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.

Spring Break 2022–CoronaLife Day 768

So it’s been a fairly productive spring break, all things considered.

I am close to solving a genealogical mystery (or reaching a total dead end).

I am nearing completion of a document about a family Bible my husband’s family has. I will then post it on ancestry sites so others in the family can access it.

I am going to finish the first pass of the edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone.

My co-author Jeff Pero sent me his suggested edits a few weeks ago. I was finishing up my genealogy book, so had to put off looking at it until this week. I imported his Open Office Document, and first Word said it was corrupt and couldn’t open it. Then it said if I trusted the sender, it would open it and see what we got. So I did. All of Jeff’s comments were there, but all his Track Changes were not. Sigh.

First I went through and read/addressed the comments Once that document was “clean”, I opened the original file I had sent to him. Then I merged the two into a new file that would show the differences between them, essentially replicating the Track Changes.

I’ve been working through them, and should finish tomorrow. Then I want to read through it myself, and see if there is anything I would like to polish, since it has been some years since I looked at it properly, and I have learned more about writing since then. I know we need to work on the first chapter, but I have a few ideas to talk over with Jeff.

The rest of the book we are happy with, so once we get that first chapter to where we are satisfied, we’ll move ahead toward publishing. Not sure yet if we want to try for an agent (again) or just move on to self-publishing. We shall see.

So, are you on Spring Break? And if so, what have you been up to?

A Willy-Nilly Week–CoronaLife Day 761

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m doing a little bit of everything. Makes it hard to focus.

Attended a Township meeting.

Visited the library.

Went grocery shopping.

Got my daughter a new passport.

Was close-contact exposed to Covid.

And I still have a ton of things to do.

Why do my to-do lists never seem to get smaller?

I did manage to approve the online proof of the public version my genealogy book. I ordered a printed copy, and if that looks okay, the book will be available May 1st.

Next week should be quieter (spring break), and my intent is to get through the edits of Pharaoh’s Stone my co-author sent me.

Hopefully I won’t have Covid!

What have you accomplished this week?

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