Tues. Sept. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 111 — The National Plan is Death

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, warm, pleasant

image courtesy of Skitterphoto via pixabay.com

The National Strategy is Death

We’ve been thinking that there’s no national plan to fight the virus. But there IS a plan: Let people die. They demonstrate that’s their plan every day. Let people die, and those that are left get whatever scraps the 1% feel like tossing away.

This is not acceptable.

Nor is the dismissal of the massive loss of life.

It was as busy as any Labor Day Weekend here on Cape Cod, with traffic backed up at the bridges for hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Usually it would be Sunday with the 6-hour delays getting off Cape, but because it was a holiday Monday, it was yesterday that the traffic was backed up at least all the way to our exit all day, and at times, even further down.

During a pandemic.

I had a few things I had to go off property over the weekend; I did them as early as possible. Except for inside the stores, NO ONE was masked or social distanced.

So all these people posting photos of themselves “on vacation” on the Cape (or anywhere else this weekend) who also claim they’re doing it safely? I don’t believe you, boo. Because what I saw all weekend was reckless endangerment and irresponsible behavior.

You’re NOT “supporting the local economy” by going out to eat in restaurants. You’re putting people’s lives at risk, especially the servers. You’re adding to the problem  by walking in your packs without masks – putting a mask on when you get within a foot of someone else is too late.

I’m sick of the hypocrites, especially the self-righteous ones, who are claiming they’re doing the right thing when they’re so obviously not.

They are just as much a reason why the virus isn’t under control – and won’t be until well into next year – as the anti-maskers.

Social Media Stuff

I definitely needed the four-day break. Not that it was all rest, but I refused to beat myself up about what I “should” be doing, and that made a huge difference.

Staying off social media more than I was on it was also a good choice. There was way too much stupid. I’m also tired of the faux engagement questions like “do you still wear a mask?” I’m actually a decent human being who is trying to protect my family and keep other people from dying – of COURSE I still wear a mask. I’m tired of the “what’s your day job?” from other so-called “writers” – that’s an insulting question, for a “writer” to assume every other writer they interact with can’t earn a living at it. I’m tired of the “wrong answers only” game (which I’ve never understood or played) and the “what’s your MC’s favorite color?” and that kind of thing.

Most of it, I just scroll past, but I’m at the point now where I’m unfollowing and/or blocking people when they really annoy me. It’s their timeline; they get to put whatever they want on it. If I don’t want it to irritate my day, it’s up to me to remove them from my feed.

The whole James Woods-Travis Tritt thing? I just shake my head. I’d liked James Woods’s acting years ago, until we both were on different shows at an off-Broadway company in NY, and I heard/witnessed the level of crazy and mean. I got over my disappointment in him as a human  and excommunicated him from my universe a long time ago (and decided I wouldn’t accept work on anything in which he was cast). That he supports the Sociopath isn’t really a surprise. I had to look up Travis Tritt, and then remember that I didn’t like his work even back when I knew who he was.

I’d rather interact with people I like, have a chance at learning something or actual conversation, and post IG photos of food, cats, and the garden (which is the only reason for my Instagram account – fun stuff as a break from everything else).

Getting Stuff Done

Got December’s surgery scheduled, early enough so that I will have enjoyed Thanksgiving and can enjoy the Winter Holidays. That’s a relief.

Had to mail something certified mail. Everyone at our little post office is so nice.

Saturday was almost a normal non-pandemic weekend day: grocery shopping (very early, masked, to avoid the Covidiot tourists), full decontamination procedure (yes, in “business” journals they’re saying it’s not necessary; they can go fuck themselves, I’m still doing it), changed the beds, did 5 loads of laundry, baked bread, made carrot-ginger soup from scratch, used up the fading vegetables in the fridge to make vegetable stock, backed a brown butter honey cake, roasted a chicken, made chicken stock, read, and wrote.

In other words, a productive day that was almost on par with my pre-pandemic productivity.

I didn’t write much, and it was only what I wanted to, not what I “had” to. I wanted to make sure I actually took a break this weekend.

Unfortunately, my mom had a bad reaction to her new medication, and my lactose intolerance seems to be rearing again, so Saturday night, we were both up most of the night feeling awful.

Sunday, we really took it easy, lots of reading, light meals. We spent a good bit of time out on the deck all weekend, in spite of the neighbors’ constant heavy machinery/power tools/mowers/leaf blowers. We had to take Saturday night’s dinner back inside because the noise and the dust from the property behind (we’re on a third of an acre) was so bad, we couldn’t sit out there.

Once in awhile yesterday, I considered hopping online to do this or that, and then reminded myself that I was Taking Time Off. Time I needed.

The hummingbird visited again, fascinating Willa and Charlotte. Bratty Bird misses Tessa and has figured out that Tessa spends most of her time in my room now. So she comes up to the bedroom window in the morning and they chatter at each other. It’s cute. The bunnies are getting pretty bold and hanging out even when we’re out there; last night, I heard the coyotes run through the yard, so I hope the bunnies were well in hiding. We have some beautiful Tiger Moths, too.

Worked with the cats a lot. Willa is a little dickens, always coming up with something new to try. Charlotte has settled down, and is happy, for the most part. She and Tessa still don’t get along too well, but Willa is really trying to make friends with Tessa. Tessa thinks she’s a loony tune most of the time (and she does often act like a cartoon character), but they are better with each other.

I had weird, disturbing dreams all weekend, but couldn’t grasp enough of any of them to figure them out when I woke up.

Lots of yoga and meditation, which is a good thing. By Sunday night, I was feeling like I’d made progress with everything, only to wake up worrying again at 3:30 on Monday morning.

I meant to clean just one thing on the kitchen counter on Monday, and wound up reorganizing and cleaning everything in the L-shaped counter between the sink and the stove. It was necessary, and now it’s much easier to get at what I need when I cook, but it took up much more time than I planned.

I also wrote some cards for people, and have a letter that needs to go out today to set up RMV appointments in October.

Reading

Lots and lots of reading. Another Gamache book – I’m getting so much more out of the series this time, reading it in order. The head-hopping bothers me, but Penny does it better than most authors, so I can live with it. It’s more like being in one character’s POV, sliding into neutral ground, and sliding into the next POV than “hopping” and is less jarring than the typical head-hopping which can leave one as nauseated as on a badly-run amusement park ride.

I’m officially done with the author whose books I liked, then disliked. I’m tired of her protagonist being a doormat, and she keeps using slurs. The same slur three times in 20 pages in the latest book I tried. I stopped, pulled the other books in that series from the library pile, and they go back today. Done. Read three books in her other series, which I liked better. She used the slur once in one of the books. But they’re a little too cutesy and there are exclamation points all over the place, which give me a headache. Between that and the commitment to white privilege and conformity in both series, her protag being afraid of characters who are smart and unusual because they’re different and that being upheld as positive, no thanks. So yeah, officially done with all of her work. She’s crossed off the list.

Read more in the other series by a different author, where I liked the fourth book, but was upset at the slur used in the first book. I read the other books I’d ordered (it ended up being the first five books in the series) and she didn’t use it again, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I’m curious to see how cozy mysteries will deal or not deal with the pandemic in upcoming years.  I think there will be strong definition between the books that continue to uphold white privilege and conformity and support the anti-maskers, the ones who try to walk the line not to offend anyone on either side of the masking or vaccination spectrum, and those authors who will actually deal with it in a realistic and responsible fashion. There might even be authors who have contemporary series who choose to ignore it.

