Fri. Oct. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 156 — Rising Virus Numbers & Climate Change Conference

30 Tips for 30 Days — Help for Nano. Always free here.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

Battled with the migraine all day yesterday.

I was furious when a group of snide bullies on social media started on the whole “just post the recipe” thing again.

Context and culture and stories around food are an incredibly important part of the experience.

If all you want is the recipe, without context, there are dozens of sites that do that.

Don’t tell recipe bloggers and writers to change HOW THEY PRACTICE THEIR PASSION on THEIR OWN SITES.

It’s a form of bullying, and I will damn well call it out when I see it.

Too much stupid on social media. I wish I could just take a full break, personally and professionally, for a few months. Unfortunately, it’s one of the necessary tools for what I do. So I will cut back.

I have to limit screen time anyway, because the migraine just won’t go away. Valerian helped a little bit last night, but nowhere near the way it used to.

I did a segment of work on the computer, rested, did the same again. Slowed me down way too much.

Managed to get a solid 1500-ish words done on a project, though, which was nice. That project is trying to consume me and can’t, because I have other deadlines.

It was warm enough to sit outside on the deck in the afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens and read for an hour or so.

Masks came from the Animal Rescue site. They’re pretty, but rather flimsy – only one layer, not two. Not sure I’m confident to wear them out grocery shopping, etc.

The other two CDs arrived – HADESTOWN and MISS SAIGON. In all the years I worked on SAIGON, I never got the CD — because I listened to it every night as I did my cues. But I haven’t listened to it since the show closed, and it was such a huge part of my life that I wanted to own it.

My IPSY order also arrived – new eyeshadow and lipstick and nail polish for fall. Yes, I still wear lipstick under the mask. I ALWAYS wear lipstick. I can be stark naked, but as long as I wear lipstick I feel dressed. (I promise I won’t be stark naked with only lipstick on Zoom. Because, you know, I’m a professional, unlike some well-known writers who’ve been Zoom idiots lately).

Mala Prayer is shutting down, which makes me sad. They had lovely quality and great customer service. I placed one final order and thanked them for everything.

The debate last night was awful.  I did not think Welker was tough enough cutting off the mic. The Sociopath was even more of a monster than usual, gleeful about child separation, no plans for anything.

I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t stopping the Barrett confirmation. There is ALWAYS a way.

I’m in a virtual climate change conference all day. Or at least, as much as I can do before the migraine wins. Up in full hair, makeup and comfortable but professional clothes before 8 AM.

The weekend is supposed to be lovely and warm. I hope to get more yard work done, and a bunch of writing. I need to keep reminding people about 30 Tips for 30 Days, with Nano fast approaching. I need to start pushing the Trinity of Teasers promotional package.

Our numbers in MA are higher than they were in May towards the end of the shutdown. It’s disgusting.

All I want to do is lie down until the migraine goes away. Or until we get an actual president that gives a damn.

Have a great weekend, friends. I’ll see you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

The latest on the garden is up on Gratitude and Growth.

I also have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about how NOT to treat those on your email list.

Yesterday was a day of challenges.

In yesterday’s post, I forgot to talk about the Knowledge Unicorns session on Tuesday, which was good. As I said, everyone’s tired. Yet another parent is switching from online learning in the school system to homeschooling because the school district demands that kids be here in person and wants to discontinue the virtual learning.

With virus cases going up.

No.

Also, now, at the end of each session, the parents are getting onto Zoom and it gives them a chance to interact and talk about what’s going on from their perspective.

We have another session tonight. Rather than watching the debate after, though, everyone’s going to listen to HAMILTON again. Chances are, we’ll all learn more.

I woke up around 4 AM yesterday with a blinding migraine, which just increased throughout the day. I managed to get to my client’s and got a few things done, but the nausea increased with the migraine so badly that I had to leave.

I came back and rested for a bit before we had to navigate the fog to Yarmouth, to the RMV (every other place I know calls it the DMV, but whatever). I had to stay in the car, since they only let the actual person with the appointment in. And if you can’t navigate the tests on your own, you don’t get your license renewed. They are careful not to overbook, enforce masking, and keep everyone distant.

