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]
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.
I know Mondays are generally reviled, but they always feel so new and hopeful to me. Started a new morning yoga practice to build back up to a regular routine. Between the sprain and the biopsy, my body needs a reset and my balance needs work. Committed to completing last year’s Morning Movement plan by Yoga with Kassandra.
Back to reviewing the draft. I don’t hate it and it’s not just the high of writing. I genuinely don’t feel trash about it. Let’s ride this wave of optimism.
Have to make dinner tonight. Is it weird that I prep on Mondays? Grocery run tomorrow…
Day 325, Tuesday
Did groceries this morning and felt exhausted in a way I haven’t felt since early in the pandemic. It was draining. Delivered what I picked up for my mom and had a sad encounter with a duck that had been hit by a car. We moved her to a quiet spot until she passed. I sat through meetings for the rest of the day.
Day 326, Wednesday
A busy day. I’m trying to catch up on reading and work before Friday.
Day 327, Thursday
Another busy day. It’s been a busy week overall. Lots to do and it’s starting to feel a bit overwhelming. This happened every few weeks when projects seem to multiply out of nowhere.
Day 328, Friday
Today was A LOT. Emotionally and physically drained at the end of it. Came home after a useless visit to the DMV, showered, and laid out in bed. I had no will left to do anything after what happened. [I go into it in Monday’s vlog]
Day 329, Saturday
For some reason, I thought I had 21 chapters to review. Turns out, I have 28. Logically, I know there are 28. I wrote them, but my mind fixed on the number 21. Despite my steady pace, I’m not going to finish this weekend.
Indulged in takeout breakfast with the boy. It was a nice start to the day and set me up for a few uninterrupted hours of revision.
Day 330, Sunday
Still feeling indulgent. I blame it on hormones and the emotional hangover from Friday. I shared a pizza for lunch. Real pizza with real cheese. Will my body hate me for it? Probably. Maybe. I took my enzymes to help with the side effects, but my body is a mystery and reacts in unpredictable ways.
One of my mom’s outdoor cats (she’s not allowed to have more than one cat, but she keeps him inside most of the day) has been missing since Friday and we’re both sad and worried. It’s not like him to wander for more than a couple of hours. After losing my sweet boy last year, I’m not ready to lose another. I want to stay hopeful, but it’s harder by the minute.
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).
Back to editing – mostly checking Spanish grammar because this book is very much a book of my heart and that includes Miami-isms and Spanglish. I recorded my first writing Study with Me, which was a good motivator to keep going, It gives me the sort of push I get from going to a coffee shop or the library – if I’m going to all that trouble, I might as well focus.
Migraine started in the afternoon. I could sense it coming – I was too energetic and had that frantic feeling in my chest.
Day 311, Tuesday
Took an impromptu morning trip to South Florida’s most popular strawberry and cinnamon roll destination… a two hour drive for a 5 minute delight, but it made for a nice treat. The drive, not so much. My migraine was much the worse for it and I had to log on for meetings as soon as I returned home.
Day 312, Wednesday
Took half the day off to take my mom to the doctor for a follow-up. Next time, I’ll have her text me when they take her in to the exam room because 2 hours in the sun did not help my head at all. I’m working on Saturday to make up the time and I feel regret coming on…
Day 313, Thursday
Barely slept as the pain worsened over night. I was dizzy, nauseous, seeing massive white spots of aura, and couldn’t lay down or close my eyes without making the pain worse. Spent a few hours with a cold pack over my left eye and a pillow pet wedged under my neck for support (migraineurs have a wide collection of weird pillow shaped things for this very reason). Felt a bit better after lunch, but the pressure still lingers.
Day 314, Friday
Felt ok this morning. Trying to catch up on everything I couldn’t get done this week.
Day 315, Saturday and Day 316, Sunday
Started working on the blurb and detailed plot summary for my current project. I struggle with writing a summary, not because it’s hard, but because I have to wind myself up to do it. It’s been especially hard to find the motivation after taking two weeks off because of my arm. Then, this week was a bust. Consistency is key for my to stay motivated and stop spiraling with doubt.
Worked the weekend chat shift, which was actually a very effective way to force me to focus on all those projects I needed to get to.
