Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Waning Moon

No idea about the weather; it’s still dark out.

No graphic today. There’s nothing that encapsulates the combination of determination and despair I feel.

Busy weekend.

Friday was frustrating. I tried to book a vaccine appointment for this week. But, although, as of yesterday, I am eligible, the system did not update the eligibility categories for this week’s appointments. They’re not doing it until this week.

Which meant I wasn’t actually eligible, and, as usual, they lied.

So, no appointment for me this week. Hopefully, they’ll release more appointments on Thursday, and I can book something for next week.

Worked on Friday, then packed and worked on contest entries.

Did a dump run and a grocery run, decontaminated.

Responded to the friend of a friend of a friend’s email about her house; haven’t heard back yet, but, fingers crossed. Dealt with at least another dozen scams. The scams take so much time and energy.

Woke up Saturday morning to a sprinkling of snow on the roofs and the yard. Not much, quickly melted, but snow.

Saturday was about packing, laundry, and housework. I packed the built-in from my office – teapot collection, things I’ve collected through the years that I keep around to keep my spirits up.  Ordered a roll of bubble wrap and more tape, but also had to run out and buy another roll of bubble wrap. So I had to go through decontamination and all that, and it set me back.

Packed the gardening books and magazines. Tossed a lot of stuff I didn’t need.

Did the laundry, cleaned the house.

Client sent something around 5 PM Saturday that she wants done; I responded on Monday morning, assuring her it would go out that day. I am not on call, especially not on a holiday weekend.

Found out I didn’t get a fellowship for which I applied. Which is fine, because it was a long shot, and, at least I tried.

Easter Sunday, I packed up the cookbooks (except for one). The kitchen looks and feels totally different without the cookbooks. Packed some more decorations. Found a suitcase in the storage room full of clothes I’d never unpacked when we moved here. Sorted through it – stuff that still fits that I like, stuff that doesn’t, that I’ll give away. Repacked the suitcase with stuff from my closet.

Worked on contest entries. I’m through almost all the print books in the second category, and then I can finish the digital books. It will be hard to make the final choices. There’s quite a stack of really strong possibilities.

Looked at rental listings and got depressed.

Purged and tossed a bunch of stuff I don’t need. There’s another dump run coming up this week, or early next week, I think.

Worried about a good friend who has COVID.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, so that was good. The leftovers will make some good meals.

Had a few false starts on the article.

Up early on Monday.  Wasn’t feeling well at all. Managed a run to Trader Joe’s; home, decontaminated, turned around some client work. Sent out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries.

Rental listings depressing.

Fell asleep in the afternoon (I told you I wasn’t feeling well). Felt a little better after that.

Watched some short films written by Alan Bennett. Both funny and sad. In between the books I’m being paid to read, I’m still reading novels by Ovidia Yu, which I really enjoy. The series set in Singapore in 1936 is wonderful. I’m learning a lot about the history of the region, and she’s so skillful in the way she weaves it into the story.

Up early this morning. I have a lot of client work to get through today, and then I need to finish my article and send it to my editor.

Two companies responded to my LOIs with demands for unpaid, project-specific work samples, I sent them my contract for that. No doubt, I’ll never hear from either of them again, and that’s just fine with me. Ethical companies do not have unpaid labor as part of a hiring process. I have massive portfolio samples across a wide range of topics. Use critical reading skills. Or pay me for project-specific samples. Otherwise, we’re not a match.

Onward.

Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb

image courtesy of Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Weird few days, and I’m trying to keep a balance.

Did a focus group on Friday with the Arts Foundation (virtually). A lot of people had signed up, but only six women showed up. Six white women, and the lack of diversity did not pass me, at least, unnoticed. But it was a good conversation. There’s still a refusal to admit that if art is not seen as a viable profession, but simply a hobby, that artists cannot thrive. Not here, not anywhere. Only supporting rich artists who have second homes in this area isn’t going to help the artists that try to live and work here all year round. Until that is dealt with, it won’t get any better.

This being a beautiful place doesn’t make up for the lack of financial support and respect given to full time artists who LIVE HERE. There was a lot of talk about how art is an important economic engine for the Cape. THEN PAY ARTISTS A LIVING WAGE. Why should everyone BUT the artist be profiting?

I was both glad that I attended and frustrated.

Had a frustrating conversation with a potential new client with whom I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work. It was another of those inane interview questions from the HR HANDBOOK FOR THE STUPID. The question was “What achievement are you most proud of in the last year?”

Me: Survival.

Client: (nervous laugh): Well, you know, I mean, workwise.

Me: Survival.

Client: I mean, did you work, did you get anything done?

Me: Of course I did. I worked flat out since the start of the pandemic. Almost all remotely. But the most important thing was that we survived. I kept a roof over my head and food on the table and my family stayed ALIVE. There’s a pandemic going on. Everything else is secondary.

Client: Well, that doesn’t show much dedication to your work.

Me: I think we’re done here.

I mean, really, what an ass. It was a big red flag that the positive “work culture” this company supposedly touts is non-existent.

Another weird thing that happened: An envelope arrived from an unknown address in Mashpee. For those of you who don’t know the Cape, it’s about two towns closer to the canal/bridges than I am. When I opened it, a prayer card fell out and a typed letter.

