Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Received the next book for review, which is good.

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

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

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

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

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

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

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

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Wed. Oct. 28, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 161 — Cases Rise & Errands Take a Half a Day

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

Pop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a musing about everything an advertorial.

If you didn’t read about Barbara Ross’s new release yesterday, I hope you will do so here.

Had to leave the premises to go to Trader Joe’s, as we were getting low on some things. Ended up, as always, buying more than I planned. But I have what I need for my mom’s birthday dinner tomorrow, and I will pick up her cake on the way home from my client’s today. She loves cheesecake, and that’s something I’m terrible at making, so I buy her one for her birthday.

The staff was great as always, and it wasn’t too crowded, everyone masked and careful. Had to stop at CVS on the way home, and that was the same. Everywhere I drove past, though? Maybe 40% masked. If even that. Not masked, not social distancing.

It’s frustrating.

We had our fourth day in a row with new cases up past 1000. CT and NY have put us on a restricted test; so much for all the people smirking how MA does it right. No, they don’t. At least not around here, where they stopped wearing masks or social distancing in summer because they’re bored.

I’m also tired of errands taking a half day. You have to prep for them (map out what you need to do, the best route, and how to time it for least contact or when you’re allowed to shop by age), mask up, do the actual errand/grocery shopping (and you can’t just forget and run back in for one thing – you have to stand in line again and go through it all again), navigate through the Covidiots – even when people are masked in the store, they rip the mask off as soon as they are out of the store, even if people are in close proximity, because they’re too fucking stupid to understand what an AIRBORNE virus means. Then you have to get home, decontaminate and/or quarantine anything before it can come into the house, put it away or in quarantine, leave you shoes outside (I don’t wear shoes in the house, but I used to take them off just inside), wipe everything down you touched during decontamination, strip down, decontaminate yourself, get dressed in different clothes and then half the day is gone and you’re exhausted.

It’s nearly impossible to then settle down and focus on work.

But if I wait to shop until later in the day, the Covidiots who delight in harassing people trying to follow protocols and survive are out in force.

I lost most of the morning.

Got some research done, and followed up on some LOIs. Couldn’t focus enough to do actual writing, although I’m playing with some more ad ideas. There’s so much nagging and predatory marketing going on right now that I’m sick of it as a consumer, and don’t want to do it as a marketer.

The migraine came forward and receded, came forward and receded.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids talked about having a virtual Halloween party with each other on Saturday, since none of them are going out trick or treating. I’m glad they’re interacting when we’re not in homework session.

I have to admit, I had no idea there were so many kinds of bats and that bats were so interesting. I knew they could be kind of cute, but I had no idea about all the other stuff. So I’ve learned a lot, too.

The kids are focusing on vampire movies as “extra credit” for learning about bats, which I think is funny.

Also brainstormed a query letter with one friend for her project, and gave another colleague a lead on the kind of writers’ group she’s looking for. I hope it works out; I think the contact I sent her will be able to suggest a few different options.

I read a lovely book, THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Baurmeister. It’s been around for quite a few years (it was published in 2009). But it’s a beautiful, sensual book full of love and food, complex and simple at the same time. I loved it, and I’m going to read more of her work.

It was so nice to read a book that was about the positive things in life, making good out of sorrow.

The Seshat altar piece I ordered on ETSY arrived, which is great, because I can consecrate it on Samhain. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m delighted with it.

Today, I have to go in to a client’s with other people for a few hours, which I’m not looking forward to. Then, I’ll pick up my mother’s birthday cake and be HOME. Hopefully, I’ll be back in time for Remote Chat.

I don’t have to leave the house again until next Monday, although I might have to do another CVS run somewhere in there, or hit the liquor store (and hope it doesn’t hit back). But I’m hoping I won’t have to.

My mother’s 96th birthday tomorrow. I intend to make it a special day for her.

Peace!

Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song

image courtesy of Aline Ponce via pixabay.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday seems far away, for some reason.

But it’s amazing how much calmer the household is, now that each cat has her own catnip banana.

Meditation group was great. It’s such a wonderful way to start the day.

