Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain

image courtesy of Krzysztof Pluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Foggy and cool

There’s a short post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was busy, but, for the most part, it was a good busy, at the client’s office. Did my time, got a lot done, we talked about what needs to be done in the coming weeks, on several fronts. The owner is making noise about not wanting to wear a mask at the office anymore since she’s been fully vaccinated, and we said no. She’s going to keep pushing, and this will cause a problem a few weeks down the road.

Swung by the library to do a curbside drop-off/pickup and then home for decontamination.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun.

Rested on the acupressure mat, looked at house listings (depressing), got out some LOIs, worked on contest entries. There were a couple of truly delightful ones. I have three more to read in this category, and then I can make the decision. I’m working on the other two categories, too.

Researching interview options, since two of my requests were a no.

Got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY. Played with some other ideas. Read Nick Hytner’s book more. I have an idea percolating (it’s been doing so on and off for years) about Laertes, Hotspur, and Tybalt, but I’m not sure if it’s a piece of its own, or if I can fold it into another piece on which I’m working. It might not be more than a scene – I can’t tell, it’s still too vague in my brain. Also, in the play I’d be folding it into – even though it’s not a realistic play (it IS set in the Afterlife, after all), I’m using real people; mixing fictional ones in with them would muddy the play. So, I guess, in this public brainstorming session, I’ve figured out that they either get their own piece or they will be part of some other piece, but not the one of which I was thinking. Thank you for listening to my ramble.

I have to make sure I do at least one session of creative work for myself in a day, because it helps keep me centered. Otherwise, I turn into a hot mess. Keeping up regular writing/reading on my own projects takes off some of the pressure, instead of adding more.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s back to LOIs, client work, house hunting, and packing. We’re supposed to get some much-needed rain today. If it’s nice over the weekend, I might put out the Adirondack chairs and the wind chimes on the deck over the weekend. We aren’t setting up the usual Enchanted Garden with the upcoming move, but at least we can sit there and enjoy it a little bit before we go.

Have a good one.

Fri. Feb. 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer 280/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 30 — Applying Meditation Practice To Life

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, February 26, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Partly cloudy and mild

I had the chance to use what we’ve been working on in meditation in life yesterday.

It was a stressful day and kept tugging me off-course, although by 10 AM, I’d gotten in writing, client work, admin work, and my mother’s doctor’s appointment.

The “digital waiting room” for the vaccine appointments is appalling. Who can sit with the computer tab open for 6722 minutes? If you open another tab to work on something while you wait, it kicks you out of the “waiting room.” How is this sustainable? Who can spend 17-18 hours a DAY on the computer trying to get an appointment and still carry work and family responsibilities? Why does every “fix” Baker adds make it all worse?

More importantly, why are second dose patients competing with first dose patients? Why aren’t they sent to a separate sign-in and given the appointments they need?

Why does Baker act like Cape Cod isn’t part of the state?

The physical, emotional, and financial burdens he is causing are enormous. And totally unnecessary. His refusal to listen to qualified, talented people around him and respond to what is actually going on versus what he wants it to look like is infuriating. All these stories are being planted in the press about how great MA is doing with vaccines, and it’s an entirely different reality than what I’m living.

Then, he sits in the state hearing and gaslights.

Of course he does. He’s a Republican. He’s right on brand.

I finally just sat down and took a deep breath, and decided to try techniques we worked on (especially last week, and, since I couldn’t participate this week, I felt off-kilter).

First thing: Where am I right now?

Answer: Not okay.

And, as a friend of mine pointed out yesterday, it’s okay not to be okay. I worked, flat out, through a pandemic, three surgeries, and two cancer scares in the past year. My last vacation was in May of 2016. I’ve been taking care of my elderly mother, fighting to get her the vaccinations in a system that delights to cause pain and suffering, kept up with client work, sought new client work, had to deal with clients being more demanding because remote work “isn’t really work”, and am dealing with some other major upcoming life changes.

I am frustrated, angry, scared, and overwhelmed. And, especially, exhausted.

And those factions who say I “choose” to feel that way say so from hilltops of entitlement and privilege.

I feel what I feel, and it matters.

I acknowledge that I’m not okay. That’s step one. It’s real, and relevant.

I have to acknowledge that the level of stress that didn’t slow me down at twenty is slowing me down now that I am decades beyond twenty. Also, at age twenty, I wasn’t fighting to keep my family alive in a pandemic amidst the selfish and the stupid.

Plenty of external pressures are out of my control. I can’t control the vaccine sign-up site (although, at the risk of sounding egotistical, if I did, there would be a far more equitable distribution system in place).

I can’t control clients who are pretending the pandemic doesn’t exist anymore and demand a higher productivity level than before the pandemic, but without resources. I CAN change my relationship with those clients, although there are consequences, and I have to have other clients in place to pick up the financial slack. That is a work in progress.

Early in the pandemic, I severed relationships with several clients who refused to give me any option to work remotely, and it was absolutely the right choice.

There are a couple of people who are taking up too much real estate in my head, and I need to give them eviction notices. That doesn’t happen immediately, but it is something that can happen, with work.

There’s physical work to be done here at the house, and I’m breaking it down and handling as much as I can at a time, while exploring options in case it cuts very close to me running out of time completely. Again, there’s only so much I can do physically at any given time. I am not twenty. It’s a reality. And it’s not something I could hire anyone else to do – especially not during a pandemic. Plus, we can’t have anyone in the house who is not part of the household during a pandemic.

There are other factors that are out of my control, but I’m trying to figure out workarounds.

By facing each situation individually and looking at it in terms of what can I do? What can’t I do? Where can I adjust? Where does the necessary adjustment go against my needs? What are my other alternatives?

I can also clear out the mental clutter and focus on each piece of work with full attention. When I work on the articles, for instance, and get lost in them, I’m happy doing the work, I do good work, and it gets good results. Or creating a marketing campaign for a client.

One of the few upsides of the pandemic was realizing how many unhealthy work compromises I’ve made over the last ten years, since leaving full-time theatre work, and learning what adjustments I have to make for a healthier work situation. I may not get it with every assignment, but the more assignments I can stack up that are within what I consider the “healthy work arena” the better the quality of my work and my life.

I can’t control the companies that are determined to act like the pandemic never happened and plan to force their employees into their offices full-time, even when the work doesn’t call for it. But I can avoid as many of those assignments as possible.

Accepting not being okay, and working on things I can actually DO instead of drowning in what I can’t do helped a lot.

And reminding myself to let up on the negative self-talk, which, over the past few weeks, has reached screeching levels inside my head.

Freelance Chat was fun and upbeat, and I got some good ideas out of it, which I hope to implement.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat. One of the replacement books arrived, the diaries of Sir Peter Hall, talking about the creation of the National Theatre in the 1970’s. I’d read it before, at the start of my theatre career, and loved it. I started re-reading it, and can’t put it down. I’m seeing so much from a different perspective (not to mention, by this point, I’ve worked with some of the people mentioned, when I only knew their work the first time I read it). It’s a very invigorating book.

