Fri. Jan. 7, 2022: Taking Down the Ornaments

image courtesy of Theo Crazzolara via pixabay.com

Friday, January 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

It snowed overnight. Not much, just enough to be pretty. The plows are already out. They’re good about that here. Unlike on Cape, where it could take days. Although I hear Boston and the coast all the way down past New York are getting more than two inches of snow per hour.

Fortunately, today is another day where I don’t have to go out.

It stopped snowing for a couple of hours, and started up again, tiny little flakes which will, no doubt, stick and freeze over. I’ll have to dig out the car later so it doesn’t turn into a mini iceberg.

I finished writing up a coverage yesterday morning and got it in just under the wire. Then, I put the chicken and mushrooms and spices in the crockpot, so I didn’t have to worry about dinner.

We were late starting to get the decorations down, and the sheer amount to be rounded up, packed, and stashed is overwhelming. I don’t know why I’m surprised; it took three weeks to put up. Taking more than a day to put it away shouldn’t surprise me.

But I was discouraged.

Got the front door wreath down, and have it up on the living room door, where the big jingle bell wreath was, although I’ve stripped it down to green. We will enjoy the greens as long as we can, and then I’ll harvest some to burn at Yule this coming December. The heart door decoration is now up, ready for Valentine’s Day.

The ribbons and cards and lights and little decorations are down from the kitchen. It looks very bare. I’m thinking it needs a valence. I like the big windows and don’t want curtains, but it does look terribly bare, now that everything’s gone.

We packed up the decorations from my office, the sewing room, the bathroom (yes, I even decorate the bathroom), and Tessa’s room. We took down the small tree on the porch and packed everything away in the closet in Tessa’s room. I still have to take down the lights, but they’re tied to the blinds, so that’s a chore for another day.

We stripped the big tree of all the ornaments. The ones that have specific boxes are all packed away. There are still a big pile that go into the plastic bins, and that’s a task for today. The big tree with just the lights is still up. I have boxes for the lights that are organized by type of strand and length of strand, so it has to be done with precision And it won’t be fun to unwind the length of lights I put around the trunk in a fit of over-decorating zeal.

We still have to strip the stairs of lights and garlands and bits, put away the Santas, the deer, and the nutcrackers. And then figure how to pack it so we still have some space for the year. Most of it goes into the closet in the sewing room, and some of it goes into the top  pantry shelves. There will, no doubt, be some rearranging.

Read a script just before dinner. Had the slow cooker chicken stroganoff, which turned out well, and then wrote up the coverage. I have one script I have to read/write up today, and I should do two. I behind where I need to be to make my  nut this pay period.

But I’ve struggled this week. I’m exhausted and frustrated and disheartened.

President Biden’s speech was a good one, but I remain dubious until there are arrests and convictions. Anyone involved in the insurrection or who voted not to certify the election committed treason and should face the strongest of penalties for that. Anything less is giving them a pass to do it again. Every House Republican who did not show up for the moment of respect on the floor yesterday should be censured and removed.

And, while I’m glad the economy is “booming” when the cost of it is close to a million lives, no. Just no. This administration is forcing people to work to death just as much as the last one. That is not acceptable.

They ran on promises of monthly stipends of $2K/month for the length of the pandemic and 3 months beyond. Instead, they gave us $1400 a year ago.

Not acceptable.

Word has dumped the “Editor” function in yesterday’s reboot, so I’m back cross-checking with style guides (like Strunk, Chicago, etc.) which I had to do anyway, because Word’s Editor was usually wrong.

I’m just so damn tired of all of it.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Wed. Dec. 22, 2021: Recovering From a Mac & Cheese Coma

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron Direct (as of 12/21)

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

image courtesy of SocialButterflyMMG via pixabay.com

Usually, Tuesday is the long post. This week, it’s Wednesday, because yesterday was the Winter Solstice, my big holiday, and I decided to enjoy my holiday.

So today’s our day to sit down and have a catching up natter.

Friday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. A little windy, but warm enough to keep the door from the porch into the house open.

I drafted the first half of the Marie Collier play, and then walked down to the post office to mail some letters, and picked up wine on my way back. It was lovely to enjoy the good weather, knowing that a storm was coming in.

Went through some jewelry of mine, looking for something specific, a certain type of chain that I want to use for a talisman necklace I’m making. Couldn’t find it, so I’ll keep looking in thrift stores. There’s no deadline. I’d rather wait and get the right thing than any old thing.

The last charm for the talisman necklace arrived, along with another pieced I’d ordered, from An Enchanted Creature, on ETSY. I’d had a good experience ordering before. I hadn’t expected these pieces to arrive until the 27th of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them a full 10 days earlier.

Saturday was supposed to snow all day, so that’s how I planned. They were out in force in the morning, sanding streets and sidewalks, which is a good thing. The sky made a few half-hearted attempts with some snowflakes in the morning, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that it got serious about it. But it only snowed for a couple of hours before it switched over to rain.

We put up the rest of the ornaments on the tree, and put up the Santas on a shelf unit we moved into the front hall. They don’t look right there.

Did some reading, diving back into the Dorothy Parker/Dawn Powell research, so I can finish the third and final play of the year.

Sunday was a gray, gloomy day. We moved the Santa collection into the living room, rearranging a few things, and it looks better there. Plus, we can enjoy it.

I finished the draft of the Marie Corelli play. It took some fun turns, and all four characters are for actresses over 40. It can sit for a few days before revision, and I’ll get it out before the end of the week (today or tomorrow, most likely).

The fruit peel arrived, from Fleet Farm! That was quick. I didn’t expect it until around New Year’s. So there will be stollen for Christmas. I’ll make it either today or tomorrow.

I made the molasses spice cookies. Wound up being around 10 dozen molasses spice, which I did not expect. I also used one of the packs of fruit peel to make fruitcake cookies, which turned out well, and are a nice contrast to the other cookies on the platter.

I’m going to make the apricot sage cookies for us, a small batch, to test them. If they work, and I can make enough of them quickly, I’ll add them in to the platters next year.

Was too tired to cook, so ordered Chinese from the local place, and watched DoorDash drive it the six blocks over. It’s just far enough that it’s too far for me to walk and keep it hot.

The food was good. We put on the lights and candles and enjoyed the Fourth of Advent.

With Venus going retrograde, I’m trying to be quiet and careful. We’ve got the “bonecrusher” square, which I do not have the energy to deal with this week. Uranus is still retrograde. And then Mercury goes retrograde early in February. So basically, from now until February 3, I want to stay as quiet and hermit-like as possible.

Monday morning, I got up to discover that some of the battery-operated candles in the windows had turned themselves back on overnight.

Around here, the post office does an early morning package delivery run, about 7 AM. Two packages were dropped off: one from a friend (the one that had gone from NYC to Puerto Rico to Akron), and the next two books for review.

Tessa was fascinated by the packages. Willa was more interested in the postman. Charlotte ran around in circles at the top of the stairs. It was a very exciting start to their day.

I struggled to clear the ice off the car, and then we headed to the RMV to update the car registration and our licenses. I had been going back and forth about the appointment with the main RMV administration; they kept saying that we could not do it in one appointment, we could not go together (my mom is 97, it’s not like she can do this on her own), and so on and so forth.

We showed up for the appointment. Everyone was very nice. We got everything done. We don’t even need to get a new registration document, since it’s all updated in the system. When the registration has to be renewed next year, the right info will be there. Instead of issuing us new physical licenses, they told us to write the new address on the back; it’s in the system, and since it’s a real ID, no problem.

So all that stress was for nothing.

But I’m grateful they were so helpful, and that it’s done.

Then, it was off to CVS and to Big Y, to get the rest of what I needed for the Solstice dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. Got everything I needed.

We made it home. There are still dashboard lights going on that need to be dealt with. I’m going to contact the garage in Williamstown next week to see if I can get an appointment the first week of the new year.

I realized I’d forgotten a couple of errands, so headed back out on foot to the post office and the bank.

By then, I was wiped out, as much from stress as anything else.

But I rallied, in the late afternoon, to do the script coverage.

Slept in on Tuesday morning. It was Winter Solstice. Chocolate panettone for breakfast, which was fun. I prepped two cookie platters for the libraries, and delivered them on foot: one across the street, to the college library, and one down the street to the public library. I’d sealed each cookie separately in a cookie sleeve, for maximum safety so the platter could be out in the break room, and people could sort through cookies to find what they like.

Both libraries were delighted.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to be out, knowing that storms are coming in for the next few weeks. The weather is so changeable here.

Came home, finished up some script coverage I hadn’t finished the previous day. Changed from flannel sheets to fleece sheets.

Prepped the cookie platters for the neighbors and delivered them. They were pleased.

This year’s platters have chocolate chip cookies, orange cranberry cookies, currant oatmeal cookies, molasses spice cookies, and fruitcake cookies. It’s a nice variety.

Baked the honey spice cake. It was a little underbaked, even though the toothpick put in the center came up clear. It’s still good, but I wanted great. Maybe I should have put a chocolate silk glaze over it. Because chocolate can fix almost anything.

For dinner, I made Moosewood’s recipe for macaroni and cheese, from scratch. I cheated a little and added bacon into the mac & cheese. But it was a lot of dairy. The cheese sauce had four cups of milk and 10 oz. of various cheddars; there were breadcrumbs and then more cheddar over it, before it was baked. It’s really good, and we have a lot of leftovers, but it’s a lot of dairy.

Did the Solstice ritual of waiting for it to get dark, then, starting in the north, lighting all the candles and holiday lights, clockwise around the house, until it’s all lit up with candles and twinkle lights. I spilled red wax on the white windowsill in the kitchen – that will be not much fun to fix. But it was so pretty, and we sat without electric lights on (except for the holiday twinkle lights) all evening.

Since we no longer have a working fireplace, I took the big cauldron out on the back balcony and burned last year’s greens, slowly, one small branch at a time, so I wouldn’t worry the neighbors. It was a good way to let last year, and the Cape life, go.

Left the battery-operated candles on all night, to light the longest night of the year.

I was up earlier than Tessa this morning! I couldn’t find her and was frantic. She was still asleep, in her favorite red chair with Panda, and was very confused as to why I was awake before she was. The fleece sheets were too hot. I kept kicking off the covers in the night. Quite a difference from the other house, where upstairs was never warm after about September, no matter how high the heat was cranked.

The plan was to go to the laundromat, but it was raining, so I decided not to. I’ll go tomorrow or next week.

I’m going to do some work on the Big Project, and maybe THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. Then, I have to polish the Marie Corelli play and get it out the door. Then, it’s more script coverage. I have coverage work today and tomorrow, and then I’m off until Monday, and I hope next week will be a light week, coverage-wise. I want to dig into The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I also want to finish up a bunch of admin work before the end of the year.

I’m preparing to hunker down for the winter, only going to the grocery store, the post office, and the library, both due to weather and the pandemic. I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t doing what needs to be done to curb the pandemic, or the right-wing extremists. People worked like crazy during a pandemic to get them elected. They need to deliver. No matter what corporate sellouts like Manchin and Sinema do.

Anyway, I have to get back to the page and get some work done. Books don’t write themselves, and I still have a living to earn.

Have a good one!

Fri. Dec. 10, 2021: Just Let Me Hide in a Book Fort, Away From the Incompetents

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, December 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a dusting of snow overnight. Just enough to be pretty.

Meditation was great yesterday. Charlotte participated the whole time (because, you know, Zoom).

After breakfast, I grabbed the bags with the packages and cards, and with the library books, and headed out. The sidewalks weren’t too bad, heading out, just a few patches of ice, and I went slowly.

There was a line at the post office, but the packages were mailed out, and the postage was about half of what I expected it to be. So that was good. Everything is supposed to arrive in 3-5 days, which means about 10, but should still get there in time for the holidays. The cards all went on their way, too, so, hopefully, they will arrive at some point in the next 10 days.

