Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Hazy and cool

Re-read THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE. I only have the prologue and a couple of chapters, but it has energy and wit, and I like it.

I have to figure it out, and write the outline, but I like it.

In the meantime, I wrote steadily on a piece with the working title SELF-SANCTUARY. I’m doing between 1200-1750 words a day, longhand, which is good, steady work. Every three chapters, I will type what I have.

The house hunting is stressful. A couple of good places don’t have any openings right now, so maybe I’ll get us on the waiting list, while we look elsewhere. A couple of cute houses, smaller than we are in now, came up, and we can even afford them, but the competition is fierce.

And, of course, there were at least a dozen more scams. Those are disheartening.

Did laundry, packed, house hunted, wrote, did housework. Not only are the people moving in destroying the environment/habitat/landscape they claimed to move here because of, it’s getting filthy.

We do the daily cleaning, of course, and then a weekly big clean with dusting and mopping and vacuuming. And then the spring cleaning/fall cleaning. But in between even the weekly big cleans, it gets really filthy. It didn’t use to. There’d be a little dust here and there, and, of course, the pine pollen in spring. But now, it’s a layer of grime, similar to what I dealt with in New York City EVERY WEEK. Because of the constant heavy machinery and leaf blowers. It’s disgusting.

At least I got some sleep. Slept through the night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, although I had weird dreams.

A client sent me something on Saturday for quick turnaround. I replied that I would do it first thing Monday (which I did). Remote work does not mean I’m on call 24/7 for instant turnaround.

It was too cold to sit on the deck, which made me sad. We don’t have much longer to enjoy the deck.

My mom was sick Sunday into Monday. I worked fully remotely on Monday, so I could take care of her. Had her on the couch, propped with yoga blankets and bolsters and a hot water bottle, so she was comfortable. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

I had a solid morning’s writing session, got out some LOIs, turned around client work, house hunted, took care of my mom.

In the mid-afternoon, I had a delightful chat with someone who’d liked an LOI I sent a few weeks back, and we discussed possibilities. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

Worked on contest entries, got my review out. I have another book to read/review, and then I can invoice.

It was temperate enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine for an hour or so in the late afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens, and they were very happy. There was a baby woodpecker in the maple tree. He was so cute! I guess Raoul and Juanita (our resident woodpeckers) had a little one.

Simple supper of spinach and cheese omlettes.

Tired and went to bed early, which meant I woke up too early this morning.

I had to force myself to sit down for the first writing session this morning, but once I did, I was glad I did, and got a good 1500 words in on SELF-SANCTUARY. It’s flowing well. I’m in the third chapter written in longhand; once that’s finished, I’ll type the first three, as I continue in longhand.

But going back to my daily 1K (or a little more) first thing has made me feel better about everything else, and stabilizes my day. I am more creative and productive. Punishing myself by not writing until I solved the housing crisis only sent me into a downward spiral. Self-flagellation and self-sabotage are not the answer.

A different potential client got back to me, demanding I work PST hours (which would mean working until 8 PM Mondays through Fridays), even though I stated clearly that we have enough overlapping hours to work in real time, and then work asynchronously the rest. If you demand working YOUR business hours for a remote team, you don’t understand how distributed workforce actually works. No. Moving on.

I need to make a run to Trader Joe’s this morning, and then get more client work done, and more house hunting done.

One foot in front of the other, right?

Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was not a particularly productive day. It was mostly built around rental listings and inquiries. Saw a house that fits our budget, location, and price parameters that didn’t seem like a scam, so sent an inquiry on that, too. We’ll see. It seems low-priced for the area, but then, so is where we are now.

Saw an overpriced, absolutely mediocre house in a mediocre neighborhood (that had a nice kitchen, though) – but their demand is that anyone who wants to rent it earns a “minimum” of $114K/year. Are they high?

The Sagamore Bridge is down to one lane in each direction for bridge work, which also puts more pressure on the Bourne Bridge. The traffic is already back to summer pre-pandemic levels, so getting on and off Cape is difficult. It’s very frustrating.

Got some client work done, caught up on some correspondence, worked on contest entries. This category I’m working on has fierce competition. What a pleasure to read strong book after strong book!

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

Got a bit of packing done. Charlotte “helped”, Tessa kept wanting to unpack what was packed, Willa’s not sure about it all.

Stress baked chocolate chip cookies because I was stressed and wanted chocolate chip cookies. Might as well keep enjoying the kitchen while we’re here.

