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.

Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.

Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.

Tues. July 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 55 — Working On Independence Issues

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image courtesy of jackmac34 vis pixabay.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Bastille Day

Bastille Day is my own personal Independence day, because that was the day I left a very toxic job situation in the past.

If you missed the weekly intention post yesterday, it’s here; it ties in with the Inner Resources post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolution site,which also went up yesterday.

Mercury went direct on Sunday, so at least that’s a little pressure off. But these heavy planets are still slowing things down.

Didn’t get as much done as I hoped over the weekend. I don’t do well in heat and humidity, and we don’t have air conditioning. It wasn’t too bad, but it slowed me down. And, mentally, I’m just exhausted.

I managed to finish reading the rest of Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I love how the characters grow from book to book.

Most of my own creative work was focused on GAMBIT COLONY, when it should have been focused on BARD, but GAMBIT is a good stress reliever, and my stress levels are skyrocketing.

Tried some new to me recipes over the weekend – a farfalle pasta with zucchini, corn, and tomato, with homemade pesto using basil from the garden; chicken enchiladas. I’d never made the latter before. I was always worried it was too hard, but it’s not. There are leftovers, so I don’t need to worry about much cooking for the early, high-stress portion of the week.

Three Chantal Chamberland CDs arrived over the weekend, and I’ve been playing them a good deal. Sitting and really listening to them, not just having them on in the background while I do something else.

I feel a need to pull inward. I’m expending too much energy on Sliding Mask Skanks and Covidiots. They want to be stupid and reckless? Let them pay the consequences. I’m going to stay as far away from them as I can as much as I can. I have a life to rebuild.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working for more justice and equality across the boards. But it does mean not wasting time with people who aren’t worth it. I am willing to meet each individual as worth of basic human dignity until they prove otherwise. Then, I’m done.

I’m tired of the noise levels around here. I’m tired of these people who can’t enjoy their lovely yards for two minutes without turning on a machine to destroy something. They’re never building something or creating something beautiful; it’s just destruction. Cut down trees, tear out bushes, cut up boards. Someone had a chainsaw going at two a.m. Monday morning. Unless they’re disposing of a body, there’s no reason for it. Tropical Storm Fay barely kissed us. And on Monday morning, the mowers started by 7 AM.

People hanging out in their yards talking and laughing? No problem. I actually love to hear it (outside of pandemic times). Playing music? No problem, whether it’s something I like or not.

But the constant repetitive machine noise seven days a week at all hours of the day or night is infuriating, especially because of the hyperacusis.

And now, the town wants to get rid of residential zoning, so every building can be rented short term. The short term rentals have already destroyed this neighborhood. Tourists don’t give a damn. The sense of neighborhood and community is lost, they don’t follow pandemic protocols, and they throw trash everywhere.

No. Just no.

My Town Councilor got a letter from me to go into the Public Record at last night’s meeting. I doubt he even looked at it, much less submitted it or acted on it.

I managed to catch up, over the weekend, on my coursework for The Miracle of Human Language. The course is a delight, mostly because the professor is smart, quirky, and enthusiastic.

Yesterday, I went on site for a few hours to do some client work. I was completely on my own I the office, which meant much less stress, and I could get a lot done. Not quite as good as working from home, but I’ll take it.

Swung by the library on the way home to drop off/pick up.

Worked on my article, which goes out today. Probably at the end of the day, since there are tweaks I want to do on it. Got out a bunch of LOIs. Heard back on a few – a couple want to go with a writer who has a track record within the industry (understandable, but short-sighted); several like my work, but their expansion/hiring plans are on hold now. However, they want to stay in touch, so we’re setting up a check-in schedule every few months to see where we are and when we can work together.

Managed a couple of hours of yardwork in the afternoon, hacking away at invasives. There’s still a lot to do, but I’ve made some progress.

Charlotte and Willa were both on the kitty condo last night. Not sure about having the other so close. I got some hilarious photos, which are over on Instagram.

The numbnuts are still setting off illegal fireworks every damn night. I wish the town would crack down on them.