My mom passed the tests. She can now legally drive until she’s 101.

The fog was even denser on the drive back, and it took nearly an hour.

We both decontaminated. I rested in the afternoon. The migraine was too severe. I couldn’t work; it got to the point where I couldn’t read. It was one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had.

It’s usually dwarves tap-dancing in cleats. This time, it was giants, working away at the inside of my skull with pickaxes.

I’m using the above example in the mythological sense, not to demean any type of person or medical condition or physical type.

I hope it’s not an indication that they’re all going to be this bad.

Yoga didn’t help. Excedrin Migraine didn’t help. A hot shower didn’t help. There isn’t a prescription medication that works. Caffeine didn’t help. The acupressure mat didn’t help for long. It was wracking pain and nausea for hours and hours and hours on end.

It finally let up a bit around 9 o’clock, enough so I could fall asleep, and I slept through the night.

It’s trying to regain traction this morning. I was up early, got my mom to her medical appointment, we came back, decontaminated, and I attended the Zoom meditation.

I have writing to do; my head is bursting with scenes that need to get on the page. And I have an article to finish, client work, and LOIs to get out.

The migraine is nibbling around the edges, but I hope I can fend it off. I might take Valerian root tonight to really knock myself out and get all the knots out. After the Knowledge Unicorns session.

The chainsaws and leaf blowers were out in force by 8 AM this morning. I’m so tired of all the destruction. They’re not pruning or shaping to make something beautiful. It’s all about destroying the natural landscape. Everything that makes this place beautiful and special is being destroyed.

Hope you are all well. Peace.

Wed. Oct. 21, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 154 — Migraine

image by Hatice Erol courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and cool

I was not as productive as I would have liked yesterday. That seems to be the over-reaching theme lately, doesn’t it?

I’m still working on the Ink-Dipped Advice post. I hope to have it up later today.

I managed to salvage something from the restaurant screw-up. The food to which I’m allergic I gave to a neighbor. I’d never opened it and I’d stored it properly, so there was no contamination. Another bit I ate yesterday – it was poorly prepared and I felt nauseated after. The third item, something I never would have ordered and which was a complete screw up – well, I deconstructed it. I managed to use parts of it in a decent salad. The rest, I turned into stock. So it’s not a total loss. It’s not what I’d hoped or craved or paid for, but it’s different and still useful.

Crystal Bar Soaps actually shipped my order. Hopefully, it will arrive by next Thursday. We will see. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to do any of my holiday shopping there, because I can’t trust I will get things in time, even if I order early. So I’m re-thinking a few things and re-sourcing. I still don’t believe it should have taken four weeks and three emails to get an order shipped. I might still order from them occasionally, but only when I don’t have a deadline or a need. Although, if I don’t have a deadline or a need, there’s no reason to shop. Every dollar has a job, according to YNAB.

But, with any luck (and with all these retrogrades, that’s a long shot), it might actually get here in time for my mother’s birthday.

I scanned the utility bills, blocked out my personal information, and sent them to the landlord. I still am uncomfortable about it. My financial information with the utility company has nothing to do with the LANDLORD’s loan application. It’s not my loan; it’s his.

Woke up with an absolutely awful migraine this morning. It’s making it difficult to get anything done, but I have to push through.

I have to be out the door early today; I’m onsite at a client’s for a few hours (hopefully on my own) and then I have to take my mom in for her appointment to renew her driver’s license. She’s nervous.

Hopefully, I can make it back for remote chat, and then do some article work in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, I have to be up extra early to take my mom in for her bloodwork appointment. And then, I’m hoping to have some big swaths of time to write.

The dystopian writers warned us for at least a decade we were headed down this path. It’s also time, I believe, for art that not only bears witness to the atrocity and corruption, but shows the rebuilding into something more positive, even if we’re not yet sure how that looks like. We need to write, paint, dance, sing, create our way to a better reality.

Onward.

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

image courtesy of Aline Ponce via pixabay.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday seems far away, for some reason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The music Is outstanding and the voices spectacular.

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

It was nice to hear a glorious score sung truly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

There’s a short post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope

image courtesy of Barbara Rosner via pisabay.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

We needed the rain yesterday. We’re supposed to get more later in the week, and maybe even snow by the weekend.

There’s a post on more career re-shaping over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

On other levels, the dumbfuckery never stops, does it?

Landed in my inbox: an “opportunity” to write 3-5 articles A DAY for $1000/month. Um, no. That breaks down to fractions of a penny per word or per hour.

Another thing that landed in my inbox: someone is looking for a person to write/send the emails to the client list. Great, no problem. Only, the description adds “must be willing to work outside in extreme weather.” Now why would I have to work outside in “extreme weather” to WRITE EMAILS?  If you’re hiring a WRITER for EMAILS, that is not being done outside in bad weather.

Having both hardware and software problems with the nearly-new laptop, because Mercury is retrograde and PCs suck.

On a happier note, I got information about some editors in search of additional freelancers. I pitched myself to two; one responded within 15 minutes asking for specific article pitches; I’m working on a pair to send her. They will be fun, if I get to do either of them.

Switching between script drafts on the screen to look at examples isn’t working for the other article. I’m going to have to print them out.

So that won’t be done until Thursday.

I got a fun ad done for a client for next week’s campaign.

Got my mom’s RMV appointment scheduled for next week, and also her bloodwork before her next medical appointment. At least that means we get it all out of the way next week.

The cooking demonstration with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu was spectacular. He is such a wonderful teacher, and his sense of humor, his skills, his ability to teach, and his joy give me hope.  I look forward to studying with him more intensively in the future.

Knowledge Unicorns was great. Everyone’s hunkering down, doing the work, trying to stay alive until election day. Even though none of them can vote yet, they’re keeping up on things and making sure their parents do. I always rode herd on my godkids to vote, because some of their parents couldn’t be bothered. It’s kind of fun to see their own children doing the same thing.

But I was definitely worn out by the end of the evening.

The package with stuffed orange raccoon toys arrived today, and the catnip bananas are set to arrive on Thursday, so some of the Kitty Drama is alleviated.

On today’s agenda: I have to go onsite for a client, have to do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library, and there’s Remote Chat.  Will also try to get some more LOIs out, and work on the article with which I’m struggling. I’d like to get it out the door tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be nice the next few days, so maybe I’ll get some yard work in.

I do love autumn.

Tues. Oct. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 146 — Covidiots Run Loose

image by Peter Lomas courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and MERCURY Retrograde

Yup, Mercury goes retrograde today and stays that way until election day. With Mars retrograde.

It won’t be pretty.

Technically, tourist season ended here yesterday, so we are only expected to die for our employers. But boy, howdy, did they expect us to Die For Tourist Dollars all fucking weekend, because there was NO enforcement of the mask mandate.

To say I am angry about the domestic terrorists that tried to kidnap the governor of Michigan is an understatement. We need Bill Barr impeached. We need the 25th Amendment now. We need that vile SCOTUS nominee removed.

I got SERENE AND DETERMINED out on submission before 8 AM – with a full proofread and some tweaks. Either this place will take it or not. A long shot is better than no shot.

Honestly, until I actually hit “send” I didn’t think I could make the deadline.

Did a few more drafts of the short story and got that out, too. I don’t think it’s exactly what they’re looking for – I think I might have used a slightly wider lens than they want – but I’m  happy with the story, and if they don’t use it, I have a list of other markets to which to pitch it.

Did another drop-off/curbside pickup at the library. As soon as I got back, more books had arrived, so I picked those up on Saturday.

We got our ballots of Friday, so we filled them out, and I took them to the secure drop box in Hyannis on Saturday morning. We’ve voted. We’ve done our civic duty.

It was great to see so many others dropping off ballots, too.

It was not great that I was the ONLY ONE wearing a mask.

Main St. Hyannis is supposed to be a masked zone. NO ONE is supposed be on the street unmasked. No one is supposed to be in any public space in the entire state unmasked.

