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Rated: 13+ · Book · Biographical · #2274705
A monthly blog started June of 2022.
It's that time of the month again. Time to hear all about the general happenings of my life. Expect puns, quotes, poetry, tips, etc. Even if the update isn't particularly happy, I'll make sure every entry ends with a dose of positivity to (hopefully) brighten your day.

(Rated 13+ just in case language or controversial topics arise.)
October 31, 2022 at 9:34am
October 31, 2022 at 9:34am

Possibilities are few
Be anyone but you
Pretend the worst is over
Enjoy this Mocktober

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

I spent the day as Daphne from Scooby Doo  , if she were living in a pandemic and working late coding in a research lab. Very specific costume. Strangely, no one guessed it.

I must have missed the memo, because I was the only one I saw dressed up. The entire day. Downtown, the building I work in, stopping for dinner. No trick-or-treaters. Does Halloween not count anymore if it's on a week day?

Can't believe October is already over. It's all a blur. I'm quite envious of all the NaNo talk going on around here. I am more of a short-form writer, as you may have gathered from my portfolio which is exclusively poetry and prose ranging from micro to short stories. Planning a whole novel is an entirely different skill set. But I've always wanted to attempt it. This isn't the year. It's never the year, because November is an annual week-long Neuroscience conference that takes the entire month to prepare, attend and recover from. That's not an exaggeration. And this year, in particular, is a turning point in my career path.

Which direction will it turn? That's what I need to find out before I go on the job market next year.

Fortunately for you all, that means I should have some adventures to tell next month from sunny San Diego.
Can't wait to get back to the west best coast. It's been almost 4 years.

I got my flu shot and the fancy new bivalent booster in preparation, but chances are still good that I'll come back with more than just knowledge and new networking contacts. Flying across the country to attend an indoor conference for 12 hours a day with 30 thousand of my closest friends? In the middle of peak cold and flu season and a pandemic? Yikes.

By the way, don't try to work the day after getting boosted. Just, don't. Pretty sure I had a fever on and off all day, although I didn't realize it until I took my temp after getting home from lab. I don't recommend. (But I do recommend getting the new booster, and the flu shot, before the holiday season.)

And for those who have been waiting with bated breath, an update on my furball:
Turns out she has feline asthma. Yes, apparently that's a thing. Her bronchial airways were inflamed on the X-ray, but otherwise the vet said she's healthy. The vet prescribed a course of steroids, which can sometimes take care of it. But if not, she may need long term treatment like an inhaler. It's not great news, but I'm glad it's not something more serious.

If you've never had to give a cat 2 pills a day, it's a lot like hand feeding a rabid squirrel with it's mouth glued shut. But I just discovered "pill pocket" treats, and they are life changing. #NotAnAd

Would you like to join me for a cup of *Tea* positivitea *Teapot* ?

”Whatever you do, always give 100%. Unless you're donating blood.”
- Bill Murray
September 29, 2022 at 11:39pm
September 29, 2022 at 11:39pm

Hard-fought, the dog days
A white flag gently waves
Wildfire but an ember
Eventually, they September

First things first, I hope that everyone in Florida is safe. Hurricane Ian has caused historic devastation across most of the state, and there are lots of people stranded or injured and still waiting for help. I wish I could do more.

And if you're thinking, "Well, they should have gotten out!": By the time people are told they have to evacuate, it's often already too late. They would just end up trapped in gridlocked traffic trying to get out, which is the last place you want to be when a major hurricane hits. Our infrastructure isn't built to evacuate entire cities (or an entire state) at the same time. Sometimes the only option is to just hunker down and hope for the best.

It looks like Ian is heading for my neck of the woods next. Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas have all declared states of emergencies, as Ian is projected to strengthen and make landfall again in the Southeast   this weekend. South Carolina will probably be hit the hardest.

I expect some heavy rain and flooding here, but I don't think my area will be hit too badly. Ian will probably only be a tropical depression by the time it hits us. I do live on a flood plain, so there's a very real chance of flash flooding. Fortunately, I live on the third floor. ;)

Natural disasters aside, September has been a pretty eventful month. My PI (boss) just had a baby boy on Tuesday! Mom and baby are both healthy and doing well. I am now substitute PI for the rest of the year while she's gone on maternity leave. It's going surprisingly well so far. Everyone's projects are making good progress, including my own. I've managed to keep the lab running pretty smoothly. Although, to be fair, it's only the first week on our own. We'll see how I feel 3 months from now, when everything is in disarray and going wrong and I have no one to ask for advice on what to do.

