quiet day diaries: week of May 31 – June 6

Monday

Day off! Finally sat down to record a very long, very belated thyroid health update for my channel… Besides my tieks reviews, this is the video that gets the most views and comments.

Also recorded a very long writing update about my current WIP. I’m feeling the existential dread of post-beta revisions (received feedback from my first reader, out to a second, and posted a couple of calls for volunteers). Baby steps.

Despite all that, today was a low level depression day. Likely hormonal, but never a fun time. Every little thing set me off and made me want to cry.

Tuesday

Off to work. Caught up on a fair number of tasks that were starting to pile up. I can’t tell if I’m getting more comfortable being in a public setting, or I’m glad to have the right people for company on the days when I go in to work. Either way, it makes for a nice change of pace even if I spend most of the day stuck to my desk.

Wednesday

It was a productive day, then I saw the power and light trucks roll up to the street beside my building and knew it was a bad sign. I blasted the AC units until the power went off at 8pm, dug out the camping lights I use for hurricane season, and sorted through the fridge for foods that could be shipped off to my BF’s house before they became a loss. It was a long night.

Thursday

Got to bed around 3:30 am. The cats thought we were having a sleepover as I tossed and turned on the couch, jumping every time the power guys made some crazy new noise that tore through my tired brain. Up at 7:30 when the cats demanded food then back to bed before having to settle in for the first hour of chat I optimistically signed up for on Monday. It was a long day and I was grateful for my hoard of ramen by the end of it.

Friday

It’s the first time I’ve gone to work on a Friday since returning to the office. Apparently, I was too sneaky because they shut the lights on me.

Saturday – Sunday

Saturday became a take care of life stuff day… As often happens, the laundry piled up while I was taking time to take care of all the other stuff that I set aside in favor of writing. The single life is lovely, but I do envy writers who have a partner that likes to take care of the cleaning and cooking. There, I said it.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of cleaning and laundry with too much caffeine to keep me going. The boy also decided to try to teach me to play some of his instruments. I failed as a musician years ago; this might not be a promising start.

In other news, the latest episode of the podcast may be my favorite to date 🙂

Minisode 48.5: Follow-up & First Impressions The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

Kat locates more haunted houses to love, Gricel is too scared to sleep, and Bee teaches us kung fu. The lady nerds trade Sarah Waters favorites, look forward to more spooky stories, and follow the white rabbit.  

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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 240-246

in which there are distractions…

Day 240, Monday

Woken at 5 by one of those horrifying weather alerts. Nothing to get you out of bed like an alarm blaring by your head. The first time I ever heard one of those, a tornado swept down the road, so I respect the warning.

Tried to get back to bed after feeding the cats, but a second alarm came an hour later. Gave up and got my hour of writing in before my energy flagged.

Had the day off from work, because storm days are South Florida’s version of snow days. TBH, it felt like the storm days when I was a kid and got to stay home from school. Obviously, I’ve been home from school for a while, but the lights are on and the flooding isn’t as bad in my town as it in others, so it was a nice break from the grind. One city reported 17 inches of rain overnight and power was knocked out for thousands; I’m grateful I didn’t have to deal with more than an alarm.

Day 241, Tuesday

Back to work and catching up on projects before meetings. Managed to get my laundry done between the rain storms.

Day 242, Wednesday

Had the day off for Veteran’s Day, but ended up having to take one of my mom’s cats to the vet. Luckily, nothing major, just a UTI, but there went my day.

Day 243, Thursday

Every fall for the last 5 years or so, I’ve hosted a high school class at the library and taught them how to do research. Because of covid, this year’s session was online and I had to adapt my resources to freebies only, since they won’t be allowed to visit the university. About 30 minutes before the class was scheduled, I started to feel the first warning signs of a migraine. Managed to keep it at bay with some advil and a cold pack, but it rebounded with a vengeance.

Day 244, Friday

Migraine all day. I took it easy because it was hard to look at a screen. Attended meetings and showed my face briefly when called, but not much energy to get involved.

Day 245, Saturday

Migraine peaked around noon and improved by 3pm. FINALLY. One of the weird side effects I get is uncontrollable hunger coupled with an upset stomach (fun), so I was starving all morning but also feeling nauseous. Good times. Anyhow, I was craving cake and went to my usual bakery, forgetting that it would be packed during lunch time because people keep eating in restaurants. It took less than 15 minutes to get to the counter, but I must admit, it felt riskier than anywhere I’ve been in the last few months. Hoping my mask/filter and the fact that I was there for less than the suggested time for exposure was enough.

Podcast recording in the afternoon, which was a real treat. For the curious, you can catch the minisode here.

Day 246, Sunday

Feeling more myself today. Caught up on sleep and spent the morning writing. It feels so good to be able to focus without pain stabbing at my head and neck.

Going to the oncologist tomorrow, hoping for some sense of direction.

