Wednesday, December 30, 2020

News From Our House: Dec. 30, 2020 - Holiday Edition

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season, in whatever ways you can! 

As you may have noticed, my own holiday season has been BUSY--that's what's kept me from writing blog posts, other than some quick TV and movie reviews this month! (but those are fun; see below).


My Update

As I reported in my last update, it's been a very rough year for me, with a downturn that started in March. I have battled a reactivated virus (HHV-6) and a recurrence (still) of my Lyme disease. I reported then (at the beginning of December) that I was feeling much better and was finally back to my "normal" baseline, but I don't think I am quite there yet. 

I am still achy much more often than usual (aches and other immune symptoms had become rare for me, thanks to a variety of treatments), and my stamina is still well below where it was at the start of the year. That could be due in part to a loss of fitness in not being able to keep up the exercise routine I've managed for years (very carefully monitored walking and short bits of muscle work while lying on the ground), but I also think PEM is still worse than usual. Since feeling a little bit better this month, I have tried to resume those habits, with some success, but I still crash and have bad days far more frequently than I used to.

Enjoying a walk in the sunshine with my husband


And, of course, I really can't draw any solid conclusions about December because ... it was the Christmas month! Despite my annual good intentions to start early and keep things simple, I still ended up with a solid three weeks' (at least) of packed-full, stressful holiday preparations. 

Since we couldn't see any extended family this year, I decided to make photo books for three branches of my family. The first two weren't too bad, since I already had digital photos for those, but the third one--for my 95-year-old father-in-law--required a solid week's worth of exhausting effort. I sorted and organized thousands of loose snapshots stuffed into an old suitcase we'd brought from his house in Oklahoma when we moved him out here. From those, I picked a couple hundred to scan (another full day, hunched over the scanner and laptop), and then finally put the book together. I am glad I did it, and he's really enjoying it (and I'm hoping it will help a bit with his memory, too), but the three projects really took a lot out of me. Then, of course, there was all the rest of the holiday preparation: shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating, cleaning (some of that just didn't get done!).

Christmas morning!

So, as usual, I was pretty exhausted by Christmas Day. It was just the four of us this year, which helped, but our older son didn't get home until about 2 pm, and we had the added pressure of trying to schedule Zooms and Facetimes and phone calls! That's where I finally hit the wall. My mother and I had been texting back and forth all day and were going to Zoom right after dinner. She and her husband ended up having multiple Zoom calls with his family and pushing back our time again and again, until at 9 pm, she said they were ready! Even on an ordinary day, I am flat on the couch by 7 pm, and on this busy day in a busy week in a busy month, I had completely crashed by dinnertime. I was on the couch, wracked with horrible aches, and ready to try to get upstairs for bed. I texted my mom that it was too late, I was very sick, and could we do it tomorrow? I've had ME/CFS for almost 19 years now, so she should be used to this, right? No, she lives in a world of denial and avoidance. She texted back "It's only 9 pm! You can sleep in tomorrow." As if I was a healthy person and that was even the issue. That lack of understanding (again) pushed me over the edge. I burst into tears, told my sons to call their grandparents, crawled up the stairs to bed, and lay on my bathroom floor sobbing--just overwhelmed with exhaustion, pain, and grief.

I was, of course, badly crashed the next day, but I could just lay on the couch, enjoy my sons' company, and recuperate. Lots of leftovers! And I felt a lot better by that evening and the next day. So, looking back over December, I think probably a lot of my issues stemmed from not listening to my body, pushing myself too hard, and not resting enough ... though I still don't know why I've been worse than usual all year. 

So, lesson learned (for the thousandth time): Listen To Your Body!


What We've Been Watching and Reading

A Bookish Christmas!

As usual, we have all been reading all month. I read every day, before my nap and before bed at night with my husband. And we all gave and received lots of books on Christmas! You can check out each of our stacks of new books on my book blog--this photo is just my husband's pile. And in my Monday post on the book blog, you can see what we are currently reading.

At the start of the month, my husband and I finished watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, which was outstanding, just like everyone said! I really did not think I'd enjoy a TV show about chess, but I gave in to all the rave reviews from my friends, and we were so glad we did! It's a stunning story (based on a novel) of an orphaned girl who becomes one of the top chess players in the world. Much of it is set in the 1960's, so the settings, hairstyles, and--especially--the fashions are a visual treat. You can read my full review (no spoilers) at the link and watch the trailer there, too.

On one of my crash days this month, I did something I rarely do and watched a holiday movie. I'm not really a fan of the Hallmark/Lifetime type movies, but Holidate on Netflix had plenty of snark and turned out to be the perfect choice for me that day. It's a light, fun rom-com not only about Christmas and New Year's Eve but about all of the holidays all year when a couple of singles decide to be each other's "holidate" to take the pressure off. Very funny, warm, and lots of fun. Again, my full review and the trailer at the link.

My husband and I watched another holiday movie the weekend before Christmas, Happiest Season (on Hulu). I'd heard so much about this movie (including from one of my favorite podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour). It's a rom-com that's not quite typical, about a lesbian couple. One girlfriend brings the other home for Christmas to meet her family, without disclosing that her family doesn't know she's gay! As you can imagine, hijinks and hilarity ensue. The best thing about this movie is its all-star cast; even the supporting actors are excellent in their roles.

While sorting through all those photos in December, I was looking for a light, fun show to watch that wouldn't require all of my attention. In the holiday spirit, I chose Dash and Lily, a holiday rom-com that takes place in New York City. Two teens "meet" each other through a scavenger hunt type thing that the girl, Lily, sets up. They don't know each other in person but communicate through the journal they trade back and forth at various New York spots. Of course, Lily loves Christmas, and Dash is a Scrooge, but that's all part of the fun. It fit the bill: light, warmhearted, and funny.


How are YOU doing this season?
And what are you reading, watching, and enjoying?

Leave a comment below (most are coming through now), or you can also comment or chat with me on Twitter or at my Facebook page. I will post the link to this blog post in both places.



No comments: