Tues. Jan. 11, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of Nicky Pe via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Bitterly cold

It is 1 degree F this morning.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step.

The weekend was kind of all over the place. Worked on coverages all the way through. Was honored to be requested by two writers (on two different scripts) to read revisions based on notes I gave them a few weeks ago.

Worked on packing decorations and figuring out where to put everything so we actually have living space for the year. I’m handwashing the holiday fabrics. Some of that is because I don’t want to put the glittery fabric in a commercial machine; also because there’s no way I’m humping it all down to the laundromat in this weather.

The library has cancelled all in-person programs for the month, which is a wise idea. There was a positive test at the co-op, and that staff member and two others who were in close contact are now in quarantine. I hope they are okay.

We’re having the weather we were warned about, so staying home is my only option (especially since the car doesn’t work). Snow and freezing rain all weekend, frigid temperatures today. I have a big stack of books to return to the library, but that will happen later this week. Since the virus numbers keep going up, and the entire country is back in “Die for Your Employer” mode, I’m happy to stay home.

Did some reading for pleasure, because I needed the break. Didn’t work on The Big Project until Monday, which threw off my rhythm for everything else. We’re eating leftovers, which is a good thing to clean out the fridge and not waste food, and because I just don’t have the energy to cook right now. Although I managed a chocolate mousse on Sunday, which was delicious.

Tessa is really angry at me for taking down the big tree that was in the doorway between the sewing room and the living room. She loved to glide under it to go from one room to the other, and also liked to sit under it.

As a joke, I put a small, 15” tree (that was on one of the bookcases) down in the same spot the big tree stood. Tessa glared at me like, “You think I’m stupid?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte walked around it, checking it from all angles, and then looked at me, puzzled, like, “I remember this being bigger last time I was here.”

Willa paid no attention, being her Willa self, and busy with other things.

The dog bed that was once Tessa’s and then became Willa’s is now Willa’s again. It is on top of my mom’s bed (instead of being on top of boxes near the window, where we thought Willa would like it), and she sleeps curled up in it during the day (and curled around my mom at night).

Saturday was sunny, but cold. I ran a few errands on foot, and then dug out the car, so that Friday’s snow wouldn’t freeze down when Sunday’s freezing rain hit. Definitely a good call, because Sunday was miserable. The plows were out all day, scraping down to pavement and then sanding, very conscientious, before Monday’s next snowstorm hit.

Sunday was nasty, freezing rain all day. I was glad to stay in, work on script coverages, and read. And keep working on packing up decorations. I’ve somehow misplaced two boxes – the decorations came OUT of them, so I don’t see how I could misplace them in this finite space.

After 10 years, I had the packing/unpacking down to a system, because of the way it fit into the Christmas Closet in the storage area over the garage. But I have to figure out how it works best here, so it’s a lot of geometry involved, finding out it doesn’t work, and starting over.

It snowed most of Monday. Again, the plows were conscientious about coming around to scrape down to pavement. Once the snow stopped, in the late afternoon, they put down a lot of sand, in preparation for today.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate. I did work up some notes on The Big Project, finding a way to integrate a new idea into the current outline, and giving it room to create another big arc (if I decide that’s what I want), or maybe even a spin-off.

I plowed through the email that had stacked up. Outlined some specialty blog posts. Spent some time on the acupressure mat. Worked on script coverage. Started on the print books in one of the categories I’m judging. I have to contact my book review editor; for some reason, I can’t find the links to upload the two reviews I just worked on. I also have to get back to the search for someone to fix the car today, so I can set that up for next week or so.

Made a black bean soup from the Moosewood recipe – very good, and easy. That recipe will become a staple recipe in my repertoire.

The Chewy order finally arrived; I felt sorry for the driver. The delay in delivery is not a problem at all – I’d rather the drivers stayed safe. The way Fed Ex lies about the delivery is not okay. Just tell me it’s delayed; don’t keep insisting it’s coming “today” as they did Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Target order – which is five small, but necessary items – is coming in three different boxes. And I’ll have to put in another order with Chewy this week for the cat litter (the one that arrived was for food – we’re good for the next nine weeks). The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with good stuff.

I’ve received so many oracle decks in the past few years, between Tamed Wild and Goddess Provisions, that I think, in spring, I’ll give away the ones with which I don’t connect strongly/don’t use. As I’m unpacking stuff and setting up the office/bookcases/ reading nooks, I will put aside the ones I want to give away, and then set it up in spring, when it’s easier to get to the post office.

Once I post here, I’m off to do some work on The Big Project, to try to get back on track with that. I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this point; however, I really like the quality of the writing. Then, I’ll write up the scoring sheets for the entries I read last night, and get back to the script coverage. I have to get a lot read this week if I want to make my nut this pay period (and I’m pretty sure I’ll fall short, but I’m so damn exhausted, and it’s not fair to the writers if I’m not in top form to write up the coverage).

I need to get back on track with THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, too, but that can happen this weekend. And I need to get some LOIs out.

Later this month, I need to get back to working on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, so they can start re-releasing. I was so thrilled with the new covers, and now I’m having second thoughts that they might be too busy, using photographs instead of line drawings. The original covers are too similar; these new covers are too different, and the tiny logo in the corner doesn’t really tie them together enough. I’ll have to mull that over. Although I’m not going to go for a re-design during a Venus retrograde because that’s simply not wise. But I can think about it and consider options and styles, and how I really want these workbooks to sit in the world. They are my steadiest sellers, so I want them to be both useful and easy on the eye.

Today is bitterly cold. It was supposed to snow all day, but it’s sunny right now. I’m just grateful the power is still on!

Charlotte woke me at 3:33 AM, wanting attention, and the minute Tessa heard her, Tessa started, in full voice. I grabbed the feather bed and moved to the couch, grumpy that I had to leave my cozy fleece sheets, but not wanting Tessa to wake the neighbors at that hour. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was 7 AM and more snow had fallen. Poor Willa got the short end of the stick this morning – no attention AND late breakfast. I had weird dreams on the couch – busy dreams, not stress dreams, at least. But I still felt like I’d already put in a full day by the time I woke up.

It’s supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, and cloudy, so the plan (so far) tomorrow late morning is to pack up as many of the library books as I can carry and return them, and pick up the books that have come in. I’ll probably go across the street to the college library in the next few days. I have some digging I need to do in their shelves. Best to do it before classes start up again next week.

I hope the virus numbers go down enough in spring and summer that I can work IN these two libraries a couple of times a week. The spaces are so terrific, I want to utilize them. But not now. Now, I’m isolating as much as possible.

Stay safe and healthy. May you have the energy you need to both get through the day and create.

Tues. December 7, 2021: Maybe Your Business is Struggling Because You’re Unprofessional

image courtesy of Matryx via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold; incoming snow

The past few days have been up and down.

I lost far too much of Friday. I tried to find a mechanic to fix the car – no one would get back to me with a response and an estimate, including the dealer. What kind of business model is that?

According to AAA, the nearest of their certified mechanics is in Bennington, VT. I shouldn’t have to cross state lines to get my damn car fixed.

On top of that, I was trying to integrate MooSend, the platform to which I’d exported my mailing list, to my website, so people can easily subscribe on the website, it goes over to the MooSend mailing list, and they get the next newsletter. Only it wouldn’t integrate. I asked tech support for help, and they sent me links to articles where the steps in the article didn’t match what was coming up on my screen. I went into their Live Chat. The guy sent me the same articles. I told him that I’d tried all that already, and that’s why I was on Live Chat. Because it wasn’t working. He kept telling me to do stuff that didn’t come up on my screen. I’d send him screen shots to show him what was on my screen and what I should do with what was actually coming up, and it just went round and round for hours. He walked away from the chat after a couple of hours. Some other guy came on, a few minutes later – and sent me the article. Hadn’t read any of the notes or looked at the screen shots. I told him to forget it, I was going to a competitor.

In meantime, on the website, I got a flash of something that needed to be updated. I tried to update, and it didn’t work. I contacted my host, A2, and asked for the steps, since clicking the update didn’t work. The tech asked permission to enter the account, I gave it, and the glitch was fixed in less than five minutes.

I thought maybe the MooSend integration would then work, but nope. Still the same issues. So I disconnected all the MooSend plug-ins.

I did some research on other platforms. I knew I didn’t want Constant Contact or Robly. I considered MailChimp, and sent them some questions, which were ignored. They weren’t top of my list anyway, so that was no big deal.

So I looked at Sendinblue, and that seemed to have what I needed. I set up an account, which was easy as could be. I imported my contact list, easy as could be. I downloaded the plug-in to the website. Easy as could be. Activated it, set up the new form, and it seems to work.

I’ve written most of the text for the newsletter, and played with templates. Starting from scratch and building it myself seems to work the best for me, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ll play with it some more, send a test to myself. If that works, the newsletter will go out this week, and the quarterly deliveries will start up again, with occasional special announcements in between.

If you haven’t signed up, and you’d like to, you can do so here.

Getting everything set up on Sendinblue took about 30-40 minutes, including all verifications, API keys, plug-ins, etc. Meanwhile, I’d lost three hours with MooSend’s useless “support.”

Hopefully, I’ll remain happy at Sendinblue, at least for a while.

I was grumpy and exhausted by the end of it all. I hadn’t had time to get the promotions for the holiday shorts “Just Jump in and Fly” and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” up. I did manage to do some work on the notes for The Big Project and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I did my script coverages. I read the next book for review, which was charming and delightful, and got a good review.

After my pity party, I sat down with Cherie Priest’s GRAVE RESERVATIONS, her newest release. I sat and read until after midnight. I loved it, and did not want to put it down.

Tessa got me up on Saturday around 5:30-ish, which is acceptable. Once I’d fed everyone and they were settled again, I sat on the couch and finished GRAVE RESERVATIONS. Loved it so much. I hope she writes more with these characters, because they are a delight.

I let her know, via tweet, how much I loved the book.

Then, it was time to buckle down to my own work. I did some more work on the outline for The Big Project, and did the first draft of the first chapter, which came in at 1282 words. I’m looking for the chapters to be between 1-1.5K and not more than 2K on any given chapter, and, on this particular project, the structure has to be impeccable, or it will all fall apart. Because it’s complex, I have to keep a careful set of tracking sheets, updating it preferably every chapter, but not more than every three. Or I will get myself into a tangle.

I had a ton of fun writing the chapter, although I had to stop and make decisions on the way about details. They can’t be layered in later, because they are vital to the way the piece builds. Details can be polished or cut or moved in edits, but the first draft has to be what a usual third draft for me usually is.

Still, it was a good feeling to get it done.

The sky looked rather ominous by the time I was finished. I wrapped up for the weather and walked down to the wine store for a couple of bottles of wine, and stopped at Cumberland Farms at the end of the street for eggs and coffee. You know, the essentials: eggs, wine, coffee.

The whole thing was a little over a mile on foot, round trip, and nothing was very heavy. But I’m still not up to full strength after the vaccine booster, and was pretty shaky by the time I got home.

Does not bode well if I have to walk to Big Y and back for a big grocery shop, even with my little upright rolling cart. That round trip would be a little over three miles. Might consider taking a taxi back.

After lunch, I spent some time on the acupressure mat, which I hadn’t done all week. Once I was realigned there, I got up and wrote up the script coverage I had to do.

Leftovers for dinner, and then I did the revision on “A Rare Medium.”

Read some of the Marie Corelli research, but fell asleep fairly early.

Slept through the night, and Tessa didn’t wake me until nearly 6:30 on Sunday. After I fed them, I tried a new banana bread recipe, and, when I didn’t like the way it was turning out, tossed in some chocolate chips, which saved it. Still, not a recipe I’d use again.

I wrote the second chapter of The Big Project, which came in longer than I’d hoped (a little over 2K), but that’s what it needed to be. Felt good. Had lots of fun with it.

Switched over to decorating. We put up some of the Command hooks and put decorations on all the doors. We put multiple garlands on the bannisters, and threaded them through with lights. We put the lights up on the front porch, along with the small tree decorated in silver and blue, that used to be in my office at the other house. I put some battery-operated tall candles in the windows, although I don’t yet have the batteries for them.

It looks really pretty.

I admit, on Friday night, I considered not doing any more decorating this year. No trees, nothing. It all felt like too much.

But then I thought, I’m the one who loves all the decorations, and it’s a form of self-punishment not to put them up. And putting them up on Sunday made me happy, both the actual doing it, and then enjoying it.

It was the Second of Advent, so we lit the two candles. Plus our big, scented Christmas candle. And it was St. Nicholas night – time to put out the shoe, so it can be filled with candy!

Which made for a happy wakeup on Monday.

Charlotte started bothering me at 4:30, but Tessa let me sleep until just after 5.

Morning longhand writing session in, then yoga and meditation. Those practices suffered last week when I was so laid out from the booster, and I suffered as a result. So back to yoga, and I’m slowly expanding my morning practice.

Wrote the third chapter on The Big Project, and had a blast with it. It came in at just under 1800 words, pretty good. Then, I switched over and did just over 1300 words on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, and had fun with that. It’s weird, not working in full chapters with that, but there’s only so much I can do.

In and around those two projects, I was still trying to find a fucking mechanic to fix the fucking car. What the hell is wrong with these “businesses”? Can’t respond or give an estimate. Finally got a response from one – who can’t fix a VW. That mechanic recommended another one, whom I contacted and – no response.

After THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, I put in the revisions on “A Rare Medium”, found a few more things to fix, formatted it properly, got in the needed information, saved as PDF, and got it out the door. Ahead of schedule.

Phew.

I’d forgotten to turn on the crockpot, so it had to be on high all afternoon.

Did my script coverage, and got out a book review. Dinner was great; the recipe worked well. After dinner, I did more Marie Corelli research. I have a good sense of the character; now I need the incident in her life to dramatize.

The lovely chiming tower clock over at the college stopped around mid-morning. I miss it. I didn’t realize how much I used it to keep track of my day, and how much joy it brought me.

Went through the materials for tonight’s Wild Oats Board Meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s delightful. I love it when they include fuzzy socks, and these have little hour glasses embroidered on them.

Sorted the laundry before bedtime. Got up at 5 (Tessa was just doing her warmup scales). Got everyone fed, got myself dressed and the first writing session done. Then piled the laundry and the washing materials and my work bag into the little upright rolling cart that’s been in the family since 1969 and rolled the laundry down the street to the laundromat.

As usual, I was the only one there, but it wasn’t creepy. Got the laundry loaded up, then sat down and worked on tightening the point-by-point notes for The Big Project, so that I don’t go off on tangents. Realized I have to do an insert to the second days’ work, in order to keep one of the running jokes going. There has to be a reference in every chapter. The Big Project relies on impeccable structure, along with engaging characters, quick dialogue, and a rip- roaring plot. So taking the time to polish the outline saves me a lot of pain and time later in the process.

After breakfast, I need to do a run to CVS for a couple of things. Fortunately, it’s in walking distance, but it’ll be about an hour round trip. Debating whether or not I should stop by the library while I’m in that direction, or wait until Thursday.

We have a storm coming in today, and snow tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a mechanic today and schedule the repair for Thursday or Friday. This is ridiculous. If I can’t trust someone to be capable of the technology of answering an email and/or giving me an estimate, why would I think they have the skills to repair my car?

Once I get back, it’s back to work on today’s words for The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I have to get the ads going for the two holiday shorts, and finish the newsletter.

Then, it’s back to script coverage and client work. With any luck, I’ll get out a few LOIs, too.

But, for the moment, I’m back on the pavement, getting my errands done. We’re definitely getting a storm; pre-storm headache in full force.

Tues. Nov. 9, 2021: Music, Cats, and Sleep Deprivation

image courtesy of cottonbro via pexels.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Last week, the prediction was that we’d have our first snowfall by yesterday. Instead, we’re having gorgeous weather. Frosty nights and glorious days. I’ll enjoy every one we get.

Catch-up time from the weekend, huh? I’d miscalculated how much time I needed for the script coverages, and ended up reading/writing up coverage all weekend. I have a feeling I’ll be doing so until Thanksgiving, so that I can take a four-day break without worrying.

Work on CAST IRON MURDER for Nano was steady. Friday-2439; Saturday-2574; Sunday-3008; Monday-2121; this morning-2584. Part of Sunday’s was doing an insert to the previous day’s work, where I’d forgotten to write a rather important scene. Yesterday was a bit of a slog, but the second week of Nano is always the hardest for me. Today, I had a late start, but it went well.

Friday was an absolute debacle of a day. It was gorgeous weather, and we planned to go to Holyoke and South Hadley, about an hour and a half away to the east, to hit up some stores we don’t have around here. I’d printed out the directions, planned the route, all good, right?

Only it wasn’t.

The drive across to Northampton was lovely. They’re just hitting peak color there; we peaked Halloween weekend. Northampton is kind of an odd, funky city, and I hope I get to spend more time poking around at some point, when the pandemic is more under control.

But once we got to Holyoke, the directions had little to do with the map, and neither of them had anything remotely to do with the signage. We couldn’t find any of the stores, and there was no place to stop and ask for directions.

We found 91, and took it down to the Mass Pike, and back west to Lee. Lee was busy, and there was no parking, so we decided not to roam around Lee, but keep going.

To my delight, the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield was having a book sale. The sale was gigantic (and everyone was masked and following protocols). I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a stack of eight books, two cookbooks, and eight classical music CDs.

So the day wasn’t a total wash. Because, book sale.

Their next sale is my birthday weekend, which means I’m less upset about having to cancel the planned trip for That Big Birthday than I was a few weeks ago.

We stopped at a market in Adams we’d been wanting to try. They have some stuff I can’t get anywhere else, but no staff and few patrons masked, so I won’t be going in there often or for long. One of the few places around here that’s lax on masking.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home, because it was late, and we were hungry. Bad idea. We had the chicken sandwiches, which were basically carboard slabs on other cardboard slabs. And felt awful after. We know better.

The month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was a delight of crystals and a mug and a window hanging and all kinds of fun stuff. A bread cookbook I forgot I’d ordered also arrived.

Was up way too late doing script coverage.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:22 on Saturday, a real gift.

Wrote my quota on the novel, and then we headed to Job Lot, where we got a few things my mom wanted, and a draft blocker for the back door, and a snow shovel. Because if a plow pushed snow against the back of the car in the parking lot in winter, I’m going to have to dig it out, and I gave away the snow shovel we had on the Cape before we moved.

Since we were up that way anyway, we stopped at a favorite thrift store. I got another Santa for my collection (this one with little gray kittens who reminded me of my beloved Iris and Violet), some jingle bells, and another metal deer. For Five bucks, for all of it.

To CVS, where it turns out my mom’s new prescription insurance hadn’t come through as promised, so I’m back to working on that.

The library, which was busy, to pick up and drop off books. The Saturday librarian with whom I often talk books in detail was busy, so I just waved to let him know I saw him.

Script coverage in the afternoon and evening. Also finished reading THE LOLA QUARTET, which was interesting, but I got frustrated by the way the characters didn’t learn from their mistakes. The writing’s beautiful, though.

I’m enjoying Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries. They are light and fun.

Saturday was the last sunset after 5 PM until February 3, according to local weather people.

Turned the clocks back, and Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 on Sunday, which was a win, all the way around. However, we had a Serious Conversation. Tessa sat in front of me and told me that they elected her Spokes-Cat, and they would very much like it if I fed them BEFORE I started the coffee in the morning, not after.

Not happening.

Frost in the morning on the cars. I didn’t miss scraping the windshields when I had a garage, I’ll tell you that much. But it only takes a few minutes.

Wrote my Nano quota, more script coverage, some reading for fun.

Discovered I can’t have Bach’s harpsichord music on when I’m trying to do anything else. It’s definitely not background music, but listening music. I also enjoyed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday night into Monday, Charlotte was the one who was impossible. She woke me up every two hours, all purry and cuddly, wanting attention. By 3 AM, Tessa began singing her arias.

I grabbed the feather bed and moved into the bed in the sewing room. Tessa quieted down. Charlotte joined me for a few minutes. Charlotte’s catnip banana was under my back, so I pulled it out and threw it on the floor. Charlotte and Tessa fought over the banana, and then over Tessa’s catnip carrot.

I told them I didn’t care anymore; I just needed some sleep.

I dozed off again, and was woken up a little after 6 by a cold kitty nose. It was Willa, saying, “Please, could you get up and feed us? I am very hungry.”

Since she asked nicely, I did.

AFTER I started the coffee.

I was grumpy most of the day. I did my Nano words, and even came up with titles for the next two books in the series.

Wrote up a script coverage. Got out some LOIs.

I’m so behind on email, it’s not even funny.

Spent a good part of the day trying to sort out my mother’s insurance again. Elizabeth Warren’s office has been a big help. Hopefully, it’s done this time. I need to pick up her medications.

Big grocery shop over at Big Y, then over to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop on the way back for stuff I couldn’t get at the other two places.

Read scripts in the afternoon and at night, which I will write up today.

Roasted chicken thighs with both sweet potatoes and Yukon golds, served with creamed spinach. It was yummy.

Up early this morning, even before the cats, and over to the laundromat by 6 AM, even with scraping off the car windows. My mom came along, wanting to know what it was like. We had a lot of laundry, because I procrastinated, and we had a houseguest, and we had all the fabric from Halloween. So it was two loads in the big industrial machines and two loads in the smaller commercial machines.

We were still washed, dried, folded, and home before 8. And I got a couple of pages done on the outline for the second book.

I made an egg, leek, chevre, and tarragon scramble for breakfast (Kripalu recipe), and put some potatoes, carrots, and pork chops in with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker for dinner. The house smells great.

Did my Nano words (went well today, unusual for week 2). Writing this, then catching up on email and doing script coverage. Oh, yeah, and putting all the damn laundry away.

I have two new review assignments, so I have to get started to those, too.

Maybe a nap in the afternoon, or at least 20 minutes or so on the acupressure mat.

We’re ready for winter (I think), but we’re enjoying every beautiful autumn day we can get. The front porch is still great in late morning well into the afternoons. Tessa has taken over the porch. Trying to get her in when it gets dark is getting more and more difficult. But it’s great to sit out there and read or write, while the cats watch the world go by.

Willa was excited by the birds having a meeting on the back balcony. I put up the blinds a bit in my mom’s room, so she could watch a squirrel dancing around in the tree out there. She is just fascinated.

Tessa always liked my bed to be smooth and clean (no lumps). Charlotte moves around the covers and blankets every day to build little nests.

No wonder Tessa spends most of her time on the porch.

Back to the page. I still have to finish “A Rare Medium” in the next few days, too.

Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

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. July 13, 2021: Patient Rebuilding

image courtesy of Peter Fischer via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

It certainly rains a lot here. At least it keeps the temperature down. And everything is very green.

The weekend was good. The rain let up a bit on Saturday morning, so we headed to Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire. Bought a few plants and herbs, and some fruits and vegetables. Boy, are their strawberries amazing! Pretty much everything was delicious.

Rested a bit in the afternoon, and worked on the unpacking. It goes slowly. It’s like a puzzle. Do a bit here, then have to adjust something there. It will take a few weeks to figure out how it all fits, and then feng shui it properly. This place is difficult to feng shui. But we will figure it out.

I finished some script coverage on Friday, so I didn’t take on any more over the weekend. At least for the summer, I will try to keep my weekends work free. We will see what the finances demand in the autumn. I do intend to put my head down and work steadily, taking on as much as possible for as much money as possible, although I have to wait until my head clears a bit before so doing. The exhaustion won’t let up.

Six months of stress won’t melt away in six days.

Sunday was about unpacking. Most of the kitchen is now unpacked. I was rather horrified by how dirty the pieces that were inside a glass-fronted cabinet had gotten. Granted, last year, when I was sick, I didn’t do the all-out spring and fall cleanings we usually do, but still, things shouldn’t be that filthy after a year. Inside a closed cabinet. It’s an indication of how the pollution has increased on Cape since we’ve moved there – with the constant chainsaws and mowers and leaf blowers and other tools, there’s no clean air any more. One used to smell the salt air of the sea; no more.

We are only a few blocks from downtown in the new neighborhood, but we are surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s the occasional mower or leaf blower for 10 or 15 minutes once a week or so, during business hours. It’s not the constant cacophony of destruction it was on Cape.

Read a book on the Kindle for the first time since I moved here. Bought something on a whim, that sounded fun. It was. Fun and didn’t strain my brain too much. Not brilliant, not terrible, just decent brain candy. Sometimes, we need brain candy.

Grabbed a couple of scripts to cover on Monday. Slid back into sending out LOIs, trying to catch up on emails. Paid some bills. The check arrived from TD Ameritrade on Friday afternoon – by UPS, not Fed Ex, so no wonder I couldn’t track it. Because, you know, it would be too much to expect them to know the difference between two different companies.

Also got a lovely housewarming gift from friends who live in Kentucky, from a company called Grandma’s Chicken Soup: chicken soup, mac and cheese, challah bread, chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food from the farm was so delicious. What a taste bouquet!

Mixed feelings about the Branson “space” flight over the weekend. On the one hand, I’m of the generation who adored the Apollo missions; however, there’s plenty the billionaires should be doing to help THIS planet before feeding their space egos. Like paying taxes, for one. Yes, I want more space exploration. No, I don’t want it by billionaires.

I have to get to work on the Llewellyn pieces – I have 25 short pieces due in October, so I’m going to do 3-4/week over the summer.

Monday, I also re-started my yoga practice, after weeks away from it. I may have gained some strength, but I’ve lost flexibility. So I will work, daily, to get it back. It’s a shame that years of building strength and flexibility were all lost over a couple of months, but time to build back up.

My meditation practice suffered, although I did at least a few minutes every day. I want to figure out where I can set up a meditation space and get back into longer daily meditations. Maybe I can rejoin the online group in Concord on Thursday mornings.

Got some work done in the morning. I feel as though I’ve lost all my creative skills. The tank is empty, and everything is a struggle. I feel horribly uncreative and untalented. The reality is exhaustion and warped perception, and I have to be kind to myself as I ease back in. I’d hoped to jump in, but don’t have the resources.

At ten, we headed to the library to get our new library cards. I’m a little disappointed that we’re on a sort of probation for three months, and can only take out two books at a time, before we are considered full library patrons. From someone who regularly checked out 50 books at a time, it’s a difficult adjustment. But I got out a book on local history, and the reference librarian is eager to help me find more, so I will go back and do some research in the lovely room.

Swung by the post office to drop off letters and bills.

My Ipsy bag arrived (it’s lovely, as always), along with Goddess Provisions, and the Chewy order.

Got started on the pieces for Llewellyn. Amazing how writing even one short piece helped.

Tessa got me up early this morning, because the cats were hungry. I can ignore Willa and Charlotte when they are a pain, but then they bring in Tessa, the Big Gun. Tessa is She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

I started re-reading Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION, about journal writing. I’m using my personal, handwritten journal, first thing in the morning (after I feed the cats) to try to reconnect with my own creativity, so I can get back to my daily 1K first thing in the morning again.

My bad shoulder hurts today (the one that was dislocated and has rotator cuff problems). This morning, I have to take the laundry down the street to the laundromat. That should be an adventure. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have laundry in the building before. I’m taking work with me. More script coverage, more LOIs, more short pieces for the almanac. Slowly, slowly, building back my creative life.

Slowly, slowly, figure things out. Make sure it works for life as it is now, not doing things because it’s the way I did them before. I don’t want to get stuck, the way I did before.

Onward.

Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again

image courtesy of Hermann Schmider via pixabay.com

Friday, February 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Stormy and cold

After meditation, I headed out to my client’s for a couple of hours to get done some things that hadn’t gotten done the day before because so much of the day was about my mother’s vaccine appointment. As I suspected, there was NO reason for me to be there on site at the same time as anyone else. The client could have emailed or texted me the information, and I could have gone in with no one else in the office and taken care of it.

Instead of redirecting vaccine doses to areas that need them, Baker opened up eligibility to a million more residents – without, of course, checking with anyone to see if the website could handle it. Naturally, it couldn’t, and was down for most of the day. He was ranting and raving in interviews. Hey, bucko, try talking to the people doing the work BEFORE you make your random announcements, and then this won’t happen.

There’s a good reason this state is given an F in the vaccine rollout report card. And the reason starts with a B – Baker. His refusal to coordinate and communicate and give the people doing the work any support or resources before he goes out and announces things are some of the big reasons we’re having these problems.

But what do you expect from someone who refused to have any workers on the advisory committee to reopen businesses? He has a huge disconnect about how work is accomplished. He seems to think magic elves come in while he’s asleep, instead of actual people working as hard as they can in impossible situations – putting their lives at risk.

While in the office, a friend of the client’s called with a “special” number for the client to call to get a vaccine appointment that day. Which just seems weird, since supposedly, the only clinic giving vaccines all week in this region was the one I took my mom to on Wednesday.

White elitist vaccine appointments, based on who you know, would be totally on brand for Cape Cod.

She texted me after I left, saying she had an appointment. Good for her, because she’s definitely eligible, and we should all have an appointment, but if an Elitist Vaccine Appointment Line exists, that’s disturbing on multiple levels.

I’m sure I’ll hear all about it next week.

I managed to get home just as the snow started. Decontaminated, and got back to the work I should have been doing that morning.

The latest IPSY bag arrived, and is absolutely delightful. I’m so much happier with IPSY than I was with Sephora Play, and Birchbox was a total nightmare.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I received my first Tamed Wild box. Totally different vibe than Goddess Provisions, but also really interesting and well done.

Had to order a new waste toner cartridge for the big laser printer (something else to learn to fix), and ordered more file folders, too. I need them for the cleaning out I’m doing.

Snowed pretty hard all day into the night, although this morning, it doesn’t look like a lot of accumulation, except where the plow pushed it into the bottom of the driveway, where it’s at least a foot. Hopefully, it won’t freeze down before I shovel.

Packed up another bookcase in my room. Tessa was not amused.

Got some, but not all, the quotes for my first article, and the bulk of today will be spent on that and the second grant proposal. The budget is what’s really slowing me down on that. I want it to be realistic, and the samples I’ve seen just aren’t.

Got some quotes for the second article, and will also spend time working on that. I’ve written the opening in my head, and really like it.

I have a little more research to do this weekend, and, on Monday, I will send out interview requests for the third article.

Need to get some LOIs out, and need to purge boxes from the basement. I haven’t met my quota this week so far, and I have a high quota for the weekend, so I need to get back on track. However, I did pack quite a few boxes of books upstairs, which wasn’t on the week’s list!

Yesterday, my mom’s arm was really sore. It lessened as the day wore on, but then she was very fatigued, and slept on and off all afternoon. Hopefully, today she feels better.

Called my mom’s doctor to let her know about the first dose. Supposedly, the system forwards the vaccine information, but the office said it hasn’t gotten anything, so once she has both doses, I’ll scan the vaccine record card and send it over to them.

I was so worn out, I went to bed ridiculously early last night, and woke up just after midnight, thinking it was 5 AM. Managed to get back to sleep, until the plows woke me, a little after 4.

Got a lot of work on GAMBIT COLONY done yesterday. I need to find my notes on the next section, set in Venice.

I’m not even going to comment on the whole Ted Cruz thing here, which is wrong on so many levels, it would take its own white paper to dissect.

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

Published in: on February 19, 2021 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 9, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 265/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 13 — Ice Boulders

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday morning, got some writing done on GAMBIT COLONY. Then did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and a curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated.

Sent off my review and invoice. Got paid. Got out a few LOIs. Got out a couple of pitches to an editor.

Caught up on box purging, so I was where I hoped to be by the end of the day.

Spent way too many hours trying to get my mom a vaccine appointment. Every other area of the state has appointments to spare. Here, we have nothing. On top of that, there was a secret “pop-up” clinic here on cape, but you had to know someone to get an appointment. How is that equitable? It’s not.

 I’m tired of Baker smirking and lying. He says Walgreens is giving vaccines. Multiple Walgreens locations are up on the state and county websites as vaccine locations. Only “no appointment available.” You know way? Walgreens ISN’T GIVING VACCINES IN THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS. So why are they on the state and county website?

Baker says CVS is giving out vaccines. Multiple CVS locations are on the state and county websites. Only “no appointment available.” You know why? There are only THREE CVS locations giving vaccines in the entire state and NONE of them are on Cape Cod. So why are Cape Cod locations on the state and county website?

On the location list is the Hyannis Stop & Shop. Not only has the website been down for nearly two weeks, now that it’s sort of up, it states that no vaccines are being given at that location. So why is it listed as a location on state and county websites?

The delays are not the issue. The lying and misinformation are.

And if there are so many open appointments in other locations in the state, why aren’t those doses being sent here instead, where there are NO appointments, and a huge population of seniors?

FFS, I could do better using Google Docs to set this up than the state has.

Saturday, up early and did a dump run. Still couldn’t fit all the recycling into the car, but I crammed in as much as I could. Swung by the other grocery store to get a few things before the incoming storm.

Got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did my quota of box purging.

Found some old love letters. Re-reading them, wow, I’m glad I’m not with any of those guys. One, who I though was so wonderful at the time – reading the letters back, he was extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. He died a couple of years ago, and I was sad at the loss and remembered the good times. These letters give me a more complete picture of reality. Another, wrote beautiful letters. I’d always thought of him as “the one that got away.” But when I reconnected with him a few years ago, he’s gone all evangelical religious, and we have nothing in common anymore.

I made the right decisions not to be with them. Which is good to know.

Found some more really cool stuff. Threw out a ton of stuff. I’ll be doing another dump run next week.

Read AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS, by an author from Singapore named Ovidia Yu. I loved it, and ordered more of her books. She’s also a playwright, and has also been to Edinburgh with her plays, so I’m even more eager to read her work.

Found a bunch of my old articles that aren’t digitized. I will scan them and put them into my clip files and portfolios.

The Goddess Provisions box finally arrived, after sitting in the postal facility in Arizona for over a week. It was worth the wait.

The coffee shipment, that was supposed to be here on Wednesday, made it as far as Westboro, and then went back to CT for some reason. By the time it arrives, it will be stale.

The Wolferman’s order arrived. I had a problem when I ordered it with the promo code. The customer service rep promised to put it through and adjust it. Instead, they CHANGED THE ORDER to something cheaper and sent me what I didn’t order. Not only that, it’s something I WOULDN’T’ have ordered, because it wasn’t what I wanted. I have to find my original paperwork and squawk. It also makes me less likely to order from them in the future, because who the hell knows what will show up?

In other words, Mercury is very retrograde.

Heard back from 365 Women – I’m going to write a Kate Warne play for them this year, AND they’ve accepted the proposal for DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE (I wasn’t sure it would be their thing) AND a play on Marie Collier. So I’ll be busy.

The head of the group just got my email about a quote for the articles – that were published over the past two weeks. She told me I should contact her via Facebook Messenger. I don’t use FB Messenger because of the hacking issues, so. . .it’s an issue. Besides, the articles are up. I’ll be sending her PDFS of the clips – at the email address I have.

The incoming storm on Sunday gave me a huge headache.

But I did write the opening of DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE. It’s kind of weird, but I like it.

Also worked on a grant proposal that has to go out in two weeks. Hate everything I wrote for it. I have to create three 250-word pitches within the proposal. I think I need to write my kind of treatment or Writer’s Rough for each project, and then distill it down. Starting at the blurb doesn’t work. It’s reading flat. So that’s on the agenda for this week: Three treatments.

Got in my quota of boxes on Sunday, too.

The snow started around noon and was so pretty! Lovely, big flakes. We had a fire in the fireplace. The power flickered, and went off once for a couple of minutes, but held pretty well otherwise.

Sunday night into Monday was rough. I woke up every hour or so with intense pain in my knees. I know I’ve been working them hard, carrying boxes up and down from the basement, but this was intense.

Then, I find out, overnight Sunday, the plow guy packed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway and they froze there. It took me FIVE HOURS to shovel the driveway, get the ice boulders cut down, and the front walk. There was an ice crust, so I had to take the hoe and crack a section, shovel, crack a section, shovel. After twenty or thirty minutes, I had to stop and rest. I’m not twenty anymore, and I spent the past year sick. I can’t, physically, do this anymore.

For the ice boulders, I had to take the hoe and hack at them until I broke them into pieces I could lift and toss.

It was not fun.

My neighbor across the street watched me struggle for five hours (he’s about thirty years younger than I am). As soon as I went inside, he got a bulldozer out of his garage and cleared his own driveway in about five minutes. Really? He could have said, “I see you’re having a hard time; I have heavy equipment and can clear it out for you for fifty bucks.”

It’s not a surprise, though. This is a guy that hasn’t worn a mask once during the entire pandemic.

It’s a far cry from when we first moved here, and all dug each other out. Or the year where we had a series of snowstorms and the town couldn’t be bothered to plow us out, so after nearly a week, we all got our shovels and dug out the street ourselves.

Anyway, after five hours of this, I was wiped out. Funnily enough, my knees were fine, but the left leg and hip that’s been bothering me for the last few weeks were in bad shape, along with my arms.

I spent the afternoon reading contest entries instead of purging the basement.

I managed to get some client work out in between shoveling sessions, so at least it wasn’t a total loss.

Still no vaccine appointments on Cape Cod. Other areas have open appointments and are worried about expiring doses. Why aren’t they being re-routed to the Cape? I’m on EVERY list to learn about when appointments open, and. . .total silence from all of them. Why is the county listing sites as locations that don’t have appointments or doses? The only sites that should be listed are those actually offering appointments. New ones should be added as they go live. That’s basic organization.

But the state and county information remain incorrect. Nobody is fixing anything, or getting anything better organized. Governor Baker is pulled a Jared Kushner on us, and just continues to let us die. He doesn’t give a damn – he hasn’t, or he wouldn’t have reopened back in May, and kept us open when our daily virus numbers were double and triple what they were when we were shut down last spring. I’m sick of it, and I’m at the end of my rope.

My editor at SCRIPTMAG assigned me two more articles. So I’ll get the interview requests out today and get going on research.

I’ll send off my “personal update” for the class reunion later, do some client work, get out some LOIs. Work on the first treatment. I already got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY this morning, to settle me.

I might sneak in another curbside library pickup this morning, fi the next storm hasn’t started by the time the library opens. Because yes, we’re getting another storm today.

More shoveling.

And, this afternoon, I have to scrub a section of the basement floor, let it dry, and then place some boards down so I can restack the newly packed boxes. That way, once we know where we’re moving, it’s just a case of loading boxes.

It feels good to let go of a lot of this stuff, and the stuff that’s kept is being integrated into the household, even though it will have to be packed again soon.

I’m just so, so tired on so many levels. I’m burned out to a frightening extent. I know there won’t be any rest for me until after the move, but once we’ve moved, I HAVE to take some time off. I just hope I can keep going until then.

Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns

Logo designed by Gabe T.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

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

Sunny and pleasant

Yeah, we’re back up to six retrogrades. Having Mars go retrograde right now really sucks – more likely to get into (and lose) arguments, slowing down momentum, making one question one’s own worth. With Jupiter and Saturn turning direct this month, whose forward energy I need right now, then slowed down by the Mars retrograde – yeah, that sucks all the way around. With Mars retrograde, it’s not about overcoming obstacles, but about figuring workarounds.

Yesterday was fine. I was in the client’s office by myself, which is as it should be. Got a lot done.

Headed to the library for drop-off/pickup; then home for decontamination and back to work, remotely this time. The ad campaign still isn’t quite right. I haven’t hit that golden place yet. Then, I was working on another ad for an email blast that has to go out today; came up with something okay, but not brilliant. Got the idea I needed as I was falling asleep, so putting that together early this morning, so it can go out on time.

I invested in an acupressure mat a few weeks back. I’ve been taking a break in the afternoon to use it, especially when I’ve been sitting a lot. It’s amazing how much it helps. 20 minutes restorative time on the mat, and I can get in a few more focused hours in the afternoon.

Reading the next Gamache and enjoying it.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived. This month’s theme is Color Therapy, and it’s great. So much excellent stuff – and stuff I will use. Tessa is thrilled with the large crystal suncatcher. It might never make it to getting hung from the window; she might keep it for her private cat stash, as she did with last month’s crystal pendulum.

Also got an ARC of a colleague’s book that I won in a contest. I’m so excited – it’s the second book in her new series, and it’s such a fun series. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend, and then writing about it.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough (same song, different day). I’m figuring out the shape for the Susanna Centlivre play. I want the focus to be on her relationship with her husband (who was the Queen’s chef), and one of her closest female friends (probably Mary Pix). I found a Very Long Dissertation about female friendship, and another about her work and Aphra Behn’s work that I will need to read through in the coming weeks. I still don’t have the catalyst or the central dramatic event for the play. I’m still researching.

I think I’ll set the Isabella Goodwin play toward the end of her career. Maybe use flashbacks? They often work better on stage than in novels. I like the fact that she married a younger man when she was older and thinking about setting it when she’s thinking about retiring as NYPD’s first female detective. I haven’t figured out how to incorporate that. There’s a lot of fiction out about her that I’m avoiding, because I don’t want it to influence the piece; I also don’t want to use anything that I’m using in THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT pilot and scripts.

