Tues. July 27, 2021: Attacking the New Week

image courtesy of Andreas Lischka via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and humid

It was, all considered, a pretty good weekend. I was finished with the work that HAD to be done by noon on Friday, and gave myself time to rest and read. Claire Cook’s newest book arrived, and I settled in with that.

I wandered down the street in the afternoon to visit Cinnamon Girl Apothecary, and introduced myself to the owner. We had a nice chat (both masked because hey, indoors, and we’re not idiots, even though we’re both vaxxed), and I bought a new tarot deck and a blue onyx crystal as my Lammas gift to myself for next week. Not playing with the deck until August 1 is a challenge.

Up early Saturday. Spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the laundry room and organizing it so it’s a workable space. It’s nice and neat and almost where we need it to be; at least it’s useful now, and not just a place to dump stuff we don’t know where to put. Got some more kitchen boxes unpacked. Rearranged some stuff.

Juliet Blackwell’s newest book arrived Saturday, along with our sheets, and my 2022 calendars. As soon as I was finished with the laundry room, I started reading SYNCHRONIZED SORCERY.

Sunday, it rained again, so it was mostly a rest day. We dashed out to Stop & Shop for a few things, which turned into more things. But it was reading and resting, and then I cooked chicken with leeks and mushrooms, and made leek stock with the leftover leaves, et al, from the leeks.

I shouldn’t have tossed ALL my empty glass jars; I need some of them now.

For a decade on Cape Cod, I was so conscientious about recycling. We recycled 80%. And you know what? We were punished for it. Constant rate hikes. Towns should not charge residents for recycling. It should be unlimited and free. Barnstable’s whine that “they have to pay for it” – so the fuck what? We pay taxes.

I’ve been tempted to not make my own stock, etc., here, but the truth is that I LIKE my own stock, and use it. So I made leek stock, which I will use up in the next few weeks.

I also made chocolate mousse, which was pretty darned good.

It’s rather alarming to sit here across the state and watch the Cape’s COVID numbers rise again. Cape Cod’s cases are rising at 7X the rate as the rest of the state, per the BOSTON GLOBE. Well, what the hell did they think would happen? The past eighteen months made it very clear that businesses don’t give a damn if their employees or their customers die, as long as they can squeeze a few more cents out of them.

Glad we’re out of there.

I saw photos posted from a local festival for small businesses. Yes, it was outside, so less need for masking. But it was crowded, and no one was social distancing. In fact, people posed in clumps for pictures. How many will get sick from the unvaxxed idiots wandering around there?

Another article in the GLOBE made me glad I skipped Community Day at MassMOCA last weekend. While in previous years there were 3000 people going through on such a day, this time there were only a bit over 1600. Even in a space that size, unless there’s proof of vaccination required and everyone masked (which MassMOCA is not doing), I wouldn’t be comfortable around that many strangers. While they are saying masks are “welcome”, I don’t feel the museum is taking enough precautions to protect their staff or their visitors. So I guess it’ll be awhile until I visit, or I’ll pick the lowest traffic day I can imagine to wander through – masked.

I was also disappointed that, during the pandemic, they laid off most of their staff. It makes me think less of them. The pandemic was a time for employers to prove that their employees mattered, not cut them loose at the first sign of trouble.

So I need to re-think how I want to interact with MassMOCA. I had figured they would be the anchor of my creative life around here, but what I’m seeing and hearing makes me not trust them.

So many people are posting photos of being out and about in crowded places with no masks and no social distancing, and I’m thinking, “You’re nuts. You really think the variant won’t happen to YOU?”

Heard that a Broadway colleague is in the hospital with COVID, about to be intubated. Fuck all the anti-vaxxers. They should not be allowed in any public space. If they choose not to get vaccinated because they don’t “believe” in it, fine. Then stay home. They do not have the right to put other people at risk. And when they do cause illness in others, they must be held accountable for it.

They’re not “victims” of disinformation. They’ve made the CHOICE of disinformation.

As I’m unpacking and setting up the space here, I want it to be comfortable, inviting, and efficient. Whether it’s due to COVID numbers or bad weather, I’ll be spending a lot of time at home over the coming months, and I want it to be a happy space. Part of me is angry that a minority of ignorant dumbasses have far too much to say about how I live my life through their selfishness; the rest of me just shrugs, because I am fully capable of staying home, and therefore will do a lot of it. I work remotely. I LIKE working remotely. Yes, I’d like to get to know my new community, but if it takes longer than originally planned, that’s the way it is.

A recruiter contacted me over the weekend (red flag 1) about a job that has very little to do with what I actually do (and I doubt they could afford me). I politely declined.

Tessa has started walking the halls and howling at night. I think she wants to re-instate her 2 AM snack. She had her own place for her snack in the other house; if we set it out here before our bedtime, Willa and Charlotte would gobble it up. So we have to re-think how to make Tessa happy so she doesn’t keep us up most of the night, while not providing the resources for Charlotte and Willa to overeat. Last night, I set her up in what we call “Tessa’s room” (the third bedroom), with the door to the porch, which she loves, open. There’s a litter box, and I put her snack and water down. Closed the door to the rest of the apartment. She could relax without Charlotte bothering her. No howling. We’ll see how long that lasts.

