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

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

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

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

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

Have a great day.

Wed. Sept. 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 119 — Scattered and Frustrated

image courtesy of HeungSoon via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was just all over the place.

Decent morning, got some work done, prepped for a phone appointment. The phone appointment had to be moved, which is fine – the other person was good about getting in touch.

Signed up for a NetZero online climate conference at the end of October. It has an interesting agenda.

I managed to get in a few hours’ of writing, which was great. The tone of the piece I was working on is lighter and funnier than I expected. Which means it may have to go under a different byline. I was going to put it under the Annabel Aidan moniker, but right now, it’s not dark enough.

I had the phone meeting. 15 minutes of my life, and pleasant, but this gig isn’t going to work out. Third party recruiter again and is not approaching the client in a way that makes me comfortable. AND made the bulk of the conversation about her, instead of about the job. I don’t want to work with third party recruiters. They need to be upfront about it and not wait until I’ve submitted requested materials to tell me they’re a third party. Every single recruiter I’ve dealt with in the past ten years has been a waste of space. It lowers the value of the companies who hire them, too.

Logged into the SBA Women in Business online conference taking place in Western MA. First we had a guy mansplaining how an online conference is run. Not THIS conference, but how ANY conference is run. Since when does he know how every conference is run? Then, the first speaker was a (male) Trump appointee lying about the economy. Both of them inferred that they (men) were giving us “permission” to have this conference. Um, no. I don’t need a man’s permission to have a business or attend a conference.  I “left meeting.” I will NOT sit there and be a party to that partisan crap. That is NOT why I signed up to participate in the Women in Business conference. Why are condescending white men talking at a Women in Business conference?

Every SBA event I’ve tried during the pandemic has been an unorganized, mismanaged, patronizing nightmare. Done with SBA.

Twitter kicked me off – I can’t sign in on any of my accounts or the accounts I run for clients due to “unusual log in activity.” When I finally got back in – now I have to change the passwords EVERY TIME I log in. Which I can’t do on client accounts, it’s not my purview. They’ll let liars and trolls and bots and murderers do and say whatever they want, but I can’t get into my little accounts – or those I run for clients because of “unusual” activity? They can fuck right off. I finally got back into the Devon Ellington account. I’ve sent them several messages – their responses make it clear that they’re not paying the least bit of attention to anything I say.

Losing both Twitter and FB will hurt the social media management part of my business, but, oh well. If that’s what happens, that’s what happens. I survived for decades before they existed; I can find a way to do so now.

I am so done with so much right now.

Deeply disappointed with a second series by an author whose other series I’m enjoying. She used the “witch” slur again as acceptable and normal. So I put down the book, cancelled the other books I ordered, and I’m done with this series. Nor will I recommend it.

I will, however, set up and call out similar situations in my own work.

The book for review arrived, and I look forward to starting it today.

The store from which I ordered the stuff that Fed Ex is sending all over the country and everywhere but here can’t be bothered to respond. Fine. Won’t do business with them again. I can put my money elsewhere. I have a feeling I’m going to wind up sending everything back anyway and asking for a refund. Fed Ex, of course, doesn’t care. Because their quarterly earnings were off the charts.

Theatre Scripts

I read over both JUST A DROP and SERENE & DETERMINED to see if either of those plays are appropriate for a 9-month script incubator project in Brooklyn. I’m sure there are a lot of submissions, but I still want to at least try. Only I’m not sure either of these plays (both of which could use that long development process) are naturalistic enough for the company. They are both set in Italy. The former is set in Rome, around the 17th century poisoner Giulia Tofana and her circle, and borders (intentionally) on melodrama. The second is built around Lavinia Fontana, the painter in Bologna who competed successfully with men for commissions thanks to the circle of noblewomen who adored her work, and the fact that her husband ran the household. Lavinia is on stage for then entire play, flowing from scene to scene. Again, unashamedly theatrical.

They both need work, but I don’t’ want them stripped of theatricality and made more naturalistic. I’m not sure this theatre is the right fit for them. I have to do more research on the company.

But if neither of them is right to submit, then I don’t have anything to submit.  However, it doesn’t make sense to submit just to submit.

My friend Paula is going to read both plays (her notes are amazing) and let me know what she thinks. Both plays need work, but both were structured with deliberate stylistic choices that I don’t want just thrown out. I want those choices strengthened instead of destroyed. Or, as I mentioned to Paula, maybe they’re just bad and I can’t see it. Although they were written for and accepted by the 365 Women Project.

Knowledge Unicorns

We’re still playing with times to find the best one. I have a feeling we’ll be playing with times for the entirety of this project!

More schools are shutting back down as kids and teachers get infected. The school administrations continue to ignore the needs of teachers, kids, and parents. Not surprising when you look at who’s the head of Education in this country – a selfish grifter who doesn’t give a damn.

But we had fun, helping each other with assignments. We came across misinformation in one of the social studies books – whitened and Christianed up. We did some research on the publisher, who is one of those right-wing nut job houses in Texas. They shouldn’t get to rewrite and (literally) whitewash history and then have it taught in school as fact. We found some other sources that have more breadth, depth, and, you know, actual information.

We had our stretch breaks and our dance breaks. We looked through the octopus slideshow on the National Geographic Kids website and learned more cool things.

Looking Ahead

Today is going to be a long, complicated day. I have to go onsite for a few hours. I’m frustrated because Hootsuite’s been down for nearly two weeks, and I’m not sure if I can get into the client’s Twitter, although maybe I can from their computer.

I’m supposed to participate in Remote Chat, but if I can’t log in, that’s not happening.

I have an online meditation session this afternoon with NYU-LA alumni, which should be interesting, and then my friend’s sister’s book launch tonight via Zoom.

Along with the writing and the client work and the LOIs I have to get out.

So it will be a busy day, but I’m hoping it will be good busy instead of frustrating busy.

Peace, friends.

Wed. May 13: StayTheFHome Day 49: Creativity and Exhaustion

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I had a new post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, but I took it down because it wasn’t really helpful. I will try to come up with a better one and get it up later today.

Yesterday was an overly-long work day. I am on the edge of burnout. I’m hoping I can make it to the Memorial Day weekend, because I intend to take some time off and do nothing except sit outside and read, and write if I feel like it.

Not only am I working long hours, but the clients for whom I’m working insist that I’m not working, and they resent paying me to do nothing – even when the results are coming in that prove otherwise. So I’m feeling burned out, overworked, underappreciated.

Too bad for me, right? At least I’m still alive.

Yesterday started pretty well, though. I had excellent writing sessions on two different projects, and I’m happy with the way both are going. The band name “Orgasmic Clowns” turned up, and at first, it looked like they would be a part of one of the novels, but now I think I need to make them their own piece.

I got admin work done, some bills paid, put in another Chewy order. I’m frustrated because an order from Target went astray via UPS and neither entity wants to do anything about it. I’m still having Comcast issues, and the only “fix” they provide is something I’ve done before that only makes everything worse.

But at least my stamps arrived, so I can write more cards!

There’s a new logo for the Topic Workbooks, that needs a bit of tweaking, but I like it. Instead of having all the covers uniform with different titles, I’m getting new covers and using the logo at the bottom. Once I have all the covers, I’m going to pull them off Smashwords and put them through Draft2 Digital. I also want a new cover for 30 Tips for 30 Days. I don’t like it.

I have to get some promotional material posted via Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for the books on sale, and I need to finish the Trinity of Teasers free download that I want available in either mid-June or early July.

A writer friend who misses writing in coffee shops set up a bistro table and chairs in her house, and writes there, drinking from her travel mug and playing music. Sometimes she put the TV on in another room to simulate conversation around her. And she’s grateful not to be in a tiny NYC apartment, where her bistro table was once the only table that fit in the place! I love that idea and that image, and may need to use it in a story.

So at least I’m feeling creative, even if I’m exhausted.

