Mon. Nov. 30, 2020: Intent for the Week — Scheduling

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

The last day of November, sliding into the final month of the year.

Neptune went direct on Saturday; now we only have one retrograde (Uranus) to deal with for the next few weeks.

This week is about scheduling. On Tuesday, I find out if next week’s surgery goes forward, or if it’s being postponed due to the rising COVID numbers.

Either way requires a lot of planning.

I’ve pushed to get everything holiday done before the surgery. I have no idea how fast I will bounce back, or if the is bad news after it. I’m moving ahead as though it is going forward, but if it’s postponed, quite a bit is readjusted.

Scheduling and flexibility seem to be in opposition, but I have to hold them in balance, both this week and next.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on November 30, 2020 at 6:48 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 30, 2020: Intent for the Week — Scheduling  

Mon. Nov. 30, 2020: Intent for the Week — Prep

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

The overseas cards and packages are done and mailed.

The domestic cards and packages will be mailed latest by tomorrow morning.

My gift shopping is done.

My intent this week is all about prep.

I need to finish my holiday decorating.

I need to start my holiday baking. I will then need to pack, quarantine, then deliver or send the cookie tins.

I need to get the car inspected.

I need to promote the holiday shorts as they go live, and promote TRINITY OF TEASERS.

I need to prep for next week’s surgery.

This week is about prep, mental and physical.\

What’s your intention for the week?

Published in: on November 30, 2020 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 30, 2020: Intent for the Week — Prep  

Fri. Nov. 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 191 — Black Friday Will Live Up To Its Name This Year

image courtesy of Open Clipart Vectors via Pixabay.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and mild

My thoughts and best wishes are with all the retail workers who are being forced to work today with the Covidiots, because this country prizes greed over human life every time. How many more people have to die so big box stores can make some more money?

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a good one yesterday.

I don’t celebrate it as building on the pilgrim myth – more evangelical white people causing destruction and death, not much has changed in 400 years. I use it as a day of gratitude. I also try to do more to support Native American organizations, such as the Wōpanãak Language Reclamation Project right here on Cape Cod. As a writer, who believes in the power of language, reclaiming and teaching the language of the Wampanoag tribe matters.

I’ll have a post up on Comfort and Contradiction with suggestions for leftovers soon.

Wednesday was stressful. I was at my client’s early, hoping to get in a lot of work before anyone else got in. But, of course, the client herself came in early. My other colleague came in, too. There was only just over an hour where all three of us overlapped, but I find it discomfiting, even when we’re all masked. It’s just too small a space for me to be comfortable, especially since they’re out and about so much.

But I got through it, got social media posts scheduled through Christmas Day, and was glad to get out. I took extra time decontaminating.

Remote chat was fun.

I was wiped out for the rest of the day, so I relaxed. The stress of the past months is catching up to me. I just need to keep my head down and be careful.

I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll just run into store x for y” and then I remind myself that I don’t really need to do it THIS year. Do the minimum, be smart, so we have future years of celebrations.

Biden’s Thanksgiving address was good, but, again, too much religion in it. I don’t want to hear about his “God.” And look at what Amy Covid Barrett did, the deciding vote that houses of worship can’t be closed due to COVID. Well, then, they need to pay for everyone who gets infected there. And, since it’s a case the Supreme Court shouldn’t have accepted anyway, due to separation of Church & State, it’s time to tax the churches.

I woke up at 1:27 on Thanksgiving morning, fretting, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally gave up around 4:30 and started my day.

I did what I usually do in times of stress. I worked on GAMBIT COLONY.

I cleared away and rearranged some stuff in preparation for this weekend’s decorating.

Then, I made the stuffing and got the turkey into the oven before 9 AM. Checked in with some people to make sure they were okay. Wrote domestic holiday cards. Managed to get through “R” before I had to clear off the table so we could eat.

The turkey came out well, along with most of the sides and the gravy. The peas were a little crispy because I misjudged how much liquid they needed, and they ran out of it while I was focused on the gravy.

We ate a little after 1, and it was lovely.

The turkey was so tender the meat fell off the bones easily, so stripping it down and putting things away didn’t take long. Made stock from the bones and tried to stay awake for the afternoon and into the evening.

Zoom dessert party with extended family was fun. Although, I have to admit, the store-bought pie was a bit of a disappointment after the homecooked meal.

