Fri. Dec. 4, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 198 — Going in Circles

image courtesy of Stock Snaps via pixabay.com

Friday, December 4, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I feel very much as though I’m riding this Ferris wheel – going round and round and not getting anywhere.

There’s a post over on Comfort and Contradiction about holiday cookie baking. Enjoy.

I scrambled out of the house early to do a big baking grocery shop at the Marstons Mills Stop and Shop. Large store, few people, protocols followed (unlike Hyannis, where they’re not followed or enforced). It took me awhile to get what I needed, and I couldn’t find the English candied fruit peel I need, but overall, it was fine.

However, when I tried to leave, traffic back in my direction was backed up for miles due to road construction. So I turned in the other direction and looped around onto Santuit-Barnstable Road, hoping it would eventually spit me out on Race Lane, which it did. Yes, I “took the long way home” and now we all have an ear worm.

I missed meditation, which was unfortunate.

But I decontaminated the groceries and decontaminated myself and was exhausted.

I read a bit and did some admin and some client work, then joined Freelance Chat. Spent some time with Tessa in the afternoon, and struggled with “Lockesley” revisions. Got a smidge of decorating done. But all I wanted to do was sleep.

Spoke to the scheduler about next week’s surgery and we went over all the protocols. With over 6000 new cases in 24 hours, and the Governor basically leaving us to die rather than shut down businesses and keep us alive, it could still all change. I won’t know for sure until I walk into the hospital next Friday. But we’re moving forward as though all systems are go. She had to put in my prep prescription again, because heaven forbid CVS fill it.

Baked gingerbread with pears from a Moosewood recipe and it was spectacular! Very happy with it.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We are doing a big push until the Christmas break. Lots of assignments. But ALL their grades have gone up this semester. And our animal of the month is the Reindeer.

Had a pizza for dinner – simple last night.

Up early this morning, working on blog posts. I have some curbside pickups to do later this morning, and then it’s hunkering down to do edits. I’m hoping to start the cookie baking either today and tomorrow, and I have to get in some of the deck furniture and decorations before the next storm hits tomorrow.

Have to do a Trader Joe’s run in the morning and hit CVS for the prescription. Then I’m home until I go for the pre-op Covid Test next Thursday.

I’m worried, and there’s all kinds of stress related to the surgery itself, but I also want to get it over with.

Saturday night is St. Nicholas Night, one of my favorite holidays on my personal calendar.

Have a good weekend, friends. Catch up with you next week.

Published in: on December 4, 2020 at 7:28 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 4, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 198 — Going in Circles  
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Fri. Nov. 20, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 184 — Hunkering Down and Trying to Hold the Road

image courtesy of domitian via pixabay.com

Friday, November 20, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Windy and cold

Later today, I will have a post up on Comfort and Contradiction with some Thanksgiving recipes.

Yesterday, I baked bread again, using molasses instead of honey. Denser. That took a good chunk of morning. Bread can’t be rushed.

In between, I had the online meditation, which was lovely. I got out some LOIs, created one of the two ads for a client that I need. One will go live today; the other next Tuesday. I’ve got the other one designed in my head. I just need to wrangle it into graphics and words.

Freelance chat was fun, although sometimes I feel like a couple of people try to turn every interaction into a sales pitch. We’re colleagues, not clients.

My back was giving me a hard time. Even the acupressure mat only offered temporary relief.

Had to hunt down some yarn in the storage area. Didn’t find it, but found some other stuff. Worked on some proof reading, but was tired and in pain, so I’m going to have to do it all again today.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, lots of assignments that needed support. But the kids and their parents are exhausted and scared.

Our virus numbers keep rising, and nobody who’s paid and sworn to work on our behalf is. Not to mention the Democrats are doing NOTHING and letting the Republicans get away with EVERYTHING.

Stop saying they “can’t” do anything because “they don’t have the votes.” It simply isn’t true. The voting is the final step in the process. They need to do the work before the vote – the meetings, the persuasion. Find the weak spot in your enemy and dig. Be relentless. Be ruthless. Make sure enough people on the other side don’t show up to vote if you can’t convince them to vote your way. There is ALWAYS a way to block something or pass something. The Republicans slam or block everything they want no matter if they are a minority or a majority. The Democrats needs to grow some balls and do the same.

If we don’t flip those two Georgia Senate seats, it won’t be because the Republicans cheated or tried to, although I’m sure they will. It’s because enough voters are sickened that the Democrats are letting Republicans get away with everything between now and January, and won’t bother to vote. All this whining is a misconstrued belief that by letting the Republicans keep getting away with their atrocities, it raises more money for Democrats. But people are sick of the Democrats allowing this to happen and doing nothing more than posting a few faux outraged tweets.

Democrats need to step up. Schumer needs to step up. He’s the Minority Leader. He needs to stop the daily tweet about the President not having a plan and implement his own plan. Work with Governors on their plans. There’s plenty that can be done to work around Republicans, but all the Democrats do is sit there, with their thumbs up their collective ass, whine they “don’t have the votes” and use it to fundraise.

If you’re not smart enough to work around the Republicans, why WOULD anyone donate to you or vote for you? Step up.

There is ALWAYS a way to ram through what you want or block what you want. Republicans have been doing it, whether they’re majority or minority, my entire lifetime. But Dems just sit there and whine that they “don’t have the votes.” There are other ways to get things done and stop things. There are ways to change other people’s votes. So stop whining and start fighting.

There are plenty of Dems I hope are primaried by more forceful Dems in the coming years.

We haven’t had a radical left in this country since about 1969. We desperately need one to balance the radical right.

I’m so sick of it.

Meanwhile, I’m just trying to stay alive. Literally.

I have to pick up a prescription for my mom at CVS and do a curbside drop off/pickup at the library.

The rest of the day will be client work, writing, and editing.

This weekend is about writing overseas cards, so I can mail them on Monday. If we’re on a roll, we might start the domestic cards, and then mail them a little after Thanksgiving.

I still don’t know if my surgery is going forward in December, or if it will be postponed due to the rising virus numbers. I’m behaving as though it’s going forward and trying to get everything possible done early.

Have a great weekend, friends. See you on the other side of it. I hope.

Published in: on November 20, 2020 at 6:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 20, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 184 — Hunkering Down and Trying to Hold the Road  
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Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 142 — All Writing

image courtesy of mozlase via pixabay.com

Friday, October 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cold

Yesterday was all about SERENE AND DETERMINED. I worked through it, scene-by-scene, line-by-line. I changed, cut, added. I had my friend’s notes next to me, and figured out how to make them work. I added a scene in the second act, to balance it out more, bringing back an antagonist I’d used in the first act.  Lavinia shows more flashes of temper now, and Gian Paolo has a stronger arc as he takes over the contract negotiations from her father.

I’m awfully tempted to write a play in the future centering around the three noblewomen who gave her so much support. Each of them was extraordinary for their time, or for any time, too, and they’re such fun to write.

I took a break for the Freelance Chat. I’d considered skipping it this week, and I should have, because it was difficult to get back to Bologna in the late 1500s after yapping about Buffer and social media tools.

But I got there. It took all damn day to get this revision finished, but I did it.

I then looked over the paperwork for the submission and realized I had to write a “Statement of Objectives” to go with it. Urgh. So I knocked that out. I might have laid it on a little thick, but the passion underlying the words and the process is real.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. A Twitter pal sent me a fun link for more octopus stuff, and it was Octopus Day, so we talked about both the octopus and the bat. We worked on various assignments. There’s less fear and more resignation and determination amongst the kids now, which I think is a good thing. They know continuing remotely is the best choice in this situation; they also realize that they are privileged in ways other kids who don’t have the support they have from their parents and the Knowledge Unicorns aren’t. Several of them are helping kids in their classes, using techniques we’ve been using in the Knowledge Unicorns. And a lot of their classmates are doing homework in the car, driving somewhere that has a Wi-Fi signal, because they don’t have internet at home.

Their bond with each other is growing, and that helps them when kids who are going back to in-person learning (and the parents of those kids) try to bully them. As I said early on, most of the kids in the group didn’t know each other before – they are scattered all over the country. Most of their parents only met once, that time we all were together and down in the house on the beach waaaay back when the parents were kids.

But they’re in communication with each other regularly outside of our sessions, helping each other, hanging out virtually, and I think that’s a positive.

Keith Olbermann is back as a political commentator. He is one of my favorites. He is so smart, so strong, so determined to call out bullshit. I’m absolutely delighted to watch him again every night. I missed the way he puts together and offers information.

Slept through the night, which was nice, although Charlotte was fussing at me way too early in the morning.

Today, SERENE AND DETERMINED gets a final proofread. Then I finish the paperwork and submit it. I know this conference gets thousands of submissions, but if I don’t try there’s no chance. If I try, there’s a 50-50 chance – either they take it, or they don’t.

So I’ll try.

As soon as that goes off, I have to do a curbside drop-off/pick-up from the library.

Then, I will turn my attention to the short story, and work on that. I plan on working through the weekend this weekend. I want to get the short story and all three articles written, polished, and out before Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Because that, my friends, with Mars retrograde at the same time, will be a bumpy ride.

Peace, friends, have a great weekend, and see you on the other side.

Published in: on October 9, 2020 at 5:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 142 — All Writing  
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Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks

image courtesy of FotoRieth via pixabay.com

Friday, September 25, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Mars Retrograde

Horror-movie level fog

Yesterday was a fairly productive day. Started with the online meditation session from the Concord Library. Different leader this week, totally different experience. Still positive, but this leader talked a little too much and didn’t leave me enough room to just be in silence.

