Fri. March 20, 2020: Second Surgery Cancelled

sparkling-wine-1030754_1920
image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

My second surgery was supposed to be today, but it’s cancelled. So I’m enjoying the day and working at home instead.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 20, 2020 at 6:20 am  Comments (1)  

Thurs. March 19, 2020: It’s Not All Working in Pajamas and Drinking Wine

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Waning Moon
Ostara – Spring Equinox

Today is when the hours of daylight balance the hours of dark, and daylight lengthens until Midsummer. May that be a good omen for the coming months!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for a garden update.

I am grateful that the bulk of my work can be done remotely. I am a skilled and experienced remote worker, productive and reliable. I am lucky enough to live in a space that has a covered deck and a yard big enough so I can get out in the fresh air. If I was still in my 42nd Street NYC apartment, it would be quite different.

We’re all having different kinds of stresses, and I’m going to talk about some of the ones that I’m facing as a freelancer, and stresses some of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are going through.

The worst stress in this situation, for me, comes from the clients who demand that I work onsite. I’ve ended relationships with some of them. I doubt we’ll work together again after this is over. One client is away this week; I’ve been able to work in an empty office. The other in-office person and I are staggering hours and disinfecting doorknobs, surfaces, etc. when we enter and leave. But next week, when she’s back and doesn’t believe a virus would ever dare attack her? Or that she couldn’t possibly be a carrier? We have a problem.

Stresses are added as other small business clients cancel upcoming projects. I totally understand. I’ve offered to help them craft and send their COVID-19 policy email blasts or web copy at a reduced rate and then, if they need remote help during the quarantine, or getting back up to speed at the end of it (whenever that will be), we can work out a rate that works for both of us — so I’m not hurting myself, but not taking advantage of them, either. Most of them don’t want to craft a policy statement — they just want to stop it all and throw up a few words on their website or in their auto-response. I understand that reaction, but I believe a thoughtful, well-crafted statement will serve them better in the long run. Keep communication open. Let your customers/audience know you care, wish them well, and look forward to hosting them again when it’s safe and possible.

Stresses are added as non-clients, who’ve always sneered at what I do, saying, “I don’t pay for that” (meaning writing and marketing) are now coming to me DEMANDING that I write copy and market their business FOR FREE so they can stay afloat. I’m being told I “owe it to the community.”

No, I don’t. Especially not to people who never took what I did seriously. I, too, have bills to pay. Plus, a lot of the strategy they want is fear-based and predatory, and I won’t participate in that.

Stresses are added when people contact me and DEMAND that all my books be available for free. My publisher and I considered doing that with the first book in each series. It would take at least two weeks to put the change through in a normal situation, with the distributors. It would take longer now, with people not being able to go into work, and not every system being set up so that it can all be done remotely. I heard a rumor that Amazon’s not filling Kindle orders, and that they’re only shipping physical orders they deem “essential.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

But with all these demands that all of my books are up for free? John Scalzi and TOR can afford to put up RED SHIRTS for free as part of their book club. Believe me, I’m glad they did. Other authors are putting up their books for free. Great. They have the resources. I don’t. The books that sold in the last few months (whose royalty check should be coming through shortly, because it’s 45 days after the end of the half-year) will pay my utilities. I hope. Or maybe my mother’s health insurance next month, when I might not have the money coming in the week I usually do to pay for it.

Stresses are added when clueless recruiters contact me, having found my profile on LinkedIn. One recruiter told me that if I “really wanted” to work for the company he represented, I would be willing to commute in to Boston during the pandemic, because “it’s not killing as many people as the flu does.” This is for copywriting. There is no reason copywriting can’t be done remotely.

I told him to grow up and stop watching Fox News.

When I asked another recruiter who approached me what their COVID-19 policy is, I was told, “We don’t have one. We don’t need one. People don’t come in, they’re fired. When this is all over, the unemployment rate will be 20% and we can hire anyone at half of what we’re paying them now.”

Again, this is for copywriting. No reason it can’t be done remotely.

Stresses are added when idiots on social media rant that it’s “obvious” that any job that can be done remotely isn’t “real” or “necessary” and only those done in-person are. Um, no. Both kinds of work are essential, in different ways. What it does is spotlight HOW MUCH work could and should be done remotely, but how little employers trust the people they hire. It spotlights that workers that we need to be onsite — in the grocery stores, truck drivers, gas station attendants, sanitation workers, and all kinds of health care professionals and first responders, deserve a living wage and benefits. It spotlights that EVERY company, no matter what size, MUST give their workers paid sick leave, including part-time workers, and that health insurance cannot be tied to one’s job. On top of that, it feeds into the whole myth that artists shouldn’t be paid for their work because it isn’t “real” work and they should be doing it “for the love of it.” No, it’s a valid profession.

It’s stressful to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, for obvious reasons, between people panic buying and the worry that we could all infect each other. Someone actually said I was “lucky” to have an elderly parent, so I could take her along and take advantage of the grocery store’s special hours for the elderly. Um, no. She’s staying HOME. I can go shopping an hour later, and then scrub down and disinfect when I get home.

The actual part when I’m home, plugging along at my work? Is pretty normal. I enjoy the work, as I said, I’m skilled and productive in remote work. I’m trying to offer advice and support and resources to people trying to adjust to working for home. I love working remotely, I always have. I take joy in what I do. I’m an introvert, so not socializing for weeks is fine — I’m fine interacting on social media. I miss going to museums and the library, but I’m not having a hard time in the same way extroverts are struggling. I’m lucky that I know how to keep myself occupied and engaged. I’m lucky that I need a lot of solitude.

Parents are under huge stresses with kids home. If they can’t work remotely, who looks after the kids? If they can work remotely, it’s about figuring out how to get work done while also trying to keep school-age kids learning, and younger kids occupied. I’ve heard that some of these online sessions demand up to seven hours a day of “monitored” learning by the parent. WTF?

