Category Archives: Time management and goals

Still too chaotic to blog

Okay, it’s not really a chaos issue. It’s that I’m getting a lot done on Alien Visitors and a lot of Leaf articles done, which leaves little time for blogging. But phrasing it as “chaos” justifies using these three covers from Michael Moorcock’s first Corum trilogy, pitting him against the Lords of Chaos:Covers by Bob Haberfield

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Stressed but productive, so that’s a win

The schedule was against me this week. Not as bad as those dental appointments last week, but we had a grooming appointment for the dogs, my ophthalmologist visit and a lot of extra dog care on top of that. TYG’s schedule was crazy, so I took point on taking care of them as much as possible. After a certain point, they get distracting, particularly as Plushie’s back to his old habit of squeezing into my lap then expanding into maximum space. I usually wind up sitting in a position that’s physically uncomfortable for writing, and my brain feels it.

I did get a lot of Leafs done and I made some progress on Alien Visitors. But not enough progress to feel confident. It’s still doable but I’m really going to have to push for the remaining 2.5 months. I’d feel better if I could sit and think and map out what has to be done, but having the pups invade my personal space for so much time makes it hard to think clearly.

Ditto Wisp spending more time coming in for snuggles in the morning. I’ll never refuse to let her in — she’s my cat, after all — but the morning was the one time I could count on 90 minutes to 2.5 hours to myself without any distractions. It’s surprising to discover how much that helped my day progress. I need to find a solution, but I don’t have a clue what it is yet.

It’s been sweltering hot here, with the heat index getting up to over 100 degrees a couple of times. And Durham is once again under a mask mandate as the right-wing anti-vax crusade continues.

On the plus side, despite all my worries about my temporary crown, I haven’t done anything to dislodge it from the tooth. By the end of next week I should at least have a date for the permanent crown to go on. Looking forward to it!

And I sold another copy of Sex for Dinner, Death For Breakfast. Whoever bought it, thanks!

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Trumped by my teeth!

So along with Monday’s MRI, I also had to go to my endodontist for a root canal on Tuesday. It was quicker than I thought, but it left me feeling definitely off my game. I wound up spending Tuesday afternoon watching videos for Alien Visitors when it’s the writing I really need to be working on.

Worse, I couldn’t get my head back in the game the following day. Partly that’s because Wisp slept in and between her getting up with me and Trixie coming down early, I couldn’t really focus in the morning (I used to have a couple of hours of quiet time to get my shit together). So I spent most of that day watching videos too. Thursday I went into my regular dentist to replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling and temporary crown. That took somewhat longer than I thought. And at that point my mind decided, as it sometimes does, “You’re never going to get everything done. Give up!” and my brain’s been limping along ever since. Much extra dog care due to TYG’s hectic schedule this week didn’t help; when they’re needy it’s very difficult to focus.

So I accomplished stuff, but I really thought I’d be doing more. Oh, well …

A minor annoyance is that I’m utterly terrified of knocking out my crown. Intellectually I realize it’s not a fragile soap bubble that pops at a touch but I can’t shake the fear that if I eat something a little too chewy or hard — CRACK! Having to think about which side I chew with is Not Fun.

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals

Another productive week without craziness

—So a good week, but not terribly exciting to write about. Next week I have a root canal and an unrelated doctor’s appointment so that may change.

I wrapped up my Leaf writing for July on Monday.

To my pleasant surprise I finished the last chapter and the afterword of Undead Sexist Cliches. In my head, I’m tentatively setting a publication date in early November, which allows me to think about publicity and promotion and stuff (more on this later). Of course, I have a shit-ton to do on Alien Visitors which has a firm deadline at the end of October, so I still wonder if it’s possible. But if I commit, I’ll have to deliver.

Speaking of Alien Visitors, I did a thorough rewrite on the introduction and a good second draft of the chapter on alien invaders (focus: the George Pal and Spielberg War of the Worlds). Being able to look at them and say that yes, people will actually find this interesting, is a huge booster. Much to do yet, though.

And of course, I watched movies and TV for the book. Memorably, but not pleasurably the Day the Earth Stood Still knockoff Cosmic Man (1959) –— which is still more watchable than the Keanu Reaves remake of Day. And then Atomic Submarine (1960)I suffer for my art.

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My week, demolished by dogs (Wisp helped too)

Having Tuesday sucked up by doctor visits was only part of the distractions from writing this week.

It started Saturday night, July 3. Some clodpates decided to launch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day Eve and Plushie freaked out. He crawled across the bed and began licking at my face for comfort, which is not so comfortable for me — I kept having to shift to avoid getting my mouth or my ears licked (ick!). And he wanted to jump off the bed, which would be bad for his ongoing recovery (more on which soon).

