Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Tues. July 20, 2021: Enjoying the Differences

image courtesy of kareni via pisabay.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tues. April 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Vaccine Dose 1 Recovery

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cool

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

Friday I was just cooked. I did client work, worked on the paperwork for the new client (which did not get finished), and cleared off as much as I could for the weekend. Looked at rental listings, put out some inquiries. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the book for review.

Saturday morning, up early. Finished reading the book for review. I liked it, but wanted to think about it for awhile before I wrote the review.

Made sure I ate a big breakfast (frittata with spinach, tomato, and cheese).

We were out of the house on time, headed for the vaccine appointment. Not bad getting there, although the Google Maps directions sucked. Technically, it’s where my primary care is located, but I usually go to the satellite office down the street.

Went in, filled out paperwork, got my jab (Moderna). Sat reading in the waiting area, although no one checked on us, and we were trusted to speak up and keep track of our 15 minutes ourselves.

I started feeling the effects within five minutes, the fatigue, but I didn’t want to say anything, because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me go home. After 15 minutes, I thanked them, waved, and went to the car.  By the time I got to the car, they’d pinged me with the second dose appointment.

That’s the way it should work, not all the cage fighting I had to do to get my mother’s appointments.

I should have let my mom drive me home, but I drove. Of course, there was an accident at the turn to the road for the dump. Probably caused by the jackass with all the pro-Trump paraphernalia on his corner lot. It’s distracting.

Anyway, sitting there, waiting for the traffic to move was difficult. But, eventually it moved, and I was still conscious by the time we got home. I managed to toss the first load of laundry in, drank a large glass of water, changed into my pajamas, and went to bed, where I promptly fell asleep.

The day consisted of me sleeping for 20-30 minutes, getting up to drink a glass of water and do a few asanas, and then back to bed again. I kept moving my arm. I managed to get two loads of laundry through, sorted, and put away. I sort of read a book for pleasure in between naps.

But that was it. My body said it was busy, and I needed to rest, so I did. I had some swelling in my lymph nodes, but only for a few hours.

I ate lunch and dinner – I was very hungry all day, along with being very thirsty, but hungry for very specific things.  All healthy, fortunately. And I felt well enough to cook dinner.

I took some Tylenol and went to bed very early. Slept through until about 2:30, went to the bathroom, drank more water, went back to bed. A fever had started overnight.

Sunday, my arm still hurt, I had a fever off and on, and a mild headache off and on. Still quite a bit of fatigue. It didn’t help that I did too much: I changed the beds (usually a Saturday task), ran that laundry through, folded it up and put it away. I packed all the chimes and bells from the house, except for the large chimes on the deck. It feels so empty without them singing every time we go through a door or open a window. Packed more decorations in the living room, and from the fireplace mantel. Sent out a bunch of inquiries to listings. We found a few that we like, and think could work. Packed up my tarot cards in my room – a little more than 3 boxes’ worth.

In between, I rested and took Tylenol and felt grumpy. Probably because I wasn’t resting properly. My body was busy learning to fight the threat.

But imagine if we lived in a world that honored listening to one’s body? Resting when necessary, eating properly, taking care of oneself and each other instead of us being forced to literally work ourselves to death? “Die for Your Employer” isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s how we are expected to conduct our lives, and it needs to change.

Felt well enough by late afternoon to work on contest entries again, and even cooked a nice dinner of baked trout on a bed of roasted vegetables. It was very good, and I felt much better after eating it.

Woke up once in the night Sunday into Monday to go to the bathroom and drink more water, but managed to get back to sleep. Still up early, though. Got my review written and sent out, and requested more books.

Had to catch up on correspondence that came in over the weekend. Some from friends; others from those pretending they are reaching out in the name of friendship, but then want something.

Went into the client’s office for a bit. I’d hoped to get what I needed to get done onsite and get out before the others got there, but one person arrived early. We figured out some stuff, I got the ETSY orders done, downloaded some stuff that came in via the client email that I needed to work on, and left. I actually felt worse than I had at any point after the vaccine.

Swung by the post office to drop off the ETSY shipments, came home. Decontamination protocols, then back to the computer. Got the stuff done for my client. Got my review out, and was assigned two more books. Worked on contest entries.

Felt pretty lousy; the arm still hurt, and I had a headache. I had chills for a couple of hours, but wrapped up in a blanket with Tessa snuggled next to me, and it passed. Should have packed more, but didn’t feel up to it. Did start feeling better in the evening, and more like myself, which was nice.

Looked at more rental listings, and send out more inquiries.

Heard back from one place – the apartment layout we liked won’t be available for at least a year, so that won’t work. Reported a bunch of scams on craigslist.

I made an absolutely huge decision: I’m going to sell my little red push mower. Yes, the little red mower that I dreamed of owning all my life, and bought about three years ago, and only used for one season.

Chances are we won’t have a garden in this next move. Even when we do get another place with a yard, I hate mowing, and I’m going to hire someone to do it, like I have here. Carting it around and paying to keep it in storage doesn’t make sense. And yet, it breaks my heart a little to give it up.

I spent a lot of last week crying, and it looks like quite a bit of this week will be spent that way, too.

Going to put several things up on craigslist in the coming weeks, including the old printers that can be used for parts. Trying to see which thrift shops are taking donations (if any are, since, technically, it’s still pandemic time). As we’ve been sorting through the closets, there are several big bags of clothes in really good shape that don’t fit or I don’t like and won’t wear that we can donate.

Today, I need to finish the paperwork for the new client, get out some more LOIs, finish my article, and pitch some new article ideas to editors. I need to get some client work done, work on contest entries, and, most importantly, get packing again.

I just wish I knew where we were going. Looking at listings, when they have floor plans, it’s kind of fun to see if and how we could make things fit. I’m looking forward to the UN-packing, once we know where we’re going. It’s the uncertainty that takes such a toll.

Woke up this morning, after sleeping through the night, for once. Lymph nodes are a little swollen again, but the arm hurts less. I have to say, I’d rather have a parade of symptoms, one or two at a time, then have them descend all at once.

Back to it.

Published in: on April 13, 2021 at 5:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Vaccine Dose 1 Recovery  
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Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw

image courtesy of suju via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and mild

Most of the snow is melted, so I guess the guys with their soil sample digging machines who will be around this morning can find the little flags planted over the past few weeks.

I have a post on Ink-Dipped Advice about inspiring rather than bullying to get what you want.

Yesterday wound up being a productive, steady day. I prepped next week’s email blast for a client, and did some other work on the client’s websites. I need to do more; there’s poor copyediting on a few things from before I started working with them, and I need to clean it up.

A contest listing landed on my desk, and it sounded interesting, so I edited an appropriate piece and sent it off. It’s something in a different direction for me, and I’m interested to see if I’m on the right track.

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I sent off a longish short story that seemed to fit. They do audio work, so in my cover letter, I mentioned that I write radio comedy/drama.

Got the script samples out to the potential new client.

Finished a book for review. I’d meant to only take a 20-minute break and read for a bit, but the book was so engaging, I sat there and finished it, then wrote the review and sent it off. I received the next two books for review by the end of the workday, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those. That’ll make this set of five books reviewed, and I invoice every five books.

Started on the print entries for the third category of the contest I’m judging. Only a handful of print entries left, and then I will start on the digital entries. Which is good, because the second shipment of entries should go out in about two weeks. I want to get all the first batch done before the second batch arrives.

Worked on the article. I hope to have it finished either by end of day today, or, more likely, mid-day tomorrow, and get it off to my editor. Overnight, I got another great quote.

Read a book that pretended to be progressive and tolerant, but, when dissected, was full of right-wing evangelical crap. Not because the author was trying to point out the danger of right-wing evangelical crap, but because the author supported the right-wing evangelical crap over the tolerance. That author’s crossed off my list going forward.

Made my box purging quota for the day (and caught up on what I didn’t do yesterday). Found some things that puzzled me. I’m assuming that they were props/costume pieces for a project? But I have no idea which one. Found a box of electrical cords for which I’ve been looking – since we moved in. In 2010. It’s been buried since then.

As I’m going through the boxes, I’m realizing how the movers paid no attention to what was noted on the box (I mark what’s in the box and where it should go). If it was a box, they stuffed it in the basement. No wonder I felt like I’ve lost stuff since the last move. Yes, I know, I should have unpacked everything much earlier. But I didn’t, so I have to catch up now.

Knowledge Unicorns was back in session yesterday. Everyone had a good break. There’s intense pressure to get back in the classroom in April, which is silly. Just keep it remote until the end of the year, and start back up in fall. This group is united in remaining remote until enough people are vaccinated, which sure as hell won’t happen by April. Besides, all the kids are dong really well, grades are up, and they’re actually learning stuff beyond what they would have in a traditional setup.

Today will be a stressful morning. But at least there’s remote chat.

I have to miss the online meditation group tomorrow morning because my mom has an early doctor’s appointment, so I’ll have to make up for that in individual practice during the day.

I got more mail addressed to my father, who died in 1972, and never lived at this address. It’s very disturbing. I’m contacting the companies sending this mail (cc to the appropriate Attorneys General) demanding from what list they got it and where purchased. Because I’m thinking someone stole my deceased father’s identity. But why is the mail coming here?

I’m hoping, in the next couple of days, to hear about my mom’s next vaccination appointment. They’re supposed to get in touch this week. There have been NO vaccine appointments open on the Cape this week, except for the Rich White People’s Secret Number, Baker’s moved doses away from smaller sites all over the state into the large sites like Gillette and Fenway – where most people can’t get to them. Instead of moving the doses to, you know, where they’re needed.

I better get to it. Those words won’t write themselves! Have a great day.

Published in: on February 24, 2021 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw  
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Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

Big storm coming in today. I’ll have to take in some decorations, and be prepared for power outages.

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about birch and holly – since it’s the first day of the month of birch and we love holly this season. Well, I love it all year, but. . .

Yesterday was more stressful than it should have been, and I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a client in the next few weeks that will not end well. But it is necessary.

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

My flash fiction “Holiday Transformations” is up, both as a podcast and in transcript form, as part of this year’s Weird Christmas anthology. It’s a great group of flash pieces – I’m so delighted to be part of it.

Spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the book for review. I will write it this morning and get it off.

The order I was waiting for – the last gift – arrived. The quality is quite wonderful. I considered re-thinking my decision to stop doing business with that particular vendor/artist – when an email came in. It was supposedly to thank customers; what it actually contained was a self-congratulatory, delusional, and arrogant diatribe, claiming the vendor’s “ambition” was at the root of the lack of customer service (say what?) and how she was ignoring criticisms because they made her feel bad.

You do you, honey, but I’m no longer a part of that journey.

Unsubscribed from the mailing list and unfollowed on social media channels. I realize she’s young and it’s rough to run a small business, but wow. Not going to be around that.

I found my recipes for bath salts, and I can adapt it to bath bombs. I can get molds from craft stores, and re-stock essential oils, source small crystals, and go back to making them myself. It’s not like I’m doing them for anyone except myself and friends who might like it. And I won’t have to worry about the stress of poor customer service and all the hypocrisy and bombast. A much better choice all around.

Another order arrived – a treat for myself that I wasn’t expecting until New Year’s.

Got the last present wrapped and under the tree – with help from Tessa and Willa. Charlotte’s not into wrapping gifts, but the other two love it.

Woke up a little after two this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fretting too much.

But planned the next section of the ghost ship story, and some upcoming blog posts, so that’s all good.

Today, I’m sending off the review, doing some edits on one, maybe two stories, writing the next section of the ghost ship story, and seeing what else I feel like doing. I am safely home, prepped for the storm, and planning to enjoy the holiday.

Although I don’t celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas anymore (since my spiritual beliefs have taken me down a different path, and Solstice was my big celebration), I enjoy family traditions and joys of the season.

Dinner tonight is cod paella – it’s been marinating in wine and spices overnight. I’m also making a layered parfait of chocolate and lemon mousses for dessert.

We don’t have Panettone for breakfast tomorrow – I couldn’t find one in the store that didn’t look leftover from last year, and I used the only fruit peel I had for the stollen. So I will make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. The big meal is Cornish hen with all the trimmings. If the power is out, I will have to figure out how to do it on the stove top rather than the oven.

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

We open our gifts on the Eve and have stockings on the Day.

Tonight, we observe the Icelandic tradition of reading books! One of my favorite additions to the holiday.

I wish you peace, joy, safety, and comfort – both physically and emotionally. Peace, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Published in: on December 24, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!  
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Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Tues. Nov. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 181 – Trying for Survival

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny and cold

There are some ideas for being creative with this year’s holidays over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Friday was a more productive day than I expected. I revived the cooking blog, “Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse” with an initial post re-introducing myself and talking about the direction I see the blog taking.

WordPress frustrated the hell out of me, because the template wasn’t supported properly any more, and I had to put in a new theme and then rebuild the site. What’s up is very, very simple now, but the font is a decent size, so one can read it.

I will keep playing with it.

But immediately, it got a good response. I’m kind of surprised how good a response it got, but pleased.

It will be difficult to only write it once a week!

Wrote quite a bit, mostly food-related. I’ll be able to use the blog as writing samples when I pitch to companies to write about food. Or maybe it’s too personal. We’ll see.

Read the next book in a series I’d liked, for the most part in spite of inconsistencies. Didn’t like this one. The pace dragged, it was inconsistent to previous books in the series without explanation, and it used “witch” as a slur more than once. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series from the library, but I think I’m done.

My friend Paula and I are both semi-finalists in the Body Be Gone Origin Story Contest. The flash fiction pieces we wrote made it to the semi-finalist category. All the pieces are up for vote – blind, so we can’t say which are ours. The pieces are really fun, but Paula’s is still my favorite. She took tropes and turned them inside out.

Even if neither of us wins, we’re both in the anthology, which will be fun.

My first shipment from Atlas Coffee Company arrived, a brew from Rwanda. It’s good, but a bit mild for my taste. I guess I like the darker roasts!

Finished a third volume of this year’s personal journal, and Saturday started the fourth. I guess I’ve had a lot to say.

Saturday was clear and cold. I was up early, and loaded the car with garbage and recycling for a dump run. Everyone was masked, distanced, courteous. The guy in front of me was talking on his phone instead of pulling in to a dumpster, so I drove around him and cut off someone else. I later found the guy I cut off up at the recycling, and apologized.

He was so pleased. He was very nice about it, accepted the apology, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s early for all of us.” But you could tell it made his day that I made the effort to apologize. And it was a real apology. It was “I’m sorry” NOT “I’m sorry IF” which is a fake apology. I was wrong, and I apologized.

If I hadn’t said anything and ignored him, it would have niggled at him all day. But I apologized. His day brightened, and so did mine.

Home, decontaminated. Our numbers are well over 2000 new cases every 24 hours, so I’m trying to stay away from as many people as possible.

Did the last of the online orders for holiday.  One of my mom’s gifts arrived. Did four loads of laundry, changed the beds, basic housework. The usual Saturday chores.

Baked bread from a recipe in THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and it is spectacular. Just basic sandwich bread, but it’s wonderful. I kneaded it by hand instead of with the dough hooks, and it worked better. Of course, now I want a pastry board. . .

Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Took a quick rest, then made a vegetable chili from THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which was also good, and made vegetable stock with the remains.

Sunday, I didn’t do much of anything. I cleared away the brush the landlord had cut last week, but left, and ended up bruising my hand – some of that stuff was big and hard to move.

Read some of Mary Oliver’s essays. Read the book for review – it was quite beautiful. I did want to slap the protagonist a few times, but overall, I really liked the book. Ordered a couple of eBooks that were recommended.

The tablet has decided it will connect to the Internet again, so go figure. The laptop is being cranky every time I boot it up, which is annoying. It’s only six months old.

