Fri. Oct. 1, 2021: It’s a Little Chilly in Here

image courtesy arthouse studio via pexels.com

Friday, October 1, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Foggy, chilly, raw

The photo is what I WISH I was doing right now – hot cocoa by a working fireplace.

If you read the above, add this: the heat’s not working. It was slightly chilly on Wednesday in the house, about 66 degrees, so I thought I’d turn on the heat, test it for the winter, get the chill out.

Nothing.

The thermostat said “heat on” but nothing came through the radiators.

Yesterday, it was down to 63 degrees in here. I called the maintenance guy, figuring there was just another switch somewhere I needed to hit. He said there shouldn’t be, and sent a guy over to check it out. The guy looked at the thermostat, and went down to the basement to check and make sure the pilot was on.

It wasn’t the pilot.

He worked on it for awhile, then had to go away for a bit, so we took the opportunity to run our errands – which set off a whole other set of whatevers, which I will get to in a minute.

At the end of the day, he told us that it was a valve, and the landlord ordered it. It will take a few days to get here.

Fortunately, it’s not that cold yet. I mean, it’s 60 degrees in the apartment this morning, but I’ll be baking, so it will get warmer. And the weekend is supposed to be in the 70’s. So we’ll be okay, at least until early next week. If the part is delayed, then the landlord has to figure out, with us, what to do in the interim.

Again, better to find out now than in the middle of a snowstorm.

We’re all aware of the legalities of the landlord being required by law to provide heat, but that only kicks in as of October 15. If it gets really cold before then, I’m sure he will have a solution. He has an excellent reputation, and has been an all-around good guy thus far.

We’re a little chilly, but we’re in sweater and added blankets and hot water bottles, so it’s not awful.

We’ll see how it goes next week.

As far as the errands went, we went to CVS to see if we could negotiate refills on the medications my mom needs while we try to sort out the insurance issues, since Tufts is being bitchy because we “didn’t ask permission” to move. Um, we don’t need to get the insurance company’s permission to move to a place we can afford.

The pharmacist was lovely and worked some magic to get the two refills immediately needed at a price I can actually afford. Unlike the clerk at the Centerville CVS who offered to sell us the refill before the move under the table for $3/pill. Which would have cost us $300 for a month’s supply, which would have also gone straight into her pocket.

At this CVS, watching how the pharmacists actually listened to and worked with their customers, it made me realize how awful the Centerville CVS was. Anything ever asked there was “no” or “we can’t do that” which included the shots they were supposed to give. There was always an excuse not to give a shot. Remember a few years ago, where they kept scheduling and then refusing to give my mom her shingles shot several times a week for six weeks? And we finally just signed up and got it at a different pharmacy?

They’re giving the Pfizer booster, although I have to sign up online (which, no doubt, will be a magilla), but at least they’re doing it, AND looking after people during the waiting period.

Then, it was off to Wild Oats and Stop & Shop. When we got back, I put a hunk of pork into the crockpot on high, so we’d have a hot dinner.

We got a letter from Medicare stating that my mom has paid her medication deductible and Tufts is supposed to cover the rest of her medication for the year. So THAT’s why Tufts dropped her – not because of the move, but because she fulfilled the deductible. They really are vile.

More information to send over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her office is helping sort this insurance mess out.

Kitty drama galore, too. Yesterday morning, Tessa and Charlotte achieved peaceful co-existence on the sofa by having a blanket fort between them. Later in the day, Tessa went into the sewing room and curled up on the guest bed – on Charlotte’s pink blanket (one of her prized possessions, which she brought to the household when we adopted her), after playing with Charlotte’s catnip banana. Tessa has never been on that bed, since we moved in here.

Charlotte was not amused. But that is Tessa’s way of getting back at Charlotte, because sometimes Charlotte sleeps on the guest bed in the third bedroom, near the front porch, (a room we’ve nicknamed “Tessa’s room” because her food dishes are in there), and Charlotte stole Tessa’s catnip banana.

Willa is smart enough to stay out of it.

I played with them again with the laser toy before bed, and they let me sleep until 4:46, so that’s a win for the day.

I didn’t get much work done yesterday, so I have to make up for it today, in and around the decorating. Because it’s October 1, which means it’s decorating day. I’m sure I’ll post photos on Instagram throughout the weekend.

I’m reading M.L. Rio’s IF WE WERE VILLAINS, set at a Shakespeare Conservatory, and, so far, I love it.

I’ll bake an apple cake later, and I’m making fish and chips tonight, so that will keep the oven on a good bit today.

