Books and more books

I need suggestions. New books to read. I’m in a rut.

Does that ever happen to you? The problem is that I’ve recently started three or four, but none of them have really held my attention, so I’ve just gone back to re-read some of my favorites. Which is wonderful! They’re my favorites for a reason, but I also want to read something fresh.

I’ve recently discovered the fallacy of the free books on Kindle. As a friend of mine says, there’s a reason they’re free. Wah wah. I have yet to find a free book that’s really captured my attention. Either the writing is terrible and choppy or the characters are bland or the story is crawling at a snail’s pace. I do enjoy my Kindle a lot, I just haven’t found a lot of great books through their Kindle promotions. Guess I’ll have to pony up a few bucks for some new books.

Of course, if I ask for recommendations from the other members of my household, Luffy is likely to recommend that latest business biography (how John Smith built his company from the ground up) and the dumpling is likely to recommend the latest Sandra Boynton book (his current favorite is Are You a Cow? but he’s a big fan of Doggies too). Excellent recommendations, but not really my cup of tea.

I just finished re-reading Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell; it’s one of my favorites. I actually have the sort of (kind of?) sequel, Carry On, Simon, on hold at the library right now, but it won’t be available for a few weeks. The latest Kindle book I put down was The Girl in the Ice, by Robert Bryndza. I just couldn’t get into it. The story seems interesting, but the main character is a drag and oddly antagonistic (which I suppose is to make her “more interesting” but it just makes me uncomfortable). It has a ton of great reviews on Goodreads, but eh, just not seeing it.


So I just got lost in Goodreads recommendations – sorry about that. I mean, I know you don’t know that I did, since this isn’t real-time or anything, but I still feel bad about it, like I’ve been ignoring you. We’re taking a quick trip to my hometown this weekend, so I’m looking for books to read. (Ha! Like I’m really going to have time to read anything between wrangling my seven-month-old (!!!!!!!) and chatting with my mom. A girl can dream!)

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Revenge of the detectors

So, remember that story I told a couple of weeks ago? All about my debacle with the smoke detectors? I didn’t tell you guys, but the next morning I purchased brand new batteries for every single unit in our house because I remained highly suspicious about the whole incident. I replaced the batteries, vacuumed each unit (the Googles are quick to remind me that dust in the units can cause malfunctions), re-installed all of those torn-down detectors and waited.

Sure enough, about 4pm, the unit in my office started chirping again. CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP – it chimed yelled at me. I finally realized that the unit was indeed malfunctioning and would need to be replaced. I, once again, climbed atop our ladder and pulled the unit off the ceiling – mostly just happy that this shit was taking place during daylight hours. I added purchase new smoke detector to my to-do list and carried on with life.

Fast forward two weeks: the dumpling was on a wonderful streak of only getting up once in the middle of the night to nurse (we’ve since gone back to two times – le sigh). He had gotten up at 1:30 and I had no problems returning him to his crib and getting back into bed myself. A couple hours later I was dragged out of sleep by – you guessed it – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. 

OH MY F(@*&$# LORD

I was up in an instant, racing through the house trying to figure out which unit was responsible for waking me. Of course, I couldn’t tell since the stupid thing only chirped three times – that telltale pattern now for a malfunctioning unit. I decided that I was having none of that shit and pulled three more units down (which now meant that we only had two units left). Luckily, because of the hell I went through last time, I wasted no time this time. (Plus, I already knew they all had fresh batteries, so no point in trying that out again.) I envied Luffy, as I climbed back into bed, as he was fast asleep and mentally added purchase new smoke detectors to my to-do list.

The next morning I ordered six shiny new smoke detectors for our house with plans to replace every single one of them.

You know, that’s one of the fun parts about owning a home – all of those glamorous little purchases. We dropped nearly $200 for the six new smoke detectors and it’s not like I can take people on a tour of the home and be like – if I may direct your attention to the ceiling above you. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a handsome new smoke AND carbon monoxide detector, installed just a few days ago and with fresh batteries to boot! Please. Please. Hold your applause until you’ve seen all six!  No? That doesn’t go over well with friends? Oh fine.

