Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Still dark outside, but I think it’s pretty cold.

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, breaking down the cost when a company demands you make an “introductory video” as part of its toxic, one-way interview process. I knew the unpaid labor racked up lost income/billable hours, but I was shocked at how much more it was than I estimated.

Worked on the article; worked on the book proposal. I figured where I was getting in my own way and bogging down with the book proposal. It’s flowing better now. Got some client work done.

My friend Paula’s been urging me to adapt my short story “Help, No Questions Asked” into a series pilot. That would be so much fun. That’s been percolating at the back of my brain while I work on other things.

Got out nine LOIs to potential new clients. One, who claimed to want to hire more women, was immediately knocked off the list when they sent me a set of unpaid assessments in response to my LOI. It means they never read it, because my LOI clearly states I don’t do unpaid labor (be it tests or project-specific samples). I have a rate and a contract for that. However, I did have a nice exchange with a prospective client to whom I’d sent some materials late last week. Enjoyed it very much, so we’ll see how it goes.

Didn’t get much reading done; will have to spend more time on the book for review later today.

The Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday wasn’t about homework. It was the kids, the parents (and even my 96-year-old mom) talking about the domestic terrorism last week. We watched footage (nothing like having multiple devices running), including clips from Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and the BBC.

We talked about the Constitution, what it means to take an oath of office, what it means to put country over party – and the reverse. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, or that my opinions are the only ones, but we shared resources, talked about how Fox News and other disinformation channels were handling it, and consequences of actions.

It ran well beyond the scheduled time frame, but it was important. One of the kids admitted to not feeling safe anywhere, and not believing she ever would, and I think it’s heartbreaking. But that’s where we are.

In my lifetime, this has been the road we’ve been headed down since Reagan. I’m sure parts were put into play much earlier. This could have been stopped so many times, but we haven’t had a radical left to balance the radical right since the early 1970’s, and what’s now considered “far” left is a little bit right of center. Basic human decency is considered a “radical left” concept. People allowed themselves to be boiled like frogs for at least the past 50 years, probably longer.

You can’t “reconcile” or “unite” with people who are actively determined to kill you. You have to remove them from the equation. If you give them an inch, they’ll use it to reach over and slit your throat.

On that happy note, I’m gearing up for a stressful day in the office. I may have to miss Remote Chat, which will make me sad, but if I get enough done at the office today, I can focus on the book proposal (due on Sunday) and the article (due on Tuesday) for the next four days.

Stay safe, friends, and keep letting your elected officials know what you need them to do to fix this.

Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night

image courtesy of Gerhard G. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

12th Night/Epiphany/Start of Carnivale

Clearing up and cold

Today’s Ink-Dipped Advice post talks about starting with a clean slate and building your new work plan on that. Check it out.

Dreamed about herbs and spices last night, so I guess December will be delicious!

No idea what I’ll do for the 12 drummers drumming story, but I hope that will evolve as I work on the earlier pieces. There’s one possibility percolating, but it might be a little too wacky to fit the tone of the other pieces, although so far, they all have a kind of odd humor to them.  I’m also thinking of doing a 13th story that kind of wraps everything up.

Yesterday was a good day, although I didn’t get done as much as I’d hoped. Which seems to be my refrain, because I always want to do far more than makes sense to do.

I got some writing done in the morning (not a very good session). I started sending out interview requests for the article that was greenlit on Monday.

When senior shopping hours were over, I got into the car and did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned (as usual), but it’s always good to stay stocked up. Popped in next door to Christmas Tree Shops. There were only two of us in the enormous store, so we could stay far, far apart. I grabbed some stuff that was 60% off for next year.

Decontaminated everything, decontaminated myself. Got out more interview requests, and did background research. Was frustrated at people not having contact information on their websites. There were a couple of artists I would have liked to interview, but when trying to find contact information takes longer than the actual interview would, I have to stop and move on. I’m on a deadline.

Got out some LOIs. Refused a couple of people who believe that free labor is part of the interview process and moved on from them.

Worked on an ad for a client. Worked on a proposal that needs to go out next week. Did a bunch of admin.

Unsubscribing from a slew of lists last week was a good choice, although there’s still an amazing amount of admin that has to be handled every day. Last year, I set aside chunks of hours every few days, but it’s really better to handle it every day.

A book I ordered nearly a month ago finally arrived (not from Amazon – they’re not even trying to hunt for the books they lost).

The Knowledge Unicorns are taking an extra week offline. Everyone’s school needs are still being sorted out for the coming months.

Anxious about the Georgia Senate races. The news seems to be good, so far, but I’m not counting on anything until it’s finalized.

I have to go to a client’s office today, and expect that to be more stressful than it needs to be.  Then home, decontamination process, Remote Chat, and then, it’s time to start taking down the holiday decorations. It will take a few days, but everything needs to be well packed up this year, in anticipation of the move.

We had so much joy in this year’s decorations. We had the chance to really appreciate them this year, since we weren’t running around to this, that, and the other holiday event.

I should make a King Cake for tonight, but don’t know if I will.

Just focusing on getting things done today. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Wed. Dec. 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 203/Isolation Day 4 — UPS Compromises My Safety

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about giving yourself a break.

Yesterday started pretty well, but went downhill.

I did some client work in the morning and got out a couple of LOIs. Then, I switched over to working on the Susanna Centlivre play, and I finished this draft. That felt pretty good. It’s short, a one-act. It will wind up a little longer – in the next revision, I need to expand on Susanna’s debate with George Powell, even while cutting a few things. But the draft is done, and I believe I can get it polished and out sometime next week. It feels good.

I worked on a marketing plan for a client as a palate cleanser, and then I switched over to going through and expanding on the research for the Isabella Goodwin play. I got distracted by some interesting family information around her daughter, and followed some tangents, which brought up interesting questions. Because there are family members still alive, it is inappropriate for me to detail those questions, but it’s interesting enough to form the foundation for a piece – a novel? A play? I’m not sure yet. I need to let it percolate. I’d have to change enough details so it would be clear it is NOT about Goodwin’s family, but fiction.

Still, it was fascinating.

Got some reading done. Put down a book that pretends to have a Wiccan protagonist, but it’s obvious the author thinks the belief system is crap and hasn’t done her research. It’s insulting to anyone on that path. Cross that author off my list.

Started reading John Lahr’s JOY RIDE – this is a book that needs to be on my shelf. It gave me ideas to incorporate into GAMBIT COLONY. I will have to hunt down a copy.

I was just thinking about how much stress is removed from my life when I’m in isolation and can actually, truly work remotely. And then the landlord contacted me to let me know that the rent check – which the mailman picked up in person a week ago – hasn’t arrived yet.  He knows I have surgery this week. We have paid on time every month for ten years. He couldn’t give me a few more days? It’s not like this is his livelihood.  But, no. I had to fill out reams of paperwork to stop payment on the missing check, and this morning, I have to drive up to his house and drop off a new check (although there will be no contact, so I’m not breaking isolation).

On top of that, in spite of the lights being on to illuminate the house numbers, UPS delivered someone else’s package to the house – leaving it under the illuminated wrong number. When I masked up and ran out to return it – the jerk wasn’t masked.

We’re wondering why there’s such a spread? Because the delivery drivers REFUSE to mask up when they interact with customers, and this is unacceptable. UPS is the worst. Since the pandemic started, I have only seen three instances of masked drivers. I daily see unmasked drivers making deliveries, interacting with customers, and not distancing. This is unacceptable. FedEx drivers have been much better – I’ve only seen 2 that were not masked in the past months. USPS – hit and miss.

ALL of them should be masked any time they leave their vehicles. It’s mandated in this state, and I’m sick of it being ignored. I’m sick of so many people lacking basic human decency because it’s not “convenient” for them.

The Governor has declared that surgeries will stop as of Friday, due to rising COVID numbers. So does that mean my surgery is cancelled, or that they are going to push me through, since it has to do with cancer? No idea.

I’m on a restricted diet today, waiting for the phone call as to when to go in tomorrow for the COVID test. After that, if it’s going forward, I hear when to go in on Friday, and go on the medication to prep Thursday night.

I want to get it over with, even though I’m nervous about being in the hospital with rising COVID numbers. I will have to trust that whichever way it shakes out is the best way.

In any event, the next 48-72 hours will be high stress.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine yesterday, although everyone is stressed and tired. One of the parents will take it tomorrow night. I can’t handle it the night before surgery.

But, on a happy note, I started the Isabella Goodwin play this morning, tentatively called “Family Layers” and it is flowing well. Once I run the replacement rent check up to the landlord, I hope to do a few more pages on it. Then, I’ll have to switch over to finish the client’s marketing plan. Then, back to the play, and maybe get some revision work done on “Lockesley” – that piece is not cooperating, and I’m behind.

Have a great day, everyone.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

There’s a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about not begging for work.

Yesterday was pretty satisfying, on a creative level. I started finally writing the Susanna Centlivre play yesterday, and I like the way it’s going, at least for a first draft. Working out a lot of it in my head before actually writing was helpful. I’m really delighted by the relationship between Susanna and Joseph.

I had to do a Trader Joe’s run. The lines are back to the length they were in April. The store was pretty well stocked, although, even on a Tuesday, already some items were selling out.