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

Got a request for further information from a potential client, so we’ll see.

Was very disappointed by a company whose products I’d liked for years. We started discussions about the possibility of me doing some copywriting for them – but they want unpaid samples. Nope. So not only am I moving on, I will no longer be a customer. If that’s how they treat employees, while promoting themselves as a company out to do “good” in the world – hypocrites, and I won’t work for them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are digging in, just trying to make it through the end of the school year, although some of them don’t know when that will be. Dates keep getting changed. Schools that are back to in-person learning keep having to switch back to remote because of COVID outbreaks. I’m glad we’re all staying strong, and the kids won’t go back in person this year no matter WHAT the pressures are.

The parents are starting to get their vaccine appointments, and, hopefully, in a few months, vaccines for the kids will be approved, and they can, too.

Today will be stressful, having to be onsite at a client’s, but then I have Remote Chat to which to look forward, and I am.

Have a lovely day, and please spare a positive house-and-hearth thought for me, if you can.

Tues. April 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Vaccine Dose 1 Recovery

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cool

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

Friday I was just cooked. I did client work, worked on the paperwork for the new client (which did not get finished), and cleared off as much as I could for the weekend. Looked at rental listings, put out some inquiries. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the book for review.

Saturday morning, up early. Finished reading the book for review. I liked it, but wanted to think about it for awhile before I wrote the review.

Made sure I ate a big breakfast (frittata with spinach, tomato, and cheese).

We were out of the house on time, headed for the vaccine appointment. Not bad getting there, although the Google Maps directions sucked. Technically, it’s where my primary care is located, but I usually go to the satellite office down the street.

Went in, filled out paperwork, got my jab (Moderna). Sat reading in the waiting area, although no one checked on us, and we were trusted to speak up and keep track of our 15 minutes ourselves.

I started feeling the effects within five minutes, the fatigue, but I didn’t want to say anything, because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me go home. After 15 minutes, I thanked them, waved, and went to the car.  By the time I got to the car, they’d pinged me with the second dose appointment.

That’s the way it should work, not all the cage fighting I had to do to get my mother’s appointments.

I should have let my mom drive me home, but I drove. Of course, there was an accident at the turn to the road for the dump. Probably caused by the jackass with all the pro-Trump paraphernalia on his corner lot. It’s distracting.

Anyway, sitting there, waiting for the traffic to move was difficult. But, eventually it moved, and I was still conscious by the time we got home. I managed to toss the first load of laundry in, drank a large glass of water, changed into my pajamas, and went to bed, where I promptly fell asleep.

The day consisted of me sleeping for 20-30 minutes, getting up to drink a glass of water and do a few asanas, and then back to bed again. I kept moving my arm. I managed to get two loads of laundry through, sorted, and put away. I sort of read a book for pleasure in between naps.

But that was it. My body said it was busy, and I needed to rest, so I did. I had some swelling in my lymph nodes, but only for a few hours.

I ate lunch and dinner – I was very hungry all day, along with being very thirsty, but hungry for very specific things.  All healthy, fortunately. And I felt well enough to cook dinner.

I took some Tylenol and went to bed very early. Slept through until about 2:30, went to the bathroom, drank more water, went back to bed. A fever had started overnight.

Sunday, my arm still hurt, I had a fever off and on, and a mild headache off and on. Still quite a bit of fatigue. It didn’t help that I did too much: I changed the beds (usually a Saturday task), ran that laundry through, folded it up and put it away. I packed all the chimes and bells from the house, except for the large chimes on the deck. It feels so empty without them singing every time we go through a door or open a window. Packed more decorations in the living room, and from the fireplace mantel. Sent out a bunch of inquiries to listings. We found a few that we like, and think could work. Packed up my tarot cards in my room – a little more than 3 boxes’ worth.

In between, I rested and took Tylenol and felt grumpy. Probably because I wasn’t resting properly. My body was busy learning to fight the threat.

But imagine if we lived in a world that honored listening to one’s body? Resting when necessary, eating properly, taking care of oneself and each other instead of us being forced to literally work ourselves to death? “Die for Your Employer” isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s how we are expected to conduct our lives, and it needs to change.

Felt well enough by late afternoon to work on contest entries again, and even cooked a nice dinner of baked trout on a bed of roasted vegetables. It was very good, and I felt much better after eating it.

