Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, all around. I started fairly strong: pitched my Llewellyn editor, got a new book for review, reviewed the agency contract and asked necessary questions, had yet another positive interaction with the NYC radio producer. I caught up on some emails with friends.

I was getting ready to work on the radio play when I was hit with a wave of nausea. Out of nowhere. Just felt awful. And my injection site from the vaccine started hurting again, too, but it’s been over a week since the vaccine, so that didn’t make sense.

I dosed myself with ginger tea, which helped, but the energy was gone. I had to fight my way through the rain and the wind to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes, and stopped at the bank on the way back to deposit the check from the radio play from the company in Minnesota.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to stay upright. I got through a few hundred emails. I withdrew from the Dramatists Guild networking session that evening, because I didn’t feel well enough. I turned around only one script. I’m fine on deadlines, but I’d wanted to do two. I worked on a few contest entries. But that was it.

The contract points were smoothed out, so I have to sign the initial contract and the NDA and get them in this morning. My Llewellyn editor wants more information on the article pitches, and will make her decision next week. I have to send a couple of scripts to the NYC radio producer; he’s excited to read something fun and frothy.

I’m still trying to pin down the mechanic to get the car fixed.

I decided to order in pizza, which might not have been the smartest choice on a queasy stomach, but I wanted pizza. So I ordered it. And it never showed up. Two hours later, I asked for a refund. The ordering happens through AllHungry.com, not directly with the restaurant. It took a dozen exchanges before they even tried to get me a refund. They said the pizza place told them it was delivered, and it was no longer their problem. I said it hadn’t been delivered to me, and if their delivery guy is handing off orders to randos on the street, that is not my problem, and, at this point, they were an accessory to fraud. A dozen exchanges later, they claimed I would get a refund, but it would take 10 days. Which is just ridiculous. They take it out of my account instantly, but it takes 10 days to go back? And it’s not like I was trying to get anything except my order, for which I paid, in the first place. So I don’t want to use AllHungry again to order, and, as much as I like this pizza place, I am reluctant to order again.

Fortunately, there are two other good places in town, although only one of the others delivers.

But AllHungry? More like Stay Hungry and get ripped off.

Now, we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re in a pandemic, and places are short staffed (which is why I tip 40-50% when I order delivery). My life is not ruined because I didn’t get a pizza.  But when a mistake is made, then fix it. All I did, when I contacted them, was politely tell them the order had never arrived, and to please issue a refund. It was inappropriate for them to accuse me of lying. The correct response is to find out what happened, and then issue the refund. They have my record of orders. I don’t order things, pretend I haven’t gotten them, and request a refund. AllHungry’s response was inappropriate. It shouldn’t take 12 exchanges and a filing with the BBB to get them to fix a problem.

I dreamed about working on a dance piece and taking dance notations down last night. No idea where that came from.

I was up early and off to the laundromat first thing. Two loads of laundry, and back quickly. While I was at the laundromat, I used the time to work on The Big Project. I was worried I’d gone off-tone, but it’s holding together. I just have to get more done on it, and fast. And I have to turn around two scripts today, because they’re due first thing tomorrow.

At some point, I have to take a break and go to the grocery store. They’ve offered me a small tree as a thank you for being a regular customer. I do not know where I am going to put the small tree, but I want the small tree (separation anxiety much from my lilacs)? So if they still have any small trees, I will accept mine, and deal with the consequences later.

It looks like another storm is coming through, so I’ll work on The Big Project and “Owe Me”, turn around the contract, and send the extended pitch to my editor, and go later in the morning. Unless it’s snowing.

Have a good one.

Tues. March 8, 2022: The Car Is Home!

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny/Cloudy/Cold (more snow coming in)

International Women’s Day

(Note: I haven’t had a Beetle for years, but the last one I had was red).

Every International Women’s Day, I take some time to honor Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are major reasons I became a writer. I first learned about them through library books about them, in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. I read all the books about women when I was in elementary school. I keep taking out the books about Harriet and Louisa, re-reading them, until my parents bought me my own copies. As I got older, I read what they’d written, and read more about their lives and work. Both were strong, flawed, smart, funny women, and are still, in many ways, my guiding lights.

If you missed yesterday’s post over on the GDR site about how to dream your ideal life, the link is here.

Friday was the first day in a long time I felt like I was back to myself, working professionally, and balancing the different work elements.

I slogged through a bunch of emails. I wrote about 3K on The Big Project. I updated the tracking sheets for the project. I ran errands. I did a script coverage. I finished a book for review. The second shipment of contest entries arrived, so that was all sorted and checked in, and I went back to working on contest entries this weekend, too. I figured out the grocery list for Saturday’s shopping, although I had to do it again on foot.

For fun, I’m reading THE SHARPER THE KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY by Kathleen Flinn, about her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It’s such a well-written book, and definitely makes me want to avoid cooking school. But then, I’ve never wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I just want to hone good cooking techniques for my own cooking, and not be under all that pressure, especially not at my age.

Charlotte and Tessa woke me around 5:30 on Saturday morning, which was fine. 5:30 is a good time to start my day.

I did the 3+ mile round trip to the grocery store, with the rolly cart, and restocked our pantry and fridge. The scallops looked good, so I grabbed a pound, which made for sauteed scallops in white wine, butter, and rosemary on Saturday night, and a scallop alfredo on Monday. Hmm. I was going to order scallops from the restaurant for my birthday, but I’ll have had them already twice in the same week, so I’ll need to order something else.

Polished the pieces for the one bookshelf I hadn’t yet put up, put it together, and rearranged some books, which made room on other shelves. I hate having so many books in storage. I keep trying to find a book to look something up and it’s not here, it’s in storage.

Finished reading the book for review and got back to work on reading contest entries. Took the day off from script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and, as usual, it has some cool stuff in it. I had to chase down the new postman to get it out of the box. I talked to him last week, at length, and showed him how much smaller the slot is on the resident side, and asked him to please NOT shove the boxes in on the USPS side, but leave them at the door. When he puts the subscription boxes in the mail slot, I can’t get them out. He promised he would put them on the stairs – and then put the GP box in the slot. I ran downstairs and asked him, nicely again, to PLEASE not to do that, and hand it to me or leave it at the door. He said, “But this box is small.” I repeated, “It’s still too big to get out of the slot on the resident side.” My front door is six steps from the neighborhood mailbox. It’s not like it’s a long walk out of his way. He’s either extremely dumb or he’s doing this on purpose.

I miss our former, lovely postman, who I think has retired.

I realize, in the scheme of everything going on, it’s not much, but it’s a basic courtesy with common sense. Math, geometry, physics.

Sunday, it rained. I stayed in. I unpacked another box of books and shelved them. I unpacked the box that held my blank notebooks, and arranged them on a shelf so I can get at them as I need for projects. It was sunny and mild in the afternoon, so I moved the seedlings out to the porch for a bit, and also planted the lemon balm and the black-eyed Susan vine (more on that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post).

