Wed. Oct. 13, 2021: Outlines, Energy, Supplies

image courtesy of Charlotte May via pexels.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday turned into a temperate and gorgeous autumn day.

My initial productivity, writing the outline at the laundromat, sadly, did not transfer into much productivity the rest of the day.

I’m happy with the work on the outline, although it still needs more. I have to type up the notes, and organize some of the paragraphs; I jotted down bits and pieces as I thought of them, not necessarily in the order they need to flow for the story. I need to arrange them now, see where the plot holes are, and fill them with things to at least try in the first draft.

After the laundry was put away, some email dealt with, and some breakfast, I headed off to Wild Oats and to Stop & Shop for a grocery run. Stop & Shop is definitely having supply chain issues, mostly with big brands. It shouldn’t affect me too much, but as they are getting things in that I need (that aren’t perishable), I’m grabbing a couple extra, so that we’ll be all set through the winter. That way, if shelves are empty due to supply chain issues, we are still covered; if it’s just that we can’t get anywhere because of weather, we’re still covered. I will need to do a Target run soon for cleaning supplies. We have about another 4-6 weeks’ still left from what we brought up with us from my pandemic stash; I’m going to stock up to get us through the spring.

I bought more than I planned, at Stop & Shop, because I am doing some of that stocking up on canned goods and staples. There’s still no apple cider vinegar, although I found molasses and bought enough for the holiday baking and some other recipes. Frozen vegetables and pasta were just about wiped out. Frozen vegetables are more of a convenience than anything else; the farmers’ markets and the co-op can keep us supplied with fresh, although we might have to eat things we don’t normally eat. Chance to expand the palate. Eat whatever’s in season. We try to do that anyway, but I usually keep a few bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer for when I’m tired or haven’t had a chance to hit the market. While the Big Box pastas may be out of stock, the local fresh pastas are well stocked in both Wild Oats and Big Y. There don’t seem to be issues with flour and yeast this year, so I should be able to bake bread. Although I’m going to grab another jar or two of yeast in the coming weeks.

We are fortunate that we have so many choices in close proximity. And, as I said, it’s mostly big box brands that aren’t getting restocked. Those are my backup, not my go-to, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m keeping an eye on things. We have enough stocked in our pantry to get through a couple of months, and as long as I can replenish as we use things up, we’ll be fine.

But it’s noticeable.

There wouldn’t be supply chain issues if someone wasn’t making a profit from it. It’s being spun as a labor problem, but I think someone’s figured out how to profit and blame labor.

Really weary on multiple levels. I did my Soul Expedition journal work, which was interesting, and then spent some time on the acupressure mat. I’m getting headaches from all the screen time. I need new glasses at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Got out the two script coverages on the tightest deadline. Read two more scripts.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are doing well. They are bright and curious, and this type of learning allows them to actually learn, not just prep for standardized tests. I’m grateful to the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for all their educational resources. Last night, we took a virtual trip through the Louvre, which was tons of fun, too. I need to do a virtual tour of some Venetian museums, and they thought that was interesting, so that’s on tomorrow’s agenda.

I was assigned my next book for review.

I have an ethical dilemma with one client; that client’s priorities have shifted in a way with which I disagree, and to the point where it may not be a good fit any longer. I’m debating whether to take a break with that particular client or just leave altogether. Usually, I’m all for a clean break, but I also know I’m suffering from burnout and pandemic brain, so I don’t want to make a mistake. I have to ponder this a bit, as I finish off some work for this client.

Stuck on one of the plays. I’m going back to the source material, hoping I can shake free of the stuck. I didn’t write enough notes on the project when the idea originally burbled up, and I’m paying for it now. It’s on deadline, so I don’t have time to faff around.

Hoping it clears up a bit, so that I can walk to the post office and library later. I hope the walk will clear out some of the cobwebs.

I didn’t get any of the short articles done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today, and also do more script coverage. I’m close to what I hoped to earn for the week, so I don’t have to stress.

I got pinged that UPS delivered a package yesterday afternoon. I don’t know where they delivered, but it sure as heck isn’t anywhere around here. I let the shipper know, so it can be either refunded or replaced. This morning, I found the package tucked under the mat, which means it was misdelivered elsewhere in the neighborhood, but, because I have excellent neighbors, someone took the time to drop it off. Because it wasn’t there when I checked at 9 PM last night.

Saturn going direct lifted a huge weight off (even though I’m tired). Having Jupiter and Mercury go direct next week will feel like a new lease on life, I hope.

Exhaustion kept me from concentrating well and getting things done yesterday in an efficient manner. I hope to make up for it today.

Tessa woke me at 4:30. I moved to the sofa for a bit, but was up and working by 5:30. She keeps coming into the office and yowling at me, then running around. I think she wants to play. Maybe if I give her a good, dedicated playtime session, she will let me work. Here’s hoping. Charlotte fell asleep during morning meditation and is still zonked out. Willa is busy in the kitchen.

Because, you know, it’s all about the cats.

Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Tues. Aug. 17, 2021: Frustrating Start

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Mid-month check-in is up at the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

It was a good weekend, although I had a late start to it. In the hot weather, I’ve been taking a break during the worst heat/humidity in the middle of the day and focusing on the reading portion of my job(s). But that means I have to get back to the writing in the evenings, when it’s cooler and I can actually think. I wasn’t finished on Friday until about 8 PM, which I hate. (Which is why when someone approaches me with the line, “Must work PST hours” I refuse).

Also, too much of Friday was spent trying to open the new account at Greylock Federal Credit Union. It shouldn’t take three hours to open an account, and it shouldn’t take two weeks before the account is up and running. Seriously wondering if we made the right choice. Well, if we hate it, there are a ton of banks around here, and we’ll just change over again.

Tons of email to get through; I’ve been waiting too late in the day on Fridays with the admin. Hopefully, that will change now that it’s a little cooler.

After dinner on Friday, we had the lights off in the kitchen and sat, watching the thunder and lightning roll around the mountains. It was really cool.

Saturday was heavy with humidity, and it was hard to concentrate on anything. A friend is visiting for Labor Day weekend (yes, vaccinated), and booked her train ticket. I’m going to pick her up/drop her off at the train station in Albany, which will be an adventure.

Put away the holiday decorations we brought up in this last storage run. Winter on one side of the shelves, autumn on the other. There’s still plenty more coming up, but we will figure it out. There’s still room.

