Thurs. April 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 327 — Before The Storm

Tessa in her new bed

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and chilly

There’s a longer than usual post over on Gratitude and Growth about how the changes in the neighborhood affect the garden.

Yesterday was reasonably productive. Early in the morning, it turns out the client I thought with whom I would be working starting this week – well, it’s not going to work out. The client “requires” I jump through hoops they “need” for their accounting. Um, they pay via PayPal, and I filled out a W-9. They don’t “need” anything else. This client paid a lower rate than I’d normally accept, but I wanted to have some steady, stop-gap work with the move coming up, while I continue to have discussions with higher-paying potential clients. But I’m not jumping through hoops for this kind of money, when I don’t need to for clients who pay much, much more. Buh-bye.

Got another nibble from another LOI from someone who wants some more information. I can turn that around today, I hope. We’ll see if that’s legit, or yet another “client” that’s actually an outsourcer wasting my time.

Turned around some additional information requested from another LOI, and got the exact same message asking for the exact same information, which I said I sent, did they need it resent, and got the same message asking for the same information instead of an actual response. Hon, if your AI chat bot can’t get it together, we aren’t a good match. Next!

Got a lot done at the client’s. She was just in for a few minutes, so we talked about a few things, I kept going with what I had to get done, she kept going with what she had to get done. She bought her elderly cat a new cat bed, and gave me the fancy previous one.

My cats were fascinated. Charlotte and Willa fussed at each other over it, and while they were busy, Tessa decided it was HERS. And now it is. Tessa spent most of the afternoon in the bed, happy as could be. That gave Willa a chance to sneak in and sit in the window in my room before I took Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens on the deck.

Remote Chat was fun.

I was hit with more fatigue and some swollen lymph nodes again in the afternoon and evening. Instead of pushing myself, I let myself sit out on the deck for a bit, with the cats in their playpens.

Went to bed awfully early, though, which meant I woke up around 3:30 and was wide awake.

Meditation this morning. I should do a quick grocery run, before the storm starts. It’s supposed to get nasty this afternoon and overnight, into tomorrow. We do need the rain, though. But the thought of going to the store is overwhelming.

I’ve got a story idea almost percolating. I can feel it starting to form. I need to get back to a regular fiction writing routine again. I’m much more centered and productive when I stick to an early morning 1K of fiction. But it’s as though I’m punishing myself for not having landed a new home, therefore I don’t let myself write, and I throw off my whole day, and it’s a continuing downward spiral. When what I should be doing is writing my way to a better reality.

But all I want to do is sleep. Only I don’t have time to sleep, I need to finish packing and find us a place to live.

Client work, LOIs, article work, filling information requests, and looking at rental listings. That’s my agenda for today.

What’s on your plate?

Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

I’ve got a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

The thought that soon, I might not have a garden at all, saddens me.

Yesterday was busy. I had to be onsite with a client, and I actually had to say, “If you kill me with COVID, I can’t finish this by deadline. Please put your mask on.” I shouldn’t have to do that. This whole “I’m vaccinated, so to hell with you” is enraging.

Busy there, got a lot done, have to put in some more hours today and tomorrow, but remotely.

I have some paperwork to fill out with a new client, and then we’ll get started next week. It’s freelance, so it will ebb and flow, but the work sounds interesting, so we’ll see.

Came home, decontaminated, enjoyed Remote Chat.

Did some more client work, looked at rental listings. One of the most frustrating things about the rental agents is that they don’t listen. They don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I send them, or any of my needs.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have meditation group, and then have to get client work done, work on the paperwork for the new client, and finish my article, so I can get it to my editor. I need to get at least one article pitch out, maybe two. More LOIs, more rental listings.

I’m feeling a little discouraged today. But all I can do is make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Thurs. April 1, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 314 — The Mountain Looks Unconquerable From Here

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

April Fool’s Day

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

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. Too often, the humor is about cruelty instead of playfulness. We’ve had enough cruelty the past few years.

Yesterday was stressful at the client’s, and that’s all that’s appropriate to say about it. Got a lot done, though.

Got out some LOIs, had fun in Remote Chat, worked on contest entries.

My editor sent me the edits on the article – again, the wrong version of it. The drafts are clearly titled. So, what I did was address the edits, then mark what I wanted/had cut in my final draft, and added in the new quote. All to this draft. Saved it, pointed out the changes, and sent it back. Now, she thinks maybe she sent me the wrong file. But at least I’ve got the material in the draft she keeps lobbing back at me, with the possibilities for revisions. Fortunately, none of them are a huge deal. It’s mostly tweaks and tightening language, and deciding if we want to keep or cut a paragraph. We’ll get there. I got my edits turned around by the end of the workday, which is what she needed, although I suspect we will have another round of edits today. Which I will also turn around immediately.

Rental listings were depressing. I’ve got another set of scam contacts to send off to the Attorneys Generals here in New England.

Too exhausted to pack, so I will have to make up for it today.

This morning is the online meditation group, to which I’m looking forward. More LOIs. Work on the other article, since I have enough quotes now to make it fly. I’d like to get one more set of quotes, but not sure I can by deadline. Still, I might give it a go, while I’m writing with what I have.

Playing with some ideas. Although I’m personally feeling overwhelmed and in despair, I want to read/write something more upbeat and hopeful. Not long. Something short, but that helps. Not sure what it is yet, because I don’t know who will be central. I need the character in order to build the story – I like starting from character And I’m not writing enough to stay in balance, so I need to start on something, anything.

I’m a big believer in writing my way to a better reality. On multiple levels.

We’re paying April’s rent and begging for an additional month (the lease runs out April 30). Meanwhile, I’m still spending hours a day trying to find something pet friendly in our budget. I had talked to the landlord a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of another month, but I want to put it formally in writing.

I woke up around 3, worrying, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Tried to let the sound of the rain soothe me back down, but no luck.

Just keep at it, that’s all I can do.

Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain

image courtesy of Krzysztof Pluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Foggy and cool

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

Yesterday was busy, but, for the most part, it was a good busy, at the client’s office. Did my time, got a lot done, we talked about what needs to be done in the coming weeks, on several fronts. The owner is making noise about not wanting to wear a mask at the office anymore since she’s been fully vaccinated, and we said no. She’s going to keep pushing, and this will cause a problem a few weeks down the road.

Swung by the library to do a curbside drop-off/pickup and then home for decontamination.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun.

Rested on the acupressure mat, looked at house listings (depressing), got out some LOIs, worked on contest entries. There were a couple of truly delightful ones. I have three more to read in this category, and then I can make the decision. I’m working on the other two categories, too.

Researching interview options, since two of my requests were a no.

Got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY. Played with some other ideas. Read Nick Hytner’s book more. I have an idea percolating (it’s been doing so on and off for years) about Laertes, Hotspur, and Tybalt, but I’m not sure if it’s a piece of its own, or if I can fold it into another piece on which I’m working. It might not be more than a scene – I can’t tell, it’s still too vague in my brain. Also, in the play I’d be folding it into – even though it’s not a realistic play (it IS set in the Afterlife, after all), I’m using real people; mixing fictional ones in with them would muddy the play. So, I guess, in this public brainstorming session, I’ve figured out that they either get their own piece or they will be part of some other piece, but not the one of which I was thinking. Thank you for listening to my ramble.

I have to make sure I do at least one session of creative work for myself in a day, because it helps keep me centered. Otherwise, I turn into a hot mess. Keeping up regular writing/reading on my own projects takes off some of the pressure, instead of adding more.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s back to LOIs, client work, house hunting, and packing. We’re supposed to get some much-needed rain today. If it’s nice over the weekend, I might put out the Adirondack chairs and the wind chimes on the deck over the weekend. We aren’t setting up the usual Enchanted Garden with the upcoming move, but at least we can sit there and enjoy it a little bit before we go.

