Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 244 — Dark Before Dawn, Dare I Hope?

image courtesy of Shantanu Kashyap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Still dark out

Busy weekend, but busy in a good way. Post up over on A Biblio Paradise about Dan Rather’s book.

I finished the book proposal and got it off on Saturday. I also completed and submitted a grant application. In and around doing five loads of laundry and the usual Saturday housework.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived, and I unpacked them. I will process them today, and will start them this week.

Then, I was exhausted.

Other than worrying about what crap the radical right plans to pull this week, I gave myself Sunday off. Finished reading Neil Simon’s REWRITES and started his next memoir, THE PLAY GOES ON.

I put up the Carnivale decorations on the mantel, which cheers up the entire room.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY, which always serves as a stress reliever. But it’s difficult, this week, to focus on anything.

I took the holiday on Monday, at least, location-wise. I did not go into the office, but worked remotely for a few hours. Also got some LOIs out.

I also did a run to Trader Joe’s, the pharmacy, and dropped off some library books in the book drop.

Working on the ScriptMag article. Not sure I can get it finished today, but I will try. I alternate between struggling to concentrate and glad to have something that demands strong focus.

I am in desperate need of a real break, a couple of weeks with no pressure on me about anything. Genuine rest. Catching a day or two here and there doesn’t cut it. But I don’t see any way for me to get such a break in the foreseeable future. Not until after the move, at the very least. But I’m hurting from the exhaustion.

Today is blocked off to do some client work and the article. Once the article is out the door, I have a short story that needs some attention.

I want tomorrow to go off without any violence happening to Biden and Harris, or their families. That’s my main concern. And I want the insurrectionists destroyed. No negotiation with domestic terrorists, whether they are in public office or roaming the streets. No. Negotiation.

Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Still dark outside, but I think it’s pretty cold.

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, breaking down the cost when a company demands you make an “introductory video” as part of its toxic, one-way interview process. I knew the unpaid labor racked up lost income/billable hours, but I was shocked at how much more it was than I estimated.

Worked on the article; worked on the book proposal. I figured where I was getting in my own way and bogging down with the book proposal. It’s flowing better now. Got some client work done.

My friend Paula’s been urging me to adapt my short story “Help, No Questions Asked” into a series pilot. That would be so much fun. That’s been percolating at the back of my brain while I work on other things.

Got out nine LOIs to potential new clients. One, who claimed to want to hire more women, was immediately knocked off the list when they sent me a set of unpaid assessments in response to my LOI. It means they never read it, because my LOI clearly states I don’t do unpaid labor (be it tests or project-specific samples). I have a rate and a contract for that. However, I did have a nice exchange with a prospective client to whom I’d sent some materials late last week. Enjoyed it very much, so we’ll see how it goes.

Didn’t get much reading done; will have to spend more time on the book for review later today.

The Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday wasn’t about homework. It was the kids, the parents (and even my 96-year-old mom) talking about the domestic terrorism last week. We watched footage (nothing like having multiple devices running), including clips from Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and the BBC.

We talked about the Constitution, what it means to take an oath of office, what it means to put country over party – and the reverse. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, or that my opinions are the only ones, but we shared resources, talked about how Fox News and other disinformation channels were handling it, and consequences of actions.

It ran well beyond the scheduled time frame, but it was important. One of the kids admitted to not feeling safe anywhere, and not believing she ever would, and I think it’s heartbreaking. But that’s where we are.

In my lifetime, this has been the road we’ve been headed down since Reagan. I’m sure parts were put into play much earlier. This could have been stopped so many times, but we haven’t had a radical left to balance the radical right since the early 1970’s, and what’s now considered “far” left is a little bit right of center. Basic human decency is considered a “radical left” concept. People allowed themselves to be boiled like frogs for at least the past 50 years, probably longer.

You can’t “reconcile” or “unite” with people who are actively determined to kill you. You have to remove them from the equation. If you give them an inch, they’ll use it to reach over and slit your throat.

On that happy note, I’m gearing up for a stressful day in the office. I may have to miss Remote Chat, which will make me sad, but if I get enough done at the office today, I can focus on the book proposal (due on Sunday) and the article (due on Tuesday) for the next four days.

Stay safe, friends, and keep letting your elected officials know what you need them to do to fix this.

Thurs. Jan. 7, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 232 — Sedition and Domestic Terrorism

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

How to articulate the rage and the sadness I feel about yesterday? I can post an immediate response, but it will take time and perspective to articulate it properly.

None of this is surprising. I’ve been talking about the likelihood of this since the 1980’s, and called an alarmist. This IS what the Republican party has been about in my lifetime.

