Working Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Krissie and I both need clean offices (she’s organizing the office she has, I’m making the living room into mine), so we agreed to start with pictures of the chaos. (No, you can’t see them, we have some pride.) Then we both agreed that we were comfortable where we were–she in her LaZBoy in Vermont and me in the guest room bed in NJ–so maybe later for the pictures . . . . I’m thinking this is going to take awhile.

What did you do this week?

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70 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, April 21, 2021

  1. I did probably the most important thing in this Portugal move (other than getting the visas and getting on the plane): we got our residency permits!

    There’s still a boatload more paperwork to get through, but this one was huge. We’re legal for the next 3 years, It’s too early for champagne, so I’m celebrating with cold-brew iced tea and an apple.

    1. I am vicariously excited about your move. 🙂 Portugal is one of my Top 5 destinations if we ever get to travel again.

    2. Congratulations! Moving to a new country at any time is harrowing – but Europe at this time is insane! (Moved to France last year so I share your pain). PS Vinho verde or champagne works at any time a day here – no worries!

    3. I think it’s so great you’re doing this. The kind of thing I daydream about but would never do. Go you!

  2. Only clean… I need to excavate my bedroom on a grand scale, which became a home office and library (I borrowed a lot of books pre lockdown)

  3. This week’s been proof-reading (in the garden mostly) and gardening. I rashly told Penguin yesterday that I’d finish & post the proofs today, and of course it’s taking longer than expected to tie up the loose ends, so today’s turning into a slog.

    I was a good girl and asked for a follow-on, so am expecting an illustrated book about Chatsworth – hopefully not before Monday, so I can have more gardening time.

    Oh, I posted a picture of my cherry tree yesterday – you can just see signs of the archaeological dig in the far corner behind it: https://www.instagram.com/p/CN5AwsdDRuo/

  4. Talk about expectations! I prepped a quilt (cut all the pieces and was very organized) and went to a three day retreat and severly underestimated the time it would take to complete. I thought that I’d knock it out during the weekend, and brought a couple of extra projects in case I needed something else to do. I managed to create – after some issues with reading the directions correctly – twenty partial blocks. They are cute blocks, but it will take me some time to get the rest of the quilt put together. But the weekend was fun, and I certainly got more done there than I would have at home.

    One of the things we talked about was my oldest UFO – a quilt I made probably 15 -20 years ago. It’s been quilted – it just needs the binding. What is stopping me is that I made it entirely out of stars, so the edge of the quilt is a lot of jagged star points. I pulled it out and took a photo to share. We’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to finish this off is to cut those points off and make a straight edge. Then it will be done – which is a good thing.

    So here are pictures of lemur faces (imagine another 16 – and look at all the tiny pieces!) and the edge of my star quilt.

    Yesterday I took my oldest kitty Maggie to the vet for follow up on an ER visit. She was not feeling at all well. It looks like she might have pancreatitis but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. I’m glad I’m still working from home to keep an eye on her.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CN7bKyVHN9d/

    1. For the starry quilt, cutting the sides straight looks like a good idea.
      For the top and bottom you’ld lose less if you went for a large zigzag. If you follow the lines of how the stars connect and only cut off the tips of the 2 legs of the stars that stick out, at an angle, I think that would look good.
      So the point where those two sticking-out legs connect/ start to diverge is the nearest point of your zigzag. And the point where those two legs connect on the recessed star is the deepest point of the zigzag.

      If you don’t like the big zigzag edge, and want to make the top and bottom straight too, could you find some more of the cream background fabric to fill in those zigzags?

      1. I don’t have any of that background fabric around. But that zigzag idea is interesting.

        1. Another alternative could be adding a contrasting fabric as the background to the currently naked star points (essentially adding a border ‘behind’ the star points – you could even make it wider than the end of the points to give the illusion of floating stars?).

          If I did that I think I’d machine applique the star points on to a strip of the border/background fabric, but appreciate it could be fiddly. It also depends if there is a fabric available that would work as good enough contrast to all of the stars, since I note it’s scrappy (or 4 different fabric strips for 4 different sides – how scrappy do you wanna go? :-)). Mentally I’m adding a dove grey ‘border’ to float the stars with a dark binding, but of course can only see part of the top.

          Just a thought.

          And I love the lemurs.

  5. My work this week has been getting house/yard/laundry etc. all organized so things won’t fall apart if shot #2 takes some recovery time. I’m getting there. We also got the camper dewinterized, prepped, tested everything out, and it’s ready for the season.

    1. I did the same thing and then the worst I got was a sore arm (YAY!). Well, I didn’t clean but I organized food, books, and yarn. The basics.

    2. I got shot #2 (MODERNA or whatever it is called) recently and I am 70 years old and I was very sick for about 24 hours.. chills and fever.. so hope it goes well for you but good to be prepared..and make sure you have some OTC pills just in case ( aspirin … whatever)

  6. Had two interviews yesterday, kind of amazing. Both remote, and only one time zone difference for one of them. Big difference in hourly rate, but either is good, if I can get it.
    Dog sitting a tiny chihuahua/terrier mix, she cracks me up, she’s lighter than most chickens, and I’ve always had 60-80 lb. dogs. Of course, she has a huge personality.

    Went back to some paintings to see what I liked and what I might change.

    Cleaned out my car, but then spilled some chicken soup on the passenger seat while delivering it to a friend with the #2 shot blahs. For now, my car smells delicious.

    1. I’ve constantly told my Shelties, “That dog’s bigger than you.” None of them have ever agreed.

    2. I hope you didn’t give away all the chicken soup or riding in the car might become frustrating.

  7. Busy translating engineer/marketing speak, battling phrases like “guide the customer journey through the entire building ecosystem.” Which sounds like people crawling through sewers.

    1. Current business jargon makes me wonder what the company is trying to pull over on me. Laying people off went to ‘downsizing’ and then to ‘right-sizing’. So glad I’m out of that.

      1. Or in my company’s case, always scroll to the bottom of the email, that’s where they put the stuff they hope you won’t notice

  8. Just spinning my wheels–the unending laundry/dishes/organizing. Grateful for the freelance work, also not ending in foreseeable future, and steady.
    Recorded two sessions for my church on medieval women, with one more to go.
    Very happy to find a shout-out to Jenny (specifically Welcome to Temptation) by Alyssa Cole in a New York Times article this week!!!
    And thrilled with the outcome of the Chauvin trial.

  9. I finally hung up my mom’s silk necktie quilt.

    https://englishroots.blog/2021/04/21/silk-necktie-quilt/

    It was stored away for at least two decades. Mom died in 2012 and I can’t remember any of the quilt’s history except that it was made by a member of the family. Any guesses for dating it? Sections are falling apart, but I want to give it some appreciation before it becomes threadbare. (I really love it.)

    1. I love it, too. The variations in both the background shapes and the central pieces makes it much more engrossing.

    2. It’s lovely. No idea on dating it. Crazy quilts using silk and velvet had a peak period in the Victorian era (I believe, although history isn’t my strong suit), but tended to have more intense embroidery than just along the seams — little flowers and things in the middle of the pieces. It’s complicated, though, because they continued to be made throughout quilting history. I remember wanting to do one in the 1970s, way after their peak. The central motifs are unusual, and might help with the dating, since it’s a clearly planned design, not the usual chaos.

  10. I threw snow (from shady areas and the still-at-least-3-feet-high drift in the front yard to sunny areas) and chopped ice and cleaned up after the dogs. Lather, rinse, repeat. Today is the last nice day for a bit according to the weather forecast so I’ll be doing it all again today too.

    I applied for a new job at the company I contract with. It would be an hourly wage instead of piece work and benefits so fingers crossed. I still have my old job if this one doesn’t happen, but a more stable income would be nice.

    1. Passed all the on-line testing and I have a phone meeting with my manager next Wednesday!

    1. If you have a little spare money, I’ve heard great things about Master Class. Christina Aguilera teaches singing. 🙂

    2. Check out Seth Riggs online. He’s the best-known singing teacher probably in the world. He taught Whoopie Goldberg to sing for Sister Act.

      1. I have, I’m just trying to figure out my bitty bits, instead of just oh, singing “I’m A Believer,” main lyrics like I’m used to on the radio. They at least provided us with a few recordings yesterday as well.

    3. Do any of the other people who are doing the Zoom rehearsal with you seem to know what’s going on? Maybe you could ask for a few pointers. If every one else is having the same difficulty, maybe the music director will figure out that something needs to be done differently (I am an incurable optimist ).

