Thurs. June 25, 2020: Surgery

mountains-757731_1280
image courtesy of Bessi via pixabay.com

If this is the post that comes up, it means my COVID-19 test yesterday was negative, and we’ve gone ahead with the surgery.

Fingers crossed it goes well, and I’ll see you on the other side next week!

Published in: on June 25, 2020 at 6:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. June 24, 2020: Isolation to Quarantine (Pre-Op)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid/storms expected

Up and down day yesterday. Didn’t feel very productive.

Got out two LOIs. One is a very long shot, but it’s interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot, and hope they read my cover letter.

Got the first pair of A/B ads done for a client. Will work on the second pair today, along with a stand-alone ad.

Looking for another survey platform. I have two or three I’m interested in trying. I’ll let you know if any of them actually work.

Got my call in the early afternoon yesterday. My COVID test this morning is at 10 AM. If it comes back negative, I will get the time for tomorrow’s surgery and get started on the pre-op prep (that’s different from the isolation/quarantine). I already know the medication I have to take for several hours will make me seriously nauseated. Not looking forward to it.

As soon as I’ve taken the test, I’m quarantined away from anyone else in the house. I’ll spend the rest of the day in my office, sleep in the living room, have exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom (which I’ve scrubbed down this morning).

Cleaned the house yesterday, so that everything is in good shape for the next few days.

Put in the Chewy order yesterday. They were out of a few things I needed, but I adjusted. The order already shipped. They have been the best company to deal with throughout this whole pandemic. When they needed to slow things down, they did, they communicated clearly, and they fulfilled what they said they would do. I wrote them a couple of times to thank them.

The Comcast bill arrived yesterday. Payment has to clear by next Tuesday or else. So payment goes out today. I can’t believe how much I had to fight with them to get a damn bill. They want you to pay, but won’t tell you how much. Because they want you to go on AutoPay, so they can take whatever amount of money they feel like out of the account. They are an awful company.

Finished the book for review, wrote the review, sent it off. There will hopefully be another assignment in the next few days.

Reading C.E. Murphy’s MAGIC AND MANNERS, which is an interesting re-imagining inspired by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

For the record, the Aunt Jemima bottle was never allowed in our house growing up because it was racist. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, my parents felt that way.

I want it to be Friday. The next 48 hours will be difficult.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do. Hopefully, I can get in some decent writing, although I feel as inspired as wilted lettuce.

I can smell the storm coming in. Hopefully, it won’t hit full force until after I get back from the COVID test.

See you on the other side.

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

June 22, 2020: Intent for the Week — Tranquility

lake-1030810_1920
image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

I am so sorry. I don’t know why this didn’t post when it should have.

I managed to hold to last week’s intent, for the most part.

This week, I am being ruthless about taking care of myself to go into surgery.

I plan to focus, as much as possible, on tranquility, and, from there, pull up the strength to move gracefully through the surgery and recovery.

It’s already been challenged a few times today, but I’m dealing with those challenges with as much practicality and humor as possible.

Peace, friends.

The writing post will go up early tomorrow, I promise!

Published in: on June 22, 2020 at 11:07 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists

Friday, June 19, 2020
Day Before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot
Juneteenth

Sorry this is late. Busy morning.

I want to smack some of these local racists upside the head, complaining that there’s any acknowledgement of Juneteenth. And the insistence that the hate rally go on tomorrow in Tulsa is revolting.

WBZ News Radio is lying about cases in MA going down. The numbers are better, but I’m tracking the daily numbers, and they are headed back up. Not as fast as I thought they would, but they’re moving up again.

Restaurants can have people dine inside starting next week. I won’t be one of them. Not for a long, long time.

Yoga studios are talking about opening for classes and letting people take off their masks as soon as they’re on their mats. Um, no. In an enclosed space? Six feet isn’t far enough apart, even WITH masks. I won’t be an a space where people take their masks off and do fire breath. No effing way.

Yesterday was fine. Client work in the morning, Freelance Chat, reading in the afternoon. Some plotting and percolating on a couple of projects. It’s always difficult to explain how the percolation process works. It’s mental mapping, or clustering, or organizing. One idea leads to the next and the next and the next, and suddenly, there’s a piece and I scramble to write notes before I lose it.

I got some planting done in the afternoon, too: more cucumbers, lettuce, mixed greens, two kinds of sunflowers, beans. I hope to get some peas planted on Sunday, which is the next planting day.