Went through my cookbooks for some additional inspiration and made two very nice dinners to share with the boy. I normally donate a lot of my review books, but I’ve built a stash of physical and virtual copies in the last year and they’ve served as a nice break from the norm. Tonight, I let the boy choose the protein and he turned up with skirt steak. Luckily, the latest book I’m reviewing had a recipe just for that.
Second and last week of vacation before returning to my WFH desk life. I took the time to indulge in good food, sweet treats, and time with my partner. There were walks, solo Just Dance marathons, a return to my Animal Crossing island, and a few socially distant explorations.
I started using my new bullet journal and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished draft 3 of my current manuscript. Next step: recruit betas and review the notes I scattered throughout the draft for future fixes (the future is now!).
It was a struggle to revise draft 2; it coincided with the start of my WFH life and the terrible anxiety and depression that marked those early months. Still, I pushed through and finished draft 3 a month ahead of schedule.
In total, I spent 214.62 hours editing and revising (including a major development edit and a thorough revision), spread across 10 months beginning in March. Draft 1 was completed January 2020. In February, I reviewed the draft and prepared my notes for revision. Now, I’m enjoying that brief sense of relief before I dive back into the manuscript. My goal is to query BYCMB this year and plot a rewrite of Anuna (COI), which I stopped querying at the end of 2019 (but that’s a longer story and may become a self-publishing adventure).
I hope you too had an indulgent and satisfying end to what may be the worst year in many of our lifetimes. 2016 was one of my worst years for many reasons, but 2020 is a close second.
Back to work so I recorded a “study with me” work from home video :). It’s chatty in the middle, because this was entirely unplanned, but I might make some no talking videos in future.
Day 269, Tuesday
Because I was inspired by yesterday’s video, I recorded a “day in the life” vlog. I briefly considered trying Vlogmas this year, but I really didn’t need another daily project while editing and working…
Day 270, Wednesday
MRI done and, since I was in the area, I popped into my local(ish) Asian market to treat myself to all kinds of stuff (only two of which I was actually there for)… It’s like a Target run, but tastier.
Since, I was on a roll… I recorded a haul 🙂
Day 271, Thursday
Woke up at 2am in a panic because something was obviously burning in the area and the smell of smoke filled my bedroom. Searched all over and woke up my BF just so I could be sure it wasn’t the office downstairs that was on fire. It was not. But, yikes, was that scary. My heart goes out to all the folks on the West Coast who lived through the recent fire season. It’s terrifying! Of course, the smell and interrupted sleep triggered a migraine and I was still experiencing side effects from the MRI. Not a fun day. Ended up needing to call it quits when my dizziness made it impossible to work.
Day 272, Friday
Back to the lab to drop off my mom’s specimen (see vlog for first lab visit). We will speak of it no more.
I was craving Argentinian croissants (media lunas) and fries, so I indulged in both (separately, of course). Unlike a French croissant, Argentinian croissants have a sweet glaze and what I suspect might be cream (perhaps cheese?) in the dough.
Day 273, Saturday
In an unexpected turn of events, I slept in until nearly 9am, something I haven’t done in ages. Somehow, the cats’ meowing wasn’t enough to drag me out of bed. I suspect I needed it after so many days of migraine.
Did some writing and started the de-cluterring project that I’ve been putting off for months. First to go: all the bras that don’t fit the way they should. I am OVER uncomfortable bras.
Day 274, Sunday
No extra sleep today. I woke up in the middle of a weird nightmare and was too rattled to get back to sleep. Early start to my writing session and a bit more decluttering. I might document some of it, but so far I’ve cleared out paper clutter, an old toaster, and some perfumes that I’m giving to my mom to rehome. My old vacuum will be going with them and the bras I culled yesterday.
Back at work and feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s a feeling I often get when I return from any length of time off, had to remind myself to tackle each project one at a time. I’ve done this before; I can do it again.
Had some bad news in the afternoon. More of a complication than an insurmountable challenge, but still troublesome. My insurance rejected my MRI approval, so I had to make calls and hope the doctor’s office can figure things out. Otherwise, I’ll need to submit an appeal and/or pay $300 out of pocket to get it done myself. I’m grateful that I’m in a place where I can afford it (there were years when I couldn’t and went into debt), but I don’t want to pay it unless I have no other choice because I’m not sure what co-pays are going to look like going forward with treatment.
Day 262, Tuesday
A productive day. Taking it slow, listed all that I have to do and created a time block schedule to feel more in control. It worked!
