Thurs. July 22, 2021: We Found the Lake

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hazy, humid (but a little cooler)

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I hoped. That seems to be a theme lately.

Managed to get work done on the short articles for Llewellyn. Got out some LOIs. Started one of the script coverages (which is due today, so I’ll finish it this morning). Read two more scripts. Noodled a bit for the class. I should be ready to start putting together some slides for the presentation today.

Remote Chat was fun.

After Chat, we got into the car and drove up to Windsor Lake, which really is a 3-minute drive away, albeit all uphill. The lake is above us. It’s very pretty. They’ve got concerts there on Wednesday evenings (when it doesn’t rain). If it ever stops raining, it will be nice to pack a picnic and some books and stay for a few hours.

Cooking and reading and writing and trying to figure out each day. I still feel like crap most of the time. Started taking the iron supplement again, hoping that will help. I should be feeling better by now. But I’m not. I’m still exhausted, on every level.

There’s still a good bit of unpacking to do, too. Will have to focus on that this weekend. I think once we’re unpacked, it will feel better, too. Less chaotic. I have to think in terms of different types of storage, too. But I need to be unpacked and have things arranged as I can, so I can see what I need.

We looked at some rugs online. But what we liked in our budget is sold out, and we’re not going to buy rugs we don’t like, so we’re on hold for a bit on that. We need a rug for the guest bedroom we’re calling “Tessa’s room” because she spends a lot of time in there, and I’d like a rug for my bedroom.

Patience. I have to have patience with all of this.

Got some writing done this morning. Will join the online meditation. A recruiter wants to talk to me about a job with a company for whom I won’t work, so that’s a no. Script coverage to write up. I need to work on the class presentation, the short articles, and the book for review.

One step at a time. That’s all I can do.

Published in: on July 22, 2021 at 6:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. July 15, 2021: Creating New Routines

image by StockSnap courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

The rain continues. There was a bit of sunshine yesterday, followed by more thunderstorms.

Got out some LOIs and worked on script coverage yesterday. Participated in Remote Chat, which was fun. I missed everyone there.

Haven’t gotten any unpacking done for a few days, which has to change, but I have to do the work that earns money first, and the unpacking when that is done.

I’ve lost a lot of flexibility through abandoning the yoga practice, so I’m working slowly, slowly to get it back.

Looking at the Topic Workbooks. I need to get back on track with their revisions and re-release. The Topic Workbooks have always sold steadily, and I want each edition to be better than the previous. I’d started the revisions back before I got sick last year, and got sidetracked with, well, being sick.

I also want to revise my Fearless Ink brochure. Once I have it where I want it, I’ll upload a PDF to the website again, and then run off some copies on the laser printer and send them to local businesses with an LOI. The North Adams Chamber hasn’t responded to my outreach (it’s now been two weeks, nearly three), but 1Berkshire, the organization that handles tourism and relocation and business for the whole area, has been more receptive. I’m not ready to attend events yet (it’ll be months before I feel comfortable being in a room with strangers, even though I’m vaccinated).

Starting to make lists: what I need from storage, what I need to replace because I put it in the dumpster and now wish I hadn’t. What I didn’t need at the other place, but need here. I believe trips to Home Goods and Michael’s are in the not-so-distant future. I know where Home Goods is in Pittsfield, but not sure I can find Michael’s.

I’m rejoining the online meditation group out of Concord Library this morning. I’ve missed them, and look forward to it. Later, I have to go to the library to pick up a book that came in, drop off a book I’ve finished; then I’ll swing by the liquor store to pick up some more wine. Maybe some vodka. If it’s hot, I might want martinis on the porch or the balcony.

I have more script coverage to do today, and some more work for Llewellyn. I want to get out some more LOIs.

Getting back into the dailiness of yoga and meditation is helping. The morning journal writing is helping me ease back into a creative headspace. Now, I need to rebuild a work schedule that also works for me, while getting the unpacking done. Living in chaos isn’t helping us get over the exhaustion. Once everything’s put away and we’ve decorated a bit, we’ll feel better.

As I said, the feng shui on this place is difficult. But we’ll get there.

The cats are happy (although they got me up before 5 this morning). That’s the most important, isn’t it?

One step at a time, and we’ll build what we need. Patience has never been my virtue (except working with the cats). But I need patience with myself over this summer.

Tues. July 13, 2021: Patient Rebuilding

image courtesy of Peter Fischer via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

It certainly rains a lot here. At least it keeps the temperature down. And everything is very green.

The weekend was good. The rain let up a bit on Saturday morning, so we headed to Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire. Bought a few plants and herbs, and some fruits and vegetables. Boy, are their strawberries amazing! Pretty much everything was delicious.

Rested a bit in the afternoon, and worked on the unpacking. It goes slowly. It’s like a puzzle. Do a bit here, then have to adjust something there. It will take a few weeks to figure out how it all fits, and then feng shui it properly. This place is difficult to feng shui. But we will figure it out.

I finished some script coverage on Friday, so I didn’t take on any more over the weekend. At least for the summer, I will try to keep my weekends work free. We will see what the finances demand in the autumn. I do intend to put my head down and work steadily, taking on as much as possible for as much money as possible, although I have to wait until my head clears a bit before so doing. The exhaustion won’t let up.

