Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.

Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns

Logo designed by Gabe T.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

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

Sunny and pleasant

Yeah, we’re back up to six retrogrades. Having Mars go retrograde right now really sucks – more likely to get into (and lose) arguments, slowing down momentum, making one question one’s own worth. With Jupiter and Saturn turning direct this month, whose forward energy I need right now, then slowed down by the Mars retrograde – yeah, that sucks all the way around. With Mars retrograde, it’s not about overcoming obstacles, but about figuring workarounds.

Yesterday was fine. I was in the client’s office by myself, which is as it should be. Got a lot done.

Headed to the library for drop-off/pickup; then home for decontamination and back to work, remotely this time. The ad campaign still isn’t quite right. I haven’t hit that golden place yet. Then, I was working on another ad for an email blast that has to go out today; came up with something okay, but not brilliant. Got the idea I needed as I was falling asleep, so putting that together early this morning, so it can go out on time.

I invested in an acupressure mat a few weeks back. I’ve been taking a break in the afternoon to use it, especially when I’ve been sitting a lot. It’s amazing how much it helps. 20 minutes restorative time on the mat, and I can get in a few more focused hours in the afternoon.

Reading the next Gamache and enjoying it.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived. This month’s theme is Color Therapy, and it’s great. So much excellent stuff – and stuff I will use. Tessa is thrilled with the large crystal suncatcher. It might never make it to getting hung from the window; she might keep it for her private cat stash, as she did with last month’s crystal pendulum.

Also got an ARC of a colleague’s book that I won in a contest. I’m so excited – it’s the second book in her new series, and it’s such a fun series. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend, and then writing about it.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough (same song, different day). I’m figuring out the shape for the Susanna Centlivre play. I want the focus to be on her relationship with her husband (who was the Queen’s chef), and one of her closest female friends (probably Mary Pix). I found a Very Long Dissertation about female friendship, and another about her work and Aphra Behn’s work that I will need to read through in the coming weeks. I still don’t have the catalyst or the central dramatic event for the play. I’m still researching.

I think I’ll set the Isabella Goodwin play toward the end of her career. Maybe use flashbacks? They often work better on stage than in novels. I like the fact that she married a younger man when she was older and thinking about setting it when she’s thinking about retiring as NYPD’s first female detective. I haven’t figured out how to incorporate that. There’s a lot of fiction out about her that I’m avoiding, because I don’t want it to influence the piece; I also don’t want to use anything that I’m using in THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT pilot and scripts.

But it’s already September and both plays are due in December (and I have surgery in December), so I need to start writing soon.

I  need to remember that they can be short plays – they don’t have to be full-length. I can always expand them in the future. I need to pick an important moment in each of their lives and dramatize it.

I also need to stop berating myself that I didn’t get those additional Kate Warne plays written during the pandemic – they’re not on deadline. The paid and deadlined work must come first, and everything else has to fit around it. Everything takes longer, between the pandemic and retrogrades and the energy it takes to survive. I need to adjust my expectations for myself, or I’ll get stuck in self-loathing mire, and that doesn’t do any good.

I have to go onsite for a client (where we’ll all be in the office at the same time – ick). But we’re only overlapping a short time, so I will deal. Then I’ll come home, decontaminate, and join Remote Chat, which is one of my favorite parts of the week, then more client work.

Knowledge Unicorns

Yesterday was the first meeting of the online homework group, consisting of my godchildren’s kids. They named themselves the Knowledge Unicorns and one of them designed the logo. We’re still tweaking the time, because there are people in all three time zones. Wide range of ages, some a little quieter than others, so I have to make sure everyone is equally heard and no one is overlooked. But bright and fun and good people.

We talked about the structure of the sessions and how they will work, and how, if something isn’t working, we’ll talk about it and change it. The baseline is respect for each other and kindness toward each other. Everyone’s opinion matters, and if there’s a point of disagreement, it’s discussed with respect and compassion, and positions are backed up by facts and resources (not Wikipedia and Fox News).

We took a few minutes at the beginning to settle in and see how everybody is. None of them are going to in-person learning. They are all learning remotely. This idea that you just sit in front of a screen for 6 hours a day as though it was class is ridiculous, in my opinion. It’s a different kind of school, and needs to evolve for that. Even in school, you’d get up after 50 minutes to go to your locker and get other books and go to the next class.

A colleague and I discussed this the other day – schools have had months to come up with a good way to handle remote learning. They haven’t. They’re not supporting the teachers, they’re not supporting the parents, they’re sure as hell not supporting the kids. Someone I know works for a major online learning company. They did a direct mail campaign (both in print and digital)  to schools all over the country, offering free consults to help them move learning online and talk about the ways it has to be different to be effective. NOT ONE school responded.

Something that came up in the “settling in” talk at the beginning was the external pressures to go to the physical school building and act as though it was all normal. The kids agreed that they miss hanging out with their friends; but they’re more worried about the pressure on their parents. They’re scared and angry that some of their friends’ parents are trying to use the kids’ friendships to bully the parents into forcing the kids back into schools. One of the kids lost a friendship, because the friend’s parents won’t let them be in contact if the kid isn’t physically going to school, because the parents don’t want the remote-learning kid to fill the onsite kid’s head full of “libtard crap.” Because, you know, keeping your kids home and safe is a partisan issue to them. One of my godchildren had her lawyer work to get her temporary full custody of her kids during these months, because her ex-husband thinks the virus is a hoax; during his joint custody, he planned to send them to school. He also doesn’t believe in masks or social distancing, and has his friends over to drink beer and hang out the same as always.  I’m not up on the legal stuff in her state, so I don’t know how that all worked, but she got some sort of order giving her full custody temporarily, and they’re doing fully remote learning (and masking and social distancing).

There’s a lot of pressure on the kids to adapt to remote learning when the school systems haven’t put in the work to support the teachers or parents or kids to make it work (because, let’s face it, most of those believed the myth that the virus would just go away, because it was easier than putting in the work). On top of that, the external partisan pressure to put themselves in danger when their parents are trying to protect them is pretty intense, and that’s something that has to be addressed.

So we talked about that for a portion of our time together, and worked on coping strategies.

We got down to the actual homework – they’re all at different stages of learning and doing different things. If someone was having trouble with an assignment, they could ask a question, and we either figured it out, or figured where to look up the answer, amongst all of us. Some of the older kids remembered some of the stuff the younger kids were learning, and could help (especially in math, because I am useless in math). It was working on the different projects, but having virtual company and online resources at hand. I was either looking for resources to help with different assignments (they have to actually USE the resources, but I can point the way and show them how to research) or working on some stuff of my own that could be interrupted when they had questions or thought of something they wanted to talk about.

Some of the directions that come with the assignments make no sense. We spent time as a group dissecting some of the instructions.

We took regular breaks to stand up and get out the wiggles, and took our dance break (they decided that, at least for the first few weeks, they want me to pick songs from the 80’s for our dance breaks. 80’s music is exotic to them. I officially feel old).

They’d picked the octopus as the animal they want to learn about this month, so we started with the old Audubon Nature Encyclopedia entry from my childhood and will work from there.

Two hours flew by in what seemed like a few heartbeats, but we got a lot done, they got a sense of community and that, although they’re different ages and in different schools in different parts of the country, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stresses and fears, and aren’t alone. They have an adult (?), well, older person, who is not directly related to them, to whom they can talk about things, and, hopefully, they will build a sense that they have each other.

It was a good start, the parents were grateful for the break, and it certainly gave me a view into how broken the educational system is, and how unwilling the administrators are to expand their frame of learning and experience to make it work.

It was a good start, but I admit I was tired by the end of it. A good tired, but still. . .tired.

Have a good one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grief to Art Logo

Fri. Aug. 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 93 — Tired

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, August 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s getting hot and humid again, so I am getting grumpy again, especially with the allergies.

Yesterday, I got some client work and some yard work done. Took my mom to the other doctor to get some things dealt with. Freelance chat, which was fun. Tidied up the deck.

My landlord came over (with his mask and folding chair) and we chatted for two hours. He’s put a lot of research and work into an historical project that someone else is trying to control, and he wanted advice. Since I knew the other individuals involved, I could give him advice based on their past conduct and patterns. Hopefully, it was helpful.

Got some reading done, but not much else. The mice arrived from Chewy in a big box — ordered only because I needed to spend an extra dollar to get free shipping on the playpens. Instead of shipping it all together, three little toy mice arrived on their own in a great, big box.

But all three cats love the mice.

Overslept this morning, decided to put off going to the dump and recycling off yet another day. Picked up my mom’s new medication at the pharmacy, which was MUCH more expensive than I expected. So I have to put off buying the lumber and the fabric for the screen.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Too many people in the store, ignoring the traffic arrows, but at least everyone was masked. And the staff is so great.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, then heard from the library there were books ready for curbside pickup. Masked up again, drove down in my yoga clothes (because hey, curbside pickup). When I got out of the car to go to the table to pick up my bag of books, some women getting out of another car berated me for not wearing a bra. “What if there were children here?” (There weren’t — we were the only two cars in the parking lot). Plus, my shirt was black and oversized and nothing was showing. PLUS, it’s none of her damn business.

So I looked at her and said, “Why are you staring at my breasts?” and she stared sputtering.

I grabbed my books and came home.

I’m having a serious case of the don’t wannas today, so maybe I just won’t. Had a good first writing session out on the deck, though.

Have a great weekend.

Tues. August 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 90 — Grief To Art Launches

Grief to Art Logo

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Grief to Art
Today is the official launch of Grief to Art: A Site for Collective Mourning, which is my response to the grief from the thousands of deaths from the virus to which our government is indifferent. I hope you will take a look around, share the information, and submit a memory.

Life, Writing, and Other Stuff
Yup, another planet went retrograde. So we’re back in five retrogrades. Sigh.

I gave myself the weekend off. I felt pretty awful both Friday and Saturday, so I just cut off the pressure and let myself rest.

I got some work done on Friday, although I didn’t hit my goals. I didn’t make it to the dump.

Saturday, I had to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market. The staff is slacking off on the masking. I bought more than I planned, including the white cranberry peach juice. Since it’s the only place around here that carries it, occasionally, I will have to venture out for it, but other than that, I guess Star Market is now crossed off my list of places to shop.

Came home, full disinfectant protocols. Laundry, housework.

I made Portuguese Sweet Bread, which always takes at least half a day. But it’s worth it. One of our favorite breads. Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Didn’t need to water Sunday morning, because it rained all day, a nice, gentle rain. Sat inside, read, wrote, made chocolate mousse.

Reading-wise, I read Patricia Hampl’s THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY. I got it because it talks about the need for leisure and for daydreaming. I liked most of it, although it was also an elegy to her deceased partner. I wish I’d know that going in to it – it would have made it more appropriate to the Grief to Art site than to the project for which I ordered it. I also got annoyed at her, multiple times – here, she has these amazing experiences traveling and meeting people rich with stories – and she complains of boredom. She’s a writer, for fuck’s sake! There is NO place for boredom in a writer’s life.