Once the stock was drained, cooled, put into jars and put away, it was a struggle to stay awake. I went to bed pretty early.

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Slept through the night, and was up a little before 5, which is now my usual time. Getting the blogs done, then packing up the domestic packages and finishing the cards before rearranging the furniture so we can put up the tree (with just lights) before the serious decorating starts this weekend. I’d rather be doing what the individual in the hammock is doing today, but no such luck.

I might have to make another run to the chocolatier for a couple more things. I’d rather not go anywhere today – I make it a point not to shop on Black Friday. I don’t like what it’s become, and this year, it should be banned, unless it’s online. But if I’m going to have to get something, to make the bigger schedule work, I’d rather it was my independent chocolatier.

A big storm is coming in; I’m trying to decide if I take everything to the post office tomorrow morning, or later next week. I’d rather get it out, but we’ll see how the weekend shakes out.

We have to put the tree in a different spot this year because of the giant cat condo that can’t go anywhere else. It means moving some furniture in the living room and finding a place to stash it for the next six weeks, but we’ll figure it out.

In between all of that, I have to get “Lockesley Hall” finished and proofed, and the first draft of the Susanna Centlivre play finished.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Happy Thanksgiving to all of those who celebrate.

Have a safe, peaceful time of it full of good food and interact on Zoom!

Peace.

Published in: on November 26, 2020 at 6:43 am  Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving!  

Wed. Nov. 25, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 189 — Incoming

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and milder

Well, yesterday turned out to be “interesting times.”

The brand-new furnace stopped working. It’s barely six weeks old.

On one of the coldest mornings we’ve had lately.

I was so angry. Six damn weeks. But I kept my cool. I checked the breaker box. It was fine. I checked the vents outside. They were clear. I tried to push it by turning up the thermostat. Nothing.

I knew it would be difficult once I put in the call, so I masked up and did my errands as planned first. Quick run to Target, when only about six people were in the store, to whip through and pick up outdoor lights, molasses (it’s $2/bottle cheaper than the grocery store and I got the last three bottles), one final gift for my mom, stocking stuffers. There was ONE package of giant Bounty paper towels left, the only package in the store. I grabbed it.

Spent more than I meant to, but now we’re good on paper towels and toilet paper until the end of the year.

Headed to the post office. Mailed the overseas cards and the overseas package. Got some more stamps, so I can finish the domestic cards.

To the library for curbside drop off/pickup, to the liquor store, to the chocolatier, to buy the boxes of chocolate we’re sending to various friends.

Now I’m done. I have to make one more trip to the chocolatier for a couple of little things, but I’m done with the gifts and the rest.

I wanted to get it all done BEFORE the hordes descended on the Cape for the holiday.

Home. Decontaminated. Left all the bags of everything in the quarantine area of the garage. I’ll bring them in Thursday or Friday.

THEN I contacted the landlord about the furnace. He told me to contact the furnace company directly. Considering they refused to deal with me directly during the installation because I wasn’t the client, I thought that was interesting. But I called, a technician came out. The inductor motor and the furnace’s internal motherboard needed to be replaced.

On a brand-new furnace.

The tech asked if we’d had a lightening strike in yesterday’s storm. We didn’t even get a power flicker.

He had to go off and source the parts and come back. Willa, who had insisted on being in the basement to supervise, was corralled, and I stashed her upstairs with my mom to keep them away from people. Tessa stayed in my room, uninterested. Charlotte curled up in the rocking chair and napped.

So I didn’t need to herd cats, which was a relief.

I managed to get an ad live for a client, and some admin work done, but it wasn’t a very productive day. Fortunately, this year, no one expects much productivity this week.

He finished up by midafternoon, and it’s nice to have heat again. He was very nice, and masked, as required, and so was I, so it was all good.

But now I’m going to be paranoid every time the furnace kicks on or off, wondering if it will fail again.

We had the final Knowledge Unicorns session before Thanksgiving break. We won’t meet on Thursday. The kids are ready for a break, but we had fun. ALL of their grades have gone up.

When they have an assignment in a subject they don’t like, I ask them, “If you were a character in your favorite book and were faced with a problem/challenge like this, how would you  and the characters in that book overcome it? Without violence?”