Got out an article pitch to an editor, and some LOIs. Did a bit of client work.

The bulk of the morning was spent finishing the revisions on JUST A DROP and submitting it. It’s off to the theatre, for consideration in the 9-month development process. It’s got a 50-50 chance – either they accept it or they don’t. But, if I didn’t submit, it would have a 0 chance. I’d rather submit and risk not getting in than not submit and not have a chance.

Freelance Chat was good. It’s helpful to share experience and resources with other freelancers.

I dug into cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, only not the way I planned. I pulled out a crate in my bedroom – that was, unfortunately, anchoring some things that came tumbling down. It was full of socks and accessories and things I’d stashed there back when we moved and never dealt with. I took everything out, washed it (the washer put holes in one of my favorite sweaters that I found, sadly – I HATE this washer. Don’t say “get a new one” – I’m a renter; it’s not up to me, although the people putting in the new furnace are also supposed to put in a new fridge and washer).

Anyway, most of the socks were orphan socks I have A LOT of orphan socks. I have a thing about socks. As a Pisces, it’s all about the feet. Pisces is the sign that is associated with feet. My feet need to be warm and dry or I am miserable. When I worked in production, I always had extra pairs of socks with me (and, on exterior film/television shoots, my supervisor would regularly send me back to the truck to put on fresh socks). When I was busy, in the 10-out of 12 tech weeks or 18-hour days on set, I wouldn’t have time to do laundry. So I’d just keep buying more packages of socks until I had a day off to do laundry.  I’ve bought hundreds of pairs of socks over my production years.

We all know how dryers have Sock Goblins and socks vanish. So I have a lot of orphan socks.

It’s time to either find pairs or get rid of them.

I found a crate of orphan socks. I know I have a file box of them . . .somewhere. I didn’t find the file box, but I found a file box that contained two tote backs with socks, scarves, tee shirts and sweatshirts from shows and travels that I’d packed up in a hurry when we moved and never unpacked. And some other interesting bits and bobs I’d forgotten about.

I washed everything. I’m going to try some things on (let’s face it, the Tommy Hilfinger Size 8 Khaki pants are never going to fit me again and will have to go).The black velvet sheath dress from the 1960’s is fabulous, but again, I’m never going to fit into it again.  I’ll sort what I’m keeping AND PUT IT AWAY, and make a pile for donation. When donation places open up again, I can drop them off.

I have a bag to stash orphan socks until I’ve cleaned everything out; then, anything that’s still an orphan will have to be dealt with.

I’d hoped to clear out four boxes from the basement. The boxes weren’t from the basement, but I cleared out four boxes, so now I have room  for stuff and other stuff as it comes out of the basement and I decide on a spot for it.

Of course, today, I have to set to rights everything that went all topsy turvey in my room. It means cleaning out or repacking some other boxes that serve as a divider/counter space in my room (hard to explain).

It was a ton of fun finding a bunch of stuff I forgot I had and hadn’t seen in years. Shopping in my closet is always fun. Looking for something else in my closet, I also found some leggings that still fit and will be appropriate with tunic-length sweaters. I’m not comfortable wearing leggings with short tops. Plenty of people can pull it off, but if I don’t feel comfortable, It translates into carriage and body language and I’m miserable. But tunic-length sweaters that hit at least mid-thigh and boots? I’m there for that this winter (on the few occasions I actually have to leave the house).

And, let’s face it, I have every intention of looking professional on the Zoom business calls/meetings. I’m not someone who enjoys working in my pajamas. I have enough sleep issues. I wear pajamas to sleep.(And I found a great pair of blue fleece pajamas that will be cozy this winter). I wear other clothes during the day. They might be comfortable fabrics and generous cuts, especially to work at home – but they’re not pajamas.

The Knowledge Unicorns session was fun. There’s intense pressure to return to in-person ln learning, ESPECIALLY in areas with high rates of infection, which is just ridiculous to me.  Most of them had a lot of essay work (essays due early next week, so yay, we’re working ahead and not leaving it to the last minute). So there was a lot of discussion about language and usage and shades of meaning and context.

I was pretty tired by the end of it (kudos to parents and teachers doing this every day). But I’d signed up for an NYU-LA seminar about Creative Future: The Job You Save May Be Your Own. It was about piracy and how it destroys artists’ ability to earn a living, while being part of a larger, international criminal enterprise funding all kinds of  awful things.

They pointed out that it’s not the multi-million dollar stars and the studios who take the hit – it’s the smaller projects that don’t get funded any more and the crews who are out of work when studios cut back to fewer projects to keep their profits high.

So these people who claim piracy is about freedom and they’re sticking it to “the man” aren’t. They’re hurting working artists and technicians who are barely making a living.

I think the panel is far too generous to the individuals doing these illegal downloads (even as they advocate for tougher laws and punishment). I think many of those pirating know EXACTLY who they’re hurting, and they want to. It’s the typical non-creative people resenting and hating artists for earning a living doing what they love, and determined to prevent that.

