Fri. July 23, 2021: Sunshine!

image courtesy of Republica via pixabay.com

Friday, July 23, 2021

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Sunshine! And not too hot and humid. What a nice change. It was, however, cool enough to need a blanket in the night.

I got some work done yesterday morning, and script coverage out. Because the sun was out, we got into the car and drove to Williamstown (which is lovely, even during Festival), and then up to Bennington, VT. Bennington is a lovely town, with lots of great stuff in it (not to mention the college). We also stopped at a thrift store, and bought a lovely little teapot (because all my teapots are in storage, and we have an entire moving box with loose teas), two matching floral cups and saucers, and I found a blue and white Spode cup and saucer that I had to rescue, too.

Because you know how I am about orphaned china.

We drove back on 7 South, towards Pittsfield. It’s pretty, but it’s not a faster drive than Rt. 8. We did, however, find the Target in Lanesborough. I thought they were still building it. Turns out it is the only store in the Berkshire Mall. It’s like they built a mall, and nobody came. Supposedly, there are 22 stores in it, but it looked closed and empty, except for Target.

While I’d much rather buy from independent local stores, I still prefer Target to Walmart. We stocked up on some cleaning supplies, etc., then headed back on Rt. 8, swung by the liquor store, and got home just before another rainstorm hit.

My Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous, crystals and a lovely necklace, etc. My contributor copies for the 2022 WITCHES’ COMPANION also arrived. I’m excited to read it. Of course, I checked my article first, and it looks good. I also realized I never read all of this year’s COMPANION (which also has one of my pieces in it), so I’m reading through that, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Fish and chips for dinner, and then wrote up another script coverage. I have one more to write up this morning, and then I’m done for the weekend. I’m going to work on short articles for Llewellyn this morning, and then read the book for review this afternoon.

It might be nice enough to sit on the back balcony to read later, which would be nice. And I want to get some writing done on a fiction project.

The daily yoga is helping, although I’m still far too exhausted and in too much pain for this far past the move. We’re almost finished unpacking the kitchen, and I did a little work in the sewing room. There’s a dearth of electrical outlets (one per room), so it will be interesting to figure out how to run extension cords in a way that doesn’t cause people/cats to trip.

This weekend, I hope to get more unpacking done in my room and in my office. I can function in my office, but I want it to be a lovely, creative space. It has wonderful natural light. And the router is strong enough so I can work from anywhere in the house, so I can change up work spaces as I want.

Have a great weekend, my friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Wed. July 14, 2021: Allowing Myself Ease

image courtesy of PIRO4D via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

By this weekend, we are on track to have as much rain in the state in half a month as we usually get all summer. I’m glad it hasn’t been beastly hot, but it would be nice to see the sun every now and again.

Yesterday morning, I took the laundry down the street to the laundromat. This is the first time in my life I’ve lived in a building without laundry. There’s nothing wrong with the laundromat – it’s clean, it was mostly empty. But I hated it. I also hated that one of the machines ate my money without working. I will invoice the company for that.

The purchase of a stackable washer/dryer to put on the hookups in the laundry room in the apartment is on my list. It will probably be spring before I can afford it, and I can deal with the laundromat until then, but having my own laundry facilities is important.

When I came back, I was wiped out, for no good reason. I don’t understand why I can’t get my feet back under me. All I want to do is sleep.

So that’s what I did, most of the day. Slept. And re-read Terry Pratchett’s THE FIFTH ELEPHANT, which I’d taken with me to the laundromat.

This puts me behind in my work, and I have to make up for it today. But I needed the rest. I feel a little better today, especially after morning yoga and meditation. I found my zafu; I’m sitting in my bedroom for the moment, although I might set up a mediation space elsewhere.

My eyes are bothering me today, but that’s just too bad for me, because I have a lot of computer work to get done. Hopefully, I can participate in Remote Chat this afternoon. I’ve missed that group.

And maybe get a little unpacking done.

Working with Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION and writing in the journal first thing in the morning is helping, creatively. I can’t believe I’ve lost all my confidence in my ability to create anything. The moving stress knocked the stuffing out of me on multiple levels. The months of feeling like a failure because of obstacles in the moving process carried over into everything else. I have to break down those barricades and get back to my creative self. It exists in there, somewhere. I have to find a way to set it free, to give it space, and to get back to the dailiness of it. All of the projects I worked on pre-move seem so far removed, both physically and psychologically. I’ve never felt so disconnected from my creativity, especially the writing. The writing has always been like breathing to me, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to breathe.

So I’m working on breath in meditation, and hoping that leads me back to the page. It’s frightening to be in this place, but I can’t focus on the fear, but on the healing.

Patience. I have to be patient with myself. Six months’ worth of stress does not resolve in six days. Patience.

Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

Mon. March 8: International Women’s Day

image courtesy of Alberto H. Fabragas via pixabay.com

Instead of the usual intent of the week, I’m going to tell you about some of the extraordinary women about whom I’ve written for the 365 Women A Year playwrighting project over the last few years.

Imagine if society didn’t just pretend to value women on one day of the year? Imagine if they actually took action that proves they value women, including equal pay for equal work and non-toxic work environments.

Imagine if a woman’s value wasn’t tied to whether or not she CHOSE to have children, and both choices were given support?

Imagine if all the “administrative assistants” (who are mostly women) were given the recognition for the jobs they actually do and given the titles and pay of the do-nothing, useless executives for whom they work?

For many years, working my way up to Broadway, I worked as a temp in offices all around the country. Well over 200 companies over the decades. In all that time, I only met THREE ‘executives’ who actually did any work and weren’t a total waste of space, money, and time. Two of those individuals worked for the same company (and I worked for the pair of them).

Imagine what we could accomplish if the truly talented and those who did the work were given the money and support to do said work, instead of propping up those who don’t?

Now, to celebrate some of the extraordinary women about whom I’ve written:

Kate Warne. She was the first female Pinkerton. She walked into Allan Pinkerton’s office and told him she wanted to be a detective, and that women could get information that men couldn’t. She proved it, and became one of his top and most trusted operatives. She and her fellow Pinkertons often did large, theatrical, undercover operations. Among the cases were the Adams Express Embezzlement case (the case around which “Confidence Confidant” is based), where Kate posed as the wife of a forger to gain the confidence of the wife of an embezzler, and retrieve the money; a case where Kate posed as a medium to help kill a pair of lovers who’d poisoned the spouse of one of the pair, and was planning the murder of the other (I’m writing about that case this year in “A Rare Medium”). Kate was so popular as a medium that her clients were disconsolate when she solved the case and closed up shop. She helped smuggle Lincoln into Washington for his inauguration and thwart an assassination attempt. She helped bring down the Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow. She trained an entire division of Pinkerton women.

Jeanne de Clisson. In the 14th century, she became the pirate known as “The Lioness of Brittany.” The King of France wrongly accused (and executed) her husband for treason (I think it was her second husband; it might have been her third). At forty, after giving birth to seven children, she sold her land before it could be seized. She bought three ships, painted black with red sails, and became a pirate, only preying on French ships. She later fell in love with an Englishman, and retired to England. Her son, Olivier, became known at “The Butcher” and built the Château de Clisson in Brittany, which still stands today.

Giulia Tofana. A 17th century herbalist, she developed and perfected Aqua Tofana, a poison used to free women from their abusive husbands by turning them into widows. She had a tight circle of apprentices, and they are thought to have poisoned at least 600 people. The formula has never been recovered. Supposedly, Mozart thought he’d been dosed with it. Stories differ as to whether the fanatical Wilrich von Daun actually killed her while she was in sanctuary, or whether she escaped and retired to a convent.

Lavinia Fontana. She was a painter in Renaissance Bologna, one of the first to negotiate commissions like a man would. She was supported and promoted by a cadre of powerful Bolognese society women, several of whom ran their husbands’ businesses. She married a man who took her name and took care of their many children while she worked.

Canaletto’s Sisters. The Venetian painter Caneletto had three sisters: Fiorenza, who married, and whose son became a court painter in Austria and Germany, his work often confused with Canaletto’s; Francesca, and Viena, who never married. Not much is known about them, other than they were smart, lively, and devoted to their talented brother. Canaletto started his career painting stage sets, part of a family renown for theatre stage design.

Isabella Goodwin. She was the first female NYPD detective, and her work was as much about improving women’s lives as fighting crime. Like Kate Warne, she enjoyed theatrical undercover work. She was widowed young. Her husband was a cop, killed in the line of duty, and she went into police work to provide for their children. By all accounts, she was much better at it than her husband. Later in life, she married a younger man, a singer, and her final case involved medical fraud.

Susanna Centlivre. She was one of the most popular 18th century playwrights of her day. She posed as a boy to attend Cambridge; when she was discovered, she joined touring theatres as an actress, and then became a playwright. Her satires were popular, and she was part of a lively group of writers and artists. She married a “yeoman of the mouth” – one of Queen Anne’s favorite cooks, and the stability of that marriage supported her writing.

Who am I writing about this year? More Kate Warne plays, dramatizing some of her other cases. A play about Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker, two of my favorite writers (who weren’t particularly fond of each other). Marie Correlli, born Mary McKay, a popular Victorian novelist.

Among my earliest heroines were Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are two of the reasons I became a writer.

