Tues. Dec. 31, 2019: Happy New Year’s Eve!

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image courtesy of Qunice Media via pixabay.com

Have a safe and joyful night!

Published in: on December 31, 2019 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Dec. 30, 2019: The Joy of Letting Go #UpbeatAuthors

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image by Kranich17 via pixabay.com

Monday, December 30, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Tomorrow is the end of 2019. The end of the decade. It’s time to let go of things and make room for new.

Time to let go of the old year.

I’ve been working on a set of Questions for 2020 to help me make the transitions and transformations that I need to make in the coming year. Please feel free to read them and use them. The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is being revised in the coming weeks to have more tools and ideas to help achieve our aims.

This will also be the last post I do for #UpbeatAuthors. I realized that while writing the posts on commitment a few months back that I would have to set a stop date, unless certain things changed. They didn’t, and I decided to see out the year and then stop. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing weekly posts for this group for the past year and a half, it’s time for me to do other things.

I feel I fulfilled my commitment to the group by seeing out the year. I didn’t just stop posting or “not have time.” I MADE the time. I finished the commitment I made when I joined the group.

I learned a lot, by writing the posts and by reading what other members of the group posted.

But it’s time for me to step back, and interact in a different way.

I post most weekdays on this blog, Ink in My Coffee. On Wednesdays, I post more business writing-oriented content on Ink-Dipped Advice. Between Ink in My Coffee and Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions, Monday will be about setting an intention for the week, and then seeing how I fulfill it. I am using ideas inspired by Jenn Mattern’s 90-Day Plan, combined with the Monday afternoon meditation group I attend. A week, a month can be too short a time to implement change; a year can be too long. So I’m experimenting.

I hope you will continue with me on the journey. I hope I am still welcome to visit Upbeat Authors.

I wish you a blessed New Year, and a wonderful new decade.

Fri. Dec. 27, 2019: Reading & Writing Day

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image courtesy of Thought Catalog via pixabay.com

Although I ran some errands, I’m giving myself another day of reading and writing with no pressure.

Enjoy!

Published in: on December 27, 2019 at 11:33 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 27, 2019: Reading & Writing Day  

Thurs. Dec. 26: Boxing Day = Reading Day

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image courtesy of Sibusky via pixabay.com

Today is Boxing Day in the UK, an extra day of rest and recovery after the Christmas festivities.

I am taking off the day, too, to read and write.

Enjoy!

Published in: on December 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 26: Boxing Day = Reading Day  
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Happy Christmas Day!

christmas-3001320_1920photo courtesy of Geilinger via pixabay.com

 

Have a lovely day!

Published in: on December 25, 2019 at 5:05 am  Comments Off on Happy Christmas Day!  
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Merry Christmas Eve!

Santa Sleigh

 

Have a joyful day!

And, also Happy Hanukkah!

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Published in: on December 24, 2019 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Merry Christmas Eve!  
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Mon. Dec. 23, 2019: The Joy of Taking a Breath #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of dolvita108 via pixabay.com

Monday, December 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
First Day of Hanukah

How can you possibly take a breath?

It’s almost Christmas, we’re in Hanukah, we just had the Solstice, what about all those presents that still need to be wrapped?

That’s why we need to breathe.

From Solstice through the New Year, I add an additional 40-minute session of candlelight yoga/meditation when I end my workday and before cocktail hour. This small space of time, which is wrench from the rest of the day, helps enormously on both mental and physical levels.

So take a breath, smile, and have a great holiday!

Published in: on December 23, 2019 at 5:57 am  Comments Off on Mon. Dec. 23, 2019: The Joy of Taking a Breath #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. Dec. 20, 2019: Heading into Holidays

Friday, December 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was crazy busy and today is the same. Deliveries, finishing client projects, getting out the last few cards. One more present to wrap — all the shopping is done.

We re-watched WHITE CHRISTMAS last night — I could watch Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye dance for days. There are still some “ouch” moments, but nowhere near the racism of HOLIDAY INN.

Overslept this morning, then made another batch of Tollhouse Cookies. Ran to the store for the last bits I need for Solstice Dinner tomorrow, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

I have a long day at the client’s on Monday, and then a shorter one on Tuesday, and then I’m off for the rest of the week, as far as clients go. I still have to finish THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, but that’s going to be my focus, other than enjoying the holidays.

Have a great one, and I’ll talk to you on the other side of them!

Published in: on December 20, 2019 at 10:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 20, 2019: Heading into Holidays  
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Thurs. Dec. 19, 2019: Almost Ready for the Holidays

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Up and out of the house to my client’s early, to get a few things done before the holiday lunch. As is typical, she wanted to go in a completely different direction. But, we got it done.