Headed off to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned, but that’s pandemic life. Because I don’t go that often, I buy more when I go. Dashed next door to Target to stock up on a few things I can’t get anywhere else.

Home, full decontamination procedures. There was most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Freelance Chat was fine, and I did some Yoga Nidra work.

Got out some LOIs, worked on some pitches. Got TRINITY OF TEASERS, the promotional package that contains the first three chapters of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA done. It’s taken months to get done because of formatting issues, but I finally got it. Everything took six steps instead of three, but it worked.

I have to check the different formats (PDF, epub, mobi) and then put it up in the media room on the website for free download. Hopefully, that will generate some book sales.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone’s tired. They’re feeling the stress. But all their parents filled out the Census, which is a good thing. As early voting starts, their parents are voting.

I listened to the CD of the original Broadway cast of HADESTOWN, which I’d ordered from the library. It is amazing. Transcendent. I just loved it. I sat and listened and was transported.

I liked it so much, I ordered my own copy!

The music Is outstanding and the voices spectacular.

One of my pet peeves around here is that they keep producing musicals, but hire too many performers who can’t sing. They’re sharp or flat, they sing around the note, but rarely hit the actual note.

It was nice to hear a glorious score sung truly.

Today I’m finishing the article that requires me to pull examples from different drafts of a stage play and its radio adaptation. I also hope to finish the pitches for the other new-to-me editor. I have some blog posts to write and schedule for posting.

I managed to sleep through the night until 5 AM, and then baked raw apple muffins. I used currants instead of raisins (I love currants), and added allspice, nutmeg, and clove instead of just using cinnamon. It’s based on the Marion Cunningham recipe, and is basically chunks of apple held together with a bit of batter, but I love it.

I’d like to get TRINITY OF TEASERS up and start that promotion.

I also want to work on the novel, and to get started on the Susanna Centlivre play.

Tomorrow, we have to start bringing plants in to overwinter; over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking everything off the deck and putting it away for the winter.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. Create with joy.

Published in: on October 16, 2020 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)

image courtesy of Colin Behrens via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

It’s nice to have only three retrogrades for a few days, even though there’s a difficult square today.

I have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about reshaping one’s career.

Yesterday felt more like a productive, typical day, and that was nice.

To Trader Joe’s early for the Big Grocery Shop. And yes, it was a big one. I still forgot a few things. I have to decide if I want to risk going back later this week, or substitute, or wait until more things run out. They sold through their fresh figs, which was a shame; I’d forgotten them in the last Big Shop, and hoped to get some this time.

Decontaminated everything and put it away, then down to the library for curbside pickup. People coming in are getting lax about mask wearing. I won’t go near the table unless no one is there, or the people hovering are wearing masks.

Came home, decontaminated myself.

Sent out three article pitches to the person who’d asked me for something the day prior, and an article pitch to an editor to whom I’d originally pitched the radio piece, but the publication wasn’t paying at the time. Now it does; not only did she accept the article and we got the contract signed, she asked me if I’d like to write more, in the future, about playwrighting. I’m thrilled. Plus, the person to whom I sent three articles took two of them – paid.

So I know what I’ll be doing early next week, once I get the changes into SERENE AND DETERMINED and that out.

Heard from the company to whom I sent JUST A DROP. They got more submissions than expected, and need an extra week before they make decisions. Very kind of them to let us know; although that means less likelihood that my script will be one of those chosen. But that’s okay. At least I tried, and now the script is in decent enough shape to submit elsewhere, if they don’t choose it.

Did some client work, got some LOIs out. Got some reading.

We fussed over Willa yesterday, since it was her first anniversary here. She loved it. We fussed over all three of them, so no one would feel left out. Charlotte was anxious again yesterday, almost like she had sense memory from how she felt when she arrived a year ago (her anniversary is tomorrow).

So the Sociopath “has no symptoms”? Of course he didn’t. He’s was never sick (with the virus, anyway).

I can’t be bothered to spare a thought or a wish for anyone in that circle who’s actually getting sick. They couldn’t be spared a thought for us.

Now he’s stopped any possibility of a new stimulus package? It’s not up to him. If we had a functioning Congress, they’d pass one anyway. But we don’t.

Get rid of them all. And Democrats need to grow some balls and do whatever is necessary to stop this SCOTUS pick.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. In addition to regular home work, and a discussion of what will happen if this batshit crazy (pun intended) SCOTUS pick is seated, we went to the Smithsonian’s page on The Art and Science of Bats. I had no idea there were 140,000 specimens in that museum. Wow.

I was too tired afterwards to do more than read. I’m reading Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE, always aware of reading it as she’s in hospice, which is heartbreaking. Her talent is not one we can afford to lose.

Today, I have to go onsite, which will be difficult for a number of reasons. Then, it’s back, decontamination, remote chat, and back to SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on October 7, 2020 at 6:18 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Oct. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 135 — Skeptical

image courtesy of Dimitris Vetskikas via pixabay.com

Friday, October 2, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was busy.

Morning meditation with Concord Library was terrific. I hope I can keep participating as long as they do it on Zoom.

After, dashed out to Trader Joe’s for a quick shop (not the Big Shop, which is next week), and then next door to Christmas Tree Shops where I picked up a few things I can’t find anywhere else.

Decontamination process, then switched out the white lace curtains to the spiderweb curtains. Put up most of the indoor decorations, although I have a feeling I might do some rearranging over the weeks.

Will start the outdoor decorations this week.

Knowledge Unicorns a little early today. I’m not sure if the kids on the West coast really had a half day of Zoom, or if they just skipped out of lessons or what.

We brainstormed a paper on Emily Dickinson for one student, and I sent him to two unusual resources – a book on Emily Dickinson and her garden, and Susan Glaspell’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play about her.

Worked on other assignments with the others in the group.

We are studying the bat this month as our project. Needless to say, there are all kinds of resources out there about bats! Including the North American Society for Bat Research.

From the homework session, I clicked a new Zoom link to the NYU session with Marion Nestle. It was about food, activism, safety, and justice. Absolutely fascinating, and well-run. Charlotte was disappointed that it wasn’t two-way video, and no one told her she was pretty. Charlotte LOVES Zoom, because when our side is on video, she can pop into frame and everyone loves fussing over her.

One would think Willa would want this, since she is the most extroverted, but she doesn’t. And Tessa finds Zoom an intrusion.

But Charlotte loves Zoom.

Anyway, I learned a lot, it was great to be part of an intelligent conversation, and I ordered Marion’s books from the library, because I want to delve more into her research.

I had an hour to put a pizza in the oven and make chocolate mousse. Somehow, I managed that, before clicking onto the link for the NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE program with Michael Pollan. For the first part of it, there was a pre-recorded conversation with Hillary Clinton on her love of theatre and the importance of theatre. Then, there was a live Zoom conversation with Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller, Danielle Brooks, and Neil Patrick Harris, which was terrific. They all had great things to say, especially about the passion for and of theatre, how it connects in a way nothing else does, how it’s been around for centuries and will find a way back.

I agree with that, because it’s a deep human need.

In spite of all the ass wipes who go around saying it’s “not a real job.”

It was time well spent.

Puttered around a bit and then went to bed.

Woke up around 2 this morning, after a series of really weird dreams. Some of them were set in the same geographical location that several of this week’s dreams have been set – I know where I am within the dream, but I don’t actually know where that place is. Tonight’s dreams were a little stranger and more unsettling than the ones earlier in the week. Then, there were other dreams about the cats catching mice. Willa, in particular, is a good mouser, so that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Broke my own rule and checked Twitter (and found that Treat Williams, with whom I worked on a FOLLILES revival years back on Broadway was also up and doing the same thing).

Hmm. Interesting news.

The Narcissistic Sociopath and The Wife Creature supposedly tested positive for COVID-19. There’s that flash of what did they THINK would happen with their constant reckless and irresponsible behavior?

That was quickly overtaken by doubt that it’s true.

I don’t believe Brad Pascale’s meltdown earlier this week was real, either. I think he’s trying to get a way out of prison. I also believe (and this has been pointed out by others on social media) that if he pulled that stunt as a black man, he would be dead. But I do believe it’s a stunt. That’s all he’s done his entire career—create chaotic theatre. Of course he’ll do the same for himself.

