Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

They actually gave us heat for an hour or so yesterday morning. They must have been testing the system, because we haven’t had heat on a weekday after 9 AM since the last snowstorm.

Yesterday was busy. Some was good, some not so good. The nosy, gossipy neighbor stopped me to ask how I was. I told her Elsa died, and she said, “I know. That’s good.” My jaw just dropped. I thought maybe she mis-heard me or just wasn’t listening, but she went on, “Well, she was getting to be more trouble than she was worth, wasn’t she?”

I looked at her for a minute, said, “I sincerely hope no one ever feels that way about you,” and walked away.

I was just stunned. There are very few people I’m going to miss from this town.

Drove to Stamford. Ducked in at Borders, where I found a tarot deck remaindered for $3.99., down from about $30. It was one I don’t have, so, of course, I scooped it up. I got home to find that it has two Queen of Wands and no King, which is probably why this run was remaindered. It’s fine with me — the deck is beautiful, and I simply know that if I use it, I will never get the answer that a cycle of identity is complete! 😉

Went to the farmer’s market beside Border’s. Stocked up on some lovely, lovely vegetables. Had lunch with a friend whose lovely little dog has lost her hearing, and is having a hard time adjusting (the dog). Worked with the dog a little — she’s an affectionate little thing.

Iris and Violet argued most of the morning, but had retreated to their corners by the time I came home. I worked on the materials for Confidential Job #1 in the afternoon, and they approached, sat in front of me, and just stared at me, which made it hard to concentrate. But at least they weren’t fighting.

So I found out why the sound of crickets is so prevalent in the workshop. No one’s bothered to read the damn book. Doesn’t matter that it’s the ONE thing I said in the registration information was a prerequisite, and emphasized in the Welcome message that if you don’t read the book before the class starts, the lectures won’t make any sense. How disrespectful can you get? There’s not even any homework. You sit down for one afternoon and read a book. It’s not that hard. One student admitted to not even picking up the book yet. It’s damn Thursday. The class ends Sunday. Whatever. It’s certainly not going to change the course of the Universe, and if they can’t be bothered to read the material, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m disappointed, because I was looking forward to a week of lively discussion, and I put a lot of time and effort into the lectures, but hey, I still get paid, so let them do whatever they want.

Finished reading the material for Confidential Job #1, and will do the write-up today, and probably get it off tomorrow. If they can send me the next assignment before I leave for Philly next week, I can work on it there.

Didn’t do enough sorting and purging yesterday, so I have to make up for it today. The exterminator is supposed to show up — let’s see if he bothers.

I roasted a chicken, using a recipe from FOOD AND WINE as the inspiration, and then changing stuff. It came out very well, and along with green beans and potatoes from the farmer’s market — wow. What a difference in flavor getting everything from the farmer’s market makes.

And can I just say I want to try about 80% of the recipes in the October issue of FOOD AND WINE? One of their best issues ever.

Am also rearranging some of the exercises for the Muse classes I’m teaching (can’t have returning students get complacent) and polishing the lectures for next week’s deconstruction of the film THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Part of me says why bother, the students probably can’t be bothered to watch it before class, but I need to meet my own criteria and set my own bar. I learn a lot from setting up the lectures, so at least it’s not a waste of time.

Handled the situation of the disgusting corporation trying to take advantage of my mom (again). Yes, I got what I wanted. Got out the quarterly taxes. Have to file a bunch of stuff that got scattered all over the apartment in preparation.

Hopefully, my friend is going to drop off more boxes this week — I need them! and Bed, Bath & Beyond has some stuff that would be quite useful — on sale. Hmm, may have to wander over.

Decent first writing session of the morning. Hopefully, I can get another one at some point during the day. Better jump in the shower and then mop the floors and wipe the counters — the one time I’m not ready early for the exterminator will be the one day he’s here early.

Devon

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Violet stands guard

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Well, at least we’re down to three retrogrades from five!

Had my morning appointment yesterday; it was fine. Came back to usual building chaos. It’s so draining. I just want to curl up in a fetal position.

Did some light grocery shopping, stopped at PetSmart to restock the cat food. The cutest black kitten was there, begging for a home! I was so tempted — but I need to sort out the move first. To bring a tiny kitten into the mix when we’re trying to figure out WHERE we’re moving and how to do it quickly would just cause everyone more stress. Poor little thing might get packed unexpectedly, or stuck under something.

Violet is exhausted. I think she stayed awake the whole time I was in Philly, feeling she had to keep vigil. Iris sticks to me like Velcro. We kind of move from room to room liek a unit at this point.

Purged and sorted old papers yesterday, then had to file what was left, so it wouldn’t reproduce while no one was looking. I do a lot of work at the kitchen table, so things tend to accumulate UNDER the kitchen table. I know, really bad feng shui, but oh well.

Have to do quarterly taxes today. It was not a good quarter, because the landlord harassment kept me from working as much as I wanted and needed to work.

Spent most of the evening refereeing the cats, who are fighting a lot — hissing, spitting, growling, swatting, chasing. They are completely stressed out, and human mediation isn’t working. When Felicia was alive, she wouldn’t tolerate it. She’d stand up on her hind legs (and when she did that, she was so long she could reach my waist), raise her paws and smack them both upside the head. They’d go ass over teakettle and settle down. Elsa tried to mediate after Felicia’s death, but then the twins would just gang up on her and chase her, at least at first. Then, Elsa would just offer advice from a distance, and eventually Violet would come over and snuggle. I’m worried that Violet will fade away and die of a broken heart without Elsa. This is a rough transition. I’m trying to give each of them a lot of individual love and attention, but also give them attention together.

