Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

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

Also, if you love reading serial fiction, I’ve created a survey. I’m curious what draws other people into reading serial fiction (and I miss writing it). If you get a chance, I hope you’ll fill it out here. It’s 12 questions. Thanks in advance.

Yesterday was all over the place. I was at my client’s for a few hours – we talked about some strategy for the new round of ads I’m creating. At this point, she’s just trying to ride it out, as other similar businesses panic and fail. There were internet issues at the office, and the new payroll company, who tries to upsell “human resources” services the company doesn’t need, spends all their time calling us about them, and then screws up the payroll, which is their actual job. She’ll be moving companies in December. Vile, vile payroll company.

Hootsuite and Facebook are at odds, which means I’m going to have problems using Hootsuite to schedule client posts on FB & IG. Looking for another affordable platform.

Depending on how many social media packages I handle for different clients, I might need to invest in a platform that can handle the multiple channels for multiple clients and build that subscription money into my fee structure. Right now, I’m just using whatever platforms the client wants/can get and setting them up there, because I don’t stay with clients forever, and they can keep the platform that’s in their name when we go our separate ways. But logging in and out of a half a dozen different platforms and tools every few hours is not efficient.

I’ve been researching the tools. So far, I can’t find any that does what I need it to do at a price I can afford and build into my fee structure in a fair way. The platforms’ business fees are structured for corporations, not social media professionals handling multiple clients across multiple channels.

There’s a part of me that wants to move away from social media packages and focus more on copywriting and long form, but I have to see where the work is, and what gigs I land. I need to be versatile.

Home, decontamination protocols, fought with Twitter to get back into my account so I could participate in Remote Chat, which was fun.

Realized I’d mis-figured the time difference with LA. The NYU-LA meditation event wasn’t at 3 PM EST, but 9 PM EST.

Which meant I had time in the afternoon to get some other stuff done. And spend quality time with Tessa. Tessa finds our afternoon “quality time” sessions very important, since Charlotte gets me so often the rest of the day.

My package arrived from Fed Ex – finally. It would still be sitting in MS if I hadn’t bugged them, which is not okay, and I was not happy with the store’s response.

However, the contents were great. I’d ordered two Banana Republic dresses, and a pair of wide-legged, side-tied navy pants. Banana Republic’s clothes look good on me. I’d ordered two dresses because they were on sale, and I couldn’t decide between the gray and the red. The gray looks good and goes everywhere, but I’m totally in love with the red, and it looks fabulous on me. And yes, I will wear them in video conferences. I feel fantastic in them.

The pants fit and drape well, but the fabric wrinkles easily. They do seem a bit like Phryne Fisher-style pants, which is one of the reasons I like them.

Since I haven’t actually buckled down and sewn any of the pile of projects waiting to be made, at least I have a few pieces to get through the next few months of video conferences, along with all the fuzzy, comfy sweaters coming out.

I attended, via Zoom, of course, the Community Bookshop event for Melissa Monroe’s new book of poetry, Medusa Beach. It was a great evening of conversation, poetry, and process. The book arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had the chance to do much more than skim it. I look forward to really digging in.

Willa was fascinated by the Zoom event. Usually it’s Charlotte who participates, but Willa thought it was great (although the speakers were the only ones on video).

I had a quick break and then the meditation session with NYU-LA Alumni. The meditation leader’s name was Crystal because it’s LA and of course it was. But she was excellent. It was a good session. I didn’t stay for the chat after – I wanted to carry the calm into going to bed early.

So although the first part of the day was frustrating, it levelled out.

I slept much better than usual. Up early this morning, getting a few things done, including cleaning out the box quarantine area in the garage, because that’s where the wood has to go.

I signed up for a morning meditation with Concord Library – they do a regular Thursday morning session, and I’d like to try it. Then, I have to do a Target run – we’re getting low on toilet paper.

Then it’s client work, writing, work on Grief to Art, some social media scheduling, maybe some more LOIs.

I’m increasing my time on the exercise bicycle by one minute per day. Not my favorite form of exercise, but I need it. Adding in weights twice a week again, too.

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

Reading a terrific book called SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. Made me realize just how abusive a former boss was, who always berated me for being an introvert, forced me into extroverted situations that were painful (which allowing another employee to opt out of anything she didn’t feel like doing, claiming “anxiety” and not redistributing the work, but making me do the extra – without compensation), and, every time I disagreed with her, telling me I “must” be on the autism spectrum or I wouldn’t disagree. Talk about a toxic situation. I’m well out of it.

