Fri. Oct. 18, 2019: Storm Day = Cat Socialization Work

Friday, October 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Clear and cool

Sorry about yesterday. No Ink in My Coffee. No Gratitude and Growth. But there’s a short post over on Affairs of the Pen today on shipboard activities.

The power went out around 1 AM on Thursday. We called it in, even though it was during the storm. Better to get in the queue early than to wait until it’s over and then have to wait even longer.

Tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t do more than doze. The winds screamed more than the new cats when they’re arguing about something.

It kept the cats quiet, that’s for sure. They didn’t like it.

I got up at the usual time, although it was still dark. The flashlight got me to the candles. I made coffee. The gas stove works in power outages (although the oven does not). The heat, also gas, does not work because it’s powered by an electric switch, which annoys me on multiple levels.

I fed the cats by candlelight. Charlotte was so cute. I told her I couldn’t see in the dark the way she could. She would run ahead of me a few feet, then come back and touch my leg with a paw, then run ahead a few feet, then come back. Like a seeing eye cat.

Willa and Charlotte have not been socialized much. It’s obvious their original human adored them and spoiled them. But they’ve never really learned how to interact, although they want to. So we’re working on that.

Willa is more outgoing. She’s already a lap cat, and loves to play and interact. But she gets oversitmulated, and then, even on a lap, can get yowly and growly. She nipped the first few days, but we’ve gotten her past that. She’s very sweet, for the most part, although she needs to learn to be a Writer’s Cat — I need BOTH hands to type, and will pet her in between paragraphs.

Willa does start the yowling and screeching with both of the others. I think she wants to be dominant cat. She might be dominant over Charlotte (although I suspect Charlotte only lets her think so sometimes), but Tessa is Head Cat in this house, and Tessa is not putting up with Willa’s antics.

Willa does back down from Tessa, though. Which is good.

Willa is also fascinated by running water. She likes to be on the bathroom counter when the tap is going, and she’s trying to learn how to turn it on herself. Fortunately, one needs thumbs for that. She doesn’t like closed doors, especially not bathroom doors. She loves the new perch we made for her on the old tea cart from Chicago’s Pump Room that’s in my office and usually holds plants. We put a fleece blanket on the top, which is even with the windowsill. She sits and watches the squirrels and neighborhood dogs and cars. Her behavior has vastly improved since we set that up.

She needs a lot to do. Lots of playtime, interaction. I’m thinking of getting her some battery-operated toys.

Charlotte is at the stage where she wants company, but she doesn’t know how to interact with people or other cats. She sits and watches most of the time, which is fine. She comes and asks for attention, but still won’t let anyone pet her.

I think she and Tessa will make friends first. They barely growl at each other anymore, and, when they do, it’s half-hearted.

Charlotte likes to be up — on the behemoth, on the bureau. She likes to be on the bed with me. Unfortunately, so do the others, so it can get a little dicey.

Tessa stomps around, keeping them in line.

Willa and Charlotte swat each other sometimes, but not Tessa. And they swat each other with soft paws. It’s more vocal than physical, thank goodness.

They’re getting lots of individual playtime, but now they want to be involved in each other’s playtime. But then they get upset that the other cats are there, and run away. But it’s already better.

Today is only two weeks since Willa arrived, and a little less for Charlotte. Tessa is much happier with them here, even though she’s telling them off. My cat vet in NY said that once, “It’s better for two cats to live together than alone. As long as they don’t attack each other, even if they don’t like each other, it gives them something to do.”

So this weird insistence here in MA shelters that adult cats have to be “only cats” makes no sense.

The Storm Day was good for socializing. With no power, no street lights, library closed, many businesses closed, and the sirens going for police and fire all day, I was lucky I could stay home.

Even without power, it wasn’t too cold. We bundled up in sweats & sweaters & socks & blankets. The cats settled in with us. We read and played with them. It was quiet (except for the neighbors’ generators). They got used to all being in the room together and associating good things with it.

Willa and Charlotte learn fast. They already know that “bedtime snacks” means treats and then I head upstairs for meditation and bed. Now, they gobble their snacks and get there ahead of me.

Charlotte is fascinated by the meditation space. Sometimes, she sleeps on the cushion when I’m not there.

The power came on for a few minutes in the early afternoon. Then it waved, off and on, until it steadied later in the afternoon. Cell service was out for most of the day. Most of the batteries I stockpiled for just such an emergency were new, yet didn’t work.

Candles are much more reliable.

The batteries in the radio worked, though, so we could get news, which was a help.

I finished reading MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, which was odd and charming and delightful. I read a mystery by an author whose earlier work I adored, but whose turn into puritanical mystery in locations with no flavor and stock caricatures instead of characters disappoints me. I’d skipped her last few books, but thought I’d
try again. It didn’t work for me. The relationships, including the supposed romantic ones, are flat and bloodless. No, thanks.

Started reading a mystery by a new-to-me author who has a lot of books in the series (how did I miss her )? The location is unusual and well-rendered, the human-animal relationships are good, but I’m not sure about the rest yet.

My treat for myself this weekend is my friend Arlene Kay’s newest release, Homicide by Horse Show. Once I get everything done.

Made a Kripalu recipe of roasted eggplant, tomato, raisin, and mint over couscous for dinner. It was good. Hope to make cowboy cookies (from the Moosewood recipe) later today.

There’s a lot of yard cleanup to do. Plenty of branches came down, although I don’t think any big limbs did. Some idiot was out in the nor’easter yesterday using his leafblower.

I have some client meetings to finalize for next week, and some other work to get done at the library, along with pickups/drop-offs. The furnace guy is coming this afternoon for yearly maintenance. I have stuff to put away.

I didn’t turn around the edits for my Llewellyn article; will do it this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have some other edits to finish this weekend, too.

I gave myself yesterday off for the storm and cat socializing. Now, I need to get back to work.

Have a great weekend!

 

Wed. Oct. 16, 2019: And We’re Getting Another Storm

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

All it seems to do lately is rain. That cold, damp yucky rain. I have the fireplace on when I can, because it takes out the damp, but I’m going to have to go and get some more wood soon.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest in my business musings.

Monday was a decent day at the client’s. I was the only one on site, which was a surprise — there had been discussion about coming in, but I was the only one who actually did. Which was fine. I got a lot done with uninterrupted work time, and we’re in good shape. I have a couple of campaigns to plan through the rest of the year, but the samples for the latter half of next year are priced, ready to send out to the reps, and ready to be photographed.

Came home, socialized the cats. Charlotte is fascinated when I meditate. Willa is fascinated with the water from the tap. Tessa sets down the rules. Charlotte pretty much ignores the other two, unless Willa gets in her face (which she does sometimes). Willa and Tessa still argue. Again, it’s all vocal; no physical fighting. They will get there. Eventually, they will decide what beds they want to sleep on, and that’s that. Willa also likes to sit on my lap when I type, which we’re still negotiating. She needs to learn to be a writer’s cat. Which means I need both hands to type, and she can’t lie down on one arm.

That disgusting video of the Narcissistic Sociopath killing people, shown at one of his resorts, is yet another reason not to join Reddit. I was thinking about that as an additional social media platform, but what they do doesn’t dovetail with what I want and need out of a social media network. Of course, he hasn’t condemned it. Just that half-baked statement his “Press Secretary” put out that means nothing.

Had a couple of really good conversations on Monday as a follow-up to the good conversation I had last Thursday. There’s nothing immediately for us to work on together, but we like and respect each other, and will check in every few weeks to see what’s what.

Working on my edits for the piece for the 2021 almanac. I’m lucky to have a terrific editor who is both enthusiastic about my work and specific about catching things that need to get better. Sometimes I cut words to fit word count, but they’re not the right words, so, with a little distance, I can find better ones to clarify. One of the reasons I stopped writing for the company a few years ago was that I was frustrated with my editor at the time. There were a couple of pieces where he added mistakes. I never saw a proof, and then it was published and not a good thing.

I had to go to four different stores to find the filter I need for the furnace cleaning on Friday. I finally had to break down and get it at Home Depot. Home Depot, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby. How the Cape has diminished. Anyway, I found the filter at Home Depot and it was 3X what I paid for it anywhere else. So I’m grumpy.

Tuesday, I was on site with a client, and then went to grocery store and the library.
I’d been recommended to a company for a gig, it sounded like a great fit, and there it was – “make us a video of why you’d be perfect for the job.” No. I am not creating unpaid content for you. Buh-bye.

I’m reading a delightful book recommended by a friend, called MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK by D.E. Stevenson (Dorothy Emily), who was one of the Lighthouse Stevensons, and therefore related to Robert Louis. It’s odd and charming and funny. I enjoy it very much.

Today, I’m with a client, and then it’s home for pizza night. And cat socialization. And proofs. So it goes.

I can’t believe we’re in the middle of October.

Published in: on October 16, 2019 at 6:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge. I read a delightful anthology called HAUNTED NIGHTS.

The bulk of the weekend was devoted to cat socialization. When you think it’s only been a bit over a week, they’re doing very well. There are still some hissy-spitties and growlies, but, overall, they are adjusting.

The weather was so dreadful on Friday that I never left the house. I read, worked with the cats, wrote. I shouldn’t be working on GAMBIT COLONY right now, but that’s my stress release piece, so I am.

Friday’s phone interview with a potential client did not go well. Again, it’s that whole unpaid labor as a requirement of the hiring process. I’m not working for you for free. I am not giving up billable hours because you’re incapable of reading my portfolio and analyzing my writing skills. That is a lack of skill on YOUR part, not mine. Yesterday, I withdrew from consideration.

I need to follow up with another potential client this week. I knew there was a busy period coming, but I can’t wait any longer, or there won’t be room in the schedule. I need to know whether or not we’re moving forward.

Saturday morning, I ran some errands, even though it was still raining. None of the places I went to has the filter I need for the furnace. I need to get my hands on one before they come to do maintenance on Friday. My landlord complains if they charge him for the filter, saying they charge too much. Um, why is this my problem? It’s not like the rent doesn’t cover it. Especially with the increase.

We had a fire in the fireplace Saturday afternoon. Willa wasn’t sure about it, which is funny, because Willa is The Little Adventurer. Charlotte was fascinated. She sat at a safe distance, but where she could watch it. Tessa’s been around fireplaces since she was a kitten, so she was nonchalant about it all. It was pretty funny.

Sunday morning, they had me up at 4 AM, because they were hissing and growling and chasing each other around the house. Well, because they all three wanted to be in my bedroom and THEN the hissing, growling, and running around the house started.

They settled down once they had breakfast, but I was up. Once I’m up, I’m up.

The sun was out, so I put the exterior decorations back up. I’ll add in the lights this weekend or so. I had to drive to Brewster to pick something up. The pickup went well, although the person doing the handoff made me feel uncomfortable.

Stopped in Dennis for some overpriced but delicious baked goods. But it was a little too much sugar for one day.

Read the newest Donna Leon, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN, which was excellent. I love that series. Read a different mystery by a different author where I like the characters, but there’s a lack of research in some of the aspects that really bothers me. So I always have mixed feelings when I read one of the books.

Up early on Monday. The cats tried to get me up at 4 AM again, but I closed the door, keeping Tessa in the bedroom with me and the other two out. Then, of course, they all worked to try and get the door open, but I managed to stay in bed until 5:30, which is a reasonable time to get up.

I did not take the holiday. I went in to do some work onsite with a client, hoping for a quiet day. No meditation group. Went in search of the furnace filter, and then make chicken pot pie for dinner. I’m getting good at making chicken pot pie from scratch.

Had a good follow-up from Thursday’s conversation, and am moving forward on that. Also got my edits/proofs from my editor at Llewllyn for the piece for 2021. Will turn those around this week.

Today, I’m onsite with a client most of the day, and then off to the library for a bit. Along with writing, revisions, and final galleys.

The whole situation with Syria and the Kurds is disgusting. The woman who was raped and then stoned to death — unacceptable. Sending our troops to Saudi Arabia — not acceptable. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee as people are slaughtered, and he makes a personal profit. The GOP, who could stop him, won’t. Not out of fear, but out of greed. Add to that the video of the Sociopath killing people who disagree with him that’s running at his resort? He should be in front of the Hague, and then locked away until he rots. It will take decades to repair what he’s destroyed. Which is, of course, what he was put in there to do in the first place. Destroy. Every single person who enables and votes for him is complicit. And must be defeated. This is what the GOP has worked toward since Reagan was in office. Greed and apathy made it possible.

One word at a time. That’s all I can do.

 

Mon. Oct. 14, 2019: When Stress Manifests Physically #Upbeat Authors

stress-1837384_1920
image courtesy of johnhain via pixabay.com

Monday, October 14, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Have you ever noticed that when you’re under a great deal of stress, it manifests physically? Your resistance is lower, you’re more likely to catch whatever’s going around. Or you suddenly get a pain in a particular area of the body.

It’s important to listen to pain. Chronic pain is a different arena, and that needs specialized treatment, which it too often doesn’t get. I’m talking about unusual pain that crops up when something is wrong.

If you look at the word “disease” and break it down it is “dis” and “ease.”

The ease has been removed.

Take the time to do some self-assessment. Where is the pain located? How is it manifesting?

What is going on in your life? What worries you? What fears have cropped up lately?

Different astrological signs are connected to different parts of the body. I’m a Pisces. That sign is connected to feet. When I’m tired or stressed, it often affects my feet. I have to make sure I have comfortable shoes (outside the house; I don’t wear them inside), and warm, dry socks in winter. I do not do well in cold, wet socks.

I get migraines. I hold tension in my neck and shoulders. Lately, from all the sitting I’ve been doing, I’ve had problems in my lower back. To the point where the lower back and the hip sometimes “freeze.”

That tension in the lower back and hip joint, for me, indicate feeling stuck — and I’m going through a “stuck” period, where I know I need to make changes, but I’m not sure of the details. The days when I’m confident about what I’m doing and the direction I’m taking — no lower back pain.

Earlier in my life, when I was in a toxic situation, I suffered stomach problems constantly. Once I was out of the situation, no more stomach issues.

Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Too often, we don’t seek help for our health needs. Sometimes it’s an insurance issue. We can’t afford to get help, unless we give up something else, like food or paying the electric bill. The entire health industry in this country needs to be ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch, but that’s a different conversation. Sometimes, it’s because we’re not listened to when we ask for help.

“It’s all in your mind,” says the doctor.

“Yes,” you say, “and now it’s manifesting in my body. So please help me find the root cause so we can treat this holistically.”

For me, acupuncture is the best for pain management. Daily yoga and meditation practices help keep energy flowing, and help me discover causes and possible solutions.

It’s different for everyone. The human body is amazing, as is the human mind. We take both for granted. The more you learn to trust yourself, the better you are at self-advocating.

Because the industry itself is about how much money it can get out of YOU, and how little money insurance can get away with paying. It has nothing to do with actual health. Know that.

Know, also, that there are ways you can make the system better by making the time to argue for your rights. When you dispute an unfair decision by your insurance, copy your Senator, your Rep, your State Attorney General on the correspondence. Go to the top executives in the company. Don’t use the excuse that you “don’t have time” for that. It takes a few minutes to type a letter, run off copies, put a stamp on them and mail them to those who can do something. And yes, do it in writing. They want you to talk on the phone because their “notes” of the conversation have little to do with your rights or what you actually discussed. DO EVERYTHNG IN WRITING.

When your elected officials have town halls, make the time to go. Ask them what they’re doing to make things better. Make an appointment at the local office and discuss your situation with one of the aides. A good aide is dedicated to listening to constituents and weighing in on policy. MAKE the time.

And vote. Vote for candidates who want to rebuild the health care system so that it’s actually about health care and not about personal or corporate profits.

You do have power. If you choose not to use it, it’s on you.

It’s tough to do that when you’re not feeling well. Being sick takes a lot of energy. But you can’t expect “others” to do it. Your activism, based on your direct experience, will change things.

Remember that figuring out the cause of the stress doesn’t mean an instant fix. You might be facing a major life change. It won’t happen all at once. Try to find one small thing you can change that will help you mentally and release some of the physical pain. Integrate it into your life.

Then try the next small thing.

Small changes add up to big changes. Our individual rhythms are unique. We’re often pushed into situations at a rate that ‘s unhealthy for our individual rhythms. We need to be kind to ourselves, give ourselves time to adjust, and decide how to regain control and make the next change when WE want it.

It’s a lot of moving parts at any given time.

But the more you learn to listen to that inner voice, to trust YOUR instincts, the more your decisions will help make you a whole, healthy person.

Published in: on October 14, 2019 at 6:56 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Oct. 11, 2019: Interesting Times, My Friends. Interesting Times

Friday, October 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about Location.

We’re still in the throes of the Nor’eastern. Wondering how long we’ll have power.

Speaking of power, what PG&E is pulling out west is crap. The ONLY reason a power company exists is to provide power for its customers. Customers pay. The utility provides. Because the company is too incompetent to maintain/improve its equipment so it doesn’t start wildfires, everyone has to sit in the dark? No. Just no. Get rid of them and hire someone competent. Dismantle the company. Fine them in the billions and drive them out of business. What they are doing is NOT acceptable. THEY are at fault for this problem. To inflict it on the people who are the reason for the company’s existence is not acceptable on ANY level.

Cat update: Willa is a little love bug. She’s in my lap constantly. Wants to be petted. Wants to be included. We’re giving Tessa plenty of attention, because I am Tessa’s Primary Human, and she is not amused.

Charlotte is the one left out right now. I’m spending some quality time just with her to get her socialized and comfortable.

I posted photos of Willa on Wednesday night; still trying to get photos of Charlotte.

Got some work done yesterday on GAMBIT COLONY and GRAVE REACH. Had a phone interview with what turned out to be a recruiter. There are some possibilities there. I have to say this is the first recruiter I’ve spoken to since I moved to the area who hasn’t been a complete waste of space. She knew what she was talking about and actually listened.

Another potential client asked for more information, and I sent that off. I have another phone conference with yet another potential client this morning, so I am scheduling this to post on Thursday (while we still have power).

Yesterday was about meetings, writing, storms, and cats. Today will be about meetings, writing, and cats. This weekend, we add cleaning out boxes from the basement into the mix.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

Hop on over to see the latest on Gratitude and Growth. Not much to tell, but still. . .it’s there. Consistency is important, correct?

The cats officially have new names. The one I’ve referred to as New Kitty #1 is now Willa, for Willa Cather: smart, independent, resourceful. Willa wasn’t even one of the names originally considered: we had it narrowed down to Jane or Clara. But we came up with Willa, and she likes it, so Willa she is.

New Kitty #2 is Charlotte, for Charlotte Bronte and the various feisty Princess Charlottes over the centuries. Charlotte is stubborn, determined, and a bit of a diva. She picked her name early on; Willa was more difficult to name.

They are doing well. Tessa keeps them in line. Willa is exploring more than Charlotte is. Willa comes out to play. She’s even started asking for pets, started purring, and, yesterday morning, she sat in my lap while I typed. Willa even made friends with my mom, and now asks her for pets, too.

Charlotte is still figuring things out and wondering why no one pays any attention to her tantrums. But then, she came into the house two days after Willa did. Charlotte will get there. We won’t rush her. We’ll let her figure it out in her own time.

Tessa keeps unpacking Charlotte’s toy box and playing with her toys, just to prove she can.

As soon as they are comfortable enough to have their pictures taken, I will do so.

They haven’t even lived here a week, so I think they’re doing well. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but that’s the way it goes. The less we fuss at them, the faster they adjust.

I got some good writing in on Wednesday morning. Then headed in to a client’s.

I was invited to a chamber event on Wednesday night, at a new restaurant. I knew I SHOULD go, but I didn’t really want to. I mean, we had a nor’easter coming in.I also realized I need to make new business cards with the new logo. And the new contact address, to replace the hacked one.

This is scheduled to post because  I have a meeting first thing this morning, about potential projects. Tomorrow’s post will also be late, because I have another meeting, with a different potential client about a project.

The weekend is about writing, socializing the cats, and working on cleaning out boxes from the basement.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on the business side of things.

I needed meditation group on Monday! Felt so much better when it was done. Came home. Cats were fine. They had a quiet day, mostly sleeping, which is good for them. They’ve had a rough few days.

Had fun opening the latest Goddess Provisions Box. It’s such a treat. My prize arrived from last week’s remote chat, which was fun, too.

New Kitty #1 came out and we even played a bit. She’s very sweet. I thought she was striped, but she’s not. She’s a gray-and-white tuxedo. She’s very pretty. After a few minutes, though, she had enough interaction. She took refuge in my reading chair in the writing room, and contemplated possible names. She did a few half-hearted hisses, but no one would engage.

Tessa got into the toy box that came with New Kitty #2. She took every single one out, marked them, played with them, and left them all over the living room. She feels it’s a job well done. When I put them back, she took them all out again. Now, we have LOTS of toys all over the house. She has her favorite toy, with which we play every day. But she had to show who is boss.

I was exhausted and went up early to read in bed. After awhile, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To my surprise, it was New Kitty #2. She looked as shocked as I did. She growled, and I said, “Okay, I won’t look at you if you won’t look at me.” Well, Diva Princess that she is, that doesn’t work. I went back to my book. She explored the room, checking to look at me sometimes. I looked at her when she was busy. She finally sailed out of the room, tail high. First periscope tail since she moved in. Progress.

Quiet night. Up early yesterday. I spilled a cup of coffee on the light-colored carpet in my bedroom, so they got to hear me swear and watched as I scrubbed.

Good writing session. New Kitty #1 still has a fort in my office, but she likes to watch me at the computer. Tessa sits and keeps me company, as she always has.

Tessa feels secure because we are maintaining the routine. The other cats are learning it, and the fact that (in spite of freelancing and ME doing different things every day) THEIR routine is consistent helps. Tessa sets a few boundaries and makes it clear she is in charge. After being bossed for years by Iris & Violet, she likes being the boss.

They both are really nosy, now that they’re not terrified. They’re starting to seek engagement with us. That makes a smoother transition than if we tried to force it on them. Cats always prefer it when it’s their idea.

It makes us miss Lucy and Lucy’s sunny personality even more, though.

I think we have New Kitty #2’s name. One that suits the little diva princess, and to which she responds. New Kitty #1 is being more particular. There were several names I tried which she definitely does NOT like.

Got some good writing done in the morning. Onsite at the client’s. Only one in the office, which meant I got A LOT done. Set some appointments/meetings for later in the week. Got out some more LOIs.

New Kitties are venturing out more to explore, so I think we have some more hissy-spitty and growly days ahead of us as they work it out.

Today, I’m onsite with the client again. I’m looking forward to the Remote Chat (it’s become one of my favorite parts of the week). Thursday and Friday have the potential to be a good busy.

Hoping some other pieces fall into place, but I’m making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Having multiple plans works for me. That way, I can mix and match elements as I need, and have options while still being flexible.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too many options.” I have no time for people who whine about that. Fine. Too many options for your comfort. Get out of my way, because I intend to make full use of them.

And showing up at the page every day keeps things steady, and gives me tangible progress.

Have a great day!

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Oct. 8, 2019: New Additions to the Household

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

It’s been a stressful weekend, without enough writing getting done. I’m way behind where I need to be.

But it’s for a good reason.

We brought two new cats into the house. They’ve had a rough time, for the past year. The man who raised them since they were kittens had seriously worsening medical issues over the past year. The cats (littermates) started fighting. Then, the man got a service dog and couldn’t keep the cats. The cats have spent the last year being moved around between relatives, sometimes together (where they fought in the new environment, which is understandable), sometimes apart. A niece decided to put them up for adoption, we found each other, and I agreed to take both.

One arrived on Friday night. She’s very cute, but she was very upset, hissy spitty and growly. She threatened a lot, but didn’t attack. I set up her food and water dish in the kitchen. I let her out in the bathroom, with the door closed, so she knew where the litter box was.

She shot out of her carrier, checked out the litter box, and demanded I open the door. I did; she did a quick recon of the kitchen, then set up a fort in my office, amongst the books (but on the carpet, because she’s smart). She was unhappy all night.

We checked on her, but ignored her hissing, spitting, and growling. Humans did. Tessa growled back once, when New Kitty #1 advanced on me, growling, once. But Tessa’s handled it all calmly.

We simply let New Kitty #1 do her thing. We keep our usual routine. That makes Tessa feel safe, and it gives structure for New Kitty.

She came out to the living room while we watched TV to lodge a complaint before dashing back into the office. When we made the rounds before going to bed, she was in my Victorian wingback chair, and stuck her little head out to hiss. We laughed at her, which perplexed her. But it was kind of cute. I gave her a toy mouse, which she clutches like a teddy bear.

Tessa came up with me, as usual, and even slept on my bed.

Saturday morning, she was much calmer. She’d eaten and used the litter box in the night. She didn’t hiss or growl when we spoke to her. But we basically left her alone. She napped most of the day. Poor thing was exhausted.

I had gotten up at 5 AM and made raw apple muffins, but kitchen noise doesn’t bother her.

We had a quiet Saturday. I didn’t work in my office. I left it for her to feel safe. I read in the living room. Tessa stuck with me. We checked on her occasionally, to make sure she was okay. She watched us with a quiet, thoughtful gaze.

I put up most of the outdoor decorations for Halloween. I haven’t yet put up the lights.

I was up early again on Sunday. Usual routine. This time, I sat in my office to do some editing for a bit. I wanted to go in and write later in the day, but it didn’t happen.

I baked orange rye bread and my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread.

The second cat arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday. She came with lots of stuff, including Bliss Mist and her own pink fleece blanket, and an elaborate set up for her food dishes.

She, however, would not come out of her crate in the bathroom. I kept it near the litter box, so she’d know where it was, and left her there for a bit. She wouldn’t come out. I moved the crate to the living room, where she yowled her unhappiness. I moved her into the back bedroom, near her things, and let her be.

She took a nap for awhile, and then started yowling again. Hissing, growling, yowling. Diva Princess tantrum (I was warned she is the princess of the two). We let her alone. She had an even bigger tantrum when Tessa came downstairs (the stairs go into the back room). Tessa skirted around her and ignored her.

I sprayed her with Bliss Spray and she settled a bit.

New Kitty #1 came to tell her off. They hissed and spat and growled, but didn’t fight. They were saying some pretty nasty things, though, in feline.

Tessa stayed with us in the living room. Lately, she’s started sitting in the rocking chair (where Violet used to sit).

Then, New Kitty #1 decided since there were stairs, she might as well see where they led. She ventured upstairs. She hung out in my room for awhile.

New Kitty #2 was carrying on with a major tantrum still when we went to bed. We let her have her tantrum. Tessa was still downstairs. I didn’t realize New Kitty #1 was still in my room until I tripped over her. She fled back down the stairs.

At some point, Tessa sneaked up. She rummaged around upstairs and then settled on the bed.

I had insomnia for a bit, and then finally fell asleep. I woke up around 5 when Tessa was growling at someone. I guess one of the New Kitties was roaming around upstairs, but I don’t know which one.

I started the normal morning routine. Tessa came down to the kitchen with me. I put out fresh food and water for everyone.

New Kitty #2 finally came out of her crate and sat on one of the beds in the back bedroom, where she can see everyone. She started hissing. I said, “Good morning,” and kept going. Tessa ignored her.

New Kitty #1 was back to hanging out in my office in her fort. Again, calm. I went to my desk to work. Tessa came in and sat with me, as she always does. Tessa and New Kitty #1 can hang out in the same room and ignore each other.

I had a decent first writing session before I had to head off to my client’s.

I was tired and slow, but managed to get the work done. Headed to the library for a bit, then to meditation, which, believe me, I needed.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I have no idea what the night will be. I’m hoping it will be quiet and New Kitty #2 will get over herself. If we don’t engage in her tantrums, I hope she’ll calm down, the way New Kitty #1 does.

The cats were named with actresses that have a variation on the same first name and different middle names. No wonder they’re confused.

I had hoped to rename them Harriet and Louisa, after Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott, but the names don’t suit them. I will let them settle in a bit more and reveal their personalities, and then we’ll work on names together. I have tried several on New Kitty #1, and she is not impressed. Nor does she like her original name.

New Kitty #1 calmed down pretty fast, so I hope New Kitty #2 will do the same. We are letting them initiate any interaction they want with us, other than basic greetings and giving them food. If and when they want to check us out or getting petted, they can come and ask. But giving the day basic structure, with freedom and quiet for them within it helps more than anything.

Lucy, in spite of her difficult history, was a much easier cat with a sunnier personality.

Tessa is already happier to have other cats in the house, although right now, they’re a pain in her butt.

Friday night, we finally heard from the landlord that he’s willing to extend the lease another year. We had asked in August, and have lived on tenterhooks ever since.

Of course, the rent is raised. More than is comfortable, but it’s still less than market rate. Which means a lot of other things have to change. And, in MA, the landlord can raise the rent however high they want. So, while this is uncomfortable, we’re still lucky, especially since there’s a housing shortage here.

Although about half of my town is up for sale.

On a happier note, when I was out doing my grocery shopping, I ran into a couple visiting from Marseilles. They were trying to get directions, and having trouble understanding the people who were trying to help. I intervened, apologizing for my bad French, and managed to make them understand, while showing them on the map, in French.

They invited me for coffee (not at Starbucks, which we all can’t stand, but at an independent place). We sat outside and talked, in a mixture of French (mostly) and English. I helped them plot out their next two weeks, with maps and recommendations. They think the Cape is beautiful, but are disappointed in how many people who support the Narcissistic Sociopath are here, and feel America, in general, has lost its sense of independence. I agree. It’s gotten worse in this area. I mean, really: Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, and now Hobby Lobby? Home Depot is my last resort, only if I can’t get something from one of the local hardware stores. But I refuse to set foot in Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby.

I’m exhausted, on so many levels.

But one word in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one paw in front of the other.

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 6:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Oct. 7, 2019: Know Your Unique Health Needs — #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

Monday, October 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Health is an important topic for writers. For everyone. How do we do what we do and stay healthy, on both mental and physical levels? How do we stay in balance? How do we remove stressors from our lives, or learn how to deal with them better?

The fact that in the US, healthcare is considered a privilege, and the attitude is that you only deserve good health if you’re rich makes it even harder to stay healthy.

Any system is bound to fail at some level, because “systems” don’t treat people as what they are — individuals. So much needs to change regarding healthcare, but one of the most important things is that people are individuals and must be so treated.

Part of what we need to do for ourselves is to learn our own bodies and health. What is “good health” for each of us? It’s going to be different. It’s also going to change at different stages of our lives.

What does it feel like, physically, when you feel healthy? Do you feel well-rested? Energetic? Pain free? Able to breathe and move and think clearly? Have a sense of optimism, or at least peace?

For me, all of those factors contribute to what I consider “good health.”

I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. Too often, I just push through. Too often, it’s because I can’t afford to be sick, on any level. Which, of course, just makes me sicker. If I listen to the signs earlier and deal with them, the severity is lessened, AND I heal more quickly.

But what feels right and good in my body is different than what feels right and good in someone else’s. We have to learn how to calibrate our own health, and learn the warning signs.

I’ll never forget the first time I went to acupuncture. I left the session, pain-free, for the first time in YEARS. I had forgotten what it felt like to be pain-free.

It didn’t last more than a few days, but it was a reminder that there is a place where both my mind and my body feel good and right.

Spend some time with yourself. Learn how different movements feel. We are writers, so we communicate the world through sensory detail. If we use that same type of sensory detail on ourselves, we can figure out where we are in relation to where we want to be. How we feel versus how we’d like to feel.

We can ask for the help we need, because we have a place to start.

The level of toxicity has risen so high in the past couple of years, between vile people feeling they have the right to destroy those around them on emotional and financial levels, between environmental and health inspections rolled back, new poisons allowed in the world, and strong new diseases flourishing that it can be overwhelming.

So start with yourself. See what small changes you can do every day to help you feel better.

When asked, share it. But do it with kindness, not force. Say, “this worked for me. Would you like to try it?” rather than “You should . . .”

Everyone’s needs, abilities, and resources are different. We need to understand ourselves, and OFFER understanding TO, rather than FORCE our opinions ON each other. We need to use language that supports rather than judges. We need to recognize and celebrate individuality. That includes individual needs in our health.

Published in: on October 7, 2019 at 6:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Oct. 4, 2019: Fall Cleaning

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image by AnnaliseArt via pixabay.com

Friday, October 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about the importance of friendship in the series.

Yesterday was a cold, chilly day. I got some work done, got some reading done. I thoroughly enjoyed THE WILD WAYS by Tanya Huff. I’m reading the fifth book in Lauren Dane’s Goddess of the Blade series (in preparation for Book 6 coming out in December).

Got some writing done, but, as usual, not enough. Hoping to do a big writing push along with a big clearing out boxes from the basement push this weekend.

Watched AVENGERS: ENDGAME last night. It didn’t do it for me. I’m glad people like it, but there’s not enough character development and too many prolonged fight sequences for me. There were some good moments between actors, but overall, it just didn’t do it for me. I respect everything the actors and creators have done with the world. I know there will be more movies. I’m looking for something else right now, that’s all.

Overslept this morning, and had to rush out of the house to get the oil change done on the car. Female mechanics, everything done easy-peasy, best experience I’ve had with the car in a long time. Car runs like a dream. It runs better than after those thousands of dollars of work I had to get done on it a few months back.

Dashed to Mashpee to Roche Brothers in my quest for rye flour. I’m making an orange rye bread this weekend, and none of the closer stores have had rye flour. Well, Whole-in-the-Wallet Foods might, but I try not to shop there. I miss the health food store, where I could get a variety of flours.

Ran into a former colleague yesterday at the library, from an unhappy gig, but where she was a saving grace. It was nice to catch up. I finally got her email address, so we can keep in touch. She’s on her way to take a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Good for her!

Some work at the library, then cleaning the house, then putting up the exterior Halloween decorations, then writing. And writing, writing, writing all weekend.

Have a great one! It’s supposed to be lovely here. Rumor is, it snowed in Maine.

Thurs. Oct. 3, 2019: Perhaps a Moment of Respite?

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Drizzly and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to catch up on the latest with the garden.

If you didn’t get a chance, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for yesterday’s post about trusting your instincts in early meetings/job interviews.

I had a bizarre experience on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. I was awakened by odd music a little before 4 AM. I could have sworn someone was on the deck. At first, I thought someone was stealing my wind chimes, but it sounded like playing a pennywhistle or something. Came up on the deck for a bit, then moved away. I should have gotten up and checked what it was, but it was too creepy.

When I came down in the daylight, everything was fine.

It was disturbing.

Yesterday was busy at my client’s. She’ll be away next week, and right before she goes is always chaos.

The Remote Chat was fun. It always is.

Came home exhausted. Tessa was busy and kept us going. We have a lead on an adoption that I hope will happen over the next week or so. So far, the conversations have been really good.

I’ve been lucky to have steady, good writing sessions every day, in and around client work. That always helps keep me on keel. Show up at the page; do the work. Stay creative.

I had a good first writing session. I haven’t worked on ELLA for the past few days, because I’m on deadline with another two projects, which had priority. I’m looking forward to getting back to it early next week, though.

I’m working at the library for a bit, and then I’ll go back to my own desk (where I’m most productive), and get back to the page. I want to get the radio play polished and out.

There’s still high stress in certain other areas of my life, so, of course, I use GAMBIT COLONY to ease it. It’s not time that would be spent on the deadlined work; it’s time I’d spent fretting. Instead of fretting, I’m creating.

I’m absolutely dreading the upcoming Mercury Retrograde at the end of the month, especially combined with the ongoing Neptune and Uranus retrogrades. Plus, the whole being in my second Saturn Return.

All those people who told me in my first Saturn Return that the second one would be easier? They lied.

Tomorrow’s post will be late, because I have to take the car in for an oil change.

Anyway, one word in front of the other, and, eventually, it gets done. Back to the page.

Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

The weather is all over the place this week. Warm, cold, humid, dry, rainy.

Monday afternoon was fun. Got some errands run in Bourne and Sandwich, took my mom along, because it was a nice day for a ride.

Up to season five of the MARY TYLER MOORE show. I was too young to understand a lot of the innuendo the first time around. So many of the guest actors went on to solid careers of their own. It’s fun to see them here.

Was awakened Tuesday morning a little after 4, because yet another of the carbon monoxide detectors hit “end of life.” So there’s something else to replace. Yes, technically the landlord should, but it’s easier if I do it.

Decent writing sessions in the morning. Onsite with a client most of yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon, spent another work session at the library. Not sure if I’ll do that today or not. I don’t usually go to the library on Wednesdays. I’m too tired after being on site.

LOIs out, meetings, discussions on projects and potential projects. Got out some email blasts for a client and finishing up a roster of scheduled tweets for the month, for the same client.

We’re supposed to have some rain; I’m waiting until it passes through before putting up the exterior decorations. Yes, I’ll make sure to take photos! I’ll put them up on Instagram.

Still in search of a feline friend for Tessa.

Ordered a research book for a new series I’m developing. I won’t actually get to write it for a few years, probably not until the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries is done and Covetina Circle series is almost done. But I keep taking this particular book out of the library constantly, so I tracked down a used copy (it’s out of print) and ordered it for my personal library.

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Spinning some ideas, seeing where they go. Trying to stay on top of deadlines. I’m not doing enough marketing for my own work; I have to ramp that up, especially with the holidays coming.

