April 9, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Didn’t post yesterday, because I was busy writing. So I’m posting today.

Check out “Vapid” by Kell E. Harper over on Circadian Poems.

Harmony, of Writer in the Making tagged me back on Friday, so here are my answers:

How do you achieve balance in your life?
I ruthlessly prioritize. I constantly ask myself what’s the most important, and act on that. And, I give myself the day off or change my mind when my intuition tells me so to do. I’m getting better at throwing other people’s agendas back at them instead of feeling I have to acquiesce. Also, running two full-time careers, even though I’m doing the transition, is not easy. It’s been difficult to stay balanced through all the home-and-hearth chaos with the Evil Developers. I’m counting on it being easier once I’ve moved.


What is your biggest challenge in balancing your life?

Other people’s agendas in conflict with mine. Constantly having to weigh where someone fits (or doesn’t) into my life and if that agenda should be taken into consideration.


What are your priorities?

My writing and my extended family hold the top spot together. They are equally important to me. Writing is breathing to me, and I’m no good to anyone, including myself, if I’m not writing. Walking my talk is another priority – I have strong opinions as far as personal conduct (treading lightly on the earth, treating people well, social justice, etc.) – but if I don’t live my life that way, it means nothing.


How have your priorities changed over time and why?

Writing has always been a priority, but there were about 15 years in the middle where working in technical theatre took over, and often the only writing was in my diaries. I lost confidence in my abilities, and I made the mistake of putting other people’s work before my own – thinking it would naturally balance out. Of course, it doesn’t – those people expect and demand to always be put first and never are willing to offer the same kind of support. So, eventually, if you have any self-esteem, you remove yourself from the situation and re-prioritize. At this point, “partnership”, to me, means we both work towards both our goals – not one or the other repressing or putting aside the goals only to work for the other person’s.

What advice can you share to help all of us learn to balance our own lives?
The word “no” is your best friend.
Don’t settle. Always strive.

I’m going to tag: Tammy, Rhian, Colin, Ann, and Tori for this one (and anyone else who wishes, please feel free to join in).

Ink in My Potting Soil
Over the past few days, four little tiny morning glory plants have struggled up through the soil. Nothing else has ventured out yet – but those four determined little shoots are here!

Writing
I spent most of yesterday working on Good Names. I wrote the first draft of Chapter One – slow going, just over 2500 words, but steady progress, and it feels right. I did some research, and embarked on the second chapter. We’re still in Chicago, but Althea has taken Ruby (the character through whose eyes the story is told) and her younger brother and sister (Althea’s brother’s children) away from their cruel stepmother. I’ve decided to lodge them at the Congress Hotel. They will only be in Chicago for another chapter or two before I put them on the Twentieth Century Limited luxury train and send them to New York. I decided that Althea’s New York City home will be in the Grammercy Park area; I’m still not sure in which town in Westchester she will live, although I’m leaning towards Tarrytown. I can’t make it to the Westchester Archives for the next two weeks – but I doubt I’ll be done with the New York city section by then.

I still have to weave Jane Addams and Agnes Nestor into the Chicago section, but I have to do some more research before that will work. I remember reading about Jane Addams when I was in elementary school, as one of The Childhood of Famous Americans series – but that’s not going to be good enough for this.

I did a little bit this morning, just over two pages, but need to do some more research for detail.


Ink in My Kitchen

The blueberry scone recipe went out yesterday. If you didn’t get it, but wanted it, drop me an email with your email and I’ll send it off to you.

I also worked on some other recipes for The Project. I’m being naughty – I should do one batch exactly as written before I make any changes – but when I know something isn’t working, or when I taste and it’s bland – I’m making the changes right away. And notating them.

I baked a few loaves of Swedish Coffee Bread (which doesn’t look like any Swedish recipe I’ve ever seen in a Scandinavian cookbook). Then, I worked on the cottage cheese pie recipe – different crust – and something went wrong in the oven, it started belching black smoke and there were the beginnings of flames, and I was afraid we’d have a kitchen fire (we had one in 2002). I turned everything off, got the cake out of the oven, turned on all the fans, opened the windows. The fire didn’t catch, it went out, fortunately – I didn’t even have to use the fire extinguisher. But it was traumatic. And here I had a partially warmed cottage cheese mess on my hands – so I dashed to a neighbor’s downstairs and used her oven instead. Thank goodness for neighbors.

And, when I move, I’m getting a custom-built oven.

Both the bread and the pie taste pretty darned good, though!

This morning, I tore apart the over and scrubbed everything down – even though it was remarkably clean. I couldn’t find any reason for what happened – which worries me even more. I tested the oven, and it seems to be working fine, but I’m still nervous.

Other Stuff
I went to my friend’s place to do laundry on Saturday. When I tried to leave – the dog jumped into my brand-new car and wouldn’t get out. It took the two of us forty minutes to wrestle him out of the car – and now I’ve got blonde Labrador hair all over the car! I even drove him around the driveway a few times, hoping he’d be satisfied, but no . . .I didn’t dare take him for a longer jaunt because they’ve got an electric fence and I didn’t want him to get shocked. It was funny . . .to a point.

Spooky ate two dishes of kibble Saturday and demanded a good, long cuddle. He’s shedding, too, so I have to get him his own brush (until everyone’s been to the vet I’m not mixing anything they use and I’m washing my hands thoroughly in between touching anyone). AND I’m looking after my neighbor’s enormous cat while she’s away this weekend, and he had to have attention – I’m telling you, Saturday was all about being at the beck and call of critters.

My girls were horrified that I smelled of two other cats AND a dog!

We watched programs on professional cat shows and on doggie day care, and I said to my three, “See, there are owners out here who are even nuttier than I am!” They were truly horrified by the cat show program and the cats yowling, and figured they have a much better deal here. Nothing against cat shows – those owners do adore their cats – but it’s not the kind of life mine want!

One of the cat food cookbooks arrived – vet approved recipes – and there’s a section called “Cooking in Tandem” with quantities for owners and pets together – dual recipes. Um, that might be even too extreme for me.

I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert, of course, hooks up with another guy by the end of the book – god forbid she should actually be comfortable in solitude, which is far more complex than simple celibacy. She goes on and on about how different she is now, after her trip – well, all I see is a woman who went from being in a marriage, rearranging her life for some guy, to being in an affair and rearranging her life with some guy. It seems, to me, she’s in the same situation, but in a different location with a different guy. Change is about more than just a few weeks without sex.

Started reading Daughter of Vermont, about Ella Eaton Hepburn, a young woman who was one of the early classes in the co-educational St. Lawrence University, near the turn of the twentieth century. The book is fascinating and there’s information I can use in Good Names.

I want to get back to Good Names today, do some more work on Circadian and a few other projects. Hopefully, Confidential Job #1 will give me my next assignment and Confidential Job #2 will send me the test assignment, and I can get going on those.

Devon


Good Names
— 3,000 words out of est. 100,000

6 Comments

  1. Heh heh, thanks for the “Ink in my Kitchen” warning! Luckily I just had a bowl of cereal, so–no drooling!

    You know, that was one of the things I couldn’t stand about having a dog. The Hair! It was all over everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. And he got brushed every day, I was very meticulous with him. But some dogs just shed. Nothing they can help. Do cats shed as badly? (I’m a non-cat owner, so I’m curious.)

    Oh, and yes, I think I might have to drive myself to the hospital–all my neighbors are gone on Spring Break! Wish me luck!

  2. Thanks for the blueberry scone recipe! It sounds yummy.

    LOL re the dog wanting to go for a ride! Sounds like the dog we had when I was growing up. She loved to go for rides. 🙂

  3. Hooray for the Morning Glories. Mine are just now beginning to poke up near the fence. We had a mild frost the other night and I was a little worried about them. I had set out my Desert Rose and it got nipped. Poor thing is all wilted. My other roses are going crazy, though. And I only lost one pot of the cuttings I took last year. The original rose bed they came from is over 60 years old.

    Yeah, writing=breathing. Lately I feel like I’m in a vacuum.

    Love the new look of your blog, btw.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed your post today, Devon. You’re an inspiration. But your almost kitchen fire sounds horrific. Hope you get that oven sorted. Giggled at the dog story. We used to have a black lab who loved our car so much he was happy to sit in it for hours. Once, he went “missing”. We found him a day later sitting in the car which had been put away in our garage. He must have jumped in when we were unpacking the groceries. I’m interested in the cat food recipies and am looking forward to hearing how you get on with them…

  5. Thank you very much for the scone recipe. I can’t wait to try it. (Daughter and I are the only blueberry eaters here.) I didn’t email my thanks, because I didn’t want to muddle your email up.
    Great news about the Morning Glories! And gracious, an almost fire? I hope that’s the last of your problems with your oven. The cook books sound quite intersting, but I agree, the dual recipes is a bit much.
    Hope you’re feeling better this week! Have a wonderful day.

  6. […] post by devonellington Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: