The year of the oxygen mask

My current goal is to make 2019 the year I finally find my oxygen mask.  You know, “make sure your own mask is on first before helping others”?

Background:

In October 2016 I was having a very stressful time and then election day hit.  It did not go well for feminists.  Fortunately I had recently started therapy again and was still on one psychiatric medication, but I got an additional one at the suggestion of an excellent psychiatrist who is unfortunately hard to get hold of and who doesn’t take my insurance.  At the time I was working with a group that researched (among other things) health in Latinx communities, and I am White.  I was chicken and called in sick to work the day after election day.  Then I pulled myself together.  You know how politics has gone since then.

A week later, my beloved father-in-law died unexpectedly.  Most of 2017 was spent in mourning.  In 2017, our cat almost died several times and then did die (we have new ones now!), and my beloved grandmother died just before Christmas (she was very old, and the heart of the family), and my other grandmother’s dementia got the best of her.  Her body is still walking around, but she’s away with the fairies.  There were a few months where our apartment seemed to have contagious depression.  My sister’s husband was laid off in a really dickish way in mid-December of 2017.  Friends were sad and anxious.  Far-away family struggled with finances, finding my grandmother a nursing home that would take her (achieved in 2018!), and my beloved aunt got very very sick in early to mid-2018 and perforated her bowel from the stress of it (surgery, months with an ostomy bag, weight down to less than 90 lbs.).  My cousin almost died and had to have emergency brain surgery the night of Christmas Eve 2017, causing his father my uncle to miss his own mother’s funeral.  In 2017 and 2018, my father got diagnosed with something potentially scary (he’s fine now, but has an occasional midnight panic attack), my sister struggled with infertility, my mother-in-law and her whole family grieved and mourned, I quit my job and got another (where I have a good boss), and so did my partner.

Going into 2019, I have just recently, like in the past few months, started to feel like I can even take a breath.  2018 was something of a dumpster fire, but it was also the year of the gradual, eventual turnaround for people I care about.  We might be ok now; I just need like another 6 months of nobody dying and I’ll be able to brain again.  Come on, just make it six more months!

It’s been a struggle, folks.

Finally Finding the Oxygen Mask in 2019:

I’m against New Year’s resolutions.  I suck at them.  I decided to try doing small but good things for myself each month in 2019.  (I got the idea for the first one from Lifehacker.)  Doing a big thing, or even a couple medium things, is totally outside my capacity for now.  I hope that by doing these small things, I will be substantially less cranky by the end of 2019.  I will also stay on my meds and in therapy.

January:  Don’t spend money except on food (or toilet paper).  I thought this was going to be easy but it turns out I already messed up in the second week of Jan., and barely noticed!  The point of this challenge is mainly to *notice*.  I’ll keep working on it.

February:  Go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.

March:  Eat down the pantry and freezer.  Defrost those noms.

April:  Clean up my damn room.  Put stuff away and keep it clean-ish.

May:  Information/news break.  Absolutely no clicking on twitter links or links that look like they might be irritating; use facebook only for the one (closed) group I’m in.  [#2 will keep you all in links :)]

June:  Moar blogging! [#2 WOOOOO!!!!]

July:  Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.

August:  Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.

September:  Deeply Rest.  Still figuring out what this will mean, but I came up with this phrase that sounds appealing.

October:  Focus on reading for enjoyment.

November:  Absolutely no news exposure from any source. [#2 will keep you all in links :)]

December:  Focus on reading for enjoyment.  Don’t go anywhere.

#2 notes:  Those of us with oxygen masks can help carry the load for those who are finding theirs.  There will be important actions to do in 2019!

Do you plan to improve self-care in 2019?  How?  Or do you have a routine that’s working for you?  

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Link love and some notes on February’s challenge

This February’s challenge was to not read social media first thing in the morning.  The first couple weeks were hard, but after that less so.  I did reset my going to work to before 8am rather than to around 9am (for the days I didn’t have to be at work until 9:30), which was good because the building is lovely and quiet in the morning and it’s easier to get work done.  I also slept a bit more, but if I’m waking up at 5 after getting to sleep at 9, that is 8 hours of sleep– I probably don’t need that extra hour (especially since some of that time with the ipad in bed had been spent checking my email).  Unfortunately, I started doing more social media checking on my desktop at home instead of just the ipad, which means I started associating my desktop with wasting time rather than just working (and uh, blog stuff).  I also spent longer in the bathroom with my phone…  Overall I do not think I actually saved much time during the day, just changed when I did things.  And I’m behind on my email again.  But I didn’t time track so I don’t know for sure.  Was this worth keeping up with?  Probably not.  I do like the break of the addiction and have been occasionally keeping the ipad out of reach so I have to get up to use it.  So, I dunno.