When I was in fourth grade, I had to travel with my family from New York back to Chicago because my dad had a special surgery there. My teacher sent me with an entire suitcase full of schoolbooks (no internet at that time). I sat, in the hotel room, for six hours a day, and did my work. Quietly. Because once my dad was out of the hospital, he was resting in the other part of the suite, and I had to be quiet. I mailed my assignments in once a week. I had other books to read when I wasn’t working, and board games. Cards. Lots of cards. I remember playing so many card games. That serves me to this day. My mother and I went to museums and the zoo and walked around when we could (which was lucky — we didn’t have to isolate). But my mother wasn’t “monitoring” my schoolwork. She had to deal with hospital issues and field questions and issues from my father’s office. She was pretty fed up we had to lug an entire suitcase of books to Chicago, and she felt six hours’ worth of work a day was too much, but it was up to me to get it done. Granted, I was nine at the time, and able to take on that responsibility. If I was younger, it would have been harder. If I had been older, we’d have had to deal with bad attitude on my part, probably.

I was lucky growing up. I had more freedom than a lot of my peers, and lot more than most kids get today. But there were two things absolutely forbidden in the house. You never, ever, ever were “bored.” No such thing as boredom. The world is an interesting place, and if you’re bored, that’s on you. Engage. The other thing was I could never ask for something because “everyone” had it or did it. I had to present reasons why I wanted it that were separate from the herd.

Name actors who make millions per movie are fine, with all the entertainment shutdowns but the regular working actors? The tech crews? Musicians? They’re all suffering. This is the time the unions could step up and prove why they’re necessary, but all I hear is silence. I’m not hearing much from producers, either.

Marriott is laying people off, but there was a story that when workers file for unemployment, claiming they’re not “laid off” but their hours are cut back — to zero. Why are they getting away with that? They can afford to carry their employees for a few weeks.

Cruise ship bailouts? Really? The cruise industry makes enormous profits. It’s one of the most profitable industries out there. I don’t have the current figures, but when I started shopping the Nautical Namaste Mysteries several years ago, the cruise industry brought in $37 BILLION dollars in profits a year, and it’s only grown. These ships fly under international flags to avoid paying US taxes. So why are they bailed out with US tax dollars because their admin offices are in Florida, California, and New York?

I don’t want to see airline bailouts, either. They didn’t “trickle down” their tax cuts. They’ve raised fees, fought raising pay and benefits for workers, and done stock buybacks instead of investing in their workforce. That shows they don’t know how to manage money. Don’t give them more to mismanage. Make them EARN it. Some airlines need to go under, so new airlines who actually treat both customers and employees right can emerge.

We do need Universal Basic Income right now. Desperately. Not maybe by the end of April, but by the end of next week. Much more than bailing out huge corporations that squandered everything they keep getting handed and screwed their employees. UBI would keep food on the table and a roof over my head. It would allow me to support individual businesses by buying from them rather than big box stores (which I try to do anyway) and maybe allow some of them to hire me for remote writing work. While we’re saving our lives and those of the people around us by not infecting each other.

We need to make sure the health care professionals have what they need to protect themselves and stay healthy and to care for people coming in sick. That has to be a priority. That and testing EVERYONE. So we can get real numbers. Up manufacturing what we need. Get the supplies to the medical profession.

It’s not at all surprising that this administration has failed on such a large scale. The arrogance, the greed, the grift, the racism, has been on full display since the 2016 campaign. Now, they ALL need to be removed, as issues of both public safety and national security. Policies that save lives and get people back on their feet need to be put in place.

Then, when we are up and running again, the corruption needs to have consequences. Or this will all just happen again.

So those are some of what’s happening in my world. I’m deeply grateful for what is working right now — the remote work I have (such as reviewing books and contest entries, articles, the clients with whom I’m still working). Plenty of people are under much worse stress than I am, especially if they’ve got underlying health issues. I’m lucky that the health crisis that could have killed me was handled before the pandemic hit. I’m worried because my mother is in the highest risk category, and I have to do whatever protects her — even if it means losing clients. There are going to be some nasty scenes in the upcoming weeks, because there are still people acting like it’s not a big deal, and/or it won’t happen to them, so why can’t they go about their normal routine? Why can’t they put lives in danger because they “feel fine.”

The arrogance of it all is unbelievable.

Today, I intend to enjoy Ostara, and have a solitary ceremony, on the deck if the weather is good enough. I made some rune eggs yesterday that we’ll eat as egg salad for lunch. If the weather holds, I’ll do yard work.

Tomorrow was supposed to be my surgery, so I cleared it. I’m taking it as a rest day. Extra yoga and meditation. I might read books for review or contest entries, but I intend to enjoy the day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wed. March 18: Fluid Schedules

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Waning Moon

I actually have a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice today, with some tips for adjusting to working from home. I have a few more posts scheduled in the upcoming weeks. I’m trying to catch up, and I will, eventually, get the other blogs back up to speed.

Cancellations coming in from small businesses on a few projects. One of my steady local clients, who is a small business, is getting holds and cancellations on what she does, so I bet that reverberates back to me eventually, too.

Turned in my reviews, put in the request for new books. Downloaded the last of the books for the contest, and am back to reading contest entries.

Received the check from the radio play, which is great, since it will be awhile before I have any more productions (they are done in front of a live audience).

Was in contact with a couple of theatre friends, who are worried about being out of work. Come on, unions, step up. This is your moment to prove why you’re relevant and necessary!

And, of course, Dickhead McConnell is kicking the aid package that would actually help people down the block. Truly an evil man. He’s doing all this, getting away with it, and now whines because his challenger calls him out.

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of NY, achieves more positive work in 12 hours than the entire administration has in four years. Because he gives a damn and doesn’t grift. I’ve always liked his style (even when I don’t agree with every decision). One of the last things we did before moving here was to vote for him in the 2010 election.

These airlines and other huge companies that are laying off tens of thousands of workers and then screaming for bailouts? Should not get a penny. They have the resources to give their workers paid leave, and are CHOOSING not to do so. Do not bail them out. They’ve squandered profits (lining top executive pockets and doing stock buy-backs). They’ve evaded taxes. Let them go under.

