Suspended Grief

So I have been in sort of an overwhelming place. Work is a lot, but mostly the tiny old cat is a lot. He has health problems for a while, but we hit a new low in the past few weeks. Last weekend, I slept about 8 hours from Friday to Monday, simply because I didn’t want him to have to die alone. Eventually, we got into see our regular vet for what is called a quality of life check to figure out what are the best next steps that are in the cat’s best interest.

Though we get some more time together, we got some bad news. Happy (the cat) is in borderline congestive heart failure. We might have up a year left, but his heart might stop tomorrow. Having our vet finally take things seriously was a relief, but I was not thrilled at where we ended. Our current status is unclear and waiting. The only goal of Team Happy is to keep him as strong and as comfortable as possible. He is getting medication to reduce pain, reduce vomiting, increase appetite, and ease digestion on the back end. The medications aren’t too expensive and he genuinely seems to still have a lot of spirit and energy, when he is strong enough to use it.

We are essentially waiting for him to die, officially. We know he has less than a year left, that has been confirmed. We are just waiting for the shoe to drop. Standing on the edge waiting to go over. It is really hard process knowing the end is coming while having to make the judgement call on when the end comes.

Holding Space in Holidays

It is the holiday season. There are thousands of obligations surrounding the months of November and December. There are things to buy, extra school or work to prepare for time off, the sheer amount of people, and dealing with everyone else celebrating at the same time. It is really hard to manage in the brain, but also as you are processing everything else that is happening. Whether that is dealing with family, grief, health, or anything else, in our structural holiday season there isn’t a lot of space to take care of yourself.

I find it really hard to “on” all the time: chatting, smiling, actively listening, happy, and engaged. I think now that I am an adult and also working and managing our holiday budget and schedules that is only more true. I love presents and holiday food and all the movies. I also this year am really appreciative that I am getting to see family and friends considering the end of the world has just been happening over the past 2 years. Despite all these joyous items, I don’t always want to be in the holiday mood, watch something else, listen to other music, or simply be sad.

One thing I am really working on this year is holding space. To rest, to do something different, to be by myself. Not going to lie my partner and I practiced secret signals before Thanksgiving and will be using them again;. I also found turning in before I felt tired gives me time to reset. I know several friends and coworkers take on totally seperate projects to work on that have nothing to do with the holidays so when they genuinely need a break, they can turn to writing, editing, building a computer, making die, etc.

How do you hold space for yourself during the holidays?

Monsters at Work: Hit or Miss

The Premise: Monsters at work takes place after Monsters Inc (2001). The series follows Monsters Inc after it reopens to transition to use Laugh Energy instead. The whole company is trying to figure out it’s new place and how to work under new leadership. The new character we follow is Tylor Tuskman who was hired as a Scarer fresh out of Monster U. In the chaos no one thought to let him know the job no longer existed. When he shows up to Monsters Inc. he gets reassigned to the quirky facilities team, MIFT.

My Review:

I was really looking forward to this show as I am huge fan of the films and of the cast of this show. Unfortunately, it felt like the show knew that. I have this theory that you can figure out if a show is for you in three episodes. In my opinion, the show is rather forgettable. All the new characters are “weird” and intense, but they don’t have storylines of their own. Splitting the show with Mike, Sully, Celia, and Roz from the original series feels like it is splitting focus and doesn’t really know it’s own intentions. Mike and Sully even though it supposedly months later are figuring out for the first time how the new company should run and how to be in charge. The most heartfelt episode was episode three but it came it waves and for me too late. It feels like the show has yet to find it’s own heartbeat and direction.

How to Watch: Disney + (steaming service)

I lack follow through

So I as a person love making lists and tracking different obscure things. However, because I enjoy making them so much I often don’t go back and follow up. So recently I have been really stressed at work so I went back to try to relax and make some new lists based off of old ones.

Last year before the pandemic I made a list of all the narrative (not reality) TV shows I had seen at least one season of on There was about 260 shows. I freaking love TV, understand I have a problem, and cannot reiterate either enough. So, what fun, I thought I would make a list of TV shows I have seen every episode of guaranteed. It is only about 80. That is 30%!!!!

I have done a lot of stupid stuff in my life but I was incredibly disappointed in myself when I saw this. And so many of them were shows that were cancelled early and only had one to two seasons. WHAT EVEN IS THAT?! I love television how can I not have seen through so many of these shows. Now some I have seen all I intend to see because of decisions that were made for the last season (ie. BBC’s Robin Hood, Once Upon A Time, That 70’s Show). But so many are just shows that I cannot explain why I never finished, especially when all episodes are available on a streaming service that I HAVE.

