Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid

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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!

Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

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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

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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.

Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 99 — Virtual Inspirations

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Thursday, August 27, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cooler

I talk about the garden and the garden-planning software experiments over on today’s Gratitude and Growth post.

Day 2 of a Migraine. I’m grumpy.

I’m also angry. We have a catastrophic hurricane about to hit the gulf, and the people who are supposed to be helping their citizens are holding Hate Rallies instead. Not that this is new and different from anything in the past four years, but it’s revolting.

Not to mention angry about the Kenosha shooting and how the white boy terrorist is being celebrated, while a black man was shot seven times in the back. This is unacceptable.

My mom wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so that took up a lot of the day. She’s better today, thank goodness. It seems to be a medication issue.

I went in to the client’s for a couple of hours, but left to come home and deal with my mother and doctors, barely overlapping with other colleagues, which meant avoiding dealing with their ever-laxening safety protocols.

Remote chat was fun.

Got some solid client work done. Not enough done on my article. Have to buckle down today with it. Curbside pickup at the library. Follow-up on a few things.

Signed up for an online meditation session with NYU Alumni chapter in LA for mid-September. I like that there area virtual events we can participate in all over the world. I wanted to attend a talk done by NYU Shanghai, but I couldn’t figure out the time difference. Too much math for me. And the international dateline. So I’ll skip it for now.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

I’m playing with a wacky marketing idea for one of my clients. It combines product and micro fiction. I have to use photos we already have, because we don’t have the resources to get more, and build a story around them. I need to get it storyboarded in the next couple of days and out to the client early next week. It’s fun, but definitely a challenge.

My friend sent me the overview for the series she’s developing. I’ll take a look at that today.

I have to get an oil change either today or tomorrow – not looking forward to that stress.

I will take in my mother’s ballot to the secure ballot box. I still have not received mine, and the Town Clerk, who is supposed to handle these things, is refusing to respond. If I owned a mansion in Hyannisport or Osterville, I would have gotten an answer the same day the first time I contacted the office. But that’s the way Barnstable runs. Unless you’re rich or a tourist, you don’t matter.

I was delighted to attend theMetropolitan Museum of Art’s virtual event last night. Yes, it was a giant, hour-long commercial to encourage people back to the museum in person when it re-opens this weekend. At the same time, I was impressed at their planning and implementation, both during the pandemic, and moving into the phase of re-opening where people can come back to the museum. If our national government had bothered to sit down and come up with a plan, we’d be going about our lives, and without 180,000 dead. But then, the museum has leadership, intelligence, and creativity, which our government does not.

I was also very excited by the five artists in residence as part of the Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence program. I want to know more about the work of all five artists, took notes, and will be connecting with their work however possible.

I was a little worried that the Met was getting staid and stuck in the past, but with Max Hollein coming in as director, it looks like it’s moving forward. I hope they continue online programs, because I would love to keep participating and experiencing the museum virtually, since I can’t visit. It would be worth buying a membership.

Their educational programs are also exciting, and I’m going to see if I can incorporate them into my online homework group that starts September 8. That made me decide to check out educational programs offered by the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, too. I’ll go even further afield, and see if I can find online programs at organizations that are relevant to what the kids are studying.

My main focus today has to be my article and the micro fiction marketing project.

An article I read in YANKEE magazine yesterday about Green Mountain College closing sparked an idea for a story. I’m going to take some notes and then put it aside. I’m juggling enough pieces.

I also want to do more work on the book for NYU’s book club, and finish the book for review.

So I’d better get to it, hadn’t I, and hope the migraine eases?

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Thurs. Aug. 20, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 92 — Fairly Godmother Becomes Homework Fairy

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image courtesy of Pexels vis pixabay.com

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Lots to share today, and most of it good. Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Work and Loneliness
Client work was okay yesterday. The client came in early, just to chat. She’s lonely. And truly doesn’t get that going out golfing in groups, hanging out at the beach club, attending a funeral, and going to a ladies’ lunch isn’t “doing nothing and staying at home” which is what she claims she’s doing.

I’m doing an A/B test of a new ad – first a few days in the NY/LA market, which is where I suspect it will do well. Early next week, I’m going to send it national.

I did research on virtual reality/augmented reality platforms to see if that’s something we could try. But the expense and the amount of coding/maintenance is beyond us right now.

It did, however, give me another idea for a story. It might be a novel, it might be a novella. And it has to wait its turn.

We talked about loneliness during Remote Chat, too. I pointed out that I’ve often felt lonelier in a room full of people than when I’m actually alone. I’m someone who needs a lot of solitude. I joke a lot about being a professional recluse, but it’s not really a joke.

I’m also thinking of building a screen to put behind the chair for all these Zoom meetings, so I don’t have to worry about what the rest of the room looks like. The frame and hinges won’t be too hard, and then cover it with a pretty fabric that’s not distracting. The fabric would be the most expensive, unless I can get a good price on it, but it would be something useful.

I’d have to actually GO OUT (oh, horrors) and probably get the lumber and hinges at Home Depot (hate giving them even a penny; only shop there as a last resort). Not sure where I’d get the fabric. Maybe I could venture out to Tumbleweeds and see what’s on sale. This is when I miss being able to go in and browse in thrift stores. I’ve found some great fabrics there. I don’t think I have enough (I need 12 yards) in my stash. Doing each panel in a different fabric (4 yards per panel) won’t work. (Update: No, I do NOT need 12 yards — I was thinking only in terms of length, not width. I can get more than one panel with the width. Time for, darn it, MATH).

My landlord is coming by today to talk about an historical article he’s writing. I get the feeling he’s lonely, too. He’s bringing his own folding chair, and we’re wearing masks.

Slow work on the developing novel, but every day a little bit adds to big bits. I hope that translates later today to another good session on BARD’S LAMENT.

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If you haven’t visited the site, I hope you do so. And, please share. I want to start posting memories on the Walls of Remembrance, and then getting the word out, so it can help more people.

Wellness and Not So Well
I took my mom in to see her regular doctor (we’d been putting it off). They’re pleased with her progress, although her blood pressure is still too high and they’re changing the medication. But she’s put some weight back on, the exercise is good for her (30 mins/day, 7 days/week on the exercise bicycle), and I’m to be praised for the nutritious meals I create.

That’s the good news.

On the flip side of that, I tripped over Willa going down the stairs to the laundry room and wrenched my ankle. Definitely not broken. I wasn’t sure if it was a sprain or a twist last night, because of the pain and swelling. I have some pain pills left over from February’s surgery. I finally broke down and took one. I slept through the night. It’s uncomfortable this morning, but the swelling is down and I can walk on it. So a twist, not a sprain, thank goodness. I just have to be careful for the next few days.

Decades of living with cats, and this is the first time I actually got hurt from tripping over one.

A Day of Packages
The yoga bolster arrived (via Fed Ex). It’s a narrow one, not the typical wide one. It’s covered in teal, and absolutely perfect. I’m delighted with it.

The baguette pan arrived (via UPS). It’s smaller than I expected, and I’m not sure. But I’ll know once I make the baguettes, right? I hope to make the first set of baguettes tomorrow. I can make three at a time.

The ribbons I ordered from Ribbon Bazaar arrived (USPS) – the red and green I need for the winter holidays, and the black I wanted for Samhain. Organza, and lovely.

My 2021 calendars arrived yesterday (calendar and datebook). They give me hope we might actually have a 2021.

Fairly Godmother Becomes the Homework Fairy
I chose not to have children of my own, but I have 13 godchildren. I’m old enough so that THEY’RE old enough to have kids of their own. I’m not even friends with some of their parents anymore (the friends who originally asked me to be a godparent) because of political and religious divides. Although there were periods when I’ve lost touch with some here and there, at this point in the game, the godchildren and I are in contact (some of them have broken with their parents for the same reasons I did).

We had a Zoom meeting yesterday about schools re-opening. The godkids (and their kids – are they great-gods?) are scattered all over the country, in both blue and red states. We had a long, vehement discussion about school. By the end of it, everyone in the meeting agreed that NONE of the kids are going back in person this year, and they refuse to be forced. It is simply not worth risking the lives of the kids and the rest of the families because of this ridiculous insistence that kids have to be physically in a classroom, even though it’s dangerous.

Since I was one of the most strident about not sending the kids back to school at this point in the pandemic, I offered to host homework sessions. Twice a week, for 2 hours at a time, starting after Labor Day, I’m going to host a Zoom session. The Great-Gods will log in and we’ll do homework in company. I’ll help them however I can if they have trouble with something. If I don’t know the answer, we will research it together. I’m putting together activities that are fun and tie in to learning, such as how plants and baking tie into science; cooking can tie into math, too (fractions, etc.). Sewing ties into math and geometry. Set design ties into geometry (I never understood geometry until I started building sets in theatre – then it made sense). Music has math in it, as well as art. We’ll study paintings and history and literature and, more importantly, the people behind those things, to make it real and relevant. I’m putting together a lesson plan (which is a roadmap, not a prison). The parents are sending me information about the school and the curriculum, so I can pick eras and people and events relevant to what they’re studying. There’s room for what they’re interested in, and I hope they will inspire each other and help each other, too.

Most of the Great-Gods don’t know each other yet, so it will be a chance to meet other kids of different ages from all over the place, even though it’s online. I’m applying for a grant to help with the Zoom fees.

I’m going to encourage them to participate in online programs at places like the National Marine Life Center, and at libraries (our library is doing a lot of great programs online) and museums that will supplement their coursework.

The parents (my godkids and their spouses/partners) and I reminisced about the years (decades) we’ve known each other. Some of them used to call me the “Fairly Godmother” because we talked so much about treating people decently and fairly.  I still have my Karma Fairy Wand built for the Moon Tribe Tales project that I will wave around. We also told stories about way back, years and years and YEARS ago, when all 13 of them were unceremoniously dumped on me in NYC without warning because all the parents had meltdowns at the same time. So there I am, a single woman working in theatre, living a block from Times Square, with 13 kids ranging in age from 1 to 16. In a small NYC apartment.

Within 48 hours, I’d taken off two weeks from my show (thank goodness for swings and understanding management), rented one of those old, panelled station wagons with bench seats (car seats were not required then for kids), and rented a wonky, old house here on Cape, all that I could afford. It was right on the beach, though, and it was in the years before the prices were so out of control. We piled into the car at 5 AM, drove to the Cape, and spent two weeks on the beach, playing and reading and hanging out. We had a jimble jamble of books (we read aloud to each other), there were a bunch of board games and puzzles with missing pieces for rainy days.

I didn’t have much money for all of this (went into debt on it, actually), so it wasn’t like we could go out and go shopping for anything other than cheap souvenirs. But we visited the National Seashore (the rangers were so nice), and wandered through galleries in P-town, and went to the drive-in movie in Wellfleet. We ate a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs and mac & cheese and fried clams those two weeks, and lots of ice cream. But we had a lot of fun, and it’s something everyone involved remembers fondly.

The big rules were: no whining, be kind, don’t wander off. Everyone old enough pitched in to help each other, and help cook and clean up. There were lots of sleeping bags on floors and on the screened-in porch (we used to call them “sleeping porches”). We met painters and musicians and there were bonfires on the beach. I had some rules and structure, but there was also freedom within it.

I admit to being exhausted by the time I handed them all back to their parents, but we had fun. Some of the parents felt there was too much freedom, and I cut them right off. They all dumped their kids on me without warning, without discussion, without any kind of support. I kept them fed, happy, and alive. So the parents could shut the hell up. One father complained I’d turned his kids into “lefty feminists.” I’m rather proud of that.

Anyway, I have a lot on my agenda today, and I better get to it. Or someone will have to hand me a “round tuit.”

Peace, friends, Be kind.

Thurs. Aug. 13, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 85 –Hoping for A Quiet Day

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid (still)

The promised thunderstorms still haven’t arrived.

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

Yesterday was more positive than negative, which was a good thing.

Early on, after watering and the first session out on the deck, I got out some requested materials to a potential new client. We’d talked, a few months back, about a big job, but that was put on hold due to the financial crisis; however, they’re interested in me for a smaller gig between now and November. They needed some materials, which I sent off.

Went on site for a client. Had the office to myself for most of my stint, which is the way it should be. One co-worker was there for a bit, but we followed protocols. Someone else showed up to pick up something – there were some mask issues that were resolved. The client called, on her way back from an illegal large social gathering, coming directly to the office.

So I left.

I am not putting myself and my family at risk like that.

Home, decontamination protocols, got set up for Remote Chat.

Was interrupted by my landlord. We had a good conversation. We are working out a temporary lease extension, so at least I don’t have to stress about pulling off a move by the end of October in the middle of a pandemic. It gives me a little breathing room, to put it together the way it needs to be done to be one move, not a series of moves over several months.

I still have a lot to get sorted out in the coming months, but at least I know we won’t be out in the street in autumn.

There’s going to be work done on the house, and everyone will have to follow safety protocols. We will finally get the new furnace in . . .sometime.

I was relieved, and yet also felt like I’d been hit by a truck and was wiped out for the rest of the day. I decided I could give myself the afternoon off and then get back to it today.

The big check from a big job I did a few months back, where I was chasing the payment, finally arrived. What a relief.

To treat myself, I ordered a baguette pan and a Vietnamese Phin filter. Also got my calendars ordered for next year.

Read the third book in the series by that author about whom I’m on the fence. Didn’t like it. The protagonist behaved like a whiny, spoiled brat for the whole book. So I’m done with that series.

Absolutely loved Kamala Harris’s speech yesterday. I hope they keep attacking the GOP Platform of Death.

Up early this morning, watering by moonlight, because sunrise gets later and later (as it does, during this portion of the year).

I’m still exhausted and weepy – cried twice before breakfast. No good reason for it, just exhausted by the past months.

LOIs, client work, article work, work on BARD are all on today’s schedule. I need to do a drop off/pick up at the library, and put my check in the bank. Need to clean out some more boxes (or, at least one) this afternoon, and maybe cut out a pair of pants I want to sew.

I have a hankering to take another look at MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC. I put that series aside for a bit, because of other, more pressing deadlines, but it’s been calling to me.

Still noodling on the new idea. I’ve figured out some key points and themes. But I don’t know where to set it yet, and that will have so much to do with it. Maine? Vermont? Upstate NY? Western MA? Until I get the setting settled, so to speak, a lot is still up in the air.

Hoping for a quiet, productive Thursday. Peace, friends.

Published in: on August 13, 2020 at 8:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 13, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 85 –Hoping for A Quiet Day  
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Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 78 — Less Stress (Yay)

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cooler

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, to learn the latest goings-on in the garden.

I didn’t feel well yesterday, so I worked from home instead of going onsite for a few hours. It helped me on oh, so many levels. Plus, I got a lot of work done.

I was supposed to sit in for a client on a Zoom session about SBA/PPP loan forgiveness. I was there on time, waiting and waiting for the host to start the meeting. Nothing happened. I finally emailed the organizer – only to get an email back that it had been cancelled. Um, why didn’t you let me know? I’m registered by the email. I’m obviously waiting to get in. You just . . .forgot? I was polite, and it wasn’t that big a deal because I was working remotely, but still. Basic consideration. Stuff happens. Things have to be postponed and cancelled. But communicate. Don’t just ignore the people who have put aside the time to be there.

Moved on from that debacle to Remote Chat, which was fun.

I downloaded GIMP, and now I have to learn how to use it.

Started work on one of the play ideas. It’s coming together nicely.

Did some brainstorming for the next section of GAMBIT COLONY and the next section of BARD. Need to catch up on classwork today.

019 Instagram

The Merry Writer Podcast I recorded about a month ago went live yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. If you get a chance, I hope you’ll listen.

Decided to return a stack of books to the library, some unread. They are all by the same author (albeit different series, sometimes under different names). The only passion or spark the characters ever show is when their white privilege is threatened, and it’s both boring me to death (pun intended, since they’re mysteries) and annoying me. So the stack goes back into the book drop, and that author (with the various pseudonyms) is crossed off my list.

I learn as much from books which don’t work for me as I learn from books that do.

I have to venture off the property to do the two-week shop at Trader Joe’s. We are out of milk, eggs, butter, bread, and a bunch of other stuff.

Then, after disinfectant protocols, I hope to have a productive day working.

Have a great Thursday!

Thurs. July 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 71 — Stress and Rage

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image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth. Hop on over.

The less said about yesterday’s client work, the better. All I’m going to say is that I was shaking with rage on the drive home, and made myself a martini as soon as I finished m disinfectant protocols.

I have a few days to consider how I will handle the situation as gracefully as possible.

At least Remote Chat was a lot of fun, as usual.

I was so exhausted from the morning of stress that, when I went upstairs to check on Tessa, I fell asleep on the floor beside her and had a two hour nap. Then, I was disoriented for the rest of the day. I am not a napper.

Of course, Gambit Colony is flowing well, since it is the piece that’s not on hard deadline.

I’m going to try to get the recycling out this morning; we’re supposed to have a grace period until the 1st of August before they charge us, but it’s suddenly not on the website or any of their accounts. I posed the question on their FB page. I guarantee they will not answer until next week that “oops, grace period is over” because that is what they are like. I can just see myself loading up the car this morning and being turned away at the gate. It would be typical here. I’m not emailing them, because they still haven’t answered the email I sent them BACK IN MARCH. Because they can’t be bothered. It doesn’t take four months to answer an email, even in a pandemic. Because heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its actual residents. It’s all about tourist dollars and quick turnover.

Client work, LOIs, chasing down missing payments from work done months ago, a review out to my editor, work on an article, work on the Topic Workbooks, cleaning out boxes from the basement, filing and admin – the list goes on and on. So I’d better get going then, hadn’t I?

Have a great day.

Published in: on July 30, 2020 at 7:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 71 — Stress and Rage  
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Thurs. July 23, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 64 — The Need For a Good Storm

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Thursday, July 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and oppressively humid

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

Yesterday started out as a pretty optimistic day, but a few obstacles got thrown in the way. Not appropriate to discuss them publicly. I will have to find a way to deal with them like a professional, while still holding my boundaries.

Onsite for a client early; got a good bit done. I was worried about a particular campaign, but it’s started to show results, and that’s a relief.

Swung by CVS to pick up my mother’s prescription. It was packed, but at least everyone wore their mask PROPERLY.

I am so sick of these fucktwits pulling their masks down below their noses. Cover your NOSE AND MOUTH, you fucking morons. The disregard for other people is revolting.

Remote chat was fun.

Solved a client problem remotely.

It was so humid and I wasn’t feeling well, so the afternoon was nowhere near as productive as it needed to be. Will have to make up for it today. Managed to get a few LOIs out.

One client is trying to figure out why payment hasn’t gone through. Another client, a late payer, is ignoring my emails. This is a major publication, now in breach of contract. Not happy about it.

Frustrated with the state of the country and the supreme selfishness and greed that’s allowed.

I seriously want to become a professional recluse.

In the evening, I got dressed up and in full make-up for two virtual Zoom events.