Six months of stress won’t melt away in six days.

Sunday was about unpacking. Most of the kitchen is now unpacked. I was rather horrified by how dirty the pieces that were inside a glass-fronted cabinet had gotten. Granted, last year, when I was sick, I didn’t do the all-out spring and fall cleanings we usually do, but still, things shouldn’t be that filthy after a year. Inside a closed cabinet. It’s an indication of how the pollution has increased on Cape since we’ve moved there – with the constant chainsaws and mowers and leaf blowers and other tools, there’s no clean air any more. One used to smell the salt air of the sea; no more.

We are only a few blocks from downtown in the new neighborhood, but we are surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s the occasional mower or leaf blower for 10 or 15 minutes once a week or so, during business hours. It’s not the constant cacophony of destruction it was on Cape.

Read a book on the Kindle for the first time since I moved here. Bought something on a whim, that sounded fun. It was. Fun and didn’t strain my brain too much. Not brilliant, not terrible, just decent brain candy. Sometimes, we need brain candy.

Grabbed a couple of scripts to cover on Monday. Slid back into sending out LOIs, trying to catch up on emails. Paid some bills. The check arrived from TD Ameritrade on Friday afternoon – by UPS, not Fed Ex, so no wonder I couldn’t track it. Because, you know, it would be too much to expect them to know the difference between two different companies.

Also got a lovely housewarming gift from friends who live in Kentucky, from a company called Grandma’s Chicken Soup: chicken soup, mac and cheese, challah bread, chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food from the farm was so delicious. What a taste bouquet!

Mixed feelings about the Branson “space” flight over the weekend. On the one hand, I’m of the generation who adored the Apollo missions; however, there’s plenty the billionaires should be doing to help THIS planet before feeding their space egos. Like paying taxes, for one. Yes, I want more space exploration. No, I don’t want it by billionaires.

I have to get to work on the Llewellyn pieces – I have 25 short pieces due in October, so I’m going to do 3-4/week over the summer.

Monday, I also re-started my yoga practice, after weeks away from it. I may have gained some strength, but I’ve lost flexibility. So I will work, daily, to get it back. It’s a shame that years of building strength and flexibility were all lost over a couple of months, but time to build back up.

My meditation practice suffered, although I did at least a few minutes every day. I want to figure out where I can set up a meditation space and get back into longer daily meditations. Maybe I can rejoin the online group in Concord on Thursday mornings.

Got some work done in the morning. I feel as though I’ve lost all my creative skills. The tank is empty, and everything is a struggle. I feel horribly uncreative and untalented. The reality is exhaustion and warped perception, and I have to be kind to myself as I ease back in. I’d hoped to jump in, but don’t have the resources.

At ten, we headed to the library to get our new library cards. I’m a little disappointed that we’re on a sort of probation for three months, and can only take out two books at a time, before we are considered full library patrons. From someone who regularly checked out 50 books at a time, it’s a difficult adjustment. But I got out a book on local history, and the reference librarian is eager to help me find more, so I will go back and do some research in the lovely room.

Swung by the post office to drop off letters and bills.

My Ipsy bag arrived (it’s lovely, as always), along with Goddess Provisions, and the Chewy order.

Got started on the pieces for Llewellyn. Amazing how writing even one short piece helped.

Tessa got me up early this morning, because the cats were hungry. I can ignore Willa and Charlotte when they are a pain, but then they bring in Tessa, the Big Gun. Tessa is She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

I started re-reading Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION, about journal writing. I’m using my personal, handwritten journal, first thing in the morning (after I feed the cats) to try to reconnect with my own creativity, so I can get back to my daily 1K first thing in the morning again.

My bad shoulder hurts today (the one that was dislocated and has rotator cuff problems). This morning, I have to take the laundry down the street to the laundromat. That should be an adventure. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have laundry in the building before. I’m taking work with me. More script coverage, more LOIs, more short pieces for the almanac. Slowly, slowly, building back my creative life.

Slowly, slowly, figure things out. Make sure it works for life as it is now, not doing things because it’s the way I did them before. I don’t want to get stuck, the way I did before.

Onward.

Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration

image courtesy of Sasin Tipchai via pixabay.com

Friday, May 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cooler

Yesterday was another day that was all over the place.

I was up worrying way too early. Got up early, fed the cats, dozed on the couch a bit, which calmed Charlotte’s anxiety a bit.

Cleaned out the garage some more; almost finished sorting all the plant pots. I mean, there’s a lot more to do in the garage, but getting that done will make a big difference.

Handled a few things for the soon-to-be-ex client. Sent off a bunch of LOIs. Sent off rental application information. Most of these “property management companies” ask for inappropriate information and wanting me to carry 100K of renters’ insurance “in case I damage the apartment” is way out of line when there’s a security deposit involved. That’s what the deposit is for. Also, the properties that want additional monthly payments per cat – ridiculous. Again, that’s what a security deposit is for. And who can apply to dozens of rentals when every place has an exorbitant fee just to apply? It should be illegal.