The cat grass has grown well, so I put it on an overturned box so that Willa and Charlotte feel like they have to work a bit to get at it. They both love chomping on it (but won’t, if the pot sits on the floor). Tessa is not interested. Tessa is interested in taking over the sewing room. That’s her latest conquest – the guest bed that has Charlotte’s pink blanky and Charlotte’s catnip banana. They also had huge fun getting into the bag of potatoes I got from the store, rolling them up and down our long hallway. A couple went down the stairs, too, which they watched from the top.

I turned around a script coverage, and then worked on contest entries. One of them was so good, I was up way too late, reading.

Up around 6 on Monday, reasonable. It has rained overnight, and most of the snow is gone.

Wrote up the book review, sent it, along with the invoice. Was paid in a couple of hours, and assigned the next two books for review.

Entered in the scores of the contest entries I read over the weekend. Did a bunch of admin work.

The rain briefly let up, so I did a circuit, on foot, to drop off/pick up library books, mail the bills. Stopped in at Cumberland Farms for eggs, but they were sold out.

When I returned home, there was a message from the garage that the car was ready! I took a cab over, paid the bill (which was even in my budget), thanked them profusely, and drove home. I was practically in tears of happiness and relief. And, of course, the aftermath was exhaustion. But I’m so happy to have the car back and that it works.

That means we can do something fun for my birthday this weekend. I usually try to ignore my birthday, but this is a Big Number, and this year, it’s important to me to Do Something.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, finished the book I really liked for the contest, and read a few more contest entries.

A local organization for whom I was preparing an LOI packet, because I thought they’d be interesting to work for has not only dropped masking requirements indoors, but also dropped proof of vaccination requirements for those entering. So, nope, cross them off the list and move on.

Found out that one of my editors is just over one third of my age, which makes me feel even older. However, she’s an excellent editor, and I enjoy working with her; since we’re not being mutually ageist, but respecting each other’s work, it’s all good.

Had a restful sleep for once (now that the car stress is done). Still have lease renewal stress, but fingers crossed I’ll hear good news on that front soon.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me a little before 5. Completed the morning routine, and was out the door just before six. I was able to drive to the laundromat, instead of walking, which felt like the height of luxury.

While the laundry washed and dried, I worked on the revisions for CAST IRON MURDER. I had to re-revise the pages on which I’d worked at the mechanic’s last week. Caught a bunch of errors. I also marked a couple of places where I need to look something up and change a name, because it’s too similar to another name in the book. There are a few habits/routines that establish too late in the book, and I need to make initial references to them in the first or second chapter, or they look like they come out of nowhere. But I’ve got about the first third of the book done in first pass revisions, which is pretty good, considering I do most of it at the laundromat.

Getting some work done at the desk, then running errands (for which I need the car). It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so I’ll stay in. Thursday, I have to pick up my birthday cake (I have a thing about not making my own cake for my birthday). I’m going to dig into the work today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so that I can take a three day weekend without guilt.

Anything I have to say about Ukraine and the Russian-owned GOP is repetitive at this point. Indict and prosecute the mo-fos already. It will only get worse from here.

Have a good one, friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Rain (At Least It’s Not Snow)

image courtesy of Sam Willis via pexels.com

Friday, November 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Raining pretty hard this morning, so I’ll put off the trip to the post office and the library until tomorrow.

Yesterday, I stayed in and worked. I’d hoped to get enough cleared off my desk by lunchtime so I could go to the lake in the afternoon, but it was already getting cloudy, so I skipped the lake.

Got in my Nano words, got out some LOIs, checked on my Nano Buddies, caught up on some email, did some research for a project, wrote up script coverages. Wrote the thank you notes to the people at all the different agencies who helped sort out my mother’s insurance and medication stuff. It was quite a stack by the time I was done. Pretty soon, I have to do the annual Freshening of the Websites, and I need to print up my new business cards for Fearless Ink. I don’t think I have any with the new logo on it.

My Ipsy bag arrived, with lots of good stuff for the month.

Read a new book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed. This is in a different genre than the other work I’ve read. It hits the genre expectations, is more inclusive than typical in the genre, and the writing’s fine, but there’s a fire missing in it that was there in this author’s other work. I’m annoyed with myself for not loving it, but I don’t. Of course, it’s in a genre in which I don’t read much because the genre parameters often annoy me, but I wanted to see what the author would do. I want to love it, but I just don’t.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids are getting vaccination appointments.

Cape Cod’s virus numbers are way up. Which is not surprising at all.  Vermont’s are, too, which is surprising, since they have such a high vaccination rate. I guess that’s it for us in Vermont until the spring. I got an email from the Credit Union that an employee tested positive at one of the branches (not the one I frequent), and the branch is closed for deep cleaning, and everyone with whom that employee was in contact will be tracked down so they can be warned and tested. I’ve noticed some sloppiness about masking lately around here, especially in CVS, where the customers tend to pull their masks down to lean over the counter and talk to the pharmacists. Because those customers are morons. If I do get sick, I’ll have caught it at CVS.

We have one more out-and-about trip planned, late next week, to do a sweep of a bunch of small artisan stores to get the gifts we need to ship. Then, we’re done for the holidays and for the winter, and it’s just the grocery store and the library until spring. Although I’m not at the point where I’m back to decontaminating all the groceries when I come back from shopping, I think I’ll start jumping in the shower and decontaminating myself again. I’d just gotten back into the habit of only the morning shower. So I guess I’m adding in an extra one on grocery days. Can’t take the risk, with numbers going up.

And I’ll get my booster as soon as it’s allowed.

Willa wanted to play last night. Charlotte was willing to play with her, only they were playing by different sets of rules and ended up in a fight. Tessa glared at them from the chair, glad to be out of it. Poor Charlotte’s feelings were hurt. It’s not her fault she didn’t understand Willa’s rules for the game. Charlotte doesn’t really understand playing, except with her catnip banana. We’re working on that.

Read two scripts last night, which I will write up today. Only one to read tonight, and I’ll write it up tomorrow, and then not read again until Sunday. This pay period closes Monday, so I can read Sunday, write it up Monday, and make my nut for the pay period. Several monthly bills are going up, and I need to make sure I hit at least my target, if not a little more. Plus, I want to ease up between Christmas and New Year’s, although I doubt I can take that week completely off.

Slept in until 6. Tessa fussed at 4:23, but I ignored her. My mom got up to feed the cats just before 6 and Charlotte started headbutting me at 6.

2689 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Tough first 400 or so, and then it flowed well. I plan to write every day this weekend on it, not to lose the flow. If I can get more than 50K done by the end of the month, and then finish the draft by the end of the year, that will be a good way to get back on track with the other projects, too.

I’m writing the overseas cards this weekend, so we can mail them just before American Thanksgiving. Not taking any chances on them not showing up until, say Valentine’s Day.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Hopefully, I can get some more unpacking done.