Who are the women who inspire you?

Tues. Jan. 12, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 237 — Chop Wood, Carry Water, in Spite of What’s Going On

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Well, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? I guess 2021 really is saying “Hold my beer” to 2020.

I have a post on reading goals up over on A Biblio Paradise.

I spent a good deal of time over the past few days in touch with my Congress people – telling them I am glad they are safe, but also encouraging them to take swift action. It is repulsive that those behind the domestic terrorism are still in power.

In the vein of chop wood, carry water, having to get on with daily life, I spent time working on the article – almost all the quotes have come in. I noodled on the book proposal, and am not sure I can get it done by deadline. I have the end game in my head fairly clearly, but getting there is a struggle.

Did a lot of laundry, especially the holiday fabric. Put away more decorations, and managed to get everything into the Christmas closet. Still have to pack the fabric, take down the ribbons and roll them, and take the wax out of a few pieces of fabric.

I did not clear out any boxes from the basement, with the packing away of holiday décor, so I have to make up for that this week.

Sunday, I rested. I was tired, body and soul. I read nearly all day, and that was great. I didn’t read anything I was supposed to read, just things I wanted to read.

Yesterday, I was in the office on my own, as it should be. Got a lot done. Got ahead on next week’s ad/mailing. I need to update my B2B/B2C sample document. The new samples came in, and I’ve started processing them. That always takes extra work, but it will be worth it. They look good, and putting together line sheets/pricing/getting them out to the reps is a big deal.

Home, decontaminated, in touch with my Congress people’s staffs, got some reading done. More quotes came in for the article, and I’m working on structure.

Can start to put the book proposal on paper today (well, on screen, anyway).

The Direct Cash Relief payments showed up, much to my surprise. I was about to contact my Congress people to ask why the IRS had the right to hold them hostage until we filed our tax returns, but I guess that wasn’t the case, after all.

The Goddess Provisions box finally showed up and it was lovely. Soul-soothing.

The only outstanding shipment is the first box of books from the contest, which was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but has been delayed. Once it gets here, I will start reading contest entries every day, along with everything else (will be up late reading every night until May – which is a good thing). In the meantime, I will read my book for review in the next couple of days, get that out, and get started on the next book for review.

Some more article ideas are percolating; once I get this article out, I will work on more pitches. Will get a bunch of LOIs out today, I hope.

Had a bunch of responses to LOIs wanting free, project-specific samples, which isn’t happening. Had one company try to get me to sign an NDA for an interview. It was one of the more insulting NDAs I’ve ever read, and I would have been an idiot to sign it. Not to mention the demand for free work on top of it. I countered with my test/sample agreement, and the changes they’d have to make to the NDA in order for me to sign it and they sputtered, so I said thanks, but no thanks, and moved on.

I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I have decades of experience. They can shove their demands for free labor right up their collective ass.

Today will focus on writing, over an array of several projects, and then the Knowledge Unicorns reconvene tonight. We have a lot to talk about.

Have a great day, friends! Let’s work for justice, so we can have peace. Otherwise, things will just get worse.

Wed. July 15, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 56 — Running (Metaphorically)

horses-1759214_1920
image courtesy of Conquero via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Short post, because I’m running late this morning.

Long post on reinventing work over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Up early yesterday, got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did an early morning Target run. Everyone masked, distancing, pleasant. Took a lot of stress out of the experience. Stocked up on cleaning supplies. I think we’re good for about 4 months.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. LOIs, client work. More ads.

Finished, polished, and sent off the article that was due. Hope it’s what the editor wants. Will start the other article, for the almanac, tomorrow.

Headed in to work onsite for a few hours today. I need to get ad approvals from the client, and get a few other things done.

Feeling pressured on a couple of fronts, but the work itself is fine. But I’m behind on a few other things.

Remote Chat today, which is fun. Need to get some coursework done, too.

More tomorrow – gotta fun!

Published in: on July 15, 2020 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 15, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 56 — Running (Metaphorically)  
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Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts

Friday, May 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid and raining

Yesterday went better than expected, but was still exhausting.

Loaded the car with two months’ worth of recycling, masked up, and headed for the dump. Got there just as they were opening. Long line to get rid of trash, but I was one of the first to make it to the recycling area.

Everyone was masked, as required. We parked leaving three spaces between us, and gave each other plenty of room. People were cheerful and talked back and forth – I think we were all glad to talk to someone.

Much less stressful than I expected.

Although, as I was leaving, I saw cars pulling up close to each other and people not being so careful.

I have a feeling they’ll have to shut it all down again in a few weeks, so I’m glad I got our stuff out. I got everything into one car load – a BIG car load, but it was still everything. I will try to go back in two weeks with whatever’s been accumulated, so I can keep as much out before they shut down again as possible.

