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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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.