Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

6th Day of Christmas – Six Geese A Laying

6th Day of Kwanzaa – Creativity

Rainy and cold

Buh-bye, 2020. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

I’ve got a garden post up on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning’s first writing session left me feeling so optimistic and energetic for the day. Sometimes, I use up my early morning creative energy on email or “have to” work. When I remember to start with my first 1K/day of fiction, the rest of the day is much better in every respect.

Yesterday at the office was only minimal overlap, so it was less stressful than it could have been. However, the client is gorging herself on right wing disinformation in order to justify her dancing around socializing and eating indoors, and I refused to give her the absolution she wants. There is NO justification for her behavior. At least she wears a mask and we deep clean the office regularly. But even contact a few hours a week with her is playing Russian Roulette at this point. So that needs to change.

On the way home, I picked up my mom’s prescription, put gas in the car (a symbol of abundance to start the New Year – full tank of gas), and decontaminated when I came home.

I don’t have to leave the house again until Monday, and I am more than fine with that.

Remote Chat was fun – it always is.

Wrestled the big bench off the deck and up the stairs into my mom’s bedroom for the winter. Willa and Charlotte had to be shut into various rooms while we had the doors to the deck open, and there was much howling and carrying on.

Later in the afternoon, I heard a thumping in the hallway. When I went to investigate, Willa had pulled a potato out of the bin in the kitchen, and was batting it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And she plays with a potato. At least she’s inventive.

Dinner was leftovers – we’re going to have festive holiday meals for the next few days, and I need the room in the fridge!

I have meditation with the group from the Concord Library this morning online, and then it’s writing. I have a short story to finish and get out on deadline. I already have laundry going – clean panties and clean sheets for the New Year! Garbage and recycling went out yesterday. Later this morning or early afternoon, I will vacuum and mop floors.

This year, I hung pairs of silver bells on red ribbons from the light fixtures on either side of the front door. They’re pretty, but they clang against the house when it’s windy. It sounds like it does when one is on a ship, bobbing in the water. Which makes sense, seeing as how we’re on Cape Cod.

So many trees have been cut down around here that the solar glare is out of control driving early in the morning. I’m going to have to get a new pair of sunglasses, once it’s safe. Not today, of course, it’s raining. But it was bad driving to the dump yesterday, much worse than previous years.

This afternoon, I’m making a pastry filled with apple, pecan, and cinnamon. I’m also making devilled eggs for us to enjoy closer to midnight. Dinner tonight is salmon in a cumin-lemon glaze, with lemon-infused jasmine rice and spinach. Or maybe peas.

Then, it’s all about our rituals.

We will eat herring before midnight (old family ritual that no one knows the origin, but we do it) and burn a bayberry candle timed not to finish burning until the turn of the year, for prosperity and health.

A minute or two before midnight, we open the back door to let the old year out.

We’ll watch the ball come down over Times Square – although I could often see it from my apartment window and that was really cool, I’m glad not to be there anymore.

Right after we toast the New Year in, we’ll open the front door to welcome the New Year.

No first-footers here, more’s the pity. Not that we could let a first footer through the door this year, anyway, even masked.

Tomorrow morning, at dawn, I do the Fire & Ice ritual, with a white candle rubbed with jasmine oil in a bowl of ice.

I’ll make Eggs Benedict for breakfast (pork before noon is the ritual), and later that day, I’ll roast a duck for dinner.

The rest of the day will probably contain a lot of reading! I always like to start the new year off with a book!

I’m almost afraid to be optimistic about 2021, yet I want it to be a good year. I have big changes coming up, and I’m looking forward to them, even though the changes themselves will be stressful.

I thank you for everything this year, my friends – the support, the friendship, the laughter. And I wish you all that is good, and that your dreams manifest.

Peace and Joy. Catch you on the other side!

Wed. Dec. 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 224 — Working to Reach the Finish Line

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

5th Day of Christmas (5 Gold Rings)

5th Day of Kwanzaa – Purpose

Can’t tell the weather yet – it’s dark out

It felt good to get the garbage and recycling out yesterday.

Last night, I dreamed that I rescued a puppy by the side of the road, its mother and sibling killed by a car. Dreams on the 5th night of Christmas are tied to May.  I’m not sure if it’s a literal or a metaphorical omen for May.

I wound up spending most of the day on client work and admin instead of writing, but it was necessary to get it done before the end of the year.

