Personal Update: Of Beginnings, Endings, and Intermissions

A photo grid of nine images from Instagram. Includes a pregnancy announcement, two selfies, three vacation photos, two landscapes, and a photo of a Book Riot monthly box.

My most popular Instagram posts from 2017

Happy (belated) New Year! It’s a good time for change, I’ve heard. But 2018 in the Dreamer household got off to a bit of a rocky start. My husband had the flu, though thankfully I managed to avoid it. We’ve gotten less than happy news about our oldest dog; her health is declining, which we knew but weren’t really accepting. She’s 14 now, and starting to show it. She’s slowly losing the use of her hind legs, her eyesight is diminishing, and she’s having heart problems. We’re doing what we can to keep her happy and comfy, and she still seems in good spirits and still gets the occasional bout of the zoomies.

My father-in-law is not doing well, either. We’re not entirely sure what exactly is wrong, but basically the approach seems to be the same: try to keep him as comfortable as possible until we can’t anymore.

We had a scare with the pregnancy as well; I had some complications but we quickly ruled out miscarriage or any injury to the baby. Everything looks fine but I’m just supposed to take things (relatively) easy and monitor my condition for changes. So far, so good … things have only gotten better, and I’m nearing the end of Month 3. It’s hard to believe how quickly it’s going by, but I get the idea that feeling is going to be pretty much permanent from now on.

So … ultimately, things have been a bit stressful since the holidays. I made the difficult decision to take the Spring semester off from graduate school, though I’ll be returning to my studies as soon as possible, which in all likelihood won’t be until August. (They don’t tend to offer many online options in the summer). And while it does seem like all bad news, things really aren’t all bad. I’ve started seeing a new therapist (10/10, highly recommend) who, after just a handful of sessions, has already helped me make some great strides in my stress and anxiety management. It also means that Tuesday Reviews Day will be returning, so look for new reviews content starting January 30!

Anyway, thanks for putting up with my inconsistencies and my ramblings. I hope you’ll be back for TRD, and let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!

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Personal Update: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So the radio silence since August 29 was not planned, but a lot has happened!

I’ve completed my Fall semester at last. If you haven’t read back, I took Literary Theory and African-American Literature. Both of my professors were great, and I’m glad I enrolled in those courses. I’ve gotten grades back, and I got another 4.0 this term!!!! I’m so stoked. I really was aiming to get a 4.0 for the whole program, but my complete inability to read my Film professor really boned me on that goal. Oh well. Next semester begins on January 18, when I’ll be taking American Literature in Perspective and Theories of Teaching Writing. I’m not as excited about that semester as I was about this one, but I’ve had one of the professors before and got on really well with him, so that’s a plus. And I’ve already had a breakthrough in my plans for my thesis, so I’m really excited about that. (I’m also pretty thrilled about the month-long break from classes; let’s be honest.)

In other very happy news, my husband and I found out that I’m finally pregnant!! We’re expecting our first child in July of 2018, which is actually really great timing. I’ll be out of class for summer and have about a month before Fall 2018 classes begin, which will (hopefully) be my final term. I’ll be down to one course and my thesis, provided I can take both of those simultaneously (I’m not sure yet about my uni’s restrictions on that).

I also started seeing a new therapist, who has recommended me to remain cautiously optimistic about school post-baby. I’m worried it’ll be too much, but she agrees with my husband that it may actually be easier to finish on schedule, while the baby is small and mostly stationary, ha. We have a huge amount of family locally, and they’re over the moon, so thankfully we’re in a really good place with regards to childcare. I’m not going to become a mommy blogger or devote my IG account to the little bun, though; I know too well the distinct pain of infertility, and while I will certainly be posting about our addition and possibly sharing photos, I’m committing myself to not overdoing it because I remember how hard that was. I remember having to unfollow/hide people on Insta or Facebook, not because I wasn’t happy for them, but because I couldn’t stomach the depression, the jealousy, and the anger. Why her? Why not me? And I’m not going to do that to others who feel that pain and suffer alone. On that note, if you want to speak with me privately about this issue, feel free to comment and we can exchange info.

Moving along … I have not been doing much reading on my break. The holidays are always pretty hectic for me and mine, and this year is the first year that my husband and I will be hosting his family’s Christmas dinner. I’m excited about it, but it means we’re doing a lot of cleaning and recipe trial runs and getting packages wrapped earlier than usual which … still isn’t all that early, to be honest. I did start reading The Clockwork Dynasty thanks to some excellent reviews, and I’m already in love with it. Reviews posts might start back up again, but with all the changes in store for 2018, I’m not sure yet what the regularity will be. Just bear with me, please! I’d love for you all to stick around through the new year and navigate new frontiers with me.

What have you all been up to? Read any good books lately? Drop ’em in the comments!

A New Chapter

Today is an exciting day for us. We’re moving!

It’s also a terrifying day. We’re moving!

Ha. But seriously, this is only my second time putting my life in literal boxes and it’s almost as nerve-wracking as the first time. I lived at home ’til we got married and now we’re moving back into my (grand)parents’ home. We’ll be helping pay for utilities and groceries of course, but they’re gracious enough not to charge us rent (though, can I say that makes me uncomfortable? I know they don’t mind but I don’t like feeling like a moocher.). I’m nervous about the move not because we don’t all get along (we do), but because things are different now. Sure, it’s still their house and their rules, and I respect that, but Kris and I have built our own home with our own rules and routines, and it’s going to be strange getting used to sharing those things with someone else.

Plus, everything is more terrifying exciting when you have an anxiety disorder. Suddenly, you’re not just packing your dishes in a storage unit, you’re trusting your life’s treasures to a metal box that suddenly feels really far away and how are you supposed to know no one will get in there and these are your good dishes and what if they break despite the ten feet of foam paper and bubble wrap, and how are you just supposed to leave your books packed up for months? Your books! And what if we really need this thing we haven’t used in three years and it’s all the way in storage in this box in the back, and —

It’s exhausting. Not just for me, but for Kris, too. I’m sure he’s tired of hearing the same senseless worries. And granted, it’s probably not silly to worry someone might break into your storage unit. It probably is silly to think they’ll break in and steal only my boxes of books.

In the moments of clarity, I’m able to step back and acknowledge that there really isn’t much left to do. We still have another week before the house is officially on the market (a perk of being able to move out before listing) so we only need to pack and move our essentials for now. We have time to make a few last minute updates, stage the home, sort things for the Great Moving Sale of 2015, and do a deep-clean, which I can honestly say is probably going to be my least favorite part. I am a messy creature. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Outwardly I think I’m doing a good job of appearing to maintain my sanity. Inwardly, I feel like a hummingbird, zipping to and fro: but we have to clean this, we need to paint here, why isn’t the grass growing in this spot, why is it growing too fast in this spot, should we leave the herb garden or no, is anyone even going to like our house — which is, you may notice, an extension of “is anyone going to like me.” I’m struggling to detach myself from our home, thinking if someone doesn’t like something about the house, it’s a judgment of us and the quality or quantity of work we’ve done to it.

Of course that’s not true, but with anxiety disorders, lack of truth in a thought doesn’t stop you from thinking it.

So I’m excited about this. I’m trying to focus on the fun parts of it, like staging the house and showing it to potential buyers. (Yes, we’re selling it on our own.) And I’m trying to remember that our historic little haunted house isn’t perfect — but neither am I, and the right person found me and fell in love even with the ghosts and the cracks in the walls.