Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Tues. March 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 298/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 48 — Step by Step by Step by . . .

image by Peter H courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cold again!

It’s March, so the weather is all over the place again. Yuck.

New moon in my sign as of Saturday, and I am so ready for it. Time to search for some optimism and action.

My article on theatre script development in the pandemic is up on Scriptmag.

I was so wiped out on Friday, I could barely stand it. I got some work done, but also had to rest.

Saturday was about box purging and starting to pack up my mom’s room, especially her books. Got some boxes purged from downstairs, but not as many as I’d like. I scrubbed the floor and how have to do some rearranging there.

Sent out some LOIs, did some work I didn’t get done on Friday.

Saturday night into Sunday morning, we sprung forward, which wrecks me, as it does every year. I do well when we fall back and gain an hour, but springing forward and losing an hour just gets me every time.

Managed to get a good dump run in on Sunday morning. A carload full of both garbage and recycling. Did a small grocery shop at the Stop N Shop in Marstons Mills.

Home, decontaminated. Realized that soon, I don’t need to worry about decontaminating everything for my mom’s sake, just for mine. And, hopefully, in a few more months, I won’t have to do it for myself, either. Although, considering how disgusting so many people are (again, WHY are you pulling down your mask to sneeze all over the groceries, asshole?), I might keep doing it for some things.

Packed the antique books in my room and the pictures in my mom’s room. Lots of bubble wrap and wrapping paper involved.

Got some work done on contest entries.

I don’t feel well, at all. I’m sure it’s a compilation of stresses, but it’s slowing me down when I can least afford it. Just must push through.

Woke up once overnight Sunday into Monday, and managed to get back to sleep again without too much effort, and got up at a reasonable hour.

Got some work done in the morning, then headed onsite to a client’s, where I worked on my own for a few hours. Did as much as I could there, took the shipments to the Post Office, swung by the liquor store, and home. I’d done a Target run for cleaning supplies on my way over to the office.

Decontamination process, more client work, LOIs out. Worked on my interview requests for the article – they go out today. Followed up from the meeting I had with a potential client last week. Another potential client is trying to bully me into doing an unpaid, project-specific sample because “that’s how we’ve found lots of great writers.” No. Read my samples and portfolio. Use your critical reading skills. If you want something specific to your company, you PAY ME FOR IT. I have a contract that’s specific to it.

Cape Cod Community College is ramping up the vaccines, but I’m not yet eligible for an appointment. I had to set up a second Walgreen’s account in order to maybe get on a list for a vaccine there, but – no appointments. I’m not signing up with CVS, because goodness only knows what they’d jab in my arm.

Did some research on Emilia Lanier, one of the possibilities for Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady.”

Worked on the book for review. Worked on contest entries.

Today, there’s more client work (remotely), picking up a prescription for my mother, getting out any additional interview requests, more LOIs, more packing.

Comcast and WordPress are both being hateful this morning. Multiple times having to shut down and restart. It does not bode well for the rest of the day.

Step by step, day by day.

Published in: on March 16, 2021 at 5:35 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 298/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 48 — Step by Step by Step by . . .  
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Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Went Direct Late Last Night

Thank goodness Mercury won’t be in retrograde for my birthday.

At least, in these last few weeks, with surgery and healing and prepping for more surgery, and all that, I’ve gotten a chance to think about a few issues and make some decisions. I will review those decisions now that Mercury is direct, and then, after my next surgery in ten days, start acting on those decisions. I will share those decisions as I’m comfortable so doing.

I worked on one of the books to review, but didn’t finish it. I needed rest, and to do so, I decided to re-read some of Donna Leon’s Brunetti books. That was good.

I did some of my own writing (although not enough). I worked on article pitches. I figured I’d wait until today and tomorrow to send them, when Mercury is direct.

Worked with the cats. With Charlotte, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But at least it’s that ratio, and not more backward movement than forward. I have to accept that it will take several years to undo the damage they have. But at least she loves to sit in her bed next to the window while I work on the computer. When I have to go out, she sits there and waits for me to come home, and then greets me. I just have to figure out a way to broker a deal for peaceful co-existence between her and Tessa.

Willa and Tessa have peaceful co-existence, and they might even work up to being friends one day.

From their behavior, I suspect their original human thought it was “cute” when they competed for attention. Therefore, they believe that only one of them can get attention and affection. When, in reality, there is plenty of attention and affection for all three, and when one gets it, it doesn’t mean less love available for the other two. That’s learned behavior, and only socialized affection over a long period of time will get them to adjust. Working on it every day.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived — all about dreaming. Some good stuff in there.

The Chewy order arrived on Saturday afternoon. Fed Ex dumped it on the side yard, instead of leaving it at the door. We couldn’t see it from the windows; the only reason I knew it arrived was because the tracker said it was delivered.

Then, I had to drag it into the garage and unpack it into the garage, because, after surgery, I still can’t lift much.

But we’ve got food and litter and new toys. The cats were thrilled with their new toys. Tessa got a catnip-filled carrot with feathery bits on top. She drags it around the room upstairs and loves it. Charlotte got a rattly catnip squirrel and Willa a soft, catnip-filled mop ball. Only Charlotte stole Willa’s toy, and Willa was upset. She didn’t want it anymore, with Charlotte’s cooties on it.

There are catnip fish and mice that I hid and will dole out in the coming weeks.