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social distance diaries: days 226-232

in which a lot has happened and not much at all

Before we start…

Cases in Florida are rising at an alarming rate.

Every day, the numbers in the tri-county area are going up and Miami is getting closer to the kinds of numbers we were seeing in July and August. This gives me the same level of hopelessness I felt this summer. I hate it. Wear your masks, everyone.
And if you’re coming to Florida for the theme parks or the beaches, remember we’re open because our economy is based on tourism, not because it’s safe.

Day 226, Monday

A busy start to the week with another trip to the vet for Cookie Cat, this time to re-test for FIV. His last test was inconclusive and I need him to be clean before I can bring him home to live with my super delicate little flower of a girl kitty.

Worked on projects that were piling up now that one of my working groups is sort of done… I think. Anyhow, I’m in between tasks for that one so I get to catch up on everything else.

Day 227, Tuesday

Great news! Cookie Cat is clean! I’m not 100% ready for a new addition, but keeping him indoors is the best option for him and my mom already has one secret cat too many in her apartment. I already had a collar for him (was saddened when the first test came back inconclusive), so I ordered a tag to go with it. I need some more supplies to ready for his arrival since I retired Candy Bear’s bowls when he passed. He’s a sweet boy, so I’m hopeful that he’ll get along with baby girl (she has a grumpy face but a sweet temperament).

Day 228, Wednesday

Day 1 of an online conference… Not as enthused about this one as I was the last one I attended. And I’m on the planning committee (yikes). It’s kind of a mess IMO. The online format leaves a lot to be desired for this one. (some do online well, some don’t)

Day 229, Thursday

Underwhelmed by day 2 of the conference, so I spent most of the day writing and catching up on some much needed rest (migraine broke last night, so I was feeling good for the first time in days). Did some cleaning in preparation for Cookie Cat’s homecoming tomorrow. Fingers crossed
Also, recorded a short life update because it’s been months and I never bothered to upload the last one I recorded.

Day 230, Friday

Cookie Cat came home. It was an uneventful homecoming. Waiting to see how they react to each other.
Got my MRI results. My shoulder is fine but there was a concerning spot on the image. It’s likely a nonaggressive cartilage tumor, according to the radiologist’s report, but they recommend further study. I made an appointment for my PCP per the ortho’s recommendation but I’m feeling pretty low. Wondering if I should reach out to a specialist rather than wait.
Had the long-coming, inevitable political fight with my mom. She’s old Cuban. In Miami, that means one thing.

Day 231, Saturday

It was a rough night. Between the cats being too scared and intimidated by each other, I didn’t get much sleep. Add my anxiety about the MRI results and it was not a restful time. I woke up with a very stiff neck, soreness in my arm where the strain was aggravated by poor posture, and one heck of a migraine that made me nauseous for hours.
I puttered around the house, tidying and trying to encourage the cats to get closer. Not much luck to start. Squeezed in a 25 minute writing sprint to wrap up a scene, which leaves me with my most productive month of editing, clocking in at 30:32 hours.
It’s been a struggle to get into the headspace I need to revise this novel. It’s a romance with a heavy dose of angst leading up to a friends-to-lovers HEA, but getting to that HEA means I have to work through my own anxieties to find the mental space to write.
Every time I think I’m moving forward, something throws me off.

Day 232, Sunday

Happy first day of NaNoWriMo! I’m sort of participating as a rebel while continuing edits. Also told myself I would be more active in the community this year. We’ll see how well that goes, but if anyone wants to add me as a buddy, I’m @emperatrix.

Sleep was not had last night. The cats are still skittish around each other and Cookie Cat wants love but also runs away when I approach. Apparently, this is normal behavior for him. It’s going to take a while for him to be comfortable, but I REALLY need sleep. sigh.

All that to say, my weekend writing plans were all a bust, but I managed to wrap up a chapter.

Addendums

For the curious, I filmed a brief October recap/life update. It’s short because my connection can’t handle a massive upload, but such is the current state of affairs (I really miss the ludicrous speed of the university network). Also, filmed before the latest development in my health journey.

Finally, if you need something to listen to while dealing with the existential dread of the upcoming election, the latest episode of The Bluestocking Circle Podcast on Ella Enchanted is now available. I didn’t enjoy the book, but the movie was an experience.

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loves & latest: September 17, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons Series) by Sarah J. Maas

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I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this series. A few months ago, I read Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu and really enjoyed it. The Icons series reimagines the history behind the characters, going beyond the usual origin story. You don’t need to know everything about the characters to enjoy the stories; this is a modern takes on classic characters that encourages new readers. To comics fans I say, “They’re worth a read.” I’ve heard doubts about the YA rating, but these are YA only insofar as the characters are young and not yet established in their roles. Selena is 17 when the novel opens, 20 throughout the rest of the story. Bruce is 19 in Nightwalker. I’ve yet to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer, but she’s next on my list. Sarah J. Maas does a wonderful job of imagining a backstory that doesn’t involve sexual abuse, which is a major win in my book. Her Selena is different, but well-developed.

