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.

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”  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song

image courtesy of Aline Ponce via pixabay.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday seems far away, for some reason.

But it’s amazing how much calmer the household is, now that each cat has her own catnip banana.

Meditation group was great. It’s such a wonderful way to start the day.

Headed off to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned, but that’s pandemic life. Because I don’t go that often, I buy more when I go. Dashed next door to Target to stock up on a few things I can’t get anywhere else.

Home, full decontamination procedures. There was most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Freelance Chat was fine, and I did some Yoga Nidra work.

Got out some LOIs, worked on some pitches. Got TRINITY OF TEASERS, the promotional package that contains the first three chapters of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA done. It’s taken months to get done because of formatting issues, but I finally got it. Everything took six steps instead of three, but it worked.

I have to check the different formats (PDF, epub, mobi) and then put it up in the media room on the website for free download. Hopefully, that will generate some book sales.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone’s tired. They’re feeling the stress. But all their parents filled out the Census, which is a good thing. As early voting starts, their parents are voting.

I listened to the CD of the original Broadway cast of HADESTOWN, which I’d ordered from the library. It is amazing. Transcendent. I just loved it. I sat and listened and was transported.

I liked it so much, I ordered my own copy!

The music Is outstanding and the voices spectacular.

One of my pet peeves around here is that they keep producing musicals, but hire too many performers who can’t sing. They’re sharp or flat, they sing around the note, but rarely hit the actual note.

It was nice to hear a glorious score sung truly.

Today I’m finishing the article that requires me to pull examples from different drafts of a stage play and its radio adaptation. I also hope to finish the pitches for the other new-to-me editor. I have some blog posts to write and schedule for posting.

I managed to sleep through the night until 5 AM, and then baked raw apple muffins. I used currants instead of raisins (I love currants), and added allspice, nutmeg, and clove instead of just using cinnamon. It’s based on the Marion Cunningham recipe, and is basically chunks of apple held together with a bit of batter, but I love it.

I’d like to get TRINITY OF TEASERS up and start that promotion.

I also want to work on the novel, and to get started on the Susanna Centlivre play.

Tomorrow, we have to start bringing plants in to overwinter; over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking everything off the deck and putting it away for the winter.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. Create with joy.

Published in: on October 16, 2020 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Dec. 10, 2019: The Deliveries Have Begun

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend. I got most of the baking done for the cookie platters. I will make more stained glass cupcakes as needed. The chocolate spice cake I created on Thursday is excellent, but I don’t think it will keep long enough to be included in the cookie platters next year.

I do want to find a good vegan and/or good gluten free cookie recipe to include next year.

Saturday morning, I made the first batch of stained glass cupcakes, then created a drop biscuit recipe with chocolate chips and some of the leftover cranberries. Yummy!

We then went to the library, where they were having a greens/bake/ornament sales. The wreaths and centerpieces people made and donated were just gorgeous. I got a great idea for a small arrangement in a holiday mug that cracked, so it can no longer hold liquid, but it’s not yet broken, so we don’t want to throw it away (it still holds memories).

Inside, we found some delightful ornaments at great prices. I came back with another Santa for my Santa collection, a nutcracker for my nutcracker collections (he has a beaver hat and carries a drum), a small snowman, a snowman bell, a wooden small standing tree, a wire small standing tree, a Scandinavian wooden tree candleholder, a dish towel, and two little stuffed animals I couldn’t resist. The whole haul was $17.25.

The pieces integrated beautifully into what we had.

We skipped the Cahoon open house and put up the exterior decorations instead. Lights, garlands, bows, ornaments on our two little trees out front, lights draped along the front to the larger shrubs at either end. Large ornament balls in the front basket holders, smaller ones hanging from the deck.

Of course, although I’d tested all the lights before putting them up, two strands stopped working, so I will have to replace them. Very frustrating.

Put up more lights inside along the windows in the living room and the back room and the stairs. They look pretty.

I should have started delivering cookie platters, but I was too tired.

Re-watched CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT. It was sillier than I remembered. It plays on sexism and misogyny. It doesn’t go far enough, but probably went as far as it could at the time. Barbara Stanwyck was terrific.