The new assignment from Confidential Job #1 is fantastic! I’m loving it One of the best ones they’ve sent me in a long time. I hope to finish it this week and then I can invoice them! Yeah, baby! Get next quarter’s taxable income started! 😉

I have to say that I vastly prefer quarterly taxes to doing it all at once in April. I mean, April’s going to be a megilla next year with the move and then sorting out all the receipts and the fact that this year I didn’t earn as much as usual because I was so busy fighting the landlords all the time.

Today, I’ll teach the workshop (they’re very quiet, so I’m getting worried that maybe they don’t like the lectures and questions — or maybe they haven’t read the book BEFORE the class, as required). I also want to head up to Stamford, to the really good farmer’s market. I’m going to roast a chicken tonight. I also want to do more sorting and purging.

I made a turkey chili last night, with things from the freezer, and it was very good. I’m purging the freezer, using up what’s still good, and tossing the rest. I don’t want to move a cooler full of frozen food when the time comes!

Did not have a good first writing session of the morning. I’m stressed and distracted. I have a feeling that might be the norm for the next few weeks, but at least I’m doing about two pages a day, even if it’s not the six to which I aspire. Some words are better than no words, and at least I don’t lose the rhythm completely.

Devon

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 6:35 am  Comments (7)  
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


One of my last pictures of Violet and Elsa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT today
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Pluto goes direct today; not sure how I feel about that. Secrets are revealed when Pluto is direct, and since I don’t really have any, it was secrets revealed TO ME, which is useful in the situation.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read Colin Galbraith’s great essay on how he found a way to keep increasing sales for FRINGE FANTASTIC over the years. Thanks, Colin!

The landlord has started to strike back, at at least one of the other tenants who’s also standing up to him (no thanks to the “leader” of the Tenant Org.). Another tenant is too afraid to make a fuss and just doing whatever they say. This is the tenant who, if I don’t actually do everything and take the consequences of everything FOR her, she won’t do anything. And I’m not a relative, and I don’t have legal authority to act on her behalf. AND I think she needs to take responsibility for her own life. I gave her all the tools — she has to be the one to put her signature on the documents. I’m not going to sign on her behalf and then have her claim I’m the one who broke the law. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for us (yes, that’s sarcasm). And the Buildings Dept. couldn’t be bothered to answer the phone yesterday, because, gee, that might mean someone had to get off a fat lazy ass or interrupt a personal phone conversation to do the job he or she was paid to do. And we can’t let that happen! (yes, more sarcasm).

On the up side, I got out a pitch late night, thanks to a Tweet someone forwarded me, the workshop is going well, and I got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which means I can invoice them as soon as I’m done.

The cats are grieving, and every time Violet sneezes, I have a nervous breakdown, because Elsa’s illness first manifested as a respiratory infection.

Not much writing done this morning– I have an appointment early in the morning, and then it’s back to the workshop and prepping for next week’s. And I’ve got some more sorting and purging, and go kick some corporate ass — they are trying to screw my elderly mother — AGAIN.

Things were supposed to get BETTER when Mercury went direct!

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 6:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Cloudy and muggy

One of the great things about Elsa being around for 15 years is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of happy memories revolving around her, and that is what I will try to focus on.

Every time I go to Philly, I have to leave my beloved Optimum and use Comcast. They just suck so badly. They are slow, they freeze, it takes minutes instead of seconds to load anything. And since it’s someone else’s account, I can’t call customer service and ream someone a new one! 😉

I dread losing Optimum when I relocate. Comcast is the premiere service where I’m going, and I don’t want them. It’s as bad as having my old PC on a bad day. I think I will take the advice and go with Time Warner. Right now, there’s an anti-Time Warner campaign in NY on television, but I’ll give it a shot and, if they’re awful — well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Besides, I have to have an address before I get fresh cable hooked up!

In spite of a jagged start to Saturday, it was a pretty productive day.

My mom said Iris and Violet are not doing well at all. They’re grieving terribly.

And then I hear a Megabus slammed into an overpass in upstate NY on Saturday, killing 4. Yeah, that gives me confidence for my next trip with them!

Saturday was very quiet. I worked all morning, I stopped to go to The Black Sheep, one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood for lunch. I had their Eggs Benedict — amazing! So wonderful and so perfect. I am an Eggs Benedict addict — if it’s on the menu, I must have it, and I’m very fussy. The Black Sheep’s version are right up there with The Egg & I’s version, up in Maine, which is still the best I’ve ever had.

Worked more Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Performed a Ceremony for the Dead in commemoration for 9/11l. Went to bed early again.

Must have had busy dreams again, because I work up on Sunday, thinking I was at home. I was completely disoriented.

Got some work done in the morning, read the papers, actually dashed out in the rain to McDonald’s for a sausage-and-egg McMuffin — not bad.

Left in the late morning, hauled everything to 30th Street Station, got on the Megabus. It was packed, which surprised me. I thought it would be fairly empty at that hour.

There was one annoying woman who insisted on screeching into the phone in as loud a voice as she could, on and on and on about family drama. Six people asked her to please keep her voice down. She refused, She said, “But I have to check in.” Finally, I said to her, “Checking in is saying, ‘I’m on the bus, it’s moving.’ It is NOT going on and on about family situations that none of us give a damn about and, frankly, are petty and boring. Your life is just not interesting enough to be forced on us for two hours. Shut up or we take the phone away.”

She shut up.

