Working Wednesday, October 20, 2021

This week in what I sincerely hope was the nadir of my slide into total worthlessness, I misplaced my laptop. I still had the iPad so I could get on the net, but all my work is on the MacBook, and I began to wonder if my subconscious was plotting against me. Fortunately I found it again, but it was a near thing.

What did you do this week?

53 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, October 20, 2021

  1. The nadir into my slide into worthlessness! That sums up much of my life lately. And, it sounds so musical. As for working, we’re trying to build a house with too few contractors so I haven’t gotten any writing done for ages. I’m trying to stay on the positive side, but hopelessness is a near thing.

  2. Jenny, you know how to sign into the iCloud and force your Mac items to play a sound, right? It’s a game changer.
    Good luck with your renos, Stephanie. Very tough.

    I am finally putting aside edits. Last night, I started a cool 3 hour dramaturgy course.

    On the weekend, I did an amazing 16 hour TV writing/storytelling intensive with Ins Choi and Tetsuro Shigematsu and 8 other talented writers even though our Internet cut out–some animal chewed the cable to our very expensive new Starlink Internet! This was actually kind of cool because I contacted friends and begged for their Wifi.

    “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

    I’m NOT writing up a storm. Although I have things for the upcoming release (including asking Jenny if I can feature here), I figure my job is to refill the well by reading and watching shows! Yay!

  3. I’ve taken up worthlessness as a life goal. It’s easier than battling against it.

    I’ve come up against the downside to my job. A young woman was killed by her husband here in Vermont. They aren’t Vermonters, but that’s little comfort. The woman was basically the same age as my youngest daughter and it’s hitting me hard. So many poorly socialized men feel violence is an acceptable response to their anger and frustration. And so many more women of color that come to the same fate without the benefit of the press coverage that the little blond women receive.

    Perhaps I’m at the nadir of my despair for the world and will be feeling better soon. I am typically like a rubber ball but I feel flat today. and sad.

    1. I’m so sorry. And I understand your despair. Back when I was a practicing lawyer, a client of the firm (represented by someone other than me) was murdered by her husband during a messy divorce. The police were supposed to be keeping an eye out for him in the area, but of course didn’t. After the murder, he went on the run, but again, no one was looking for him very hard — he was found weeks later when state police took over, and he was in a local boarding house and hadn’t even left town!

  4. How do we define worthlessness? My idea of a worthless activity or goal could be the zenith of someone else’s life achievement. Refilling the well or using despair to influence change doesn’t sound worthless to me.

    That being said, I’ve become addicted to crochet and spend far too many hours searching the internet for interesting yet easy patterns.

    And if someone needs a pick-me-up, you might like this.

    1. I crocheted a wind spinner yesterday. Singles and doubles to make a spiral. I used up half a dozen tiny ends. Next time I give a baby blanket I plan to use its leftovers to make a wind spinner.
      Last blanket I tried to use leftovers to make a dragon. Then stopped half way along when I started hating the thing. The spinner was easy and pretty. And fast.

  5. I’m on doctor’s orders to be worthless for another ten to twenty-four days. But of course I’m fighting against it, convinced that I’m just fine, and trying to do little stuff, only to hit a wall. I get one small, sedentary thing done and then need to take a nap. Which isn’t surprising at just short of three weeks post-major-surgery.

    1. Gin, I have an inkling of what you’re going through. Yesterday I made my own breakfast and lunch, went upstairs to do some stuff, and tried to be a tiny bit normal. Today my foot is sore, I feel worn out, and I’m in a lousy mood. (And the Red Sox lost.)

      I worry about Kate G because she, like several Arghers, is trying to find a sense of worthiness (maybe worthfulness would be closer) which is so hard to do, especially when avoidable tragedies are happening to us and people near us.

      1. Don’t worry about me, Elizabeth! I always eventually bounce back again. There is a lot of good in my life, and I think it’s okay that I’m taking life slowly right now. I’m learning not to tie my self-worth to “Doing” all the time. And besides, as soon as I finish a project I forget I’ve accomplished something and start over again. So what’s the point of rushing through life doing, doing, doing?

        I appreciate you thinking of me though.

    2. I had major abdominal surgery several years ago and before it had all sorts of plans to get writing done while recuperating. I totally underestimated the way my brain was scrambled, not just my physical issues. Take your time and try to enjoy the forced inactivity!

