Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.

 

Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Went Direct Late Last Night

Thank goodness Mercury won’t be in retrograde for my birthday.

At least, in these last few weeks, with surgery and healing and prepping for more surgery, and all that, I’ve gotten a chance to think about a few issues and make some decisions. I will review those decisions now that Mercury is direct, and then, after my next surgery in ten days, start acting on those decisions. I will share those decisions as I’m comfortable so doing.

I worked on one of the books to review, but didn’t finish it. I needed rest, and to do so, I decided to re-read some of Donna Leon’s Brunetti books. That was good.

I did some of my own writing (although not enough). I worked on article pitches. I figured I’d wait until today and tomorrow to send them, when Mercury is direct.

Worked with the cats. With Charlotte, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But at least it’s that ratio, and not more backward movement than forward. I have to accept that it will take several years to undo the damage they have. But at least she loves to sit in her bed next to the window while I work on the computer. When I have to go out, she sits there and waits for me to come home, and then greets me. I just have to figure out a way to broker a deal for peaceful co-existence between her and Tessa.

Willa and Tessa have peaceful co-existence, and they might even work up to being friends one day.

From their behavior, I suspect their original human thought it was “cute” when they competed for attention. Therefore, they believe that only one of them can get attention and affection. When, in reality, there is plenty of attention and affection for all three, and when one gets it, it doesn’t mean less love available for the other two. That’s learned behavior, and only socialized affection over a long period of time will get them to adjust. Working on it every day.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived — all about dreaming. Some good stuff in there.

The Chewy order arrived on Saturday afternoon. Fed Ex dumped it on the side yard, instead of leaving it at the door. We couldn’t see it from the windows; the only reason I knew it arrived was because the tracker said it was delivered.

Then, I had to drag it into the garage and unpack it into the garage, because, after surgery, I still can’t lift much.

But we’ve got food and litter and new toys. The cats were thrilled with their new toys. Tessa got a catnip-filled carrot with feathery bits on top. She drags it around the room upstairs and loves it. Charlotte got a rattly catnip squirrel and Willa a soft, catnip-filled mop ball. Only Charlotte stole Willa’s toy, and Willa was upset. She didn’t want it anymore, with Charlotte’s cooties on it.

There are catnip fish and mice that I hid and will dole out in the coming weeks.

We put the sofabed away, finally, on Friday afternoon, and have some semblance of a normal living room back, at least until the middle of next week, when we set it up again for my next surgery. I got the instructions for the prep and am not happy about it. Everyone’s acting like this is nothing; I think it will be worse than the first surgery.

I’m trying to adjust the iron pills, because I’m in a constant state of nausea from them. That’s the one good thing about the second surgery — no iron pills for the week before.

Four loads of laundry on Saturday. Should have baked bread, but was too tired.

It snowed overnight into Saturday — just a few inches. And was lovely and spring-like Sunday, but I was too tired to do yard work.

Trying to get some tidying done because of those damned Home Energy Assessment people coming on Friday morning (before my follow-up appointment). I resent that I’m the one who has to lose work so the landlord can apply for a loan. This is the fourth time I’ve had to lose work in this whole replace-the-furnace debacle — and we still don’t have a new furnace. Not to mention it’s in the middle of all the health issues. I resent it. The landlord had THREE YEARS to get this done. And we HAD an assessment — SEVEN YEARS ago, and he made zero changes from it.

So I’m grumpy.

I’m also grumpy from the whole “spring forward.” I hate it. It upsets my energy levels and internal clock for weeks. I felt behind all day yesterday, even though I got up almost at my usual time.

I made a vegetable sauce for pasta out of the Brunetti cookbook last night, and it was good: eggplant, zucchini, tomato, three kinds of peppers, olives. Just yummy.

I’m worried about the spread of the Corona virus. My mother is in the top risk category, being in her nineties. Because of my current health issues, I am also high risk. So we’re being cautious. And the people who don’t take it seriously and take glee in putting others at risk make me angry. Interesting how all of them around here who do that are also supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Up at the normal time yesterday, grumpy as all get out. The first early morning writing helped lift my mood. Had to go onsite with a client for awhile, then pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

Up early today, writing, and then onsite again with a client. Not happy that I can’t do the work from home. Can’t afford not to work for this particular client right now. So I’m being as cautious as I can in the situation.

Onward.

Published in: on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course  
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Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mercury’s gone retrograde just before I have surgery. On the one hand, it’s not a good time for surgery; on the other hand, Mercury retrograde is about resolving issues hanging on and preventing one from moving forward, and that’s a good definition for what I’m going through, so I’ll work with it. Plus, it’s happening just a few days before the dark moon, so that’s going to help with the blood loss. (The closer to the full moon, the heavier any bleeding, because blood is our interior tide).

Friday morning, as I stated in Friday’s post, I had my pre-op, got some stuff done at the library. I told my book review editor I’d have the other book review for her on Monday, and what was going on; she was very supportive. Even getting in the review yesterday, it was early. Sent off the big article, and told that editor what was going on, and that I could turn edits around early in the week, but otherwise it would have to wait until next week. Haven’t heard anything from her. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she took Friday as well as Monday as part of the long holiday weekend, but I’ve gotten the article to her FIVE DAYS EARLY. If she comes at me tomorrow to turn it around — no. It’s the day before my surgery. If I get it today, I could turn it around tonight and send it off tomorrow, but if it comes tomorrow, it has to wait until next week. I busted my ass and used up most of my energy to get it in to her early. (Update: she’s being lovely and supportive, so my worries are for naught — details in tomorrow’s post).

I’ve been working with my book editors on new deadlines — I can’t be in galleys and final revisions right now. We have to adjust. They’re 100% supportive. We’re also talking about whether and/or how to handle the Corona virus in The Nautical Namaste Series. There are several different routes we could take, although I doubt any of them will show up in DAVY JONES DHARMA at this point. We are discussing how what I’m going through now will add some depth to one of the subplots in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Went in to my client’s late Friday morning, and we finished the designs for the 2021 collections and sent them to Thailand. She goes next week.

Came home around 1 PM and hit the wall. I slept most of the afternoon, and even the most basic tasks were just too much work.

Ate — I’m making sure I eat, whether I feel like it or not. Watched the last of THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Went to bed early.

Had trouble sleeping. Up on Saturday. Had my mom drive to us to the grocery store, so we got a few additional things for the coming week. Made apricot/honey/almond/orange bread. Researched iron-rich foods. Taking too much of the iron supplement makes me sick, so I’m taking slightly less supplement, with more iron-rich foods. Turns out I like a lot of them, and have been craving them anyway.

Worked on the book for review. Napped in the afternoon (and people who know me know I am not a napper). Tessa purred beside me.

Made the sardine/fennel pasta from Dorie Greenspan’s book. It’s yummy. Felt better about a half hour after eating it.

Wasn’t up to watching DVDs, so read instead.

Charlotte and Willa are both worried. They lost their original human to illness, so every time they smell hospital or medicine on me, they worry.

The arm the CT port/IV technician hurt on Wednesday looks AWFUL, is still horribly bruised, and I have trouble using my right arm.

Slept so-so. Didn’t feel up to making the whole wheat bread. The medication I’m on for the moment has side effects, which are starting to get to me, the worst being absolutely ridiculous mood swings. I have to keep reminding myself I’ve lost perspective, and not make long-term decisions until I can think clearly and review all the evidence. I levelled out slightly on Sunday and Monday.

But I was still angry at the paperwork that arrived from the hospital on Saturday, about pre-op prep. I’m responsible for keeping track of my things WHILE I AM UNDER ANESTHESIA IN THE OR or else I should expect everything stolen. Because this hospital is too fucking cheap to have security. There isn’t any. There are signs claiming there are cameras, but no security. Anyone can wander anywhere they want in the hospital at any hour unchallenged. It’s one of the things that has made me uncomfortable every time I’ve had to go there.

I’ll be lucky to have my clothes to return home in.

They can bite me.

I have follow-up tests on the afternoon of the day my landlord wants to have the “home energy assessment.” I told him they can come first thing in the morning, and have to be out of here by 1 PM, or it has to be rescheduled. We HAD this done already. To make us go through a bunch of jackasses stomping through the house again right now is ridiculous. Nothing has changed in the intervening years; everything’s just gotten older. Probably that’s why the landlord is getting it again — because he didn’t do any improvements based on the last one, and is going to pretend it didn’t happen.

Took it easy Sunday. Made arrangements with a friend to pick me up from surgery on Thursday. She’s making it easy-peasy, no drama, which is how it should be. I also specifically asked her because she won’t let the hospital admin bully me on the way out when I’m still trying to get re-oriented after anesthesia, and, based on the pattern of this past week, that’s EXACTLY what they’ll try to do.

Again: bite me.

I was making arrangements with the library the other day, letting them know what was going on, and making sure I get anything back that has holds on it, and extend whatever I need to extend. The librarians wee lovely.