The housing crisis was manufactured by landlords, and they need much harsher regulation.

Got my hair cut. I think the last time was October 2019. The hairdresser chopped about a foot off. She really didn’t do much other than cut the length off and do a bit of cleaning up. I wish the guy who gave me the great cut in 2019 was there, but he wasn’t. She was supremely disinterested in being there and doing much. On the one hand, I didn’t need much done, and she told me that the hair salon opened LAST MAY, at the height of the pandemic, so everyone’s stressed and completely burned out. I wasn’t going to fuss, because the cut is perfectly functional. I just would have liked a bit more care and attention devoted to it. Like, maybe even 5 more minutes. I was in and out of the salon in 10 minutes. But again, they’ve been under huge stress and burnout, and the cut is fine. It’s not brilliant, but it does the job. And yes, I tipped well, because hairdressers have been under huge stress for the duration.

I feel so much better, too. I just don’t feel as brilliant as I felt with the last cut.

But then, in the ten years I lived on Cape Cod, I’ve only had two haircuts that were good; most were serviceable, and some were truly awful.

And yes, we were all masked, thank goodness.

Came home and worked. Got out coverage of one script; read another one; claimed two more that I will read and turn around today and tomorrow. I’m getting into the flow of it.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Last week will be our final week. Most schools are running into June, and the kids and parents will be in touch with each other, but the official online homework group will be finished as of next Thursday.

Managed to sleep until 2 AM before I woke up worrying. Charlotte started fussing at 3. I let her into the bedroom. She was good for awhile, all purry and cuddly, but then she started fussing at Tessa, so she got kicked out of the room.

We are really at a crisis point in the house hunt. We need to get out of here. We are perfectly capable of steadily paying rent on the places to which we’re applying, but we’re being turned down because the overall income isn’t high enough to please the landlord. As long as we pay rent – and since we have decades’ worth of positive rent-paying history – that should count more than an overall number.

People deserve decent living situations. It shouldn’t be this impossible to find a clean, safe place to live in our budget.

Anyway, I’m off to clean out more of the garage. I actually forgot to do a grocery run yesterday, so I’ll have to do it today.

Most of the day will be script coverage and trying to finish that damn article that’s not working. The weekend has to be house hunting and packing.

12 more hours spread over 3 days. #CountdownToFreedom.

Peace friends.

Published in: on May 21, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration  
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Tues. May 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 360 — Inappropriate

image by Peggy Marco courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

On Friday morning, after sending out a slew of LOIs, I went onsite to a client’s, and told her I was giving two weeks’ notice. It’s the last onsite client with whom I’ve been working since the start of the pandemic. The scope is changing into something that’s not what I do, and I also don’t want to work from the office. Since we’ll be moving off-Cape, probably not in commutable distance, it doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense to leave now (well, in two weeks) before things ramp up for tourist season, than when things get too busy. The conversation went well; we will see how the next two weeks go.

Driving away from there, I felt a huge weight had been lifted; while I am sure the next two weeks will be challenging, it was the right choice, right now, for all of us. They can hire someone who wants to be there, who can do the physical lifting and shipping and whatever else changes in the scope of the job, and I can move on to work for which I’m better suited.

I’d written up a comprehensive job description for them to list; if the ad went up Friday, resumes would come in over the weekend, they could interview/hire next week, and they will be some overlap the following week. I saw the ad they posted – used the intro paragraph and no financial information. If they don’t get a lot of resumes, they’ll blame the whole “no one wants to work” myth.

But that’s not my problem anymore.

When it comes to the myth, remember:

–nearly 600,000 people died in the past year, and that’s what we know about. Most of those people had jobs. Those individuals are DEAD. They no longer exist to fill those jobs. That’s nearly three times the year-round population of Cape Cod.

–Around here, many of those people died because they were put in unsafe working situations by their employer. Last summer was a nightmare of “Die For Your Employer” and “Die For Tourist Dollars” which made the Cape a red zone for COVID from the autumn until just a few weeks ago.

–People who were laid off/furloughed don’t owe loyalty to companies who showed no loyalty toward them when things got difficult.

–Somewhere between 100 and 200 people in my wide network of acquaintances discovered that they can do other things and liked doing it. Many of them started on new career paths that pay better and are more fulfilling.

–I see a couple of dozen of excited posts a day about people starting new jobs and being happy about it.

“No one wants to work because the gubberment pays too much” is a malignant myth by those who are frustrated they don’t have enough people to exploit.

I sent out LOIs, ran some errands, and read, both for the script coverage job and for pleasure. I really enjoy the script coverage job. I just hope I can keep up the pace, and even pick it up a little.

House-hunted sent out a bunch of requests, dithered. I can’t afford to pay multiple application fees for places we won’t get. I just can’t. That cuts into moving money. I also think it’s yet another scam by landlords/property companies to make money off people who need to find a place to live.

House hunted all weekend, actually, and sent off a bunch of enquiries. Fingers crossed I hear something back that’s positive.

Worked on some script coverage over the weekend, although I’m trying to keep weekends clear of that work. Kept up with watering the yard. Did some grocery runs. Did a dump run with garbage/yard waste/recycling. We’re cleaning out the garage. I’m tidying and packing up the pots, and seeing what we can toss. I have a feeling there will be multiple dump runs in the coming weeks.

