67 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, May 5, 2021

  1. I’m back to work on Mondays at the day job (running an artists’ cooperative shop) for the first time in over a year. Theoretically this is good news (we had to cut way back on our hours because a lot of our artists are older or have preexisting conditions and were afraid to work during Covid–most of these have now gotten vaccinated and are back to working their mandatory hours). Selfishly, I want my Mondays off back. Ah, well.

    Trying to get the garden in. It is still cool here, so only peas, lettuce, spinach, and other cold weather plants. The onions went in last weekend. And yesterday I discovered that I’d been so tired after planting the strawberries two weeks ago, I’d accidentally thrown the remaining 50 plants (for which I just ordered a special new container) into the compost when I thought I was setting them aside to plant later. Not a kitchen fire, but still discouraging. I really hope my new thyroid pills kick in soon so I’m not so tired I’m a walking zombie.

    It’s raining almost every day, so I’m getting to the outside chores a bit at a time, which is probably for the best. I did treat myself to a fun new fountain, so there’s that.

    +14
    1. I should have a hunt for the strawberries, Deb. I remember my mum giving me a bucketful of runners for my first allotment that she’d dug up a couple of days before – and to my surprise they grew and flourished.

      +13
      1. Wasn’t there serious concerns about whether the artist coop would survive? I think you owe yourself mammoth congratulations. Well done you!

        +7
        1. Yes, there was serious concern. I think it was a miracle–coupled with a lot of juggling and hard work–that we survived. But it definitely took its toll on me. Thank you. xxx

          +7
  2. Now that I’m vaccinated, I’m working on getting all my delayed medical checkups finished. Had a filling replaced in Monday. Eyes dilated and checked yesterday. More appointments to come.

    A friend gave me a gift membership on Skillshare. Does anyone have any art or other courses that they would recommend?

    +11
  3. I’ve just posted the proofs of the Chatsworth book, and am relieved to be rid of it: I ended up terminally confused about conflicting styles that had been used in it. Also, feeling rather revolutionary.

    I’ve now got to tackle ‘How Religion Evolved’, which the author finally returned after a month. It looks like he’s rewritten great chunks of it, and I’m not looking forward to getting to grips with it again.

    I worked on bank holiday Monday, and plan to take my weekend tomorrow & Friday, because they’re forecast to be mostly dry and sunny, before the next monsoon on Saturday. I want to get on with remaking my compost heap, digging over the new planting area and then forking garden compost into it; plus more mulching. And then hopefully start planting and sowing direct, since it looks like mild weather for the next couple of weeks, at least.

    +15
      1. I’ve been to Chatsworth several times, and one of the late Duchess’ sisters lived down the street — her son was a classmate of mine — so I tend to think of Chatsworth as a cultural artifact. But “feeling rather revolutionary.” LOL!!

        +10
    1. They say Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice is based on Chatsworth, I always like the part in the book when for the first time Elizabeth considers what it would have been like to actually marry Darcy and then just as quickly realises it would have meant giving up her Aunt and Uncle

      +10
  4. We finally built our garden shed (hooray, pics on Instagram) and oldest kid has appt for 2nd Pfizer shot today rah! Those are some damn big achievements.

    BTW did you see that Leverage is coming back in July? More! Leverage! I’m glad somebody’s been working on that.

    +12
  5. In a week’s work, what stands out to me is a teensy bit of culinary experimentation. I hollowed out a yellow bell pepper, put in a spoon full sausage crumbles, another of diced onion, some black pepper, and one large egg. Stirred the ingredients and microwaved it for several minutes. (One minute at a time because a) eggs explode and b) it’s a 700 watt MW.)

    The experiment was a success. It was delicious. Next time, I’ll add cheese. Not much cheese – this has to meet Atkins specs, and cheese got carbs. I have two more peppers.

    +16
  6. I was distracted by lemurs. I had put on my to-do list (along with getting filing done and preparing my tax submissions) that I should complete one lemur just to see how it looked. Well, I had organized everything so that it was just easier to do them all. Two weekend days (minus Sunday morning) and the 21 lemur blocks are done. At this point, I need to cut sashing and get them into a quilt top. I had delusions that I would get everything done with this and take it with me to gift to a young family member in mid May. Now I’m thinking it is still possible . . . . if only I didn’t have to work all the time!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/COfweqanCJ2/

    I’ve been pruning the azaleas and camellias a little at a time, which has been working for me. I had put on a mask because the pollen was so thick I was having a hard time breathing – and the mask did help considerably. There are two more azaleas to prune, and the camellias to tame and that will be done for the year.

