Fri. July 30, 2021: Sliding into the Weekend (Through the Rain)

image courtesy of Olmheidi via pixabay.com

Friday, July 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Raining. Again.

Everything yesterday took much longer than it should have. Some days are like that.

Meditation group was great, and it was a good way to start the day.

Wrote and submitted a book review; got my next assignment. Caught up on email, got out an LOI, wrote up a long script coverage.

Participated in Freelance Chat, where the topic was burnout, and it’s comforting to know we’re not alone in it. And again, the pandemic stress is layered on top of the burnout, which makes everything ten time harder. Or a hundred times harder.

My Broadway colleague is making progress in his fight against COVID. That’s at least, good news.

Wrote up another script coverage in the afternoon, and started a third. I’d hoped to write up four, but that wasn’t happening.

Participated in one of Creative Capital’s discussions, “Artist Roles in Reimagining the Social.” It was a terrific discussion, Kenneth Bailey, the head of Design Studio for Social Intervention, is interested in keeping the conversation going, and I have a few ideas, which I will write up and send off later today.

Leftovers for dinner, nothing interesting. Read two more scripts, which have to be written up today, in addition to the other one and a half scripts that need to be written up.

Big storm last night, with thunder and wild lightning. I’m getting a little tired of all the rain, and worried that the rivers will overflow.

Playing with some story ideas, seeing where they lead. One is well in my wheelhouse, but a different slant; another is a bit further out, but playing with characters and ideas similar to what I’ve done before; the third is pretty far out of what I usually do, which is part of why it’s interesting. It’s fun to noodle without pressure, and it’s leading me back to the work that’s on deadline.

We had to deal with a centipede in the bathtub this morning, which was NOT fun.

Getting back into daily yoga practice is good. Even only two weeks in, I can feel the difference. I may add in another yoga session just before bedtime.

Today is about finishing up the script coverage, so I don’t have to do any this weekend. I need to unpack over the weekend, and do some work on my class that’s next Friday. I also have to do a quick trip to Wild Oats to pick up a few things and put in my membership.

The new vacuum is supposed to arrive today. I’m excited to try it out.

I plan to do some writing over the weekend, but most of it will be devoted to unpacking, and to celebrating Lammas.

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side!

Fri. March 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 301 — I Need a Blanket Fort

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, March 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve stopped the “MA Vaccine Distribution Failure” Tag, because it looks like we’re back on track; more doses, easier appointments. I will be eligible as of April 5, so I’m going to get my shot as soon as possible. Hopefully, the signup system will have eased. More and more people I know around here have been able to get a slot. I’m hoping I can get it up the street at the college, instead of driving to who-knows-where.

One last winter storm? High winds, not much snow, but kind of yucky out. I’m glad I got my grocery run in early.

I sent out a lot of LOIs yesterday. Had trouble with Comcast. Worked on the article.

Had some more disappointing/upsetting news.

Packing up the back room. It’s amazing how much things spread out and accumulate over time.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. I wasn’t on top of things, because I’m so stressed, and I felt guilty.

I did it again this morning – I turned on the coffee maker without putting the pot in. A big mess. I’m losing it.

I’m afraid I have nothing interesting to say. I’m under a lot of stress right now.  The weekend will continue it. I wish I could just hide in a blanket fort like the cat in the above photo.

Hold a good thought for me, friends.

Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc

image courtesy of James DeMers via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Rainy, icy, cold

GDR posts are up for both the January wrap-up and starting February.

Friday was a good kind of busy.

Worked on a client’s website first thing.

Addressed the questions my editor had on the article, which led me to send her questions on which direction she wanted to take the article in. She told me, and I went ahead and did the edits. She was pleased with the result, and so was I! This is why I love working with a good editor.

No luck scheduling my mom’s vaccine. It has not escaped my notice that Baker, a Republican, stopped actively working on any COVID anything except forcing everyone back to “normal” as soon as Biden was inaugurated. He’s just as tainted as the rest of the GOP. He was just better at the façade for longer. I try both sites every day, and no luck. We’re not IN Phase 2 of the vaccination process if there aren’t any vaccines to distribute. Again, it’s spin and lies to make them look good, without the actions we need to survive.

Saturday morning, I did an early grocery run to get in supplies for the incoming storm. Not many people, everyone following protocols.  Home, decontaminated, did a curbside pickup at the library.

Purged 10 boxes. Found some really cool stuff. Tossed a lot. Some books had water/moisture damage that couldn’t be saved. My childhood playing card collection, including some cards from Germany in the 1960’s, which can’t be replaced, were also lost.

Found and re-read FIFTY DAYS OF SOLITUDE by Doris Grumbach, and enjoyed it even more now than when I first read it.

Sunday morning did a dump/recycling run first thing. I couldn’t even fit everything in the car – my car is too small! In other years, I would have been able to do multiple trips, but now they charge by carload, so I’ll wait until next week for the next run.

Then, I purged another 13 boxes. It’s still barely a dent in what I have to go through. But I need to shush my inner voice that told me I should have started this as soon as we moved in. I didn’t, and I’m doing it NOW. So I have to deal with the NOW. 37 boxes down; 263 to go.

Again, tossed a lot, and found some really cool stuff, including an old-fashioned alarm clock, my hand-carved Rosewood chess set I bought in Edinburgh, some jewelry, various knick-knacks with lovely memories attached, and fabric. I also found my old Smith-Corona “memory” typewriter, a precursor to computers; and the silver-plated menorah I bought on 29th St. before I left NYC. I was afraid it had been lost in the move. It’s absolutely stunning, and I look forward to setting it up next holiday season along with the Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Solstice decorations. Even though I am not Jewish, it is a way for me to honor my Jewish friends.

I’m re-sorting the books, putting some of them in new boxes, and trying to sort by genre, instead of just tumbling them all into boxes to be sorted “someday.”

Sore as all get-out from lugging boxes around.

Up early on Monday, charging all the electronic devices ahead of the storm. Pushed to get as much work as possible done early.

Wrote 1K of fiction first thing (GAMBIT COLONY). It felt good to get back into that routine, after giving myself a break in January. I feel better when I do 1K of fiction first thing in the morning. Then, I’m ready to meet the day’s challenges. When I don’t do fiction first thing (or a script), I feel like I’ve failed myself. Blogging or client work that early doesn’t do it, even when I’m productive. The first 1K of the day needs to be fiction.

The bulk of my energy in the next few months is focused on moving, but that first 1K of the day fuels everything else, so I have to stay true to it. It’s not just about having to show up and get the work done because it’s my job as well as my passion. It’s about making the best decisions for my creativity possible.

Got out some LOIs, but the bulk of Monday’s workday was spent getting the client’s new collection up on the website. It wasn’t difficult work, just time-consuming. I was worried we might lose power at any time, or be without power today, so I kept pushing and did a full day’s work on the one project, just to get it done.

Did some work on contest entries. Didn’t get any boxes purged, so I will have to make up for it today.

Other areas got pummeled with snow. We started with snow in the morning. It changed over to sleet, and then rain with heavy winds. On the one hand, I’m grateful not to shovel. On the other hand, I wanted some snow. But the storm is supposed to hang around most of today; we’ll see what happens.

I wrote a bit this morning, again on GAMBIT COLONY. It felt good. I’m using that project to ease back into the daily early morning writing sessions.

I have some client work today, and have to send the PDF of last week’s article to those I quoted in it. I’m working on two new pitches for that editor. I hope to get them out today.

I need to finish the book for review, and get that out, so I can invoice.

And, of course, later today, get back down into the basement and purge more boxes. I have to make my quota, and catch up from what I didn’t do yesterday.

Let’s hope the power holds, but I have enough different options of projects to work on, no matter what happens. Might relax with a fire in the fireplace in the afternoon. I didn’t get to do that yesterday, because I was pushing to finish the work on the client website.

Have a good one. Blessed Imbolc! I’m looking forward to tonight’s ceremony.

Published in: on February 2, 2021 at 6:50 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 258/MA Vaccine Distribution Failure Day 6 — Rainy, Icy Imbolc  
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Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 239 — Process & Project Outlines

image courtesy of chloestrong via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Uranus Direct

Cold and cloudy

Red sky in the morning – shepherd’s warning – I guess we are getting a storm today.

The latest on the garden and the weather finally turning to winter is up on Gratitude and Growth. I don’t write anything particularly profound over there, but I do enjoy putting together the posts. It makes me look at certain aspects of my life differently, more closely, and more gently.

Yesterday was stressful, but I got through it, and that’s what matters.

I was happy that I had a good session early on, working on the book proposal. In this particular proposal, for this particular organization, my synopsis/outline can only be 1000 words. It’s a good challenge to write a book outline that succinct. Especially for a book that hasn’t been written.