Because I would have done it — taken the phone and asked the driver to hold it until we arrived in NY. One of the bus rules is to keep phone conversation to a minimum and do it in a way that does not disturb others.

Ride wasn’t bad. We were only about 15 minutes late getting in due to traffic, and due to the bus ahead of us not giving us room to unload, and its passengers being slow and stupid about claiming their luggage.

Went over to 6th Avenue in the rain , caught a cab uptown — a young guy stepped in front of me and tried to take my cab, but the driver shouted, “Get out of my cab, you pig! I stop for the lady!” Gotta love NYC cab drivers.

Got on the train at Grand Central, the ride was uneventful (thank goodness) and I was home a little before 5. The cats were very glad to see me.

Unpacked, repacked some of the stuff I’m taking when I go back to Philly in a week and a half in the bigger suitcase I’m taking for that jaunt, posted my Welcome and first lecture for the workshop, and spent the evening reading magazines, catching up on mail, and comforting Iris and Violet. I don’t think Violet slept the whole time I was gone –she felt she had to be awake and vigilant. She’s exhausted, poor little thing.

In spite of the windows being closed, the apartment is filthy from Friday’s workmen outside, so I have to scrub everything down again.

The orchid, however, sent by my freelance writer friends, is amazing! I will have to post a photo tomorrow. Stunningly beautiful. Thank you so much for your love and support.

Today, I’m teaching the workshop, working on some other writing, getting out some other necessary paperwork, running a few errands (I’m out of wine, and, if I don’t take care of that, I will whine).

The “workmen” are already here making my life hell, so, no doubt, I will be filing more complaints against them.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (handwritten, first draft): 49,250 words out of est. 100,000 words (49%).

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Philadelphia

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
9th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001

The hardest part of adjusting to life without Elsa is late night/early morning. As soon as the lights went out, she would climb into the bed and snuggle. It was great in the winter — a purry hot water bottle! And she’d wake me up in the mornings (often earlier than I’d like) purring.

The other two cats are definitely grieving. I’m trying to help them as much as I can, but they are desolate. Elsa was the sunshine in all our lives. Wandering Author, you are absolutely right.

I woke up far too early yesterday, tried to keep to the morning routine, yoga, writing, etc. Got everyone fed. Ran a few errands. The self-styled head of the Tenants’ Organization tried to stop and talk to me; I was pleasant and keep going. I have nothing to say to him. He has not been helpful at all. One of the head A-holes was on the property and tried to intimidate me, so I just stood there and stared at him, completely impassive, thinking, “Go ahead. Give me an excuse to bring in the cops.” He backed down.

I blew right through the workmen’s barriers (they were supposed to reopen that particular walkway last week), suitcase and all, on my way to the train. They all just stood there, mouths open, staring at me. No one challenged me, which meant I had no excuse to flip them the bird as I passed! 😉

Then, on the train, someone else from the landlord’s entourage was in my car! I minded my own business, and I could tell he wanted to talk to me, but didn’t dare. Hey, if he grew a pair, he’d have to work for someone else. I wasn’t about to instigate anything,but if they did, I was ready to bring it.

I got my wish and we actually came in on an upper track at Grand Central, much easier for maneuvering my luggage. Walked over to Penn, where I found complete and utter MegaBus chaos. It was well after 11 AM and the 10:45 (not to mention a slew of other busses) hadn’t even arrived, much less departed. There were no designated lines for different busses, and hundreds of people just milled around, not getting information. Megabus was great when they first started, and they’ve seriously gone downhill in the past few months. My trip in 2 weeks is booked on them (non-refundable), but after that, I will try some of the other companies that run this route.

The 10:45 and 11:45 busses arrived around noon. They just crammed people on the first bus. I waited, because hey, two busses were there, we were all going to get on. One woman beside me said, “I’m getting on that 10:45. I’m not waiting until they load the second bus” and elbowed past. Goody for her.

When they opened the second bus, they had it parked so one couldn’t load luggage, so I just hauled my suitcase up and to my regular seat. There turned out to be only about 15 of us on the bus, so it wasn’t a problem. We got on the road around 11:20, just over a half hour late, but still better than those poor 10:45‘ers.

And we passed their broken-down bus on the NJ Turnpike later on. So much for the woman who elbowed her way on the bus!

I just put on my music, read my book — but couldn’t say I absorbed a word — and sat back for the ride. We hit some traffic, but it wasn’t too bad, and I finally got to the apartment around 3. Considering I left at 9:30 in the morning, and Philly is only 2 hours from NY — typical Mercury Retrograde.

There were a bunch of British teens on the bus, and one of them was upset when we entered Philadelphia because he wanted to know where the cows were. For some reason, he thought cows still roamed the streets of Philly, and didn’t expect a big city. He thought Amish country was IN Philadelphia, not a couple of hours away. No, sweetie, Philly is/was Quaker, not Amish, and this isn’t Cornwall, the cows stay in their fields most of the time. (I have photos of driving behind herds of cows in Cornwall). At first I thought he was trying to be funny, but he was serious. And I thought the American education system was broken!

Dumped my stuff, went to pick up coffee and a fruit/oat bar, and got Chinese food. Ate (hey, I had breakfast at 7 in the morning and no lunch), watched some TV, couldn’t concentrate on anything, went to bed early.

Got a phone call from home that a Very Big Box arrived from the Smithsonian with a Very Beautiful Orchid in Elsa’s memory and in her favorite colors. Thank you so much! And I’m keeping the Very Big Box so I can safely move the Very Beautiful Orchid when the time comes.

