Monday, March 30, 2015

Sleepless Nights

I always had an easy time sleeping until the night before I turned 29. At the time, I attributed that fitful night of restlessness to jetlag and nervousness. I'd gotten back from Taiwan the night before and I was starting a brand new job the very next day! Unfortunately, that night triggered the insomnia that I've been battling on and off ever since. I started with some of the most commonly recommended practices, with varying degrees of success:
  • Minimize caffeine intake. This isn't super hard for me, since I don't drink coffee. I mostly just drink a cup of hot green tea in the morning for the warmth. I suppose it's because I never had much caffeine in my diet to begin with so when I eliminated the green tea, I didn't see much difference in my sleep quality. 
  • Doing yoga. I was never able to completely "empty" out my mind, as I get distracted easily, so that might be why yoga didn't really lead me to have better sleep. If anything, thinking about "nothing" makes me super restless and bored! I will admit, I have had some great naps during shavasana. ;)
  • Get up after 30 minutes of lying in bed awake. Repeat multiple times per night if necessary. This is challenging and incredibly impractical when you share a bed with a light sleeper. Plus, we both have a hard time falling asleep when we're sleeping alone. I know, we're so cute, it's not cute at all and actually nauseating. :P
  • Sleeping pills - None of the OTC sleep aids worked for me so my doctor prescribed Trazadone. While it usually put me to sleep in 20-30 minutes, it also made me feel groggy the next day. I felt like taking pills was not a good long-term solution to insomnia so eventually I stopped refilling my prescription.
Luckily, I've been on a good stretch for the last few months - hopefully it stays that way! I still struggle with insomnia every now and then but I've tried to develop good habits to keep it at bay. I've found that it can take awhile after adopting the good habits to see my sleep improve. Here are some things that have worked for me:
  • Keep the room temperature cool. Often times, I'm tossing and turning because I'm too hot and I need to stick my arms out to cool off, which then inevitably leads to my arms  getting too cold and needing to be covered up again. It's a vicious cycle that can keep me up for hours. Because I tend to overheat easily, I always keep the heat off at night (something that is manageable in the mild California winters!) and I stay away from heavy blankets. While I may be a bit chilly when I first get into bed, I generate and retain heat well so I'm warm enough through the night. 
  • Keep a sleep log. This tip came from the book Say Good Night to Insomnia, which was recommended by my doctor. I'm not sure this was the original intent of the book's recommendation but somehow, the mental exercise of logging my sleep patterns ended up bringing me some comfort. I realized that after each stretch of poor sleep, a good night's sleep would eventually end that stretch. It was oddly comforting to know that at some point, my body was going to crash and let me rest after all, even if it was after several nights of terrible (non)sleep.
  • Stay up and sleep in an hour(ish) later on the weekends. In an ideal world, I would wake up and go to bed at the exact same time everyday. However, I'm not a robot and I still hope to have some semblance of a social life on the weekends. I was much stricter about adhering to specific sleep schedule when my insomnia was at its worst but these days, I can manage with a 60-90 minute bedtime / wake-up time variance and still have good sleep most, if not all, nights of the week. 
  • Try not to stress about work. This one is probably the biggest factor and yet, also the toughest to eliminate. You can't just pick up and quit your job every time it gets stressful! Luckily I'm in a good place for now, although there are ebbs and flows. The good thing is, the longer I work, the more I feel like I'm building up expertise, so that I can feel confident about the work I produce. If I do stress out, that typically manifests itself in the form of nightmares - which I still consider a good thing because it means I slept! :)
Waikiki, Hawaii, July 2008

Friday, March 27, 2015

Oversharing and Refocusing

Jeff is an oversharer by nature so when we decided to start trying for kids, I had to remind him not to share this with all our friends. To my surprise, he readily agreed. I think at the time, we both assumed it would happen really quickly so it wasn't something he would have to keep to himself for too long. We're both still in our early 30s, we exercise 4-5 times a week, eat healthy most of the time, and my period is relatively regular so we assumed that we were in good shape.

While it's only been 4 months in, I'd be lying if I said we weren't disappointed that we're still very un-pregnant. It's not that the 4 months have been unbearable - it certainly doesn't compare to women who have had to struggle with infertility for much longer periods of time. But it does scare us, as we don't know if this is just the start of a difficult journey that could last much longer than 4 months. No one ever talks about the journey - you only hear about pregnancies when people are safely out of the first trimester. People like me are part of the problem because we don't want to talk about it. That's because if we talk about it, our well-meaning friends take that as a sign to ask for a status update. Isn't it obvious that if I had news, I would tell you when the time is right? In the meantime, the only status updates I have are TMI so please don't ask for them!

It's strange how my worries over SCA3 are now transferred to worries over not being able to have kids. In the grand scheme of things. I know we're in a much better place now than we were 5 months ago - I'd much rather be infertile than have Jeff be afflicted with SCA3. I really haven't taken the time to really be grateful and appreciate for that blessing since we heard the news, because we've been so preoccupied with trying. So from this month forward, we're going to focus on how much God has blessed us in our lives, instead of worrying so much about the children we don't have.

Best bruschetta ever, Cinque Terre, Italy, June 2011

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy 150!

Our alma mater is currently in its 150th year and we were lucky enough to be a part of the festivities in San Francisco this weekend. It's always fun for Jeff and I to attend these events together, since we met and fell in love in college. Furthermore, college is where we've made some of our lifelong friends - much moreso than graduate school, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, our close college friends are not the types to attend alumni events so we typically network during these events, rather than catch up and reminisce with old friends.

However, this event was much more about celebrating than networking. It made me feel so blessed to have accumulated some awesome college memories with great friends at a renowned institution. It also made me a little sad to know that phase in my life is definitively over. Oh, to be 22 years old and still have my whole life ahead of me! It makes me realize that it's a bit dangerous for me to fall down that rabbit hole because if I let my mind wander too much, I'll start thinking about the "what ifs". What if I had gone down a different path? What if I had made different decisions? How would that have impacted my life today? Would I have more friends? Would I have accomplished more in my career?

Occasionally, I need to remind myself that such lines of thought are meaningless, unproductive, and downright ungrateful. I believe in the trite but very true notion that everything to happen for a reason, so there is no need to dwell on regrets. Without the decisions of my past, I wouldn't be where I am today. And while I could be anywhere else, I wouldn't trade where I am now and who I get to be with for anything in the world. :) 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Comfort food at Hana

We were in the mood for comfort food this weekend so we went over to Hana by Saratoga. There's really only one dish I love here, which is probably why we don't come out here more often. The menu is only available in English and Japanese, even though the food is exclusively Chinese. They disguise scallion panackes as "negi mochi". I wish they would just embrace their Chinese-ness!

I can never say no to dumplings but they make their dumpling filling a bit too sour, in my opinion. 

I don't typically find cabbage super exciting but I really like their spicy cabbage dish. Just enough kick to make this vegetable interesting and delicious.

This was my first time trying their spicy tan tan noodles - it will likely be my last time too. Way too much noodle and way too little of anything else. The flavor wasn't anything special.

This unassuming bowl of chicken and cilantro noodle soup is the star of this little restaurant. The noodles are perfectly al dente and the broth is so simple yet so amazing. This is the epitome of what I consider the perfect comfort food.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I probably won't be craving chicken noodle soup anytime per our usual cadence, I probably won't be back for another 6-8 months. Until then, Hana!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My New Toy

My awesome boss gave out Basis Peak watches to team members that helped out with a major project in Q1. I've been meaning to get a fitness tracker for awhile so I can't wait to start using it!