Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 155 — Trying to Push Back the Pain

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

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

I also have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about how NOT to treat those on your email list.

Yesterday was a day of challenges.

In yesterday’s post, I forgot to talk about the Knowledge Unicorns session on Tuesday, which was good. As I said, everyone’s tired. Yet another parent is switching from online learning in the school system to homeschooling because the school district demands that kids be here in person and wants to discontinue the virtual learning.

With virus cases going up.

No.

Also, now, at the end of each session, the parents are getting onto Zoom and it gives them a chance to interact and talk about what’s going on from their perspective.

We have another session tonight. Rather than watching the debate after, though, everyone’s going to listen to HAMILTON again. Chances are, we’ll all learn more.

I woke up around 4 AM yesterday with a blinding migraine, which just increased throughout the day. I managed to get to my client’s and got a few things done, but the nausea increased with the migraine so badly that I had to leave.

I came back and rested for a bit before we had to navigate the fog to Yarmouth, to the RMV (every other place I know calls it the DMV, but whatever). I had to stay in the car, since they only let the actual person with the appointment in. And if you can’t navigate the tests on your own, you don’t get your license renewed. They are careful not to overbook, enforce masking, and keep everyone distant.

My mom passed the tests. She can now legally drive until she’s 101.

The fog was even denser on the drive back, and it took nearly an hour.

We both decontaminated. I rested in the afternoon. The migraine was too severe. I couldn’t work; it got to the point where I couldn’t read. It was one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had.

It’s usually dwarves tap-dancing in cleats. This time, it was giants, working away at the inside of my skull with pickaxes.

I’m using the above example in the mythological sense, not to demean any type of person or medical condition or physical type.

I hope it’s not an indication that they’re all going to be this bad.

Yoga didn’t help. Excedrin Migraine didn’t help. A hot shower didn’t help. There isn’t a prescription medication that works. Caffeine didn’t help. The acupressure mat didn’t help for long. It was wracking pain and nausea for hours and hours and hours on end.

It finally let up a bit around 9 o’clock, enough so I could fall asleep, and I slept through the night.

It’s trying to regain traction this morning. I was up early, got my mom to her medical appointment, we came back, decontaminated, and I attended the Zoom meditation.

I have writing to do; my head is bursting with scenes that need to get on the page. And I have an article to finish, client work, and LOIs to get out.

The migraine is nibbling around the edges, but I hope I can fend it off. I might take Valerian root tonight to really knock myself out and get all the knots out. After the Knowledge Unicorns session.

The chainsaws and leaf blowers were out in force by 8 AM this morning. I’m so tired of all the destruction. They’re not pruning or shaping to make something beautiful. It’s all about destroying the natural landscape. Everything that makes this place beautiful and special is being destroyed.

Hope you are all well. Peace.

Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song

image courtesy of Aline Ponce via pixabay.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday seems far away, for some reason.

But it’s amazing how much calmer the household is, now that each cat has her own catnip banana.

Meditation group was great. It’s such a wonderful way to start the day.

Headed off to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned, but that’s pandemic life. Because I don’t go that often, I buy more when I go. Dashed next door to Target to stock up on a few things I can’t get anywhere else.

Home, full decontamination procedures. There was most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Freelance Chat was fine, and I did some Yoga Nidra work.

Got out some LOIs, worked on some pitches. Got TRINITY OF TEASERS, the promotional package that contains the first three chapters of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA done. It’s taken months to get done because of formatting issues, but I finally got it. Everything took six steps instead of three, but it worked.

I have to check the different formats (PDF, epub, mobi) and then put it up in the media room on the website for free download. Hopefully, that will generate some book sales.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone’s tired. They’re feeling the stress. But all their parents filled out the Census, which is a good thing. As early voting starts, their parents are voting.

I listened to the CD of the original Broadway cast of HADESTOWN, which I’d ordered from the library. It is amazing. Transcendent. I just loved it. I sat and listened and was transported.

I liked it so much, I ordered my own copy!

The music Is outstanding and the voices spectacular.

One of my pet peeves around here is that they keep producing musicals, but hire too many performers who can’t sing. They’re sharp or flat, they sing around the note, but rarely hit the actual note.

It was nice to hear a glorious score sung truly.

Today I’m finishing the article that requires me to pull examples from different drafts of a stage play and its radio adaptation. I also hope to finish the pitches for the other new-to-me editor. I have some blog posts to write and schedule for posting.

I managed to sleep through the night until 5 AM, and then baked raw apple muffins. I used currants instead of raisins (I love currants), and added allspice, nutmeg, and clove instead of just using cinnamon. It’s based on the Marion Cunningham recipe, and is basically chunks of apple held together with a bit of batter, but I love it.

I’d like to get TRINITY OF TEASERS up and start that promotion.

I also want to work on the novel, and to get started on the Susanna Centlivre play.

Tomorrow, we have to start bringing plants in to overwinter; over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking everything off the deck and putting it away for the winter.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. Create with joy.

Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

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

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Fri. Oct. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 135 — Skeptical

image courtesy of Dimitris Vetskikas via pixabay.com

Friday, October 2, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was busy.

Morning meditation with Concord Library was terrific. I hope I can keep participating as long as they do it on Zoom.

After, dashed out to Trader Joe’s for a quick shop (not the Big Shop, which is next week), and then next door to Christmas Tree Shops where I picked up a few things I can’t find anywhere else.

Decontamination process, then switched out the white lace curtains to the spiderweb curtains. Put up most of the indoor decorations, although I have a feeling I might do some rearranging over the weeks.

Will start the outdoor decorations this week.

Knowledge Unicorns a little early today. I’m not sure if the kids on the West coast really had a half day of Zoom, or if they just skipped out of lessons or what.

We brainstormed a paper on Emily Dickinson for one student, and I sent him to two unusual resources – a book on Emily Dickinson and her garden, and Susan Glaspell’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play about her.

Worked on other assignments with the others in the group.

We are studying the bat this month as our project. Needless to say, there are all kinds of resources out there about bats! Including the North American Society for Bat Research.

From the homework session, I clicked a new Zoom link to the NYU session with Marion Nestle. It was about food, activism, safety, and justice. Absolutely fascinating, and well-run. Charlotte was disappointed that it wasn’t two-way video, and no one told her she was pretty. Charlotte LOVES Zoom, because when our side is on video, she can pop into frame and everyone loves fussing over her.

One would think Willa would want this, since she is the most extroverted, but she doesn’t. And Tessa finds Zoom an intrusion.

But Charlotte loves Zoom.

Anyway, I learned a lot, it was great to be part of an intelligent conversation, and I ordered Marion’s books from the library, because I want to delve more into her research.

I had an hour to put a pizza in the oven and make chocolate mousse. Somehow, I managed that, before clicking onto the link for the NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE program with Michael Pollan. For the first part of it, there was a pre-recorded conversation with Hillary Clinton on her love of theatre and the importance of theatre. Then, there was a live Zoom conversation with Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller, Danielle Brooks, and Neil Patrick Harris, which was terrific. They all had great things to say, especially about the passion for and of theatre, how it connects in a way nothing else does, how it’s been around for centuries and will find a way back.

I agree with that, because it’s a deep human need.

In spite of all the ass wipes who go around saying it’s “not a real job.”

It was time well spent.

Puttered around a bit and then went to bed.

Woke up around 2 this morning, after a series of really weird dreams. Some of them were set in the same geographical location that several of this week’s dreams have been set – I know where I am within the dream, but I don’t actually know where that place is. Tonight’s dreams were a little stranger and more unsettling than the ones earlier in the week. Then, there were other dreams about the cats catching mice. Willa, in particular, is a good mouser, so that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Broke my own rule and checked Twitter (and found that Treat Williams, with whom I worked on a FOLLILES revival years back on Broadway was also up and doing the same thing).

Hmm. Interesting news.

The Narcissistic Sociopath and The Wife Creature supposedly tested positive for COVID-19. There’s that flash of what did they THINK would happen with their constant reckless and irresponsible behavior?

That was quickly overtaken by doubt that it’s true.

I don’t believe Brad Pascale’s meltdown earlier this week was real, either. I think he’s trying to get a way out of prison. I also believe (and this has been pointed out by others on social media) that if he pulled that stunt as a black man, he would be dead. But I do believe it’s a stunt. That’s all he’s done his entire career—create chaotic theatre. Of course he’ll do the same for himself.

I’m also suspicious that this is a stunt on the Sociopath’s part. With the pattern of daily lying and creating stories with himself as the center, I think it’s a political stunt to get attention. He will “quarantine” for two weeks, claim he was asymptomatic, and use it as proof that the virus “isn’t that bad” and insult further the 200,000+ he’s already murdered.

Given the pattern of daily lies, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

The other possibility is that he really is positive for the virus. If that is the case, I believe he knew before the debate and intentionally went through with the debate to expose as many as possible in the Biden camp. It’s exactly the kind of vile behaviour that’s on brand for him. It would also explain the way he yanked on Wife Creature’s hand post-debate.

I don’t want Biden to get sick – or anybody on his team to get sick.

On a basic human level, I don’t want anyone to suffer and die from the virus; however, in this particular case, I am less empathetic than I would be for a random human, even a MAGAt.

Again, I’m skeptical that it’s real. I think it’s political theatre. The Sociopath wants to claim he sailed through the virus with few or no ill effects to prove he’s “strong.”

Proof of strength would have been to prevent over 200,000 deaths of the people he is sworn to protect.

But he couldn’t be bothered.

Here in MA, our numbers are going up. We hit the highest numbers since May 30 yesterday. So much for that idiot woman last week who claimed she worked at the hospital and they hadn’t seen any cases in a long time. It simply isn’t true.

Boston’s back in the red zone. Gee, what a surprise. What did they think would happen, having college kids come back onsite?  They’ve paused the phased re-opening.

They’re not pausing on Cape, because tourist season lasts through Columbus Day, and they are bound and determined to wring every penny they can out of tourists, no matter how many residents get sick and die. The greed is revolting.

I was going to voice some opinions against the airlines, but that can wait for another day!

What’s on today’s agenda?

Client work, writing work, maybe start putting up some of the outdoor decorations, putting the basement back to rights, and maybe clearing out a bit more.

I’m back to work on a piece that’s on deadlined, and keep getting ideas for another piece with which I’m noodling, so we’ll see what happens where with what. I also need to get some edits done on SERENE AND DETERMINED, if that is actually going to be submitted next week. I’m starting to have my doubts that I can get it done in time.

I hope to have a productive, but quiet weekend.

Peace, friends. See you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cooler

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

The new furnace is IN. It took them almost all day to finish yesterday – and they were here by 7:15 in the morning.

The new furnace is impressive. Very fancy. With a big, complicated filter my landlord can’t expect me to find at the local building store. It’s a special order. The amount of new ductwork they had to build and run is astonishing.

The new thermostat is pretty cool, too. And the heat actually works upstairs, which it barely did all last winter, so there’s a nice change.

The crew had skill, knowledge, precision, and an eye for detail. They were nice to have around, and caused a minimum of disruption.

They explained stuff that needed explaining without mansplaining. They were friendly and neat.

Nobody ever sneer that these guys aren’t skilled or specialists or not worth the money, because they are.

So, while the office was not easy to deal with (mostly because they refused to communicate directly and I got everything second-hand), the actual crew that came out and did the work was stellar.

I worked from home for my client. It took a long time to get the next ad right. I couldn’t get the right look for it, but finally got something workable. It’s not as good as this week’s ad, in my opinion, but it works for what we need.

Remote Chat was fun.

But I was wiped out by the time the furnace was in, everything was cleaned up, the guys were gone.

The cats – they were hellions. Tessa was fine. She hung out in my room, the way she usually does, and ignored it all.

Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens upstairs. Willa managed to roll her playpen to the top of the stairs; I caught her before she tried to roll down. She taught Charlotte to roll her playpen, too, so the two of them rolled their playpens all day – sometimes into each other, which then caused hissing and growling.

It took them awhile to calm down, once everything was cleared out and they were let free. Then, they passed out in their favorite chairs, and that was it for them for the night.

I collapsed into bed early again last night. I woke up once, but managed to get back to sleep and slept through until a little after 5 (so, normal time for me). I’m still tired, but better.

This morning, I have the online meditation with the group from the Concord Library. Then, I have to run to Trader Joe’s. We need a few things that can’t wait until next week’s Big Shop. Then, I have to get some client work done; after that, it’s decorating.

Today is October 1, the first of two full moons we have this month. The Samhain decorating begins! I’m excited.

That includes taking down the lace curtains and putting up the spider web curtains. Decorating inside and out. Eventually, photos will be up on my Instagram account: @devonellingtonwork.

I have a feeling it won’t be finished today!

I managed to outline a suspense novel that I’d plotted Tuesday night when I woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, and made some notes on a fantasy idea. I wish some of these could be short stories, but no – they’re all long.

I have to figure out how to integrate these other projects I’ve been noodling with those on deadline. I have a resistance to working on stuff that was on deadline before the pandemic. I have to get over it and get back on track.

But at least I got some updates done on my clips, which helps.

Late afternoon, we have another Knowledge Unicorns session. After that, I have an NYU alumni event via Zoom on food activism, and after THAT, I have a NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE event with Broadway people (also via Zoom) about adapting performance to the pandemic.

A very Zoom-y day, and busy on multiple levels.

I hope you have a peaceful day.

Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks

image courtesy of FotoRieth via pixabay.com

Friday, September 25, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Mars Retrograde

Horror-movie level fog

Yesterday was a fairly productive day. Started with the online meditation session from the Concord Library. Different leader this week, totally different experience. Still positive, but this leader talked a little too much and didn’t leave me enough room to just be in silence.

Got out an article pitch to an editor, and some LOIs. Did a bit of client work.

The bulk of the morning was spent finishing the revisions on JUST A DROP and submitting it. It’s off to the theatre, for consideration in the 9-month development process. It’s got a 50-50 chance – either they accept it or they don’t. But, if I didn’t submit, it would have a 0 chance. I’d rather submit and risk not getting in than not submit and not have a chance.

Freelance Chat was good. It’s helpful to share experience and resources with other freelancers.

I dug into cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, only not the way I planned. I pulled out a crate in my bedroom – that was, unfortunately, anchoring some things that came tumbling down. It was full of socks and accessories and things I’d stashed there back when we moved and never dealt with. I took everything out, washed it (the washer put holes in one of my favorite sweaters that I found, sadly – I HATE this washer. Don’t say “get a new one” – I’m a renter; it’s not up to me, although the people putting in the new furnace are also supposed to put in a new fridge and washer).

Anyway, most of the socks were orphan socks I have A LOT of orphan socks. I have a thing about socks. As a Pisces, it’s all about the feet. Pisces is the sign that is associated with feet. My feet need to be warm and dry or I am miserable. When I worked in production, I always had extra pairs of socks with me (and, on exterior film/television shoots, my supervisor would regularly send me back to the truck to put on fresh socks). When I was busy, in the 10-out of 12 tech weeks or 18-hour days on set, I wouldn’t have time to do laundry. So I’d just keep buying more packages of socks until I had a day off to do laundry.  I’ve bought hundreds of pairs of socks over my production years.

We all know how dryers have Sock Goblins and socks vanish. So I have a lot of orphan socks.

It’s time to either find pairs or get rid of them.

I found a crate of orphan socks. I know I have a file box of them . . .somewhere. I didn’t find the file box, but I found a file box that contained two tote backs with socks, scarves, tee shirts and sweatshirts from shows and travels that I’d packed up in a hurry when we moved and never unpacked. And some other interesting bits and bobs I’d forgotten about.

I washed everything. I’m going to try some things on (let’s face it, the Tommy Hilfinger Size 8 Khaki pants are never going to fit me again and will have to go).The black velvet sheath dress from the 1960’s is fabulous, but again, I’m never going to fit into it again.  I’ll sort what I’m keeping AND PUT IT AWAY, and make a pile for donation. When donation places open up again, I can drop them off.

I have a bag to stash orphan socks until I’ve cleaned everything out; then, anything that’s still an orphan will have to be dealt with.

I’d hoped to clear out four boxes from the basement. The boxes weren’t from the basement, but I cleared out four boxes, so now I have room  for stuff and other stuff as it comes out of the basement and I decide on a spot for it.

Of course, today, I have to set to rights everything that went all topsy turvey in my room. It means cleaning out or repacking some other boxes that serve as a divider/counter space in my room (hard to explain).

It was a ton of fun finding a bunch of stuff I forgot I had and hadn’t seen in years. Shopping in my closet is always fun. Looking for something else in my closet, I also found some leggings that still fit and will be appropriate with tunic-length sweaters. I’m not comfortable wearing leggings with short tops. Plenty of people can pull it off, but if I don’t feel comfortable, It translates into carriage and body language and I’m miserable. But tunic-length sweaters that hit at least mid-thigh and boots? I’m there for that this winter (on the few occasions I actually have to leave the house).

And, let’s face it, I have every intention of looking professional on the Zoom business calls/meetings. I’m not someone who enjoys working in my pajamas. I have enough sleep issues. I wear pajamas to sleep.(And I found a great pair of blue fleece pajamas that will be cozy this winter). I wear other clothes during the day. They might be comfortable fabrics and generous cuts, especially to work at home – but they’re not pajamas.

The Knowledge Unicorns session was fun. There’s intense pressure to return to in-person ln learning, ESPECIALLY in areas with high rates of infection, which is just ridiculous to me.  Most of them had a lot of essay work (essays due early next week, so yay, we’re working ahead and not leaving it to the last minute). So there was a lot of discussion about language and usage and shades of meaning and context.

I was pretty tired by the end of it (kudos to parents and teachers doing this every day). But I’d signed up for an NYU-LA seminar about Creative Future: The Job You Save May Be Your Own. It was about piracy and how it destroys artists’ ability to earn a living, while being part of a larger, international criminal enterprise funding all kinds of  awful things.

They pointed out that it’s not the multi-million dollar stars and the studios who take the hit – it’s the smaller projects that don’t get funded any more and the crews who are out of work when studios cut back to fewer projects to keep their profits high.

So these people who claim piracy is about freedom and they’re sticking it to “the man” aren’t. They’re hurting working artists and technicians who are barely making a living.

I think the panel is far too generous to the individuals doing these illegal downloads (even as they advocate for tougher laws and punishment). I think many of those pirating know EXACTLY who they’re hurting, and they want to. It’s the typical non-creative people resenting and hating artists for earning a living doing what they love, and determined to prevent that.

But then, I’ve turned into a cynic.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard about Creative Future before. The executive director is Ruth Vitale, a former film executive. They do advocacy and work with elected officials on legislation to protect copyright. You can visit their website for more information.

Dense fog this morning. The street looks ready for monsters.

Writing this morning, some client work, a run to the library for a curbside pickup, more cleaning stuff out in the afternoon, more writing, and working on the changes I need to make to SERENE AND DETERMINED, hopefully in time to get it in under the deadline for the O’Neill Center.

I’m hoping, against all odds, for a productive weekend.

Have a good one, friends! Peace.

Published in: on September 25, 2020 at 5:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 128 — For Love of Socks  
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Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. With any luck, in this good weather, I can get some of the yard work done I’ve been putting off.

Client work was fine yesterday. We only overlapped for a bit, and I was careful, even if everyone else is slacking off. This will be an increasing problem as we move into winter.

And will have to be dealt with. I’m looking at my options.

I did an ad I’m really proud of for next week’s email blast/post boost. It’s one of my favorites ever, and I will put it in my portfolio.

I was still emotionally exhausted by the time I got home. Did a full decontamination process.

Remote chat was fun.

There were plenty of things I “should have” done in the afternoon. Instead, I took Charlotte and Willa out on the deck in their playpens and read a book, enjoying the sun. We don’t have that much more time to enjoy the deck, and I want to savor it.

I am, however, done with the stupid around here. I made a new sign for the front door: No Solicitations: It’s a pandemic, asshole. And don’t even think about knocking on the door if you’re not wearing a mask.

I’m especially done with the evangelicals coming door-to-door extolling how they have Jesus instead of a mask.

And I’m done with being “polite” to people who want to kill me.

I’m disappointed in the neighbor who has the amazing, wonderful rescue husky. He gave a Covidiot party yesterday – blatantly political, loud, no masks, no social distancing, amplified speaking and music in defiance of town ordinances, a big “fuck you” to all of us.

He’s had plenty of parties before over the years; usually, in the summer, he has parties every week. Other than lots of cars parked everywhere, they’ve never been a problem. You hear a little music sometimes, but they’re self-contained and respectful of neighbors and wrap up at a reasonable hour.  But this one was intentionally over loud and disturbing AND the guests were staggering around the street drunk and screaming at each other.

No, I didn’t call the cops. They wouldn’t do anything. The town doesn’t enforce noise rules, although they wave them around a lot. Plus, I was afraid if they did show up, they might hurt the dog. I may have lost all respect for the people, but I still like the dog.

The stats are out – there was a 2000% increase in the use of illegal fireworks in town this year – during a drought. An increase of TWO THOUSAND percent.

And the Town does NOTHING.

Because Barnstable’s mantra is “Screw your residents for tourist dollars.”

They’re about to pass a change in the town code that allows EVERY house to be a short-term rental. There’s already a housing crisis around here, and this will make it worse.

“It helps people stay in their houses” is the justification.

Um, no. They have to MOVE OUT of their houses in order to get the short-term rental money. Where do they go? Tents in the campgrounds? Trailer parks? Other short-term rentals?

If you want to make sure people can stay in their homes, PAY THEM A LIVING WAGE WITH BENEFITS so they don’t have to work six part-time jobs without benefits and live in a tent somewhere while their house is rented.

On a happier note, I slept well last night. That’s two nights in a row that I’ve slept through the night, a record since the pandemic started. I also had a positive theatre dream. Over the last few years, I’ve had stress dreams set in various theatre situations where I’ve made stupid mistakes, gotten lost backstage, and not been up to the job. The dreams have been frustrating, because Awake Me knows how to do all the things – and do them well – that I screw up in the dreams.

But last night, Dreamer Me was in a positive theatrical situation where we all knew what we were doing, did it well, and were happy.

I hope this is an indication that I’m turning a corner, healing from the abusive boss who tried to break me a few years ago, and moving in the right direction, workwise, with what I want the next chapter of my life to encompass.

Today, I have a morning meditation via Zoom with the group from the Concord Library, which I’m looking forward to very much. Then, it’s some client work, a pitch to an editor that was requested via social media yesterday, and finishing the revisions on JUST A DROP so it can go out tomorrow.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns homework session, and then I’m attending, via Zoom again, an NYU alumni event about combatting creative piracy.

I might sneak in some yard work in the afternoon – we’re supposed to have a stretch of good weather until Sunday, albeit dry.

Have a great Thursday!

Published in: on September 24, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid  
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Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs

Skelly (photo by Devon Ellington)

Friday, September 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Raining and cooler

Thank goodness it’s raining. We need it badly.

If you enjoy reading serial fiction, it would be great if you’d fill out my survey on serial fiction here. I’m curious about a few things.

I am so glad I signed up for Concord Library’s meditation group! Yesterday’s session was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next week. The leader is wonderful – I suspect she either trained at Kripalu or trained with someone who trained at Kripalu because the style is familiar.

After meditation, I put on Real People Pants and did my run to Target. I wound up buying more than I planned (gee, what a surprise). We were low on toilet paper, which is why I went. But then, I bought Halloween lights (mine were wonky last year) which were on sale. And there was a skeleton dachshund all by himself that I couldn’t leave because he looked so sad. They didn’t have the wooden spoons I wanted, but I bought a cute little bear mug for my mom and an owl mug for myself. The soups were nearly half the price they are in the other grocery stores, so I stocked up on those, got the toilet paper, some other bathroom necessities, and there we were. At least everyone was masked and distancing, and I was early enough so there weren’t a lot of people in the store.

Grinding my teeth about it, I went to Country Gardens to get wood for the fireplace, since it’s getting colder and we have no idea when the new furnace will come in. I also grabbed two good-sized pots of mums for the front of the house.

At least everyone was masked, but the woman behind me demanded I let her cut in front of me because she was late for work. Didn’t ask – TOLD me she was doing it. I said no. Then she crowded me. Then she complained that the staff was too slow, and made fun of the lovely older man who was ahead of us and so happy with his purchases because he wasn’t fast enough to suit her, and, you know, she was late for work.

I finally turned around and said, “Lady, NONE of us are to blame because you can’t manage your time, so back off.”

Then the sales clerk had no idea what I was talking about when I said I wanted to by a sixth of a cord of wood. She kept insisting that they only sold full cords, half cords, and third cords. I said that I’ve been buying it every autumn for ten years, and I just walked right past the sixth coming in to the store, with the sign right on it and everything. She said, ‘Oh, you mean the wheelbarrow.”

Yes, the wheelbarrow is a sixth of a cord of wood, it has a sign on it to that effect, which is how I know it’s a sixth of a cord. For fuck’s sake, people, get a clue.  You can see it from where you’re standing at the register.

The guy who was supposed to help me load the wood kind of sauntered over and picked up a log here and there, so I loaded the car my damn self. I’ve been buying wood there at the start of the season for ten years now, and they’ve always been lovely until this year. I realize that the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on all of us, and bulk of the customers I’ve encountered there have been utter jerks, but take it out on THEM, not the ones who are treating you decently.

Making the choice not to shop there unless it was the last resort is the right choice.

Came home, unloaded the wood into the garage (I stacked it well this year, if I do say so myself), did a full decontamination process, and was exhausted.

Tessa loves Skelly, the skeleton dog. Willa and Charlotte aren’t sure. My mom wants me to sew a little brown felt coat for him after Halloween so he can stay out all year.

Managed to work on a couple of ads for a client (which I hope to finish today), noodled a little with some writing, participated in Freelance Chat, got out a couple of LOIs.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. Threw a bunch of stuff out, have to file other stuff. Found drafts of manuscripts, and notes on a couple of projects that are worth going back to next year.

I finished SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. I liked it, although I felt the author self-marketed her other work too much within the text. I know, I’ve been to those seminars who encourage that. I hate it, and it’s more likely to turn me off the author and the product than encourage me to look at the other books.

Did a variation on a recipe for dinner using Chinese Five Spice Powder, and it worked really well.

Trying to decide if I have a script in good enough shape to submit to the O’Neill Center for next year. Either of the Italian plays are probably more suited to the O’Neill than the small company in Brooklyn. I don’t know. I’ll wait for my friend’s notes. Maybe both scripts are just terrible and shouldn’t go anywhere.

Signed up for a cooking class with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu in October. He’s such a great teacher. And his recipes are fantastic.

We’re still playing with times for the Knowledge Unicorns, but had a good session yesterday. Trying to juggle all the different assignments in two hours is a challenge, but with the stretch breaks and dance breaks and the fact that we can work in company and ask questions when stuck, I think (hope) it’s helpful. There’s a lot of laughter, which is good, too. And who knew the octopus was such a fascinating creature? Plenty of people, I guess.

Today, it’s client work and writing. I have to do a curbside pickup at the library, work on the book for review, and clean out at least one more box. We couldn’t wait until Saturday to put the flannel sheets on, so we’ve already changed out the beds, which meant more laundry yesterday. I’m also getting ready for the Equinox on Tuesday. I’m going to pack up some of the books stacked in my office and mark them as “donations” when the library is open for donations, and those I’m keeping. These are from the contest I judged earlier this year.

I’m working on a spec sheet of what I need from a social media management platform and I’m going to send it to the corporate offices of various platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Social Pilot, etc) and see if any of them can meet my needs. I can’t be the only social media manager running multiple accounts for multiple clients.

I also need to work on Grief to Art.

In other words, a busy Friday.

The weekend will be, I hope, about reading and writing and cleaning stuff out of the basement.

Have a great one!

Published in: on September 18, 2020 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs  
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Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. Check it out.

Also, if you love reading serial fiction, I’ve created a survey. I’m curious what draws other people into reading serial fiction (and I miss writing it). If you get a chance, I hope you’ll fill it out here. It’s 12 questions. Thanks in advance.

Yesterday was all over the place. I was at my client’s for a few hours – we talked about some strategy for the new round of ads I’m creating. At this point, she’s just trying to ride it out, as other similar businesses panic and fail. There were internet issues at the office, and the new payroll company, who tries to upsell “human resources” services the company doesn’t need, spends all their time calling us about them, and then screws up the payroll, which is their actual job. She’ll be moving companies in December. Vile, vile payroll company.

Hootsuite and Facebook are at odds, which means I’m going to have problems using Hootsuite to schedule client posts on FB & IG. Looking for another affordable platform.

Depending on how many social media packages I handle for different clients, I might need to invest in a platform that can handle the multiple channels for multiple clients and build that subscription money into my fee structure. Right now, I’m just using whatever platforms the client wants/can get and setting them up there, because I don’t stay with clients forever, and they can keep the platform that’s in their name when we go our separate ways. But logging in and out of a half a dozen different platforms and tools every few hours is not efficient.

I’ve been researching the tools. So far, I can’t find any that does what I need it to do at a price I can afford and build into my fee structure in a fair way. The platforms’ business fees are structured for corporations, not social media professionals handling multiple clients across multiple channels.

There’s a part of me that wants to move away from social media packages and focus more on copywriting and long form, but I have to see where the work is, and what gigs I land. I need to be versatile.

Home, decontamination protocols, fought with Twitter to get back into my account so I could participate in Remote Chat, which was fun.

Realized I’d mis-figured the time difference with LA. The NYU-LA meditation event wasn’t at 3 PM EST, but 9 PM EST.

Which meant I had time in the afternoon to get some other stuff done. And spend quality time with Tessa. Tessa finds our afternoon “quality time” sessions very important, since Charlotte gets me so often the rest of the day.

My package arrived from Fed Ex – finally. It would still be sitting in MS if I hadn’t bugged them, which is not okay, and I was not happy with the store’s response.

However, the contents were great. I’d ordered two Banana Republic dresses, and a pair of wide-legged, side-tied navy pants. Banana Republic’s clothes look good on me. I’d ordered two dresses because they were on sale, and I couldn’t decide between the gray and the red. The gray looks good and goes everywhere, but I’m totally in love with the red, and it looks fabulous on me. And yes, I will wear them in video conferences. I feel fantastic in them.

The pants fit and drape well, but the fabric wrinkles easily. They do seem a bit like Phryne Fisher-style pants, which is one of the reasons I like them.

Since I haven’t actually buckled down and sewn any of the pile of projects waiting to be made, at least I have a few pieces to get through the next few months of video conferences, along with all the fuzzy, comfy sweaters coming out.

I attended, via Zoom, of course, the Community Bookshop event for Melissa Monroe’s new book of poetry, Medusa Beach. It was a great evening of conversation, poetry, and process. The book arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had the chance to do much more than skim it. I look forward to really digging in.

Willa was fascinated by the Zoom event. Usually it’s Charlotte who participates, but Willa thought it was great (although the speakers were the only ones on video).

I had a quick break and then the meditation session with NYU-LA Alumni. The meditation leader’s name was Crystal because it’s LA and of course it was. But she was excellent. It was a good session. I didn’t stay for the chat after – I wanted to carry the calm into going to bed early.

So although the first part of the day was frustrating, it levelled out.

I slept much better than usual. Up early this morning, getting a few things done, including cleaning out the box quarantine area in the garage, because that’s where the wood has to go.

I signed up for a morning meditation with Concord Library – they do a regular Thursday morning session, and I’d like to try it. Then, I have to do a Target run – we’re getting low on toilet paper.

Then it’s client work, writing, work on Grief to Art, some social media scheduling, maybe some more LOIs.

I’m increasing my time on the exercise bicycle by one minute per day. Not my favorite form of exercise, but I need it. Adding in weights twice a week again, too.

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

Reading a terrific book called SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. Made me realize just how abusive a former boss was, who always berated me for being an introvert, forced me into extroverted situations that were painful (which allowing another employee to opt out of anything she didn’t feel like doing, claiming “anxiety” and not redistributing the work, but making me do the extra – without compensation), and, every time I disagreed with her, telling me I “must” be on the autism spectrum or I wouldn’t disagree. Talk about a toxic situation. I’m well out of it.

Anyway, I don’t agree with everything in this book – several techniques I’ve tried and they don’t work for me, but I like the book, and there’s a lot of useful information.

I need to get going on my day. It’s a new moon in Virgo, good time to get organized!

Have a great day.

Wed. Sept. 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 119 — Scattered and Frustrated

image courtesy of HeungSoon via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was just all over the place.

Decent morning, got some work done, prepped for a phone appointment. The phone appointment had to be moved, which is fine – the other person was good about getting in touch.

Signed up for a NetZero online climate conference at the end of October. It has an interesting agenda.

I managed to get in a few hours’ of writing, which was great. The tone of the piece I was working on is lighter and funnier than I expected. Which means it may have to go under a different byline. I was going to put it under the Annabel Aidan moniker, but right now, it’s not dark enough.

I had the phone meeting. 15 minutes of my life, and pleasant, but this gig isn’t going to work out. Third party recruiter again and is not approaching the client in a way that makes me comfortable. AND made the bulk of the conversation about her, instead of about the job. I don’t want to work with third party recruiters. They need to be upfront about it and not wait until I’ve submitted requested materials to tell me they’re a third party. Every single recruiter I’ve dealt with in the past ten years has been a waste of space. It lowers the value of the companies who hire them, too.

Logged into the SBA Women in Business online conference taking place in Western MA. First we had a guy mansplaining how an online conference is run. Not THIS conference, but how ANY conference is run. Since when does he know how every conference is run? Then, the first speaker was a (male) Trump appointee lying about the economy. Both of them inferred that they (men) were giving us “permission” to have this conference. Um, no. I don’t need a man’s permission to have a business or attend a conference.  I “left meeting.” I will NOT sit there and be a party to that partisan crap. That is NOT why I signed up to participate in the Women in Business conference. Why are condescending white men talking at a Women in Business conference?

Every SBA event I’ve tried during the pandemic has been an unorganized, mismanaged, patronizing nightmare. Done with SBA.

Twitter kicked me off – I can’t sign in on any of my accounts or the accounts I run for clients due to “unusual log in activity.” When I finally got back in – now I have to change the passwords EVERY TIME I log in. Which I can’t do on client accounts, it’s not my purview. They’ll let liars and trolls and bots and murderers do and say whatever they want, but I can’t get into my little accounts – or those I run for clients because of “unusual” activity? They can fuck right off. I finally got back into the Devon Ellington account. I’ve sent them several messages – their responses make it clear that they’re not paying the least bit of attention to anything I say.

Losing both Twitter and FB will hurt the social media management part of my business, but, oh well. If that’s what happens, that’s what happens. I survived for decades before they existed; I can find a way to do so now.

I am so done with so much right now.

Deeply disappointed with a second series by an author whose other series I’m enjoying. She used the “witch” slur again as acceptable and normal. So I put down the book, cancelled the other books I ordered, and I’m done with this series. Nor will I recommend it.

I will, however, set up and call out similar situations in my own work.

The book for review arrived, and I look forward to starting it today.

The store from which I ordered the stuff that Fed Ex is sending all over the country and everywhere but here can’t be bothered to respond. Fine. Won’t do business with them again. I can put my money elsewhere. I have a feeling I’m going to wind up sending everything back anyway and asking for a refund. Fed Ex, of course, doesn’t care. Because their quarterly earnings were off the charts.

Theatre Scripts

I read over both JUST A DROP and SERENE & DETERMINED to see if either of those plays are appropriate for a 9-month script incubator project in Brooklyn. I’m sure there are a lot of submissions, but I still want to at least try. Only I’m not sure either of these plays (both of which could use that long development process) are naturalistic enough for the company. They are both set in Italy. The former is set in Rome, around the 17th century poisoner Giulia Tofana and her circle, and borders (intentionally) on melodrama. The second is built around Lavinia Fontana, the painter in Bologna who competed successfully with men for commissions thanks to the circle of noblewomen who adored her work, and the fact that her husband ran the household. Lavinia is on stage for then entire play, flowing from scene to scene. Again, unashamedly theatrical.

They both need work, but I don’t’ want them stripped of theatricality and made more naturalistic. I’m not sure this theatre is the right fit for them. I have to do more research on the company.

But if neither of them is right to submit, then I don’t have anything to submit.  However, it doesn’t make sense to submit just to submit.

My friend Paula is going to read both plays (her notes are amazing) and let me know what she thinks. Both plays need work, but both were structured with deliberate stylistic choices that I don’t want just thrown out. I want those choices strengthened instead of destroyed. Or, as I mentioned to Paula, maybe they’re just bad and I can’t see it. Although they were written for and accepted by the 365 Women Project.

Knowledge Unicorns

We’re still playing with times to find the best one. I have a feeling we’ll be playing with times for the entirety of this project!

More schools are shutting back down as kids and teachers get infected. The school administrations continue to ignore the needs of teachers, kids, and parents. Not surprising when you look at who’s the head of Education in this country – a selfish grifter who doesn’t give a damn.

But we had fun, helping each other with assignments. We came across misinformation in one of the social studies books – whitened and Christianed up. We did some research on the publisher, who is one of those right-wing nut job houses in Texas. They shouldn’t get to rewrite and (literally) whitewash history and then have it taught in school as fact. We found some other sources that have more breadth, depth, and, you know, actual information.

We had our stretch breaks and our dance breaks. We looked through the octopus slideshow on the National Geographic Kids website and learned more cool things.

Looking Ahead

Today is going to be a long, complicated day. I have to go onsite for a few hours. I’m frustrated because Hootsuite’s been down for nearly two weeks, and I’m not sure if I can get into the client’s Twitter, although maybe I can from their computer.

I’m supposed to participate in Remote Chat, but if I can’t log in, that’s not happening.

I have an online meditation session this afternoon with NYU-LA alumni, which should be interesting, and then my friend’s sister’s book launch tonight via Zoom.

Along with the writing and the client work and the LOIs I have to get out.

So it will be a busy day, but I’m hoping it will be good busy instead of frustrating busy.

Peace, friends.

Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength

superhero-534120_1920
image courtesy of Alan9187 via pixabay.com

Monday, March 9, 2020
Full Moon
Mercury Goes Direct

 

I’m feeling better, most of the time, but I still need to build strength. Let’s hope the weather is good, so I can do some walking.

I’m also increasing my yoga practice, slowly, trying to work up to what it was before, and then beyond.

I’m eating well, trying to stay out of stressful situations as much as possible, and rest.

I’m behind where I need to be in other areas of my life, so I need to build strength to get back on track.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 9, 2020 at 5:53 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength  
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Mon. Jan. 27, 2020: Intent for the Week: Quiet

sea-1031470_1920
image courtesy of freephotos via pixabay.com
Monday, January 27, 2020
Waxing Moon

This does and doesn’t tie into the post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about “Precipice” other than the fact that I feel as though I’m on the edge of one.

My intent for this week is “Quiet” which will be a challenge on every front.

Client work will be busy and chaotic this week. I won’t have exterior quiet, so I will have to work on the interior quiet.

With everything going on politically, there will be even more noise than usual. I will keep up with my trusted sources of information, and back away from a lot of other noise. I need to do some work and make some decisions that can’t be distracted by other people’s noise or agendas.

I will carve out additional time this week for solitude and meditation, extending my morning and evening meditation times.

If the weather is decent, I hope to add in a couple of solitary walks.

I’m fed up and done with situations on several fronts. Rather than be reactive, I want to step back, be quiet and thoughtful, and work on decisions from there.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on January 27, 2020 at 6:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Jan 2, 2020: A Long, Catch-Up Natter

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
8th Day of Christmas (last night’s dream is August’s Oracle)
Hanukkah Finished (as of Dec. 29)
Kwanzaa Finished (as of Jan. 1)
Sunny and cool

Welcome to 2020!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site, where I’ve answered the questions posed for 2020, which I consider the year of Transition and Transformation.

Starting Monday, for the next cycle (90 Days or so), I will begin this blog’s Monday with an intent for the week here, and some tools and suggestions for achieving goals over on the GDRsite.

Pull up your favorite beverage; it’s been nearly two weeks since we sat down for a natter. Last daily post was the Friday before Christmas, although the 23rd and the 30th had Upbeat Author posts. I planned to post on the 27th, but I had so much going on that I decided to cut myself a break. So this will be a loooooong post!

The Winter Solstice celebration on the 21st was lovely. We sit without electric lights as the sun sets; then we start by lighting the fire (with greens from last year’s Solstice season). Once the fire catches, we light the candles, put on the trees and the other lights (working clockwise from the North), and then put on the outside lights. Once all the lights are up, a simple ritual welcoming the return of the sun, and a wish for peace, joy, and prosperity in the coming year.

Dinner was Cornish hen with sweet potatoes and spinach. It was yummy.

Sunday night was both the 4th of Advent and the First Night of Hanukkah. We lit the fourth candle on the Advent table. I still haven’t found my lovely silver-plated Menorah (haven’t seen it since we moved, although I know it went onto the truck). But, in honor of the first night of the celebration, and because I miss my Jewish friends from New York who always included me in their celebrations, I made potato latkes. They were pretty damned good.

We watched MISS FISHER’S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES, where Phryne’s niece takes over in the 1960’s. If it wasn’t connected to the original, I would have liked it better. But that constant referencing kept reminding me that it didn’t quite measure up.

It was difficult to get up early and out early to my client’s. But I was there. I took in a shipment — with one box missing. I had other stuff to do, of course, wrapping up before the holiday, but we’d hoped to get everything in. I promised to come in Christmas Eve, at least for a few hours, to wait for the box.

It was Nameless Day — I’m going to start incorporating that into my celebrations. A day for Potential. I have not lived up to my potential in the last few years, and I intend to change that in the New Year and the New Decade.

After I was finished there, I went to the library, to drop off and pick up. Was tired of computer work, so sat in a corner and read for awhile, just enjoying how lovely it was to be in a building full of books.

Went to meditation group. It was a small group, led by a sub this week. One of the attendees was The Woman Who Tests My Compassion. She shows up now and again, and is an energy vampire. She sucks all the energy we generate as a group into herself. I try to be generous, maybe she needs it, I don’t know what she’s going through, etc. But she is such a black hole of energy that it hurts everyone else’s practice. But I put up my shields and focused on my own work. The teacher taught a new exercise for the lower back that helped me enormously. First time I was pain free in weeks.

Another furnace company came by to look at the work that needs to be done. I respect getting multiple estimates, but the day before Christmas Eve? Really? Not happy about it.

Baked and frosted the Red Velvet Cake. It looks glorious. I rarely make them, because they are such a pain and need to be eaten so quickly. But I wanted to do something different for this holiday.

I wrote steadily through all this, even if it was only a few pages in the morning.

Up early again on Christmas Eve. Went to my client’s, waiting for the Fed Ex shipment. Basically, for most of the day, the tracking had no information, just that it was scheduled “before 4:30.”

Well, honey, I was leaving at noon.

I waited five extra minutes past noon, feeling down about it all. I’d gotten a bunch of work done for the client, and I was the only one in the office, which meant uninterrupted work time, my favorite. I locked up, turned on the alarm, pulled out of the lot — and looked in the rearview mirror to see Fed Ex turning in. I reversed up the road and turned back. (Luckily, there was no traffic).

The driver had done his best to get there by noon, and it was only a few minutes after. I unlocked the door, turned off the alarm, signed for the package, shoved it into the warehouse in back, set the alarm, locked up, and went home – where I fixed myself a nice, big Sidecar.

So it all worked out.

Put in the pork roast, played with the cats, enjoyed the tree and the drink. The dinner turned out perfectly — roast loin of pork, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans with Hollandaise. The lovely red velvet cake for dessert.

We cleaned up and put the leftovers away, and opened presents. The new coffeemaker made me especially happy.

I put the new clothes into the washer, and we settled down with new books to read, Icelandic-style. I read Val McDermid’s updated NORTHANGER ABBEY, set in and around the Edinburgh Festival, which was delightful. Burned down the bayberry candle, and had a lovely, cozy Eve.

I was sad to read, on social media, all the racist drama around the RWA. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed. I’m also disappointed in white colleagues I know who are heavily involved in the organization who aren’t saying a word. Or, even worse, defending the racism. Again, in many cases, I’m not surprised. But I am disappointed, and have lost respect for several people. I’ve always been leery of RWA — to me, it always looked like a pay-to-play organization. A group that charges high fees and expects a lot of unpaid time put in. While I’ve had good experiences teaching at NECRWA, I’ve noticed the racial imbalance on the national level, and also a great deal of economic segregation.

It’s so painful for the many people who’ve spent countless hours of their time, unpaid, working to make the organization better. Working FOR the organization, without compensation instead of on their own books. How many tens of thousands of dollars have writers lost through their volunteer work with the organization? How many books will always remain unwritten? And now, they find the trade-off wasn’t worth it. What they worked for didn’t happen, and, in fact, they are being slapped in the face for working toward it.

I’ve been there, with other organizations. I know how much that hurts.

Releasing their statement the day before Christmas Eve was a deliberate strategy on their part, hoping their members would be too busy to notice. Then, trying to walk it back on Christmas Eve, when there was a furor — how could they believe the members who feel so betrayed would ever trust them again? It should never have happened in the first place, the process was skewed, and, without a clean sweep of everyone involved and a fresh start, how could they ever rebuild trust?

Or do they believe that their primarily white membership won’t care or even agrees with them?

How sad and painful.

Anyway, along rolls Christmas Day. Stockings, scrambled eggs, panettone, a quiet day of reading and writing.

For the big dinner, I made a rib roast, with mashed potatoes and peas. I don’t eat red meat often anymore. As good as it tasted while eating, I was uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

I took off Boxing Day from all obligations. Read and wrote and played with the cats. My oracle dream for January was a mishmash that basically boiled down to, “You will find allies in unexpected places.” So I have to remember that in January and be on the lookout.

Watched ON THE TOWN, which I hadn’t seen in years, and was kind of fun, except for the number in the museum, which was a little inappropriate.

I did a lot of running around on Friday, the 27th, especially when it came to grocery shopping. I had an encounter in one of the grocery stores what just depressed me.

When I got to the self-checkout, there was a $20 bill hanging out of it. I called over the store worker supervising the self-checkouts and said it had been left. She thanked me for turning it in, took it out of the machine, and said she would take it to the Customer Service desk in case anyone came back looking for it. I was glad about it — everyone’s overtired and stressed, and that $20 could be important to someone. Plus, I knew this worker, we talk often at the store, exchanging pleasantries and cooking tips.

When she walked away, the woman beside me said, “You’re in idiot. You should have kept the money. She’s just going to put it in her own pocket. You know how those Hispanics are.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “I’m glad I’m not you,” I said.

“Practical?” she sneered.

“A racist,” I replied.

She started sputtering.

“Don’t you start clutching your pearls at me,” I said. “You’re the one making a racist comment.”

“I’ve never been spoken to like this in my life!”

“Get used to it. Or change your behavior.” I went about my checkout as she huffed off, but the whole thing depressed me.

I went to Michael’s to take advantage of their sale. I found a small, artificial tree, and some white fabric roses I want to use to decorate it. I found a Santa on sale (for my collection) and a pineapple ornament. And candles (one of the few places that still sells tapers) and thank you notes.

Then to another grocery store, home, unloaded, to the library to drop off and pick up, home to read and write, because that’s all I felt up to.

However, in the late afternoon, I saw a vanity table go up on Craigslist just a few miles away. I jumped into the car, raced over, and wrestled the table and its chair into the car. I’ve always wanted one.

Watched CALL ME MADAM, which I’d never seen before. It was a lot of fun. Now I’ve got the song, “You’re Not Sick, You’re Just in Love” stuck in my head. For days.

Woke up Saturday, having lost the dream that was February’s oracle. I know it had something to do with organization and was positive.

Got the vanity table and chair out of the car and up the stairs. The chair is too high for the table, but that’s okay. It was a stage prop and had a fake mirror on it, but the real one came with it, and I swapped them out. It’s a really cool piece. I have to repaint it in spring and touch up the gold edging, but I like it.

Tessa wasn’t sure about it, but within two days, she was sitting on top of it, lording it over Charlotte on the floor.

I didn’t remember March’s dream, but I woke up calm, so I hope that’s a good sign for March.

Put together a platter of baked goods and drove it to the Emergency Vet to thank them for their kindness through tough times. Took 6A back, to enjoy the nice day.

Read and wrote. Made pork banh mi for a late lunch, which meant we really didn’t want much dinner.

I’m reading Lucy Worsley’s biography of Jane Austen, which is quite good. Came across information on Susanna Centlivre, the most famous female playwright of the 18th Century. Jane Austen and her family used to perform her plays as part of their theatricals. Susanna will be my top choice to write about for 365 Women next year.

Woke up late on Sunday. Couldn’t remember my dream, so let’s hope that means a quiet April, too.

Wrote. Did laundry. Finished THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. What a relief to get it done. It’s a one act, and I barely scratched the surface of time and place, but I picked one dramatic incident in their lives and, hopefully, did it justice. I hope I have the chance to do more research, especially on the Bibiana family of theatrical scene painters. I would love to do a piece about them.

We watched THE ROYAL WEDDING. It has two of Fred Astaire’s most famous dances in it — the one with the hatrack, and the one where he dances up the walls and on the ceiling. Great filmmaking there, but the rest of the movie didn’t work for me. I especially hated the character of Ellen. What a whiny, unprofessional little brat. There’s no way she could have achieved success with her brother as a team with an attitude and behavior like hers.

Didn’t remember my dream when I woke up on Monday morning, so I hope that means May will be calm!

Up at 5, morning routine, did a final proofread of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT so I could send it out. Got it off my desk and onto the company’s desk.

Was at my client’s by 8. Worked on Year-End stuff. Got out a mailing for next week’s big trade show.

Followed up with a colleague with whom I want to do an interview for Biblio Paradise. He’d never gotten the materials, so I re-sent them.

The weather was awful. Raining, switching to sleet, switching back.

Meditation was cancelled, sadly. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up. Went home and sat zazen on my own.

Dinner, reading. I read Elinor Lipman’s essays, I CAN’T COMPLAIN. They are lovely.

Up early on the 31st. At my client’s by 8 AM. Got out two more email blasts, worked on some appointments for the trade show. Didn’t remember my dream, so hopefully that means a quiet June.

Got the information on the first shipment of contest entries that is on its way. I’m only doing two categories, not three, this year.

Downloaded a bunch of Susanna Centlivre plays onto my Kindle from Project Gutenberg.

Interacting on Twitter with a fellow author, I decided I wanted to feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE, too. Plus, I have to ask my friend Arlene if she wants a slot for the book that released a couple of months ago.

Receipt of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT was acknowledged. I’m glad.

Stopped at the grocery store and the liquor store on my way home from the client’s. Made the chocolate/honey/almond/fig bites and a peppermint/chocolate cake. Dinner was salmon with a brown sugar/lemon/mustard/cumin glaze, mashed potatoes, and spinach. Yummy.

Read LISTENING VALLEY by D.E. Stevenson. Love the line, “You need to make friends with your life.” I want to do that in the coming year.

Finished LV and started THE TWO MRS. ABBOTTS, by the same author. I really love her work.

Burned down the bayberry candle. Let the old year out of the back door, welcomed the New Year in by the front door. I wish they did First Footing here.

Raised a glass as we watched the ball go down on Times Square. I’m grateful I used to be able to watch from my living room window, and grateful I no longer live there.

Slept well, up at a decent hour. The day did not start off well. I’d forgotten to make ice, which delayed the Fire and Ice ritual. The bathtub stopper didn’t work properly, so the Abundance bath bomb dissolved before I could soak in it. I fixed the drain and made my own concoction. But by then, we were out of hot water, so I splashed around in lukewarm water. I hope it’s a case of “bad dress rehearsal, good opening” and not “2020 is gonna suck.”

Especially because I came into the year feeling better and more centered than usual. Instead of forced optimism out of desperation, I felt much better at the end of 2019. Glad to see it gone, but able to release the ghosts of past mistakes. I realized, as I fretted over mistakes I made back in the 1980s, for goodness’ sake, that the people involved probably don’t even remember who I am anymore. I am some random chick who was in their lives for a few months, not someone important. They lived their lives, I lived mine. I don’t have to still feel bad about fleeting mistakes from 40 years ago. That gave me a sense of liberation.

So Jan. 1 starting off with things going wrong was upsetting. But, again, none of it was monumental. So I don’t get the bath the way I wanted it. So what? I came up with an alternative and it worked. It’s not important in the scheme of the universe.

The Eggs Benedict was delicious. I love Eggs Benedict.

I sent in my proposal to 365 Women. I had to pick three possible women to write about, so I picked Susanna Centlivre, Isabella Goodwin, and Frances Marion. I can’t write about all three (and said so) this year, with my plans to do the additional Kate Warne plays and the play about the two female authors. So we’ll see what happens.

I wrote 8 pages of a new play called “Trust.” It’s a short play, based on an idea I had last month. I have to do some research on a couple of myths, and then I can finish it. It’s only going to be about 10-12 pages. I have it aimed to at least one market so far.

I took a half hour walk because it was such a nice day and I’m trying to walk more. Wandered around the neighborhood and found a warren of streets and sweet houses I never knew existed. People waved as I walked past and I waved back.

Started reading Lauren Dane’s BLOOD AND BLADE, her latest Goddess of the Blade series, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Dinner was ham glazed with bourbon and molasses, mashed potatoes, and my special carrot-parsnip in mushroom sauce concoction. It was good.

Made bourbon balls that will be given as gifts to the work colleagues I’m having over on Friday. They turned out well.

Watched THE BELLE OF NEW YORK. What a hot mess. Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen’s dancing was good, but there wasn’t much story. It started as a rip-off of GUYS AND DOLLS and went. . . nowhere. The women’s costumes were lovely, though. The dresses designed for the dances were superb. Helen Rose designed the women’s costumes. There was a different designer for the men’s costumes. More than half the movie is dance numbers, which is a relief, because the rest of it is a mess.

Up early this morning. Didn’t remember my dreams, so here’s hoping for a quiet August!

Wrote a few pages on the Winter Solstice romance. Started weight training again, before my yoga/meditation practice. I’d stopped late last summer when my back started bothering me. But I need to start up again. I definitely felt it by the end of it. I will be sore tomorrow!

I am happy to say that I meditated at least once a day EVERY day in both 2018 & 2019. It’s made a huge difference.

Library this morning, getting out some interview questions to people, posting ahead on some of the blogs, and then I have to track down a few things for tomorrow’s get-together.

I’ll clean the house this afternoon. And make the rum cake for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll go to the grocery store for the last few things, prepare them, and swing by the library for a bit.

The weekend is about taking down the decorations and packing them away. I’m doing it a few days early this year (I prefer to wait until Jan. 6). But the 6th is a Monday, I’m not throwing a Twelfth Night party this year, and it makes more sense to take everything down over two days of weekend. After all, it took 3 weeks to put up!

Hope all of you had a great holiday season. New Year, New Decade!

So starts The Year of Transformation.