social distance diaries: days 317-323

in which I seek inspiration

Day 317, Monday

Back to work…

Day 318, Tuesday

I signed up for a 3-day revision workshop and really wish I could’ve taken the time off this week, but I’m scheduled for a bunch of meetings I can’t miss. It was a long day, but a productive one overall.

Day 319, Wednesday

And I thought Tuesday was long…

Day 320, Thursday

Day 3 of revision workshop. I still haven’t found my people, but the lessons have given me plenty of food for thought for the next round of revision. I have a plan! Actually, I already had a plan, now I have a roadmap to jazz up the draft for readers and subs.

Sudden cold front rolled in late in the day; it’s going to be a lovely weekend for cool weather. Whip out the sweaters!

Day 321, Friday

I felt an overwhelming sense of dread, thinking about the next revision. Decided to take a chance and print it at my local FedEx. I normally print at least one draft during my revision process, but I haven’t had regular access to a printer since March, so this is the first printed copy. My sense of overwhelm relaxed when I started to look through it and outlined my plan.

Day 322, Saturday

Completed a couple of revisions that I started during the workshop and started the read-through. My initial plan of 5 chapters a day to read suddenly felt too ambitious. I wish I were faster, but I’m not. I’m reading with a critical eye and marking up the page with different colors, focusing on three particular areas for revision.

Day 323, Sunday

5 chapters was definitely too ambitious. I don’t have the time or energy to manage 5, but 3 is doable. Unless a migraine strikes, I should be done reading the draft by Friday. Now, to clean the house a bit because two cats = two much shedding (among other bits of fluff).

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video: quiet days weekly vlog – 1.18-1.23

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social distance diaries: days 310-316

in which I am trying

Day 310, Monday

Back to editing – mostly checking Spanish grammar because this book is very much a book of my heart and that includes Miami-isms and Spanglish. I recorded my first writing Study with Me, which was a good motivator to keep going, It gives me the sort of push I get from going to a coffee shop or the library – if I’m going to all that trouble, I might as well focus.

Migraine started in the afternoon. I could sense it coming – I was too energetic and had that frantic feeling in my chest.

Day 311, Tuesday

Took an impromptu morning trip to South Florida’s most popular strawberry and cinnamon roll destination… a two hour drive for a 5 minute delight, but it made for a nice treat. The drive, not so much. My migraine was much the worse for it and I had to log on for meetings as soon as I returned home.

Day 312, Wednesday

Took half the day off to take my mom to the doctor for a follow-up. Next time, I’ll have her text me when they take her in to the exam room because 2 hours in the sun did not help my head at all. I’m working on Saturday to make up the time and I feel regret coming on…

Day 313, Thursday

Barely slept as the pain worsened over night. I was dizzy, nauseous, seeing massive white spots of aura, and couldn’t lay down or close my eyes without making the pain worse. Spent a few hours with a cold pack over my left eye and a pillow pet wedged under my neck for support (migraineurs have a wide collection of weird pillow shaped things for this very reason). Felt a bit better after lunch, but the pressure still lingers.

Day 314, Friday

Felt ok this morning. Trying to catch up on everything I couldn’t get done this week.

Day 315, Saturday and Day 316, Sunday

Started working on the blurb and detailed plot summary for my current project. I struggle with writing a summary, not because it’s hard, but because I have to wind myself up to do it. It’s been especially hard to find the motivation after taking two weeks off because of my arm. Then, this week was a bust. Consistency is key for my to stay motivated and stop spiraling with doubt.

Worked the weekend chat shift, which was actually a very effective way to force me to focus on all those projects I needed to get to.

Went through my cookbooks for some additional inspiration and made two very nice dinners to share with the boy. I normally donate a lot of my review books, but I’ve built a stash of physical and virtual copies in the last year and they’ve served as a nice break from the norm. Tonight, I let the boy choose the protein and he turned up with skirt steak. Luckily, the latest book I’m reviewing had a recipe just for that.

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social distance diaries: days 303-309

in which I receive good news.

Day 303, Monday

No cancer! I went to the doctor for my follow-up and received the best news I could’ve desired: no cancer found in the biopsy and no need for surgery. The final diagnosis was enchondroma (the smallest he’s ever seen, according to the resident who gave me the news). I have to follow-up with yearly X-rays to monitor any changes, but it’s rare for it to become aggressive or turn into a chondrosarcoma. Basically, I have cartilage where I should have bone. It’s commonly found when running diagnostics for unrelated injuries, which is how mine was discovered. I’m so relieved that I can set this one worry aside.

This is what it looks like on an MRI [add image]

Day 304, Tuesday

Woke up with renewed energy but it was a difficult morning. Had to take it slow.

