Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventy-three (AKA Wait, it’s September?)

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Time sense: Somewhat confused.

Well, it’s not all that surprising, considering that 1) it’s a three day weekend of which, 2) I worked one day. Which is why I’m not sure if today is Saturday or Sunday, gut-wise.

It doesn’t help that the weather is fluctuating again, which is not doing my allergies any help whatsoever. I take Claritin in the morning and Chlor-Trimeton at night, and my nose is still running like a tap and various joints are sore as hell. I was planning on taking it easy today, but the cats still need to be fed, laundry still needs to be done, and food still needs to be procured.

On the plus side, I did finally put together a sterling spoon pendant (frigging thing was fighting me all the way) and that’s in the tumbler now so I feel like I achieved something today. With regards to writing, we’re watching Carnival Row and for some reason it keeps prompting scenes from books in the Pacifica Rising series, don’t ask me why. My brain is a weird place.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventy-two (AKA Yep, Definitely In Perimenopause) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Energy level: Improving.

The Shark-Week-That-Wasn’t-A-Shark-Week gave up the ghost after two days, so I decided screw it and started to use the progesterone cream again, which means the retained water is coming off nicely and, um, how to put this politely, my GI tract is working overtime. So healthwise everything seems to be good.

I finished my first day back at a contract job feeling like I have a good handle on everything, and as I suspected I slept like a log last night and didn’t have any anxiety dreams, which was fabulous. I will be working tomorrow to make up for the holiday on Monday, but that’s cool — it means I’ll get a nice paycheck for August that, combined with what I have in the bank and what Ramón should be getting from his former employer as a last paycheck, will cover the mortgage, our two non-utilities bills, and leave enough left over to eat on for September. His unemployment should kick in soon, which will help even more, and then I will be getting a rather chunky paycheck for all the ten hour days I’ll be working in September. If Ramón manages to get a job within the next two weeks (and recruiters keep contacting him, but I had to remind him that this is a holiday weekend and everything probably bogged off after lunch so that’s why he’s not hearing anything today) things will definitely be looking up.

Writing-wise, didn’t do bubkes for the last couple of days, which is understandable, but I hope to get back to it this weekend and knock out some serious wordage. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventy-one (AKA Looking Forward To The Holiday Weekend) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 0 minutes.
Mood: Exhausted.

Yeah, I bailed today, and I’m sorry about that. The anxiety dreams and my natural sleep cycle mean that I’ve been getting maybe five hours of sleep a night and to be honest I’m fricking exhausted.

But that will all change because I found out what the schedule is like for September and what I’ll be expected to deliver, and it’s all well within my wheelhouse. I figure I should sleep well tonight and pop up tomorrow bright and early and ready to finish the current module.

In the meantime, I did slope off to the local Mediterranean buffet place because I was starving and didn’t have the energy to cook, so at least I ate healthily? Relatively healthily? I mean, cauliflower was in there, as was roasted chicken and other veggies and lentils. Okay, I had some baklava for dessert, don’t @ me.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventy (AKA They LIKE Me, They Really Really LIKE Me) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Celebratory.

When I start doing something again after a fair amount of time away from it, there’s always a ramp-up period where I worry about my skill set. During that period I have no idea whether or not I can still make the magic and deliver the goods, and I can be a little — fraught. Yes, let’s call it fraught.

All of this is to say I’ve been a bit wobbly these last two days as I put together the client’s first training module. I took a little longer than usual to finish it because I wanted it to be as clean as possible for a first draft and show that I was the right choice to hire as an instructional designer (because anal-retentive, c’est moi). So I turned the module in this afternoon and held my breath. An hour later I got word that they’re really pleased with it and I just need to make some stylistic changes and tweak some things (which I knew was going to happen — I need to learn their in-house style and this is the best way to do it).