The letter invited me to come and “celebrate the death of Jesus” at their evangelical church.

Um, what? Celebrate the death?

Now, it’s been a good many years since I was an Episcopalian, and even more years since I was an acolyte and did Holy Week services. But I remember MOURNING the death on Good Friday and CELEBRATING the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Even if I still was a Christian, which I am most certainly NOT, celebrating the man’s execution is not what Holy Week is about, at least not in any of the denominations I investigated before I became Episcopalian. As someone whose path has taken me in a far different direction than all of this bruhaha for Holy Week, the thought of celebrating a crucifixion makes me ill.

On top of that, why is a church direct mailing a bunch of random people? How did they get my name and address? It’s creepy.

Even further, there’s a pandemic. I’m not going to a large gathering, ESPECIALLY amongst creepy people like this who, I bet you dollars to doughnuts, don’t’ wear masks.

It’s very creepy and rather sickening.

I burned it all, just for good measure. In my cauldron, not in the fireplace, with rosemary, sage, and nettles.

Then I took a shower, because . . eeeeewwwwww.

I sent out a lot of LOIs on Friday – found an excellent market list of companies which interest me, researched them, and sent LOIs where appropriate.

A regular work-for-hire gig landed on my desk. But crunching the numbers – they want 15,000 words/week, but are only paying $400. That breaks down to 2c per word. 3000 words/day. In addition to that pay rate being appalling for the amount of work involved, at this point, until we are moved, I cannot imagine creating 3K/day. And I’m someone who regularly does 1-2.5K. Especially not for such low pay.

So that’s a pass.

The stimulus payments arrived; mine by check, my mom’s direct deposited – first time hers was a direct deposit. So that’s a relief.

Spent way too many hours in depressing rental listings. At least 45% of the ones showing up were scams, which was just so disheartening.

Finished one of the categories for the contest. Really, some delightful material.

Slept through the night Friday into Saturday for the first time in weeks.

Up early Saturday. Lots and lots of laundry. Took off the fleece sheets, washed them, packed them away until next winter. We’re back to flannel sheets, at least for this month. It’s still rather chilly most of the day.

Finished up the paperwork and the review of the winning entry in the category, and zipped the file.

Got out some LOIs. Hunted through more depressing rental listings.

Worked on packing. Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t sleep well Saturday into Sunday. Was awake by 2:30, worrying. My mom was sick Saturday night, which didn’t help.

Stumbled around Sunday, alternating between packing and working on contest entries. Some good stuff there.

Baked biscuits in the morning. Made chicken chow Mein from scratch for dinner.

Got depressed hunting through rental listings. Sent out more LOIs. Polished the paperwork for the category I finished judging.

It started raining in the late afternoon and was very windy. But we need the rain.

Celebrated the full moon.

Looking back at some of my favorite short stories that didn’t really work as a set of linked short stories, I think they might work better as novellas. Set in the same place, with some characters crisscrossing, but as stand-alone novellas. I don’t know when I can actually sit down and write them, but I’ll play with some ideas.

I’m not writing enough, other than marketing writing work, and it’s throwing the rest of me out of balance. But I feel like all my energy has to be focused on the move right now.

Was awake by 2:30 AM again Monday morning. Sent out some LOIs, looked at rental listings, sent out a few inquiries.

Had to send a couple of gentle nudges to interview sources for the article.  Looking for some additional sources, just in case.

I’m alarmed at the rise in local COVID cases, but not surprised at all. People are idiots. While it looks like we may have to move to a more populated area for at least the next year, I then want to go somewhere more unpopulated, so I can work remotely and avoid people.

Had to work onsite at a client’s yesterday. I was supposed to be on my own, but the other two showed up, and, once again, it was a battle to get them to follow basic COVID protocols. I’m getting sick of it. I’m tired of playing Russian Roulette with them.

It was busy and stressful, but I got a lot done, and I have a lot to get done remotely today before I have to go back in the office with them again tomorrow.

Came home and decontaminated. Was tempted to have a martini with lunch, but I had more work to do in the afternoon, so I didn’t.

Sent out more LOIs. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the article.

Had a depressing time looking at listings. I had a lovely exchange with a manager of an apartment complex in Hudson that’s lovely, but what she has is too small (and expensive for us). Still, I want to keep in touch. A house in Nashua that looked legit turned out to be yet another scam. There were about a dozen even more obvious scams I didn’t bother with, and way too much far out of our price range.

Leftovers for dinner, because I was too tired to cook. Watched some more DOC MARTIN.

At least I slept through the night, until Charlotte woke me around 4 AM. I have a big stack of client work today, along with a couple of errands, LOIs, article work, contest entries, looking for a home, and packing.

I’m trying to keep our spirits up, but it’s hard.

I didn’t get to send the information on the completed category yesterday, so that will go out tomorrow.

One step at a time, right?

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.

Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.

Tues. Oct. 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 160 — Creative Evolution, Unacceptable Slurs, and Soulless Ghouls

image courtesy of josemdelaa via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cold

It’s been a challenging few days, but before we get into that, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Barbara Ross’s newest release (today is release day), JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE MADWOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s wonderful.

I like Barbara’s writing anyway, but her new series is one of my favorites. When she sent me the ARC, I sat down and read it in one go.