I decided that I want to really re-work the Nina Bell pieces, not just rush through the revisions; therefore, they will not re-release until next holiday season. I’d like to re-release them earlier, too, like right after Thanksgiving, and really give them a good shot at a run. Maybe by then, I’ll have the third short, the one in the non-profit, ready to go, too, and can release all three on a rolling basis.

My focus today and tomorrow is on the ghost ship story, which has to go out tomorrow. I like it, but I have to layer in some sensory detail and cut out some tangents. While keeping to the word count. So, we’ll see. It has some wacky humor in it that’s kind of fun.

Of course, Mitch McConnell blocked the $2K cash relief payments. Because he’s vile and needs to be removed from the Senate by any means necessary. And then he and his corrupt wife need to spend the rest of their natural lives in prison and their afterlives in a place where they have to atone for all the harm they’ve caused.

Cooked a nice dinner, and we watched some videos.

This morning, I’m working on the ghost ship story, and then have to go to the office, which will be more stressful than it should be, but that’s what we’re dealing with. On the way home, I have to make a few stops, including picking up my mom’s new prescription, which wasn’t ready when I went by yesterday.

Then, I don’t have to leave the property again until next week, which is the way it should be in a pandemic. Especially with the numbers rising the way they are.

And the Sociopath turns his back and golfs. Anyone who dealt with him in New York always knew just how disgusting he was, but he’s only gotten worse over the past four year.

So I’m just trying to hang in there and stay alive, while I work on what needs to be done to make 2021 a better year, on every level.

Stay safe and be smart, friends.

Tues. Dec. 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 223 — Trying To Hold On, These Last Few Days

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020

Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Fourth Day of Christmas (Four Calling Birds)

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa (Day of Cooperative Economics)

Sunny and cold

There’s a post over on the GDR site to make you feel better about the year and the turn of it.

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

If you haven’t read the fun pieces in the Weird Christmas anthology (including mine), you can read or listen to them here.

It was stormy here, but we were tucked inside, with blankets and cats and candles and books, so all was fine.

Christmas Eve, I got some admin done and some LOIs out. I got out my review, and received the next two books for review. I played with some ideas.

For dinner, I made cod paella. Talk about a Cape Coddish version of paella! The cooking wasn’t bad at all, but the chopping – let’s just say I should have started far earlier! But it was the christening of my new paella pan, and it turned our really, really well. Dessert was chocolate and lemon mouse, layered.

While I prepared the paella, as I listened to Christmas carols on the radio, a particularly passionate rendition of “O Holy Night” gave me an idea for a short story, set in NYC.

We burned our bayberry candle for prosperity and good luck as we opened presents. I think it’s hilarious that one of my friends and I made each other potholders. Because we both bake so much!

Settled in, Icelandic-style, to read.

Up early Christmas Day, thanks for Charlotte. We did stockings, and I made scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. Usually, we have scrambled eggs with Panettone, but I couldn’t find one that looked good this year, and I used up the only fruit peel I had in the stollen.

I noodled with the story idea I’d had the night before, and worked on another piece, too, for something I’m looking ahead to do next year.

Mostly, though, we read and played with cats. I didn’t want to be on the computer, because I expected the power to go out any minute.

I made Cornish hen for the big, midday meal. Somehow, an entire 5-pound bag of potatoes disappeared in the last few days. But we had enough left over from the other bag to make mashed potatoes. However, I’ll need to get more before New Year’s. I don’t know how 5 pounds of potatoes could vanish from the kitchen, but, somehow, they managed. I also made the carrot-parsnip-mushroom dish, which was good.

Stollen for dessert.

We cleaned up the kitchen, put away the leftovers, and I cooked down the bones from the Cornish hens for stock.

One of the books I read was Christina Baker Kline’s THE EXILES. What a sad, beautiful book.

Got a notice from Amazon that they lost my package. So – when I’m looking at the print books I wanted to buy (and give my acquaintance her few affiliate cents) – they GURANTEE it will be here by Dec. 21. Once I actually BUY the books, it changes to “estimated” by Dec. 21. On the 21, it was “delayed” and would arrive between the 22-24. On the 25th, they tell me it’s “lost.”

That’s what I get for breaking my vow not to buy anything except eBooks from Amazon. They really are a vile company.

If I ask for a refund, they’ll just double-charge me, like they did last time.

I’ll wait a few more days to see if the books show up. Fortunately, they weren’t anything I counted on in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, the velvet fabric I ordered on Christmas Eve – shipped on Christmas Eve.

Up early Saturday morning, thanks to Charlotte. Who, of course, promptly went back to sleep as soon as I fed her.

