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

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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

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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.

Fri. Feb. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 268/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 16 — Chinese Lunar New Year

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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.

Wed. Feb. 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 266/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 14 — More Snow

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Dark Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about how words are used (and mis-used) in job descriptions.

I was up way too early yesterday, but I got a lot done. I got some photo stuff done for a client, which will be built on today. I have to go in and actually look at the pieces before I can get them up on the client’s website, so that’s on the agenda for today.

Got the second part of the article into PDF format and sent it to those quoted in the article.

Did some research for the next two articles I was assigned. Interview requests start going out tomorrow.

Got out some LOIs.

Have a preliminary meeting (virtual) tomorrow at noon with a potential new client.

Had some good exchanges with some people from high school, in preparation for the upcoming 40th reunion.

Noodled a bit with stuff for the proposal. Will sit down and do some serious writing on that tomorrow and Friday. There’s another grant proposal coming up for which I want to apply, too, and I have to research budget figures for that.

Worked on contest entries. I have all the print books done in the first batch of one category, and am moving to the next category. I will do the digital entries when I’m finished with the print entries.

Got an email that there were two vaccine clinics this week here on Cape. Went to the site – no information live. It kept saying the clinics didn’t exist. But the email link kept sending me to the page that said the clinics didn’t exist. Kept going back over and over all day. Suddenly, there’s a statement that they’re all full.

If I’m not fast enough signing up, that’s luck of the draw. But when the site isn’t even live – how is it getting filled?

The disorganization and incompetence are enraging.

And Governor Baker, smirking in his briefing with “Hang on until you’re a priority.” Fuck you, Baker. People are DYING.

The Senate trial for the Sociopath’s conviction started yesterday. The Republicans have already decided not to convict, and that makes them as traitorous as the Sociopath. All of this, “oh, they’re scared and if it was a secret vote they’d convict” is complete and utter bullshit. They are NOT doing this because they are afraid of retribution or violence from the Sociopath’s supports. They are doing this because they AGREE with him. They wish the insurrection had succeeded the first time, and that their colleagues had been murdered. They have to ALL be removed.

We do not negotiate with terrorists, and they are terrorists, and must be so handled.

Snowed yesterday, but not enough so I have to shovel again. Managed to do a quick run to the library for curbside pickup.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids are doing really well. There’s some confusion about whether or not there will be a break next week, or if there’s going to be classes/homework group. We’ll have more details tomorrow.

Today will be stressful in the morning, but hopefully, I can join Remote Chat this afternoon, and then have a productive afternoon. It was too cold to scrub the basement floor yesterday, so I’m going to try to do that this afternoon. I need to have that space to move the newly sorted boxes.

Lots to get done, in a short period of time, and I need to stay focused.

At least I got some good work done on GAMBIT COLONY the past few days. That serves as a springboard to loosen creativity on other projects.

Wed. Feb. 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 259/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 7 — Holding Pattern in the Cold

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I have a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about one of the “gotcha” questions often used in interviews.

The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted here on Cape. More icy rain yesterday, high winds, but not the kind of snow that’s hit other areas. I’m grateful not to have to shovel, but I wish we had a little bit of white stuff making it all pretty.

Created the clip for the article that went live, and sent it and the link off to those who contributed quotes. Go out some LOIs. Worked on GAMBIT COLONY.

Someone with whom I was friends in first grade tracked me down. Our 40th HS reunion will be held, virtually, at the end of this month, and she’s hunting down classmates and their stories. We had a nice catch-up, I’m preparing the information they need and getting it out by the end of the week. I don’t keep in touch with many people I knew in elementary and high school, our lives have diverged so much, but it was pleasant to catch up.

It would be easy to stress about the reunion, but why? These people are no longer a part of my life. I wish them well, and I might enjoy an hour or so catching up on Zoom, but it’s the past, and I’m busy working on my future.

In the afternoon, I caught up on box purging, so I’ve back to where I wanted to be for this point in the week.

Still no luck getting a vaccine appointment from my mom. My State Senator is doing an information session tonight, which I will virtually attend, and maybe we can get some real information. He’s as frustrated with the Governor as the rest of us.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Steady work on homework. I’m so proud of them. We started talking about Black History Month. I mentioned, when I was in school and we read Black authors for BHM, and I asked why we had to wait until February, why we couldn’t read them all year, and someone in my school said, “Well, why would you want to?” which is just wrong on so many levels. I can’t see we’ve make much progress since then, and we need to.

Today, I have to go to the office for a few hours of overlap with colleagues. Hopefully, I can join Remote Chat in the afternoon, and then purge more boxes. I already have more than another carload of stuff to go to the dump.

Working on the book for review, working on contest entries, working on a pair of pitches for my editor.

And so it goes.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Jan. 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 254 — Work at a Steady Pace

image by Karl Eggers via pixabay.com

Friday, January 29, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Bitterly Cold

Yesterday’s Zoom meditation group was great yesterday. The leader always introduces us to wonderful techniques and possibilities.

Got an ad done for a client.

Worked on the article, finished it, checked quotes with one source, sent it off. The editor has a few suggestions, so I will turn those around today. I’m glad for them – there were a few problem spots I wasn’t sure how to tackle, and her guidance is a big help.

She also suggested another article, so I’m going to look for some sources and put together a pitch to send her next week.

The first part of the article, “In the Company of (Historical) Women Part I” is up. I want to put together the PDF for the contributors and send them the link, and then I will be promoting the heck out of it!

The landlord and the contractor roamed around the outside of the house in the snow, which seemed counter-intuitive to me, but whatever. The cats did not like it; usually they take a look out the window and then go back to sleep, but they didn’t like this guy.

Got out a bunch of LOIs. Finished reading WICKED AUTUMN, the first of G.M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series and really liked it. I’ve ordered the rest of the series.

Still trying to get my mom her vaccine appointments. One site is still down; the other claims all the appointments are booked. Governor Baker shrugs it off, saying the lack of doses aren’t his fault. Interesting, when the Sociopath from his own party was destroying everything, Baker at least put up the façade of fighting for us. Now that the other party is in charge, he’s happy to pass the buck. Unacceptable.

The short story about the ghost pirate ship was rejected, which made me sad. The letter was very nice – they got over 1400 submissions, and could only take 20. Still, I really love that story. I’ll take a look to see what needs tweaking and improving, and then look for another paying market.

Knowledge Unicorns was good; steady work on assignments. There’s a lot of pressure for the kids to go back to in-person learning, in the places where it’s being done. The parents and I are all united that’s not going to happen until they’re all vaccinated. Some of the kids will remain home-schooled, even when it’s safe to go back. They are doing better in this environment: fewer distractions, less bullying. They’re smart and love to learn, and they CAN do well remotely. The education system was failing them even before the pandemic, because it didn’t have room for their individuality and their intelligence. What I also love is how they have made friends with each other, and are in touch outside of the homework sessions, even though we’re all scattered around the country. And their parents now have each other as a support system, too.

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get a piece ready for that February 1 submission deadline. I don’t think I’ll have enough time to polish. We’ll see how I feel later today.

It’s bitterly, bitterly cold. I was going to do a library run for curbside pickup; now I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow? I’ll see how I feel in a few hours. That pushes a lot onto tomorrow, as far as the dump run and the grocery run. Plus, I need to get more ice melt. I’ll clean ash out of the fireplace later, so we can have the fire going all weekend. Maybe I’ll do some baking, too.

I’m going to do a couple of hours’ worth of work on a client’s website, and turn around the edits on the article. Then, I’ll work on the next article pitch, so I can send it to my editor early next week.

I HAVE to catch up on all the box purging that didn’t get done this week. Most of the weekend will focus on that, along with housework and errands, the book for review, contest entries, and maybe some work on a play.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Stay cozy!

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about tidying up one’s materials, with an eye to where one wants to move, career-wise.

Yesterday was one of those days when, even though I put in a long day at the computer, it felt like not a lot got done.

I got out a bunch of LOIs, worked on (but did not finish) my article, wrote two blog posts, did some client work, worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get any boxes purged from the basement, which made me feel like a failure. Means I have to catch up on that this afternoon and tomorrow, WHILE handling client work and finishing my article.

Because that’s the way it goes, when you don’t get something done. You have to dig deeper and get it done anyway.

One of the contest entries was outstanding, though, and is in the pile I’m making for possible winners and finalists.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We are back to dealing with their schoolwork, although we’re talking about the trial in the Senate, too. It’s important they understand its impact and importance to their future. It affects them directly.

An editor sent off a contract that will cover all the pieces she wants me to write for the year (and make sure I get paid on time). So that was nice. I signed it and sent it back this morning.

It started snowing late yesterday afternoon. I’d had the pre-storm headache since late morning, so it was a relief when it finally started. We didn’t get that much – maybe about 3”. But I will wrap up in about twenty minutes or so, if it’s light enough, and shovel the driveway and the front walk.

I have to spend some overlapping time at a client’s today, and I don’t want to wait to shovel until five minutes before I leave, and then be grumpy the whole time I have to be there. I’m grumpy enough that there’s any overlap.

I’m frustrated at the lack of information about scheduling my mother’s vaccine. Seniors 75+ are supposed to be able to get the first dose “starting Feb. 1” only there’s no way to start scheduling until Feb. 1. I’m going to call her doctor’s office this morning, and then maybe Whole Health, where she got her pneumonia and shingles shots when CVS kept giving us the runaround. I do NOT want her to go through CVS. It will be a nightmare. According to the Governor’s site, those with “comorbidities” will be contacted by their doctor to get the vaccine. Only I don’t know if the three surgeries and two cancers still count, since the last surgery had such a good prognosis. So I will get in touch with my doctor, too. I don’t plan on waiting around. I want those “Fauchi ouchies” for both of us, as soon as we can have them, and it’s more important to get my mom’s, because she is 96.

I hope today won’t be too stressful. I want to get home, decontaminate, finish my article, and purge boxes.

But now . . .it’s time to shovel snow.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on January 27, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!  
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Fri. Jan. 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 247 — Governor Just Wants Us to Keep Dying

image by Karolina Grabowska via pixabay.com

Friday, January 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Still dark out

Yesterday was a frustrating mish-mash.

Governor Baker is rolling back COVID restrictions, in spite of the fact that there were over 4000 new cases in the last 24 hours. Our numbers are higher than when we were on Stay-at-Home last spring, but, hey, keep people dying, why not? The curfew will be lifted Monday night. It’s not like it’s been enforced around here anyway; people started ignoring it as of New Year’s Eve.

Meditation was great, as always.

The landlord and a contractor were walking around the outside of the house, discussing the work that needs to be done – I’m hoping they wait until we’ve moved out, but I somehow doubt it, especially since I heard him say “whoever buys it” – which means he plans to sell it, as I suspected. That makes the move suddenly much more real. And ratchets up my anxiety as to where we will land.

I put together a portfolio package of B2B and B2C examples. I will polish it today, and then it’s ready to use.

Got out some LOIs.

Worked on the article. I need to stop leaving space for the last two quotes for which I’d hoped and just finish it without them. I have plenty of material.

Finished a mystery by a Swedish author that I enjoyed. SNOWDRIFT, by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy. It’s so interesting how differently non-English/American books are structured. Which details and backstory and tangents they use. I enjoyed the book for itself, and I learned something, as a writer.

Read another novel, by a different author, that angered me because it tried to justify sexual exploitation. Not just in the themes, but in the actual words on the page. It was okay for the protagonist to exploit this character because she was an awful person. Um, no.

But it also illuminated a piece of mine that I put aside because I couldn’t figure out a way to explore particular sex and power dynamics without being exploitative. Perhaps the answer is that those dynamics ARE exploitative, and ethical characters struggle and falter, but, ultimately, it is up to them to make the right choices in the end, or grow into them, or they aren’t worthy protagonists. Apologia for exploitation only cheapens any genuine love relationships, and why should the reader trust any of it? “It’s okay in this context because it’s a fantasy world” isn’t cutting it, so tear it apart and really explore the dynamics and the struggles.

In spite of being frustrated and angry with the book I read, at least it taught me something about how to rewrite a book I’ve struggled with. I’m grateful for that.

McConnell & Company are already being assholes. The Democrats need to crush them. Compromise now, and lose everything.

We really need to bring back the medieval cobradors to stand and serve as conscience to these asshats. Yeah, I know, they don’t actually have consciences or hearts or ethics or souls, but maybe it would at least make them uncomfortable.

And if you’re a Congress person carrying a weapon into the building, you should be thrown on the floor, cuffed, and thrown into a cell. Period.

Stop letting them get away with everything.

Knowledge Unicorns session was mostly about the inauguration last night, and the kids getting excited about poetry and song again. They’re going off to read more poetry; some of them want to try writing some poetry, some of them want to try writing songs.

My ear infection is still bothering me (especially dizziness/balance issues). My mother wasn’t feeling well last night, which, at her age, is always a worry.

I have to put my head down and push through a lot of work today, the article, client work, etc., and do a curbside pickup at the library.

The weekend has to be built around purging the basement. Have a good one.

Published in: on January 22, 2021 at 7:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 247 — Governor Just Wants Us to Keep Dying  
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Wed. Jan. 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 245 — Inauguration Day

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

No Retrogrades

Partly cloudy and cold

Inauguration Day

This is one of the most important historical days in my lifetime. The Sociopath will be gone (we hope, unless there’s another coup attempt, this one successful), and we will have intelligent, compassionate people in charge.

Who will be blocked by the seditionists who are still in Congress and their troops. They must all be removed. This cancer must be cut out and destroyed. Or it will come back worse.

I’m feeling like crap today, so I’m not going into the office. I can work remotely today, which I will, taking a break to watch the swearings-in around noon.

I worked on the article yesterday; it should be ready to go out by tomorrow. I did a nice, big chunk of client work. I got out some LOIs. I got a response from an LOI, but that’s not working out, because they lowballed me by $20K. That’s right – by 20 THOUSAND dollars. If we’re starting our discussions $20K apart — especially since the original brief for the project had it up at the rate that made it worth it for me to pitch or I wouldn’t have bothered– it would not bode well for us.

It’s disappointing, but it’s better to find out before we’ve started than at the first invoice.

Got out another pitch first thing this morning, for something interesting that landed on my desk late last night. I have a feeling they might want someone more academic for this project, but I liked it and I have samples along the lines of what they say they’re looking for, so I sent them off, and we’ll see. If I didn’t at least pitch, there’s NO chance at all.

We discussed the inauguration last night during the Knowledge Unicorns session. We’re spending a good deal of our time together lately on what’s happening in the world, rather than homework. The kids and their parents all intend to watch. As difficult as the past months and years have been, it drives home that history is not something that happens to someone else. WE are history, and we can shape it. In fact, it is our responsibility so to do.

It will be difficult to focus on anything until the swearings-in, but I will try. I’m sure the Sociopath will try something on his way out the door. Supposedly, he’s leaving at 8 AM, but I’ll believe it when it happens. It’s not surprising that he acts like trash since November – he’s always been trash. May he and his enablers finally face consequences for the damage and death they’ve caused.

There’s so much work to do, but I’m sure I’m not the only one entirely exhausted by the past five years. It’ll need to be like a relay race, working for justice and rebuilding, so each of us can take some time to recover and come back stronger.

Fingers crossed that today goes well, there’s only a minimum of violence, and none of our incoming chosen leaders are hurt or worse.

Published in: on January 20, 2021 at 7:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 245 — Inauguration Day  
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Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

Although it’s milder than normal for this time of year, it’s still cold and raw.

The Mid-Month check-in is up on the GDR site, and looking at how short the list is, I feel like crap.

Which is a shame, because I felt pretty good after yesterday’s work on the book proposal. It has to go out by Sunday, although I’m hoping to get it out today or tomorrow.

This particular organization’s guidelines are structured very differently than a traditional book proposal, so I’ve had to change my process to fit it. It’s a challenge, but in the right way. I feel good about the work I did. I don’t know if it’s what they want, but I have something solid that I can use, be it for them or somewhere else, and that feels good.

It was a good mix of finding the right resources to source for research to support the themes I the novel, and to talk about schedule and process. I need to move some material around today, and polish it. As I did my first couple of editing passes yesterday, I was alarmed by the overuse of passive voice and the overuse of adverbs. Thank goodness for edits. I’m also tightening, focusing, and clarifying.

A grant application hit my desk yesterday; it’s not a complicated process, and I might as well try. If I don’t apply, there’s no chance of getting it. But that will happen AFTER this proposal is out.

Once the book proposal is out, I have to turn my attention to the article for SCRIPTMAG. I have almost all of the material. Two sources did not get back to me with the requested quotes,  so I will move forward without them. That is due on Tuesday, so I’ll finish it over the weekend.

I finished the book for review, and will submit the review today. I have one more book assigned for review; I will do that this weekend. The first box of contest entries is supposed to arrive today, and once I process them, I will have to get started on them next week.

It felt really good, though, to spend the bulk of my energy on a single creative project yesterday. That’s the way I like to work. Large swaths of uninterrupted work time.