But then, I’ve turned into a cynic.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard about Creative Future before. The executive director is Ruth Vitale, a former film executive. They do advocacy and work with elected officials on legislation to protect copyright. You can visit their website for more information.

Dense fog this morning. The street looks ready for monsters.

Writing this morning, some client work, a run to the library for a curbside pickup, more cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, more writing, and working on the changes I need to make to SERENE AND DETERMINED, hopefully in time to get it in under the deadline for the O’Neill Center.

I’m hoping, against all odds, for a productive weekend.

Have a good one, friends! Peace.

Published in: on September 25, 2020 at 5:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks  
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Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs

Skelly (photo by Devon Ellington)

Friday, September 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Raining and cooler

Thank goodness it’s raining. We need it badly.

If you enjoy reading serial fiction, it would be great if you’d fill out my survey on serial fiction here. I’m curious about a few things.

I am so glad I signed up for Concord Library’s meditation group! Yesterday’s session was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next week. The leader is wonderful – I suspect she either trained at Kripalu or trained with someone who trained at Kripalu because the style is familiar.

After meditation, I put on Real People Pants and did my run to Target. I wound up buying more than I planned (gee, what a surprise). We were low on toilet paper, which is why I went. But then, I bought Halloween lights (mine were wonky last year) which were on sale. And there was a skeleton dachshund all by himself that I couldn’t leave because he looked so sad. They didn’t have the wooden spoons I wanted, but I bought a cute little bear mug for my mom and an owl mug for myself. The soups were nearly half the price they are in the other grocery stores, so I stocked up on those, got the toilet paper, some other bathroom necessities, and there we were. At least everyone was masked and distancing, and I was early enough so there weren’t a lot of people in the store.

Grinding my teeth about it, I went to Country Gardens to get wood for the fireplace, since it’s getting colder and we have no idea when the new furnace will come in. I also grabbed two good-sized pots of mums for the front of the house.

At least everyone was masked, but the woman behind me demanded I let her cut in front of me because she was late for work. Didn’t ask – TOLD me she was doing it. I said no. Then she crowded me. Then she complained that the staff was too slow, and made fun of the lovely older man who was ahead of us and so happy with his purchases because he wasn’t fast enough to suit her, and, you know, she was late for work.

I finally turned around and said, “Lady, NONE of us are to blame because you can’t manage your time, so back off.”

Then the sales clerk had no idea what I was talking about when I said I wanted to by a sixth of a cord of wood. She kept insisting that they only sold full cords, half cords, and third cords. I said that I’ve been buying it every autumn for ten years, and I just walked right past the sixth coming in to the store, with the sign right on it and everything. She said, ‘Oh, you mean the wheelbarrow.”

Yes, the wheelbarrow is a sixth of a cord of wood, it has a sign on it to that effect, which is how I know it’s a sixth of a cord. For fuck’s sake, people, get a clue.  You can see it from where you’re standing at the register.

The guy who was supposed to help me load the wood kind of sauntered over and picked up a log here and there, so I loaded the car my damn self. I’ve been buying wood there at the start of the season for ten years now, and they’ve always been lovely until this year. I realize that the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on all of us, and bulk of the customers I’ve encountered there have been utter jerks, but take it out on THEM, not the ones who are treating you decently.

Making the choice not to shop there unless it was the last resort is the right choice.

Came home, unloaded the wood into the garage (I stacked it well this year, if I do say so myself), did a full decontamination process, and was exhausted.

Tessa loves Skelly, the skeleton dog. Willa and Charlotte aren’t sure. My mom wants me to sew a little brown felt coat for him after Halloween so he can stay out all year.

Managed to work on a couple of ads for a client (which I hope to finish today), noodled a little with some writing, participated in Freelance Chat, got out a couple of LOIs.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. Threw a bunch of stuff out, have to file other stuff. Found drafts of manuscripts, and notes on a couple of projects that are worth going back to next year.

I finished SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. I liked it, although I felt the author self-marketed her other work too much within the text. I know, I’ve been to those seminars who encourage that. I hate it, and it’s more likely to turn me off the author and the product than encourage me to look at the other books.

Did a variation on a recipe for dinner using Chinese Five Spice Powder, and it worked really well.

Trying to decide if I have a script in good enough shape to submit to the O’Neill Center for next year. Either of the Italian plays are probably more suited to the O’Neill than the small company in Brooklyn. I don’t know. I’ll wait for my friend’s notes. Maybe both scripts are just terrible and shouldn’t go anywhere.

Signed up for a cooking class with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu in October. He’s such a great teacher. And his recipes are fantastic.

We’re still playing with times for the Knowledge Unicorns, but had a good session yesterday. Trying to juggle all the different assignments in two hours is a challenge, but with the stretch breaks and dance breaks and the fact that we can work in company and ask questions when stuck, I think (hope) it’s helpful. There’s a lot of laughter, which is good, too. And who knew the octopus was such a fascinating creature? Plenty of people, I guess.

Today, it’s client work and writing. I have to do a curbside pickup at the library, work on the book for review, and clean out at least one more box. We couldn’t wait until Saturday to put the flannel sheets on, so we’ve already changed out the beds, which meant more laundry yesterday. I’m also getting ready for the Equinox on Tuesday. I’m going to pack up some of the books stacked in my office and mark them as “donations” when the library is open for donations, and those I’m keeping. These are from the contest I judged earlier this year.

I’m working on a spec sheet of what I need from a social media management platform and I’m going to send it to the corporate offices of various platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Social Pilot, etc) and see if any of them can meet my needs. I can’t be the only social media manager running multiple accounts for multiple clients.

I also need to work on Grief to Art.

In other words, a busy Friday.

The weekend will be, I hope, about reading and writing and cleaning stuff out of the basement.

Have a great one!

Published in: on September 18, 2020 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs  
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Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Published in: on September 10, 2020 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies  
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Fri. Aug. 28, 2020: Day 100 of Dying for Tourist Dollars

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image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Friday, August 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

The 100th day since the demand was made to die for our employers/die for tourist dollars. The number of infections is going back up, and people are running around pretending it’s over. Disgusting.

Yesterday was a hit-and-miss day. I worked remotely all day, thank goodness, because the weather was wonky.

I read and gave notes on a friend’s series overview. It’s excellent, and I was delighted to read it.

I worked on the article, hated everything I wrote, and will start over today.

I noodled a bit on my client’s ad campaign. I’ve considered and rejected at least a half a dozen storylines. None of them are quite right.

I printed out all the information I could find about the now-defunct Green Mountain College, whose property was recently auctioned off and will, no doubt, be destroyed. Since that whole situation gave me the idea for a piece, I wanted to get as much research printed out before everything online vanishes.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Read Jenn McKinlay’s PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA, which is a lovely escape. Read a bit on the book for NYU book club, and a bit of Pico Iyer’s THE ART OF STILLNESS.

Got out a couple of LOIs, did some follow-up on a few things. Did some research. It was a reasonably productive day, but as usual, didn’t feel that way.

Ordered more ink for the printer.

Still no mail-in ballot for me. Still no response from repeated requests to the Town Clerk.

I skipped the Hate Rally and all the Hatch violations.

Awake at 3:30 this morning, fretting.

Got in a decent first writing session, once I got up around 5. About 5 pages written.

Out early to drop off my mom’s ballot at the ballot box outside Town Hall. They claim it’s “secure” but it did not strike me as such. But at least HER ballot will be counted.

Went to get an oil change. The website extolls all their safety protocols. However, only one staff member was masked. The unmasked staff member was wandering around the cars (people have to stay in their vehicles), chomping on his breakfast sandwich, drinking his coffee and chatting.

No. Just no.

I reversed right out of there.

I’ll try again tomorrow morning, when they hopefully have a different crew. If they, too, are unmasked, I’ll find another place for an oil change.

It’s not masking OR social distancing. It’s masking AND social distancing. Masks are required in MA. I’m tired of these fucking dumbasses who won’t do it, and I’m tired of the lack of enforcement, and I’m tired of business LYING about following protocols when they’re not.

LOIs and client work for the next couple of hours, then I’ll run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then more writing and article work.

Hopefully, I can actually get the oil change tomorrow. The rest of the day is the usual laundry and housework, writing, reviewing a book, and finishing my article. Sunday, hopefully, will be a full day off.

I will put together my proof of voter registration and proof I completed the Census (someone was denied a ballot, supposedly, because of that) to take with me when I gear up and go vote in person on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.

Please share the information for Grief To Art.

Grief to Art Logo

Fri. Aug. 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 93 — Tired

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, August 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s getting hot and humid again, so I am getting grumpy again, especially with the allergies.

Yesterday, I got some client work and some yard work done. Took my mom to the other doctor to get some things dealt with. Freelance chat, which was fun. Tidied up the deck.

My landlord came over (with his mask and folding chair) and we chatted for two hours. He’s put a lot of research and work into an historical project that someone else is trying to control, and he wanted advice. Since I knew the other individuals involved, I could give him advice based on their past conduct and patterns. Hopefully, it was helpful.

Got some reading done, but not much else. The mice arrived from Chewy in a big box — ordered only because I needed to spend an extra dollar to get free shipping on the playpens. Instead of shipping it all together, three little toy mice arrived on their own in a great, big box.

But all three cats love the mice.

