Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 239 — Process & Project Outlines

image courtesy of chloestrong via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Uranus Direct

Cold and cloudy

Red sky in the morning – shepherd’s warning – I guess we are getting a storm today.

The latest on the garden and the weather finally turning to winter is up on Gratitude and Growth. I don’t write anything particularly profound over there, but I do enjoy putting together the posts. It makes me look at certain aspects of my life differently, more closely, and more gently.

Yesterday was stressful, but I got through it, and that’s what matters.

I was happy that I had a good session early on, working on the book proposal. In this particular proposal, for this particular organization, my synopsis/outline can only be 1000 words. It’s a good challenge to write a book outline that succinct. Especially for a book that hasn’t been written.

I often do what I call my “Writer’s Rough” outline early in the process. I’ll get an idea, I’ll write a few notes. I’ll write about three or four chapters into the book, to see if it can sustain (both in terms of plot and character, and my interest in writing it).

At that point, I’ll take a few days and write my Writer’s Rough outline. That’s made up of me telling myself the story, often with snippets of dialogue, and not necessarily in order. Most of the time, I’ll do this in longhand, scribbling, separating scenes or sequences by skipping a line here and there.

Once I’ve told myself the story, I’ll read it through a few times, and number the paragraphs, putting it in what I think is the order in which I want it to flow.

I also make notes of what needs research.

Then I’ll type it up (I don’t use numbers in this). My Writer’s Rough can run anywhere from two or three pages for an idea that needs more fleshing out, to twenty or more pages, similar to a script treatment.

This allows me to work on the piece whenever I can schedule it in, without sitting there looking at a blank page, wondering what I meant to write next in it. Juggling multiple projects (the only way to keep a roof over my head) means outlining saves me pain and time. It makes my writing life more efficient.

It does NOT interfere with creativity or spontaneity. The outline is a roadmap, not a prison.

When the book is ready to submit, after however many drafts I’ve done in order to make it feel submittable, I then go back through it and create the outline (I talk more about this in the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which should re-release in a few weeks).

Once I write the Submission Outline, I use that to write both versions of the synopsis.

With the series under contract, the process is a little different. My publisher is tiny, so it’s more informal, and there are fewer layers. While I landed the initial contract with finished manuscripts, the books to come are a little different. With the Coventina Circle series, I gave a rough overview of the whole series. It was originally six books, and will now be nine. I’d always planned four books for the Gwen Finnegan series, although I’m being urged to do more, if the next couple of books do well. The Nautical Namaste mysteries can go in many directions, but I did thumbnails of the first six.

At this point, I do a rough synopsis of where I see the book going, my editor and I have a conversation (in case she feels I’m going off-track), then I go and write it. I do my Writer’s Roughs for the books. The Coventina Circle books tend to veer off, although the other two series tend to stay pretty well close to the original vision.

In this case, I’m writing up an idea for a book that wasn’t even on my radar until I heard about this foundation’s invitation for proposals. They do mostly non-fiction, but are interested in looking at proposals for fiction, because they want something different. I’ve been in contact with them, because I wasn’t sure I’m appropriate (on any level), but they encouraged me to do it.  They want fresh perspectives on their topic. Most of those who pitch to them are serious academics. I’m the outlier. It’s a longshot, but the topic and the challenge interest me, and it’s not something I would have come up with on my own.

So I’m basically doing my Writer’s Rough and then transforming it into a Very Short submission synopsis without writing any of the book – and keeping it in their specific proposal word count and guidelines.

It’s a good exercise in being specific, but it means stretching my process within a finite time frame.

That’s what today is all about. The entire day is blocked off to devote to the proposal.

Yes, I’ll take breaks to do some admin work and read the book for review and attend the online meditation group. I might even answer some email and get out an LOI or two.

But my primary focus today is this book proposal. The deadline is Sunday, but I’d prefer to get it out earlier. I’ve been working on it on and off for weeks, and thinking about it since I first heard about it a couple of months ago.

If they like it, I land a contract that stretches me and challenges me in wonderful new ways, and I’ll be well paid for it. If I don’t land this contract, I still have an interesting book proposal I can use elsewhere – and sell.

That’s the difference between doing something like this and the unpaid, project-specific samples companies often demand. This is a project proposal that yes, takes work, and yes, there’s no guarantee the pitch will land me the contract and enough money so I don’t have to worry about freelance clients during its duration. But if it does not, it still opens the relationship with this organization AND I have something I can sell elsewhere. When you do unpaid labor as part of an interview for a company, they believe they have the right to keep and use your work without paying you for it in order for THEM to make a profit. Which is why I created my test/sample agreement.

That’s the next few days, in a nutshell. Once the book proposal is out, I turn my attention to finishing and polishing the article. I’m still missing two quotes, but I have plenty of material. That will go out on Tuesday.

The Sociopath was impeached again yesterday. Now, every death, either from violence or COVID, is squarely the fault of Mitch McConnell, who, as usual, is dragging his feet and trying to play both sides against the middle. McConnell needs to be prosecuted along with the rest of the corrupt and the violent.

I’m looking forward to today’s online meditation group. I definitely need it.

And, I’m looking forward to an entire day immersed in this book proposal.

Peace and health, my friends.

Thurs. Jan. 7, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 232 — Sedition and Domestic Terrorism

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

How to articulate the rage and the sadness I feel about yesterday? I can post an immediate response, but it will take time and perspective to articulate it properly.

None of this is surprising. I’ve been talking about the likelihood of this since the 1980’s, and called an alarmist. This IS what the Republican party has been about in my lifetime.

They have to stop getting away from it. Expel, indict, prosecute, incarcerate. When they are released from prison, they must be exiled. Not ever allowed on US soil again.

Sure, other countries don’t want our mess. Then let them be refused entry to other countries, and have to roam, without home or country.

It is also not the time for the dead to rest in peace. They must haunt these seditious, treasonous Congress people the rest of their natural lives.

The breaches at the Capitol by domestic terrorists was planned and allowed. And GOP Congress people stood on the floor, several hours later, continuing to lie and support them. There MUST be consequences.

Not to mention that the 25th Amendment must be used NOW. Pence and the Cabinet won’t do it, because they enjoy this. They are just as evil as the Sociopath.

Letting domestic terrorists run rampant in the halls of the Capitol and then just walk away? Unacceptable.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, because who can sleep when there’s such insurrection? Expel the members of Congress who support this, prosecute them, and don’t let any of them ever have a platform or a moment of rest in their natural lives. Destroy them, personally and professionally.

I will not have “unity” with those who are trying to kill us. Stop talking “unity” and start talking “justice.”

Or it will keep getting worse.

I am grateful to the MA delegation for taking a stand against this, and am in steady contact with their staffs.

On a personal level, client work was stressful, mostly because every tech product decided to do a different update at the same time, and it was chaos. Nothing would work together. Or even separately. Everything had to be disconnected from the network, updated, passwords changed and shared amongst those who use the devices, and reconnected. By people who are not IT experts. Oh, and Comcast tripled the client’s monthly bill, which is ridiculous. We’ve been staggered in the office, and the office closed more than open since last March.  It’s not like we’re overusing the Internet there.

That’s something else the incoming Congress needs to do in the coming months – break up Comcast.

Home, decontaminated, Remote Chat, which was fun.

Started taking down the decorations. It needs several days to get everything packed up, put away, the fabric washed and ironed. There’s wax on some of the fabric from the candles, and I’ll have to get that done, too, with butcher paper and the iron.

This morning, I already answered some questions from a potential client and sent them off. I have meditation in a few hours with the weekly group – I’ll need it. Then, more work on the article, some client work, some LOIs, but most of the day is devoted to taking down decorations.

I may need a nap in there somewhere, too. Not even 7 AM and I’m wiped out.

I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. I wish real winter would move in. The plants need it. Much as I don’t want to shovel snow, we need it.

But there will be no peace in this country until there is justice. Domestic terrorists cannot be allowed to do whatever they want without consequence because they are white.

Democrats cannot be milquetoasts about this. There must be strong, definitive, action.

Today.

The Sociopath must be removed and neutralized.

Today.

Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

6th Day of Christmas – Six Geese A Laying

6th Day of Kwanzaa – Creativity

Rainy and cold

Buh-bye, 2020. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

I’ve got a garden post up on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning’s first writing session left me feeling so optimistic and energetic for the day. Sometimes, I use up my early morning creative energy on email or “have to” work. When I remember to start with my first 1K/day of fiction, the rest of the day is much better in every respect.

Yesterday at the office was only minimal overlap, so it was less stressful than it could have been. However, the client is gorging herself on right wing disinformation in order to justify her dancing around socializing and eating indoors, and I refused to give her the absolution she wants. There is NO justification for her behavior. At least she wears a mask and we deep clean the office regularly. But even contact a few hours a week with her is playing Russian Roulette at this point. So that needs to change.

On the way home, I picked up my mom’s prescription, put gas in the car (a symbol of abundance to start the New Year – full tank of gas), and decontaminated when I came home.

I don’t have to leave the house again until Monday, and I am more than fine with that.

Remote Chat was fun – it always is.

Wrestled the big bench off the deck and up the stairs into my mom’s bedroom for the winter. Willa and Charlotte had to be shut into various rooms while we had the doors to the deck open, and there was much howling and carrying on.

Later in the afternoon, I heard a thumping in the hallway. When I went to investigate, Willa had pulled a potato out of the bin in the kitchen, and was batting it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And she plays with a potato. At least she’s inventive.

Dinner was leftovers – we’re going to have festive holiday meals for the next few days, and I need the room in the fridge!

I have meditation with the group from the Concord Library this morning online, and then it’s writing. I have a short story to finish and get out on deadline. I already have laundry going – clean panties and clean sheets for the New Year! Garbage and recycling went out yesterday. Later this morning or early afternoon, I will vacuum and mop floors.

This year, I hung pairs of silver bells on red ribbons from the light fixtures on either side of the front door. They’re pretty, but they clang against the house when it’s windy. It sounds like it does when one is on a ship, bobbing in the water. Which makes sense, seeing as how we’re on Cape Cod.

So many trees have been cut down around here that the solar glare is out of control driving early in the morning. I’m going to have to get a new pair of sunglasses, once it’s safe. Not today, of course, it’s raining. But it was bad driving to the dump yesterday, much worse than previous years.

This afternoon, I’m making a pastry filled with apple, pecan, and cinnamon. I’m also making devilled eggs for us to enjoy closer to midnight. Dinner tonight is salmon in a cumin-lemon glaze, with lemon-infused jasmine rice and spinach. Or maybe peas.

Then, it’s all about our rituals.

We will eat herring before midnight (old family ritual that no one knows the origin, but we do it) and burn a bayberry candle timed not to finish burning until the turn of the year, for prosperity and health.

A minute or two before midnight, we open the back door to let the old year out.

We’ll watch the ball come down over Times Square – although I could often see it from my apartment window and that was really cool, I’m glad not to be there anymore.

Right after we toast the New Year in, we’ll open the front door to welcome the New Year.

No first-footers here, more’s the pity. Not that we could let a first footer through the door this year, anyway, even masked.

Tomorrow morning, at dawn, I do the Fire & Ice ritual, with a white candle rubbed with jasmine oil in a bowl of ice.

I’ll make Eggs Benedict for breakfast (pork before noon is the ritual), and later that day, I’ll roast a duck for dinner.

The rest of the day will probably contain a lot of reading! I always like to start the new year off with a book!

I’m almost afraid to be optimistic about 2021, yet I want it to be a good year. I have big changes coming up, and I’m looking forward to them, even though the changes themselves will be stressful.

I thank you for everything this year, my friends – the support, the friendship, the laughter. And I wish you all that is good, and that your dreams manifest.

Peace and Joy. Catch you on the other side!

Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

Big storm coming in today. I’ll have to take in some decorations, and be prepared for power outages.

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about birch and holly – since it’s the first day of the month of birch and we love holly this season. Well, I love it all year, but. . .

Yesterday was more stressful than it should have been, and I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a client in the next few weeks that will not end well. But it is necessary.

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

My flash fiction “Holiday Transformations” is up, both as a podcast and in transcript form, as part of this year’s Weird Christmas anthology. It’s a great group of flash pieces – I’m so delighted to be part of it.

Spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the book for review. I will write it this morning and get it off.

The order I was waiting for – the last gift – arrived. The quality is quite wonderful. I considered re-thinking my decision to stop doing business with that particular vendor/artist – when an email came in. It was supposedly to thank customers; what it actually contained was a self-congratulatory, delusional, and arrogant diatribe, claiming the vendor’s “ambition” was at the root of the lack of customer service (say what?) and how she was ignoring criticisms because they made her feel bad.

You do you, honey, but I’m no longer a part of that journey.

Unsubscribed from the mailing list and unfollowed on social media channels. I realize she’s young and it’s rough to run a small business, but wow. Not going to be around that.

I found my recipes for bath salts, and I can adapt it to bath bombs. I can get molds from craft stores, and re-stock essential oils, source small crystals, and go back to making them myself. It’s not like I’m doing them for anyone except myself and friends who might like it. And I won’t have to worry about the stress of poor customer service and all the hypocrisy and bombast. A much better choice all around.

Another order arrived – a treat for myself that I wasn’t expecting until New Year’s.

Got the last present wrapped and under the tree – with help from Tessa and Willa. Charlotte’s not into wrapping gifts, but the other two love it.

Woke up a little after two this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fretting too much.

But planned the next section of the ghost ship story, and some upcoming blog posts, so that’s all good.

Today, I’m sending off the review, doing some edits on one, maybe two stories, writing the next section of the ghost ship story, and seeing what else I feel like doing. I am safely home, prepped for the storm, and planning to enjoy the holiday.

Although I don’t celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas anymore (since my spiritual beliefs have taken me down a different path, and Solstice was my big celebration), I enjoy family traditions and joys of the season.

Dinner tonight is cod paella – it’s been marinating in wine and spices overnight. I’m also making a layered parfait of chocolate and lemon mousses for dessert.

We don’t have Panettone for breakfast tomorrow – I couldn’t find one in the store that didn’t look leftover from last year, and I used the only fruit peel I had for the stollen. So I will make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. The big meal is Cornish hen with all the trimmings. If the power is out, I will have to figure out how to do it on the stove top rather than the oven.

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

We open our gifts on the Eve and have stockings on the Day.

Tonight, we observe the Icelandic tradition of reading books! One of my favorite additions to the holiday.

I wish you peace, joy, safety, and comfort – both physically and emotionally. Peace, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 197 — Must. Be. Organized.

Charlotte observes the partially-decorated tree. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I have a post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday at the client’s was stressful. That is all that is appropriate to say publicly.

I was glad to get home and take extra time scrubbing down in decontamination.

Remote chat was fun.

Payment arrived from my ScriptMag article, which makes me happy. Offsets what I paid for cat food earlier this week!

Lost too much time searching to make sure an image was in the public domain – it was. I started using it a long time ago and checked. I should have trusted that I did the research properly the first time. Plus, Be Funky, my preferred collage maker, now has all my preferred grids behind a paywall, so I’m looking for another online free collage maker that doesn’t charge you to actually download the image once you’ve created it.

Working on some ads and promo stuff. Should have been finishing the holiday cards. If you’re in the S-Z portion of the alphabet and usually get a card from me, I apologize. I WILL get them out in the next few days, I promise.

I have to dash out early this morning to the grocery store. If the surgery is going through next week (and with 4613 cases in the last 24 hours here in the state, how can it?), I need to start isolating early next week, so today and Saturday are grocery runs to two different stores, to make sure we have everything.

I also want to get the rest of the baking supplies I need, so I can bake cookies over the next few days, and start prepping/delivering the cookie tins as soon as I’m through surgery.

I hope to make it back in time for the Zoom meditation with Concord Library, and then I have to dig down and finish the revisions on “Lockesley” to get it out, and then do another pass at the two Nina Bell shorts.

Along with some client work, LOIs, and other things.

I better be productive today, and stop faffing around, hmmmm?

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 3, 2020 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 197 — Must. Be. Organized.  
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Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On

image courtesy of Thomas B. via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

One calendar says today is new moon and Mars direct; another says it’s tomorrow. I will apologize for yesterday’s belief it’s today, and go with tomorrow, since it’s Friday the 13th anyway.

There’s a new post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden. The front lawn is a carpet of leaves. The lawn guy is coming soon; every time a neighbor turns on a leaf blower, I am more determined than ever not to rake. Although the dumbass running his leaf blower who woke me at 3:30 this morning, IN THE RAIN, angered me.

Yesterday was chaotic. I went in to my client’s. I knew she had a medical procedure the day before, so didn’t expect her in. Going through the emailsto see what needed to be done, I found out that the other colleague in the office has been in the hospital. I felt bad that I didn’t know and offer to help out. But if no one tells me anything, I can’t know.

Anyway, BOTH of them came in, so there were too many people in too small a space, but we caught up on everything (and were masked) and got everything handled.

I was glad to get out of there.

Stopped at CVS to get the prescription to prep for the next surgery, and, of course, it wasn’t there. I will check with the doctor’s office next week to see what’s going on, and if they decided to cancel the surgery due to surging virus cases, but haven’t told me yet. This happened last time, too. It took three calls from the doctor’s office before CVS could bother to fill the prescription.

We had 2495 new cases in the past 24 hours. More than we had in spring. But the mask mandate isn’t enforced, and nothing is shut down. Instead, people are encouraged to pack more into the daylight hours in too close quarters.

Tomorrow, I have to fight to keep my insurance next year. That should be fun. Not. That’s one reason I hope I can slide the surgery in this December; I might not have insurance next year, at least at the beginning of it.

Tried a new-to-me Ina Garten recipe that worked well last night. Have to make a dash to the liquor store for a bottle of marsala (and more wine) so I can make Eggplant-Mushroom Marsala (from Moosewood) tonight.

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving in two weeks.

The Sociopath is still sociopathing, and too many people pander to him. He needs to be charged with the murders of everyone dying from the virus he’s “bored” with.

Lots of writing needs to get done today, and I’m looking forward to this morning’s online Meditation.

I’m just trying to stay alive until January 20.

Published in: on November 12, 2020 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On  
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Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday

image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and raw

Happy 96th birthday to my mom! I’m lucky she’s still here, and doing well.

Latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

The powers-that-be want to clear cut 170 acres of trees (which we need to, you know, breathe) near an aquifer in order to build a machine-gun training range.  I think that’s one of the dumbest ideas they’ve had lately.

170 acres destroyed for guns.

The stupid never stops around here.

Kids are getting sick in Barnstable and Bourne, yet they refuse to close the schools. They shouldn’t have opened them in the first place.

In-person learning is not more important than children’s lives. Or the lives of their teachers. Or the families, who then are exposed.

Dropped off a big bag of books at the library on my way to my client’s. it was quiet there, for most of my time, as it should be, with me on my own. Got a lot done. The boss came to overlap for the last hour or so, so we could catch up and do some planning. Our other colleague was out with a stomach bug.

There were two possible places to pick up the specific kind of cheesecake my mom likes. The first place – the entire large parking lot was filled. No line outside the store. Which meant that they were over capacity, not enforcing protocols, and not distancing.

I didn’t even get out of the car. I drove out of the lot and drove a few towns over, where a different store carries the same kind of cheesecake. It’s a bigger store, and there were only a few people in it, with plenty of space for all of us. I was in and out in just a few minutes, with only minor worries.

But the traffic! Backed up in both directions.

We’re in a pandemic, people. And it’s nearly November. We shouldn’t have traffic issues as though it was high season.

And people wonder why our numbers are steadily increasing. Yesterday was the 5th day in a row of new cases over 1000.

The Boston Marathon in April 2021 was postponed until at least fall. The right decision, absolutely, but it means they know we won’t be even close to out of this by next April.

Came home, decontaminated, was a little late for Remote Chat, but caught up.

The cats were all in a tizzy that I was gone all morning, so a good portion of the afternoon was spent with them.

I managed to get some admin work done, though.

I was up early this morning, wrapped my mom’s gift and wrote her a card. She’ll find it when she comes down.

I have meditation group with Concord Library via Zoom. Then, I’m making my mother Eggs Benedict (with salmon, not pork) for breakfast.

