video: a very short quiet days vlog (spoiler: it’s mostly cats)

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social distance diaries: days 401-407

Day 401, Monday

Starting the week with some deep work and focus. Randomly selected for covid testing at work, which was a nice push to get tested since I’ve been going out a bit more since reaching the two week post- vaccine mark.

Day 402, Tuesday

Made an appointment to take girl kitty to the vet. She’s been off her food. I suspected a return of her infection or a tooth ache and was sort of right. She has a mild tooth situation but a more concerning low white blood count 😞.

Day 403, Wednesday

Meeting with my department in the morning for our regular monthly check in. Lots to talk about this time as a number of changes are coming. Rare day with a clear schedule so I took my car to get a tune up. 💸💸💸 it’s been a spendy week for my budget between the vet and the car. I was just in time though, my brakes were badly worn (not a surprise tbh). Have to look into tire deals. Also not a surprise after last years flat and air pressure weirdness.

Haven’t been sleeping great this week, so my weekend writing progress has taken a major hit. To make matters worse, I hurt my good arm while carrying the cat carrier 😓. That’s how I hurt my other arm last year (and how we discovered the enchondroma in my shoulder).

Day 404, Thursday

Work and laundry between meetings. It was a long day. It’s been a long week. My diet and physical health suffered as a result and I’m sure it’s one of the culprits behind my headaches and terrible nausea ☹️

Day 405, Friday

Took half the day off to take my dad to the grocery store. It’s a long, complicated story, but he’s mostly disabled and needed the help (I say mostly because he won’t apply for the official designation though he can barely walk or lift his arms). I don’t live with him, my sister does and for reasons kept standing him up for weeks. It was a three hour affair, involving two shopping carts and a tetris-style packing situation to fit all the stuff in my car. He was a happy elder and I was an exhausted, but content daughter.

Day 406, Saturday – Day 407, Sunday

I signed up to take part in a virtual orientation over the weekend; saw a few students, but no one really wants to attend a virtual orientation. It was mostly three hours of chatting with my coworkers from the other campus while answering questions for the handful of students that signed on.

Tried to catch up on my NaNo project, but I realized my word goal was too lofty from the start and decided to edit it down. Probably won’t make it anyhow, but I’m still going. Camp NaNo month was plagued by weekend commitments, family needs, and migraines that kept me away from the draft on a regular basis. It is what it is. Progress is slow but steady.

Posted last week’s vlog a week late… oops! I uploaded but never hit publish.

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social distance diaries: days 394-400

Day 394, Monday – Day 400, Sunday

Most of the week was a blur until Thursday. Started Monday with a migraine that attacked my head, my neck, and my digestive system. I managed to get some work done between the waves of relief and resurgence, but it was one of those attacks that wouldn’t respond to any of my relief methods—no amount of pain meds, TENS, herbal tea, yoga, massage, or hot/cold therapy could make it go away. I slathered on every kind of mentholated muscle cream I own over my neck and brow, but some migraines just don’t respond to anything. It finally reached what I think of as the crescendo when I woke up on Thursday morning and was gone by the end of the day. Friday was the first real day when I managed to feel well enough to get a sustained amount of writing done, and that high got me through Saturday as well. Sunday turned into an unplanned day off when I learned that my dad was having a particularly nasty bout of depression. I don’t know how much time I have with him, his cancer treatments have stalled and I worry that it’s progressing without our knowledge, though I sincerely hope I’m wrong. Either way, making time for a visit felt more important than a few hours of editing. It proved to be a good distraction for him and I’m blocking a day in my calendar to take him grocery shopping this week.

However, my afternoon proved emotionally draining when I witnessed a horrible instance of animal cruelty that I had no way of stopping or not seeing. It occurred on a busy highway as I was on my way to visit my mom. People are disgusting and I can’t wrap my head around what they did. I got off the exit and drove up and down that stretch of highway multiple times, slowing to a crawl with my blinkers on to see if there was any possibility that it survived, but there no sight of the animal and I can only hope it died quickly if that was its end. I write this because I need to get it off my chest but I don’t want go into detail because it hurts to think about it, though I’ve been replaying it in my mind all evening, wishing I could’ve done something, all while knowing there was nothing I could do with so much oncoming traffic. It was cruelty, plain and simple and I wish I could say it was a rare occurrence.

It’s late now and I know this is something that my anxious brain will keep replaying for days.

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social distance diaries: days 387-393

in which I am emotionally spent

Day 387, Monday

There are some weeks where projects sneak up on me like bunnies appearing out of a hat. I think I’m all caught up, then bam! Not an ideal start to my week and my brain is scattered after the weekend’s productivity. I have to remind myself that this is a cycle.

Day 388, Tuesday

To the office for meetings and laptop updates (there are some updates I’m not allowed to run on work devices). The meetings took over my day, not much to show for my day except a pair of new laptop/monitor stands that I installed to alleviate neck strain at work.

Day 389, Wednesday

Posted last week’s vlog at long last [watch it here]. I don’t think there will be much of a vlog this week, if any [not a vlog, but a gentle reset video coming as scheduled].

My heart broke a little tonight. I’m grieving a part of myself and struggling to move on.

Day 390, Thursday

It was a rough night. I’m not in a great place, emotionally or mentally today. Like so many other moments, this is a season and it will pass, but it’s the kind of passing where something is irrevocably lost in the process.

Day 391, Friday

Hard to focus when my heart isn’t in it and my head hurts. I took a wellness day and only logged on for an hour of chat. The most work I was able to manage.

I made a list and feelings were discussed. It’s a start.

Day 392, Saturday – Day 393, Sunday

Focused on self-care this weekend. No writing, no worrying about being productive, just took time to take care of my physical and mental wellbeing.

Feeling much better this weekend. It’s been a journey of healing over the last few days.

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social distance diaries, days 380-386

in which there is little sleep and a lot of pain

Day 380, Monday

So insomnia is back. Woke up at 4am, my brain spinning with thoughts and fixating on a random comment posted to one of the writing groups I recently joined. Went to work a little earlier, took a quick trip to my mom’s, and managed not to collapse until I got home.

Day 381, Tuesday

Slept a bit better, but I definitely have a migraine that keeps coming and going. Interrupted sleep isn’t helping.

The day was good, the evening not so much.

Day 382, Wednesday

Another crazy early morning. My brain just won’t stop whirring at random hours. I laid off the caffeine earlier than usual today. Hoping I don’t wake up at 1 am again. Yep, that’s what happened last night. Up at 1, fell asleep, up at 3, fell asleep, and so on until I finally rolled out of bed around 8:30 after shutting all my alarms off (even the one that requires me to get out of bed and walk across the room).

Vaccine #2 tomorrow. I’m so glad that I was able to get it. The numbers are starting to rise again in Miami, and I don’t look forward to having a campus full of unvaccinated 20 year olds running around this summer. My migraine/neck pain is still throbbing. Going to take some advil before bed (less than my usual dose) and hope I don’t have a full blown attack in the morning since I can’t take advil before the shot. The pain ebbs and flows.

Day 383, Thursday

Vaccine #2! Instant soreness and general lethargy. Had a giant breakfast to celebrate the milestone.

Day 384, Friday

Fever hit around 2am. On and off all day, but it finally broke sometime around dinner. Arm still mad sore!

Day 385, Saturday – Day 386, Sunday

Arm slightly sore on Saturday, but quickly improving. Started my CampNaNo project, which is to get as close to a finished draft as possible so I can send it off to betas.

Another early morning on Sunday. Woke up at 4am after some weird nightmare involving the little girl cat. Had to get out of bed and check on her just to calm my racing heart. Couldn’t get back to sleep after that, so I did something I never do—I sat down to write at 5am, cup of coffee by my side. Met my daily goal well before I normally get up, but there’s no way I can ever do this regularly. Aside from the nightmare, I’m not fully alive at 5am. I’ve tried it before; I burn out by the end of the week. If that’s your thing, more power to you. I struggle with chronic fatigue and insomnia, choosing work over sleep doesn’t end well for me.