Anyway, I don’t agree with everything in this book – several techniques I’ve tried and they don’t work for me, but I like the book, and there’s a lot of useful information.

I need to get going on my day. It’s a new moon in Virgo, good time to get organized!

Have a great day.

Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Tues. Sept. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 111 — The National Plan is Death

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, warm, pleasant

image courtesy of Skitterphoto via pixabay.com

The National Strategy is Death

We’ve been thinking that there’s no national plan to fight the virus. But there IS a plan: Let people die. They demonstrate that’s their plan every day. Let people die, and those that are left get whatever scraps the 1% feel like tossing away.

This is not acceptable.

Nor is the dismissal of the massive loss of life.

It was as busy as any Labor Day Weekend here on Cape Cod, with traffic backed up at the bridges for hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Usually it would be Sunday with the 6-hour delays getting off Cape, but because it was a holiday Monday, it was yesterday that the traffic was backed up at least all the way to our exit all day, and at times, even further down.

During a pandemic.

I had a few things I had to go off property over the weekend; I did them as early as possible. Except for inside the stores, NO ONE was masked or social distanced.

So all these people posting photos of themselves “on vacation” on the Cape (or anywhere else this weekend) who also claim they’re doing it safely? I don’t believe you, boo. Because what I saw all weekend was reckless endangerment and irresponsible behavior.

You’re NOT “supporting the local economy” by going out to eat in restaurants. You’re putting people’s lives at risk, especially the servers. You’re adding to the problem  by walking in your packs without masks – putting a mask on when you get within a foot of someone else is too late.

I’m sick of the hypocrites, especially the self-righteous ones, who are claiming they’re doing the right thing when they’re so obviously not.

They are just as much a reason why the virus isn’t under control – and won’t be until well into next year – as the anti-maskers.

Social Media Stuff

I definitely needed the four-day break. Not that it was all rest, but I refused to beat myself up about what I “should” be doing, and that made a huge difference.

Staying off social media more than I was on it was also a good choice. There was way too much stupid. I’m also tired of the faux engagement questions like “do you still wear a mask?” I’m actually a decent human being who is trying to protect my family and keep other people from dying – of COURSE I still wear a mask. I’m tired of the “what’s your day job?” from other so-called “writers” – that’s an insulting question, for a “writer” to assume every other writer they interact with can’t earn a living at it. I’m tired of the “wrong answers only” game (which I’ve never understood or played) and the “what’s your MC’s favorite color?” and that kind of thing.

Most of it, I just scroll past, but I’m at the point now where I’m unfollowing and/or blocking people when they really annoy me. It’s their timeline; they get to put whatever they want on it. If I don’t want it to irritate my day, it’s up to me to remove them from my feed.

The whole James Woods-Travis Tritt thing? I just shake my head. I’d liked James Woods’s acting years ago, until we both were on different shows at an off-Broadway company in NY, and I heard/witnessed the level of crazy and mean. I got over my disappointment in him as a human  and excommunicated him from my universe a long time ago (and decided I wouldn’t accept work on anything in which he was cast). That he supports the Sociopath isn’t really a surprise. I had to look up Travis Tritt, and then remember that I didn’t like his work even back when I knew who he was.

I’d rather interact with people I like, have a chance at learning something or actual conversation, and post IG photos of food, cats, and the garden (which is the only reason for my Instagram account – fun stuff as a break from everything else).

Getting Stuff Done

Got December’s surgery scheduled, early enough so that I will have enjoyed Thanksgiving and can enjoy the Winter Holidays. That’s a relief.

Had to mail something certified mail. Everyone at our little post office is so nice.

Saturday was almost a normal non-pandemic weekend day: grocery shopping (very early, masked, to avoid the Covidiot tourists), full decontamination procedure (yes, in “business” journals they’re saying it’s not necessary; they can go fuck themselves, I’m still doing it), changed the beds, did 5 loads of laundry, baked bread, made carrot-ginger soup from scratch, used up the fading vegetables in the fridge to make vegetable stock, backed a brown butter honey cake, roasted a chicken, made chicken stock, read, and wrote.

In other words, a productive day that was almost on par with my pre-pandemic productivity.

I didn’t write much, and it was only what I wanted to, not what I “had” to. I wanted to make sure I actually took a break this weekend.