      1. I think everybody is pretty stumped, even the people who do musical singing on a regular basis. These songs have multiple people in them, switching off who sings lines, and you are supposed to play your background music behind you…partially?! At what part? With overlapping people singing? Like…how?
        Added bonus: the musical director had nasal surgery very recently and is clearly Not Feeling Well from all of it.

        I’m just extra stumped because I haven’t the faintest idea how to sing “a note” (yes, I’ve heard the song from Sound Of Music, but that’s it) or how sheet music translates into what comes out of my throat, or what singing “harmony” even IS. I did warn them of this when filling out the form so presumably they don’t care, but… hoooo boy.

    4. If you’re not used to singing any harmony, practicing singing rounds against a recording might help you get used to holding your own and not just singing the melody. But yeah. Zoom singing sounds horrible. If you know any pianists, I’d ask them to plunk out just your part on the piano from the show’s sheet music, then send you a recording to learn from.

  11. This week I finished the ‘2020 make it so’ revision of number 4 in my Co-Stars series. Cover designer has received the beta draft (and knows these characters), says she is on the hunt for a good cover image. Not going to try querying this one, so as soon as we are designed I can prep it for the self-publishing queue.

    With that out of the way, I could get on with the other WIP set in 2020. Had vague intentions of running an errand or two (taking the day off from Day Job) but woke up with half-a-dozen new scenes in mind for that, so … I’ll be writing. 🙂 My obligations are all met (birds fed, coffee made, yoga managed) so all I really have to do is please myself.

  12. Apparently I am comfortable with dust – every time I do floor exercises in the living room, I see how dusty it is under the electronics……. and every time I resolve to do something about that….. later…….

    This morning I noticed how dusty the top of my jewelry chest is, and I resolved to do something about that…..later……

    What is this “clean” concept of which you speak?

    1. I grew up on a farm with various animals living in the house (seriously, we overwintered a rabbit one winter and a Vietnamese potbellied pig another – fortunately, she was housetrained), not to mention muddy boots, greasy equipment parts, and dogs, dust doesn’t register for me until you can’t see through it. Or it gets wet but then it’s mud.

  13. A little bit of cleaning and coooking. Mostly it’ll be a long virtual meeting with lots of important business.
    Keeping up with my daily walks. I have a feeling I’ll be looking for another Sheltie resue sooner than I usually do. Those walks are lonely and it’s only been a week.

  14. I work from home, but have had less and less of a need for an office as time goes by. I’ve started using my daughter’s old bedroom and alternating between working at the stationary standing desk and working from sitting on the bed using a laptop tray. I used to print out lots of stuff to file, but I got into the habit of not doing that anymore. And emptied 9/10s of my old file cabinet. It works for me because I really only work with digital materials anymore and no longer need things like white boards or reference books. So all I need now is a tiny corner of a room.

  15. Sunday evening I drove my husband to the ER because of back pain he’d had the whole weekend. He has a lot of issues, congestive heart failure being one. They ran a battery of tests and could not find what the problem was, maybe a kidney stone or a spasm. Anyway that scared me. He’s getting better but sleeps because of medication. Could be too much sleeping, guess work on my part. Anyway hospital protocol being what it is because of Covid I could not stay so they sent me home (I knew they were going to keep him). A whole new experience driving home at ten o’clock at night, hardly a car in sight, everything was shut down, not even a donut shop or a gas station open. And I may have only counted maybe twenty cars in all coming from the opposite direction so that cut back a bit on the glare from oncoming traffic. It was very eerie. He came home the next day, another day in the life of retirees.

    Because he sleeps so much I’m now in charge of dinner, yesterday I made eggplant parmesan with pappardelle noodles, a whole new pasta for us. The fresh pasta was very good. But leftovers are piling up in the refrigerator because I still cook for five. Another adjustment.

    1. It seems to be so much easier to cook for a lot of people instead of just 2. I grew up cooking for at least 7, and haven’t been able to scale down. I’m trying, but it’s a slow go.

    2. Try buying a cooking for 2 cookbook to give yourself an idea of the quantities that won’t produce a lot of leftovers. That might help you scale down your favorite recipes. Otherwise you will need a very large freezer. And the new cookbook might give you some ideas for a few new favorites.

