Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Thurs. May 19, 2022: Decent Day, Creatively

image courtesy of Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cool

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

Yesterday turned out to be a strong day, creatively. I wrote a flash fiction piece while I ate breakfast (which I don’t usually do, but I didn’t want to lose the idea). Yes, it was in longhand.

It has characters with whom I might do more. I’m kind of test driving these characters, and will probably post the piece on my Ko-fi page in a few weeks, after it’s gone through some revisions.

I was out the door by 7:30 and over to the mechanic’s on time. They had the part, and got it into the car within twenty minutes or so. The car feels like itself again. Fingers crossed the car is really fixed this time, and nothing else goes wrong.

On the way home, I stopped at Wild Oats, the co-op where I’m a member-owner. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go there since December. Stocked up on some of my favorites. Stopped at Stop & Shop, where I rarely shop anymore, for a few things I can only get there. In both stores, everyone was masked by choice, which made shopping much less stressful.

Got everything home and put away. Went through emails. Did the last four chapters’ worth of revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, finishing this draft. It came in just over 63K, which is around where I want it. I’m going to let it sit for a bit, and next week, start the multi-colored draft.

I contacted the Williamstown Historical Museum about a research appointment that will feed into the Retro Mystery. I’d like to go in this Friday morning. Fingers crossed that I can. I caught up on Ello and am getting more comfortable on Counter Social, where I’m having actual conversations.

I have contradictory information about the guidelines for one of the proposals I want to submit, and I need clarification, because if one set of information is correct, it’s not the right fit for me, and I will move on. I’m debating the other proposal, because it has to be in-person indoors in the autumn, and who knows what the virus numbers will be like?

And now we have to worry about monkeypox? Really? Committing to being a professional recluse looks better and better.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then went back to reading THE BONE ORCHARD, which was hard to put down, because it’s so unique and interesting. Read it until I was finished, and was still thinking about it when I woke up.

Tessa rousted me around 5:30, as usual, although she’d been fussing a good deal before that.

Did my first writing session, and my normal routine. Willa seems to have settled down a bit, although she’s still being cautious.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. The Big Project, work on the radio plays, maybe looking at the outline for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY to get that back on track. I have a script to turn around this afternoon, and a book to read for review. If I get enough scripts in my queue, I’ll read through the weekend, since I want to take some time off for Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s supposed to get into the 90’s this weekend, which I am not looking forward to, but be cooler and pleasanter next week.

Fingers crossed that the car is Really Fixed this time. That will take a lot of stress out of my life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. May 18, 2022: Willa Had a Hard Day

image courtesy of Scott Payne via pixabay.com. This looks very much like Willa, although it is a stock photo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday had to be re-jiggled a bit, because the cats got upset, poor things.

We did a final house clean early in the morning, and I got the garbage out just as the gas company guy and the maintenance guy arrived. Since the focus was the basement, and then the gas stove in the kitchen, we closed the bedroom doors, the door to the laundry room, etc. We made sure the cats weren’t shut away in any of the rooms, because they hate that. They want to know what’s going on.

They also don’t like closed doors.

Tessa was fine about it. She marched around to check the doors, glared at us, and then settled on the sofa. Her Highness refused to acknowledge our existence until late afternoon.

Charlotte wasn’t too pleased, but she made sure she met the newcomers and they told her she was pretty, and then she went in m office and sat on a chair until everything was finished.

Willa, who is usually the mellow jokester, was the one who nearly fell apart. She thought she was being given away again. She was frantic. When she was moved, all those times before she came to us, the people she was leaving must have shut the doors to the rooms where she usually hung out.

Now, the guys who came in were perfectly nice and cat lovers.

But the closed doors triggered Willa.

They were in and out in less than a half hour. But it took several hours to calm Willa down. She was Velcro kitty, and sat quietly close by, staring as if to say, “If I’m very quiet and good, you won’t give me away, will you?” We kept petting her and telling her she was good and everything was okay, but she didn’t believe us, even after we re-opened all the doors. Charlotte promptly curled up on my bed and passed out until late afternoon, and Tessa refused to have anything to do with us, because her routine was upended without her being consulted. But Willa was absolutely terrified.

It was heartbreaking.

So we took whatever time it took to reassure her. It was late afternoon before she was back to her silly self.

I worked through a ton of email. I sent out a W-9 to the theatre doing my radio play next week, and they are eager for more. As soon as I get the two plays for the NY producer ready, I will go back to work on the dirigible play for them.

I sent off the autopay authorization to Prime Storage. I bet they still screw things up for this next pay period. They are horrid.

I caught up over on Ello. I posted a flash fiction, “Angel Auditions” over on Ko-Fi. I tried to figure out how to maneuver on Counter Social.

I contacted Windsor Lake about getting the season pass and found out I can just get it at the gate house starting Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m delighted.

Edited three more chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Four more to go, and I’m done with this draft. Then, I can start the multi-colored draft. I think it will only need one draft after that, and I can decide what to do with it.

A script landed in my queue that needed immediate turnaround. It was pretty good, and I got it done in good time. I have two more to read today. I’m a little worried by the dearth of scripts lately. Thank goodness I had so many at this time last year, when I was desperate for the money. I still have other paid work to finish this week, so I don’t have to worry about the lack of scripts.

The night blooming jasmine finally arrived (the shippers sent a new one to replace the one which had gone astray). It’s much smaller than I expected, but I had a pot the right size for it, and it’s happy in its new home on the front porch.

The weather was wacky, alternating between sun and rain, sometimes raining while sunny, so I had to take down the hanging baskets so they wouldn’t get battered.

THE DRUID PLANT ORACLE and the ASK THE WITCH TAROT both arrived. The former is absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to working with it and learning it over the coming months. The latter is much harsher than I expected from the blurbs, but also quite fascinating.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Hard to believe next week will be our last.

I have a couple of project proposals to work on, too, and I have to get my profile up on the Creative Ground site. And get back to work on The Big Project. I’m woefully behind where I want to be on that, although it’s in good shape.

But first, this morning, I have to head over to the mechanic to get the car fixed. Hopefully, it will be Really Fixed this time, and we can start our day trips. And run basic errands without holding my breath all the time.

I’m finding THE BONE ORCHARD absolutely fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Off to the mechanic soon. Hold a good thought for me. Hopefully, it won’t take long, and I can get back to start my workday. Have a good one!

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Fri. May 6, 2022: In the Midst of Creativity, Loss

image courtesy of strikers via pixabay.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster.

It was a beautiful spring day here in the mountains. Just gorgeous.

Charlotte sat with me for the regular Zoom meditation group,

I got some admin work done. I need to spend some time over on Ello this week; I’ve been lax about that.

I pitched myself for a large creative project that will happen in July.

I did some brainstorming on the Monthology with fellow creatives who wanted to know if they could use something in one of the organizations I created, and we figured out how to make it work.

I did a drop off/pickup at the library – there were nine books waiting for me! I had to pick up a few things as the pharmacy. They had aloe plants there, so I grabbed one of those, two. The aloe plant we had in the kitchen on Cape died about two years ago, and I’d never replaced it. We’d bought it when we first moved there, so it had a long life. I did a big grocery shop (five bags’ worth). I stopped at the liquor store, because I was out of red. I got another bottle of red, found a bottle of interesting rosé on the sale shelf, and, in the back of a shelf, another bottle of the Pomelo sauvignon Blanc I like so much.

Getting everything upstairs and put away was a bit of a chore, but I got it done. The latest NEW YORKER has graphic photos of the Russian atrocities in Ukraine. I was worried it would bring back nightmares for my mom, after what she went through with the Russians in WWII, but she wanted to see the magazine anyway. The fact that the world hasn’t banded together to stop this is despicable.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon, and went back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push today and tomorrow, and hopefully can make my final decisions by tomorrow.

I was accepted for the creative project and can even say what it is: I’m participating in Word X Word’s “World’s Largest Poem” event. 50 of us will write an ongoing poem (we get the last word of the previous writer’s poem, we write 3-5 lines, and the next poet starts with our last word) over the next two months, and we perform it at Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount, in Lenox, on July 23rd. I’m very excited. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but something I wanted to try. We each have 24 hours to write our lines, once we received the prompt from the previous person’s poem.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter. We are enjoying our remaining time together.

