Wed. June 2, 2021: Transition Day 7 — Packing

image courtesy of David Nisley via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Well, we’re percolating along here, but it feels like wading through molasses. The box inventory estimate is staggering, and I’m terrified to submit it to the movers, but I need to know the possibilities and then adjust from there. I’ve come up with Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, depending on the estimates. We’ll see which plan works with the budget.

Simply “getting rid” of the library and the things I’ve spent decades building, the way so many are gleefully telling me is my “only” choice – nope. I AM getting rid of a lot, and it feels good. It feels very, very good. But the library I’ve spent decades building, which I actually USE on a regular basis – I will figure out a way to get it into storage that I can afford.

Picked up boxes from U-Haul – will have to pick up more book boxes today, and some tape from Staples. Staples LOST my order of bubble wrap – it went onto the truck on the 30th for delivery supposedly yesterday, and they have no idea where it is. So, REPLACE IT, YOU IDIOTS. Don’t tell me I have to “apply” for a refund and then reorder. REPLACE WHAT YOU LOST AND GET IT TO ME.

Idiots.

Mercury Retrograde. Deep breath, deal, move on.

There’s finally progress in my office. I’m hoping we can finish packing it today. I’m throwing out a lot, and the garage is doubling as a staging area. Next week, I will take a lot of stuff, especially books and clothes, for donation.

Still didn’t get the photos up on craigslist – have to do that today. I have some plants to get down and put on the deck, so they can be taken.

Started packing my clothes and stacking those boxes. Found a lot of stuff that can be given away; it doesn’t fit and/or I don’t like it. So I’ve been washing what needs to be washed and packing the clothes, which will get donated, along with the books, next week.

Got the appointment to have the car checked out; let’s hope they don’t find anything major. Every last cent left will have to go to the move, at this point.

Was paid by the script reading job. That feels good. But I have to keep on pace or pick up the pace, so that we have money coming in all month.

The landlord got the insurance company to back off, so that’s a breath. Boundaries are a good thing.

We’re supposed to move into a heat wave this week; I hope it takes longer to get down to Cape Cod. I don’t do well in hot weather.

Read two scripts for coverage in the afternoon, once I’d packed my fill. I look back at when we moved here, and I was packing 50 boxes/day – but I had the luxury of being able to take off work at that point, and just pack. Plus, we were driving back and forth every day for a month, which we can’t do in this case.

Plus, I was ten years younger.

My knees and hip sockets are screaming most of the time.

Do what you have to, though, right?

Doing the script coverage, typing up the furniture inventory, and gathering quotes.

Busy day. From now until we arrive at the new destination, it will be like this, flat out. I just have to deal with each task as it comes.

The other thing I’m forcing myself to do is rest when I’m tired, rather than work until I collapse. Resting, recharging, and going back to it helps.

The lease hasn’t arrived yet, which makes me nervous.

Peace, friends, and any positive Moving Mojo you can send me is appreciated.

Published in: on June 2, 2021 at 4:21 am  Comments (4)  
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Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress

image courtesy of Garoch via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

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

Busy, busy, busy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was still a little disconcerting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on June 1, 2021 at 4:09 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Transition Day 6: Transitions, Packing, Working, Stress  
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Wed. May 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 368 — Last Day On Site

image courtesy of Jose Antonio Alba via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Full Moon

Lunar Eclipse

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and warm

Today is my last day onsite with my local client. It’ll be interesting to see how that all shakes out. I started there in October of 2017. Definitely time for a change.

I was up way too early yesterday, although I got some sleep. Puttered around, read, not being very productive. Gearing up, mentally and physically, for an intense weekend of packing, although I do intend to give myself breaks here and there.

I went into the office for a few hours, to clean up some stuff and to work on the Cheat Sheets with instructions of how to do various things that I’m leaving my replacement.

Dropped off a stack of library books. Swung by CVS to get a new pair of clip-on sunglasses for the summer. Nothing really fit properly, but I have something with which I can get by.

Typed up and sent off script coverage on two pilots. Read a feature, which I didn’t like at the beginning, but loved by the end. I will write that up and send it off today.

Not sure how much coverage I will take on in the next few days. Tomorrow is busy, and then there’s Memorial Day weekend. Maybe I’ll do one or two more? Last week, I had a really solid coverage week; this week is a little less due to the house hunting. There are some interesting things coming up via the agency, but I’m hesitant to take anything that intense on until we’re moved. That may make June a lean month, and I need it to be a lucrative one. But if I break my health, it will derail the move and set us back further.

We have an appointment to see a place tomorrow that seems perfect. Fingers crossed that it really is the right place for us, and that the landlord likes us well enough to rent it to us. The space is great, the price is perfect, and the location is a good place for our next chapter.

I hope I don’t run out of boxes for the packing.

I also need to purge more.

It took me 35 minutes to drive 8 miles yesterday to get to the office. We are already at July levels of traffic, and the incoming tourists are ruder and meaner than ever. Everyone here is expected to Die for Tourist Dollars starting this weekend.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are exhausted, scared, and excited to end the school year and start their summer. The parents are all just exhausted. Last session tomorrow.

Hold a good thought for me that tomorrow goes well.

All these retrogrades, and I have to make major life changes. But retrogrades are about resolving unresolved issues, and what’s a bigger unresolved issue than not knowing where we’ll live for the next cycle?

Peace, friends.

Published in: on May 26, 2021 at 4:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 368 — Last Day On Site  
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Tues. Jan. 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 251 — Handling Each Thing as It Comes

image courtesy of Dzoko Stach via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Waxing Moon

Flurries/rain mix/cold

If you love encyclopedias as much as I do, or wonder WHY anyone would love an encyclopedia, I have a post about that up over on A Biblio Paradise.

It feels weird to have no retrogrades, but that will end on Saturday. Mercury goes into retrograde, and I’m not looking forward to it. I always dread it, but there’s so much that needs to get done; losing three weeks to a complicated retrograde is worrisome.

I would prefer to stay under the covers for the duration, but that is not an option. So I will shut up as much as possible and keep working on purging the basement.

