What I’m Loving Lately IV

books, daily life, food, music, reading

Tomorrow we begin our annual holiday tour. We leave Michigan for Ohio and then will leave Ohio for Connecticut on Sunday. So today I’m finishing up grading, packing, cleaning — all that fun stuff, because after tomorrow it will probably be two weeks before we are home again. I dislike being gone for so long, but it is the best way to get seeing everyone in.

So it is a bit of a full day, but I figured I would share something I’m loving lately.

Watching: It is an old show, but we’ve been watching a lot of Pushing Daisies lately. I like the whimsical fairy tale-mystery-crime of the week vibe. Plus, the lines are so good. We’ve mainly been sticking to comedy shows, because I have not been able to tolerate anything too serious — just stress, you know? Anyway, tis the season for Christmas movies and I had a few firsts. One — I finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life and cried my eyes out at the end. I was so afraid it would not be as good as everyone said it was and it really is that great. Two — I watched Die Hard. Not as good at IAWL, but good in its own way. I’m not usually one for action films, but I liked this one. And finally, we watched the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix and thought it was hilarious. Kurt Russell should always play Santa Claus.

Listening: When I was not running in September and October, I kind of took a break from podcasts. Now, I’m back to them, catching up on Ultrarunner Podcast, Work, Play, Love, and Rich Roll‘s podcast. It feels good to have these voices back in my ears while going for runs. I find that I miss everyone when it has been awhile. I’m kind of in a music rut. I want something new that does not sound new — if that makes any sense. Like, I want to discover an old album or song that I have not listened to in years.

Reading: I’m reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year I re-read the whole series. It has been pretty slow-going this year, but I’m sure it will pick up once we get to Connecticut. I tell you what, I still have the same reactions to those books as I did when I was a teen. I cannot put them down. I will sit on the couch all day to get through one of those tomes. I’m still trying to finish the Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and reading Atomic Habits by James Cleary.

Eating: Well, you can see some of what I’ve been eating lately here. I’ve been trying to add more snacks to my daily routine (frankly, it is not working. I’m still hungry). I’ve forgotten how good something simple like hard boiled eggs sprinkled with salt can taste, like amazingly good. Another frequent staple is Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce (I’m addicted). I made this crockpot baked ziti on Sunday and it is so good and easy and has so much potential (like I would add a ton of veggies to it).

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

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First Trimester Pregnancy Update

daily life, pregnancy

Tomorrow marks the end of my thirteenth week of pregnancy and the beginning of my fourteenth. Depending on where you look, this means I have ended the first trimester and am not beginning the second. Onward, I say, because I cannot believe that I still have six months to go (due date is June 3). It seems like a lot can happen in six months. While I do not want to rush the time, I also just kind of want to get there already.

But the last three months — that is what I am here to talk about. I severely underestimated pregnancy. Or I severely overestimated myself in response to pregnancy. Either works. I spent most of September, October, and the first part of November consistently all-day sick. At a certain point, I became used to the nausea. What I struggled with were the headaches and eyesight problems and the hormonal depression. Frankly, I really did not feel good.

I am happy to say that around the week of Thanksgiving things picked up. I’m still getting sick, but maybe every couple of days now. On Saturday I had eyesight and headache problems, but with declining frequency. And most importantly, I feel like the depression I was in for most of September through November has lifted. I’m regularly anxious Ali again – ha!

But in all seriousness — feeling as down as I did in the first months of pregnancy was not something I expected at all. I know about post-natal depression, but depression during is not something that I knew anything about. Apparently, it is quite common. That helped. Honestly, it helped to tell myself “This isn’t you. This is your hormones doubling at warp speed.” It was still hard, but it allowed for some separation between myself and how I was feeling.

I’m not sure when exactly I began to feel like myself again, but I am still trying to keep an eye on it. I think working out regularly again helps. Not getting sick all the time has helped me keep a regular schedule — something I need to do for my anxiety, but I think also helped how low I was feeling. It is hard to feel ok when you are laying on the couch because one of your eyes is foggy and cannot focus, you have a headache, and every time you move you have to get sick. And while I love Ben and Jerry’s and buffalo chicken sandwiches from the local pizza place, I’m not sure having my diet revolve around them has contributed to a state of mental well-being either. Physically feeling better has helped me mentally and emotionally for sure.