Now links!

Georgia lawmakers pass bill that punishes Delta Air Lines for cutting ties with NRA

Florida lawmakers approve $67 million program to give teachers guns and training.

House committee passes resolution letting members pay for bullet-proof vets with taxpayer dollars

Reduction in firearm injuries during NRA annual conventions

In England, parents can tell their kids that these school mass shootings only happen in America.  Meanwhile my DC2 (and the rest of hir class) is scared because the lock-down drills they’re doing are legitimately terrifying.  And I can tell hir nothing to protect hir.

Info on kids’ rights to walk out of school for protests.

Fascism update

Do not engage with Nazis.  Just don’t.

Feminist analysis of 1990’s A little princess movie

Crumbs from the tax scam for lower income folks

Hey high income readers: are you wondering what to do with the surplus in your paycheck this month? Here are schools that need copies of “The Hate U Give”  (Or find another project you’d like to support– I donated to two classrooms in the low income town next to ours so they could get literally the same books that my kids already have in their classrooms).

Trolling mansplainers

TV series and emotional buy-in

I would totally watch this if I had it all subbed.

link love

It is easier to avoid social media in the morning when @scalzi is gone!

Photos of some of the amazing teenagers protesting for gun control and safe schools.

Is your stock fund gun free?

March 14th.

April 20th

When children die, the Government needs to step in and take action.

NPR review of why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.  One of my students read the book recently and said it’s one of the best she’s read.

More fascism

So far it looks like unconditional cash transfers (aka basic income programs) don’t affect labor supply much.

Yes, you can still pay for access to the president.  Emoluments.

Hazard of the profession

Reflecting on ads and social media

This looks potentially useful (though we don’t know for sure)

This website is really cool if you are trying to figure out a spare part for your window.

Yet another PF blog talks about a year of solar panels

Facts about presidents for president’s day

Bookstores save lives

Time for this song again (starting in the middle) because we’re gonna have to set it right:

link love and a challenge update

This is the week the addiction finally broke.  I no longer have the sense of yearning as I fight to keep from reaching for the ipad/iphone.  Still, when I do get to a computer I have unconsciously hit up twitter a couple times without even noticing until I’d finished.  Habits are hard to break!  I have been getting to work before 8am again which is nice because it’s just me and the cleaning staff and it’s peaceful and I can get an hour of actual work in before meetings start or before people stop by.  Previously I had done that, but something about this semester had me shifted to 9am for a while.  I’m still not getting into work before 7 like I had been, but some of that is the fact that we temporarily have 3 cars and only have a 1 car driveway and a 2 car garage so if my car isn’t the one in the driveway I have to wait for DC2’s bus to come.

Performance Today this month has been doing an amazing job this month highlighting black composers and musicians.  I am saddened by the great artists that have disappeared from regular view.  I’m shocked by the household names that I did not know were black (see:  Scott Joplin).  It’s so unfair that history is written by the dominant culture and not about the biggest talents.  We’ve lost so much.  A favorite this week was William Grant Still.  I agree 100% with the youtube commenter who remarked, “Where has this music been?! Lovely, evocative, original and beautifully written. Deserves a place alongside Copland, Gershwin and Bernstein.”

How banks block people of color from homeownership.

These FL students are inspirational (tw: school shooting)

Trump pitches plan to bring back boxes of government food even though it’s both less efficient and less equitable than SNAP.

H/T to Delagar for this 2015 post on how the cake place that denied a lesbian couple service also doxxed them and endangered their kids.

Only slightly less terrible for morale than stack-ranking

The next recession is going to suck

Media:  Reality has a liberal bias right now.  Embrace it.