Yet, there they all were, dancing around in public, no masks. No distancing. Tourists sashaying out of the packed motels, no masks, no distancing.

No enforcement.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Since the pandemic started, I have not seen a single cop EVER wear a mask around here. All the construction and DPW workers – who would normally wear masks and goggles as part of their safety gear – aren’t. And they’re all up in each other’s faces all the time and not distancing. It’s disgusting.

And we wonder why MA numbers are going up.

Broadway is shuttered until May of 2021. Heartbreaking, but necessary. You know the producers are going to try to use this to bust the unions. The unions must hold firm. It’s going to take a decade or more for theatre to recover. But it WILL recover. Hopefully, a lot of these corporate entities will go away from theatre, and old-style impresarios, who actually love the format, will return.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the vicious remarks from snide people saying, “Well, now you have to get a REAL job” – the same people who say that the arts isn’t a real job, and that “no one” makes a living writing.

Nice to know who I can cut out of my life.

All these people binge-watching their streaming shows all pandemic — how do you think those are created? You think they magically appear out of the ether?

I’m reading SENSE OF OCCASION by Harold Prince, and he has a line that resonates: “. . .the theatre has been dying for as long as it’s been living, so its problems are not irrevocable.”

I was lucky enough to work directly with him on one show, at the Public Theatre. The hopes were that it would move to Broadway. It didn’t, but working with him was an amazing experience. The intensity of his joy, his craft, and the way he listened and valued EVERYONE in the company was wonderful.

Didn’t get much done on Saturday other than laundry, taking in the ballots, picking up the candy for Halloween, and doing the library run.

Sunday, I was up early to take the garbage and recycling to the dump. The staff, as always, were masked and great. The fucktards dumping garbage weren’t.  Disgusting. At least at the recycling area, people wore masks as required.

Since I was over in that direction, I dashed over to the nearby Stop N Shop to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s.

Home, decontaminated, had trouble with the laptop as I was trying to get work done. This laptop is barely six months old. I shouldn’t be having trouble with the keyboard already, especially since I have a light touch on the keys.

Wrote, revised, and polished the two articles for which I’d been contracted last week by the same editor.

Started the third contracted article, for a different editor, but had run out of steam by then.

Monday was the end of my few days of sleeping through the night. I woke up around 1 AM, again at 2:44, and then for good at 4:36.

I got some writing done, and headed to my client’s. I knew no one would be there. I got a lot done in a few hours, as much as I could get done there. I prefer to work on the ads at home. It’s easier.

Swung by Star Market, because that is the only place I can get the Cranberry-Peach juice and stocked up. Everyone was masked and careful in the store, which was good, since there were more people in the store than they should have let in.

No one outside the store was masked. Everybody’s dancing around the streets, not distancing, not masked. It’s really out of control in my neighborhood, and is irritating. I have made it clear to the neighbors that they don’t come near me unmasked. I am not participating in their insanity and disdain for each other. It’s a shame our neighborhood, which used to be tight and be about people taking care of each other, has devolved so badly.

Home, decontaminated, tried to work on the third article. I wanted to get it out the door before Mercury turned retrograde, but that’s just not going to happen. Switching between the various drafts of the stage play and the radio version to pull the right examples gets confusing.

We are having High Kitty Drama.

Someone on Twitter suggested the catnip banana as a great toy. I bought one for Tessa in this last Chewy order, and other toys for Willa and Charlotte.

Well, everyone wants the banana.

Charlotte tried to steal it and caused arguing and caterwauling and chasing and hissing.

Willa and Tessa now steal it back and forth, but they are sort of friends now, so it’s more playful than nasty.

But I couldn’t stand the drama and ordered two more catnip bananas, so each has her own. They should arrive by Thursday.

I bet the still steal them from each other.

I saw a publication that does both podcast and print. I asked the editor if in the next submission style, I could submit in radio format, and they were intrigued.

The next cycle is in December, which gives me some time to play with ideas. I have a few – it’s fantasy. There will be comedy. I don’t think there will be dirigibles in this one – I think I’m going in another direction. But you never know when a dirigible might show up in my work.