I have gained more weight than what is “recommended” for the first trimester already. Starting a few weeks ago, I started seeing numbers on the scale I have never seen before and those numbers have consistently inched higher and higher. The other week I went into CrossFit and my coach (a female) mentioned my baby bump. I was super excited because I thought I was finally developing one and I was happy to have someone notice. That said, I’m not sure if it that is a baby bump or a Ben and Jerry’s bump. Probably a little bit of both!

babybump

Food baby or real baby? 

On a more positive note — I’ve written about my struggles with insomnia on this blog before. I have had no problems sleeping since becoming pregnant. I sleep like the dead. I fall asleep instantly. I still sometimes wake up in the night, but I fall right back asleep and then proceed to oversleep. This confirms to me that my insomnia is probably hormonal. I know I’ll probably not be getting much sleep soon, so I appreciate all that I can get right now.

I’ll be providing an update on how running and crossfit are going sometime next week, but in the meantime I’m happy that I’m starting to get back on a regular schedule again. I’m grateful to be nearly-finished with my dissertation and do not feel so go-go-go right now, which helps because though I am feeling better, I still feel tired all the time. And most of all, I’m grateful to be starting a family.

xo, Ali

Take It Easy

books, crossfit, daily life, dissertation, graduate school, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, reading, running

Yesterday we had our second prenatal appointment. Everything looks and sounds good. My bloodwork was great and the baby’s heart was beating at around 154 bpm. Week thirteen starts Friday and then it is just one more week until I am out of the first trimester. I was actually really confused by this. I had thought after twelve weeks I was in the second trimester, but I guess it starts in the fourteenth week. Eventually I will figure all of this out, maybe?

Anyway — I was sick most of the day yesterday (and this morning too). Wednesday’s are hard days for me. Tuesday night is when I teach my Constitution class. It ends around 9pm — close to when I normally go to bed. However, I’m usually so amped from teaching I cannot sleep or if I do sleep it is restless. I wake up Wednesday morning feeling all sorts of messed up. Next thing you know, I have a bad headache that just will not go away and a stomach that will not settle down. And though I know and understand why and have tried to account for the fact that “Wednesday’s are hard,” it is hard to not get frustrated with myself anyways.

Like with the fact that I have not worked out since a Monday short ride on the trainer or that not much has been done with the dissertation since I found out chapter five was approved (that changed this morning, but still). After several days of feeling like a not just like a normal functioning human being, but frankly like a total ball-buster, the house is a disaster again, dishes are piling up and my clothes are everywhere. I had that bathroom perfectly clean before Thanksgiving! How do things go downhill so quickly? Just a few days of feeling terrible and it feels like all hell breaks loose.

I know. I know. Take it easy. I’m trying. Yesterday, I finished the first Harry Potter book and read some Bulgakov. I didn’t cave and order a buffalo chicken sandwich (buffalo sauce being my ultimate craving right now) and made a healthy-ish lunch (black bean soup and homemade sour dough bread). Bruno took care of dinner.

Today it is only 9:40 in the morning and I’ve already gotten more done than I did yesterday. I worked on getting the complete dissertation put together (and learned I have no idea how to use Microsoft Word). I submitted a journal article. I will probably actually run today and make it to CrossFit. I know days are like this. I just wish I would have more patience with myself in the process.

xo, Ali

 

 

The One with the Baby News

blogging, books, daily life, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, running

Ok, ok so it has been almost three months since I have posted and with good reason too!

Things have been going on. And I am very happy to say that all of them are good.

I left you September 5 with some thoughts on working from home. Soon after, I ran Run Woodstock 5k and half-marathon. I ran just ok, actually terribly. I ran that race a half hour slower than I did at Run Legend. I knew it would be harder, but that I was that much slower bummed me out. I felt tired and exhausted. I had no idea why. I thought, perhaps, I was over-trained. This is probably true. I took some time off running.

runwoodstock

Me after the Hippie Half-Marathon at Run Woodstock. Probably pregnant here!

I focused on teaching and my dissertation. I only have two more classes to teach right now and all my dissertation chapters are approved — I need do some edits and revisions, but I should be able to defend in February!

A little over two weeks after Run Woodstock, I still felt tired and exhausted. I was starting to get a little suspicious. On a Wednesday morning, I asked Bruno if we could pop by a Walgreens to grab a pregnancy test before we went to campus. Later that morning, I informed Bruno that yes, I was indeed pregnant. Very pregnant. Those lines were dark!

I’ll admit that I was surprised, but very pleased. We had wanted to start having kids as soon as we knew that I would have my dissertation done before baby no. 1 arrived, so the timing is very good (especially now that chapter five is approved). Baby C is due next year in early June. I will be waddling across that stage mid-May to get my Ph.D. diploma. Proudly waddling.

I want to be careful about how I write what I say next, especially because I know that I am very blessed and happy to be pregnant. I do not want to seem like I am complaining thoughtlessly or without compassion for women who have been struggling to get pregnant or who have lost babies.

That said, from about three days after I found out I was pregnant until probably about a week or two ago, I was having a very hard time. Normally, I’m an anxious person, but the increase of hormones made me well, frankly, depressed. I felt like a complete mess of vomit for the last several weeks and felt sick all the time. I could barely eat anything, barely cook anything because the smell of anything sent me running (the only running I did) to the toilet or trashcan. I regularly had severe headaches and was exhausted. I know. I know. All of this is normal. Many have gone through this before me and will do so afterwards. I feel silly for even complaining. And I’m lucky, happy, etc., but I would be lying if I said it was not hard.

The little energy I had was directed to prepping for class and crawling to the finish of writing this fifth chapter. I barely did anything else. I have no idea how women who go to regular jobs do it. There was a week that aside for teaching Tuesday night class, I barely left the house because I was afraid I would spend most of that time in a public restroom getting sick. This did little for the depression problem.

Quick shout out to Bruno for taking care of the majority of cooking and cleaning and having incredible patience during this time. Marry a man who, when you are having a meltdown because of how terrible you feel and how you feel bad for having a meltdown for how terrible you feel, surprises you by taking you to get a professional massage that very afternoon. Then, for his birthday, when you regain your ability to function like an actual human being bake him a layered coconut buttercream cake.

I feel better. I only get really sick every three days now, instead of what felt like every hour. Full disclosure: I worked with an orange Home Depot bucket that said “Let’s Do This!” next to my computer for just in case. I still went to CrossFit about 2-3 times a week, but the week before last I started running again. Last week I ran a Turkey Trot 5k. I am cooking again. I went on a full-blown baking spree last week in the kitchen. I’m doing my holiday re-read of Harry Potter. Rejoice! I am starting to feel, at least for now, like myself again. It feels good.

With that said, I’m hoping to finish the 2018 year of blogging and running strong. I am interested to see how running as a pregnant lady goes. It will be a new chapter in my life, one that I’m very happy to begin.

pregnant

xo, Ali

Thoughts on Working from Home

daily life, dissertation

A couple months ago, at a friend’s wedding a college friend of mine told me that it must be nice to work from home. You do not have to get dressed. You do not have to go anywhere. It seems really easy.

I get it. And I admit to enjoying the advantages of working from home. I can decide when I work out. There is nowhere I have to physically be. The flexibility is wonderful.

Recently an aunt of mine showed up to my house as a surprise. It was 10:30am. I was still in pajamas and the house was chaos. I woke up, poured myself some coffee, and started writing. So, yes, I was doing something, but I was kind of embarrassed to be a 28 year old woman still in pjs on before lunch on a Tuesday.

But I do not love working from home. For one thing, even though being a productive writer makes me happy, sitting around in pajamas all day does not. Being in my house all day makes me agitated, anxious even. Then there is the work/home separation. I wake up. I go to my desk. I work. When I make lunch, there it is, just sitting there. I cannot leave it. It lives with me. There is no end of the day. Even when I’m not working, it is there reminding me that I could be working.

One of the things I’m trying to make more an effort to do this semester is work on campus consistently. Even though I try to do working hours at home, it just is not the same. I need physical separation. I need to have that feeling of coming home from work. I was at work, but now I am home.

I’ve never been one for procrastination or putting things off, but I think going to campus allows for a little bit more order in the day. When I’m home, everything seems to meld together. I’m writing a dissertation and doing laundry. I’m sitting at my desk, but I’m aware, all-too-aware that the dishes need to be done and the living room is a mess. Mental energy.

I have been working in the library for a week now and it feels better. When I go home for the night, I know I’m done for the day. It makes a world of difference.

xo, Ali

What I’m Loving Lately III

books, daily life, food

And yes, I will continue to use Roman numerals for all of these.

