quiet day diaries: week of September 13

Monday

Out of isolation now that my test results were negative. Back to the office and ready to catch up on all the work that I didn’t have the brain space for last week. It was a genuine struggle to be able to focus between the low-level migraine I was nursing and the sense of unease as I waited for my results, all while acting like everything was ok when interacting with people remotely.

My lymph nodes feel a little swollen after my flu shot, but otherwise no reaction beyond the initial arm soreness.

Tuesday

Started the day with a meeting. I cannot understand why anyone chooses to schedule meetings at 9am or 4pm (especially on a Friday). Those are terrible hours. No one wants to meet at those hours. Stop it, you’re a sadist.

Wednesday

Worked from home today because I had back to back meetings from 10 to 4:30 and I like the flexibility of being able to move around without needing to be locked in my office.

Thursday

A day off to deal with mom stuff. The cats were not pleased, but it made for a nice change of pace. Spend the morning reading, then did some tidying and finished up with a few writing sprints. It was a nice reset.

Friday

off to work, off to take another test. The cycle continues.

Saturday – Sunday

Back to writing and a bout of intense dusting. I even wiped down the walls (an easy task I put off for way too long). Next week, I deep clean the bathroom…

Test came back negative, but the boy has been going through something that may or may not be the panini (I heard someone call it this and I love it). Waiting on his test, but he’s doing ok so far. He helped me deal with some of the cat drama on Thursday, but it was a limited exposure so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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quiet day diaries: week of September 6

Monday

I’m starting to think that what I’m struggling with is the lack of change re: editing. At this stage in the process, I would normally be writing in public spaces (libraries, coffee shops, etc.) to give my brain a sense of space that I can associate with work, but every day is the same and every draft has been written inside the same four walls for the last year and a half. Maybe that’s why I’m struggling. It feels like I’m not making any progress because nothing changes. Rationally, I know that’s not true—I’m definitely making progress—but coming to this stage of the draft, where so much of the work is in the minutiae, it feels like it’s dragging along.

I might try music. This is not quiet sprint work.

Test came back negative but my anxious brain won’t let me stop wondering what if I tested too early. 😣

Tuesday

Test done. Hoping my results come in faster than the last time. My throat tightness feels better, but I’m not willing to chance it when I can wait for results. We’re too small of a department and too open to the public.

Wednesday

The place where I work has this absurd cybersecurity training program that happens every year. Well, this year the IT department made such a crap effort at sending out the initial message that I missed it. And so did everyone else in my department. Because it looked like a freakin spam message! Good job newsletter writer who buried the lead and did not even include a link to the training site(!). FFS. It’s due this week and I have a million other things to finish and no time for an hours-long training program that repeats the same information I had to learn last year.

Thursday

Test finally arrived late at night. Negative! Yes! Two scares in as many weeks is two too many. Also, I’ve gotten somewhat used to working on certain types of projects in my office again and this week has dragged.

Friday

Reported my results so I can return to the office next week. As I write, my neighbor is pace-stomping across the other side of my bedroom and I want to hit something. He does this for HOURS and it drives me bonkers. I swear he’s wearing work boots while he does it because it’s beyond loud. This is the guy who also thinks it’s okay to deadlift and slam his weights down in a second story apartment, so I wouldn’t put it past him. (I often wonder at the state of their floors. While my place has terrible carpet, theirs has the original wood floors.)

Saturday – Sunday

A super productive weekend! It was a working weekend, which pushed me to make the most of the non-work hours. It’s like the pressure before a deadline, I often find my focus when time is limited. Not a procrastination thing, just a pack as much as I can thing… not sure which is worse TBH.

Anyhow, I cleaned my car and got it washed (after spending 💸 on maintenance work), got my flu shot, and started going through crutch words I’m culling out of the draft. All in all, a good weekend for life projects.

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quiet day diaries: week of August 30

Monday

Back at the office, feeling like I didn’t get any time off because of my weekend shift (because I didn’t). I planned poorly and should’ve cleared my schedule this week, but no rest and all that. I’m taking a little extra time off during my WFH day this week to make up for it (and to rest my brain because, let’s face it, my work is purely cerebral).

Tuesday

Stormy day with a persistent migraine in my cervical neck area. Sigh. I’m definitely susceptible to the weather. Also, driving stress. It’s been an achy start to the week and I’m extra puffy from water retention because of the advil and the migraine itself. I hate it.

Wednesday

Mom’s test came back negative! 🥳

Thursday

Worked from home today, which was the right choice because I did not feel well during my afternoon meeting. Hurray for Zoom. And the mute button.

Everything feels so unsettled at the moment; it’s getting harder to focus when so much of the future is in question. Honestly, at this point, I’m just waiting for the day I get covid because so little is in my control with our current political situation. And don’t get me started on the latest wave of attacks to women’s rights. Every headline is a real-life nightmare.

Friday

Did I spend most of my day in traffic? Yes. It was one of those days. Just lots of driving. And another covid test. 😞

Saturday – Sunday

Am I avoiding my latest look at the draft? Maybe. Or am I just burned out? Likely, both.

Saturday started with a lost dog adventure courtesy of the boy and ended with a semi-planned jaunt across county lines to buy black sugar milk tea mix at my favorite Korean market. It was a worthy effort to procrastinate. Tomorrow, I will face the damn draft once again.

On the bright side, it’s been cool enough to open the windows for the first time in months. At least there’s a silver lining to the very wet weather we’ve had this week.

Sunday. Still waiting. It’s highly unlikely that my results will be available until after the holiday, so I’ve been put on the quarantine list at work. My throat feels tight and has for a few days, which is how my mom’s infection started and my coworker’s too. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but this may be th one.

No writing yet. Taking care of housework and trying not to fixate on possible symptoms.

Meanwhile, I’m catching up on the vlog.

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quiet day diaries: week of August 23

Monday

I work in education and classes have started once again. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about the influx of students on campus, though it is nice to see students get excited about our welcome back freebies. Even our ugly water bottles have been a hit. (They’re hideous. The person who designed them should never be allowed to design merch.)

Mom got tested today. 🤞 hoping she tests negative. The aide who infected her and my gran might also be offer her infection, so my mom might be able to get some help again (the agency, understandably, would not send an aide while they were infected… though, yes, it was an aide who infected them. It’s the crazy state we’re in).

Tuesday

One of the people in my unit is sick. We don’t know if it’s covid yet, but it’s not like it’s impossible. Luckily, everyone in my unit is vaccinated, so I feel some relief knowing that. Went to get myself tested and advised the others who were in contact with this person to get as well. I’m defying policy by doing that, but I care more about our collective health than some stupid policy.

Anyhow, it was a long morning, made longer by the fact that there was a poorly timed change to our library system a week ago, so the volume of phone calls, chats, and zooms has been bananas.

I saw an article in the NYT about folks complaining about being required to go back into their “isolation bubble” and all I can say is the grass is always greener. I wish I was in an isolation bubble instead of exposed to thousands of people every day, but that’s Florida for you.

Wednesday

Disaster. Mom’s test was invalid because the sample was bad. For reasons it’s really hard for her to get tested and now she has to do it again. I got her an at home test in the meantime.

Thursday

Got a negative covid test! 🥳An hour later, I get a notice telling me I need to test because there’s a confirmed case in my department and my timing might’ve been off. Deep sigh.

On the plus side, moms at home test is negative. She wants a PCR to be certain but I’m pretty sure she’s in the clear.

My life is a reflection of the sad state I’m in at the moment. Trying to stay positive.

Friday

Gran’s test came back and she’s still testing positive, 20 days after the first sign of infection (which was a mild fever). We can’t tell if she’s feeling anything because of her Alzheimer’s (she can no longer communicate) but she is showing no visible symptoms.

Still waiting for my test results to verify or negate my earlier test.