Got an email early Friday morning about a new editor at a publication for which I recently started writing. Sent the introductory email to her, and then buckled down to finish the article that was due at the end of the day. I got it off at 5:03 – but the editor is in California, so it was still her workday, thank goodness. I hate being one of those people, who sends things just after the workday ends on a Friday.

Anyway, I got a lovely email from her about working together. I mulled over ideas over the weekend, and sent her some pitches yesterday, although with my willingness to be assigned articles as well as pitches.

I actually had a positive experience with a recruiter! Will wonders never cease! It’s for a 7-8 month writing assignment at an excellent rate. We had a good conversation, and I signed the representation agreement for this particular assignment. He actually answered my questions, and we had a conversation ranging along several topics, which gave us a good sense of each other.

An old family friend stopped by (on his way from Foxboro to Provincetown). He’d been cleaning out his basement and found two boxes of books from my grandmother and thought I’d want them. We followed health and safety protocols – especially since he had COVID last month, although he was asymptomatic.

And the books! They include the Daphne du Maurier books (one of the reasons we went to Cornwall back in 1999, because of her books), and books by Tolstoy, and more! I’m so excited. They bring back many happy memories of reading at my grandmother’s house next to the bog and the woods, as a kid.

They’re already packed in boxes. I quarantined them, and then took a look through them. I’m just going to seal and mark the boxes, and they’re ready for the move.

In and around the contest entries I’m reading, I’m reading another book for review, and hope to have the review done and out by tomorrow or Thursday. I also read THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP by Susan Wiggs, which was recommended by Deborah Blake. Liked it a lot. I’m reading THE ART OF VIOLENCE by SJ Rozan, and enjoying that, too. Very well done.

In the book about the Hemingway-Pfeiffer marriage I read over the weekend, I found a tidbit I didn’t know, but will be useful for a play I’m writing this year. (Not that the play is about either of them). Love when that happens!

Most of the weekend was dedicated to clearing out the basement. I honestly don’t understand how a person can do it in a day. The emotional baggage alone nearly killed me, and I only got ten boxes done. Got another one done yesterday, and want to get at least two done today. If I do a little bit every day, and more on weekends, it won’t be so overwhelming. I’ll have to do a dump run later this week, though, and I have a feeling I’ll be doing so every week or two until we move.

Yesterday, I woke up at 2:48, worrying again, like before. I guess sleeping through the night was only temporary. The cats convinced me to get up and feed them at 5 (they were bothering me since 4:12), and then I curled up on the couch again for about an hour. It wasn’t sleep, but at least I wasn’t up and about.

Masked up, dropped books in the drop box at the library, went into the office. I was there on my own for most of it, but there was a little overlap that shouldn’t have happened. I blame the Governor. He’s rolling back restrictions BEFORE we’re vaccinated, which is costing more lives. We need a Democratic governor in this state. At the beginning, he seemed to be doing a decent job of things, but he’s pro-business to the point of unnecessarily costing lives.

Had to stop by the post office on the way home, because the mail carrier at the office route refuses to pick up packages when the flag is up – even when we’ve put in a request for pickup.  He just drives right by. I’m tired of chasing him down the street, and then he refuses to take the package. Not to mention his refusal to wear a mask. I want the guy back who actually did his job. So I took it with me to MY post office, in MY town, where they actually do their jobs, and are nice about it. Also mailed a package for my mom, a birthday present for a friend of hers.

Home, decontaminated, lunch. The landlord had a guy come by to give an estimate for a new septic system (this one is original to the house, which was built in 1962). But they were outside and I was not, so it wasn’t an issue. Plus, they followed masking protocols.

Heard from my new editor, who liked the article I submitted on Friday, and wants the material I had to cut for word count as a “Part 2” so I’m going to do that today, along with getting some stuff done for a client, and getting out more LOIs. And getting two more boxes purged from the basement.

My seeds arrived yesterday, from both Territorial and Kitchen Garden seeds. I was going to order some more from Johnny’s today, but maybe I’ll skip it. I might just make do with what I have, at least until we know where we’re moving and get settled there. Then, I can look around and see what we need.

Once I know WHERE we’re moving, I can get everything else organized pretty quickly. It will be stressful, but it’s do-able. It’s getting the finances in place FOR the move, which will dictate so much of it, that is the main challenge.

Busy day ahead, especially with Mercury Retrograde looming.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on January 26, 2021 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 26, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 251 — Handling Each Thing as It Comes  
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Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On

image courtesy of Thomas B. via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

One calendar says today is new moon and Mars direct; another says it’s tomorrow. I will apologize for yesterday’s belief it’s today, and go with tomorrow, since it’s Friday the 13th anyway.

There’s a new post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden. The front lawn is a carpet of leaves. The lawn guy is coming soon; every time a neighbor turns on a leaf blower, I am more determined than ever not to rake. Although the dumbass running his leaf blower who woke me at 3:30 this morning, IN THE RAIN, angered me.

Yesterday was chaotic. I went in to my client’s. I knew she had a medical procedure the day before, so didn’t expect her in. Going through the emailsto see what needed to be done, I found out that the other colleague in the office has been in the hospital. I felt bad that I didn’t know and offer to help out. But if no one tells me anything, I can’t know.

Anyway, BOTH of them came in, so there were too many people in too small a space, but we caught up on everything (and were masked) and got everything handled.

I was glad to get out of there.

Stopped at CVS to get the prescription to prep for the next surgery, and, of course, it wasn’t there. I will check with the doctor’s office next week to see what’s going on, and if they decided to cancel the surgery due to surging virus cases, but haven’t told me yet. This happened last time, too. It took three calls from the doctor’s office before CVS could bother to fill the prescription.

We had 2495 new cases in the past 24 hours. More than we had in spring. But the mask mandate isn’t enforced, and nothing is shut down. Instead, people are encouraged to pack more into the daylight hours in too close quarters.

Tomorrow, I have to fight to keep my insurance next year. That should be fun. Not. That’s one reason I hope I can slide the surgery in this December; I might not have insurance next year, at least at the beginning of it.