So if you heard a whoosh of air coming from the clavicle of Texas, that was me releasing a large sigh of relief. In fact, I told Ramón that I’m sweeping him off to Dimassi’s for a lovely Mediterranean buffet dinner in celebration that I’m still Da Woman when it comes to technical documentation.

Well, that and it means I don’t have to cook.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-nine (AKA Hur Hur) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Extremely pleased and slightly scared.

So the nice person who runs the consulting company that I work for called me today to find out if I wanted another twenty hours per week for the next seven weeks, as it was work associated with the project I was doing the modules for and the client agreed that it would be best to have one person as point for all of it.

I gulped and said yes because I’m working from home which makes this sort of thing much easier (and it means that we will be extremely comfortable in September). That also means that I will be pulling fifty hour weeks from next week through the end of September, plus forty hours in October. I’m going to try to schedule writing time every weekday as well as on the weekends, but my brain might be pudding by the time October rolls around.

Oh, and ten minutes after I got that call Ramón strolled in and said that he had a line on four different contract jobs, all of which involved stuff he’s been doing for the past three years. Oh, and they all paid handsomely. If he can get one of those jobs and work for three weeks in September, what he’ll get paid for that plus what I’ll be making on this project will allow us to clear off my car loan and another loan and throw a large chunk of green at our credit cards. At which point we buckle down for the rest of 2019 and do our best to zero out both credit card balances. Please keep all available extremities crossed that this happens because if it does, man, it would make a huge difference in our finances.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-eight (AKA Welp, That Was A Monday) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Warily pleased. Yeah, let’s call it that.

The contract job started in earnest today and I spent much of the day learning the new instructional design app (I used Captivate years ago at the Telecoms Company so learning a new one is mainly a matter of figuring out where various commands are) and getting to grips with my client’s template.

I have to admit, making training modules is kinda fun so I really enjoy that part, but I’ll be happier when I complete my learning curve and can make this app do cartwheels. To that end, I’ve ordered an instructional manual that will help me figure out all the ins and outs (I did this when I had to learn how to use Zen Cart for another client and it was a lifesaver).

In other news, I had to take a couple of hours off in the afternoon to go visit the doctor and reassure them that my blood pressure medicine is not killing me so that they would continue to refill it. I got to talk to the cool Stevie Nicks-esque physician’s assistant and got a pleasant burst of egoboo when her eyebrows went up as she clocked the difference in weight between now and May. She congratulated me, told me to keep on doing what I was doing, then checked all my vitals and pronounced me Not About To Die so I’ve got that going for me. We were also talking about the incipient knee replacement and I told her about the Voltarol cream that we brought back from England (it’s an NSAID that’s prescription-only here). She told me not to dole it out, to use it regularly (because it’s better to use a cream that doesn’t have to hit your digestive system on the way to the painful area) and she’d write me a prescription for the US brand when I run out. Now that’s my kind of medical professional.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-seven (AKA Is That Cooler Weather Ahead?) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Tired already and I still have so much stuff to do.

We had an honest-to-God deluge here yesterday, which was great on the one hand because it brought the temps down nicely and watered everything.

On the other hand, it encourages everything green to put out more pollen/mold/whatever, and today I woke up with my eyes gummed shut and having to blow my nose repeatedly every time I went outside (and this is after taking Claritin and Flonase). Plus the temps went back up, and tomorrow we’re supposed to have the last three-digit day of the year before temps start to drop back into reasonable levels for the clavicle of Texas.

Which makes me happy, because hopefully it will cut down on all the allergens out there, plus it’ll be cooler when I work in the garage at night (Ramón keeps saying he has no idea how I’ve managed to work in the garage all summer. I keep reminding him that I do it late at night with a box fan blowing directly on me, and even then I’m still drenched in sweat and in need of hydration and a shower when I come back inside. And yes, I know this isn’t healthy. We’re looking into ways to heat/cool the garage so that I can work in there anytime, but that requires money and we need to keep a very close eye on ours for the meantime.)

On the plus side, we’re going to have a lovely pork roast with cauliflower mash and oven-roasted sprouts for dinner tonight, which means lots of leftovers, yay, and I’m going to do my best to polish off “Swan Mother and the Sea Wife: tonight so that I can get it into my writing group for critique.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-six (AKA I Love Recycling Jewelry) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Situation: Sweaty and in desperate need of a shower.

As you know, Bob, my friend C was kind enough to send me some pieces of vintage jewelry, along with a really nice sterling silver spoon and fork. I sawed off the shell on the bottom of the spoon bowl and turned that into a finding, put the rest of the bowl into scrap, then started looking at the remaining handle section.

It’s basically a fluted piece of silver that curves outwards at both ends to incorporate some pretty bas relief designs. A lot of jewelry designers round off the end formerly attached to the spoon bowl, curve the handle around a ring mandrel in a spiral and turn the result into an adjustable spoon ring, which can be very pretty. But I decided I wanted to see if I could get a bit more elaborate with my “spoon” ring because hey, sleep is for the weak and I had a creative bug in my ear.

First, I wound up sawing off the elaborately shelled and scalloped tip (gonna turn that into a pendant, I think) and curved the remaining handle around a ring mandrel until it was almost a complete circle. Then I filed down the tops so that they would sit flush against a back plate.

Next, I had to figure out what I was going to set in this ring. I had a pretty blue tiger’s eye cabochon that I was originally going to use, but after making the back plate and twisted wire surround I decided that the cab didn’t work with the design (it was just too high, and I could image people banging it against stuff accidentally and chipping the cab).

Luckily, I had bought a bunch of lovely purple dyed impression jasper slabs and some diamond bores after seeing someone on Facebook drill out perfect circles from blue willow china plates and turn them into jewelry. I picked the bore that was closest in size to the setting, carefully drilled out a circle of impression jasper, sawed it in half depth-wise (easier than it sounds with a padded ring holder) so that it would rise just slightly over the bezel wall, lapped a very shallow shoulder for the bezel to grab, and set it in the ring. The sound I made when it was in could only be heard by dogs and dolphins, but what can I say — I was happy.

The finished ring, shown in the pictures above, is a US size 7.25 and has a twisted wire surround and an asymmetrical shank that I oxidized to show off the detail. I’m calling it Empress because it looks like something a Roman empress would wear, and I’ll be taking sales photos tomorrow. And I cannot tell you how much I love doing stuff like this — whoever buys this ring is going to have a chunk of history on her finger.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-five (AKA Back In The Swing Of Things) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Looking forward to the weekend.

Going back to work as a contract tech writer is bringing a whole bunch of new experiences with it, like Windows 10 and all the joy that comes with that particular operating system, and learning things like Webex (video conferencing tool). Now I like Webex because it means I didn’t have to go downtown today to have a meeting with the designers I’m working with (they were surprised that I turned on video). Windows 10, not so much. But we shall perservere because that is how we roll in the shire.

On the writing front I got about a thousand words in on Growl and about 500 on one of those SF short stories I’m doing, which is happy-making. I also got a package of jewelry from a friend of mine who inherited various pieces from her great-grandmother (great-gran was a pistol and a half, from what C was saying) and I’m happily going through it and planning how to clean two pieces for sale, repair two pieces for C, and figure out what I’m going to do with the cool sterling silver spoon and fork she sent me. Since they’re not in a shape where a replacement company would buy them, she told me to go crazy and do something interesting with them. And I think I may well take the concept of “spoon ring” one step further, tra la.

New Merch in the Teespring Store

So there’s a bit of a foofaraw going on in Romancelandia about a certain individual calling romance writers “literature’s prostitutes.” Needless to say, there was an immediate call for this on a t-shirt because that’s how romance writers roll, so these are my entries (currently available at Teespring — I’ll be doing mugs and stickers as well). I’m also working on a “I’m just here for the ratio” design so keep an eye out for that.