I’m also suspicious that this is a stunt on the Sociopath’s part. With the pattern of daily lying and creating stories with himself as the center, I think it’s a political stunt to get attention. He will “quarantine” for two weeks, claim he was asymptomatic, and use it as proof that the virus “isn’t that bad” and insult further the 200,000+ he’s already murdered.

Given the pattern of daily lies, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

The other possibility is that he really is positive for the virus. If that is the case, I believe he knew before the debate and intentionally went through with the debate to expose as many as possible in the Biden camp. It’s exactly the kind of vile behaviour that’s on brand for him. It would also explain the way he yanked on Wife Creature’s hand post-debate.

I don’t want Biden to get sick – or anybody on his team to get sick.

On a basic human level, I don’t want anyone to suffer and die from the virus; however, in this particular case, I am less empathetic than I would be for a random human, even a MAGAt.

Again, I’m skeptical that it’s real. I think it’s political theatre. The Sociopath wants to claim he sailed through the virus with few or no ill effects to prove he’s “strong.”

Proof of strength would have been to prevent over 200,000 deaths of the people he is sworn to protect.

But he couldn’t be bothered.

Here in MA, our numbers are going up. We hit the highest numbers since May 30 yesterday. So much for that idiot woman last week who claimed she worked at the hospital and they hadn’t seen any cases in a long time. It simply isn’t true.

Boston’s back in the red zone. Gee, what a surprise. What did they think would happen, having college kids come back onsite?  They’ve paused the phased re-opening.

They’re not pausing on Cape, because tourist season lasts through Columbus Day, and they are bound and determined to wring every penny they can out of tourists, no matter how many residents get sick and die. The greed is revolting.

I was going to voice some opinions against the airlines, but that can wait for another day!

What’s on today’s agenda?

Client work, writing work, maybe start putting up some of the outdoor decorations, putting the basement back to rights, and maybe clearing out a bit more.

I’m back to work on a piece that’s on deadlined, and keep getting ideas for another piece with which I’m noodling, so we’ll see what happens where with what. I also need to get some edits done on SERENE AND DETERMINED, if that is actually going to be submitted next week. I’m starting to have my doubts that I can get it done in time.

I hope to have a productive, but quiet weekend.

Peace, friends. See you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cooler

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

The new furnace is IN. It took them almost all day to finish yesterday – and they were here by 7:15 in the morning.

The new furnace is impressive. Very fancy. With a big, complicated filter my landlord can’t expect me to find at the local building store. It’s a special order. The amount of new ductwork they had to build and run is astonishing.

The new thermostat is pretty cool, too. And the heat actually works upstairs, which it barely did all last winter, so there’s a nice change.

The crew had skill, knowledge, precision, and an eye for detail. They were nice to have around, and caused a minimum of disruption.

They explained stuff that needed explaining without mansplaining. They were friendly and neat.

Nobody ever sneer that these guys aren’t skilled or specialists or not worth the money, because they are.

So, while the office was not easy to deal with (mostly because they refused to communicate directly and I got everything second-hand), the actual crew that came out and did the work was stellar.

I worked from home for my client. It took a long time to get the next ad right. I couldn’t get the right look for it, but finally got something workable. It’s not as good as this week’s ad, in my opinion, but it works for what we need.

Remote Chat was fun.

But I was wiped out by the time the furnace was in, everything was cleaned up, the guys were gone.

The cats – they were hellions. Tessa was fine. She hung out in my room, the way she usually does, and ignored it all.

Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens upstairs. Willa managed to roll her playpen to the top of the stairs; I caught her before she tried to roll down. She taught Charlotte to roll her playpen, too, so the two of them rolled their playpens all day – sometimes into each other, which then caused hissing and growling.

It took them awhile to calm down, once everything was cleared out and they were let free. Then, they passed out in their favorite chairs, and that was it for them for the night.

I collapsed into bed early again last night. I woke up once, but managed to get back to sleep and slept through until a little after 5 (so, normal time for me). I’m still tired, but better.

This morning, I have the online meditation with the group from the Concord Library. Then, I have to run to Trader Joe’s. We need a few things that can’t wait until next week’s Big Shop. Then, I have to get some client work done; after that, it’s decorating.