Day 305, Wednesday

Feeling a little overwhelmed with projects. Whenever this happens, I make a list, so I whipped out my Daily Momentum Planner pad and made a schedule of activities for the day.

In other news, I bit the bullet and ordered a new, plush chair for my desk. I’ve been using a cheap, plastic IKEA chair for years, and it has served me well, but I’m over it. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s to invest in my comfort.

Day 306, Thursday

Completed a bunch of little tasks that have been piling up for weeks but took less than an hour to complete (my hesitance was the going out part…).

I’ve been feeling dejected about not writing since I wrapped up the manuscript, but I had to remind myself that I literally had minor surgery and an emotional hangover following this week’s diagnosis. I’ll get back to it on Saturday.

Day 307, Friday

Started my morning with cramps and a morning meeting. Sigh.

Signed up for an online writing conference and revision workshop. It’s been too long since I invested in my writing. This will be motivation for the next phase.

Day 308, Saturday and Day 309, Sunday

Completed the initial review of edits I left for future!Gricel (ie. today!Gricel) and caught up on two weeks worth of laundry that I neglected while recuperating from the biopsy. Unusual tiredness on Saturday heralded the arrival of a mild migraine on Sunday.

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#projectuseitup: quarantine empties #4

Empties from the last quarter of 2020. What I used, what I recommend, what I’d buy again.

the supplements…
  • Vitafusion Melatonin gummies – the only form of melatonin that helps me sleep and doesn’t give me nightmares. I’ve been using these for a few years and continue to repurchase.
  • NatureMade Magnesium Citrate – Citrate is supposed to be the most readily absorbable form according to research I did a while back… this one relaxes my muscles when they’re tight without making me too tired or weak. Will repurchase.
  • MyKind Organic Elderberry Gummies – I started taking elderberry after having a bad flu in 2016. It’s gotten me through many a cold season, and I’ve been taking it semi-regularly since last March. It tastes good and also helps with my allergies, so might as well. (there’s plenty of research on elderberry if you search on PubMed)
  • Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin – I switch between individual and multis based on whatever weirdness is going on in my body and/or dietary changes (ie-B12 when I’m leaning into the plant-based meals). I’ve noticed changes in my hormonal issues while taking this one. (Recommended dose is 4 caplets, but I only take 2 to supplement what I get through diet).
face and body
  • Function of Beauty custom conditioner – FINALLY an empty! I was a little to extra when I customized this blend. It was WAY too rich for my hair but not moisturizing enough. It became the most expensive shave cream I’ve ever used.
  • CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion travel size – My skin was a little dry this summer and I happened to have this in my stash. Not my favorite, but it did the trick.
  • LaVanilla Healthy Deodorant – I love how these make my pits feel but it’s not always the most effective for stink control during the summer months.
  • ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub and Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream – frequent repurchases and two of my favorite face products, but I’ve switched these out for the Ethique plastic-free cleanser bar.
  • Sappho mascara – not an empty, but it’s more than a year old at this point and it started to smell weird… trash. It looks nice but transfers terribly!
  • Schmidt’s Wondermint toothpaste – I think I found this at Marshall’s in the pre-quarantimes… Anyhow, it was in my stash and I quite enjoyed it.
  • Trader Joe’s Hyaluronic Acid – not the best I’ve tried, but it’s HA so it did the job.
  • Bliss makeup melt cleanser – This stuff smells AWFUL! Like petroleum or something. I bought it to see if it worked as a dupe for the Glossier milky jelly, which I do actually really enjoy. It is NOT. I’m so glad it was a mini because I’m not sure I could’ve committed to the full size.
  • Evan Healy Rose Geranium Toning Face Mist – A lovely mist. This is my second time receiving it in the Whole Foods annual beauty bag and it’s just as nice as the first time. Leaves my face refreshed, but gets used up pretty quickly.
more face and body, plus miscellany
  • Brandless Body Scrub – this company is now defunct… their scrub was decent though.
  • Overtone Coloring Conditioner in Pink for Brown sample (not pictured: green for brown, red for brown): I LOVED the pink for brown! The sample size is enough for one application on my hair (long, straight, fine textured) and adds a vibrant tone to my sun-bleached ends with a subtler color on my roots. The green didn’t really work for me, but the pinks and reds are going to be repeats going forward! It takes a few weeks to wash out of my hair and gives my grays a pastel color.
  • Ethique ginger snap face scrub: not an empty but an intro! As I mentioned, I made the switch to ethique for face wash… The scrub is a little harsh, but the cleansing bar feels lush.
  • Adagio tea sample – birthday wish freebie tin. A sweet surprise.
  • Stabilo point 88 mini fineliner – these are some of my favorite pens, I have lots of colors to get through…
  • cheeky mouthguard – Disappointing product rather than an empty… I tried cheeky to replace my last mouth guard but the whole experience was a disaster. I ordered it last February, it took more than a month and no shipment (this was before lockdown). When it did arrive, it was poorly packaged, had no instructions, and was missing the supplies to ship it back. I almost asked for a refund but decided to send it after waiting so long. when I received it, the impression barely fit my teeth and was missing half my molars. I was so tired by then that I didn’t even bother to reach out to customer service again and called it a loss. I was holding on to them, trying to make them work, but it’s hopeless.