Let new businesses rise, created by ex-employees. Give them support. Set regulations so this kind of thing can’t happen again.

I might have to break up with a client next week — which I can ill afford to do. But this client is not taking the pandemic seriously. If she tries to put my life (and thereby my family’s life) in danger, I’ll have to leave. The client isn’t around this week, so I can work safely; but next week, I have no doubt there will be demands for in-person contact, because you know, “the flu is much worse. Everyone is making too big a deal out of this.”

I AM making a big deal out of it and will continue so to do. My life and my family’s lives depend on it.

Most places are being responsible and cancelling events, classes, etc. One is not, encouraging people to come in anyway to class, just keep a “safe” distance. Um, no. I’d stopped frequenting that place a couple of years back, because they call their fees “investments” instead of what they are, which is a fee for a good or service, and that turned me off.

CVS again refused to fill my pre-op prescription. When I called the doctor’s office to let them know, and to ask about rescheduling the surgery in light of the pandemic, I found out that they’d cancelled the surgery, but hadn’t gotten around to telling me yet. I’d rather it was cancelled — they need to concentrate resources; while the first surgery was vital to keeping me alive, this one isn’t (or at least, isn’t yet — I have wiggle room). The scheduler felt bad because she couldn’t even give me a ballpark of when it might happen. I told her not to worry; let’s, literally, survive this pandemic first, and then we’ll sort it out.

Let my doctors know of the change, and told them I planned to stay home and quiet, and they’d only hear from me if something went terribly wrong.

Did client work yesterday, and will do some today. I’m not sure what next week will bring, so I’m just taking it one day at a time.

I SHOULD have done yard work on Monday when I came home, but I was too tired. Tuesday it rained. I’m hoping today and into the weekend will be nice enough so I can work outside a bit. They said it might hit the 60’s — maybe I’ll put the Adirondack chairs out on the deck.

I’m thinking of ordering some of the spray paints I need online and doing my spring painting and touch-ups while I’m home. At the same time, I hesitate to spend money on anything that’s not absolutely necessary (like food, insurance payments, rent, and a little to utilities) when I’m losing work.

The writing is going slowly, but going. I’m hoping to dive back into edits and revisions this weekend, as well as writing new work. I should draft a new play for a contest. I’m hoping some grant money comes through for which I applied before my surgery (that would be June). If and when it comes, it would be a much-needed infusion.

I’m tempted to write a light, romantic comedy in these dark times, just for fun. Sort of like the radio plays — comedy, romance, mystery, banter. The only thing I know so far is that my protagonist’s name is Sharon. I’ll let the rest simmer for a bit. It will come out when it’s ready.

I might buy some more paper and pens this weekend. Not that I don’t have a kazillion notebooks, but I started a few projects on yellow pads, and I like to do the entire project on the same medium in which I started. One of my eccentricities. And pens tend to run out just when you need them most. There’s plenty I still draft in longhand, before putting it into the computer.

Back to the page, and best wishes to you all.

Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.

 

Mon. March 16, 2020: Intent for the Week — Preparation

olive-oil-968657_1920
image courtesy of stevepb via pixabay.com

Monday, March 16, 2020
Waning Moon

My next procedure (an outpatient surgery) is on Friday, the 20th. So this week, I’m preparing, both mentally and physically.

I’m hoping it will be a quiet week at my client’s. I’m trying to keep other stresses to a minimum. I’m leaning on my yoga and meditation practices, trying to keep up my daily writing, and working to keep myself in a good place both mentally and physically.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 16, 2020 at 5:56 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Fri. March 13, 2020: Too Much Going On

laguna-4899802_1920
image courtesy of pladicon2012acacias via pixabay.com

Friday, March 13, 2020
Waning Moon

I usually love Friday the 13th. It’s a good luck day for me.

However, today, this morning we have the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment — which means I lose another half day of work.

This afternoon, I have the follow-up appointment with my specialist.

So I lose yet another whole day of work and income.

Let’s hope some of these pitches I’m sending out hit the mark.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 13, 2020 at 6:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. March 12, 2020: Sometimes You Outgrow Places

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Lots to talk about, lots to think about. Yesterday was my birthday; tomorrow is Friday the 13th (one of my favorite days) which will encompass the pain-in-the-butt Home Energy Assessment in the morning, and then the follow-up appointment with the specialist in the afternoon. Next week is the next surgery.

It’s been a little more than a month since this particular health emergency started. It feels like much longer, because it’s taken up so much of my life, and put me behind in several areas of my life. I’m starting to take control again (and will do more so after the next surgery), make decisions, weigh evidence, and do what I can about moving forward in the areas that need change. I’ve learned a lot. Some of those have been hard lessons, but knowing is always better than not knowing.

I’ve been lucky in the support I’ve had around me from friends and coworkers and some random people I’ve met through different arenas. Seriously, something as simple as “I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re doing well” makes a huge, positive difference.

The silences have been telling, too.

The most disappointing one is from my yoga studio, and I’ve given a lot of thought to that. It has put into perspective and brought into light some things that have bothered me throughout my time at the studio, but I was willing to overlook, because I felt what I gained in terms of deepening my practice outweighed the things that bothered me.

That balance has shifted.

I have attended that particular studio for nearly two years now. Weekly, most of the time. Sometimes more than once a week. The location works. I like the atmosphere most of the time, the teaching style, the flexibility, and the price.

I’d visited the studio, which was under different ownership, when I first moved here. The owner at the time told me that it was useless to go unless I attended class there 2-3x week, and my only option was to be on Auto-pay. I could drop in once to try out a class, but after that, everything had to be booked ahead of time and on Auto-pay. I explained that, as a freelancer, that didn’t work for me. My schedule changes day-to-day, week-to-week. My income fluctuates. I can buy something like a 10-class pass, but I don’t do Auto-pay (not to mention that any Auto-Pay I’ve been on for anything has regularly simply taken whatever sum of money out of the account whenever they wanted, whether or not it was something I actually bought). The owner argued with me. I thanked her for my time, told her this was not the right studio for me, and that was that.

