Last Night Was a Fever Dream

I had coffee around 11:30 PM last night, after finishing my blog post. It was leftover from earlier in the day. I immediately felt revived. At that time I decided to get really productive. I started tidying up my desk finally and throwing away trash (mostly tissue and dog wipes).

I showered pretty late last night as well. And opened the Franzia white zinfandel box wine. It was great. It helped combat the sinus headahce for a little bit. I decided to watch some TV before bed, which means Netflix or Amazon Prime for the record. I don’t have cable.

I found The Pale Horse on Amazon Prime, which is based on an Agatha Christie book. Last year I watched Ordeal by Innocence, which was fantastic. The Pale Horse was less exciting or captivating but just creepy enough that I wasn’t too scared to watch. Actually the denouement is what really got me. I was worried I might have nightmares. While the story was not that remarkable, it was short and mostly entertaining. If you like psychological thrillers, it was more-so that.

It had Effy Stonem from Skins, if you know who that is. She’s like my age, so it was so baffling to see her married to Rufus Sewell, but the show addressed that she was a young wife, so whatever. I let it slide. 

So I went to sleep around 3 AM and woke up properly around 10 AM. Not great sleep, but I got up on account of Opal. My sinuses are still bad as of this writing around 6:57 PM but I know I’ll sleep much better tonight if I manage to stay up.

It just sucks that it’s so windy and Opal needs long walks to tire her out. Very soon into my walk at 4 PM, I inhaled pollen. Literal pollen. It was falling everywhere. And I couldn’t do anything about it. It was miserable. I sprayed my nose as soon as I got home and took more generic Mucinex, but I won’t feel better until my shower tonight and nightly generic Benadryl.

Because most people in my area work from home, I assume, most of them are off around 5 or 6 PM. So I think my days of walking Opal right before sunset are over. There were so many people out last night. And few are willing to step aside to keep 6 ft of distance. Assholes.

The only difference between shelter-in-place and whatever-the-hell-we-were-doing-before is that people are not supposed to gather with others outside their households. I don’t think many are obeying. I get that everyone needs fresh air, but come on.

Anyway I finally accomplished the main thing I meant to do this weekend, which was to clean my living room and desk area. I took a picture after dinner of the rearranged furniture and set-up. My desk had a runner I removed to wash. A lot of stuff in the little bookshelf was on the desk. With the free space I put my candle collection in the corner on the right.

The table in front of the window was not there before. There was a gorgeous mid-century coffee table I found discarded at the dumpster around January that is now on the wall opposite the desk, now housing my recycling and Google Fiber hardware.

I plan to use the desk for proper work time. It already has my work MacBook Pro on it and I will not longer eat there as I’ve done in the past. I debated moving my desk back to my room as I originally had it, but I don’t have to have to move my TV stand again. I only have two walls to put things against and Opal loves having my bed by the window. Picture to come!

At the window table I’ll do personal stuff, like Zoom with my writing buddy and write. I’ll also have my meals here, which I rarely do without my personal MacBook Pro to keep me company. I just had my Tilapia & Creamy Romesco Sauce from Blue Apron with white zinfandel. It was pretty fantastic. I am stuffed as usual, but I’ve just skipped breakfast since starting Blue Apron. It’s a fair trade-off.

Since I mention her a bunch, I thought I’d share cute picture of Opal from this evening. She helped me finish the tilapia and still hasn’t eaten her own dinner, which I brought to my bedroom for her. It’s all expanded now from the water I put in it. I’ll spare you that picture.

That beaver Kong toy is one of her favorites. She’s yet to pull the tail off or separate the body from the log, but she’ll lick it and keep on keepin’ on.

I had been thinking about visiting my parents again in April, but today I decided against it. I shared one of the best videos I’ve seen on Twitter that explains the need to #FlattenTheCurve given our shortage of ventilators and other tech, and their response was so unexpected. While they recognize the need to stay indoors, they were so combative about the video and the explanation. It’s seriously so frustrating to watch them lose their minds. To summarize, they think young people are the only ones not obeying #StayHome orders and that scientists are “fabricating numbers, insulting people’s intelligence.” That’s an exact quote.

I don’t even know how to respond…They made up the numbers…They’re called estimates! And they were low estimates so as not to be hyperbolic. Like, how do you think science works?!

I have no idea how to understand them and refuse to try anymore than I already have for my own mental health. Honestly, I think they’re watching too much news and economics-focused commentary. They are very anti-“government handouts,” which they justify with the we-believe-in-people-putting-in-hard-work mentality. They’re completely ignorant to the systemic problems that perpetuate poverty, which is really ironic but at the same time exemplary of what they were lucky enough to experience that is not everyone’s reality.

Sorry. I don’t know why I’ve started venting. This incident was a big part of my afternoon. I’m ending today on a positive note. I was productive and I’m in a good place to get a lot of stuff done tomorrow that isn’t housework.

I truly think this will be my last life update post. I don’t want to let this blog become a place where I put all my anxieties or negative thoughts. Tomorrow I’m determined to get back to the goals I set for this time.

I’ve not done my German practice yet and will likely try to get to bed early tonight. I best go now to watch something before I need to take Opal outside one more time and shower…Plus, I need to get her to eat her soggy dinner!

(While I’m apparently venting, I will say if you notice any typos that make it look like I’ve typing with a stutter, there’s something funky going on with my MacBook Pro since I updated to OS Catalina. Halplplp . )

I Did Go Out… + DuoLingo Update

I thought I needed to go to work to pick up package. Turns out I didn’t. My boss was there again. I guess he’s just going to be there every day. I don’t think he has good internet service where he lives.

Anyway it was good I went because I got the frozen food I bought for the office out of my freezer so I have more room when I need it. Also the soda I had in my trunk won’t be weighing down the tail end of my car.

So I didn’t get much done today – again. I’ve been seeing people give Animal Crossing so much free promotion, and it got to me. But I don’t have a Nintendo Switch, so I got the Pocket Camp version. I’m not even sure it’s the official app version; I didn’t specifically go looking for it. I was actually looking for other app games akin to Farmville, which I loved once upon a time.

But the game is not why I didn’t get much else done! This heat is taking some time to adjust too. I take Opal for her walks and come home sweaty and gross. It throws me off. It makes me tired. This unofficial vacation from going to the office regularly (I’m still doing work) came at a good time. I hate the heat. Especially when it comes from rain.

I tried reading today but ended up napping. What’s going best for me at the moment is my German practice. I’ve been refreshing myself on the stuff I mastered last year. I’m finally approaching new skills…

There’s not been a lot that I’m excited to watch on Netflix/Amazon Prime, but I am excited to restart two German shows I discovered around 2018: Dark and Babylon Berlin. I think the last season of Dark comes out this year. Thankfully they finished filming before the coronavirus; I follow the director and some of the actors on IG.

The third season of Babylon Berlin came out about two weeks ago. It is very cinematic and reminds me of Boardwalk Empire in terms of atmosphere. But I never finished season two; I wasn’t liking the direction the story seemed to be going. It’s kind of a depressing show. I only want to watch it again to put my listening skills to work.

I’m getting to point on DuoLingo where I know I need to start journalling my new vocabulary words so I remember better. If I find a good system for that, I’ll be sure to share on here. I remember that I meant to incorporate it into my bullet journal last year, but life changed and the bujo became impractical.

I do truly hope these blog posts to become less life update and more topic-based for those who do not care about the mundanity of my life at the moment. I almost didn’t blog today, but I didn’t want to ruin my streak. Neither did I want to have it be a throw-away post where I said nothing, so I’m glad I remembered I could talk about DuoLingo.

If you want to follow my progress or be buddies (not sure how networking works on it), my username is Laurel603125. I’m almost to Checkpoint 3 again…

I’m Done Going Out (I Hope)

Today I went into the office mainly because I had to onboard a new employee. I also had some general office maintenance to perform, including watering plants, sanitizing surfaces, restocking kitchen stuff for easy access. I even saw my boss today. I wasn’t expecting it. It wasn’t entirely pleasant; he’s stressed right now.

But it was a productive day. I successfully got invoice confirmations and miscellaneous paperwork I needed done.

After about four hours in the office, I decided to try and pick up some not-essential-but-nice-to-haves from the grocery store. There was a short line outside everywhere. I have become more impatient with age, so I’m not going to wait in lines for things I don’t need. Especially on warm, muggy days.

As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to pause my Blue Apron subscription so I can support local restaurants. Not so sure that’s going to be possible anymore. Austin is expected to get a shelter-in-place order soon. Maybe that’s why the grocery stores had lines today? Maybe people don’t realize those are staying open?

Anyway I had Wendy’s for lunch and picked up Thai food for dinner. I also stopped by Target, because they didn’t have a line. The grocery section was mostly ransacked, but I was able to pick up some soda and microwave meals/snacks for work and box wine for personal reasons. I’ve only recently become a wine person, and I hope I like it. But not too much if you know what I’m mean ;)

I’m not sure when I’ll go back to the office, but I am hoping to stay home during this order. I have everything I need for myself and Opal. I don’t think I’ll get bored to soon. I have a lot of housekeeping still to do and self-learning to work on. I also just got my virtual library access approved so I can read on my iPhone or iPad now!

Today I didn’t get much personal stuff done and I don’t feel like doing anything tonight beyond maybe read. I’m finally feeling like reading Ninth House again. I think I’m on my way to an ear ache, so tomorrow I’ll probably lay low from cleaning, which stirs up dust, and perform some self-care. I’m talking face masks. I’m talking hot bathes. I’m talking…wine. Ha! I got to go.

Hope you’re doing well wherever you are.

A Sunday Wrap Up

It is 1:21 PM as I start this post! Hurrah for knocking out another to-do item. I won’t quite finish this blog post until about 6 PM probably, but I’ll have the bulk of it done because it is a wrap up of the to-do list I created for myself yesterday.

I got a little bit of a head start last night before bed. I was hoping to find an audiobook to listen to as I did chores yesterday, per Devouring Books suggestion. I ended up trying to gain access to the Austin Public Library’s digital catalogue, but my application will take 2-3 to be approved.

I decided to then look into our family’s Amazon Prime membership to see if there were Audible deals and there was indeed. You can download two free audiobooks on Audible with a free trial. I wanted to choose wisely, so I didn’t end up redeeming credits yesterday or today as it turned out. I felt like the wardrobe work required reflection and focus so I didn’t want to make a hasty decision I would regret.

Anyway here is the list from yesterday along with notes on what I accomplished!

  1. Cook Mexican-Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Cups. It wasn’t my favorite but wasn’t my least favorite either. Opal helped me eat the shrimp!
  2. Pull out clothes I no longer want/need. It was a smaller pile than I thought it’d be.
  3. Pack away winter clothing I won’t need for a while. At first I was just going to put in cardboard boxes, but then I decided it’d be better if I organized them and put them in bags in my empty suitcases, so they keep better. After coming to this realization I sat down for a break to start this blog post. I didn’t quite get back to work but it shouldn’t take long once the rest of the bedroom has been dusted to pull out the suitcases…
  4. Do laundry. I didn’t finish, but I did it…that counts.
  5. Vacuum bedroom. Nope. Need to finish clothes first
  6. Mop kitchen/living room. Nope. Need to finish bedroom first.
  7. Reorganize bookshelf and living room. Nope. Need to clean everything first. (Yes, these are consecutive tasks.)
  8. Clear off island bar. Nope. (See comment above.)
  9. Figure out the Austin Public Library system. I discussed this one in the introduction of the blog post! I’m waiting for access.
  10. Give Opal bath or (if still raining) just a feet bath. I didn’t do this, but I did spray her belly and legs with medication solution that kills bugs I suspect she has been bringing in from the wild. I take her for walks along a creek and open field with tall grass, so it’s necessary to start using now that it’s spring. She hates getting sprayed but doesn’t seem to mind it once it’s done.
  11. Take Opal for another good hour-long walk if possible. I did this first thing in the morning! It was a little miserable at first, like it was yesterday actually, because I’m an old lady with a sore back in the morning. But by the end I felt stronger and I feel so good afterwards.
  12. End day with clean kitchen. Yes!
  13. Call PetSmart to schedule Opal for camp. I changed my mind. I figured I’d take her every other week to save her camp days for when I truly need to use them.
  14. Read at least 100 pages of Ninth House. I came to the realization it’s probably not the best read, but I still want to continue. I’ll just have to pace it out. Slow and steady.
  15. Avoid YouTube/Netflix until evening. Fail. Actually I was great in the morning until lunch. I had a chicken pot pie that put me in a food coma and then I was good for nothing until about 6 PM…
  16. Watch Startup School video: Startup School Orientation W2020. I didn’t quite finish, but I started it! I realized towards the end it’d be a great blog series to review so that will likely be the subject of a few blog posts in a few days! I already started the intro post.
  17. Figure out a learning plan for Trailhead. Nope.
  18. Write blog post for tomorrow before Netflix unwinding time. Well I had the TV on while I started this blog post and turned it off once I realized I wasn’t paying attention. I sat down for a break after making good progress on my closet. I had Super 8 (2011) on while I did that, because I didn’t want to listen to an audiobook. Love that movie.
  19. Zoom with Sara and write (if she’s available). This was the second thing I accomplished today! While out on a walk with Opal, I texted her asking if she wanted to write with me at 10 AM. I low-key regretted it after I got home, as I would’ve preferred to read this morning. But I’m really glad I didn’t because I wouldn’t probably gone to bed after my shower and the day would’ve been shot!

I’m writing this conclusion before I finish all the notes on the items I checked off my to-do list today so I can publish earlier than I have been. I’m feeling hungry all of the sudden so I may cook before I finish with my clothes. I predict I won’t vacuum/sweep/mop today, but hey there’s no rush. It can be done tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a little exciting. I’m onboarding a new employee who was unexpectedly let off his previous job early. He was supposed to start with us in April, so this was happy surprise. I think our team could really use him and it give me something fun to do. So I’ll be at the office tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll do some exploring downtown to see what’s open.

If I can support local restaurants during this time, I really want to. I’m seriously debating stopping my Blue Apron subscription and doing my own grocery shopping with recipes I now have and splurging when I feel like it on places that are still open and keeping people employed…Yeah, I think I’ve just talked myself into it. Better to support them now instead of later. I can restart Blue Apron if necessary in the future.

I don’t know what tomorrow’s post will be yet, but hopefully I complete the much needed housekeeping. I want to have more nice spaces to work that aren’t my comfy chair or my desk, which isn’t so nice all the time.

A Sunday To-Do List

Today was kind of a bust. It’s been chilly and rainy all day, which I normally would love. But I’ve been feeling a little lethargic, so it did not help much. Because I’m feeling lethargic, I am not even motivated to read Ninth House, which I was hoping to finish this weekend. It’s just not an emotionally uplifting book!

I want to find something funny to read…

I have a few different blog post ideas that need more time to develop, so today I thought I’d share my to-do list for tomorrow. It might be fun to see how many of these things I actually get through and tomorrow’s post could be a recap.

  1. Cook Mexican-Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Cups. I meant to do this today, but I’ve been snacking all day and it felt like more effort than it was worth when I wasn’t that hungry to begin with.
  2. Pull out clothes I no longer want/need. They are taking up a lot of space in my closet. I’ll probably need to sort into second-hand shop and charity shop piles.
  3. Pack away winter clothing I won’t need for a while. These clothes have taken prime closet space I need for clothes I wear on the regular.
  4. Do laundry. I should be able to put everything away and not leave out after I’ve accomplished #2 and #3.
  5. Vacuum bedroom
  6. Mop kitchen/living room
  7. Reorganize bookshelf and living room. I brought home more furniture over Christmas break from my grandmothers’ homes and I still have a mess to sort through and put away that I never did.
  8. Clear off island bar. I’d like to start eating and working there and it’s been covered in mail and storage for a while.
  9. Figure out the Austin Public Library system. Download the app, create an account, whatever I need to do.
  10. Give Opal bath or (if still raining) just a feet bath. Her toe nails need some maintenance.
  11. Take Opal for another good hour-long walk if possible. I did that this morning and felt great afterwards.
  12. End day with clean kitchen. I always leave my cooking mess until I need to cook again. It’s terrible and makes it hard to find motivation to make good kitchen choices.
  13. Call PetSmart to schedule Opal for camp. Probably Thursday again…
  14. Read at least 100 pages of Ninth House. If I start tonight before sleep, I’ll be kind to myself and count those pages towards the total. :)
  15. Avoid YouTube/Netflix until evening. I’ve not even been enjoying anything I watch, so it’s double wasted time in my books. Because of my lack of curtains, it’d not even great to watch things until the sun has set.
  16. Watch Startup School video: Startup School Orientation W2020. I have eight videos total that started in January and have come out about once a (or every other) week. Time to start again.
  17. Figure out a learning plan for Trailhead. Another skill I want to gain is in Salesforce, because I think I’d be interested in working in sales for tech companies.
  18. Write blog post for tomorrow before Netflix unwinding time. That way I’m not scrambling before it’s too late in the evening.
  19. Zoom with Sara and write (if she’s available). I actually did some writing yesterday with her and it was wonderful. I have some new ideas that I might share tomorrow…

Okay I need to go. I think it’s stopped raining and I know Opal wants a longer walk before bed. I also want to wash my hair tonight before it’s too late AND just remembered I haven’t done my German practice for the day! Argh.

Golly I let this day slip by. Saturdays have been that way for me for weeks now, though, even before “social distancing” so I don’t have a good excuse. It should be relaxing, but I’m always stressed about something I’m not doing. It’s a bad cycle I need to quit.

Anyway let me know in the comments if you have a huge to-do list for tomorrow! Solidarity!

I Need Book Recommendations, People

Why did I say no take backs? Ahhhh. Well today’s post is about books I guess. I mentioned when I returned to blogging this week that my most recent reads were rereads of Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson leading up The Hand on the Wall, the final book in this YA mystery trilogy.

It was an awesome time. I loved returning to Stevie’s adventures at night on the weekends in February. I had some thoughts on the final book that debuted in January, but I don’t think I’ll review it. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve thought about it and I have enough new things on my mind at the moment. I will say that I wish it had had more to do with the mystery and less to do with the love interest’s plans that were distracting and unrelated to the story that was set up over the previous two books.

I think the biggest disappointment is that while I enjoyed the book and how the mystery was resolved it didn’t leave me lingering over it the way I was the first two books. Yes, that’s partially because the mystery had to be wrapped up. But there were other issues that were worth thinking about in the previous books that didn’t involve David’s dad.

I’m on page 175 of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo at the moment. I read about two chapters this morning. While it finally seems to be getting interesting, I’m still disappointed that I wasn’t more immediately gripped by the story or the world. I still can’t keep the “houses” straight in my head and find it weird how the mystery that I’m more interested in isn’t the focal point of the story…

I hope to finish it this weekend so I can get on with my life.

I’m not sure what I’ll read for fun after this book. I know I want to read another mystery…a historical mystery. I also could be in the mood for contemporary that isn’t about teenagers being cruel to each other or with paranormal romances or incurable illnesses finding unprobable love. I think I need to discover some good adult fiction that isn’t an Oprah pick or being turned into a series I can watch instead. Any recommendations like that, feel free to send them by way.

I will probably investigate the Austin Public Library system soon. At Leigh Bardugo’s Austin book tour stop last October, I met a girl who talked about how there was app she was getting audiobooks from. An audiobook might actually be right what I need so I can focus on cleaning up the apartment…

So yeah, that’s my relationship with books at the moment. I have a few books I still haven’t read that I brought with me to Austin, but I’m just not in the mood for many of them at the moment. Maybe that should’ve been this blog post!

I may return to Goodreads since this blog is going to less about books…

What are you reading at the moment? Has COVID-19 affected your reading positively at all? I feel like so many people are talking about Netflix Party and Animal Cross right now…I wish I could see good book recommendations trending amongst the masses.

A Three-Month Plan for Becoming Freelance Ready

Good evening to those in my time zone. It is 9:38 PM as I start this blog post and I’m currently having productivity sprints with my writing buddy while drinking the last of a bottle of sauvignon blanc. In the past I would’ve called these writing sprints, but I am not writing at the moment. Instead I am planning for the next three months.

As I started this blog post late again, let me summarize my day real quick. Took Opal to camp this morning. It was hard because she didn’t want to be dropped off, but it’s also the reason why I have to take her. She could easily become too dependent on me and suffer from separation anxiety when I have to return to work :(

I was able to get some essentials (e.g. milk) and nice-to-haves (e.g. chicken pot pie) at the Central Market grocery store near her camp. I also picked up a few things for the office, as I don’t want us to go completely dry on the snack front during this time. Then I came home, did a few hours of work on projects I discussed with the boss yesterday on our 1:1.

Today and the day before I tried to nap between 3-6 PM. I haven’t napped in a long-time and it’s something I see a lot of value in now that I am able. It helps to detach from social media and world news. It also helps since I don’t think I sleep very well at night in general and sleep is important for overall health. (Note to self: experiment with digital detoxes in the near future.)

Anyway it was a good day. Before picking up Opal I cooked Greek-Style Farro Salad from my most recent Blue Apron box and it was terrific. 10/10 would recommend. If I had a good picture I would share it, but my apartment has terrible lighting

Our Zoom meeting was cut short on account of bad weather. Damn! Well we had a good chat and catch up before we got productive, so I’m glad we were able to do that at least. I still need to finish this blog post though!

I mentioned yesterday that I want to use this COVID-19 pre-quarantine, social distancing time for personal and professional development. I threw out some web services I was using, but I still lacked a proper plan for what I want to actually accomplish. While it’s not certain how long I’ll be able to work from home, I still think that the timelines I’m setting tonight will still stand regardless.

Until March 31st I want to continue daily blogging. Maybe I’ll continue afterwards in some capacity, but I don’t want to quit before. I keep postponing until the last minute, but it’s not that hard to keep up with. I’m not worried about quality or purpose. I just think this is a fun challenge and way to connect with others while a lot of us are being more social distant than normal! :)

By May 1st I want to have a complete technical writing portfolio to show potential clients and/or companies that may be hiring. I feel like this is something I have procrastinated on due to lack of focus and perfectionist tendencies (i.e. if it’s not going to be great then why bother mindset). I just need to do it, set deadlines for pieces and act like they’re life-or-death.

Creating a portfolio could actually be pretty fun. It might entail learning new skills in order to bring my visions to life, but I have a choice in what I do so I don’t have to suffer with software I don’t like.

Also by May 1st  I want to be prepared to post regularly on the blog at least twice a week. I do not think daily blogging is a sustainable blog project and I do want this blog to eventually be more professional in nature, but I do see it having tips and tricks that apply to anyone who communicates or is interested in digital media. I want to do blog posts that involve research of the technical writing and new media industries and highlight avenues of professional development. Also I want to share information that would be useful to people who want to start their own businesses.

By June 1st I want to be ready to reach out to potential clients. That will entail having this blog be professional and ready to stand out as a place for people to discover me. I’ll need to have my services and pricing laid out on page and probably in a PDF. I’ll also want to have an email template for “cold calls” and a list of people/companies I think would be good fits for what I have to offer.

I’d also need to have an invoice template, contract templates, and established methods by which to approve clients as I wouldn’t want to work with people who may be unreliable or have demanding personalities that are incompatible with my own.

That’s what I’ve come up for this far and why now I feel I have even more clarity regarding what I need to work on right now and what I need to prioritize. It is now 10:10 PM and I want to spend some quality time with my girl Opal before bed so I will talk to you tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s post will be about…Books I want to read in the near future. There, I said it; no take backs. I don’t need to procrastinate tomorrow because I know what I’m writing. Boom. Take that, future Lori.

How was your day?

How I’m Staying Busy While Social Distancing

Hello. Back again with a quick little blog post before midnight strikes! Sorry about the lateness. Hopefully I’ll get a head start sooner in the day tomorrow. Truthfully, I thought about blogging all day and couldn’t think of a good topic. Now I have several of course, but not enough time to pick one and delve into it.

First I thought I would just give quick life update. I just showered and I want to do dishes before bed so I can cook lunch tomorrow before my Blue Apron produce goes bad!

Today was very chill and overall I’m feeling pretty good. I had a lot of fun with Opal and feel like I have more clarity about the future after a remote 1:1 with my boss. Not perfect clarity, but I’m a little more certain about the future now and happy with my choices thus far. I just really want to start using this time productively.

Tomorrow I’m taking Opal to day camp. I’ve been taking her about once a week for socialization since I’m her only human and she doesn’t get regular off-leash play-time with other dogs. A lot of people love her around the apartment complex, but I’m not social enough for her to get the kind of social time I want for her to have!

I’ll miss her because I seriously love having her at home when I’m at home, but it will save me time to work on my own stuff without planning good walk or meal times for her. I didn’t get much done today for reasons I will not delve into at this time. Ha!

So my plans for mandated “social distancing” time?

  1. Figure out taxes. I’m missing two W-2s so I’m going to file with an alternative form that requires guesswork. If I don’t get a refund, fine. (I’m fairly certain I won’t owe anything.) I just don’t want to get in trouble for not filing.
  2. Work on German again. I haven’t used DuoLingo in a long-time and I got very far originally with the language practice, so I want to rededicate myself to it and hopefully become fluent in something other than English. It’s a pointless goal, but we all need one of those right?
  3. Officially relaunch the blog. I renamed The Inky Saga and want to convert the blog to a more professional kind of blog, so this is an excellent time.
  4. Learn JavaScript via Flatiron School. I discovered this self-guided learning website last year and want to continue with it. I had plans to talk about it last December, but then New Year’s happened and everything got put on hold.
  5. Catch up on Startup School classes. This is another free opportunity I learned about last year after reading up on side hustles. I signed up for the mailing list and registered to “audit” the classes since I don’t have an official startup venture yet. I’ve not watching any yet and I’ve been eager to start.
  6. Read! I want to finish Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo soon and other books I own that have been on my TBR far too long. Books I have will be the subject of a near future blog post.

I also have regular work projects to develop so a lot of time will be dedicated to paid work.

It’s 11:42 PM now so I’m going to go. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Let me know how you’ll be spending your time if you are lucky enough to have more free-time than usual due to social distancing.

Happy New Year … Has It Been a Happy New Year?

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me it has been a long three months. Where do I even begin? I feel like it’s time to have a good chat. Do you have time? I certainly do.

(This is a lengthy post and I start with a recent life update followed by a recap of the year thus far before returning to present plans. Hopefully it’s not too confusing; I don’t feel like revising!)

Last Thursday my boss announced his plan for a “dry run” of remote work, meaning he wanted us to see how working remote would work for everyone. We are a small team in a tight office, so he wanted to reduce the likelihood of anyone of us infecting the rest. I took that as an opportunity to visit family. It was wonderful. I got back yesterday afternoon.

Because of my job, I have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the world and locally pretty closely. It was pretty clear as early as mid-February that the U.S. was not taking it as seriously as we should’ve been. SXSW was cancelled with very little notice and Austin just today announced the order that restaurants and bars close until May 1st and community gatherings of 10 or more people are now prohibited.

I kind of wish I had just stayed with my parents, but it’s hard to be productive there and I definitely want to use this time to work on myself. I also feel like I need to be readily available if needed at the office.

I’ve not been too concerned by the overall situation. I started practicing higher than normal standards of sanitization at work and home in advance, so I’ve gotten good about mindfulness of not touching face while out and correctly washing hands.

My main concerns right now are future shortages if people keep panic buying and, of course, my 50-year-old parents and 85-year-old and 90-year-old grandmothers contracting the virus. I should be more worried about myself as I am not the healthiest person, but honestly I feel fit to thrive right now. I entire adult life has been social distancing (hehe) and I started ordering Blue Apron last month, so I’m set to not go to the grocery store for unnecessary items. I might lose weight and be in a better mental state after all this is over. Fingers crossed!

In recap of the earlier months of the year, January was busy and annoying. It was my last month working part-time with two jobs. I had a lot to wrap up at my first job and was facing a lot of anxiety leading up to February. I had doubts about whether I was making the right choice and if it was smart to end the job search. I was interviewing for places I applied before learning I would become full-time at my current workplace. I was also onboarding new employees and trying to make sure they felt supported and had everything they needed. This month I was also still actively planning to start a technical writing side hustle and transition this blog toward that endeavor. I was overloading myself.

Then February happened and my work life changed drastically and not in ways that I expected. My boss was swamped with affairs outside of our company’s day-to-day, so I was mostly left alone to figure out my new role as a full-time office administrator at the company. A lot of my job I’m able to do from home, so I was enjoying the flexibility, but I was also constantly concerned about proving myself in my role. I also had additional tasks preoccupying my time that involved figuring out visa applications.

These months went by very slowly but at the same time I feel like they were a blip in time that I’ll never get back. The main thing I am proud to say that I accomplished during that time was reading and writing, although most would probably be unimpressed with just how much. I reread the first two books of the Truly Devious trilogy and the final installment, which debuted at the end of January. I also resumed weekly writing dates with my writing buddy. I didn’t get much done, but my mind being on writing again even if just for two hours a week was a joy.