Did eight loads of laundry done on Saturday, including switching out the curtains, and washing blankets and covers and stuff that can be packed away both for the move and until next winter.

I still wish that lovely little duplex in Bennington would come through for us, but I need to reconcile myself to the fact that it probably won’t.

A painter was supposed to come and take a look at what needs to be done to the outside of the house, and the landlord was going to stop by to see some tree work that needs to be done at the property line, but neither of those things happened. I just have to carry on with what I’m doing and not worry about the rest of it.

Got some packing done on Sunday in my office. I have to up the packing pace.

I’m reading the Meg Lanslow mystery GIFT OF THE MAGPIE by Donna Andrews, and it’s quite wonderful.

Read the book for review. Wrote the review, sent it off, waiting to get assigned my next book.

Got my first positive writer feedback from the script coverage job; a writer was really pleased with my comments. It’s a relief that I’m on the right track, at least for that particular writer. The place pays twice a month; I started near the end of the pay period, and they’ve already paid me for the work I did through the 15th, which is comforting.

I have to set up the binder and a new flash drive that’s just for the coverage this week.

Up early yesterday. Did some cleaning out in the garage first thing. Then it was the book review and LOIs. I had to go to the client’s in the morning for a few hours. Between this week and next week, I have a total of 24 hours spread over 6 days. My plan is to go in and get them as set up for the summer as I can, keep my head down and my mask on – because you know they’ll refuse to wear masks around me, even though I’m not considered fully vaccinated for another week, because “they’re tired of it.”

Looked at photos of hairstyles. As of Saturday, when I’m fully vaccinated, I plan to get my first haircut in 18 months.

Went into the client’s site to finish my last 24 hours spread over 6 days, winding up projects for her, and setting things up for whomever comes in next, if there’s no overlap. She became verbally abusive and completely, inappropriately unhinged, making threats. I told her to stop it; if this continues, I will not work out the two weeks. I gave notice as a courtesy; this is an at-will state. An employer can fire an employee without notice; an employee can quit without notice. Since I am on a W-2 instead of a 1099 with this particular client, those rules apply. This is a part-time job, with the job scope changing to something I don’t do, and the demand of being in-office when I’m leaving the area. The entire response to the perfectly reasonable notice is disturbing and inappropriate. Beyond hostile.

The above is another reason the PROACT, with the ABC Test, will hurt freelancers. This crap.

Not to mention she now refuses to wear a mask in the office, in spite of the fact that I’m not fully vaccinated for another week, and I don’t even know if the third person in the office is.

Nightmare. We will see what the next few days are like.

On top of that, she wants me to come in for one hour once a week indefinitely to “answer questions.” No. I’m working remotely for other clients past my end date. She can send me an email or book a (billed) phone call or Zoom call. I’m not losing half a workday to come onsite (when part of the reason I’m leaving is that I no longer do onsite work) to “answer questions.” Everything in my former job scope can be done remotely and should. The same with questions.

I should have tidied up the front lawn (too small a job to bring in my lawn guy), but I felt like I’d been battered. I managed to read a script for the script coverage job and take notes, which I will write up today.

My Llewellyn editor is going to contract me for the 2023 Almanacs. I’m excited.

I had a telehealth conference with my doctor. She was kind and helpful, and is referring me to resources I need to get through this next bit. I’m very grateful to her.

Felt sick most of the night, probably from stress. Up way too early. Posting this, then have to do some more work on the garage before I leave for the client’s – whether I stay there or not until the two weeks are up up in the air.

Peace, friends, and hold a good thought for me.

Fri. May 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 356 — Taking a Risk to Clear a Path

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Friday, May 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Somehow, yesterday seems like months ago.

Meditation was great. The theme was “self-compassion” which is something that I sorely needed (and continue to need).

I sent out a bunch of LOIs. Got an almost immediate response from one, asking for more samples and other information, which I turned around immediately.

I felt dizzy and exhausted off and on for most of the day, so I didn’t get as much other work done as I would have liked. I had to keep taking breaks.

Amongst all the reading I’m being paid to do, I’m reading a rather wonderful book for pleasure, DANCE WITH DEATH by Will Thomas.

I did not get an offer for the job where I blew the interview on Tuesday. They went with someone else (and were very nice about it, points to them for class). While the stability of the position was attractive, at least for the next stretch of time, the money meant I would have to take on a lot of extra work, and we just weren’t the right fit for each other. They made the best decision for everyone.

I took the day of script reading (which means I have to make up for it today, since I have coverage due tomorrow morning). I was just exhausted.

I didn’t get any packing or purging or cleaning up done.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The teens are getting appointments for their vaccines. The younger kids are jealous!

I did some house hunting; there was one possibility that looked good and wasn’t a scam, but I have a feeling it’s only a summer rental. Still, it was worth an email, and maybe I’ll hear back, or maybe I won’t.

I keep seeing us in that adorable little space in Bennington, even though someone else got it. It feels so vivid and right. I need to let go of it.