Published in: on November 12, 2021 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Rain (At Least It’s Not Snow)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Oct. 27, 2021: Focused Writing

image courtesy of Sitthan Kutty via pexels.com

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

It rained here all day yesterday, but that was it. The other side of the state got pounded by the nor’easter. Power outages, closed schools, the works. I’m glad we’re not dealing with all that.

Yesterday morning was spent finishing/organizing/polishing the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, so that it can marinate, and I can jump in next Monday. It took a few interesting turns, especially for my work. But it’s organic to the story, while still meeting genre expectations, so I will see how it goes. The outline will get me through the first draft; after that, we’ll see what changes need to be made so that it’s the best it can be. Anything I write during Nano usually takes five or six more drafts and a couple of years’ worth more work to get submission-ready than anything written outside of Nano.

It felt good to spend a concentrated period of hours (instead of just one hour or an hour and a half) on my own work. I have to build more of that into my schedule.

After lunch, I planned to take just a short break and clear my mental palate by reading Susanna Clarke’s PIRANESI, which I’d started the day before. But I couldn’t put it down, and read it until I was done. It’s a slender book, but with big ideas and beautiful writing. It’s sad and uplifting and works on multiple levels. It’s a book that one can’t really talk about, except with others who’ve read it, because it’s experiential as much as it is about ideas. If you want a captivating read that will also make you think, I highly recommend it.

I have nine packages in varying states of transit with the USPS. I hope they start showing up soon. Four of them, are, of course, cookbooks.

I got some script coverage done in the late afternoon, but not enough, so I’ll have to make up for it today. Also got a script read.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We got a lot done. As one of the teens put it, “When you don’t have to worry you’re going to get shot every day, you can put that energy into learning.” Unacceptable our kids have to live like that. On top of it, the relief that the younger kids can get vaccinated is huge (the youngest kid in the group is now 8). The next discussion then will be if any of them will go back to in-person learning after the winter holidays, or if they’ll all just stay out of school until next year. But let’s get them all vaccinated first.

On today’s agenda is some of my own writing, on another outline and on “A Rare Medium”, script coverage, Remote Chat, and I have to run some books back to the library, and get some stuff from the co-op. The big grocery shop for the weekend happens tomorrow. I also have to get the last of the lights up today, and put together the Halloween treat bags for the trick or treaters.

Tessa let me sleep until 5 AM, and didn’t even howl. I woke up on my own, which was great.

So it’s back to the page now, and then on to the rest of the day. Have a good one.

Published in: on October 27, 2021 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 27, 2021: Focused Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)

image courtesy of Mustafa Ezz via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

The other side of the state is getting pounded by a nor’easter. We have some heavy rain here, but it’s not bad. I like being tucked into the mountains.

Friday’s soul journey material was all about upselling to another class, which was a disappointment. There was very little real meat to the session, although the exercise for the day was about an affirmation to move forward. The live session in the afternoon was pretty much all recap/upsell instead of how to use the work done this week to move forward. There was talk about doing the work over and over again, in a circle/spiral, but, to me, it feels like it should be more of an elongated spiral, to make sure you wind up in a different place than you start, rather than going ‘round and ‘round like you’re in a washing machine.

But different people are at different points in the journey.

They run a business, and they deserve to be paid for all the work they put in. But the courses they’re selling are for those new to the work; but they want everyone to have similar training, so you can’t participate further unless you go through the basic courses. Which is perfectly understandable, but not where I am right now in my journey. I respect their work enormously; but our paths are separating. My way through the forest is different. I am grateful for the tools I gained through this week. I showed up and did the work every day, without whining or excuses, no matter what else was going on. Now I need to integrate what I learned and build on it.

Getting through to AAA was a nightmare; on hold for 40 minutes. What if I’d been roadside, in severe distress, without a fully charged phone?

Once I got through, I was given an ETA arrival time of just over an hour. Okay, whatever, there was stuff I could do on the porch while keeping an eye out.

The mechanic got there in about 20 minutes, which was great. I have a full-sized spare in the trunk; he switched them out. Easy peasy. For him, anyway. I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.

He showed me the problem: a tack about the size of a dime. He said it was fixable. I thanked him, tipped him, he took off, I just made it to the live session of my class (although I missed the Sundance Collab session, and therefore, working on the plays).

After that, I looked through information, and found a highly rated mechanic not even 5 minutes away. I contacted them about the tire and an oil change. Heard back right away; they were very nice. I set up an appointment for Saturday morning.

The rest of Friday was finishing up the soul journey work, and finishing up the script coverages. Which I did, although it took me way too late into the night, and I still didn’t earn what I planned for the week.

But I was cooked.

I slept on the sofa bed in the living room on Friday night, so Tessa would have company. She was delighted; Charlotte, not so much. But I slept until 5:30 on Saturday, and woke up with an idea for a series of interlocked short stories. It’s an idea I’ve played with on and off for years, but which finally is coming together. I wrote up the notes first thing, so I wouldn’t forget them.

A couple of other ideas poked at me, related to other notes I’d started over the past few weeks, but I couldn’t yet connect the dots.

Saturday morning, I was out the door early to my mechanic appointment, with plans to continue up that same street to run some errands further along, once I was done.

Only there’d been an awful accident further up the road. It was blocked off, because a telephone pole had to be taken out and replaced. I was able to get to the mechanic – and then their power went out. It came back on pretty quickly, and the whole oil change/tire repair went smoothly. The woman who runs the place told me they do a lot of tire repairs, because the streets are always full of stuff causing punctures, due to all the industry here. So at least I know it wasn’t just me being careless!

I couldn’t run any of my other errands up that street, but I went back and around to go to the public library, who has a huge stack of books for me. Got those off their hold shelf.

Read and relaxed in the afternoon. Really enjoyed Elizabeth Flynn’s book. Read Maria DiRico’s LONG ISLAND ICED TINA. I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks, and it made me miss my Greek and Italian friends in Astoria. It’s such a good book!

Did some more decorating. I still have to run the last few strings of lights up the bannisters, but then the decorating is done!

Slept in my own bed on Saturday night, and Tessa let me sleep until about 5:30 again on Sunday.

Sunday was my “Just for Me” day, at least for most of it, so I puttered around, and read and relaxed and generally didn’t worry about a schedule. I had a live Shadow Work session at noon with the same group that sponsored the soul journey work. Their approach to Shadow Work is very different than the way I’ve been trained, and I got a couple of good tools I can use. But again, there was a lot of upsell, and a lot of first-timers who don’t pay attention to the session, yammer incessantly, but expect to be spoon-fed individually all the information that was just discussed. That’s just not where I am right now. Blessings to them all, but my path takes me somewhere else.

Read a book that was interesting, but not brilliant. Relaxed. Made ratatouille to go with the fish for dinner.

At one point, all three cats were sitting in different chairs in the sun on the porch, which has never happened. It was a big step.

Read four scripts Sunday night.

Tessa woke me a little after midnight on Monday. I got her settled, then she started up around 4:30, but I was out like a log, and didn’t wake up until nearly 6. She was not amused.

That put me back in everything for the day, which is okay, since it got done, just in a different time frame. I can’t be too tightly scheduled here, because everything runs on its own time.

Got some excellent writing done in the morning, especially on an outline for a piece whose characters and situations have been rolling around in my head since late August. It started to come together.

Had to go to CVS to try and negotiate my mom’s thyroid medication, since the insurance problems are still ongoing. The pharmacist who helped us before managed to pull the prescription from the Cape CVS and get a 90-day refill at a price I could afford. Thank goodness.

Dropped off books at the library. Came home and discovered a check from a client – more than double what I expected, which is great, because it takes off the pressure for end-of-month bills.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

Tried to work on “A Rare Medium” during the Sundance Collab time, but I absolutely lost the thread of where I was going with the next scene. Even though I have notes. I was completely baffled.

This is why I need to work every day on the first draft of something until it’s done, and not in fits and starts. I have to block out time to work on this play every day, even if it’s only a short session. I was so frustrated with myself.

Wrote up three script coverages in the afternoon, and read three scripts at night.

Charlotte woke me up this morning at 1 AM. She wanted cuddles and playtime. She was sweet and purry, but it was one a.m. I got her settled and dozed off again. Then, Tessa woke me at 3:27 with her howling. I grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, got her settled, and dozed off again. Willa woke me at 6:30, because she was Very Hungry and I was late feeding them.

Sigh.

Working on the outline this morning, for the piece that’s coming together, and then, hopefully, finishing the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I want it to marinate (no pun intended, since there’s a lot of cooking in the piece) before I start writing next Monday. I will also block off some time to work on “A Rare Medium” and read over the source material, as well as working on the next scene. I have script coverage to write up, and more scripts to read.

I’ve done the meal planning for my friend’s visit this weekend; what we actually get up to (other than the Samhain celebration and giving out candy to Trick or Treaters), we will somehow play by ear, because so much depends on the weather. But it will be a lot of fun. Our first houseguest since before the pandemic, which means it’s a little over two years since I’ve seen my friend in person. My mom’s triple vaxxed, and my friend and I are both double vaxxed. Plus, we all still take precautions, so, fingers crossed, it will be okay.

Time to get back to the page.

Published in: on October 26, 2021 at 7:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. July 27, 2021: Attacking the New Week

image courtesy of Andreas Lischka via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and humid

It was, all considered, a pretty good weekend. I was finished with the work that HAD to be done by noon on Friday, and gave myself time to rest and read. Claire Cook’s newest book arrived, and I settled in with that.

I wandered down the street in the afternoon to visit Cinnamon Girl Apothecary, and introduced myself to the owner. We had a nice chat (both masked because hey, indoors, and we’re not idiots, even though we’re both vaxxed), and I bought a new tarot deck and a blue onyx crystal as my Lammas gift to myself for next week. Not playing with the deck until August 1 is a challenge.

Up early Saturday. Spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the laundry room and organizing it so it’s a workable space. It’s nice and neat and almost where we need it to be; at least it’s useful now, and not just a place to dump stuff we don’t know where to put. Got some more kitchen boxes unpacked. Rearranged some stuff.

Juliet Blackwell’s newest book arrived Saturday, along with our sheets, and my 2022 calendars. As soon as I was finished with the laundry room, I started reading SYNCHRONIZED SORCERY.

Sunday, it rained again, so it was mostly a rest day. We dashed out to Stop & Shop for a few things, which turned into more things. But it was reading and resting, and then I cooked chicken with leeks and mushrooms, and made leek stock with the leftover leaves, et al, from the leeks.

I shouldn’t have tossed ALL my empty glass jars; I need some of them now.

For a decade on Cape Cod, I was so conscientious about recycling. We recycled 80%. And you know what? We were punished for it. Constant rate hikes. Towns should not charge residents for recycling. It should be unlimited and free. Barnstable’s whine that “they have to pay for it” – so the fuck what? We pay taxes.

I’ve been tempted to not make my own stock, etc., here, but the truth is that I LIKE my own stock, and use it. So I made leek stock, which I will use up in the next few weeks.

I also made chocolate mousse, which was pretty darned good.

It’s rather alarming to sit here across the state and watch the Cape’s COVID numbers rise again. Cape Cod’s cases are rising at 7X the rate as the rest of the state, per the BOSTON GLOBE. Well, what the hell did they think would happen? The past eighteen months made it very clear that businesses don’t give a damn if their employees or their customers die, as long as they can squeeze a few more cents out of them.

Glad we’re out of there.

I saw photos posted from a local festival for small businesses. Yes, it was outside, so less need for masking. But it was crowded, and no one was social distancing. In fact, people posed in clumps for pictures. How many will get sick from the unvaxxed idiots wandering around there?

Another article in the GLOBE made me glad I skipped Community Day at MassMOCA last weekend. While in previous years there were 3000 people going through on such a day, this time there were only a bit over 1600. Even in a space that size, unless there’s proof of vaccination required and everyone masked (which MassMOCA is not doing), I wouldn’t be comfortable around that many strangers. While they are saying masks are “welcome”, I don’t feel the museum is taking enough precautions to protect their staff or their visitors. So I guess it’ll be awhile until I visit, or I’ll pick the lowest traffic day I can imagine to wander through – masked.

I was also disappointed that, during the pandemic, they laid off most of their staff. It makes me think less of them. The pandemic was a time for employers to prove that their employees mattered, not cut them loose at the first sign of trouble.

So I need to re-think how I want to interact with MassMOCA. I had figured they would be the anchor of my creative life around here, but what I’m seeing and hearing makes me not trust them.

So many people are posting photos of being out and about in crowded places with no masks and no social distancing, and I’m thinking, “You’re nuts. You really think the variant won’t happen to YOU?”

Heard that a Broadway colleague is in the hospital with COVID, about to be intubated. Fuck all the anti-vaxxers. They should not be allowed in any public space. If they choose not to get vaccinated because they don’t “believe” in it, fine. Then stay home. They do not have the right to put other people at risk. And when they do cause illness in others, they must be held accountable for it.

They’re not “victims” of disinformation. They’ve made the CHOICE of disinformation.

As I’m unpacking and setting up the space here, I want it to be comfortable, inviting, and efficient. Whether it’s due to COVID numbers or bad weather, I’ll be spending a lot of time at home over the coming months, and I want it to be a happy space. Part of me is angry that a minority of ignorant dumbasses have far too much to say about how I live my life through their selfishness; the rest of me just shrugs, because I am fully capable of staying home, and therefore will do a lot of it. I work remotely. I LIKE working remotely. Yes, I’d like to get to know my new community, but if it takes longer than originally planned, that’s the way it is.

