Wed. Aug. 12, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 84 — Recruiter Fail, Writing Process, A Whisper of Hope

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image courtesy of ShonEjal via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I’m still working on the piece for Ink-Dipped advice, about how companies drive away skilled workers, while whining they can’t find enough skilled workers.

Yesterday was hot and humid. I watered the yard in the morning, and the back both morning and evening. Watered this morning. The mosquitoes are relentless, and completely ignore the bug spray. It has no effect.

I tried to get as much done in the morning as possible, before it got too hot and my computer got too hot. I forgot how much PCs suck. This laptop is barely three months old and it makes changes in Word documents – jumping around in the document and adding or deleting. It takes 13 minutes to boot up. I’m grateful I have it, but I definitely want to go back to MAC as soon as I can afford it.

Got some LOIs out, got out a pitch to an editor for a site I’d really like to work on. A client to whom I’d pitched several months ago is interested in having me come on for a smaller job – I’m sending her some information this morning, and we’ll see if we can go from there.

Got a rejection from a company that puzzled me. I’d never applied to them for anything. First of all, the job from which I was rejected wasn’t something I’d try for anyway. Second, it was a company I knew wasn’t a good match. So how could they reject me from something I’d never wanted?

I contacted the HR person and explained my bafflement. Turns out a recruiter I’d talked to months ago – and decided NOT to work with – pitched me for the job. Without telling me.

No. Just no.

I contacted the recruiter and expressed my displeasure. In cordial terms, but this is not okay. The response? I should be “glad” this individual submitted me for anything, and I should take whatever I could get.

Again, No.

These people.

Got some reading done in the afternoon. Read another book by the person whose work I was on the fence about. Liked this one. Started a third book that will be the deciding vote! Anyway, glad I gave this author another chance, even if I disagree with some of her choices.

Made up an Asian-inspired chicken, vegetables, and noodle dish that was quite tasty.

Actually could sit outside and enjoy a breeze in the evening. First time it’s been quiet around here in MONTHS.

Noodling around on this new idea. Totally different development process for me, developing far more early on before I write any of it. I often outline, then write. Or I get an idea, think about it, jot some notes, then write my way in for about four chapters. If those four chapters work, I’ll sit down and outline the whole book, figure out where to put it in the queue, and work from there.

But this, I’m working on theme first, and then I’ve found my protagonist. Now I’m building around that, and from there, I will find my plot.

I’m keeping a diary specific to this novel, separate from everything else.

It’s helping to loosen the stuck creative bolts, and I’m hoping that will transfer to other projects that need attention.

Absolutely delighted that Kamala Harris is the VP choice. I feel more hopeful than I have in weeks.

Blocked a bunch of morons after the announcement. I’m sure I will have to call out racists fuckwits locally, because we have a lot of racist fuckwits locally.

I have to go into the office for a client today, along with other people. Not looking forward to it. But it’s only for a few hours, and I will be masked, so here’s hoping. They tend to be Sliding Mask Skanks after about 10 minutes. Which means I will probably leave shortly after they turn up.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to later.

Have a great midweek.

Tues. Aug. 11, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 83 — Heatwave, Covidiots, Phase 3 Pause

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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, heat wave

I really like this image I used on Friday, so I’m using it again.

It was an up-and-down weekend for me. I didn’t feel well at all during the course of it. The thunderstorms we needed desperately and were promised never showed up.

I did a Target run early on Friday to get the pens and notebooks I needed. People were masked, and I was in and out in just a few minutes. Disinfectant protocols, then a quick curbside pickup at the library.

It was so hot, I had trouble concentrating. I gave myself the time off from working and read. I read THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME by Krista Davis, and really liked it. It made me laugh, more than once, for the right reasons.

I read another mystery by another author. I’d read a book from one of her other series and had mixed feelings about it. Had even more mixed feelings about this one – especially since she misused “witch” in an insulting way. Normally, I’d just cross her off the list, but she’s friends with some acquaintances of mine. I will read one more book by her and then decide. That choice of language usage is a slur and shouldn’t be used any more AND it’s a sloppy language choice.

Reading volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. Even when I disagree with the writers (especially the white male ones), I wind up learning something.

Read Robert Caro’s WORKING, where he talks about his process of writing his books about Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson. Reading about his research into Moses made me loathe the man even more than I already do. Yes, he was a visionary with parks and road and bridges – but he destroyed a lot of people’s lives, and he didn’t give a damn. Which sounds far too familiar in these days. If someone was rich enough to buy him off, he modified his vision. But if one couldn’t afford to buy him off, he thought they deserved to have their lives destroyed. I’m so glad he didn’t get to put in the bridge between Rye and Oyster Bay. I grew up in Rye while that was being floated around. It would have ruined my hometown.

Did an early morning run on Saturday to Star Market. They are eliminating the position of the door person making sure there aren’t too many people in the store and that people are wearing masks. Which means I have to time my shopping as early as possible, and, when the customers stop masking properly, stop shopping there. Which is a shame, because it’s the only place I can get the white cranberry/peach juice.

The fucktwits are still setting off illegal fireworks in the street every day. But heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its residents. Because it doesn’t care about them. With everything as dry as it is, this is a disaster in the making.

Did laundry, changed the beds, cleaned the house. Typical routine.

Sunday was all about organizing the files I’d kept from the boxes I purged. I also cleaned out four file cabinet drawers. Everything I’m keeping is being sorted and organized into five boxes: one for files from the 1900s; another from 2000-2009. The next box only fits the first half of the decade we’ve been here – 2010 – 2014. I had to get another box for 2015-2019. The fifth box is for project manuscripts. I’m thinking of pulling out all the contract files and putting them into a separate plastic file with a lid and a handle.

It was overwhelming. I worked all day and it felt like I got nothing done, because I didn’t go down and clean out any more boxes. I was just dealing with stuff I’d already brought upstairs. I don’t get how people can clean out their attic or basement in a single day.

It was hot and humid and I felt like crap. Yes, there were tears. More than once.

The dumbass neighbors – more than one of them – all had heavy machinery going ALL FUCKING WEEKEND. We couldn’t have the windows open – without air conditioning and in the heat – because there was so much dust flying around we were choking on it.

Again, Town of Barnstable doesn’t give a flying fuck about its residents. There’s no reason that heavy machinery/construction should be allowed 7 days a week from a little after 7 in the morning until whenever they feel like finishing (often 9 or 10 at night). They don’t do anything about illegal fireworks; they refuse to enforce the noise ordinances; they’re not enforcing the state requirement for masks (most of their own workers don’t wear them when they’re out and about, and they’re sure as hell not distancing), they’re not doing anything to enforce quarantine.

The Town of Barnstable is fucking useless.

So it was a disheartening, frustrating weekend.

On a happier note, I fit into a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt Capris on Monday that I haven’t been able to wear for a few years. So there’s that.

Was onsite for a client for a few hours on Monday. I was by myself in the office, so it was all good. Got a bunch done. Did a curbside pickup at the library on my way home. Read in the afternoon. I have another book assigned to review, so I’m looking forward to that.

Sent out a couple of LOIs.

Today, I was out watering by 5 AM. Took me nearly an hour to water the front. No rain in sight. The back took only 20 minutes, because I’d watered it last night.

I have some client work to do this morning, then more LOIs, and work on an article that’s due in September, but I’d like to get out early.

In the mornings, I’ve been noodling on the new idea, trying a very different way of working, just to see if I can shake up the process.

I’m hoping some of that will transfer to getting back on track with BARD’S LAMENT.

But, honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed and hopeless right now. While I appreciate all the suggestions for “self-care” – at this point, they’re psychobabble for me. Also, I CAN’T “take a walk” anywhere around here, because the fucking tourists WON’T WEAR A MASK OR SOCIAL DISTIANCE and it’s not “self-care” to put my life in danger.

We’re supposedly on pause for Phase 3 of the reopening, and the governor is talking about rolling back some things, which is necessary. But no one is paying any attention because there’s zero enforcement and zero consequences — except people who ARE trying to do the right thing are getting spat on (literally, often) by Covidiots and dying.

“Taking a walk” won’t help. Fucking locking down the country, enforcing masking regulations, and UBI will help.

I’m sick of the Democrats not getting it done. Republicans rammed their agenda through no matter if they were the majority or not. So the Dems need to start getting ruthless. Our lives are on the line. Get it fucking done.

I’m sick of it all. I’m tired of the stupid and the selfish ALWAYS getting away with EVERYTHING, especially when it hurts everyone else. Without consequence.

Fri. Aug. 7: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 79 — Of Notebooks and New Ideas

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Friday, August 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday seems like a long time ago, somehow.

It was a quiet day. I did the grocery run to Trader Joe’s in the morning. Everyone masked, but too many people allowed in the store, which meant distancing was a challenge. But people tried, and worked together.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, exhausted.

Some client work, an LOI. Freelance chat was fun. I didn’t realize I had so much to say about virtual networking, but I guess I did.

I’d love to find affordable VR software to set up a virtual writers’ café where people could send little icons in that write and read in the virtual space while they’re doing sprints on their actual screen.

But Grief to Art has to be finished first. I hope to get some good work done on that today and over the weekend, and get the article for Llewellyn done, and the book read for review.

Working on the play, tentatively called “Rest Not in Peace” and having fun with it.

Finished my coursework on the introduction to educational neuroscience online with Central Queensland University. Passed the exam (with flying colors, if I might be so self-congratulatory) and received my certification. I definitely want to study more about neuroplasticity. What we discussed about how fear and stress impair learning and shrink the brain is relevant both to me personally during the pandemic, and on a larger scale for schools and the educational system, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of active shooter drills.

Thinking about years of frustration with cozy mysteries, spurred on again after the stack I got sick of and dumped back into the library’s book deposit. How, in the 90’s, as more women were recognized in the field, they took this wonderful leap into strength and adventure, and how, after 9/11, so many became more and more narrow-minded and about protecting white privilege. It used to be that the protagonist was a misfit who found community with people accepting her for who she was; more and more, the protagonist started conforming to be accepted by the community, and I don’t like that.

Not to mention all these celibate relationships between supposedly healthy adults that are both boring and don’t make any sense.

Partially, I wrote SAVASANA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, as a response to the way yoga instructors were far too often treated as freaks and flakes, the locked-room aspect a cruise ship has, and the fact that I wanted to see characters in a mystery with healthy sex lives, even if every detail wasn’t on the page. Which is why they are marked as “not quite cozy” – because they don’t fit all the restrictions of the cozy. I went with a small publisher for the series because the bigger publishers wanted to edit out all the things that made me write it in the first place.

I will have to deal with the issues the pandemic bring up at some point in the series, and my editor and I are talking about how to handle it and when to handle it. Right now, I have to make the second book in the series work, and that’s a struggle. Although class structure and white privilege are coming more to the forefront with it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m looking for in a mystery series with an amateur sleuth protagonist, one who is closer to me in age than a younger one. I’ve played with some ideas over the past few months, and some of them are coming together as being possible in the same series, rather than everything being so separate. While there’s definitely a need for simple stories that offer structure and comfort, I want something else.

I found a central point around which I want to start building (it’s at too delicate a stage to write about publicly). So, I’m percolating.

Then, of course, the dilemma was what kind of notebook do I use for the draft and development? Because this is not something I want to type directly into the computer, at least not initially. I need to play with it, to draw it, to sketch it, to write bits and put them aside, to create building blocks. It won’t work to create it on the computer.

I haven’t gone out and bought the “back to school” notebooks I usually get at this point in the year because I still have notebooks left over from last year.

Only none of them are right for this project.

I thought about buying a set of journal books specific to the project, but that’s expensive and feels too formal.

I finally realized (because I AM that bad at math) that it probably makes more sense to buy two five-subject notebooks for the project than six or seven single-subject notebooks. Duh.

I want to keep a diary of the process as I develop it. Eventually, it might be rather Steinbeck-esque, writing the diary on one side of the page and the novel on the other. But I think I’ll do the diary part in green ink, and the novel in black ink.

