Tues. Dec. 28, 2021: Post-Holiday Errands

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

I hope everyone had a good weekend, whether or not you celebrated the Christmas holiday.

Ours was fine: lots of food, lots of books. We were tired of the foods we “traditionally” had for the Christmas Eve and Day meals. So for the Eve, it was baked trout, baked whipped potatoes with garlic and herbs, and spinach. For the day, it was a baked ham with a bourbon-molasses glaze. We don’t eat much pork anymore, but my mom wanted ham, so we had ham. I didn’t feel all that great afterwards, but not too bad.

Desserts were stollen on the Eve and chocolate mousse on the day, and that was all good.

We usually do presents on the Eve and stockings on the Day, but, again, my mom wanted to wait and do everything on the Day, so that’s what we did.

We had fun opening things. Tessa “helped.” Charlotte and Willa watched from a safe distance. Tessa adored her present – a catnip toy that looks like a gift. Willa and Charlotte didn’t know what to do with theirs. Charlotte figured it out, and then she was afraid someone would take it away.

But most of the time, we just relaxed.

It was perfectly pleasant, although I felt somewhat unsettled the entire time.

I checked in regularly with my friend, who lost her mother the day before Christmas Eve. There’s not much I can do, except give her as much support as possible. The whole world shifts, and it’s painful.

Sunday, I puttered around with paperwork, and getting my email inbox down to 13 emails for a brief, shining moment, before it filled up again. Worked on the blog schedule for some of the blogs, and tried to get ahead a bit on ones that don’t rely on being in the moment. Researched some companies and added them to the list that will get the postcard mailing in January. Looked through some article guidelines. I’m going to work up some pitches this week, although I won’t send them until the New Year, because it’s just tacky and thoughtless to send them out now. Dived back into the research for “Dawn and Dorothy.” I made a loose writing plan for 2022, which, no doubt, will change by the middle of January. But at least it’s a starting point.

Yesterday, I went to the laundromat. I like to change up my days, but Monday is not a good day. People. The last thing I want, when the virus numbers are back up again, is to be around any more people than necessary. But things got done. Using the rolly cart to go to and from the laundromat is actually easier than getting everything down to the parking lot, loading the car, driving to the laundromat, unloading, reloading, driving back, etc. I just roll the cart down the block, around the corner, down another half a block, and there I am. Plus, yesterday, their parking lot was like a skating rink. I could have fallen and gotten seriously hurt. The sidewalk was clear. Much easier.

While the laundry was going, I make some organizing lists, and worked on a couple of arcs for The Big Project. There are three major arcs that have to be resolved, one after the other, along with less-important, longer-reaching arcs.

A little more than half the neighbors took down all their holiday decorations already. We are keeping ours up until Twelfth Night. That is a tradition we intend to uphold this year.

We never did put a tree topper on our tree this year. None of the ones we have looked right. And the tree looks just fine without it.

Read Colleen Cambridge’s MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL and loved it. Stayed up until nearly midnight to finish it (I think that was on Christmas Day). I hope there are more books in the series.

Read a book by a new-to-me author set in Venice, which I liked. Put aside another book I started, also set in Venice, that just wasn’t doing it for me.

Started reading Sally Wright’s PURSUIT AND PERSUASION, which I’m enjoying.

Did my errands on foot. My mom won $20 on a scratch ticket that was in her stocking, so I picked that up for her. Mailed thank you notes and birthday cards at the post office. Dropped off and picked up a stack of books at the library. It was pretty cold and windy, but still nice to be out.

Got irritated by an author on Twitter. He’d followed; I followed back, as I do with most authors. The first interaction was a long DM from his “publicist” asking me to read and review the guy’s book. It was a long, involved DM, with a tone making it clear that they were doing me a favor. The publicist is male, of course, and the DM was typical male mansplaining privilege.

Okay, wrong on so many levels. First of all, I’m a paid reviewer by publications. Occasionally, when it doesn’t violate my contract terms, I can review a book for free, usually by someone I know, because the publications that pay me don’t want me reviewing books by people I know. But it is work. It relates to my job, and is therefore unpaid labor. I’m not doing unpaid labor for a stranger. Second of all, how often have I publicly stated that if the first interaction from a new mutual follow is a DM trying to sell me something (or ask for free labor), that’s an immediate unfollow, and often a block? Often. If the idiot can’t be bothered to do due diligence, not someone I want to deal with. Third, a professional publicist would know better than to pull crap like that, because that’s negative public relations, not positive public relations. So either the guy’s amateur hour (which means I hope the author’s not paying him much) or it’s the author using a pseudonym as a publicist. Fourth, if the social media is set to “automatically” DM any new mutual followers marketing crap, again, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and are not someone with whom I wish to interact on any level. Fifth, don’t ask someone to work in the week between the holidays, unless you’ve done your due diligence and know that they are actually working. It’s rude.

That author also goes on my “do not ever buy or read” list.

Caught up with my lovely postman so I could give him his cookie packet. He was pleased.

Read a script, which I will write up today. Grabbed some more scripts to read the next few days. I’m reading less this week, but I need to read something.

Had Doordash deliver Chinese from my favorite place in Williamstown. One order for last night’s dinner (their duck lo mein is one of my favorites), and a chicken pad thai for today (yes, I know the latter is not Chinese food, but it’s from the same restaurant).

It’s clearing up, so I will bundle up, get the rolly cart, and head to CVS to pick up my mom’s prescription, and Big Y to pick up a few things I need for the meals over New Year’s. It’s a bit of a hike, but I’m trying to preserve the car until I can get it looked at.

Today, the “bonecrusher” square supposedly ends, and Jupiter goes into Pisces tonight/tomorrow, which, in my chart anyway, is supposed to be a good thing. I could use a break, and I’ll take any support from the stars I can get!  😉

On the agenda today, after I get back from the grocery store, is writing up the script coverage, and then finishing the short version of “Dawn and Dorothy.” I hope to get some work done on The Big Project, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a week of more rest than work for me, but there’s always work to do.

Debating whether I’ll do a mini retreat over New Year’s. New Year’s is usually a tough few days for me, on multiple levels, and I want to be as gentle with myself as possible.

Jeremy Rock Smith is teaching an online cooking session on the 4th; seriously considering taking it, because I love learning from him. He’s a wonderful teacher, in addition to being a quality human being.

That’s the latest; off to the store now. Since I can only buy what I can carry, I have to stick to my list!

Hope your weekend was great, and that the days between the holidays are peaceful.

Wed. Nov. 25, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 189 — Incoming

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and milder

Well, yesterday turned out to be “interesting times.”

The brand-new furnace stopped working. It’s barely six weeks old.

On one of the coldest mornings we’ve had lately.

I was so angry. Six damn weeks. But I kept my cool. I checked the breaker box. It was fine. I checked the vents outside. They were clear. I tried to push it by turning up the thermostat. Nothing.

I knew it would be difficult once I put in the call, so I masked up and did my errands as planned first. Quick run to Target, when only about six people were in the store, to whip through and pick up outdoor lights, molasses (it’s $2/bottle cheaper than the grocery store and I got the last three bottles), one final gift for my mom, stocking stuffers. There was ONE package of giant Bounty paper towels left, the only package in the store. I grabbed it.

Spent more than I meant to, but now we’re good on paper towels and toilet paper until the end of the year.

Headed to the post office. Mailed the overseas cards and the overseas package. Got some more stamps, so I can finish the domestic cards.

To the library for curbside drop off/pickup, to the liquor store, to the chocolatier, to buy the boxes of chocolate we’re sending to various friends.

Now I’m done. I have to make one more trip to the chocolatier for a couple of little things, but I’m done with the gifts and the rest.

I wanted to get it all done BEFORE the hordes descended on the Cape for the holiday.

Home. Decontaminated. Left all the bags of everything in the quarantine area of the garage. I’ll bring them in Thursday or Friday.

THEN I contacted the landlord about the furnace. He told me to contact the furnace company directly. Considering they refused to deal with me directly during the installation because I wasn’t the client, I thought that was interesting. But I called, a technician came out. The inductor motor and the furnace’s internal motherboard needed to be replaced.

On a brand-new furnace.

The tech asked if we’d had a lightening strike in yesterday’s storm. We didn’t even get a power flicker.

He had to go off and source the parts and come back. Willa, who had insisted on being in the basement to supervise, was corralled, and I stashed her upstairs with my mom to keep them away from people. Tessa stayed in my room, uninterested. Charlotte curled up in the rocking chair and napped.

So I didn’t need to herd cats, which was a relief.

I managed to get an ad live for a client, and some admin work done, but it wasn’t a very productive day. Fortunately, this year, no one expects much productivity this week.

He finished up by midafternoon, and it’s nice to have heat again. He was very nice, and masked, as required, and so was I, so it was all good.

But now I’m going to be paranoid every time the furnace kicks on or off, wondering if it will fail again.

We had the final Knowledge Unicorns session before Thanksgiving break. We won’t meet on Thursday. The kids are ready for a break, but we had fun. ALL of their grades have gone up.

When they have an assignment in a subject they don’t like, I ask them, “If you were a character in your favorite book and were faced with a problem/challenge like this, how would you  and the characters in that book overcome it? Without violence?”

That’s given them interesting paths to solve the assignments. They’ve also started sharing their favorite books with each other. And the ones who weren’t big readers for pleasure are starting to do more of that now.

After the homework session, I made a meal out of sketchy leftovers in the fridge (I’m cleaning out fridge and freezer, tossing some things that are just not worth taking a chance on to make room for new leftovers).

The turkey is thawing nicely, so all will be well on Thanksgiving morning.

I attended an NYU alumni Zoom event with John Leguizamo and the producers of the new film he starred in and directed called CRITICAL THINKING, about an urban chess team in Florida. It sounds great, and the conversation was wonderful. I didn’t realize he was an alum. I’ve known and loved his work since Spic-O-Rama in 1992. I’m eager to see the film.

After that, Jeremy Rock Smith of Kriplau did a live exchange on Instagram, answering questions for the holiday cooking. He’s quite emphatic about NOT cooking the stuffing in the turkey – says the turkey will get to dry, if you cook it enough to keep it safe. But, when I cook it at 350 instead of 325 AND use so much liquid in the bottom of the pan (so it’s more poached tan roasted), it works. Plus, when I use the thermometer, I usually get a higher temperature than the 165 needed for safe poultry. But I didn’t say anything. He’s right to advise caution. And he had some great answers for all kinds of vegetable prep. He’s just the best.

A bit of a tiring day, starting with challenges, but ending on a high, creative note. I’d gotten a little bit of writing done early in the morning, but nowhere near enough.

This weekend, around the food and the decorating, I’ll have to make up for it.

I’ve got a holiday greeting scheduled for tomorrow, but I won’t actually post until Friday again, and I’ll post over on the food blog about what to do with leftovers.

The roads and bridges were already clogged last night with traffic, people coming to the Cape for the holiday weekend, in spite of advisories not to come. You know these people didn’t take a test, nor will they follow protocols, nor will they quarantine. They’re just going to spread virus as much as possible because they’re too selfish to show a little consideration for anyone except themselves.

People were breaking curfew up the ying yang this morning. I woke up once just before midnight, and once a little after 4 (which meant I was up for the day), and there was traffic like there wasn’t any curfew.

Just people being Covidiots. I’m so sick of it.

Today will be stressful at the client’s – it’s the day we overlap. I’m hoping we can all stay safe for that couple of hours. Then, I’m in for the weekend, unless I get the domestic packages ready in time to take to the post office first thing Saturday morning.

I will be glad to be home, decontaminate, and attend Remote Chat.

Have a lovely, safe, quiet Thanksgiving my friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Published in: on November 25, 2020 at 6:36 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 25, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 189 — Incoming  
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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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