Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”

image courtesy of phoenixsierra0 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

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

Shoutout to my Twitter pal Jake, who has birthday today!

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got some decent writing done early in the morning. I headed out to my client’s. Unfortunately, we all overlapped and it was not comfortable. They are simply too lax for me to feel comfortable, especially with the way the numbers are rising.

I was glad to get home and do some serious decontamination. But it was unnecessarily stressful.

Remote Chat was fun.

My back bothered me, so I spent some time on the acupressure mat. But when I came back down, Office crashed AGAIN. This time, I didn’t get as skilled a tech and I ended up losing the afternoon while we tried to fix it. Finally, I managed to fix it, but by that time, I was in tears and so tired and frustrated I couldn’t get any more work done.

Office shouldn’t crash every damn week. This is why I hate PCs – they’re unreliable. I often said that investing in a Macbook was the reason I could switch to fulltime freelancing, and I stand by that. I regularly lost half my workday with the PC problems, and here it’s starting again. This computer – and the software – are barely six months old. I shouldn’t have constant problems. Nor should I have problems getting things fixed – I bought and paid for three years’ worth of coverage for everything.

As soon as I can afford a Macbook again, I will get one.

I lost all the time I had put aside to do the final proof of “Just Jump in and Fly” and to revise “Lockesley Hall.” I have to make up for that today, plus do at least one, maybe two ads for a client, plus write the next section on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I put down yet another cozy mystery and crossed yet another author off my list because she used “witch” as a slur. I’m sick of these white women pretending to support diversity and inclusion and then pulling this shit. In the same way “gypsy” and “Red Indian” are now recognized as slurs, calling someone “she’s such a witch” when you mean a mean person rather than a spellcasting badass who makes the world better is a slur. Not only is it a slur, it is a personal insult to me.

It’s one thing if a character uses it and the protag or core ensemble calls that person out or there’s accountability. But to act like it’s “just an expression” and something cute, fun, and contemporary that makes your character cool is unacceptable.

It proves you are NOT inclusive, promoting diversity, or tolerant. You’re a sham.

Write whatever you want – that’s your prerogative. But I will not purchase, read, or support authors who are hypocrites and who insult me. As is my right.

I am not your audience.

Zoom Meditation was great and helped a lot. I have bread on the rise – started it around 6 this morning. If I’m lucky, it will be done by noon.

A friend shared a sonnet she’s writing with me, for feedback. I was so honored. It’s a lovely piece, and i gave her the two points where it’s didn’t feel right, and she said it helped. Always glad to help friends with their work!

Peace, friends, and have a good day!

Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

There’s a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about not begging for work.

Yesterday was pretty satisfying, on a creative level. I started finally writing the Susanna Centlivre play yesterday, and I like the way it’s going, at least for a first draft. Working out a lot of it in my head before actually writing was helpful. I’m really delighted by the relationship between Susanna and Joseph.

I had to do a Trader Joe’s run. The lines are back to the length they were in April. The store was pretty well stocked, although, even on a Tuesday, already some items were selling out.

Since I was in the same plaza, I also dashed next door to Christmas Tree Shops for some more cookie tins. They’d sold out of the cute little trucks, but I found some others that are pretty and will do.

And bought some things I didn’t really need, but liked.

Came home, put the CTS stuff in quarantine, decontaminated the groceries and myself. And there was the morning. We’re back to it taking a half a day to do a couple of errands.

I got some client work done, some admin done. I’m spinning ideas for holiday ads for a client, but haven’t landed on the right one. Something with sparkles, but not sure how to pull it off yet.

Then, I worked on the revisions for “Just Jump in and Fly” which will be re-released after Thanksgiving for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a magical fantasy/comedy/romance short under the Ava Dunne name, playing with Yuletide myths, and is still one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote. I need to do one more proof, and then I can sign off on it.

I re-read “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, which is a holiday ghost story/romance I wrote a few years ago. I still like most of it. I need to add a couple of scenes to put in some more conflict, but that should be ready to re-release by the end of November, too.

Which, of course, meant I had to make changes on the links on the websites and, as new buy links go live, keep them updated.

I’m also working on the promo campaign for the shorts, and figuring out how to promote the TRINITY OF TEASERS, which is a free read of the first three chapters of the first book in each series.

It was a busy day. I should have gotten out some more LOIs, but I didn’t.

I reached for the pizza pan and somehow hurt my back again, which made me feel old and grumpy.

Received the next book for review, which is good.

Knowledge Unicorns was about steady work yesterday. They’ve had a lot of assignments piled up, with the workload increasing. It’s as though they’re being punished for learning online. But we spent some time on everyone’s assignments, offered support to each other and ideas, and I think they’re in good shape. ALL of their grades have gone up this year, since we’ve been working together. We – meaning the parents, the kids, and I – are working hard to make sure that this isn’t a negative, non-learning, back-sliding time, the way the “experts” who’d rather see kids go to school and die, just so they get their reopening numbers, claim. I spent a LOT of time every day looking for additional resources and tools and fun stuff to add to their curriculums, and to expand on what they’re supposedly learning. I don’t want them to feel restrained by online learning, but expanded.

The parent session after the kids are done is useful, too, and it’s nice to see the parents making virtual friends with each other and able to offer support.

But I admit, by the end of the sessions, I’m tired. So I can only imagine how exhausted the parents must be every day.

Watched AUNTIE MAME on DVD, the Rosalind Russell version. Wow, she’s good. Her timing, her ability to communicate multiple layers of meaning in a gesture, a glance, a pause. Truly wonderful. I didn’t like the way Ito was portrayed most of the time, although he had a couple of good scenes. The way Mame fought back against the anti-Semitism was good, but would be considered too subtle nowadays. It was a movie with a lot of contrasts and some inconsistencies, but Rosalind Russell was terrific.

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

Slept well, though. That’s a positive from the curfew. No drag racing to wake me up at 2 in the morning.

Getting some writing done this morning. Then I have to spend a few hours onsite at a client’s, then home to decontaminate, join Remote Chat, and proofread in the afternoon. Maybe, if the onsite escapade hasn’t stressed/worn me out completely, I can get some more writing done.

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday

image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and raw

Happy 96th birthday to my mom! I’m lucky she’s still here, and doing well.

Latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

The powers-that-be want to clear cut 170 acres of trees (which we need to, you know, breathe) near an aquifer in order to build a machine-gun training range.  I think that’s one of the dumbest ideas they’ve had lately.

170 acres destroyed for guns.

The stupid never stops around here.

Kids are getting sick in Barnstable and Bourne, yet they refuse to close the schools. They shouldn’t have opened them in the first place.

In-person learning is not more important than children’s lives. Or the lives of their teachers. Or the families, who then are exposed.

Dropped off a big bag of books at the library on my way to my client’s. it was quiet there, for most of my time, as it should be, with me on my own. Got a lot done. The boss came to overlap for the last hour or so, so we could catch up and do some planning. Our other colleague was out with a stomach bug.

There were two possible places to pick up the specific kind of cheesecake my mom likes. The first place – the entire large parking lot was filled. No line outside the store. Which meant that they were over capacity, not enforcing protocols, and not distancing.

I didn’t even get out of the car. I drove out of the lot and drove a few towns over, where a different store carries the same kind of cheesecake. It’s a bigger store, and there were only a few people in it, with plenty of space for all of us. I was in and out in just a few minutes, with only minor worries.

But the traffic! Backed up in both directions.

We’re in a pandemic, people. And it’s nearly November. We shouldn’t have traffic issues as though it was high season.

And people wonder why our numbers are steadily increasing. Yesterday was the 5th day in a row of new cases over 1000.

The Boston Marathon in April 2021 was postponed until at least fall. The right decision, absolutely, but it means they know we won’t be even close to out of this by next April.