Today is October 1, the first of two full moons we have this month. The Samhain decorating begins! I’m excited.

That includes taking down the lace curtains and putting up the spider web curtains. Decorating inside and out. Eventually, photos will be up on my Instagram account: @devonellingtonwork.

I have a feeling it won’t be finished today!

I managed to outline a suspense novel that I’d plotted Tuesday night when I woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, and made some notes on a fantasy idea. I wish some of these could be short stories, but no – they’re all long.

I have to figure out how to integrate these other projects I’ve been noodling with those on deadline. I have a resistance to working on stuff that was on deadline before the pandemic. I have to get over it and get back on track.

But at least I got some updates done on my clips, which helps.

Late afternoon, we have another Knowledge Unicorns session. After that, I have an NYU alumni event via Zoom on food activism, and after THAT, I have a NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE event with Broadway people (also via Zoom) about adapting performance to the pandemic.

A very Zoom-y day, and busy on multiple levels.

I hope you have a peaceful day.

Published in: on October 1, 2020 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Published in: on September 10, 2020 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Aug. 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 93 — Tired

california-1751455_1920
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, August 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s getting hot and humid again, so I am getting grumpy again, especially with the allergies.

Yesterday, I got some client work and some yard work done. Took my mom to the other doctor to get some things dealt with. Freelance chat, which was fun. Tidied up the deck.

My landlord came over (with his mask and folding chair) and we chatted for two hours. He’s put a lot of research and work into an historical project that someone else is trying to control, and he wanted advice. Since I knew the other individuals involved, I could give him advice based on their past conduct and patterns. Hopefully, it was helpful.

Got some reading done, but not much else. The mice arrived from Chewy in a big box — ordered only because I needed to spend an extra dollar to get free shipping on the playpens. Instead of shipping it all together, three little toy mice arrived on their own in a great, big box.

But all three cats love the mice.

Overslept this morning, decided to put off going to the dump and recycling off yet another day. Picked up my mom’s new medication at the pharmacy, which was MUCH more expensive than I expected. So I have to put off buying the lumber and the fabric for the screen.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Too many people in the store, ignoring the traffic arrows, but at least everyone was masked. And the staff is so great.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, then heard from the library there were books ready for curbside pickup. Masked up again, drove down in my yoga clothes (because hey, curbside pickup). When I got out of the car to go to the table to pick up my bag of books, some women getting out of another car berated me for not wearing a bra. “What if there were children here?” (There weren’t — we were the only two cars in the parking lot). Plus, my shirt was black and oversized and nothing was showing. PLUS, it’s none of her damn business.

So I looked at her and said, “Why are you staring at my breasts?” and she stared sputtering.

I grabbed my books and came home.

I’m having a serious case of the don’t wannas today, so maybe I just won’t. Had a good first writing session out on the deck, though.

Have a great weekend.

Fri. Aug. 7: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 79 — Of Notebooks and New Ideas

writing-1209121_1920
image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Friday, August 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday seems like a long time ago, somehow.

It was a quiet day. I did the grocery run to Trader Joe’s in the morning. Everyone masked, but too many people allowed in the store, which meant distancing was a challenge. But people tried, and worked together.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, exhausted.

Some client work, an LOI. Freelance chat was fun. I didn’t realize I had so much to say about virtual networking, but I guess I did.

I’d love to find affordable VR software to set up a virtual writers’ café where people could send little icons in that write and read in the virtual space while they’re doing sprints on their actual screen.

But Grief to Art has to be finished first. I hope to get some good work done on that today and over the weekend, and get the article for Llewellyn done, and the book read for review.

Working on the play, tentatively called “Rest Not in Peace” and having fun with it.

Finished my coursework on the introduction to educational neuroscience online with Central Queensland University. Passed the exam (with flying colors, if I might be so self-congratulatory) and received my certification. I definitely want to study more about neuroplasticity. What we discussed about how fear and stress impair learning and shrink the brain is relevant both to me personally during the pandemic, and on a larger scale for schools and the educational system, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of active shooter drills.

Thinking about years of frustration with cozy mysteries, spurred on again after the stack I got sick of and dumped back into the library’s book deposit. How, in the 90’s, as more women were recognized in the field, they took this wonderful leap into strength and adventure, and how, after 9/11, so many became more and more narrow-minded and about protecting white privilege. It used to be that the protagonist was a misfit who found community with people accepting her for who she was; more and more, the protagonist started conforming to be accepted by the community, and I don’t like that.

Not to mention all these celibate relationships between supposedly healthy adults that are both boring and don’t make any sense.

Partially, I wrote SAVASANA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, as a response to the way yoga instructors were far too often treated as freaks and flakes, the locked-room aspect a cruise ship has, and the fact that I wanted to see characters in a mystery with healthy sex lives, even if every detail wasn’t on the page. Which is why they are marked as “not quite cozy” – because they don’t fit all the restrictions of the cozy. I went with a small publisher for the series because the bigger publishers wanted to edit out all the things that made me write it in the first place.

I will have to deal with the issues the pandemic bring up at some point in the series, and my editor and I are talking about how to handle it and when to handle it. Right now, I have to make the second book in the series work, and that’s a struggle. Although class structure and white privilege are coming more to the forefront with it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m looking for in a mystery series with an amateur sleuth protagonist, one who is closer to me in age than a younger one. I’ve played with some ideas over the past few months, and some of them are coming together as being possible in the same series, rather than everything being so separate. While there’s definitely a need for simple stories that offer structure and comfort, I want something else.

I found a central point around which I want to start building (it’s at too delicate a stage to write about publicly). So, I’m percolating.

Then, of course, the dilemma was what kind of notebook do I use for the draft and development? Because this is not something I want to type directly into the computer, at least not initially. I need to play with it, to draw it, to sketch it, to write bits and put them aside, to create building blocks. It won’t work to create it on the computer.

I haven’t gone out and bought the “back to school” notebooks I usually get at this point in the year because I still have notebooks left over from last year.

Only none of them are right for this project.

I thought about buying a set of journal books specific to the project, but that’s expensive and feels too formal.

I finally realized (because I AM that bad at math) that it probably makes more sense to buy two five-subject notebooks for the project than six or seven single-subject notebooks. Duh.

I want to keep a diary of the process as I develop it. Eventually, it might be rather Steinbeck-esque, writing the diary on one side of the page and the novel on the other. But I think I’ll do the diary part in green ink, and the novel in black ink.

All of this means I have to actually leave the house and get the supplies. If I order online, it will take about 3 weeks to get here. So I guess I’m going out today, masked up, and trying to avoid the Covidiot tourists, who aren’t paying any attention to travel or quarantine restrictions.

If I can time it properly, I’ll minimize the risk.

I’m also about to finish the latest volume of my personal diary – I have one more matching volume, which I doubt will get me through the year, but I’ll worry about that when I’m closer to the end of the new volume, which I’ll start tomorrow.

My office has gotten cluttered again, so I’ll need to spend some time this weekend tidying it up, so that I can metaphorically tidy my brain. Hopefully, that will give me physical and mental space to work on the book for review, the article, “Rest Not in Peace”, BARD’S LAMENT, Grief to Art site, and any noodling I decide to do on this project development.

I haven’t decided if it will be literary fiction with mystery elements, or a mystery novel that expands genre restrictions.

I’ll develop it for a bit first, spin the ideas out like spun sugar to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find it doesn’t work, and it will be relegated to the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects (the updated Topic Workbook will be released soon). Or maybe it will become a viable project.

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you peace and health.
abstract-3092201_1920
image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Wed. July 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 63 — That 90’s Energy

friendship-2366955_1920
image courtesy of Broesis via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice,where I talk about deciding what you want and need from work.

Blood draw wasn’t too awful yesterday. The tech hit the vein the first time, even though it splattered everywhere and hurt. But it’s done.

Home, changed out of the clothes I wore to the very busy lab. Scrubbed down, but not full disinfectant protocols. Ate breakfast, then headed to Trader Joe’s. Very busy there, too many people in the store. Everyone was masked, but not enough distancing. Spent more than I meant to, but stocked up.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. Which means yes, I wore three sets of clothes before 10 AM.

