The Return–CoronaLife Day 852

My daughter used to do ninja warrior/parkour classes. She stopped in about 3rd grade. But lately, she’s been wanting to try it again, so we went back this week.

She had a great time, wants to go back again.

One of the reasons she stopped was because she kept comparing herself to other kids who were better than her. Kids who were at the gym for hours literally every day, practicing, while she was there 2xs a week. Kids who were on the competitive team.

She was too young to understand that a) there’s almost always someone better than you at everything in life, and b) this was about having fun, not competing, so the only judging she should be doing is if she enjoyed it.

Now she’s heading into 7th grade, and I think she’s finally learning that not everything in life is a competition, and she can do things just because she finds it fun.

I can learn some lessons from her as a writer, because the pandemic killed my creativity, and my writing ground almost to a halt.

I am slowly coming back to it, and I have to remember to enjoy it, and stop comparing myself to other writers. I am not them. They might have been able to write 8 books and get them all published during Covid, but I couldn’t. I spent much of the pandemic struggling with out of control anxiety, where I was lucky to simply accomplish the necessities of life each day.

I can also learn from my daughter because she is not in the same physical shape she was in when she was in 3rd grade. She was actually really good when she was younger. But pre-teen couch potato syndrome has set in (compounded by the pandemic isolation). So she has to build herself back up to it.

I, too, need to build my writing muscles back up. My concentration is not what it was. Just a few hours of work is exhausting. It’s mentally taxing to create! So like my daughter, I need to work back up to my old level.

I’ve just completed the final edits to my middle grade historical adventure, The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. My co-author and I will now decide whether to make one more attempt at traditional publishing, or go with self-publishing.

And so the return begins.

Summer Sluggishness–CoronaLife Day 845

I always feel like summer is a time to kick back and relax. A lazy languor takes hold and I don’t feel like doing much.

That feeling must be a holdover from childhood, because the reality of adulthood is that nothing is slower in the summer. If you have younger kids that need entertaining, it can actually be more hectic than school time!

I do get more sleep in the summer, because I can sleep later now that I don’t have to get up when my daughter does. And being self-employed, my boss is very flexible with my hours.

We had Covid in the house the past few weeks, as my husband had it. While that did require juggling to keep him quarantined, my daughter and I did not get it from him.

It’s funny how much a disruption in routine can knock you sideways. As someone with anxiety disorder, I do best with routines. Because once my anxiety starts to inch up, things fall apart. And with the state of the world lately, my anxiety is always simmering very close to spillover.

But things at home are back to normal now, and I am starting to regain my footing.

Now I just have to convince my adult brain that summer is not, in fact, a vacation.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times—CoronaLife Day 831

Sunday was a bit of an up-and-down day.

I have a drawing I did myself of the group The Monkees. Over the years, I got three of them to sign it. The final Monkee was almost impossible to get, but then one of my best friends got backstage passes to meet him, and offered to take my picture and get him to sign it. So I FedExed it across the country and she got it for me!

I got the drawing back home safely (her mom personally brought it home when she visited). I scanned it for safety’s sake, and then put it away somewhere secure.  So secure, that when I next went to look for it, I could not find it. I was heartbroken. So I have been searching for it off and on literally for YEARS. No luck.

I found it on Sunday.

I wasn’t even looking for it. I was cleaning up my office and going through a stack of stuff, and found a padded FedEx envelope and looked inside. AND THERE IT WAS!

I admit to some tears. I was so, so happy. And I promptly told my husband and child where it was in case I forgot again.

So Sunday was a good day.

Sunday was also the day my husband returned home from a trip. That was good, obviously. However, he was not feeling well. On Monday the COVID test came back positive.

We scrambled to take precautions as recommended by the doctors. I moved downstairs, he tried to stay in our room as much as he could, and we all masked when he couldn’t and tried to stay out of the same room. I also opened the windows on the lower floor to get fresh air circulating.

As of this writing, my daughter (who had it in January) and I have no symptoms, and my husband is feeling better.

Please be careful out there, people. My husband is the 5th person I know who traveled and ended up with COVID. Two got it days after returning home, and two others got it on their vacation and were stuck an extra week overseas because they could not fly home, incurring a week’s worth of expenses they had not counted on and missing work they had not intended to miss.