Tried a new-to-me Ina Garten recipe that worked well last night. Have to make a dash to the liquor store for a bottle of marsala (and more wine) so I can make Eggplant-Mushroom Marsala (from Moosewood) tonight.

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving in two weeks.

The Sociopath is still sociopathing, and too many people pander to him. He needs to be charged with the murders of everyone dying from the virus he’s “bored” with.

Lots of writing needs to get done today, and I’m looking forward to this morning’s online Meditation.

I’m just trying to stay alive until January 20.

Published in: on November 12, 2020 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On  
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Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope

image courtesy of Barbara Rosner via pisabay.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

We needed the rain yesterday. We’re supposed to get more later in the week, and maybe even snow by the weekend.

There’s a post on more career re-shaping over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

On other levels, the dumbfuckery never stops, does it?

Landed in my inbox: an “opportunity” to write 3-5 articles A DAY for $1000/month. Um, no. That breaks down to fractions of a penny per word or per hour.

Another thing that landed in my inbox: someone is looking for a person to write/send the emails to the client list. Great, no problem. Only, the description adds “must be willing to work outside in extreme weather.” Now why would I have to work outside in “extreme weather” to WRITE EMAILS?  If you’re hiring a WRITER for EMAILS, that is not being done outside in bad weather.

Having both hardware and software problems with the nearly-new laptop, because Mercury is retrograde and PCs suck.

On a happier note, I got information about some editors in search of additional freelancers. I pitched myself to two; one responded within 15 minutes asking for specific article pitches; I’m working on a pair to send her. They will be fun, if I get to do either of them.

Switching between script drafts on the screen to look at examples isn’t working for the other article. I’m going to have to print them out.

So that won’t be done until Thursday.

I got a fun ad done for a client for next week’s campaign.

Got my mom’s RMV appointment scheduled for next week, and also her bloodwork before her next medical appointment. At least that means we get it all out of the way next week.

The cooking demonstration with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu was spectacular. He is such a wonderful teacher, and his sense of humor, his skills, his ability to teach, and his joy give me hope.  I look forward to studying with him more intensively in the future.

Knowledge Unicorns was great. Everyone’s hunkering down, doing the work, trying to stay alive until election day. Even though none of them can vote yet, they’re keeping up on things and making sure their parents do. I always rode herd on my godkids to vote, because some of their parents couldn’t be bothered. It’s kind of fun to see their own children doing the same thing.

But I was definitely worn out by the end of the evening.

The package with stuffed orange raccoon toys arrived today, and the catnip bananas are set to arrive on Thursday, so some of the Kitty Drama is alleviated.

On today’s agenda: I have to go onsite for a client, have to do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library, and there’s Remote Chat.  Will also try to get some more LOIs out, and work on the article with which I’m struggling. I’d like to get it out the door tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be nice the next few days, so maybe I’ll get some yard work in.

I do love autumn.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope  
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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. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns

Logo designed by Gabe T.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

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

Sunny and pleasant

Yeah, we’re back up to six retrogrades. Having Mars go retrograde right now really sucks – more likely to get into (and lose) arguments, slowing down momentum, making one question one’s own worth. With Jupiter and Saturn turning direct this month, whose forward energy I need right now, then slowed down by the Mars retrograde – yeah, that sucks all the way around. With Mars retrograde, it’s not about overcoming obstacles, but about figuring workarounds.

Yesterday was fine. I was in the client’s office by myself, which is as it should be. Got a lot done.

Headed to the library for drop-off/pickup; then home for decontamination and back to work, remotely this time. The ad campaign still isn’t quite right. I haven’t hit that golden place yet. Then, I was working on another ad for an email blast that has to go out today; came up with something okay, but not brilliant. Got the idea I needed as I was falling asleep, so putting that together early this morning, so it can go out on time.

I invested in an acupressure mat a few weeks back. I’ve been taking a break in the afternoon to use it, especially when I’ve been sitting a lot. It’s amazing how much it helps. 20 minutes restorative time on the mat, and I can get in a few more focused hours in the afternoon.

Reading the next Gamache and enjoying it.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived. This month’s theme is Color Therapy, and it’s great. So much excellent stuff – and stuff I will use. Tessa is thrilled with the large crystal suncatcher. It might never make it to getting hung from the window; she might keep it for her private cat stash, as she did with last month’s crystal pendulum.

Also got an ARC of a colleague’s book that I won in a contest. I’m so excited – it’s the second book in her new series, and it’s such a fun series. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend, and then writing about it.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough (same song, different day). I’m figuring out the shape for the Susanna Centlivre play. I want the focus to be on her relationship with her husband (who was the Queen’s chef), and one of her closest female friends (probably Mary Pix). I found a Very Long Dissertation about female friendship, and another about her work and Aphra Behn’s work that I will need to read through in the coming weeks. I still don’t have the catalyst or the central dramatic event for the play. I’m still researching.

I think I’ll set the Isabella Goodwin play toward the end of her career. Maybe use flashbacks? They often work better on stage than in novels. I like the fact that she married a younger man when she was older and thinking about setting it when she’s thinking about retiring as NYPD’s first female detective. I haven’t figured out how to incorporate that. There’s a lot of fiction out about her that I’m avoiding, because I don’t want it to influence the piece; I also don’t want to use anything that I’m using in THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT pilot and scripts.

But it’s already September and both plays are due in December (and I have surgery in December), so I need to start writing soon.

I  need to remember that they can be short plays – they don’t have to be full-length. I can always expand them in the future. I need to pick an important moment in each of their lives and dramatize it.

I also need to stop berating myself that I didn’t get those additional Kate Warne plays written during the pandemic – they’re not on deadline. The paid and deadlined work must come first, and everything else has to fit around it. Everything takes longer, between the pandemic and retrogrades and the energy it takes to survive. I need to adjust my expectations for myself, or I’ll get stuck in self-loathing mire, and that doesn’t do any good.

I have to go onsite for a client (where we’ll all be in the office at the same time – ick). But we’re only overlapping a short time, so I will deal. Then I’ll come home, decontaminate, and join Remote Chat, which is one of my favorite parts of the week, then more client work.

