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

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday!

Thurs. July 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 45 — Optimistic With the Work

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hazy and humid

The latest on the garden is up at Gratitude and Growth (including some pictures). I am so grateful to have that space.

Yesterday was tough. I was up early. Didn’t feel great. Pushed myself to go onsite for a client, and burned out within two hours. I left before anyone else had arrived, leaving a note and what I’d done and was going to do from home. And being upfront with them about what the doctor said, because it could affect them. Not as much as the COVID test potentially could have affected them, but still.

Stopped at CVS on the way home to pick up one of my mother’s prescriptions. My primary care physician’s office called. We set up a Zoom call for next Tuesday afternoon (since I’m doing a podcast interview in the morning). That adds a huge level of stress, instead of removes one, because I’m worried she’s going to want to send me for more tests, and I’m out of emotional resources at this point. Plus, I can’t keep taking off work. I need to earn a living.

Home, disinfectant protocols, back to my desk, shaky as I was. But I’d rather be shaky at home, where I can lie down when I need to, then somewhere I can’t.

A couple more hours for the client. She approved the ads I did, so I’m going to start running them.

Remote Chat was fun, as it always is, but I was suffering from Anesthesia Brain, was fuzzy-headed, and misread some stuff badly.

Attending a virtual conference on freelance writing, The Freelance Writing Success Summit.The SEO training session was useful. It gave me some ideas how to up the game for this one particular client. Well, I can apply the concepts to all my clients, but I got some solid ideas to help one in particular.

I attended several sessions, and got a lot out of it. Will attend more today and tomorrow. Shoutout to Michelle Garrett, who hosts the Freelance Chat every Thursday, and told me about it.

Then, I switched over to Miracles of Human Language and finished watching the videos for the week. Absolutely fascinating. I printed out the reading, and will do that later this afternoon. This class helps me in the artificial languages or dialects that I create for built worlds, and will help me as I go back to study languages and get my French back up to speed, and, hopefully, add in a few more languages. I refuse the idea that I’m too old to learn new languages.

I just have to work harder.

The native speakers who are part of the teaching modules (called “informants”), showing us different uses of languages and dialect, all seem to speak at least four languages. I wish the US emphasized being multi-lingual, instead of having languages as electives. We should all speak, at minimum, English, French, and Spanish here. One of the informants is a Turkish woman who also speaks French, Dutch, English, and Japanese in addition to her native Turkish. I love the excitement about learning languages that all these informants demonstrate.

A couple of interesting playwriting opportunities crossed my desk, via Women in Media Arts. I wonder if I can spin anything out quickly enough and well enough for these companies? I will let ideas percolate.

Also got my 2022 contract fromLlewellyn. My piece is due in early September, so I will get to work on it next week. I’d like to get it to my editor sometime in August.

The contract cheered me up quite a bit. I was feeling rather in despair. The state of the country, in relation to the pandemic, the treason the highest elected officials are committing daily for personal profit, and the economy all weigh heavily on me.

I decided I’m not doing the Target run until next week. There’s too much traffic, too many germy Maskless Morons and Sliding Mask Skanks out there.

Bill paying today. Plus, I’m going to run in to the office for a client so that I can put out the first of the ads – the financial information is at the office, not with me.

I’ll do some more work for that client later today, then do my reading for the class and take my end-of-week quiz.

I intend to take tomorrow as the start of the holiday weekend. I need to work on the basement and in the yard, plus fix BARD’S LAMENT and read my book for review.

It’s the right kind of busy, and I hope that will improve my outlook. Because I’m struggling, and only part of it is because I’m taking longer than I’d like to come back physically from the surgery.

Have a great day, friends!

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.

June 11, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 24 — Trying to Get the Week Back on Track

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

New post up over on Gratitude and Growth about progress in the garden.

Some stuff going on with a client that is inappropriate to discuss publicly, so I won’t. But it’s causing additional stress. It has little to do with the work itself, but a lot to do with the work situation.

Annoyed that there is zero coverage about the procession to honor George Floyd on Tuesday, that was lead by the head of the local NAACP, but they show the protests led by white people all over the Cape, as if to say, “See? We care.”

The beauty and sorrow of the procession has stayed with me, and gotten me thinking about a lot of things. Including about how what I thought I wanted my life to look like, way back years ago, was deeply rooted in unrecognized racism/colonialism. I mean, even wanting a Victorian house – the Victorians got that architecture and all that STUFF on the backs of people they wouldn’t even let into the houses for tea, unless they were the ones making the tea and bringing it into the parlor for other guests. It’s not that people who like the architecture and want to restore and live in Victorian houses are awful, but we need to look at how and why these houses were built. Then we can turn them into something better.

About damn time the Confederate flag was banned from places like NASCAR. It should be banned everywhere in this country. I never understood why it was ever allowed. Confederates were traitors. They seceded and created their own country because they wanted to profit from unpaid labor and treat human beings worse than work animals. On top of that, they LOST. We’ve allowed their descendants and followers to moan about “northern aggression” and “northern oppression” – to romanticize their inhumanity and play the victim — for around 150 years. It was never “right” to own human beings, and we won a war about it. Any symbols of the Confederacy outside of a history class or a museum should have been banned immediately.

Lousy writing day on fiction yesterday, although fine with client work and LOIs.

Remote chat was fun, as it always is.

Baked an orange hazelnut chocolate pound cake from a Moosewood recipe. I’m still having trouble getting the center to bake through properly, while the outside is getting overbaked. I have to figure that out. It’s still really good, but I want it to be evenly baked.

The package that was supposed to be delivered on Saturday finally turned up, thanks to the USPS, who got it from UPS, who couldn’t be bothered to deliver it because it was a small package.

The quality of the contents was very good, but I still wouldn’t do business with the company again after their condescending response to my frustration.

The other package, which was supposed to be delivered last Friday, and has been sitting in the facility 11 miles away, and been on the truck THREE TIMES and not delivered, still hasn’t shown up. Nor has UPS responded to my complaints.

Companies have pushed for re-opening and act like it’s normal. So now they can’t whine that they can’t provide normal service.

Oh, wait – treating their customers like crap IS normal for UPS. That’s right. I forgot.

Don’t get my wrong, the drivers are great and working their asses off. It’s the administrators who are useless.

Lucy Burdette recommended two books, so I bought them (eBooks) and plan to enjoy them this weekend. Along with reading the book I have for review.

I hope to get in some good writing time today, both on the book and for a client, get out some LOIs. Maybe do a bit of yard work, purge a few boxes from the basement, and get started on my sewing projects. I have a nice, big stack. Since I don’t plan to go clothes shopping in a store any time soon, I might as well use my apparel stash and make some cool new pieces exactly the way I want them. There’s a lovely piece of fabric that I’m going to make up in a simple design (no pattern), that will go well with some basic black pants I want to make from a Vogue pattern. Plus, I found some great fabric that will make lovely new summer curtains for the bedroom, to replace the pair of lace panels that have gotten a bit raggedy.

If there’s decent sunlight the next few days, maybe I can also get the mending done.

While I sew, I can also work on plot points in the books.

Time to turn this stressful week around.

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.

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Thurs. May 28, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 10 — Why We Need UBI & Relevant Dreams

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid; will be sunny and hot later

The garden is starting to bloom. There’s a post about it here.

Over 100,000 dead in this country and no end in sight. It is horrifying.

Yesterday wasn’t as bad as I expected onsite. There was some passive aggressive mask removal, but my co-worker and I kept ours on, and the third party put hers back on after a bit, when she saw that we weren’t going to budge. I was fully prepared to gather my things and leave, saying I’d come back some other time when no one else was there LIKE WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO PER STATE DIRECTIVES. But it didn’t come to that.

Got some stuff done. I work better from home. There’s less stress and more productivity.

Came home, stripped down, showered/disinfected. Was too wiped out to move on to other projects in the afternoon. I’d gotten an LOI out early in the morning, before I went in to the client site, for a company I think would be a good match. We’ll see.

Maine is pausing the re-opening Phase 1 and re-thinking Phase 2. No surprise there. My family up there told us how people are coming in for day trips, packing the beaches and parks, refusing to wear masks. Of course the re-open was going to fail.

The numbers Massachusetts releases doesn’t coincide with the reckless behavior I witness every day. Maybe our numbers just haven’t ticked up yet. But I expect that they will.

The traffic is just as bad as it ever is at this time of year. I see people congregating in groups, without masks. I mentioned yesterday the Sliding Mask Skanks that now populate the stores, and how visitors aren’t following the self-quarantine rule when they arrive. Most of them are coming in for the weekend, so they’re not quarantining for 14 days.

And, of course, the incessant whining, “I came all this wa-aay! Why isn’t anything o-PEN?”

Maybe because you’re a fucking dumbass who can’t follow the basic protocols and have no respect for other human beings, and there are those of us who actually live here who don’t want to die.

The lack of leadership here on local levels is appalling. Our Town Council is completely useless.

Come on, Congress. You want the economy to recover? Then give us UBI for the next few months. MANDATE that we work from home when possible. Don’t “suggest.” MANDATE. If an employer refuses, said employer should be fined. If an employee doesn’t want to return to unsafe conditions, then the employee shouldn’t lose unemployment benefits. If we have UBI, we won’t need Unemployment benefits to kick in until after it’s actually SAFE to reopen and we see where businesses stand.

UBI allows people to pay bills, keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, They can work from home whenever possible. They can also buy goods beyond the basic necessities, thereby keeping money in the economy – which paying bills also does. It keeps the money flowing.

The way they’re bailing out corporations? Top executives and stockholders get paid. Employees are laid off or lose benefits for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. How difficult is it to realize that people won’t buy your stuff if they’re dead or if they have no money and can’t even feed themselves?

So set it up so people have money flowing in and can keep it flowing out. Stop letting it get stuck in corporate accounts where it doesn’t help the general economy, but only a small percentage who don’t need the money anywhere.

It is not hard to figure this out.

The reason it’s not happening is that the GOP can’t stand the thought of the general population living in basic human dignity. Since Reagan, their platform has been to move us into a feudal economy with nobles (them) and serfs (the rest of us).

What they refuse to accept is that if we’re all dead, there’s no one to sustain their lifestyle or their egos.

The self-centered stupidity is almost as appalling as the inhumanity.

Switching gears to something more positive, it was nice to sit on the deck and read in the afternoon, in the sunshine, with a breeze and a martini at my elbow. We’d be mostly home during tourist season anyway. It’s not like it’s worth going anywhere when they swarm like locusts. When they’re swarming like infected, germy locusts, I’m REALLY not going out amongst them any more than necessary.

I’m reading Edward Ellis’s DIARY OF A CENTURY, which is absolutely delightful. He’s a newspaperman who kept a diary from 1927 on (this book came out in 1995). What I love about him is that he’s interested in everything. He likes to live life, think a lot, and he writes beautifully about it. A joyful book, even during difficult times.

Forced myself out of a nightmare that is relevant. I was in a car (not necessarily my car, but A car) at a busy intersection. Ahead of me was a split road, one was the way I could go, the other was one way against me, with a guardrail in the middle, and high rocks on either side. As I waited for the light to change so I could cross the intersection, it got so dark, I couldn’t see. The headlights didn’t work. I somehow had to get across the intersection and navigate the road ahead completely blind. I could hear and feel traffic around me, but I couldn’t SEE anything. It was terrifying.

I forced myself awake before I hit anything.

It was around 3 AM and I fretted until I got up around 5.

I guess sleeping through the night was only a few nights’ worth of bliss, and we’re back to being up in the middle of the night worrying.

Up early, got some writing done, and blogging.

About to gear up and  load the car with the recycling and take in the first load when they open this morning. Hopefully it won’t be too crowded, but I wouldn’t count on it. Then I have to brave Trader Joe’s for the regular grocery shop. Hopefully, there won’t be any Sliding Mask Skanks there, and it won’t be too crowded and awful.

I have to put in a few hours this afternoon for a client, but I’m doing it from home. And maybe get out a few more LOIs.

I’m hoping to get another stack of boxes purged/unpacked/cleared out this weekend.

The cat playpen should arrive today, so I can take Tessa safely out on the deck, and maybe Willa, too (not at the same time, though. Not yet). It means putting the flea and tick medicine on all of them today. Won’t that be fun? Yes, that was sarcasm.

Have a great day, and I hope you don’t die for your employer.

Thurs. March 19, 2020: It’s Not All Working in Pajamas and Drinking Wine

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Waning Moon
Ostara – Spring Equinox

Today is when the hours of daylight balance the hours of dark, and daylight lengthens until Midsummer. May that be a good omen for the coming months!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for a garden update.

I am grateful that the bulk of my work can be done remotely. I am a skilled and experienced remote worker, productive and reliable. I am lucky enough to live in a space that has a covered deck and a yard big enough so I can get out in the fresh air. If I was still in my 42nd Street NYC apartment, it would be quite different.

We’re all having different kinds of stresses, and I’m going to talk about some of the ones that I’m facing as a freelancer, and stresses some of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are going through.

The worst stress in this situation, for me, comes from the clients who demand that I work onsite. I’ve ended relationships with some of them. I doubt we’ll work together again after this is over. One client is away this week; I’ve been able to work in an empty office. The other in-office person and I are staggering hours and disinfecting doorknobs, surfaces, etc. when we enter and leave. But next week, when she’s back and doesn’t believe a virus would ever dare attack her? Or that she couldn’t possibly be a carrier? We have a problem.

Stresses are added as other small business clients cancel upcoming projects. I totally understand. I’ve offered to help them craft and send their COVID-19 policy email blasts or web copy at a reduced rate and then, if they need remote help during the quarantine, or getting back up to speed at the end of it (whenever that will be), we can work out a rate that works for both of us — so I’m not hurting myself, but not taking advantage of them, either. Most of them don’t want to craft a policy statement — they just want to stop it all and throw up a few words on their website or in their auto-response. I understand that reaction, but I believe a thoughtful, well-crafted statement will serve them better in the long run. Keep communication open. Let your customers/audience know you care, wish them well, and look forward to hosting them again when it’s safe and possible.

Stresses are added as non-clients, who’ve always sneered at what I do, saying, “I don’t pay for that” (meaning writing and marketing) are now coming to me DEMANDING that I write copy and market their business FOR FREE so they can stay afloat. I’m being told I “owe it to the community.”

No, I don’t. Especially not to people who never took what I did seriously. I, too, have bills to pay. Plus, a lot of the strategy they want is fear-based and predatory, and I won’t participate in that.

Stresses are added when people contact me and DEMAND that all my books be available for free. My publisher and I considered doing that with the first book in each series. It would take at least two weeks to put the change through in a normal situation, with the distributors. It would take longer now, with people not being able to go into work, and not every system being set up so that it can all be done remotely. I heard a rumor that Amazon’s not filling Kindle orders, and that they’re only shipping physical orders they deem “essential.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

But with all these demands that all of my books are up for free? John Scalzi and TOR can afford to put up RED SHIRTS for free as part of their book club. Believe me, I’m glad they did. Other authors are putting up their books for free. Great. They have the resources. I don’t. The books that sold in the last few months (whose royalty check should be coming through shortly, because it’s 45 days after the end of the half-year) will pay my utilities. I hope. Or maybe my mother’s health insurance next month, when I might not have the money coming in the week I usually do to pay for it.

Stresses are added when clueless recruiters contact me, having found my profile on LinkedIn. One recruiter told me that if I “really wanted” to work for the company he represented, I would be willing to commute in to Boston during the pandemic, because “it’s not killing as many people as the flu does.” This is for copywriting. There is no reason copywriting can’t be done remotely.

I told him to grow up and stop watching Fox News.

When I asked another recruiter who approached me what their COVID-19 policy is, I was told, “We don’t have one. We don’t need one. People don’t come in, they’re fired. When this is all over, the unemployment rate will be 20% and we can hire anyone at half of what we’re paying them now.”

Again, this is for copywriting. No reason it can’t be done remotely.

Stresses are added when idiots on social media rant that it’s “obvious” that any job that can be done remotely isn’t “real” or “necessary” and only those done in-person are. Um, no. Both kinds of work are essential, in different ways. What it does is spotlight HOW MUCH work could and should be done remotely, but how little employers trust the people they hire. It spotlights that workers that we need to be onsite — in the grocery stores, truck drivers, gas station attendants, sanitation workers, and all kinds of health care professionals and first responders, deserve a living wage and benefits. It spotlights that EVERY company, no matter what size, MUST give their workers paid sick leave, including part-time workers, and that health insurance cannot be tied to one’s job. On top of that, it feeds into the whole myth that artists shouldn’t be paid for their work because it isn’t “real” work and they should be doing it “for the love of it.” No, it’s a valid profession.

It’s stressful to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, for obvious reasons, between people panic buying and the worry that we could all infect each other. Someone actually said I was “lucky” to have an elderly parent, so I could take her along and take advantage of the grocery store’s special hours for the elderly. Um, no. She’s staying HOME. I can go shopping an hour later, and then scrub down and disinfect when I get home.

The actual part when I’m home, plugging along at my work? Is pretty normal. I enjoy the work, as I said, I’m skilled and productive in remote work. I’m trying to offer advice and support and resources to people trying to adjust to working for home. I love working remotely, I always have. I take joy in what I do. I’m an introvert, so not socializing for weeks is fine — I’m fine interacting on social media. I miss going to museums and the library, but I’m not having a hard time in the same way extroverts are struggling. I’m lucky that I know how to keep myself occupied and engaged. I’m lucky that I need a lot of solitude.

Parents are under huge stresses with kids home. If they can’t work remotely, who looks after the kids? If they can work remotely, it’s about figuring out how to get work done while also trying to keep school-age kids learning, and younger kids occupied. I’ve heard that some of these online sessions demand up to seven hours a day of “monitored” learning by the parent. WTF?

When I was in fourth grade, I had to travel with my family from New York back to Chicago because my dad had a special surgery there. My teacher sent me with an entire suitcase full of schoolbooks (no internet at that time). I sat, in the hotel room, for six hours a day, and did my work. Quietly. Because once my dad was out of the hospital, he was resting in the other part of the suite, and I had to be quiet. I mailed my assignments in once a week. I had other books to read when I wasn’t working, and board games. Cards. Lots of cards. I remember playing so many card games. That serves me to this day. My mother and I went to museums and the zoo and walked around when we could (which was lucky — we didn’t have to isolate). But my mother wasn’t “monitoring” my schoolwork. She had to deal with hospital issues and field questions and issues from my father’s office. She was pretty fed up we had to lug an entire suitcase of books to Chicago, and she felt six hours’ worth of work a day was too much, but it was up to me to get it done. Granted, I was nine at the time, and able to take on that responsibility. If I was younger, it would have been harder. If I had been older, we’d have had to deal with bad attitude on my part, probably.

I was lucky growing up. I had more freedom than a lot of my peers, and lot more than most kids get today. But there were two things absolutely forbidden in the house. You never, ever, ever were “bored.” No such thing as boredom. The world is an interesting place, and if you’re bored, that’s on you. Engage. The other thing was I could never ask for something because “everyone” had it or did it. I had to present reasons why I wanted it that were separate from the herd.

Name actors who make millions per movie are fine, with all the entertainment shutdowns but the regular working actors? The tech crews? Musicians? They’re all suffering. This is the time the unions could step up and prove why they’re necessary, but all I hear is silence. I’m not hearing much from producers, either.

Marriott is laying people off, but there was a story that when workers file for unemployment, claiming they’re not “laid off” but their hours are cut back — to zero. Why are they getting away with that? They can afford to carry their employees for a few weeks.

Cruise ship bailouts? Really? The cruise industry makes enormous profits. It’s one of the most profitable industries out there. I don’t have the current figures, but when I started shopping the Nautical Namaste Mysteries several years ago, the cruise industry brought in $37 BILLION dollars in profits a year, and it’s only grown. These ships fly under international flags to avoid paying US taxes. So why are they bailed out with US tax dollars because their admin offices are in Florida, California, and New York?

I don’t want to see airline bailouts, either. They didn’t “trickle down” their tax cuts. They’ve raised fees, fought raising pay and benefits for workers, and done stock buybacks instead of investing in their workforce. That shows they don’t know how to manage money. Don’t give them more to mismanage. Make them EARN it. Some airlines need to go under, so new airlines who actually treat both customers and employees right can emerge.

We do need Universal Basic Income right now. Desperately. Not maybe by the end of April, but by the end of next week. Much more than bailing out huge corporations that squandered everything they keep getting handed and screwed their employees. UBI would keep food on the table and a roof over my head. It would allow me to support individual businesses by buying from them rather than big box stores (which I try to do anyway) and maybe allow some of them to hire me for remote writing work. While we’re saving our lives and those of the people around us by not infecting each other.

We need to make sure the health care professionals have what they need to protect themselves and stay healthy and to care for people coming in sick. That has to be a priority. That and testing EVERYONE. So we can get real numbers. Up manufacturing what we need. Get the supplies to the medical profession.

It’s not at all surprising that this administration has failed on such a large scale. The arrogance, the greed, the grift, the racism, has been on full display since the 2016 campaign. Now, they ALL need to be removed, as issues of both public safety and national security. Policies that save lives and get people back on their feet need to be put in place.

Then, when we are up and running again, the corruption needs to have consequences. Or this will all just happen again.

So those are some of what’s happening in my world. I’m deeply grateful for what is working right now — the remote work I have (such as reviewing books and contest entries, articles, the clients with whom I’m still working). Plenty of people are under much worse stress than I am, especially if they’ve got underlying health issues. I’m lucky that the health crisis that could have killed me was handled before the pandemic hit. I’m worried because my mother is in the highest risk category, and I have to do whatever protects her — even if it means losing clients. There are going to be some nasty scenes in the upcoming weeks, because there are still people acting like it’s not a big deal, and/or it won’t happen to them, so why can’t they go about their normal routine? Why can’t they put lives in danger because they “feel fine.”

The arrogance of it all is unbelievable.

Today, I intend to enjoy Ostara, and have a solitary ceremony, on the deck if the weather is good enough. I made some rune eggs yesterday that we’ll eat as egg salad for lunch. If the weather holds, I’ll do yard work.

Tomorrow was supposed to be my surgery, so I cleared it. I’m taking it as a rest day. Extra yoga and meditation. I might read books for review or contest entries, but I intend to enjoy the day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on March 19, 2020 at 5:10 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 19, 2020: It’s Not All Working in Pajamas and Drinking Wine  
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Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and colder

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I actually felt well enough to add a new post.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Things are what they are.

Remote chat was fun and informative. We talked about how the Corona Virus is changing ways we work and interact. You KNOW it’s only a matter of time until the internet service providers (especially Comcast) jack up their rates and cut people off, making it impossible to work from home without paying extortion fees, because they can and no one ever punishes them when they break laws & regulations. They need to be broken up. We need to have viable options, not a monolith controlling everything.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home; too tired to cook.

Finished reading a book that totally annoyed me. It’s set in an area I know well, that the author obviously does not. The author put in details that don’t exist in that area (but do a state or two over) that made it ring even more false. When the protagonist’s family is threatened, she cowers and waits for a man to save her. Really? If someone threatens one of mine, the towering RAGE I feel would burn down the town until I rooted out that person. And yes, I HAVE fought back against that kind of threat. You threaten one of mine? Honey, you better HOPE the cops find you before I do. Because I will be both relentless and merciless. I expect at least that from a protagonist in a book.

But the most irritating turn-off for me was the author’s eyelid fetish. In every damn scene “lids” were doing something, usually closing. Really? How can you solve a murder when you can’t keep your eyes open? When your response to EVERYTHING, good or bad, is to close your eyes? Especially in such annoying, repetitive language? It’s not a cute character trait.

All of the above completely negated the good things in the book — strong relationships between characters, some gentle comedy, some good descriptions.

Started reading a novel that’s gotten a lot of fuss, but I’m annoyed with all the characters so far. I’ll give it another 50 or so pages, and then I’m done. I don’t care if “everyone” raves about it. If I don’t like it and I’m not being paid to read it, I’m putting it down.

After all, I have a book to review for which I’m getting paid, and the rest of the contest entries arrived, so I have to read those. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter broke off its relationship with Twuffer. That screws both my scheduled book promotions, and a promotion run I had set for a client. I tried to switch things over to Tweetdeck — and nothing posted as scheduled. Tried to sign up for SumAll, which is supposedly good — couldn’t sign up. Buffer and Hootsuite come highly recommended, but the plans in my current price range don’t have the versatility I need for current clients. I could bump the rate for new clients, but until I do an across-the-board rate hike, I can’t justify the price to current clients.

Mercury Retrograde is NOT the time to make these decisions and sign those contracts, anyway. I’ll wait until next week, and see what happens.

Had an excellent writing morning. Things plugging along. Have to go grocery shopping, then some time at the library, then hopefully another writing session this afternoon, and some reading time.

Lifted too much while grocery shopping early this morning, and paying the price.

Got an issue solved that I’ve been fighting and has been weighing on me for years. Got the paperwork so they can’t suddenly decide the decision never happened. So that’s good. I’ve been considering some other things that have come up through this whole process, and weighing different elements against each other, so I can make the most informed decisions I can.

Meanwhile, I’m doing as much as I can until I run out of energy every day, and trying to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work  
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Thurs. Feb. 13, 2020: Procedures Continue

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Quick post over on Gratitude and Growth.

So, let’s catch up on the past few days. I went in to work, although slightly altered hours. One big client project went out yesterday afternoon. I hope to go in for a few hours’ late tomorrow morning for another one. Got out a grant proposal. Got out a book review. Worked ahead on client email blasts, so all they have to do is hit “send” over the next few weeks. Rearranged some booked time at Cape Space — they were so lovely and understanding.

Went in to work on Tuesday, because it was better than staying home and fretting. Got the call for my appointment with the specialist that afternoon. Put in a few hours’ work and headed over.

The specialist was very young, but again, very kind. He disagrees with the first doctor and her dire prognosis. He refuses to do the radical surgery that the first doctor suggested. He said it’s not necessary. He wants to do a much less radical procedure that he believes will solve the problem permanently AND serve my overall health much more in the long run. Normally, I’m for as little surgery as possible, but as I said, “I want you going in there only once. I don’t want to do this in increments. Do all the excavation in one procedure.”

He said that it wasn’t necessary. He said too many women have the radical surgery done when they don’t need it, and it results in further health complications as they age. He believes, according to what he saw during the examination and my other signs, that I don’t have any of the markers indicating the radical procedure is necessary; instead, the blood work, etc., indicate otherwise. I am slightly anemic, and we’re working on that. He upped the dose on the medication I was prescribed on Monday night 3x the original dose. He wants to increase the iron intake from 50 mg 2x/day to 325mg 2x/day. He wants to fast track the surgery for next week — but it will be in that morning, home in the afternoon.

I felt much better.

Went over to the hospital to get my bottles of barium goo. Berry flavored. Right.

Stopped and talked to my nurse/advocate on the way home, to keep her updated. Upped my evening dose of the medication, and within less than an hour noticed the improvement.

Didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night in spite of exhaustion.

Trouble getting up on Wednesday — I’d fallen asleep right before the alarm went off.
Drank my first bottle of goo at 8 AM. Not as bad as I feared, but it made me really cold. Five, ten minutes after I finished, I was fine again, but it was weird.

