social distance diaries: days 155-161

in which we miss a storm and do too much

Day 155, Monday

A Monday like any other. I wasn’t ready to get back to work after my short break and it took some time to find a groove. A lot happened while I was gone (just two days and shit hit the fan), so it was a matter of sorting through the backlog in order to catch up.

Day 156, Tuesday

An unexpected return to the vet for a follow-up no one mentioned… A weird encounter while waiting to pick up the kitty that involved a woman who refused to pay her vet bill after leaving him in the office for 10 days and then proceeded to open the carrier in the parking lot… on the edge of a main road. Cat got out, chase ensued. Luckily, her cat went into the bushes and wasn’t as skittish about being handled as mine because my heart was in my throat the whole time.

Lots of meetings in between drop-off and pick-up and a bit of emotional turmoil throughout. It was a difficult day, but I’m glad we’re almost done with vet visits for this one (minor surgery next week).

Day 157, Wednesday

Trying to recover from yesterday’s upheaval. I settled in and managed to catch up on projects, meetings, and cleaning my inbox (which was completely unmanageable). My mind hasn’t been clear enough to focus on creative writing, but I’m on target to meet my goal for the month if I can push through the weekend fingers crossed.

Paid bills after dinner, which is an event of late. Since I’ve started managing my mom’s orders and payments, it’s been hard to keep track of my budget using my account. I’ve resorted to a manual list of purchases to sort between her stuff and mine. The total always gives me a shock, but I have to remind myself that I’m managing bills for two homes and ordering stuff I would normally buy in person with cash, so it’s not breaking my budget, but highlighting our spending habits (and all the vet bills I’ve been charging to my card).

Day 158, Thursday

So much happening as we prepare for the term to start on Monday AND we have a will-it-come-our-way tropical storm/maybe hurricane situation on the rise. Long, tired sigh. If it does, I’ll have to pack up and head back to my mom’s with a cat that hates being picked up and REALLY hates her crate. Ordered delivery for lunch because I couldn’t handle the thought of dishes.

Day 159, Friday

After an Instacart fiasco wherein the groceries I ordered for my mom ended up at someone else’s house (felt really bad for the shopper, but there was no way to communicate the error for a number of reasons)… I packed myself off to the grocery store at 7am to avoid other shoppers and get out before things got busy.

A long day. Didn’t get enough sleep. Caught up on work stuff to make up for my slow start.

Day 160, Saturday

No hurricane watch (for now)! One of the local meteorologists recently called it “selfish, but good news” when he reported that the forecast track had shifted far enough to keep South Florida out of the storm’s path. It does feel selfish, but I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the mess of another trip to my mom’s with my cat… plus the fear and anxiety that comes with every threat.

Day 161, Sunday

Another sleepless night. Got up to feed the cat and went back to bed. I hate sleeping in, because it feels like I miss most of the day, but I was desperate for sleep. Didn’t do much good though. Got up to a cat litter box incident (hoping it was bad aim and not another urinary issue–she literally just finished a round of antibiotics), impromptu cleaning session ensued. Sigh.

Didn’t meet my writing goal for the week, but I’m still likely to hit my goal for the month.

Podcast (recording) time in the afternoon. Reading time until bed.

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social distance diaries: days 148-154

in which I commit to self-care

Day 148, Monday

Back to prepping for the start of term, though it feels like the summer lull is never going to end. Not complaining about the lull, just the weird limbo that comes with not being able to work on the sorts of projects I normally complete during the summer (usually physical reviews of the library collections and planning for events… neither of these is happening any time soon). Research is at a 0 because who cares at this point? Not a great feeling.

It’s too hot to think. Finished the scene I started editing on Sunday, but focus was tough.

Day 149, Tuesday

Back to the vet run… follow-up for injured cat and dental cleaning for feline sister.

Day 150, Wednesday

So feline sister had to stay overnight on Tuesday, so my day started with yet another trip to the vet. I have now been to the vet more times in the last three months than I have in the last three years. And there’s at least one more trip to go for the injured cat, as his abscess has dried into a hardened thing. He’s on antibiotics to see if it clears up, but will likely need a mass removal. sigh.

