The Blur

Greetings, from deep in The Blur.

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What’s that, you ask?  Surely you know it.  Hell, I’d be willing to bet many of us are experiencing it right now.  The Blur is a concept I was already familiar with when it was named for me on a parenting blog or something a decade ago.  I was still expecting the birth of my son, and was consuming information like a teenager consumes all the food in the fridge, and I came across the phrase.  The writer then was talking about those first few weeks of parenthood when a newborn is successfully destroying their parents’ brain cells through lack of sleep among other things.

The Blur is when days blend together in a long string of “what day is it?” and  “were we supposed to do something?” It’s where you can sit down and make a list of things you need to do or plan out your day, and yet, somehow, three days later you find your list in the fridge, under a sticky mess that might have been a cookie on a plate at some point.  It’s where you turn to your son who just asked ‘what day is it?’ and tell them that it’s the same day as yesterday, why is he asking?  My husband and son are both home all day, every day.  We have no plans to go anywhere, and no work or school to attend, making no day distinct from another.

calendar-date-time-month-week-planning-paper-1The Blur isn’t so much a psychological thing, though it can definitely affect a person’s sanity.  It’s more of a constant state of sameness that causes everything to just sort of… blend together.  Mornings and evenings are not noticeably different from each other, only differing in drink choice.  I have tried to impose some sort of routine upon The Blur, establish some kind of order to help us through the days, but The Blur is powerful.  It seeps into your very bones.

The upside to The Blur, for me, is that at least I’m writing.  Writing is part of my morning, like coffee, and being annoyed at my son’s energetic cheerfulness.  The downside is that almost nothing else getting done.  I am forgetting to post to Instagram where I used to enjoy it as the end of my morning routine.  I’m not managing to get a meal plan together on the weekend, because when the hell is the weekend?  But that also means grocery lists are sketchy at best.  And my publishing schedule?  What schedule?  I didn’t even make an entry for April in my bullet journal.  Mostly because I forgot that April was happening until my birthday mid-month.

So.  If you, too, are deep in The Blur, I feel your pain.  We will get through this, somehow.  Schools will eventually reopen.  Offices and shops will throw wide their doors.  Friends will once again meet up and make plans.  Someday.  But, until then?  I’ll put a light on in my window, so you have some way to tell the street from the sidewalk.  Also: Today is Tuesday.

Well, it is here in Japan anyway, your timezone may vary.

routines in the time of COVID

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Well, here we are again.  It’s April and it’s been weeks since I posted.  I feel almost like I’m failing you all, and yet… Honestly this blog is sort of at the bottom of my priorities list.  It’s actually below washing the dishes, so you know I mean that, too.

We don’t have a dishwasher here in Tokyo.  It’s all hand-washing.  Ugh.

ANYway.  I am going to try to do a little better.  No, I am!  Because I have got to get some routines back into place in this apartment or I’m going to go stark raving.  See, that’s one of the biggest things that really is getting me about this whole COVID-19 thing.  We’re all fortunately healthy here at the House of Kim, and our extended families are well, too, from the news trickling to us over the phone and video calls.  And honestly, one of my resolutions was to leave the house more than once a week, so having an excellent excuse to not do that is kind of wonderful.  But…

Oh come on, you know perfectly well that there’s always a ‘but’…

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Photo credit: Fairy Heart ♥ on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

With my husband and my kid home all day every day, and everyone has different goals, and everything sort of up in the air, it’s a major source of stress.  I can’t plan for anything! (is school going to start?  Is it going to start again on May 6 like they said?  What about restaurants, are they CLOSED-closed or just delivery-only, or what?  What about the Olympics?  Can they even cancel them? Apparently, they can, but now what about all the schedules? I need answers, people!)

So I managed, somehow, to cobble together a daily routine that was working for me.  I got up early to get some alone time for my introverted self and got my writing done then.  And I managed to get some meditation in, and some coffee, and was braced for my super energetic kid and my not-at-all a morning person husband by the time they got up.

Then, I sploshed a little coffee onto my laptop and my whole, carefully constructed COVID-19 coping time was destroyed like the Big Bad Wolf came and blew down the straw house it was built in.  My poor keyboard still isn’t back to really normal.  My arrow key seems to think it’s the ‘play’ button for iTunes and the tilde doesn’t even register.  Don’t as me why the tilde- all the way across the keyboard from where the coffee splooshed- is malfunctioning.  I couldn’t begin to tell you.  To irritate me and prevent me from making winky-faces in my chat messages, maybe?

So, I’ve been reading way too many books, both good and bad.  I haven’t meditated much for two weeks, and it’s weirdly starting to show in severely decreased word counts.  I can’t face my outlines or my revisions.  I’m irritable and grumpy and not even chocolate chip cookies have helped.

So, even though it is Saturday as I write this, I’m up.  It’s early-ish, and I’m tempted to go for a walk right now.  Tokyo is an early-rising city, I’ve found, at least my corner of it is, and even with the state of emergency and the new, odd hours and rules, there are still places to buy a cup of coffee and replace my small purse notebook.

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Combini: saving society since their creation.

Maybe I should add that to my morning routine.  A walk to the combini.  I mean, at the rate my kid drinks it, I can almost guarantee we’re out of milk anyway.  A morning milk run seems like it’s just what the writer ordered.

Gnome food

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Sensoji Temple is a Buddhist temple and dates back to 645 CE

So last week my son and a friend of ours and I went off to Asakusa to take some photos for my Patreon photo essay and generally hang out, do the hometown tourist thing. The main tourist thing over there is Sensoji Temple (which is certainly impressive and has a pretty cool history, and I think it’s worth braving the crowds.)

There are plenty of smaller shrines and what-have-yous nearby, and we stopped into one such place to get out of the crowd for a moment, and while there I thought I’d be respectful and wash my hands as you do. Well, I dunno if y’all know this, but I’m not actually Japanese, and I don’t instinctively know all the things about Japanese culture. So I started out wrong, and the older woman manning the small building selling charms (or prayer things or… tourist pamphlets or something,) yelled at me. It wasn’t in a super aggressive way, and I’m pretty sure she kept all the nasty epithets in her head, but still. I really only realized she was addressing me because my friend translated for me.  So, I corrected myself and tried to smile and nod to make it clear that it was an inadvertent slight due to lack of information, and everyone moved on. Mostly. 

It was maybe 10 seconds of the day, out of several hours of picture taking, food eating, and awesome tiny coffee shop finding. Still, my brain keeps flashing to that one moment and its. sort of sitting like lead in my gut. I know I should let it go and accept that humans like myself are, you know, only human. But still. I know that my Anxiety Gnomes are going to use the moment as ammunition for years to come. It’s telling my brain that I shouldn’t even bother trying because I won’t get it right.

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I managed to ignore the whole “I don’t belong here” mental whisper long enough to visit another temple with my family over the weekend, but that whisper is still there, making me crazy and keeping me awake at night.  I know it’s bullshit, but… *sigh* Maybe I’ll do better next month. Or next year. Or someday.  How do you cope with this sort of thing?

Already?

Welp, it’s New Year’s Eve as I write this, and there is SO MUCH cleaning and getting ready to do. I have a few resolutions, but I think I’ll consider them a bit and write about them next time.  Today, I’ve got my family around me, and a whole new country to experience for this holiday.  Today is for staying close to home and family.  Tomorrow we’re heading to Kamakura to explore a bit and celebrate a whole new year.

So until next week– year– I’ll just say that I hope that you find health, contentment, and lots of great books in 2019.  Happy new year!

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Vectors

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I am a creature of momentum, and frankly, it makes life really difficult.  I suppose, to a degree, everyone has this problem, and I know I’m not alone in this difficulty.  It’s the reason that kids throw a tantrum when they have to change activities.  It’s why binge-watching has become how people consume television programs.  It’s why gamers will sit down and intend to play for one level or just this one quest, and then get up hours later only thanks to the demands of biology. It’s why knitters lie and say ‘just one more row’ or bookworms claim they’re only reading till the end of the chapter.  Once you’re doing something, it’s so much easier and more satisfying to just keep doing that thing pretty much forever.