    3. Just accept naps should be part of your life and enjoy them. You will feel better. I watched some video on how to improve the quality of your life or something, ages ago and they pointed out that when your children are tired and take a nap, people just accept that they are tired and need one. Adults work themselves to the point of burn out, but refuse to even sleep at the normal time. After that I started taking naps, I am a lot less grumpy

  6. I’m starting my first real work week at the new job, with better eye sight. However, people keep coming over to the house, and since my mom can’t speak much now (aphasia) I need to be there if there’s going to be some kind of conversation.
    An old friend of the family gave me an old manuscript of hers to edit. I’m excited for the opportunity. It’s a set of short essays from when she was younger and thinking about divinity school.

    1. You are undoubtedly glad for your mom having company. I know I was when my mom was in a similar situation. The thing that drove me crazy was that I would have to be there because of her aphasia to help with the conversation and she (and I) had a reasonably fixed routine. And the company would give us barely any notice. Of course, she would rather see her other daughter who only came once a year rather than go to Easter Seal’s for pool therapy. But it would have been nice if she could have had both!

      I hope the new job is fabulous to make up for life’s little wrinkles.

      1. Yes, we’re very popular right now, with the beautiful weather and the improved COVID situation. Even just now my brother phone to say he’s coming up from the Cape for the afternoon and evening. So there’s time tidying, etc. I’m still learning the job, so I can’t just jump right back in to that state of concentration.
        So now I’m going back, taking some deep breathes, and concentrating, dammit!

  7. All I’ve really been doing is low-key getting ready for travel. We haven’t gone anywhere since November 2018; it feels like the first time I’ve ever done anything concerning an airplane. At least I haven’t forgotten how to pack. 🙂

    The one decision yet to be made is whether or not to take along my Chromebook. Since I’m seriously asking myself the question, and since I’ve bothered to set up a Google Doc with my notes on a new novella, I probably will. There will be downtime and I haven’t really written anything new for weeks (bonus scenes to go in collections count, I suppose, but don’t feel ‘new’ since those are existing characters). Maybe the new ideas I had last night are a sign that it’s time.

    Boarding passes for tonight’s flight are printed and now I have to sign in to work!

  8. Personally, I think Jenny’s in need of a barn, because I am feeling the need of one myself. I’m heading into my mid-70s, and my house is full to the brim of things that I love or have loved, and there are just way way too many of them. As a result, all I have to do is to temporarily lay one thing on top of a stack of other things, and bingo! I’ve lost my wallet/ To Do list/ Library card / headset / checkbook / half-written note / whatever, and to find it, I have to lift and sort and lay things on other things, which ….

    Means I am over-Thinged rather than worthless, and I think that’s Jenny’s problem as well.

    Does anyone love to hear about someone whose life is free of life’s minor crises? Someone poised and always well-groomed, with a lovely home that is spotless and organized to perfection? On top of everything in their well-ordered life?

    I don’t know, but all I can say is I don’t. So kudos to the so-called “worthless!”

    1. Oh, that is it. I fantasize about a house that has major storage space in every wall, especially as the active cats jump about and knock things to the floor, as it becomes harder and harder for me to pick things up from the floor at all (especially with nowhere cat-safe to PUT them).

  9. Talking as someone whose motivation is still curled up on the couch, gently whimpering… not worthless, it’s been a rough time for everyone … if you managed to get out of bed in the morning be proud of it.

    1. Yay us! Awake and functional enough to read, possibly write, things on the internet!
      Not sarcasm, I swear. Somedays I need hours to get this far. It’s still morning here and there’s a good chance I’ll be getting stuff done before noon today.

  10. It’s been a week of minor irritations and inconveniences. Things like driving down the one-way street at church and having the car ahead of me stop AND BACK UP – forcing me to back up practically into the car behind me or be hit, because a parking space was opening up. Forget it dude – you missed that spot!

    Or getting mad at the bored cat who chases and wrestles another one, causing her to yell.

    Or scrambling to get my quilting act together so I could quilt two tops on Friday afternoon, and then getting the call that my quilting time needs to be rescheduled.

    In all these cases I need to look on these as opportunities to look past these irritations and become more mellow. Yeah. That’s what I need to do.

    In any case, I did put some pictures up. The first is Teddy, currently asleep on the ledge. He can make Wendy scream bloody murder (like he did at 545 am this morning), but right now – so peaceful.

    The second two are the same quilt with two different borders. I must have ripped every seam out at least once because of various issues. But it’s done now – I liked the yellow border better than the black.

    On the flip side, I found out today that there are several facebook groups devoted to yarn de-stashing. I might need to check them out – mostly for the opportunity to move some of my yarn supplies to others, but also for the potential for good finds.

  11. I am on my last day of the day job before a nice chunk of vacation! 5 more hours. I can’t wait. I have so much to do, and took on a commission… But lately I have been feeling floaty, not attached to the present, which is sad because fall and Halloween are my favorites. Hopefully rest and a change of pace will help.

