Wed. July 14, 2021: Allowing Myself Ease

image courtesy of PIRO4D via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

By this weekend, we are on track to have as much rain in the state in half a month as we usually get all summer. I’m glad it hasn’t been beastly hot, but it would be nice to see the sun every now and again.

Yesterday morning, I took the laundry down the street to the laundromat. This is the first time in my life I’ve lived in a building without laundry. There’s nothing wrong with the laundromat – it’s clean, it was mostly empty. But I hated it. I also hated that one of the machines ate my money without working. I will invoice the company for that.

The purchase of a stackable washer/dryer to put on the hookups in the laundry room in the apartment is on my list. It will probably be spring before I can afford it, and I can deal with the laundromat until then, but having my own laundry facilities is important.

When I came back, I was wiped out, for no good reason. I don’t understand why I can’t get my feet back under me. All I want to do is sleep.

So that’s what I did, most of the day. Slept. And re-read Terry Pratchett’s THE FIFTH ELEPHANT, which I’d taken with me to the laundromat.

This puts me behind in my work, and I have to make up for it today. But I needed the rest. I feel a little better today, especially after morning yoga and meditation. I found my zafu; I’m sitting in my bedroom for the moment, although I might set up a mediation space elsewhere.

My eyes are bothering me today, but that’s just too bad for me, because I have a lot of computer work to get done. Hopefully, I can participate in Remote Chat this afternoon. I’ve missed that group.

And maybe get a little unpacking done.

Working with Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION and writing in the journal first thing in the morning is helping, creatively. I can’t believe I’ve lost all my confidence in my ability to create anything. The moving stress knocked the stuffing out of me on multiple levels. The months of feeling like a failure because of obstacles in the moving process carried over into everything else. I have to break down those barricades and get back to my creative self. It exists in there, somewhere. I have to find a way to set it free, to give it space, and to get back to the dailiness of it. All of the projects I worked on pre-move seem so far removed, both physically and psychologically. I’ve never felt so disconnected from my creativity, especially the writing. The writing has always been like breathing to me, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to breathe.

So I’m working on breath in meditation, and hoping that leads me back to the page. It’s frightening to be in this place, but I can’t focus on the fear, but on the healing.

Patience. I have to be patient with myself. Six months’ worth of stress does not resolve in six days. Patience.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress

image courtesy of Garoch via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

Still dark out; it’s been raining all weekend, so maybe some sun?

Busy, busy, busy.

I was wiped out on Friday, but managed to turn around a quick coverage that came in and needed to be done right away. That threw the rest of the day out of whack, although I managed to get a Trader Joe’s run and a Lambert’s run in.

The tourist hordes have already descended, and they are more disgusting than ever. They’re nastier than ever. I intervened three different times at Trader Joe’s when tourists were rude to staff. They have NO RIGHT to this behavior. As I said to one, who threatened to leave and never return to Cape Cod, “Go. There are enough decent human beings who want to visit to keep the economy going. We don’t need YOU.”

The staff at Trader Joe’s has gone above and beyond since the pandemic started. I will not stand by and see them abused by twatty tourists who can’t behave with basic human decency.

On top of that, all these tourists in their Lexus and BMW and Mercedes are driving around tossing trash out of their windows onto people’s lawns. Absolutely disgusting.

The rain came pounding in on Friday night, and I’m petty enough to be pleased.

Charlotte was upset by the storm, so at about 3:30, I went down to the couch. She settled in, purring, and we dozed for a bit; then I was up and doing a furniture inventory so that I can give some actual information to the moving companies from whom I’m getting quotes. It will be difficult to estimate the boxes. I’m going to do a rough inventory of those by the end of the weekend, and then try to figure how many more I have to pack.

I packed all day Saturday, and felt I got nowhere. It was so frustrating. This while getting the laundry done and trying to finish a book for review and send out LOIs. It was raining like crazy, so at least I didn’t have to worry about the yard.

I also donated about 3 cases of wet cat food to the MSPCA down the street. None of these cats like wet food; I’ve tried all kinds. It makes more sense to donate it somewhere it will be used, either for the shelter cats, or as part of the shelter’s pet pantry program for people who are struggling.

My big fear now is that I’ll run out of boxes. But I’ll pack whatever I have and then see what I still need.

I’m so exhausted, and I’m just accepting the fact that I will live in a state of perpetual exhaustion until we are all moved.

I hope the lease comes through today or tomorrow. I’m going to be nervous until then. Because if something goes wonky and we don’t get this apartment, we are in real trouble.