I was supposed to get bloodwork done today. The doctor said I could just show up whenever at the diagnostic center. But I checked with them, and I can’t. Which I figured. The earliest appointment I could get is next Tuesday morning. Which is fine with me. I’d rather they took precautions, and the COVID antibody tests have to take priority.

Then, I have to do some client work and some writing. And what ever else comes up. I’m hoping to be more productive today than I was yesterday.

I should do a Target run, but I just don’t want to be out and about. But I feel like I should get in everything we need, because I anticipate things shutting down again in a few weeks, in spite of us being pushed into Phase 3 re-opening.

I’m really not surprised that Disney World re-opened during all of this. I mean, the company’s greed is legendary. But the fact that people are actually going? Putting themselves, each other, and the staff in danger? That is disgusting.

Again, though, I don’t need to waste my energy on these Covidiots. I need to focus on my own life. And work And things that need to happen, pandemic or not, over the next few months.

I have to mull over how to pull inward more. Much as I’d love to be a professional recluse, I need to be visible to earn money. But, even with isolation due to the pandemic, I need to pull even further inward to get some things sorted out, and figure out how to get a few things on track.

 

Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It was cool enough last night for the heat to kick on.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, “Just Rest”, which I have to take to heart this week.

Up and down weekend. Not as productive as I wished, but I got work done. It just wasn’t what I needed to get done.

I felt as creative as wilted lettuce on Friday, so I concentrated on admin tasks. Cleared out a couple of inboxes, dealt with things, got out some LOIs.

I can’t remember if I made the new curtains for the bedroom on Thursday or Friday. Sheers with small roses on them, a little out of character for me, but they’re nice.

Saturday morning, geared up and went to Star Market early (after dropping my library books in the bin). People were masked, and there weren’t a lot in there, so it wasn’t bad, even though they don’t always follow the arrows.

On the way home, I saw lots of people out and about. All unmasked. All acting like nothing’s happened.

Basically, we stayed home to give the powers that be time to come up with solutions to keep us alive, and they did nothing. Now, they just want us to go back out there and die for their profit.

Still getting daily emails claiming my package will be delivered that day (whatever day it is). Of course, it’s not. Now, UPS marks the excuse as “emergency or natural disaster.” Um, no. There haven’t been any emergencies or natural disasters in the 11 miles between the facility and the house in the past ten days. It was either Friday or Saturday when the UPS truck drove right past the house, but didn’t stop.

Absolutely unacceptable.

If my package isn’t important enough for them, then they should hand it off to USPS, like they did the last one. At least USPS can be bothered to deliver.

UPS seems to forget that the only reason they exist is to deliver packages. If they can’t do that, then they need to be broken up.

Most of the weekend was taken up by GAMBIT COLONY revisions. I planned to spend an hour or two in re-reads. That piece is my favorite stress reliever. But I got caught up in it. I revised books 3 & what I have of 4. Book 4 is nearly finished. Book 5 is an interlude book, and I have bits and pieces of it done, and Book 6 is in basic outline.

Once all six books are done, I will do a big pass over them for continuity and hand them off to the editor. As we do the editor-based revisions, I will do the Series Bible, which is complex.

The plan, once the first six books are edited, is to release one a month over the course of six months. Although I have ideas for a few more books in the series, whether or not anything will come of them remains to be seen, and will be contingent upon how well the first six books do. They are of a piece; while they don’t act as cliffhangers, each book is a specific part of the journey.

I’ve been joking about the series being a “creative soap opera” since it deals with the behind-the-scenes filming of a television show. But, really, that’s what it is. And not your typical, clichéd, bitchy idiocy. But an exploration of creative process under pressure; some of it is a creative utopia I wish existed, some is about the actual conflicts that come up.

We’re looking at a 2022 release, but it could get pushed back, again, because of other contracts that need to be finished first.

If there are further books down the line, they will have to deal with the pandemic and how it affects the show. Maybe by then, I’ll have a better idea of how things actually work out.

Providing I survive. Which, when your government and your bosses are doing what they can to make sure one doesn’t, becomes a challenge.

I got a bit of yard work done. Not as much as I should have. Cut back some invasives. Did not get the front finished, which is something I need to do this week if the weather holds.