During our Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday, we discussed the impeachment process, and what needs to happen for the Senate to convict — and what can happen if they chose to remain loyal to a traitor.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we’re in for better things after what will be a chaotic week next week.

Published in: on January 15, 2021 at 7:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time  
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Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Still dark outside, but I think it’s pretty cold.

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, breaking down the cost when a company demands you make an “introductory video” as part of its toxic, one-way interview process. I knew the unpaid labor racked up lost income/billable hours, but I was shocked at how much more it was than I estimated.

Worked on the article; worked on the book proposal. I figured where I was getting in my own way and bogging down with the book proposal. It’s flowing better now. Got some client work done.

My friend Paula’s been urging me to adapt my short story “Help, No Questions Asked” into a series pilot. That would be so much fun. That’s been percolating at the back of my brain while I work on other things.

Got out nine LOIs to potential new clients. One, who claimed to want to hire more women, was immediately knocked off the list when they sent me a set of unpaid assessments in response to my LOI. It means they never read it, because my LOI clearly states I don’t do unpaid labor (be it tests or project-specific samples). I have a rate and a contract for that. However, I did have a nice exchange with a prospective client to whom I’d sent some materials late last week. Enjoyed it very much, so we’ll see how it goes.

Didn’t get much reading done; will have to spend more time on the book for review later today.

The Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday wasn’t about homework. It was the kids, the parents (and even my 96-year-old mom) talking about the domestic terrorism last week. We watched footage (nothing like having multiple devices running), including clips from Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and the BBC.

We talked about the Constitution, what it means to take an oath of office, what it means to put country over party – and the reverse. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, or that my opinions are the only ones, but we shared resources, talked about how Fox News and other disinformation channels were handling it, and consequences of actions.

It ran well beyond the scheduled time frame, but it was important. One of the kids admitted to not feeling safe anywhere, and not believing she ever would, and I think it’s heartbreaking. But that’s where we are.

In my lifetime, this has been the road we’ve been headed down since Reagan. I’m sure parts were put into play much earlier. This could have been stopped so many times, but we haven’t had a radical left to balance the radical right since the early 1970’s, and what’s now considered “far” left is a little bit right of center. Basic human decency is considered a “radical left” concept. People allowed themselves to be boiled like frogs for at least the past 50 years, probably longer.

You can’t “reconcile” or “unite” with people who are actively determined to kill you. You have to remove them from the equation. If you give them an inch, they’ll use it to reach over and slit your throat.

On that happy note, I’m gearing up for a stressful day in the office. I may have to miss Remote Chat, which will make me sad, but if I get enough done at the office today, I can focus on the book proposal (due on Sunday) and the article (due on Tuesday) for the next four days.

Stay safe, friends, and keep letting your elected officials know what you need them to do to fix this.

Published in: on January 13, 2021 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels  
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Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night

image courtesy of Gerhard G. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

12th Night/Epiphany/Start of Carnivale

Clearing up and cold

Today’s Ink-Dipped Advice post talks about starting with a clean slate and building your new work plan on that. Check it out.

Dreamed about herbs and spices last night, so I guess December will be delicious!

No idea what I’ll do for the 12 drummers drumming story, but I hope that will evolve as I work on the earlier pieces. There’s one possibility percolating, but it might be a little too wacky to fit the tone of the other pieces, although so far, they all have a kind of odd humor to them.  I’m also thinking of doing a 13th story that kind of wraps everything up.

Yesterday was a good day, although I didn’t get done as much as I’d hoped. Which seems to be my refrain, because I always want to do far more than makes sense to do.

I got some writing done in the morning (not a very good session). I started sending out interview requests for the article that was greenlit on Monday.

When senior shopping hours were over, I got into the car and did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned (as usual), but it’s always good to stay stocked up. Popped in next door to Christmas Tree Shops. There were only two of us in the enormous store, so we could stay far, far apart. I grabbed some stuff that was 60% off for next year.

Decontaminated everything, decontaminated myself. Got out more interview requests, and did background research. Was frustrated at people not having contact information on their websites. There were a couple of artists I would have liked to interview, but when trying to find contact information takes longer than the actual interview would, I have to stop and move on. I’m on a deadline.

Got out some LOIs. Refused a couple of people who believe that free labor is part of the interview process and moved on from them.

Worked on an ad for a client. Worked on a proposal that needs to go out next week. Did a bunch of admin.

