Work From Home Blog: Day 14






 Yesterday was pretty much a loss in terms of work, because I took a half-day and then spent a bit too much OF said half-day…

…researching refrigerators. 

Ours is dying slowly, which means everything in the freezer is still frozen but everything in the fridge is… just not quite cold enough.  We’ve loaded it up with ice packs from the chest freezer (hey! a plus to getting all those ice packs – my MS drugs come packed in ice in foam coolers, every 3 months ) so we’re not in immediate danger of losing anything, but it’s time for a new fridge. 

I’ve even picked one out!  Now I just have to make the Lowes system let me buy it. 



Warning, after this, this post gets into the pandemic stuff and gets a little depressed. 

Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 13


 It seems my most useful skill at work currently is my ability to work from home and my practice dealing with my boss remotely.  

Well, possibly not the most useful; but with a desk set-up and my own office space, I seem to be doing better than a number of my co-workers.  

Kunama asked about skills I use in work, and I’m going to talk first about one I don’t get enough use out of right now – Excel. 

I am pretty darn good at excel, but those skills are sadly not needed nearly as much at this job as they were at the last (Trade-offs.  This job is not driving me insane. You know, plusses and minuses.) One year at my old job, my boss gave me an unwitting birthday present of creating a spreadsheet that literally took me the whole day to make. It was great. 

My wordcount spreadsheet is more complicated than anything I have to make in this job. 

/melodramatic woe

On the other hand: copyediting!  I am seriously listed as copyeditor on a formal journal and that is a reasonably large portion of my job (not enough, the editors move slow and the reviewers move slower).  I am learning LaTeX (slowly) and learning enough statistics to be able to tell if something is a typo or just Written in Stats. I regularly copyedit my boss’s proposals, fancy emails, and the like as well. 

Lately, it seems my most useful skill at work comes from LARPing. 

Specifically, Vampire LARP, playing politics with handfuls of other nerds pretending to be centuries-old vampires. 

There’s a lot of learning how to say what you’re saying without saying it going on in that sort of politicking environment, and there’s a lot of learning to listen to what people aren’t saying in response. 

(It leaked into Fae Apoc more than a little, which is unsurprising considering I was fresh from 10+ years of actively playing the game when I created Fae Apoc.)

The Dean talks. The Vice-President of the Uni talks. The President of the Uni sends e-mails. The Associate Deans talk. 

And I listen between the lines a lot. 

(I think I like the copyediting more.)

How are you doing with your job skills? How are they translating to the current situation?


Work From Home Blog: Day 12


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.

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, — 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),, 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


(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?  

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?




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.)

Work From Home Blog: Day 7

One thing I didn’t think I’d say but found myself saying yesterday was “there’s less distractions from the screen at home.”

When you take it apart, it’s kind of true. In the office, I could get up and take a walk around the building with my co-worker, no matter what the weather. That’s a five minute walk (It’s a big building).  People would stop in and want to talk (I miss the Lecturer in Recent Runes and my favorite facilities guy, who calls Nice Co-Worker and me Sisters of Mercy). Or I would get up and talk. 

Okay, I can get up and talk to Husband, but I can also, you know, Discord him and I’m trying to get him in the mindset that I am At Work between 7:30 and 4:20. 

And then, of course, most of my socialization, most of my entertainment, my writing, and now even my meetings are all on screens. 

This is actually more screen time than I used to have in the office, which is a little funny and a little migraine-inducing. 

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to get up once an hour and do something, even if it’s just walking to the other end of the house and back twice.  I’ve got the exercise bike; I did five minutes on that in the middle of the day (Yesterday was cold and drippy. Today I could actually take a walk outside, if isn’t lying to me.)

I did okay with that yesterday, in part aided by the Dr’s appointment I thought I had (turned out it’s APRIL 24th. I Swear they gave me the wrong date….)

(Our grocery store was pretty empty; also, it still has no TP. )

How’re you guys doing with screen time?  What do you do to get away from the computer when you’re working from home?

(Or, if you’re not working from home, how are you keeping busy?)

I’m thinking of taking up yoga, but ssshhhh, don’t tell my mother.