I often do what I call my “Writer’s Rough” outline early in the process. I’ll get an idea, I’ll write a few notes. I’ll write about three or four chapters into the book, to see if it can sustain (both in terms of plot and character, and my interest in writing it).

At that point, I’ll take a few days and write my Writer’s Rough outline. That’s made up of me telling myself the story, often with snippets of dialogue, and not necessarily in order. Most of the time, I’ll do this in longhand, scribbling, separating scenes or sequences by skipping a line here and there.

Once I’ve told myself the story, I’ll read it through a few times, and number the paragraphs, putting it in what I think is the order in which I want it to flow.

I also make notes of what needs research.

Then I’ll type it up (I don’t use numbers in this). My Writer’s Rough can run anywhere from two or three pages for an idea that needs more fleshing out, to twenty or more pages, similar to a script treatment.

This allows me to work on the piece whenever I can schedule it in, without sitting there looking at a blank page, wondering what I meant to write next in it. Juggling multiple projects (the only way to keep a roof over my head) means outlining saves me pain and time. It makes my writing life more efficient.

It does NOT interfere with creativity or spontaneity. The outline is a roadmap, not a prison.

When the book is ready to submit, after however many drafts I’ve done in order to make it feel submittable, I then go back through it and create the outline (I talk more about this in the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which should re-release in a few weeks).

Once I write the Submission Outline, I use that to write both versions of the synopsis.

With the series under contract, the process is a little different. My publisher is tiny, so it’s more informal, and there are fewer layers. While I landed the initial contract with finished manuscripts, the books to come are a little different. With the Coventina Circle series, I gave a rough overview of the whole series. It was originally six books, and will now be nine. I’d always planned four books for the Gwen Finnegan series, although I’m being urged to do more, if the next couple of books do well. The Nautical Namaste mysteries can go in many directions, but I did thumbnails of the first six.

At this point, I do a rough synopsis of where I see the book going, my editor and I have a conversation (in case she feels I’m going off-track), then I go and write it. I do my Writer’s Roughs for the books. The Coventina Circle books tend to veer off, although the other two series tend to stay pretty well close to the original vision.

In this case, I’m writing up an idea for a book that wasn’t even on my radar until I heard about this foundation’s invitation for proposals. They do mostly non-fiction, but are interested in looking at proposals for fiction, because they want something different. I’ve been in contact with them, because I wasn’t sure I’m appropriate (on any level), but they encouraged me to do it.  They want fresh perspectives on their topic. Most of those who pitch to them are serious academics. I’m the outlier. It’s a longshot, but the topic and the challenge interest me, and it’s not something I would have come up with on my own.

So I’m basically doing my Writer’s Rough and then transforming it into a Very Short submission synopsis without writing any of the book – and keeping it in their specific proposal word count and guidelines.

It’s a good exercise in being specific, but it means stretching my process within a finite time frame.

That’s what today is all about. The entire day is blocked off to devote to the proposal.

Yes, I’ll take breaks to do some admin work and read the book for review and attend the online meditation group. I might even answer some email and get out an LOI or two.

But my primary focus today is this book proposal. The deadline is Sunday, but I’d prefer to get it out earlier. I’ve been working on it on and off for weeks, and thinking about it since I first heard about it a couple of months ago.

If they like it, I land a contract that stretches me and challenges me in wonderful new ways, and I’ll be well paid for it. If I don’t land this contract, I still have an interesting book proposal I can use elsewhere – and sell.

That’s the difference between doing something like this and the unpaid, project-specific samples companies often demand. This is a project proposal that yes, takes work, and yes, there’s no guarantee the pitch will land me the contract and enough money so I don’t have to worry about freelance clients during its duration. But if it does not, it still opens the relationship with this organization AND I have something I can sell elsewhere. When you do unpaid labor as part of an interview for a company, they believe they have the right to keep and use your work without paying you for it in order for THEM to make a profit. Which is why I created my test/sample agreement.

That’s the next few days, in a nutshell. Once the book proposal is out, I turn my attention to finishing and polishing the article. I’m still missing two quotes, but I have plenty of material. That will go out on Tuesday.

The Sociopath was impeached again yesterday. Now, every death, either from violence or COVID, is squarely the fault of Mitch McConnell, who, as usual, is dragging his feet and trying to play both sides against the middle. McConnell needs to be prosecuted along with the rest of the corrupt and the violent.