Neighbors on both sides had parties. Small ones, but no masks, no distancing. No wonder our numbers are going up so rapidly. I’m just trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. I need to get some stuff from several local stores for the holidays, but I just don’t want to be out and about.

I have to keep adjusting. I have to let go of the rage and frustration I feel at those around me who refuse to take this seriously. The best thing I can do is refuse to interact with them.

Up early Monday. Wrote my review and sent it off; requested the next assignment.

Was at the client’s on my own for the morning, as it should be. Got a good bit done – three email blasts, social media posts scheduled, spun some holiday ideas.

Quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and chose something for a colleague’s upcoming birthday. Curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated, played with the cats. Noodled with some ideas in the afternoon, worked on some marketing campaigns in my head, and will put them on paper and start implementing them today. Made a list of some things I need to get done sooner rather than later.

We’re eating a lot of leftovers this week and into next week, so that there’s room for the Thanksgiving leftovers!

The cookie sleeves arrived, which is good. Makes me feel better about the baking. It’s safer for everyone if each cookie is individually wrapped.

Got a letter that I can keep my health insurance next year. I am so relieved. I was scared that most of the rest of this week would be spent fighting for my insurance.

This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run for a few things (not a big shop, just a little one). After I decontaminate, I’ll do more client work, and get those marketing campaigns going. I have to prepare a few shorts for re-release, and I need to get Trinity of Teasers up so people can download it and have a taste of the three different series. I need to work on Grief to Art.

I’m going to write postcards for the GA Senate run-offs over the next couple of weeks, and looking forward to that.

I’m looking for a good paella recipe. I want to make paella for Christmas Eve as something new and different, since we’re off pork and beef.

I finally sat down and started writing the Susanna Centlivre play this morning. I’ve got the balance of love and banter and connection between Susanna and her chef husband (Queen Anne’s Yeoman of the Mouth), and just introduced Mary Pix, her friend in. A few pages between them, and the antagonist, the male playwright who’s been plagiarizing  them, enters. I want to get the first draft done this week.

I’m hunkering down as much as possible and just working on survival. I’m trying to avoid as many Covidiots as possible.

Tues. Nov. 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 174 — Alternating Hope and Chaos

image courtesy of Valiphotos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

I have a new post up on A BIBLIO PARADISE about a book I missed the first time it was published, that I really enjoyed.

The roller coaster continues.

Friday was more about practicalities and keeping on keeping on than anything else. Library drop-off/curbside pickup. Paying bills. Ordering cat litter from Chewy. Some clothes I ordered online arrived – pants. Three pairs fit perfectly; one does a weird pouchy thing along the front of the legs, and needs to be returned.

In the evening, there was a talk session with the meditation group from Concord Library, “Vent with Intent.” It was small, but everyone got to talk and Lara, the leader, led us in some meditation and Qi Gong.

That led to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Votes were still being counted when I woke up. I left at 7:15 to go grocery shopping and wasn’t done until nearly 11. I went to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop first (they follow protocols, where the one closer to me does not). I did a BIG shop there, but also noticed that prices have gone up 25% since two weeks ago.

I took things back, decontaminated and put away, then jumped back in the car to go to Trader Joe’s, in the other direction. I did a medium shop there. So we’re pretty well stocked until I have to get the fixings for Thanksgiving. While I was in that plaza, I nipped next door to Christmas Tree shops to get things like parchment paper, and they finally had the tins out that I will use for the cookies this  year, instead of doing platters. I bought a stack of them. Plus a boot tray, so I can put disinfectant in it and we can leave our shoes steeped in disinfectant in the garage.

When there was an outbreak of equine herpes a few years back in the racing community, the tracks had disinfectant one had to walk through at various points. They also have that at the NMLC hospital. People bitch and moan (like they do about masks), but it makes a huge difference in the health and safety of the animals.

Biden and Harris were finally declared the winners. They have enough of a lead in the states still counting for it to make sense (and the lead is growing). It’s such a relief. People danced in the streets; world leaders congratulated him.

The Sociopath, of course, was on brand, playing golf and ranting. His sycophants thought they’d booked the Four Seasons Hotel in PA, but in reality, it was the parking lot of Four Seasons Landscaping, next to a sex shop and across the street from a crematorium.

Which just is on brand for this whole Administration.

Biden gave a speech in the evening. It was nice to hear a grownup talk, and no insults hurled. However, there was too much religion in it for me, and this talk about co-operating with Republicans? They will see it as weakness. For Republicans, there is no co-operation, only capitulation, and we elected Biden and Harris NOT to do that.

We still have to flip the two Senate seats in Georgia. I will be looking to Stacey Abrams for leadership on that, and NOT the Lincoln Project. I don’t believe they delivered. The fact that they are officially going 501c3 means it’s just another Republican machine. They can’t be trusted. They might want the Sociopath gone, but they also don’t want the Democratic platform to happen.

Sat on the deck to enjoy the lovely weather. This is the last chance we have on this deck, so we want to enjoy it.

I made a vegetable stroganoff that turned out very, very well. I expected to think it was okay, and a decent experiment, but it was excellent, and goes into the repertoire.

Chewy delivered the 66 pounds of cat litter I ordered yesterday, which is rather extraordinary.

