Wed. Oct. 28, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 161 — Cases Rise & Errands Take a Half a Day

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Pop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a musing about everything an advertorial.

If you didn’t read about Barbara Ross’s new release yesterday, I hope you will do so here.

Had to leave the premises to go to Trader Joe’s, as we were getting low on some things. Ended up, as always, buying more than I planned. But I have what I need for my mom’s birthday dinner tomorrow, and I will pick up her cake on the way home from my client’s today. She loves cheesecake, and that’s something I’m terrible at making, so I buy her one for her birthday.

The staff was great as always, and it wasn’t too crowded, everyone masked and careful. Had to stop at CVS on the way home, and that was the same. Everywhere I drove past, though? Maybe 40% masked. If even that. Not masked, not social distancing.

It’s frustrating.

We had our fourth day in a row with new cases up past 1000. CT and NY have put us on a restricted test; so much for all the people smirking how MA does it right. No, they don’t. At least not around here, where they stopped wearing masks or social distancing in summer because they’re bored.

I’m also tired of errands taking a half day. You have to prep for them (map out what you need to do, the best route, and how to time it for least contact or when you’re allowed to shop by age), mask up, do the actual errand/grocery shopping (and you can’t just forget and run back in for one thing – you have to stand in line again and go through it all again), navigate through the Covidiots – even when people are masked in the store, they rip the mask off as soon as they are out of the store, even if people are in close proximity, because they’re too fucking stupid to understand what an AIRBORNE virus means. Then you have to get home, decontaminate and/or quarantine anything before it can come into the house, put it away or in quarantine, leave you shoes outside (I don’t wear shoes in the house, but I used to take them off just inside), wipe everything down you touched during decontamination, strip down, decontaminate yourself, get dressed in different clothes and then half the day is gone and you’re exhausted.

It’s nearly impossible to then settle down and focus on work.

But if I wait to shop until later in the day, the Covidiots who delight in harassing people trying to follow protocols and survive are out in force.

I lost most of the morning.

Got some research done, and followed up on some LOIs. Couldn’t focus enough to do actual writing, although I’m playing with some more ad ideas. There’s so much nagging and predatory marketing going on right now that I’m sick of it as a consumer, and don’t want to do it as a marketer.

The migraine came forward and receded, came forward and receded.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids talked about having a virtual Halloween party with each other on Saturday, since none of them are going out trick or treating. I’m glad they’re interacting when we’re not in homework session.

I have to admit, I had no idea there were so many kinds of bats and that bats were so interesting. I knew they could be kind of cute, but I had no idea about all the other stuff. So I’ve learned a lot, too.

The kids are focusing on vampire movies as “extra credit” for learning about bats, which I think is funny.

Also brainstormed a query letter with one friend for her project, and gave another colleague a lead on the kind of writers’ group she’s looking for. I hope it works out; I think the contact I sent her will be able to suggest a few different options.

I read a lovely book, THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Baurmeister. It’s been around for quite a few years (it was published in 2009). But it’s a beautiful, sensual book full of love and food, complex and simple at the same time. I loved it, and I’m going to read more of her work.

It was so nice to read a book that was about the positive things in life, making good out of sorrow.

The Seshat altar piece I ordered on ETSY arrived, which is great, because I can consecrate it on Samhain. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m delighted with it.

Today, I have to go in to a client’s with other people for a few hours, which I’m not looking forward to. Then, I’ll pick up my mother’s birthday cake and be HOME. Hopefully, I’ll be back in time for Remote Chat.

I don’t have to leave the house again until next Monday, although I might have to do another CVS run somewhere in there, or hit the liquor store (and hope it doesn’t hit back). But I’m hoping I won’t have to.

My mother’s 96th birthday tomorrow. I intend to make it a special day for her.

Peace!

Thurs. July 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — Hope for a Happy, Productive Day

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

There’s a new post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. If you didn’t see the post on Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about red flags in job postings, check it out.

I haven’t been spending early mornings writing in my personal journal or getting my first 1K done in longhand – I’ve been headed to the computer for the past few days. It doesn’t serve me for the rest of the day, it doesn’t set the right tone, so I have to change back to longhand first thing, computer later on. It sets a more creative tone for the day.

Up early, got some work done, polished an ad for a client yesterday. Went onsite for a few hours. The first few hours are fine, because it’s just me, but then it got chaotic. And uncomfortable. But it is what it is.

