Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Thurs. May 19, 2022: Decent Day, Creatively

image courtesy of Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday turned out to be a strong day, creatively. I wrote a flash fiction piece while I ate breakfast (which I don’t usually do, but I didn’t want to lose the idea). Yes, it was in longhand.

It has characters with whom I might do more. I’m kind of test driving these characters, and will probably post the piece on my Ko-fi page in a few weeks, after it’s gone through some revisions.

I was out the door by 7:30 and over to the mechanic’s on time. They had the part, and got it into the car within twenty minutes or so. The car feels like itself again. Fingers crossed the car is really fixed this time, and nothing else goes wrong.

On the way home, I stopped at Wild Oats, the co-op where I’m a member-owner. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go there since December. Stocked up on some of my favorites. Stopped at Stop & Shop, where I rarely shop anymore, for a few things I can only get there. In both stores, everyone was masked by choice, which made shopping much less stressful.

Got everything home and put away. Went through emails. Did the last four chapters’ worth of revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, finishing this draft. It came in just over 63K, which is around where I want it. I’m going to let it sit for a bit, and next week, start the multi-colored draft.

I contacted the Williamstown Historical Museum about a research appointment that will feed into the Retro Mystery. I’d like to go in this Friday morning. Fingers crossed that I can. I caught up on Ello and am getting more comfortable on Counter Social, where I’m having actual conversations.

I have contradictory information about the guidelines for one of the proposals I want to submit, and I need clarification, because if one set of information is correct, it’s not the right fit for me, and I will move on. I’m debating the other proposal, because it has to be in-person indoors in the autumn, and who knows what the virus numbers will be like?

And now we have to worry about monkeypox? Really? Committing to being a professional recluse looks better and better.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then went back to reading THE BONE ORCHARD, which was hard to put down, because it’s so unique and interesting. Read it until I was finished, and was still thinking about it when I woke up.

Tessa rousted me around 5:30, as usual, although she’d been fussing a good deal before that.

Did my first writing session, and my normal routine. Willa seems to have settled down a bit, although she’s still being cautious.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. The Big Project, work on the radio plays, maybe looking at the outline for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY to get that back on track. I have a script to turn around this afternoon, and a book to read for review. If I get enough scripts in my queue, I’ll read through the weekend, since I want to take some time off for Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s supposed to get into the 90’s this weekend, which I am not looking forward to, but be cooler and pleasanter next week.

Fingers crossed that the car is Really Fixed this time. That will take a lot of stress out of my life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. May 18, 2022: Willa Had a Hard Day

image courtesy of Scott Payne via pixabay.com. This looks very much like Willa, although it is a stock photo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday had to be re-jiggled a bit, because the cats got upset, poor things.

We did a final house clean early in the morning, and I got the garbage out just as the gas company guy and the maintenance guy arrived. Since the focus was the basement, and then the gas stove in the kitchen, we closed the bedroom doors, the door to the laundry room, etc. We made sure the cats weren’t shut away in any of the rooms, because they hate that. They want to know what’s going on.

They also don’t like closed doors.

Tessa was fine about it. She marched around to check the doors, glared at us, and then settled on the sofa. Her Highness refused to acknowledge our existence until late afternoon.

Charlotte wasn’t too pleased, but she made sure she met the newcomers and they told her she was pretty, and then she went in m office and sat on a chair until everything was finished.

Willa, who is usually the mellow jokester, was the one who nearly fell apart. She thought she was being given away again. She was frantic. When she was moved, all those times before she came to us, the people she was leaving must have shut the doors to the rooms where she usually hung out.

Now, the guys who came in were perfectly nice and cat lovers.

But the closed doors triggered Willa.

They were in and out in less than a half hour. But it took several hours to calm Willa down. She was Velcro kitty, and sat quietly close by, staring as if to say, “If I’m very quiet and good, you won’t give me away, will you?” We kept petting her and telling her she was good and everything was okay, but she didn’t believe us, even after we re-opened all the doors. Charlotte promptly curled up on my bed and passed out until late afternoon, and Tessa refused to have anything to do with us, because her routine was upended without her being consulted. But Willa was absolutely terrified.

It was heartbreaking.

So we took whatever time it took to reassure her. It was late afternoon before she was back to her silly self.

I worked through a ton of email. I sent out a W-9 to the theatre doing my radio play next week, and they are eager for more. As soon as I get the two plays for the NY producer ready, I will go back to work on the dirigible play for them.

I sent off the autopay authorization to Prime Storage. I bet they still screw things up for this next pay period. They are horrid.

I caught up over on Ello. I posted a flash fiction, “Angel Auditions” over on Ko-Fi. I tried to figure out how to maneuver on Counter Social.

I contacted Windsor Lake about getting the season pass and found out I can just get it at the gate house starting Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m delighted.

Edited three more chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Four more to go, and I’m done with this draft. Then, I can start the multi-colored draft. I think it will only need one draft after that, and I can decide what to do with it.

A script landed in my queue that needed immediate turnaround. It was pretty good, and I got it done in good time. I have two more to read today. I’m a little worried by the dearth of scripts lately. Thank goodness I had so many at this time last year, when I was desperate for the money. I still have other paid work to finish this week, so I don’t have to worry about the lack of scripts.

