Desert Angel

Remember how I felt a little off yesterday morning? Like my brain was tired but I felt rested? I also woke up congested, and took a Claritin–assuming that it was my sinuses and the weather, as it generally is this time of year. Yet after the Claritin cleared my head, I realized that the entire time I was writing yesterday morning’s entry, my nose kept running. This was, of course, unusual…and then I remembered someone at work had tested positive for COVID this week, and I needed to test myself again (I was negative Thursday afternoon). Guess what? Twenty-eight months into the pandemic, after being exposed literally every day at work for the last two years plus, after traveling to New York twice and going to three conferences….I finally, at long last, tested positive for COVID. I am not complaining; this seems to be a mild if unpleasant case–thank the Lord–and I can still smell and taste things, which is great. Mostly yesterday it was brain fog, not feeling great, and a lot of fatigue. By the early afternoon I was exhausted, and of course there’s the coughing and sinus drainage issue. My throat is a bit sore, my voice is an octave or two deeper than usual with a raspiness I usually like in a singer, and the brain fog isn’t great. It’s hard for me to focus–I tried reading yesterday to no avail–and so instead watched some reality television and played some historical documentaries while Scooter snored away contentedly in my lap most of the day. Paul got home and we watched the finale of Stranger Things–I was clearly mistaken as for it being the finale of the series; that was apparent when we reached the end of the episode and I just confirmed there’s a season 5 coming which is the end.

I have already zoned out twice writing this, or gone off on other tangents. I can see COVID brain is going to be a lot of fun. I am also feeling fatigued, which isn’t great. Most of the time it feels like a bad chest cold, or a lower level flu–I’ve yet to have a fever, praise be–where I mostly feel off and tired with the occasional dry cough that hurts the lungs a little bit. My eyes burn periodically from the fatigue–which is fine, I can live with that–but I literally spent most of yesterday drifting in and out of sleep. Was it the COVID, or was it Scooter using his sleep super-power to make me nod off here and there? I did sleep through the night mostly. I woke up at five again this morning but managed to go back to sleep, same as the night before–and got up shortly after seven. I am hoping today will simply be a milder repeat of yesterday, but I am definitely feeling loopy this morning. I have a lot of work to do, but I don’t know if my focus is going to be there in order for me to get things done; if yesterday was indicative of how my brain is going to work for the duration of this illness…not good. It could have been the DayQuil giving me medicine head (for the most part, the symptoms–the cough, the sore throat, the sinus drainage–was kept under control by DayQuil; alas, the DayQuil doesn’t help with fatigue and foggy brain) but I think I had foggy brain before I took it–when I was writing the entry yesterday morning I remember thinking my brain was fatigued.

Well, at least I don’t need to come up with excuses for not going to the gym this weekend.

It’s unpleasant, to be sure, but I consider myself lucky. I don’t need to go to the hospital and I am not having trouble breathing. If this is as bad as it is going to get, I can live with it for a few days. I am not entirely sure what about my day job–I notified them yesterday as soon as I could, but the compliance officer is out of the office until Tuesday, and I think the information shared with me by upper management (the department head is also on vacation and my supervisor’s last day was last Friday) indicates that I have to remain in quarantine until five days after my symptoms go away–which means if I wake up tomorrow without symptoms and it has passed, I can return this coming Friday, but other than that I am not sure. I’m not going to worry about it; there’s no point in doing so until I speak with the compliance officer on Tuesday.

And now? I am going to go lie down in my easy chair and see if I can focus enough to read. Worst case scenario? Sitting in my chair watching movies all day. I am also a bit dehydrated, too. Yay.

Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader, and will chat with you again tomorrow.

Do You Hear What I Hear

Wednesday. Paul made it home late last night, and is sleeping away this chilly morning in the Lost Apartment. I started feeling a bit under the weather yesterday–scratchy throat, usually not a good sign–but am hoping I can power through today and hopefully will feel better tomorrow. I hate to call in sick, but at the same time I don’t particularly want to get any of our clients sick, either.

I finished editing “Don’t Look Down” and “This Thing of Darkness” last night; I am hoping to get through “The Snow Globe” and “Moves in the Field” this morning, and have my fingers crossed that I can get back to work on Bury Me in Satin tonight. One can hope, at any rate. I also want to get some work done on the revision of Royal Street Reveillon, and I also have to get the afterward to that one written as well. So, I am hopeful by the end of the weekend I’ll have Survivor’s Guilt and Other Stories completely banged out and ready for the copy edit, so I can get RSR finished over the Christmas weekend, and maybe–just maybe–get Bury Me in Satin finished by the end of December–a reach, but something I am going to still try to accomplish.

