Wed. Aug. 12, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 84 — Recruiter Fail, Writing Process, A Whisper of Hope

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image courtesy of ShonEjal via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I’m still working on the piece for Ink-Dipped advice, about how companies drive away skilled workers, while whining they can’t find enough skilled workers.

Yesterday was hot and humid. I watered the yard in the morning, and the back both morning and evening. Watered this morning. The mosquitoes are relentless, and completely ignore the bug spray. It has no effect.

I tried to get as much done in the morning as possible, before it got too hot and my computer got too hot. I forgot how much PCs suck. This laptop is barely three months old and it makes changes in Word documents – jumping around in the document and adding or deleting. It takes 13 minutes to boot up. I’m grateful I have it, but I definitely want to go back to MAC as soon as I can afford it.

Got some LOIs out, got out a pitch to an editor for a site I’d really like to work on. A client to whom I’d pitched several months ago is interested in having me come on for a smaller job – I’m sending her some information this morning, and we’ll see if we can go from there.

Got a rejection from a company that puzzled me. I’d never applied to them for anything. First of all, the job from which I was rejected wasn’t something I’d try for anyway. Second, it was a company I knew wasn’t a good match. So how could they reject me from something I’d never wanted?

I contacted the HR person and explained my bafflement. Turns out a recruiter I’d talked to months ago – and decided NOT to work with – pitched me for the job. Without telling me.

No. Just no.

I contacted the recruiter and expressed my displeasure. In cordial terms, but this is not okay. The response? I should be “glad” this individual submitted me for anything, and I should take whatever I could get.

Again, No.

These people.

Got some reading done in the afternoon. Read another book by the person whose work I was on the fence about. Liked this one. Started a third book that will be the deciding vote! Anyway, glad I gave this author another chance, even if I disagree with some of her choices.

Made up an Asian-inspired chicken, vegetables, and noodle dish that was quite tasty.

Actually could sit outside and enjoy a breeze in the evening. First time it’s been quiet around here in MONTHS.

Noodling around on this new idea. Totally different development process for me, developing far more early on before I write any of it. I often outline, then write. Or I get an idea, think about it, jot some notes, then write my way in for about four chapters. If those four chapters work, I’ll sit down and outline the whole book, figure out where to put it in the queue, and work from there.

But this, I’m working on theme first, and then I’ve found my protagonist. Now I’m building around that, and from there, I will find my plot.

I’m keeping a diary specific to this novel, separate from everything else.

It’s helping to loosen the stuck creative bolts, and I’m hoping that will transfer to other projects that need attention.

Absolutely delighted that Kamala Harris is the VP choice. I feel more hopeful than I have in weeks.

Blocked a bunch of morons after the announcement. I’m sure I will have to call out racists fuckwits locally, because we have a lot of racist fuckwits locally.

I have to go into the office for a client today, along with other people. Not looking forward to it. But it’s only for a few hours, and I will be masked, so here’s hoping. They tend to be Sliding Mask Skanks after about 10 minutes. Which means I will probably leave shortly after they turn up.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to later.

Have a great midweek.

Tues. Aug. 11, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 83 — Heatwave, Covidiots, Phase 3 Pause

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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, heat wave

I really like this image I used on Friday, so I’m using it again.

It was an up-and-down weekend for me. I didn’t feel well at all during the course of it. The thunderstorms we needed desperately and were promised never showed up.

I did a Target run early on Friday to get the pens and notebooks I needed. People were masked, and I was in and out in just a few minutes. Disinfectant protocols, then a quick curbside pickup at the library.

It was so hot, I had trouble concentrating. I gave myself the time off from working and read. I read THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME by Krista Davis, and really liked it. It made me laugh, more than once, for the right reasons.

I read another mystery by another author. I’d read a book from one of her other series and had mixed feelings about it. Had even more mixed feelings about this one – especially since she misused “witch” in an insulting way. Normally, I’d just cross her off the list, but she’s friends with some acquaintances of mine. I will read one more book by her and then decide. That choice of language usage is a slur and shouldn’t be used any more AND it’s a sloppy language choice.

Reading volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. Even when I disagree with the writers (especially the white male ones), I wind up learning something.

Read Robert Caro’s WORKING, where he talks about his process of writing his books about Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson. Reading about his research into Moses made me loathe the man even more than I already do. Yes, he was a visionary with parks and road and bridges – but he destroyed a lot of people’s lives, and he didn’t give a damn. Which sounds far too familiar in these days. If someone was rich enough to buy him off, he modified his vision. But if one couldn’t afford to buy him off, he thought they deserved to have their lives destroyed. I’m so glad he didn’t get to put in the bridge between Rye and Oyster Bay. I grew up in Rye while that was being floated around. It would have ruined my hometown.

Did an early morning run on Saturday to Star Market. They are eliminating the position of the door person making sure there aren’t too many people in the store and that people are wearing masks. Which means I have to time my shopping as early as possible, and, when the customers stop masking properly, stop shopping there. Which is a shame, because it’s the only place I can get the white cranberry/peach juice.

The fucktwits are still setting off illegal fireworks in the street every day. But heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its residents. Because it doesn’t care about them. With everything as dry as it is, this is a disaster in the making.

Did laundry, changed the beds, cleaned the house. Typical routine.

Sunday was all about organizing the files I’d kept from the boxes I purged. I also cleaned out four file cabinet drawers. Everything I’m keeping is being sorted and organized into five boxes: one for files from the 1900s; another from 2000-2009. The next box only fits the first half of the decade we’ve been here – 2010 – 2014. I had to get another box for 2015-2019. The fifth box is for project manuscripts. I’m thinking of pulling out all the contract files and putting them into a separate plastic file with a lid and a handle.