Saturday – Sunday

The weekend kind of got away from me. Worked on Saturday and it was non-stop busy. I felt drained after my shift and didn’t want to do much of anything, which led to a bit of unplanned restaurant spending. It’s a long story, but I’ve been trying to reduce my non-essential spending and the weekend definitely took me over my planned budget for the week. Sunday wasn’t much better, but it led to some nice moments, which I don’t regret. Memories are all we have sometimes.

Second test came back negative 😊. Hoping we don’t have another scare in my department.

In my exhaustion (cough depression), I failed to share the last few episodes. These were extra fun to record and brought some lightness to my days.

Minisode 47.5: Follow-up & First Impressions The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

Gricel laments the lack of time, Bee begrudgingly is amazed by a long-awaited trailer, and Kat invites us to a mysterious mansion for a cup of stars. The lady nerds continue discussing Ireland, resurrect the Matrix, and cannot escape Stephen King.
  1. Minisode 47.5: Follow-up & First Impressions
  2. Episode 47: Derry Girls
  3. Super Special: Summer of Love

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a departure from our regularly schedule program…

No diaries this week. My brain is fried and my body is drained of all energy. My mom and gran are improving, for which I am eternally grateful. Gran turned 90 on Saturday, while recovering from Covid. Mom’s test came back positive on the same day, but there was no doubt what her diagnosis would be.

My latest vlog covers the story. [see the description page for timestamps]

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quiet day diaries: week of August 2 – 8

I’ve started posts for the last two weeks and given up. Things have been complicated lately. My cousins are doing better, but I’m not sure about my aunt. There are a lot of emotions tied to that side of the family and it’s never been a great relationship, hence, complicated. I’ve also been dealing with difficulties among my staff, which has been a challenge.

To top it off, my grandmother’s home health aide caught covid and my grandmother developed a mild fever two days after the aide started feeling sick. My mom hasn’t had any symptoms yet (knock on wood), but all my worries have come to a head and I can’t do anything to help them. I’m grateful that they were vaccinated as soon as it was available to them, but I’m upset that the one person they depend on never bothered to get vaccinated herself and put them (plus her other elderly clients) in danger.

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quiet day diaries: week of July 19-25

Monday

wfh today. caught up on several tasks that required concentration and outlined points for a video series that I need to record for work. WFH days are not new for me, but I’ve learned to value the uninterrupted time that I can get when I’m away from my office. (I love my office, but there are a lot of distractions and it can get chatty)

Tuesday

Back to the office to record those videos. Goodness, I’m out of practice talking with my presenter voice. Recording the podcast used to take it out of me during the start of the pandemic, but my work voice is more “professional” (re: clearer and louder) and I don’t have the same break in conversation if I’m talking to myself for hours. Seriously, like 2 hours of recording and editing for what came out to roughly 15 minutes of content 😅.

Wednesday

Learned that my cousins caught Covid and their mom caught it for the second time. They’re the side of the family that refuses to get the vaccine. My feelings are very complex. There’s a part of me that wants to roll my eyes and say I told you so but I also don’t want anything to happen to them. There are a lot of emotions tied to this side of the family too. We were estranged for years and there are still a lot of tangled feelings around that.

Thursday

The elder of the cousins ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. My mom called me in tears because the hospitals are closed to visitors and it hit her what that means for someone on the inside. It’s just one of the many tragedies of covid that so many died alone.

If you can get your vaccine, get the vaccine. My cousins are another statistic among the “young and unvaccinated” that are driving this current wave of infections.

Friday

wfh again today. It’s so hot though; I miss the cool air in my office. I told myself I would get some writing done today, but I’m having a rough time of it lately. This round of revisions is kicking my ass in terms of motivation and I’m starting to think it’s just burn out.

Saturday – Sunday

Feeling that low energy mood, but managed to get back to revisions. Baby steps. Stuck to the easy revisions instead of the energy-intensive ones… future me will hate me for it, but this is what I need right now.