I’d also like to have a strong first draft of “Never Kiss a Stranger” done, but let’s not get crazy.

I can’t believe Christmas is less than two weeks away. I think I’ve done all my shopping for Paul; all I need to do now is buy something for my parents and it’s over. (I know what to get them, so not an issue.) This has been a kind of weird holiday season. Thanksgiving was early, and that built up a false sense of security that there was plenty of time before Christmas…then BLAM, it snuck up on me.

But…I have four day weekends for Christmas and New Year’s, and our annual trip to Commander’s Palace for lunch on New Year’s Eve with Jean and Gillian to look forward to, which is lovely, and LSU is playing in a New Year’s Day bowl, so there’s that. The Saints won their division and are going to the play-offs, hopefully with a bye the first week and maybe even home field advantage the whole series…so maybe, just maybe, we could end up in the Super Bowl again this year. (I probably shouldn’t have said that…because I truly believe that my fandom has enough power to jinx the teams I root for, because it’s all about me.)

But I am thrilled to have made it through the roughest part of the week. Monday and Tuesday’s twelve hour days are rough; yesterday it felt like I was coming down with something–I had a scratch at the base of my throat–and I wondered if I was really getting sick or if it was just from being tired. I slept really well last night–even slept in later than I wanted or planned–and this morning I still feel a bit off…but much better than yesterday. I don”t feel quite the same way today–the little tickle is still there, but not as bad as yesterday–and I may have to stop and buy some teabags so I can just drink tea with honey and lemon all day. I’ve also been really dehydrated lately, so have been drinking Gatorade a lot.

I hate being sick, so here’s hoping it can be warded off.

Last night before I retired to bed early, I also managed to revive the next and final draft of Royal Street Reveillon. I work by chapters, which I know is probably weird to most other writers; they write usually in terms of pages, i.e. “I wrote ten pages today”. I don’t. I go by word counts and chapters; I always try to write a chapter every day, and in early draft form those are anywhere from 2200-3000 words; sometimes less, sometimes more. The Great Data Loss of 2018 took all the final chapter drafts of the manuscript as it was turned in, including the version where I pulled it all together and sent it in to Bold Strokes as one document. This, as you can imagine, was a disaster almost unimaginable; trying to recreate to copy edit and tweak a manuscript you no longer have the final version of is the worst nightmare any writer could have (at least in my opinion). However, the manuscript was in my “sent mail” file; so I was able to download that copy and last night I started breaking it down into chapters again for me to work on. I am also trying something different this time–I am going to work backwards. So I created new draft chapters for the last five chapters, and hopefully will be able to get to work on them this weekend as the end draws near.

And on that note, tis back to the spice mines with me.

christmas icon 2012

Mysterious Ways

I hate being sick.

I noticed on Saturday something was off–I just assumed it was the disappointment of the LSU loss, but on Sunday I knew I was coming down with something; achy joints, burning eyes, fever that came and went, lack of energy, congested sinuses, etc. I took a Claritin-D, dosed myself occasionally as warranted with DayQuil, and slept decently that night. Monday I was still off–congested, achy, etc.–but it was bearable. Yesterday I was again low energy and achy, but was still hopeful I could ward it off.

Silly Gregalicious. When will you ever learn?

Yes, it hit with a vengeance this morning. All of my joints ache. I have a fever. I am constantly blowing my nose. I have a headache. Nausea. Draining sinuses and constant fits of wet, phlegmy coughing. Lovely.

So I regretfully called in sick. I will spend the day resting in my easy chair, reading, dosing myself with DayQuil and Vitamin C and juice and water. My throat is very scratchy and feels raw. There is so much pressure behind my eyes it feels like they’ll both pop out if I cough hard enough.

Yes, in case I haven’t made it clear, I am feeling absolutely miserable. Miserable.

Of course, it could be worse. It can always be worse. This is just some flu-ey thing that will go away. It’s not a chronic illness I have to live with the rest of my life, or something potentially fatal. New Orleans is being spared from the fury of Hurricane Michael (do stay safe, Floridians). So, yeah, all this whining for a minor inconvenience is pretty pathetic and sad, in the big picture.

