Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Fri. July 16, 2021: Getting Back to the Page

image courtesy of picjumbo.com via pixabay.com

Friday, July 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Partly sunny, hot, humid

Yesterday wound up being a fairly pretty day, although hot. I got some work done in the early morning, and participated in the online meditation group, which was good.

Went to the library to drop off/pick up, stopped at the liquor store. People aren’t in a hurry here, and like to stop and talk, but they do go about their lives without fussing too much. At least so far.

We drove to Pittsfield to pick up a few things at Home Goods, and nipped into the Stop & Shop next door, before heading back.

Got some script coverage done.

Read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. The writing is beautiful. I loathed the characters, all of them. I thought they were all awful people, and couldn’t believe I spent any time with them. But I couldn’t stop reading.

Participated in one of Creative Capital’s conversations about how the pandemic was a catalyst for using different types of mediums to create. I was only familiar with one of the three participating artists before the session, and am now interested in the work of all of them. They all had commissions and got a lot done during the pandemic, the thought of which just made me tired. I was so unproductive. And the pandemic’s not over yet. But I have to remind myself that I was also sick during that time. I still haven’t processed the surgeries and that whole element/experience yet. One artist focused on the change with her relationship with the audience; another was excited by the new types of collaborations in which she participated; the third talked about the dialogue with the work, and the best format for the work, instead of just trying to make it fit a medium, which really resonated with me.

All three of these artists create and perform their own work, which has been more and more the norm during the pandemic. As someone who does not want to perform my own work, who writes for others to perform, I sometimes wonder if I’m a dinosaur, and if there’s any room for me anymore.

Slept well, although it was uncomfortably hot and sticky. Slept in a bit, wrote in the journal out on the porch in the morning, did my yoga/meditation practice.

And wrote some fiction. Not a lot, not even 1K (a little under). But I played with an idea that’s been tickling for the past few days. It’s both something I want to do, and something focused toward a specific market. Those don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

It felt both weird and good to get back to that type of writing. We will see what happens.

I have a script coverage to write up today, and another to read and then write up, so that I have the weekend free to unpack. It’s supposed to storm again all weekend, so maybe I’ll take a walk around the college at some point today, while it’s still sunny out.

One of these days, I’ll get over to the lake and walk around. It’s supposed to be beautiful.

MassMOCA has a community day tomorrow, where people who live here get in free all day. Part of me wants to go, and part of me doesn’t want to be around that many people yet, even if I’m masked.

Have a good weekend.

Published in: on July 16, 2021 at 7:28 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 16, 2021: Getting Back to the Page  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tues. May 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 353 — Vaccine Dose 2 Takes Its Toll

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

New Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

The last few days have been a ride, let me tell you. Seriously, that’s what I’m about to do. Tell you. So, get the beverage of your choice and settle in. I didn’t blog or post on social media about it, because, frankly, I didn’t want people weighing in who aren’t living in my skin right now.

Late Wednesday afternoon, we headed over to Enterprise by the airport and rented a car. We just didn’t trust our old car for the trip. The Enterprise rental seemed like a good price (until the extra insurance was piled on). It was tiny, a Chevy Spark. It felt like driving a tuna can. Not stable at all.

Anyway, we packed, and set up feeders and waterers for the cats.

On Thursday, we left a little bit after 9, to miss the worst of the traffic. We had a bit of a delay, because a recruiter wanted information. I sent him what he initially requested and told him I would be out of the office until Monday, and he kept at me two more times for more, so we were a bit delayed. There was still road construction and bridge work, and all the rest. But we took the Sagamore Bridge (the work is on the Bourne); although it was slow, it wasn’t too bad. The car doesn’t accelerate well (unlike the rabbit, which roars into action more like a lion than a rabbit, even as old as it is). We saw some constructions on the other side of 495, so we plotted an alternate route coming back. The car had Nova Scotia plates, which got us a few looks, since the Canadian border is still closed.

We made good time to the Mass Pike, and took gas for the first time just past Worcester. Honestly, just about anywhere we drove through is somewhere we could live, except for Springfield, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

Western Mass was gorgeous – spring is ahead of what it is on Cape. Things are in bloom, and it looked just, just lovely. There was a lot of road work around Lee, so, again, we plotted a different route to head back.

There were a couple of places in Pittsfield – they were okay, but not great. Lack of storage and lack of parking were the big concerns. All smaller spaces than what we live in now, but that’s to be expected, within our budget. One place was proud of its additional security system, which reinforced the feeling that the neighborhood was sketchy. We absolutely loved Williamstown. I’ve always liked Williamstown, but we really loved it. Unfortunately, the place we’re interested in – a loft – well, they haven’t finished building it yet and they already have more than a year’s wait list once they do.

We headed into Bennington, which we absolutely adored. It’s been several years since I’ve been to Bennington, and it’s a great town. The place we looked at was in walking distance of downtown, but in a terrific neighborhood. The place itself was tiny – supposedly 1000 square feet of living space, which meant it’s 2/3 the size of where we live now, but it seemed like maybe half. But charming and workable. Delightful details, lots of storage space in the basement, its own garage, a storage shed with lots of space. A small, screened in back porch. A larger, covered porch in the front. A narrow portico along the side that could be more outdoor living space in the good weather. The next-door neighbor is a delightful older gentleman who loves to decorate. Oil heat, which is a worry. Very little closet space. Each closet has less space than our hall closet.  A stream runs behind the house, which, on the one hand is peaceful, but on the other hand, I worried about flooding, although the landlord says it doesn’t flood. If we lost the car and the books, I’d be devastated. I already lost one car to a flood in Rye. Images of Blind Brook regularly flooding came to mind.

But we could work with that. We liked the landlord. It was a good conversation. We liked the feel of the space. We liked the house’s history – it’s from 1913, with a colorful story. We took a rental application. I explained I wouldn’t be able to get it in until we got home, but we would do so as soon as possible, definitely before I got my second dose vaccine, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me down. He said he’d be away with his family over the Mother’s Day weekend, so it would be next week before he got to the paperwork anyway.

Of all the places we’ve seen since the beginning of this journey, this is the one we liked best. As with any place, there are compromises. But we could be happy there.

By the time we were done, we didn’t have time to go over to Troy to look at another place we were interested in. I’d had a feeling we wouldn’t make it, so I hadn’t booked an appointment, although if we had had the time, I would have called ahead and seen what we could do. But we were at the end of the day by now, and pretty worn out.

To avoid the traffic, we took Rt. 9 East over to Brattleboro and then 91 down to Springfield. We had hoped to take a look at another duplex, similar in size to this one, in Brattleboro, but hadn’t heard back from the landlord. From there, it was back on the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, to stay at our favorite Publick House, n their funky lodge building.

The Publick House had just opened to guests. In fact, only one lodge was open and running. All the ground floor rooms were booked, so we took one upstairs, which was fine. They warned me that the TV wasn’t working – it was supposed to be, but the company screwed up, as usual. But the internet was. We don’t have cable TV at home, so it didn’t matter. To my dismay, they’d also taken the fridges out of the lodge rooms.

However, we’d packed food in an insulated bag, and it was still cold. There’s no way we’re indoor dining yet. It was a calculated risk to travel even as we did, following safety protocols.

The positive part of the risk was that, once we were off Cape, everyone we encountered followed masking and distancing protocols WITHOUT MAKING A FUSS. Unlike here, where they don’t, and when they’re called out, they pull a Karen.

People were cheerful (from a masked distance) and doing what needed to be done. No fussing. No whining.

So this is what it was like elsewhere in the state during the pandemic? Not the nightmare that was Cape Cod, with reckless tourists coming in, determined to kill us all for their “freedoms”?

I kept hearing stories about how MA residents were being so responsible, and it looks like they were, in other parts of the state. Just not here.  Where too many people don’t give a fuck about anything except tourist dollars.

Anyway, at the Publick House, we unpacked our picnic and had a nice supper (we’d skipped lunch). We sat on our balcony and watched the sunset, with all the flowering trees. It was beautiful and peaceful. It was a lovely little break from all the stress.

We talked about possible ways to arrange things in the little duplex, and what to put in the shed, the basement, the garage, and what we still need to purge. The recruiter from the morning was at me again; but the money is insulting for this job. It’s entry level hourly for what should be a senior level salaried position. No. I told him to withdraw me from consideration. I got a message from another potential client about a second round Zoom meeting for Tuesday morning, to which I agreed, although I worried about aftereffects from the second vaccine dose.

The rent on the duplex is considerably less than what we pay now; it would give us some breathing space. It gives me a chance to settle in with the new script coverage job and see how much steady earning I can get from that, and also add in more clients, while still not being frantic every month. The move itself would be a bigger expense, but because it’s all going to the house instead of to a house and a storage facility, that would help. We could do it.

More importantly, we could be happy there. Even moving during Mercury Retrograde, which beyond terrifies me.

We had a decent night’s sleep (although I found the mattress too soft). We didn’t have to worry because we were the first people to stay in the room for over a year, so they were definitely clean. We saw them loading furniture in one of the other lodges. So they stripped all the rooms during the pandemic?

It was cold enough outside to store our insulated bag on the balcony.

In the morning, we headed down to the bakery. They’d set up the flow of traffic and outside seating area for maximum safety. Everyone followed protocols and no one fussed. We got our coffees; they prepared a lovely assortment of pastries (more than we would have taken). We took it back up to the room and ate on the balcony.

We waited until a little after 9, to avoid rush hour traffic, checked out, and headed back on the pike. Filled up with gas again (really, this little car is not more fuel efficient than the rabbit). The seats in the Spark were uncomfortable, and we were a little sore by now.

But we sailed across the Pike and back onto 495 South. We’d timed it well. We took Rt. 44at Taunton from 495 across to Rt. 3 to miss the road work, then took 3 south down to the Sagamore Bridge, which was a little slow, but not bad. We took 6A from the bridge to home, so we could enjoy the scenery.

We were home a little after noon. We unpacked, to the sounds of chain saws and leaf blowers. We realized we hadn’t heard a single leaf blower in the past 36 hours, no matter where we were. It was the first time we had a break or even a mini vacation since 2019.

We returned the car, and came home. Got the cats sorted; Charlotte was anxious; Willa was unsure and puffy; Tessa was angry. It took awhile to get them sorted out.

Unpacked, did the onboarding for the script coverage job. That took longer than expected. Started the rental application for the duplex.

The landlord here had set up an irrigation system while we were gone, for the resodding, so I got that going, too. It looked dry.

The recruiter with whom I’d had a meeting last week who was so hot to have me meet with a client early next week and promised to set a date by Friday – never got back in touch. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I haven’t met a recruiter in the past ten years who wasn’t a complete and utter waste of space and of my time.

Saturday morning, finished up the rental application, scanned it, and sent off the PDF.

Headed to Mashpee for my second Moderna Dose. It hurt more than the first one, and I was already feeling woozy by the end of the 15 minutes. My mom drove us home.

Even with its problems, our old rabbit feels better than that little Spark!

I didn’t feel too bad initially. Even managed to get the laundry done. The fatigue and the thirst started up fast, though, followed by chills and body aches. I was in bed by early afternoon. I managed to hoist myself out of bed in the late afternoon to water the lawn.

Sunday added fever and swollen lymph nodes and nausea. I was awake for maybe 45 consecutive minutes. I slept and slept and slept. I read a little bit – nothing that was work, just for pleasure. Charlotte and Tessa called a truce, so that Charlotte could come on the bed and play nurse, and even Willa came in to visit occasionally.

Monday, I still felt like hell. I told my client I’d work from home, and that is what I did, off and on. Got everything done and out that needed to go out; I just had to take frequent breaks. It had rained quite a bit Sunday into Monday, so I didn’t have to worry about the lawn.

I also turned around my first coverage for the new job, and accepted two more assignments. I read the second one, and will write up the coverage this morning, and will read the third one later today. I need to make up for the money spent on car rental, gas, and hotel.

Plus, I have a feeling that I need to get our car repaired, and I’m worried that will be a large bill that eats into the moving money.

The landlord brought some people to look around the outside of the house. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I feel even more pressure to get the move sorted out.

There was a rental up in Worcester County that looked good, so I sent off an email. It had an open house last night, but there was no way I felt well enough to go anywhere. It will probably be rented from the open house – it’s a nice space at a good price – but it was worth an email.

We heard from the landlord of the duplex. He’s giving the apartment to someone else – a couple who didn’t even come to see it – they cancelled their appointment to see it on Friday, but they got in their application before we got in ours, so he’s giving it to them. Which is complete and utter b.s. The only reason he would rent to someone he’s never met over someone he has is that he didn’t want to rent to us, and he’d rather rent to someone with more money. We happen to be outstanding tenants. May we find something more suited to us.

To say we are disappointed is an understatement. It had faults, but it had enough positives and was in a good place. However, it’s not meant to be. A good cry, and time to move on.

With the first Moderna dose, I was hungry all the time. Now, I can barely keep food down.

Heard from the landlord that he’s bringing landscapers to look at the outside tomorrow.

Heard from another potential client to whom I’d sent an LOI. They want me to do a 40-minute initial assessment/personality test; if they like it, they want two additional samples. I’m sending them the test agreement this morning, and telling them I can schedule it on Thursday, provided I get the deposit by Wednesday. But if the “personality” segment has anything to do with DISC or Myers-Briggs, they can forget about it. It’ll be another no-go from a not-good match. Read my portfolio samples. Your lack of critical thinking skills is not my problem.

Watched more of WILLIAM AND MARY last night, and went to bed early. Had trouble getting to sleep, but once I did, slept pretty well.

Up around 5:30 this morning, later than usual. Charlotte waiting patiently outside the bedroom, instead of banging on the door and crying the way she usually does. I still feel awful – mostly fatigued and dizzy.

Posting this, then showering and preparing for the Zoom meeting with the potential client. Will work on writing up the coverage and getting it out, reading the next assignment, working on my article, and doing other client work.

I’m feeling absolutely beaten down, but the only thing to do is pick myself up and keep going.

Published in: on May 11, 2021 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 353 — Vaccine Dose 2 Takes Its Toll  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,