What I’ve been up to

There’s lots that I want to write about, but also lots that I want to do today, so maybe I’ll try a quick-ish (but still on the long side) what-I’ve-been-up-to post and then go try to do some stuff.

This is meant as a description of what I’m up to, not as requests for advice.

  • Am still emotionally fine about the layoff. Still not sure why I’m not more upset about it (though I do know about several factors that might be contributing to that), but still have no complaints about not being more upset about it.
  • Days have been going by fast—there’ve been several days where I’m not sure what I did all day. Trying to pay a little more attention to that.
  • Have been making (slow-ish) progress on unread-books project.
  • Have been watching movies and TV. May eventually have more to say about some of the things I’ve seen lately.
  • Have started the organize-and-file-that-tall-stack-of-file-folders project. Making good progress there.
  • Bought a dozen assorted food items at Nijiya Market (a Japanese-groceries store); have been liking them.
  • Have run various errands, have more to run.
  • Cataract surgeon told me that I do indeed have signs of glaucoma; he prescribed a specific kind of eye drops, and referred me to an ophthalmologist colleague of his, who I have an appointment with soon.
  • Got teeth cleaned and X-rayed.
  • Set up appointments to get various overdue shots.
  • Got new shoes. (I’ve been meaning to write a whole post about my feet/shoes situation; maybe soon.)
  • Had a really interesting therapy session last night. There were two pieces of papermail that I was avoiding opening, for anxiety reasons; I thought I knew what was in them, and the thing that I thought they were about is something that I should have dealt with years ago but have been avoiding dealing with. My therapist had me do an exercise involving looking at and holding the envelopes (without opening them) and examining my reactions; the most interesting aspect of that to me was that my anxiety only spiked when the envelopes were in my direct line of sight, or when I was holding them but had my eyes closed—that is, when I had to pay attention to them. When I was looking at something else and the envelopes weren’t prominent in my field of vision, I was fine—not quite “out of sight, out of mind,” but something along those lines. (…And as it turned out, both envelopes contained something different from, and less stressful than, what I was expecting.)
  • I caught up on about four months’ worth of RSS feeds (friends’ blog posts).
  • I moved all of the pre-2023 email in my personal inbox to a separate mailbox, then started in on reading and dealing with the 2023 email. So far, I’ve gone through a couple hundred messages and unsubscribed from several mailing lists. I’m now dealing with email from about two weeks ago, and am trying to go through at least three days’ worth of email each day, so I hope to be caught up in a week or so. That doesn’t mean I’ll have done everything that needs doing wrt email (and there’ll still be all the pre-2023 mail that I never dealt with), but I think it’ll help a lot with my ability to stay on top of things.
  • At some point recently, I noticed that I had about five years’ worth of Patreon notifications in my email. Much of the time when those notifications arrive, I ignore them, figuring that I’ll go look at them later, but then I rarely do go back to them. (And in general, Patreon for me is more about supporting the creators than about getting special stuff from them.) I’ve started to try to address this by skimming through the Patreon posts from Colleen Doran, who posts there frequently; I think I had over 600 posts of hers to look at. She writes about all sorts of interesting things, but I’m mostly limiting myself to looking at the art she posts. (…On a side note, I was excited to see that she was posting new A Distant Soil pages back in 2017, but it looks like she hasn’t posted any in a couple years now.) Anyway, I still have a fair number of Doran’s posts to go, and then I’ll need to decide what to do with all of the other creators’ posts that I haven’t read yet. But it does feel like I’m making some progress.
  • Sadly, I lost my 100+-day Duolingo streak the other day. But I had spent half a dozen streak freezes during that time, so it wasn’t really feeling much like a streak to me anyway. And on the plus side, I’ve been really solidifying a lot of Spanish stuff lately that I had had a pretty weak grasp on. I hope that the loss of the streak won’t make me lose momentum/interest, as loss of Duo streaks has done sometimes in the past.
  • I’m continuing to play piano nearly every day, in Simply Piano. I haven’t made much progress on the lessons there lately, but I’ve been playing stuff in their “Play” section, which is more focused on songs than on teaching. In particular, I’ve been playing “Baba Yetu” a lot—it’s almost as much fun to play as to sing. …I have a hard time singing it while playing, though; I recorded myself doing that a week or so ago, and it didn’t come out well, even after I set the piano to transpose down by an octave or so to better match my voice to the sheet music.
  • I’m continuing to practice guitar, but only a few minutes a day. Would like to do more of that.
  • I’m not getting enough exercise; something to work on. Went on a nice long walk (outdoor, masked) with a friend a week ago, which prompted me to buy a Tilley hat (something I’ve been contemplating doing since the late ’90s) for sun protection for next time I go on a walk, currently planned for this coming week.
  • Nearing the end of the family-letters phase of my family history project; seven or eight weeks left to go in that.
  • Thinking about lots of other projects (both new and old), but haven’t made progress on those lately.
  • My to-do list has reached the point where there’s still plenty of stuff on it, but not many of those items are particularly time-sensitive, which makes it harder for me to decide what to do next at any given moment. I need to spend a bit of time reframing some of the tasks to be smaller and more concrete things to do.
  • A lot of what’s happened in the past couple weeks (since the layoff or a little earlier) has felt destabilizing to me, and I often don’t deal well with instability. So I think it’s good that I’m working on various projects that are increasing the levels of order in my life, in small and localized ways.

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