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.

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.

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.

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.

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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

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

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.

Fri. March 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 287/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 37 — Work Work Work

image courtesy of janeb13 via pixabay.com

Friday, March 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Not much to say today, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Just working along, steady.

Meditation was great yesterday, although Charlotte was a little pill, climbing all over me and fascinated by the Zoom screen. I don’t use my video, so no one could see her and tell her she was pretty. She was quite disappointed. That’s her favorite part of Zoom calls.

Had to swing by the client’s office and download a file I’d left without the previous day. Was in and out quick (no one there) and back home to upload the file and work on it. Spent a couple of hours getting that done.

Worked on the book review. It’s not quite right yet, so I will tweak it today and then send it (deadline is today).

Worked on the article proposal. Did some research for another article. I have to view a few things as research; I will do that this weekend, and then send out interview requests early next week.

Sent out some LOIs.

Freelance Chat was fun. Charlotte doesn’t quite get the difference between a Zoom call and a live Twitter chat. Again, she was disappointed because no one told her she was pretty. Although I did, but that wasn’t the same as having a bunch of strangers tell her how beautiful she is.

My lower back bothered me, so I spent some extra time on the acupressure mat.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. The kids are doing well. We have a rhythm to our work time, and we get everything done while learning stuff beyond their curriculum and laughing a lot. The families are all holding firm to the kids not going back to in-person learning this year, and making sure everyone gets vaccinated as soon as they can.

Cape Cod Community College’s gym is opening as a mass vaccine site here. It’s getting the one-dose J&J vaccine. All the new appointments that opened in the state were booked within 90 minutes.

At this point, since my mom is booked for her second dose (we hope) and I’m not yet eligible, I’m reading the information sent, but I don’t yet have to get into the cage fight for appointments. I’ll do that in a couple of weeks. I’ll just hope that, as our dose shipments increase, we can get people vaccinated and it won’t be as bad of a fight as it’s been.

We had a scare when we got a “Congratulations! You’ve been vaccinated!” email, and I thought, “oh, no, now they’re acting like she had both doses?” But it was the vaccine confirmation from the first dose. The verification process so I could actually access/download the information was as ridiculous as the rest of the sign-up, but we got it done, and I printed off one copy for our records and one copy for my mom’s doctor.

I just want to sleep, for about a week, but no such luck.

Today, I have to finish/send the book review, and then I’ve done 5 and can invoice. I want to finish the article pitch and send it off. I need to drop off some books due at the library (although I don’t have anything to pick up). I’ll work on contest entries, get out some LOIs, purge some more boxes. I have to break down a bunch of boxes in the garage, because tomorrow morning, I need to do a big dump run.

I also have to do a Trader Joe’s run. We are way down on a bunch of stuff, and I need to restock.

You can tell things are opening up. Dumbasses are driving into buildings again. I’ve never lived in a place where people drive into buildings every damn day, but they do it in MA.

I was in touch with my House Rep a few days ago about voting No on the PRO-ACT, at least until they strip out the ABC test. If that passes, I can’t be a freelancer. It means thousands of small businesses, many owned by women, would be destroyed. A test applied to factory workers in the 1930’s is not appropriate for freelance work today, especially in the creative arenas.

And I’m a union person! So if I think the bill is bad, and I WANT people to be able to unionize, you know it’s really bad.

It would be nice if the policy writers actually talked to people in the field of the policies they write before they write them. Just a thought.

But it’s why I’m on the case of my elected officials on just about every piece of legislation every damn week. They can’t represent me if they don’t know where I stand on various bills. So I make sure that they do.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Fri. Feb. 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer 280/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 30 — Applying Meditation Practice To Life

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, February 26, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Partly cloudy and mild

I had the chance to use what we’ve been working on in meditation in life yesterday.

It was a stressful day and kept tugging me off-course, although by 10 AM, I’d gotten in writing, client work, admin work, and my mother’s doctor’s appointment.

The “digital waiting room” for the vaccine appointments is appalling. Who can sit with the computer tab open for 6722 minutes? If you open another tab to work on something while you wait, it kicks you out of the “waiting room.” How is this sustainable? Who can spend 17-18 hours a DAY on the computer trying to get an appointment and still carry work and family responsibilities? Why does every “fix” Baker adds make it all worse?

More importantly, why are second dose patients competing with first dose patients? Why aren’t they sent to a separate sign-in and given the appointments they need?

Why does Baker act like Cape Cod isn’t part of the state?

The physical, emotional, and financial burdens he is causing are enormous. And totally unnecessary. His refusal to listen to qualified, talented people around him and respond to what is actually going on versus what he wants it to look like is infuriating. All these stories are being planted in the press about how great MA is doing with vaccines, and it’s an entirely different reality than what I’m living.

Then, he sits in the state hearing and gaslights.