But it’s already September and both plays are due in December (and I have surgery in December), so I need to start writing soon.

I  need to remember that they can be short plays – they don’t have to be full-length. I can always expand them in the future. I need to pick an important moment in each of their lives and dramatize it.

I also need to stop berating myself that I didn’t get those additional Kate Warne plays written during the pandemic – they’re not on deadline. The paid and deadlined work must come first, and everything else has to fit around it. Everything takes longer, between the pandemic and retrogrades and the energy it takes to survive. I need to adjust my expectations for myself, or I’ll get stuck in self-loathing mire, and that doesn’t do any good.

I have to go onsite for a client (where we’ll all be in the office at the same time – ick). But we’re only overlapping a short time, so I will deal. Then I’ll come home, decontaminate, and join Remote Chat, which is one of my favorite parts of the week, then more client work.

Knowledge Unicorns

Yesterday was the first meeting of the online homework group, consisting of my godchildren’s kids. They named themselves the Knowledge Unicorns and one of them designed the logo. We’re still tweaking the time, because there are people in all three time zones. Wide range of ages, some a little quieter than others, so I have to make sure everyone is equally heard and no one is overlooked. But bright and fun and good people.

We talked about the structure of the sessions and how they will work, and how, if something isn’t working, we’ll talk about it and change it. The baseline is respect for each other and kindness toward each other. Everyone’s opinion matters, and if there’s a point of disagreement, it’s discussed with respect and compassion, and positions are backed up by facts and resources (not Wikipedia and Fox News).

We took a few minutes at the beginning to settle in and see how everybody is. None of them are going to in-person learning. They are all learning remotely. This idea that you just sit in front of a screen for 6 hours a day as though it was class is ridiculous, in my opinion. It’s a different kind of school, and needs to evolve for that. Even in school, you’d get up after 50 minutes to go to your locker and get other books and go to the next class.

A colleague and I discussed this the other day – schools have had months to come up with a good way to handle remote learning. They haven’t. They’re not supporting the teachers, they’re not supporting the parents, they’re sure as hell not supporting the kids. Someone I know works for a major online learning company. They did a direct mail campaign (both in print and digital)  to schools all over the country, offering free consults to help them move learning online and talk about the ways it has to be different to be effective. NOT ONE school responded.

Something that came up in the “settling in” talk at the beginning was the external pressures to go to the physical school building and act as though it was all normal. The kids agreed that they miss hanging out with their friends; but they’re more worried about the pressure on their parents. They’re scared and angry that some of their friends’ parents are trying to use the kids’ friendships to bully the parents into forcing the kids back into schools. One of the kids lost a friendship, because the friend’s parents won’t let them be in contact if the kid isn’t physically going to school, because the parents don’t want the remote-learning kid to fill the onsite kid’s head full of “libtard crap.” Because, you know, keeping your kids home and safe is a partisan issue to them. One of my godchildren had her lawyer work to get her temporary full custody of her kids during these months, because her ex-husband thinks the virus is a hoax; during his joint custody, he planned to send them to school. He also doesn’t believe in masks or social distancing, and has his friends over to drink beer and hang out the same as always.  I’m not up on the legal stuff in her state, so I don’t know how that all worked, but she got some sort of order giving her full custody temporarily, and they’re doing fully remote learning (and masking and social distancing).

There’s a lot of pressure on the kids to adapt to remote learning when the school systems haven’t put in the work to support the teachers or parents or kids to make it work (because, let’s face it, most of those believed the myth that the virus would just go away, because it was easier than putting in the work). On top of that, the external partisan pressure to put themselves in danger when their parents are trying to protect them is pretty intense, and that’s something that has to be addressed.

So we talked about that for a portion of our time together, and worked on coping strategies.

We got down to the actual homework – they’re all at different stages of learning and doing different things. If someone was having trouble with an assignment, they could ask a question, and we either figured it out, or figured where to look up the answer, amongst all of us. Some of the older kids remembered some of the stuff the younger kids were learning, and could help (especially in math, because I am useless in math). It was working on the different projects, but having virtual company and online resources at hand. I was either looking for resources to help with different assignments (they have to actually USE the resources, but I can point the way and show them how to research) or working on some stuff of my own that could be interrupted when they had questions or thought of something they wanted to talk about.

Some of the directions that come with the assignments make no sense. We spent time as a group dissecting some of the instructions.

We took regular breaks to stand up and get out the wiggles, and took our dance break (they decided that, at least for the first few weeks, they want me to pick songs from the 80’s for our dance breaks. 80’s music is exotic to them. I officially feel old).

They’d picked the octopus as the animal they want to learn about this month, so we started with the old Audubon Nature Encyclopedia entry from my childhood and will work from there.

Two hours flew by in what seemed like a few heartbeats, but we got a lot done, they got a sense of community and that, although they’re different ages and in different schools in different parts of the country, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stresses and fears, and aren’t alone. They have an adult (?), well, older person, who is not directly related to them, to whom they can talk about things, and, hopefully, they will build a sense that they have each other.

It was a good start, the parents were grateful for the break, and it certainly gave me a view into how broken the educational system is, and how unwilling the administrators are to expand their frame of learning and experience to make it work.

It was a good start, but I admit I was tired by the end of it. A good tired, but still. . .tired.

Have a good one.

Published in: on September 9, 2020 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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

writing-923882_1920
image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday!

Thurs. June 4: Die For Your Employer Day 17 – Trying to Find a New Rhythm

Thursday, June 4, 2020
First Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and humid

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the progress of the garden.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the blurb for THE BARD’S LAMENT, hop on over and read it. I had a decent writing session on it yesterday after a rough start. Last night, I figured out how to up the conflict and potential heartbreak.

Onsite at a client’s yesterday. I went very early yesterday morning, to minimize the time we were all in the office at the same time. It was fine; we got a lot done and planned for the next few weeks, as things are starting to open up again. We are taking precautions, although there is one person who I don’t feel is being cautious enough. So I’m keeping more than 6 feet away, whenever possible.

We discussed how I’ll work remotely again the week of my surgery. Since I have to be in complete isolation once I take the COVID test to the time I enter the hospital, it makes the most sense. It takes a huge amount of pressure off me.

Came home, followed the disinfectant protocols, and was back at my computer in time for Remote Chat, which was fun. Also got some advice on how to make those photos work on the Square store. I’ve followed every set of instructions, and it’s just not working. I’ll have to keep trying. The ratio should adjust it, so I don’t understand why it’s not.

Comcast sent me a text saying they would cut me off if I didn’t pay my bill by June 30. I have not received a bill. I pointed out that psychic billing doesn’t work. I’m happy to pay my bill, but they have to actually SEND ME A BILL. I’m not doing autopay. That means they make up and amount and pull it multiple times from the bank. Been there. Not doing that again. They cannot be trusted with my bank information. I am happy to send them a check. But I need a detailed bill. I want to see what illegal charges they’re trying to pull off.

I loathe Comcast. They need to be broken up. Every place, even the most rural area, should have a choice of at least three providers, who aren’t allowed to set rates amongst themselves, but actually compete. No one company should hold a monopoly. Technology is now a necessity, like any other utility. Make Comcast follow the regulations. Stop letting them do whatever they want.

Started reading Lilith St. Crow’s STEELFLOWER and really like it. I’ve owned that book for ages, and haven’t had a chance to read it before. I believe it’s the first of a series, so I have more of these characters to enjoy!

My Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was wonderful. It’s such a joy, every month. The incense this month, the cute little socks, the lip balm, the selenite, the astrological planner, everything is great.

You ever have that person in your life, the one who floats balloons of inappropriate comments and racist agendas? When you push back, the individual backs down; if you don’t, the person keeps pushing to reveal the real self.

I have one of those in my life right now. I’m pushing back. And every time this person makes such a comment, I lose more respect.

I am in the process of removing this person from my life, but it can’t just be a clean, immediate cut. I have to be diplomatic about it.

I may do a run to the garden center (masked, of course) to get a few things I need to work in the garden this weekend. I’m hesitant, because yesterday? Driving to and from the office? I saw ONE person, on a bicycle, masked. No one else driving, walking, or working was masked. Plenty of them were in groups, and not distanced. This attitude that they’re bored with the virus and are therefore going to ignore it is going to get people killed.

The MA numbers were up significantly yesterday from the day before.

Honestly, I don’t trust the customers at the garden center to follow the rule of masking or distancing. But I’ll see. If I’m uncomfortable, I’ll leave.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment for curbside pickup at the library. That’s my only outing. It’s a full moon with an eclipse and four retrogrades. Not pushing my luck beyond the single book pickup. It was good to talk to one of the librarians again, though. I’ve been in touch via email, but she said it was good to hear my voice. I asked her to give my love to everyone there.

I have writing, client work, yard work on the agenda today. I need to do some more work on the Topic Workbooks and the old Cerridwen Iris Shea material. Maybe start the book for review.

Over the next few days, I also want to get the mending done, some sewing done, and purge more boxes from the basement.

I am in daily contact with my elected officials about what’s going on in the bigger picture, and I’m working on some proposals. We all have different roles to play in this, along with voting.

I hope I’ll have a good few days and up my output on THE BARD’S LAMENT. And maybe, just maybe, get a bit done on BALTHAZAAR. I need to get back into the rhythm again, of both those worlds.

Hope you have a great day.

Published in: on June 4, 2020 at 6:12 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 4: Die For Your Employer Day 17 – Trying to Find a New Rhythm  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Went Direct Late Last Night

Thank goodness Mercury won’t be in retrograde for my birthday.

At least, in these last few weeks, with surgery and healing and prepping for more surgery, and all that, I’ve gotten a chance to think about a few issues and make some decisions. I will review those decisions now that Mercury is direct, and then, after my next surgery in ten days, start acting on those decisions. I will share those decisions as I’m comfortable so doing.

I worked on one of the books to review, but didn’t finish it. I needed rest, and to do so, I decided to re-read some of Donna Leon’s Brunetti books. That was good.

I did some of my own writing (although not enough). I worked on article pitches. I figured I’d wait until today and tomorrow to send them, when Mercury is direct.

Worked with the cats. With Charlotte, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But at least it’s that ratio, and not more backward movement than forward. I have to accept that it will take several years to undo the damage they have. But at least she loves to sit in her bed next to the window while I work on the computer. When I have to go out, she sits there and waits for me to come home, and then greets me. I just have to figure out a way to broker a deal for peaceful co-existence between her and Tessa.

Willa and Tessa have peaceful co-existence, and they might even work up to being friends one day.

From their behavior, I suspect their original human thought it was “cute” when they competed for attention. Therefore, they believe that only one of them can get attention and affection. When, in reality, there is plenty of attention and affection for all three, and when one gets it, it doesn’t mean less love available for the other two. That’s learned behavior, and only socialized affection over a long period of time will get them to adjust. Working on it every day.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived — all about dreaming. Some good stuff in there.

The Chewy order arrived on Saturday afternoon. Fed Ex dumped it on the side yard, instead of leaving it at the door. We couldn’t see it from the windows; the only reason I knew it arrived was because the tracker said it was delivered.

Then, I had to drag it into the garage and unpack it into the garage, because, after surgery, I still can’t lift much.

But we’ve got food and litter and new toys. The cats were thrilled with their new toys. Tessa got a catnip-filled carrot with feathery bits on top. She drags it around the room upstairs and loves it. Charlotte got a rattly catnip squirrel and Willa a soft, catnip-filled mop ball. Only Charlotte stole Willa’s toy, and Willa was upset. She didn’t want it anymore, with Charlotte’s cooties on it.

There are catnip fish and mice that I hid and will dole out in the coming weeks.

We put the sofabed away, finally, on Friday afternoon, and have some semblance of a normal living room back, at least until the middle of next week, when we set it up again for my next surgery. I got the instructions for the prep and am not happy about it. Everyone’s acting like this is nothing; I think it will be worse than the first surgery.

I’m trying to adjust the iron pills, because I’m in a constant state of nausea from them. That’s the one good thing about the second surgery — no iron pills for the week before.

Four loads of laundry on Saturday. Should have baked bread, but was too tired.

It snowed overnight into Saturday — just a few inches. And was lovely and spring-like Sunday, but I was too tired to do yard work.

Trying to get some tidying done because of those damned Home Energy Assessment people coming on Friday morning (before my follow-up appointment). I resent that I’m the one who has to lose work so the landlord can apply for a loan. This is the fourth time I’ve had to lose work in this whole replace-the-furnace debacle — and we still don’t have a new furnace. Not to mention it’s in the middle of all the health issues. I resent it. The landlord had THREE YEARS to get this done. And we HAD an assessment — SEVEN YEARS ago, and he made zero changes from it.

So I’m grumpy.

I’m also grumpy from the whole “spring forward.” I hate it. It upsets my energy levels and internal clock for weeks. I felt behind all day yesterday, even though I got up almost at my usual time.

I made a vegetable sauce for pasta out of the Brunetti cookbook last night, and it was good: eggplant, zucchini, tomato, three kinds of peppers, olives. Just yummy.

I’m worried about the spread of the Corona virus. My mother is in the top risk category, being in her nineties. Because of my current health issues, I am also high risk. So we’re being cautious. And the people who don’t take it seriously and take glee in putting others at risk make me angry. Interesting how all of them around here who do that are also supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Up at the normal time yesterday, grumpy as all get out. The first early morning writing helped lift my mood. Had to go onsite with a client for awhile, then pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

Up early today, writing, and then onsite again with a client. Not happy that I can’t do the work from home. Can’t afford not to work for this particular client right now. So I’m being as cautious as I can in the situation.

Onward.

Published in: on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,