Wed. Oct. 13, 2021: Outlines, Energy, Supplies

image courtesy of Charlotte May via pexels.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday turned into a temperate and gorgeous autumn day.

My initial productivity, writing the outline at the laundromat, sadly, did not transfer into much productivity the rest of the day.

I’m happy with the work on the outline, although it still needs more. I have to type up the notes, and organize some of the paragraphs; I jotted down bits and pieces as I thought of them, not necessarily in the order they need to flow for the story. I need to arrange them now, see where the plot holes are, and fill them with things to at least try in the first draft.

After the laundry was put away, some email dealt with, and some breakfast, I headed off to Wild Oats and to Stop & Shop for a grocery run. Stop & Shop is definitely having supply chain issues, mostly with big brands. It shouldn’t affect me too much, but as they are getting things in that I need (that aren’t perishable), I’m grabbing a couple extra, so that we’ll be all set through the winter. That way, if shelves are empty due to supply chain issues, we are still covered; if it’s just that we can’t get anywhere because of weather, we’re still covered. I will need to do a Target run soon for cleaning supplies. We have about another 4-6 weeks’ still left from what we brought up with us from my pandemic stash; I’m going to stock up to get us through the spring.

I bought more than I planned, at Stop & Shop, because I am doing some of that stocking up on canned goods and staples. There’s still no apple cider vinegar, although I found molasses and bought enough for the holiday baking and some other recipes. Frozen vegetables and pasta were just about wiped out. Frozen vegetables are more of a convenience than anything else; the farmers’ markets and the co-op can keep us supplied with fresh, although we might have to eat things we don’t normally eat. Chance to expand the palate. Eat whatever’s in season. We try to do that anyway, but I usually keep a few bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer for when I’m tired or haven’t had a chance to hit the market. While the Big Box pastas may be out of stock, the local fresh pastas are well stocked in both Wild Oats and Big Y. There don’t seem to be issues with flour and yeast this year, so I should be able to bake bread. Although I’m going to grab another jar or two of yeast in the coming weeks.

We are fortunate that we have so many choices in close proximity. And, as I said, it’s mostly big box brands that aren’t getting restocked. Those are my backup, not my go-to, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m keeping an eye on things. We have enough stocked in our pantry to get through a couple of months, and as long as I can replenish as we use things up, we’ll be fine.

But it’s noticeable.

There wouldn’t be supply chain issues if someone wasn’t making a profit from it. It’s being spun as a labor problem, but I think someone’s figured out how to profit and blame labor.

Really weary on multiple levels. I did my Soul Expedition journal work, which was interesting, and then spent some time on the acupressure mat. I’m getting headaches from all the screen time. I need new glasses at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Got out the two script coverages on the tightest deadline. Read two more scripts.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are doing well. They are bright and curious, and this type of learning allows them to actually learn, not just prep for standardized tests. I’m grateful to the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for all their educational resources. Last night, we took a virtual trip through the Louvre, which was tons of fun, too. I need to do a virtual tour of some Venetian museums, and they thought that was interesting, so that’s on tomorrow’s agenda.

I was assigned my next book for review.

I have an ethical dilemma with one client; that client’s priorities have shifted in a way with which I disagree, and to the point where it may not be a good fit any longer. I’m debating whether to take a break with that particular client or just leave altogether. Usually, I’m all for a clean break, but I also know I’m suffering from burnout and pandemic brain, so I don’t want to make a mistake. I have to ponder this a bit, as I finish off some work for this client.

Stuck on one of the plays. I’m going back to the source material, hoping I can shake free of the stuck. I didn’t write enough notes on the project when the idea originally burbled up, and I’m paying for it now. It’s on deadline, so I don’t have time to faff around.

Hoping it clears up a bit, so that I can walk to the post office and library later. I hope the walk will clear out some of the cobwebs.

I didn’t get any of the short articles done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today, and also do more script coverage. I’m close to what I hoped to earn for the week, so I don’t have to stress.