Unfortunately, my mom had a bad reaction to her new medication, and my lactose intolerance seems to be rearing again, so Saturday night, we were both up most of the night feeling awful.

Sunday, we really took it easy, lots of reading, light meals. We spent a good bit of time out on the deck all weekend, in spite of the neighbors’ constant heavy machinery/power tools/mowers/leaf blowers. We had to take Saturday night’s dinner back inside because the noise and the dust from the property behind (we’re on a third of an acre) was so bad, we couldn’t sit out there.

Once in awhile yesterday, I considered hopping online to do this or that, and then reminded myself that I was Taking Time Off. Time I needed.

The hummingbird visited again, fascinating Willa and Charlotte. Bratty Bird misses Tessa and has figured out that Tessa spends most of her time in my room now. So she comes up to the bedroom window in the morning and they chatter at each other. It’s cute. The bunnies are getting pretty bold and hanging out even when we’re out there; last night, I heard the coyotes run through the yard, so I hope the bunnies were well in hiding. We have some beautiful Tiger Moths, too.

Worked with the cats a lot. Willa is a little dickens, always coming up with something new to try. Charlotte has settled down, and is happy, for the most part. She and Tessa still don’t get along too well, but Willa is really trying to make friends with Tessa. Tessa thinks she’s a loony tune most of the time (and she does often act like a cartoon character), but they are better with each other.

I had weird, disturbing dreams all weekend, but couldn’t grasp enough of any of them to figure them out when I woke up.

Lots of yoga and meditation, which is a good thing. By Sunday night, I was feeling like I’d made progress with everything, only to wake up worrying again at 3:30 on Monday morning.

I meant to clean just one thing on the kitchen counter on Monday, and wound up reorganizing and cleaning everything in the L-shaped counter between the sink and the stove. It was necessary, and now it’s much easier to get at what I need when I cook, but it took up much more time than I planned.

I also wrote some cards for people, and have a letter that needs to go out today to set up RMV appointments in October.

Reading

Lots and lots of reading. Another Gamache book – I’m getting so much more out of the series this time, reading it in order. The head-hopping bothers me, but Penny does it better than most authors, so I can live with it. It’s more like being in one character’s POV, sliding into neutral ground, and sliding into the next POV than “hopping” and is less jarring than the typical head-hopping which can leave one as nauseated as on a badly-run amusement park ride.

I’m officially done with the author whose books I liked, then disliked. I’m tired of her protagonist being a doormat, and she keeps using slurs. The same slur three times in 20 pages in the latest book I tried. I stopped, pulled the other books in that series from the library pile, and they go back today. Done. Read three books in her other series, which I liked better. She used the slur once in one of the books. But they’re a little too cutesy and there are exclamation points all over the place, which give me a headache. Between that and the commitment to white privilege and conformity in both series, her protag being afraid of characters who are smart and unusual because they’re different and that being upheld as positive, no thanks. So yeah, officially done with all of her work. She’s crossed off the list.

Read more in the other series by a different author, where I liked the fourth book, but was upset at the slur used in the first book. I read the other books I’d ordered (it ended up being the first five books in the series) and she didn’t use it again, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I’m curious to see how cozy mysteries will deal or not deal with the pandemic in upcoming years.  I think there will be strong definition between the books that continue to uphold white privilege and conformity and support the anti-maskers, the ones who try to walk the line not to offend anyone on either side of the masking or vaccination spectrum, and those authors who will actually deal with it in a realistic and responsible fashion. There might even be authors who have contemporary series who choose to ignore it.

But then, I’ve become even more aware of the restrictions and fear and white privilege in the genre, especially since I was told to whiten up the characters and their names in the Nautical Namaste series because “white readers won’t understand these people.” Then they can skip the books. I can’t believe editors and agents are still spouting that crap — some of the same ones who claim they want more diverse characters in books. But they get them and try to whiten them up. Too many cozy mysteries have devolved into white people upholding their privilege and not having sex. I just don’t see how this is interesting or comforting. The genre used to be my comfort/brain candy books, but many of them just annoy me now. Yes, they’re fantasy, but they’re not fantasies that satisfy me. There are series that don’t do this, that are trying to be more diverse, inclusive, and intelligent, but there are plenty of series who aren’t.

Continuing to read Volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. There are so many things I dislike about Philip Roth’s work, but when he talks craft, I always learn something. Maya Angelou’s interview was beautiful, and her quote “creativity is greater than the sum of its parts” resonated with me.