Read two other mysteries, in a series I had been thoroughly enjoying. Only, in this last one, the writer rants on and on, calling a despicable woman “a witch.” That’s a slur. It’s 2020, we should be better than that, in spite of the MAGATS. This person, who’s supposed to be an ally and inclusive, should know better.

I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by someone I trusted.

The book is several years old. I’m wiling to give the series one more book – if it happens again, she is crossed off my list.

I’m tired of cozy mysteries pandering to the right.

But then, so often, they are about maintaining the status quo, aren’t they?

Not anymore about the misfit recognized for her unique qualities and loved and accepted for who she is, but because she conforms to the status quo to fit in. Cozies that do the former are why I enjoy(ed) the genre. Cozies who do the latter — more and more prevalent since 9/11 – I loathe.

Started re-reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series. We are reading the whole series in order. I love so much about it, although the third person omniscient head-hopping bothers me sometimes. She does it better than most writers, but it’s still noticeable enough, at times, to bother me.

On a writing note, I did some more development. I understand what I want and need from the protagonist and her main love interest. I understand the themes I want to develop. I’m building the ensemble of secondary characters. I know who is murdered and why; I know who the murderer is and how this individual passes under the radar for most of the book. I even came up with a working title.

On Monday, I wrote the first 1200 words. The first 500 or so were difficult, and then I found the rhythm. This morning, I wrote another 750 words. It will be a slower creation process, not just because I’m doing the first draft in longhand, but I’m taking more time to develop every sentence, instead of spitting out the first draft quickly and then taking it apart to put it back together. It’s a different process, and what this particular book needs.

Good thing there’s no deadline.

But it shook things loose so I could go back to this draft of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is very, very necessary.

I’ve been writing the article for Llewellyn in my head, and now it’s time to put it on paper. I want to get it done and out this week. Or early next week, latest.

I have to get going on the book I have to read for review. I want to get that done this week. I’d planned to do it over the weekend, but wanted to give myself time off from any “have to.”

Went on site to do some client work on Monday. I was on my own for most of it, which is as it should be.

Curbside pickup at the library, home, full disinfectant protocols, LOIs, and work on the Grief to Art site. But every time I have to go on site, it takes me most of the rest of the day to recover, because it’s so stressful. Even when protocols are followed.

Finished STILL LIFE, and went through some other books I used for research.

It’s still raining this morning, so I’m going to wait to go to the dump until Thursday; same with Trader Joe’s. I’m grateful for the rain. We need it. However, I don’t want to get soaked taking in the garbage and recycling, or standing in line waiting to get into the grocery store.

Michelle Obama’s speech last night was articulate, intelligent, direct, and sharp. We are so lucky she is a part of the world right now.

Today, there will be a lot of focus on the Grief to Art launch, some client work, LOIs, admin work, article work, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and, hopefully, cleaning out another box. The goldenrod is blooming, and I’m sneezing like crazy, my nose is running, and my eyes are swollen. Lovely. Yes, that was sarcasm.

So I better get going, hadn’t I? Have a great day.

Fri. April 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 86 — Oh, To Escape Into the Forest

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image courtesy of loa8320 via pixabay.com

Friday, August 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Got out some LOIs yesterday. Got some writing and some admin done, and a little bit of client work, although not as much as I’d hoped. I created a new ad for Fearless Ink, which I like, and I’m working on my autumn postcard. Which, the way the USPS is being sabotaged, might get there around the winter holidays.

Freelance chat was fun. Stefan Palios, one of our group, made an excellent point that will help me in my client negotiations: a freelancer does not have an employer-employee relationship with companies, but a business-to-business relationship. That is phrasing I will use every time a potential client tries to treat me like an employee not receiving benefits.

The whole thing made me more cheerful for the next round of LOIs.

The afternoon was spent working on the Grief to Art site. It’s soft-launched, which means it’s live, and, technically, open to submissions for the Walls of Remembrance, but I’m not going to actively start promoting its existence until the new moon on Tuesday. I’m still tweaking.

I don’t have the art submissions open yet, because I’m still working on guidelines and contracts. I might make the art/visual/verbal aspects by invitation-only at first, because I don’t want the site to be treated as a market for the unpublished. So that has to evolve.

Work on the site always takes a lot out of me, so I was pretty worn out by the end of the day.

I always wonder why I’m wiped out in the afternoon, but I wake up at 4 AM and usually start my workday by about 5 AM (even when that work is watering the yard). So by 2 PM, I’ve put in a full day.

Had weird dreams last night about being stuck in a mountain town with no way to leave. It was very busy and social, with no one wearing masks or distancing. Nothing like pandemic stress dreams to make one wake up exhausted.

Overslept, and was too late to do the morning watering. It kind of looks like it might have rained a little overnight? The asphalt is wet. Who knows.

Realized, in my early morning writing session on the deck, how much I love trees. They make me feel safe. If I was a fictional character, I’d be one of the ones who flee into the woods for sanctuary.

When I first woke up, around 3 AM (pre-weird dreams), it was actually quiet for about 10 minutes. No crazy traffic. No drag racing on the local streets (something I’ve never understood since I moved here, and which drives me nuts). Not even any of the nocturnal birds singing. It was blissfully quiet.

For only 10 minutes, but it was a happy 10 minutes.

I couldn’t do the curbside pickup at the library, so I will do that today. Also have to take in the garbage and the recycling – in one carload, since one can no longer take it in separately without paying twice, and the Town of Barnstable’s mantra is “Screw Thy Residents.”

More LOIs to get out today, client work, article work, tweaks on the Grief to Art site. This weekend, I hope to focus on THE BARD’S LAMENT, cleaning out the basement, and reading the book for review.

Have a good one, friends! See you on the other side
.

Published in: on August 14, 2020 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 86 — Oh, To Escape Into the Forest  
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Tues. Aug. 4, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 76 — Tired of Tired, but Writing & Reading

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image by pixamio courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Busy, frustrating weekend. It was hot and humid most of the time, and I’m sick of this weather.

I couldn’t get much done, although I got out a bunch of LOIs.

I got some reading done; I got a review out and an invoice out. I’m still chasing down two other late payments.

I’m sick of having to “create an account” every damn time I want to buy something online. No. I don’t want an account. I’m not coming back, and I may not buy it now, if you make me “create an account.” Let me check out, give you my damn money, and buy what I want. I don’t’ want any more accounts. I don’t want any more passwords. I don’t want an email every day trying to sell me something else. I don’t want to “review” every damn purchase I make. I want to give you money for a product and get on with my life.

The idiot across the street was out in the heat and humidity every day making noise with his heavy machinery and causing more destruction.

The fucktwits with fireworks were out in the streets every night.

I am so sick of the Town of Barnstable which does NOTHING for its residents. They keep making up more taxes and other things we have to pay for, but they don’t actually give us any services or protections. My Town Councilor is a disgusting waste of space.

I have some challenges with a particular client which I have to decide how I’m going to handle.

On The Plus Side With Writing and Reading
Laundry, baking, nice Lammas ritual early in the morning on Saturday – before the Covidiot short term renter-tourists could ruin everything.

At least I got some good work done on Gambit Colony. Although it should have been on BARD. I’m behind on BARD again, damn it, and I was doing so well there for awhile.

It was so hot, I couldn’t think straight much of the time. I don’t do well in heat and humidity.

I cleaned out a few boxes from the basement. Not enough, but a few, and I have to keep at it. I threw out about 90%, and I bet, when I go to file some of the rest, I can throw out some more.

I found a partial manuscript from a project I started a couple of years back and put aside, due to contracted work. I kind of love it. I also remember having done more work on this particular project. I need to find the other pages and read the whole thing again. The voices are very strong and unique.

Got the notes back from WINNER TAKE ALL. Some interesting points. There are some things I want to achieve and fell short of on this draft. But I don’t want to explain everything, either. There are subtle hints here and there – too subtle, sometimes. I have to find a way to make a few things clearer without being too obvious about it. I might not do changes the way the notes suggested, but I want to make changes that still get me to the same endpoint as suggested, if that makes any sense. It will take some percolation (and a lot of trial and error) to figure it out.

Submitted my review and invoice to my editor over the weekend; got paid first thing Monday morning. That’s why I love working with this company. Got another book assigned already. Will download it today; looking forward to it. Got paid for the article where the payment didn’t go through, initially. So we’re all good on that.

Now, if the Big Publication that is in breach of contract would cough up the fairly good-sized chunk of cash it owes me for a piece I did back in February, around all my medical tests and surgery, we would be all caught up.

Two of the three flash fiction pieces I sent out a few weeks ago have been rejected. I’m not really surprised – they are odd little moments in time. But that’s kind of why I like them. They are neither comfort pieces nor doom pieces – those seem to be the extremes short fiction publishers want right now. I’ll just keep trying. The right match is out there.

Did a curbside pickup at the library (and dropped off a stack of books). All mysteries. The first one, I hated so much I put it down after 20 pages. It was part of the wave when certain cozies went far right wing in the initial years after 9/11. It was awful. Judgmental, small-minded, I hated the characters, and didn’t care if the murderer killed the protagonist. So I put it down.

Read another one, set around the same time, that had a few whispers of some of the same elements, but overall was much better, both in terms of structure and characters. It was a quick read – took maybe two hours, perfect for a hot summer afternoon when too much movement or thought would turn my brains to jello.

Reading the last book I have in a series that I liked initially, but don’t like the turn it’s taken. Instead of growing as people in the series, the characters are getting small-minded and being “less than” instead of better. On top of that, the protagonist had two choices of romantic interest, and chose the one with whom she has zero romantic chemistry. And no, it’s not just a phase in the series, where she then realizes the mistake and ends up with the guy with whom she has chemistry. The author is trying to tamper down the chemistry she has with the other guy, the one she should be with, and force chemistry with the one where there isn’t any, and it throws off the tone and the pace of the series. So I’m done with it. (Yes, I did research to see if she comes to her senses in future volumes – she doesn’t). The author has every right to pair up protagonists as they please; but if it doesn’t work for me, if it frustrates me, I don’t have to stay with the series.

Even reading books in the genre that don’t work for me teaches me a great deal. It clarifies what I’m trying to do, where I’m trying to break out of boxes, yet still satisfy readers on certain points, and clarifies why I make certain choices in plot and character that I make.

Working from home today, for clients and, I hope, getting some good writing done. I might try to run out and do a curbside pickup from my favorite Chinese restaurant (I’ll probably stock up on several meals’ worth) before the big storm comes in today.

I figured I didn’t need to water this morning if we’re having a tropical storm come in.

Peace, friends. Hope you are well.

Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve

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image courtesy of Bru-nO via pixabay.com

Friday, July 31, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, did some client work, enjoyed Freelance Chat.

