Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, all around. I started fairly strong: pitched my Llewellyn editor, got a new book for review, reviewed the agency contract and asked necessary questions, had yet another positive interaction with the NYC radio producer. I caught up on some emails with friends.

I was getting ready to work on the radio play when I was hit with a wave of nausea. Out of nowhere. Just felt awful. And my injection site from the vaccine started hurting again, too, but it’s been over a week since the vaccine, so that didn’t make sense.

I dosed myself with ginger tea, which helped, but the energy was gone. I had to fight my way through the rain and the wind to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes, and stopped at the bank on the way back to deposit the check from the radio play from the company in Minnesota.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to stay upright. I got through a few hundred emails. I withdrew from the Dramatists Guild networking session that evening, because I didn’t feel well enough. I turned around only one script. I’m fine on deadlines, but I’d wanted to do two. I worked on a few contest entries. But that was it.

The contract points were smoothed out, so I have to sign the initial contract and the NDA and get them in this morning. My Llewellyn editor wants more information on the article pitches, and will make her decision next week. I have to send a couple of scripts to the NYC radio producer; he’s excited to read something fun and frothy.

I’m still trying to pin down the mechanic to get the car fixed.

I decided to order in pizza, which might not have been the smartest choice on a queasy stomach, but I wanted pizza. So I ordered it. And it never showed up. Two hours later, I asked for a refund. The ordering happens through AllHungry.com, not directly with the restaurant. It took a dozen exchanges before they even tried to get me a refund. They said the pizza place told them it was delivered, and it was no longer their problem. I said it hadn’t been delivered to me, and if their delivery guy is handing off orders to randos on the street, that is not my problem, and, at this point, they were an accessory to fraud. A dozen exchanges later, they claimed I would get a refund, but it would take 10 days. Which is just ridiculous. They take it out of my account instantly, but it takes 10 days to go back? And it’s not like I was trying to get anything except my order, for which I paid, in the first place. So I don’t want to use AllHungry again to order, and, as much as I like this pizza place, I am reluctant to order again.

Fortunately, there are two other good places in town, although only one of the others delivers.

But AllHungry? More like Stay Hungry and get ripped off.

Now, we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re in a pandemic, and places are short staffed (which is why I tip 40-50% when I order delivery). My life is not ruined because I didn’t get a pizza.  But when a mistake is made, then fix it. All I did, when I contacted them, was politely tell them the order had never arrived, and to please issue a refund. It was inappropriate for them to accuse me of lying. The correct response is to find out what happened, and then issue the refund. They have my record of orders. I don’t order things, pretend I haven’t gotten them, and request a refund. AllHungry’s response was inappropriate. It shouldn’t take 12 exchanges and a filing with the BBB to get them to fix a problem.

I dreamed about working on a dance piece and taking dance notations down last night. No idea where that came from.

I was up early and off to the laundromat first thing. Two loads of laundry, and back quickly. While I was at the laundromat, I used the time to work on The Big Project. I was worried I’d gone off-tone, but it’s holding together. I just have to get more done on it, and fast. And I have to turn around two scripts today, because they’re due first thing tomorrow.

At some point, I have to take a break and go to the grocery store. They’ve offered me a small tree as a thank you for being a regular customer. I do not know where I am going to put the small tree, but I want the small tree (separation anxiety much from my lilacs)? So if they still have any small trees, I will accept mine, and deal with the consequences later.

It looks like another storm is coming through, so I’ll work on The Big Project and “Owe Me”, turn around the contract, and send the extended pitch to my editor, and go later in the morning. Unless it’s snowing.

Have a good one.

Tues. April 19, 2022: Stormy Weather

image courtesy of Andrei Kuleshov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

My brain wanted to take Friday off, although I had a good early morning writing session out on the front porch. But I slogged through a bunch of emails. There are some places to which I want to send an LOI, but it would have been stupid to send it on the Friday of a holiday weekend, so those go out today. I also have to find a way to get in touch with this mysterious garage who supposedly can fix my car but has no website in the 21st century. And mail my state quarterly taxes.

I did write, polish, and send off my book review before deadline. The only book they had to review was one I’m not qualified to review (it’s on early childhood education), so another thing on today’s list is to get back in touch and see what else has come in.

It was lovely and sunny, although cooler.

I turned around a script coverage, and decided to start my weekend.

Saturday, I rested and read a lot. I needed the time off. It was raining pretty hard most of the day, and I was glad not to have to go out. I’d hoped to walk down to the coffee shop opposite MassMOCA and give it a try, but that’s put off until it can actually be a pleasant walk.

I set up the ironing board and the craft paper and spent a couple of hours lifting wax out of various tablecloths and altar cloths. It takes a good bit of paper, and one has to work fast, so it doesn’t absorb through the paper and onto the iron. But I got it done, and then slowly started handwashing the fabrics. Some of the dyes from the candles will need to be taken out with the bleach pen, but most of it came out well.

Only people who haven’t worked in film and television think it has nothing to do with actual life skills.

Noodled some ideas in my head for various projects and let them percolate. Percolation time in necessary.

By Saturday afternoon, we brought in all the plants, because the temperature dropped hard and fast. Vacuumed, washed floors, changed beds, the usual Saturday housework.