It was overwhelming. I worked all day and it felt like I got nothing done, because I didn’t go down and clean out any more boxes. I was just dealing with stuff I’d already brought upstairs. I don’t get how people can clean out their attic or basement in a single day.

It was hot and humid and I felt like crap. Yes, there were tears. More than once.

The dumbass neighbors – more than one of them – all had heavy machinery going ALL FUCKING WEEKEND. We couldn’t have the windows open – without air conditioning and in the heat – because there was so much dust flying around we were choking on it.

Again, Town of Barnstable doesn’t give a flying fuck about its residents. There’s no reason that heavy machinery/construction should be allowed 7 days a week from a little after 7 in the morning until whenever they feel like finishing (often 9 or 10 at night). They don’t do anything about illegal fireworks; they refuse to enforce the noise ordinances; they’re not enforcing the state requirement for masks (most of their own workers don’t wear them when they’re out and about, and they’re sure as hell not distancing), they’re not doing anything to enforce quarantine.

The Town of Barnstable is fucking useless.

So it was a disheartening, frustrating weekend.

On a happier note, I fit into a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt Capris on Monday that I haven’t been able to wear for a few years. So there’s that.

Was onsite for a client for a few hours on Monday. I was by myself in the office, so it was all good. Got a bunch done. Did a curbside pickup at the library on my way home. Read in the afternoon. I have another book assigned to review, so I’m looking forward to that.

Sent out a couple of LOIs.

Today, I was out watering by 5 AM. Took me nearly an hour to water the front. No rain in sight. The back took only 20 minutes, because I’d watered it last night.

I have some client work to do this morning, then more LOIs, and work on an article that’s due in September, but I’d like to get out early.

In the mornings, I’ve been noodling on the new idea, trying a very different way of working, just to see if I can shake up the process.

I’m hoping some of that will transfer to getting back on track with BARD’S LAMENT.

But, honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed and hopeless right now. While I appreciate all the suggestions for “self-care” – at this point, they’re psychobabble for me. Also, I CAN’T “take a walk” anywhere around here, because the fucking tourists WON’T WEAR A MASK OR SOCIAL DISTIANCE and it’s not “self-care” to put my life in danger.

We’re supposedly on pause for Phase 3 of the reopening, and the governor is talking about rolling back some things, which is necessary. But no one is paying any attention because there’s zero enforcement and zero consequences — except people who ARE trying to do the right thing are getting spat on (literally, often) by Covidiots and dying.

“Taking a walk” won’t help. Fucking locking down the country, enforcing masking regulations, and UBI will help.

I’m sick of the Democrats not getting it done. Republicans rammed their agenda through no matter if they were the majority or not. So the Dems need to start getting ruthless. Our lives are on the line. Get it fucking done.

I’m sick of it all. I’m tired of the stupid and the selfish ALWAYS getting away with EVERYTHING, especially when it hurts everyone else. Without consequence.

Fri. Aug. 7: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 79 — Of Notebooks and New Ideas

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Friday, August 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday seems like a long time ago, somehow.

It was a quiet day. I did the grocery run to Trader Joe’s in the morning. Everyone masked, but too many people allowed in the store, which meant distancing was a challenge. But people tried, and worked together.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, exhausted.

Some client work, an LOI. Freelance chat was fun. I didn’t realize I had so much to say about virtual networking, but I guess I did.

I’d love to find affordable VR software to set up a virtual writers’ café where people could send little icons in that write and read in the virtual space while they’re doing sprints on their actual screen.

But Grief to Art has to be finished first. I hope to get some good work done on that today and over the weekend, and get the article for Llewellyn done, and the book read for review.

Working on the play, tentatively called “Rest Not in Peace” and having fun with it.

Finished my coursework on the introduction to educational neuroscience online with Central Queensland University. Passed the exam (with flying colors, if I might be so self-congratulatory) and received my certification. I definitely want to study more about neuroplasticity. What we discussed about how fear and stress impair learning and shrink the brain is relevant both to me personally during the pandemic, and on a larger scale for schools and the educational system, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of active shooter drills.

Thinking about years of frustration with cozy mysteries, spurred on again after the stack I got sick of and dumped back into the library’s book deposit. How, in the 90’s, as more women were recognized in the field, they took this wonderful leap into strength and adventure, and how, after 9/11, so many became more and more narrow-minded and about protecting white privilege. It used to be that the protagonist was a misfit who found community with people accepting her for who she was; more and more, the protagonist started conforming to be accepted by the community, and I don’t like that.

Not to mention all these celibate relationships between supposedly healthy adults that are both boring and don’t make any sense.

Partially, I wrote SAVASANA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, as a response to the way yoga instructors were far too often treated as freaks and flakes, the locked-room aspect a cruise ship has, and the fact that I wanted to see characters in a mystery with healthy sex lives, even if every detail wasn’t on the page. Which is why they are marked as “not quite cozy” – because they don’t fit all the restrictions of the cozy. I went with a small publisher for the series because the bigger publishers wanted to edit out all the things that made me write it in the first place.

I will have to deal with the issues the pandemic bring up at some point in the series, and my editor and I are talking about how to handle it and when to handle it. Right now, I have to make the second book in the series work, and that’s a struggle. Although class structure and white privilege are coming more to the forefront with it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m looking for in a mystery series with an amateur sleuth protagonist, one who is closer to me in age than a younger one. I’ve played with some ideas over the past few months, and some of them are coming together as being possible in the same series, rather than everything being so separate. While there’s definitely a need for simple stories that offer structure and comfort, I want something else.

