Slog, Fog, Smog

I am feeling rather slog-y (sloggy?)… slog-like! I am feeling rather slog-like today and then I am also feeling guilty for feeling that way because really I’m so lucky. Perhaps if I set a 15-minute timer on whining about this I can perk myself up and get on with the day? Worth a shot, right?

  1. Probably the most significant factor: we are currently covered in a layer of fog/smog, which is very typical of this season in this region. (I may live in Italy, but it is definitely not an Under the Tuscan Sun situation, especially in winter.) I’ve been on a bit of a journey with this fog: when I first moved here, it kind of freaked me out. I still lived in the historical downtown/center area then, and sometimes I’d wake up and not be able to see the building across the street. Freaky! And I’d miss the blue sky all winter. Then I turned a corner: I tried to embrace the fog as a wintertime cue to snuggle up in my apartment with soft lighting and a happy work-is-done evening routine. It worked! Yay. Then… I became slightly more informed about the situation and it seems very likely that this is not all natural fog induced by the fact that this region is ex-swamp land. It turns out we don’t have great air quality, and so this is actually probably smog. So… instead of being a cozy cue to have snuggly winter days, now it’s a source of low-level background anxiety every time I look out at it and wonder what it’s doing to my lungs. (I don’t want to exaggerate here: I have zero symptoms associated with this fog/smog. I don’t know anyone who does, either. There’s no, like, wearing an anti-smog recommendations or anything either. My info is based purely on hearsay and the occasional looking up of the parts-per-million data. So I don’t want to make out that I’m living in some can’t-see-through-the-air, imminently-going-to-die-of-asthma situation.)
  2. Work. I have a very slog-type project this weekend (a lengthy clinical trial agreement) and I am super grateful to have it, because it’s from a lovely new client that I’m delighted to be working with. Contracts are not my very favorite type of document to work on, but this one was actually going along pretty smoothly. I was mentally ready for the length and slog-type nature of it… and then the freaking translating program stopped working last night. So now I’m 40% through the project, having wasted the time that would’ve got me to 50% restarting the computer and emailing technical support and all that type business… and I still haven’t been able to resolve the problem. So now I’m stuck with a not even half-finished project that is due to be delivered tomorrow and so I’m going to be late on my very first big project with this client. (I’ve done 5 small projects with them so far, all delivered right on time, so hopefully that will help, but still!) I had carefully set up my weekend to allow for timely and un-rushed completion of this project. Bahhhhh. Frustration. Okay. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about that (I have a slim hope that technical support might still email me back today and then I can, I don’t know, work through the night or something to finish it. Fun.)
  3. I have this great idea that I will do all my lesson planning on Saturday mornings so that I can stop feeling like I am always rushing to catch up. I have this even greater idea that I might sit down and reflect once I finish that planning… or perhaps on Sundays or even Monday mornings, and do a little review of the week. So far, though, I have instead agreed to teach a class on Saturday mornings. It’s only two hours, but it’s right in the middle of the morning, so if I want to exercise before the class (which also implies time for showering), no planning time before. I could plan after, but the class is extremely draining because they’re beginners (and annoying beginners who despite being young adults can’t seem to figure out online learning for the life of them), so it’s hard to stay motivated after it. Plus, yesterday I did an alumni interview for my alma mater online right after the class, and that bumped right up against lunch. Ciao ciao, planning time!

So instead of feeling all together and planned by Saturday lunchtime, one week rolls into the next with a scramble sometime on Sunday or even early Monday morning and that is exactly what I was trying to avoid.

Caveat: it’s true this is partially occasioned by taking on a lot of translation projects. And it’s also true that that is voluntary, and I’m choosing to do that in order to save up for all the new house business. But… I need to get more organized about this. (Obviously right now I’m sitting here thinking “if the freaking software would just work I’d be fine!” and I’d definitely be more fine… but I’d still have a zillion words to chug through today and so not really any planning time either. Bah.)

  1. On a related note, I keep having to push back exam dates for my exams as a student. I’m (again) not going to get into how Italian university works here, except to say (I think again?) that there are basically 6 or so exam dates per year for the same course, and you can choose when to take each one. So far, I’ve pushed two course exams back to the next date… and yesterday had to resign myself to pushing another one back to whenever the summer date will be. Next exam scheduled for the 16th. Will I find time to study for it? Who. freaking. knows.

