Thurs. July 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — Hope for a Happy, Productive Day

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

There’s a new post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. If you didn’t see the post on Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about red flags in job postings, check it out.

I haven’t been spending early mornings writing in my personal journal or getting my first 1K done in longhand – I’ve been headed to the computer for the past few days. It doesn’t serve me for the rest of the day, it doesn’t set the right tone, so I have to change back to longhand first thing, computer later on. It sets a more creative tone for the day.

Up early, got some work done, polished an ad for a client yesterday. Went onsite for a few hours. The first few hours are fine, because it’s just me, but then it got chaotic. And uncomfortable. But it is what it is.

Home, disinfectant protocols, and made it to Remote Chat, which is also fun. Did a couple of brainstorming sessions with a friend about possible pseudonyms for different expansions in her career. It’s always fun to serve as a sounding board like that; a nom de plume is so personal and has to work on multiple levels. When you hit the right one, you can feel it. It resonates in your body.

Cleared off some other work. Spent some time out on the deck. Willa and the bunny are fascinated by each other.

Finished Deanna Raybourn’s A MURDEROUS RELATION, which was a lot of fun. Started reading Vivien Chien’s DEATH BY DUMPLING, and I’m loving it.

A friend sent me a house listing for her neighborhood. It has everything I want in it, and the price is high for there, but lower than almost anything around here. It’s in the Midwest, and I hadn’t considered moving back there (my family lived in Chicago from when I was 1 until I was 6). Hmm. Lots to think about. I doubt I’ll have the money before it’s snapped up, but still, it’s something to think about.

One of the biggest issues that worries me there is noise. It’s in a medium-sized city. Because of my hyperaccussis, I’m thinking of moving farther away from, you know, PEOPLE. And repetitive machine noise.

It’s one of the reasons we moved to Cape Cod. I need quiet. No, “noise-cancelling” headphones don’t work. They make it worse. Anyway, in the past few years, it’s noisier in this neighborhood than it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Ave. in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Saw a job listing for a freelancer. Decent monthly retainer. But if you “apply” you get 72 hours from the moment you hit send to complete an “assessment” which includes a project-specific writing sample. Nope. On top of that, they’re saying, “oh, we’re not expecting you to do unpaid work.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS SAMPLE IS. How much do you want to bet they don’t hire anyone, change the name of the company, and publish everything without paying the writers?

Next!

The Goddess Provisions box arrived yesterday, and it is delightful. The copy of WHO COOKED ADAM SMITH’S DINNER? About inequity in economics, arrived, too. I’d read a copy from the library, realized I needed it for future reference on many projects, and bought a copy.

People are so happy with the cards we sent out. I’m glad. I’ve heard from several friends, and a friend of my mom’s called her and burst into tears because she was so happy to get the card.

Pandemic stress is getting to people. If a card can give them some pleasure and relief, I can take a few minutes to write cards. I’m going to do another batch this weekend.

This morning, I have to take the household garbage to the dump, do some client work on an online store, and get a rough draft of my new article assignment done. Plus, finish fixing THE BARD’S LAMENT and finally move on to the next section, and catch up on my Miracle of Human Languages coursework for the week.

Busy day, but I hope a relatively calm, happy, and productive one. With time put aside to sneak off a read a few chapters of the Vivien Chien book.

Have a great Thursday!

Wed. July 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — A Little More Upbeat

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hazy and cool

It’s Wednesday, which means Remote Chat later on. Very excited.

There’s also a new post on Ink-Dipped Advice, about red flags in job ads.

Yesterday seems like a very long time ago. I was up early (nothing new there). Did some writing, did some client work.

I had the best time recording the podcast with Ari Meghlen and Rachel Poli for The Merry Writer Podcast. We had so much fun. We talked for nearly an hour, which means they have plenty to edit down to the 20 minutes!

After that, I had to dash out to Trader Joe’s, because we were getting low on some basics. Everyone was masked, although ignoring the flow of traffic inside the store. The line was short. The entire plaza is now open for business, and there were plenty of Sliding Mask Skanks sashaying around, touching things, wearing masks down around their necks and being tourist assholes. The TJ staff was great about telling them to either mask up or move farther away from the line.

Anyway, I was in and out in 20 minutes, almost like the old days.

Full disinfectant protocols when I got home, played with some client work (I’m working on a new ad for this one).