Sunday, I spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the annuals that are spent, washing pots, putting things away, tidying up the deck. I’m leaving out the big pots for a little longer, until the weather turns. I took my time to do the work, so that I could actually enjoy it. Cut back some stuff in the beds, put things away.

The Sociopath refuses to concede, the Republicans are rude to the incoming administration, refusing to acknowledge them, and then call for “civility” and that we should consider their “feelings.” I keep repeating this: I am not required to be nice to people who are actively trying to kill me.

And I won’t.

Watched a DVD of the Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, directed by Hal Prince. It was amazing. I’m lucky enough to have worked with all of them: I dressed Angela Lansbury in the staged reading of ALL ABOUT EVE, the last Broadway piece I did before leaving New York and she was a delight; I worked with George Hearn when he did a stint on WICKED as the Wizard, and he was gracious, classy, funny, and wonderful; I worked with Hal Prince on THE PETRIFIED PRINCE at the Public, and kept in touch with him after, for years. I learned so much from all of them. I also worked with Sondheim (who wrote the SWEENEY score) on the revival of FOLLIES, and liked him a lot, too.

Sondheim’s scores are complex – the chorus singers need almost as huge a range as the leads. The role of Sweeney is stunningly demanding. The whole production took my breath away.

Slept reasonably well again on Sunday into Monday, although I’m still having weird dreams. Up early on Monday. I went in to a client’s, where I worked on my own. I noticed that the colleague with whom I split time hasn’t been in at all last week – she must still be sick, and I hope it’s not COVID.

I worked flat out all morning. Then, I had to brave a store to return the pants that didn’t fit (because sending them back would have cost more than the pants – shipping prices have all gone waaaay up). I couldn’t believe how many people were out shopping. I stood in line for 45 minutes to do the return. The woman in front of me touched every single item on the display shelves that were on either side of us as we stood in the line. It was kind of gross. At least everyone was masked, although most weren’t distancing properly. Believe me, I kept people FAR away from me.

But the return went smoothly, and then I headed over to the library for a drop-off/curbside pickup. They have book carts with books for sale out front, and the dumb fucks were taking off their masks to READ THE TITLES. What part of “airborne virus” are they too stupid  to understand?

Supposedly tougher mask mandates are in place. Yeah, right. Not ONE man wore a mask as I drove around to do my errands, except while inside a store. Older white women are not wearing masks. Masks are required in all public spaces. Parking lots are public spaces. Streets are public spaces. What part of “airborne virus” is above their level of understanding?

I’ve never had a high tolerance for the stupid. The stupid has risen around here so sharply in the past few years, as many of the smart with whom I interacted when I first moved here have left.

The air purifier arrived, and it’s already helping. Imagine – I lived a block from 42nd Street in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but on CAPE COD I need an air purifier. That’s how much destruction and overbuilding has happened around here in the past ten years.

Wrote and submitted the review for the book I really liked. Submitted the invoice, was paid in less than five minutes, received the next book to review. That’s the way I like to work!

Have to finish a pitch to send to a new-to-me magazine, and received a query to hire me to freelance that smells a little fishy, but it’s a high-paying market, so I want more information.

Ordered the cookie sleeves for the holiday baking. I should have ordered them the first day I saw them. The price is now double for half of what it was then.

The Republicans are still being assholes and traitors, which is to be expected. They’re still trying to pull off a coup and deny the duly elected next Administration.

Today, I have a lot of work to do, in spite of my landlord putting around for the entire morning “pruning” – meaning he’s going to destroy the habitat I’ve built for the local wildlife – as we wait for the gas inspector to come. The guy at the furnace company is going to call the inspector this morning to tell him that no one in this house has COVID. How would he know that, since he has refused to ever deal with me directly or acknowledge my existence during this entire process? All he’s done is demand and bully. I’m so sick of the unrelenting misogyny in getting a furnace installed. It’s disgusting.

But then it will be done. We have a ton of leaves here, and Roger will come soon to take care of them. I’m so sick of the neighbors who can’t stand to see a single leaf on their astro-turfs. Then don’t live in New England.

I’m sick of them all.

I wish it was the end of January, and the new administration was sworn in. The next few months will be hell, and we will have to fight like crazy to make sure nothing happens to derail it.

At least the new Biden-Harris Corona Task Force is in place, with actual doctors and scientists, there’s hope for a working vaccine from Pfizer, who did not participate in the Federal Too-Fast-Who-Cares-If-It-Kills-People-As-Long-As-There’s-A-Photo-Op program. The stock market went up 1200 points.

But we still have to fight the Sociopath, Barr, and Moscow Mitch. Not such fun times.

Onward.

Tues. August 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 90 — Grief To Art Launches

Grief to Art Logo

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Grief to Art
Today is the official launch of Grief to Art: A Site for Collective Mourning, which is my response to the grief from the thousands of deaths from the virus to which our government is indifferent. I hope you will take a look around, share the information, and submit a memory.

Life, Writing, and Other Stuff
Yup, another planet went retrograde. So we’re back in five retrogrades. Sigh.

I gave myself the weekend off. I felt pretty awful both Friday and Saturday, so I just cut off the pressure and let myself rest.

I got some work done on Friday, although I didn’t hit my goals. I didn’t make it to the dump.

Saturday, I had to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market. The staff is slacking off on the masking. I bought more than I planned, including the white cranberry peach juice. Since it’s the only place around here that carries it, occasionally, I will have to venture out for it, but other than that, I guess Star Market is now crossed off my list of places to shop.

