Tues. March 31, 2020: StayTheFHome Day 7

Mon day, March 31, 2020
Waxing Moon
Foggy & cold

We survived another day. That feels like a victory right now.

Going to the pharmacy & grocery store was stressful on Friday. But both CVS & Trader Joe’s are handling it well.

We followed strict disinfectant protocols when I came home. Took longer than the shopping, but worth it if we survive.

Rest of the weekend was fine. Started some work in the beds outside, but the weather’s been bad, so I’m limited. Did some planting & replanting inside. Did laundry, switched the bed linens from fleece to flannel, did the weekly cleaning. Baked a cake. Cooked. Did a lot of yoga & meditation.

Read the books for review & wrote the reviews. Worked on contest entries. Made the decisions in one category & have to finish entering the data. Went back to working on the other category.

Yesterday, sent off the reviews, received the next book. Worked on contest entries. Did some client work. Started work on my article.

Comcast is useless. Why did I ever think they would fulfill their pandemic promise?

We listen to Cuomo every day, and sometimes to our own governor. Cases are accelerating here in MA.

We do not listen to the Murdering Narcissist and his minions. They have nothing to offer but their glee as people die.

I have plenty of work to keep me busy, although not enough money coming in. But I don’t get bored. There’s writing and a little client work and books and articles and cleaning out the basement and mending and plenty to do.

Put in the Chewy order, figuring it will take longer, and wanting to get it in well before it’s needed.

Hope you are all doing well. Having weird dreams.

Much love.

Published in: on March 31, 2020 at 5:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 31, 2020: StayTheFHome Day 7  

Mon. March 30, 2020: Intent for the Week – Calm

image by leninscape via pixabay.com

Monday, March 30
Waxing Moon

This week, I intend to focus on pockets of calm I can build whenever and wherever I can. So much is changing. Certain things are changed forever.


That’s where I will find new strength.

What’s your focus this week?

Published in: on March 30, 2020 at 6:41 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 30, 2020: Intent for the Week – Calm  

Fri. March 27, 2020: StayTheFHome, Day 3

Friday, March 27, 2020
Waxing Moon
World Theatre Day
Still dark

Today is World Theatre Day. I celebrate my theatre family & will share videos, etc. on Twitter, as I come across them.

Comcast still hasn’t fixed the connection problem. Because of course they haven’t. It’s flipping a switch. Not installing anything. It’s allowing me to sign into my account, not telling me I don’t exist.

Yesterday was a good day. I’m tempted to call it a happy day, but then I’m afraid the other shoe will drop.

Wrote, worked on contest entries, did some client work, worked with the cats, cleaned the house, cooked, read.

Today, I have to go to CVS & the grocery store. CVS claims to deliver; maybe some of them do. When we tried to arrange it, we were told maybe sometime in the next three weeks. This is the same CVS where every prescription is a fight. Sorry. This is medication. It can’t wait 3 weeks. I have to take the risk of going in.

I can’t go to Trader Joe’s until 10 because of senior hours, so there will be a long line. Hopefully, the shelves won’t be bare, so I don’t have to keep increasing the risk by going to other stores.

When I get home, I’ll take my shoes off & leave them in the garage. Unpack & disinfect everything. Wipe down counters when I’m done. Disinfect the car. Strip down in the laundry room, put everything in the machine & wash it. Shower & dress in clean clothes. Wipe doorknobs & floors. I’ll set up the clothing stations & the disinfecting stations before I leave.

While my mother is safely in another part of the house.

I’m hoping not to go out again until a week from Sunday.

After I’m scrubbed, I’ll do some client work & maybe work in the yard.

The Sociopath is trying to break Cuomo between denying Federal aid & making snarky comments in the nightly Lie Rallies.

It won’t work. Every death weighs on the Governor. But he’s tough and he’s smart and he’s dedicated. He will work with others & do everything humanly possible & more.

What a contrast between a public servant with integrity & the moronic grifter.

Have a great weekend, all. Love to you.

Published in: on March 27, 2020 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 27, 2020: StayTheFHome, Day 3  

Thurs. March 26, 2020: #StayTheFHome Day 2

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Still dark

It was cloudy & rainy most of yesterday. No post on Gratitude & Growth, because there’s nothing to say.

Yesterday was the first day of the MA whatever it is. The Governor is a bit mealy-mouthed about what it IS. But we can’t use our re-usable bags in stores, and school closures ares are extended through April 30th.

