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.

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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Tues. Oct. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 146 — Covidiots Run Loose

image by Peter Lomas courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and MERCURY Retrograde

Yup, Mercury goes retrograde today and stays that way until election day. With Mars retrograde.

It won’t be pretty.

Technically, tourist season ended here yesterday, so we are only expected to die for our employers. But boy, howdy, did they expect us to Die For Tourist Dollars all fucking weekend, because there was NO enforcement of the mask mandate.

To say I am angry about the domestic terrorists that tried to kidnap the governor of Michigan is an understatement. We need Bill Barr impeached. We need the 25th Amendment now. We need that vile SCOTUS nominee removed.

I got SERENE AND DETERMINED out on submission before 8 AM – with a full proofread and some tweaks. Either this place will take it or not. A long shot is better than no shot.

Honestly, until I actually hit “send” I didn’t think I could make the deadline.

Did a few more drafts of the short story and got that out, too. I don’t think it’s exactly what they’re looking for – I think I might have used a slightly wider lens than they want – but I’m  happy with the story, and if they don’t use it, I have a list of other markets to which to pitch it.

Did another drop-off/curbside pickup at the library. As soon as I got back, more books had arrived, so I picked those up on Saturday.

We got our ballots of Friday, so we filled them out, and I took them to the secure drop box in Hyannis on Saturday morning. We’ve voted. We’ve done our civic duty.

It was great to see so many others dropping off ballots, too.

It was not great that I was the ONLY ONE wearing a mask.

Main St. Hyannis is supposed to be a masked zone. NO ONE is supposed be on the street unmasked. No one is supposed to be in any public space in the entire state unmasked.

Yet, there they all were, dancing around in public, no masks. No distancing. Tourists sashaying out of the packed motels, no masks, no distancing.

No enforcement.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Since the pandemic started, I have not seen a single cop EVER wear a mask around here. All the construction and DPW workers – who would normally wear masks and goggles as part of their safety gear – aren’t. And they’re all up in each other’s faces all the time and not distancing. It’s disgusting.

And we wonder why MA numbers are going up.

Broadway is shuttered until May of 2021. Heartbreaking, but necessary. You know the producers are going to try to use this to bust the unions. The unions must hold firm. It’s going to take a decade or more for theatre to recover. But it WILL recover. Hopefully, a lot of these corporate entities will go away from theatre, and old-style impresarios, who actually love the format, will return.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the vicious remarks from snide people saying, “Well, now you have to get a REAL job” – the same people who say that the arts isn’t a real job, and that “no one” makes a living writing.

Nice to know who I can cut out of my life.

All these people binge-watching their streaming shows all pandemic — how do you think those are created? You think they magically appear out of the ether?

I’m reading SENSE OF OCCASION by Harold Prince, and he has a line that resonates: “. . .the theatre has been dying for as long as it’s been living, so its problems are not irrevocable.”

I was lucky enough to work directly with him on one show, at the Public Theatre. The hopes were that it would move to Broadway. It didn’t, but working with him was an amazing experience. The intensity of his joy, his craft, and the way he listened and valued EVERYONE in the company was wonderful.

Didn’t get much done on Saturday other than laundry, taking in the ballots, picking up the candy for Halloween, and doing the library run.

Sunday, I was up early to take the garbage and recycling to the dump. The staff, as always, were masked and great. The fucktards dumping garbage weren’t.  Disgusting. At least at the recycling area, people wore masks as required.

Since I was over in that direction, I dashed over to the nearby Stop N Shop to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s.

Home, decontaminated, had trouble with the laptop as I was trying to get work done. This laptop is barely six months old. I shouldn’t be having trouble with the keyboard already, especially since I have a light touch on the keys.

Wrote, revised, and polished the two articles for which I’d been contracted last week by the same editor.

Started the third contracted article, for a different editor, but had run out of steam by then.

Monday was the end of my few days of sleeping through the night. I woke up around 1 AM, again at 2:44, and then for good at 4:36.

I got some writing done, and headed to my client’s. I knew no one would be there. I got a lot done in a few hours, as much as I could get done there. I prefer to work on the ads at home. It’s easier.

Swung by Star Market, because that is the only place I can get the Cranberry-Peach juice and stocked up. Everyone was masked and careful in the store, which was good, since there were more people in the store than they should have let in.

No one outside the store was masked. Everybody’s dancing around the streets, not distancing, not masked. It’s really out of control in my neighborhood, and is irritating. I have made it clear to the neighbors that they don’t come near me unmasked. I am not participating in their insanity and disdain for each other. It’s a shame our neighborhood, which used to be tight and be about people taking care of each other, has devolved so badly.

Home, decontaminated, tried to work on the third article. I wanted to get it out the door before Mercury turned retrograde, but that’s just not going to happen. Switching between the various drafts of the stage play and the radio version to pull the right examples gets confusing.

We are having High Kitty Drama.

Someone on Twitter suggested the catnip banana as a great toy. I bought one for Tessa in this last Chewy order, and other toys for Willa and Charlotte.

Well, everyone wants the banana.

Charlotte tried to steal it and caused arguing and caterwauling and chasing and hissing.

Willa and Tessa now steal it back and forth, but they are sort of friends now, so it’s more playful than nasty.

But I couldn’t stand the drama and ordered two more catnip bananas, so each has her own. They should arrive by Thursday.

I bet the still steal them from each other.

I saw a publication that does both podcast and print. I asked the editor if in the next submission style, I could submit in radio format, and they were intrigued.

The next cycle is in December, which gives me some time to play with ideas. I have a few – it’s fantasy. There will be comedy. I don’t think there will be dirigibles in this one – I think I’m going in another direction. But you never know when a dirigible might show up in my work.

I asked, on Twitter, for recommendations for romance novels where children aren’t the end game, where a healthy HEA involves NOT having children BY CHOICE (not by infertility) and that is treated as a valid choice. I’m so sick of books about supposedly “independent” women who get pregnant by accident (“everything solved by a ‘magic penis’ as one person said on Twitter) and then turns into a puddle of ecstatic goo. Of course those books should exist. But other books, where happy lives without children should exist, too, and those are the books I want.

I got a pile of suggestions, which I wrote down. I ordered some from the library. I bought one, so far, on Kindle, because it’s set against horse racing.  I don’t read much romance (although I enjoy books in other genres with strong romantic elements and love) because too often I find the tropes cringeworthy.  For instance, I can’t stand the whole billionaire boyfriend trope, because I have yet to meet a billionaire who wasn’t a complete ass. That’s how he got to be a billionaire. Not by being secretly a good guy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but it stretches believability too far for me.

Also bought WITCHING TIME, Yasmine Galenorn’s newest WILD HUNT book, and have read about half of it so far.

Got my next book assigned for review. Looking forward to starting that by Thursday.

Today, I need to finish the article and get it out.  I will do client work, and get out some LOIs. I will finish tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post and schedule that, and maybe get up a post for A Biblio Paradise.

Once the article goes out, I need to turn my attention back to the novel revisions, and work on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I have the Knowledge Unicorns this afternoon, too. We’re starting later than usual, because I’m taking a cooking seminar via Kripalu with Jeremy Rock Smith. I love the way he teaches, and I love his recipes, so I’m excited!

Don’t get me started on the SCOTUS hearings, or I’ll just turn into a rage monster. What an unqualified, unprincipled piece of crap that nominee is.

Off to start my day. Have a good one. Keep your head down during this retrograde.

Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)

image courtesy of Colin Behrens via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

It’s nice to have only three retrogrades for a few days, even though there’s a difficult square today.

I have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about reshaping one’s career.

Yesterday felt more like a productive, typical day, and that was nice.

To Trader Joe’s early for the Big Grocery Shop. And yes, it was a big one. I still forgot a few things. I have to decide if I want to risk going back later this week, or substitute, or wait until more things run out. They sold through their fresh figs, which was a shame; I’d forgotten them in the last Big Shop, and hoped to get some this time.

Decontaminated everything and put it away, then down to the library for curbside pickup. People coming in are getting lax about mask wearing. I won’t go near the table unless no one is there, or the people hovering are wearing masks.

Came home, decontaminated myself.

Sent out three article pitches to the person who’d asked me for something the day prior, and an article pitch to an editor to whom I’d originally pitched the radio piece, but the publication wasn’t paying at the time. Now it does; not only did she accept the article and we got the contract signed, she asked me if I’d like to write more, in the future, about playwrighting. I’m thrilled. Plus, the person to whom I sent three articles took two of them – paid.

So I know what I’ll be doing early next week, once I get the changes into SERENE AND DETERMINED and that out.

Heard from the company to whom I sent JUST A DROP. They got more submissions than expected, and need an extra week before they make decisions. Very kind of them to let us know; although that means less likelihood that my script will be one of those chosen. But that’s okay. At least I tried, and now the script is in decent enough shape to submit elsewhere, if they don’t choose it.

Did some client work, got some LOIs out. Got some reading.

We fussed over Willa yesterday, since it was her first anniversary here. She loved it. We fussed over all three of them, so no one would feel left out. Charlotte was anxious again yesterday, almost like she had sense memory from how she felt when she arrived a year ago (her anniversary is tomorrow).

So the Sociopath “has no symptoms”? Of course he didn’t. He’s was never sick (with the virus, anyway).

I can’t be bothered to spare a thought or a wish for anyone in that circle who’s actually getting sick. They couldn’t be spared a thought for us.

Now he’s stopped any possibility of a new stimulus package? It’s not up to him. If we had a functioning Congress, they’d pass one anyway. But we don’t.

Get rid of them all. And Democrats need to grow some balls and do whatever is necessary to stop this SCOTUS pick.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. In addition to regular home work, and a discussion of what will happen if this batshit crazy (pun intended) SCOTUS pick is seated, we went to the Smithsonian’s page on The Art and Science of Bats. I had no idea there were 140,000 specimens in that museum. Wow.

I was too tired afterwards to do more than read. I’m reading Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE, always aware of reading it as she’s in hospice, which is heartbreaking. Her talent is not one we can afford to lose.

Today, I have to go onsite, which will be difficult for a number of reasons. Then, it’s back, decontamination, remote chat, and back to SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on October 7, 2020 at 6:18 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)  
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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.

Published in: on September 9, 2020 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns  
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Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

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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

california-1751455_1920
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.