Unfortunately, some random patron eavesdropped and commented, “I can’t stand being around people who are sick. I don’t do sick.”

I turned around and said, “I don’t do assholes, and you aren’t part of my life anyway, so back off.”

Again, since the 2016 Election, people are encourages to be their worst selves. There was no reason that individual had to make ANY comment. The person could have kept her mouth shut or walked away. But no, she had to make a comment, knowing it was inappropriate and hurtful. She deliberately set out to cause harm.

Leaning into my meditation and yoga practices doesn’t mean I’m going to allow people to be deliberately hurtful.

Finished the book for review. Sent off my review yesterday. The next set of books has arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them.

I have a ridiculous amount of books stacked near my recovery area. I ordered more, which I hope will come in by Wednesday — Helene Hanff’s books, which are charming and fun.

Rested and read a lot on Sunday. Roasted a chicken. Noodled with some ideas, but didn’t do any real writing. Got a different, more potent iron supplement that’s already showing me improvement. CVS was selling 30 of the pills for nearly $15. Target had the same one but 180 pills, for $6. Considering I have to take 4 pills/day right now for the next three months, I got it at Target.

Tried to clean up some of the branches that fell from the last storm, but didn’t get too far. Just didn’t have the energy.

Charlotte managed to climb to the top of the big bookcases in my writing room and run around along them. She’s very proud of herself.

Started watching MURDERLAND. The acting is wonderful, but I don’t like the fractured storytelling and repetition from different angles. A little bit is great, but this is too much. From the two points of view? Great. But the same scene from the two points of view repeated six times? No, thanks. Structurally, the storytelling doesn’t work for me.

Woke up about 4:30 on Monday. Didn’t feel too bad. My injured arm is still in bad shape.

Went in to work with my client for a few hours. I can’t afford to miss work. I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and I need money coming in right now.

If I hear one more news “report” about the lack of skilled workers, I will scream. There are plenty of skilled workers. It’s HR that’s useless, only interested in running resumes through algorithms & treating people badly in interviews. They want skilled workers? Don’t insult them with stupid tests and demands for unpaid labor. Want to retain your workers? Pay them fairly and treat them like human beings. It’s not that hard.

I’m playing each work day by ear right now. Working until I get tired, then stopping. Doing a little writing, but not much. A friend sent a draft of her screenplay to read while I recover — can’t wait.

Planning on going in to work with a client for a bit today. Will swing by the library to drop off/pick up books. When I go home, we’re going to vacuum the house and mop floors, so everything is clean. Tomorrow, when I come home, we will set up the living room as my recovery room.

I won’t know when I’m going in on Thursday until late Wednesday.

I have some placeholder posts scheduled, but I don’t expect to post much until sometimes next week (I’ll have something go live tomorrow).

I just have to survive each day, before I worry about the next one.

Published in: on February 18, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation  
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Tues. Fri. 11, 2020: Health Issues Change the Game

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

It’s amazing how your whole life can change in moments. Last week, it seemed to be for the better. Now, I’m facing some new challenges.

We’ll get to that.

I’m not sure why yesterday’s post disappeared instead of going live. My apologies. My intent, however, for the next few weeks is changing.

Busy, busy weekend. But the right kind of busy.

Friday was about gathering quotes for the article and starting to write it in my head. I find that shifting my process a bit to write more in my head means my first draft isn’t just blather. I carry the piece within me, thinking about it as I go through my day, working out phrasing and shaping. It makes it easier when I sit down to write.

Watching the fourth season of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. It’s giving me ideas for my own cooking show treatment (not to star me, but something I’m interesting in creating, and also to get used to writing a non-fiction treatment). There are elements I like about the show, but the show I’m craving also does some things differently.

The weather was awful on Friday. Winds 75 mph. Much to my surprise, the power held. But I didn’t work on the computer in the afternoon or evening. I worked in longhand.

That included background notes and the partial outline for the Millie Quinn books. They’ve been part of my “back pocket document” for several years now, but they’re pulling at me. I wanted to get the basics out of my head and on paper, so it didn’t push out the stuff on which I need to be working.

Saturday, I was up early. I experimented with some breakfast pastry, and remembered why I hate working with puff pastry, especially on only one cup of coffee. I realized, as I made the whipped chocolate cream, that it had to be filling added after the baking, not something that could go into the oven (pretty basic common sense). So I basically made pastry for cream puffs, which turned out well. Unfortunately, my pastry tool that was supposed to inject the cream didn’t work. So I sliced the pastry and made sandwich-style cream puffs instead.

