Tuesday, May 31, 2011


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT — 6 days to release from Champagne Books!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Final. The irises are starting to bloom. I have a book to finish and articles to write. It’s feeling like home.

I took the whole weekend off from work (except for wrapping up the Millennium Trilogy workshop). I actually had a holiday weekend. It felt good! It’s the first time I’ve done that in years.

Granted, I did a lot around the house. I did about eight loads of laundry, as I continue to unpack boxes. I switched the slipcovers from winter covers to summer ones. I unpacked more kitchen boxes, yarn boxes, etc., and I’m slowly sorting through stuff and figuring out where I want it to live, so I’m not rearranging it fifty times. I’m setting up the boxes for the flannel sheets and other winter stuff, so, as it’s clean, I can pack it and stack it where it needs to go, and I can actually get at it in the fall.

I worked in the garden — a lot. Kept deadheading the rhodies — can’t keep up with them. Finished digging out the vegetable bed (I’m out of buckets again). Put in the vegetables. Now I have my fingers crossed they survive and thrive! Fought the anthills that are all over the front lawn — the owner is going to have to call in a professional. Painted the small bookcase I got for free, and almost finished painting the bookcase that will go in my bedroom (once I’m sure it’s really, REALLY dry).

Did a lot of yoga, did a lot of meditation. Played with the cats.

Picked up the metal plant stand a few towns down the Cape. It was definitely worth the trip. Looks great on the deck. The sellers turned out to be nice; eccentric, but nice. But then, pretty much everyone who lives year-round on the Cape is a bit eccentric, in the right way. Drove to a farm one town over and picked up a sage green velvet-covered ottoman for $10. Violet has claimed it.

Washed the pollen off the patio furniture. If anyone told me I’d have to dust the deck, I’d have thought they were nuts!

Did some party planning.

Sorted out the details for my trip to the Vineyard later this week. It’s been a long time since I was on a boat. I hope I don’t get sea-sick on the ferry. I have those bracelet things just in case.

The traffic is awful. I’m sure it will be like this all summer. You can tell the off-Capers are here, because they drive the expensive cars and treat everyone like crap. Since I’m not in the service industry, I can be rude right back! 😉

Mowed the meadow. The lawn mower and I negotiated a deal. For every 20 minutes or one full bag of grass clippings, whichever comes first, we have a 20 minute cool-down. It seems fair, and, frankly, after 20 minutes, I’m ready for a break. Granted, a new mower shouldn’t be getting that hot in just 20 minutes. But, if during that 20 minutes, I stop the mower for any reason, I have to wait 20 minutes before it will start again. I can live with it for the next couple of years, providing it keeps up its end of the bargain. When I buy a place, I’ll see what kind of mower I need, and then buy a new one of a different brand. Anyway, it took several hours to mow the meadow, but it looks great, and I have many bags of grass clippings to take to the dump. The slope was difficult to negotiate with the mower — it looks like it rolls gently when you stare at it, but it’s quite a different story when you’re mowing it!

Changed all the beds (well, I do every week, but there’s something very satisfying about clean sheets). Vacuumed thoroughly. With the central vac, a quick vacuum of the whole house takes about 90 minutes, and a more diligent one a little over 2 hours, including using the attachments on the windows — which, now that they’re open most of the time, the sills need attention. Pollen everywhere. I give thanks every day that I don’t suffer those types of allergies.

I’ve been using herbs freshly cut from the garden in my cooking. It makes a big difference. It smells good, it tastes good, and there’s a wonderful satisfaction from knowing it came from my own little patch of earth.

Read a lot. I finished CE Murphy’s NEGOTIATOR series. I read THE RED LEATHER DIARY, a fascinating non-fiction book written by a woman who found a diary in the dumpster of her building and tracked down the owner, who lived quite a fabulous life in the NY of the early twentieth century. It’s as much a social history as anything else. Read Jim Butcher’s first Dresden Files book — STORM FRONT. I liked it. There was one section that felt forced to me, but I see why it was necessary for plot purposes. Caught up on magazines that have been stacking up.

I have two weeks off from teaching, so now I can focus on my own writing, get out some proposals, do a few articles, get out some more PR for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, get the newsletter out, etc. I sent out several requests for interviews in connection with the book.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to read my May Wrap-Up. I talk about trying to deal with career changes in a positive, rather than a negative way.

I’m excited to dive back into THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’ve discovered that, in order to get the watering and weeding done properly in the garden, I’ll have to get up an hour earlier and do that before my first 1K of the day. However, I use the time as a combination of garden appreciation (be here now and appreciate it) and plotting what I’ll write next.

Carlos the Woodpecker is very busy. I don’t know why I call him Carlos — he seems like a Carlos. I hear him, and say, “Hey, Carlos, watcha doin’?”

He flies to a nearby branch and stares at me for a few minutes, and then gets back to his task. It’s become part of our morning and evening ritual. Woodpeckers are funny.

