Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Tues. April 26, 2022: A Reasonably Restful Weekend

image courtesy of haegenmatteORG via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

For once, this Tuesday post won’t be pages and pages. There’s a post over on the GDR site about putting together the pieces that have been discussed there over the past few weeks.

I picked this photo because people love their hammocks around here, and are starting to put them up again for the summer.

Friday, we set out the plants on the porch for the day. It was quite lovely, and I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription and stopped at the liquor store on the way back. I was testing a pair of cute flats, rather than the boots I’ve worn all winter. While the cute shoes are fine if I drive somewhere, walking a three-mile round trip didn’t work in them. I had bleeding blisters and my ankles hurt from the concrete. Live and learn. I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Expanded the pitch to my Llewellyn editor and sent that off. Hopefully, she’ll want one of the two ideas. Of course, I thought of a third idea once I sent it off; I can either save that for next year, or, if she doesn’t like either of my ideas, counter with this one. Although I would prefer to do some practical work on the idea this year so I can more accurately write about it.

Spent the whole day Friday on contest entries. I was so happy I could work on them out on the porch.  One category is complete. The second category should be done tomorrow, or Thursday latest, and the final category by next Monday. I truly enjoyed the work, although more and more of the admin is being pushed onto the judges, without the pay going up. But we’re paid, which is more than most contests do.

At the end of the day, I oiled the other Adirondack chairs. It makes me laugh that I bought these chairs out on the Cape, the first summer we lived there. And yet here, where we are close to the actual Adirondacks, they’re selling Hyannisport rockers! (Hyannisport is an upscale enclave on the water, near where I used to live).

Juggling several books to read for pleasure, in addition to all the contest reading. I absolutely loved PROVENCE, 1970 by Luke Barr, about MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, et al, who convened there for several weeks of cooking and talking. They were at turning points in their lives and careers, and the food world was also at a turning point. The talk about Sonoma County, in California, at that time, kind of reminds me of what’s going on here with the farm-to-table movement.

The plants had to come in overnight, because it’s still going down to the thirties at night.  They went out on the porch on Saturday, came back in Saturday night. I had the chance to oil the bistro table. Sunday, it was too cloudy and cold to put them out at all, but we brought them out again on Monday, while it was sunny. And today, I will oil the small table.

I still have to oil the bistro chairs and the bench out on the back balcony, but I have to wait until the temperature stops going down so low at night, or the wood will crack.

Saturday, I read and puttered and arranged and rearranged a few things around the house. I took it easy, feeling weary, and needing the time to rest. I did a good bit of percolation on several projects, just letting my mind roam freely through them, poking at different aspects and seeing what came out. I’ve narrowed too much of that creative time out, and I need to create space for it again, because the work is so much better when I do.

I treated myself, on Saturday, to smoked trout with a touch of horseradish cream on buttered rye bread and prosecco (making like a Venetian with the latter). It was perfect. Saturday night dinner was very simple – leftover ham (I feel like we’ll never be done with the leftovers) with vegetables turned into a ham pot pie.

Sunday morning, I made biscuits, and, later in the day, I did an easy chocolate mousse. But the rest of the day, I puttered around, noodled with ideas, and re-read APPETITE FOR LIFE, the wonderful Julia Child biography. I’d read it when it first came out, in 1997, and enjoyed it. I appreciate it even more this time around.

I broke my “day of disconnect” to keep an eye on the elections in France and Slovenia. Glad to see the fascists lost, at least for the moment. Would that we could remove them from positions of power here, too. The lack of consequences for crimes committed publicly in real time is appalling.

While I understand that people want to reconnect, the photos of people who should know better behaving irresponsible at conferences, festivals, and events are deeply disturbing. No one better act surprised when they get sick. Because it is “when” and not “if.”

Yesterday morning, Tessa got me up early, awakening me out of “busy dreams.” They weren’t bad dreams at all, but I was very busy in them, and woke up exhausted. Still, we got our morning routine done, and the plants out.

I tried to get in contact with the mechanic, and they were closed yesterday. I’m getting really frustrated. Also, the transfer of my mom’s number was initiated on Thursday, late in the day, and it’s still not complete. This let’s-screw-the-customer-because-we’re-the-only-choice is revolting.

I got some blogging done, working ahead a bit. I need to start spending more time over on Ello and build up that platform. If Elon Musk buys Twitter, and it looks like he’s succeeded, that’s it for me over there, which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. Don’t like FB, and resent that I feel forced to be on it. Instagram has so many scammers on it that it harms my pleasure in it, although I block daily. I never even bothered to join Reddit, because all I see from it are people being awful to each other.  My website posts are connected to Tumblr, but I rarely spend much time on it.

We’ll see. Don’t borrow trouble, right? Keep my own sites going. Limit my time on sites that no longer serve my needs. Do the work. I’m reconfiguring my relationship to work, in general, so I might as well reconfigure it with social media, too.

The weather was gorgeous. Walked up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Trees and bushes and flowers are coming into bloom, and it’s gorgeous. The smells are wonderful, too.

Did my script coverage sitting on the porch, enjoying the nice weather. Did a 20-minute mid-day meditation, which was also good. And then went back to working on more contest entries.

Up around 5 this morning, thanks to Tessa. Who needs an alarm clock, when one has a Tessa? Although she’s more about what she wants when she wants it, then consistent time. It wasn’t raining yet, so once I did my yoga, I bundled up the laundry and hauled it over to the laundromat. Got it turned around quickly, although forty-five minutes in, other people showed up to do their laundry. They were perfectly fine; we acknowledged each other and did their own thing. I’m just proprietary about the laundromat early in the morning, because I can get so much work done.

And I did get good work done, on The Big Project, which I hope to continue this morning, in and around trying to get an appointment with the damn mechanic, and some other admin stuff, and more script coverage.

I got home before the rain started, so I’ll call that a win!

Have a good one!

Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Tues. Oct. 19, 2021: The Good Work of Writing

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

Jupiter and Mercury have gone direct, which means maybe we can have some positive forward motion.

You can hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the mid-month check-in.

The house we lived in on Cape, which was for sale with a pending sale? Back on the market. Not surprising, considering how much over the assessment valued they asked, and that the new owner will need to redo both bathrooms and replace all the windows. But I’m sure the current owners will somehow justify the fallen through sale as my fault. Whatever.

Used the Sundance Lab time on Friday to work on “A Rare Medium.” It was an excellent session. I got six pages done, the next scene, and I’m happy with the work. Although the breakout networking sessions aren’t what I need right now (although, in a professional sense, what I should attend), using the writing time in company can help me get these plays done.

Wrote up three script coverages. Was requested to read a new draft of a script I’d liked and given notes on a few weeks back, so that will be a good way to start the next workweek.

My mom is still a little tired from the COVID booster, but, overall, there were few side effects.