I’ll write most of the day; for dinner, she asked for my special turkey meatloaf, one of her favorites. And we have her cheesecake.

It should be a nice, quiet, but special day.

I need to buckle down and write a lot today. Let’s hope I can keep up the focus. I’d also like to finish the book for review, and write the review either later today or tomorrow, and get that off. That way, tomorrow, I can work on the pair of pitches I need to get out next week.

The last few days, researching companies, there haven’t been any to whom I wanted to send an LOI, so more research is needed.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which should be fun.

It’s amazing how Nano Prep Sense Memory always kicks in during October, ideas spinning, even when I have no intention of participating.

Just a reminder, if you are doing Nano and feel like you need some encouragement, 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS has prep suggestions and daily encouragements. It’s always free here.

Peace, friends!

Published in: on October 29, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday  
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Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

The latest on the garden is up on Gratitude and Growth.

I also have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about how NOT to treat those on your email list.

Yesterday was a day of challenges.

In yesterday’s post, I forgot to talk about the Knowledge Unicorns session on Tuesday, which was good. As I said, everyone’s tired. Yet another parent is switching from online learning in the school system to homeschooling because the school district demands that kids be here in person and wants to discontinue the virtual learning.

With virus cases going up.

No.

Also, now, at the end of each session, the parents are getting onto Zoom and it gives them a chance to interact and talk about what’s going on from their perspective.

We have another session tonight. Rather than watching the debate after, though, everyone’s going to listen to HAMILTON again. Chances are, we’ll all learn more.

I woke up around 4 AM yesterday with a blinding migraine, which just increased throughout the day. I managed to get to my client’s and got a few things done, but the nausea increased with the migraine so badly that I had to leave.

I came back and rested for a bit before we had to navigate the fog to Yarmouth, to the RMV (every other place I know calls it the DMV, but whatever). I had to stay in the car, since they only let the actual person with the appointment in. And if you can’t navigate the tests on your own, you don’t get your license renewed. They are careful not to overbook, enforce masking, and keep everyone distant.

My mom passed the tests. She can now legally drive until she’s 101.

The fog was even denser on the drive back, and it took nearly an hour.

We both decontaminated. I rested in the afternoon. The migraine was too severe. I couldn’t work; it got to the point where I couldn’t read. It was one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had.

It’s usually dwarves tap-dancing in cleats. This time, it was giants, working away at the inside of my skull with pickaxes.

I’m using the above example in the mythological sense, not to demean any type of person or medical condition or physical type.

I hope it’s not an indication that they’re all going to be this bad.

Yoga didn’t help. Excedrin Migraine didn’t help. A hot shower didn’t help. There isn’t a prescription medication that works. Caffeine didn’t help. The acupressure mat didn’t help for long. It was wracking pain and nausea for hours and hours and hours on end.

It finally let up a bit around 9 o’clock, enough so I could fall asleep, and I slept through the night.

It’s trying to regain traction this morning. I was up early, got my mom to her medical appointment, we came back, decontaminated, and I attended the Zoom meditation.

I have writing to do; my head is bursting with scenes that need to get on the page. And I have an article to finish, client work, and LOIs to get out.

The migraine is nibbling around the edges, but I hope I can fend it off. I might take Valerian root tonight to really knock myself out and get all the knots out. After the Knowledge Unicorns session.

The chainsaws and leaf blowers were out in force by 8 AM this morning. I’m so tired of all the destruction. They’re not pruning or shaping to make something beautiful. It’s all about destroying the natural landscape. Everything that makes this place beautiful and special is being destroyed.

Hope you are all well. Peace.

Published in: on October 22, 2020 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain  
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Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

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

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Published in: on October 8, 2020 at 5:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us  
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Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. With any luck, in this good weather, I can get some of the yard work done I’ve been putting off.

Client work was fine yesterday. We only overlapped for a bit, and I was careful, even if everyone else is slacking off. This will be an increasing problem as we move into winter.

And will have to be dealt with. I’m looking at my options.

I did an ad I’m really proud of for next week’s email blast/post boost. It’s one of my favorites ever, and I will put it in my portfolio.

