Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy day yesterday. Lots of writing, always a good thing.

I swung by Verizon and got my new phone. I was dressed to gain (positive) attention, and didn’t even have to wait. They fell all over themselves to help me, I’d done the research, and walked out within twenty minutes with a new, activated phone with all my data transferred. When I do the rebate paperwork, it will wind up being a free phone. That’s the way it should be.

Picked up what I needed at the store, dropped stuff off with my Mom, had lunch with her, headed back, took care of a few things, then headed back out for the iWeb workshop.

At first, I found it a little frustrating, because only one other person in the class had a website, and no one had a blog, and the bulk of the class were most interested in personal sites about their vacations instead of business sites. But I reviewed the stuff I knew, learned some new stuff, and got my questions answered. Now I can create palettes of color swatches to keep my pages consistent, make my own navigation bars, etc., etc. I’m pretty sure I can design the sites I want. We’ll find out in the next few weeks, won’t we? In an ideal world, I could have all three domains and the two subdomains designed before the move, so once the transfer is complete, all I have to do is upload.

So it wound up being fine, although my head was ready to explode when I was done.

Came home to find that the cats had knocked down a whole table’s worth of stuff. Haven’t found it all yet, but put back what I could. They’re not supposed to be on that particular article of furniture, but I guess we know what they do when they’re alone, now, don’t we?

Came home, had a late supper. Watched CHUCK, which was disappointing. This season, they’re marginalizing the female characters. They got rid of the girl from the store (who was the best of the store bunch). Sarah and Ellie are now on the sidelines, fretful and whiny. The only time Sarah gets to do anything is the girl-on-girl fighting with the Villainess of the Week who’s after Chuck. It’s already gotten old. There’s so much potential for the whole upgraded Chuck thing, and, in my opinion, they’re blowing it. They’re dumping the charm, going for the cheap laugh, and cheating the female characters. If next week’s episode isn’t a lot better, I’m done with the show.

I was happier with the CASTLE episode, although I felt the writing didn’t quite match last week’s. Last week’s writing and acting was one of the best episodes of the whole series, in my opinion. While last night’s episode was necessary for overall plot movement, it felt clunky in comparison, with the writing not meeting the bar set by the actors.

The Deanna Raybourn books shipped; I hope they arrive before I leave for Philly on Friday.

I want to finish the chapter on which I’m currently working, which ends the London section of this particular WIP. It’s flowing really well — I wound up writing 12 pages yesterday, and I’ve got about 6 so far today. I’ve got to pay some bills and go to the post office around lunch time, and then I hope to focus on the steampunk this afternoon. I’d like to get a good chunk of Chapter Six done. I’m not even going to worry about word count until the first draft is done, instead of keeping track as I go. I’ll see what needs more detail for the second draft, and the third will be where I cut to fit designated word count.

I’m packed for the trip, at least clothing-wise. I won’t back the books and the writing until Thursday night, when I know where I am with various projects.

Back to the page. I hope I can go to meditation group tonight. I miss it.


Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 10:01 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
Martin Luther King Day
National Thesaurus Day

Wave your thesauruses proudly, my friends, and use them as we gather together to heed Dr. King’s words and make the world a better place!

Late getting online today. I was writing, and it was going well (I wrote about 10 pages, longhand), so I wasn’t about to stop until I HAD to stop.

Everything got done yesterday, before the worst of the weather hit. And I did a thorough apartment cleaning in the afternoon, while percolating on various projects. I wrote this morning, got the arrangements for the weekend gig done, am on line for a brief, shining moment.

I have to drop some stuff off at storage, pick up some stuff at the grocery store, drop off some stuff for my mom, maybe today’s the day I buy my new phone? It would be a good idea to get it all settled before I travel. Since I’ll only be gone four days instead of a week, I don’t need to take nearly as much stuff. Writing-wise, I’ll focus on the steampunk and the piece on which I was working this morning. Everything else can wait until I get back. I have to be really organized this week, and clear off a bunch of things on my desk before i leave.

And, of course, I want to clear today’s errands out of the way so I can get back to the page! When I’m on a roll, I hate to stop for ANYTHING.

Congrats to the cast of GLEE for winning a Golden Globe for best comedy or musical series last night. Having worked with two of the actresses while we were all on Broadway, the honor is well-deserved.

I’ve got an iWeb workshop tonight — don’t want to forget about it in all the fray!


Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sleeting and cold

Quick check-in. I have to go to Trader Joe’s, Staples, and Mrs. Green’s as soon as they open. We weren’t supposed to get the sleet storm until tonight, according to the weather folk — so, of course, it’s started NOW.

Good day yesterday — got the laundry done, got a submission out, checked in with another editor who likes my work, revised a short story. Didn’t get any work done on the play, unfortunately. It’s still taking form. I’ve got the basic structure figured out, and it’s only got three characters, but the comedy isn’t yet flowing naturally.

Working on an outline of a piece based on the dream — whose intensity still sits with me — only I’m working the outline kind of backwards. I’ve got the ending; I’ve got the opening. And I’m working back from the ending to get to the opening, at least in the outline. Characters for another piece are also talking, a piece that started percolating last week. So it’s a little noisy internally right now. Fortunately, with the long weekend, there’s a decent amount of external quiet.

I may be working out of town towards the end of the upcoming week — I was asked on Friday night, supposed to get all the details by Saturday morning, and still don’t have them, but I’m getting the week sorted as though I’m going. If I go, then there won’t be a crunch at the end of the week; if I don’t, I have a bigger swatch of unscheduled time to devote to the writing. Either way, it’s a positive.

And I have clean clothes for the trip! 😉

Back to the page to get a little bit done before I head out on errands, then hunker down inside for the rest of the day.


Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 8:52 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Okay, I’m getting a little tired of people saying how women in their forties are “invisible” as in not only are they not noticed or acknowledged as attractive, but not noticed at all, as though they’re wallpaper or scenery. Uh, no. I’m in my forties, and I’ve never been more visible — when I choose. Yesterday, I chose — I was casually but WELL dressed in grays and navys with red shoes and a red jasper necklace, and I had people falling all over themselves being “helpful” and complimentary. I definitely know how to be invisible when I choose, but it’s a choice. It has NOTHING to do with age!

Red shoes definitely help. Maybe that’s why I have several pairs in various styles.

It takes the same amount of time to put together a look with a bit of panache as it does to throw on sweats and a stained t-shirt, so you might as well go out looking good!

Appropriate attire got me what I wanted faster and with less hassle on my errands, so hoorah for that. AND I hauled the Christmas tree to storage. AND I took my mother shoe shopping. She got a beautiful pair of blue-grey loafers, and I got a fantastic pair of Elie Tahari black stacked heels with gold chains that will go with absolutely everything. Plus, they’re astonishingly comfortable.

Went to the bookstore-which -was-supposed-to-close-but-didn’t to look for the other Deanna Raybourn books. Of course, they didn’t have them, the store is useless (and yet I’m glad it didn’t close), so I’ve ordered them via Amazon. I hardly ever use Amazon anymore — they’ve grown into a behemoth that advocates and kowtows to censorship, in my opinion — but, occasionally, they’re useful, when I need something in a a hurry. I only do 1% of my book shopping through them now. This may well have been it for the year.

Really loved SILENT IN THE GRAVE. I did figure out the villain before the protag did, but not so far ahead that I got frustrated, and the story still managed to have some surprises in it at the end. The writing’s gorgeous, and, again, it’s a case where the author doesn’t allow the genre to confine her, but uses a mixture of genre protocols to her advantage. So I’ve ordered SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY AND SILENT ON THE MOOR. I plan to gobble them up just as soon as they arrive, and then I’ll be ready for the book she’s got coming out at the end of February, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST.

Got some of my own writing done, always a good thing, and plan to work on the first act of the new play today. The steampunk’s going well, and I hope to keep up a steady pace in the coming week. Elsa and my mom’s improving health makes that easier. I have a couple of article queries to work on this weekend, too. And I’ve got two short stories to edit next week, in addition to everything else I’m juggling, because they need to get out the door. And there’s another idea just starting to buzz right behind my third eye, but I haven’t gotten enough of a grasp on it yet to write down any notes.

I had strange dreams last night. Trying to grasp enough to get down — they mean something, but whether it’s relevant to life or fiction, I haven’t quite figured out yet.

Great morning’s work on the steampunk. Finished Chapter 5, started Chapter 6.

I’m off to spend the day at my friend’s in CT, doing laundry, reading, writing, hanging out and cooking. I’m ready!


Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 10:11 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, January 15, 2010

I wish I was on Cape Cod

Friday, January 15, 2010
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Stormy and milder

If you want to donate to Haitian Relief, make sure it’s via a reputable organization. Your State Attorney General’s website should have information on all organizations registered in the state, and crosscheck with the BBB, and with CharityWatch.org. The ones I feel will be most useful in this case are The Red Cross (although I’m still mad at them in this area for ignoring the law allowing pets into shelters after the floods here in 2007), UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders. When the initial relief effort eases and rebuilding begins, I’m sure Habitat for Humanity will get involved.

Working on stuff for the webhost move. Moving three domains and numerous subdomains and all the various “stuff” is a pain and it’s lower than my neck. It will be worth it once it’s done, but a hassle to get there.

Once I figure out how to get my damned mail off the webmail onto my hard drive, Fearless Ink is ready to move. Much as I hate to lose the design for Cerridwen’s Cottage, that will be an easy one to move, so that may go next, with the main Devon site and its subdomains going last.

The vet is pleased with Elsa’s progress, and she got all her shots updated. The LIE and the Cross Island Expressway were nightmares in both directions, but the Hutchinson Parkway was okay, so it worked out. There were lots of small, yappy dogs in the waiting room. Elsa likes dogs (after all, she wants a dachshund AND a mastiff), but when four of them tried to make friends at the same time, pawing at her carrier, it was a bit much. She gave a growl, and they were so shocked, they all sat down. And then she settled back and started purring.

However, somehow, when we put the carrier together in the examining room after her visit, something went wrong. When I took the carrier out of the car in the building parking lot, it fell apart. Bits snapped off, the door came off, it was a mess. Fortunately, it was Elsa and not one of the twins, or they’d have run into the street and been killed. As the carrier disintegrated around her, she jumped onto my chest and hung on. I was wearing the big LL Bean coat I bought back when I was doing TV location shoots a few years ago, so there was plenty to hang on to. I gathered the scraps of the carrier in one hand, supported her with the other arm, and we got back inside, all intact except for the carrier. I don’t quite understand — it’s a fairly new carrier, but it’s like the plastic got brittle and it’s falling apart.

Sigh. Guess I’m headed out to get new carriers.

Thank goodness Elsa’s instinct was to grab onto me instead of running. Iris and Violet would have bolted, and I’d never have found them.

Elsa’s got all her shots and certificates and tags. She could travel to Canada or France. Of course, I have to get my passport renewed first! I’m a big believer in always having a valid passport handy, and mine expires in August. Since they now hassle you if it expires within six months of a trip, and I may be going to Canada a few times this year, I have to mail in my renewal in the next couple of weeks.

Packed up some more decorations, percolated the next chapter of the steampunk, sent out a query for a project, and a few follow-ups on other stuff. There are two publications I may query in the next couple of days — they pay decently, and I’ve got some article ideas.

I read Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING and liked it. It’s a fresh take on the genre, I love that some of it’s set in Maine and some just outside Quebec (both areas of which I’m rather fond). I like the characters, the story, the new take on old myths. It stays out of cliche, and when it refers to a cliche, it turns it inside out. Wonderful contrast to the previous book I read.

And now I’m reading Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, which I just love. The writing’s gorgeous, the characters are great, I like the plot and the setting, and enjoy the fact that the protag comes from a large, unconventional but ultimately loving family. It was hard to put it aside once I’d started,but there was stuff that had to get done. So I used chapters as carrots — if I completed X task, I could read one chapter (of course, I always read at least two, but you get the picture).

Today, I’m carting more stuff to storage, checking on my mom (the acupuncture helped her A LOT –as in, she can move around again and walk). In fact, I’m taking her shoe shopping so she can use the gift card I gave her. And I just might treat myself to something, too. Although I still haven’t had a chance to wear the gray Liz Claiborne boots I bought the last time I went there — to buy the gift card!

As the saying goes — how many pairs of shoes should a woman own? One more than she already has!

So, I got a rejection from a query I sent out — but it’s NOT FOR MY BOOK. No, I’m not going to correct them. I’m crossing them off the list for any further submissions. That kind of carelessness is not acceptable. We would not be a good fit. I’m tempted to send them a snarky response pointing it out, but it’s not worth it.

Had a great first morning’s writing session on the steampunk. THAT’s the way it’s supposed to go! 😉

Back to the page for a few hours before I head out.


Elsa’s Doing Well

Elsa got a clean bill of health at the vet’s. Will write about her adventure tomorrow — including the carrier disintegrating while we were still outside! It was a Mercury Retrograde day, what can I say?

Must get back to the page.

Hard to get back to my own writing when I’m caught up in Deanna Raybourn’s absolutely gorgeous book SILENT IN THE GRAVE . . .