I dropped off/picked up books at the library yesterday and dashed into Big Y grocery for a few things. While on Sunday, at Stop & Shop, only about a third of the customers wore masks in the store, by yesterday, at Big Y, 75% wore masks. More people, here, at least, are taking the Delta variant seriously.

The haze from the wildfires out west hung over the mountains, obscuring them for most of the day. It started clearing up a bit at night, enough so we could see some stars.

Mother demanded hot dogs for lunch. We hardly eat beef anymore, because we always feel awful, but I was dumb enough to give in and let her make us hot dogs for lunch. We were both sick as could be for the rest of the day. No more beef franks. At least we both feel better this morning, but yesterday afternoon was lost, as far as productivity. I managed to read the scripts I had to cover, and read some of Barbara Delinsky’s new novel, but that was it.

I’m writing in longhand every morning, playing with ideas, and then having some more word playtime on the computer before I get into the day’s work. I need to shake up my process and reconstruct it in a way that works here.

I’d like to take the rest of the summer off, but no such luck.

Working on my presentation for next week’s class. Working on the articles for Llewellyn. Sending out LOIs. Working on the Topic Workbooks and the brochure. Working on the script coverage.

Packing up stuff it turns out we don’t need here and can take back to storage, and making a list of what’s in storage and should be up here. We’re going to do a few storage runs over the next couple of months, before the weather gets bad.

Headed out to do laundry this morning at the laundromat. Hopefully, it won’t be crowded AND the machines will work without eating my money.

Have a good one.

Wed. May 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 368 — Last Day On Site

image courtesy of Jose Antonio Alba via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Full Moon

Lunar Eclipse

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and warm

Today is my last day onsite with my local client. It’ll be interesting to see how that all shakes out. I started there in October of 2017. Definitely time for a change.

I was up way too early yesterday, although I got some sleep. Puttered around, read, not being very productive. Gearing up, mentally and physically, for an intense weekend of packing, although I do intend to give myself breaks here and there.

I went into the office for a few hours, to clean up some stuff and to work on the Cheat Sheets with instructions of how to do various things that I’m leaving my replacement.

Dropped off a stack of library books. Swung by CVS to get a new pair of clip-on sunglasses for the summer. Nothing really fit properly, but I have something with which I can get by.

Typed up and sent off script coverage on two pilots. Read a feature, which I didn’t like at the beginning, but loved by the end. I will write that up and send it off today.

Not sure how much coverage I will take on in the next few days. Tomorrow is busy, and then there’s Memorial Day weekend. Maybe I’ll do one or two more? Last week, I had a really solid coverage week; this week is a little less due to the house hunting. There are some interesting things coming up via the agency, but I’m hesitant to take anything that intense on until we’re moved. That may make June a lean month, and I need it to be a lucrative one. But if I break my health, it will derail the move and set us back further.

We have an appointment to see a place tomorrow that seems perfect. Fingers crossed that it really is the right place for us, and that the landlord likes us well enough to rent it to us. The space is great, the price is perfect, and the location is a good place for our next chapter.

I hope I don’t run out of boxes for the packing.

I also need to purge more.

It took me 35 minutes to drive 8 miles yesterday to get to the office. We are already at July levels of traffic, and the incoming tourists are ruder and meaner than ever. Everyone here is expected to Die for Tourist Dollars starting this weekend.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are exhausted, scared, and excited to end the school year and start their summer. The parents are all just exhausted. Last session tomorrow.

Hold a good thought for me that tomorrow goes well.

All these retrogrades, and I have to make major life changes. But retrogrades are about resolving unresolved issues, and what’s a bigger unresolved issue than not knowing where we’ll live for the next cycle?

Peace, friends.

Published in: on May 26, 2021 at 4:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 368 — Last Day On Site  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. May 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 361 — The Cheese Stands Alone

image courtesy of Shutterbug75 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Still dark out

Yesterday wasn’t too bad, but I’m gearing up for today.

I was up early, cleared out some more in the garage first thing. Got appropriately dressed, and headed on site to the client’s. I had the office to myself, which is as it should be. I cleared up a bunch of stuff that needed to be cleared, tossed out a big stack of my own scribbled notes on this and that which I no longer need, filed, wrote up the notes for what I’m wrapping up, with each thing dated. I will keep one copy for myself in case there are any questions. I will keep adding to it until I leave.

I took down the online store I’d set up during the pandemic, closed out some of the social media accounts. The client seems to think this will upset me (and is happy about it), because of the work I put in to create and maintain them; but it’s not about me. I did the work that was necessary at the time; the client does not want the new person to maintain the sites. Ergo, it makes sense to take them down. It has nothing to do with me. This is what the client wants as part of my wrap-up; then this is what I’ll do.

