G-Dog and I are back home! The drive back was so exhausting yesterday — the return trip, although it follows the same route from our home city to the Major City, differs slightly in elevation. Not a huge difference, but enough such that the return trip is always kind of a white-knuckle experience for a mountain-driving newbie like myself. It was exacerbated by the fact that we drove through pouring rain for about 175 miles of it, most of it on some of the trickier/steeper climbs, so by the time I finally made it home I was sort of shaking from exhaustion and nervous energy. I am so glad we don’t have to make that trip again for another 3 weeks! I don’t even want to think about what it will be like when winter comes, but whatever it takes for G-Dog to get his treatments, I’ll make it happen.
It occurred to me the other day that my posts have veered a bit too far into the gloom, and while I don’t want to gloss over the challenges I’m slogging through, I’m generally a sunny person at heart. More importantly, I know that my sweet and happy-go-lucky G-Dog would definitely not want to wallow in grief, especially not preemptively. And of course, I have 3 other happy, healthy dogs plus a wonderful husband in my life, too, all of whom have their own emotional needs and who deserve a fully present, emotionally stable dog mom and partner.
So I’m going to indulge a bit and change the subject to something more lighthearted and actually relevant to the overall theme of this blog, i.e., how a real woman juggles multiple responsibilities, including a demanding full-time job, a long-term marriage (16 years and counting!), a houseful of dogs, her health, and her hobbies.
One of my favorite topics among the bloggers I read and follow are those roundup, “Friday Favorites”-type posts that outline the things (events, people, places, products, experiences) that particular blogger is currently loving. It’s not Friday, although for some reason it sure feels like it (!), but I thought I’d throw my own list out there, too.
So, without further ado, here are 5 things that I am obsessed with this week, in no particular order:
- My Hobonichi Techo Cousin planner. I wrote about this in a previous post, but even though I’ve had it for about a month now, I am still so in love with this little jewel of a productivity tool. It’s a pleasure to use, from the delicate pages to the cute but totally functional pen it came with!
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Yes! I am a serious, policy wonk-ish girl at heart who loves listening to political podcasts like Pod Save America and the Ezra Klein Show, and who reads books about World War II and French existensial philosophy. Yeah, seriously. BUT! I am also inexplicably drawn to the antics of America’s favorite dysfunctional-yet-clearly-loving celebrity family and watch reruns of it whenever I have access to cable TV. Since we don’t actually have cable TV in our current rental home, that means I only ever watch this when I’m traveling and staying in a hotel. Why do I love this show so much? It’s probably partly because, despite all outward appearances, it’s a fairly well known “secret” that most of the Kardashian women (especially Kim, Khloe and Kris-the-“momager”) are obsessed with organization and productivity, and it’s a tantalizing glimpse into how women with privileges that are unfathomable to a woman of my “station” also indulge in what is basically a shared pursuit: the ideal of a well-organized, productive life in these modern times. And yeah, just as alluring is the experience of observing how this fascinating family manages to still project a polished, shiny, carefree image in spite of all the scandals, heartbreak, and very public meltdowns. I could probably take a cue from Kim’s ability to remain eerily calm and centered while managing a sprawling media empire and, well, her volatile husband. Couldn’t we all use some of the admirable equanimity?
- The digital cloud. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve probably spent at least an hour every day just gathering a million pages of documents from my bank, the government, and various other sources, verifying their authenticity, and submitting them to our mortgage lender in preparation for the upcoming purchase of our new house. Since our stuff is still packed into a storage unit back in our home town while we wait for the final move, when we can finally have it all shipped out here, nearly all of our documents are stuffed into a filing cabinet in said storage unit. Thankfully, though, just about everything I need is also accessible from the cloud, from our w-2’s (downloadable from my employer’s administrative/HR website) to IRS tax forms (from the IRS and TurboTax websites) to bank statements. Other documents that I need can also be scanned and emailed to me within minutes as well. I never knew just how much of a quagmire of documentation requests buying a house can be, but I can’t even imagine how much more frustrating this must have been even just 10 years ago, when a lot of paperwork still had to be produced on actual paper.
- Podcasts! Those 5- to 6-hour drives every week are excellent opportunities to let me the mind wander and think about my writing projects, household projects, and daily tasks, but who wants to do that for the entire drive? I never really have much time to listen to podcasts at home — I can’t listen to them while I clean or hang out with the dogs outside or even walk the dogs because I want to be fully present when I’m doing those — but these long commutes are perfect for just that! I load up about a dozen episodes and just cycle through them in chronological order, without worrying about sticking with one in particular. That way I keep things interesting; as much as I love, say, the Best of Both Worlds podcast, I can imagine getting kind of sick of hearing six episodes back to back without a break. Instead, I have about a dozen or so podcasts that I mix into a chronologically organized playlist, including: the aforementioned The Ezra Klein Show, Pod Save America, How to Money, Her Money with Jean Chatzky, Scriptnotes, The Creative Penn, Selling Your Screenplay, The Tim Ferriss Show, Ali on the Run, and of course, The Best of Both Worlds. As you can see, I lean towards podcasts about politics, personal finance, and writing.
- Peanut M&M’s. Otherwise known as my medication. A classic.