So anyway, I cannot figure it out beyond the shows that are still airing or I don’t have access to. I really feel like a quitter but completely on accident. I am going to try to complete a couple more, but considering how much I love television I am definitely feeling really upset with myself about this revelation. I am going to attempt to complete 5 more shows by the end of summer.

Wish me luck!

One Year

One year ago today I had my last day in my office. I know this because we were supposed to have an event on Pi Day (3/14) that we had cancelled because of the incoming threat of COVID and it was an event for very literally hundreds of people. We were answering calls and complaints and processing refunds. Then I wrote a check, cleaned my lunch container (as far as I know it is still there), and went home.

Monday morning we received an email asking us not to come into the office unless you needed a company issued laptop or phone. We started working 60 + hours a week, with hour cuts, pay cuts, and mandatory vacations through the summer as the world go more and more intense. Then raises, promotions, and 80 hour weeks into the fall and winter.

My partner and I have spent a full year with almost no one else. My cats separation anxiety has gone through the roof. We have switched diets approximately 4 times (Currently we are low carb). I have watched in the triple digits of seasons of shows, though to be fair many were repeats.

Family members have died and been hospitalized. Friends were laid off. It has been a really hard and weird year. It’s hard to believe that a full year of my life has been spent this way. 4% of my life has been a global pandemic, a national crisis, and not sincerely leaving my home.

I don’t know what the next year will bring, but if it is anything like the last one I am not at all prepared.

My Favorite Salad Dressing

My partner and I have made a new commitment to vegetables. Actually to try to attempt a pseudo-Keto diet and actively reduce the number of carbs we are consuming. In the past month or so we have started actively eating vegetables almost everyday. It has been hard. I personally don’t really like leaves and require a lot of seasoning on really any vegetable (or for them to be a spoon for dip). In our experience, the least amount of work is a quick salad. Here’s the dressing I like best:

Servings: up to you and depending on size of salad

  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • Couple shakes (2 teapsoons) dried Dill
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well – shake in closed container if possible. I find this dressing to be really fresh and tangy. It helps to hide the bitterness of the leafy vegetables as well as a delicious complement to any savory or sweet add-ons!

I need a break

So life is overwhelming me a little at the moment. This is the first day since September that I haven’t been working at least a little bit since The second week of October. I have been recently gained a lot of new responsibilities at work which is exciting but also I still have my old work to do and because of hiring freezes I can’t get the official promotion and pay raise.

I feel like it has just been a lot to keep up with deadlines and responsibilities in a reasonable time frame. Plus, my home and relationships and everything else that needs time and attention.

There aren’t enough hours in the day or mental capacity in a human being. So I am taking a break from work and from our apartment. We are going up to visit my partners family for three days. To step away from the internet and people and the apartment.

I know when we get back there is going to be even more to do, but it feels necessary. I don’t know if I can keep running this marathon like a sprint.

Top 10 West Wing Episodes

West Wing is my favorite show of all time. I genuinely picked my major in college based off of this show. There are so many good episodes, in fact a majority of them are good. Here is my list of my 10 favorite episodes, because this was a hard choice I included some honorable mentions. If you’ve seen the show let me know your favorites. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • The DebateSeason 7 Episode 7
  • La PalabraSeason 6 Episode 18
  • In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part 1 +2” Season 2 Episode 1 &2
  • Dead Irish WritersSeason Season 3 Episode 15
  • 20 Hours in America Part 1 + 2Season 4 Episode 1 & 2

The Final Countdown:

10. “Celestial NavigationSeason 1 Episode 15 — I really enjoy the formatting of the episodes where it is narrated in present and flashbacks. It has a lot of great humor with an emergency dental surgery and one of my favorite Toby moments with Mendoza.

 9. “LiftoffSeason 6 Episode 4 — CJ’s first day. This was an episode where I felt empowered and felt like I was in it with her. Also, the introduction of a one Congressman Santos (aka America’s favorite Jimmy Smits)  

 8. “EllieSeason 2 Episode 15 — One thing that really works about West Wing is that characters and administrations are not wholly good. Ellie highlights President Bartlett and the Bartlett administration’s flaws. I love this episode it is so heartfelt and highlights wonderful political issues from decimalization of marijuana, Social Security, censorship, and a family in the spotlight.  

 7. “Angel Maintenance”  Season 4 Episode 19 — This is one of the only Will focused episodes I liked. It’s such a tight episode and I loved the humor of episode. It’s so tight and we got to explore dynamics like CJ and Will that we don’t normally get to see. 

 6. Jefferson Lives” Season 5 Episode 3 – This was the episode that I knew Elizabeth Moss was going to have a long career. All the Bartlets’ and Charlie’s performances were wonderful. It was also such an interesting transition for our West Wing with Russell’s introduction and Donna becoming unsatisfied in her job. It stands out because it mixes the lingering effects of the kidnapping with the high stress of finding a VP. 