The night blooming jasmine finally arrived (the shippers sent a new one to replace the one which had gone astray). It’s much smaller than I expected, but I had a pot the right size for it, and it’s happy in its new home on the front porch.

The weather was wacky, alternating between sun and rain, sometimes raining while sunny, so I had to take down the hanging baskets so they wouldn’t get battered.

THE DRUID PLANT ORACLE and the ASK THE WITCH TAROT both arrived. The former is absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to working with it and learning it over the coming months. The latter is much harsher than I expected from the blurbs, but also quite fascinating.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Hard to believe next week will be our last.

I have a couple of project proposals to work on, too, and I have to get my profile up on the Creative Ground site. And get back to work on The Big Project. I’m woefully behind where I want to be on that, although it’s in good shape.

But first, this morning, I have to head over to the mechanic to get the car fixed. Hopefully, it will be Really Fixed this time, and we can start our day trips. And run basic errands without holding my breath all the time.

I’m finding THE BONE ORCHARD absolutely fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Off to the mechanic soon. Hold a good thought for me. Hopefully, it won’t take long, and I can get back to start my workday. Have a good one!

Tues. May 17, 2022: This, That, and Other

image courtesy of monicore via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and cool

So it was Mercury Retrograde chaotic. Friday morning, after my first writing session on the porch, I decided to do the script coverage in the morning, so I’d have a longer weekend, but it all took longer than expected. Plus, it took an hour to get the computer limping along again. I also cleaned out the refrigerator, which was a bigger job than I expected, but it’s clean and shiny and we got rid of those bits and bobs that tend to take up residence in the back of the shelves and morph into scary monsters.

By afternoon, I was tired, even though the work wasn’t that difficult. I read on the porch, played with the cats, fussed over the plants. We’re having wasp issues this year, again. I managed to kill one of them; according to MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL, I can use sugar water to get rid of them. If it continues to be an issue, that is what I will do.

I was actually happy for most of the day. I’ve been almost afraid to be happy since the move, afraid the other shoe would drop and something else awful would happen. But we are happy here. This was the right move. We love the home, we enjoy the city, there’s a lot for which to be grateful and to enjoy every day. I need to allow myself to experience that instead of being afraid of it.

My mom turned over her winter clothes for her summer clothes. Willa “helped” – which was pretty hilarious.

I made a simple dinner of breaded flounder, rice, and steamed vegetables for dinner, and we had gelato for dessert. Time to stock up on the gelato!

Rough night again of strange dreams and waking up with stress memory. Charlotte has decided she prefers to sleep either stretched out along my back or curled up against my chest. Which is sweet, except it’s a little too hot for that. That’s more of a winter thing!

Up early on Saturday, another sunny and hot day. I wrote on the porch, with Tessa for company. After yoga, I switched out the flannel sheets for bamboo sheets, and switched out the comforters.

McAfee forced me to renew the virus protection (nearly a month early). They gave me a “discount” and then I had to uninstall the old version and install the new version and restart the computer (which was having screen freezes anyway). When it all got fired up again – every screen looks completely different. Every feature runs differently. I assume that’s part of Windows11. I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet – I mean, it’s a sleeker, more modern look – but it’s different and I have to get used to it.

Did a bunch of paperwork that had to go out on Monday. Signed up for Counter Social. I’m @DevonEllington over there.

Usual Saturday housework stuff.

If you missed the Self-Care for Mercury Retrograde oracle spread over on Ko-fi, you can find it here.

Made potato salad and put some chicken in the crockpot with honey barbecue sauce. Switched from flannel sheets to bamboo sheets, and put away the winter comforter for the summer, rose-patterned one (Charlotte’s favorite). Fussed over the plants, including changing the water in the birdbath. Put together two of the three small shelf units I bought. They’re much nicer in person than they look on the package. The third unit is missing a shelf, so I had to return it yesterday.

These two small units are for my tarot cards, only I don’t think they will all fit, and I’ll still need to use some space in the blue bookcase (where they all used to live, in the other house, but where I also have writing books and poetry books now in my office).

Finished repotting the rest of the plants bought last week, repotted the last Cape Cod geranium, and planted some more seeds: the new morning glory, cat grass, some marigold seeds sprinkled in with the ruby cherry tomato we bought.

The college across the street had their graduation on Saturday, and it was a beautiful day for it. It was joyful in the neighborhood, although one young woman, wearing shorts and a tee shirt under her robe (and high heels), walked by and said, “Oh, my God! I just realized it’s all over. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

As someone who knew what I wanted by the time I was six, that made me laugh.

The neighbor across the street put rows of solar lights along the path to the front steps. Which is great, I love that they’re decorating. However, at night, it kind of looks like a landing strip!

We discussed the various road trips that have been on the table, that we hoped to do this summer. We decided to cancel the trip to Ithaca. It was supposed to be a pilgrimage to Moosewood Restaurant, but they keep having to close for a few days here and there as their staff tests positive for COVID. Which means their patrons are being selfish and going out to eat while positive. Even with outdoor seating, it’s not worth the risk. We’ll put it off, and see how things are in fall, or next summer. We’d also considered doing a quick hop to York, Maine, just for an overnight. But, with the variants being more dangerous for those over 60, even with double boosting, we’re not comfortable doing an overnight in a hotel, even if we can get our favorite pizza in the area as takeout. So that’s cancelled (although we have the sneaking suspicion we’ll have to head that way for a funeral at some point over the summer; a family member is not doing well).

I still hope to do a back-and-forth with friends to Beacon. I’d like to visit there, and would love them to visit here. I’m still hoping to do a day trip over to Saratoga during race season to visit with friends there whom I haven’t seen since before we moved to the Cape.

My mom really wants to do a couple of small trips, since she’s basically been in isolation for going on three years now. So we picked a few places nearby and will do short day trips. And I’ve got a book of unusual places right here in the Berkshires we can visit. We didn’t really get a chance to explore much last summer, because we were so traumatized and exhausted by the move.

Plus, with a season pass for Windsor Lake, we can pop up there whenever we want.

If we take our jaunts midweek, it won’t be as crowded. We won’t eat indoors; we’ll get takeout and eat in a park or something. The great thing about freelance is that if I take off a day midweek, I just work a weekend day, and, as long as I meet my deadlines, it doesn’t matter when the work is done, as long as it gets done. When we return, we will follow decontamination protocols, and we will continue to mask indoors. I mean, not at home, but I’m still masking at the grocery store, library, anywhere else I go inside. And when we travel, we will do the same.

So that discussion and those plans took a lot of stress out of the mix. We won’t be able to get a storage run in before Memorial Day, so maybe we’ll do one in early June, and then nothing until autumn again. I’m hoping I can get enough work this summer so I can afford to rent a storage unit up here and move everything up. If I can even find a storage unit up here. But the prices listed are much less than I’m paying on Cape, and it certainly would be easier to get at things. And maybe store things seasonally.

Dug into my Elizabethan theatre research again, for a long-time idea that might, later this year, be ready to form, if I tweak it into an alternate universe, instead of making it historical. An idea on a book about Jonson and his masques gave me an idea for an arc for The Big Project, should I decide that the initial arcs are strong enough to support continuing. (That will all make sense when I publicly announce what The Big Project actually is).

I have to figure out when I can make an appointment at the Williamstown Historical Society so that I can do some more research into the history of The Spruces for the Retro Mystery. I’m pretty sure I want to write it for this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November.

The eclipse energy started hitting me in the evening, and my emotions were all over the place.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 Sunday morning, which was wonderful. It’s light enough and warm enough now to do my first writing session of the day (in longhand) on the front porch, and once she’s had her breakfast, Tessa joins me. The scout crows stop by and we all have our morning chat. Tessa has developed a really strong relationship with the two scout crows. They chat every morning. And it’s not like the birds she wants to catch, out back, with the swishing tail and the predatory body language; it’s a chat.

Still having trouble with the computer. It takes an hour to boot up every morning, even from sleep mode. Then it takes about 20 minutes to start running properly, without freezing screens. If I take a break for a few minutes, with the laptop lid up and it goes into screensaver mode, it takes 20-40 minutes to rev back up. Usually, if I take longer breaks, I put the lid down to protect the keyboard from cats and dust, but then I have to start the whole hour boot-up process again.

This is not okay. It cuts in too much of my workday. How is this an “improvement” or an “upgrade”? I have PLENTY of space on the hard drive for this upgrade.

I got the email for the World’s Largest Poem, giving me the heads-up that I will get my prompt in 7-10 days. So excited to be a part of this.

Edited three chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. The pace, the flow, the story, are all working, thank goodness. Updated my tracking sheets, too.

Took “Personal Revolution” down and will revise it so it can work on more platforms. Since it’s set around the 4th of July, I want to make sure it’s clear of all the previous outlets before the re-re-release. Looking at it, it needs more revision than I’d hoped.

Updated the Devon Ellington Work site.

Finished reading TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE by Martha Waters, which was kind of fun. The theatre/backstage scenes were done particularly well, and I appreciated that.

Started John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY, which promises to be one of his typical wild rides.

We had thunderstorms, so I took down the hanging baskets, worried they would get pounded. Students are moving into the ground floor unit across the street; I wonder if they’re there just for the summer, or are staying all year.

Up early on Monday, thanks to Tessa. The computer actually booted up pretty quickly. Got some blogging done, and put up the GDR post for the week, which you can read here. Started revisions on “Personal Revolution.” It needs more work than I’d hoped, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Revised three more chapters for CAST IRON MURDER. Got the inbox down from over 1000 emails to just over 200. Looked at some calls for submission. Did some admin.

The morning was gorgeous, and I got out and did errands: returned the shelf unit missing a shelf for a refund (they’d sold out of the units, so I couldn’t just swap it out); dropped off/picked up books at the library; went to the liquor store.

Found out that Berkshire Gas is doing their inspection of the lines today (the one where I’d been trying to get actual information for weeks, and finally just turned it over to the landlord). They may or may not have to come into the apartment. Which meant I spent the afternoon cleaning instead of working. Not that the place is dirty (I mean, I cleaned over the weekend). But still. I wanted it to be even better. I mean, we still haven’t unpacked everything yet, and we’ve lived here for nearly a year.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESEERVATION SOCIETY, which was a wild ride. I don’t know how he does it, but that brain of his is certainly unique. Read THE AMBER CROWN, by Jacey Bedford, which was a much grittier alternate world fantasy than one usually gets. Started THE BONE ORCHARD by Sara A Mueller, which is fascinating.

Thunderstorms and intense rain came through in the afternoon and evening. But it’s absolutely gorgeous this morning.

The MADE IN MARSEILLES cookbook arrived yesterday. The jerk of a postman (I think our former, lovely postman retired) also left a package for 10 numbers down the street with my package. So I went down the street (in the rain) to make sure they got it. Our former postman loved his job and all the people on his route. This one doesn’t give a crap about any of it, and doesn’t even pretend otherwise.

Doing some last-minute cleaning this morning, and taking the garbage out. Then, it’s back to the page in the morning, knowing I could be interrupted at any point for the inspection. We’ve closed the doors to the bedrooms and the laundry room, and the cats are very confused.

I hope to work on revisions for CAST IRON MURDER, The Big Project, and the radio plays today, along with some script coverage. Tomorrow morning, the car goes back in, hopefully, to be fixed once and for all.

I’m hoping to even work outside on the back balcony, in one of our enchanted garden spots. I’m pretty sure if I do, Willa will want to come out, and we’ll put her in her playpen for safety.

I’m not talking about the three mass murders by gun over the weekend, or how the Supreme Court continues to force its ideological agenda on the country. This post is long enough. That will wait for a different day.

Have a good one, friends.

Mon. May 16, 2022: Intent for the Week: Get Back on Track

image courtesy of Vladimir 163rus via pixabay.com

Last week, I was derailed by tech issues, so I focused on hearth and home things. I’m grateful I had the time to do so, but now I have to get back on track with work that needs to be done on the computer.

This week, my intent is to get back on track, especially when it comes to The Big Project and CAST IRON MURDER.

I also have to catch up on a good deal of admin, and I take the car back to the mechanic, for what I hope will be the final time, at least until the next oil change.

There’s still plenty to do on the hearth-and-home front, but I hope I can balance that with the work that pays to keep us with a home!

What’s your intent this week?

Published in: on May 16, 2022 at 5:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty

image courtesy of planet_fox via pixabay.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and hot

This is going to be the retrograde of computer malfunctions, I guess. Windows11 is awful. No more autosave – it tries to force you to save to the cloud. I don’t want to save to the cloud, and it should be MY decision. So, when I’m reading on screen and taking notes in a document, I have to save the document any time I switch back to the reading screen, or I lose everything. On top of that, when I opened the computer to start my day, it decided it had to “restart” and then “update” and then, when it asked for my PIN and I put it in, it gave me the gray screen of death. More than once. I shut it down and turned it back on, and it’s glitching.

As usual, Microsoft sucks. Although, from what I hear, Apple has descended to Microsoft’s level of ineptness.

In any case, yesterday was a decent day, although it got hot. I had trouble getting online to the meditation, but got there, and was glad I did. I got some work done in the morning, including slogging through way too much email. I had trouble getting the computer and the printer to talk to each other again after the upgrade, which is frustrating, because I have paperwork that needs to get done. I managed to get the next book for review downloaded, although that was a chore, too.

Once Mercury goes direct, I have to go through my Download file and dump a lot of it. It’s been double downloading things, and taking up space I can better use otherwise.

Headed for the grocery story, which had a special deal on hanging baskets, and we got a couple of lovely baskets of impatiens, one in a dusky pink and one in a bright pink. Headed to another store, where I wound up getting a lovely, soft shirt in organic cotton (on sale – gotta love Mercury Retrograde bargains). Headed back to the other store and got more potting soil, more pots, another patio rug, and three small shelf units that I plan to put together and use in various parts of the house. They’re kind of a dull brown. I will see what they look like put together, and then maybe paint them. Or, at least, stencil them.

The curried chicken salad I made the night before was perfect. We have a great big batch of it to enjoy, and that recipe might be a summer go-to for me. I used the Asian greens in it, almonds, currants, and golden raisins. I’d picked up a ciabatta on our errands, and that went perfectly with it.

After lunch, we set out the new rug on the back balcony – it even matches at the seam to the other rug. Having the two rugs run the length of the space unifies it. We hung the impatiens, and hung and filled the bird bath. We put the cushions on the bench and the bistro chairs. It’s a really nice, shady retreat. When the front porch, with its southern exposure, gets too hot in the afternoons, we can retreat to the back balcony, with its northern exposure.

Charlotte and Willa sat in the kitchen window and watched. I’m sure we will have to take them out sometimes in their playpens. Tessa happily stayed on the front porch.

I turned around a script coverage and cleaned up some other work, then read on the porch. The Ipsy bag arrived with the monthly goodies, and also MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL by Judy Griffin, which had been recommended by an Instagram pal. It’s a lovely book, and covers a lot of ground. Since most of my herbals are still in storage, this will serve me well, and I look forward to savoring it.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We’re prepping them for finals, and the kids are ready for summer.

Leftovers for dinner, and read. I was achy and tired, so went to bed pretty early. Had a rough night, though. I kept waking up with stress memory of this time last year, when that landlord was pressuring us to get out and we had no idea where we could go yet. I kept having to calm myself down (yoga and meditation came in handy) and get back to sleep.