Home, disinfectant protocols, and made it to Remote Chat, which is also fun. Did a couple of brainstorming sessions with a friend about possible pseudonyms for different expansions in her career. It’s always fun to serve as a sounding board like that; a nom de plume is so personal and has to work on multiple levels. When you hit the right one, you can feel it. It resonates in your body.

Cleared off some other work. Spent some time out on the deck. Willa and the bunny are fascinated by each other.

Finished Deanna Raybourn’s A MURDEROUS RELATION, which was a lot of fun. Started reading Vivien Chien’s DEATH BY DUMPLING, and I’m loving it.

A friend sent me a house listing for her neighborhood. It has everything I want in it, and the price is high for there, but lower than almost anything around here. It’s in the Midwest, and I hadn’t considered moving back there (my family lived in Chicago from when I was 1 until I was 6). Hmm. Lots to think about. I doubt I’ll have the money before it’s snapped up, but still, it’s something to think about.

One of the biggest issues that worries me there is noise. It’s in a medium-sized city. Because of my hyperaccussis, I’m thinking of moving farther away from, you know, PEOPLE. And repetitive machine noise.

It’s one of the reasons we moved to Cape Cod. I need quiet. No, “noise-cancelling” headphones don’t work. They make it worse. Anyway, in the past few years, it’s noisier in this neighborhood than it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Ave. in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Saw a job listing for a freelancer. Decent monthly retainer. But if you “apply” you get 72 hours from the moment you hit send to complete an “assessment” which includes a project-specific writing sample. Nope. On top of that, they’re saying, “oh, we’re not expecting you to do unpaid work.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS SAMPLE IS. How much do you want to bet they don’t hire anyone, change the name of the company, and publish everything without paying the writers?

Next!

The Goddess Provisions box arrived yesterday, and it is delightful. The copy of WHO COOKED ADAM SMITH’S DINNER? About inequity in economics, arrived, too. I’d read a copy from the library, realized I needed it for future reference on many projects, and bought a copy.

People are so happy with the cards we sent out. I’m glad. I’ve heard from several friends, and a friend of my mom’s called her and burst into tears because she was so happy to get the card.

Pandemic stress is getting to people. If a card can give them some pleasure and relief, I can take a few minutes to write cards. I’m going to do another batch this weekend.

This morning, I have to take the household garbage to the dump, do some client work on an online store, and get a rough draft of my new article assignment done. Plus, finish fixing THE BARD’S LAMENT and finally move on to the next section, and catch up on my Miracle of Human Languages coursework for the week.

Busy day, but I hope a relatively calm, happy, and productive one. With time put aside to sneak off a read a few chapters of the Vivien Chien book.

Have a great Thursday!

Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in a good way. Not a lot of words down on the page, but plenty of project brainstorming and development.

Friday and Saturday morning were about cleaning and cooking ahead for the weekend. I’d just finished when my guest arrived.

Lucy, the newer cat, loves having company. More people to give her attention!

We had a good catch-up session over drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres. I roasted a chicken and we had rumbledethumps (a Moosewood recipe), and chocolate mousse for dessert.

We talked and talked and brainstormed projects. People who haven’t worked in theatre or other production don’t realize how much time it takes to develop projects and get them into production. YEARS.

We watched an awful movie about the Stork Club, although it was interesting to see details about the club, and the Edith Head costumes were great.

Sunday, we had a leisurely morning capped by Eggs Benedict and prosecco. Then, we headed out to see a bit of the Cape — some local shopping, a stop in one of the libraries, then out to Dennis to see the Cape Playhouse (where I worked a few years ago), The Cape Cinema, and the exhibits at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. There were several interesting exhibits going on, and they really do make use of every inch of possible space. A chorale concert was getting ready, about to start just as we were leaving. We took a scenic drive back along 6A and through Sandwich, for the old buildings and the lighted sculptures.

Back home for more conversation, maps and projects, cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvres, and then I made baked scallops with noodles and spinach for dinner. More conversation, more project brainstorming. Watched a few episodes of MISS FISHER (which is theatrical and fun and has brilliant clothes). More conversation, and a late night.

All in all, a creative weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good brainstorming sessions with people over the last few weeks. There’s a ton of information to process, and then I have to sit down and sift through it and apply it to projects. Who are the best producing partners? What other artists can be included? Where do we get the funding? Because WE ARE PAID TO CREATE. This is our business, not our hobby. Our vocation as well as our passion. Because without integration and application, it’s all just yapping.

I was up early, weight training, yoga, meditation, some writing. Prep for some meetings later this week. Writing ahead on some blog posts for various commitments.

Worked with a client yesterday for a few hours, then had some admin work to do and some pitches to get out, then meditation group.