Slept in on Sunday, upsetting the cats. Should have gone out and raked leaves, but, instead, stayed inside and wrote holiday cards. I got all the overseas written, and the domestic A=H. That was close to 50 cards. I will get the rest done this week and out. If they go out by Friday, they should still get there before the holidays.

It took all day. I was worn out by the end, and annoyed with myself for not writing on other stuff. But the cards needed to get done.

Watched THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS. Some fun stuff about the writing process, but, overall, I thought it tried too hard and was a bit overwrought.

Up early yesterday. Decent first writing session of the day. Not brilliant, but decent. Too much bad advice for writers starting out on twitter, encouraging mediocrity. There’s no magic formula, and constantly allowing yourself not to write won’t make you a professional writer. Show up, do the work, learn the craft, stop making excuses.

Got a few cookie platter out on my way to my client’s (at to my client). Onsite part of the day. Back home, more cookie platters more delivery.

Meditation, which was desperately needed.

Card writing. Other writing. Tired. Started watching A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. Back onsite with the client, making cookie platter deliveries on the way. I need to spend some time at the library this afternoon, and then more card writing, and more work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT.

Back to the page. I look forward to getting a lot of the holiday stuff done by this weekend, and then writing, reading, socializing, and enjoying.

Fingers crossed that’s the way it works out.

 

Published in: on December 10, 2019 at 6:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 10, 2019: The Deliveries Have Begun  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Fri. Dec. 6, 2019: Deep Within the Baking Marathon

Friday, December 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to AFFAIRS OF THE PEN, where I talk about the fun of holiday romances.

I got back to baking in the early afternoon, after having adventures finding decent vanilla that was also affordable. It’s shocking how much food prices have gone up this year, while the packages are smaller and the quality is often lower.

I made the orange-cranberry cookies from the recipe in THE CAPE COD COOKBOOK. I started making them a few years ago, and they’ve become a favorite. I made about 10 dozen. I prepped the dough for the same amount of molasses spice cookies, which I will bake today.

I had leftover orange zest (I got a little over-enthusiastic trying to find a way to actually LIKE zesting oranges). So I built a chocolate spice cake around the leftover zest, using ideas from several different recipes, and then tweaking them.

It was outstanding.

I already got the request (although it felt more like a demand) to share the recipe. Um, no. When I put a bunch of work into developing a recipe, I’m not flinging it up on the Internet so anyone can claim it. I’m saving it for my own cookbook. I am thinking of reviving The Heritage Recipe project next year, where I work on family recipes and adjust them for modern times. I think there’s another website with that name already, so I probably need to rename mine.

Then, I wonder if it’s too much to take on, with everything else that has to happen next year.

Watching SHETLAND, Season 5. It’s so well done.

Got in one of the research books for an essay I’m working on. I need to get the other essay done this weekend, so it can go up on Monday, and I’m thinking of doing one more before the end of the year, then the two I’ve been thinking about for a long time early next year.

This morning, I have errands (grocery store AGAIN, post office, library, etc.), some work to get done/out, take my mom to get her blood pressure checked. Then, it’s baking the molasses spice cookies and the oatmeal/currant lace cookies.

Tomorrow morning, I will bake the cupcakes. Then, we’re going to the holiday greens sale at the library, and the open house at the Cahoon Museum. After that, I’ll frost the cupcakes, and maybe deliver ones to the neighbors. Sunday and Monday will be more deliveries. I want to make sure I get them all out by mid-week.

I’m behind on the overseas holiday cards. I wanted to get them out this morning, but I will have to stay up as long as it takes tonight in order to get them out tomorrow morning instead. Otherwise, it’ll be Valentine’s Day before they arrive.

I carefully read through the National Grid bill. We were so careful with gas last much, and our bill is so much higher. You know why? They double the price per therm from November to April. It’s not that I’m using so much more — although, with cold weather, of course I am. It’s that they’re charging DOUBLE. How is that legal? And, there’s both a delivery charge and a service charge. Huh? Aren’t they the same thing? That’s ridiculous. People already use more energy in the winter, because they need to heat the house. The company’s making more money. But now they DOUBLE the price? That’s not right.

I will be talking to my elected officials about that, in our regular conversation, along with all the other points we need to discuss.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of it. We’re supposed to get a little more snow today. I already have my pre-storm headache.