Was awakened around midnight by sirens. Lots and lots of sirens. Don’t’ know what was going on.

Amazon is being bitchy about the refund. They gave me the refund; now they want to rescind it. I guess that’s it for me and Amazon, although I like using them to support authors with books on Kindle. But their lack of customer service and their customer-screwing policies are not acceptable.

Up early. Geared up and loaded the car, headed to the dump for the recycling. Dropped everything off. One of the guys who works there was very upset. He said, in all the months he’s been on shift, I’m the only one who respects social distancing. By January or February, he expects to be either very sick of dead. It’s not fair to put employees through that.

Ban the bitches who won’t follow the guidelines.

Made a quick stop at Shaw’s – and, yes, it could be quick. I only needed a few things, there was no line, everyone was masked and distancing, easy peasy in and out. Trader Joe’s next – again, I timed it so there wasn’t a line. In and out in 20 minutes. I needed a bit more, but I was able to focus and get it done.

Almost like pre-pandemic days.

But the majority of the license plates are out of state, and you KNOW these bitches aren’t quarantining for 14 days. It’s the tourists who are causing a problem at the grocery store. One chickie poo tried to run in to Trader Joe’s without a mask, jumping the line (as I was going out, a line had formed), saying she just needed to run in for a few things to go to the beach and it would just take a minute. No, bitch. Put on your mask and get in line.

Another chick (because most of the badly-behaved I’ve encountered are not only other women, but other WHITE women) came up to me as I was loading the car and said, “Oh, just give me your mask so I can go into the store. You don’t need it anymore.”

At this point in the game? That’s like asking me to give her my underwear. No. Just no.

Home, full disinfectant protocols for all the items and for me. Even though it was early in the day, I was exhausted.

Taking care of some admin, finishing laundry, working on the book for review, maybe doing some mending this afternoon.

My NEW YORKER subscription has started, and I’m so pleased. Can’t wait to read the issue that arrived yesterday (and is in quarantine).

Hoping I get in some good writing sessions and some good basement-purging sessions.

Juneteenth ritual later tonight, and, tomorrow, it’s the Summer Solstice. With a solar eclipse. And then we start losing daylight every day.

Next week will be challenging, both mentally and physically. I’m doing what I need for my and my family’s wellbeing, and to hell with everyone else.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

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

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.

Wed. June 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 30 –Destruction & Pain

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Goes Retrograde Tomorrow

Buckle up, people; starting tomorrow, we have five difficult retrogrades going on.

I’m late getting up the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice. I have a feeling it will be mid-late afternoon.

Yesterday was painful and a lost day all the way around. Woke up still exhausted, still with a migraine, but hoping for a better day. However, THREE neighbors were cutting down perfectly healthy trees ALL DAY LONG.

Cutting down healthy trees is painful to me on an emotional level. But, as someone who suffers from hyperacusis, and repetitive machine noise is one of the worst contributors, I was in agony. All day.

Couldn’t be creative. Did some client work, but not happy with it.

Finally, in the late afternoon, they were done, and, for about twenty minutes, there was some quiet so I could put Willa in her playpen and take her out on the deck. Before, you know, the idiots with leafblowers started.

I moved here because I need quiet. Not just on an emotional level, which is important, but on a physical level, because of hyperacusis. One of the major reasons for moving to Cape Cod was for quiet. Yet it’s regularly as noisy or noisier than it was living on 42nd St. and Eighth Avenue in NYC. Traffic, sirens, repetitive machine noise. And, around here, illegal fireworks.

Crawled into bed early. This morning, I still have a migraine, and there’s a lot of pain still in my ears, but I’ll deal. I’m hoping to get some decent work done on BARD’S LAMENT. An editor asked me to pitch some articles (I’ve written for this publication before, quite often). So I have to come up with something. Or, I should say, I should come up with something. They pay fast, and I’ve used them when I needed quick cash. The least I can do is pitch something interesting when they’re short.

Have to be onsite at a client’s for a few hours this morning. Not looking forward to that, because each week, she pushes more and more to act like the virus is gone and everything’s back the way it was.

It will never be back; something new has to be built.

So that adds another level of stress to my day.

I’m hoping to do a curbside pickup for a library book today, and then make it back in time to decontaminate and settle in for Remote Chat.

And then, hopefully, get some other work done in the afternoon, if my dumbass neighbors aren’t destroying something else (loudly).

Hope your week is going well.

Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It was cool enough last night for the heat to kick on.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, “Just Rest”, which I have to take to heart this week.