My friends, both local and afar, are rallying around, which is great. I know I can call on them if I need help. I made arrangements to be driven to the hospital on the day of the surgery and picked up, whenever that may be, because my mom doesn’t think she can find the hospital or find the way home. I also have the offices of Elizabeth Warren and Julian Cyr in case things get complicated and I need more of an advocate to help navigate paperwork, etc. So far, my nurse/advocate and the administrator there have handled everything and it’s been smooth (except for CVS, who always tries to screw their customers). But I keep reminding myself that when CVS was so awful with my mother a few years ago and I pitched a fit to corporate, the regional manager gave me his cell number, and the few times I needed to use it, he handled the issue in less than a half hour.

Went in to work and worked with the client. Came home, drank my second bottle of goo an hour before the appointment. This time, it made me so cold I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. Again, it stopped five minutes after I finished, and within ten minutes, I was fine.

Went in for the CT scan, and things went south fast. The technician was having a bad day, and I was at the end of 72 hours of battering tests, so I was at the end of my resources, and that did not make for a good pairing. I warned her about my fear of needles. I told her that my veins were difficult, which was the root cause of my fear. She told me I had to get over it. Not the best bedside manner.

The first time she put in the port, in the same arm where the blood draw, it hurt like hell and my vein spat it out. “Ptoui.” Not the sound you want. Or the result you want.

It kept hurting like hell. She bandaged it, went to the other side, discovered she didn’t have the right size needle she wanted (bigger, of course). So I had to wait until they hunted it down. She jammed it in. It was uncomfortable (although nowhere near as painful), but stayed.

Then she told me to get up and walk over to a row of chairs until I was called. “With this in?” I asked.

“We’re not gonna carry you into the room,” she said, and flounced out.

Um, excuse me? I’m lying on a gurney with a vein spread open. I’ve never had this done before and don’t know the protocol. How about not being an ass? I’m sorry she had a rough day, but that was uncalled for.

A few minutes later, I was called in and prepped. I hated the sensation of the saline flushing, and the iodine injection wasn’t fun either, but it wasn’t too bad. The disembodied voice instructing me when to “inhale” — “hold your breath” — “BReeeeathe” was a little weird, but, whatever. The sensation of the contrast dye was odd, but it wasn’t terrible.

I told them about the reaction to the barium drink and got a shrug and, “I’ve never heard that before.”

“I thought it was strange, so that’s why I’m bringing it up.”

Not like they gave a damn.

The port was removed, the arm taped. So both arms are hurting, but especially the right, where it spit out the port.

I had specifically asked, when I picked up the goo, if I had to make arrangements to have someone drive me home, and was told, unequivocally, “no.”

Ha! Good one.

My mom had come with me, but she has no night vision and couldn’t find the way back. I was having trouble gripping the steering wheel. Not to mention that I’d been through 72 hours of battering tests and I resented the fact that I had to drive myself the hell home after this one. My own fault for not making arrangements, but it didn’t change my upset.

Went home, made dinner, took my medication. I felt like I’d been beaten up, both physically and mentally. My right arm, in particular, hurt a lot. Plus, there were after effects from the barium and the iodine. Nothing awful, but they were there.

Went to bed early.

Slept through the night.

Woke up feeling okay. A little sore, but pretty normal, and certainly better than I have for the past few days, except for my arm. There is a bruise on my right arm that is 4″ wide and 5″ long and it still hurts like hell.

Library for a bit this morning, then over to Sandwich Library, then home to finish the article that goes out tomorrow, and the next book for review.

Will probably stop by to talk to my nurse. Waiting to hear about the scheduling.

Charlotte is having anxiety attacks. She and Willa lost their original human due to medical issues. She remembers that hospital smell. I finally said to her, “Charlotte, not everything is about YOU.”

She looked at me in complete surprise, with that, “But of course it is! I’m a CAT!” expression.

As long as she is with me, she settles down. The minute she can’t see me, she panics.

Willa is being Willa, getting on. She brings me toys to make me feel better. Elsa used to do that — believing the right toy could solve anything.

Tessa lies beside me and purrs.

I contacted my landlord to let him know I’m having surgery and the furnace replacement needs to work around that. It’s NOT EVEN SCHEDULED. Now, we were having furnace issues back in November. It’s February. For fuck’s sake. He said there needs to be a Home Energy Assessment before the loan is approved. We had that about seven years ago, when they took all my light bulbs. He said it’s scheduled for March 13, and he’ll be there. I said if it’s too close to the surgery, it won’t be happening. It should be fine, especially if my surgery is next week, but come on, for fuck’s sake.

I researched the replacement furnace. Even if he goes high end, it’s 2-3 months’ rent. We’ve been paying rent for 10 years, with very little work done on the house. I know what the taxes are. I know what the homeowner’s insurance is. We’ve paid in almost half the value of the house. So stop dicking around. You had four months to get it in, and now that I’m having surgery, you expect it to work around the requirements for a LOAN? No. You will damn well be on MY schedule at this point. I was there for the estimates. They were willing to schedule it ASAP and have it done in a day. It should have been done before Christmas. Furnace and plumbing issues were part of the reason we didn’t go to Maine for Thanksgiving.

My acupuncturist in NY did a distance healing — unasked. I’d just let her know what was going on and asked her to keep a good thought for me. She’s the most wonderful healer I know, and it made a difference.

I let my yoga/meditation teacher know what was going on, because I won’t be at the studio for the next few weeks. I also asked about booking one of her Reiki sessions after surgery to speed the healing. She said absolutely; in the meantime, she’d like to give me the gift of a distance healing session, and would send me the details.

Well, she did. A list of stuff she needs to do the healing – which I don’t feel up to putting together. Although the first session is free, I’m supposed to book 4 session at X dollars, and book my post-surgery Reiki session now.

Um, what? First of all, I can’t book anything definite now because I don’t know when the surgery is; I’m waiting for the booking and then the pre-op booking and whatever else has to happen. I can’t make that type of commitment. Quite frankly, I don’t have the energy right now to gather a list of stuff she claims she needs for the healing and get them to her.

Remember, I do distance healing. I don’t need seven different items to do it. My acupuncturist did a healing on Tuesday for me, without needing a list of stuff and commitments to specific times and all that – she simply did it (unasked).

I told her I couldn’t do the distance work right now, but I would book the hands-on Reiki after the surgery, and I didn’t know when it would be.

She argued with me,

I was in shock, and, frankly, I’m hurt. I respect this is her profession. I believe she should be paid for her profession. That is why I wanted to let her know I would be booking a paid, post-surgery session.

She comes at me wanting money now – when I’m already stressed about medical costs and lost work – and telling me that what she “needs” for the healing “only takes a few minutes” to put together.

If I say I CAN’T right now, that means I CAN’T. I am measuring my energy, prioritizing it, and directing it. I am NOT at her beck and call. Also, I have to make sure I direct my financial resources carefully over the next few months. I can’t take on much more new work this month, and I will be missing work hours. It means I’m taking an ill -timed financial hit. I have some decent chunks of change coming in from work already submitted, but it’s down the line, not right this minute. I need to be careful. Committing to several hundred dollars additionally is not something I can do right now, until I know what the immediate costs (including any medications I need to pick up on my way home from the hospital) are.

Again, I DO distance healing for people. I know what’s involved. I do distance healing for complete strangers (without payment) when requested.

On top of that, when she had surgery a few months ago, I did distance healing for her every night for two weeks AND offered to run errands, cook, go grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. She didn’t take me up on the errand running, and I certainly didn’t expect her to offer anything like that (in fact, I’d forgotten about it until I thought about the whole situation for awhile).

While I respect that this is her profession, and I absolutely believe in being paid for work, I feel like she is preying upon my situation and vulnerability right now. I said thanks, but no thanks. Especially not accepting my refusal to do exactly what she wants when she wants it. She made an offer; I asked for details. I couldn’t fulfill what she says she needs for this to work, and I told her upfront, before wasting any of her time and energy. To argue with me about it, especially when I’m in an accelerated schedule of tests and upcoming surgery, is inappropriate.

It makes me re-think my relationship with that particular studio. It also makes me wonder if she is the right choice for post-surgical work, because the trust issues I had with the studio last year are, once again, raised.

And also, damn it, ANYBODY who does not respect my boundaries during this time is going to get a new one ripped.

We will prep the living room as my recovery room — set up the fold out couch. I won’t have to do stairs, the bathroom and the kitchen are right there. I can stack my books nearby and watch DVDs if I feel like it.

Anyway, getting in what I need to this morning, and then focusing on completing the article this afternoon. I got two more quotes on Tuesday that I’m weaving in, a couple more tweaks, a polish, some subheadings, and we’re good.

I’m having my mom do the driving, so she gets comfortable in the car again, at least during the day, because she will have to be able to go to the grocery store, etc. over the next few weeks.

Reading, writing, resting. That’s the agenda.

 

Published in: on February 13, 2020 at 10:02 am  Comments (5)  
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Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Raining and mild for February

Well, it’s been an interesting few days, that’s for sure. And I use “interesting” in multiple connotations.

First, I have a quick post on Gratitude and Growth about my concerns that it’s not cold enough this winter.

Back? Okay, let’s settle in and talk.

I didn’t write about Tuesday evening’s meeting, because I needed to think about it and get over my anger by the end of it. Although the conversation went well, and I enjoyed the person with whom I spoke, there were red flags: a 12-hour day instead of an 8-hour day (but at 8-hour rates), no mention of a relocation package, it not being the position or the organization I expected the meeting was about. Then came the “next steps” part of it. Testing, which I don’t do for free. I understand needing to check someone’s proofreading skills, but you’re going to pay me for my time. Typing? Excuse me? I’m not 20 looking for my first job. Plus, typing accuracy is not necessary on a computer, because you fix your mistakes otherwise. Again, since it’s uncompensated labor, no.

But the deal breaker, for me, was the insistence on taking a DISC personality test — again, unpaid time. Above and beyond the unpaid time, any organization that uses a “personality test” as part of the interview process is not a place with which I want to be associated. Of course, it was presented as a “way to look at communication skills” — which isn’t what DISC or any of these other “personality tests” are AT ALL. They are a way to dehumanize candidates and sort them into single categories, denying complexity, individuality, and creativity to limit one into test boxes. It is data that is weaponized by employers to manipulate employees.

Here are two articles that support my position,“How Accurate are Personality Tests?”and “A Warning Against Using Disc/Briggs-Meyer in the Workplace.

Take your test and shove it right up your ass, honey. I don’t care that “everyone” in the company has to take these tests, and that you have taken them. The mere fact you asked means I’m no longer interested.

I sent a polite refusal, to which I got a link “explaining” what DISC is used for — a load of marketing crap I recognized, because I worked for the American Management Association back when these tests came into more prominent use. I know how the sausages are made. And why.

I was asked to “reconsider” and agree to take the tests. No. I said no, and I mean no. What part of “deal breaker” is too complicated for you? I’m not asking for an exception. I’m STATING, clearly, that any company who demands this of ANY potential employee is not a place I want to work.

I was so angry by the end of the night. Just furious

Another useless third party yakker wasting my time and energy.

So, that was that.