I found a central point around which I want to start building (it’s at too delicate a stage to write about publicly). So, I’m percolating.

Then, of course, the dilemma was what kind of notebook do I use for the draft and development? Because this is not something I want to type directly into the computer, at least not initially. I need to play with it, to draw it, to sketch it, to write bits and put them aside, to create building blocks. It won’t work to create it on the computer.

I haven’t gone out and bought the “back to school” notebooks I usually get at this point in the year because I still have notebooks left over from last year.

Only none of them are right for this project.

I thought about buying a set of journal books specific to the project, but that’s expensive and feels too formal.

I finally realized (because I AM that bad at math) that it probably makes more sense to buy two five-subject notebooks for the project than six or seven single-subject notebooks. Duh.

I want to keep a diary of the process as I develop it. Eventually, it might be rather Steinbeck-esque, writing the diary on one side of the page and the novel on the other. But I think I’ll do the diary part in green ink, and the novel in black ink.

All of this means I have to actually leave the house and get the supplies. If I order online, it will take about 3 weeks to get here. So I guess I’m going out today, masked up, and trying to avoid the Covidiot tourists, who aren’t paying any attention to travel or quarantine restrictions.

If I can time it properly, I’ll minimize the risk.

I’m also about to finish the latest volume of my personal diary – I have one more matching volume, which I doubt will get me through the year, but I’ll worry about that when I’m closer to the end of the new volume, which I’ll start tomorrow.

My office has gotten cluttered again, so I’ll need to spend some time this weekend tidying it up, so that I can metaphorically tidy my brain. Hopefully, that will give me physical and mental space to work on the book for review, the article, “Rest Not in Peace”, BARD’S LAMENT, Grief to Art site, and any noodling I decide to do on this project development.

I haven’t decided if it will be literary fiction with mystery elements, or a mystery novel that expands genre restrictions.

I’ll develop it for a bit first, spin the ideas out like spun sugar to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find it doesn’t work, and it will be relegated to the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects (the updated Topic Workbook will be released soon). Or maybe it will become a viable project.

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you peace and health.
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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 78 — Less Stress (Yay)

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cooler

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, to learn the latest goings-on in the garden.

I didn’t feel well yesterday, so I worked from home instead of going onsite for a few hours. It helped me on oh, so many levels. Plus, I got a lot of work done.

I was supposed to sit in for a client on a Zoom session about SBA/PPP loan forgiveness. I was there on time, waiting and waiting for the host to start the meeting. Nothing happened. I finally emailed the organizer – only to get an email back that it had been cancelled. Um, why didn’t you let me know? I’m registered by the email. I’m obviously waiting to get in. You just . . .forgot? I was polite, and it wasn’t that big a deal because I was working remotely, but still. Basic consideration. Stuff happens. Things have to be postponed and cancelled. But communicate. Don’t just ignore the people who have put aside the time to be there.

Moved on from that debacle to Remote Chat, which was fun.

I downloaded GIMP, and now I have to learn how to use it.

Started work on one of the play ideas. It’s coming together nicely.

Did some brainstorming for the next section of GAMBIT COLONY and the next section of BARD. Need to catch up on classwork today.

019 Instagram

The Merry Writer Podcast I recorded about a month ago went live yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. If you get a chance, I hope you’ll listen.

Decided to return a stack of books to the library, some unread. They are all by the same author (albeit different series, sometimes under different names). The only passion or spark the characters ever show is when their white privilege is threatened, and it’s both boring me to death (pun intended, since they’re mysteries) and annoying me. So the stack goes back into the book drop, and that author (with the various pseudonyms) is crossed off my list.

I learn as much from books which don’t work for me as I learn from books that do.

I have to venture off the property to do the two-week shop at Trader Joe’s. We are out of milk, eggs, butter, bread, and a bunch of other stuff.

Then, after disinfectant protocols, I hope to have a productive day working.

Have a great Thursday!

Wed. Aug. 5, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 77 — Isias Barely Kissed Us

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image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

I’m on a podcast today! I’m a guest on the Merry Writer Podcast. You can listen here.

019 Instagram

That storm was weird yesterday. We had bands of wind coming through, where we’d have high winds for a bit, then eerie silence. Then more wind.

We didn’t get anywhere near the rain we needed, which is disturbing.

We were on tornado watch starting a little after noon, but, thankfully, nothing formed.

Power outages on and off more of the evening, but nothing too terrible.

It was just a weird storm, and it didn’t bring the sense of relief a storm usually does when it breaks, yowls, and then clears out.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas about scope creep.

I got my client work done in the morning, in spite of the heat. Got out an LOI, and did three ads for a client, which I will send off this morning.

I had to shut everything down during the tornado watch and the flickering power and heat and humidity in the afternoon, so I read. I seem to be in a stack of mediocre books right now. I may skim some of them and return them, since I’m not being paid to read them, and life is too short to voluntarily read books I don’t like.

Was hit by ideas for three plays thanks to a call for submission. One idea I really love, but it has too many characters for this particular company, so it will have to be submitted elsewhere. The second idea will fit their production needs, and a third can be done pretty much anywhere, because it’s simple.

The play for the submission call is only 30 minutes, and most of the play has unfolded in my head, so I will get to work on it later today, and hopefully have it done fairly quickly.

I am working remotely all day today, not going on site. I don’t feel great, and it’s not worth the risk, being around other people. Especially since our cases went, in 24 hours, from 165 new to 438 new. No surprises. NY, NJ, CT, and RI are back on the quarantine list.