That’s given them interesting paths to solve the assignments. They’ve also started sharing their favorite books with each other. And the ones who weren’t big readers for pleasure are starting to do more of that now.

After the homework session, I made a meal out of sketchy leftovers in the fridge (I’m cleaning out fridge and freezer, tossing some things that are just not worth taking a chance on to make room for new leftovers).

The turkey is thawing nicely, so all will be well on Thanksgiving morning.

I attended an NYU alumni Zoom event with John Leguizamo and the producers of the new film he starred in and directed called CRITICAL THINKING, about an urban chess team in Florida. It sounds great, and the conversation was wonderful. I didn’t realize he was an alum. I’ve known and loved his work since Spic-O-Rama in 1992. I’m eager to see the film.

After that, Jeremy Rock Smith of Kriplau did a live exchange on Instagram, answering questions for the holiday cooking. He’s quite emphatic about NOT cooking the stuffing in the turkey – says the turkey will get to dry, if you cook it enough to keep it safe. But, when I cook it at 350 instead of 325 AND use so much liquid in the bottom of the pan (so it’s more poached tan roasted), it works. Plus, when I use the thermometer, I usually get a higher temperature than the 165 needed for safe poultry. But I didn’t say anything. He’s right to advise caution. And he had some great answers for all kinds of vegetable prep. He’s just the best.

A bit of a tiring day, starting with challenges, but ending on a high, creative note. I’d gotten a little bit of writing done early in the morning, but nowhere near enough.

This weekend, around the food and the decorating, I’ll have to make up for it.

I’ve got a holiday greeting scheduled for tomorrow, but I won’t actually post until Friday again, and I’ll post over on the food blog about what to do with leftovers.

The roads and bridges were already clogged last night with traffic, people coming to the Cape for the holiday weekend, in spite of advisories not to come. You know these people didn’t take a test, nor will they follow protocols, nor will they quarantine. They’re just going to spread virus as much as possible because they’re too selfish to show a little consideration for anyone except themselves.

People were breaking curfew up the ying yang this morning. I woke up once just before midnight, and once a little after 4 (which meant I was up for the day), and there was traffic like there wasn’t any curfew.

Just people being Covidiots. I’m so sick of it.

Today will be stressful at the client’s – it’s the day we overlap. I’m hoping we can all stay safe for that couple of hours. Then, I’m in for the weekend, unless I get the domestic packages ready in time to take to the post office first thing Saturday morning.

I will be glad to be home, decontaminate, and attend Remote Chat.

Have a lovely, safe, quiet Thanksgiving my friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Published in: on November 25, 2020 at 6:36 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 25, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 189 — Incoming  
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Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.

Mon. Nov. 23, 2020: Intent for the Week — Gratitude

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

This week, I am going to try to temper my anger and remember that for which I am grateful.

I want to say home as much as possible, focus on the holiday, and then start the winter holiday decorating.

I realized, in the years I’ve been traveling to Maine for the holiday, I never got to actually rest.

I would prepare the Wednesday night meal ahead of time, and bring it up (feeding anywhere from 6-12, after driving from wherever I was to Maine).

I helped cook all day on Thursday.

I helped clean up all day on Thursday.

I drove back to wherever I was living on Friday.

I never had any time to rest.

Part of this holiday, staying home, will be rest, even though I’m cooking.

Gratitude.

And rest.

What’s on this week’s agenda for you?

Published in: on November 23, 2020 at 6:22 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. Nov. 20, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 184 — Hunkering Down and Trying to Hold the Road

image courtesy of domitian via pixabay.com

Friday, November 20, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Windy and cold

Later today, I will have a post up on Comfort and Contradiction with some Thanksgiving recipes.

Yesterday, I baked bread again, using molasses instead of honey. Denser. That took a good chunk of morning. Bread can’t be rushed.

In between, I had the online meditation, which was lovely. I got out some LOIs, created one of the two ads for a client that I need. One will go live today; the other next Tuesday. I’ve got the other one designed in my head. I just need to wrangle it into graphics and words.

Freelance chat was fun, although sometimes I feel like a couple of people try to turn every interaction into a sales pitch. We’re colleagues, not clients.

My back was giving me a hard time. Even the acupressure mat only offered temporary relief.