Sunday night, July 4, there were, of course, more fireworks and more of a freakout. My writing day Monday was ultra-groggy; I’d scheduled eight Leaf articles for myself and only finished six. Catching up took more time out of the rest of my week (I try for 10 a week. It covers my share of the bills handily).

Monday night, as I mentioned in this morning’s post, Wisp kept waking me up. Tuesday and Wednesday I just didn’t sleep well. Part of that is that the endodontist gave me antibiotics (there’s a slight infection around the site of my future root canal) and my mind keeps prodding me to get up at 3 AM so I take them on a regular schedule (it’s a four times a day thing), then I can’t get back to sleep.

Then Thursday, a friend called with a problem. They’d previously asked about us dog-sitting Lily and Tito as we’d done before, but for a longer stretch, Thursday to Tuesday (the dogs have never been boarded so the owners don’t want to do that if they can avoid it). Then they’d found someone who could house-sit with the dogs, so we didn’t have to get involved. Thursday their house-sitter got slapped with an emergency and it was too late to either take the dogs or board them, so could we … And of course we said yes. Needless to say, having two more dogs slows my work down to a crawl. Plus our weekly session with our dogs at the dog rehab place took much longer than anticipated. So Thursday was a wash as far as anything involving thinking. Today was too.

At least they’re awfully cute, sweet dogs though.

I did manage to read over Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches preparatory to rewriting it. I posted on Atomic Junkshop about the obscure Superman villain Zha-Vam (“Say his name and even Superman shakes!”) I got my ten Leafs done for the week, and watched a lot of movies for Alien Visitors. Didn’t get much writing done, though and I really need to. But there’s only so much that can be done when multiple dogs clamor for attention.

#SFWApro.

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

With the year half over …

I’ve had a consistent run of completing 50 percent of my goals each month. And it happened once again for June. Writing went well, though (as usual) nowhere near as fast as I wanted. Lots of little goals didn’t get done but I kept up my exercise and (reasonably) healthy eating goals.

This week went well. My relatively new rule of not counting time spent on email or blogging as writing time really does allow me to get more done. And I don’t feel guilty if I plow through a lot of email. Both these things are good.

I rewrote the Alien Invasions chapter of Alien Visitors and put in a bunch of time breaking down my list of movies decade by decade, to see if I can spot any trends. Nothing concrete yet, but I’ll blog about it when I think of something. And, of course, I watched movies. Leaf was on hiatus most of the week so I had extra time (I’ll be back on that beat starting Monday, or maybe Sunday). I also need to rein in how much stuff I try to do during movies. Sure, lots of them are minor and not really deserving of close attention. Even so, they may spark some insight, but not if I let myself get consumed by blogging or reading the news. I used to be able to double-focus, but not so much now. And switching from close-up computer range eye use to staring at the TV creates quite a strain.

I finished rewriting the abortion/birth control chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches. Now it’s just Chapter Nine (and the conclusion), then indexing, spell-checking, researching a couple of point that need clarifying …and (ugh) rereading Warren Farrel’s The Myth of Male Power. The $17 used copy I ordered vanished in the mail (I got a refund today). As every copy I can find is at least $30, I sold out and bought the Kindle edition for $8. I dislike anything that sends royalties his way, but …

For visual appeal, here’s a photo I took of the spare bedroom window early Thursday, when it’s only lit by the back porch floodlights. It came out much better than most of my darkness photos do.#SFWApro.

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Filed under Movies, Nonfiction, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Productive work but was it the right work?

Yes and no. I prioritized work on Alien Visitors but I wound up watching more movies and doing less than writing on the book than I should have.

The week started off with Trixie deciding to get up early to spend time with me. Which got more complicated than usual as Wisp decided to come in and spend time with me. Attempting to handle both of them, keep Trixie out of Wisp’s tuna (Trixie’s stomach usually gets upset after), break up any possible fights — well, I couldn’t get my usual exercises and stretching done. So I pushed that until later in the day and watched movies or TV for the book while I did my physical stuff. That kept me working, but it did not get the writing done. I did complete a rough rewrite of the introduction but I need to do a lot more next week.

I also got my Leaf articles done and proofed Chapter Eight of Undead Sexist Cliches while I was sitting in Plushie’s cage. It’s  too awkward to bring my computer into the cage, but he needed the company.

So not quite the best use of my time, but I did put it to use. And I learned something from the movies, even the crappy ones. So it’s a win, I think. Plus I spent this morning having tea with my friend HJ Frederick, catching up and enjoying real world interactions.

For an illustration, here’s some flowers from the neighborhood.#SFWApro.

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

Plushie the jailbird!

So a couple of weeks back when we laid down new rugs, we had to move a lot of furniture around. In the middle of all that, the Plush One jumped up on the back of one of the couches — we’d moved it away from the wall — and jumped to the floor. So perhaps it’s not surprising that last Saturday, his back started acting up again. As in, if we even brushed it, he flinched in pain.