Up and down weekend. Not as productive as I wished, but I got work done. It just wasn’t what I needed to get done.

I felt as creative as wilted lettuce on Friday, so I concentrated on admin tasks. Cleared out a couple of inboxes, dealt with things, got out some LOIs.

I can’t remember if I made the new curtains for the bedroom on Thursday or Friday. Sheers with small roses on them, a little out of character for me, but they’re nice.

Saturday morning, geared up and went to Star Market early (after dropping my library books in the bin). People were masked, and there weren’t a lot in there, so it wasn’t bad, even though they don’t always follow the arrows.

On the way home, I saw lots of people out and about. All unmasked. All acting like nothing’s happened.

Basically, we stayed home to give the powers that be time to come up with solutions to keep us alive, and they did nothing. Now, they just want us to go back out there and die for their profit.

Still getting daily emails claiming my package will be delivered that day (whatever day it is). Of course, it’s not. Now, UPS marks the excuse as “emergency or natural disaster.” Um, no. There haven’t been any emergencies or natural disasters in the 11 miles between the facility and the house in the past ten days. It was either Friday or Saturday when the UPS truck drove right past the house, but didn’t stop.

Absolutely unacceptable.

If my package isn’t important enough for them, then they should hand it off to USPS, like they did the last one. At least USPS can be bothered to deliver.

UPS seems to forget that the only reason they exist is to deliver packages. If they can’t do that, then they need to be broken up.

Most of the weekend was taken up by GAMBIT COLONY revisions. I planned to spend an hour or two in re-reads. That piece is my favorite stress reliever. But I got caught up in it. I revised books 3 & what I have of 4. Book 4 is nearly finished. Book 5 is an interlude book, and I have bits and pieces of it done, and Book 6 is in basic outline.

Once all six books are done, I will do a big pass over them for continuity and hand them off to the editor. As we do the editor-based revisions, I will do the Series Bible, which is complex.

The plan, once the first six books are edited, is to release one a month over the course of six months. Although I have ideas for a few more books in the series, whether or not anything will come of them remains to be seen, and will be contingent upon how well the first six books do. They are of a piece; while they don’t act as cliffhangers, each book is a specific part of the journey.

I’ve been joking about the series being a “creative soap opera” since it deals with the behind-the-scenes filming of a television show. But, really, that’s what it is. And not your typical, clichéd, bitchy idiocy. But an exploration of creative process under pressure; some of it is a creative utopia I wish existed, some is about the actual conflicts that come up.

We’re looking at a 2022 release, but it could get pushed back, again, because of other contracts that need to be finished first.

If there are further books down the line, they will have to deal with the pandemic and how it affects the show. Maybe by then, I’ll have a better idea of how things actually work out.

Providing I survive. Which, when your government and your bosses are doing what they can to make sure one doesn’t, becomes a challenge.

I got a bit of yard work done. Not as much as I should have. Cut back some invasives. Did not get the front finished, which is something I need to do this week if the weather holds.

A lot of this week is getting in what I need for next week’s surgery and recovery. I think I have most of it; will get a few last things at the end of the week, and then play it as safe as I can until I have my COVID test next week, and, if it comes back negative, the surgery.

At each phase of the process, depending on what happens, there are different sets of protocols to follow, so it’s just one step at a time.

I decided, since GAMBIT COLONY is my stress-relief project (as complex as it is), that it will be my carrot. If I finish what I need to write that day, I get to spend some time on GAMBIT COLONY. If I don’t, no GAMBIT.

That should motivate!

Had weird dreams all weekend. Sunday night into Monday I had a good one, which was working on a Shakespeare production with Peter Dinklage. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Decent first writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Monday morning.

Headed in to the office. It was quiet for most of my stint, and I was on my own. A bit of overlap with a stressed out co-worker. There’s nothing I can do to help her. I’ve tried. I attempt to lend a sympathetic ear to her venting, but I leave feeling bruised from the negativity.

Home, got out some LOIs, had a really nice preliminary online interview with a company based in Australia. I don’t have enough expertise in their field, so I doubt they’d hire me, but the actual process was a pleasure. That is so rare when so many of these recruiters and application places either bait and switch or are so demeaning in the initial contact that I stop the process right there.

I’m so weary, weary all the way into my bones, running deep. Having a migraine didn’t help, either.

I took a two hour nap (I’m not a napper). It didn’t help.

Slogged through making dinner. Read a bit, went to bed early. Felt no better after nine hours of sleep.

The UPS package finally arrived. It wasn’t delivered for so long because it was small (smaller than I expected). Therefore, not important enough. They should have just handed it off to USPS, and not lied every day that it was going to be delivered.

I already decided NOT to buy a couple of things in the past few days because the companies use UPS to ship.

Ron Perlman taking Ted Cruz to the woodshed was funny as hell. Cruz behaved completely inappropriately for a sitting Senator – especially one who allowed the Sociopath to publicly trash both his wife and father. Perlman is smart, talented, and has integrity – everything Cruz does not.

The Supreme Court decision saying the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT was important. I was not impressed with Gorsuch’s opinion on it, and Alito’s disagreement was appalling and from the past century. But it passed, and the Supreme Court actually served justice and our population, which it hasn’t always done.

I’m hoping to have a good day both on the fiction front and the client front today, and mentally prepare for a difficult day onsite tomorrow.

But I still have a migraine, I’m weary unlike any exhaustion I’ve ever had before, and it will be a struggle. Hope it’s all better on your end.

Mon. June 15, 2020: Intent for the Week — Firm Kindness

incense-2042096_1920
image courtesy of truthseeker 08 via pixabay.com

I failed woefully on last week’s intent. It was a rough week.

This week, I will attempt firm kindness.

Holding boundaries, but with kindness.

Let’s hope I have more success than I did last week!

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on June 15, 2020 at 4:50 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 15, 2020: Intent for the Week — Firm Kindness  

Fri. June 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 25 – I Was “That One” Unfortunately

Friday, June 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and humid

The writing has not gone well this week, and that’s sent me off-balance in everything else. I have been frustrated and angry and unproductive on too many fronts.

At least yesterday, I got in some decent client work, got out some LOIs, and participated in a lively Freelance Chat.

The two books recommended to me that I bought the other day turn out to be written in present tense, so that’s a no-go for me. Not returning them, though, because the authors should get their royalties. That was me going on a recommendation instead of actually reading a sample before I bought, and on me.

Read a charming book by Elizabeth Hunter called SUDDENLY PSYCHIC. I liked it a lot, especially the friendship among the three women.

I also finished reading Lilith St. Crow’s novella about a kangaroo shifter and a witch, set in LA, which was really fun.

The vendor of the missing package sent the daily email swearing it would be delivered last night. Of course, it wasn’t. I pitched a massive fit and got a refund. Because asking nicely all week to get a solution to this problem did nothing. I hate being “that one” who pitches a fit, but customer service reps just shrug and say there’s nothing they can do. Then they’re not “customer service” reps – they’re representing the business interests, not helping the customer. So I was relentless, until I got the refund. Well, partial refund. This company never gives full refunds.

They told me to go ahead and keep the stuff when it arrives, but it’s never going to arrive, so I won’t worry about it.

Which is fine. It was stuff I wanted, that was both useful and would give me pleasure. It wasn’t necessities.

So let the package sit on the truck for damn ever and not be delivered. My money’s been returned, and I’m done.

UPS has made ONE BILLION dollars in profit so far this year, according to the report TDU got their hands on. They made a killing (pun intended) during the pandemic.

They can damn well drive a package 11 miles in a week.

Hell, with that kind of profits, they could hire a private driver and get it personally delivered.

So, yeah, losing my business won’t hurt them one little bit. But not doing businesses with companies who use them will make my life less stressful.

PS — I got the daily email from the vendor, again swearing the package would be delivered today. I just laughed, and moved on with my day. Never gonna happen. It will never be delivered. At this point, I’m okay with it. I’ll just ignore the emails. Not delete them — I’ll keep them as evidence. But not actually expect the delivery and rearrange my day for it.

The Narcissistic Sociopath is having one of his hate rallies In Tulsa, OK on Juneteenth. The date and location of the 1921 race massacre.

Of course it’s deliberate.

What a loathsome individual.

At the same time, I am not participating in the social media campaign to send him hurtful photos on his birthday. That’s mean to be mean, and demeaning to everyone involved. I won’t do it. Or support it.

Still no local coverage of Tuesday’s processional. The lack of coverage in itself is racist. Typical for this area.

Today, will try to get back on track with the writing. If the storm clears out and the light is good enough, some mending or sewing. By the time I was done on the computer yesterday, the clouds had come in, and the light wasn’t good enough for sewing. Let’s hope this weekend is better. I’m eager to see if I retain any of those wardrobian skills. I was never a brilliant stitcher, but I’m better at building from scratch than at alterations.

Still haven’t found the catalyst for the Susanna Centlivre play. Need to do some more digging. The book I have isn’t helping as much as I thought it would.

Onward, one word at a time. Best we can do.

Have a great weekend. I didn’t do so well with my intent this week. So let’s hope it gets better next week.

June 11, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 24 — Trying to Get the Week Back on Track

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

New post up over on Gratitude and Growth about progress in the garden.

Some stuff going on with a client that is inappropriate to discuss publicly, so I won’t. But it’s causing additional stress. It has little to do with the work itself, but a lot to do with the work situation.

Annoyed that there is zero coverage about the procession to honor George Floyd on Tuesday, that was lead by the head of the local NAACP, but they show the protests led by white people all over the Cape, as if to say, “See? We care.”

The beauty and sorrow of the procession has stayed with me, and gotten me thinking about a lot of things. Including about how what I thought I wanted my life to look like, way back years ago, was deeply rooted in unrecognized racism/colonialism. I mean, even wanting a Victorian house – the Victorians got that architecture and all that STUFF on the backs of people they wouldn’t even let into the houses for tea, unless they were the ones making the tea and bringing it into the parlor for other guests. It’s not that people who like the architecture and want to restore and live in Victorian houses are awful, but we need to look at how and why these houses were built. Then we can turn them into something better.

About damn time the Confederate flag was banned from places like NASCAR. It should be banned everywhere in this country. I never understood why it was ever allowed. Confederates were traitors. They seceded and created their own country because they wanted to profit from unpaid labor and treat human beings worse than work animals. On top of that, they LOST. We’ve allowed their descendants and followers to moan about “northern aggression” and “northern oppression” – to romanticize their inhumanity and play the victim — for around 150 years. It was never “right” to own human beings, and we won a war about it. Any symbols of the Confederacy outside of a history class or a museum should have been banned immediately.

Lousy writing day on fiction yesterday, although fine with client work and LOIs.

Remote chat was fun, as it always is.

Baked an orange hazelnut chocolate pound cake from a Moosewood recipe. I’m still having trouble getting the center to bake through properly, while the outside is getting overbaked. I have to figure that out. It’s still really good, but I want it to be evenly baked.

The package that was supposed to be delivered on Saturday finally turned up, thanks to the USPS, who got it from UPS, who couldn’t be bothered to deliver it because it was a small package.

The quality of the contents was very good, but I still wouldn’t do business with the company again after their condescending response to my frustration.

The other package, which was supposed to be delivered last Friday, and has been sitting in the facility 11 miles away, and been on the truck THREE TIMES and not delivered, still hasn’t shown up. Nor has UPS responded to my complaints.

Companies have pushed for re-opening and act like it’s normal. So now they can’t whine that they can’t provide normal service.

Oh, wait – treating their customers like crap IS normal for UPS. That’s right. I forgot.

Don’t get my wrong, the drivers are great and working their asses off. It’s the administrators who are useless.

Lucy Burdette recommended two books, so I bought them (eBooks) and plan to enjoy them this weekend. Along with reading the book I have for review.

I hope to get in some good writing time today, both on the book and for a client, get out some LOIs. Maybe do a bit of yard work, purge a few boxes from the basement, and get started on my sewing projects. I have a nice, big stack. Since I don’t plan to go clothes shopping in a store any time soon, I might as well use my apparel stash and make some cool new pieces exactly the way I want them. There’s a lovely piece of fabric that I’m going to make up in a simple design (no pattern), that will go well with some basic black pants I want to make from a Vogue pattern. Plus, I found some great fabric that will make lovely new summer curtains for the bedroom, to replace the pair of lace panels that have gotten a bit raggedy.

If there’s decent sunlight the next few days, maybe I can also get the mending done.

While I sew, I can also work on plot points in the books.

Time to turn this stressful week around.

June 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 23: Mourning and Smaller Irritations

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Weather reports say we’re in a heat wave here? Um, where? I’m still wearing sweaters.

I’d rather have it cool than hot, though. Not complaining! Promise!

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about how shopping local is sometimes the wrong choice.

Yesterday was just frustrating all around. Lousy first writing session. Geared up and went to Trader Joe’s. Barely a line, which was nice, and everyone masked and in the distancing groove. In and out in 40 minutes, a record since this all started.