Because I’m NOT going to be like the spoiled brats who were tossing recycling in with the trash. If we were in NYC, all piled up with no room, it’s understandable. But here? Most people have plenty of room and can hang on to their recycling for a few weeks.

Headed over to Trader Joe’s. Line wasn’t too long. It moved pretty fast, but I realized that I’m going to need sunscreen to go grocery shopping in the future. Standing in line in the sun is going to require sunscreen. Everyone was masked, as required, distanced, and the mood was pretty upbeat. The staff was friendly and wonderful as usual, it was well-stocked. They rearrange things when they can’t restock, so you don’t see expanses of empty shelves. You just realize you can’t find what you were looking for!

I bought more than I intended, but that’s okay. I won’t have to go out for anything except milk and bread for two weeks, and I might risk the local convenience store for that. Unless I see people in there unmasked.

Got everything home, went through full disinfectant protocol (disinfecting every item, putting bags into quarantine, stripping down and tossing clothes into the washer, showering).

Even though it all took less time than I expected, it was still most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Talk about mask preparedness—when I go out, I’m wearing a mask, I carry a spare, and I wear a scarf that I can pull up if everything else fails.

I also realized I need more masks. Four isn’t enough. So that’s on the agenda this weekend. More mask-making.

Our neighbors (the ones who do the Driveway Dinner Parties) dropped off a note saying they were worried about us. While that’s sweet, I wonder why. Because we don’t have people coming in and out all the time like they do? We’re not socializing. We’re fine. But I appreciated the kindness and dropped off a note thanking them.

Got some client work done, but not enough, so I have to put in a few hours today.

Edward Robb Ellis’s diary is delightful. His writing about the Depression is an eerie echo of what’s happening now, although people now are acting much more like spoiled brats.

The local media’s coverage of what’s going on is distorted. What’s in the papers and what I witness daily as a resident are far apart. For one thing, it’s completely one-sided. Only business owners and companies are being interviewed. Not the people who are actually in harm’s way working and dealing with the public. Business owners are whining that Memorial Day weekend, business was 66% down. Well, maybe that’s because businesses aren’t supposed to be open yet, except for essentials and some curbside pickups. They’re acting like the long-term rentals, which are the only ones that are supposed to be happening (31 days or more) are a bad thing, and that the dozens of short-term weekend rentals aren’t happening under the table (which they completely are, putting everyone who lives and works here at risk, because those coming in for the weekend aren’t quarantining and aren’t following protocols).

Gee, local media, owned by corporate “media companies” are lying to us. What a surprise. Yes, sarcasm.

Even if workers spoke off the record, local “journalists” wouldn’t protect their sources. Because that doesn’t happen here. Because they know the employers, and would either put in enough personal detail to out the source, or tell a friend or neighbor they “trust” who the source is, knowing it will get back to the employer and there will be retaliation.

Because that’s the way it works here.

Oh, and the best thing about calling the bridge traffic “light”? Yeah, I suppose being backed up for three hours is lighter than seven hours. But there shouldn’t be enough traffic to back it up AT ALL. We are still in Phase One.

The irony is that these are the same people, whining about not enough tourists, who wanted to shut down the bridges and the entire Cape to all but residents in March and have checkpoints at both bridges. Now, when it’s no safer, they want to let in too many people too quickly to put everyone at risk.

You can’t have It both ways, boo.

How about this, as we rebuild the future of work? If you won’t pay a living wage and provide safe conditions, you don’t get to have employees. Do the work your damn self. Or you have to work for someone else, who hopefully provides a better wage and safer working conditions than you were willing to provide.

An organization promoting local businesses is talking about having a “fair” this summer. Seriously? How irresponsible is that?  There’s no way to make sure people follow protocols. Not only would I not attend such an event, I would then avoid vendors who participated, because I’d worry both they and their merchandise were contaminated.

This marketing that we “owe” it to go out and shop? Nope. My first priority is the health and safety of my family. If you allow other customers to act irresponsibly in order to get a few bucks from them, you’re not getting my money. If I feel confident that you are following protocols, and your customers are, too (and those who aren’t must leave), then I will shop there. If I see irresponsible behavior without consequence, I won’t. And, if I witness the latter, I probably won’t come back, even when it’s safe.

I’m focused on the necessities. I’m focused on working as much as I can SAFELY, because who knows when the work will dry up with 25% of the population currently unemployed.

The entire concept of “work” and “labor” has to be rebuilt in order to rebuild the economy, and part of that is dismantling current corporate structure.

I also think, during reopening, that any company that requires employees onsite dealing with the public has to have its executives and management pulling shifts with the same risks.

