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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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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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.

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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.

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social distance diaries, days 373-379

in which there is Nutella

Day 373, Monday

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

Day 374, Tuesday

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

Day 375, Wednesday

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

Day 376, Thursday

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

Day 377, Friday

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

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

Day 378, Saturday – Day 379, Sunday

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

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

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social distance diaries, days 366-372

in which there is a cat fiasco

Day 366, Monday

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

Day 367, Tuesday

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

Day 368, Wednesday

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

Day 369, Thursday

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

Day 370, Friday

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

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

Day 371, Saturday – Day 372, Sunday

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

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

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

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social distance diaries, days 359-365

in which it’s been a whole year

Day 359, Monday

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

Day 360, Tuesday

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

Day 361, Wednesday

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

Day 362, Thursday

A year ago today, I started WFH.

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

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

Day 363, Friday

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

Day 364, Saturday – Day 365, Sunday

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

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

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social distance diaries: days 352-358

in which we go back to the office

Day 352, Monday

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

Day 353, Tuesday

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

Day 354, Wednesday

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

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

Day 355, Thursday

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

Day 356, Friday

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

Day 357, Saturday – Day 358, Sunday

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

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

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social distance diaries: days 345-351

in which I lose track of time

Day 345, Monday

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

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

Day 346, Tuesday

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

Day 347, Wednesday

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

Day 348, Thursday

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

Day 349, Friday

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

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

Day 350, Saturday – Day 351, Sunday

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

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

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