Death by Pokemon Go

I am the very model of a NYTimes contrarian

Leslie Jones tweets the olympics

Link love and challenge update

Challenge update Week 2:  It continues to be cold in the mornings.  I lay in bed wishing I could grab for a device.  I don’t want to wake up DH but I also want to wake up DH.  Sometimes I cuddle closer and think about stuff and sometimes I give up and do my morning ablutions and then head to the office to check my email.  Then I get cold and I head back to bed.  Thus far I have not gotten up to do any work other than answering emails.  I have, however, been getting into work earlier in the morning after DH is up and out of bed.  I’ve been eating breakfast with the kids instead of snoozing and I usually head out when DC1 goes for the bus.  This has led to an hour of productive time (and some political calls) once I get to work.  Of course, then I run out of steam earlier in the day once I’m at work.  Which suggests maybe I was optimizing already and not checking social media in the mornings is just moving things around.  Still, I am actually spending less time on social media.  I’m just not sure I’m doing anything productive with that time.  I mean, I guess there’s a little bit more contemplation in the morning but do I really need to be contemplating how much I wish I could grab the ipad or DH would wake up or how 9 Rules to Break isn’t quite as good in light of the #metoo movement etc.  Most of the planning/work thoughts I’d been having on my morning drive.  With all the extra time I have been a bit better about grabbing a vit D in the morning, but I also have them in my desk at work to take later in the day when I notice I’m tired because I forgot so maybe that’s why I run out of steam earlier in the day.

Trump’s draft plan to punish “legal” DOCUMENTED immigrants if they send their US-born kids to Head Start, or sign them up for CHIP etc.

Another tragic deportation victim

resist matrix poem

Boycott the GOP to save fiscal conservatism

An apt metaphor

No one is silencing misogynist Katie Roiphe

The drunk history video in this post is 100% totally worth watching

Gender imbalance in news stories and how to fix it

Terrible paper title, but men need to behave more like women, not the other way around.

Social justice and children’s literature

These video interviews with Chadwick Boseman are also really cool (though you also have the option of reading the text transcripts)

People who escape debt traps end up right back in them.  :(

How owning a house can bring in passive income

You can have more than one 401(k) at a time

I made it all the way to #1 before I LOL’d uncontrollably

 

Link Love and the February no devices in the morning challenge

I probably should have posted about the February challenge on Wednesday instead of #2’s delightful rant about modern homesteaders with poor planning skills.  But I got busy!

We do challenges in February instead of New Years Resolutions because February is the shortest month!

This year my challenge will be to not reach for the iPad/iPhone first thing in the morning.  I will not check any twitter/comics/fun websites until my 10:30 break.  If I want to check my email, I will need to get up and do it from my computer, or if I’m stuck somewhere I can use my phone.  I can also use my phone to check the weather.  (I will allow myself to look at the blog comments after getting to work.)

Day 1:  DH was on a business trip, so it was relatively easy for me to avoid getting sucked into online entertainment since I had to get DC2 ready.  I did, however, wake up at 4:30 and instead of reaching for the ipad which I really wanted to do, I slept fitfully off and one for another hour and some change.  I’m not sure if this was a good thing or not because I had gone to sleep around 9pm the night before and may not have needed that extra time.  Still, I could have gotten up and done work (but it was cold!) and chose not to.  Once the kids were off and I got to my computer (7:20am– I worked from home) I had a really hard time not flipping to agaishanlife’s weekly link love.  A really hard time!

Day 2:  Similar to Day 1.

Today:  DH was home and I had a really hard time not poking through the internet because it was sooo hard to leave the warm bed, which is part of why this is late.  If I could have just gotten up instead of lying in bed snoozing off and on…  (This is still going to be posted late because we’re going out for breakfast and then shopping before I’ll have a chance to get through links).  After DH woke up we did spend some time looking at emails from car dealers and which brunch places in town are open at 8am and serve grits (update:  we ended up getting chicken biscuits and donuts instead.

And now for some links:

Is your librarian racist?

Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike

Putin’s Saturday Night Massacre:  He got Trump and the GOP to sell out America  (Trump decided not to enact new sanctions against Russia that Congress overwhelmingly voted for.)