Let’s return to the present. I got back from visiting my parents yesterday. I had things to do at the office this morning, and I’ve also been doing some much needed housekeeping.

A few weeks ago I started thinking more about the blog. My old domain name was expiring last month, and WordPress was not letting me forget it. I was just hesitant to jump in again too soon and letting it prevent me from actually doing things. With the COVID-19 protective measures effectively in place, I now have a bit more time to dedicate to personal and professional development.

(I cannot emphasize enough just how grateful and lucky I am that I become full-time at my current job and do not have to worry about money or risking infection at a public-facing job. I’m also grateful I’m no longer in school or having a semester interrupted. If you are struggling, know that I feel for you.)

I decided an hour ago officially to let my domain name expire. The Inky Saga was envisioned to be a creative lifestyle blog, and my heart is no longer in it. I have too much going on that doesn’t relate and I want to start putting the skills I developed in school to work.

I have purchased a new domain name that should be ready to use in the next couple of days. If you are wondering what I plan to do with this blog, I would say that I’m still interested in following the plan I made in my last blog post before the new year, but I am reevaluating the necessity of privating old blog posts. The hard thing is that I’ve renamed the blog again…

Anyway! Similar to my November daily blogging spree, I feel like this is a good time to stretch my blogging muscles again. I would like to post daily while I’m working primarily remotely. I think it would be fun and I think there might be some people out there will a little extra time on their hands that might appreciate some extra blog content.

Let me know how you are faring during this difficult time. I know I have a lot of international blog readers and we are all going through very different experiences at the moment. I’m truly interested in how you are doing and how you’re spending your days.

Blog Housekeeping Before the New Year

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s in case you haven’t read it yet. At the end, I announced this blog is going to become more of a professional space for me to showcase a technical writing portfolio and job-related posts. Today I want to delve into what that means for you and what I work I will begin undertaking to revamp this blog.

If you have ever undertook a major blog rehaul project, please let me know in the comments! I’d welcome any insight or tips.

Housekeeping

First, I will be updating blog navigation.

I’m going to be honest, I love Sanne Vliegenthart’s blog / website navigation and layout. I may move toward something closer to that, with an About, Blog, Portfolio, and Freelance tab at minimum. The Blog tab will be a space where I keep life and/or work updates. Once I’m producing regular explainer, tips, etc. job-related posts, they will likely get their own tab at the top.

Next, I will begin looking into new WordPress plans.

I foolishly purchased the Business plan in spring thinking it would be the kick I needed to dedicate myself to building the blog. But at that point, I didn’t even know I would be in Austin pursuing traditional job opportunities with growth potential. So I want to downgrade next year as my latest future plans do not involve making my blog profitable.

Finally, I will be privating old blog posts.

There are a lot of blog posts I have posted in the past that I find personally valuable as snapshots of the various lives I’ve lived over the past couple of years. But I don’t think anyone else needs to see them, especially not people who I hope would want to hire me. I’m not ashamed of anything, these blog posts just are not a reflection of the vision I have for the blog moving forward.

There are some posts that probably will still hold up that I may decide to leave. But there are also so many inconsistencies across those posts, referencing past blog names and with broken links. I’ve also not always been great about spell-checking or writing concisely. It’s just easier to start fresh than to polish posts that I don’t want to dedicate more time to.

I wanted to be transparent with you all before I start this mini-project, because I have no idea what posts others may have bookmarked or whatever. So if there’s a post you like or reference occasionally, please say your goodbyes or find a way to save it before next Saturday, January 3rd CST.

Time Frames

A goal without a plan is just a wish, as the saying goes. So I do think I need to talk time frames for a bit. I made my final decision about the blog about two weeks ago, and I would like to stop thinking about this so I can start focusing on actually creating things.

I’m not sure if I will be able to get all this done this weekend. I do not have a lot to do today other than plan for next week, and fortunately I have Wednesday off both jobs. That is unless I want to go in to my tech company office and fix things up I can’t manage to complete on Tuesday…But I will aim to enjoy the holiday.

But yes, I think I will plan to take care of the reorganization first.

I am really feeling like blogging at the moment. I would like to start writing new blog posts for the new year. I don’t currently have plans for a blog schedule, but I do aim for regularity of some sort.