But then, I’ve become even more aware of the restrictions and fear and white privilege in the genre, especially since I was told to whiten up the characters and their names in the Nautical Namaste series because “white readers won’t understand these people.” Then they can skip the books. I can’t believe editors and agents are still spouting that crap — some of the same ones who claim they want more diverse characters in books. But they get them and try to whiten them up. Too many cozy mysteries have devolved into white people upholding their privilege and not having sex. I just don’t see how this is interesting or comforting. The genre used to be my comfort/brain candy books, but many of them just annoy me now. Yes, they’re fantasy, but they’re not fantasies that satisfy me. There are series that don’t do this, that are trying to be more diverse, inclusive, and intelligent, but there are plenty of series who aren’t.

Continuing to read Volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. There are so many things I dislike about Philip Roth’s work, but when he talks craft, I always learn something. Maya Angelou’s interview was beautiful, and her quote “creativity is greater than the sum of its parts” resonated with me.

I finally got to see BIRDS OF PREY (yeah, not reading, but it fits in here). Mostly, I liked it. There are some clever bits like “how she’d have time for a shoe change?” and giving Black Canary the scrunchy in the middle of the fight – details that were terrific. The scene where she goes in and shoots all the cops felt off-tone, because it was such casual violence. The other violence was rooted in character or situation, but this felt off to me and bothered me.

Few of the comic book movies really satisfy me – probably because I haven’t invested in the characters before they transferred to film. But I thought there were lots of clever bits in it. I thought the chemistry between the five women was great. The whole roller skating angle was fun, too.

Looking Ahead

Trying to knock out some writing this morning. I’m going onsite for a few hours (I should be on my own, thank goodness) for a client to take care of some things, then home and do more client work remotely.

I need to focus on a lot of writing this week, while also getting some things organized and dealing with purging stuff from the basement. That needs to get back on track.

I should get assigned the next book for review, which is good, and get out a bunch of LOIs. Someone gave me a good lead on a gig that I want to follow up on today or tomorrow.

I have to prep a play to send off to a company and finish another short play to send to Trusted Readers before submitting it.

I should have the final notes on BARD’S LAMENT this week, and then can start turning that around again.

I have to work on the Topic Workbooks, and also do more PR for Grief to Art. Please share the site’s details with those who might find it a comfort.

A networking group whose events I’ve occasionally attended is starting their monthly meetings live in-person indoors at a restaurant again. Are they out of their freaking minds? Totally irresponsible. No, thanks. Bye. Not joining your organization when you’d rather put your members’ lives in danger than, you know, support them and help them through this.

Hope you had a great weekend.

I need to focus and clear off a few things before Mars goes retrograde tomorrow. Really? Now? Jupiter and Saturn are getting ready to go direct. I don’t need Mars getting in my way right now.

But all I can do is the best I can do. I have a feeling I’ll be cutting a lot of deadwood from my life in the next few weeks.

Tues. July 28, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 69 — Maskhole Rant, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and Writing

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image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I hit a level of burnout on Thursday afternoon and into Friday. I was just done.

But, of course, when one is the breadwinner, not coping is not an option.

From Masshole to Maskhole
Plenty of people from Massachusetts are not well-liked (often even in their own state). “Masshole” is the common term. But far too many are now also Maskholes – refusing to wear the mask properly or at all. To be fair, they’re not just from around here – the tourists are even worse.

Virus cases are on the rise in this area. No surprise. Some dimwit in Chatham had a party with 50 people, no masks, no distancing. At least half the partygoers have tested positive since that party. They are trying to figure out how many people THOSE people infected Elected officials moan and say there’s nothing they can do because it happened on “private property.” Yes, they can. Charge the party-thrower with criminal negligence. Anyone who got infected by someone at the party should have all health costs paid by the person who infected them.

A good portion of the attendees were restaurant workers. Yeah, so how’s all that Phase III-IV on-site dining working for everyone, huh?

On Saturday morning, I did a quick errand. The drive home was 3 miles from store to home, along the beachfront. I passed about 150 people (I stopped counting at 127). Over the course of three miles.

4 of them were masked.

FOUR.

You can’t social distance when there are that many people in that small an area. Not that they were even trying. Many of them walked in packs, or hung out as their pack met another pack. No masks, no distancing. And yeah, not even pretending they give a fuck by having one around their neck or in their pocket.

I can’t go for a walk in my own neighborhood because the fucktards roam in maskless packs. All those people who claim they’re “safe” when they take a walk or walk the dog because “nobody’s around” or “there’s plenty of room” or “I cross the street” or “we’re good at social distancing” – I don’t believe you. They’re saying the same things here every day. Praising themselves to the sky for being so responsible and careful. I watch every day and it is not happening. No masks. No social distancing. You need BOTH. You need to wear a mask AND social distance. What part of this is an airborne virus do you not understand? Being outside doesn’t negate that. “Oh, but I’m just walking the dog, it’s early, no one’s around” – yeah, so are 15 other people and you’re stopping to chat and pet each other’s dogs and hang out and you’re only about a foot apart. Wear your damn mask when you leave your property. Keep it on – properly on, not pretend on — until you return.

If you NEED to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

If you WANT to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

It’s not hard. Yes, it’s inconvenient, and the first ten minutes are uncomfortable. So?

The level of selfishness is just disgusting.

The stats are that we have 100,000 extra people so far on Cape Cod. I don’t want to hear one word from businesses about how slow business is. Every place around here is packed. Plus, almost every business I know got either a PPP loan or an SBA loan or both. We have heightened travel rules in place as of the first of the month per the governor about 14-day quarantines and fines of $500/day. Too many aren’t even doing the mandated masking and social distancing. No one’s going to enforce a damn thing.

The bridges are backed up every damn day and unbearable from Friday to Monday again like every summer weekend. People aren’t quarantining here. They come in for the day, spread the virus, leave. They’re not being careful, even if they pretend they are so they can feel all righteous about it. Yes, the travel restrictions are not as firm from New England states and New York and New Jersey because those states have controlled it FOR THE MOMENT. But many, MANY of these plates are from high-risk states. They’re not complying with quarantine. The places they’re renting aren’t requiring it. They’re just taking the money and looking the other way.

There are businesses requiring people follow the mask mandate and distancing, etc. They’re truly trying to make it work and keep people as safe as possible. But plenty of businesses look the other way when the tourist twat walks in and immediately pulls the mask down around their neck.

We’re going to need to be in lockdown all damn winter because people are so damn selfish and lazy, while claiming they’re being responsible. I’m talking genuine lockdown, where maybe you can leave your property once a week for an hour to go grocery shopping. It’s going to make this spring look like a cakewalk.

We could have had the virus under control and be back to a modicum of normal without much danger – like New Zealand and Iceland and Europe – but instead, it’s getting worse. People are lying to themselves and each other about it.

The positive spin that’s being put on everything here and WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING are far apart. But people are buying into the spin, which means things are moving even farther apart.

I am very, very glad I was wrong that we would hit the 250,000 death toll mark by July 4th. But I doubt I’m wrong about the next lockdown. And so much of this could have been prevented. So much of it still can be prevented, but won’t, due to selfishness on personal and nationwide levels, and greed.

I’m sick of it.

No wonder I’m feeling burned out. If I didn’t have to leave the property at all, I could just shrug it off. I mean, on human level, I’d still be angry at the sheer level of selfishness and I’d still be working with my elected officials on various legislation, but I could stay in my little book-lined tower and keep my family safe.

Chop Wood, Carry Water
I mailed off my passport renewal materials for the third damn time. Let’s hope they actually renew it this time. The first time, last fall, when the rumors about no more passport renewals started, it was returned because it was “too early to renew.” When I tried in March, it was “returned to sender” with “office closed due to COVID-19” scrawled on the envelope.

Even if we’re banned from entering other countries, I need my passport. I hate being separated from it.