Turned back way too many requests to “talk” from recruiters – all for jobs that have nothing to do with what I do. I’m a writer – it’s clear on the website, it’s clear on my resume, it’s clear on my linked in profile. So stop TELLING me I should take a job that’s a web designer (I’m not qualified), a sales executive (I’m not interested), a truck driver (what? How do you get that from writer?). Read my actual material and stop wasting my time.

Was ready to bitch slap some Twitter twat complaining that wearing a mask fogged up her glasses and was “intolerable.” You know what? Over 500,000 deaths are intolerable. You’re merely inconvenienced, you selfish POS. I did not say that in my reply; I told her how I avoided lens fog (at least most of the time). I’ve worn a mask nearly a year now. It’s not hard to wear it with glasses so you don’t fog up.

Worked on the article. I finally have it almost were I want it, although I have to cut about 300 words, which includes a quote I’d like to keep in, but there just isn’t room. I’m going to cut the 300 words to get it in at word count and get it to my editor this morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We got solid work done. I am so grateful for the educational stuff that the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History and other big museums post. Whatever their assignments, we can supplement with material from places they couldn’t visit in time to do the assignment, even without a pandemic. I hope some of theses online resources continue. I know the kids who live far away from these places are now eager to visit when it’s safe.

After I do a library run, a liquor store run, and a CVS run to pick up my mom’s prescription, I will turn my attention to the article for THE WRITER. I’d like to get it out to my editor a little early. I have all but two quotes, and I have enough material to go without. I’m also doing some live script doctoring via Zoom while a corporate video is shooting, which is a new and different experience.

I was up way too early this morning worrying. So I gave up, got up, and need to turn that energy into actual work.

I have a lot on my agenda this weekend, between the article, books for review, contest entries, and more box purging. Weather-wise, it looks like it will be all over the place. I might do another dump run (I sure have enough).

I’m hoping to build in some rest. I need it.

I also plan to drop in, at least for a bit, at my virtual 40th HS reunion. The organizers took the time to hunt me down; the least I can do is show up for a while. I have nothing at stake – maybe one or two people from my high school graduating class have remained part of my life. High school was something to get through so I could get going on my life. Were there many bouts of unhappiness? Sure. It was high school. But I also made decisions to find what I wanted and needed away from the cliques and that kind of stuff, and it was the right choice for me. Plus, I graduated a semester early and started college early, and I was taking college classes while still in high school. I hope everyone in my graduating class is well and happy, but our lives have taken us in different directions.

Next week, I have to make some big decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Tues. Feb. 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 278/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 27 — Some Good, Some Frustrating

image courtesy of Gordon johnson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Direct (as of Saturday)

Cloudy and cold

We have crossed the line of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths. The grief I feel is crushing. How can people shrug off such a loss? How can they be so horrible and selfish? Truly, I need to find a place where I can become a professional recluse, because people are awful.

Busy and weird couple of days.

Had to shovel us out again on Friday morning. Not too bad – took about an hour. I went over to the elderly neighbor’s and shoveled their drive, too. The only bad part was, again, the plow mashed about a foot of snow across the bottom of each driveway, and I had to get it out before it froze in place.

My mom felt better, still a little fatigued and dizzy, but the arm pain lessened.

I, however, was toast by lunchtime, and wound up spending the afternoon in bed. Completely wiped out. Read a bit, dozed a bit, Tessa kept me company. She was delighted.

Up early on Saturday morning. Another four inches of snow fell, so it was back outside with the shovel. It was fluffy, so it didn’t take long, except, yes, you guessed it, at the bottom of the drive, where the plow packed it in.

Did a curbside pickup at the library, and also at the liquor store.

Home, decontaminated.

After lunch, I started in on the boxes, because I was bad about keeping up all week. I purged 12 boxes, and it was frustrating. Lost two entire boxes of books to the damp. A metal trunk I’d stored down there rusted it through, and I lost the entire contents.

But I’ve started stacking the reorganized boxes on planks along the blank wall, and that’s working out well.

Unfortunately, I sprained my foot while I was carting things up and down, so not only was I purging boxes and running laundry up and down, but I did it on a sprained foot.

Not my idea of a good time.

 I was wrecked by the end of the day. Not to mention discouraged.

Woke up around 2:30 in the morning on Sunday, worrying, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got up a little after 5. Did a dump run as soon as the dump opened, and then a quick grocery shop. Home, decontaminated, got out some LOIs (one to a place I really, really want to work).

Then, this buttercup had to buckle up and do more box-purging.

I had more plastic bins to work on in my quota stacks today than cardboard boxes. I emptied out several – kept a few things that were reorganized into other boxes, but tossed most of it. It feels good to get rid of what I no longer need.

Found some love letters and other correspondence around the time I was engaged to the English guy, way back when. What an optimistic idiot I was! Dodged a bullet there, when that relationship fell apart. It’s difficult not to have contempt for who I was then; it’s also difficult not to mourn her.

Worked on the article.

Finished the book for review, and sent off the review yesterday.

Fell into bed far too early Sunday night, which meant I kept waking up every few hours.

Up early yesterday, worked on the review, the article. Client work. Had to swing by a client’s office (while no one else was in) to answer questions that came in (Direct Response Copy Writing), but I needed to measure a piece in order to do it. Also packed up an order and dropped it by the post office, since the mail carrier no longer picks up packages at the business.

Home, decontaminated, back at the desk. Client work, LOIs (to some really cool places), keeping one ear on the Merrick Garland confirmation hearings, downloaded some of the digital contest entries – can’t wait to get started on them.

Trying to replace a couple of sources for one of the articles, and restructuring the piece. I can do something good with what I have; but those additional sources would take it over the top.

Over the weekend, I made a decision to cut loose the second grant proposal this session. I can do it fast or do it well, but not both. With the moving pressures on me, much as I want/need the grant money, I can’t do a realistic budget and source some of the information needed for the grant proposal to soar. Made a note in the calendar to see what I can do for next year – probably on a different project, but I should be in a better place to really write the grant. I also decided not to apply for the NEA grant. It’s too much right now.

As annoyed with myself as I am for not at least trying to write the grants, I’d rather not do it this year and write a strong proposal next year, than write a poor proposal this year. My time and energy need a different focus, and the grant committee doesn’t need a weak proposal.

Looked at real estate listings, which is terrifying. There’s a genuine housing crisis, and no one gives a damn.

Baker is making changes to the vaccine appointment/distribution system – and making it worse. I have no idea if my mom will even get her second dose.

There were NO appointments for Cape Cod open this week, except at the White Elitist Special Secret Number. This is not acceptable.