Worked with Charlotte on her bedmaking anxiety. She loves sleeping on my bed, but she gets anxious when I make it in the morning, or when I change the sheets. Most cats I’ve had love to use bedmaking time to play. They “hide” under the covers as I pile them on, and then either meow, and I flip back the covers to let them out, or they slither to the edge of the bed and drop down to the floor.

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

So I make sure not to cover her, because she doesn’t know what to do.

What we did, instead, was make the bed very slowly, giving her a chance to hopscotch on top of each sheet or blanket as I pulled it up. It didn’t take that much longer, and it was a fun game for her. When the bed was made, she rolled over, purring, and waving her feet n the air, happy as can be. Which is nice change from the upset she usually has around making the bed, where she growls and cries as I wrestle the covers from her. This game, she understands, and it makes her happy. I can take three extra minutes in the morning to make the bed in a way that doesn’t scare her.

The weather cleared up enough by mid-day on Saturday so that I could go to The Spruces for the Audubon Nature Walk sponsored by my town’s library. It was a small group, and, even though the adults were vaccinated, there was a young child in the group, so we masked without being asked, and without fussing. The people were nice, the walk was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d hoped to learn more about the history of the actual Spruces community, but that wasn’t the focus. I’m going to have to go to Williamstown and dig for it in the library myself. Which could be a fun project, it’s just scheduling it so I don’t lose income from other assignments.

There’s a book or a play or something related to the history of the Spruces that I need to write, I’m just not sure what yet.

Came home, showered (decontamination protocols, just in case). Fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.

This was the first in-person event I’ve attended since the pandemic. Although it was small, fun, safe, and enjoyable, I was still exhausted.

To bed early on Saturday night, which meant up early Sunday morning.

Sunday was spent finishing the short almanac articles, fact-checking, and proofing. If I hadn’t faffed about so much and wasted so much time during the day the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have had to work all day. But the time mismanagement is on me, so I did it. I’m actually satisfied with the work. I have the knowledge; I’d put in research and experimentation time. It was a case of writing it up succinctly.

To bed fairly early on Sunday, and even got to sleep until 5 on Monday.

Did a final proofread of the short articles, updated my bio, sent them off to my editor, and they were acknowledged. Much as I loved doing those 25 little pieces, it was an even better feeling to send them off. They are for the 2023 Almanac.

I have to spend some serious time in the coming months working on the Cerridwen Iris Shea website, blog, and putting together some of the older material into small eBooks.

Another Big Project for the winter.

Did my Soul Expedition work. The exercises were extremely useful, and I discovered important roots that need to be dealt with.

Had a good conversation with a Twitter pal about Edith Wharton, and about Tolstoy and his wife. So much on Twitter is “in passing” that it’s nice to have substantial interactions sometimes.

Spent some time on Women Write Change, and on the Nano site. I’m over on WWC almost every day, or, at least, every other day, although I don’t always talk about it. It’s a small group, but a good one. On Nano, I spent time on Enchanted Wordsmiths, and also had a conversation with the Writer-Bakers. I’ve gotten two new challah bread recipe recommendations through them.

I started typing up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER, and expanding/arranging them, for my outline.

When it hit noon, and Sundance Collab time, I felt I “should” switch over to work on “A Rare Medium.” However, the flow was going well on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I started to dither and then thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s not a major decision” and kept working on the outline during the Collab time. Got 4 of the 9 handwritten pages typed up, arranged, and expanded. Printed them out, just in case.

Quite a few people mentioned, on Twitter, how much more energized they felt. Yeah, that’s what having Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and Mercury (we all know those connotations) going direct on the same day will do for you.

Attended the live session of the Soul Expedition and was frustrated. I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow, when I talk more in depth about that and have some Nano tips.

Made brownies from the Moosewood recipe. It turned out well. Might be my favorite brownie recipe to date.

Ordered a bunch of books from the library. I can take out up to 50 books, but can only put on holds up to 20.  Oh, well.

Paid by a client, so I can pay bills this upcoming week. Might give myself a treat, too.

Read two scripts last night.

Had a good evening meditation session. A couple of “aha” moments in there.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:22 this morning. What a luxury! The usual morning routine (feed the cats, make the coffee, write in the journal, 1st 1K of the day, yoga, meditation, shower, dress). I’m changing up my laundromat routine. Since I’m often the first and only one there in the morning, and it’s a little creepy in the dark, I want to make sure I don’t keep a regular schedule. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about things like that.

Onward to the Soul Expedition work, and then more writing and script coverage. I have to do a post office, library, and grocery run today, too.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. Oct. 5, 2021: That Retrograde Energy

image courtesy of Greg Rakozy via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

It was definitely a Mercury Retrograde weekend, both positive and negative aspects.

The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site has the Questions for 2022 posted.

If you’re doing Nano this year, I have a free download booklet, 30 Tips for 30 Days, that gives you ideas for prep, daily encouragement, and what to do post-nano.

Friday was pretty calm. Got some of the decorating done, but there’s plenty more to do, along with the unpacking that needs to happen this month. Fish & chips for dinner Friday night was fun.

Tessa got me up early on Saturday. I fed them all and tried to go back to bed, but they weren’t having it, so I moved to the couch, she quieted down, I dozed off, and overslept.

But I got back on track just fine. I mean, it’s a weekend, no schedule.

My mom read about a small town in upstate NY that sounded like a lot of fun – farmer’s market, consignment stores, used bookshops, bakery. Since it was supposed to be a fairly nice day, and warm, we decided to go. Most places over the line into NY, over the line in VT, and around here are open on the weekends, and take their weekends on Mondays, Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesdays. Which makes sense, because they get the day trippers on the weekends. We don’t have to worry about timing crossings on the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges so we aren’t stuck for hours, so we can actually go out and about on weekends again.

We got in the car and followed the directions, which took us over on 2 through Williamstown, then down a bit on 7 until we hit 2 again. I’m still getting used to mountain driving, and a GMC pickup truck riding my tailpipes didn’t help. NY Rt. 7, and then Rt. 22 north took us through lots of farms and a couple of odd little towns to the little town my mom wanted to see.

Which was a bit run down. But hey, everyone’s doing the best they can, right? It was a half hour past time for the farmer’s market to open, but not a single stand had been set up. Couldn’t find any of the stores that advertised in the local paper, and, even if we had, there wasn’t any parking.

On top of that, no one was masked, and there were yard signs around stating, “Unmask and Live Free.”

Yeah, no, not spending money in an anti-mask, pro-Trump town.

We left.

We stopped at a consignment store called The Treasure Hut in Hoosick, NY. It reminded me a bit of my favorite Saybrook Recycled Furniture. It has lots of great pieces at a variety of prices.

I found a wonderful pendulum clock (like a mini grandfather clock) by a silversmith named Wallace. It was only $20, so I grabbed it. I saw a couple of pieces I really liked, including a pale blue, small dresser that would look good in the sewing room, but decided not to buy it just yet.

Looking at the road signs and maps, it made more sense to go back through Bennington than retrace our steps. We went to Bennington, and stopped at Aldi’s, which has been recommended to us, but we’d never visited. Got a few things, but not really impressed.

Drove back home. Much faster drive this way, and also better roads.

We ate the pizza we’d bought at Aldi’s and talked about the dresser, then got back into the car, drove back to the Treasure Hut (via Bennington this time, much shorter) and bought the dresser and a small bookcase. They fit into the VW perfectly.

Drove home, wrestled the pieces out of the car. My lovely downstairs neighbor helped carry the dresser up the stairs. The bookcase was light enough for me to handle by myself.

The dresser fits perfectly next to the vanity table that I’ve repurposed into a sewing table. The pieces look like they were designed together.

The bookcase is ½” too big to fit on top of the dresser, so I put it in the living room, behind one of the wingback chairs, and am still using it for craft supplies and ribbons.

Tufts sent my mom a bill for her insurance premium, even though they dropped her. They can take that bill and shove it right up their collective asses.

Started reading the next book for review. Not thrilled with it. Switched and read the next Wonky Inn book instead, which was fun.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, early. It had a tarot deck included. It’s not a deck I would have chosen for myself, but I like its gentle energy. I look forward to working with it.

I had tried to get information on a sister Women’s March around here, and couldn’t find anything to which I could get to, was uncomfortable with being around that many people in a pandemic when I just spent a year fighting cancer, and angry that no one is funding transportation for people who want to attend these marches, but can’t get there on their own. If the wife of a Supreme Court justice can fund buses to bring insurrectionists to DC to overthrow the government, pro-choice organizations can damn well fund buses to protect Roe. The people most affected by this are the ones who don’t have the resources to get there on their own.

Tessa was at it again on Sunday morning, way too early. Not happy about it.

Changed all the beds (usually a Saturday chore, but we did it on Sunday). Charlotte got shut in the linen cupboard, which could have had tragic results. But Willa was running around, agitated, going in and out of the laundry room, and when I realized I couldn’t find Charlotte, I opened the door, and there she was. She was only in there a few minutes, but still. I need to be more careful. I thought she was asleep on my bed. I should have checked all the shelves before closing the cupboard.

This is why we always do a kitty headcount before we leave the house.

Chocolate chip brioche for breakfast. It was really good, but store-bought, so I guess I’m learning how to make brioche.

Headed to Lenox. Made a stop at Yankee Candle, to take advantage of their sale and the coupons they sent. Got some great stuff, and, except for bayberry candles for the holidays, I think I’m set until spring.

Then headed down to Chocolate Springs Café, where a local chocolatier creates all kinds of stuff. Bought a few things and ordered hot chocolate to go. All delicious. We will stop there when we are in that area.

On the way back, stopped at The Cook’s Resource, and I was in heaven. I bought a couple of things (including a fish spatula), and signed up for the rewards program. I might start slowly replacing our ancient pans with some top-of-the-line ones.

We were comfortable with the shopping, because masks were required everywhere. And, people were respectful about distancing (not that anything was crowded).

Stopped at a Chinese takeout in Williamstown. It was really good, and we’ll definitely get takeout from them again.

There was a parade down Main Street, which we circumnavigated. While it would have been nice to watch the parade, we’re still not people-ing in a pandemic.

Got everything upstairs, ate. The computer was being cranky.

And then. . .turns out the floats and a lot of the marchers from the parade came down our little street after finishing the parade route. We could sit on the front porch and see them. It was delightful. Floats and marching band and people in costume. So much fun. We got to enjoy the parade without being at risk.

Got the computer going again.

Read four scripts and wrote up a rush coverage on one. Finished reading the book for review, which got better as it continued, but I don’t know how many people will stay with it until it does so.

Monday morning, Tessa started at 3:20 AM. I refused to feed them that early, but I took the feather bed and moved to the couch. She settled down, and I fell asleep again, and overslept.

But I got going, slowly. Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month.

They fixed the heat in the morning, which was nice. I hadn’t expected it until the end of the week. Takes the damp and the chill out.

Wrote up script coverage, caught up on email, got some LOIs out. Got ahead on some blog posts. Spent a couple of hours scheduling posts for 30 Tips for 30 Days, so that people can find out about it/access it up through the first week of Nano.

Read four scripts.

FB/Instagram/WhatsApp being down didn’t affect me. We lived perfectly well before they were invented. Before people carry on about how WhatsApp is the only way most people have to communicate, my response is, “What the fuck did you think would happen if you let your life be dictated by an app?” People have tried to bully me into using WhatsApp and I DON’T WANT TO. Therefore, I don’t.

Charlotte and Tessa woke up at 2 AM this morning. First, I kicked Charlotte out of the bedroom and brought Tessa in. She settled on the bed, and we were all fine, until Charlotte started banging on the door. Then, Tessa found a ball with a bell in it. Anyone who has a cat knows what a cat finding a toy with a bell in it during the night means. Yup. Suddenly, all she wanted to do was play with the toy with the bell. Kicked her out of the room.

She started howling.

I grabbed the featherbed and settled on the guest bed in the sewing room. Charlotte joined me, and Tessa could see me from the couch, so we settled down and I dozed off again, until the alarm went off at 5, and Tessa started howling for breakfast.

Fed everybody, got the laundry sorted out, and headed to the laundromat. Got three loads of sheets, towels, and dishtowels done in just over an hour.

Today, we have to go to Williamstown and shut down our TD Bank account (finally). I need to pay some bills; we need to get our library cards off the temporary “probation” and into permanent cards; I need to go to the grocery stores. On the way back, we’ll pick up takeout from the Korean restaurant.

I have a lot of script coverage to write up, three more scripts to read, a book review to write, and short articles on which to work.

Later tonight, we have Knowledge Unicorns.

Guess I better get going, huh? Somewhere in there, I have to do more unpacking, especially when it comes to putting fabric in the new dresser.

Have a good one.

Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Tues. Aug. 17, 2021: Frustrating Start

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Mid-month check-in is up at the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

It was a good weekend, although I had a late start to it. In the hot weather, I’ve been taking a break during the worst heat/humidity in the middle of the day and focusing on the reading portion of my job(s). But that means I have to get back to the writing in the evenings, when it’s cooler and I can actually think. I wasn’t finished on Friday until about 8 PM, which I hate. (Which is why when someone approaches me with the line, “Must work PST hours” I refuse).

Also, too much of Friday was spent trying to open the new account at Greylock Federal Credit Union. It shouldn’t take three hours to open an account, and it shouldn’t take two weeks before the account is up and running. Seriously wondering if we made the right choice. Well, if we hate it, there are a ton of banks around here, and we’ll just change over again.

Tons of email to get through; I’ve been waiting too late in the day on Fridays with the admin. Hopefully, that will change now that it’s a little cooler.

After dinner on Friday, we had the lights off in the kitchen and sat, watching the thunder and lightning roll around the mountains. It was really cool.

