Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

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?

Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

I’ve got a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

The thought that soon, I might not have a garden at all, saddens me.

Yesterday was busy. I had to be onsite with a client, and I actually had to say, “If you kill me with COVID, I can’t finish this by deadline. Please put your mask on.” I shouldn’t have to do that. This whole “I’m vaccinated, so to hell with you” is enraging.

Busy there, got a lot done, have to put in some more hours today and tomorrow, but remotely.

I have some paperwork to fill out with a new client, and then we’ll get started next week. It’s freelance, so it will ebb and flow, but the work sounds interesting, so we’ll see.

Came home, decontaminated, enjoyed Remote Chat.

Did some more client work, looked at rental listings. One of the most frustrating things about the rental agents is that they don’t listen. They don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I send them, or any of my needs.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have meditation group, and then have to get client work done, work on the paperwork for the new client, and finish my article, so I can get it to my editor. I need to get at least one article pitch out, maybe two. More LOIs, more rental listings.

I’m feeling a little discouraged today. But all I can do is make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Fri. April 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 315 — Keep On Keeping On

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Friday, April 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and chilly

Yesterday was a busy day, but it was a good busy day. Meditation was good. I got out a bunch of LOIs. I got client work turned around. I need a client to get something back to me today and I GUARANTEE the request will be ignored.

The editor sent me the article revisions – the second version this time, not the one I spent all the time working on yesterday. But it was two minor tweaks (because, in this version, I’d already dealt with some of the issues). So, although we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth, it got done, it got done on time, and no worries.

I worked on updating my brochure. It still needs more work. Sigh. I’m doing it in Canva this time; it was better in Pages. I have to decide on graphics. The new logo is fine, but there need to be some more interesting visuals amongst the text. In the last brochure, I used my own photos, but not sure that’s relevant to this one. I have to think about it.

Worked on contest entries I’m making good progress on the second category.

Looked at real estate listings, which were all over the place. There are some interesting listings, and I’ll contact them for more information. A friend of a friend of a friend has a possibility, so I will contact that person today. I’m completely open to moving out of state – provided I can afford the moving costs. Staying in state would mean keeping my health insurance and a bunch of other paperwork, but I have to see what my options are and weigh out all the costs.

Freelance Chat was good and fun and interesting – about taxes. I realized where I’ve made a big mistake (no wonder I kept getting “adjustment” letters), and, starting with next year’s taxes (this year’s are filed), I can fix it. Also found out that one of the “you should” that kept being touted at local networking events doesn’t work the way the touters claimed it does, so I’m glad I never did it.

Found out a friend’s mother has COVID, and my friend might have it, too. Worried about them.

I got two emails from the County for appointments opening up at noon today for next week, and a message from my health care provider, too. So I have some options for vaccines in the coming weeks, and I’m going to go in and cage fight for an appointment, starting at noon. Wish me luck!

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are taking a break next week. For some reason, the Easter breaks are all over the place this year. Some were a couple of weeks back, some are a couple of weeks ahead. So we’re breaking this coming week, and then regrouping. The pressure on these families to go back in-person with rising case numbers is unfair and ridiculous. The families are standing firm in not sending them back this school year. Period.

This morning, I have to make another dump run, then do a quick grocery run, and a library curbside drop-off/pickup. I want to finish a draft of my article, let it sit over the weekend, and send it to my other editor on Monday. I want to pitch a couple of other articles. I also have a book to review – I want to get that done and out, so I can get my next assignments.

This weekend, I also have to make up for the lower amount of packing I’ve done this week. I have to rev back up packing, keep cleaning out the basement, and start on the garage.

I also want to work on a play over the weekend.

As I type this, some wild turkeys are taking a stroll down the middle of the street, looking here and there, taking their breakfast stroll. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood the last few years, between people cutting down trees and overbuilding and using lawn chemicals. It’s nice that we haven’t lost it all.

Keep on keeping on, right?

Thurs. April 1, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 314 — The Mountain Looks Unconquerable From Here

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

April Fool’s Day

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

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. Too often, the humor is about cruelty instead of playfulness. We’ve had enough cruelty the past few years.

Yesterday was stressful at the client’s, and that’s all that’s appropriate to say about it. Got a lot done, though.