A recruiter contacted me over the weekend (red flag 1) about a job that has very little to do with what I actually do (and I doubt they could afford me). I politely declined.

Tessa has started walking the halls and howling at night. I think she wants to re-instate her 2 AM snack. She had her own place for her snack in the other house; if we set it out here before our bedtime, Willa and Charlotte would gobble it up. So we have to re-think how to make Tessa happy so she doesn’t keep us up most of the night, while not providing the resources for Charlotte and Willa to overeat. Last night, I set her up in what we call “Tessa’s room” (the third bedroom), with the door to the porch, which she loves, open. There’s a litter box, and I put her snack and water down. Closed the door to the rest of the apartment. She could relax without Charlotte bothering her. No howling. We’ll see how long that lasts.

I dropped off/picked up books at the library yesterday and dashed into Big Y grocery for a few things. While on Sunday, at Stop & Shop, only about a third of the customers wore masks in the store, by yesterday, at Big Y, 75% wore masks. More people, here, at least, are taking the Delta variant seriously.

The haze from the wildfires out west hung over the mountains, obscuring them for most of the day. It started clearing up a bit at night, enough so we could see some stars.

Mother demanded hot dogs for lunch. We hardly eat beef anymore, because we always feel awful, but I was dumb enough to give in and let her make us hot dogs for lunch. We were both sick as could be for the rest of the day. No more beef franks. At least we both feel better this morning, but yesterday afternoon was lost, as far as productivity. I managed to read the scripts I had to cover, and read some of Barbara Delinsky’s new novel, but that was it.

I’m writing in longhand every morning, playing with ideas, and then having some more word playtime on the computer before I get into the day’s work. I need to shake up my process and reconstruct it in a way that works here.

I’d like to take the rest of the summer off, but no such luck.

Working on my presentation for next week’s class. Working on the articles for Llewellyn. Sending out LOIs. Working on the Topic Workbooks and the brochure. Working on the script coverage.

Packing up stuff it turns out we don’t need here and can take back to storage, and making a list of what’s in storage and should be up here. We’re going to do a few storage runs over the next couple of months, before the weather gets bad.

Headed out to do laundry this morning at the laundromat. Hopefully, it won’t be crowded AND the machines will work without eating my money.

Have a good one.

Tues. July 20, 2021: Enjoying the Differences

image courtesy of kareni via pisabay.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

I’m starting to wonder if I will ever stop feeling like crap. I’m still achy and fatigued all the time.

It was a good, fairly restful weekend. I got my script coverage done by late Friday afternoon, and didn’t have to worry about it all weekend.

There was a good bit of rain, but I managed to get some errands done Saturday morning, in between storms. I met the husky puppy two doors down, and a lovely, sleek black cat in the parking lot where the car now lives when not in use (who had a lot to tell me). People are better about masking and social distancing here than they were on Cape. No surprise that COVID cases are on the uptake with a cluster around Provincetown, etc.

Read a lot this weekend, including re-reading some Terry Pratchett, and reading a book by a popular author using a trope of which I’m sick. I’m sick of the trope of leaving the city to go back to the hometown and reconnecting with one’s first love. Yes, it’s fantasy. It can also be toxic. It also shows a lack of growth from teen years.

Was assigned another book to review, which I will start this morning, while I’m at the laundromat.

Got some unpacking done (not enough, but rooms are slowly taking shape). Put up a pretty lace curtain at the front door, instead of the broken blinds. Put up most of the wind chimes. Have a nice little reading corner set up in my office.

I hate being separated from so many of my books and dishes. It’s painful. Also, because I have bookcases of varying shapes, heights, and sizes, I can’t store my books by subject, but I have to put them where they fit. At least for the moment.

Trying to find a good routine, one that also works for the cats, because they love their routines.

Sunday night, I was approached by the Cape Cod Writers Center. One of their instructors for their online conference dropped out due to a family emergency, so I was asked to take over the class. I’m happy to do so. It’s on Character, and I have some ideas that hopefully will help the participants. I’m trying to keep it along the lines of the original class blurb, and what they signed up for, although I’ll probably push them a little harder. And they will have handouts, because I am the Queen of Handouts.

I got to work on Monday, playing with ideas for the class. I did a short piece for the Llewellyn Almanac, got some script coverage done. Started rereading Gail Godwin’s QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD. There was a point where I loved her writing, until she got so obsessed with religion, and I want to see how I still feel about it, years later. I read two volumes of her journal, which were interesting to a point, but she’s so obsessed with boys (not men, boys) and always puts them ahead of her writing, which gets tedious. I see a glimmer of that in the beginning of this book, the protagonist doing so, and I hope that’s not the case.

I submitted a short story to a call, and several calls for plays landed in my inbox – I might even have relevant plays to submit. I will get to that today and tomorrow. I want to get back to have 13 in Play all the time – always have at least 13 pieces out there, earning their way in the world.

I got through a few hundred emails. Still catching up from the move.

Slowly, slowly easing back into creative life. I want to meet the other artists around here – I have a feeling MassMOCA will be my go-to for that, at least initially. At the same time, with virus numbers going up, I’m not comfortable being around strangers indoors, even though I’m vaccinated, and continue to mask. Most of the writers’ events are still virtual. WordXWord has an event at The Mount, outdoors, the next few nights, but I don’t’ know if I feel up to going. I go to the grocery store, the liquor store, the library (always masked), and that’s about it. I might go to some outdoor events, if the weather ever improves. We’re close to the college, and they require all students, teachers, staff, and vendors to be fully vaccinated, so that makes the neighborhood safer for all of us.

Yesterday afternoon, I could hear a composer, in one of the houses in the neighborhood, working on the latest piece. It was wonderful to hear that creation going on, as I was doing my own work. Creativity fuels creativity.

More writing, script coverage, LOIs today on the agenda. More work on the class, so I can start putting together the PowerPoint for it. More unpacking. Reading. After I get back from the laundromat, I might try to find the Big Y grocery store (supposedly less than a mile away). If the weather is decent, maybe tomorrow, we’ll jaunt over to Williamstown and Bennington. If the weather holds this afternoon, maybe we can go to Windsor Lake, which is supposedly a 3-minute drive.

The cats are getting used to the space and having fun running up and down. It’s a long, narrow space, front to back. Tessa loves running up and down the stairs to the front door, fast as can be, while the other two watch. Charlotte and Tessa still fuss at each other, mostly late at night, but not as badly as before. Hopefully, they are adjusting.

They all love to watch the birds. We have lots of trees around here, sturdy trees, and people aren’t constantly trying to cut them down. We also have two bird houses and a nest up in the rafters of our back balcony. The cats are fascinated. No matter which window they sit in, throughout the house, or the kitchen overlooking the back balcony, or the front porch, overlooking the street, there are birds to watch.