I was, however, weighing different scenarios on an issue that has to be faced down today. I’m going with my gut on it. Things have reached an untenable point, and, although what I’m going to do is a financial risk (which I shouldn’t take right now), it is also necessary. It has to be done in person today. It is mostly likely to be extremely unpleasant (potentially dangerous, since I am not considered fully vaccinated for another week); it could be a reasonable conversation that works well for all of us. The former is more likely than the latter. But I must remain calm and firm. I need to look after myself in this situation.

I’m weary and overwhelmed even anticipating what will happen, but it has to be done. I’m hoping that making this difficult decision and taking this risk will clear the way for something better. Because the situation now is unsustainable.

And then, we move forward. The next two weeks will be especially rough, but time moves forward no matter what, so it’s about getting to it.

I could use all the good thoughts you could spare today, on both this and the home front.

Have a great weekend, friends, and peace. We’ll catch up on Tuesday.

Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer

image courtesy of Nico Wall via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Still Dark outside

Yesterday was so stressful that my skull was ready to explode before 10 AM. But we got through it.

Of course, being up since 2:30 in the morning, I was already exhausted by 8. I’d put in a full day, at least mentally and emotionally.

There’s a post up on Gratitude and Growth about how the septic guys evened out, raked, and resodded the back. It’s going to look beautiful. With photos!

And the lilacs will be far enough along this weekend, so I can cut some and enjoy them while I recover from my second vaccine dose.

The septic guys were back early in the morning, right on time, to finish up. Then, at the time I should have left for work, the plumber arrived. Turns out the upstairs toilet needs to be replaced, and a new valve needed to happen in the hot water heater in the basement. We’d shut Willa in my mom’s room and Tessa in my room, which left Charlotte to supervise, and she took her duties seriously. Fortunately, the plumber adored her. He’s another good guy.

Having skilled people who care about their work actually do the work makes a huge difference. They were great, so they didn’t add stress, it was just trying to juggle everything all at once, and keep on top of some appointments I was setting up for today AND get to the site for the client.

I’m riding out that situation for a few more weeks, but it will change. What I do does not have to be done in the office, and the client is trying to change the scope of duties to work I don’t do and don’t want to do. But I’m supposed to be grateful.

On top of that, the client has made decisions on my housing situation that are inappropriate and don’t work for us, but says that I “have no choice.” Um, yeah, I actually do have choices, and choices that don’t involve this client and aren’t the client’s business.

Swung by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for the next few days.

The septic guys were just leaving. The back yard is going to be gorgeous once the grass grows back in.

Remote Chat was fun.

I got some responses from LOIs. Some were “no, thanks” which is fine. One wants me to do a one-way video interview, so that’s a no. Another wants me to write a “case study” for free in the next 48 hours. I’m sending my contract for samples and telling her I can book it next week, provided the deposit arrives in time. And those companies go on my Toxic Company Culture list.

I’m waiting for my first assignment from the new client – hoping I can start next week. Waiting to hear back from a couple of other potential clients from materials I sent them last week and this week. Depending on how a few more pieces play out, I may decide not to go forward with one of them, because there are some red flags that concern me.

I finished the book for review; will write up the review and get it out within the next hour, so I can get assigned the next one.

I’m very, very worried about my car. The last thing I can cope with right now is another major repair. Think good thoughts for me.

There’s stuff going on today and tomorrow that I can’t discuss publicly yet – it’s all good, don’t worry. I hate vague posts, but things are at a delicate stage, and if I talk to early, I’m afraid I’ll crush them. Plus, it might not work out. Then, I can pour out my disappointment and ask for sympathy!

But I won’t be around much today and tomorrow, and I get my second vaccine dose on Saturday, so it’ll be next week before we can thoroughly catch up.

Peace, friends, and hold a good thought for me.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 4:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer  
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Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging

photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

I’m in a rocky period, and that’s the way it’s going to be for this next stretch. I have to figure out how to navigate it without killing myself.

Friday was a mix of frustrations. I managed to get some client work done really, really early to hand it off to the person who needed it, getting in early rather than waiting until this week. And then THAT person went and took credit for the work I’d done both Thursday and Friday. So there’s some clarification that needs to happen next week.

Friday was a bit of a fractured workday, although I managed to do a curbside pickup at the library. I’m stressed with most of my cookbooks packed, so I ordered more cookbooks from the library as a soothing agent.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Prepped for a late afternoon meeting. It was a video call, so that meant choosing the wardrobe, doing the makeup, fixing the lighting, checking to make sure the background wasn’t full of boxes.

I woke up on Saturday morning, filled to the brim with stress and rage.

I worked hard to let go of it – it was a gorgeous day outside. I did an early morning grocery run, got the laundry and the housework done, worked on the paperwork for the contest (I finished the third category), and then decided to give myself a day off. I’m completely cooked, and I am making myself ill. I read a book, I played with the cats, I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed myself.

It was Beltane, and I did a ritual. Let’s hope things are moving in the right direction.

The Kentucky Derby was in the evening. I was disgusted to see how many flouted the masking protocols and ignored social distancing. They should have all been removed.