Saturday morning, the cats got me up way too early. Fed them, watered the front and back gardens, lawns, and the meadow out back. Changed the beds, did two loads of laundry, did a run to the store that carries the white cranberry-peach juice and some gelato for the heat wave. Full disinfectant protocols (not letting up on them any time soon). Sorted the boxes and bags in the quarantine area of the garage – some went downstairs to be used, some put aside for other use, some into recycling). Washed all the reusable grocery bags and disinfected them.

The ban on reusable bags has been lifted in the state, but most grocery stores sill ask that people not use them. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to disinfect all the bags.

Paid end-of-month bills.

The neighbor across the street has his very own small bulldozer. Yup. Drove it around the neighborhood to show it off on Friday. Saturday, he brought in a truckload of gravel and dumped it next to his garage (which faces our front yard). Then he started leaf blowing the gravel. Which is a stupid move on multiple levels, but it also sent clouds of gravel dust across to us, and I had to close the windows (on a hot day, with no air conditioning) so we didn’t choke on the dust.

His parents must not have bought him Tonka Trucks as a child, and he’s making up for it now.

All he ever does is use heavy machinery, make noise, and destroy. There’s never building anything beautiful – just cutting down trees or leaf blowing gravel.

My neighbor next door is awfully fond of his power tools, too – but he builds. A firepit, a three-season room, a shed for his nifty tools. Also, he does it during reasonable hours, and it’s never for long stretches. I don’t mind even the power tools, because the energy is so different – it’s CONstructive, not Destructive.

Sunday morning, I was up early again to water. I don’t have a sprinkler system, and I don’t want to do the putting green thing, but I also want the yard to be healthy. Right now, we haven’t rain for a bit, and it needs a drink.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I didn’t put out the bird bath this year (because it’s 2020 and West Nile or some other plague would come by, too). But I’ve been putting out a big dog dish of water out back, and changing it three times a day. Che Guevara Chipmunk comes by the drink out of it and tell me the news. And the birds like it, too. We had some melon that was getting squishy, so I put it out back and the murder of crows dashed from the front yard and gobbled it all up. Who knew crows like cantaloupe?

Friday morning, when I sat on the deck with my first coffee and my writing, a bat dropped down from the roof of the covered deck and then flew away. Startled me, but I like bats, so I’m good with it. If he (or she) comes back, the bat gets a name!

I got a spam call on my cell from Russia. Uh, yeah, that’s a block.

Monday, I was out early to water. This morning, I was out early and did just over an hour of yardwork from just after 5 AM to nearly 6:30. It’s been brutally hot and humid. 102 degrees in Hyannis yesterday, 94 degrees here, a few miles away. We’re still a little cooler because we haven’t cut down all our trees.

But there are poor air quality warnings up. On Cape Cod. Can you imagine? We moved here for healthy sea air. But it’s been clear cut of trees so badly and overbuilt so badly and with the tourists flowing in DURING A PANDEMIC, we have poor air quality.

The virus is delighted.

But with fans going and staying quiet in the worst of it, it’s bearable. Even without air conditioning. So far.

Shall I mention that the furnace was supposed to be replaced by the owner last year before Thanksgiving, and he was going to add coils for air conditioning? And it still hasn’t happened?

Writing. Oh yeah, there’s writing. And Reading
I got about half the revision of VISCERAL INVISIBLES done. Still trying to come up with another title, although a part of me kind of likes this one.

Shaped the review for the book I read. Sent it off yesterday morning, along with the invoice. Yay, money!

I read a wonderful book by Fenton Johnson, AT THE CENTER OF ALL BEAUTY: SOLITUDE AND THE CREATIVE LIFE. It’s quite wonderful. As someone who is, by nature, solitary, and needs a lot of solitude even within the context of relationships, the book speaks to me on multiple levels.

Catching up on the issues of THE NEW YORKER. There’s always so much good information there, and stellar writing (even if I don’t always agree with the pieces). The latest issues re-runs earlier profiles – Toni Morrison, Larry Kramer, etc. – it’s interesting to see how much I’ve changed since they first came out. How much I’ve learned.

Actually got to sit outside and enjoy the deck for an hour here and there, in between neighbors and their power tools and heavy machinery. And they’re still setting off the fucking illegal fireworks most nights.

Also reading Donna Leon’s non-Brunetti mystery, THE JEWELS OF PARADISE, which is interesting.

My mother is reading Chris Cavender’s pizza-lover’s mysteries, and really likes them. I will read them soon (while she finishes reading the Vivien Chien series). We have one more Brunetti book to read, the one that came out during Stay-at-home, and then we’ll start reading the Gamache series in order (re-read for me). It’s fun to read a long series together in order and talk about the books.

Did some planning for the Gambit Colony books. Will get back to them once I’m done with this draft of BARD’S LAMENT.

Worked on the Topic Workbooks.

I’m working on the Grief to Art website, but it takes a lot out of me, and is thereby taking more time than I’d like. With nearly 150,000 dead, we need a site for collective mourning.

Did a quick proof read of the WINNER TAKE ALL screenplay and sent it to my friend, who has time to read it this week.

I was at the office for a few hours yesterday for a client, by myself, which was perfect. I’m still far more productive from my home office even than in an empty office, but if I have to be in an office, I’d rather it was empty. I do some client work before it gets too hot. When it heats up, I have to shut down the computer; it doesn’t function well in heat and humidity. Plus, I figure the power’s bound to go off at some point.

Have a safe week, and try to stay cool, if you can. Mentally and physically. Peace.

Wed. July 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 51 — A Little More Upbeat

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hazy and cool

It’s Wednesday, which means Remote Chat later on. Very excited.

There’s also a new post on Ink-Dipped Advice, about red flags in job ads.

Yesterday seems like a very long time ago. I was up early (nothing new there). Did some writing, did some client work.

I had the best time recording the podcast with Ari Meghlen and Rachel Poli for The Merry Writer Podcast. We had so much fun. We talked for nearly an hour, which means they have plenty to edit down to the 20 minutes!

After that, I had to dash out to Trader Joe’s, because we were getting low on some basics. Everyone was masked, although ignoring the flow of traffic inside the store. The line was short. The entire plaza is now open for business, and there were plenty of Sliding Mask Skanks sashaying around, touching things, wearing masks down around their necks and being tourist assholes. The TJ staff was great about telling them to either mask up or move farther away from the line.

Anyway, I was in and out in 20 minutes, almost like the old days.

Full disinfectant protocols when I got home, played with some client work (I’m working on a new ad for this one).

I got an email from Titcomb’s Bookshop that my books arrived. It was a nice day, and my mom hasn’t been out of the house since March, except to drive me to the hospital. So we both masked up, and drove over to Sandwich for me to do the curbside pickup. Titcomb’s has everything set up for both customer convenience and the safety of everyone. It’s great.

We drove back, I stopped to put gas in the car, and we drove home past the beach.

Packed. Tourists everywhere. There are some masks, but very few. Most of the tourists don’t even pretend to care. They saunter around, with that air of entitlement. They don’t care if we’re infected.

Hey, I’m avoiding as many tourist areas as possible. I hope every weekend is stormy and they have to sit inside the short term rentals they shouldn’t be in anyway, because they’re not following masking or quarantine protocols.

Oh, and the illegal fireworks are still going on every night.

Anyway, then I had my Zoom call with my primary care physician. I’d been dreading it. It didn’t help that I received 27 reminders in the past week, including a phone call EVERY TEN MINUTES for the hour before the appointment.

I am an adult with a datebook. Stop treating me like I’m too stupid to keep an appointment.

But it was good to talk to her. She is optimistic about the surgery results, and we worked on a path forward for the next six months until the next procedure to check to make sure I’m clear.

I am so excited to read the Vivien Chien noodle shop mysteries – but I have to finish the new Deanna Raybourn book that I’m reading.

No more books to review right now, but I did land an article from the pitch I sent late last week. Will get that done by the end of this week, and get going on the Llewellyn article.

