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.
Back at it… I blocked off a few hours to concentrate on a very important task that take precedence over all the other stuff on my list. Luckily, I’m not the final voice on the decision.
Had a meeting in the afternoon to discuss a committee that I was nominated for… not sure if I’ll be selected, but it’s important work if I am. Still, I was torn when I received a second nomination for a very important committee within days of accepting.
Day 212, Tuesday
And today was blocked off for the meeting that dealt with the review I completed on Monday… followed by my weekly Faculty Senate meeting (because that’s how the cards fell this semester).
Day 213, Wednesday
Meetings and a training. One of my staff returned to the office, which led to a lot of voice memo exchanges (she really loves a voice memo…)
Day 214, Thursday
Day 215, Friday
Attended my first virtual conference of the new school year. I haven’t been drawn to the majority of the conferences that come through my inbox, but this one was a nice change of pace and gave me some ideas for my own research interests.
Day 216, Saturday
Working a half day today, so I’m taking Monday off using vacation to make up the difference. I’m really craving a day off. I planned to start scheduling one or two days off each month but the glut of meetings I’ve had this month threw a wrench in that plan. TBH, I’m looking at just as many meetings going forward, but I’m going to lock those days down early for November.
Day 217, Sunday
Kitty cat woke me up in the wee hours and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got an early start on my morning edits. Quick trip to moms to deliver some supplies that I shipped to my place by mistake (this is what happens when your mom has non-stop requests). I picked up up a slice of Tiramisu for her yesterday. If I can manage to stay quarantined in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll be able to bring her a feast.
Day 218, Monday
My MRI was approved, so I had the scan done today. Will need to wait for the ortho to receive my results before I know what’s causing the pain in my arm… I was temporarily diagnosed with a teres minor injury, but the more I read about pectoralis tears, the more it sounds like the pain I’m feeling…
Day 219, Tuesday
I’ve been feeling achy for the last two days. Part of me suspects prodrome (the symptoms that arise before a migraine attack), but I’m desperately hoping it’s PMS.
Day 221, Wednesday
I just want to go back to bed. Power went out around 3 am in the middle of a crashing storm, which meant it was hot and I could hear the wind howling, neither of which was conducive to getting back to sleep after being woken by the outage. Kitty also decided it was time for breakfast at that time and wouldn’t stop begging until I fell asleep sometime around 5, only to be woken by my alarm at 5:30, followed by more begging. I fed her and went back to bed, but gave up around 7. Now, I’m feeling jittery and tired and have more meetings to go, well into the afternoon.
Day 222, Thursday
One of those days where the meetings took over.
Day 223, Friday
One more medical test before what will fingers crossed be one of the last two medical appointments I have for a while. I’m really hoping that everything checks out for my thyroid and my shoulder and I can isolate in time to be cleared for the holidays. (not that I’m planning more than dinner at home for my mom, if I can swing it)
Day 224 & 225, Saturday and Sunday
A very productive weekend. I don’t wish to jinx it, but my current writing routing is really working for me.
Checked in with my folks and finally started to feel motivated enough to return to a work-related research project I’ve put off for an embarrassingly long time.
Day 198, Tuesday
And the hormonal migraine came back with a vengeance…
Day 199, Wednesday
What happened on Wednesday? I can’t even remember…
Day 200, Thursday
Wow. 200 days of Working from Home and trying not to lose my head every time I need to go somewhere.
Had an ultrasound this morning to look into a weird pain I’ve been having… preliminary review by the tech showed no lumps, so fingers crossed for the radiologist’s report. I didn’t want to take the risk and “wait and see”.
That said, waking up an hour earlier only made my migraine worse and I needed to lie down when I got home. I would call it rest, but there’s no rest, just an all-consuming need to lay down, slap a heating pad behind my head, a cold pack on my forehead, and a black-out mask over my eyes and lay as still as possible. I felt some relief, but I’m working in the dark now.
Day 201, Friday
Dr. called with my results. Ultrasound was all clear, but they can refer me to a specialist if the pain continues. I’m starting to think the pain is muscular, as it started when I was going to the vet on a nearly weekly basis… heavy cats, already injured, not a good combination. I’m going to try to get to the local orthopedic center to see if it’s muscular. No sense in seeing a breast specialist if it’s a muscular issue. I’d rather rule it out first, if it’s not. (really hoping it’s a simple strain, that would be the best case scenario).
Meetings in the morning, followed by a dentist appointment that I could put off no longer. I have TMJ and my teeth have been experiencing sensitivity. I’ve needed a cleaning since March and have been dreading it. This feels like the safest time to go (cases are down, but not staying down).
More news! The ortho believes I may have torn/sprained my Teres Minor, one of the four muscles that assist in shoulder mobility. He found the spot right away and the description that I found matches what I’m feeling. To err on the side of caution, he ordered an MRI, so I’ll be scheduling that as soon as I hear back from the imaging center. fingers crossed the pain will be the result of carrying too many fat cats with bad form and no worse.
While I was at the Dr’s, I received an appointment to another very important university committee… my second one this week. I like serving, but it’s getting to the point where I’m averaging 7-9 hours of meetings a week and it’s starting to affect my ability to do my regular duties. I requested a meeting with my dean to lay out some realistic expectations going forward, because I can’t see myself doing it all without crashing and burning.
I should also point out that these meetings are not the result of Zoom. TBH, Zoom is an improvement over the uncomfortable seating and lighting arrangements that generally trigger the tightness in my shoulders that starts my headaches.
Day 202, Saturday
Back to writing. I took about a week and half to prep and plan for round three of edits, now that the major developmental/revision round is complete. I started the morning with a migraine, so it wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, but I’m also willing to give myself grace. I worked for two and half hours and managed to stick to my plan, which is a a win.
Completed my vote-by-mail ballot, now I have to find some time to take it to the elections office between the 7.5 hours of meetings I have scheduled this week (so far).
Had a Netflix and tea night and was completely charmed by the Enola Holmes movie. I want more! And I want to read all the books!
Day 203, Sunday
Trying to shift my writing a bit earlier in the morning, so I started at 8 and pomodoro-ed my way through a 3 hour block with 10 minute breaks. I calculated how much time it will take to finish this round if I maintain this pace and it’s not bad. Obviously, that’s an idealized situation. Realistically, there will be at least one week a month when I’m knocked out by a migraine and there will be days when I’m too tired to write after a day of staring at Zoom, but allowing for a few days off, it’s still promising.
Took a quick trip to see mom and gran. We’re seeing a slight rise in cases, but still less than we’ve seen in months. I’m worried about the holiday season and trying to take the time I can to see them before we have to quarantine again. The drop in cases is the only reason I felt “safe” enough to get he care I needed this week without immediately locking myself down.
I made espresso for the first time in a couple of months… that may have been a tactical error.
Another Monday, another day inside despite it being Labor Day… not that I ever really do much on Labor Day. I’m not a beach person, even under normal circumstances.
Day 177, Tuesday
I’ve been turned around all day, thinking it was Monday. My leg woke me up at 2am and kept me up until 4-something, so there’s that. I applied heat today to see if that soothes the muscle. I think my ankle has started to tense, leading to cramping (at least, I hope it’s just cramping).
Day 178, Wednesday
Cookie Cat went back to the vet for what is (hopefully) the last time. His stitches came out and we asked for him to be tested for anything contagious because, yes, I’m bringing him home. Part of me isn’t ready for a second cat—I’m still missing my sugar bear and little girl is still not 100% since her bout of bronchitis (and other -itises)—but I want to give him a chance at a nice, comfortable, indoor life. Basically, my place is a rehab home for my mom’s sick ferals.
Day 179, Thursday
Trying KT tape on the ankle because the boot is making my leg ache. Also adding some stretches and mobility exercises to loosen up my joint. The scabby knee is itchy AF.
Days 180 – 182, Friday – Sunday
TBH, these days were a blur. Friday was filled with meetings and the weekend was filled with writing, podcast recording on Sunday, and worrying on Sunday night. It was a productive time until kitty started sneezing and breathing faster than normal. Her asthma/allergy is acting up again and I have no idea what is causing it, but a vet trip is in order.
The number of confirmed covid cases is going down in the state and locally, but we’re still higher than we were when we shut down back in March. I’m worried about the holidays and kids going back to the classroom 😦
Kitty woke me up too early, so I decided to get to work right away… missed my morning walk, decided on a post-lunch stroll and bam tripped on a massive pothole behind my building, twisting my ankle 😦
An officer was driving by and saw me fall. It was pure serendipity because I’m not sure how I was going to hobble back to my apartment without something to lean on.
Glad it wasn’t a break, but not feeling great about being injured, alone, and unable to get much help from my family because of covid. Not being able to reach my mom or boyfriend for well over 30 minutes while crying and stumbling around my apartment with a swollen ankle and a bloody knee brought a lot of my living alone fears to the fore.
Day 170, Tuesday
Living that peg-leg life. Wasn’t able to sleep with the boot, but at least the pain decreased and managed to get some rest after switching to a brace. Being a chronic painer means I’m well-equipped to deal with the situation. sort of sigh Slathering on arnica, triflora, and cbd cream between icing sessions. Elevating all day with my WFH setup. It makes for some interesting zoom sessions.
The knee that I scraped is badly bruised, but my knee feels fine (thank goodness!). Not an attractive sight.
Called the city to report the pothole. I can see it from my bedroom window… hoping they fill it.
Day 171, Wednesday & Day 172, Thursday
Apparently, my body doesn’t like naproxen. Two days of dizziness, drowsiness, brain fog, and near inability to function. The side effects of the meds were worse than the sprain.
Day 173, Friday
24 hours after my last pain killer and I feel significantly better. Switched to advil as needed, which isn’t often. As long as I’m wearing the boot, icing, and taking care to rest, I don’t feel pain. The bruising is well and truly purple now.
Getting my head back helps.
Day 174, Saturday
I stayed up reading, something I haven’t done in a VERY long time, which means kitty was most displeased when I didn’t get up for her breakfast. I received a nip on my arm for my disrespect.
Still having a hard time finding my focus. Edited for about 25 minutes before my attention was shot.
Spent some time with the boy, which always makes me a little nervous (he has to physically go to work twice a week and goes shopping more than I ever do), but he wears his mask and I really need the help if I want to leave the house.
Day 175, Sunday
Back to writing (focus on point today), but there’s so much that needs doing, I have to split my time, even on the weekends. Plus, my leg feels uncomfortable if I sit too long—not that standing is any better. I mostly have to lay, which has me feeling all manner of dejected after 6 days straight.
Started working on a cookbook review project, but I’m limited by mobility and ingredients at the moment, so this is going to be interesting…
Completed my writing goal for the month, which gives me enough time to start an extra chapter before July ends (if all goes well). My goals are super modest, but they’ve been keeping me on track for the last few months.
Day 128, Tuesday
Started my new running plan using Nike Run Club. Also gave in to an unplanned splurge (damn you clever marketing!) and upgraded my fitbit alta with a fitbit inspire, so I can finally monitor my heart rate.
Day 129, Wednesday
Planned to get started on a review, but best laid plans were unlaid. Oh well. If this strange period has taught me anything it’s to accept the unexpected with as much grace as possible.
Trying not to obsess over the possible hurricane churning in the Atlantic… I’m more prepared than ever because of my pandemic stock and excess of batteries from last year’s hurricane prep. Still… I really DON’T want to deal with another crisis on top of the current one.
Day 130, Thursday
IBS? PCOS? Who knows, but I felt pretty rotten. Hoping it’s a passing symptom and not a sign of something else. I’m one week into my post-Dr’s visit quarantine and feeling fine otherwise. And by fine, I mean low-key tired, but what else is new?
Day 131, Friday
Back to the vet. Mom’s outdoor kitty with the abscess has some sort of resistant infection, so he got a new round of antibiotics and the Dr. sent a sample to the lab. Same thing happened last time 😦
Met with one of my department faculty to figure out some plans for the Fall. Finding the motivation to plan activities for the Fall term has proven difficult. Not sure how successful we will be, but it’s a start and we both need the motivation.
Received my 30 day heart monitor. Maybe I’ll have some answers after this… maybe an inkling?
Day 132, Saturday
Completed my weekly running goal and a return to my old habit. It was hard. I can barely manage a few minutes without feeling like my legs are going to fall off, but it’s a start.
Writing and podcast recording in the afternoon. I completed my writing goal for the month a few days early, so I upped that goal by a chapter.
Day 133, Sunday
I planned to write but gave in to the siren call of a cleaning frenzy. Deep cleaned the bathroom, did the laundry, and sorted through my linen closet/supply cabinet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a darn sight better than it was before I went through it.
Spent the rest of the night reading, which felt pretty glorious.
Balancing work stuff and life stuff in this weirdness that is the WFH life while providing elder care from a distance… Picked up mom’s kitty from the vet. He looks a lot better than the last time he had an abscess (then it took nearly a month to heal, multiple trips to the vet, and several tries to find the right antibiotic to get rid of the infection. We thought he was going to lose his tail, but he didn’t). I’m not yet ready for another cat, but the possibility is possible…
Time to prep the special, multi-category grocery list for this month’s trip to Publix… where I will freak out several times and possibly have a nervous breakdown if the cart gets too full to push (again).
Day 121, Tuesday
Grocery time… and an epic migraine that knocked me out for most of the afternoon into the evening. Was it the weather? Was it tension? Was it hormones? Who the F knows?! At least it was strong but quick to leave fade.
Day 122, Wednesday
Back to the cardiologist for my results… I have a slight valve defect! Which might account for some of the weirdness I’ve been feeling for the last year and a half (and maybe more?). Waiting to be approved for a 30 day monitor to try to capture the events I feel. Like a wonky car, I had no symptoms during any of the previous tests.
Day 123, Thursday
I can’t even remember what happened… meetings?
Day 124, Friday
Back to the vet, which is a whole experience in lockdown. Kitty needed to have his wound flushed again and a new round of antibiotics. It’s been an emotionally draining week.
Day 125, Saturday
Writing for the first time since Monday. Finished the chapter I was working on — a long one that required more focus than I had this week.
Worried because more people are testing positive in my parents’ buildings (yes, plural, 2 separate homes). Started noticing the frequency of sirens over the last few days as well. I live on the same street as the local Fire Rescue/Police station, and the number of emergency calls is definitely on the rise.
Also worried about the boy and his risk at work and home 😦
Day 126, Sunday
Another morning of writing… I’m in a mood and it’s left me drained.
Boy changed the oil in my car, so I’m all set for future grocery and vet runs (although, please, no more EMERGENCY vet runs).
I want to start running again. I stopped when COVID started because I was anxious about getting hurt and needing to go to Urgent Care (not an unlikely occurrence), but I’m going to try short jogs and see how it feels. I’m months out of practice, so it’ll be a fresh start.
Also, not gonna lie… the days are starting to blend into each other and this “diary” is one of the only tools I have to make them feel distinct. Since visiting the Dr.’s office, I’m committing to a 14 day quarantine and hoping for the best. I debated getting tested, but I’m going to wait it out this time. There are so many cases, it feels futile to get tested right now. (It took 10 days to get my results last time.)