Knowledge Unicorns

Yesterday was the first meeting of the online homework group, consisting of my godchildren’s kids. They named themselves the Knowledge Unicorns and one of them designed the logo. We’re still tweaking the time, because there are people in all three time zones. Wide range of ages, some a little quieter than others, so I have to make sure everyone is equally heard and no one is overlooked. But bright and fun and good people.

We talked about the structure of the sessions and how they will work, and how, if something isn’t working, we’ll talk about it and change it. The baseline is respect for each other and kindness toward each other. Everyone’s opinion matters, and if there’s a point of disagreement, it’s discussed with respect and compassion, and positions are backed up by facts and resources (not Wikipedia and Fox News).

We took a few minutes at the beginning to settle in and see how everybody is. None of them are going to in-person learning. They are all learning remotely. This idea that you just sit in front of a screen for 6 hours a day as though it was class is ridiculous, in my opinion. It’s a different kind of school, and needs to evolve for that. Even in school, you’d get up after 50 minutes to go to your locker and get other books and go to the next class.

A colleague and I discussed this the other day – schools have had months to come up with a good way to handle remote learning. They haven’t. They’re not supporting the teachers, they’re not supporting the parents, they’re sure as hell not supporting the kids. Someone I know works for a major online learning company. They did a direct mail campaign (both in print and digital)  to schools all over the country, offering free consults to help them move learning online and talk about the ways it has to be different to be effective. NOT ONE school responded.

Something that came up in the “settling in” talk at the beginning was the external pressures to go to the physical school building and act as though it was all normal. The kids agreed that they miss hanging out with their friends; but they’re more worried about the pressure on their parents. They’re scared and angry that some of their friends’ parents are trying to use the kids’ friendships to bully the parents into forcing the kids back into schools. One of the kids lost a friendship, because the friend’s parents won’t let them be in contact if the kid isn’t physically going to school, because the parents don’t want the remote-learning kid to fill the onsite kid’s head full of “libtard crap.” Because, you know, keeping your kids home and safe is a partisan issue to them. One of my godchildren had her lawyer work to get her temporary full custody of her kids during these months, because her ex-husband thinks the virus is a hoax; during his joint custody, he planned to send them to school. He also doesn’t believe in masks or social distancing, and has his friends over to drink beer and hang out the same as always.  I’m not up on the legal stuff in her state, so I don’t know how that all worked, but she got some sort of order giving her full custody temporarily, and they’re doing fully remote learning (and masking and social distancing).

There’s a lot of pressure on the kids to adapt to remote learning when the school systems haven’t put in the work to support the teachers or parents or kids to make it work (because, let’s face it, most of those believed the myth that the virus would just go away, because it was easier than putting in the work). On top of that, the external partisan pressure to put themselves in danger when their parents are trying to protect them is pretty intense, and that’s something that has to be addressed.

So we talked about that for a portion of our time together, and worked on coping strategies.

We got down to the actual homework – they’re all at different stages of learning and doing different things. If someone was having trouble with an assignment, they could ask a question, and we either figured it out, or figured where to look up the answer, amongst all of us. Some of the older kids remembered some of the stuff the younger kids were learning, and could help (especially in math, because I am useless in math). It was working on the different projects, but having virtual company and online resources at hand. I was either looking for resources to help with different assignments (they have to actually USE the resources, but I can point the way and show them how to research) or working on some stuff of my own that could be interrupted when they had questions or thought of something they wanted to talk about.

Some of the directions that come with the assignments make no sense. We spent time as a group dissecting some of the instructions.

We took regular breaks to stand up and get out the wiggles, and took our dance break (they decided that, at least for the first few weeks, they want me to pick songs from the 80’s for our dance breaks. 80’s music is exotic to them. I officially feel old).

They’d picked the octopus as the animal they want to learn about this month, so we started with the old Audubon Nature Encyclopedia entry from my childhood and will work from there.

Two hours flew by in what seemed like a few heartbeats, but we got a lot done, they got a sense of community and that, although they’re different ages and in different schools in different parts of the country, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stresses and fears, and aren’t alone. They have an adult (?), well, older person, who is not directly related to them, to whom they can talk about things, and, hopefully, they will build a sense that they have each other.

It was a good start, the parents were grateful for the break, and it certainly gave me a view into how broken the educational system is, and how unwilling the administrators are to expand their frame of learning and experience to make it work.

It was a good start, but I admit I was tired by the end of it. A good tired, but still. . .tired.

Have a good one.

Published in: on September 9, 2020 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns  
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Tues. Sept. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 111 — The National Plan is Death

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, warm, pleasant

image courtesy of Skitterphoto via pixabay.com

The National Strategy is Death

We’ve been thinking that there’s no national plan to fight the virus. But there IS a plan: Let people die. They demonstrate that’s their plan every day. Let people die, and those that are left get whatever scraps the 1% feel like tossing away.

This is not acceptable.

Nor is the dismissal of the massive loss of life.

It was as busy as any Labor Day Weekend here on Cape Cod, with traffic backed up at the bridges for hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Usually it would be Sunday with the 6-hour delays getting off Cape, but because it was a holiday Monday, it was yesterday that the traffic was backed up at least all the way to our exit all day, and at times, even further down.

During a pandemic.

I had a few things I had to go off property over the weekend; I did them as early as possible. Except for inside the stores, NO ONE was masked or social distanced.

So all these people posting photos of themselves “on vacation” on the Cape (or anywhere else this weekend) who also claim they’re doing it safely? I don’t believe you, boo. Because what I saw all weekend was reckless endangerment and irresponsible behavior.

You’re NOT “supporting the local economy” by going out to eat in restaurants. You’re putting people’s lives at risk, especially the servers. You’re adding to the problem  by walking in your packs without masks – putting a mask on when you get within a foot of someone else is too late.

I’m sick of the hypocrites, especially the self-righteous ones, who are claiming they’re doing the right thing when they’re so obviously not.

