Fri. Oct. 18, 2019: Storm Day = Cat Socialization Work

Friday, October 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Clear and cool

Sorry about yesterday. No Ink in My Coffee. No Gratitude and Growth. But there’s a short post over on Affairs of the Pen today on shipboard activities.

The power went out around 1 AM on Thursday. We called it in, even though it was during the storm. Better to get in the queue early than to wait until it’s over and then have to wait even longer.

Tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t do more than doze. The winds screamed more than the new cats when they’re arguing about something.

It kept the cats quiet, that’s for sure. They didn’t like it.

I got up at the usual time, although it was still dark. The flashlight got me to the candles. I made coffee. The gas stove works in power outages (although the oven does not). The heat, also gas, does not work because it’s powered by an electric switch, which annoys me on multiple levels.

I fed the cats by candlelight. Charlotte was so cute. I told her I couldn’t see in the dark the way she could. She would run ahead of me a few feet, then come back and touch my leg with a paw, then run ahead a few feet, then come back. