Category Archives: Personal

Oh, that’s why I don’t work much in the evenings any more

I tried last night because we’re dog-sitting for Lily and Tito this afternoon so I wanted to make up for the inevitable lost time. Here’s photos of the winsome twosome, in case you were wondering (Lily’s on top)It did not go well, though I did get my next Atomic Junk Shop post up. Plushie loses it and starts barking his head off about once every five minutes. Wisp comes in, begs for food, then goes out again. I could just go isolate myself in my office, but the trouble is I like hanging out with our pets. I don’t want to isolate myself. But if I try that again, I definitely will go that route.

That aside, work went well this week. I finished our taxes, discovering we owe in a little (bad!) but at least they’re done. I’ll check them over again to make certain I figured things right, but I doubt I’ll discover a major error that gets us a refund. Oh, well.

I finished editing Chapter Six of Undead Sexist Cliches and made a final read through of Chapter Four. The latter went slower than I wanted — I had more cleaning up than I expected. I got some Veterans Network articles written (here’s one on art therapy for trauma, and one on military trivia). I did a lot of viewing for Alien Visitors but not much writing. I must compensate for that next week.

My new approach of breaking down my day and assigning a set number of units to different projects went … okay, I guess. I seem to be running out of Undead Sexist Cliches units, but we’ll see how it goes the rest of the month.

This weekend I will probably work Sunday. That’s not typical, but I have a lot to do this week once I become fully vaccinated on Tuesday. Best to make up the time in advance. I’ll be back next Friday to report how it went.

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

This week unfolded almost as I anticipated

With TYG’s and my second vaccine shots on Monday and Tuesday respectively, I wanted to make sure there was nothing on my writing to-do list that had to be completed after Monday. That way, if worst came to worst, as I said a couple of weeks back, I could just lie around doing nothing.

Worst actually came to worst Monday night. I woke after a couple of hours, which was normal, but instead of going back to sleep I got hit by a panic attack: what if I couldn’t get back to sleep? How could I make it to the Walgreens some ten miles away (not my preference, but it was the first available when I was making the appointments) if I was too tired to drive? Aaaaaaah! As usual, fear of not getting enough sleep guaranteed I did not get enough sleep. Fortunately, TYG, while feeling rundown Tuesday after her shot, was able to drive me there; I could probably have managed it but I wouldn’t have trusted my judgment had I had to make any decisions.

You can see a shot of myself here on the monitor at the pharmacy. I thought I looked kind of look a weird troll out of a Twin Peaks dream sequence or something, but it doesn’t quite come across in the photo.

My decision to wrap up everything early proved wise. Wednesday I felt much like I did when my seasonal allergies kick in: tired, drained, almost feverish, strongly desirous of rest. Having gotten my golem article in on Monday, I was free to rest, or as free as possible given the need to walk and care for dogs. TYG, fortunately, was about the same level. It was unpleasant, but livable. I spent Wednesday reading and watching TV, and of course napping a lot.

Thursday I felt normal, just tiring very easily. That may also have something to do with Plushie having digestive difficulties that requires taking him out around 1:30 AM. I sat downstairs with him after that — I divined correctly that he might need more trips — and didn’t catch up on sleep. So more TV and napping, though I also batted out a final Leaf article for the month.

And then last night, it happened again. Fortunately Plushie didn’t need it more than once so I got most of a full night of sleep. I turned in a Veterans Network article this morning (and one I’d written on Atomic Veterans came out this week) and then we had a vet checkup for both pups. The rehab treatment has done well by both of them, particularly Trixie; Plushie still has some leg weakness. I suppose that may reflect his advancing age, sigh.

So not much accomplished this week, but that was planned for. Successfully, if I do say so. For the month I got about 55 percent of my goals accomplished, but given how I had to shift my schedule to prepare for this week, I don’t feel bad about that.

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Time management and goals, Writing

An oddly lazy weekend

Lately my weekends haven’t been lazy, or not as lazy as I’d like. As we have to take the dogs to their rehab appointment at least once a week, I’ve been compensating for that by watching Alien Visitors movies on the weekend. But this weekend, after rushing to get all my Leaf and Veterans Network stuff done, and finish the golem article, I just decided to crash. And did.