Got out some LOIs, had fun in Remote Chat, worked on contest entries.

My editor sent me the edits on the article – again, the wrong version of it. The drafts are clearly titled. So, what I did was address the edits, then mark what I wanted/had cut in my final draft, and added in the new quote. All to this draft. Saved it, pointed out the changes, and sent it back. Now, she thinks maybe she sent me the wrong file. But at least I’ve got the material in the draft she keeps lobbing back at me, with the possibilities for revisions. Fortunately, none of them are a huge deal. It’s mostly tweaks and tightening language, and deciding if we want to keep or cut a paragraph. We’ll get there. I got my edits turned around by the end of the workday, which is what she needed, although I suspect we will have another round of edits today. Which I will also turn around immediately.

Rental listings were depressing. I’ve got another set of scam contacts to send off to the Attorneys Generals here in New England.

Too exhausted to pack, so I will have to make up for it today.

This morning is the online meditation group, to which I’m looking forward. More LOIs. Work on the other article, since I have enough quotes now to make it fly. I’d like to get one more set of quotes, but not sure I can by deadline. Still, I might give it a go, while I’m writing with what I have.

Playing with some ideas. Although I’m personally feeling overwhelmed and in despair, I want to read/write something more upbeat and hopeful. Not long. Something short, but that helps. Not sure what it is yet, because I don’t know who will be central. I need the character in order to build the story – I like starting from character And I’m not writing enough to stay in balance, so I need to start on something, anything.

I’m a big believer in writing my way to a better reality. On multiple levels.

We’re paying April’s rent and begging for an additional month (the lease runs out April 30). Meanwhile, I’m still spending hours a day trying to find something pet friendly in our budget. I had talked to the landlord a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of another month, but I want to put it formally in writing.

I woke up around 3, worrying, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Tried to let the sound of the rain soothe me back down, but no luck.

Just keep at it, that’s all I can do.

Thurs. March 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 300/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 50 — Disheartened

image courtesy of Devanath via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy, windy, cold

There’s a quick post up on Gratitude and Growth.

Not much to report here. Yesterday was stressful. In different ways than I anticipated, but stressful.

Got some other disheartening news. Not appropriate to talk about it here, but there were tears last night on my part, and a growing sense of failure on multiple levels.

What can I do but take a deep breath and dig in again?

I’m looking forward to meditation this morning. I need it.

Then, it’s a quick run to Trader Joe’s, and back to client work. I’m also going to try to get more done in the basement, and pack up the back bedroom.

I hurt so much for my Asian friends. I’m so tired of crazy, cruel white men being allowed to get away with every hurtful, violent thing they feel like doing. It has to stop.

And, of course, 172 Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women act yesterday, because this is who they are.

Peace, friends.

Let’s hope the rest of this week is better than it started.

Published in: on March 18, 2021 at 5:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 300/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 50 — Disheartened  
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Fri. March 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 287/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 37 — Work Work Work

image courtesy of janeb13 via pixabay.com

Friday, March 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Not much to say today, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Just working along, steady.

Meditation was great yesterday, although Charlotte was a little pill, climbing all over me and fascinated by the Zoom screen. I don’t use my video, so no one could see her and tell her she was pretty. She was quite disappointed. That’s her favorite part of Zoom calls.

Had to swing by the client’s office and download a file I’d left without the previous day. Was in and out quick (no one there) and back home to upload the file and work on it. Spent a couple of hours getting that done.

Worked on the book review. It’s not quite right yet, so I will tweak it today and then send it (deadline is today).

Worked on the article proposal. Did some research for another article. I have to view a few things as research; I will do that this weekend, and then send out interview requests early next week.

Sent out some LOIs.

Freelance Chat was fun. Charlotte doesn’t quite get the difference between a Zoom call and a live Twitter chat. Again, she was disappointed because no one told her she was pretty. Although I did, but that wasn’t the same as having a bunch of strangers tell her how beautiful she is.

My lower back bothered me, so I spent some extra time on the acupressure mat.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. The kids are doing well. We have a rhythm to our work time, and we get everything done while learning stuff beyond their curriculum and laughing a lot. The families are all holding firm to the kids not going back to in-person learning this year, and making sure everyone gets vaccinated as soon as they can.

Cape Cod Community College’s gym is opening as a mass vaccine site here. It’s getting the one-dose J&J vaccine. All the new appointments that opened in the state were booked within 90 minutes.

At this point, since my mom is booked for her second dose (we hope) and I’m not yet eligible, I’m reading the information sent, but I don’t yet have to get into the cage fight for appointments. I’ll do that in a couple of weeks. I’ll just hope that, as our dose shipments increase, we can get people vaccinated and it won’t be as bad of a fight as it’s been.

We had a scare when we got a “Congratulations! You’ve been vaccinated!” email, and I thought, “oh, no, now they’re acting like she had both doses?” But it was the vaccine confirmation from the first dose. The verification process so I could actually access/download the information was as ridiculous as the rest of the sign-up, but we got it done, and I printed off one copy for our records and one copy for my mom’s doctor.

I just want to sleep, for about a week, but no such luck.

Today, I have to finish/send the book review, and then I’ve done 5 and can invoice. I want to finish the article pitch and send it off. I need to drop off some books due at the library (although I don’t have anything to pick up). I’ll work on contest entries, get out some LOIs, purge some more boxes. I have to break down a bunch of boxes in the garage, because tomorrow morning, I need to do a big dump run.

I also have to do a Trader Joe’s run. We are way down on a bunch of stuff, and I need to restock.

You can tell things are opening up. Dumbasses are driving into buildings again. I’ve never lived in a place where people drive into buildings every damn day, but they do it in MA.

I was in touch with my House Rep a few days ago about voting No on the PRO-ACT, at least until they strip out the ABC test. If that passes, I can’t be a freelancer. It means thousands of small businesses, many owned by women, would be destroyed. A test applied to factory workers in the 1930’s is not appropriate for freelance work today, especially in the creative arenas.

And I’m a union person! So if I think the bill is bad, and I WANT people to be able to unionize, you know it’s really bad.

It would be nice if the policy writers actually talked to people in the field of the policies they write before they write them. Just a thought.

But it’s why I’m on the case of my elected officials on just about every piece of legislation every damn week. They can’t represent me if they don’t know where I stand on various bills. So I make sure that they do.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. March 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 286/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 36 — Trying to Take A Breath

image courtesy of Renan_Brun via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and cold

Yesterday was stressful, on multiple levels.

There’s a short post up over on Gratitude and Growth. Unfortunately, there’s not much to say.

I was up very early, because I needed to do a revision on my article, fitting in the new quote, and get it off to my editor before we had to leave the house at 7 AM. I did it, and I’m pleased with it, so that’s a good thing. The quote really does make the piece stronger.

Drove my mom to Quest Diagnostics over in Osterville for her blood work. They tried to charge her for it. No. She’s never had to pay a co-pay for bloodwork. Tufts raised her premium this year, so she’s damn well not going to start paying for stuff they’ve always covered, when they’re charging more in the first place.

Got her back home, and headed over to my client’s. It was the day where several of us overlap in person, which is stressful enough, but this particular client thrives on chaos, which causes even more stress.

But we got through it.

Got home, and, before I even decontaminated, had to get to the computer to try and book my mother’s second vaccine dose. They’d sent me a “special link.”

Talk about even more unnecessary chaos. I wrote in detail about the steps on a long Twitter thread. The site is a failure in web development AND writing, not to mention execution.

The “special link” sent me back to the main virtual waiting room, with wait times of 30 minutes or so. The wait time kept lengthening, then came up as “over a day, come back later.” I was, again, competing with first dose seekers. As I sat there, shocked, it catapulted me onto the site just for the appointments (at the Orleans dump again, next week). I grabbed the first one I saw.

I got the message that the slot would be “held” for 15 minutes while I finished signing up.

Only I had to re-enter ALL the information, including insurance information, that I had to enter for the first shot. Which takes more than 15 minutes, especially when the screen kept freezing and dropping the information I entered.

I finally got all the pages and pages of information entered, and hit “submit” – only to be sent BACK to the virtual waiting room, competing with first dose seekers. The message was that the wait was over a day, and I should try again later.

I burst into tears.

There is NO REASON for this signup chaos, other than exceptionally poor design on the part of the web developers and writers.

While I was in tears, my Gmail pinged, and I received a confirmation for the appointment.

So why was I getting a message telling me to “try again later”? Which message is correct?

I sat on the site, thinking maybe I’d try to book the caretaker’s shot. I was catapulted back into the search portion of the site – only the Orleans site isn’t even listed. So it’s ONLY for second doses.

Which is great, but why not have a sensible design that simply sends you to the second dose site instead of sending you around in circles giving conflicting information?

We have no idea if we’ll actually get the dose, but we are showing up, with the confirmation printed out, next week. And hope for the best.

By the end of it, I was a complete wreck.

There is so much unnecessary pain and suffering connected to the signups. There is NO reason for any of it. It needs clear information from the Governor’s office, and it needs a clean, sensible design and writing on the part of the web developers.

Neither of which exist.

But, it seems the second dose appointment is booked and confirmed, so we’ll hope for the best.

My mom is worried about me not being able to get vaccinated yet. We are simply going to hold the protocols until one month after I get my second dose. As of April 1, when I am eligible, I’ll start my own daily cage fight.

Decontaminated and grabbed a bite to eat.

Remote Chat was fun. It was great to virtually hang out with everybody. But I needed a long session on the acupressure mat afterwards.

On a happy note, a contract came through for an article, and payment for two articles I wrote for a different publication showed up in my bank account. Someone told me about a company looking for something within my wheelhouse, and I sent them an LOI.

I hadn’t planned to purge any boxes, so I didn’t need to feel guilty when I didn’t.

Finished the book for review. Have to think about it before I write the review today. It worked structurally in some aspects, not in others. I liked the characters, but I was not the book’s audience. However, I want to write a fair review FOR the book’s audience. I read across genres, so I’m the audience for quite a few types of books, but not this one. But it definitely has appeal to a different audience. However, the blurb and initial structure makes the real theme of the book feel like a bait and switch – luring the reader in with the promise of one type of book, and then it becomes a different book. I felt lied to, and I don’t like that. It didn’t feel like a wonderful discovery, as it could have; it felt like a lie.

Working on a magazine pitch to a different publication today. I have to do some client work, and realized I don’t have the file I need, so I have to swing by the client’s office to download it (no one will be in today, so there’s no one to send it to me).

I’m really looking forward to the online meditation group this morning – I missed it last week.

Certain pressures are now eased slightly; although there are still others, I’m hoping, in the next few days, I can regain some equilibrium and make some decisions.

Fri. Feb. 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer 280/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 30 — Applying Meditation Practice To Life

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Friday, February 26, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Partly cloudy and mild

I had the chance to use what we’ve been working on in meditation in life yesterday.

It was a stressful day and kept tugging me off-course, although by 10 AM, I’d gotten in writing, client work, admin work, and my mother’s doctor’s appointment.

The “digital waiting room” for the vaccine appointments is appalling. Who can sit with the computer tab open for 6722 minutes? If you open another tab to work on something while you wait, it kicks you out of the “waiting room.” How is this sustainable? Who can spend 17-18 hours a DAY on the computer trying to get an appointment and still carry work and family responsibilities? Why does every “fix” Baker adds make it all worse?

More importantly, why are second dose patients competing with first dose patients? Why aren’t they sent to a separate sign-in and given the appointments they need?

Why does Baker act like Cape Cod isn’t part of the state?

The physical, emotional, and financial burdens he is causing are enormous. And totally unnecessary. His refusal to listen to qualified, talented people around him and respond to what is actually going on versus what he wants it to look like is infuriating. All these stories are being planted in the press about how great MA is doing with vaccines, and it’s an entirely different reality than what I’m living.

Then, he sits in the state hearing and gaslights.

Of course he does. He’s a Republican. He’s right on brand.

I finally just sat down and took a deep breath, and decided to try techniques we worked on (especially last week, and, since I couldn’t participate this week, I felt off-kilter).

First thing: Where am I right now?

Answer: Not okay.

And, as a friend of mine pointed out yesterday, it’s okay not to be okay. I worked, flat out, through a pandemic, three surgeries, and two cancer scares in the past year. My last vacation was in May of 2016. I’ve been taking care of my elderly mother, fighting to get her the vaccinations in a system that delights to cause pain and suffering, kept up with client work, sought new client work, had to deal with clients being more demanding because remote work “isn’t really work”, and am dealing with some other major upcoming life changes.

I am frustrated, angry, scared, and overwhelmed. And, especially, exhausted.

And those factions who say I “choose” to feel that way say so from hilltops of entitlement and privilege.

I feel what I feel, and it matters.

I acknowledge that I’m not okay. That’s step one. It’s real, and relevant.

I have to acknowledge that the level of stress that didn’t slow me down at twenty is slowing me down now that I am decades beyond twenty. Also, at age twenty, I wasn’t fighting to keep my family alive in a pandemic amidst the selfish and the stupid.

Plenty of external pressures are out of my control. I can’t control the vaccine sign-up site (although, at the risk of sounding egotistical, if I did, there would be a far more equitable distribution system in place).

I can’t control clients who are pretending the pandemic doesn’t exist anymore and demand a higher productivity level than before the pandemic, but without resources. I CAN change my relationship with those clients, although there are consequences, and I have to have other clients in place to pick up the financial slack. That is a work in progress.

Early in the pandemic, I severed relationships with several clients who refused to give me any option to work remotely, and it was absolutely the right choice.

There are a couple of people who are taking up too much real estate in my head, and I need to give them eviction notices. That doesn’t happen immediately, but it is something that can happen, with work.

There’s physical work to be done here at the house, and I’m breaking it down and handling as much as I can at a time, while exploring options in case it cuts very close to me running out of time completely. Again, there’s only so much I can do physically at any given time. I am not twenty. It’s a reality. And it’s not something I could hire anyone else to do – especially not during a pandemic. Plus, we can’t have anyone in the house who is not part of the household during a pandemic.

There are other factors that are out of my control, but I’m trying to figure out workarounds.

By facing each situation individually and looking at it in terms of what can I do? What can’t I do? Where can I adjust? Where does the necessary adjustment go against my needs? What are my other alternatives?

I can also clear out the mental clutter and focus on each piece of work with full attention. When I work on the articles, for instance, and get lost in them, I’m happy doing the work, I do good work, and it gets good results. Or creating a marketing campaign for a client.

One of the few upsides of the pandemic was realizing how many unhealthy work compromises I’ve made over the last ten years, since leaving full-time theatre work, and learning what adjustments I have to make for a healthier work situation. I may not get it with every assignment, but the more assignments I can stack up that are within what I consider the “healthy work arena” the better the quality of my work and my life.

I can’t control the companies that are determined to act like the pandemic never happened and plan to force their employees into their offices full-time, even when the work doesn’t call for it. But I can avoid as many of those assignments as possible.

Accepting not being okay, and working on things I can actually DO instead of drowning in what I can’t do helped a lot.

And reminding myself to let up on the negative self-talk, which, over the past few weeks, has reached screeching levels inside my head.

Freelance Chat was fun and upbeat, and I got some good ideas out of it, which I hope to implement.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat. One of the replacement books arrived, the diaries of Sir Peter Hall, talking about the creation of the National Theatre in the 1970’s. I’d read it before, at the start of my theatre career, and loved it. I started re-reading it, and can’t put it down. I’m seeing so much from a different perspective (not to mention, by this point, I’ve worked with some of the people mentioned, when I only knew their work the first time I read it). It’s a very invigorating book.

Turned back way too many requests to “talk” from recruiters – all for jobs that have nothing to do with what I do. I’m a writer – it’s clear on the website, it’s clear on my resume, it’s clear on my linked in profile. So stop TELLING me I should take a job that’s a web designer (I’m not qualified), a sales executive (I’m not interested), a truck driver (what? How do you get that from writer?). Read my actual material and stop wasting my time.

Was ready to bitch slap some Twitter twat complaining that wearing a mask fogged up her glasses and was “intolerable.” You know what? Over 500,000 deaths are intolerable. You’re merely inconvenienced, you selfish POS. I did not say that in my reply; I told her how I avoided lens fog (at least most of the time). I’ve worn a mask nearly a year now. It’s not hard to wear it with glasses so you don’t fog up.