Worked on contest entries, and finished the print entries in the second category. There is one that is just magnificent. The rest of the incoming entries in that category are going to have to be spectacular to get ranked higher. It’s always so energizing to read a wonderful book.

I have a few print entries to read in the third category, and then I start reading the digital entries. I’ve got them all on my kindle.

Started reading my next book for review, which is quite good.

I got a response from an LOI I sent out last week, asking for script samples. They will go off today. I’d really like to land this client. I’d enjoy the work.

I’ve got client work today, but the bulk of the day will be spent on the articles. And scrubbing out the next section of the basement floor, so I can stack the re-organized boxes and get going on some more boxes.

Tomorrow will be a very stressful day on multiple levels, and I have to figure out how to get through it.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on February 23, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 278/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 27 — Some Good, Some Frustrating  
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Fri. Feb. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 268/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 16 — Chinese Lunar New Year

image courtesy of Jason Goh via pixabay.com

Friday, February 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Chinese Lunar New Year

Cloudy and cold

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Gong Hey Fat Choi!

The first is Mandarin for “Happy New Year” and the second is Cantonese for “Congratulations and prosperity.”

I wish you all both, as we enter this year of the Ox! Not just any Ox, but the Metal Ox. Methodical, moving forward, yet change that anchors us. I could certainly use Ox energy for the next few months! It is supposed to be slow and steady, holding pattern before movement. However, in my life, I need movement early in the year, and then I need/want some settling time. The Metal Ox, in particular, encourages cleaning one’s home, getting rid of clutter (so purging the basement is right on target), keeping things tidy. Well, with everything being re-organized and boxed, not so much at the moment, but we’ll get there.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger (my year) and is about leaping forward. However, this Tiger needs to do some leaping in the coming months, then settle and prepare for next year’s momentum.

Tonight, I will be preparing food in honor of the holiday: trout (should be carp, but I have trout), long noodles, dumplings.

I miss the Lion Dance I always attended, in both San Francisco and New York, so I will watch it online instead.

I miss my Asian friends more than ever during this time. They included me in their celebrations, and it was a delight.

But I intend to make it a positive celebration, even during a pandemic.

Yesterday was, actually, a pretty good day. Other than starting it by spiling coffee on a light-colored rug.

But I got some LOIs out, I got interview requests out for one of my articles for SCRIPT, I did some research for the second article. I also landed another article from THE WRITER (which also has a fairly short turnaround). Those interview requests will go out today.

I was annoyed because my time was wasted by yet another recruiter. He hadn’t told me he was a recruiter when he asked for the meeting – he claimed to be from one of the companies to whom I sent an LOI. I thought I was having a preliminary conversation with a potential new client.

But no. Not only was he late for the call appointment, but he was also completely unprepared. When I realized he was a recruiter, I started to cut things off. He then to convince me I should RELOCATE ON MY OWN DIME for a job I wouldn’t have taken in the first place. I cut him off pretty damn quick and ended the conversation. What a waste of everything.

I am so sick of these recruiters – they misrepresent to get the meeting, they’re unprepared, they can’t/won’t answer questions, and it’s not at all about finding the best candidate for any company – it’s about the number of people they can put on their list on any given day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I haven’t dealt with a recruiter in the past 10 years who wasn’t a complete waste of space. I thought I’d found an exception a couple of weeks ago, but I was wrong.

The downside of LINKEDIN, where a lot of them are finding me. Other companies are just handing my LOIs over to recruiters who don’t even bother to read the material.

Freelance chat was fun, and I learned a few things about tiered levels of customer packaging. I have to think about how I can apply it.

The 15 GOP Senators who couldn’t be bothered to sit through yesterday’s trial should be refused a vote in it. So should the Senators who met with the Sociopath’s attorneys.

Supposedly, 800 vaccine appointments will open on Cape at noon today. I’m going to try to jump on one of them for my mom. We’ll see if it actually goes live, or if it’s like it usually is, where the link doesn’t work, and then, suddenly, all the appointments are “full.”

Every time I see Baker smirk through another press conferences, especially now that he thinks it’s FUNNY people are scamming seniors so they can go with them to vaccine appointments as a “caretaker” and get vaccinated, too – I want to smack that smirk right off his face.

Every other area of MA continues to get more vaccine doses than they can use. But the Cape remains a wasteland. We shouldn’t have to take a six hour round trip to get vaccinated.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We finished up a bunch of assignments, because they are on vacation next week (so we all have a break). They’d been assigned some work for the break, but we pushed through most of it last night, so they will actually, you know, HAVE A VACATION. Even though they can’t go anywhere.

Got my box quota purged yesterday. Hope I can do the same today. Then, there will be a dump run tomorrow morning. Garage is full of garbage and recycling from the purge.

Today, I will do a library run for a curbside pickup.

I need to spend time on the grant proposals, get out the interview questions for the other article, and work on a play that’s suddenly on deadline (It had been an open call for submission, but now has a deadline of Monday). Don’t know if I can get it in shape in time, but I want to try.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we all get vaccinated soon.

Published in: on February 12, 2021 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 268/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 16 — Chinese Lunar New Year  
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Tues. Feb. 9, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 265/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 13 — Ice Boulders

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday morning, got some writing done on GAMBIT COLONY. Then did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and a curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated.

Sent off my review and invoice. Got paid. Got out a few LOIs. Got out a couple of pitches to an editor.

Caught up on box purging, so I was where I hoped to be by the end of the day.

Spent way too many hours trying to get my mom a vaccine appointment. Every other area of the state has appointments to spare. Here, we have nothing. On top of that, there was a secret “pop-up” clinic here on cape, but you had to know someone to get an appointment. How is that equitable? It’s not.

 I’m tired of Baker smirking and lying. He says Walgreens is giving vaccines. Multiple Walgreens locations are up on the state and county websites as vaccine locations. Only “no appointment available.” You know way? Walgreens ISN’T GIVING VACCINES IN THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS. So why are they on the state and county website?

Baker says CVS is giving out vaccines. Multiple CVS locations are on the state and county websites. Only “no appointment available.” You know why? There are only THREE CVS locations giving vaccines in the entire state and NONE of them are on Cape Cod. So why are Cape Cod locations on the state and county website?

On the location list is the Hyannis Stop & Shop. Not only has the website been down for nearly two weeks, now that it’s sort of up, it states that no vaccines are being given at that location. So why is it listed as a location on state and county websites?

The delays are not the issue. The lying and misinformation are.

And if there are so many open appointments in other locations in the state, why aren’t those doses being sent here instead, where there are NO appointments, and a huge population of seniors?

FFS, I could do better using Google Docs to set this up than the state has.

Saturday, up early and did a dump run. Still couldn’t fit all the recycling into the car, but I crammed in as much as I could. Swung by the other grocery store to get a few things before the incoming storm.

Got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did my quota of box purging.

Found some old love letters. Re-reading them, wow, I’m glad I’m not with any of those guys. One, who I though was so wonderful at the time – reading the letters back, he was extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. He died a couple of years ago, and I was sad at the loss and remembered the good times. These letters give me a more complete picture of reality. Another, wrote beautiful letters. I’d always thought of him as “the one that got away.” But when I reconnected with him a few years ago, he’s gone all evangelical religious, and we have nothing in common anymore.

I made the right decisions not to be with them. Which is good to know.

Found some more really cool stuff. Threw out a ton of stuff. I’ll be doing another dump run next week.

Read AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS, by an author from Singapore named Ovidia Yu. I loved it, and ordered more of her books. She’s also a playwright, and has also been to Edinburgh with her plays, so I’m even more eager to read her work.

Found a bunch of my old articles that aren’t digitized. I will scan them and put them into my clip files and portfolios.

The Goddess Provisions box finally arrived, after sitting in the postal facility in Arizona for over a week. It was worth the wait.

The coffee shipment, that was supposed to be here on Wednesday, made it as far as Westboro, and then went back to CT for some reason. By the time it arrives, it will be stale.

The Wolferman’s order arrived. I had a problem when I ordered it with the promo code. The customer service rep promised to put it through and adjust it. Instead, they CHANGED THE ORDER to something cheaper and sent me what I didn’t order. Not only that, it’s something I WOULDN’T’ have ordered, because it wasn’t what I wanted. I have to find my original paperwork and squawk. It also makes me less likely to order from them in the future, because who the hell knows what will show up?

In other words, Mercury is very retrograde.

Heard back from 365 Women – I’m going to write a Kate Warne play for them this year, AND they’ve accepted the proposal for DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE (I wasn’t sure it would be their thing) AND a play on Marie Collier. So I’ll be busy.

The head of the group just got my email about a quote for the articles – that were published over the past two weeks. She told me I should contact her via Facebook Messenger. I don’t use FB Messenger because of the hacking issues, so. . .it’s an issue. Besides, the articles are up. I’ll be sending her PDFS of the clips – at the email address I have.

The incoming storm on Sunday gave me a huge headache.

But I did write the opening of DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE. It’s kind of weird, but I like it.

Also worked on a grant proposal that has to go out in two weeks. Hate everything I wrote for it. I have to create three 250-word pitches within the proposal. I think I need to write my kind of treatment or Writer’s Rough for each project, and then distill it down. Starting at the blurb doesn’t work. It’s reading flat. So that’s on the agenda for this week: Three treatments.

Got in my quota of boxes on Sunday, too.

The snow started around noon and was so pretty! Lovely, big flakes. We had a fire in the fireplace. The power flickered, and went off once for a couple of minutes, but held pretty well otherwise.

Sunday night into Monday was rough. I woke up every hour or so with intense pain in my knees. I know I’ve been working them hard, carrying boxes up and down from the basement, but this was intense.

Then, I find out, overnight Sunday, the plow guy packed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway and they froze there. It took me FIVE HOURS to shovel the driveway, get the ice boulders cut down, and the front walk. There was an ice crust, so I had to take the hoe and crack a section, shovel, crack a section, shovel. After twenty or thirty minutes, I had to stop and rest. I’m not twenty anymore, and I spent the past year sick. I can’t, physically, do this anymore.

For the ice boulders, I had to take the hoe and hack at them until I broke them into pieces I could lift and toss.

It was not fun.

My neighbor across the street watched me struggle for five hours (he’s about thirty years younger than I am). As soon as I went inside, he got a bulldozer out of his garage and cleared his own driveway in about five minutes. Really? He could have said, “I see you’re having a hard time; I have heavy equipment and can clear it out for you for fifty bucks.”

It’s not a surprise, though. This is a guy that hasn’t worn a mask once during the entire pandemic.

It’s a far cry from when we first moved here, and all dug each other out. Or the year where we had a series of snowstorms and the town couldn’t be bothered to plow us out, so after nearly a week, we all got our shovels and dug out the street ourselves.

Anyway, after five hours of this, I was wiped out. Funnily enough, my knees were fine, but the left leg and hip that’s been bothering me for the last few weeks were in bad shape, along with my arms.

I spent the afternoon reading contest entries instead of purging the basement.

I managed to get some client work out in between shoveling sessions, so at least it wasn’t a total loss.

Still no vaccine appointments on Cape Cod. Other areas have open appointments and are worried about expiring doses. Why aren’t they being re-routed to the Cape? I’m on EVERY list to learn about when appointments open, and. . .total silence from all of them. Why is the county listing sites as locations that don’t have appointments or doses? The only sites that should be listed are those actually offering appointments. New ones should be added as they go live. That’s basic organization.

But the state and county information remain incorrect. Nobody is fixing anything, or getting anything better organized. Governor Baker is pulled a Jared Kushner on us, and just continues to let us die. He doesn’t give a damn – he hasn’t, or he wouldn’t have reopened back in May, and kept us open when our daily virus numbers were double and triple what they were when we were shut down last spring. I’m sick of it, and I’m at the end of my rope.

My editor at SCRIPTMAG assigned me two more articles. So I’ll get the interview requests out today and get going on research.

I’ll send off my “personal update” for the class reunion later, do some client work, get out some LOIs. Work on the first treatment. I already got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY this morning, to settle me.

I might sneak in another curbside library pickup this morning, fi the next storm hasn’t started by the time the library opens. Because yes, we’re getting another storm today.

More shoveling.

And, this afternoon, I have to scrub a section of the basement floor, let it dry, and then place some boards down so I can restack the newly packed boxes. That way, once we know where we’re moving, it’s just a case of loading boxes.

It feels good to let go of a lot of this stuff, and the stuff that’s kept is being integrated into the household, even though it will have to be packed again soon.

I’m just so, so tired on so many levels. I’m burned out to a frightening extent. I know there won’t be any rest for me until after the move, but once we’ve moved, I HAVE to take some time off. I just hope I can keep going until then.

Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc

image courtesy of James DeMers via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Rainy, icy, cold

GDR posts are up for both the January wrap-up and starting February.

Friday was a good kind of busy.

Worked on a client’s website first thing.

Addressed the questions my editor had on the article, which led me to send her questions on which direction she wanted to take the article in. She told me, and I went ahead and did the edits. She was pleased with the result, and so was I! This is why I love working with a good editor.

No luck scheduling my mom’s vaccine. It has not escaped my notice that Baker, a Republican, stopped actively working on any COVID anything except forcing everyone back to “normal” as soon as Biden was inaugurated. He’s just as tainted as the rest of the GOP. He was just better at the façade for longer. I try both sites every day, and no luck. We’re not IN Phase 2 of the vaccination process if there aren’t any vaccines to distribute. Again, it’s spin and lies to make them look good, without the actions we need to survive.

Saturday morning, I did an early grocery run to get in supplies for the incoming storm. Not many people, everyone following protocols.  Home, decontaminated, did a curbside pickup at the library.

Purged 10 boxes. Found some really cool stuff. Tossed a lot. Some books had water/moisture damage that couldn’t be saved. My childhood playing card collection, including some cards from Germany in the 1960’s, which can’t be replaced, were also lost.

Found and re-read FIFTY DAYS OF SOLITUDE by Doris Grumbach, and enjoyed it even more now than when I first read it.

Sunday morning did a dump/recycling run first thing. I couldn’t even fit everything in the car – my car is too small! In other years, I would have been able to do multiple trips, but now they charge by carload, so I’ll wait until next week for the next run.

Then, I purged another 13 boxes. It’s still barely a dent in what I have to go through. But I need to shush my inner voice that told me I should have started this as soon as we moved in. I didn’t, and I’m doing it NOW. So I have to deal with the NOW. 37 boxes down; 263 to go.

Again, tossed a lot, and found some really cool stuff, including an old-fashioned alarm clock, my hand-carved Rosewood chess set I bought in Edinburgh, some jewelry, various knick-knacks with lovely memories attached, and fabric. I also found my old Smith-Corona “memory” typewriter, a precursor to computers; and the silver-plated menorah I bought on 29th St. before I left NYC. I was afraid it had been lost in the move. It’s absolutely stunning, and I look forward to setting it up next holiday season along with the Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Solstice decorations. Even though I am not Jewish, it is a way for me to honor my Jewish friends.

I’m re-sorting the books, putting some of them in new boxes, and trying to sort by genre, instead of just tumbling them all into boxes to be sorted “someday.”

Sore as all get-out from lugging boxes around.

Up early on Monday, charging all the electronic devices ahead of the storm. Pushed to get as much work as possible done early.

Wrote 1K of fiction first thing (GAMBIT COLONY). It felt good to get back into that routine, after giving myself a break in January. I feel better when I do 1K of fiction first thing in the morning. Then, I’m ready to meet the day’s challenges. When I don’t do fiction first thing (or a script), I feel like I’ve failed myself. Blogging or client work that early doesn’t do it, even when I’m productive. The first 1K of the day needs to be fiction.

The bulk of my energy in the next few months is focused on moving, but that first 1K of the day fuels everything else, so I have to stay true to it. It’s not just about having to show up and get the work done because it’s my job as well as my passion. It’s about making the best decisions for my creativity possible.

Got out some LOIs, but the bulk of Monday’s workday was spent getting the client’s new collection up on the website. It wasn’t difficult work, just time-consuming. I was worried we might lose power at any time, or be without power today, so I kept pushing and did a full day’s work on the one project, just to get it done.

Did some work on contest entries. Didn’t get any boxes purged, so I will have to make up for it today.

Other areas got pummeled with snow. We started with snow in the morning. It changed over to sleet, and then rain with heavy winds. On the one hand, I’m grateful not to shovel. On the other hand, I wanted some snow. But the storm is supposed to hang around most of today; we’ll see what happens.

I wrote a bit this morning, again on GAMBIT COLONY. It felt good. I’m using that project to ease back into the daily early morning writing sessions.

I have some client work today, and have to send the PDF of last week’s article to those I quoted in it. I’m working on two new pitches for that editor. I hope to get them out today.

I need to finish the book for review, and get that out, so I can invoice.

And, of course, later today, get back down into the basement and purge more boxes. I have to make my quota, and catch up from what I didn’t do yesterday.

Let’s hope the power holds, but I have enough different options of projects to work on, no matter what happens. Might relax with a fire in the fireplace in the afternoon. I didn’t get to do that yesterday, because I was pushing to finish the work on the client website.

Have a good one. Blessed Imbolc! I’m looking forward to tonight’s ceremony.

Published in: on February 2, 2021 at 6:50 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc  
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Fri. Jan. 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 233 — Congress, Do Your Job!

image courtesy of Sang Hyun Cho via pixabay.com

Friday, January 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I kind of feel like I’m juggling pitchforks right now, but that’s where we are. Having a migraine doesn’t help, either.

The post isn’t yet ready for the food blog, Comfort and Contradiction. That will go up later today, possibly in the afternoon. It might even be tomorrow.

It was difficult to focus yesterday, especially since Congress isn’t doing its job and removing the Sociopath. Why anyone thought Pence would step up and do the right thing with the 25th Amendment is beyond me. He has never done the right thing in his life or his career. He’s incapable of it, which is why he was chosen for the job. And the cowardly cabinet, jumping ship so they don’t have to go on record? May they all reap what they’ve sown.

I was in touch with my Senators and Representative early yesterday, and will do so again today. I’m lucky that they are smart, determined, and listen, and so do their staffs.

The riots at the inauguration will be terrifying. They can be stopped, but those with the power to do so are refusing, and that is unacceptable. We can’t wait until “the middle of next week” to START impeachment. It needs to happen today. It should have happened on Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning.

Worked on my article and the book proposal a little bit yesterday. I will do some more work on the article later this afternoon, and the weekend will focus on the book proposal. Did some noodling for an email blast for a client that needs to go out on Monday; will do some more work on it today. Will also start reading my book for review.

The architect’s lamp arrived yesterday, to replace the one my dad bought in 1967 that gave up the ghost last week. It’s wonderful. It’s so nice to have really good light in the workspace again. I do want to see if, at some point, I can get the lamp fixed, though. It’s a wonderful lamp, and a strong connection to my dad, who died in 1972.

The teal velvet arrived – in a large roll. My postal carrier must hate me. I’d ignored the information that the fabric was 60” wide rather than 45” wide. So, I have a LOT of teal velvet. Seriously thinking I could reupholster the couch with it instead of making clothes. Because it would look a little weird if I wore something that matched the couch exactly. The price was fantastic, so I have no regrets. I might rethink how to use it, though.

The necklace I ordered from Peculiarity Shop also arrived. It’s delightful. That was part of the inspiration for the teal velvet.

Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations, in and around keeping up with the news. We’re almost finished – I have to finish packing up the decorations in my office and the back room and put away the small tree. I also need to finish switching out the fabric and take down the ribbons around the doors and windows. And put up the Carnivale decorations.

I heard back from the potential client, whose questions I’d turned around yesterday. The client wants me to do a copywriting test – under NDA. In response, I sent my Test/Sample Agreement, including the rate – and pointed out that one clause in the NDA has to be either struck or modified, because if I signed it as is, it would negate my agreement.

I have no doubt they’ll refuse, and we’ll both move on. But I don’t work for free, and I don’t do unpaid labor as part of the interview process. If I start a relationship by capitulating, it means they will continue to try to take advantage. I’m not 20, begging for my first job. The whole “testing” process is ridiculous anyway. Read my samples. If you can’t tell whether or not I’m a fit by the samples, that tells more about your lack of critical reading skill than my writing skill.

Did a no-contact pickup of a new-to-me beautiful rocking chair I got on craigslist. It’s wonderful. I decontaminated it, so it could come into the house without sitting in quarantine for several days. With over 7100 new virus cases from Wednesday into Thursday, I have to be careful. I was going to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market tomorrow for a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s, but I’m considering putting it off because even going to the grocery store at this point is a risk.

About to run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then home, decontaminate, and it’s back to work, taking down the decorations and focusing on writing.

Have a great weekend, friends. Let’s hope next week is more hopeful and just. Let’s hope we have a country by next week.

Published in: on January 8, 2021 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 233 — Congress, Do Your Job!  
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Tues. Jan. 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 230 – Riding Into the New Year

image courtesy of Brent Olson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

11th Day of Christmas (11 Pipers Piping)

Rainy/sleety and raw

Happy 2021! I hope you had a joyful transition into the New Year, while you stayed the F home.

Thursday was fine, although I got frustrated by the lack of room in the kitchen as I juggled the cooking. To think, when we first moved here, this kitchen seemed so big after all the galley kitchens in small New York apartments!

Quiet night, watching videos, burning the bayberry candle for prosperity. We tried to watch the ball come down over Times Square, but the camera focused on the Kia ad rather than the ball drop directly above it, so we felt cheated.

In the years I lived a block from Times Square, it was cool to watch the ball drop from my window. The years I had to work on the Eve and couldn’t come home until after one a.m., forced to go out to an overpriced night after the show, weren’t so much fun. The years I worked a show on the Eve, then had to go up to cut through Central Park to get to Grand Central Station to catch a train, and then spent midnight on a train – not so much fun, either. I like being home and quiet.

Went to bed a little after midnight. Was up fairly early on New Year’s Day.

Performed the Fire & Ice ritual to get us off to a good start, using the last of the jasmine oil on the candle. Will have to source jasmine oil again soon.

Traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, complete with hollandaise sauce and prosecco. It was really good.

Wrote a bit, noodling with some ideas and working on the 12 Days of Christmas stories. I’m mostly roughing them out at this point, and then will go back and finish, revise, polish, over the next few months. Letting my mind percolate the idea for a proposal that needs to go out no later than January 18. It would be a big, big project.

Received an invitation to write for 365 Women again this year – any woman I want! I could even write more about Kate Warne. Maybe this will be the right venue for the Dawn Powell-Dorothy Parker piece I want to write. There’s also another woman about whom I want to write, but I’m not sure I can do all that this year and move. I’m thinking about it.

Percolated some ideas for article pitches.

Started reading my first book for the new year, one of Nell Simon’s memoirs. I go into more detail about it over here on A Biblio Paradise. The choice of first book in a new year is a big deal for me.

Went through the paperwork for the contest. The first box of books has shipped. This week, I have to clear old eBook files I no longer need out of my Kindle, so next week, I can download and start reading the first of the entries sent digitally.

Set up 2021 files.

I need to set up information on all the plays that I can cross-reference – the play, the logline, characters, length, submission/production history. It makes the most sense to do that in Excel. Sadly, I loathe working in Excel (although I’m perfectly capable of doing it).

Most of Friday was about giving myself the physical and emotional space to think, to daydream, to allow the internal creative process room to actually create.

Saturday morning, I jerked out of sleep from a dream about someone trying to kill me. So I guess August is going to really suck.

Got work done on several article proposals. My trusty architect lamp, that I’ve had since the late 1960’s blew up – something with the switch. I need a lamp on my computer desk, so I went ahead and ordered another from Staples. It should be here by the end of next week.

Sunday morning, made biscuits, did admin work.

At noon, I joined the Table of Silence Project’s weekly meditation. This week, it was rooted in 12 Repetitive Gestures, that were taught first, and then the company, in their socially-distanced private spaces, led us through them. It was beautiful and powerful. It also made me realize how much I miss working with people dedicated to their craft.

I’m tired of those who are always moaning about “not having time” because they put their “day job” first, instead of remembering that the only function of the “day job” is to make their survival to create art possible. They do so because their art is NOT their first priority. I’m sick of being mired amongst people who won’t make the commitment. It’s fine to have art as a “hobby” but it’s also toxic to perpetuate the myth that artists deserve to starve and shouldn’t be paid for their work. Too many hobbyists in the arts continue to perpetuate that myth, because they don’t have the courage to pursue it full time, and it gives them joy to punish those who do. I made my decision in high school that I would build a life in the arts, that my art would always, ALWAYS come first. It has, and I have no regrets. I also made the choice, back in my twenties, that I did not want fame. I wanted respect in my field, but not fame. Especially around here, the derision aimed at me for that decision (by people who make excuses not to do what they claim they love to do) is enormous.

Apart from that realization (and isn’t one of the points of meditation to gain clarity?), the meditation itself was wonderful and powerful – movement, because it’s a dance company. Movement with meaning, and it felt good to be in my body and ground again. The morning had left me feeling grumpy and unsettled.

In the afternoon, I cleaned out five boxes from the basement, catching up to my goal for that point. I found some really cool stuff that will get integrated into the household (until it’s packed for the move), found other stuff that needed to be repacked, and tossed a good bit Also did 15 minutes on the exercise bicycle. Only half of what my 96-year-old mother does every day, but it’s a start. One of the things I found is one of my favorite patterns for comfortable pants – only three pieces, and it only takes two hours from the time I start laying out the pattern on the fabric to the finished pants. They’re casual pants, but I found some fabric in the clearing-out I did a few months back that I want to use.

One of the late packages arrived: a pair of dusky rose velvet ballet flats, which are wonderful (but I can’t wear in the rain), and two pairs of pants that are both comfortable and stylish.

Sunday into Monday, I dreamed that someone was lying to me, so I guess I need to be cautious in October (10th day of Christmas). The story for Day 10 is centered around Morris Men (Ten Lords A-Leaping). I still have no idea what to do for Eight Maids-A-Milking.

Got my act together, dropped off two bags’ worth of library books at the drop box, went into the office. I was the only one there, which is as it should be, and got a lot done. Also managed to send out all four article proposals I’d written over the weekend.

By the time I got home, one of them had been accepted. Good way to start the first official workday of the year!

Did a curbside pickup at the library, decontaminated, did 15 minutes on the bicycle. After lunch, I did some admin work, got out some LOIs. Wrote some blog posts.

I’d put dinner in the crockpot before I left for work in the morning, and it smelled delightful when I got home. Slow cooker chicken and vegetables, over leftover jasmine rice. Quite yummy.

Watched some videos, did some reading.

Good dreams of baking set up a happy November (11th Day of Christmas), although I have no damn idea what story to build around 11 Pipers Piping. I have a feeling, as I work on the earlier stories, it will start to come clear, since each story stands alone, but is also linked.

