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.

Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was not a particularly productive day. It was mostly built around rental listings and inquiries. Saw a house that fits our budget, location, and price parameters that didn’t seem like a scam, so sent an inquiry on that, too. We’ll see. It seems low-priced for the area, but then, so is where we are now.

Saw an overpriced, absolutely mediocre house in a mediocre neighborhood (that had a nice kitchen, though) – but their demand is that anyone who wants to rent it earns a “minimum” of $114K/year. Are they high?

The Sagamore Bridge is down to one lane in each direction for bridge work, which also puts more pressure on the Bourne Bridge. The traffic is already back to summer pre-pandemic levels, so getting on and off Cape is difficult. It’s very frustrating.

Got some client work done, caught up on some correspondence, worked on contest entries. This category I’m working on has fierce competition. What a pleasure to read strong book after strong book!

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

Got a bit of packing done. Charlotte “helped”, Tessa kept wanting to unpack what was packed, Willa’s not sure about it all.

Stress baked chocolate chip cookies because I was stressed and wanted chocolate chip cookies. Might as well keep enjoying the kitchen while we’re here.

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

Got a request for further information from a potential client, so we’ll see.

Was very disappointed by a company whose products I’d liked for years. We started discussions about the possibility of me doing some copywriting for them – but they want unpaid samples. Nope. So not only am I moving on, I will no longer be a customer. If that’s how they treat employees, while promoting themselves as a company out to do “good” in the world – hypocrites, and I won’t work for them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are digging in, just trying to make it through the end of the school year, although some of them don’t know when that will be. Dates keep getting changed. Schools that are back to in-person learning keep having to switch back to remote because of COVID outbreaks. I’m glad we’re all staying strong, and the kids won’t go back in person this year no matter WHAT the pressures are.

The parents are starting to get their vaccine appointments, and, hopefully, in a few months, vaccines for the kids will be approved, and they can, too.

Today will be stressful, having to be onsite at a client’s, but then I have Remote Chat to which to look forward, and I am.

Have a lovely day, and please spare a positive house-and-hearth thought for me, if you can.

Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

I’ve got a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

The thought that soon, I might not have a garden at all, saddens me.

Yesterday was busy. I had to be onsite with a client, and I actually had to say, “If you kill me with COVID, I can’t finish this by deadline. Please put your mask on.” I shouldn’t have to do that. This whole “I’m vaccinated, so to hell with you” is enraging.

Busy there, got a lot done, have to put in some more hours today and tomorrow, but remotely.

I have some paperwork to fill out with a new client, and then we’ll get started next week. It’s freelance, so it will ebb and flow, but the work sounds interesting, so we’ll see.

Came home, decontaminated, enjoyed Remote Chat.

Did some more client work, looked at rental listings. One of the most frustrating things about the rental agents is that they don’t listen. They don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I send them, or any of my needs.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have meditation group, and then have to get client work done, work on the paperwork for the new client, and finish my article, so I can get it to my editor. I need to get at least one article pitch out, maybe two. More LOIs, more rental listings.

I’m feeling a little discouraged today. But all I can do is make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Waning Moon

No idea about the weather; it’s still dark out.

No graphic today. There’s nothing that encapsulates the combination of determination and despair I feel.

Busy weekend.

Friday was frustrating. I tried to book a vaccine appointment for this week. But, although, as of yesterday, I am eligible, the system did not update the eligibility categories for this week’s appointments. They’re not doing it until this week.

Which meant I wasn’t actually eligible, and, as usual, they lied.

So, no appointment for me this week. Hopefully, they’ll release more appointments on Thursday, and I can book something for next week.

Worked on Friday, then packed and worked on contest entries.

Did a dump run and a grocery run, decontaminated.

Responded to the friend of a friend of a friend’s email about her house; haven’t heard back yet, but, fingers crossed. Dealt with at least another dozen scams. The scams take so much time and energy.

Woke up Saturday morning to a sprinkling of snow on the roofs and the yard. Not much, quickly melted, but snow.

Saturday was about packing, laundry, and housework. I packed the built-in from my office – teapot collection, things I’ve collected through the years that I keep around to keep my spirits up.  Ordered a roll of bubble wrap and more tape, but also had to run out and buy another roll of bubble wrap. So I had to go through decontamination and all that, and it set me back.

Packed the gardening books and magazines. Tossed a lot of stuff I didn’t need.

Did the laundry, cleaned the house.

Client sent something around 5 PM Saturday that she wants done; I responded on Monday morning, assuring her it would go out that day. I am not on call, especially not on a holiday weekend.

Found out I didn’t get a fellowship for which I applied. Which is fine, because it was a long shot, and, at least I tried.

Easter Sunday, I packed up the cookbooks (except for one). The kitchen looks and feels totally different without the cookbooks. Packed some more decorations. Found a suitcase in the storage room full of clothes I’d never unpacked when we moved here. Sorted through it – stuff that still fits that I like, stuff that doesn’t, that I’ll give away. Repacked the suitcase with stuff from my closet.

Worked on contest entries. I’m through almost all the print books in the second category, and then I can finish the digital books. It will be hard to make the final choices. There’s quite a stack of really strong possibilities.

Looked at rental listings and got depressed.

Purged and tossed a bunch of stuff I don’t need. There’s another dump run coming up this week, or early next week, I think.

Worried about a good friend who has COVID.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, so that was good. The leftovers will make some good meals.

Had a few false starts on the article.

Up early on Monday.  Wasn’t feeling well at all. Managed a run to Trader Joe’s; home, decontaminated, turned around some client work. Sent out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries.

Rental listings depressing.

Fell asleep in the afternoon (I told you I wasn’t feeling well). Felt a little better after that.

Watched some short films written by Alan Bennett. Both funny and sad. In between the books I’m being paid to read, I’m still reading novels by Ovidia Yu, which I really enjoy. The series set in Singapore in 1936 is wonderful. I’m learning a lot about the history of the region, and she’s so skillful in the way she weaves it into the story.

Up early this morning. I have a lot of client work to get through today, and then I need to finish my article and send it to my editor.

Two companies responded to my LOIs with demands for unpaid, project-specific work samples, I sent them my contract for that. No doubt, I’ll never hear from either of them again, and that’s just fine with me. Ethical companies do not have unpaid labor as part of a hiring process. I have massive portfolio samples across a wide range of topics. Use critical reading skills. Or pay me for project-specific samples. Otherwise, we’re not a match.

Onward.

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.

Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath

image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a pretty productive day. Got out some LOIs. Got a couple of errands done. Decontaminated.

Switched over to client work and got several projects out.

Got some of my interview quotes in. I might have enough to finish the article, or I might send out one more request. Was really happy to get a quote from someone I’d worked with on Broadway, back in the day.

Got the article back from my editor at a magazine with quick turnaround edits – only it was the wrong version of the article.  The day after I sent her the first version, I’d gotten a really good quote from a source and reworked the article to include it, also tightening up a few other things. I’d addressed some of the things she brought up in the first version. Anyway, I reminded her of the second version and sent it again. She’s looking at it, so I will probably get it back at some point today and have to turn it around right away. Just sit there and get it done, right? She loves the piece, which is good.

Rental listings were disappointing. Still way too many scams. I’m forwarding some of the scams to the appropriate Attorneys General offices, so they can deal with them. A house in which we were interested turned out to only be a short-term rental, so that won’t work.

Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get enough packing done. But I just keep chipping away at it. We will live amongst boxes for a bit, so when we do land a place, it’s just about getting the truck.

It’s very stressful.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They are ready for Spring Break next week.

I’m facing a stressful day on site at a client’s today, no doubt battling to keep COVID protocols in place. Then, I’ll decontaminate, hopefully do Remote Chat, and turn my article around.

Playing with some short fiction ideas, just so I don’t lose that ability completely. I can’t really focus until we’re moved.

Will probably limit online time tomorrow, because I loathe April Fool’s Day. Far too many of the “pranks” are cruel.

Have a good one.

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?

Fri. March 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 308 – We Took Down the Horse Tapestry

image courtesy of shell_ghostcage via pixabay.com

Friday, March 26, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and windy

Yesterday turned out to be a “good busy” day. Meditation was good, got some client work and LOIs out. Got out another round of interview requests for the article. I’m writing some of it in my head already, and will probably get some of it on paper today. The quotes, when I get them, may change my vision of it a bit, but we’ll see.

We took apart the two beds in the back room and stacked the mattresses, headboards, footboards, slats, etc. This gives us room to stack boxes as we pack them. Packed up a bunch more boxes, too. You know it’s serious when we take down the horse tapestry from the back room, and that’s what we did. Took it down, rolled it up, it’s ready to go.

I tweaked my back taking the beds apart, because of course I did.

Spent time on listings; nothing. What’s available is so far out of our price range, it’s ridiculous. And townhouses/apartments are even more expensive than houses.

Worked on contest entries. Will finish one category today, and get the top choices out this weekend, as I keep working on the other two categories. Also have to read the next book for review.

It was so lovely outside that I put Willa in her playpen and took her on the deck for an hour or so. She got to spend time safely enjoying the outdoors, while I read a book by Ovidia Yu and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was a nice breath in the day. We didn’t get the rain we needed, but now we’re supposed to get it today.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s tired and stressed. I hope they’re not going to extend the school year well into summer. Everyone needs a break, so they can start fresh in autumn.

The virus numbers on Cape Cod are going up again. I mean, they’re going up for the state in general, but Cape Cod’s numbers are double the rest of the state, and we’re a red zone again. Not surprising, when you see how badly people are behaving, and ignoring the mask mandate.

Today, I have client work, LOIs, contest entries, book review, packing. And I’m doing a focus group with the Arts Foundation in the late morning; after that, I will have to do a run to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

We started watching the Doc Martin series. It’s so odd and funny. We spent time in Cornwall in 1999, and the patchwork of familiar places they’ve stitched together for the locations is lovely to watch.

I have to send a reminder to a client to send me some information today, so I can work on it Monday and Tuesday for approval Wednesday to make a deadline. If she waits until next Wednesday to give it to me, I can’t get it done by deadline.

The weekend will be about packing and working on contest entries. And looking at rental listings, hoping I can come up with something. Fingers crossed.

I wish I knew someone with a spare house they were willing to rent to us for a year or so, but that only happens in fiction, unfortunately.

Anyway, we should have some nice weather, so I might put a couple of chairs and the wind chimes out on the deck and work on contest entries outside. Today is supposed to be stormy and icky, so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

Hopefully, next week I can book my vaccine appointment for the following week.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. Dec. 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 223 — Trying To Hold On, These Last Few Days

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020

Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Fourth Day of Christmas (Four Calling Birds)

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa (Day of Cooperative Economics)

Sunny and cold

There’s a post over on the GDR site to make you feel better about the year and the turn of it.

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

If you haven’t read the fun pieces in the Weird Christmas anthology (including mine), you can read or listen to them here.

It was stormy here, but we were tucked inside, with blankets and cats and candles and books, so all was fine.

Christmas Eve, I got some admin done and some LOIs out. I got out my review, and received the next two books for review. I played with some ideas.

For dinner, I made cod paella. Talk about a Cape Coddish version of paella! The cooking wasn’t bad at all, but the chopping – let’s just say I should have started far earlier! But it was the christening of my new paella pan, and it turned our really, really well. Dessert was chocolate and lemon mouse, layered.

While I prepared the paella, as I listened to Christmas carols on the radio, a particularly passionate rendition of “O Holy Night” gave me an idea for a short story, set in NYC.

We burned our bayberry candle for prosperity and good luck as we opened presents. I think it’s hilarious that one of my friends and I made each other potholders. Because we both bake so much!

Settled in, Icelandic-style, to read.

Up early Christmas Day, thanks for Charlotte. We did stockings, and I made scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. Usually, we have scrambled eggs with Panettone, but I couldn’t find one that looked good this year, and I used up the only fruit peel I had in the stollen.

I noodled with the story idea I’d had the night before, and worked on another piece, too, for something I’m looking ahead to do next year.

Mostly, though, we read and played with cats. I didn’t want to be on the computer, because I expected the power to go out any minute.

I made Cornish hen for the big, midday meal. Somehow, an entire 5-pound bag of potatoes disappeared in the last few days. But we had enough left over from the other bag to make mashed potatoes. However, I’ll need to get more before New Year’s. I don’t know how 5 pounds of potatoes could vanish from the kitchen, but, somehow, they managed. I also made the carrot-parsnip-mushroom dish, which was good.