Saturday was heavy with humidity, and it was hard to concentrate on anything. A friend is visiting for Labor Day weekend (yes, vaccinated), and booked her train ticket. I’m going to pick her up/drop her off at the train station in Albany, which will be an adventure.

Put away the holiday decorations we brought up in this last storage run. Winter on one side of the shelves, autumn on the other. There’s still plenty more coming up, but we will figure it out. There’s still room.

Got Mother’s prescriptions transferred up to the local CVS. The one on Cape said they’d do it, but, of course, didn’t. Everything is set up – only when we came home, there was a letter from Tufts that they are dropping her from their health insurance because she moved. They supposedly cover the entire state (one reason we wanted to stay in MA), sent her four volumes of statewide doctors and a list of local ones (none of whom were closer than 18 miles away), and now they’re dumping her. During a pandemic. After raising her premiums while doing less. This is not acceptable. Hey, I’m all for her having a better health plan, but Tufts needs to be bitch slapped by Health & Human Services, Maura Healey’s office, and Elizabeth Warren’s office for this type of behavior, and I am damn well going to make sure that happens. I’d like to bitch slap the Tufts CEO myself. In person.

Wrote up my book review and got it in on time. I always drag my feet when the book is a disappointment. This one needed both a developmental and a copy edit. It was a meandering mess.

Sunday was a lovely, sunny, cool day. We checked the local Goodwill, which is huge and has a lot of stuff, but nothing we needed. Then, we headed over to The Spruces, just over the border into Williamstown. The Spruces was a planned senior community of trailer homes, begun in the 1950’s, with its own mayor and city council. It was flooded out permanently in either 2011 or 2012, and now the town owns it and turned it into a community park. It’s filled with wildflowers and trees, and there are still ghostly outlines of some of the properties. The entrance has two white lion statues on very tall pedestals. It’s beautiful and a little creepy all at once.

The news of the earthquake in Haiti is sad, and what’s going on in Afghanistan was completely predictable. It was never about independence for the country, but about how much money our military contractors could make, Of course, the same GOP who doesn’t want to support those seeking asylum are the ones screaming about what’s going on there. Not to mention it was a Republican who got us into the mess in the first place. Typical hypocrites.

Read Peter Ackroyd’s short biography of Wilkie Collins, which gave me some ideas, especially when it comes to the Victorian actors Squire and Marie Bancroft. Put aside the book of letters between Yeats and Maud Gonne – that research is not leading where I’d hoped so I’m putting that project aside for now.

Worked on unpacking and setting up the sewing room (which also doubles as a guest room. Still more to do, but we’re getting there.

Wrote steadily all weekend, and that felt good. Writing steadily first thing every morning.

Monday started as a cool, lovely day. Good writing session, caught up on email. Went to the post office to mail a stack of bills and letters. Went to both libraries.

Got Mother’s social security deposit information changed to the new bank. No luck with the insurance. The Medicare “help line” who’d sent her paperwork promising to help passed her from person to person to person, NONE of whom helped. I have to contact Health & Human Services, copying Maura Healey and Elizabeth Warren.

Only the Brother laser printer needs a new yellow ink toner, and won’t let me override to print in black and white. Staples won’t ship the regular cartridge. It has to be picked up in store. The store in Pittsfield doesn’t have it – I’d have to drive to Albany, and they won’t guarantee it’s still there, even if I purchase it for in-store pickup. I had to order, online, the more expensive cartridge to be shipped. It’s supposed to be here by tomorrow. They sent me a “driver’s release” form so the driver just leaves it at the door – but the link doesn’t go anywhere.

Can’t ANYBODY do their fucking job?

I’m so sick and tired of losing hours and days of work for stupid people. They’re costing me too much money.

Tried to fill out the paperwork so my mom’s pension goes into the new bank account. But because I couldn’t print it out for her to sign, I don’t know if they’ll accept it. She signed a statement. They also wanted a void check – only we don’t have checks, so the bank gave us a letter of authorization, stating the account was open. Let’s see if they accept that. If the pension goes into one account and the social security goes into another, it will be a hot mess.

None of this should be difficult, nor should it take days to “process.” You have the information electronically. Fucking type it in and save it, and then use it.

It was faster when NONE of it was electronic.

Read the second Wonky Inn book, which was fun. Got my next book assigned for review, so I’m looking forward to it. Read one of the scripts I have to cover – turns out it’s about an historical even into which I’ve done extensive research. So that’s fun.

It’s getting humid again.  We’re supposed to have showers on and off throughout the week. High humidity, although the temperatures won’t be that bad. I think we’ll get smacked with a bit of Hurricane Fred at some point, although nowhere near as much as the coast will.

I have to head over to the laundromat to get the laundry done. Big pile of it, since I didn’t go last week (we did the storage run instead).

Script coverage, almanac articles, starting the book for review, LOIs. Just another day in Freelance Life.

There was a beautiful rainbow stretching over the mountain, when I was on the front porch doing my first writing session this morning. The camera in the phone couldn’t capture it, but I enjoyed watching it until it faded away.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. Aug. 3, 2021: Love The Libraries

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

For some reason, the weekend feels like a really long time ago.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog. I’m slowly gearing up the other blogs.

I didn’t manage my time properly, so I ended up writing up script coverage all weekend. I need to figure things out better, so I have weekends off from the coverage, or it’s just too much.

I found out that a new independent bookstore opened, within walking distance. My first instinct was to run right over and check it out. However, I decided to wait until I get paid, so that I can actually spend money there (not just buy one thing because I feel like I can’t go in without buying something, but buy several things and give them some serious business). I also discovered that, at Norad Mill, on the way to Wild Oats Market, is a yarn store. I don’t need more yarn – I have so much in storage. But there’s a yarn store, so you know I’m going to go there.

The list of possibilities for upcoming Artist Dates grows. And that is a good thing.

I like that there are places I can frequent within walking distance.

Norad Mill also has a yoga studio, with strict vaccine rules for in-studio work. Even with that, that everyone needs to be vaccinated, masks are welcome within the studio, I’m not sure if I feel comfortable going back into the studio. There’s another studio (near the new bookstore), but it’s online only right now. As much as I’d like to go back to class, I’m not sure, even with precautions and protocols, I feel comfortable enough so to do. I feel like I’d need a separate set of mat, blocks, props, etc. to take to class that would need to be decontaminated and kept separate from my daily mat and blocks I use at home.

But it’s nice to know that the studios here follow protocols. Unlike the studio on Cape, where, during the height of it all last year, pre-vaccine, people could be inside without masks.

I received sad news. The Broadway colleague fighting COVID, who seemed to be improving, died of a heart attack on Friday night. He was a sweet, gentle soul who is an enormous loss.

It also increases my rage against anti-vaxxers. They are domestic terrorists, walking biological weapons, and need to be dealt with as the murderers they are.

Saturday, I put the cat condo back up. It’s in a corner of the living room. Because the ceilings are so much higher here, it doesn’t dominate the room, the way it did in the Cape house. The cats aren’t sure about it yet. It has to be their idea to go back into/onto it.

Worked on unpacking/setting up my office some more. It’s better, it’s workable, but I want it wonderful, and it’s not there yet.

The new Eureka vacuum arrived. It’s wonderful. It was also horrifying to see how much dirt was in the rugs that the other vacuum hadn’t picked up. But now, we’re finally getting things clean.

When I lived a block from Times Square, in NYC, the constant cleaning was discouraging. I’d scrub everything down; an hour later, there was a light layer of soot and grime over everything. When we first moved to the Cape, a decade ago, things were a little gritty because it’s sandy (beaches have sand), but, overall, it was cleaner. However, it got progressively dirtier, as trees are cut down, and there were the constant mowing/leaf blowing/chain saws. The dirt had an oily residue from all the machinery in constant use. Even with regular house cleaning, it was difficult to get it clean, much less keep it clean. As we unpack, even though we cleaned things before the move, everything needs a second, thorough scrub.

The dirt and dust, at least so far, is a different, lighter consistency. So far, at least, it’s easier to clean, even though we technically live in a city.

Who knew there were so many kinds of dirt? Not soil, but dirt.

Sunday was about some more unpacking. There are still a few boxes in the living room that need unpacking, but it’s not stuff for the living room. And we need to rearrange some stuff, and decide what to put on the mantel. So far, nothing looks quite right. Our mirrors are the wrong size and shape. I feel as though it should be a painting. If we keep the porcelain figurines (which have been in the family for generations and keep getting hauled around) on the mantel, I feel it should be a pastoral scene with a lake (for feng shui, there needs to be water over a fireplace, even if it’s not a real one), so it looks like the figures stepped out of it. If we move the figures (although who knows where), it can be some other sort of painting, as long as there’s a watery vibe to it (but not a sinking ship type of thing; not good for feng shui).

I tried putting the pieces I brought back from Australia oh, so long ago, when my play was produced there, but they don’t look or feel right there, either. They will probably go in my office.

Monday morning, in my first writing session of the day, I passed my daily quota, for the first time in months. It felt good. I’m getting back in synch with my creativity. I’m starting, slowly, to feel like myself again. The self I was when I moved so optimistically to the Cape ten years ago (nearly eleven now), although I doubt I’ll ever feel that level of optimism about anything ever again.

Got out some LOIs, caught up on email. Worked on the class presentation. Walked down to the post office to mail a few things.

I can see the college library from my front windows. So, yesterday morning, I walked over and got a Community Card. I have permission to both check books out of the library and to work in the library (it was practically empty today and everything is well spaced, but if COVID numbers keep going up, I doubt I will). Everyone at the college – students, faculty, staff, vendors – is required to be fully vaccinated, at least. But I don’t want to push my luck.

For research, it’s a fantastic library. Lots of books I can’t find anywhere else. I only checked out two books, but they will keep me busy for a bit!

Home, tried to get back to work, had a bad case of the I Don’t Wannas. Did a little unpacking and rearranging.

Worked on some script coverage. Started the next book I have to review. Paid some bills.

An interesting call for a flash fiction submission landed in my inbox, so I’m playing with some ideas.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat, with the eye pillow on, and Willa was absolutely convinced I was dying, and it was her job to resuscitate. Poor cat. Her original human, who gave her up because he was too sick to take care of her and of Charlotte, must have been in bad shape.

At least I’m sleeping better.

As I’m roaming around the neighborhood, learning my way about, I’m meeting various neighbors. People are good about distancing when unmasked outside, and everyone in the area is vaccinated (most are connected to the college, or to other companies that insist on vaccination). The timbre of conversation here is so different than it was on Cape.

For comparison:

Topic: My life and work in New York, and it comes up that I worked backstage on Broadway for years.

Typical Cape Cod response: “Oh, so you were fired and came here? But I bet you still have connections. How soon can you get me free tickets? There are lots of shows I want to see, but I’m not paying those prices.”

Berkshires: “I bet you got to work on some cool projects and with some talented people.”

(For the record: I was not fired. I was aging out, and wanted to leave while I still loved it).

Topic: Professions. I’m asked what I do for a living, and I respond with “writer.”

Typical Cape Cod: “What’s your real job?”

Berkshire: “Can we get together one day to take a walk around the lake/get coffee and talk about how you approach character and plot? I’m vaccinated, I promise.  I’m trying a few things, and I’d love to hear how you do it.”

See the difference?

Not everyone on Cape was like that, of course. The people who became my friends weren’t like that, or we wouldn’t have formed friendships. But, at networking or Chamber Events or Writers’ Center events or art openings, meeting and chatting with new people, that same response came up over and over and over again, for years.

Not that it’s perfect here. The Town Clerk still hasn’t responded to my request to change voter registration (which, according to the Secretary of State’s office has to be done here), and the equivalent of my health organization hasn’t responded to any of my requests for information. The original requests went in nearly a month ago. The local chamber of commerce hasn’t responded to my request for information (although the larger 1Berkshires has).

But when I meet people and talk to them, I’m met with interest, rather than the hostility of “you think you’re so great because you work in the arts, but you can’t be that great or you wouldn’t live here” which I got pounded with constantly on Cape for years.

It’s not about my view of my own “greatness.” It’s the fact that this is my profession, not my hobby, I put in the work, and earn my living at it.

Up early this morning, wrote my 1K in longhand. It felt good. There’s stuff I need to research, details, but the writing itself feels good, even though the story itself is light years away from what I usually do. Stretching is a good thing.

The bulk of today’s focus will be on the materials for class: finishing up the Power Point presentation, putting together the handouts. My host is doing maintenance, so I can’t upload anything until tomorrow, but if it’s ready to go, that means I can upload, test, and troubleshoot before Friday’s class.

I also have to make another trip to the post office, and then I’ll swing by the public library to return books/pick up books. I think it’s nice enough to walk today, so that’s what I’ll do. Walking more is both a good way to learn the area, and a way to regain fitness and strength. It’s safe to walk around here, too. People aren’t idiots, and don’t roam in unvaccinated packs, like they did on Cape. Even when we’re unmasked and vaccinated, we give each other room, passing on the sidewalk, etc. None of this invading personal space and literally blowing on the backs of people’s necks that the assholes did during the pandemic on Cape, thinking it was “funny.”

Got to do a grocery run, too. I’m out of oat milk. I put cow’s milk in my coffee this morning, and that was a mistake. We need a few things like eggs and butter, too.

Time to get back to work. Slowly, I’m finding my work rhythms again. I still get tired quickly, and have to take more breaks, but taking breaks isn’t a bad thing. When I take proper breaks, I’m more focused and productive when I actually work.

And I’m soooo much more productive working fully remotely than going into someone else’s office.

Back to the page, hoping for a good day, on multiple levels.

Thurs. July 29, 2021: Dressing For Me

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

This is the 49th anniversary of my father’s death.

Yesterday was a heavy reading day. I got some writing done in the morning, caught up on email, etc. Got out a script coverage. Participated in Remote Chat.

In the afternoon, I read the book for review, and two more scripts.

Which means today has to be a heavy writing day, with four script coverages and a review to write up, not to mention working on my short articles and next week’s class.

I’m jotting down ideas for upcoming posts on both the GDR site and Ink-Dipped Advice. Those blogs will start up again in the coming weeks. I don’t want to start everything all at once, because then it will be overwhelming. I’m going to stockpile material and then stagger the starts of the various blogs’ returns. I’d like to always be about a month ahead. That gets sticky for some of the GDR posts, because the nature of that blog is immediate and mutable, at least for the posts at the start, end, and mid-month. But the Monday “tools and resources” posts can be done ahead of time.

I’m working on the questions for 2022, which should be interesting, considering what we’ve all been through, and what we’re facing.

One of the things I’m doing now, in the morning, after my first writing of the day/yoga/meditation/shower, is to get dressed properly. When I cleaned out my clothes before the move (and donated oh, so much from my NYC life), I found a lot of cool, interesting pieces that both fit and are comfortable. So now, I’m wearing them.

There’s no reason I can’t be comfortable in my clothes as a remote worker and still look good/professional. Those are not mutually exclusive. I’ve never been someone who can work in pajamas. Pajamas mean sleep. I have enough sleep issues; working in pajamas would only complicate them. And I’d gotten into the habit of wearing the same few items over and over again. I have a whole closet and drawers full of great pieces which make me feel good. Why not wear them? I use the good china “just for us.” Why not the same with clothes?

Do I sometimes still need to change out of writing pants to put on “real people pants” to go out and run errands? Yes. But that’s getting to be more the exception than the rule. I always put on lipstick, even under the masks. For years, I’ve said I can be stark naked, but as long as I wear lipstick, I feel dressed. That’s still true.  I’m also putting on a little bit more makeup, too, whether I plan to leave the house or not. I do it for me. After all, I have the monthly IPSY subscription – why not use it, instead of stockpiling? Not just when I have Zoom meetings, but because it makes me feel good.

I’d started wearing my rings again (for those of you who know me, I generally wear 8 rings, each with a specific story/meaning), I stopped wearing rings and most jewelry when I left the house during last year’s portion of the pandemic because of the decontamination protocols – I’d have to decontaminate all the jewelry every time I returned. Once the decontamination protocols eased, I’ve been wearing jewelry again out and about. But now, that numbers are going back up, and we’re talking about putting the protocols back in place, I’m not doing it as often.

I’m tired of having my life dictated by the tyranny of the stupid and the selfish. Anti-vaxxers should be banned from public spaces. Let THEM be the ones forced into isolation for the coming months. Stop punishing the people who’ve worked hard to do what’s right for themselves, their families, and their communities for the past eighteen months. I have no problem continuing to wear a mask until the vaccine is developed for kids, we can vaccinate kids, and we can get 97% or more of the population vaccinated. No problem. It’s a mask. It’s not a big deal. I DO have a problem with selfish idiots refusing to do their part and helping the virus mutate and kill more people. Those individuals need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on others. And not allowed to cause any more damage.

Anyway, I’m joining the online meditation group this morning, and then it’s all about writing reviews and script coverage. If I can fit it in, I might participate in Freelance Chat at noon, but I’m not counting on it.

The days are getting shorter. When I first got up, just before 5, it was too dark to write out on the porch. I may get a battery-operated camp lantern out there (mine is, of course, in storage – will see about bringing it back when we do the storage run).

Our old Hoover vacuum is not working properly. It’s about 30 years old, so it’s definitely put in its time. I ordered a new Eureka vacuum from Chewy, and it should be here tomorrow. It says a lot that I am so excited by the thought of a new vacuum!

I’m looking forward to Lammas on Sunday.

Published in: on July 29, 2021 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 29, 2021: Dressing For Me  
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Tues. March 2, 2021: Die Even Faster For Your Employer Day 284/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 34 — It’s a Whirlwind, But is it Positive or Negative?

image courtesy of David Zydd via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and c-c-c-old!

It’s March, and there’s a LOT that needs to get done in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, I can pull it off.

There are posts on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site that wrap up February and start March.

Early Friday morning, I entered the cage match that is the fight for vaccine appointments. I made it into the “digital waiting room” with an “estimated wait time” of 21 minutes. Which rapidly went up to 23 minutes, 27 minutes, down to 11 minutes, up to 14 minutes for nearly a half hour, then “your estimated wait time is greater than a day.”

WTF????

When Baker smarmed his way through the press conference announcing this “digital waiting room,” he claimed it would be like getting in line – you arrive in the waiting room, get a “number” (like at the deli, although you never see it), and will be taken in turn.

So why is MY digital wait time expanding as more people virtually enter? Why are they getting in ahead of me when I’ve been waiting in it for however long (and it was much longer than the estimated wait time).

Suddenly, it went down to 3 minutes, then it went up to more than a day, then it went down to 1 minute (for about 5 minutes) and then, catapulted me onto the sign-up site.

Where I had to compete with those wanting a first dose.

And where they don’t have signups even listed for the week I need it for my mom, and the signups for the next few days are all full. And NONE of the signups were on Cape Cod. Not one.

So I left without being able to book anything.

I’m hoping they’ll post more dates next week.  It’s ridiculous that one can only book a couple of days out.

A couple of hours later, I got an “update” email from the county, stating that if I’d received the first dose on the 10th or 12th, they’d sent me a link for the second this morning, and I should hurry up and use it to sign up for the second, at specific locations.

Well, that’s not when and where my mom’s signup was. But does that mean that, next week, I will get a special link for the second shot in Orleans? Or am I going to have to keep fighting?

The contradictory information and lack of clear communication is ridiculous.

Polished my article and sent it off to my editor. I hope she likes it (although I’m also hoping we find a better title).  I liked cutting and rearranging. It made the piece tighter and helped with the flow. Being forced to fit into the word count meant any word that didn’t earn its keep had to be cut. And was. I even made it 5 words UNDER!

I went over my notes for the next article, for the other publication, and started writing it in my head a bit.

Had to pick up a prescription for my mom at CVS. It was the wrong prescription, something that’s been cancelled, but I didn’t know until I got it home, and they wouldn’t let me return it. So we’re out money for something we can’t use. Every damn month for the ten years we’ve lived here, CVS messes up the prescriptions. I sincerely hope I don’t have to go to them for the vaccine, because they’re not organized enough to be administering it. Who knows what they’d actually jab into my arm? But it probably wouldn’t be the vaccine.