King Fury was scratched, so he wasn’t part of my picks, poor baby. I didn’t actually bet this year, even online. With the move coming up, betting is an unnecessary expense, and, frankly, I didn’t put in enough work to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s not the Derby where one makes money; it’s the undercard, and I certainly didn’t put in the work to bet on that.

I stuck with my choices of Midnight Bourbon as my first choice, then Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Soup and Sandwich as my long shot. Had I bet, I would have put the first three across the board and Soup and Sandwich to Show.

The winner was Medina Spirit, who ran a beautiful, wire to wire race. Mandaloun came in second, very close, with Hot Rod Charlie third and Essential Quality fourth. Midnight Bourbon was sixth – I don’t know what was wrong with him today, he just didn’t show up. Soup and Sandwich has a good start, but faded to finish last, poor thing.

So I’m glad I didn’t bet! I would have only won a few bucks on Hot Rod Charlie.

I had good early morning writing sessions Saturday and Sunday. Sticking to writing first thing in the morning helps keep the rest of the day grounded. I’m going to work hard not to self-sabotage on that front.

Finished the decisions on the winners and the finalists for the contest on Saturday and sent them off. On Sunday, I received invoicing instructions, sent off the invoice first thing Monday and was paid immediately.

Sunday, I also read a book for review, sent off the review and the invoice from the last batch. Again, first thing Monday, I was paid. That’s how it should be!

Found some interesting listings for rentals on Sunday, and sent off a few emails. Heard back yesterday morning from the one I really, really liked, so I’m hoping we can set up a time for me to head up there to see it, although it’s a bit of a hike.

Got a little bit of packing done, but not enough. If we knew where we were going, it would be easier.

photo by Devon Ellington

Monday morning, we were up early to eat, do the dishes, clean the litter boxes, etc., before the septic people arrived. They were here on time, and very, very nice. And efficient.

I managed to get some LOIs out before I headed to the client’s. Unfortunately, the water needed to be turned off at the house while I was gone, and the landlord came in to do it. I was embarrassed that he came in among the moving chaos. I’ve got things spread out and boxes everywhere and it’s a mess.

My client figured out that I’m having a moving situation going on, and immediately started giving me advice – that serves her, not me. This is one reason I didn’t want to discuss it with her until I had more tangibles. It’s going to be a nightmare for the next few weeks until things get sorted out, with her trying to “fix” things so it suits her, and not what we need. I should have just lied, but I didn’t.

Got an interview request from another LOI. At first, I set it up for later this week, but then I moved it to this afternoon – another end of day interview, which I’m not thrilled about, but if we’re going to look at rentals toward the end of the week, before my vaccine on Saturday, I needed it to happen sooner rather than later.

Turned around a script coverage piece. If this company likes me, they might throw me some more work here and there. I loved the piece I read; if that’s an indication of the quality they get in, it will be a joyful job. But what I have to say might not be what they want to hear. Still, I had to give notes that I felt best fit the piece.

The backyard is quite in tumult. The septic guys will be back today, and maybe finish by Thursday. Che Guevara Chipmunk sat on the deck steps in the late afternoon, looking absolutely devasted (although his actual home, in the bushes, is fine). I felt awful for upsetting the chipmunk.

Absolutely shattered by the end of the day. Fish and chips were as fancy as I could manage.

We watched some more of WILLIAM AND MARY, which is so well-written. Martin Clunes and Julie Graham are wonderful, and the supporting cast is great, too.

The June issue of THE WRITER arrived on Saturday, with my article in it on “Food Sensuality in Fiction.” I scanned the pages (although I had computer issues – my curser and trackpad aren’t always working properly and letting me use the keyboard). But I got it scanned, and I sent the PDFs out to the authors who were included. They were all really pleased with the way the article came out, and I’m so grateful to them for their quotes.

I love writing pieces like this, and I hope I get to do more.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing sessions yesterday and today.  Today, I’ve got some remote client work, an article to finish, a short story to work on, and a book to turn around fast for review. My editor’s been so great since I started working for the publication; no one wanted to read/review this book, and it needs to be done quickly, so I said sure. It’s definitely got some challenges. But I want to be fair and give it a helpful, not a harmful review, while still being honest.

CAPE COD TIMES ran an article about how Cape Cod businesses can’t find enough workers for summer tourism season. Hmm, let’s see, people are refusing to work in dangerous conditions for crap wages? Good. Of course, the paper frames it as “lazy people making more on unemployment.” Hey, assholes, if they’re making more on unemployment, the job was crap anyway. They did point out that there aren’t enough of the visa workers who come in from other countries for the summer season. Again, these are people who work for subpar wages. They compete for housing with people who live here year-round. And the article barely touched on the fact that the lack of housing is a crisis. The ratio of actual pay to the cost of housing is completely out of whack. As usual, it was right-leaning whining, instead of actual journalism. Typical of this area.

It rained overnight, so the backyard is now a mud bath.

Should be interesting.

photo by Devon Ellington

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging  
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Thurs. April 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 341 — The Danger Increases

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

I have a short post on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was all over the place.

I had a decent first writing session in the morning, although it wasn’t the full 1K. But it was still more words than I started with, so all good.