Fuck the big picture. I feel sick.

I’ve been watching Season 3 of The Man in the High Castle, which is quite good. I am having trouble remembering Season 2–which I know I watched and enjoyed–but the show is very interesting…and somewhat troubling to watch. If you don’t know the premise, it’s based on a popular Philip K. Dick novel of the same title, which was an alternate history which imagined that the Nazis developed an atomic bomb, which they dropped on DC, ending World War II with an Axis victory. The United States has been divided up between Japan and Germany–the Germans have everything from the eastern seaboard to the Rockies; the Japanese everything on the other side to the Pacific coast (no mention of the Italians, which is interesting in and of itself), and the growing Resistance to the Fascist tyrants. After watching the first season I read the book, which is significantly different but equally compelling, but the show is really taking off. I do remember some terrific moral dilemmas for the characters–this is one of the show’s great strengths, frankly; when you are living under a fascistic regime, what is moral? It’s also an interesting look at collaborators, because of course there would be some–many, in fact.

I also read some more of Circe last night in my misery, and it is, as always, still compelling and beautifully written. Maybe between naps and misery i can actually finally finish reading it today.

And now to the easy chair with me.


Love is a Battlefield

Yesterday I made an attempt to run errands; but after I went to the bank I felt dizzy and nauseous, so skipped the grocery store and came home. I spent the rest of the day alternating between fevers and normal, and so on, so I simply parked myself in my easy chair with a book, a blanket, and a cat. I finished reading Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer, which was extraordinary, and started another that I’m not too wild about. I also started watching a documentary of the history of the Papacy on Prime, which conveniently now has an app for AppleTV. I shall continue to try to read the book I’m not wild about, but it may not survive the fifty-page rule. Harsh, I know, but I have a lot of books to read.

I am hoping that I am in the last stage of this illness; I am still coughing so hard that my lungs and diaphragm hurt, and right now my eyes are kind of warm, but I think I am going to be able to hang with a quick (ha!) trip to get groceries and then spending the rest of the day curled up underneath a blanket with a book. My kitchen of course is a disaster area, but I feel confident that I’ll be able to get it cleaned up today as well. This is a big transition from yesterday, I might add, when I felt like a limp dishrag for most of the day.

Hope springs eternal.

In other exciting news, I’ll be signing and speaking on two panels at Comic Con in New Orleans in two weeks. Huzzah! Of course, this appearance is contingent on my living that long; which is a moment by moment thing. I am feeling odd again right now; not sure what that’s about, or even how to describe it, but I guess the easiest way to sum it up in one word is fuzzy; like I am out of my body and observing but not participating. It’s unnerving, and it definitely needs to stop.

All right, I think I might need to lie down again. Heavy sigh.


Running with the Night

Paul has been ill since Sunday; he woke up not feeling good but like a trouper went to the movie with me, only to feel worse upon getting home. He stayed home from work both yesterday and today, which is an obvious indicator of how ill he actually feels. Naturally, my secondary concern was that I not get sick; there is nothing worse than being sick over a holiday period, and I have too much else to do over my four days off that I cannot possibly spend it sick.

So, of course, I can feel it starting with a tickle in the back of my throat which is making me cough. Fucking fantastic.

I suppose I can attempt to head it off by getting DayQuil and liberally dosing myself with Vitamin C. I hate being sick; I always feel betrayed by my body when it happens. I should consider myself lucky that it doesn’t happen more often, I suppose.  And now that I’m getting older…heavy heaving sigh.

I worked on a short story yesterday; I am very excited to be almost finished with the two that I am currently working on. I hope to get this draft finished today, and then I need to do another run-through draft of the other. If I can stave off this illness, I should be able to get both of these stories finished this week and sent off to where they go. I also want to get some other things finished this week so I can spend my four, hopefully healthy, days off writing on book manuscripts. I have fallen behind yet again–I never seem to learn from past mistakes, do I? But some serious focus and I should be able to get caught up and be back on track to get things done by the time I wanted them to be.

I am now obsessing with this young adult novel about Alabama, which is not something I should be devoting energy or time to. I need to get all the in-progress things finished before I can start another project, which would be madness. Absolute madness. But I can’t get that book out of my head; it’s been floating around inside my brain for a very long time, and now that I’ve actually figured out how to do it…now I can’t stop thinking about it.

Heavy heaving sigh.

And now, back to the spice mines.