If the weather improves by 9 AM, I will do a quick grocery run to Trader Joe’s. If not, I’ll put it off until Thursday. Otherwise, there’s writing, client work, and I’m getting out the interview requests for the article. Then more admin work, and I want to go through at least two more boxes today, to stay on mission for the clearing out.

So much is on the line today in Georgia’s election.  I’ve done what I could; now it’s up to the voters.

The Sociopath should be impeached again for trying to overturn the Georgia results. And every single Congress person who plans to squawk against certifying Biden’s victory tomorrow should be removed from Congress and exiled. Not allowed to set foot in this country EVER again.

It’s time we had some actual consequences for trying to shred the Constitution. There will be no healing, no rebuilding, until there is justice.

Let’s get this done, people.

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

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

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

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

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

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

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

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I was worn out by then.

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

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

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

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

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

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

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

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

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

Take care, and have a safe day.

Tues. Nov. 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 174 — Alternating Hope and Chaos

image courtesy of Valiphotos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

I have a new post up on A BIBLIO PARADISE about a book I missed the first time it was published, that I really enjoyed.

The roller coaster continues.

Friday was more about practicalities and keeping on keeping on than anything else. Library drop-off/curbside pickup. Paying bills. Ordering cat litter from Chewy. Some clothes I ordered online arrived – pants. Three pairs fit perfectly; one does a weird pouchy thing along the front of the legs, and needs to be returned.

In the evening, there was a talk session with the meditation group from Concord Library, “Vent with Intent.” It was small, but everyone got to talk and Lara, the leader, led us in some meditation and Qi Gong.

That led to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Votes were still being counted when I woke up. I left at 7:15 to go grocery shopping and wasn’t done until nearly 11. I went to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop first (they follow protocols, where the one closer to me does not). I did a BIG shop there, but also noticed that prices have gone up 25% since two weeks ago.

I took things back, decontaminated and put away, then jumped back in the car to go to Trader Joe’s, in the other direction. I did a medium shop there. So we’re pretty well stocked until I have to get the fixings for Thanksgiving. While I was in that plaza, I nipped next door to Christmas Tree shops to get things like parchment paper, and they finally had the tins out that I will use for the cookies this  year, instead of doing platters. I bought a stack of them. Plus a boot tray, so I can put disinfectant in it and we can leave our shoes steeped in disinfectant in the garage.

When there was an outbreak of equine herpes a few years back in the racing community, the tracks had disinfectant one had to walk through at various points. They also have that at the NMLC hospital. People bitch and moan (like they do about masks), but it makes a huge difference in the health and safety of the animals.

Biden and Harris were finally declared the winners. They have enough of a lead in the states still counting for it to make sense (and the lead is growing). It’s such a relief. People danced in the streets; world leaders congratulated him.

The Sociopath, of course, was on brand, playing golf and ranting. His sycophants thought they’d booked the Four Seasons Hotel in PA, but in reality, it was the parking lot of Four Seasons Landscaping, next to a sex shop and across the street from a crematorium.

Which just is on brand for this whole Administration.

Biden gave a speech in the evening. It was nice to hear a grownup talk, and no insults hurled. However, there was too much religion in it for me, and this talk about co-operating with Republicans? They will see it as weakness. For Republicans, there is no co-operation, only capitulation, and we elected Biden and Harris NOT to do that.

We still have to flip the two Senate seats in Georgia. I will be looking to Stacey Abrams for leadership on that, and NOT the Lincoln Project. I don’t believe they delivered. The fact that they are officially going 501c3 means it’s just another Republican machine. They can’t be trusted. They might want the Sociopath gone, but they also don’t want the Democratic platform to happen.

Sat on the deck to enjoy the lovely weather. This is the last chance we have on this deck, so we want to enjoy it.

I made a vegetable stroganoff that turned out very, very well. I expected to think it was okay, and a decent experiment, but it was excellent, and goes into the repertoire.

Chewy delivered the 66 pounds of cat litter I ordered yesterday, which is rather extraordinary.

Sunday, I spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the annuals that are spent, washing pots, putting things away, tidying up the deck. I’m leaving out the big pots for a little longer, until the weather turns. I took my time to do the work, so that I could actually enjoy it. Cut back some stuff in the beds, put things away.

The Sociopath refuses to concede, the Republicans are rude to the incoming administration, refusing to acknowledge them, and then call for “civility” and that we should consider their “feelings.” I keep repeating this: I am not required to be nice to people who are actively trying to kill me.

And I won’t.

Watched a DVD of the Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, directed by Hal Prince. It was amazing. I’m lucky enough to have worked with all of them: I dressed Angela Lansbury in the staged reading of ALL ABOUT EVE, the last Broadway piece I did before leaving New York and she was a delight; I worked with George Hearn when he did a stint on WICKED as the Wizard, and he was gracious, classy, funny, and wonderful; I worked with Hal Prince on THE PETRIFIED PRINCE at the Public, and kept in touch with him after, for years. I learned so much from all of them. I also worked with Sondheim (who wrote the SWEENEY score) on the revival of FOLLIES, and liked him a lot, too.

Sondheim’s scores are complex – the chorus singers need almost as huge a range as the leads. The role of Sweeney is stunningly demanding. The whole production took my breath away.

Slept reasonably well again on Sunday into Monday, although I’m still having weird dreams. Up early on Monday. I went in to a client’s, where I worked on my own. I noticed that the colleague with whom I split time hasn’t been in at all last week – she must still be sick, and I hope it’s not COVID.

I worked flat out all morning. Then, I had to brave a store to return the pants that didn’t fit (because sending them back would have cost more than the pants – shipping prices have all gone waaaay up). I couldn’t believe how many people were out shopping. I stood in line for 45 minutes to do the return. The woman in front of me touched every single item on the display shelves that were on either side of us as we stood in the line. It was kind of gross. At least everyone was masked, although most weren’t distancing properly. Believe me, I kept people FAR away from me.

But the return went smoothly, and then I headed over to the library for a drop-off/curbside pickup. They have book carts with books for sale out front, and the dumb fucks were taking off their masks to READ THE TITLES. What part of “airborne virus” are they too stupid  to understand?

Supposedly tougher mask mandates are in place. Yeah, right. Not ONE man wore a mask as I drove around to do my errands, except while inside a store. Older white women are not wearing masks. Masks are required in all public spaces. Parking lots are public spaces. Streets are public spaces. What part of “airborne virus” is above their level of understanding?

I’ve never had a high tolerance for the stupid. The stupid has risen around here so sharply in the past few years, as many of the smart with whom I interacted when I first moved here have left.

The air purifier arrived, and it’s already helping. Imagine – I lived a block from 42nd Street in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but on CAPE COD I need an air purifier. That’s how much destruction and overbuilding has happened around here in the past ten years.

Wrote and submitted the review for the book I really liked. Submitted the invoice, was paid in less than five minutes, received the next book to review. That’s the way I like to work!