I got pinged that UPS delivered a package yesterday afternoon. I don’t know where they delivered, but it sure as heck isn’t anywhere around here. I let the shipper know, so it can be either refunded or replaced. This morning, I found the package tucked under the mat, which means it was misdelivered elsewhere in the neighborhood, but, because I have excellent neighbors, someone took the time to drop it off. Because it wasn’t there when I checked at 9 PM last night.

Saturn going direct lifted a huge weight off (even though I’m tired). Having Jupiter and Mercury go direct next week will feel like a new lease on life, I hope.

Exhaustion kept me from concentrating well and getting things done yesterday in an efficient manner. I hope to make up for it today.

Tessa woke me at 4:30. I moved to the sofa for a bit, but was up and working by 5:30. She keeps coming into the office and yowling at me, then running around. I think she wants to play. Maybe if I give her a good, dedicated playtime session, she will let me work. Here’s hoping. Charlotte fell asleep during morning meditation and is still zonked out. Willa is busy in the kitchen.

Because, you know, it’s all about the cats.

Fri. Sept. 17, 2021: Research Time

image courtesy Stocksnap via pixabay.com

Friday, September 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Meditation was good yesterday, as always. I recently doubt I should attend, sometimes, because we talk a great deal about compassion, for ourselves and others. However, my well of compassion has run dry when it comes to anti-vaxxers and right-wing extremists. I’m saving it for the people they hurt and murder.

Slow, fractured day, and not as productive as I would have liked. Got a little bit done on several different fronts, but not big chunks which I’d hoped.

Managed to do some unpacking, though, and some work on GAMBIT COLONY.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. It has been fine ever since we started back. Because several states have removed the remote learning option from their schools, in order to force children into situations that could kill them, quite a few of the kids have been pulled out of school completely and are now being homeschooled. Regulations differ from state to state, but we’d all discussed and decided not to send the kids back this year, so, when necessary, parents had time to get the necessary requirements.

The homeschooled kids are feeling a lot less stress and anxiety than the kids doing remote learning, mostly because of the pressure on the remote-learning kids to go back in person. Considering how often classes/schools have to revert to remote learning due to COVID outbreaks in those situations for weeks at a time, the homeschooling makes more sense. Some of the parents are working remotely; others have made arrangements to switch off their work situations to a hybrid situation.

It’s not easy, but it’s better than sending the kids to die.

The kids decided they are creating a pageant this year, for the holidays. They’re going to write it (working virtually), rehearse it virtually, and perform via Zoom. Should be a ton of fun.

I uploaded a photo of the signature on the sketch to both Facebook and Twitter. A friend in Germany said that it’s written in the Sutterlin Script, and the name is “Konrad Poritz.” I’m not having luck in direct Googling, so I will get in touch with some museum contacts in the US and Germany, and see if they can point me in the right direction. The college library across the street has books in French, German, etc., so maybe I’ll find something there, too.

Lots of script coverage to work on today, and some errands. I have a stressful weekend ahead of me, and I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Have a good one!

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

image courtesy of Jose Antonio Alba via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Full Moon

Lunar Eclipse

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and warm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also need to purge more.

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

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

Hold a good thought for me that tomorrow goes well.

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

Peace, friends.

Published in: on May 26, 2021 at 4:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 368 — Last Day On Site  
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Fri. May 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 356 — Taking a Risk to Clear a Path

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Friday, May 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Somehow, yesterday seems like months ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed. May 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 354 — Still Feeling Poorly

image courtesy of Myriams-Fotos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I’m still struggling to get back on my feet after the second vaccine dose. I’m not complaining (exactly). I’m grateful to be vaccinated. But the process of getting my feet back under me after this shot has been difficult.

I managed a good night’s sleep for once, Monday into Tuesday, although I woke up feeling awful. I managed to shower and get dressed and even put some makeup on, and then I had to go and lie down again. The weakness and dizziness and nausea were overwhelming at times.

I considered trying to postpone the Zoom meeting with the potential new client, but I know they need to move forward, and with all the juggling I’m doing, I need to know if they’re going to make me an offer, so I went ahead. If I don’t get the offer, I have no one but myself to blame, both for not presenting well in that meeting and for being utterly myself on social media. And I will live with those consequences.

