Thurs. March 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 286/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 36 — Trying to Take A Breath

image courtesy of Renan_Brun via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and cold

Yesterday was stressful, on multiple levels.

There’s a short post up over on Gratitude and Growth. Unfortunately, there’s not much to say.

I was up very early, because I needed to do a revision on my article, fitting in the new quote, and get it off to my editor before we had to leave the house at 7 AM. I did it, and I’m pleased with it, so that’s a good thing. The quote really does make the piece stronger.

Drove my mom to Quest Diagnostics over in Osterville for her blood work. They tried to charge her for it. No. She’s never had to pay a co-pay for bloodwork. Tufts raised her premium this year, so she’s damn well not going to start paying for stuff they’ve always covered, when they’re charging more in the first place.

Got her back home, and headed over to my client’s. It was the day where several of us overlap in person, which is stressful enough, but this particular client thrives on chaos, which causes even more stress.

But we got through it.

Got home, and, before I even decontaminated, had to get to the computer to try and book my mother’s second vaccine dose. They’d sent me a “special link.”

Talk about even more unnecessary chaos. I wrote in detail about the steps on a long Twitter thread. The site is a failure in web development AND writing, not to mention execution.

The “special link” sent me back to the main virtual waiting room, with wait times of 30 minutes or so. The wait time kept lengthening, then came up as “over a day, come back later.” I was, again, competing with first dose seekers. As I sat there, shocked, it catapulted me onto the site just for the appointments (at the Orleans dump again, next week). I grabbed the first one I saw.

I got the message that the slot would be “held” for 15 minutes while I finished signing up.

Only I had to re-enter ALL the information, including insurance information, that I had to enter for the first shot. Which takes more than 15 minutes, especially when the screen kept freezing and dropping the information I entered.

I finally got all the pages and pages of information entered, and hit “submit” – only to be sent BACK to the virtual waiting room, competing with first dose seekers. The message was that the wait was over a day, and I should try again later.

I burst into tears.

There is NO REASON for this signup chaos, other than exceptionally poor design on the part of the web developers and writers.

While I was in tears, my Gmail pinged, and I received a confirmation for the appointment.

So why was I getting a message telling me to “try again later”? Which message is correct?

I sat on the site, thinking maybe I’d try to book the caretaker’s shot. I was catapulted back into the search portion of the site – only the Orleans site isn’t even listed. So it’s ONLY for second doses.

Which is great, but why not have a sensible design that simply sends you to the second dose site instead of sending you around in circles giving conflicting information?

We have no idea if we’ll actually get the dose, but we are showing up, with the confirmation printed out, next week. And hope for the best.

By the end of it, I was a complete wreck.

There is so much unnecessary pain and suffering connected to the signups. There is NO reason for any of it. It needs clear information from the Governor’s office, and it needs a clean, sensible design and writing on the part of the web developers.

Neither of which exist.

But, it seems the second dose appointment is booked and confirmed, so we’ll hope for the best.

My mom is worried about me not being able to get vaccinated yet. We are simply going to hold the protocols until one month after I get my second dose. As of April 1, when I am eligible, I’ll start my own daily cage fight.

Decontaminated and grabbed a bite to eat.

Remote Chat was fun. It was great to virtually hang out with everybody. But I needed a long session on the acupressure mat afterwards.

On a happy note, a contract came through for an article, and payment for two articles I wrote for a different publication showed up in my bank account. Someone told me about a company looking for something within my wheelhouse, and I sent them an LOI.

I hadn’t planned to purge any boxes, so I didn’t need to feel guilty when I didn’t.

Finished the book for review. Have to think about it before I write the review today. It worked structurally in some aspects, not in others. I liked the characters, but I was not the book’s audience. However, I want to write a fair review FOR the book’s audience. I read across genres, so I’m the audience for quite a few types of books, but not this one. But it definitely has appeal to a different audience. However, the blurb and initial structure makes the real theme of the book feel like a bait and switch – luring the reader in with the promise of one type of book, and then it becomes a different book. I felt lied to, and I don’t like that. It didn’t feel like a wonderful discovery, as it could have; it felt like a lie.

Working on a magazine pitch to a different publication today. I have to do some client work, and realized I don’t have the file I need, so I have to swing by the client’s office to download it (no one will be in today, so there’s no one to send it to me).

I’m really looking forward to the online meditation group this morning – I missed it last week.

Certain pressures are now eased slightly; although there are still others, I’m hoping, in the next few days, I can regain some equilibrium and make some decisions.

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about tidying up one’s materials, with an eye to where one wants to move, career-wise.

Yesterday was one of those days when, even though I put in a long day at the computer, it felt like not a lot got done.

I got out a bunch of LOIs, worked on (but did not finish) my article, wrote two blog posts, did some client work, worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get any boxes purged from the basement, which made me feel like a failure. Means I have to catch up on that this afternoon and tomorrow, WHILE handling client work and finishing my article.

Because that’s the way it goes, when you don’t get something done. You have to dig deeper and get it done anyway.

One of the contest entries was outstanding, though, and is in the pile I’m making for possible winners and finalists.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We are back to dealing with their schoolwork, although we’re talking about the trial in the Senate, too. It’s important they understand its impact and importance to their future. It affects them directly.

An editor sent off a contract that will cover all the pieces she wants me to write for the year (and make sure I get paid on time). So that was nice. I signed it and sent it back this morning.

It started snowing late yesterday afternoon. I’d had the pre-storm headache since late morning, so it was a relief when it finally started. We didn’t get that much – maybe about 3”. But I will wrap up in about twenty minutes or so, if it’s light enough, and shovel the driveway and the front walk.

I have to spend some overlapping time at a client’s today, and I don’t want to wait to shovel until five minutes before I leave, and then be grumpy the whole time I have to be there. I’m grumpy enough that there’s any overlap.

I’m frustrated at the lack of information about scheduling my mother’s vaccine. Seniors 75+ are supposed to be able to get the first dose “starting Feb. 1” only there’s no way to start scheduling until Feb. 1. I’m going to call her doctor’s office this morning, and then maybe Whole Health, where she got her pneumonia and shingles shots when CVS kept giving us the runaround. I do NOT want her to go through CVS. It will be a nightmare. According to the Governor’s site, those with “comorbidities” will be contacted by their doctor to get the vaccine. Only I don’t know if the three surgeries and two cancers still count, since the last surgery had such a good prognosis. So I will get in touch with my doctor, too. I don’t plan on waiting around. I want those “Fauchi ouchies” for both of us, as soon as we can have them, and it’s more important to get my mom’s, because she is 96.

I hope today won’t be too stressful. I want to get home, decontaminate, finish my article, and purge boxes.

But now . . .it’s time to shovel snow.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on January 27, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!  
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Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Wed. June 3, 2015: June Blooms

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday was busy at work. Picked up dinner from Osterville Fish Market and relaxed.

There was a contractual glitch with one publisher, but we seem to have worked it out. I’m glad I asked questions, instead of assuming the worst and getting angry.

The play submission got out and was acknowledged. I’ll hear by August on that. Either it’s what they want, and we move forward, or it’s not, and it goes somewhere else. I’m still going to work on the play in the interim.

Saturday was all about the garden. Bought dirt, bought flats of marigolds, pots of basil, various and sundry other plants, and NINE flats of petunias. Put together the hanging baskets for the deck. Still have to do the ones for the front of the house. Replanted the small trees in the front of the house and pruned them. Replanted one of the bush cherries in the ground, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the other one. Replanted all 28 tomato plants. Ran out of basil, but had enough marigolds for them. Also replanted some of the Brussel Sprouts, which are getting big. Planted the rosemary, oregano, thyme, and dill.

Sunday, I mowed the front (which needed it again). I kept thinking it would rain, it kept threatening to rain, but it didn’t. I was supposed to go to the Berkshires, but that trip got cancelled.

Then, I was going to go to Boston on Monday and Tuesday, but the weather was so miserable, I postponed it.

Monday rained just about all day. We needed it. It was good. I wasn’t feeling well, and gave myself the day off. I read a lot and tried to get better.

Yesterday, I ran errands and attended a birthday party in the early afternoon, then came home and tried to get my act together.

Did some more poker research, which was depressing. It’s not a game I ever enjoyed or felt affection for, although I admire people who play professionally.