A lot of this week is getting in what I need for next week’s surgery and recovery. I think I have most of it; will get a few last things at the end of the week, and then play it as safe as I can until I have my COVID test next week, and, if it comes back negative, the surgery.

At each phase of the process, depending on what happens, there are different sets of protocols to follow, so it’s just one step at a time.

I decided, since GAMBIT COLONY is my stress-relief project (as complex as it is), that it will be my carrot. If I finish what I need to write that day, I get to spend some time on GAMBIT COLONY. If I don’t, no GAMBIT.

That should motivate!

Had weird dreams all weekend. Sunday night into Monday I had a good one, which was working on a Shakespeare production with Peter Dinklage. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Decent first writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Monday morning.

Headed in to the office. It was quiet for most of my stint, and I was on my own. A bit of overlap with a stressed out co-worker. There’s nothing I can do to help her. I’ve tried. I attempt to lend a sympathetic ear to her venting, but I leave feeling bruised from the negativity.

Home, got out some LOIs, had a really nice preliminary online interview with a company based in Australia. I don’t have enough expertise in their field, so I doubt they’d hire me, but the actual process was a pleasure. That is so rare when so many of these recruiters and application places either bait and switch or are so demeaning in the initial contact that I stop the process right there.

I’m so weary, weary all the way into my bones, running deep. Having a migraine didn’t help, either.

I took a two hour nap (I’m not a napper). It didn’t help.

Slogged through making dinner. Read a bit, went to bed early. Felt no better after nine hours of sleep.

The UPS package finally arrived. It wasn’t delivered for so long because it was small (smaller than I expected). Therefore, not important enough. They should have just handed it off to USPS, and not lied every day that it was going to be delivered.

I already decided NOT to buy a couple of things in the past few days because the companies use UPS to ship.

Ron Perlman taking Ted Cruz to the woodshed was funny as hell. Cruz behaved completely inappropriately for a sitting Senator – especially one who allowed the Sociopath to publicly trash both his wife and father. Perlman is smart, talented, and has integrity – everything Cruz does not.

The Supreme Court decision saying the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT was important. I was not impressed with Gorsuch’s opinion on it, and Alito’s disagreement was appalling and from the past century. But it passed, and the Supreme Court actually served justice and our population, which it hasn’t always done.

I’m hoping to have a good day both on the fiction front and the client front today, and mentally prepare for a difficult day onsite tomorrow.

But I still have a migraine, I’m weary unlike any exhaustion I’ve ever had before, and it will be a struggle. Hope it’s all better on your end.

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Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There’s a post called “Ride the Dragon” up on the GDR site, about trying to maneuver through all the chaos. Because there’s plenty of chaos.

Friday was just a damn roller coaster, with that eclipse. Eclipse in Sagittarius during four retrogrades. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again any time soon.

I did, however, have an excellent day’s work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, which made up for a lot of other stuff.

I’ve been invited to be a guest on a podcast next month. If we can work out the dates and times, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Had to do a curbside pickup, but communications had gotten confused, so it didn’t happen, but then we made arrangements and it did, and it was fine. I must have written the time down wrong.

With any luck, the latest Comcast battle is resolved. Why they texted me a threat when I haven’t received a bill, and I’m not scheduled to receive a bill until June 16 and don’t owe them any money is beyond me. It’s very typical of Comcast, but I’m sick of their crap. We seem to have worked it out. Not that anything but the laptop will connect to the network, but as long as the laptop is going, I will deal. To threaten to cut off the internet for an unpaid bill that hasn’t even been sent yet and certainly isn’t due yet is not what I consider customer service.

But then, Comcast doesn’t give a damn about their customers, because they are the only option.

Anyway, by 10:30 in the morning on Friday, I was done with PEOPLE and decided to spend the rest of the day in my fictional worlds.

And then UPS, who claimed my package was on the truck and out for delivery early in the day, now claims I “might” get the package by the 10th. WTF? This is the second time in a month that they claim a package is on the truck for delivery, and then, suddenly, it’s nowhere to be found. Yarmouth is only a few miles away. It’s not that hard to get from there to where I live.

Fortunately, Friday’s package didn’t have anything date-and-time sensitive; but Saturday’s package did.