To the page. I’ve got to get grass clippings & recycling to the dump, pick up some stuff from the store, try to deadhead some more rhodies and yes, mow the front lawn. Dang, that grass grows fast! 😉

Devon

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday, I learned it takes a really long time to deadhead a rhododendron bush. I worked solidly for two hours, and got about 1/6th of it done. And I have several on the property. It’s not difficult, but it’s precise, because you have to snap off the faded flower at a specific point without disturbing new growth. And I took the advice to wear surgical gloves while working, because the faded flowers are sticky. Which is good, because it means we had happy bees, and, considering the problems in the bee population, I’ll take as many happy bees as chose to visit!

I finally came in because it started drizzling, which meant I couldn’t mow.

I handled the class, some of the students put in a request that I teach a class on Donna Leon’s work, which I’d like to do, but there’s no way I can do it before next year. I’m too booked.

I tried to get the garden soil I need, and was stuck for 35 minutes in non-moving traffic. For whatever reason, the police weren’t handling the traffic around the construction that was supposed to be done yesterday, so the construction vehicles simply sat whereever they wished in the road, not leaving room for traffic to go around them, not having anyone direct traffic, and not putting up signs for a detour. It was a big “Fuck You All” to all the people who’ve had to put up with them since the last snowstorm, and not acceptable. I turned up a side street (glad I did some exploring these last few months) and found my way home. Not acceptable.

I took care of some invoicing and reading. I checked my calendar, thank goodness, because the meeting I thought started at 7:30 ENDED at 7:30 and started at 5:30. So I rushed around, scrambling to get ready, and hit the road on time. The traffic to Buzzards Bay was awful, but I still managed to get there on time (which is why I left so early).

The meeting was the Annual Board Meeting for the National Marine Life Center, an organization which I supported even before I moved to the area. Two of the tanks that can hold turtles and small seals are ready, with a third one close. They’ve got the laundry and food prep facilities ready. They’re waiting their NOAA certification to open the section of the hospital that’s done, and, slowly, are raising money for more tanks, and a section that will have pools big enough for larger seals, dolphins, and even pilot whales. They’ve come a long way since the brunch in December. Met some really nice people, and now, that I’m feeling more settled, I want to get more involved.

I wound up on the committee for the Mermaid Ball this August, which is fine, because I’ve been working on galas for how many years now? Between the one in Saratoga and the awards show I put on for the foundation I worked on in New York. Our first meeting is next week. I made it very clear that dealing with the public is not my thing, but writing for the event, stuffing envelopes, doing physical work is much more along my line, and that’s fine. Unlike some other events, whose attitude is, “Just suck it up” — um, no. I’m a VOLUNTEER. I will lend my strengths, not do that which makes me uncomfortable. The chair of this event is fine with that, and appreciates that I’m honest up-front, so I think this will work out.

It’s a costume ball, and, since I worked in wardrobe, I feel the pressure! 😉 I also have to be able to move and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with, so it can’t be anything too elaborate or restrictive.

Costume Imp’s already working on it! 😉

Up early this morning. Tried to prune the lilac, but it started raining. I’m supposed to pick up a metal plant stand early this morning over in Yarmouth. Chickie refused to give me her address — told me to “call when you leave”. Honey, if you’re pretending to protect your address, don’t give me a phone number I can trace. I do not like being jerked around. I’m tempted to call the whole thing off, but really, it’s not that big a deal. I am going to make it very clear when I call that I already HAVE the address.

Will make another attempt to get to the garden center and pick up my soil — via a different route — once I’ve gotten the plant stand. Then, I am not going ANYWHERE during this crazy traffic weekend. Let it all flow around me. I’m going to write and enjoy my garden!

Have a great holiday weekend, all!

Devon

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 7:06 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I am back home, thank goodness! Tuesday afternoon, I had to drive down to CT, take care of some things, and drive back on Wednesday morning. Thank goodness for laptops and wifi, so I could handle my class during all that.

The drive down wasn’t bad, even through Providence, for once, although New Haven was hateful. Got to stop at the Book Barn in Niantic, though, which was pretty darn good. I picked up only a few things — the first Dresden files book by Jim Butcher, a Paris memoir, and a couple of books about New York that I need for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and some other books.

Decided to stop in Niantic again on the way back yesterday morning, to pick up a book I knew I needed, but hadn’t bought the day before, and I found another book I’ve been trying to get my hands on for about two years.

I was gone about 24 hours, and so much bloomed! I am going to have a boatload of pumpkins (yay). The zucchini and strawberries are getting blossoms, both types of tomatoes have come up, as have the green peppers. I will be able to put stuff i the ground this weekend, after all.

I’ve started to sit more than just in my morning meditation. I’m sitting at night, before bedtime, and, the last few days, in the afternoons as well. Not for long, just 20-30 minutes. But it makes a difference.

Oh, and I finally have health insurance. Gotta love Mass & their universal healthcare. It took a lot of paperwork, and there are more papers to fill out, but I’ve been “accepted” into the system, which means next time I get sick, I can actually see a doctor without getting into insurmountable debt. Of course, I’ve still got to get set up with a doctor (which takes six weeks or so here), but if something happens in the interim, since I’m in the system, I’m still covered. Thank you, Mitt Romney, for universal heath care in this state!

Read the Paris memoir — A TOWN LIKE PARIS by Bryce Corbett. It’s hilarious. Very witty and engaging. One can see how he could get hired for a job about which he knows very little, because he’s smart and funny.

Planning to mow the meadow later this morning, deadhead the rhododendrons, trim a few edges, prune the lilac, and then dig up some of the sand in the vegetable bed (now that I have buckets) and put in garden soil in preparation for planting this weekend. I’ve also got to figure out how to get to Martha’s Vineyard next week — which ferry to take, what the schedules and costs are, where I can leave the car, etc.

Back to the page for awhile, and then to the class, and then to the rest of it. Right now, it looks like it wants to rain, which would put a crimp in my garden plans. I’m happy with the progress on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. It’s not as fast as I’d like, but the quality is pretty good, so I don’t mind slowing down if what’s getting on the page is worth it.

Made some other decisions. Will ease out of a set of responsibilities when I meet my commitments at the end of the year with one organization, because the ratio of money to time just isn’t balancing out. I’ve tried several different ways to reconfigure it, and it’s not working, so I will extract myself as gracefully as possible. I’ll still be working for them in other areas, but they need someone else for this particular portion of it.

Costume Imp is coming back up in about three weeks for a week — and wants to throw a party! Guess I should start coming up with a guest list . . .

Devon

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Just a quick “hey”. Not much news to share. Too much time in the car, not enough on the page. That should change as of tomorrow.

Hoping to get some garden time in this week, if the weather holds.

Devon

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (3)  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Lady’s Mantle in a vase

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was just flat out busy. I’m grateful for it, but looking forward to August! 😉 Not that I want to wish my life away or anything.

Got my work out for Confidential Job #1. Got my welcome and first lecture up in the new workshop. And, of course, students are already making excuses as to why they hadn’t read the material. Um, the course description has been up for several months now. One student even stated that nothing in course description mentioned needing to read the books ahead of time.

Of course, the description says this:
“Participants must read the entire trilogy BEFORE the class, since we are not discussing the books chronologically.”

How can that be interpreted as anything except “Read the damn books before we start”?

Whatever. I’m putting up the information. They’ve paid to be there. They’ll either respond or not, and I better not hear one word about spoilers! 😉

Actually had a decent day’s work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. And I had a good start this morning. We’re getting there. As long as I don’t let the whole list of things overwhelm me, and do one thing at a time, I’m fine. If I actually wrote a daily list, I’d cry and never get anything done.

Today is another busy day. I’ve got to get everything done before 11 AM, because I’ve got other stuff booked all afternoon into the evening.

Finished HOUSE OF CARDS last night. What I’m missing in this trilogy is the sense of emotional geography of New York City. CE Murphy did her research, the geography is correct, but the sense of the writer having walked the streets and knowing the city and having an emotional response to it (positive, negative, or mixed) is missing, and that leaves a gap in the series for me. It’s not that anything’s wrong, it’s just a lot of it is vague, and New York is a very changeable city with specifics. Those specifics create distinct responses in the people who experience them, even if they rush past them every day. I’m sure I’m more sensitive to this right now because I just taught a workshop on setting, but I’m really noticing it. Also, because I know New York City so intimately, from having lived there for many years, and I have strong emotional responses to a lot of places in the city, some positive, some negative. The Walker Papers series has a much stronger sense of emotional geography (and I have no idea if Murphy spent time there or it was again research), but, more importantly, I get a sense of how Joanne feels about her area, and I never get that from Margrit. I miss it.

Okay, I have a lot to get done this morning, and the clock is ticking, so off I go.

I wish there was more I could do to help those in Joplin and the area that was hit so hard. Donations from a distance seem so remote, somehow.

Devon

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 6:33 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, May 23, 2011


The Black King Eggplant’s first blossom

Monday, May 23, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

All the garden centers sent out a flurry of emails about how awesome and warm a gardening weekend was predicted, and then, it was cold and rainy! Oh, well, it happens.

Saturday, I worked on materials for the class starting today, commented on student work, and covered the Preakness. Gee, what a surprise, no shot at the Triple Crown again. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Got a lovely compliment from someone at the publishing house, who sat up well into the night reading my book because she couldn’t put it down. Now, THAT’s what I like to hear! 😉

Stayed up late working on Saturday. Sunday, most of the day was spent polishing lectures for the workshop starting today and finishing up the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Also did a couple of loads of laundry, as I unpacked some more boxes. And, I started reading HOUSE OF CARDS, the next CE Murphy book of the Negotiator Trilogy.

Very long to-do list today, since I’ll be on the road for a couple of days this week. And it better be sunny, so I can finish mowing the back meadow! Have to finish the write-up for Confidential Job #1 and get off the invoice; have to return some books to the library; have to pick up some things at the store and the wine store; have to take grass clippings and recycling to the dump; have to work on PR for ASSUMPTION’s release; have to figure out the travel arrangements for Martha’s Vineyard (I’ve been invited to a friend’s place in a couple of weeks); the day’s lecture on the new workshop; excavating the desk; and oh, so much more. I’ve got to get back into THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, too. That manuscript has to be finished and get out the door sooner, rather than later, or the window of opportunity closes for it.