Think warm thoughts for me, have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Tues. Sept. 21, 2021: Finding Rhythms

image courtesy of Petra Boekhoff via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Last Day of the Full Moon

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

Sunny and cool

I am happy to say that the weekend was less stressful than I expected. Which is a good thing.

I was in touch with my friend on Friday to find out if he was coming by to drop off the carload of Christmas decorations, or if he needed to move it to a different weekend. First he said he wasn’t; a few minutes later, he was back in touch to ask if he could. So we were back on.

I baked his favorite from my baking repertoire, lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting. I thought the frosting was a little too sweet; I need to work on my buttercream frosting skills. But, overall, they turned out well.

I also baked brownies, because I craved brownies, and, since I had the oven on anyway, why not?  They turned out really well, too.

Saturday, I vacuumed and mopped and did general housework in preparation for my friend’s arrival. He and his family had decided to make it a day trip, but had gotten a later start than expected. No worries. I was caught up with everything and ready.

I worked on GAMBIT COLONY while I was waiting, re-reading the rest of Book 4 and what I’ve written so far into Book 5, making some edits here and there. But, overall, I’m pretty happy with it. It’s not the kind of series targeted to a general audience; it’s definitely for people interested in the arts, who can deal with large ensembles. And I want to have the first six books of the series submission-ready before I start pitching them. Those first six books encompass auditions, rehearsals, shooting the mini-series, and then the first season when it’s picked up. At some point in the game, I’ll get back to working on the series website. I don’t know if my publisher would even consider it, or if I should go pure indie.

Anyway, in the early afternoon, I heard from my friend; he had taken a wrong turn, and was about an hour behind where he expected.  Again, no worries. I felt worse for him than for me.

He finally got here, and it only took 15 minutes to unload the car (under Charlotte’s supervision). He’d dropped off his family to do a short hike while he unloaded, and I gave him the cupcakes, which delighted him. They planned to go apple picking, and then stop at their favorite barbecue place on the way home. So they had a nice family day out, off Cape. Sometimes, it’s hard to get over the bridge, even when the traffic’s not a nightmare.

The day had started kind of rumbly and drizzly, but by the time they got out here, it had turned into a gorgeous autumn day. I was delighted for them, and so grateful for the carload of stuff!

My Kindle Fire is acting up; books I buy aren’t necessarily downloading. I believe this is Amazon trying to force me to buy a new Kindle (which they keep sending me emails about), which I don’t want to do, because I like this one. And hate Amazon. Customer Service wasn’t much help. No surprise there.

On Sunday morning, we were on the road by 6:30, headed back to Cape. It was a reasonably smooth ride down, and the weather was gorgeous. We arrived a little after 10, and I rearranged things in the main storage unit so that whatever we couldn’t get into the car would fit, and moved out of the second storage unit. The car was packed, but it was mostly light stuff (and yeah, more Christmas decorations). I also got the trunk full of yarn up, and the giant bin with all our winter coats. Once I empty that bin, I will fill it with the small boxes of holiday decorations, so that they are all safe and protected and in one spot, instead of in dozens of tiny boxes that have to be stacked like a weird Rubik’s cube.

I did the move-out paperwork for that unit, and we were back on the road by 11:28. Over an hour earlier than I’d expected. Unfortunately, the traffic over the Bourne Bridge was a nightmare, but we were still over before noon (the storage facility is just over the bridge on the Cape side).

The traffic was heavy all the way back to the Berkshires, but it moved, except for a messy patch around Worcester.  We made it back by 4, and my leg only hurt a little. The relief at getting it all done is immense.

Unpacked, hauled everything up, and rested. Since the book I bought still wouldn’t download to Kindle, I started reading the next book for review.

Up way too early on Monday, thanks to the cats. But got in a good meditation session, and good first writing session.  The cats were running and playing like loony tunes. But then, full moon, what do you expect? It was pretty funny.

There’s a bunch of new paperwork involved in getting the car registration and our licenses switched over to the new address, and I am frustrated with it. Also frustrated because Spectrum went down again in the afternoon. I fixed the problem myself from this end while I was waiting for the tech.

Got some work done early. Headed over to the college library to drop off books and check out some other books. Headed to the grocery store to get what I still needed for the Equinox dinner tomorrow. Unpacked the oversized bin with all the winter coats, and got those hung up. Refilled the bin with small boxes of fragile winter holiday decorations. I have to rearrange the big closet in the sewing room; I think most of that closet will house decorations.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of general decorations we’d never used in the Cape house. They fit better here. They are from our travels. Some of them definitely have the Deco/Nouveau vibe that works so well here. Stuff that we decide not to use is getting repacked, and will go back down when we do our storage run in spring.

Wrote up script coverage on two pieces, and read three others.

Trying to get into a more regular work rhythm for the fall and winter.

Found my favorite comfy pants pattern, and will make some fleece pants for both of us to wear around the house this winter. I’m looking forward to getting the sewing room set up and getting back to making clothes.

Have a bunch of coverages to write up today, more scripts to read, articles to write. An ex-client wants to talk to me, and I’m not looking forward to it. There are very good reasons this client is a former client rather than a current one.

My keyboard is now all wonky, too. I’m having trouble with all my devices. My Mercury has gone retrograde early. I better back everything up today.

Sigh. It’s going to be one of THOSE days, isn’t it? Hope you, at least, have a good one.

Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: So Ready For a Long Weekend

image courtesy of Daria Nepriakhina via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Partly cloudy, mostly sunny, and cool

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth of garden-y type things.

Why is anyone surprised that SCOTUS allows Texas to get away with destroying Roe vs. Wade? That’s what this court wants, that is why those inept, corrupt “justices” like Kavanaugh, and Barret were pushed through. Those of us who’ve been working for reproductive rights since the goddamned EIGHTIES have been predicting this, and we were called alarmists. All of this, and most of the COVID deaths, could have been prevented if the fucking Democrats would stop acting like Republicans will EVER be reasonable. We voted the Democrats in to FIGHT, and they’re letting Republicans walk all over them as they always do.

Got some decent writing done yesterday morning. Caught up on email; sent out one LOI. The company is interesting, but I don’t think they can afford me.

Got paid by a client earlier than I expected, which is great, and takes a lot of pressure off me for the weekend.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun. I also participated in MassCreative’s WPA Town Hall about the Arts Recovery in the state. It was a really good conversation, with participation from the US Dept. of Arts and Culture. Will anything come of it? Who knows? But it’s making me seriously consider joining the Town Committee on Public Art.

Worked on script coverage, on and off, most of the day. Have to finish up my last few pieces, and then I’m done for the weekend. My friend arrives from NY tomorrow afternoon (I’m picking her up in Albany, at the train station), and she’ll be here until Monday afternoon. We are going to have some fun. I hope the weather cooperates enough so we can spend some of it outside, but I also want to go to MassMOCA.

I was invited to an online tarot class today which I’m looking forward to – in and around the cleaning and the baking and the last-minute runs to the stores.

I have meditation this morning; then I’ll prep the breads. I’ll do one script coverage, then the grocery run, then the class, then cleaning and finishing the baking, while doing the rest of the script coverage. I also have a book to write up for review. It’s a lot to get done, but it will take as long as it takes, and that’s all there is to it.

I’m taking off tomorrow and Monday from regular work, although I’ll probably do my first 1K of the day in longhand. My friend from NY arrives tomorrow for the weekend, the first guest in the new apartment, and the first time I’ve spent fun time with any friends in person since before the pandemic. I hope the weather is nice enough so we can do stuff outside, for at least part of the weekend.

Have a good one. Let’s hope we can find solutions to the world burning down. I do not believe there are any peaceful solutions left. That train left the station a long time ago, thanks to Democrats refusing to fight, and constantly cutting slack to right wing extremists.

I hope all the suffering and death Susan Collins has caused torments her for every moment of her natural life, and that the souls of those she’s wronged chase her into the hell she deserves. Same with the Court Justices who betrayed their oath to the country, putting their right-wing ideology first.

And to say I’m disappointed in Merrick Garland is an understatement. We need action and leadership, not milquetoast nothingness.

Published in: on September 2, 2021 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: So Ready For a Long Weekend  
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Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

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

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

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

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

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

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

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

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on April 14, 2021 at 4:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion  
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Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb

image courtesy of Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Weird few days, and I’m trying to keep a balance.

Did a focus group on Friday with the Arts Foundation (virtually). A lot of people had signed up, but only six women showed up. Six white women, and the lack of diversity did not pass me, at least, unnoticed. But it was a good conversation. There’s still a refusal to admit that if art is not seen as a viable profession, but simply a hobby, that artists cannot thrive. Not here, not anywhere. Only supporting rich artists who have second homes in this area isn’t going to help the artists that try to live and work here all year round. Until that is dealt with, it won’t get any better.

This being a beautiful place doesn’t make up for the lack of financial support and respect given to full time artists who LIVE HERE. There was a lot of talk about how art is an important economic engine for the Cape. THEN PAY ARTISTS A LIVING WAGE. Why should everyone BUT the artist be profiting?

I was both glad that I attended and frustrated.

Had a frustrating conversation with a potential new client with whom I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work. It was another of those inane interview questions from the HR HANDBOOK FOR THE STUPID. The question was “What achievement are you most proud of in the last year?”

Me: Survival.

Client: (nervous laugh): Well, you know, I mean, workwise.

Me: Survival.

Client: I mean, did you work, did you get anything done?

Me: Of course I did. I worked flat out since the start of the pandemic. Almost all remotely. But the most important thing was that we survived. I kept a roof over my head and food on the table and my family stayed ALIVE. There’s a pandemic going on. Everything else is secondary.

Client: Well, that doesn’t show much dedication to your work.

Me: I think we’re done here.

I mean, really, what an ass. It was a big red flag that the positive “work culture” this company supposedly touts is non-existent.

Another weird thing that happened: An envelope arrived from an unknown address in Mashpee. For those of you who don’t know the Cape, it’s about two towns closer to the canal/bridges than I am. When I opened it, a prayer card fell out and a typed letter.

The letter invited me to come and “celebrate the death of Jesus” at their evangelical church.

Um, what? Celebrate the death?

Now, it’s been a good many years since I was an Episcopalian, and even more years since I was an acolyte and did Holy Week services. But I remember MOURNING the death on Good Friday and CELEBRATING the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Even if I still was a Christian, which I am most certainly NOT, celebrating the man’s execution is not what Holy Week is about, at least not in any of the denominations I investigated before I became Episcopalian. As someone whose path has taken me in a far different direction than all of this bruhaha for Holy Week, the thought of celebrating a crucifixion makes me ill.

On top of that, why is a church direct mailing a bunch of random people? How did they get my name and address? It’s creepy.

Even further, there’s a pandemic. I’m not going to a large gathering, ESPECIALLY amongst creepy people like this who, I bet you dollars to doughnuts, don’t’ wear masks.

It’s very creepy and rather sickening.

I burned it all, just for good measure. In my cauldron, not in the fireplace, with rosemary, sage, and nettles.

Then I took a shower, because . . eeeeewwwwww.

I sent out a lot of LOIs on Friday – found an excellent market list of companies which interest me, researched them, and sent LOIs where appropriate.

A regular work-for-hire gig landed on my desk. But crunching the numbers – they want 15,000 words/week, but are only paying $400. That breaks down to 2c per word. 3000 words/day. In addition to that pay rate being appalling for the amount of work involved, at this point, until we are moved, I cannot imagine creating 3K/day. And I’m someone who regularly does 1-2.5K. Especially not for such low pay.

So that’s a pass.

The stimulus payments arrived; mine by check, my mom’s direct deposited – first time hers was a direct deposit. So that’s a relief.

Spent way too many hours in depressing rental listings. At least 45% of the ones showing up were scams, which was just so disheartening.

Finished one of the categories for the contest. Really, some delightful material.

Slept through the night Friday into Saturday for the first time in weeks.

Up early Saturday. Lots and lots of laundry. Took off the fleece sheets, washed them, packed them away until next winter. We’re back to flannel sheets, at least for this month. It’s still rather chilly most of the day.

Finished up the paperwork and the review of the winning entry in the category, and zipped the file.

Got out some LOIs. Hunted through more depressing rental listings.

Worked on packing. Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t sleep well Saturday into Sunday. Was awake by 2:30, worrying. My mom was sick Saturday night, which didn’t help.

Stumbled around Sunday, alternating between packing and working on contest entries. Some good stuff there.

Baked biscuits in the morning. Made chicken chow Mein from scratch for dinner.

Got depressed hunting through rental listings. Sent out more LOIs. Polished the paperwork for the category I finished judging.

It started raining in the late afternoon and was very windy. But we need the rain.

Celebrated the full moon.

Looking back at some of my favorite short stories that didn’t really work as a set of linked short stories, I think they might work better as novellas. Set in the same place, with some characters crisscrossing, but as stand-alone novellas. I don’t know when I can actually sit down and write them, but I’ll play with some ideas.

I’m not writing enough, other than marketing writing work, and it’s throwing the rest of me out of balance. But I feel like all my energy has to be focused on the move right now.

Was awake by 2:30 AM again Monday morning. Sent out some LOIs, looked at rental listings, sent out a few inquiries.

Had to send a couple of gentle nudges to interview sources for the article.  Looking for some additional sources, just in case.

I’m alarmed at the rise in local COVID cases, but not surprised at all. People are idiots. While it looks like we may have to move to a more populated area for at least the next year, I then want to go somewhere more unpopulated, so I can work remotely and avoid people.

