Category Archives: Priorities!

Here goes something…

I am at work. Probably. Unless I got lost and took the wrong bus and ended up in  Gresham or something.

That seems unlikely, but you never know with me. When I first moved to Portland, I would occasionally get on the wrong light rail line and not realize it until I was pretty far away from where I was trying to go.

Anyway, not the point.

I am starting a new job today. I’m a wee bit nervous. This is probably not surprising. Also not surprising? I wrote this Sunday night, because I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to blog today.

I went to the new place o’ work on Thursday and got my employee ID number, found the building in which I’ll work, and selected my office. Today, I’ll get my benefits information (oooooh! Health insurance!), my employee ID, and my transit pass (ooooh! Trimet annual pass!).

It’s weird starting a new job. I was with my last employer for 8.5 years. I was promoted twice and switched departments once, but I still knew what I was doing and where I was going.

I am unaccountably nervous about today. Last night, I prepped my coffee, made breakfast, packed a bag (including my special Doctor Who mug), made the Bean’s lunch, set my alarm, picked out my outfit (none of my work clothes fit. none. ZERO.), double-checked my alarm, had a very serious conversation with the Bean about the extra-special double importance of being a really good listener in the morning so that mama wouldn’t be late to her new job, triple-checked my alarm, laid out my jewelry, found my shoes, poured a beer, and quadruple-checked my alarm. (Which is funny, because I bet I didn’t sleep a wink last night.)

Stress makes my already less-than-spontaneous personality even less flexible. Starting a new job is not as stressful as wondering if I was going to have enough money to feed the Bean in early February, but it’s pretty damn stressful. And I need routine to survive stress.

I’m hoping that after a few days, I’ll feel a bit more comfortable–I know the work, just not the culture and specifics. I’ll develop a routine–both for my new job and for my writing/editing/working out.

It’s going to be hard at first, and I’m prepared for that. I know what I need to do to combat that.

  1. Sleep
  2. Self-care (saying no is good)
  3. Move (now that I have to leave the house most days, that should happen easily)
  4. Eat regularly. This does not mean I can eat a Kind bar every five hours and call it meals. Apparently. Or at least so I’ve been told.
  5. Read – I know that seems like an odd thing to add to my list, but when I get stressed, I stop reading much. I’m not sure why, but I will sit and play stupid games on my phone for hours, which just gives me a headache. I love reading, it’s stress-relieving, but apparently when I’m high-anxiety, I’ll do anything to avoid feeling better (including sleep, exercise, eating right, and reading).

So – I’m probably surviving, right? WHO KNOWS!? Not you. I could be lying in a ditch in Gresham, and you would think I was learning all about my different dental insurance options.

Cross your fingers that all is well with me…now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to finish up my future post and go check my alarm. Again.

Hmmm…maybe there’s one more thing I should add to the list. This is in the first-thing-in-the-morning slot now.

Three Things Thursday: Adjustments

  1. It’s officially official now. I have a job. With an offer letter. I passed the background check and I start on Monday! This is exciting for several reasons!
    • They are planning on paying me in dollars!
    • There is this fancy thing called “health insurance” that they have!
    • I will be contributing to society in a meaningful way but have to deal with 100% fewer surgeons!
  2. It’s at an institution that I respect doing a job that I both know how to do and feel is important-especially in an era where science is not as highly valued as it should be.This news means I need to readjust everything I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing 5-7 hours of writing or editing or marketing (including blogging and reading books to review on said blog). I’ve also been going to bed late and getting up late for months. This means I’ll have to get back to my schedule. My first instinct is to dive in, metaphorical balls to the wall, starting Monday. Up at 5 every day, in bed by 10:30. Realistically, I’ll probably have better luck (and fewer annoying-to-others-snooze-button-issues) if I ease in and get up 15 minutes earlier every day until I’m back to my regularly scheduled morning cheeriness.
  3. This will, in no way, impact the release date of The Waning Moon. That is still set for late June. It’s with my editor right now, the cover design is being finalized, and I will need to do revisions, proof-read, and write the final back-of-the-book copy. I can do that with zero trouble between now and June. What it might impact is the release date of book 3, since that is a heavy rewrite. It might also impact my prolific blogging schedule as I adjust to being away from my home computer for 47+ hours/week.

The takeaway here? Yay job!

Race Report: Hop Hop 5K

This is my first race report in over two years and my first race since May 2015. I didn’t really train for it the way I ought to have, and have the complete inability to move as a reward!

There was a time in my life when I could’ve raced a 5K with zero notice because I was regularly pounding out long runs of 10+ miles. That is not a place where I’m at right now.

I signed up for this 5K and a race at the end of next month while drinking in an airport waiting for a delayed flight in January. (TBH, most of my race sign-ups are drinking related.)

French 75s almost always lead to questionable decision-making.

I have been running off and on ever since. There was so much snow and moving in January, and then I got really, really sick. And finally I was better! So I started running again. And then I rolled my ankle and then it was 5K time!

I knew that I had to go and I had to finish. I’ve signed up for a lot of races I haven’t done, but I can’t do that anymore. Not only is it fiscally irresponsible, it’s not good for my brains. Every race I don’t do makes it easier to skip the next one.

I know that exercise will lower my stress levels, increase my healthy eating/drinking habits, and help me sleep better. It’s just that the lack of sleep, high stress levels, and poor eating/drinking habits make me not want to run!

But I fucking did it.

Chilly pre-race selfie. I was so pissed at myself for forgetting to leave my prescription sunglasses in the car. They are not comfy running glasses.

I got an early morning pep talk phone call from my friend and erstwhile coach, CC and then I was off.

Waiting at the start line

There were plenty of people in costumes (and there were a lot of kids’ activities – a bounce house, egg decorating, sidewalk chalking) and I felt happy that I wasn’t.

The race ended up starting about 15 minutes later than scheduled because they were waiting for the half marathoners to clear the 5K course before they let us start.

Scary rabbit leading us in warm-up exercises that we couldn’t really do because we were too packed in.

The course itself was fine. It was a flat out and back on asphalt. There was water, jelly beans, and peeps (wtf? no!) at the turn around. I had a plan of 1:1 walk/run intervals and I stuck to my plan pretty closely. I missed one walk interval at the beginning because my sound was wonky and one run interval towards the end because I wanted to, dammit.

It took a good 1.5 miles for my body to say, “hey! this isn’t so bad!” Before that, the connective tissue in the ankles/Achilles/shins hated me. This has been common while running lately. Every time. I’ve taped, I’ve iced, I’ve stretched…nothing seems to be helping.

ANYWAY – I ran across the finish line, hopefully smiling, and got my medal. I saw the line into the food tent and balked, but decided to investigate further. It was only for food. The line for mimosas was super short. I grabbed my mimosa in the commemorative glass and took my post-race selfie.

The mimosa was terrible, so I dumped it out. Then some nice guy gave me his drink ticket, so I went back for the requisite morning beer.

I talked to a stranger while she waited for her sister (who was doing the half marathon and was going to be doing her 100th half-mary the following day!) and a friend.

Then I packed it in and headed home. I’m not sure what distance I’ll do at the race in May, but at least now I know that I can do the 5K!

I was overly sore and extraordinarily exhausted Saturday night. I was weepy and cranky and had zero chill. I slept poorly that night and spent yesterday doing almost nothing. (Although I did go out for a 30 minute walk to keep things limber.)

Tomorrow morning, I’ll hit the trails post preschool drop off. (I tried to run today, but my ankles are still so sore that I was afraid I’d injure myself further by over-correcting my stance.)

I used to run regularly on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays. I’m planning on getting back to that schedule with a minor tweak: Monday (mornings)/Wednesday (evenings)/Saturdays (early on Alvie weekends/later on kidless weekends). Because of today’s no-go, I’ll do Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday this week and then get on schedule next week.

I will do this, because I am a

(Best .gif ever, courtesy my PSM.)

Writerly Wednesday: when I’m not writing fiction…

I’ve spent the last few days balancing my personal projects (writing some new things, editing some existing things, and trying to figure out how to coerce strangers to buy my things) with applying for freelance jobs.

