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).

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quiet day diaries: week of July 12-18

Monday

My summer of vet appointments is on a roll. All regular checkups minus the drama, so that’s a plus. I took the day off but it turned into a family day rather than a catch up on writing day. Let’s just say no writing has happened in days, though I did finish reading the draft and outlining revisions.

Tuesday

To work we go. I’m mostly alone in the office at the moment, which is great for my low-level anxiety re: covid.

Wednesday

Having a really hard time focusing this week. My PMS fatigue is at an all-time high, which is making it extra hard to focus on anything that requires solid concentration.

Thursday

Had an encounter that left me shaken. Saw a guy fall off his bike next to a median (moped type thing). It happened as I was turning onto the road (it’s a side street), so I pulled up to help. He was down and on the floor when I stopped to ask if he was ok, but he proceeded to blame me for his fall. Unbelievable. He looked fine and I didn’t want to get into an argument, but way to treat someone who wanted to make sure you were ok. Of course, my anxious brain keeps fixating on this.

Friday

Hosted an hour-long training session at work and realized how long it’s been since I’ve used my “work voice” for an hour straight.

Saturday – Sunday

I managed to write! I set a very modest 5k word goal for Camp NaNo because I’m revising minor details and rewriting specific scenes at this stage, but even that seemed next to impossible until this weekend. TBH, I’m unlikely to reach that goal with my current list of revisions, but I rewrote two scenes and got up to a 1230 words, about 600 of which were brand new to the story. That feels like some sort of victory after the last two weeks. I’ve barely managed to focus on developing my outline for draft 4 and it’s been a struggle to sit down and get to work. Hoping this becomes the start of a productive streak. As always, my goals are modest, but an hour a day should see me through this draft without too much strain on my wellness.

Recently on the pod…

Minisode 45.5: Follow-up & First Impressions The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

Kat amps up for a summer of love, Gricel is won over by coffee, and Bee preps us for a princess tale. The lady nerds unearth a forgotten 90s gem, continue to be charmed by Brendan Fraser, and give a millennial classic the royal treatment.

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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 of May 31 – June 6

Monday

Day off! Finally sat down to record a very long, very belated thyroid health update for my channel… Besides my tieks reviews, this is the video that gets the most views and comments.

Also recorded a very long writing update about my current WIP. I’m feeling the existential dread of post-beta revisions (received feedback from my first reader, out to a second, and posted a couple of calls for volunteers). Baby steps.

Despite all that, today was a low level depression day. Likely hormonal, but never a fun time. Every little thing set me off and made me want to cry.

Tuesday

Off to work. Caught up on a fair number of tasks that were starting to pile up. I can’t tell if I’m getting more comfortable being in a public setting, or I’m glad to have the right people for company on the days when I go in to work. Either way, it makes for a nice change of pace even if I spend most of the day stuck to my desk.

Wednesday

It was a productive day, then I saw the power and light trucks roll up to the street beside my building and knew it was a bad sign. I blasted the AC units until the power went off at 8pm, dug out the camping lights I use for hurricane season, and sorted through the fridge for foods that could be shipped off to my BF’s house before they became a loss. It was a long night.

Thursday

Got to bed around 3:30 am. The cats thought we were having a sleepover as I tossed and turned on the couch, jumping every time the power guys made some crazy new noise that tore through my tired brain. Up at 7:30 when the cats demanded food then back to bed before having to settle in for the first hour of chat I optimistically signed up for on Monday. It was a long day and I was grateful for my hoard of ramen by the end of it.

Friday

It’s the first time I’ve gone to work on a Friday since returning to the office. Apparently, I was too sneaky because they shut the lights on me.

Saturday – Sunday

Saturday became a take care of life stuff day… As often happens, the laundry piled up while I was taking time to take care of all the other stuff that I set aside in favor of writing. The single life is lovely, but I do envy writers who have a partner that likes to take care of the cleaning and cooking. There, I said it.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of cleaning and laundry with too much caffeine to keep me going. The boy also decided to try to teach me to play some of his instruments. I failed as a musician years ago; this might not be a promising start.

In other news, the latest episode of the podcast may be my favorite to date 🙂

Episode 46: The Princess Diaries The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

In which we fail to do the homework, impart a heartfelt lesson on friendship and the sunk cost fallacy, and are annoyed by senseless adaptational changes. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the book and movie The Princess Diaries.

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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 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.

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social distance diaries: days 317-323

in which I seek inspiration

Day 317, Monday

Back to work…

Day 318, Tuesday

I signed up for a 3-day revision workshop and really wish I could’ve taken the time off this week, but I’m scheduled for a bunch of meetings I can’t miss. It was a long day, but a productive one overall.

Day 319, Wednesday

And I thought Tuesday was long…

Day 320, Thursday

Day 3 of revision workshop. I still haven’t found my people, but the lessons have given me plenty of food for thought for the next round of revision. I have a plan! Actually, I already had a plan, now I have a roadmap to jazz up the draft for readers and subs.

Sudden cold front rolled in late in the day; it’s going to be a lovely weekend for cool weather. Whip out the sweaters!

Day 321, Friday

I felt an overwhelming sense of dread, thinking about the next revision. Decided to take a chance and print it at my local FedEx. I normally print at least one draft during my revision process, but I haven’t had regular access to a printer since March, so this is the first printed copy. My sense of overwhelm relaxed when I started to look through it and outlined my plan.

Day 322, Saturday

Completed a couple of revisions that I started during the workshop and started the read-through. My initial plan of 5 chapters a day to read suddenly felt too ambitious. I wish I were faster, but I’m not. I’m reading with a critical eye and marking up the page with different colors, focusing on three particular areas for revision.

Day 323, Sunday

5 chapters was definitely too ambitious. I don’t have the time or energy to manage 5, but 3 is doable. Unless a migraine strikes, I should be done reading the draft by Friday. Now, to clean the house a bit because two cats = two much shedding (among other bits of fluff).

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