TBT Scorecard: Lights, leaves, life

Well, that was a week. There were some utterly sublime moments, like biking around Valley Forge on an overcast fall day when the gray sky made the colorful trees look brilliant in contrast. My husband and I managed to eat lunch together a few times while we were both working at home. I took my daughter to see the Bruce Munro light installation at Longwood Gardens on its last night.

Unfortunately, late in the week our nanny sustained a rather serious injury. I want to respect her privacy but suffice to say I feel terrible for her being in pain, and there is much uncertainty over the timeline of her being able to come back.

So that is the lens through which life is happening right now. I’m posting this late on Monday because I spent the day driving to Johns Hopkins for my daughter’s long scheduled appointment with her (potential) eye surgeon — my parents came to cover since my husband had committed to be in Washington DC today. We are holding for another year since her eyes are stable (they aren’t aligned – she had strabismus as a baby, and two surgeries to correct it which didn’t work), and also since it’s partly cosmetic. There is always the question of whether it bothers her that other people notice and comment. As my daughter does not care in the least, that variable may never change.

Anyway, we are aiming for a good Halloween tonight as we figure everything out! Here’s how I did on the Tranquility by Tuesday rules last week.

Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime. Not really. I went to bed on time on Monday night. Then the rest of the week I just didn’t. Sometimes there were good reasons. And other times, pure “I don’t want to” energy. On Wednesday night I had gotten everyone down, had folded some laundry, and then just as I was settling in to read for a precious 30 minutes before bedtime, the baby started screaming again. So I went to him and when I got him down at 11 I did not want to sacrifice my time. So I stayed up until 11:30, even though the night before I had woken up at 4:30 a.m. and had been up until going back to sleep at 5:45 a.m. Predictably, Saturday night I crashed at 10:45. I didn’t stay up to see the Phillis lose…

Rule #2: Plan on Friday. It is the only thing that makes me feel like this next week will be doable. There is just so so much going on, from the specialist appointment that involved driving 2 hours each way, to a bathroom renovation, to a speaking trip (yep, traveling for work too), to Halloween, and singing Faure’s Requiem, and family photos, and a child’s parent teacher conference, and new activities, and getting a child TSA Pre-check status… But a long list of known stuff is less scary than a list of unknown stuff. So I’d rather face it down. I wound up planning on Thursday with some follow up on Friday.

Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. Every single day, I walked or ran or biked (!) before 3 p.m. My two bike rides were amazing. Monday at Valley Forge, around the loop, and then Thursday I biked along the river trail that partly goes through Valley Forge and some nearby areas. On Wednesday I went for a hike on a nearby wooded trail. It was really a beautiful week for getting outside and getting into nature. Speaking of which…I was on the Humans Outside podcast talking about making time for such things. I love talking to Amy (her story is in Chapter 3 of Tranquility by Tuesday).

Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit. This week was a success here too. I ran four times. Twice was with young running buddies — my 15-year-old who is training for a 5k with me, and then once with him and the 13-year-old.

I played the piano four times, and have started working through a Mozart sonata that I must have played at one point because it feels familiar, and a Haydn one, which is less so.

We also ate family dinner three times — including a strange mix on Friday of make-your-own pizza, and sushi from Wegmans. My 13-year-old had been complaining bitterly that his cafeteria had sushi day one day this week but it was all gone by the time he got to the cafeteria. So we tried to make amends. Probably delivery is better, but my husband was at Wegmans when we had been talking about this, so Wegmans it was.

Rule #5: Create a back-up slot. Well, I tried. And life managed to fill the space, but I guess that’s what it’s there for.

Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. I’ll say that the bike rides were my little adventure, and going to Longwood was the big one. Even big adventures don’t have to take too long. My daughter and I left home at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, got to the gardens by 5:30, grabbed a light dinner in the beer garden, saw the chrysanthemums in the conservatory, then toured the lights. I particularly liked the field of lights – just rows of lit bulbs on stems, stretching out like the tulip fields in the Netherlands. We were home by 8:15 p.m. Big adventures can be a fun way to spend Sunday night. You definitely shove forward any Sunday scaries, which was probably just as well given how the week is looking.