I’m looking forward to today’s online meditation group. I definitely need it.

And, I’m looking forward to an entire day immersed in this book proposal.

Peace and health, my friends.

Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

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

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

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

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

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

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

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

Published in: on December 24, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!  
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Tues. Dec. 8, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 202/Isolation Day 3 — Preparing

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday was errand day, trying to get things done before I had to go into isolation in preparation for surgery. The errands were run successfully, with minimal contact with others, although I continue to be appalled at the stupidity of those around me, especially with the rising cases. The refusal to practice basic human decency by simply wearing a mask is disgusting.

Two of the errands weren’t strictly essential, but had to happen today or not happen at all. I was as careful as possible, other than not doing them, and hope I don’t have to pay the price of getting sick. I have sanitized so much in the car lately that it reeks of sanitizer. Or it smells like I’ve been quaffing thermoses full of vodka martinis in the car. You pick.

Home, decontaminated or quarantined everything picked up, decontaminated myself. Was exhausted. Got some admin and an LOI out.

With all the talk of a big storm coming in, after lunch, we brought in almost all the deck furniture (the big bench has to stay out for another week or two), the garden decorations, and the rest of the plants – except for the hanging plants. One pot of pansies is STILL blooming! Imagine that.

We had to clean things before putting them away. I am angry by how dirty everything got outside this year. Everything was scrubbed down after the pine pollen stopped falling – and that happened late this year. But everything was filthy, which it wasn’t in previous years. It’s all the damn heavy machinery, daily overuse of leaf blowers, and general uptick in pollution and cutting down of trees that contribute.

Some numbnut a couple of blocks over ran leaf blowers from just before 9 AM to after 6:30. There is not a single property in this neighborhood big enough to qualify for that. It’s disgusting.

It took all afternoon, and then I had to cook dinner. After dinner, I finished, finally finished the rest of the holiday cards. I say “finally” because I started them so early. I don’t think I’ve ever been done by December 4! I kind of like it, and might do it again next year, depending where we are and the work situation.

Town managers are moaning about all the “stress” of the rising virus numbers. What the eff did they think would happen, when there is ZERO enforcement of the state mask mandate, nothing is shut down, and their own personnel aren’t modeling proper protocols? Barnstable is the only red zone on the entire Cape because people are such selfish idiots, and that goes all the way up to town personnel.

Up early on Saturday. The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted – yet. I used a quick calm in it to dash out to Shaw’s and Trader Joe’s for the last few things before isolation. I went next door to Christmas Tree Shops to pick up another piece of outdoor décor, and then stopped at CVS to pick up my prescription. They gave me the high-end stuff this time, without a fuss, so I hope it doesn’t make me as sick as the last stuff did.

The storm was getting bad by the time I got out of CVS. I made it home, driving slowly, decontaminated everything including myself, and officially went into isolation.

None of the stores had the old English fruit and peel I need for the fruitcake cookies. When I tried to order online, every outlet I felt comfortable spending money in was sold out. So I guess I’m not doing fruitcake cookies this year. I will try chocolate crackle instead.

The storm kept getting worse; I didn’t want to be on the computer or do laundry, in case the power went out. But we did some more decorating, and spent a cozy afternoon reading. The Santas are up on the Behemoth, I put the snowmen on a small table all their own, more ornaments went on the tree,

The storm abated enough by Saturday night to watch the first half of season 9 of DEATH IN PARADISE. I love the location. The show really shouldn’t work – yet somehow, it does.

Sunday was the day to catch up on laundry, and decorate the back room. Cleared out a bunch of stuff that somehow accumulated in there. There’s still more work to do, but the room and the dining table look festive for the holidays.

There’s still a LOT of work to do in my office, including the Elegant Tree, but that will have to wait until after surgery.

Up early yesterday. Did some work on LIFE, REVISED, the piece that was inspired by an argument a few weeks ago. Somehow ended up with a haunted covered bridge in it, because of course I did. But the piece feels right. However, I need to make it the carrot, and only allow myself to work on it when I’ve completed the other things I need to do that day.

I risked going into the office, since no one was supposed to be there. Technically, I was alone and isolated, and I had no contact with anyone outside my household. I got some orders shipped out – because it’s the holidays, and I didn’t want them to sit unfilled until someone came in on Wednesday. I answered email questions, got out an email blast I’d worked on last week, the inspirational quote of the week, scheduled some social media stuff, did the social media rounds.

As soon as the postman picked up the packages I left outside for him, I locked up and left. I did a curbside pickup at the library – no one was around – and got back home. Here I stay, until Thursday’s COVID test, which removes a lot of stress from my life.

Decontaminated – even though I hadn’t had any contact, even at a distance with anyone. The office was supposedly the same temperature as the house, but for some reason, it felt really cold and I was chilled. I took a good, hot shower and scrubbed down, and felt better.

Read and got admin work done in the afternoon and evening. Read the fifth book in a series – I’d though the first book was mediocre, didn’t like the second book, and skipped the 3rd and 4th. Ordered this one, not realizing it was part of the same series. But this one is good. It feels like the series is growing into itself.

Today, I have client work I’m doing remotely, including a marketing campaign suggestion packet for 2021, LOIs, and my main focus is the Susanna Centlivre play. I’m so close to getting it where I want!

As usual, the computer has been acting up. I have problems with the PC every week. I had about three problems with the Macbook in 10 years.

Trying to get mentally prepared for the surgery. I hope this is the last one for a while. I’m weary. The whole year has made me weary, and thoroughly disillusioned with far too many of my fellow citizens. But I need to put aside the Big Picture worries this week and focus on what I’m facing on the home front. I can worry about Big Picture again in a few weeks.

I need to find my writing rhythm again. It’s been fits and starts in the past few weeks – heck, in the past few months – and I need to find a steady rhythm again.

Have a great day, and a great week.

Tues. Dec. 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 195 — Re-release Day and Trying to Keep It Together

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold/storm aftermath

One of my favorite short pieces ever, “Just Jump In and Fly” – which is a combination of comedy, romance, adventure, fantasy, and Yuletide myths, has re-released digitally. There’s a post with an excerpt and buy links over on A Biblio Paradise.

I wrote the piece I wanted to read and couldn’t find.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and long weekend. Ours was quiet, and at home, as it should be in a pandemic, and, in some ways, less stressful than all the driving and cooking usually involved.

We started getting the decorations up. We had to rearrange the living room, because the cat condo is in the corner the tree usually occupied, and won’t fit anywhere else. So it’s in the middle of the side window, next to my big reading chair, which is kind of nice. Some of the ornaments are up. There’s plenty more to do.

The iron candlestands are wrapped, the fireplace mantel is done with the fabric and swags and our carolers. The ribbons are up around the doors and windows, and some of the lights are up around the windows.

In the apartments, both growing up in Rye and then later in NYC, everything only fit one way. Living in a house, even though we’ve outgrown this house, it’s nice to be able to do things differently each year, as feels right.

The stress of months of trying to survive a pandemic amidst too many who don’t give a damn is taking a toll, and there was some family strife over the weekend. I found a way to use it, though, as the basis for a new novel that somehow needs to be fit around everything else that needs to get written over the coming months. I wrote 5K on it on Sunday, and another 500+ words on it yesterday, and will write more on it today.

The packages are all packed and sent off. I’m still trying to finish S-Z on the holiday cards (I aim to finish it by tonight).

I received wonderful artwork from a friend of mine as a gift. I’m so delighted with it! I love what he’s doing with his art!

While I’m trying to keep up my spirits, my emotions are all over the place. I feel old and tired, and find myself often slipping into despair. I have mixed feelings about the upcoming surgery next week: on the one hand, I want to get it over with; on the other hand, with the way the virus cases are rising, how can it possibly happen? I’m worried that the car won’t pass inspection, and that I’ll have another repair I can’t afford. I’m worried I can’t get everything together for the move in spring. I’m worried we won’t survive until spring.

One day at a time, and as careful as possible. That’s all I can do. My shopping and packing and mailing are pretty much done – I don’t need to go to the post office or any stores other than grocery stores until next year.

The paella cookbook is so great, I ordered my own copy, and also ordered a paella pan. I tried to get it from Sur La Table, a company I used to love, but trying to checkout was such a nightmare, I gave up and bought it from Williams Sonoma instead. WS had the pan I really wanted (other than SLT, who was sold out, so I would have had to compromise), at a price that suited me, and the whole checkout was smooth as could be.

Put in another Chewy order, because those monsters eat a lot. It already shipped.

Went in to my client’s office yesterday and got some work done all on my own, which was nice. No interruptions, everything I needed, got it all done.

Having trouble with the remote on the TV/DVD – and, of course, RCA has been sold and resold and split up and I’m being sent from pillar to post because heaven forbid they continue to support their products, and a general “universal remote” won’t work on this. I’m so sick of these companies trying to force me to buy new products all the time. I take care of my stuff.

We didn’t lose power in last night’s storm, thank goodness. But I’d turned off the computer and we didn’t watch anything, just in case. Nor did I bake the cake or make turkey pot pie with the last of the leftovers (I made turkey stroganoff instead).

Today is about writing and baking and client work. “Lockesley Hall” and “Too Much Mistletoe” need to be finished by Friday and signed off on – it would be good if “Tumble” was finished by then, too. The Susanna Centlivre play needs to be finished this coming week, too, and the Isabella Goodwin play finished next week.

So much for planning properly so I don’t have end of year deadlines!

I will try to do better next year. The pandemic threw everything for a loop, and there’s a lot to clear off before January 1 that got backed up, and a lot to get done early next year.

It all seems overwhelming right now, but just one foot at a time. Just one word at a time. That’s all I can do.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on December 1, 2020 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 195 — Re-release Day and Trying to Keep It Together  
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Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Published in: on October 8, 2020 at 5:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us  
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Wed. Aug. 5, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 77 — Isias Barely Kissed Us

dark-clouds-332779_1920
image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

I’m on a podcast today! I’m a guest on the Merry Writer Podcast. You can listen here.

019 Instagram

That storm was weird yesterday. We had bands of wind coming through, where we’d have high winds for a bit, then eerie silence. Then more wind.

We didn’t get anywhere near the rain we needed, which is disturbing.

We were on tornado watch starting a little after noon, but, thankfully, nothing formed.

Power outages on and off more of the evening, but nothing too terrible.

It was just a weird storm, and it didn’t bring the sense of relief a storm usually does when it breaks, yowls, and then clears out.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas about scope creep.

I got my client work done in the morning, in spite of the heat. Got out an LOI, and did three ads for a client, which I will send off this morning.

I had to shut everything down during the tornado watch and the flickering power and heat and humidity in the afternoon, so I read. I seem to be in a stack of mediocre books right now. I may skim some of them and return them, since I’m not being paid to read them, and life is too short to voluntarily read books I don’t like.

Was hit by ideas for three plays thanks to a call for submission. One idea I really love, but it has too many characters for this particular company, so it will have to be submitted elsewhere. The second idea will fit their production needs, and a third can be done pretty much anywhere, because it’s simple.

The play for the submission call is only 30 minutes, and most of the play has unfolded in my head, so I will get to work on it later today, and hopefully have it done fairly quickly.

I am working remotely all day today, not going on site. I don’t feel great, and it’s not worth the risk, being around other people. Especially since our cases went, in 24 hours, from 165 new to 438 new. No surprises. NY, NJ, CT, and RI are back on the quarantine list.

Not that anyone around here is paying attention to it.

Hopefully, the humidity will let up soon, we will have a good rainstorm, and we can get back on track.

In the meantime, it’s back to the page.

Feels good to finally say that again.

Wed. June 24, 2020: Isolation to Quarantine (Pre-Op)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid/storms expected

Up and down day yesterday. Didn’t feel very productive.

Got out two LOIs. One is a very long shot, but it’s interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot, and hope they read my cover letter.

Got the first pair of A/B ads done for a client. Will work on the second pair today, along with a stand-alone ad.

Looking for another survey platform. I have two or three I’m interested in trying. I’ll let you know if any of them actually work.

Got my call in the early afternoon yesterday. My COVID test this morning is at 10 AM. If it comes back negative, I will get the time for tomorrow’s surgery and get started on the pre-op prep (that’s different from the isolation/quarantine). I already know the medication I have to take for several hours will make me seriously nauseated. Not looking forward to it.

As soon as I’ve taken the test, I’m quarantined away from anyone else in the house. I’ll spend the rest of the day in my office, sleep in the living room, have exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom (which I’ve scrubbed down this morning).

Cleaned the house yesterday, so that everything is in good shape for the next few days.

Put in the Chewy order yesterday. They were out of a few things I needed, but I adjusted. The order already shipped. They have been the best company to deal with throughout this whole pandemic. When they needed to slow things down, they did, they communicated clearly, and they fulfilled what they said they would do. I wrote them a couple of times to thank them.