This is basically the last week of summer for us. Classes start on campus next week Wednesday which means come this weekend our college town will be filled with undergrads again. Summer hours for favorite coffee shops will be over. It will be harder to find a spot in the library (we are graduate students are a pretty studious school). And, most importantly, I will begin teaching for the first time ever. Hello, anxiety.

I have a few solutions for when I become a bundle of nerves. Here is what is making the end of the summer especially enjoyable.

Watching : I am about ten years late on this bandwagon, but I officially started watching The Office. I have tried to watch it before, but did not like the show at all. I would get second-hand embarrassment over the awkward situations. Bruno loves it though and has had it on as background (he’s watched it several times) while he does administrative tasks. Now I’m hooked. It took three times, but I guess the third time is the charm, right? I also now get this The “Oval” Office parody.

Listening : I’ve been listening to a audiobooks lately. Sometimes all I want to do is listen to podcasts, but sometimes I just get tired of them. I’m currently going back and forth between the classic book on the Charles Manson family murders, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, and the controversial 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. I’m finding them both interesting, although the Manson book can be at times dry and repetitive. I get it though. Some of the witnesses repeat information and there are a bunch of rules for prosecution and evidence that I do not understand. The whole situation is terrifying and definitely shows the danger of a breakdown of culture, which of course leads me to the Peterson book. In a strange twist, the biggest Peterson fans in my life are all married women. Go figure. I want to get the hardcover version so that I can actually take notes. It can be easy to miss things when you listen on audible. I do not find anything he says that shocking. I think he stretches some things (I’m currently on the chapter where he equates the ancient sacrificing to the gods to sacrificing our present desires for a better future well-being…I get what he saying, put off facebook today and work so you can have a better tomorrow, but how he gets there I don’t know), but I think his overall points make sense.

Reading : A lot of Ryan Holiday. I liked the Ego is the EnemyI am not too keen on the Obstacle is the Way. Both books contradict each other. I’m not sure if this is because they have different purposes. For example, Ego is the Enemy notes that Steve Jobs had to learn to get it together before Apple took him back. His ego was a problem and he needed to overcome it. The Obstacle is the Way seems to praise Jobs’ ego. It was Apple that was in the wrong for firing Jobs. They just did not appreciate his vision. So, ok, is it just ok to maniacal if you have “vision”? Where the first book is anti-workaholic, pro-character, I’m not so sure about Obstacle. Once again Holiday praises Jobs for his excessive demands on other people all in the name of getting a product out. Sure, they produced whatever technology on time, but at the expense of how many relationships, health problems, parents not home with children? Both are worth reading, but Ego is the Enemy is by far superior.

Eating : I have been trying to snack more. I felt kind of weird during a CrossFit work out last week. My head felt slightly woozy. I work out right before dinner, so I figured I was probably hungry and needed to eat more. Enter my two favorite snacks of the moment. From Aldi’s I buy Coconut Cashews. These are magical. I’m sure they are not the healthiest, but they are glorious and probably better than snacking on cookies or chips. Then, from Kroger’s we have been buying the Kroger brand beef jerky. Previously I did not like beef jerky. I thought it was too hard, too chewy, and kind of gross. This jerky has changed everything. I no longer feel like I am gnawing on a piece of dried meat like a dog. It is the perfect texture and I like the smokehouse flavor best thus far.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

Outdoors People

daily life

Growing up I always thought some people were outside people, some people were inside people. I disliked outside activities. I did not like sports (although I did love swimming). I did not like camping. I did not like fishing. My dad was a dairy farmer, so spending time outside was inevitable, but what I really wanted to do was be inside, preferably with a book. I think Nietzsche makes a joke about pasty intellectuals (if he didn’t, it sounds like something he would say).

I suppose that changed when I started running. I began doing all my runs on an indoor track at my college rec center. When my runs became longer than three miles, I started doing them on the treadmill. It was not until I went home that summer, deprived of rec center and treadmill, that I began running outside. At this point, the most I was running was maybe three or four miles at a time. That year, I trained for a half, so this thesis-writing college senior was forced outdoors. The treadmill became the dreadmill. I now train outside in the rain and in the freezing cold (hello, Michigan winters). Only storms and ice keep me inside.

I suppose this transitioned into other areas. Instead of reading at my desk, I started bringing my books outside on the front porch. Little things, but a big difference from my former self who could only be tempted into spending time outside if beer was involved.