Saturday, I was up early after lots of weird dreams. Wrote a chapter on BARD’S LAMENT. Got geared up and went to Star Market for groceries, including the stuff I need for the pre-op. I didn’t find everything I needed, but most of it. People were masked, they distanced. I found a jar of yeast for baking, and feel rich. I can make lots of bread (although soon it will be too hot to make bread).

Came home, went through full disinfectant protocols, did the disinfectant laundry, did the regular laundry, got through a pile of email, got out an LOI.

There were a couple of other places where I almost sent out an LOI, but as I dug into the companies, some red flags went up, and I decided not to.

Most of Saturday was about writing. I wrote 21 pages (two chapters) on BARD’S LAMENT and it was glorious to be back in the swing of it.

Of course, after 21 pages, I was out of words and practically a blithering idiot.

Saturday’s package from UPS didn’t show up, either. That’s three packages in the last month that make it as far as Yarmouth and then no one knows where they are for a few days, until I pitch a fit and they track them down. UPS, on their website, is trying to blame protests. If it was a delaying in getting to the Cape, it would make sense. But the packages get to Yarmouth, 11 miles away, and then vanish for days. It takes longer to travel the last 11 miles than 3000 miles across the country. Makes no damn sense at all.

Up early on Sunday. Wrote another chapter (10 pages) on BARD’S LAMENT. I was very happy with it, especially since I didn’t know how to fill the chapter, but needed to, because it had to be Jared’s chapter, not Sylvie’s, and I came up with something really cool that will serve the plot and feed into the series arc.

I tried not to feel too smug about it, because then it would come back to bite me in the butt.

Got some yard work done out in the front beds. Cut back a lot in the front and the sides. I still have to haul some debris to the back, and rake out the front beds, but it looks better. The hostas are taking over.

My friend sent me the next draft of her screenplay. I started reading it and couldn’t stop. I really like what she’s doing with it.

That got me thinking about two of my screenplays that are languishing. I re-read VISCERAL INVISIBLES, a paranormal action/adventure/romance. I did some tweaks, but, overall, I’m happy with it. I need to do some polishing and then decide where I want to submit. I’m worried about one scene in the first third that’s on the long side, but it’s necessary to interaction. The rest of the scenes and the pace are nice and tight. The pace in the long scene is good, too, and it’s just the two main characters, but it’s longer than standard for a screenplay.

Now that I have the laptop, I have to get new scriptwriting software. I hope I won’t have to retype everything. I’m trying Trelby, and not loving it so far. I can’t edit what I import, so what’s the damn point? I know eventually I will just have to suck it up and get Final Draft, but that’s not in the budget right now.

I sent it off to a friend to read, even though there’s formatting wonk.

UPS still has my packages in Never-Never Land. Maybe they’ll show up at some point.

Monday, I was up early. Had a decent first session on BARD’S LAMENT.

Put some checks into the ATM (thank goodness for hand sanitizer in the car). Went onsite for a client. I was on my own for most of it, got a lot done, had a bit of safe overlap with a colleague, got out.

Had to stop at CVS to get my prescription for the pre-op. They filled it this time. Not looking forward to it.

CVS was packed. But they’re enforcing masks, and, while I was there, made someone who tried to come in without a mask leave. That’s the way it should be. Not “suggested” or “encouraged.” Follow the damn guidelines or get the hell out.

I complain a lot about CVS, but in this case, they were right.

Took me over THREE HOURS to pay my AT&T bill. Tried putting it through on the automated system, the way I always do. It wouldn’t work. Sent me round in an endless loop. There better not be multiple pulls on the account. Kept sending me to a customer service rep and disconnecting me. Tried to pay online. The online system said I don’t exist. We went round and round for that a few times, until it finally admitted the system was down. Tried customer service again – they “can’t” process the payment because THEIR system is down. I HAVE to process online. Only online is down, but the only thing the rep is allowed to say is that I’ve been “given other options.” The fact that the options DON’T WORK doesn’t matter. Tried to get through on social media. They claimed to help and sent me right back into the system that DOESN’T WORK BECAUSE IT’S DOWN.

I finally managed a work-around into the online system, past the system error and paid the damn bill.

They were dumb enough to send me a survey about my customer experience. Not that it will make a difference, but they got an earful.

Time to find a new carrier.

T-Mobile sucks. Verizon sucky-sucks (including adding illegal charges into their bills). Now AT&T sucks. I’m running out of options. Maybe if telecommunications regulations were actually ENFORCED so companies like these carriers and ISPs like Comcast HAD to follow the rules, it wouldn’t be such a mess.

Using COVID as an excuse is no longer an option. If businesses get what they’ve wanted, as they have, with reckless re-opening, and people are running around pretending it’s “normal” – you who have insisted on the re-opening no longer have the option of using COVID as an excuse for screwing your customers. You don’t get it both ways.

Time to dismantle the major companies.

Time to eat the rich.

Use salt, pepper, and some seasoning. They’re bound to give you heartburn.

So I lost a half day of work trying to pay a fucking bill. I wasn’t even arguing the bill. All I was trying to do was PAY it. How messed up is that?

After getting ahead on my writing, I fell behind because losing a half day means I lost the gains. What I’d banked is gone.

Managed to get out a couple of LOIs, though.

UPS again didn’t bother to deliver the packages. They delivered next door, so it’s not like they’re not around. When I contacted them, I was told, again, it’s “the shipper’s problem.” One shipper is known to me; I got in touch and they are looking into it. The other shipper is a new small business that I tried, and I got in touch. I haven’t heard back yet, but they’re in California and are a small business, so it might take a few days. But I’m not sure I’ll do business with them again. It SEEMS the package was handed off to the post office, but it wasn’t delivered through them either. This particular item was something I NEEDED. I’d ordered it with plenty of time to get it here, and it’s still not.

Now, if UPS would shoot me an email when there’s a delay and say, “Hey, sorry you didn’t get it, it’ll be there tomorrow” or, “We made a mistake, it went on the wrong truck, we’re bringing it back as fast as we can” – actual customer service – I’d be fine. Mistakes happen, we’re all under pressure.

But this attitude that it doesn’t matter, and they don’t know or care WHERE it is, and it’s the shipper’s problem – nope.

I also have to start taking screen shots of the tracking, because they manipulate information and then claim I didn’t see what I saw. So, moving forward, screen shots every time I check the tracking it is. Another burden on the consumer because the business can’t be bothered to do their jobs or be honest with their customers.

That adds another layer to whatever shopping I do moving forward. I will now have to contact the company to make sure they don’t ship via UPS, because if they do, I’m going to have to pass on whatever it is unless it’s an absolute necessity.

When I lived in NY, I avoided UPS as a shipper whenever possible. Their policy was they did not deliver to residential addresses during day time hours. The fact that I worked remotely and then worked at the theatre at night didn’t matter. It was a residential address; therefore, they would only deliver after 6 PM. If I wasn’t there to receive the package, well, they tried, and, after a few days, they’d send it back.

The pandemic forced them to acknowledge that people actually do work remotely, but for years I had to lose packages because they refused to deliver to me during the day. Or I had to have them sent to a nearby office. Or just not buy from a company that shipped via UPS.

If they’re short on drivers because drivers are getting sick – we need to know that, too. Because it wouldn’t surprise me. The Fed Ex drivers are masked. I have yet to see a UPS driver masked. The USPS drivers, it’s hit and miss.

Again, if you’re going to push for this reckless re-opening and demand that people run around putting their lives in danger for your profit, you don’t then get to blame the virus or the protesters when you don’t’ deliver the service for which you’re being paid.

And, as far as I’m concerned, the blaming the protestors stance UPS has taken on their website is unacceptable.

Again, a couple of little packages aren’t that big a deal with the world burning down. But the fact that these businesses are using the pandemic and the protestors as excuses to not do what they’re paid for when they’ve been part of the push for the reckless re-opening is not okay.

At least I had a good discussion with one of my state senators about including labor in the re-opening process. He confirmed that Governor Baker has not included labor in the committee that advises him on the phased openings. But on the local committee, of which my senator is a part, there are representatives from labor, especially unions. So that’s sort of helpful, although the construction guys are notorious for not wearing masks.