They have to reconfigure the lines, because Christmas Tree Shops opens on Thursday, and needs the space in front of their store for their own lines.

Client work was fine. Got a good chunk of work done for a client. Got out some LOIs.

Got an email from one vendor swearing UPS would deliver the package last night. The package which was been marked “out for delivery” for three days, and never shown up. Of course, it didn’t, and the vendor refuses to do anything about it. Useless.

The other vendor sent me a cloying, condescending email about how it can take up to 18 days to receive the package. Um, 18 days? To go 11 miles? One of the reasons I ordered from that company and not one who sells a similar product is they said 3-8 days. 18 days is not acceptable. Won’t be doing business with them again. Awful company.

The procession honoring George Floyd was simple, moving, and poignant. It had the feel of al funeral procession (even though he was laid to rest in Houston, earlier in the day). I chose to be in the moment for it, to experience it instead of recording it, to be with the emotions. It was the right choice for me, to genuinely feel the impact, instead of watching it through a lens.

I guess a lot of others felt the same way, because there’s nothing on social media from the event itself (that I’ve found), just that it would happen. The part that disturbs me about it is there is NO coverage by any of the local papers or websites. I shouldn’t be surprised, in this bastion of right-wing propaganda and stupidity.

I didn’t go back with them to the starting point in Dennis. I peeled off once we were done at the College up the way, because it was only 3 miles from home. It made more sense than driving back to Dennis and then driving home.

With surgery scheduled for just over two weeks, I’m going to continue to be as much of a recluse as possible. I want to get it over and done with.

I hope to have a decent first writing session of the day this morning, then head onsite to work for a client for a few hours. Then back for Remote Chat, and other work this afternoon.

Tomorrow and Friday, I need to catch up on a lot that went astray Monday and Tuesday.

I wish I could get over this overwhelming exhaustion.

The virus numbers for the state keep fluctuating. They go down a bit, then make a jump, then go down a bit. But overall, they are climbing back up. Which, of course, is being ignored in the re-opening push.

One foot in front of the other, and just keep plodding along. That’s all I can do. I haven’t felt creative at all these past few days, and that throws everything else out of balance.

 

Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There’s a post called “Ride the Dragon” up on the GDR site, about trying to maneuver through all the chaos. Because there’s plenty of chaos.

Friday was just a damn roller coaster, with that eclipse. Eclipse in Sagittarius during four retrogrades. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again any time soon.

I did, however, have an excellent day’s work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, which made up for a lot of other stuff.

I’ve been invited to be a guest on a podcast next month. If we can work out the dates and times, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Had to do a curbside pickup, but communications had gotten confused, so it didn’t happen, but then we made arrangements and it did, and it was fine. I must have written the time down wrong.

With any luck, the latest Comcast battle is resolved. Why they texted me a threat when I haven’t received a bill, and I’m not scheduled to receive a bill until June 16 and don’t owe them any money is beyond me. It’s very typical of Comcast, but I’m sick of their crap. We seem to have worked it out. Not that anything but the laptop will connect to the network, but as long as the laptop is going, I will deal. To threaten to cut off the internet for an unpaid bill that hasn’t even been sent yet and certainly isn’t due yet is not what I consider customer service.

But then, Comcast doesn’t give a damn about their customers, because they are the only option.

Anyway, by 10:30 in the morning on Friday, I was done with PEOPLE and decided to spend the rest of the day in my fictional worlds.

And then UPS, who claimed my package was on the truck and out for delivery early in the day, now claims I “might” get the package by the 10th. WTF? This is the second time in a month that they claim a package is on the truck for delivery, and then, suddenly, it’s nowhere to be found. Yarmouth is only a few miles away. It’s not that hard to get from there to where I live.

Fortunately, Friday’s package didn’t have anything date-and-time sensitive; but Saturday’s package did.

Saturday, I was up early after lots of weird dreams. Wrote a chapter on BARD’S LAMENT. Got geared up and went to Star Market for groceries, including the stuff I need for the pre-op. I didn’t find everything I needed, but most of it. People were masked, they distanced. I found a jar of yeast for baking, and feel rich. I can make lots of bread (although soon it will be too hot to make bread).

Came home, went through full disinfectant protocols, did the disinfectant laundry, did the regular laundry, got through a pile of email, got out an LOI.

There were a couple of other places where I almost sent out an LOI, but as I dug into the companies, some red flags went up, and I decided not to.

Most of Saturday was about writing. I wrote 21 pages (two chapters) on BARD’S LAMENT and it was glorious to be back in the swing of it.