Got out a stack of LOIs.

Headed in to the client’s. The client demands I’m back in the office for the hours she pays for, starting next week. Even though we’re not all vaccinated, and we’re not supposed to be at full capacity for the office. I can’t afford to quit just yet, so I have to put myself into even more danger until I’m vaccinated.

Heard from the landlord. The septic replacement will be next week, but the water only needs to be shut off on Monday for about 4 hours. So we’ll coordinate that, before I head to the office, and I’ll be back by the time they need it turned back on.

They might have to take up part of the deck to do it, which means we won’t be able to sit out there after this weekend until we actually move. Which kind of breaks my heart.

But then, the last few months have been all about how much my heart can break, haven’t they?

Haven’t heard back from the property manager as to whether or not we have a phone appointment today, haven’t received any paperwork, haven’t gotten a confirmation as to whether we can go up to see the place on Saturday. I’m getting frustrated. The place is smaller than this, near the top of our budget, no washer/dryer (only hookups), and I’d have to pay extra for garage space, but she hasn’t told me how much.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s worth it, but we don’t have a lot of options.

Had a terrific exchange back and forth throughout the day with a potential new client on what would be a really interesting job. He wanted to look at a wide variety of samples, which I sent. I hope what I do matches what he’s looking for, because it would be so interesting.

Heard back from another LOI – another demand for unpaid, project-specific work samples as part of the interview process. I’m sending them my test/sample contract this morning, and will either get another snarky response or never hear back.

I was completely wiped out last night, and went to bed early.

I have meditation this morning, then client work, then finish up an article, work on a short story, work on contest entries, pack, and continue to house hunt.

I had a good writing session first thing this morning, and realized that, while this book is a stand-alone, a couple of supporting characters deserve their own books (also stand-alones). I made some notes. That knowledge will allow me to strengthen certain things in this book, while not going out too far on tangents, because I know those characters will be able to tell their own stories.

Back to it, then.

Published in: on April 29, 2021 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 341 — The Danger Increases  
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Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels

image courtesy of kalhh via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Today is a rough day. It is the second of the hoped-for moving dates I’d wanted when we were deep in this process. To say I feel like a complete failure on personal and professional levels because this isn’t our moving day is an understatement.

Yesterday was rough, too. The recruiter who’d claimed to want the morning appointment blew me off. No contact, no response when I followed up. Just skipped the appointment. Not a surprise, but any time I see that “staffing agency” listed, I know to avoid it.

The property manager who had the afternoon phone appointment didn’t call, either, although I did get an apology email in the evening, and we’re going to try to set up something for tomorrow. I’m hoping we can go up and take a look at it over the weekend.

I thought I’d found another, really cute house in Nashua for rent. At first it didn’t come up in any realtor searches, but digging a bit deeper, it did –yup, another scam. So I reported it.

In the afternoon, I heard back from one of the LOIs stating they wanted to “get to know me better” and sent me a link – to write an unpaid, 250-word piece.

I responded with a cordial email and the contract/rates for that.

I got an almost immediate snarky email back from the entitled white boy who runs the company, stating that they paid for test pieces further in the process, but a 250-word piece about something I knew about “shouldn’t take much time.”

Talk about a red flag right there. How would he know how much time something took? Short pieces need a great deal of care, to make sure that every word carries more than its weight.

I shot back, again, politely but firmly, that a good 250-word piece, even on a topic well within my wheelhouse, takes time, skill, and care, and deserves compensation. Our work styles are obviously incompatible.

Entitled white boy mansplaining his attempt to get free labor. No, thank you. So sick of it.

Because of the two meetings (which ended up not happening), I couldn’t deep dive into any project. It was a frustrating day.

I did get out a bunch of LOIs, including to a really cool project that would be long-term, steady, and in one of my favorite arenas.

I did some research into the KY Derby for Saturday.

Got some reading done. I’m close to the end of the third category of entries (although I still have a lot of paperwork to enter). I hope to have my decision by either Friday or Saturday. I’m reading a magical realism book that I waver between liking because it’s clever and getting frustrated with for jumping around too much.

Made Chicken Chow Mein for dinner – that’s turning into a major comfort food for me.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s ready for the school year to be over.

The mask mandate is being lifted for being in outdoor spaces as of Friday. Which means the Covidiots will be even dumber inside.

We watched some DOC MARTIN, and I went to bed early.  Of course, that meant I work up a little after 2 AM, fretting, and couldn’t go back to sleep.

I made myself write this morning, at least a few pages. I was tempted to punish myself and not do it, but I needed to, and it helped. I still have two pieces that I need to finish this week.

Living at this level of stress and uncertainty is unsustainable. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.

Today, I have a stressful day onsite with a client, but at least there’s Remote Chat to which to look forward.

Keep a good thought for me, okay? Thanks.

Published in: on April 28, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels  
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Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt pretty discouraged, all the way around.

Spent most of the day on contest entries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on April 27, 2021 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin  
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Wed. April 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 333 — Give Credit Where It’s Due

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Got a lot done early in the day yesterday: LOIs, article work, house hunting. I need to fill out some paperwork on a couple of places.