Have a good one.

Thurs. March 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 286/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 36 — Trying to Take A Breath

image courtesy of Renan_Brun via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and cold

Yesterday was stressful, on multiple levels.

There’s a short post up over on Gratitude and Growth. Unfortunately, there’s not much to say.

I was up very early, because I needed to do a revision on my article, fitting in the new quote, and get it off to my editor before we had to leave the house at 7 AM. I did it, and I’m pleased with it, so that’s a good thing. The quote really does make the piece stronger.

Drove my mom to Quest Diagnostics over in Osterville for her blood work. They tried to charge her for it. No. She’s never had to pay a co-pay for bloodwork. Tufts raised her premium this year, so she’s damn well not going to start paying for stuff they’ve always covered, when they’re charging more in the first place.

Got her back home, and headed over to my client’s. It was the day where several of us overlap in person, which is stressful enough, but this particular client thrives on chaos, which causes even more stress.

But we got through it.

Got home, and, before I even decontaminated, had to get to the computer to try and book my mother’s second vaccine dose. They’d sent me a “special link.”

Talk about even more unnecessary chaos. I wrote in detail about the steps on a long Twitter thread. The site is a failure in web development AND writing, not to mention execution.

The “special link” sent me back to the main virtual waiting room, with wait times of 30 minutes or so. The wait time kept lengthening, then came up as “over a day, come back later.” I was, again, competing with first dose seekers. As I sat there, shocked, it catapulted me onto the site just for the appointments (at the Orleans dump again, next week). I grabbed the first one I saw.

I got the message that the slot would be “held” for 15 minutes while I finished signing up.

Only I had to re-enter ALL the information, including insurance information, that I had to enter for the first shot. Which takes more than 15 minutes, especially when the screen kept freezing and dropping the information I entered.

I finally got all the pages and pages of information entered, and hit “submit” – only to be sent BACK to the virtual waiting room, competing with first dose seekers. The message was that the wait was over a day, and I should try again later.

I burst into tears.

There is NO REASON for this signup chaos, other than exceptionally poor design on the part of the web developers and writers.

While I was in tears, my Gmail pinged, and I received a confirmation for the appointment.

So why was I getting a message telling me to “try again later”? Which message is correct?

I sat on the site, thinking maybe I’d try to book the caretaker’s shot. I was catapulted back into the search portion of the site – only the Orleans site isn’t even listed. So it’s ONLY for second doses.

Which is great, but why not have a sensible design that simply sends you to the second dose site instead of sending you around in circles giving conflicting information?

We have no idea if we’ll actually get the dose, but we are showing up, with the confirmation printed out, next week. And hope for the best.

By the end of it, I was a complete wreck.

There is so much unnecessary pain and suffering connected to the signups. There is NO reason for any of it. It needs clear information from the Governor’s office, and it needs a clean, sensible design and writing on the part of the web developers.

Neither of which exist.

But, it seems the second dose appointment is booked and confirmed, so we’ll hope for the best.

My mom is worried about me not being able to get vaccinated yet. We are simply going to hold the protocols until one month after I get my second dose. As of April 1, when I am eligible, I’ll start my own daily cage fight.

Decontaminated and grabbed a bite to eat.

Remote Chat was fun. It was great to virtually hang out with everybody. But I needed a long session on the acupressure mat afterwards.

On a happy note, a contract came through for an article, and payment for two articles I wrote for a different publication showed up in my bank account. Someone told me about a company looking for something within my wheelhouse, and I sent them an LOI.

I hadn’t planned to purge any boxes, so I didn’t need to feel guilty when I didn’t.

Finished the book for review. Have to think about it before I write the review today. It worked structurally in some aspects, not in others. I liked the characters, but I was not the book’s audience. However, I want to write a fair review FOR the book’s audience. I read across genres, so I’m the audience for quite a few types of books, but not this one. But it definitely has appeal to a different audience. However, the blurb and initial structure makes the real theme of the book feel like a bait and switch – luring the reader in with the promise of one type of book, and then it becomes a different book. I felt lied to, and I don’t like that. It didn’t feel like a wonderful discovery, as it could have; it felt like a lie.

Working on a magazine pitch to a different publication today. I have to do some client work, and realized I don’t have the file I need, so I have to swing by the client’s office to download it (no one will be in today, so there’s no one to send it to me).

I’m really looking forward to the online meditation group this morning – I missed it last week.

Certain pressures are now eased slightly; although there are still others, I’m hoping, in the next few days, I can regain some equilibrium and make some decisions.

Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 267/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 15 — Still Winter

image courtesy of Franz Bachinger via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

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

Yesterday was a stressful mess. Twisted communications messed up technology, fumbles, stumbles, frustrations. Nothing was really anyone’s fault – for the most part, everyone was doing the best they could. But it was a difficult day.

It was even more difficult not to beat myself up for not getting through it better and getting more done.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, the Dig Safe guy came out in the snowstorm to plant little flags and paint the snow. Does he not comprehend that the snow will have to melt before any digging happens? That there’s no way I can keep track of all these little flags? Is there no basic common sense going on here?

Yes, the latter question is rhetorical.

Managed to get home in one piece, decontaminate, and made it to Remote Chat, albeit a bit late. The Chat was fun and restorative, as usual.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat. I’m sore from all the shoveling.  Tessa was happy for the company and very busy.

My mother’s blood pressure medication has brought down her blood pressure too far, so I have to call the doctor again to readjust it.

The Atlas coffee shipment arrived – Honduras is this month’s theme. It’s quite good, although yet another light roast. I wonder if I should shift to requesting dark roasts for a few months.

Noodling with ideas for the grants. I’ve blocked out some serious time to free write on them, my type of Writer’s Rough, so I can extract and polish the 250 words I need for each idea to fit into the proposal. Next week, I’ll get into some serious budgeting for the other grant proposal.

The Senate trial is truly chilling. What’s as enraging as the content of the evidence are the Senators with their feet up ignoring it. They put their feet up in the Chamber? Whack their kneecaps, make them sit up and pay attention. I’m sick of this entitlement. We already know it doesn’t matter to them, that they WISH some of their colleagues had been murdered. We already know they are traitors and need to be removed, imprisoned, and then exiled.

Governor Baker continues to screw the distribution of vaccines in the state. Two new sites are opening. Again, nothing on Cape. A mall in Natick will get 500 doses PER DAY, but this area gets 975 doses PER WEEK. Every other area of the state is getting increased doses EXCEPT Cape Cod. Anywhere else I try to get an appointment means a full day’s trip. I might be able to get vaccinated at the same time as my mom, since I am her caregiver, but how am I supposed to drive three hours to a site, and then three hours back after a vaccine, when one is supposed to sit and be watched for 30 minutes, and then rest for at least a day, up to three days? How am I supposed to expect a 96-year-old woman to take a day-long road trip with no facilities available that don’t put her at risk of getting COVID?

Last night, at the site in Danvers, 300 random people got to show up and get vaccinated because doses were expiring.  They weren’t on an official wait list. They just heard through word of mouth, that the doses were available and would expire, and had to wait out in the cold and snow to get them.

I’m glad the doses were used. I believe we all have the “right” to the vaccine and I have no problem with anyone getting it at any time. But why is the distribution so disorganized that there are doses expiring all over the state and NONE available on Cape, with its large elder population? A population that doesn’t have the mobility to travel all over the state in search of doses?

This is on Baker and his office. And he smirks his way through daily briefings, stating things that just aren’t connected to reality.

And these sites – you’re required to go back for the second dose, but what if there aren’t any appointments for the second dose? It makes no sense. The chaos is enraging and completely unnecessary. Like I said, I could do better with Google Docs than they’ve done.

And this is squarely on Baker. The state is getting dosage increases every week, and Baker is routing them badly.

Today, I have online meditation group, which I really, REALLY need. At noon, I have a virtual meeting with a potential new client – kind of feeling each other out, a preliminary meeting. I have to get out some LOIs, get work done on the proposals, and get out some of the interview requests for an article.

If it’s not too cold in the basement, I have to scrub the basement floor, and then purge at least 5 boxes. I’ve been lax about box purging this week.

I already spilled coffee on the light-colored rug in my office (that belongs to the house, not me), and have carpet cleaner soaking into it.

Not the start I hoped to the day, but let’s hope it gets better.

Published in: on February 11, 2021 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 267/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 15 — Still Winter  
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Thurs. Jan. 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 253 — The Need for Focus

image courtesy of t mc via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Full Moon

Snowy and cold

Shoveling wasn’t bad at all yesterday. Never thought the day would come when I’d say that, but there it is. Took about a half hour to shovel the driveway (50 feet), the front walk, and the front step. Put down ice melt, too. I shoveled far enough into the street so that, if and when the plow went by, it wouldn’t block the driveway much. Of course, the plow didn’t come, so it was all good, except actually driving on the street. The main roads were fine; the side streets ignored.

Even better, I didn’t feel like I’d been run over by a truck.

I guess that extra yoga and working on the exercise bike is making a difference.

The latest on the garden is up here.

Went to the client’s yesterday. We all overlapped for a bit. The next week or two will be busy for me, on the computer, getting the new collection up on the website. All good.

The vaccine sites have been announced for Phase 2 here in MA. My mom is eligible for Phase 2, since she is over 75 (she is 96).  The appointments, starting next week, were supposed to open Wednesday morning. I called my mom’s doctor, who sent me to the state and county sites. The state site was useless – blah blah blah, no actual links. The county site had the list of vaccinate sites.

Since one has to have both vaccines at the same site (which makes sense), choosing the site is important. There are two sites that make sense. One site had already crashed by 9:30 in the morning and was “unavailable.” The second site made me sign up, and then, when I tried to book an appointment, kept telling me nothing was available. Ten minutes later, the site had taken down the appointment page and said they don’t have the vaccine dosages yet.

As usual, Governor Baker, a Republican, makes promises on which he can’t deliver. If the sites were to be live on Wednesday, then it was up to his team to give them the support they needed and make sure they were ready to accept appointments, not announce it and then shrug and say, “not our problem anymore.”

Which is pretty much what he did in an interview later that day. Shrugged off the disorganization. How much do you want to be his office just announced a date without even checking with the designated sites?

He’s rolling back restrictions BEFORE we’re vaccinated instead of after, he’s been forcing people to die for their employers for 253 days now, and he’s pulling this crap. He did a decent job in March and April, but by the end of May, he went back to pandering to corporations and not giving a damn about individuals.

Stopped by the liquor store for a pickup. Dropped off a package and envelopes at my post office, since the carrier who covers the office complex ignored the business again. But no one was in there, so it was an easy, no-contact dropoff.

Home, decontaminated, Remote Chat, which was fun.

Then, I was wiped out.

I spent some time on the acupressure mat, then worked on my article a bit. I had a discussion with my editor, and will have it to her by end of day today, and then we’ll discuss the next one.

Didn’t get any boxes purged, so I have to make up for all of that today, after my article is done, and I finish up an ad for a client, and put in a couple of hours getting the new collection on the website.

The landlord and a contractor are going to wander around the property later today. We’re supposed to have snow off and on, so I can’t see it will be useful. But it’s not up to me, so whatever, and I appreciate that he always lets me know.

The snow around the trees on the property has melted, which shows just how lively our trees are!

Had a weird dream last night about someone stealing from me. In the dream, I knew the person, but looking at the dream from the outside, I don’t.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s client work and article work for what will hopefully be a productive day.