I did a freelance editing job for a screenplay pitch last month for a former colleague who is co-writing a screenplay in Sweden, and have done several academic editing/proofreading jobs. If you want to pay someone to edit your papers for content and formatting, I’m your person. I’m familiar with MLA, APA, AMA, and Chicago Manual of Style.

My rates are reasonable, my skills are first rate, and my turnaround time is (almost) whatever you need it to be.

***

I’m hard at work on Raj’s novella and should have that wrapped up in a couple of weeks. Chapters for that will continue to go out in the monthly newsletter, so if you haven’t already, sign up now!

Oh, Raj…

***

I have openings for book reviews over the next couple months, but they’re filling quickly. Hit me up if you want me to review your book!

***

My current writing process is all over the place. Between prepping The Cardinal Gate for publication and then moving directly into cramming The Waning Moon’s editing into a very short period of time, I feel like I’ve been pretty consistently busy for the last two months. I’ve been doing a little less work this week than the last, but am ready to kick it up a notch or three again starting next week.

BAM! says tiny Emeril

What that means for me is that I hole up in the office (currently I’m writing on the couch, surrounded by cats) sans phone and turn off the wifi on my computer. I work in 25 minute bursts (with five-minute breaks). No email, no Facebook, no silly phone procrastination games except during breaks.

Clowns to the left of me

Jokers to the right…

 

This week, though? All about marketing, education, recharging, resting, and looking for money. (You’d think with all Portland’s rainbows, I’d be able to find at least one pot of gold.)

 

 

Monday Miscellany

So much stuff stirring around in my brain right now. SO MUCH. That means bullet points for you!

  • Every time I start to exercise regularly–and I mean every fucking time–I get sick. I have head congestion and a runny nose, which makes it impossible to run because I like to breathe. Breathing while running is hard enough when I feel great. JFC, universe!! Do you want me to be fat and lazy? Because that would be easier for me, and if that’s what my destiny is, I can go ahead and give in.
  • I’m going to do some gentle, non-inversiony yoga today. The purpose is to remind my muscles that we do like to move a bit and keep the habit of carving time out of my day to exercise.
  • BUT SERIOUSLY! WTF‽‽‽ This is monumentally unfair.
  • Other important things: I desperately need a job. If you want to pay me money, let me know. I’ll do anything! (Although, I’d prefer to edit or write or proofread. I’ve done a little bit of those things freelance, and would enjoy doing more.) However, if you need someone to do the weird stuff, I can do that, too.

  • After finishing up the edits (and cutting 25,000 words) on The Waning Moon, I decided to reward myself with a little gaming. I’m not much of a gamer (anymore), but there are a few things I like. It’d been a while since I’d played on my PC (I don’t even use the PC for anything–it just sits around getting dusty and storing old photos of the Bean), and it was a PITA to get everything set up. BUT, finally Saturday evening post Bean bedtime, I was in and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve killed some stuff, which is a nice break from writing all day where I also have been killing.

  • The Bean and I have been making bread every weekend he’s here. He’s becoming such a great helper (and I’m almost sincere about that now!) and really enjoys kitchen stuff.

 

  • He’ll be five in less than two weeks, and I’m not sure I’m ready. It’s fun watching him grow up and become his own person, but he’s almost too big for me to pick up (I need him to ‘jump’ when I pick him up), and carry, and hold–although we do our best. He’s been extra cuddly lately, and I’m taking advantage of that as much as possible. I know there will come a day when he doesn’t want me to hold him anymore.

  • This week’s focus is getting the crap stuff having to do with The Waning Moon done–synopsis and blurb. It took 130,000 words to tell the story originally–how am I expected to break that down to a couple pages, much less a couple paragraphs? Once I talk about coffee and tacos, I’m out of space!
  • The first newsletter went out last week with an exclusive peek at one of my favorite amusing bits from The Waning Moon, as well as the first chapter of Raj’s story. Sign up now to learn more about our favorite vampire!
  • If you’ve read The Cardinal Gate and are so inclined, I’d be delighted and grateful if you’d review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Of course, if you haven’t read The Cardinal Gate, I’d be even more delighted and grateful if you did! (It’s available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and Kindle Unlimited.)

 

That’s about enough miscellany for today. Have a great week!