APT: Washington Heights + Life + Health

To-do. Or else.

The past couple of weeks (months, actually) have been so ridiculously busy at work. I’ve been having to continue working at home in the evenings after work as well, often until well past midnight, so I’m seriously lacking in the sleep department at this point. I have insomnia issues on top of it all, so the nights when I should be able to sleep for more than five hours usually wind up being spent lying in bed, tossing and turning and trying not to look at the time.

I’m just exhausted. That’s all there is to it. I haven’t been cooking, I have zero motivation to do any of the stuff I’m supposed to do that isn’t work, and I feel guilty and bad and disappointed in myself. I know it might seem like I perform amazing feats of balancing my time and energy, but that’s really only because I tend to write about the good more than the bad—not because I feel like I have to portray that kind of image, but because I just am not inspired to write when I’m feeling like…this.

Anyway, I need to make a to-do list. Tomorrow will be a rare Sunday spent in the city, and I have to get a few things done. Have to, have to, have to. I know I’ll feel so much better afterward, especially when I’m back at work on Monday morning and wondering why I wasted another weekend.

Clean everything in the apartment really well Done!
• Plan out additional shelving for both closets (write down actual measurements!)
Make veggie chili and another soup to freeze Done!
Hang little shelf in the kitchen Done!
Organize spices and oils Done!
Figure out where to hang the giant ampersand Done! (Technically—I know where I want to hang it, but I didn’t actually put it on the wall yet.)
• Wash makeup brushes, organize cosmetics
Manicure & pedicure Done!
Trim bangs Done!

Evan is going to Big Apple Comic Con tomorrow afternoon, so Fritz and Bruno and I are going to walk up to Fort Tryon Park with my friends John and Tommy (and their exceptionally long-tongued pug, Mamma Biscuit) to attend the Medieval Festival.

Who knows, maybe I’ll learn how to joust.

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  • Reply Rebecca October 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    As a fellow insomniac and recent new-business owner, I can relate to this post. I hope your Sunday will be a stress free and productive one.

  • Reply Karen October 2, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Maybe it’s the change of the season – I made a to-do list this morning and was able to cross a bunch of stuff off – the best was going through all my clothes and jewelry and donating everything that doesn’t fit or that I don’t love anymore. After I took everything to the charity shop, I celebrated by making a big pot of your veggie chili. I seriously love that recipe! Thank you!

  • Reply Anna R. October 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    It’s not just you who feels this way. Thank you for sharing because I have these issues too – feeling disappointed in myself for my lack of energy and drive to accomplish things outside of work. Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is a productive day for all!

  • Reply Liz October 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I’m reading you post (and typing this) in the early hours of Sunday. (It’s 4:28 now…) I so get what you are saying. You’ve posted before on the things you do to manage insomnia so I’m not going to say anything other than I hope you have a producitve am and a fun and relaxing pm that culminates in some of that much needed sleep. (Oh, and thank you for giving this insomniac something to read while I fret about not sleeping.) 

    Sent from my iPhone

  • Reply Liz October 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    (arrgh, sorry… technology got the better of me. I was having problems typing in the comment box so wrote and email and cut and paste. Didn’t see the ‘sent from…’ thing ’til I hit the comment button. Need sleep… now…)

  • Reply dana g. October 2, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    wow – that is a ambitious list to get done before noon. or, at least, it would be for me. hope you find lots of energy to get things accomplished so you can enjoy the rest of your day, the rest of your weekend and then maybe your mind will be at ease and you will sleep.

  • Reply paige October 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Momma Biscuit = <3

    Sorry, but she totally just stole the show from your post!!!

  • Reply Adam October 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I have been feeling the same way. Work has been going well so far this year, but my classes are larger and a lot of my students needier. When I get home I’m exhausted, and it seems like all of my stairwell and living room painting plans have gone out the window, as well as my gym routine. I’m going to really make an effort to make it to the gym at least 3 times this week. The last home project I got done was the bookshelf in my bedroom. At least I made it to IKEA today and got a dresser and mirror! Thank you for this post, it makes me feel better about the fact that I haven’t been accomplishing nearly as much as I would like. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow accomplishing the things you want to do! Give the doggies a kiss from me and tell Evan and Tommy and John that I say hello!

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) October 3, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Good luck with your productive Sunday. I know just how you are feeling – overwhelmed and completely lacking in motivation.

    If you are like me, a complete perfectionist, then starting a task can seem monumental, as you want to do it RIGHT. Not half arsed. Sometimes, you just need to make a start. Then, before you know it you’ve done it, instead of plotting it and planning it and waiting for the energy to do it perfectly.

    Here’s to feeling accomplished on Monday.

  • Reply Anna at D16 October 3, 2010 at 1:15 am

    @Karen: This is the first time I’m making the chili this season. I can’t wait! I’m glad you like it. 🙂

    @paige: I know, isn’t Mamma Biscuit great?! She hit the jackpot when she went home with her new family, and she deserves all of the love and care they give her…and then some.

    @Adam: Pictures!! I want to see your new stuff in action! (And my goal is to cook every meal we eat this week from scratch. No takeout!)

    @Barb F: Yep, exactly. The worrying over doing things perfectly really gets in the way of doing ANYTHING sometimes! Then you feel guilty, and it seems even harder to do it right…

  • Reply Liza October 3, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Any chance you’ll post the chickpea/broc. casserole recipe? Sounds perfect for this October weather . . .

  • Reply Mr. Modtomic October 3, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Before NOON?!?! Pphhfff…I’m lucky if I get outa’ BED before noon. I’m a night owl but I’m also a 9 hours of sleep a day kinda’ guy.

    How ’bout making a “to Did” list?

    1. Made it to work on time EVERY DAY last week. – Check

    2. Ate ice cream sandwich for breakfast (OK, three). – Done

    3. Got Mad Men DVD back in mail to Net-Flicks…finally. – Piece of Cake!

    There…now I’m feelin’ pretty good! I wonder what kind of important things I did today that’ll make my tomorrows list?

    As for insomnia…have you tried eating a banana and drinking a small glass of milk before bed? Something to do with the Calcium and Potassium. Maybe mix in a dose of Nyquil…just in case.

    There’s never anything so important as to preclude the Joust training.

    Joust On!!!

  • Reply Jo in NZ October 3, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Just to express my gratitude for the fact that you continue to blog in the midst of all this, inspiring me and heaps of other D16 readers. Oh, and I thought of you when I saw the Trubridge coral pendants in COLORS! Love from NZ

  • Reply Anja October 3, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Oh but how can you feel disappointed in yourself? You’ve been working round the clock – it’s the stress talking. If you don’t do anything all weekend, I wouldn’t blame you for needing a rest. Enjoy your casserole! 🙂

  • Reply Monica October 3, 2010 at 4:45 am

    It is 04:35 your time and I hope your catching some much needed zzzz’s. Medieval Festival sounds like fun. I now have images of you juggling black and white balls. Thanks for reminding me of your chili recipe – yum!

  • Reply Amy October 3, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Another vote for “You’re not alone!” I also think that that list sounds a bit too ambitious to get done in one morning. I sometimes think if a list is too ambitious, that’s what’s preventing me from getting ANYTHING done. So I try to make my to-do list a bit more manageable, especially during busy work weeks. Yesterday, my husband and I managed to clean the entire apartment in 3 hrs. Even though there a million other things that need to be done, I felt that was a great accomplishment.

  • Reply Adam October 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Anna, I’m going to be putting the dresser together today! Pictures to follow tonight!

  • Reply Simone October 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I don’t know if you have these in the US, but try to find a Swedish sauna and take an evening off and subject yourself to the experience (this does involve running around naked). If that doesn’t make you sleepy I don’t know what will. You will be superclean (inside and out) at the end of the evening as well.

  • Reply Britta October 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I just discovered you blog and love it. Wonderful pics !!! Greetings from Paris

  • Reply Rosa, Copenhagen October 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Taking good care of my own illness that makes me very tired and increase when autumn comes I’m always on the lookout for a healthy help.
    In August I bought some Matcha Green Tea when I went to London – and this is it.
    It helps fatigue instantly. A tiny amount every morning (you eat it, so no drinking) – it is well worth the rather expensive price, it is organic and supereffecient.
    Take care.

  • Reply Katherine October 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Hang in there, lady. You’re awesome. Remember it’s always okay to let yourself be somewhat un-productive for a day or two if it saves your sanity. Or to come in slightly less than perfect on a work project so you can take some personal time. Enjoy the Ren Faire!

  • Reply Lisa October 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    You feel bad about yourself? Your to-do list for one morning is longer than mine for the entire week. And I have two kids.

    I think you’re awesome.