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

My final post on Sole Struck Fashions is up. The blog is ending its run at the end of the month — which means I better get busy pulling my clips!

Yesterday was pretty quiet. Lots of percolating, some writing. Ran my errands, checked on my mom, got stuff to storage — I just have the tree to get in this morning, and the hallway is clear. I’ve still got more to pack up as I sort out some more stuff like wrapping paper and ribbons — I’ve hoarded stuff that really can go — and find a box for a rather large piece — but the bulk of it is done.

Finished that dreadful book yesterday. I was so angry when I was done. Yes, I should have probably put it aside, but I wanted to see, structurally, what was going on, and see if I could figure out why an editor, agent, and publisher would think this was a good, marketable commodity. I figured out the villain — I figured it would be the least logical, most two-dimensional, most peripheral person connected to the story, and it was. Hate that. I disliked the small-mindedness of both the author and the characters. I disliked the way the author denigrated or trivialized several religions that weren’t mainstream Christianity in a piece marketed as mainstream. The author had a Wiccan character do a walk-through simply to insult her (and then, in the chapter at the back, I find the character is central to the next book in the series — how much do you want to bet that character is killed off, punished for her religious choices? I won’t be reading it to find out). AND the author got the color correspondences wrong on what the Wiccan walked into a shop to purchase, after making a big deal about the color. Again, lack of research. There was such a lack of respect for so many people and ideas in the book that it made me want, as my grandmother used to say, spit nails.

I’m going to try to get some writing done in the morning and then take my mom to acupuncture. Tomorrow, I probably won’t get to blog until late in the day, if at all (I might just wait until Friday). I have to leave very early to drive Elsa to the vet. The medicine’s helped some of her symptoms, but not all.

Good yoga session both last night and this morning.

Now, back to the page. I’m trying to decide if it makes sense to work on and submit an essay on a topic I know well. I’m getting warier and warier of new publications, which is not necessarily a good thing. I have to see how I think my time will work out. I sort of feel that I should be focusing on the webhost move first.


Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am  Comments (10)  
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and (a tad) warmer

I’m having trouble getting going this morning.

Got a little writing done yesterday, but not enough. Took another load of stuff to storage, ran a few other errands. Made ratatouille and a beef stroganoff in the afternoon, reading Yasmine Galenorn’s BONE MAGIC in between the simmering and stirring. I like it a lot — the threads of the storyline are getting more complex, and, at the same time, she keeps managing to surprise. Both as a reader and a fellow writer, I’m fascinated by the way she unfolds this series.

Started another book (by a different author) last night which I don’t know if I’ll finish. Not only is the writing sloppy and expository in the wrong way, but the author writes about a foreign locale and it is obvious said author never visited and only knows through reading the most basic of guidebooks. Very few writers are good enough to set books in locales they haven’t visited in person. Some are imaginative enough, do enough thorough research, and find people who’ve either lived there or visited there who, by being asked THE RIGHT QUESTIONS by the author, can relate specific, sensory information that brings the locale to life.

This author didn’t have those strengths.

The book’s definitely going up on BookMooch, and I won’t be buying any more by this author. The author’s published quite a bit, but the style, the voice, the tone, the lack of research, and the sloppy writing turn me off. It’s hard to make a living in this business, so I’m not going to trash anyone by name, more power to the person for making a living, but I won’t be contributing to the royalty checks in the future. Just not to my taste.

Last night’s episode of CHUCK was much better than the season premiere, and I enjoyed the episode of CASTLE. Nice little distraction in the evening. And I did my workout, which was okay, but not great.

Did a lot of percolating yesterday, which was helpful, and will alternate percolation with writing today. I’ve got to get a few things cleared off, get another load of stuff to storage, check on my mom (her back’s worse), and do basic stuff like vacuuming and mopping the floors. Housework never ceases, does it? But if I can write a few scenes and then percolate while I clean, and then write some more, it should all get done in a reasonable amount of time.

When I’m percolating writing, it’s hard to talk about it, because the process is so internal and mysterious, even to me. It’s like putting a bunch of stuff in a slow cooker. When it’s ready, you have a great meal, but if you take it out too soon, some of the elements are too raw and it doesn’t taste as good.

And preparing to do the webhost move is a nightmare, pure and simple.


Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 9:41 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend.

Saturday’s job went well. I got everything done and had time to work on some writing, too. The environment was peaceful and conducive to creative work. One piece on which I’m working has a “piece with in a piece” and have to figure out the internal logistics in order to write the actual story. I did get home around midnight, though, so getting up at 6 AM on Sunday wasn’t fun.

Up early, out the door, to CT, picked up my Mom, back here (because I live across the street from the train station, so it makes sense to use this one. On the train into the city — it was actually on time, nearly unheard of in the annals of Metro North.

Up to the hotel where my friends are staying, and we met up with them and their great kids. My mom hadn’t seen them in twenty yearns, and for me, it was even longer. I hadn’t realized it was that long, because we always talk on the phone every Christmas. It was lovely to see them and catch up. I have an open invitation to come to Rio, so I very well may take them up on it next year — I can start putting aside some money every paycheck for the “Rio Fund”. 😉

One of the friends runs the first cat-only vet practice in Brazil, so, of course, we talked cats. They have a few cats in their homes, and her practice, next door, is exclusively cats, so to say she’s a “cat person” is putting it mildly. He works for a good company in Brazil — he used to actually work on the oil rigs, but now he’s back on land. We met when we lived next door to each other in a residence club, when I first moved to San Francisco, a VERY long time ago! 😉 And have stayed friends ever since.

It was great to see each other again and catch up. And the kids are great — his daughters are 12 and 4. The older daughter brought a friend over, and his nephew, about eight, was also there. All of them are very bright, self-motivated, and don’t expect the world to entertain them The four year old is more computer-savvy than I am, which is a little scary. They’re in NY for a few days, and then headed to Disney World. I know of very few American children in that age range (unless I had a strong hand in bringing them up, the way I did with most of my godkids), who would have behaved as well and handled a first trip to NYC with such sophistication, and yet still been kids.

The contrast was even stronger on the train back, where there were far too many badly behaved, spoiled suburban children running wild on the train and their parents not paying any attention, or thinking it’s “cute.”

But before we headed back on the train, we stopped at Borders and used our gift cards! I bought quite the stack of books, and didn’t get everything on my list, because I was distracted by other books that looked really interesting!

I bought Yasmine Galenorn’s newest, BONE MAGIC (of course, I’m a big fan of the series). Sharon Shinn has a new book out in the Twelve Houses series, FORTUNE AND FATE, so I had to get that (her first book in the series, MYSTIC AND RIDER, continues to be one of my favorite books across the board). I picked up Monica Ferris’s THAI DIE, a mystery that I’m worried is what I call a “gimmick” mystery (it has a counted cross stitch pattern in the back), but the story sounds intriguing enough that I bought it anyway. Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING looks good, so I added that to the pile. That’s a case where the cover design completely drew me in — Sharon Tancredi’s illustration is completely unique, especially from the other books shelved around it. So many of the cover designs are so similar — all dark with the heroine in stilettos and a bustier, could we please have a RANGE of fashion choices, thank you very much, and some color? Yes, the covers are often appropriate for individual books, and, for instance, I think Yasmine’s covers are great and unique, but when shelves and shelves of covers on books by different authors with unique voices all look the same, I don’t want to buy any of them– but the colors and the artwork on this were completely unique. And the story sounds good, so I bought it. I also bought Deanna Rayburn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, and Karen Harper’s MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE.

A good afternoon’s shopping! 😉

There was one kid on the train, though, who didn’t fit into the “spoiled suburban brat” mode. He was about nine years old, doing card tricks. His mother was at her wits’ end — I bet he’s been saying, “Pick a card” 24/7 for WEEKS. So I let him ply his tricks on me, and he’s actually very good. I gave him a few suggestions on presentation (he takes direction well), his mother had a break, and we had fun. I’ll have to use a character inspired by him in something.

Quiet evening at home. Watched the premiere of CHUCK and was disappointed. To me, it seems meandering, repetitive, and scattered, and lost a lot of its charm. They’re spending waaaaay too much time on the friends in the store — they’s supposed to be B story-line comic relief, and they’re getting equal screen time, and it doesn’t work for me.

I have to comment on the whole Jay Leno debacle. So many mistakes were made all the way around, and, instead of fixing the issue, NBC is closing its eyes, sticking its fingers in the ears and singing, “La, La, La” at the top of its lungs. People want scripted shows in the 10 PM slot. Period. I specifically did not watch the new Leno show, which I understand was basically a re-hash of the old Leno show, but in an earlier time slot, because, as someone who’s worked in the industry, NBC could get away with 5 hours’ less of produced, scripted shows by putting him on, and I protest that, both as someone who makes my living in the industry, and as an audience member. I’d stopped watching Jay awhile back, because the segments like “Jay walking” infuriate me. Why is he rewarding people for being uniformed morons by putting them on TV?

Yes, it costs a lot of money to produce a good scripted show, and to produce it well. But it’s worth it. I definitely have my problems with LOST, but it’s well-scripted and well-produced, and has been a gold mine for ABC. As usual, the network is trying to cut costs the wrong way. Having worked on several NBC shows, unless they’re up against a producer who pushes back, they’re always trying to nickel and dime. All the networks do, which is why it’s so important that the exec producer on a show has clout and is a hardass and pushes back at the network, and trains the producers under him or her on various shows to be the same. The networks don’t care about quality most of the time (example — reality shows). They only look at numbers and gossip about the network. If they widened their view a bit, they’d end up making more money over a period of time.

Okay, it’s back to the page for me for a few hours. I should take another load of decorations to storage and run some errands. Not yet sure if that’s on the agenda. Depends on the writing and what I feel like doing. I’ve also GOT to get a new phone sooner rather than later, although I hesitate to get it during Mercury Retrograde. I’ve also got a lot of correspondence to handle this week, and continue attempting to pull off emails from 1and1.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Violet keeps us all in line

Saturday, January 9, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

It snowed on and off yesterday. It was more slushy than anything else. I didn’t even have to dig out the car, just shove slush out of the way. I bet it’s an ice rink out there today.

A friend’s father died unexpectedly. There’s not much one can say in a situation like that except, “What on your To do list can you delegate to me, and I’ll take care of it.”

I wasn’t very creatively productive yesterday, although I got some notes and outlining done that needed to get done, had discussions with my soon-to-be new host about the site moves (I have a magilla of a task to rescue those emails — seems my current host basically isn’t compatible with anything — gee, what a surprise — so my new host can’t help). One day at a time, right? I’ll just have to schedule some time each day for downloading/moving. I’m going to track the time and eventually invoice the former host.

It’s supposed to hover in the teens today, with wind chill bringing it down to zero. Not as bad as in the midwest, but still pretty cold.

I got caught up in minutiae yesterday, and wasn’t as productive as I wished. At least I got the ironing done. i worked on the webmail stuff, I worked on two outlines.

I actually fell asleep in the afternoon by accident — one minute, I’m lying down, trying to figure out a plot point. The next minute, I’m coming out of a weird dream sequence, wondering why one foot is warm and one is cold. Elsa was asleep, cuddling the warm foot like a teddy bear. I felt better after the nap, but it didn’t help my productivity any.

Putting things together for the site job today. I figure I’ll eat lunch here early and leave around noon-ish. I’ll have dinner there — there’s a good kitchen, so I can cook. Before that, I have to get to the bank and the post office to take care of some bills.

I won’t blog tomorrow — I have to be up and out of the apartment early. I’ve got to go to CT to pick up my mom, get back here to the train station. We’re taking an early train to the city to see some friends visiting from Brazil. We can’t spend the day with them like originally planned, due to my mom’s back injury, but at least we can have coffee and see them. Three hour round trip to have a cup of coffee, but we haven’t seen them in years, so it will be worth it. We’ve never even met their kids.

No entertaining anecdotes. The internal percolation of stories seems to preclude any extroversion whatesoever.

Got a good chunk of work done on the steampunk in this morning’s first writing session, which is great. I’m regaining some of that lost momentum, and enjoying the story. I’ve got a subplot going that I worried I’d need to cut to keep within word count, but it’s so tightly entwined in the main plot at this point that I think I have to keep going.


Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 9:28 am  Comments (6)  

Friday, January 8, 2010

Iris, AKA “Princess Hellion”

Friday, January 8, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’ve only had about two inches of snow, so it’s not too bad, but I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today. When it stops snowing, I’ll go dig the car out, before the temperatures plummet and I have to hack my way through the ice tomorrow.

Because tomorrow, I do have to go out. I have to pay some bills, hopefully get some more decorations to storage, and, around noon, go set up a site for a colleague, then retrieve her at 11 PM and drive her to the site. Her jobs overlapped by a day, so she’s bringing me in to cover the 12 hour overlap.

Yesterday was — well, yesterday, and I’m glad it’s over. Took a load of decorations to storage. Headed to White Plains. Went to Target, which was a madhouse. Bought bins and sheet protectors. Wanted to go to Home Goods, but it was later than I’d hoped (traffic), so I headed back, hauled the bins up, hauled more decorations and the laundry down, picked up Chinese food, dropped the decorations off in storage, and headed to my friend’s place. Did my laundry and just hung out. I’d brought my computer, but just didn’t feel like doing anything except sitting in a big chair by the fireplace reading and looking out at the garden.

Today, I will alternate between writing and ironing. Once the holiday fabric is ironed, I can pack it away in its new bin. I’m not driving to storage today — I’ll drop off a load of stuff tomorrow on my way to the site. It’s not like these are full carloads — basically, every time I have an errand, I take down whatever I can carry and swing by storage on my way to the other errands. Much more convenient having storage five minutes away rather than down in the city with the hateful folks at U-Haul. Yet another instance when dealing with local, family-owned businesses trumps corporations.

I got a story idea during meditation. Yeah, sure, not supposed to do that, but hey, it popped out fully formed. Will make some notes — don’t want to take any focus away from the steampunk.

I could use some quiet.

Michelle, they do have the rules for construction here, but they’re never enforced. Remember when they were doing all that asbestos removal a few years ago, right under my windows? Scumbags. It’s cheaper for them to pay the teeny, tiny fines than to actually solve any problems. Until the regulations are tightened to something where, if a developer has X number of violations, he forfeits his rights to develop the property, nothing will change. Current rules and consequences are a joke. They’ve certainly cost a lot of lives in NYC, and who knows what kinds of long term effects a lot of it will have all over the area.

I do enjoy watching the snow fall when I get to stay inside, though! 😉

Have a great day, everyone. Elsa’s hanging in there. Sometimes she seems better, sometimes not.


Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 8:53 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday, January 7, 2010


Thursday, January 7, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Gee, we’re supposed to get all the way up to 30 degrees (F) today! Shall I put on my shorts? 😉 And then we get snow tonight and it stays in the teens for the forseeable future.

Which means I have to get off my ass and get to Target today if I expect to get enough bins ton finish packing up the decorations.

I packed decorations for 10 hours yesterday, and I’m still not done. The hallway is almost impassible with the boxes I’m going to take to storage and I need more bins to re-organized some stuff like ribbons and wrapping paper and the special fabrics that come out for the holidays. I have a bin with seasonal fabric, so I can change things out every few weeks, but during the Yutetide season pretty much everything is draped and swagged (Violet keeps moving because she’s afraid I’ll swag HER if she sits still), so that fabric needs its own bin.

One would think everything would look clean and shiny with the bulk of the decorations packed, but it looks lonely and chaotic! Well, when everything’s put away and I rearrange a few things. . .

I finished the snowflake wreath (with Elsa’s help), and hung it up, taking down the evergreen spray. Taking down the spray and the bark basket with the evergreen display on the coffee table reminded me why I switched to an artificial tree. Although the little one I’ve got (the one in storage that’s eight feet tall and eight feet wide doesn’t fit in this apartment) has just about had it. It served well for 18 years, but it is falling apart, so next year, I might have to get another one.

I spent quite a a bit of time vacuuming up needles. Everything smells great and piney and fresh, though, from it.

The little live Spruce I’ve got in the bedroom window’s doing well, though, and I hope to keep it alive so that I can plant it in my garden once I move!

Elsa’s doing better. The antibiotics are helping. She’s had this respiratory problem on and off for about a year. I’m pretty sure it’s tied in with the various projects the scumbag landlords keep doing around the place – -the stuff that’s turned a charming, 1920’s building into a place that looks like it rents by the hour, instead of doing things like giving us regular hot water and enough recycling bins. To their credit, though, during this arctic snap, they’ve given us steady heat. The hot water’s still hit and miss, but the heat’s been on.

The bloodwork results basically don’t tell them anything. Elsa’s in good shape, but with a slightly elevated white blood count, which could mean infection, allergy, or asthma. It doesn’t seem to be high enough to warrant anything scary.

Tired, tired, tired, but I’m going to spend a few hours at the page this morning, then head out. I’ve got to take a load of stuff to storage, get to Target (and maybe Home Goods, since they’re in the same direction), and then circle back and go to my friend’s place to do laundry. Or maybe I’ll just to to White Plains first and then come back to pick up the laundry and my computer, so I don’t have all that sitting in my trunk while I shop. I was too tired to do my evening yoga last night (I’m being good about the morning practice, though, every day), but I’m going to try to do my weights workout tonight. Monday’s felt really good (yes, I’m still a little sore), so I want to keep the momentum.

It’s against the law around here to text while driving, AND to talk on a cell phone while driving, but it’s not enforced nearly harshly enough.