Not that anyone around here is paying attention to it.

Hopefully, the humidity will let up soon, we will have a good rainstorm, and we can get back on track.

In the meantime, it’s back to the page.

Feels good to finally say that again.

Tues. Aug. 4, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 76 — Tired of Tired, but Writing & Reading

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image by pixamio courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Busy, frustrating weekend. It was hot and humid most of the time, and I’m sick of this weather.

I couldn’t get much done, although I got out a bunch of LOIs.

I got some reading done; I got a review out and an invoice out. I’m still chasing down two other late payments.

I’m sick of having to “create an account” every damn time I want to buy something online. No. I don’t want an account. I’m not coming back, and I may not buy it now, if you make me “create an account.” Let me check out, give you my damn money, and buy what I want. I don’t’ want any more accounts. I don’t want any more passwords. I don’t want an email every day trying to sell me something else. I don’t want to “review” every damn purchase I make. I want to give you money for a product and get on with my life.

The idiot across the street was out in the heat and humidity every day making noise with his heavy machinery and causing more destruction.

The fucktwits with fireworks were out in the streets every night.

I am so sick of the Town of Barnstable which does NOTHING for its residents. They keep making up more taxes and other things we have to pay for, but they don’t actually give us any services or protections. My Town Councilor is a disgusting waste of space.

I have some challenges with a particular client which I have to decide how I’m going to handle.

On The Plus Side With Writing and Reading
Laundry, baking, nice Lammas ritual early in the morning on Saturday – before the Covidiot short term renter-tourists could ruin everything.

At least I got some good work done on Gambit Colony. Although it should have been on BARD. I’m behind on BARD again, damn it, and I was doing so well there for awhile.

It was so hot, I couldn’t think straight much of the time. I don’t do well in heat and humidity.

I cleaned out a few boxes from the basement. Not enough, but a few, and I have to keep at it. I threw out about 90%, and I bet, when I go to file some of the rest, I can throw out some more.

I found a partial manuscript from a project I started a couple of years back and put aside, due to contracted work. I kind of love it. I also remember having done more work on this particular project. I need to find the other pages and read the whole thing again. The voices are very strong and unique.

Got the notes back from WINNER TAKE ALL. Some interesting points. There are some things I want to achieve and fell short of on this draft. But I don’t want to explain everything, either. There are subtle hints here and there – too subtle, sometimes. I have to find a way to make a few things clearer without being too obvious about it. I might not do changes the way the notes suggested, but I want to make changes that still get me to the same endpoint as suggested, if that makes any sense. It will take some percolation (and a lot of trial and error) to figure it out.

Submitted my review and invoice to my editor over the weekend; got paid first thing Monday morning. That’s why I love working with this company. Got another book assigned already. Will download it today; looking forward to it. Got paid for the article where the payment didn’t go through, initially. So we’re all good on that.

Now, if the Big Publication that is in breach of contract would cough up the fairly good-sized chunk of cash it owes me for a piece I did back in February, around all my medical tests and surgery, we would be all caught up.

Two of the three flash fiction pieces I sent out a few weeks ago have been rejected. I’m not really surprised – they are odd little moments in time. But that’s kind of why I like them. They are neither comfort pieces nor doom pieces – those seem to be the extremes short fiction publishers want right now. I’ll just keep trying. The right match is out there.

Did a curbside pickup at the library (and dropped off a stack of books). All mysteries. The first one, I hated so much I put it down after 20 pages. It was part of the wave when certain cozies went far right wing in the initial years after 9/11. It was awful. Judgmental, small-minded, I hated the characters, and didn’t care if the murderer killed the protagonist. So I put it down.

Read another one, set around the same time, that had a few whispers of some of the same elements, but overall was much better, both in terms of structure and characters. It was a quick read – took maybe two hours, perfect for a hot summer afternoon when too much movement or thought would turn my brains to jello.

Reading the last book I have in a series that I liked initially, but don’t like the turn it’s taken. Instead of growing as people in the series, the characters are getting small-minded and being “less than” instead of better. On top of that, the protagonist had two choices of romantic interest, and chose the one with whom she has zero romantic chemistry. And no, it’s not just a phase in the series, where she then realizes the mistake and ends up with the guy with whom she has chemistry. The author is trying to tamper down the chemistry she has with the other guy, the one she should be with, and force chemistry with the one where there isn’t any, and it throws off the tone and the pace of the series. So I’m done with it. (Yes, I did research to see if she comes to her senses in future volumes – she doesn’t). The author has every right to pair up protagonists as they please; but if it doesn’t work for me, if it frustrates me, I don’t have to stay with the series.

Even reading books in the genre that don’t work for me teaches me a great deal. It clarifies what I’m trying to do, where I’m trying to break out of boxes, yet still satisfy readers on certain points, and clarifies why I make certain choices in plot and character that I make.

Working from home today, for clients and, I hope, getting some good writing done. I might try to run out and do a curbside pickup from my favorite Chinese restaurant (I’ll probably stock up on several meals’ worth) before the big storm comes in today.

I figured I didn’t need to water this morning if we’re having a tropical storm come in.

Peace, friends. Hope you are well.

Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve

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image courtesy of Bru-nO via pixabay.com

Friday, July 31, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, did some client work, enjoyed Freelance Chat.

Finished reading a book from a series I previously enjoyed, but was disappointed in this particular book. The protagonist got together with a guy who spent previous books behaving like a creepy stalker, and there’s no chemistry between them, and everything in this book was too easy.

Read another book, a first book in a series. Frustrated because the protagonist spent most of the first 100 pages crying and being dizzy. Sorry, that doesn’t make her relatable and cute. It makes me want to smack her upside the head.

