Candlebright

I slept in again this morning–which has been happening alot, which means I am going to have to get used to getting up early again next week because this morning’s COVID test came back negative. It’s finally over. Yesterday I still felt a little worn down and fatigued, but managed to get things done (not much, really; but some laundry and dishes and some reading and so forth–I was afraid to overdo it, even though I felt good; cautious and concerned about a relapse), but now that I can safely confirm that I am out of the woods, it’s time to start easing myself back into my life. I ordered groceries for curbside pick-up this morning, so once I get that text I’ll drive over to pick them up, but…I’m over everything. It is now safe for me to go out in public (wearing a mask, believe me; I know that doesn’t really protect me but other people, but I can’t help but remember that it was when I allowed myself to get more lax with the masking that I got infected. So yes, intellectually I know it’s not helping but emotionally it makes me feel better to do so, so I am going with the emotions over the intellect on this one) again, and it also means I can finally return to work on Monday. Monday is usually my work at home day, but having been out of the office for the last week, I kind of feel like I probably should pop in on Monday and make my presence known again.

Plus, I have to get all the sick time bullshit sorted–and might as well do that on a day when I don’t have clients.

Huzzah? Huzzah indeed.

We finished the second season of Condor last night, which was enjoyable. If you’re into espionage/political thrillers, this is a very good one. Ben Irons (Jeremy’s son) is really good in the lead as Joe Turner, a low-level CIA employee who catches on to something major in the first season and everything goes to shit for him from there–like the book and movies it was based on (the movie was Three Days of the Condor, starring Robert Redford; the book was Six not Three. I watched this as part of my Cynical 70’s Film Festival during the shutdown/work at home times). I have a copy of the book, by Richard Condon, that it in my enormous TBR pile. I’ve wanted to read it (along with The Manchurian Candidate) because these old political thrillers are interesting to me, with their extreme paranoia and evil Communist archetypes. I want to read them not only for their value as political thrillers but as remnants of a past time that could be said to also border on propaganda–painting the Communists, particularly the Soviet Union–as the bad guys. (This is not to say that the Soviet leadership weren’t bad people–some of them most definitely were–but their national interest also opposed to ours, so from their point of view Americans were the bad guys; that whole “no villain sees themselves as a villain” thing we talk about in character workshops and panels.)

It was also incredibly weird and strange resting so much over the last eight days. I have to recognize the fact that part of how I am feeling–the strangeness–is because I am actually no longer tired. I am always tired, apparently; not really sure why that is other than not getting enough sleep or something along those lines, but this morning, after sleeping off and on almost regularly for eight days, I feel rested this morning. Which means I can get all kinds of things done today–slowly easing myself back into my life, as it were–and plan to spend some time with Sandra SG Wong’s riveting In the Dark We Forget, should do some writing and editing, and then there’s of course all the cleaning and filing and organizing that needs to be done. I need to update my bills list, I need to make a new to-do list, I need to reread and revise a story one last time before submitting it to an anthology I want to get it into; and may I add how lovely it is not to have the brain fog this morning? My head is clear, and that feels amazing. My throat still feels a little bit more raw than I would prefer, and now I know that post-nasal drip is sinus related and a Claritin-D will take care of it. Huzzah!

I also don’t feel terribly daunted about getting started digging out from under the piles of everything that gathered while i was sick and foggy and exhausted, either–which is another good sign. I know it sounds weird, but now that I am sixty (sixty-one in less than a month; there’s still time to get a card and buy a gift, you know) I always worry that things aren’t necessarily related to an illness but rather are a permanent change to my life and my body and my brain. Our bodies and brains don’t come with user manuals, after all, so we are best off just getting by the best we can and always have to wonder. I was worried that the brain fog, for example, wasn’t something related to the COVID plague but rather a shift in my head that goes along with my age, you know? My memory has already become a lot more specious and less-specific than it used to be; I no longer remember things that were committed to memory just a few years ago. Admittedly, a lot of it was trivial information that really only came in handy when you’re playing Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit, but damn it, I used to always run the categories and rarely, if ever, lost at Trivial Pursuit and those days are sadly long past me now.

And I also feel relatively certain you’re tired of listening to me whine about being sick–well, you don’t have to worry about reading about that any longer, Constant Reader. I was even taking notes on some thoughts about Mississippi River Mischief yesterday in my journal.

And on that note, I am going to get cleaned up so that when I get the text that my groceries are ready I can head down to the store for curbside pick-up, which will be lovely. Have a wonderful Saturday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow.