I read Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run and while I remained far away from the ability to run an ultra, most ultra and trail runners seemed to be outdoors enthusiasts. I read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Jennifer Pharr Davis’s Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. I caught the bug. I wanted to go on my own adventure. Of course, I have no idea what I’m doing (still don’t), so we asked for basic camping equipment for Christmas and we took a wilderness survival class in the spring in the hopes that someday we will go on our own backpacking or remote camping trip.

But first, baby steps. I’ve gone camping before, but never on purpose. I went with my parents. I think the last time before this past weekend was a trip with my mom and step-dad to Wolverine, Michigan. I remember liking it, but it was not anything I would do on my own. So, this weekend was a “new” experience in its own way.

We went to a state park, so nothing super out remote or out there. Putting up the tent took us longer than the box said, but no meltdowns occurred. We learned that we may not be completely hopeless at this outdoors thing. I made sandwiches and s’mores over the fire. We were kept awake by loud bugs. I was bit up by mosquitos all over my feet, the only place where I forgot to spray off. Aside for the half-marathon, we did not really do anything exciting. Our legs were tired, so we just sat around and talked and not talked. We walked to the lake and cooled our legs off. Bruno practiced floating and swimming. I posted occasionally on Instagram, but because service was spotty, I mainly stayed off my phone.

Bruno said on the way home that he did not think about his dissertation the entire weekend. He told me it was the most relaxed he had felt in a long time. I felt similarly and was actually sad to come home on Sunday. I did not really want to get back to it. Usually periods of not doing anything, even shorter periods like a weekend, make me anxious, desperate for structure and the grind. Monday is my favorite time of year. Not this time.

So we’re back. It is baby step number one for what will someday be a longer trip. I’m not sure either of us expected that we would end up being the couple that does outdoors things, but now Bruno wanting to learn how to fish and I’m looking into a snowshoe race in January. I do not think the “call of the wild” is going away. We’ll keep making baby steps until we are officially really outdoors people.*

xo, Ali

*I’ll admit it. I feel a bit like a poser. I can’t even read a map, but man, I am so excited to learn.

Pond of Certainty

daily life, swimming, triathlon

This past weekend was a our first visit to my mom and step-dad’s new house. It is a beautiful red home out in the country. It feels more like a vacation lake house than a place where people day to day live. The part of the house I was most excited for was that it has a pond.

38121345_10217694516501706_1679507232653312000_n

Sun shining, hearts full, eyes squinting. 

Bruno does not know how to swim, so Saturday we hung around the “beach” area. I tried to explain (badly) to Bruno how to float and once he was able to do that, kicking, using his arms. By the end of the session he could do a free strokes free-style and a few strokes backstroke. It was not pretty, but I was proud of him and I think he was surprised at himself. He described swimming as “teleportation” because he would close his eyes (no goggles) and find himself in a different place.

After, I planned to do a swim workout in the pond. I did not know how long (meters or yards) it would be. The plan was to set a timer and focus on trying to swim continuously. No big deal.

Unlike Bruno, I have goggles. For me swimming is not like teleportation. I can open my eyes and see where I am going. And I could not see. The pond is clean, but it is still a pond. It is murky. There are plants to swim through. And then, when I made it to the middle of the pond, I could not see to the bottom. First, I thought “how eerie” and then I panicked. Work out abandoned.

It was not until the drive back to Michigan that I even told Bruno I became scared. And truly, I still don’t understand. I used to do this all the time.

I started training for a triathlon to work on fear. At that time, it was my fear of cycling. But it seems that I have been presented with another fear to work on, one that does not quite have a name. I don’t think I am scared of swimming in ponds or lakes. The pond plants do not bother me. I like the fish. I suspect it is more fear of the unknown, looking down and not being able to see, looking to the side and only seeing more murk.

Next year, I have no idea where we will live or where I will work. This is it. The last year I will describe myself officially as a “graduate student” (in life, “student” will always apply).  I cannot see. I only see murk. And as I mention, this causes a lot of anxiety.

I told Bruno yesterday that I just want certainty. I like knowing, planning, and the assurance of “if this, then that.” I get it. Nobody’s life is really like that. Still,  I think when I was swimming and looked down and saw only the “unknown” in my small family pond, I was fed up with it. I could not handle just one more thing of not knowing.