Came home, decontaminated, was a little late for Remote Chat, but caught up.

The cats were all in a tizzy that I was gone all morning, so a good portion of the afternoon was spent with them.

I managed to get some admin work done, though.

I was up early this morning, wrapped my mom’s gift and wrote her a card. She’ll find it when she comes down.

I have meditation group with Concord Library via Zoom. Then, I’m making my mother Eggs Benedict (with salmon, not pork) for breakfast.

I’ll write most of the day; for dinner, she asked for my special turkey meatloaf, one of her favorites. And we have her cheesecake.

It should be a nice, quiet, but special day.

I need to buckle down and write a lot today. Let’s hope I can keep up the focus. I’d also like to finish the book for review, and write the review either later today or tomorrow, and get that off. That way, tomorrow, I can work on the pair of pitches I need to get out next week.

The last few days, researching companies, there haven’t been any to whom I wanted to send an LOI, so more research is needed.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which should be fun.

It’s amazing how Nano Prep Sense Memory always kicks in during October, ideas spinning, even when I have no intention of participating.

Just a reminder, if you are doing Nano and feel like you need some encouragement, 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS has prep suggestions and daily encouragements. It’s always free here.

Peace, friends!

Wed. Oct. 21, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 154 — Migraine

image by Hatice Erol courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and cool

I was not as productive as I would have liked yesterday. That seems to be the over-reaching theme lately, doesn’t it?

I’m still working on the Ink-Dipped Advice post. I hope to have it up later today.

I managed to salvage something from the restaurant screw-up. The food to which I’m allergic I gave to a neighbor. I’d never opened it and I’d stored it properly, so there was no contamination. Another bit I ate yesterday – it was poorly prepared and I felt nauseated after. The third item, something I never would have ordered and which was a complete screw up – well, I deconstructed it. I managed to use parts of it in a decent salad. The rest, I turned into stock. So it’s not a total loss. It’s not what I’d hoped or craved or paid for, but it’s different and still useful.

Crystal Bar Soaps actually shipped my order. Hopefully, it will arrive by next Thursday. We will see. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to do any of my holiday shopping there, because I can’t trust I will get things in time, even if I order early. So I’m re-thinking a few things and re-sourcing. I still don’t believe it should have taken four weeks and three emails to get an order shipped. I might still order from them occasionally, but only when I don’t have a deadline or a need. Although, if I don’t have a deadline or a need, there’s no reason to shop. Every dollar has a job, according to YNAB.

But, with any luck (and with all these retrogrades, that’s a long shot), it might actually get here in time for my mother’s birthday.

I scanned the utility bills, blocked out my personal information, and sent them to the landlord. I still am uncomfortable about it. My financial information with the utility company has nothing to do with the LANDLORD’s loan application. It’s not my loan; it’s his.

Woke up with an absolutely awful migraine this morning. It’s making it difficult to get anything done, but I have to push through.

I have to be out the door early today; I’m onsite at a client’s for a few hours (hopefully on my own) and then I have to take my mom in for her appointment to renew her driver’s license. She’s nervous.

Hopefully, I can make it back for remote chat, and then do some article work in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, I have to be up extra early to take my mom in for her bloodwork appointment. And then, I’m hoping to have some big swaths of time to write.

The dystopian writers warned us for at least a decade we were headed down this path. It’s also time, I believe, for art that not only bears witness to the atrocity and corruption, but shows the rebuilding into something more positive, even if we’re not yet sure how that looks like. We need to write, paint, dance, sing, create our way to a better reality.

Onward.

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

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

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

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

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope your day is good, too.

Published in: on October 8, 2020 at 5:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us  
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Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cooler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remote Chat was fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you have a peaceful day.

Published in: on October 1, 2020 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month  
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Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

Remote chat was fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Town does NOTHING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday!

