Tues. Dec. 22, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 216 — Trying to Get it All Done

Cookie tins, packed & ready for delivery

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend, although I wasn’t really feeling up to it.

Friday had more snow; not much, just a dusting. I had to pick up a prescription for my mom, and I did a curbside drop-off/pick-up at the library.

Decontaminated, read a bit.

Finished the revisions on both the Susanna Centlivre play and the Isabella Goodwin play and got them out. Nearly two weeks ahead of deadline, too. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

Heard back from the Body Be Gone publisher. I didn’t win the big prize, but I am in the anthology and will get a little bit of cash and a copy of it, which will be fun. It was a lot of fun to participate in it, and I’m pleased to be part of such a lively, creative group. I wonder which story won?

In any case, by not winning, I retain my rights to these characters, and they can have a life beyond that one story. Which could be a lot of fun.

Woke up early on Saturday, with ideas for a story for one of the anthologies that would be due on Dec. 31. It might be too complex for a short story, but I’m going to give it a shot and see what I can do with it.

Wrote 1600 words on it, and it’s a bit all over the place, but I like the bones of it. Once I finish the draft, I can strip it down and rebuild.

I poked two companies about orders I placed weeks ago – giving them plenty of time because it’s both busy season and the pandemic. They finally shipped. One of the orders was placed before Thanksgiving. This is inexcusable. I help one of my clients with shipping. It doesn’t take five weeks to ship something that is in stock.

Saturday’s big project was making stollen. I used the traditional Dresden recipe. It takes all day, between the rises and waiting while things soak. But we wind up with three enormous loaves of stollen that are delicious. Much better than the overpriced, stale loaves on buys in the stores or orders online. If I bought this from a company, it would cost several hundred dollars. And not taste half as good.

I also decorated most of my office – got the tree up, anyway. Switched the bedding over to fleece. Got 6 loads of laundry done.

And was wiped out.

A client contacted me, frantically needing me to get something out right that second. I got it done, and that will be on next week’s bill. You don’t interrupt my weekend and expect it to be free. This is information I asked her for nearly a month ago, and she couldn’t get her act together until Saturday for something that needed to go out before Sunday.

Sunday, I finished decorating my office, put a lot of empty boxes away. I baked a chocolate Grand Marnier cake. The Bundt pan I have is awful, and even though it was greased in every crevice, it didn’t come out properly. But it still tastes good. Also made bourbon balls, which turned out tasty, but look a little off-putting.

I was just wiped out. I felt weak and emotional all weekend. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t seem to get my feet back under me after this surgery. It’s been more than a week, and it was good news, so I don’t get why I’m still completely wiped out.

The “relief” package Congress passed is a joke. Sure, $600 is better than nothing, but we should have been getting $2000/month EVERY month since March. All of them failed us, including the Democrats. All these people saying, “Oh, take a government class, it’s all on McConnell, it’s not on Pelosi and Schumer” – grow up. I’ve been a negotiator. When you don’t have the votes, you GET THE VOTES. McConnell does it all the time, but Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to play hardball.

They’ll have another excuse for no continued, REAL relief in January. I’m sick of excuses. I want action. Tough, strong action against the corrupt. Not continuous capitulation and acting like $600 is good. It’s HALF of what we got in May, and just over ¼ of what we should have been getting EVERY MONTH of the pandemic. While the grifters continue to grift, without consequence. This has to change. If this is the “best they can’ do” then we need stronger leadership who can do better.

In this state alone, there are nearly 30,000 new virus cases a week. We need a full lockdown. With continued, direct cash relief.

And prosecution for those who profited from the pandemic at the expense of our lives all the way through it.

Monday, up early, still feeling like crap. But I went into the office – alone, like it should be. I got some shipping done – see, people? The orders came in over the weekend and went out MONDAY – that is how one takes care of customers. The postman hadn’t arrived by the time I left, so I took the boxes with me and dropped them off at the post office myself. Went to the library for a curbside drop-off/pickup.

Home, decontaminated, masked up again, and packed cookie tins. They look really cute. The cookies are packed in individual sleeves, which work well, but take up a lot of room.

One of the companies I poked came through and I got the delivery that was most important to get today. The company from whom I ordered before Thanksgiving – shipped so late it’s still stuck in California, and the third company is making noises about delays. But what I really wanted for today came, so that’s that.

I got an unexpected bonus from two clients. One goes into the bank, as prep for moving; the other I used on a piece of jewelry by an artisan on which I’ve had my eye for a few months. I put in a note with the order not to stress about trying to get it out for this week. It gets here when it gets here. I ordered it late – when I had the money to order it. I’m happy whenever it arrives.

I was finished just as the sun set, and we did the family Solstice ritual: let the sun set all the way, sitting in the dark. Start by lighting the fire in the fireplace, with greens from last year’s Solstice season; then light all the candles and put on the trees and other decorative lights, inside and outside the house. And take a few minutes of gratitude to enjoy it, release what no longer works, and make room to invite something new and wonderful.

Dinner was pancetta and peas in Alfredo sauce, with the chocolate Grand Marnier cake for dessert. Delicious.

Then, a quiet evening re-reading Terry Pratchett’s HOGFATHER (one of my favorite books), enjoying the tree, listening to Chantal Chamberland sing carols.

Later, I did my own private Solstice ritual, to remove the detritus of this year, and make way for something new.

I’m off today to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the Trump-supporting maskless mechanics who did the oil change sabotaged the car a few months back, and there will be a major repair. Think good thoughts for me. At least I’ll be at the mechanic I know is honest.

If I’m not there all day with car repairs, I hope to come home the cookie deliveries (and yes, one of those tins is for the mechanics in Plymouth).

Have a lovely day, friends, and a lovely week.

Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Lousy weather

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about one of my favorite Winter Holiday books.

Busy few days. Sorry I didn’t post at all on Friday. I was up at 5:30 and out of the house by 7. Put gas in the car, then drove up to Plymouth, to my regular mechanic, to give them their holiday treats and get the yearly inspection done.

The car passed. All those things the place that replaced my battery told me I had to pay $1800 to get done or else not pass inspection — NONE of them were true. Which makes me both angry and relieved.

I’ve spent the past nearly three months in agony fearing the car wouldn’t pass, and I couldn’t afford the additional work. Because I was lied to.

Stopped at Market Basket on the way back to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to pick up a book and talk to the librarian who took her first trip to NYC this past week, and I wrote up directions to the stuff she wanted to see. She had a great time.

Then, I just hit a wall. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t do much more than play with the cats, do some more decorating, and read.

I managed to pull it together in the late afternoon to put together and deliver the cookie platters to the neighbors. It was fun — a chance for us to catch up. We are all friendly in passing and help each other when we need it, but every now and again, it’s nice to spend some time in actual conversation. We are lucky in our neighbors. Most of them, anyway.

It looks like my health insurance might be sorted out for the next year. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

On Thursday night, we watched the version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alistair Sims, which is still my favorite. Friday night, we watched HOLIDAY INN, which I had ordered from the library by accident, thinking it was the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye version later named WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Well, it wasn’t. It was a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film in black & white — also using the song “White Christmas” — and what a horrid movie. The racism — especially against blacks, with an entire musical number in blackface, and the awful way the black characters were written, anti-Semitic comments, the misogyny, and the fact that the characters are all so mean to each other. Awful. On so many levels. Some of the dance numbers are good, but the plot, characters, and viciousness of the movie are hateful. To think that, at any point in our history, that was considered “okay” much less acceptable, is discouraging.

Saturday morning, woke up to a bad storm with pounding rain. Made it through the flooded streets to the store to pick up a few things, and barely made it home. If I’d waited even a half hour more, some of the streets would have been impassable.

Made stollen, the traditional Dresden stollen recipe, from Mimi Sheraton’s German cookbook. Upped the almond extract a bit.

The recipe took me 8 hours to make last year, but only 6 hours this year, with the mixing and the rising. The yeast was fresher, and it rose faster.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of about 3 pounds apiece. When you think that a single pound of it from a store or ordered online costs anywhere from $9.99 to $34 and tastes like cardboard or could be used for a doorstop, this is a much better choice. In addition to being absolutely delicious. It’s an all-day project, but worth it.

Just about finished my cards on Saturday night, except for a few where I need to hunt down addresses.

Worked on the books for review. Started preparations for Winter Solstice, which is next Saturday. Got some writing done.