I was with another studio for about a year in another town, about a half hour’s drive. I liked a lot about it, but the teacher started making classes about her instead of about the practice, so I left. The first two summers I was here, I did sunrise yoga on the beach in Chatham, but over the years, with the increased traffic, the hour-long drive turned into nearly two hours each way, even that early in the morning, and it became unfeasible.

It never even occurred to me to go back to that first studio until I started studying with a specific teacher at her special events. I liked her style. She brought flyers in about her regular teaching — and she was at that studio. I mentioned I’d had a bad experience when I first moved here, and she told me the studio had changed owners.

I went back, I liked it for the most part, and I’ve been there for about the past two years. Last spring, there was an incident where I felt my trust had been broken; we sort of worked it out, although the studio did not fulfill a promise it made to help make things right. But I liked the studio, the teacher with whom I studied most often, the other teachers whose classes I tried, most of the other students. Some of the students only want to study with one teacher; I don’t like to get dependent on a teacher in that way. Life means change; teachers leave or go to another profession. I also like learning from teachers with different styles. I feel that enriches my practice. The price worked within my freelance life, and the payment schedule had options — you can have auto-pay, but you don’t HAVE to. Regular drop-ins are fine; if a class has finite room, they let you know. I sometimes felt like the teacher was trying to micro-control a little too much, especially in student interactions, but I thought maybe I was imagining it.

One of the things that has bothered me in all the studios here on Cape is the lack of community. They talk “community” constantly, but it doesn’t really exist. For the most part, we’re respectful and polite to each other in class. There’s some chatting amongst students. But most people are there for a respite from their day, not another social obligation. Some people come with friends, and they only interact with those friends. Some come in and out. But most people go to class and then leave.

In other areas I’ve lived/practiced over the decades, you wind up getting to know the “regulars” pretty well in class. They might not be your best friends, but generally, the chatting before or after class gets longer and longer, and there are usually one or two people with whom you connect and are in contact with outside of the studio. Maybe you’ll have coffee or a cocktail occasionally. Take a walk on the beach. Sign up for a workshop together you might not take on your own. If someone from class is sick, or suffers a loss, or has a crisis, one’s fellow practitioners rally around and offer support. Sometimes it’s in the form of physically doing something for someone (I’ve made casseroles, run errands, walked dogs, done laundry, etc. for fellow practitioners); sometimes it’s sending good thoughts, listening, just letting them know you care. There’s a sense of community.

Not here. People who’ve grown up here tend to stay friends with people they’ve known since childhood and not make new friends. Many of the people around here spend part of the year living elsewhere. They get together with their nearest neighbors when everyone’s home, have their families visit, but that’s it. I’ve tried to make plans with people from class, and they never come to fruition. Which is fine; if someone doesn’t want to hang out, I’d rather not hang out than one or both of us feeling forced and uncomfortable. I make plans once; if they don’t happen because the other person cancels, and the other person then doesn’t take the lead to make future arrangements, I let it go. To me, it means the person doesn’t want to spend time together, and that’s fine.

I also understand that far too many people who aren’t retired and living off investments have to work multiple jobs and are exhausted most of the time. But this attitude that “I don’t want friends” — which is said often in all kinds of contexts, disturbs me.

As a theatre person, where we build families of choice and expand them with every show, where the attitude is, “There’s always room for one more; pull up a chair” that’s an anomaly to me.

But people are who they are, and no one wants to be forced to be around people with whom they don’t want.

However, if you’re going to run around talking about compassion and community and connection in class, shouldn’t you also practice it outside of class?

Otherwise, yoga class serves the same purpose as going to church: you show up once a week and mouth meaningless words, then go back to being a jerk as soon as you walk out the door.

Another thing that bothers me (along with the lack of diversity) is that only Rich White Republican Ladies have the right to feel safe in class. Again, there’s all this talk about safety and inclusion. But when it comes down to it, Rich White Republican Ladies can say any racist, sexist, homophobic, inappropriate remarks, and we are all just supposed to sit there and put up with it because “it’s just the way they are.” But if anyone calls them on it, or makes a remark that is in opposition to something the Rich White Republican Ladies want to hear, the accusation is about “don’t bring politics into the studio” and making it “unsafe space.” Why are only the Rich White Republican Ladies entitled to a lack of politics and safe space?

And, in the world we’re living in, if you claim to follow yogic teachings, you’re not living your path if you’re not speaking up and acting to change things.

Whether or not it makes Rich White Republican Ladies uncomfortable or not.

This happens in studios all over the Cape, in my experience. I get that these studios are a business, and the Rich White Republican Ladies make up the bulk of the student population. Studios don’t want and can’t afford to lose the money.

But I want to be around people living their practice, not treating it like Religion Lite, where they mouth banalities so they can feel better about themselves and keep acting like entitled jerks.

I’m tired of the Rich White Republican Ladies doing and saying whatever nasty, inappropriate thing they want and getting away with it, but no one else can speak a different truth. It taints the purpose and the practice for me.

Another aspect of studio life around here I think is odd is that there aren’t classes on holidays. I get it on the big family ones, but a lot of these holiday Mondays are time that people who wouldn’t normally be able to attend class could. But classes are usually cancelled. Is it because the teachers need a break, too (which is understandable)? Or because people don’t show up on holiday Mondays here, unlike in other places where I’ve lived, where they flock to class on days off?

Thinking about this all and pulling it apart stemmed from the silence from the studio since I’ve been sick. I’m usually in regular contact with either the teacher or the owner. If I have to miss a class, such as the Monday meditation group to which I’ve gone for two years, I let them know ahead of time instead of just not showing up. The teacher has our emails and lets us know if there will be a sub or if class is cancelled for weather, or she’s sick or something else comes up. If she’s got something going on, I offer support, either by offering to do something tangible or doing energy work.