Of course he does. He’s a Republican. He’s right on brand.

I finally just sat down and took a deep breath, and decided to try techniques we worked on (especially last week, and, since I couldn’t participate this week, I felt off-kilter).

First thing: Where am I right now?

Answer: Not okay.

And, as a friend of mine pointed out yesterday, it’s okay not to be okay. I worked, flat out, through a pandemic, three surgeries, and two cancer scares in the past year. My last vacation was in May of 2016. I’ve been taking care of my elderly mother, fighting to get her the vaccinations in a system that delights to cause pain and suffering, kept up with client work, sought new client work, had to deal with clients being more demanding because remote work “isn’t really work”, and am dealing with some other major upcoming life changes.

I am frustrated, angry, scared, and overwhelmed. And, especially, exhausted.

And those factions who say I “choose” to feel that way say so from hilltops of entitlement and privilege.

I feel what I feel, and it matters.

I acknowledge that I’m not okay. That’s step one. It’s real, and relevant.

I have to acknowledge that the level of stress that didn’t slow me down at twenty is slowing me down now that I am decades beyond twenty. Also, at age twenty, I wasn’t fighting to keep my family alive in a pandemic amidst the selfish and the stupid.

Plenty of external pressures are out of my control. I can’t control the vaccine sign-up site (although, at the risk of sounding egotistical, if I did, there would be a far more equitable distribution system in place).

I can’t control clients who are pretending the pandemic doesn’t exist anymore and demand a higher productivity level than before the pandemic, but without resources. I CAN change my relationship with those clients, although there are consequences, and I have to have other clients in place to pick up the financial slack. That is a work in progress.

Early in the pandemic, I severed relationships with several clients who refused to give me any option to work remotely, and it was absolutely the right choice.

There are a couple of people who are taking up too much real estate in my head, and I need to give them eviction notices. That doesn’t happen immediately, but it is something that can happen, with work.

There’s physical work to be done here at the house, and I’m breaking it down and handling as much as I can at a time, while exploring options in case it cuts very close to me running out of time completely. Again, there’s only so much I can do physically at any given time. I am not twenty. It’s a reality. And it’s not something I could hire anyone else to do – especially not during a pandemic. Plus, we can’t have anyone in the house who is not part of the household during a pandemic.

There are other factors that are out of my control, but I’m trying to figure out workarounds.

By facing each situation individually and looking at it in terms of what can I do? What can’t I do? Where can I adjust? Where does the necessary adjustment go against my needs? What are my other alternatives?

I can also clear out the mental clutter and focus on each piece of work with full attention. When I work on the articles, for instance, and get lost in them, I’m happy doing the work, I do good work, and it gets good results. Or creating a marketing campaign for a client.

One of the few upsides of the pandemic was realizing how many unhealthy work compromises I’ve made over the last ten years, since leaving full-time theatre work, and learning what adjustments I have to make for a healthier work situation. I may not get it with every assignment, but the more assignments I can stack up that are within what I consider the “healthy work arena” the better the quality of my work and my life.

I can’t control the companies that are determined to act like the pandemic never happened and plan to force their employees into their offices full-time, even when the work doesn’t call for it. But I can avoid as many of those assignments as possible.

Accepting not being okay, and working on things I can actually DO instead of drowning in what I can’t do helped a lot.

And reminding myself to let up on the negative self-talk, which, over the past few weeks, has reached screeching levels inside my head.

Freelance Chat was fun and upbeat, and I got some good ideas out of it, which I hope to implement.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat. One of the replacement books arrived, the diaries of Sir Peter Hall, talking about the creation of the National Theatre in the 1970’s. I’d read it before, at the start of my theatre career, and loved it. I started re-reading it, and can’t put it down. I’m seeing so much from a different perspective (not to mention, by this point, I’ve worked with some of the people mentioned, when I only knew their work the first time I read it). It’s a very invigorating book.

Turned back way too many requests to “talk” from recruiters – all for jobs that have nothing to do with what I do. I’m a writer – it’s clear on the website, it’s clear on my resume, it’s clear on my linked in profile. So stop TELLING me I should take a job that’s a web designer (I’m not qualified), a sales executive (I’m not interested), a truck driver (what? How do you get that from writer?). Read my actual material and stop wasting my time.

Was ready to bitch slap some Twitter twat complaining that wearing a mask fogged up her glasses and was “intolerable.” You know what? Over 500,000 deaths are intolerable. You’re merely inconvenienced, you selfish POS. I did not say that in my reply; I told her how I avoided lens fog (at least most of the time). I’ve worn a mask nearly a year now. It’s not hard to wear it with glasses so you don’t fog up.