So that series is a no-go for me.

So hot and humid that reading was all I could handle yesterday afternoon.

I managed to read and give notes on the latest version of a friend’s script. It really sparkles!

This morning, managed to get the front watered again – and then it rained, so I didn’t have to do anything about the back. Still none of the lovely thunderstorms we were promised, although it looks like a hurricane will find its way up here next week.

Did a grocery run to Star Market for some necessities, then a library run to drop off/do curbside pickup. Full disinfectant protocols. At least everyone was masked at the store and at curbside pickup.

I have a bunch of stuff to get done today, house and home stuff mostly, so I’m going to cut myself a break on the work. I have to re-think how I’m going to make the Topic Workbook example sheets work in the reformatted workbooks, because they’re not holding the formatting – and when they do, I can’t insert them into the text.

I need to get a lot of boxes purged from the basement this weekend, and work on the Grief to Art site. Over 150,000 dead, we need it.

But I’m not feeling hopeful, and I am feeling exhausted and burned out. So we will see.

Still, I’m looking forward to salmon burgers and potato salad tonight, and there’s now plenty of gelato, so there are some small pleasures I can enjoy.

And books, more books.

I have a review to get out today, and I’m writing an article in my head that I hope to get down on paper and out to my editor in the next couple of days.

Chasing down late payments, which is always frustrating.

Tomorrow is Lammas, a special day in my personal calendar. I will make cornbread early in the morning, I have blackberries. I don’t have any beer – might use wine or vodka instead.

First harvest – and I’m out of time on a few things, and not sure what to do.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. July 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 71 — Stress and Rage

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image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

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

The less said about yesterday’s client work, the better. All I’m going to say is that I was shaking with rage on the drive home, and made myself a martini as soon as I finished m disinfectant protocols.

I have a few days to consider how I will handle the situation as gracefully as possible.

At least Remote Chat was a lot of fun, as usual.

I was so exhausted from the morning of stress that, when I went upstairs to check on Tessa, I fell asleep on the floor beside her and had a two hour nap. Then, I was disoriented for the rest of the day. I am not a napper.

Of course, Gambit Colony is flowing well, since it is the piece that’s not on hard deadline.

I’m going to try to get the recycling out this morning; we’re supposed to have a grace period until the 1st of August before they charge us, but it’s suddenly not on the website or any of their accounts. I posed the question on their FB page. I guarantee they will not answer until next week that “oops, grace period is over” because that is what they are like. I can just see myself loading up the car this morning and being turned away at the gate. It would be typical here. I’m not emailing them, because they still haven’t answered the email I sent them BACK IN MARCH. Because they can’t be bothered. It doesn’t take four months to answer an email, even in a pandemic. Because heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its actual residents. It’s all about tourist dollars and quick turnover.

Client work, LOIs, chasing down missing payments from work done months ago, a review out to my editor, work on an article, work on the Topic Workbooks, cleaning out boxes from the basement, filing and admin – the list goes on and on. So I’d better get going then, hadn’t I?

Have a great day.

Wed. July 29, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 70 — The Anniversary of My Father’s Death

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imsage courtesy of csr_ch via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot, but a little less humid

On this day in 1972, my father died. He’s been out of my life longer than he’s been in it, but it’s still a difficult day. He still has so much influence on my life, both positive and negative. He was brilliant, and difficult, taught me a lot on many fronts.

Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about the myth of the “full-time freelance job” that some companies are pushing.

The elected officials are worried because our numbers are creeping up again, more kids are getting sick, and we’re seeing more long-term complications. Recoveries are running 4-6 weeks, with potential lifelong problems that may never heal. They’re talking about dialing back some of the phased re-opening, which is as it should be. We should go back to Phase 1, clear out the tourists for 6-8 weeks, wear a mask every time we leave the property for the duration, and then maybe, MAYBE, we’d be back on track. But only if they enforce mandates, especially on tourists.

Which they won’t do, because, you know, greed.

William Barr needs to be impeached, disbarred, and then prosecuted for his crimes against this country. He is an abomination.

Yesterday was hot and humid again, and difficult to get things done. I worked in the yard early, before 6:30 AM, then sat on the deck and wrote for a bit.

Did some client work in the morning, until the computer threatened to overheat. Did a few insert scenes for the 4th Gambit Colony book to keep some arcs running through it.

In the afternoon, I read. It was too hot to be very productive, but at least I could concentrate long enough to read.

I also purged a box from the basement. I wanted to do two boxes, but ran out of energy. But I cleaned out one box, and tossed 90% of what was in it. The other 10% gets filed – I think I have the files already set up in my filing cabinets.

Had weird dreams again last night. Stress dreams.

Up early again this morning. Worked in the yard. I need to get some work done this morning at home before I head (early) onsite to a client’s for a few hours, which will contain stresses of its own.

But Remote chat is today, and that is always a bright spot in my week.

I also hope to get some more writing done, and purge another box.

Have a lovely day.

Tues. July 28, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 69 — Maskhole Rant, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and Writing

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image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I hit a level of burnout on Thursday afternoon and into Friday. I was just done.

But, of course, when one is the breadwinner, not coping is not an option.

From Masshole to Maskhole
Plenty of people from Massachusetts are not well-liked (often even in their own state). “Masshole” is the common term. But far too many are now also Maskholes – refusing to wear the mask properly or at all. To be fair, they’re not just from around here – the tourists are even worse.

