Tues. Dec. 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 223 — Trying To Hold On, These Last Few Days

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020

Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Fourth Day of Christmas (Four Calling Birds)

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa (Day of Cooperative Economics)

Sunny and cold

There’s a post over on the GDR site to make you feel better about the year and the turn of it.

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

If you haven’t read the fun pieces in the Weird Christmas anthology (including mine), you can read or listen to them here.

It was stormy here, but we were tucked inside, with blankets and cats and candles and books, so all was fine.

Christmas Eve, I got some admin done and some LOIs out. I got out my review, and received the next two books for review. I played with some ideas.

For dinner, I made cod paella. Talk about a Cape Coddish version of paella! The cooking wasn’t bad at all, but the chopping – let’s just say I should have started far earlier! But it was the christening of my new paella pan, and it turned our really, really well. Dessert was chocolate and lemon mouse, layered.

While I prepared the paella, as I listened to Christmas carols on the radio, a particularly passionate rendition of “O Holy Night” gave me an idea for a short story, set in NYC.

We burned our bayberry candle for prosperity and good luck as we opened presents. I think it’s hilarious that one of my friends and I made each other potholders. Because we both bake so much!

Settled in, Icelandic-style, to read.

Up early Christmas Day, thanks for Charlotte. We did stockings, and I made scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. Usually, we have scrambled eggs with Panettone, but I couldn’t find one that looked good this year, and I used up the only fruit peel I had in the stollen.

I noodled with the story idea I’d had the night before, and worked on another piece, too, for something I’m looking ahead to do next year.

Mostly, though, we read and played with cats. I didn’t want to be on the computer, because I expected the power to go out any minute.

I made Cornish hen for the big, midday meal. Somehow, an entire 5-pound bag of potatoes disappeared in the last few days. But we had enough left over from the other bag to make mashed potatoes. However, I’ll need to get more before New Year’s. I don’t know how 5 pounds of potatoes could vanish from the kitchen, but, somehow, they managed. I also made the carrot-parsnip-mushroom dish, which was good.

Stollen for dessert.

We cleaned up the kitchen, put away the leftovers, and I cooked down the bones from the Cornish hens for stock.

One of the books I read was Christina Baker Kline’s THE EXILES. What a sad, beautiful book.

Got a notice from Amazon that they lost my package. So – when I’m looking at the print books I wanted to buy (and give my acquaintance her few affiliate cents) – they GURANTEE it will be here by Dec. 21. Once I actually BUY the books, it changes to “estimated” by Dec. 21. On the 21, it was “delayed” and would arrive between the 22-24. On the 25th, they tell me it’s “lost.”

That’s what I get for breaking my vow not to buy anything except eBooks from Amazon. They really are a vile company.

If I ask for a refund, they’ll just double-charge me, like they did last time.

I’ll wait a few more days to see if the books show up. Fortunately, they weren’t anything I counted on in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, the velvet fabric I ordered on Christmas Eve – shipped on Christmas Eve.

Up early Saturday morning, thanks to Charlotte. Who, of course, promptly went back to sleep as soon as I fed her.

Noodled on a short story for a bit, then got the laundry and usual Saturday household chores started. It was nice out – I put the outdoor decorations I’d taken inside during the high winds back out.

Read a lot. I’m reading Laurie Cass’s bookmobile cat mysteries. They are fun. She captures the way cats behave well, and it’s nice to have an upbeat, positive protagonist instead of one all angsty all the time.

Worked with Tessa and Willa for a few hours, so they get used to having good experiences in the same room together. Willa wants to be friends, but Tessa doesn’t trust her, because sometimes Willa forgets and plays too rough. But we will get there.

Leftovers on Saturday night (yum), and more reading.

Up early on Sunday, again thanks to Charlotte. Baked cranberry-chocolate muffins. Wrote a short story, just under 1500 words, start to finish. It will need a lot more work, but I like the bones of it.

Did an early morning Target run. The holiday shelves were bare – they already removed everything instead of marking it down. I searched for bins – there were only two bins left in one of the sizes I needed, so I grabbed them. They were sold out of all the other bins I need, and one can’t order them to ship. Which is why I sucked it up to do the Target run in the first place–because I couldn’t order the bins online. So I am SOL for bins in my budget. Picked up a few other staples, and checked out. Risked going across the street to Kmart – again, no bins. The store will close soon and it’s just. . .depleted and sad.

Home, decontaminated. I was out and about early enough so there were only about 5 other people in Target and two in Kmart, so I could stay far, far away.

Read, worked with the cats. Depressed myself looking at rental listings. Too many are overpriced crap. Allowed myself a quiet day. Leftovers for dinner.

Up early on Monday. Worked on a short story. I’m trying to do a short piece for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. They’re linked, but each stands alone. It’s an idea I have for next year. It’s also a way to get the creative juices flowing properly again.

Worked on the ghost ship story. I SHOULD have finished a draft over the holidays so I’d polish now. But I gave myself a rest.

Went to the office for a few hours. I was there on my own, as it should be, and got a lot done. Had to chase down the postman to take the package. Most of the post office workers around here are great, but this one guy on the office’s route – he’s arrogant, won’t wear a mask, and tries to get out of picking up or dropping off mail to us all the time. I can’t stand him.

Had dropped off books at the book drop in the morning. At least 3 dozen people wandering around on their “walks” – no masks, no distancing. It’s disgusting.

Home, had to take my mother to the doctor, which meant I had to put off the writing and editing planned. But she’s better, and that’s what matters

This morning, up early, worked on a short story. Went to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling, so we don’t start the new year with a garage full of garbage. Stopped at the grocery store for a few things – everyone’s sold out of leeks for the past two weeks. The world will not stop because I can’t make the leek and cheese pastries for New Year’s – I’ll make them later in January.

I’m getting ready to do some writing and editing, to catch up on yesterday, and then some client work in the afternoon. I started the day feeling pretty optimistic, but that melted away pretty quickly, and I have to work to get it back. I hope a good writing session will help.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Wed. December 24, 2020: Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Stormy and mild

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

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

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

I was happy to get home, decontaminate.

Remote chat was fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whichever way it works out, it will work out.

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

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

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