In the Governor’s daily noon briefing, he talked about how the numbers are going down and we are past the surge. Yet when the daily numbers came out late in the afternoon, there were 100 more cases in the past 24 hours than in the previous day (from low 500s to high 600s) and about 30 more deaths than there had been the previous day (from low 60s to mid-90s). Is this a one day uptick, or are the numbers going to steadily climb again? I suspect the latter, although I hope I’m wrong. I’m not sure I trust the numbers being released, either.

Switching to happier things, the cat playpen arrived. It’s an excellent design. It’s like a strong tent, with a solid floorcovering (although flexible), pops up, and has netted sides. Its arrival meant that we had to put the flea and tick medicine on all three cats. Charlotte, who I thought would have a nervous breakdown, didn’t care. Tessa didn’t like it. Willa rolled around, trying to rub it off on the carpet.

Charlotte was the most interested in the playpen, so she went out in it first. She didn’t freak out, but the world is too big out there, and she’d rather observe through a window.

Brought her in and took Willa out next. Willa was interested, and likes all the smells. She’s the one who’s been slithering out when we open the door, so I wanted to give her a way to be outside but safe. She kind of liked it, although she doesn’t like to be confined.

So far, Tessa wants nothing to do with it. Tessa’s good on the deck, but there’s so much chaos getting her back into the house that I am only willing to carry her in and out when she’s in the playpen at this point.

But it has to be HER idea to go into it the first time.

It’s bigger than I expected, but that seems to be a theme with recent orders.

The riots are not surprising. There has to be a reaction to the increased open racism. Also, it’s completely inappropriate the way the protesters in Minneapolis were treated, but the WHITE domestic terrorists in Michigan, occupying the state capitol, were allowed a free pass.

Meanwhile, we have over 100,000 dead and 25% of the population unemployed. While the Sociopath laughs and dances and claps his hands with glee (unmasked), golfs, and threatens Twitter.

In World War II, we were part of an alliance to keep fascism from taking over the world. If we don’t take back our country, we will be the enemy the way Nazi Germany was. Because there’s only so long the world can let this continue.

I have some client work today that I was too exhausted to do yesterday. Must get it done this morning.

Then some more writing, and I want to work on cleaning out another stack of boxes from the basement.

One eye on the world, in despair. The other focusing on chopping wood and carrying water.

Have a good weekend all. I wish you peace.

Published in: on May 29, 2020 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts  
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Wed. May 13: StayTheFHome Day 49: Creativity and Exhaustion

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I had a new post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, but I took it down because it wasn’t really helpful. I will try to come up with a better one and get it up later today.

Yesterday was an overly-long work day. I am on the edge of burnout. I’m hoping I can make it to the Memorial Day weekend, because I intend to take some time off and do nothing except sit outside and read, and write if I feel like it.

Not only am I working long hours, but the clients for whom I’m working insist that I’m not working, and they resent paying me to do nothing – even when the results are coming in that prove otherwise. So I’m feeling burned out, overworked, underappreciated.

Too bad for me, right? At least I’m still alive.

Yesterday started pretty well, though. I had excellent writing sessions on two different projects, and I’m happy with the way both are going. The band name “Orgasmic Clowns” turned up, and at first, it looked like they would be a part of one of the novels, but now I think I need to make them their own piece.

I got admin work done, some bills paid, put in another Chewy order. I’m frustrated because an order from Target went astray via UPS and neither entity wants to do anything about it. I’m still having Comcast issues, and the only “fix” they provide is something I’ve done before that only makes everything worse.

But at least my stamps arrived, so I can write more cards!

There’s a new logo for the Topic Workbooks, that needs a bit of tweaking, but I like it. Instead of having all the covers uniform with different titles, I’m getting new covers and using the logo at the bottom. Once I have all the covers, I’m going to pull them off Smashwords and put them through Draft2 Digital. I also want a new cover for 30 Tips for 30 Days. I don’t like it.

I have to get some promotional material posted via Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for the books on sale, and I need to finish the Trinity of Teasers free download that I want available in either mid-June or early July.

A writer friend who misses writing in coffee shops set up a bistro table and chairs in her house, and writes there, drinking from her travel mug and playing music. Sometimes she put the TV on in another room to simulate conversation around her. And she’s grateful not to be in a tiny NYC apartment, where her bistro table was once the only table that fit in the place! I love that idea and that image, and may need to use it in a story.

So at least I’m feeling creative, even if I’m exhausted.

I got out five LOIs yesterday, and go responses back on four. All of which have turned me off to the companies, but best to cut it off now than waste time. This idea that I should be willing to trot into an unsafe office full of germy strangers is simply not happening.