Taking down the Square store took some doing, because, of course, the information in the tutorials and what came up on the screen had little to do with each other. But I got it done.

Worked ahead on email blasts – I’m trying to get the next few months’ worth done, so all they have to do is send them. The client is grumbling about that, too, so I created cheat sheets both on sending emails already drafted, and creating new ones from scratch. I write good step-by-step directions; if the client or the new employee choose not to read/follow the directions, again, that has nothing to do with me.

There were some responses to the job ad posted on Indeed the previous day; with the client’s permission, I went ahead and set up some interviews.

I left on time, with the client constantly emailing me for this, that, the other well into the evening, which will have to stop. I didn’t get one of the emails until I got up this morning. I am not on call.

I came home to find my mother very, very upset. Against my advice, she’d called the family in Maine, to check in and see how they were doing, and let them know the progress (or lack thereof) in the house hunting. Instead of offering supportive solutions, they said the following were “our only choices”:

–get rid of the cats

–get rid of all our furniture, mementos of our trips, gifts, etc., and, especially, my books because “you don’t need books” – um, yeah, I do, I’m a writer. I have four floor-to-ceiling bookcases in my office of the books that I use constantly, and I’m always digging through for the other books.

–I’m supposed to go to the Town Manager. He will find my mother a “room” in an elder care facility, because she’s 96 and doesn’t need more than that (the subtext being she’s going to die soon, so why not die alone in a shabby room).

–I’m supposed to rent a room in someone else’s house

–I shouldn’t have given my notice to the onsite job, and the client’s behavior toward me was totally justified (the threats and verbal abuse)

–Oh, and we deserve all of this since I’ve “played” at being in the arts all this time, instead of getting a “real job.” Right. Broadway’s not a real job. Copywriting and marketing aren’t real jobs.

We’re not being separated, and I’m not putting my mother “away.” We’re not getting rid of the cats; they’re family. We may well have to put some things in storage, and I am purging quite a bit; even if I wanted to find a share, there aren’t any in all of Cape Cod.

To build on a previous post about the moans of “no one wants to work” – no one can find any housing. A colleague at my client’s called me to offer support and apology for the way the client is behaving towards me. She told me that she’s renting a room to a kid out of college who wants to work in her friend’s new restaurant, but would be forced to turn down the job because there isn’t any housing; another friend of hers is also renting a room she had no intention of renting for the summer to another restaurant worker, who would also have had to turn down the job due to lack of housing. There’s a housing crisis here – a completely manufactured one, by the towns allowing corporations and shell companies to buy everything up as short-term rentals at huge prices. Where do all these tourists and visitors think they’re going to eat and shop and do activities when there’s no housing for those who would work there?

There is no need for a housing crisis, except that the towns are greedy, and are allowing shady corporations to come in and destroy everything.

Tangent, but a necessary one. So much for family, right? They’re not required to fix anything financially or offer us shelter (although they own plenty of real estate). But emotional support rather than cruelty would be nice. They’re not being “realistic” and “honest”. They’re being cruel. And, since two years ago, they helped out with that major car repair, they feel they have the right to dictate these choices now. My mother and I are the cheeses that stand alone, I guess.

No idea where we will end up, but it needs to be in a town that’s not tourist-centric.

Managed to take an hour outside on the deck, with the cats in their playpens, to read and enjoy being outside as I ran the sprinklers. It’s actually really fun to watch the grass grow.

We came in so covered in pollen that I had to take a shower and scrub down. I also had to scrub the tub out, because the pollen I washed off glopped in the bottom.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are so ready for the end of the school year. This attitude of some of the schools to force kids back to in-person learning for the last month of school is ridiculous. Some of their schools are no longer doing virtual learning, and refuse the online option. So the kids are taking the assignments and doing them without any classroom support, just what we do in the homework group, each other, and their parents.

You know what else would be nice? If society didn’t use school as child care, and if it was actually, you know, education.

Wrote up the script coverage for the script I read yesterday. I have two scripts to read, still, this week, and might take on a third. I should have done more, but I’ve felt so beaten down.

My Llewellyn editor is contracting me for the 2023 almanacs, which is great. I got the next book assigned for review. I sent out a bunch of LOIs.

Read a bit at night, went to bed early. Wasn’t on email, so didn’t get some of the client emails until this morning. Have to set more boundaries today, for these last few days (16 hours spread over 4 days). Of course, I may get fed up if she goes on another rant today, and leave today.

Nothing like leaping into the day with no idea of where I’ll be by the end of it.

Fri. May 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 356 — Taking a Risk to Clear a Path

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Friday, May 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Somehow, yesterday seems like months ago.

Meditation was great. The theme was “self-compassion” which is something that I sorely needed (and continue to need).

I sent out a bunch of LOIs. Got an almost immediate response from one, asking for more samples and other information, which I turned around immediately.

I felt dizzy and exhausted off and on for most of the day, so I didn’t get as much other work done as I would have liked. I had to keep taking breaks.

Amongst all the reading I’m being paid to do, I’m reading a rather wonderful book for pleasure, DANCE WITH DEATH by Will Thomas.