Virus cases are on the rise in this area. No surprise. Some dimwit in Chatham had a party with 50 people, no masks, no distancing. At least half the partygoers have tested positive since that party. They are trying to figure out how many people THOSE people infected Elected officials moan and say there’s nothing they can do because it happened on “private property.” Yes, they can. Charge the party-thrower with criminal negligence. Anyone who got infected by someone at the party should have all health costs paid by the person who infected them.

A good portion of the attendees were restaurant workers. Yeah, so how’s all that Phase III-IV on-site dining working for everyone, huh?

On Saturday morning, I did a quick errand. The drive home was 3 miles from store to home, along the beachfront. I passed about 150 people (I stopped counting at 127). Over the course of three miles.

4 of them were masked.

FOUR.

You can’t social distance when there are that many people in that small an area. Not that they were even trying. Many of them walked in packs, or hung out as their pack met another pack. No masks, no distancing. And yeah, not even pretending they give a fuck by having one around their neck or in their pocket.

I can’t go for a walk in my own neighborhood because the fucktards roam in maskless packs. All those people who claim they’re “safe” when they take a walk or walk the dog because “nobody’s around” or “there’s plenty of room” or “I cross the street” or “we’re good at social distancing” – I don’t believe you. They’re saying the same things here every day. Praising themselves to the sky for being so responsible and careful. I watch every day and it is not happening. No masks. No social distancing. You need BOTH. You need to wear a mask AND social distance. What part of this is an airborne virus do you not understand? Being outside doesn’t negate that. “Oh, but I’m just walking the dog, it’s early, no one’s around” – yeah, so are 15 other people and you’re stopping to chat and pet each other’s dogs and hang out and you’re only about a foot apart. Wear your damn mask when you leave your property. Keep it on – properly on, not pretend on — until you return.

If you NEED to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

If you WANT to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

It’s not hard. Yes, it’s inconvenient, and the first ten minutes are uncomfortable. So?

The level of selfishness is just disgusting.

The stats are that we have 100,000 extra people so far on Cape Cod. I don’t want to hear one word from businesses about how slow business is. Every place around here is packed. Plus, almost every business I know got either a PPP loan or an SBA loan or both. We have heightened travel rules in place as of the first of the month per the governor about 14-day quarantines and fines of $500/day. Too many aren’t even doing the mandated masking and social distancing. No one’s going to enforce a damn thing.

The bridges are backed up every damn day and unbearable from Friday to Monday again like every summer weekend. People aren’t quarantining here. They come in for the day, spread the virus, leave. They’re not being careful, even if they pretend they are so they can feel all righteous about it. Yes, the travel restrictions are not as firm from New England states and New York and New Jersey because those states have controlled it FOR THE MOMENT. But many, MANY of these plates are from high-risk states. They’re not complying with quarantine. The places they’re renting aren’t requiring it. They’re just taking the money and looking the other way.

There are businesses requiring people follow the mask mandate and distancing, etc. They’re truly trying to make it work and keep people as safe as possible. But plenty of businesses look the other way when the tourist twat walks in and immediately pulls the mask down around their neck.

We’re going to need to be in lockdown all damn winter because people are so damn selfish and lazy, while claiming they’re being responsible. I’m talking genuine lockdown, where maybe you can leave your property once a week for an hour to go grocery shopping. It’s going to make this spring look like a cakewalk.

We could have had the virus under control and be back to a modicum of normal without much danger – like New Zealand and Iceland and Europe – but instead, it’s getting worse. People are lying to themselves and each other about it.

The positive spin that’s being put on everything here and WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING are far apart. But people are buying into the spin, which means things are moving even farther apart.

I am very, very glad I was wrong that we would hit the 250,000 death toll mark by July 4th. But I doubt I’m wrong about the next lockdown. And so much of this could have been prevented. So much of it still can be prevented, but won’t, due to selfishness on personal and nationwide levels, and greed.

I’m sick of it.

No wonder I’m feeling burned out. If I didn’t have to leave the property at all, I could just shrug it off. I mean, on human level, I’d still be angry at the sheer level of selfishness and I’d still be working with my elected officials on various legislation, but I could stay in my little book-lined tower and keep my family safe.

Chop Wood, Carry Water
I mailed off my passport renewal materials for the third damn time. Let’s hope they actually renew it this time. The first time, last fall, when the rumors about no more passport renewals started, it was returned because it was “too early to renew.” When I tried in March, it was “returned to sender” with “office closed due to COVID-19” scrawled on the envelope.

Even if we’re banned from entering other countries, I need my passport. I hate being separated from it.

Saturday morning, the cats got me up way too early. Fed them, watered the front and back gardens, lawns, and the meadow out back. Changed the beds, did two loads of laundry, did a run to the store that carries the white cranberry-peach juice and some gelato for the heat wave. Full disinfectant protocols (not letting up on them any time soon). Sorted the boxes and bags in the quarantine area of the garage – some went downstairs to be used, some put aside for other use, some into recycling). Washed all the reusable grocery bags and disinfected them.

The ban on reusable bags has been lifted in the state, but most grocery stores sill ask that people not use them. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to disinfect all the bags.

Paid end-of-month bills.

The neighbor across the street has his very own small bulldozer. Yup. Drove it around the neighborhood to show it off on Friday. Saturday, he brought in a truckload of gravel and dumped it next to his garage (which faces our front yard). Then he started leaf blowing the gravel. Which is a stupid move on multiple levels, but it also sent clouds of gravel dust across to us, and I had to close the windows (on a hot day, with no air conditioning) so we didn’t choke on the dust.

His parents must not have bought him Tonka Trucks as a child, and he’s making up for it now.