They have to stop getting away from it. Expel, indict, prosecute, incarcerate. When they are released from prison, they must be exiled. Not ever allowed on US soil again.

Sure, other countries don’t want our mess. Then let them be refused entry to other countries, and have to roam, without home or country.

It is also not the time for the dead to rest in peace. They must haunt these seditious, treasonous Congress people the rest of their natural lives.

The breaches at the Capitol by domestic terrorists was planned and allowed. And GOP Congress people stood on the floor, several hours later, continuing to lie and support them. There MUST be consequences.

Not to mention that the 25th Amendment must be used NOW. Pence and the Cabinet won’t do it, because they enjoy this. They are just as evil as the Sociopath.

Letting domestic terrorists run rampant in the halls of the Capitol and then just walk away? Unacceptable.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, because who can sleep when there’s such insurrection? Expel the members of Congress who support this, prosecute them, and don’t let any of them ever have a platform or a moment of rest in their natural lives. Destroy them, personally and professionally.

I will not have “unity” with those who are trying to kill us. Stop talking “unity” and start talking “justice.”

Or it will keep getting worse.

I am grateful to the MA delegation for taking a stand against this, and am in steady contact with their staffs.

On a personal level, client work was stressful, mostly because every tech product decided to do a different update at the same time, and it was chaos. Nothing would work together. Or even separately. Everything had to be disconnected from the network, updated, passwords changed and shared amongst those who use the devices, and reconnected. By people who are not IT experts. Oh, and Comcast tripled the client’s monthly bill, which is ridiculous. We’ve been staggered in the office, and the office closed more than open since last March.  It’s not like we’re overusing the Internet there.

That’s something else the incoming Congress needs to do in the coming months – break up Comcast.

Home, decontaminated, Remote Chat, which was fun.

Started taking down the decorations. It needs several days to get everything packed up, put away, the fabric washed and ironed. There’s wax on some of the fabric from the candles, and I’ll have to get that done, too, with butcher paper and the iron.

This morning, I already answered some questions from a potential client and sent them off. I have meditation in a few hours with the weekly group – I’ll need it. Then, more work on the article, some client work, some LOIs, but most of the day is devoted to taking down decorations.

I may need a nap in there somewhere, too. Not even 7 AM and I’m wiped out.

I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. I wish real winter would move in. The plants need it. Much as I don’t want to shovel snow, we need it.

But there will be no peace in this country until there is justice. Domestic terrorists cannot be allowed to do whatever they want without consequence because they are white.

Democrats cannot be milquetoasts about this. There must be strong, definitive, action.

Today.

The Sociopath must be removed and neutralized.

Today.

Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night

image courtesy of Gerhard G. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

12th Night/Epiphany/Start of Carnivale

Clearing up and cold

Today’s Ink-Dipped Advice post talks about starting with a clean slate and building your new work plan on that. Check it out.

Dreamed about herbs and spices last night, so I guess December will be delicious!

No idea what I’ll do for the 12 drummers drumming story, but I hope that will evolve as I work on the earlier pieces. There’s one possibility percolating, but it might be a little too wacky to fit the tone of the other pieces, although so far, they all have a kind of odd humor to them.  I’m also thinking of doing a 13th story that kind of wraps everything up.

Yesterday was a good day, although I didn’t get done as much as I’d hoped. Which seems to be my refrain, because I always want to do far more than makes sense to do.

I got some writing done in the morning (not a very good session). I started sending out interview requests for the article that was greenlit on Monday.

When senior shopping hours were over, I got into the car and did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned (as usual), but it’s always good to stay stocked up. Popped in next door to Christmas Tree Shops. There were only two of us in the enormous store, so we could stay far, far apart. I grabbed some stuff that was 60% off for next year.

Decontaminated everything, decontaminated myself. Got out more interview requests, and did background research. Was frustrated at people not having contact information on their websites. There were a couple of artists I would have liked to interview, but when trying to find contact information takes longer than the actual interview would, I have to stop and move on. I’m on a deadline.

Got out some LOIs. Refused a couple of people who believe that free labor is part of the interview process and moved on from them.

Worked on an ad for a client. Worked on a proposal that needs to go out next week. Did a bunch of admin.

Unsubscribing from a slew of lists last week was a good choice, although there’s still an amazing amount of admin that has to be handled every day. Last year, I set aside chunks of hours every few days, but it’s really better to handle it every day.

A book I ordered nearly a month ago finally arrived (not from Amazon – they’re not even trying to hunt for the books they lost).

The Knowledge Unicorns are taking an extra week offline. Everyone’s school needs are still being sorted out for the coming months.

Anxious about the Georgia Senate races. The news seems to be good, so far, but I’m not counting on anything until it’s finalized.

I have to go to a client’s office today, and expect that to be more stressful than it needs to be.  Then home, decontamination process, Remote Chat, and then, it’s time to start taking down the holiday decorations. It will take a few days, but everything needs to be well packed up this year, in anticipation of the move.

We had so much joy in this year’s decorations. We had the chance to really appreciate them this year, since we weren’t running around to this, that, and the other holiday event.

I should make a King Cake for tonight, but don’t know if I will.

Just focusing on getting things done today. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

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.

Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

6th Day of Christmas – Six Geese A Laying

6th Day of Kwanzaa – Creativity

Rainy and cold

Buh-bye, 2020. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

I’ve got a garden post up on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning’s first writing session left me feeling so optimistic and energetic for the day. Sometimes, I use up my early morning creative energy on email or “have to” work. When I remember to start with my first 1K/day of fiction, the rest of the day is much better in every respect.

Yesterday at the office was only minimal overlap, so it was less stressful than it could have been. However, the client is gorging herself on right wing disinformation in order to justify her dancing around socializing and eating indoors, and I refused to give her the absolution she wants. There is NO justification for her behavior. At least she wears a mask and we deep clean the office regularly. But even contact a few hours a week with her is playing Russian Roulette at this point. So that needs to change.

On the way home, I picked up my mom’s prescription, put gas in the car (a symbol of abundance to start the New Year – full tank of gas), and decontaminated when I came home.

I don’t have to leave the house again until Monday, and I am more than fine with that.

Remote Chat was fun – it always is.

Wrestled the big bench off the deck and up the stairs into my mom’s bedroom for the winter. Willa and Charlotte had to be shut into various rooms while we had the doors to the deck open, and there was much howling and carrying on.

Later in the afternoon, I heard a thumping in the hallway. When I went to investigate, Willa had pulled a potato out of the bin in the kitchen, and was batting it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And she plays with a potato. At least she’s inventive.

Dinner was leftovers – we’re going to have festive holiday meals for the next few days, and I need the room in the fridge!

I have meditation with the group from the Concord Library this morning online, and then it’s writing. I have a short story to finish and get out on deadline. I already have laundry going – clean panties and clean sheets for the New Year! Garbage and recycling went out yesterday. Later this morning or early afternoon, I will vacuum and mop floors.

This year, I hung pairs of silver bells on red ribbons from the light fixtures on either side of the front door. They’re pretty, but they clang against the house when it’s windy. It sounds like it does when one is on a ship, bobbing in the water. Which makes sense, seeing as how we’re on Cape Cod.

So many trees have been cut down around here that the solar glare is out of control driving early in the morning. I’m going to have to get a new pair of sunglasses, once it’s safe. Not today, of course, it’s raining. But it was bad driving to the dump yesterday, much worse than previous years.

This afternoon, I’m making a pastry filled with apple, pecan, and cinnamon. I’m also making devilled eggs for us to enjoy closer to midnight. Dinner tonight is salmon in a cumin-lemon glaze, with lemon-infused jasmine rice and spinach. Or maybe peas.

Then, it’s all about our rituals.

We will eat herring before midnight (old family ritual that no one knows the origin, but we do it) and burn a bayberry candle timed not to finish burning until the turn of the year, for prosperity and health.

A minute or two before midnight, we open the back door to let the old year out.

We’ll watch the ball come down over Times Square – although I could often see it from my apartment window and that was really cool, I’m glad not to be there anymore.

Right after we toast the New Year in, we’ll open the front door to welcome the New Year.

No first-footers here, more’s the pity. Not that we could let a first footer through the door this year, anyway, even masked.

Tomorrow morning, at dawn, I do the Fire & Ice ritual, with a white candle rubbed with jasmine oil in a bowl of ice.

I’ll make Eggs Benedict for breakfast (pork before noon is the ritual), and later that day, I’ll roast a duck for dinner.

The rest of the day will probably contain a lot of reading! I always like to start the new year off with a book!

I’m almost afraid to be optimistic about 2021, yet I want it to be a good year. I have big changes coming up, and I’m looking forward to them, even though the changes themselves will be stressful.

I thank you for everything this year, my friends – the support, the friendship, the laughter. And I wish you all that is good, and that your dreams manifest.

Peace and Joy. Catch you on the other side!

Wed. Dec. 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 224 — Working to Reach the Finish Line

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

5th Day of Christmas (5 Gold Rings)

5th Day of Kwanzaa – Purpose

Can’t tell the weather yet – it’s dark out

It felt good to get the garbage and recycling out yesterday.

Last night, I dreamed that I rescued a puppy by the side of the road, its mother and sibling killed by a car. Dreams on the 5th night of Christmas are tied to May.  I’m not sure if it’s a literal or a metaphorical omen for May.

I wound up spending most of the day on client work and admin instead of writing, but it was necessary to get it done before the end of the year.

I decided that I want to really re-work the Nina Bell pieces, not just rush through the revisions; therefore, they will not re-release until next holiday season. I’d like to re-release them earlier, too, like right after Thanksgiving, and really give them a good shot at a run. Maybe by then, I’ll have the third short, the one in the non-profit, ready to go, too, and can release all three on a rolling basis.

My focus today and tomorrow is on the ghost ship story, which has to go out tomorrow. I like it, but I have to layer in some sensory detail and cut out some tangents. While keeping to the word count. So, we’ll see. It has some wacky humor in it that’s kind of fun.

Of course, Mitch McConnell blocked the $2K cash relief payments. Because he’s vile and needs to be removed from the Senate by any means necessary. And then he and his corrupt wife need to spend the rest of their natural lives in prison and their afterlives in a place where they have to atone for all the harm they’ve caused.

Cooked a nice dinner, and we watched some videos.

This morning, I’m working on the ghost ship story, and then have to go to the office, which will be more stressful than it should be, but that’s what we’re dealing with. On the way home, I have to make a few stops, including picking up my mom’s new prescription, which wasn’t ready when I went by yesterday.

Then, I don’t have to leave the property again until next week, which is the way it should be in a pandemic. Especially with the numbers rising the way they are.

And the Sociopath turns his back and golfs. Anyone who dealt with him in New York always knew just how disgusting he was, but he’s only gotten worse over the past four year.

So I’m just trying to hang in there and stay alive, while I work on what needs to be done to make 2021 a better year, on every level.

Stay safe and be smart, friends.

Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

Big storm coming in today. I’ll have to take in some decorations, and be prepared for power outages.

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about birch and holly – since it’s the first day of the month of birch and we love holly this season. Well, I love it all year, but. . .

Yesterday was more stressful than it should have been, and I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a client in the next few weeks that will not end well. But it is necessary.

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

My flash fiction “Holiday Transformations” is up, both as a podcast and in transcript form, as part of this year’s Weird Christmas anthology. It’s a great group of flash pieces – I’m so delighted to be part of it.

Spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the book for review. I will write it this morning and get it off.

The order I was waiting for – the last gift – arrived. The quality is quite wonderful. I considered re-thinking my decision to stop doing business with that particular vendor/artist – when an email came in. It was supposedly to thank customers; what it actually contained was a self-congratulatory, delusional, and arrogant diatribe, claiming the vendor’s “ambition” was at the root of the lack of customer service (say what?) and how she was ignoring criticisms because they made her feel bad.

You do you, honey, but I’m no longer a part of that journey.

Unsubscribed from the mailing list and unfollowed on social media channels. I realize she’s young and it’s rough to run a small business, but wow. Not going to be around that.

I found my recipes for bath salts, and I can adapt it to bath bombs. I can get molds from craft stores, and re-stock essential oils, source small crystals, and go back to making them myself. It’s not like I’m doing them for anyone except myself and friends who might like it. And I won’t have to worry about the stress of poor customer service and all the hypocrisy and bombast. A much better choice all around.

Another order arrived – a treat for myself that I wasn’t expecting until New Year’s.

Got the last present wrapped and under the tree – with help from Tessa and Willa. Charlotte’s not into wrapping gifts, but the other two love it.

Woke up a little after two this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fretting too much.

But planned the next section of the ghost ship story, and some upcoming blog posts, so that’s all good.

Today, I’m sending off the review, doing some edits on one, maybe two stories, writing the next section of the ghost ship story, and seeing what else I feel like doing. I am safely home, prepped for the storm, and planning to enjoy the holiday.

Although I don’t celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas anymore (since my spiritual beliefs have taken me down a different path, and Solstice was my big celebration), I enjoy family traditions and joys of the season.

Dinner tonight is cod paella – it’s been marinating in wine and spices overnight. I’m also making a layered parfait of chocolate and lemon mousses for dessert.

We don’t have Panettone for breakfast tomorrow – I couldn’t find one in the store that didn’t look leftover from last year, and I used the only fruit peel I had for the stollen. So I will make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. The big meal is Cornish hen with all the trimmings. If the power is out, I will have to figure out how to do it on the stove top rather than the oven.

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

We open our gifts on the Eve and have stockings on the Day.

Tonight, we observe the Icelandic tradition of reading books! One of my favorite additions to the holiday.

I wish you peace, joy, safety, and comfort – both physically and emotionally. Peace, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Wed. Dec. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 217 — Nearly at The Holiday Break

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Up early yesterday, and out the door a little after 7 AM to go to Plymouth to my trusted mechanic to get the car inspected.  I realized that it was my first time over the bridge since last December – when I got my car inspected.

In a normal year, I’d be horrified that I was turning into one of “those” people who refuse to foray beyond the bridge. But this year, hey, pandemic. We were supposed to Stay the F home, and I did so as much as I could.

The mechanic used his small business loan to transform one of his bays into a socially-distanced waiting room. Well set up – MORE than six feet between each seating area. One of the other customers brought his five-month-old, white, standard poodle puppy, who was so excited to play with all his new friends! Totally made my day. They all followed protocols there ALL the time – unlike the idiots here on Cape where I had the oil change, who not only refused to follow the mask mandate, but gave me a hard time for so doing.

The car passed inspection – I was thrilled! The mechanic and his crew were really touched that I took the time to individually wrap the cookies so that they were safe.

Driving back over the bridge took some time – lots of traffic. Once again, people are ignoring the edict not to travel during a pandemic, and we will have a grim January and February.

I stopped at the grocery store in Sandwich that was on my way home and got the last few things I needed for the holidays. I got some beautiful cod for tomorrow night’s paella. I even found a duck for New Year’s Day! That thrills me.

Home, decontaminated the groceries and put them away, then masked back up, loaded up the car with the cookie tins and made deliveries. Most were no or distanced contact. People were thrilled.

By the time I got back, it was nearly lunch time. Decontaminated myself, had lunch, and then spent the afternoon on client work and on reading the book for review. I’m nearly finished with it – I’ll finish it today and send off the review. Only a day late.

I also wrapped the presents to do under the tree. With “help” from Tessa and Willa, which was hilarious. They are getting along, most of the time now.

Crystal Bar has continued a negative pattern of behavior/lack of customer service with me, and, much as I love their product, I’m done. Too much hypocrisy. She has the right to run her business however she wishes. I have the right not to place my money there.

It’s a disappointment, but hardly life-changing. Hell, I made my own bath products for years. I can always start doing so again. I can also source similar products from other small business artisans, try them, and see with whom I am the best fit. That’s a stronger choice than every order/interaction being a stressful battle.

Done. Solved. Moving on.

Besides, I have a duck for New Year’s.

Last night was our Knowledge Unicorns online holiday party. Some of the kids started winter break at the end of last week. Others had a few days scattered in this week. But you know what they did? All on their own? I’d mentioned how lovely the original Dickens “Christmas Carol” novella is, and, ON THEIR OWN, they got copies of it, split up the parts, rehearsed, and did a dramatic reading of it. It was SOOO cool. What fun! I’m so proud of these kids.

It makes me sad to hear about so many kids/parents struggling and worrying how much their kids are losing doing remote learning, while I have a bunch of kids who are thriving.

This morning will be stressful at the client’s. But then I’m free to enjoy the holidays for the rest of the week, and I intend to do just that. Christmas has no religious or spiritual significance for me anymore, but I do enjoy a series of home-and-hearth traditions, and I can use the rest.

I also plan to do some writing.

I wish you peace, joy, good health, and happiness AT HOME this Christmas. I’ll catch up with you on the other side of the weekend.

Tues. Dec. 22, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 216 — Trying to Get it All Done

Cookie tins, packed & ready for delivery

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend, although I wasn’t really feeling up to it.

Friday had more snow; not much, just a dusting. I had to pick up a prescription for my mom, and I did a curbside drop-off/pick-up at the library.

Decontaminated, read a bit.

Finished the revisions on both the Susanna Centlivre play and the Isabella Goodwin play and got them out. Nearly two weeks ahead of deadline, too. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

Heard back from the Body Be Gone publisher. I didn’t win the big prize, but I am in the anthology and will get a little bit of cash and a copy of it, which will be fun. It was a lot of fun to participate in it, and I’m pleased to be part of such a lively, creative group. I wonder which story won?

In any case, by not winning, I retain my rights to these characters, and they can have a life beyond that one story. Which could be a lot of fun.

Woke up early on Saturday, with ideas for a story for one of the anthologies that would be due on Dec. 31. It might be too complex for a short story, but I’m going to give it a shot and see what I can do with it.

Wrote 1600 words on it, and it’s a bit all over the place, but I like the bones of it. Once I finish the draft, I can strip it down and rebuild.

I poked two companies about orders I placed weeks ago – giving them plenty of time because it’s both busy season and the pandemic. They finally shipped. One of the orders was placed before Thanksgiving. This is inexcusable. I help one of my clients with shipping. It doesn’t take five weeks to ship something that is in stock.

Saturday’s big project was making stollen. I used the traditional Dresden recipe. It takes all day, between the rises and waiting while things soak. But we wind up with three enormous loaves of stollen that are delicious. Much better than the overpriced, stale loaves on buys in the stores or orders online. If I bought this from a company, it would cost several hundred dollars. And not taste half as good.

I also decorated most of my office – got the tree up, anyway. Switched the bedding over to fleece. Got 6 loads of laundry done.

And was wiped out.

A client contacted me, frantically needing me to get something out right that second. I got it done, and that will be on next week’s bill. You don’t interrupt my weekend and expect it to be free. This is information I asked her for nearly a month ago, and she couldn’t get her act together until Saturday for something that needed to go out before Sunday.

Sunday, I finished decorating my office, put a lot of empty boxes away. I baked a chocolate Grand Marnier cake. The Bundt pan I have is awful, and even though it was greased in every crevice, it didn’t come out properly. But it still tastes good. Also made bourbon balls, which turned out tasty, but look a little off-putting.

I was just wiped out. I felt weak and emotional all weekend. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t seem to get my feet back under me after this surgery. It’s been more than a week, and it was good news, so I don’t get why I’m still completely wiped out.

The “relief” package Congress passed is a joke. Sure, $600 is better than nothing, but we should have been getting $2000/month EVERY month since March. All of them failed us, including the Democrats. All these people saying, “Oh, take a government class, it’s all on McConnell, it’s not on Pelosi and Schumer” – grow up. I’ve been a negotiator. When you don’t have the votes, you GET THE VOTES. McConnell does it all the time, but Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to play hardball.

They’ll have another excuse for no continued, REAL relief in January. I’m sick of excuses. I want action. Tough, strong action against the corrupt. Not continuous capitulation and acting like $600 is good. It’s HALF of what we got in May, and just over ¼ of what we should have been getting EVERY MONTH of the pandemic. While the grifters continue to grift, without consequence. This has to change. If this is the “best they can’ do” then we need stronger leadership who can do better.

In this state alone, there are nearly 30,000 new virus cases a week. We need a full lockdown. With continued, direct cash relief.

And prosecution for those who profited from the pandemic at the expense of our lives all the way through it.

Monday, up early, still feeling like crap. But I went into the office – alone, like it should be. I got some shipping done – see, people? The orders came in over the weekend and went out MONDAY – that is how one takes care of customers. The postman hadn’t arrived by the time I left, so I took the boxes with me and dropped them off at the post office myself. Went to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

Home, decontaminated, masked up again, and packed cookie tins. They look really cute. The cookies are packed in individual sleeves, which work well, but take up a lot of room.

One of the companies I poked came through and I got the delivery that was most important to get today. The company from whom I ordered before Thanksgiving – shipped so late it’s still stuck in California, and the third company is making noises about delays. But what I really wanted for today came, so that’s that.

I got an unexpected bonus from two clients. One goes into the bank, as prep for moving; the other I used on a piece of jewelry by an artisan on which I’ve had my eye for a few months. I put in a note with the order not to stress about trying to get it out for this week. It gets here when it gets here. I ordered it late – when I had the money to order it. I’m happy whenever it arrives.

I was finished just as the sun set, and we did the family Solstice ritual: let the sun set all the way, sitting in the dark. Start by lighting the fire in the fireplace, with greens from last year’s Solstice season; then light all the candles and put on the trees and other decorative lights, inside and outside the house. And take a few minutes of gratitude to enjoy it, release what no longer works, and make room to invite something new and wonderful.

Dinner was pancetta and peas in Alfredo sauce, with the chocolate Grand Marnier cake for dessert. Delicious.

Then, a quiet evening re-reading Terry Pratchett’s HOGFATHER (one of my favorite books), enjoying the tree, listening to Chantal Chamberland sing carols.

Later, I did my own private Solstice ritual, to remove the detritus of this year, and make way for something new.

I’m off today to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the Trump-supporting maskless mechanics who did the oil change sabotaged the car a few months back, and there will be a major repair. Think good thoughts for me. At least I’ll be at the mechanic I know is honest.

If I’m not there all day with car repairs, I hope to come home the cookie deliveries (and yes, one of those tins is for the mechanics in Plymouth).

Have a lovely day, friends, and a lovely week.

Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle

image by Arek Socha courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

First substantial snow fell overnight, and I’ll be shoveling out later! Post over on Gratitude and Growth about snow and the garden.

Out at a client’s for a few hours of overlap yesterday. It was okay, but it is clearer and clearer that I do not need to be onsite for ANYONE in order to do what I do well. I do it much better when I work from home, and insistence on me writing in someone else’s office is about control, not about the quality of the work.

That will be dealt with, as I move other pieces of the upcoming Change Puzzle into place. Because that’s what I’m calling this transition period over the next few months – The Change Puzzle. I can plan, or think I’m planning, everything to perfection, the way I like, with backup plans up the wazoo, and things will still change, and each change will affect other things. So I have to be versatile and resourceful.

Home, decontaminated, Remote chat, which was fun, but I was wiped out by the end of it. I still get hit by exhaustion and brain fog far too often.

I set my car inspection appointment up in Plymouth for next Tuesday, instead of for tomorrow, because I just don’t trust myself to drive over the bridge yet. I completely space out, and that’s not good when I’m behind the wheel, especially if it happens on a bridge.

Rested a bit, then did the revisions for both “By Her Pointed Quill” (the Susanna Centlivre play) and “Family Layers” (the Isabella Goodwin play). There’s an inside joke in the latter, referring back to my Kate Warne play. It works within the context of this play, standing alone, but those familiar with my work will also enjoy it.

Planning to do the Zoom meditation this morning with the Concord group, and then buckle down and write. There’s a lot to get done in the next few weeks, and I don’t intend to blow it.

At the same time, I need a lot of rest.

And I need to work on the Change Puzzle.

Published in: on December 17, 2020 at 6:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Nor’easter Coming

Out of the house early yesterday. Tried to make a bank deposit at the drive-through ATM, but the bank down the street “couldn’t” print receipts, so I didn’t make the deposit. The three times I’ve done it anyway, the bank has denied the deposit was ever made, and then after fighting with them for weeks, they suddenly “found” it. So I never make a deposit without getting the receipt. TD Bank sucks, and when I move in spring, we will switch banks and be better for it. I used the branch by the mall, instead.

To Shaw’s, where I couldn’t find everything I needed, but picked up a few things I knew I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s. I stood in line, with my six things, behind people who had 106 things. The manager opened the fast lane and took me over. The woman standing behind me started complaining that she should have been taken first because she’d “been waiting.” The manager pointed out that I was in line AHEAD of her, and, therefore, I would be checked out first.

To Trader Joe’s, where there were at least fifty people in line ahead of me. They’re shopping in packs again, not honoring the request that only one person from a household shop. That means one waits in line longer because if a pack of four is waiting, four people have to come out, and then they’re allowed in, but those of us who DO honor the request are still waiting until someone else comes out, because only X amount of people can be in the store at a time.

Behind me were a trio of college girls, from the moneyed side of town, with fake Valley Girl accents, supposedly home for break from Ivy League schools. If that’s what Ivy Leagues are accepting, we are doomed. What a bunch of idiots. For a few minutes, I hoped they were pulling a prank, but no, they’re actually that inane.

Forty-five minutes of their prattle in line gave me a massive headache, but I’ve also figured out numerous ways to kill them off in stories, so that cheered me up.

Whipped through the store with my list pretty fast. Didn’t need all that much, although I found some good stuff I wasn’t expecting and grabbed that, too.

Except for some fresh things I need to pick up on Tuesday, and then a quick stop at the food mart down the street for things like milk, we’re set through New Year’s. That feels good.

Home, decontaminated.

A short rest, then client work, LOIs, and the ad for “Lockesley”, and then daily posts about it scheduled through the first of the year. “Fly” is already scheduled.

Pizza for dinner. I need to start making it from scratch again. The frozen pizzas get smaller every week. They used to be big enough so we could have dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Now, it’s barely enough for dinner. Soon, they’ll be the size of an appetizer. Price keeps going up, though. I’m better off making it from scratch.

Had to contact Crystal Bar Soap to ask where my order was. It’s been FOUR WEEKS since I placed it and nothing. By the end of the evening, I got the shipping confirmation – but if I hadn’t asked about it, it wouldn’t have shipped until January, probably. It shouldn’t take four weeks to ship an order. And I shouldn’t have to beg to get my order shipped.

I keep saying I won’t order from them anymore. Then, I get the order and love it and keep ordering. But I need to stop for a few months, until they get the shipping sorted out. It’s too frustrating.

We’re supposed to get a massive Nor’easter tonight into tomorrow. If the power goes out, I won’t be able to blog tomorrow. Or do anything else online. Which is fine. I was going to attempt a run up to Plymouth on Friday to get the car inspected, but now I’m thinking I have to wait until next week.

Today, I have to go into the office with a client for some overlap, which has stressful potential. Then, I’m home to sit out the storm. I want to work on the polish for the two short plays and get them out by Friday. I also have to work on the revisions for “Mistletoe” so I can sign off on that by Friday.  We’ve talked about a different framing device for the stories (and, later, the books) that I think will work, adding more humor and some nostalgia to the pieces.

Three interesting calls for submission hit my desk yesterday, too. They’d all be due on the 31st. Not sure I can get it together to write and polish them in time, but I will let the ideas percolate. Two of them are new-to-me markets. The third is a new-to-me market, but I talked to them back in October about submitting in radio format and they were interested. Now, I have to find the notes I took for that piece, so I can create it.

I still have major brain fog, which is frustrating but okay at home, but not so great when I’m in the car.

Let’s hope the storm isn’t too bad – I don’t want to shovel, and I’m running low on ice melt!

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 16, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Dec. 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 204/Isolation Day 5 into Quarantine — Preparations

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a little more snow yesterday evening. It was lovely – just enough to be pretty, not enough to shovel.

I had a strong creative day. I wrote the entire first draft of the Isabella Goodwin play, “Family Layers” in the morning. It’s only 20 pages, but it’s a good piece. It still needs some work, but it holds together, and it’s flowing well, so there we are. I’m happy with it, and I will be even happier when I do another few drafts over the weekend and early next week, and send it off.

Two short plays written in two days. That feels good. That makes me feel more like myself again.

I also got a bit of client work done – the big marketing proposal is polished and out. One client refuses to make the decisions she needs to make in order for me to plan the campaigns she needs to generate income. That’s on her, not me. Got some LOIs out. Remote chat was fun, using photo prompts.

I got an acceptance for the flash fiction piece I wrote for the WEIRD CHRISTMAS anthology about the Icelandic Yule Cat. I’m pleased. It’s a goofy little piece, but the editor said it made him laugh, which was the point.

The hospital called to set my COVID test for today – 7:45 this morning. As soon as I post this, I have to go get dressed and head out. It’s over at the hospital, not up at the college, although the scheduler said they’ll be moving the site in the next few days to accommodate more people. But, for today, I go to the hospital where they have drive-through testing set up in the parking lot.

Then, I got a text message from the hospital about Friday with the time – later than I’d like, but too bad for me. Unfortunately, they had it down as the wrong procedure. I called the pre-op nurse, and we got it sorted.

I go in later than I’d like, which means I’ll be home later than I’d like, which means today and tomorrow will be very long, stressful days. One step at a time, that’s all I can do.

I hope to come back from the test and decontaminate this morning in time to join the Zoom meditation, but who knows? Then I’m in full quarantine, even from other household members (except the cats) until I walk into the hospital. We set up the fold out couch for me to use today and tomorrow. Charlotte is delighted. It will be nice to recover sleeping next to the Yule tree.

One step at a time.

I was on a restricted diet yesterday, and I’m on a liquid diet today, and then the medication starting this evening, which means I’ll be up and miserable all night. And tomorrow will be a long morning until I get into the hospital.  But I really want to get it over with before they shut surgeries down in the state tomorrow.

My landlord let me know that the rent check turned up yesterday – the one that was supposedly lost – AFTER I ran another check up to his house. Of course it did. Heaven forbid he miss a chance to pile on more stress whenever I have a medical procedure coming up. Remember in March, when I had to have the “assessment” done on the day of my follow-up from the first surgery, and then, later, he admitted it wasn’t even necessary? I’m so sick of this.

I hope to get back to tackling Lockesley again this afternoon. If I can get enough work on it, and sign off, I won’t have to worry about it while I’m recovering, and can turn my attention to the Nina Bell pieces.

The best thing I can also do for myself in the next few days is limit my time on social media. I just can’t take the emotional labor right now. There are plenty of people with whom I interact who are a joy, but too many morons push their way into positive interactions in order to poison them, and I can’t handle it right now. It’s bad enough that I am the ONLY one on my street who ever wears a mask.

I have some books to read to get me through the next few days, including the book for review, and Yasmine Galenorn’s new release, Starlight Web, along with a stack of magazines on which I need to catch up.

I need to do whatever I need to do in order to get through the next few days. I should have been baking this week, but I didn’t have the physical or emotional energy to do so. I will start over the weekend, I hope, and then deliver cookies next week. Fewer than usual, but they will get done.

Peace, friends, have a good weekend, and I’ll catch up with you on the other side. If you can spare a positive thought for me today and tomorrow, I could use it. The results of the surgery could go either way. Thanks.