Sunday, June 13, 2021

June 2021 Update on My Activities

This post is quite long, perhaps more than you will care to read.  Or, if you enjoy these kinds of posts, then this will be a good one.  

The first part of this post was written in May.  That part is as follows with some added notes for clarity.

I have some draft posts that were written at various times in the last year.  My enthusiasm for this blog dipped when Blogger changed the interface.  The interface has improved somewhat, so I expect to resume some regularity in posting once I am out for summer break.  (Note: That didn't happen.)

I have reduced my extra books to the point where I have some space on the shelves allotted to them.  My problem now is that I am still using too many shelves for my extra books, so I hope to reduce the quantity a bit more in the next few weeks.

February to the present (Note: early May when written) has been an incredibly stressful, difficult time for multiple reasons. 

The two winter storms and extreme cold that occurred simultaneously in February were devastating.  In Oklahoma, it was the coldest stretch in over 100 years.  Around half of the bushes lost all growth from above ground level.  They are now coming up from the roots.  Some bushes were completely killed, including the roots.  Some large trees were also damaged or killed. 

The bird and squirrel populations were decimated.  There are very few birds flying around and far fewer squirrels than usual.  I always put out seed for the birds and squirrels.  In the past, multiple squirrels and six to 12 birds could be seen eating the seed at any given time.  Now, I see no birds or squirrels eating the seed during most hours of the day.  Every so often, one squirrel or just one or two birds might show up to eat.  The squirrel and bird populations in the vicinity of my home have decreased by more than 75%. 

I actually was a bit traumatized by the cold spell, just like I was after the horrific ice storm in October.  I received my first Moderna Covid-19 shot on February 24, which caused an autoimmune flare.  I had pretty much recovered (or so I thought) from that by March 30, when I received the second shot.  I then had another flare, which I didn't perceive to be too awful.  It was bad, but I dealt with it.

It was not until around May 10 that I realized how messed up I had been for 2 1/2 months.  I felt the depression lift.  I didn't know that I was depressed.  I knew that I didn't feel normal and that I was stressed, but I didn't perceive that it was a big deal.  When the fog lifted, it was like I had taken a happy pill.  Wow.  I hadn't been well physically or mentally for 2 1/2 months.

During the 2 1/2 months that I wasn't well, I was under a large amount of stress.  We started making our students take tests on paper once again, and the students did not adjust well.  That was difficult.  I started selling again on March 13.  That went pretty well, actually a bit too well.  I sold so much that it finally got to me.  (Note:  In the last three months, I have sold as many books as I normally sell in an entire calendar year.)  I was incredibly stressed by the number of packages that I was having to prepare.  I pulled back on listing new items, which caused my sales to slacken off somewhat.  That helped a little bit.

It was in late April that I felt the very highest amount of stress.  Around then, problems on Facebook increased.  I manage some groups, and one group in particular is continually a problem because it has a bloated membership.  Several people kept submitting posts that were problematic for various reasons.

Those people might post about an extremely obscure series but not explain what it is.  We won't blindly approve something when we can't figure out what it is within around 30 seconds.  We repeatedly advised those people to explain their content, but they didn't seem to get the message.

At the same time, others used loopholes in the rules to get posts approved that shouldn't be in the group.  I won't get into the specifics of exactly what transpired, but I finally reached a point where I was done with letting people sneak things in under a loophole.  It just wasn't worth my time or trouble.  I have been stretched so thin the last few months, and I finally had enough.  No more loopholes.  On May 7, I decided that I was completely done with dealing with certain kinds of posts.

That was what I wrote in May.  I am now two weeks into summer break, and honestly, I am still a bit stressed for multiple reasons.  

Graduation was three weeks ago.  The ceremony was held outdoors due to pandemic precautions.  Of course it rained on us.  It was rather... unpleasant.  We all laughed about it.  What else could we do?  I dealt with it okay, or so I thought.  However, my autoimmune disease does like to betray me.  The very next day I began dealing with horrific tooth and jaw pain that was quite intense.  It has really settled down in the last week, so I think I'm going to be okay without having to get major dental work. 

My dentist wants to pull a tooth and put a crown on another in an attempt to solve the problem, but that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  They don't think that an autoimmune flare could be causing the pain, but I know my body.  In fact, I believe that the Moderna vaccine is still affecting my immune system, and that I'm not back to normal.  Oh, and my thyroid medication was recalled again in early May.  So there are several reasons why I would be having autoimmune problems at this time.    