I was still emotionally exhausted by the time I got home. Did a full decontamination process.

Remote chat was fun.

There were plenty of things I “should have” done in the afternoon. Instead, I took Charlotte and Willa out on the deck in their playpens and read a book, enjoying the sun. We don’t have that much more time to enjoy the deck, and I want to savor it.

I am, however, done with the stupid around here. I made a new sign for the front door: No Solicitations: It’s a pandemic, asshole. And don’t even think about knocking on the door if you’re not wearing a mask.

I’m especially done with the evangelicals coming door-to-door extolling how they have Jesus instead of a mask.

And I’m done with being “polite” to people who want to kill me.

I’m disappointed in the neighbor who has the amazing, wonderful rescue husky. He gave a Covidiot party yesterday – blatantly political, loud, no masks, no social distancing, amplified speaking and music in defiance of town ordinances, a big “fuck you” to all of us.

He’s had plenty of parties before over the years; usually, in the summer, he has parties every week. Other than lots of cars parked everywhere, they’ve never been a problem. You hear a little music sometimes, but they’re self-contained and respectful of neighbors and wrap up at a reasonable hour.  But this one was intentionally over loud and disturbing AND the guests were staggering around the street drunk and screaming at each other.

No, I didn’t call the cops. They wouldn’t do anything. The town doesn’t enforce noise rules, although they wave them around a lot. Plus, I was afraid if they did show up, they might hurt the dog. I may have lost all respect for the people, but I still like the dog.

The stats are out – there was a 2000% increase in the use of illegal fireworks in town this year – during a drought. An increase of TWO THOUSAND percent.

And the Town does NOTHING.

Because Barnstable’s mantra is “Screw your residents for tourist dollars.”

They’re about to pass a change in the town code that allows EVERY house to be a short-term rental. There’s already a housing crisis around here, and this will make it worse.

“It helps people stay in their houses” is the justification.

Um, no. They have to MOVE OUT of their houses in order to get the short-term rental money. Where do they go? Tents in the campgrounds? Trailer parks? Other short-term rentals?

If you want to make sure people can stay in their homes, PAY THEM A LIVING WAGE WITH BENEFITS so they don’t have to work six part-time jobs without benefits and live in a tent somewhere while their house is rented.

On a happier note, I slept well last night. That’s two nights in a row that I’ve slept through the night, a record since the pandemic started. I also had a positive theatre dream. Over the last few years, I’ve had stress dreams set in various theatre situations where I’ve made stupid mistakes, gotten lost backstage, and not been up to the job. The dreams have been frustrating, because Awake Me knows how to do all the things – and do them well – that I screw up in the dreams.

But last night, Dreamer Me was in a positive theatrical situation where we all knew what we were doing, did it well, and were happy.

I hope this is an indication that I’m turning a corner, healing from the abusive boss who tried to break me a few years ago, and moving in the right direction, workwise, with what I want the next chapter of my life to encompass.

Today, I have a morning meditation via Zoom with the group from the Concord Library, which I’m looking forward to very much. Then, it’s some client work, a pitch to an editor that was requested via social media yesterday, and finishing the revisions on JUST A DROP so it can go out tomorrow.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns homework session, and then I’m attending, via Zoom again, an NYU alumni event about combatting creative piracy.

I might sneak in some yard work in the afternoon – we’re supposed to have a stretch of good weather until Sunday, albeit dry.

Have a great Thursday!

Published in: on September 24, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid  
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Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. Check it out.

Also, if you love reading serial fiction, I’ve created a survey. I’m curious what draws other people into reading serial fiction (and I miss writing it). If you get a chance, I hope you’ll fill it out here. It’s 12 questions. Thanks in advance.

Yesterday was all over the place. I was at my client’s for a few hours – we talked about some strategy for the new round of ads I’m creating. At this point, she’s just trying to ride it out, as other similar businesses panic and fail. There were internet issues at the office, and the new payroll company, who tries to upsell “human resources” services the company doesn’t need, spends all their time calling us about them, and then screws up the payroll, which is their actual job. She’ll be moving companies in December. Vile, vile payroll company.