Wednesday was busy at the client’s. Still working on a big project. She’s all set to sign a set of contracts on a project that will be a disaster. I pointed out the contract language that needs changing, and she just shrugged and said the contract is meaningless. She’s wrong, but it’s her decision. I’m not cleaning up the mess.

I was disappointed to learn that one of the radio production companies on the west coast with whom I’d hoped to work this year is on hiatus. They liked the play, but aren’t in a position to produce it right now. I’m sending them a potential funding source later today that might interest them.

I also didn’t get chosen for a regular article gig for which I’d pitched last week. They liked my samples, but felt my voice was too unique. Well, they’d asked for samples in MY voice, not ghostwritten samples. Still, they were nice about it, and at least they gave me an answer. So it’s disappointing, but not devastating.

Add to that, the travesty in the Senate yesterday, with most of the Republicans voting to acquit the Narcissistic Sociopath.

We are truly in dark times.

Then, a bolt from the blue! A major publication for whom I’ve wanted to work FOR YEARS accepted one of my pitches! It’s a tight turnaround time, but completely do-able. The contract is on its way, and I’m sending out my requests for quotes. I’m excited!

I’m working on revisions the next few days, the short story, and two big grant proposals that need to go out next week. I’d like to curl up and sleep, but, right now, that’s not an option.

I also need to purge boxes from the basement. I’m way behind on that.

Finished watched Season 3 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. What a great bunch they were! I liked them all so much.

I’m experimenting with a cake recipe this afternoon. It’s using the basic yellow cake recipe again, but making some more changes.

I did a gigantic grocery shop yesterday morning. That should keep us going for a bit. Making pork bahn mi for lunch. Can’t wait.

Charlotte continues to be a lot of work. She doesn’t connect behavior and consequences. She knows certain things result in getting what she likes, but hasn’t connected that other things result in results she doesn’t like. Plus, this morning, she walked over one of the CD/tape players and set off a fast forward button and it scared her. Poor thing. It’s hard to be Charlotte.

I have a lot to do, so I better get to it.

Have a great day!

Published in: on February 6, 2020 at 10:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy  
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Thurs. Jan. 30, 2020: The Need to Focus

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Over on Gratitude and Growth, I talk about the dilemma I’m facing with the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. Big project with a client leaves me wrung out by the time I’m done there. Nothing is wrong, nothing is bad, it just takes a lot of energy.

I haven’t had a good writing week, which means I have to make up for a great deal over the next four days.

I had a good pitching week, at least as far as getting out a lot of article pitches. We’ll see if anything hits.

Remember the potential client meeting I had last week, where I pulled out of consideration and said we were not the right fit? The person with whom I met thanked me for my honesty? Well, yesterday, I got a shirty email from someone else in the company, stating they decided to go forward with someone else. Um, so? I already told them I wasn’t going to work with them. We were done. They wanted to act like it was THEIR decision, not mine? Control issues much? Whatever.

They’ve been added to my list of companies not to work with and not to pitch to again.

Reading some very good books for the contest entries. The categories get more and more competitive every year with the quality of entrants. It’s wonderful. It’s exciting to pick up every book. Some of them miss here and there on certain points, but the writing has gotten stronger and stronger every year.

While it’s briefly sunny today, I have to take the leaves to the dump and then go out and do some yard work.

Then, it will be back to the page. The short story is taking shape nicely, but I have to have the main focus on the revisions this weekend.

Plus, I have coursework to complete on both the Robert Burns course and the course on Fashion Innovation. Gotta keep learning.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 30, 2020 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 30, 2020: The Need to Focus  
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Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020: Projects and Exhaustion and Frustration

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I talk about my dreams of gardens.

Yesterday was exhausting, partially because the day before the dark moon tends to be my lowest energy day of the month.

I’m working on a big project with a client, so that’s taking a lot of time and attention for the next few weeks.

I started the next Kate Warne play, “The Rare Medium.” I hope I can keep the opening two lines. They are some of my favorites among all my projects. No, I am not posting them. I don’t blow first rights by splattering something in draft on public platforms.

Working on the book for review, and the other book for review finally arrived. Will finish one today and get the review out tomorrow, and read the other one over the weekend.

Have roughed out the short story inspired by the news event in my head, and will start drafting it later today.

Have a meeting with a potential client late morning tomorrow, so tomorrow’s blog will post late. It’s on YET another platform, so I need to download YET another app and I’m sick of it all. I don’t want to run my life on apps.

The rental inspection was this morning. Of course, one of the carbon monoxide detectors decided to start squeaking “end of life” because why wait until an hour later, when the inspection was done? Will contact the landlord to get a new one. He’s really good about stuff like that.

Needed Google Hangouts Meet App for tomorrow’s client conference. What a nightmare getting that to work. I HATE having to use apps for everything. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Working on the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too. I lost a few threads in this draft. Some of them I will remove completely — they’re bogging down the story. Others need to be reworked so they’re stronger.

Of course, scenes for GAMBIT COLONY keep forming in my head, when it’s not a good time to work on it. Because that’s the way it goes. Idea Cookies.

Some work at the library, then work at home, then taking my mother to her doctor’s appointment. Then home for more writing and reading.

Every one of those rude, corrupt GOP Senators walking out of the trial needs to be held in contempt, lose the right to vote, and be removed from the process (and office). No jurors are allowed to behave this way. Chief Justice Roberts’s refusal to actually behave like a judge during trial is equally appalling. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is supposed to be a leader, not a milquetoast.

The whole corrupt sham is disgusting.

In the meantime, I’m going back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 23, 2020 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020: Projects and Exhaustion and Frustration  
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Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity  
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