Had to work onsite at a client’s yesterday. I was supposed to be on my own, but the other two showed up, and, once again, it was a battle to get them to follow basic COVID protocols. I’m getting sick of it. I’m tired of playing Russian Roulette with them.

It was busy and stressful, but I got a lot done, and I have a lot to get done remotely today before I have to go back in the office with them again tomorrow.

Came home and decontaminated. Was tempted to have a martini with lunch, but I had more work to do in the afternoon, so I didn’t.

Sent out more LOIs. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the article.

Had a depressing time looking at listings. I had a lovely exchange with a manager of an apartment complex in Hudson that’s lovely, but what she has is too small (and expensive for us). Still, I want to keep in touch. A house in Nashua that looked legit turned out to be yet another scam. There were about a dozen even more obvious scams I didn’t bother with, and way too much far out of our price range.

Leftovers for dinner, because I was too tired to cook. Watched some more DOC MARTIN.

At least I slept through the night, until Charlotte woke me around 4 AM. I have a big stack of client work today, along with a couple of errands, LOIs, article work, contest entries, looking for a home, and packing.

I’m trying to keep our spirits up, but it’s hard.

I didn’t get to send the information on the completed category yesterday, so that will go out tomorrow.

One step at a time, right?

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 5:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb  
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Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

6th Day of Christmas – Six Geese A Laying

6th Day of Kwanzaa – Creativity

Rainy and cold

Buh-bye, 2020. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

I’ve got a garden post up on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning’s first writing session left me feeling so optimistic and energetic for the day. Sometimes, I use up my early morning creative energy on email or “have to” work. When I remember to start with my first 1K/day of fiction, the rest of the day is much better in every respect.

Yesterday at the office was only minimal overlap, so it was less stressful than it could have been. However, the client is gorging herself on right wing disinformation in order to justify her dancing around socializing and eating indoors, and I refused to give her the absolution she wants. There is NO justification for her behavior. At least she wears a mask and we deep clean the office regularly. But even contact a few hours a week with her is playing Russian Roulette at this point. So that needs to change.

On the way home, I picked up my mom’s prescription, put gas in the car (a symbol of abundance to start the New Year – full tank of gas), and decontaminated when I came home.

I don’t have to leave the house again until Monday, and I am more than fine with that.

Remote Chat was fun – it always is.

Wrestled the big bench off the deck and up the stairs into my mom’s bedroom for the winter. Willa and Charlotte had to be shut into various rooms while we had the doors to the deck open, and there was much howling and carrying on.

Later in the afternoon, I heard a thumping in the hallway. When I went to investigate, Willa had pulled a potato out of the bin in the kitchen, and was batting it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And she plays with a potato. At least she’s inventive.

Dinner was leftovers – we’re going to have festive holiday meals for the next few days, and I need the room in the fridge!

I have meditation with the group from the Concord Library this morning online, and then it’s writing. I have a short story to finish and get out on deadline. I already have laundry going – clean panties and clean sheets for the New Year! Garbage and recycling went out yesterday. Later this morning or early afternoon, I will vacuum and mop floors.

This year, I hung pairs of silver bells on red ribbons from the light fixtures on either side of the front door. They’re pretty, but they clang against the house when it’s windy. It sounds like it does when one is on a ship, bobbing in the water. Which makes sense, seeing as how we’re on Cape Cod.

So many trees have been cut down around here that the solar glare is out of control driving early in the morning. I’m going to have to get a new pair of sunglasses, once it’s safe. Not today, of course, it’s raining. But it was bad driving to the dump yesterday, much worse than previous years.

This afternoon, I’m making a pastry filled with apple, pecan, and cinnamon. I’m also making devilled eggs for us to enjoy closer to midnight. Dinner tonight is salmon in a cumin-lemon glaze, with lemon-infused jasmine rice and spinach. Or maybe peas.

Then, it’s all about our rituals.

We will eat herring before midnight (old family ritual that no one knows the origin, but we do it) and burn a bayberry candle timed not to finish burning until the turn of the year, for prosperity and health.

A minute or two before midnight, we open the back door to let the old year out.

We’ll watch the ball come down over Times Square – although I could often see it from my apartment window and that was really cool, I’m glad not to be there anymore.

Right after we toast the New Year in, we’ll open the front door to welcome the New Year.

No first-footers here, more’s the pity. Not that we could let a first footer through the door this year, anyway, even masked.

Tomorrow morning, at dawn, I do the Fire & Ice ritual, with a white candle rubbed with jasmine oil in a bowl of ice.

