Turn Around

Had a hard time leaving Mom. Tried to start my drive back to NYC too early in the day. Mom looked sad to see me leave. She watched me from the doorway. She withheld tears. I started driving and felt pulled to stay. So I pulled over, called a few people, and then turned around to be with her again.

Dad worked through his birthday (today). I called him on the phone and he told be about this Dilbert comic:

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I hung out with mom by the fireplace until around 6pm, when my restlessness became too much.

Returning to David was bliss. He met me on the sidewalk.

Dog Food & Finances

Chloe is a 14-year-old bichon poodle mix. Mom has taken to homemaking Chloe’s food in order to help her skin irritations. Mom’s friend recommended the recipe.

My day started with chicken liver retrieval duty. I also picked up peanut butter and honeycrisp apples.

The Recipe:

Ingredients: chicken livers, oil, frozen veggies (peas, carrots, e.g.), instant (brown) rice, water.

Mom heats the oil and dumps in two containers of chicken livers. (Some grocery stores carry them, some do not.) Once in the pot, she cuts the chicken liver into smaller pieces.

At this point, Chloe begins to dance around her in the kitchen.

When the meat is cooked, Mom adds 1 cup of instant rice and 2 cups of water.

When that is cooked (it doesn’t take long), she adds a pleasant ratio of frozen veggies.

Scoop a serving, let it cool, sprinkle with angle eyes medicine, promptly serve to pooch.

Mom stored half of the remaining batch in the fridge, half in the freezer.


Husbometer looks good. David and I continue to touch base by phone.

Husbometer_Oct24

Other highlights of the day included a run, reuniting with our friend Kris and neighbor Ellie, catching up on my budgeting (finally!), and visiting with my brother Zack and his foster dog. Doing minor tasks to keep tabs on EveryLibrary work-life.

Mom did the stairs for the first time today post-surgery!

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I spy a loyal companion who hasn’t left her mama’s side.

Life

I slept well last night.

While I spend time with my mom, David and I are still apart. We’ve returned to our middle distance relationship habit of communicating via Google Chat.

Mom is doing better. Her walking improved and the wound-draining slowed.

I filled my day with mini projects from work, school and life around me.

Today’s work-related Google searches:

“learn to love social media scheduling”

“how to have a regular relationship with social media for your business”

“how to post regularly on social media and enjoy it”

“hate doing social media scheduling?”

My current class is challenging me to think about library planning, marketing and assessment – and how that can be applied to my current political action work for libraries.

Other items on the highlights reel:

  • making marshmallows in the fireplace
  • driving old blue and hiking in the UConn Forest
  • attending online synchronous class session
  • veggies burgers and spaghetti
  • finally starting laundry from the California trip

I liked hearing the sound of UConn marching band rehearsal through the woods during my hike. I messaged with David about career and family planning.

Plugging along with husbometer data from a distance. I guess I should leave categories blank when we’re doing distance?

Sex (Quantity, Quality) 10/23/18 6
Communication 10/23/18 0.6 6
Chores 10/23/18 6
Fitness & Health 10/23/18 6
Cashflow 10/23/18 6
Friendship 10/23/18 0.6 6
Dealing w/ Everybody Else 10/23/18 0.6 6
Food 10/23/18 6
Little things 10/23/18 0.5 6

It causes me to realize that my husbometer categories are flawed. Reality may necessarily cause us to break from reporting in some of these categories. It also challenges me to consider management of my own expectations. What would happen if I ranked these categories in terms of importance to me? Why would I rank them that way?

  1. Communication
  2. Fitness and health
  3. Friendship

The “little things” and “friendship” categories are similar, I’m realizing. In recording data, I’ve also noted a relationship between the friendship and communication categories.

Communication is increasingly important to me. So much revolves around communication: emotions, trust, sense of friendship, support, self, and future direction.

Fitness and health comes next. We lose a lot without some steady investment in that category. Sex is related to this category, and I think I take it for granted that this category consistently skews above-average…

My criteria for rating each category is a little willy-nilly. It’s based on memory and instinct.

Oww-y!

Today, I journeyed home to be with my mom. She is recovering from surgery.

The drive went quickly. I listened to video lectures for my online coursework. Near the end of the drive, I ran an errand in Ellington for mom. After getting medicine from the vet, I stopped off to explore the local library.

Hall Memorial Library

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Impressive board game and cake pan circulating collections!

Mom and I caught up. To convey her pain, she told a story. She was passed out post-surgery. Mitch said she sleep-talked through her deep sleep, saying,

oww-y, oww-y, owww 

After lunch with mom, I settled into computerland. Zack visited with Duke, and I completed my first GoodReads book review! (Something I hope to continue doing to better develop my librarian powers of reading-recommendation).

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Edition borrowed from my husband’s family.

It felt good to catch up with the husbometer and dig into the blog today. In my reports of daily life, I’ve lost sight of my earlier intention to have a somewhat strategic first 100 days of marriage. A brainstorm:

  • Draft post-nuptial agreement
  • Finish the book given to us by the attorney friend of David’s Aunt Joss
  • Continue tracking husbometer data
  • Review husbometer data with David
  • Create strategies for the lower performing categories
  • Articulate career and finance goals

Emotionally? We’re doing okay. A lot of love, excitement, and little moments. We’re still learning to communicate effectively with each other, and that may be a lifelong project. The commitment part of things is the steel frame in my vision for the future. David uses the word “coalescing”, and I like that.

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Leave No Trace

The flight consisted of:

  • reading
  • writing thank you notes
  • watching Leave No Trace
Movie poster for Leave No Trace.
Leave No Trace tells the story of a father and daughter who live off the grid in a Oregon state park. They are discovered and displaced. The father is struggling with PTSD, though succeeding at raising a strong, capable kid.