Early Sunday morning (around 5:30), I was on the computer, working on LOIs, when movement outside the window caught my eye. A large coyote trotted through the yard, holding a dead turkey in his mouth. He looked both ways before crossing the street, and off he went, down around the corner. It’s the first coyote I’ve seen all season. He was gorgeous. I wonder if it’s one of the ones who was raised in our yard a few years back?

It was still a little disconcerting.

Sunday was an all-out packing day. I worked in my office all morning, and it was so discouraging, because it looks and felt like nothing got done. The afternoon was spent upstairs in the storage room; while there is still a lot to do, it’s showing how much we got done, and that feels better.

The landlord is pressuring us to have his home insurance inspector come in on the 10th of June to “look at the inside of the house.” That’s ridiculous. The inspector hasn’t been in for 49 years. He can wait another 15 days, until we’re out. There’s no way we can have the place in any shape by the 10th of June for a reasonable inspection. This poke-poke-poke that he does is really annoying. It brings to mind last year, when he forced us to agree to the energy assessment the same day I had my post-op medical appointment, the day everything started shutting down for the pandemic, and then didn’t follow through on anything that was offered. It’s unnecessary and unfair pressure and no, just no. Legally, he can ask for it. But I’m damn well pushing back.

I turned around a script on Sunday afternoon, and wrote up/sent off the coverage on Monday. I need to read a lot in the next two weeks, so I have a good chunk of change around the days of the actual move.

Sunday night, we got the formal offer for the apartment. Hopefully, the lease paperwork arrives today, and we can get that completed. What a relief! We have a new home.

I will talk publicly more about the details once the lease is signed. I’m always nervous until all the paperwork is done. Yes, one shouldn’t sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde, but this is necessary. And, using the retrograde energy, this signage is about resolving unresolved issues.

And I can’t be held hostage by the planets. Things have to happen when they have to happen; you use the stars for guidance, but can’t be paralyzed out of fear. Does moving during the retrograde(s) mean this will be temporary? Well, I seriously doubt we will stay ten years, like we did with this place. It’s a terrific space, and a year-round community where people live their lives instead of groveling before tourists all the time, and it gives us a chance to catch our breaths and regroup.

Will things be slower and more frustrating during the retrogrades? Of course they will. I’m on edge, worried that there will be a major car repair in there, or that the move will be more than we can afford.

But this is necessary and feels right, as far as where we’re going.

Somehow, somehow, I have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper to get it all done. My mother is 96 – she can’t do as much as she used to, and I don’t want this move to kill her. She’s delighted we got the space (as am I). I am completely indebted to my friend Rebecca for finding the listing for us, and getting us all hooked up. Now, I have to come up with the resources to get it all done.

I will drop a note off to our neighbors down the street, inviting them to come by and see which plants they want. I have a bunch of stuff to upload to craigslist. Part of today is taking photos.

Monday, I packed, focusing on my office It finally looks like something’s getting done there. I ran out of boxes; I’m picking up more boxes this morning from U-Haul, both for misc. stuff/clothes and for books. Then, I will spend most of the day packing.

I turned In a script coverage, then read the one I will turn in today, and claimed two more. One of them was a project for which I was requested – the writer liked my feedback, did rewrites to the suggestions, and wants me to look at it again. I need to do at least 2 scripts a day between now and when we move, so that we have money coming in, and I also want to make sure I can give them my full attention when I’m reading them, so that I give them the best coverage possible.

Today is the first time in over a year I didn’t have to prepare to Die For My Employer. It felt both good and weird to wake up and know I didn’t have to do anything for the onsite client. I didn’t have to log in to the social media accounts, create direct responses, find inspirational quotes, or create a new email blast. The new person starts tomorrow, and I wish them all well. I think that configuration of people and talent is exactly what they need for this next cycle. This change is good for all of us.

Today is about packing, starting the conversation with the movers, booking my time with the mechanic, and script coverage work. I hope that the lease comes through today; then I can start dealing with the utility companies and get that all sorted.

Hopefully, the landlord will back off and give me the breathing room I need to get everything done. 20 days (hopefully) until we load the truck – I hope to book it for the 21st.

Fingers crossed I can stay on track, and that my physical and mental health holds up. Once we are in the new space, I’ve booked some recovery time. It’s the packing/loading/getting there that worries me, especially when it comes to cost.