They are just as much a reason why the virus isn’t under control – and won’t be until well into next year – as the anti-maskers.

Social Media Stuff

I definitely needed the four-day break. Not that it was all rest, but I refused to beat myself up about what I “should” be doing, and that made a huge difference.

Staying off social media more than I was on it was also a good choice. There was way too much stupid. I’m also tired of the faux engagement questions like “do you still wear a mask?” I’m actually a decent human being who is trying to protect my family and keep other people from dying – of COURSE I still wear a mask. I’m tired of the “what’s your day job?” from other so-called “writers” – that’s an insulting question, for a “writer” to assume every other writer they interact with can’t earn a living at it. I’m tired of the “wrong answers only” game (which I’ve never understood or played) and the “what’s your MC’s favorite color?” and that kind of thing.

Most of it, I just scroll past, but I’m at the point now where I’m unfollowing and/or blocking people when they really annoy me. It’s their timeline; they get to put whatever they want on it. If I don’t want it to irritate my day, it’s up to me to remove them from my feed.

The whole James Woods-Travis Tritt thing? I just shake my head. I’d liked James Woods’s acting years ago, until we both were on different shows at an off-Broadway company in NY, and I heard/witnessed the level of crazy and mean. I got over my disappointment in him as a human  and excommunicated him from my universe a long time ago (and decided I wouldn’t accept work on anything in which he was cast). That he supports the Sociopath isn’t really a surprise. I had to look up Travis Tritt, and then remember that I didn’t like his work even back when I knew who he was.

I’d rather interact with people I like, have a chance at learning something or actual conversation, and post IG photos of food, cats, and the garden (which is the only reason for my Instagram account – fun stuff as a break from everything else).

Getting Stuff Done

Got December’s surgery scheduled, early enough so that I will have enjoyed Thanksgiving and can enjoy the Winter Holidays. That’s a relief.

Had to mail something certified mail. Everyone at our little post office is so nice.

Saturday was almost a normal non-pandemic weekend day: grocery shopping (very early, masked, to avoid the Covidiot tourists), full decontamination procedure (yes, in “business” journals they’re saying it’s not necessary; they can go fuck themselves, I’m still doing it), changed the beds, did 5 loads of laundry, baked bread, made carrot-ginger soup from scratch, used up the fading vegetables in the fridge to make vegetable stock, backed a brown butter honey cake, roasted a chicken, made chicken stock, read, and wrote.

In other words, a productive day that was almost on par with my pre-pandemic productivity.

I didn’t write much, and it was only what I wanted to, not what I “had” to. I wanted to make sure I actually took a break this weekend.

Unfortunately, my mom had a bad reaction to her new medication, and my lactose intolerance seems to be rearing again, so Saturday night, we were both up most of the night feeling awful.

Sunday, we really took it easy, lots of reading, light meals. We spent a good bit of time out on the deck all weekend, in spite of the neighbors’ constant heavy machinery/power tools/mowers/leaf blowers. We had to take Saturday night’s dinner back inside because the noise and the dust from the property behind (we’re on a third of an acre) was so bad, we couldn’t sit out there.

Once in awhile yesterday, I considered hopping online to do this or that, and then reminded myself that I was Taking Time Off. Time I needed.

The hummingbird visited again, fascinating Willa and Charlotte. Bratty Bird misses Tessa and has figured out that Tessa spends most of her time in my room now. So she comes up to the bedroom window in the morning and they chatter at each other. It’s cute. The bunnies are getting pretty bold and hanging out even when we’re out there; last night, I heard the coyotes run through the yard, so I hope the bunnies were well in hiding. We have some beautiful Tiger Moths, too.

Worked with the cats a lot. Willa is a little dickens, always coming up with something new to try. Charlotte has settled down, and is happy, for the most part. She and Tessa still don’t get along too well, but Willa is really trying to make friends with Tessa. Tessa thinks she’s a loony tune most of the time (and she does often act like a cartoon character), but they are better with each other.

I had weird, disturbing dreams all weekend, but couldn’t grasp enough of any of them to figure them out when I woke up.

Lots of yoga and meditation, which is a good thing. By Sunday night, I was feeling like I’d made progress with everything, only to wake up worrying again at 3:30 on Monday morning.

I meant to clean just one thing on the kitchen counter on Monday, and wound up reorganizing and cleaning everything in the L-shaped counter between the sink and the stove. It was necessary, and now it’s much easier to get at what I need when I cook, but it took up much more time than I planned.

I also wrote some cards for people, and have a letter that needs to go out today to set up RMV appointments in October.

Reading

Lots and lots of reading. Another Gamache book – I’m getting so much more out of the series this time, reading it in order. The head-hopping bothers me, but Penny does it better than most authors, so I can live with it. It’s more like being in one character’s POV, sliding into neutral ground, and sliding into the next POV than “hopping” and is less jarring than the typical head-hopping which can leave one as nauseated as on a badly-run amusement park ride.

I’m officially done with the author whose books I liked, then disliked. I’m tired of her protagonist being a doormat, and she keeps using slurs. The same slur three times in 20 pages in the latest book I tried. I stopped, pulled the other books in that series from the library pile, and they go back today. Done. Read three books in her other series, which I liked better. She used the slur once in one of the books. But they’re a little too cutesy and there are exclamation points all over the place, which give me a headache. Between that and the commitment to white privilege and conformity in both series, her protag being afraid of characters who are smart and unusual because they’re different and that being upheld as positive, no thanks. So yeah, officially done with all of her work. She’s crossed off the list.

Read more in the other series by a different author, where I liked the fourth book, but was upset at the slur used in the first book. I read the other books I’d ordered (it ended up being the first five books in the series) and she didn’t use it again, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I’m curious to see how cozy mysteries will deal or not deal with the pandemic in upcoming years.  I think there will be strong definition between the books that continue to uphold white privilege and conformity and support the anti-maskers, the ones who try to walk the line not to offend anyone on either side of the masking or vaccination spectrum, and those authors who will actually deal with it in a realistic and responsible fashion. There might even be authors who have contemporary series who choose to ignore it.

