social distance diaries: days 289-295

in which I relax and look back

Day 289, Monday – Day 295, Sunday

Second and last week of vacation before returning to my WFH desk life. I took the time to indulge in good food, sweet treats, and time with my partner. There were walks, solo Just Dance marathons, a return to my Animal Crossing island, and a few socially distant explorations.

I started using my new bullet journal and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished draft 3 of my current manuscript. Next step: recruit betas and review the notes I scattered throughout the draft for future fixes (the future is now!).

It was a struggle to revise draft 2; it coincided with the start of my WFH life and the terrible anxiety and depression that marked those early months. Still, I pushed through and finished draft 3 a month ahead of schedule.

In total, I spent 214.62 hours editing and revising (including a major development edit and a thorough revision), spread across 10 months beginning in March. Draft 1 was completed January 2020. In February, I reviewed the draft and prepared my notes for revision. Now, I’m enjoying that brief sense of relief before I dive back into the manuscript. My goal is to query BYCMB this year and plot a rewrite of Anuna (COI), which I stopped querying at the end of 2019 (but that’s a longer story and may become a self-publishing adventure).

I hope you too had an indulgent and satisfying end to what may be the worst year in many of our lifetimes. 2016 was one of my worst years for many reasons, but 2020 is a close second.

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video: week in the life vlog – 12.21 – 12.26

Because I really needed another creative outlet, I’m trying my hand at weekly vlogging… ordinary days at home, kitties, and more.

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social distance diaries: days 282-288

in which we have the best holiday possible

Day 282, Monday

Went to the doctor. Still don’t know what the growth is, but it’s not a liquid cyst, so I’m going in for a CT guided biopsy. Sigh. She’s still fairly positive it’s not aggressive, but I’m starting to consider the very likely possibility that this will be a surgery rather than a watch-and-wait situation.

Because it’s not going to be a regular Christmas, I popped a fresh mask on and went to visit my mom and gran so I could hand them their presents. I sat by the door and recorded them from a distance. There is a very real chance that this will be the last Christmas my grandmother is lucid enough to sit up in a chair and chatter along, even if she no longer has control of her vocabulary.
It’s been a melancholy year.

Day 283, Tuesday

In light of the fact that my dad is also dealing with a cancer diagnosis, I masked up again and sat outside his building to give him his present. There’s a dog park in his building and some long, shady benches, which make it easy to spend some time with him at a safe distance, though I’ve been loathe to take the risk in the last few months (not that the people who live with him have been taking similar precautions, I’m always worried for him).

Day 284, Wednesday

Today was for me. I’m nearly done with the current draft and might be finished by the end of the month at this pace, so I focused on writing for much of the morning despite a lingering pressure headache that refuses to go away.

I’ve been recording my days for a week in the life vlog, so that’s been a fun side project. I also uploaded a new Study with me/Write with me video that I recorded last week.

Day 285, Thursday

Happy Christmas Eve! Noche Buena to mi gente. Normally, this would be a night for family gatherings and dinner with my loved ones, but this year I’ll be doing takeout with the boy in a well ventilated space. I’ve been buying takeout at least a few times a month to support local businesses and give myself a break from cooking and cleaning. My diet has been more varied and experimental than ever, which I enjoy, but the cleaning is the worst.

Day 286, Friday

Happy Christmas! It was a different sort of Christmas for us all, but a lovely day overall in my experience. The boy rigged a screen up in his yard so we could watch WW84 while keeping our distance and I baked a cake for both of us to share.

We recorded a special episode of the podcast all about our cozy favorites that aired as this year’s Christmas special. You can find it at The Bluestocking Circle.

Day 287, Saturday

Back to writing. Lots of cleaning (I purchased the WORST cat litter ever and it keeps getting on EVERYTHING. I’ve had to vacuum every day this week).

Day 288, Sunday

Another day of writing and taking care of stuff around the house. Edited a collection of clips for a week in the life vlog that will be going up soon. Follow me on YouTube for updates.

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social distance diaries: days 275-281

in which I stop full stop.

Day 275, Monday

I made the critical error of scheduling back to back zoom meetings and overwhelming my introverted self. It was nice to catch up but a little too much smiling at a screen for one day. This also came on the heels of having to engage a part of my brain that has been largely dormant for the last few years–tallying ratios and FTEs and accreditation-related justifications for a position. All part of the admin side of my job that I haven’t had to perform on a regular basis in my current position because that’s why we have an assistant dean, rather than as assistant director (which I was once). I sometimes forget that I used to do that sort of work. Writing policy and reports and the like.

Day 276, Tuesday

I accepted the fact that I’m tired and burned out. I’m taking a break from writing so I can refresh before my writing retreat next week (where I retreat from work, not home…), as a results, I turned to decluttering to fill my day between work projects.

Day 277, Wednesday

A long day of meetings. I’m still worn out from Monday’s meetings, but I’m so glad I meal-prepped. I was sitting in the dark by the time my last meeting ended.

Day 278, Thursday

Sat through my last meeting of the year! Vacation starts next week and my Friday is all cleared.

Day 279, Friday

Wrapped up a few projects and set my away message. I’ll have to check mail and approve timesheets, but I’m done for the year. All I want for the next year is an end to the pandemic. I likely won’t be returning to the office until I get a vaccine.

Caught up on podcast notes… Our latest mini ended up being more of a half-episode. You can hear me rambling about the 2020 Emma adaptation @bluesoxcircle.

Day 280, Saturday

Woke up with a hormonal migraine that made it hard to focus on anything but laying as still as possible. It’s partly fueled by the weather, so I get moments of respite before the pain starts up again.

Cookie Cat is getting better about being a house cat. I managed to sit him on my lap for a few minutes. It was the highlight of my week.

in which my love is tolerated…

Day 281, Sunday

Still struggling with a migraine. Spent the morning cleaning up what I was too tired to tidy last night and wandering around the house with a TENS machine attached to my back to try to ease the tension.

Treated myself to a latte and donut from Starbucks. I ordered a flat white, but it was definitely more of a latte consistency… the donut was perfect.

After much dithering, I set up my bullet journal for 2021. It’s simple and clean and I STILL can’t get the spacing right even after doing math and using a ruler.

My follow-up with the orthopedic oncologist is on Monday. Hoping for good news.

leuchtterm 1917 and happy planner stickers.

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social distance diaries: days 268-274

a day late because Sunday was a DAY

Day 268, Monday

Back to work so I recorded a “study with me” work from home video :). It’s chatty in the middle, because this was entirely unplanned, but I might make some no talking videos in future.

Day 269, Tuesday

Because I was inspired by yesterday’s video, I recorded a “day in the life” vlog. I briefly considered trying Vlogmas this year, but I really didn’t need another daily project while editing and working…

Day 270, Wednesday

MRI done and, since I was in the area, I popped into my local(ish) Asian market to treat myself to all kinds of stuff (only two of which I was actually there for)… It’s like a Target run, but tastier.

Since, I was on a roll… I recorded a haul 🙂

Day 271, Thursday

Woke up at 2am in a panic because something was obviously burning in the area and the smell of smoke filled my bedroom. Searched all over and woke up my BF just so I could be sure it wasn’t the office downstairs that was on fire.
It was not.
But, yikes, was that scary. My heart goes out to all the folks on the West Coast who lived through the recent fire season. It’s terrifying! Of course, the smell and interrupted sleep triggered a migraine and I was still experiencing side effects from the MRI. Not a fun day. Ended up needing to call it quits when my dizziness made it impossible to work.

Day 272, Friday

Back to the lab to drop off my mom’s specimen (see vlog for first lab visit). We will speak of it no more.

I was craving Argentinian croissants (media lunas) and fries, so I indulged in both (separately, of course). Unlike a French croissant, Argentinian croissants have a sweet glaze and what I suspect might be cream (perhaps cheese?) in the dough.

Day 273, Saturday

In an unexpected turn of events, I slept in until nearly 9am, something I haven’t done in ages. Somehow, the cats’ meowing wasn’t enough to drag me out of bed. I suspect I needed it after so many days of migraine.

Did some writing and started the de-cluterring project that I’ve been putting off for months. First to go: all the bras that don’t fit the way they should. I am OVER uncomfortable bras.

Day 274, Sunday

No extra sleep today. I woke up in the middle of a weird nightmare and was too rattled to get back to sleep. Early start to my writing session and a bit more decluttering. I might document some of it, but so far I’ve cleared out paper clutter, an old toaster, and some perfumes that I’m giving to my mom to rehome. My old vacuum will be going with them and the bras I culled yesterday.

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social distance diaries: days 261-267

in which we try to balance things out

Day 261, Monday

Back at work and feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s a feeling I often get when I return from any length of time off, had to remind myself to tackle each project one at a time. I’ve done this before; I can do it again.

Had some bad news in the afternoon. More of a complication than an insurmountable challenge, but still troublesome. My insurance rejected my MRI approval, so I had to make calls and hope the doctor’s office can figure things out. Otherwise, I’ll need to submit an appeal and/or pay $300 out of pocket to get it done myself. I’m grateful that I’m in a place where I can afford it (there were years when I couldn’t and went into debt), but I don’t want to pay it unless I have no other choice because I’m not sure what co-pays are going to look like going forward with treatment.

Day 262, Tuesday

A productive day. Taking it slow, listed all that I have to do and created a time block schedule to feel more in control. It worked!

Day 263, Wednesday

Spent an inordinate amount of time trying to create a password according to the rules for my insurance provider’s new website. I don’t how someone who is older and/or not tech savvy is going to figure out their rules. Ended up having to use a generator and modify to fit their crazy requirements. Finger crossed that I submitted the appeal to the right place because whoever designed their new portal has no knowledge of user experience.

Day 264, Thursday

Just a regular workday. Nothing new, nothing different.