Published in: on September 24, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 127 — Yet More Stupid  
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Wed. Sept. 23, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 126 — Darkness Lengthens

image by coleur courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and warmer

Yesterday was a fairly productive day. I got client work done, including getting the A/B ads out; got out a big stack of LOIs; managed to renew the car registration online (and it actually worked), backed up the computer with my the Seagate external drive. I have to say, I prefer Time Machine.

I put the new black toner into the big printer. That should give me 3K pages. It was a bit of a battle; I had trouble getting it in. But I managed. The instructions were useless.

Did a nice chunk of work on JUST A DROP, folding in my friend’s notes, and finding a few other things to tweak. I checked with the theatre to whom I plan to send it – yes, they do accept both one-acts and full-lengths. All of a sudden, I worried that they only wanted one acts.

I’m steadily increasing time on the exercise bicycle. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, either. But I need the exercise. Weight training is back in the mix, on Mondays and Thursdays, too, along with the twice daily yoga and meditation. It’s slow progress, and there’s that voice inside my head that lambasts me for not buckling down during the Stay-At-Home to get fit, but pandemic stress has derailed just about everything for me.

Don’t even get me started on what’s going on in the country. I have plenty of opinions, but nothing of real value to add to the conversation. I’m doing what work I can and not getting drawn in to the stupid.

Using the “unfollow” and “block” buttons a lot on social media. Unfollowed someone who followed me and is supposedly a yoga/wellness person. First interaction – her “publicist” sends me a DM trying to sell me something. Nope. Bye.

Finished the latest book I was reading in the series I liked, but the like is fading. Not only am I insulted by her dislike of theatre and theatre people, and don’t like that the protagonist is getting a self-righteous stick up her ass, the protag is getting weaker as the series progresses and dumber, instead of stronger and smarter. I’m not talking about being more vulnerable – I’m talking situations that she used to handle, she’s now falling apart and expecting a man to come and fix it. She’s scared of everything, she makes stupid decisions, she doesn’t learn from previous dangerous experiences, and she’s no longer getting herself out of bad situations. I also don’t like the trope that’s becoming more and more central where she only “realizes” she has feelings for one or the other of the two men in love with her when some other woman is interested in them. I think that’s toxic. I also predict an arc unfolding in the next few books where a love interest shows up for one of her love interests, and she suddenly “realizes” that he’s actually the one she wants, rather than the other guy who’s also in love with her and does stuff for her all the time, but she only “realizes” how deep her feelings for him still run when she sees another woman interested in him.

Again, like the other series I’ve been reading, where I liked early books and then felt they turned vicious and leaned into white privilege, I’m learning as much from what bothers me about the books, the series, and the genre, as I learn from the books I like. That matters.

The Knowledge Unicorns met last night. With our tiaras. It was fun. Working on assignments, talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and death, and all that she fought for before she was even nominated to the Supreme Court. We really have an awful education system that’s not about learning, It’s unfair to teachers and kids. And, in this context, the flaws come out even further.

Mabon ritual was good. It steadied me, somewhat. The Mars Retrograde is kicking my ass, especially paired with Saturn retrograde. The next six days will be rough, until Saturn goes direct. I mean, the entire Mars retrograde will be rough, but once Saturn is out of the mix, it will ease up a little. Of course, we have Mercury going retrograde in a few weeks to look forward to, so it’s just going to suck all the way around for awhile.

Today I have to go onsite for a few hours, overlapping with other people (ick). Then, it’s Remote Chat, and more client work, and more work on JUST A DROP, plus whatever else I can fit into the afternoon. More writing. I have to get back on track and get more writing in every day, whether I feel like it or not. Because I don’t have the luxury of not getting it done.

The dark is longer than the light from now until Winter Solstice. I actually enjoy this time of year, but I suspect a lot of people will struggle with longer dark paired with pandemic pressure. I’m looking forward to cozy sweaters and comfort food and hot cocoa and good books, carving out a few hours of nested solitude every night to help me keep equilibrium.

Published in: on September 23, 2020 at 5:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 23, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 126 — Darkness Lengthens  
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Wed. Sept. 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 119 — Scattered and Frustrated

image courtesy of HeungSoon via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was just all over the place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am so done with so much right now.