Had to hunt down some yarn in the storage area. Didn’t find it, but found some other stuff. Worked on some proof reading, but was tired and in pain, so I’m going to have to do it all again today.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, lots of assignments that needed support. But the kids and their parents are exhausted and scared.

Our virus numbers keep rising, and nobody who’s paid and sworn to work on our behalf is. Not to mention the Democrats are doing NOTHING and letting the Republicans get away with EVERYTHING.

Stop saying they “can’t” do anything because “they don’t have the votes.” It simply isn’t true. The voting is the final step in the process. They need to do the work before the vote – the meetings, the persuasion. Find the weak spot in your enemy and dig. Be relentless. Be ruthless. Make sure enough people on the other side don’t show up to vote if you can’t convince them to vote your way. There is ALWAYS a way to block something or pass something. The Republicans slam or block everything they want no matter if they are a minority or a majority. The Democrats needs to grow some balls and do the same.

If we don’t flip those two Georgia Senate seats, it won’t be because the Republicans cheated or tried to, although I’m sure they will. It’s because enough voters are sickened that the Democrats are letting Republicans get away with everything between now and January, and won’t bother to vote. All this whining is a misconstrued belief that by letting the Republicans keep getting away with their atrocities, it raises more money for Democrats. But people are sick of the Democrats allowing this to happen and doing nothing more than posting a few faux outraged tweets.

Democrats need to step up. Schumer needs to step up. He’s the Minority Leader. He needs to stop the daily tweet about the President not having a plan and implement his own plan. Work with Governors on their plans. There’s plenty that can be done to work around Republicans, but all the Democrats do is sit there, with their thumbs up their collective ass, whine they “don’t have the votes” and use it to fundraise.

If you’re not smart enough to work around the Republicans, why WOULD anyone donate to you or vote for you? Step up.

There is ALWAYS a way to ram through what you want or block what you want. Republicans have been doing it, whether they’re majority or minority, my entire lifetime. But Dems just sit there and whine that they “don’t have the votes.” There are other ways to get things done and stop things. There are ways to change other people’s votes. So stop whining and start fighting.

There are plenty of Dems I hope are primaried by more forceful Dems in the coming years.

We haven’t had a radical left in this country since about 1969. We desperately need one to balance the radical right.

I’m so sick of it.

Meanwhile, I’m just trying to stay alive. Literally.

I have to pick up a prescription for my mom at CVS and do a curbside drop off/pickup at the library.

The rest of the day will be client work, writing, and editing.

This weekend is about writing overseas cards, so I can mail them on Monday. If we’re on a roll, we might start the domestic cards, and then mail them a little after Thanksgiving.

I still don’t know if my surgery is going forward in December, or if it will be postponed due to the rising virus numbers. I’m behaving as though it’s going forward and trying to get everything possible done early.

Have a great weekend, friends. See you on the other side of it. I hope.

Published in: on November 20, 2020 at 6:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 20, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 184 — Hunkering Down and Trying to Hold the Road  
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Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”

image courtesy of phoenixsierra0 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Shoutout to my Twitter pal Jake, who has birthday today!

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got some decent writing done early in the morning. I headed out to my client’s. Unfortunately, we all overlapped and it was not comfortable. They are simply too lax for me to feel comfortable, especially with the way the numbers are rising.

I was glad to get home and do some serious decontamination. But it was unnecessarily stressful.

Remote Chat was fun.

My back bothered me, so I spent some time on the acupressure mat. But when I came back down, Office crashed AGAIN. This time, I didn’t get as skilled a tech and I ended up losing the afternoon while we tried to fix it. Finally, I managed to fix it, but by that time, I was in tears and so tired and frustrated I couldn’t get any more work done.

Office shouldn’t crash every damn week. This is why I hate PCs – they’re unreliable. I often said that investing in a Macbook was the reason I could switch to fulltime freelancing, and I stand by that. I regularly lost half my workday with the PC problems, and here it’s starting again. This computer – and the software – are barely six months old. I shouldn’t have constant problems. Nor should I have problems getting things fixed – I bought and paid for three years’ worth of coverage for everything.

As soon as I can afford a Macbook again, I will get one.

I lost all the time I had put aside to do the final proof of “Just Jump in and Fly” and to revise “Lockesley Hall.” I have to make up for that today, plus do at least one, maybe two ads for a client, plus write the next section on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I put down yet another cozy mystery and crossed yet another author off my list because she used “witch” as a slur. I’m sick of these white women pretending to support diversity and inclusion and then pulling this shit. In the same way “gypsy” and “Red Indian” are now recognized as slurs, calling someone “she’s such a witch” when you mean a mean person rather than a spellcasting badass who makes the world better is a slur. Not only is it a slur, it is a personal insult to me.

It’s one thing if a character uses it and the protag or core ensemble calls that person out or there’s accountability. But to act like it’s “just an expression” and something cute, fun, and contemporary that makes your character cool is unacceptable.

It proves you are NOT inclusive, promoting diversity, or tolerant. You’re a sham.

Write whatever you want – that’s your prerogative. But I will not purchase, read, or support authors who are hypocrites and who insult me. As is my right.

I am not your audience.

Zoom Meditation was great and helped a lot. I have bread on the rise – started it around 6 this morning. If I’m lucky, it will be done by noon.

A friend shared a sonnet she’s writing with me, for feedback. I was so honored. It’s a lovely piece, and i gave her the two points where it’s didn’t feel right, and she said it helped. Always glad to help friends with their work!

Peace, friends, and have a good day!

Published in: on November 19, 2020 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”  
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Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

There’s a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about not begging for work.

Yesterday was pretty satisfying, on a creative level. I started finally writing the Susanna Centlivre play yesterday, and I like the way it’s going, at least for a first draft. Working out a lot of it in my head before actually writing was helpful. I’m really delighted by the relationship between Susanna and Joseph.

I had to do a Trader Joe’s run. The lines are back to the length they were in April. The store was pretty well stocked, although, even on a Tuesday, already some items were selling out.

Since I was in the same plaza, I also dashed next door to Christmas Tree Shops for some more cookie tins. They’d sold out of the cute little trucks, but I found some others that are pretty and will do.

And bought some things I didn’t really need, but liked.

Came home, put the CTS stuff in quarantine, decontaminated the groceries and myself. And there was the morning. We’re back to it taking a half a day to do a couple of errands.

I got some client work done, some admin done. I’m spinning ideas for holiday ads for a client, but haven’t landed on the right one. Something with sparkles, but not sure how to pull it off yet.

Then, I worked on the revisions for “Just Jump in and Fly” which will be re-released after Thanksgiving for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a magical fantasy/comedy/romance short under the Ava Dunne name, playing with Yuletide myths, and is still one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote. I need to do one more proof, and then I can sign off on it.

I re-read “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, which is a holiday ghost story/romance I wrote a few years ago. I still like most of it. I need to add a couple of scenes to put in some more conflict, but that should be ready to re-release by the end of November, too.

Which, of course, meant I had to make changes on the links on the websites and, as new buy links go live, keep them updated.

I’m also working on the promo campaign for the shorts, and figuring out how to promote the TRINITY OF TEASERS, which is a free read of the first three chapters of the first book in each series.

It was a busy day. I should have gotten out some more LOIs, but I didn’t.

I reached for the pizza pan and somehow hurt my back again, which made me feel old and grumpy.

Received the next book for review, which is good.

Knowledge Unicorns was about steady work yesterday. They’ve had a lot of assignments piled up, with the workload increasing. It’s as though they’re being punished for learning online. But we spent some time on everyone’s assignments, offered support to each other and ideas, and I think they’re in good shape. ALL of their grades have gone up this year, since we’ve been working together. We – meaning the parents, the kids, and I – are working hard to make sure that this isn’t a negative, non-learning, back-sliding time, the way the “experts” who’d rather see kids go to school and die, just so they get their reopening numbers, claim. I spent a LOT of time every day looking for additional resources and tools and fun stuff to add to their curriculums, and to expand on what they’re supposedly learning. I don’t want them to feel restrained by online learning, but expanded.

The parent session after the kids are done is useful, too, and it’s nice to see the parents making virtual friends with each other and able to offer support.

But I admit, by the end of the sessions, I’m tired. So I can only imagine how exhausted the parents must be every day.

Watched AUNTIE MAME on DVD, the Rosalind Russell version. Wow, she’s good. Her timing, her ability to communicate multiple layers of meaning in a gesture, a glance, a pause. Truly wonderful. I didn’t like the way Ito was portrayed most of the time, although he had a couple of good scenes. The way Mame fought back against the anti-Semitism was good, but would be considered too subtle nowadays. It was a movie with a lot of contrasts and some inconsistencies, but Rosalind Russell was terrific.