Baked biscuits early Sunday morning. The weather kept cycled through accumulating snow to sun to rain to accumulating snow all day. I was glad to stay in.

Although we no longer celebrate Easter, my mom wanted baked ham for mid-day dinner, so that’s what I made. I thought it was too sweet (even though I hadn’t put anything on it). That’s the second disappointing ham we’ve had (Christmas ham was okay, but not brilliant), so I think/hope we’re done with it for a while. We have enough for some leftovers, and I’ll make a ham pot pie in a couple of days. I made soup with the bone, adding in garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, and spinach, so we’ll have that for a couple of lunches this week. I’d made chocolate mousse for dessert, so at least we had that.

Read a couple of Ngaio Marsh books, and an art mystery by Iain Pears set in Venice.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of decorations that had been in my office in the other house. Most of them have various new homes; some of them will be repacked into the box of decorations that we aren’t using right now. The “New Orleans Aunties” set of dolls I brought back from the Crescent City years ago now have their own shelf on the front porch, with their beads and the little chest of Crown Royal.

But mostly, I rested. I still feel the aftereffects of Shot 4.

Yesterday was a holiday here in the state, and I was damn well going to take it! It was sunny and cold.

I took some bills, including the federal quarterly taxes, and headed for the post office to mail them and buy stamps. Then, I headed over toward Mass MOCA, to try out the coffee shop. Which is no longer there, and the space now holds a Mexican restaurant. So, as far as I can tell, there’s no independent coffee shop in walking distance of the house. In a college town. Which makes no sense to me at all. Cumberland Farms and Burger King don’t cut it.

I’m not someone who goes out and buys a cup of coffee every day (I make excellent coffee at home), but sometimes, when I’m out and about, I like the option.

Makes me think I should bring up the espresso machine on the next trip to storage.

Picked up a few bits and bobs on the way home – some plant stakes, some hair elastics, some highlighters for the upcoming multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. That type of thing.

It was warm enough to move the plants back out to the porch. I worked on contest entries out there, too. I also started oiling the porch furniture with the teak oil. I don’t have the room to spread everything out and do it all at once, so I’m doing one piece, letting it dry, then moving on. I got one of the Adirondack chairs done. I’m also cleaning and polishing the wooden sills around the windows, with another kind of oil. They are in desperate need of some TLC.

The tabletop fountain I ordered arrived, much more quickly than I expected. It’s simple, but nice. I set it up, put in the batteries, put in the water. It’s a little noisy for the size, but looks good and works well. I put a plate of crystals in front of it. And there’s the healing/meditation altar, inspired by the Twitter pal who said a blessing for me at St. Anthony’s Well last week.

The check arrived for the radio play in Minnesota. That was quick. We only talked about it a couple of days ago.

I saw an email from the potential client with whom I had the video conference last week. I fully expected it to be a “thanks, but no thanks.” Instead, it’s a contract and an NDA. I’ll read it and see if there are any points to negotiate before I sign, but it looks like I’ll be doing some freelancing for an agency. That will expand my parameters and skills a bit, no doubt.

I’ve been giving feedback on a friend’s synopsis for a TV pilot. It’s so good. I’m so excited for her. She’s entering it in a contest.

I’d been playing with the idea of taking a short trip this summer, to dip my toe back into the traveling waters, and even looked at flights. But with the inept Trump-appointed judge striking down the mask mandate on public transportation, that’s off. It also means it’s unlikely that I take the bus down to NYC for a quick museum trip, which I’d also hoped to do. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m glad the conference at which I’m teaching stayed virtual.

The storm woke me at 4 AM. In upstate NY, they were told to expect up to a foot of snow. Here, they keep changing their minds as to whether it’s snow or rain over the next few days. So far, just rain. I have to dash down to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes today, but that’s my only foray out. I’d hoped to go to the laundromat, but not in this weather.

I have a lot of admin to handle today, and turn around the contract, check in with my editor to see if there are any new books to review, pitch to my Llewellyn editor for 2024. Work on the radio plays. Work on the Big Project. Turn around two scripts. Fight with Tracfone about my mom’s phone. Try to get in touch with the mechanic who supposedly can fix my car. Work on contest entries.

I’d better get going, hadn’t I? There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site. And I have a Dramatists Guild virtual event tonight (which I can actually do, since Knowledge Unicorns is on Easter break).

Have a good one!

Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Wed. April 13, 2022: The Lack of Professionalism is Frustrating

image courtesy of Andrea Piaquadio via pexels.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cool

Well, yesterday was a frustrating day. In spite of still feeling lousy, I pulled myself together and took the car to the mechanic on time. Only to have them refuse to fix the problem because it would “take too long.” WTF? So now I have the phone number of some sketchy guy who “specializes in foreign cars” (my car may be a VW, but it was built in a plant in Tennessee). The guy doesn’t even have a website, and I’m supposed to trust a very expensive repair to him? Because the repair I need is going to cost about a grand. Not happy about that at all. Also displeased with a mechanic who only wants to do quick repairs.

So I am not a happy camper.