Love, regret, and the state legislature

Democrats are completely and totally misusing this study

Why women’s voices are scarce in economics

Athem refuses to pay emergency room costs

Scalzi with a truly touching tribute that made at least one of us cry

These are truly beautiful

The rediscovery of Florence Price

Carob

How to fight in a ballgown

Scientists review everyday objects

A really thought provoking post from Solitary Diner about how we behave with money when we label ourselves rich compared to other labels (at the same amount of income/savings)

A Natural Scientist thinks out her career reboot 5 year plan

Woman who stopped buying coffee still suffering from intergenerational poverty

Protesting the wage gap (The post is a joke, but it’s true that people work harder when they’re paid more!)

10 more ways to a bookworm’s heart

Link love and not doing great at the February challenge

I definitely have not been writing for an hour every morning at 8am.  See, what happened was I had a whole plan all ready … and then I got a major grant*, but they need changes made before they can lock in the money and I really want to get the money locked in ASAP.

Saturday and Sunday I wrote for an hour each sort of in the morning, mostly grant stuff.  Monday I did half an hour.  Tuesday I did half an hour.  Wednesday I did nothing.  Thursday I did an hour.  Friday I did half an hour.  Mostly I did not write first thing in the morning because I was too busy scrambling to get ready for whatever 9:30am appointment I had that day.  I had a lot of meetings (except on Thursday where I only had one!).  Tomorrow I guess I will aim to get that referee report done that I’d planned on doing last weekend.  I still have to read the article and I’m not going to read it tonight.  Maybe Sunday I can try to figure out some actual article writing.

This is the first February challenge I’ve not been keeping up with come heck or high water.  I’m a bit disappointed in myself on that front, but also I’ve been working 10-12 hour days on weekdays (7-5 or 7-7 depending on if I have to pick up a child) and several hours each day on weekends just to keep up with everything, so I’m cutting myself some slack on that front.  Still, my end on the grant thing should be done as of today so I need to get back on track with my original plans.  Wish me luck on that.  (Also, I’ve been keeping my inboxes below 320 messages, but only by deleting around 40/day.  It’s going to be a busy weekend.)

And now for some links!  We tried a little harder for some cheerful non-political ones this week.  It’s a little hard since I’m only reading two twitter feeds and am avoiding the news and #2 keeps sending me horrible articles(!) (technically, well-written articles about horrible things because you know, the US).

Go San Francisco! (part VIII is especially great) (SF is where the appeals court for the 9th circuit is) “Minutes after the ruling was released, President Trump denounced it from his Twitter feed. “See you in court,” he tweeted, in all caps.” (but then he didn’t)

This is one of those horrible articles #2 has been sending.

Zombie apocalypse (#1 notes that there are some pretty strong assumptions in that article)

Fascism

Trump and birth control

I’m not sure I agree with this, but it is food for thought.  I definitely think it’s important to make Neo-Nazis ridiculous again and to not give them a platform.  At the same time, we’ve learned recently that we need to take racist threatening buffoons seriously.

twitter

This is cool

I need a shirt that says “dismal scientist”.  Choose science!  Yay scientists!

#2 is going to the Scientist march in DC!  I’m going to a local one.

let America vote

Where are they going?

Look what is happening in Texas.  In Texas!  Look what is happening in Utah.  In Utah!

If you’re a Democrat in a red state and you’ve spent the last month calling your Senator about [insert evil corrupt cabinet pick here]… definitely read this link.

Also, fight people who tell you activism isn’t worth it.  My colleague who I yelled at for telling me my calls didn’t matter came to my office this week to tell me that maybe they did since the state legislature had tabled one of their awful alt-right bills– after public outcry, they’re not even going to vote on it.

In case you need to measure text readability because your IRB says you have to

persistence postcards

What happened after Huckabee said something homophobic.

general strike feb 17th (I’m not sure how I feel about these since in the US only the privileged can participate, but maybe that’s ok?)

ACLU fundraising frenzy

Does this actually work?

I wore my beta hat today

Happy second blogoversary, Crazy Grad ma!

Four easy and romantic meals to impress your valentine

Love is Love

a podcast so boring it’s meant to help you fall asleep

should parents pay for childrens’ college?

This makes my day better

girlfriend got him a cat  trying to do paperwork

A rich source

tiny hats on cats

three

Note on the videos– this first one here for me is like taking Valium.  Does anybody else get that sense of zen?  DH doesn’t– he feels super trippy, but not like he’s successfully meditated.  I feel like it takes over the part of my brain that’s constantly worrying about the state of the world.

*(yay)