Speaking of which, this week’s vlog is going to be a few days late. I thought I’d be able to edit it tonight, but it’s more than twelve hours since I woke up as I write this and there’s no way I’m nearing empty.

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video: quiet days weekly vlog, March 22-28


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social distance diaries, days 373-379

in which there is Nutella

Day 373, Monday

Only going to the office for one day this week. My schedule is too scattered and I’d rather zoom from home if I’m going to be sitting in multiple rounds of meetings. Let’s face it—I’m more productive (and pleasant) when I don’t need to sit in traffic for two hours.

Day 374, Tuesday

Working at home today. I’m still struggling to get back to my morning schedule since the daylight savings switch. It’s never hit me this hard before, but I’ve also been feeling really run down over the last two weeks. I don’t know if it’s the side effect of the vaccine, a migraine hangover, or just me.

Day 375, Wednesday

Had an Argentinian croissant stuffed with Nutella. It was an experience. I rarely eat Nutella, and Argentinian croissants are on another level, so it was all terribly indulgent. Such a rare treat!

Day 376, Thursday

Finished editing the transcript for my upcoming, pre-recorded presentation. A transcript wasn’t requested, but it seems only fitting for a conference about being inclusive. I recommend Otter, but you do need to clean up the transcript after the fact. 25 minutes at 4000 words makes me want to look more closely at the possibility of dictating a novel… think what I can do with that two hour drive if it works.

Day 377, Friday

Took the day I planned to take last Friday. Things obviously didn’t go as planned last week, so this was a much needed reprieve from my usual meetings. Managed to write and take care of all those little tasks I’ve put off for weeks. (Why do I do that?)

Kitty’s abscess checked out fine during her follow-up. This morning, it was barely visible. Such a relief. I don’t know if it’s the shock of a new space, but she’s more mellow with the emergency vet than she is with our regular doctor.

Day 378, Saturday – Day 379, Sunday

Success! Caught up to my writing goal for the month. After last week, I feared it was impossible, but I managed to create the writing retreat vibe that I needed to push through.

Saw my parents in the same place, at the same time for the first time in a year. They’re both fully vaccinated and I’ll complete round 2 next week. It feels like progress, though the likelihood of another spike looms near.

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video: quiet days weekly vlog, March 15-20

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social distance diaries, days 366-372

in which there is a cat fiasco

Day 366, Monday

Back to work with the start of a migraine ☹️. Came home and laid in bed, but it was too late to stop it.

Day 367, Tuesday

Switched my days and went back to the office to record a conference presentation – recording in my place is bad enough when we record the podcast episodes. There’s always a truck, plane, train, or motorcycle that decides to roar past my apartment.

Day 368, Wednesday

Mom situation distracted me from my schedule… It’s only Wednesday, but this week is already a wash.

Day 369, Thursday

Another crazy early morning. Started with an hour-long drive and more meetings.

Day 370, Friday

Work up to find a giant lump under little girl cat’s chin. My usual vet couldn’t see her, so I had to sort through the local listings and hope for the best (I’ve had some bad vet experiences). I was so scared that I had missed a growing tumor. After my last two cats died of cancer, I’m extra anxious. Luckily (best of a bad situation), the vet found an abscess.

I planned to spend the day writing. Between the cat situation and two meetings that snuck onto my calendar, I’m not off to the best start.

Day 371, Saturday – Day 372, Sunday

Got about 3 hours sleep, all interrupted. Boy cat wouldn’t stop crying and little girl was so still, I couldn’t stop worrying.

Did a thing I haven’t done in nearly a year – ate at a restaurant! Sort of… The place was empty and we ate outside, but it was a lovely experience all the same.

Migraine is back. I knew the lack of sleep was going to trigger it. I’ve been puffy all week because of the meds. I hate it. It’s been a tough week. Not much progress, but at least I finished a chapter.

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