In the middle of doing a bunch of other stuff, I had a huge AHA! moment on a different piece. Several years ago, I wrote a mystery that then inspired a serial that ran for just over a year. I wanted to re-adapt it into a novel and start sending it out, But there were certain things that I just couldn’t make work. I’d started the second book in the series, which never really went anywhere, and outlined the third, about which I had strong feelings. I’ve been playing with the idea of just writing the third as a stand-alone. Yesterday, I realized that I can set the third book in the recent past (say 2007) and pull the chapters of the first book that are strongest as flashbacks to 1994, illustrating how the events in that book influenced what’s happening now. It also gives me the chance to show the growth in my protagonist, without having to write the entire series from 1994-2007. It makes a lot more sense, it will be a stronger book, and I can use strong material from the earlier book and cut out the weak material, or simply refer to the events I don’t want to show in conversation or other integrated ways. It also gives me a chance to show how different lives in NYC were pre-9/11 and post-9/11, and how the events changed the lives of my primary protagonists in ways that just evolving through normal life couldn’t. When I’ll get to do it, I’m not sure — I’ve got projects stacked up like planes over LaGuardia right now. But KNOWING what I want to do is a good step, and I’ll probably make some notes over the next few weeks.

Jane Espenson’s episode (the one she wrote or co-wrote, not sure which) of GAME OF THRONES aired last night. What a huge difference! The wit, the plot, the characterization, the action, all of it was head-and-shoulders above every other episode thus far. It was really well done. There were layers and details and development.

To the page — and all the rest of it today.

Devon

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Yesterday was an up-and-down day. On the “up” side, I bought a witch hazel shrub. It’s gorgeous, they are hard to find (I was told by 12 people I’d never find one in the area and would pay a couple of hundred dollars to get one shipped, which I just couldn’t afford). It was more than I planned to spend, so I was going to pass, and the guy at the nursery gave me a 25% discount, which then put it within my budget. So it came home with me and is happily sitting on the deck.

On the downside of that, they said there’s nothing I can do to save the lilac. One can’t start new lilacs from cuttings (or, in this case, breakage). I’d have to dig down and separate some of the new growth from the roots.

Well, the Lilac Limb, for the moment, seems perfectly happy sitting in a bucket of water, so I’m just going to leave it there as long as it is and see what happens.

Then, the infuriating: There was a break in the weather, and it was dry for a few hours. I went to mow the lawn and the effing mower doesn’t work. After ONE usage. That is not acceptable. I bought a Poulon Pro because I was told that it is easy to use and reliable. So far, it is neither. Not only is it hell to start, it won’t stay started — after 5 feet, the motor stops. I’ve got a frigging prairie growing out here, and I can’t cut it. I can’t afford another lawnmower. I can’t afford to hire someone to cut the grass (which is not cheap around here). This piece of garbage should work more than once.

I called Poulon Pro, since their “manual” is completely useless. The first “customer service rep” hung up on me. The second one said it was covered by warranty (from the tone, I guess these pieces of crap break down like this a lot), and told me I had to take it to a place in Marstons Mills. How? I have a VW!!! She made it clear that wasn’t her problem. Actually, it is. She’s the customer service REPRESENTATIVE. She REPRESENTS the company — obviously, this is the type of company they are, since they sell things that only work once, so her lack of interest reflects the company’s — and it is her job to help solve problems, not shrug and go away. Her hating her job is not MY problem. Her not doing her job properly is both my problem and her boss’s. And believe me, her bosses, the BBB, and the appropriate state agencies are all going to know about it. I’m going to talk to the “authorized service” guy and see what a house call costs. First, though, I’m going to ask a neighbor with lawn mower experience to take a look at it.

I should have gone with my initial instincts and gotten the really old-fashioned push mower with no electronics, just blades, like my grandmother had. All I’d have to do is get the blades sharpened once a year. It would have been a pain to rake up the grass, but at least the damn thing would work.

Not acceptable on any level. I was so furious, I couldn’t sleep last night.

Call me crazy, but when I spend a chunk of money on something, I expect it to work. To me, that is part of the contract with the manufacturer — I put down money and the manufacturer supplies me a working whatever.

This morning, I’m off (to Marstons Mills again) to pick up three bookcases I’m supposedly getting for free on craigslist. Let’s hope they fit in the car! 😉

Winding up my class, preparing for the next one. Working on PR for the book release. Not getting enough writing done. Behind on the assignment for Confidential Job #1.

On a happier note, I was on the phone brainstorming with a friend, which was fun.

To the page for a little bit, until I have to get into the car and wrestle bookcases. They’re supposed to be in so-so condition, so I’m getting them as shelving for the basement, so I can do some more unpacking. I unpacked a couple more boxes from the storage room yesterday. I can get going on the basement boxes once there’s more shelving, so that, as I go through stuff and repack what I’m keeping, I have a place to put it.

