Weekly Update: January 14, 2020

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, friends? I posted my 2019 retrospective last week, but before that, I haven’t posted since early November.

And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to write — quite the opposite! November and December were a whirlwind of events, and I haven’t had the time to process them, let alone document them. (As much as I would like to!)

You may have seen some of what’s been going on in my life if you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter, but I’m trying not to rely on them as a source of recording memories. (They do make it so very easy, though, don’t they?)

What my “Window” menu in TextMate looks like right now: “untitled” drafts 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, and 5.

Beside writing blog posts I never finish or post, what have I been up to lately? Let’s see…

Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month

Remember how I read Meet the Frugalwoods back in November? Well, every January and June, Thames/Mrs. Frugalwoods runs her “Uber Frugal Month,” where she sends an email every day guiding you through a specific frugal step.

I decided to try it this January. As I said elseweb, after the blur of spending that was November/December, I needed something that would put me back on track. I wanted to get off the treadmill of hedonic adaptation, cut back on some expenses, and work more aggressively towards my goals.

So far the big things I’ve been doing are:

  • Bringing my lunch to work every day. And trying to clear out the contents of our cupboard, in the process.
  • Finding less expensive ways to meet with my friends. Ask EB about our charming car picnic in the parking lot of Wells State Park!
  • Waiting 72 hours before making any non-essential purchases.
  • Checking my finances daily-ish. I’ve decided to get back to using Mint for tracking finances. It’s improved a great deal over when I first started using it, so that it’s to the point where it’s easy enough for me to use that I don’t avoid it.
A very boring picture of my leftovers lunch.

The big obstacles this month have been:

  • I had to buy my plane tickets and accommodations for the weekend-long game in the UK next month. I should have expected that expense, really. I did get a tidy little discount on my flight by trading in some Avios (the BA rewards currency), at least.
  • It’s Matt’s birthday, and he wanted one thing for his birthday: a 3D printer. How could I say no to something that clearly will give him a great deal of happiness? And anyway, we have enough Amazon rewards points built up that we can take the entire cost of it as a statement credit, so that’s not bad!

Despite these obstacles, I’m hoping that we will at least save a few hundred bucks, which I intend to sock away towards debt. All our debt is “good debt,” but debt is still the prison I seek to escape in my search for financial independence.

Reading

I finally finished King of Scars. (Why do all my book notes start with “finally finished?” I’m not actually a slow reader, but I am a very distracted reader!)

I liked it a lot, better than many books I read, but I felt it was on the weaker side for Bardugo’s work. One of my big complaints is hugely spoilery, and so I won’t mention it here (more on FB), but my other complaints are:

The pacing. My god, this book is leisurely paced for 90% of it, and then WHAM the last 10% is just chock full of action and Important Stuff Happening. There was so much information packed into it that my initial reaction was “I AM SO CONFUSED.” I did sort it out, eventually, but that disorientation seriously ruined the impact of the book’s final chapters for me.

It’s not really Nikolai’s book, is it? We learn a little bit more about him — I liked the story involving his childhood friendship with commoner Dominik — but honestly, it is WAY more about Zoya. Might as well call it “Queen of Ice” and be done with it. (Don’t get me wrong — Zoya is beautifully painted and I enjoyed every minute with her).

Nina’s chapters occupy a very weird spot in the narrative. They are important, but it honestly feels like a different book? It was very jarring to go from “oh Zoya and Nikolai are in danger in Kribirsk” to “let’s watch Nina try to keep springmaidens out of trouble and bicker with Adrik.” That said, her ending was much easier to grok, and thus much more satisfying, than the resolution of the main political and metaphysical plots.

Overall, it was good to be back in this world, but I had higher expectations after the virtuoso performance that was Six of Crows.

On the nonfiction front, I’ve just started listening to Anne Helen Peterson’s The Burnout Generation. You may recall that her blog post — the genesis of this book — inspired me in last year’s theme. I don’t have too much to say about the book yet, except I haven’t heard anything that really surprised me.

Otherwise? I’m still plodding my way through Joshi’s biography of Lovecraft. My library hold for Holly Black’s new book, The Queen of Nothing, just came in, so I may have to read that next. I was also considering picking up Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, the first of the Witches subseries of Discworld books. (For reasons that will make more sense once you see my 2020 prospective post!)

ADHD diagnosis

After many trials, I finally got my diagnosis of ADHD in the last days of 2019. (ADHD-C, Combined type, which means I am both inattentive and hyperactive. Yay?)

I was somewhat surprised by the type of ADHD I was diagnosed with. My conversation with the psychologist after the testing made me think I leaned way more in the inattentive direction, i.e. my inattentive symptoms are way more noticeable to the other people in my life who rated me, and I performed more like inattentive type on the test of vigilance and focus that they gave me. But my self-report of hyperactive/impulsive symptoms counts for something, too.

Frustratingly, I haven’t actually been able to try medication yet, because when I called the psychiatrist I had intended to see, I was informed they weren’t doing new patient intakes at that time (despite the fact that when I started the process, they had been). But they put me on a waitlist, and just today I heard back from them. There has been a cancellation, and would I be able to come in to see Dr. Rezai next week? I SURE WOULD.

Still hesitant, but hopeful, in moving ahead. What if stimulant medication doesn’t work for me, or the side effects are too troublesome? Or, what if it works astonishingly well, but then I realize I’ve wasted nearly forty years going undiagnosed? EVERYTHING CAN GO WROOOOONG.

One comfort is there are so many resources out there for ADHD, including women with ADHD, or adult women with ADHD. This week I’ve really been enjoying(?) ADHD Alien’s comics. This one is the latest in “ADHD material so honest it makes it me cry.”

Is that it, Lise?

For now, yes. I hope to post my 2020 prospective some time this week, and I’m hoping to get those other languishing blog posts out into the world sometime… this… year?

But for the moment: I en’t dead yet.

Author: Lise

Hi, I'm Lise Fracalossi, a web developer and writer. I live in Central Massachusetts with my husband, three Maine coon cats, and a collection of ridiculous hats.