Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.
Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.
Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.
Editing and Marketing
5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip
I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.
6. Keep Working on FADDS
The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.
7. Read 15 Books
Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.
8. Play more games with the kids
I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.
9. Be More Patient
This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.
10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November
In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.
It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.
In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.
I’ll keep pushing.
Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.
Work is starting to ramp up for the return of parliament (I do layouts for government reports, a lot of them are tabled in parliament). So I’m really busy. Especially with work, the preparations for the JenEric Advent Calendar, and Dragon going to school.
I’m also really tired from the last hurrah of this season’s seasonal allergies (apparently that means I have different allergies each season) and Pegasus having issues sleeping (more teeth and growing pains). All that to say that I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing or blogging. Sorry about that.
In other news, pie pumpkins are in stores here which means I’ll be going all out on pumpkin stuff. I’ve already roasted two of them and eaten the seeds. This weekend I’ll attempt Pumpkin & Spice Doughnuts if I have the time and energy.
Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.
Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.
Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.
Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.
However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.
I’ve been pretty silent about the state of the world the past few weeks. Part of that was being overwhelmed and part of that was being busy.
Ottawa called for people to start self-isolating and working from home starting March 16th. My first day of work after just over eight months of parental leave was the 18th of March. I work for the government in a communications area so I’m considered essential.
I’ve been dealing with going back to work (although I do enjoy working from home), a baby that is teething (AKA not sleeping well), the pandemic, and everything that entails.
My family is in a good place. We have a house, I have a job that will continue to pay me (barring some sort of pheonix crap), and we’re all pretty used to being at home. Our house is filled with movies, games, books, and comfy furniture.
The kids are still too young for school and like I said, I just finished ~8 months of parental leave so we’re all kind of used to being at home. I do miss having people over for D&D, movies, and to chat. I miss going to the cinema, and going for walks with the kids to Walmart or the park. My daughter and wife miss church and we all miss our conventions.
Those are minor inconveniences and I know we are extremely lucky.
It’s still been hard. I’ve felt like I was on high alert for the past three weeks. I’ve felt terrified while shopping and I’m scared for my friends and family.
I’m starting to calm down but I’m still teary and worried.
This will become normal and when things get better we’ll have hopefully spared much death and heartache.
The implications of what this will change in our world are staggering and a little scary. But that’s another post all together.
Last year I wrote about burning out. While paying attention to my habits and how I handled things, I noticed that I would get into a grove of always doing something and that if I stopped, all my pain and fatigue would catch up to me.
When I’m in Shark Mode, I know I’m tired and in pain and I can ignore it as long as I just keep swimming. It’s extremely useful for short bursts of needing to get things done, but extremely unhealthy in the long term.
The other major downside to Shark Mode is how much you feel you’re accomplishing. This, combined with any sort of stress or anxiety, means the more you use it, the more you feel you should.
I remember sitting on my chair, barely able to move and with extreme pain, but feeling like I had to do something or I’d explode. Not a fun feeling.
If you have a version of Shark Mode, make sure not to overuse it.
I received my certificate for being in the public service for 10 years (only 20 more to go. Woo!)
I have seen a lot and said a lot in that time. Countless amounts of, “Huh?” and “Why?” but some things have really blindsided me.
5. Do we still have pens/highlighters?
A few years ago the government released a directive to lower the amount of paper we use. I never liked printing things anyway and most of my work is digital but every once in a while I need a pen and can’t find it.
There’s a little area that has some, but nothing compared to the stationary closets of the past.
4. Template, form, mock-up, or style?
Surprisingly depending on people’s background, all these things can mean the same product. It can be:
an example file used to recreate the same look
a fillable document meant to collect information
a technical product that has all the styles and look built into it for easy formatting
a list of detailed instructions or examples that show how something should be done.
It’s not always obvious what people want and trying to navigate that without sounding condescending is a pain.
3. Free food? I’ll pass.
I love free food, like a starving college/university student loves free food.
There are a lot of events that are held where they give free food. I’m still learning which ones are worth it and which are, “standing in line for an hour in the hot sun wishing I was dead”.
Some of these events are just not worth the burger and bag of chips that’s offered.
2. My Agency has an Instagram strategy…
It was bound to happen. I’m so old and out of touch with social media and tech that my agency is outpacing me. They are looking into Instagram as a way to spread the accomplishments of the public service.