Noodled on a short story for a bit, then got the laundry and usual Saturday household chores started. It was nice out – I put the outdoor decorations I’d taken inside during the high winds back out.

Read a lot. I’m reading Laurie Cass’s bookmobile cat mysteries. They are fun. She captures the way cats behave well, and it’s nice to have an upbeat, positive protagonist instead of one all angsty all the time.

Worked with Tessa and Willa for a few hours, so they get used to having good experiences in the same room together. Willa wants to be friends, but Tessa doesn’t trust her, because sometimes Willa forgets and plays too rough. But we will get there.

Leftovers on Saturday night (yum), and more reading.

Up early on Sunday, again thanks to Charlotte. Baked cranberry-chocolate muffins. Wrote a short story, just under 1500 words, start to finish. It will need a lot more work, but I like the bones of it.

Did an early morning Target run. The holiday shelves were bare – they already removed everything instead of marking it down. I searched for bins – there were only two bins left in one of the sizes I needed, so I grabbed them. They were sold out of all the other bins I need, and one can’t order them to ship. Which is why I sucked it up to do the Target run in the first place–because I couldn’t order the bins online. So I am SOL for bins in my budget. Picked up a few other staples, and checked out. Risked going across the street to Kmart – again, no bins. The store will close soon and it’s just. . .depleted and sad.

Home, decontaminated. I was out and about early enough so there were only about 5 other people in Target and two in Kmart, so I could stay far, far away.

Read, worked with the cats. Depressed myself looking at rental listings. Too many are overpriced crap. Allowed myself a quiet day. Leftovers for dinner.

Up early on Monday. Worked on a short story. I’m trying to do a short piece for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. They’re linked, but each stands alone. It’s an idea I have for next year. It’s also a way to get the creative juices flowing properly again.

Worked on the ghost ship story. I SHOULD have finished a draft over the holidays so I’d polish now. But I gave myself a rest.

Went to the office for a few hours. I was there on my own, as it should be, and got a lot done. Had to chase down the postman to take the package. Most of the post office workers around here are great, but this one guy on the office’s route – he’s arrogant, won’t wear a mask, and tries to get out of picking up or dropping off mail to us all the time. I can’t stand him.

Had dropped off books at the book drop in the morning. At least 3 dozen people wandering around on their “walks” – no masks, no distancing. It’s disgusting.

Home, had to take my mother to the doctor, which meant I had to put off the writing and editing planned. But she’s better, and that’s what matters

This morning, up early, worked on a short story. Went to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling, so we don’t start the new year with a garage full of garbage. Stopped at the grocery store for a few things – everyone’s sold out of leeks for the past two weeks. The world will not stop because I can’t make the leek and cheese pastries for New Year’s – I’ll make them later in January.

I’m getting ready to do some writing and editing, to catch up on yesterday, and then some client work in the afternoon. I started the day feeling pretty optimistic, but that melted away pretty quickly, and I have to work to get it back. I hope a good writing session will help.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Mon. Dec. 28, 2020: Intent for the Week — Breathe

image courtesy of pixabay.com

I hope you had a lovely, peaceful, happy weekend.

This week, between the end of one year, and the start of new year (which we all NEED to be a better one on oh, so many levels), I intend to take the time to breathe.

Not fret, not punish myself. I will push away those who do not wish me well, in preparation for removing them permanently from my life. I will attempt to do so with compassion.

I want and need quiet, reflective time.

What is your intent for this week?

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 6:37 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. Dec. 25, 2020: Merry Christmas Day!

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Although we won’t be having busy gatherings like the one pictured above this year, I wish you peace and joy of the season.

Published in: on December 25, 2020 at 9:10 am  Comments (2)  

Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

Big storm coming in today. I’ll have to take in some decorations, and be prepared for power outages.

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about birch and holly – since it’s the first day of the month of birch and we love holly this season. Well, I love it all year, but. . .

Yesterday was more stressful than it should have been, and I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a client in the next few weeks that will not end well. But it is necessary.

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

My flash fiction “Holiday Transformations” is up, both as a podcast and in transcript form, as part of this year’s Weird Christmas anthology. It’s a great group of flash pieces – I’m so delighted to be part of it.

Spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the book for review. I will write it this morning and get it off.

The order I was waiting for – the last gift – arrived. The quality is quite wonderful. I considered re-thinking my decision to stop doing business with that particular vendor/artist – when an email came in. It was supposedly to thank customers; what it actually contained was a self-congratulatory, delusional, and arrogant diatribe, claiming the vendor’s “ambition” was at the root of the lack of customer service (say what?) and how she was ignoring criticisms because they made her feel bad.

You do you, honey, but I’m no longer a part of that journey.

Unsubscribed from the mailing list and unfollowed on social media channels. I realize she’s young and it’s rough to run a small business, but wow. Not going to be around that.

I found my recipes for bath salts, and I can adapt it to bath bombs. I can get molds from craft stores, and re-stock essential oils, source small crystals, and go back to making them myself. It’s not like I’m doing them for anyone except myself and friends who might like it. And I won’t have to worry about the stress of poor customer service and all the hypocrisy and bombast. A much better choice all around.

Another order arrived – a treat for myself that I wasn’t expecting until New Year’s.

Got the last present wrapped and under the tree – with help from Tessa and Willa. Charlotte’s not into wrapping gifts, but the other two love it.

Woke up a little after two this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fretting too much.

But planned the next section of the ghost ship story, and some upcoming blog posts, so that’s all good.

Today, I’m sending off the review, doing some edits on one, maybe two stories, writing the next section of the ghost ship story, and seeing what else I feel like doing. I am safely home, prepped for the storm, and planning to enjoy the holiday.

Although I don’t celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas anymore (since my spiritual beliefs have taken me down a different path, and Solstice was my big celebration), I enjoy family traditions and joys of the season.

Dinner tonight is cod paella – it’s been marinating in wine and spices overnight. I’m also making a layered parfait of chocolate and lemon mousses for dessert.

We don’t have Panettone for breakfast tomorrow – I couldn’t find one in the store that didn’t look leftover from last year, and I used the only fruit peel I had for the stollen. So I will make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. The big meal is Cornish hen with all the trimmings. If the power is out, I will have to figure out how to do it on the stove top rather than the oven.

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

We open our gifts on the Eve and have stockings on the Day.

Tonight, we observe the Icelandic tradition of reading books! One of my favorite additions to the holiday.

I wish you peace, joy, safety, and comfort – both physically and emotionally. Peace, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Wed. Dec. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 217 — Nearly at The Holiday Break

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Up early yesterday, and out the door a little after 7 AM to go to Plymouth to my trusted mechanic to get the car inspected.  I realized that it was my first time over the bridge since last December – when I got my car inspected.

In a normal year, I’d be horrified that I was turning into one of “those” people who refuse to foray beyond the bridge. But this year, hey, pandemic. We were supposed to Stay the F home, and I did so as much as I could.

The mechanic used his small business loan to transform one of his bays into a socially-distanced waiting room. Well set up – MORE than six feet between each seating area. One of the other customers brought his five-month-old, white, standard poodle puppy, who was so excited to play with all his new friends! Totally made my day. They all followed protocols there ALL the time – unlike the idiots here on Cape where I had the oil change, who not only refused to follow the mask mandate, but gave me a hard time for so doing.

The car passed inspection – I was thrilled! The mechanic and his crew were really touched that I took the time to individually wrap the cookies so that they were safe.

Driving back over the bridge took some time – lots of traffic. Once again, people are ignoring the edict not to travel during a pandemic, and we will have a grim January and February.

I stopped at the grocery store in Sandwich that was on my way home and got the last few things I needed for the holidays. I got some beautiful cod for tomorrow night’s paella. I even found a duck for New Year’s Day! That thrills me.

Home, decontaminated the groceries and put them away, then masked back up, loaded up the car with the cookie tins and made deliveries. Most were no or distanced contact. People were thrilled.

By the time I got back, it was nearly lunch time. Decontaminated myself, had lunch, and then spent the afternoon on client work and on reading the book for review. I’m nearly finished with it – I’ll finish it today and send off the review. Only a day late.

I also wrapped the presents to do under the tree. With “help” from Tessa and Willa, which was hilarious. They are getting along, most of the time now.

Crystal Bar has continued a negative pattern of behavior/lack of customer service with me, and, much as I love their product, I’m done. Too much hypocrisy. She has the right to run her business however she wishes. I have the right not to place my money there.

It’s a disappointment, but hardly life-changing. Hell, I made my own bath products for years. I can always start doing so again. I can also source similar products from other small business artisans, try them, and see with whom I am the best fit. That’s a stronger choice than every order/interaction being a stressful battle.

Done. Solved. Moving on.

Besides, I have a duck for New Year’s.

Last night was our Knowledge Unicorns online holiday party. Some of the kids started winter break at the end of last week. Others had a few days scattered in this week. But you know what they did? All on their own? I’d mentioned how lovely the original Dickens “Christmas Carol” novella is, and, ON THEIR OWN, they got copies of it, split up the parts, rehearsed, and did a dramatic reading of it. It was SOOO cool. What fun! I’m so proud of these kids.

