social distance diaries, days 373-379

in which there is Nutella

Day 373, Monday

Only going to the office for one day this week. My schedule is too scattered and I’d rather zoom from home if I’m going to be sitting in multiple rounds of meetings. Let’s face it—I’m more productive (and pleasant) when I don’t need to sit in traffic for two hours.

Day 374, Tuesday

Working at home today. I’m still struggling to get back to my morning schedule since the daylight savings switch. It’s never hit me this hard before, but I’ve also been feeling really run down over the last two weeks. I don’t know if it’s the side effect of the vaccine, a migraine hangover, or just me.

Day 375, Wednesday

Had an Argentinian croissant stuffed with Nutella. It was an experience. I rarely eat Nutella, and Argentinian croissants are on another level, so it was all terribly indulgent. Such a rare treat!

Day 376, Thursday

Finished editing the transcript for my upcoming, pre-recorded presentation. A transcript wasn’t requested, but it seems only fitting for a conference about being inclusive. I recommend Otter, but you do need to clean up the transcript after the fact. 25 minutes at 4000 words makes me want to look more closely at the possibility of dictating a novel… think what I can do with that two hour drive if it works.

Day 377, Friday

Took the day I planned to take last Friday. Things obviously didn’t go as planned last week, so this was a much needed reprieve from my usual meetings. Managed to write and take care of all those little tasks I’ve put off for weeks. (Why do I do that?)

Kitty’s abscess checked out fine during her follow-up. This morning, it was barely visible. Such a relief. I don’t know if it’s the shock of a new space, but she’s more mellow with the emergency vet than she is with our regular doctor.

Day 378, Saturday – Day 379, Sunday

Success! Caught up to my writing goal for the month. After last week, I feared it was impossible, but I managed to create the writing retreat vibe that I needed to push through.

Saw my parents in the same place, at the same time for the first time in a year. They’re both fully vaccinated and I’ll complete round 2 next week. It feels like progress, though the likelihood of another spike looms near.

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social distance diaries, days 366-372

in which there is a cat fiasco

Day 366, Monday

Back to work with the start of a migraine ☹️. Came home and laid in bed, but it was too late to stop it.

Day 367, Tuesday

Switched my days and went back to the office to record a conference presentation – recording in my place is bad enough when we record the podcast episodes. There’s always a truck, plane, train, or motorcycle that decides to roar past my apartment.

Day 368, Wednesday

Mom situation distracted me from my schedule… It’s only Wednesday, but this week is already a wash.

Day 369, Thursday

Another crazy early morning. Started with an hour-long drive and more meetings.

Day 370, Friday

Work up to find a giant lump under little girl cat’s chin. My usual vet couldn’t see her, so I had to sort through the local listings and hope for the best (I’ve had some bad vet experiences). I was so scared that I had missed a growing tumor. After my last two cats died of cancer, I’m extra anxious. Luckily (best of a bad situation), the vet found an abscess.

I planned to spend the day writing. Between the cat situation and two meetings that snuck onto my calendar, I’m not off to the best start.

Day 371, Saturday – Day 372, Sunday

Got about 3 hours sleep, all interrupted. Boy cat wouldn’t stop crying and little girl was so still, I couldn’t stop worrying.

Did a thing I haven’t done in nearly a year – ate at a restaurant! Sort of… The place was empty and we ate outside, but it was a lovely experience all the same.

Migraine is back. I knew the lack of sleep was going to trigger it. I’ve been puffy all week because of the meds. I hate it. It’s been a tough week. Not much progress, but at least I finished a chapter.

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social distance diaries, days 359-365

in which it’s been a whole year

Day 359, Monday

Back to campus for my third time in the office. Still adjusting, though it’s kind of a nice change despite the slight increase in risk (I say slight, because I see 4-5 people at most).

Day 360, Tuesday

One VERY long two hour drive through rush-hour traffic/early evening to pick up the boy after work. I haven’t driven such a long stretch since May-ish, when I dropped him off and had a panic attack on the way home. I drove right by the gas station where I pulled in that time to slow my racing heart.

Day 361, Wednesday

A short return to campus. My body was not cooperating and I headed home after getting some work done. No one really missed me. Finished working from home.

Day 362, Thursday

A year ago today, I started WFH.

Today, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Needed a two hour nap and my arm is sore as heck.

Should I call these diaries Year 2 or continue the numbering? I’m leaning towards the latter. (The numbers are a little off because I didn’t start the diaries on day 1)

Day 363, Friday

Arm still crazy sore and a little swollen, but I haven’t had any other side effects so YAY!

Day 364, Saturday – Day 365, Sunday

Migraine and a parental health situation (not quite scare, but not quite routine). Not a very productive weekend, but my body told me to take a break. I planned to write for 6 hours, managed 1.5. I’ll take it.