Back? Liked it? Ordered it? Okay, great, we can go on.

I only managed the first few sessions on the NetZero Climate Change Conference on Friday. I was so sick, I couldn’t even lie down on the floor of my office and listen (with Charlotte in the chair, well, not taking notes, but interested in the speakers). I had to get to the bathroom every few minutes.

So I gave up, took some medicine, and called it a day. The migraine was awful, and, after awhile, I couldn’t even read.

I did manage to read a thriller by a popular author. The action was good, and I liked the characters, although I thought a lot about them strained credibility. But then, she used the witch slur toward the end and it’s 2020, authors, especially those who claim they advocate equality and inclusion, should know better. She is crossed off my list and I won’t read her anymore unless I’m paid to review her.

Read more Louise Penny over the weekend, and enjoyed it.

Saturday, the migraine came and went. It was worse in the morning, and let up a bit later in the day. I had to do a dash to Star Market for, well, more than I expected, but with the virus case load rising daily, I’m trying to stock up. We both seem to be having food sensitivity to pork lately – not surprising with the rolled-back food regulations and people forced to come to work sick at the processing plants. The pancetta from TJ seems to be okay, but we’re steering clear of other pork for now. We haven’t eaten beef since probably January or February for the same reason – we feel awful whenever we eat it.

The Crystal Bar soap order actually arrived, so I have a present for my mom’s 96th birthday on Thursday. I’m grateful that they got it here in time, but I still hesitate to do holiday shopping with them. Maybe after the holidays, when it can arrive whenever, and a month to ship won’t be an issue.

Laundry and housework, usual Saturday stuff. Managed to bake challah bread, which turned out really well. I masked up and packed the Halloween treat bags, so they can quarantine and be safe by Saturday.

Migraine receded enough so that I could read. I read a romance novel (I don’t read many of those), which I enjoyed – until the end, when she used the witch slur. It’s an older one, and I don’t remember her using it in other books. If I read a more contemporary book and she uses it again – yup, she’ll be crossed off the list, too. Don’t care if she’s a NYT Bestseller. Started reading another book, set at Walden Pond, by a different author – same slur. Closed the book, put it in the stack to go back to the library, crossed that author off my list.

You can’t claim to support female friendship and empowerment and call another woman a slur that could have literally killed her in the past – and, with the current Supreme Court, very likely will be a danger in the years ahead – and have me believe you are anything but a hypocrite.

If you use “witch” to define a woman as nasty and cruel instead of as a spellcasting badass improving the world, you are NOT inclusive, you are NOT empowering, you’re spitting in MY face, and I will not support your work.

Write whatever and however you want, but I am not your audience.

It is 2020. Slurs like that are no longer acceptable. Well, they were NEVER acceptable, but finally, people are being called out on the “but everyone uses it.” That doesn’t make it okay. In the same way people who actually give a damn stop using the term “gypsy” they – and we – need to stop using “witch”. Even Broadway has moved away from calling chorus dancers “gypsies” and, within the community, that’s always been a term of affection because the chorus is the backbone of the musical. They even changed the GYPSY OF THE YEAR event back in 2018 because theatre people actually walk their talk. That’s now the RED BUCKET FOLLIES, and the Gypsy Robe, which has a beautiful, amazing tradition, is now called the Legacy Robe.

Because theatre people give a damn.

Saturday night, watched PAJAMA GAME, the 1957 version with Doris Day. I’d never seen the film before, although I knew the score. Stanley Donen co-directed with George Abbott. Bob Fosse was the choreographer, in one of his early jobs.

It was fascinating, in the big picnic scene, to watch the transition from the Donen-Kelly style of choreography, which is very up on the toes, perky, over-the-top comic and cheerful to the more down and earthy beginnings of the Fosse style. In that one number, you could watch choreography evolve. It was fascinating.

I enjoyed the premise of labor relations, although it was fluffied up to be a 1957 movie musical. I did think the Sid character was creepy and inappropriate, demanding a relationship with Babe. Other than his looks, he didn’t have much going for him on the positive side, and way too much on the creepy, predatory side.

Carol Haney was great at Gladys. I’m so glad she won a Tony for the Broadway production, got to play the role in the movie, and then won three more Tonys as a choreographer.

Sunday, still struggling with the headache. The landlord dropped off the extended lease. The clock has started, and we have to be out of here by April 30, 2021.

I have no idea where we’ll end up, but it will have been 10 and a half years in this house by then, as a renter, and it’s time to go.

Roasted a chicken (with garlic and rosemary), made mashed potatoes, and my carrot-leek-parsley concoction in mushroom sauce. Of course, I saved the vegetable bits for stock later this week, and made chicken stock from the bones.

Stocking up for a tough winter.

Watched the film version of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Elizabeth Taylor, Len Cariou, Diana Rigg,  Lesley-Anne Down. Directed by Hal Prince (with whom I’ve worked), music & lyrics by Sondheim (with whom I’ve worked). Choreographed by Patricia Birch (with whom I’ve worked). Again, I knew the score, but hadn’t seen the film. There was an undercurrent of meanness I didn’t like, although there was also some sly humor.  I still loathe “Send in the Clowns” although in context, it made more sense.

