Tues. December 7, 2021: Maybe Your Business is Struggling Because You’re Unprofessional

image courtesy of Matryx via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold; incoming snow

The past few days have been up and down.

I lost far too much of Friday. I tried to find a mechanic to fix the car – no one would get back to me with a response and an estimate, including the dealer. What kind of business model is that?

According to AAA, the nearest of their certified mechanics is in Bennington, VT. I shouldn’t have to cross state lines to get my damn car fixed.

On top of that, I was trying to integrate MooSend, the platform to which I’d exported my mailing list, to my website, so people can easily subscribe on the website, it goes over to the MooSend mailing list, and they get the next newsletter. Only it wouldn’t integrate. I asked tech support for help, and they sent me links to articles where the steps in the article didn’t match what was coming up on my screen. I went into their Live Chat. The guy sent me the same articles. I told him that I’d tried all that already, and that’s why I was on Live Chat. Because it wasn’t working. He kept telling me to do stuff that didn’t come up on my screen. I’d send him screen shots to show him what was on my screen and what I should do with what was actually coming up, and it just went round and round for hours. He walked away from the chat after a couple of hours. Some other guy came on, a few minutes later – and sent me the article. Hadn’t read any of the notes or looked at the screen shots. I told him to forget it, I was going to a competitor.

In meantime, on the website, I got a flash of something that needed to be updated. I tried to update, and it didn’t work. I contacted my host, A2, and asked for the steps, since clicking the update didn’t work. The tech asked permission to enter the account, I gave it, and the glitch was fixed in less than five minutes.

I thought maybe the MooSend integration would then work, but nope. Still the same issues. So I disconnected all the MooSend plug-ins.

I did some research on other platforms. I knew I didn’t want Constant Contact or Robly. I considered MailChimp, and sent them some questions, which were ignored. They weren’t top of my list anyway, so that was no big deal.

So I looked at Sendinblue, and that seemed to have what I needed. I set up an account, which was easy as could be. I imported my contact list, easy as could be. I downloaded the plug-in to the website. Easy as could be. Activated it, set up the new form, and it seems to work.

I’ve written most of the text for the newsletter, and played with templates. Starting from scratch and building it myself seems to work the best for me, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ll play with it some more, send a test to myself. If that works, the newsletter will go out this week, and the quarterly deliveries will start up again, with occasional special announcements in between.

If you haven’t signed up, and you’d like to, you can do so here.

Getting everything set up on Sendinblue took about 30-40 minutes, including all verifications, API keys, plug-ins, etc. Meanwhile, I’d lost three hours with MooSend’s useless “support.”

Hopefully, I’ll remain happy at Sendinblue, at least for a while.

I was grumpy and exhausted by the end of it all. I hadn’t had time to get the promotions for the holiday shorts “Just Jump in and Fly” and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” up. I did manage to do some work on the notes for The Big Project and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I did my script coverages. I read the next book for review, which was charming and delightful, and got a good review.

After my pity party, I sat down with Cherie Priest’s GRAVE RESERVATIONS, her newest release. I sat and read until after midnight. I loved it, and did not want to put it down.

Tessa got me up on Saturday around 5:30-ish, which is acceptable. Once I’d fed everyone and they were settled again, I sat on the couch and finished GRAVE RESERVATIONS. Loved it so much. I hope she writes more with these characters, because they are a delight.

I let her know, via tweet, how much I loved the book.

Then, it was time to buckle down to my own work. I did some more work on the outline for The Big Project, and did the first draft of the first chapter, which came in at 1282 words. I’m looking for the chapters to be between 1-1.5K and not more than 2K on any given chapter, and, on this particular project, the structure has to be impeccable, or it will all fall apart. Because it’s complex, I have to keep a careful set of tracking sheets, updating it preferably every chapter, but not more than every three. Or I will get myself into a tangle.

I had a ton of fun writing the chapter, although I had to stop and make decisions on the way about details. They can’t be layered in later, because they are vital to the way the piece builds. Details can be polished or cut or moved in edits, but the first draft has to be what a usual third draft for me usually is.

Still, it was a good feeling to get it done.

The sky looked rather ominous by the time I was finished. I wrapped up for the weather and walked down to the wine store for a couple of bottles of wine, and stopped at Cumberland Farms at the end of the street for eggs and coffee. You know, the essentials: eggs, wine, coffee.

The whole thing was a little over a mile on foot, round trip, and nothing was very heavy. But I’m still not up to full strength after the vaccine booster, and was pretty shaky by the time I got home.

Does not bode well if I have to walk to Big Y and back for a big grocery shop, even with my little upright rolling cart. That round trip would be a little over three miles. Might consider taking a taxi back.

After lunch, I spent some time on the acupressure mat, which I hadn’t done all week. Once I was realigned there, I got up and wrote up the script coverage I had to do.

Leftovers for dinner, and then I did the revision on “A Rare Medium.”

Read some of the Marie Corelli research, but fell asleep fairly early.

Slept through the night, and Tessa didn’t wake me until nearly 6:30 on Sunday. After I fed them, I tried a new banana bread recipe, and, when I didn’t like the way it was turning out, tossed in some chocolate chips, which saved it. Still, not a recipe I’d use again.

I wrote the second chapter of The Big Project, which came in longer than I’d hoped (a little over 2K), but that’s what it needed to be. Felt good. Had lots of fun with it.

Switched over to decorating. We put up some of the Command hooks and put decorations on all the doors. We put multiple garlands on the bannisters, and threaded them through with lights. We put the lights up on the front porch, along with the small tree decorated in silver and blue, that used to be in my office at the other house. I put some battery-operated tall candles in the windows, although I don’t yet have the batteries for them.

It looks really pretty.

I admit, on Friday night, I considered not doing any more decorating this year. No trees, nothing. It all felt like too much.

But then I thought, I’m the one who loves all the decorations, and it’s a form of self-punishment not to put them up. And putting them up on Sunday made me happy, both the actual doing it, and then enjoying it.

It was the Second of Advent, so we lit the two candles. Plus our big, scented Christmas candle. And it was St. Nicholas night – time to put out the shoe, so it can be filled with candy!

Which made for a happy wakeup on Monday.

Charlotte started bothering me at 4:30, but Tessa let me sleep until just after 5.

Morning longhand writing session in, then yoga and meditation. Those practices suffered last week when I was so laid out from the booster, and I suffered as a result. So back to yoga, and I’m slowly expanding my morning practice.

Wrote the third chapter on The Big Project, and had a blast with it. It came in at just under 1800 words, pretty good. Then, I switched over and did just over 1300 words on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, and had fun with that. It’s weird, not working in full chapters with that, but there’s only so much I can do.

In and around those two projects, I was still trying to find a fucking mechanic to fix the fucking car. What the hell is wrong with these “businesses”? Can’t respond or give an estimate. Finally got a response from one – who can’t fix a VW. That mechanic recommended another one, whom I contacted and – no response.

After THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, I put in the revisions on “A Rare Medium”, found a few more things to fix, formatted it properly, got in the needed information, saved as PDF, and got it out the door. Ahead of schedule.

Phew.

I’d forgotten to turn on the crockpot, so it had to be on high all afternoon.

Did my script coverage, and got out a book review. Dinner was great; the recipe worked well. After dinner, I did more Marie Corelli research. I have a good sense of the character; now I need the incident in her life to dramatize.

The lovely chiming tower clock over at the college stopped around mid-morning. I miss it. I didn’t realize how much I used it to keep track of my day, and how much joy it brought me.

Went through the materials for tonight’s Wild Oats Board Meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s delightful. I love it when they include fuzzy socks, and these have little hour glasses embroidered on them.