    My passion flower vine is starting to show up, so I need to get the trellis in place for it. I’m glad we had a storm yesterday, because the ground was really hard and dry previously. I was going to have a hard time getting that trellis into the dirt.

    +15
    1. PS – Did a little work on filing and taxes this morning, but more needs to happen soon. Good thing the lemurs are done!

      +7
  7. Still Shrek rehearsing. They ARE starting filming this Saturday, which makes me nervous. At least we are starting with short/easy stuff-40 second song, 35 second song, 1 minute something or other song. Hopefully I won’t completely bungle the choreography or anything. I’m probably more nervous on the giant group numbers, which I fear starts next week. We don’t have too many rehearsals about that left–i.e. one. Sheesh. And they are taking a few weeks off at the end of May/beginning of June to do some other show. Life is weird.

    +8
  8. You know that jolt when you realize you’ve forgotten something and then randomly remember it? Yeah, that’s me and taxes for the last 2 months, about once a week.

    Jolted this morning to realize they are DUE Monday, so that is tonight’s priority.

    Also, Mother’s Day is coming up. Must get the cards sent NOW and get a gift organized.

    I was rifling through my desk and came to the conclusion that I let the admin portion of my life slide a bit much. Blegh.

    In good news, I decluttered the entertainment center in a fit because the reorganizing of the bookcase wasn’t working out, and I made excellent progress. The bookcase stuff is at least all stacked back on the bookcase, dusted, and has some plants, but I hate how it looks. But it’s staying there for the foreseeable future bc I don’t wanna mess with it yet again.

    I was reading up on decluttering crafts, and I think that may be where I tackle next. I ended up not being able to part with knickknacks despite hating dusting them. So, cogitating further there.

    After an upcoming vacation where I won’t be home (kind of sadly bc introvert and wanna just organize things), the plan is to set up dedicated desk spaces for both of us in the house. Turns out we are moving to a hybrid model of work from home when we officially do go back to office, and I have been living on the couch. Cue (queue?) my back and now neck problems, like a dumbass.

    I kind of want a standing desk, but literally don’t even have a desk-desk to put it on. There’s like a corner in the kitchen I’ll be commandeering, I think. Otherwise two of us in the office area will be literally right on top of each other, which doesn’t work for calls (which is his full time and my often time).

    At the least, I need a nice desk chair. And this will be good motivation to clear the desk kitchen area, which I have slowly seen become a dumping ground (grr).

    And that’s my working week!

    +8
    1. I keep dithering about a standing desk. The all-in-one dedicated furniture type are simply too big for the space I have, which means I’d have to get the ‘desktop’ type, and even those would be big & clunky on my tiny little desk. Will probably never do it, and simply stay with my Stand Up and Walk Around Regularly routine.

      +8
      1. Is there some version you could mount from behind your current desk and raise and lower as needed?

        +4
        1. Not that I’ve found. The only one I seriously considered is a desktop version that is within a fraction of the same width as my actual 32″-wide desk. I’m just not sure the stability of the thing would be acceptable. My 34″ ultra-wide monitor is not something I want wobbling. 🙂

          The best option may well be a permanently-standing-height desktop – if I can find one the right width – with a barstool! If it looks as though working from home will be offered as a permanent option (possible) I’ll look into that.

          +8
          1. I had a tall desk with a tall rolling chair – a drafting chair.
            Really liked it, but had to change when my hips demanded better posture (feet on the floor, not perched on the footrest).

            +7
      2. I tried the desktop standing model and it just didn’t work for me because it swallowed my tiny desk and didn’t leave room to do non-computer work. Plus, I found it better for me to get up and move instead of just standing to work. I think it was the mental break from my computer that I needed as much as stretching my legs. My colleague has a permanent standing desk that his modified stationary bike fits under, so he can “ride” while he works.

        We have been working from home for the past year and it looks to be permanent, so I am working out a permanent home for my job in my house. It’s a bit of a challenge.

        +7
      3. They are huge! I see them in office all the time, but it was never that much of a concern bc I stood and walked quite a bit. But I feel like I move less at home bc I get everything I need around me.

