Okay, Back to Work

I’m home, I’m stable (well, in context, I’m stable), and it’s now time to get back to work.   I’d meant to start back yesterday (it’s Monday!  Go To Work!) and I did e-mail with Krissie so we could start sharing progress stories daily, and then I went to sleep.  But TODAY . . . 

Okay, today I’m going out to a farm stand and buy tomatoes because I suddenly have a craving for frittata.  

And today, I’m going to clear out the last of the guest room and the bathroom so two rooms in this house are clean and bright.  

And today I’m going through all the notes on Nita’s first act that you all gave me and doing a rewrite, especially that at-what-point-is-she-too-dumb-to-live for not accepting the supernatural.

That’s a full day for me, invalid that I am.  Actually, I’m not an invalid, I feel better than I have in months.  But I’m still pacing myself.  

Then tonight I’ll e-mail Krissie and probably say, “My accomplishments today?  I bought tomatoes.”  Sigh.  

OTOH the dogs are chewing on rawhide bones and having a great time, so I think the whole tender-teeth thing is probably in the past.  Nothing but good times ahead.

Anybody else have plans for the week?

71 thoughts on “Okay, Back to Work

  1. It’s important to acknowledge accomplishments, even if they’re just buying tomatoes.

    I realized recently that I’ve been doing an aspect of bullet journaling since before bullet journaling is a thing. Not the part that doesn’t work for me — the funny symbols and rewriting everything repeatedly — but the part about keeping a list of goals for each year/month (and week, but I don’t do that) and then keeping a list of actual accomplishments (even if it’s just getting out of bed on a bad day, or playing with kittens) for each day/month/year. I’ll sometimes just list the reason why I didn’t accomplish something, like because I had the flu or was otherwise incapacitated, because that’s important too, to know that there was a solid reason for the non-productivity.

    Especially for those of us who are self-employed (or unemployed or underemployed or disabled), I think it’s reassuring to look back and see that I actually did things, and it’s almost always more than I’d realize if I were just trying to remember it in my head. The lists of accomplishments are an antidote to the false “I’m a lazy bum” self-lectures that I’m prone to.

    15+

    1. Definitely. And I so easily slip out of writing what I’ve done in my work diary. I’ve been doing my accounts, and had to reconstruct great chunks of it from other sources, but it’s still skimpy, and I’m giving myself a hard time for not achieving more.

      4+

  2. I’m kind of wallowing in being done with moving/selling/buying houses. Now it turns out there are other things I need to be done with, but first I should probably go to the farm stand and buy some fresh vegetables.

    8+

  3. This is being a really social summer for us. When we lived in Eastern Washington (High desert, 100 + degree F days, sage brush, dust storms), the interest in visiting us was minimal. Now we live in Portland, everyone has to check the dates ahead of time because A. we are not home B. Someone else wants to visit us or C we have something planned.

    But I don’t think anyone is coming for the next two weeks so I really need to get back to work on weeding the garden while it is pleasant. It is suppose to get up to 95 in a few days and I will then work inside the house (air conditioning as part of the remodel – we only use it a max of three or four weeks a year but it is a wonderful luxury).

    Glad you are feeling better. And I envy you New Jersey tomatoes. We lived in Philadelphia for grad school and I never had as rich of flavored tomatoes as those we bought from farm stands in New Jersey.

    4+

  4. Tonight:
    1. I’m going to spray weed killer on my lawn to get the damn bindweed under control.
    2. I’m going to fold and put away multiple loads of laundry.
    3. I’m going to make arrangements to spend the weekend with my kids and parents in Door County, WI. Part of those arrangements include making sure there’s clean laundry to pack…
    4. I”m going to get at least 6 hours of sleep tonight, come hell or high water.

    6+

  5. Re: Nita not accepting supernatural, I am less bothered by disbelief while the evidence mounts up than I am by buying in too quickly – especially after a lifetime of practice rejecting her brother’s belief in demons. Not that you asked.

    Sometimes buying tomatoes is all the energy there is. Of course, I have about 2 hours of accounting/data entry I could have done every day for a week and ….. haven’t. For absolutely no reason except that I haven’t. Hope springs eternal for this evening.

    10+

    1. I haven’t had a problem with Nita buying into the supernatural too slowly, either. The pace is so fast she really doesn’t have time to think about it, and like you said she’s been denying Mort’s belief for so long it’s a habit. Also she was drunk for some of it. 🙂 And in the book’s timeline, it’s barely a day, isn’t it?