Didn’t realize it was time to spring forward until I woke up in the middle of the night and my phone told me it was 3 but the clock on the stove said it was 2. Spent most of the morning in a migraine post-drome hangover. Hoping it will be gone by Monday.

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social distance diaries: days 352-358

in which we go back to the office

Day 352, Monday

Early start to my morning to get some revision done before work. The campus was quiet and being in my office felt more comforting than I imagined. Not many people around, and the building is generally quiet, so I didn’t feel as anxious as I feared. Lots of expired snacks needed to be tossed (actually, I’m taking them to my mom so she can feed her possum visitor). I set up my filter and love my new office kettle. Did some tidying—lots of old notes on my desk, old calendars, etc. I need to clear out books for donation, but that can wait until I bring the stack that I have at home. Not sure if I’ll be returning this week. If all goes as planned, my mom and gran should be getting their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, so my schedule will need to be adjusted either way. Currently attending an online, month-long conference/event and starting to outline a presentation that is due in April. At least my office is good for focus.

Day 353, Tuesday

WFH today and super busy too! Meetings and an impromptu grocery trip to pick up meds and stock up on snacks now that I’ll be going into the office on a semi-weekly basis. Luckily, no encounters with maskless fools, but the news coming out of the Florida legislation is worrisome re: our covid landscape. We’re already seeing the effect of irresponsible decision-making with this who return to the office because we can’t live in fear of the virus nonsense. I can very much live in fear of the virus. It has killed hundreds of thousands of people in this country alone, and almost as many people in Florida as we have students enrolled at my institution. So take your anti-science platitudes and shove ’em.

Day 354, Wednesday

Apparently, the Dr. Seuss thing happened. I mean, his past is pretty sketchy (google his history of propaganda), good to know his estate is doing something about it, but it also means there’s a push to make sure the copies we have at our library get placed in the archives and NOT someone’s ebay listing.

I never liked his books, not even as a kid. They’re obnoxious to the nth degree. Fight me (bite me?).

Day 355, Thursday

Back to the office for an online event. I took a little walk around the campus this time. It was quiet, but no more quiet than it is during our regular summer sessions—a few students, some staff. It’s never that crowded on our campus, which is a blessing at this time.

Day 356, Friday

Mom and gran are fully vaccinated! Success! It was a challenge to get gran to the place, but they were able to vaccinate her in the car and the boy helped to get her back into the house. We’ve reached the point where she’s forgetting how to walk and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get her to stand or find the balance to lower down into a chair, even with assistance. It’s a sad situation for everyone involved.

Day 357, Saturday – Day 358, Sunday

Double-down writing day on Saturday for a solid round of revisions. PMS is rearing it’s head though, so I was forced to slow down a bit on Sunday and take care of house work before I’m completely drained.

It’s been a few weeks, but my neighbors are smoking A LOT today and even my filters are having a hard time clearing the air. I hate it.

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social distance diaries: days 345-351

in which I lose track of time

Day 345, Monday

Back to the DMV! Success this time! It took longer to get to the office than it did to get my license renewed, but I’m so glad the wait was short and the place wasn’t scary packed like the last one I tried. ICYMI – I spent three hours shuffling around a mall food court packed with dozens of people while waiting to get into the DMV office, only to find that the state system went offline and was unlikely to come back up before closing. After a tense wait, I was forced to reschedule. Today’s visit was painless and quick.

Took the rest of the day off to write and work through some stuff at home, though I couldn’t resist checking email for updates on the latest drama.

Day 346, Tuesday

Back at it. Another day with more questions than answers, but we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the situation. It’s not great, but there is some flexibility. I’m taking what I can get and making it work for my department with as little risk as possible.

Day 347, Wednesday

Trying to catch up on the conference sessions I missed when WriteOnCon was live by making time in the evenings after dinner. Even though I’m not a kidlit writer, I LOVE the practical aspects of this conference. I don’t invest as much as I should into my development as a writer because of the cost, but I’m trying to do better this year and work through my money hang-ups (poverty PTSD?).

Day 348, Thursday

What even happened on Thursday? It fell into the void.

Day 349, Friday

Woke up at 4am, but was it the wild dream or the cats that woke me? Maybe both. The living room was in a STATE when I got up to feed them.

Despite the lack of sleep, managed to get through the four hours of writing I set as my goal for the day.

Day 350, Saturday – Day 351, Sunday

Spent the weekend working on revisions and making the most of my time. My current method is working better than any I’ve tried before, resulting a lot of efficiency and less anxiety re: slow progress. Started feeling a migraine coming on Saturday afternoon. Anyone else experience full-body fatigue and joint pain before a migraine? I’ve identified it as a sign of prodrome, but I’m curious how common it is.