It makes me sad to hear about so many kids/parents struggling and worrying how much their kids are losing doing remote learning, while I have a bunch of kids who are thriving.

This morning will be stressful at the client’s. But then I’m free to enjoy the holidays for the rest of the week, and I intend to do just that. Christmas has no religious or spiritual significance for me anymore, but I do enjoy a series of home-and-hearth traditions, and I can use the rest.

I also plan to do some writing.

I wish you peace, joy, good health, and happiness AT HOME this Christmas. I’ll catch up with you on the other side of the weekend.

Tues. Dec. 22, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 216 — Trying to Get it All Done

Cookie tins, packed & ready for delivery

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend, although I wasn’t really feeling up to it.

Friday had more snow; not much, just a dusting. I had to pick up a prescription for my mom, and I did a curbside drop-off/pick-up at the library.

Decontaminated, read a bit.

Finished the revisions on both the Susanna Centlivre play and the Isabella Goodwin play and got them out. Nearly two weeks ahead of deadline, too. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

Heard back from the Body Be Gone publisher. I didn’t win the big prize, but I am in the anthology and will get a little bit of cash and a copy of it, which will be fun. It was a lot of fun to participate in it, and I’m pleased to be part of such a lively, creative group. I wonder which story won?

In any case, by not winning, I retain my rights to these characters, and they can have a life beyond that one story. Which could be a lot of fun.

Woke up early on Saturday, with ideas for a story for one of the anthologies that would be due on Dec. 31. It might be too complex for a short story, but I’m going to give it a shot and see what I can do with it.

Wrote 1600 words on it, and it’s a bit all over the place, but I like the bones of it. Once I finish the draft, I can strip it down and rebuild.

I poked two companies about orders I placed weeks ago – giving them plenty of time because it’s both busy season and the pandemic. They finally shipped. One of the orders was placed before Thanksgiving. This is inexcusable. I help one of my clients with shipping. It doesn’t take five weeks to ship something that is in stock.

Saturday’s big project was making stollen. I used the traditional Dresden recipe. It takes all day, between the rises and waiting while things soak. But we wind up with three enormous loaves of stollen that are delicious. Much better than the overpriced, stale loaves on buys in the stores or orders online. If I bought this from a company, it would cost several hundred dollars. And not taste half as good.

I also decorated most of my office – got the tree up, anyway. Switched the bedding over to fleece. Got 6 loads of laundry done.

And was wiped out.

A client contacted me, frantically needing me to get something out right that second. I got it done, and that will be on next week’s bill. You don’t interrupt my weekend and expect it to be free. This is information I asked her for nearly a month ago, and she couldn’t get her act together until Saturday for something that needed to go out before Sunday.

Sunday, I finished decorating my office, put a lot of empty boxes away. I baked a chocolate Grand Marnier cake. The Bundt pan I have is awful, and even though it was greased in every crevice, it didn’t come out properly. But it still tastes good. Also made bourbon balls, which turned out tasty, but look a little off-putting.

I was just wiped out. I felt weak and emotional all weekend. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t seem to get my feet back under me after this surgery. It’s been more than a week, and it was good news, so I don’t get why I’m still completely wiped out.

The “relief” package Congress passed is a joke. Sure, $600 is better than nothing, but we should have been getting $2000/month EVERY month since March. All of them failed us, including the Democrats. All these people saying, “Oh, take a government class, it’s all on McConnell, it’s not on Pelosi and Schumer” – grow up. I’ve been a negotiator. When you don’t have the votes, you GET THE VOTES. McConnell does it all the time, but Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to play hardball.

They’ll have another excuse for no continued, REAL relief in January. I’m sick of excuses. I want action. Tough, strong action against the corrupt. Not continuous capitulation and acting like $600 is good. It’s HALF of what we got in May, and just over ¼ of what we should have been getting EVERY MONTH of the pandemic. While the grifters continue to grift, without consequence. This has to change. If this is the “best they can’ do” then we need stronger leadership who can do better.

In this state alone, there are nearly 30,000 new virus cases a week. We need a full lockdown. With continued, direct cash relief.

And prosecution for those who profited from the pandemic at the expense of our lives all the way through it.

Monday, up early, still feeling like crap. But I went into the office – alone, like it should be. I got some shipping done – see, people? The orders came in over the weekend and went out MONDAY – that is how one takes care of customers. The postman hadn’t arrived by the time I left, so I took the boxes with me and dropped them off at the post office myself. Went to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

Home, decontaminated, masked up again, and packed cookie tins. They look really cute. The cookies are packed in individual sleeves, which work well, but take up a lot of room.