I’ve been making some lifestyle changes lately. After a mild case of maximalism, I realize that it’s time to get back to a saver’s mindset and reevaluate what brings me joy and what I can go without. I’m going on a targeted No Buy for the next few months, starting with excess food spending (goodbye subscription box) and curbing my recent makeup and skincare binge (I really don’t need more makeup, it’s a sign of my dissatisfaction with life at the moment rather than a genuine need).

Latest vlog

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quiet day diaries: week of June 14-July 2

in which I disappeared for a few weeks.

Monday, June 14

Office time. Spent the morning updating my CV for work… I really should get better about regularly updating this thing, but I know I won’t. It’s a pain every year, but not a high priority. At least I keep a general list as I go, it’s just not pretty.

Tuesday, June 15

So I finally made an appointment to see a neurologist about my migraines. Don’t ask me why I waited this long, I have no real excuse. Just been tired of having to see so many doctors over the years, but I’m growing increasingly concerned about my brain health given my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s. I’m just scared that the migraines are affecting my brain… Anyhow, I have an appointment. In January. Sigh. It’s a step, at least. I’m on a waiting list for cancellations in the meantime.

Wednesday June 16 through today

also known as the days I was too distracted to track

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but with my draft off to betas and my autoreply on, I had the chance to go offline for the first time in… well… years. It wasn’t even planned. I took a day to read, walk, watch TV (let’s be real – it was YouTube and Netflix), and enjoy the little things. Then, one day became two, became three, became a week and a half away from my laptop. I signed on at the end of the second week to pay bills and meet to record the latest podcast episode, but otherwise, it was the perfect way to treat myself after years of writing on vacation or worrying about time away from writing.

Getting back to work felt different after being offline for so long. Almost like a fresh start.

Sadly, much of the weekend and week to date has been filled with updates about the Surfside condo collapse. The images are heartbreaking, yet I can’t look away. The chance that someone survived in the rubble is looking slimmer by the day, but officials say they still have hope because they’ve located air pockets in the rubble. It’s so tragic. It’s the sort of event that makes me value every second with my loved ones.

If you’d like to help, you can find how to donate on the Miami-Dade Emergency Management site: https://www.miamidade.gov/global/emergency/building-collapse/home.page

You can follow developments here: https://www.miamiherald.com/topics/condo-collapse/

On a lighter note, the latest episode of the podcast is live and it’s a fun one.

Episode 45: The Mummy The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

In which we revel in the combined hotness of the cast, give props to strong female leads while also wishing for stronger female supporting characters, and unanimously agree on the high enjoyment levels of the movie. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the 1999 film The Mummy.    

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quiet day diaries: week 1 (reset)

new title, same old semi-socially distanced days

Monday

Back to work… Monday is turning into my usual office day simply because I like to get into the work mindset to start the week. Day two is pretty variable, but it’s been Wednesday or Thursday for the last few weeks. Later during the term, I’ll build up to three days a week. Not that I’m looking forward to three days of terrible commutes… case in point, today’s afternoon commute took a little over an hour and I only live about 15 miles away.

Tuesday

Spent a few hours trying to make Scrivener produce a decent ebook for reviewers… it’s ok. It’s not great. It also didn’t work as planned, so I had to resort to producing a PDF anyhow. One of my work friends agreed to be my first reader, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. I usually don’t give my books to people I work with, but she’s the perfect fit to get feedback on certain aspects of my heroine’s appearance.

Also confirmed my suspicion that it is not going to be that easy to find a good stock photo of my protagonist. She’s biracial (Cuban and Dominican), with curly hair, tan skin, freckles, and hazel eyes. I found a decent free image, but the model isn’t as tan as I picture my character (may try to mess around in photoshop). Still, it works as a mockup 😉.

Wednesday

Back to the office so I could wrap up my office days and take part of the day off on Thursday. It was my longest office day yet with a series of literally back-to-back meetings and scheduled tasks that made it nearly impossible to walk away from my desk for more than bathroom breaks. The one thing I hate about working in the office under current circumstances is that I move very little throughout the day because I’m not walking around my apartment, setting up my laptop in different areas for a change of scene. I also don’t want to linger in open spaces or around other co-workers (for my safety as well as theirs). My office days are productive but I feel like a robot sitting in my office.