Woke up once in the night Sunday into Monday to go to the bathroom and drink more water, but managed to get back to sleep. Still up early, though. Got my review written and sent out, and requested more books.

Had to catch up on correspondence that came in over the weekend. Some from friends; others from those pretending they are reaching out in the name of friendship, but then want something.

Went into the client’s office for a bit. I’d hoped to get what I needed to get done onsite and get out before the others got there, but one person arrived early. We figured out some stuff, I got the ETSY orders done, downloaded some stuff that came in via the client email that I needed to work on, and left. I actually felt worse than I had at any point after the vaccine.

Swung by the post office to drop off the ETSY shipments, came home. Decontamination protocols, then back to the computer. Got the stuff done for my client. Got my review out, and was assigned two more books. Worked on contest entries.

Felt pretty lousy; the arm still hurt, and I had a headache. I had chills for a couple of hours, but wrapped up in a blanket with Tessa snuggled next to me, and it passed. Should have packed more, but didn’t feel up to it. Did start feeling better in the evening, and more like myself, which was nice.

Looked at more rental listings, and send out more inquiries.

Heard back from one place – the apartment layout we liked won’t be available for at least a year, so that won’t work. Reported a bunch of scams on craigslist.

I made an absolutely huge decision: I’m going to sell my little red push mower. Yes, the little red mower that I dreamed of owning all my life, and bought about three years ago, and only used for one season.

Chances are we won’t have a garden in this next move. Even when we do get another place with a yard, I hate mowing, and I’m going to hire someone to do it, like I have here. Carting it around and paying to keep it in storage doesn’t make sense. And yet, it breaks my heart a little to give it up.

I spent a lot of last week crying, and it looks like quite a bit of this week will be spent that way, too.

Going to put several things up on craigslist in the coming weeks, including the old printers that can be used for parts. Trying to see which thrift shops are taking donations (if any are, since, technically, it’s still pandemic time). As we’ve been sorting through the closets, there are several big bags of clothes in really good shape that don’t fit or I don’t like and won’t wear that we can donate.

Today, I need to finish the paperwork for the new client, get out some more LOIs, finish my article, and pitch some new article ideas to editors. I need to get some client work done, work on contest entries, and, most importantly, get packing again.

I just wish I knew where we were going. Looking at listings, when they have floor plans, it’s kind of fun to see if and how we could make things fit. I’m looking forward to the UN-packing, once we know where we’re going. It’s the uncertainty that takes such a toll.

Woke up this morning, after sleeping through the night, for once. Lymph nodes are a little swollen again, but the arm hurts less. I have to say, I’d rather have a parade of symptoms, one or two at a time, then have them descend all at once.

Back to it.

Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

I’ve got a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

The thought that soon, I might not have a garden at all, saddens me.

Yesterday was busy. I had to be onsite with a client, and I actually had to say, “If you kill me with COVID, I can’t finish this by deadline. Please put your mask on.” I shouldn’t have to do that. This whole “I’m vaccinated, so to hell with you” is enraging.

Busy there, got a lot done, have to put in some more hours today and tomorrow, but remotely.

I have some paperwork to fill out with a new client, and then we’ll get started next week. It’s freelance, so it will ebb and flow, but the work sounds interesting, so we’ll see.

Came home, decontaminated, enjoyed Remote Chat.

Did some more client work, looked at rental listings. One of the most frustrating things about the rental agents is that they don’t listen. They don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I send them, or any of my needs.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have meditation group, and then have to get client work done, work on the paperwork for the new client, and finish my article, so I can get it to my editor. I need to get at least one article pitch out, maybe two. More LOIs, more rental listings.

I’m feeling a little discouraged today. But all I can do is make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Wed. April 7, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 320 — Vaccine Appointment!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Still dark out – supposed to be mild

No graphic today. I’m too tired to look for something that fits my moods.

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got out some LOIs, got some client work done, worked on the article. I hope to finish it and get it out by tomorrow.

The excellent news is that my health care provider contacted me with a vaccine appointment for this upcoming Saturday morning, and just over in Mashpee. It’s Moderna, the one with the worst side effects, but it’s a vaccine, and I can get my second dose in early May and be done.

I’ve been behind in the packing these past two days; I have to gear up through Friday, and with the articles, etc., so that I can just rest this weekend and deal with any side effects.

It’s such a huge relief.

I did a run to the bank to make a deposit and to the library for curbside pickup.

Heard back on a rental possibility, but it doesn’t have internet, and I can’t afford to wire someone else’s house for internet, so even though the space and the price are right, I don’t think it will work. Also, one needs 4-wheel drive in winter, and I have a VW rabbit.

Saw some other potential listings, and will send out some inquiries today.

Sent off some more sample agreements to those who want unpaid labor as part of an interview process. I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again.

May have landed a new client who has a variety of article/blog work – we have to interact some more, but it sounds like a good possibility. If it works out, I hope to add that client in to the roster starting next week.

Worked on contest entries. Felt pretty wiped out/burned out, so allowed myself some rest.

Watched the Martin Clunes documentary on Australia’s islands last night. It was a lot of fun.

Up early today, trying to get some work done and some emails out. I have to be onsite with the client today, and hope it won’t be too stressful.

There’s Remote Chat this afternoon – I hope I can participate. It’s always one of the brightest spots of my week.

My friend who is sick with COVID is getting better, thank goodness. I was worried. Well, I still am worried, but she sounds better.

Playing with some ideas. I’m not writing enough fiction during all this moving chaos, and it’s negatively affecting me.

Upward, onward, all I can do is the best I can do.

Fri. April 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 315 — Keep On Keeping On

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Friday, April 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and chilly

Yesterday was a busy day, but it was a good busy day. Meditation was good. I got out a bunch of LOIs. I got client work turned around. I need a client to get something back to me today and I GUARANTEE the request will be ignored.

The editor sent me the article revisions – the second version this time, not the one I spent all the time working on yesterday. But it was two minor tweaks (because, in this version, I’d already dealt with some of the issues). So, although we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth, it got done, it got done on time, and no worries.

I worked on updating my brochure. It still needs more work. Sigh. I’m doing it in Canva this time; it was better in Pages. I have to decide on graphics. The new logo is fine, but there need to be some more interesting visuals amongst the text. In the last brochure, I used my own photos, but not sure that’s relevant to this one. I have to think about it.

Worked on contest entries I’m making good progress on the second category.

Looked at real estate listings, which were all over the place. There are some interesting listings, and I’ll contact them for more information. A friend of a friend of a friend has a possibility, so I will contact that person today. I’m completely open to moving out of state – provided I can afford the moving costs. Staying in state would mean keeping my health insurance and a bunch of other paperwork, but I have to see what my options are and weigh out all the costs.

Freelance Chat was good and fun and interesting – about taxes. I realized where I’ve made a big mistake (no wonder I kept getting “adjustment” letters), and, starting with next year’s taxes (this year’s are filed), I can fix it. Also found out that one of the “you should” that kept being touted at local networking events doesn’t work the way the touters claimed it does, so I’m glad I never did it.

Found out a friend’s mother has COVID, and my friend might have it, too. Worried about them.

I got two emails from the County for appointments opening up at noon today for next week, and a message from my health care provider, too. So I have some options for vaccines in the coming weeks, and I’m going to go in and cage fight for an appointment, starting at noon. Wish me luck!

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are taking a break next week. For some reason, the Easter breaks are all over the place this year. Some were a couple of weeks back, some are a couple of weeks ahead. So we’re breaking this coming week, and then regrouping. The pressure on these families to go back in-person with rising case numbers is unfair and ridiculous. The families are standing firm in not sending them back this school year. Period.

This morning, I have to make another dump run, then do a quick grocery run, and a library curbside drop-off/pickup. I want to finish a draft of my article, let it sit over the weekend, and send it to my other editor on Monday. I want to pitch a couple of other articles. I also have a book to review – I want to get that done and out, so I can get my next assignments.

This weekend, I also have to make up for the lower amount of packing I’ve done this week. I have to rev back up packing, keep cleaning out the basement, and start on the garage.

I also want to work on a play over the weekend.

As I type this, some wild turkeys are taking a stroll down the middle of the street, looking here and there, taking their breakfast stroll. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood the last few years, between people cutting down trees and overbuilding and using lawn chemicals. It’s nice that we haven’t lost it all.

Keep on keeping on, right?

Thurs. April 1, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 314 — The Mountain Looks Unconquerable From Here

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

April Fool’s Day

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. Too often, the humor is about cruelty instead of playfulness. We’ve had enough cruelty the past few years.

Yesterday was stressful at the client’s, and that’s all that’s appropriate to say about it. Got a lot done, though.

Got out some LOIs, had fun in Remote Chat, worked on contest entries.

My editor sent me the edits on the article – again, the wrong version of it. The drafts are clearly titled. So, what I did was address the edits, then mark what I wanted/had cut in my final draft, and added in the new quote. All to this draft. Saved it, pointed out the changes, and sent it back. Now, she thinks maybe she sent me the wrong file. But at least I’ve got the material in the draft she keeps lobbing back at me, with the possibilities for revisions. Fortunately, none of them are a huge deal. It’s mostly tweaks and tightening language, and deciding if we want to keep or cut a paragraph. We’ll get there. I got my edits turned around by the end of the workday, which is what she needed, although I suspect we will have another round of edits today. Which I will also turn around immediately.

Rental listings were depressing. I’ve got another set of scam contacts to send off to the Attorneys Generals here in New England.

Too exhausted to pack, so I will have to make up for it today.

This morning is the online meditation group, to which I’m looking forward. More LOIs. Work on the other article, since I have enough quotes now to make it fly. I’d like to get one more set of quotes, but not sure I can by deadline. Still, I might give it a go, while I’m writing with what I have.

Playing with some ideas. Although I’m personally feeling overwhelmed and in despair, I want to read/write something more upbeat and hopeful. Not long. Something short, but that helps. Not sure what it is yet, because I don’t know who will be central. I need the character in order to build the story – I like starting from character And I’m not writing enough to stay in balance, so I need to start on something, anything.

I’m a big believer in writing my way to a better reality. On multiple levels.

We’re paying April’s rent and begging for an additional month (the lease runs out April 30). Meanwhile, I’m still spending hours a day trying to find something pet friendly in our budget. I had talked to the landlord a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of another month, but I want to put it formally in writing.

I woke up around 3, worrying, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Tried to let the sound of the rain soothe me back down, but no luck.

Just keep at it, that’s all I can do.

Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath

image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a pretty productive day. Got out some LOIs. Got a couple of errands done. Decontaminated.

Switched over to client work and got several projects out.

Got some of my interview quotes in. I might have enough to finish the article, or I might send out one more request. Was really happy to get a quote from someone I’d worked with on Broadway, back in the day.

Got the article back from my editor at a magazine with quick turnaround edits – only it was the wrong version of the article.  The day after I sent her the first version, I’d gotten a really good quote from a source and reworked the article to include it, also tightening up a few other things. I’d addressed some of the things she brought up in the first version. Anyway, I reminded her of the second version and sent it again. She’s looking at it, so I will probably get it back at some point today and have to turn it around right away. Just sit there and get it done, right? She loves the piece, which is good.

Rental listings were disappointing. Still way too many scams. I’m forwarding some of the scams to the appropriate Attorneys General offices, so they can deal with them. A house in which we were interested turned out to only be a short-term rental, so that won’t work.

Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get enough packing done. But I just keep chipping away at it. We will live amongst boxes for a bit, so when we do land a place, it’s just about getting the truck.

It’s very stressful.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They are ready for Spring Break next week.

I’m facing a stressful day on site at a client’s today, no doubt battling to keep COVID protocols in place. Then, I’ll decontaminate, hopefully do Remote Chat, and turn my article around.

Playing with some short fiction ideas, just so I don’t lose that ability completely. I can’t really focus until we’re moved.

Will probably limit online time tomorrow, because I loathe April Fool’s Day. Far too many of the “pranks” are cruel.

Have a good one.

Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb

image courtesy of Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Weird few days, and I’m trying to keep a balance.

Did a focus group on Friday with the Arts Foundation (virtually). A lot of people had signed up, but only six women showed up. Six white women, and the lack of diversity did not pass me, at least, unnoticed. But it was a good conversation. There’s still a refusal to admit that if art is not seen as a viable profession, but simply a hobby, that artists cannot thrive. Not here, not anywhere. Only supporting rich artists who have second homes in this area isn’t going to help the artists that try to live and work here all year round. Until that is dealt with, it won’t get any better.

This being a beautiful place doesn’t make up for the lack of financial support and respect given to full time artists who LIVE HERE. There was a lot of talk about how art is an important economic engine for the Cape. THEN PAY ARTISTS A LIVING WAGE. Why should everyone BUT the artist be profiting?

I was both glad that I attended and frustrated.

Had a frustrating conversation with a potential new client with whom I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work. It was another of those inane interview questions from the HR HANDBOOK FOR THE STUPID. The question was “What achievement are you most proud of in the last year?”

Me: Survival.

Client: (nervous laugh): Well, you know, I mean, workwise.

Me: Survival.

Client: I mean, did you work, did you get anything done?

Me: Of course I did. I worked flat out since the start of the pandemic. Almost all remotely. But the most important thing was that we survived. I kept a roof over my head and food on the table and my family stayed ALIVE. There’s a pandemic going on. Everything else is secondary.

Client: Well, that doesn’t show much dedication to your work.

Me: I think we’re done here.

I mean, really, what an ass. It was a big red flag that the positive “work culture” this company supposedly touts is non-existent.

Another weird thing that happened: An envelope arrived from an unknown address in Mashpee. For those of you who don’t know the Cape, it’s about two towns closer to the canal/bridges than I am. When I opened it, a prayer card fell out and a typed letter.

The letter invited me to come and “celebrate the death of Jesus” at their evangelical church.

Um, what? Celebrate the death?

Now, it’s been a good many years since I was an Episcopalian, and even more years since I was an acolyte and did Holy Week services. But I remember MOURNING the death on Good Friday and CELEBRATING the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Even if I still was a Christian, which I am most certainly NOT, celebrating the man’s execution is not what Holy Week is about, at least not in any of the denominations I investigated before I became Episcopalian. As someone whose path has taken me in a far different direction than all of this bruhaha for Holy Week, the thought of celebrating a crucifixion makes me ill.

On top of that, why is a church direct mailing a bunch of random people? How did they get my name and address? It’s creepy.

Even further, there’s a pandemic. I’m not going to a large gathering, ESPECIALLY amongst creepy people like this who, I bet you dollars to doughnuts, don’t’ wear masks.

It’s very creepy and rather sickening.

I burned it all, just for good measure. In my cauldron, not in the fireplace, with rosemary, sage, and nettles.

Then I took a shower, because . . eeeeewwwwww.

I sent out a lot of LOIs on Friday – found an excellent market list of companies which interest me, researched them, and sent LOIs where appropriate.

A regular work-for-hire gig landed on my desk. But crunching the numbers – they want 15,000 words/week, but are only paying $400. That breaks down to 2c per word. 3000 words/day. In addition to that pay rate being appalling for the amount of work involved, at this point, until we are moved, I cannot imagine creating 3K/day. And I’m someone who regularly does 1-2.5K. Especially not for such low pay.

So that’s a pass.

The stimulus payments arrived; mine by check, my mom’s direct deposited – first time hers was a direct deposit. So that’s a relief.

Spent way too many hours in depressing rental listings. At least 45% of the ones showing up were scams, which was just so disheartening.

Finished one of the categories for the contest. Really, some delightful material.

Slept through the night Friday into Saturday for the first time in weeks.

Up early Saturday. Lots and lots of laundry. Took off the fleece sheets, washed them, packed them away until next winter. We’re back to flannel sheets, at least for this month. It’s still rather chilly most of the day.

Finished up the paperwork and the review of the winning entry in the category, and zipped the file.

Got out some LOIs. Hunted through more depressing rental listings.

Worked on packing. Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t sleep well Saturday into Sunday. Was awake by 2:30, worrying. My mom was sick Saturday night, which didn’t help.

Stumbled around Sunday, alternating between packing and working on contest entries. Some good stuff there.

Baked biscuits in the morning. Made chicken chow Mein from scratch for dinner.

Got depressed hunting through rental listings. Sent out more LOIs. Polished the paperwork for the category I finished judging.

It started raining in the late afternoon and was very windy. But we need the rain.

Celebrated the full moon.

Looking back at some of my favorite short stories that didn’t really work as a set of linked short stories, I think they might work better as novellas. Set in the same place, with some characters crisscrossing, but as stand-alone novellas. I don’t know when I can actually sit down and write them, but I’ll play with some ideas.

I’m not writing enough, other than marketing writing work, and it’s throwing the rest of me out of balance. But I feel like all my energy has to be focused on the move right now.

Was awake by 2:30 AM again Monday morning. Sent out some LOIs, looked at rental listings, sent out a few inquiries.

Had to send a couple of gentle nudges to interview sources for the article.  Looking for some additional sources, just in case.

I’m alarmed at the rise in local COVID cases, but not surprised at all. People are idiots. While it looks like we may have to move to a more populated area for at least the next year, I then want to go somewhere more unpopulated, so I can work remotely and avoid people.

Had to work onsite at a client’s yesterday. I was supposed to be on my own, but the other two showed up, and, once again, it was a battle to get them to follow basic COVID protocols. I’m getting sick of it. I’m tired of playing Russian Roulette with them.

It was busy and stressful, but I got a lot done, and I have a lot to get done remotely today before I have to go back in the office with them again tomorrow.

Came home and decontaminated. Was tempted to have a martini with lunch, but I had more work to do in the afternoon, so I didn’t.

Sent out more LOIs. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the article.

Had a depressing time looking at listings. I had a lovely exchange with a manager of an apartment complex in Hudson that’s lovely, but what she has is too small (and expensive for us). Still, I want to keep in touch. A house in Nashua that looked legit turned out to be yet another scam. There were about a dozen even more obvious scams I didn’t bother with, and way too much far out of our price range.

Leftovers for dinner, because I was too tired to cook. Watched some more DOC MARTIN.

At least I slept through the night, until Charlotte woke me around 4 AM. I have a big stack of client work today, along with a couple of errands, LOIs, article work, contest entries, looking for a home, and packing.

I’m trying to keep our spirits up, but it’s hard.

I didn’t get to send the information on the completed category yesterday, so that will go out tomorrow.

One step at a time, right?

Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry

image courtesy of shell_ghostcage via pixabay.com

Friday, March 26, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and windy

Yesterday turned out to be a “good busy” day. Meditation was good, got some client work and LOIs out. Got out another round of interview requests for the article. I’m writing some of it in my head already, and will probably get some of it on paper today. The quotes, when I get them, may change my vision of it a bit, but we’ll see.

We took apart the two beds in the back room and stacked the mattresses, headboards, footboards, slats, etc. This gives us room to stack boxes as we pack them. Packed up a bunch more boxes, too. You know it’s serious when we take down the horse tapestry from the back room, and that’s what we did. Took it down, rolled it up, it’s ready to go.

I tweaked my back taking the beds apart, because of course I did.

Spent time on listings; nothing. What’s available is so far out of our price range, it’s ridiculous. And townhouses/apartments are even more expensive than houses.

Worked on contest entries. Will finish one category today, and get the top choices out this weekend, as I keep working on the other two categories. Also have to read the next book for review.

It was so lovely outside that I put Willa in her playpen and took her on the deck for an hour or so. She got to spend time safely enjoying the outdoors, while I read a book by Ovidia Yu and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was a nice breath in the day. We didn’t get the rain we needed, but now we’re supposed to get it today.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s tired and stressed. I hope they’re not going to extend the school year well into summer. Everyone needs a break, so they can start fresh in autumn.

The virus numbers on Cape Cod are going up again. I mean, they’re going up for the state in general, but Cape Cod’s numbers are double the rest of the state, and we’re a red zone again. Not surprising, when you see how badly people are behaving, and ignoring the mask mandate.

Today, I have client work, LOIs, contest entries, book review, packing. And I’m doing a focus group with the Arts Foundation in the late morning; after that, I will have to do a run to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

We started watching the Doc Martin series. It’s so odd and funny. We spent time in Cornwall in 1999, and the patchwork of familiar places they’ve stitched together for the locations is lovely to watch.

I have to send a reminder to a client to send me some information today, so I can work on it Monday and Tuesday for approval Wednesday to make a deadline. If she waits until next Wednesday to give it to me, I can’t get it done by deadline.

The weekend will be about packing and working on contest entries. And looking at rental listings, hoping I can come up with something. Fingers crossed.

I wish I knew someone with a spare house they were willing to rent to us for a year or so, but that only happens in fiction, unfortunately.

Anyway, we should have some nice weather, so I might put a couple of chairs and the wind chimes out on the deck and work on contest entries outside. Today is supposed to be stormy and icky, so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Hopefully, next week I can book my vaccine appointment for the following week.

Have a good one, friends.

Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain

image courtesy of Krzysztof Pluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Foggy and cool

There’s a short post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was busy, but, for the most part, it was a good busy, at the client’s office. Did my time, got a lot done, we talked about what needs to be done in the coming weeks, on several fronts. The owner is making noise about not wanting to wear a mask at the office anymore since she’s been fully vaccinated, and we said no. She’s going to keep pushing, and this will cause a problem a few weeks down the road.

Swung by the library to do a curbside drop-off/pickup and then home for decontamination.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun.

Rested on the acupressure mat, looked at house listings (depressing), got out some LOIs, worked on contest entries. There were a couple of truly delightful ones. I have three more to read in this category, and then I can make the decision. I’m working on the other two categories, too.

Researching interview options, since two of my requests were a no.

Got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY. Played with some other ideas. Read Nick Hytner’s book more. I have an idea percolating (it’s been doing so on and off for years) about Laertes, Hotspur, and Tybalt, but I’m not sure if it’s a piece of its own, or if I can fold it into another piece on which I’m working. It might not be more than a scene – I can’t tell, it’s still too vague in my brain. Also, in the play I’d be folding it into – even though it’s not a realistic play (it IS set in the Afterlife, after all), I’m using real people; mixing fictional ones in with them would muddy the play. So, I guess, in this public brainstorming session, I’ve figured out that they either get their own piece or they will be part of some other piece, but not the one of which I was thinking. Thank you for listening to my ramble.

I have to make sure I do at least one session of creative work for myself in a day, because it helps keep me centered. Otherwise, I turn into a hot mess. Keeping up regular writing/reading on my own projects takes off some of the pressure, instead of adding more.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s back to LOIs, client work, house hunting, and packing. We’re supposed to get some much-needed rain today. If it’s nice over the weekend, I might put out the Adirondack chairs and the wind chimes on the deck over the weekend. We aren’t setting up the usual Enchanted Garden with the upcoming move, but at least we can sit there and enjoy it a little bit before we go.

Have a good one.

Wed. March 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 306 — Trudging Onward

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was warm and pretty enough so we could have the windows and the door to the deck open for a bit. Only about a half hour, but it was nice to get in a spring breeze. It still goes down into the 30’s at night, so we wake up to frost, but there are a few hours during the day when it’s lovely.

I was up early. Got ahead on some client work. I’m trying to work ahead, at least roughing out a few projects, so that we get closer to deadline, I can refine them.

I’m spending hours every day house hunting. I’m not going to go into the details here, but it’s discouraging. The number of scams is appalling.

Got out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one category. One of the digital files was blank, so I asked for a replacement. I’m hoping to get the finalists sent off by the end of this week. Working on the other two categories, too.

Reviewed the assigned book. I have another from the same company to review, which I will start reading today. Hope to get the review out by Friday or the weekend.

Did an early morning grocery run. Decontaminated.

Did some sorting, but not much packing. I will do a big push tomorrow through Sunday.

Did some work on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m not writing enough every day, and that’s making me more stressed. So I have to go back to the early morning writing to get my centering for the day.

Heard about a call for horror audio scripts. Paid. Thought it would be kind of fun, but their formatting is so out of any audio formatting I’ve ever done that it’s too much to take on right now. If it was one of the standard formats, no problem. But to have to learn a new format and create a 30-minute piece in a few days? While I’m under all this stress? Too much, and, while it’s great that it’s paid, it would be on spec rather than contract, so I’ll have to pass.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s working hard, Stressed about schools reopening too soon and without everyone being vaccinated, even though my kids will not go back to in-person learning this school year. It’s too dangerous. Plus, ALL their grades have gone up this year. There are all these “studies” about how not being in school is hurting kids. It might be true in certain cases, but WE are making it work for them. The fact that they like learning helps. And resources from museums and other cultural institutions adds so much.

I’m reading Nicholas Hytner’s book BALANCING ACTS about his years at the National Theatre. He was the director on MISS SAIGON. Although the show was five years into the run when I joined it (for its last five years), he stopped by to check on the show every now and again. I didn’t know him well by any means, but we had some good conversations. I liked and respected him a lot.

It’s fun to read about his work with people I worked with, and also people I didn’t work with, but admired.

Reading it makes me miss theatre even more.  I wish the US funded theatre (and all the arts) the way the UK does. The way Europe does. Although, re-reading Peter Hall’s diaries about his years at the National, the amount of time spent appeasing various Councils definitely interferes with creation.

I need to get back to reading more Dorothy Parker and Dawn Powell material to do the play about them, and I need to do more research on Marie Collier for that play.

A couple of interview sources turned down the request for interview for the article, so I’m looking for other sources. I will get out some requests today.

I have to be onsite at a client’s for a few hours this morning, then do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library. After decontamination, it’s Remote Chat, and then some other work.

Onward.