Then, I had some shocking and heartbreaking news. I found out that my friend, Thalia Proctor, had died on April 2nd of cancer, and her memorial service was on May 4th. I found out on Facebook. I hadn’t even known she was sick. We’d exchanged cards at Christmas, and I was planning to spend time with her in London next spring, provided it was safe enough to risk the trip. In additional to being a wonderful editor, Thalia was one of the kindest people I know. We met in Nottingham, at one of the first mystery conventions I ever attended, back when I was just starting to get my feet wet in the convention scene. We hung out together at conferences (including the year Bouchercon was in Omaha, of all places) on both sides of the pond. When I was in the UK, we visited. She visited me in 2013 on Cape, which was the last time I actually saw her, although we kept in touch for birthdays and Christmases. She was a steadfast friend during one of the worst romantic relationships of my life, and had a mix of kindness, humor, and common sense that was a joy to be around. We’d been friends for nearly thirty years. In addition to the heartbreak of the loss, I feel guilty that I didn’t know she was sick, and hadn’t supported her more during her illness. But mostly, I’m devastated that the world has lost such a beautiful and graceful person.

Today is about writing and working on contest entries. Tomorrow is the farmer’s market, and finishing contest entries, and making the decisions in the final category. Tessa woke me at three. I moved to the sewing room and dreamed I was at a luncheon with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and she decided to introduce me to Kathy Griffin, because she thought we should know each other. Which is very much like Senator Warren. She got me involved with the Small Business Administration when I first moved to MA, and involved with the state arts organization who advocates for arts funding.

But, throughout, I will take the time to mourn the loss of my friend.

Thurs. May 5, 2022: Finally, Some Sun!

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Yesterday felt kind of lost and scattered. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night ready to fret (sense memory from last year at this time) and there’s nothing to fret about on the scale there was last year, so I have to calm down and get back to sleep. Also, going into yesterday, once I fell asleep again, I dreamed that I wrote several 30 second and one minute commercial spots, and woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day.

The morning wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, although I caught up on some blogging, answered emails, and got out a grant proposal. I’ve applied for this particular grant for several years, and always told that they really like my work, and I should try again the following year when they don’t give me the grant. As I entered in my credentials this year, I realized that I have built quite a few credentials, and therefore a professional place, in the particular milieu the grant covers, and if they don’t fund me this year, I won’t apply anymore. They have three grant cycles this year to which I’m suited. I will apply, and if I don’t get any of them, I’m done with them. I looked back at their previous recipients, and, so far, I’ve only found people with few or no publication credits who never show up anywhere again, so they get the grant, they work a little, and they vanish. Which, hey, I’m all for supporting writers at any stage of their career, but if the organization doesn’t support working writers who can deliver consistently and actually grow a career and a body of work, then I’m wasting my time on these applications. It’s time better used on my work and/or applying to other organizations that support writers who grow and sustain their work. Otherwise, I’m just bashing my head against a wall for no reason.

I put up o new post on Ko-Fi, a sweet, somewhat romantic flash fiction under the Ava Dunne name called “Floral Arrangements.” I was surprised at the positive response. I’ve always liked it, but couldn’t find a home for it. One friend encouraged me to turn it into a screenplay, and she’s right, it would work, so I’m taking notes as I think of them. I just have to make sure I don’t drop bodies in there, reverting to my usual wheelhouse!

Did some plotting on the anthology story, and I think I’ll be ready to start it next week.

Turned around two scripts, and went back to contest entries. I have two more scripts to turn around today and then, like last week, I’ll focus on contest entries tomorrow and into the weekend, to finish the decisions on this final contest by Tuesday’s deadline. Did some work on a proposal for my elected officials, which will go out tomorrow.

Deborah Blake’s CLAWS FOR SUSPICION arrived the other day, too, and I’m looking forward to reading it once I finish contest entries and the next book for review.

I’d placed a big order for things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc., and it was delivered early, so there was that unpacking and sorting. I left the box out so the cats could play in it, and will break it down later today. So we’re supplied for another six months or so with all of that.

Meditation this morning, and then I’m off to run errands: library, big grocery shop, pharmacy, liquor store (I ran out of red wine, although I have plenty of white). Then, it’s back to the page. Hopefully, I’ll get everything done and be back in time for Freelance Chat.

There’s a garden post on Gratitude and Growth. It looks like today will be lovely, so I’m going to do some of my work out on the porch.

Have a good one!

Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment

image courtesy of Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.com

Friday, April 29, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The Retrogrades are starting, and Pluto goes retrograde today, and stays retrograde until October 8. Pluto’s retrograde works to reveal what’s hidden and force us to face fears, causing long-lasting transformations. Tomorrow is Beltane Eve with a new moon and a solar eclipse, so there’s a lot going on, and if you’re wondering why your emotions are all over the place, take a deep breath and a nap.

I had high hopes for yesterday, which were quickly dashed. I had trouble focusing in meditation. Charlotte had no such issues, spending most of the session quietly on my lap.

Then, Tracfone started again. First, they sent a text saying the phone number transfer was happening. Then, they began a series of phone calls in escalating harassment along the lines of “this is our number and we decide when and if it transfers.” They kept demanding a series of “press this key and that key” – which wasn’t possible, because one of the issues with that smartphone is that the dial pad was dumped and couldn’t be retrieved. Basically making the phone useless. Which has been explained to them, in detail, over a dozen times. Anything that they deemed wasn’t used “often enough” (which, by their definition, is multiple times a day) was removed from the phone. My mom is 97. She doesn’t need to dial her phone every day. So the dial pad was removed and the phone was even more useless than possible. In addition to the whole thing that she doesn’t need a smartphone and it was too difficult for her to learn. They were also trying to force another month’s payment while they ‘considered’ whether or not to release the number.

I turned off the phone, went back to Consumer Cellular, cancelled the transfer and got a new phone number. I was able to end SIX MONTHS of torment and harassment in five minutes.

Tracfone could have solved this issue six months ago in fifteen minutes and kept a customer they’d had for a decade. Instead, they chose harassment, believing if they harassed long and hard enough, we would just cave and pay them whatever they demanded and do whatever they demanded.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to let everyone know her new number, it’s better than Tracfone’s unacceptable harassment. Not to mention the literally thousands of dollars I’ve lost in billable hours/work time because of this.

The service ran out at the end of the day, and we are done with Tracfone. I am filing a formal complaint with the state’s division of public utilities, under which cellphones fall, but at least they’re not getting anymore money out of us, and can’t call anymore.

The new number needs a bit of time to settle down. In the first 12 hours, we had to block 4 scam calls.

At least they’re not like Verizon, which demanded a $4.99 charge every month for every number blocked, so one really couldn’t afford to block numbers.

I was exhausted by the end of that debacle, but also relieved that we’re done. And my mom has a simple flip phone that she can actually use, and that works.

I lost all the time blocked off for writing.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It’s such a great group.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage for something on which I’d been requested, and grabbed another script to read today. I’ll be a little under my nut for this pay period, but I need to focus on the contest entries over the weekend, and possibly into part of next week.

I spent some time on Ello, and put up a tarot post over on Ko-fi.

We did some Monthology brainstorming for a project logo, which we can slap around all over the place on websites and stickers and whatever. I mean, there are 50 of us, we can have an impact and get people interested and excited about the project.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’ve set our final virtual meeting date for late May, before Memorial Day weekend. More of an online party than anything else, to celebrate what we’ve built over the past two and a half years, and that we survived, at least so far.

I keep talking about how great Ello is, but friends are having trouble signing up. I feel bad about that, since I’ve been hawking the site. But the numbers I get on it are high – well over 100 for most posts, and over 1000 for others. In addition to cross-posting content, I also need to create specific content for that platform. Just not sure what yet.

Speaking of trouble signing up, Prime Storage, which bought the CubeSmart storage facility on Cape, is ignoring my requests for customer service and assistance setting up auto-pay. Their website will not acknowledge me as an existing customer or allow me to sign up as a new customer. It just keeps booting me out. I have no doubt this is intentional – they are trying to make sure there are late payments, so they can charge late fees. So I have to write a check and send it express mail to make sure it gets there on time. And you better believe I’m going to make them sign for it. AND send them the tracking number.

Another hateful company.

Worked on contest entries last night. I’m a little behind where I hoped I’d be, so I have to push hard this weekend. But that’s okay. Everything will get done by deadline, and it’s always exciting to read such a wide range of new work.

Going to hit the page this morning. I need to finish the first draft of the radio play by tomorrow for Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event. I have a seminar with them this afternoon, which should be interesting, on curating one’s archive.

I have to make the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, and the liquor store.

This afternoon, I’ll turn around another script and go back to the contest entries.

Tomorrow, we’re switching out the winter curtains to the lace panels, swapping out some early spring fabric for more summery fabric, and doing other houseworky things that have somehow become part of Saturday’s routine. I also have an online yoga session tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll have to finish the first draft of the radio play and do contest entries.

Saturday is Beltane Eve, the new moon, the eclipse; Sunday is Beltane and the start of May. Another month whizzing past.

