Tues. Dec. 22, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 216 — Trying to Get it All Done

Cookie tins, packed & ready for delivery

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend, although I wasn’t really feeling up to it.

Friday had more snow; not much, just a dusting. I had to pick up a prescription for my mom, and I did a curbside drop-off/pick-up at the library.

Decontaminated, read a bit.

Finished the revisions on both the Susanna Centlivre play and the Isabella Goodwin play and got them out. Nearly two weeks ahead of deadline, too. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

Heard back from the Body Be Gone publisher. I didn’t win the big prize, but I am in the anthology and will get a little bit of cash and a copy of it, which will be fun. It was a lot of fun to participate in it, and I’m pleased to be part of such a lively, creative group. I wonder which story won?

In any case, by not winning, I retain my rights to these characters, and they can have a life beyond that one story. Which could be a lot of fun.

Woke up early on Saturday, with ideas for a story for one of the anthologies that would be due on Dec. 31. It might be too complex for a short story, but I’m going to give it a shot and see what I can do with it.

Wrote 1600 words on it, and it’s a bit all over the place, but I like the bones of it. Once I finish the draft, I can strip it down and rebuild.

I poked two companies about orders I placed weeks ago – giving them plenty of time because it’s both busy season and the pandemic. They finally shipped. One of the orders was placed before Thanksgiving. This is inexcusable. I help one of my clients with shipping. It doesn’t take five weeks to ship something that is in stock.

Saturday’s big project was making stollen. I used the traditional Dresden recipe. It takes all day, between the rises and waiting while things soak. But we wind up with three enormous loaves of stollen that are delicious. Much better than the overpriced, stale loaves on buys in the stores or orders online. If I bought this from a company, it would cost several hundred dollars. And not taste half as good.

I also decorated most of my office – got the tree up, anyway. Switched the bedding over to fleece. Got 6 loads of laundry done.

And was wiped out.

A client contacted me, frantically needing me to get something out right that second. I got it done, and that will be on next week’s bill. You don’t interrupt my weekend and expect it to be free. This is information I asked her for nearly a month ago, and she couldn’t get her act together until Saturday for something that needed to go out before Sunday.

Sunday, I finished decorating my office, put a lot of empty boxes away. I baked a chocolate Grand Marnier cake. The Bundt pan I have is awful, and even though it was greased in every crevice, it didn’t come out properly. But it still tastes good. Also made bourbon balls, which turned out tasty, but look a little off-putting.

I was just wiped out. I felt weak and emotional all weekend. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t seem to get my feet back under me after this surgery. It’s been more than a week, and it was good news, so I don’t get why I’m still completely wiped out.

The “relief” package Congress passed is a joke. Sure, $600 is better than nothing, but we should have been getting $2000/month EVERY month since March. All of them failed us, including the Democrats. All these people saying, “Oh, take a government class, it’s all on McConnell, it’s not on Pelosi and Schumer” – grow up. I’ve been a negotiator. When you don’t have the votes, you GET THE VOTES. McConnell does it all the time, but Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to play hardball.

They’ll have another excuse for no continued, REAL relief in January. I’m sick of excuses. I want action. Tough, strong action against the corrupt. Not continuous capitulation and acting like $600 is good. It’s HALF of what we got in May, and just over ¼ of what we should have been getting EVERY MONTH of the pandemic. While the grifters continue to grift, without consequence. This has to change. If this is the “best they can’ do” then we need stronger leadership who can do better.

In this state alone, there are nearly 30,000 new virus cases a week. We need a full lockdown. With continued, direct cash relief.

And prosecution for those who profited from the pandemic at the expense of our lives all the way through it.

Monday, up early, still feeling like crap. But I went into the office – alone, like it should be. I got some shipping done – see, people? The orders came in over the weekend and went out MONDAY – that is how one takes care of customers. The postman hadn’t arrived by the time I left, so I took the boxes with me and dropped them off at the post office myself. Went to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

Home, decontaminated, masked up again, and packed cookie tins. They look really cute. The cookies are packed in individual sleeves, which work well, but take up a lot of room.

One of the companies I poked came through and I got the delivery that was most important to get today. The company from whom I ordered before Thanksgiving – shipped so late it’s still stuck in California, and the third company is making noises about delays. But what I really wanted for today came, so that’s that.

I got an unexpected bonus from two clients. One goes into the bank, as prep for moving; the other I used on a piece of jewelry by an artisan on which I’ve had my eye for a few months. I put in a note with the order not to stress about trying to get it out for this week. It gets here when it gets here. I ordered it late – when I had the money to order it. I’m happy whenever it arrives.

I was finished just as the sun set, and we did the family Solstice ritual: let the sun set all the way, sitting in the dark. Start by lighting the fire in the fireplace, with greens from last year’s Solstice season; then light all the candles and put on the trees and other decorative lights, inside and outside the house. And take a few minutes of gratitude to enjoy it, release what no longer works, and make room to invite something new and wonderful.

Dinner was pancetta and peas in Alfredo sauce, with the chocolate Grand Marnier cake for dessert. Delicious.

Then, a quiet evening re-reading Terry Pratchett’s HOGFATHER (one of my favorite books), enjoying the tree, listening to Chantal Chamberland sing carols.

Later, I did my own private Solstice ritual, to remove the detritus of this year, and make way for something new.

I’m off today to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the Trump-supporting maskless mechanics who did the oil change sabotaged the car a few months back, and there will be a major repair. Think good thoughts for me. At least I’ll be at the mechanic I know is honest.

If I’m not there all day with car repairs, I hope to come home the cookie deliveries (and yes, one of those tins is for the mechanics in Plymouth).

Have a lovely day, friends, and a lovely week.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.