Finished reading a book from a series I previously enjoyed, but was disappointed in this particular book. The protagonist got together with a guy who spent previous books behaving like a creepy stalker, and there’s no chemistry between them, and everything in this book was too easy.

Read another book, a first book in a series. Frustrated because the protagonist spent most of the first 100 pages crying and being dizzy. Sorry, that doesn’t make her relatable and cute. It makes me want to smack her upside the head.

So that series is a no-go for me.

So hot and humid that reading was all I could handle yesterday afternoon.

I managed to read and give notes on the latest version of a friend’s script. It really sparkles!

This morning, managed to get the front watered again – and then it rained, so I didn’t have to do anything about the back. Still none of the lovely thunderstorms we were promised, although it looks like a hurricane will find its way up here next week.

Did a grocery run to Star Market for some necessities, then a library run to drop off/do curbside pickup. Full disinfectant protocols. At least everyone was masked at the store and at curbside pickup.

I have a bunch of stuff to get done today, house and home stuff mostly, so I’m going to cut myself a break on the work. I have to re-think how I’m going to make the Topic Workbook example sheets work in the reformatted workbooks, because they’re not holding the formatting – and when they do, I can’t insert them into the text.

I need to get a lot of boxes purged from the basement this weekend, and work on the Grief to Art site. Over 150,000 dead, we need it.

But I’m not feeling hopeful, and I am feeling exhausted and burned out. So we will see.

Still, I’m looking forward to salmon burgers and potato salad tonight, and there’s now plenty of gelato, so there are some small pleasures I can enjoy.

And books, more books.

I have a review to get out today, and I’m writing an article in my head that I hope to get down on paper and out to my editor in the next couple of days.

Chasing down late payments, which is always frustrating.

Tomorrow is Lammas, a special day in my personal calendar. I will make cornbread early in the morning, I have blackberries. I don’t have any beer – might use wine or vodka instead.

First harvest – and I’m out of time on a few things, and not sure what to do.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on July 31, 2020 at 10:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve  
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Tues. July 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 62 — Heat Wave

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image courtesy of klimkin via pixabay.com\

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Busy weekend.

Friday, I got some blogging and LOIs done. I dashed down to the library in the rain to drop off some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup.

I did the update on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM. I still have to do a few little tweaks in the script section, and I added information on radio and corporate scripting.

Unfortunately, the formatting on the examples doesn’t hold. I’m either going to have to save them as PNGs or JPGs and insert them, or provide a link for a downloadable PDF of the examples. I hope it’s not the latter, because that’s just more trouble for everyone all the way around.

Revised THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. Will do one more proof, and then upload it to the system.

Starting updates on THE SERIES BIBLE this week. Again, that has example sheets, and I need to figure out how to do those so they hold the formatting. Otherwise, they’re useless.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what needed to be done finished, so had to put in some time over the weekend on it, and then do a test run yesterday, to make sure it works.

Saturday, I wrote 24 pages on Gambit Colony. Sunday I wrote more, finishing Book 4. Finally. Too bad it’s not the book I needed to finish. But it’s done. Book 5 is an Interlude book, much shorter, and I’ve written a bunch of material for it already, so that should go pretty fast.

Famous last words.

I cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry, caught up on the classwork for the Book of Kells class.

I got a negative response on an LOI. Kind of a rude email, actually. But I did what I always do: thanked them for getting back to me, saying I’d rather get a disappointing response than no response at all. I got an almost immediate note in response thanking me for being so gracious. Which surprised the hell out of me.

I was saddened by the death of John Lewis, and enraged by the Gestapo-like troops deployed to Portland. They must be stopped.

My Trusted Reader gave me her notes on the VISCERAL INVISIBLES script. They are the best notes I’ve ever gotten on a script, and that includes by producers. It was interesting that the two atonal things she picked up on had been added at the behest of a producer, and I’d felt they didn’t work. She sent two pages of single-spaced notes and I can use ALL of them. I see ways to integrate all of it, without completely having to break down and rebuild what I have.

I’m excited to get back to work on it, although I’m not sure when I can do so.

Up way too early on Sunday.

Wound up finishing the 4th Book of the Gambit Colony series. There’s always a high that follows (even though that wasn’t the book I should have been working on). I did the first chapter of the 5th book.

I should have done a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t.

Instead, I sat outside on the deck with a Very Strong Martini and read the latest issue of The New Yorker. Because I felt like my brain was rotting.

Monday, I went onsite to do work for a client. I got a lot done, and was on my own for most of it; when I overlapped with a colleague, we took precautions.

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up books. Came home, decontaminated, caught up on email, then worked on a website project. I’m trying to take it off line while I build it, because the stress of building live is hurting my ability to make good choices. I struggled with a lot of the templates, because they would not do what I wanted.

So the airlines are whining that they’re losing money. What did they think would happen? First of all, anyone with any sense is not travelling. Second, those who travel aren’t the people anyone wants to be around anyway. Third, the airlines aren’t paying attention to health and safety protocols, such as when they let Ted Cruz fly without a mask. So, again, anyone with any sense is going to stop flying for the moment, especially with the infection rate soaring. Fourth, the airlines got billions of dollars in bailout money. Instead of investing in their workforce and long-term protocols, they paid off executives and did stock buy backs.

The airlines have only themselves to blame. Several of them SHOULD go under. Airlines have made flying a nightmare ever since they monetized the 9/11 attacks. It’s not about security – it’s about finding ways to make people spend more money once they’re through security and on the place.

They deserve to go under.

