social distance diaries: days 57 – 63

social distance diaries

Day 57, Monday

Meetings all day.

Felt two lumps one my male cat. I hadn’t noticed these before, they’re in a spot that is hard to feel and I probably thought it was the edge of his elbow if I felt it before. I already had a visit set for Wednesday to update their shots, but now I have an added worry. I’m hoping it’s not cancer. I don’t want to go through that again.

Day 58, Tuesday

The best day for groceries is Tuesday. Shelves are stocked and if I stick to my preferred store, I don’t have to go through the stress of an over-crowded store (*cough* Aldi and Walmart) while trying to shop for two households.

My car is suffering from lack of attention. Tire pressure was down and my oil must be pitch by now…

Worried about my dad. My sister (same dad only) has been having some on-again-off-again boyfriend coming over. The kind that doesn’t believe covid is real and refuses to wear a mask. Real gem. She’s also 55 years old, so there’s no pass for youthful ignorance. She just doesn’t care about her parents, both of whom are chronically ill. I just hope they don’t bring contagion into the house, for my dad’s sake as well as her mom, who is a nice lady and doesn’t deserve to be put at risk after having heart surgery less than two months ago.

Day 59, Wednesday

Vet day. Did a contact-less drop-off (or as contact-less as you can get when handing off pets and signing forms outside the office. I got a call in the afternoon that they’re both going to need a dental cleaning (I knew this was coming — they stinky), and the mass on boy cat is going to need to be removed. I’m still praying for a benign lump and not a cancerous mass. Today would’ve been my old cat’s birthday and it’s a little too much to think about another loss.

Ironically, I got my stimulus check today. I planned to donate part of it and save the rest, but it’s looking like there won’t be any saving. I’m probably going to donate to Feeding America, but I’m also looking into animal charities.

Day 60, Thursday

Boy kitty had the smaller lump lanced yesterday. He wasn’t feeling great and spent the night hiding under my bed; I spent the night waking up to check on him. Everyone is deeply tired.

Sent a flurry of emails trying to convince my colleagues to run for open positions on the library and university committees. No one wants more meetings, but it’s part of the job, so someone’s gotta do it (I’m on the nominations committee, it’s not some random passion for committees on my part).

Day 61, Friday

Concerned about boy kitty. He keeps hiding under the bed and I haven’t seen him use the litter box since the previous night.

Worked on annual reviews for my department, lots of email, and scheduling meetings for next week.

Plastered the cracks I discovered on my bedroom wall. No paint, but I’m not really fussed about it at the moment.

Crossed some animals.

Day 62, Saturday

Boy kitty is in a better mood, though I’m worried about what his mood will be after the surgery. He’s been struggling with balance since the biopsy and not eating or drinking much.

More things I did not need: a giant nail in my tire.

Day 63, Sunday

Finished a solid chapter. Spent about 3 hours revising and made good progress. Still slow, but that’s just how it goes for now.

First round of laundry complete.

Frustrated with my weird hippie neighbors. The smell of their weed keeps filtering into my place and it 1) smells awful, 2) triggers my migraines and makes me insanely nauseous. Fun.

Most of Miami is coming out of lockdown tomorrow, but I will remain working from home, likely through the Fall semester. I’m definitely not complaining. I’m not eager to be out in public more than absolutely necessary. My body doesn’t need anything else to fight.

I keep meaning to record a video update, but for now, you can hear my dulcet tones on the podcast:
Episode 32: The Princess Bride
Minisode 32.5

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social distance diaries: days 50-56

social distance diaries

*in which we have a banner

Day 50, Monday

The inevitable migraine day. Spent some time working on a review, but had a hard time focusing.

Worried about the reopening process in Florida. Miami is still mostly under lock down, but public spaces have reopened and (of course) people have been irresponsible in their behavior.

Day 51, Tuesday

Woke up early for the first time in what feels like weeks. Got some writing time before settling in for work and meetings.

The boy came over for the first time since lockdown. I’ve been to his place to do laundry and have a couple of yard dates, but he hasn’t been over since day 1. He was surprised to find that my apartment is unchanged except for the tiny table I use as a work station and the art supplies on my kitchen table. TBH, part of me is anxious about being in close proximity. It’s not a good feeling and I hate that this is even a thought that I need to have.