Overslept this morning, decided to put off going to the dump and recycling off yet another day. Picked up my mom’s new medication at the pharmacy, which was MUCH more expensive than I expected. So I have to put off buying the lumber and the fabric for the screen.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Too many people in the store, ignoring the traffic arrows, but at least everyone was masked. And the staff is so great.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, then heard from the library there were books ready for curbside pickup. Masked up again, drove down in my yoga clothes (because hey, curbside pickup). When I got out of the car to go to the table to pick up my bag of books, some women getting out of another car berated me for not wearing a bra. “What if there were children here?” (There weren’t — we were the only two cars in the parking lot). Plus, my shirt was black and oversized and nothing was showing. PLUS, it’s none of her damn business.

So I looked at her and said, “Why are you staring at my breasts?” and she stared sputtering.

I grabbed my books and came home.

I’m having a serious case of the don’t wannas today, so maybe I just won’t. Had a good first writing session out on the deck, though.

Have a great weekend.

Fri. April 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 86 — Oh, To Escape Into the Forest

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image courtesy of loa8320 via pixabay.com

Friday, August 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Got out some LOIs yesterday. Got some writing and some admin done, and a little bit of client work, although not as much as I’d hoped. I created a new ad for Fearless Ink, which I like, and I’m working on my autumn postcard. Which, the way the USPS is being sabotaged, might get there around the winter holidays.

Freelance chat was fun. Stefan Palios, one of our group, made an excellent point that will help me in my client negotiations: a freelancer does not have an employer-employee relationship with companies, but a business-to-business relationship. That is phrasing I will use every time a potential client tries to treat me like an employee not receiving benefits.

The whole thing made me more cheerful for the next round of LOIs.

The afternoon was spent working on the Grief to Art site. It’s soft-launched, which means it’s live, and, technically, open to submissions for the Walls of Remembrance, but I’m not going to actively start promoting its existence until the new moon on Tuesday. I’m still tweaking.

I don’t have the art submissions open yet, because I’m still working on guidelines and contracts. I might make the art/visual/verbal aspects by invitation-only at first, because I don’t want the site to be treated as a market for the unpublished. So that has to evolve.

Work on the site always takes a lot out of me, so I was pretty worn out by the end of the day.

I always wonder why I’m wiped out in the afternoon, but I wake up at 4 AM and usually start my workday by about 5 AM (even when that work is watering the yard). So by 2 PM, I’ve put in a full day.

Had weird dreams last night about being stuck in a mountain town with no way to leave. It was very busy and social, with no one wearing masks or distancing. Nothing like pandemic stress dreams to make one wake up exhausted.

Overslept, and was too late to do the morning watering. It kind of looks like it might have rained a little overnight? The asphalt is wet. Who knows.

Realized, in my early morning writing session on the deck, how much I love trees. They make me feel safe. If I was a fictional character, I’d be one of the ones who flee into the woods for sanctuary.

When I first woke up, around 3 AM (pre-weird dreams), it was actually quiet for about 10 minutes. No crazy traffic. No drag racing on the local streets (something I’ve never understood since I moved here, and which drives me nuts). Not even any of the nocturnal birds singing. It was blissfully quiet.

For only 10 minutes, but it was a happy 10 minutes.

I couldn’t do the curbside pickup at the library, so I will do that today. Also have to take in the garbage and the recycling – in one carload, since one can no longer take it in separately without paying twice, and the Town of Barnstable’s mantra is “Screw Thy Residents.”

More LOIs to get out today, client work, article work, tweaks on the Grief to Art site. This weekend, I hope to focus on THE BARD’S LAMENT, cleaning out the basement, and reading the book for review.

Have a good one, friends! See you on the other side
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Published in: on August 14, 2020 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 86 — Oh, To Escape Into the Forest  
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Fri. Aug. 7: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 79 — Of Notebooks and New Ideas

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Friday, August 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday seems like a long time ago, somehow.

It was a quiet day. I did the grocery run to Trader Joe’s in the morning. Everyone masked, but too many people allowed in the store, which meant distancing was a challenge. But people tried, and worked together.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, exhausted.

Some client work, an LOI. Freelance chat was fun. I didn’t realize I had so much to say about virtual networking, but I guess I did.

I’d love to find affordable VR software to set up a virtual writers’ café where people could send little icons in that write and read in the virtual space while they’re doing sprints on their actual screen.

But Grief to Art has to be finished first. I hope to get some good work done on that today and over the weekend, and get the article for Llewellyn done, and the book read for review.

Working on the play, tentatively called “Rest Not in Peace” and having fun with it.

Finished my coursework on the introduction to educational neuroscience online with Central Queensland University. Passed the exam (with flying colors, if I might be so self-congratulatory) and received my certification. I definitely want to study more about neuroplasticity. What we discussed about how fear and stress impair learning and shrink the brain is relevant both to me personally during the pandemic, and on a larger scale for schools and the educational system, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of active shooter drills.