After a night filled with weird dreams, the bedside alarm went off at 4 AM (not mine). Not happy. Slammed it off, but couldn’t go back to sleep, so got up, did my yoga, did some meditation, wrote a few pages, then fell asleep on the couch, had more weird dreams, and woke up a little after 7, totally disoriented. Ate, read the paper, showered, wrote some more.

The plan today is to work on lectures and scripts. I’m going out to lunch, but that’s it. I need to have a quiet weekend. I’m doing a 9/11 ceremony later today, too, but mainly keeping quiet.

I head back to NY in the morning tomorrow — hopefully it will be an easier trip. Monday starts the first deconstruction workshop, the fantasy romance. I hope you join me. It’ll be a fun week.

Again, thanks for all your love and support during a difficult time.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (handwritten first draft): 48,000 words out of est. 100,000 (48%)

Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 8:25 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, September 10, 2010


Another favorite Elsa photo

Friday, September 10, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Not sure of the weather — this is scheduled to post.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for your love and support regarding Elsa’s death, and before that, throughout her illness. It means a lot to me. Hopefully, she’s where she can chase as many butterflies as she wants, and is back with Olivia, Felicia, and Maude. Granted, Olivia is very busy running The Cosmic Cat Roster in the Sky, but Elsa always adored Olivia, and Olivia took very good care of Elsa when she was a kitten, so I’m sure that will be a happy reunion.

Elsa picked me when she was seven weeks old, jumped into my arms from the rescue pen and that was it. We were together all the time for 15 years. She was with me when I wrote, she was with me when I cooked, she was with me when I did things around the house, she was always on the yoga mat. She was a sunny, optimistic personality. She assumed everyone she met was a potential new friend. If something went wrong in the moment, she had full faith it would get better in the next moment.

Iris and Violet are having a tough time with all this. Violet understands exactly what’s going on and she’s both angry and heartbroken. Elsa was her best friend. She blames me for taking Elsa away and not bringing her back. She hasn’t really looked for Elsa — she just stares at me accusingly. She’s been more affectionate this morning, and we kept to our morning routine, but there are times when she catches a scent on a chair Elsa used to sit, or goes to one of Elsa’s usual spots to keep her company,and then remembers. It’s sad. Iris, who didn’t particularly get along with Elsa, started looking for her last night and meowing when she couldn’t find her. She doesn’t really understand what’s going on, just that Elsa isn’t there. Granted, most of the time they just batted each other upside the head, but Iris, in her own way, misses her, too.

Then there are the practicalities: washing the bedding, sterilizing the carrying case and the syringes, packing away the medicine.

When I get back from Philly on Monday, I will do a 7 day Ceremony for the Dead for her, because that is what I do, and the dead are mine. I’ll also honor her on Samhain.

I am so disappointed, disheartened, and angry about my experience at Smith Ridge Veterinary. They came highly recommended, and I went to them because I wanted a second opinion (which I think is important any time there’s a serious diagnosis), and I wanted to integrate alternative medicine with traditional. They’re supposedly the premiere cancer care integrated center for animals in the country. Too bad they’re all about the money. Sure, it’s beautiful, and sure they’re very nice as long as you keep waving a wad of cash at them. I made it very, very clear in the first visit that, if it was cancer, I did not want to set a course of invasive or torturous treatments. I wanted to keep Elsa as happy and comfortable for as long as she could have a good quality of life.

Instead, I paid a lot of money for X-rays, then a lot more money for them to be sent to a private consultant. And I was told there was no tumor. Yet, on Wednesday morning, her poor little face was all swollen and when I took her to the emergency clinic IT WAS BECAUSE THERE WAS A TUMOR. The only option by the time I took her to the emergency clinic on Wednesday was to put her on pain medication that would have had to increase as her suffering did, and that was not the right choice. I was told at Smith Ridge that it wasn’t cancer, but fungal infection that “might” turn into cancer. It was cancer. She was put on a course of treatment of eight doses of medication per day that caused the acid reflux and made her last weeks more uncomfortable than necessary. When I took her back to have the acid reflux handled, I got more medication THAT MADE IT WORSE. When I got frantic, I was told to put her on IV for 32 hours at a ridiculous cost, including a huge fee for a private technician, in spite of the fact that I had told them I didn’t want to use invasive procedures. When I re-iterated that I didn’t want to go that route, and that I had to keep an eye on cost, they lost interest. Sometimes, weeks would go by before anyone could be bothered to answer a question. The vet goes on vacation and there’s no one covering his patients? What the fuck is that? There were far too many nights when I was up all night with her, frantically trying to help her and not getting any response from the vet. I expect my vet to be a partner in my pet’s health and well-being, ESPECIALLY when they’re charging three or four times more than any other vet in the area charges (and vets in Westchester charge up the ying yang anyway). This facility charges for phone calls.

When Felicia was in the final stages of CRF several years ago, that vet called me EVERY DAY to check on her progress. On his own time, and he never charged. He gave me his beeper number, so if something happened, I could get hold of him any time, day or night, and not have to go through the answering service. I never used it, but it was a comfort to have. I wish I knew where he was now. The last time I heard from the Smith Ridge vet was over a month ago. Not acceptable on any level.

Now, I realize that Elsa’s condition was very serious, I didn’t expect miracles, and I was perfectly willing to try unconventional treatments, knowing they might not work. But to just leave me twisting in the wind, not listen when I said, “I think this is mutating every few days, what can we do?” and simply not respond once they found out I did not have unlimited financial resources — in addition to not giving me a correct diagnosis and the information and I needed to make an informed decision AND charge me the fees they charge — unacceptable. I feel they were stringing me along to get as much money out of me as they could for as long as they could, and once they found out I wasn’t an unlimited ATM, they stopped responding.

They are all about the money. The surface of the place looks good, but there’s no heart behind it, only conniving to get as much money out of people as quickly as possible.

The Reiki Master did more to keep Elsa comfortable and happy these last few weeks than Smith Ridge did in the past six months. And then the vet actually emailed me condolences. He didn’t help me when I so desperately needed help and now he wants to know if there’s anything he can do? Mercury’s Retrograde — I’m not going to strike back.

I hope I find a good, reliable, caring vet when I relocate.

And any time a client tries to lowball me on my rate, I will remember the ruthlessness of this vet and hold my ground. Because at least what I do is not life and death.

Wednesday morning didn’t start well anyway — I left Elsa napping, knowing she wasn’t feeling well at all, but hoping an afternoon in the park would help. I drove up county to check out the store I needed to — I’d checked the website, and it stated that the store opened at 10 AM. It was a forty minute drive, no problem. I got up there, and the sign in the door says it opens at “10:20 ish.” I was not happy for several reasons. First of all, put the correct time on your damn website. If you change the hours, change them on the website. Second, don’t give me any of this “ish” crap. Either open or don’t. But be honest about it. By 10:40, still no sign of opening, and the woman who runs the store beside it said, “Oh, she never opens until at least 11. But she thinks putting 10 on the materials sounds better.”

So I left.

A small business person can open whenever he or she wishes, but at least be honest about it, and be open when you say you will.

That business does not get any of my hard-earned money. I’ll spend it at a business that respects its customers.

Yesterday, I had to work away from the building, thank goodness, because the workmen grow daily more hateful. I only barely managed to get the bare bones of the work done, not all I wanted to, but I’m having trouble concentrating. I managed to get four loads of laundry done, so everything’s clean before I head out the door.

I came home to find the cats freaked out and my neighbor even more so. Not only was she struck by workman’s ropes on her way out of the building (no notice they were working over the doorways and no protection), someone in another section came home to find his window open and jewelry, money, and other things gone from the apartment. It happened during the work day, so, gosh, gee, who could it have been?

I scheduled this to post the night before because this morning I have to run around like crazy before leaving for Philly. I will check in from Philly.

Got some writing done Wednesday and more work on the lectures. I hope the workshop is well attended. Although they waited so long to put up the information (even though I sent it to them a month before deadline, and they kept “losing” it), that many of the people who wanted to sign up couldn’t and booked other things.

Mercury Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, what do you expect?

I still cry a lot about Elsa, but that’s all part of it. Iris and Violet are very upset, too. Violet cries a lot and Iris hides.

I’ll check in from Philly. Mercury’s retrograde, so I’m just putting on the iPod, pulling out my book and my chocolate bar, and hoping for the best.

Again, thanks for all your support. I will be getting back to each of you individually over the next week or so. I so appreciate your support.

Devon

RIP Elsa 1995-2010

You were extraordinary and very much loved.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm  Comments (26)  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Acorns in a pottery dish, symbolizing autumn

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, warm, humid

The “workmen” were especially hateful yesterday, so I took Elsa to the park again. She played with butterflies and sat in the sun and generally enjoyed herself for awhile, and then ate when she got home. She seemed to thrive outside, and just was frustrated when I wouldn’t let her go into the shrubbery. She wasn’t doing well last night, though, or this morning. I’m trying to keep her comfortable and happy, but the stress the noise, dust, and chaos put on her makes it difficult.

Meeting went well, things got loaded into storage, and I did a rough inventory. I’m going to need the truck that ate Cincinatti to get everything loaded. Worked on the lectures, the scripts, and some other stuff. Didn’t get everything I wanted done, but I’m keeping my head above water. Also sorted and purged a pile of stuff. Every little bit, right? I’m getting into the sorting and purging routine, and rather enjoying it!

Today, I have to go up county and I might nip over to the Farmer’s Market in Stamford if I can on the way back.

Maybe the rain will keep the” workmen” away. Here’s hoping. And here’s hoping I have a productive day on all levels, and that Elsa feels better.

Good first writing session of the morning. The murder in the book finally happened on p. 180, which is way too late in the story (in my opinion) for a traditional mystery, so good thing it’s NOT a traditional mystery, but a contemporary fiction piece with a TOUCH of mystery and murder! 😉

Devon

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 6:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I light this candle every morning when I start my first writing session of the day. I love it — I find it very soothing. It was originally a pyramid shape. I don’t remember where I got it, but I hope to find a similar one soon, because I like using this type as my writing candle. I found it in a “Misc.” box as I cleaned out storage.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Dark of the Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s September, and A Biblio Paradise is gearing up again, for Tuesday posts featuring books, authors, and other writing stuff. Our first post of the new season is an interview with Michelle Miles, whose book SEX. LUST & MARTINIS recently released. Hop on over here to check it out, and leave a comment, so we’ll know you were there!

So, I was thinking yesterday — hey, you, over there. Stop laughing! Anyway, I was thinking, after yesterday’s post, why SHOULDN’T the Hundred Dollar Bill Fairy come visit and leave hundred dollar bills under my pillow?

I just have to figure out an offering! 😉

I’m waiting for the workmen to come back today, making my life hell. I just don’t get why they have to use MY fire escape when they’re working on the other side of the building with fire escapes more convenient to their “work”. Oh, yeah, because they were instructed to make things as miserable as possible for the tenants that the landlord wants to drive out.