Felt like crap when I got home. I still had a dull headache, body aches, and the brain fog was bad. The Tylenol nauseated me, but I took more anyway to clear up the brain fog enough to turn around a script.

Haven’t been able to do any creative work, though, which is frustrating. One of the parents handled Knowledge Unicorns last night, because I wasn’t up to it.

I listened to the first episode of the series in which the NY-based radio producer is interested in having me write. The production quality is outstanding.  It’s definitely a darker, more dystopian tone than my comic noir pieces – mine lean a little too much in the direction of froth and farce. But “Owe Me” and the comic horror piece are more in tone with it, and I’m pretty sure “The Collector” would work (which he already has), although I’ll probably have to do some revisions. The Mr. Ding-A-Ling creepy ice cream truck has been around again lately, and that’s getting something percolating. And maybe a haunted amusement park. We’ll see.

Plants went out onto the porch when the sun finally came out. It’s a lot of pots to haul in and out. Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to leave them on the porch, and, soon after that, move the ones we want onto the back balcony.

Today I need to do library and grocery runs. And figure out what to do about the fucking car.

But first, I’m going to spend some quality time on the page, since it’s been several days. And I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and a book to review, and I have to get back to contest entries. No matter how I feel, I have to get back to work, because heaven forbid we have a society that gives us room to, you know, be human.

Published in: on April 13, 2022 at 6:32 am  Comments (4)  
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Tues. April 12, 2022: Meditation, Taxes, and Vaccines

image courtesy of Shanon via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

My brain was tired on Friday, and that was bad, since I needed to work ahead. I got through some emails. I was asked to submit some samples to a potential new client – who then demanded unpaid labor for the next step. Nope, and added to the Red Flag List.

Submitted two short stories to calls which landed on my desk. That counts as work, right? A couple of other calls for submission got the creative juices percolating, but I can’t add any new projects until I clean off some of the projects already here.

I did a run to the library to drop off/pick up books. Swung by the fish monger, and got some fresh fish for dinner. I love to see what they get in on any given day, and then plan the meal around it.

I also saw packets of dahlia bulbs for sale. On Cape, there was dedicated group of dahlia lovers. Frankly, they, and the plants themselves, intimidated me. Plus, between Che Guevara Chipmunk and the various squirrels who rearranged the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, I was worried the dahlias wouldn’t have a good chance. And all the digging up and babying them over the winter.

But I saw the photo of the gorgeous, dark purple Thomas Edison dahlia on the package and couldn’t resist. It was in my budget, and a Twitter pal has agreed to be my Dahlia coach.

But it meant another trip to the store for more pots and more soil. I’ll talk in detail about all of that, and planting snapdragons and marigolds over on Gratitude and Growth in Thursday’s post.

Wrote 3 more pages on “Owe Me.” Turned around 2 more script coverages. Grabbed four more at the higher pay rate to get me through the beginning of this week. An editorial director to whom I sent an LOI got back to me with some questions. I answered them, and we’ve set up a video conference for Thursday morning, to get to know each other and see if we are a fit. It would be freelance work for an agency, and it might be the type of client I’m looking to add to my rather eclectic roster.

Attended the second day of the Buddhist summit. It’s from the Shambhala tradition, with which I have only the most passing familiarity. Like all traditions, they have their internal strife, and I am always wary of anything built around a central figure. There tends to be too much room for things to warp.

But the sessions themselves are interesting. Some of the material resonates, and I look forward to exploring it. Some of it I respect, but it is not my path at this time. Some of it, had I encountered it thirty years ago or so, might have become my path, but will not now. Some of it I have to think about in more depth and detail past the summit. All of which is positive.

Charlotte is so funny. She doesn’t understand that this isn’t a two-way communication, like Zoom. I’m merely watching sessions. Every time a new session starts, she jumps onto my lap, hoping whomever is on the screen will tell her she’s pretty. Because, you know, the entire purpose of Zoom’s existence is so people all over the world can tell Charlotte how pretty she is. I explain to her that they can’t see her, but if they could, they would see how pretty she is. Once the meditation portion of each session starts, she goes back into the rocking chair in my reading corner and falls asleep. It’s hilarious.

There are all kinds of conferences going on in person, including writing conferences. I see all these people who should know better packed together without masks. I don’t want to hear any whining when they get sick. It’s just very disturbing, this pretension that the pandemic is over, and will have a high human cost.

Saturday morning, I got the pots and the soil and planted all kinds of things. Right after lunch, we did our 2021 taxes. It wasn’t as complicated as I feared. Much less stressful than I expected. So those envelopes are ready to be mailed at the end of the week, and the quarterlies at the beginning of the following week. The quarterlies always hurt in the moment, but end up being less painful at the end of the tax year.

After taxes, I turned around a script coverage and then attended the summit sessions, which were interesting. I like that there’s a practice involved with most talks, making it experiential, rather than theoretical.

Sunday morning, I watched most of the summit in the morning, then drank my 16 oz. of water and headed for the 4th vaccine shot. This was the first time the shot itself actually hurt. The other three were the tiniest of pinpricks. This felt like a much thicker needle.

Came home, drank 32 oz of water, because I was so thirsty. Watched the final session of the day. Started feeling awful pretty quickly. Chills, mostly, and a sharp headache. I tucked myself in on the couch with blankets and a hot water bottle, and then went to bed early.