I was far, far, FAR from my best. I would say it was one of the worst interviews I’ve ever given in my rather long and varied career.  I’m amazed I didn’t pass out during the meeting. There were one or two moments where I thought I would.  On top of that, the landlord had landscapers walking around the house looking at what needs to be done. At one point, they were right up against the windows talking (although I think I only flinched once, and I’m not sure that was caught by the other meeting attendees). Charlotte nearly got into the picture at one point, but I managed to keep her off my lap and off camera. And, of course, the neighborhood tree cutters were out with their chainsaws destroying more habitat.

The work itself? I could do it. I’d be good at it. I have years of most of the skills they need.  I’d sharpen some skills, especially with Excel and Adobe Creative Suite. I’m good at staying on deadline and keeping on top of organizational things, and it’s well within my field. I still might not be who they want and need for the position. And IF they make an offer, I have to look at the numbers and the benefits package and whether or not there’s relocation support.  It’s not just me in a studio apartment with the cats. I have a household to run and family for whom to care. No matter how much the job is in an arena I love (and this one is), if I can’t make the numbers work and need to take on a bucket of extra work in order to survive when I’m already working full time – I have to see how it all balances out.

What I should have said when they asked what I’m going to do about my other clients is say, “With the salary discussed, I have to keep some of them while working for you” but I wasn’t on my game enough to be that straightforward. Which could also kybosh the whole thing, but it would have been a more solid answer.

The likelihood they would give me an offer after that dismal performance today? Maybe 1%.  Possibly zero. I can’t imagine they don’t have better options from what they experienced this morning. When the best element of an interview is that one didn’t pass out, there’s a problem. Would it have been better to wait until I felt better? With so many other variables out there, maybe better for me, but they needed this to happen so they could make their decisions and move forward and stay on their schedule. And I need to know if I’m getting an offer, so I can figure out some of my own moving pieces.

As I said, I made the choices I made, I live with the consequences. Because hey, even if I had been at my best (or at least, better, or maybe even coherent), I STILL might not be what they’re looking for, and that is just the way things work out sometimes.

Still, by the end of the meeting, I was a total wreck.

I sent my thank you email. I got out a couple of LOIs. I sent the test sample contract to the other company who wanted me to go through a series of assessments.

I had an email meltdown with a friend who, because she’s a genuine friend, was very understanding.

I wrote up my next script coverage and sent that off.

I heard back from a few more LOIs who want to set up meetings to discuss upcoming projects. One of them even made it clear that any test samples requested are paid – and the rate they quoted me is more than satisfactory. So that’s an ethical company for whom I’d like to work.

Just for the record — I went back through the requests for unpaid labor/samples/tests as part of the interview process since February. Had I done them all, I would have put in 150 hours of unpaid labor since February. That’s 3.75 WEEKS of unpaid work. This is not counting the requests for one-way video interviews. I have a post on the actual cost of those up on Ink-Dipped Advice here.

And people wonder why I put together a contract for tests/assessments/project-specific samples.

Looked at some other rental possibilities online; got some paperwork to fill out. Will see if I can set up a few virtual tours for later this week.

Read the next script for coverage, and took a lot of notes. Will write them up later today and send them off. Was assigned the next script to cover, which I will read later today.

Tended to the lawn watering. I’m going to have to get the garage cleaned out this weekend, I think. I want to get it done before the landscapers start work, and I don’t think they’ll start work until the grass seed starts growing properly. I also want to put a few things up on craigslist. If I can get the ball rolling on that tomorrow, I’ll feel like I’ve made some progress.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They missed me last Thursday, although one of the parents covered. The teens are excited that they’ll be able to get vaccinated soon, too.

Watched the last season of WILLIAM AND MARY. That was really a lovely show.

Woke up at 3 worrying. Made the mistake of going on Twitter, where the BOSTON GLOBE has an editorial from a “behavioral scientist” about how working from home isn’t healthy or natural – citing studies from the 1970s. Yet another privileged misogynist who calls himself an “influencer” and was obviously paid by some corporate entity to write this crap. Probably the Chamber of Commerce or some commercial reality place.