April definitely was more chaotic and less productive than I’d hoped, but I’m looking forward to May and spring and plants and all that good stuff.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept

image courtesy of Kranich 17 via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Cloudy/sunny/cold

Buckle up, buttercups. Retrogrades start again tomorrow.

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

Yesterday, I pushed hard in the morning and had to ease off in the afternoon, because I wore myself out.

I got a good chunk done on The Big Project, one section of a little over 1400 words, and a start on the next section. I need to get back into its rhythm and push hard in May, because I have to be in good shape in June, when it needs to start going live. I was worried I’d lost the voice there a bit, but I haven’t. The writing itself takes much, much longer than a normal 1400 words of an outlined piece would take because of the level and structure that has to be in the first draft, or I can’t move on to the next section. Each part has to compress the process of what would normally be the first three drafts for me. It’s been a learning curve.

Tracfone and Consumer Cellular are both being dicks about the phone transfer. Tracfone, after sending multiple texts confirming that the transfer was going through, is holding the phone number hostage. They won’t finish the transfer unless I pay for an additional month (the month is up today). Consumer Cellular SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IN TOUCH as soon as there was a problem, but, of course, heaven forbid they actually provide customer service. I was trying not to be a nudge and waiting for the 3-5 business day period they said it could take before I followed up. When I should have been riding their inept asses from Day 1.

Summary: avoid both these companies if you have the choice.

It’s a shame, because Tracfone used to be a great, no fuss company. I hope they go out of business soon. They don’t deserve to have customers.

I’ve been trying to set up the autopay for the storage unit with the company who bought the facility, and I can’t get into their system to do it. Nor does anyone at the facility or the main office respond. This is intentional, of course, so they can charge late fees. Horrible company. I didn’t think anyone could be worse than U-Haul, but this company just might be.

I FINALLY got an appointment with a mechanic that’s not afraid of working on a VW. It’s for May 10. I have basically been without a car for six months, which is getting frustrating. It didn’t matter so much in the winter, because the weather kept us from doing much, but there are things that need to get done out of walking radius.

I got in touch with the landlord about the gas company wanting to do an inside service line inspection. The gas company couldn’t give me a straight answer about what they needed to see for the inspection, and I suspect it has to do with how lines come into the building in the basement, which is a landlord thing, not a me thing.

I gave myself the day off from script coverage. I worked on contest entries and read for pleasure instead. I was completely worn out from dealing with the stupid and the incompetent.

Tessa woke me up at 4 again (I am not a happy camper). She didn’t want me on the bed in the sewing room and fussed at me until I moved to the couch.

But I’m not complaining too much, because I heard about a friend whose elderly cat recently died, and I want to enjoy every moment I have with mine. Even when they’re being little pills.

Meditation this morning, then back to the page, then Freelance Chat, then script coverage and contest entries. Oh, yeah, and by late morning, fighting some more with Consumer Cellular and Tracfone. The number of billable hours I have lost because of their incompetence is infuriating.

Have a good one! Catch you tomorrow.

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Tues. April 26, 2022: A Reasonably Restful Weekend

image courtesy of haegenmatteORG via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

For once, this Tuesday post won’t be pages and pages. There’s a post over on the GDR site about putting together the pieces that have been discussed there over the past few weeks.

I picked this photo because people love their hammocks around here, and are starting to put them up again for the summer.

Friday, we set out the plants on the porch for the day. It was quite lovely, and I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription and stopped at the liquor store on the way back. I was testing a pair of cute flats, rather than the boots I’ve worn all winter. While the cute shoes are fine if I drive somewhere, walking a three-mile round trip didn’t work in them. I had bleeding blisters and my ankles hurt from the concrete. Live and learn. I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Expanded the pitch to my Llewellyn editor and sent that off. Hopefully, she’ll want one of the two ideas. Of course, I thought of a third idea once I sent it off; I can either save that for next year, or, if she doesn’t like either of my ideas, counter with this one. Although I would prefer to do some practical work on the idea this year so I can more accurately write about it.

Spent the whole day Friday on contest entries. I was so happy I could work on them out on the porch.  One category is complete. The second category should be done tomorrow, or Thursday latest, and the final category by next Monday. I truly enjoyed the work, although more and more of the admin is being pushed onto the judges, without the pay going up. But we’re paid, which is more than most contests do.

At the end of the day, I oiled the other Adirondack chairs. It makes me laugh that I bought these chairs out on the Cape, the first summer we lived there. And yet here, where we are close to the actual Adirondacks, they’re selling Hyannisport rockers! (Hyannisport is an upscale enclave on the water, near where I used to live).

Juggling several books to read for pleasure, in addition to all the contest reading. I absolutely loved PROVENCE, 1970 by Luke Barr, about MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, et al, who convened there for several weeks of cooking and talking. They were at turning points in their lives and careers, and the food world was also at a turning point. The talk about Sonoma County, in California, at that time, kind of reminds me of what’s going on here with the farm-to-table movement.

The plants had to come in overnight, because it’s still going down to the thirties at night.  They went out on the porch on Saturday, came back in Saturday night. I had the chance to oil the bistro table. Sunday, it was too cloudy and cold to put them out at all, but we brought them out again on Monday, while it was sunny. And today, I will oil the small table.

I still have to oil the bistro chairs and the bench out on the back balcony, but I have to wait until the temperature stops going down so low at night, or the wood will crack.

Saturday, I read and puttered and arranged and rearranged a few things around the house. I took it easy, feeling weary, and needing the time to rest. I did a good bit of percolation on several projects, just letting my mind roam freely through them, poking at different aspects and seeing what came out. I’ve narrowed too much of that creative time out, and I need to create space for it again, because the work is so much better when I do.

I treated myself, on Saturday, to smoked trout with a touch of horseradish cream on buttered rye bread and prosecco (making like a Venetian with the latter). It was perfect. Saturday night dinner was very simple – leftover ham (I feel like we’ll never be done with the leftovers) with vegetables turned into a ham pot pie.

Sunday morning, I made biscuits, and, later in the day, I did an easy chocolate mousse. But the rest of the day, I puttered around, noodled with ideas, and re-read APPETITE FOR LIFE, the wonderful Julia Child biography. I’d read it when it first came out, in 1997, and enjoyed it. I appreciate it even more this time around.

I broke my “day of disconnect” to keep an eye on the elections in France and Slovenia. Glad to see the fascists lost, at least for the moment. Would that we could remove them from positions of power here, too. The lack of consequences for crimes committed publicly in real time is appalling.

While I understand that people want to reconnect, the photos of people who should know better behaving irresponsible at conferences, festivals, and events are deeply disturbing. No one better act surprised when they get sick. Because it is “when” and not “if.”

Yesterday morning, Tessa got me up early, awakening me out of “busy dreams.” They weren’t bad dreams at all, but I was very busy in them, and woke up exhausted. Still, we got our morning routine done, and the plants out.

I tried to get in contact with the mechanic, and they were closed yesterday. I’m getting really frustrated. Also, the transfer of my mom’s number was initiated on Thursday, late in the day, and it’s still not complete. This let’s-screw-the-customer-because-we’re-the-only-choice is revolting.

I got some blogging done, working ahead a bit. I need to start spending more time over on Ello and build up that platform. If Elon Musk buys Twitter, and it looks like he’s succeeded, that’s it for me over there, which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. Don’t like FB, and resent that I feel forced to be on it. Instagram has so many scammers on it that it harms my pleasure in it, although I block daily. I never even bothered to join Reddit, because all I see from it are people being awful to each other.  My website posts are connected to Tumblr, but I rarely spend much time on it.

We’ll see. Don’t borrow trouble, right? Keep my own sites going. Limit my time on sites that no longer serve my needs. Do the work. I’m reconfiguring my relationship to work, in general, so I might as well reconfigure it with social media, too.

The weather was gorgeous. Walked up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Trees and bushes and flowers are coming into bloom, and it’s gorgeous. The smells are wonderful, too.

Did my script coverage sitting on the porch, enjoying the nice weather. Did a 20-minute mid-day meditation, which was also good. And then went back to working on more contest entries.

Up around 5 this morning, thanks to Tessa. Who needs an alarm clock, when one has a Tessa? Although she’s more about what she wants when she wants it, then consistent time. It wasn’t raining yet, so once I did my yoga, I bundled up the laundry and hauled it over to the laundromat. Got it turned around quickly, although forty-five minutes in, other people showed up to do their laundry. They were perfectly fine; we acknowledged each other and did their own thing. I’m just proprietary about the laundromat early in the morning, because I can get so much work done.

