other two days to catch up on some personal stuff -- finishing Calliope's "Age One" photobook in particular. And will also offer my services to my administrators.

So it's a low pressure week. So I can't figure out why I'm feeling so anxious tonight.

I know that I wanted to have the apartment tidy and organized for the nanny... and I'm feeling totally stressed that I didn't quite pull that off. But it's really not that messy -- the kitchen just needs straightening. Not even a lot. So why does that feel totally overwhelming?

In unrelated news, I think Old Flame is being more distant... and I'm being more needy. I don't understand myself. Why do I do this? I know I'm not really that into him. I just like the idea of having someone. But I know that having someone just makes life more stressful. So I need to go back to not caring. Or at least, thinking of him as only a friend with benefits. But for now, when he owes me a text or phone call regarding potential plans for next weekend -- which I suspect he's going to cancel because he will have his daughter visiting -- I shouldn't be thinking of him at all!