The Comcast bill arrived yesterday. Payment has to clear by next Tuesday or else. So payment goes out today. I can’t believe how much I had to fight with them to get a damn bill. They want you to pay, but won’t tell you how much. Because they want you to go on AutoPay, so they can take whatever amount of money they feel like out of the account. They are an awful company.

Finished the book for review, wrote the review, sent it off. There will hopefully be another assignment in the next few days.

Reading C.E. Murphy’s MAGIC AND MANNERS, which is an interesting re-imagining inspired by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

For the record, the Aunt Jemima bottle was never allowed in our house growing up because it was racist. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, my parents felt that way.

I want it to be Friday. The next 48 hours will be difficult.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do. Hopefully, I can get in some decent writing, although I feel as inspired as wilted lettuce.

I can smell the storm coming in. Hopefully, it won’t hit full force until after I get back from the COVID test.

See you on the other side.

Fri. Oct. 18, 2019: Storm Day = Cat Socialization Work

Friday, October 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Clear and cool

Sorry about yesterday. No Ink in My Coffee. No Gratitude and Growth. But there’s a short post over on Affairs of the Pen today on shipboard activities.

The power went out around 1 AM on Thursday. We called it in, even though it was during the storm. Better to get in the queue early than to wait until it’s over and then have to wait even longer.

Tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t do more than doze. The winds screamed more than the new cats when they’re arguing about something.

It kept the cats quiet, that’s for sure. They didn’t like it.

I got up at the usual time, although it was still dark. The flashlight got me to the candles. I made coffee. The gas stove works in power outages (although the oven does not). The heat, also gas, does not work because it’s powered by an electric switch, which annoys me on multiple levels.

I fed the cats by candlelight. Charlotte was so cute. I told her I couldn’t see in the dark the way she could. She would run ahead of me a few feet, then come back and touch my leg with a paw, then run ahead a few feet, then come back. Like a seeing eye cat.

Willa and Charlotte have not been socialized much. It’s obvious their original human adored them and spoiled them. But they’ve never really learned how to interact, although they want to. So we’re working on that.

Willa is more outgoing. She’s already a lap cat, and loves to play and interact. But she gets oversitmulated, and then, even on a lap, can get yowly and growly. She nipped the first few days, but we’ve gotten her past that. She’s very sweet, for the most part, although she needs to learn to be a Writer’s Cat — I need BOTH hands to type, and will pet her in between paragraphs.

Willa does start the yowling and screeching with both of the others. I think she wants to be dominant cat. She might be dominant over Charlotte (although I suspect Charlotte only lets her think so sometimes), but Tessa is Head Cat in this house, and Tessa is not putting up with Willa’s antics.

Willa does back down from Tessa, though. Which is good.

Willa is also fascinated by running water. She likes to be on the bathroom counter when the tap is going, and she’s trying to learn how to turn it on herself. Fortunately, one needs thumbs for that. She doesn’t like closed doors, especially not bathroom doors. She loves the new perch we made for her on the old tea cart from Chicago’s Pump Room that’s in my office and usually holds plants. We put a fleece blanket on the top, which is even with the windowsill. She sits and watches the squirrels and neighborhood dogs and cars. Her behavior has vastly improved since we set that up.

She needs a lot to do. Lots of playtime, interaction. I’m thinking of getting her some battery-operated toys.

Charlotte is at the stage where she wants company, but she doesn’t know how to interact with people or other cats. She sits and watches most of the time, which is fine. She comes and asks for attention, but still won’t let anyone pet her.

I think she and Tessa will make friends first. They barely growl at each other anymore, and, when they do, it’s half-hearted.

Charlotte likes to be up — on the behemoth, on the bureau. She likes to be on the bed with me. Unfortunately, so do the others, so it can get a little dicey.

Tessa stomps around, keeping them in line.

Willa and Charlotte swat each other sometimes, but not Tessa. And they swat each other with soft paws. It’s more vocal than physical, thank goodness.

They’re getting lots of individual playtime, but now they want to be involved in each other’s playtime. But then they get upset that the other cats are there, and run away. But it’s already better.

Today is only two weeks since Willa arrived, and a little less for Charlotte. Tessa is much happier with them here, even though she’s telling them off. My cat vet in NY said that once, “It’s better for two cats to live together than alone. As long as they don’t attack each other, even if they don’t like each other, it gives them something to do.”

So this weird insistence here in MA shelters that adult cats have to be “only cats” makes no sense.