All he ever does is use heavy machinery, make noise, and destroy. There’s never building anything beautiful – just cutting down trees or leaf blowing gravel.

My neighbor next door is awfully fond of his power tools, too – but he builds. A firepit, a three-season room, a shed for his nifty tools. Also, he does it during reasonable hours, and it’s never for long stretches. I don’t mind even the power tools, because the energy is so different – it’s CONstructive, not Destructive.

Sunday morning, I was up early again to water. I don’t have a sprinkler system, and I don’t want to do the putting green thing, but I also want the yard to be healthy. Right now, we haven’t rain for a bit, and it needs a drink.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I didn’t put out the bird bath this year (because it’s 2020 and West Nile or some other plague would come by, too). But I’ve been putting out a big dog dish of water out back, and changing it three times a day. Che Guevara Chipmunk comes by the drink out of it and tell me the news. And the birds like it, too. We had some melon that was getting squishy, so I put it out back and the murder of crows dashed from the front yard and gobbled it all up. Who knew crows like cantaloupe?

Friday morning, when I sat on the deck with my first coffee and my writing, a bat dropped down from the roof of the covered deck and then flew away. Startled me, but I like bats, so I’m good with it. If he (or she) comes back, the bat gets a name!

I got a spam call on my cell from Russia. Uh, yeah, that’s a block.

Monday, I was out early to water. This morning, I was out early and did just over an hour of yardwork from just after 5 AM to nearly 6:30. It’s been brutally hot and humid. 102 degrees in Hyannis yesterday, 94 degrees here, a few miles away. We’re still a little cooler because we haven’t cut down all our trees.

But there are poor air quality warnings up. On Cape Cod. Can you imagine? We moved here for healthy sea air. But it’s been clear cut of trees so badly and overbuilt so badly and with the tourists flowing in DURING A PANDEMIC, we have poor air quality.

The virus is delighted.

But with fans going and staying quiet in the worst of it, it’s bearable. Even without air conditioning. So far.

Shall I mention that the furnace was supposed to be replaced by the owner last year before Thanksgiving, and he was going to add coils for air conditioning? And it still hasn’t happened?

Writing. Oh yeah, there’s writing. And Reading
I got about half the revision of VISCERAL INVISIBLES done. Still trying to come up with another title, although a part of me kind of likes this one.

Shaped the review for the book I read. Sent it off yesterday morning, along with the invoice. Yay, money!

I read a wonderful book by Fenton Johnson, AT THE CENTER OF ALL BEAUTY: SOLITUDE AND THE CREATIVE LIFE. It’s quite wonderful. As someone who is, by nature, solitary, and needs a lot of solitude even within the context of relationships, the book speaks to me on multiple levels.

Catching up on the issues of THE NEW YORKER. There’s always so much good information there, and stellar writing (even if I don’t always agree with the pieces). The latest issues re-runs earlier profiles – Toni Morrison, Larry Kramer, etc. – it’s interesting to see how much I’ve changed since they first came out. How much I’ve learned.

Actually got to sit outside and enjoy the deck for an hour here and there, in between neighbors and their power tools and heavy machinery. And they’re still setting off the fucking illegal fireworks most nights.

Also reading Donna Leon’s non-Brunetti mystery, THE JEWELS OF PARADISE, which is interesting.

My mother is reading Chris Cavender’s pizza-lover’s mysteries, and really likes them. I will read them soon (while she finishes reading the Vivien Chien series). We have one more Brunetti book to read, the one that came out during Stay-at-home, and then we’ll start reading the Gamache series in order (re-read for me). It’s fun to read a long series together in order and talk about the books.

Did some planning for the Gambit Colony books. Will get back to them once I’m done with this draft of BARD’S LAMENT.

Worked on the Topic Workbooks.

I’m working on the Grief to Art website, but it takes a lot out of me, and is thereby taking more time than I’d like. With nearly 150,000 dead, we need a site for collective mourning.

Did a quick proof read of the WINNER TAKE ALL screenplay and sent it to my friend, who has time to read it this week.

I was at the office for a few hours yesterday for a client, by myself, which was perfect. I’m still far more productive from my home office even than in an empty office, but if I have to be in an office, I’d rather it was empty. I do some client work before it gets too hot. When it heats up, I have to shut down the computer; it doesn’t function well in heat and humidity. Plus, I figure the power’s bound to go off at some point.

Have a safe week, and try to stay cool, if you can. Mentally and physically. Peace.

Mon. July 27, 2020: Intent for the Week– Finding Hope

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Image by Hans courtesy of pixabay.com

I feel hopeless on multiple fronts right now, so this week will focus on finding hope.

I’m not sure where that will happen – but I have some actions I plan to take in the search.

What is your intent for the week?

Thurs. July 23, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 64 — The Need For a Good Storm

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Thursday, July 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and oppressively humid

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday started out as a pretty optimistic day, but a few obstacles got thrown in the way. Not appropriate to discuss them publicly. I will have to find a way to deal with them like a professional, while still holding my boundaries.

Onsite for a client early; got a good bit done. I was worried about a particular campaign, but it’s started to show results, and that’s a relief.

Swung by CVS to pick up my mother’s prescription. It was packed, but at least everyone wore their mask PROPERLY.

I am so sick of these fucktwits pulling their masks down below their noses. Cover your NOSE AND MOUTH, you fucking morons. The disregard for other people is revolting.

Remote chat was fun.

Solved a client problem remotely.

It was so humid and I wasn’t feeling well, so the afternoon was nowhere near as productive as it needed to be. Will have to make up for it today. Managed to get a few LOIs out.