Again, caused entirely by my taking on too much work, which is out of necessity to not be in trouble when it comes down to pay the second half of our deposit + the tax + the notary + the mortgage fees + actually furnish the apartment to some extent so that we can live in it and not continue to pay rent here, but… dunno. I need to organize myself better, basically. Somehow.

  1. Partially due to rain on top of the fog and partially due to too much work and stuff, I haven’t been out to take my hour-long podcast walks in over a week and I’m really feeling it. Have fit in a 20-30 min exercise video checks time log twice this week (sigh of resignation), and that is probably also why I feel crappy. I specifically put off my whole shower routine until the afternoon yesterday in hopes of taking a walk, but then the boyfriend/partner (need to settle on one designation for him on here – this is annoying) really wanted to visit the new house… so we did… and I was in a grumpy mood because no walk and also the house is just as covered in fog/smog as here where we live closer to town (I was really hoping that by moving to a smaller town closer to the hills we’d get more blue sky, but I guess not. Arghhh!!)

My only hope is for a little exercise video today. Or maybe even a walk if it stops drizzling. Because tomorrow is a 6-hours butt-in-chair teaching day plus dealing with whatever the outcome of this translating software fiasco is. weeps

  1. This isn’t really number six but now I feel committed to this (admittedly mostly meaningless) numbering system. I’m reading a book where a central plot point is the fact that the mother has passed away and it makes me go, oh my goddddd self, your mother is still alive and so far (knock on all the wood) quite healthy and that is the most important thing! Imagine how life would/will someday be with no mother! You are so lucky! Stop freaking complaining about decidedly not end-of-the-world stuff and enjoy how lucky you are! You don’t even have kids to wrangle yet in this pandemic and you still have work (enough to be submerged by it, even!) and all of your stress is entirely of your own making! Bah! Okay. I’m going to go put on a podcast, clean the house, do an exercise video, take a shower, and then get on with this day.
  2. Just kidding. I have one more. I put on my February goals list “make gynecologist appointment if not pregnant” after consulting my mom (a retired gynecologist) who said that I should just go ahead and do it, just to get a sense of the lay of the land, since I’m right on the border between the wait 6 months/wait 1 year before/after age 35 thing… and I will do that. I have that and one other annoying phone call to make so I’m planning to do both on Tuesday morning once my nutso Monday is over and hopefully recovered from. So I will do it. But… I feel pre-emptively mopey about it. Which is entirely ridiculous because I knew perfectly well going into this that I’m not the spry 23-year-old that I still feel like I am (kidding – I definitely do not feel as spry and sprightly as I did at 23; sighh) and I also know perfectly well that problems conceiving and infertility and miscarriages are much more common than we are led to believe as youngsters. But… like probably 100% of people… I was so hoping not to be one of the infertility people. I was (and I realize this sounds utterly ridiculously obvious to say) so hoping that it would just go smoothly.

Instead, I’ve now been through about 3 or 4 confusing months and 3 or 4 other months where I really thought the cycle thing was going well (I thought I saw the temperature jump! I thought we did the necessary baby-making activities on the right days!). Meanwhile, I got some of the pee sticks and tried them for a good two months but they never change color so I either have crappy pee (ha) or they are crappy sticks or I am crappy at reading instructions and am doing it wrong. Anyway. It’s adding to the sloggy mopey feeling because what if they tell me something awful? (In my head I’ve naturally gone straight past run of the mill infertility to a “Love Story”-esque situation of… well I guess that would be a spoiler. Are there people who don’t know the plot of “Love Story”? Actually yes, and they are my boyfriend, for one, who has never even heard of it. Anyway, look, if you’ve seen it you know what I mean and if not, well, it’s a 70s classic so you should probably watch it and I won’t spoil it for you here.)

Okay. 70s cinema digression aside. Off I go to try to salvage this day. Happy weekend everyone!

** Photo: said fog-smog, naturally. Actually this is a spot on a walk up a hill where it’s starting to dissipate, so it’s even worse down here in the swamp valley. But the mud/fog/bare trees really capture my mood, so there you go. Ha.

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