I finally got to see BIRDS OF PREY (yeah, not reading, but it fits in here). Mostly, I liked it. There are some clever bits like “how she’d have time for a shoe change?” and giving Black Canary the scrunchy in the middle of the fight – details that were terrific. The scene where she goes in and shoots all the cops felt off-tone, because it was such casual violence. The other violence was rooted in character or situation, but this felt off to me and bothered me.

Few of the comic book movies really satisfy me – probably because I haven’t invested in the characters before they transferred to film. But I thought there were lots of clever bits in it. I thought the chemistry between the five women was great. The whole roller skating angle was fun, too.

Looking Ahead

Trying to knock out some writing this morning. I’m going onsite for a few hours (I should be on my own, thank goodness) for a client to take care of some things, then home and do more client work remotely.

I need to focus on a lot of writing this week, while also getting some things organized and dealing with purging stuff from the basement. That needs to get back on track.

I should get assigned the next book for review, which is good, and get out a bunch of LOIs. Someone gave me a good lead on a gig that I want to follow up on today or tomorrow.

I have to prep a play to send off to a company and finish another short play to send to Trusted Readers before submitting it.

I should have the final notes on BARD’S LAMENT this week, and then can start turning that around again.

I have to work on the Topic Workbooks, and also do more PR for Grief to Art. Please share the site’s details with those who might find it a comfort.

A networking group whose events I’ve occasionally attended is starting their monthly meetings live in-person indoors at a restaurant again. Are they out of their freaking minds? Totally irresponsible. No, thanks. Bye. Not joining your organization when you’d rather put your members’ lives in danger than, you know, support them and help them through this.

Hope you had a great weekend.

I need to focus and clear off a few things before Mars goes retrograde tomorrow. Really? Now? Jupiter and Saturn are getting ready to go direct. I don’t need Mars getting in my way right now.

But all I can do is the best I can do. I have a feeling I’ll be cutting a lot of deadwood from my life in the next few weeks.

Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

sunset-174276_1920
image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

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Thurs. Aug. 20, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 92 — Fairly Godmother Becomes Homework Fairy

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image courtesy of Pexels vis pixabay.com

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Lots to share today, and most of it good. Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Work and Loneliness
Client work was okay yesterday. The client came in early, just to chat. She’s lonely. And truly doesn’t get that going out golfing in groups, hanging out at the beach club, attending a funeral, and going to a ladies’ lunch isn’t “doing nothing and staying at home” which is what she claims she’s doing.

I’m doing an A/B test of a new ad – first a few days in the NY/LA market, which is where I suspect it will do well. Early next week, I’m going to send it national.

I did research on virtual reality/augmented reality platforms to see if that’s something we could try. But the expense and the amount of coding/maintenance is beyond us right now.

It did, however, give me another idea for a story. It might be a novel, it might be a novella. And it has to wait its turn.

We talked about loneliness during Remote Chat, too. I pointed out that I’ve often felt lonelier in a room full of people than when I’m actually alone. I’m someone who needs a lot of solitude. I joke a lot about being a professional recluse, but it’s not really a joke.

I’m also thinking of building a screen to put behind the chair for all these Zoom meetings, so I don’t have to worry about what the rest of the room looks like. The frame and hinges won’t be too hard, and then cover it with a pretty fabric that’s not distracting. The fabric would be the most expensive, unless I can get a good price on it, but it would be something useful.

I’d have to actually GO OUT (oh, horrors) and probably get the lumber and hinges at Home Depot (hate giving them even a penny; only shop there as a last resort). Not sure where I’d get the fabric. Maybe I could venture out to Tumbleweeds and see what’s on sale. This is when I miss being able to go in and browse in thrift stores. I’ve found some great fabrics there. I don’t think I have enough (I need 12 yards) in my stash. Doing each panel in a different fabric (4 yards per panel) won’t work. (Update: No, I do NOT need 12 yards — I was thinking only in terms of length, not width. I can get more than one panel with the width. Time for, darn it, MATH).

My landlord is coming by today to talk about an historical article he’s writing. I get the feeling he’s lonely, too. He’s bringing his own folding chair, and we’re wearing masks.

Slow work on the developing novel, but every day a little bit adds to big bits. I hope that translates later today to another good session on BARD’S LAMENT.

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Grief to Art
If you haven’t visited the site, I hope you do so. And, please share. I want to start posting memories on the Walls of Remembrance, and then getting the word out, so it can help more people.