So I watched some Hitchcock, read quite a bit, cooked dinner, made what’s called a cottage loaf —— and no, that’s not two bagels on top of each other, it’s one loaf — and watched some TV. Plus petting dogs, Wisp, using the stationary bike and snuggling with TYG some.

Now that the golem piece is done (subject to edits) I imagine I’ll get back into weekend movie viewing, but it was a really good break.

#SFWApro.

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Almost done for April

As I said last Friday, TYG and I have our second Fauci Ouchies coming up Monday and Tuesday, so I wanted to get the essential April stuff wrapped up. It took longer than expected (no surprise) so I have some wrapping up Monday, but mostly it’s good.

I finished up multiple articles for Veterans Network. Writing about Gulf War Syndrome, Agent Orange and similar topics took quite a bit of research, and then of course, some writing. They were really pleased with the results though. Oh, one of my earlier posts, about surgical empathy in counseling, came out too. Over at Atomic Junkshop you can check out my post on the Bronze Age Blackhawks and on God, gods and theology in the DC and Marvel universes.

I read a lot more golem books and have my golem piece 90 percent done. I think I can finish it on Monday. I’d better, just in case.

It’s been surprisingly cold here this week, with morning temperatures down in the 30s. On the plus side, we don’t have to worry about frozen food thawing out when it’s delivered (I will be so glad when I get back to shopping in stores!). Wisp stayed in several nights, sleeping on the bed with me as usual. When this happens she tends to scoot off pretty quick in the mornings, but I’m okay with that — it’s easier to get stretching and exercising done without her there. Though eventually, if we do get her to be a mostly indoor cat, I’ll have to adapt.

Oh, and I got some Leaf articles done. Not as many as I’d have liked — I don’t think I’m going to generate as much income this month as I wanted. When I try out my new scheduling trick for my May projects, I’ll definitely need to allow myself more time for Leaf. There were a couple of other money-making projects I’d anticipated and that threw my schedule off more than it should have. Plus, of course, prioritizing Veterans Network and golems this week — normally I’d have rolled a lot of that over to next week and concentrated on doing more Leaf stuff.

Wish me luck with our vaccine shots! I’ll hopefully be ready by next Friday to say how it went.

#SFWApro. Art by Michael Gilbert, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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Nature, not terribly red in tooth and claw

It’s spring here in Durham and along with the pollen, we have flowers!And also a bunny rabbit. I haven’t seen as many this year, maybe because more people are out and about so they’re being more cautious.#SFWApro.

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My battle plan did not survive first contact with the enemy

As I mentioned at the start of the month, I thought breaking down my schedule into blocks of time and assigning them to different projects (e.g., eight units for Leaf, eight for Veterans Network articles, eight for the golem article). That way, when my schedule takes some kind of unexpected detour, I can make sure I’m still putting enough time on everything.

This week that did not work, though I think it’s less a flaw in the plan than just life. But then again, if the plan can’t cope with what life throws at me, it’s not much use. But really, this situation is exceptional. I have several projects due before the end of the month and I’m getting my second vaccine shot on April 27. If it leaves me feeling like crap I need to have all my essential projects done so I can just lie in misery. TYG is getting her shot around the same time (I really should have listened to her and gotten mine further apart, but when I saw an opening, I panicked and grabbed it) so even if I’m fine, she might be sick — and I know from experience that’s going to kill my productivity too. So the golem article and all my Veteran Network stuff has to be done by April 26.

Plus next week I have an Alexander Technique appointment, our dogs’ trip to the rehab vet and allergy shots for them. That’s going to eat up quite a bit of time.

So this week I wanted to work on veteran articles, Leaf pieces and the golem piece. I did well — the golem article is finally looking good — until yesterday. About 10:30 Wednesday night, Plushie became scared of the invisible monsters he’d spotted somewhere in the bedroom and insisted on climbing on me for safety, then licking my face for about 20 minutes. Finally he calmed down, but by that point I was completely awake. I got up, worked for a couple of hours, got ready to go back to bed … and Wisp meowed to come in and wanted attention for a little while.