    3. I cook for two as if we were 5 or 6. I have learned how to freeze the extra. The freezing gets done the day I make it. I have a firm, thin cutting board that fits in the freezer drawer. I put one or two servings in a freezer bag, squeeze out the extra air then place it flat on the board. Once it is frozen I label them (essential. It is really easy to forget what that amorphous mass is) and date them, then stack them in the freezer. Last night, we had poulet provencal with a tossed green salad and a bottle of red wine. It took me about 5 minutes to warm the chicken in the microwave.

      Some things do not freeze at all well for me, mostly starches like pasta, rice, potatoes. And they are not particularly nutritious so they go in the compost bucket if I have made so much (or it was too boring) to have for lunch the next day.

      1. I write the date and contents on the bag _before_ I fill it. (Cooking for one, as I always have. Still need a freezer.)

  16. In the final stages of a move (have to deep clean the apartment tomorrow and leave the keys behind, then I’m done!). On the more fun side of things, my first novel under my own name, The Last Big Fake, got published yesterday, which is fun and surreal.

    Jenny, if I wanted to submit info about The Last Big Fake for an Argh Author post, how would I do that?

    1. You e-mail me at jennycrusie@gmail.com and give me the blurb, the cover, and the links for buying and website and anything else you want there, as long as you’re a long time Argh contributor (you are). Oh and give me a date that’s not a Wed. or Thurs.

  17. Still all good at the new job. Like the people, the work is doable and I’ve got a bird feeder outside my window. But someone tell me what happened to spring! I put my summer tires on, that’s what happened. It will snow until August because I got ahead of myself.

    Yes, the universe revolves around me, why do you ask?

    Got the new bees installed and wrapped in sleeping bags and plastic to keep them warm. Beekeeping. The most expensive honey you’ll ever buy. And my kitchen is still very sticky and no I’m not done decanting honey… But I have most of the wax rendered. So that’s something. Oh – I saw a different kind of beehive and boy do I want it. You don’t have to lift boxes of honey that weigh a ton, the frames just slide out. I’ve been dreaming of something like this, and guess what? The Scandinavians have been doing it that way for centurys. I may switch over if I win the lottery.

  18. It’s been mostly paid work this week with the rest filled in with yard work, a little bit of reading and some minor clothing alterations. I find it amazing how long I will leave something in the todo pile for hemming or whatever because I get such an outsize feeling of satisfaction when I actually do it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the bottom of the Chair That Holds The Mending.

    1. Have you tried putting the mending on your most comfortable chair? If I put my ToDo pile on the end of the couch I prefer, the act of moving it keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

  19. I’ve spent several days now trying to upload my previously published (Guardian Angel Publishing was a victim of COVID) to Ingram Sparks for Self publication. My published GAVE me the print-ready files. But I couldn’t get them uploaded. I finally got the print book files uploaded but I neither program I tried for converting the PDF to EPUB were acceptable to their process. They have a service that will do it, but I can’t access it.
    I think their instructions are Klingon deceptively coded in English.
    Sent another email plea to their contact email for help. Neither they nor their partner Lightning Source have available phone or chat abilities.
    A frustrating fact that the book WAS a Lightning Source publication for Guardian Angel.
    Just got an audition for a non speaking part in a film so now I will go set up my phone camera and cry into it.
    Onward!

  20. I’m watching other people work — the city decided that this was a good week to resurface the north-south streets in our block and the next two streets to east and west. They’ve stripped the top layer of asphalt. I can’t imagine why the kittens aren’t at the windows watching all this. Perhaps Cat TV is only birds and outdoor livestock?

    Inside I’m now trying to revise a hostess schedule to add a new hostess group. I had several messages yesterday suggesting that the new group should just be stuck in so they can take over the October or the January meeting upcoming, but I explained that this OTHER group doesn’t schedule a meeting in April, because it has a state-wide annual meeting earlier that month. Meaning that the OTHER group only participates in two meetings of the big group each year, October and January. So a satisfactory schedule has four, now five, groups meeting every time, and one group meeting twice each year. Which means that out of seventeen meetings, over a period just short of six years, five groups will have been hostess three times each, and one twice (each time in either October or January). None repeating too often . . . .

    1. Ladies happy with the revised schedule! I worked out that the trick is to set up a three-column spreadsheet — a list of the meeting dates (now up to 2040, by which time I probably won’t have to concern myself), a repeating list of the every-time groups, and a third column with the two-timer group every seven or eight rows, making sure that none of those are in the same row as an April meeting date.