Triumphed over the Scary Monster Closet yesterday. It wasn’t as scary as I feared, but it could have been better. But it was scrubbed, purged, organized and packed. At this point, all the closets in the apartment are ready to load. I don’t yet have a place in which to UNLOAD them, but at least I’m getting the energy moving in the right direction.

Hey, any time the Hundred Dollar Bill Fairy wants to send a few my way . . .

Worked on the lectures. I’m doing some restructuring on them, so that will take awhile. I hope you’ll join me. We’re deconstructing my favorite fantasy romance novel from September 13-19 and a steampunk film from September 20-27. You can sign up by clicking on the name of each type of deconstruction. It should be a lot of fun and very useful for both readers and writers.

Took Elsa to the park yesterday. I wanted her to get more sun, so I took her to the baseball diamond, but she felt too exposed. She always eats better when she gets back, though, and she’s eating so little at this point, that any improvement is worth it.

I have a business appointment this morning, and then I’m going to take a carload of stuff to storage and do an inventory of what’s there. I’ll do some more work on the lectures and the scripts this afternoon, and also try to go back to pulling material off the PC floppies and getting them onto flashdrives. I want to dump all the PC behemoth equipment before I leave. I also want to excavate my desk again — my paper reproduces as I sleep, and it needs to refrain from doing so for the next few months. I’ve set up files and envelopes for the important transition stuff that has to be carted back and forth, and I’m packed for the Philly gig this coming weekend. Bills are all written, and marked to be mailed on the appropriate days.

Optimum doesn’t cover the area in which I plan to relocate, which is awful, since now I’ve finally found a decent company. My choices are Comcast (who suck), RCN (who suck even worse) and Time Warner (no idea if they’re any good). There’s also FIOS, but, uh, no, not an option for me. The only thing I want to keep with Verizon is my cell phone.

Well, I don’t need to make that decision quite yet.

I had a decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. At least every word I manage to get down is one more than I had before. I may have slowed down, but any steady routine during the chaos is helpful. And little bits add up to big bits. I’m not on a deadline for this – although I am for SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which I hope to get back to in a few days.

Onward.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove Novel (first draft, handwritten): 43,000 words out of est. 100,000 (43%)

Monday, September 6, 2010


Bench at the center of the labyrinth

Monday, September 6, 2010
Waning Moon (Day before dark moon)
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Labor Day

Pretty good weekend. Not much writing done on Saturday, but a great first session on Sunday morning — more than made up for it. And a decent session Monday morning.

I travelled to Narnia and back in my closet on Saturday. It wasn’t anywhere as scary as I feared. Everything’s packed and ready to be loaded when the time comes. I have three more bags of clothes for donation. I have some more stuff to take to storage.

I know, why take it to storage when it’ll just be moved anyway? Because I need the room so I can pack what’s left. This is a very small space, and i need room to both pack and continue living.

I used one of the mustards I bought at Sturbridge Village in the chicken recipe I cooked Saturday night. Very good. Next time I’m there, I’ll get more. And I’m still eating the fudge!

I’ve been woken up every day this holiday weekend at 5:30 AM by construction noise, because someone paid off the City to look the other way and not enforce the City Code. Unacceptable.

It was so beautiful on Saturday afternoon that we went out. First, to Bruce Museum Park to walk around the sculptures. I also picked up some acorns, which are now in the little green pottery dish I made. We took a wrong turn and got lost in an exclusive section of a nearby town. I wondered, as we drove through it, why there was such a bad vibe everywhere — talk about one’s skin literally crawling, in spite of beautifully manicured exteriors. And then I saw the sign and it all made sense: It’s an exclusive enclave populated by those who helped create the current depression — the heavy karma hanging over the place is ominous because they’re about to get their asses kicked. They have their own security — they don’t want any poor people in the enclave unless they’re maids or gardeners. One of the most awful murders in the area took place on the grounds when I was just a kid. Figures – -they have their own security to keep out people who aren’t as rich, so they go around murdering each other instead.

So how did I get past security? I’m white, my car may be small but it’s shiny, and I’m decently put together. They didn’t even question me. It would almost have been better to get stopped and turn around rather than being lost in there for nearly 40 minutes!

I was glad to get out! Very oppressive atmosphere, in spite of all the ornate trimmings.

We then drove to Wainwright House, here in our town, to get rid of the bad vibes (I don’t want to be infected with that kind of evil and bad karma) by walking the labyrinth and looking out over the water. They were preparing for a sunset wedding — we offered to leave, but they said if we just walked around the side of the property, to go ahead and enjoy. We were only there for about twenty minutes, but it was very revitalizing.

Elsa was better on Saturday morning, then worse again Saturday night. I spent a long time on Saturday night just cuddling her and trying to make her feel better. She perked up on Sunday morning a bit.

One of the sad drawbacks of fighting with the landlords for the past four years is that it’s injured my capacity for joy. Every time I see a glimmer and start to feel good again, I start wondering when the other shoe will drop. I’ve never been that kind of person, and I don’t want to live my life like that. I wasn’t a fan of this town growing up, I left, I came back to take care of family issues, and hoped it had matured and grown as I had. For awhile, when we had a City Council that actually gave a damn about its citizens, it seemed to be the case. But this new, corrupt, greedy, cowardly Republican City Council (I think these individuals would be cowardly or corrupt no matter with what party they were affiliated) with one thumb up its ass and the other hand extended waiting for a payout epitomizes everything I disliked about the town growing up and some of the reasons I left in the first place. It’s a shame, because there’s some real beauty in the town, and it’s being destroyed by the poison of particular, greedy, selfish citizens.