And I did get good work done, on The Big Project, which I hope to continue this morning, in and around trying to get an appointment with the damn mechanic, and some other admin stuff, and more script coverage.

I got home before the rain started, so I’ll call that a win!

Have a good one!

Fri. April 22, 2022: Earth Day!

image courtesy of Purwaka Seta via pixabay.com

Friday, April 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

Earth Day!

How lovely that we have a beautiful day in which to celebrate Earth Day. I have a couple of errands I will do later on foot, to enjoy it.

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday morning.

After breakfast, I dealt with emails and with admin work. Then, I sent off the trio of Frieda/Laz plays to the radio producer in NY who was interested in them.

I spent a good chunk of time converting “Pier-less Crime” (the third Frieda/Laz play) into US Numbered Format for the producer in Minnesota. I’d already converted “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” thank goodness. I got both of them off to Minnesota. That company is recording the first one in June, so if it goes well and they want more, they’ve got them in house and can just license them, and we’re good. They’re a trustworthy company; I’ve worked with them on several plays.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and I answered follow-up questions on a previous coverage.

A book I ordered arrived, and I’m looking forward to reading it, probably a week or two down the road. The Ipsy bag arrived, full of lovely things for the coming month.

My mom’s new cellphone arrived, and we started the activation process from Tracfone (which has devolved from mere incompetence into harassment) to Consumer Cellular (who is no great shakes either, but at least they had a decent phone, and let’s see how the plan works). Anyway, it’s a cute red flip phone with talk and text, which is all she wants, and not a Smartphone that’s too complicated for her, so she is happy. Getting the contacts in was a hassle, but we got that done. Now, we just have to wait for the migration to complete. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.

I’m really tired of these companies treating customers like criminals and claiming it’s in the name of “security.” If you assume everyone is a criminal, you shouldn’t be in business.

I have zero sympathy for Disney right now. They could have avoided all this crap by simply not funding right wing extremists in the first place, and then pretending they supported LGBTQ, and facing backlash from Republicans. Disney always tries to play both sides against the middle for maximum profit, and I hope this costs them a lot of money. They will win, in the end, because they have the lawyers and the money. And, frankly, they built the infrastructure in that area, so they’re going to defend it. It’s just performance for the GOP base, anyway. They’ll all be back in bed together in a few days. Not weeks or months. Days. Even if they pretend otherwise.

Still have a migraine, but I’m hoping that the lovely weather and doing errands on foot will mitigate it. Plants can go out on the porch again today, yay!

I’m focusing on contest entries today, and will probably work through the weekend on them, so I can make my final decision, write up the reviews for the winners, and submit the results over next week.

Before that, though, I want to get in some work on “Owe Me” and on The Big Project.

Have a good weekend. I’m hoping it will warm and sunny, so I can enjoy reading amongst the plants!

Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one.

Tues. April 19, 2022: Stormy Weather

image courtesy of Andrei Kuleshov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

My brain wanted to take Friday off, although I had a good early morning writing session out on the front porch. But I slogged through a bunch of emails. There are some places to which I want to send an LOI, but it would have been stupid to send it on the Friday of a holiday weekend, so those go out today. I also have to find a way to get in touch with this mysterious garage who supposedly can fix my car but has no website in the 21st century. And mail my state quarterly taxes.

I did write, polish, and send off my book review before deadline. The only book they had to review was one I’m not qualified to review (it’s on early childhood education), so another thing on today’s list is to get back in touch and see what else has come in.

It was lovely and sunny, although cooler.

I turned around a script coverage, and decided to start my weekend.

Saturday, I rested and read a lot. I needed the time off. It was raining pretty hard most of the day, and I was glad not to have to go out. I’d hoped to walk down to the coffee shop opposite MassMOCA and give it a try, but that’s put off until it can actually be a pleasant walk.

I set up the ironing board and the craft paper and spent a couple of hours lifting wax out of various tablecloths and altar cloths. It takes a good bit of paper, and one has to work fast, so it doesn’t absorb through the paper and onto the iron. But I got it done, and then slowly started handwashing the fabrics. Some of the dyes from the candles will need to be taken out with the bleach pen, but most of it came out well.

Only people who haven’t worked in film and television think it has nothing to do with actual life skills.

Noodled some ideas in my head for various projects and let them percolate. Percolation time in necessary.

By Saturday afternoon, we brought in all the plants, because the temperature dropped hard and fast. Vacuumed, washed floors, changed beds, the usual Saturday housework.