Did some research on circuses and their history. Not sure where I’ll go with it, but an idea is percolating just under the surface.

Doing research on Matta, one of my favorite painters.

Writing wise, I did some work on one of the mysteries, and figured out the opening of the historical play. That was difficult. I didn’t want to start too early and do a lot of exposition, but I still have to make clear the sting operation. But I think I figured it out.

Someone I never heard of or met sent me a manuscript and announced I would edit it. That’s not the way it works, bubbelah. I’m constantly astonished by the arrogance of the unpublished. I don’t sit around waiting for someone to deign to send me a manuscript so I can edit for free and fun. First of all, it’s my business, and you ASK about terms and whether we are a good fit and whether I have time and, secondly, my own work ALWAYS comes first.

There’s enough information out there on how to work with editors and publishers that there is NO excuse for “not knowing”, even when you start out. We’re in the information age. Bother to look up some information.

Today will be a long day at work, with a long list of stuff I need to get done, and, no doubt, hundreds of interruptions.

American Pharoh goes for the Triple Crown this Saturday at Belmont Park, which is almost sold out already. I hope he wins. I’m afraid to count on it, but he looks so good and so happy, and he’s had so much FUN during the races so far that it gives me hope.

Trying to sort out travel glitches on a friend’s upcoming trip, and also prepare for overseas guest who will be staying a good, long time.

Have to change the batteries in one of the carbon monoxide detectors again, in spite of having done so on the Equinox.

Irritated that the gas and electric companies were allowed to raise their rates, respectively, 39% and 27%. If the few people who get raises only get a 2.5% cost of living increase, which has to cover EVERYTHING in life, then the utilities should be only allowed to raise their prices one quarter of one percent. Period. If they “can’t afford it”, they should cut executive salaries and they should be non-profit anyway, with profits going back into improving the grid instead of going to stockholders.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the latest.

Devon

Published in: on June 3, 2015 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 3, 2015: June Blooms  
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Wed. May 29, 2013: The Challenge of The Travel

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Yesterday was certainly a challenge!

The morning started well, although I felt a wrench at being away from the garden this week. The irises are about to open. They are my favorite flower. I think they’ll have come and gone by the time I get back. The terraced back needs mowing, and I’m worried that the ants will get the upper hand while I’m gone.

But everything will rub along without me — plants were doing that for thousands of years before people started to garden!

I opened my email to find out that I’ve been contracted for 14 short articles (yes, paid) over the next seven months. I’ll do the first one next week, when I get back. I also finished and pitched another article to a different publication. Not a bad way to start the week!

The drive to Providence wasn’t bad, except for the construction work around New Bedford. If it’s the left lane that’s closed, why is that the only one moving? Because the travellers in that lane are pushy bastards, that’s why. If everyone let one person get ahead of time, and six people didn’t force their ways forward, causing the other lane to come to a grinding halt, we’d all get where we needed to go on time.

Megabus late in Providence. Turns out, the bus coming from NY broke down in CT, so they had to send another bus. However, the bus they sent was a single decker, and the Providence-NY bus was sold out as a double decker. Not everyone could get on the bus — some had to wait for another bus they were sending. Um, why didn’t anyone check the manifest for the trip BEFORE sending out a bus? We do make reservations ahead of time. There’s no reason to act surprised that there’s a line of people waiting.

Needless to say, I was on that first bus. 😉

Once we got rolling, it was okay. I ate the lunch I packed (simple– hard boiled egg, carrots, celery, radishes, a gigantic chocolate bar). I read Joelle Charbonnau’s END ME A TENOR, which was a lot of fun. I’m meeting her for a drink tonight, so I wanted to read at least something of hers!

The wifi on the bus didn’t work, and people were even having problems with cell phones, so at least it was quiet!

The problems happened from Bridgeport to New York. Should have taken maybe an hour and a half for that stretch. It took a little over three. The traffic was just backed up, it was raining and miserable.

I was glad that I packed the rain gear I wore in Iceland a few years back. It’s a light windbreaker that folds into its own pocket.

Once we disembarked in NY, we were in the midst of rush hour. Taking the escalator down into Penn Station, watching all the people scuttle around, was like descending into a colony of cockroaches. Reminded me of one of the reasons I no longer live here and have to deal with the commute.

Got the Metro Card — actually, I refilled the one I used when I was down here for Costume Imp’s birthday. Turns out they now charge you $1 for a new card, but credit you an extra $1.50 (three quarters of a ride? Huh?) if you refill. I opted for the refill.

I got the C train — I even got a seat! Headed out to Brooklyn. Humped the luggage in the rain through Ft. Greene to the place I’m staying. Imp left the key at the diner around the corner. Retrieved the key, hauled my luggage up the steps of the brownstone, and then up the steps INSIDE — tall ceilings, lots of steps.

It’s a wonderful place — and it’s the location I based the Ft. Greene brownstone in which Sophie, Fawn, and Bianca live for THE CHARISMA KILLINGS.

Greeted the animals, handed out the toys I brought, gave out pettings. The Puerto Rican street cat decided maybe I should give her some extra attention, and even climbed on the bed with me a few times. She wasn’t sure what to do next — she’s not a cuddler — but it was funny. Imp’s cats were delighted to see me and tried to convince me they haven’t been fed in at least three days. Riiiight.

Went back to the diner and had a roast chicken dinner. Yummy. Chatted with the housemates for a bit, read, waited for Imp to get back from the ballet. He had to haul out to Long Island for a photo shoot for HARPER’S BAZAAR, and had trouble getting back to the city in time for his show, too.

But we caught up, played with the cats, he lent me three more of Joelle’s books to read (and one of Pauline Gadge’s). And I lent him END ME A TENOR.

Slept like a log. I did wake up at 3 AM — like I have for the past few weeks — but got over it, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I’m showered and dressed (although the makeup has yet to be applied). Did yoga. The younger of the two huskies and the Puerto Rican Street cat have wandered in and out a few times. Had my first cup of coffee. My run-around day bag is packed — promo materials, notebook, camera, in-case book to read, all the directions and appointments for the day.

Going to do some work with students and then a few email things — the editor of the publication to which I pitched wants to see the article, so I need to polish it and get it out. A proofreading job to which I applied says they want me, but the terms sound slimy — they want to pay by KB instead of by word or page, which sounds weird to me, and a few other things made the red flags go up.

Will foray out to get some breakfast soon, get some stuff done, and then I’m headed out for the day’s appointments, including the Indie Next Generation Book Awards at the Harvard Club tonight. I better get going!

Devon

Tues. Dec. 20: Reboot of the Jain Lazarus Adventures


Tessa and Violet

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I signed a contract with a new-to-me publisher yesterday to re-release HEX BREAKER. They’re interested in the other Jain Lazarus books, too. It makes me very happy. More details to follow. So I better get CRAVE THE HUNT finished — as soon as I get my next Annabel Aidan novel off to the other publisher!

Still negotiating on another job. Set a couple more quick workshops for early next year, including a webinar in early January, a 90-minute, real-time “Prompt Playground”, a one-week holiday-themed workshop, and I’ve been asked to teach the “Setting as Character” workshop at the end of April again, so I will.

Met with a colleague for a drink and snacks, and we’re talking about a theatre collaboration early next year. Looks like it’s a go. We’ll talk to some more people in the coming weeks, and see if we can secure space, etc., and figure out dates. It would be ideal to do it for International Women’s Day, but with that being so early in March, I don’t know if we can pull it off. It depends on the level of time and commitment people are willing to put into it. I’m not willing to shoulder all of the production needs as well as the writing, so it will have to be sorted out.

Worked on holiday cards. Still not quite done. The last of the cards will go out today. And then the e-cards go out. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long!

My research books arrived for the current novel, so that’s all good. I still need to sit down and work out some logistics with that piece.

My students in the year-long go on break until the end of the year. I’m encouraging them to keep on writing, at least intermittently, on the break, and those who are behind have been admonished to use a lot of the break to catch up. Bet you they’re the ones who won’t, and then coming whining back in January. That’s THEIR responsibility. January is the choice-and-consequences month!

Violet is fine. I think she just needed a day off yesterday. I know the feeling! By evening, she was back to playing with the kitten, and this morning, she was back to her bossy self.

Onward.

Devon

Today’s word count: 775
Total word count: 14,937

Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 10:38 am  Comments (4)  
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