I did not get an offer for the job where I blew the interview on Tuesday. They went with someone else (and were very nice about it, points to them for class). While the stability of the position was attractive, at least for the next stretch of time, the money meant I would have to take on a lot of extra work, and we just weren’t the right fit for each other. They made the best decision for everyone.

I took the day of script reading (which means I have to make up for it today, since I have coverage due tomorrow morning). I was just exhausted.

I didn’t get any packing or purging or cleaning up done.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The teens are getting appointments for their vaccines. The younger kids are jealous!

I did some house hunting; there was one possibility that looked good and wasn’t a scam, but I have a feeling it’s only a summer rental. Still, it was worth an email, and maybe I’ll hear back, or maybe I won’t.

I keep seeing us in that adorable little space in Bennington, even though someone else got it. It feels so vivid and right. I need to let go of it.

I was, however, weighing different scenarios on an issue that has to be faced down today. I’m going with my gut on it. Things have reached an untenable point, and, although what I’m going to do is a financial risk (which I shouldn’t take right now), it is also necessary. It has to be done in person today. It is mostly likely to be extremely unpleasant (potentially dangerous, since I am not considered fully vaccinated for another week); it could be a reasonable conversation that works well for all of us. The former is more likely than the latter. But I must remain calm and firm. I need to look after myself in this situation.

I’m weary and overwhelmed even anticipating what will happen, but it has to be done. I’m hoping that making this difficult decision and taking this risk will clear the way for something better. Because the situation now is unsustainable.

And then, we move forward. The next two weeks will be especially rough, but time moves forward no matter what, so it’s about getting to it.

I could use all the good thoughts you could spare today, on both this and the home front.

Have a great weekend, friends, and peace. We’ll catch up on Tuesday.

Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging

photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

I’m in a rocky period, and that’s the way it’s going to be for this next stretch. I have to figure out how to navigate it without killing myself.

Friday was a mix of frustrations. I managed to get some client work done really, really early to hand it off to the person who needed it, getting in early rather than waiting until this week. And then THAT person went and took credit for the work I’d done both Thursday and Friday. So there’s some clarification that needs to happen next week.

Friday was a bit of a fractured workday, although I managed to do a curbside pickup at the library. I’m stressed with most of my cookbooks packed, so I ordered more cookbooks from the library as a soothing agent.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Prepped for a late afternoon meeting. It was a video call, so that meant choosing the wardrobe, doing the makeup, fixing the lighting, checking to make sure the background wasn’t full of boxes.

I woke up on Saturday morning, filled to the brim with stress and rage.

I worked hard to let go of it – it was a gorgeous day outside. I did an early morning grocery run, got the laundry and the housework done, worked on the paperwork for the contest (I finished the third category), and then decided to give myself a day off. I’m completely cooked, and I am making myself ill. I read a book, I played with the cats, I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed myself.

It was Beltane, and I did a ritual. Let’s hope things are moving in the right direction.

The Kentucky Derby was in the evening. I was disgusted to see how many flouted the masking protocols and ignored social distancing. They should have all been removed.

King Fury was scratched, so he wasn’t part of my picks, poor baby. I didn’t actually bet this year, even online. With the move coming up, betting is an unnecessary expense, and, frankly, I didn’t put in enough work to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s not the Derby where one makes money; it’s the undercard, and I certainly didn’t put in the work to bet on that.

I stuck with my choices of Midnight Bourbon as my first choice, then Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Soup and Sandwich as my long shot. Had I bet, I would have put the first three across the board and Soup and Sandwich to Show.

The winner was Medina Spirit, who ran a beautiful, wire to wire race. Mandaloun came in second, very close, with Hot Rod Charlie third and Essential Quality fourth. Midnight Bourbon was sixth – I don’t know what was wrong with him today, he just didn’t show up. Soup and Sandwich has a good start, but faded to finish last, poor thing.

So I’m glad I didn’t bet! I would have only won a few bucks on Hot Rod Charlie.

I had good early morning writing sessions Saturday and Sunday. Sticking to writing first thing in the morning helps keep the rest of the day grounded. I’m going to work hard not to self-sabotage on that front.

Finished the decisions on the winners and the finalists for the contest on Saturday and sent them off. On Sunday, I received invoicing instructions, sent off the invoice first thing Monday and was paid immediately.

Sunday, I also read a book for review, sent off the review and the invoice from the last batch. Again, first thing Monday, I was paid. That’s how it should be!

Found some interesting listings for rentals on Sunday, and sent off a few emails. Heard back yesterday morning from the one I really, really liked, so I’m hoping we can set up a time for me to head up there to see it, although it’s a bit of a hike.

Got a little bit of packing done, but not enough. If we knew where we were going, it would be easier.

photo by Devon Ellington

Monday morning, we were up early to eat, do the dishes, clean the litter boxes, etc., before the septic people arrived. They were here on time, and very, very nice. And efficient.

I managed to get some LOIs out before I headed to the client’s. Unfortunately, the water needed to be turned off at the house while I was gone, and the landlord came in to do it. I was embarrassed that he came in among the moving chaos. I’ve got things spread out and boxes everywhere and it’s a mess.

My client figured out that I’m having a moving situation going on, and immediately started giving me advice – that serves her, not me. This is one reason I didn’t want to discuss it with her until I had more tangibles. It’s going to be a nightmare for the next few weeks until things get sorted out, with her trying to “fix” things so it suits her, and not what we need. I should have just lied, but I didn’t.

Got an interview request from another LOI. At first, I set it up for later this week, but then I moved it to this afternoon – another end of day interview, which I’m not thrilled about, but if we’re going to look at rentals toward the end of the week, before my vaccine on Saturday, I needed it to happen sooner rather than later.

Turned around a script coverage piece. If this company likes me, they might throw me some more work here and there. I loved the piece I read; if that’s an indication of the quality they get in, it will be a joyful job. But what I have to say might not be what they want to hear. Still, I had to give notes that I felt best fit the piece.

The backyard is quite in tumult. The septic guys will be back today, and maybe finish by Thursday. Che Guevara Chipmunk sat on the deck steps in the late afternoon, looking absolutely devasted (although his actual home, in the bushes, is fine). I felt awful for upsetting the chipmunk.

Absolutely shattered by the end of the day. Fish and chips were as fancy as I could manage.

We watched some more of WILLIAM AND MARY, which is so well-written. Martin Clunes and Julie Graham are wonderful, and the supporting cast is great, too.

The June issue of THE WRITER arrived on Saturday, with my article in it on “Food Sensuality in Fiction.” I scanned the pages (although I had computer issues – my curser and trackpad aren’t always working properly and letting me use the keyboard). But I got it scanned, and I sent the PDFs out to the authors who were included. They were all really pleased with the way the article came out, and I’m so grateful to them for their quotes.

I love writing pieces like this, and I hope I get to do more.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing sessions yesterday and today.  Today, I’ve got some remote client work, an article to finish, a short story to work on, and a book to turn around fast for review. My editor’s been so great since I started working for the publication; no one wanted to read/review this book, and it needs to be done quickly, so I said sure. It’s definitely got some challenges. But I want to be fair and give it a helpful, not a harmful review, while still being honest.

CAPE COD TIMES ran an article about how Cape Cod businesses can’t find enough workers for summer tourism season. Hmm, let’s see, people are refusing to work in dangerous conditions for crap wages? Good. Of course, the paper frames it as “lazy people making more on unemployment.” Hey, assholes, if they’re making more on unemployment, the job was crap anyway. They did point out that there aren’t enough of the visa workers who come in from other countries for the summer season. Again, these are people who work for subpar wages. They compete for housing with people who live here year-round. And the article barely touched on the fact that the lack of housing is a crisis. The ratio of actual pay to the cost of housing is completely out of whack. As usual, it was right-leaning whining, instead of actual journalism. Typical of this area.

It rained overnight, so the backyard is now a mud bath.

Should be interesting.

photo by Devon Ellington

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On

photo by Devon Ellington

Friday, April 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

Beltane Eve

Yesterday was a frustrating day, but it all worked out, somehow.

Dealing with a boundary issue with a client, which is frustrating.

At least I got out some LOIs and got some work done. The property manager missed the two potential phone appointments with no contact, and then sent me the rental application late last night, along with a time to drive a long way up and see the place that I already said wouldn’t work.  So, that place is out. Plus, my questions haven’t been answered on the lack of washer/dryer, the monthly fee for the garage, etc. I don’t think this is going to work. If we’re having this much difficulty communicating in getting basic information on the property, it’s a red flag to what it would be like if we actually moved in. It’s already near the top of my price range, and then with all these extras? I don’t see how it can work.

Heard back from a company to whom I’d sent an LOI months ago, and they want to talk today, so we have a video interview set up late this afternoon (my worst time of day, but so what). I have to bring up the rolling rack from the basement and drape fabric over it so act as a screen to hide all the packing going on in the office. It also means I’ll have to dress up and put on makeup.

Contacted another property, that’s also quite far away, but looks and sounds fantastic, and the price is good, too. It’s a little small, but workable, and in a place I hadn’t considered, but that would work.

Had a series of exchanges with a fairly local realtor, who contacted me after I told her that a property she represents showed up as a scam rental on craigslist. She’s been in touch a few times. I explained the situation, and she suggested some resources (all of which I’ve already contacted), but also admitted that there isn’t anything in the area to rent (that’s not a kazillion dollars and a short-term rental) and very little to buy. I mean, she was nice and all, but it didn’t get me any closer to solving the problem.

The stress continues to build.

photo by Devon Ellington

The septic company dropped off the digger yesterday afternoon. It’s a big old thing, stashed in the backyard, until they start up, first thing Monday morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re all ready for this school year to be over.

Worked on contest entries. I should be finished by today, and can send off my choices tomorrow.