Woke up with a scratchy throat and sneezing, but the itchy eyes and open windows tipped me it’s more likely to be pollen than plague. I was woken by screaming cats. At first I thought they were mine, but my trio was sitting in a row at the window (together) watching cats fight outside.

A friend’s card arrived yesterday, which made me happy, and another friend signed up for The World’s Largest Poem, so I hope that means she comes up for the performance!

Today, I have more email to get through, paperwork to take care of and get out the door, and work on The Big Project and the radio plays. I also have a script coverage.

This weekend, I have to turn over the linens and the closet from winter to summer, but I also want to get a lot of work done on The Big Project and work on the anthology story.

I need to get more scripts in my queue for next week, because I was well below my nut this pay period, and it was because there weren’t many scripts. I didn’t mind the break, because it gave me time to really focus on finishing the contest entries, and that paid more than I expected. But I have to look ahead, and I have a couple of big bills coming up in June.

It doesn’t help that I can’t trust the computer to power up properly or work properly, either.

Fingers crossed. Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. May 12, 2022: Making the Most of Tech Issues

image courtesy of Gretta Blankenship via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Just like that, we leapt into summer. It’s gorgeous, and as long as the humidity stays low, I’m fine about it.

Details of how we’re setting up our garden spaces are over on Gratitude and Growth.

The computer announced it was doing the Windows11 Upgrade at 7:30 in the morning. It took 14 hours. Not a happy camper.

Fortunately, nothing was on deadline or in the script queue, or I would have been screwed.

I mean, Mercury Retrograde and all that, but fourteen hours?

I let it run, and went about my non-computerized day. Yeah, I know, it says you can use the computer while it’s upgrading up until the point where it needs to restart, but that simply wasn’t the case. I managed to get the blog up, and check email, and that was a struggle. So I closed down the tabs and let it run uninterrupted. And it still took 14 hours.

I went to the library to drop off and pick up books, and to get my Commonwealth catalogue sign-in issues resolved. Because I need my access to the Commonwealth Catalog!

Went to pick up my mother’s prescriptions, and to go a quick grocery shop.

Home, and we did some repotting (even though it wasn’t a planting day, according to my calendar, but the new plants can’t wait until Saturday). We ran out of potting soil, so that’s on the list for today’s errands.

I’d made a sesame-poppyseed dressing for which my friend Artie gave me the recipe when he’d visited the Cape house several years back. I made it before we started the repotting, so it blended by the time lunch rolled around. I tried to re-create the spinach and strawberry salad he’d made us. It wasn’t as good as when he made it, but it was still good. And the recipe makes plenty of dressing (which is really good), so I put it in a glass jar, labelled it, and we can enjoy it with other salads.

We started setting up the back balcony, which is also detailed in the G&G post. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re getting there, and it’s a lovely space. The rug is a little short; if we can find another one to match it, that will unite the space better. We also put down the rug and rearranged the enclosed front porch (also detailed in the G&G post).

And collapsed onto the chairs on the porch with a cocktail when we were done!

But both spaces feel really good now. We can enjoy using them until it gets too cold in the autumn.

Since I couldn’t do any computer work, might as well get this done, right?

Made a mushroom-spinach crabmeat concoction for dinner, wrapped in phyllo, and remembered how much I loathe working with phyllo. It was decent, but the mushrooms overpowered it, and the crabmeat wasn’t a high enough quality to hold its own. Also made a batch of lime cilantro mayonnaise, and a big batch of curried chicken salad. Used up all the cilantro I bought, which had already started to fade, although I bought it this morning.

The Radio Theatre Project wants to do “Pier-less Crime” later this month. I’m delighted. I love working with them. They’d hoped to do it when everything shut down, so there was a delay, but they’ve performed the entire Frieda/Laz trilogy.

Once I figure out how to make the dirigible play work, they’ll get first crack at it.

I have two scripts in my queue, one for today, and one for tomorrow. I’m way under my pay goal with that client this pay period, but I earned more than expected from the client for whom I finished the five-month project (the contest), so it balances out.

Meditation this morning, and then I want to get some writing done. Later this morning, we are going to run some errands, and then it’s script coverage in the afternoon. I have to learn how to navigate Windows11. It looks different, but as long as I can do what I need to do, I’ll adapt. It wasn’t working well at all this morning, so I wiggled some keys, not really knowing what I was doing, but it works now.

I have a ton of email to slog through, some paperwork to do, and catch up on Ello. But somehow, it will all get done. I’m trying to retrain the stress sense memory from last year not to be so reactive to every little thing this year.

Spending the early morning first writing session of the day in the lovely garden spaces helps. Tessa isn’t sure about the rug on the porch. It feels strange under her paws. But Charlotte was really sweet with her (for once) showing her all the new stuff this morning. And the two scout crows peered in and made a few comments. Willa was still in bed. She “helped” yesterday and is Very Tired today.

Have a good one!

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Tues. May 10, 2022: Off To Yet Another Mechanic

image courtesy of Peter Gottschalk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

This is scheduled to post, since I had to leave the house very early to get the car to the mechanic, and I have no idea how that will go.

