Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Fri. Jan. 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 233 — Congress, Do Your Job!

image courtesy of Sang Hyun Cho via pixabay.com

Friday, January 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I kind of feel like I’m juggling pitchforks right now, but that’s where we are. Having a migraine doesn’t help, either.

The post isn’t yet ready for the food blog, Comfort and Contradiction. That will go up later today, possibly in the afternoon. It might even be tomorrow.

It was difficult to focus yesterday, especially since Congress isn’t doing its job and removing the Sociopath. Why anyone thought Pence would step up and do the right thing with the 25th Amendment is beyond me. He has never done the right thing in his life or his career. He’s incapable of it, which is why he was chosen for the job. And the cowardly cabinet, jumping ship so they don’t have to go on record? May they all reap what they’ve sown.

I was in touch with my Senators and Representative early yesterday, and will do so again today. I’m lucky that they are smart, determined, and listen, and so do their staffs.

The riots at the inauguration will be terrifying. They can be stopped, but those with the power to do so are refusing, and that is unacceptable. We can’t wait until “the middle of next week” to START impeachment. It needs to happen today. It should have happened on Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning.

Worked on my article and the book proposal a little bit yesterday. I will do some more work on the article later this afternoon, and the weekend will focus on the book proposal. Did some noodling for an email blast for a client that needs to go out on Monday; will do some more work on it today. Will also start reading my book for review.

The architect’s lamp arrived yesterday, to replace the one my dad bought in 1967 that gave up the ghost last week. It’s wonderful. It’s so nice to have really good light in the workspace again. I do want to see if, at some point, I can get the lamp fixed, though. It’s a wonderful lamp, and a strong connection to my dad, who died in 1972.

The teal velvet arrived – in a large roll. My postal carrier must hate me. I’d ignored the information that the fabric was 60” wide rather than 45” wide. So, I have a LOT of teal velvet. Seriously thinking I could reupholster the couch with it instead of making clothes. Because it would look a little weird if I wore something that matched the couch exactly. The price was fantastic, so I have no regrets. I might rethink how to use it, though.

The necklace I ordered from Peculiarity Shop also arrived. It’s delightful. That was part of the inspiration for the teal velvet.

Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations, in and around keeping up with the news. We’re almost finished – I have to finish packing up the decorations in my office and the back room and put away the small tree. I also need to finish switching out the fabric and take down the ribbons around the doors and windows. And put up the Carnivale decorations.

I heard back from the potential client, whose questions I’d turned around yesterday. The client wants me to do a copywriting test – under NDA. In response, I sent my Test/Sample Agreement, including the rate – and pointed out that one clause in the NDA has to be either struck or modified, because if I signed it as is, it would negate my agreement.

I have no doubt they’ll refuse, and we’ll both move on. But I don’t work for free, and I don’t do unpaid labor as part of the interview process. If I start a relationship by capitulating, it means they will continue to try to take advantage. I’m not 20, begging for my first job. The whole “testing” process is ridiculous anyway. Read my samples. If you can’t tell whether or not I’m a fit by the samples, that tells more about your lack of critical reading skill than my writing skill.

Did a no-contact pickup of a new-to-me beautiful rocking chair I got on craigslist. It’s wonderful. I decontaminated it, so it could come into the house without sitting in quarantine for several days. With over 7100 new virus cases from Wednesday into Thursday, I have to be careful. I was going to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market tomorrow for a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s, but I’m considering putting it off because even going to the grocery store at this point is a risk.

About to run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then home, decontaminate, and it’s back to work, taking down the decorations and focusing on writing.

Have a great weekend, friends. Let’s hope next week is more hopeful and just. Let’s hope we have a country by next week.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good to know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

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

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

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

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

 

Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here  
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Thursday, October 24, 2019: Backwards and Forwards

Thursday, October 24, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

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

Yesterday was up and down at the client’s. I’m working on the campaign through the end of the year, and prepping the Fall 2020 collection for photographs. We also have an issue with FedEx — they lost over a thousand dollars’ worth of stuff, and don’t want to pay the claim. They have been a nightmare. I’m putting together all the case notes and going to the Vice President in Corporate who was helpful last time we had an issue.