I got out five LOIs yesterday, and go responses back on four. All of which have turned me off to the companies, but best to cut it off now than waste time. This idea that I should be willing to trot into an unsafe office full of germy strangers is simply not happening.

Got a lot of client work done on a big project. Will get a little more done today, but it won’t be ready until next week. By tomorrow, I will have used up the allotted time for the week, and I’m not working for free.

Today, I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I had two excellent first writing sessions this morning, on two different novels, and a frustrating computer update on a computer I’ve had less than a week.

Peace, my friends, and be well.

Wed. March 11, 2020: Another Birthday. Who’d’a Thunk?

cake-3163117_1920
image by manfredrichter courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Waning Moon

Today is my birthday. Considering a few weeks ago, it didn’t look like I’d have another one, I’m pleased I got here.

Monday was irritating at my client’s, because people there are not taking the Corona threat seriously. The sheer arrogance and selfishness sickens me.

I seem to have gotten the issues sorted out with Tweetdeck, and I’m using it to schedule posts for both myself and one of my clients. I’m also going to expand to Hootsuite, and see how I like them. Buffer comes highly recommended, but won’t give a free trial without a credit card. Having been burned too often by companies who claim they won’t bill if you cancel before the end of the trial period, and then randomly remove whatever amount they want whenever they want,I don’t do that anymore. Should one of my clients want to put it on their company card, fine. But I’m not taking on that burden. If it winds up making sense for me to run multiple accounts for social media on a paid site, I will build it into the billing, but right now, it doesn’t.

After work, swung by Trader Joe’s for a couple of things, dropped off and picked up library books.

Started cleaning the windows from the inside when I got home. It was such a lovely, bright, mild day. I opened windows and doors, and managed to clean the windows in the living room. It’s a bit of a slog, because they are sectioned into six pieces on the top, six on the bottom. The outside storm windows need a good scrub, but that’s for a later day. Yesterday, I did the windows in my office, the back bedroom, the downstairs bathroom, and the kitchen. Today, I’ll do the windows upstairs.

Excellent writing sessions both Monday morning and Tuesday morning; hope that’s true today, too. It sets a positive tone for the day when that happens. We’re trying to figure out what to do with the Nautical Namaste series — it’s hard to promote it with people quarantined on cruise ships. And is it even ethical to promote it? An ongoing discussion.

I had a good evening yoga session on Monday night. A good hip-opening sequence. Last night, I was a little smarter about the every-other-day core work I’m working up to. I’m feeling better with the weight I’m dropping, but I need to get the fitness and the stamina up. I know it won’t be my 30-year-old self, but I want to be appropriately fit for my this-age self.

Client work was okay on Tuesday; then it was a quick trip to the library to drop off and pick up, and picking up my birthday cake.

I’m going to have a low-key day today. A client wanted to take me to lunch, but I asked to postpone it. The medication I’m on leaves me in a constant state of mild nausea, and I can’t really enjoy meals right now. So I’ll go to work, lift a glass in the afternoon, have a little cake. I’m going to do what I want, as much as possible, and enjoy the fact that I’m around to do it.

I will have to do housework today, although the big push is tomorrow, since the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment happens first thing on Friday.

Tomorrow’s post is shaping up to be a long one, where I share some of the musings and sortings-out I’ve been working on. Friday’s post will be short (and is scheduled already) because of the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment and the follow-up appointment with the specialist.

If the weather is nice, we might go to Truro on Saturday. We’re playing it all by ear.

Next week is all about prepping for the next surgery. I hope it’s the last one. I need to get back on track with a lot of different things.

We’re working on Charlotte’s fear of garbage trucks. I’m trying to teach her that the garbage truck goes to other houses, and only drives by, making noise. If I’m next to her when it goes by, she’s okay. If she’s on her own, she gets upset.

Tessa is thrilled with her catnip carrot and guards it from everyone else.

And so we go on.

Published in: on March 11, 2020 at 6:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onward.

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