Got Mother’s prescriptions transferred up to the local CVS. The one on Cape said they’d do it, but, of course, didn’t. Everything is set up – only when we came home, there was a letter from Tufts that they are dropping her from their health insurance because she moved. They supposedly cover the entire state (one reason we wanted to stay in MA), sent her four volumes of statewide doctors and a list of local ones (none of whom were closer than 18 miles away), and now they’re dumping her. During a pandemic. After raising her premiums while doing less. This is not acceptable. Hey, I’m all for her having a better health plan, but Tufts needs to be bitch slapped by Health & Human Services, Maura Healey’s office, and Elizabeth Warren’s office for this type of behavior, and I am damn well going to make sure that happens. I’d like to bitch slap the Tufts CEO myself. In person.

Wrote up my book review and got it in on time. I always drag my feet when the book is a disappointment. This one needed both a developmental and a copy edit. It was a meandering mess.

Sunday was a lovely, sunny, cool day. We checked the local Goodwill, which is huge and has a lot of stuff, but nothing we needed. Then, we headed over to The Spruces, just over the border into Williamstown. The Spruces was a planned senior community of trailer homes, begun in the 1950’s, with its own mayor and city council. It was flooded out permanently in either 2011 or 2012, and now the town owns it and turned it into a community park. It’s filled with wildflowers and trees, and there are still ghostly outlines of some of the properties. The entrance has two white lion statues on very tall pedestals. It’s beautiful and a little creepy all at once.

The news of the earthquake in Haiti is sad, and what’s going on in Afghanistan was completely predictable. It was never about independence for the country, but about how much money our military contractors could make, Of course, the same GOP who doesn’t want to support those seeking asylum are the ones screaming about what’s going on there. Not to mention it was a Republican who got us into the mess in the first place. Typical hypocrites.

Read Peter Ackroyd’s short biography of Wilkie Collins, which gave me some ideas, especially when it comes to the Victorian actors Squire and Marie Bancroft. Put aside the book of letters between Yeats and Maud Gonne – that research is not leading where I’d hoped so I’m putting that project aside for now.

Worked on unpacking and setting up the sewing room (which also doubles as a guest room. Still more to do, but we’re getting there.

Wrote steadily all weekend, and that felt good. Writing steadily first thing every morning.

Monday started as a cool, lovely day. Good writing session, caught up on email. Went to the post office to mail a stack of bills and letters. Went to both libraries.

Got Mother’s social security deposit information changed to the new bank. No luck with the insurance. The Medicare “help line” who’d sent her paperwork promising to help passed her from person to person to person, NONE of whom helped. I have to contact Health & Human Services, copying Maura Healey and Elizabeth Warren.

Only the Brother laser printer needs a new yellow ink toner, and won’t let me override to print in black and white. Staples won’t ship the regular cartridge. It has to be picked up in store. The store in Pittsfield doesn’t have it – I’d have to drive to Albany, and they won’t guarantee it’s still there, even if I purchase it for in-store pickup. I had to order, online, the more expensive cartridge to be shipped. It’s supposed to be here by tomorrow. They sent me a “driver’s release” form so the driver just leaves it at the door – but the link doesn’t go anywhere.

Can’t ANYBODY do their fucking job?

I’m so sick and tired of losing hours and days of work for stupid people. They’re costing me too much money.

Tried to fill out the paperwork so my mom’s pension goes into the new bank account. But because I couldn’t print it out for her to sign, I don’t know if they’ll accept it. She signed a statement. They also wanted a void check – only we don’t have checks, so the bank gave us a letter of authorization, stating the account was open. Let’s see if they accept that. If the pension goes into one account and the social security goes into another, it will be a hot mess.

None of this should be difficult, nor should it take days to “process.” You have the information electronically. Fucking type it in and save it, and then use it.

It was faster when NONE of it was electronic.

Read the second Wonky Inn book, which was fun. Got my next book assigned for review, so I’m looking forward to it. Read one of the scripts I have to cover – turns out it’s about an historical even into which I’ve done extensive research. So that’s fun.

It’s getting humid again.  We’re supposed to have showers on and off throughout the week. High humidity, although the temperatures won’t be that bad. I think we’ll get smacked with a bit of Hurricane Fred at some point, although nowhere near as much as the coast will.

I have to head over to the laundromat to get the laundry done. Big pile of it, since I didn’t go last week (we did the storage run instead).

Script coverage, almanac articles, starting the book for review, LOIs. Just another day in Freelance Life.

There was a beautiful rainbow stretching over the mountain, when I was on the front porch doing my first writing session this morning. The camera in the phone couldn’t capture it, but I enjoyed watching it until it faded away.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Aug. 13, 2021: Still on the Heat Wave

image courtesy of JackieLouDL via pixabay.com

Friday, August 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

The photo above captures pretty much what it looks like every morning, front and back, as we peer at the mountains.

I love Friday the 13th.  Only the ignorant and evangelical (one and the same, at this point) are afraid of it.

Yesterday, my brain got mushy with humidity. Still, I got my writing done on my book; I wrote up and got out two script coverages; I read two more scripts and finished the book for review. I’ll have to write up those script coverages and the book review this morning.

Freelance Chat was fun, a good chat about boundaries.

I started unpacking the box of tarot cards we brought up from the storage run. There are three file boxes filled with decks (and some books, and some oracle decks). I have a lot of decks. I reviewed them, at one point in time, which was really interesting. We’re bringing up one box on each run (they’re heavy). The good thing about that is, as I unpack, it gives me a chance to reconnect with each individual deck, and see how I want to work with it, moving forward, rather than staring at the entire bookcase full of decks I had at the other house, wondering which deck to choose.

I have some shelf space for these decks, but when I get them all back up here, not sure how I’ll store them.

The thunderstorm came in just before my client call (of course). The client call was fine, but I got the feeling the interviewer was trying to get a canned answer to a particular question. I knew the answer wanted, but it’s not my reality or my answer, so I didn’t give it. I gave the honest answer. It will either work, or it won’t, so I’m not going to worry about it. I’m not telling companies what they want to hear; I’m telling them my truth. Either they like it, we’re a good fit, and we work together; if they don’t, we shouldn’t be working together.

The cats were so hot, in spite of the fans, that Charlotte and Tessa couldn’t be bothered to fuss at each other, which was a good thing.

Today, I have the writeups mentioned above. Plus, we’re going to the credit union to open our local account, and start moving the finances away from the icky commercial bank. That will take a few weeks.

The friend who found this place for us is coming to visit over Labor Day weekend, so we are making plans. She’s fully vaccinated and so are we, so we’re all comfortable enough to visit in person. She’s eager to see the place and the area, and I’m eager to show her around.