I had a horrible, horrible cramp in the arch of my foot last night, like a Charley horse in the arch. I don’t want to experience that again any time soon.

I have a lot of work and a lot of packing to do today, along with a grocery run. At least I had a good first writing session, although I didn’t get enough work done on the article or the story yesterday. Hopefully, I can make up for that today.

And tomorrow, the Kentucky Derby! AND Beltane!

Catch you on the other side. Hopefully, next week will look up as far as house hunting.

Published in: on April 30, 2021 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 341 — The Danger Increases

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

I have a short post on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was all over the place.

I had a decent first writing session in the morning, although it wasn’t the full 1K. But it was still more words than I started with, so all good.

Got out a stack of LOIs.

Headed in to the client’s. The client demands I’m back in the office for the hours she pays for, starting next week. Even though we’re not all vaccinated, and we’re not supposed to be at full capacity for the office. I can’t afford to quit just yet, so I have to put myself into even more danger until I’m vaccinated.

Heard from the landlord. The septic replacement will be next week, but the water only needs to be shut off on Monday for about 4 hours. So we’ll coordinate that, before I head to the office, and I’ll be back by the time they need it turned back on.

They might have to take up part of the deck to do it, which means we won’t be able to sit out there after this weekend until we actually move. Which kind of breaks my heart.

But then, the last few months have been all about how much my heart can break, haven’t they?

Haven’t heard back from the property manager as to whether or not we have a phone appointment today, haven’t received any paperwork, haven’t gotten a confirmation as to whether we can go up to see the place on Saturday. I’m getting frustrated. The place is smaller than this, near the top of our budget, no washer/dryer (only hookups), and I’d have to pay extra for garage space, but she hasn’t told me how much.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s worth it, but we don’t have a lot of options.

Had a terrific exchange back and forth throughout the day with a potential new client on what would be a really interesting job. He wanted to look at a wide variety of samples, which I sent. I hope what I do matches what he’s looking for, because it would be so interesting.

Heard back from another LOI – another demand for unpaid, project-specific work samples as part of the interview process. I’m sending them my test/sample contract this morning, and will either get another snarky response or never hear back.

I was completely wiped out last night, and went to bed early.

I have meditation this morning, then client work, then finish up an article, work on a short story, work on contest entries, pack, and continue to house hunt.

I had a good writing session first thing this morning, and realized that, while this book is a stand-alone, a couple of supporting characters deserve their own books (also stand-alones). I made some notes. That knowledge will allow me to strengthen certain things in this book, while not going out too far on tangents, because I know those characters will be able to tell their own stories.

Back to it, then.

Published in: on April 29, 2021 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 341 — The Danger Increases  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here

photo courtesy of Bela Geletneky via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cool

Earth Day

Earth Day, but they’re still out there in the neighborhood, destroying nature at full blast.

Post about the garden up on Gratitude and Growth.

I forgot to mention, in yesterday’s post, that I’ve been invited to submit a short story to a women’s gothic horror anthology. I have until May 15. I started playing with the opening – it’s very twisted. Even though horror isn’t really my wheelhouse, I do love gothic, and I’m having fun with it. Channeling some frustrations and anger into it, and then will have to hone it. I want to keep it between 1-2.5K. I’ve got a lot of it percolating in my head, so, fingers crossed I can pull it off.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Thankfully, much less stressful than I anticipated. Came home, decontaminated, and participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Didn’t get much packing done. Was worn out, but got some work on contest entries done. I only have 2 weeks to finish the rest of the categories. I want to get the next category done by the end of this week. It’s the biggest one, and it will give me plenty of time for the last one.

It’s colder and windy today, but supposed to get nicer again over the weekend.

More bubble wrap arrived yesterday. I have a lot of packing to do this weekend.

And, of course, house hunting.

Charlotte woke me up a little after 3:30, with her separation anxiety. I moved to the couch in the living room to settle her down and dozed off, but she forgot I was there and went back up to cry outside my bedroom door around the time I usually get up anyway.

I was late getting to the page, and didn’t have as good a first writing session as I’ve had the last week. But I showed up at the page and got words down, so I’ll count it as a win.

Keep on keeping on, right?

At least I have the virtual meditation group today. That should get me back to rights.

Published in: on April 22, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. April 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 333 — Give Credit Where It’s Due

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Got a lot done early in the day yesterday: LOIs, article work, house hunting. I need to fill out some paperwork on a couple of places.

A house I’d hoped would work out seems to be a scam; another one we really liked has so many applicants, the guy isn’t even responding to emails.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and bought more than I planned; picked up a few things at CVS. Still doing full decontamination protocols. Even once I’m fully vaccinated, we’re talking about keeping some of the protocols in place. Because too many people are gross.

The tree-clearing morons were out in force yesterday. Cutting down healthy trees all over the neighborhood. Noise pollution, dust pollution, destroying habitat. Welcome to Cape Cod, where those who move here for the beauty systematically destroy it.

