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.

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?

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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Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.

Tues. August 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 90 — Grief To Art Launches

Grief to Art Logo

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Grief to Art
Today is the official launch of Grief to Art: A Site for Collective Mourning, which is my response to the grief from the thousands of deaths from the virus to which our government is indifferent. I hope you will take a look around, share the information, and submit a memory.

Life, Writing, and Other Stuff
Yup, another planet went retrograde. So we’re back in five retrogrades. Sigh.

I gave myself the weekend off. I felt pretty awful both Friday and Saturday, so I just cut off the pressure and let myself rest.

I got some work done on Friday, although I didn’t hit my goals. I didn’t make it to the dump.

Saturday, I had to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market. The staff is slacking off on the masking. I bought more than I planned, including the white cranberry peach juice. Since it’s the only place around here that carries it, occasionally, I will have to venture out for it, but other than that, I guess Star Market is now crossed off my list of places to shop.

Came home, full disinfectant protocols. Laundry, housework.

I made Portuguese Sweet Bread, which always takes at least half a day. But it’s worth it. One of our favorite breads. Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Didn’t need to water Sunday morning, because it rained all day, a nice, gentle rain. Sat inside, read, wrote, made chocolate mousse.

Reading-wise, I read Patricia Hampl’s THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY. I got it because it talks about the need for leisure and for daydreaming. I liked most of it, although it was also an elegy to her deceased partner. I wish I’d know that going in to it – it would have made it more appropriate to the Grief to Art site than to the project for which I ordered it. I also got annoyed at her, multiple times – here, she has these amazing experiences traveling and meeting people rich with stories – and she complains of boredom. She’s a writer, for fuck’s sake! There is NO place for boredom in a writer’s life.

Read two other mysteries, in a series I had been thoroughly enjoying. Only, in this last one, the writer rants on and on, calling a despicable woman “a witch.” That’s a slur. It’s 2020, we should be better than that, in spite of the MAGATS. This person, who’s supposed to be an ally and inclusive, should know better.

I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by someone I trusted.

The book is several years old. I’m wiling to give the series one more book – if it happens again, she is crossed off my list.

I’m tired of cozy mysteries pandering to the right.

But then, so often, they are about maintaining the status quo, aren’t they?

Not anymore about the misfit recognized for her unique qualities and loved and accepted for who she is, but because she conforms to the status quo to fit in. Cozies that do the former are why I enjoy(ed) the genre. Cozies who do the latter — more and more prevalent since 9/11 – I loathe.

Started re-reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series. We are reading the whole series in order. I love so much about it, although the third person omniscient head-hopping bothers me sometimes. She does it better than most writers, but it’s still noticeable enough, at times, to bother me.

On a writing note, I did some more development. I understand what I want and need from the protagonist and her main love interest. I understand the themes I want to develop. I’m building the ensemble of secondary characters. I know who is murdered and why; I know who the murderer is and how this individual passes under the radar for most of the book. I even came up with a working title.

On Monday, I wrote the first 1200 words. The first 500 or so were difficult, and then I found the rhythm. This morning, I wrote another 750 words. It will be a slower creation process, not just because I’m doing the first draft in longhand, but I’m taking more time to develop every sentence, instead of spitting out the first draft quickly and then taking it apart to put it back together. It’s a different process, and what this particular book needs.

Good thing there’s no deadline.

But it shook things loose so I could go back to this draft of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is very, very necessary.

I’ve been writing the article for Llewellyn in my head, and now it’s time to put it on paper. I want to get it done and out this week. Or early next week, latest.

I have to get going on the book I have to read for review. I want to get that done this week. I’d planned to do it over the weekend, but wanted to give myself time off from any “have to.”

Went on site to do some client work on Monday. I was on my own for most of it, which is as it should be.

Curbside pickup at the library, home, full disinfectant protocols, LOIs, and work on the Grief to Art site. But every time I have to go on site, it takes me most of the rest of the day to recover, because it’s so stressful. Even when protocols are followed.

Finished STILL LIFE, and went through some other books I used for research.

It’s still raining this morning, so I’m going to wait to go to the dump until Thursday; same with Trader Joe’s. I’m grateful for the rain. We need it. However, I don’t want to get soaked taking in the garbage and recycling, or standing in line waiting to get into the grocery store.

Michelle Obama’s speech last night was articulate, intelligent, direct, and sharp. We are so lucky she is a part of the world right now.

Today, there will be a lot of focus on the Grief to Art launch, some client work, LOIs, admin work, article work, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and, hopefully, cleaning out another box. The goldenrod is blooming, and I’m sneezing like crazy, my nose is running, and my eyes are swollen. Lovely. Yes, that was sarcasm.