Worked on the article. I finally have it almost were I want it, although I have to cut about 300 words, which includes a quote I’d like to keep in, but there just isn’t room. I’m going to cut the 300 words to get it in at word count and get it to my editor this morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We got solid work done. I am so grateful for the educational stuff that the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History and other big museums post. Whatever their assignments, we can supplement with material from places they couldn’t visit in time to do the assignment, even without a pandemic. I hope some of theses online resources continue. I know the kids who live far away from these places are now eager to visit when it’s safe.

After I do a library run, a liquor store run, and a CVS run to pick up my mom’s prescription, I will turn my attention to the article for THE WRITER. I’d like to get it out to my editor a little early. I have all but two quotes, and I have enough material to go without. I’m also doing some live script doctoring via Zoom while a corporate video is shooting, which is a new and different experience.

I was up way too early this morning worrying. So I gave up, got up, and need to turn that energy into actual work.

I have a lot on my agenda this weekend, between the article, books for review, contest entries, and more box purging. Weather-wise, it looks like it will be all over the place. I might do another dump run (I sure have enough).

I’m hoping to build in some rest. I need it.

I also plan to drop in, at least for a bit, at my virtual 40th HS reunion. The organizers took the time to hunt me down; the least I can do is show up for a while. I have nothing at stake – maybe one or two people from my high school graduating class have remained part of my life. High school was something to get through so I could get going on my life. Were there many bouts of unhappiness? Sure. It was high school. But I also made decisions to find what I wanted and needed away from the cliques and that kind of stuff, and it was the right choice for me. Plus, I graduated a semester early and started college early, and I was taking college classes while still in high school. I hope everyone in my graduating class is well and happy, but our lives have taken us in different directions.

Next week, I have to make some big decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw

image courtesy of suju via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and mild

Most of the snow is melted, so I guess the guys with their soil sample digging machines who will be around this morning can find the little flags planted over the past few weeks.

I have a post on Ink-Dipped Advice about inspiring rather than bullying to get what you want.

Yesterday wound up being a productive, steady day. I prepped next week’s email blast for a client, and did some other work on the client’s websites. I need to do more; there’s poor copyediting on a few things from before I started working with them, and I need to clean it up.

A contest listing landed on my desk, and it sounded interesting, so I edited an appropriate piece and sent it off. It’s something in a different direction for me, and I’m interested to see if I’m on the right track.

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I sent off a longish short story that seemed to fit. They do audio work, so in my cover letter, I mentioned that I write radio comedy/drama.

Got the script samples out to the potential new client.

Finished a book for review. I’d meant to only take a 20-minute break and read for a bit, but the book was so engaging, I sat there and finished it, then wrote the review and sent it off. I received the next two books for review by the end of the workday, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those. That’ll make this set of five books reviewed, and I invoice every five books.

Started on the print entries for the third category of the contest I’m judging. Only a handful of print entries left, and then I will start on the digital entries. Which is good, because the second shipment of entries should go out in about two weeks. I want to get all the first batch done before the second batch arrives.

Worked on the article. I hope to have it finished either by end of day today, or, more likely, mid-day tomorrow, and get it off to my editor. Overnight, I got another great quote.

Read a book that pretended to be progressive and tolerant, but, when dissected, was full of right-wing evangelical crap. Not because the author was trying to point out the danger of right-wing evangelical crap, but because the author supported the right-wing evangelical crap over the tolerance. That author’s crossed off my list going forward.

Made my box purging quota for the day (and caught up on what I didn’t do yesterday). Found some things that puzzled me. I’m assuming that they were props/costume pieces for a project? But I have no idea which one. Found a box of electrical cords for which I’ve been looking – since we moved in. In 2010. It’s been buried since then.

As I’m going through the boxes, I’m realizing how the movers paid no attention to what was noted on the box (I mark what’s in the box and where it should go). If it was a box, they stuffed it in the basement. No wonder I felt like I’ve lost stuff since the last move. Yes, I know, I should have unpacked everything much earlier. But I didn’t, so I have to catch up now.

Knowledge Unicorns was back in session yesterday. Everyone had a good break. There’s intense pressure to get back in the classroom in April, which is silly. Just keep it remote until the end of the year, and start back up in fall. This group is united in remaining remote until enough people are vaccinated, which sure as hell won’t happen by April. Besides, all the kids are dong really well, grades are up, and they’re actually learning stuff beyond what they would have in a traditional setup.

Today will be a stressful morning. But at least there’s remote chat.

I have to miss the online meditation group tomorrow morning because my mom has an early doctor’s appointment, so I’ll have to make up for that in individual practice during the day.

I got more mail addressed to my father, who died in 1972, and never lived at this address. It’s very disturbing. I’m contacting the companies sending this mail (cc to the appropriate Attorneys General) demanding from what list they got it and where purchased. Because I’m thinking someone stole my deceased father’s identity. But why is the mail coming here?