The White House admitted they’re not even going to try to do anything about the pandemic. They’re gleeful just to let as many people die as possible. They are mass murderers and ALL of them need to be destroyed, not land in cushy corporate jobs after this.

The Democrats failed us – AGAIN – and let the nomination go through. There is ALWAYS a way to stop something like this. Republicans have done it for my entire life. But the Dems don’t have the cojones to do what needs to be done.

Part of me believes, too, that it’s deliberate, because it was useful as a fundraiser. Sorry, no one who allowed this to happen gets another penny from me unless and until they remove both Kavanaugh and Barrett from the Court.

The Republican ghouls drinking champagne as 225,000 Americans died from their neglect is unacceptable. This is not a time for the dead to rest in peace. This is a time for the dead to howl and haunt and drive every single one of those sycophants to an early grave. The Republicans don’t have souls – they sold them – but I want them to burn in the eternal hell they keep talking about for the rest of us.

Yesterday, I managed to get some client work done. Got home, did extra decontamination because the damn postal carrier kept coming in to the office to talk to me WITHOUT A MASK – why is this allowed? The state has a mask mandate. He “didn’t have it with him” and I kept telling him to step outside and keep an even greater distance, or, better yet, GO AWAY UNTIL HE HAD HIS MASK. Fucking dumbass.

I was masked, but still. Unacceptable.

Our virus numbers are back to where they were in May, and we’ve had three consecutive days back over 1000 new cases each day. This is not acceptable.

Tried to watch a documentary on Quebec last night, but the disc wouldn’t play properly. Oh, well, at least we got to see the segment on Montreal.

If I’m ever in a position to buy a second home/apartment, I want it to be in Montreal. Of course, I need to own my first home first!

The migraine is threatening to come forward again, and it’s already been an annoying day, and it’s not even 9 AM. I have to run an errand this morning, and then I have to buckle down and get things done, no matter how bad I feel.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which will be fun. But I’m already tired, and it’s early in the day. Of course, I was awake at least three times, from the same nightmare. I kept falling asleep, landing where I was when I’d woken up previously, and continuing on. It was about  being trapped in a cult using electro-shock on its members until they either behaved, lost their cognitive ability, or died.

Nothing subtle about that one, is there?

Have a good one, people.

Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

sunset-174276_1920
image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There’s a post called “Ride the Dragon” up on the GDR site, about trying to maneuver through all the chaos. Because there’s plenty of chaos.

Friday was just a damn roller coaster, with that eclipse. Eclipse in Sagittarius during four retrogrades. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again any time soon.

I did, however, have an excellent day’s work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, which made up for a lot of other stuff.

I’ve been invited to be a guest on a podcast next month. If we can work out the dates and times, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Had to do a curbside pickup, but communications had gotten confused, so it didn’t happen, but then we made arrangements and it did, and it was fine. I must have written the time down wrong.

With any luck, the latest Comcast battle is resolved. Why they texted me a threat when I haven’t received a bill, and I’m not scheduled to receive a bill until June 16 and don’t owe them any money is beyond me. It’s very typical of Comcast, but I’m sick of their crap. We seem to have worked it out. Not that anything but the laptop will connect to the network, but as long as the laptop is going, I will deal. To threaten to cut off the internet for an unpaid bill that hasn’t even been sent yet and certainly isn’t due yet is not what I consider customer service.

But then, Comcast doesn’t give a damn about their customers, because they are the only option.

Anyway, by 10:30 in the morning on Friday, I was done with PEOPLE and decided to spend the rest of the day in my fictional worlds.

And then UPS, who claimed my package was on the truck and out for delivery early in the day, now claims I “might” get the package by the 10th. WTF? This is the second time in a month that they claim a package is on the truck for delivery, and then, suddenly, it’s nowhere to be found. Yarmouth is only a few miles away. It’s not that hard to get from there to where I live.

Fortunately, Friday’s package didn’t have anything date-and-time sensitive; but Saturday’s package did.

Saturday, I was up early after lots of weird dreams. Wrote a chapter on BARD’S LAMENT. Got geared up and went to Star Market for groceries, including the stuff I need for the pre-op. I didn’t find everything I needed, but most of it. People were masked, they distanced. I found a jar of yeast for baking, and feel rich. I can make lots of bread (although soon it will be too hot to make bread).

Came home, went through full disinfectant protocols, did the disinfectant laundry, did the regular laundry, got through a pile of email, got out an LOI.

There were a couple of other places where I almost sent out an LOI, but as I dug into the companies, some red flags went up, and I decided not to.

Most of Saturday was about writing. I wrote 21 pages (two chapters) on BARD’S LAMENT and it was glorious to be back in the swing of it.

Of course, after 21 pages, I was out of words and practically a blithering idiot.

Saturday’s package from UPS didn’t show up, either. That’s three packages in the last month that make it as far as Yarmouth and then no one knows where they are for a few days, until I pitch a fit and they track them down. UPS, on their website, is trying to blame protests. If it was a delaying in getting to the Cape, it would make sense. But the packages get to Yarmouth, 11 miles away, and then vanish for days. It takes longer to travel the last 11 miles than 3000 miles across the country. Makes no damn sense at all.