Lunch was absolutely lovely, at The Old Yarmouth Inn. I’d never been there before, and it’s absolutely delightful. The Christmas village was adorable. I had a burger, the first time I’ve had red meat in months.

After the lunch, headed over to Target to pick up a few things, and then back home to pack up the last of the packages we had to ship, and then I made a post office run. Everything’s out, and should get there by Christmas Eve, which is perfect. I still have just a handful of cards to write and get out today, and then I’m done.

Of course, a client got in touch last night for a rush project that has to be turned around today. It will happen, and I will charge for it. Because that’s the way it works.

Finished my holiday shopping this morning. Just have to wrap.

I baked another batch of stained glass cupcakes this morning, first thing. The cats had me up at 4:20. I did some errands in the morning, have some work to do at the library, turn around the project for my client, and then more deliveries this afternoon.

We had just a smidge of snow last night, but it’s very, very cold. I wish my landlord would get the new furnace in, because it’s getting harder and harder to keep the upstairs warm enough. I think we’ll have to revert to hot water bottles.

A decent first writing session this morning, and hopefully another this afternoon, especially on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. I have the first two months’ worth of posts planned out for both the GDR site and Ink-Dipped Advice for 2020, so I’m going to try to get ahead on those in the next few days.

I’m almost done answering the 2020 GDRS, and look forward to making the site, in general, more useful all year, not just about lists and accountability.

Working on the next Medium post, but not sure it will get up this week. It might go up as late as Monday. Oh, well.

One minute I feel completely stressed out and a wreck, and the next I feel on top of things. I really am in better shape, on all levels, this year than I was last year.

It was such a relief last night, when, finally, the House of Representatives took the votes, and the Narcissistic Sociopath was impeached. Mitch McConnell and his pals are totally corrupt and need to be removed as much as the Sociopath. I’m tired of these old white men who know they won’t live to see the consequences of their greed and corruption, and don’t care. They ALL need to go — with consequences.

Meanwhile, I need to get back to the page.

Published in: on December 19, 2019 at 10:35 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 19, 2019: Almost Ready for the Holidays  
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Wed. Dec. 18, 2019:Keep Moving, Or I’ll Decorate You

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Weather clearing a bit

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the final post of the year.

We had a bit of snow overnight Monday into Tuesday, turning into freexing rain for a slushy mix.

I couldn’t make it to meditation Monday afternoon due to errands — cookie deliveries, post office (huge lines with people mailing several dozen packages each), dropping off and picking up books at the library, and so forth and so on.

Next batch of stained glass cupcakes will be baked tonight, along with more tollhouse cookies. First year I’ve ever run low on those!

Monday night, watched MRS. POLLIFAX, SPY starring Rosalind Russell. Odd movie, but she’s great.

A bunch of packages arrived, which is always fun.

Up early on Tuesday, got out my last review of the year and invoiced, went in to my client’s early. I’m trying to get ahead on things before the holiday madness. Attended an impeachment rally. In spite of the weather, a pretty decent turnout for Cape Cod.

I think I’m done decorating, at least inside the house. If it didn’t move, it was decorated, and that included putting bows on lampshades. The cats are sleeping with one eye open, for fear of getting decorated, too.

At my client’s early today, because we’re leaving early, to have our holiday lunch at the Old Yarmouth Inn. I’ve always wanted to go there.

It means missing the Remote chat, but I’ll catch up later.

More deliveries tomorrow and Friday — hoping to have them all done by then. Getting out the rest of the packages this afternoon, I hope; if not, first thing tomorrow. The last of the cards are going out today.

Then comes preparations for Saturday’s Winter Solstice celebration, and enjoying the holidays. I’ll be doing some client work and finishing A QUALITY OF LIGHT, but that’s my list. Planning, of course, for 2020, and maybe getting ahead on a few of those posts.

But mostly, I want to read and rest and eat and have a quiet few days at home.

Published in: on December 18, 2019 at 6:19 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Lousy weather

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about one of my favorite Winter Holiday books.

Busy few days. Sorry I didn’t post at all on Friday. I was up at 5:30 and out of the house by 7. Put gas in the car, then drove up to Plymouth, to my regular mechanic, to give them their holiday treats and get the yearly inspection done.

The car passed. All those things the place that replaced my battery told me I had to pay $1800 to get done or else not pass inspection — NONE of them were true. Which makes me both angry and relieved.

I’ve spent the past nearly three months in agony fearing the car wouldn’t pass, and I couldn’t afford the additional work. Because I was lied to.

Stopped at Market Basket on the way back to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to pick up a book and talk to the librarian who took her first trip to NYC this past week, and I wrote up directions to the stuff she wanted to see. She had a great time.

Then, I just hit a wall. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t do much more than play with the cats, do some more decorating, and read.

I managed to pull it together in the late afternoon to put together and deliver the cookie platters to the neighbors. It was fun — a chance for us to catch up. We are all friendly in passing and help each other when we need it, but every now and again, it’s nice to spend some time in actual conversation. We are lucky in our neighbors. Most of them, anyway.

It looks like my health insurance might be sorted out for the next year. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

On Thursday night, we watched the version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alistair Sims, which is still my favorite. Friday night, we watched HOLIDAY INN, which I had ordered from the library by accident, thinking it was the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye version later named WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Well, it wasn’t. It was a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film in black & white — also using the song “White Christmas” — and what a horrid movie. The racism — especially against blacks, with an entire musical number in blackface, and the awful way the black characters were written, anti-Semitic comments, the misogyny, and the fact that the characters are all so mean to each other. Awful. On so many levels. Some of the dance numbers are good, but the plot, characters, and viciousness of the movie are hateful. To think that, at any point in our history, that was considered “okay” much less acceptable, is discouraging.

Saturday morning, woke up to a bad storm with pounding rain. Made it through the flooded streets to the store to pick up a few things, and barely made it home. If I’d waited even a half hour more, some of the streets would have been impassable.

Made stollen, the traditional Dresden stollen recipe, from Mimi Sheraton’s German cookbook. Upped the almond extract a bit.

The recipe took me 8 hours to make last year, but only 6 hours this year, with the mixing and the rising. The yeast was fresher, and it rose faster.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of about 3 pounds apiece. When you think that a single pound of it from a store or ordered online costs anywhere from $9.99 to $34 and tastes like cardboard or could be used for a doorstop, this is a much better choice. In addition to being absolutely delicious. It’s an all-day project, but worth it.

Just about finished my cards on Saturday night, except for a few where I need to hunt down addresses.

Worked on the books for review. Started preparations for Winter Solstice, which is next Saturday. Got some writing done.

We put up the reindeer collection and the nutcracker collection, and cleared out my office, so that we can put up the tree in there. I cleaned up the roll-top desk, and I want to clear off my computer desk, so I can start the New Year and the new decade, with a clean desk.

I will have to make the next batch of stained glass cupcakes either today or tomorrow, and another batch of tollhouse cookies. I’m still making deliveries.

Sunday, I was up early and creating a new muffin recipe with orange, cranberry, and chocolate. It turned out well, although I think I will add some cloves next go round.

Got some writing done. Put up the tree in my office, and started decorating the rest of the office.

Watching THE QUEENS OF MYSTERY. There’s a lot of clever, fun stuff in it, but sometimes I feel it tries to hard to do too much and gets a little unfocused.

Monday, it was off to my client’s early (since we’re leaving early for our holiday lunch together). On the way, made some more cookie platter deliveries. Client work was okay, albeit a bit chaotic. Headed to the library after, to get some other work done, and send off one of the reviews.

Early at my client’s today, and then a couple of other appointments after. Decent first writing sessions of the day both days. THE QUALITY OF LIGHT is chugging along, and it will get to where it needs to go on time.

I’m working on my next essay for Medium, which I hope to post this week sometime.
Planning to finish up the reviews, so I can get them out and invoiced, either today or tomorrow.

This year, I’m very much hearth-and-home for the holidays. I’d rather do cards and cookie platters than running around to all the holiday networking events. My focus needs to be on other things right now, focused on the home front and the upcoming changes, not on socializing.

Published in: on December 17, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All  
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Mon. Dec. 16, 2019: The Joy of Gentle Words #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of 366608 via pixabay.com

Monday, December 16, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

We should always take care with our words, but especially during this season. Plenty of people are dealing with stresses and pain. We want to lighten their burdens, not add to them.

At the same time, when someone is excited and happy about a tradition or something to do with the holiday, and it’s not our thing — we need to be kind enough NOT to tell them we don’t like what brings them joy.

If someone wants to say “Merry Christmas” — fine.

If someone prefers “Happy Holidays” or another greeting — fine.

If someone wants to skip the holidays this year for whatever reason — fine. But that doesn’t give them the right to last out at those who enjoy the holidays.

If someone loves the decorations and the shopping and all the rest, a lecture about the commercialization of Christmas is not helpful. Save that for a discussion at that barbecue in July.

I love stuff like Secret Santa or a Giving Tree. But, for me, it’s vitally important that it not be about me — I LIKE staying anonymous. I like participating without the receiver knowing it came from me, or posting about it on social media or in any other way congratulating myself. That defeats the purpose for me.