        We also just don’t have the space in our apartment. I’m dang lucky to have that desk corner as is. We’d have to squish a desk in the main bedroom, which wouldn’t work well, I don’t think.

        I also work from a laptop, and would most likely continue that, which doesn’t lend itself as well to stand desk. I’d need the monitor portion by my eyeballs, and the keyboard waist height.

        So… starting with a nice chair haha

        Also, those working treadmills are fun! But I can’t walk and type, only walk and talk ha

        +6
        1. You could have a separate keyboard with a USB cable to your laptop. In my former office, laptop users had a hookup where the laptop functioned as the CPU and the user had a separate proper monitor, keyboard, and mouse, all ergonomically chosen. The laptop operated separately when the user was in the field.

          +4
  9. I had PT this morning. We practiced getting me and my walker (with seat) out to the garage and into the back of my SUV. Now I’m exhausted. But I need to log some hours in for work because insurance is good to have! I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer last fall and we’re trying to keep me on the payroll so I can keep my excellent insurance instead of going on DH’s plan.

    My daughter turned 13 yesterday. My family is coming over for cake and ice cream tonight. They’ve been babysitting me as needed so my bubble is a bit bigger than most peoples, I think. But they’re mostly vaccinated now.

    ANd I’m so grateful that so many of you are getting vaccinated. I can’t be yet so you’re all protecting me and others in a similar situation. So Thank You!

    +23
    1. Beth, I had no idea. I’m so sorry, and so sorry that your public health is so shit that you need to keep working. I hope you get other good things from it too.

      My daughter is 13 too, such a gorgeous age I think – still a little girl, with flashes of the amazing women they will be.

      +9
    2. Oh, my, didn’t know. All the best happies sent out to you. Thank you for making me feel good about being vaxxed — I’m also sending “I did it for you” good vibes out your way. All this time I’ve been thinking the jab was for me, and now I know better: for others too, and I’d been ignoring.

  10. Unfortunately, I am going to a funeral, my cousin passed away from pancreatic cancer.

    +7
      1. Not that there is anything good about this, but she refused treatment and died within a week of her diagnosis.

        +4
        1. She was 86 and had already had breast cancer & C-diff 3 times – I think she was ready to go.

          +7
          1. My cousin’s mother died of pancreatic cancer after a nine-year battle, I think 86 may be a point where declining heroic measures is a valid choice.

            +5
          1. For me, it’s extremely comforting that someone is empowered enough to be able to choose the moment of their death.

            +2
  11. Over the weekend I did a couple hours of pruning, weeding, and watering in the front. Still owe the plants in back some attention. Sunflowers are riotous.

    Lots of email juggling with Day Job, but at an easy pace. Such a relief after my winter of discontent.

    Finishing up the latest read-through-edit of a new novella for publication next month. Already have two complete novels with covers ready to publish later. Two more finished novels awaiting covers. Working on other things in bits and pieces, debating what to really dig into next. There is literally no demand for my books but the writing remains therapeutic and best possible hobby for me at the current time, so … I persist.

    +9
  12. Got my plants, which I overwinter in the house, out on the front porch.

    Next up is getting the lawnmower out and cutting the grass for the first time this year. I thought I had some time but it’s really shot up. Must be all the rain.

    And I have to get some flowers for the pots and some herbs and a few tomatoes and peppers. And transplant some ground cover to a slope/cliff. It’s not really high but it has to be mowed and that’s getting to be a drag. If I want to stop mowing it in the next 2-3 years, I’ve got to get it established.

    And I need to talk myself into doing all of this. Well, the plant shopping will be fun.

    +9
    1. I overwinter the houseplants indoors, then let them have summer vacation on the back deck where it is reasonably protected from the fierce sun. But the exodus has been delayed as DH wants to powerwash the deck and clean the gutters. No sense in getting the plants mixed up in that!

      +6
  13. I’ve spent this half of the week trying to fill out the overly detailed and intrusive background check required of this new job. I believe it’s now done, and I hope to stop being irritated soon.
    It’s my mom’s 91st birthday, so we’re spreading out celebrations. Also, making enchiladas.

    +9
  14. Real work today has mostly consisted of dealing with personnel issues. People are tiring.

    To placate myself, I made reservations for September at Yellowstone. I can’t wait to get back to my old stomping grounds.

    +8
  15. Jenny, it’s your life in black and white!

    Mountains of work here–but I did read an article on how people can handle only about four hours of focused brain work a day.

    And now I can’t find it. No time.

    +9
    1. I wonder how that’s impacted with the “modern” style of work of constant interruptions being acceptable and expected. I can’t focus for more than about 20 mins at a time for monitoring Slack, checking emails, and people pinging me (worse actually in person). I think I’ve made myself unable to handle longer periods, too. Like, an hour without either of those two and I worry I’m about to get in trouble, and thus break my own focus.

      +6
  16. I held my first tea party in 20+ years yesterday. It began with a garden tour because there are lots of spring ephemerals out and most plants have spread since last year and we just added a bunch of new native plants.

    I was sad when a friend whose husband is in poor shape texted from the ER that she probably couldn’t make the tea party, but she was able to show up! I have teapots but only a few tea bags, so my friends brought all sorts of lovely and exotic teas. And everyone had decided to celebrate my birthday (without telling me), so there was a cake as well as presents. I’m still walking on air!

    +13
    1. Congratulations! A few years ago my sister and I and our friend Harriet had a tea party in Harriet’s backyard that we remember fondly to this day. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the combination of full vaccination and warmer weather!

      +6
  17. Last week I did the unthinkable and walked into the grocery store without my mask, casually strolling around with my cart not even realizing until I got to the deli counter. The woman behind the counter kept staring at me and neither of us could figure out what the issue was till a light bulb went off in her head (I think I actually saw it) and that’s when she pointed at me and said “mask”. I was so focused on groceries that I totally forgot. And it’s not that I don’t have seventeen masks stashed in my purse. I’ve had both shots but still felt guilty. Also expect to see my picture on a poster at the front of the store. Guilt will do that.

    +13
  18. I did the same think at Costco, but the door person chased me & gave me a mask.😷

    +6
  19. This was garden transition weekend. Nearly all my flowers from bulbs have finished blooming (except the giant snowdrops which never give up) and so it was time to plant annuals. I think I transplanted about 75 Angelonia, dianthus, lantana and snap dragons, as well as three packs of nasturtium seeds. I still have about 42 portulacas and dianthus to transplant and zinnias and more nasturtiums to plant from seed. I also have maybe two hundred volunteer snapdragons under the fig tree that I need to move forward into the light. (That sounds very “Maybe This Time”.)

    I really want to get them in the ground before the cicadas emerge. Cicadas won’t hurt you but trying to plant with 3 inch bugs crawling all over me is not my idea of fun.

    My bearded iris and lilac are blooming which helps avoid the earnest look that all the carefully spaced small plants give it.

    And our miniature swamp garden is doing well. We have a swale that leads to a drain that creates a 4 x 6 foot patch that is always wet between us and our neighbor and last year we tried and failed to grow cattails we mail ordered that came basically as sticks. This year DH rescued some from a construction site that had roots and leaves and are flourishing and we also put in a few yellow flag iris. My hope is that it will be like Walden Puddle in Doonesbury.

    +9
  20. We had outdoor preschool today. The baking soda richer was a big hit. Then the kids went off to make fairy houses/caterpillar houses/pretend to be an owl family. In other words, they got to play like kids. Also a wild bunny came onto the lawn to eat clover. It was a lovely afternoon.

    +8
  21. Mixed reporting at the moment. The car dealership replaced my car’s muffler and catalytic converter in record time, because the AAA rep dropped by the dealership check in hand before the day was out (Monday). They also told me that anti-theft devices exist and indeed there’s one for my make and model, so my next job is to arrange to have it installed.

    Less good news, my literary agent emailed that the pandemic has affected my main publisher badly enough that all but the highest earners are being cut — including the manuscript which should have been scheduled for release this year and two others signed for, signing fee paid. No interest in seeing any more, either.

    The agent would like to see the closest-to-release book self-published with the other two to follow, so this is the discussion my cousin and I will be having with the agent, etc., this weekend. Can the literary works trust afford to make the fans happy? Could we sell enough copies, without the resources of Monolith Publisher, to break even? I am a very unlikely person to manage any significant amount of PR.

    I have a sense that it probably isn’t so much the pandemic as the holding company’s latest merger and the likelihood that what the Corporate Bean Counters REALLY want to publish is the five biggest political hot titles and possible hard-copy cookbooks — cookbooks to be sacrificed if it means we pay Mike Pence a seven-figure advance his book is unlikely to earn out unless the RNC buys enough pallets of it to add to every book-bag event for the next ten years.

    [This sounds EXTREMELY catty, but this is a writers’ forum. The Penguin-Random House-Simon-Schuster-Who Else? merger will certainly limit the market for authors, and if it only wants to handle a minimum number of guaranteed best-sellers by celebrity authors, will everyone else end by independently publishing on Amazon or prey for self-publishing scams?]

    Will update.

    +6
    1. Really sorry to hear this, Ann. Hope that self-publishing ends up being a big success for you – that there are unexpected silver linings.

      +5
      1. Thank you for the kind words! That’s the agent’s wish. The trust has itself, over the last twenty-five years, published anthologies and some ebook editions and some audio editions — the agent doesn’t know exactly what Recorded Books will want to do about the titles they have in hand right now. But we do have years of experience. This will be a long discussion on Sunday; luckily my cousin has an excellent feel for what we can and can’t do from our home offices. One thing the Big Publisher always deals with is foreign-language editions . . . I can’t quite see crediting Google Translate for a full-length work!

        In 1999, the agent told me that he expected we’d have about a ten-year run before the trust’s operation basically shut down, and it’s been a surprise that we’re still going on twenty-odd years later. Of course, that’s because ebooks and audio books came along and extended the life of titles, plus we have been able to continue the series in as true to the original as possible, everyone’s goal.

        +2
  22. Enumerator job, that’s about it. Today I left information at 140 houses and now I’m entering all that into the computer.

    One of the streets I worked on today was the street where Paul and I lived and I dropped off info at our old house. The trees we planted looked amazing but they ripped out all my flower beds and put them back to grass. All my gorgeous perennial bed that, really, didn’t even need to be watered because rain would have been enough. I know it’s their house and they can do what they want but had I known they were going to do that I would have taken all my plants with me when we moved. All. Of. Them. I had probably close to $2000 worth of plants that I left. I hope they didn’t go in the garbage. It also looked like they took out the paved driveway and replaced it with gravel which makes absolutely no sense.

    +9
    1. I have a love/hate relationship with our house. From lack of closet space to cranky plumbing a dugout in the cellar for a basement with washer/dryer and heating unit. Also one obtuse neighbor, but the water view soothes everything. If we’re ever forced to move and remain in town the only way I can get to the library is to take the back road over the hill and come down on the other side so I don’t have to pass our house. It would break my heart.

      +1
  23. You are not alone. In 1967, Dorothy Rodgers (wife of Richard) wrote a book about building their retirement home, THE HOUSE IN MY HEAD. I still have my copy, all these years later.

    Subsequent owners have remodeled the kitchen. Words fail me. It’s certainly updated with modern cabinets, TWO center islands, and high-end appliances. The description drops a lot of fancy brand names. Whether it’s still a well-designed place to actually prepare and cook food, I’m not so sure.

    The last owners “relocated the swimming pool” a few feet further away from the house.

    Boggling.

    +6
  24. Went to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I hadn’t been in years and really enjoyed being there on such a beautiful day.

    +7
    1. Oh, envy you. Such a lovely spot, especially (I imagine) this time of year. They do a nice lunch and maintain a great gift store. But it’s all about the plantings.

  25. Today I dropped off a package to my friends so they could transport it to their grandson for his birthday. The real treat was that now that we are all fully vaccinated we were able to hang out together inside for over two hours without masks. What Luxury! I was able to see lots of pictures of the adorable grand kids and even had a cup of decaf without feeling like I was taking my life in my hands.It was great and I’ve we’re even beginning to talk about arranging a time for me to come back when the kids are visiting so I can finally meet the twins (who are now almost 18 months old).

    +5
  26. When I looked around my house, I realized it was a mirror of me in elastic waisted pants. I really need the threat of people coming into my house to get rid of the dog hair tumbleweeds.

    +8
    1. My friend would nip out to the local newsagents to buy milk in her robe and slippers 🙂 They’re used to it. The supermarkets not so much, I think some of them banned people from shopping in their PJs and barefoot.

      +6

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