Thinking about years of frustration with cozy mysteries, spurred on again after the stack I got sick of and dumped back into the library’s book deposit. How, in the 90’s, as more women were recognized in the field, they took this wonderful leap into strength and adventure, and how, after 9/11, so many became more and more narrow-minded and about protecting white privilege. It used to be that the protagonist was a misfit who found community with people accepting her for who she was; more and more, the protagonist started conforming to be accepted by the community, and I don’t like that.

Not to mention all these celibate relationships between supposedly healthy adults that are both boring and don’t make any sense.

Partially, I wrote SAVASANA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, as a response to the way yoga instructors were far too often treated as freaks and flakes, the locked-room aspect a cruise ship has, and the fact that I wanted to see characters in a mystery with healthy sex lives, even if every detail wasn’t on the page. Which is why they are marked as “not quite cozy” – because they don’t fit all the restrictions of the cozy. I went with a small publisher for the series because the bigger publishers wanted to edit out all the things that made me write it in the first place.

I will have to deal with the issues the pandemic bring up at some point in the series, and my editor and I are talking about how to handle it and when to handle it. Right now, I have to make the second book in the series work, and that’s a struggle. Although class structure and white privilege are coming more to the forefront with it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m looking for in a mystery series with an amateur sleuth protagonist, one who is closer to me in age than a younger one. I’ve played with some ideas over the past few months, and some of them are coming together as being possible in the same series, rather than everything being so separate. While there’s definitely a need for simple stories that offer structure and comfort, I want something else.

I found a central point around which I want to start building (it’s at too delicate a stage to write about publicly). So, I’m percolating.

Then, of course, the dilemma was what kind of notebook do I use for the draft and development? Because this is not something I want to type directly into the computer, at least not initially. I need to play with it, to draw it, to sketch it, to write bits and put them aside, to create building blocks. It won’t work to create it on the computer.

I haven’t gone out and bought the “back to school” notebooks I usually get at this point in the year because I still have notebooks left over from last year.

Only none of them are right for this project.

I thought about buying a set of journal books specific to the project, but that’s expensive and feels too formal.

I finally realized (because I AM that bad at math) that it probably makes more sense to buy two five-subject notebooks for the project than six or seven single-subject notebooks. Duh.

I want to keep a diary of the process as I develop it. Eventually, it might be rather Steinbeck-esque, writing the diary on one side of the page and the novel on the other. But I think I’ll do the diary part in green ink, and the novel in black ink.

All of this means I have to actually leave the house and get the supplies. If I order online, it will take about 3 weeks to get here. So I guess I’m going out today, masked up, and trying to avoid the Covidiot tourists, who aren’t paying any attention to travel or quarantine restrictions.

If I can time it properly, I’ll minimize the risk.

I’m also about to finish the latest volume of my personal diary – I have one more matching volume, which I doubt will get me through the year, but I’ll worry about that when I’m closer to the end of the new volume, which I’ll start tomorrow.

My office has gotten cluttered again, so I’ll need to spend some time this weekend tidying it up, so that I can metaphorically tidy my brain. Hopefully, that will give me physical and mental space to work on the book for review, the article, “Rest Not in Peace”, BARD’S LAMENT, Grief to Art site, and any noodling I decide to do on this project development.

I haven’t decided if it will be literary fiction with mystery elements, or a mystery novel that expands genre restrictions.

I’ll develop it for a bit first, spin the ideas out like spun sugar to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find it doesn’t work, and it will be relegated to the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects (the updated Topic Workbook will be released soon). Or maybe it will become a viable project.

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you peace and health.
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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve

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image courtesy of Bru-nO via pixabay.com

Friday, July 31, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, did some client work, enjoyed Freelance Chat.

Finished reading a book from a series I previously enjoyed, but was disappointed in this particular book. The protagonist got together with a guy who spent previous books behaving like a creepy stalker, and there’s no chemistry between them, and everything in this book was too easy.

Read another book, a first book in a series. Frustrated because the protagonist spent most of the first 100 pages crying and being dizzy. Sorry, that doesn’t make her relatable and cute. It makes me want to smack her upside the head.

So that series is a no-go for me.

So hot and humid that reading was all I could handle yesterday afternoon.

I managed to read and give notes on the latest version of a friend’s script. It really sparkles!

This morning, managed to get the front watered again – and then it rained, so I didn’t have to do anything about the back. Still none of the lovely thunderstorms we were promised, although it looks like a hurricane will find its way up here next week.

Did a grocery run to Star Market for some necessities, then a library run to drop off/do curbside pickup. Full disinfectant protocols. At least everyone was masked at the store and at curbside pickup.

I have a bunch of stuff to get done today, house and home stuff mostly, so I’m going to cut myself a break on the work. I have to re-think how I’m going to make the Topic Workbook example sheets work in the reformatted workbooks, because they’re not holding the formatting – and when they do, I can’t insert them into the text.

I need to get a lot of boxes purged from the basement this weekend, and work on the Grief to Art site. Over 150,000 dead, we need it.