Devon

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 6:02 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday, May 19, 2011


Terraced border in the back yard

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was about working on PR for the ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT release. That’s pretty much what I did all day long — sending out requests, press kits, preparing guest blogs, etc. I also put together the info my publisher asked for, since I’m going to be in June’s “Author Spotlight”, and got some other information to the Write Angles Conference, where I’ll be teaching in person in October.

I did some prep for the class starting on Monday, but didn’t get to spend enough time on the current workshop, which I will have to make up for today.

Finished up the grocery shopping. Picked up a small rosemary and a small golden-edged sage (which is beautiful). Planted them, along with oregano seeds, in the large pot they will share this summer. Started pruning the lilac outside — an a five foot branch broke off in my hand! I’ve got it standing in a bucket of water on the deck, and I’m going to find out if there’s a way I can save it and root it. I planned to take cuttings and use root hormone to see if I could start a few new plants from this one, but I didn’t expect such a big branch to come off.

Also unpacked three boxes from the upstairs storage area, all soft goods, and put them through the laundry.

Didn’t get enough writing done. Must also make up for that today, and I’ve got a “phone date” at 11, with a friend who wants to brainstorm.

The Black King Eggplant got its first blossom! The indoor strawberry also has a blossom, and the male holly is blooming. We’re finally getting our spring!

Seriously, though, I cut some lilacs to bring inside — it’s so nice to have cut flowers from our own garden.

Back to the page, trying to catch up, before phone stuff and heading to the nursery to see what I can do to save the lilac.

One of these days, it’ll be dry enough to mow. In the interim, if anyone asks, I’m growing a prairie on the front lawn! 😉

Devon

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 7:29 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The close-up of the heather is for you, Lara!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Tried to catch up on things yesterday — three loads of laundry, getting things straightened up, going through mail, getting stuff sorted with the publisher.

My new, pushed-up release date for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is June 6. Gulp! So I’ve got a lot of promo work to do in the coming weeks. It’s coming out digitally first, with the possibility (if it does well) of a print run 3 or 4 months later. I’ve also been chosen for the publisher’s Author Spotlight for June, so I have to get all that info out today.

According to the calendar, yesterday was a planting day, so I got some repotting done (thing are growing fast) and started two kinds of tomatoes, the echinacea, the yarrow, the soapwort, and the Love-in-a-Mist. I’m looking forward to getting some work done outside towards the end of the week, when it’s supposed to stop raining. It stopped for about ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and people were out mowing their lawns! I thought the grass had to be DRY — my manual is very clear about that.

Not enough writing or reading done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today. Got HEART OF STONE finished, and really liked it, so I’m looking forward to the next one, hOUSE OF CARDS. However, I have 2 1/2 books I have to read before I can start that, all within the next few days.

Caught up with my class. There’s been a lot of good work this month, and I’m glad.

I’ve got to prep for the Preakness this weekend, too. I’m doing a little bit of prep, not much.

I unpacked three more kitchen boxes from the garage, and found some wonderful stuff I forgot I had. Lots of washing and drying and oohing and aaahing. Now, to figure out where to put it!

Not sure where to start with the work today, so I’m just going to pick one thing and get going. There’s a lot of hiring going on in the area, not just the Cape, but in Boston — nearly 6000 jobs in health care alone. And all sorts of other jobs, too. I’ve got to get my proposals finished and out the door, and the brochures redone, too. Strike while the iron is hot, right? There’s a lot of work. I may push a little harder for the next few months so that I really can sit back in August with a clear conscience. Several people are mad at me for taking the month off. “Why can’t you just do X for me?” “Because I’m not available.” “But you can make the time.” “No, I can’t.” I’m tired of going for years without a real vacation because other people are disorganized. Part of this Saturn return lesson — taking a reasonable amount of time off to recharge every year!

Of course, August seems VERY far away right now! 😉

Devon

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Whew! I am so glad to be back home, and the cats were glad to see me. Even Violet didn’t punish me for going away. Granted, it was nearly 11 PM by the time I got here, but, what’s important is that I’m here.

Over the weekend, I read two Susan Wittig Albert books, INDIGO DYING and SPANISH DAGGER. I like a lot about her mysteries, but the talking to the audience in the present tense at the beginning of the book doesn’t quite work for me sometimes. However, a lot of her regular readers love it, so more power to her. I’m also almost done with CE Murphy’s HEART OF STONE, which I absolutely love. I love her Joanne Walker series, and this one is pretty amazing, too.

Got some writing done, but not enough; caught up on my classes; worked on my lectures for next week.

You know who finally got back to me about the bird? My friend who runs the sanctuary up here. He said it was a male (gee, there’s a surprise) defending his territory from his reflection, which he thinks is another bird. He’s seeing his reflection in the outer storm window, so once it’s warm enough to take that off, he’ll stop. In the meantime, it needs to be covered. Well, it’s not my house, so I couldn’t do whatever I wanted. But it rained enough so that it was too dark to see himself and he stopped. It’s supposed to rain all week, so maybe he’ll forget about it. He’d tidied himself up in the meantime, and looked better.