My mom still felt poorly, but she was better than the previous day, so, hopefully, she’s on the mend. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

Worked on contest entries. Packed some of the candle holders. I didn’t realize how many candle holders I have. I’m washing out a bunch of them and scraping old wax out of some, too. The stillroom is going to take longer to pack than I expected.

I had to order more bubble wrap (the 6th & 7th rolls, for those keeping track).

The Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous. There’s a stunning necklace included, a beautiful altar cloth, a carved bear. Just lovely.

Worked through another stack of magazines I came across and tossed a lot.

I need to photograph the old mower and contact the guy who buys them and refurbishes them. I want that and the broken weed whacker out of here.

It was nice enough in the afternoon to sit outside and read for a bit. I took Willa out in her playpen for a little while, but it was too windy, and she kept getting tossed ass over teakettle, so I brought her back in. Charlotte was upset that I took Willa out and not Charlotte. Tessa stayed out of the fray.

I burst into tears of relief at the Derek Chauvin “guilty” verdict. As someone who’s been a juror on murder trials, I know how seriously jurors take it, and how heavily the responsibility weighs to go over the evidence and serve justice.

I was angered by all the “thanking God” going on all over the internet. God had nothing to do with the guilty verdict. It was the jurors, who took their job seriously and fulfilled the oath they swore. If God gave a damn, George Floyd wouldn’t have been murdered in the first place. If God existed, the Sociopath would have never been in the White House. So cut the crap about God having anything to do with this verdict. It was people who took their oath seriously, which is more than most politicians do.

Today I have to go onsite for a few hours, overlapping with other work colleagues. Not looking forward to it.

But then, there’s Remote Chat, to which I AM looking forward.

The early morning writing sessions are going well. It gives me a solid, positive foundation for the rest of the day. I’m making progress in the work, and it’s giving me creative energy to fuel more work in the day. So I’m glad I’m getting back into the daily rhythm.

Now, if I could only land us a place to live. . .

Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Hazy and cool

Re-read THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE. I only have the prologue and a couple of chapters, but it has energy and wit, and I like it.

I have to figure it out, and write the outline, but I like it.

In the meantime, I wrote steadily on a piece with the working title SELF-SANCTUARY. I’m doing between 1200-1750 words a day, longhand, which is good, steady work. Every three chapters, I will type what I have.

The house hunting is stressful. A couple of good places don’t have any openings right now, so maybe I’ll get us on the waiting list, while we look elsewhere. A couple of cute houses, smaller than we are in now, came up, and we can even afford them, but the competition is fierce.

And, of course, there were at least a dozen more scams. Those are disheartening.

Did laundry, packed, house hunted, wrote, did housework. Not only are the people moving in destroying the environment/habitat/landscape they claimed to move here because of, it’s getting filthy.

We do the daily cleaning, of course, and then a weekly big clean with dusting and mopping and vacuuming. And then the spring cleaning/fall cleaning. But in between even the weekly big cleans, it gets really filthy. It didn’t use to. There’d be a little dust here and there, and, of course, the pine pollen in spring. But now, it’s a layer of grime, similar to what I dealt with in New York City EVERY WEEK. Because of the constant heavy machinery and leaf blowers. It’s disgusting.

At least I got some sleep. Slept through the night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, although I had weird dreams.

A client sent me something on Saturday for quick turnaround. I replied that I would do it first thing Monday (which I did). Remote work does not mean I’m on call 24/7 for instant turnaround.

It was too cold to sit on the deck, which made me sad. We don’t have much longer to enjoy the deck.

My mom was sick Sunday into Monday. I worked fully remotely on Monday, so I could take care of her. Had her on the couch, propped with yoga blankets and bolsters and a hot water bottle, so she was comfortable. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

I had a solid morning’s writing session, got out some LOIs, turned around client work, house hunted, took care of my mom.

In the mid-afternoon, I had a delightful chat with someone who’d liked an LOI I sent a few weeks back, and we discussed possibilities. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

Worked on contest entries, got my review out. I have another book to read/review, and then I can invoice.

It was temperate enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine for an hour or so in the late afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens, and they were very happy. There was a baby woodpecker in the maple tree. He was so cute! I guess Raoul and Juanita (our resident woodpeckers) had a little one.

Simple supper of spinach and cheese omlettes.

Tired and went to bed early, which meant I woke up too early this morning.

I had to force myself to sit down for the first writing session this morning, but once I did, I was glad I did, and got a good 1500 words in on SELF-SANCTUARY. It’s flowing well. I’m in the third chapter written in longhand; once that’s finished, I’ll type the first three, as I continue in longhand.

But going back to my daily 1K (or a little more) first thing has made me feel better about everything else, and stabilizes my day. I am more creative and productive. Punishing myself by not writing until I solved the housing crisis only sent me into a downward spiral. Self-flagellation and self-sabotage are not the answer.

A different potential client got back to me, demanding I work PST hours (which would mean working until 8 PM Mondays through Fridays), even though I stated clearly that we have enough overlapping hours to work in real time, and then work asynchronously the rest. If you demand working YOUR business hours for a remote team, you don’t understand how distributed workforce actually works. No. Moving on.