Worked on the article. I finally have it almost were I want it, although I have to cut about 300 words, which includes a quote I’d like to keep in, but there just isn’t room. I’m going to cut the 300 words to get it in at word count and get it to my editor this morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We got solid work done. I am so grateful for the educational stuff that the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History and other big museums post. Whatever their assignments, we can supplement with material from places they couldn’t visit in time to do the assignment, even without a pandemic. I hope some of theses online resources continue. I know the kids who live far away from these places are now eager to visit when it’s safe.

After I do a library run, a liquor store run, and a CVS run to pick up my mom’s prescription, I will turn my attention to the article for THE WRITER. I’d like to get it out to my editor a little early. I have all but two quotes, and I have enough material to go without. I’m also doing some live script doctoring via Zoom while a corporate video is shooting, which is a new and different experience.

I was up way too early this morning worrying. So I gave up, got up, and need to turn that energy into actual work.

I have a lot on my agenda this weekend, between the article, books for review, contest entries, and more box purging. Weather-wise, it looks like it will be all over the place. I might do another dump run (I sure have enough).

I’m hoping to build in some rest. I need it.

I also plan to drop in, at least for a bit, at my virtual 40th HS reunion. The organizers took the time to hunt me down; the least I can do is show up for a while. I have nothing at stake – maybe one or two people from my high school graduating class have remained part of my life. High school was something to get through so I could get going on my life. Were there many bouts of unhappiness? Sure. It was high school. But I also made decisions to find what I wanted and needed away from the cliques and that kind of stuff, and it was the right choice for me. Plus, I graduated a semester early and started college early, and I was taking college classes while still in high school. I hope everyone in my graduating class is well and happy, but our lives have taken us in different directions.

Next week, I have to make some big decisions.

Have a great weekend.

Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again

image courtesy of Hermann Schmider via pixabay.com

Friday, February 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Stormy and cold

After meditation, I headed out to my client’s for a couple of hours to get done some things that hadn’t gotten done the day before because so much of the day was about my mother’s vaccine appointment. As I suspected, there was NO reason for me to be there on site at the same time as anyone else. The client could have emailed or texted me the information, and I could have gone in with no one else in the office and taken care of it.

Instead of redirecting vaccine doses to areas that need them, Baker opened up eligibility to a million more residents – without, of course, checking with anyone to see if the website could handle it. Naturally, it couldn’t, and was down for most of the day. He was ranting and raving in interviews. Hey, bucko, try talking to the people doing the work BEFORE you make your random announcements, and then this won’t happen.

There’s a good reason this state is given an F in the vaccine rollout report card. And the reason starts with a B – Baker. His refusal to coordinate and communicate and give the people doing the work any support or resources before he goes out and announces things are some of the big reasons we’re having these problems.

But what do you expect from someone who refused to have any workers on the advisory committee to reopen businesses? He has a huge disconnect about how work is accomplished. He seems to think magic elves come in while he’s asleep, instead of actual people working as hard as they can in impossible situations – putting their lives at risk.

While in the office, a friend of the client’s called with a “special” number for the client to call to get a vaccine appointment that day. Which just seems weird, since supposedly, the only clinic giving vaccines all week in this region was the one I took my mom to on Wednesday.

White elitist vaccine appointments, based on who you know, would be totally on brand for Cape Cod.

She texted me after I left, saying she had an appointment. Good for her, because she’s definitely eligible, and we should all have an appointment, but if an Elitist Vaccine Appointment Line exists, that’s disturbing on multiple levels.

I’m sure I’ll hear all about it next week.

I managed to get home just as the snow started. Decontaminated, and got back to the work I should have been doing that morning.

The latest IPSY bag arrived, and is absolutely delightful. I’m so much happier with IPSY than I was with Sephora Play, and Birchbox was a total nightmare.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I received my first Tamed Wild box. Totally different vibe than Goddess Provisions, but also really interesting and well done.

Had to order a new waste toner cartridge for the big laser printer (something else to learn to fix), and ordered more file folders, too. I need them for the cleaning out I’m doing.

Snowed pretty hard all day into the night, although this morning, it doesn’t look like a lot of accumulation, except where the plow pushed it into the bottom of the driveway, where it’s at least a foot. Hopefully, it won’t freeze down before I shovel.

Packed up another bookcase in my room. Tessa was not amused.

Got some, but not all, the quotes for my first article, and the bulk of today will be spent on that and the second grant proposal. The budget is what’s really slowing me down on that. I want it to be realistic, and the samples I’ve seen just aren’t.

Got some quotes for the second article, and will also spend time working on that. I’ve written the opening in my head, and really like it.

I have a little more research to do this weekend, and, on Monday, I will send out interview requests for the third article.

Need to get some LOIs out, and need to purge boxes from the basement. I haven’t met my quota this week so far, and I have a high quota for the weekend, so I need to get back on track. However, I did pack quite a few boxes of books upstairs, which wasn’t on the week’s list!

Yesterday, my mom’s arm was really sore. It lessened as the day wore on, but then she was very fatigued, and slept on and off all afternoon. Hopefully, today she feels better.

Called my mom’s doctor to let her know about the first dose. Supposedly, the system forwards the vaccine information, but the office said it hasn’t gotten anything, so once she has both doses, I’ll scan the vaccine record card and send it over to them.

I was so worn out, I went to bed ridiculously early last night, and woke up just after midnight, thinking it was 5 AM. Managed to get back to sleep, until the plows woke me, a little after 4.

Got a lot of work on GAMBIT COLONY done yesterday. I need to find my notes on the next section, set in Venice.

I’m not even going to comment on the whole Ted Cruz thing here, which is wrong on so many levels, it would take its own white paper to dissect.

Have a great weekend, friends, and see you on the other side.

Published in: on February 19, 2021 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again  
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Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 267/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 15 — Still Winter

image courtesy of Franz Bachinger via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

The latest on the garden is up on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was a stressful mess. Twisted communications messed up technology, fumbles, stumbles, frustrations. Nothing was really anyone’s fault – for the most part, everyone was doing the best they could. But it was a difficult day.

It was even more difficult not to beat myself up for not getting through it better and getting more done.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, the Dig Safe guy came out in the snowstorm to plant little flags and paint the snow. Does he not comprehend that the snow will have to melt before any digging happens? That there’s no way I can keep track of all these little flags? Is there no basic common sense going on here?

Yes, the latter question is rhetorical.

Managed to get home in one piece, decontaminate, and made it to Remote Chat, albeit a bit late. The Chat was fun and restorative, as usual.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat. I’m sore from all the shoveling.  Tessa was happy for the company and very busy.

My mother’s blood pressure medication has brought down her blood pressure too far, so I have to call the doctor again to readjust it.

The Atlas coffee shipment arrived – Honduras is this month’s theme. It’s quite good, although yet another light roast. I wonder if I should shift to requesting dark roasts for a few months.

Noodling with ideas for the grants. I’ve blocked out some serious time to free write on them, my type of Writer’s Rough, so I can extract and polish the 250 words I need for each idea to fit into the proposal. Next week, I’ll get into some serious budgeting for the other grant proposal.

The Senate trial is truly chilling. What’s as enraging as the content of the evidence are the Senators with their feet up ignoring it. They put their feet up in the Chamber? Whack their kneecaps, make them sit up and pay attention. I’m sick of this entitlement. We already know it doesn’t matter to them, that they WISH some of their colleagues had been murdered. We already know they are traitors and need to be removed, imprisoned, and then exiled.

Governor Baker continues to screw the distribution of vaccines in the state. Two new sites are opening. Again, nothing on Cape. A mall in Natick will get 500 doses PER DAY, but this area gets 975 doses PER WEEK. Every other area of the state is getting increased doses EXCEPT Cape Cod. Anywhere else I try to get an appointment means a full day’s trip. I might be able to get vaccinated at the same time as my mom, since I am her caregiver, but how am I supposed to drive three hours to a site, and then three hours back after a vaccine, when one is supposed to sit and be watched for 30 minutes, and then rest for at least a day, up to three days? How am I supposed to expect a 96-year-old woman to take a day-long road trip with no facilities available that don’t put her at risk of getting COVID?

Last night, at the site in Danvers, 300 random people got to show up and get vaccinated because doses were expiring.  They weren’t on an official wait list. They just heard through word of mouth, that the doses were available and would expire, and had to wait out in the cold and snow to get them.

I’m glad the doses were used. I believe we all have the “right” to the vaccine and I have no problem with anyone getting it at any time. But why is the distribution so disorganized that there are doses expiring all over the state and NONE available on Cape, with its large elder population? A population that doesn’t have the mobility to travel all over the state in search of doses?

This is on Baker and his office. And he smirks his way through daily briefings, stating things that just aren’t connected to reality.

And these sites – you’re required to go back for the second dose, but what if there aren’t any appointments for the second dose? It makes no sense. The chaos is enraging and completely unnecessary. Like I said, I could do better with Google Docs than they’ve done.

And this is squarely on Baker. The state is getting dosage increases every week, and Baker is routing them badly.

Today, I have online meditation group, which I really, REALLY need. At noon, I have a virtual meeting with a potential new client – kind of feeling each other out, a preliminary meeting. I have to get out some LOIs, get work done on the proposals, and get out some of the interview requests for an article.

If it’s not too cold in the basement, I have to scrub the basement floor, and then purge at least 5 boxes. I’ve been lax about box purging this week.

I already spilled coffee on the light-colored rug in my office (that belongs to the house, not me), and have carpet cleaner soaking into it.

Not the start I hoped to the day, but let’s hope it gets better.

Published in: on February 11, 2021 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 267/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 15 — Still Winter  
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Fri. Jan. 29, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 254 — Work at a Steady Pace

image by Karl Eggers via pixabay.com

Friday, January 29, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Bitterly Cold

Yesterday’s Zoom meditation group was great yesterday. The leader always introduces us to wonderful techniques and possibilities.

Got an ad done for a client.

Worked on the article, finished it, checked quotes with one source, sent it off. The editor has a few suggestions, so I will turn those around today. I’m glad for them – there were a few problem spots I wasn’t sure how to tackle, and her guidance is a big help.

She also suggested another article, so I’m going to look for some sources and put together a pitch to send her next week.

The first part of the article, “In the Company of (Historical) Women Part I” is up. I want to put together the PDF for the contributors and send them the link, and then I will be promoting the heck out of it!

The landlord and the contractor roamed around the outside of the house in the snow, which seemed counter-intuitive to me, but whatever. The cats did not like it; usually they take a look out the window and then go back to sleep, but they didn’t like this guy.

Got out a bunch of LOIs. Finished reading WICKED AUTUMN, the first of G.M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series and really liked it. I’ve ordered the rest of the series.

Still trying to get my mom her vaccine appointments. One site is still down; the other claims all the appointments are booked. Governor Baker shrugs it off, saying the lack of doses aren’t his fault. Interesting, when the Sociopath from his own party was destroying everything, Baker at least put up the façade of fighting for us. Now that the other party is in charge, he’s happy to pass the buck. Unacceptable.

The short story about the ghost pirate ship was rejected, which made me sad. The letter was very nice – they got over 1400 submissions, and could only take 20. Still, I really love that story. I’ll take a look to see what needs tweaking and improving, and then look for another paying market.

Knowledge Unicorns was good; steady work on assignments. There’s a lot of pressure for the kids to go back to in-person learning, in the places where it’s being done. The parents and I are all united that’s not going to happen until they’re all vaccinated. Some of the kids will remain home-schooled, even when it’s safe to go back. They are doing better in this environment: fewer distractions, less bullying. They’re smart and love to learn, and they CAN do well remotely. The education system was failing them even before the pandemic, because it didn’t have room for their individuality and their intelligence. What I also love is how they have made friends with each other, and are in touch outside of the homework sessions, even though we’re all scattered around the country. And their parents now have each other as a support system, too.

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get a piece ready for that February 1 submission deadline. I don’t think I’ll have enough time to polish. We’ll see how I feel later today.

It’s bitterly, bitterly cold. I was going to do a library run for curbside pickup; now I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow? I’ll see how I feel in a few hours. That pushes a lot onto tomorrow, as far as the dump run and the grocery run. Plus, I need to get more ice melt. I’ll clean ash out of the fireplace later, so we can have the fire going all weekend. Maybe I’ll do some baking, too.

I’m going to do a couple of hours’ worth of work on a client’s website, and turn around the edits on the article. Then, I’ll work on the next article pitch, so I can send it to my editor early next week.

I HAVE to catch up on all the box purging that didn’t get done this week. Most of the weekend will focus on that, along with housework and errands, the book for review, contest entries, and maybe some work on a play.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Stay cozy!