Tues. March 2, 2021: Die Even Faster For Your Employer Day 284/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 34 — It’s a Whirlwind, But is it Positive or Negative?

image courtesy of David Zydd via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and c-c-c-old!

It’s March, and there’s a LOT that needs to get done in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, I can pull it off.

There are posts on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site that wrap up February and start March.

Early Friday morning, I entered the cage match that is the fight for vaccine appointments. I made it into the “digital waiting room” with an “estimated wait time” of 21 minutes. Which rapidly went up to 23 minutes, 27 minutes, down to 11 minutes, up to 14 minutes for nearly a half hour, then “your estimated wait time is greater than a day.”

WTF????

When Baker smarmed his way through the press conference announcing this “digital waiting room,” he claimed it would be like getting in line – you arrive in the waiting room, get a “number” (like at the deli, although you never see it), and will be taken in turn.

So why is MY digital wait time expanding as more people virtually enter? Why are they getting in ahead of me when I’ve been waiting in it for however long (and it was much longer than the estimated wait time).

Suddenly, it went down to 3 minutes, then it went up to more than a day, then it went down to 1 minute (for about 5 minutes) and then, catapulted me onto the sign-up site.

Where I had to compete with those wanting a first dose.

And where they don’t have signups even listed for the week I need it for my mom, and the signups for the next few days are all full. And NONE of the signups were on Cape Cod. Not one.

So I left without being able to book anything.

I’m hoping they’ll post more dates next week.  It’s ridiculous that one can only book a couple of days out.

A couple of hours later, I got an “update” email from the county, stating that if I’d received the first dose on the 10th or 12th, they’d sent me a link for the second this morning, and I should hurry up and use it to sign up for the second, at specific locations.

Well, that’s not when and where my mom’s signup was. But does that mean that, next week, I will get a special link for the second shot in Orleans? Or am I going to have to keep fighting?

The contradictory information and lack of clear communication is ridiculous.

Polished my article and sent it off to my editor. I hope she likes it (although I’m also hoping we find a better title).  I liked cutting and rearranging. It made the piece tighter and helped with the flow. Being forced to fit into the word count meant any word that didn’t earn its keep had to be cut. And was. I even made it 5 words UNDER!

I went over my notes for the next article, for the other publication, and started writing it in my head a bit.

Had to pick up a prescription for my mom at CVS. It was the wrong prescription, something that’s been cancelled, but I didn’t know until I got it home, and they wouldn’t let me return it. So we’re out money for something we can’t use. Every damn month for the ten years we’ve lived here, CVS messes up the prescriptions. I sincerely hope I don’t have to go to them for the vaccine, because they’re not organized enough to be administering it. Who knows what they’d actually jab into my arm? But it probably wouldn’t be the vaccine.

IF they would even deign to do it. A few years back, we went back six times and they kept refusing to give my mom her shingles shot, told us to come back, we came back as scheduled, and then they found another excuse. So we went to Whole Health instead, who were lovely.

Unfortunately, Whole Health isn’t listed on the site of Fantasy Vaccine Sites the county put out (where supposedly, they’re giving vaccines, but the sites themselves don’t have any vaccines to give).

It’s a complete mess, an unnecessary one – it COULD have been handled better. Baker keeps trying to blame the Feds. Yeah, we know we aren’t getting as many doses as we can use. But, at the same time, the doses we are getting, which have increased every week, aren’t going where they’re needed. Instead of sending them to mass vaccine sites and opening the pool to more applicants, look at the data, see where the doses are needed, and route them there. When the pool is vaccinated, THEN open it up to the next tier. But this attitude of “oh, Gillette has appointments not being used, so we’re going to let a larger group of people make appointments” is crap, because the reason the original pool didn’t use the appointments is because THEY CAN’T GET TO GILETTE. So send the doses where people NEED them.

On top of this, Baker is ramping up more re-opening as of yesterday. Knowing that people can’t get vaccinated fast enough to make it viable, knowing the variants are showing up, knowing that our daily new case numbers are back on the rise.

Completely irresponsible.