I made sure I had a quiet weekend.  Friday and Saturday were all about finishing the contest entries.

First thing Saturday, though, I went to the Farmers Market. This is the last time it’s indoors; starting in June, it will be outdoors every Saturday until November. What adds a sense of festivity to the market is that you buy wooden tokens (yes, I’ve considered the wooden nickels jokes) when you go in and pay with the tokens.

The woman who made the amazing baguettes wasn’t there this time, which was a shame, since I’ve been fantasizing about those baguettes since last month! But I made a stop at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery and had a good chat with the baker (who was a theatre major in college), and stocked up on the espresso coffee cake muffins, some cocoa bites, and a loaf of challah bread. I bought a cranberry pecan loaf from Cookies & More. I bought a big bag of spinach, a big bag of mixed Asian greens, and a lovely head of Bok choy from Red Shirt Farm. I bought a camembert-like cheese from Cricket Creek, and a bottle of maple syrup from Senecal’s Sugarhouse.

Filled up my bag with goodies!

And all through that, it was about chatting with the vendors and the other customers at the market, everyone in a good spirits and eager to share their favorite things.

It reminds me of the best of the Union Square Greenmarket, when I lived in NYC, rather than the markets in my previous location, where the vendors usually acted like they were doing you a favor by selling something, instead of it being a mutually beneficial transaction.

I wasn’t there very long, but I was tired when I got home, even from positive socializing! The joy of being an introvert. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I’m meeting people slowly. Most people are still masking; everyone’s as vaccinated as they can be.

Once I put away the bounty, I took a rest, and then went back to work on contest entries.

For dinner, I used the whole head of Bok choy with the rest of the leftover chicken to do a stir-fry from one of my favorite cookbooks, CHINESE SOUL FOOD by Hsiao-Ching Chou. It was delicious. I also made more vegetable stock.

Saturday was also the Kentucky Derby. I lost all respect for those running Churchill Downs when I learned that the Narcissistic Sociopath was in attendance.

It was pretty exciting to see Rich Strike, who wasn’t even in the race two days ago, win, at 84-1. My baby Epicenter came in second. Tiz the Bomb decided this wasn’t worth the effort that day (very much like his grandfather).

When I used to cover horse racing (more years ago now than it seems), I quickly found out that the Derby was the least fun of the three races, in spite of being the start of the Triple Crown, where everything is possible. And that’s because it’s stopped being about the horses and focuses more on the audience who wants to see and be seen. The Preakness became the most fun for me. It’s raucous, less pretentious than any of the others, and there’s still a lot of Triple Crown possibility. The Belmont was at my home track, and, while I always loved the race and the site, the crowds and the tension were exhausting.

As an off-site observer, for years before I started writing about racing, the Preakness was my least favorite; but, once I started getting more involved, it was the most fun to actually be onsite of the three races, in spite of all the chaos in the infield.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We had the espresso coffee cake muffins for breakfast. I made salads for lunch, using the spinach, Asian greens, carrot, cranberry, Canadian bacon, and hard-boiled egg, with an Italian vinaigrette. My mom asked for bangers and mash for dinner, so that’s what we had. And, of course, cheesecake.

I read for pleasure on Sunday, instead of logging entry scores, although I made a list of my top picks.

I read BOSS WITCH by Ann Aguirre, which I really liked, and CLAWS FOR SUSPICION by Deborah Blake, which I also loved. It was nice enough to sit out on the porch, so I read out there for a good portion of the day.

I went to bed very early on Sunday, because I was tired. In the third year of the pandemic, with the right wing Christofascists openly telling us they’re planning to murder us, after packing the courts so they can get away with it, and the DEMS SIT BACK AND LET THEM – it’s exhausting. Trying to live my life and also fulfill my responsibility as a citizen is exhausting, even if I don’t write about all the details of it here.

There is NO such thing as “not being political” anymore. If you make that claim, it means you agree with the rightwing extremists and think you’re safe from their hate. The thing is, they always need something and someone to fuel their hate, so no one is safe.

Up early on Monday.  Worked until 2 PM finishing the paperwork on the final category of contest entries, and sent it in. It was accepted and invoice requested. I sent the invoice at 7 PM and it was paid 39 minutes later. That’s how you show your freelancers you appreciate them!

I stress-painted the garden frog we bought when we first moved to the Cape house. I didn’t have the dark pink paint the petals on his back used to have (yes, he’s a frog, but his back is full of flowers), so I used a lighter pink, and then the yellow for the centers. He’s a bright, happy frog again who can sit amongst the plants on the front porch.

Read for pleasure (a mystery set in Venice, and then started reading a biography of Ngaio Marsh).  Spinach and cheese omlette for dinner.

Neighbors across the street are building a garden in front of the house, with all kinds of cute little plants and hanging baskets. Only. . .they plant but don’t water anything. I’m sure they will learn.

Finals at the college across the way must be done, because the students started playing music and hanging out in the street and blowing off some steam. Yes, they’re still masking. Even though they’re all vaxxed. Good for them (and us).

I am off to the mechanic. Let’s hope this guy will actually fix the car and not put me off another month. I’ve basically been without a car for six months now. I want to get it done.

Have a good one, and hold a good thought for the car and me.

