Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Thurs. Oct. 28, 2021: Preparing

image courtesy of Monstera via pexels.com

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/partly cloudy and chilly

For some reason, yesterday feels like a really long time ago. Post on Gratitude and Growth about the seasonal changes.

I got a script coverage written and out, then ran over to Wild Oats to do my shopping there. Bought more than I planned, of course. Today, I hit up the other grocery stores for the rest of the items on my list for the weekend company.

On the way back, I stopped at a local thrift shop, hoping something I’d liked but hadn’t bought in the moment was still there. It wasn’t, of course, but I bought a lovely candlebra with crystals hanging from it. I have to get tapers, but it’s just perfect.

Came back, finished getting the lights strung on the stairwell. It looks really pretty. Got the hooks up over the kitchen windows, and hung the pumpkin lights, which is also festive. Had to wrestle with the tops of some windows, which slid down, so cold air was coming in the top. I’ll have to keep an eye on that over winter. Did some more tidying up. There’s still a bunch of unpacking to do, but the sewing room is a pleasant guest room, the living room and kitchen look good. There are still boxes stacked in the sewing room, but not interfering with a good night’s rest. Most of the boxes to unpack are still stacked in my office.

Got out two more script coverages (one was long and complicated). It was about 9 PM before I was done. I have one more to do today, and I’m finished for the week.

Started reading Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen series, which is energetic and a lot of fun.

Two of my errant packages arrived: WINTERSWEET, a truly wonderful cookbook, from which I will get great joy cooking in the coming months and years; and a small, book-shaped pendant I ordered from an artisan as part of the talisman necklace I’m putting together.

Dinner was put together from leftovers. Trying to clean out the fridge, so that there’s room for what I’m making for the weekend.

Tessa let me sleep until 6 this morning. On the one hand, great; on the other hand, it puts me behind in all I need to do.

Meditation group this morning. Then, it’s off to the grocery stores. Back to write up script coverage. I have a few things to prepare for the weekend today (a dip, black bean hummus, baking a cake), and then it’s cleaning time.

My friend arrives tomorrow afternoon, so there will be a few things to prepare in the morning, and then I’m going to drive up to Bennington to meet her bus.

I’m looking forward to a weekend of fun, and then diving in to start writing CAST IRON MURDER on Monday. I feel ready for it.

Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Tues. May 25, 2021: Drunk on Lilacs/Ray of Sunshine

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

The weather is gorgeous, and I am absolutely drunk on lilacs. DRUNK ON LILACS is actually a title for a friend’s WIP. She’s been a good reader on my work, especially my Coventina Circle series; I’m excited to read her book, once she’s ready.

It was a bit of an overwhelming few days, especially on the house front. Looked at a lot of listings. Found a few that sounded decent, and one that sounds absolutely perfect. The guy’s description was great, and he had a couple of lines in the description with which I just connected.

Heard back from a question I’d sent through Zillow, and went back and forth with the agent, to the point of putting in an application (even though it wasn’t the one that was so absolutely perfect), only to then hear back from my due diligence work that the guy had no authority to rent the apartment, and, in fact, it had been rented for months.  I didn’t have my bank information or social security number on the application, but, in any event, I warned my references, warned the bank, and filed an IC3 with the FBI.

The due diligence on the place we really love is coming out clean – the guy is who he says he is, we had some good exchanges via email, and then a great phone conversation on Monday. So, fingers crossed that it all comes through. We plan on seeing it on Thursday.

On a happier note, I love, love, love the script coverage job. I’m already earning more than I did with my onsite client (it’s nice to have the overlap with two incomes coming in for a couple of weeks). In my first two weeks, I’ve received 5 “writer satisfaction” bonuses (where the writer liked my feedback and found it useful), and one tip. I’ve read 11 scripts, so it’s nearly half.

I’m on track to earn at least double from this job than what I earned from my onsite client; with other freelance work picking up, we should be okay. But landlords want guaranteed income, not estimated income, and what I made the last few years is irrelevant to what I’m making in the next few months. Although all of it is more than enough to cover rent and expenses.

At least, as of Saturday, I’m fully vaccinated.

Overwhelmed, but fully vaccinated.

Working on cleaning out the garage. Packing, Purging. Dump runs. Trying to keep up with earning money. House hunting.

I am one of those freaks that is very, very happy when I take recycling to the dump.

Then, Monday morning, I go outside to check the grass and make sure the wasps aren’t building a nest and chasing the woodpecker from the house – and there were giant ants coming out of the seam of the deck roof over the kitchen door.

I hate ants.

These were giant ants.

I hosed them off the deck and then sprayed the seam with ant killer. I looked up online what they were – carpenter ants. Bad news.

I called the landlord, he came over, and we figured out a plan of action. He wasn’t as upset as I was about it. I was picturing the back of the house coming down from the chomping. Because there are never just a few ants.

There aren’t any ants inside the house – we had sugar ants during the septic switch out and I scrubbed with vinegar every day, so once they were gone, they were gone. We’re keeping an eye out. I have permission to use chemicals as necessary (usually we use all organic).

He also mowed the front for us, which was very nice.

I got into the office later than usual for me, but was still the first one there. Had a decent workday. I’m setting everything up as clearly and as smoothly as I can for my replacement. Because I wish someone had done that for me in oh, so many jobs! Came home, had my phone meeting, sorted everything out for Thursday’s viewing.

More script coverage, more packing.

I hope Thursday works well. We love the pictures of the place, the sound of it, it’s in our budget, in an area we really like, and I really, really, REALLY liked talking with the landlord.

Fingers crossed. At this point, I’m almost afraid to hope, but it feels right. I want a place that feels right, where we can feel at home, and live our lives quietly.

Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the lilacs. More photos, too.

Yesterday was a little all over the place. I was up half the night, worrying. Worked on cleaning out the garage early in the morning. I got out some LOIs and some rental information requests. Heard back from some of the rental possibilities, and am waiting to hear back from another one that sounds fantastic and is in a place we love.

Went to the client’s. She was fine today, acting like Monday’s outbursts never happened. We got a lot done. She interviewed someone to replace me, who would be good. The second interview of the day didn’t show up. Two more are being set up for early next week.

I’m under no illusion of not being replaceable. I know I am; in fact, they need someone with different skills to replace me, because the focus of the business, for the next few months, is not on what I’ve been doing, but on other stuff I don’t do and don’t want to do. So it’s all good. I’m wrapping things up and writing up notes and cheat sheets. And, I’ve always believed that it’s important to set things up so it can run without a particular individual, because one never knows what life brings. Hoarding information and knowledge sets a bad tone.

I was exhausted by the time I left; picked up a prescription for my mom. Got home, had a few exchanges about rentals, joined Remote Chat, which was fun.

I was wrecked after chat. I rested for a bit (reading the latest Donna Leon Brunetti mystery). Then, we took the cats out on the deck in their playpens while I watered the grass, and I read another script. I’ll write up the coverage today.

Collapsed into bed early, which meant that I was up by 1 AM again, worrying. Charlotte started fussing around 4, as usual. I got up and fed everyone, then settled on the couch for about 45 minutes, which calmed Charlotte down, and I got a bit of a doze.

Getting ready to do some more work in the garage. Then, I’ll get out some LOIs, join the online meditation group, and I have a few errands to run this morning, before getting back to the script coverage job, articles, LOIs, packing, and house hunting.

To say I’m exhausted is an understatement.

Published in: on May 20, 2021 at 4:36 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs  
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Tues. Jan. 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 230 – Riding Into the New Year

image courtesy of Brent Olson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

11th Day of Christmas (11 Pipers Piping)

Rainy/sleety and raw

Happy 2021! I hope you had a joyful transition into the New Year, while you stayed the F home.

Thursday was fine, although I got frustrated by the lack of room in the kitchen as I juggled the cooking. To think, when we first moved here, this kitchen seemed so big after all the galley kitchens in small New York apartments!

Quiet night, watching videos, burning the bayberry candle for prosperity. We tried to watch the ball come down over Times Square, but the camera focused on the Kia ad rather than the ball drop directly above it, so we felt cheated.

In the years I lived a block from Times Square, it was cool to watch the ball drop from my window. The years I had to work on the Eve and couldn’t come home until after one a.m., forced to go out to an overpriced night after the show, weren’t so much fun. The years I worked a show on the Eve, then had to go up to cut through Central Park to get to Grand Central Station to catch a train, and then spent midnight on a train – not so much fun, either. I like being home and quiet.

Went to bed a little after midnight. Was up fairly early on New Year’s Day.

Performed the Fire & Ice ritual to get us off to a good start, using the last of the jasmine oil on the candle. Will have to source jasmine oil again soon.

Traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, complete with hollandaise sauce and prosecco. It was really good.

Wrote a bit, noodling with some ideas and working on the 12 Days of Christmas stories. I’m mostly roughing them out at this point, and then will go back and finish, revise, polish, over the next few months. Letting my mind percolate the idea for a proposal that needs to go out no later than January 18. It would be a big, big project.

Received an invitation to write for 365 Women again this year – any woman I want! I could even write more about Kate Warne. Maybe this will be the right venue for the Dawn Powell-Dorothy Parker piece I want to write. There’s also another woman about whom I want to write, but I’m not sure I can do all that this year and move. I’m thinking about it.

Percolated some ideas for article pitches.

Started reading my first book for the new year, one of Nell Simon’s memoirs. I go into more detail about it over here on A Biblio Paradise. The choice of first book in a new year is a big deal for me.

Went through the paperwork for the contest. The first box of books has shipped. This week, I have to clear old eBook files I no longer need out of my Kindle, so next week, I can download and start reading the first of the entries sent digitally.

Set up 2021 files.

I need to set up information on all the plays that I can cross-reference – the play, the logline, characters, length, submission/production history. It makes the most sense to do that in Excel. Sadly, I loathe working in Excel (although I’m perfectly capable of doing it).

Most of Friday was about giving myself the physical and emotional space to think, to daydream, to allow the internal creative process room to actually create.

Saturday morning, I jerked out of sleep from a dream about someone trying to kill me. So I guess August is going to really suck.

Got work done on several article proposals. My trusty architect lamp, that I’ve had since the late 1960’s blew up – something with the switch. I need a lamp on my computer desk, so I went ahead and ordered another from Staples. It should be here by the end of next week.

Sunday morning, made biscuits, did admin work.

At noon, I joined the Table of Silence Project’s weekly meditation. This week, it was rooted in 12 Repetitive Gestures, that were taught first, and then the company, in their socially-distanced private spaces, led us through them. It was beautiful and powerful. It also made me realize how much I miss working with people dedicated to their craft.

I’m tired of those who are always moaning about “not having time” because they put their “day job” first, instead of remembering that the only function of the “day job” is to make their survival to create art possible. They do so because their art is NOT their first priority. I’m sick of being mired amongst people who won’t make the commitment. It’s fine to have art as a “hobby” but it’s also toxic to perpetuate the myth that artists deserve to starve and shouldn’t be paid for their work. Too many hobbyists in the arts continue to perpetuate that myth, because they don’t have the courage to pursue it full time, and it gives them joy to punish those who do. I made my decision in high school that I would build a life in the arts, that my art would always, ALWAYS come first. It has, and I have no regrets. I also made the choice, back in my twenties, that I did not want fame. I wanted respect in my field, but not fame. Especially around here, the derision aimed at me for that decision (by people who make excuses not to do what they claim they love to do) is enormous.

Apart from that realization (and isn’t one of the points of meditation to gain clarity?), the meditation itself was wonderful and powerful – movement, because it’s a dance company. Movement with meaning, and it felt good to be in my body and ground again. The morning had left me feeling grumpy and unsettled.

In the afternoon, I cleaned out five boxes from the basement, catching up to my goal for that point. I found some really cool stuff that will get integrated into the household (until it’s packed for the move), found other stuff that needed to be repacked, and tossed a good bit Also did 15 minutes on the exercise bicycle. Only half of what my 96-year-old mother does every day, but it’s a start. One of the things I found is one of my favorite patterns for comfortable pants – only three pieces, and it only takes two hours from the time I start laying out the pattern on the fabric to the finished pants. They’re casual pants, but I found some fabric in the clearing-out I did a few months back that I want to use.

One of the late packages arrived: a pair of dusky rose velvet ballet flats, which are wonderful (but I can’t wear in the rain), and two pairs of pants that are both comfortable and stylish.

Sunday into Monday, I dreamed that someone was lying to me, so I guess I need to be cautious in October (10th day of Christmas). The story for Day 10 is centered around Morris Men (Ten Lords A-Leaping). I still have no idea what to do for Eight Maids-A-Milking.

Got my act together, dropped off two bags’ worth of library books at the drop box, went into the office. I was the only one there, which is as it should be, and got a lot done. Also managed to send out all four article proposals I’d written over the weekend.

By the time I got home, one of them had been accepted. Good way to start the first official workday of the year!

Did a curbside pickup at the library, decontaminated, did 15 minutes on the bicycle. After lunch, I did some admin work, got out some LOIs. Wrote some blog posts.

I’d put dinner in the crockpot before I left for work in the morning, and it smelled delightful when I got home. Slow cooker chicken and vegetables, over leftover jasmine rice. Quite yummy.

Watched some videos, did some reading.

Good dreams of baking set up a happy November (11th Day of Christmas), although I have no damn idea what story to build around 11 Pipers Piping. I have a feeling, as I work on the earlier stories, it will start to come clear, since each story stands alone, but is also linked.

If the weather improves by 9 AM, I will do a quick grocery run to Trader Joe’s. If not, I’ll put it off until Thursday. Otherwise, there’s writing, client work, and I’m getting out the interview requests for the article. Then more admin work, and I want to go through at least two more boxes today, to stay on mission for the clearing out.

So much is on the line today in Georgia’s election.  I’ve done what I could; now it’s up to the voters.

The Sociopath should be impeached again for trying to overturn the Georgia results. And every single Congress person who plans to squawk against certifying Biden’s victory tomorrow should be removed from Congress and exiled. Not allowed to set foot in this country EVER again.

It’s time we had some actual consequences for trying to shred the Constitution. There will be no healing, no rebuilding, until there is justice.

Let’s get this done, people.

Tues. Dec. 8, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 202/Isolation Day 3 — Preparing

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday was errand day, trying to get things done before I had to go into isolation in preparation for surgery. The errands were run successfully, with minimal contact with others, although I continue to be appalled at the stupidity of those around me, especially with the rising cases. The refusal to practice basic human decency by simply wearing a mask is disgusting.

Two of the errands weren’t strictly essential, but had to happen today or not happen at all. I was as careful as possible, other than not doing them, and hope I don’t have to pay the price of getting sick. I have sanitized so much in the car lately that it reeks of sanitizer. Or it smells like I’ve been quaffing thermoses full of vodka martinis in the car. You pick.

Home, decontaminated or quarantined everything picked up, decontaminated myself. Was exhausted. Got some admin and an LOI out.

With all the talk of a big storm coming in, after lunch, we brought in almost all the deck furniture (the big bench has to stay out for another week or two), the garden decorations, and the rest of the plants – except for the hanging plants. One pot of pansies is STILL blooming! Imagine that.

We had to clean things before putting them away. I am angry by how dirty everything got outside this year. Everything was scrubbed down after the pine pollen stopped falling – and that happened late this year. But everything was filthy, which it wasn’t in previous years. It’s all the damn heavy machinery, daily overuse of leaf blowers, and general uptick in pollution and cutting down of trees that contribute.

Some numbnut a couple of blocks over ran leaf blowers from just before 9 AM to after 6:30. There is not a single property in this neighborhood big enough to qualify for that. It’s disgusting.

It took all afternoon, and then I had to cook dinner. After dinner, I finished, finally finished the rest of the holiday cards. I say “finally” because I started them so early. I don’t think I’ve ever been done by December 4! I kind of like it, and might do it again next year, depending where we are and the work situation.

Town managers are moaning about all the “stress” of the rising virus numbers. What the eff did they think would happen, when there is ZERO enforcement of the state mask mandate, nothing is shut down, and their own personnel aren’t modeling proper protocols? Barnstable is the only red zone on the entire Cape because people are such selfish idiots, and that goes all the way up to town personnel.

Up early on Saturday. The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted – yet. I used a quick calm in it to dash out to Shaw’s and Trader Joe’s for the last few things before isolation. I went next door to Christmas Tree Shops to pick up another piece of outdoor décor, and then stopped at CVS to pick up my prescription. They gave me the high-end stuff this time, without a fuss, so I hope it doesn’t make me as sick as the last stuff did.

The storm was getting bad by the time I got out of CVS. I made it home, driving slowly, decontaminated everything including myself, and officially went into isolation.

None of the stores had the old English fruit and peel I need for the fruitcake cookies. When I tried to order online, every outlet I felt comfortable spending money in was sold out. So I guess I’m not doing fruitcake cookies this year. I will try chocolate crackle instead.

The storm kept getting worse; I didn’t want to be on the computer or do laundry, in case the power went out. But we did some more decorating, and spent a cozy afternoon reading. The Santas are up on the Behemoth, I put the snowmen on a small table all their own, more ornaments went on the tree,

The storm abated enough by Saturday night to watch the first half of season 9 of DEATH IN PARADISE. I love the location. The show really shouldn’t work – yet somehow, it does.

Sunday was the day to catch up on laundry, and decorate the back room. Cleared out a bunch of stuff that somehow accumulated in there. There’s still more work to do, but the room and the dining table look festive for the holidays.

There’s still a LOT of work to do in my office, including the Elegant Tree, but that will have to wait until after surgery.

Up early yesterday. Did some work on LIFE, REVISED, the piece that was inspired by an argument a few weeks ago. Somehow ended up with a haunted covered bridge in it, because of course I did. But the piece feels right. However, I need to make it the carrot, and only allow myself to work on it when I’ve completed the other things I need to do that day.

I risked going into the office, since no one was supposed to be there. Technically, I was alone and isolated, and I had no contact with anyone outside my household. I got some orders shipped out – because it’s the holidays, and I didn’t want them to sit unfilled until someone came in on Wednesday. I answered email questions, got out an email blast I’d worked on last week, the inspirational quote of the week, scheduled some social media stuff, did the social media rounds.

As soon as the postman picked up the packages I left outside for him, I locked up and left. I did a curbside pickup at the library – no one was around – and got back home. Here I stay, until Thursday’s COVID test, which removes a lot of stress from my life.

Decontaminated – even though I hadn’t had any contact, even at a distance with anyone. The office was supposedly the same temperature as the house, but for some reason, it felt really cold and I was chilled. I took a good, hot shower and scrubbed down, and felt better.

Read and got admin work done in the afternoon and evening. Read the fifth book in a series – I’d though the first book was mediocre, didn’t like the second book, and skipped the 3rd and 4th. Ordered this one, not realizing it was part of the same series. But this one is good. It feels like the series is growing into itself.

Today, I have client work I’m doing remotely, including a marketing campaign suggestion packet for 2021, LOIs, and my main focus is the Susanna Centlivre play. I’m so close to getting it where I want!

As usual, the computer has been acting up. I have problems with the PC every week. I had about three problems with the Macbook in 10 years.

Trying to get mentally prepared for the surgery. I hope this is the last one for a while. I’m weary. The whole year has made me weary, and thoroughly disillusioned with far too many of my fellow citizens. But I need to put aside the Big Picture worries this week and focus on what I’m facing on the home front. I can worry about Big Picture again in a few weeks.

I need to find my writing rhythm again. It’s been fits and starts in the past few weeks – heck, in the past few months – and I need to find a steady rhythm again.

Have a great day, and a great week.

Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks

image courtesy of FotoRieth via pixabay.com

Friday, September 25, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Mars Retrograde

Horror-movie level fog

Yesterday was a fairly productive day. Started with the online meditation session from the Concord Library. Different leader this week, totally different experience. Still positive, but this leader talked a little too much and didn’t leave me enough room to just be in silence.

Got out an article pitch to an editor, and some LOIs. Did a bit of client work.

The bulk of the morning was spent finishing the revisions on JUST A DROP and submitting it. It’s off to the theatre, for consideration in the 9-month development process. It’s got a 50-50 chance – either they accept it or they don’t. But, if I didn’t submit, it would have a 0 chance. I’d rather submit and risk not getting in than not submit and not have a chance.

Freelance Chat was good. It’s helpful to share experience and resources with other freelancers.

I dug into cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, only not the way I planned. I pulled out a crate in my bedroom – that was, unfortunately, anchoring some things that came tumbling down. It was full of socks and accessories and things I’d stashed there back when we moved and never dealt with. I took everything out, washed it (the washer put holes in one of my favorite sweaters that I found, sadly – I HATE this washer. Don’t say “get a new one” – I’m a renter; it’s not up to me, although the people putting in the new furnace are also supposed to put in a new fridge and washer).

Anyway, most of the socks were orphan socks I have A LOT of orphan socks. I have a thing about socks. As a Pisces, it’s all about the feet. Pisces is the sign that is associated with feet. My feet need to be warm and dry or I am miserable. When I worked in production, I always had extra pairs of socks with me (and, on exterior film/television shoots, my supervisor would regularly send me back to the truck to put on fresh socks). When I was busy, in the 10-out of 12 tech weeks or 18-hour days on set, I wouldn’t have time to do laundry. So I’d just keep buying more packages of socks until I had a day off to do laundry.  I’ve bought hundreds of pairs of socks over my production years.

We all know how dryers have Sock Goblins and socks vanish. So I have a lot of orphan socks.

It’s time to either find pairs or get rid of them.

I found a crate of orphan socks. I know I have a file box of them . . .somewhere. I didn’t find the file box, but I found a file box that contained two tote backs with socks, scarves, tee shirts and sweatshirts from shows and travels that I’d packed up in a hurry when we moved and never unpacked. And some other interesting bits and bobs I’d forgotten about.

I washed everything. I’m going to try some things on (let’s face it, the Tommy Hilfinger Size 8 Khaki pants are never going to fit me again and will have to go).The black velvet sheath dress from the 1960’s is fabulous, but again, I’m never going to fit into it again.  I’ll sort what I’m keeping AND PUT IT AWAY, and make a pile for donation. When donation places open up again, I can drop them off.

I have a bag to stash orphan socks until I’ve cleaned everything out; then, anything that’s still an orphan will have to be dealt with.

I’d hoped to clear out four boxes from the basement. The boxes weren’t from the basement, but I cleared out four boxes, so now I have room  for stuff and other stuff as it comes out of the basement and I decide on a spot for it.

Of course, today, I have to set to rights everything that went all topsy turvey in my room. It means cleaning out or repacking some other boxes that serve as a divider/counter space in my room (hard to explain).

It was a ton of fun finding a bunch of stuff I forgot I had and hadn’t seen in years. Shopping in my closet is always fun. Looking for something else in my closet, I also found some leggings that still fit and will be appropriate with tunic-length sweaters. I’m not comfortable wearing leggings with short tops. Plenty of people can pull it off, but if I don’t feel comfortable, It translates into carriage and body language and I’m miserable. But tunic-length sweaters that hit at least mid-thigh and boots? I’m there for that this winter (on the few occasions I actually have to leave the house).

And, let’s face it, I have every intention of looking professional on the Zoom business calls/meetings. I’m not someone who enjoys working in my pajamas. I have enough sleep issues. I wear pajamas to sleep.(And I found a great pair of blue fleece pajamas that will be cozy this winter). I wear other clothes during the day. They might be comfortable fabrics and generous cuts, especially to work at home – but they’re not pajamas.

The Knowledge Unicorns session was fun. There’s intense pressure to return to in-person ln learning, ESPECIALLY in areas with high rates of infection, which is just ridiculous to me.  Most of them had a lot of essay work (essays due early next week, so yay, we’re working ahead and not leaving it to the last minute). So there was a lot of discussion about language and usage and shades of meaning and context.

I was pretty tired by the end of it (kudos to parents and teachers doing this every day). But I’d signed up for an NYU-LA seminar about Creative Future: The Job You Save May Be Your Own. It was about piracy and how it destroys artists’ ability to earn a living, while being part of a larger, international criminal enterprise funding all kinds of  awful things.

They pointed out that it’s not the multi-million dollar stars and the studios who take the hit – it’s the smaller projects that don’t get funded any more and the crews who are out of work when studios cut back to fewer projects to keep their profits high.

So these people who claim piracy is about freedom and they’re sticking it to “the man” aren’t. They’re hurting working artists and technicians who are barely making a living.

I think the panel is far too generous to the individuals doing these illegal downloads (even as they advocate for tougher laws and punishment). I think many of those pirating know EXACTLY who they’re hurting, and they want to. It’s the typical non-creative people resenting and hating artists for earning a living doing what they love, and determined to prevent that.

But then, I’ve turned into a cynic.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard about Creative Future before. The executive director is Ruth Vitale, a former film executive. They do advocacy and work with elected officials on legislation to protect copyright. You can visit their website for more information.

Dense fog this morning. The street looks ready for monsters.

Writing this morning, some client work, a run to the library for a curbside pickup, more cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, more writing, and working on the changes I need to make to SERENE AND DETERMINED, hopefully in time to get it in under the deadline for the O’Neill Center.

I’m hoping, against all odds, for a productive weekend.

Have a good one, friends! Peace.

Published in: on September 25, 2020 at 5:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks  
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Wed. July 29, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 70 — The Anniversary of My Father’s Death

sea-3645572_1920
imsage courtesy of csr_ch via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot, but a little less humid

On this day in 1972, my father died. He’s been out of my life longer than he’s been in it, but it’s still a difficult day. He still has so much influence on my life, both positive and negative. He was brilliant, and difficult, taught me a lot on many fronts.

Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about the myth of the “full-time freelance job” that some companies are pushing.

The elected officials are worried because our numbers are creeping up again, more kids are getting sick, and we’re seeing more long-term complications. Recoveries are running 4-6 weeks, with potential lifelong problems that may never heal. They’re talking about dialing back some of the phased re-opening, which is as it should be. We should go back to Phase 1, clear out the tourists for 6-8 weeks, wear a mask every time we leave the property for the duration, and then maybe, MAYBE, we’d be back on track. But only if they enforce mandates, especially on tourists.

Which they won’t do, because, you know, greed.

William Barr needs to be impeached, disbarred, and then prosecuted for his crimes against this country. He is an abomination.

Yesterday was hot and humid again, and difficult to get things done. I worked in the yard early, before 6:30 AM, then sat on the deck and wrote for a bit.

Did some client work in the morning, until the computer threatened to overheat. Did a few insert scenes for the 4th Gambit Colony book to keep some arcs running through it.

In the afternoon, I read. It was too hot to be very productive, but at least I could concentrate long enough to read.

I also purged a box from the basement. I wanted to do two boxes, but ran out of energy. But I cleaned out one box, and tossed 90% of what was in it. The other 10% gets filed – I think I have the files already set up in my filing cabinets.

Had weird dreams again last night. Stress dreams.

Up early again this morning. Worked in the yard. I need to get some work done this morning at home before I head (early) onsite to a client’s for a few hours, which will contain stresses of its own.

But Remote chat is today, and that is always a bright spot in my week.

I also hope to get some more writing done, and purge another box.

Have a lovely day.

Tues. May 26, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it’s time I redefined myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot to juggle.

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

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

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

I am so sick of assholes.

 

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.

 

Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here  
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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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Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and cold

Mercury went direct yesterday, thank goodness. So I’m feeling a bit more optimistic, at least for the moment.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on what is, and isn’t, happening in the garden.

Went in to my client’s early, so I could finish off a few things before we took a colleague to lunch for her birthday. We went to The Black Cat, down by the waterfront in Hyannis, and had a lot of fun. The food was good, too.

It was bucketing down with cold rain, the kind that gets into your bones when it hits. Came home, relaxed for awhile, played with the cats.

Then, we did a big vacuum and floor mop. The guy comes to look at putting in a new furnace today, and we have to talk to the landlord about a couple of leaks that sprung in the bathroom and kitchen. I still have some more tidying to do this morning.

Spent some time with Tessa upstairs. She wants to stop being confined to one room. If she’s ready to make friends with Willa and Charlotte, that can happen. Tomorrow, I will spend a couple of hours working in my room, with the door cracked open, and we will see how those supervised introductions/playtimes go.

Started watching the German production of the BRUNETTI series, based on Donna Leon’s novels. It’s very strange to watch German and Scandinavian actors speaking German on a piece set in Italy, where they’re supposed to be Italian. But, overall, it’s very well done, and the Venice locations are fantastic. I will be very disappointed if I do some research on the production and find that some other place is substituting for Venice!

Up early this morning. Worked on the proofread. I’m at the last big push. I hope to get it to my editor today or tomorrow.

Library time, then back to work on the revisions of “Confidence Confidant” that have to go out ASAP, and on “Pier-less Crime.” I hope to get a lot done before the landlord and the furnace guy come to walk around, sigh, shake their heads, and waste my time. Look at it, measure, write it down, make a decision.

But perhaps I’m being unfair, and tomorrow, I will need to post an apology.

I want to spend some time this afternoon working with the cats.

Tomorrow, I have a lot of errands to get done AND writing AND library time AND cat time, and who knows what will come out of today’s meeting — how much do you want to bet they’re going to swap out the furnace next week, at the worst possible time? I’m working long days at a client’s Monday and Tuesday.

I shouldn’t borrow trouble. I should just see what they say and then handle it. After all, it’s better to replace the furnace before it conks out than be stuck without heat in the middle of a blizzard.

And I’m glad they didn’t try to do this during Mercury Retrograde!

Reading the book for the online book club from my alma mater. I’m reading the comments and the posts. There are more men than women in the group, but the men try to dominate the conversations. The book we’re reading is by a man. There’s a choice by a woman for the next go-round that I think would be really good, but the men in the group are pushing for a man’s book because it’s “important.” Um, the woman’s book about family dynamics is also IMPORTANT. Stand down, bro, and if this is the way the club is run, it is the WRONG place for me.

On a positive note, a second jury found Dr. Scott Daniel Warren, of No More Deaths, not guilty yesterday in Arizona. The government prosecuted him (twice now) for leaving water out for immigrants in the desert. Since the government’s current policy is concentration camps and human trafficking when it comes to non-whites, they put Warren on trial TWICE for being a decent, compassionate human being and walking his spiritual path.

Twice, now, juries have found him not guilty. Being a decent human being should NEVER be considered a crime. The whole exercise in justifying cruelty is appalling.

Let’s hope these impeachment hearings actually get some momentum to get these corrupt, self-serving traitors OUT.

So Microsoft Office 365 had a global outage yesterday. Not a surprise. Again, I don’t want my life run by apps, not do I want to be forced on be online all the time. I work and live OFF LINE. I want to CHOSE when to go online to send things out or interact. Stop forcing me, and then charging me, and then it either doesn’t work or you cut me off because you decide I’m not rich enough to get service. The inequity in technology has to be addressed — and solved.

I’m working on my 2020 plan, with room for flexibility, but targets for what I want to do. I like having a plan, even when I have to change it along the way.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Published in: on November 21, 2019 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments  
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