Tag Archives: evil day job

Rabbit Holes and Other Shiny Things

Every once in a while I get curious about my family history. Lately some friends have been talking about genealogy and their family histories and I’m afraid I’m about to go down the ancestry.com rabbit hole. I’m trying to resist, at least until this month is over, but I made the mistake of opening the website this evening and playing around a bit and…

Well, let’s just say that I can resist everything except temptation.

Fortunately, I have to get up early for work tomorrow morning so I won’t be diving in any deeper tonight as I have a lot of work to do between now and bedtime.

Writing-wise I’ve made a tiny bit of progress, but not much. Still, any forward progress is good, right? I wonder if I can write 20,000 words on Sunday to get caught up?  I could take my laptop with me tomorrow and do some writing at work as there’s a lot of down time, but I do have a notebook in my crochet bag that I can use to hand write for hieroglyphic transcription later. And I know from experience that I’m unlikely to use my laptop if I take it, so I think it’s going to stay home.

I’ve been fending off a new-ish plot bunny that is so far nothing more than a title, but the pushy little thing is growing fast. And another new plot bunny popped in this evening based on a comment that a friend made. (I’m thinking it may go Steampunk, whereas the first one is probably going to be urban fantasy or paranormal. Maybe.)

I don’t have time for this! Just keeping up with my ever-changing work schedule is a full time job. (The joys of agency work – my schedule for this past week changed at least four or five times and it’s already had two changes for next week.)

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I Lost a Week

I know that last weekend we all lost an hour’s sleep, but I seem to have lost an entire week. Somehow I didn’t realize that Monday was Monday until sometime late Tuesday, which is why there was no blog post on the Monday that I forgot was Monday.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind losing this past week.

Between a toilet that needs to be replaced (happening Monday), an ever-changing work schedule (which is looking to be just as much “fun” next week), and an internet that is up for a few seconds, down for several minutes, up for a few seconds, down for several minutes (and an ISP that is staffed by idiots), I am so done.

On the other hand, I kind of can’t wait to see what the coming week brings.

And if I have no internet this weekend I’ll be more productive with writing and editing and crocheting. And with deep cleaning the bathroom.

(Eternal optimist, I am.)

I did a quick re-read of what I have written for Hedge House. Lots of plot holes and things to go back and add to it, and it needs to be finished, but for my first foray into present day urban fantasy/paranormal I think it’s not too too bad. At least, I don’t hate it.

Other than that, I haven’t done much with writing and editing this past week. I have Book One of The Academy of the Accord in my car, along with the binder that will be the concordance, but I need to spread out to work on those and I feel guilty hanging out at Starbuck’s or Panera when they are limiting seating due to Covid and social distancing guidelines, so they’ve just been hanging out in my back seat for the past week.

I’m going to hope that my internet holds long enough to get this posted. It’s been stable for about the last half hour (a new record for the night! thirty minutes vs thirty seconds!)

 

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Buses and Bunnies

Story ideas come from the strangest places.

Today, for instance. I picked up a shift doing a school bus ride-along with the student that I was with last school year (until Covid shut the schools down).  The bus leaves from a different garage this year and has a different driver. I got there early (as I usually do) and settled down to wait.

Fifteen minutes later than we were supposed to leave I asked the dispatcher if I’d missed the driver somehow. (Unlikely since he can’t leave without me.) She said she hadn’t seen him and called him but he didn’t answer the radio which she thought was odd, so she called his cell phone, with hers on speaker.

He said that since he only had one student today he wasn’t leaving until 7:15. The dispatcher said okay, that she hadn’t known he only had one student, and that the nurse was asking and he got snarky and said “I’m tired of these damned nurses.” She ended the call, looked at me, and said, “He’s a grumpy butt today.” (At this point I already had a somewhat more colorful description in mind…)

As I was leaving at the end of the day I said to him (in the sweetest, most pleasant voice imaginable – a clear danger sign to anyone who knows me – ) “This ‘damned nurse’ will see you next Friday.”

And now I want to write a story using the “damned nurse” scenario.

Because, you know, I don’t have enough plot bunnies…

And now my internet is being wonky again (it rained last night but was sunny all day today) so there might be another bunny brewing between a phone repair person and customer. Or maybe not – this internet cutting out and coming back multiple times during/after rain is getting old.

But I have bigger problems than either of those to deal with so I’m off to research toilets. (And I hope no plot bunny hops out of one.)

 

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Just Another Manic Monday…

Add “Wheelchair Repair” to my list of credentials. This morning we picked up N, the student that I’m on the bus with, and were bouncing along a back road on our way to pick up a second boy for a trip to school.

We hit a bump, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, looked over, and N had disappeared. At first I thought the back of his wheelchair had reclined all the way, but he was holding onto the bar across the top and a second look showed that the entire backrest had come off, with my patient still strapped to it.

Me: “Bob, we have a problem.”

Bob: looks in rearview mirror and pulls off the road and comes around to the back doors of the van

Bob: I don’t know how to fix this.

Me: Me either but we’ll figure it out.

We got it put back on, and Bob stepped down from the back of the van, got his jacket caught on the inside door handle, and nearly fell.

Me: Are you all right?!
Me, silently: “Please don’t make me have to drive the van too!”

Bob: I’m okay.

We started off on our way and a couple miles later…

Me: Bob, we have a problem.

Yep, it came off again. This time we inserted some pins into holes. We’re not sure they were supposed to go in the holes, but they were hanging there, and they fit, and they seemed like they were maybe supposed to hold the backrest in place. At any rate, we made it to the school without any further incident.

Just another day in the life of your friendly neighborhood Writer/Pagan/Witch/Nurse.

I did some crocheting this afternoon and I think I’m about ready to dive back into editing and writing, probably tomorrow. (I have a very early wake up tomorrow so won’t have time to get into it much tonight.)

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Glad That’s Over!

Today was my last day of the school nursing assignment that’s been stressing me out to near anxiety-attack levels and I am so glad to be done with it. What started out as a cold snowy grey morning turned into a bright sunny afternoon; it feels like the world is celebrating with me.

I’ve pretty much taken the last week off from doing much with any sort of writing or editing but I’m hoping to get back to one or both this weekend. (Come to think of it, I haven’t done much of anything at all this past week. Except cough. I’ve done a lot of that.)

Anyhow, one of the things I need to do this weekend is work on an entry for the QSF (Queer Sci Fi) flash fiction contest. I have a couple ideas kicking around in my head and I’m pretty sure I’ve decided which one I’m going with, but the problem is the 300 word limit. (And names. I need character names.)

It’s also going to be a little warmer this weekend than it has the last couple days so there may be some yard work in my future, clearing away some winter debris and getting ready for spring. (I have crocuses starting to bloom, so spring is on the way. Plus I saw a flock of seagulls on the Allegheny River this past week, and a couple early robins in yards in Pittsburgh.) The back yard is still a slippery mucky mess, though, so I’m trying to figure out how to put cleats on my Crocs.

I did get some crocheting done the last day or two. I gave up on the waffle stitch scarf; I had two different charts for it and neither one looked like a waffle when I did it, so I’ve switched to a V-stitch infinity scarf. It’s working up pretty quickly so I might get it done this weekend. (And it’s easy enough that I can take it on the bus with me during the week so maybe by the end of this month or next I can get caught up on my goal of one scarf a week. Then I can get to work on my goal of one prayer shawl a month.)

(How can I be so far behind when it’s only March? Procrastination.)

I have a long “To Do” list for tonight, so I’d better get To Doing.

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T.G.I.F.

(Someday that “F” is going to stand for “Finished” but for now we’ll settle for “Friday.”

Only one more Friday in Bedlam. People who work with special needs kids do not ever get enough credit. Or money. I know I couldn’t do it long term, or even for a five day week.

Still plodding along with The Academy of the Accord. Only two more books to get ready to print. (I’m not counting the prequel as it’s nowhere near done.)

The last book I worked on had chapter breaks… Starting on page 70. Yeah, no. I added a few before there. Probably a few too many but I’ll sort that out in edits.

Some of the books were printed ages ago (I knew that) and have paperclips marking their chapters, as well as margin notes and post-its (I’d forgotten about that). I suppose I should probably go through them before I print them again.

Then I got a bright idea to change something in the last book. It’s not going to affect the outcome at all, but it will affect large parts of text and will make me have to work in a new subplot.

Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be able to start a solid round of edits and bible-building.

(Yes, I know it’s only the end of February. But there’s an overwhelmingly long road ahead of me…)

So, anyhow, it’s supposed to rain this weekend so my plans are to curl up with a bad draft of a good book or two, drown myself in tea, and see if I can get ready to start the comparisons with what was printed earlier by the end of the weekend.

And blog hop and set up my weekly posts for the next month.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Chapters

And the lack thereof.

So I finally finished the latest untangling of the middle books of the Academy of the Accord series, and thought I was finally in for some smooth sailing to get the rest of them ready to be printed.

I was wrong.

When I write, I put in chapter breaks. (Usually labeled “Chapter Break” because I lose count. I put the numbers in when I do the first round of paper edits.)

When I get a manuscript ready to print for editing, I have each chapter start on a new page. (It’s just how my mind works at organizing things.)

So, I opened the next book and did a Ctrl F to find the word “Chapter” and Ctrl F said “Word not found.” And I said “What the F?” and tried again in case I’d mistyped it.

Nope.

There are no chapters.

And I said “F” a lot. (Without “Ctrl”)

How?

How could I have written this whole novel and never put in chapter breaks?

And how could I have read through it multiple times and never noticed that I didn’t put in chapter breaks?

At any rate, I decided it could wait until tonight, but work left me with a migraine so now it’s waiting until tomorrow so I’m not tempted to delete the whole thing. (Kudos to teachers and support staff who deal with a roomful of special needs students five days a week for nine or more months of the year. You all are a special breed of human who deserve a whole lot more money and recognition than you’ll ever get.)

But at least I got the most problem-filled book printed after work tonight so it’s ready to be attacked with paper clips, post it notes, highlighters, colored pens, margin notes, etc.

I should probably start on that fairly soon, while the memory of what I was trying to accomplish with that mess is still semi-fresh. (There is likely to be more swearing in my near future.)

But tomorrow I have to go try to help my mother recover and reset all the passwords that she lost because despite my best efforts to orient her to the truth she is under the delusion that I am some sort of computer guru.

(Some computer guru. I have a Word doc that is “Read Only” and I know I didn’t do that (at least, not on purpose) and have no idea how to fix it. *sigh*)

Anyhow, I hope everyone has a great weekend.

 

 

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I Finished It!

Really short post tonight because today totally got away from me and it’s already 9:00pm and I have to get up at 5:00 to get ready for work, just in case school isn’t delayed or cancelled. (Lots of places around us are already announcing a two hour delay but I swear this school district is allergic to calling it until the last possible moment.)

So, what have I done today?

Well, I shoveled snow and salted the sidewalk. Made a pot of chili. Mixed birdseed and filled the feeder. Played doorwoman for the dogs.

And, for the most exciting thing: I finally finished the paragraph by paragraph fixing of the spacing issue in the Academy of the Accord novel I’ve been swearing at for most of the month. Please cross your fingers, toes, eyes, and any other movable body parts that the remaining books aren’t like that because I’m beginning to think that it would be easier to just retype it than go through all of that again.

It seems that I’m following my heart this year – or at least at the present time – and working on the Academy of the Accord series.

I have a lot of stuff that is so much closer to being finished that I should be working on, but this is currently consuming me, despite trying to find a balance, so I’ve decided to just roll with it. I only have four more books to read through, then I can get them printed (one or two each pay) and start on the concordance.

(And if ever there was a series that needs a concordance, this is it!)

(Five books. Just realized I forgot about the prequel.)

So, anyhow, that’s been my day today. Well, that and a change in my work schedule that will result in an extra hour of pay and one hour less of commute.