Quiet evening at home, recovering!

Today, I’m with a client for a few hours, and then have some more pitches, etc., after my first writing session of the morning.

I can’t believe January is almost gone. I have so much to do. Being sick put me way, way back, and I’m scrambling to catch up.

Published in: on January 29, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend  
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Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch

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Thursday, December 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I’m in the process of winding up year-end work with various clients. Some of it are permanent wraps on projects that are done, and I’ll be replacing them with new projects/clients in the coming weeks. Some are just getting things cleared up as much as possible before this holiday, and then I’ll be doing some work in between and then we start again in January.

By next year at this time, I want to arrange my life so I can completely take off from Solstice until right after the New Year. I need that time and space on multiple levels.

Got the exterior decorations up outside, including fixing some of the light strands. One is beyond help, but I had enough without it. Another, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a few things. The old white men were giving me sage, negative advice on what I “couldn’t” do, because, after all, I’m just a little woman, and couldn’t possibly know anything about electricity.

Honey, I started my career in lighting for rock ‘n roll. I can do things with a splicer, electrical tape, and pliers that you can only dream of.

Anyway, I got most of the lights working again. One set needs a bit more attention, but I was losing the light, and I need to be able to see.

Today, I’m running around finishing the cookie platter deliveries (even over the bridge). I did a big grocery shop, so I have the food for the Solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. I’ll deal with the New Year’s meals next week.

I’m playing tomorrow by ear, because of the weather. We’re supposed to get a big storm (rain, not snow). I’m supposed to take in the car and do a few other things (like get in some more liquor), but I might hunker down, celebrate Solstice, and then get the car in over the weekend. I also have a few more stocking stuffers to get, but for the most part, I’m in decent shape. I have to wrap. Which means I also need more tape.

Next year, I’m going to buy fabric and either silk or velvet ribbon, use pinking shears to cut, and wrap everything in fabric.

I will sweep the fireplace and lay the fire for tomorrow night today, though. I want to make sure all I have to do when it goes dark is strike the match, and then it starts.

I have writing and cooking and reading and some friends coming in for the weekend and holiday, so we’ll be brainstorming the next three plays I plan to work on. I’ll need to hit the ground running on them after the first of the year – with at least three books on the roster for next year (more, if something that’s written is picked up and needs editing), and some travel and appearances and other life stuff, I’ll have to plan my time carefully to write three plays along with everything else.

But they’re good ideas, and they won’t leave me alone until I fulfill them. I just have to fix a few structural things in the rest of my life so to do.

Have a lovely holiday, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on December 20, 2018 at 11:33 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch  
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Wed. Dec. 19, 2018: Regain the Balance By Writing

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the final business post of the year.

Yesterday was challenging. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Today will be as well. I will just have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

By the end of the work day, I was very discouraged and disheartened. Change will happen, not as fast as I want it to, but it will. I have to be patient and smart. But it was one of those situations where I wanted to just sit down and cry, only there was no guarantee I’d stop any time in the foreseeable future.

Behind on where I want to be with deliveries and finishing the cards. I’m close to the end of the cards, but I’ve been so wiped out when I get home that I’m practically babbling.

Working on THE LINGERIE TRAIL and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and starting to get back to fixing the problems in DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I’m brainstorming an idea that’s been rolling around in my head for years, which is demanding attention. It’s most likely to be a play, with two infamous female writers at the center of it. That’s all I’m going to say for now. Doing some brainstorming in the Women Write Change forum.

I’m not going to work on the anti-gun violence play until after the holidays. There’s too much going on for me to go deep enough, and then be able to come back and deal with life stuff that needs handling. I’ll need to block off some quiet, depth time. But I am working on the proposal for the play I want to write about Canaletto’s sisters.

Also toying with the idea of a novella (? Not sure there’s enough for a novel) about a charming guy who entices women he meets online to support his expensive lifestyle, and how he gets his comeuppance. If it remains as light and comic as the initial notes, I’ll keep it as an Ava Dunne piece; if it goes darker, it’ll go out under the Devon Ellington byline. I probably won’t get to it until about spring anyway.

Yeah, I can hear you guys from here, telling me of course it will go dark. Because, hey, who’s got a trilogy coming out next year called “Justice by Harpy”?

I might just surprise you all!

Or not.

I’ll trust the characters to lead me to the best format.

I have a lot to do over the next few days, but I’m also looking forward to Winter Solstice on Friday, full moon Saturday, and celebrating a (hopefully) quiet Eve and Day early next week.