A house I’d hoped would work out seems to be a scam; another one we really liked has so many applicants, the guy isn’t even responding to emails.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and bought more than I planned; picked up a few things at CVS. Still doing full decontamination protocols. Even once I’m fully vaccinated, we’re talking about keeping some of the protocols in place. Because too many people are gross.

The tree-clearing morons were out in force yesterday. Cutting down healthy trees all over the neighborhood. Noise pollution, dust pollution, destroying habitat. Welcome to Cape Cod, where those who move here for the beauty systematically destroy it.

My mom still felt poorly, but she was better than the previous day, so, hopefully, she’s on the mend. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

Worked on contest entries. Packed some of the candle holders. I didn’t realize how many candle holders I have. I’m washing out a bunch of them and scraping old wax out of some, too. The stillroom is going to take longer to pack than I expected.

I had to order more bubble wrap (the 6th & 7th rolls, for those keeping track).

The Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous. There’s a stunning necklace included, a beautiful altar cloth, a carved bear. Just lovely.

Worked through another stack of magazines I came across and tossed a lot.

I need to photograph the old mower and contact the guy who buys them and refurbishes them. I want that and the broken weed whacker out of here.

It was nice enough in the afternoon to sit outside and read for a bit. I took Willa out in her playpen for a little while, but it was too windy, and she kept getting tossed ass over teakettle, so I brought her back in. Charlotte was upset that I took Willa out and not Charlotte. Tessa stayed out of the fray.

I burst into tears of relief at the Derek Chauvin “guilty” verdict. As someone who’s been a juror on murder trials, I know how seriously jurors take it, and how heavily the responsibility weighs to go over the evidence and serve justice.

I was angered by all the “thanking God” going on all over the internet. God had nothing to do with the guilty verdict. It was the jurors, who took their job seriously and fulfilled the oath they swore. If God gave a damn, George Floyd wouldn’t have been murdered in the first place. If God existed, the Sociopath would have never been in the White House. So cut the crap about God having anything to do with this verdict. It was people who took their oath seriously, which is more than most politicians do.

Today I have to go onsite for a few hours, overlapping with other work colleagues. Not looking forward to it.

But then, there’s Remote Chat, to which I AM looking forward.

The early morning writing sessions are going well. It gives me a solid, positive foundation for the rest of the day. I’m making progress in the work, and it’s giving me creative energy to fuel more work in the day. So I’m glad I’m getting back into the daily rhythm.

Now, if I could only land us a place to live. . .

Thurs. April 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 327 — Before The Storm

Tessa in her new bed

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and chilly

There’s a longer than usual post over on Gratitude and Growth about how the changes in the neighborhood affect the garden.

Yesterday was reasonably productive. Early in the morning, it turns out the client I thought with whom I would be working starting this week – well, it’s not going to work out. The client “requires” I jump through hoops they “need” for their accounting. Um, they pay via PayPal, and I filled out a W-9. They don’t “need” anything else. This client paid a lower rate than I’d normally accept, but I wanted to have some steady, stop-gap work with the move coming up, while I continue to have discussions with higher-paying potential clients. But I’m not jumping through hoops for this kind of money, when I don’t need to for clients who pay much, much more. Buh-bye.

Got another nibble from another LOI from someone who wants some more information. I can turn that around today, I hope. We’ll see if that’s legit, or yet another “client” that’s actually an outsourcer wasting my time.

Turned around some additional information requested from another LOI, and got the exact same message asking for the exact same information, which I said I sent, did they need it resent, and got the same message asking for the same information instead of an actual response. Hon, if your AI chat bot can’t get it together, we aren’t a good match. Next!

Got a lot done at the client’s. She was just in for a few minutes, so we talked about a few things, I kept going with what I had to get done, she kept going with what she had to get done. She bought her elderly cat a new cat bed, and gave me the fancy previous one.

My cats were fascinated. Charlotte and Willa fussed at each other over it, and while they were busy, Tessa decided it was HERS. And now it is. Tessa spent most of the afternoon in the bed, happy as could be. That gave Willa a chance to sneak in and sit in the window in my room before I took Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens on the deck.

Remote Chat was fun.

I was hit with more fatigue and some swollen lymph nodes again in the afternoon and evening. Instead of pushing myself, I let myself sit out on the deck for a bit, with the cats in their playpens.

Went to bed awfully early, though, which meant I woke up around 3:30 and was wide awake.

Meditation this morning. I should do a quick grocery run, before the storm starts. It’s supposed to get nasty this afternoon and overnight, into tomorrow. We do need the rain, though. But the thought of going to the store is overwhelming.

I’ve got a story idea almost percolating. I can feel it starting to form. I need to get back to a regular fiction writing routine again. I’m much more centered and productive when I stick to an early morning 1K of fiction. But it’s as though I’m punishing myself for not having landed a new home, therefore I don’t let myself write, and I throw off my whole day, and it’s a continuing downward spiral. When what I should be doing is writing my way to a better reality.

But all I want to do is sleep. Only I don’t have time to sleep, I need to finish packing and find us a place to live.

Client work, LOIs, article work, filling information requests, and looking at rental listings. That’s my agenda for today.

What’s on your plate?