Every once in a while, a notification comes into one of my feeds from the yoga studio I used to attend where I used to live. The one where, when I first got sick and told them I had to stop going last year (pre-pandemic), the teacher wanted me to jump through all these hoops and pay her a bunch of money for a “healing.” When I said it was too much (it was during the week I was pushed around nonstop to all those tests, was feeling so ill, not to mention terrified), I never heard from her again.  Anyway, out of curiosity, I checked the studio’s website. They’re back to in-studio work, without safety protocols. Meanwhile, the studio I’m interested (but still hesitant) to try out up here requires proof of vaccination, one’s own mats/props, and respects it if students wish to wear masks during practice. Big difference.

Deep breath. Let It go and appreciate where I am now. That’s why I keep the Chiron retrograde listed on the retrograde chart. The Chiron retrograde is about deep healing, and that’s what I need to do in this cycle.

I had a good writing session this morning, although didn’t get as much written as hoped. But I will write through the weekend, and focus on unpacking/setting up the sewing room and the rest of what we’re calling “Tessa’s room” while also trying to get more unpacked in my room and in my office.

Today is still supposed to be hot, but it should be cooler and less humid over the weekend.

Have a good one, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 13, 2021 at 7:17 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 13, 2021: Still on the Heat Wave  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Aug. 12, 2021: Hot, Hot, Hot

image courtesy of S. Hermann & F. Richter via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Heat wave: Hazy, hot, humid

There’s a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth, about how I’m adapting to gardening here, on porches and balconies.

Yesterday was kind of a miserable day, weather-wise. I did an early run to Wild Oats and to Stop & Shop, and got everything back and put away before it got too hot. Everyone I saw is masking indoors now. Even better, not fussing about it.

A rather serious issue came up with one of my biggest clients, and that had to be dealt with. I don’t think management’s position on this issue – which has serious legal implications – is strong enough. I’m concerned. I’m in the clear, but I’m still concerned.

Wrote up a coverage; read another script that I have to write up this morning, and have two more scripts to read today. I hope to write up one this evening, when it gets cooler, and the other tomorrow morning. I’m still catching up on email from Tuesday.

I have to finish the book for review today, and get that review out tomorrow. I hope I’ll get another assignment before the weekend.

Today is supposed to be even hotter than yesterday. The cats lounge in front of the fans, and we give them fresh, cold water every two hours.

I had an idea for a fantasy piece that I didn’t write down immediately, and lost parts of it. It had a wry tone to it that I wanted to play with. Some of the ideas started coming back this morning, so I want to take some notes before my brain overheats.

Working steadily on the book. I wrote more than I planned this morning, because it flowed well; nearly six pages instead of four. I’m into Chapter Four of the handwritten draft, so I should start typing, or it will be overwhelming.

This weekend, I need to get back to the book(s) I SHOULD be writing. Of course, the siren song of GAMBIT COLONY has started again.

My check from last Friday’s conference teaching arrived, which makes me feel appreciated. I will take it to the credit union tomorrow to open a new account, so we can switch things over from the commercial bank to a bank that, you know, actually gives a damn about its customer/members.

I’ve been invited to join the Friends group at the public library. I’m considering it, although I don’t want to commit to much volunteer time. Maybe bake for their events (they need people to help with baking). I have to think about it. I may hold off until spring, if it means being around strangers and not being sure whether or not they’re vaccinated.

I already sent regrets to an indoor event to which I was invited, because they’re not requiring attendees to be vaccinated. Nope. Not being around the germy and the stupid, when I can possibly avoid it.

Back to the page, to try to get some work done before it gets too hot. I also have to unpack and put away what we brought back up on Tuesday. Meditation group was great this morning, so that’s a nice start to the day. I have a conversation with a potential client late this afternoon; it will NOT be a video meeting, because I’m wearing as little as possible, and not dressing for an interview today.

Bit by bit, we’re getting there.

Published in: on August 12, 2021 at 8:31 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 12, 2021: Hot, Hot, Hot  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Aug. 3, 2021: Love The Libraries

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

For some reason, the weekend feels like a really long time ago.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog. I’m slowly gearing up the other blogs.

I didn’t manage my time properly, so I ended up writing up script coverage all weekend. I need to figure things out better, so I have weekends off from the coverage, or it’s just too much.

I found out that a new independent bookstore opened, within walking distance. My first instinct was to run right over and check it out. However, I decided to wait until I get paid, so that I can actually spend money there (not just buy one thing because I feel like I can’t go in without buying something, but buy several things and give them some serious business). I also discovered that, at Norad Mill, on the way to Wild Oats Market, is a yarn store. I don’t need more yarn – I have so much in storage. But there’s a yarn store, so you know I’m going to go there.

The list of possibilities for upcoming Artist Dates grows. And that is a good thing.

I like that there are places I can frequent within walking distance.

Norad Mill also has a yoga studio, with strict vaccine rules for in-studio work. Even with that, that everyone needs to be vaccinated, masks are welcome within the studio, I’m not sure if I feel comfortable going back into the studio. There’s another studio (near the new bookstore), but it’s online only right now. As much as I’d like to go back to class, I’m not sure, even with precautions and protocols, I feel comfortable enough so to do. I feel like I’d need a separate set of mat, blocks, props, etc. to take to class that would need to be decontaminated and kept separate from my daily mat and blocks I use at home.

But it’s nice to know that the studios here follow protocols. Unlike the studio on Cape, where, during the height of it all last year, pre-vaccine, people could be inside without masks.

I received sad news. The Broadway colleague fighting COVID, who seemed to be improving, died of a heart attack on Friday night. He was a sweet, gentle soul who is an enormous loss.

It also increases my rage against anti-vaxxers. They are domestic terrorists, walking biological weapons, and need to be dealt with as the murderers they are.

Saturday, I put the cat condo back up. It’s in a corner of the living room. Because the ceilings are so much higher here, it doesn’t dominate the room, the way it did in the Cape house. The cats aren’t sure about it yet. It has to be their idea to go back into/onto it.

Worked on unpacking/setting up my office some more. It’s better, it’s workable, but I want it wonderful, and it’s not there yet.

The new Eureka vacuum arrived. It’s wonderful. It was also horrifying to see how much dirt was in the rugs that the other vacuum hadn’t picked up. But now, we’re finally getting things clean.

When I lived a block from Times Square, in NYC, the constant cleaning was discouraging. I’d scrub everything down; an hour later, there was a light layer of soot and grime over everything. When we first moved to the Cape, a decade ago, things were a little gritty because it’s sandy (beaches have sand), but, overall, it was cleaner. However, it got progressively dirtier, as trees are cut down, and there were the constant mowing/leaf blowing/chain saws. The dirt had an oily residue from all the machinery in constant use. Even with regular house cleaning, it was difficult to get it clean, much less keep it clean. As we unpack, even though we cleaned things before the move, everything needs a second, thorough scrub.

The dirt and dust, at least so far, is a different, lighter consistency. So far, at least, it’s easier to clean, even though we technically live in a city.

Who knew there were so many kinds of dirt? Not soil, but dirt.

Sunday was about some more unpacking. There are still a few boxes in the living room that need unpacking, but it’s not stuff for the living room. And we need to rearrange some stuff, and decide what to put on the mantel. So far, nothing looks quite right. Our mirrors are the wrong size and shape. I feel as though it should be a painting. If we keep the porcelain figurines (which have been in the family for generations and keep getting hauled around) on the mantel, I feel it should be a pastoral scene with a lake (for feng shui, there needs to be water over a fireplace, even if it’s not a real one), so it looks like the figures stepped out of it. If we move the figures (although who knows where), it can be some other sort of painting, as long as there’s a watery vibe to it (but not a sinking ship type of thing; not good for feng shui).

I tried putting the pieces I brought back from Australia oh, so long ago, when my play was produced there, but they don’t look or feel right there, either. They will probably go in my office.

Monday morning, in my first writing session of the day, I passed my daily quota, for the first time in months. It felt good. I’m getting back in synch with my creativity. I’m starting, slowly, to feel like myself again. The self I was when I moved so optimistically to the Cape ten years ago (nearly eleven now), although I doubt I’ll ever feel that level of optimism about anything ever again.

Got out some LOIs, caught up on email. Worked on the class presentation. Walked down to the post office to mail a few things.

I can see the college library from my front windows. So, yesterday morning, I walked over and got a Community Card. I have permission to both check books out of the library and to work in the library (it was practically empty today and everything is well spaced, but if COVID numbers keep going up, I doubt I will). Everyone at the college – students, faculty, staff, vendors – is required to be fully vaccinated, at least. But I don’t want to push my luck.

For research, it’s a fantastic library. Lots of books I can’t find anywhere else. I only checked out two books, but they will keep me busy for a bit!

Home, tried to get back to work, had a bad case of the I Don’t Wannas. Did a little unpacking and rearranging.

Worked on some script coverage. Started the next book I have to review. Paid some bills.

An interesting call for a flash fiction submission landed in my inbox, so I’m playing with some ideas.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat, with the eye pillow on, and Willa was absolutely convinced I was dying, and it was her job to resuscitate. Poor cat. Her original human, who gave her up because he was too sick to take care of her and of Charlotte, must have been in bad shape.

At least I’m sleeping better.

As I’m roaming around the neighborhood, learning my way about, I’m meeting various neighbors. People are good about distancing when unmasked outside, and everyone in the area is vaccinated (most are connected to the college, or to other companies that insist on vaccination). The timbre of conversation here is so different than it was on Cape.

For comparison:

Topic: My life and work in New York, and it comes up that I worked backstage on Broadway for years.

Typical Cape Cod response: “Oh, so you were fired and came here? But I bet you still have connections. How soon can you get me free tickets? There are lots of shows I want to see, but I’m not paying those prices.”

Berkshires: “I bet you got to work on some cool projects and with some talented people.”

(For the record: I was not fired. I was aging out, and wanted to leave while I still loved it).

Topic: Professions. I’m asked what I do for a living, and I respond with “writer.”

Typical Cape Cod: “What’s your real job?”

Berkshire: “Can we get together one day to take a walk around the lake/get coffee and talk about how you approach character and plot? I’m vaccinated, I promise.  I’m trying a few things, and I’d love to hear how you do it.”

See the difference?

Not everyone on Cape was like that, of course. The people who became my friends weren’t like that, or we wouldn’t have formed friendships. But, at networking or Chamber Events or Writers’ Center events or art openings, meeting and chatting with new people, that same response came up over and over and over again, for years.

Not that it’s perfect here. The Town Clerk still hasn’t responded to my request to change voter registration (which, according to the Secretary of State’s office has to be done here), and the equivalent of my health organization hasn’t responded to any of my requests for information. The original requests went in nearly a month ago. The local chamber of commerce hasn’t responded to my request for information (although the larger 1Berkshires has).

But when I meet people and talk to them, I’m met with interest, rather than the hostility of “you think you’re so great because you work in the arts, but you can’t be that great or you wouldn’t live here” which I got pounded with constantly on Cape for years.

It’s not about my view of my own “greatness.” It’s the fact that this is my profession, not my hobby, I put in the work, and earn my living at it.

Up early this morning, wrote my 1K in longhand. It felt good. There’s stuff I need to research, details, but the writing itself feels good, even though the story itself is light years away from what I usually do. Stretching is a good thing.

The bulk of today’s focus will be on the materials for class: finishing up the Power Point presentation, putting together the handouts. My host is doing maintenance, so I can’t upload anything until tomorrow, but if it’s ready to go, that means I can upload, test, and troubleshoot before Friday’s class.

I also have to make another trip to the post office, and then I’ll swing by the public library to return books/pick up books. I think it’s nice enough to walk today, so that’s what I’ll do. Walking more is both a good way to learn the area, and a way to regain fitness and strength. It’s safe to walk around here, too. People aren’t idiots, and don’t roam in unvaccinated packs, like they did on Cape. Even when we’re unmasked and vaccinated, we give each other room, passing on the sidewalk, etc. None of this invading personal space and literally blowing on the backs of people’s necks that the assholes did during the pandemic on Cape, thinking it was “funny.”

Got to do a grocery run, too. I’m out of oat milk. I put cow’s milk in my coffee this morning, and that was a mistake. We need a few things like eggs and butter, too.

Time to get back to work. Slowly, I’m finding my work rhythms again. I still get tired quickly, and have to take more breaks, but taking breaks isn’t a bad thing. When I take proper breaks, I’m more focused and productive when I actually work.

And I’m soooo much more productive working fully remotely than going into someone else’s office.

Back to the page, hoping for a good day, on multiple levels.

Fri. July 30, 2021: Sliding into the Weekend (Through the Rain)

image courtesy of Olmheidi via pixabay.com

Friday, July 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Raining. Again.

Everything yesterday took much longer than it should have. Some days are like that.

Meditation group was great, and it was a good way to start the day.

Wrote and submitted a book review; got my next assignment. Caught up on email, got out an LOI, wrote up a long script coverage.

Participated in Freelance Chat, where the topic was burnout, and it’s comforting to know we’re not alone in it. And again, the pandemic stress is layered on top of the burnout, which makes everything ten time harder. Or a hundred times harder.

My Broadway colleague is making progress in his fight against COVID. That’s at least, good news.

Wrote up another script coverage in the afternoon, and started a third. I’d hoped to write up four, but that wasn’t happening.

Participated in one of Creative Capital’s discussions, “Artist Roles in Reimagining the Social.” It was a terrific discussion, Kenneth Bailey, the head of Design Studio for Social Intervention, is interested in keeping the conversation going, and I have a few ideas, which I will write up and send off later today.

Leftovers for dinner, nothing interesting. Read two more scripts, which have to be written up today, in addition to the other one and a half scripts that need to be written up.

Big storm last night, with thunder and wild lightning. I’m getting a little tired of all the rain, and worried that the rivers will overflow.

Playing with some story ideas, seeing where they lead. One is well in my wheelhouse, but a different slant; another is a bit further out, but playing with characters and ideas similar to what I’ve done before; the third is pretty far out of what I usually do, which is part of why it’s interesting. It’s fun to noodle without pressure, and it’s leading me back to the work that’s on deadline.

We had to deal with a centipede in the bathtub this morning, which was NOT fun.

Getting back into daily yoga practice is good. Even only two weeks in, I can feel the difference. I may add in another yoga session just before bedtime.

Today is about finishing up the script coverage, so I don’t have to do any this weekend. I need to unpack over the weekend, and do some work on my class that’s next Friday. I also have to do a quick trip to Wild Oats to pick up a few things and put in my membership.

The new vacuum is supposed to arrive today. I’m excited to try it out.

I plan to do some writing over the weekend, but most of it will be devoted to unpacking, and to celebrating Lammas.

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress

image courtesy of Garoch via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

Still dark out; it’s been raining all weekend, so maybe some sun?

Busy, busy, busy.

I was wiped out on Friday, but managed to turn around a quick coverage that came in and needed to be done right away. That threw the rest of the day out of whack, although I managed to get a Trader Joe’s run and a Lambert’s run in.

The tourist hordes have already descended, and they are more disgusting than ever. They’re nastier than ever. I intervened three different times at Trader Joe’s when tourists were rude to staff. They have NO RIGHT to this behavior. As I said to one, who threatened to leave and never return to Cape Cod, “Go. There are enough decent human beings who want to visit to keep the economy going. We don’t need YOU.”

The staff at Trader Joe’s has gone above and beyond since the pandemic started. I will not stand by and see them abused by twatty tourists who can’t behave with basic human decency.

On top of that, all these tourists in their Lexus and BMW and Mercedes are driving around tossing trash out of their windows onto people’s lawns. Absolutely disgusting.

The rain came pounding in on Friday night, and I’m petty enough to be pleased.

Charlotte was upset by the storm, so at about 3:30, I went down to the couch. She settled in, purring, and we dozed for a bit; then I was up and doing a furniture inventory so that I can give some actual information to the moving companies from whom I’m getting quotes. It will be difficult to estimate the boxes. I’m going to do a rough inventory of those by the end of the weekend, and then try to figure how many more I have to pack.

I packed all day Saturday, and felt I got nowhere. It was so frustrating. This while getting the laundry done and trying to finish a book for review and send out LOIs. It was raining like crazy, so at least I didn’t have to worry about the yard.

I also donated about 3 cases of wet cat food to the MSPCA down the street. None of these cats like wet food; I’ve tried all kinds. It makes more sense to donate it somewhere it will be used, either for the shelter cats, or as part of the shelter’s pet pantry program for people who are struggling.

My big fear now is that I’ll run out of boxes. But I’ll pack whatever I have and then see what I still need.

I’m so exhausted, and I’m just accepting the fact that I will live in a state of perpetual exhaustion until we are all moved.

I hope the lease comes through today or tomorrow. I’m going to be nervous until then. Because if something goes wonky and we don’t get this apartment, we are in real trouble.

Early Sunday morning (around 5:30), I was on the computer, working on LOIs, when movement outside the window caught my eye. A large coyote trotted through the yard, holding a dead turkey in his mouth. He looked both ways before crossing the street, and off he went, down around the corner. It’s the first coyote I’ve seen all season. He was gorgeous. I wonder if it’s one of the ones who was raised in our yard a few years back?

It was still a little disconcerting.

Sunday was an all-out packing day. I worked in my office all morning, and it was so discouraging, because it looks and felt like nothing got done. The afternoon was spent upstairs in the storage room; while there is still a lot to do, it’s showing how much we got done, and that feels better.

The landlord is pressuring us to have his home insurance inspector come in on the 10th of June to “look at the inside of the house.” That’s ridiculous. The inspector hasn’t been in for 49 years. He can wait another 15 days, until we’re out. There’s no way we can have the place in any shape by the 10th of June for a reasonable inspection. This poke-poke-poke that he does is really annoying. It brings to mind last year, when he forced us to agree to the energy assessment the same day I had my post-op medical appointment, the day everything started shutting down for the pandemic, and then didn’t follow through on anything that was offered. It’s unnecessary and unfair pressure and no, just no. Legally, he can ask for it. But I’m damn well pushing back.

I turned around a script on Sunday afternoon, and wrote up/sent off the coverage on Monday. I need to read a lot in the next two weeks, so I have a good chunk of change around the days of the actual move.

Sunday night, we got the formal offer for the apartment. Hopefully, the lease paperwork arrives today, and we can get that completed. What a relief! We have a new home.

I will talk publicly more about the details once the lease is signed. I’m always nervous until all the paperwork is done. Yes, one shouldn’t sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde, but this is necessary. And, using the retrograde energy, this signage is about resolving unresolved issues.

And I can’t be held hostage by the planets. Things have to happen when they have to happen; you use the stars for guidance, but can’t be paralyzed out of fear. Does moving during the retrograde(s) mean this will be temporary? Well, I seriously doubt we will stay ten years, like we did with this place. It’s a terrific space, and a year-round community where people live their lives instead of groveling before tourists all the time, and it gives us a chance to catch our breaths and regroup.

Will things be slower and more frustrating during the retrogrades? Of course they will. I’m on edge, worried that there will be a major car repair in there, or that the move will be more than we can afford.

But this is necessary and feels right, as far as where we’re going.

Somehow, somehow, I have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper to get it all done. My mother is 96 – she can’t do as much as she used to, and I don’t want this move to kill her. She’s delighted we got the space (as am I). I am completely indebted to my friend Rebecca for finding the listing for us, and getting us all hooked up. Now, I have to come up with the resources to get it all done.

I will drop a note off to our neighbors down the street, inviting them to come by and see which plants they want. I have a bunch of stuff to upload to craigslist. Part of today is taking photos.

Monday, I packed, focusing on my office It finally looks like something’s getting done there. I ran out of boxes; I’m picking up more boxes this morning from U-Haul, both for misc. stuff/clothes and for books. Then, I will spend most of the day packing.