Blue Lamp

Friday and day seven. I am sick of being sick, and even more tired of talking about it–I can hear you cheering in the distance, Constant Reader, so my apologies for the tedium of my posts ever since the test came back positive last Friday. But–as a public service–I will mention that the newer strains of the virus last longer; since I continued testing positive more than five days after the initial positive test, it is most likely I have one of the new strains which can last up to ten days. My tenth day will be this coming Monday; our medical compliance officer at work has told me to continue isolating and test again on Monday. But yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had since the first positive test, so I think I may actually be in the home stretch. The fatigue and brain fog didn’t kick in again until after three yesterday, so the morning wasn’t so bad, and of course once it had set in I retired to my chair and drifted in and out of sleep for the rest of the evening while watching more episodes of Condor, which is really a pretty good, and under-appreciated, show; I only became aware of it because Apple TV suggested it to me since we’d watched The Little Drummer Girl.

So those “since you watched you might like” suggestions sometimes actually are good suggestions.

I’m hoping that today won’t be a wash–as I have every morning since this all began–so that I can sort of start making progress again. It feels like I’ve been home isolating for much longer than the week it has actually been, and I feel like I’ve lost the reins of my life somewhat. I have managed to start getting some work around the Lost Apartment taken care of–laundry, dishes, some light cleaning–in bits and pieces and spurts of energy here and there. I am hoping to, at some point today, be able to take stock of where I am and what needs to be done and get moving again on everything. I know I am way behind–this couldn’t have come at a much worse time for me, really–as I have to do the copy edits on the Bouchercon anthology and I’ve got to proof the galleys for A Streetcar Named Murder at some point, at the very leas–and when you add in the fact that it’s almost August–yeah, that deadline for the new Scotty is going to be here before I know it, and then I’ll start freaking out about that deadline before you know it. Time seems to simply slip through my fingers…but as always, that’s really nothing new.

I also have to say I highly approve of this new “curbside pick-up/delivery” option everyone has these days. I am going to pick up my grocery order tomorrow without any contact, which will be lovely, and of course I had Costco delivered over the weekend. Gosh, if I could just end up getting everything delivered or picked-up, this could be completely life changing (and yes, I am well aware these options existed before COVID, but I kind of have always thought that it was–stupidly, I know–more for people who had issues with going inside the store and so forth, and never wanted to interfere with services for those who need them when I am capable of going inside. Well, FUCK that from now on. It’s delivery or curbside pick-up from now on). It frees up time, and if it’s less exhausting for me–going to grocery shop has always worn me out, especially in the brutal heat of a New Orleans summer–then this is definitely the way to go from now on.

And on that note, methinks I am going to go sit in my chair for a moment or two–I just had a bit of a dizzy spell as I was typing, and so I think I also need to eat something. I will check in with you tomorrow, Constant Reader–stay safe and healthy out there.

Reconsider Me

Well, this morning’s test was positive yet again; apparently with the new variants you can test positive for up to ten days. Yay? Jesus. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning–the fatigue and brain fog weren’t as bad yesterday as they had been on previous days, which I thought was a good sign that maybe this was going to be over very soon. And like I said, while I didn’t exactly spring out of bed this morning with a song on my lips and music in my heart, I felt better on rising then I have since this whole thing started. But if things stay true to form–at least how they’ve been since I first tested positive last Friday–in about an hour I’m going to hit the Wall of Fatigue and Fog. I’m trying not to think about how far behind I am getting on everything. Then again, maybe the worst of it is over and I’m sliding down the other side of Recovery Mountain. Who knows?

I managed to make it through a podcast interview with Julie Hennrikus, executive director of Sisters in Crime, last evening, and I don’t think I made too big of a fool of myself. I’m not sure when it’s going to be available to listen to–I won’t listen to it as I despise the sound of my own voice–but when it is, I will certainly be sharing the link everywhere. It was very kind of Julie and Sisters to have me on, and I always love the opportunity to talk about my favorite subjects–ME and writing and books. I babbled on inanely for quite some time–and I think she very kindly let me ramble on for longer than was scheduled–but as I said, ask me about me and I’ll never shut up.

Which is probably why most people never ask, right?

I started reading Sandra SG Wong’s In the Dark We Forget, and I am already hooked, just a few chapters in. The writing is very strong, and the concept of the story, at least as I understand it thus far, is quite intriguing. I did manage to read about fifty pages or so yesterday before nodding off for nearly two hours–the fatigue was strong yesterday–but the fog was lifting a little and not nearly as bad as it has been. We watched some more episodes of Condor last night, and I have to admit I was having trouble following the story–which is, to be fair, quite convoluted, intricate, and complicated–which might have been the fog. I also managed to get some chores done around here, but seriously I am very happy that my head managed to clear for the interview.

Ah, there’s the fog. No fatigue yet, though. I think I can handle the fog without the fatigue–at least the fog doesn’t make me feel like I need to take a nap every half an hour, which is a definite plus.

And there’s the fatigue. I knew it was too good to be true, and I also just realized–how funny–that I started writing this over an hour ago. So I guess I’m not as back to normal as I had thought when I first woke up, am I? LOL. I do often amuse myself with my lack of self-awareness and my ability for self-delusion. I guess I want to get over this quickly and so am ready to grasp any improvement as a sign that it’s finally past. But today I do feel somewhat better than I have since the first positive test last Friday. While I do feel some fatigue, it’s not as extreme as it has been, and the brain fog isn’t nearly as paralyzing as it was before. I guess the real test will be the ability to focus, won’t it?

I was also informed this morning that the new variants will result in positive test results for up to ten days. I guess I have one of the new variants, because we are on day six of this, and tomorrow will be the first full week of it. But I do think the worst has passed now, and it should be all downhill from here. And again–so lucky; this could have been so much worse, thank God for inoculations and so forth. The fatigue is starting to spread now–it’s almost weird how it starts in one place (usually, it starts with the brain fog) and then works its way through the rest of my body.

Christ, I have so much to do. I hope I can keep my focus together to get all of this stuff finished. I guess I can always just do the old “work on a bit until I am tired and then when I am not tired go back to it” system, which has worked before. I’ve also not ever been sick this long in quite some time, if ever. Ugh, stop whining, already and remember how lucky you are: you didn’t need to be hospitalized, fevers were mild and not long-lasting, no stomach upset of any kind, and best of all, no intubation. It’s been, for me, mostly unpleasant and time-consuming, neither of which are ideal. But also cannot be helped–but that resignation always feels like defeat to me for some reason, and I hate that about myself.

I don’t think I’ll ever live long enough to properly self-examine all of my neuroses, hang-ups, and issues. Probably for the best, and on that note, I’ll bring this to a close. Sorry for all the illness updating; hopefully soon we’ll be back to normal around here, Constant Reader–or whatever passes for it. Have a great Thursday!

Two Kinds of Love

I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked this past weekend, which is really not much of a surprise; I always go into weekends thinking I have lots of time to do things and so forth and wind up getting caught up in other things and well, then I don’t get things done that I need to get done and now I am all panicking because I leave for Florida really early Thursday morning and I then get worked up into a state and then…well, I find myself on Tuesday morning without as much done as I needed to get done and trying to keep the panic under control.

I did, however, to read the first chapter of Chlorine at Noir at the Bar Thursday night, so that’s one thing checked off the list. It’ll be nice, I think. It’s uploaded on the iPad and thus ready to go. I have so much to do…I am being interviewed for a podcast when I get home from work tonight, so I hope my client is on time so I can get home in time for it at five.

I slept very well last night–we’re still watching Condor on Epix, and are enjoying it; not sure why it hasn’t gotten more attention; but probably has to do with the plot and timing of the show’s release–hard for a show about the potential weaponizing of a lethal disease during a pandemic to really get a lot of attention or viewers; I would imagine this isn’t the kind of plot your average thriller-viewer would be interested in watching about during an actual global pandemic which had all kinds of horrific conspiracy theories swirling around it during the first few panicky weeks and months after it all started. It’s also kind of interesting how everything about it has just disappeared from the news almost completely, like it’s all over and no one is catching it anymore and the hospitals are doing fine now. No one seems to care about mask mandates or proof of vaccination anymore, either. I didn’t hear a lot of fireworks last night–although at one point I did wryly joke to Paul after a series of them went off, “Fireworks or gunshots?”

Always a valid question in New Orleans.

I did do some writing yesterday–not a lot, a small bit; a revision of a story I had already written several drafts of and yesterday I changed it from present to past tense, and the main character from a young college girl to a young college gay; I think it does work better in this form. I am going to submit it to a an anthology about the South; I doubt they will take it, but hey–it’s the first place I’ve come across where I could actually send it in to try for publication. I wasn’t super high energy at all over the long weekend; I’m not sure what that was about, but it’s definitely a fact–and of course, the trip this weekend is going to exhaust me completely. I have several things to do over the course of the weekend–panels and so forth–and I absolutely must read my essay in How to Write a Mystery again before my panel about it. I really need to make a thorough and exact to-do list so I can start working my way through it. Heavy heaving sigh. I guess I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, on the other hand, were I not always behind on everything.

I have decided to only take two books with me on the trip, since I have to read a friend’s in-progress manuscript while I am there. It’s also on my iPad, but since I have to read off the iPad Thursday night, I need to be careful to make sure it’s charged, so I don’t know if I should read the manuscript while traveling on Thursday or wait and read while resting in my room. Decisions, decisions.