Stollen for dessert.

We cleaned up the kitchen, put away the leftovers, and I cooked down the bones from the Cornish hens for stock.

One of the books I read was Christina Baker Kline’s THE EXILES. What a sad, beautiful book.

Got a notice from Amazon that they lost my package. So – when I’m looking at the print books I wanted to buy (and give my acquaintance her few affiliate cents) – they GURANTEE it will be here by Dec. 21. Once I actually BUY the books, it changes to “estimated” by Dec. 21. On the 21, it was “delayed” and would arrive between the 22-24. On the 25th, they tell me it’s “lost.”

That’s what I get for breaking my vow not to buy anything except eBooks from Amazon. They really are a vile company.

If I ask for a refund, they’ll just double-charge me, like they did last time.

I’ll wait a few more days to see if the books show up. Fortunately, they weren’t anything I counted on in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, the velvet fabric I ordered on Christmas Eve – shipped on Christmas Eve.

Up early Saturday morning, thanks to Charlotte. Who, of course, promptly went back to sleep as soon as I fed her.

Noodled on a short story for a bit, then got the laundry and usual Saturday household chores started. It was nice out – I put the outdoor decorations I’d taken inside during the high winds back out.

Read a lot. I’m reading Laurie Cass’s bookmobile cat mysteries. They are fun. She captures the way cats behave well, and it’s nice to have an upbeat, positive protagonist instead of one all angsty all the time.

Worked with Tessa and Willa for a few hours, so they get used to having good experiences in the same room together. Willa wants to be friends, but Tessa doesn’t trust her, because sometimes Willa forgets and plays too rough. But we will get there.

Leftovers on Saturday night (yum), and more reading.

Up early on Sunday, again thanks to Charlotte. Baked cranberry-chocolate muffins. Wrote a short story, just under 1500 words, start to finish. It will need a lot more work, but I like the bones of it.

Did an early morning Target run. The holiday shelves were bare – they already removed everything instead of marking it down. I searched for bins – there were only two bins left in one of the sizes I needed, so I grabbed them. They were sold out of all the other bins I need, and one can’t order them to ship. Which is why I sucked it up to do the Target run in the first place–because I couldn’t order the bins online. So I am SOL for bins in my budget. Picked up a few other staples, and checked out. Risked going across the street to Kmart – again, no bins. The store will close soon and it’s just. . .depleted and sad.

Home, decontaminated. I was out and about early enough so there were only about 5 other people in Target and two in Kmart, so I could stay far, far away.

Read, worked with the cats. Depressed myself looking at rental listings. Too many are overpriced crap. Allowed myself a quiet day. Leftovers for dinner.

Up early on Monday. Worked on a short story. I’m trying to do a short piece for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. They’re linked, but each stands alone. It’s an idea I have for next year. It’s also a way to get the creative juices flowing properly again.

Worked on the ghost ship story. I SHOULD have finished a draft over the holidays so I’d polish now. But I gave myself a rest.

Went to the office for a few hours. I was there on my own, as it should be, and got a lot done. Had to chase down the postman to take the package. Most of the post office workers around here are great, but this one guy on the office’s route – he’s arrogant, won’t wear a mask, and tries to get out of picking up or dropping off mail to us all the time. I can’t stand him.

Had dropped off books at the book drop in the morning. At least 3 dozen people wandering around on their “walks” – no masks, no distancing. It’s disgusting.

Home, had to take my mother to the doctor, which meant I had to put off the writing and editing planned. But she’s better, and that’s what matters

This morning, up early, worked on a short story. Went to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling, so we don’t start the new year with a garage full of garbage. Stopped at the grocery store for a few things – everyone’s sold out of leeks for the past two weeks. The world will not stop because I can’t make the leek and cheese pastries for New Year’s – I’ll make them later in January.

I’m getting ready to do some writing and editing, to catch up on yesterday, and then some client work in the afternoon. I started the day feeling pretty optimistic, but that melted away pretty quickly, and I have to work to get it back. I hope a good writing session will help.

Have a terrific Tuesday!