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Night Shift

In a moment of insanity I agreed to work a night shift tonight, and, as usual, as the time to work it draws nearer I am regretting my decision. (Although I do have to admit that it was kind of worth it just to hear the confusion in the voice of the person from my agency who called to ask if I’d pick it up as the client had requested me. It was quite obvious that she had expected me to say no and she was kind of fumbling for a response when I said yes.)

Anyhow, it’s an easy assignment; most of my work is done by midnight at the latest and then there’s basically nothing to do (except check on the residents a time or two) until 6:00 in the morning.

Which begs the question: what should I take along with me tonight to work on to stay awake?

I can’t take counted cross stitch because the lighting in the nurse’s office sucks. (I’ve tried before; it just doesn’t work.)

I could maybe take yarn and a crochet hook and make a scarf, especially since I’m behind on that goal.

I should take something to edit but I don’t feel like lugging my laptop along and working on Onyx Sun and I don’t think I have any current print outs of The Academy of the Accord to swear, cry, and pull my hair out over.

Maybe I could take a note book and work on the outline of Song and Shadow? That won’t take all night, though. At least, not in a solid stream of working on it. (I tend to do outlines in fits and starts: write some stuff up, let it sit for a while, ask/answer some more questions about the story, add to the outline, repeat… And it’s even worse for this book because it’s started, and I know pretty much how it ends, but it’s getting from one point to the other that is giving me problems.)

Part of me wants to take my portable DVD player and the complete series of Fraggle Rock DVDs that I got for my birthday and have a Fraggle Rock night.

But on the other hand, I should do something productive…

*sigh*

In brighter(ish) news, I’m still chugging through fixing the spacing in that Academy of the Accord book, paragraph by paragraph. And I have another book ready to print for editing. (And might get another one ready before I go to work tonight. The Word doc is open and ready to work on at any rate.)

But I really just want to go to bed.

 

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Almost Gone

January, that is. But where? I can’t even figure out where today has gone, let alone this whole month. I could have sworn the year just changed a week or two ago.

I’m slowly getting used to my new day job assignment. I don’t seem to be quite so tired at the end of the day, at any rate. (Seriously. Who knew that riding a bus for seven to eight hours a day would be so tiring that all I want to do is sleep?) Of course, there were two days this past week where I didn’t work, so I don’t know if it really counts as getting used to it or not. One day was because the school district closed due to weather, and the other was the student being kept home.

I got my car inspected today, then got my second dose of the Covid vaccine, so those are both out of the way. And outside of a doing a load of laundry and taking a bag of garbage down from my room I haven’t done much of anything else.

Except read.

I’m working my way through re-reading the Academy of the Accord series so I read Book Four today, and so far it’s coming in as one of my favorites, although the ending totally sucks and needs to be completely redone. (Endings are a major weak point in my writing, but this one is especially bad and lazy. I really need to “read as a writer” and note how other writers wrap up their books.)

Yes, I know I’m supposed to be writing the prequel to Song and Sword, and I am still plugging away at it, but it’s not what’s calling to my heart right now.

And I’m also still poking at edits for Onyx Sun, and the rearrangement of my computer hutch is making that project much easier, so there is light at the end of that tunnel, although I’m afraid that my self-imposed deadline for it is going to go swooshing by. (Kind of like my To Do list that I just keep changing the date on.)

The Academy of the Accord, even with the amount of overwhelm and frustration I feel about it sometimes, is truly my heart project. I just sometimes despair of ever getting it finished and edited and free of continuity errors. (Especially that last one!)

Then there’s going to be the issue of finding a beta reader (or readers) for a 13 book series plus a prequel.

And coming up with titles for all of them. (Naming things is hard.)

And blurbs. Fourteen blurbs.

But one thing at a time. I have to finish writing a couple of them, and edit all of them, but I’ll get there. Eventually.

I just need to find a balance between the big picture and a narrow focus, and to a creative mind that frequently goes in several dozen directions at once – and multi-tasks in all of them – that is easier said than done.

 

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