We used to have lots of birds around the house on Cape, until all the neighbors destroyed habitat. I’m sure the owner’s going to cut a bunch of trees down, now that we’re gone.

No longer my problem, although I hurt for the wildlife there, especially Che Guevara Chipmunk and the coyotes.

Meanwhile, I have a new area to learn. Living in the mountains is very different than living by the sea.

Wed. July 14, 2021: Allowing Myself Ease

image courtesy of PIRO4D via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

By this weekend, we are on track to have as much rain in the state in half a month as we usually get all summer. I’m glad it hasn’t been beastly hot, but it would be nice to see the sun every now and again.

Yesterday morning, I took the laundry down the street to the laundromat. This is the first time in my life I’ve lived in a building without laundry. There’s nothing wrong with the laundromat – it’s clean, it was mostly empty. But I hated it. I also hated that one of the machines ate my money without working. I will invoice the company for that.

The purchase of a stackable washer/dryer to put on the hookups in the laundry room in the apartment is on my list. It will probably be spring before I can afford it, and I can deal with the laundromat until then, but having my own laundry facilities is important.

When I came back, I was wiped out, for no good reason. I don’t understand why I can’t get my feet back under me. All I want to do is sleep.

So that’s what I did, most of the day. Slept. And re-read Terry Pratchett’s THE FIFTH ELEPHANT, which I’d taken with me to the laundromat.

This puts me behind in my work, and I have to make up for it today. But I needed the rest. I feel a little better today, especially after morning yoga and meditation. I found my zafu; I’m sitting in my bedroom for the moment, although I might set up a mediation space elsewhere.

My eyes are bothering me today, but that’s just too bad for me, because I have a lot of computer work to get done. Hopefully, I can participate in Remote Chat this afternoon. I’ve missed that group.

And maybe get a little unpacking done.

Working with Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION and writing in the journal first thing in the morning is helping, creatively. I can’t believe I’ve lost all my confidence in my ability to create anything. The moving stress knocked the stuffing out of me on multiple levels. The months of feeling like a failure because of obstacles in the moving process carried over into everything else. I have to break down those barricades and get back to my creative self. It exists in there, somewhere. I have to find a way to set it free, to give it space, and to get back to the dailiness of it. All of the projects I worked on pre-move seem so far removed, both physically and psychologically. I’ve never felt so disconnected from my creativity, especially the writing. The writing has always been like breathing to me, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to breathe.

So I’m working on breath in meditation, and hoping that leads me back to the page. It’s frightening to be in this place, but I can’t focus on the fear, but on the healing.

Patience. I have to be patient with myself. Six months’ worth of stress does not resolve in six days. Patience.

Published in: on July 14, 2021 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 14, 2021: Allowing Myself Ease  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. July 9, 2021: Of Rain and Rest

image courtesy of Roman Grac via pixabay.com

Friday, July 9, 2021

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy

It rained almost all day yesterday. I was too tired to do much. I got through a few hundred emails, I updated my resume, I read another script, which means I have two coverages to write up today.

I fought with TD Ameritrade, who hadn’t Fed Ex’d the check on Tuesday as promised, because the $15 wasn’t in the account once they cut the check – even though they were told to DEDUCT the cost of the Fed Ex mailing from the account. Not that they could be bothered to communicate that there was a problem. They simply ignored us.

This is unacceptable. The money is ours. But they won’t give it to us. How is this legal? I hate them so much.

The “broker” promised to take care of everything, get his manager to sign off and waive the $15 Fed Ex fee, and have the check here today. He also promised to call and confirm by 7 PM last night.

Of course, there was no call.

How much do you want to bet there’s no check today?

Because TD Ameritrade is a scum, scam organization.

Time to file with the SEC, The Attorneys General in MA and Nebraska (where their office is located), and Elizabeth Warren’s office.

I am done with them.

If they’re doing this to me, they are doing it to hundreds, possibly thousands of other customers. And that is not acceptable. We’ve been trying to close that account, small as it is, since TD Ameritrade ate up Scottrade, and they’ve always had an excuse not to do so.

It poured with rain most of yesterday. The only time I went out was to get the mail, which was the latest issue of the NEW YORKER, which I read cover to cover.

Not much unpacking was done, because we were exhausted.

Fighting with TD Ameritrade took up most of the day. Because they are slime buckets.

At least I got some sleep last night. I slept until nearly 7 this morning. Now, I’m fighting with TD Ameritrade again. Supposedly, the check went out via Fed Ex yesterday; however, the tracking number is “invalid.” Typical.

The damn check better show up. We’re not in dire straits, thank goodness, but I don’t want them profiting any more off our monies than they have.

I’ll do my script coverage and try to get some more resumes out.

Hurricane Elsa hit my old neighborhood in Westchester yesterday and today; I hear there’s flooding. I hope it’s not bad, and that our old building isn’t under water again. I don’t miss the days of slogging through chest-deep water and being without power for a week or so. It’s supposed to hit the Cape later today. They’re not supposed to get much rain, but a lot of wind.

Hurricanes are going to be an entirely different experience in the mountains than they were on the coast. Time for the learning curve to kick in.

I actually read a book for pleasure last night and this morning, the first time I’ve been able so to do in weeks. Usually, I read three to four books a week.

I have to figure out my new routines, as I settle in to work and writing and research and reading. As we unpack. There’s still a lot of unpacking to do. It’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes time, and I can’t afford to take time away from billable hours right now. It will take several weeks to get things unpacked.

Once I stop being exhausted all the time, it will help.

I needed yesterday as a day of rest.

Spoke to the “family” in Maine who were shocked, shocked, I tell you, that we found a wonderful place to live, and I hadn’t put my mother in a home, given up all my belongings and the cats, and was living in a one-room hovel somewhere.  They were even more shocked that I have a job I can work remotely that I like. Yeah, “family.”

Whatever.

We are in a new home and starting new routines that will serve this phase of our lives better. I’m going to proceed cautiously, and make decisions slowly; decisions that are best for us, and have nothing to do with pleasing anyone else. I lost too much the last decade by trying to fit in and being a “good sport.” Not going to make those same mistakes here.

What is interesting here is how much quieter this neighborhood, in a city, only a few blocks from downtown, is compared to the neighborhood on Cape. Yeah, you hear people living their lives, but there aren’t the constant sounds of destruction that were constant on Cape. People are living and, even more importantly, laughing. One hears a lot of laughter, and that’s a good thing.

The cats are happy, too, especially Charlotte. Charlotte is delighted by the new place. Willa and Tessa are a little more cautious, but they’re getting there.

New moon, fresh start. Looking forward to it!

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on July 9, 2021 at 8:39 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress

image courtesy of Garoch via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

Still dark out; it’s been raining all weekend, so maybe some sun?

Busy, busy, busy.

I was wiped out on Friday, but managed to turn around a quick coverage that came in and needed to be done right away. That threw the rest of the day out of whack, although I managed to get a Trader Joe’s run and a Lambert’s run in.

The tourist hordes have already descended, and they are more disgusting than ever. They’re nastier than ever. I intervened three different times at Trader Joe’s when tourists were rude to staff. They have NO RIGHT to this behavior. As I said to one, who threatened to leave and never return to Cape Cod, “Go. There are enough decent human beings who want to visit to keep the economy going. We don’t need YOU.”

The staff at Trader Joe’s has gone above and beyond since the pandemic started. I will not stand by and see them abused by twatty tourists who can’t behave with basic human decency.

On top of that, all these tourists in their Lexus and BMW and Mercedes are driving around tossing trash out of their windows onto people’s lawns. Absolutely disgusting.

The rain came pounding in on Friday night, and I’m petty enough to be pleased.

Charlotte was upset by the storm, so at about 3:30, I went down to the couch. She settled in, purring, and we dozed for a bit; then I was up and doing a furniture inventory so that I can give some actual information to the moving companies from whom I’m getting quotes. It will be difficult to estimate the boxes. I’m going to do a rough inventory of those by the end of the weekend, and then try to figure how many more I have to pack.

I packed all day Saturday, and felt I got nowhere. It was so frustrating. This while getting the laundry done and trying to finish a book for review and send out LOIs. It was raining like crazy, so at least I didn’t have to worry about the yard.

I also donated about 3 cases of wet cat food to the MSPCA down the street. None of these cats like wet food; I’ve tried all kinds. It makes more sense to donate it somewhere it will be used, either for the shelter cats, or as part of the shelter’s pet pantry program for people who are struggling.

My big fear now is that I’ll run out of boxes. But I’ll pack whatever I have and then see what I still need.

I’m so exhausted, and I’m just accepting the fact that I will live in a state of perpetual exhaustion until we are all moved.

I hope the lease comes through today or tomorrow. I’m going to be nervous until then. Because if something goes wonky and we don’t get this apartment, we are in real trouble.

Early Sunday morning (around 5:30), I was on the computer, working on LOIs, when movement outside the window caught my eye. A large coyote trotted through the yard, holding a dead turkey in his mouth. He looked both ways before crossing the street, and off he went, down around the corner. It’s the first coyote I’ve seen all season. He was gorgeous. I wonder if it’s one of the ones who was raised in our yard a few years back?

It was still a little disconcerting.

Sunday was an all-out packing day. I worked in my office all morning, and it was so discouraging, because it looks and felt like nothing got done. The afternoon was spent upstairs in the storage room; while there is still a lot to do, it’s showing how much we got done, and that feels better.

The landlord is pressuring us to have his home insurance inspector come in on the 10th of June to “look at the inside of the house.” That’s ridiculous. The inspector hasn’t been in for 49 years. He can wait another 15 days, until we’re out. There’s no way we can have the place in any shape by the 10th of June for a reasonable inspection. This poke-poke-poke that he does is really annoying. It brings to mind last year, when he forced us to agree to the energy assessment the same day I had my post-op medical appointment, the day everything started shutting down for the pandemic, and then didn’t follow through on anything that was offered. It’s unnecessary and unfair pressure and no, just no. Legally, he can ask for it. But I’m damn well pushing back.

I turned around a script on Sunday afternoon, and wrote up/sent off the coverage on Monday. I need to read a lot in the next two weeks, so I have a good chunk of change around the days of the actual move.

Sunday night, we got the formal offer for the apartment. Hopefully, the lease paperwork arrives today, and we can get that completed. What a relief! We have a new home.

I will talk publicly more about the details once the lease is signed. I’m always nervous until all the paperwork is done. Yes, one shouldn’t sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde, but this is necessary. And, using the retrograde energy, this signage is about resolving unresolved issues.

And I can’t be held hostage by the planets. Things have to happen when they have to happen; you use the stars for guidance, but can’t be paralyzed out of fear. Does moving during the retrograde(s) mean this will be temporary? Well, I seriously doubt we will stay ten years, like we did with this place. It’s a terrific space, and a year-round community where people live their lives instead of groveling before tourists all the time, and it gives us a chance to catch our breaths and regroup.

Will things be slower and more frustrating during the retrogrades? Of course they will. I’m on edge, worried that there will be a major car repair in there, or that the move will be more than we can afford.

But this is necessary and feels right, as far as where we’re going.

Somehow, somehow, I have to make like a hockey player and dig deeper to get it all done. My mother is 96 – she can’t do as much as she used to, and I don’t want this move to kill her. She’s delighted we got the space (as am I). I am completely indebted to my friend Rebecca for finding the listing for us, and getting us all hooked up. Now, I have to come up with the resources to get it all done.

I will drop a note off to our neighbors down the street, inviting them to come by and see which plants they want. I have a bunch of stuff to upload to craigslist. Part of today is taking photos.

Monday, I packed, focusing on my office It finally looks like something’s getting done there. I ran out of boxes; I’m picking up more boxes this morning from U-Haul, both for misc. stuff/clothes and for books. Then, I will spend most of the day packing.

I turned In a script coverage, then read the one I will turn in today, and claimed two more. One of them was a project for which I was requested – the writer liked my feedback, did rewrites to the suggestions, and wants me to look at it again. I need to do at least 2 scripts a day between now and when we move, so that we have money coming in, and I also want to make sure I can give them my full attention when I’m reading them, so that I give them the best coverage possible.

Today is the first time in over a year I didn’t have to prepare to Die For My Employer. It felt both good and weird to wake up and know I didn’t have to do anything for the onsite client. I didn’t have to log in to the social media accounts, create direct responses, find inspirational quotes, or create a new email blast. The new person starts tomorrow, and I wish them all well. I think that configuration of people and talent is exactly what they need for this next cycle. This change is good for all of us.

Today is about packing, starting the conversation with the movers, booking my time with the mechanic, and script coverage work. I hope that the lease comes through today; then I can start dealing with the utility companies and get that all sorted.

Hopefully, the landlord will back off and give me the breathing room I need to get everything done. 20 days (hopefully) until we load the truck – I hope to book it for the 21st.

Fingers crossed I can stay on track, and that my physical and mental health holds up. Once we are in the new space, I’ve booked some recovery time. It’s the packing/loading/getting there that worries me, especially when it comes to cost.

Speaking of mental health, what’s happening to Naomi Osaka at the French Open is awful. She has the right to refuse those stupid press conferences while her attention needs to be on her work – playing tennis. If she needs to step back from the press during the Open, that is a valid choice. This attitude that she doesn’t have the right to set boundaries so she can do her best work is disgusting.

I hope there’s a huge backlash against the tournament organizers, and that sponsors pull out. They won’t, because they don’t support mental health, either, but I wish that’s what would happen.

Anyway, hold a good thought for me for the next few days.

Published in: on June 1, 2021 at 4:09 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worked on contest entries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend.