Speaking of mental health, what’s happening to Naomi Osaka at the French Open is awful. She has the right to refuse those stupid press conferences while her attention needs to be on her work – playing tennis. If she needs to step back from the press during the Open, that is a valid choice. This attitude that she doesn’t have the right to set boundaries so she can do her best work is disgusting.

I hope there’s a huge backlash against the tournament organizers, and that sponsors pull out. They won’t, because they don’t support mental health, either, but I wish that’s what would happen.

Anyway, hold a good thought for me for the next few days.

Published in: on June 1, 2021 at 4:09 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress  
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Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

The Retrogrades are starting, which worries me. I’d hoped to get the house hunting resolved before that happened, but no luck.

I had a good, solid writing weekend, which was necessary. I wrote an entire chapter on Sunday morning.

It took me all morning on Friday to complete the paperwork for the second category of the contest, but I did it and sent it off. I made good progress on the final category (I’d already completed about half the entries for this one, too). So I’m on track with that.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, did laundry and housework. I’ve been craving fast food like crazy the past few weeks. I haven’t eaten beef for months, because it always made me sick. I haven’t ordered/eaten fast food in about two years. But I decided to go up to Burger King, which is about three miles from here, just off the Rt. 6 exit, and hit the drive through. I haven’t eaten from Burger King in at least 3-4 years, maybe longer. I ate at McDonald’s about two years ago, and was as sick as could be after.

But I risked it anyway. I had a Whopper, my mom had a bacon cheeseburger, we split an order of onion rings and an order of French fries, and had chocolate shakes.

I haven’t drunk cow’s milk in nearly a year, either, because it was making me sick.

Basically, I craved things that were bad for me, and I decided to take the risk.

Did the drive-through window – and realized that, in the 10 years we’ve lived here, it was the first time I’d done that. And yes, of course I wore my mask at the window, and the workers were all masked, too.

Got everything home, and we ate. And ate. It was good, hit the spot, filled the craving.

I didn’t feel as bad as I expected after, although I felt full and heavy. Everything was much saltier than when I cook, so I was thirsty as all get out, and drank a lot of tea and juice all afternoon.

Neither of us was hungry by dinner time, so we didn’t eat.

It was pretty nice outside, albeit a bit windy, so we took Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens. However, because that idiot a few streets over continues to run the woodchipper and chain saws all day every day from 7 AM to 9 PM, it was impossible to actually enjoy sitting outside. Or get much done inside, that required concentration. If you need to run a woodchipper that much, you’re either a serial killer or incompetent, and it shouldn’t be allowed.

I didn’t feel great at night, but at least I got some sleep. I felt okay Sunday morning, although it will probably be a few years before I do that again.

Baked biscuits for Sunday morning breakfast. It was rainy and raw.

I got some paperwork done, got out a few information requests on rentals, got out some LOIs. Got some writing done.

I felt pretty discouraged, all the way around.

Spent most of the day on contest entries.

Monday morning, I was up early and wrote, in spite of feeling resistance to it. Once I started, it was fine.

My mother had terrible nightmares. I realized she’d packed her dreamcatcher over the bed; I unpacked another one, hung it up, and she slept well last night.

I headed onsite to the client’s extra early, since the landlord said he and the septic people would be over to go over the plan for the replacement, which starts next week. I got everything done that needed to be done onsite in a jiffy, dropped things off at the post office, got back to the house – and they never showed up and never contacted me. Frustrating.

Got some more packing done, although I’m behind where I wanted to be at this point. I need to pack faster, purge more, and get stuff up on craigslist this week.

But I did the rest of the work I needed to do for the client remotely, so it worked out. I got out a stack of LOIs. I heard back from a couple of rentals – two very nice, one in particular is a house that might work, although it’s small. The other is bigger, but means moving back to NY State, just outside of Syracuse, to a town that has a rather high crime rate. The cost of the move itself might put it out of reach, although the space is terrific, with a garage and a deck. There was one rental, though, for a loft – they want copies of birth certificates for every member of the household. How is that even legal?

I complained to the AG’s office, and I’m having a conversation with my state senator about it. That is wrong. It also opens the door to identity theft. A landlord does not have the right to birth certificates.  That opens the door to all kinds of discrimination and identity theft.

A recruiter wanted to talk to me about an LOI I’d sent. But the “application” demanded dates of high school and college graduation, which is a workaround on the age discrimination laws, so I called him out on it and refused. I got a very nice apology from him, and that he’s taken up the issue with IT to fix it, and asked to have a conversation anyway, so I agreed to have a short one this morning.

Will probably talk to the property manager for the small house this afternoon.