Got a lot of client work done on a big project. Will get a little more done today, but it won’t be ready until next week. By tomorrow, I will have used up the allotted time for the week, and I’m not working for free.

Today, I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I had two excellent first writing sessions this morning, on two different novels, and a frustrating computer update on a computer I’ve had less than a week.

Peace, my friends, and be well.

Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and cold

Mercury went direct yesterday, thank goodness. So I’m feeling a bit more optimistic, at least for the moment.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on what is, and isn’t, happening in the garden.

Went in to my client’s early, so I could finish off a few things before we took a colleague to lunch for her birthday. We went to The Black Cat, down by the waterfront in Hyannis, and had a lot of fun. The food was good, too.

It was bucketing down with cold rain, the kind that gets into your bones when it hits. Came home, relaxed for awhile, played with the cats.

Then, we did a big vacuum and floor mop. The guy comes to look at putting in a new furnace today, and we have to talk to the landlord about a couple of leaks that sprung in the bathroom and kitchen. I still have some more tidying to do this morning.

Spent some time with Tessa upstairs. She wants to stop being confined to one room. If she’s ready to make friends with Willa and Charlotte, that can happen. Tomorrow, I will spend a couple of hours working in my room, with the door cracked open, and we will see how those supervised introductions/playtimes go.

Started watching the German production of the BRUNETTI series, based on Donna Leon’s novels. It’s very strange to watch German and Scandinavian actors speaking German on a piece set in Italy, where they’re supposed to be Italian. But, overall, it’s very well done, and the Venice locations are fantastic. I will be very disappointed if I do some research on the production and find that some other place is substituting for Venice!

Up early this morning. Worked on the proofread. I’m at the last big push. I hope to get it to my editor today or tomorrow.

Library time, then back to work on the revisions of “Confidence Confidant” that have to go out ASAP, and on “Pier-less Crime.” I hope to get a lot done before the landlord and the furnace guy come to walk around, sigh, shake their heads, and waste my time. Look at it, measure, write it down, make a decision.

But perhaps I’m being unfair, and tomorrow, I will need to post an apology.

I want to spend some time this afternoon working with the cats.

Tomorrow, I have a lot of errands to get done AND writing AND library time AND cat time, and who knows what will come out of today’s meeting — how much do you want to bet they’re going to swap out the furnace next week, at the worst possible time? I’m working long days at a client’s Monday and Tuesday.

I shouldn’t borrow trouble. I should just see what they say and then handle it. After all, it’s better to replace the furnace before it conks out than be stuck without heat in the middle of a blizzard.

And I’m glad they didn’t try to do this during Mercury Retrograde!

Reading the book for the online book club from my alma mater. I’m reading the comments and the posts. There are more men than women in the group, but the men try to dominate the conversations. The book we’re reading is by a man. There’s a choice by a woman for the next go-round that I think would be really good, but the men in the group are pushing for a man’s book because it’s “important.” Um, the woman’s book about family dynamics is also IMPORTANT. Stand down, bro, and if this is the way the club is run, it is the WRONG place for me.

On a positive note, a second jury found Dr. Scott Daniel Warren, of No More Deaths, not guilty yesterday in Arizona. The government prosecuted him (twice now) for leaving water out for immigrants in the desert. Since the government’s current policy is concentration camps and human trafficking when it comes to non-whites, they put Warren on trial TWICE for being a decent, compassionate human being and walking his spiritual path.

Twice, now, juries have found him not guilty. Being a decent human being should NEVER be considered a crime. The whole exercise in justifying cruelty is appalling.

Let’s hope these impeachment hearings actually get some momentum to get these corrupt, self-serving traitors OUT.

So Microsoft Office 365 had a global outage yesterday. Not a surprise. Again, I don’t want my life run by apps, not do I want to be forced on be online all the time. I work and live OFF LINE. I want to CHOSE when to go online to send things out or interact. Stop forcing me, and then charging me, and then it either doesn’t work or you cut me off because you decide I’m not rich enough to get service. The inequity in technology has to be addressed — and solved.

I’m working on my 2020 plan, with room for flexibility, but targets for what I want to do. I like having a plan, even when I have to change it along the way.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Published in: on November 21, 2019 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments  
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Mon. April 15, 2019: Make the World a Better Place #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, April 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Tax Day
Patriot’s Day in MA

 

Yeah, Jupiter Retrograde on Tax Day. Isn’t that fun? We already know anyone who actually works for a living is getting screwed out of a refund, while the richest get yet another break.

Week 3 of our month about “Make the World a Better Place” focuses on how to do so at work.

Many of us, as writers, work on our own or remotely. We started making our home a better place last week; this week, we make our work a better place, even if we work from home.