Since I was in the same plaza, I also dashed next door to Christmas Tree Shops for some more cookie tins. They’d sold out of the cute little trucks, but I found some others that are pretty and will do.

And bought some things I didn’t really need, but liked.

Came home, put the CTS stuff in quarantine, decontaminated the groceries and myself. And there was the morning. We’re back to it taking a half a day to do a couple of errands.

I got some client work done, some admin done. I’m spinning ideas for holiday ads for a client, but haven’t landed on the right one. Something with sparkles, but not sure how to pull it off yet.

Then, I worked on the revisions for “Just Jump in and Fly” which will be re-released after Thanksgiving for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a magical fantasy/comedy/romance short under the Ava Dunne name, playing with Yuletide myths, and is still one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote. I need to do one more proof, and then I can sign off on it.

I re-read “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, which is a holiday ghost story/romance I wrote a few years ago. I still like most of it. I need to add a couple of scenes to put in some more conflict, but that should be ready to re-release by the end of November, too.

Which, of course, meant I had to make changes on the links on the websites and, as new buy links go live, keep them updated.

I’m also working on the promo campaign for the shorts, and figuring out how to promote the TRINITY OF TEASERS, which is a free read of the first three chapters of the first book in each series.

It was a busy day. I should have gotten out some more LOIs, but I didn’t.

I reached for the pizza pan and somehow hurt my back again, which made me feel old and grumpy.

Received the next book for review, which is good.

Knowledge Unicorns was about steady work yesterday. They’ve had a lot of assignments piled up, with the workload increasing. It’s as though they’re being punished for learning online. But we spent some time on everyone’s assignments, offered support to each other and ideas, and I think they’re in good shape. ALL of their grades have gone up this year, since we’ve been working together. We – meaning the parents, the kids, and I – are working hard to make sure that this isn’t a negative, non-learning, back-sliding time, the way the “experts” who’d rather see kids go to school and die, just so they get their reopening numbers, claim. I spent a LOT of time every day looking for additional resources and tools and fun stuff to add to their curriculums, and to expand on what they’re supposedly learning. I don’t want them to feel restrained by online learning, but expanded.

The parent session after the kids are done is useful, too, and it’s nice to see the parents making virtual friends with each other and able to offer support.

But I admit, by the end of the sessions, I’m tired. So I can only imagine how exhausted the parents must be every day.

Watched AUNTIE MAME on DVD, the Rosalind Russell version. Wow, she’s good. Her timing, her ability to communicate multiple layers of meaning in a gesture, a glance, a pause. Truly wonderful. I didn’t like the way Ito was portrayed most of the time, although he had a couple of good scenes. The way Mame fought back against the anti-Semitism was good, but would be considered too subtle nowadays. It was a movie with a lot of contrasts and some inconsistencies, but Rosalind Russell was terrific.

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

Slept well, though. That’s a positive from the curfew. No drag racing to wake me up at 2 in the morning.

Getting some writing done this morning. Then I have to spend a few hours onsite at a client’s, then home to decontaminate, join Remote Chat, and proofread in the afternoon. Maybe, if the onsite escapade hasn’t stressed/worn me out completely, I can get some more writing done.

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Wed. Oct. 28, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 161 — Cases Rise & Errands Take a Half a Day

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Pop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a musing about everything an advertorial.

If you didn’t read about Barbara Ross’s new release yesterday, I hope you will do so here.

Had to leave the premises to go to Trader Joe’s, as we were getting low on some things. Ended up, as always, buying more than I planned. But I have what I need for my mom’s birthday dinner tomorrow, and I will pick up her cake on the way home from my client’s today. She loves cheesecake, and that’s something I’m terrible at making, so I buy her one for her birthday.

The staff was great as always, and it wasn’t too crowded, everyone masked and careful. Had to stop at CVS on the way home, and that was the same. Everywhere I drove past, though? Maybe 40% masked. If even that. Not masked, not social distancing.

It’s frustrating.

We had our fourth day in a row with new cases up past 1000. CT and NY have put us on a restricted test; so much for all the people smirking how MA does it right. No, they don’t. At least not around here, where they stopped wearing masks or social distancing in summer because they’re bored.

I’m also tired of errands taking a half day. You have to prep for them (map out what you need to do, the best route, and how to time it for least contact or when you’re allowed to shop by age), mask up, do the actual errand/grocery shopping (and you can’t just forget and run back in for one thing – you have to stand in line again and go through it all again), navigate through the Covidiots – even when people are masked in the store, they rip the mask off as soon as they are out of the store, even if people are in close proximity, because they’re too fucking stupid to understand what an AIRBORNE virus means. Then you have to get home, decontaminate and/or quarantine anything before it can come into the house, put it away or in quarantine, leave you shoes outside (I don’t wear shoes in the house, but I used to take them off just inside), wipe everything down you touched during decontamination, strip down, decontaminate yourself, get dressed in different clothes and then half the day is gone and you’re exhausted.

It’s nearly impossible to then settle down and focus on work.

But if I wait to shop until later in the day, the Covidiots who delight in harassing people trying to follow protocols and survive are out in force.

I lost most of the morning.

Got some research done, and followed up on some LOIs. Couldn’t focus enough to do actual writing, although I’m playing with some more ad ideas. There’s so much nagging and predatory marketing going on right now that I’m sick of it as a consumer, and don’t want to do it as a marketer.

The migraine came forward and receded, came forward and receded.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids talked about having a virtual Halloween party with each other on Saturday, since none of them are going out trick or treating. I’m glad they’re interacting when we’re not in homework session.

I have to admit, I had no idea there were so many kinds of bats and that bats were so interesting. I knew they could be kind of cute, but I had no idea about all the other stuff. So I’ve learned a lot, too.

The kids are focusing on vampire movies as “extra credit” for learning about bats, which I think is funny.

Also brainstormed a query letter with one friend for her project, and gave another colleague a lead on the kind of writers’ group she’s looking for. I hope it works out; I think the contact I sent her will be able to suggest a few different options.

I read a lovely book, THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Baurmeister. It’s been around for quite a few years (it was published in 2009). But it’s a beautiful, sensual book full of love and food, complex and simple at the same time. I loved it, and I’m going to read more of her work.

It was so nice to read a book that was about the positive things in life, making good out of sorrow.

The Seshat altar piece I ordered on ETSY arrived, which is great, because I can consecrate it on Samhain. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m delighted with it.

Today, I have to go in to a client’s with other people for a few hours, which I’m not looking forward to. Then, I’ll pick up my mother’s birthday cake and be HOME. Hopefully, I’ll be back in time for Remote Chat.

I don’t have to leave the house again until next Monday, although I might have to do another CVS run somewhere in there, or hit the liquor store (and hope it doesn’t hit back). But I’m hoping I won’t have to.

My mother’s 96th birthday tomorrow. I intend to make it a special day for her.

Peace!

Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

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

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

Yesterday was a day of challenges.

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

With virus cases going up.

No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are all well. Peace.

Published in: on October 22, 2020 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain  
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Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope

image courtesy of Barbara Rosner via pisabay.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

We needed the rain yesterday. We’re supposed to get more later in the week, and maybe even snow by the weekend.

There’s a post on more career re-shaping over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

On other levels, the dumbfuckery never stops, does it?

Landed in my inbox: an “opportunity” to write 3-5 articles A DAY for $1000/month. Um, no. That breaks down to fractions of a penny per word or per hour.

Another thing that landed in my inbox: someone is looking for a person to write/send the emails to the client list. Great, no problem. Only, the description adds “must be willing to work outside in extreme weather.” Now why would I have to work outside in “extreme weather” to WRITE EMAILS?  If you’re hiring a WRITER for EMAILS, that is not being done outside in bad weather.

Having both hardware and software problems with the nearly-new laptop, because Mercury is retrograde and PCs suck.

On a happier note, I got information about some editors in search of additional freelancers. I pitched myself to two; one responded within 15 minutes asking for specific article pitches; I’m working on a pair to send her. They will be fun, if I get to do either of them.

Switching between script drafts on the screen to look at examples isn’t working for the other article. I’m going to have to print them out.

So that won’t be done until Thursday.

I got a fun ad done for a client for next week’s campaign.

Got my mom’s RMV appointment scheduled for next week, and also her bloodwork before her next medical appointment. At least that means we get it all out of the way next week.

The cooking demonstration with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu was spectacular. He is such a wonderful teacher, and his sense of humor, his skills, his ability to teach, and his joy give me hope.  I look forward to studying with him more intensively in the future.

Knowledge Unicorns was great. Everyone’s hunkering down, doing the work, trying to stay alive until election day. Even though none of them can vote yet, they’re keeping up on things and making sure their parents do. I always rode herd on my godkids to vote, because some of their parents couldn’t be bothered. It’s kind of fun to see their own children doing the same thing.

But I was definitely worn out by the end of the evening.

The package with stuffed orange raccoon toys arrived today, and the catnip bananas are set to arrive on Thursday, so some of the Kitty Drama is alleviated.

On today’s agenda: I have to go onsite for a client, have to do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library, and there’s Remote Chat.  Will also try to get some more LOIs out, and work on the article with which I’m struggling. I’d like to get it out the door tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be nice the next few days, so maybe I’ll get some yard work in.

I do love autumn.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope  
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Tues. Oct. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 146 — Covidiots Run Loose

image by Peter Lomas courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and MERCURY Retrograde

Yup, Mercury goes retrograde today and stays that way until election day. With Mars retrograde.

It won’t be pretty.

Technically, tourist season ended here yesterday, so we are only expected to die for our employers. But boy, howdy, did they expect us to Die For Tourist Dollars all fucking weekend, because there was NO enforcement of the mask mandate.

To say I am angry about the domestic terrorists that tried to kidnap the governor of Michigan is an understatement. We need Bill Barr impeached. We need the 25th Amendment now. We need that vile SCOTUS nominee removed.

I got SERENE AND DETERMINED out on submission before 8 AM – with a full proofread and some tweaks. Either this place will take it or not. A long shot is better than no shot.

Honestly, until I actually hit “send” I didn’t think I could make the deadline.

Did a few more drafts of the short story and got that out, too. I don’t think it’s exactly what they’re looking for – I think I might have used a slightly wider lens than they want – but I’m  happy with the story, and if they don’t use it, I have a list of other markets to which to pitch it.

Did another drop-off/curbside pickup at the library. As soon as I got back, more books had arrived, so I picked those up on Saturday.

We got our ballots of Friday, so we filled them out, and I took them to the secure drop box in Hyannis on Saturday morning. We’ve voted. We’ve done our civic duty.

It was great to see so many others dropping off ballots, too.

It was not great that I was the ONLY ONE wearing a mask.

Main St. Hyannis is supposed to be a masked zone. NO ONE is supposed be on the street unmasked. No one is supposed to be in any public space in the entire state unmasked.

Yet, there they all were, dancing around in public, no masks. No distancing. Tourists sashaying out of the packed motels, no masks, no distancing.

No enforcement.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Since the pandemic started, I have not seen a single cop EVER wear a mask around here. All the construction and DPW workers – who would normally wear masks and goggles as part of their safety gear – aren’t. And they’re all up in each other’s faces all the time and not distancing. It’s disgusting.

And we wonder why MA numbers are going up.

Broadway is shuttered until May of 2021. Heartbreaking, but necessary. You know the producers are going to try to use this to bust the unions. The unions must hold firm. It’s going to take a decade or more for theatre to recover. But it WILL recover. Hopefully, a lot of these corporate entities will go away from theatre, and old-style impresarios, who actually love the format, will return.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the vicious remarks from snide people saying, “Well, now you have to get a REAL job” – the same people who say that the arts isn’t a real job, and that “no one” makes a living writing.

Nice to know who I can cut out of my life.

All these people binge-watching their streaming shows all pandemic — how do you think those are created? You think they magically appear out of the ether?

I’m reading SENSE OF OCCASION by Harold Prince, and he has a line that resonates: “. . .the theatre has been dying for as long as it’s been living, so its problems are not irrevocable.”

I was lucky enough to work directly with him on one show, at the Public Theatre. The hopes were that it would move to Broadway. It didn’t, but working with him was an amazing experience. The intensity of his joy, his craft, and the way he listened and valued EVERYONE in the company was wonderful.

Didn’t get much done on Saturday other than laundry, taking in the ballots, picking up the candy for Halloween, and doing the library run.

Sunday, I was up early to take the garbage and recycling to the dump. The staff, as always, were masked and great. The fucktards dumping garbage weren’t.  Disgusting. At least at the recycling area, people wore masks as required.

Since I was over in that direction, I dashed over to the nearby Stop N Shop to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s.

Home, decontaminated, had trouble with the laptop as I was trying to get work done. This laptop is barely six months old. I shouldn’t be having trouble with the keyboard already, especially since I have a light touch on the keys.

Wrote, revised, and polished the two articles for which I’d been contracted last week by the same editor.

Started the third contracted article, for a different editor, but had run out of steam by then.

Monday was the end of my few days of sleeping through the night. I woke up around 1 AM, again at 2:44, and then for good at 4:36.

I got some writing done, and headed to my client’s. I knew no one would be there. I got a lot done in a few hours, as much as I could get done there. I prefer to work on the ads at home. It’s easier.

Swung by Star Market, because that is the only place I can get the Cranberry-Peach juice and stocked up. Everyone was masked and careful in the store, which was good, since there were more people in the store than they should have let in.

No one outside the store was masked. Everybody’s dancing around the streets, not distancing, not masked. It’s really out of control in my neighborhood, and is irritating. I have made it clear to the neighbors that they don’t come near me unmasked. I am not participating in their insanity and disdain for each other. It’s a shame our neighborhood, which used to be tight and be about people taking care of each other, has devolved so badly.

Home, decontaminated, tried to work on the third article. I wanted to get it out the door before Mercury turned retrograde, but that’s just not going to happen. Switching between the various drafts of the stage play and the radio version to pull the right examples gets confusing.

We are having High Kitty Drama.

Someone on Twitter suggested the catnip banana as a great toy. I bought one for Tessa in this last Chewy order, and other toys for Willa and Charlotte.

Well, everyone wants the banana.

Charlotte tried to steal it and caused arguing and caterwauling and chasing and hissing.

Willa and Tessa now steal it back and forth, but they are sort of friends now, so it’s more playful than nasty.

But I couldn’t stand the drama and ordered two more catnip bananas, so each has her own. They should arrive by Thursday.

I bet the still steal them from each other.

I saw a publication that does both podcast and print. I asked the editor if in the next submission style, I could submit in radio format, and they were intrigued.

The next cycle is in December, which gives me some time to play with ideas. I have a few – it’s fantasy. There will be comedy. I don’t think there will be dirigibles in this one – I think I’m going in another direction. But you never know when a dirigible might show up in my work.

I asked, on Twitter, for recommendations for romance novels where children aren’t the end game, where a healthy HEA involves NOT having children BY CHOICE (not by infertility) and that is treated as a valid choice. I’m so sick of books about supposedly “independent” women who get pregnant by accident (“everything solved by a ‘magic penis’ as one person said on Twitter) and then turns into a puddle of ecstatic goo. Of course those books should exist. But other books, where happy lives without children should exist, too, and those are the books I want.

I got a pile of suggestions, which I wrote down. I ordered some from the library. I bought one, so far, on Kindle, because it’s set against horse racing.  I don’t read much romance (although I enjoy books in other genres with strong romantic elements and love) because too often I find the tropes cringeworthy.  For instance, I can’t stand the whole billionaire boyfriend trope, because I have yet to meet a billionaire who wasn’t a complete ass. That’s how he got to be a billionaire. Not by being secretly a good guy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but it stretches believability too far for me.

Also bought WITCHING TIME, Yasmine Galenorn’s newest WILD HUNT book, and have read about half of it so far.

Got my next book assigned for review. Looking forward to starting that by Thursday.

Today, I need to finish the article and get it out.  I will do client work, and get out some LOIs. I will finish tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post and schedule that, and maybe get up a post for A Biblio Paradise.

Once the article goes out, I need to turn my attention back to the novel revisions, and work on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I have the Knowledge Unicorns this afternoon, too. We’re starting later than usual, because I’m taking a cooking seminar via Kripalu with Jeremy Rock Smith. I love the way he teaches, and I love his recipes, so I’m excited!

Don’t get me started on the SCOTUS hearings, or I’ll just turn into a rage monster. What an unqualified, unprincipled piece of crap that nominee is.

Off to start my day. Have a good one. Keep your head down during this retrograde.

Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)

image courtesy of Colin Behrens via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

It’s nice to have only three retrogrades for a few days, even though there’s a difficult square today.

I have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about reshaping one’s career.

Yesterday felt more like a productive, typical day, and that was nice.

To Trader Joe’s early for the Big Grocery Shop. And yes, it was a big one. I still forgot a few things. I have to decide if I want to risk going back later this week, or substitute, or wait until more things run out. They sold through their fresh figs, which was a shame; I’d forgotten them in the last Big Shop, and hoped to get some this time.

Decontaminated everything and put it away, then down to the library for curbside pickup. People coming in are getting lax about mask wearing. I won’t go near the table unless no one is there, or the people hovering are wearing masks.

Came home, decontaminated myself.

Sent out three article pitches to the person who’d asked me for something the day prior, and an article pitch to an editor to whom I’d originally pitched the radio piece, but the publication wasn’t paying at the time. Now it does; not only did she accept the article and we got the contract signed, she asked me if I’d like to write more, in the future, about playwrighting. I’m thrilled. Plus, the person to whom I sent three articles took two of them – paid.

So I know what I’ll be doing early next week, once I get the changes into SERENE AND DETERMINED and that out.

Heard from the company to whom I sent JUST A DROP. They got more submissions than expected, and need an extra week before they make decisions. Very kind of them to let us know; although that means less likelihood that my script will be one of those chosen. But that’s okay. At least I tried, and now the script is in decent enough shape to submit elsewhere, if they don’t choose it.

Did some client work, got some LOIs out. Got some reading.