I tried doing a variation on a chocolate croissant, using Nutella in the puff pastry. I rolled it a little too tightly, so the pastry didn’t have room to expand in the middle, but it was okay. Not brilliant, but okay. Needs some work.

I had pastry cream in my hair before 9 AM, which gives you an idea of how it went. But that’s part of experimentation and recipe development.

Made a dump run for household garbage, and then another one for recycling. Ran into a couple of friends at recycling, which was pretty funny. It was clear and cold out, and I have my work cut out with me, clearing all the branches that came down in the storm. Friday was the first time; in the ten years we’ve lived in this house, where it didn’t feel secure during a storm.

Scrubbed down when I came home. Most of the Chewy order arrived for the cats. I didn’t expect it until Monday, and was delighted to get it early, because of the toys.

Tessa, Willa, and Charlotte each got a new catnip mouse, and they were delighted. I also got them spring toys, which I waited until Sunday to give them. I did, however, put together the laser toy so they could Chase the Red Dot. Willa and Charlotte were thrilled and ran and jumped and chased as long as I had the energy to hold the wand. Tessa had never seen it before, and had no idea what to do.

Giant load of laundry in as well.

Working on the article, shaping, seeing where I want to fold in the quotes. I had two of them back by Saturday morning, confirmation a third was forthcoming, and the contact info for the fourth. So I’m really only waiting for the quotes from London and Ireland, which should arrive today.

Worked on one of the grant proposals. I have to submit ten pages of work. I’m not sure if I should do 10 pages on a single project, or 5 on two different projects that show more range. I might send an email and ask.

I’m having trouble accessing the other grant’s information, and have to get an email off about that, too.

I want to get both grant proposals and the article out before Mercury turns retrograde on the 17th.

Worked on blog posts for the various blogs. Revised the beginning of the steampunk play, which I will use for one of the grant proposals.

The cats were hilarious. So happy with their new toys. It was the first time all three cats were genuinely happy in the same space since Willa and Charlotte joined the household. I hope this is the beginning of that being the rule, rather than the exception.

Sunday, I wrote 11 pages on one project, not something I should have been working on, of course. Sent off another quote request.

Worked on the article.

Made a smoked salmon brunch tart. Damn thing took over 3 hours. It tasted good, but the look lacked a good look. This weekend reminded me how much I hate making pastry.

Worked on writing and reading, including one of the books for review.

Over the weekend, some serious health issues accelerated. First thing yesterday morning, I went to the doctor. Who was alarmed. Who initially wanted to send me to the ER for a blood transfusion, which I refused. She did some in-office testing, and found that I didn’t really need one. But I had to go to the hospital to have an emergency ultrasound.

I was sent home to be more comfortable at first until the appointment. I used the time to work on the article that needs to get done this week. The hospital was supposed to call me with the time to come in. Hours went by, and nothing. So I called them — now, remember, I have hyperaccussis — talking on the phone is nearly impossible for me, because it causes such pain. Yet I was repeatedly forced to be on the phone because HEALTH CARE PERSONNEL refused to accommodate me.

I called the doctor — and got a third party, who got in contact with the doctor. Meanwhile, the third party told me to schedule the procedure myself. Only the scheduler wouldn’t do it. She said they couldn’t fit me in. I kept telling her that the doctor insisted it was emergency and had to be done today, and she refused. I was headed back to the doctor to find out what to do when the nurse called. She had called the scheduler and the hospital and told them it was an emergency and they had to make it happen.

I had to dash into the car, race across to the next town where the hospital was, not find parking, and then navigate the corridors for the appointment. But once I got there, radiology took me right away. They were very kind for the multiple procedures — some of them unpleasant. But it took multiple technicians at times, and I was there over an hour.

Then, I had to go and get a blood workup done — only the paperwork hadn’t been handled properly up front. So I had to go back to radiology, where they faxed paperwork to reception who then emailed whatever they needed to email back to the blood draw lab — which was across the hall from radiology.

The technician was lovely and kind. She understood my fear of needles, and was quick and gentle. I thanked her for being kind, and she was surprised.

By the time I managed to get back to the car, then nurse called and asked me to come back to the office. Although they were technically off-hours, they wanted me back. They HAD THE RESULTS. None of this waiting for a week. Everything was there by the time I got back across town to the office.

There, they did another round of unpleasant exams — which they did with kindness and gentleness.

The short conclusion is that I have a challenging few weeks and months ahead. In the very near future, I have an emergency specialist appointment coming up, possibly today; a CT scan this week. Fast track surgery. After the surgery, we will re-assess and see if more has to happen, and if so, what the options are. I said if I have a vote, and I will be vocal about it, there are certain things I want to happen sooner rather than later, and she said it might have to happen that way anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m willing to go even consider it. She’s also worried that I’m joking too much and not processing enough.

I shed some tears early on — and the doctor reassured me that it wasn’t my fault and I’d done nothing wrong. Which, of course, I know intellectually, but emotionally is quite different. But what else can I do except joke around with the technicians and try to make it as easy as possible for all of us to get through it? Living in the terror of it all isn’t going to help me. Acknowledging the fear is one thing, but living in it is something else, and I’d rather not live there. I’d rather keep on keeping on, adjusting as needed on the way.

I was put immediately on a medication to get me through until the surgery can happen, and told to watch for certain symptoms. If I have any of them, I am to go to the ER immediately.

Getting the prescription — CVS tried not to use the insurance, and I had to get the insurance re-run, but then it was all affordable. I’m really glad I switched my insurance — had I been on the old insurance, not only would none of this have been covered, but I wouldn’t even have been able to get in to see the doctor. On the old insurance, any time I wanted a doctor visit, I had to wait 3 months. I’m also grateful that I landed with health care

I’m not sure how much I feel comfortable talking about the details of all this, although you can be damn sure I’ll be talking about health care system issues along the way. Some posting might be a bit erratic, and I may pull back on a few blogs , and I apologize in advance. I’m going to try to get ahead on as much as possible.

I’m worried about money. I’m already living too close to the bone, and I was just starting to land opportunities to fix that — I HAVE to, because I have to move later this year, and I may need a new car. If all I’m worried about is money, I won’t have the emotional or financial resources to get well.

The medication started working right away. If they had started me on it earlier in the day, the day might have not been quite so traumatizing. I do want to emphasize how kind everyone except a couple of admin people were along the way. Plus, for the first time in my life, I feel like I have medical professionals that are on my side.

My client told me not to come in today, but I want to go in early and get ahead on a few things.

I wrote the review and sent it out; went to the office. I am waiting to find out when my specialist appointment is today.

I would appreciate any good thoughts you could send my way. I don’t have the support system here that I had in the Broadway community, and being without them scares me — although some of them will support me every step of the way from wherever they are.

Peace.

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Raining and mild for February

Well, it’s been an interesting few days, that’s for sure. And I use “interesting” in multiple connotations.

First, I have a quick post on Gratitude and Growth about my concerns that it’s not cold enough this winter.

Back? Okay, let’s settle in and talk.

I didn’t write about Tuesday evening’s meeting, because I needed to think about it and get over my anger by the end of it. Although the conversation went well, and I enjoyed the person with whom I spoke, there were red flags: a 12-hour day instead of an 8-hour day (but at 8-hour rates), no mention of a relocation package, it not being the position or the organization I expected the meeting was about. Then came the “next steps” part of it. Testing, which I don’t do for free. I understand needing to check someone’s proofreading skills, but you’re going to pay me for my time. Typing? Excuse me? I’m not 20 looking for my first job. Plus, typing accuracy is not necessary on a computer, because you fix your mistakes otherwise. Again, since it’s uncompensated labor, no.

But the deal breaker, for me, was the insistence on taking a DISC personality test — again, unpaid time. Above and beyond the unpaid time, any organization that uses a “personality test” as part of the interview process is not a place with which I want to be associated. Of course, it was presented as a “way to look at communication skills” — which isn’t what DISC or any of these other “personality tests” are AT ALL. They are a way to dehumanize candidates and sort them into single categories, denying complexity, individuality, and creativity to limit one into test boxes. It is data that is weaponized by employers to manipulate employees.

Here are two articles that support my position,“How Accurate are Personality Tests?”and “A Warning Against Using Disc/Briggs-Meyer in the Workplace.

Take your test and shove it right up your ass, honey. I don’t care that “everyone” in the company has to take these tests, and that you have taken them. The mere fact you asked means I’m no longer interested.

I sent a polite refusal, to which I got a link “explaining” what DISC is used for — a load of marketing crap I recognized, because I worked for the American Management Association back when these tests came into more prominent use. I know how the sausages are made. And why.

I was asked to “reconsider” and agree to take the tests. No. I said no, and I mean no. What part of “deal breaker” is too complicated for you? I’m not asking for an exception. I’m STATING, clearly, that any company who demands this of ANY potential employee is not a place I want to work.

I was so angry by the end of the night. Just furious

Another useless third party yakker wasting my time and energy.

So, that was that.