Up early on Sunday. Wrote another chapter (10 pages) on BARD’S LAMENT. I was very happy with it, especially since I didn’t know how to fill the chapter, but needed to, because it had to be Jared’s chapter, not Sylvie’s, and I came up with something really cool that will serve the plot and feed into the series arc.

I tried not to feel too smug about it, because then it would come back to bite me in the butt.

Got some yard work done out in the front beds. Cut back a lot in the front and the sides. I still have to haul some debris to the back, and rake out the front beds, but it looks better. The hostas are taking over.

My friend sent me the next draft of her screenplay. I started reading it and couldn’t stop. I really like what she’s doing with it.

That got me thinking about two of my screenplays that are languishing. I re-read VISCERAL INVISIBLES, a paranormal action/adventure/romance. I did some tweaks, but, overall, I’m happy with it. I need to do some polishing and then decide where I want to submit. I’m worried about one scene in the first third that’s on the long side, but it’s necessary to interaction. The rest of the scenes and the pace are nice and tight. The pace in the long scene is good, too, and it’s just the two main characters, but it’s longer than standard for a screenplay.

Now that I have the laptop, I have to get new scriptwriting software. I hope I won’t have to retype everything. I’m trying Trelby, and not loving it so far. I can’t edit what I import, so what’s the damn point? I know eventually I will just have to suck it up and get Final Draft, but that’s not in the budget right now.

I sent it off to a friend to read, even though there’s formatting wonk.

UPS still has my packages in Never-Never Land. Maybe they’ll show up at some point.

Monday, I was up early. Had a decent first session on BARD’S LAMENT.

Put some checks into the ATM (thank goodness for hand sanitizer in the car). Went onsite for a client. I was on my own for most of it, got a lot done, had a bit of safe overlap with a colleague, got out.

Had to stop at CVS to get my prescription for the pre-op. They filled it this time. Not looking forward to it.

CVS was packed. But they’re enforcing masks, and, while I was there, made someone who tried to come in without a mask leave. That’s the way it should be. Not “suggested” or “encouraged.” Follow the damn guidelines or get the hell out.

I complain a lot about CVS, but in this case, they were right.

Took me over THREE HOURS to pay my AT&T bill. Tried putting it through on the automated system, the way I always do. It wouldn’t work. Sent me round in an endless loop. There better not be multiple pulls on the account. Kept sending me to a customer service rep and disconnecting me. Tried to pay online. The online system said I don’t exist. We went round and round for that a few times, until it finally admitted the system was down. Tried customer service again – they “can’t” process the payment because THEIR system is down. I HAVE to process online. Only online is down, but the only thing the rep is allowed to say is that I’ve been “given other options.” The fact that the options DON’T WORK doesn’t matter. Tried to get through on social media. They claimed to help and sent me right back into the system that DOESN’T WORK BECAUSE IT’S DOWN.

I finally managed a work-around into the online system, past the system error and paid the damn bill.

They were dumb enough to send me a survey about my customer experience. Not that it will make a difference, but they got an earful.

Time to find a new carrier.

T-Mobile sucks. Verizon sucky-sucks (including adding illegal charges into their bills). Now AT&T sucks. I’m running out of options. Maybe if telecommunications regulations were actually ENFORCED so companies like these carriers and ISPs like Comcast HAD to follow the rules, it wouldn’t be such a mess.

Using COVID as an excuse is no longer an option. If businesses get what they’ve wanted, as they have, with reckless re-opening, and people are running around pretending it’s “normal” – you who have insisted on the re-opening no longer have the option of using COVID as an excuse for screwing your customers. You don’t get it both ways.

Time to dismantle the major companies.

Time to eat the rich.

Use salt, pepper, and some seasoning. They’re bound to give you heartburn.

So I lost a half day of work trying to pay a fucking bill. I wasn’t even arguing the bill. All I was trying to do was PAY it. How messed up is that?

After getting ahead on my writing, I fell behind because losing a half day means I lost the gains. What I’d banked is gone.

Managed to get out a couple of LOIs, though.

UPS again didn’t bother to deliver the packages. They delivered next door, so it’s not like they’re not around. When I contacted them, I was told, again, it’s “the shipper’s problem.” One shipper is known to me; I got in touch and they are looking into it. The other shipper is a new small business that I tried, and I got in touch. I haven’t heard back yet, but they’re in California and are a small business, so it might take a few days. But I’m not sure I’ll do business with them again. It SEEMS the package was handed off to the post office, but it wasn’t delivered through them either. This particular item was something I NEEDED. I’d ordered it with plenty of time to get it here, and it’s still not.

Now, if UPS would shoot me an email when there’s a delay and say, “Hey, sorry you didn’t get it, it’ll be there tomorrow” or, “We made a mistake, it went on the wrong truck, we’re bringing it back as fast as we can” – actual customer service – I’d be fine. Mistakes happen, we’re all under pressure.

But this attitude that it doesn’t matter, and they don’t know or care WHERE it is, and it’s the shipper’s problem – nope.

I also have to start taking screen shots of the tracking, because they manipulate information and then claim I didn’t see what I saw. So, moving forward, screen shots every time I check the tracking it is. Another burden on the consumer because the business can’t be bothered to do their jobs or be honest with their customers.