The night was rough: alternating fever and chills, every couple of hours, waking me up. The dull headache. The body aches. I felt awful by the time Monday rolled around.

Tessa was howling like crazy, and Charlotte wouldn’t leave me. We had to bring Charlotte’s breakfast into my room, because she wouldn’t leave me to eat.

Speaking of eating, except for the first night, with the other three shots, I always had a healthy appetite. Not this one. I barely ate at all on Monday. Couldn’t even stand the thought of food.

I listened to the last day’s worth of summit sessions, lying on my acupressure mat, because I couldn’t sit up for that long. I don’t think I got much out of it, because I couldn’t concentrate. But I learned a lot from the other days, so I’m glad I did it. There was a little too much market-speak at times for their tradition, but if one blocked off that noise, the actual teachers had interesting information to impart.

I felt a little bit better in the afternoon and turned around a script coverage. It took everything out of me, so I was back to the couch after that.

A radio producer who likes my work wants to record “Horace House Hauntings” in June, which makes me very happy. He’d planned to do so as the pandemic hit, and it was postponed, but now they’re back on track. I’m absolutely delighted.

I went to bed very early (7:30) and sort of slept/woke/slept/woke all night. I still have a headache, body aches, and fatigue today, but I’m better.

I kind of have to be, because the car goes into the mechanic this morning, and it can’t be postponed.

I have another script in my queue that has to be turned around today. I’d hoped the effects from Shot 4 were going to be mild, and the day I’d blocked off (yesterday) for recovery would be spent writing, but no such luck. Let’s hope I feel well enough to do well in my video conference with a potential new client on Thursdays.

Hope you had a good weekend, and I hope this week is lovely.

Thurs. April 7, 2022: Websites and Politicians

image courtesy of 200degrees via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

Things are growing, and there’s news over on Gratitude and Growth!

Yesterday was another of those days where I felt like I didn’t get anything done when, actually, I did quite a bit.

I wrote a bio and uploaded it to the “About” page for the scriptwriting website. The tone is more of a story than typical market-speak bio, but the scriptwriting is a storytelling format, so the tone fits the site and the work.

I also updated the Fearless Ink site, based on conversations last week in the Freelance Chat group. I hadn’t realized that I needed to update my location; I thought I’d fixed all of that last July when I updated the resumes and put the address changes in everywhere. But I hadn’t.

I took off the social media packages. I no longer want to run social media accounts for clients. I’ll supply copy, but I don’t want to do the graphics, the scheduling, the uploading, and the interactions. It’s not where I want to put my energy. I also added, per the chat last week, a list of some of the things I don’t do, for which I keep getting emails, and/or which clients keep trying to sneak into their scope creep. This is why a strong contract is so important.

I need to update my contract with COVID protocols, too. Since on-site meetings are being pushed again, I’m adding in a clause that I will only attend on-site meetings if all parties are vaccinated and masked. Frankly, I don’t need to be onsite for business clients. ALL of that can be done virtually. The only clients I’d need to go onsite for are museums and performance venues, and they’re all vaccinated and following masking protocols anyway. It’s only businesses who are lax. And those are not businesses with whom I want to interact. I’m also thinking of adding a liability clause – if I get infected, the business is responsible for paying for all COVID care. Since funding for testing, etc. is being dropped, I think that’s important. And, since I won’t book onsite meetings closer than typical quarantine times, it’ll be pretty easy to trace where I got infected, should I get infected.

They can avoid all of that by simply keeping everything remote.

Speaking of reduced funding, as soon as the Republicans blocked the additional funding for vaccines and research yesteray, I was contacted to move up my 4th shot. I’d planned to get it at the end of the month, or early in May, because when I tried to book it at the same time I booked my mom’s shot, I was told it was too soon for me. But now, they want to do it as soon as possible. There was an opening on Sunday afternoon, so that’s when I’ll get it.

It also means I don’t have the luxury of prolonged side effects. The mechanic appointment that it took me over a month to get is on Tuesday morning, and I can’t change it. So I have a day and a half to recover It’s Pfizer, so here’s hoping. My mom only had slight fatigue for about a day. My 1st Moderna shot took me down for 4 days; the 2nd Moderna took me down for 6; the Pfizer booster took me down for 2 or 3. Let’s hope 1-1/2 works.

And, it means I have to finish my taxes on Saturday. I’ve figured out my quarterlies, so it’s just about filling out the slip and writing the check. But I have to do last year’s mess.

I don’t write a lot about the regular interactions I have with my elected officials, although it’s several times a week. Writing about every interaction would be like listing every time I brush my teeth, because it’s that steady. Generally, I try to keep on top of whatever votes are happening on local, state, and federal levels, and weigh in. They can’t represent me if they don’t know how I feel about something. I don’t expect them to vote my way every time, but I do expect them to listen. When I have a concern about something, I express it, AND offer potential solutions. The response to that is either pointing out the flaws in the argument, or asking for more information, because it sounds interesting. When it’s the latter, I work on a detailed proposal, including how to fund it, and send it off. After back-and-forth with various aides, some of it is actually incorporated into legislation, although that can take months or years of regular contract. But that’s how I do it. There’s quite a bit about which to be concerned right now, so I do spend quite a bit of time on political activism, but not in the way a lot of other people are doing it.