All of this means I have to actually leave the house and get the supplies. If I order online, it will take about 3 weeks to get here. So I guess I’m going out today, masked up, and trying to avoid the Covidiot tourists, who aren’t paying any attention to travel or quarantine restrictions.

If I can time it properly, I’ll minimize the risk.

I’m also about to finish the latest volume of my personal diary – I have one more matching volume, which I doubt will get me through the year, but I’ll worry about that when I’m closer to the end of the new volume, which I’ll start tomorrow.

My office has gotten cluttered again, so I’ll need to spend some time this weekend tidying it up, so that I can metaphorically tidy my brain. Hopefully, that will give me physical and mental space to work on the book for review, the article, “Rest Not in Peace”, BARD’S LAMENT, Grief to Art site, and any noodling I decide to do on this project development.

I haven’t decided if it will be literary fiction with mystery elements, or a mystery novel that expands genre restrictions.

I’ll develop it for a bit first, spin the ideas out like spun sugar to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find it doesn’t work, and it will be relegated to the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects (the updated Topic Workbook will be released soon). Or maybe it will become a viable project.

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you peace and health.
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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

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.

Thurs. July 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 71 — Stress and Rage

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image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth. Hop on over.

The less said about yesterday’s client work, the better. All I’m going to say is that I was shaking with rage on the drive home, and made myself a martini as soon as I finished m disinfectant protocols.

I have a few days to consider how I will handle the situation as gracefully as possible.

At least Remote Chat was a lot of fun, as usual.

I was so exhausted from the morning of stress that, when I went upstairs to check on Tessa, I fell asleep on the floor beside her and had a two hour nap. Then, I was disoriented for the rest of the day. I am not a napper.

Of course, Gambit Colony is flowing well, since it is the piece that’s not on hard deadline.

I’m going to try to get the recycling out this morning; we’re supposed to have a grace period until the 1st of August before they charge us, but it’s suddenly not on the website or any of their accounts. I posed the question on their FB page. I guarantee they will not answer until next week that “oops, grace period is over” because that is what they are like. I can just see myself loading up the car this morning and being turned away at the gate. It would be typical here. I’m not emailing them, because they still haven’t answered the email I sent them BACK IN MARCH. Because they can’t be bothered. It doesn’t take four months to answer an email, even in a pandemic. Because heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its actual residents. It’s all about tourist dollars and quick turnover.

Client work, LOIs, chasing down missing payments from work done months ago, a review out to my editor, work on an article, work on the Topic Workbooks, cleaning out boxes from the basement, filing and admin – the list goes on and on. So I’d better get going then, hadn’t I?

Have a great day.

Thurs. July 23, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 64 — The Need For a Good Storm

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Thursday, July 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and oppressively humid

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

Yesterday started out as a pretty optimistic day, but a few obstacles got thrown in the way. Not appropriate to discuss them publicly. I will have to find a way to deal with them like a professional, while still holding my boundaries.

Onsite for a client early; got a good bit done. I was worried about a particular campaign, but it’s started to show results, and that’s a relief.

Swung by CVS to pick up my mother’s prescription. It was packed, but at least everyone wore their mask PROPERLY.

I am so sick of these fucktwits pulling their masks down below their noses. Cover your NOSE AND MOUTH, you fucking morons. The disregard for other people is revolting.

Remote chat was fun.

Solved a client problem remotely.

It was so humid and I wasn’t feeling well, so the afternoon was nowhere near as productive as it needed to be. Will have to make up for it today. Managed to get a few LOIs out.

One client is trying to figure out why payment hasn’t gone through. Another client, a late payer, is ignoring my emails. This is a major publication, now in breach of contract. Not happy about it.

Frustrated with the state of the country and the supreme selfishness and greed that’s allowed.

I seriously want to become a professional recluse.

In the evening, I got dressed up and in full make-up for two virtual Zoom events.

One was a fashion industry event, that I attended on behalf of a client. The hosts did a good job. Some of the guests, however, seem to have forgotten that a Zoom event requires interaction. Yeah, when we were in an actual party room, you could stand there and pose and people would admire you. But at an interactive chat, everyone’s gong to move on to someone who is, you know, actually interesting.

It sort of reminded me of Studio 54’s fading days, when it was trying to be relevant and cool, and failing.

But I’m glad I went. I managed to meet some interesting people and get information that is useful in shaping this particular client’s marketing strategy.

Then, I switched over to another Zoom event, this one literary. That was kind of fun and raucous, very much like the old time literary events in NYC, but virtual. Had some decent conversations with various people about things that matter. I actually got some information relevant to the client for whom I attended the fashion industry event. So that’s 2 for 1.

I’m trying to limit my Zoom time, because it’s so exhausting, but I’m glad I attended these events.

I got a nice compliment on Twitter from someone who likes that I tweet to congratulate and encourage people and wish them well. To me, that’s a big part of being on a social media platform – celebrating the good things, offering a helping hand when I can. Still, it was nice to hear. Because I’m so enraged about what’s going on politically and trying to do something about it, I sometimes worry I’m too negative on social media. I’m trying to keep it balanced.

What I should do is take a break from social media completely for a few days.

Tessa woke me up around 1 AM. She was hot. She woke me, walked over to the fan, looked at me, looked at the fan. I put it in the window, turned it on, she stretched out on the floor in front of it, and went back to sleep.

Fell asleep and had weird dreams. Charlotte woke me a little after 4, although I refused to go downstairs and feed everyone until 5. I wish they’d let me sleep until 5. Waking up at 4 every day is just a little too early.

Horribly humid today. The air is thick and won’t move. It’s supposed to storm, and I hope it does. A good thunder storm would do a world of good.

I have a busy day of writing, client work, course work, and unpacking ahead of me. I hope the humidity eases up a bit so I can actually do it, and not act like one of the cats, lying on the floor in front of the fan.

I had a nice first writing session out on the deck this morning, playing with an idea that might or might not go anywhere. But at least I eased those characters yapping in my head.

Feeling kind of blue and discouraged today, on multiple fronts. I hope a storm will break both the humidity and my mood.

Wed. July 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 63 — That 90’s Energy

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image courtesy of Broesis via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice,where I talk about deciding what you want and need from work.

Blood draw wasn’t too awful yesterday. The tech hit the vein the first time, even though it splattered everywhere and hurt. But it’s done.

Home, changed out of the clothes I wore to the very busy lab. Scrubbed down, but not full disinfectant protocols. Ate breakfast, then headed to Trader Joe’s. Very busy there, too many people in the store. Everyone was masked, but not enough distancing. Spent more than I meant to, but stocked up.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. Which means yes, I wore three sets of clothes before 10 AM.

Client work, email, social media, LOIs.

Nice lunch of lox and reading The New Yorker and feeling like I had some of my 90’s life back.

More client work in the afternoon, and then polished three old flash fiction pieces that I still really like. Submitted them to fresh markets. We’ll see.

The copies of the 2021 Witches’ Companion that has my earthing article in it arrived (it’s under the Cerridwen Iris Shea byline). It looks really good. I’m excited to read the whole almanac. I also have to immediately put it in my clip file.

The extra candles Yankee Candle sent as an apology also arrived. I appreciate the gesture, but it doesn’t solve the issue.

Haven’t heard back from Amazon. Guarantee they will charge me again. I rarely buy anything but eBooks from Amazon, but maybe I should disengage from buying on that platform completely.

The spices I ordered from Atlantic Spice Companyin Truro arrived – packets much bigger than expected. Their quality and price is unmatched. I’m sorry I didn’t get to go there in person – I love going to their store. But it’s not safe. No matter how carful they are in the store, the other customers aren’t. It’s not worth the risk.

The note cards from Peter Pauper Press also arrived. I have lots of card-and-letter writing in my future.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. I know, I know, it was only one. But it took more time than I expected. Tossed about 50%. Re-filed a bunch of the rest. Found some old manuscripts that I pulled out. I will decide if I need to toss or re=key into the computer or file any of them. I bet some of them are still on floppy disks. It was emotional to see that energetic woman, involved in getting shows over to Edinburgh, pitching to organizations in the US, having meetings with film producers, line producing a friend’s film, working off-Broadway and starting the transition to working on Broadway, communicating a mile a minute with ideas and plans and projects.