Elsa had an adventure on Sunday morning. The Reiki Master said the best way to help her heal was to get her away from the building on any nice day and take her outside in the grass and sunshine. I’ve been trying to find a park that didn’t charge. I found a small park in the next town that seems to fit the bill, so we packed up Elsa and took her to the park. There was an event going on in another section that involved singing, and really, I wished I had a bucket in my trunk to offer them so they could carry a tune. But other than that, it was lovely and breezy and fine. Elsa’s never had her paws on grass before — she wasn’t too sure about it. But she batted at a butterfly, and recognized the pine cones (I have bowls of them in the house) and tried to slip away and investigate some wildlife in a bush (she did not succeed). She also got to sniff and play with pine branches and sharpen her claws on an oak tree. She was lively and perky the whole time, and had a lot to say, but wasn’t stressed out or scared. And she was much better the rest of the day, and even ate better. It really made a positive difference. Plus, she could brag to the twins.

Cleaned, purged, and packed another closet. One more closet today — the front hall closet, nicknamed “The Scary Monster Closet” and all the closets are packed and ready to load when the time comes. Not too shabby!

Much as I appreciate the understanding of all who try to make me feel better about my decreased productivity, I don’t write on the side, THIS IS HOW I MAKE MY LIVING. No money comes in if I’m not on top of things. The bills don’t pay themselves. I don’t know where people think I get the money for expenses if I don’t stay productive. There’s no Money Tree on the fire escape and no Hundred-Dollar Bill Fairy leaves anything under my pillow. I don’t have the luxury of “life getting in the way.” Bills don’t get paid, I can’t pay rent — much less put down a deposit and hire movers, I can’t eat, I can’t take care of the family. There is no spouse or partner’s income. I don’t have a trust fund, or I’d have gotten out of this hellhole a long time ago. It’s all on me. I have to take care of an elderly parent, an old sick cat, two little cats, and myself. And help out with the family up in Maine whenever possible, shouldering my share. If I want this move to succeed, I can’t let anything slide on the writing front. And, before it became an issue that the move had to happen right now, I managed to book more work for the next four months than I’ve had in the past eight. And NONE of it can fall by the way side. NONE. None of it is stuff that can be scheduled for any other time. It’s date-specific and location-specific. I don’t get to take a week or six to settle in — not during the packing, not during the move, nothing. I don’t get to be offline for more than 24 hours. I’ll be in coffee shops all up and down New England with my laptop as the weeks move forward (at least until I get internet set up at the new place), stopping along the highway to meet deadlines on my way back and forth with carloads of stuff. I need the money, I need the credits, I need the business building, I’m under contracts that can’t be broken. So I am just going to have to fucking deal. AND pack. AND move. AND fight with the landlords., who are going to get really nasty (yeah, up to now, this was them being their version of cordial). And do all the other daily things that have to happen in order to keep the home running. That’s just the way it is. I’ll try not to whine too much about it! 😉

When I move and have cleared off my deadlines — I’m taking off two weeks to sleep! 😉 The work is booked steadily until December 5, and then all I have to worry about is finishing the edits on ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, which are due on January 1. I’m not booking anything else in the month of December (I’ll probably eat my words, but that’s the plan right now). And, of course, the move has to happen right around all of that, too!

And it gets crazy again in January, work-wise, thank goodness!

I have to be organized and focused. Once I can set some definite dates and schedules and lists, great. Until then, I’m doing what I can to prep, because the less last- minute scrambling I have to do, the less stress there will be. When I left Manhattan, I had only 10 days to pack up 13 years of my life, which I did with help from my friends, and that was great. This time, I’m hiring movers, which is a whole different dynamic with its own set of problems. But at least I do all my own packing. And I’m a damned good packer.

Speaking of organized and focused, I swear I cleaned my desk this weekend, and yet again it looks like a Staples truck threw up on it. I’d blame the cats, but most of this stuff is too big for them to haul around. The Paperwork Gnomes are at it again!

And I’m nearly out of boxes. . .

Onward.

Because, really, what other choice is there?

It’s Labor Day. I’m going to go labor!

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (first draft, handwritten): 42,750 words out of est. 100,000 (42.75%)

Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 6:19 am  Comments (3)  
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Basically, Hurricane Earl burped in our direction and waddled off. Not even a single raindrop. After all the floods I’ve survived in this place, I’m grateful, but it meant a full day of the annoying “workmen”.

Won a small victory over the landlord, something they brought on by not being careful in language and I caught a language loophole. They are going to freak out when it’s brought to their attention by the appropriate agencies next week. They will hit back hard and nasty, but I’m going to savor this minor victory for a few days.

Unfortunately, Elsa took a turn for the worse yesterday, and it was frightening. I tried a chamomile treatment, and she rallied last night, and has shown real improvement this morning. I want her to be able to enjoy our new home!

Not a good writing morning, although, after I post, I will try again. My mind is all over the place. I managed to keep it still for morning meditation, but now it’s making up for it.

I met my deadline yesterday — at 3:30 PM, but it was still within the workday. This weekend is busy — we’re going to sort, purge, and pack the three remaining closets (yes, I’ll send a postcard from the back of my closet), I have to finish polishing my lecture notes, and write a few short (6-10 page) scripts for another gig. I’d like to polish some skits, but I’m not sure if that will happen. I’d also like to clean off my desk — how did it wind up with piles all over it again?