Day 52, Wednesday

Another exhausting grocery trip. It’s so hard to get everything for two households, I decided to take a separate trip for myself. I have regrets. Also an increased level of anxiety. Every time I go out, I wonder if this is the time I catch the virus. Yes, I’m wearing a mask (2 layers of t-shirt fabric with two layers of polypropylene as a filter. Ordered some filters today); I wash my stuff, quarantine what I don’t need right away, but there’s no guarantee and it’s scary when people are not observing social distance measures.

Day 53, Thursday

Hard to focus today. I’ve reached a state where I’ve had to accept that my writing is definitely taking a backseat for the sake of mental and physical health. My lofty plans are not so lofty anymore and an hour of work 5-6 times a week (even if it’s not a particularly productive hour) feels like a major accomplishment. My goals for the year were upended as soon as I started revising my current project, and the rewrite I planned for the manuscript I queried last year is a distant dream.

Yes, after wrestling with the thought while working on other projects, I realized a rewrite is the best thing I can do for that novel. I started it when I was deep in grad school, finding my feet in a new career, and going through major life changes. It’s a project that has grown with me and one that I come back to again and again because I believe it’s worth the effort. But the effort is still going.

Day 54, Friday

Laundry, we meet again.

The university hosted a town hall to discuss the “repopulation of campus”. The current philosophy is no faculty will be forced to return to campus as long as they can continue working from home. We do, however, have our own number of “essential workers” and I hope we can continue to keep them safe when we do reopen. Things are going to look very different this Fall, with only 40% of the on-campus student population (and that reduced to a hybrid model to limit numbers).

Day 55, Saturday

Decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a day early and ordered lasagna from Olive Garden for my mom. She’s been talking about a lasagna craving for days, but I wasn’t feeling brave enough to go buy all the supplies. Take out lasagna it is. I also got her a tiramisu and soup. She was incredibly pleased. My gran isn’t really aware of what’s happening, so her presents are of a supportive nature to assist my mom with her care.

Day 56, Sunday

Another day at home. Even South Florida is feeling the effects of the polar vortex —- it’s unusually cool for May and it’s been raining all day. Spent a few hours writing, not that I made much progress. It’s as good as it gets. Worried about day, who had a sore throat this morning. Is it his reflux or something worse? My sister lives with him and her mom and isn’t doing much to isolate. I can’t do much other than wait and hope it’s nothing. I feel so helpless. Mom and gran are doing ok, but every day brings a new worry.

Did 30 minutes of Yoga with Kassandra. I’ve been doing her morning movement series (in the evenings), but it’s been some time since I’ve done a proper session. It felt good to get a deep stretch. Needed.

 

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social distance diaries, days 36-42

Day 36, Monday

Woke up at the crack of dawn to get myself to the grocery store. No lines, because I went to a store in a part of town that’s mostly under construction, so it wasn’t the horrifying/overwhelming experience I had the last time I went shopping. The bill was insane. My mom/gran go through a lot of meat and milks (yes, plural. different kinds, like fishes) and stuff that comes in boxes. $$$$

Took a nap and felt like I lost a decade coming out of it…

Day 37, Tuesday

Ended up having to go back to the grocery store to pick up prescriptions, but there was a refill snafu and inadvertently ended up at the wrong store. Three grocery stores in two days was more excitement than I needed.

Day 38, Wednesday

Had enough mental focus to focus on work and writing. Noticed my feet looking ratchet and decided to give myself a pedicure (damn you seasonal eczema!)… which escalated to an epsom bath, masking, and self-care reading time.

Not so great stuff: kitty has been having what looks like a hairball issue, but we’re going to have to go to the vet to be sure. My gran’s Alzheimer’s has gotten worse since her daycare routine was disrupted and my mom is having a hard time getting her to eat and drink.

Day 39, Thursday

Had a bad night. Insomnia hit and the worries spiraled so that I spent a solid hour thinking about death. I’m nearing my period, which often means insomnia and depression, but this is a darker turn than my usual.

Gran ate, but mom had a hard time with breakfast. It’s hard not being able to help and worrying about what it would mean if she starts to refuse food and needs support. My anxiety isn’t great.

I took a “nap” which was more like an hour-long meditation on the couch. No moving, just being.

Drafted my annual report for work which includes a lot of false starts and “because of coronavirus” explanations for things that didn’t happen.