It made me tired! In a good way.

It also made me glad that I didn’t make a long-term commitment to any of the men with whom I was involved with at that time. They demanded that too much of my energy be diverted from my projects to fuel theirs, with little in return.

Have to go in to my client’s today and get a few things solved, and then I can do an email blast for her. The second ad didn’t play as well as the first one, which is disappointing, because it was a better ad, overall, I thought.

Remote Chat is this afternoon, which is always a pleasure.

Then, more writing, coursework, and at least one more box.

I need to get that clearing-out energy in motion!

We’re supposed to get storms and then more humidity again. I have the fans going, to try to get it cooler in here. We’ve been lucky. It hasn’t been too bad yet this summer.

A baby bunny ate his breakfast in the yard while I had my first cup of coffee on the deck. It was adorable!

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!

Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas

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Thursday, July 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about what’s going on with the garden.

If you haven’t read the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice on Reinventing Work, you can hop on over.

Went onsite for a client for a few hours. Got some ad approvals, got some more photos for the next bit we need to do together. Too many people in the office at the same time, and getting lackadaisical about protocols. I’m not happy about it.

I was glad to get home and do a full decontamination protocol.

Remote Chat was fun. As always. What a great group of people.

Titcomb’s let me know another book was in for me, so we got into the car and had a little drive for a curbside pickup. They’re so great.

Got out some LOIs. Got a book assigned to review – I will read it over the weekend.

Still waiting for a big check from a job back in February – which should have paid by the end of June. So I guess I’m contacting the editor to ask her to check on it.

Read anotherEllen Byron book in her Cajun series. Delightful.

Feeling a little blue today, kind of like my hydrangeas, but I hope keeping busy will help. I have some writing to do (as always), including an article idea I’ve been playing with for LinkedIn, and starting my Llewellyn article. Need to work on BARD. Want to work on GAMBIT. And there’s always purging that needs to be done in the basement.

I have to do an early morning run to Star Market, because we’re out of a few things, and I don’t want to stand in line later at Trader Joe’s for them. Plus, some of what I need isn’t at TJ’s, although I’m most comfortable shopping there. I’m hoping, if I go early enough to SM, I can avoid Sliding Mask Skanks.

Then home, disinfectant protocols, and to work. I’m hoping focus on the work will get me out of feeling so low.

Hope your Thursday is lovely.

Wed. July 15, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 56 — Running (Metaphorically)

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image courtesy of Conquero via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Short post, because I’m running late this morning.

Long post on reinventing work over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Up early yesterday, got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did an early morning Target run. Everyone masked, distancing, pleasant. Took a lot of stress out of the experience. Stocked up on cleaning supplies. I think we’re good for about 4 months.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. LOIs, client work. More ads.

Finished, polished, and sent off the article that was due. Hope it’s what the editor wants. Will start the other article, for the almanac, tomorrow.

Headed in to work onsite for a few hours today. I need to get ad approvals from the client, and get a few other things done.

Feeling pressured on a couple of fronts, but the work itself is fine. But I’m behind on a few other things.

Remote Chat today, which is fun. Need to get some coursework done, too.

More tomorrow – gotta fun!

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.

 

Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

The past few days have been hell, because of dumbass “neighbors” setting off illegal fireworks all the time.

They’ve gone off every night since the beginning of the month. And every weekend since the Stay at Home. It needs to stop.

When it’s someone local, with whom the cops grew up, it’s “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know how unreasonable people are” and they’re let off with a warning. And, as soon as the car pulls away, they set the fireworks off again. They’re not confiscated, as required by law. They’re not fined, as required by law.

When it’s tourists, the cops do nothing because, you know, tourist dollars.

On the 4th of July, it started at 4 in the afternoon and went on until 2 in the morning. People were going up and down the street, setting off fireworks in front of other people’s houses. One set of neighbors next door did a production in his little backyard.

The houses here are just too close. There’s shrapnel everywhere, they’re gong to set someone’s house on fire.

Not to mention that Tessa was so terrified I was sitting in a corner of the room, holding her while she tried to burrow under my skin. I was afraid she’d die of fright.

