Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence)


I have been thinking about all the things you’re supposed to do first thing in the morning. Eat breakfast as soon as you wake up. Wait, first drink a glass of water. Exercise first thing. Meditate ditto. Write before you do anything else… if we do all the things we’re supposed to do first thing in the morning, morning takes all day. Or at least, two hours.

I forgot to mention the cold shower, the body massage, the oil pulling. And, and tooth brushing, of course. Of course, brush your teeth…

I like slow, unhurried mornings. At the same time, I also really value my early morning productivity. When I start doing ALL THE THINGS first thing in the morning, I usually make a good dent in them by 10 a.m. And I feel accomplished, productive, peaceful, and not guilty for being lazy for the rest of the day.  And then, I can have breakfast, mediate, exercise, shower etc. etc.

Anyway. I’m sharing this with you because I’m trying a new morning routine. Which I won’t share with you because parts of it embarrass me a little. But my old morning routine, which was pretty functional for a long while, has suddenly stopped working.

So. I’m changing it.

Disrupting some habits.

Telling Julia Cameron I’m not so sure about those morning pages. Of course, I’m telling her so while I write my morning pages. Funny.

Telling my cup of coffee that I gave her up before and I can give her up again if she’s again become a destructive habit rather than a pleasure.

Yes, I talk with my habits.

Don’t you?


I am writing in the kitchen. It’s Sunday morning. The teenagers are asleep. Sean is cooking oatmeal. Ender is watching a show on his computer. I don’t know where the dog is. The house is cold, because it’s barely zero degrees outside.

Hello September.

This is a happy moment.

another happy moment


This Friday, we meet with the homeschool facilitator. After 11 years of homeschooling (if you start at Cinder’s grade one year, more if you start counting the day he dropped out of the second day of preschool), I’m blasé. She’s new and very enthusiastic. She wants to meet with us in January to discuss the kids’ halfway progress, help me fill out the report card. I sigh.

“We’ll come, of course, if you want us to,” I tell her. “But I don’t need it.”

“Some parents have a hard time filling out the report card,” she says.

“That’s because the report card is stupid,” I say. “I don’t actually fill it out. It’s designed by bureaucrats who understand neither homeschooling nor learning. It’s a waste of my time.”

I used to print out the report cards, fill in the kids’ names, and write N/A – see progress report across the rest of it in giant letters.

Then the report cards got longer and longer and I stopped printing them out. Save the trees.

I think I used to be a homeschool advocate. Now I’m just a “omg, institutions are so broken, I don’t even” crank.

But my facilitator is a functionary of the institution. I won’t punish her for having to do her job.

I won’t fill out the report card, though.

Facilitator: And what are you doing for language arts with Flora?

Jane: She’s working on her fourth or fifth novel, so… not much.

Flora: I might need to junk it, though. I don’t like my main character.

I’m having the same problem. We commiserate.

The facilitator doesn’t ask me what I’m doing for language arts with Ender. Which is good, because right now, that seems to consist mostly of him reading and writing “poop.”

Cinder went through that phase too.

I’m blasé.

I was going to show you how many meatballs Ender can eat at Ikea but I was too late


I like my kids this week, although they’re also frustrating.

And I’m a bit on edge, everything irritates me.

I’m reading a lot about Ayurveda these days, so I decide my doshas are out of balance. Also, change of seasons. Or, peri-menopause.

Or, just overall fatigue.

But it was a good week. A full week. A productive week. A pivotal week.

Thank you, September.




The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)

Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)

A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)

Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)

The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)

A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)

Killing it (Week 7: Exhaustion and Adrenaline)

Tired, petty, tired, unimportant (Week 8: Disappointment and Perseverance)

Professionals do it like this: [insert key scene here] (Week 9: Battle, Fatigue, Reward)

Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams)

Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness)

Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude)

Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth)

The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down)

My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity)

An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy)

It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping)

It was a pickle juice waterfall but no bread was really harmed in the process (Week 18: Happy and Sad)

You probably shouldn’t call your teacher bad names, but sometimes, your mother must (Week 19: Excitement and Exhaustion)

Tell me I’m beautiful and feed me cherries (Week 20: Excitement and Exhaustion II)

A very short post about miracles, censorship, change: Week 21 (Transitions and Celebrations)

Time flies, and so does butter (Week 22: Remembering and forgetting)

I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest)

You don’t understand—you can’t treat my father’s daughter this way (Week 24: Fathers and Daughters)

The summer was… SULTRY (Week 25: Gratitude and Collapse)

It’s like rest but not really (Week 26: Meandering and Reflection)

It’s the wrong question (Week 27: Success and Failure)

On not meditating but meditating anyway, and a cameo from John Keats (Week 28: Busy and Resting)

Hot, cold, self-indulgent as fuck (Week 29: Fire and Ice)

In which our heroine hides under a table (Week 30: Tears and Chocolate)

Deadlines and little lies make the world go round (Week 31: Honesty and Compassion)

That’s not the way the pope would put it, but… (Week 32: Purpose and Miracles)

And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow)

Ragazzo da Napoli zajechał Mirafiori (Week 34: Nostalgia and Belonging)

Depression is a narcissistic disease, fentanyl is dangerous, and knowledge is power, sort of (Week 35: Introspection and Awareness)

I’m not gonna tell you (Week 36: Smoke and Mirrors)

Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence)


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16 thoughts on “Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence)

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  8. Pingback: Again with the silver-tongued Persians, and other stories (Week 45: Silence and language) | Nothing By The Book

  9. Pingback: War, Famine, Pestilence, Mornings (Week 46: Mornings and the Apocalypse) | Nothing By The Book

  10. Pingback: Time flies but the Christmas tree is up (Week 47: Status quo and Change) | Nothing By The Book

  11. Pingback: I didn’t kill anyone–it just smells like it (Week 48: Guilt & Poison) | Nothing By The Book

  12. Pingback: You have a bad memory, while I want to rest on a flower (Week 49: Mothers and Caterpillars) | Nothing By The Book

  13. Pingback: Atheism, Spirituality, Boundaries, Slytherins (Week 50: This and That) | Nothing By The Book

  14. Pingback: When everyone’s a special snowflake… (Week 51: Normal and Narcissistic) | Nothing By The Book

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  16. Pingback: 52 Weeks Project (2018 Blog Post Index) | Nothing By The Book

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