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

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

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

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

Theatre Scripts

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

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

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

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

Knowledge Unicorns

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

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

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

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

Peace, friends.

Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Published in: on September 10, 2020 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies  
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Wed. Sept. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 105 — Keep on Keeping On

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image courtesy of MabelAmber via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s oil change was a nightmare in a place that didn’t follow ANY safety protocols – only I couldn’t get out once the car was in the bay until they were done. I am furious. The company lies and the employees are a bunch of anti-mask COVIDIOTS. I will not go back there unless I have no other choice.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they sabotaged the car because I was wearing a mask. We will see, over the next few days.

Home, extra disinfectant protocols (to scrub off the scum),

Admin work, client work, article work, getting out press releases for Grief to Art.

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The allergies are really, really bad. Sneezing like crazy, runny nose, itchy eyes. Finally broke down last night and took anti-allergy medicine, which knocked me out so I could sleep.

Some decent writing yesterday; not sure what today will bring. I have to go onsite for a client, which is always more stressful than it needs to be. I need to replace this client, and I’m working on it.

Read the first book in a series where I’d read the fourth book a week or so ago and really liked it. Unfortunately, this book uses a slur like it’s something common and normal – which, even if people do it, we should know better by now and it shouldn’t be accepted. I felt slapped in the face and so disappointed. I’d gotten other books by this author out of the library; not sure if I’ll read them. I was annoyed by the slur, and the character seemed a little weak to me – although, since I liked this character so much in book 4, maybe it was simply the starting point for growth.

Those “share the first sentence of your WIP” or “give us an excerpt of your WIP” are running around again. No. Just no. First of all, my publisher is very specific about not sharing unedited work on anything that’s contracted, and that’s something I respect. Second, why would I blow first rights on a social media game? Third, why would I “share” unedited work? WIPs are just that – working drafts. As a reader if someone splatters their unedited work out there, it immediately defines them, to me, as unprofessional. Self-published or not. And reading an excerpt that’s a hot, unedited mess is more likely to turn me off an author than be a marketing tool that works on me.

I’m all for sharing work privately with Trusted Readers for feedback — but not splattering it on the internet. Some random read-by opinion is not going to help me shape/fix/hone the work.

Excerpts are great – of edited material that’s about to be or has just been published. But I skip the WIP splatters. Not for me, as a writer OR a reader.

On a happier process note, I figured out how to fix a problem I’ve been having in one of my own manuscripts. I wanted the title to be a pun on a show title. I realized I could do that by simply changing the murder victim’s name, and have his new name be the pun in the title. A simple fix that makes all the difference. Why it took me several months to figure out, who knows? I’d like to blame pandemic brain, but that’s too easy.

A call for submission landed on my desk for a nine-month script development project. I think I will submit one of the pieces I did for the 365 Women clearing house – either the play on Giulia Tofana or Lavinia Fontana. The Tofana piece needs more work; it might not get chosen for just that reason, but the stated reason is to work and develop the piece over nine months, and that’s the piece of mine which would benefit most from a long development process, so I think I will risk it. I’ll do another pass on it this weekend, before I submit.

If I don’t try, there’s not chance at all, right?

Pulling together material for the next few weeks of the Knowledge Unicorns homework group (they came up with the name and a logo and want to study the Octopus as a special project for September). The group officially starts next week.

I wanted to participate in the virtual Spark by the Freelancers Union tonight. The closest meeting is the Brooklyn chapter and that’s full (how can a virtual meeting be full?) and I feel strange about signing up for the DC meeting, so I guess I’m not doing it this time around. Oh, well.

At least there’s Remote Chat today. Then, I need to polish my article to send off on deadline tomorrow, and work on my review.

The weather’s been lovely the past few days. Perfect temperature, low humidity. I’ve enjoyed working out on the deck in the afternoons. Yes, taking the cats out in their playpens.

I have to put in another Chewy order this week. Those little dickenses eat a lot!

Results are coming in from yesterday’s primary. So far, so good. Let’s hope the ballots for the general election arrive on time.

Tomorrow, I have to set up a bunch of medical appointments, and also set an appointment so my mom can renew her driver’s license next month and we can renew the car’s registration. Good thing I have the Llewellyn money coming in to cover it.

Back to the page for me, and I hope you have a lovely Wednesday.

Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 99 — Virtual Inspirations

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image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cooler

I talk about the garden and the garden-planning software experiments over on today’s Gratitude and Growth post.

Day 2 of a Migraine. I’m grumpy.

I’m also angry. We have a catastrophic hurricane about to hit the gulf, and the people who are supposed to be helping their citizens are holding Hate Rallies instead. Not that this is new and different from anything in the past four years, but it’s revolting.

Not to mention angry about the Kenosha shooting and how the white boy terrorist is being celebrated, while a black man was shot seven times in the back. This is unacceptable.

My mom wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so that took up a lot of the day. She’s better today, thank goodness. It seems to be a medication issue.

I went in to the client’s for a couple of hours, but left to come home and deal with my mother and doctors, barely overlapping with other colleagues, which meant avoiding dealing with their ever-laxening safety protocols.

Remote chat was fun.

Got some solid client work done. Not enough done on my article. Have to buckle down today with it. Curbside pickup at the library. Follow-up on a few things.

Signed up for an online meditation session with NYU Alumni chapter in LA for mid-September. I like that there area virtual events we can participate in all over the world. I wanted to attend a talk done by NYU Shanghai, but I couldn’t figure out the time difference. Too much math for me. And the international dateline. So I’ll skip it for now.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

I’m playing with a wacky marketing idea for one of my clients. It combines product and micro fiction. I have to use photos we already have, because we don’t have the resources to get more, and build a story around them. I need to get it storyboarded in the next couple of days and out to the client early next week. It’s fun, but definitely a challenge.

My friend sent me the overview for the series she’s developing. I’ll take a look at that today.

I have to get an oil change either today or tomorrow – not looking forward to that stress.

I will take in my mother’s ballot to the secure ballot box. I still have not received mine, and the Town Clerk, who is supposed to handle these things, is refusing to respond. If I owned a mansion in Hyannisport or Osterville, I would have gotten an answer the same day the first time I contacted the office. But that’s the way Barnstable runs. Unless you’re rich or a tourist, you don’t matter.

I was delighted to attend theMetropolitan Museum of Art’s virtual event last night. Yes, it was a giant, hour-long commercial to encourage people back to the museum in person when it re-opens this weekend. At the same time, I was impressed at their planning and implementation, both during the pandemic, and moving into the phase of re-opening where people can come back to the museum. If our national government had bothered to sit down and come up with a plan, we’d be going about our lives, and without 180,000 dead. But then, the museum has leadership, intelligence, and creativity, which our government does not.

I was also very excited by the five artists in residence as part of the Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence program. I want to know more about the work of all five artists, took notes, and will be connecting with their work however possible.

I was a little worried that the Met was getting staid and stuck in the past, but with Max Hollein coming in as director, it looks like it’s moving forward. I hope they continue online programs, because I would love to keep participating and experiencing the museum virtually, since I can’t visit. It would be worth buying a membership.

Their educational programs are also exciting, and I’m going to see if I can incorporate them into my online homework group that starts September 8. That made me decide to check out educational programs offered by the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, too. I’ll go even further afield, and see if I can find online programs at organizations that are relevant to what the kids are studying.

My main focus today has to be my article and the micro fiction marketing project.

An article I read in YANKEE magazine yesterday about Green Mountain College closing sparked an idea for a story. I’m going to take some notes and then put it aside. I’m juggling enough pieces.

I also want to do more work on the book for NYU’s book club, and finish the book for review.

So I’d better get to it, hadn’t I, and hope the migraine eases?

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