Unsubscribing from a slew of lists last week was a good choice, although there’s still an amazing amount of admin that has to be handled every day. Last year, I set aside chunks of hours every few days, but it’s really better to handle it every day.

A book I ordered nearly a month ago finally arrived (not from Amazon – they’re not even trying to hunt for the books they lost).

The Knowledge Unicorns are taking an extra week offline. Everyone’s school needs are still being sorted out for the coming months.

Anxious about the Georgia Senate races. The news seems to be good, so far, but I’m not counting on anything until it’s finalized.

I have to go to a client’s office today, and expect that to be more stressful than it needs to be.  Then home, decontamination process, Remote Chat, and then, it’s time to start taking down the holiday decorations. It will take a few days, but everything needs to be well packed up this year, in anticipation of the move.

We had so much joy in this year’s decorations. We had the chance to really appreciate them this year, since we weren’t running around to this, that, and the other holiday event.

I should make a King Cake for tonight, but don’t know if I will.

Just focusing on getting things done today. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Published in: on January 6, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night  
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Wed. Dec. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 217 — Nearly at The Holiday Break

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Up early yesterday, and out the door a little after 7 AM to go to Plymouth to my trusted mechanic to get the car inspected.  I realized that it was my first time over the bridge since last December – when I got my car inspected.

In a normal year, I’d be horrified that I was turning into one of “those” people who refuse to foray beyond the bridge. But this year, hey, pandemic. We were supposed to Stay the F home, and I did so as much as I could.

The mechanic used his small business loan to transform one of his bays into a socially-distanced waiting room. Well set up – MORE than six feet between each seating area. One of the other customers brought his five-month-old, white, standard poodle puppy, who was so excited to play with all his new friends! Totally made my day. They all followed protocols there ALL the time – unlike the idiots here on Cape where I had the oil change, who not only refused to follow the mask mandate, but gave me a hard time for so doing.

The car passed inspection – I was thrilled! The mechanic and his crew were really touched that I took the time to individually wrap the cookies so that they were safe.

Driving back over the bridge took some time – lots of traffic. Once again, people are ignoring the edict not to travel during a pandemic, and we will have a grim January and February.

I stopped at the grocery store in Sandwich that was on my way home and got the last few things I needed for the holidays. I got some beautiful cod for tomorrow night’s paella. I even found a duck for New Year’s Day! That thrills me.

Home, decontaminated the groceries and put them away, then masked back up, loaded up the car with the cookie tins and made deliveries. Most were no or distanced contact. People were thrilled.

By the time I got back, it was nearly lunch time. Decontaminated myself, had lunch, and then spent the afternoon on client work and on reading the book for review. I’m nearly finished with it – I’ll finish it today and send off the review. Only a day late.

I also wrapped the presents to do under the tree. With “help” from Tessa and Willa, which was hilarious. They are getting along, most of the time now.

Crystal Bar has continued a negative pattern of behavior/lack of customer service with me, and, much as I love their product, I’m done. Too much hypocrisy. She has the right to run her business however she wishes. I have the right not to place my money there.

It’s a disappointment, but hardly life-changing. Hell, I made my own bath products for years. I can always start doing so again. I can also source similar products from other small business artisans, try them, and see with whom I am the best fit. That’s a stronger choice than every order/interaction being a stressful battle.

Done. Solved. Moving on.

Besides, I have a duck for New Year’s.

Last night was our Knowledge Unicorns online holiday party. Some of the kids started winter break at the end of last week. Others had a few days scattered in this week. But you know what they did? All on their own? I’d mentioned how lovely the original Dickens “Christmas Carol” novella is, and, ON THEIR OWN, they got copies of it, split up the parts, rehearsed, and did a dramatic reading of it. It was SOOO cool. What fun! I’m so proud of these kids.

It makes me sad to hear about so many kids/parents struggling and worrying how much their kids are losing doing remote learning, while I have a bunch of kids who are thriving.

This morning will be stressful at the client’s. But then I’m free to enjoy the holidays for the rest of the week, and I intend to do just that. Christmas has no religious or spiritual significance for me anymore, but I do enjoy a series of home-and-hearth traditions, and I can use the rest.

I also plan to do some writing.

I wish you peace, joy, good health, and happiness AT HOME this Christmas. I’ll catch up with you on the other side of the weekend.

Published in: on December 23, 2020 at 7:09 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 217 — Nearly at The Holiday Break  
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