Mon. May 9, 2022: Intent for the Week — Embrace Stillness

image courtesy of ha11ok via pixabay.com

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, and it remains so until June 3.

Since I have to get the car fixed (a big red flag during such a time), I am not looking forward to this. I never look forward to Mercury Retrograde, and last year, moving during the Retrograde nearly killed me. Fortunately, I had signed the lease prior to the retrograde.

Things to watch out for during the retrograde:

–Avoid big purchases, such as a house, a car, electronic devices;

–Electronic devices are likely to be troublesome (I already backed up everything);

–Plan for travel delays and give yourself extra time;

–Communication misfires are common. Think before you speak. Choose positive and/or diplomatic phrasing whenever possible. Look for what’s under the words you hear, instead of reacting to what’s on the surface.

–Try not to sign any contracts. If you need to, make sure you look at the fine print carefully.

–Try not to start a new project, especially a creative one, until Mercury goes direct.

Positives:

–This is a great time for sales and shopping for small purchases, non-electronic items, and things like garage sales and thrift shops.

–This is a good time to slow down, stop and smell the roses (both metaphorically and literally.

–This is a good time to return to unfinished projects and finish them, such as WIPs you put aside, unfinished crafts, etc.

–Take the time to think before you speak. One should always do this, but this retrograde reminds us of that imporantance.

My mantra for this retrograde is often: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping (at thrift stores, anyway).

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on May 9, 2022 at 6:12 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. May 6, 2022: In the Midst of Creativity, Loss

image courtesy of strikers via pixabay.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster.

It was a beautiful spring day here in the mountains. Just gorgeous.

Charlotte sat with me for the regular Zoom meditation group,

I got some admin work done. I need to spend some time over on Ello this week; I’ve been lax about that.

I pitched myself for a large creative project that will happen in July.

I did some brainstorming on the Monthology with fellow creatives who wanted to know if they could use something in one of the organizations I created, and we figured out how to make it work.

I did a drop off/pickup at the library – there were nine books waiting for me! I had to pick up a few things as the pharmacy. They had aloe plants there, so I grabbed one of those, two. The aloe plant we had in the kitchen on Cape died about two years ago, and I’d never replaced it. We’d bought it when we first moved there, so it had a long life. I did a big grocery shop (five bags’ worth). I stopped at the liquor store, because I was out of red. I got another bottle of red, found a bottle of interesting rosé on the sale shelf, and, in the back of a shelf, another bottle of the Pomelo sauvignon Blanc I like so much.

Getting everything upstairs and put away was a bit of a chore, but I got it done. The latest NEW YORKER has graphic photos of the Russian atrocities in Ukraine. I was worried it would bring back nightmares for my mom, after what she went through with the Russians in WWII, but she wanted to see the magazine anyway. The fact that the world hasn’t banded together to stop this is despicable.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon, and went back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push today and tomorrow, and hopefully can make my final decisions by tomorrow.

I was accepted for the creative project and can even say what it is: I’m participating in Word X Word’s “World’s Largest Poem” event. 50 of us will write an ongoing poem (we get the last word of the previous writer’s poem, we write 3-5 lines, and the next poet starts with our last word) over the next two months, and we perform it at Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount, in Lenox, on July 23rd. I’m very excited. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but something I wanted to try. We each have 24 hours to write our lines, once we received the prompt from the previous person’s poem.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter. We are enjoying our remaining time together.

Then, I had some shocking and heartbreaking news. I found out that my friend, Thalia Proctor, had died on April 2nd of cancer, and her memorial service was on May 4th. I found out on Facebook. I hadn’t even known she was sick. We’d exchanged cards at Christmas, and I was planning to spend time with her in London next spring, provided it was safe enough to risk the trip. In additional to being a wonderful editor, Thalia was one of the kindest people I know. We met in Nottingham, at one of the first mystery conventions I ever attended, back when I was just starting to get my feet wet in the convention scene. We hung out together at conferences (including the year Bouchercon was in Omaha, of all places) on both sides of the pond. When I was in the UK, we visited. She visited me in 2013 on Cape, which was the last time I actually saw her, although we kept in touch for birthdays and Christmases. She was a steadfast friend during one of the worst romantic relationships of my life, and had a mix of kindness, humor, and common sense that was a joy to be around. We’d been friends for nearly thirty years. In addition to the heartbreak of the loss, I feel guilty that I didn’t know she was sick, and hadn’t supported her more during her illness. But mostly, I’m devastated that the world has lost such a beautiful and graceful person.

Today is about writing and working on contest entries. Tomorrow is the farmer’s market, and finishing contest entries, and making the decisions in the final category. Tessa woke me at three. I moved to the sewing room and dreamed I was at a luncheon with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and she decided to introduce me to Kathy Griffin, because she thought we should know each other. Which is very much like Senator Warren. She got me involved with the Small Business Administration when I first moved to MA, and involved with the state arts organization who advocates for arts funding.

But, throughout, I will take the time to mourn the loss of my friend.

Thurs. May 5, 2022: Finally, Some Sun!

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Yesterday felt kind of lost and scattered. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night ready to fret (sense memory from last year at this time) and there’s nothing to fret about on the scale there was last year, so I have to calm down and get back to sleep. Also, going into yesterday, once I fell asleep again, I dreamed that I wrote several 30 second and one minute commercial spots, and woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day.