The virus is still very active, still mutating, still spreading, still killing people—which is why my blog posts still carry the CoronaLife Day tally.

Here’s hoping my daughter and I stay clear of the virus! Stay safe, everyone!

Last Week of School—CoronaLife Day 824

It’s the last week of school! The last week of school! Come Friday my daughter will be on summer break.

I have no idea why I am excited about this.

It must be a holdover from childhood, because having her home 24/7 actually makes more work for me. Mostly in the form of trying to pry her from the screen and get some exercise. She is in the “pre-teen lump on sofa” phase of development.

The good news is that I can return to my more comfortable night-owl sleep schedule. My daughter does not need me to get up with her, so I can sleep in. Which hopefully will result in closer to 8 hours of sleep than the 6 I routinely get now.

While summer is often the time for vacations, we have no long trips planned, but may take day trips from time to time. And my daughter has an animation camp in August, which will involve plenty of driving for me, as it is about half an hour away.

But overall, it should be a fairly relaxed summer.

We are in need of some relaxation, because the return to school this year was fraught. Covid was (is) still not under control in our area, so it was a constant worry, particularly since my daughter could not be vaccinated until November. The Omicron spike was terrible here, and lots of kids and teachers were out of school. My daughter caught it in January. We all caught the flu in May. My daughter was a trooper through it all, getting straight As all year. Still, we will be glad to have some quiet, non-people-y time. Hopefully the latest mini-surge we are seeing in our area will subside with the cessation of school and things will be more normal.

One goal I have for this summer is to get my daughter to make more of her meals and do more around the house. At her age, she needs to be more independent–and I’m rather tired of feeling like a maid. So that’s a summer project.

Looking forward to a (mostly) slow and lazy summer!

Do you have summer plans?

Breaking the Time Loop–CoronaLife Day 817

I don’t know about you, but ever since the pandemic started, I have felt a stifling sameness. In the beginning, isolation gave every day the feeling of a life on repeat.

Even as things have opened up, I have not felt much relief. In spite of more activity, more interaction, this pandemic’s stubborn refusal to end has lent a sense of frozen eternity to my days.

Today, for the first time, I experienced time lurching forward again. A glimpse of a future free of this disease. All thanks to some 4 and 5 year olds.

I had the pleasure of attending our school’s first-ever Pre-K Step Up to Kindergarten ceremony. The children’s young innocence was a breath of hope. They embodied the limitless possibilities of the future, a future they will help shape.

They do not remember a life before the pandemic, but their faces radiated excitement, joy, and pride. There was no fear. This world is their world, and they will have the tools to navigate it and make it better.

For now, they are looking forward to summer adventures and making new friends in Kindergarten. But I look at them and see a future of unimaginable promise.

With them, time has started moving again.

BOGO Book Fair–CoronaLife Day 810

Normally, our school librarian throws a Summer Reading Send Off, where kids come into the library, borrow books for the summer, and get some ice cream. It is a TON of work, but our librarian goes above and beyond to foster love of reading.

This year, we had the opportunity to do a THIRD book fair, at the end of the year. So we jumped at the chance, to get books into kids’ hands for the summer that they could keep. It was easier for the librarian, and it allowed her to take a much more accurate inventory over the summer.

This third book fair has a twist, though. It is a BOGO, buy one get one free. Which means the kids get twice the books for their money. The book fair was smaller than the others, but the selection was good. The only drawback is that we cannot reorder books we sell out of to restock. However, there is an online component, so parents can order any book they really wanted from there.

The excitement from the kids for this book fair has been tremendous! I’m not sure if it’s the BOGO aspect, or just end of year enthusiasm, but books are flying off the shelf. Thursday is the last day of the fair, and we should just make it, inventory-wise.

I love that our school encourages and supports reading so much. I love the enthusiasm of our librarian, and of the PTA volunteers who run the fairs. And I LOVE the kids’ faces as they buy their books, with huge smiles and shining eyes.

Happy reading!