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

Slept well, though. That’s a positive from the curfew. No drag racing to wake me up at 2 in the morning.

Getting some writing done this morning. Then I have to spend a few hours onsite at a client’s, then home to decontaminate, join Remote Chat, and proofread in the afternoon. Maybe, if the onsite escapade hasn’t stressed/worn me out completely, I can get some more writing done.

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.

Mon. Nov. 16: Intent for the Week — Move Forward

Image courtesy of Bhakti Iyata (SoapWitch) via pixabay.com

This is a lovely photo above, and I prefer horses to people, so that’s what I chose for the week’s inspiration.

Mercury and Mars are both direct, so some of our biggest obstacles are out of the way.

In spite of the pandemic, in spite of the need to stay at home, I have a need to get certain elements into play and move forward. I intend to do them remotely and safely, but enough faffing around already. It needs to happen.

This week is about taking the steps to move forward, while following health and safety protocols, not putting myself or anyone else at risk.

How’s your week starting?

Published in: on November 16, 2020 at 6:45 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 16: Intent for the Week — Move Forward  
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Fri. Nov. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 177 — Yes, We Really Are Dying & Being Ignored

image courtesy of minorthreadsco via pixabay.com

Friday, November 13, 2020

New Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Mars DIRECT

Cloudy and cooler

Today is Friday the 13th, which is a day that usually makes me very happy, but this is 2020, so I’m not counting on anything.

Meditation yesterday was lovely. I’m so grateful to have found this group. We may be online, but it truly feels like community. We connect to the teacher and each other, not just to the teacher, the way the meditation group I used to participate in in-person did. The contrast is interesting. The meditation leader also teaches us Qi Gong, which I like. I’d never really paid much attention to it before, but I’m glad I found it now.

I finally got out a couple of pitches to a new-to-me publication. I may have sent them in too late to be of use, but we’ll see.

I found contact information for a company with which I’m interested in working, and I’m putting together an LOI for them. It’s a big deal, international thing, and it would be exciting to work for them.

Heard back from a couple of other LOIs that they’re going with people who are more traditionally-marketing-niched (and, I bet, younger). Which is fine. I’d rather hear back, even in the negative, then never hear back. Some of these companies I will keep in touch with as part of my quarterly postcard mailing; others I will let go and move on.

A good portion of the day – probably too much of it, if I’m honest – was spent putting together visuals for two different projects. It was a lot of using the snip tool, converting to jpg, marking each visual, putting it in the right folder, and also putting together a PowerPoint and then modifying it to PDF and saving in multiple locations so I can access it. I didn’t PowerPoint the second set of visuals yet.

I also played with paint visualization tools, looking for a place where I could upload a photo of a house and try different exterior colors. Most of them were very frustrating, and I couldn’t find one (for free, anyway) that allowed me to do the detailing of shutters and trim differently than the exteriors. Of all the tools I played with, I liked the Home Stratosphere Paint Visualizer the best.

For dinner, I made the Eggplant-Mushroom Marsala, although I substituted white wine for the marsala, and it was just fine. It’s a Moosewood recipe. I’m being encouraged to revive the food blog. I might, since people like reading/seeing about what I cook, and respond well to the photos on Instagram.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We didn’t meet on Tuesday, because everyone’s so burned out. But we met yesterday, and got back to our rhythm. We’re studying the turkey this month. Here’s an article from Live Science that we used.

The Sociopath continues to Sociopath and murder American citizens at an alarming rate by simply ignoring the pandemic and hoping it kills as many of us as possible. My main goal between now and January 20th is sheer survival. I have to add in other goals, like earning a living in there, but survival, in spite of the Sociopath and all the Covidiot dickheads around me, is key.

One day at a time, one project at a time, one moment at a time. Hopefully, my internal resources have strengthened the past few months to help me through.

The weekend is supposed to get cooler, and be rainy off and on. Doubt I’ll do much yard work. Plan to do some baking, and I have to do a run to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling. If we’re going to have another shutdown, I want to get as much recycling out before it happens as possible.

See you on the other side of the weekend, and hope it’s good.