Remote chat was a lot of fun. It always is. I learn a lot.

Came home, worked with the cats. Charlotte is aggressive with both Willa, and especially Tessa, which is not good. She and Tessa were on the road to being friends, so I don’t know why that changed. Tessa is unhappy that Charlotte no longer recognizes her as dominant cat. We’re working on it. It takes time.

When Charlotte has company and plenty to do, she’s fine. I have a feeling, when she got aggressive before, she was shut away and isolated, which makes her frantic and even worse when she gets out. So we’re working on them associating good things when they’re all in a room together.

Charlotte and Willa learned fast that if they want their bedtime snacks at night, they can’t fight or fuss at each other. So they always call a truce for bedtime snacks.

We will get there. But it takes time, work, and patience. Patience I’d never have with humans.

Finished a novel draft yesterday morning, and got to work on the next one in the queue. Yes, they’re contracted, and I’m behind where I need to be.

I have some serious revisions to turn around this weekend, and then it’s off to galleys. Then, I go back to finishing “Pier-less Crime”, working on the Venetian play, and going back into revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’m working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5) and I don’t want to lose momentum on that, either, but BALTHAZAAR and DAVY JONES DHARMA have to take priority.

My morning meeting was moved to the afternoon, so I got a chance to post this earlier than I thought, and get some other work done.

After my meeting, I have to clean the house — the new cats’ first encounter with the vacuum, which will not be pretty — and then back to revisions.

I also have a book to review this weekend.

I got one of the rudest responses to an LOI this morning. It was from a company out in Utah that claimed they were willing to work remotely with a writer. I was chastised for not doing “the exercise” (it was an LOI; no exercise involved. Plus, I don’t do unpaid labor); I was chastised for not including samples (the LOI includes links to both my Clippings.me portfolio and to the Clients/Publications page on my website. Plus, hey LOI); they stated “we are not thrilled with your work history.”

Really? You’re “not thrilled” that I have twenty-nine years’ worth of credits as a published writer? Take your lack of thrills, and you know where you can shove them.

I don’t disagree that we are not the right match. I do disagree with the lack of professional courtesy in the response. And the admission that it was an automated response, which means they never even read the LOI.

Now, why would there be an automated response like that to an LOI?

Put them on the “No Way in Hell” list, unless there’s a change of leadership.

Yesterday’s security breach in the Congressional hearings need to have consequences. Instead of shooting unarmed people of color for merely existing, how about law enforcement growing some balls and arresting those old white men (and a couple of women) who put our national security at risk? As in, actually PROTECT us?

It is disgusting that there continue to be no repercussions for continually breaking the law. It’s flaunted. Step up and take down these traitors already.

This country has turned into a sick joke. And those who can stop it lack the courage and the backbone so to do.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 24, 2019 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Thursday, October 24, 2019: Backwards and Forwards  
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Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold
Imbolc

I sent off my letter of withdrawal from the ghost writing project. The author apologized, saying she hadn’t meant to insult me. What did she think the response would be to “imaginary research”? She also seemed to think that I would say all was forgiven and I’d work for her substandard rate that would work out as cents per hour, instead of a fair rate. That would be “no.” So we have officially parted ways. What a relief.

I discussed it with my one of my freelancers’ groups — professionals, not wannabes — and almost every single one of them has stopped working with individual authors for similar reasons: the arrogance and the reluctance to pay a fair rate. They want professional work for nothing. Why? This is a profession, not a hobby.

At this point, I have one long-term author client with whom I’m working to finish a project, and that’s it. Only accepting contracts to work with authors through publishers beyond that. Work that the publisher has contracted, and where I know I’ll get paid fairly and on time. Not worth the hell these unprofessional dilettantes put us through.

Worked on contest entries yesterday and made good progress. Re-read some work on a piece I’d put aside. It’s better than I remembered it.

The Constitutional Law class is a challenge, but a good one. I hope I can keep up! Things are so chaotic in the world, it’s hard to start at the beginning in order to learn the foundation, but it’s so, so important.

Today’s interview was moved to next week. I think I’ll get my hair cut, instead. It’s been months, and it needs it, especially since I’m out and about in the world interviewing and working. I hate getting my hair cut. I find it stressful to sit in the chair during the process. I never know if it’ll come out, and I’m not interested in confiding in the hair dresser.

I’m really tired of Congress selling this country down the river. Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State? Spare me.

Last night, I dreamed I was walking down a crowded street, and someone shoved a leash in my hand and walked away. And that’s how I got a dog named Molly. She was very sweet, a corgi mix. I do want a dog, although I can’t adopt one right now. I wonder what else the dream means? It was very clear.

The cats were both staring at me when I woke up, like they knew.

Hope to get some writing done before I head for the hair dresser, and then, when I get back from the library.

I hate the fact that there’s no collaborative office space available around here. They have it in Boston; they had it in New York; heck, they even had it in White Plains. I expected the Cape to be progressive, but I swear, I often think it’s stuck in 1956.

Today is Imbolc, so I’ve got a celebration and the first planting to do. In spite of the snow on the ground.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 10:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ  
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Thurs. Jan. 12, 2017: Trying to Get the Work Done

Thursday, January 12, 2017
Full Moon
Rainy and mild

Managed to get errands run before the storm hit yesterday; hoping to do the same today.

Lousy writing day. I’m having too many of those in a row. Not quite sure how to fix it, other than to keep showing up at the page and working my way through it.

In negotiations for a project that sounds interesting; fingers crossed it all works.

Very little of interest to say today; frustrated by the way Congress betrays us. Disgusted by the Creature who thinks he will take office next week, in spite of the fact that he’s going to screw over and pillage the entire country and sell us to his foreign business interests.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell need to be removed from their positions and tried, if not for treason, for crimes against the American people.

The story of an early Italian painter (female) interests me, and I’m wondering if I should accept the invitation to write about her for 365 Women this year. I have to do some more research.

I think I want to do some revisions on JUST A DROP. The bones are there, and there are scenes I really like, but some things, I want to change. One character in particular is much weaker than I originally envisioned him. While it works in the context of what I have, I wonder if making him stronger and more manipulative might ratchet up the tension.

This is a case where I wish I was in New York and had access to actors for a table read. That would help a lot. I need to HEAR it to really know what works and what doesn’t. Even if I had access to enough actors for this particular piece here, I don’t trust that they’re experienced enough to read without massive rehearsal and really give me an idea of the material. A table read is a specific skill. It’s the first creative dipping toes into the waters.

Full moon tonight. I need to decide on my focus. And Friday the 13th tomorrow! One of my favorite days.

Have a wonderful day.

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 11:18 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 12, 2017: Trying to Get the Work Done  
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Thurs. Nov. 13, 2014: Working in All Directions

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy few days. Can I even remember back that far?

Been busy at work, been busy at home. Doing a lot of research; working on RED WIDOW. Also went back to a couple of other projects that are in various stages, went over the material, and I’m re-sorting those priorities. Not getting enough yard work done. Getting paperwork done, especially on the home front, contracts, and the like, and preparing submissions.

Got another small royalty check and the payment for the anthology that’s about to release. I’m excited – my first steampunk story in print! That will drop at the end of next week.

Doing my wreck diving homework for the background on BALTHAZAAR – behind where I’d like to be, but it’s getting done, and a lot of it is creative work, sitting on the floor with a large piece of paper, trying to visualize things. Putting together lots of questions.

A project in DC I thought was dead due to the change in Congress is still on the burner – it may be another six months to a year before it’s up and running, but there’s grant writing and proposal writing to be done in the meantime, interviews to be conducted, etc. If it happens (and there are so many “ifs” involved), it will mean going to DC on some of the days I’m not scheduled to work elsewhere. Not that I mind, especially if someone else is making the arrangements and paying for it! It’s a project I really want to be involved with, although I’m a way out of the box choice – which is exactly why the person heading the project, a former professor of mine, is bound and determined that I remain a part of it.

Got a request for a play of mine – a company in Florida is interested in it. That might be kind of fun, adding it to the resume. I’d just license it, not go down and work on it.

Went to see a facility here on the Cape in connection with another project, earlier this week. I was disappointed. I expected more from the location. I’m still glad I saw it, and it made the creative wheels turn, but I don’t see how we can work out the practicalities in the near future.

Yesterday, Talin Bookbindery did a program at the library. It was magnificent, one of the best programs I’ve attended anywhere. I was even more enchanted with the bookbinding process by the end of it than at the beginning. And the process of making marbled papers! A true art. Wonderful.

Spending lots of time on student work. Hopefully, the students are getting something positive out of it. It was the right route to go for the past few months, only working with private students, and teaching groups in one-shot deals, not long-term classes. I’m under too much deadline pressure right now for anything else.

Even though I was “on” last Saturday here, I switched with a colleague for this weekend, who has a commitment. Not a problem at all. And I have to participate in “Taste of the Mills” this weekend, and write up some proposals for new programs. Monday, I’m in the writing cave; Tuesday, I’m spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!

The webs in RED WIDOW and the novellas connected to it intrigue me. I’m wondering just how far I can push certain elements in this series. Guess I’ll find out soon, huh?

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 17, 2013: Stress and Migraines

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Day before full moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a difficult day, very stressful. I managed to get some work done on the novella, and a nice bit of work done on the screenplay (I love writing the screenplay), but not enough.

I’m tired of unreliable clients. Therefore, I decided to raise my rates as of January 1. I’d rather have fewer clients, but ones that don’t nickel-and-dime, and try to play me for a fool whenever I try to cut them a break. It should also, once and for all, sweep the wanna-bes, who pretend they want a writing mentor, when they really don’t want to put in any work.

I have no doubt the next few days will also be difficult and stressful. The migraine isn’t helping, although it’s better today. I desperately need a few days off, but I can’t afford it right now.

At least Congress finally did their job. That delusional fuckhead Ted Cruz is still nattering on, and Speaker of the House Bonehead needs to be removed, but at least the government is up and working again, albeit temporarily.

Devon

Published in: on October 17, 2013 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am exhausted. I feel like there’s too much going on, and I just can’t keep up.

There was frost on the ground when I went for a run this morning!

Woke up at 3:30 with full-blown anxiety, which is very unusual for me. Couldn’t get back to sleep. Got up when the alarm went off at 4:45, did my yoga, was out the door for the run by 5:15. Did okay on my double circuit. Feel like I’m making a little progress. Great time to run on Wednesdays — very few people out.

Had to make a detour on the way home. A mallard drake was lost, and I was worried he’d get hit by a car, so I shooed him carefully across the road and through someone’s backyard back to the brook. If the people who live in the house woke up and saw me herding a duck before they had their first cup of coffee — poor things! But at least the duck is safe.

Didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted/needed to yesterday, which was very frustrating. Got the grocery shopping. Ran around to health food stores, trying to find the stuff I need for Elsa — ended up having to order it online.

The vet thinks Elsa’s blood work indicates a pretty serious infection. What we don’t know is the cause, which affects how it’s treated. I’m to stop the antibiotics and wean her off the steriod over the next couple of weeks, adding in a supplement. The antibiotics are treating the symptoms but not the cause and weakening her overall system, so when they’re stopped, she gets sicker faster and doesn’t respond to the next round of treatment. It still could be cancer — or it could be other things. But the steriod is buying her time, not solving the problem, and we need to root out the cause. She is a very sick little cat, in spite of seeming improvement.

On better health news, my mom is doing pretty well. Her bloodwork came back in good shape, and her doctor said I’m doing well feeding her with organic, healthy, whole foods, etc., and she’s in great shape for someone who’s 86. (I do all the cooking for her, and, when I’m not around, prepare meals she can just heat up). My cousin in Maine finished his chemo treatments last week. He’s tired, but he’s hanging in here. Hopefully, Elsa will be well enough soon so I can get up there for a few days. I’d take her with me, but the trip would be too much for her.

Today and tomorrow are do-it-or-lose-it days for the novella. Either I get it done and polished and out the door on Friday, or I lose this opportunity, and it will weigh me down as an unfinished project draining creativity. I really want to get back to ANGEL HUNT and CRAVE THE HUNT next week, so I better get in gear.

I got Elsa to sneeze on one swab, and will keep trying this morning, and then run the swabs up to the vet, and take care of paying for that, yesterday’s phone consult, and the radiology consult that still needs to happen with Cornell. While I certainly feel better about Smith Ridge than many of the other vet establishments around here, there’s still an emphasis on money that turns me off. Yes, they deserve to be paid, but I’m getting a little sick and tired of health care in this country, being people or pets, only going to those who have a lot of cash.

Since so many of our heath problems are caused by the actions of corporations who’ve created environmental and other health risks that make it necessary for so much health care in the first place, those corporations need to kick in.

Speaking of corrupt corporations, while I appreciate Congress posturing and scolding Goldman Sachs yesterday, unless there are actual consequences for the actions of these executives, and they are made an example of what will no longer be tolerated by either Congress or the public on any level, it’s all a lot of hot air. Executives who are found guilty of these frauds (no matter what the company) need to be incarcerated for a looooong time, banned from working in the financial industry ever again, and the profits they made stripped from them and put back into the budget deficits caused by their corruption. Anything less makes the Congressional hearings a joke. A slap on the wrist instead of strong action gives Wall Street the permission to do the same thing again. And they can’t be dealt with as entities. Individuals made these decisions and those INDIVIDUALS must be held responsible, and must make amends for the lives they destroyed.

This evening, I attend the 50th Anniversary celebration for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Stephen Colbert will read, and there will be a discussion. I think it will be wonderful.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 5:16 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Promised links pertaining to current events:
Several people wanted to know where they could get some unvarnished content on the stimulus bill. It’s up at the Government Printing Office:

http://www.gpo.gov

with the direct link to the text of the bill here:

http://fdsys.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr1ENR/pdf/BILLS-111hr1ENR.pdf

Yes, I will be reading it in its entirety. If there’s something worth saying about it here, I will. It’ll take awhile, it’s long, but, reading a few pages at a time, I will read it in its entirety, because only then do I have the information to responsibly comment on it. Of course, one of the bonehead representatives claimed it was “over 1100 pages” and that “nobody read it”. Um, then, why was ANYONE voting on it? We pay these people enough so that they can sit down and read the frigging legislation before voting, not spread lies from the sound bytes put together on a partisan level. And you know what? The people I pay to represent me actually DID read the plan before voting. Someone had to read it because someone had to write it and argue about it. It’s only 407 pages in the PDF format (only! Ha!), but the print is pretty tiny, so I suggest viewing it at 125%. I skimmed the first few pages, because I’d heard complaints that it was difficult to understand. I know five year olds who could read and comprehend the first couple of pages. But, of course, you can’t understand something you haven’t read.

You can also track the budget here:

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/index.html

and if you want to track how the specific stimulus money is being spent and compare it to what’s laid out in the bill, so you can let your representatives and senators know what you agree and disagree with, so that they can actually represent you, the link is here:

http://www.recovery.gov/

And if you want to track how your representatives vote, to make sure they aren’t doing one thing in Congress and coming home to spread yet more mis-information, you can go to the website for Congress and find records of the roll call votes in each house. Not every vote is a roll call vote; quite a few are by voice. But on major issues, someone usually demands a roll call vote so that it’s a matter of public record where each person stands and how they voted.

http://www.congress.org

The media’s giving me a headache about it all, no matter what side they’re spinning, and I’d rather use these resources to get my own information and make my own decisions. And then make my views known to the people who represent me. I’m not allowing the government to destroy everything I spent my life building, the way they tried over the past eight years.

Life, writing, etc.:
When is an apology not an apology? When it’s an editorial in the NY POST. What a joke. If you say you’re going to stand behind something, even against opposition, then do it. Don’t pretend you’re maybe sorta apologizing for something for which you aren’t in the least sorry. I have to say, I was curious about the whole protest-at-the-Post thing. The Post is a TABLOID, not in just the shape the newsprint they use, but in content. Controversy is their crack. If people want to send the POST a message, not buying the POST sends a much stronger one.

I have to say I’m glad that those NYU students have locked themselves into the cafeteria as a protest about – well, heck, whatever it is that they’re protesting. The news has been rather vague. It’s nice to see some social activism happening again, but they need to communicate their position clearly, and somehow, I don’t think those You Tube videos are necessarily going to do it. NYU is, of course, handling it with its usual lumbering lack of anything resembling grace or intelligence. I had some great times at NYU, I had some great teachers (some of whom I’m still in contact with 20 years later). But the administration is just eye-rollingly out of touch with reality, and has been as long as I’ve known the institution.

Too bad more people aren’t protesting, especially against the banks.

Just an aside on the Government Printing Office. I first heard about them in elementary school, when we took a trip to the United Nations (one could still listen in at the General Assembly sessions then, dialing the headphones to all the different languages), and I saw the stacks and stacks of publications on various topics. I used to use them to write papers throughout elementary and high school – topics like NASA, aviation, geography, agriculture, etc., etc. So, if you have kids who have to write reports, it’s a pretty wonderful resource. And, of course, for writers, it’s a great resource. The publications can point you towards hundreds of primary sources for your work.

I felt about as creative as wilted lettuce yesterday. I managed to get some work done on the revision of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, incorporating the last few days’ research into the piece. Now, I’m struggling with inconsistent points of view. Odd numbered chapters need to be from Morag’s POV, even from Simon’s. But I’m finding a lot of inconsistencies, and I have to fix them. Otherwise, I’m jumping around heads too much, and it doesn’t work. I can also see where each day’s work stopped, because there’s a lot of choppiness in the first draft. It’s an excellent learning experience to break it apart and make it work, but it’s much more complex than I originally thought.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Will polish the write up and send it off this morning.

Did some research for the Billy Root story (yes, there are times where I have to research). I still haven’t quite figured out how to bridge the two sections of the book, but I think, in the next couple of scenes, I can put in a few things that seem like fleshing out the time and place, but are really setting up the second half of the book.

Couldn’t get the knot out of my shoulder. Weight training last night helped – I had a great work out session of weight training and then yoga. But I would up taking a couple of valerian root capsules and using a heating pad. That helped a lot, but it’s still not completely released, and it’s affecting my neck and head.

New Jersey had three earthquakes in the past three weeks, and now has reports of red lights dancing in the sky that no one can figure out.

I got to watch BURN NOTICE last night. I enjoy that show so much – it’s clever and I love the cast, although I wish they’d change up the weekly structure a bit. I’m starting to get ahead of it, and can predict what will happen by looking at the clock. I’m learning a lot about script structure, though.

LOST just makes me roll my eyes. I’ve tried to watch the new season, because I like the actors and their scene work, in spite of feeling that the creators mess with the audience just to mess with them. I keep saying, “oh, no, they’re NOT going down that road, they’re just NOT” and then they do. I’m ahead of it all the time. They’re supposed to surprise me and they don’t. I stopped watching the show because I felt the creators were messing with the audience and because, of the three possible roads they could have chosen at the end of whatever season it was (I think it was Season 2), they chose the one I disliked the most strongly. I really like the cast, I really like the individual scenes, but overall, the show just isn’t working for me. I realize I’m in the minority, and I’m glad so many people love it (hey, it’s keeping a couple of hundred people employed in this economy, which is a good thing), but I want to be surprised and engaged in the overall piece, not just because I like the actors, and I’m not.

Today’s agenda includes: Errands , bills to pay, groceries to buy, laundry to do, some time spent outside. So I better have a really, really, REALLY productive early morning stint, because that’s my only shot at the computer all day.

Hope you all have a great weekend. And, if you haven’t stopped by The Urban Muse to read my article and comment, please do. Last time I checked, no one left a comment, and I’m feeling abandoned. 😉

Devon

Billy Root story – 19,348 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
19 / 60
(31.7%)