Wellness and Not So Well
I took my mom in to see her regular doctor (we’d been putting it off). They’re pleased with her progress, although her blood pressure is still too high and they’re changing the medication. But she’s put some weight back on, the exercise is good for her (30 mins/day, 7 days/week on the exercise bicycle), and I’m to be praised for the nutritious meals I create.

That’s the good news.

On the flip side of that, I tripped over Willa going down the stairs to the laundry room and wrenched my ankle. Definitely not broken. I wasn’t sure if it was a sprain or a twist last night, because of the pain and swelling. I have some pain pills left over from February’s surgery. I finally broke down and took one. I slept through the night. It’s uncomfortable this morning, but the swelling is down and I can walk on it. So a twist, not a sprain, thank goodness. I just have to be careful for the next few days.

Decades of living with cats, and this is the first time I actually got hurt from tripping over one.

A Day of Packages
The yoga bolster arrived (via Fed Ex). It’s a narrow one, not the typical wide one. It’s covered in teal, and absolutely perfect. I’m delighted with it.

The baguette pan arrived (via UPS). It’s smaller than I expected, and I’m not sure. But I’ll know once I make the baguettes, right? I hope to make the first set of baguettes tomorrow. I can make three at a time.

The ribbons I ordered from Ribbon Bazaar arrived (USPS) – the red and green I need for the winter holidays, and the black I wanted for Samhain. Organza, and lovely.

My 2021 calendars arrived yesterday (calendar and datebook). They give me hope we might actually have a 2021.

Fairly Godmother Becomes the Homework Fairy
I chose not to have children of my own, but I have 13 godchildren. I’m old enough so that THEY’RE old enough to have kids of their own. I’m not even friends with some of their parents anymore (the friends who originally asked me to be a godparent) because of political and religious divides. Although there were periods when I’ve lost touch with some here and there, at this point in the game, the godchildren and I are in contact (some of them have broken with their parents for the same reasons I did).

We had a Zoom meeting yesterday about schools re-opening. The godkids (and their kids – are they great-gods?) are scattered all over the country, in both blue and red states. We had a long, vehement discussion about school. By the end of it, everyone in the meeting agreed that NONE of the kids are going back in person this year, and they refuse to be forced. It is simply not worth risking the lives of the kids and the rest of the families because of this ridiculous insistence that kids have to be physically in a classroom, even though it’s dangerous.

Since I was one of the most strident about not sending the kids back to school at this point in the pandemic, I offered to host homework sessions. Twice a week, for 2 hours at a time, starting after Labor Day, I’m going to host a Zoom session. The Great-Gods will log in and we’ll do homework in company. I’ll help them however I can if they have trouble with something. If I don’t know the answer, we will research it together. I’m putting together activities that are fun and tie in to learning, such as how plants and baking tie into science; cooking can tie into math, too (fractions, etc.). Sewing ties into math and geometry. Set design ties into geometry (I never understood geometry until I started building sets in theatre – then it made sense). Music has math in it, as well as art. We’ll study paintings and history and literature and, more importantly, the people behind those things, to make it real and relevant. I’m putting together a lesson plan (which is a roadmap, not a prison). The parents are sending me information about the school and the curriculum, so I can pick eras and people and events relevant to what they’re studying. There’s room for what they’re interested in, and I hope they will inspire each other and help each other, too.

Most of the Great-Gods don’t know each other yet, so it will be a chance to meet other kids of different ages from all over the place, even though it’s online. I’m applying for a grant to help with the Zoom fees.

I’m going to encourage them to participate in online programs at places like the National Marine Life Center, and at libraries (our library is doing a lot of great programs online) and museums that will supplement their coursework.

The parents (my godkids and their spouses/partners) and I reminisced about the years (decades) we’ve known each other. Some of them used to call me the “Fairly Godmother” because we talked so much about treating people decently and fairly.  I still have my Karma Fairy Wand built for the Moon Tribe Tales project that I will wave around. We also told stories about way back, years and years and YEARS ago, when all 13 of them were unceremoniously dumped on me in NYC without warning because all the parents had meltdowns at the same time. So there I am, a single woman working in theatre, living a block from Times Square, with 13 kids ranging in age from 1 to 16. In a small NYC apartment.