Came home, full disinfectant protocols. Laundry, housework.

I made Portuguese Sweet Bread, which always takes at least half a day. But it’s worth it. One of our favorite breads. Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Didn’t need to water Sunday morning, because it rained all day, a nice, gentle rain. Sat inside, read, wrote, made chocolate mousse.

Reading-wise, I read Patricia Hampl’s THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY. I got it because it talks about the need for leisure and for daydreaming. I liked most of it, although it was also an elegy to her deceased partner. I wish I’d know that going in to it – it would have made it more appropriate to the Grief to Art site than to the project for which I ordered it. I also got annoyed at her, multiple times – here, she has these amazing experiences traveling and meeting people rich with stories – and she complains of boredom. She’s a writer, for fuck’s sake! There is NO place for boredom in a writer’s life.

Read two other mysteries, in a series I had been thoroughly enjoying. Only, in this last one, the writer rants on and on, calling a despicable woman “a witch.” That’s a slur. It’s 2020, we should be better than that, in spite of the MAGATS. This person, who’s supposed to be an ally and inclusive, should know better.

I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by someone I trusted.

The book is several years old. I’m wiling to give the series one more book – if it happens again, she is crossed off my list.

I’m tired of cozy mysteries pandering to the right.

But then, so often, they are about maintaining the status quo, aren’t they?

Not anymore about the misfit recognized for her unique qualities and loved and accepted for who she is, but because she conforms to the status quo to fit in. Cozies that do the former are why I enjoy(ed) the genre. Cozies who do the latter — more and more prevalent since 9/11 – I loathe.

Started re-reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series. We are reading the whole series in order. I love so much about it, although the third person omniscient head-hopping bothers me sometimes. She does it better than most writers, but it’s still noticeable enough, at times, to bother me.

On a writing note, I did some more development. I understand what I want and need from the protagonist and her main love interest. I understand the themes I want to develop. I’m building the ensemble of secondary characters. I know who is murdered and why; I know who the murderer is and how this individual passes under the radar for most of the book. I even came up with a working title.

On Monday, I wrote the first 1200 words. The first 500 or so were difficult, and then I found the rhythm. This morning, I wrote another 750 words. It will be a slower creation process, not just because I’m doing the first draft in longhand, but I’m taking more time to develop every sentence, instead of spitting out the first draft quickly and then taking it apart to put it back together. It’s a different process, and what this particular book needs.

Good thing there’s no deadline.

But it shook things loose so I could go back to this draft of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is very, very necessary.

I’ve been writing the article for Llewellyn in my head, and now it’s time to put it on paper. I want to get it done and out this week. Or early next week, latest.

I have to get going on the book I have to read for review. I want to get that done this week. I’d planned to do it over the weekend, but wanted to give myself time off from any “have to.”

Went on site to do some client work on Monday. I was on my own for most of it, which is as it should be.

Curbside pickup at the library, home, full disinfectant protocols, LOIs, and work on the Grief to Art site. But every time I have to go on site, it takes me most of the rest of the day to recover, because it’s so stressful. Even when protocols are followed.

Finished STILL LIFE, and went through some other books I used for research.

It’s still raining this morning, so I’m going to wait to go to the dump until Thursday; same with Trader Joe’s. I’m grateful for the rain. We need it. However, I don’t want to get soaked taking in the garbage and recycling, or standing in line waiting to get into the grocery store.

Michelle Obama’s speech last night was articulate, intelligent, direct, and sharp. We are so lucky she is a part of the world right now.

Today, there will be a lot of focus on the Grief to Art launch, some client work, LOIs, admin work, article work, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and, hopefully, cleaning out another box. The goldenrod is blooming, and I’m sneezing like crazy, my nose is running, and my eyes are swollen. Lovely. Yes, that was sarcasm.

So I better get going, hadn’t I? Have a great day.

Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

The past few days have been hell, because of dumbass “neighbors” setting off illegal fireworks all the time.

They’ve gone off every night since the beginning of the month. And every weekend since the Stay at Home. It needs to stop.

When it’s someone local, with whom the cops grew up, it’s “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know how unreasonable people are” and they’re let off with a warning. And, as soon as the car pulls away, they set the fireworks off again. They’re not confiscated, as required by law. They’re not fined, as required by law.

When it’s tourists, the cops do nothing because, you know, tourist dollars.

On the 4th of July, it started at 4 in the afternoon and went on until 2 in the morning. People were going up and down the street, setting off fireworks in front of other people’s houses. One set of neighbors next door did a production in his little backyard.

The houses here are just too close. There’s shrapnel everywhere, they’re gong to set someone’s house on fire.

Not to mention that Tessa was so terrified I was sitting in a corner of the room, holding her while she tried to burrow under my skin. I was afraid she’d die of fright.

It wasn’t cute little sparklers. It was the big boomers. It was like being under mortar fire for 10 hours, and the cops did NOTHING.

This state has specific and strict laws about illegal fireworks. In the 10 years I’ve lived here, not ONCE have the cops ever done a damn thing. The illegal fireworks have gotten exponentially worse every year.

Instead of pounding on peaceful protestors, how about going after those who are actually breaking the law and causing harm? Just because you grew up with them isn’t an excuse. Nor is that they’re tourists. Those aren’t the tourists we want visiting.

It’s not “harmless fun.”