  • Reply kim October 4, 2010 at 5:41 am

    you have such a great blog, I can’t believe I’m only coming across it now

  • Reply Fat Cat October 4, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Anna – thanks for the post ! A perfect reflection of how I am feeling for the moment. Overworked, eating & sleeping erratically, full of good intentions, but zero motivation to see them through. And of course, guilt about not getting anything done…

    Mr. Modtomic – your ‘to do’ is hilarious ! Most weeks I don’t even manage the first item on your list. Like this morning – HAD to watch the latest Mad Men episode and ended up being an hour late… I guess it’s all about priorities 😉 And Jeez, what an episode !

  • Reply me@{Life or somethin October 4, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I don’t if you have heard of him (or his book) down in the US, but there is a Canadian guy who was going through a rough time in his life (his wife fell out of love with him, and his best freind died around the same time). To help him cope, he started writing a list of 1000 awesome things in life. He started at 1000 and is counting down to 1 (he’s is currently at 404).

    The book is called ” The book of Awesome” and his blog is

    His blog is hilarious, and when I’m having a rough day, reading a few of his posts always puts a smile of my face and reminds me to appreciate the little things.

    I hope you had a great weekend 🙂

  • Reply jja October 4, 2010 at 9:32 am

    You need much less “i have to” and more gentle approach to yourself. And some holidays away from home.
    If you just chill around, it is still time used for a good thing.;-)

  • Reply chrispito October 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Dang, Anna, sorry about the insomnia. Good for you for getting some chili in the freezer! I always feel better when I’m able to feed/cook for myself.

    My favorite artist Louise Bourgeois (RIP, sniff) produced some beautiful drawings in bouts of insomnia.


  • Reply Anna October 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I do hope you got some good sleep (and your coverlet is beautiful!).

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel October 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Oh my goodness – I could’ve written this post myself – if I weren’t too tired to string a coherent sentence together. Insomnia? Check? Stress? Check? Can’t seem to get anything done? Check. Eating peanut butter sandwiches and cereal for every meal? Check.

    That being said – your list of before noon accomplishments is IMPRESSIVE! Hope it helped you out of your funk!

  • Reply Samone October 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Oh, I love that uber ampersand, Anna! I want one. I think I’ll have to get it and, maybe possibly, if I could afford more letters, spell out:

    & THEN?

    This would be for the kitchen. I feel like a short-order cook most days.

  • Reply Khalid October 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Hello Anna. This comment is not related to this post (sorry but its easier) but I though of you and your husband when I saw it. I hope you like it.


  • Reply Anna at D16 October 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    @Khalid: Uhhhh…okay. Thanks?

  • Reply Anne October 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I have a hard time sleeping often too. It’s usually worse when I stay up late working and don’t have time to unwind. I find playing Scrabble on my phone really helps me from thinking about work or worrying about other things. Thought I’d pass it on in case it works for you too.

  • Reply Mandy October 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    It is such a great feeling to get some of those jobs ticked off the list …. well done, just browsing through your blog, I have just ordered a “walnut hang it all ” not available here in Australia yet, can’t wait, I think it is a bit of a must have !!!

  • Reply Grumble Girl October 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Oh, how I love a good list. Sadly, lately I’m only adding things and not crossing anything off. Le sigh.

    There’s something about this time of year that has me sleepless/restless/unmotivated too. I hate that.

    I should make some soup.

  • Reply Jenny October 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

    LOVE your blog. Just stumbled upon it while googling Elfa shelving…. I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled upon you sooner due to my blog reading addiction.
    Anyway, it’s perfect timing because my husband and I just bought a hundred year old row house (in Toronto) and your blog has so much inspiration for big and small renos in a narrow, old home…..
    Looking forward to being a regular reader!

  • Reply Daria October 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    It happened to me too few months ago: stress, exhaustion plus insomnia. I’d never believed insomniacs before- how could you not sleep when you’re tired? Well, I’ve learned my lesson.

    My solution? Let go of as many things as you can. Not everything that has to be done HAS TO BE DONE. Just take some burden off your shoulder, somehow, and the sleep will come.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Allison October 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Ugh I feel the same way lately – too many things going on and not enough time to do the things I actually WANT to do. It sucks when work stuff consumes your life but sometimes all you have energy for is VEGGING!
    How was the Medieval Festival? I came across your blog looking for design inspiration for our new apartment which is right down the street from Fort Tryon park! What a coincidence!
    Check out my redecorating at MANIC in The City …I’d love your feedback. You have great taste!

  • Reply moparbrownstoner October 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Wow, you are incredibly productive and apparently you don’t know it.

    I could never do anything at all before noon on a Sunday.

    And even if I could, that list there is at least seven hours of work.

    I would get half done over two days.

    Did you actually do it all on Sunday before noon? Would love to know how you manage to do it.

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