Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.

Thurs. July 5, 2012: Over the Holiday Hump

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy times! Hope you had a great holiday! I was off line earlier than I expected as of Wednesday, with this and that going on, and a houseful of people and all that. Lots of cooking, eating, conversation. Some thunderstorms, too — in Boston, they had to evacuate the Esplanade before the fireworks for awhile. But everyone was safe, and the show continued.

Wound up working mostly on the deck on Tuesday — took my work outside. It was a lovely day, with storms moving in later, but by then I was running around getting ready for company, and Wednesday, when there were quite a few storms, I just stayed offline.

House full of people for a few days — Tessa thinks it’s wonderful. A neighbor invited us over yesterday, but we never managed to get over to the party he was having, which was a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Everyone sort of goes their own way, and then converges for food and conversation, so there’s no pressure, and I’m getting some work done.

Of course, today there’s a ton to do, since I was offline, and I’ll put in some extra hours tonight. Article due, have to get some bookings into the calendar so I don’t blow them, catch up with students, get out the newsletter, get out a mailing for an organization of which I’m the secretary, work on the ghostwriting project. It will all get done, I just have to look at each piece and deal with it, not get overwhelmed by the entire list. Also, HAVE to get cat food in — Tessa’s at the bottom of her bag. Everyone fills the bowl when they walk past and see it empty, so she’s feasting. Fortunately, she’s still growing and allowed for the next few months!

I’m starting to notice weak editing when I read. Read a fantasy novel that didn’t deliver on its promise, but a lot of the problems could have been fixed by an editor with a sharper eye. The grammar, spelling, etc. was all great (always a relief), but there were some logistical elements that I could see the writing missing, but the editor should have caught.

Also re-read Susan Wittig Albert’s wonderful memoir, TOGETHER, ALONE. Beautiful book. And I’m re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES. THUNDER & LIGHTENING is my favorite of hers, but WDB is good to re-read. I remembered it being much more self-indulgent — it’s really not, and it talks about first draft freedom. Unfortunately, too many of the book’s disciples use it to mean you don’t have to EVER worry about things like grammar, spelling, structure, whereas she’s saying don’t let it trip you up in the first draft. Use the freedom to explore, and then work and massage the material so it makes sense –which is what all good writing teachers say. She advocates showing up at the page every day, writing specifics, showing instead of telling. Too many writers think the first draft is THE draft. It’s THE draft once it’s published — before that, everything’s up for change! 😉

I’m off to yoga, and then a busy day.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

New Year’s Eve!

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Full Moon
BLUE MOON
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing!!!
New Year’s Eve

Holy crap, another year, another decade gone. Well, I’m ready for the next one. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have time for the world to end in 2012. I have too much to do, and the Apocalypse will have to make an appointment with me like everyone else! It’s really not going to work out until like 2075 or something, so just chill Horsemen, chill. 😉

I would not want to be in Times Square for anything – can you imagine, no toilets? And they don’t let you out once you’re in? Ick. When I had the apartment a block away and could see the ball drop from my window, it was really cool, but as the years progressed, I couldn’t even give a party, much less get home after my show because the whole Square is in lock-down. I’d have to go OUT — which I hated — until 1 AM. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that any more.

It’s snowing like crasy — looks like someone dumped a truck of powdered sugar all over everything. Lovely, especially since I don’t have to go out in it!

Dashed out early to the grocery store, came back, cooked like a mad woman all morning (hush, I can hear the comments all the way over here), packed things up, and delivered where they needed to be delivered, packed in the fridge what’s needed for today and tomorrow, did the errands for my mom, picked up the rest of the ritual stuff, and was home by about 3 PM. Poured a glass of wine and just could NOT face going in to the kitchen to even heat anything up for dinner. I’d had a huge lunch — because I needed the space in the fridge!

I’ve posted my year-end wrap up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. Not happy with my progress, but I feel I learned a lot, and if I apply it moving forward, it will have been worth it.

Forgot to mention I watched the Louisa May Alcott documentary/recreation on PBS the other night. Since Louisa is one of my heroines, and one of the reasons I’m a writer, I had to sit down and watch it. I enjoyed most of it, loved Elizabeth Marvel in it, but felt bad because it was obvious they were on a small budget, and those paper animation thingys just didn’t work for me. I feel bad about not loving the whole thing; after all, I know what it’s like to work on a shoestring production budget.

I ran into one of my best friend at, of all places, the gas station, on my way home from errands. Too funny! We both wanted to top off the tanks to start the new decade with full tanks.

My plans today are to stay home and read and write and do exactly as I please. Ritual tonight (blue moon/full moon, after all). Everything’s ready for that, food just has to be popped into the oven. We’ll toast in the New Year with some champagne, and I have to force down some herring before midnight (not fond of herring, but it’s a family tradition for good luck). Lots of yoga, too. I want it to be a peaceful crossing into the new decade!

If you haven’t downloaded “Just Jump in and Fly”, you only have a few more days. It won’t be available after January 6. If you didn’t get to read “First Feet” last year, it’s still available — a Jain Lazarus Adventure influenced by the first footing custom. It’s below the excerpt from OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so scroll down a bit. Enjoy!

Have a happy and safe New Year!

Devon