I thought the teacher and I built up a good relationship. We could talk about various issues, share good news and bad, have exchanged cards and small gifts over the years. Not quite friendship, in that we didn’t hang out away from the studio, but respect and appreciation.

If you’ve been following the bouncing IV needle here for the past few months, you know that when I had the urgent care visit and the first doctor basically told me I was at death’s door, I got in touch with the teacher. I let her know I had a medical emergency and was facing surgery or a series of surgeries and wouldn’t be in for awhile. I said that when it was all done, I would like to book a (paid, full price) healing session with her, but I didn’t know when it would be, because things were changing and getting booked day-to-day. She offered to do distance healing as a “gift” and said she needed some things from me in order to do it, and did I want more information? I said I wanted more information. She sent me a list that was absolutely overwhelming to me at that time while I was trying to deal with a slew of emergency medical appointments and surgery that had to happen within a week or two — AND said I had to book three healing sessions at a specific time at X price.

Now, I’m already frightened and vulnerable and losing work and worried about medical bills I didn’t expect. Everything is in flux and changing day to day; test results determine the next steps and how fast they have to happen. I CAN’T book three sessions. I can’t commit to the time and then cancel out at the last minute — it’s not fair to anyone. I don’t know what my financial situation will be due to missed work and incoming bills, and can’t take on any additional financial commitments, either. A “free” first session doesn’t mean a whole lot when the rest of the REQUIRED sessions (which I’d have to cancel anyway) are out of my reach financially. And the list of stuff she “needed” was overwhelming to me at the time.

I told her I couldn’t commit right now, because everything was in flux, and right now, the list was overwhelming and I couldn’t put it together and send it to her.

She argued with me. It wasn’t “what do you need, how can I help?” It was “Do what I tell you to do on my schedule.” Which rather shocked me, in the context of the past two years, and in the practice in general. She argued that putting together the list would “only take a few minutes” (no, it wouldn’t, and since I could barely even move at the time, it was too damn much), and that I NEEDED to do these sessions. Um, no, I NEEDED to work with the doctors so I wouldn’t die. That was the first priority. I had to not die. Then I get to heal.

I said I could not commit to it right now, with everything happening and changing so fast. She then told me I needed to book the post-surgery healing session now, because she books a few weeks in advance.

At that point, I didn’t know when the first surgery was scheduled or what came next. I told her I couldn’t.

I have never heard from her again. Not one word, since the 10th of February. Not one “how are you doing? I’m thinking of you.” Nothing. I didn’t want or need anyone from the studio to DO anything for me, but some good wishes would have been appreciated. But there was only silence.

Which tells me a great deal.

Compare that to the editor for the big article. We’d never worked together before. I was upfront with her about what was going on, got her the material ahead of deadline, and she worked with me around the surgery for the edits. This is someone who never knew me before, and she gave me more support than someone I’d been in weekly practice with for two years.

Heck, yoga studios into which I’ve dropped in occasionally in both Maine and Central Massachusetts have been in more frequent and more supportive touch than the studio in which I practiced regularly for the past two years.

I haven’t heard from the studio owner, either. Nor from anyone in the class.

Silence.

I am only a source of income to the teacher and the studio owner; I am irrelevant to my fellow practitioners. That’s the reality, no matter how many pretty words and phrases in which they try to wrap up the class experience.

I let myself feel the hurt and anger, because it existed. Silly to pretend it didn’t. No one wants to feel like they don’t matter. And then, I started picking at the threads of things that had bothered me over the time there, the things mentioned above, but that I’d chosen not to make a big deal out of because I felt what I got out of practicing there outweighed what bothered me.

That is no longer true.

I am deeply, deeply grateful for two years of deepening my practice and learning and growing. But I’ve gone as far as I can there. I need something else from practice-in-company and a studio experience. They are who they are, and they do what they do. I need something different.

I seriously doubt I will find it on Cape. I look at the other studios — auto-pay, demands that you attend several times a week (do they not realize that people work? Or are their only students more Rich White Republican Ladies who don’t work)?

I see a lot of the words of “inclusion” and “welcome” and “sanctuary” but I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence of walking the talk. I may try some open houses that studios often give in early summer to attract the summer people, but I think the bulk of the practice will be home or remote study via online workshops (smarter in this time of virus anyway).

I worked to a place where I’m at peace with that. Acknowledge the hurt and anger, release it instead of letting it fester, realize I can’t get what I now need, and search for it elsewhere, while still growing my practice. I leaned on my practice, especially meditation, a LOT during this entire health crisis, and it was a huge help. I didn’t miss a single day of meditation through the whole thing. No matter how I felt, I sat at least once a day, often twice. I used breathing techniques in various appointments and in the hospital to get me through stressful or painful times. It made a difference.

Then I get an email from the studio on Tuesday. I saw the sender (the owner) and thought maybe she wants to let me know they’re thinking of me and hoping my recovery is going well. Silly me! Obviously I haven’t learned as much as I thought I had from this experience.

It was an email addressing the worries about the Corona virus. Which is a good thing. Talking about policies and practices and how everyone can protect each other. Responsible and necessary.

Then, they slip in the middle of the email that they’re going to start charging a rental fee for the mats in the studio to make sure they get cleaned properly. Um, what? We clean the studio mats after we use them. They claim it’s “temporary” but you know it will simply never get rolled back. Added fees are never rolled back; a new reason is always found for them. But people are “welcome” to bring their own gear to class.

So either rent the disinfected gear or bring in your own germy mat and contaminate the space? Seriously? People bringing in their own gear is MUCH riskier than using disinfected mats in the space. Because you KNOW people aren’t cleaning their mats every time they bring them to class.

It’s a way to get more money out of the students.

The email angered me. And then I laughed. Because it reinforced my decision that this is not the place for me anymore. And that’s okay.

I can still appreciate all I’ve learned and know it’s time for new teachers and new experiences. As a teacher myself, I’m delighted when my students outgrow what I can give them and soar. I’m very proud of former writing students who are out there in the trenches writing and publishing and living the writing life.