While I have been dealing with intense pain, I have worked on the next step in getting my collection in order.  I have reduced my extra books, and now I need to start rearranging and getting my other collections out of drawers.  This has snowballed into a rather large project, so I haven't gotten that far.  

It started with my closet.  I wanted to remove my closet doors and change to curtains covering the opening.  But I now hate the light pink paint on the walls.  I didn't want to purchase curtains to match paint that I no longer like.  I decided to repaint the room.  I chose a nice shade of blue, then I found curtains that would look good.  Painting the inside of the closet took forever.  When I finished painting the inside of the closet and around the opening, I finally hung up the Judy Bolton Ghost Parade Spirit Masks I purchased in February just before the terrible cold spell.    

I started painting two of the walls.  I then decided to replace a piece of furniture and get new carpet in the room once I am finished painting. 

At present, I have a big task in front of me, which I am dreading.  In order to paint the third wall, I need to pull down all my Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton books with dust jackets, plus all the books that are shelved behind them. 

I can't stack the books on the floor, since I have to protect them from the cats.  I'm going to have to stack them on top of books that are shelved in other rooms.  I don't have much extra shelf space even after having sold a huge number of books since March.  Space is still at a premium.  

So, that's why I have seemingly abandoned the blog and am not posting much of anything on Facebook.  Once I get this project done, I can finally reorganize my collections as I originally planned.  This is apparently how I am spending my summer break.  

Before I started painting, I listed a large number of books on both eBay and Etsy in late May.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Sometime after I finish painting, I will have some more interesting items to list.  As I move my possessions around, I continue to find books and other items that I no longer want to keep.


Dave said...

Thank you for your informative posts.

What do the stars on the book spines in the photo signify?

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading about your activities. As a teacher myself, I can really relate to everything you shared. The end of the school year is always a very stressful time but this year was hugely more intense. Where I am here in Northern California, we had a graduation on the field outside two weeks ago. It was the first time the entire class was together in the same place all year and the last time. I've been sick ever since. Bone dead tired. At first I was afraid I had gotten COVID but thankfully have tested negative. Now just realize that I've been bone dead tired for months, but didn't have time to pay attention to it amidst the pressure. Now I am paying attention and my body is saying ...Enough!!! Well, best wishes to you with your projects and hopefully summer break will relieve some of the stress you've been under for so long. As a teacher summer is a funny thing...a relief but always a bit of a stress as well to get all the things done at last that there is finally time for before it's time to get to deep into thinking about school again. Also in terms of the environment, it's amazing how animals in nature can come back after devastating natural disasters. In Paradise, CA my mother always fed the squirrels and birds at her home. When she was able to return after the fire, she placed food out in the same place as before and although all the houses around were gone and most of the trees destroyed, amazingly within five months there were birds and squirrels coming to that location to eat the food from who knows where and they were somehow adapting. So hoping the bird and squirrel population bounce back for you somehow. Thanks again for sharing! I've been reading through your blog for the past couple of weeks and really appreciate all the work you've put into it and am just amazed by you! You are one awesome person to share all this information. Such a wonderful resource to help and inspire so many people!

Jennifer White said...

Dave - The stars indicate that those books are the first printing books and jackets according to Farah's Guide for Nancy Drew or Clarke's Guide for Judy Bolton. I need to do the same for my Dana Girls books, since I do have a few first printings.

Anonymous - I think in my case that the stress of over a year finally dragged me down in the last two to three months of school. I was deathly afraid of getting the virus until after I reached immunity after vaccination. Even though I was in the clear by April, the stress caught up with me. It also didn't help to have a reaction to the vaccine.

I figure that the animal population will gradually recover. On the plus side, there are four roadrunners that have taken up residence in my neighborhood this year. We have practically no other birds, but we do now have roadrunners. They don't seem afraid of people and have been running around the yard in search of worms and other prey.

Julie Ratcliffe said...

Hi Jennifer,
I'm glad to know you are feeling better. The Moderna kicked my butt, too. I had the
covid last March and apparently that leaves you vulnerable to bad side effects.
Sorry to hear about the birds and squirrels. Here's hoping the road runners are the first colonizers.