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

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

April Fool’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just keep at it, that’s all I can do.

Published in: on April 1, 2021 at 5:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 1, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 314 — The Mountain Looks Unconquerable From Here  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb

image courtesy of Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Weird few days, and I’m trying to keep a balance.

Did a focus group on Friday with the Arts Foundation (virtually). A lot of people had signed up, but only six women showed up. Six white women, and the lack of diversity did not pass me, at least, unnoticed. But it was a good conversation. There’s still a refusal to admit that if art is not seen as a viable profession, but simply a hobby, that artists cannot thrive. Not here, not anywhere. Only supporting rich artists who have second homes in this area isn’t going to help the artists that try to live and work here all year round. Until that is dealt with, it won’t get any better.

This being a beautiful place doesn’t make up for the lack of financial support and respect given to full time artists who LIVE HERE. There was a lot of talk about how art is an important economic engine for the Cape. THEN PAY ARTISTS A LIVING WAGE. Why should everyone BUT the artist be profiting?

I was both glad that I attended and frustrated.

Had a frustrating conversation with a potential new client with whom I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work. It was another of those inane interview questions from the HR HANDBOOK FOR THE STUPID. The question was “What achievement are you most proud of in the last year?”

Me: Survival.

Client: (nervous laugh): Well, you know, I mean, workwise.

Me: Survival.

Client: I mean, did you work, did you get anything done?

Me: Of course I did. I worked flat out since the start of the pandemic. Almost all remotely. But the most important thing was that we survived. I kept a roof over my head and food on the table and my family stayed ALIVE. There’s a pandemic going on. Everything else is secondary.

Client: Well, that doesn’t show much dedication to your work.

Me: I think we’re done here.

I mean, really, what an ass. It was a big red flag that the positive “work culture” this company supposedly touts is non-existent.

Another weird thing that happened: An envelope arrived from an unknown address in Mashpee. For those of you who don’t know the Cape, it’s about two towns closer to the canal/bridges than I am. When I opened it, a prayer card fell out and a typed letter.

The letter invited me to come and “celebrate the death of Jesus” at their evangelical church.

Um, what? Celebrate the death?

Now, it’s been a good many years since I was an Episcopalian, and even more years since I was an acolyte and did Holy Week services. But I remember MOURNING the death on Good Friday and CELEBRATING the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Even if I still was a Christian, which I am most certainly NOT, celebrating the man’s execution is not what Holy Week is about, at least not in any of the denominations I investigated before I became Episcopalian. As someone whose path has taken me in a far different direction than all of this bruhaha for Holy Week, the thought of celebrating a crucifixion makes me ill.

On top of that, why is a church direct mailing a bunch of random people? How did they get my name and address? It’s creepy.

Even further, there’s a pandemic. I’m not going to a large gathering, ESPECIALLY amongst creepy people like this who, I bet you dollars to doughnuts, don’t’ wear masks.

It’s very creepy and rather sickening.

I burned it all, just for good measure. In my cauldron, not in the fireplace, with rosemary, sage, and nettles.

Then I took a shower, because . . eeeeewwwwww.

I sent out a lot of LOIs on Friday – found an excellent market list of companies which interest me, researched them, and sent LOIs where appropriate.

A regular work-for-hire gig landed on my desk. But crunching the numbers – they want 15,000 words/week, but are only paying $400. That breaks down to 2c per word. 3000 words/day. In addition to that pay rate being appalling for the amount of work involved, at this point, until we are moved, I cannot imagine creating 3K/day. And I’m someone who regularly does 1-2.5K. Especially not for such low pay.

So that’s a pass.

The stimulus payments arrived; mine by check, my mom’s direct deposited – first time hers was a direct deposit. So that’s a relief.

Spent way too many hours in depressing rental listings. At least 45% of the ones showing up were scams, which was just so disheartening.

Finished one of the categories for the contest. Really, some delightful material.

Slept through the night Friday into Saturday for the first time in weeks.

Up early Saturday. Lots and lots of laundry. Took off the fleece sheets, washed them, packed them away until next winter. We’re back to flannel sheets, at least for this month. It’s still rather chilly most of the day.

Finished up the paperwork and the review of the winning entry in the category, and zipped the file.

Got out some LOIs. Hunted through more depressing rental listings.

Worked on packing. Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t sleep well Saturday into Sunday. Was awake by 2:30, worrying. My mom was sick Saturday night, which didn’t help.

Stumbled around Sunday, alternating between packing and working on contest entries. Some good stuff there.

Baked biscuits in the morning. Made chicken chow Mein from scratch for dinner.

Got depressed hunting through rental listings. Sent out more LOIs. Polished the paperwork for the category I finished judging.

It started raining in the late afternoon and was very windy. But we need the rain.

Celebrated the full moon.

Looking back at some of my favorite short stories that didn’t really work as a set of linked short stories, I think they might work better as novellas. Set in the same place, with some characters crisscrossing, but as stand-alone novellas. I don’t know when I can actually sit down and write them, but I’ll play with some ideas.

I’m not writing enough, other than marketing writing work, and it’s throwing the rest of me out of balance. But I feel like all my energy has to be focused on the move right now.

Was awake by 2:30 AM again Monday morning. Sent out some LOIs, looked at rental listings, sent out a few inquiries.

Had to send a couple of gentle nudges to interview sources for the article.  Looking for some additional sources, just in case.

I’m alarmed at the rise in local COVID cases, but not surprised at all. People are idiots. While it looks like we may have to move to a more populated area for at least the next year, I then want to go somewhere more unpopulated, so I can work remotely and avoid people.

Had to work onsite at a client’s yesterday. I was supposed to be on my own, but the other two showed up, and, once again, it was a battle to get them to follow basic COVID protocols. I’m getting sick of it. I’m tired of playing Russian Roulette with them.

It was busy and stressful, but I got a lot done, and I have a lot to get done remotely today before I have to go back in the office with them again tomorrow.

Came home and decontaminated. Was tempted to have a martini with lunch, but I had more work to do in the afternoon, so I didn’t.

Sent out more LOIs. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the article.

Had a depressing time looking at listings. I had a lovely exchange with a manager of an apartment complex in Hudson that’s lovely, but what she has is too small (and expensive for us). Still, I want to keep in touch. A house in Nashua that looked legit turned out to be yet another scam. There were about a dozen even more obvious scams I didn’t bother with, and way too much far out of our price range.

Leftovers for dinner, because I was too tired to cook. Watched some more DOC MARTIN.

At least I slept through the night, until Charlotte woke me around 4 AM. I have a big stack of client work today, along with a couple of errands, LOIs, article work, contest entries, looking for a home, and packing.

I’m trying to keep our spirits up, but it’s hard.

I didn’t get to send the information on the completed category yesterday, so that will go out tomorrow.

One step at a time, right?

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 5:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 30, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 312 — Steep Climb  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,