It has not been an easy journey, navigating these emotions and realizations along with everything else going on. But it’s been important.

Let’s hope I can apply the lessons moving forward.

Tomorrow is busy in all kinds of ways, and Monday is the Intent post, so it’ll be Tuesday before we have a good natter again, and I can fill in on the low-key birthday and whatever else happens over the weekend.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and peace.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2020 at 5:57 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. March 11, 2020: Another Birthday. Who’d’a Thunk?

cake-3163117_1920
image by manfredrichter courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Waning Moon

Today is my birthday. Considering a few weeks ago, it didn’t look like I’d have another one, I’m pleased I got here.

Monday was irritating at my client’s, because people there are not taking the Corona threat seriously. The sheer arrogance and selfishness sickens me.

I seem to have gotten the issues sorted out with Tweetdeck, and I’m using it to schedule posts for both myself and one of my clients. I’m also going to expand to Hootsuite, and see how I like them. Buffer comes highly recommended, but won’t give a free trial without a credit card. Having been burned too often by companies who claim they won’t bill if you cancel before the end of the trial period, and then randomly remove whatever amount they want whenever they want,I don’t do that anymore. Should one of my clients want to put it on their company card, fine. But I’m not taking on that burden. If it winds up making sense for me to run multiple accounts for social media on a paid site, I will build it into the billing, but right now, it doesn’t.

After work, swung by Trader Joe’s for a couple of things, dropped off and picked up library books.

Started cleaning the windows from the inside when I got home. It was such a lovely, bright, mild day. I opened windows and doors, and managed to clean the windows in the living room. It’s a bit of a slog, because they are sectioned into six pieces on the top, six on the bottom. The outside storm windows need a good scrub, but that’s for a later day. Yesterday, I did the windows in my office, the back bedroom, the downstairs bathroom, and the kitchen. Today, I’ll do the windows upstairs.

Excellent writing sessions both Monday morning and Tuesday morning; hope that’s true today, too. It sets a positive tone for the day when that happens. We’re trying to figure out what to do with the Nautical Namaste series — it’s hard to promote it with people quarantined on cruise ships. And is it even ethical to promote it? An ongoing discussion.

I had a good evening yoga session on Monday night. A good hip-opening sequence. Last night, I was a little smarter about the every-other-day core work I’m working up to. I’m feeling better with the weight I’m dropping, but I need to get the fitness and the stamina up. I know it won’t be my 30-year-old self, but I want to be appropriately fit for my this-age self.

Client work was okay on Tuesday; then it was a quick trip to the library to drop off and pick up, and picking up my birthday cake.

I’m going to have a low-key day today. A client wanted to take me to lunch, but I asked to postpone it. The medication I’m on leaves me in a constant state of mild nausea, and I can’t really enjoy meals right now. So I’ll go to work, lift a glass in the afternoon, have a little cake. I’m going to do what I want, as much as possible, and enjoy the fact that I’m around to do it.

I will have to do housework today, although the big push is tomorrow, since the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment happens first thing on Friday.

Tomorrow’s post is shaping up to be a long one, where I share some of the musings and sortings-out I’ve been working on. Friday’s post will be short (and is scheduled already) because of the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment and the follow-up appointment with the specialist.

If the weather is nice, we might go to Truro on Saturday. We’re playing it all by ear.

Next week is all about prepping for the next surgery. I hope it’s the last one. I need to get back on track with a lot of different things.

We’re working on Charlotte’s fear of garbage trucks. I’m trying to teach her that the garbage truck goes to other houses, and only drives by, making noise. If I’m next to her when it goes by, she’s okay. If she’s on her own, she gets upset.

Tessa is thrilled with her catnip carrot and guards it from everyone else.

And so we go on.

Published in: on March 11, 2020 at 6:04 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Went Direct Late Last Night

Thank goodness Mercury won’t be in retrograde for my birthday.

At least, in these last few weeks, with surgery and healing and prepping for more surgery, and all that, I’ve gotten a chance to think about a few issues and make some decisions. I will review those decisions now that Mercury is direct, and then, after my next surgery in ten days, start acting on those decisions. I will share those decisions as I’m comfortable so doing.

I worked on one of the books to review, but didn’t finish it. I needed rest, and to do so, I decided to re-read some of Donna Leon’s Brunetti books. That was good.

I did some of my own writing (although not enough). I worked on article pitches. I figured I’d wait until today and tomorrow to send them, when Mercury is direct.

Worked with the cats. With Charlotte, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But at least it’s that ratio, and not more backward movement than forward. I have to accept that it will take several years to undo the damage they have. But at least she loves to sit in her bed next to the window while I work on the computer. When I have to go out, she sits there and waits for me to come home, and then greets me. I just have to figure out a way to broker a deal for peaceful co-existence between her and Tessa.

Willa and Tessa have peaceful co-existence, and they might even work up to being friends one day.

From their behavior, I suspect their original human thought it was “cute” when they competed for attention. Therefore, they believe that only one of them can get attention and affection. When, in reality, there is plenty of attention and affection for all three, and when one gets it, it doesn’t mean less love available for the other two. That’s learned behavior, and only socialized affection over a long period of time will get them to adjust. Working on it every day.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived — all about dreaming. Some good stuff in there.

The Chewy order arrived on Saturday afternoon. Fed Ex dumped it on the side yard, instead of leaving it at the door. We couldn’t see it from the windows; the only reason I knew it arrived was because the tracker said it was delivered.

Then, I had to drag it into the garage and unpack it into the garage, because, after surgery, I still can’t lift much.

But we’ve got food and litter and new toys. The cats were thrilled with their new toys. Tessa got a catnip-filled carrot with feathery bits on top. She drags it around the room upstairs and loves it. Charlotte got a rattly catnip squirrel and Willa a soft, catnip-filled mop ball. Only Charlotte stole Willa’s toy, and Willa was upset. She didn’t want it anymore, with Charlotte’s cooties on it.