I turned In a script coverage, then read the one I will turn in today, and claimed two more. One of them was a project for which I was requested – the writer liked my feedback, did rewrites to the suggestions, and wants me to look at it again. I need to do at least 2 scripts a day between now and when we move, so that we have money coming in, and I also want to make sure I can give them my full attention when I’m reading them, so that I give them the best coverage possible.

Today is the first time in over a year I didn’t have to prepare to Die For My Employer. It felt both good and weird to wake up and know I didn’t have to do anything for the onsite client. I didn’t have to log in to the social media accounts, create direct responses, find inspirational quotes, or create a new email blast. The new person starts tomorrow, and I wish them all well. I think that configuration of people and talent is exactly what they need for this next cycle. This change is good for all of us.

Today is about packing, starting the conversation with the movers, booking my time with the mechanic, and script coverage work. I hope that the lease comes through today; then I can start dealing with the utility companies and get that all sorted.

Hopefully, the landlord will back off and give me the breathing room I need to get everything done. 20 days (hopefully) until we load the truck – I hope to book it for the 21st.

Fingers crossed I can stay on track, and that my physical and mental health holds up. Once we are in the new space, I’ve booked some recovery time. It’s the packing/loading/getting there that worries me, especially when it comes to cost.

Speaking of mental health, what’s happening to Naomi Osaka at the French Open is awful. She has the right to refuse those stupid press conferences while her attention needs to be on her work – playing tennis. If she needs to step back from the press during the Open, that is a valid choice. This attitude that she doesn’t have the right to set boundaries so she can do her best work is disgusting.

I hope there’s a huge backlash against the tournament organizers, and that sponsors pull out. They won’t, because they don’t support mental health, either, but I wish that’s what would happen.

Anyway, hold a good thought for me for the next few days.

Published in: on June 1, 2021 at 4:09 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. May 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 360 — Inappropriate

image by Peggy Marco courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

On Friday morning, after sending out a slew of LOIs, I went onsite to a client’s, and told her I was giving two weeks’ notice. It’s the last onsite client with whom I’ve been working since the start of the pandemic. The scope is changing into something that’s not what I do, and I also don’t want to work from the office. Since we’ll be moving off-Cape, probably not in commutable distance, it doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense to leave now (well, in two weeks) before things ramp up for tourist season, than when things get too busy. The conversation went well; we will see how the next two weeks go.

Driving away from there, I felt a huge weight had been lifted; while I am sure the next two weeks will be challenging, it was the right choice, right now, for all of us. They can hire someone who wants to be there, who can do the physical lifting and shipping and whatever else changes in the scope of the job, and I can move on to work for which I’m better suited.

I’d written up a comprehensive job description for them to list; if the ad went up Friday, resumes would come in over the weekend, they could interview/hire next week, and they will be some overlap the following week. I saw the ad they posted – used the intro paragraph and no financial information. If they don’t get a lot of resumes, they’ll blame the whole “no one wants to work” myth.

But that’s not my problem anymore.

When it comes to the myth, remember:

–nearly 600,000 people died in the past year, and that’s what we know about. Most of those people had jobs. Those individuals are DEAD. They no longer exist to fill those jobs. That’s nearly three times the year-round population of Cape Cod.

–Around here, many of those people died because they were put in unsafe working situations by their employer. Last summer was a nightmare of “Die For Your Employer” and “Die For Tourist Dollars” which made the Cape a red zone for COVID from the autumn until just a few weeks ago.

–People who were laid off/furloughed don’t owe loyalty to companies who showed no loyalty toward them when things got difficult.

–Somewhere between 100 and 200 people in my wide network of acquaintances discovered that they can do other things and liked doing it. Many of them started on new career paths that pay better and are more fulfilling.

–I see a couple of dozen of excited posts a day about people starting new jobs and being happy about it.

“No one wants to work because the gubberment pays too much” is a malignant myth by those who are frustrated they don’t have enough people to exploit.

I sent out LOIs, ran some errands, and read, both for the script coverage job and for pleasure. I really enjoy the script coverage job. I just hope I can keep up the pace, and even pick it up a little.

House-hunted sent out a bunch of requests, dithered. I can’t afford to pay multiple application fees for places we won’t get. I just can’t. That cuts into moving money. I also think it’s yet another scam by landlords/property companies to make money off people who need to find a place to live.

House hunted all weekend, actually, and sent off a bunch of enquiries. Fingers crossed I hear something back that’s positive.

Worked on some script coverage over the weekend, although I’m trying to keep weekends clear of that work. Kept up with watering the yard. Did some grocery runs. Did a dump run with garbage/yard waste/recycling. We’re cleaning out the garage. I’m tidying and packing up the pots, and seeing what we can toss. I have a feeling there will be multiple dump runs in the coming weeks.

Did eight loads of laundry done on Saturday, including switching out the curtains, and washing blankets and covers and stuff that can be packed away both for the move and until next winter.

I still wish that lovely little duplex in Bennington would come through for us, but I need to reconcile myself to the fact that it probably won’t.

A painter was supposed to come and take a look at what needs to be done to the outside of the house, and the landlord was going to stop by to see some tree work that needs to be done at the property line, but neither of those things happened. I just have to carry on with what I’m doing and not worry about the rest of it.

Got some packing done on Sunday in my office. I have to up the packing pace.

I’m reading the Meg Lanslow mystery GIFT OF THE MAGPIE by Donna Andrews, and it’s quite wonderful.

Read the book for review. Wrote the review, sent it off, waiting to get assigned my next book.

Got my first positive writer feedback from the script coverage job; a writer was really pleased with my comments. It’s a relief that I’m on the right track, at least for that particular writer. The place pays twice a month; I started near the end of the pay period, and they’ve already paid me for the work I did through the 15th, which is comforting.

I have to set up the binder and a new flash drive that’s just for the coverage this week.

Up early yesterday. Did some cleaning out in the garage first thing. Then it was the book review and LOIs. I had to go to the client’s in the morning for a few hours. Between this week and next week, I have a total of 24 hours spread over 6 days. My plan is to go in and get them as set up for the summer as I can, keep my head down and my mask on – because you know they’ll refuse to wear masks around me, even though I’m not considered fully vaccinated for another week, because “they’re tired of it.”

Looked at photos of hairstyles. As of Saturday, when I’m fully vaccinated, I plan to get my first haircut in 18 months.

Went into the client’s site to finish my last 24 hours spread over 6 days, winding up projects for her, and setting things up for whomever comes in next, if there’s no overlap. She became verbally abusive and completely, inappropriately unhinged, making threats. I told her to stop it; if this continues, I will not work out the two weeks. I gave notice as a courtesy; this is an at-will state. An employer can fire an employee without notice; an employee can quit without notice. Since I am on a W-2 instead of a 1099 with this particular client, those rules apply. This is a part-time job, with the job scope changing to something I don’t do, and the demand of being in-office when I’m leaving the area. The entire response to the perfectly reasonable notice is disturbing and inappropriate. Beyond hostile.