It’s when people complain, but aren’t willing to do anything to change it that I lose all patience.

I didn’t get any work done on any of the plays, or The Big Project, or CAST IRON MURDER. I did turn around two script coverages. I have one more script in the queue. I need three more this week, so let’s hope something comes up. I might read Saturday, too, and take off Monday instead.

I need to get out some more LOIs, too. I hated the design for the marketing postcard, so I trashed that and will start again. I need to do some promotion for content and copywriting, along with the scriptwriting.

Turned down a script gig yesterday where the pay was mediocre and the demand was to write “at least 1500 words a day.” I can and do write more than that a day, but scripts aren’t judged by word count, but by running time. So companies that talk about scripts in terms of word count are Big Red Flags. Next!

Early this morning, the neighbor across the street was taken away in an ambulance. I hope he’s okay; he’s a good guy. Hospitals are still on COVID protocols, so his partner couldn’t go along.

Meditation group this morning, then to the page, then some time at the Buddhist summit, then script coverage and other work. I need to make sure I work ahead, so that the beginning of next week, post-shot 4 is as stress-free as possible, even with the car repair.

Have a good one!

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Wed. March 16, 2022: Research Day

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mild and cloudy, supposed to turn sunny and gorgeous

In spite of a rocky start to the day, yesterday morning went well. I dealt with some email. I worked on the next section of The Big Project.

I headed up to the library to do some research in the local archives on The Spruces, a self-governed community in Williamstown begun in the 1950’s that has fascinated me since we moved here. It took a bit to track down the material, but once I had it, I sat and took plenty of notes. I have some names to research further. I have physical details of the layout, looked at photos.

I think I will use it as the inspiration for what I want to write based on a place very much like it, set in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. I need to do more research, but as I walked back from the library, the core ensemble of characters, and the two protagonists who will drive the piece and/or series became clear.

Some of the names, and that people in positions of authority were married couples holding multiple positions in the community cause questions. And also open opportunities for the kind of conflict I want to create here.

I also want plenty of cocktails, chain smoking, and cool clothes.

I’ve set up the physical file folder to keep the notes as they evolve, and any additional research I come up with.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived. I need more pots and soil in order to plant them. I need at least a half a dozen more pots, and probably three more bags of soil. Hopefully, the tansy seeds will show up today.

Ordered more ink for the printer. Then I’ll have a full complement of color tanks. I think I can wait to order more black ink for about another month or so. The tanks are good for about 1300 pages; while I go through a lot with the black tanks (and tend to order the ones that can run more pages, when I can afford to), the color tanks last me nearly a year.

In the afternoon, I went down another rabbit hole of research on The Spruces, thanks to the Williamstown Historical Society’s online archives. I found some wonderful photographs and got some more names to research. The Society has a DVD about the place, which, once the car is fixed (again), I will make arrangements to go over and view.

The characters are telling me their stories, and I am taking notes. Out of this will come the conflicts that I need to create the mystery, and then I can outline. I need to do some more research, especially in newspaper archives. I have to find out if The Berkshire Eagle’s morgue is online, or if I have to go and visit them in person.

Reading newspaper files will also help me decide in what year I want to start the series. It will be sometime between 1957-1960.

I also found out (again, thanks to the Berkshire Eagle, who will be thanked in the acknowledgements, no doubt), that there used to be a horserace track over in Hancock, Berkshire Downs, in the 1960’s. I will have to find a way to incorporate that, if I can.

I got my script coverage done, and I worked on a grant proposal. I also worked on contest entries.

It was a pretty good day, all around.

Charlotte woke me up at 4 this morning. I refused to get up, but then I overslept until 5:30, which meant I had to scramble to get out the door to the laundromat. I went on foot, with the rolly cart. It was open on time, and the machines worked, but they didn’t have the lights over the washing machines calibrated to the time change, so I had to use the flashlight on my phone. Why yes, I will be getting in touch. It was a little creepy.

But I got 60 pages of CAST IRON MURDER revised.

If it’s as mild as they predict, I’ll put the seedlings out on the porch for the day. I need to go over to the college library to get some art books out I need for the series of short projects. I plan to work on The Big Project, maybe put in some of the fixes I caught on CAST IRON MURDER, and do more research, in and around script reading and going to the library.

I’m watching the news on Ukraine, and donating what I can to World Central Kitchen, which, for me, is the best place to put my funds right now. One of the most important things we have to do NOW, not months down the line, is to remove the Russian assets in Congress and prosecute them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The seniors are already talking about how this would be spring break for them next year. I wonder how fast the new cases will rise in the next two weeks? Since we’re not getting real numbers. Supposedly, the transmission rate in the Berkshires is down to 1-1/2%, and new cases have gone down by 34% in the past two weeks, but with free testing stopped, who knows how accurate that is? I am still masking indoors in public spaces (like the library, the grocery store, etc.).