Spent the rest of the day catching up on the projects I started on Monday. Pretty productive, actually.

Day 151, Thursday

I’m taking two days off. Last week’s day off became a vet day, and the week before was full of anxiety because of the storm… I’ve realized that work and home life have blurred into each other, and weekends are not always the relaxing, barrier-resetting events I’d like them to be, so I cleared my calendar for two days of writing, reading, resting, and not scheduling other people’s needs into my day.

Briefly had to break that last goal because my mom’s smoke alarm started blaring for a new battery and she couldn’t reach it because of the bursitis in her shoulder. Luckily, I had the right batteries at home and the drive was quick. Tomorrow, I’m not dealing with anyone else until I finish my writing sprints for the day.

Day 152, Friday

Success! No drama! (mostly. There was some work drama, but I got is secondhand via two of my sources. Not getting involved. I don’t get paid enough to fight this fight.)

Caught up on my writing goal for the week 🙂

Day 153, Saturday

Had my first run of the week. Legs are starting to feel stronger, but my heart was struggling. I don’t run with the heart monitor because it’s massive and I’m scared to break it (there’s a $1500 you-break-it-you-bought-it fee), but my heart rate goes pretty high according to my fitbit. Still building my stamina.

More writing. It’s been a good weekend. Hoping to maintain this momentum.

Day 154, Sunday

My grandmother turned 89 earlier this week. I don’t know if she really recognizes me anymore, and then there’s the mask, so… but I wanted to commemorate her birthday in some way, regardless of her awareness of birthdays. I’ve been buying her toys and things to keep her hands busy for the last few years, but she’s been fisting her hands a lot lately and bruising herself on hard toys. Found some soft, slo-rise squishies that fit in the palm of her hand and took them over today. I haven’t been out in weeks, beyond those trips to the vet (all cats and cards exchanged outside), so I went inside for a little bit (masked and keeping my distance, of course). She seemed to enjoy the squishies. Seeing her decline has been rough. It’s gotten worse since quarantine; she’s getting so little stimulation at home, but at least she’s safe at home.

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social distance diaries: days 141-147

in which we reach the cleaning frenzy stage of quarantine…

Day 141, Monday

So glad to be back home, but still tired despite getting a full night’s rest. Two days of sleeping on my mom’s couch with three of her colony cats to keep me company means I’m still catching up on lost sleep and dealing with a crick in my neck.

A slow start to my week and another return to the vet, though this time for a planned visit rather than another emergency.

Day 142, Tuesday

Slightly more rested today, so I managed to catch up on some of the project’s I abandoned during last week’s storm prep. Work writing, but no novel writing because the energy isn’t quite there.

Ordered some pizza for dinner with what I hope was vegan cheese (I really couldn’t tell and part of me suspects it wasn’t). My tummy will tell… Cheese aside, had a really weird moment where some random lady “literally” got up in my face before I could dodge out of her way—mask hanging from her ear and all. My anxiety could’ve done without a stranger invading my social distance bubble. In brief, it was a small pizza place, I was standing to the side, blocking the soda fridge so I wouldn’t block the register. Woman walked in, didn’t pause or give me a chance to shift before walking straight at me (it was three steps from the door to the fridge at most). I twisted away, but it was still too close for comfort on a day when the state reported more than 7000 covid cases. Not pleased.

Pizza was good though.

Day 143, Wednesday

Much more productive today. Managed to get started on several projects between meetings and chat. I’m not mentally prepared for the start of Fall, if I’m being completely honest. I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to continue working remotely (and that’s a privilege I don’t take lightly).

Randomly, decided to sweep on some eye shadow. It was unexpectedly invigorating after nearly 5 months of 0/minimal makeup.

Day 144, Thursday

Just tired today. Kitty’s random cough/sneeze turned into a series of cough/sneeze attacks that concern me, so off to the vet tomorrow.