Up to early, due to Charlotte. Regular morning routine with yoga, meditation, writing.

Spent hours fighting with Comcast because the special pandemic package is, of course, not true, I can’t get connected, and they say I don’t exist, although I used the link and info sent in the welcome email.. Still not resolved.

Did some remote work for a local client.

Finished contest entries in one category. Will pick the winner & finalists, do the paperwork, and move back to the next category today.

Watched Andrew Cuomo’s briefing, always worth it. He’s playing the federal game while still throwing down the gauntlet. He’s got a national plan that could be rolled out to save millions of lives, if the other governors are smart enough to get involved.

I believe the aid packages have to be split into individual aid, including UBI over a period of months. Corporate aid needs to be tied to how they treat workers during this time. Fire everyone or treat them like crap? Zero.

If the GOP screams, as it does, that individuals must have 3-6 months of savings on minimum wage jobs with no benefits, then multi-million dollar companies with overpriced executives shouldn’t be screaming poverty after 2 weeks.

My mother is scared, being 95 and all.

She & Charlotte are having conflicts.

I’m hoping the weather gets nicer so I can work in the yard.

Not feeling very creative right now, but doing the best I can.

I could do better if Comcast would stop fucking around, but that’s as unlikely as a Republican with a soul.


Published in: on March 26, 2020 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 26, 2020: #StayTheFHome Day 2  

March 25, 2020: Non-Essential Business Closed in MA

Wednesday, March 25,2020
Waxing Moon
Still dark

The state closed all non-essential businesses as of noon yesterday until April 7. It’s a relief, honestly, because that means less arguing with clients about onsite work. Although one client said, “Oh, nobody will notice if you come in.” Um, no. I’ll do what I can remotely.

So Monday was a scramble to put things in place. I couldn’t take my mom to the bank for the paperwork we needed to sign. We figured we’d go Tuesday before noon. Her bank sent an email stating they had special hours for seniors in the morning for just that.

Only, of course, they didn’t. They closed the lobby completely. So we can’t do the necessary paperwork. It can’t be done online.

I’m drafting a temporary document to cover in the interim & sending it in.

There’s less stress being home. I wrote, worked on contest entries, downloaded two more books for review. Hung up the wind chimes on the deck. It was too cold to work in the yard.

Andrew Cuomo’s briefing was, as always, wonderful. He presented a national plan of states helping states that can get us through it.

That’s in sharp contrast to the Sociopath getting bored with the virus & telling people to go back to work in 15 days.

The Sociopath also signed a death warrant for tens of thousands of New Yorkers (to start; it will spread over the country). He refuses to use the DPA to manufacture medical supplies, and only sent 4K ventilators to NY, knowing they will need 26K in 14-21 days. He basically told New York to fuck off & die. And he’s ENJOYING that people will die. It makes him feel powerful.

He wants to re-open the country by Easter. Causing more deaths. He’s insane.

It proves what many suspected at the time: Letting Americans die in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria was the test run.

What a disgusting, despicable human being.

His cronies, saying older people should be willing to “sacrifice” themselves for the stock market are just as bad. Let all these old white corporate men go first.

I’m in despair for the country.

Meanwhile, trying to plug away as best I can. Hoping it will be nice today so I can work in the yard. Friday, I have to pick up my mother’s medication & go grocery shopping. I already dread it.

Supposedly, there is a new relief package deal. Talking about $1200 for those making under $75K a year. I’m wondering if that is per month or a one-time payment. Because this is going to last more than a month. $1200 for indefinite time won’t cut it.

Day by day. Just trying to survive the best we can. Keep a routine as normal as possible. Work remotely with clients who aren’t used to it– one client is keeping us on regular pay for the next 2 weeks, and I’m going to do a few remote hours for her every day. I don’t do that many hours for her a week, and I can’t do everything remote, but I’ll do what I can.

I hope to finish contest entries for one genre today, enter everything, and work on the other. And also work on the books for review, so I can invoice.

Day by day. Moment by moment.

I hope you’re all doing well.

Charlotte wasn’t afraid of the garbage truck yesterday, so at least there’s progress on one front!

Published in: on March 25, 2020 at 5:05 am  Comments (2)  

Tues. March 24, 2020: Stay in Motion At Home

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
New Moon

Things are changing, moment to moment.

Last Wednesday was a roller coaster, work-wise. I broke up with one client, who refused to let me write a newsletter remotely. She wants all her people on site so she “knows they’re working.” She doesn’t believe this virus is serious; thinks it’s a “liberal hoax.”

I told her I wasn’t coming in. She told me she wouldn’t pay me if I wouldn’t come in. I said I wasn’t going to put my life and my family’s lives in danger to write her newsletter, and it was best she hire someone else. She told me that I would come crawling back to her when this was all over. I told her that no, I wouldn’t. I’m done with her.

Yesterday, she got in touch to tell me she would “let” me write the newsletter from home — but she wasn’t going to pay me. Her policy is that she only pays people who work on site. Let me point out that her business falls into the “non-essential” category and ALL her employees could work from home if she’d let them. I told her I wasn’t going to work for free. On top of the fact that I no longer worked for her AT ALL. When I told her I was done last week, I meant it.

The client who was away last week is going to self-quarantine for two weeks upon her return, so at least we got that sorted out. Not that I think there should be any sort of contact, even beyond that. We’ll take it from there, but I have a feeling that relationship is close to ending, too.

Also found out that someone who was an important part of my life during a turbulent period (but with whom I lost touch the past few years), died at the end of February (not from the virus; he’d been ill for a long time). On Thursday, I found out an acquaintance in CT shot himself in January.

Kind of a lot of emotional stuff going on the past few days.

Thursday was cold and rainy. I worked remotely, finished one of the books for review, worked on contest entries, had a decent writing day.

So GOP Senators hid the information about the pandemic so they could profit by selling stocks. Gee, what a surprise. There need to be serious, serious, and long-range consequences for that.

A local paper ran an irresponsible article on how grocery stores can’t keep their shelves stocked — way to incite more panic-buying, guys. No reason the headline and the story couldn’t have been framed to show how those workers are busting their asses to keep us all supplied. But no– go for the panic headline.

Friday morning, I had to swing by the post office to mail some bills because the mail truck drove right past the last few days. Then, it was off to put gas in the car, and head to Trader Joe’s.

They were only letting in a few people at a time. Most of us formed a line and kept a safe distance. One woman behind me kept getting to close and trying to cut in front of me until I told her to back off.

Inside, everyone was keeping a safe distance. The staff was lovely. Things were stocked, and they’re limiting shoppers to 2 of each item, or 1 full cart total. I didn’t need all that much — although I realized I’d forgotten flour, once I was through the checkout. Too bad for me. I’m on my last 5 pounds of it, but that should get me through the week. No chicken, either — bags of pieces, but not whole chickens.

Target was next — garbage bags, Murphy’s oil soap, looking for liquid Tylenol (they were out). Again, people keeping a safe distance, plenty of cleaning wipes.

Shaw’s last. No flour to be found in the whole store, and barely any other baking supplies. Good that people are baking. No powdered milk left, and the condensed was very expensive. But I got the real thing at Trader Joe’s, so we’re okay this week. But I managed to get a whole chicken (they just put them out) and a bag of popcorn (kernels – I cook it in a pot on the stove). Again, people were considerate and distanced in the store — for the most part. Except in line, where people kept trying to cut the line because of that distance, and think it was funny. Also, people were panic buying in Shaw’s — twelve multi-packs of toilet paper and the like. People are still panic buying TP for some reason.

It was so foggy I could barely find my car in the parking lot.

Came home, scrubbed down, scrubbed the items, scrubbed the bags, scrubbed the car. Was a complete wreck.

I made a spinach-bacon-tomato-egg salad for lunch, based on something I had a few years ago at Kripalu.

I settled in to work on contest entries, which was fun. And did a good immune system strengthening yoga sequence in the afternoon. Spent quality time with Tessa, did some work with Charlotte. Charlotte’s shown improvement this week. She and Tessa still have issues, but overall, Charlotte is improving. Willa just copes.

Cooked dinner (salmon patties, rice, spinach). Watched a video, read.

Good evening meditation. I’m leaning on my yoga and meditation practices a lot.

Trying to make some decisions about a couple of work issues moving forward. Trying to move a few things around, to make it easier and more productive to keep working from home, and to shed the clients who demand I put my life in danger to work for them.

Up early Saturday. Good morning yoga and first writing sessions. Got the next book to review. Worked on entering data from the contest entries I’ve read.

Broadway is stepping up. The wardrobe union is in touch with Cuomo’s office to make masks for the healthcare workers. Since Trump won’t help with the supply chain, Broadway stitchers are stepping up. The union is coordinating — not yet sure if it’s just NY or on a national level. Because it’s not just finding a pattern on the Internet and using scraps you find around the house. There are specific specs, and one has to figure out how to get them to the coordinators and when and where the masks will be sterilized. Jo-Ann Fabrics is also supposedly supplying fabric and coordinating efforts nationwide.

Got some writing done over the weekend, read and reviewed another book, worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one category, and then can focus on the rest of the other.

I should have done yard work on Sunday, but I didn’t.

Monday, one of my remaining clients and I strategized on how we will keep her business afloat. I was worried about stress from her, but it was a good conversation.

Came home and my mother and I had to go in-person to the bank to handle some signatures they needed to notarize in case something happens to one or the other of us. That doesn’t help our stress levels, either. It’s terrifying and necessary. And heart-breaking.

Andrew Cuomo’s briefings are what’s the most helpful right now. While he gives specifics to New York, he sets out plans that can be adapted across the country. He also deals with the emotional fallout of all of this. He is calm, direct, fact-based, states when something is an opinion, and reassuring.

I’m imagining the Javits Center set up as a field hospital. Mind-blowing.

Then, you have the Narcissistic Sociopath, who is withholding supplies from blue states and refusing to put the DPA into effect. He’s using his daily press conferences (for which he’s ALWAYS late) as his substitute rallies. He needs to STF up and get out of the way, so professionals can save lives. Then there’s Rand Paul, running around infecting people until he tested positive (he gets a test, asymptomatic, while people near death can’t)? Rand Paul claims to be a doctor, but this behavior makes me suspect his degree is off the back of a matchbook. Either that, or he didn’t take his medical Oath seriously. We already know he doesn’t take his Constitutional one seriously.

McConnell’s Slush Fund Bill, that failed in the house on Saturday night, was a travesty. Does nothing for workers, especially those at the bottom of the wage-earning scale (most of whom are the ones keeping us functioning). Allows Mnunchin to give Trump and other cronies billions of dollars without transparency. It needed to fail.

We need Basic Universal Income — the same for EVERYBODY, not tied to two year old tax returns. We need it THIS WEEK, before the bills are due. We need rents, evictions, mortgages, telecommunications, and utility bills suspended until it’s safe to go back to work out and about.

All of these corporations screaming for bailouts — they got an enormous tax break a few years ago. They could have put it back into their business, investing in workforce and building up a reserve against future downturns. They CHOSE not to. They CHOSE to line executive and shareholder pockets and ignore the workforce.

The pandemic is not a surprise. For my entire adult life, scientists have warned us something like this would happen. I had hoped it wouldn’t in my lifetime, but it has. Even if corporations had put a single-digit percentage of their overblown profits into a disaster fund, they would have billions in reserve by now to get through this and get their workers through this. They CHOSE not to.

Don’t reward them by giving them blank checks. They keep proving they can’t manage money or their workforce. Stop rewarding them for being lousy executives and managers.

We need to remember the companies, on large and small scales, who are treating their people like crap during this. And hold them accountable.

I’m plugging along on various writing projects. It’s difficult to know what or where to pitch articles right now. Things are changing quickly. My versatility is a plus in all this change, but I also want to make sure nothing comes across as tone-deaf.

Speaking of tone-deaf, my mother got a harassing mailing from a company selling hearing aids. It started with, “You want us to send out a search party?” because she hasn’t responded to any of their previous harassing mailings. Then, it DEMANDS she attend a sales presentation this week. In person.

They can take that mailing and shove it. How dare they? How DARE they send out something like that to elderly people at a time like this?

Their defense will be that it went out before all this happened. No, hon, it didn’t. Your address is up the street. I was in contact with them to rip them a new one, and filed a grievance against them with the state AG. This is unacceptable.

On a happier note, I have the #31Prompts going up every morning at 11 AM. If anyone wants to use them as a jumping off point for creative work, please do.

We are taking it day by day, hoping for the best. I wish every trip outside wasn’t so fraught, because there are still people running around acting like it’s a hoax. They’re killing people.

And the Narcissistic Sociopath is killing people — and ENJOYING IT, along with his grifting family and white supremacist staff. They must be held accountable for every single death.

The staying home, working from home, not interacting — that part is all fine. I’m a skilled, reliable, experienced remote worker. I can keep a somewhat normal schedule and just not run out to the store “for just one thing.” I’m trying to go out only once or twice a week. I can set a schedule for writing work and freelance work and meet that schedule. I can work on purging the basement as soon as I can lift things again, and get ahead on that. I am happy at home. I like cozy. I can work in the yard once it gets a little warmer. Staying on my own patch, working, and keeping myself on an even physical and emotional keel is fine. I’m an introvert.

But it’s the demands that I keep putting my life on the line for other people’s convenience, when they don’t want to do their part, that’s so infuriating.

Fingers crossed we make it through another day.


Published in: on March 24, 2020 at 6:01 am  Comments (1)  

Mon. March 23, 2020: Intent for the Week–More Healing

image courtesy of wingsofcompaasion via pixabay.com

Monday, March 23, 2020
Dark Moon

Even though my surgery was cancelled on Friday, I want to concentrate on healing. We have to take all this day by day. We don’t know what any new day will bring.

One of the biggest challenges in that is keeping other people’s agendas and demands at arm’s length. In some respects, I need to be ruthlessly selfish right now, or I’ll pay for it down the road. My intent is to be both firm and kind. But if my boundaries aren’t respected, it’s the firmness that will take precedence.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 23, 2020 at 5:58 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 23, 2020: Intent for the Week–More Healing  

Fri. March 20, 2020: Second Surgery Cancelled

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

My second surgery was supposed to be today, but it’s cancelled. So I’m enjoying the day and working at home instead.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 20, 2020 at 6:20 am  Comments (1)  

Thurs. March 19, 2020: It’s Not All Working in Pajamas and Drinking Wine

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Waning Moon
Ostara – Spring Equinox

Today is when the hours of daylight balance the hours of dark, and daylight lengthens until Midsummer. May that be a good omen for the coming months!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for a garden update.

I am grateful that the bulk of my work can be done remotely. I am a skilled and experienced remote worker, productive and reliable. I am lucky enough to live in a space that has a covered deck and a yard big enough so I can get out in the fresh air. If I was still in my 42nd Street NYC apartment, it would be quite different.

We’re all having different kinds of stresses, and I’m going to talk about some of the ones that I’m facing as a freelancer, and stresses some of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are going through.

The worst stress in this situation, for me, comes from the clients who demand that I work onsite. I’ve ended relationships with some of them. I doubt we’ll work together again after this is over. One client is away this week; I’ve been able to work in an empty office. The other in-office person and I are staggering hours and disinfecting doorknobs, surfaces, etc. when we enter and leave. But next week, when she’s back and doesn’t believe a virus would ever dare attack her? Or that she couldn’t possibly be a carrier? We have a problem.

Stresses are added as other small business clients cancel upcoming projects. I totally understand. I’ve offered to help them craft and send their COVID-19 policy email blasts or web copy at a reduced rate and then, if they need remote help during the quarantine, or getting back up to speed at the end of it (whenever that will be), we can work out a rate that works for both of us — so I’m not hurting myself, but not taking advantage of them, either. Most of them don’t want to craft a policy statement — they just want to stop it all and throw up a few words on their website or in their auto-response. I understand that reaction, but I believe a thoughtful, well-crafted statement will serve them better in the long run. Keep communication open. Let your customers/audience know you care, wish them well, and look forward to hosting them again when it’s safe and possible.

Stresses are added as non-clients, who’ve always sneered at what I do, saying, “I don’t pay for that” (meaning writing and marketing) are now coming to me DEMANDING that I write copy and market their business FOR FREE so they can stay afloat. I’m being told I “owe it to the community.”

No, I don’t. Especially not to people who never took what I did seriously. I, too, have bills to pay. Plus, a lot of the strategy they want is fear-based and predatory, and I won’t participate in that.

Stresses are added when people contact me and DEMAND that all my books be available for free. My publisher and I considered doing that with the first book in each series. It would take at least two weeks to put the change through in a normal situation, with the distributors. It would take longer now, with people not being able to go into work, and not every system being set up so that it can all be done remotely. I heard a rumor that Amazon’s not filling Kindle orders, and that they’re only shipping physical orders they deem “essential.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

But with all these demands that all of my books are up for free? John Scalzi and TOR can afford to put up RED SHIRTS for free as part of their book club. Believe me, I’m glad they did. Other authors are putting up their books for free. Great. They have the resources. I don’t. The books that sold in the last few months (whose royalty check should be coming through shortly, because it’s 45 days after the end of the half-year) will pay my utilities. I hope. Or maybe my mother’s health insurance next month, when I might not have the money coming in the week I usually do to pay for it.

