Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs

Skelly (photo by Devon Ellington)

Friday, September 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Raining and cooler

Thank goodness it’s raining. We need it badly.

If you enjoy reading serial fiction, it would be great if you’d fill out my survey on serial fiction here. I’m curious about a few things.

I am so glad I signed up for Concord Library’s meditation group! Yesterday’s session was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next week. The leader is wonderful – I suspect she either trained at Kripalu or trained with someone who trained at Kripalu because the style is familiar.

After meditation, I put on Real People Pants and did my run to Target. I wound up buying more than I planned (gee, what a surprise). We were low on toilet paper, which is why I went. But then, I bought Halloween lights (mine were wonky last year) which were on sale. And there was a skeleton dachshund all by himself that I couldn’t leave because he looked so sad. They didn’t have the wooden spoons I wanted, but I bought a cute little bear mug for my mom and an owl mug for myself. The soups were nearly half the price they are in the other grocery stores, so I stocked up on those, got the toilet paper, some other bathroom necessities, and there we were. At least everyone was masked and distancing, and I was early enough so there weren’t a lot of people in the store.

Grinding my teeth about it, I went to Country Gardens to get wood for the fireplace, since it’s getting colder and we have no idea when the new furnace will come in. I also grabbed two good-sized pots of mums for the front of the house.

At least everyone was masked, but the woman behind me demanded I let her cut in front of me because she was late for work. Didn’t ask – TOLD me she was doing it. I said no. Then she crowded me. Then she complained that the staff was too slow, and made fun of the lovely older man who was ahead of us and so happy with his purchases because he wasn’t fast enough to suit her, and, you know, she was late for work.

I finally turned around and said, “Lady, NONE of us are to blame because you can’t manage your time, so back off.”

Then the sales clerk had no idea what I was talking about when I said I wanted to by a sixth of a cord of wood. She kept insisting that they only sold full cords, half cords, and third cords. I said that I’ve been buying it every autumn for ten years, and I just walked right past the sixth coming in to the store, with the sign right on it and everything. She said, ‘Oh, you mean the wheelbarrow.”

Yes, the wheelbarrow is a sixth of a cord of wood, it has a sign on it to that effect, which is how I know it’s a sixth of a cord. For fuck’s sake, people, get a clue.  You can see it from where you’re standing at the register.

The guy who was supposed to help me load the wood kind of sauntered over and picked up a log here and there, so I loaded the car my damn self. I’ve been buying wood there at the start of the season for ten years now, and they’ve always been lovely until this year. I realize that the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on all of us, and bulk of the customers I’ve encountered there have been utter jerks, but take it out on THEM, not the ones who are treating you decently.

Making the choice not to shop there unless it was the last resort is the right choice.

Came home, unloaded the wood into the garage (I stacked it well this year, if I do say so myself), did a full decontamination process, and was exhausted.

Tessa loves Skelly, the skeleton dog. Willa and Charlotte aren’t sure. My mom wants me to sew a little brown felt coat for him after Halloween so he can stay out all year.

Managed to work on a couple of ads for a client (which I hope to finish today), noodled a little with some writing, participated in Freelance Chat, got out a couple of LOIs.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. Threw a bunch of stuff out, have to file other stuff. Found drafts of manuscripts, and notes on a couple of projects that are worth going back to next year.

I finished SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. I liked it, although I felt the author self-marketed her other work too much within the text. I know, I’ve been to those seminars who encourage that. I hate it, and it’s more likely to turn me off the author and the product than encourage me to look at the other books.

Did a variation on a recipe for dinner using Chinese Five Spice Powder, and it worked really well.

Trying to decide if I have a script in good enough shape to submit to the O’Neill Center for next year. Either of the Italian plays are probably more suited to the O’Neill than the small company in Brooklyn. I don’t know. I’ll wait for my friend’s notes. Maybe both scripts are just terrible and shouldn’t go anywhere.

Signed up for a cooking class with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu in October. He’s such a great teacher. And his recipes are fantastic.

We’re still playing with times for the Knowledge Unicorns, but had a good session yesterday. Trying to juggle all the different assignments in two hours is a challenge, but with the stretch breaks and dance breaks and the fact that we can work in company and ask questions when stuck, I think (hope) it’s helpful. There’s a lot of laughter, which is good, too. And who knew the octopus was such a fascinating creature? Plenty of people, I guess.

Today, it’s client work and writing. I have to do a curbside pickup at the library, work on the book for review, and clean out at least one more box. We couldn’t wait until Saturday to put the flannel sheets on, so we’ve already changed out the beds, which meant more laundry yesterday. I’m also getting ready for the Equinox on Tuesday. I’m going to pack up some of the books stacked in my office and mark them as “donations” when the library is open for donations, and those I’m keeping. These are from the contest I judged earlier this year.