Day 145, Friday

Kitty has to stay at the vet because they had too many appointments and she needs to be sedated to be treated (she vicious). My mind has been drifting all day and not having her around has me anxious.

On an ever-in-the-back-of-my-mind sidenote… I live in a tiny, privately owned apartment building that is attached to two commercial spaces (all under the same property owner). There’s been a lot of discussion about rent and evictions and everything that is happening in the world… I’m not in that situation, but I am constantly worried about the possibility that a) my landlords won’t be able to pay their property taxes (because 1 office and 1 apartment are currently empty, and they haven’t been able to keep their business going) or b) they die (because hello, hotspot). It’s a very real fear that rears it’s head at the worst moments and my “worst case scenario” personality has been spinning circles. I don’t feel sorry for my landlords — they definitely have more options than I do, but the possibility that they default on their taxes makes me nervous and definitely makes me feel sorry for me.

Sigh. Just praying for some good neighbors.

kitty had to spend the night at the vet’s because they were so swamped with cases(!). She’s so small, they just needed one xray (tiny nugget!)

Day 146, Saturday

Kitty came back home. She hasn’t sneezed or coughed since her treatment started, but we’re waiting on a radiologist’s report to see if anything is going on in her lungs. I’m hoping it’s a run-of-the-mill infection and not asthma or anything chronic.

Spent most of the day in a funk. Low energy and not much desire to get things done. I hate feeling this way, but it happens.

Day 147. Sunday

Started writing again, but it’s a VERY slow start. I don’t have the energy to focus and the mood I’m in isn’t helping. I don’t think August will be as productive as July. It’s also increasingly hot, which makes me feel lethargic.

To feel some sense of accomplishment, I organized the storage in my closet. Having one closet means that EVERYTHING gets stored in there and, while I don’t have that much stuff, it piles up when there’s only one shelf.

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Summer makeup declutter

I haven’t worn makeup more than 2 or 3 times since March 17th. March 16th was the last day I went to the office, and I probably didn’t wear makeup then, but let’s call it the 17th. Regardless, quarantine has taught me that I really don’t need any of this stuff for the foreseeable future, if at all. Part of me was tempted to toss everything or only keep a hand-full of products, but I know myself—I’ll end up repurchasing the shades I tossed as soon as I get bored, so I kept a decent amount of variety.

A lot of my beauty products are “natural” or small-batch, which means expiry dates are short (6-12 months on average). The first round of cuts included everything that had started to turn/smell/separate/or looked wrong – which meant all my sapphos, fitglow, and two of my twinkle * apothecary lip to cheeks. The rest are products I: a) don’t use, b) was forcing myself to empty for the sense of accomplishment (I’m over it), or c) don’t work for my skin or skin tone.

The result is a curated collection of lip products in my preferred shades/brands, and a small batch of cheek and eye options. Not pictured is my small collection of palettes (and by small, I mean 3 palettes and 1 on the way because how could I resist the Colourpop Sailor Moon?) and a couple of basic shades that are part of my WFH rotation when I need a lift.

I’m satisfied for now.

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#projectuseitup: quarantine empties, pt. 2

quarantine empties

Not going out is definitely having a positive effect on the number of things going out vs. coming in.

What I used up in June and July.

  • ACURE seriously soothing cleansing cream: hands down, my favorite cream cleanser my evening cleanse. It leaves my skin soft and smooth, and is a constant repurchase.
  • Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin: Rainbow Light is my favorite multivitamin brand. I used to take their Once Daily, iron-free blend but something about the formulation changed and started to make me nauseous. The Women’s Multi is a capsule and easy to swallow. It also includes several of the herbs and supplements I take for PCOS/hormone balance, so I don’t need to take a handful of pills.
  • Solgar B Complex 50: I’m a flexitarian and take B vitamins when I lean more heavily in a plant-based diet. I’ve since switched to a spray-based b12 (when needed) because I get my Bs in the multi.
  • Rosehip oil (blue bottle): Just a generic rosehip oil that I use as part of my nighttime skincare routine. Rosehip brightens my skin (it has vitamin C) and offers light moisture.
  • Adagio teas, Alexander Hamilton tea blend: Not a Hamilton thing, just a random sample I received with an order :). It was an unexpected treat; just the right amount of light coconut flavor in a mild green tea blend.
  • Candle minis Currently Reading by Novelly Yours, Old Books and Reading at the Cafe by Frostbeard: I’m systematically working my way through the candles I purchased in the last year. Novelly Yours was part of a self-care book box and smelled like a sweet coffee latte, while Old Books is an old favorite that smells like fresh grass (to me, at least) and Reading smells like a thick chocolate drink (better for winter, but I only had a little sliver left).

