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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

My Dog Has Left Me

I simply couldn't compete.

 

My son's family joined us here on the farm to 'shelter in place'. They have squeezed into the little guest cottage. My 14 days of self quarantine are nearly up, but his family is only about 4 days into theirs.  So I am still 'no contact' with my grandkids.  I can watch them running across the pasture. I can light the campfire they built, and then retreat so they can enjoy it.  No touching.  Talking to each other from 8 or 10 feet away.  No sharing books or passing around cookies.

 

My dogs are both rescues.  Ginger from the Humane Society, and Molly, the younger dog was from a Belgian Malinois Rescue group. Ginger is older now but Molly is still all bounce and go.

 

Molly saw that they had brought Foxy the Border Collie, and Foxy is RICH!  She owns three teenagers and a six year old boy!  And she offered to share.  Five or six hikes down to the river a day! Numerous sticks and tennis balls thrown. Lots of chasing and rough housing.

 

A couple of times I called her back to me.  But the last time she cried.  I felt so mean.  They were doing night walks with a flashlight, and I was sitting in front of a keyboard.

 

I let her out and she was off like a shot to join them.

 

As it should be.

 

This virus pandemic is a terrible thing.  But even it has a silver lining for one dog.

 

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Robin's Rules for Working at/from Home

Robin's Rules for Working at Home And Actually Getting Something Done

 

We have all worked at home. If you made your bed, cooked a meal or swept a floor, you've worked at home. But now, perhaps, you are trying to do a different sort of work at home. In addition to being a writer, I'm the agent for a couple of family LLC's. That means a fairly constant stream of paperwork and phone calls to deal with, in addition to writing, housework, pets and family. By trial and error, I've come up with some things that work for me. They may or may not be helpful to you, especially if you are in a new situation.


1. Start organized. I didn't, of course, but organization has evolved. Not everyone has the luxury of a home office. You may be coping with half the kitchen table or the coffee table. Whatever you have, organize that space. And Start With Ergonomics! Best situation: You are sitting in a chair that supports your lower back. Your feet are flat on the floor. Your hands are level with your keyboard. Your screen is at eye level. (If you have only a laptop, I know you can't do this. So be aware that youa re tipping your head down, and take frequent breaks to stretch your neck.) Lift your eyes often to refocus on infinity out of a window. If you can't do that, at least look around the room. Stand up and stretch when you can.


2. Set attainable goals. You are not going to write a book today. But you can write a scene, or a chapter, maybe even two. Make your goal a measurable one. So many words or pages. Or X number of social emails handled.


3. This one helps me a lot. Do something visible. White board or print out document work. Sometime in the day, clean a window, bake a loaf of bread, weed a corner of your garden. Any task that you can look at tomorrow morning and say, 'Well, I got that done. What's next?" It's great for my morale to have an accomplishment I can see.


4. Allow for family members. In our current situation, you may have a spouse or kids racketing around while you are trying to achieve what you used to do in a work situation. Accept that you cannot duplicate that. If you have kids, set a timer or choose an hour, and do something that focuses on them. Turn on the radio/stereo and rock out with all of them. Play a game, bake some cookies, read a story. If little kids know they are guaranteed a chunk of your time, it helps them to be more patient. You will get more done despite taking family breaks.


5. Do it now. Whatever 'it' is. Start with email, perhaps. Sort, discard, and answer what needs an answer. If bills came in, pay them now. Face the revisions and get them done. Process and file any mail that comes in. Don't let anything stack up. If there is anything you hate or dread, make yourself do it first and get it over with.


6. This is the Mom lecture part. You will need to take regular breaks. Don't let it be an alcohol/nicotine break every time. It becomes a ritual, and it can greatly increase your consumption. Have a lovely cup of tea. Have a stretching routine. Take the dog out into the yard.


7. I hope this is helpful to someone! As always, what works for me may not for you!

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Another Day in Self Imposed Isolation

And the truth is, I've been getting a lot done.  I think that work that busies my hands leaves my mind free to both compose part of books, or grasp the bigger picture of my life.

 

Today's busy work involved moving some onions that had survived the winter, and planting some experimental potatoes. I'm still getting hard frosts at night here, so they will either grow and be ready early, or freeze into mush.  We will see.  

 

I took my dogs for a walk on our acreage down to where I could trespass jsut a little and look at the Nisqually River.  We had floods just a couple of months ago, and the river has shifted in its bed, leaving more bank on my side, and some interesting gravel bars.  I saw deer tracks, what might have been elk, and the little handprints of a raccoon, but no wildlife in person.  Except a frog.  

 

I also paid all the bills today and changed my phone plan to include more data.  My younger daughter has borrowed my little 'hot spot' and is also self isolating where there is no internet.  According to my provider, her watching two movies consumed a gig of data!  Really?

 

And that was pretty much my day.  A much more pleasant day than most isolated seniors are having, I am sure.

 

 

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