But then, I’ve become even more aware of the restrictions and fear and white privilege in the genre, especially since I was told to whiten up the characters and their names in the Nautical Namaste series because “white readers won’t understand these people.” Then they can skip the books. I can’t believe editors and agents are still spouting that crap — some of the same ones who claim they want more diverse characters in books. But they get them and try to whiten them up. Too many cozy mysteries have devolved into white people upholding their privilege and not having sex. I just don’t see how this is interesting or comforting. The genre used to be my comfort/brain candy books, but many of them just annoy me now. Yes, they’re fantasy, but they’re not fantasies that satisfy me. There are series that don’t do this, that are trying to be more diverse, inclusive, and intelligent, but there are plenty of series who aren’t.

Continuing to read Volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. There are so many things I dislike about Philip Roth’s work, but when he talks craft, I always learn something. Maya Angelou’s interview was beautiful, and her quote “creativity is greater than the sum of its parts” resonated with me.

I finally got to see BIRDS OF PREY (yeah, not reading, but it fits in here). Mostly, I liked it. There are some clever bits like “how she’d have time for a shoe change?” and giving Black Canary the scrunchy in the middle of the fight – details that were terrific. The scene where she goes in and shoots all the cops felt off-tone, because it was such casual violence. The other violence was rooted in character or situation, but this felt off to me and bothered me.

Few of the comic book movies really satisfy me – probably because I haven’t invested in the characters before they transferred to film. But I thought there were lots of clever bits in it. I thought the chemistry between the five women was great. The whole roller skating angle was fun, too.

Looking Ahead

Trying to knock out some writing this morning. I’m going onsite for a few hours (I should be on my own, thank goodness) for a client to take care of some things, then home and do more client work remotely.

I need to focus on a lot of writing this week, while also getting some things organized and dealing with purging stuff from the basement. That needs to get back on track.

I should get assigned the next book for review, which is good, and get out a bunch of LOIs. Someone gave me a good lead on a gig that I want to follow up on today or tomorrow.

I have to prep a play to send off to a company and finish another short play to send to Trusted Readers before submitting it.

I should have the final notes on BARD’S LAMENT this week, and then can start turning that around again.

I have to work on the Topic Workbooks, and also do more PR for Grief to Art. Please share the site’s details with those who might find it a comfort.

A networking group whose events I’ve occasionally attended is starting their monthly meetings live in-person indoors at a restaurant again. Are they out of their freaking minds? Totally irresponsible. No, thanks. Bye. Not joining your organization when you’d rather put your members’ lives in danger than, you know, support them and help them through this.

Hope you had a great weekend.

I need to focus and clear off a few things before Mars goes retrograde tomorrow. Really? Now? Jupiter and Saturn are getting ready to go direct. I don’t need Mars getting in my way right now.

But all I can do is the best I can do. I have a feeling I’ll be cutting a lot of deadwood from my life in the next few weeks.

Tues. June 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 43 — Surgery with Mixed Results

Tuesday, June 30. 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy, stormy, humid

Venus went direct on the 25th, so at least a little pressure has eased.

I thought I’d scheduled a post yesterday. I’m sorry I didn’t.

I was on a clear liquid diet, pre-op, on Wednesday. Miso soup and white cranberry-peach juice for breakfast, chicken broth for lunch, more miso for dinner. It was pretty good.

Went for my COVID test in the morning. Very well organized. A few seconds of discomfort when they jab the swab up your nostrils, but that’s it. Everyone very nice.

Home. Info full quarantine. Checked in with a client, designed some A/B ads, got out an email blast. Participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Got the call from the hospital. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning. A relief to get in there in the morning, and home as soon as possible.

The COVID testers only call if it’s a positive. So, once the deadline passed and no call, I started the rest of the prep, which was awful, I had side effects, and I was up all night, miserable.

I got ready in the morning, and got a call at 8 AM, asking me to come in an hour and a half early.

I got there, and was sent to the OR. Um, I knew it was surgery, because they had to remove something, but had been told it would be a simple procedure. Originally, I was told it would be done in the office.

So I was prepped for surgery, much like the last time, and a little thrown by it.

Unfortunately, it took 7 tries to get the IV in. SEVEN. I was upset. I also felt guilty (which, looking back on it, I shouldn’t. It’s not MY fault they can’t hit a vein. But it hurt like hell).

They finally got a pediatrics nurse to get it in.

Then some guy starts yapping at me, and I finally asked, “Are you the doctor?” And then I deliberately mispronounced his name, which threw him.

He said yes and corrected the pronunciation of his name.

I said, “Oh, okay, it’s just that I’ve never met you or talked to you before and you’re about to go digging in my insides. I’ve dealt with more than a dozen people while I’ve been lying here in pre-op and I’m trying to keep them all sorted. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, what’s going on?”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a little presumptive sometimes” and then we talked about the surgery.

The nurses were howling. They told me later the male patients usually start sputtering and the female patients are often in tears. They never saw anyone stand up to him before.

So we had a chat about what was going on. I was a little disconcerted, because no one seemed to know why I was there. Why didn’t anyone read my chart? I’m not the professional. I’m the patient. I know, in basic strokes, why I’m there, but not the details.

I told the anesthesiologist that, especially after all the trouble getting the IV in, I didn’t want to know anything.

When I came out of it, the doctor said, “You should thank that CT technician. This surgery probably saved your life.”

Turns out it was much more complicated than anyone had told me, and, if I’d blown off this surgery (as I was tempted), by the time I knew something was really wrong, it would have been too late, and needed very complicated surgery.

So now I get to wrap my head around that and worry about the results of the biopsy.

The nurse called my ride, I got dressed, and off I went home.

I was too rattled to really sleep, but I also couldn’t do anything. I’d saved back some of the pain pills from the last surgery. Of course, they were on the list of things I couldn’t take. But I didn’t really need them.

To keep myself occupied, both the miserable night before surgery and the day after, I read the first four books in Martha Wells’sMurderbot series. I loved them. So clever, and funny, and full of action, and full of heart.