Thursday

Celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday. Last year, I delivered her presents and stood outside for a while to celebrate her 69th, but this year (thanks to Pfizer) I was able to take her out for the first time in a year. Because she’s my gran’s fulltime caretaker, she hasn’t been able to leave the house much, and the handful of outings have been for medical reasons. I do her groceries, but I’ve offered to watch my gran a couple times a month for her to get some air, so to speak, though she hasn’t taken me up on my offer yet. It felt so nice to be able to give her a day off. My BF watched my gran for a few hours while I took her to lunch (she wanted to go to Denny’s) and went on a light shopping spree at a new Ross that opened near her place. It was a simple outing, but she was thrilled and I was happy to make her day special. (it was also the first time I ate INSIDE a restaurant since 2020)

Friday

Today was my mom’s actual birthday, so I dropped off a pair of indulgent treats from the French place I tried in one of my recent vlogs. Spent the rest of the day up working from my bed though. My periods have been unusually painful for the last two cycles and my hips were super achy. I suspect a cyst 😥

Saturday – Sunday

Cramps made me ache all weekend. I’ve barely moved in three days because of the soreness in my legs. It feels like I ran a marathon.

I took most of the week away from writing, except for attending a workshop on querying tips and prep (it was excellent!). Just got feedback from my friend who agreed to beta a while back, and sent out the draft to a reader who I read for a few months ago. Going to reach out to two of the writing groups I joined earlier this year and try to connect with a few more readers before I dive into the next round of edits (video update on this novel coming soon). I’m excited but also feeling that anxious ball in the pit of my stomach that comes when I think of the next stage and how long it takes me to complete each draft.

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social distance diaries: days 422-428

Two days late, but you’ll know why when you get to the last entry 🥰

Day 422, Monday

Back to the office, may have gotten on the last nerve of one of my colleagues, but I wouldn’t be silenced (plus, I knew what I was talking about). Forgot to put my mask on when running to the restroom during a quick break and was dreadfully shocked by the nakedness of my face. Luckily, no one noticed (not that it even matters anymore – see Florida politics).

Day 423, Tuesday

Woke up with a mild migraine that I suspected was coming last night… currently, under wraps, but 🤞. My mom has a dreadful cold that I hope isn’t a breakthrough Covid case. She’s extra delicate when it comes to infections because of all her health and immune issues, and she recently had a number of health workers in and out of the house because of my grandmother’s home needs. We used an at home rapid covid test… the result was negative, but those aren’t as effective or sensitive as a proper PCR test. Still, it’s all I could manage because we can’t leave my grandmother alone and my mom doesn’t know how to get to the testing locations on her own (she has a lot of anxiety re: driving. Only made worse by the last year in isolation). Anyhow. Hoping for the best. I ordered her some meds to alleviate the symptoms and she’s been taking the stuff I stocked up on last year (because I panic prepped for exposure). I’m going to get myself tested on Friday, but was told that I don’t need to quarantine because I’m vaccinated. (the university has a covid response department to screen cases)

Day 424, Wednesday – Day 425, Thursday

Online conference days and my first fully online, remote presentation went live (really wish there was an interactive component though).

Day 426, Friday

Feeling a bit burned out lately. It’s been really difficult to focus, particularly on reading and writing.

Day 427, Saturday – Day 428, Sunday

Set out to work on revisions and charged through the weekend until I got to the end of the draft! Hooray! Small victory but still a victory. Next step: betas and proper query prep.

I set myself up for success by taking care of all the housework before Saturday. Being a single adult who still has to feed herself, take care of two cats, and clean the house/do the dishes/do the laundry, etc. really takes a toll on my writing time (and that’s not counting work, commute, and migraine days).

Question: since I’m not entirely socially distanced anymore, I think it’s time to change the title of these entries. Should I go with “quiet day diaries” to match my vlog? Or something like “living alone diaries”? Thoughts?

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