It wasn’t cute little sparklers. It was the big boomers. It was like being under mortar fire for 10 hours, and the cops did NOTHING.

This state has specific and strict laws about illegal fireworks. In the 10 years I’ve lived here, not ONCE have the cops ever done a damn thing. The illegal fireworks have gotten exponentially worse every year.

Instead of pounding on peaceful protestors, how about going after those who are actually breaking the law and causing harm? Just because you grew up with them isn’t an excuse. Nor is that they’re tourists. Those aren’t the tourists we want visiting.

It’s not “harmless fun.”

I also noticed that EVERY person doing this belongs to the same group who refuses to wear masks – again, something that the state mandates.

Gee, people hurting other people in the name of their own “freedoms.” What a surprise.

It was hell.

Why should I pay taxes in this community? They charge me an “excise tax” because I own a car. They’ve upped the rates to get rid of garbage and punish me for wanting to recycle. They allow people to set off explosives every week “for fun.”

Especially since some of these fireworks are set off by those in illegal, short-term rentals. It’s not like they give a damn if they set the neighborhood on fire.

The Town Manager and my district’s Town Councilor are a complete and utter waste of space, both of them, but you better believe they’re getting strongly worded letters. It won’t do anything, but it will go on record in the town archives. Maybe, at some point down the line, it will be useful to someone who will actually do something.

And the fireworks are still going on EVERY DAMN NIGHT. I’m not going through this all summer.

Sunday, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t gotten any sleep on Saturday night. I had to clean up shrapnel on Sunday. I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

At least Saturday and Sunday, I got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m nearly done with Book 4 – I figure I have three more chapters or so. The chapters run long, so I’m figuring another 60-70 pages. I have a bunch of material I wrote intermittently for Book 5, which is an interlude volume (figuring that to run 100 -150 pages), and Book 6 is outlined. I’m hoping to get drafted through Book 6 by the end of the year, and then start on the serious edits, at least for 4-6. The first three books are in good shape; they’ve had countless drafts.

I re-read two more Donna Leon books and BODY ON THE BAYOU by Ellen Byron, all of which were good. I also read AMERICAN SPY by Lauren Wilkinson, which was excellent. I had no idea what to expect going in. It’s a hell of a wonderfully written novel, strong voice, very different structure than usual, but different in a way that works.

I was left both wanting to know what happened next to these characters and feeling it ended at the perfect spot. So often, I’m unhappy with how and where novels end. Too often, it feels post-modern just to try to show off “style” instead of giving the book the unique ending it needs. But this was perfect.

I also read the book I was sent for review. It’s a solid fantasy novel. Not brilliant, but an enjoyable read, and will get a good review.

We had a wonderful, vicious thunderstorm on Sunday night. I loved it, especially since it cut short the illegal fireworks. I’d hoped for a good storm; it was even better than I expected.

I wish the weather would be horrible every weekend for the rest of the summer. Tourists are flooding in, bridges are backed up the way they usually are in summer, and we’re all being put at risk, because the tourists aren’t following the state-mandated protocols, and the businesses just shrug and let them get away with it.

Because, you know, if we’re not rich enough, we “deserve” to die for tourist dollars. That’s the attitude around here.

Client work yesterday – I’m creating more ads for this client. 6 LOIs out. Work on fixing BARD’S LAMENT – I’m about to enter the bit that’s a real mess. I need to fix it so I can move on. The deadline looms.

Did the whole week’s course work on THE BOOK OF KELLS class. It was fascinating, talking about scribes and how they created the book. Gave me ideas (always dangerous).

Managed to sleep through the night last night, for once (once the fireworks stopped).

This morning, I’m going to do some work on BARD, record a podcast for THE MERRY WRITER, do some client work. I think I need to go to the grocery store – it’s been about 10, 12 days, and we’re out of some basics. So I’ll gear up and go.

I have a Zoom call with my primary care physician, which I’m dreading. We will talk about the mixed results from the surgery, and work out a plan. I do not want more tests. I want to be left alone for the next six months until the next procedure.

I have a feeling this will continue to be a difficult week.

Hope your week is better.

Published in: on July 7, 2020 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)  
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