Of course, after 21 pages, I was out of words and practically a blithering idiot.

Saturday’s package from UPS didn’t show up, either. That’s three packages in the last month that make it as far as Yarmouth and then no one knows where they are for a few days, until I pitch a fit and they track them down. UPS, on their website, is trying to blame protests. If it was a delaying in getting to the Cape, it would make sense. But the packages get to Yarmouth, 11 miles away, and then vanish for days. It takes longer to travel the last 11 miles than 3000 miles across the country. Makes no damn sense at all.

Up early on Sunday. Wrote another chapter (10 pages) on BARD’S LAMENT. I was very happy with it, especially since I didn’t know how to fill the chapter, but needed to, because it had to be Jared’s chapter, not Sylvie’s, and I came up with something really cool that will serve the plot and feed into the series arc.

I tried not to feel too smug about it, because then it would come back to bite me in the butt.

Got some yard work done out in the front beds. Cut back a lot in the front and the sides. I still have to haul some debris to the back, and rake out the front beds, but it looks better. The hostas are taking over.

My friend sent me the next draft of her screenplay. I started reading it and couldn’t stop. I really like what she’s doing with it.

That got me thinking about two of my screenplays that are languishing. I re-read VISCERAL INVISIBLES, a paranormal action/adventure/romance. I did some tweaks, but, overall, I’m happy with it. I need to do some polishing and then decide where I want to submit. I’m worried about one scene in the first third that’s on the long side, but it’s necessary to interaction. The rest of the scenes and the pace are nice and tight. The pace in the long scene is good, too, and it’s just the two main characters, but it’s longer than standard for a screenplay.

Now that I have the laptop, I have to get new scriptwriting software. I hope I won’t have to retype everything. I’m trying Trelby, and not loving it so far. I can’t edit what I import, so what’s the damn point? I know eventually I will just have to suck it up and get Final Draft, but that’s not in the budget right now.

I sent it off to a friend to read, even though there’s formatting wonk.

UPS still has my packages in Never-Never Land. Maybe they’ll show up at some point.

Monday, I was up early. Had a decent first session on BARD’S LAMENT.

Put some checks into the ATM (thank goodness for hand sanitizer in the car). Went onsite for a client. I was on my own for most of it, got a lot done, had a bit of safe overlap with a colleague, got out.

Had to stop at CVS to get my prescription for the pre-op. They filled it this time. Not looking forward to it.

CVS was packed. But they’re enforcing masks, and, while I was there, made someone who tried to come in without a mask leave. That’s the way it should be. Not “suggested” or “encouraged.” Follow the damn guidelines or get the hell out.

I complain a lot about CVS, but in this case, they were right.

Took me over THREE HOURS to pay my AT&T bill. Tried putting it through on the automated system, the way I always do. It wouldn’t work. Sent me round in an endless loop. There better not be multiple pulls on the account. Kept sending me to a customer service rep and disconnecting me. Tried to pay online. The online system said I don’t exist. We went round and round for that a few times, until it finally admitted the system was down. Tried customer service again – they “can’t” process the payment because THEIR system is down. I HAVE to process online. Only online is down, but the only thing the rep is allowed to say is that I’ve been “given other options.” The fact that the options DON’T WORK doesn’t matter. Tried to get through on social media. They claimed to help and sent me right back into the system that DOESN’T WORK BECAUSE IT’S DOWN.

I finally managed a work-around into the online system, past the system error and paid the damn bill.

They were dumb enough to send me a survey about my customer experience. Not that it will make a difference, but they got an earful.

Time to find a new carrier.

T-Mobile sucks. Verizon sucky-sucks (including adding illegal charges into their bills). Now AT&T sucks. I’m running out of options. Maybe if telecommunications regulations were actually ENFORCED so companies like these carriers and ISPs like Comcast HAD to follow the rules, it wouldn’t be such a mess.

Using COVID as an excuse is no longer an option. If businesses get what they’ve wanted, as they have, with reckless re-opening, and people are running around pretending it’s “normal” – you who have insisted on the re-opening no longer have the option of using COVID as an excuse for screwing your customers. You don’t get it both ways.

Time to dismantle the major companies.

Time to eat the rich.

Use salt, pepper, and some seasoning. They’re bound to give you heartburn.

So I lost a half day of work trying to pay a fucking bill. I wasn’t even arguing the bill. All I was trying to do was PAY it. How messed up is that?