Day 265, Friday

Did proper groceries (in a store!) for the first time in weeks. Woke up at the crackiest, crack of dawn to get to Publix before anyone else decided to go shopping, which worked, but also left me drained for the rest of the day and feeling pretty meh about all the stuff I needed to get done.

Received some late night good news: my MRI was approved!

Day 266, Saturday

Back to the 4-hour writing schedule I set up during vacation. Finished another chapter and have 100 pages to go before this draft is done! I’m excited to get through it and the edits are getting easier now that I’m past the section that needed extra attention. I have a list of details to work through before I send it to betas, but I also have to recruit betas… so there’s that. (Note: If you’re interested in reviewing an angsty friends-to-lovers romance set in Knoxville that features a bi-racial, Cuban-American heroine, comment below or use the contact form to email me!)

Day 267, Sunday

Another writing day. I’m nearing the 300 page mark, which means there’s less than 90 pages to go! I’m starting to really believe I can finish this draft by the end of the month. What joy! I even spent some time organizing my character boards. No one looks exactly the way I picture my characters, but I curate features more than people.

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social distance diaries: days 254-260

in which I am a productive potato

Monday – Sunday

Took a week off to write and think and spend time with myself, sometimes with the boy, every day with the cats. I wrote for four hours every day, except on Sunday, when I only wrote for two hours around a migraine that started in my neck. I completed 32 hours and 57 minutes of editing for the month (excluding any edits I get done tomorrow), reaching 22,983 words for my NaNo goal (I regularly track hours and pages, but added words for this month), and totaling 141 pages (72 of those during my break). This progress wouldn’t have been possible without this time off; I missed too many days due to headaches, grief, and medical appointments this month, but I’m proud of myself for getting through it.

Still no updates on my shoulder, still waiting for my MRI to be approved. Hoping that will happen this week. Thanksgiving was a simple dinner outside with the boy and a cake that continued to feed me for breakfast into the weekend (I’m a cake for breakfast sort of gal).

Enjoyed lots of walks and several naps. I look forward to my next break in December. After no real breaks since March, I needed the time to disconnect from work mode and experience my home as a home again.

Happy late Thanksgiving to those in the States. Stay safe!

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social distance diaries: days 247-253

in which I still don’t have any answers…

Day 247, Monday

A long, emotionally difficult day. Met with the orthopedic oncologist. She thinks it’s likely benign but may be a wait-and-watch or a get-it-out situation. I have another MRI scheduled for Monday and a follow-up right before Christmas, so all possibility of quarantining/testing in time to spend a day with my parents is out the window. I’m not willing to risk it for their sake.

Late in the day, I learned that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He doesn’t know the stage yet, but he has several chronic health conditions and clinical depression, so this is sending him into an understandable spiral. I won’t know more until he has further examination. I just hope they caught it early and it’s not advanced.

I bought sushi and rugelach for lunch and dessert. That was the small bit of joy I found in my day.

Day 248, Tuesday

A day of meetings and trying to cope. I took the day off writing; I just couldn’t get into the right headspace.

Day 249, Wednesday

Intended to catch up on missed writing, but managing one block was all that I could do. There have been so many emotional setbacks this year, it’s been hard to celebrate the progress I have made when there is so much yet to be done.

Day 250, Thursday

Cases are ridiculously high in the state, and my county in particular. My mom has to go to the doctor’s office for a required checkup next week (medicare requirements), so I’m going to have to visit despite my wish to stay away until I’m through with my own medical needs. Sigh. My gran needs someone to watch her, but I plan to keep my distance while I’m there. Another pandemic complication.

Day 251, Friday

All my meetings got cancelled, making it the perfect end to my week! Set up my auto-reply and called it quits by 3pm. I’m on vacation next week, which really means I’m going to be writing without worrying about emails or meetings for 5 days.

Unfortunately, my MRI appointment was also cancelled… well, put on hold at least. Stuff happened and paperwork was missing, so my approval was delayed. I’m desperate for a real diagnosis and the fact that our hospitals are overrun is not reassuring.

Day 252, Saturday

Started my morning with a latte. I impulsively ordered a milk frother/warmer earlier this week and it arrived on Friday. It was a lovely start to my break.

I haven’t made as much progress with my edits this month (so far), but I also realized that two of the 5 chapters I planned to edit were EXCESSIVELY long and needed to be split. I’m about half-way through the book and just about to hit the second part of Act II, so my pace might start to pick up along with the action (I hope!). Regardless, I’m on track to finish by January at this pace, making it through 3 drafts by the end of the year and getting ready for betas note to self: recruit betas.

Day 253, Sunday

Today turned into a life reset day. Trying to get all the errands out of the way so I can focus on my writing goals this week. I normally write for an hour a day before settling down to work, and two hours on the weekends. Sometimes, I manage an extra hour in the evening, but evenings tend to be for movement and self-care (re: avoiding migraine triggers). My goal is to clock in for 4 hours every day this week. fingers crossed It’s been a long time since I’ve had the stamina to revise for 4 hours.

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