Work From Home Blog: Day 12

Inspiration

Sitting through faculty meetings on Zoom, where I don’t have to watch what my face is doing and most of the time they’re not aware I’m there — it’s very, ah, educational. 

Riffing off of something Kunama asked, I’m thinking about ways my jobs make their way into my writing. 

The first thing that comes to mind is the library at Wells College, where I worked for a blessed, awesome, 9 months.  Well, I worked in the Book Arts Center, but half of some of my days were spent doing very little in the library while working for another associate Dean. 

The architect of that place was allergic to right angles and to floors that lined up and, like a split-level that we once tried to rent, it just kept going and going, up, up, up.  You never really knew where you were, but you were definitely somewhere, probably. 

That library had made its way into more than a few stories. 

https://www.wells.edu/library

So’ve the facilities staff at my current university job, who are basically elves.  They are startled when you see them, they do magic when your back is turned — especially the groundskeepers. 

Watching them trim the ivy to exactly the right amount is both amazing and amusing. 

And, while the faculty at the unnamed university in my The Trouble With Chickens stories are, ah, well, they’re a little more bloodthirsty than those at the university of my job, there’s definitely a bit of leakage there. 

Actually, in general, you’ll find that there’s a lot of academia in my writing when I’m working in academia.  It’s more of a trope than when, say, I was an admin for a software company. 

(After these faculty meetings, the professors at several fictional universities might be getting a bit darker…)

 

Oh! Oh, a story I never finished and only posted one bit of — but some maps, I posted some maps! — Portal Bound, https://www.patreon.com/posts/portal-bound-17977388 — this was inspired both by my experiences working in libraries (First at the SUNY I did my first 2 years of college at, then the Rundel Library/Central LIbrary of Rochester & Monroe County  in, ah, Rochester (NY), https://roccitylibrary.org/location/central/, then the aforementioned Wells LIbrary) and by the architecture of the university I work at now. 

I think I’ve taken the question and run sideways and backwards with it, but hey, I got a post that isn’t about my pajama pants!

 

Does your work or previous workplaces show up in your art? In your hobbies?

(Like me, have you found yourself staring at a building wondering “how do I do that in Minecraft?”?)

 

Grocery Bags! (an Alter-Sprig blog post)

While I was looking up how to, and then proceeding with, washing my reusable shopping bags, or at least the portion of them currently in circulation (they accumulate, like single socks, or shopping trolleys at the bottom of a steep hill…), my husband kindly suggested that the reasonable thing to do would be to make some. 

I grabbed this idea with both hands and both feet and ran with it (sort of a stumbling run, since I was holding onto that idea…)

So, things I want in reusable shopping bags:

* Washability (since that is what started this whole thing) – I want it to be washable and then look decent afterwards.  And I want it to be throw-in-washer washable, not something fussy. 

* Durability – able to stand up to the sort of shopping run where we get 2 bags each of flour, white sugar, brown sugar, & confectioner’s sugar. And then other stuff. 

* Size – not so big as to be unwieldy, either for me or for the cashiers loading the thing, but big enough to hold an 18-pack of eggs without tipping, or a rotisserie chicken, or that flour & sugar mentioned above.

* Nice – Why bother making something like this if I don’t like the way it looks? No more feeling awkward because half my bags advertise either a liquor/wine/beer place or a business I barely remember giving me the bag. 

* Pocket –  super useful for keys when I don’t have a purse or pockets on me.

* Foldable/packable – one of the things I really like about the store-bought reusable bags is how they fold back down into a nice flat package (at least until they get too rumpled or they’re washed or..)  Some of the good ones have the fold line on the sides pressed in & sometimes even sewn in; not sure I’ll go as far as sewing it in, but it would probably help. Maybe I’ll try it on one. 

 

Since none of the patterns were everything I wanted, I drafted my own pattern. 

Webbing handles that go all the way around, doubled on the bottom. 

A double layer of fabric on the bottom, with interfacing in between.

A pocket of something I have around the house sewn in between/under the webbing handles on each side, or at least on one side, depending on fabric scraps. 

The bag itself made from mediumweight cotton duck. 

Now… I need to find a place to mail me canvas where the shipping isn’t as much as the product. 

Please note: The below is a planning pattern that I have not tested yet at all.

The idea is to get two bags on one yard of fabric (or one bag on a 1/2 yard).  There’s some left over,  if it’s the 67″ wide stuff from the place I liked a lot until I read their shipping prices, so I may make a tote to hold the folded bags.

Work From Home Blog: Day 11

Clothes.

(If someone has a suggestion or several suggestions for new topics, I’m all ears 😉 )

 So it turns out that I was wrong (a  little) about clothes. 

Also, I bought myself a new pair of pajama pants!  They are soft and super long and new, which is nice. 

I’ve been alternating pajama pants with the shirts I normally wear to work in spring & summer, since I’m in online meetings all the time and sometimes called on to turn on the camera, and have even pulled out my skirts on occasion. 

Fancy, right?

Except they’re my old black knit skirts, essentially sweat pants in skirt form.  I’m clever 😉

It’s not even that I think people will notice if I wear the same shirt every day; it just makes me happy to change my shirt more.  

Also, I noticed that some of the lower-necked shirts that I loved happen to look sort of funky on-camera; i.e, they don’t have a bottom of the neckline unless I aim the camera like it’s looking down my cleavage. 

Of which, if you’ve never seen me, I have a bit. Ahem. 

I don’t want my boss looking down my cleavage and I don’t think he wants to do so, either. 

Thus, the slightly-higher-necked shirts where the whole neckline shows on camera. 

And lighter colors because I look a little washed out in mid-March. 

The things Zoom does to you… 

How about you?  Are you spending too much time on webcam?  