Back to the page — I don’t want to lose the momentum with the steampunk.


Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 8:13 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ceiling detail from the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Twelfth Day of Christmas
Epiphany/First Night of Carnivale
Sunny and frigid

I wrote “fridge” the first time. Is my Freudian slip showing? 😉

Yes, the Twelve Days of Christmas are over (for some reason, they felt more like twenty this year), and Carnivale season begins down New Orleans way with the Three Kings Parade. I meant to bake a Three Kings Cake, but time got away from me, and we still have so many sweets left over from the holiday that I could not, in good conscience, bake more

Still sore from Monday night’s excellent work out.

I’ve got a post up over on the SDR Blog called “Plodding and Spurting.” Don’t worry, it’s about writing! 😉

Today, I also get to take down all the holiday decorations. That will probably take the bulk of the day. I have to really check all the shelves and the corners and all and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. And I have to find boxes for the new decorations that joined the family this past season.

Dealing with 1and1.com has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. First they’re telling me everything works with Firefox. It doesn’t. Then they tell me that THEY don’t have a problem. So nice for them, but it doesn’t help me. Then they tell me that the other customers who use Firefox don’t have problems with the upgrade. Names and numbers, folks, I want to contact them myself. No suggestions of anything helpful, just arguing that I’m not having the problems I’m having.

Completely unacceptable.

I’m in discussion with what I hope will be my new host to find the best way to get everything downloaded and moved without losing it all. We’ll figure out the steps and I’ll get going on them. I can’t afford the time or the frustration, and when the tech non-support starts arguing with me and telling me there isn’t a problem when I can’t do anything but read the mail (I couldn’t even send anything yesterday that was a reply), the problem goes deeper than poor service.

I don’t want to do the physical move while Mercury is in Retrograde, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Elsa and I headed off to the vet. I loathe driving on the Long Island Expressway (LIE), especially when the 18 wheel trucks try to crunch a VW Rabbit because they think it’s funny. Fortunately, I’m a better driver than they are, and well-versed in evasive course driving. Even more fortunately, Elsa thinks a ride in the car is fun, even when I have to perform evasive maneuvers. Where are the state troopers when you need ‘em?

Elsa, of course, didn’t display a single symptom at the vet. Funny how that always happens. She was happy and friendly and engaged. Her vital signs are good. In fact, overall, she’s in exceptionally good shape for a cat her age. They took blood and gave me antibiotics for her, Clavamix this time. Basically, they don’t know what’s wrong.. It could be an infection. It could be allergies. It could be asthma. It could be a nasal tumor. They just don’t know. So we’re trying to eliminate stuff. And her teeth are better, so the dental stuff, what I call “Scope for cats” is doing some good. We were talking about her neurological problems and what does she do? Dance off the table and land on her feet — for the first time in her ENTIRE life. The vet figures she outgrew whatever neurological problem she had. In other words, when she goes around acting vague next time, I’m going to tell her she’s busted! 😉

Easier ride back. Ww weren’t nearly killed by manic truck drivers, just one Lexus SUV whose driver was texting instead of driving. In this neck of the woods, if the driver is lousy or rude careless or drunk or texting, chances are said SOB is driving a Lexus. Because that’s what Lexus owners around here do — drive with a sense of entitlement that, since they could afford a Lexus, none of the rules of the road apply to them, and they treat every other driver they meet with contempt.

Elsa didn’t have a single sniffle until well into the evening, which makes me think there’s something in the apartment that irritates her, and it’s allergies. Now, if I could just figure out WHAT the allergy is, I could deal with it.

I’m supposed to get the results of the blood work today.

My mom hurt her back, so I had to hunt down some medication for her and hope that helps. If not, I’ll give her my acupuncture appointment next week and reschedule for myself.

Will spend some time at the page this morning (I’ve got a window of all of 15 minutes — I really need to start getting up at 6 AM again instead of 7) before heading off to get my Mom, see what I can do to help her back. She was going to help me take the decorations down, but I’ll perch her in a chair with Elsa or Iris (she’s Iris’s personal slave) on her lap and she’ll just keep me company while I take everything down and then I’ll drop her off when I take it back to storage. We WERE going to go shoe shopping today, too. I gave her a gift card for DSW and a brand new shoe bag that’s got a few empty spots. But she’s not feeling up to it.

The medicine makes Elsa groggy, but, other than that, she’s a little better. Still sniffly, but not sneezing as much, and her breathing is quieter and less labored.

Back to the page, even if it’s only for a few minutes.