We’d set up the living room again for recovery. I ate scrambled eggs for dinner – I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours, but that’s all I could stand.

I went to sleep early, and slept through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

Friday, I got some material off to a client. Heard back that she’s going in a new direction for something. She’s going to try to push me to do work that needs someone with different skills, and there will be problems going forward. So I need to find a replacement client so we can part ways soon without me taking a major hit to my income.

I got out one LOI, and then back to bed.

One of my nurses checked in with me, to make sure I was okay. I am. I mean, I’m healing. “Okay” is relative at this point.

I heard from one of my other doctors, who found out I was having this procedure; he checked in to see how I was doing. He was the one who talked me into going through this second surgery; I wanted to blow it off. But he’d been right about everything else, so I went forward. It’s a good thing I did.

I have the same post-anesthesia effects I had last time – first day or so, I have a runny nose, and then I have a few days of a scratchy throat.

I have to monitor my temperature twice a day for two weeks, to make sure I didn’t catch anything at the hospital.

My arms are so bruised from the failed attempts to insert the IV. I have track marks and bruises. I’ll have to wear long sleeves for at least a week. And I need to heal before I go in for blood work.

I managed to go down to the library for a curbside pickup and got more books. Read Donna Leon’s BY ITS COVER. I love that series.

But it was not a productive day, by any means.

I got in touch with the guy who mows the lawn; he came and did it. It looks better, but I need to put fertilizer on it.

I did not sleep well on Friday. I was up by 3 AM, fretting.

Saturday morning, I moved the two potted trees on either side of the front door to the side. They’ve grown through the years, and don’t look right there any more.

I was working on cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest attached to the siding in the front, near the front door. I’m so sick of the damn wasps. It never occurred to me they would build there.

I didn’t want to go back to Hyannis Country Gardens, but I know where everything is there. So I masked up and drove over.

I am never going there again, even once this is all over. Wearing the mask around your neck is not wearing the mask. Staff and customers did this (register staff were the only ones fully masked). The place was packed.

I grabbed my wasp killer (you have no idea how much strength it took not to spray the Sliding Mask Skanks). I grabbed some lawn food. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

I felt safer walking alone at 2 AM in NYC’s worst neighborhoods than I felt in that store.

Our numbers are going up again in MA. Not as badly as in down south, but going up enough to be concerned.

Not that anyone else here is. Because, if you’re not rich around here, you’re expendable and expected to Die for Tourist Dollars.

Came home and took out my fury on the wasp nest.

Rested a bit; once the buzzing died down (pun intended), I brought some of the oversized red geraniums from the back to flank the front door. They look good, and it’s good Feng Shui.

I couldn’t work in the beds, so I took myself to bed and rested for a bit. I read Ellen Byron’s PLANTATION SHUDDERS, and loved it. Excellent book, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

Soaked in a bath of Himalayan Salts for a bit. Cooked dinner – nothing fancy, I’m easing back in.

So the Sociopath was informed in March that Russia pays bounties to kill American soldiers? And keeps making concessions to Russia? I hope the military turns against him, once and for all. We have a sociopath calling himself “President” who is not only actively killing citizens with a pandemic, but allowing our enemies to kill our soldiers for profit. What’s his cut, I wonder? Because he does nothing without an eye to personal profit.

Why would anyone think the GOP will do anything about it? Remember, only a year ago, over Fourth of July, 10 GOP Congress people traveled to Russia to genuflect.

Those 10 should have been arrested the second they returned. But they got away with it, and here we are.

No wonder the EU is banning Americans from travel. Good for them.

And the airlines who are going to start flying at capacity? I hope they all go under. And why the hell is ANYONE flying right now?

The selfishness and stupidity are overwhelming.

Moved back up to my bedroom by Saturday night, and had a good night’s sleep.

But sat on the deck early Sunday morning, weeping, because I feel overwhelmed on a personal level, and on a broader, societal level. I’m sick, exhausted, and don’t see a way forward in anything.

Rested most of Sunday morning, because that’s all I could handle. I read a delightful book called RAISING THE BARRE by Lauren Kessler, about her journey to dance in a production of THE NUTCRACKER as an adult. So well done, on so many levels. However, I did lose a bit of respect and felt disgust when she skipped part of the tour that was the reason to write this book in the first place because of “family commitments” and because she was teaching a writing workshop. That, hon, is why you’re not in the business. The show comes first. Always. Life fits around theatre (or, in this case ballet) for professionals. Theatre does not fit around life.

That, right there, is why I managed to be one of the 11% who actually MAKE it to Broadway. Commitment and priority to the work. And why dancers can do what they do.

My arms really hurt from the bruising of the failed IV attempts.

Got out 5 LOIs, then sat out on the deck for a bit, reading. Watered the back, where I’d put down lawn food and fertilizer. Couldn’t face another wasp battle in the front.

Tackled the mending, because the light was good, and I need true daylight at this point to sew. Got a good part of the stack done. Still have a few pieces, including socks.

Managed to sleep through the night on Sunday, up early on Monday, normal routine. Because, you know, the cats like a normal routine, and it’s all about the cats. Arms really hurt from the IV bruising.

Annoyed by people on social media who beg for followers, then deride people who support them. I don’t have time for that b.s.

Also annoyed because people are asking to come visit. As in show up and stay a few days. In a pandemic? I don’t think so. Close friends understand it’s not viable. We’re going to make plans to see each other WHEN IT’S SAFE. It’s the borderline “acquaintances” who are the problems. The ones who stay in touch because they see us as free accommodation in a tourist spot they want to visit. I can’t believe how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks that are “oh, we’re going to be in your area on vacation for a few days. We’d love to see you. Can we stay?”

Nope. Not doing any hosting this summer. Sorry you think just because the government decided to recklessly reopen, I’m going to put my life in danger so you don’t have to pay a hotel bill. Not happening.

Absolutely dreaded going in to the client’s on Monday.

Didn’t get a lot done on BARD Monday morning. I had to research mandolins and mandolin making before I could write the scene. Then, when I referenced something from an earlier chapter I found an enormous mistake. I have to go back and fix it, or it will throw the entire book off. I’m so annoyed with myself.

