social distance diaries: days 394-400

Day 394, Monday – Day 400, Sunday

Most of the week was a blur until Thursday. Started Monday with a migraine that attacked my head, my neck, and my digestive system. I managed to get some work done between the waves of relief and resurgence, but it was one of those attacks that wouldn’t respond to any of my relief methods—no amount of pain meds, TENS, herbal tea, yoga, massage, or hot/cold therapy could make it go away. I slathered on every kind of mentholated muscle cream I own over my neck and brow, but some migraines just don’t respond to anything. It finally reached what I think of as the crescendo when I woke up on Thursday morning and was gone by the end of the day. Friday was the first real day when I managed to feel well enough to get a sustained amount of writing done, and that high got me through Saturday as well. Sunday turned into an unplanned day off when I learned that my dad was having a particularly nasty bout of depression. I don’t know how much time I have with him, his cancer treatments have stalled and I worry that it’s progressing without our knowledge, though I sincerely hope I’m wrong. Either way, making time for a visit felt more important than a few hours of editing. It proved to be a good distraction for him and I’m blocking a day in my calendar to take him grocery shopping this week.

However, my afternoon proved emotionally draining when I witnessed a horrible instance of animal cruelty that I had no way of stopping or not seeing. It occurred on a busy highway as I was on my way to visit my mom. People are disgusting and I can’t wrap my head around what they did. I got off the exit and drove up and down that stretch of highway multiple times, slowing to a crawl with my blinkers on to see if there was any possibility that it survived, but there no sight of the animal and I can only hope it died quickly if that was its end. I write this because I need to get it off my chest but I don’t want go into detail because it hurts to think about it, though I’ve been replaying it in my mind all evening, wishing I could’ve done something, all while knowing there was nothing I could do with so much oncoming traffic. It was cruelty, plain and simple and I wish I could say it was a rare occurrence.

It’s late now and I know this is something that my anxious brain will keep replaying for days.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: days 387-393

in which I am emotionally spent

Day 387, Monday

There are some weeks where projects sneak up on me like bunnies appearing out of a hat. I think I’m all caught up, then bam! Not an ideal start to my week and my brain is scattered after the weekend’s productivity. I have to remind myself that this is a cycle.

Day 388, Tuesday

To the office for meetings and laptop updates (there are some updates I’m not allowed to run on work devices). The meetings took over my day, not much to show for my day except a pair of new laptop/monitor stands that I installed to alleviate neck strain at work.

Day 389, Wednesday

Posted last week’s vlog at long last [watch it here]. I don’t think there will be much of a vlog this week, if any [not a vlog, but a gentle reset video coming as scheduled].

My heart broke a little tonight. I’m grieving a part of myself and struggling to move on.

Day 390, Thursday

It was a rough night. I’m not in a great place, emotionally or mentally today. Like so many other moments, this is a season and it will pass, but it’s the kind of passing where something is irrevocably lost in the process.

Day 391, Friday

Hard to focus when my heart isn’t in it and my head hurts. I took a wellness day and only logged on for an hour of chat. The most work I was able to manage.

I made a list and feelings were discussed. It’s a start.

Day 392, Saturday – Day 393, Sunday

Focused on self-care this weekend. No writing, no worrying about being productive, just took time to take care of my physical and mental wellbeing.

Feeling much better this weekend. It’s been a journey of healing over the last few days.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries, days 380-386

in which there is little sleep and a lot of pain

Day 380, Monday

So insomnia is back. Woke up at 4am, my brain spinning with thoughts and fixating on a random comment posted to one of the writing groups I recently joined. Went to work a little earlier, took a quick trip to my mom’s, and managed not to collapse until I got home.

Day 381, Tuesday

Slept a bit better, but I definitely have a migraine that keeps coming and going. Interrupted sleep isn’t helping.

The day was good, the evening not so much.

Day 382, Wednesday

Another crazy early morning. My brain just won’t stop whirring at random hours. I laid off the caffeine earlier than usual today. Hoping I don’t wake up at 1 am again. Yep, that’s what happened last night. Up at 1, fell asleep, up at 3, fell asleep, and so on until I finally rolled out of bed around 8:30 after shutting all my alarms off (even the one that requires me to get out of bed and walk across the room).

Vaccine #2 tomorrow. I’m so glad that I was able to get it. The numbers are starting to rise again in Miami, and I don’t look forward to having a campus full of unvaccinated 20 year olds running around this summer. My migraine/neck pain is still throbbing. Going to take some advil before bed (less than my usual dose) and hope I don’t have a full blown attack in the morning since I can’t take advil before the shot. The pain ebbs and flows.

Day 383, Thursday

Vaccine #2! Instant soreness and general lethargy. Had a giant breakfast to celebrate the milestone.