I got an email from Titcomb’s Bookshop that my books arrived. It was a nice day, and my mom hasn’t been out of the house since March, except to drive me to the hospital. So we both masked up, and drove over to Sandwich for me to do the curbside pickup. Titcomb’s has everything set up for both customer convenience and the safety of everyone. It’s great.

We drove back, I stopped to put gas in the car, and we drove home past the beach.

Packed. Tourists everywhere. There are some masks, but very few. Most of the tourists don’t even pretend to care. They saunter around, with that air of entitlement. They don’t care if we’re infected.

Hey, I’m avoiding as many tourist areas as possible. I hope every weekend is stormy and they have to sit inside the short term rentals they shouldn’t be in anyway, because they’re not following masking or quarantine protocols.

Oh, and the illegal fireworks are still going on every night.

Anyway, then I had my Zoom call with my primary care physician. I’d been dreading it. It didn’t help that I received 27 reminders in the past week, including a phone call EVERY TEN MINUTES for the hour before the appointment.

I am an adult with a datebook. Stop treating me like I’m too stupid to keep an appointment.

But it was good to talk to her. She is optimistic about the surgery results, and we worked on a path forward for the next six months until the next procedure to check to make sure I’m clear.

I am so excited to read the Vivien Chien noodle shop mysteries – but I have to finish the new Deanna Raybourn book that I’m reading.

No more books to review right now, but I did land an article from the pitch I sent late last week. Will get that done by the end of this week, and get going on the Llewellyn article.

Client work onsite this morning. Then disinfectant protocols, and landing at my own desk for Remote Chat, and then some other work.

The last week and change have been rough on multiple levels, but I’m hoping things start to ease up a bit. I don’t want to tempt the Universe otherwise, but at least I’m starting to feel more like myself.

Have a great Wednesday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dark Moon
Rainy and mild

So far, the brook’s holding. It’s got about another two feet before it goes over the banks. I’m keeping my car up on the hill and hoping they won’t give me a ticket. Under the previous mayor, during flood times, no one was ticketed for trying to save their cars, but this new mayor only cares about dollars, not citizens, so we’ll see. The flood watch was supposed to expire this morning, but now it’s been expanded to Tuesday morning.

Yesterday was a lost day, writing wise. The power flickered, so I didn’t want to use the computer. I couldn’t concentrate, and didn’t write in longhand. The cats were upset and stuck to me like Velcro. The wind howled like professional mourners keening at a funeral. Imagine that for hours and hours and hours. It rained hard, it rained horizontally.

I read Deanna Raybourn’s THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST. It was very different than I expected, but in a good way. I enjoyed it. I finished the biography of artist NC Wyeth, which was interesting. It didn’t change me into a Wyeth fan from a Hopper fan (not that those are mutually exclusive). Hopper’s work just speaks to me more strongly. But it gave me a deeper understanding of his life and motivations and content.

I’ll be going up and down to check the brook throughout the day; hopefully, it will only drizzle, and we can avoid a flood. I have to find some focus and get back to the page — I’ve got deadlines looming and I just don’t feel like working on anything I should work on. So I better get over it, if I expect to be able to pay bills this month.

Back to the page. Today’s a day I rely solely on craft.

Devon

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 8:58 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and snowstorm approaching

I wish it would hurry up and get here already, because the pre-storm headache is killing me. Nothing works on these headaches — nothing over the counter or prescription. I just have to ride them out. As soon as the storm starts, I’ll feel great, but the time during which it approaches is excruciating.

The headache started yesterday afternoon and laid me low for the bulk of the day. I managed to get the grocery shopping done in the morning and some writing. I was useless for most of the afternoon, although I could read a bit here and there. And I made a broccoli-mushroom casserole for dinner, which was good.

Finished Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT ON THE MOOR last night, which I enjoyed. The first book in the series is still my favorite, thus far, although I’ve enjoyed all three. I really love the Yorkshire Moors, so I was a little disappointed when the protag didn’t have the same enthusiasm for them that I do. That has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, though, just one of my own little quirky responses.

Very good first writing session this morning on REDEMPTION KILL. An obstacle’s come up for my protags that surprised me, and I’m still trying to get them off that cliff, but it’s a worthwhile obstacle, so we’ll go with it. I’ll go back to it and hopefully finish the chapter later this morning, then switch back to POWER OF WORDS for a bit, tweaking an earlier scene so it aligns with something going on now.

I’m hoping to work on the steampunk this weekend. It’s starting to churn again, which is good, because I want to get that first draft done and give it time to ripen before I do revisions and get it out. I’ve got a deadline for it, although not a harsh one, and I need to put my focus back on that.

And I have to tackle Confidential Job #1.

But first, oh hurry up and start snowing so this darned headache lets up!

Have a great, warm, cozy weekend.

Devon

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 9:02 am  Comments (8)  
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Snowing!

So, they told us we’d get “some” snow when the arctic front comes through on Saturday. Of course, that meant we woke up to about a half inch of snow and it’s coming down at the rate of about an inch an hour now.

I don’t mind — it’s pretty and I don’t have to go anywhere.

I feel a little better. The weaker lung only hurts sometimes when I breathe now, instead of all the time, the cough’s almost gone. I want to sleep all the time and have no appetite, but the fever’s finally gone.

Didn’t watch any TV last night. Read Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY instead, and really liked it. There’s a lot of warmth and humor woven within the Victorian, Gothic, mystery, and romance elements, and it’s done well. I love how even minor characters are memorable — it’s what I always try to do in prose and scripts — and I’m reading the books for structure as much as pleasure.

So, the iPad came out yesterday. I have a problem with the name — I think iTablet has more panache and sounds less like an electronic feminine hygiene product. Plus, if we have the iPOd, the tablet should be called something more distinctly different. It looks like it’s fun, but I don’t need it. It won’t serve me any more than a netbook would serve me — it can’t hold the amount of manuscript information and research I need to cart around with me on the laptop. I hope it does well, but I don’t personally need it.

What I need to go is get back to the page and make up for the time I lost this week. I lost one assignment yesterday because of webhost problems, and time-sensitive material that supposedly went out — didn’t. The dickheads in tech non-support didn’t help at all, simply argued with me that there isn’t any problem. Pardon my language, but, really, that’s the term that best describes them. If all I can do is stare at the screen and none of the applications work, there’s a problem. Stop arguing and start looking for a solution. And when you tell me to do something, I try it and IT DOESN’T WORK, come up with something else. And then they had the balls to send me a “Satisfied with our Service?” email. Hmm, let’s see: You cost me the bulk of January’s income AND refuse to fix the problem AND argue with me. What do YOU think? The sooner I can pull off my webmail files and get away from them, the better.

I had to get another pitch out to a company for a really good, long term job, so I had to use my personal email on gmail instead of my professional website-linked address and was not happy about it.

Okay, deep breath, Om and all that. I need to get back to the page. A short story started knocking around inside my head yesterday. If it’s actually willing to remain SHORT, I’ll draft it out so the characters will leave me alone, and then get back to my other work.

Devon

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 9:25 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy day yesterday. Lots of writing, always a good thing.

I swung by Verizon and got my new phone. I was dressed to gain (positive) attention, and didn’t even have to wait. They fell all over themselves to help me, I’d done the research, and walked out within twenty minutes with a new, activated phone with all my data transferred. When I do the rebate paperwork, it will wind up being a free phone. That’s the way it should be.

Picked up what I needed at the store, dropped stuff off with my Mom, had lunch with her, headed back, took care of a few things, then headed back out for the iWeb workshop.

At first, I found it a little frustrating, because only one other person in the class had a website, and no one had a blog, and the bulk of the class were most interested in personal sites about their vacations instead of business sites. But I reviewed the stuff I knew, learned some new stuff, and got my questions answered. Now I can create palettes of color swatches to keep my pages consistent, make my own navigation bars, etc., etc. I’m pretty sure I can design the sites I want. We’ll find out in the next few weeks, won’t we? In an ideal world, I could have all three domains and the two subdomains designed before the move, so once the transfer is complete, all I have to do is upload.

So it wound up being fine, although my head was ready to explode when I was done.

Came home to find that the cats had knocked down a whole table’s worth of stuff. Haven’t found it all yet, but put back what I could. They’re not supposed to be on that particular article of furniture, but I guess we know what they do when they’re alone, now, don’t we?

Came home, had a late supper. Watched CHUCK, which was disappointing. This season, they’re marginalizing the female characters. They got rid of the girl from the store (who was the best of the store bunch). Sarah and Ellie are now on the sidelines, fretful and whiny. The only time Sarah gets to do anything is the girl-on-girl fighting with the Villainess of the Week who’s after Chuck. It’s already gotten old. There’s so much potential for the whole upgraded Chuck thing, and, in my opinion, they’re blowing it. They’re dumping the charm, going for the cheap laugh, and cheating the female characters. If next week’s episode isn’t a lot better, I’m done with the show.