It will take baby-steps (or strokes?) to try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable again in the pond, just as I’m trying to be comfortable, excited even, about not knowing what will happen next year. At the very least, I am certain I will get there, wherever “there” may be.

xo, Ali

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately II

books, daily life, food, music

After what felt like a long hiatus, this week I have been hitting the dissertation hard. I have been waking up at four in the morning, so that I can start writing close to five to try to get anywhere between one and half hours (if I run in the morning) to three hours (if I don’t) of writing in before I get ready to go to work in the archives for the day. Evenings are spent reading and taking notes. I’m hoping to turn chapter four in by Monday, which also happens to be the day after my one year anniversary. We’ll see.

It has not been all work, excuse me, I mean leisure. Aside for Rousseau, there are a few things that have piqued my interest.

Watching : I haven’t really watched much tv lately, but Sunday night Bruno and I watched the first two episodes of A Very English Scandal on Amazon prime. We haven’t yet been able to watch the third and final episode, but it is well done.

Listening : My current writing music is Pixies DoolittleGouge Away might be the perfect editing song. While at work, I’ve been listening to Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies of a Silicon Valley Start-Up by John Carreyrou on audible. Holy shit. I am obsessed. I am trying to avoid going down an Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos google rabbit hole. I am only a couple hours into it, but I’m already sure it will be a five star book. Also, it is the reason why this song (not Taylor Swift!) has been in my head all day.

Reading : I’m still making may way through the Odyssey. I’m almost done. I started reading Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent. As Bruno bluntly put it when he opened the book and started read a few pages, “Sarah Perry can write.” I have two history books I am working through. The first is Daniel Walker Howe’s tome What Hath God Wrought : The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 and the second, Jon Meacham’s American Lion : Andrew Jackson in the White House. I’m loving the first a little more than the second. For whatever reason, I find Meacham biography kind of tedious, although it is interesting to compare Meacham and Howe on Jackson. I was hoping for more on his political thought, particularly on nullification, and less on scandals involving “wanton” women. I’m half-way through Howe’s book and I love every page, even during the long discussions of internal improvements and the bank.

Eating : Chocolate Vega powder and cherry smoothies. I do not like fruit. I do not like cherries. But for whatever reason, when they are mixed with some protein powder, almond milk, and some ice, magic happens. Also, I restarted my sour dough bread starter this week (is it weird to name your sour dough starter? mine is named Sebastian), so definitely looking forward to eating some of that.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

 

Morbid Conversations

daily life, death, dissertation

Our “office” has been the sunroom in my parents’ home today. I worked on editing an article for a professor and did some reading. We walked up to the local pizza place at noon to meet up with some of my mom’s family who were gathering because a relative’s in-laws from Taiwan were in town. It has not been the most productive day, but I think being away from campus has been good for my anxiety.

Anyway, you know the rules in conversation: avoid politics, money, sex. You know you are close with someone when all those taboo topics are discussed. You know you are really close with someone when you discuss the topic that is not even on that list: death.

You know you are comfortable with someone when, as if discussing the purchasing of curtains you can say, “If it happens sooner, I would want to be buried here, but if later and we have a family, a home, an established foundation somewhere, then I would want to be buried there.” And then, the person, in this case, my husband, responds back that he would like a mausoleum because that way none of our kids have to worry about where they’ll be buried (dream big, honey). Then we went back to our work. I went back to editing. Bruno back to writing his dissertation.

Maybe we are unusual, but brief conversations like this happen. I mean not all the time. I can be macabre (once, for a twelve hour drive to Connecticut we only listened to Lore — did not sleep so well that night!), but Bruno not so much. Yet, I think it is normal and probably one of the more healthier tendencies I have: knowing this can’t go on forever.

I think about it when I am wasting time (and I mean wasting time, not just relaxing, not doing something productive). Do I really want to be eighty and have devoted most of my life to Mark Zuckerberg-created methods of socialization? Do I really want to talk about that chick I barely know just because of some picture she posted on facebook? Do I really want to waste the last few years of my twenties spending Saturday mornings catching up on sleep (being hungover) or creating something, being someone, giving to someone?

I do not have a memento mori and while I do think the avoidance of death is unhealthy, being fixated on it is equally so. But I think these occasional morbid conversations, if they are even really all that morbid, help me maintain quality in life, even if quantity (in the grand scheme of history) is short.

xo, Ali