Still, most people are capable of getting their butts up at the end of lunch or a break or when they finish the one task they need to complete, in order to move on to the next thing they need to attend do.  Turning off the TV and going to start dinner doesn’t feel like an impossibly difficult thing for most normal folks, and ordinarily, I’m able to manage to force myself to get into the kitchen and feed myself and my family.

It’s just my circumstances right now that are really messing with me.  My sleeping habits are not the greatest, as you’re aware by now.  Added to that, the dark peacefulness of the small hours of the night are the only quiet I really get to myself.  But this translates into not waking up before The Boy does, not that it’d be easy to do that anyway.  Kid’s up at almost 5 am daily and has been since birth.

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Photo credit: Fairy Heart ♥ on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

So, he gets up and plays in his room, often with a Nintendo DS or the Switch, but there’s Legos and robots and other things to amuse him as well.  Then my husband gets up and gets through his morning routine to get ready for work, and then… well, lately I sleep through all of that.  I’ll wake up when my alarm goes off at quarter till nine.  Now, it’s not an alarm I set to get me out of bed.  It’s an alarm I set to remind me to keep a record of something at nearly the same time every day.  It’s a business thing. And for the past month, I’ve managed to almost sleep right through it.

So the day is already off to a poor start.  Instead of getting up and being ready to leave the house with my husband like I’m supposed to, to walk with The Boy to the market and get the day’s groceries (which was working really well for a while!) we’re lucky to leave the house at all.  I’m in pajamas most weekdays, much to the amusement of a couple of delivery guys who’ve been by.

It’s a struggle that I’m trying to break free of, and my body hasn’t been helping with the back-to-back colds I’ve had in the last few weeks.  The bright side of this is, though, that if I can start writing in the morning like I have the past few days, I can bang out a pretty respectable word count by bedtime.  Which means that I’m making headway on short stories, and on a few other projects.  So there is a small glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.  I just hope I can shift my habits around a bit and get some more positive momentum going.

After all, the holidays are coming, and nothing wreaks more havoc on a routine than December.

Sigh

The trouble with having Mondays off is that it messes up your internal calendar for what day it is.  I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I thought it was Sunday.

I’ll get myself together someday, I promise.  In the meantime, I am actually working on some stuff that I’ll reveal to y’all soon.  Also, working on a post for Thursday…

 

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Good, not fun

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Photo credit: OZinOH on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

I owe you all an apology for this week.  I’m sitting here, in the electrics ‘office’ writing down a few thoughts before we get rolling on today’s rehearsal.  It’s been a somewhat rough show to work on, etching it in fits and starts, but we finally put it all together last Sunday to run the show beginning to end and it was pretty hard to take.  We had our first preview last night, and no doubt there are things we need to touch up and refine now that we’ve had a taste of what the show feels like with an audience.

I have to tell you it was not easy.

I suppose I should back up a bit.  This is a good show.  It’s performed by some incredibly talented and brave people, and I’m genuinely glad I get to be a part of it, but it’s really forced me to remember that ‘good’ and ‘fun’ aren’t synonymous.  See, the show I’m working on is The Scottsboro Boys, and it’s a peppy, upbeat musical about an actual godawful train wreck of the so-called American Justice System in Alabama in the thirties.  There’s a disturbing, beautiful, upbeat song and dance number about sending a 12-year-old to the electric chair, so you have some context.

6981216591_7bb692e187_c.jpgI’m glad to be a part of it, like I said, since it’s a damn good show and an important subject, but it has seriously impacted my ability to get any of my own work done.  I missed Monday’s post (as you no doubt noticed) and didn’t even realize it till it was far too late to rerun something.  Even this post has been a bit of a struggle.  And I know it’s not going to get easier this week at least.

So I’m going to fall back on doing some line edits and get out into the fresh air (when it’s not pouring down rain and hail outside) and then, hopefully by next week, I can start working on some outlines.  The assistant designer and my fellow spot-op have sparked an idea for a series of short stories that may amuse you all.  I’m looking forward to being able to work on them soon.

Just not this week.  I hope you can forgive me.