I asked, on Twitter, for recommendations for romance novels where children aren’t the end game, where a healthy HEA involves NOT having children BY CHOICE (not by infertility) and that is treated as a valid choice. I’m so sick of books about supposedly “independent” women who get pregnant by accident (“everything solved by a ‘magic penis’ as one person said on Twitter) and then turns into a puddle of ecstatic goo. Of course those books should exist. But other books, where happy lives without children should exist, too, and those are the books I want.

I got a pile of suggestions, which I wrote down. I ordered some from the library. I bought one, so far, on Kindle, because it’s set against horse racing.  I don’t read much romance (although I enjoy books in other genres with strong romantic elements and love) because too often I find the tropes cringeworthy.  For instance, I can’t stand the whole billionaire boyfriend trope, because I have yet to meet a billionaire who wasn’t a complete ass. That’s how he got to be a billionaire. Not by being secretly a good guy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but it stretches believability too far for me.

Also bought WITCHING TIME, Yasmine Galenorn’s newest WILD HUNT book, and have read about half of it so far.

Got my next book assigned for review. Looking forward to starting that by Thursday.

Today, I need to finish the article and get it out.  I will do client work, and get out some LOIs. I will finish tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post and schedule that, and maybe get up a post for A Biblio Paradise.

Once the article goes out, I need to turn my attention back to the novel revisions, and work on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I have the Knowledge Unicorns this afternoon, too. We’re starting later than usual, because I’m taking a cooking seminar via Kripalu with Jeremy Rock Smith. I love the way he teaches, and I love his recipes, so I’m excited!

Don’t get me started on the SCOTUS hearings, or I’ll just turn into a rage monster. What an unqualified, unprincipled piece of crap that nominee is.

Off to start my day. Have a good one. Keep your head down during this retrograde.

Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 142 — All Writing

image courtesy of mozlase via pixabay.com

Friday, October 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cold

Yesterday was all about SERENE AND DETERMINED. I worked through it, scene-by-scene, line-by-line. I changed, cut, added. I had my friend’s notes next to me, and figured out how to make them work. I added a scene in the second act, to balance it out more, bringing back an antagonist I’d used in the first act.  Lavinia shows more flashes of temper now, and Gian Paolo has a stronger arc as he takes over the contract negotiations from her father.

I’m awfully tempted to write a play in the future centering around the three noblewomen who gave her so much support. Each of them was extraordinary for their time, or for any time, too, and they’re such fun to write.

I took a break for the Freelance Chat. I’d considered skipping it this week, and I should have, because it was difficult to get back to Bologna in the late 1500s after yapping about Buffer and social media tools.

But I got there. It took all damn day to get this revision finished, but I did it.

I then looked over the paperwork for the submission and realized I had to write a “Statement of Objectives” to go with it. Urgh. So I knocked that out. I might have laid it on a little thick, but the passion underlying the words and the process is real.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. A Twitter pal sent me a fun link for more octopus stuff, and it was Octopus Day, so we talked about both the octopus and the bat. We worked on various assignments. There’s less fear and more resignation and determination amongst the kids now, which I think is a good thing. They know continuing remotely is the best choice in this situation; they also realize that they are privileged in ways other kids who don’t have the support they have from their parents and the Knowledge Unicorns aren’t. Several of them are helping kids in their classes, using techniques we’ve been using in the Knowledge Unicorns. And a lot of their classmates are doing homework in the car, driving somewhere that has a Wi-Fi signal, because they don’t have internet at home.

Their bond with each other is growing, and that helps them when kids who are going back to in-person learning (and the parents of those kids) try to bully them. As I said early on, most of the kids in the group didn’t know each other before – they are scattered all over the country. Most of their parents only met once, that time we all were together and down in the house on the beach waaaay back when the parents were kids.

But they’re in communication with each other regularly outside of our sessions, helping each other, hanging out virtually, and I think that’s a positive.

Keith Olbermann is back as a political commentator. He is one of my favorites. He is so smart, so strong, so determined to call out bullshit. I’m absolutely delighted to watch him again every night. I missed the way he puts together and offers information.