So I better get going, hadn’t I? Have a great day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remote chat was fun, as it always is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to turn this stressful week around.

Fri. June 5, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 18 – Local Disappointments

Friday, June 5, 2020
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We sort of skipped spring this year, and are getting right into summer.

I went to Country Gardens yesterday to pick up some plants, and it was not a good experience. I couldn’t find what I wanted, the plants weren’t in particularly good shape (which is unusual; they usually have outstanding plants). But the worst was that too many people were either running around without masks or being Sliding Mask Skanks, with their mask down around their neck.

The older white women were the worst. Masks around the neck, getting into the employees’ faces, playing Lady of the Manor ordering around the serfs.

They should have been kicked out.

The fact that they weren’t means that Country Gardens is putting profit over the health and safety of both employees and customers. So I won’t be back any time soon. Losing my business won’t hurt them; they’re busy enough. But in the next wave, when enough contact tracers find them on the list, maybe it will matter.

Not putting my life in danger to buy a couple of pots of petunias.

I’m all for shopping local over box stores. But when the local businesses practice and advocate what is counter to what I believe is right, I’m not spending money there. Conscientious consumerism means deciding WHICH local businesses get my money. If an artisan in another part of the country walks the talk more in alignment with my beliefs, I will support that individual over someone down the street who’s an ass.

Besides, the petunias looked terrible. And they didn’t have any six packs of small marigolds.

I considered going to Mahoney’s, but wanted to check their hours and policies. As I suspected, they “strongly encourage” a mask, but don’t require it.

Nope. Not going there.

I’ll do without marigolds.

I might try going to Scenic Roots in Sandwich. Supposedly, they are following the protocols, and I’ve always had positive shopping experiences there.

Came home, followed full disinfectant protocols, and then replanted everything I’d bought: basil, lavender, thyme, chives, nasturtiums, a single mortgage lifter tomato plant, parsley. Repotted the tomato seedlings (with the basil). Planted some eggplant seeds and cherry pits. Should have planted more, but by then, I was too damn tired and the morning was gone.

Disinfectant protocols are time consuming.

But it beats the alternative.

Participated in the Freelance Chat, which was fun.

Willa was out in the playpen for the repotting, and she loved it. She had the best time. I took Tessa out in the playpen in the afternoon and she hated it. Cried and cried, upsetting the other two. It was heartbreaking.

She loves to be outside, but we have such a hard time getting her back in that she has to be in the playpen. But she hates the playpen, because she’s used to being able to roam around on the deck. So she can’t go outside for awhile. It makes me sad. But I can’t risk her running away because she’s upset and doesn’t want to come back in.

Finished reading STEELFLOWER by Lilith St. Crow. Loved the world building and the characters. Sad for her (and for us, her readers) that piracy destroyed the series.

The problem with a Lilith St. Crow book is, as you as you sigh in the pleasure of finishing a really good book, the immediate need to read another of her books strikes, or there are withdrawal symptoms.

Plenty of things I should have done yesterday. Didn’t do any of them, so will have to catch up today.

It’s a lunar eclipse during four retrogrades – the only thing I’m doing off property is the curbside pickup for my library book.

There’s plenty that needs to be done in the house, in the yard, and on the computer.

Of course, because I have no time for new ideas, I got a new idea while baking the brandy-currant-sour cream pound cake from the Moosewood recipe. Paranormal romantic comedy/mystery around a haunted bakery. The idea has to get in line, although I’ll make notes.

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend; let’s hope they’re right. Have a good one, in spite of the Sociopathic coward who built a fence around the People’s House.

The new case numbers are going up again in the state, but the powers-that-be are ignoring them and moving forward with reckless re-opening.

Best wishes for a peaceful, healthy weekend.

Published in: on June 5, 2020 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 5, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 18 – Local Disappointments  
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Tues. May 26, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 8

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid

I feel much better after taking some time off. Not that I was sitting around doing nothing. It was a busy few days. But it was a good few days, with fewer external pressures than internal ones, and it helped me get clarity on a few issues I needed in order to move forward.

I have new covers for all six Topic Workbooks. New editions are coming out over the next few months. I’m in the process of updating the information. Instead of uniform covers, each now has a unique cover with a Topic Workbook logo. I am going to take the old workbooks off Smashwords as the new ones are revised, and put the new ones up through a different distributor.

I’m working on the update for the Submission Systems workbook. With the way publishing has changed over the past few years, it needs updating, especially when it comes to things like online portfolios.

I’m hoping I can start rolling them out by the end of June or beginning of July. That will depend on how fast I can update them, because they need two full weeks pulled from distribution before I can release them via the new distributor.

The 99 cent sale is still on for PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. That will be on until May 31, and I have promotions up via Tweetdeck every day.

Worked on some fiction writing, but didn’t push. Have to start pushing again this week, because there are deadlines, expectations, necessities. I have to keep the long-term balls up in the air while also pushing harder for short-term, immediate income balls. So it means longer hours and cutting more frustrations out of my life, unless they pay a lot in the immediate short term.

Got out a few LOIs, in spite of being, technically, on break.

It was pretty out on Friday, so I got some flower planting done. Cleaned out some boxes in the basement, got some files organized, tossed a lot of stuff I no longer need or can use. Sat on the deck for a bit.

One neighbor, who’s been sick with the virus, had a party on Friday night. He’s still sick, lost half his body weight, but he had people over, no masks, no social distancing. The wind carried over the part of the conversation about “catching it from those Chinese people” he works with. I’m disappointed in the ignorance.

The neighbors on the other side had company in and out all weekend, too. For some reason, they seem to think if they sit outside in the driveway, they won’t get sick. So they set their cars up like a barrier to the street, and put plastic tables and chairs out in the driveway, in front of the garage, and have people over. Now, they have a large yard and a deck. So I have no idea what the reasoning is. But hey, if it works for them, great.

Saturday, I lost count of the loads of laundry I did – mattress pads, blankets, winter stuff along with the usual sheets, towels, and clothes. Laundry all damn day. It was cold and rainy. I also baked tollhouse cookies. Cleaned out some more boxes. Progress is slow on purging the basement. There’s an overwhelming amount to do, and there’s also the psychological aspects of letting go of parts of my past that have often defined me.

But it’s time I redefined myself.

Kripalu is closed to visitors for the rest of the year, which had to be a difficult decision for them, but the right one. The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe is also cancelled in August. Again, a tough decision, but the right one in the long run.

Did some of my Susanna Centlivre reading, so I can start forming the play in my head before I try to write it down. I have some characters and scenes percolating, but I’m still trying to find a catalyst and a plot.

Read Deanna Chase’s WITCHING FOR GRACE, which was fun. Read two other mysteries, by different authors, which I found sort of “meh.”

Tessa, Charlotte, and Willa all spent some time in the same room without grumbling at each other, which was excellent progress. Tessa and Willa can manage quite well, and Willa and Charlotte are fine, but Tessa and Charlotte still have issues most of the time. But we’re working on it.

There’s so much talk about opening businesses “safely” but it’s just not happening. People are travelling in just for the day or the weekend. They’re not quarantining. They’re not wearing masks. There are no immediate consequences against them for being irresponsible, and it puts the rest of us at risk. It’s infuriating.

So I’m just plugging along, doing the best I can to keep my family safe.

I have a confession to make: I haven’t ordered on Amazon thus far, except eBooks to support fellow authors. But I broke down this weekend and ordered bamboo sheets. We need some new sheets, and I wanted to try the bamboo ones. I also ordered a “playpen” so I can take Willa and Tessa out on the deck (though not at the same time). But the latter was from Chewy, not Amazon.

Scored two absolutely adorable, padded ice cream parlor chairs on Craigslist from a place in Cotuit on Sunday morning. It was a no-contact pick-up. I was geared up and sanitized when I put them in the car, then disinfected them and myself when I got home. They are adorable and a perfect addition to our enchanted deck garden.

Yesterday, got some writing done in the morning. Did admin work, and prepped some paperwork that has to go off today.

Working on a big website project, and also working to update/cleanup/bring in new content on all my other websites. AND do new editions of the Topic Workbooks. AND work on the old Llewellyn material. AND get back on track with the books.

A lot to juggle.

Trying to figure out how to up the stakes on the book I’m working on (the untitled one, in longhand, that’s my first writing session of the day). I’m in the second third of it, and need to raise the stakes and make it more active. I’m trying to keep this book fairly lean. I keep reminding myself I don’t need to put everything in this book. Keep it simple. Deal with the main plot and a couple of subplots that are setting up longer arcs. Originally, I was going to have the plot thread through a long-term piece in which the protagonist was involved. Now, I want to compress the coming action in to the next few days. I think that will help pace.

I have a telemedicine conference with my doctor this morning, and then I have to go onsite for a client. Supposedly, I will be alone in the office today. Let’s hope it’s true. I have a mask, etc. anyway, just in case. Although this client does the whole passive aggressive mask thing “I can’t understand you when you wear a mask.” Well, then, let’s go back to fully remote. There is NO reason I need to be in the office more than an hour a week to download photographs that I then use in the materials. EVERYTHING else I do can be done remotely. If you’re going to force me into the office, then you can damn well wear the mask and not bitch about it.

This week is going to be challenging, on multiple levels. I’m trying to keep my cool, without letting myself be a doormat.

I am so sick of assholes.