Curbside pickup at the liquor store and the library. Home, decontaminated. Got out some LOIs. Looked at a grant, which don’t think I fit, at least not for this round. Started prepping a play for submission in the UK.

Started re-keying the play “Date Café” and am now wondering if I should update it to just pre-pandemic, or leave it just prior to Y2K. I’m leaning toward the latter. It’s a romantic farce, and tightly written, so I don’t want to mess with it to much, except to clarify a few points and tighten it a bit more. Actors doing it have to work at whiplash speed, or it won’t work.

Caught up on some admin.

Live script doctored via Zoom for a video shoot, which was an interesting experience. Can’t talk in detail because of the NDA, but having to create on my feet (metaphorically, since I was sitting) during the shoot was both stressful and fun. It was mostly punching up some dialogue and fixing cadence rhythms that weren’t true to the character and tripped up the performers.

Worked through some contest entries. There’s some really good stuff. There’s some that just misses, but a lot of heart and soul went into the entries, which is why it’s always such a great experience to read them.

I was feeling lazy and not like cooking, so I was going to do a curbside pickup at a local restaurant, even though the two times I’ve done that during the pandemic were a complete disaster. However – their prices have tripled in the past year. For food that’s okay, but not great.

No, thank you. I’ll suck it up and cook something better myself.

Woke up way too early on Saturday, worrying. Got up and started my day. That full moon in Virgo energy was going full blast, and cleaned out stacks of stuff and reorganized some creative projects and project files before 5 AM.

Found a bunch of random notes I’d jotted in passing for several projects in process, and put them in appropriate files, and I’m separating them out into their project bins.

Felt good to get it done.

Finished the print books on the third category of contest entries. I’m going to read a book for review, and then start reading the digital contest entries. I want to get all the entries done on the first shipment before the second one arrives (I think it ships this week).

Seven loads of laundry.

Got the article done for this week’s Ink-Dipped Advice, working a bit ahead, for once. I have a couple of other ideas for posts, so I might work a few weeks ahead this week.

Purged boxes from the basement (meeting my quota). Relaxed with a glass of wine by the fire and a book.

Up way to early Sunday, worrying (note the pattern?)

Did a rough draft of my article for THE WRITER. Finished the Ink-Dipped Advice post and scheduled it to post. Sent out some LOIs.

Purged more boxes. I have one more row than I thought I did, which is depressing. But I’m seeing progress. I have a lot to take to the dump, and I have a stack of empty bins that will be useful to transport oddly-shaped objects.

Got my contest lists for the second shipment of entries. Good thing I’ve gotten through so many from the first! I have to cross check the second list with my first list, since the second list is comprehensive, not just additions.

A Zoom interview with a source was moved to Sunday afternoon, which meant I missed my virtual 40th high school reunion. On the one hand, I know the organizers did a fantastic job, and I would have liked to view it. On the other, so few of these people have remained part of my life, I wish them happiness and good lives.

Didn’t really watch the Golden Globes (although I loved Elle Fanning’s dress), but I did catch Mark Ruffalo’s speech. He continues to teach us about being good humans.

Up way to early Monday, worrying. Didn’t write first thing, which was a mistake, and it threw off the pace of my day. Instead, I started in with admin work. That threw off my day.

Switched over to client work. Got out the email blast I’d set up last week, got up some social media posts, worked on some direct response copy.

Worked and reworked and polished the article. Still not convinced the last sentence hits the way I want it to, but it’s much better than, say, 15 sentences ago. That goes out this morning.

Purged double my box quota for the day, which felt very good. Found some cool stuff; tossed a lot. It’s too stormy to do a dump run today, so that is pushed back until later in the week.

Submitted a script to a theatre in the UK that’s having an open call.

Working on a pitch for a specific magazine. The timing works, because they just rejected the previous pitch I sent them; I have another market appropriate for this one, and the pitch I’m working on, I think, is more suited. Hope to get that out today.

Coordinated the two sets of contest entries, to make sure I have/read everything.

Found an old pair of glasses when I cleaned things out that make the world much clearer than my current ones. Although they are very 80’s/90’s, oversized and heavy, so I’ll probably just wear them in the house.