Have to finish a pitch to send to a new-to-me magazine, and received a query to hire me to freelance that smells a little fishy, but it’s a high-paying market, so I want more information.

Ordered the cookie sleeves for the holiday baking. I should have ordered them the first day I saw them. The price is now double for half of what it was then.

The Republicans are still being assholes and traitors, which is to be expected. They’re still trying to pull off a coup and deny the duly elected next Administration.

Today, I have a lot of work to do, in spite of my landlord putting around for the entire morning “pruning” – meaning he’s going to destroy the habitat I’ve built for the local wildlife – as we wait for the gas inspector to come. The guy at the furnace company is going to call the inspector this morning to tell him that no one in this house has COVID. How would he know that, since he has refused to ever deal with me directly or acknowledge my existence during this entire process? All he’s done is demand and bully. I’m so sick of the unrelenting misogyny in getting a furnace installed. It’s disgusting.

But then it will be done. We have a ton of leaves here, and Roger will come soon to take care of them. I’m so sick of the neighbors who can’t stand to see a single leaf on their astro-turfs. Then don’t live in New England.

I’m sick of them all.

I wish it was the end of January, and the new administration was sworn in. The next few months will be hell, and we will have to fight like crazy to make sure nothing happens to derail it.

At least the new Biden-Harris Corona Task Force is in place, with actual doctors and scientists, there’s hope for a working vaccine from Pfizer, who did not participate in the Federal Too-Fast-Who-Cares-If-It-Kills-People-As-Long-As-There’s-A-Photo-Op program. The stock market went up 1200 points.

But we still have to fight the Sociopath, Barr, and Moscow Mitch. Not such fun times.

Onward.

Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday

image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and raw

Happy 96th birthday to my mom! I’m lucky she’s still here, and doing well.

Latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

The powers-that-be want to clear cut 170 acres of trees (which we need to, you know, breathe) near an aquifer in order to build a machine-gun training range.  I think that’s one of the dumbest ideas they’ve had lately.

170 acres destroyed for guns.

The stupid never stops around here.

Kids are getting sick in Barnstable and Bourne, yet they refuse to close the schools. They shouldn’t have opened them in the first place.

In-person learning is not more important than children’s lives. Or the lives of their teachers. Or the families, who then are exposed.

Dropped off a big bag of books at the library on my way to my client’s. it was quiet there, for most of my time, as it should be, with me on my own. Got a lot done. The boss came to overlap for the last hour or so, so we could catch up and do some planning. Our other colleague was out with a stomach bug.

There were two possible places to pick up the specific kind of cheesecake my mom likes. The first place – the entire large parking lot was filled. No line outside the store. Which meant that they were over capacity, not enforcing protocols, and not distancing.

I didn’t even get out of the car. I drove out of the lot and drove a few towns over, where a different store carries the same kind of cheesecake. It’s a bigger store, and there were only a few people in it, with plenty of space for all of us. I was in and out in just a few minutes, with only minor worries.

But the traffic! Backed up in both directions.

We’re in a pandemic, people. And it’s nearly November. We shouldn’t have traffic issues as though it was high season.

And people wonder why our numbers are steadily increasing. Yesterday was the 5th day in a row of new cases over 1000.

The Boston Marathon in April 2021 was postponed until at least fall. The right decision, absolutely, but it means they know we won’t be even close to out of this by next April.

Came home, decontaminated, was a little late for Remote Chat, but caught up.

The cats were all in a tizzy that I was gone all morning, so a good portion of the afternoon was spent with them.

I managed to get some admin work done, though.

I was up early this morning, wrapped my mom’s gift and wrote her a card. She’ll find it when she comes down.

I have meditation group with Concord Library via Zoom. Then, I’m making my mother Eggs Benedict (with salmon, not pork) for breakfast.

I’ll write most of the day; for dinner, she asked for my special turkey meatloaf, one of her favorites. And we have her cheesecake.

It should be a nice, quiet, but special day.

I need to buckle down and write a lot today. Let’s hope I can keep up the focus. I’d also like to finish the book for review, and write the review either later today or tomorrow, and get that off. That way, tomorrow, I can work on the pair of pitches I need to get out next week.

The last few days, researching companies, there haven’t been any to whom I wanted to send an LOI, so more research is needed.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which should be fun.

It’s amazing how Nano Prep Sense Memory always kicks in during October, ideas spinning, even when I have no intention of participating.

Just a reminder, if you are doing Nano and feel like you need some encouragement, 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS has prep suggestions and daily encouragements. It’s always free here.

Peace, friends!

Published in: on October 29, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday  
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Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

There’s a short post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope

image courtesy of Barbara Rosner via pisabay.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

We needed the rain yesterday. We’re supposed to get more later in the week, and maybe even snow by the weekend.

There’s a post on more career re-shaping over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

On other levels, the dumbfuckery never stops, does it?

Landed in my inbox: an “opportunity” to write 3-5 articles A DAY for $1000/month. Um, no. That breaks down to fractions of a penny per word or per hour.

Another thing that landed in my inbox: someone is looking for a person to write/send the emails to the client list. Great, no problem. Only, the description adds “must be willing to work outside in extreme weather.” Now why would I have to work outside in “extreme weather” to WRITE EMAILS?  If you’re hiring a WRITER for EMAILS, that is not being done outside in bad weather.

Having both hardware and software problems with the nearly-new laptop, because Mercury is retrograde and PCs suck.

On a happier note, I got information about some editors in search of additional freelancers. I pitched myself to two; one responded within 15 minutes asking for specific article pitches; I’m working on a pair to send her. They will be fun, if I get to do either of them.

Switching between script drafts on the screen to look at examples isn’t working for the other article. I’m going to have to print them out.

So that won’t be done until Thursday.

I got a fun ad done for a client for next week’s campaign.

Got my mom’s RMV appointment scheduled for next week, and also her bloodwork before her next medical appointment. At least that means we get it all out of the way next week.

The cooking demonstration with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu was spectacular. He is such a wonderful teacher, and his sense of humor, his skills, his ability to teach, and his joy give me hope.  I look forward to studying with him more intensively in the future.

Knowledge Unicorns was great. Everyone’s hunkering down, doing the work, trying to stay alive until election day. Even though none of them can vote yet, they’re keeping up on things and making sure their parents do. I always rode herd on my godkids to vote, because some of their parents couldn’t be bothered. It’s kind of fun to see their own children doing the same thing.

But I was definitely worn out by the end of the evening.

The package with stuffed orange raccoon toys arrived today, and the catnip bananas are set to arrive on Thursday, so some of the Kitty Drama is alleviated.

On today’s agenda: I have to go onsite for a client, have to do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library, and there’s Remote Chat.  Will also try to get some more LOIs out, and work on the article with which I’m struggling. I’d like to get it out the door tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be nice the next few days, so maybe I’ll get some yard work in.

I do love autumn.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope  
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