Put together a LOI package for a potential local client who used to work in theatre, and was email introduced by a mutual friend. So we’ll see if that’s something we can work out. I’m always leery of local clients, because they never want to pay, but she’s a washashore and from professional theatre, and understands that work is paid.

Decent first writing session this morning, although it was hard to get started. Will do some client work, get out some more LOIs, have the talk with the recruiter. I expect it will be a waste of time. I haven’t spoken to a single recruiter in the past ten years that wasn’t a complete and utter waste of my time and energy. My experience is that they don’t actually give a damn about any potential employees. They just want names on their sheet to meet quotas. However, this guy responded and claimed he was dealing with a problem, so I feel like I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

The retrogrades have me even more on edge than I already was. I’m ready to fall off the edge.

Deep breath. Keep going. Because there’s no other choice.

By the way, my first choice for the Kentucky Derby this weekend is Midnight Bourbon. I love him. I love his personality. I still have to do some more research on the rest of the field. I think all the horses are more relaxed and have progressed better without fans in the stands.

Published in: on April 27, 2021 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin  
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Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Hazy and cool

Re-read THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE. I only have the prologue and a couple of chapters, but it has energy and wit, and I like it.

I have to figure it out, and write the outline, but I like it.

In the meantime, I wrote steadily on a piece with the working title SELF-SANCTUARY. I’m doing between 1200-1750 words a day, longhand, which is good, steady work. Every three chapters, I will type what I have.

The house hunting is stressful. A couple of good places don’t have any openings right now, so maybe I’ll get us on the waiting list, while we look elsewhere. A couple of cute houses, smaller than we are in now, came up, and we can even afford them, but the competition is fierce.

And, of course, there were at least a dozen more scams. Those are disheartening.

Did laundry, packed, house hunted, wrote, did housework. Not only are the people moving in destroying the environment/habitat/landscape they claimed to move here because of, it’s getting filthy.

We do the daily cleaning, of course, and then a weekly big clean with dusting and mopping and vacuuming. And then the spring cleaning/fall cleaning. But in between even the weekly big cleans, it gets really filthy. It didn’t use to. There’d be a little dust here and there, and, of course, the pine pollen in spring. But now, it’s a layer of grime, similar to what I dealt with in New York City EVERY WEEK. Because of the constant heavy machinery and leaf blowers. It’s disgusting.

At least I got some sleep. Slept through the night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, although I had weird dreams.

A client sent me something on Saturday for quick turnaround. I replied that I would do it first thing Monday (which I did). Remote work does not mean I’m on call 24/7 for instant turnaround.

It was too cold to sit on the deck, which made me sad. We don’t have much longer to enjoy the deck.

My mom was sick Sunday into Monday. I worked fully remotely on Monday, so I could take care of her. Had her on the couch, propped with yoga blankets and bolsters and a hot water bottle, so she was comfortable. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

I had a solid morning’s writing session, got out some LOIs, turned around client work, house hunted, took care of my mom.

In the mid-afternoon, I had a delightful chat with someone who’d liked an LOI I sent a few weeks back, and we discussed possibilities. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

Worked on contest entries, got my review out. I have another book to read/review, and then I can invoice.

It was temperate enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine for an hour or so in the late afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens, and they were very happy. There was a baby woodpecker in the maple tree. He was so cute! I guess Raoul and Juanita (our resident woodpeckers) had a little one.

Simple supper of spinach and cheese omlettes.

Tired and went to bed early, which meant I woke up too early this morning.

I had to force myself to sit down for the first writing session this morning, but once I did, I was glad I did, and got a good 1500 words in on SELF-SANCTUARY. It’s flowing well. I’m in the third chapter written in longhand; once that’s finished, I’ll type the first three, as I continue in longhand.

But going back to my daily 1K (or a little more) first thing has made me feel better about everything else, and stabilizes my day. I am more creative and productive. Punishing myself by not writing until I solved the housing crisis only sent me into a downward spiral. Self-flagellation and self-sabotage are not the answer.

A different potential client got back to me, demanding I work PST hours (which would mean working until 8 PM Mondays through Fridays), even though I stated clearly that we have enough overlapping hours to work in real time, and then work asynchronously the rest. If you demand working YOUR business hours for a remote team, you don’t understand how distributed workforce actually works. No. Moving on.

I need to make a run to Trader Joe’s this morning, and then get more client work done, and more house hunting done.

One foot in front of the other, right?

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 5:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other  
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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.

Published in: on April 6, 2021 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along  
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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?

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 5:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb  
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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.

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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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