Thurs. Aug. 5, 2021: Some Days Just Don’t Go Very Far

image courtesy of calibra via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday just wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

Most of the day was spent on class preparations, which was a good thing. I’m still shuffling and reshuffling some of the slides. I’m still switching out some images. I’m going to run the presentation a few times today for timing, and probably cut a few things.

I wrote up one of the script coverages.

I got out some LOIs. I got frustrated at a few companies who don’t even read the materials, just make demands for unpaid work as part of the pre-interview process. They can take their assessments and shove them right up their collective ass. You want me to take a test? Fine. You will pay me for my time.

Wild Oats is going to require masks inside again, which is a relief. I think I’m going to skip in-person networking events until spring. Even vaccinated, I just don’t feel comfortable enough to be around people I don’t know inside. Even outside, I’d rather have 60 feet between us than 6.

I mean, I’ve been wearing masks in stores and buildings all along, but I’d much rather it was a requirement than a request.

Had a good first writing session this morning; got in my four pages. The piece is following the themes that originally intrigued me, but also taking on a shape of its own. I’m following where it leads for now; in the next draft, I’ll impose more on it, craft-wise. This draft, I’m trying to figure out what I want to say, and what I want to explore.

I’m going to work on the class today, finish off the handouts and upload them so they can be downloaded after tomorrow’s class. I have two coverages to write up, and one script (so far) to read. Looks like I’ll be reading over the weekend, which I’d hoped not to do. But with teaching tomorrow and doing a storage run next week, that removes two reading days from my work schedule, so I have to work through the weekend to make my nut,

Meditation soon, and then, back to the page. It hasn’t decided if it’s going to rain or clear up. If it rains, I’ll stay in. If it clears up, I have books to return to the public library, and more to get out.

There were two black cats wandering the neighborhood this morning. One sat and watched what was going on, then followed her person back home. The other was the tall, lean cat I met in the parking lot a week or so ago. She sauntered across the street, paused to acknowledge me as I greeted her from the porch, then strolled onto the porch of the house next door. I hope they don’t get hit by a car. I worry about cats outside.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 23, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 156 — Rising Virus Numbers & Climate Change Conference

30 Tips for 30 Days — Help for Nano. Always free here.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

Battled with the migraine all day yesterday.

I was furious when a group of snide bullies on social media started on the whole “just post the recipe” thing again.

Context and culture and stories around food are an incredibly important part of the experience.

If all you want is the recipe, without context, there are dozens of sites that do that.

Don’t tell recipe bloggers and writers to change HOW THEY PRACTICE THEIR PASSION on THEIR OWN SITES.

It’s a form of bullying, and I will damn well call it out when I see it.

Too much stupid on social media. I wish I could just take a full break, personally and professionally, for a few months. Unfortunately, it’s one of the necessary tools for what I do. So I will cut back.

I have to limit screen time anyway, because the migraine just won’t go away. Valerian helped a little bit last night, but nowhere near the way it used to.

I did a segment of work on the computer, rested, did the same again. Slowed me down way too much.

Managed to get a solid 1500-ish words done on a project, though, which was nice. That project is trying to consume me and can’t, because I have other deadlines.

It was warm enough to sit outside on the deck in the afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens and read for an hour or so.

Masks came from the Animal Rescue site. They’re pretty, but rather flimsy – only one layer, not two. Not sure I’m confident to wear them out grocery shopping, etc.

The other two CDs arrived – HADESTOWN and MISS SAIGON. In all the years I worked on SAIGON, I never got the CD — because I listened to it every night as I did my cues. But I haven’t listened to it since the show closed, and it was such a huge part of my life that I wanted to own it.

My IPSY order also arrived – new eyeshadow and lipstick and nail polish for fall. Yes, I still wear lipstick under the mask. I ALWAYS wear lipstick. I can be stark naked, but as long as I wear lipstick I feel dressed. (I promise I won’t be stark naked with only lipstick on Zoom. Because, you know, I’m a professional, unlike some well-known writers who’ve been Zoom idiots lately).

Mala Prayer is shutting down, which makes me sad. They had lovely quality and great customer service. I placed one final order and thanked them for everything.

The debate last night was awful.  I did not think Welker was tough enough cutting off the mic. The Sociopath was even more of a monster than usual, gleeful about child separation, no plans for anything.

I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t stopping the Barrett confirmation. There is ALWAYS a way.

I’m in a virtual climate change conference all day. Or at least, as much as I can do before the migraine wins. Up in full hair, makeup and comfortable but professional clothes before 8 AM.

The weekend is supposed to be lovely and warm. I hope to get more yard work done, and a bunch of writing. I need to keep reminding people about 30 Tips for 30 Days, with Nano fast approaching. I need to start pushing the Trinity of Teasers promotional package.

Our numbers in MA are higher than they were in May towards the end of the shutdown. It’s disgusting.

All I want to do is lie down until the migraine goes away. Or until we get an actual president that gives a damn.

Have a great weekend, friends. I’ll see you on the other side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20200630_193503

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

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

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

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!

Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts

Friday, May 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid and raining

Yesterday went better than expected, but was still exhausting.

Loaded the car with two months’ worth of recycling, masked up, and headed for the dump. Got there just as they were opening. Long line to get rid of trash, but I was one of the first to make it to the recycling area.

Everyone was masked, as required. We parked leaving three spaces between us, and gave each other plenty of room. People were cheerful and talked back and forth – I think we were all glad to talk to someone.

Much less stressful than I expected.

Although, as I was leaving, I saw cars pulling up close to each other and people not being so careful.

I have a feeling they’ll have to shut it all down again in a few weeks, so I’m glad I got our stuff out. I got everything into one car load – a BIG car load, but it was still everything. I will try to go back in two weeks with whatever’s been accumulated, so I can keep as much out before they shut down again as possible.

Because I’m NOT going to be like the spoiled brats who were tossing recycling in with the trash. If we were in NYC, all piled up with no room, it’s understandable. But here? Most people have plenty of room and can hang on to their recycling for a few weeks.

Headed over to Trader Joe’s. Line wasn’t too long. It moved pretty fast, but I realized that I’m going to need sunscreen to go grocery shopping in the future. Standing in line in the sun is going to require sunscreen. Everyone was masked, as required, distanced, and the mood was pretty upbeat. The staff was friendly and wonderful as usual, it was well-stocked. They rearrange things when they can’t restock, so you don’t see expanses of empty shelves. You just realize you can’t find what you were looking for!

I bought more than I intended, but that’s okay. I won’t have to go out for anything except milk and bread for two weeks, and I might risk the local convenience store for that. Unless I see people in there unmasked.

Got everything home, went through full disinfectant protocol (disinfecting every item, putting bags into quarantine, stripping down and tossing clothes into the washer, showering).

Even though it all took less time than I expected, it was still most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Talk about mask preparedness—when I go out, I’m wearing a mask, I carry a spare, and I wear a scarf that I can pull up if everything else fails.

I also realized I need more masks. Four isn’t enough. So that’s on the agenda this weekend. More mask-making.

Our neighbors (the ones who do the Driveway Dinner Parties) dropped off a note saying they were worried about us. While that’s sweet, I wonder why. Because we don’t have people coming in and out all the time like they do? We’re not socializing. We’re fine. But I appreciated the kindness and dropped off a note thanking them.

Got some client work done, but not enough, so I have to put in a few hours today.

Edward Robb Ellis’s diary is delightful. His writing about the Depression is an eerie echo of what’s happening now, although people now are acting much more like spoiled brats.

The local media’s coverage of what’s going on is distorted. What’s in the papers and what I witness daily as a resident are far apart. For one thing, it’s completely one-sided. Only business owners and companies are being interviewed. Not the people who are actually in harm’s way working and dealing with the public. Business owners are whining that Memorial Day weekend, business was 66% down. Well, maybe that’s because businesses aren’t supposed to be open yet, except for essentials and some curbside pickups. They’re acting like the long-term rentals, which are the only ones that are supposed to be happening (31 days or more) are a bad thing, and that the dozens of short-term weekend rentals aren’t happening under the table (which they completely are, putting everyone who lives and works here at risk, because those coming in for the weekend aren’t quarantining and aren’t following protocols).

Gee, local media, owned by corporate “media companies” are lying to us. What a surprise. Yes, sarcasm.

Even if workers spoke off the record, local “journalists” wouldn’t protect their sources. Because that doesn’t happen here. Because they know the employers, and would either put in enough personal detail to out the source, or tell a friend or neighbor they “trust” who the source is, knowing it will get back to the employer and there will be retaliation.

Because that’s the way it works here.

Oh, and the best thing about calling the bridge traffic “light”? Yeah, I suppose being backed up for three hours is lighter than seven hours. But there shouldn’t be enough traffic to back it up AT ALL. We are still in Phase One.

The irony is that these are the same people, whining about not enough tourists, who wanted to shut down the bridges and the entire Cape to all but residents in March and have checkpoints at both bridges. Now, when it’s no safer, they want to let in too many people too quickly to put everyone at risk.

You can’t have It both ways, boo.

How about this, as we rebuild the future of work? If you won’t pay a living wage and provide safe conditions, you don’t get to have employees. Do the work your damn self. Or you have to work for someone else, who hopefully provides a better wage and safer working conditions than you were willing to provide.

An organization promoting local businesses is talking about having a “fair” this summer. Seriously? How irresponsible is that?  There’s no way to make sure people follow protocols. Not only would I not attend such an event, I would then avoid vendors who participated, because I’d worry both they and their merchandise were contaminated.

This marketing that we “owe” it to go out and shop? Nope. My first priority is the health and safety of my family. If you allow other customers to act irresponsibly in order to get a few bucks from them, you’re not getting my money. If I feel confident that you are following protocols, and your customers are, too (and those who aren’t must leave), then I will shop there. If I see irresponsible behavior without consequence, I won’t. And, if I witness the latter, I probably won’t come back, even when it’s safe.

I’m focused on the necessities. I’m focused on working as much as I can SAFELY, because who knows when the work will dry up with 25% of the population currently unemployed.

The entire concept of “work” and “labor” has to be rebuilt in order to rebuild the economy, and part of that is dismantling current corporate structure.

I also think, during reopening, that any company that requires employees onsite dealing with the public has to have its executives and management pulling shifts with the same risks.

In the Governor’s daily noon briefing, he talked about how the numbers are going down and we are past the surge. Yet when the daily numbers came out late in the afternoon, there were 100 more cases in the past 24 hours than in the previous day (from low 500s to high 600s) and about 30 more deaths than there had been the previous day (from low 60s to mid-90s). Is this a one day uptick, or are the numbers going to steadily climb again? I suspect the latter, although I hope I’m wrong. I’m not sure I trust the numbers being released, either.

Switching to happier things, the cat playpen arrived. It’s an excellent design. It’s like a strong tent, with a solid floorcovering (although flexible), pops up, and has netted sides. Its arrival meant that we had to put the flea and tick medicine on all three cats. Charlotte, who I thought would have a nervous breakdown, didn’t care. Tessa didn’t like it. Willa rolled around, trying to rub it off on the carpet.

Charlotte was the most interested in the playpen, so she went out in it first. She didn’t freak out, but the world is too big out there, and she’d rather observe through a window.

Brought her in and took Willa out next. Willa was interested, and likes all the smells. She’s the one who’s been slithering out when we open the door, so I wanted to give her a way to be outside but safe. She kind of liked it, although she doesn’t like to be confined.

So far, Tessa wants nothing to do with it. Tessa’s good on the deck, but there’s so much chaos getting her back into the house that I am only willing to carry her in and out when she’s in the playpen at this point.

But it has to be HER idea to go into it the first time.

It’s bigger than I expected, but that seems to be a theme with recent orders.

The riots are not surprising. There has to be a reaction to the increased open racism. Also, it’s completely inappropriate the way the protesters in Minneapolis were treated, but the WHITE domestic terrorists in Michigan, occupying the state capitol, were allowed a free pass.

Meanwhile, we have over 100,000 dead and 25% of the population unemployed. While the Sociopath laughs and dances and claps his hands with glee (unmasked), golfs, and threatens Twitter.

In World War II, we were part of an alliance to keep fascism from taking over the world. If we don’t take back our country, we will be the enemy the way Nazi Germany was. Because there’s only so long the world can let this continue.

I have some client work today that I was too exhausted to do yesterday. Must get it done this morning.

Then some more writing, and I want to work on cleaning out another stack of boxes from the basement.

One eye on the world, in despair. The other focusing on chopping wood and carrying water.

Have a good weekend all. I wish you peace.

Published in: on May 29, 2020 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts  
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Mon. Nov. 19, 2018: Friendliness – An Introvert’s Journey #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, November 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus DIRECT (as of Friday)
Mercury Retrograde (as of Friday)

 

I am an introvert.

I am perfectly happy to hole up at home for days or weeks on end, writing, and not interacting much.

But my profession does not allow it.

My profession demands that I wear the mask of an extrovert in order to promote my books and to land marketing clients. If people don’t know about them, how can they read them? I’m constantly navigating the line between the public and the personal.

My basic policy is that my work is public; my life is private.

It’s not particularly scandalous or interesting, but it’s MINE. I CHOOSE what to share publicly.

I owe readers good work.

In order to do good work, I need to keep boundaries.

I like many individuals just fine. I’m not fond of “people” all that often.

Yet, when I go to conferences or talk at libraries, I enjoy myself. I like sharing my process, my ups and downs, with them. Most of them ask interesting questions. I like to hear about their journeys, their experiences. I like to know who they are and what matters to them. Some of them make unfair demands, and I’ve learned to shut that down.

At networking events or cocktails or dinners, when someone makes a rude or dismissive comment, I smile, cut them off, walk away, and get on with my life. I don’t owe them my time or attention. I owe that to my work.

This blog, which has now been up for more years that I can comprehend at this point, is a conversation, as far as I’m concerned. I share how the writing and the life weave together or get into conflict. I share ups and downs. There’s plenty I don’t share, especially when it concerns other people in my life. While everyone I interact with is processed into the work in some way, eventually, that doesn’t mean I write about them in the blog as themselves.

I try to give support and encouragement as often as possible, while not allowing myself to be drained by emotional vampires.

I fall short of my own expectations often.

Even events that I enjoy wear me out on multiple levels. Then I have to retreat to recharge.

I’ve finally accepted that it’s okay.

For me, protecting the work, doing what I have to in order to nourish the work, is the most important.

I build relationships, I maintain friendships (amongst my circle, I tend to be the main “kinkeeper” — keeping in touch with people, keeping them in touch with each other).

But I also relish my time alone.

It’s becoming less about wearing a mask and more about keeping a balance.

I don’t like the way we, as writers, are forced to dog-and-pony ourselves. I believe it should be about the work FIRST and we should be in soft-focus, in the background.

Others love to be in the spotlight, and are good at it. More power to them.

But I’m finally learning that I can be friendly by defining my own parameters, my own boundaries, and not feeling guilty or defensive when those are inconvenient for those who want more. I’ve also noticed that the bulk of those who want more offer little in return. It’s also about learning and enforcing discernment.

I’d rather meet someone with an expectation of the positive and let them fulfill it or not than assume the negative. But when they show who they are — for good or for ill — I believe them.

Because being friendly doesn’t mean being a doormat.

Being friendly means offering a warm hand and a warm heart when needed. Knowing when to step forward, and when to step back. When to give support and when to give space.

The space is as important as the contact.

It’s a beautiful, brilliant dance that brings out the best in both partners.

 

Published in: on November 19, 2018 at 6:36 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 19, 2018: Friendliness – An Introvert’s Journey #UpbeatAuthors  
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