Within 48 hours, I’d taken off two weeks from my show (thank goodness for swings and understanding management), rented one of those old, panelled station wagons with bench seats (car seats were not required then for kids), and rented a wonky, old house here on Cape, all that I could afford. It was right on the beach, though, and it was in the years before the prices were so out of control. We piled into the car at 5 AM, drove to the Cape, and spent two weeks on the beach, playing and reading and hanging out. We had a jimble jamble of books (we read aloud to each other), there were a bunch of board games and puzzles with missing pieces for rainy days.

I didn’t have much money for all of this (went into debt on it, actually), so it wasn’t like we could go out and go shopping for anything other than cheap souvenirs. But we visited the National Seashore (the rangers were so nice), and wandered through galleries in P-town, and went to the drive-in movie in Wellfleet. We ate a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs and mac & cheese and fried clams those two weeks, and lots of ice cream. But we had a lot of fun, and it’s something everyone involved remembers fondly.

The big rules were: no whining, be kind, don’t wander off. Everyone old enough pitched in to help each other, and help cook and clean up. There were lots of sleeping bags on floors and on the screened-in porch (we used to call them “sleeping porches”). We met painters and musicians and there were bonfires on the beach. I had some rules and structure, but there was also freedom within it.

I admit to being exhausted by the time I handed them all back to their parents, but we had fun. Some of the parents felt there was too much freedom, and I cut them right off. They all dumped their kids on me without warning, without discussion, without any kind of support. I kept them fed, happy, and alive. So the parents could shut the hell up. One father complained I’d turned his kids into “lefty feminists.” I’m rather proud of that.

Anyway, I have a lot on my agenda today, and I better get to it. Or someone will have to hand me a “round tuit.”

Peace, friends, Be kind.

Wed. August 19, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 91 — Survival Takes Energy

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image courtesy of James DeMers via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

If you haven’t checked out the Grief To Art site, please do. Please share the information.

Yesterday was pretty darn productive: work on the novel, client work, 9 LOIs out, work on the article, work on BARD’S LAMENT. I got some reading/research done. Worked with the cats. Worked on promo for the Grief to Art launch. The first press release is live here. I have press releases going out to various media outlets. I’d like to get a few remembrances up on the walls before I send out more, though. I sort of want it to start growing organically, and then do some more press.

But I have to trust in the process and remember that everyone’s grief is different and at a different pace.

The allergies slowed me down, and I had to stop and lie down for a bit in the afternoon (but then, I get up before 5 AM and am working by 5. Why am I so hard on myself}?

Tried to sit out on the deck, but there was so much repetitive machine noise, it was nearly impossible. I’m keeping a log of the leaf blowers and heavy machinery and chain saws – basically every house on the street is using this equipment every single day. It’s not necessary.

This morning was the second morning that I was jolted awake at 3:30 in the morning because a dufus in the neighborhood ran a leaf blower. There is NO reason to run a leaf blower at 3:30 in the morning in the dark. Actually, I don’t care if there is – it’s still unacceptable.

Got a good 3 pages done on the developing novel. I’m in the second chapter of it. By the fourth chapter, I should know if it’s viable, or not going to work and needs to be put in stasis.

Have to go onsite for a client for a couple of hours, which I dread. Then, it’s a few errands, dash back for Remote Chat, and take my mom to the doctor this afternoon. I also have to work on BARD, my article, the book for review, and do some yard work, because the landlord is coming over tomorrow (properly masked).

I ordered two more playpens from Chewy, so each cat has her own playpen. It’s too exhausting to switch them out of the same one. Lends itself to too much kitty drama.

In general, I’m tired of being tired.

But at least the weather is nice – not too hot. We had some rain. Not too humid. But I’m tired of my life being in chaos and upset because other people are stupid and selfish, and their stupidity and selfishness interferes with my life. And could, in a literal sense, cause my death.

It takes so much energy, energy I need for creative work and other life stuff that needs to happen. Yet survival is taking up the bulk of my energy.

I think the schools are out of their minds to re-open for in-person learning. The school administrations should be held liable for all the suffering and deaths this will cause.

Seriously, I should be a professional recluse. That is the best solution.

In the meantime, I’m stumbling along as best I can.

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Published in: on August 19, 2020 at 6:09 am  Comments Off on Wed. August 19, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 91 — Survival Takes Energy  
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Tues. August 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 90 — Grief To Art Launches

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Grief to Art
Today is the official launch of Grief to Art: A Site for Collective Mourning, which is my response to the grief from the thousands of deaths from the virus to which our government is indifferent. I hope you will take a look around, share the information, and submit a memory.