On Monday, I head back to the office for the first time in nearly a year. Yes, I’m anxious. It feels poorly planned and poorly reasoned. Let’s not get me started on the UK variant predicted to take over the majority of Florida’s covid cases in the coming weeks. I’m not happy about it. I’m trying to make the best of it, but I don’t feel ready to be in an office setting and will start posting passive aggressive signage if people wander to my door to have a pointless conversation.

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social distance diaries: days 338-344

Day 338, Monday

Covid test and breakfast with the boy. First time I’ve sat outside a restaurant, but it was empty and no one was walking by so I felt ok about it.

Day 339, Tuesday

Got our results! Both of us were negative. And, this is sappy, but because we were both negative, I felt safe kissing my boyfriend for the first time in almost a year. It’s been a difficult time for us both.
Meetings… workout, started tidying in between meetings and lunch.

Day 340, Wednesday

Went on a jog for the first time in FOREVER! Since the day I sprained my ankle.
Filed mom’s taxes! Wohoo! One thing scratched from my to-do list!
Tidied around my desk because it was a disaster of random documents.

Day 341, Thursday

We’re getting more mixed messages about returning to campus. I’m trying to remain proactive and establish a plan before things advance, but it’s hard to wrap my head around the demoralizing reason behind this sudden push and the uncertainty surrounding an increase in the number of students in the future. Why bother protecting faculty for nearly a year only to create a super spreader event in the Fall (maybe Summer)? I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Day 342-344 Friday – Saturday – Sunday

WriteOnCon and Virtual Writing Retreat with the Heart Breathings sprint group. I debated not revising until Monday, but then I started and found the sprints incredibly motivating. I did some decluttering to clear my space and my head, and some laundry to get it out of the way. I have a lot of mixed feelings about returning to the office, but I’m not going to worry about that for a few days. Back to the DMV on Monday. That’s my most pressing concern. I’ll start transitioning back to the office and hope for the best in a couple of weeks. It’s a very complicated situation. I can’t be compelled to return until May, but I have my own reasons for wanting to slowly transition back rather than deal with an abrupt return. So many anxieties surround the possibility of contagion and the awful circulation in my office. I’m grateful for the relative safety I’ve had while WFH-ing, but this is a rush job and no one is happy about the reasoning behind it or the message we’ve been given.

What should I call these updates when I go back to work? Stuck in an office diaries? 🤷‍♀️

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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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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 204-210

in which we go to all the doctors…

Day 204, Monday

Was in a meeting where folks were discussing their recent increase in meetings… meanwhile, I have three meeting-free days this month, excluding two days for an online conference. None of those include the two new committees I am now a part of, and none are related to the move to remote. If I was working on-campus, I would still be attending the same number of meetings.

Day 205, Tuesday

I took a look at my schedule and realized I had nothing pressing until after lunch, so I grabbed my ballot and headed to the elections office to drop it off. My vote is in. I hope some good comes of it.

Day 206, Wednesday

Off to the ob-gyn for my yearly wellness exam. She also thinks my arm pain is a knot in my muscle rather than something internal, but I’m still waiting on an approval for the MRI…

Day 207, Thursday

And off to the doctor again for my yearly physical. My OBG and GP are a husband/wife pair and both were open about their views on the current administration’s response to COVID and their personal bout with the virus. Both caught it, along with one their kids. His case was worse (he developed pneumonia and fainted several times), but his wife and daughter developed tremors after recovering. It sounded frightening but weirdly reassuring. Like I too might have a chance… Still, he told me, “keep doing what you’re doing if you haven’t caught it.”

Day 208, Friday

Back to the grind… I blocked out a few hours for a pressing project, but it still wasn’t enough. Spent the night reading so I could away from the screens.

My BF reached the let-my-girlfriend-give-me-an-undercut stage of not being a fool in a pandemic. It was my first time using clippers but it went well!

Day 209, Saturday

Mild migraine rolled in with the storm clouds, but managed to head it off with a low dose of advil. I started laying off the advil after I noticed it was making me retain water in a concerning way, but it’s one of the only pain killers that works for me with some success. Managed to get a few hours of writing in before it wore off, but no rebound headache yet fingers crossed

I used to have regular dessert dates on the weekends, just quick trips to a local bakery for treats and coffee, but those stopped at the start of the pandemic. Today, I took a chance and stopped at one of my old haunts for a small cake for myself and cheesecake for the boy. There were two people eating inside but they left shortly after I arrived, and it took less than 15 minutes, so the risk felt less dire than my recent trips to the doctor.

It was delicious.

Day 210, Sunday

Alternated between writing, cleaning, and paying bills/checking my budget. Decent amount of energy too. Days like today me feel almost normal, which is kind of sad if I think about it too closely.

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