Others feel differently. That’s up to them.

I’m a big card writer. When someone says, “Oh, I don’t have TIME to write cards” — to me, that’s a slap in the face. It gives me information about that person, that I file away for future reference. Honestly? I don’t HAVE time for plenty of things — including writing cards or even these posts. I MAKE time for them. There are plenty of reasons for not writing cards: not liking to write, not wanting to use paper products, worry about the carbon footprint of mailing things, or whatever. Those are all valid reasons. There are plenty of more valid reasons that are none of my business. But when someone uses the myth of time as their reason, chooses those words as the reason, what they are really saying is “You are not worth the five minutes it takes to choose and write a card. You’re not important enough.”

Which is useful, because then I can move them to the appropriate slot in my life, and no longer make them one of MY priorities. They get to choose their priorities during the season. I get to choose mine. When a relationship gets out of balance, then I have to adjust, for my own well-being. I can do so without giving a speech about it.

The same way I often don’t argue on social media, when someone crosses one of my lines. I either unfollow or block. I don’t owe an explanation. I get to choose my interactions. I regularly block those who mock my profession, be it writing or theatre or film. We like what we like; we don’t what we don’t. But when someone derides the profession — they’re out. No argument. Just gone.

We all have things we like and don’t like. That’s part of the wonderful fabric of what makes us unique. But scolding people for making other choices? Scolding people because they enjoy something harmless that you don’t like? No, thanks. Is that what I’m doing here? Partially, making a single statement instead of getting into a dozen small arguments.

It’s hard NOT to lash out sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. But taking a breath and choosing not to engage in hurtful words or behavior goes a long way. Not just this season, but all the time.

So, remember to breathe. Remember to rest.

Remember to be gentle with your words this season.

Published in: on December 16, 2019 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve got a very short post up on Gratitude and Growth, about the garden.

I started writing on Medium. I’m not using it as a daily blogging platform — I have this blog for that purpose, where I natter on about whatever is in my head at the moment. I’m using Medium to write essays on things that matter to me or bother me, where they don’t fit in traditional publications. Well, they would, if I were famous; there are similar essays in all kinds of magazines, such as VICTORIA and YANKEE, but they’re all by people who are Names. Medium gives me the chance to experiment. I’m not sure if it’s actual “essay” format — I don’t think I really stick to the essay formula. But I’m writing focused pieces about what I want to write.

The first one is “The Tree is My History”and went up earlier in the week. Publishing might be easy, but setting up the account was not.

I figure I’ll write something every 2-3 weeks there, as long as I have something to say. The curation/payment system has gotten complicated. There are people who are pounding content on the platform every day, and only 35 curators. So I’m not counting on that. But I signed up for the Partnership Program, which means if it’s chosen for something or read enough or something like that, I’m eligible for payment.

But I’m not counting on it for a source of income. I’ll be grateful for it, of course; but it will also allow me to expand some writing chops in a slightly different direction, with less pressure than I’d find in other venues.

We’ll see.

Yesterday, the overnight rain turned into snow by the time I got up, so it was not fun getting to my client’s. Honestly, I was dreading it. We’ve prepped everything for an event she’s doing at the end of next week, and she’s on a tear about a couple of other things. We’re ahead of where we need to be at this point, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I had a decent, but not brilliant, first writing session yesterday, and a slightly better one this morning. I’m still working on cards, and trying to get a few other things sorted out. There’s still plenty of decorating to do, and two books for review, and the play to finish.

The radio play, “Pier-less Crime” has been accepted for production down in Florida. I’m excited. That’s a good track record. They will have produced all three of the Frieda/Lazarus radio plays by next year.

I’m trying to sort out the writing projects for next year, to make sure everything stays on track. I want to get all the stage plays out on submission, so they’re earning their keep, and look at additional markets for the radio plays. I’d like to write a couple more radio plays, and at least two stage plays. (one of which is the one about the two female writers, which I couldn’t get done this year). And I have to stay on track with the novels, both for the series, and for the other novel ideas with which I’m playing. Honestly, I don’t know where short stories fit into next year.

So, I’ll have fixed deadlines, and then other pieces I’ll want to fit in as I can.

Plus, some new directions for the freelance/business/marketing writing, and solid financial points I HAVE to hit, because of the other changes and demands happening. So, it’s a lot to sort out, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and is attainable, not do it in a way that overwhelms me and then I get frustrated.

I’m off to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment, then write more cards, work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and do some more decorating. And maybe some more cookie deliveries.

Back to the page.

Published in: on December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing  
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