That adds another layer to whatever shopping I do moving forward. I will now have to contact the company to make sure they don’t ship via UPS, because if they do, I’m going to have to pass on whatever it is unless it’s an absolute necessity.

When I lived in NY, I avoided UPS as a shipper whenever possible. Their policy was they did not deliver to residential addresses during day time hours. The fact that I worked remotely and then worked at the theatre at night didn’t matter. It was a residential address; therefore, they would only deliver after 6 PM. If I wasn’t there to receive the package, well, they tried, and, after a few days, they’d send it back.

The pandemic forced them to acknowledge that people actually do work remotely, but for years I had to lose packages because they refused to deliver to me during the day. Or I had to have them sent to a nearby office. Or just not buy from a company that shipped via UPS.

If they’re short on drivers because drivers are getting sick – we need to know that, too. Because it wouldn’t surprise me. The Fed Ex drivers are masked. I have yet to see a UPS driver masked. The USPS drivers, it’s hit and miss.

Again, if you’re going to push for this reckless re-opening and demand that people run around putting their lives in danger for your profit, you don’t then get to blame the virus or the protesters when you don’t’ deliver the service for which you’re being paid.

And, as far as I’m concerned, the blaming the protestors stance UPS has taken on their website is unacceptable.

Again, a couple of little packages aren’t that big a deal with the world burning down. But the fact that these businesses are using the pandemic and the protestors as excuses to not do what they’re paid for when they’ve been part of the push for the reckless re-opening is not okay.

At least I had a good discussion with one of my state senators about including labor in the re-opening process. He confirmed that Governor Baker has not included labor in the committee that advises him on the phased openings. But on the local committee, of which my senator is a part, there are representatives from labor, especially unions. So that’s sort of helpful, although the construction guys are notorious for not wearing masks.

But it was a good overall discussion about different problems and different options. I appreciate that my senator takes the time to have a conversation, not respond with platitudes and sound bytes.

Slept badly, up early. I hope I’ll have a good first writing session of the day. Then, I have to gear up and hit Trader Joe’s. After I decontaminate, I have client work, and, I’m hoping for some more writing.

A bunch of library books were arbitrarily deleted from my hold list, which is a little disturbing. Especially since I don’t remember what they were; someone recommends a book, I put it on hold rather than writing it down (unless I buy it). If my local library had a reason for it, I’m fine with it, but if someone in the overall system made that arbitrary decision, I’m not.

I don’t like all these decisions being made without consultation, on way too many levels!

But the additional writing might be at night, because I’m participating in a driving memorial for George Floyd this afternoon, with Lower Cape Indivisible. At first, I thought it was kind of a strange event, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. A funeral procession to honor him and stand (drive) with BLM that keeps us distanced (and yes, everyone is asked to be masked).

There’s plenty I can’t do right now, especially in person, due to the heightened pre-op protocols. But this is something I CAN do, along with listening to the changes people want and need, and working with my elected officials to bring them about.

I am dreading the upcoming Mercury retrograde, piled on top of everything else.

Published in: on June 9, 2020 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 22 — Businesses Can’t Have it Both Ways (Although They’re Trying)  
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Tues. May 26, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 8

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid

I feel much better after taking some time off. Not that I was sitting around doing nothing. It was a busy few days. But it was a good few days, with fewer external pressures than internal ones, and it helped me get clarity on a few issues I needed in order to move forward.

I have new covers for all six Topic Workbooks. New editions are coming out over the next few months. I’m in the process of updating the information. Instead of uniform covers, each now has a unique cover with a Topic Workbook logo. I am going to take the old workbooks off Smashwords as the new ones are revised, and put the new ones up through a different distributor.

I’m working on the update for the Submission Systems workbook. With the way publishing has changed over the past few years, it needs updating, especially when it comes to things like online portfolios.

I’m hoping I can start rolling them out by the end of June or beginning of July. That will depend on how fast I can update them, because they need two full weeks pulled from distribution before I can release them via the new distributor.

The 99 cent sale is still on for PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. That will be on until May 31, and I have promotions up via Tweetdeck every day.

Worked on some fiction writing, but didn’t push. Have to start pushing again this week, because there are deadlines, expectations, necessities. I have to keep the long-term balls up in the air while also pushing harder for short-term, immediate income balls. So it means longer hours and cutting more frustrations out of my life, unless they pay a lot in the immediate short term.

Got out a few LOIs, in spite of being, technically, on break.

It was pretty out on Friday, so I got some flower planting done. Cleaned out some boxes in the basement, got some files organized, tossed a lot of stuff I no longer need or can use. Sat on the deck for a bit.

One neighbor, who’s been sick with the virus, had a party on Friday night. He’s still sick, lost half his body weight, but he had people over, no masks, no social distancing. The wind carried over the part of the conversation about “catching it from those Chinese people” he works with. I’m disappointed in the ignorance.

The neighbors on the other side had company in and out all weekend, too. For some reason, they seem to think if they sit outside in the driveway, they won’t get sick. So they set their cars up like a barrier to the street, and put plastic tables and chairs out in the driveway, in front of the garage, and have people over. Now, they have a large yard and a deck. So I have no idea what the reasoning is. But hey, if it works for them, great.