Headed up to the library to drop off and pick up books. Came back along Church Street, which was quite slippery, at least up until I reached the college property.

Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project, because if I lose track of the details, I will be in big trouble.

Finished off the newsletter. There was some wonk in the contact list. It wasn’t a difficult fix, just took a bit of time. Let people know they can still sign up before it goes out – I’ll actually send it this morning. And then block into next year’s calendar when it needs to go out again, and start a document that I can add to as interesting tidbits come up to go into March’s.

As I get more comfortable with the templates in Sendinblue, I can probably bump up the visuals, eventually.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It was about virtual assistants. I used a virtual assistant when I did more online courses, to handle the admin bits, but what I do now doesn’t really need one.

The VW dealer in Pittsfield downright refuses to give me an estimate for the repair, and won’t even estimate how many hours – at over $100/hour – the diagnostic will take. Um, diagnostics take about 35 minutes. My cousin helped design the fucker. So when they tell me it might take “several hours” to run the diagnostic and THEN they’ll be able to give me a detailed repair estimate, I know they’re out to screw me.

On top of that, after ignoring me for two weeks, I’m getting multiple emails every day from different people in the sales department, asking me what I’m looking for in my new car.

THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT. ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF BASIC READING COMPREHENSION? AND YES, I AM SCREAMING.

Seriously, I’ve driven Volkswagens all my life, my cousins was in R & D for years, and I have never dealt with such a bunch of incompetent headcases. Not only do I doubt they’ll fix the car, I am convinced they will screw me as badly as possible through the whole process.

Not a happy camper.

Wrote up three coverages. Read a short story that’s under consideration for adaptation, and two more scripts, all of which I will write up today. And have to get out a review for a book which definitely did not work for me.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, although everyone’s looking forward to the winter holiday break.

Reading Erin Sterling’s THE EX HEX, which is a lot of fun, although there are some logistical glitches that bother me. Still, the writing is energetic, the pacing is good, the premise is fun, and the characters engaging.

It’s supposed to warm up into the 60s by tomorrow. My body does not enjoy the fluctuating weather. The forsythia are already blooming back on Cape Cod, which means it will be a wonky spring down there.

Have a good weekend, my friends. Catch you on the other side.

Tues. Nov. 30, 2021: Giving Thanks for Vaccine Boosters

image courtesy of Bianca Van Dijk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold, chnged over to snow as I wrote this.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and that the focus was on love and good company, rather than stress and conflict.

Wednesday was a struggle for me to get everything done. Once I’d done my quota on CAST IRON MURDER, I slogged through about 500 emails, trying to get the Inbox under control again.

I struggled with the last project I had before I could call it a holiday. But I got there, by mid-afternoon. The mental exhaustion is even more severe than the physical exhaustion, although my hip was giving me a lot of trouble. I will have to find yoga stretches to help with that.

Was relieved that the three men who hunted down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery were convicted. Unlike the Kyle Rittenhouse jury, this one took its job seriously.

Baked the Ginger Apple Crumb Cake from the Wintersweet Cookbook. It was wonderful!

Read for fun in the afternoon and evening. Played with some ideas, both for inserts I need to do for CAST IRON MURDER, the outline for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, and the Big New Project.

A friend came up with a great name for the second workshop I’m teaching on Cape Cod next summer.

Tessa let me sleep until a quarter to six on Thanksgiving morning. It was so nice not to have to worry about anything except making the meal!

I added (in red ink), to the printout of the current draft, the reference setting up the character in CAST IRON MURDER that I need for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY to work. I thought about an insert scene I need to add, but haven’t figured out where to put it yet.

My ego was all in an uproar that I wasn’t updating “every day” or doing the 1667 words for the day. But I planned to be at 50K by Thanksgiving; except for these inserts, I have only one more chapter to write and this draft is done. The whole point of pushing hard at the beginning of the month was so I could choose to take off Thanksgiving without stress.

So that’s what I did.

That’s what these people who scream how the “write every day” mantra is “wrong” don’t get. You write every day that’s designated as a “work” day; that way, you choose when to take time off, be it for life commitments or holidays. But the work is steady. Often, I choose to write on holidays, especially if I’m deep into a piece. But writing every day and meeting daily quotas mean I have the breathing room to CHOOSE when and where to take time off, not just letting the writing slide. Because once you start letting it slide, it’s more difficult to get back into the rhythm.

Every book, every story, every script, has its own innate rhythm. One of the reasons outlining helps so much is that I can jump right into where I left off, and slide back into that unique rhythm much more easily than staring at a blank page, wondering what I meant to do next.

Talked to the family in Maine. We had no intention of traveling this year for the Big Dinner (which is usually held in the VFW Hall and is 60+ people). Both because of the pandemic, and because I’m still unhappy with the lack of support around the move. Since the rule is to put aside all arguments for the day, no matter what, I’d have had to grit my teeth and smile. I don’t have the physical or emotional energy for that right now, especially with all the cooking and cleaning up involved. We’d expected bad weather, and had already bowed out. The dinner wound up being cancelled, due to the rising virus numbers in Maine, even though everyone in the family is triple-boosted or about to be, and the younger kids are all on their way to being double-vaxxed. We might have our differences over plenty of things, but NONE of the extended family is anti-vax or a supporter of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

My cousin, who’s led the organization of the dinner for 50+ years, ordered the meal for the nuclear family this year, from a restaurant. She picked it up yesterday, and all they have to do today is heat it up in the oven for 2 hours. Good for her; after all these years, she’s earned a rest.

I have a feeling the Big Dinner might be a thing of the past.

Which I’m okay with. I have plenty of fond memories of it.

Made the stuffing, stuffed the turkey, and got it in the oven a little after 9 AM. Yes, I cook the stuffing in the bird. I’ve been doing it my entire life. Because I cook the turkey at a higher temperature than most, the interior surpasses the recommended temperature. Because I also basically poach it, by keeping the cover on the roasting pan and using a lot of liquid in the pan, the meat remains tender and practically falls off the bone.

Enjoyed a quiet morning reading while the turkey cooked; Around noon, I got the potatoes going, and make the parsnip-carrot in mushroom sauce dish. I’d saved a precious bag of frozen peas (a rarity right now) and heated them up, along with making corn for myself. I’d stockpiled our favorite cranberry sauce from Trader Joe’s before we moved (closest Trader Joe’s here is over an hour away).

I’d set the table in the morning, there were candles in the candelabra. I think we were the only ones in the entire building. The cats discovered that apples roll better than potatoes, and played with some apples up and down the hall. At least they were getting along.

The turkey came out of the oven, just gorgeous and tender. Needed two platters for it, since it was a 16-pound turkey. One platter for the main bird, and one platter for legs and wings.

The gravy turned out well, too. Giblet gravy, with plenty of fresh herbs.

Put the rest of the stuffing in the oven as soon as the bird came out, so that could bake. Because turkey sandwiches lathered with stuffing and cranberry sauce are a favorite way to use leftovers.

Anyway, the dinner was delicious. We eat around midday (well, closer to 2 PM this year). We had cider from the Berkshire Cider Project, made from Windy Hill Farm apples down in Great Barrington. It was good. I still prefer wine with the dinner, but it was a nice change.

For years, I always had Beaujolais Nouveau with the turkey. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I don’t like that kind of wine, and I’m looking for another red that goes well with the meal.

Cleaned up the leftovers, which I will use in various dishes over the next few days, and some of the turkey went into the freezer. The gravy will be fun to use. Made stock from the turkey carcass. It didn’t make much, so I used it on Friday to make a nice turkey soup that was a good, filling lunch over the weekend.

Got an idea for a stand-alone romantic-comedy-mystery and jotted some notes.

Spent the afternoon and evening with a glass of wine, a book, and French jazz on the CD player. It was lovely.

Scrolled through social media a bit, enjoying people posting photos of their cooking, baking, and starting the Christmas decorations.

Charlotte woke me up at 4:30 on Friday, chewing on my hair. Tessa started singing a few minutes later. I moved to the sewing room, but Tessa and Charlotte started fussing at each other, so I gave up and got up to feed them.

It was gloomy and rainy, with predictions it would turn to snow. It did so by mid-day. Which was fine, since I had no intention of going out and about on Black Friday.

Instead, I started the holiday decorating, made chocolate walnut butter bread, and made turkey soup from scratch (which was really good).

I also read, for fun, although I admit I did a little work-related reading on the Marie Corelli research. Mostly, it was just about having some time off. Spent a good bit of time just watching the snow fall because it was so pretty.

Saturday was sunny and cold. The street was plowed early. People were out and about getting things done.

I wrote a bunch of inserts for CAST IRON MURDER, to fix some plot holes, before I write the last chapter and put the book aside for a couple of months to percolate.

Did some more decorating. After lunch, I did a run to Big Y for a few things, once I’d scraped the snow off the car, and then went on the hunt of liquid Tylenol. You can tell that people are getting their boosters, because almost every store is out of liquid Tylenol. I finally snagged a lonely bottle.

On the hunt for taper candles for the Advent table. Couldn’t find any. Even Wild Oats, which has the lovely Mole Hill candles, was sold out. Hit up way too many stores, and was irritated that people are letting masking protocols slide. With the new variant, that’s not acceptable. At least I wasn’t in any one store for long or that was too crowded.

Tired and grumpy when I got home. Just reheated turkey and trimmings leftovers, and read two scripts at night. Since I don’t know whether I’ll have a reaction to the booster, I’m doing Monday and Tuesday’s work over the weekend. Resent not taking the whole weekend off, but needs must.

Reading Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, which is excellent. How much creative work has been lost because so many talented women remained tied to useless husbands?

Tessa, who hates people food, has decided she likes raspberry rugelach, so we had to put it out of her reach.

I was really proud of Charlotte and Tessa on Saturday. They were both on the couch together for most of the day without fighting. Didn’t even fuss at each other all day. Progress.

Amazon claims they delivered a package on Wednesday “in the mailbox” at 1:08 PM. In Pittsfield. First of all, I don’t live in Pittsfield. Second of all, the only things “in my mailbox” on Wednesday were an LL Bean catalogue and a flyer from the Sierra Club. Since Amazon doesn’t have a customer service email anymore that they share, I had to call them out on Twitter. Where they pretended to help, but only sent links that kept sending me around in circles.

I’ve only ordered 4 times from them in the past 2 years (other than eBooks). All four times, they’ve claimed the packages were delivered when they weren’t. After a big fight, they give a partial refund, then take back the full amount when they claim it’s been replaced/redelivered. Which it never is.

Done ordering anything except eBooks from them.

I’m tired of the lies and the double-charging. I don’t mind everything taking three or four weeks longer than they say. I mind the constant lying. And the attitude that if I expect a package to be delivered, it will only happen if I join Amazon Prime.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:30 on Sunday morning, mostly because she and Willa were playing. I’m glad the three of them are finally getting along. It’s taken three years of nearly constant work.

Wrote the final chapter of CAST IRON MURDER. This draft of the book is done, coming in a little over 62K. For a not-quite-cozy, I might almost get away with that, in subsequent drafts. It feels good to have it complete. It’s done a lot to help me regain my confidence that I CAN write another book. And another. And maybe even one after that. In other words, get my career back on track.

I also put all my chapters into a single document to upload to the Nano site on Tuesday, for verification.

When I write I draft in standard manuscript format, and I draft every chapter in a separate file (each draft is a separate folder).

It saves ever so much time and frustration later in the process.

After breakfast, found some cream-colored taper candles at a store I don’t like, but I did manage to grab the last box of any taper candles they had. Then, over to a place we do like, Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire, where we bought a live wreath. Brought it home, decorated it, put it up. It makes the front door look festive.

I procrastinated in writing up my coverages. Instead, I took a short course with Sisters Enchanted, and updated my Amazon author page (well aware of the irony of that, since I am so unhappy with Amazon).

I finally got both coverages written, and then read two more scripts. Tessa and Charlotte didn’t fuss at each other all day Sunday, either. Progress.

Up early on Monday, with the usual routine (cats, yoga, meditation, shower, writing). Worked on the outline notes for the Big Project, which I have to start this week. Wrote up the script coverages and sent them off. Wrote a letter to my mom’s insurance – even with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s help, there are things that need attention. Sent off my blurbs, bio, etc. for next summer’s conference. All before 10 AM.

Drank most of a bottle of water and we headed off to CVS for my vaccine booster. Pfizer, this time. The young male nurse was very kind and chatty. I was in and out in 15 minutes. My arm hurt and the fatigue set in fast, but nowhere near the reaction I had with the Moderna shots.

My mom drove us home – her first time driving in this area. She did very well. My Tamed Wild box arrived, so that was something fun to open. I had enough appetite for lunch, and enough energy to read a delightful script, write it up, and send it off, before I crashed.

I slept on the sofa most of the afternoon, and had some scrambled eggs for dinner. I read in the evening, took Tylenol as my arm started hurting more, and went to bed. My arm hurt, I was fatigued, had chills here and there. For about 10 minutes, the palms of my hands turned bright red, which was weird, but then it faded. Much milder effects than Moderna.

Charlotte and Tessa fussed at each other. Back to square one.

My mom promised to get up and feed them in the morning, so I could stay in bed. Well, by 5:14 AM, I had all three cats in my room performing the feline version of the “Hallelujah Chorus” and gave up. I fed them. Tessa started yowling when I went back to bed. I picked her up and dumped her in my mom’s room and closed the door. Five minutes later, she was out again and yelling.

I am not a happy camper.

Especially since they’re all fast asleep now.

Can’t figure out where to upload CAST IRON MURDER for verification. It used to show up right on the landing page. Other than that, I’d cleared today, in case I felt bad. I don’t feel terrible, but I’m fatigued, achy, my arm hurts, I have a bit of a headache, and a bit of lymph node swelling. Not bad, especially in comparison to the Moderna, but I’m glad I cleared things so I could take it easy today.

There are things I can do if I feel up to them; but there’s nothing that HAS to get done today, except that I rest.

Finished the Penelope Fitzgerald biography by Hermione Lee, and now I want to read Fitzgerald’s novels. Will order them from the library before I go back to bed.

Peace, friends, and catch up tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Waning Moon

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

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

Busy weekend.

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

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

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

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

Did a dump run and a grocery run, decontaminated.

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

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

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

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

Did the laundry, cleaned the house.

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

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

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

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

Looked at rental listings and got depressed.

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

Worried about a good friend who has COVID.

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

Had a few false starts on the article.

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

Rental listings depressing.

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

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

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

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

Onward.

Published in: on April 6, 2021 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along  
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Tues. Feb. 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 278/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 27 — Some Good, Some Frustrating

image courtesy of Gordon johnson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Direct (as of Saturday)

Cloudy and cold

We have crossed the line of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths. The grief I feel is crushing. How can people shrug off such a loss? How can they be so horrible and selfish? Truly, I need to find a place where I can become a professional recluse, because people are awful.

Busy and weird couple of days.

Had to shovel us out again on Friday morning. Not too bad – took about an hour. I went over to the elderly neighbor’s and shoveled their drive, too. The only bad part was, again, the plow mashed about a foot of snow across the bottom of each driveway, and I had to get it out before it froze in place.

My mom felt better, still a little fatigued and dizzy, but the arm pain lessened.

I, however, was toast by lunchtime, and wound up spending the afternoon in bed. Completely wiped out. Read a bit, dozed a bit, Tessa kept me company. She was delighted.

Up early on Saturday morning. Another four inches of snow fell, so it was back outside with the shovel. It was fluffy, so it didn’t take long, except, yes, you guessed it, at the bottom of the drive, where the plow packed it in.

Did a curbside pickup at the library, and also at the liquor store.

Home, decontaminated.

After lunch, I started in on the boxes, because I was bad about keeping up all week. I purged 12 boxes, and it was frustrating. Lost two entire boxes of books to the damp. A metal trunk I’d stored down there rusted it through, and I lost the entire contents.

But I’ve started stacking the reorganized boxes on planks along the blank wall, and that’s working out well.

Unfortunately, I sprained my foot while I was carting things up and down, so not only was I purging boxes and running laundry up and down, but I did it on a sprained foot.

Not my idea of a good time.

 I was wrecked by the end of the day. Not to mention discouraged.

Woke up around 2:30 in the morning on Sunday, worrying, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got up a little after 5. Did a dump run as soon as the dump opened, and then a quick grocery shop. Home, decontaminated, got out some LOIs (one to a place I really, really want to work).

Then, this buttercup had to buckle up and do more box-purging.

I had more plastic bins to work on in my quota stacks today than cardboard boxes. I emptied out several – kept a few things that were reorganized into other boxes, but tossed most of it. It feels good to get rid of what I no longer need.

Found some love letters and other correspondence around the time I was engaged to the English guy, way back when. What an optimistic idiot I was! Dodged a bullet there, when that relationship fell apart. It’s difficult not to have contempt for who I was then; it’s also difficult not to mourn her.

Worked on the article.

Finished the book for review, and sent off the review yesterday.

Fell into bed far too early Sunday night, which meant I kept waking up every few hours.

Up early yesterday, worked on the review, the article. Client work. Had to swing by a client’s office (while no one else was in) to answer questions that came in (Direct Response Copy Writing), but I needed to measure a piece in order to do it. Also packed up an order and dropped it by the post office, since the mail carrier no longer picks up packages at the business.

Home, decontaminated, back at the desk. Client work, LOIs (to some really cool places), keeping one ear on the Merrick Garland confirmation hearings, downloaded some of the digital contest entries – can’t wait to get started on them.

Trying to replace a couple of sources for one of the articles, and restructuring the piece. I can do something good with what I have; but those additional sources would take it over the top.

Over the weekend, I made a decision to cut loose the second grant proposal this session. I can do it fast or do it well, but not both. With the moving pressures on me, much as I want/need the grant money, I can’t do a realistic budget and source some of the information needed for the grant proposal to soar. Made a note in the calendar to see what I can do for next year – probably on a different project, but I should be in a better place to really write the grant. I also decided not to apply for the NEA grant. It’s too much right now.

As annoyed with myself as I am for not at least trying to write the grants, I’d rather not do it this year and write a strong proposal next year, than write a poor proposal this year. My time and energy need a different focus, and the grant committee doesn’t need a weak proposal.

Looked at real estate listings, which is terrifying. There’s a genuine housing crisis, and no one gives a damn.

Baker is making changes to the vaccine appointment/distribution system – and making it worse. I have no idea if my mom will even get her second dose.

There were NO appointments for Cape Cod open this week, except at the White Elitist Special Secret Number. This is not acceptable.

Worked on contest entries, and finished the print entries in the second category. There is one that is just magnificent. The rest of the incoming entries in that category are going to have to be spectacular to get ranked higher. It’s always so energizing to read a wonderful book.

I have a few print entries to read in the third category, and then I start reading the digital entries. I’ve got them all on my kindle.

Started reading my next book for review, which is quite good.

I got a response from an LOI I sent out last week, asking for script samples. They will go off today. I’d really like to land this client. I’d enjoy the work.

I’ve got client work today, but the bulk of the day will be spent on the articles. And scrubbing out the next section of the basement floor, so I can stack the re-organized boxes and get going on some more boxes.

Tomorrow will be a very stressful day on multiple levels, and I have to figure out how to get through it.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on February 23, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 278/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 27 — Some Good, Some Frustrating  
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Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again

image courtesy of Hermann Schmider via pixabay.com

Friday, February 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Stormy and cold

After meditation, I headed out to my client’s for a couple of hours to get done some things that hadn’t gotten done the day before because so much of the day was about my mother’s vaccine appointment. As I suspected, there was NO reason for me to be there on site at the same time as anyone else. The client could have emailed or texted me the information, and I could have gone in with no one else in the office and taken care of it.

Instead of redirecting vaccine doses to areas that need them, Baker opened up eligibility to a million more residents – without, of course, checking with anyone to see if the website could handle it. Naturally, it couldn’t, and was down for most of the day. He was ranting and raving in interviews. Hey, bucko, try talking to the people doing the work BEFORE you make your random announcements, and then this won’t happen.

There’s a good reason this state is given an F in the vaccine rollout report card. And the reason starts with a B – Baker. His refusal to coordinate and communicate and give the people doing the work any support or resources before he goes out and announces things are some of the big reasons we’re having these problems.

But what do you expect from someone who refused to have any workers on the advisory committee to reopen businesses? He has a huge disconnect about how work is accomplished. He seems to think magic elves come in while he’s asleep, instead of actual people working as hard as they can in impossible situations – putting their lives at risk.

While in the office, a friend of the client’s called with a “special” number for the client to call to get a vaccine appointment that day. Which just seems weird, since supposedly, the only clinic giving vaccines all week in this region was the one I took my mom to on Wednesday.

White elitist vaccine appointments, based on who you know, would be totally on brand for Cape Cod.

She texted me after I left, saying she had an appointment. Good for her, because she’s definitely eligible, and we should all have an appointment, but if an Elitist Vaccine Appointment Line exists, that’s disturbing on multiple levels.

I’m sure I’ll hear all about it next week.

I managed to get home just as the snow started. Decontaminated, and got back to the work I should have been doing that morning.

The latest IPSY bag arrived, and is absolutely delightful. I’m so much happier with IPSY than I was with Sephora Play, and Birchbox was a total nightmare.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I received my first Tamed Wild box. Totally different vibe than Goddess Provisions, but also really interesting and well done.

Had to order a new waste toner cartridge for the big laser printer (something else to learn to fix), and ordered more file folders, too. I need them for the cleaning out I’m doing.

Snowed pretty hard all day into the night, although this morning, it doesn’t look like a lot of accumulation, except where the plow pushed it into the bottom of the driveway, where it’s at least a foot. Hopefully, it won’t freeze down before I shovel.

Packed up another bookcase in my room. Tessa was not amused.

Got some, but not all, the quotes for my first article, and the bulk of today will be spent on that and the second grant proposal. The budget is what’s really slowing me down on that. I want it to be realistic, and the samples I’ve seen just aren’t.

Got some quotes for the second article, and will also spend time working on that. I’ve written the opening in my head, and really like it.

I have a little more research to do this weekend, and, on Monday, I will send out interview requests for the third article.

Need to get some LOIs out, and need to purge boxes from the basement. I haven’t met my quota this week so far, and I have a high quota for the weekend, so I need to get back on track. However, I did pack quite a few boxes of books upstairs, which wasn’t on the week’s list!

Yesterday, my mom’s arm was really sore. It lessened as the day wore on, but then she was very fatigued, and slept on and off all afternoon. Hopefully, today she feels better.

Called my mom’s doctor to let her know about the first dose. Supposedly, the system forwards the vaccine information, but the office said it hasn’t gotten anything, so once she has both doses, I’ll scan the vaccine record card and send it over to them.

I was so worn out, I went to bed ridiculously early last night, and woke up just after midnight, thinking it was 5 AM. Managed to get back to sleep, until the plows woke me, a little after 4.

Got a lot of work on GAMBIT COLONY done yesterday. I need to find my notes on the next section, set in Venice.

I’m not even going to comment on the whole Ted Cruz thing here, which is wrong on so many levels, it would take its own white paper to dissect.

Have a great weekend, friends, and see you on the other side.

Published in: on February 19, 2021 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again  
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Thurs. Feb. 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 260/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 8 — Snow Showers

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

We have a snow shower this morning! It’s very pretty!

I have a post on Gratitude and Growth about the planting I will do later today.

Yesterday was a stressful day. Some people are energy vampires and that, unfortunately, was the case.

