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 🙂

Minisode 49.5: Follow-up & First Impressions The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

Kat cannot dodge an upcoming sequel, Gricel does not forget Margaret, and Bee likes the way our next protagonist thinks. The lady nerds remain in the rabbit hole, continue an annual bluestocking tradition, and prepare for our cozy next pick.

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video: quiet days in May [weekly vlog]

A very late update, but writing took precedence over the last two weeks.

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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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social distance diaries: days 415-427, a snapshot of thoughts and emotions

Days 415-421, Monday-Sunday

Started the week with that achy fatigue that often signals the start of a migraine. Trying to head it off with some of my preventative tools, but it’s the kind of thing that makes me regret the few good days when I give myself a break. And I know how contradictory that sounds. I took those days because I felt well and needed a break to reset, but sometimes it feels like there are so few good days, that any time away from the projects I need to finish feels like a net loss. I shouldn’t dwell on it, but it’s hard to think of all the days, weeks, months I’ve lost to migraine since I started getting them around age 23 (I can pinpoint it to my last year of grad school when I developed a three month migraine that wouldn’t quit).

vet day on Wednesday – anxiety after getting results of blood work – low platelets

library day on thursday to stop fixating on cat situation

weekend of writing and outings involving dessert

Days 422-427, Monday-Sunday

Back to work with a twist—the university reopened at semi full capacity again, which means slightly more students than we’ve seen until now. Not too different than our normal summers.

Among the 2020 disasters that keep having an impact on my life, the pain that led to the discovery of the enchondroma in my arm returned with a vengeance two week’s, so I made an appointment the breast specialist that my doctor recommended. He suggested that it might be an injury to my chest wall, so great. More doctors to consult.

Lots of nausea to start the week and rain migraines. Also, it’s hot AF, but kitty is starting to act more herself, even if she is more ploppy in the heat.

Overall, I’m having a hard time finding the mental space to focus on reading, even though I REALLY need to focus.

In the same way that last week’s post came a week late, last week’s vlog is coming tomorrow, along with a cleaning vlog (if I can find the time to edit tonight. If not, it’ll go live later this week.).

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social distance diaries: days 408-414

Day 408, Monday

To the library! For a day of catching up on small projects. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m finding that the bulk of my administrative work can be accomplished within a handful of hours… the rest of the week is more reactive than planned.

Day 409, Tuesday

My regular Tuesday meeting is over for a few months and it felt like a dream. A whole day without a two hour meeting to cut into my afternoon. Perfection.

Day 410, Wednesday

After three emails and an unusually long wait, the vet insurance rejected my claim because they misinterpreted the diagnosis. Last year I had to challenge my insurance plan; now, I’m challenging the cat’s plan. [spoiler: I made my case and the case was approve. Never let a claim go without at least trying. It’s frustrating, but I dealt with years of medical bills.

Day 411, Thursday

I’m in some kind of mood today (re: PMS).

Day 412, Friday

Life stuff, work, and meetings.

Day 413, Saturday – Day 414, Sunday

What started as a day off from writing turned into 4 days. I took Thursday and Friday off, then life got in the way and I realized I just need the time to reset. The only days I didn’t spend time writing in April were a handful of migraine days and the day after my 2nd shot. Sometimes, I need to step away.

I’m having a moment. I’m feeling extra nostalgic for some of the rings I gave away during one of my last rounds of konmari style decluttering a few years ago. This doesn’t happen often, but there have been a few occasions where I’ve felt regret after the fact. I’m currently reminding myself that the reason I got rid of them is because they were too large to even wear on my thumb. I was at my heaviest between high school and undergrad. I kept the smallest of the rings and it currently fits around my index finger, but a part of me misses those pieces, even if I couldn’t wear them. A lot of them were garnet, and most had a grungy/witchy 90s vibe, which was definitely my style at the time (still my style, if I’m being honest, but now I keep the drama to one or two pieces rather than layer it on). I may end up ordering a daisy ring to satisfy this desire. Super 90s and super nostalgic.

Speaking of nostalgic, the Bluestocking’s episode on Shrek and Shrek 2 just dropped and it’s definitely full of memories

Episode 43: Shrek & Shrek 2 The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

In which we reminisce about kids' meal toys, fail to learn the moral of the story, and discover this tale about an ogre was created for young ladies of quality. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the movies Shrek and Shrek 2.

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video: a very short quiet days vlog (spoiler: it’s mostly cats)

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social distance diaries: days 401-407

Day 401, Monday

Starting the week with some deep work and focus. Randomly selected for covid testing at work, which was a nice push to get tested since I’ve been going out a bit more since reaching the two week post- vaccine mark.

Day 402, Tuesday

Made an appointment to take girl kitty to the vet. She’s been off her food. I suspected a return of her infection or a tooth ache and was sort of right. She has a mild tooth situation but a more concerning low white blood count 😞.

Day 403, Wednesday

Meeting with my department in the morning for our regular monthly check in. Lots to talk about this time as a number of changes are coming. Rare day with a clear schedule so I took my car to get a tune up. 💸💸💸 it’s been a spendy week for my budget between the vet and the car. I was just in time though, my brakes were badly worn (not a surprise tbh). Have to look into tire deals. Also not a surprise after last years flat and air pressure weirdness.

Haven’t been sleeping great this week, so my weekend writing progress has taken a major hit. To make matters worse, I hurt my good arm while carrying the cat carrier 😓. That’s how I hurt my other arm last year (and how we discovered the enchondroma in my shoulder).

Day 404, Thursday

Work and laundry between meetings. It was a long day. It’s been a long week. My diet and physical health suffered as a result and I’m sure it’s one of the culprits behind my headaches and terrible nausea ☹️

Day 405, Friday

Took half the day off to take my dad to the grocery store. It’s a long, complicated story, but he’s mostly disabled and needed the help (I say mostly because he won’t apply for the official designation though he can barely walk or lift his arms). I don’t live with him, my sister does and for reasons kept standing him up for weeks. It was a three hour affair, involving two shopping carts and a tetris-style packing situation to fit all the stuff in my car. He was a happy elder and I was an exhausted, but content daughter.

Day 406, Saturday – Day 407, Sunday

I signed up to take part in a virtual orientation over the weekend; saw a few students, but no one really wants to attend a virtual orientation. It was mostly three hours of chatting with my coworkers from the other campus while answering questions for the handful of students that signed on.

Tried to catch up on my NaNo project, but I realized my word goal was too lofty from the start and decided to edit it down. Probably won’t make it anyhow, but I’m still going. Camp NaNo month was plagued by weekend commitments, family needs, and migraines that kept me away from the draft on a regular basis. It is what it is. Progress is slow but steady.

Posted last week’s vlog a week late… oops! I uploaded but never hit publish.

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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.

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