My departure from CT was delayed by about three hours, and then it was bumper-to-bumper traffic (for no reason) at 20 mph all the way to New Haven. I made up some time further along, but since the CT DOT is run by imbecilic incompetents, they had, of course, made the road as dangerous as possible to drive at night through their many construction zones. No lane delineations, no reflectors, etc. The lights that are supposed to have arrows that show where the lanes are were just flat lines, overly bright, so you couldn’t actually see anything but glare. Impossible to see where the road was in the rain and fog. At least here, they set up cones with reflectors and put temporary paint down on the lanes when they’re doing work, so you can see where you’re going.

Made my usual stop for gas in RI, and then realized that one reason there were so many drivers on the road is that a lot of colleges finished up yesterday, and kids are driving home — with packed cars, looking exhausted, hung over, and scared.

Driving on 6, along the canal to the Sagamore Bridge, I was nearly pushed off the road into the canal by a red pickup truck. For no reason, other than the driver was a jerk and thought it was funny. As I was fighting for my bit of road, lights and sirens came on, and a cop pulled him over 500 feet ahead of me. Good timing!

I was glad to be home. And then, of course, I had to unpack and have something to eat and play with the cats and putter around . . . it was late by the time I got to bed!

Slept in a bit this morning, and am up and trying to get through what’s accumulated on the desk. I may have to do a major excavation this week. I’ve got writing, PR, classes, work for Confidential Job #1, and grocery shopping on the agenda today. I have a lot of cooking to do this week — my mom is going out of town on a job for two weeks next week, and I’m making dinners for her and freezing them, so all she has to do is pop them in the microwave.

Laundry’s already going, and I’m getting to work on all the things that need to get done today. It’s too wet to mow (awwww, altogether now), but the plants have grown enormously just over the weekend!

Devon

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 7:41 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

As Saturday wore on, I got much more cheerful. I took care of some client emails, I caught up, via email, with some friends. The summer’s booking up, not just with work, but with friends coming to visit. After all, I live in one of the best vacation spots in the country. Why not come visit?

I’m pitching for two huge jobs with two organizations I adore. I have to keep the personal out of it, in order to create a good business deal, but I hope they like the proposals. Of course, I want to land BOTH gigs, which would be enormously challenging, but also, enormously fulfilling. I just have to make the proposals persuasive enough to convince them they can’t live without me! 😉

Most of the weekend was caught up in bird trauma. I kept hearing a thumping noise at one of the windows. A little bird (which I identified as a tufted titmouse) kept flinging himself against the window and yelling. He’d been doing it so much that one side of his chest was all bloody. I tried to make it impossible for him to see his reflection: open the drapes, close the drapes, cover the window with paper, hang my yoga mat over it. Didn’t work. I tried hanging small bells from short threads (so he wouldn’t get caught in them) to make noise. Didn’t work. I was worried he’d kill himself. I couldn’t see a nest in the tree. I went outside to see if there was a nest stashed in the eaves of the house or baby bird on the ground or a distressed mate. Nothing.

I called one agency that’s supposed to deal with this and was told, “ We deal with the land, not the animals on it.” Um, aren’t they connected? I called the group in my former hometown who publicizes how much they care about nature, and was told, “It’s only one bird. There are thousands of them. This one doesn’t matter.” No wonder that’s where the City Council members who sat with one hand shoved up their collective ass and the other for a payout from the scumbag landlords who are driving people out of their homes (my mother included) all met. Typical attitude of my former hometown. I called the 24-hour hotline that’s supposed to handle this, and was told there’s nothing they can do until the bird knocks himself unconscious — which is what I was trying to prevent. I tried contacting local rehabilitators — the ones the hotline would have hooked me up with anyway. Not one of them could be bothered to get back to me. Hypocrites.

Then, some workmen who weren’t scheduled to show up showed up, sending the dog and I into fits. I called the owners of the site to make sure they were who they said they were. She said they weren’t supposed to be there that day — they’d talked about scheduling a day and time, but it had never happened. But, since they were there, they could work. Again, typical of this area. Workmen have no respect for anyone else’s time or appointments, and show up or don’t show up as they feel like it. On the Cape, you make an appointment, they show up when you both agree, they do the work, all is good.

They did the work, the Titmouse went away, the dog didn’t trust them any more than I did, so we retreated to the basement until they were done. Once they left, I checked all the doors and windows, to make sure nothing had been “fixed” to not lock properly. I might not have been so suspicious if the dog (who is friendly and not particularly brave) hadn’t been so adamant in staying between me and any workman at any given time. I’m grateful, and I totally trusted the dog’s instincts.

It was raining, and the Titmouse sat in the tree outside the window, crying and looking miserable, but at least didn’t fling himself against the window anymore.

Again, typical of this area: They pay ridiculous amounts of money at Whole Foods (or, Whole-in-the-Wallet Foods, as a bunch of us call it), but use toxic lawn materials and cleaners.

Caught up on the class (so enjoying this group), watched some TV. Didn’t like the book I was supposed to read, so read some books just for fun. Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough.

It rained hard Saturday into Sunday. But as soon as it lessened, the Titmouse started in again — on a different window. From a different tree. This time, there’s a small nest in the tree, but nothing in it. And he didn’t fling himself against the window, just flew up to it, chattered, and flew away.

All. Day. Long.

When he was quiet, I was afraid he’d knocked himself out and went looking for him. No. He simply did the same at a different window. He’s acting like the entire house is a threat. As long as he’s not bashing himself into anything, I don’t have to worry quite as much.

Read. Caught up on classes. Had a quiet day. Wanted to be home.

Up early this morning, packed and did last minute prep to go home. The bird is at it again, but he seems to be healing. And I found a small feather on the carpet of one of the rooms, but there’s no way a bird got inside, so go figure.

I’m looking forward to being home. It’s supposed to rain all week, so I guess I won’t be mowing (gee, so sad. Yes, that’s sarcasm).

Costume Imp is coming back up for a week in June, which will be tons of fun. Hopefully, I’ll have my manuscript in by then, and know what’s going on with Confidential Job #1.

Someone I’ve known for a long time actually had the gall to say that when this lease is up, I should move “closer to a train station”, so it would be easier for me to travel down to that particular job –which can’t be counted on, changes dates all the time, and is only maybe one week a year. Had we been in the same room, I would have slapped him. Yeah, not professional, but I would have done it anyway. Talk about total disrespect that anyone else has a life. You know what? I’m not “the help” and I won’t be treated like a servant. Period. End of story.

Yeah, I’m grumpy today! It’s not going to be fun to drive home in this weather, and I won’t be able to leave until late afternoon or early evening. There are things I SHOULD be doing, and I don’t want to do a damn one of them. I am In A Mood! 😉

Don’t worry; I’ll get over myself as soon as I scoot across the Sagamore Bridge!

To answer PJ’s question about Saturn Retrograde:
There’s a difference between a Saturn Retrograde and a Saturn Return. The Saturn Return happens once about every 28 years, and lasts for about 2 years. Your life dissolves and reassembles during that period of time. Sometimes it’s painful. A lot of people either get married, or, if they’re already married, get divorced or have a major shift in the relationship at 28. People often change careers, loved ones die, the whole thing. William and Kate got married when they were both in their Saturn returns, to use a pop culture example.

A Saturn retrograde happens once every year for several months — around five or six. I’d have to look it up; can’t remember off the top of my head. Saturn is the planet of life lessons. If you’re on a path that’s counterproductive to whatever you want to call it — your destiny, your higher purpose, your real self — you will encounter more problems and obstacles than usual, especially if you’ve known that there are problems and have made the choice to stay in the situation that’s bad for you. During a Saturn retrograde, the first time you refuse to make a positive change, you get smacked upside the head. The next time, you might get fired or your car might break down and not be able to be fixed or your relationship falls apart — it will be in the area where you refused to change the previous time, and it will be worse. Every subsequent Saturn retrograde in which you refuse to make positive changes, it will get harder and harder. If you refuse to jump, you will be pushed. When you make the choice to go towards something better, even when it’s scary, it will still be difficult, but you’ll start to see things smoothing out pretty quickly.

Then, the next Saturn retrograde comes around, and you’re faced with new challenges. Saturn is the “tough love” teacher. Saturn forces growth and change. So, when you look at the calendar and see Saturn retrograde coming, you can sit down and say, “where do I need to make positive changes?” If you start them before the retrograde, you’ll still feel the push, but it won’t be as painful. If you sit and do nothing, you wind up with metaphysical bruises on your behind and your psyche.

In my own life, I left Broadway a good two full Saturn Retrogrades after I knew I needed to go, and the last few months, even though I loved the show I was on and the people, I was miserable, because I knew I needed to be elsewhere. Had I remained for another cycle, something pretty painful would have happened to force me out, because I was on a truly unhealthy path for me to follow.

Right now, too, remember, that Pluto is also retrograde, which means what is hidden is revealed. If someone’s been lying to you or stabbing you in the back, it comes out now. If you look at an astrological calendar and compare it to when the most scandals (as far as people trying to keep things hidden) break, it’s usually during a Pluto Retrograde.

Too many people use astrology as an excuse to behave badly. “Oh, Mercury’s Retrograde, of course I crashed the car and my computer failed and so-and-so got mad at my comment.” Yes, it’s more likely to happen during a Mercury Retrograde. But, if you looked at the calendar, you could have been more careful driving, backed up your computer so that when it went kaboom it wasn’t a total loss, and you could have kept your damn mouth shut.

The purpose of these calendars is to look at them, see the POTENTIAL influences (because the planet is additionally influenced by where it sits in your natal chart. Me and Saturn? We’re screwed! 😉 Seriously, where Saturn sits in my natal chart causes me different kinds of difficulties than where it sits in someone else’s chart). You look at it, you know the potential challenges/obstacles/problems. You’re more aware. My mantra in Mercury Retrograde is,”stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.” If I am angered by what someone else says, I take a deep breath and try not to respond, because getting involved in a dispute during Mercury Retrograde is bound to take longer to resolve than otherwise. I try, very hard, not to sign contracts. During a Saturn retrograde — or, rather, when I see one coming — I try to look back over the life lessons last time. What did I miss? What did I not implement? Sometimes, I misinterpret, and then get a bit of a smack during the retrograde.

I came into this one thinking it would be easy because I did the move, I’m out of the wardrobe business, I’ve got a writing room, I’ve set up my schedule, etc., etc. I straightened out a lot of things that were problems, and I made choices to let certain things go, instead of acting like that bird I mentioned above.

And yet, here I am, with a bunch of new lessons to learn, this time having to do with the changing vision of my career. I don’t want to make decisions out of haste, anger, or fear. I want to really look at the options, listen to the messages, listen to myself, and then figure out the actions I need to take.

There’s this theory that “doing nothing is a choice.” Well, when it comes to the Universe, and the Universe has been telling you to DO SOMETHING and you ignore it, it considers stasis a vacuum. So, it’s going to fill that vacuum by kicking your butt hard enough to make you pay attention and fill it.

The planets don’t give you excuses. They give you information. And how you choose to use it can make things smoother or easier on the path. Survival is tough enough — I’d rather listen and try to make the choice the first time than put my hands over my ears and sing, “La la la” until my butt is kicked into the abyss.

Granted, it doesn’t always work out the way I think it will (usually quite differently), but when I listen and at least TRY, the results, in the long run, are much more positive.

Devon

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was on the road by about 7:30 yesterday morning. It was a pretty decent drive down. Providence was a pain, but it usually is. For the most part, though, it was painless — although as I hit the bridge, I got hit with a migraine, and I hate driving with a migraine.

Stopped in Stamford at the Border’s to get a book I need that I haven’t been able to find at the seven other bookstores I’ve visited in the last month. That Borders will close on Sunday — even though it wasn’t on the original list. So that means there are NO Borders anywhere in my regular routes anymore, and they’ve NEVER gotten an internet order right in six years, so I don’t even bother. I’m sorry, I’m not driving several hundred miles out of my way to find one of their stores. The price of gas negates any discounts they might offer. There are plenty of independent stores near me that actually carry what I want, most of the time (except for this damn book). You know what? They deserve to go out of business. Their utter contempt for their customers is appalling.

Anyway, most titles were 75-80% off, and I wound up getting 11 books for $21. Not the book I needed, but oh, well. I had to order that on Amazon for two day delivery, because I have to have it next week. Now, this book is a best-seller. It should be on all the shelves.

The work at the site threw a monkey wrench in what I hoped to get done in the afternoon, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. When I finally got online in the evening, I got an email from my editor at Confidential Job #1 that he’s leaving and this was his last day! I was stunned. He got a better job, and I’m happy for him, but still . . .When I first started with this company, I worked with two editors. When the company downsized (and cut our rates), they fired the primary editor I worked with, and this one took over everything. I agreed, at the time, at his pleading, not to leave while he was still working there. In the interim, the company was sold. Now, he’s leaving. And there’s no replacement. The paperwork goes to one person; the invoices to another. So who assigns? Or will we not get new assignments until this is settled? But at least I don’t have to feel guilty if I decide to leave. I can’t help feeling slightly abandoned, although that’s not a logical response. But whoever said emotions were logical?

Saturn Retrograde is challenging me to rethink some of my long-term clients. In freelancing, the top earners warn the rest of us that your client bases changes pretty drastically about every six months. I tend to stick with clients for years — sometimes out of misplaced loyalty. I’m already feeling a lot of frustration with a portion of my clients — not because they’re doing anything unprofessional or skeezy, but because my focus, needs, and vision for my career are changing. I’m building a new life in a new location. I can’t pop down for a 500-mile (or, in some cases, more) roundtrip whenever it’s convenient for them for a couple of days– I have jobs and responsibilities in my new location. It’s not just about money, but about the logistics of the travel and the time lost during travel that really needs to be spent on other things. Also, now that I live in a place I love, some of the jobs I originally took on as “escapes” feel more like burdens. I have to really be firm about the parameters, so I’m not taking on something that doesn’t work for me, and then resenting it because I didn’t ask for the right things. In two of the new jobs which are in proposal/negotiation status, yes, the money is considerably higher, and yes, there is travel involved – one would have me roaming around MA, and the other would have me in Boston sometimes and DC at other times. They would both be challenging (I’m trying to land them both), and both push me in new directions more in alignment with the vision of where I want to go in the next few years. I’m at a crossroads, and I have to figure out how to gracefully, professionally, and kindly work towards my goals without leaving anyone in the lurch. Although, as a good friend reminds me, “You’re not HR. It’s not your job to find a replacement — it’s theirs.”

Crap. And here I thought I could ride out this Saturn Retrograde because I’d left NY! 😉

The thought of all the work that needs to get done this weekend just depresses me, but there it is. I have a lot of figuring out to do — in some ways, I’m in the same boat as several of my friends going through job changes. And I really want to make positive choices, or the next time Saturn goes retrograde, I will get my ass kicked (as a friend of mine does regularly, because she refuses to make changes, staying with the devil she knows, and then wondering why everything keeps getting worse).

Deep breath. Keep moving forward. And keep figuring it out. All we can do, right?

Devon