That means that it’s possible that my workplace will have an Instagram account before me.
It both makes me want to sign up and not want to… yikes.
1. You’ve reached a government phone… stop calling me
Three years ago my office got rid of landlines in favour of cellphones. That, unfortunately, meant the death of extensions and government specific numbers. Which meant the rise of spam calls.
Since I don’t deal with clients directly I get very few, real, calls.
The fake CRA scam, duct cleaning, credit card scam, Chinese Embassy, and people looking for Genevieve call me on a regular basis.
My favourite thing to do is answer the phone with my name, position, and agency and then repeat it twice. Most of them hang up or laugh and then threaten me.
Every work place is different. That being said, there are certain things that you shouldn’t do and that annoy me like crazy.
5. Talking while I’m working
Feel free to have a conversation, but not next to me. Yes, I may work near a hall or kitchen etc, but that doesn’t mean my work area is a meeting room. You and Wealhtheow may think you’re being quiet, but my area isn’t a meeting zone.
If you’re within 6 feet of my cubicle and you plan on having a meeting that is longer than 30 seconds… GO AWAY!
4. Being in the way
I understand you haven’t seen Hrothgar in a long time and you just need to chat. Don’t do it at the entrance or exit of something. Especially don’t have your heated discussions in a narrow hall. That’s super awkward.
GET A ROOM!
All kinds of food smell strongly, but nothing sticks in the air like popcorn. That smell will hover around for hours. Now Aeschere, I know you need your snack, but either make enough for the entire floor or CHOOSE ANOTHER SNACK!
2. Policing my work
I realize it’s important that we all do our best and work hard to ensure our work-stuff is done and done well. How, when, where, and with whom I do it is none of your business. (Yeah I’m talking to you Unferth!)
I work best when I’m not dying of boredom and since my job can get tedious I tend to watch videos while I work. It helps me stay focused and I work faster.
My work is my business and my manager’s.
STOP BEING A BUSYBODY!
The smell of certain perfumes can make me physically sick. I’m not alone in this, many people have issues. If I have a strong floral scent around me, I will start to sneeze, get a migraine, and if it lasts long enough, become nauseated. I have had to leave work because of this in the past.
As much as you like that scented hand sanitizer Sigemund, remember that not everyone around you can handle it. The same goes for hand cream, lip balm, perfume, air fresheners, and anything that is aerosolised.
This applies to smokers; if you smell like smoke, it will affect those around you.
Today is my second day back at work after a wonderful eight and a half months on parental leave.
I expected it to be weird (like visiting your old high school or a previous job) but it wasn’t, it was depressingly familiar. It almost felt like I hadn’t left.
Some things had changed but mostly it was the same old job. That’s both a good and a bad thing. I mean I’m glad I don’t have to learn an entire new job but I was hoping something would have changed a little.
Thanks to my freelance work, I haven’t slowed down or lost much of my ability, which is really nice considering I was thrown into a project right away.
The hardest part is being away from Dragon and Jen. I really enjoyed doing my freelance work and taking breaks to snuggle, change diapers, or play. It’s going to be really hard not seeing them all day.
Not being there for first words or first steps will really hurt but until I win the lottery or sell the movie rights to my books, I’m stuck here.
Some mornings I wake up thinking about all the things I have to do and I panic. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling paralyzed. I’m not afraid of work, or working a lot. I’m terrified of forgetting something.
Since September, I’ve increased the amount of things I do and I’m not just talking about taking care of a baby Dragon. I’ve written a few more short stories, added a few more jobs, laid out more books, and roasted more coffee than ever before.
I’m extremely lucky both in the quality of my clients and that I had this wonderful opportunity to watch my child grow up right before my eyes. That said, other than a week at Disney that was a lot of fun but not relaxing, I took a few days to myself after Christmas.
I’m starting to feel like butter spread over too much bread. I know my limits, and with my parental leave quickly running out, I need some time to recharge.
If you don’t force yourself to take some time off from doing all the little things that stress you out, you’re never going to get the chance.
So I’m taking next week, the 15-19 of May, off to relax, watch some TV, and play some video games. Hopeful the weather will be nice and I can take the Dragon to the park. No plans, no big obligations, just me, my wife, and baby Dragon.
After that week, I have to start preparing for my return to work, and I’ll have 3 books to work on, along with more conventions.