Others of us work outside of the home in whatever fields we work in when we’re not writing.

Work situations can be toxic, especially if we’re in a position where we can’t immediately leave a bad situation. Also, remember that everyone has bad days. Sometimes people are thoughtless or exhausted or overwhelmed and lash out. WE all need to practice a certain amount of forgiveness and give each other some breathing room. When it becomes a detrimental pattern, then you have to choose which action you take further, but remember that you will have bad days, and your co-workers have bad days, so try to approach the work situation with compassion.

So, how do you make wherever you work a better place?

Here are some things I have found that help. Try them or don’t, as you please:

Come in with a smile and a cheerful greeting. It makes a difference. People will start associating you with a pleasant start to the day.
Answer the phone sounding cheerful. Again, that makes a difference. It can also diffuse a tense situation if the other person has a gripe.
Have a small item you can put in your workspace that personalizes it. Some places don’t want you to personalize your workspace. Unless it’s a safety issue, I suggest finding another job as soon as possible, because, in my experience, it means they are trying to dehumanize their employees. But a small stone or shell or photo or mug or something that is uniquely YOU that you can put in your space when you arrive and then tuck back in your bag when you leave also ritualizes the work day. You put it down, and it helps indicate you’re starting work. You put it away, and this portion of your day is finished. Even if you work at home, entering the space where you work and performing a specific action to start and end your day makes a big difference.
Listen to your co-workers and learn about them. Pay attention. REMEMBER what is said in conversations. I worked with someone who, whether it was personal or work-related, would constantly say, “You can’t expect me to remember that.” Yes, I can. If I relay information you need for your task, remembering it or writing it down so you can refer to it later is called being professional. If it’s something personal, then it’s called being a decent human being. (Note: I no longer interact with this person at ALL, thank goodness).
Know what’s going on in your field. Read internal newsletters and reports. Read external information about the profession. Know what’s happening, what’s changing, what’s phased out. Be that valuable reference who knows the pulse of your profession. Relay appropriate information where it will do the most good.
Communicate with clarity and precision. Take good notes, especially in phone conversations. Send a summary of the phone conversation by email immediately after, stating that you will proceed on your understanding of the next steps based on this summary, unless you hear otherwise within one business day. Documentation is vital, and accurate documentation saves a lot of agony down the line.
Avoid passive aggressive behavior in yourself and call it out in others. You can say, “If something is bothering you, please let me know instead of expecting me to guess.” If it continues to be a problem, go to a supervisor for a discussion. In my experience, more sabotage and harm on both personal and professional levels is done through passive aggressive behavior than through direct attack.
Be honest without being cruel. If you disagree with something, or you find something unethical or unacceptable, calmly and clearly speak up using a positive language as possible. Don’t let an aggressor trap you into an argument. Remember that you can say “no” without a qualifier. “No” means “no.” If challenged, you have the option to say, “Because my answer is no.”
Be kind whenever possible. As we discussed in our work on kindness a few weeks ago, kindness is not weakness. It’s the opposite. As mentioned above, everyone has bad days. When a co-worker is struggling, sometimes even a kind word makes all the difference.

We spend so much time with our co-workers; even remote workers have to deal with people more often than we sometimes wish!

But when we remember that every word and every action has an impact on our co-workers, when we take that extra beat to think before we speak, we can make a positive difference.

Published in: on April 15, 2019 at 6:50 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Waxing Moon

Woke up yesterday morning at 1:30 with a blaring headache, due to the incoming storm, and had trouble getting back to sleep.

The storm hadn’t hit by the time I left for client work; but I figured I might have to leave early to get safely home.

Was shocked to find out that a Twitter pal died on Saturday night. We’d had a few exchanges earlier in the day, when she was sitting in the ER. We’d cyber-met because of politics, and she was witty and incisive and had a huge heart. She will be missed. Another Twitter pal is writing a song in her memory.

Reworking the second half of the radio play is making it stronger. It will be ready to go out at the end of the week.

Working on the monologues. I want to test at least one of them next week, at an open mic, but right now, the monologues need more work. They’re not sharp enough. The softer edge gives a whiny quality that I don’t want.

Working on the review, and on contest entries. Have to finish with a book on Canaletto and his patrons today — it’s due back tomorrow to the Commonwealth Catalogue, and I can’t renew it.

Client work yesterday and today. Wore me out. I’m working on new page for the Fearless Ink site, about social media training and social media packages.

Speaking of Fearless Ink, there’s a new post up about Tools and Resources.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short  
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Fri. Dec. 1, 2017: Early Mercury Madness

Friday, December 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m already having Mercury Retrograde issues, and all I want to do is hide until it’s over.

Yesterday, I did some running around and bill paying. I should have done yard work, but I was too tired.