I think after my podcast tonight I will probably go ahead and pack for the trip and get it out of the way. I have to get up at five (!!!) on Thursday for the flight, and I have errands to run and things to do on the way home tomorrow, and then I will get stressed about trying to get ready and GAH. It just makes more sense to get it done tonight.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely post 4th Tuesday, Constant Reader!

Edge of Seventeen

Just like the white winged dove….

Sing it, Stevie!

So I managed to get some writing done yesterday–not only did I get some writing done yesterday but it actually flowed; it wasn’t nearly as painful or forced as it has been when I’ve been writing lately, which is lovely. I also read for a little while yesterday; I am moving into the final act of The Savage Kind and am really enjoying it; I hated put it aside yesterday when my allotted reading time had finally run out. I slept very well last night–didn’t want to get up this morning, or more precisely, didn’t want to get out of bed which felt unusually comfortable to me this morning–but I do feel well rested. I am working at home today, which is nice–I really don’t want to go out into the heat–but things change. We watched the first few episodes of Condor last night–it’s not bad, a more modern-day version of Three Days of the Condor, which was one of my Cynical 70’s Film Festival movies during the pandemic–and I do feel relaxed this morning….probably because I am still in denial about everything I have to do and get done.It just keeps building….

My anger has finally cooled over the so-called “supreme court” rulings of last week; but I still have a lot of righteous indignation and outrage left that can easily be fanned into red-hot flames. Louisiana, of course, had just passed its very own trigger law, which our piece-of-shit governor signed. Of course, my own rights will soon be overturned by this joke of a court; as I tweeted on Friday, “Somewhere in hell Roger Taney is smiling because his supreme court may no longer be the worst in our history.” I mean, when you are passing out rulings that are about on the same level as Dred Scott, you really should sit back and reflect on your life choices. It’s bad enough we have four perjurers on the court along with a sexual harasser, a probable rapist, and a woman whose religion has brainwashed her into a Stepford wife–someone on Twitter said yesterday “if the founding fathers could see us now they’d say ‘You let Catholics on the court?'” I love to point out that despite all evangelical claims that this is a Christian country, they never specify which brand of Christianity they mean. Pentecostal? Quaker? Lutheran? Catholic? Missouri Synod? Latter Day Saints? No two sects of Christianity agree on anything; it was precisely this division of belief within the same theoretical faith that led to centuries of war and oppression in Europe, and the very American standard of the separation of church and state. You also have to remember that originally nearly every colony since the Europeans decided they were taking over this continent from its natives followed a different sect: Maryland was Catholic; Massachusetts Puritan; Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams upon the very principle of religious freedom and became a haven for persecuted religious minorities; Virginia was Episcopal; and so on. Christianity isn’t a monolith where everyone believes the same thing–they can’t even agree on the basic principles of their religion or how to pray or who can preach or teach.

Although they do all have the symbolic cannibalism ritual–but again, all different versions.

But the “supreme court” has a long and tragic history of incredibly bad and damaging rulings–see Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Citizens United, etc.

There’s another Alabama story brewing inside my head–you know, that non-stop creative ADHD thing I have going–about a small town in Corinth County trapped and controlled by it’s radical fundamentalist religion. I know I had the idea for the town years ago–it’s called Star of Bethlehem–but this idea for using that town is vastly different than the original one I had (in which the town’s water supply was deliberately tampered with as a corporate experiment in which the townspeople began developing strange abilities; I can still make that work into this–imagine a small remote town in the grips of a maniacal controlling religious sect where this happens; are these miraculous abilities a gift from God or the work of the devil? Which, really, was kind of the point of the superb mini-series Midnight Mass) but it keeps nagging at me as I sit down to work on other things. I scribbled some notes in my journal last night while watching Condor–again, it’s an interesting modern take on the original story–and so we’ll see how it goes.

I also started writing Mississippi River Mischief yesterday. I was going back and forth, wondering how to open the book, and finally just decided to say fuck it and start writing it. I wrote 173 words on it, which while not much is certainly something. Hopefully after work today I can work on it some more. I’ve started figuring it out a bit more–I already know who the victim is, I already know what’s going to be going on in Scotty’s life during the course of this book–but there’s all kinds of things left for me to get figured out. But–as with every Scotty book–I usually tend to just jump into it headfirst and see what happens.

So, all in all, a relatively productive weekend and very few regrets. I still have a ridiculous amount of work to do, but…progress is all that matters and I refuse to allow myself to get stressed out.

And on that note, it’s Data Entry time. Have a lovely Monday, Constant Reader. Hope we all have a better week this time around.