So that’s what we did this weekend – replace every single smoke detector in our home with a brand new unit. Except for the one in our bedroom. As previously discussed, that’s unreachable with our current ladder. We have to go rent a bigger ladder to replace that unit. That’s on this weekend’s agenda. I know – I KNOW – such an exciting life I lead.

It returns

So. After all of this. And this. And this. This. Or how about this or this or this or this. Or this time or that time.

[TL;DR: The last period I had by myself, without relying on hormones or fertility treatments was in March 2015.]

AFTER ALL OF THAT… guess what came a knocking this week?

That’s right you guys, my period. It’s back. Hello bitches, did you miss me?

Even though breastfeeding supposedly suspends your period for a while. And giving birth totally messes everything up. And my history of anovulation. ALL of that. And my period’s back at just shy of seven months postpartum.

I know I’m coming off as snarky, but I’m actually really excited, for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s just another sign that my body’s getting back to “normal” after giving birth. Similar to the first time I went without breastpads at night. Or the first time I wore a normal bra again. Or when I was able to put on my real jeans again. I’ve celebrated all of these little milestones along the way to getting my body back. (And in this case, I mean “my body back” as in I’m regaining ownership of my body, if you will. I’m no longer pregnant or a newly minted mom or nursing every half hour or waking up with leaking boobs. It’s nice, to reclaim my body.)

Also, it feels really awesome to have my period back after so long without one. As I mentioned above, the last period that I got all on my own was more than two years ago. My body just didn’t want to ovulate in the meantime, so no period without fertility drugs and hormone treatments. So go ovaries! Knew you had it in you!

We don’t have plans to try for a second dumpling any time soon, but it’s nice to know that things may go a little more smoothly this time.

 

 

Mom Brain

When I was pregnant, along with the barrage of information I was bombarded with about my pregnancy, I was also told what my post-pregnancy life would look like. Diaper changes. Bodily fluids. Wine. Sleep and the lack thereof. My body and how it would deteriorate. And my brain. And how it would deteriorate.

Casual sites are founts of knowledge about “mom brain” – how mothers get dumber after having a baby. Not only could I kiss my abs goodbye, it seemed I could kiss my brain goodbye as well. While I tried not to dwell on it, I was a touch concerned nonetheless. You see, I have always considered myself to be smart. As a recent graduate, I drew pride from my high GPA. Now that I’ve been in the workforce for several years, I pride myself on my attention to detail and my ability to get things done quickly and accurately. If I were to believe the memes and the clickbait articles, I could expect all of that to disappear after pregnancy. I tried not to think about it.

October came and I gave birth to a child. My brain didn’t feel like my own immediately afterwards; I was anxious and overwhelmed. Perfectly understandable, I told myself. After all, I had been through a major life event and was trying to find my new center while caring for an extremely needy being.

January came and I returned to the workforce, to my male colleagues. I celebrated remembering how to label a balance sheet and congratulated myself on being able to uphold a conversation with adults again. I tried to catch-up on missed information and assimilate myself into the workflow as quickly as possible, brushing off the whole “mom brain” thing.

And then I started to forget things. My pump parts. An email that needed a follow-up. A project that I started two weeks ago. Things that, I thought to myself, I would have remembered pre-baby. I’ve always been one to write things down, so I took up that habit again. I thought back to those clickbait articles, but brushed off the thought. I attributed the issue to the fact that I just had so much more to remember now – daycare bag, milk, baby, myself, pump parts, work bag, milk cooler – every single day. If anything, my brain was working more, not less.

Writing things down helped with my memory, but then I started to find other problems. I felt like I was a step behind my colleagues. I wasn’t keeping up with the conversation. Questions regarding my work floated over my head in a way they never had before.

What if….. I thought.

After a couple of months, and Luffy’s prodding, I decided to do more thorough research into mom brain. I’m glad to report that, of course, the memes were sensationalized. I found that changes during pregnancy are real; researchers have found decreased gray matter in the brains of once-pregnant women. However, the changes in gray matter have more to do with making sure my brain gives me positive feedback (to the extreme degree) for taking care of my child. The changes make sure I’m hyper-attuned to my infant. So not dumber, just different. My new brain devotes more space to infant care than my pre-pregnant brain, but that’s about it.

Whew.