I’ll make Eggs Benedict for breakfast (pork before noon is the ritual), and later that day, I’ll roast a duck for dinner.

The rest of the day will probably contain a lot of reading! I always like to start the new year off with a book!

I’m almost afraid to be optimistic about 2021, yet I want it to be a good year. I have big changes coming up, and I’m looking forward to them, even though the changes themselves will be stressful.

I thank you for everything this year, my friends – the support, the friendship, the laughter. And I wish you all that is good, and that your dreams manifest.

Peace and Joy. Catch you on the other side!

Published in: on December 31, 2020 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!  
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Tues. Dec. 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 223 — Trying To Hold On, These Last Few Days

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020

Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Fourth Day of Christmas (Four Calling Birds)

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa (Day of Cooperative Economics)

Sunny and cold

There’s a post over on the GDR site to make you feel better about the year and the turn of it.

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

If you haven’t read the fun pieces in the Weird Christmas anthology (including mine), you can read or listen to them here.

It was stormy here, but we were tucked inside, with blankets and cats and candles and books, so all was fine.

Christmas Eve, I got some admin done and some LOIs out. I got out my review, and received the next two books for review. I played with some ideas.

For dinner, I made cod paella. Talk about a Cape Coddish version of paella! The cooking wasn’t bad at all, but the chopping – let’s just say I should have started far earlier! But it was the christening of my new paella pan, and it turned our really, really well. Dessert was chocolate and lemon mouse, layered.

While I prepared the paella, as I listened to Christmas carols on the radio, a particularly passionate rendition of “O Holy Night” gave me an idea for a short story, set in NYC.

We burned our bayberry candle for prosperity and good luck as we opened presents. I think it’s hilarious that one of my friends and I made each other potholders. Because we both bake so much!

Settled in, Icelandic-style, to read.

Up early Christmas Day, thanks for Charlotte. We did stockings, and I made scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. Usually, we have scrambled eggs with Panettone, but I couldn’t find one that looked good this year, and I used up the only fruit peel I had in the stollen.

I noodled with the story idea I’d had the night before, and worked on another piece, too, for something I’m looking ahead to do next year.

Mostly, though, we read and played with cats. I didn’t want to be on the computer, because I expected the power to go out any minute.

I made Cornish hen for the big, midday meal. Somehow, an entire 5-pound bag of potatoes disappeared in the last few days. But we had enough left over from the other bag to make mashed potatoes. However, I’ll need to get more before New Year’s. I don’t know how 5 pounds of potatoes could vanish from the kitchen, but, somehow, they managed. I also made the carrot-parsnip-mushroom dish, which was good.

Stollen for dessert.

We cleaned up the kitchen, put away the leftovers, and I cooked down the bones from the Cornish hens for stock.

One of the books I read was Christina Baker Kline’s THE EXILES. What a sad, beautiful book.

Got a notice from Amazon that they lost my package. So – when I’m looking at the print books I wanted to buy (and give my acquaintance her few affiliate cents) – they GURANTEE it will be here by Dec. 21. Once I actually BUY the books, it changes to “estimated” by Dec. 21. On the 21, it was “delayed” and would arrive between the 22-24. On the 25th, they tell me it’s “lost.”

That’s what I get for breaking my vow not to buy anything except eBooks from Amazon. They really are a vile company.

If I ask for a refund, they’ll just double-charge me, like they did last time.

I’ll wait a few more days to see if the books show up. Fortunately, they weren’t anything I counted on in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, the velvet fabric I ordered on Christmas Eve – shipped on Christmas Eve.

Up early Saturday morning, thanks to Charlotte. Who, of course, promptly went back to sleep as soon as I fed her.

Noodled on a short story for a bit, then got the laundry and usual Saturday household chores started. It was nice out – I put the outdoor decorations I’d taken inside during the high winds back out.

Read a lot. I’m reading Laurie Cass’s bookmobile cat mysteries. They are fun. She captures the way cats behave well, and it’s nice to have an upbeat, positive protagonist instead of one all angsty all the time.

Worked with Tessa and Willa for a few hours, so they get used to having good experiences in the same room together. Willa wants to be friends, but Tessa doesn’t trust her, because sometimes Willa forgets and plays too rough. But we will get there.

Leftovers on Saturday night (yum), and more reading.

Up early on Sunday, again thanks to Charlotte. Baked cranberry-chocolate muffins. Wrote a short story, just under 1500 words, start to finish. It will need a lot more work, but I like the bones of it.