We fussed over Willa yesterday, since it was her first anniversary here. She loved it. We fussed over all three of them, so no one would feel left out. Charlotte was anxious again yesterday, almost like she had sense memory from how she felt when she arrived a year ago (her anniversary is tomorrow).

So the Sociopath “has no symptoms”? Of course he didn’t. He’s was never sick (with the virus, anyway).

I can’t be bothered to spare a thought or a wish for anyone in that circle who’s actually getting sick. They couldn’t be spared a thought for us.

Now he’s stopped any possibility of a new stimulus package? It’s not up to him. If we had a functioning Congress, they’d pass one anyway. But we don’t.

Get rid of them all. And Democrats need to grow some balls and do whatever is necessary to stop this SCOTUS pick.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. In addition to regular home work, and a discussion of what will happen if this batshit crazy (pun intended) SCOTUS pick is seated, we went to the Smithsonian’s page on The Art and Science of Bats. I had no idea there were 140,000 specimens in that museum. Wow.

I was too tired afterwards to do more than read. I’m reading Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE, always aware of reading it as she’s in hospice, which is heartbreaking. Her talent is not one we can afford to lose.

Today, I have to go onsite, which will be difficult for a number of reasons. Then, it’s back, decontamination, remote chat, and back to SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on October 7, 2020 at 6:18 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)  
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Wed. Aug. 26, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 98 — Mail-in Ballot Issues

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image courtesy of andibreit via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

The Ink-Dipped Advice post will go up later today. I’m still working on it.

Had a fun Zoom meeting yesterday morning. We made it work, in spite of my idiot neighbor across the street deciding he had to start using his bulldozer before 8 AM, making enough noise and vibration to rattle the windows. I’m also tired of the view out of my front windows now being piles of gravel and dirt. If I wanted to live in an industrial area, I would have moved to a city that’s transitioning from mills to living space, shops, restaurants, etc. I shouldn’t have to be subjected to heavy machinery in a residential area 7 days a week.

The rest of the morning was given over to client work and LOIs. I got a lot more done in the space of a few hours than I expected, which was a good thing.

It got progressively hotter and more humid. Even with the fans on, we sweltered. And it’s not like we could keep the windows open with the idiots leafblowing dirt all over the place. I tried to work on the back deck, but then the people on the property behind us had TWO leafblowers going – on dirt, not leaves – sending up clouds of dirt. Plus, whatever fuel they used smelled so strong it reached across 1/3 of an acre and made me so nauseated I had to go inside, and thought I would vomit.

I’d woken up around 3 in the morning, yesterday, thanks to pandemic brain. So by 2:30 in the afternoon, I was wiped out. I tried to take a bit of a nap. It was more of a doze.

Reading a book by a new-to-me author that I like so far, but am not completely won over, because she’s using clichés for theatre people instead of treating them as, you know, real people. It’s not too bad, yet, but we’ll see where it goes. I like the protagonist and the situation and the relationships.

Will finish the book for review in the next couple of days to get that out, and also have a book to read for NYU’s virtual book club (which is fun). The book is very serious, but the virtual club is fun.

I’m not watching the RNC Hate Rally. It’s sickening, but then, the whole administration is sickening.

I still don’t have my ballot, the Town Clerk can’t be bothered to respond to any of my requests (no surprise there), and I’m not showing up as registered on the state’s website. But then, our Village doesn’t show up on the state’s website. The list of towns comes up very specifically (we are one of seven villages as part of the town) with the way it has to be entered in the search (village/town/county), but the village/town doesn’t come up as an option and I can’t type it in, and when I go for the town itself, it comes up as an error. I’ve been a registered voter for 10 years, I’ve voted in every single election, I checked my registration a few weeks ago, and I got the paperwork as a registered voter to request the ballot. What the fuck is going on? And why won’t anyone answer any questions? It’s unacceptable. The state site says I have to contact the Town Clerk – WHO WON’T GIVE ME THE COURTESY OF A RESPONSE!!!!

This is not a major city. This is a small town with very little going on – ever, except developers screwing over residents – and completely incompetent town government.

My mother isn’t feeling well. I think the change in medication she got last week was the wrong one. We have a call in to the doctor.

I’d like to just go back to bed, but that is not an option.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I have to go onsite to a client’s, which I am NOT looking forward to, as they’re laxer every day in following safety protocols.

Please share the information on Grief to Art with those who might need it. The death toll from the virus continues to climb, and no one in the administration gives a damn. We’re all collateral damage to their profit.

Grief to Art Logo

Wed. Aug. 12, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 84 — Recruiter Fail, Writing Process, A Whisper of Hope

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image courtesy of ShonEjal via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I’m still working on the piece for Ink-Dipped advice, about how companies drive away skilled workers, while whining they can’t find enough skilled workers.