I’m working on a spec sheet of what I need from a social media management platform and I’m going to send it to the corporate offices of various platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Social Pilot, etc) and see if any of them can meet my needs. I can’t be the only social media manager running multiple accounts for multiple clients.

I also need to work on Grief to Art.

In other words, a busy Friday.

The weekend will be, I hope, about reading and writing and cleaning stuff out of the basement.

Have a great one!

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

image courtesy of HeungSoon via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was just all over the place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am so done with so much right now.

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

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

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

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

Theatre Scripts

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

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

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

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

Knowledge Unicorns

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

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

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

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

Peace, friends.

Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Wed. Sept. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 105 — Keep on Keeping On

flower-3876195_1920
image courtesy of MabelAmber via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s oil change was a nightmare in a place that didn’t follow ANY safety protocols – only I couldn’t get out once the car was in the bay until they were done. I am furious. The company lies and the employees are a bunch of anti-mask COVIDIOTS. I will not go back there unless I have no other choice.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they sabotaged the car because I was wearing a mask. We will see, over the next few days.

Home, extra disinfectant protocols (to scrub off the scum),

Admin work, client work, article work, getting out press releases for Grief to Art.

Grief to Art Logo

The allergies are really, really bad. Sneezing like crazy, runny nose, itchy eyes. Finally broke down last night and took anti-allergy medicine, which knocked me out so I could sleep.

Some decent writing yesterday; not sure what today will bring. I have to go onsite for a client, which is always more stressful than it needs to be. I need to replace this client, and I’m working on it.

Read the first book in a series where I’d read the fourth book a week or so ago and really liked it. Unfortunately, this book uses a slur like it’s something common and normal – which, even if people do it, we should know better by now and it shouldn’t be accepted. I felt slapped in the face and so disappointed. I’d gotten other books by this author out of the library; not sure if I’ll read them. I was annoyed by the slur, and the character seemed a little weak to me – although, since I liked this character so much in book 4, maybe it was simply the starting point for growth.

Those “share the first sentence of your WIP” or “give us an excerpt of your WIP” are running around again. No. Just no. First of all, my publisher is very specific about not sharing unedited work on anything that’s contracted, and that’s something I respect. Second, why would I blow first rights on a social media game? Third, why would I “share” unedited work? WIPs are just that – working drafts. As a reader if someone splatters their unedited work out there, it immediately defines them, to me, as unprofessional. Self-published or not. And reading an excerpt that’s a hot, unedited mess is more likely to turn me off an author than be a marketing tool that works on me.

I’m all for sharing work privately with Trusted Readers for feedback — but not splattering it on the internet. Some random read-by opinion is not going to help me shape/fix/hone the work.

Excerpts are great – of edited material that’s about to be or has just been published. But I skip the WIP splatters. Not for me, as a writer OR a reader.

On a happier process note, I figured out how to fix a problem I’ve been having in one of my own manuscripts. I wanted the title to be a pun on a show title. I realized I could do that by simply changing the murder victim’s name, and have his new name be the pun in the title. A simple fix that makes all the difference. Why it took me several months to figure out, who knows? I’d like to blame pandemic brain, but that’s too easy.

A call for submission landed on my desk for a nine-month script development project. I think I will submit one of the pieces I did for the 365 Women clearing house – either the play on Giulia Tofana or Lavinia Fontana. The Tofana piece needs more work; it might not get chosen for just that reason, but the stated reason is to work and develop the piece over nine months, and that’s the piece of mine which would benefit most from a long development process, so I think I will risk it. I’ll do another pass on it this weekend, before I submit.

If I don’t try, there’s not chance at all, right?

Pulling together material for the next few weeks of the Knowledge Unicorns homework group (they came up with the name and a logo and want to study the Octopus as a special project for September). The group officially starts next week.

I wanted to participate in the virtual Spark by the Freelancers Union tonight. The closest meeting is the Brooklyn chapter and that’s full (how can a virtual meeting be full?) and I feel strange about signing up for the DC meeting, so I guess I’m not doing it this time around. Oh, well.

At least there’s Remote Chat today. Then, I need to polish my article to send off on deadline tomorrow, and work on my review.

The weather’s been lovely the past few days. Perfect temperature, low humidity. I’ve enjoyed working out on the deck in the afternoons. Yes, taking the cats out in their playpens.

I have to put in another Chewy order this week. Those little dickenses eat a lot!

Results are coming in from yesterday’s primary. So far, so good. Let’s hope the ballots for the general election arrive on time.

Tomorrow, I have to set up a bunch of medical appointments, and also set an appointment so my mom can renew her driver’s license next month and we can renew the car’s registration. Good thing I have the Llewellyn money coming in to cover it.

Back to the page for me, and I hope you have a lovely Wednesday.