      9+

    2. It can be tough to sort out how fast someone should buy in. I taught DRACULA one has to high school students and they were all utterly disgusted with the Harknesses for not realizing immediately that the count was a vampire… Despite my repeated attempts to explain that this was the first vampire novel and Mina didn’t have the advantage of reading Twilight first in order to recognize all the signs! 😆

      At any rate, I think it’s ok for Nita–an excellent co;-) to be skeptical beyond the shadow of a doubt.

      5+

    3. I think audience acceptance is more predicated on character competence. Cases where they don’t buy into the supernatural, but are competent enough to still survive or even win, are more palatable where their disbelief causes them to hold the idiot ball. That’s where the tipping point is.

      Also, Fun Train is always important. Someone dragging their heels at the Refusal of the Call stage is annoying if it prevents us from getting genre shenanigans goodness, but if we get fun shenanigans even through that, then Refusal is actually moved to a different aspect of the character. They’ve answered the Call, it’s just that the Call is for something else from the thing they seem to be refusing on the surface.

      1+

  6. Yay. Home and pets and clean rooms. Happiness trifecta, that.

    I like to remove peels, blitz fresh tomatoes in a food processor and cook to reduce for a few hours. Then I freeze in ice cube trays and when needed I add this deliciousness to any soup, stirfry or curry that needs tomatoes. Cuts the acidity down.

    It’s school vacation and I feel ever so useless. I have too much *necessary* things to do and I’ve barely made a dent in it. Nothing is me saying that I have to do it, it’s external need.

    7+

      1. It’s pretty effective, there is a slight sort of contraction in the block size in the freezer, since it’s more dense than water, but it improves flavour tenfold.

        3+

    1. Oops, in case anyone doesn’t know, I think it was Floyd who taught me – boil water, put in it in a dish, add *whole* tomatoes, fish out with a slotted spoon,pull, and the skins some off easily.

      Tomato season at home is fun for me. I get to pick, add to salads and sandwiches and make the reduction. Since the garden also has thyme, I put in whole stems in the pot and the reduction is subtly flavoured.

      4+

    2. I have in the past just washed the tomatoes off and put on a cookie sheet and froze. Then move them to zip lock freezer bags.

      It turns out home grown tomatoes are so high in sugar you can chop them while they are frozen. And the hot water plunge trick work just as well with frozen tomatoes as with non-frozen for peeling them. And it might be my varieties of tomatoes but the seeded sections tend to freeze harder so I just pop them out and then I have seeded, peeled fresh tomato to add to my cooking. And it really is less work. Especially since for most soups I don’t bother with the seeding or the peeling.

      8+

    1. Spoons. That’s brilliant. It applies to so many things, depression included. Last week there were days it seemed like I just had enough spoons to sit in my chair and stare into space.

      7+

    2. I’ve seen this before, and some of by Betty friends and I talk about “only having the spoons for X” especially when scolding our friend Bethany for being too hard on herself. (She’s fighting cancer and some days her spoons are really limited.)

      During the long years when I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibro (in theory, I’m better, so maybe I only have the fibro now, or maybe I have them both but I’m not quite as sick), this was my life. Some days I had enough spoons to go to the grocery store. Some days I barely had the spoons to call a friend to buy me milk. Still my reality, I just have a few more spoons. But nothing like the amount most people have.

      Part of the process of dealing with health issues is adjusting to the new reality of how many spoons you have, and acting accordingly. Jenny, if all you can do is buy tomatoes, that’s okay. Be careful with those spoons!

      11+

      1. There’s a chance Deborah might measure my spoons better than I do. I tend to look at the rest of my friends doing All The Things in their thirties and think “if I only tried harder” even though I know that’s not the right way to think…

        11+

        1. I got in such trouble with my stepmother when I was pregnant, because my husband kept a much better count of my spoons then I could, and she wanted to tear up my feminist card for letting him “control me.” Whatever, they’re divorced now.
          Also, this has been the conversation I needed today. Thanks.

          0

  7. I often start the day with a crazy to do list. I’m at the point where I’m happy when I can cross anything off it.

    But today my list was fairly reasonable. Heh.

    1. Get up at 2:45 a.m. to drive husband to train. DONE! UGH!

    2. Exercise. DONE!

    3. Grocery shop. DONE!

    4. Workday. IN PROGRESS.

    5. Pick up library books after work. OUTCOME DOUBTFUL!

    6. Make several medical appointments. NOT TODAY!

    7. Renew passport. MAYBE THIS WEEK! BUT UNLIKELY!

    6+

    1. Any to-do list that starts with “get up at 2:45 a.m.” is unreasonable, no matter what else is on it. Unless the next item is “go to the loo, go straight back to bed, and sleep till 10”.

      4+

  8. Glad you’re home and feeling better! As I’m sure others have already said to you–don’t overdo it! Go at your own pace and stop when you start to feel fatigued.

    I made a BIG accomplishment on Sunday, which is that I rented a wet-saw and cut a bunch of heavy, thick pavers for my patio project.

    I am very uncomfortable with power tools, and scared to death of big saws. So I tried to find another way to get these pavers cut–a service or company or contractor who’d cut them if I brought the pavers to them at a time/place that suited them, etc. But no one would do it.

    So my patio project, about one-third completed, has been stalled for a couple of months over this point.

    On Sunday I decided, okay, just get it DONE, just DO it. So I rented the wet-saw. Relatives who were down here for brunch that morning carried it up into my elevated yard for me. (Another logistical issue is that the wet-saw is BIG and VERY heavy, and my whole property is above street level, accessibly only by a set of steps. So just getting the saw into my yard required doing this on a day when strong men would be around to carry the thing from and to my car.) And I spent the day sawing pavers (and then I got my brawny neighbors to put the saw back in my car at the end of the day).

    It was very stressful (that saw blade is bigger than a dinner plate, and I was terrified of it). Also very messy. A saw that cuts stone or concrete needs to have water running on it the whole time, so my tiny yard was a SWAMP by the time I finished. I and everything in the yard were by then covered with a paste of paver-dust and drying water.

    But it’s DONE. So now I can proceed with the rest of my hardscaping.

    26+

    1. Power saws freak me out, too. I just want the wood cut more than I’m freaked. And there’s such a feeling of accomplishment when you’re done, so good for you!

      5+

  9. I’m going to California to help our daughter move into her new house!

    Everyone keeps saying, “Don’t lift anything heavy.” So Daughter plans to take a picture of me holding a box labeled “100 pounds – HEAVY – not to be lifted by Mom.”

    Maybe we’ll add “not effective on roadrunners.”

    12+

  10. Yesterday did all the things (bathed and groomed doggies, doctor’s visit for shingles shot, neatening house for the cleaners today, shopped at the carneceria), so cruising from hereon into the rest of the week. Today is fun: Farmer’s Market, thrifting, final yoga class of the summer, library to find Certain Books, more work on proofing an out-of-control scan. Nothing but good times ahead, especially with Jennifer Crusie back at home once more.

    6+

  11. I started a batch of sunshine tea outside and when it is just “steeped enough” I’ll bring it in and add either a couple of packets of tea and lemonade mix or tea and peach mix and refrigerate.

    I don’t know when I saw the last roadside stand for tomatoes, it’s been a while. Now I’m gonna have to keep an eye out. At one time we grew them and put them up in canning jars for the winter.

    Last week our son was over with the grandchildren and during the course of conversation he told me he never liked the tomatoes that I scooped out and baked with broccoli and bread crumbs. I was so flabbergasted that it took me two days to come up with a comeback like ‘Oh well are any of your friends 6’ 3″?) Darn kids.

    6+

  12. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Glad as in, I broke into a huge grin when I read your post. Also, buying tomatoes can be a huge accomplishment.

    Yesterday I went to the Smithsonian Zoo and learned about red pandas from one of the keepers, then went to pub quiz which was fun and silly times. Today I’ve written two cards to people and went to acupuncture. I’m also going to make myself stare at my computer for at least thirty minutes to try to make progress on the novel I’m attempting to write. I’m going to make a serious effort to not count any of the time I spend going through Writing and Romance in an effort to figure out why I’ve gotten so thoroughly stuck and how to fix it. I’m listening to my playlist to try to get back in my main character’s head since she stopped talking to me and there’s just this blank spot between “decides to try learning magic” and “accidentally harms her teacher” which is seriously frustrating me. We’ll see how that goes. :/ I might not be cut out for this fiction thing. I did at least update my article for freekibblekat.com today because the cat’s owner sent additional photos and some lovely quotes that reminded me of how great people can be.

    Later this week I’m going in for another scan and then trying not to freak out for 23 hours before I learn the results and next steps in treatment from my oncologist.