One of the companies I poked came through and I got the delivery that was most important to get today. The company from whom I ordered before Thanksgiving – shipped so late it’s still stuck in California, and the third company is making noises about delays. But what I really wanted for today came, so that’s that.

I got an unexpected bonus from two clients. One goes into the bank, as prep for moving; the other I used on a piece of jewelry by an artisan on which I’ve had my eye for a few months. I put in a note with the order not to stress about trying to get it out for this week. It gets here when it gets here. I ordered it late – when I had the money to order it. I’m happy whenever it arrives.

I was finished just as the sun set, and we did the family Solstice ritual: let the sun set all the way, sitting in the dark. Start by lighting the fire in the fireplace, with greens from last year’s Solstice season; then light all the candles and put on the trees and other decorative lights, inside and outside the house. And take a few minutes of gratitude to enjoy it, release what no longer works, and make room to invite something new and wonderful.

Dinner was pancetta and peas in Alfredo sauce, with the chocolate Grand Marnier cake for dessert. Delicious.

Then, a quiet evening re-reading Terry Pratchett’s HOGFATHER (one of my favorite books), enjoying the tree, listening to Chantal Chamberland sing carols.

Later, I did my own private Solstice ritual, to remove the detritus of this year, and make way for something new.

I’m off today to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the Trump-supporting maskless mechanics who did the oil change sabotaged the car a few months back, and there will be a major repair. Think good thoughts for me. At least I’ll be at the mechanic I know is honest.

If I’m not there all day with car repairs, I hope to come home the cookie deliveries (and yes, one of those tins is for the mechanics in Plymouth).

Have a lovely day, friends, and a lovely week.

Mon. Dec. 21, 2020: Intent for the Week — Winter Solstice

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Today is Yule, the Winter Solstice. The longest night and the shortest day of the year, before the return of the light.

My intent is to work for positive change, especially on a very personal level.

The more well-known holidays are later this week, and I intend to take as much pleasure in them as possible.

What is your intent this week?

Published in: on December 21, 2020 at 7:38 am  Comments Off on Mon. Dec. 21, 2020: Intent for the Week — Winter Solstice  
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Fri. Dec. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 212 — More Snow

image courtesy of Larisa Koshkina via pixabay.com

Friday, December 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

There’s a post over on Comfort and Contradiction about the upcoming holiday meals.

Yesterday, I joined the Zoom meditation, which was lovely. After breakfast, I had to shovel the driveway and the front walkway. The snow was slushy and heavy, but we only had about six inches, so it wasn’t too bad.

And then, I was exhausted and brain fogged. I spent most of the rest of the day on the fold out couch, trying to read, or resting. I am simply worn out. I managed to handle the Knowledge Unicorns, but I was tired. They were very sweet, though, and worried about me. We have one more session, next Tuesday, before the holiday break, and everyone is ready for it.

I’m glad I moved the car inspection appointment – I could not have driven over the bridge today.

I found out that two of my friends are moving away in the coming months – change is upon us all.

I have a bit more shoveling to do today – it’s snowing again, but pretty light. I might do a run to the library, to drop off and do a curbside pickup. A stack of books has accumulated.

I want to get the changes into the two plays and send them off, and start the book for review.  If I can, I will finish the edits on “Mistletoe” and sign off on them. I hope I can. That needs to go out. I have a little bit of client work, but I’ve caught up on almost everything.

Tomorrow, the entire day is set aside to make stollen, which takes a full eight hours. I’ll cycle some laundry through as well.

Sunday, I’m baking the Chocolate Grand Marnier cake for Monday’s solstice celebration.

But I am also trying to rest as much as possible. Because I’m exhausted. On multiple levels.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on December 18, 2020 at 7:53 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 212 — More Snow  
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Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle

image by Arek Socha courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

First substantial snow fell overnight, and I’ll be shoveling out later! Post over on Gratitude and Growth about snow and the garden.

Out at a client’s for a few hours of overlap yesterday. It was okay, but it is clearer and clearer that I do not need to be onsite for ANYONE in order to do what I do well. I do it much better when I work from home, and insistence on me writing in someone else’s office is about control, not about the quality of the work.

That will be dealt with, as I move other pieces of the upcoming Change Puzzle into place. Because that’s what I’m calling this transition period over the next few months – The Change Puzzle. I can plan, or think I’m planning, everything to perfection, the way I like, with backup plans up the wazoo, and things will still change, and each change will affect other things. So I have to be versatile and resourceful.