 5. “Election Night” Season 4 Episode 7 — This is such a funny and charming episode. As Bartlet is elected for a second term, Donna goes on a crusade for principal. A lot of Sam’s relationships are explored as he doesn’t want to admit a promise he had made. This was before we were stuck with Will forever and was still likable. 

 4. “In Excelsis DeoSeason 1 Episode 10 — This episode has some many wonderful shining moments. I think it highlights the heart of each character. Toby with the homeless vets. CJ and Danny. Sam and Josh breaking the lines for Leo. It defines the moral compass for a lot of our central characters in addition to the holidays. 

 3.  “Two Cathedrals” Season 2 Episode 22 –  Bartlett has told America the truth and we work our way to one of the best finales. It is a wonderful episode with Jed becoming Jed as a teen with the help of Mrs. Landingham. As well as one of the finest speeches in series with Bartlet’s rail to heavens. 

 2. “Memorial Day” Season 5 Episode 22 — Donna is my favorite character. I love the panic of one timeline mixed in with Donna’s trip to Gaza as she becomes more confident and comfortable with her new position. The information of what is really going on in Gaza versus the debates after catastrophe.  I think I just like dual timeline episodes.  Plus, Leo and Jed’s dynamic in this episode is *chef’s kiss*. 

 1. “RequiemSeason 7 Episode 18 —  This is probably one of the most wonderful series finale episodes of all time (even though it’s 5 episodes before the end). Due to the funeral all the characters are brought completely together one last time to reflect. It’s a start contrast to see where everyone has ended up, but a beautiful performance by the full cast full of laughter and sorrow.

On Moving

We are moving! Surprise, we don’t move for 4 more weeks but we are starting to figure out packing and logistics. It is really interesting figuring out a move with my partner for a couple reasons:

1) last time we were moving from two different states in with each other after being long distant for a year and it was a bring what you can take from your parents and go. Believe me we did and it was glorious, but now we are figuring out how to move together and not as individuals.

2) Not including college/internship dorms and apartments, our current apartment is the 10th place I have lived. Not including my college years, this is my partner’s second EVER. Isn’t that wild! However, it made it hard for them to consider a new place not home but a place to live for a while.

As you may have ascertained from the many moves and if you include college we are at 15 I believe, I am kind of veteran of moving. I have been through the paces quite a few time. The worst time in a move is the week before. Not just because you are boxing up your life but often when you need things they are already in a box and you can’t remember which one. Also, where you live is just where you live, anywhere can be home.

Some tips and tricks we will be using in the next month:

  • Using paper plates and utensils the week leading up to the move so we can pack our kitchen with less stress.
  • Using clothing/bedding as padding for fragile objects. It saves money and reduces space to create in boxes and other storage.
  • Save your boxes for things that can’t be moved in luggage, laundry hamper, bags. You need a lot fewer than you think.
  • Take pictures of the apartment as you move out as well as move-in. This will help with any damage claims from future and previous landlords.
  • Agree to a system of packing before you start.
  • If you can set aside some money to order food for the overlap days in-between places or at least the last and first day in each place.

Wish us luck on the big move!

The one movie I don’t want to watch again

I have seen a lot of movies in my lifetime. A lot of this because movies are my dad’s truest passion in life. But either way I have seen a lot of movies, some are great, some are garbage fires, and some are purely an acquired taste. There is one movie I truly consider to be the funniest film I have ever seen: Ponyo from Miyazaki. It is also the one movie I am most afraid to watch again.

The first time I watched Ponyo I was 14. I was a freshman in high school. It was spring break. It was less than a week after our house caught fire.

It had happened on a Tuesday and our city was having like 6 different conventions and we were staying in a hotel that was 45 minutes out of the city and away from our schools. For spring break, we had planned on going on vacation out in Western Maryland and because we were going to have to switch hotels again. We still went. It was a sandwich hotel, from a temporary one and before a longer sabbatical at the next place. One a vacation from a home that was full of soot.

Anyways, Ponyo was our first night on vacation and it was the only full family moving appropriate playing (my sister was 7). It was so funny. Ponyo looked like a chicken when she transformed. The ocean was alive. It was hilarious. Honestly, I was in hysterics and I think my siblings were too but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t totally see them the whole time.

My partner and I have been watching the whole Miyazaki catalog with our HBO Max. I have redirected away from Ponyo every time. I have such a wonderful memory of it. It is a memory of light and relief in the middle of a really distressing time. I worry so much that no matter what it isn’t going to be good the second time around. If I don’t watch it again it can stay a favorite.

Maybe I’ll get around to it one day. Wish me luck!