    14+

      1. I once started a novel and got into it several thousand words and stopped. If I ever try again this should help me.

        3+

      2. That was great.

        I’ve actually found that it’s better if I don’t know what the story is about until I’ve finished the discovery draft. Once I get an entire draft done and straightened out, then I can look at it and say, “Oh, it’s about mothers,” and shape it to that. But I don’t know what I’ve said until I see what I’ve written.

        But yes, absolutely on look at what you don’t want to write. That’s the Girls bitching big time. And find the stuff you do want to write even if it isn’t what comes next. The stuff that makes you happy (even if the characters are miserable). This isn’t just your career, it’s your life, after all.

        8+

    1. Fwiw, I go through many iterations of the “can’t write a shopping list” blues. I have thought, on countless occasions, that I should just quit writing since it torments me so. (It turns out it’s an important part of maintaining emotional equilibrium — I get depressed and cranky and just generally out of sorts when I don’t write, so not writing is no longer an option.)

      I read part of Rosanne Bane’s “Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance.” She talks about neuroscience and the way the lizard brain, so focused on survival it’ll crowd everything else out, takes over, sometimes so stealthily we don’t even notice it. I didn’t write consistently while I was extricating myself from marriage to an emotional abuser; now that I’m divorced, my writing mojo is coming back, because I’m not in a low-level state of fear all the time. (For my own sanity and emotional health, I no longer read the news or any kind of op-ed about Stuff. I’m doing everything I can about things, and I don’t need to know the details. I just don’t.)

      It seems to me that, coping with cancer, you’re also dealing with a fierce lizard brain grabbing all the resources and leaving nothing or almost nothing for creativity. So, yeah, the book will seem as if it’s pancaking even if it isn’t. Or the issues it has seem insurmountable, because there’s no charge in your creative batteries to tackle them.

      Which is a very long way of saying, cut yourself some slack. (Easier said than done, I know from ugly experience, but still…) And take advantage of friends who offer to help. Reach out to your writing community and ask them for ideas. I’ve often found that, “Yeah, no, that totally doesn’t work,” (usually spoken with my completely inside voice) is at least as useful as, “That’s perfect!” (spoken with the outside voice). And sometimes that, “Nope…” is even more useful than a “yes!” Figuring out why a good, creative suggestion doesn’t work for my story helps me get to a deeper understanding of my story, or it gets me to a deeper understanding of my own misapprehension of my story.

      I also do this thing I call Thinking on Paper, where I hand-write what I’m thinking — the questions I’m asking, the pros and cons of a given choice, what my concerns are. For whatever reason, that helps me figure things out. It’s as if I no longer have to store them in my head and that creates space for other things to come through.

      All of this is just stuff I’m putting on the table, in case something might be useful…

      11+

      1. This is really useful. I am (as Deb will attest) Really Bad at asking for and accepting help. It’s hard enough to admit that I’m trying to write fiction because it’s something I respect so deeply.

        I’ll have to look up the book. I did treat myself to Wrede on Writing which I’m planning to let myself curl up with this week so long as I do my requisite staring at the screen just in case my attic girls start to talk to me.

        2+

    2. Write another part of the book. Write a subplot. Write a secondary character. Write a scene from the antagonist’s viewpoint.
      When I hit a wall, it’s usually because I’m trying to control the narrative too much and the Girls have said, “Fine, write it without us.” So I take two steps to the left and write a different part of the book, and they come back.
      You can do this. Really.

      12+

      1. Thank you!!! Trying to write from my secondary character’s pov sounds fun and more exciting than staring at Word thinking “come on, Marie, please talk to me.” I’m pretty sure the book is in need of a subplot or two, so I’ll try to give that a hard look to figure out what else is going on that needs to be made more apparent. It is really helpful to know that you hit walls, too.

        5+

        1. Did I ever mention that in the first drafts of Faking It, Eve was the protagonist?
          I finally thought, “Write a subplot about the little sister, she’s fun,” and then Davy kissed her and that was it. True story.

          1+

  13. I’m looking at two more houses this week, neither of which look truly promising. Went to see a wreck yesterday, but it’s not for me (fear it would be a money pit, and it’s not in the area I really want to be).

    Finished my accounts, so must fill in my tax return. Am pretty worried about my (perennial) low earning capacity. I should at least be doing editing rather than proof-reading, since the hourly rate is 25% better.

    I’m brainstorming yet another reinvention of my blog. Did a trial run this afternoon which didn’t work. (Try again. Fail better.)

    7+

  14. I’m trying to build a productive routine so that I do things, but also don’t feel guilty when I take time to relax. It’s onlybeen a day, but so far so good.

    7+

  15. My plan for this week is finish the book. Or anyway, my plan for the next two weeks is finish the book. That ought to be doable, for real.

    Also sushi, because it is so hot.

    Hope you have a wonderful frittata, and good work forthcoming.

    5+

  16. I’m going to finish this round of revisions on the Rider novella and send it back out to my First Readers for one last look.

    Along with making and eating dinner, and *maybe* folding the laundry I did a few days ago, that’s probably it for today.

    Once that’s off my plate, I’m planning to take a few days to catch up on some jewelry making, prep some promo stuff for The Little Book of Cat Magic, coming out in October, and try to clean out the upstairs closet I want to turn back into a bathroom (it supposedly was one before I owned the house). My list just gets longer…

    I’m glad you’re home and feeling better, and able to get things done again. Do they have any kind of long term prognosis for you? I hope it is something along the lines of, “You’re going to have to pace yourself, but you’re still going to live a long and book-writing filled life.”

    6+

    1. They’ll have a better idea in October. They still don’t know what happened, so that makes a prognosis difficult since they can’t stop it from happening again until they know what it is.

      However, I have a longterm prognosis for myself, and it’s Nothing But Good Times Ahead. I’m such a freaking over-achiever that it’s important for me to not just survive but survive BRILLIANTLY, leaving all specialists AMAZED and STUNNED BY HOW WELL I’VE DONE. I did it with cancer, I can do it with this.

      Some of us are just tragically destined to strive for success.

      16+

      1. Also, I had to laugh at “it’s important for me to not just survive but survive BRILLIANTLY, leaving all specialists AMAZED and STUNNED BY HOW WELL I’VE DONE.”

        I tend to feel that way about my cancer — if I’m not amazing them by how well I’m coping with side effects, I just need to strive harder, damnit! 🙂

        8+

      2. I adore you owning your prognosis, Jenny. Back when I did my social work training, I had some wonderful professors who taught that a pitfall of diagnosis is that it so often leads to prognosis. And both come from the outside. Whereas true prognosis is unpredictable and the only real diagnosis and prognosis come from the inside. While this may sound spiritual and may partially be, it was also eye-opening from the practical standpoint and a good reminder that while “specialists” can sometimes provide some information, they don’t hold the keys to anything and we need to be mindful of how much power we may (mistakenly) put in their hands and they need to be mindful of their own limits as well.

        And “tragically destined to strive for success” is a fab phrase. Be great on a T-shirt:)

        4+

  17. I’m counting down to the start of the school year with mixed excitement and trepidation. My to-do lists have been weekly over the summer and I have accomplished several necessary things that I’ve been putting off, but they’ll ramp up to long daily lists in about a week and a half… Now if only I can buy a water softener, get the house painted, rearrange all the bookshelves, and plan the new class I’m teaching this year in the next two weeks, I’ll be all set! 😆

    4+

    1. Oh, I feel this. Just getting the things done that feel impossible during term time is so SATISFYING. It is such a relief to go in organised at both home and work. It allows me to be more present in the classroom, instead of worrying about what needs to be done.

      1+

  18. This week seems to be two steps forward, one step back.

    I’m still dealing with minor complications from surgery in May, and pushing myself doesn’t help. I need to monitor my activity levels better.

    And my WIP is giving me fits as I dig deeper into the last bit. Fortunately, my critique partners helped me talk through it last night, and I feel much better about revising the rest of this draft.

    I made crab soup by request for my mom’s belated 80th birthday dinner, then had to send leftovers to her because she was under the weather and couldn’t come over. She’s set to start back on the hard chemo in a week because the easy chemo isn’t cutting it anymore. And so the cycle goes (along with the hair and tastebuds).

    So yeah. Two steps forward, one step back. I do hope the net result is progress.

    3+

    1. Good luck with both your minor complications and your mom’s hard chemo. She’s lucky to have you supporting her and making her soup. I’ll be sending hope and love your and her way.

      4+

  19. So glad you feel better.

    This week I must book flights to go back up north to finish the Reno on the duplex.
    Make a list of to do for each room.
    Phone a couple of Handyman guys for help
    And confirm the dates the floor goes in. Much easier for a floor guy to install.

    0

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