Sorted the laundry before bedtime. Got up at 5 (Tessa was just doing her warmup scales). Got everyone fed, got myself dressed and the first writing session done. Then piled the laundry and the washing materials and my work bag into the little upright rolling cart that’s been in the family since 1969 and rolled the laundry down the street to the laundromat.

As usual, I was the only one there, but it wasn’t creepy. Got the laundry loaded up, then sat down and worked on tightening the point-by-point notes for The Big Project, so that I don’t go off on tangents. Realized I have to do an insert to the second days’ work, in order to keep one of the running jokes going. There has to be a reference in every chapter. The Big Project relies on impeccable structure, along with engaging characters, quick dialogue, and a rip- roaring plot. So taking the time to polish the outline saves me a lot of pain and time later in the process.

After breakfast, I need to do a run to CVS for a couple of things. Fortunately, it’s in walking distance, but it’ll be about an hour round trip. Debating whether or not I should stop by the library while I’m in that direction, or wait until Thursday.

We have a storm coming in today, and snow tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a mechanic today and schedule the repair for Thursday or Friday. This is ridiculous. If I can’t trust someone to be capable of the technology of answering an email and/or giving me an estimate, why would I think they have the skills to repair my car?

Once I get back, it’s back to work on today’s words for The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I have to get the ads going for the two holiday shorts, and finish the newsletter.

Then, it’s back to script coverage and client work. With any luck, I’ll get out a few LOIs, too.

But, for the moment, I’m back on the pavement, getting my errands done. We’re definitely getting a storm; pre-storm headache in full force.

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.

Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.

Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”

image courtesy of phoenixsierra0 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

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

Shoutout to my Twitter pal Jake, who has birthday today!

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got some decent writing done early in the morning. I headed out to my client’s. Unfortunately, we all overlapped and it was not comfortable. They are simply too lax for me to feel comfortable, especially with the way the numbers are rising.

I was glad to get home and do some serious decontamination. But it was unnecessarily stressful.

Remote Chat was fun.

My back bothered me, so I spent some time on the acupressure mat. But when I came back down, Office crashed AGAIN. This time, I didn’t get as skilled a tech and I ended up losing the afternoon while we tried to fix it. Finally, I managed to fix it, but by that time, I was in tears and so tired and frustrated I couldn’t get any more work done.

Office shouldn’t crash every damn week. This is why I hate PCs – they’re unreliable. I often said that investing in a Macbook was the reason I could switch to fulltime freelancing, and I stand by that. I regularly lost half my workday with the PC problems, and here it’s starting again. This computer – and the software – are barely six months old. I shouldn’t have constant problems. Nor should I have problems getting things fixed – I bought and paid for three years’ worth of coverage for everything.

As soon as I can afford a Macbook again, I will get one.

I lost all the time I had put aside to do the final proof of “Just Jump in and Fly” and to revise “Lockesley Hall.” I have to make up for that today, plus do at least one, maybe two ads for a client, plus write the next section on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I put down yet another cozy mystery and crossed yet another author off my list because she used “witch” as a slur. I’m sick of these white women pretending to support diversity and inclusion and then pulling this shit. In the same way “gypsy” and “Red Indian” are now recognized as slurs, calling someone “she’s such a witch” when you mean a mean person rather than a spellcasting badass who makes the world better is a slur. Not only is it a slur, it is a personal insult to me.

It’s one thing if a character uses it and the protag or core ensemble calls that person out or there’s accountability. But to act like it’s “just an expression” and something cute, fun, and contemporary that makes your character cool is unacceptable.

It proves you are NOT inclusive, promoting diversity, or tolerant. You’re a sham.

Write whatever you want – that’s your prerogative. But I will not purchase, read, or support authors who are hypocrites and who insult me. As is my right.

I am not your audience.

Zoom Meditation was great and helped a lot. I have bread on the rise – started it around 6 this morning. If I’m lucky, it will be done by noon.

A friend shared a sonnet she’s writing with me, for feedback. I was so honored. It’s a lovely piece, and i gave her the two points where it’s didn’t feel right, and she said it helped. Always glad to help friends with their work!

Peace, friends, and have a good day!

Published in: on November 19, 2020 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”  
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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.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

For the curious, yes, I can celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas if I want, and it doesn’t mean I’m being hypocritical to either. The former is my chosen path in my adult life. The latter is a nod towards happy family traditions and memories, since I am one of those freakish individuals who experienced a decent amount of happiness while growing up. And I will celebrate as many traditions as I wish! So there! 😉

There’s a giftie waiting for you under the virtual tree, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to retrieve it.

Wow! Natalie Bahm gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so honored! Thank you so much! Part of this honor is to thank her, and I do.

Part of this honor is to pay it forward to 7 other bloggers and to write post 7 things others might not know about me.

Okay, choosing only 7 is hard, I read more than that on any given day, but here’s an attempt:

Lori Widmer — Words on the Page — she’s an amazing writer and human being, a dear friend, and one of the most spiritually aware and emotionally grounded people I know. She gives back constantly.

Diane Parkin — another amazing writer and good friend. She gets more done in an hour than I can get done in a week.

Michelle MilesYe Olde Inkwell — terrific balance of blogging between writing and life.

Lara Stauffer Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom. A daily must-read from a good friend whose life is very different from my own!

Colin GalbraithFreedom From the Mundane — another good friend and fellow writer, whose blog is a daily must-read.

Brandy Book Mom — because she loves books and cats.

Margaret FinneganFinnegan Begin Again. I just found this blog the other day, and it is amazing.

Okay, now for 7 things:

1. I developed a deadly allergy to shrimp. I used to love shrimp and now I’m horribly, horribly allergic. As in vomiting-for-18-hours-straight-and-going-to-the-hospital allergic.

2. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, and I trust them even less if the animals don’t like them back. In my experience, the animals are usually right! 😉

3. Three things on my Must-Learn Someday List are: Learning to play the piano; taking a pottery class; learning to paint.

4. Even though I spent over 20 years in theatre, the period where I wanted to be an actor was very short-lived. I don’t like that much attention focused on me. Although many actors look at playing characters as getting to be someone totally different, for me it was always about bringing forward different aspects of my personality, and I like to choose for whom I do that.

5. I loathe tabloids and gossip magazines. Having worked with lots of actors over the years and feeling protective of the ones I like and admire, I am enraged to see such lies printed — and 90% of what goes in those rag sheets are lies. They are lies that hurt people, and for the general public to think it’s “fun” to feed into those lies by purchasing the magazines, reading, and even believing the crap makes me sick. Not only that, they are poorly written. If house guests leave one of the mags behind, I literally remove it from the premises with tongs and scrub the place down.

6. I get twitchy if I walk into someone’s house and there aren’t any books around. I try to get out of there as quickly as possible.

7. I am better at crochet than I am at knitting. I’d love to be a better knitter, but I’m awkward and clumsy at it. For some reason, I find crochet easier and more logical.

On to other things. I realized that I don’t have enough dishes for left overs (I’m taking left overs with me to the site), so I have to dash out today and get some more.

Yesterday was fine. I wrote. All day. Over 6K. Until nearly midnight. Edited, polished, et al, this morning.

So, here’s your giftie:

JUST JUMP IN AND FLY: a holiday tale by Ava Dunne.

When two men have an accident with eight no-so-tiny reindeer on her front lawn, Susanna Wright has to balance thinking they’re delusional with keeping in the spirit of the night and getting them back on the road.

The story pulls from a mix of myths and traditions, sprinkled with a few of my own “what ifs”. Although it’s just over 10K, it’s a fast read, and, I hope, a funny one.

To read an excerpt, visit the Ava Dunne page. The download link is also on the site. It downloads as a PDF.

Enjoy!

Devon