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social distance diaries: days 296-302

in which too much happens

Day 296, Monday

Back to work. I was convinced that the semester started today, so imagine my surprise when I realized it won’t start until next week. I guess that’s a good thing since I have the biopsy scheduled for Wednesday. Really hoping it leads to a diagnosis (and REALLY hoping it’s not a bad one).

Day 297, Tuesday

Started my morning at the crack of dawn to prep for a quick grocery trip. The biopsy shouldn’t require much recovery if all goes well, but I wanted to take care of all the house stuff in advance, just in case. It’s nice and chilly this morning (what the local news calls “comfortable” weather). I wore a blazer and leggings to go shopping because why ever not at this point?

I didn’t get much sleep. I continue to wonder if the pain in my arm is caused by the lesion or the muscle strain that refuses to heal… Sadly, I’m used to living in pain. I can’t even tell which pain I’m feeling anymore. I hate it. Part of me wonders if the lesion is the reason I’ve always had a hard time doing push-ups or downward dog (I get shoulder pain if I hold too long or do too many). I always figured I have weak arms. Maybe not.

In preparation for the biopsy, I watched a video and almost wish I hadn’t. I’m glad that I’m prepared but I’m not sure I was ready for the visual of a big ass needle being hammered into the patient’s arm.

I am on week 5 of an 8 week workout plan, but I think I may be going on hiatus for a few days…

Day 298, Wednesday

Biopsy went as planned and our democracy was under attack. I was awake for all of it (on both counts).

Day 299, Thursday

I should’ve taken the day off, could barely move my arm, though it’s more swollen than painful. Feels like I got punched in the arm, which I guess is more or less what happened.

Day 300, Friday

Wow, just 65 more days until this log becomes a year. A bit more mobility today, but still unable to lift my arm or lift anything, really.

Day 301, Saturday

Starting to return to normal mobility, but occasional twinges of pain if I reach too quickly or lift my arm without thinking. I planned to return to editing this weekend, but my arm hurts if I reach for the laptop for a sustained period of time.

Released another of my mom’s rescued creatures; this time, a young Muscovy duck.

Day 302, Sunday

Went to check on the young duck an he seems to be doing ok, but he seems to have a limp. At least he’s in a safer place than the parking lot he came from.

Follow-up appointment is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Hoping for a good outcome.

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off the shelf: what I read – December 2020

Still Reading

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo – I’m so glad I ordered this book from my local indie. It’s a feminist powerhouse in the most subtle of ways.

Finished

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai – I am stumped as to whether this is straight erotica or kinky romance but it is DIRTY. And I say that without judgement, I really enjoyed it, but if you’re coming to this after Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series, just know that her earlier books are 10000% spicier than the love scenes in her current series. Lots of personal angst, lots of mommy/daddy issues, lots of kink.

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (novella) – This is a prequel novella to the A Gathering of Dragons series. More along the lines of A Heart of Blood and Ashes in terms of consent play and violence, so TW if that doesn’t work for you (also, TW for mention of sexual violence). Leans into BDSM. Complex character-development and just as much world-building as the novel-length titles in this series.

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane – I loved this sequel! I enjoyed the first book in this series, but generally disliked the hero, so that made it a little hard to finish. No such qualms here! Excellent Dark Fantasy Romance with heaps of world-building.

The Devil in her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne (via NetGalley) – I expected historical, what I never expected late Victorian, dark romantic suspense! This is a ride from the start–it’s not every romance that opens with murder. Conflict from the outset, and it’s easy enough to follow the occasional callback to earlier books in the series even if you haven’t read them. Secret societies! Ritualistic orgies! Women in pants and secret identities!
I thought I read Kerrigan Byrne before but after a quick search through my book lists, I realized this was my first. Won’t be my last.

Audiobooks

N/A

DNF

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – I need to stop trying to read CL’s books – I just can’t get on with them… I got about 20 pages in and knew this was going to be a slog I didn’t feel like slogging through. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t aged down to YA (the main character is 26 but reads like 16).

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