Found photos of me in a mermaid gown I designed and a friend built me, for a big event, and photos from one of our times at the Tony Awards. One of the friends in the photos is already dead. And I miss that exuberant woman I was who believed in so much. I mourn the loss of that part of myself.

Lost yesterday’s cage fight for my mom’s next vaccine appointment. Got into the virtual waiting room – they weren’t even giving wait times. It was over a day, and they’re telling people to try again some other day. I’m running out of days, you morons.

Heard from my editor that she loves the article I sent in late last week. Phew! I’m in the midst of the research for the next one for her, and hope to get out interview requests this week.

Read a book for review that was a very different genre mash-up and most of it worked. Will write the review and send it off this morning.

Someone gave me a lead on a really cool company looking for someone to do something that’s well in my wheelhouse, so I sent an LOI within 15 minutes of hearing about it. Fingers crossed!

Fell into bed too early, which meant I woke up too early. The wind was howling, the temperature had dropped. Tessa had pushed me off the hot water bottle, so she could have it all to herself. Life with cats.

Heard from a friend/source about an article quote, only it’s too late and the article’s done. I was going to contact her this morning any way to tell her not to worry about it. She’s under huge deadline pressure, and the timing just doesn’t work this time around.

A potential new client asked for some more information, so that will go out today.

I will work on next week’s email blast for a client, and some more scheduled social media posts, get the other work turned around as listed above, and maybe get out a few more LOIs. If the weather’s okay, I’ll do a quick grocery run (we need milk, bread, eggs, juice), and a library curbside drop-off/pickup.

I’m getting contradictory information as to whether I need to keep cage fighting for the appointment, or whether I’m getting a “special link” later in the week. I wish they’d communicate clearly and with consistency. When they need to change, they need to clearly say, “This is a change from the last email” instead of acting like the last email never happened.

Onward, in spite of the reckless re-opening here in MA that’s going to wind up killing even more people.

Onward.

Thurs. Feb. 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 280/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 29 — Continued Failure

image courtesy of Pete Linforth via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and windy

Yesterday was stressful, but in different ways than I expected.

I had a decent early morning’s session of work with some writing and LOIs done. Headed off to the client’s. Wednesday is the day we overlap in person for a few hours. But, one colleague was sick and the other had a doctor’s appointment off-Cape, so I was on my own. I got a lot done (and handled a lot that is, technically, not my job). But it was good to be in the office on my own and get the work done.

I received an email with a link to set up my mother’s second dose appointment. It led me to the main sign-up site with NO clinics on Cape Cod for the foreseeable future. Not only that, but I was competing with the expanded pool trying for first doses.

How is this acceptable at any level? What’s going to happen WHEN I can’t schedule her for the second dose within the four-day window of the 21 days we were warned about? It’s so disorganized. In every other state where the vaccine process is working, patients are scheduled for the second dose right there on site once they’ve had the first dose.

Meanwhile, Baker continues to swan around, opening yet more mass vaccination sites, all off Cape. And he can’t use the excuse about lack of doses, because he boasted about the 135,000 that just arrived. So why aren’t ANY of them coming to Cape Cod?

The Fairgrounds in Falmouth are a designated mass vaccination site, but it hasn’t been set up. Why not?

He had a press conference about more equitable distribution to the Berkshires and Barnstable. Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I can actually book the next appointment on time. Watching the press conference, it looked like he was wasting money on hiring people who would say, “there, there” when approached with the problem, but not actually DO anything to solve it.

Why are those needing a second dose competing with those who need the first dose? Why isn’t it organized so those with the second dose are sent to a special site and get priority?

If Baker ever traveled to the Coliseum in Rome, I bet he stood there and fantasized about the fights to the death in the ring, because that’s what he’s set up here.

It is unacceptable.

Forty-five minutes later, I got another email from Barnstable, stating that second-dose sites were being set up, but there wasn’t any information yet.

Can they give us the right fucking information EVER instead of constant, contradictory, incorrect information?

Meanwhile, the elderly relatives in Maine (and there are a lot of them) have gotten both their first and second doses already. Pfizer, too, which is great. The sign-up was organized and smooth; they were scheduled for the second dose while they were under observation after their first dose; no one had to travel more than 15 minutes. That’s what an organized program looks like.

Even better, they had no side effects. (And they all had bad side effects from flu shots every year).

So I’m relieved for them, and frustrated for us.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first surgery last year, and my body and spirit are having sense memory of the pain and the fear involved.

On top of that, some dumbass acquaintance actually said to me yesterday, “I bet you wish you still had cancer so you could jump the line and get the vaccine.”

Um, no. I’d much rather be cancer-free and wait until April or so to get the vaccine.

Fortunately, it is someone I can remove completely from my life soon.

While I was at the office, unmasked men with large machinery came digging around in the backyard about the septic system. My mother said she felt like a character in an Agatha Christie novel, peeking through the curtains. At least they cleaned up after themselves.

In the afternoon, a surveyor came by, again unmasked. He pounded on the door. We do not open to the unmasked. He puttered around for about an hour and a half.

But it threw off the work of the afternoon.

Remote Chat was fun, and the conversation sparked an idea for next week’s Ink-Dipped Advice post, which I will work on over the next few days and schedule to post.

The potential client to whom I sent script samples claimed to love them, but says the project is “on hold.” Yeah, right. You found out that you had to actually pay for skills and decided to drop the project. A tire-kicker, not an actual potential client. Moving on.

I didn’t get enough work done on the article, and will have to finish it today.

A client contacted me after hours with an inappropriate request. I did not respond (hey, after hours). I will this morning, and shoot it down. I knew being flexible on a request last week would lead to this.

My mother fell and cut her leg, so I cleaned it up and bandaged it. She has a doctor’s appointment this morning anyway (so no meditation group for me; I will do some extra meditation on my own).

After my mom’s doctor appointment and then our decontamination protocols, I’m focused on my articles for the rest of the day.

Supposedly, 50,000 new vaccine appointments go live today. I wonder if ANY of them will be on Cape Cod.

Better get going. It will be a long day.

Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw

image courtesy of suju via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and mild

Most of the snow is melted, so I guess the guys with their soil sample digging machines who will be around this morning can find the little flags planted over the past few weeks.

I have a post on Ink-Dipped Advice about inspiring rather than bullying to get what you want.

Yesterday wound up being a productive, steady day. I prepped next week’s email blast for a client, and did some other work on the client’s websites. I need to do more; there’s poor copyediting on a few things from before I started working with them, and I need to clean it up.

A contest listing landed on my desk, and it sounded interesting, so I edited an appropriate piece and sent it off. It’s something in a different direction for me, and I’m interested to see if I’m on the right track.

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I sent off a longish short story that seemed to fit. They do audio work, so in my cover letter, I mentioned that I write radio comedy/drama.

Got the script samples out to the potential new client.

Finished a book for review. I’d meant to only take a 20-minute break and read for a bit, but the book was so engaging, I sat there and finished it, then wrote the review and sent it off. I received the next two books for review by the end of the workday, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those. That’ll make this set of five books reviewed, and I invoice every five books.

Started on the print entries for the third category of the contest I’m judging. Only a handful of print entries left, and then I will start on the digital entries. Which is good, because the second shipment of entries should go out in about two weeks. I want to get all the first batch done before the second batch arrives.

Worked on the article. I hope to have it finished either by end of day today, or, more likely, mid-day tomorrow, and get it off to my editor. Overnight, I got another great quote.

Read a book that pretended to be progressive and tolerant, but, when dissected, was full of right-wing evangelical crap. Not because the author was trying to point out the danger of right-wing evangelical crap, but because the author supported the right-wing evangelical crap over the tolerance. That author’s crossed off my list going forward.

Made my box purging quota for the day (and caught up on what I didn’t do yesterday). Found some things that puzzled me. I’m assuming that they were props/costume pieces for a project? But I have no idea which one. Found a box of electrical cords for which I’ve been looking – since we moved in. In 2010. It’s been buried since then.

As I’m going through the boxes, I’m realizing how the movers paid no attention to what was noted on the box (I mark what’s in the box and where it should go). If it was a box, they stuffed it in the basement. No wonder I felt like I’ve lost stuff since the last move. Yes, I know, I should have unpacked everything much earlier. But I didn’t, so I have to catch up now.

Knowledge Unicorns was back in session yesterday. Everyone had a good break. There’s intense pressure to get back in the classroom in April, which is silly. Just keep it remote until the end of the year, and start back up in fall. This group is united in remaining remote until enough people are vaccinated, which sure as hell won’t happen by April. Besides, all the kids are dong really well, grades are up, and they’re actually learning stuff beyond what they would have in a traditional setup.

Today will be a stressful morning. But at least there’s remote chat.

I have to miss the online meditation group tomorrow morning because my mom has an early doctor’s appointment, so I’ll have to make up for that in individual practice during the day.

I got more mail addressed to my father, who died in 1972, and never lived at this address. It’s very disturbing. I’m contacting the companies sending this mail (cc to the appropriate Attorneys General) demanding from what list they got it and where purchased. Because I’m thinking someone stole my deceased father’s identity. But why is the mail coming here?

I’m hoping, in the next couple of days, to hear about my mom’s next vaccination appointment. They’re supposed to get in touch this week. There have been NO vaccine appointments open on the Cape this week, except for the Rich White People’s Secret Number, Baker’s moved doses away from smaller sites all over the state into the large sites like Gillette and Fenway – where most people can’t get to them. Instead of moving the doses to, you know, where they’re needed.

I better get to it. Those words won’t write themselves! Have a great day.

Published in: on February 24, 2021 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw  
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Wed. Feb. 17, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 273/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 21 — Rolling the Boulder Uphill

image courtesy of Elias Sch via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a yucky, rainy day, but at least I got a lot done. Got client work done, a big email blast out, a lot of LOIs done, interview requests out (and even heard back from one requestee). Packed up another bookcase up in my bedroom.

Had some admin work come in, and also got some information that requires action today, which means an adjustment to today’s schedule, but it’s positive, so I’ll go with it.

On Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about how we must restructure the work culture and move our passion-work to be central to our work lives.

I woke up to a lovely email from my state senator, who is working hard to get a more equitable vaccine distribution on Cape Cod, and is as frustrated and enraged by Governor Baker as I am. Cape Cod has the highest number of vulnerable seniors in the state, and gets the lowest number of vaccine doses, and not even a reliable number from the increased doses received every week. Yet there are vaccination sites all over the state with open appointments and expiring vaccines. Instead of addressing the problem, Baker continues to smirk and lie.

Plenty of seniors on Cape Cod, who vote Republican, plan to vote against Baker (a Republican) in the next election, provided they survive.

Today will be a stressful day on multiple levels, and there are so many things that could go sideways, I am causing myself even more stress. So I will have to deal with each thing as it comes up, and concentrate on surviving the day in a very literal way.

Have a good one, and we’ll catch up tomorrow!

Published in: on February 17, 2021 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 17, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 273/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 21 — Rolling the Boulder Uphill  
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Wed. Feb. 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 266/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 14 — More Snow

image courtesy of Suzanne Stockli via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Dark Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about how words are used (and mis-used) in job descriptions.

I was up way too early yesterday, but I got a lot done. I got some photo stuff done for a client, which will be built on today. I have to go in and actually look at the pieces before I can get them up on the client’s website, so that’s on the agenda for today.

Got the second part of the article into PDF format and sent it to those quoted in the article.

Did some research for the next two articles I was assigned. Interview requests start going out tomorrow.

Got out some LOIs.

Have a preliminary meeting (virtual) tomorrow at noon with a potential new client.

Had some good exchanges with some people from high school, in preparation for the upcoming 40th reunion.

Noodled a bit with stuff for the proposal. Will sit down and do some serious writing on that tomorrow and Friday. There’s another grant proposal coming up for which I want to apply, too, and I have to research budget figures for that.

Worked on contest entries. I have all the print books done in the first batch of one category, and am moving to the next category. I will do the digital entries when I’m finished with the print entries.