Still feel like absolute crap. I have to go onsite with a client today – at least, I’ll make the effort, and if I feel too bad, I’ll leave. I need to get in touch with my doctor and see what’s what. Being under the kind of stress I’m under right now isn’t helping me heal from the vaccine dose, I’m sure; I also want to make sure I don’t make bad decisions while I’m feeling awful.

There’s Remote Chat today, which should be fun.  I need to work on a short story due later this week, and on that article with which I’ve been struggling. A few calls for pitches landed on my desk (well, my inbox) yesterday, so I want to go through and see if there’s anything I should answer.

I desperately need rest, but I can’t right now, even though I know I’ll pay for not resting in a few days. Or maybe hours.

Onward.

Published in: on May 12, 2021 at 4:48 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 354 — Still Feeling Poorly  
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Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On

photo by Devon Ellington

Friday, April 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

Beltane Eve

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

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

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

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

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

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

The stress continues to build.

photo by Devon Ellington

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

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

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

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

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

And tomorrow, the Kentucky Derby! AND Beltane!

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

Published in: on April 30, 2021 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On  
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Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worked on contest entries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend.

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

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

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

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

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

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

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

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

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on April 14, 2021 at 4:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion  
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Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath

image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a pretty productive day. Got out some LOIs. Got a couple of errands done. Decontaminated.

Switched over to client work and got several projects out.

Got some of my interview quotes in. I might have enough to finish the article, or I might send out one more request. Was really happy to get a quote from someone I’d worked with on Broadway, back in the day.

Got the article back from my editor at a magazine with quick turnaround edits – only it was the wrong version of the article.  The day after I sent her the first version, I’d gotten a really good quote from a source and reworked the article to include it, also tightening up a few other things. I’d addressed some of the things she brought up in the first version. Anyway, I reminded her of the second version and sent it again. She’s looking at it, so I will probably get it back at some point today and have to turn it around right away. Just sit there and get it done, right? She loves the piece, which is good.

Rental listings were disappointing. Still way too many scams. I’m forwarding some of the scams to the appropriate Attorneys General offices, so they can deal with them. A house in which we were interested turned out to only be a short-term rental, so that won’t work.

Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get enough packing done. But I just keep chipping away at it. We will live amongst boxes for a bit, so when we do land a place, it’s just about getting the truck.

It’s very stressful.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They are ready for Spring Break next week.

I’m facing a stressful day on site at a client’s today, no doubt battling to keep COVID protocols in place. Then, I’ll decontaminate, hopefully do Remote Chat, and turn my article around.

Playing with some short fiction ideas, just so I don’t lose that ability completely. I can’t really focus until we’re moved.

Will probably limit online time tomorrow, because I loathe April Fool’s Day. Far too many of the “pranks” are cruel.

Have a good one.

Published in: on March 31, 2021 at 4:48 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath  
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Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry

image courtesy of shell_ghostcage via pixabay.com

Friday, March 26, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and windy

Yesterday turned out to be a “good busy” day. Meditation was good, got some client work and LOIs out. Got out another round of interview requests for the article. I’m writing some of it in my head already, and will probably get some of it on paper today. The quotes, when I get them, may change my vision of it a bit, but we’ll see.

We took apart the two beds in the back room and stacked the mattresses, headboards, footboards, slats, etc. This gives us room to stack boxes as we pack them. Packed up a bunch more boxes, too. You know it’s serious when we take down the horse tapestry from the back room, and that’s what we did. Took it down, rolled it up, it’s ready to go.

I tweaked my back taking the beds apart, because of course I did.

Spent time on listings; nothing. What’s available is so far out of our price range, it’s ridiculous. And townhouses/apartments are even more expensive than houses.

Worked on contest entries. Will finish one category today, and get the top choices out this weekend, as I keep working on the other two categories. Also have to read the next book for review.

It was so lovely outside that I put Willa in her playpen and took her on the deck for an hour or so. She got to spend time safely enjoying the outdoors, while I read a book by Ovidia Yu and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was a nice breath in the day. We didn’t get the rain we needed, but now we’re supposed to get it today.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s tired and stressed. I hope they’re not going to extend the school year well into summer. Everyone needs a break, so they can start fresh in autumn.

The virus numbers on Cape Cod are going up again. I mean, they’re going up for the state in general, but Cape Cod’s numbers are double the rest of the state, and we’re a red zone again. Not surprising, when you see how badly people are behaving, and ignoring the mask mandate.

Today, I have client work, LOIs, contest entries, book review, packing. And I’m doing a focus group with the Arts Foundation in the late morning; after that, I will have to do a run to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

We started watching the Doc Martin series. It’s so odd and funny. We spent time in Cornwall in 1999, and the patchwork of familiar places they’ve stitched together for the locations is lovely to watch.

I have to send a reminder to a client to send me some information today, so I can work on it Monday and Tuesday for approval Wednesday to make a deadline. If she waits until next Wednesday to give it to me, I can’t get it done by deadline.

The weekend will be about packing and working on contest entries. And looking at rental listings, hoping I can come up with something. Fingers crossed.

I wish I knew someone with a spare house they were willing to rent to us for a year or so, but that only happens in fiction, unfortunately.

Anyway, we should have some nice weather, so I might put a couple of chairs and the wind chimes out on the deck and work on contest entries outside. Today is supposed to be stormy and icky, so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Hopefully, next week I can book my vaccine appointment for the following week.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on March 26, 2021 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry  
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Wed. March 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 306 — Trudging Onward

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was warm and pretty enough so we could have the windows and the door to the deck open for a bit. Only about a half hour, but it was nice to get in a spring breeze. It still goes down into the 30’s at night, so we wake up to frost, but there are a few hours during the day when it’s lovely.

I was up early. Got ahead on some client work. I’m trying to work ahead, at least roughing out a few projects, so that we get closer to deadline, I can refine them.

I’m spending hours every day house hunting. I’m not going to go into the details here, but it’s discouraging. The number of scams is appalling.

Got out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one category. One of the digital files was blank, so I asked for a replacement. I’m hoping to get the finalists sent off by the end of this week. Working on the other two categories, too.

Reviewed the assigned book. I have another from the same company to review, which I will start reading today. Hope to get the review out by Friday or the weekend.

Did an early morning grocery run. Decontaminated.

Did some sorting, but not much packing. I will do a big push tomorrow through Sunday.

Did some work on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m not writing enough every day, and that’s making me more stressed. So I have to go back to the early morning writing to get my centering for the day.

Heard about a call for horror audio scripts. Paid. Thought it would be kind of fun, but their formatting is so out of any audio formatting I’ve ever done that it’s too much to take on right now. If it was one of the standard formats, no problem. But to have to learn a new format and create a 30-minute piece in a few days? While I’m under all this stress? Too much, and, while it’s great that it’s paid, it would be on spec rather than contract, so I’ll have to pass.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s working hard, Stressed about schools reopening too soon and without everyone being vaccinated, even though my kids will not go back to in-person learning this school year. It’s too dangerous. Plus, ALL their grades have gone up this year. There are all these “studies” about how not being in school is hurting kids. It might be true in certain cases, but WE are making it work for them. The fact that they like learning helps. And resources from museums and other cultural institutions adds so much.

I’m reading Nicholas Hytner’s book BALANCING ACTS about his years at the National Theatre. He was the director on MISS SAIGON. Although the show was five years into the run when I joined it (for its last five years), he stopped by to check on the show every now and again. I didn’t know him well by any means, but we had some good conversations. I liked and respected him a lot.

It’s fun to read about his work with people I worked with, and also people I didn’t work with, but admired.

Reading it makes me miss theatre even more.  I wish the US funded theatre (and all the arts) the way the UK does. The way Europe does. Although, re-reading Peter Hall’s diaries about his years at the National, the amount of time spent appeasing various Councils definitely interferes with creation.