Had to take some packages from the office to the post office, since the mail carrier can’t be bothered to pick anything up, even when we put in the request. At least, when I send them through MY post office, I know they’ll get where they’re going.

Unlike two packages that should have been here yesterday, that are still sitting in facilities in Arizona for a week now, for crying out loud.

Still no vaccine appointments. Now they’re saying they will open “next Tuesday.” That’s more than two weeks later than originally claimed – not that they ever said, “Oh, yeah, we were supposed to go into Phase 2, but we can’t, because we’re not set up and don’t have doses.” They just keep lying and lying and lying. This is on state and county levels.

Gillette Stadium seems to be getting all the vaccines for the state – two hours away. Why isn’t there a site like that here on Cape? Or at least, just over the bridge?

When the Federal response was non-existent, ANY effort on the state level looked good. Now that there IS a coordinated Federal response, we can see just how shoddy Governor Baker’s lack of planning is. Even though he keeps trying to pass the buck to the Feds. But it’s a lack of coordination on government, state, and county levels.

Remote chat was a lot of fun.

Was completely wiped out after that, and didn’t get much else done. Felt like I’d been run over by a truck from the stressful morning, and could not get it together for the rest of the day. The overwhelming stress from the past year is catching up with me.

I was going to do a dump run this morning, but I won’t, in the snow. I’ll do it tomorrow or Saturday instead. I have more than another carload ready to go, and there will be even more after this weekend.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. I had a great first session working on GAMBIT COLONY already, and lost track of time (always good when that happens while writing). I have LOIs to get out, some client work, a book review to finish, contest entries, an article pitch, and at least three boxes to purge from the basement. Oh, and I have to get my information off for the 40th HS reunion.

Guess I should get going, huh?

Have a great day!

Thurs. Jan. 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 253 — The Need for Focus

image courtesy of t mc via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Full Moon

Snowy and cold

Shoveling wasn’t bad at all yesterday. Never thought the day would come when I’d say that, but there it is. Took about a half hour to shovel the driveway (50 feet), the front walk, and the front step. Put down ice melt, too. I shoveled far enough into the street so that, if and when the plow went by, it wouldn’t block the driveway much. Of course, the plow didn’t come, so it was all good, except actually driving on the street. The main roads were fine; the side streets ignored.

Even better, I didn’t feel like I’d been run over by a truck.

I guess that extra yoga and working on the exercise bike is making a difference.

The latest on the garden is up here.

Went to the client’s yesterday. We all overlapped for a bit. The next week or two will be busy for me, on the computer, getting the new collection up on the website. All good.

The vaccine sites have been announced for Phase 2 here in MA. My mom is eligible for Phase 2, since she is over 75 (she is 96).  The appointments, starting next week, were supposed to open Wednesday morning. I called my mom’s doctor, who sent me to the state and county sites. The state site was useless – blah blah blah, no actual links. The county site had the list of vaccinate sites.

Since one has to have both vaccines at the same site (which makes sense), choosing the site is important. There are two sites that make sense. One site had already crashed by 9:30 in the morning and was “unavailable.” The second site made me sign up, and then, when I tried to book an appointment, kept telling me nothing was available. Ten minutes later, the site had taken down the appointment page and said they don’t have the vaccine dosages yet.

As usual, Governor Baker, a Republican, makes promises on which he can’t deliver. If the sites were to be live on Wednesday, then it was up to his team to give them the support they needed and make sure they were ready to accept appointments, not announce it and then shrug and say, “not our problem anymore.”

Which is pretty much what he did in an interview later that day. Shrugged off the disorganization. How much do you want to be his office just announced a date without even checking with the designated sites?

He’s rolling back restrictions BEFORE we’re vaccinated instead of after, he’s been forcing people to die for their employers for 253 days now, and he’s pulling this crap. He did a decent job in March and April, but by the end of May, he went back to pandering to corporations and not giving a damn about individuals.

Stopped by the liquor store for a pickup. Dropped off a package and envelopes at my post office, since the carrier who covers the office complex ignored the business again. But no one was in there, so it was an easy, no-contact dropoff.

Home, decontaminated, Remote Chat, which was fun.

Then, I was wiped out.

I spent some time on the acupressure mat, then worked on my article a bit. I had a discussion with my editor, and will have it to her by end of day today, and then we’ll discuss the next one.

Didn’t get any boxes purged, so I have to make up for all of that today, after my article is done, and I finish up an ad for a client, and put in a couple of hours getting the new collection on the website.

The landlord and a contractor are going to wander around the property later today. We’re supposed to have snow off and on, so I can’t see it will be useful. But it’s not up to me, so whatever, and I appreciate that he always lets me know.

The snow around the trees on the property has melted, which shows just how lively our trees are!

Had a weird dream last night about someone stealing from me. In the dream, I knew the person, but looking at the dream from the outside, I don’t.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s client work and article work for what will hopefully be a productive day.

Hopefully, a productive work day will set me up for a productive few hours of box purging.

I have an idea percolating for a story. I have the setting and the conflict, but not the characters yet. So it goes on the simmer at the back of my head to percolate for a bit, When it comes together, I think it will be fun. Not sure what form it will take – short story or novella, I think.

There’s a deadline for a magazine coming up, and I might work up a short piece for them. I have an idea for that percolating, too.

While I work on the contracted tangibles – the article, the client work – these stories can form in the back of my consciousness, and then, when they’re ready, I can write them. Although, when I need one for a deadline, I have to prod it sometimes.

Have a good Thursday.

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about tidying up one’s materials, with an eye to where one wants to move, career-wise.

Yesterday was one of those days when, even though I put in a long day at the computer, it felt like not a lot got done.

I got out a bunch of LOIs, worked on (but did not finish) my article, wrote two blog posts, did some client work, worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get any boxes purged from the basement, which made me feel like a failure. Means I have to catch up on that this afternoon and tomorrow, WHILE handling client work and finishing my article.

Because that’s the way it goes, when you don’t get something done. You have to dig deeper and get it done anyway.