New airlines need to start up that actually give a damn about the people paying the bills.

I’m headed out early this morning for blood work; later, I’ll have to do a Trader Joe’s run for basics like bread, milk, and eggs, and a few other things. Then it’s client work, writing, course work.

Fri. July 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 58 – Feels Like 2020 is Retrograde

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image courtesy of Comfreak via pixabay.com

Friday, July 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s supposed to get brutally hot and humid this weekend. I hope that’s not the case.

Yesterday seems like a year ago. And I wasn’t even all that productive.

Did a run to Star Market for a few things. Not too many people, everyone masked, although not following directional arrows and not distancing in line for checkout. But I was in and out quickly, and did full disinfectant protocols when I came home.

Read a little bit on the deck to get my energy back from all that is expended every time I have to be amongst people.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what I wanted to finish done, so I will have to suck it up and put in a few more hours today. Got out an LOI to an interesting company. Have been debating about sending an LOI to a company looking for YouTube scriptwriters. I doubt they’ll want to pay my rates, but it might be worth a shot.

Spent way too much time and energy trying to chase down a late payment from a major magazine for whom I did a piece back in February. The contract states I’ll be paid “within eight weeks of publication.” The issue dropped April 22. I should have been paid by June 22. It was now July 16 and crickets. I knew my paperwork was all in, because I’d sent it in February, and it was re-confirmed in April. April was the height of the shutdown in this state.

I contacted my editor and was sent new paperwork for direct deposit – but April’s writers are getting paid “next month” and I’d be “up next after that.” So I might get paid by September? Um, no. My contract says within eight weeks. Not five months or more. Pandemic or not. Besides, here in MA, where the ‘office’ is located, accountants and payroll people have been considered “essential” since Day 1 of Stay at Home. I have clients who do direct deposit – they’ve been on time AND their accounting departments have been in touch throughout all of this to make sure everything is smooth while we all work remotely – including the accounting departments. There’s no reason it should take another six weeks to pay via direct deposit. Oh, and if I wanted a paper check, I’d have to wait “indefinitely” since the office is still closed. Hey, I’m all for offices remaining closed (although here in MA, we’re in Phase 3 re-opening, offices are allowed at 50% capacity with safety protocols in place. Most are at 100% without protocols. So kudos to the company for keeping their offices closed), but direct deposit doesn’t take six weeks.

I contacted the accounting department directly and am waiting to hear back. Also, if additional paperwork was needed, why didn’t THEY send it to me as soon as they knew? Why do I have to find out about it because I’m chasing down payment? This is not some little nonprofit lit mag with a single individual toiling to keep everything put together. This is a major publication. The lack of communication is just as inexcusable as the lack of payment.

If I agree to wait six more weeks to be paid, I guarantee they’ll go out of business between now and then and I’ll never be paid.

The article I wrote last week and submitted on Tuesday was accepted. Payment was sent, but hasn’t shown up yet via Paypal. I’ll wait until we’re a few hours further in to business hours, and then contact them to see what’s going on. But look at that – I’m paid promptly, per the terms of my contract.

Freelance chat was fun. It gave me some new ideas. Now I have to schedule the time in which to implement them.

Spent a few hours on the new edition of the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM (which fell by the wayside with everything else going on). I have to do some research to update a few points and resources, and decide if I want to keep all the samples/examples in their own section at the end of the workbook, or if I want to put them with the exercises/topics.

The friend serving as a Trusted Reader for the script I sent out a month ago – turns out she never received it! Here I assumed she hated it and didn’t know how to break it to me! So, with her permission, I’ve resent it, and I’m hoping she doesn’t hate it once she actually gets to read it!

You’d think Mercury was still retrograde.

I don’t know, seems like all of 2020 is retrograde.

Have to go to the library this morning to put some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup. Then, it’s client work, LOIs, work on the Topic Workbooks, work on BARD, work on GAMBIT.

This weekend, I plan to read the book I was sent for review, write, clean, and maybe do a little sewing.

Of course, if it’s hot and humid, I might just lie on the floor in front of the fan!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Tues. July 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 55 — Working On Independence Issues

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image courtesy of jackmac34 vis pixabay.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Bastille Day

Bastille Day is my own personal Independence day, because that was the day I left a very toxic job situation in the past.

If you missed the weekly intention post yesterday, it’s here; it ties in with the Inner Resources post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolution site,which also went up yesterday.

Mercury went direct on Sunday, so at least that’s a little pressure off. But these heavy planets are still slowing things down.

Didn’t get as much done as I hoped over the weekend. I don’t do well in heat and humidity, and we don’t have air conditioning. It wasn’t too bad, but it slowed me down. And, mentally, I’m just exhausted.

I managed to finish reading the rest of Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I love how the characters grow from book to book.

Most of my own creative work was focused on GAMBIT COLONY, when it should have been focused on BARD, but GAMBIT is a good stress reliever, and my stress levels are skyrocketing.

Tried some new to me recipes over the weekend – a farfalle pasta with zucchini, corn, and tomato, with homemade pesto using basil from the garden; chicken enchiladas. I’d never made the latter before. I was always worried it was too hard, but it’s not. There are leftovers, so I don’t need to worry about much cooking for the early, high-stress portion of the week.

Three Chantal Chamberland CDs arrived over the weekend, and I’ve been playing them a good deal. Sitting and really listening to them, not just having them on in the background while I do something else.