The Ipsy bag arrived, full of great stuff for a fun spring look, including lipstick from one of my favorite brands. I started cleaning, by giving the copper molds a good scrub in the kitchen, because I’ve decided I want to hang them up around the stove. If you’ve ever been to the Cape house, they were on the wall by the door to the garage, next to one of the cookbook bookcases (yes, I have two tall bookcases full of cookbooks in my kitchen, and two shelves of a bookcase in my office are also full of cookbooks. And there are more in storage). Hanging up the molds and tidying up the now three bookcases in the kitchen (two with cookbooks, one with bins of different flours, etc.) is on today’s list. I have to figure out how to get the red wax off the window (long story). Looks like someone met with a fatal accident in the kitchen.

If you’re curious about the shared world anthology I keep mentioning, the Monthology website is now live here. You’ll find my Valkyries in the District of the Dearly Departed, and my Gorgons running a theatre in The Amalgamate. There will be lots of fun blurbs and ads and all kinds of information coming out about it in the coming months.

Have a good day, my friends.

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Thurs. March 10, 2022: Yet More Snow

image courtesy of Marketa Morchova via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and snowy

There’s information on the seedlings, ordered seeds, birds, and more, over on Gratitude and Growth.

It snowed most of the day, with much more accumulation than predicted. It’s a heavy, wet snow, and will be hard to dig out my car, especially since the plow is pushing snow up behind it even as we speak.

But I need to pick up my birthday cake, and do not get between me and cake.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. I sent out three LOIs, and got back two demands for unpaid labor as part of the process. I responded with my contract for tests/samples/assessments, and I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again. I also added them to The List.

I slogged through way too much email, but I’m determined to keep it at manageable levels. I did some work on The Big Project, but not enough, and certainly not as much as I hoped.

Things have been slow with the big client. The contractors supposedly got a raise, yet the work since the “raise” has been much sparser, although there are “options” for pieces at a lower rate. No, thank you. I’ll just work on finding other clients that pay the proper rate to fill the gap.

Turned around a script coverage. Worked on contest entries. Read a book for fun, which had come highly recommended. It was okay, but for the first half, I kept getting too far ahead of the plot, and waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up. The book was okay, hit the genre expectations, but it didn’t grab me the way it did those who recommended it.

Tessa and Charlotte had been doing well there, for a few days, but now they’re fussing at each other again. And someone knocked over the cat grass plant overnight (most likely Willa), so I had to clean that up this morning.

But Tessa let me sleep until six, when she actually came into my room to wake me up. She hates my room here. She loved my room in the other house, because it was huge and carpeted. This is small (it’s fine for sleeping), and there’s a small rug by the side of the bed, but no carpet, and Madame Tessa Does Not Approve. Charlotte is just happy she can sleep on the bed with me here.

Meditation group this morning. Then, after breakfast, I will dig out the car, pick up my cake (and get more eggs, we’re out of eggs). I don’t have any scripts in my queue; if I don’t get another one, my long weekend starts early, at least as far as script coverage goes. Then, I’ll do contest entries and work on The Big Project today.

I’m taking a three-day weekend tomorrow, for my birthday. I have a few loose plans, but mostly, I will do exactly as I wish, and create the days.

The COVID tests I ordered a few days ago are supposed to arrive on Monday, which is fast. The ink was supposed to arrive yesterday, but the snowstorm caused an understandable delay, and it will get here today or tomorrow. The tansy seeds should arrive Saturday.

Next week, we start the big spring cleaning, in and around whatever work has to get done.

Tessa loves the new, fluffy dark green rug in the bathroom. Like I said above, she likes rugs/carpets.

Off to start the day. Hope it’s a calm one. I’m looking forward to being mostly disconnected from online for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll check messages and emails here and there, but I’m going to try to keep away from the horrors going on for a few days, so I can return renewed.

Have a good one.

Wed. March 9, 2022: Stuff Around the House

Image coutesy of Open Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

There’s another storm coming in today, with accumulating snow expected. So glad I work remotely!

After breakfast, we got into the car and headed out for errands. It was the first time my mom had been out and about since December (without the car, she stayed home; although I can walk to do many of the errands, it’s too far for her). She said it felt weird to be out. The masking mandates have all been dropped, although most places still “recommend” it. More and more people are relaxing from wearing masks indoors, but I’m not yet. Maybe by late spring/early summer. Of course, they’re not releasing numbers anymore either, so there’s no real way to know if the numbers are going down. And since free testing has ended, many people who should be tested won’t be able to afford it. Because you know if the insurance company is supposed to handle it, they will deny every claim. So we won’t know anywhere close to the real numbers anymore.

Except I will use my secret weapon: The Post Office.

The Post Office is the hub of all knowledge in this community. I learn more standing in line talking to other people and/or talking to the clerks than anywhere else. So our information network congregating (safely distant) at the post office will be on what I rely. Actual people talking about what’s actually going on.

Speaking of which, we’re allowed 4 more free Covid test, so I ordered those. Through the Post Office.

Anyway, errands. Masked errands.