Stresses are added when clueless recruiters contact me, having found my profile on LinkedIn. One recruiter told me that if I “really wanted” to work for the company he represented, I would be willing to commute in to Boston during the pandemic, because “it’s not killing as many people as the flu does.” This is for copywriting. There is no reason copywriting can’t be done remotely.

I told him to grow up and stop watching Fox News.

When I asked another recruiter who approached me what their COVID-19 policy is, I was told, “We don’t have one. We don’t need one. People don’t come in, they’re fired. When this is all over, the unemployment rate will be 20% and we can hire anyone at half of what we’re paying them now.”

Again, this is for copywriting. No reason it can’t be done remotely.

Stresses are added when idiots on social media rant that it’s “obvious” that any job that can be done remotely isn’t “real” or “necessary” and only those done in-person are. Um, no. Both kinds of work are essential, in different ways. What it does is spotlight HOW MUCH work could and should be done remotely, but how little employers trust the people they hire. It spotlights that workers that we need to be onsite — in the grocery stores, truck drivers, gas station attendants, sanitation workers, and all kinds of health care professionals and first responders, deserve a living wage and benefits. It spotlights that EVERY company, no matter what size, MUST give their workers paid sick leave, including part-time workers, and that health insurance cannot be tied to one’s job. On top of that, it feeds into the whole myth that artists shouldn’t be paid for their work because it isn’t “real” work and they should be doing it “for the love of it.” No, it’s a valid profession.

It’s stressful to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, for obvious reasons, between people panic buying and the worry that we could all infect each other. Someone actually said I was “lucky” to have an elderly parent, so I could take her along and take advantage of the grocery store’s special hours for the elderly. Um, no. She’s staying HOME. I can go shopping an hour later, and then scrub down and disinfect when I get home.

The actual part when I’m home, plugging along at my work? Is pretty normal. I enjoy the work, as I said, I’m skilled and productive in remote work. I’m trying to offer advice and support and resources to people trying to adjust to working for home. I love working remotely, I always have. I take joy in what I do. I’m an introvert, so not socializing for weeks is fine — I’m fine interacting on social media. I miss going to museums and the library, but I’m not having a hard time in the same way extroverts are struggling. I’m lucky that I know how to keep myself occupied and engaged. I’m lucky that I need a lot of solitude.

Parents are under huge stresses with kids home. If they can’t work remotely, who looks after the kids? If they can work remotely, it’s about figuring out how to get work done while also trying to keep school-age kids learning, and younger kids occupied. I’ve heard that some of these online sessions demand up to seven hours a day of “monitored” learning by the parent. WTF?

When I was in fourth grade, I had to travel with my family from New York back to Chicago because my dad had a special surgery there. My teacher sent me with an entire suitcase full of schoolbooks (no internet at that time). I sat, in the hotel room, for six hours a day, and did my work. Quietly. Because once my dad was out of the hospital, he was resting in the other part of the suite, and I had to be quiet. I mailed my assignments in once a week. I had other books to read when I wasn’t working, and board games. Cards. Lots of cards. I remember playing so many card games. That serves me to this day. My mother and I went to museums and the zoo and walked around when we could (which was lucky — we didn’t have to isolate). But my mother wasn’t “monitoring” my schoolwork. She had to deal with hospital issues and field questions and issues from my father’s office. She was pretty fed up we had to lug an entire suitcase of books to Chicago, and she felt six hours’ worth of work a day was too much, but it was up to me to get it done. Granted, I was nine at the time, and able to take on that responsibility. If I was younger, it would have been harder. If I had been older, we’d have had to deal with bad attitude on my part, probably.

I was lucky growing up. I had more freedom than a lot of my peers, and lot more than most kids get today. But there were two things absolutely forbidden in the house. You never, ever, ever were “bored.” No such thing as boredom. The world is an interesting place, and if you’re bored, that’s on you. Engage. The other thing was I could never ask for something because “everyone” had it or did it. I had to present reasons why I wanted it that were separate from the herd.

Name actors who make millions per movie are fine, with all the entertainment shutdowns but the regular working actors? The tech crews? Musicians? They’re all suffering. This is the time the unions could step up and prove why they’re necessary, but all I hear is silence. I’m not hearing much from producers, either.