Life, Writing, and Other Stuff
Yup, another planet went retrograde. So we’re back in five retrogrades. Sigh.

I gave myself the weekend off. I felt pretty awful both Friday and Saturday, so I just cut off the pressure and let myself rest.

I got some work done on Friday, although I didn’t hit my goals. I didn’t make it to the dump.

Saturday, I had to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market. The staff is slacking off on the masking. I bought more than I planned, including the white cranberry peach juice. Since it’s the only place around here that carries it, occasionally, I will have to venture out for it, but other than that, I guess Star Market is now crossed off my list of places to shop.

Came home, full disinfectant protocols. Laundry, housework.

I made Portuguese Sweet Bread, which always takes at least half a day. But it’s worth it. One of our favorite breads. Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Didn’t need to water Sunday morning, because it rained all day, a nice, gentle rain. Sat inside, read, wrote, made chocolate mousse.

Reading-wise, I read Patricia Hampl’s THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY. I got it because it talks about the need for leisure and for daydreaming. I liked most of it, although it was also an elegy to her deceased partner. I wish I’d know that going in to it – it would have made it more appropriate to the Grief to Art site than to the project for which I ordered it. I also got annoyed at her, multiple times – here, she has these amazing experiences traveling and meeting people rich with stories – and she complains of boredom. She’s a writer, for fuck’s sake! There is NO place for boredom in a writer’s life.

Read two other mysteries, in a series I had been thoroughly enjoying. Only, in this last one, the writer rants on and on, calling a despicable woman “a witch.” That’s a slur. It’s 2020, we should be better than that, in spite of the MAGATS. This person, who’s supposed to be an ally and inclusive, should know better.

I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by someone I trusted.

The book is several years old. I’m wiling to give the series one more book – if it happens again, she is crossed off my list.

I’m tired of cozy mysteries pandering to the right.

But then, so often, they are about maintaining the status quo, aren’t they?

Not anymore about the misfit recognized for her unique qualities and loved and accepted for who she is, but because she conforms to the status quo to fit in. Cozies that do the former are why I enjoy(ed) the genre. Cozies who do the latter — more and more prevalent since 9/11 – I loathe.

Started re-reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series. We are reading the whole series in order. I love so much about it, although the third person omniscient head-hopping bothers me sometimes. She does it better than most writers, but it’s still noticeable enough, at times, to bother me.

On a writing note, I did some more development. I understand what I want and need from the protagonist and her main love interest. I understand the themes I want to develop. I’m building the ensemble of secondary characters. I know who is murdered and why; I know who the murderer is and how this individual passes under the radar for most of the book. I even came up with a working title.

On Monday, I wrote the first 1200 words. The first 500 or so were difficult, and then I found the rhythm. This morning, I wrote another 750 words. It will be a slower creation process, not just because I’m doing the first draft in longhand, but I’m taking more time to develop every sentence, instead of spitting out the first draft quickly and then taking it apart to put it back together. It’s a different process, and what this particular book needs.

Good thing there’s no deadline.

But it shook things loose so I could go back to this draft of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is very, very necessary.

I’ve been writing the article for Llewellyn in my head, and now it’s time to put it on paper. I want to get it done and out this week. Or early next week, latest.

I have to get going on the book I have to read for review. I want to get that done this week. I’d planned to do it over the weekend, but wanted to give myself time off from any “have to.”

Went on site to do some client work on Monday. I was on my own for most of it, which is as it should be.

Curbside pickup at the library, home, full disinfectant protocols, LOIs, and work on the Grief to Art site. But every time I have to go on site, it takes me most of the rest of the day to recover, because it’s so stressful. Even when protocols are followed.

Finished STILL LIFE, and went through some other books I used for research.

It’s still raining this morning, so I’m going to wait to go to the dump until Thursday; same with Trader Joe’s. I’m grateful for the rain. We need it. However, I don’t want to get soaked taking in the garbage and recycling, or standing in line waiting to get into the grocery store.

Michelle Obama’s speech last night was articulate, intelligent, direct, and sharp. We are so lucky she is a part of the world right now.

Today, there will be a lot of focus on the Grief to Art launch, some client work, LOIs, admin work, article work, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and, hopefully, cleaning out another box. The goldenrod is blooming, and I’m sneezing like crazy, my nose is running, and my eyes are swollen. Lovely. Yes, that was sarcasm.

So I better get going, hadn’t I? Have a great day.