We rushed him to the emergency vet (we have a couple in Durham) and got the anticipated recommendation of painkillers and cage rest.  Here you can see him resting inside the bars.That Sunday I spent a lot of time caged with him because he gets so miserable when cut off from us.Unfortunately Trixie doesn’t like that solution much. Here you can see me comforting her through the bars.Fortunately TYG, being Plushie’s adoring Mommy, opted to work downstairs, outside the cage, as much as she could. She also slept on the couch-bed all week so she’d be there if he whimpered in pain (knowing TYG, I wasn’t surprised). That freed me up from working inside the cage, which is really awkward. The downside was that with her sleeping down there, I had to rearrange my morning schedule so I didn’t wake her up by coming down to get tea. That made for another chaotic week — well, by my standards — but ultimately I was able to get my work done. Not counting blogging and email time as work helped — otherwise I might have been tempted to just give up and bat out some blog posts for a couple of hours.

Happily we took Plush in to our regular vet this morning. We still have to keep him from jumping up and down or climbing the stairs, but we can probably stop cage rest after tomorrow. He’ll be much happier if we put the cage up around the couch and let him snuggle with us

I didn’t have the focus to write much on Alien Visitors but I watched a number of movies for the book. I got my Leaf quota in, and another client finally worked out the kinks in their accounting system and paid up. I was beginning to worry they wouldn’t pay, so that was a welcome resolution to the story ($850 isn’t chicken feed to me). And I finished proofing Undead Sexist Cliches Chapter Seven, on sexual harassment.

It’s hard to believe I only have a week and a half left this month. I’d better keep making good use of my time.

#SFWApro.

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

Chaotic but productive. I can live with that.

Yesterday, our housecleaners made their monthly appearance, as usual amazing me with how good they are. I don’t think I realized one of my shower door was actually clear glass. But I knew they’d make it hard to focus, so I put in a full day of work Sunday instead. That proved wise, because I did indeed get little done yesterday.

I completed plenty of Leafs; other than that, my priority was Alien Visitors. I watched movies (including Earth Girls Are Easy), and got around to rough drafts of several chapters. Whatever’s been bogging me down in working on the book, I’ve finally broken out of the slump. I also read my UFO Abduction chapter to the group on Tuesday, and got some excellent feedback, as usual.

I wound up taking today off to get various stuff — paperwork, mostly — done, and watching more stuff for the book.

And … huh, that’s pretty much it. When things go smoothly, there’s not much stuff to say I guess.

My article on military suicide came out on Veterans Network. I believe this is it until the fall but that works out well — more time for Alien Visitors and finishing up Undead Sexist Cliches.

Wisp has been coming in for snuggles a little more frequently this week, which is nice. Oh, and we belled Wisp, at the request of our neighbor. It’s a breakaway collar, so it’s safe for her, I hope, and perhaps it will make it harder for her to snatch any birds from the neighbor’s feeder. Fingers crossed.

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If nothing else, at least I donated some blood this week

That was this morning. I came home and collapsed much more than I think I usually do. But then it’s been a heck of a week. By the way, how do you like my blood selfie?

I’d really expected a productive week. I didn’t get one. Okay, that’s not fair: I did finish editing Chapter Six of Undead Sexist Cliches and I got nine Leaf articles done. But nothing other than a couple of movies accomplished for Alien Visitors.

The trouble started Sunday night. Wisp came in because it was unusually chilly. She wound up sleeping next to me, but positioned herself where I really couldn’t move or shift comfortably (I was afraid I’d knock her to the floor). That always ruins sleep for me (it’s happened with Plushie a couple of times too) and I’m not sure Wisp would be okay with me moving her, so I wound up not getting enough sleep.

Monday night Wisp wasn’t in. Plushie, however, decided he needed to go out around 1:30 AM, which fell to me, so that didn’t go well. Tuesday night, Plushie tried moving me over because he wanted my spot in the bed. He isn’t big enough to make that happen, but it still makes it impossible to sleep. Wednesday Wisp came in, slept in a good spot, but woke me up around 3:30 AM for attention.

So I’ve been kind of sleep deprived this week. I concentrated on Leaf articles because they don’t require much creative thinking (and yes, they pay). Thursday, though I had sleep deprivation plus taking care of the dogs the entire day, and Wisp spending a lot of time indoors (as I don’t want any fights to erupt this requires paying a lot more attention to pets). So out of a day of work, maybe three hours of writing.

On the plus side, my decision not to count blogging and email as writing time paid off. Not that it made me more productive but the periods when I was doing nothing but reading email didn’t make me feel guilty (“This isn’t productive! I shouldn’t count this as writing time!'”).

It was a mess of a week but now it’s done. I got better sleep last night — not a huge amount but waking myself early always feels better than someone else waking me up. Fingers crossed for a better second week of June.

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