There was an empty middle seat in my row. I appreciated that the flight was direct from Newark to San Diego. I spiked my seltzer with orange juice, and chased it with tea. Pretzels were complimentary.

Mad picked me up. Our reunions are seldom now, and its been years since I’ve seen Paul.

The drive from the airport gave me a calming sense of coming home. It was good to see the San Diego city skyline again. I admired the speedometer in the mini cooper. We talked about homelessness. We pursued frozen yogurt, but the store closed on our arrival. Instead we ordered late night Chinese food and brought it home to eat. I decided to try eggplant in plum sauce.  Excitement held off my jet lag exhaustion. We slipped into our easy way of talking and being together. When I was ready to sleep, they insisted on my taking their king size bed.

In the morning, Paul was gone to work and Mad was restless on the couch. We traded places and she retreated to the dark bedroom. I napped on and off. I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, wrote a thank you note, and nibbled leftovers while sitting on the sidewalk in the California sun.

The evening brought many good things:

  • outdoor mall shopping excursion with Mad
  • ramen noodle dinner with Mad and Paul
  • airport pick-up with Paul
  • David!
  • car tour of San Diego and the navy base with Paul and David
  • hanging out, talking, eating leftovers
  • sleep!

I postponed logging husbometer data and the blog. I had to estimate and backdate content. The benchmarking period has come to a close. We found that the true average is nearer to 0.6 —

Cancer

Dear Mom,

I’m thinking about the moment you walked me down the aisle. I’m thinking about tomorrow. I thinking about the year behind us. A lot happened.

I just got out of the “synchronous” part of my online class. The class is called Library Planning, Marketing and Assessment. David and I squabbled after class. I was telling him about one of my assignments, and before I finished, he was telling me how to do it. I wasn’t listening as well as I could have been when he began talking. I could tell he was fueled by a stubborn passion and the experience of his own work in marketing. It’s possible that he said something to the effect of:

Find out where they’re spending money. Find out who’s seeing what you’re putting out there.

He disappeared back into League of Legends. I stormed into the kitchen and settled back at my computer.

I’m turning my thoughts to tomorrow. You’re going in for surgery to remove the trouble spots. I remember seeing them on the scans when we met that surgeon at Smilow.

I’m flying to California tomorrow night. I want very badly to be with you, and to support you tomorrow – as you have done for me my whole life.

I want to visit during your recovery, when Mitch has gone back to work and things start seeming quiet again for you. To help in any way I can.

Mom, you’re the strongest woman I know.

Love,
Samantha


The trip to California is centered around a Saturday memorial for David’s Aunt Joss. The first time I met Joss was on a CD in David’s car. She was on piano. I met her in-person when she gifted everyone the last-hurrah trip to Paris.

David comes to the kitchen to reconcile. He opens with an apology for being mean and a hug.

You categorize it in terms of paid and earned media.

You measure it in terms of dollars spent and time spent.

Those are the two sections of your report.

And maybe you do a brand guideline.

It’s really that simple.

Here’s the dollars, here’s the time, here’s the output.

You don’t remember school at all? I say. He says no, and makes a comment about higher education. I invite him to see the very detailed 7-page outline of what’s expected for my final report.

He looking at the outline and getting excited again. He talks about spending time and money to earn media. He says,

“Marketing and communications is the study of paid and earned media.”

I ask him questions to get deeper and try to learn more. He perceives it as an attack on his competence and freaks out again.

He expresses feeling a certain way, and I ask him not to take that out on me.

I’m remembering the gist of a book I’m reading for work: It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

I would add to that: it’s what they feel.

I think this could be an important insight for my marriage.

Speaking of which, husbometer check-in:

Line chart of Husbometer progression. Looks like a mountain range.
Will we ever again reach honeymoon highs?

I Choose You

Turned in the last of my paperwork for graduation today. Zoned into the land of Facebook post scheduling for a library YES campaign in Vineland, New Jersey.

Husbometer

Week Average of Score
1 0.62
2 0.57
3 0.54
4 0.55
5 0.63
Grand Total 0.57

Sent out a batch of thank you notes, snuck in a stairs workout, ate a lot, spent some time with David, worked some more. Poof! Time for bed.

In the kitchen, David talks to Luca about the nature of work pressure. David reported having a positive, chill day at the office today.  They talk about good and bad pressure. David says,

“Pain in itself isn’t bad. It’s how it affects you,”

How long have you been working there? Luca asks.

2 years, David says. He would stay for a monster raise, he says. Luca asks about whether David still wants to work in Paris, and comments on advertising industry there. I can hear David putting away our dishes.

They talk about the upcoming trip to California.

 

Breakfast

Husbometer back up and running. The data for the last couple days is not as accurate as I might like, but I did my best. I just left average .5’s for the couple of days we spent apart.

The highlight of the day was pre-departure breakfast and bonding time with Mom and Mitch. David ordered the “angry vegetarian” omelette.

Return to NYC was success.

Alumni Lacrosse Game

Reuniting with David! was the highlight of this day. I woke up, scarfed a nature valley bar and kickstarted the 5 hour drive to Boston from Syracuse. I was aiming to be at his lacrosse game when it started at 2pm.

Unfortunately, he had the wrong field location. It was a quick fix.

When I got settled at the other field, I enjoyed watching him play. I made a friend on the bleachers and we got Starbucks together during the beginning of the second game.

Alums beat current players!

Reception was great. Ate food, made friends, then drove home in time to see Mom and Mitch. Visit with the family was much needed. We did a late night jacuzzi dip and then hit the hay.