Marriott is laying people off, but there was a story that when workers file for unemployment, claiming they’re not “laid off” but their hours are cut back — to zero. Why are they getting away with that? They can afford to carry their employees for a few weeks.

Cruise ship bailouts? Really? The cruise industry makes enormous profits. It’s one of the most profitable industries out there. I don’t have the current figures, but when I started shopping the Nautical Namaste Mysteries several years ago, the cruise industry brought in $37 BILLION dollars in profits a year, and it’s only grown. These ships fly under international flags to avoid paying US taxes. So why are they bailed out with US tax dollars because their admin offices are in Florida, California, and New York?

I don’t want to see airline bailouts, either. They didn’t “trickle down” their tax cuts. They’ve raised fees, fought raising pay and benefits for workers, and done stock buybacks instead of investing in their workforce. That shows they don’t know how to manage money. Don’t give them more to mismanage. Make them EARN it. Some airlines need to go under, so new airlines who actually treat both customers and employees right can emerge.

We do need Universal Basic Income right now. Desperately. Not maybe by the end of April, but by the end of next week. Much more than bailing out huge corporations that squandered everything they keep getting handed and screwed their employees. UBI would keep food on the table and a roof over my head. It would allow me to support individual businesses by buying from them rather than big box stores (which I try to do anyway) and maybe allow some of them to hire me for remote writing work. While we’re saving our lives and those of the people around us by not infecting each other.

We need to make sure the health care professionals have what they need to protect themselves and stay healthy and to care for people coming in sick. That has to be a priority. That and testing EVERYONE. So we can get real numbers. Up manufacturing what we need. Get the supplies to the medical profession.

It’s not at all surprising that this administration has failed on such a large scale. The arrogance, the greed, the grift, the racism, has been on full display since the 2016 campaign. Now, they ALL need to be removed, as issues of both public safety and national security. Policies that save lives and get people back on their feet need to be put in place.

Then, when we are up and running again, the corruption needs to have consequences. Or this will all just happen again.

So those are some of what’s happening in my world. I’m deeply grateful for what is working right now — the remote work I have (such as reviewing books and contest entries, articles, the clients with whom I’m still working). Plenty of people are under much worse stress than I am, especially if they’ve got underlying health issues. I’m lucky that the health crisis that could have killed me was handled before the pandemic hit. I’m worried because my mother is in the highest risk category, and I have to do whatever protects her — even if it means losing clients. There are going to be some nasty scenes in the upcoming weeks, because there are still people acting like it’s not a big deal, and/or it won’t happen to them, so why can’t they go about their normal routine? Why can’t they put lives in danger because they “feel fine.”

The arrogance of it all is unbelievable.

Today, I intend to enjoy Ostara, and have a solitary ceremony, on the deck if the weather is good enough. I made some rune eggs yesterday that we’ll eat as egg salad for lunch. If the weather holds, I’ll do yard work.

Tomorrow was supposed to be my surgery, so I cleared it. I’m taking it as a rest day. Extra yoga and meditation. I might read books for review or contest entries, but I intend to enjoy the day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on March 19, 2020 at 5:10 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 19, 2020: It’s Not All Working in Pajamas and Drinking Wine  
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Wed. March 18: Fluid Schedules

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Waning Moon

I actually have a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice today, with some tips for adjusting to working from home. I have a few more posts scheduled in the upcoming weeks. I’m trying to catch up, and I will, eventually, get the other blogs back up to speed.

Cancellations coming in from small businesses on a few projects. One of my steady local clients, who is a small business, is getting holds and cancellations on what she does, so I bet that reverberates back to me eventually, too.

Turned in my reviews, put in the request for new books. Downloaded the last of the books for the contest, and am back to reading contest entries.

Received the check from the radio play, which is great, since it will be awhile before I have any more productions (they are done in front of a live audience).

Was in contact with a couple of theatre friends, who are worried about being out of work. Come on, unions, step up. This is your moment to prove why you’re relevant and necessary!

And, of course, Dickhead McConnell is kicking the aid package that would actually help people down the block. Truly an evil man. He’s doing all this, getting away with it, and now whines because his challenger calls him out.

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of NY, achieves more positive work in 12 hours than the entire administration has in four years. Because he gives a damn and doesn’t grift. I’ve always liked his style (even when I don’t agree with every decision). One of the last things we did before moving here was to vote for him in the 2010 election.