I need to make a run to Trader Joe’s this morning, and then get more client work done, and more house hunting done.

One foot in front of the other, right?

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 5:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

Thurs. April 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 327 — Before The Storm

Tessa in her new bed

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and chilly

There’s a longer than usual post over on Gratitude and Growth about how the changes in the neighborhood affect the garden.

Yesterday was reasonably productive. Early in the morning, it turns out the client I thought with whom I would be working starting this week – well, it’s not going to work out. The client “requires” I jump through hoops they “need” for their accounting. Um, they pay via PayPal, and I filled out a W-9. They don’t “need” anything else. This client paid a lower rate than I’d normally accept, but I wanted to have some steady, stop-gap work with the move coming up, while I continue to have discussions with higher-paying potential clients. But I’m not jumping through hoops for this kind of money, when I don’t need to for clients who pay much, much more. Buh-bye.

Got another nibble from another LOI from someone who wants some more information. I can turn that around today, I hope. We’ll see if that’s legit, or yet another “client” that’s actually an outsourcer wasting my time.

Turned around some additional information requested from another LOI, and got the exact same message asking for the exact same information, which I said I sent, did they need it resent, and got the same message asking for the same information instead of an actual response. Hon, if your AI chat bot can’t get it together, we aren’t a good match. Next!

Got a lot done at the client’s. She was just in for a few minutes, so we talked about a few things, I kept going with what I had to get done, she kept going with what she had to get done. She bought her elderly cat a new cat bed, and gave me the fancy previous one.

My cats were fascinated. Charlotte and Willa fussed at each other over it, and while they were busy, Tessa decided it was HERS. And now it is. Tessa spent most of the afternoon in the bed, happy as could be. That gave Willa a chance to sneak in and sit in the window in my room before I took Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens on the deck.

Remote Chat was fun.

I was hit with more fatigue and some swollen lymph nodes again in the afternoon and evening. Instead of pushing myself, I let myself sit out on the deck for a bit, with the cats in their playpens.

Went to bed awfully early, though, which meant I woke up around 3:30 and was wide awake.

Meditation this morning. I should do a quick grocery run, before the storm starts. It’s supposed to get nasty this afternoon and overnight, into tomorrow. We do need the rain, though. But the thought of going to the store is overwhelming.

I’ve got a story idea almost percolating. I can feel it starting to form. I need to get back to a regular fiction writing routine again. I’m much more centered and productive when I stick to an early morning 1K of fiction. But it’s as though I’m punishing myself for not having landed a new home, therefore I don’t let myself write, and I throw off my whole day, and it’s a continuing downward spiral. When what I should be doing is writing my way to a better reality.

But all I want to do is sleep. Only I don’t have time to sleep, I need to finish packing and find us a place to live.

Client work, LOIs, article work, filling information requests, and looking at rental listings. That’s my agenda for today.

What’s on your plate?

Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was not a particularly productive day. It was mostly built around rental listings and inquiries. Saw a house that fits our budget, location, and price parameters that didn’t seem like a scam, so sent an inquiry on that, too. We’ll see. It seems low-priced for the area, but then, so is where we are now.

Saw an overpriced, absolutely mediocre house in a mediocre neighborhood (that had a nice kitchen, though) – but their demand is that anyone who wants to rent it earns a “minimum” of $114K/year. Are they high?

The Sagamore Bridge is down to one lane in each direction for bridge work, which also puts more pressure on the Bourne Bridge. The traffic is already back to summer pre-pandemic levels, so getting on and off Cape is difficult. It’s very frustrating.

Got some client work done, caught up on some correspondence, worked on contest entries. This category I’m working on has fierce competition. What a pleasure to read strong book after strong book!

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

Got a bit of packing done. Charlotte “helped”, Tessa kept wanting to unpack what was packed, Willa’s not sure about it all.

Stress baked chocolate chip cookies because I was stressed and wanted chocolate chip cookies. Might as well keep enjoying the kitchen while we’re here.

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

Got a request for further information from a potential client, so we’ll see.

Was very disappointed by a company whose products I’d liked for years. We started discussions about the possibility of me doing some copywriting for them – but they want unpaid samples. Nope. So not only am I moving on, I will no longer be a customer. If that’s how they treat employees, while promoting themselves as a company out to do “good” in the world – hypocrites, and I won’t work for them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are digging in, just trying to make it through the end of the school year, although some of them don’t know when that will be. Dates keep getting changed. Schools that are back to in-person learning keep having to switch back to remote because of COVID outbreaks. I’m glad we’re all staying strong, and the kids won’t go back in person this year no matter WHAT the pressures are.

The parents are starting to get their vaccine appointments, and, hopefully, in a few months, vaccines for the kids will be approved, and they can, too.

Today will be stressful, having to be onsite at a client’s, but then I have Remote Chat to which to look forward, and I am.

Have a lovely day, and please spare a positive house-and-hearth thought for me, if you can.

Published in: on April 14, 2021 at 4:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,