Hopefully, a productive work day will set me up for a productive few hours of box purging.

I have an idea percolating for a story. I have the setting and the conflict, but not the characters yet. So it goes on the simmer at the back of my head to percolate for a bit, When it comes together, I think it will be fun. Not sure what form it will take – short story or novella, I think.

There’s a deadline for a magazine coming up, and I might work up a short piece for them. I have an idea for that percolating, too.

While I work on the contracted tangibles – the article, the client work – these stories can form in the back of my consciousness, and then, when they’re ready, I can write them. Although, when I need one for a deadline, I have to prod it sometimes.

Have a good Thursday.

Thurs. Jan. 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 246/Fresh Hope Day 1 — Relief and Resolve

image by anncapictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

We did it. The inauguration happened, without violence. I am glad I was wrong. I thought the Sociopath was going to try to pull or incite more violence.

The ceremony was well-organized, and moved, and people didn’t drone on forever. It was thrilling to watch Kamala Harris sworn in, and Biden. Biden’s speech hit a good balance between promise, unity, and refusal to ignore what’s happened.

The women looked great – there’s been a lot of talk about their coats. There was a lot of pressure on them. There always is – women are always under more pressure as to how they look. But this time around, it was especially fierce after four years of the trashy Wife Creature. The women looked fabulous – a wonderful combination of strength, beauty, and dignity.

Pence and Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett were there, included, people were polite, but couldn’t be bothered pandering to them. I hope Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett felt a sense of reverence and connection to history and dignity of the ceremony; however, I doubt they are capable of experiencing anything beyond the self.

I loved Bernie Sanders’s mittens.

The singers were great, but the true performance power was Amanda Gorman’s poem. She’s an old soul, and may she continue to grow and create, and may we continue to learn from her.

It was also thrilling to have an administration sworn in that understands and appreciates the power of art.

I was also pleased that they got directly to work – executive orders, proclamations, fired one corrupt enabler, put another on administrative leave. The Senate got to work and confirmed the new DNI leader – a woman with both intelligence and ethics. Let’s hope Schumer doesn’t let McConnell obstruct. I’m sure McConnell is plotting.  One could see him smirking behind his mask at the ceremony.

In my lifetime, Democrats have a pattern of whining they “don’t have the votes” when they’re the minority, but then blowing it when they are the majority by capitulating to Republicans and allowing them to obstruct. It can’t happen this time around. They need to hunt down and punish seditionist and enablers and crush the agenda of cruelty. WHILE getting the virus under control and passing genuine relief measures to get the economy back on track.

It was wonderful to have a press briefing given by someone with a brain and a heart who actually shared information.

I am fighting an ear infection, so I didn’t get much done at all yesterday, but that’s okay.

What I need is a real break, a genuine vacation. But the move needs to happen first.

I’m hoping we will have rebuilt enough so, in 2022, I can actually finally visit Venice.

At least I managed to get a pitch out early yesterday morning. Today, I have to finish my article and get it off. I have meditation, which should be an especially joyous group. I have some LOIs to get out, and other plans to make, before Knowledge Unicorns tonight.

I was actually able to eat my dinner and not worry something awful happened while I was eating. I slept through the night and woke up without an existential feeling of dread.

There’s a great deal of work still to do. We have to continue to defeat the right’s agenda, as well as hunt down and remove the extremists. WHILE fighting the virus, and working toward genuine equity, not comfort for some so they can ignore what’s happening to others.

I’ve got a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the garden. I’m getting ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to work.

Enjoy the day, friends. We can breathe with less of the Sociopath’s stench, although until he’s in prison, we can’t completely relax.

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.

Published in: on January 7, 2021 at 7:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 7, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 232 — Sedition and Domestic Terrorism  
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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!

Published in: on December 31, 2020 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 225 — Get Thee Gone, 2020!  
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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.

Published in: on December 24, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!  
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