Home, decontaminated, Remote chat, which was fun, but I was wiped out by the end of it. I still get hit by exhaustion and brain fog far too often.

I set my car inspection appointment up in Plymouth for next Tuesday, instead of for tomorrow, because I just don’t trust myself to drive over the bridge yet. I completely space out, and that’s not good when I’m behind the wheel, especially if it happens on a bridge.

Rested a bit, then did the revisions for both “By Her Pointed Quill” (the Susanna Centlivre play) and “Family Layers” (the Isabella Goodwin play). There’s an inside joke in the latter, referring back to my Kate Warne play. It works within the context of this play, standing alone, but those familiar with my work will also enjoy it.

Planning to do the Zoom meditation this morning with the Concord group, and then buckle down and write. There’s a lot to get done in the next few weeks, and I don’t intend to blow it.

At the same time, I need a lot of rest.

And I need to work on the Change Puzzle.

Published in: on December 17, 2020 at 6:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle  
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Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Nor’easter Coming

Out of the house early yesterday. Tried to make a bank deposit at the drive-through ATM, but the bank down the street “couldn’t” print receipts, so I didn’t make the deposit. The three times I’ve done it anyway, the bank has denied the deposit was ever made, and then after fighting with them for weeks, they suddenly “found” it. So I never make a deposit without getting the receipt. TD Bank sucks, and when I move in spring, we will switch banks and be better for it. I used the branch by the mall, instead.

To Shaw’s, where I couldn’t find everything I needed, but picked up a few things I knew I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s. I stood in line, with my six things, behind people who had 106 things. The manager opened the fast lane and took me over. The woman standing behind me started complaining that she should have been taken first because she’d “been waiting.” The manager pointed out that I was in line AHEAD of her, and, therefore, I would be checked out first.

To Trader Joe’s, where there were at least fifty people in line ahead of me. They’re shopping in packs again, not honoring the request that only one person from a household shop. That means one waits in line longer because if a pack of four is waiting, four people have to come out, and then they’re allowed in, but those of us who DO honor the request are still waiting until someone else comes out, because only X amount of people can be in the store at a time.

Behind me were a trio of college girls, from the moneyed side of town, with fake Valley Girl accents, supposedly home for break from Ivy League schools. If that’s what Ivy Leagues are accepting, we are doomed. What a bunch of idiots. For a few minutes, I hoped they were pulling a prank, but no, they’re actually that inane.

Forty-five minutes of their prattle in line gave me a massive headache, but I’ve also figured out numerous ways to kill them off in stories, so that cheered me up.

Whipped through the store with my list pretty fast. Didn’t need all that much, although I found some good stuff I wasn’t expecting and grabbed that, too.

Except for some fresh things I need to pick up on Tuesday, and then a quick stop at the food mart down the street for things like milk, we’re set through New Year’s. That feels good.

Home, decontaminated.

A short rest, then client work, LOIs, and the ad for “Lockesley”, and then daily posts about it scheduled through the first of the year. “Fly” is already scheduled.

Pizza for dinner. I need to start making it from scratch again. The frozen pizzas get smaller every week. They used to be big enough so we could have dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Now, it’s barely enough for dinner. Soon, they’ll be the size of an appetizer. Price keeps going up, though. I’m better off making it from scratch.

Had to contact Crystal Bar Soap to ask where my order was. It’s been FOUR WEEKS since I placed it and nothing. By the end of the evening, I got the shipping confirmation – but if I hadn’t asked about it, it wouldn’t have shipped until January, probably. It shouldn’t take four weeks to ship an order. And I shouldn’t have to beg to get my order shipped.

I keep saying I won’t order from them anymore. Then, I get the order and love it and keep ordering. But I need to stop for a few months, until they get the shipping sorted out. It’s too frustrating.

We’re supposed to get a massive Nor’easter tonight into tomorrow. If the power goes out, I won’t be able to blog tomorrow. Or do anything else online. Which is fine. I was going to attempt a run up to Plymouth on Friday to get the car inspected, but now I’m thinking I have to wait until next week.

Today, I have to go into the office with a client for some overlap, which has stressful potential. Then, I’m home to sit out the storm. I want to work on the polish for the two short plays and get them out by Friday. I also have to work on the revisions for “Mistletoe” so I can sign off on that by Friday.  We’ve talked about a different framing device for the stories (and, later, the books) that I think will work, adding more humor and some nostalgia to the pieces.