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social distance diaries: days 134 – 140

better late than never…

Day 134, Monday

Had a weird night with weird aches. Not gonna lie, I get nervous every time. My nightmare scenario is something going wrong and having to go the ER in the middle of this mess.

Went walking after lunch and took a path I haven’t taken in a while… I live near one of the nursing homes with the most covid cases in the state and lowkey panicked because there were two unmarked white trailers across the street. (update: they were gone the next day)

Day 135, Tuesday

Started my second week of running 🙂 Happy about it.

Trying not to panic about the storm that may be heading our way. There’s only so much I can panic about at one time, and I’m not going to freak out about this one (yet). It does, however, mean that I’m making an emergency plan and grateful that my post-cardiologist visit quarantine has resulted in no symptoms.

Rescued an injured bird… glad my mom has a cage just for these situations.

Day 136, Wednesday

It’s been a struggle to stay motivated today, but I reached my writing stretch goal for the month so I’m taking a couple of days off to focus on other tasks before the start of the new month. Also, charging backup batteries in case the power gets knocked out in my neighborhood because, let’s face it, it goes out during a strong rain storm and there’s a light pole in a precarious situation just down the road (and has been for at least a year while they repair other poles in the area).

As I write this, I have taken two naps and had 2 non-breakfast coffees. (I’ve scaled back while WFH-ing, so that’s a lot).

I am itching to do more cleaning and decluttering, but keep reminding myself that there’s not much I can do to pass it on if I do… decisions… In the meantime, I got nostalgic and ordered Fall candles and a retired fragrance from Bath and Body Works that I definitely don’t need. This will be the summer of my Cucumber Melon comeback. We’re going to spray it like it’s 1999.

Day 137, Thursday

Darn heart monitor woke me up at 2:30 am and I didn’t fall asleep until nearly 4:00 am. Sigh. Tired, but completed my morning run… Not sure what Saturday run possibilities will look like, what with the storm threat and all.

Watching my first virtual conference of the season. TBH, I feel like a I’ve “aged” out of these conferences. Everyone is doing the same thing they were doing back in 2009 when I attended my first one… Also, next year marks my 10th year in the profession… it all circles back.

Day 138, Friday

Another trip to the vet with the outdoor kitty, and the “watch and wait” game with Hurricane Isaias. I’m not too fussed, but I’m still debating waiting it out at my mom’s house or staying home. Pro: mom’s place is less likely to lose power, Con: I’d have to finish packing and stuff my cat into a crate that she hate. (There are some other issues too, including the always present threat of asymptomatic covid transmission, but the cat/crate situation is the most pressing and draining).

Day 139 and 140, Saturday and Sunday

Spent the weekend at mom’s, waiting out the storm that veered away (no complaints here). It’s always hard spending a significant amount of time at my moms—we get along and I love her and my gran, but it always reminds me why I left. I can only help so much and we work best when we have our own spaces.

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off the shelf: what I read – July 2020

Still Reading

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane – barbarian romantic fantasy is a flavor I haven’t tried…

Finished

Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins – Selected purely for the pirate lady cover. I was thrilled to find that the heroine is a Cuban pirate/rebel/thief, but wish it had played a larger role in the plot. My one pet peeve: the Spanish is not quite right (including the main endearment), but I doubt anyone involved in the editing was aware of it shrug.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai – A sweet romance with a thoughtful look at PTSD and trauma. It’s cute, but I prefer Alisha Rai’s earlier series. This series leans into Women’s Fiction territory more than contemporary romance IMO.