Rule #7: Take one night for you. I went to choir rehearsal as usual on Thursday. We spent part of the time singing in pairs so our director could move us around to match voice tones. I am now sitting between two amazing altos so I don’t know what that means about my voice, but I’ll take it.

Rule #8: Batch the little things. Some stuff wound up scattered throughout the week, like buying plane tickets for Christmas (finally done). I did a batching window on Thursday afternoon to get through everything before Friday, and it felt pretty good to cross things off expeditiously.

Rule #9: Effortful before effortless. Pretty good, although my screen time function might testify otherwise. I spent a few hours (!) doing my fall puzzle, usually while the 2-year-old was watching Hop Hop the Owl videos on YouTube. It is possible I suggested he watch some more Hop Hop so I could work on my puzzle. His effortless fun is purchasing my effortful fun. Oh well. I read several magazines, including once on Saturday afternoon when I got the little guy down for a nap. I turned on the fire in my office, curled up on the couch and read. It was just what I needed. I also finished Henry V. That involved a wee bit more French than my usual Shakespeare reading. Now on to Henry VIII!

How did you do on the Tranquility by Tuesday rules?

8 thoughts on “TBT Scorecard: Lights, leaves, life

  1. “But a long list of known stuff is less scary than a list of unknown stuff.” This is so true. I often find just listing things immediately lifts part of the anxiety. I call them “brain dumps” and every few weeks get to a breaking point where I just have to get everything out of my head.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your nanny and wish her a speedy recovery!

  2. Sorry to hear about your nanny! I hope she recovers quickly! I am sure that is making life extra complicated now that both of you are traveling and you are likely busy marketing your book!

    Longwood gardens looks so cool! I’m all about the special holiday events at places like that. We went to our zoo’s pumpkin exhibit in mid-October and will got to a Christmas Light exhibit at a local arboretum. Our oldest is at a great age for things like this!

  3. Love reading about you putting your own tips into practice (and sometimes not ;-)). Have only just started reading the book, but am going strong on the giving myself a bedtime – has been working great for me for 4 nights in a row! Now off to bed to read some more 👍🏻

  4. Sending good thoughts for your sitter’s recovery and also to your daughter. I’ve had a lazy eye my entire life -surgery at age 9 months, age 5 and age 16. The surgery at age 16 corrected it for a while, but it was not a permanent fix (perhaps because I was not diligent about my post-surgery exercises). They may give her exercises to strengthen her affected eye muscles, although I am not sure what the current thinking is on this issue. Kudos to your daughter for not allowing any unkind comments get to her. She’ll have a great life anyway-t’m happily married with 2 kids and have been a partner at a decent-sized law firm for years. To be honest, I never think about my lazy eye anymore-it is a small part of my life.

    1. @BethC – thanks for the kind words. That is exactly how we hope she will think of it, whether it ever winds up corrected or not. Just a small part of her amazing life.

  5. Best wishes to your nanny for the recovery – I’m sure it was deeply unpleasant for her and the knock-on practicalities for you (regardless of one’s desire to be a generous and considerate employer) are a challenge.

    And best of luck around the eye stuff – one of my best friends has one very misaligned eye and is strongly short-sighted in the other, and continues to astound and amaze me with her generous and brilliant life; she has really embraced her glasses as part of her identity, which gave me more confidence about my daughter needing glasses aged 6. Your daughter sounds fiercely independent and wonderful so hopefully she has the confidence to look (unintended pun) beyond what others might comment on.

    Planning on Friday is changing my life.

  6. Like I said, I think I have to pick up your book and look at these 9 rules – very intrigued, but also kinda glad to hear that you’re also a work in progress. (I love that you play the piano… I miss mine (it’s at my parents’ house overseas).

    Sending healing vibes to your nanny – ugh, I am so sorry.

  7. Both of my kids have lazy eyes! They have done vision therapy on and off over the years, and I’ve always wondered if we should have gone the surgery route. My oldest (14) can control his pretty well now. If I tell him they’re drifting, he can bring them together. He doesn’t complain too much but of course wishes he was “normal” and didn’t have to do his exercises. I know the eye surgeons tend to write off vision therapy, but we do seem to have made progress. Who knows.

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