I did get to sleep eventually but it didn’t help much. I finished an article on Agent Orange, and did a little work on Undead Sexist Cliches (final proof of Chapter Two. Looks good) — I’m actually quite impressed what I can do when my brain is utterly fried — but I didn’t get the golem article finished as I’d planned.

Last night I took an Ambien to ensure I’d get a decent night’s sleep. The price was waking up late, then Wisp came in, snuggled with me and fell asleep in my lap (it was cold outside).The result was that I never had the private time I need to get my head in the game. Today was not productive. If I didn’t have the deadlines and the possible sick days ahead, I’d have devoted it entirely to reading the remaining golem novels on my list.

I will try my plan again next month, but for the moment the onrushing deadlines render it moot.

Oh, I had Southern Discomfort come back from a publisher with some critical feedback. I’ll discuss what they said when I’ve had time to mull it over.

To end on an upbeat note, here’s Trixie sniffing a flower.#SFWApro.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book

So I made some bread

Normally I wait until the end of the week but I’d used up the beer bread I made last week. And the recipe for Cobb bread (a traditional English bread) I found in 100 Great Breads was a low-work one so I was able to fit making it into my afternoon’s work without much trouble.I tried calculating the correct dough temperature again and it did make the bread rise very well. It’s a basic white bread but with a salty tang and a great texture.

I highly recommend the 100 Great Breads book.

#SFWApro

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I thought I had it all handled, but I didn’t think of the pollen!

Pollen is always a problem in North Carolina in the spring. Behold:This year it’s worse than usual. The dogs have never left pollen stains on the couch covers before. I think that explains why I became so muzzy-headed Wednesday and Thursday; I kept working, but it was mostly reading material for the golem article when I should have been writing for Leaf or Veterans Network. I didn’t do much better today. I wound up taking some time off from work to bake bread this afternoon (a British beer bread).

It didn’t help that doggy care in the morning dragged out more than usual so I started late both Wednesday and Thursday. I got my hours in, ultimately, but I honestly don’t know if my new technique for budgeting time helped or not. I’ve been marking off units of time when I use them, but I haven’t run out of the time assigned to any projects yet (though the golem stuff is coming close). I’ll see how it goes next week.

Still, I did get quite a bit done. I redrafted the golem article to break down stories by themes: golem as Hulk-like destroyer, golem as protector, golem as artificial intelligence (yearning, like the Vision or Data, for humanity), golem stories focusing on relationships. I think it’s more interesting than just the straight chronological approach I was using. And like I said, I did a lot of extra reading, adding more stuff to the article.

I got a couple of Leaf articles done as well, and one Veterans Network piece. There’s quite a lot of work for the latter assigned for April so I hope my muzzy head clears itself up next week. I also need to account for my second vaccine dose at the end of the month: I need to assume the next couple of days will be me feeling like crap and not up for work. Great if I’m wrong, but just in case …

I completed my review of Chapter Six in Undead Sexist Cliches; now I have to go through and actually make the changes.

And now I’m off to cut a slice of the bread.

#SFWApro.

 

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I think flourless chocolate torte makes a good birthday gift.

TYG does too. She requested I make it for her birthday after a friend of ours mentioned making it. So of course, I did. It came out a little misshapen — — but very tasty. However I think I overdid the glaze.Very chocolatey though. She was happy.

#SFWApro.

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Fauci ouchie #1 down!

Sunday morning I checked Walgreen’s locally and almost immediately got an appointment for Tuesday. Second one is later this month.

I didn’t realize quite how awesome it would feel. Not getting the shot but realizing that by May, life will be more or less back to normal for us. We can shop in stores. Eat in restaurants. Have housekeepers come in. Get out dogs professionally groomed.  Get myself professionally groomed instead of my current mad scientist hair. That was two months ago — by now I look ready to smite someone with the jawbone of an ass.I can make medical appointments. Give blood. Maybe before too long we can even travel.

Thank you to everyone in science, medicine and the government (excluding Trump, Jared and most of his administration) who made this possible so quickly.

#SFWApro.

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