There are catnip fish and mice that I hid and will dole out in the coming weeks.

We put the sofabed away, finally, on Friday afternoon, and have some semblance of a normal living room back, at least until the middle of next week, when we set it up again for my next surgery. I got the instructions for the prep and am not happy about it. Everyone’s acting like this is nothing; I think it will be worse than the first surgery.

I’m trying to adjust the iron pills, because I’m in a constant state of nausea from them. That’s the one good thing about the second surgery — no iron pills for the week before.

Four loads of laundry on Saturday. Should have baked bread, but was too tired.

It snowed overnight into Saturday — just a few inches. And was lovely and spring-like Sunday, but I was too tired to do yard work.

Trying to get some tidying done because of those damned Home Energy Assessment people coming on Friday morning (before my follow-up appointment). I resent that I’m the one who has to lose work so the landlord can apply for a loan. This is the fourth time I’ve had to lose work in this whole replace-the-furnace debacle — and we still don’t have a new furnace. Not to mention it’s in the middle of all the health issues. I resent it. The landlord had THREE YEARS to get this done. And we HAD an assessment — SEVEN YEARS ago, and he made zero changes from it.

So I’m grumpy.

I’m also grumpy from the whole “spring forward.” I hate it. It upsets my energy levels and internal clock for weeks. I felt behind all day yesterday, even though I got up almost at my usual time.

I made a vegetable sauce for pasta out of the Brunetti cookbook last night, and it was good: eggplant, zucchini, tomato, three kinds of peppers, olives. Just yummy.

I’m worried about the spread of the Corona virus. My mother is in the top risk category, being in her nineties. Because of my current health issues, I am also high risk. So we’re being cautious. And the people who don’t take it seriously and take glee in putting others at risk make me angry. Interesting how all of them around here who do that are also supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Up at the normal time yesterday, grumpy as all get out. The first early morning writing helped lift my mood. Had to go onsite with a client for awhile, then pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

Up early today, writing, and then onsite again with a client. Not happy that I can’t do the work from home. Can’t afford not to work for this particular client right now. So I’m being as cautious as I can in the situation.

Onward.

Published in: on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength

superhero-534120_1920
image courtesy of Alan9187 via pixabay.com

Monday, March 9, 2020
Full Moon
Mercury Goes Direct

 

I’m feeling better, most of the time, but I still need to build strength. Let’s hope the weather is good, so I can do some walking.

I’m also increasing my yoga practice, slowly, trying to work up to what it was before, and then beyond.

I’m eating well, trying to stay out of stressful situations as much as possible, and rest.

I’m behind where I need to be in other areas of my life, so I need to build strength to get back on track.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 9, 2020 at 5:53 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength  
Tags: , ,

Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?

Friday, March 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Partly sunny and colder

Yesterday’s big grocery shop left me feeling secure. I like to have a well-stocked pantry. We’re supposed to be prepared for a 14-day quarantine at this point. I like having that much on hand anyway. As a freelancer, when I’m in periods where I’m earning more money, I try to stock up so I don’t run out in the cycles where the money’s slower coming in. I am stocking up a little more than usual on cat food and cat litter. And toilet paper.

Although the price gouging on toilet paper has started — doubled in price since two weeks ago.

Spent a little time at the library; it was noisy and distracting there today, Got a few things out, including an introductory package to a place I thought I’d like to work for until the list of materials kept growing exponentially. It least they read resumes and look at materials. Another company, touting its positive remote culture — wanted me to do one of their projects (a newsletter) as an unpaid “sample” as part of their interview process. Didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, folks. No. No unpaid labor as part of the interview process. Look at my resume. Read my samples. Ask for additional samples. If I have to craft something project-specific to your company, there’s a fee involved. I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a career professional with decades of experience. You want unpaid labor? Bite me.

Heartbroken that Elizabeth Warren dropped out. The misogyny from her own party and the media has been revolting. I don’t want an old white man as president. in spite of the genuine affection and respect I have for Joe Biden (I was lucky enough to work on a few things with him over the years).  I’m done with that. I don’t want a moderate. Moderates putting their hands over their ears singing, “la-la-la” is part of how we got into this mess in the first place. Where we are now has been in the works since Reagan. And could have been stopped.

But removing the Narcissistic Sociopath and his Evangelical Q-Tip have to be the priorities right now.

Agreed to help a friend with editing some of his college work. He’s going back to school, which is great. His professor uses MLA, which is eye-rolling. I mean, it’s always good to learn all kinds of skills but MLA is rarely used outside of academia, and my friend isn’t planning to work in that arena. Heck, I tossed my MLA handbook back in 1985, when I realized how little relevance it had to my life. Going to the community college bookstore to see if I can hunt down another one, and ordered one from the library.

The college bookstore is selling used copies of a “reference” that includes a little MLA — for $63. Um, no. I ordered it off the internet for 99 cents. A new guide, JUST MLA style.

Didn’t get much writing done this morning, so will have to adjust that later in the day. Working on some article pitches. Put in a big Chewy order this morning — cat food, cat litter, and then ordered a bunch of toys to get the free shipping. Because the little monsters are so happy when we open the box and it contains new toys. Which is even more important than the free shipping.

Working on the books for review, and getting back to the new batch of contest entries. Will do some of the paperwork on the entries I’ve read this weekend, so it’s not all in one big lump at the end.

This morning was the first full morning yoga practice since the surgery. A little sore, but I’m glad I did it. Hoping I can add an evening practice back in soon.

I didn’t realize how long I’d felt bad (since about 2013) until I started coming back from surgery and feeling more like myself. Amazing how you adjust incrementally to feeling lousy so you barely notice it until you’re forced to notice.

Knowledge to use moving forward.

We have to start some spring cleaning this weekend, although I’ll be limited in how much physical work I can do. But it’s time. The mourning doves are back early this year, and so are the Phoebes.

Planted nasturtiums, cucumber, spinach, and snap peas (inside) yesterday. Made tollhouse cookies last night because I felt like them. Will make some cardamom wheat bread (new to me recipe) either later today or tomorrow.