Did an early morning Target run. The holiday shelves were bare – they already removed everything instead of marking it down. I searched for bins – there were only two bins left in one of the sizes I needed, so I grabbed them. They were sold out of all the other bins I need, and one can’t order them to ship. Which is why I sucked it up to do the Target run in the first place–because I couldn’t order the bins online. So I am SOL for bins in my budget. Picked up a few other staples, and checked out. Risked going across the street to Kmart – again, no bins. The store will close soon and it’s just. . .depleted and sad.

Home, decontaminated. I was out and about early enough so there were only about 5 other people in Target and two in Kmart, so I could stay far, far away.

Read, worked with the cats. Depressed myself looking at rental listings. Too many are overpriced crap. Allowed myself a quiet day. Leftovers for dinner.

Up early on Monday. Worked on a short story. I’m trying to do a short piece for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. They’re linked, but each stands alone. It’s an idea I have for next year. It’s also a way to get the creative juices flowing properly again.

Worked on the ghost ship story. I SHOULD have finished a draft over the holidays so I’d polish now. But I gave myself a rest.

Went to the office for a few hours. I was there on my own, as it should be, and got a lot done. Had to chase down the postman to take the package. Most of the post office workers around here are great, but this one guy on the office’s route – he’s arrogant, won’t wear a mask, and tries to get out of picking up or dropping off mail to us all the time. I can’t stand him.

Had dropped off books at the book drop in the morning. At least 3 dozen people wandering around on their “walks” – no masks, no distancing. It’s disgusting.

Home, had to take my mother to the doctor, which meant I had to put off the writing and editing planned. But she’s better, and that’s what matters

This morning, up early, worked on a short story. Went to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling, so we don’t start the new year with a garage full of garbage. Stopped at the grocery store for a few things – everyone’s sold out of leeks for the past two weeks. The world will not stop because I can’t make the leek and cheese pastries for New Year’s – I’ll make them later in January.

I’m getting ready to do some writing and editing, to catch up on yesterday, and then some client work in the afternoon. I started the day feeling pretty optimistic, but that melted away pretty quickly, and I have to work to get it back. I hope a good writing session will help.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Fri. Dec. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 212 — More Snow

image courtesy of Larisa Koshkina via pixabay.com

Friday, December 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

There’s a post over on Comfort and Contradiction about the upcoming holiday meals.

Yesterday, I joined the Zoom meditation, which was lovely. After breakfast, I had to shovel the driveway and the front walkway. The snow was slushy and heavy, but we only had about six inches, so it wasn’t too bad.

And then, I was exhausted and brain fogged. I spent most of the rest of the day on the fold out couch, trying to read, or resting. I am simply worn out. I managed to handle the Knowledge Unicorns, but I was tired. They were very sweet, though, and worried about me. We have one more session, next Tuesday, before the holiday break, and everyone is ready for it.

I’m glad I moved the car inspection appointment – I could not have driven over the bridge today.

I found out that two of my friends are moving away in the coming months – change is upon us all.

I have a bit more shoveling to do today – it’s snowing again, but pretty light. I might do a run to the library, to drop off and do a curbside pickup. A stack of books has accumulated.

I want to get the changes into the two plays and send them off, and start the book for review.  If I can, I will finish the edits on “Mistletoe” and sign off on them. I hope I can. That needs to go out. I have a little bit of client work, but I’ve caught up on almost everything.

Tomorrow, the entire day is set aside to make stollen, which takes a full eight hours. I’ll cycle some laundry through as well.

Sunday, I’m baking the Chocolate Grand Marnier cake for Monday’s solstice celebration.

But I am also trying to rest as much as possible. Because I’m exhausted. On multiple levels.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on December 18, 2020 at 7:53 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 212 — More Snow  
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Tues. Dec. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 209 — Good News and a Re-Release

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Today is the re-release of “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” a romantic holiday novelette. There’s a post about it up on A Biblio Paradise, and you can also find links on The Stories page here.

Thursday, I went over to the hospital early for the COVID test – drive-through, easy peasey. It’s a few seconds of discomfort, but worth it. Then home, and working on client work and making sure “Lockesley” was set to go.

Talked to the hospital in the early afternoon for my final instructions, and then had to do the prep. The doctor had insisted on the high-end medication, not the generic this time. It didn’t make me sick and convinced that I wouldn’t survive to make it to the surgery, much less through the surgery. It was much better, all the way around. I even got a few hours of sleep.

I didn’t have to go to the hospital until late morning, so I just stayed home and read. It was nearly 36 hours without solid food by the time I got there, and I was a little loopy. I also had my temperature scanned four times before I was allowed into pre-op., I even had some of the same nurses.