Wednesday was busy at the client’s. Still working on a big project. She’s all set to sign a set of contracts on a project that will be a disaster. I pointed out the contract language that needs changing, and she just shrugged and said the contract is meaningless. She’s wrong, but it’s her decision. I’m not cleaning up the mess.

I was disappointed to learn that one of the radio production companies on the west coast with whom I’d hoped to work this year is on hiatus. They liked the play, but aren’t in a position to produce it right now. I’m sending them a potential funding source later today that might interest them.

I also didn’t get chosen for a regular article gig for which I’d pitched last week. They liked my samples, but felt my voice was too unique. Well, they’d asked for samples in MY voice, not ghostwritten samples. Still, they were nice about it, and at least they gave me an answer. So it’s disappointing, but not devastating.

Add to that, the travesty in the Senate yesterday, with most of the Republicans voting to acquit the Narcissistic Sociopath.

We are truly in dark times.

Then, a bolt from the blue! A major publication for whom I’ve wanted to work FOR YEARS accepted one of my pitches! It’s a tight turnaround time, but completely do-able. The contract is on its way, and I’m sending out my requests for quotes. I’m excited!

I’m working on revisions the next few days, the short story, and two big grant proposals that need to go out next week. I’d like to curl up and sleep, but, right now, that’s not an option.

I also need to purge boxes from the basement. I’m way behind on that.

Finished watched Season 3 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. What a great bunch they were! I liked them all so much.

I’m experimenting with a cake recipe this afternoon. It’s using the basic yellow cake recipe again, but making some more changes.

I did a gigantic grocery shop yesterday morning. That should keep us going for a bit. Making pork bahn mi for lunch. Can’t wait.

Charlotte continues to be a lot of work. She doesn’t connect behavior and consequences. She knows certain things result in getting what she likes, but hasn’t connected that other things result in results she doesn’t like. Plus, this morning, she walked over one of the CD/tape players and set off a fast forward button and it scared her. Poor thing. It’s hard to be Charlotte.

I have a lot to do, so I better get to it.

Have a great day!

Published in: on February 6, 2020 at 10:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy  
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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about books that had a strong impact on me in 2019.

It was a rather frustrating weekend, at least as far as productive writing. I’m still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I worked on, but did not finish the Kate Warne curtain raiser. I am at a crossroads with the scene on which I’m working. I don’t want to add characters this late into the play, nor do I want to have the climax of the play happen offstage.

I got an idea for two more comic mystery radio plays: one a steampunk, and one set against a vintage circus. I wrote the first eleven pages of the steampunk. I had to re-figure the plot once when I changed direction on one of the characters; then again, when I realized that some of the tropes I’m playing with could come across as offensive, and, within the restrictions of time and number of characters, I couldn’t do enough to turn those tropes inside out so using them wouldn’t be offensive. I’d need it to be a full-length evening in order to do that. Maybe I should make it into a two-parter? I’m confused. I have to think about it. There are already a few identity switches, but now I might have to add a character who is only referenced and do another mistaken identity. Or, or, I could enter this character and make this character the Big Bad. Because right now, the Big Bad is never in the script, and I feel that lets the audience down. The characters are all at odds with each other. Or do I want this as part of a series, like I did with the Frieda and Lazarus plays, and have the big reveal in the third play?

I don’t know yet.

I had a question from the director of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” from one of the actors. I think I’ve fixed it in a single line. Fingers crossed.

Discouraged about the LOIs and the article pitches. I’m tired of companies lying about what they want in a certain role. That’s what it all is — lies, to get someone cheap instead of skilled, frightened instead of an independent thinker, and to force them to go beyond the scope of what drew them to the company in the first place — and not beyond the scope in a good way. Not a stretch, but a diminishment.

As far as article pitches, I’m discouraged with myself for not getting them drafted, polished, and out fast enough. I managed to finally get one pitch, for a publication with whom I really want to work for, polished, and sent it off yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Did laundry, worked with the cats a lot, cooked, baked, worked on contest entries and the book for review. Finished the book, wrote the review, sent it off.

We had a snowstorm on Saturday night into Sunday which we needed, but it changed over into rain overnight. We need some steady snow cover, or the tick and bug problem will be out of control and the growing season will be challenging. We had snow flurries on Monday morning, but nothing substantial.

Worked on site with a client, in spite of the holiday. No meditation, so I sat on my own in the afternoon.

Onsite today with a client, and then some work at the library. Video conference with London with a different client, before I go onsite.

Just feel disappointed and discouraged all around. Let’s hope I can shift that this week.