    I have big plans to deep clean my house, purge my closet and otherwise organize my life. And I want to do nothing but stay in bed and read for at least one day… So little time in this life for all the things I want to do.

  12. Dear fellow Arghers:
    You are all worthy. Look, you are not only breathing, but reading and typing. If that’s not enough, you are entertaining me, which by itself justifies your existence on this planet. Just saying. <3

  13. Yesterday I gave myself a spectacular hair cut couldn’t have done better if I had used a bowl. Only took half an inch off the back and it came out even.

    This week we started joint custody of our grand dog. The kids are now in school full time and our son feels she is bored out of her mind with no kids to play with. Today I took her for a ride in the car to the pharmacy. She didn’t want to ride in back but jumped into the passenger seat. All was good until I looked over and thought gee that window looks way to clean. She had hit the button and lowered the window all the way down with her chest high out the window. Nope not happening. Rolled the window back up and put the AC on so she could get the feel of air blasting. We’re going to have a heart to heart to get her to ride in the back. Next up will be a conversation about the turkeys that wander across the neighbor’s lawn. That’s one of the reasons she didn’t go north with our granddaughter, her boyfriend lives in farm country and has horses and free range chickens which would be too much of a temptation.

  14. I took a bunch of kids to a fencing tournament this weekend. It was a youth tournament with Under-14, Under-12 and Under-10 events. Most of our kids did very well. Although a couple fenced below their capabilities, likely due to nerves, a couple exceeded expectations, and one who fenced significantly below her capabilities in her first tournament three weeks ago, fenced really well this time.

    A friend of mine opened a fencing club in February and I came out of retirement to assist him.

  15. I’m on day 20 of my decluttering project. I have yet to find the 20 things to offload, I won’t have time until after dinner.

    1. Sorry, that made me laugh. “On day 20 of my decluttering project…yet to find 20 things to offload.” I gave away things two years ago. One dress I definitely should have kept.

      That’s the thing, “they” the experts say if you haven’t worn it, blah, blah, then give it away. Well…I should have kept a few vintage pieces of clothing and the little black dress I made from a Vogue pattern when I was 20. A lovely black crepe, hand sewn little zippers in the sleeves, 90+ hand covered buttons and loops, and it fit to perfection. I kept the red silk dress with purple lining which folds over one side on the front. Love that dress. Hoping GDs may one day want to wear it. Or my mother’s black silk velvet dress with the lace cuffs and collar. The only vintage piece left. And, what happened to the stuff I gave to the charity? Did it end up as rags?

      My BFF just asked if I was still sorting? 45 years in the same house = way too much stuff including the passed on mamas’ stuff. Friend’s new home will be ready next month. Thankfully they need “stuff.”

  16. I should be writing, since I have a book due to Llewellyn on the 8th. (EEEEK) But it is one of the last few gorgeous days, so I’m doing outside must-be-done-before-winter things like clearing the barn/garage and prepping for a big dump run on Saturday, washing the outside of the windows, and stuff. My back is not amused. And I will definitely need to be writing this evening.

    I finally caught up with some paperwork at the day job, which is good, because right now I feel as though I am behind on All the Thing Everywhere.

  17. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis, I think.

    Heinlein quoted (or misquoted): “Six days shalt thou work, all thou art able;
    “The seventh the same, and clean out the stable.”

    Worthlessness? Feeling dusty, are we? I have another quote handy:

    “You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    ― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

    So, CHEER UP! Things could be worse. And sooner or later, they will be. ENJOY THE NOW. Dust yourself off and get on with your bad self.

    1. Worthlessness is not the nadir. Active harm causing is much worse. Also if you measure worth over a point of time and solely by productivity then we are all worthless every time we sleep.
      You have to measure it over years.

      Why yes I am trying to ignore giant to do lists why do you ask?

  18. Plugging along. I ‘m enjoying not feelong worthless or incompetent this week, so far. I’d like it to last but it won’t.

  19. I am trying to wrap my head around a class I’m teaching tomorrow, plus a new project for another faculty member, but I don’t want to do it at all. And I’m working on a freelance project, but have plenty of time. Need to edit some pages for a writing partner, then my own pages, and send them to her.

    I feel as if all I’ve done is put out fires at church, which makes me sound more important/effective than I am. So far, no major conflagrations while the priest is on vacay, and by first Sunday in Nov., the work will all be over.

    Met former work colleagues for dinner tonight, which was nice.

  20. I have completed the seventh day of an eight day work week, some of them 10 hour shifts, all so I can have the weekend off. (I love working weekends but I want to go to my 50th high school reunion. I’ve been working weekends for ten years. What are they going to do when I eventually retire?)

    1. They will hire two or more people to replace you and then complain that their (the replacements) generation doesn’t have a good work ethic like yours. They’ll get over it.

  21. I Zoom-interviewed a company’s leaders about a new service, trying to get them to say what I needed them to say and still sound natural. Then I poked through two hours of recordings to pluck the perfect quotes–fun, except for having to hear the obnoxiously cheerleader-like voice that is me.

  22. I . . . went shopping for litter, canned cat food, and kibble. Successful day.

    Earlier this week I composed a macro to clean up scanned text, the kind with carriage returns at the end of every scanned line. It replaces single quote+CR with single quote+CR in red and a larger size, then does the same with double quote+CR, question mark+CR, exclamation mark+CR, and period+CR. Then it looks for CRs that haven’t been modified and replaces two of them together with a ~ character (which I’ve found is an easy one to use because it doesn’t normally occur in text) and single CRs with a space. THEN it replaces the ~ character with a CR and changes all the larger font red stuff back to normal. After all that, a spell check usually catches everything else.

    Still tweaking the yearbook stuff . . . but will have a really well-updated yearbook this time.

  23. I finally finished quilting a top that was made years ago with a small group of people via box exchange. I still have to finish the binding.

    I also got my home office moved from my dining room into what was previously known as our guest bedroom. Had a wonderful time over the weekend going estate sale shopping and getting myself a desk and a bookcase for $100. Carrying the desk up the stairs wasn’t easy. My husband tells me it’s never leaving the room it’s currently in. 😂

  24. I scheduled a plumber. And had the gas company come out to check out an intermittent smell of gas. Because the plumber wouldn’t come until that was cleared up. Which meant I have to clean. Because the plumber will care about what my house looks like. But probably not.

    1. Plumbers have seen everything (our neighbor growing up was a plumber — he recounted that there was one perfume he really disliked because one housewife sprayed it generously just before he arrived!)

  25. Hi all!
    Perhaps I’m a little naive, but Jenny, if you, the author of 20 bestselling novels who mean SO MUCH to so many people, still has moments of feeling useless, is there hope for anyone? What’s your criteria for usefulness? I often wonder if my own feelings of inadequacy ever wane? I got a writing coach and I’m finally working consistently on a book I’ve been trying to write for decades. I thought once that was done, I’d feel better, but who knows how far the goalpost will move after that’s done?

    Thank you for your transparency of revealing your real thoughts and feelings. It’s amazing.

  26. I’ve cleared some floor from (still full) boxes from the move = just put them somewhere else…and folded up the boxes that ARE actually empty and put them in the shed in the backyard. Progress has been made! …little, but still.
    I surprised myself by freeing my guitar from its case yesterday, tuning it and playing some songs. Skill wasn’t really part of it, but there were chords that sounded reasonably okayish and nobody fainted or complained about bruised eardrums, so I count that as success.
    I kicked myself in the butt yesterday and started some indoor exercising, because ugh I feel so awful physically. So yesterday I ran up and down the stairs 20 times with 2kg weights on each leg, did some exercises for my hypermobile shoulders and ended with situps, and today I brought out the weighted hula hoop I bought earlier this year (but couldn’t use at our old place due to lack of space) and swayed my hips with that for 20-25 minutes. Gonna have bruises tomorrow. I’m so bad at hulahooping that I’m glad nobody could see me…hopefully practice makes perfect in this case.
    It seems like Jenny’s not the only one who’s lost an Apple product…although she’s found hers and I haven’t found mine. I can’t find the old iphone I use for my Swedish simcard and for my therapy video calls and as a media player. Sven and I have been looking (feeling) everywhere, and I even asked the dude that came over to connect our internet yesterday if he could look, but thus far no sign of it. The battery is probably dead, because you get straight to voicemail if you call it. I have had stomach aches for 2 days now because I got the sudden picture in my head that it could’ve fallen from my lazychair armrest into a paper bin, which I emptied in the big trashbag and threw away Sunday evening………. I really, really, really hope I am wrong.

    1. Shass, In my house your iphone would be behind or under something. Maybe it will show up as you clear up boxes and set everything straight (in my case, settling in took about a year). Good luck!

      Also, what a workout! I’m super impressed that you weren’t sore the day after all those exercises!

  27. I’m visiting my mother, which is great but not totally a holiday. Yesterday I dug some garden and today we started cleaning out her garage and pruned shrubs. And I fitted in a decent walk today too. I feel all virtuous.

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