But it was a good overall discussion about different problems and different options. I appreciate that my senator takes the time to have a conversation, not respond with platitudes and sound bytes.

Slept badly, up early. I hope I’ll have a good first writing session of the day. Then, I have to gear up and hit Trader Joe’s. After I decontaminate, I have client work, and, I’m hoping for some more writing.

A bunch of library books were arbitrarily deleted from my hold list, which is a little disturbing. Especially since I don’t remember what they were; someone recommends a book, I put it on hold rather than writing it down (unless I buy it). If my local library had a reason for it, I’m fine with it, but if someone in the overall system made that arbitrary decision, I’m not.

I don’t like all these decisions being made without consultation, on way too many levels!

But the additional writing might be at night, because I’m participating in a driving memorial for George Floyd this afternoon, with Lower Cape Indivisible. At first, I thought it was kind of a strange event, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. A funeral procession to honor him and stand (drive) with BLM that keeps us distanced (and yes, everyone is asked to be masked).

There’s plenty I can’t do right now, especially in person, due to the heightened pre-op protocols. But this is something I CAN do, along with listening to the changes people want and need, and working with my elected officials to bring them about.

I am dreading the upcoming Mercury retrograde, piled on top of everything else.

Published in: on June 9, 2020 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)  
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Tues. June 2, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 15: Our Cities Are Burning, and They Laugh

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It’s so cool around here that the heat’s kicked on the past couple of days.

Where to start? This country is burning to the ground, to the glee of the GOP. This is what they’ve worked toward since the Reagan years.

Reading Edward Robb Ellis’s diary, he writes about his anger when, in a news conference, Reagan says, “Facts are stupid.” The seeds were planted all the way back then.

I have felt my age a good deal these past days. There’s so much I can’t do to make things better; I’ve been focusing on what I CAN do, including working with my elected officials, doing what I do well (write) and using it in a context that can help, not harm.

I still feel useless, and then I feel guilty for feeling that, because it’s not about me. It’s about all of us. All of us with brains and hearts, anyway.

But there are things I can do. As with my view that true philanthropy is anonymous, I also don’t feel like I need to talk about every detail of everything I’m doing as a citizen to try to make things better. In spite of the pressure to “prove” oneself on social media. There are things I can and am doing (legal things) that I don’t need to report in minute detail. I do what I’m doing, work with my elected officials (many of whom are, at least, sane). I need to do what I can where I can, while keeping my eye on the bigger picture.

Riots were inevitable. While the Sociopath dances and claps and rage tweets and his (redacted) pulls her Marie Antoinette act and the GOP pats each other on the back, what the hell did they think would happen? People have nothing left to lose anymore. No jobs, no plan to control the pandemic, and getting murdered for existing. Especially since white domestic terrorists are allowed to do whatever they want without consequence.

It was inevitable that, in trying to force us into being serfs, there wouldn’t be revolt.

All the government has ever had to do was treat everyone as decent, valuable human beings.

It’s not difficult.

But they CHOSE not to. It has been a deliberate choice for my entire existence, and certainly long before that.

I will never forgive people like Senator Susan Collins, who could have done something to prevent this, and chose not to.

We will become the fascist enemy against whom the world will unite and fight. We will become what we fought in World War II.

The Sociopath using tear gas to clear his way for a photo op (where he looked like an idiot anyway, as usual) and threatening to use the military against citizens –egged on by Tom Cotton and his pals – is unacceptable.

On a more personal front, I just plugged along all weekend. I did some client work on Friday. A site had to go live yesterday at the business owner’s insistence, even though it’s not ready. So it is what it is and I just keep working on it.

A post went up yesterday on the GDR site about not having a To-Do list this month. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot that needs to get done; it means I’m not setting myself up for failure by putting up a list that would have to change by today.

Saturday was a big housework day: loads of laundry, changing the beds, vacuuming, mopping. The tree pollen is falling, so there’s a thick coat of yellow pollen on everything. I’m going to have to hose down the deck in the next couple of days.

The iris are blooming. I love that flower.