May’s End—CoronaLife Day 803

It’s funny how getting out of your usual schedule can mess you up so badly. First thing was that the flu hit our house over the past two weeks. My daughter got sick, so I took her to the doctor. Never thought about flu this late in the season, but her doctor said they had been seeing a lot of flu in the kids, so tested her for strep, flu, and Covid. Flu came back positive.

I caught it several days later, and my husband followed the next week. This is my first time in my life having the flu, and I was not a fan! Since we all had the flu shot this year, none of us got terribly sick, but it was enough for me. I am not a good patient, I get frustrated with being ill, especially when I am just sick enough to be out of commission but not so sick that I really don’t care about anything.

So after recovering from that (I’m still rebuilding my exercise regimen), I dove into playing catch-up with everything I had missed. It’s exactly like returning to work after a vacation, except I did not at all enjoy my time away!

I am happy to be back on my feet now, though, as our third and final Book Fair of the year starts today! I’ll be helping to set up today, and the kids will start coming through on Tuesday, after the holiday.

It’s hard to believe that June is on the horizon, and school will be ending in a few weeks. The end-of-year craziness is upon us, with many events and wrap-ups to take care of in the coming days. I do look forward to being able to sleep in once school is done. My child is old enough now that I do not need to get up when she does, so maybe I will finally get more than 6 hours of sleep a night.

So how are you wrapping up May?

The Merry Month of May–CoronaLife Day 789

Last week, I was in the middle of several projects.

My genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors is now available in both paperback and hardback! The cover thumbnail is still not showing up, but I have been informed that it can take up to 6 weeks for everything to show up on the retail sites properly.

I realized I had been procrastinating on editing The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone because I was reluctant to make the edits in the chapter I was facing. But I finally pushed through that chapter and the rest was easy. So I finished that and sent them off to my co-author.

It’s been a busy week for me, with multiple school-related meetings to prepare for and attend. I have also been deep into a genealogical puzzle helping someone locate their biological family.

It’s hard to believe that in just a few days we will be halfway through May. The end of the school year is always weird. Days can seem long, but the weeks often seem quick. It is a strangely “bumpy” feeling this time of year.

Bumpy or not, the weather is finally feeling like spring!

Onward!

At the Halfway Point—CoronaLife Day 782

You know the old saying, “She doesn’t do things by halves?” Well, apparently I do…at least this week.

I am halfway through my edits of The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. I’m moving pretty fast because this is a polish of a manuscript that has been edited multiple times. A tweak here and there, but nothing major.

The first chapter had more issues, as will another later chapter, but even those are relatively straightforward. Hopefully I will send it to my co-author early next week to settle on the final form.

Then we will decide if we want to try the traditional route again, or go straight to self-publishing. We have submitted earlier versions of this book to agents before, but not this version. The last time we tried was several years ago, and it’s a much different world now.

My other half-accomplishment has been the  public release of my mother’s genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. The paperback version is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, if you search by title on their websites. I am hoping that after a few more days it will pop up on Google searches or under my author name. At the moment neither listing has the cover, either. So I will check back on that in a few days.

The hardback version of the book is not out to the public yet. I am having technical difficulties with the distribution. The algorithm is flagging it as a duplicate title, rather than a different version (paperback vs. hardback) of the same book. I have never had that issue before. The other issue is that I want it to be US distribution only, but it is insisting on being worldwide (which I do not want to pay for). I have also never had that issue before. I am working with their tech support, so things should be resolved soon.

My projects are halfway done. Hopefully by next week both of these will be complete and I will be on to something new!

April 2022 Wrap Up–CoronaLife Day 775

Spring Break is over, and we are back to the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that means moving forward with a few writing projects.

I finished going through my co-author’s edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. It wasn’t hard, since I agreed with virtually all of them. Now I am doing a read-through, to see if there’s anything I see that needs polishing. After that, I will make my suggestions for the first chapter, and we will make final decisions on that.

I am also eagerly awaiting the print copy of the public version of my genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. It was mailed this weekend, so I expect it any day. Once I make sure it looks good, I will open it to distribution channels. My proposed On Sale date was always May 1st, so it seems it will be right on time.

With April coming to an end, several of my projects are also coming to the end of their current phases. But as with every ending, there are also new beginnings, and the progress continues.

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