We put up the reindeer collection and the nutcracker collection, and cleared out my office, so that we can put up the tree in there. I cleaned up the roll-top desk, and I want to clear off my computer desk, so I can start the New Year and the new decade, with a clean desk.

I will have to make the next batch of stained glass cupcakes either today or tomorrow, and another batch of tollhouse cookies. I’m still making deliveries.

Sunday, I was up early and creating a new muffin recipe with orange, cranberry, and chocolate. It turned out well, although I think I will add some cloves next go round.

Got some writing done. Put up the tree in my office, and started decorating the rest of the office.

Watching THE QUEENS OF MYSTERY. There’s a lot of clever, fun stuff in it, but sometimes I feel it tries to hard to do too much and gets a little unfocused.

Monday, it was off to my client’s early (since we’re leaving early for our holiday lunch together). On the way, made some more cookie platter deliveries. Client work was okay, albeit a bit chaotic. Headed to the library after, to get some other work done, and send off one of the reviews.

Early at my client’s today, and then a couple of other appointments after. Decent first writing sessions of the day both days. THE QUALITY OF LIGHT is chugging along, and it will get to where it needs to go on time.

I’m working on my next essay for Medium, which I hope to post this week sometime.
Planning to finish up the reviews, so I can get them out and invoiced, either today or tomorrow.

This year, I’m very much hearth-and-home for the holidays. I’d rather do cards and cookie platters than running around to all the holiday networking events. My focus needs to be on other things right now, focused on the home front and the upcoming changes, not on socializing.

Published in: on December 17, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All  
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Tues. Dec. 18, 2018: Trying to Get it Done by . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

It was a busy weekend.

Ran around Friday, trying to get everything done earlier rather than later. Did not get enough writing done. I’m frustrated with myself.

Had a lovely grown-up evening in Boston with a friend — dinner out, concert at Symphony Hall, champagne bar, after-concert brandies at a cool, nearby bar. It was nice to dress up and go out, although it was odd to have tables and dining in a symphony hall, as far as I was concerned. A little too dinner theatre for me. We weren’t at a table; we were up in a box, which was much more to my liking.

Saturday morning, I made stollen from scratch. Stollen is a big deal tradition in our family. One used to get really good ones from Karl Ehmer, on the upper East side of NYC. Then, they went out of business, and it was a scramble, but one could usually find a decent kind.

Not lately. I swear, they’re made in February and left to get stale. They’re overpriced, undersized, and taste like cardboard dusted with powdered sugar.

So I decided to make the traditional Dresden stollen from scratch.

It took 8 hours. I started a little before 8 AM, and it was a little after 4 PM when it was done. It’s a long, involved, arduous process. But, I wound up with three stollen about three pounds each, and they’re really, really good. Wouldn’t do it more than once a year, though.

Also made beef stew, which turned out really well.

I’m thinking about reviving the cooking blog next year, but worried it’s too big a commitment.

Got a couple of thousand words written on THE LINGERIE TRAIL in and around the baking.

Sunday, I was wiped out. I had a hard time getting anything done. Got a little writing done. Had my phone off for most of the day, which was a relief.

Got up most of the interior lights. Still have to do the ones in my writing room. Put up the small tree in the writing room, with the blue and silver ornaments and the pearl garland. Got some of the other garlands up, and the nutcrackers out, and the boxes put away.

When I unpacked the little holiday stuffed animals, we discovered that someone had burrowed into the box through the handle and hidden acorns there over the summer and fall. Not sure if it was a squirrel or a chipmunk. They didn’t hurt the stuffed animals at all, just hid the acorns in the bottom of the box.

So everything had to be cleaned, and the box tossed. I put the acorns back outside. I felt guilty, but how did they get into the Christmas closet in the first place?

Monday was onsite with a client (the next few months will be, shall we say, challenging, to be nice about it). Then wrote up a cheat sheet to help a Twitter pal set up a blog on WP.

Then, a friend delivered a rug we’re inheriting. Not that I can put it anywhere until the holiday decorations come down.

Then, it was about running around delivering more cooking platters.

Tired much?

Today is about being onsite with one client, then doing some other work at a different location, and then delivering more platters.

I will be glad when it’s 4 PM on Wednesday. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this week.

 

Published in: on December 18, 2018 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 18, 2018: Trying to Get it Done by . . .  
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