Daring and the Duke (Bareknuckle Bastards series) by Sarah MacLean – Brazen and the Beast is still the best in this series (IMHO), but this was a great follow-up. I love a redemption story (not a surprise, if you’ve been following my recent reviews), and this one hits the spot.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (Rules of Scoundrels series) by Sarah MacLean – I didn’t love this. The “nerd girl who is clueless about sex” trope is popular, but not one that works for me. I skimmed to the end, so I could move on to the next book in the series.

Audiobooks

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole – back at it…

DNF

none! yay!

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social distance diaries: days 127-133

surviving the summer of our discontent…

Day 127, Monday

Completed my writing goal for the month, which gives me enough time to start an extra chapter before July ends (if all goes well). My goals are super modest, but they’ve been keeping me on track for the last few months.

Day 128, Tuesday

Started my new running plan using Nike Run Club. Also gave in to an unplanned splurge (damn you clever marketing!) and upgraded my fitbit alta with a fitbit inspire, so I can finally monitor my heart rate.

Day 129, Wednesday

Planned to get started on a review, but best laid plans were unlaid. Oh well. If this strange period has taught me anything it’s to accept the unexpected with as much grace as possible.

Trying not to obsess over the possible hurricane churning in the Atlantic… I’m more prepared than ever because of my pandemic stock and excess of batteries from last year’s hurricane prep. Still… I really DON’T want to deal with another crisis on top of the current one.

Day 130, Thursday

IBS? PCOS? Who knows, but I felt pretty rotten. Hoping it’s a passing symptom and not a sign of something else. I’m one week into my post-Dr’s visit quarantine and feeling fine otherwise. And by fine, I mean low-key tired, but what else is new?

Day 131, Friday

Back to the vet. Mom’s outdoor kitty with the abscess has some sort of resistant infection, so he got a new round of antibiotics and the Dr. sent a sample to the lab. Same thing happened last time 😦

Met with one of my department faculty to figure out some plans for the Fall. Finding the motivation to plan activities for the Fall term has proven difficult. Not sure how successful we will be, but it’s a start and we both need the motivation.

Received my 30 day heart monitor. Maybe I’ll have some answers after this… maybe an inkling?

Day 132, Saturday

Completed my weekly running goal and a return to my old habit. It was hard. I can barely manage a few minutes without feeling like my legs are going to fall off, but it’s a start.

Writing and podcast recording in the afternoon. I completed my writing goal for the month a few days early, so I upped that goal by a chapter.

Day 133, Sunday

I planned to write but gave in to the siren call of a cleaning frenzy. Deep cleaned the bathroom, did the laundry, and sorted through my linen closet/supply cabinet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a darn sight better than it was before I went through it.

Spent the rest of the night reading, which felt pretty glorious.

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social distance diaries: days 120 – 126

wherein depression hits hard…

Day 120, Monday

Balancing work stuff and life stuff in this weirdness that is the WFH life while providing elder care from a distance… Picked up mom’s kitty from the vet. He looks a lot better than the last time he had an abscess (then it took nearly a month to heal, multiple trips to the vet, and several tries to find the right antibiotic to get rid of the infection. We thought he was going to lose his tail, but he didn’t). I’m not yet ready for another cat, but the possibility is possible…

Time to prep the special, multi-category grocery list for this month’s trip to Publix… where I will freak out several times and possibly have a nervous breakdown if the cart gets too full to push (again).

Day 121, Tuesday

Grocery time… and an epic migraine that knocked me out for most of the afternoon into the evening. Was it the weather? Was it tension? Was it hormones? Who the F knows?! At least it was strong but quick to leave fade.

Day 122, Wednesday

Back to the cardiologist for my results… I have a slight valve defect! Which might account for some of the weirdness I’ve been feeling for the last year and a half (and maybe more?). Waiting to be approved for a 30 day monitor to try to capture the events I feel. Like a wonky car, I had no symptoms during any of the previous tests.