I feel a need to pull inward. I’m expending too much energy on Sliding Mask Skanks and Covidiots. They want to be stupid and reckless? Let them pay the consequences. I’m going to stay as far away from them as I can as much as I can. I have a life to rebuild.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working for more justice and equality across the boards. But it does mean not wasting time with people who aren’t worth it. I am willing to meet each individual as worth of basic human dignity until they prove otherwise. Then, I’m done.

I’m tired of the noise levels around here. I’m tired of these people who can’t enjoy their lovely yards for two minutes without turning on a machine to destroy something. They’re never building something or creating something beautiful; it’s just destruction. Cut down trees, tear out bushes, cut up boards. Someone had a chainsaw going at two a.m. Monday morning. Unless they’re disposing of a body, there’s no reason for it. Tropical Storm Fay barely kissed us. And on Monday morning, the mowers started by 7 AM.

People hanging out in their yards talking and laughing? No problem. I actually love to hear it (outside of pandemic times). Playing music? No problem, whether it’s something I like or not.

But the constant repetitive machine noise seven days a week at all hours of the day or night is infuriating, especially because of the hyperacusis.

And now, the town wants to get rid of residential zoning, so every building can be rented short term. The short term rentals have already destroyed this neighborhood. Tourists don’t give a damn. The sense of neighborhood and community is lost, they don’t follow pandemic protocols, and they throw trash everywhere.

No. Just no.

My Town Councilor got a letter from me to go into the Public Record at last night’s meeting. I doubt he even looked at it, much less submitted it or acted on it.

I managed to catch up, over the weekend, on my coursework for The Miracle of Human Language. The course is a delight, mostly because the professor is smart, quirky, and enthusiastic.

Yesterday, I went on site for a few hours to do some client work. I was completely on my own I the office, which meant much less stress, and I could get a lot done. Not quite as good as working from home, but I’ll take it.

Swung by the library on the way home to drop off/pick up.

Worked on my article, which goes out today. Probably at the end of the day, since there are tweaks I want to do on it. Got out a bunch of LOIs. Heard back on a few – a couple want to go with a writer who has a track record within the industry (understandable, but short-sighted); several like my work, but their expansion/hiring plans are on hold now. However, they want to stay in touch, so we’re setting up a check-in schedule every few months to see where we are and when we can work together.

Managed a couple of hours of yardwork in the afternoon, hacking away at invasives. There’s still a lot to do, but I’ve made some progress.

Charlotte and Willa were both on the kitty condo last night. Not sure about having the other so close. I got some hilarious photos, which are over on Instagram.

The numbnuts are still setting off illegal fireworks every damn night. I wish the town would crack down on them.

I was supposed to get bloodwork done today. The doctor said I could just show up whenever at the diagnostic center. But I checked with them, and I can’t. Which I figured. The earliest appointment I could get is next Tuesday morning. Which is fine with me. I’d rather they took precautions, and the COVID antibody tests have to take priority.

Then, I have to do some client work and some writing. And what ever else comes up. I’m hoping to be more productive today than I was yesterday.

I should do a Target run, but I just don’t want to be out and about. But I feel like I should get in everything we need, because I anticipate things shutting down again in a few weeks, in spite of us being pushed into Phase 3 re-opening.

I’m really not surprised that Disney World re-opened during all of this. I mean, the company’s greed is legendary. But the fact that people are actually going? Putting themselves, each other, and the staff in danger? That is disgusting.

Again, though, I don’t need to waste my energy on these Covidiots. I need to focus on my own life. And work And things that need to happen, pandemic or not, over the next few months.

I have to mull over how to pull inward more. Much as I’d love to be a professional recluse, I need to be visible to earn money. But, even with isolation due to the pandemic, I need to pull even further inward to get some things sorted out, and figure out how to get a few things on track.

 

Thurs. July 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — Hope for a Happy, Productive Day

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image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

There’s a new post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. If you didn’t see the post on Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about red flags in job postings, check it out.

I haven’t been spending early mornings writing in my personal journal or getting my first 1K done in longhand – I’ve been headed to the computer for the past few days. It doesn’t serve me for the rest of the day, it doesn’t set the right tone, so I have to change back to longhand first thing, computer later on. It sets a more creative tone for the day.

Up early, got some work done, polished an ad for a client yesterday. Went onsite for a few hours. The first few hours are fine, because it’s just me, but then it got chaotic. And uncomfortable. But it is what it is.

Home, disinfectant protocols, and made it to Remote Chat, which is also fun. Did a couple of brainstorming sessions with a friend about possible pseudonyms for different expansions in her career. It’s always fun to serve as a sounding board like that; a nom de plume is so personal and has to work on multiple levels. When you hit the right one, you can feel it. It resonates in your body.

Cleared off some other work. Spent some time out on the deck. Willa and the bunny are fascinated by each other.

Finished Deanna Raybourn’s A MURDEROUS RELATION, which was a lot of fun. Started reading Vivien Chien’s DEATH BY DUMPLING, and I’m loving it.

A friend sent me a house listing for her neighborhood. It has everything I want in it, and the price is high for there, but lower than almost anything around here. It’s in the Midwest, and I hadn’t considered moving back there (my family lived in Chicago from when I was 1 until I was 6). Hmm. Lots to think about. I doubt I’ll have the money before it’s snapped up, but still, it’s something to think about.

One of the biggest issues that worries me there is noise. It’s in a medium-sized city. Because of my hyperaccussis, I’m thinking of moving farther away from, you know, PEOPLE. And repetitive machine noise.

It’s one of the reasons we moved to Cape Cod. I need quiet. No, “noise-cancelling” headphones don’t work. They make it worse. Anyway, in the past few years, it’s noisier in this neighborhood than it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Ave. in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Saw a job listing for a freelancer. Decent monthly retainer. But if you “apply” you get 72 hours from the moment you hit send to complete an “assessment” which includes a project-specific writing sample. Nope. On top of that, they’re saying, “oh, we’re not expecting you to do unpaid work.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS SAMPLE IS. How much do you want to bet they don’t hire anyone, change the name of the company, and publish everything without paying the writers?

Next!

The Goddess Provisions box arrived yesterday, and it is delightful. The copy of WHO COOKED ADAM SMITH’S DINNER? About inequity in economics, arrived, too. I’d read a copy from the library, realized I needed it for future reference on many projects, and bought a copy.

People are so happy with the cards we sent out. I’m glad. I’ve heard from several friends, and a friend of my mom’s called her and burst into tears because she was so happy to get the card.

Pandemic stress is getting to people. If a card can give them some pleasure and relief, I can take a few minutes to write cards. I’m going to do another batch this weekend.

This morning, I have to take the household garbage to the dump, do some client work on an online store, and get a rough draft of my new article assignment done. Plus, finish fixing THE BARD’S LAMENT and finally move on to the next section, and catch up on my Miracle of Human Languages coursework for the week.

Busy day, but I hope a relatively calm, happy, and productive one. With time put aside to sneak off a read a few chapters of the Vivien Chien book.

Have a great Thursday!

Fri. July 3, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 46 — Finally, Productivity

Friday, July 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We’re going into the long holiday weekend, and I just feel like the clock is running out for me on way too many fronts.

Yesterday was actually a fairly productive day. I popped into my client’s to launch an ad – the financial information was at the office. That didn’t take long, and the client is pleased. Let’s hope it converts into actual sales. I’ve got some SEO tweaking to do on the client’s website next week, which should also help.

Swung by the bodega (ahem, convenience store) on the way back to pick up eggs. It just wasn’t worth standing in line to get into a grocery store for eggs. The only people wearing masks around here yesterday were the locals going into the post office and the convenience store.

Clumps of tourists are clomping around, not wearing masks, not social distancing. The bridges were backed up for hours.

We’re going to lose all the progress we made against the virus, and it’s disheartening.

Got home, full disinfectant protocols, and made it to the first session of the Freelance Writing  Success Summit. Attended all three virtual sessions. Got some good information. Some of the sessions are for people earlier in their careers than I am, but they’ll get a lot out of it.

It turns out a lot of best practices for SEO writing were what I do instinctively. That’s good to know. It helps me frame SEO conversations moving forward, especially because I am committed to quality content over SEO word salad. Since Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing anyway, it gives me a stronger position when the companies push back about using keywords that aren’t supported by content.

Got out some LOIs. Refused some reach outs from “recruiters” who want me to do work in which I’m not interested nor is my focus, for lower than my regular rate because I should be “happy someone wants to hire you in these hard economic times.” A) I’m working; B) What you offer is not in my area of expertise OR interest, so find someone in that field; C) I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a seasoned professional and I’m worth my rate.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

Finished reading a book of essays by someone who is a good writer, but her brand of crazy is too much for me right now. And yes, in her case, it’s definitely part of her “brand.” My emotional energy needs to be elsewhere right now, because there’s not a whole lot of it.

My doctor sent me a survey on how I’m feeling, emotionally. Um, I’d be a bit of a sociopath if it was all flowers and rainbows in the middle of a pandemic. No, I’m not sleeping well, I worry a lot, and I have post-anesthesia brain fog. I just had two surgeries in 4 months during a pandemic, for goodness’ sake!

I’m a little fed up with all the forms and the surveys and the tests. I’m tired and I’m worried and I can’t heal if I’m filling out forms all the time.

Got some work done on the promotional TRINITY OF TEASERS package, but exporting text from system to system and having it actually do what I want is frustrating. But I don’t want to rekey over 100 pages of text, either. I need to get back to work on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, too. I thought I’d be farther along by now.

I thought I’d be farther along on a lot of things.

Didn’t get the reading done for my language class, so I’ll have to get that done today.

Did do some work on Book 4 of the Gambit Colony series, because I craved it. Really shouldn’t be working on it now, but it calms me and soothes me and gives me creative fuel for other projects.

The dickheads with their illegal fireworks were in full force last night. These are the same idiots who won’t wear masks because “fweedom” asLilith St. Crow put it the other day in her blog. Their freedom to terrorize the neighborhood exists, but ours not to be infected by their stupidity does not. We obviously know for whom they voted and where they get their news. About 20-30 minutes, at least 300-400 fireworks (I trained in pyro when I worked rock and roll, I know these things). I was on the floor, beside Tessa, who was terrified, putting my body between the direction of the noise and poor Tessa. Willa and Charlotte ignore the noise, but it absolutely terrifies Tessa.

At least I had a good night’s sleep, for once.

Working on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning – hoping I can finish fixing that huge plot problem. I can’t believe I was that stupid.

Dashing down to the library for a curbside pickup this morning. Excited to return books and get some new ones. Will also read the book for review this weekend.

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Sent out a bunch of cards to people yesterday, and have some more that need to go out in the next few days. I ordered a bunch of new notecards from Peter Pauper Press (one of my favorite suppliers), so it’s time to use them!

I’m actually almost looking forward to the weekend. I have to battle the bindweed, weather permitting, but I’d like to read and write and not deal with any human beings outside the household.

I don’t feel there’s a lot to celebrate this year, but I am looking forward to some downtime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!