But that’s what I get for not making tracking sheets up front. Serves me right.

Discouraging, but my own damn fault.

Onsite for the client wasn’t bad. Staggered hours, lots of precautions. Only a little overlap, so we’re in synch, and not full staff (the way it should be, but isn’t on Wednesdays).  The client expects me to pull off the type of advertising campaigns that large companies with huge design and advertising budgets do, and she expects huge returns within 48 hours. That’s not realistic. She keeps sending me ads with “do that” — I can’t without design tools and time and professional photographs of product, and a budget to spend for placement.

Came home, wiped out.

I meant to only peek at the online course I’m taking on FutureLearn on The Book of Kells from Trinity College in Dublin. It was so interesting that I went through the entire week’s work. Which was pretty cool.

I decided I should brush up on my rusty Latin, and was looking for a way to do that, when, on Coursera, I stumbled across The Miracle of Human Language, from University of Leiden, where I’d studied the International tribunals a few years back. I signed up and started work on it. It’s fascinating.

That course will help me as I develop languages for books like DRAKECLIFF and other fantasies.

I was still worn out, and ran out of intellectual steam, so I stopped.

I also bought Sharon Hurley Hall’s SHADEISM. We’ve been talking about race, inspired by her most recent writings; this book will not only expand my understanding, but it will be good background for ELLA BY THE BAY.

Then, the phone rang.

It was the doctor.

As I wrote above, that’s never good news. They only call if something is wrong, never when it’s right.

The doctor had even improved his bedside manner, which worried me even more.

The news was mixed: there were some cancerous cells in what was removed, but at the tip of the polyp, not the base, and the cells scraped from the lining were clear. He believes he got it all. Originally, he wanted to see me in a year; now, he wants me back for another procedure In six months (um, Happy Holidays to me?). We’re going to treat it like another full-blown surgery, and hope it’s just a look that reveals everything is clear. He was upbeat and reassuring about it – which meant I wasn’t sure whether to go with it or worry more.

Something else to wrap my head around. Disconcerting, to say the least.

But what else can I do other than keep on keeping on?

I do have to behave as though I’m immune compromised and stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, socializing, etc. I told him that was the plan for the foreseeable future, anyway.

He promised to take good care of me. I thanked him (which surprised him) and he rang off.

I’m a little tired of 2020 piling it on.

I need to talk with my primary care doctor in the next day or two, and come up with a plan for the next six months. Losing weight and getting fit will have to be a part of it. I already eat pretty well, and I’d cut out most beef and quite a bit of pork out. I will have to continue with that. I’m glad I can cook.

I want to lose 20 pounds, the doctor wanted me to lose 10, we compromised on 15 (which I have not lost), but I think I want to go back to 20. I feel better when I weigh less.

I’d already started up core work again on Sunday, so I will do more of it.

I’d love to walk around the neighborhood, but the clumps of Maskless Wonders make it a non-starter.

Much as I hate the exercise bike, the exercise bike it is. If my 95 year old mother can do 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, I can work my way up to similar.

But I’m rattled.

Went to bed early; slept through the night.

Up early today. Have to fix BARD today, so I can move forward on it. There’s a deadline looming. Got two rejections on LOIs because they want someone with more experience in the tech sector. Which is understandable, but they SAID they wanted someone to communicate what they do to a more general audience. At least they responded, and I got responses from the companies themselves instead of a third party recruiter.

Client work. I have to come up with a new strategy for a struggling client. I have a few ideas, but I wish I had more time with them, because it’s hard to focus right now.

Classwork for Miracle of Human Languages later, and then maybe purging a few boxes in the basement. I need to get back to that.

I can’t believe it’s almost July. It’s hard not to feel defeated.

Especially when you look at the rampant corruption and stupidity people are getting away with, with absolutely no consequence.

Going back to the page will help. I hope.

Peace, friends.

Wed. June 24, 2020: Isolation to Quarantine (Pre-Op)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid/storms expected

Up and down day yesterday. Didn’t feel very productive.

Got out two LOIs. One is a very long shot, but it’s interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot, and hope they read my cover letter.

Got the first pair of A/B ads done for a client. Will work on the second pair today, along with a stand-alone ad.

Looking for another survey platform. I have two or three I’m interested in trying. I’ll let you know if any of them actually work.

Got my call in the early afternoon yesterday. My COVID test this morning is at 10 AM. If it comes back negative, I will get the time for tomorrow’s surgery and get started on the pre-op prep (that’s different from the isolation/quarantine). I already know the medication I have to take for several hours will make me seriously nauseated. Not looking forward to it.

As soon as I’ve taken the test, I’m quarantined away from anyone else in the house. I’ll spend the rest of the day in my office, sleep in the living room, have exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom (which I’ve scrubbed down this morning).

Cleaned the house yesterday, so that everything is in good shape for the next few days.

Put in the Chewy order yesterday. They were out of a few things I needed, but I adjusted. The order already shipped. They have been the best company to deal with throughout this whole pandemic. When they needed to slow things down, they did, they communicated clearly, and they fulfilled what they said they would do. I wrote them a couple of times to thank them.

The Comcast bill arrived yesterday. Payment has to clear by next Tuesday or else. So payment goes out today. I can’t believe how much I had to fight with them to get a damn bill. They want you to pay, but won’t tell you how much. Because they want you to go on AutoPay, so they can take whatever amount of money they feel like out of the account. They are an awful company.

Finished the book for review, wrote the review, sent it off. There will hopefully be another assignment in the next few days.

Reading C.E. Murphy’s MAGIC AND MANNERS, which is an interesting re-imagining inspired by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

For the record, the Aunt Jemima bottle was never allowed in our house growing up because it was racist. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, my parents felt that way.

I want it to be Friday. The next 48 hours will be difficult.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do. Hopefully, I can get in some decent writing, although I feel as inspired as wilted lettuce.

I can smell the storm coming in. Hopefully, it won’t hit full force until after I get back from the COVID test.

See you on the other side.

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

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

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.