The above is another reason the PROACT, with the ABC Test, will hurt freelancers. This crap.

Not to mention she now refuses to wear a mask in the office, in spite of the fact that I’m not fully vaccinated for another week, and I don’t even know if the third person in the office is.

Nightmare. We will see what the next few days are like.

On top of that, she wants me to come in for one hour once a week indefinitely to “answer questions.” No. I’m working remotely for other clients past my end date. She can send me an email or book a (billed) phone call or Zoom call. I’m not losing half a workday to come onsite (when part of the reason I’m leaving is that I no longer do onsite work) to “answer questions.” Everything in my former job scope can be done remotely and should. The same with questions.

I should have tidied up the front lawn (too small a job to bring in my lawn guy), but I felt like I’d been battered. I managed to read a script for the script coverage job and take notes, which I will write up today.

My Llewellyn editor is going to contract me for the 2023 Almanacs. I’m excited.

I had a telehealth conference with my doctor. She was kind and helpful, and is referring me to resources I need to get through this next bit. I’m very grateful to her.

Felt sick most of the night, probably from stress. Up way too early. Posting this, then have to do some more work on the garage before I leave for the client’s – whether I stay there or not until the two weeks are up up in the air.

Peace, friends, and hold a good thought for me.

Wed. May 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 347 — Things Are Shifting

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

There are several irons in the fire, all good. I will share information when I have it. I just don’t want to jinx anything by speaking about it too early!

Yesterday was busy; struggled with my article. It’s just not shaping up the way I’d like. Wasn’t able to get much done on the short story (which needs to be finished this weekend). Got some client work done, got some LOIs out.

Had a Zoom meeting with a potential new client. Actually, it’s a recruiter for a potential new client, so I doubt it will work out, but it was a pleasant enough conversation, and he asked for more samples, which I sent as soon as we were done. He says the client wants to move fast; I explained that I wouldn’t be able to book another meeting until early next week.

Meanwhile, I sorted out appointments for tomorrow – the ones I can’t yet discuss – going back and forth. Might set up another couple of appointments, if I can fit them in.

Working on the book for review. I want to get it finished and the review out tonight.

The script coverage I turned around on Monday was a hit, and the company offered me a long-term, freelance position. It’s under NDA, so I can’t talk about it in detail. The contract’s fine, the money seems decent. Until I actually do a few assignments, I won’t know for sure, but it seems like a steady, fun client. I’ll start either late this week or early next week, and I should have a better sense of them by the end of next week.

I’m having terrible tension headaches, but once things get sorted, I’ll be fine.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone just wants to get the school year done, have the summer break, and see where we are in the fall. The kids who are returning to school in person (hopefully) in fall are optimistic that enough people will be vaccinated by then so they can. But there are several families who decided to home school instead.

At the end of the school year, we’ll have a big Zoom call with kids, parents, etc., and see where we are, and what the options are moving forward.

Watched more WILLIAM AND MARY, which is really a lovely show.

Woke up again at 2:30 AM, fretting. Hopefully, once the move is sorted out, I can start sleeping through the nights again. I have to come to terms with the fact that I’ll be moving during Mercury Retrograde. Amongst all the warnings of not making big purchases, not signing contracts, travel plans and electronics all screwing up, retrogrades are also about resolving unresolved issues. The move is an unresolved issue, so getting it done – even with the knowledge that there will be obstacles because of the retrograde – could be a relief.

Because it needs to happen when it needs to happen.

The septic guys worked through yesterday, in spite of the rain. My mom was fascinated, and to be honest, it was rather like a beautiful ballet. The amount of trust between the guy working in the pit and the guy manning the earth mover, a literal ton of machinery just inches from him, was amazing.

They finished the big leech pit taking up most of the meadow and started filling it in. There’s still more to do, but I bet they finish it today.

I did a curbside pickup at the library and had a good, socially-distant conversation catch-up with one of my librarian pals. She feels the same as I do – the lack of transition. We’re being pushed into reopening without any thought for how hard most of us have worked through the pandemic. This attitude that we’ve all been on vacation for the past year is insulting.

I had to book some things online this morning, pay some bills, and then I’ll head out to the client’s office. I know she’ll nag at me with her demands of where I should move and how we should give up the cats and throw away all our stuff. I’m hoping to just nod and smile and ignore her. We will make the best decisions for US, not for someone else’s convenience.

The lilacs are starting to bloom. I might be able to put a vase of them by my bed this weekend, as I recover from the second vaccine dose.

Onward, stressful soldiers!

Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Hazy and cool

Re-read THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE. I only have the prologue and a couple of chapters, but it has energy and wit, and I like it.

I have to figure it out, and write the outline, but I like it.

In the meantime, I wrote steadily on a piece with the working title SELF-SANCTUARY. I’m doing between 1200-1750 words a day, longhand, which is good, steady work. Every three chapters, I will type what I have.

The house hunting is stressful. A couple of good places don’t have any openings right now, so maybe I’ll get us on the waiting list, while we look elsewhere. A couple of cute houses, smaller than we are in now, came up, and we can even afford them, but the competition is fierce.

And, of course, there were at least a dozen more scams. Those are disheartening.

Did laundry, packed, house hunted, wrote, did housework. Not only are the people moving in destroying the environment/habitat/landscape they claimed to move here because of, it’s getting filthy.

We do the daily cleaning, of course, and then a weekly big clean with dusting and mopping and vacuuming. And then the spring cleaning/fall cleaning. But in between even the weekly big cleans, it gets really filthy. It didn’t use to. There’d be a little dust here and there, and, of course, the pine pollen in spring. But now, it’s a layer of grime, similar to what I dealt with in New York City EVERY WEEK. Because of the constant heavy machinery and leaf blowers. It’s disgusting.

At least I got some sleep. Slept through the night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, although I had weird dreams.

A client sent me something on Saturday for quick turnaround. I replied that I would do it first thing Monday (which I did). Remote work does not mean I’m on call 24/7 for instant turnaround.

It was too cold to sit on the deck, which made me sad. We don’t have much longer to enjoy the deck.

My mom was sick Sunday into Monday. I worked fully remotely on Monday, so I could take care of her. Had her on the couch, propped with yoga blankets and bolsters and a hot water bottle, so she was comfortable. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

I had a solid morning’s writing session, got out some LOIs, turned around client work, house hunted, took care of my mom.

