Wed. June 29, 2022: Creativity, Cats, and Yoga

image courtesy of Tamba Budiarsana via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I’m happy with the work I did on The Big Project yesterday, and that will probably be the biggest focus for the upcoming weekend: getting the edits on the first large section done while working on the second large section (this will all make sense when I reveal what this project actually is). It’s bizarre not to finish the entire thing and then edit the entire thing, but since there’s technically not and “end” (although there are options to impose one), that’s how this needs to be done.

The editor confirmed that I am in the first volume of The Monthology shared world anthology. I’m very excited, and I’m excited about my fellow contributors. There are still contracts to sign and edits to complete and all of that, but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to be part of a shared world anthology since Thieves’ World first showed up in the 1980’s, and now I am. Always nice when a creative dream comes true!

Played with the horror short story. If I don’t choose the right way to tell it, it will read voyeuristic and exploitative, instead of terrifying. I think I’ve got the right angle on it now; we’ll see as more words go on the page.

Spent a lot of time in the morning updating the links for the “Personal Revolution” re-release, and putting up the ad for it every damn where I could think to put it. Scheduled a bunch of tweets with the ad through next Wednesday on Tweetdeck, one per day. Don’t want to do overkill; at the same time, it needs promotion. Even with a list, I’m sure I missed a few places that will come to mind over the next few days.

Hopped down to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription.

Willa wanted to come out on the back balcony when I watered all the plants yesterday morning. I told her she couldn’t, and she was unhappy. I promised her that I’d take her out after lunch, in her playpen, and I did. At first she was happy, but then she was restless, so I brought her back in. Charlotte, who was upset that she couldn’t come, too, had given up by then and fallen asleep. But Tessa insisted that she wanted to go out. I told her it had to be in the playpen, and she let me put her in her playpen (each of the three cats has her own playpen) without trying to rip my lungs out, the way she usually does.

I took her out and she had a good time. She was interested in everything, especially all the different birds we have. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and tree-like shrubs nearby, with a large variety of birds. I need to look them up in the bird book. I don’t know what some of them are.

When we came back in, Willa kept running into the laundry room and trying to drag out her now folded up playpen, to go back outside.

I’m glad Tessa enjoyed herself. She always loved going out on the deck at the other house, although I didn’t need to put her in the playpen. She knew the boundaries and stayed on the deck. But the back balcony isn’t safe unless they’re in their playpens.

The computer was being wonky and frustrating. Again. And my phone is limping alone, just about done.

Something I ordered way back at the start of the month arrived, and was a big disappointment. The photo of the piece was highly stylized. Had I known what it really was, I wouldn’t have bought it. It was also presented as something created and made by an individual artisan (which is why I paid what I paid for it), but it is poorly mass-manufactured. It’s not worth returning, but I am unlikely to order from that company again. I will take some time with it and fix it up to be unique and what I want it to be, but it should have arrived that way.

I tried to concentrate on client work in the afternoon, but with the January 6 Hearings, I just couldn’t. Every seditionist and supporter needs to be removed from power any and every way necessary and prosecuted. The way nothing is happening is disgusting.

SCOTUS upholding gerrymandering in Louisiana to disenfranchise black voters doesn’t help, either. Dems need to stop telling us to “vote harder” and THEY need to fight smarter.

I went to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years yesterday. Local place, in walking distance, should I choose. Loved the vibe of the place, liked the way the teacher teaches, enjoyed the other members of the class. The vaccination requirement is strictly enforced, some of the students still choose to mask, there’s plenty of room for everyone, and great ventilation.  I felt safe within the space (although I’ll still test in three days, then six days), along with feeling renewed after class. I definitely would like to take more classes there. It’s a little late in the game to buy the unlimited summer pass (maybe I’ll do that next year). I’m going to see about buying the 10-class pass in a week or two, once the bills are paid – and once I know how much the new phone will run me.

The place in Pittsfield doesn’t have the phone I want (and is unlikely to help me switch everything over if I order it online). I might switch carriers. A different carrier with a store a few blocks away has a similar phone (but one step up) that may be a little more expensive, or it may be on sale and around the same price. The monthly no-contract plan is less than what I’m paying now, for about double the capacity. I’ll go down and talk to them today, after I do my library run. If they can’t/won’t do what I need, I’ll stick with my carrier, get the phone I want online, and see if I can do the transfer myself (urgh). But let’s hope I don’t have to.

This morning, though, before I run my errands, I want to get the horror story drafted (it’s short), and maybe work on some of the format wonk in the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. This afternoon has to focus on client work.

The kitchen island cart is still in pieces all over the place. It’ll be the weekend before I can deal with that, too.

For the moment, though, now, it’s back to the page.

Fri. March 18, 2022: A Foggy Start

image courtesy of LUM3N

Friday, March 18, 2022

Full Moon

Foggy and mild

It’s supposed to get up to 69 degrees F today, which is just silly, at this point. But this morning, it’s foggy. Hope it clears up before I have to go to the mechanic, since I can’t use my windshield wipers with the broken blade.

Yes, I got an appointment at the mechanic’s. Let’s hope this repair doesn’t wipe me out.

After meditation yesterday morning (and breakfast), I took my notification and headed down to the post office to pick up the package. Which, of course, wasn’t there, because they’d put it back on the truck.

Did some banking business. The credit union now has a lending library in the front lobby, kind of like a little free library, which is fun.

Picked up a few things at Cumberland Farms.

Got lost in the rabbit hole of research about The Spruces, which was a lot of fun. It also solidified that I want to create a fictional community, whose owner/visionary feels in competition with The Spruces, because there are things I want to change to fit what I need to happen in the series.

I also have to decide the year in which I want to start it (probably 1957), and a lot of period details, including things like a widow’s finances, etc. Because women weren’t allowed to have credit cards in their name until 1974. And yes, I’m old enough to remember when that happened. They didn’t have the right to open their own banking account until the 1960’s, so I’m thinking my character’s adult son would be a co-signer on the account in the 1950’s. But I will have to check that detail.

Sent out some LOIs, did some client work, turned around a script coverage. Did some work on The Big Project.

I have to draft the next newsletter, because it needs to go out next week.

Worked on contest entries in the evening.

Charlotte woke me up a few times in the night, wanting attention, and now has decided she likes to sleep against my back, instead of down at the bottom of the bed. Tessa woke me a little after 5, which was fine, because it gave me the chance for a longer yoga/meditation session.

I wrote up a bunch of background on my protagonist for the series inspired by The Spruces. The first book starts after a lot of this happened in her life, and bits and pieces of the back story can be woven in. But it’s revealing itself now, so I want to write up the notes, and then I have it.

St. Patrick’s Day was not a big deal here yesterday, which is a nice change after decades of dealing with drunks by 10 AM in both New York and on Cape Cod. I’m sure the fact that the college is on spring break helped.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We have a good rhythm going with the work, and the flexibility to explore all kinds of interests, and see how things relate to each other in a way traditional school environments don’t allow.

If I don’t have to leave the car to be repaired, I will stop at the grocery store on the way back and restock. So much of the rest of the day’s schedule hinges on what happens at the mechanic. I will, of course, bring CAST IRON MURDER with me to work on more revisions as I wait.

Since I’m behind on spring cleaning, the bulk of the weekend will center around that. If the car is fixed, I’ll also do a run to get more pots and potting soil. I want to finish up the planting.

Speaking of which, the tansy seeds, which have been sitting in Springfield, an hour away from me, since last Saturday, somehow are now in Chicago. Not a happy camper.

I had the hiccups last night for over an hour. While it wasn’t the worst bout I ever had, it was still exhausting.

Fingers crossed for the car repair being simple and in my budget.

Have a good weekend, and catch you on the other side.

Thurs. March 10, 2022: Yet More Snow

image courtesy of Marketa Morchova via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and snowy

There’s information on the seedlings, ordered seeds, birds, and more, over on Gratitude and Growth.

It snowed most of the day, with much more accumulation than predicted. It’s a heavy, wet snow, and will be hard to dig out my car, especially since the plow is pushing snow up behind it even as we speak.

But I need to pick up my birthday cake, and do not get between me and cake.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. I sent out three LOIs, and got back two demands for unpaid labor as part of the process. I responded with my contract for tests/samples/assessments, and I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again. I also added them to The List.

I slogged through way too much email, but I’m determined to keep it at manageable levels. I did some work on The Big Project, but not enough, and certainly not as much as I hoped.

Things have been slow with the big client. The contractors supposedly got a raise, yet the work since the “raise” has been much sparser, although there are “options” for pieces at a lower rate. No, thank you. I’ll just work on finding other clients that pay the proper rate to fill the gap.

Turned around a script coverage. Worked on contest entries. Read a book for fun, which had come highly recommended. It was okay, but for the first half, I kept getting too far ahead of the plot, and waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up. The book was okay, hit the genre expectations, but it didn’t grab me the way it did those who recommended it.

Tessa and Charlotte had been doing well there, for a few days, but now they’re fussing at each other again. And someone knocked over the cat grass plant overnight (most likely Willa), so I had to clean that up this morning.

But Tessa let me sleep until six, when she actually came into my room to wake me up. She hates my room here. She loved my room in the other house, because it was huge and carpeted. This is small (it’s fine for sleeping), and there’s a small rug by the side of the bed, but no carpet, and Madame Tessa Does Not Approve. Charlotte is just happy she can sleep on the bed with me here.

Meditation group this morning. Then, after breakfast, I will dig out the car, pick up my cake (and get more eggs, we’re out of eggs). I don’t have any scripts in my queue; if I don’t get another one, my long weekend starts early, at least as far as script coverage goes. Then, I’ll do contest entries and work on The Big Project today.

I’m taking a three-day weekend tomorrow, for my birthday. I have a few loose plans, but mostly, I will do exactly as I wish, and create the days.

The COVID tests I ordered a few days ago are supposed to arrive on Monday, which is fast. The ink was supposed to arrive yesterday, but the snowstorm caused an understandable delay, and it will get here today or tomorrow. The tansy seeds should arrive Saturday.

Next week, we start the big spring cleaning, in and around whatever work has to get done.

Tessa loves the new, fluffy dark green rug in the bathroom. Like I said above, she likes rugs/carpets.

Off to start the day. Hope it’s a calm one. I’m looking forward to being mostly disconnected from online for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll check messages and emails here and there, but I’m going to try to keep away from the horrors going on for a few days, so I can return renewed.

Have a good one.

Thurs. Jan. 27, 2022: Mail, Stories, Storm Prep

image courtesy of Ekaterina Belinskaya via pexels.com

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Post over on Gratitude and Growth about the incoming storm and turn of the season.

One of the things I have not yet discussed on the blog is Thich Nhat Hanh’s death last weekend, which saddened me deeply. I never had the chance to study with him directly, but I do read his work, and it is regularly discussed in meditation groups.

Yesterday was a better day, as far as getting things done. I was up early, got to the desk early. I worked my way through a bunch of emails. I dealt with blog posts. I mulled over the situation with the large client that bothers me. I don’t have any solutions yet, but I’m pondering.

A submission call landed on my desk, for a publication into which I’ve always wanted to break. The theme is right up my alley, and it can be fairly short, so I started a draft. I had to stop and fact check something, and went down a research rabbit hole for about an hour, which kind of threw off my productivity. But I hope to finish the story today or tomorrow, polish it over the weekend, and get it out by Monday.

In the afternoon and evening, I read three scripts, which I will write up today. I also worked on the redesign of the covers for the Topic Workbooks. They’re much simpler and make more sense, I think, while still being eye-catching. I’m trying to decide between completely plain, with color and text, or adding a small image to it. But I want to keep the covers in the same style, so they all tie together.

I’m doing a major overhaul on the Series Bible workbook, which will add in using Scrivener. The original plan was to have that be the first Workbook to relaunch, but until I get comfortable with Scrivener, I don’t see how it can be. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS will probably be first.

I got a delightful card in the mail painted by Helen Whistberry. It’s a beautiful teapot. I’m going to frame it and hang it in the sewing room.

I finally got an appointment to get the car diagnosed for the repair, by a local reputable garage, for Feb. 8.

I made chicken pot pie with leftover chicken in my new Pyrex pie plate, and it made me happy (in addition to being delicious).

We’re about to get into another Supreme Court Justice fight. The Dems better not let the Repubs walk all over them yet again. I’m sick of excuses. They have the WH, House, and Senate. GET. IT. DONE.  The Republicans do whatever they want no matter how many votes they have or lack. So the Dems need to step it up.

The problem isn’t that the Dems are “too progressive” as the media misleading frames it. The problem is that the Dems aren’t progressive enough and don’t stand strong. They cave and cave and cave and keep moving to the right.

I don’t want bipartisanship. I want progress.

There is nothing the Republican party can or will offer me that makes my life better.

Charlotte woke me up at 3:30, and Tessa joined the chorus by 4. I moved to the couch and dozed off again, and didn’t wake up until after 7:30. They were grumpy that their breakfast was late. Well, then they shouldn’t wake me up in the middle of the night. Yesterday afternoon, Charlotte got upset that Willa sat on Charlotte’s pink blankie. They fussed at each other, and Willa ran away (no bloodshed). Charlotte, victorious, sat on her blanket for a bit, until she got bored. Then she tried to intimidate Tessa off the couch, but Tessa wasn’t having it. So Charlotte retired to the kitty condo like the trope of a Southern belle having the vapors. It was pretty funny.

Headed to the library. Eight books waiting (won’t that be fun to carry over the ice mounds?) and I want to get them back before the storm. I have a few cards to write and mail, so I’ll either drop them in the box at the post office on my way to the library, or in the mailbox down the street. Yes, we actually still have a blue mailbox just over a block away, and things put into the box arrive at their destinations in a timely fashion. Most of the mailboxes on Cape, at least in my area, were removed years ago. But the postman was nice enough to take the mail when he dropped mail off (If one couldn’t get to the post office), so it worked out. And the post office was close to the house, so I could walk if I had to (although I usually drove). But I like having a reliable mailbox close by. I also like walking to the post office here and catching up on everything that’s going on. It’s the major source of information in this area.

Have a good one!

Wed. Jan. 26, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of WildOne via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Bitterly cold

Yesterday was a bit of a lost day.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I humped the laundry over to the laundromat early in the morning, using the rolly cart. Got everything washed, dried, folded, and back in a little under two hours. It was just starting to snow as I returned, so the timing worked.

While I was there, I started outlining a project whose characters have been yapping at me. I’m hoping it will be novella-length, although it will take some research about Singapore in 1899.

I have to sort through some information from a major client and decide on next steps. I feel that there are conflicting instructions. I have voiced that, and those concerns are being dismissed, so I have to decide how to proceed from there. Part of that is enlarging my client pool, which I have let shrink over the past months, out of sheer exhaustion.

Dealt with a couple of hundred emails and a bunch of admin. There was a pause in snow showers, so I headed up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Of course, as soon as I got home, more books had arrived. But they can wait until tomorrow.

I had a terrible migraine, and my ears hurt, so the afternoon was pretty much a wash. I spent it on the couch, reaching THE BOOKWOMAN’S LAST FLING. Well, re-reading it. I read it when it first came out, back in 2006. And yes, sometimes with a migraine, I can still read, although I took frequent breaks to close my eyes.

I’m still well within my deadlines for this week’s work, but I’m behind where I wanted to be.

Last night, with the Knowledge Unicorns, we celebrated both Robert Burns (for Burns night) and Virginia Woolf (whose birthday it was). One can’t spend time in Scotland without being caught up in the affection for Robert Burns and his work. Plus, in the time I spent in Ayrshire, I visited his birthplace and all that. A new visitor center has been built there; it was quite simple and unassuming when I visited. Virginia Woolf has been an influence on me since I was in my teens, and certainly in college and beyond. So I like to make the time to acknowledge both of them on this day. When I worked at a library, I wrote a tribute performance piece that two local actors read for the library audience. Sharing it with the kids, getting them excited about their writing, is a lot of fun.

We don’t like haggis, so I made bangers and mash instead, which was good.

I did make it a fairly early night, since I wasn’t feeling great.

I was up early this morning, thanks to Charlotte. Tessa was very good, for once.

The waning moon was visible from the front windows, against a dark blue sky, and quite beautiful.

I still have the echoes of the migraine, but I hope I can focus and get some work done today. I have some correspondence to deal with, and I want to work on The Big Project, before turning my attention to script reading.

It is bitterly cold out, so I hope I won’t have to go any farther than the mailbox.

We have a big storm coming in this weekend, but then it’s supposed to turn warmer, so I’m trying to get a car repair appointment for next week. Fingers crossed.

Have a good one.

Published in: on January 26, 2022 at 8:17 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 26, 2022: Bitterly Cold  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. July 7, 2021: Home

image courtesy of Sophie Ilvarinen via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

I am home.

Aren’t those beautiful words?

I spent the holiday weekend on Cape, finishing the clearing out. Most of what was left over ended up in the dumpster, although I salvaged a enough for 7 carloads that went into storage over the various days.

My lovely neighbors down the street helped me pack the dumpster on Saturday and Sunday. They’re very efficient, dumpster geniuses, and we got it all in. Monday, once I finished the storage runs, was about cleaning.

The cleaning took a lot. The basement, where boxes had gotten damp and stained the walls, needed the most work, but I used a bleach mixture and it’s better. It still needs repainting, but hey, it’s been ten years.

As I cleaned, an alarmed face showed up in the streaks. I should have taken a photo of it. It wasn’t exactly Taco Jesus, but it was interesting. (“Taco Jesus” was the name of a play I stage managed way back in the 80’s at the One Act Theatre Company of San Francisco, with Michael McShane in the lead).

There’s still a lot of processing to do, and I will do that, and decide what I’m comfortable publicly sharing. Lots of emotion involved in all of that. But it was easier to do without my mom underfoot and every toss out becoming an argument.

I was also frustrated cleaning, because I’d clean something, and 5 minutes later it looked worse. I had to clean all the baseboards again in the house. I’d cleaned them the day the movers cleared out the furniture. Here it was, less than two weeks later, in an empty house, and they were filthy again. I don’t get it.

I scrubbed and cleaned all day. Of course, the landlord called me at 5 to see how I was doing. I was ready to go just after 6. The key exchange was nice enough, although, even though he’s keeping the security deposit, he wanted to charge extra for these five days of clearing out. No, honey, that’s what the security deposit is for. Plus, I could have just walked away and left him to deal with it; according to MA state law, he couldn’t just toss everything. He would have had to photograph and inventory everything and store it for 60 days until I claimed it. But I did not do that. I came and dealt with it myself. He gave me the water bill – although he’s paying a portion of it, for the water used for the lawn. Again, that could come out of the security deposit. He’s making noise about charging me above the security deposit, if he finds things cost more.

No. The place needs painting. It hasn’t been painted in 10 years. Most of the paint has held up very well. There’s a little wear and tear, and some damage where I removed the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs we fastened on the walls when we moved in – damage because the hardware store guy sold me an adhesive he promised wouldn’t damage the walls, but, like everything else he told me, that was wrong.  Aside from the staining and some dry wall shrinkage in the basement, and the ding in the wall at the bottom of the stairs caused by the movers, the place is not in bad shape. It needs paint, and it needs a professional scrub. The central vac didn’t have any suction – mostly because the landlord never ordered the special bags it needs (it’s original to the house) and never told me where I could get them. Our vacuum went on the moving truck, so I was using a broom and dustpan, and also using my little hand vac. I Rug Doctored the heck out of the carpets.

What it really needs are bathroom renovations and new windows, but we know that’s not happening coming from them, and I’m not paying for that.

There were plenty of things in the ten years we lived there that the landlord “never got around to.” I’m not paying for those.

Let him jump on the Short Term Rental Greed Train. He’ll find out it’s not as easy as having a year round tenant. When holiday renters are paying top dollar for a property, they don’t want  something that’s original to the house just because it’s Cape Cod – especially since this house is 5 miles from the beach. They want better stuff than they have at home. He can blame me all he wants for not being able to rent out the place by July 4th weekend. But even if we’d gotten out at the end of April, the place wouldn’t be ready.

I was happy to drive out of there without looking back. It was about 6:30 by the time I finally got out of there.

I was practically numb with exhaustion trying to get over the Sagamore Bridge. I’d only had an egg for breakfast and some watermelon for lunch. It took 40 minutes to get over the bridge, and, according to the radio, it kept backing up.

There was another backup around Middleboro, but then it wasn’t too bad.

I managed to get to Sturbridge by 9-ish, to my favorite inn, The Publick House. I stumbled in, begging for a room in the lodge, the section that has all the goofy toile wallpaper and the little balconies.

The lodge was sold out to a special group.

I was ready to cry. I was too tired to go any farther.

But, I’m a regular guest there, sort of. I’m in their system. So they offered me a room in Tillyear House, at a big discount, which only made it about $20 more than staying in the lodge.

I said yes.

It was a lovely room. Enormous, with two queen beds with soft mattress toppers, a huge bathroom with a tiled shower, a reading/writing area, and giant TV.

First thing I did was take a shower, slather on their wonderful bath products, and feel like a human being again.

Of course, I had no real food. I had leftover chips and cookies, and the remnants of the wine I’d bought to wind down in the evenings when I camped in the empty house. So I had chips and wine, and watched Food Network and HGTV for an hour or so, until I was tired enough to fall asleep.

I slept. I woke up around 5, the latest I’ve slept in months. I lounged in bed until about 6:30, then got dressed. I’m so sick of cargo pants I can’t stand them anymore (they made the most sense during the move). Fortunately, I’d thrown some other clothes into my bag, so I put those on. I’d thrown one of my Ipsy bags in my purse, so I even had a little makeup, so I didn’t look like death warmed over.

Hopped next door to the bakery to get my complimentary breakfast of coffee, blueberry muffins, coffeecake squares. Took it back to my room, ate, wrote in my journal. Enjoyed having finished the house.

I was tired enough to want to go back to bed, but I got my act together and was back on the road by 9. The woman at the desk and I had a lovely talk, and she encouraged me to come back for my birthday weekend in March. If the weather’s not bad, I just might book myself in there for a weekend of reading, writing, and spa time, in Tillyear house. Much as I love the funky little lodge, it was nice to indulge in one of the fancier rooms.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, although once I left the Pike at Lee, the last hour to home took a little longer because there was more traffic than at 7 AM when I usually breezed through. But I got home around 11:30. Mom and cats happy to see me.

It took awhile to unload the car, because it was full of weird bits and pieces from the clearing out. I took breaks in between, due to the humidity. But I got it all done. Then I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.

Got up, made dinner, and went to bed early.

The cats woke me a little before 5 this morning, demanding breakfast. Tessa marched out of her bastion near the front porch, all the way down the long hall to the kitchen, demanding to speak to the manager, because breakfast was late, and That Will Not Do.

A client contacted me yesterday about a possible steady writing gig. I was too incoherent to respond, but I will do so today, and we’ll see if that works out. I will start up again with the script coverage work today, and also let my book review editor know I’m ready for the next book.

There’s a lot of unpacking to do; we will do so slowly, and figure out where we want things. Shift and re-shift things around a bit. We need to do a good grocery shop.

Hopefully, I can re-read some of my own writing later in the day; I want to get back to my first 1K of the day early on in the next few days.

I need to ease in, instead of jump in, due to exhaustion. I have to prioritize the paying work, because I’ve lost three weeks’ of work due to the move and clearing out. Bills are already starting to come in, and I want to make sure everything is paid on time.

I have to process the emotions of the move, and of the friction between the life I thought I wanted on Cape Cod and the reality of life on Cape Cod. That will take time. I have to create new, sustainable routines for life here, and explore my new area.

While I need to work steadily to earn a living, I also want a balance. I need rest, and I want to enjoy my life. I am going to be much more cautious about getting involved with any local groups or organizations here – it will take me some time to recover from the burnout from the organizations on Cape Cod. I don’t care about being a good sport or fitting in anymore – I’m going to figure out how to craft the life I want, and people can either accept those boundaries or fuck right off.

I’m beyond tired, but I’m also relieved that the move is done, and I’m looking forward to building a positive next act here in the Berkshires.

Thank you so much to all of you who cheerleaded (cheerled?) and contributed to the GoFundMe, and, in general, supported me through a difficult time. I am filled with gratitude.

Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration

image courtesy of Sasin Tipchai via pixabay.com

Friday, May 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cooler

Yesterday was another day that was all over the place.

I was up worrying way too early. Got up early, fed the cats, dozed on the couch a bit, which calmed Charlotte’s anxiety a bit.

Cleaned out the garage some more; almost finished sorting all the plant pots. I mean, there’s a lot more to do in the garage, but getting that done will make a big difference.

Handled a few things for the soon-to-be-ex client. Sent off a bunch of LOIs. Sent off rental application information. Most of these “property management companies” ask for inappropriate information and wanting me to carry 100K of renters’ insurance “in case I damage the apartment” is way out of line when there’s a security deposit involved. That’s what the deposit is for. Also, the properties that want additional monthly payments per cat – ridiculous. Again, that’s what a security deposit is for. And who can apply to dozens of rentals when every place has an exorbitant fee just to apply? It should be illegal.

The housing crisis was manufactured by landlords, and they need much harsher regulation.

Got my hair cut. I think the last time was October 2019. The hairdresser chopped about a foot off. She really didn’t do much other than cut the length off and do a bit of cleaning up. I wish the guy who gave me the great cut in 2019 was there, but he wasn’t. She was supremely disinterested in being there and doing much. On the one hand, I didn’t need much done, and she told me that the hair salon opened LAST MAY, at the height of the pandemic, so everyone’s stressed and completely burned out. I wasn’t going to fuss, because the cut is perfectly functional. I just would have liked a bit more care and attention devoted to it. Like, maybe even 5 more minutes. I was in and out of the salon in 10 minutes. But again, they’ve been under huge stress and burnout, and the cut is fine. It’s not brilliant, but it does the job. And yes, I tipped well, because hairdressers have been under huge stress for the duration.

I feel so much better, too. I just don’t feel as brilliant as I felt with the last cut.

But then, in the ten years I lived on Cape Cod, I’ve only had two haircuts that were good; most were serviceable, and some were truly awful.

And yes, we were all masked, thank goodness.

Came home and worked. Got out coverage of one script; read another one; claimed two more that I will read and turn around today and tomorrow. I’m getting into the flow of it.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Last week will be our final week. Most schools are running into June, and the kids and parents will be in touch with each other, but the official online homework group will be finished as of next Thursday.

Managed to sleep until 2 AM before I woke up worrying. Charlotte started fussing at 3. I let her into the bedroom. She was good for awhile, all purry and cuddly, but then she started fussing at Tessa, so she got kicked out of the room.

We are really at a crisis point in the house hunt. We need to get out of here. We are perfectly capable of steadily paying rent on the places to which we’re applying, but we’re being turned down because the overall income isn’t high enough to please the landlord. As long as we pay rent – and since we have decades’ worth of positive rent-paying history – that should count more than an overall number.

People deserve decent living situations. It shouldn’t be this impossible to find a clean, safe place to live in our budget.

Anyway, I’m off to clean out more of the garage. I actually forgot to do a grocery run yesterday, so I’ll have to do it today.

Most of the day will be script coverage and trying to finish that damn article that’s not working. The weekend has to be house hunting and packing.

12 more hours spread over 3 days. #CountdownToFreedom.

Peace friends.

Published in: on May 21, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. May 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 355 — Do I Listen to My Head or My Gut?

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I have a post on the garden progress over on Gratitude and Growth. The lilacs are blooming, which always makes me happy.

Yesterday was an enormously stressful day, and it’s not appropriate for me to discuss the details publicly. But, believe me, it sparked plenty of discussions on the home front about choices we need to make in order to move forward.

I’m hesitating to make a choice out of fear, but my gut is telling me it is vital to make this choice and make it NOW.

Was in touch with my doctor, and we have a telehealth consultation late Monday afternoon. That will help, although there are some decisions and actions that need to happen before Monday.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun. Turned around some more script coverage. I’m worried that I’m not giving them what they want; I’m happy to adjust to whatever they do want, but without knowing, I’m just plowing forward in the way I’ve been trained for this type of job. It’s a little nerve-wracking.

Still feel bad after the vaccine dose, but at least I’m on my feet, moving around, and keeping food down. Let’s celebrate the small improvements, shall we?

Watched a documentary about New Zealand last night, which was interesting. I only passed through New Zealand on my way to Australia when my show was in Adelaide, but the place fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to go back.

Online meditation group this morning (much needed), then client work, script coverage work, work on the short story and article, more LOIs, setting up more conversations with potential clients, packing, starting to clean out the garage. Busy day ahead, yeah?

Hope you have a good one!

Published in: on May 13, 2021 at 5:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 355 — Do I Listen to My Head or My Gut?  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer

image courtesy of Nico Wall via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Still Dark outside

Yesterday was so stressful that my skull was ready to explode before 10 AM. But we got through it.

Of course, being up since 2:30 in the morning, I was already exhausted by 8. I’d put in a full day, at least mentally and emotionally.

There’s a post up on Gratitude and Growth about how the septic guys evened out, raked, and resodded the back. It’s going to look beautiful. With photos!

And the lilacs will be far enough along this weekend, so I can cut some and enjoy them while I recover from my second vaccine dose.

The septic guys were back early in the morning, right on time, to finish up. Then, at the time I should have left for work, the plumber arrived. Turns out the upstairs toilet needs to be replaced, and a new valve needed to happen in the hot water heater in the basement. We’d shut Willa in my mom’s room and Tessa in my room, which left Charlotte to supervise, and she took her duties seriously. Fortunately, the plumber adored her. He’s another good guy.

Having skilled people who care about their work actually do the work makes a huge difference. They were great, so they didn’t add stress, it was just trying to juggle everything all at once, and keep on top of some appointments I was setting up for today AND get to the site for the client.

I’m riding out that situation for a few more weeks, but it will change. What I do does not have to be done in the office, and the client is trying to change the scope of duties to work I don’t do and don’t want to do. But I’m supposed to be grateful.

On top of that, the client has made decisions on my housing situation that are inappropriate and don’t work for us, but says that I “have no choice.” Um, yeah, I actually do have choices, and choices that don’t involve this client and aren’t the client’s business.

Swung by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for the next few days.

The septic guys were just leaving. The back yard is going to be gorgeous once the grass grows back in.

Remote Chat was fun.

I got some responses from LOIs. Some were “no, thanks” which is fine. One wants me to do a one-way video interview, so that’s a no. Another wants me to write a “case study” for free in the next 48 hours. I’m sending my contract for samples and telling her I can book it next week, provided the deposit arrives in time. And those companies go on my Toxic Company Culture list.

I’m waiting for my first assignment from the new client – hoping I can start next week. Waiting to hear back from a couple of other potential clients from materials I sent them last week and this week. Depending on how a few more pieces play out, I may decide not to go forward with one of them, because there are some red flags that concern me.

I finished the book for review; will write up the review and get it out within the next hour, so I can get assigned the next one.

I’m very, very worried about my car. The last thing I can cope with right now is another major repair. Think good thoughts for me.

There’s stuff going on today and tomorrow that I can’t discuss publicly yet – it’s all good, don’t worry. I hate vague posts, but things are at a delicate stage, and if I talk to early, I’m afraid I’ll crush them. Plus, it might not work out. Then, I can pour out my disappointment and ask for sympathy!

But I won’t be around much today and tomorrow, and I get my second vaccine dose on Saturday, so it’ll be next week before we can thoroughly catch up.

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

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 4:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging

photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

I’m in a rocky period, and that’s the way it’s going to be for this next stretch. I have to figure out how to navigate it without killing myself.

Friday was a mix of frustrations. I managed to get some client work done really, really early to hand it off to the person who needed it, getting in early rather than waiting until this week. And then THAT person went and took credit for the work I’d done both Thursday and Friday. So there’s some clarification that needs to happen next week.

Friday was a bit of a fractured workday, although I managed to do a curbside pickup at the library. I’m stressed with most of my cookbooks packed, so I ordered more cookbooks from the library as a soothing agent.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Prepped for a late afternoon meeting. It was a video call, so that meant choosing the wardrobe, doing the makeup, fixing the lighting, checking to make sure the background wasn’t full of boxes.

I woke up on Saturday morning, filled to the brim with stress and rage.

I worked hard to let go of it – it was a gorgeous day outside. I did an early morning grocery run, got the laundry and the housework done, worked on the paperwork for the contest (I finished the third category), and then decided to give myself a day off. I’m completely cooked, and I am making myself ill. I read a book, I played with the cats, I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed myself.

It was Beltane, and I did a ritual. Let’s hope things are moving in the right direction.

The Kentucky Derby was in the evening. I was disgusted to see how many flouted the masking protocols and ignored social distancing. They should have all been removed.

King Fury was scratched, so he wasn’t part of my picks, poor baby. I didn’t actually bet this year, even online. With the move coming up, betting is an unnecessary expense, and, frankly, I didn’t put in enough work to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s not the Derby where one makes money; it’s the undercard, and I certainly didn’t put in the work to bet on that.

I stuck with my choices of Midnight Bourbon as my first choice, then Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Soup and Sandwich as my long shot. Had I bet, I would have put the first three across the board and Soup and Sandwich to Show.

The winner was Medina Spirit, who ran a beautiful, wire to wire race. Mandaloun came in second, very close, with Hot Rod Charlie third and Essential Quality fourth. Midnight Bourbon was sixth – I don’t know what was wrong with him today, he just didn’t show up. Soup and Sandwich has a good start, but faded to finish last, poor thing.

So I’m glad I didn’t bet! I would have only won a few bucks on Hot Rod Charlie.

I had good early morning writing sessions Saturday and Sunday. Sticking to writing first thing in the morning helps keep the rest of the day grounded. I’m going to work hard not to self-sabotage on that front.

Finished the decisions on the winners and the finalists for the contest on Saturday and sent them off. On Sunday, I received invoicing instructions, sent off the invoice first thing Monday and was paid immediately.

Sunday, I also read a book for review, sent off the review and the invoice from the last batch. Again, first thing Monday, I was paid. That’s how it should be!

Found some interesting listings for rentals on Sunday, and sent off a few emails. Heard back yesterday morning from the one I really, really liked, so I’m hoping we can set up a time for me to head up there to see it, although it’s a bit of a hike.

Got a little bit of packing done, but not enough. If we knew where we were going, it would be easier.

photo by Devon Ellington

Monday morning, we were up early to eat, do the dishes, clean the litter boxes, etc., before the septic people arrived. They were here on time, and very, very nice. And efficient.

I managed to get some LOIs out before I headed to the client’s. Unfortunately, the water needed to be turned off at the house while I was gone, and the landlord came in to do it. I was embarrassed that he came in among the moving chaos. I’ve got things spread out and boxes everywhere and it’s a mess.

My client figured out that I’m having a moving situation going on, and immediately started giving me advice – that serves her, not me. This is one reason I didn’t want to discuss it with her until I had more tangibles. It’s going to be a nightmare for the next few weeks until things get sorted out, with her trying to “fix” things so it suits her, and not what we need. I should have just lied, but I didn’t.

Got an interview request from another LOI. At first, I set it up for later this week, but then I moved it to this afternoon – another end of day interview, which I’m not thrilled about, but if we’re going to look at rentals toward the end of the week, before my vaccine on Saturday, I needed it to happen sooner rather than later.

Turned around a script coverage piece. If this company likes me, they might throw me some more work here and there. I loved the piece I read; if that’s an indication of the quality they get in, it will be a joyful job. But what I have to say might not be what they want to hear. Still, I had to give notes that I felt best fit the piece.

The backyard is quite in tumult. The septic guys will be back today, and maybe finish by Thursday. Che Guevara Chipmunk sat on the deck steps in the late afternoon, looking absolutely devasted (although his actual home, in the bushes, is fine). I felt awful for upsetting the chipmunk.

Absolutely shattered by the end of the day. Fish and chips were as fancy as I could manage.

We watched some more of WILLIAM AND MARY, which is so well-written. Martin Clunes and Julie Graham are wonderful, and the supporting cast is great, too.

The June issue of THE WRITER arrived on Saturday, with my article in it on “Food Sensuality in Fiction.” I scanned the pages (although I had computer issues – my curser and trackpad aren’t always working properly and letting me use the keyboard). But I got it scanned, and I sent the PDFs out to the authors who were included. They were all really pleased with the way the article came out, and I’m so grateful to them for their quotes.

I love writing pieces like this, and I hope I get to do more.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing sessions yesterday and today.  Today, I’ve got some remote client work, an article to finish, a short story to work on, and a book to turn around fast for review. My editor’s been so great since I started working for the publication; no one wanted to read/review this book, and it needs to be done quickly, so I said sure. It’s definitely got some challenges. But I want to be fair and give it a helpful, not a harmful review, while still being honest.

CAPE COD TIMES ran an article about how Cape Cod businesses can’t find enough workers for summer tourism season. Hmm, let’s see, people are refusing to work in dangerous conditions for crap wages? Good. Of course, the paper frames it as “lazy people making more on unemployment.” Hey, assholes, if they’re making more on unemployment, the job was crap anyway. They did point out that there aren’t enough of the visa workers who come in from other countries for the summer season. Again, these are people who work for subpar wages. They compete for housing with people who live here year-round. And the article barely touched on the fact that the lack of housing is a crisis. The ratio of actual pay to the cost of housing is completely out of whack. As usual, it was right-leaning whining, instead of actual journalism. Typical of this area.

It rained overnight, so the backyard is now a mud bath.

Should be interesting.

photo by Devon Ellington

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels

image courtesy of kalhh via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Today is a rough day. It is the second of the hoped-for moving dates I’d wanted when we were deep in this process. To say I feel like a complete failure on personal and professional levels because this isn’t our moving day is an understatement.

Yesterday was rough, too. The recruiter who’d claimed to want the morning appointment blew me off. No contact, no response when I followed up. Just skipped the appointment. Not a surprise, but any time I see that “staffing agency” listed, I know to avoid it.

The property manager who had the afternoon phone appointment didn’t call, either, although I did get an apology email in the evening, and we’re going to try to set up something for tomorrow. I’m hoping we can go up and take a look at it over the weekend.

I thought I’d found another, really cute house in Nashua for rent. At first it didn’t come up in any realtor searches, but digging a bit deeper, it did –yup, another scam. So I reported it.

In the afternoon, I heard back from one of the LOIs stating they wanted to “get to know me better” and sent me a link – to write an unpaid, 250-word piece.

I responded with a cordial email and the contract/rates for that.

I got an almost immediate snarky email back from the entitled white boy who runs the company, stating that they paid for test pieces further in the process, but a 250-word piece about something I knew about “shouldn’t take much time.”

Talk about a red flag right there. How would he know how much time something took? Short pieces need a great deal of care, to make sure that every word carries more than its weight.

I shot back, again, politely but firmly, that a good 250-word piece, even on a topic well within my wheelhouse, takes time, skill, and care, and deserves compensation. Our work styles are obviously incompatible.

Entitled white boy mansplaining his attempt to get free labor. No, thank you. So sick of it.

Because of the two meetings (which ended up not happening), I couldn’t deep dive into any project. It was a frustrating day.

I did get out a bunch of LOIs, including to a really cool project that would be long-term, steady, and in one of my favorite arenas.

I did some research into the KY Derby for Saturday.

Got some reading done. I’m close to the end of the third category of entries (although I still have a lot of paperwork to enter). I hope to have my decision by either Friday or Saturday. I’m reading a magical realism book that I waver between liking because it’s clever and getting frustrated with for jumping around too much.

Made Chicken Chow Mein for dinner – that’s turning into a major comfort food for me.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s ready for the school year to be over.

The mask mandate is being lifted for being in outdoor spaces as of Friday. Which means the Covidiots will be even dumber inside.

We watched some DOC MARTIN, and I went to bed early.  Of course, that meant I work up a little after 2 AM, fretting, and couldn’t go back to sleep.

I made myself write this morning, at least a few pages. I was tempted to punish myself and not do it, but I needed to, and it helped. I still have two pieces that I need to finish this week.

Living at this level of stress and uncertainty is unsustainable. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.

Today, I have a stressful day onsite with a client, but at least there’s Remote Chat to which to look forward.

Keep a good thought for me, okay? Thanks.

Published in: on April 28, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here

photo courtesy of Bela Geletneky via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cool

Earth Day

Earth Day, but they’re still out there in the neighborhood, destroying nature at full blast.

Post about the garden up on Gratitude and Growth.

I forgot to mention, in yesterday’s post, that I’ve been invited to submit a short story to a women’s gothic horror anthology. I have until May 15. I started playing with the opening – it’s very twisted. Even though horror isn’t really my wheelhouse, I do love gothic, and I’m having fun with it. Channeling some frustrations and anger into it, and then will have to hone it. I want to keep it between 1-2.5K. I’ve got a lot of it percolating in my head, so, fingers crossed I can pull it off.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Thankfully, much less stressful than I anticipated. Came home, decontaminated, and participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Didn’t get much packing done. Was worn out, but got some work on contest entries done. I only have 2 weeks to finish the rest of the categories. I want to get the next category done by the end of this week. It’s the biggest one, and it will give me plenty of time for the last one.

It’s colder and windy today, but supposed to get nicer again over the weekend.

More bubble wrap arrived yesterday. I have a lot of packing to do this weekend.

And, of course, house hunting.

Charlotte woke me up a little after 3:30, with her separation anxiety. I moved to the couch in the living room to settle her down and dozed off, but she forgot I was there and went back up to cry outside my bedroom door around the time I usually get up anyway.

I was late getting to the page, and didn’t have as good a first writing session as I’ve had the last week. But I showed up at the page and got words down, so I’ll count it as a win.

Keep on keeping on, right?

At least I have the virtual meditation group today. That should get me back to rights.

Published in: on April 22, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here  
Tags: , , , , , ,