Sometimes, you don't know what you can take on until you have to.

I'm just glad that summer is officially behind us. It finally feels like Fall and I am loving it. Fall is my favorite season.
It's a shame that it only lasts a few weeks.

I've been writing more this month, which is either a sign of or the result of improved mental health. WdC sure knows how to throw a birthday party. I helped solve a murder (actually, murders) as Dana Scully   at the annual "Wdc 22nd Birthday Masquerade Party [18+]. A big thanks to everyone who put in so much time and effort to make these events happen.

Looking forward to next year's birthday bash!
Maybe I'll do an event or contest of my own next year. I've actually never made a contest on here before. I really should fix that. It's a wonder anyone on here follows me at all.

Stay tuned for a possible giveaway and/or activity in the near future...

Apart from that, I think I need to take my precious wild cat back to the vet again. She's been having coughing attacks almost daily, and it's pretty concerning. I have mentioned this to the vet before, but at the time it was only happening a few times a month. The vet did an x-ray and said her lungs look OK and it's probably nothing to worry about. But now it's happening almost every day, I think it's time to get her looked again. I really hope it isn't anything serious (or expensive).

By the way, you deserve a sip of pumpkin spice *Tea* positivitea *Teapot*:

”If you see someone without a smile today, give 'em yours.”
- Dolly Parton
August 26, 2022 at 12:01am
August 26, 2022 at 12:01am

Summer starts to fade to black
Sun sets like it's not coming back
Heat rises from nothing
That’s just Augusting

Whew. Finally submitted my manuscript! And only 10 days late.
Guess the deadline wasn't quite as hard as I'd been told.

I did actually get a bit of a vacation this month. My first real vacation since the pandemic began. I flew out to Colorado for my brother's wedding, where they rented an Airbnb in a cabin up in the mountains. It was a very nice wedding. Short and informal, which suits him and my sister-in-law perfectly. My niece is almost 3 years old and I'd never met her in person. Everyone says she's the spitting image of me at that age, and they aren't lying. She's a little pistol. It was so nice to get everyone all together in one place.

It wasn't exactly relaxing though. Didn't really sleep there, for a lot of reasons. Including 5 very young kids running around (well, one of them can't run yet, but she sure can cry) and some drama that I wasn't involved in. I finally got a bed to myself on the last night... and had to wake up at 5am for the airport.

But I made it back in one piece, on a tiny little airplane in a thunderstorm. They were offering at least 8 people more than $1,000 in travel credit to not take the flight because they were weight restricted due to the weather. I was highly tempted to take that offer... but I had to be in lab in the morning to train folks on a time sensitive experiment. And really, after 3 flights, 3 different airports, two time zones, 5 days without really sleeping, and a 9 hour travel day (so far), I just wanted to be home.

So, I took the flight. My bag, however, did not. I had to return to the airport a couple days later to get it. In the mean time, I didn't even have a hairbrush. Fortunately, I put everything really important in my carry-on for just that reason. If you ever travel, I recommend you do the same. Or, better yet, don't check a bag at all if you can help it.

And, yes, I did listen to this on the flight:
"This Flight Tonight" by Joni Mitchell

So far, I'm still testing negative for COVID! I was pretty careful during travel and in crowded areas, but not at the Airbnb. There's just no way to mask 24/7 when you're living, eating and sleeping in the same space as 16+ people.

But it's only been a few months since I had COVID, so here's hoping my immune system does it's thing!

I went straight back to work and still haven't had a chance to recover since I got back, almost 2 weeks ago, so I'm taking Monday off for a much needed and well deserved long weekend at home. And good thing, because I've already slept almost the entire weekend.

And now, please enjoy a tasty cup of *Tea* positivitea *Teapot*:

”Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”
- Audrey Hepburn
July 29, 2022 at 12:50am
July 29, 2022 at 12:50am

Freedom shines and rots, overripe
Wearing those watermelon stripes
Don't look up, don't believe the rest
The stars in July are endless

It's been a very long summer, and an even longer July.
(How is that possible? Don't ask me.)

I'm afraid I do have more health updates this month. More friends and family down with COVID, a second surgery for my mom that led to a pretty nasty strep infection. But everything is on the up and up now. And my mom was officially declared cancer free!