Client work onsite this morning. Then disinfectant protocols, and landing at my own desk for Remote Chat, and then some other work.

The last week and change have been rough on multiple levels, but I’m hoping things start to ease up a bit. I don’t want to tempt the Universe otherwise, but at least I’m starting to feel more like myself.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

The past few days have been hell, because of dumbass “neighbors” setting off illegal fireworks all the time.

They’ve gone off every night since the beginning of the month. And every weekend since the Stay at Home. It needs to stop.

When it’s someone local, with whom the cops grew up, it’s “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know how unreasonable people are” and they’re let off with a warning. And, as soon as the car pulls away, they set the fireworks off again. They’re not confiscated, as required by law. They’re not fined, as required by law.

When it’s tourists, the cops do nothing because, you know, tourist dollars.

On the 4th of July, it started at 4 in the afternoon and went on until 2 in the morning. People were going up and down the street, setting off fireworks in front of other people’s houses. One set of neighbors next door did a production in his little backyard.

The houses here are just too close. There’s shrapnel everywhere, they’re gong to set someone’s house on fire.

Not to mention that Tessa was so terrified I was sitting in a corner of the room, holding her while she tried to burrow under my skin. I was afraid she’d die of fright.

It wasn’t cute little sparklers. It was the big boomers. It was like being under mortar fire for 10 hours, and the cops did NOTHING.

This state has specific and strict laws about illegal fireworks. In the 10 years I’ve lived here, not ONCE have the cops ever done a damn thing. The illegal fireworks have gotten exponentially worse every year.

Instead of pounding on peaceful protestors, how about going after those who are actually breaking the law and causing harm? Just because you grew up with them isn’t an excuse. Nor is that they’re tourists. Those aren’t the tourists we want visiting.

It’s not “harmless fun.”

I also noticed that EVERY person doing this belongs to the same group who refuses to wear masks – again, something that the state mandates.

Gee, people hurting other people in the name of their own “freedoms.” What a surprise.

It was hell.

Why should I pay taxes in this community? They charge me an “excise tax” because I own a car. They’ve upped the rates to get rid of garbage and punish me for wanting to recycle. They allow people to set off explosives every week “for fun.”

Especially since some of these fireworks are set off by those in illegal, short-term rentals. It’s not like they give a damn if they set the neighborhood on fire.

The Town Manager and my district’s Town Councilor are a complete and utter waste of space, both of them, but you better believe they’re getting strongly worded letters. It won’t do anything, but it will go on record in the town archives. Maybe, at some point down the line, it will be useful to someone who will actually do something.

And the fireworks are still going on EVERY DAMN NIGHT. I’m not going through this all summer.

Sunday, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t gotten any sleep on Saturday night. I had to clean up shrapnel on Sunday. I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

At least Saturday and Sunday, I got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m nearly done with Book 4 – I figure I have three more chapters or so. The chapters run long, so I’m figuring another 60-70 pages. I have a bunch of material I wrote intermittently for Book 5, which is an interlude volume (figuring that to run 100 -150 pages), and Book 6 is outlined. I’m hoping to get drafted through Book 6 by the end of the year, and then start on the serious edits, at least for 4-6. The first three books are in good shape; they’ve had countless drafts.

I re-read two more Donna Leon books and BODY ON THE BAYOU by Ellen Byron, all of which were good. I also read AMERICAN SPY by Lauren Wilkinson, which was excellent. I had no idea what to expect going in. It’s a hell of a wonderfully written novel, strong voice, very different structure than usual, but different in a way that works.

I was left both wanting to know what happened next to these characters and feeling it ended at the perfect spot. So often, I’m unhappy with how and where novels end. Too often, it feels post-modern just to try to show off “style” instead of giving the book the unique ending it needs. But this was perfect.

I also read the book I was sent for review. It’s a solid fantasy novel. Not brilliant, but an enjoyable read, and will get a good review.

We had a wonderful, vicious thunderstorm on Sunday night. I loved it, especially since it cut short the illegal fireworks. I’d hoped for a good storm; it was even better than I expected.

I wish the weather would be horrible every weekend for the rest of the summer. Tourists are flooding in, bridges are backed up the way they usually are in summer, and we’re all being put at risk, because the tourists aren’t following the state-mandated protocols, and the businesses just shrug and let them get away with it.

Because, you know, if we’re not rich enough, we “deserve” to die for tourist dollars. That’s the attitude around here.

Client work yesterday – I’m creating more ads for this client. 6 LOIs out. Work on fixing BARD’S LAMENT – I’m about to enter the bit that’s a real mess. I need to fix it so I can move on. The deadline looms.

Did the whole week’s course work on THE BOOK OF KELLS class. It was fascinating, talking about scribes and how they created the book. Gave me ideas (always dangerous).

Managed to sleep through the night last night, for once (once the fireworks stopped).

This morning, I’m going to do some work on BARD, record a podcast for THE MERRY WRITER, do some client work. I think I need to go to the grocery store – it’s been about 10, 12 days, and we’re out of some basics. So I’ll gear up and go.

I have a Zoom call with my primary care physician, which I’m dreading. We will talk about the mixed results from the surgery, and work out a plan. I do not want more tests. I want to be left alone for the next six months until the next procedure.

I have a feeling this will continue to be a difficult week.

Hope your week is better.

Published in: on July 7, 2020 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)  
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Fri. July 3, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 46 — Finally, Productivity

Friday, July 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We’re going into the long holiday weekend, and I just feel like the clock is running out for me on way too many fronts.

Yesterday was actually a fairly productive day. I popped into my client’s to launch an ad – the financial information was at the office. That didn’t take long, and the client is pleased. Let’s hope it converts into actual sales. I’ve got some SEO tweaking to do on the client’s website next week, which should also help.

Swung by the bodega (ahem, convenience store) on the way back to pick up eggs. It just wasn’t worth standing in line to get into a grocery store for eggs. The only people wearing masks around here yesterday were the locals going into the post office and the convenience store.

Clumps of tourists are clomping around, not wearing masks, not social distancing. The bridges were backed up for hours.

We’re going to lose all the progress we made against the virus, and it’s disheartening.

Got home, full disinfectant protocols, and made it to the first session of the Freelance Writing  Success Summit. Attended all three virtual sessions. Got some good information. Some of the sessions are for people earlier in their careers than I am, but they’ll get a lot out of it.

It turns out a lot of best practices for SEO writing were what I do instinctively. That’s good to know. It helps me frame SEO conversations moving forward, especially because I am committed to quality content over SEO word salad. Since Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing anyway, it gives me a stronger position when the companies push back about using keywords that aren’t supported by content.

Got out some LOIs. Refused some reach outs from “recruiters” who want me to do work in which I’m not interested nor is my focus, for lower than my regular rate because I should be “happy someone wants to hire you in these hard economic times.” A) I’m working; B) What you offer is not in my area of expertise OR interest, so find someone in that field; C) I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a seasoned professional and I’m worth my rate.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

Finished reading a book of essays by someone who is a good writer, but her brand of crazy is too much for me right now. And yes, in her case, it’s definitely part of her “brand.” My emotional energy needs to be elsewhere right now, because there’s not a whole lot of it.

My doctor sent me a survey on how I’m feeling, emotionally. Um, I’d be a bit of a sociopath if it was all flowers and rainbows in the middle of a pandemic. No, I’m not sleeping well, I worry a lot, and I have post-anesthesia brain fog. I just had two surgeries in 4 months during a pandemic, for goodness’ sake!

I’m a little fed up with all the forms and the surveys and the tests. I’m tired and I’m worried and I can’t heal if I’m filling out forms all the time.

Got some work done on the promotional TRINITY OF TEASERS package, but exporting text from system to system and having it actually do what I want is frustrating. But I don’t want to rekey over 100 pages of text, either. I need to get back to work on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, too. I thought I’d be farther along by now.

