I can’t believe it’s nearly 2021.
The last week was a bit intense–some things came up at work, and also at home, and really, I am mostly glad they are doing being sorted out. Yesterday was a lot of unwinding and today was a lot of catch-up, and I’m hoping the week going forward will run a little more smoothly.
I improvised a recipe for dinner tonight (which I am actually ridiculously proud of, I dislike cooking as a rule and without instructions it tends to stress me out quite a lot), and am managing to clear some time to read again. All my holiday cards are out. I realized that the dog is waking me up not (just) because she needs to go out, but because she thinks it’s important for me to have a routine, and honestly, she is such a good dog. Taking care of her thumb-monkeys like she does.
Overall a nice weekend, although I do wish it had been a little longer.
I got to go in to the office yesterday. (I say “got to” because when I found out about it, my reaction was similar to the reaction of the dog if you ask her if she wants to go for a walk. I like where I work.)
So I went in and said hello to reception from a safe distance and through the plexiglas shield, and then went up to the fourth floor where I was the only person, and turned on the lights, and filed stuff and restarted my computer and packed up some things from my hutch that didn’t come home in the first emergency wave. And I left after 45 minutes.
(The sign-in sheet said that there was one other person in the building, but they were on the second floor so I didn’t see them.)
I have missed work. I like everyone there, and I love being part of what we do. I’m working from home, so I’m still doing something, but I really miss seeing people and saying hello and listening to conversations in the kitchen while I knit and… just people.
I called in sick on Friday the 13th, so my desk was very “this is the middle of the work-week”. The calendar pages for March and April (because of course I put current-month and next-month there for tracking at a glance) were still taped up to my hutch.
It was very much a reminder of what-was-normal-before that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s left me a bit melancholy.
It’s been a bit of a long week (really, there is nothing like cats for being able to cause a sudden bolt to the emergency vet; he’s fine, bless and damn his furry little butt), but I had a really lovely day today. Think I finally figured out what I need to do to get the framing on a story working, and then got to go out. I don’t get out a lot, and I’m really glad I got to see people.
It looks like I’m going to be teaching again in the winter semester. I’m looking forward to that, and hopefully I’ll manage it a bit better the second time around; there was a bit of a learning curve last time and I think that slowed me done.
I’m going to try to focus on finishing edits for the rest of the year, rather than starting new stories. Surrey’s coming up next month, and there’s something specific I want to have ready for that, so that at least provides some structure to the pile.
I have recovered from April! Unfortunately, we’re over halfway through May, so.
The combination of “fiscal year end” and “end of term” was interesting. I really enjoyed the chance to teach, and from the (safely anonymized) student comments I didn’t do too badly? I’d like to do it again (although as a part-time professor, I won’t get the chance until winter).
I’m currently looking for stories to recommend for a slightly updated version of the course. I’m largely trying to keep it to prose, and looking to the Hugos and Nebulas as a filter, but it’s still going to be a bit of work.
I went to TCAF this weekend past! It was honestly fantastic, and I had a great time. Came back with a few more books than I was expecting, but it was a great weekend, and the trip each way gave me a lot of time to read. I’m hoping to get some reviews up.
On a personal note, I just handed in my comments on the page proofs of a story that should be coming out later this year, and I’m generally feeling pleased with that.
Well, we’ve had stretches of full thaw interrupted by days of below-zero temperatures and snow, but I’m pretty sure spring is going to actually show up shortly, and stick around.
Work (both jobs) seems to be going pretty well overall. I got an encouraging rejection recently, and I’m pausing to be glad for editors in the world who actually manage to deliver those kindly, because it was actually a really nice email to get. (Yes, the story’s been resubmitted.)
It occurred to me today that I’m looking at travelling to up to three cons this year–two conventions and a conference–and I’m thinking that should be about the most I plan for. I’m not sure I’ll make it to all three; I am sure, however, that planning for more than three is going to end up draining me before I get there, so none of that.
And in other news, Camp NaNoWriMo is being surprisingly motivating this year. I’m trying something new. (I’m also repeating every “fail faster” fragment of advice I’ve ever heard to myself. It seems to be helping.)
At some point, I’m really going to need to try going back to editing an electronic document. I like writing my edits on hardcopy and typing them up, but when you do that with a seventy-two page document, it results in hand cramps.
(I think I’m pretty happy with the end result, though.)