I did manage to get some work done on the tree, though. It’s almost decorated. Of course, we still have to do the rest of the hosue! 😉

This morning, I had an early appointment for a basic, no frills oil change. Then, they try to pressure me to get the inspection done. I said no. They said they were doing it anyway. Then they tell me I need new wipers and two new tires, or they won’t give me a new inspection sticker. I told them the only thing happening today was the damn oil change. They gave me a quote in writing which sounded ridiculous. I got my damn oil change and left.

I hate being bullied, and when I say “no”, it means no. Can I just say how tired I am of male mechanics treating me like I’m a moron?

I emailed my regular car people up in Plymouth, the three generations of family who always look after four generations, and asked them for another quote. I’m also doing some other research. I’m not going to be pressured or bullied.

I am, however, angry.

Then, hit with a pending car expense I wasn’t expecting, I still had to run the rest of my errands. Got my 2018 calendars, thank goodness, because there’s stuff to write in them.

Went to another store to do a bit of shopping, and, although I bought stuff clearly marked “Buy One Get One Free”, it wasn’t ringing up. The cashier sent me to customer service, who tried to sell me that I’d Buy One Get One Half Off. But that’s NOT what the sign said. I am fully capable of comprehensive reading. It’s what I do. We took a walk, I pointed out the sign, she agreed, and then tried some weird math, which I corrected, and then she nearly “forgot” to refund the difference. Um, no. I may not be a math genius, but I can figure that out.

Took an hour, but it got sorted.

A full moon meditation is going up on the Cerridwen’s Cottage site for this weekend.

Let me re-emphasize how much I am NOT looking forward to this Mercury Retrograde.

Have to double down on yard work, decorating, and writing this weekend.

On top of that, I have a client who just went into breach of contract for a payment not arriving. This is the one where, every month, I’m tapping my foot wondering if and when it will come in. Within the next few months, I plan to replace this unreliable client with a reliable one.

Think good thoughts for me.

If I let myself, the upcoming Mercury Retrograde will be one furious howl. So I’ll try to restrain myself! 😉

Published in: on December 1, 2017 at 11:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 1, 2017: Early Mercury Madness  
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Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes.

I got some news that shocked, then angered, then disappointed me late on Monday. I can’t discuss it fully yet; I’m not trying to be cryptic, but I need to order my thoughts and come up with potential solutions. Otherwise, the blog entry will be a single wail of despair, and that’s just boring.

It makes me feel as though the whole past year, where I felt I was gaining some real ground, was for naught.

On the other hand, the time wasn’t wasted, because I learned a lot.

But I have to talk to the other people immediately affected, and we have to come to decisions.

I hope you enjoyed Rhonda Pollero’s piece over on A Biblio Paradise. If you didn’t get the chance to read it yet, please hop on over now and do.

Also, click on over to Kemmyrk, where there’s a piece up about Kami of the Hearth, and some musings about the Two of Pentacles in the Tarot.

I’m amazed I didn’t wake up with a massive hangover yesterday morning. After Monday night, all I wanted to do was to curl up and stay in bed, oh, I don’t know, until the end of the year!

But Tuesday is the day of Mars, of Tyr, a time to get out there and get things done. So I did.

I voted yesterday. We had some local election stuff to deal with around here. Frankly, I didn’t want to vote for either candidate for Town Council. Neither of them bothered to get to know their constituents. They consider themselves “well known” in the area. All that happened was that a bunch of lawn signs went up last week. I have no idea where they stand on anything that affects me. But I went and voted anyway, for the candidate with alliances most likely to align with what I want. And you can damn well bet I’m going to be a huge pain in the winner’s neck with demands that I’m represented. There were also votes on ballot questions that had gotten very little attention. Fortunately, someone in the parking lot handed out information that was useful.

I’m sure turnout will be low; but I didn’t care. It’s my responsibility to vote. Those who ignore said responsibility need to STFU. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve forfeited their right to complain. As flawed as our system is, especially the way the right is trying to move us back before the 1860s, it’s what we have, and it’s our responsibility to do things like vote and serve on jury duty.

I’m trying to reframe Monday’s news and turn it into something positive. It’s an obstacle, but a new direction might be a better one, although I wish it had waited until AFTER the holiday season.

It throws off my schedule for the next couple of years, but, if I make the right decision moving forward, it will pay off. I have to remember the sage advice — don’t make decisions when you’re upset. I need to gather my information, look at my options, and make the most informed decision I can.

Of course, that little voice tells me that’s what I did in the first place, and look where it got me.

It got me some confidence, in spite of the disappointment.

Spent the bulk of the day onsite with a client.

 

Published in: on November 8, 2017 at 3:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t  
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