In the mid-afternoon, I had a delightful chat with someone who’d liked an LOI I sent a few weeks back, and we discussed possibilities. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

Worked on contest entries, got my review out. I have another book to read/review, and then I can invoice.

It was temperate enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine for an hour or so in the late afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens, and they were very happy. There was a baby woodpecker in the maple tree. He was so cute! I guess Raoul and Juanita (our resident woodpeckers) had a little one.

Simple supper of spinach and cheese omlettes.

Tired and went to bed early, which meant I woke up too early this morning.

I had to force myself to sit down for the first writing session this morning, but once I did, I was glad I did, and got a good 1500 words in on SELF-SANCTUARY. It’s flowing well. I’m in the third chapter written in longhand; once that’s finished, I’ll type the first three, as I continue in longhand.

But going back to my daily 1K (or a little more) first thing has made me feel better about everything else, and stabilizes my day. I am more creative and productive. Punishing myself by not writing until I solved the housing crisis only sent me into a downward spiral. Self-flagellation and self-sabotage are not the answer.

A different potential client got back to me, demanding I work PST hours (which would mean working until 8 PM Mondays through Fridays), even though I stated clearly that we have enough overlapping hours to work in real time, and then work asynchronously the rest. If you demand working YOUR business hours for a remote team, you don’t understand how distributed workforce actually works. No. Moving on.

I need to make a run to Trader Joe’s this morning, and then get more client work done, and more house hunting done.

One foot in front of the other, right?

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 5:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry

image courtesy of shell_ghostcage via pixabay.com

Friday, March 26, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and windy

Yesterday turned out to be a “good busy” day. Meditation was good, got some client work and LOIs out. Got out another round of interview requests for the article. I’m writing some of it in my head already, and will probably get some of it on paper today. The quotes, when I get them, may change my vision of it a bit, but we’ll see.

We took apart the two beds in the back room and stacked the mattresses, headboards, footboards, slats, etc. This gives us room to stack boxes as we pack them. Packed up a bunch more boxes, too. You know it’s serious when we take down the horse tapestry from the back room, and that’s what we did. Took it down, rolled it up, it’s ready to go.

I tweaked my back taking the beds apart, because of course I did.

Spent time on listings; nothing. What’s available is so far out of our price range, it’s ridiculous. And townhouses/apartments are even more expensive than houses.

Worked on contest entries. Will finish one category today, and get the top choices out this weekend, as I keep working on the other two categories. Also have to read the next book for review.

It was so lovely outside that I put Willa in her playpen and took her on the deck for an hour or so. She got to spend time safely enjoying the outdoors, while I read a book by Ovidia Yu and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was a nice breath in the day. We didn’t get the rain we needed, but now we’re supposed to get it today.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s tired and stressed. I hope they’re not going to extend the school year well into summer. Everyone needs a break, so they can start fresh in autumn.

The virus numbers on Cape Cod are going up again. I mean, they’re going up for the state in general, but Cape Cod’s numbers are double the rest of the state, and we’re a red zone again. Not surprising, when you see how badly people are behaving, and ignoring the mask mandate.

Today, I have client work, LOIs, contest entries, book review, packing. And I’m doing a focus group with the Arts Foundation in the late morning; after that, I will have to do a run to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

We started watching the Doc Martin series. It’s so odd and funny. We spent time in Cornwall in 1999, and the patchwork of familiar places they’ve stitched together for the locations is lovely to watch.

I have to send a reminder to a client to send me some information today, so I can work on it Monday and Tuesday for approval Wednesday to make a deadline. If she waits until next Wednesday to give it to me, I can’t get it done by deadline.

The weekend will be about packing and working on contest entries. And looking at rental listings, hoping I can come up with something. Fingers crossed.

I wish I knew someone with a spare house they were willing to rent to us for a year or so, but that only happens in fiction, unfortunately.

Anyway, we should have some nice weather, so I might put a couple of chairs and the wind chimes out on the deck and work on contest entries outside. Today is supposed to be stormy and icky, so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Hopefully, next week I can book my vaccine appointment for the following week.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on March 26, 2021 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 17, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 299/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 49 — Stress

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.c.om

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cold

St. Patrick’s Day

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I grew to loathe it when I lived in New York City. It was an excuse for people to get blind drunk before 10 AM and harass others. I tried to take it off whenever possible, so I could stay inside; or, at the very least, have someone from the theatre walk me home after the show; otherwise, I’d usually get into at least half a dozen physical skirmishes, with drunk men grabbing me, pawing me, trying to force me into sex because I “must want it.”

In the years I commuted on the train, I was groped and harassed on the train, plus these drunks were vomiting all over it all the time. It was disgusting.

I do have to go out and about a bit today – onsite for a few hours with a client, then picking up my mom’s prescription at CVS. With restaurants open/serving liquor, even at limited capacities, there will be drunks out. Around here, it’s usually by noon.

Yesterday was stressful, on multiple levels. But I got some client work done, some LOIs out, caught up on personal correspondence, got some sorting and packing done (although not as much as I’d like). I hurt my back moving boxes.

Supposedly, MA received more doses of the vaccine than expected; hopefully more appointments will show up. If the eligible pool can get totally vaccinated in the next few weeks, then there’s more room for the next pool.

Finished the book for review, sent the review, got the next two books for review. Worked on contest entries.

Comcast was glitchy early in the morning, and I was also having computer update issues. Comcast was, for the first time in all the years I dealt with them, responsive and actually fixed the problem.

Got some interview requests out; one subject already got back to me, and was delighted to be included. I had to drop another potential interview subject, because of the lack of contact information on his site, his publicist’s site, and his agent’s site. After two hours’ worth of research, where all I had were names and web addresses that had no contact information on them, not even a form, I decided to move on to other interview subjects. I guess his position is that, if you don’t already have the relevant contact information, you’re not far enough up in the food chain for him to deal with. Okay, sweetie, then don’t complain you’re not getting enough inclusion (which he does).

Knowledge Unicorns was fun; everyone’s tired and ready for Easter break, although all any of them want to do is sleep. I can relate.

So the Sociopath gives an interview, and soon after, another right-wing nut job murders Asian women. Not a coincidence.

The Dems need to crush McConnell for his filibuster threats. He needs to be destroyed. Get rid of the filibuster and legislate. Do it WITHOUT republicans. I don’t want “bipartisanship” with terrorists, and that is what the Republican party is right now. White domestic terrorists. Besides, they don’t mean “bipartisanship” or “unity.” They mean capitulation. No. That’s not why we voted in Democrats.

Today will be another stressful day, but I will get through it. Somehow.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on March 17, 2021 at 4:50 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 17, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 299/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 49 — Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,