IF they would even deign to do it. A few years back, we went back six times and they kept refusing to give my mom her shingles shot, told us to come back, we came back as scheduled, and then they found another excuse. So we went to Whole Health instead, who were lovely.

Unfortunately, Whole Health isn’t listed on the site of Fantasy Vaccine Sites the county put out (where supposedly, they’re giving vaccines, but the sites themselves don’t have any vaccines to give).

It’s a complete mess, an unnecessary one – it COULD have been handled better. Baker keeps trying to blame the Feds. Yeah, we know we aren’t getting as many doses as we can use. But, at the same time, the doses we are getting, which have increased every week, aren’t going where they’re needed. Instead of sending them to mass vaccine sites and opening the pool to more applicants, look at the data, see where the doses are needed, and route them there. When the pool is vaccinated, THEN open it up to the next tier. But this attitude of “oh, Gillette has appointments not being used, so we’re going to let a larger group of people make appointments” is crap, because the reason the original pool didn’t use the appointments is because THEY CAN’T GET TO GILETTE. So send the doses where people NEED them.

On top of this, Baker is ramping up more re-opening as of yesterday. Knowing that people can’t get vaccinated fast enough to make it viable, knowing the variants are showing up, knowing that our daily new case numbers are back on the rise.

Completely irresponsible.

Curbside pickup at the liquor store and the library. Home, decontaminated. Got out some LOIs. Looked at a grant, which don’t think I fit, at least not for this round. Started prepping a play for submission in the UK.

Started re-keying the play “Date Café” and am now wondering if I should update it to just pre-pandemic, or leave it just prior to Y2K. I’m leaning toward the latter. It’s a romantic farce, and tightly written, so I don’t want to mess with it to much, except to clarify a few points and tighten it a bit more. Actors doing it have to work at whiplash speed, or it won’t work.

Caught up on some admin.

Live script doctored via Zoom for a video shoot, which was an interesting experience. Can’t talk in detail because of the NDA, but having to create on my feet (metaphorically, since I was sitting) during the shoot was both stressful and fun. It was mostly punching up some dialogue and fixing cadence rhythms that weren’t true to the character and tripped up the performers.

Worked through some contest entries. There’s some really good stuff. There’s some that just misses, but a lot of heart and soul went into the entries, which is why it’s always such a great experience to read them.

I was feeling lazy and not like cooking, so I was going to do a curbside pickup at a local restaurant, even though the two times I’ve done that during the pandemic were a complete disaster. However – their prices have tripled in the past year. For food that’s okay, but not great.

No, thank you. I’ll suck it up and cook something better myself.

Woke up way too early on Saturday, worrying. Got up and started my day. That full moon in Virgo energy was going full blast, and cleaned out stacks of stuff and reorganized some creative projects and project files before 5 AM.

Found a bunch of random notes I’d jotted in passing for several projects in process, and put them in appropriate files, and I’m separating them out into their project bins.

Felt good to get it done.

Finished the print books on the third category of contest entries. I’m going to read a book for review, and then start reading the digital contest entries. I want to get all the entries done on the first shipment before the second one arrives (I think it ships this week).

Seven loads of laundry.

Got the article done for this week’s Ink-Dipped Advice, working a bit ahead, for once. I have a couple of other ideas for posts, so I might work a few weeks ahead this week.

Purged boxes from the basement (meeting my quota). Relaxed with a glass of wine by the fire and a book.

Up way to early Sunday, worrying (note the pattern?)

Did a rough draft of my article for THE WRITER. Finished the Ink-Dipped Advice post and scheduled it to post. Sent out some LOIs.

Purged more boxes. I have one more row than I thought I did, which is depressing. But I’m seeing progress. I have a lot to take to the dump, and I have a stack of empty bins that will be useful to transport oddly-shaped objects.

Got my contest lists for the second shipment of entries. Good thing I’ve gotten through so many from the first! I have to cross check the second list with my first list, since the second list is comprehensive, not just additions.

A Zoom interview with a source was moved to Sunday afternoon, which meant I missed my virtual 40th high school reunion. On the one hand, I know the organizers did a fantastic job, and I would have liked to view it. On the other, so few of these people have remained part of my life, I wish them happiness and good lives.

Didn’t really watch the Golden Globes (although I loved Elle Fanning’s dress), but I did catch Mark Ruffalo’s speech. He continues to teach us about being good humans.

Up way to early Monday, worrying. Didn’t write first thing, which was a mistake, and it threw off the pace of my day. Instead, I started in with admin work. That threw off my day.

Switched over to client work. Got out the email blast I’d set up last week, got up some social media posts, worked on some direct response copy.

Worked and reworked and polished the article. Still not convinced the last sentence hits the way I want it to, but it’s much better than, say, 15 sentences ago. That goes out this morning.

Purged double my box quota for the day, which felt very good. Found some cool stuff; tossed a lot. It’s too stormy to do a dump run today, so that is pushed back until later in the week.

Submitted a script to a theatre in the UK that’s having an open call.

Working on a pitch for a specific magazine. The timing works, because they just rejected the previous pitch I sent them; I have another market appropriate for this one, and the pitch I’m working on, I think, is more suited. Hope to get that out today.

Coordinated the two sets of contest entries, to make sure I have/read everything.

Found an old pair of glasses when I cleaned things out that make the world much clearer than my current ones. Although they are very 80’s/90’s, oversized and heavy, so I’ll probably just wear them in the house.

Found photos of me in a mermaid gown I designed and a friend built me, for a big event, and photos from one of our times at the Tony Awards. One of the friends in the photos is already dead. And I miss that exuberant woman I was who believed in so much. I mourn the loss of that part of myself.

Lost yesterday’s cage fight for my mom’s next vaccine appointment. Got into the virtual waiting room – they weren’t even giving wait times. It was over a day, and they’re telling people to try again some other day. I’m running out of days, you morons.

Heard from my editor that she loves the article I sent in late last week. Phew! I’m in the midst of the research for the next one for her, and hope to get out interview requests this week.

Read a book for review that was a very different genre mash-up and most of it worked. Will write the review and send it off this morning.

Someone gave me a lead on a really cool company looking for someone to do something that’s well in my wheelhouse, so I sent an LOI within 15 minutes of hearing about it. Fingers crossed!

Fell into bed too early, which meant I woke up too early. The wind was howling, the temperature had dropped. Tessa had pushed me off the hot water bottle, so she could have it all to herself. Life with cats.

Heard from a friend/source about an article quote, only it’s too late and the article’s done. I was going to contact her this morning any way to tell her not to worry about it. She’s under huge deadline pressure, and the timing just doesn’t work this time around.

A potential new client asked for some more information, so that will go out today.

I will work on next week’s email blast for a client, and some more scheduled social media posts, get the other work turned around as listed above, and maybe get out a few more LOIs. If the weather’s okay, I’ll do a quick grocery run (we need milk, bread, eggs, juice), and a library curbside drop-off/pickup.

I’m getting contradictory information as to whether I need to keep cage fighting for the appointment, or whether I’m getting a “special link” later in the week. I wish they’d communicate clearly and with consistency. When they need to change, they need to clearly say, “This is a change from the last email” instead of acting like the last email never happened.

Onward, in spite of the reckless re-opening here in MA that’s going to wind up killing even more people.

Onward.

Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc

image courtesy of James DeMers via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Rainy, icy, cold

GDR posts are up for both the January wrap-up and starting February.

Friday was a good kind of busy.

Worked on a client’s website first thing.

Addressed the questions my editor had on the article, which led me to send her questions on which direction she wanted to take the article in. She told me, and I went ahead and did the edits. She was pleased with the result, and so was I! This is why I love working with a good editor.

No luck scheduling my mom’s vaccine. It has not escaped my notice that Baker, a Republican, stopped actively working on any COVID anything except forcing everyone back to “normal” as soon as Biden was inaugurated. He’s just as tainted as the rest of the GOP. He was just better at the façade for longer. I try both sites every day, and no luck. We’re not IN Phase 2 of the vaccination process if there aren’t any vaccines to distribute. Again, it’s spin and lies to make them look good, without the actions we need to survive.

Saturday morning, I did an early grocery run to get in supplies for the incoming storm. Not many people, everyone following protocols.  Home, decontaminated, did a curbside pickup at the library.

Purged 10 boxes. Found some really cool stuff. Tossed a lot. Some books had water/moisture damage that couldn’t be saved. My childhood playing card collection, including some cards from Germany in the 1960’s, which can’t be replaced, were also lost.

Found and re-read FIFTY DAYS OF SOLITUDE by Doris Grumbach, and enjoyed it even more now than when I first read it.

Sunday morning did a dump/recycling run first thing. I couldn’t even fit everything in the car – my car is too small! In other years, I would have been able to do multiple trips, but now they charge by carload, so I’ll wait until next week for the next run.

Then, I purged another 13 boxes. It’s still barely a dent in what I have to go through. But I need to shush my inner voice that told me I should have started this as soon as we moved in. I didn’t, and I’m doing it NOW. So I have to deal with the NOW. 37 boxes down; 263 to go.

Again, tossed a lot, and found some really cool stuff, including an old-fashioned alarm clock, my hand-carved Rosewood chess set I bought in Edinburgh, some jewelry, various knick-knacks with lovely memories attached, and fabric. I also found my old Smith-Corona “memory” typewriter, a precursor to computers; and the silver-plated menorah I bought on 29th St. before I left NYC. I was afraid it had been lost in the move. It’s absolutely stunning, and I look forward to setting it up next holiday season along with the Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Solstice decorations. Even though I am not Jewish, it is a way for me to honor my Jewish friends.

I’m re-sorting the books, putting some of them in new boxes, and trying to sort by genre, instead of just tumbling them all into boxes to be sorted “someday.”

Sore as all get-out from lugging boxes around.

Up early on Monday, charging all the electronic devices ahead of the storm. Pushed to get as much work as possible done early.

Wrote 1K of fiction first thing (GAMBIT COLONY). It felt good to get back into that routine, after giving myself a break in January. I feel better when I do 1K of fiction first thing in the morning. Then, I’m ready to meet the day’s challenges. When I don’t do fiction first thing (or a script), I feel like I’ve failed myself. Blogging or client work that early doesn’t do it, even when I’m productive. The first 1K of the day needs to be fiction.

The bulk of my energy in the next few months is focused on moving, but that first 1K of the day fuels everything else, so I have to stay true to it. It’s not just about having to show up and get the work done because it’s my job as well as my passion. It’s about making the best decisions for my creativity possible.

Got out some LOIs, but the bulk of Monday’s workday was spent getting the client’s new collection up on the website. It wasn’t difficult work, just time-consuming. I was worried we might lose power at any time, or be without power today, so I kept pushing and did a full day’s work on the one project, just to get it done.

Did some work on contest entries. Didn’t get any boxes purged, so I will have to make up for it today.

Other areas got pummeled with snow. We started with snow in the morning. It changed over to sleet, and then rain with heavy winds. On the one hand, I’m grateful not to shovel. On the other hand, I wanted some snow. But the storm is supposed to hang around most of today; we’ll see what happens.

I wrote a bit this morning, again on GAMBIT COLONY. It felt good. I’m using that project to ease back into the daily early morning writing sessions.

I have some client work today, and have to send the PDF of last week’s article to those I quoted in it. I’m working on two new pitches for that editor. I hope to get them out today.

I need to finish the book for review, and get that out, so I can invoice.

And, of course, later today, get back down into the basement and purge more boxes. I have to make my quota, and catch up from what I didn’t do yesterday.

Let’s hope the power holds, but I have enough different options of projects to work on, no matter what happens. Might relax with a fire in the fireplace in the afternoon. I didn’t get to do that yesterday, because I was pushing to finish the work on the client website.

Have a good one. Blessed Imbolc! I’m looking forward to tonight’s ceremony.

Published in: on February 2, 2021 at 6:50 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc  
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Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

Although it’s milder than normal for this time of year, it’s still cold and raw.

The Mid-Month check-in is up on the GDR site, and looking at how short the list is, I feel like crap.

Which is a shame, because I felt pretty good after yesterday’s work on the book proposal. It has to go out by Sunday, although I’m hoping to get it out today or tomorrow.

This particular organization’s guidelines are structured very differently than a traditional book proposal, so I’ve had to change my process to fit it. It’s a challenge, but in the right way. I feel good about the work I did. I don’t know if it’s what they want, but I have something solid that I can use, be it for them or somewhere else, and that feels good.

It was a good mix of finding the right resources to source for research to support the themes I the novel, and to talk about schedule and process. I need to move some material around today, and polish it. As I did my first couple of editing passes yesterday, I was alarmed by the overuse of passive voice and the overuse of adverbs. Thank goodness for edits. I’m also tightening, focusing, and clarifying.

A grant application hit my desk yesterday; it’s not a complicated process, and I might as well try. If I don’t apply, there’s no chance of getting it. But that will happen AFTER this proposal is out.

Once the book proposal is out, I have to turn my attention to the article for SCRIPTMAG. I have almost all of the material. Two sources did not get back to me with the requested quotes,  so I will move forward without them. That is due on Tuesday, so I’ll finish it over the weekend.

I finished the book for review, and will submit the review today. I have one more book assigned for review; I will do that this weekend. The first box of contest entries is supposed to arrive today, and once I process them, I will have to get started on them next week.

It felt really good, though, to spend the bulk of my energy on a single creative project yesterday. That’s the way I like to work. Large swaths of uninterrupted work time.

During our Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday, we discussed the impeachment process, and what needs to happen for the Senate to convict — and what can happen if they chose to remain loyal to a traitor.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we’re in for better things after what will be a chaotic week next week.

Published in: on January 15, 2021 at 7:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time  
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Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.