 

Thurs. Dec. 5, 2019: Release Day for GRAVE REACH

Grave Reach 3D Cover
Release Day: GRAVE REACH, the 4th Coventina Circle Novel!

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool
St. Nicholas Night

It’s finally here! GRAVE REACH, the 4th Coventina Circle novel. You can read an excerpt and find out more about it by visiting the Grave Reach page on the Coventina Circlewebsite. I’m excited about this book – I achieved what I wanted with it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Blurb:
Lesley Chase fought her way free from an abusive marriage, thanks to Coventina Circle. After her ex-husband’s murder, she took a sabbatical to study yoga, meditation, and dreamwalking in Costa Rica. A passionate affair with Sam Pierce helped her self-confidence and healing, but she insisted they break all contact when she returned to New York. She’s stunned when she runs into Sam, who has an office in the same building as her therapist. He convinces her it’s just a weird coincidence, and he won’t try to rekindle their passion. But when Lesley’s dreamwalking crosses into dangerous territory, and her ex-husband starts stalking her from beyond the grave, Sam is determined to set her free, once and for all. Of course, Sam has a few dark secrets of his own, on both sides of the veil . . .

$3.99 on multiple digital channels.

***

I was wiped out by the time I got back from work both Tuesday and Wednesday – which means I’m behind on the overseas cards.

The Remote Chat was great, as always. What a great bunch of people. I always learn so much.

When I got home yesterday, I baked 10 dozen Tollhouse cookies for the cookie platters. I also baked a Swedish Visiting cake, a recipe from YANKEEMagazine. It was simple, and delicious. I didn’t have almonds or almond extract, so I substituted anise (with trepidation, since I don’t always like it). But it’s excellent, and will become one of my go-to cakes.

Started watching Season 5 of SHETLAND. It’s always such an intense, well-done piece.

Out early this morning, doing a big grocery shop for the rest of the baking materials. This afternoon, I’m prepping the molasses spice cookies, and baking the orange cranberry cookies.

I have an essay to finish and polish, that needs to be ready to post early next week.

Tomorrow, I’ll bake the molasses spice cookies, and bake the oatmeal currant lace cookies. I’ll either start the stained glass cupcakes tomorrow afternoon or bake them on Saturday. Although I think I’ll bake them tomorrow, frost them Saturday, and deliveries start on Sunday.

In and around all of this, I have more errands to run, writing to get finished, and the overseas holiday cards to write and get out. But front-loading at the beginning of the month will allow me to relax and enjoy the actual holidays themselves.

Tonight is St. Nicholas night. We will put out a shoe (with a napkin inside) and tomorrow morning, it will be filled with candy – or coal! It’s one of the traditions of our childhood that we still retain, and I love it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I mis-read the calendar yesterday and said it was the New Moon; it was actually the new moon on the 9th. Sorry!

Late start today!

I didn’t get much done yesterday afternoon – more plotting work on Hex Breaker, a nap, and then I couldn’t get going again.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk for an article on “Sacred Baking.”

Speaking of baking, I have bread rising in the kitchen. It’s too cold and icy to go out, in spite of the sunshine. Instead of worrying about running out of bread, I’m baking some.

When I finally checked messages last night, I discovered that the show I quit had called to ask me to come in, at the last minute, because they were having (another) emergency. Now, why would I make a three hour round trip in an ice storm to work at a place I’ve quit? What part of “I quit” didn’t get through?

Overslept this morning, which is why everything is running so far behind. But I needed it – I think I caught a bit of a cold from one of the badly behaved sticky children on the train. Ick.

I had a good morning’s work on Earth Bride. Niki has no idea as to The Poet’s real identity, but he certainly helped her, in this scene, sort out her muddled emotions. Niki’s fun to write because she’s so different from previous protags I’ve written, and different from protags I’ve encountered in other stories.

I’d hoped to break 12.5K on Hex Breaker yesterday, but I was so darned tired I couldn’t coherently string words together. So I’m going to do some more work on it now, and then, yes, this afternoon, I’m tackling the holiday cards!

As a friend says, “Hey, if they arrive by Valentine’s Day, it’s a good year.”

Devon

Earth Bride – 109,763 words out of est. 120,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

109 / 120
(90.8%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 11:39 am  Comments (5)