These airlines and other huge companies that are laying off tens of thousands of workers and then screaming for bailouts? Should not get a penny. They have the resources to give their workers paid leave, and are CHOOSING not to do so. Do not bail them out. They’ve squandered profits (lining top executive pockets and doing stock buy-backs). They’ve evaded taxes. Let them go under.

Let new businesses rise, created by ex-employees. Give them support. Set regulations so this kind of thing can’t happen again.

I might have to break up with a client next week — which I can ill afford to do. But this client is not taking the pandemic seriously. If she tries to put my life (and thereby my family’s life) in danger, I’ll have to leave. The client isn’t around this week, so I can work safely; but next week, I have no doubt there will be demands for in-person contact, because you know, “the flu is much worse. Everyone is making too big a deal out of this.”

I AM making a big deal out of it and will continue so to do. My life and my family’s lives depend on it.

Most places are being responsible and cancelling events, classes, etc. One is not, encouraging people to come in anyway to class, just keep a “safe” distance. Um, no. I’d stopped frequenting that place a couple of years back, because they call their fees “investments” instead of what they are, which is a fee for a good or service, and that turned me off.

CVS again refused to fill my pre-op prescription. When I called the doctor’s office to let them know, and to ask about rescheduling the surgery in light of the pandemic, I found out that they’d cancelled the surgery, but hadn’t gotten around to telling me yet. I’d rather it was cancelled — they need to concentrate resources; while the first surgery was vital to keeping me alive, this one isn’t (or at least, isn’t yet — I have wiggle room). The scheduler felt bad because she couldn’t even give me a ballpark of when it might happen. I told her not to worry; let’s, literally, survive this pandemic first, and then we’ll sort it out.

Let my doctors know of the change, and told them I planned to stay home and quiet, and they’d only hear from me if something went terribly wrong.

Did client work yesterday, and will do some today. I’m not sure what next week will bring, so I’m just taking it one day at a time.

I SHOULD have done yard work on Monday when I came home, but I was too tired. Tuesday it rained. I’m hoping today and into the weekend will be nice enough so I can work outside a bit. They said it might hit the 60’s — maybe I’ll put the Adirondack chairs out on the deck.

I’m thinking of ordering some of the spray paints I need online and doing my spring painting and touch-ups while I’m home. At the same time, I hesitate to spend money on anything that’s not absolutely necessary (like food, insurance payments, rent, and a little to utilities) when I’m losing work.

The writing is going slowly, but going. I’m hoping to dive back into edits and revisions this weekend, as well as writing new work. I should draft a new play for a contest. I’m hoping some grant money comes through for which I applied before my surgery (that would be June). If and when it comes, it would be a much-needed infusion.

I’m tempted to write a light, romantic comedy in these dark times, just for fun. Sort of like the radio plays — comedy, romance, mystery, banter. The only thing I know so far is that my protagonist’s name is Sharon. I’ll let the rest simmer for a bit. It will come out when it’s ready.

I might buy some more paper and pens this weekend. Not that I don’t have a kazillion notebooks, but I started a few projects on yellow pads, and I like to do the entire project on the same medium in which I started. One of my eccentricities. And pens tend to run out just when you need them most. There’s plenty I still draft in longhand, before putting it into the computer.

Back to the page, and best wishes to you all.

Published in: on March 18, 2020 at 6:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 18: Fluid Schedules  
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Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.


Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here  
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Mon. March 16, 2020: Intent for the Week — Preparation

image courtesy of stevepb via pixabay.com

Monday, March 16, 2020
Waning Moon

My next procedure (an outpatient surgery) is on Friday, the 20th. So this week, I’m preparing, both mentally and physically.

I’m hoping it will be a quiet week at my client’s. I’m trying to keep other stresses to a minimum. I’m leaning on my yoga and meditation practices, trying to keep up my daily writing, and working to keep myself in a good place both mentally and physically.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 16, 2020 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 16, 2020: Intent for the Week — Preparation  
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Fri. March 13, 2020: Too Much Going On

image courtesy of pladicon2012acacias via pixabay.com

Friday, March 13, 2020
Waning Moon

I usually love Friday the 13th. It’s a good luck day for me.

However, today, this morning we have the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment — which means I lose another half day of work.

This afternoon, I have the follow-up appointment with my specialist.

So I lose yet another whole day of work and income.

Let’s hope some of these pitches I’m sending out hit the mark.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 13, 2020 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 13, 2020: Too Much Going On