Got an email that there were two vaccine clinics this week here on Cape. Went to the site – no information live. It kept saying the clinics didn’t exist. But the email link kept sending me to the page that said the clinics didn’t exist. Kept going back over and over all day. Suddenly, there’s a statement that they’re all full.

If I’m not fast enough signing up, that’s luck of the draw. But when the site isn’t even live – how is it getting filled?

The disorganization and incompetence are enraging.

And Governor Baker, smirking in his briefing with “Hang on until you’re a priority.” Fuck you, Baker. People are DYING.

The Senate trial for the Sociopath’s conviction started yesterday. The Republicans have already decided not to convict, and that makes them as traitorous as the Sociopath. All of this, “oh, they’re scared and if it was a secret vote they’d convict” is complete and utter bullshit. They are NOT doing this because they are afraid of retribution or violence from the Sociopath’s supports. They are doing this because they AGREE with him. They wish the insurrection had succeeded the first time, and that their colleagues had been murdered. They have to ALL be removed.

We do not negotiate with terrorists, and they are terrorists, and must be so handled.

Snowed yesterday, but not enough so I have to shovel again. Managed to do a quick run to the library for curbside pickup.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids are doing really well. There’s some confusion about whether or not there will be a break next week, or if there’s going to be classes/homework group. We’ll have more details tomorrow.

Today will be stressful in the morning, but hopefully, I can join Remote Chat this afternoon, and then have a productive afternoon. It was too cold to scrub the basement floor yesterday, so I’m going to try to do that this afternoon. I need to have that space to move the newly sorted boxes.

Lots to get done, in a short period of time, and I need to stay focused.

At least I got some good work done on GAMBIT COLONY the past few days. That serves as a springboard to loosen creativity on other projects.

Published in: on February 10, 2021 at 7:31 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 266/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 14 — More Snow  
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Wed. Feb. 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 259/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 7 — Holding Pattern in the Cold

image courtesy of Ulrike Leone via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I have a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about one of the “gotcha” questions often used in interviews.

The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted here on Cape. More icy rain yesterday, high winds, but not the kind of snow that’s hit other areas. I’m grateful not to have to shovel, but I wish we had a little bit of white stuff making it all pretty.

Created the clip for the article that went live, and sent it and the link off to those who contributed quotes. Go out some LOIs. Worked on GAMBIT COLONY.

Someone with whom I was friends in first grade tracked me down. Our 40th HS reunion will be held, virtually, at the end of this month, and she’s hunting down classmates and their stories. We had a nice catch-up, I’m preparing the information they need and getting it out by the end of the week. I don’t keep in touch with many people I knew in elementary and high school, our lives have diverged so much, but it was pleasant to catch up.

It would be easy to stress about the reunion, but why? These people are no longer a part of my life. I wish them well, and I might enjoy an hour or so catching up on Zoom, but it’s the past, and I’m busy working on my future.

In the afternoon, I caught up on box purging, so I’ve back to where I wanted to be for this point in the week.

Still no luck getting a vaccine appointment from my mom. My State Senator is doing an information session tonight, which I will virtually attend, and maybe we can get some real information. He’s as frustrated with the Governor as the rest of us.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Steady work on homework. I’m so proud of them. We started talking about Black History Month. I mentioned, when I was in school and we read Black authors for BHM, and I asked why we had to wait until February, why we couldn’t read them all year, and someone in my school said, “Well, why would you want to?” which is just wrong on so many levels. I can’t see we’ve make much progress since then, and we need to.

Today, I have to go to the office for a few hours of overlap with colleagues. Hopefully, I can join Remote Chat in the afternoon, and then purge more boxes. I already have more than another carload of stuff to go to the dump.

Working on the book for review, working on contest entries, working on a pair of pitches for my editor.

And so it goes.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on February 3, 2021 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 259/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 7 — Holding Pattern in the Cold  
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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.

Published in: on January 13, 2021 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 13, 2021: Die for Your Employer Day 238 — Working on Multiple Levels  
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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!

Published in: on January 6, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night  
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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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