Client work, email, social media, LOIs.

Nice lunch of lox and reading The New Yorker and feeling like I had some of my 90’s life back.

More client work in the afternoon, and then polished three old flash fiction pieces that I still really like. Submitted them to fresh markets. We’ll see.

The copies of the 2021 Witches’ Companion that has my earthing article in it arrived (it’s under the Cerridwen Iris Shea byline). It looks really good. I’m excited to read the whole almanac. I also have to immediately put it in my clip file.

The extra candles Yankee Candle sent as an apology also arrived. I appreciate the gesture, but it doesn’t solve the issue.

Haven’t heard back from Amazon. Guarantee they will charge me again. I rarely buy anything but eBooks from Amazon, but maybe I should disengage from buying on that platform completely.

The spices I ordered from Atlantic Spice Companyin Truro arrived – packets much bigger than expected. Their quality and price is unmatched. I’m sorry I didn’t get to go there in person – I love going to their store. But it’s not safe. No matter how carful they are in the store, the other customers aren’t. It’s not worth the risk.

The note cards from Peter Pauper Press also arrived. I have lots of card-and-letter writing in my future.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. I know, I know, it was only one. But it took more time than I expected. Tossed about 50%. Re-filed a bunch of the rest. Found some old manuscripts that I pulled out. I will decide if I need to toss or re=key into the computer or file any of them. I bet some of them are still on floppy disks. It was emotional to see that energetic woman, involved in getting shows over to Edinburgh, pitching to organizations in the US, having meetings with film producers, line producing a friend’s film, working off-Broadway and starting the transition to working on Broadway, communicating a mile a minute with ideas and plans and projects.

It made me tired! In a good way.

It also made me glad that I didn’t make a long-term commitment to any of the men with whom I was involved with at that time. They demanded that too much of my energy be diverted from my projects to fuel theirs, with little in return.

Have to go in to my client’s today and get a few things solved, and then I can do an email blast for her. The second ad didn’t play as well as the first one, which is disappointing, because it was a better ad, overall, I thought.

Remote Chat is this afternoon, which is always a pleasure.

Then, more writing, coursework, and at least one more box.

I need to get that clearing-out energy in motion!

We’re supposed to get storms and then more humidity again. I have the fans going, to try to get it cooler in here. We’ve been lucky. It hasn’t been too bad yet this summer.

A baby bunny ate his breakfast in the yard while I had my first cup of coffee on the deck. It was adorable!

Published in: on July 22, 2020 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 63 — That 90’s Energy  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas

IMG_20200715_071536_894

Thursday, July 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about what’s going on with the garden.

If you haven’t read the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice on Reinventing Work, you can hop on over.

Went onsite for a client for a few hours. Got some ad approvals, got some more photos for the next bit we need to do together. Too many people in the office at the same time, and getting lackadaisical about protocols. I’m not happy about it.

I was glad to get home and do a full decontamination protocol.

Remote Chat was fun. As always. What a great group of people.

Titcomb’s let me know another book was in for me, so we got into the car and had a little drive for a curbside pickup. They’re so great.

Got out some LOIs. Got a book assigned to review – I will read it over the weekend.

Still waiting for a big check from a job back in February – which should have paid by the end of June. So I guess I’m contacting the editor to ask her to check on it.

Read anotherEllen Byron book in her Cajun series. Delightful.

Feeling a little blue today, kind of like my hydrangeas, but I hope keeping busy will help. I have some writing to do (as always), including an article idea I’ve been playing with for LinkedIn, and starting my Llewellyn article. Need to work on BARD. Want to work on GAMBIT. And there’s always purging that needs to be done in the basement.

I have to do an early morning run to Star Market, because we’re out of a few things, and I don’t want to stand in line later at Trader Joe’s for them. Plus, some of what I need isn’t at TJ’s, although I’m most comfortable shopping there. I’m hoping, if I go early enough to SM, I can avoid Sliding Mask Skanks.

Then home, disinfectant protocols, and to work. I’m hoping focus on the work will get me out of feeling so low.

Hope your Thursday is lovely.

Published in: on July 16, 2020 at 5:21 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.