Anyway. The novella (I wrote a novella!) has been revised and is with my crit group for feedback. The new job has started, and having the extra five hours in the week is already making a difference. Mostly it’s making a difference in how much sleep I’m getting, and I am treasuring that.
I’m about a third of the way through the semester on the class I’m teaching, and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s fascinating to see other people’s takes on SF, and I’ve added several things to my list of works to check out. Since I’m slowly getting used to having free time again, too, I may actually get to do that sooner rather than later.
So, “Late Night at the Low Road Diner” got a review in Apex Magazine’s “Words for Thought” column on Friday, and I spent most of that day and several hours so far in September grinning like a fool.
(The woman who wrote “In the End, It Always Turns Out the Same” and “Final Girl Theory” said nice things about my story. I squeaked.)
On a weather level, it’s been a hectic summer–the multiple tornado warnings were probably my ‘favourite’ part–and despite the fact that the long weekend has reverted to the kind of weather where stepping outside feels like trying to breathe a wet towel, it seems to be starting to break. I’m looking forward to rain, some grey days, and the option to open the windows at night without being unable to sleep because of the heat.
I finished a novelette draft, and gotten some decent feedback that I want to mull over in the back of my head for a few days before I start trying to write them. I’m also trying to figure out what work I should bring to my Blue Pencil session at SIWC in October. Unfortunately, crunch time at work is starting in a week and is expected to last into October, so I’m going to be low on time for the next little while.
Well, WorldCon was lovely, although I’m pretty sure that by the end of it I was running on half the sleep I should have been. Very glad I went and got to see and talk to everyone I did, although I wish I’d had more time.
(Also I have to say that the experience of singing the Stephen Universe theme song along with the members and attendees of a panel was a really sweet experience.)
Work wasn’t exactly difficult, but there was a pretty close deadline and I ended up doing a fair bit of overtime. I knew that I worked well with deadlines; I hadn’t specifically realized before how easy it was to let a work-set deadline override all the other deadlines I tried to set for myself. I feel like I lost a lot of August to that.
Anyway, moving forward, I had some luck finishing a draft with an outline and I’m hoping to get some revising done this weekend–the uninterrupted block of time should help.
On a writing note: I’ve been trying to start getting up early in the morning to write before work. Recently Cat Rambo suggested not allowing yourself to check your e-mail before you’d written 500 words, and adding in that parameter does seem to have helped a bit. Will see how things progress in the coming weeks; a two-day bump in word count is not a magic bullet, but I’m cautiously optimistic.
(I am also not a morning person. There is something of a learning curve associated with this “remembering to go to bed at an hour that takes the planned time of rising into account” thing.)
On a convention note: I am not going to WorldCon this year. I am not. I understand this, and have accepted it, but it makes me very sad. That said, I am hoping to be at at least one local con this fall.
On a work note: I am slowly settling into the idea of having vacation days. It’s interesting, in terms of potential. I’m very used to work with a definite end date, and the idea of definitely being able to take time off and come back after a break–a break I am allowed, no less–is something I’m looking forward to.
More and more, I feel like I need to make decisions not on what I want to do, but on what I want to do most, and how much time I have.
Part of it’s the new job making me feel that way. I don’t think it’ll be bad; the worst thing about it is that it’s in a location I’d prefer not to work, and I can cope with that. I’m just feeling very tiredly adult about leaving a job that I was actively happy to work at for a pragmatically-better job where I might not be as happy.
(Plus I’m leaving my current position to take the new job, and I can’t actually recall the last time I left a work contract before it was due to end. I’ve refused a renewal in one case, but that’s it.)
Part of it’s that while my wrist and elbow are getting better, they’re still not all the way better; I was knitting a bit today, and I had to stop. I’ve got several projects I want to get done, and I’m at the point where I need to figure out what few I’m going to get down in 2015, and whether or not I need to frog some.
(Frogging is unwinding a piece of knitting. It’s called frogging because you “rip it” back–ribbit, get it? Similarly, unknitting more slowly is called tinking, because “tink” is “knit” backwards.)
((Thus is knitting vocabulary developed.))
Aside from that, I’m reading Beasts of Tabat and playing Below, both of which have come out this month and both of which I am really excited about. (I may have also spent the weekend watching Daredevil, which has put a crimp in my writing time.) I’ve been able to pick up a bit of knitting again, although I think I’ve over-extended myself.