MMXX: October et November.

November was half over before I realized that I hadn’t posted about October, so here we are with a double-month extravaganza. Hooray? I guess?

MMXX: ten and eleven

LEARNING

I started a new writing course and a wardrobe course in October, but haven’t finished either one yet. I worked a bit on the writing course in November, too, but it got pushed aside for a while as I focused on my writing (as you’ll see below).

MAKING

I made some excellent pumpkin-ginger scones and some less-successful cinnamon scones in October, and I also sewed a hat for Halloween. I went full pumpkin in November: I made gluten-free pumpkin pancake squares, some delicious pumpkin muffins, and a crustless pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I also altered the waistband of some Eileen Fisher knit pants I found on eBay.

WRITING

I wrote the initial draft of a short story in early October, then wrote a cycle of nanofiction horror stories for Halloween. I got talked into doing Nanowrimo again this year, so I spent the last bit of October doing furious prep work for a new novella related to the serial I’ve been working on for a while. I actually wrote 50,000 words in November! This is only the second time I’ve “won” Nanowrimo, and I’m so excited that I ordered myself a trophy t-shirt.

CONNECTING

We had a socially-distanced outdoor lunch with my partner’s family in October, and I held my annual Halloween tea over Zoom. That was a lot of fun once we got the technical glitches sorted out. I talked to my Dad and E.K. over the phone — and texted people almost every day throughout both months.

HOUSEHOLD

We replaced our vacuum in October. I replaced our really ratty bottle brush and gross shower mat in November and also organized the pantry and freezer. I also broke down and got myself a proper wedge pillow. My gastroenterologist said it was best to sleep elevated, and I’d been making do with pillows piled over our rolled-up winter comforter. The new pillow arrived the very day it got cold enough to want to sleep under the comforter, proving once again that I have weirdly good luck.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I spent so much money on clothes. Just so much. I didn’t bother setting a budget for clothing in either month, and I still feel like I exceeded an imaginary number. I replaced all of my activewear, including sports bras, as I couldn’t wear any of my old stuff anymore, and I got a few pairs of trousers from eBay and Poshmark. The medication I’m currently on has allowed me to eat a little more, so my weight has stabilized for the moment, which made me feel safe to go ahead and buy a few things in my current size. I bought several things on sale during Thanksgiving week (all the sales seemed to start earlier than “Black Friday”), including several sewing patterns I’d had my eye on for a long time and an excellent deal on a pair of jeans from Universal Standard. I should spend less on clothing over the next couple of months, though I’m guessing that my book spending will bounce back up, as the library has limited loans through the Hoopla app to 4 titles a month again.

October Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $16.19
Audiobooks $25.00 / $20.49
All Sewing $50.00 Planned / $56.89
Clothing $– Planned / $129.38

November Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $9.72
Audiobooks $25.00 / $24.77
All Sewing $50.00 Planned / $82.08
Clothing $– Planned / $207.80

Household Spending
We’ve done okay the last couple of months. My dental procedure got postponed, and my next medical test has only just been scheduled, so both October and November looked pretty normal. I did spend a bit on holiday gifts in November, but the bulk of that spending will be in December.

How I saved money in October and November:

  • I downloaded three free sewing patterns: A witch’s hat, a unisex t-shirt, and a wrap skirt.
  • I downloaded two Amazon First Reads titles and a free Kindle book.
  • I finally had enough stars on my card to get a free chai at Starbucks.
  • I redeemed my survey money to get an Amazon gift card. It’s a little annoying that they won’t transfer to PayPal anymore, but this will help pad my book budget in the future.
  • I took advantage of several Black Friday sales, as I mentioned above.

How I made money in October and November:

  • A quarterly client paid without prompting in October!
  • I worked extra hours in October at my day job to prepare quarterly payroll reports.
  • I caught up ten months of work for one client in November, and they paid me within a week.
  • I got another client’s books up-to-date and was paid immediately. My clients have been on the ball lately!
FINAL THOUGHTS

I won’t say that I’m looking forward to my next medical test, but this test may definitively prove what at least three doctors have suspected. If so, I’ll have a clear way forward for treatment — and I do look forward to that. I’ve been feeling better, thanks to the medication, but it’s only treating some symptoms and isn’t a long-term solution. I’m grateful to be up and around more of the time, though. I’ve felt strong enough to take short walks a few times a week, and recently was able to walk almost three miles again! Considering that I couldn’t manage 2/3 of a mile in June, I’m definitely pleased with my progress. I’ve been able to eat a little more, too — more in quantity than variety, but I’m happy with any improvement, no matter how marginal. Less miserable is better, and any incremental improvement counts.