Beauty

Sappho New Paradigm CC Cream in Light

The only thing that could make this product more perfect is SPF. It’s the most perfect color match I’ve found in a green beauty product, no scent, not stickiness, it dries matte and doesn’t oxidize. I LOVE IT!


Latest

Podcast

bluestocking-circle

Didn’t know I co-host a podcast? I do!

The latest episode of The Bluestocking Circle celebrates Garth Nix’s Sabriel. Minisode 13.5 announces the next work in our series. If you want to hear three lady nerds talk superheroes, give us a listen on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify.

Follow us @bluesoxcircle on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

loves & latest: August 6, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Uprooted was one of my favorite books of 2017 and I was ecstatic when I learned that there would be another work in Naomi Novik’s re-imagining of Eastern European fairy tales and folklore. This one concerns a Rumpelstiltskin like story. It’s a dark, compelling story and one I’m intrigued to finish.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

An old favorite that I recently revisited, Sabriel is a classic and still perfect in every way. It is also the coming theme for the next episode of The Bluestocking Circle, so read up now!

Beauty

Medieval by Lipstick Queen

This has genuinely become my go-to lipstick for every day. It’s sheer and glossy with just the right amount of color to look natural and put together. I also find that the formula lasts long and does not dry out my lips – win-win!

Affiliate links provide a tiny stipend that supports the podcast.


Latest

Podcast

bluestocking-circleDidn’t know I co-host a podcast? I do! 

The latest episode of The Bluestocking Circle is on The Flash (CW). Our previous episode was on The Incredibles and Incredibles II. If you want to hear three lady nerds talk superheroes, give us a listen on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify.

Follow us @bluesoxcircle on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

loves & latest: April 23, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Finished the Veronica Speedwell mysteries and now I’m in that weird space where I can’t find a book that lives up… In the meantime, I’m trying to find the time to read Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (because as a woman who has been dismissed, misdiagnosed, and chronically sick, I want all the support I can get).

Beauty

A follow-up:

A few posts ago, I gushed about how much I love the Ilia lip conditioner in Pink Moon, then I started to suspect it was causing some irritation. I stopped using it for a few weeks and wore it again last week. Suspicion confirmed, it makes my lips look like I’ve been out in the cold too long. Really dry and red around the edges. I’m debating whether I should return to Sephora or give it away. It had such promise.

Other things I’m loving:

My InstantPot! My mom gave me a mini and I’m loving the speed and efficiency it provides. Even just using the saute function speeds up my meal prep and saves me the extra time and heating costs. (Old Florida apartments were not made for climate change temperatures. My apartment is hot and the kitchen heats up like you wouldn’t believe. Needless heat? No thank you.)


Latest

Podcast

Minisode 8.5: Final thoughts on Star Wars/Spaceballs (and even Howl’s Moving Castle), favorites, and an announcementbluestocking-circle

In other news: The podcast is now available on Spotify!

You can find the episode on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, or Google Play.

Video

April Update

All the things, and where have I been?

 

Monday Musings: Loves & Latest

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Part of reducing my consumption and learning to live simply is my desire to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. I have a long way to go, but this book provides practical, tested advice from one of the top advocates of the Zero Waste Movement.

Beauty (aka. on my face)

Nothing new, but I am appreciating a nude pink lip now that the season is changing. Current rotation: MAC Mehr and Patisserie (obvs. not cruelty free or eco, but I’m not a purist), and Kosas Undone.


Latest

Media

Between writing and life, I shoved recording to the side, so no videos for the moment. Instead, I give you the latest installment of The Bluestocking Circle Podcast — lady nerds on popular culture.

I got to play host for Episode 7: Howl’s Moving Castle, so if you love Howl as much as I do, give it a listen. Follow us on twitter and instagram for updates and plenty of fangirling.

Monday Musings: Loves & Latest

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Howl’s Moving Castle

In preparation for the next episode of the Bluestocking Circle Podcast, I re-read and re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle and fell in love anew. It’s been some years since I consumed (hehe, Howl joke) either of these works and I adore them still.

Beauty

Ilia tinted lip conditioner in Pink Moon (Sephora)

I had some Sephora credit and decided to give this a try… it was well worth the impulse. The color is just the right amount of bright berry lip and it’s not too heavy or dramatic for a daytime/work look.


Latest

Podcast

The Bluestocking Circle Podcast Episode 6: Pushing Daisies

In which we discuss the right balance between fantasy and realism in romance, the rise and fall of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the legal and ethical ramifications of drugged pies. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the TV series Pushing Daisies.

You can also listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Podomatic. Or follow us everywhere @bluesoxcircle

Videos

(so I like making weird faces…)

Moodboards

I made a board for the podcast and it is a thing of beauty 🙂