Everyone was very nice, pre-op went smoothly, and the IV even went in on the first try. Pre-op was busy; it was the last day of surgeries before the state closed down to any but emergency surgeries due to the pandemic.

The doctor and I chatted, I was put under, and next thing I knew they were bringing me out.

Coming back out was a little eerie, because they were disinfecting and then shutting down the bays. Only two lights were left on when I came out — mine and the person who was still in surgery. Everything else was dark and silent.

And I have the all-clear. They got all the cancer, and there was no recurrence in the past six months. I am the poster child for early detection.

I have a sheaf of instructions what to look for, but I don’t need to worry about another check for five years, if none of the symptoms recur. What a relief!

A few more tests for other things in January, and I might actually be on the road to healing, after a year of two different cancer scares.

I’m loopy as all get out, though, and can’t seem to lose the brain fog from anesthesia, even several days later.

I’m still a little uncomfortable, and will be for about a week, and who knows how long I’ll have brain fog?

Went home and rested on Friday. Saturday morning, I woke up feeling a little loopy, but pretty good. The hospital called to check on me, and warn me to take it easy for a few days.

Of course, I didn’t.

I dived into the baking. I baked 10 dozen orange cranberry cookies and 9 dozen oatmeal lace cookies, and was wiped out. I spent the afternoon in bed again.

Sunday, I didn’t feel great, but I hauled myself to the grocery store, where the clerk gave me a hard time about shopping for more than one person and paying separately. Now, I’ve been doing this since the pandemic started. If I do a grocery run, I contact neighbors, and if they need something, I get it. I’m often shopping for three or four people, keeping it organized separately, and pay separately. Trader Joe’s always thinks it’s cool, and none of the other stores have ever given me a hard time.

But this clerk did. And I was not up for it. But I just nodded and smiled. She’s having a bad day – she has a lot to deal with. I’ll just avoid her if we’re in the store again at the same time.

Home decontaminated everything and myself. Prepped the dough for the molasses spice cookies and for the chocolate crinkle cookies. Rested, then started baking in the afternoon – 11 dozen chocolate chip, 9 dozen molasses spice, 11 dozen chocolate crinkle.

I made a mistake on the chocolate crinkle, which I will talk about in Comfort and Contradiction this week, but it worked anyway.

But I was exhausted.

I made a pasta and vegetable dish, and used pesto made with basil from our garden, which was delicious.

But I was wiped out.

Yesterday, I felt a little woozy, but I went into the office on my own and got some of the shipping done. Home, decontaminated, and spent the rest of the day in bed.

I moved back upstairs to sleep last night (although the sofa bed is still out – will probably keep it out for another day or two, so I can rest during the day). This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run, since we have a major storm coming in tomorrow.

I have some client work, promotion for “Lockesley”, and then I have to work on “Mistletoe” and the revisions on the two plays that need to go out this week.

Plenty to do. Let’s hope I have the energy.

But the good news from the doctor is such a huge relief. I still have some more challenges after the first of the year, but this cancer is gone. Early detection, friends, never discount it.

Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 197 — Must. Be. Organized.

Charlotte observes the partially-decorated tree. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I have a post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday at the client’s was stressful. That is all that is appropriate to say publicly.

I was glad to get home and take extra time scrubbing down in decontamination.

Remote chat was fun.

Payment arrived from my ScriptMag article, which makes me happy. Offsets what I paid for cat food earlier this week!

Lost too much time searching to make sure an image was in the public domain – it was. I started using it a long time ago and checked. I should have trusted that I did the research properly the first time. Plus, Be Funky, my preferred collage maker, now has all my preferred grids behind a paywall, so I’m looking for another online free collage maker that doesn’t charge you to actually download the image once you’ve created it.

Working on some ads and promo stuff. Should have been finishing the holiday cards. If you’re in the S-Z portion of the alphabet and usually get a card from me, I apologize. I WILL get them out in the next few days, I promise.

I have to dash out early this morning to the grocery store. If the surgery is going through next week (and with 4613 cases in the last 24 hours here in the state, how can it?), I need to start isolating early next week, so today and Saturday are grocery runs to two different stores, to make sure we have everything.

I also want to get the rest of the baking supplies I need, so I can bake cookies over the next few days, and start prepping/delivering the cookie tins as soon as I’m through surgery.

I hope to make it back in time for the Zoom meditation with Concord Library, and then I have to dig down and finish the revisions on “Lockesley” to get it out, and then do another pass at the two Nina Bell shorts.

Along with some client work, LOIs, and other things.

I better be productive today, and stop faffing around, hmmmm?

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 3, 2020 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 197 — Must. Be. Organized.  
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