I thought I’d be farther along on a lot of things.

Didn’t get the reading done for my language class, so I’ll have to get that done today.

Did do some work on Book 4 of the Gambit Colony series, because I craved it. Really shouldn’t be working on it now, but it calms me and soothes me and gives me creative fuel for other projects.

The dickheads with their illegal fireworks were in full force last night. These are the same idiots who won’t wear masks because “fweedom” asLilith St. Crow put it the other day in her blog. Their freedom to terrorize the neighborhood exists, but ours not to be infected by their stupidity does not. We obviously know for whom they voted and where they get their news. About 20-30 minutes, at least 300-400 fireworks (I trained in pyro when I worked rock and roll, I know these things). I was on the floor, beside Tessa, who was terrified, putting my body between the direction of the noise and poor Tessa. Willa and Charlotte ignore the noise, but it absolutely terrifies Tessa.

At least I had a good night’s sleep, for once.

Working on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning – hoping I can finish fixing that huge plot problem. I can’t believe I was that stupid.

Dashing down to the library for a curbside pickup this morning. Excited to return books and get some new ones. Will also read the book for review this weekend.

20200630_193503

Sent out a bunch of cards to people yesterday, and have some more that need to go out in the next few days. I ordered a bunch of new notecards from Peter Pauper Press (one of my favorite suppliers), so it’s time to use them!

I’m actually almost looking forward to the weekend. I have to battle the bindweed, weather permitting, but I’d like to read and write and not deal with any human beings outside the household.

I don’t feel there’s a lot to celebrate this year, but I am looking forward to some downtime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!

Wed. July 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 44 — Trying to Find Some Equilibrium (Again)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!

Please adopt me.

July 1. Normally, there would be a To-Do list over on the GDR site, but that seems kind of silly now, that we’re on the mark to hit 100,000 new virus cases PER DAY in this country.

The New England states that have been doing well are going to get slammed this weekend, because so many tourists are coming in. The Governor says if you’re not from another “safe” state (New England or NY, CT, NJ), you have to quarantine for 14 days, but no one is doing that. People are here for a couple of days, infecting as many as possible because they’re not following masking or distancing protocols, and leaving.

Yesterday, I took the last load of recycling I can take to the dump (along with leaves and other garden waste). No problems dumping the garden waste. But when I pulled into the space at recycling, the Old White Man getting out of the car next to me had his mask down around his neck.

So I slammed the door shut on my car and sat there, glaring.

He laughed at me.

The employee (masked), came to stand there, arms folded, staring at him. He’d parked right in front of the sign saying “Masks are Mandatory,” The guy pulled up his mask and said, “Someone’s a little nervy today.”

“I’M not the asshole,” I replied. “You are.”

“Got that right,” said the employee.

So Old White Man huffed and puffed, but at least it was behind the mask.

I’m not putting up with this shit. Wear the fucking mask, and wear it covering your nose and mouth when you are off your property and around other people. It’s not that hard.

Then, hit a grocery store I haven’t visited in months. Everyone masked, plenty of room, social distancing – but not following the arrows. It’s really not that difficult, people.

I got a few things and came home. Full disinfectant protocols. Exhausted.

Still trying to come to terms with the health stuff. It will take awhile.

Got out some LOIs (thank you, Media Bistro). Did some client work, although not as much as I would like.

Spent a couple of hours on my Miracle of Human Language class. It’s delightful. The professor, Marc van Oostendorp, has such joy in his teaching, and is so smart and so engaging. I love it.

That brightened my spirits.

Got another book review assignment. Looking forward to it.

Also got out a double pitch to an editor for whom I’ve worked before. Hope he likes at least one of them!

Got a little bit of writing done this morning. Not enough, but at least it’s something.

Off to work onsite with a client for a few hours, and try to hash out a new marketing approach. Then it’s Remote Chat, some time with classwork, and fixing BARD’S LAMENT.

And classwork. And boxes. It never ends.

Feeling a little discouraged, in spite of it being a new month.

Published in: on July 1, 2020 at 4:44 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 44 — Trying to Find Some Equilibrium (Again)  
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Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists

Friday, June 19, 2020
Day Before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot
Juneteenth

Sorry this is late. Busy morning.

I want to smack some of these local racists upside the head, complaining that there’s any acknowledgement of Juneteenth. And the insistence that the hate rally go on tomorrow in Tulsa is revolting.

WBZ News Radio is lying about cases in MA going down. The numbers are better, but I’m tracking the daily numbers, and they are headed back up. Not as fast as I thought they would, but they’re moving up again.

Restaurants can have people dine inside starting next week. I won’t be one of them. Not for a long, long time.

Yoga studios are talking about opening for classes and letting people take off their masks as soon as they’re on their mats. Um, no. In an enclosed space? Six feet isn’t far enough apart, even WITH masks. I won’t be an a space where people take their masks off and do fire breath. No effing way.

Yesterday was fine. Client work in the morning, Freelance Chat, reading in the afternoon. Some plotting and percolating on a couple of projects. It’s always difficult to explain how the percolation process works. It’s mental mapping, or clustering, or organizing. One idea leads to the next and the next and the next, and suddenly, there’s a piece and I scramble to write notes before I lose it.

I got some planting done in the afternoon, too: more cucumbers, lettuce, mixed greens, two kinds of sunflowers, beans. I hope to get some peas planted on Sunday, which is the next planting day.

Was awakened around midnight by sirens. Lots and lots of sirens. Don’t’ know what was going on.

Amazon is being bitchy about the refund. They gave me the refund; now they want to rescind it. I guess that’s it for me and Amazon, although I like using them to support authors with books on Kindle. But their lack of customer service and their customer-screwing policies are not acceptable.

Up early. Geared up and loaded the car, headed to the dump for the recycling. Dropped everything off. One of the guys who works there was very upset. He said, in all the months he’s been on shift, I’m the only one who respects social distancing. By January or February, he expects to be either very sick of dead. It’s not fair to put employees through that.

Ban the bitches who won’t follow the guidelines.

Made a quick stop at Shaw’s – and, yes, it could be quick. I only needed a few things, there was no line, everyone was masked and distancing, easy peasy in and out. Trader Joe’s next – again, I timed it so there wasn’t a line. In and out in 20 minutes. I needed a bit more, but I was able to focus and get it done.

Almost like pre-pandemic days.

But the majority of the license plates are out of state, and you KNOW these bitches aren’t quarantining for 14 days. It’s the tourists who are causing a problem at the grocery store. One chickie poo tried to run in to Trader Joe’s without a mask, jumping the line (as I was going out, a line had formed), saying she just needed to run in for a few things to go to the beach and it would just take a minute. No, bitch. Put on your mask and get in line.

Another chick (because most of the badly-behaved I’ve encountered are not only other women, but other WHITE women) came up to me as I was loading the car and said, “Oh, just give me your mask so I can go into the store. You don’t need it anymore.”

At this point in the game? That’s like asking me to give her my underwear. No. Just no.

Home, full disinfectant protocols for all the items and for me. Even though it was early in the day, I was exhausted.

Taking care of some admin, finishing laundry, working on the book for review, maybe doing some mending this afternoon.

My NEW YORKER subscription has started, and I’m so pleased. Can’t wait to read the issue that arrived yesterday (and is in quarantine).

Hoping I get in some good writing sessions and some good basement-purging sessions.

Juneteenth ritual later tonight, and, tomorrow, it’s the Summer Solstice. With a solar eclipse. And then we start losing daylight every day.

Next week will be challenging, both mentally and physically. I’m doing what I need for my and my family’s wellbeing, and to hell with everyone else.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on June 19, 2020 at 12:27 pm  Comments Off on Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists  
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Thurs. May 28, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 10 — Why We Need UBI & Relevant Dreams

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid; will be sunny and hot later

The garden is starting to bloom. There’s a post about it here.