I need to get back to reading more Dorothy Parker and Dawn Powell material to do the play about them, and I need to do more research on Marie Collier for that play.

A couple of interview sources turned down the request for interview for the article, so I’m looking for other sources. I will get out some requests today.

I have to be onsite at a client’s for a few hours this morning, then do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library. After decontamination, it’s Remote Chat, and then some other work.

Onward.

Fri. March 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 301 — I Need a Blanket Fort

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, March 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve stopped the “MA Vaccine Distribution Failure” Tag, because it looks like we’re back on track; more doses, easier appointments. I will be eligible as of April 5, so I’m going to get my shot as soon as possible. Hopefully, the signup system will have eased. More and more people I know around here have been able to get a slot. I’m hoping I can get it up the street at the college, instead of driving to who-knows-where.

One last winter storm? High winds, not much snow, but kind of yucky out. I’m glad I got my grocery run in early.

I sent out a lot of LOIs yesterday. Had trouble with Comcast. Worked on the article.

Had some more disappointing/upsetting news.

Packing up the back room. It’s amazing how much things spread out and accumulate over time.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. I wasn’t on top of things, because I’m so stressed, and I felt guilty.

I did it again this morning – I turned on the coffee maker without putting the pot in. A big mess. I’m losing it.

I’m afraid I have nothing interesting to say. I’m under a lot of stress right now.  The weekend will continue it. I wish I could just hide in a blanket fort like the cat in the above photo.

Hold a good thought for me, friends.

Wed. March 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 292/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 42 — Another Day, Another Stress

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Waning Moon

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was up, down, and all over the place.

I woke up a little after 2 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got some writing done in the morning, client work, LOIs out.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. The doctor is pleased with her progress, and delighted that she’s on the road to vaccination.

It was a lovely day, so people were out and about in force, and NONE of them wore masks. It was enraging. And, of course, the leaf-blowing assholes were out in force, because heaven forbid anyone should be able to actually enjoy the nice weather in peace and quiet.

I did, however, open the windows and doors for a bit, to get in some fresh air. It got cold quickly again in the afternoon, and went back down into the 20’s overnight.

The bubble wrap that I ordered arrived. It’s, um, a much bigger roll than I expected. But I’m sure we will use it all!

Worked on research for my article. Wrote a couple of blog articles. Set up some marketing posts for Fearless Ink, more introductory than anything else.

Heard back from a potential script reading job to which I pitched. I’m supposed to do a free sample – um, no. And then, the per script rate is ¼ of my usual rate. So that’s not going to work out. A disappointment.

Should have purged boxes in the basement, but didn’t. Stressed and fretted about several issues, and didn’t come up with any answers.

Worked on some contest entries.

Was wiped out early, and went to bed early, completely spent.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun, but everyone is stressed and exhausted. Trying to force onsite learning before people are vaccinated causes way too much unnecessary pain. It needs to stop.

Managed to sleep until 3:30 this morning, which I guess is an improvement?

Something woke me, something outside. Not sure what it was. It might have been coyotes calling, but far away? I’m not sure. It was a weird sound. Eerie.

So, the House passed the PRO Act. I’m assuming the ABC test was not stripped out? That was the problem with the bill. The rest of it was pretty good, but the ABC test destroys a lot of lives.

Will do some remote work for a client this morning, and then I’m taking my mother to get her second vaccine dose. I’m almost afraid to say so, afraid that something will go wrong. So, fingers crossed it all works as smoothly as it did three weeks ago. We’re leaving early enough to take into account the road work on Rt. 6. The traffic is already as bad around here as it usually is in late May.

Because yes, we are driving to Orleans, and she’s getting vaccinated at the dump.

The rest of the day will be about taking care of her, post-vaccine. We may be in for a rough couple of days. But if all goes well and she actually gets the shot, it means she is fully vaccinated as of March 24, and I don’t have to worry as much every time I leave the house. I still have to worry about myself and follow protocols, but not worry as much about her. I mean, she’s 96, there’s always an element of worry.

But getting vaccinated is a good step towards the next chapter.

I just wish I knew where the next chapter would happen.