Saturday, I lost count of the loads of laundry I did – mattress pads, blankets, winter stuff along with the usual sheets, towels, and clothes. Laundry all damn day. It was cold and rainy. I also baked tollhouse cookies. Cleaned out some more boxes. Progress is slow on purging the basement. There’s an overwhelming amount to do, and there’s also the psychological aspects of letting go of parts of my past that have often defined me.

But it’s time I redefined myself.

Kripalu is closed to visitors for the rest of the year, which had to be a difficult decision for them, but the right one. The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe is also cancelled in August. Again, a tough decision, but the right one in the long run.

Did some of my Susanna Centlivre reading, so I can start forming the play in my head before I try to write it down. I have some characters and scenes percolating, but I’m still trying to find a catalyst and a plot.

Read Deanna Chase’s WITCHING FOR GRACE, which was fun. Read two other mysteries, by different authors, which I found sort of “meh.”

Tessa, Charlotte, and Willa all spent some time in the same room without grumbling at each other, which was excellent progress. Tessa and Willa can manage quite well, and Willa and Charlotte are fine, but Tessa and Charlotte still have issues most of the time. But we’re working on it.

There’s so much talk about opening businesses “safely” but it’s just not happening. People are travelling in just for the day or the weekend. They’re not quarantining. They’re not wearing masks. There are no immediate consequences against them for being irresponsible, and it puts the rest of us at risk. It’s infuriating.

So I’m just plugging along, doing the best I can to keep my family safe.

I have a confession to make: I haven’t ordered on Amazon thus far, except eBooks to support fellow authors. But I broke down this weekend and ordered bamboo sheets. We need some new sheets, and I wanted to try the bamboo ones. I also ordered a “playpen” so I can take Willa and Tessa out on the deck (though not at the same time). But the latter was from Chewy, not Amazon.

Scored two absolutely adorable, padded ice cream parlor chairs on Craigslist from a place in Cotuit on Sunday morning. It was a no-contact pick-up. I was geared up and sanitized when I put them in the car, then disinfected them and myself when I got home. They are adorable and a perfect addition to our enchanted deck garden.

Yesterday, got some writing done in the morning. Did admin work, and prepped some paperwork that has to go off today.

Working on a big website project, and also working to update/cleanup/bring in new content on all my other websites. AND do new editions of the Topic Workbooks. AND work on the old Llewellyn material. AND get back on track with the books.

A lot to juggle.

Trying to figure out how to up the stakes on the book I’m working on (the untitled one, in longhand, that’s my first writing session of the day). I’m in the second third of it, and need to raise the stakes and make it more active. I’m trying to keep this book fairly lean. I keep reminding myself I don’t need to put everything in this book. Keep it simple. Deal with the main plot and a couple of subplots that are setting up longer arcs. Originally, I was going to have the plot thread through a long-term piece in which the protagonist was involved. Now, I want to compress the coming action in to the next few days. I think that will help pace.

I have a telemedicine conference with my doctor this morning, and then I have to go onsite for a client. Supposedly, I will be alone in the office today. Let’s hope it’s true. I have a mask, etc. anyway, just in case. Although this client does the whole passive aggressive mask thing “I can’t understand you when you wear a mask.” Well, then, let’s go back to fully remote. There is NO reason I need to be in the office more than an hour a week to download photographs that I then use in the materials. EVERYTHING else I do can be done remotely. If you’re going to force me into the office, then you can damn well wear the mask and not bitch about it.

This week is going to be challenging, on multiple levels. I’m trying to keep my cool, without letting myself be a doormat.

I am so sick of assholes.

 

Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.

 

Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here  
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Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity  
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Tues. Dec. 3, 2019: Catching Up on the Dailies

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Nasty weather

It’s been nearly a week since I shared my daily life. And quite a week it’s been.

Tuesday night, we decided not to go to Maine for the big 60-people-for-dinner-at-the-rented-hall. Between plumbing issues and furnace issues and car issues and traffic issues and my back issues, it didn’t make sense.

They were disappointed, but they understood.

Wednesday morning, the plumber showed up early. Put a new faucet in the kitchen sink, new valves, worked on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. I scrubbed out under the sink (where it had also leaked) and left it open, so it could dry

By the time he left, it would have been too late to get on the road anyway, and the traffic was dreadful. So was the weather. I was grateful to be at home. Popped out to get a couple of things we needed to cook the meal at home.

Managed to get out the polished version of “Pier-less Crime” out and the company is excited about it.

Watched ROMAN HOLIDAY with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s been years since I saw it, and I’d forgotten a lot of it.

Sketched out some story ideas (in words, not actual sketches). Figured out more of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, which is the play about Canaletto’s sisters.

Up early on Thursday morning. Made the stuffing, got the turkey in the oven. Wondered if maybe I went overboard buying a 20 lb. turkey.

For some reason, the meal prep upset Charlotte. She was very agitated. I wonder if she was moved after a large family meal more than once?

We had a high wind advisory with warnings of power outages, so I put it in a little early, to make sure the oven was on and we could actually have the meal. We had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas with it. Tiramisu for dessert. We ate about a half hour or so earlier than normal (in Maine, we usually sit down around 1 PM).

The meal was excellent, absolutely perfect. The weather outside howled and was frightful.

I felt like I did dishes for hours, though. My own damn fault, because we used some of our favorite old pieces, all of which have to be hand-washed. Which is just fine.