Slept through the night, which was nice, although Charlotte was fussing at me way too early in the morning.

Today, SERENE AND DETERMINED gets a final proofread. Then I finish the paperwork and submit it. I know this conference gets thousands of submissions, but if I don’t try there’s no chance. If I try, there’s a 50-50 chance – either they take it, or they don’t.

So I’ll try.

As soon as that goes off, I have to do a curbside drop-off/pick-up from the library.

Then, I will turn my attention to the short story, and work on that. I plan on working through the weekend this weekend. I want to get the short story and all three articles written, polished, and out before Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Because that, my friends, with Mars retrograde at the same time, will be a bumpy ride.

Peace, friends, have a great weekend, and see you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)

image courtesy of Colin Behrens via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

It’s nice to have only three retrogrades for a few days, even though there’s a difficult square today.

I have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about reshaping one’s career.

Yesterday felt more like a productive, typical day, and that was nice.

To Trader Joe’s early for the Big Grocery Shop. And yes, it was a big one. I still forgot a few things. I have to decide if I want to risk going back later this week, or substitute, or wait until more things run out. They sold through their fresh figs, which was a shame; I’d forgotten them in the last Big Shop, and hoped to get some this time.

Decontaminated everything and put it away, then down to the library for curbside pickup. People coming in are getting lax about mask wearing. I won’t go near the table unless no one is there, or the people hovering are wearing masks.

Came home, decontaminated myself.

Sent out three article pitches to the person who’d asked me for something the day prior, and an article pitch to an editor to whom I’d originally pitched the radio piece, but the publication wasn’t paying at the time. Now it does; not only did she accept the article and we got the contract signed, she asked me if I’d like to write more, in the future, about playwrighting. I’m thrilled. Plus, the person to whom I sent three articles took two of them – paid.

So I know what I’ll be doing early next week, once I get the changes into SERENE AND DETERMINED and that out.

Heard from the company to whom I sent JUST A DROP. They got more submissions than expected, and need an extra week before they make decisions. Very kind of them to let us know; although that means less likelihood that my script will be one of those chosen. But that’s okay. At least I tried, and now the script is in decent enough shape to submit elsewhere, if they don’t choose it.

Did some client work, got some LOIs out. Got some reading.

We fussed over Willa yesterday, since it was her first anniversary here. She loved it. We fussed over all three of them, so no one would feel left out. Charlotte was anxious again yesterday, almost like she had sense memory from how she felt when she arrived a year ago (her anniversary is tomorrow).

So the Sociopath “has no symptoms”? Of course he didn’t. He’s was never sick (with the virus, anyway).

I can’t be bothered to spare a thought or a wish for anyone in that circle who’s actually getting sick. They couldn’t be spared a thought for us.

Now he’s stopped any possibility of a new stimulus package? It’s not up to him. If we had a functioning Congress, they’d pass one anyway. But we don’t.

Get rid of them all. And Democrats need to grow some balls and do whatever is necessary to stop this SCOTUS pick.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. In addition to regular home work, and a discussion of what will happen if this batshit crazy (pun intended) SCOTUS pick is seated, we went to the Smithsonian’s page on The Art and Science of Bats. I had no idea there were 140,000 specimens in that museum. Wow.

I was too tired afterwards to do more than read. I’m reading Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE, always aware of reading it as she’s in hospice, which is heartbreaking. Her talent is not one we can afford to lose.

Today, I have to go onsite, which will be difficult for a number of reasons. Then, it’s back, decontamination, remote chat, and back to SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Peace, friends.

Fri. Oct. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 135 — Skeptical

image courtesy of Dimitris Vetskikas via pixabay.com

Friday, October 2, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was busy.

Morning meditation with Concord Library was terrific. I hope I can keep participating as long as they do it on Zoom.

After, dashed out to Trader Joe’s for a quick shop (not the Big Shop, which is next week), and then next door to Christmas Tree Shops where I picked up a few things I can’t find anywhere else.

Decontamination process, then switched out the white lace curtains to the spiderweb curtains. Put up most of the indoor decorations, although I have a feeling I might do some rearranging over the weeks.

Will start the outdoor decorations this week.

Knowledge Unicorns a little early today. I’m not sure if the kids on the West coast really had a half day of Zoom, or if they just skipped out of lessons or what.

We brainstormed a paper on Emily Dickinson for one student, and I sent him to two unusual resources – a book on Emily Dickinson and her garden, and Susan Glaspell’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play about her.

Worked on other assignments with the others in the group.

We are studying the bat this month as our project. Needless to say, there are all kinds of resources out there about bats! Including the North American Society for Bat Research.

From the homework session, I clicked a new Zoom link to the NYU session with Marion Nestle. It was about food, activism, safety, and justice. Absolutely fascinating, and well-run. Charlotte was disappointed that it wasn’t two-way video, and no one told her she was pretty. Charlotte LOVES Zoom, because when our side is on video, she can pop into frame and everyone loves fussing over her.

One would think Willa would want this, since she is the most extroverted, but she doesn’t. And Tessa finds Zoom an intrusion.

But Charlotte loves Zoom.

Anyway, I learned a lot, it was great to be part of an intelligent conversation, and I ordered Marion’s books from the library, because I want to delve more into her research.

I had an hour to put a pizza in the oven and make chocolate mousse. Somehow, I managed that, before clicking onto the link for the NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE program with Michael Pollan. For the first part of it, there was a pre-recorded conversation with Hillary Clinton on her love of theatre and the importance of theatre. Then, there was a live Zoom conversation with Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller, Danielle Brooks, and Neil Patrick Harris, which was terrific. They all had great things to say, especially about the passion for and of theatre, how it connects in a way nothing else does, how it’s been around for centuries and will find a way back.

I agree with that, because it’s a deep human need.

In spite of all the ass wipes who go around saying it’s “not a real job.”

It was time well spent.

Puttered around a bit and then went to bed.

Woke up around 2 this morning, after a series of really weird dreams. Some of them were set in the same geographical location that several of this week’s dreams have been set – I know where I am within the dream, but I don’t actually know where that place is. Tonight’s dreams were a little stranger and more unsettling than the ones earlier in the week. Then, there were other dreams about the cats catching mice. Willa, in particular, is a good mouser, so that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Broke my own rule and checked Twitter (and found that Treat Williams, with whom I worked on a FOLLILES revival years back on Broadway was also up and doing the same thing).

Hmm. Interesting news.

The Narcissistic Sociopath and The Wife Creature supposedly tested positive for COVID-19. There’s that flash of what did they THINK would happen with their constant reckless and irresponsible behavior?

That was quickly overtaken by doubt that it’s true.

I don’t believe Brad Pascale’s meltdown earlier this week was real, either. I think he’s trying to get a way out of prison. I also believe (and this has been pointed out by others on social media) that if he pulled that stunt as a black man, he would be dead. But I do believe it’s a stunt. That’s all he’s done his entire career—create chaotic theatre. Of course he’ll do the same for himself.

I’m also suspicious that this is a stunt on the Sociopath’s part. With the pattern of daily lying and creating stories with himself as the center, I think it’s a political stunt to get attention. He will “quarantine” for two weeks, claim he was asymptomatic, and use it as proof that the virus “isn’t that bad” and insult further the 200,000+ he’s already murdered.

Given the pattern of daily lies, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

The other possibility is that he really is positive for the virus. If that is the case, I believe he knew before the debate and intentionally went through with the debate to expose as many as possible in the Biden camp. It’s exactly the kind of vile behaviour that’s on brand for him. It would also explain the way he yanked on Wife Creature’s hand post-debate.

I don’t want Biden to get sick – or anybody on his team to get sick.

On a basic human level, I don’t want anyone to suffer and die from the virus; however, in this particular case, I am less empathetic than I would be for a random human, even a MAGAt.

Again, I’m skeptical that it’s real. I think it’s political theatre. The Sociopath wants to claim he sailed through the virus with few or no ill effects to prove he’s “strong.”

Proof of strength would have been to prevent over 200,000 deaths of the people he is sworn to protect.

But he couldn’t be bothered.

Here in MA, our numbers are going up. We hit the highest numbers since May 30 yesterday. So much for that idiot woman last week who claimed she worked at the hospital and they hadn’t seen any cases in a long time. It simply isn’t true.

Boston’s back in the red zone. Gee, what a surprise. What did they think would happen, having college kids come back onsite?  They’ve paused the phased re-opening.

They’re not pausing on Cape, because tourist season lasts through Columbus Day, and they are bound and determined to wring every penny they can out of tourists, no matter how many residents get sick and die. The greed is revolting.

I was going to voice some opinions against the airlines, but that can wait for another day!

What’s on today’s agenda?

Client work, writing work, maybe start putting up some of the outdoor decorations, putting the basement back to rights, and maybe clearing out a bit more.

I’m back to work on a piece that’s on deadlined, and keep getting ideas for another piece with which I’m noodling, so we’ll see what happens where with what. I also need to get some edits done on SERENE AND DETERMINED, if that is actually going to be submitted next week. I’m starting to have my doubts that I can get it done in time.

I hope to have a productive, but quiet weekend.

Peace, friends. See you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cooler

There’s a new garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

The new furnace is IN. It took them almost all day to finish yesterday – and they were here by 7:15 in the morning.

The new furnace is impressive. Very fancy. With a big, complicated filter my landlord can’t expect me to find at the local building store. It’s a special order. The amount of new ductwork they had to build and run is astonishing.

The new thermostat is pretty cool, too. And the heat actually works upstairs, which it barely did all last winter, so there’s a nice change.

The crew had skill, knowledge, precision, and an eye for detail. They were nice to have around, and caused a minimum of disruption.

They explained stuff that needed explaining without mansplaining. They were friendly and neat.

Nobody ever sneer that these guys aren’t skilled or specialists or not worth the money, because they are.

So, while the office was not easy to deal with (mostly because they refused to communicate directly and I got everything second-hand), the actual crew that came out and did the work was stellar.

I worked from home for my client. It took a long time to get the next ad right. I couldn’t get the right look for it, but finally got something workable. It’s not as good as this week’s ad, in my opinion, but it works for what we need.

Remote Chat was fun.

But I was wiped out by the time the furnace was in, everything was cleaned up, the guys were gone.

The cats – they were hellions. Tessa was fine. She hung out in my room, the way she usually does, and ignored it all.

Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens upstairs. Willa managed to roll her playpen to the top of the stairs; I caught her before she tried to roll down. She taught Charlotte to roll her playpen, too, so the two of them rolled their playpens all day – sometimes into each other, which then caused hissing and growling.

It took them awhile to calm down, once everything was cleared out and they were let free. Then, they passed out in their favorite chairs, and that was it for them for the night.

I collapsed into bed early again last night. I woke up once, but managed to get back to sleep and slept through until a little after 5 (so, normal time for me). I’m still tired, but better.

This morning, I have the online meditation with the group from the Concord Library. Then, I have to run to Trader Joe’s. We need a few things that can’t wait until next week’s Big Shop. Then, I have to get some client work done; after that, it’s decorating.

Today is October 1, the first of two full moons we have this month. The Samhain decorating begins! I’m excited.

That includes taking down the lace curtains and putting up the spider web curtains. Decorating inside and out. Eventually, photos will be up on my Instagram account: @devonellingtonwork.

I have a feeling it won’t be finished today!

I managed to outline a suspense novel that I’d plotted Tuesday night when I woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, and made some notes on a fantasy idea. I wish some of these could be short stories, but no – they’re all long.

I have to figure out how to integrate these other projects I’ve been noodling with those on deadline. I have a resistance to working on stuff that was on deadline before the pandemic. I have to get over it and get back on track.

But at least I got some updates done on my clips, which helps.

Late afternoon, we have another Knowledge Unicorns session. After that, I have an NYU alumni event via Zoom on food activism, and after THAT, I have a NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE event with Broadway people (also via Zoom) about adapting performance to the pandemic.

A very Zoom-y day, and busy on multiple levels.

I hope you have a peaceful day.