Got to spend some time out on the deck, although the neighbors and their constant use of power tools, all day every day, seven days a week, makes it impossible to sit outside and enjoy anything. The damn illegal fireworks don’t help, either. Like we don’t have enough to worry about, now illegal fireworks have curbside pickup, too? A couple of years ago, one of them almost caught the roof on fire. Not to mention how it hurts the animals and vets who are suffering from PTSD. But those morons believe their right to be destructive is greater than anyone else’s right to live peacefully.

Tessa didn’t want any part of the playpen, but Willa had a good time in it.

We have a pair of big brown bunnies in the yard (which probably means we will have little bunnies soon). Che Guevara Chipmunk argues with the robins, but leaves the bunnies alone. It’s pretty cute. Che is getting bold. He comes right up to me on the deck. Because Tessa isn’t there to chase him.

Grab moments of beauty when we can. It’s the only way to survive right now.

On Sunday, I re-read what I’ve written so far on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and I re-read and did some revisions on both THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I’m happy with the way BARD is going. Now, I have to dig deeper and make it happen. BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA are both salvageable, which a few weeks ago, I thought they weren’t. So I have to get back on track with them, too.

I’m not sure how I will juggle all of this, especially with stresses of the client insisting on me being back in the office.

But I’ll have to find a way.

Yesterday was a decent first morning writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT. I’m getting back into its rhythm, which is nice. I know where I need to go with it, I have a deadline, and I’m doing my best to meet it, and then move back to edits on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

The 99 cent promotion on the first three books is finished, and I’m deeply grateful to all the people who liked and Retweeted and bought the books during the sale. I hoped to get into an Overdrive promotion for June, but it doesn’t look like any of the books were chosen. So I’ll work on the teasers download, that’s the first three chapters of each of these three series, that I want to do as a free giveaway to hopefully, entice people to buy the full books.

Went onsite for the one client for whom I’m willing to go onsite. The other colleague and I staggered hours, and the client wasn’t in, so it was fine. Got done what I needed to; will do some more work for that client from home today, and then go in for a few hours again tomorrow.

Came home, changed, and went through another box from the basement. This one was all fabric. I’d thought it was old clothes that I have to give away, but no, it was actual fabric. The good stuff, from NYC. I sorted it and washed it. Some is apparel fabric, and some is décor fabric. Everything’s washed, and I figured out what I want to do with most of it. Now, it’s a case of building time into the schedule to get it done.

Turned in a book review and got another book assigned. I hope the reviewing picks up again. I can use the money. That money can pay for the lawn mowing all summer!

I was exhausted because on Monday, I’d been up since 2:30 in the morning. I was up just after 5 today.

Had an excellent morning writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and feel good about it. Wrote about 7 pages on it. If I can keep steady on it, I think I can make my deadline.

I have to turn some of my writing time to the Susanna Centlivre play, too. I want to get that drafted by the end of the month.

No LOIs out the past few days, although I got some out over the weekend.

Tracking the virus cases in the state, watching the numbers fluctuate. They are still too high, in my opinion, to warrant the way re-opening is being handled. Deaths and new case numbers flowed up and down. Yesterday’s numbers were considerably down; there may be a bump in the numbers over the next few days because the state is also counting “suspected” cases, not just confirmed, which should give a better view of the real numbers. The consequences of Memorial Day Weekend won’t be seen for another week or so.

It would be good if I’m wrong and the numbers keep going down.

But I can’t see that happening, with so much reckless behavior going on.

Focusing on what I can do, and where I can have a positive impact, and trying not to get overwhelmed.

I am, though, angry. Very, very angry.

Peace to you, friends.

Published in: on June 2, 2020 at 6:53 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 2, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 15: Our Cities Are Burning, and They Laugh  
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Mon. May 11, 2020: Intent for the Week — Dedication

dancer-4691954_1920
image courtesy of ImaArtist via pixabay.com

Monday, May 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

We have Pluto Retrograde, which is about revealing what’s hidden, which includes the hidden parts of ourselves. We have Saturn Retrograde, which is about life lessons. We’re all in a harsh life lesson period. Since my Saturn Retrograde coincides with my second Saturn Return – ouch?

Venus goes retrograde on Wednesday and Jupiter goes retrograde on Thursday, so we’re in for a rocky few months.

At the same time, I want to dedicate these retrogrades to sorting through past choices and making positive changes, in ways I haven’t really done during the previous retrogrades. Instead of regrets, I want to say, “Well, at least I tried. Now it’s time to try something new.” I think this is a stronger choice than beating myself up for what didn’t work. I wouldn’t pound on someone else for making a choice that didn’t work – the celebration is trying something and learning from it. So I need to stop beating up on myself.

I also want to dedicate this week to work. My fiction, the client work, and pitching for new work. There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about adaptability, and I’m going to incorporate the adaptability as part of my dedication.

I want to dedicate time to the garden (weather permitting) and even more time to my expanding yoga and meditation practice.

I want to dedicate less time to dealing with other peoples’ stupidity, especially when it puts my life and the lives of family members in danger.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on May 11, 2020 at 6:39 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 11, 2020: Intent for the Week — Dedication  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild for January, but getting colder

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about Winter Work. Then, hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the Mid-January check-in.

Yesterday was tiring onsite with the client, but it is what it is. Today will be the same, and so will the next few weeks. We have some big projects coming up.

The more that comes out about this corrupt administration, the more disgusting it is. The Chief Justice must also take action against any Senator who breaks the Oath taken when sworn in for the trial. One of the reasons it’s getting worse and worse is that there are no consequences for breaking Oaths and the law.

Got my reviews out, and new books assigned.

Swung by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up.

Home. Got a chicken in the oven to roast. Worked with the cats. Worked on contest entries.

Delighted to find out that the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” will be performed on January 27. I wish I could fly down and be there for it, but I can’t.

In the first two weeks of January, I’ve had two radio plays scheduled for production, and a proposal for 2 plays accepted. Nice start to the year.

Over the past few days, watched documentaries on The International Sweethearts of Rhythm and THE GIRLS IN THE BAND, which had some overlap. I want to write something rooted in there, but I’m not sure what yet. I have to let it percolate, while I write the other things.

Today, I’m at a client’s, and the home. I’ll be wiped out, no doubt, but I plan to get some work done on the plays and the contest entries. I have the rest of the Kate Warne play in my head — now I have to get it down on paper. Would be nice to come up with a title, too. And I need to finish “Trust.” It’s frustrating that these last four pages are so difficult. I had a decent first writing session on the Winter Solstice novel.

The last couple of days, I tried to start my writing day by reading about writing and craft before writing, but that was a mistake. I need to do it later in the day, and hit the page first thing.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to be a literary cat, but since she’s awkward anyway, it’s taking time. But at least she’s making the effort, and she likes to be in my writing room with me when I work.

I hope I can participate in Remote Chat, but I have a feeling that it will be too chaotic.

The next four days are about writing and going through boxes and putting the last of the winter holiday stuff. It’s supposed to get very cold over the weekend and then snow, so it will be a good weekend to stay in.

Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing  
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Mon. Jan. 13, 2020: Intent for the Week: Creativity

multicolored-abstract-art-2062637
image courtesy of Amber Lamoreaux viz pexels.com

Monday, January 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Uranus Direct (as of the 11th)

Can you believe it? No retrogrades for a brief, shining bit of time. Do we even know how to respond to that?

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, where I suggest some tools to help you reach your GDRs.

Today is my “Intent Post.” As you can see from the title, the intent for the week is “Creativity.”

What does that mean?

It means different things to different people.

For me, first and foremost, it always means the writing. I want and need to have a creative week when it comes to working on a variety of writing projects including novels and plays, both drafting and editing. It means being creative in the way I approach potential new clients. It means being creative in the way I approach the ongoing client work.

It means being creative in how I approach cleaning out the basement, which I’m trying to break down into small enough daily bits so it doesn’t overwhelm me.

To me, being “creative” means approaching each task with the focus I intended last week, and building on it by looking at it from multiple angles, and not being tied into “the way I always do it.”

It’s time to trade comfort for creativity.

What is your intent for the week?

Did you stick to your intent last week, or did it change as the week unrolled?