So I'd say things have improved health-wise. In terms of mental health... that's another story. With the current state of the world, I don't think I'm the only one. Summer has always been a hard time for me. July in particular, for reasons I am not going to get into here.

Most of the life changing events in my life have happened in the summer, so now I associate summer with things ending. I guess most people have these associations with winter, when the weather is cold and gloomy and the year is ending. It's the opposite for me. Summers are suffocating. In CA, summer was 108° and smoky with frequent power outages. Now in VA, summer means 90% humidity and severe thunderstorms. Either way, it sometimes looks and feels like the world might be ending. It's not, yet.

This has been a summer of goodbyes. My entire lab has turned over in just the last few months, and I'm the only one left now of the original members. As the most senior member, all the responsibility for training and helping the new faces falls on me, in addition to my usual workload. Everyone needs me for something. I am in the beginning stages of burn out. Or maybe the end stages? I haven't had an actual vacation in at least 2 years, maybe longer. And I definitely can't now, I have to write an entire manuscript in the next week and a half to meet a hard deadline.

For those who aren't in the world of academia, it's a little hard to explain why I have 300+ hours of annual leave accumulated but can't take a day off when I actually need it and haven't taken a vacation in literal years. It's just never a "good time".

I will say that writing consistently for the weekly Micro-fiction challenge has been keeping me sane. Although it has added to my workload, it helps a lot to have a creative outlet. Something that's not science to think about. I wish I could be more involved in the contests and activities going on around here. I see some great ones out there. I just can't write at all during the week, sometimes over the weekend either. Even maintaining this monthly blog and one weekly challenge feels like a lot. I haven't even started on this week's prompt yet.

Don't worry, things will settle down eventually. Either that, or my mental health will deteriorate to the point where I actually can't work. Either way, I will be taking a break in the near future.

Here's a nice refreshing glass of iced *Tea* positivitea *Teapot* just for you:

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
— Michael Altshuler
June 12, 2022 at 11:48pm
June 12, 2022 at 11:48pm

An update yonder doth appear
Nothing much to see or fear
A rare event, it's true
Once in a blue June

Welcome to the start of a new blog! Pull up a seat, stay a while.

I plan to update this monthly, which should give me enough time between entries to actually have something to talk about, and enough flexibility to not stress about missing an entry or getting behind. I'll keep this going through the rest of the year, at which point I might reassess and do something new. We'll see.

I am now basically recovered from my bout with COVID. I was not ready to go back to work on day 5, as the CDC recommends, and I think it's pretty likely I was still contagious at that point since I had a temperature and was testing very positive. I still get exhausted easily and I'm honestly having a hard time keeping up with life since then, but otherwise I'm one of the lucky ones in that I don't seem to have any long-term effects from the virus.

Ironically, I was exposed to COVID again the day after I went back to work at the conference I mentioned. It's basically inevitable at a gathering of 100+ people that someone there is positive. I'm not too concerned about that, considering I was carefully masked (KN95) both days in case I was still contagious. I'm guessing my immunity at the moment is fairly high, but I don't want to get over-confident about that.

Several of my family members have also gotten COVID this month (not from me). Including my mom, who is not that far out from major surgery and very much at risk of complications due to several health issues. Fortunately, she got on antivirals pretty quickly and seems to have gotten through it OK now.

I'm getting a bit frustrated with everyone acting like this pandemic is over, or never even happened. It's true that we have better treatments now and we can't live like this indefinitely. We will eventually get to a point where we just have to live with COVID-19.

But considering how high cases are right now, we are not at that point yet. I know it's an inconvenience to wash your hands all the time and wear a mask in crowds and on public transportation when transmission is high.

You know what's way more inconvenient? Being sick as a dog and having to isolate for at least 5 days without notice. Potentially being sick for 2 weeks, or more. Accidentally getting someone you love sick. Ending up disabled with long COVID. Losing a grandparent or immunocompromised friend to this virus. Yes, people are still dying. A lot of people.

In other news, my sweet little wild cat ate the cord on my name-tag from the conference, which was tucked away in my purse at the time, so I had to take her to the vet last week. Traumatizing for all involved. The good news is she doesn't need emergency surgery. Let's just say, she has a history of eating things she shouldn't. A very expensive and dramatic history.

Wow, lots of health updates this month.
Hopefully there will be NO health updates to speak of next month.

I will leave you with your monthly cup of *Tea* positivitea *Teapot*:

“It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.”
- Confucious

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