Three interesting calls for submission hit my desk yesterday, too. They’d all be due on the 31st. Not sure I can get it together to write and polish them in time, but I will let the ideas percolate. Two of them are new-to-me markets. The third is a new-to-me market, but I talked to them back in October about submitting in radio format and they were interested. Now, I have to find the notes I took for that piece, so I can create it.

I still have major brain fog, which is frustrating but okay at home, but not so great when I’m in the car.

Let’s hope the storm isn’t too bad – I don’t want to shovel, and I’m running low on ice melt!

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 16, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired  
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Tues. Dec. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 209 — Good News and a Re-Release

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Today is the re-release of “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” a romantic holiday novelette. There’s a post about it up on A Biblio Paradise, and you can also find links on The Stories page here.

Thursday, I went over to the hospital early for the COVID test – drive-through, easy peasey. It’s a few seconds of discomfort, but worth it. Then home, and working on client work and making sure “Lockesley” was set to go.

Talked to the hospital in the early afternoon for my final instructions, and then had to do the prep. The doctor had insisted on the high-end medication, not the generic this time. It didn’t make me sick and convinced that I wouldn’t survive to make it to the surgery, much less through the surgery. It was much better, all the way around. I even got a few hours of sleep.

I didn’t have to go to the hospital until late morning, so I just stayed home and read. It was nearly 36 hours without solid food by the time I got there, and I was a little loopy. I also had my temperature scanned four times before I was allowed into pre-op., I even had some of the same nurses.

Everyone was very nice, pre-op went smoothly, and the IV even went in on the first try. Pre-op was busy; it was the last day of surgeries before the state closed down to any but emergency surgeries due to the pandemic.

The doctor and I chatted, I was put under, and next thing I knew they were bringing me out.

Coming back out was a little eerie, because they were disinfecting and then shutting down the bays. Only two lights were left on when I came out — mine and the person who was still in surgery. Everything else was dark and silent.

And I have the all-clear. They got all the cancer, and there was no recurrence in the past six months. I am the poster child for early detection.

I have a sheaf of instructions what to look for, but I don’t need to worry about another check for five years, if none of the symptoms recur. What a relief!

A few more tests for other things in January, and I might actually be on the road to healing, after a year of two different cancer scares.

I’m loopy as all get out, though, and can’t seem to lose the brain fog from anesthesia, even several days later.

I’m still a little uncomfortable, and will be for about a week, and who knows how long I’ll have brain fog?

Went home and rested on Friday. Saturday morning, I woke up feeling a little loopy, but pretty good. The hospital called to check on me, and warn me to take it easy for a few days.

Of course, I didn’t.

I dived into the baking. I baked 10 dozen orange cranberry cookies and 9 dozen oatmeal lace cookies, and was wiped out. I spent the afternoon in bed again.

Sunday, I didn’t feel great, but I hauled myself to the grocery store, where the clerk gave me a hard time about shopping for more than one person and paying separately. Now, I’ve been doing this since the pandemic started. If I do a grocery run, I contact neighbors, and if they need something, I get it. I’m often shopping for three or four people, keeping it organized separately, and pay separately. Trader Joe’s always thinks it’s cool, and none of the other stores have ever given me a hard time.

But this clerk did. And I was not up for it. But I just nodded and smiled. She’s having a bad day – she has a lot to deal with. I’ll just avoid her if we’re in the store again at the same time.

Home decontaminated everything and myself. Prepped the dough for the molasses spice cookies and for the chocolate crinkle cookies. Rested, then started baking in the afternoon – 11 dozen chocolate chip, 9 dozen molasses spice, 11 dozen chocolate crinkle.

I made a mistake on the chocolate crinkle, which I will talk about in Comfort and Contradiction this week, but it worked anyway.

But I was exhausted.

I made a pasta and vegetable dish, and used pesto made with basil from our garden, which was delicious.

But I was wiped out.

Yesterday, I felt a little woozy, but I went into the office on my own and got some of the shipping done. Home, decontaminated, and spent the rest of the day in bed.

I moved back upstairs to sleep last night (although the sofa bed is still out – will probably keep it out for another day or two, so I can rest during the day). This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run, since we have a major storm coming in tomorrow.

I have some client work, promotion for “Lockesley”, and then I have to work on “Mistletoe” and the revisions on the two plays that need to go out this week.

Plenty to do. Let’s hope I have the energy.

But the good news from the doctor is such a huge relief. I still have some more challenges after the first of the year, but this cancer is gone. Early detection, friends, never discount it.