      Go down to the first occurrence of the two-timer group, highlight the every-time list from that row down, and drag the highlighted group down one row.

      Go on down to the NEXT occurrence of the two-timer group and repeat.

      Continue until some date when we’ve all probably gone on to that Big Ladies’ Group Meeting in the sky.

      [Save the file, then merge the two columns of groups to a single list, and we’re good to go. Leave the file in a half-completed state so the NEXT time this list has to be tweaked, I don’t have to figure the whole thing out again from scratch.]

  21. Insofar as I am a major fan of Grrl Power webcomic, I’ll admit to a tendency to point to issues that echo my issues, like Superheroes are like vegans. No, I’m not a superhero. No, I’m not a vegan.

    I am on an Atkins diet. Again. And it’s working. Last Thursday? 298.0 pounds. This morning? 286.6, down 11.4 pounds, over 5 kilos. Of course, that’s not my official weight because Thursdays are weigh-in days. And like the comic, nobody needs to ask me – I’ll tell ’em anyway. 🙂

    No work this week. I’m getting my second jab tomorrow.

  22. I packed up some witchy orders for my Etsy shop and made up a bunch of spell kits in anticipation of future orders (which, since I spent ALL morning on it, probably won’t show up for months). Did some government paperwork online for the days job (days off just mean I’m not at the shop, not that I’m not working). I think I did some other things, but I’m so tired I can’t remember.

    Argh.

  23. Funnily enough I am listening to the Shelf Love podcast with you speaking. It led me to poking around here and remembering SO fondly how WTT was my first romance read.

    I’ve noticed a trend in Crusie readers – so many say that the first book that they read remains their favorite (of books you have written). I fall outside that norm – I am partial to Faking It because I’m kinda I love with Davy and obviously I love Bet Me. And really Maybe This Time but because of all the Easter Eggs in it that throw back to other stories.

    Has anyone else noticed that trend at all? Even my roommate who I coerced into reading WTT (which started her snowball into romance reading) says that one is still her fave Crusie.

    Of course now I’m wondering if that trend sticks for other authors. SEP is one of my faves too but the first of hers I read (Heaven Texas) almost made me not read any of her others. Thankfully I did and I have so many favorite SEP books now. And with Suzanne Brockman I think the first of her I read was the start of the Troubleshooters series. I didn’t really like book 1, but by book 3 I was a complete addict.

    Anyways, too much babbling. Happy Wednesday!

    1. I can’t remember the first time I read most authors. With Wells, it was the first Murderbot (Tor was giving them away free, one day at a time, in order), but after that . . .

      Wait, my first Francis was High Stakes, and while I think it’s great, it doesn’t top Hot Money or the Break In/Bolt set or The Edge . . .

  24. Still on holiday, still riding yesterday’s skydive high. Still resisting checking my work email. Yay for no-work Wednesday! (Thursday here).

  25. I’m working through cleaning out my ex husband’s bedroom, and cleaning his bathroom. Lots of chemicals are, sadly, required.

    Also, as part of the ‘no, you can NEVER come back to MY home’, I’ve had very supportive discussions with the social workers on his hospital ward (cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure (ok now, caused by stuffed liver), severe infection and conjunctivitis in both eyes (since fixed), fractured spine (fell over when really sick), detached retina (from the fall), narcissist (unfixable)). We’re having the ‘where are you going to live once you’re out of the neck brace’ conversation on Monday – this will be me, the social worker, him, and maybe a doctor; and they’re offering to find ways that I won’t need to come back, as I’m currently doing his washing because there’s no one else to do it. Me Too is changing the conversations in many different and better ways 🙂

    And after all that, I may be FREE!

    Although, there’s a saying that I’m re-jigging: What doesn’t kill you gives you inspiration for fiction.

  26. I’m working through the list of things to do before I move. Energy and insurance have both been researched, now I need to arrange final inspection with the real estate agent. There will be a final rental inspection just before I move, so I’ve started cleaning for that too. And I sucked it up and finally went back to the dentist and optometrist. Very grown up this week.

  27. I work in the office every Wednesday and Thursday, and from home on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. I’m currently editing a software manual used by law enforcement. It’s so exciting I can barely contain my elation. Yep, 29 chapters of snooze.

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