I had a list of stuff I’ve been meaning to get done since the car broke down in December. So yesterday, I started catching up. It was mostly home-and-hearth stuff I couldn’t do on foot. I got a new rug for the bathroom (it’s green and matches the shower curtain, which is green, burgundy, and gold, in an Art Deco pattern, which fits this house); I got some magazine organizers, so I can sort the food, garden, and yoga magazines properly and store them where I can actually use them; I got some more plant pots, and more, importantly, saucers to go under the plant pots, so I’m not using bits of saved containers or extra plates; I got 5 shelved rolling carts (2 small, 3 large). I need more than that, but that’s what the store had, so I grabbed them. They snap together easily, look good, and are easy to move around. I put them together and distributed them. One will be in the closet portion of the pantry; one in the laundry room; one in the bathroom; one in my office; one in my bedroom. I still need one for the sewing room, and I might get one more for the kitchen, if they come back in stock.

I unpacked a bin that’s been storing things in the bathroom and got it all on the cart. It’s perfect. The other carts are stashed in their new homes, and I will fill them over the next few days, as I sort things.

Because next week, the big spring cleaning begins. We’re starting in the kitchen and moving toward the front of the house. It will probably take about two weeks to get it all done, in and around everything else that has to happen, like working.

With the sun, it was warm enough on the porch to set out the seedlings for a few hours, and I even sat out there for a bit to read (George Orwell’s diaries. His diaries about WWII are an eerie echo to what’s happening now. His diaries about his garden and his chickens are quite something else).

Got out some LOIs, did some admin. Was disappointed when an organization to whom I’d sent an LOI sent an automated demand for unpaid work. Add that company to my list of places that demand unpaid labor as part of the interview process and move on. Ordered an ink tank for the printer (will need to order others soon, but they’re expensive, so I break it up). Ordered more seeds, completely forgetting that the reason I got on the site to order seeds is because I need more cat grass. Charlotte and Willa love their cat grass. Brainstormed on the shared world anthology. Covered a script. Made turkey meatloaf for dinner, which was excellent.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are already excited about Easter break. And, with mask mandates being dropped in schools, we are all relieved we didn’t send any of the kids back this year. In early May, we will have a big meeting and decide what to do next year. Some of the kids don’t want to go back to a traditional learning environment until college. A couple of them are going to college. A couple of them are interested in taking a year off between high school and college to do other things, provided the virus numbers are low enough for them to be able to travel or do an internship somewhere cool. We’ll have to deal with the safety issue of summer jobs for those old enough to have them this summer. So there’s a lot to consider. The one constant is that ALL of them have learned more and done better in this situation than they did in school. Having the online homework group (which evolved into an all-around support system) has helped, no doubt. But it’s also a wakeup call at how badly most schools are run (rarely the fault of teachers), and with QAnon morons getting on more and more school boards, it will only get worse.

Worked on contest entries until I was too tired to concentrate.

Some dumbass “writer” on social media made the blanket statement about how people who call themselves full-time writers have the “privilege” of other people paying the bills. She can fuck right off. Plenty of us have to pay our own bills. I made a note to NEVER buy anything of hers. I rarely say “never” but I will in this case.

I have nothing of value to add to the war coverage, except that it’s enraging to see how little anyone is doing to stop Putin.

Tessa got me up at four (is she already on daylight savings time)? I moved to the couch, dozed off, and woke up around six. I pointed out to the cats that if they’d just let me sleep until five, their breakfast wouldn’t have been an hour late. They were not impressed.

Charlotte’s newest thing is to jump on the long table in my office, where I have all the contest entries organized, and rearrange them. I keep putting them back in order. She keeps rearranging them.

Willa, who is not a lap cat, actually jumped up into my mom’s lap yesterday. For only about two minutes, but it’s progress.

I should go over to the college library today to get a few things out, but I’ll probably just stay home and work on The Big Project this morning, then get out some more LOIs, do script coverage, and work on contest entries this afternoon.

It will be interesting (?) to see how much snow falls today.

Tues. March 8, 2022: The Car Is Home!

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny/Cloudy/Cold (more snow coming in)

International Women’s Day

(Note: I haven’t had a Beetle for years, but the last one I had was red).

Every International Women’s Day, I take some time to honor Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are major reasons I became a writer. I first learned about them through library books about them, in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. I read all the books about women when I was in elementary school. I keep taking out the books about Harriet and Louisa, re-reading them, until my parents bought me my own copies. As I got older, I read what they’d written, and read more about their lives and work. Both were strong, flawed, smart, funny women, and are still, in many ways, my guiding lights.

If you missed yesterday’s post over on the GDR site about how to dream your ideal life, the link is here.

Friday was the first day in a long time I felt like I was back to myself, working professionally, and balancing the different work elements.

I slogged through a bunch of emails. I wrote about 3K on The Big Project. I updated the tracking sheets for the project. I ran errands. I did a script coverage. I finished a book for review. The second shipment of contest entries arrived, so that was all sorted and checked in, and I went back to working on contest entries this weekend, too. I figured out the grocery list for Saturday’s shopping, although I had to do it again on foot.

For fun, I’m reading THE SHARPER THE KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY by Kathleen Flinn, about her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It’s such a well-written book, and definitely makes me want to avoid cooking school. But then, I’ve never wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I just want to hone good cooking techniques for my own cooking, and not be under all that pressure, especially not at my age.

Charlotte and Tessa woke me around 5:30 on Saturday morning, which was fine. 5:30 is a good time to start my day.

I did the 3+ mile round trip to the grocery store, with the rolly cart, and restocked our pantry and fridge. The scallops looked good, so I grabbed a pound, which made for sauteed scallops in white wine, butter, and rosemary on Saturday night, and a scallop alfredo on Monday. Hmm. I was going to order scallops from the restaurant for my birthday, but I’ll have had them already twice in the same week, so I’ll need to order something else.

Polished the pieces for the one bookshelf I hadn’t yet put up, put it together, and rearranged some books, which made room on other shelves. I hate having so many books in storage. I keep trying to find a book to look something up and it’s not here, it’s in storage.

Finished reading the book for review and got back to work on reading contest entries. Took the day off from script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and, as usual, it has some cool stuff in it. I had to chase down the new postman to get it out of the box. I talked to him last week, at length, and showed him how much smaller the slot is on the resident side, and asked him to please NOT shove the boxes in on the USPS side, but leave them at the door. When he puts the subscription boxes in the mail slot, I can’t get them out. He promised he would put them on the stairs – and then put the GP box in the slot. I ran downstairs and asked him, nicely again, to PLEASE not to do that, and hand it to me or leave it at the door. He said, “But this box is small.” I repeated, “It’s still too big to get out of the slot on the resident side.” My front door is six steps from the neighborhood mailbox. It’s not like it’s a long walk out of his way. He’s either extremely dumb or he’s doing this on purpose.

I miss our former, lovely postman, who I think has retired.

I realize, in the scheme of everything going on, it’s not much, but it’s a basic courtesy with common sense. Math, geometry, physics.

Sunday, it rained. I stayed in. I unpacked another box of books and shelved them. I unpacked the box that held my blank notebooks, and arranged them on a shelf so I can get at them as I need for projects. It was sunny and mild in the afternoon, so I moved the seedlings out to the porch for a bit, and also planted the lemon balm and the black-eyed Susan vine (more on that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post).

The cat grass has grown well, so I put it on an overturned box so that Willa and Charlotte feel like they have to work a bit to get at it. They both love chomping on it (but won’t, if the pot sits on the floor). Tessa is not interested. Tessa is interested in taking over the sewing room. That’s her latest conquest – the guest bed that has Charlotte’s pink blanky and Charlotte’s catnip banana. They also had huge fun getting into the bag of potatoes I got from the store, rolling them up and down our long hallway. A couple went down the stairs, too, which they watched from the top.

I turned around a script coverage, and then worked on contest entries. One of them was so good, I was up way too late, reading.

Up around 6 on Monday, reasonable. It has rained overnight, and most of the snow is gone.

Wrote up the book review, sent it, along with the invoice. Was paid in a couple of hours, and assigned the next two books for review.

Entered in the scores of the contest entries I read over the weekend. Did a bunch of admin work.

The rain briefly let up, so I did a circuit, on foot, to drop off/pick up library books, mail the bills. Stopped in at Cumberland Farms for eggs, but they were sold out.

When I returned home, there was a message from the garage that the car was ready! I took a cab over, paid the bill (which was even in my budget), thanked them profusely, and drove home. I was practically in tears of happiness and relief. And, of course, the aftermath was exhaustion. But I’m so happy to have the car back and that it works.

That means we can do something fun for my birthday this weekend. I usually try to ignore my birthday, but this is a Big Number, and this year, it’s important to me to Do Something.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, finished the book I really liked for the contest, and read a few more contest entries.

A local organization for whom I was preparing an LOI packet, because I thought they’d be interesting to work for has not only dropped masking requirements indoors, but also dropped proof of vaccination requirements for those entering. So, nope, cross them off the list and move on.

Found out that one of my editors is just over one third of my age, which makes me feel even older. However, she’s an excellent editor, and I enjoy working with her; since we’re not being mutually ageist, but respecting each other’s work, it’s all good.

Had a restful sleep for once (now that the car stress is done). Still have lease renewal stress, but fingers crossed I’ll hear good news on that front soon.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me a little before 5. Completed the morning routine, and was out the door just before six. I was able to drive to the laundromat, instead of walking, which felt like the height of luxury.

While the laundry washed and dried, I worked on the revisions for CAST IRON MURDER. I had to re-revise the pages on which I’d worked at the mechanic’s last week. Caught a bunch of errors. I also marked a couple of places where I need to look something up and change a name, because it’s too similar to another name in the book. There are a few habits/routines that establish too late in the book, and I need to make initial references to them in the first or second chapter, or they look like they come out of nowhere. But I’ve got about the first third of the book done in first pass revisions, which is pretty good, considering I do most of it at the laundromat.

Getting some work done at the desk, then running errands (for which I need the car). It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so I’ll stay in. Thursday, I have to pick up my birthday cake (I have a thing about not making my own cake for my birthday). I’m going to dig into the work today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so that I can take a three day weekend without guilt.

Anything I have to say about Ukraine and the Russian-owned GOP is repetitive at this point. Indict and prosecute the mo-fos already. It will only get worse from here.

Have a good one, friends! I’m headed back to the page.