After getting ahead on my writing, I fell behind because losing a half day means I lost the gains. What I’d banked is gone.

Managed to get out a couple of LOIs, though.

UPS again didn’t bother to deliver the packages. They delivered next door, so it’s not like they’re not around. When I contacted them, I was told, again, it’s “the shipper’s problem.” One shipper is known to me; I got in touch and they are looking into it. The other shipper is a new small business that I tried, and I got in touch. I haven’t heard back yet, but they’re in California and are a small business, so it might take a few days. But I’m not sure I’ll do business with them again. It SEEMS the package was handed off to the post office, but it wasn’t delivered through them either. This particular item was something I NEEDED. I’d ordered it with plenty of time to get it here, and it’s still not.

Now, if UPS would shoot me an email when there’s a delay and say, “Hey, sorry you didn’t get it, it’ll be there tomorrow” or, “We made a mistake, it went on the wrong truck, we’re bringing it back as fast as we can” – actual customer service – I’d be fine. Mistakes happen, we’re all under pressure.

But this attitude that it doesn’t matter, and they don’t know or care WHERE it is, and it’s the shipper’s problem – nope.

I also have to start taking screen shots of the tracking, because they manipulate information and then claim I didn’t see what I saw. So, moving forward, screen shots every time I check the tracking it is. Another burden on the consumer because the business can’t be bothered to do their jobs or be honest with their customers.

That adds another layer to whatever shopping I do moving forward. I will now have to contact the company to make sure they don’t ship via UPS, because if they do, I’m going to have to pass on whatever it is unless it’s an absolute necessity.

When I lived in NY, I avoided UPS as a shipper whenever possible. Their policy was they did not deliver to residential addresses during day time hours. The fact that I worked remotely and then worked at the theatre at night didn’t matter. It was a residential address; therefore, they would only deliver after 6 PM. If I wasn’t there to receive the package, well, they tried, and, after a few days, they’d send it back.

The pandemic forced them to acknowledge that people actually do work remotely, but for years I had to lose packages because they refused to deliver to me during the day. Or I had to have them sent to a nearby office. Or just not buy from a company that shipped via UPS.

If they’re short on drivers because drivers are getting sick – we need to know that, too. Because it wouldn’t surprise me. The Fed Ex drivers are masked. I have yet to see a UPS driver masked. The USPS drivers, it’s hit and miss.

Again, if you’re going to push for this reckless re-opening and demand that people run around putting their lives in danger for your profit, you don’t then get to blame the virus or the protesters when you don’t’ deliver the service for which you’re being paid.

And, as far as I’m concerned, the blaming the protestors stance UPS has taken on their website is unacceptable.

Again, a couple of little packages aren’t that big a deal with the world burning down. But the fact that these businesses are using the pandemic and the protestors as excuses to not do what they’re paid for when they’ve been part of the push for the reckless re-opening is not okay.

At least I had a good discussion with one of my state senators about including labor in the re-opening process. He confirmed that Governor Baker has not included labor in the committee that advises him on the phased openings. But on the local committee, of which my senator is a part, there are representatives from labor, especially unions. So that’s sort of helpful, although the construction guys are notorious for not wearing masks.

But it was a good overall discussion about different problems and different options. I appreciate that my senator takes the time to have a conversation, not respond with platitudes and sound bytes.

Slept badly, up early. I hope I’ll have a good first writing session of the day. Then, I have to gear up and hit Trader Joe’s. After I decontaminate, I have client work, and, I’m hoping for some more writing.

A bunch of library books were arbitrarily deleted from my hold list, which is a little disturbing. Especially since I don’t remember what they were; someone recommends a book, I put it on hold rather than writing it down (unless I buy it). If my local library had a reason for it, I’m fine with it, but if someone in the overall system made that arbitrary decision, I’m not.

I don’t like all these decisions being made without consultation, on way too many levels!

But the additional writing might be at night, because I’m participating in a driving memorial for George Floyd this afternoon, with Lower Cape Indivisible. At first, I thought it was kind of a strange event, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. A funeral procession to honor him and stand (drive) with BLM that keeps us distanced (and yes, everyone is asked to be masked).

There’s plenty I can’t do right now, especially in person, due to the heightened pre-op protocols. But this is something I CAN do, along with listening to the changes people want and need, and working with my elected officials to bring them about.

I am dreading the upcoming Mercury retrograde, piled on top of everything else.

Published in: on June 9, 2020 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,