Over 100,000 dead in this country and no end in sight. It is horrifying.

Yesterday wasn’t as bad as I expected onsite. There was some passive aggressive mask removal, but my co-worker and I kept ours on, and the third party put hers back on after a bit, when she saw that we weren’t going to budge. I was fully prepared to gather my things and leave, saying I’d come back some other time when no one else was there LIKE WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO PER STATE DIRECTIVES. But it didn’t come to that.

Got some stuff done. I work better from home. There’s less stress and more productivity.

Came home, stripped down, showered/disinfected. Was too wiped out to move on to other projects in the afternoon. I’d gotten an LOI out early in the morning, before I went in to the client site, for a company I think would be a good match. We’ll see.

Maine is pausing the re-opening Phase 1 and re-thinking Phase 2. No surprise there. My family up there told us how people are coming in for day trips, packing the beaches and parks, refusing to wear masks. Of course the re-open was going to fail.

The numbers Massachusetts releases doesn’t coincide with the reckless behavior I witness every day. Maybe our numbers just haven’t ticked up yet. But I expect that they will.

The traffic is just as bad as it ever is at this time of year. I see people congregating in groups, without masks. I mentioned yesterday the Sliding Mask Skanks that now populate the stores, and how visitors aren’t following the self-quarantine rule when they arrive. Most of them are coming in for the weekend, so they’re not quarantining for 14 days.

And, of course, the incessant whining, “I came all this wa-aay! Why isn’t anything o-PEN?”

Maybe because you’re a fucking dumbass who can’t follow the basic protocols and have no respect for other human beings, and there are those of us who actually live here who don’t want to die.

The lack of leadership here on local levels is appalling. Our Town Council is completely useless.

Come on, Congress. You want the economy to recover? Then give us UBI for the next few months. MANDATE that we work from home when possible. Don’t “suggest.” MANDATE. If an employer refuses, said employer should be fined. If an employee doesn’t want to return to unsafe conditions, then the employee shouldn’t lose unemployment benefits. If we have UBI, we won’t need Unemployment benefits to kick in until after it’s actually SAFE to reopen and we see where businesses stand.

UBI allows people to pay bills, keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, They can work from home whenever possible. They can also buy goods beyond the basic necessities, thereby keeping money in the economy – which paying bills also does. It keeps the money flowing.

The way they’re bailing out corporations? Top executives and stockholders get paid. Employees are laid off or lose benefits for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. How difficult is it to realize that people won’t buy your stuff if they’re dead or if they have no money and can’t even feed themselves?

So set it up so people have money flowing in and can keep it flowing out. Stop letting it get stuck in corporate accounts where it doesn’t help the general economy, but only a small percentage who don’t need the money anywhere.

It is not hard to figure this out.

The reason it’s not happening is that the GOP can’t stand the thought of the general population living in basic human dignity. Since Reagan, their platform has been to move us into a feudal economy with nobles (them) and serfs (the rest of us).

What they refuse to accept is that if we’re all dead, there’s no one to sustain their lifestyle or their egos.

The self-centered stupidity is almost as appalling as the inhumanity.

Switching gears to something more positive, it was nice to sit on the deck and read in the afternoon, in the sunshine, with a breeze and a martini at my elbow. We’d be mostly home during tourist season anyway. It’s not like it’s worth going anywhere when they swarm like locusts. When they’re swarming like infected, germy locusts, I’m REALLY not going out amongst them any more than necessary.

I’m reading Edward Ellis’s DIARY OF A CENTURY, which is absolutely delightful. He’s a newspaperman who kept a diary from 1927 on (this book came out in 1995). What I love about him is that he’s interested in everything. He likes to live life, think a lot, and he writes beautifully about it. A joyful book, even during difficult times.

Forced myself out of a nightmare that is relevant. I was in a car (not necessarily my car, but A car) at a busy intersection. Ahead of me was a split road, one was the way I could go, the other was one way against me, with a guardrail in the middle, and high rocks on either side. As I waited for the light to change so I could cross the intersection, it got so dark, I couldn’t see. The headlights didn’t work. I somehow had to get across the intersection and navigate the road ahead completely blind. I could hear and feel traffic around me, but I couldn’t SEE anything. It was terrifying.

I forced myself awake before I hit anything.

It was around 3 AM and I fretted until I got up around 5.

I guess sleeping through the night was only a few nights’ worth of bliss, and we’re back to being up in the middle of the night worrying.

Up early, got some writing done, and blogging.

About to gear up and  load the car with the recycling and take in the first load when they open this morning. Hopefully it won’t be too crowded, but I wouldn’t count on it. Then I have to brave Trader Joe’s for the regular grocery shop. Hopefully, there won’t be any Sliding Mask Skanks there, and it won’t be too crowded and awful.

I have to put in a few hours this afternoon for a client, but I’m doing it from home. And maybe get out a few more LOIs.

I’m hoping to get another stack of boxes purged/unpacked/cleared out this weekend.

The cat playpen should arrive today, so I can take Tessa safely out on the deck, and maybe Willa, too (not at the same time, though. Not yet). It means putting the flea and tick medicine on all of them today. Won’t that be fun? Yes, that was sarcasm.

Have a great day, and I hope you don’t die for your employer.

Tues. May 12: StayTheFHome Day 48 — Tech Woes

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

If this Saturn Retrograde continues the way it’s started, I’m done. There’s no way I can do this every day for months.

The tablet isn’t working properly – and I’ve only had it a month. Neither Staples, from whom I bought it, nor does the manufacturer. It MIGHT be a Comcast issue, since suddenly, the only device that’s connected to the Internet is my laptop, and neither the tablet nor the phone will connect anymore. Comcast, of course, couldn’t care less. When I try to troubleshoot, I get a message saying they will only answer my question if I upgrade my plan.

As usual, Comcast is out to screw their customers. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of income/assignments because Comcast refuses to give customers like me the promised service, and I have to go far afield for basic connectivity, because Comcast is my only choice here.

I lost half my workday trying to get things sorted out. And it’s not anywhere NEAR sorted out.

Then, I’m setting up a Square Store for a client. Only the video tutorial has very little to do with how the store is actually setting up the store, and the specs for photographs look grotesque, so I had to figure out a different way to edit them.

Not a good technology day for me. I suspect that my phone is about to give out, too.

On top of that, a delivery that was supposed to arrive on Friday is – well, no one really knows. According to UPS, it went to Shrewsbury by accident, and is still there.

Considering that the weekend was pretty darn good, yesterday was an unpleasant shock.

The cat tree arrived on Friday and is, well, much bigger than I expected. I expected the height, but not the breadth. Once it was built (which took two hours), we had to rearrange the furniture in the living room to accommodate it. The cats are sort of curious, but not making it their favorite spot yet, which I expected, but has deeply disappointed my mother.

I got the printer set up on Saturday – it’s amazing. Truly amazing. The laptop arrived, too, which I didn’t expect, on Friday, and I got that set up. It works well, although I have to learn my way around it. I miss having a Macbook. But this laptop is sleek, and I’m sort of figuring it out.

I went to pick up a curbside delivery on Saturday (for which I tipped 20%) and the employee who answered the phone when I let them know I was there gave me a hard time about it being a curbside pickup. When I placed the order THE NIGHT BEFORE, that was the only option. But I got a lecture about how now they’re open and I should just come in if I’m wearing a mask. No.  I was given curbside pickup as an option, and that’s what I chose. This is the same employee who scolded me for coming into the store before the Stay at Home was issued. I’m trying to follow protocols AND support a local business, and they give me grief. Meanwhile, the asshats running around without masks spewing on people get to go anywhere they want and behave anyway they want, and no one challenges them. I know the owner of the store, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to spend my money there and not somewhere else. She’d never condone that behavior. At the same time, I know employees are under a lot of pressure, and don’t want to get anyone in trouble. Fortunately, the guy who actually brought out my delivery was delightful. I hope he’s the one who got the tip.