The Bellamy, Chapter 12

Content warning for the below chapter: human remains, not graphically described.

📚

Next had turned out, after a discussion with One and Two (“Ugh, save Genealogy for last, or at least, do the basement all in one go”, and “If you go this way, you can avoid the Barbies.  And Alice. Oh, and Gertrude.”), to actually be Supernatural and Occult. 

“It’s, ah.  It’s not as bad as it sounds?” Two had offered.  She’d been pulling out scones and a small tin of clarified butter for Veronika at the time and gotten her hand slapped at the second scone.  “Come on, she’s pretty okay. And wait ‘till I tell you what Mariyam did.”

One’s eyes had narrowed, and in the end, Veronika had been given three scones, the butter, and a knife — “it’s a reproduction, of course, but bring it back if you can.”

She’d also been given the strangest directions yet — and that might be saying something — to a department which was, in theory, just on the other side of the building on the same floor as Reprography.

With an assurance that she would indeed return the knife, she trundled her little cart out of Reprography and into the rows and rows of shelving and boxes.  Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 10

It’s just before day 10 of my work-from-home adventure.  I’m finding it harder to differentiate the weekends from the week.

I was watching a podcast where they were talking about tips for working from home, and one of those is probably part of my problem – have your “Work area” be just for work.

My work are is for work, and play, and writing – it was designed to be my writing office – so I’m in there no matter the day of the week. Also, I’m in the process of organizing it, so I’m in there even more.

In addition, having moved to weekend eating patterns all week long probably doesn’t help.

In short, I’m Doing Things Wrong 😉

It’s not so much that Monday still feels like the weekend, it’s that halfway through Sunday I had no idea what day of the week it was.  “Is this Friday?” That sort of feeling.

I’m not doing work on the weekends – well, not Day Job work; there’s house cleaning and firewood stacking and stuff like that – my boss scolds me if I answer an email outside of work hours.  So there’s that difference.  But with this job just not being that onerous to start with, it’s not a very huge or distinct difference (Especially when sitting through meetings is sort of like sitting through a sort of boring podcast…)

So how are you differentiating your time-off from your time-on?  Is it hard for you?

Isolation/Lockdown & YouTube

I’ve been impressed with several of the youtubers I follow for their isolation/work from home/pandemic videos.  Sort of making lemonade from lemons sort of situation.

Today I Found Out is the podcast I’ve been listening to the most lately, and they did a show on pandemics.

Binging With Babish is a pretty awesome cooking show (also, he’s from Rochester!)  He did a pantry staple show on chickpeas and then, once he got sick, did the Cold Cure from Kenan and Kel.

Speaking of Pantry staples, check out Alton Brown’s most recent videos, including his hand washing video (go with “no cleaver.”).

And then Bon Apetit did a Cooking from Home episode which was pretty awesome.

Is there’s any working-from-home content you guys’ve been enjoying?

 

 

 

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirteen

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina steered them away from the exiting crowd, off to the left where there weren’t many campsites, being instead things like the utility shack and the groundskeeper’s hut and other such unsightly things that kept the place going.  “So,” she murmured a little while later, “who-?”

“My aunts.  My dad’s sisters.”  Ethan made a face. “They’re uh, the Handmaidens of the Organization and they’re the reason my dad and mom got into it.  They’re pretty —”

“Creepy,” Dylan put in.  “And the stuff with your parents,” he gestured at Lina, “that’s the sort of stuff the higher-ups in the Organization – my dad, his aunts, you know – they don’t want people to talk about.  Or even really think about.”

“What did my parents do?  I mean, okay, folding space.  But that’s not-“

“Your parents were trying to start a splinter group,” Ethan cut in.  “Not quite the same thing, and I’m sort of surprised they’re here, because they had a different interpretation of the prophecy.  And what the Organization was supposed to do. And who should be in charge-“

“What, Dad?” Lina asked bitterly.  Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 9

 Yesterday, for breakfast, we had steel cut oats with applesauce, cooked on the wood stove slowly. 

When I asked T what he wanted for breakfast today, he answered “pancakes.”

Our eating patterns are, ah, suddenly All Weekend All the Time. 

(though pancakes are only a possibility ’cause I don’t have a meeting this morning; they take too much stove time otherwise.)

Since i started working from home, we’ve had lots of days of my standard Breakfast Oatmeal (Rolled oats and Bob’s Red Mill 7 grain), a couple days of steel cut oats, some eggs on toast… 

what I think of as Weekend Breakfasts, big and filling before we (sometimes) go out and Do Things. 

(At work, breakfast is small, generally cheerios or yogurt, and then lunch is often from the dining hall across the street which, being the hotellie dining hall, has really good food.)

(I do miss those tacos, even though T’s cooking is amazing.)

Our whole eating pattern has changed with this work-from-home, and I wonder if I’ll miss big breakfasts when the world goes back to normal. 

How are your eating patterns changing, if at all?  Are you keeping to your same routines, as suggested, and how do you manage that?

(And then I lost 10 minutes looking up “Keep to your Routine” memes, oops.)

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 6 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.

There was a girl named Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre, and because she had been named this, or at least that was what she’d been told, she sat down on a throne.

The throne was in a tower which had been left as if its inhabitants planned on coming back any moment.

But they hadn’t, and Malina, led by a talking sand-cat & carried by a mustang, had.

She sat down gingerly on the throne, worried it might crumble to dust, even though it had held the cat fine.

The throne held her weight; the cushion was so soft and comfortable that she could see why the cat had wanted to stay there. It was too large for her, as if it had been meant to hold a very large person, but if she scooted forward, she could see how the arm rests had been carved to fit hands, so they’d rest comfortably and royally while the person there did whatever they did in this room. Continue reading