I also noticed that EVERY person doing this belongs to the same group who refuses to wear masks – again, something that the state mandates.

Gee, people hurting other people in the name of their own “freedoms.” What a surprise.

It was hell.

Why should I pay taxes in this community? They charge me an “excise tax” because I own a car. They’ve upped the rates to get rid of garbage and punish me for wanting to recycle. They allow people to set off explosives every week “for fun.”

Especially since some of these fireworks are set off by those in illegal, short-term rentals. It’s not like they give a damn if they set the neighborhood on fire.

The Town Manager and my district’s Town Councilor are a complete and utter waste of space, both of them, but you better believe they’re getting strongly worded letters. It won’t do anything, but it will go on record in the town archives. Maybe, at some point down the line, it will be useful to someone who will actually do something.

And the fireworks are still going on EVERY DAMN NIGHT. I’m not going through this all summer.

Sunday, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t gotten any sleep on Saturday night. I had to clean up shrapnel on Sunday. I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

At least Saturday and Sunday, I got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m nearly done with Book 4 – I figure I have three more chapters or so. The chapters run long, so I’m figuring another 60-70 pages. I have a bunch of material I wrote intermittently for Book 5, which is an interlude volume (figuring that to run 100 -150 pages), and Book 6 is outlined. I’m hoping to get drafted through Book 6 by the end of the year, and then start on the serious edits, at least for 4-6. The first three books are in good shape; they’ve had countless drafts.

I re-read two more Donna Leon books and BODY ON THE BAYOU by Ellen Byron, all of which were good. I also read AMERICAN SPY by Lauren Wilkinson, which was excellent. I had no idea what to expect going in. It’s a hell of a wonderfully written novel, strong voice, very different structure than usual, but different in a way that works.

I was left both wanting to know what happened next to these characters and feeling it ended at the perfect spot. So often, I’m unhappy with how and where novels end. Too often, it feels post-modern just to try to show off “style” instead of giving the book the unique ending it needs. But this was perfect.

I also read the book I was sent for review. It’s a solid fantasy novel. Not brilliant, but an enjoyable read, and will get a good review.

We had a wonderful, vicious thunderstorm on Sunday night. I loved it, especially since it cut short the illegal fireworks. I’d hoped for a good storm; it was even better than I expected.

I wish the weather would be horrible every weekend for the rest of the summer. Tourists are flooding in, bridges are backed up the way they usually are in summer, and we’re all being put at risk, because the tourists aren’t following the state-mandated protocols, and the businesses just shrug and let them get away with it.

Because, you know, if we’re not rich enough, we “deserve” to die for tourist dollars. That’s the attitude around here.

Client work yesterday – I’m creating more ads for this client. 6 LOIs out. Work on fixing BARD’S LAMENT – I’m about to enter the bit that’s a real mess. I need to fix it so I can move on. The deadline looms.

Did the whole week’s course work on THE BOOK OF KELLS class. It was fascinating, talking about scribes and how they created the book. Gave me ideas (always dangerous).

Managed to sleep through the night last night, for once (once the fireworks stopped).

This morning, I’m going to do some work on BARD, record a podcast for THE MERRY WRITER, do some client work. I think I need to go to the grocery store – it’s been about 10, 12 days, and we’re out of some basics. So I’ll gear up and go.

I have a Zoom call with my primary care physician, which I’m dreading. We will talk about the mixed results from the surgery, and work out a plan. I do not want more tests. I want to be left alone for the next six months until the next procedure.

I have a feeling this will continue to be a difficult week.

Hope your week is better.

Published in: on July 7, 2020 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)  
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Thurs. June 4: Die For Your Employer Day 17 – Trying to Find a New Rhythm

Thursday, June 4, 2020
First Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and humid

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

If you didn’t get a chance to read the blurb for THE BARD’S LAMENT, hop on over and read it. I had a decent writing session on it yesterday after a rough start. Last night, I figured out how to up the conflict and potential heartbreak.

Onsite at a client’s yesterday. I went very early yesterday morning, to minimize the time we were all in the office at the same time. It was fine; we got a lot done and planned for the next few weeks, as things are starting to open up again. We are taking precautions, although there is one person who I don’t feel is being cautious enough. So I’m keeping more than 6 feet away, whenever possible.

We discussed how I’ll work remotely again the week of my surgery. Since I have to be in complete isolation once I take the COVID test to the time I enter the hospital, it makes the most sense. It takes a huge amount of pressure off me.

Came home, followed the disinfectant protocols, and was back at my computer in time for Remote Chat, which was fun. Also got some advice on how to make those photos work on the Square store. I’ve followed every set of instructions, and it’s just not working. I’ll have to keep trying. The ratio should adjust it, so I don’t understand why it’s not.

Comcast sent me a text saying they would cut me off if I didn’t pay my bill by June 30. I have not received a bill. I pointed out that psychic billing doesn’t work. I’m happy to pay my bill, but they have to actually SEND ME A BILL. I’m not doing autopay. That means they make up and amount and pull it multiple times from the bank. Been there. Not doing that again. They cannot be trusted with my bank information. I am happy to send them a check. But I need a detailed bill. I want to see what illegal charges they’re trying to pull off.

I loathe Comcast. They need to be broken up. Every place, even the most rural area, should have a choice of at least three providers, who aren’t allowed to set rates amongst themselves, but actually compete. No one company should hold a monopoly. Technology is now a necessity, like any other utility. Make Comcast follow the regulations. Stop letting them do whatever they want.

Started reading Lilith St. Crow’s STEELFLOWER and really like it. I’ve owned that book for ages, and haven’t had a chance to read it before. I believe it’s the first of a series, so I have more of these characters to enjoy!

My Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was wonderful. It’s such a joy, every month. The incense this month, the cute little socks, the lip balm, the selenite, the astrological planner, everything is great.

You ever have that person in your life, the one who floats balloons of inappropriate comments and racist agendas? When you push back, the individual backs down; if you don’t, the person keeps pushing to reveal the real self.

I have one of those in my life right now. I’m pushing back. And every time this person makes such a comment, I lose more respect.

I am in the process of removing this person from my life, but it can’t just be a clean, immediate cut. I have to be diplomatic about it.

I may do a run to the garden center (masked, of course) to get a few things I need to work in the garden this weekend. I’m hesitant, because yesterday? Driving to and from the office? I saw ONE person, on a bicycle, masked. No one else driving, walking, or working was masked. Plenty of them were in groups, and not distanced. This attitude that they’re bored with the virus and are therefore going to ignore it is going to get people killed.

The MA numbers were up significantly yesterday from the day before.

Honestly, I don’t trust the customers at the garden center to follow the rule of masking or distancing. But I’ll see. If I’m uncomfortable, I’ll leave.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment for curbside pickup at the library. That’s my only outing. It’s a full moon with an eclipse and four retrogrades. Not pushing my luck beyond the single book pickup. It was good to talk to one of the librarians again, though. I’ve been in touch via email, but she said it was good to hear my voice. I asked her to give my love to everyone there.

I have writing, client work, yard work on the agenda today. I need to do some more work on the Topic Workbooks and the old Cerridwen Iris Shea material. Maybe start the book for review.

Over the next few days, I also want to get the mending done, some sewing done, and purge more boxes from the basement.

I am in daily contact with my elected officials about what’s going on in the bigger picture, and I’m working on some proposals. We all have different roles to play in this, along with voting.

I hope I’ll have a good few days and up my output on THE BARD’S LAMENT. And maybe, just maybe, get a bit done on BALTHAZAAR. I need to get back into the rhythm again, of both those worlds.

Hope you have a great day.

Published in: on June 4, 2020 at 6:12 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 4: Die For Your Employer Day 17 – Trying to Find a New Rhythm  
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Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and colder

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I actually felt well enough to add a new post.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Things are what they are.

Remote chat was fun and informative. We talked about how the Corona Virus is changing ways we work and interact. You KNOW it’s only a matter of time until the internet service providers (especially Comcast) jack up their rates and cut people off, making it impossible to work from home without paying extortion fees, because they can and no one ever punishes them when they break laws & regulations. They need to be broken up. We need to have viable options, not a monolith controlling everything.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home; too tired to cook.

Finished reading a book that totally annoyed me. It’s set in an area I know well, that the author obviously does not. The author put in details that don’t exist in that area (but do a state or two over) that made it ring even more false. When the protagonist’s family is threatened, she cowers and waits for a man to save her. Really? If someone threatens one of mine, the towering RAGE I feel would burn down the town until I rooted out that person. And yes, I HAVE fought back against that kind of threat. You threaten one of mine? Honey, you better HOPE the cops find you before I do. Because I will be both relentless and merciless. I expect at least that from a protagonist in a book.

But the most irritating turn-off for me was the author’s eyelid fetish. In every damn scene “lids” were doing something, usually closing. Really? How can you solve a murder when you can’t keep your eyes open? When your response to EVERYTHING, good or bad, is to close your eyes? Especially in such annoying, repetitive language? It’s not a cute character trait.

All of the above completely negated the good things in the book — strong relationships between characters, some gentle comedy, some good descriptions.

Started reading a novel that’s gotten a lot of fuss, but I’m annoyed with all the characters so far. I’ll give it another 50 or so pages, and then I’m done. I don’t care if “everyone” raves about it. If I don’t like it and I’m not being paid to read it, I’m putting it down.

After all, I have a book to review for which I’m getting paid, and the rest of the contest entries arrived, so I have to read those. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter broke off its relationship with Twuffer. That screws both my scheduled book promotions, and a promotion run I had set for a client. I tried to switch things over to Tweetdeck — and nothing posted as scheduled. Tried to sign up for SumAll, which is supposedly good — couldn’t sign up. Buffer and Hootsuite come highly recommended, but the plans in my current price range don’t have the versatility I need for current clients. I could bump the rate for new clients, but until I do an across-the-board rate hike, I can’t justify the price to current clients.

Mercury Retrograde is NOT the time to make these decisions and sign those contracts, anyway. I’ll wait until next week, and see what happens.

Had an excellent writing morning. Things plugging along. Have to go grocery shopping, then some time at the library, then hopefully another writing session this afternoon, and some reading time.

Lifted too much while grocery shopping early this morning, and paying the price.

Got an issue solved that I’ve been fighting and has been weighing on me for years. Got the paperwork so they can’t suddenly decide the decision never happened. So that’s good. I’ve been considering some other things that have come up through this whole process, and weighing different elements against each other, so I can make the most informed decisions I can.

Meanwhile, I’m doing as much as I can until I run out of energy every day, and trying to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work  
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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!