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes  
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Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020: Rain, Writing, Other

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

The temperature is dropping, It’s going to snow this weekend.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting with the client, and will be for the next few weeks, while we work on a big project. It’s fine, I’m just wiped out when I leave.

Home, worked with the cats. Charlotte was being difficult. But the Chewy order arrived, which put all three of them in a better mood.

Worked on contest entries, and am re-reading Donna Leon’s FATAL REMEDIES.

Up early this morning, took my mother to a medical appointment. Got some writing done. Off to two different libraries today, for resources that are unique to each.

I am determined to wrestle the end of “Trust” into something that works over the next few days.

Will start my next book for review tonight.

Hope to finish “Trust” and the Kate Warne curtain raiser, and also get some serious work done on BALTHAZAAR. That deadline is looming.

Hoping to get some more LOIs out today or tomorrow, and then polish some article proposals over the weekend.

At least there’s never a dull moment!

Published in: on January 16, 2020 at 10:55 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020: Rain, Writing, Other  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild for January, but getting colder

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about Winter Work. Then, hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the Mid-January check-in.

Yesterday was tiring onsite with the client, but it is what it is. Today will be the same, and so will the next few weeks. We have some big projects coming up.

The more that comes out about this corrupt administration, the more disgusting it is. The Chief Justice must also take action against any Senator who breaks the Oath taken when sworn in for the trial. One of the reasons it’s getting worse and worse is that there are no consequences for breaking Oaths and the law.

Got my reviews out, and new books assigned.

Swung by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up.

Home. Got a chicken in the oven to roast. Worked with the cats. Worked on contest entries.

Delighted to find out that the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” will be performed on January 27. I wish I could fly down and be there for it, but I can’t.

In the first two weeks of January, I’ve had two radio plays scheduled for production, and a proposal for 2 plays accepted. Nice start to the year.

Over the past few days, watched documentaries on The International Sweethearts of Rhythm and THE GIRLS IN THE BAND, which had some overlap. I want to write something rooted in there, but I’m not sure what yet. I have to let it percolate, while I write the other things.

Today, I’m at a client’s, and the home. I’ll be wiped out, no doubt, but I plan to get some work done on the plays and the contest entries. I have the rest of the Kate Warne play in my head — now I have to get it down on paper. Would be nice to come up with a title, too. And I need to finish “Trust.” It’s frustrating that these last four pages are so difficult. I had a decent first writing session on the Winter Solstice novel.

The last couple of days, I tried to start my writing day by reading about writing and craft before writing, but that was a mistake. I need to do it later in the day, and hit the page first thing.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to be a literary cat, but since she’s awkward anyway, it’s taking time. But at least she’s making the effort, and she likes to be in my writing room with me when I work.

I hope I can participate in Remote Chat, but I have a feeling that it will be too chaotic.

The next four days are about writing and going through boxes and putting the last of the winter holiday stuff. It’s supposed to get very cold over the weekend and then snow, so it will be a good weekend to stay in.

Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing  
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Tues. Jan. 14, 2020: The Skeezy & The Stormy

Tuesday, January 14, 2019
Waning Moon
No Retrogrades

Can you believe it? We have a short window with no retrogrades. It’s going to feel strange.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I have an interview up with historical author Jean Roberts.

I was so, so angry on Friday. I’d gotten a quick response from an LOI, asking me for more information and sending me a link to pre-interview questions on a Google doc.

The “questions” were a demand for me to write a proposal, complete with sources. Unpaid, of course. Another question was about how I’d go about contacting a Big Name this company wants to land for a project.

First of all, I don’t do unpaid work, especially not this kind. The company expects “interviewees” to write full proposals WITH SOURCE MATERIAL. Unpaid. Then, the company will tell each one who did it that they didn’t make the cut. Then, the company has a year’s worth of proposals written without paying for a single one. Can you say scam?

Second, I HAVE the contact information for this particular Big Name. I don’t give it out, certainly without permission. And I sure as HELL wouldn’t give it to a sleazy organization like this one.

Third, none of this has anything to do with the parameters of the job about which I sent an LOI — scriptwriting. They said they wanted scriptwriters to write spots FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Not proposal writers to land new clients, or mine people’s contact lists. Yet that’s what these “pre-interview” questions demand.

Boo, shove those questions right up your ass.

It was a decent writing weekend. I have some ideas on what I want to build the Susanna Centlivre play around. I may use both of them, or I may choose one and make it a shorter, more focused play. I need to do some more research.

Friday afternoon, I worked on the books for review. Saturday morning, into the afternoon, I wrote, getting ahead on blog posts. Spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and starting contest entries. I’m still working on the laundry to finish and put away from the holidays.

Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa are making progress. Tessa and Charlotte are still having trouble.

Re-read MY STAGGERFORD JOURNAL, Jon Hessler’s account of writing his first novel. I enjoyed it, but was much more aware of white male privilege this time around.

Made rumbledethumps on Saturday night, from the Moosewood recipe. That’s always good.

It was warm and sunny out on Saturday. I should have done yard work, but I was busy doing other work.

It was stormy Saturday into Sunday. Terrible winds. Warm with rain, but the damp made it feel cold. I didn’t dare work on the computer until the afternoon, for fear the power would go out and hurt the machine. It’s old and limping along as it is. I want to be good to it.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on “Trust.” The end still isn’t where I want it.
Worked on the Kate Warne curtain-raiser, which still doesn’t have a title, but is plugging along decently. I got an excellent ten pages on it, which means it will be longer than I expected — a tad more than a curtain raiser.

Worked on contest entries. This year’s entries are strong, with terrific premises. Always exciting.

Monday client work was fine, and I was happy to get to meditation.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then other meetings.

Looking forward to some solid writing time.

Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity  
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Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies

Tuesday, January 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

I’m delighted to have Scott Dawson as my guest on A Biblio Paradise today, talking about his book, The Art of Working Remotely. Scott hosts the Remote Chat every Wednesday, which is one of the highlights of my week.

Friday afternoon’s get-together for my work colleagues went well, although I was tired by the end of it. Too much food, which is always better than not enough, and it didn’t go to waste, so all good. The rum cake even turned out well.

Saturday, up early. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance. Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations. We got everything down in my writing room, the backroom, the upstairs. Packed away the Santas, the deer, the nutcrackers, the carolers. Switched out most of the fabric. Eight hours, and it still wasn’t done. Managed to get four loads of laundry in, though.

Weird dreams into both Saturday and Sunday, so I guess October and November will be. . .unusual. Which is kind of what I expected.

Saturday night, watched the movie THREE LITTLE WORDS, with Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, and Red Skeleton. It gave me an idea for a mystery set against Vaudeville. I’ve been playing with ideas like that, set against Vaudeville or Burlesque, on and off for awhile now. But I made some notes, just in case. Ordered some research material. Had a glimmer of an idea for a fantasy YA piece.

Had trouble getting going on Sunday, and really didn’t feel like dealing with the decorations. However, they weren’t going to pack themselves. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance (which is taking some turns). Made a quick grocery run, and got to work. Got the outside decorations in and up on mats to dry before I could pack them. Packed the ornaments from the tree (I’d set up tables with all the specialized boxes, which made it easier). Got the lights down in the living room and off the tree. Took apart the tree and wrestled it back into the back. Got almost everything packed into the Christmas Closet. Even though we have 7 more boxes then we had last year, it fits better, because I packed better and the boxes are more complementary to each other.

7 hours later, and I treated myself for a large Sidecar. I earned it!

Tessa hated all the upheaval, but Willa and Charlotte handled it pretty well. As long as they are around us when things change, they are fine.

Annoyed with the landlord. He had yet a third furnace guy over for a quote yesterday — but didn’t let me know until Sunday afternoon. Has he forgotten that I work for a living? I can’t just take off at the last minute. He said he has to get three quotes for the loan for which he’s applying. Why didn’t he tell me that in the first place? Plus, he doesn’t NEED the loan. I researched the furnaces. Our rent more than pays for the replacement.

The YA fantasy idea spun a bit, and I took notes.

Made ham pot pie for dinner, with extra cheese mixed into the crust. It was good.

Watched the documentary Soundies on Sunday night. Excellent. I wish I had watched it earlier — I would have pitched to write about fan dancer Faith Bacon for 365 Women. And write about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Maybe next year. I made some notes and ordered some research material.

Did NOT want to get up and go to my client’s on Monday morning, but I did. Put in a batch of ham, navy bean, and kale soup into the Crockpot to cook while I was gone. I was grumpy, though, on several fronts. I didn’t get as much as I wanted to done over the break, mostly because of exhaustion. That means I have to push harder this week.

Client work was okay, but I was glad to get out of there, even though it was into the snow.

Meditation was good. I needed it.

Ideas come in batches. My writer pal Paula said, “Like cookies.” From now on, I’m going to call them Idea Cookies!

With a client today and then some other appointments. Decent first writing session. One word after another, that’s all I can do.

 

Published in: on January 7, 2020 at 7:24 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies  
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