Target run on the schedule today, a bit of work at the library, and then back to the page.

Have a great weekend! It’s supposed to get colder and stormy here.

 

Published in: on March 6, 2020 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and colder

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I actually felt well enough to add a new post.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Things are what they are.

Remote chat was fun and informative. We talked about how the Corona Virus is changing ways we work and interact. You KNOW it’s only a matter of time until the internet service providers (especially Comcast) jack up their rates and cut people off, making it impossible to work from home without paying extortion fees, because they can and no one ever punishes them when they break laws & regulations. They need to be broken up. We need to have viable options, not a monolith controlling everything.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home; too tired to cook.

Finished reading a book that totally annoyed me. It’s set in an area I know well, that the author obviously does not. The author put in details that don’t exist in that area (but do a state or two over) that made it ring even more false. When the protagonist’s family is threatened, she cowers and waits for a man to save her. Really? If someone threatens one of mine, the towering RAGE I feel would burn down the town until I rooted out that person. And yes, I HAVE fought back against that kind of threat. You threaten one of mine? Honey, you better HOPE the cops find you before I do. Because I will be both relentless and merciless. I expect at least that from a protagonist in a book.

But the most irritating turn-off for me was the author’s eyelid fetish. In every damn scene “lids” were doing something, usually closing. Really? How can you solve a murder when you can’t keep your eyes open? When your response to EVERYTHING, good or bad, is to close your eyes? Especially in such annoying, repetitive language? It’s not a cute character trait.

All of the above completely negated the good things in the book — strong relationships between characters, some gentle comedy, some good descriptions.

Started reading a novel that’s gotten a lot of fuss, but I’m annoyed with all the characters so far. I’ll give it another 50 or so pages, and then I’m done. I don’t care if “everyone” raves about it. If I don’t like it and I’m not being paid to read it, I’m putting it down.

After all, I have a book to review for which I’m getting paid, and the rest of the contest entries arrived, so I have to read those. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter broke off its relationship with Twuffer. That screws both my scheduled book promotions, and a promotion run I had set for a client. I tried to switch things over to Tweetdeck — and nothing posted as scheduled. Tried to sign up for SumAll, which is supposedly good — couldn’t sign up. Buffer and Hootsuite come highly recommended, but the plans in my current price range don’t have the versatility I need for current clients. I could bump the rate for new clients, but until I do an across-the-board rate hike, I can’t justify the price to current clients.

Mercury Retrograde is NOT the time to make these decisions and sign those contracts, anyway. I’ll wait until next week, and see what happens.

Had an excellent writing morning. Things plugging along. Have to go grocery shopping, then some time at the library, then hopefully another writing session this afternoon, and some reading time.

Lifted too much while grocery shopping early this morning, and paying the price.

Got an issue solved that I’ve been fighting and has been weighing on me for years. Got the paperwork so they can’t suddenly decide the decision never happened. So that’s good. I’ve been considering some other things that have come up through this whole process, and weighing different elements against each other, so I can make the most informed decisions I can.

Meanwhile, I’m doing as much as I can until I run out of energy every day, and trying to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. March 4, 2020: Feels Like I’m Just Plodding Along

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Plugging along here, trying to get my energy back up to speed.

Client work was okay on Monday, but I was wiped out by the end of the session. I switched out books at the library, and then went home.

Watching Season 5 of BROKENWOOD, which is fun.

Working on my article pitches, and working on some marketing for the books. I have medical bills coming in soon, along with everything else. I need to up the marketing for the books.

Reading a mystery that’s kind of cute, but I have mixed feelings about it. It’s written by someone in the Midwest, but it’s set in Maine — only it’s obvious the author doesn’t know Maine. Maybe like one week-long visit to sightsee, not really dig in to what it’s about. The characters talk and act like Midwesterners, not like Maine-iacs. Maine has a distinct cadence and set of behaviors. And its own weird humor. It’s different than any of the other New England states, and vastly different than any other area in the country.

Compare it to Barbara Ross’s Clambake mysteries — Barbara lives in Maine; even though her town, too, is fictional, she captures very much what it’s like to live and work in Maine, especially coastal Maine. One can relate to the characters no matter where one lives, but it is definitely Maine-flavored, you couldn’t just pick it up and drop it somewhere else, and the setting and what makes that area of the world unique is vital to making the series work.

Had a good early morning writing session on Tuesday, and another one today. I’m writing in longhand early in the mornings, and then trying to keep up with the typing, so I don’t fall so far behind, the way I’ve done in ELLA BY THE BAY. That has to be untangled, as soon as I get back on track with everything else.

I was happy to come home on Monday to a nice package from Algenist (I like their night cream) and to a package from Mala Prayer — two mala bracelets, one in sandalwood and one in tiger’s eye. They were my birthday present to myself this year.

The next shipment of contest entries should arrive any minute; I’m entering the definite “No” entries already in the computer, so it’s not as much paperwork at the very end. Then, I can put aside those entries, and take a second look at my “Yes” and “Maybe” piles once I’ve read everything, to decide on the winner and the finalists in my categories.

Voted first thing Tuesday morning — for the candidate I feel both represents me the best AND has the best ideas to make the entire country better, and working again. My mother voted, too. Everyone at our little voting precinct is always friendly and helpful. It makes voting fun and positive, which is how it should be.

Onsite with a client yesterday — I got through it, but was exhausted by the end of it. Onsite again today. Hoping I can also participate in the Remote Chat.

I have a short stage script I hope to draft this weekend, and I have to take a look at another script, to see if it makes sense to enter in a “Call for Entries” for a particular company. It might have too many characters. Need to get back on track with the steampunk radio play, and the next Kate Warne play, too.

But first, the focus has to be on the paying work. Because I have to make a whole heck of a lot of money in a short period of time.

Onward, as best I can.

 

Published in: on March 4, 2020 at 6:09 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 4, 2020: Feels Like I’m Just Plodding Along  
Tags: , , , , , , ,