Day 123, Thursday

I can’t even remember what happened… meetings?

Day 124, Friday

Back to the vet, which is a whole experience in lockdown. Kitty needed to have his wound flushed again and a new round of antibiotics. It’s been an emotionally draining week.

Day 125, Saturday

Writing for the first time since Monday. Finished the chapter I was working on — a long one that required more focus than I had this week.

Worried because more people are testing positive in my parents’ buildings (yes, plural, 2 separate homes). Started noticing the frequency of sirens over the last few days as well. I live on the same street as the local Fire Rescue/Police station, and the number of emergency calls is definitely on the rise.

Also worried about the boy and his risk at work and home 😦

Day 126, Sunday

Another morning of writing… I’m in a mood and it’s left me drained.

Boy changed the oil in my car, so I’m all set for future grocery and vet runs (although, please, no more EMERGENCY vet runs).

I want to start running again. I stopped when COVID started because I was anxious about getting hurt and needing to go to Urgent Care (not an unlikely occurrence), but I’m going to try short jogs and see how it feels. I’m months out of practice, so it’ll be a fresh start.

Also, not gonna lie… the days are starting to blend into each other and this “diary” is one of the only tools I have to make them feel distinct. Since visiting the Dr.’s office, I’m committing to a 14 day quarantine and hoping for the best. I debated getting tested, but I’m going to wait it out this time. There are so many cases, it feels futile to get tested right now. (It took 10 days to get my results last time.)

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social distance diaries: days 113-119

this place is burnin’ up…

Day 113, Monday

Quick trip to the cardiologist’s office to return the monitor I wore on Friday/Saturday. I’m not sure it will reveal much since I didn’t have any heart palpitations of note during that period 😦

Day 114, Tuesday

Had to go to mom’s to supervise her telemed appointment. She’s barely mastered how to use FaceTime, Zoom wasn’t happening. TBH, I didn’t feel great about having to be there to help. After two visits to the Dr’s office in as many weeks, and a couple of quick trips for food, I don’t feel right being around her and my gran, even if I’m masked and keeping my distance.

Day 115, Wednesday

Logged in to email to find a mess of a situation that needed my attention. It drained what was left of my spirit this week. Decided to take the next two days off, since I’m working over the weekend. I feel like every day off I’ve had in the last few months has turned into an ordeal involving family and/or cats. Even my birthday weekend was complicated by other people’s problems. I’m hoping for two quiet days… or as quiet as they can get. I have to watch my gran on Friday while my mom gets blood work for her followup. As before, not feeling great about the risk.

Day 116, Thursday

I took a day off. I needed it. I told myself it would be a good day.

Day 117, Friday

Another day off, this time with obligations. Had to watch my grandmother while my mom went to her dr’s office for a labwork appointment. And I’ll be heading back tomorrow to take one of her strays to the vet. There is so much happening right now, and I’m grateful that I can keep my mom and gran safe, but I’m just so TIRED of having a new crisis every single week. I’m also tired that she keeps “adopting” strays. It’s a real problem. She has a very limited fixed income, and I can’t afford to cover her vet bills on top of mine. My cats came from her colony after they developed health issues… I sometimes wish I had the following to set up a fund set to offset the constant cost. She wants to help every creature (so do I), but she forgets that she’s poor.

We’re also in the middle of a heat wave that’s set to run through the weekend into Monday. I don’t want to spend hours sitting in a hot car (hello, pandemic hot spot) while I wait for the vet, but I also don’t want to neglect a cat that needs help 😦

Day 118, Saturday

To the vet we went. Kitty had to spend the weekend until Monday. It’s an abscess (second time this happens) and not any of the other increasingly more terrible possibilities my mom dreamed up.

Day 119, Sunday

Weekend chat. It was long and dull.

Meanwhile, Miami is now the hottest of hotspots and I’m seeing an increasing number of out-of-state plates in the area (there are hotels not far from where I live and they’re definitely housing tourists). Don’t even get me started on the videos coming out of Disney…

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