Hootsuite and Facebook are at odds, which means I’m going to have problems using Hootsuite to schedule client posts on FB & IG. Looking for another affordable platform.

Depending on how many social media packages I handle for different clients, I might need to invest in a platform that can handle the multiple channels for multiple clients and build that subscription money into my fee structure. Right now, I’m just using whatever platforms the client wants/can get and setting them up there, because I don’t stay with clients forever, and they can keep the platform that’s in their name when we go our separate ways. But logging in and out of a half a dozen different platforms and tools every few hours is not efficient.

I’ve been researching the tools. So far, I can’t find any that does what I need it to do at a price I can afford and build into my fee structure in a fair way. The platforms’ business fees are structured for corporations, not social media professionals handling multiple clients across multiple channels.

There’s a part of me that wants to move away from social media packages and focus more on copywriting and long form, but I have to see where the work is, and what gigs I land. I need to be versatile.

Home, decontamination protocols, fought with Twitter to get back into my account so I could participate in Remote Chat, which was fun.

Realized I’d mis-figured the time difference with LA. The NYU-LA meditation event wasn’t at 3 PM EST, but 9 PM EST.

Which meant I had time in the afternoon to get some other stuff done. And spend quality time with Tessa. Tessa finds our afternoon “quality time” sessions very important, since Charlotte gets me so often the rest of the day.

My package arrived from Fed Ex – finally. It would still be sitting in MS if I hadn’t bugged them, which is not okay, and I was not happy with the store’s response.

However, the contents were great. I’d ordered two Banana Republic dresses, and a pair of wide-legged, side-tied navy pants. Banana Republic’s clothes look good on me. I’d ordered two dresses because they were on sale, and I couldn’t decide between the gray and the red. The gray looks good and goes everywhere, but I’m totally in love with the red, and it looks fabulous on me. And yes, I will wear them in video conferences. I feel fantastic in them.

The pants fit and drape well, but the fabric wrinkles easily. They do seem a bit like Phryne Fisher-style pants, which is one of the reasons I like them.

Since I haven’t actually buckled down and sewn any of the pile of projects waiting to be made, at least I have a few pieces to get through the next few months of video conferences, along with all the fuzzy, comfy sweaters coming out.

I attended, via Zoom, of course, the Community Bookshop event for Melissa Monroe’s new book of poetry, Medusa Beach. It was a great evening of conversation, poetry, and process. The book arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had the chance to do much more than skim it. I look forward to really digging in.

Willa was fascinated by the Zoom event. Usually it’s Charlotte who participates, but Willa thought it was great (although the speakers were the only ones on video).

I had a quick break and then the meditation session with NYU-LA Alumni. The meditation leader’s name was Crystal because it’s LA and of course it was. But she was excellent. It was a good session. I didn’t stay for the chat after – I wanted to carry the calm into going to bed early.

So although the first part of the day was frustrating, it levelled out.

I slept much better than usual. Up early this morning, getting a few things done, including cleaning out the box quarantine area in the garage, because that’s where the wood has to go.

I signed up for a morning meditation with Concord Library – they do a regular Thursday morning session, and I’d like to try it. Then, I have to do a Target run – we’re getting low on toilet paper.

Then it’s client work, writing, work on Grief to Art, some social media scheduling, maybe some more LOIs.

I’m increasing my time on the exercise bicycle by one minute per day. Not my favorite form of exercise, but I need it. Adding in weights twice a week again, too.

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

Reading a terrific book called SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. Made me realize just how abusive a former boss was, who always berated me for being an introvert, forced me into extroverted situations that were painful (which allowing another employee to opt out of anything she didn’t feel like doing, claiming “anxiety” and not redistributing the work, but making me do the extra – without compensation), and, every time I disagreed with her, telling me I “must” be on the autism spectrum or I wouldn’t disagree. Talk about a toxic situation. I’m well out of it.

Anyway, I don’t agree with everything in this book – several techniques I’ve tried and they don’t work for me, but I like the book, and there’s a lot of useful information.

I need to get going on my day. It’s a new moon in Virgo, good time to get organized!

Have a great day.

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

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

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

Hot, humid, cloudy

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

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

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

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on September 10, 2020 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies  
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