One of the contest entries was outstanding, though, and is in the pile I’m making for possible winners and finalists.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We are back to dealing with their schoolwork, although we’re talking about the trial in the Senate, too. It’s important they understand its impact and importance to their future. It affects them directly.

An editor sent off a contract that will cover all the pieces she wants me to write for the year (and make sure I get paid on time). So that was nice. I signed it and sent it back this morning.

It started snowing late yesterday afternoon. I’d had the pre-storm headache since late morning, so it was a relief when it finally started. We didn’t get that much – maybe about 3”. But I will wrap up in about twenty minutes or so, if it’s light enough, and shovel the driveway and the front walk.

I have to spend some overlapping time at a client’s today, and I don’t want to wait to shovel until five minutes before I leave, and then be grumpy the whole time I have to be there. I’m grumpy enough that there’s any overlap.

I’m frustrated at the lack of information about scheduling my mother’s vaccine. Seniors 75+ are supposed to be able to get the first dose “starting Feb. 1” only there’s no way to start scheduling until Feb. 1. I’m going to call her doctor’s office this morning, and then maybe Whole Health, where she got her pneumonia and shingles shots when CVS kept giving us the runaround. I do NOT want her to go through CVS. It will be a nightmare. According to the Governor’s site, those with “comorbidities” will be contacted by their doctor to get the vaccine. Only I don’t know if the three surgeries and two cancers still count, since the last surgery had such a good prognosis. So I will get in touch with my doctor, too. I don’t plan on waiting around. I want those “Fauchi ouchies” for both of us, as soon as we can have them, and it’s more important to get my mom’s, because she is 96.

I hope today won’t be too stressful. I want to get home, decontaminate, finish my article, and purge boxes.

But now . . .it’s time to shovel snow.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on January 27, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!  
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Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle

image by Arek Socha courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

First substantial snow fell overnight, and I’ll be shoveling out later! Post over on Gratitude and Growth about snow and the garden.

Out at a client’s for a few hours of overlap yesterday. It was okay, but it is clearer and clearer that I do not need to be onsite for ANYONE in order to do what I do well. I do it much better when I work from home, and insistence on me writing in someone else’s office is about control, not about the quality of the work.

That will be dealt with, as I move other pieces of the upcoming Change Puzzle into place. Because that’s what I’m calling this transition period over the next few months – The Change Puzzle. I can plan, or think I’m planning, everything to perfection, the way I like, with backup plans up the wazoo, and things will still change, and each change will affect other things. So I have to be versatile and resourceful.

Home, decontaminated, Remote chat, which was fun, but I was wiped out by the end of it. I still get hit by exhaustion and brain fog far too often.

I set my car inspection appointment up in Plymouth for next Tuesday, instead of for tomorrow, because I just don’t trust myself to drive over the bridge yet. I completely space out, and that’s not good when I’m behind the wheel, especially if it happens on a bridge.

Rested a bit, then did the revisions for both “By Her Pointed Quill” (the Susanna Centlivre play) and “Family Layers” (the Isabella Goodwin play). There’s an inside joke in the latter, referring back to my Kate Warne play. It works within the context of this play, standing alone, but those familiar with my work will also enjoy it.

Planning to do the Zoom meditation this morning with the Concord group, and then buckle down and write. There’s a lot to get done in the next few weeks, and I don’t intend to blow it.

At the same time, I need a lot of rest.

And I need to work on the Change Puzzle.

Published in: on December 17, 2020 at 6:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 211 — Change Puzzle  
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Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Received the next book for review, which is good.

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

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

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

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

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

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

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

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about books that had a strong impact on me in 2019.

It was a rather frustrating weekend, at least as far as productive writing. I’m still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I worked on, but did not finish the Kate Warne curtain raiser. I am at a crossroads with the scene on which I’m working. I don’t want to add characters this late into the play, nor do I want to have the climax of the play happen offstage.

I got an idea for two more comic mystery radio plays: one a steampunk, and one set against a vintage circus. I wrote the first eleven pages of the steampunk. I had to re-figure the plot once when I changed direction on one of the characters; then again, when I realized that some of the tropes I’m playing with could come across as offensive, and, within the restrictions of time and number of characters, I couldn’t do enough to turn those tropes inside out so using them wouldn’t be offensive. I’d need it to be a full-length evening in order to do that. Maybe I should make it into a two-parter? I’m confused. I have to think about it. There are already a few identity switches, but now I might have to add a character who is only referenced and do another mistaken identity. Or, or, I could enter this character and make this character the Big Bad. Because right now, the Big Bad is never in the script, and I feel that lets the audience down. The characters are all at odds with each other. Or do I want this as part of a series, like I did with the Frieda and Lazarus plays, and have the big reveal in the third play?

I don’t know yet.

I had a question from the director of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” from one of the actors. I think I’ve fixed it in a single line. Fingers crossed.

Discouraged about the LOIs and the article pitches. I’m tired of companies lying about what they want in a certain role. That’s what it all is — lies, to get someone cheap instead of skilled, frightened instead of an independent thinker, and to force them to go beyond the scope of what drew them to the company in the first place — and not beyond the scope in a good way. Not a stretch, but a diminishment.

As far as article pitches, I’m discouraged with myself for not getting them drafted, polished, and out fast enough. I managed to finally get one pitch, for a publication with whom I really want to work for, polished, and sent it off yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Did laundry, worked with the cats a lot, cooked, baked, worked on contest entries and the book for review. Finished the book, wrote the review, sent it off.

We had a snowstorm on Saturday night into Sunday which we needed, but it changed over into rain overnight. We need some steady snow cover, or the tick and bug problem will be out of control and the growing season will be challenging. We had snow flurries on Monday morning, but nothing substantial.

Worked on site with a client, in spite of the holiday. No meditation, so I sat on my own in the afternoon.

Onsite today with a client, and then some work at the library. Video conference with London with a different client, before I go onsite.

Just feel disappointed and discouraged all around. Let’s hope I can shift that this week.

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes  
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