I’m hoping, in the next couple of days, to hear about my mom’s next vaccination appointment. They’re supposed to get in touch this week. There have been NO vaccine appointments open on the Cape this week, except for the Rich White People’s Secret Number, Baker’s moved doses away from smaller sites all over the state into the large sites like Gillette and Fenway – where most people can’t get to them. Instead of moving the doses to, you know, where they’re needed.

I better get to it. Those words won’t write themselves! Have a great day.

Published in: on February 24, 2021 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw  
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Fri. Feb. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 268/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 16 — Chinese Lunar New Year

image courtesy of Jason Goh via pixabay.com

Friday, February 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Chinese Lunar New Year

Cloudy and cold

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Gong Hey Fat Choi!

The first is Mandarin for “Happy New Year” and the second is Cantonese for “Congratulations and prosperity.”

I wish you all both, as we enter this year of the Ox! Not just any Ox, but the Metal Ox. Methodical, moving forward, yet change that anchors us. I could certainly use Ox energy for the next few months! It is supposed to be slow and steady, holding pattern before movement. However, in my life, I need movement early in the year, and then I need/want some settling time. The Metal Ox, in particular, encourages cleaning one’s home, getting rid of clutter (so purging the basement is right on target), keeping things tidy. Well, with everything being re-organized and boxed, not so much at the moment, but we’ll get there.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger (my year) and is about leaping forward. However, this Tiger needs to do some leaping in the coming months, then settle and prepare for next year’s momentum.

Tonight, I will be preparing food in honor of the holiday: trout (should be carp, but I have trout), long noodles, dumplings.

I miss the Lion Dance I always attended, in both San Francisco and New York, so I will watch it online instead.

I miss my Asian friends more than ever during this time. They included me in their celebrations, and it was a delight.

But I intend to make it a positive celebration, even during a pandemic.

Yesterday was, actually, a pretty good day. Other than starting it by spiling coffee on a light-colored rug.

But I got some LOIs out, I got interview requests out for one of my articles for SCRIPT, I did some research for the second article. I also landed another article from THE WRITER (which also has a fairly short turnaround). Those interview requests will go out today.

I was annoyed because my time was wasted by yet another recruiter. He hadn’t told me he was a recruiter when he asked for the meeting – he claimed to be from one of the companies to whom I sent an LOI. I thought I was having a preliminary conversation with a potential new client.

But no. Not only was he late for the call appointment, but he was also completely unprepared. When I realized he was a recruiter, I started to cut things off. He then to convince me I should RELOCATE ON MY OWN DIME for a job I wouldn’t have taken in the first place. I cut him off pretty damn quick and ended the conversation. What a waste of everything.

I am so sick of these recruiters – they misrepresent to get the meeting, they’re unprepared, they can’t/won’t answer questions, and it’s not at all about finding the best candidate for any company – it’s about the number of people they can put on their list on any given day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I haven’t dealt with a recruiter in the past 10 years who wasn’t a complete waste of space. I thought I’d found an exception a couple of weeks ago, but I was wrong.

The downside of LINKEDIN, where a lot of them are finding me. Other companies are just handing my LOIs over to recruiters who don’t even bother to read the material.

Freelance chat was fun, and I learned a few things about tiered levels of customer packaging. I have to think about how I can apply it.

The 15 GOP Senators who couldn’t be bothered to sit through yesterday’s trial should be refused a vote in it. So should the Senators who met with the Sociopath’s attorneys.

Supposedly, 800 vaccine appointments will open on Cape at noon today. I’m going to try to jump on one of them for my mom. We’ll see if it actually goes live, or if it’s like it usually is, where the link doesn’t work, and then, suddenly, all the appointments are “full.”

Every time I see Baker smirk through another press conferences, especially now that he thinks it’s FUNNY people are scamming seniors so they can go with them to vaccine appointments as a “caretaker” and get vaccinated, too – I want to smack that smirk right off his face.

Every other area of MA continues to get more vaccine doses than they can use. But the Cape remains a wasteland. We shouldn’t have to take a six hour round trip to get vaccinated.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We finished up a bunch of assignments, because they are on vacation next week (so we all have a break). They’d been assigned some work for the break, but we pushed through most of it last night, so they will actually, you know, HAVE A VACATION. Even though they can’t go anywhere.

Got my box quota purged yesterday. Hope I can do the same today. Then, there will be a dump run tomorrow morning. Garage is full of garbage and recycling from the purge.

Today, I will do a library run for a curbside pickup.

I need to spend time on the grant proposals, get out the interview questions for the other article, and work on a play that’s suddenly on deadline (It had been an open call for submission, but now has a deadline of Monday). Don’t know if I can get it in shape in time, but I want to try.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we all get vaccinated soon.

Published in: on February 12, 2021 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 268/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 16 — Chinese Lunar New Year  
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