The morning wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, although I caught up on some blogging, answered emails, and got out a grant proposal. I’ve applied for this particular grant for several years, and always told that they really like my work, and I should try again the following year when they don’t give me the grant. As I entered in my credentials this year, I realized that I have built quite a few credentials, and therefore a professional place, in the particular milieu the grant covers, and if they don’t fund me this year, I won’t apply anymore. They have three grant cycles this year to which I’m suited. I will apply, and if I don’t get any of them, I’m done with them. I looked back at their previous recipients, and, so far, I’ve only found people with few or no publication credits who never show up anywhere again, so they get the grant, they work a little, and they vanish. Which, hey, I’m all for supporting writers at any stage of their career, but if the organization doesn’t support working writers who can deliver consistently and actually grow a career and a body of work, then I’m wasting my time on these applications. It’s time better used on my work and/or applying to other organizations that support writers who grow and sustain their work. Otherwise, I’m just bashing my head against a wall for no reason.

I put up o new post on Ko-Fi, a sweet, somewhat romantic flash fiction under the Ava Dunne name called “Floral Arrangements.” I was surprised at the positive response. I’ve always liked it, but couldn’t find a home for it. One friend encouraged me to turn it into a screenplay, and she’s right, it would work, so I’m taking notes as I think of them. I just have to make sure I don’t drop bodies in there, reverting to my usual wheelhouse!

Did some plotting on the anthology story, and I think I’ll be ready to start it next week.

Turned around two scripts, and went back to contest entries. I have two more scripts to turn around today and then, like last week, I’ll focus on contest entries tomorrow and into the weekend, to finish the decisions on this final contest by Tuesday’s deadline. Did some work on a proposal for my elected officials, which will go out tomorrow.

Deborah Blake’s CLAWS FOR SUSPICION arrived the other day, too, and I’m looking forward to reading it once I finish contest entries and the next book for review.

I’d placed a big order for things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc., and it was delivered early, so there was that unpacking and sorting. I left the box out so the cats could play in it, and will break it down later today. So we’re supplied for another six months or so with all of that.

Meditation this morning, and then I’m off to run errands: library, big grocery shop, pharmacy, liquor store (I ran out of red wine, although I have plenty of white). Then, it’s back to the page. Hopefully, I’ll get everything done and be back in time for Freelance Chat.

There’s a garden post on Gratitude and Growth. It looks like today will be lovely, so I’m going to do some of my work out on the porch.

Have a good one!

Wed. May 4, 2022: I Don’t Even Have the Words

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Yesterday was a frustrating day, workwise, because the computer update took four hours, even with tech support. So I lost half my scheduled workday. And I had to sit and watch the update, because I had to answer prompts along the way. I couldn’t walk away and do something else.

I’m glad I got something done on The Big Project while I was at the laundromat, or I would have been really upset.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script and went back to contest entries.

While raging about the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It’s not that I’m surprised – since it became law, this threat has been on the horizon. But to allow judges appointed by a treasonous Russian asset and the husband of an insurgent to make decisions that affect our lives it unacceptable. It’s only the tip of the iceberg of rights being overturned; that is part of the long game. And if any law can be overturned, then we’re never safe.

This B.S. that campaigning politicians give us about “voting harder” needs to stop. Right wing extremists are being placed to negate election results. Right wingers and Manchin have blocked voting rights. Voter suppression is on the rise. November is too late. We can’t vote our way out of this.

Plus, we HAVE the votes. We put enough Dems in office to get it done NOW. Stop making excuses about Manchin and Sinema. It’s up to Schumer to put Manchin’s balls in a vise and twist until he complies, and do whatever needs to be done to Sinema for the same, instead of giving in to them all the time. If McConnell can keep his people in line, Schumer needs to do it, too, or he doesn’t deserve to be Majority Leader.

Milquetoasts talking about the high road are only getting us killed. It has to stop. NOW. Not in November. NOW.

It should have stopped on January 21, 2021. But the Dems were tiptoeing around being nice, while the Republicans mobilized to kill more of us on multiple fronts, from anti-vaxx to stripping away rights to sedition. We work ourselves literally to death to get Dems in office, and all they do is make excuses about why they can’t get it done.

And Merrick Garland is part of the problem, too. If the Narcissistic Sociopath had to pay for his treason, and the seditionists in Congress removed, the invalid justices could be removed and people who are qualified could actually get back to governing.

We are in this mess because the Dems keep bringing a dandelion to a gunfight instead of getting gritty and doing what needs to be done. Those of us that understand what’s going on have been screaming about this since Reagan.

We talked about this at Knowledge Unicorns. A couple of the kids will be old enough to vote in this election, and you better believe they are going to do so.

Today, I have to dig in and catch up on the work I couldn’t finish yesterday, including turning around at least two scripts, working on both the Big Project and the next draft of “Owe Me”, and working on contest entries. I was going to do a library run, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow, and go by car, when I do the big grocery shop.

Stay safe, friends, and do your part in the fight. At this point, anyone who says they don’t do politics, especially a woman, means they agree with what’s going on. See them for who they are.