Yesterday was hot and humid. I watered the yard in the morning, and the back both morning and evening. Watered this morning. The mosquitoes are relentless, and completely ignore the bug spray. It has no effect.

I tried to get as much done in the morning as possible, before it got too hot and my computer got too hot. I forgot how much PCs suck. This laptop is barely three months old and it makes changes in Word documents – jumping around in the document and adding or deleting. It takes 13 minutes to boot up. I’m grateful I have it, but I definitely want to go back to MAC as soon as I can afford it.

Got some LOIs out, got out a pitch to an editor for a site I’d really like to work on. A client to whom I’d pitched several months ago is interested in having me come on for a smaller job – I’m sending her some information this morning, and we’ll see if we can go from there.

Got a rejection from a company that puzzled me. I’d never applied to them for anything. First of all, the job from which I was rejected wasn’t something I’d try for anyway. Second, it was a company I knew wasn’t a good match. So how could they reject me from something I’d never wanted?

I contacted the HR person and explained my bafflement. Turns out a recruiter I’d talked to months ago – and decided NOT to work with – pitched me for the job. Without telling me.

No. Just no.

I contacted the recruiter and expressed my displeasure. In cordial terms, but this is not okay. The response? I should be “glad” this individual submitted me for anything, and I should take whatever I could get.

Again, No.

These people.

Got some reading done in the afternoon. Read another book by the person whose work I was on the fence about. Liked this one. Started a third book that will be the deciding vote! Anyway, glad I gave this author another chance, even if I disagree with some of her choices.

Made up an Asian-inspired chicken, vegetables, and noodle dish that was quite tasty.

Actually could sit outside and enjoy a breeze in the evening. First time it’s been quiet around here in MONTHS.

Noodling around on this new idea. Totally different development process for me, developing far more early on before I write any of it. I often outline, then write. Or I get an idea, think about it, jot some notes, then write my way in for about four chapters. If those four chapters work, I’ll sit down and outline the whole book, figure out where to put it in the queue, and work from there.

But this, I’m working on theme first, and then I’ve found my protagonist. Now I’m building around that, and from there, I will find my plot.

I’m keeping a diary specific to this novel, separate from everything else.

It’s helping to loosen the stuck creative bolts, and I’m hoping that will transfer to other projects that need attention.

Absolutely delighted that Kamala Harris is the VP choice. I feel more hopeful than I have in weeks.

Blocked a bunch of morons after the announcement. I’m sure I will have to call out racists fuckwits locally, because we have a lot of racist fuckwits locally.

I have to go into the office for a client today, along with other people. Not looking forward to it. But it’s only for a few hours, and I will be masked, so here’s hoping. They tend to be Sliding Mask Skanks after about 10 minutes. Which means I will probably leave shortly after they turn up.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to later.

Have a great midweek.

Wed. Aug. 5, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 77 — Isias Barely Kissed Us

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image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

I’m on a podcast today! I’m a guest on the Merry Writer Podcast. You can listen here.

019 Instagram

That storm was weird yesterday. We had bands of wind coming through, where we’d have high winds for a bit, then eerie silence. Then more wind.

We didn’t get anywhere near the rain we needed, which is disturbing.

We were on tornado watch starting a little after noon, but, thankfully, nothing formed.

Power outages on and off more of the evening, but nothing too terrible.

It was just a weird storm, and it didn’t bring the sense of relief a storm usually does when it breaks, yowls, and then clears out.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas about scope creep.

I got my client work done in the morning, in spite of the heat. Got out an LOI, and did three ads for a client, which I will send off this morning.

I had to shut everything down during the tornado watch and the flickering power and heat and humidity in the afternoon, so I read. I seem to be in a stack of mediocre books right now. I may skim some of them and return them, since I’m not being paid to read them, and life is too short to voluntarily read books I don’t like.

Was hit by ideas for three plays thanks to a call for submission. One idea I really love, but it has too many characters for this particular company, so it will have to be submitted elsewhere. The second idea will fit their production needs, and a third can be done pretty much anywhere, because it’s simple.

The play for the submission call is only 30 minutes, and most of the play has unfolded in my head, so I will get to work on it later today, and hopefully have it done fairly quickly.

I am working remotely all day today, not going on site. I don’t feel great, and it’s not worth the risk, being around other people. Especially since our cases went, in 24 hours, from 165 new to 438 new. No surprises. NY, NJ, CT, and RI are back on the quarantine list.

Not that anyone around here is paying attention to it.

Hopefully, the humidity will let up soon, we will have a good rainstorm, and we can get back on track.

In the meantime, it’s back to the page.

Feels good to finally say that again.