Day 384, Friday

Fever hit around 2am. On and off all day, but it finally broke sometime around dinner. Arm still mad sore!

Day 385, Saturday – Day 386, Sunday

Arm slightly sore on Saturday, but quickly improving. Started my CampNaNo project, which is to get as close to a finished draft as possible so I can send it off to betas.

Another early morning on Sunday. Woke up at 4am after some weird nightmare involving the little girl cat. Had to get out of bed and check on her just to calm my racing heart. Couldn’t get back to sleep after that, so I did something I never do—I sat down to write at 5am, cup of coffee by my side. Met my daily goal well before I normally get up, but there’s no way I can ever do this regularly. Aside from the nightmare, I’m not fully alive at 5am. I’ve tried it before; I burn out by the end of the week. If that’s your thing, more power to you. I struggle with chronic fatigue and insomnia, choosing work over sleep doesn’t end well for me.

Speaking of which, this week’s vlog is going to be a few days late. I thought I’d be able to edit it tonight, but it’s more than twelve hours since I woke up as I write this and there’s no way I’m nearing empty.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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? 🤷‍♀️

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: days 331-337

in which there is too much to absorb…

Day 331, Monday

Week started with meetings, and it only went downhill from there…

Day 332, Tuesday

Signed in to my email to find a message from our president asking that we double down on the return to campus. No real plan, no real details, completely unsound reasoning IMHO. Spent the time between meetings creating a plan, schedules, and rationales for each should I need to be ready to state my case.

Had an emotionally draining meeting that requires a follow up later this week to figure out whether or not we’re facing a potential HR situation with a coworker whose behavior is starting to feel like harassment. Then, found out the boy spent his day at work on Monday with someone who now tested positive for covid.

Day 333, Wednesday

More meetings to discuss this repopulation situation and my department chair is missing? Our last exchange suggested we continue as we have been, but I’m not sure how the HR meeting today might affect that plan. Met with my department today to discuss contingency plans. At least, I’m prepared and they’re on board with my rationale to keep everyone safe.

The boy had a preliminary test (we know it won’t work for Monday’s exposure, but there were other reasons for the test). I’m testing tomorrow as a follow-up to the DMV fiasco. He’s retesting next week as well.

[I’ve been vlogging this week’s emotions in real-time, so you get to see them live on Monday]

Day 334, Thursday

Went to campus to get a covid test as a follow-up to last week’s DMV fiasco. Receiving contradictory updates and my unit head is still missing, so I have no real answers yet. Proceeding as we have been (based on the last exchange we had) until I hear otherwise.

Had an upsetting phone call from a colleague. Not their fault, it’s an old situation that resurfaces on the regular, but still upsetting (and particularly disheartening as it involves people who should know better).

Late in the day, my mom and gran received a call from the city to schedule their covid vaccines…

Day 335, Friday

Test results arrived around 10 am, they were negative (big sigh of relief). I was able to drive my mom and gran to get their vaccines, and spent the night without having the dread of potential asymptomatic spread. I kept my mask on while I was in the room with them, and my distance any time removed it to eat or drink, but I didn’t have the constant sense of anxiety I had last time I spent the night (last hurricane season… knock on all the woods that we don’t get another insanely active season).

I recount my mom’s symptoms in Monday’s vlog but, briefly, mom had a short-lived headache, tiredness, and body aches, but nothing beyond what she feels when she gets a flu vaccine. Gran displayed no discomfort. They received the Pfizer shot.

Day 336, Saturday

Back home after spending the night on my mom’s couch. They’re were doing well when I left and my mom is feeling herself. I, however, was exhausted after a draining week and a terribly stiff couch (if only I could convince my mom to get a new one… still working on trying to talk her into getting a new mattress).

I took the day off from writing, though I’m way behind on my goals for the week. Either way, it was a necessary and deserved rest. I relaxed, put together a new storage unit for my closet, re-homed all my sweaters, and enjoyed uninterrupted reading time before recording tomorrow’s minisode for the podcast.

Day 337, Sunday

Happy Valentine’s if you’re reading this on the 14th! I don’t care what anyone says, Valentine’s has always been my favorite and I am here for all the kitschy heart swag. Enjoyed takeout sushi from the fancy Japanese place that I always pass up as too pricey for anything less than a date night. We sat outside and had a nice chat on my covered roof/deck area. The boy’s initial covid test was negative, but it feel outside the desired window of testing for a PCR test, so I couldn’t risk anything closer than that. We’re getting another test tomorrow and hoping for the best. I’m fairly confident I’m in the clear, I’m on day 10 since potential exposure, but just in case.

Hope your Valentine’s was the best it could be.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast