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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social distance diaries: days 338-344

Day 338, Monday

Covid test and breakfast with the boy. First time I’ve sat outside a restaurant, but it was empty and no one was walking by so I felt ok about it.

Day 339, Tuesday

Got our results! Both of us were negative. And, this is sappy, but because we were both negative, I felt safe kissing my boyfriend for the first time in almost a year. It’s been a difficult time for us both.
Meetings… workout, started tidying in between meetings and lunch.

Day 340, Wednesday

Went on a jog for the first time in FOREVER! Since the day I sprained my ankle.
Filed mom’s taxes! Wohoo! One thing scratched from my to-do list!
Tidied around my desk because it was a disaster of random documents.

Day 341, Thursday

We’re getting more mixed messages about returning to campus. I’m trying to remain proactive and establish a plan before things advance, but it’s hard to wrap my head around the demoralizing reason behind this sudden push and the uncertainty surrounding an increase in the number of students in the future. Why bother protecting faculty for nearly a year only to create a super spreader event in the Fall (maybe Summer)? I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Day 342-344 Friday – Saturday – Sunday

WriteOnCon and Virtual Writing Retreat with the Heart Breathings sprint group. I debated not revising until Monday, but then I started and found the sprints incredibly motivating. I did some decluttering to clear my space and my head, and some laundry to get it out of the way. I have a lot of mixed feelings about returning to the office, but I’m not going to worry about that for a few days. Back to the DMV on Monday. That’s my most pressing concern. I’ll start transitioning back to the office and hope for the best in a couple of weeks. It’s a very complicated situation. I can’t be compelled to return until May, but I have my own reasons for wanting to slowly transition back rather than deal with an abrupt return. So many anxieties surround the possibility of contagion and the awful circulation in my office. I’m grateful for the relative safety I’ve had while WFH-ing, but this is a rush job and no one is happy about the reasoning behind it or the message we’ve been given.

What should I call these updates when I go back to work? Stuck in an office diaries? 🤷‍♀️

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social distance diaries: days 324-330

in which there are a lot of feelings

Day 324, Monday

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.

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social distance diaries: days 317-323

in which I seek inspiration

Day 317, Monday

Back to work…

Day 318, Tuesday

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

Day 319, Wednesday

And I thought Tuesday was long…

Day 320, Thursday

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

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

Day 321, Friday

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

Day 322, Saturday

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

Day 323, Sunday

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

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social distance diaries: days 310-316

in which I am trying

Day 310, Monday

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.

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social distance diaries: days 303-309

in which I receive good news.

Day 303, Monday

No cancer! I went to the doctor for my follow-up and received the best news I could’ve desired: no cancer found in the biopsy and no need for surgery. The final diagnosis was enchondroma (the smallest he’s ever seen, according to the resident who gave me the news). I have to follow-up with yearly X-rays to monitor any changes, but it’s rare for it to become aggressive or turn into a chondrosarcoma. Basically, I have cartilage where I should have bone. It’s commonly found when running diagnostics for unrelated injuries, which is how mine was discovered. I’m so relieved that I can set this one worry aside.

This is what it looks like on an MRI [add image]

Day 304, Tuesday

Woke up with renewed energy but it was a difficult morning. Had to take it slow.

Day 305, Wednesday

Feeling a little overwhelmed with projects. Whenever this happens, I make a list, so I whipped out my Daily Momentum Planner pad and made a schedule of activities for the day.

In other news, I bit the bullet and ordered a new, plush chair for my desk. I’ve been using a cheap, plastic IKEA chair for years, and it has served me well, but I’m over it. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s to invest in my comfort.

Day 306, Thursday

Completed a bunch of little tasks that have been piling up for weeks but took less than an hour to complete (my hesitance was the going out part…).

I’ve been feeling dejected about not writing since I wrapped up the manuscript, but I had to remind myself that I literally had minor surgery and an emotional hangover following this week’s diagnosis. I’ll get back to it on Saturday.

Day 307, Friday

Started my morning with cramps and a morning meeting. Sigh.

Signed up for an online writing conference and revision workshop. It’s been too long since I invested in my writing. This will be motivation for the next phase.

Day 308, Saturday and Day 309, Sunday

Completed the initial review of edits I left for future!Gricel (ie. today!Gricel) and caught up on two weeks worth of laundry that I neglected while recuperating from the biopsy. Unusual tiredness on Saturday heralded the arrival of a mild migraine on Sunday.

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social distance diaries: days 289-295

in which I relax and look back

Day 289, Monday – Day 295, Sunday

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.

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social distance diaries: days 268-274

a day late because Sunday was a DAY

Day 268, Monday

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.

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social distance diaries: days 261-267

in which we try to balance things out

Day 261, Monday

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.

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social distance diaries: days 254-260

in which I am a productive potato

Monday – Sunday

Took a week off to write and think and spend time with myself, sometimes with the boy, every day with the cats. I wrote for four hours every day, except on Sunday, when I only wrote for two hours around a migraine that started in my neck. I completed 32 hours and 57 minutes of editing for the month (excluding any edits I get done tomorrow), reaching 22,983 words for my NaNo goal (I regularly track hours and pages, but added words for this month), and totaling 141 pages (72 of those during my break). This progress wouldn’t have been possible without this time off; I missed too many days due to headaches, grief, and medical appointments this month, but I’m proud of myself for getting through it.

Still no updates on my shoulder, still waiting for my MRI to be approved. Hoping that will happen this week. Thanksgiving was a simple dinner outside with the boy and a cake that continued to feed me for breakfast into the weekend (I’m a cake for breakfast sort of gal).

Enjoyed lots of walks and several naps. I look forward to my next break in December. After no real breaks since March, I needed the time to disconnect from work mode and experience my home as a home again.

Happy late Thanksgiving to those in the States. Stay safe!

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