I scanned the article from THE WRITER magazine and sent if off to the people who contributed quotes, and they are all very excited. It’s a good article; I’m glad I had the chance to write it, I’m glad I did a good job on it. Especially since that was the week I was in and out of the hospital before my emergency surgery.

Speaking of surgeries, on Saturday I got a completely tone-deaf and inappropriate letter from my health care provider berating me for not having the surgery that THEY cancelled due to the pandemic. I am so going off on them. As a writer who creates this type of material, if I EVER had written something so callous, unresearched, and tone deaf, I would have been, deservedly, fired.

I had good writing days all weekend. I’m juggling projects, some of them are percolating along nicely, and I’m in the planning stages for others. Now that I have the new laptop, I think I can get back to some that were languishing, more due to a lack of hardware than anything else. My Llewellyn editor is sending me a contract in June to write for the 2022 almanacs.

I’m doing some reading for a couple of upcoming essays/articles and planning a Great Big Project that’s a little on the overwhelming side, but, I think, necessary. Parked my domain, now have to look at how to build it.

Cleaned up the Fearless Ink website a bit. Added the extensions for the 99-cent sale for PLAYING THE ANGLES,SAVASANA AT SEA, andTRACKING MEDUSA to the websites, and also to the Facebook pages. I need to schedule some posts for promotion.

So, until yesterday, I felt pretty optimistic about getting back on track work-wise, especially remotely. Now, Comcast is literally going to put my life in danger because they can’t be bothered to provide promised service.

Comcast isn’t the only one to blame. Our Town Mis-Management is bound and determined to get us all killed by opening up to tourists for Memorial Day. We will have 250,000 deaths by July 4th weekend in this country with the way they’re planning to open. Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can go back and do everything like you did before. That’s not how this works. I mean, for Mother’s Day, my neighbors had the extended family all over, convinced that because they were all shivering outside in the wind – unmasked – they were fine. Again, that’s now how it works, people.

We need UBI NOW and until we have a vaccine. We need a WPA-style program, that’s more technology-based, in order to put people to work and get the economy back up and running. We need to change the way work is viewed and done.

I’m seriously fed up.

It was goo cold to plant, although I made biscuits for Mother’s Day breakfast, got her a cheesecake, and roasted a chicken.

I am tired. I have no idea what today will bring. Hopefully not more technology frustrations. At least I had a decent, if not brilliant, first writing session of the day.

Peace, friends.

Wed. June 5, 2019: Trying to Balance Irritation and Action

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Exhausted.

Ink-Dipped Advice has a post on trade-offs today.

Irritated because someone has been bitching at me about money, about how much certain things cost. But I’m doing the numbers, and it’s not adding up. I don’t want to hear it any more.

I had an epiphany, and, while it’s not appropriate for me to go into public detail, a few things are going to change soon, paving the way for bigger changes in a few months.

I’m also sick and tired of these nasty, filthy tourists who come on Cape Cod supposedly to “enjoy” the natural beauty, and then do everything in their power to destroy it. Leaving their trash everywhere, being rude to people. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is talking about doubling the size of both bridges. How are they going to feed that extra traffic into the narrow roads? We can’t fit the people that are here now.

But again, everything is being sold off to corporations not located on Cape Cod, so all they care about is short-term profit.

Thank goodness for Monday’s meditation group.

The writing is not going well, because I have so much other stuff to sort out, and that always sends me into a downward spiral.

I need to come up with something pithy for the radio play set on Brighton Pier. I’m not feeling very witty right now, though. But I think I can have a lot of fun with the premise. Carousel sounds and carnival barkers and fortune tellers and the rest.

I need to get out of this negative headspace. I also need to push back against those who are demanding that I live my life to their rules, when my life has little to nothing to do with theirs.

What I need, most desperately, is some time off.

Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

With a client today, for most of the day, and then, possibly, with another client.

Onward.

Published in: on June 5, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 5, 2019: Trying to Balance Irritation and Action  
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Tues. May 28, 2019: Hit The Stress Running

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

So much for having five days off. When the best laid plans go awry, and all that.

Wednesday morning, I’d had a brief conversation with a potential new client. This would be a big deal. Good money. The conference went well, and the person with whom I spoke wanted the next steps up the food chain to happen on Thursday morning, via Skype, and Friday, in person in Boston.

Only I never got the necessary information by end of day on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, I let her know that I hadn’t had any information, and I would not cancel my Friday and go into Boston, on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. That’s just nuts. I said I could arrange to go up next Thursday or Friday, but I needed to know by next Wednesday noon. I’m getting a little tired of this attitude that I’m supposed to be at their beck and call when they’re not paying me.

I got a message back stating that the Thursday morning conference couldn’t happen, could we do it in the afternoon?

Good thing I hadn’t booked office space at Cape Space, as I originally planned. Or I would have had to pay for it, even if I canceled. They seem to have difficulty understanding that I actually work for a living; I’m not lounging around the house in pajamas waiting for their summons.

The Skype meeting went well, although it was 45 minutes, longer than I expected. I haven’t heard anything about whether or not the meeting in Boston is on for next week. If I don’t hear by my deadline, it won’t be.

They requested writing samples, which I provided from my portfolios. On top of it, they want me to do a project-specific “assessment” — which, if they weren’t such an established company with a good reputation, I would refuse to do without pay. But again, I’m losing billable hours for AN INTERVIEW. Red flags going up.

In the meantime, I had a very, very busy Wednesday with a client, and was exhausted by the time I got home in the afternoon. But glad that I had five days away from clients. We have a big project coming up that’s more difficult than it needs to be, because the other party responsible for organizing it is clueless.

I was supposed to have five full days off. However, once the Thursday Skype meeting was moved, I got some other work out of the way in the morning, and then mowed the front yard in the afternoon before my meeting. It looks pretty darn good. The push mower does a far better job than the gas mower ever did.

I finished the final polish on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and sent it off to the producer.

Started plotting the next Frieda/Lazarus radio play, which will take place on the Brighton Pier — provided I can get the research in. I’ve been in Brighton, but I need to do some of the historical research. It’s hard to find books in the MA library system on historical Brighton, England.

Working on the stage play that’s due next week.

Friday, I ran some errands, including stopping by the mechanic to make arrangements for the rest of the car repairs, which are happening today. Downloaded the materials for the “writing assessment” and did a couple of other things.

Managed to get some decent work done on ELLA BY THE BAY throughout the weekend. I find it relaxing to do a few pages with my morning coffee, even before I do yoga and start the rest of the day.

Finished a chunk of research on forensic psychology, so I can draft Sam’s professional scenes in GRAVE REACH.

Mowed the side yard.

I’m taking as much time as possible to enjoy being on the deck. I rubbed the wooden furniture with teak oil; I’m starting to put out the garden ornaments.

I managed to get a lot of reading done: MURDER AT OCHRE COURT and A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE, both by Alyssa Maxwell, although each is from a different series; THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PROVENCE and LETTERS FROM PARIS, both by Juliet Blackwell. Started reading a serial killer novel, but the cat was murdered, so I’m done. I’m tired of pets and women constantly brutalized in fiction (not to mention real life).

Saturday, I ran some books back to the library, and got out a pitch for an opportunity that landed on my desk late Friday night.

The stage play I was writing took a turn to the more dramatic; I started another, more comic play that I think will work better for the piece I have to submit at the end of the week.