The workmen should be gone for the next three days, which means it should be relatively quiet, and maybe, just maybe, I can catch up. The chaos here sucks the life out of me. I keep thinking I should push hard at night, but I”m so exhausted that I collapse about an hour or two after the workmen leave. So three days without them will be a gift. They better not turn up on Labor Day!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 6:09 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy, here comes Hurricane Earl!

I’m rather nonchalant about the hurricane. Instead of racing around boiling water and filling the tub, I’ve just checked supplies. If it looks like the brook’s rising, I’ll boil then (no reason to heat up the apartment more than necessary) and move the car. We’ve got food and batteries, and I’m running out to get a cheesecake in about a half hour because we decided we couldn’t get through the weekend without one.

I fire my next volley (return fire) at the landlords today. So next week should be even uglier than this one!


Yesterday was mostly about planning and about working on Confidential Job #1, which turned out to be more complicated than I expected, and the only person I have to blame for this last-minute scramble is ME. I should have pulled an all-nighter, but I fell asleep at 10 PM, thoroughly exhausted from what’s been going on and with nothing left in the tank. So I’ll push hard today, with the focus just on that job, and get it in on time, because that’s the deal.

You’d think with a hurricane coming that the workmen would be more concerned with securing things than harassing people but that would mean they were actually legitimate workmen.

In spite of everything, I’m feeling more optimistic than I have lately. Even though I know the next few months will be hell on wheels and there will be times when I have to keep going for 24 hours and more straight to get it all handled, it WILL be handled, and once it’s done, it will make a huge difference. And it better be my quota of turmoil for the damn century! 😉

I’m kind of in a holding pattern for the moment, because I’m waiting for some maturation dates before I can take the next steps. So it’s purging and sorting and packing (eek, I’m almost out of boxes) and doing an inventory and getting as prepped as possible.

Decent morning’s work on the Willowspring Grove novel. Even doing just a few pages a day in the midst of all this insanity helps. It’s not anywhere near as much writing as I need to get done, but I keep reminding myself that something is better than nothing, and the little bits eventually add up to big bits.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Devon

First Willowspring Grove Novel (first draft handwritten) : 39,500 words out of est. 100,000 (39.5%)

Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 7:33 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, cloudy, humid

Honestly, I can’t remember much of yesterday. I know I didn’t get as much work done as I wanted (same old refrain) because I can’t concentrate on anything except the need to get out of here. For some reason, the “workmen” packed up and left at 1 PM — left their stuff, but packed it the way they do for weekends. I wonder if it’s got something to do with the expected hurricane or if someone somewhere acted on my complaint. Or if our landlord didn’t pay them, which wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m sure management will blame me, no matter what.

I’m frustrated with some of the other tenants. I’d done some research, shared information with them that could help us — which the head of the Tenants’ Organization should have been on top of, not me. I explained what the information means a half a dozen times, and I’m still getting the “how can they do this? what’s going on? What does this mean?” When I’ve TOLD them over and over and over and over again, provided link, provided background research. I am NOT doing their work for them. I am not the Representative here. They have all the resources. Now they have to APPLY it as individuals, not expect me to do so. It’s like talking to wallpaper. I am the only one, since the problems with the landlords and Evil Developers started, who has EVER taken time off from work to deal with this. We’d have all been out on the street four years ago otherwise. And they still are passive and stupid and whiny. When I have spent two and a half hours with someone going over the paperwork point-by-point DO NOT call me and act like you’ve never seen any of this before. Unacceptable.

The sooner I get out of here and away from them, the better. I’m not giving any of them a forwarding address! That sounds mean, but I’m sick of the passive bullshit. If you want me to do the work, you better be paying me and paying me well. So far, only one person has offered anything along those lines for me — a fellow freelancer who understands that time is money.

I fully expect the landlords to try the eviction notice ploy — they do that to every tenant who fights back, and, as long as the tenant has paid rent regularly (which I have), the judge throws it out. It’s yet another harassment tactic. Fortunately, there’s a form for that.

Yeah, this place is sucking the life out of me. Can’t wait to get out.

Sorted and purged a bunch of stuff. Did some research on a project. Am trying to get the financial ducks in a row. Took care of Elsa. I still have to hand feed her every 1-2 hours (“Two spoons, Elsa, come on, two spoons” is now the refrain here, and every time Elsa sees a teaspoon, she thinks it’s all about her), but she’s slowly eating a little better every day, and she’s fairly alert. We were all pretty languorous when the mid 90’s heat and humidity kicked in, but she’s hanging in there.

I’m anxious and jumpy and paranoid all the time at this point — every time one hears footsteps, one wonders, “What fresh hell do the landlords have in store for us?” and every time footsteps pound up and down the fire escape, I’m ready for a nervous breakdown. This is not the way I want to live my life.

Thank goodness for the yoga mat. At least I can grab an hour or so of solace here and there on the mat. It’s saving what’s left of my sanity.

Decent, but not brilliant writing session on the Willowspring Grove novel. As I mentioned before, I worked out the character arcs for the whole series, but I’m letting each book shape itself. What’s interesting here is that my original vision for the book was about loss, and yet the book is more about warmth and community and hope. I like the direction it’s taking. I’m trusting in my characters.

Back to the work on Confidential Job #1, a script assignment, and polishing my lectures.

Devon

Note: As soon as I posted this, I remembered what I did most of the day: feng shui. I don’t want the purging and sorting and packing to interfere with the energy to get the hell out of Dodge – I want it support that energy.

First Willowspring Grove novel (Handwritten first draft): 38,750 words out of est. 100,000 (38.75%)

Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 6:13 am  Comments (7)  
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