Baked biscuits early Sunday morning. The weather kept cycled through accumulating snow to sun to rain to accumulating snow all day. I was glad to stay in.

Although we no longer celebrate Easter, my mom wanted baked ham for mid-day dinner, so that’s what I made. I thought it was too sweet (even though I hadn’t put anything on it). That’s the second disappointing ham we’ve had (Christmas ham was okay, but not brilliant), so I think/hope we’re done with it for a while. We have enough for some leftovers, and I’ll make a ham pot pie in a couple of days. I made soup with the bone, adding in garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, and spinach, so we’ll have that for a couple of lunches this week. I’d made chocolate mousse for dessert, so at least we had that.

Read a couple of Ngaio Marsh books, and an art mystery by Iain Pears set in Venice.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of decorations that had been in my office in the other house. Most of them have various new homes; some of them will be repacked into the box of decorations that we aren’t using right now. The “New Orleans Aunties” set of dolls I brought back from the Crescent City years ago now have their own shelf on the front porch, with their beads and the little chest of Crown Royal.

But mostly, I rested. I still feel the aftereffects of Shot 4.

Yesterday was a holiday here in the state, and I was damn well going to take it! It was sunny and cold.

I took some bills, including the federal quarterly taxes, and headed for the post office to mail them and buy stamps. Then, I headed over toward Mass MOCA, to try out the coffee shop. Which is no longer there, and the space now holds a Mexican restaurant. So, as far as I can tell, there’s no independent coffee shop in walking distance of the house. In a college town. Which makes no sense to me at all. Cumberland Farms and Burger King don’t cut it.

I’m not someone who goes out and buys a cup of coffee every day (I make excellent coffee at home), but sometimes, when I’m out and about, I like the option.

Makes me think I should bring up the espresso machine on the next trip to storage.

Picked up a few bits and bobs on the way home – some plant stakes, some hair elastics, some highlighters for the upcoming multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. That type of thing.

It was warm enough to move the plants back out to the porch. I worked on contest entries out there, too. I also started oiling the porch furniture with the teak oil. I don’t have the room to spread everything out and do it all at once, so I’m doing one piece, letting it dry, then moving on. I got one of the Adirondack chairs done. I’m also cleaning and polishing the wooden sills around the windows, with another kind of oil. They are in desperate need of some TLC.

The tabletop fountain I ordered arrived, much more quickly than I expected. It’s simple, but nice. I set it up, put in the batteries, put in the water. It’s a little noisy for the size, but looks good and works well. I put a plate of crystals in front of it. And there’s the healing/meditation altar, inspired by the Twitter pal who said a blessing for me at St. Anthony’s Well last week.

The check arrived for the radio play in Minnesota. That was quick. We only talked about it a couple of days ago.

I saw an email from the potential client with whom I had the video conference last week. I fully expected it to be a “thanks, but no thanks.” Instead, it’s a contract and an NDA. I’ll read it and see if there are any points to negotiate before I sign, but it looks like I’ll be doing some freelancing for an agency. That will expand my parameters and skills a bit, no doubt.

I’ve been giving feedback on a friend’s synopsis for a TV pilot. It’s so good. I’m so excited for her. She’s entering it in a contest.

I’d been playing with the idea of taking a short trip this summer, to dip my toe back into the traveling waters, and even looked at flights. But with the inept Trump-appointed judge striking down the mask mandate on public transportation, that’s off. It also means it’s unlikely that I take the bus down to NYC for a quick museum trip, which I’d also hoped to do. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m glad the conference at which I’m teaching stayed virtual.

The storm woke me at 4 AM. In upstate NY, they were told to expect up to a foot of snow. Here, they keep changing their minds as to whether it’s snow or rain over the next few days. So far, just rain. I have to dash down to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes today, but that’s my only foray out. I’d hoped to go to the laundromat, but not in this weather.

I have a lot of admin to handle today, and turn around the contract, check in with my editor to see if there are any new books to review, pitch to my Llewellyn editor for 2024. Work on the radio plays. Work on the Big Project. Turn around two scripts. Fight with Tracfone about my mom’s phone. Try to get in touch with the mechanic who supposedly can fix my car. Work on contest entries.

I’d better get going, hadn’t I? There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site. And I have a Dramatists Guild virtual event tonight (which I can actually do, since Knowledge Unicorns is on Easter break).

Have a good one!