The Storm Day was good for socializing. With no power, no street lights, library closed, many businesses closed, and the sirens going for police and fire all day, I was lucky I could stay home.

Even without power, it wasn’t too cold. We bundled up in sweats & sweaters & socks & blankets. The cats settled in with us. We read and played with them. It was quiet (except for the neighbors’ generators). They got used to all being in the room together and associating good things with it.

Willa and Charlotte learn fast. They already know that “bedtime snacks” means treats and then I head upstairs for meditation and bed. Now, they gobble their snacks and get there ahead of me.

Charlotte is fascinated by the meditation space. Sometimes, she sleeps on the cushion when I’m not there.

The power came on for a few minutes in the early afternoon. Then it waved, off and on, until it steadied later in the afternoon. Cell service was out for most of the day. Most of the batteries I stockpiled for just such an emergency were new, yet didn’t work.

Candles are much more reliable.

The batteries in the radio worked, though, so we could get news, which was a help.

I finished reading MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, which was odd and charming and delightful. I read a mystery by an author whose earlier work I adored, but whose turn into puritanical mystery in locations with no flavor and stock caricatures instead of characters disappoints me. I’d skipped her last few books, but thought I’d
try again. It didn’t work for me. The relationships, including the supposed romantic ones, are flat and bloodless. No, thanks.

Started reading a mystery by a new-to-me author who has a lot of books in the series (how did I miss her )? The location is unusual and well-rendered, the human-animal relationships are good, but I’m not sure about the rest yet.

My treat for myself this weekend is my friend Arlene Kay’s newest release, Homicide by Horse Show. Once I get everything done.

Made a Kripalu recipe of roasted eggplant, tomato, raisin, and mint over couscous for dinner. It was good. Hope to make cowboy cookies (from the Moosewood recipe) later today.

There’s a lot of yard cleanup to do. Plenty of branches came down, although I don’t think any big limbs did. Some idiot was out in the nor’easter yesterday using his leafblower.

I have some client meetings to finalize for next week, and some other work to get done at the library, along with pickups/drop-offs. The furnace guy is coming this afternoon for yearly maintenance. I have stuff to put away.

I didn’t turn around the edits for my Llewellyn article; will do it this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have some other edits to finish this weekend, too.

I gave myself yesterday off for the storm and cat socializing. Now, I need to get back to work.

Have a great weekend!

 

Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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Fri. March 1, 2019: Stormy Writing Weekend

Friday, March 1, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

This will be a short post; I’ve got to prep for a double storm whammy this weekend.

I already ran some errands and did the big grocery shop. I forgot to grab the cat food, so I guess I’m heading out again!

Yesterday, I got out some LOIs. Got an enthusiastic response from one almost immediately, BUT — they sent me a link with a series of hoops and a “test” project to write – without pay, so that’s an immediate no deal. AND, the link to do all of this is part of a conglomerate run by someone I think is a charlatan and wouldn’t work for anyway. NOTHING about this guy was on the website or in the original information about the marketing person they claim they need. Or I wouldn’t have pitched in the first place.

No. Just no, on so many levels.

Now, there’s also a big controversy about Contently starting to charge their writers to access the money they earned. Um, no. Writers do not pay to access the wages they earned. If there’s an agency fee, it’s added as part of the customer invoice, not taken out of the writer’s fee. How much you want to bet Contently already does this, and this is their way of double-dipping? I think the Contently writers should check with their AGs to find out if it’s even legal.

It also makes me glad I never signed on with them.

Yesterday afternoon, I met a writer pal at a bar a few towns over. Nothing like sitting at an almost empty bar at two in the afternoon to make you feel decadent! But I was early and he was totally on time. And we had Bourbon Plums, which is a mixture of bourbon, plum wine, pomegranate juice and lime. Yummy! And hey, it has pomegranate juice, so it’s healthy, right?

I paced myself, and I’d eaten a HUGE lunch, so I was okay to get home.

But it was great to sit with a fellow writer who also travels (he’s a travel writer as well as a novelist) and brainstorm ideas and share stories and just figure things out.

This weekend, I dive into the writing, especially if the weather’s bad. I got an idea for a totally weird piece that I have to work on in and around the other stuff because it’s just so darn weird.

Off to buy cat food and then back to the page.

Have a great weekend and happy March!

 

Published in: on March 1, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 1, 2019: Stormy Writing Weekend  
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