One client is trying to figure out why payment hasn’t gone through. Another client, a late payer, is ignoring my emails. This is a major publication, now in breach of contract. Not happy about it.

Frustrated with the state of the country and the supreme selfishness and greed that’s allowed.

I seriously want to become a professional recluse.

In the evening, I got dressed up and in full make-up for two virtual Zoom events.

One was a fashion industry event, that I attended on behalf of a client. The hosts did a good job. Some of the guests, however, seem to have forgotten that a Zoom event requires interaction. Yeah, when we were in an actual party room, you could stand there and pose and people would admire you. But at an interactive chat, everyone’s gong to move on to someone who is, you know, actually interesting.

It sort of reminded me of Studio 54’s fading days, when it was trying to be relevant and cool, and failing.

But I’m glad I went. I managed to meet some interesting people and get information that is useful in shaping this particular client’s marketing strategy.

Then, I switched over to another Zoom event, this one literary. That was kind of fun and raucous, very much like the old time literary events in NYC, but virtual. Had some decent conversations with various people about things that matter. I actually got some information relevant to the client for whom I attended the fashion industry event. So that’s 2 for 1.

I’m trying to limit my Zoom time, because it’s so exhausting, but I’m glad I attended these events.

I got a nice compliment on Twitter from someone who likes that I tweet to congratulate and encourage people and wish them well. To me, that’s a big part of being on a social media platform – celebrating the good things, offering a helping hand when I can. Still, it was nice to hear. Because I’m so enraged about what’s going on politically and trying to do something about it, I sometimes worry I’m too negative on social media. I’m trying to keep it balanced.

What I should do is take a break from social media completely for a few days.

Tessa woke me up around 1 AM. She was hot. She woke me, walked over to the fan, looked at me, looked at the fan. I put it in the window, turned it on, she stretched out on the floor in front of it, and went back to sleep.

Fell asleep and had weird dreams. Charlotte woke me a little after 4, although I refused to go downstairs and feed everyone until 5. I wish they’d let me sleep until 5. Waking up at 4 every day is just a little too early.

Horribly humid today. The air is thick and won’t move. It’s supposed to storm, and I hope it does. A good thunder storm would do a world of good.

I have a busy day of writing, client work, course work, and unpacking ahead of me. I hope the humidity eases up a bit so I can actually do it, and not act like one of the cats, lying on the floor in front of the fan.

I had a nice first writing session out on the deck this morning, playing with an idea that might or might not go anywhere. But at least I eased those characters yapping in my head.

Feeling kind of blue and discouraged today, on multiple fronts. I hope a storm will break both the humidity and my mood.

Wed. July 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 63 — That 90’s Energy

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image courtesy of Broesis via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice,where I talk about deciding what you want and need from work.

Blood draw wasn’t too awful yesterday. The tech hit the vein the first time, even though it splattered everywhere and hurt. But it’s done.

Home, changed out of the clothes I wore to the very busy lab. Scrubbed down, but not full disinfectant protocols. Ate breakfast, then headed to Trader Joe’s. Very busy there, too many people in the store. Everyone was masked, but not enough distancing. Spent more than I meant to, but stocked up.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. Which means yes, I wore three sets of clothes before 10 AM.

Client work, email, social media, LOIs.

Nice lunch of lox and reading The New Yorker and feeling like I had some of my 90’s life back.

More client work in the afternoon, and then polished three old flash fiction pieces that I still really like. Submitted them to fresh markets. We’ll see.

The copies of the 2021 Witches’ Companion that has my earthing article in it arrived (it’s under the Cerridwen Iris Shea byline). It looks really good. I’m excited to read the whole almanac. I also have to immediately put it in my clip file.

The extra candles Yankee Candle sent as an apology also arrived. I appreciate the gesture, but it doesn’t solve the issue.

Haven’t heard back from Amazon. Guarantee they will charge me again. I rarely buy anything but eBooks from Amazon, but maybe I should disengage from buying on that platform completely.

The spices I ordered from Atlantic Spice Companyin Truro arrived – packets much bigger than expected. Their quality and price is unmatched. I’m sorry I didn’t get to go there in person – I love going to their store. But it’s not safe. No matter how carful they are in the store, the other customers aren’t. It’s not worth the risk.

The note cards from Peter Pauper Press also arrived. I have lots of card-and-letter writing in my future.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. I know, I know, it was only one. But it took more time than I expected. Tossed about 50%. Re-filed a bunch of the rest. Found some old manuscripts that I pulled out. I will decide if I need to toss or re=key into the computer or file any of them. I bet some of them are still on floppy disks. It was emotional to see that energetic woman, involved in getting shows over to Edinburgh, pitching to organizations in the US, having meetings with film producers, line producing a friend’s film, working off-Broadway and starting the transition to working on Broadway, communicating a mile a minute with ideas and plans and projects.

It made me tired! In a good way.

It also made me glad that I didn’t make a long-term commitment to any of the men with whom I was involved with at that time. They demanded that too much of my energy be diverted from my projects to fuel theirs, with little in return.

Have to go in to my client’s today and get a few things solved, and then I can do an email blast for her. The second ad didn’t play as well as the first one, which is disappointing, because it was a better ad, overall, I thought.

Remote Chat is this afternoon, which is always a pleasure.

Then, more writing, coursework, and at least one more box.

I need to get that clearing-out energy in motion!

We’re supposed to get storms and then more humidity again. I have the fans going, to try to get it cooler in here. We’ve been lucky. It hasn’t been too bad yet this summer.

A baby bunny ate his breakfast in the yard while I had my first cup of coffee on the deck. It was adorable!