And I’m on the hunt for a new webhost. A2 was great for breaking away from the horrible 1&1.com. However, A2 is incapable of making a simple fix and their security has gone downhill in the past few months. They’ll give me the runaround about getting into the sites for which I pay, but any random computer geek can hack in. That’s not okay. Their security is failing, and their customer service has gone downhill. And when there is a customer service issue, their solution is to send me into an endless loop of the same steps that didn’t work, through a variety of so-called tech support people. Which doesn’t solve anything, because all they do is pass it around the table instead of solving the issue. So it’s time to go elsewhere. It’s disappointing. I hate moving webhosts. It took me nearly a year to completely break free of 1&1. But I learned a lot since the move. Hopefully, I can apply it. Because I don’t upload FTP files, but build on the host, it’s going to be a pain to move things.

It means building everything from scratch again, the thought of which just makes me tired.

But if I have notes on all my specs and copies of all my copy, it shouldn’t be too bad. Famous last words.

Because of everything else going on, I’ll probably see out my term and make the switch in January.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy, but then, we’re in autumn, and autumn is always busy! It’s unseasonably warm.

Friday, I ran some errands. I had to put gas into the car — I was all the way down to the bottom of the tank. Unusual for me — I usually refill it when I hit half. Of course, because I was so low, they were working on the street and had a detour so I couldn’t get to my usual gas station. I made it to another one, but I was not a happy camper.

One of the annoying things about Cape life is that you’re stuck in ridiculous traffic all summer on roads that can’t handle it. Then, during “shoulder season” — spring and summer — you’re stuck in one-lane only traffic because that’s when they work on the roads.

Only this year, they did roadwork all summer, too, so the summer traffic was even worse than usual, and now it’s no better. Plus, the damn tourists just aren’t going home. It’s gotten to the point where there’s about a week in mid-March where you can get where you need to go on time, where it’s not blocked by snow and too early for roadwork.

The very idea that they want to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges with bridges doubling the current spans is not the solution. There’s no way for that traffic to feed into the current roads and no way to widen those roads. Just have one bridge for on-Cape traffic and one for off-Cape. It will still be a mess. The Cape is beyond capacity.

If you live on Cape, it’s harder and harder to get anywhere OFF Cape and get back to get anything done. And it’s getting harder and harder to get around on Cape. Not to mention that the mass transportation system is awful on Cape, and limited to get on and off. You can get to Boston, but not a whole lot of other places.

On top of that, all the tree-cutting is out of control. It has nothing to do with the health of trees, and everything to do with clear-cutting and leaving the Cape looking like a cross between a sandbar and a prairie. Personally? I like the oxygen trees provide. Breathing matters.

So Friday was annoying. I went to the library to do some work, but it was chaotic and noisy (not in a good way), so I wasn’t there very long.

I couldn’t get all my errands done on Friday because of the traffic. Plus, I hadn’t slept much — insomnia most of the night.

Crashed early on Friday because of Thursday night’s insomnia and slept for 10 hours, which is unusual for me.

So, Saturday, I had to finish what I couldn’t get done on Friday, which included taking the garbage to the dump, coming back and taking the recycling to the dump, and washing out the garbage bins. Also got some raking done, our first raking of the seasons.

In the afternoon, I switched out the lace panels on the first floor for the spiderweb curtains. Even though today is the first of October, and I don’t usually do it until now, I had the time on Saturday, so that’s when I did it. I put up most of the interior decorations. I’ll put up the exterior ones this week.

Roasted a chicken on Saturday night (served with sweet potatoes and spinach). We’ll have some good leftovers this week. I’ll do a curried chicken salad, and maybe a chicken potpie.

Made cinnamon buns on Sunday morning for breakfast. Wrote on Sunday, had a good writing day. Didn’t get everything I’d hope to finish done, but it was still a good writing day.

Tessa hates being an only cat, even though we’re giving her lots of extra attention. We went to the shelter down the street to meet some new arrivals. There are some sweethearts, but we had more questions before we can try to adopt. Let’s hope they can answer. It’s the same place where I adopted Tessa, but they’re made the adoption process more complicated since I adopted her.

Sunday night, made turkey meatloaf in mushroom gravy, served with mashed potatoes and steamed peas.

Read a mystery where the premise was good, but the execution poor. The protagonist annoyed me. She wasn’t cute and relatingly human –she was whiny and annoying. Read two more Travis McGree novels. Again, the female characters were awful. The way Travis tries to romanticize his promiscuity gets annoying. Just admit you’re a dog and be done with it. Stop trying to make us believe you’re different and somehow noble, because you’re not. He’s as damaged as the hot messes he’s always bedding.

Finished reading a couple of memoirs, one by someone with whom I’d worked in New York, another by someone involved in some of the same productions. It amazed me how differently the anecdotes were printed on the page than what was said backstage.

A few major things are up in the air right now, which is something I don’t do well with. But I have to be flexible and keep my ability to think on my feet. This will be a stressful month. And then we go back into Mercury Retrograde, which I dread on so many levels I can’t even start talking about it. There’s too much going on at the same time as not enough. It’s a weird kind of friction.

More insomnia Sunday night into Monday, which means I woke up cranky and out of sorts. Decent early morning writing sessions, time with a client. The necessity of yet more errands that I couldn’t finish over the weekend, piled on with end-of-month errands, meant I missed meditation.

Onsite with a client, and then some other appointments. Too much tension in my life right now.

But as long as I keep showing up at the page every day, at least there’s progress somewhere.