Day 263, Wednesday
Spent an inordinate amount of time trying to create a password according to the rules for my insurance provider’s new website. I don’t how someone who is older and/or not tech savvy is going to figure out their rules. Ended up having to use a generator and modify to fit their crazy requirements. Finger crossed that I submitted the appeal to the right place because whoever designed their new portal has no knowledge of user experience.
Day 264, Thursday
Just a regular workday. Nothing new, nothing different.
Day 265, Friday
Did proper groceries (in a store!) for the first time in weeks. Woke up at the crackiest, crack of dawn to get to Publix before anyone else decided to go shopping, which worked, but also left me drained for the rest of the day and feeling pretty meh about all the stuff I needed to get done.
Received some late night good news: my MRI was approved!
Day 266, Saturday
Back to the 4-hour writing schedule I set up during vacation. Finished another chapter and have 100 pages to go before this draft is done! I’m excited to get through it and the edits are getting easier now that I’m past the section that needed extra attention. I have a list of details to work through before I send it to betas, but I also have to recruit betas… so there’s that. (Note: If you’re interested in reviewing an angsty friends-to-lovers romance set in Knoxville that features a bi-racial, Cuban-American heroine, comment below or use the contact form to email me!)
Day 267, Sunday
Another writing day. I’m nearing the 300 page mark, which means there’s less than 90 pages to go! I’m starting to really believe I can finish this draft by the end of the month. What joy! I even spent some time organizing my character boards. No one looks exactly the way I picture my characters, but I curate features more than people.
A long, emotionally difficult day. Met with the orthopedic oncologist. She thinks it’s likely benign but may be a wait-and-watch or a get-it-out situation. I have another MRI scheduled for Monday and a follow-up right before Christmas, so all possibility of quarantining/testing in time to spend a day with my parents is out the window. I’m not willing to risk it for their sake.
Late in the day, I learned that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He doesn’t know the stage yet, but he has several chronic health conditions and clinical depression, so this is sending him into an understandable spiral. I won’t know more until he has further examination. I just hope they caught it early and it’s not advanced.
I bought sushi and rugelach for lunch and dessert. That was the small bit of joy I found in my day.
Day 248, Tuesday
A day of meetings and trying to cope. I took the day off writing; I just couldn’t get into the right headspace.
Day 249, Wednesday
Intended to catch up on missed writing, but managing one block was all that I could do. There have been so many emotional setbacks this year, it’s been hard to celebrate the progress I have made when there is so much yet to be done.
Day 250, Thursday
Cases are ridiculously high in the state, and my county in particular. My mom has to go to the doctor’s office for a required checkup next week (medicare requirements), so I’m going to have to visit despite my wish to stay away until I’m through with my own medical needs. Sigh. My gran needs someone to watch her, but I plan to keep my distance while I’m there. Another pandemic complication.
Day 251, Friday
All my meetings got cancelled, making it the perfect end to my week! Set up my auto-reply and called it quits by 3pm. I’m on vacation next week, which really means I’m going to be writing without worrying about emails or meetings for 5 days.
Unfortunately, my MRI appointment was also cancelled… well, put on hold at least. Stuff happened and paperwork was missing, so my approval was delayed. I’m desperate for a real diagnosis and the fact that our hospitals are overrun is not reassuring.
Day 252, Saturday
Started my morning with a latte. I impulsively ordered a milk frother/warmer earlier this week and it arrived on Friday. It was a lovely start to my break.
I haven’t made as much progress with my edits this month (so far), but I also realized that two of the 5 chapters I planned to edit were EXCESSIVELY long and needed to be split. I’m about half-way through the book and just about to hit the second part of Act II, so my pace might start to pick up along with the action (I hope!). Regardless, I’m on track to finish by January at this pace, making it through 3 drafts by the end of the year and getting ready for betas note to self: recruit betas.
Day 253, Sunday
Today turned into a life reset day. Trying to get all the errands out of the way so I can focus on my writing goals this week. I normally write for an hour a day before settling down to work, and two hours on the weekends. Sometimes, I manage an extra hour in the evening, but evenings tend to be for movement and self-care (re: avoiding migraine triggers). My goal is to clock in for 4 hours every day this week. fingers crossed It’s been a long time since I’ve had the stamina to revise for 4 hours.