I was happier with the CASTLE episode, although I felt the writing didn’t quite match last week’s. Last week’s writing and acting was one of the best episodes of the whole series, in my opinion. While last night’s episode was necessary for overall plot movement, it felt clunky in comparison, with the writing not meeting the bar set by the actors.

The Deanna Raybourn books shipped; I hope they arrive before I leave for Philly on Friday.

I want to finish the chapter on which I’m currently working, which ends the London section of this particular WIP. It’s flowing really well — I wound up writing 12 pages yesterday, and I’ve got about 6 so far today. I’ve got to pay some bills and go to the post office around lunch time, and then I hope to focus on the steampunk this afternoon. I’d like to get a good chunk of Chapter Six done. I’m not even going to worry about word count until the first draft is done, instead of keeping track as I go. I’ll see what needs more detail for the second draft, and the third will be where I cut to fit designated word count.

I’m packed for the trip, at least clothing-wise. I won’t back the books and the writing until Thursday night, when I know where I am with various projects.

Back to the page. I hope I can go to meditation group tonight. I miss it.

Devon

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 10:01 am  Comments (6)  
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Okay, I’m getting a little tired of people saying how women in their forties are “invisible” as in not only are they not noticed or acknowledged as attractive, but not noticed at all, as though they’re wallpaper or scenery. Uh, no. I’m in my forties, and I’ve never been more visible — when I choose. Yesterday, I chose — I was casually but WELL dressed in grays and navys with red shoes and a red jasper necklace, and I had people falling all over themselves being “helpful” and complimentary. I definitely know how to be invisible when I choose, but it’s a choice. It has NOTHING to do with age!

Red shoes definitely help. Maybe that’s why I have several pairs in various styles.

It takes the same amount of time to put together a look with a bit of panache as it does to throw on sweats and a stained t-shirt, so you might as well go out looking good!

Appropriate attire got me what I wanted faster and with less hassle on my errands, so hoorah for that. AND I hauled the Christmas tree to storage. AND I took my mother shoe shopping. She got a beautiful pair of blue-grey loafers, and I got a fantastic pair of Elie Tahari black stacked heels with gold chains that will go with absolutely everything. Plus, they’re astonishingly comfortable.

Went to the bookstore-which -was-supposed-to-close-but-didn’t to look for the other Deanna Raybourn books. Of course, they didn’t have them, the store is useless (and yet I’m glad it didn’t close), so I’ve ordered them via Amazon. I hardly ever use Amazon anymore — they’ve grown into a behemoth that advocates and kowtows to censorship, in my opinion — but, occasionally, they’re useful, when I need something in a a hurry. I only do 1% of my book shopping through them now. This may well have been it for the year.

Really loved SILENT IN THE GRAVE. I did figure out the villain before the protag did, but not so far ahead that I got frustrated, and the story still managed to have some surprises in it at the end. The writing’s gorgeous, and, again, it’s a case where the author doesn’t allow the genre to confine her, but uses a mixture of genre protocols to her advantage. So I’ve ordered SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY AND SILENT ON THE MOOR. I plan to gobble them up just as soon as they arrive, and then I’ll be ready for the book she’s got coming out at the end of February, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST.

Got some of my own writing done, always a good thing, and plan to work on the first act of the new play today. The steampunk’s going well, and I hope to keep up a steady pace in the coming week. Elsa and my mom’s improving health makes that easier. I have a couple of article queries to work on this weekend, too. And I’ve got two short stories to edit next week, in addition to everything else I’m juggling, because they need to get out the door. And there’s another idea just starting to buzz right behind my third eye, but I haven’t gotten enough of a grasp on it yet to write down any notes.

I had strange dreams last night. Trying to grasp enough to get down — they mean something, but whether it’s relevant to life or fiction, I haven’t quite figured out yet.

Great morning’s work on the steampunk. Finished Chapter 5, started Chapter 6.

I’m off to spend the day at my friend’s in CT, doing laundry, reading, writing, hanging out and cooking. I’m ready!

Devon

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 10:11 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, January 15, 2010


I wish I was on Cape Cod

Friday, January 15, 2010
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Stormy and milder

If you want to donate to Haitian Relief, make sure it’s via a reputable organization. Your State Attorney General’s website should have information on all organizations registered in the state, and crosscheck with the BBB, and with CharityWatch.org. The ones I feel will be most useful in this case are The Red Cross (although I’m still mad at them in this area for ignoring the law allowing pets into shelters after the floods here in 2007), UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders. When the initial relief effort eases and rebuilding begins, I’m sure Habitat for Humanity will get involved.

Working on stuff for the webhost move. Moving three domains and numerous subdomains and all the various “stuff” is a pain and it’s lower than my neck. It will be worth it once it’s done, but a hassle to get there.

Once I figure out how to get my damned mail off the webmail onto my hard drive, Fearless Ink is ready to move. Much as I hate to lose the design for Cerridwen’s Cottage, that will be an easy one to move, so that may go next, with the main Devon site and its subdomains going last.

The vet is pleased with Elsa’s progress, and she got all her shots updated. The LIE and the Cross Island Expressway were nightmares in both directions, but the Hutchinson Parkway was okay, so it worked out. There were lots of small, yappy dogs in the waiting room. Elsa likes dogs (after all, she wants a dachshund AND a mastiff), but when four of them tried to make friends at the same time, pawing at her carrier, it was a bit much. She gave a growl, and they were so shocked, they all sat down. And then she settled back and started purring.

However, somehow, when we put the carrier together in the examining room after her visit, something went wrong. When I took the carrier out of the car in the building parking lot, it fell apart. Bits snapped off, the door came off, it was a mess. Fortunately, it was Elsa and not one of the twins, or they’d have run into the street and been killed. As the carrier disintegrated around her, she jumped onto my chest and hung on. I was wearing the big LL Bean coat I bought back when I was doing TV location shoots a few years ago, so there was plenty to hang on to. I gathered the scraps of the carrier in one hand, supported her with the other arm, and we got back inside, all intact except for the carrier. I don’t quite understand — it’s a fairly new carrier, but it’s like the plastic got brittle and it’s falling apart.

Sigh. Guess I’m headed out to get new carriers.

Thank goodness Elsa’s instinct was to grab onto me instead of running. Iris and Violet would have bolted, and I’d never have found them.

Elsa’s got all her shots and certificates and tags. She could travel to Canada or France. Of course, I have to get my passport renewed first! I’m a big believer in always having a valid passport handy, and mine expires in August. Since they now hassle you if it expires within six months of a trip, and I may be going to Canada a few times this year, I have to mail in my renewal in the next couple of weeks.

Packed up some more decorations, percolated the next chapter of the steampunk, sent out a query for a project, and a few follow-ups on other stuff. There are two publications I may query in the next couple of days — they pay decently, and I’ve got some article ideas.

I read Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING and liked it. It’s a fresh take on the genre, I love that some of it’s set in Maine and some just outside Quebec (both areas of which I’m rather fond). I like the characters, the story, the new take on old myths. It stays out of cliche, and when it refers to a cliche, it turns it inside out. Wonderful contrast to the previous book I read.

And now I’m reading Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, which I just love. The writing’s gorgeous, the characters are great, I like the plot and the setting, and enjoy the fact that the protag comes from a large, unconventional but ultimately loving family. It was hard to put it aside once I’d started,but there was stuff that had to get done. So I used chapters as carrots — if I completed X task, I could read one chapter (of course, I always read at least two, but you get the picture).

Today, I’m carting more stuff to storage, checking on my mom (the acupuncture helped her A LOT –as in, she can move around again and walk). In fact, I’m taking her shoe shopping so she can use the gift card I gave her. And I just might treat myself to something, too. Although I still haven’t had a chance to wear the gray Liz Claiborne boots I bought the last time I went there — to buy the gift card!

As the saying goes — how many pairs of shoes should a woman own? One more than she already has!

So, I got a rejection from a query I sent out — but it’s NOT FOR MY BOOK. No, I’m not going to correct them. I’m crossing them off the list for any further submissions. That kind of carelessness is not acceptable. We would not be a good fit. I’m tempted to send them a snarky response pointing it out, but it’s not worth it.

Had a great first morning’s writing session on the steampunk. THAT’s the way it’s supposed to go! 😉

Back to the page for a few hours before I head out.

Devon

Elsa’s Doing Well

Elsa got a clean bill of health at the vet’s. Will write about her adventure tomorrow — including the carrier disintegrating while we were still outside! It was a Mercury Retrograde day, what can I say?

Must get back to the page.

Hard to get back to my own writing when I’m caught up in Deanna Raybourn’s absolutely gorgeous book SILENT IN THE GRAVE . . .

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm  Comments (4)  
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