One was a fashion industry event, that I attended on behalf of a client. The hosts did a good job. Some of the guests, however, seem to have forgotten that a Zoom event requires interaction. Yeah, when we were in an actual party room, you could stand there and pose and people would admire you. But at an interactive chat, everyone’s gong to move on to someone who is, you know, actually interesting.

It sort of reminded me of Studio 54’s fading days, when it was trying to be relevant and cool, and failing.

But I’m glad I went. I managed to meet some interesting people and get information that is useful in shaping this particular client’s marketing strategy.

Then, I switched over to another Zoom event, this one literary. That was kind of fun and raucous, very much like the old time literary events in NYC, but virtual. Had some decent conversations with various people about things that matter. I actually got some information relevant to the client for whom I attended the fashion industry event. So that’s 2 for 1.

I’m trying to limit my Zoom time, because it’s so exhausting, but I’m glad I attended these events.

I got a nice compliment on Twitter from someone who likes that I tweet to congratulate and encourage people and wish them well. To me, that’s a big part of being on a social media platform – celebrating the good things, offering a helping hand when I can. Still, it was nice to hear. Because I’m so enraged about what’s going on politically and trying to do something about it, I sometimes worry I’m too negative on social media. I’m trying to keep it balanced.

What I should do is take a break from social media completely for a few days.

Tessa woke me up around 1 AM. She was hot. She woke me, walked over to the fan, looked at me, looked at the fan. I put it in the window, turned it on, she stretched out on the floor in front of it, and went back to sleep.

Fell asleep and had weird dreams. Charlotte woke me a little after 4, although I refused to go downstairs and feed everyone until 5. I wish they’d let me sleep until 5. Waking up at 4 every day is just a little too early.

Horribly humid today. The air is thick and won’t move. It’s supposed to storm, and I hope it does. A good thunder storm would do a world of good.

I have a busy day of writing, client work, course work, and unpacking ahead of me. I hope the humidity eases up a bit so I can actually do it, and not act like one of the cats, lying on the floor in front of the fan.

I had a nice first writing session out on the deck this morning, playing with an idea that might or might not go anywhere. But at least I eased those characters yapping in my head.

Feeling kind of blue and discouraged today, on multiple fronts. I hope a storm will break both the humidity and my mood.

Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas

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Thursday, July 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

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

If you haven’t read the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice on Reinventing Work, you can hop on over.

Went onsite for a client for a few hours. Got some ad approvals, got some more photos for the next bit we need to do together. Too many people in the office at the same time, and getting lackadaisical about protocols. I’m not happy about it.

I was glad to get home and do a full decontamination protocol.

Remote Chat was fun. As always. What a great group of people.

Titcomb’s let me know another book was in for me, so we got into the car and had a little drive for a curbside pickup. They’re so great.

Got out some LOIs. Got a book assigned to review – I will read it over the weekend.

Still waiting for a big check from a job back in February – which should have paid by the end of June. So I guess I’m contacting the editor to ask her to check on it.

Read anotherEllen Byron book in her Cajun series. Delightful.

Feeling a little blue today, kind of like my hydrangeas, but I hope keeping busy will help. I have some writing to do (as always), including an article idea I’ve been playing with for LinkedIn, and starting my Llewellyn article. Need to work on BARD. Want to work on GAMBIT. And there’s always purging that needs to be done in the basement.

I have to do an early morning run to Star Market, because we’re out of a few things, and I don’t want to stand in line later at Trader Joe’s for them. Plus, some of what I need isn’t at TJ’s, although I’m most comfortable shopping there. I’m hoping, if I go early enough to SM, I can avoid Sliding Mask Skanks.

Then home, disinfectant protocols, and to work. I’m hoping focus on the work will get me out of feeling so low.

Hope your Thursday is lovely.

Published in: on July 16, 2020 at 5:21 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas  
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Thurs. July 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — Hope for a Happy, Productive Day

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just have to work harder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day, friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least some people are taking it seriously.

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

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

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

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

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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