Mowed No Man’s Land and about half of the terrace back part of the yard. An enormous tree limb crashed down in the meadow, and I’m not sure if I should be worried about the rest of the tree. Not to mention that I don’t think I can move the tree limb by myself.

Cooked a lot and ate too much on Saturday. Complete indulgence. A Spanish-style tuna with relish, olive, and tomato along with an Italian anti-pasto plate, French bread, and French wine for lunch (and a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries). A French bistro recipe for chicken, shallots, tomato, and tarragon for dinner.

The hordes of tourists have descended and Cape Cod is a nightmare. They are rude, they are arrogant, they drive on the wrong side of the road while texting on their phones. They are sloppy and they litter.

Sitting on the deck on Saturday afternoon, it smelled like Cape Cod, but with the noise of traffic and sirens, it sounded like New York City, and I felt claustrophobic.

A thunder storm woke me overnight Saturday into Sunday, but it passed quickly. It was the first night we left the plants out, and they seem to have survived.

Up early on Sunday, reading and writing. Especially on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s got a nice, steady pace. I need to transfer some of that pace to GRAVE REACH, and up it a bit.

I should have mowed, but I didn’t. Instead, I tried to enjoy the day.

I am, however, worried about a tree in the backyard that’s leaning. Only I’m not sure if it’s on my property or my neighbor’s. So I will have to ask the landlord. But I’m worried that it will come down and hurt someone or something.

Wrote and polished an article which will go out today. Worked on the “assessment” assignment for the potential new client. Read Tami Hoag’s DUST TO DUST, which was quite good.

Noodled with some ideas for stories and for plays (different ideas). We will see which ones work and which ones don’t.

Got an idea for a short play, which I think will work better for the play on deadline than either of the ideas with which I’ve been playing.

Monday, morning, up early. Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY. Worked on the new play, called “Qualified Personnel.” Got the first draft done. Will let it simmer for a day or two before I revise it and then I want to get it out by Thursday, if possible.

Got more stuff out on the deck, to build our enchanted garden there. Put in the solar stakes. Started mowing the meadow, which is a nightmare, because it’s uneven. Wondering if I’ll have to get in someone to do it for me, at least mow it down the first time.

Reading about the history of Havana. Fretting about the “writing assessment.” I should have simply stated I was away for the weekend, and had the initial interview, etc. this week. It’s my own fault, but I didn’t get the rest I needed, and am still feeling cooked, instead of revived and ready to face the hell that is summer on Cape Cod. It should be wonderful because it’s so beautiful, but it’s not.

Just when I hit a low point, a friend sent me a link to his new song, which is quite beautiful. That cheered me up.

Thought I’d bought ground lamb for dinner, but it was beef. Made burgers for dinner. They were very good, but the last few times I’ve eaten beef, I’ve felt awful, and this wasn’t much different.

Up early today, stressed, and off to get the car fixed. Hope it stays within the estimate and can all get done.

Exhausted and out of sorts, when I should be renewed and ready to face what’s coming. Not a good way to start the coming months.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was one of those days you have when you’re dealing with an illness where you have to feel worse before you get better. Oh, well, but ick. I’m feeling better today, thank goodness, but the early part of yesterday was not fun.

I got some errands done. More building crap – gee, what else is new?

I’ve got most of my ducks in a row for the trip to Cape Cod in just over a week, so that’s a good thing. I’d pack – you know me, I like to pack at least a week before I leave – but, if the weather’s nice, I’m only wearing dresses, and I don’t want them squashed in the bag for a week, so I guess I’m just going to have to pack (oh, horrors) the night before.

I’ll make sure the writing bag is ready early, though.

Colin Galbraith posted an interesting dilemma on his blog, stating his decision to put aside a WIP because he didn’t feel the story had anything to say. I feel like that every time I go to a PEN event – here are all these Serious Literary Writers who are changing the world, and what the heck am I doing?

Telling stories. My characters want their stories told. I have to tell them, or I don’t get any peace, they’re yammering so much in my head; and I often don’t know what the themes are in the work, “what I’m saying”, until after the first draft is done. What I think I’m writing about and what is actually underneath the actions are often two different things.

So I try not to worry, at least in early drafts, and see what I have, what the characters have to say, what growth arcs are happening, before I try to impose the rest of it.

The adaptation shocked me the other day, because I realized that, while I thought it was “about” one thing, it’s really about something entirely different, and, although it’s set in a different world, many of the same decisions/situations/dilemmas face the characters as we are now facing. That wasn’t my intent when I started – in fact, had I begun Script Frenzy with that intent, I would have scared myself off and never gotten more than a page or two into it.

I lost almost my entire writing day because I had to back up files – including system files – in case my hard drive decides to die. Yes, Melissa, it’s time to go Mac, I am desperate to go Mac, but the outlay of cash is more than I can handle right now.

I like all the bits of my computer, so, in spite of the fact that Dell’s response to my question is, “We don’t have that information; you have to buy a new system” – again, more coercion – when I tried to get information about replacing just the hard drive – I’m talking to other people, and that may be what I do. Why not replace the hard drive and reload all my programs/systems for $150 or so rather than spending $600-800 on another crappy PC system that will only work well for the first month? I’m perfectly happy with the monitor and speakers and keyboard and all the rest. Why not just replace what’s bad and keep this system limping along until I can afford to do the total replacement that I want?

So, I’m annoyed that I’m losing days when I’m on such tight deadlines, but I’ve got to make sure these systems are backed up (time to by more CDs) before it gives up the ghost for good, and I’m asking around as to what kind of hard drive I can buy to put in here and then I’ll pay someone who knows what they’re doing to put it in. And I can reload the programs myself – I’m going through all my disks to make sure I have them, and anything I’m not sure about, I’m backing up again.

Frustrating.

Traveling in and out of the city was annoying, as usual. Too many people in too small a space, and the trains, as usual, running badly. I had quite the encounter with a SFT. She was crossing the street in the opposite direction, with plenty of room, but tried to shove me and said, “ExCUSE me. You need to move.”

Yeah, I’ve got the bumper of a yellow cab at my hip and you’ve got all of W.49th Street, bitch. But I said, “I’m the resident; you’re the Stupid Fucking Tourist; you move.”

“I pay your salary!” she screeched.

“YOU pay me shit,” I replied. “You’re here because I wrote something so fascinating that coming to NYC was suddenly the most important thing in your life.”

I meant as a copywriter, but she was too stupid to understand. Her eyes got very round. “Ooooh, are you FAMOUS?” she asked.

“You’ll never know, will you?” I retorted, and walked off, leaving her in the middle of the street making fish faces.

Maybe that’s the way most B’way workers get through the day, saying oh, well, the tourists are paying my salary, I’ll deal with their rudeness. But the SFT’s do NOT pay mine.

Grabbed an iced coffee at Thalia (which I promptly spilled down my shirt because the lid wasn’t on properly – oh, well, dark colored shirt, easily washed). Show was fun. I’m dressing the men, and they’re lots of fun. Caught up on all the backstage stories from the other shows, including the stories about the Major Television Personality who was recently brought into a show to boost ticket sales, and not only hasn’t that happened, he’s stupid AND clueless. At least if you’re clueless, be nice. Well, that’s what the producers get when they go for name instead of talent. I feel for the people working on the show every day, but I don’t have much sympathy for those producers.

Whatever.

Got home around midnight, puttered around. Got up at my usual 6:30 this morning, coaxed the computer up, did some work on the adaptation. I have to really push on the script today. Another short writing day, because I have a show tonight, and then the weekend has to be all about writing.

Keep your fingers crossed that this hard drive can last another week so I can back everything up, meet my deadlines, get a new hard drive, and then drop it off to be fixed before I leave on my trip.

Devon

Adaptation: 41,322 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
41 / 90
(45.6%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on May 23, 2008 at 7:24 am  Comments (4)  
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