Make stock out of the bones, and then turkey soup. We also have plenty of leftovers. Yum, yum!

Too tired to watch anything on Thanksgiving night. Read. My back was bothering me. Everyone on our little street was away for the holiday. It was blissfully quiet.

Up early Friday morning. Put in the Chewy order. That was the extent of my Black Friday shopping. Put away the washed dishes. Two runs to the dump, one for household garbage and one for leaves.

Got the decorations out of the Christmas Closet and sorted them. Got the tree down and put it up, just the tree and the lights. Tied in place, because we don’t know how Willa and Charlotte will react to it.

Switched out the fabric on the various surfaces to Winter Holiday fabric, everywhere but in my office. My office is where everything we don’t know where to put while we’re decorating goes, so it will be the last to be decorated.

Put up the musical instrument fabric over the fireplace. Put up the red ribbons around the doors and windows (we hang cards from the ribbons around the doors and the ribbons look pretty around the windows).

Got the Advent table set up with the wreath, four silver candle stands, and the centerpiece this year is the Broadway snow globe.

Believe it or not, that took all day.

In my NYC apartment, everything only fit one way. Here in the house, we have the option to do things differently from year to year, which is fun.

Fish and chips for dinner, which is always fun to make and eat.

Re-watched A ROOM WITH A VIEW on Friday night. Much more critical of it this time around, although the locations and the camerawork are gorgeous.

Up early again on Saturday morning. Paid some bills. Had to go to Home Depot for something I couldn’t get elsewhere, and was so disgusted I left without buying anything. I hate Home Depot. I don’t like to spend money there anyway because the owner is a rightwing lunatic, so I avoid it unless I have no other choice.

Went to AC Moore. Will be sad when they close after the holidays. I like them as an alternative to Michael’s. Found a few things I needed. Went to Trader Joe’s for a few things, and to Christmas Tree Shops, where I ended up spending more than I planned, but I would have done so over the course of the month, so might as well get it all done in one go.

Went to put gas in the car — and couldn’t get the tank flap unlocked. I still had a half a tank of gas, so no reason to panic yet, but I was upset. I can’t afford another car repair. Headed to Country Gardens to get the plain wreath for the front door, so I could decorate it. Then the hatch wouldn’t open. I was furious. That was just fixed a few months ago. I’m tired of them fixing stuff and then, a few months down the line, it needs to be fixed again.

Driving away, suddenly the tank latch worked. So I turned around, headed back to the gas station, and filled up, just in case. The hatch started working again, too. At no point in any of this did any warning lights come on.

Decorated the wreath for the front door. Finished decorating the fireplace mantel. We put the carolers up there again this year, against the backdrop of the musical instrument fabric. The blue poinsettia garland hangs below the carolers. We have gold bells hanging center top, and, above that, by the ceiling, holly and ivy and gold ribbon and a gold musical instrument swag.

Unpacked a few other boxes of ornaments, but it took a long time and not a lot seemed to get done.

Got four loads of laundry done, though, and outlined two novels. Decided an idea that was going to be a Thanksgiving story would really be a Solstice/Christmas/New Year story.

Worked on the book for review.

Instead of cooking what I planned to for dinner, Twitter pals raving about Turkey leftover sandwiches inspired me to make gigantic dinner sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Delicious!

Read and made notes on a few projects.

Up early on Sunday. Worked on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT for a few hours, before I started back in on the decorating.

The Santa collection was set up on the Behemoth. Ornaments top the ribbons on the doors and windows. Pine cones will be added later. More ornamentation was added to the mantel. Most of the tree is decorated, but that usually is a work in progress until it comes down. But enough is on so that I could put on the tree skirt. The kitchen tree and the kitchen nutcracker are done, and I unpacked and washed the holiday mugs. Which means I have to pack away the same number of day-to-day mugs, so there’s room in the cabinet.

Turkey pot pie for dinner, a little reading and writing in the night. I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I went to bed early.

The weather turned on Sunday — rain, sleet, then back to rain by Monday morning.

Up early on Monday, morning routine and some writing. Getting ahead on blog posts. Writing a letter to fight for insurance again. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars and begging in order to get onto insurance every year. Romney-care DOES NOT WORK. We need a single-payer system.

I’m updating my freelance contract, and will update the website to reflect that. Rates are going up for 2020. When the locals balk, I just add more remote clients, who understand that skill and quality are worth the money. I have never lived anywhere that skills are so disregarded as they are here. The only thing respected is coming in rich.

Working on the release information, media kit, excerpts, promotion, etc. for GRAVE REACH, which releases on Thursday the 5th. I’m very excited about this book. I achieved what I set out to do with it. I learned a lot from this book, and that will feed in to the rest of the books in the series.

Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and also getting back into the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Worked on the book for review. I hope to have the review out either later today or tomorrow, latest.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, getting into the holiday madness. Onsite again today. Finally got back to meditation group after missing the last two weeks. It was much-needed.

The sink is working just fine, but the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is still leaking, so the landlord is going to have to deal with it.

Still lots of decorating to do, especially in my office.

I’m enjoying the Advent calendars, though.

Need to start writing cards this week. The overseas cards need to go out on Friday.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.