We put the sofabed away, finally, on Friday afternoon, and have some semblance of a normal living room back, at least until the middle of next week, when we set it up again for my next surgery. I got the instructions for the prep and am not happy about it. Everyone’s acting like this is nothing; I think it will be worse than the first surgery.

I’m trying to adjust the iron pills, because I’m in a constant state of nausea from them. That’s the one good thing about the second surgery — no iron pills for the week before.

Four loads of laundry on Saturday. Should have baked bread, but was too tired.

It snowed overnight into Saturday — just a few inches. And was lovely and spring-like Sunday, but I was too tired to do yard work.

Trying to get some tidying done because of those damned Home Energy Assessment people coming on Friday morning (before my follow-up appointment). I resent that I’m the one who has to lose work so the landlord can apply for a loan. This is the fourth time I’ve had to lose work in this whole replace-the-furnace debacle — and we still don’t have a new furnace. Not to mention it’s in the middle of all the health issues. I resent it. The landlord had THREE YEARS to get this done. And we HAD an assessment — SEVEN YEARS ago, and he made zero changes from it.

So I’m grumpy.

I’m also grumpy from the whole “spring forward.” I hate it. It upsets my energy levels and internal clock for weeks. I felt behind all day yesterday, even though I got up almost at my usual time.

I made a vegetable sauce for pasta out of the Brunetti cookbook last night, and it was good: eggplant, zucchini, tomato, three kinds of peppers, olives. Just yummy.

I’m worried about the spread of the Corona virus. My mother is in the top risk category, being in her nineties. Because of my current health issues, I am also high risk. So we’re being cautious. And the people who don’t take it seriously and take glee in putting others at risk make me angry. Interesting how all of them around here who do that are also supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Up at the normal time yesterday, grumpy as all get out. The first early morning writing helped lift my mood. Had to go onsite with a client for awhile, then pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

Up early today, writing, and then onsite again with a client. Not happy that I can’t do the work from home. Can’t afford not to work for this particular client right now. So I’m being as cautious as I can in the situation.

Onward.

Published in: on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course  
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild
Spring Forward!
International Women’s Day

Yes, today is International Women’s Day, so celebrate the women in your life!

And I just want to say that I truly resent having to “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep! I’m cranky for days. At least this year, it happens a few days before my birthday. The year it happened ON my birthday, I took it very personally. 😉

Got some good work done on the Billy Root story yesterday, which I think I will call CRAVE THE HUNT. Double-entendre title, which will make sense once one reads the book!

A not-so-nice neighbor moved yesterday. Glad the person’s gone, but listening to the moans and groans and bumps of moving made me laugh and also distracted me from some of my work. And she couldn’t be bothered to clean up after the movers – partially drained coffee cups and napkins and all kinds of debris were left all up and down the hallway, which is just rude.

I withdrew my name from consideration for a project yesterday. I received a third round of questions – information which was already sent in previous communications, and I was asked for information which I feel is inappropriate to the position for which I applied. I’ve got contracted, paid deadlines coming up – I think this project would interfere. In the week or so of communications, I’ve been asked the same questions over and over again, and it’s obvious that none of the materials I’ve sent were reviewed. It’s hoop jumping, to see who keeps writing back before even looking at the materials, and that’s a waste of my time, which is just as important as the time of the person hiring. We are not a good fit, and if I’m this frustrated in the pre-interview process, we should not work together. I wrote a pleasant withdrawal letter, and I am done. It felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Again, one should always go with one’s gut. I definitely have the skill level for this project, I’ve got a lot of top level credits in that particular area, and I have no doubt that my skills are far beyond those of most who applied – but I can already tell I’d tear out my hair during the course of it. Buh-bye.

Managed to get to the beach and take a long walk through the park beside the beach and the boardwalk. If you’ve ever seen the movie BIG, the parts on the Boardwalk near the water at the beginning and ending of the movie were shot in my town, and that’s where I go to clear my head. The weather was gorgeous, and there were several dozen dogs playing on the grass and down on the beach in the water, having the BEST time after being cooped up for weeks.

I figured out some Billy Root stuff, and worked out some stuff for another project, and enjoy a small taste of spring. So that was good.

I started re-reading POSSESSION, by A.S. Byatt yesterday. Fascinating book, but it helps if you’re well-grounded in English literature. Byatt really pulls something off – dealing with two scholars researching two poets who turn out to have a connection. She writes from several points of view, including letters, journals, and poetry in the styles of several of her characters, in addition to creating a multi-layered plot and complex characters. I never saw the movie, even though I know the person who adapted it into a screenplay (and love his work) because there’s too much going on to trim it back and stuff into a two hour or less movie. I might rent it at some point, because Aaron Eckhert is in it, and I like his work.

I’m also re-reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswick Journals. I have the first and the fourth. I’m re-reading the first, A CIRCLE OF QUIET. Her thoughts on writing and her commitment to a fully-integrated life, rather than boxing off the “writing” part from the rest of her life are fascinating and refreshing. The journal is fascinating not just for the writing aspects, but for the human aspects. What she figures out in her writing process is pretty wonderful, too. I keep my eye out in bookstores and sales for volumes 2 & 3 – I’ll find them someday and enjoy them when I do.

I’m getting better about actually turning off the computer after dinner and having an evening away. It helps with the computer’s problems, and, spending fewer hours on the computer per day means that, when I’m on it, I’m far more focused and productive.

However, before even 10 AM, forces conspired to prevent a productive day. I hope to overcome them.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 9:38 am  Comments (2)  
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