Day 40, Friday

Was planning on taking kitty to the vet because she was having a hard time passing a hairball, but then I woke to the best hairball ever! Never have I been so happy to see a weird cat by-product.

Chat and video chat with coworker friends. Then a quick trip to mom’s to drop off some stuff I ordered for her. I convinced her to go outside with my gran and kept my distance for a quick visit. My gran looked happy and I’m glad I was able to cheer her up. It’s the first time I’ve seen her in person since her fall and her bruising is mostly gone, but there’s a small bump on her forehead that still hasn’t gone down.

Spent the afternoon alternating between updating my CV for my annual report and driving to and from BF’s house to do my laundry. I’m counting the weeks by the number of laundry trips…

Too tired of cleaning, so I asked the boy to pick up some takeout. It’s the second time I’ve given in to the lure of food from the outside. I gave him cash, since it was my idea, and extra for a decent tip.

Day 41, Saturday

Writing, more housework, laundry. Realized in the evening that I forgot to take my meds, something that’s only happened a handful of times in the last 15+ years. No wonder I was exhausted.

Day 42, Sunday

More writing (I’m so glad I found some of my focus) and lots of rain. Met online to record the next episode of the podcast, which marks my semi regular return from hiatus.

I was tired this week (PMS) but felt generally well. I’m glad of that.

 

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social distance diaries: Days 22-28

Day 22, Monday

It was a long night. I was up from 1-5 because I was having a hard time breathing through my nose and major pressure behind my eyes/forehead. I eventually fell asleep for a few hours after emailing my folks to let them know I wouldn’t be showing up for my 8-10 shift.

Consulted with the university’s medical director (v. nice doctor) who recommended I get tested just to be sure. Based on our conversation, it’s a 50/50 whether my symptoms are mild “asymptomatic” covid (given my possible exposure at the ER and pharmacy within the last two weeks) or anxiety spurring my usual ailments into overdrive (my temperature has fluctuated but never hit fever level, have had chills, rapid heartbeat, tiredness, sinus pressure, a scratchy/sometimes sore throat that comes and goes, and migraine type headache above my eyes, and toilet troubles that haven’t quit for 5 days at as of today).

I managed to get an appointment at one of the local testing sites and have a follow-up appointment with my PCP to discuss my anxiety.
After lots of phone calls, went about my day and finished with meetings and email.

Day 23, Tuesday

Went to the testing site. It was VERY organized (and Miami people behaved themselves!), Showed up an hour early, lined up (you never leave your car), and was being tested an hour later (exactly when I was scheduled). Whether it’s positive or negative, I just want some closure at this point.

Day 24, Wednesday

Went to see my PCP. Wore a mask, everyone at the office was wearing PPE. He ran some bloodwork but shared the same sentiment as the doctor I spoke to on Monday – this virus has a range of symptoms, so we won’t know until we have a test result. Either way, he tested by CBC, HDL, and TSH, to rule out issues related to anemia, cholesterol, or my pre-existing condition.

I’m calm and not in a state of heightened anxiety but my heart still feels like it’s over exerted sometimes and I have to take a deep breath. Lungs checked out fine. Like I told a fried, I wanted that stethoscope action to give me some insight.

The wait for results continues.

Day 25, Thursday

Slept ok. I’ve managed to get a full night during the last two days. Heart has been a little thumpy today.

Worked my usual shift and trying to catch up on emails from the current and last week. So many messages getting lost in the shuffle.

Trying to get back to projects that I haven’t been able to focus on.

Day 26, Friday

Meetings and stuff to catch up on. I haven’t gone outside in a few days because there are too many people out when I’m free. Played Just Dance to exercise.
Started re-watching Buffy as research for the podcast… it’s going to be hard choosing my episodes.

Day 27, Saturday

Another day indoors. Did some writing and took care of housework. The house is still a bit of a mess, but at least it’s something. Joined in on the podcast for a brief return.

Day 28, Sunday

Worked on another scene. At this rate, I will be working on this draft for months, but it’s the best I can manage in my current state of mind. I have regrets but I’m trying to work through them and keep going. Did half my laundry, the rest to be done tomorrow or Tuesday. This is what happens when you don’t have access to a washer and need to borrow your BF’s in order to avoid the laundromat.

My mental state is better at the end of this week. I also feel better despite needing a few more naps than usual throughout the week. Hoping for results (and answers) this coming week.

 

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social distance diaries: day 21

Day 21, Sunday

Slept in until 8, which is later than usual for me but much needed. Still have a mild headache that may be weather-related (I hope). Tried to write, but it’s been hard to concentrate for obvious reasons. My anxiety is manageable today and no heart palpitations so far (good!). I’m mostly drained after the emotional roller-coaster of the last two days.

Took a very short walk, simply to get out of the house for a few minutes. Watched PS. I Still Love You and it was as perfect as the first.

Migraine still going strong this evening, but it’s mild by my standard. Hoping it starts to rain soon and that it’s just barometric-pressure related.

I have to pick up my mom’s Rx refills tomorrow and I’m dreading the thought of going. The pharmacy doesn’t have a drive thru or delivery option and she has so many scripts, it’s too much of a hassle to have them transferred. Going to pick up whatever she, my BF, and I might need and hope I don’t have to go out again. Pray for me.

 

social distance diaries: Days 11-14

Day 11

6a – roll out of bed and drive over to the boy’s to deliver banana bread surprise.

7a – breakfast while watching more Kim’s Convenience, skincare because it’s been days…

8-10 – chat

11-12 – walk and lunch – starving all morning!

1pm meeting with my department, mostly for the social connection

2-ish – call from mom, trip to pharmacy and near panic because of the sheer number of people NOT distancing at her local grocery store.
[came home to wash from head to toe. gotta admit, my anxiety was triggered by this trip, as was my fear]

more email in the afternoon

more Kim’s Convenience – possibly the best binge ever, so fun and lighthearted. The appa reminds me a bit of my grandfather and my dad rolled into one.

———————

Day 12

kind of tired today, likely PMS (hope). It’s been a struggle to focus this week. Today was a blur of video chats and email. Morning yoga before work and a walk in between meetings. Second day in a row that I take care of my skin (the lack is starting to show).

Super lazy today, not much interest in getting things started. Have to admit, creative work is a struggle at the moment.

———————

The weekend

Day 13

Woke up with a racing heart on Saturday around 3am. It was a rough night and a late morning. Felt like I missed most of the day and had to work 4 hours of chat in the afternoon/evening. Got in an hour of writing and a quick trip to the grocery store for necessaries.

I’m trying to limit my outings as much as possible, but I’m also responsible for myself and my mom/gran :(. Every visit to the Outside feels like a risk but I’m taking as many precautions as I can (including packing wipes, antibacterial gel, wiping everything down, and showering as soon as possible).

———————

Day 14

Sunday was a better day. I suspect my racing heart may be a combination of hormones and anxiety, and I can’t wait for this to end!

Wrote for a little under 3 hours, though that amounted to one scene [dev edits]. I had a plan to have this novel ready for betas by July, but my mental state has led to very little progress. Staying healthy and keeping my family safe is my top priority. It’s been tough writing during the week… at work, I can engage in different activities, working remotely means 8 hours of being online, in a single space. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is switch to a different laptop and write some more.

Right now, I’m relying on weekends to edit and make mental space for creativity.

 

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video: 2010 – 2020 | 10 year retrospective 🌟 goals and achievements

Looking back on the last ten years: moving forward, growing in my field, and considering non-traditional markers of success.

How do you measure success?

Take 5 minutes to write what you did in the last ten years, you’ll probably surprise yourself.

MENTIONED

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Episode 386: High Fives and Forget ‘Should:’ Talking Goals and Resolutions with Scarlett Cole

 

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video: chatty life update, seeking happiness, 2020 intentions

Where I’ve been, working on a new writing project, putting querying on hold to rewrite, my thoughts on book twitter and staying out of it, #projectpan love, future plans for this channel, and more as I try to catch up and re-invigorate.

What are you doing to seek happiness in 2020?

 

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video: writing and living with chronic pain (a followup)

In which I sit down and blather on about trying to write with chronic pain, and how the heck you’re supposed to get on with work when you can barely think (?!).

Also, my sense of time is the WORST. In the video, I say I posted on this topic a year ago… friends, it was 2 months ago *facepalm*

MENTIONED

the view from Sunday: July 7, 2019

Happy Sunday! It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts (I even removed the category). Maybe I’ll turn it into a thing again. Anyhow, editing of the “Sea Story” has officially begun. Kitty is happy to lounge among my mess of planners and documents.

This is what happens when I clear my desk.

img_8820

 

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