I love those moments at the beginning of the Winter Solstice ritual, where the house goes to full dark. Then we light the fire in the fireplace, and then light all the candles, and then put on all the twinkle lights. It really does make me feel like things will turn for the better.

I need rest, which is different than sleep.

But before then, I need to get things done.

Hopefully, yoga is on tomorrow. I need to be back in class.

I need some good writing time this week – which I will get in, around the Solstice and Christmas prep and some friends coming in with whom I’ll brainstorm the new plays.

 

Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 19, 2018: Regain the Balance By Writing  
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Mon. Feb. 10, 2014: Nouns, Adjectives, and THE MAGICIAN’S BOOK

Monday, February 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Challenging weekend. I’ll be posting some material on the gardening blog, the cooking blog, and the wine blog soon. Lots going on — trying to save my citrus plants from some icky bug.

Friday afternoon, a friend was kind enough to spend time brainstorming titles for the sci-fi horror western with me. We have a good list.

Friday evening, I slipped on the ice at the meeting, and injured my knee, the bad “Broadway knee” I messed up pounding up and down the stairs all those years. Couldn’t decide if I was glad it was that knee and I still have one good knee, or if I wished it was evened out a bit.

By the time I got home, it was swollen to the size of a grapefruit. I treated it with ice, ibuprofen, and arnica, and more arnica and a malachite stone the next day. Saturday, I was pretty immobile — my back was tweaked, too. I could stand up or lie down, but not sit for more than a few minutes at a time. I did, however, ever hour or so, get up and gently move it around, to keep it from stiffening.

Basically, Saturday and Sunday, I was an invalid. Amazing how, when you change the inflection from the noun, INvalid and make it an adjective, it becomes inVALid. That pretty much sums up what I felt like all weekend. But I behaved. I could have acted like a Victorian consumptive and moaned on the settee; I could have been cranky and ignored the injury and hurt myself worse. Instead, I settled in with books and notebooks, and took care of myself, and let my body concentrate on healing, which it’s done pretty well, all things considered.

I read a brain candy book (I’m working my way through this author’s bestsellers to figure out WHY she is a bestseller, since there’s a lot of sloppy writing in the books). I also read a wonderful non-fiction book, THE MAGICIAN’S BOOK: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller. It’s really wonderful. Miller explores her conflicted feelings between her enjoyment of the Narnia books and the often heavy-handed religious message. Having felt the same way about the books, it was interesting to read her explorations and interviews about the topic. It’s an extremely intelligent, well-written, thoughtful book. I hadn’t realized Lewis and Tolkien were friends, despite their religious differences. It also made me wonder where the reasoned, ethical religious arguments are in modern day. In the past, there were intelligent, educated, ethical people who could fashion intriguing and solid arguments about their differing beliefs. One reads these treatises, and, while not always agreeing, one can still respect that. Where are such minds now? I don’t know that we have them. Making up “facts” and deciding that whatever comes out of one’s mouth is a fact just because one says it doesn’t cut it. I’ve read some interesting spiritual essays by Buddhist practitioners, especially some of the female monks, but that’s about it. Of course, the right wing extremists are anti-education (because if people are educated, they might actually think for THEMSELVES instead of drinking Special Interest potions and doing what they’re told without question). But it’s a shame that there isn’t significant intelligent discourse happening in either religion or politics (certainly not in the latter), when you look back and see the history of such important discourse in various arenas.

In other words, the issues brought up by the book go beyond just Narnia and are relevant to various areas of life right now. And it makes me want to re-read all the books again. THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE was my favorite, in spite of the heavy-handed religious symbolism. I disliked THE LAST BATTLE intensely. And Lewis lost me when he punished Susan for growing up. Even the first time I read the books, that infuriated me. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the other books.

Started reading the next book for review — I like it a lot.

Did some work on TRUE HOME, on the untitled novella, and on the edits for the other novella. Had a big “aha!” moment on the play, and I think I can fix what’s bothering me about it.

Loved watching the Olympics all weekend. I prefer winter to summer games anyway. The Women’s Ice Hockey Team is amazing this year — love them! I also enjoy the skiing and snowboarding events a lot. Everyone loves the figure skating, and it’s interesting, but because it gets so much attention, I tend to gravitate to some of the other sports that get less attention. I like that they’re showing more of the international athletes again — in Vancouver, they hardly even mentioned anyone who wasn’t American, and that was frustrating. I like watching people I’d never get to see otherwise.

Lots of catching up to do today, since I was out of commission all weekend. Hopefully, this will be a creative, productive, and lucrative week.

Devon