But I’m not feeling hopeful, and I am feeling exhausted and burned out. So we will see.

Still, I’m looking forward to salmon burgers and potato salad tonight, and there’s now plenty of gelato, so there are some small pleasures I can enjoy.

And books, more books.

I have a review to get out today, and I’m writing an article in my head that I hope to get down on paper and out to my editor in the next couple of days.

Chasing down late payments, which is always frustrating.

Tomorrow is Lammas, a special day in my personal calendar. I will make cornbread early in the morning, I have blackberries. I don’t have any beer – might use wine or vodka instead.

First harvest – and I’m out of time on a few things, and not sure what to do.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on July 31, 2020 at 10:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve  
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Fri. July 3, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 46 — Finally, Productivity

Friday, July 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We’re going into the long holiday weekend, and I just feel like the clock is running out for me on way too many fronts.

Yesterday was actually a fairly productive day. I popped into my client’s to launch an ad – the financial information was at the office. That didn’t take long, and the client is pleased. Let’s hope it converts into actual sales. I’ve got some SEO tweaking to do on the client’s website next week, which should also help.

Swung by the bodega (ahem, convenience store) on the way back to pick up eggs. It just wasn’t worth standing in line to get into a grocery store for eggs. The only people wearing masks around here yesterday were the locals going into the post office and the convenience store.

Clumps of tourists are clomping around, not wearing masks, not social distancing. The bridges were backed up for hours.

We’re going to lose all the progress we made against the virus, and it’s disheartening.

Got home, full disinfectant protocols, and made it to the first session of the Freelance Writing  Success Summit. Attended all three virtual sessions. Got some good information. Some of the sessions are for people earlier in their careers than I am, but they’ll get a lot out of it.

It turns out a lot of best practices for SEO writing were what I do instinctively. That’s good to know. It helps me frame SEO conversations moving forward, especially because I am committed to quality content over SEO word salad. Since Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing anyway, it gives me a stronger position when the companies push back about using keywords that aren’t supported by content.

Got out some LOIs. Refused some reach outs from “recruiters” who want me to do work in which I’m not interested nor is my focus, for lower than my regular rate because I should be “happy someone wants to hire you in these hard economic times.” A) I’m working; B) What you offer is not in my area of expertise OR interest, so find someone in that field; C) I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a seasoned professional and I’m worth my rate.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

Finished reading a book of essays by someone who is a good writer, but her brand of crazy is too much for me right now. And yes, in her case, it’s definitely part of her “brand.” My emotional energy needs to be elsewhere right now, because there’s not a whole lot of it.

My doctor sent me a survey on how I’m feeling, emotionally. Um, I’d be a bit of a sociopath if it was all flowers and rainbows in the middle of a pandemic. No, I’m not sleeping well, I worry a lot, and I have post-anesthesia brain fog. I just had two surgeries in 4 months during a pandemic, for goodness’ sake!

I’m a little fed up with all the forms and the surveys and the tests. I’m tired and I’m worried and I can’t heal if I’m filling out forms all the time.

Got some work done on the promotional TRINITY OF TEASERS package, but exporting text from system to system and having it actually do what I want is frustrating. But I don’t want to rekey over 100 pages of text, either. I need to get back to work on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, too. I thought I’d be farther along by now.

I thought I’d be farther along on a lot of things.

Didn’t get the reading done for my language class, so I’ll have to get that done today.

Did do some work on Book 4 of the Gambit Colony series, because I craved it. Really shouldn’t be working on it now, but it calms me and soothes me and gives me creative fuel for other projects.

The dickheads with their illegal fireworks were in full force last night. These are the same idiots who won’t wear masks because “fweedom” asLilith St. Crow put it the other day in her blog. Their freedom to terrorize the neighborhood exists, but ours not to be infected by their stupidity does not. We obviously know for whom they voted and where they get their news. About 20-30 minutes, at least 300-400 fireworks (I trained in pyro when I worked rock and roll, I know these things). I was on the floor, beside Tessa, who was terrified, putting my body between the direction of the noise and poor Tessa. Willa and Charlotte ignore the noise, but it absolutely terrifies Tessa.

At least I had a good night’s sleep, for once.

Working on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning – hoping I can finish fixing that huge plot problem. I can’t believe I was that stupid.

Dashing down to the library for a curbside pickup this morning. Excited to return books and get some new ones. Will also read the book for review this weekend.

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Sent out a bunch of cards to people yesterday, and have some more that need to go out in the next few days. I ordered a bunch of new notecards from Peter Pauper Press (one of my favorite suppliers), so it’s time to use them!

I’m actually almost looking forward to the weekend. I have to battle the bindweed, weather permitting, but I’d like to read and write and not deal with any human beings outside the household.

I don’t feel there’s a lot to celebrate this year, but I am looking forward to some downtime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!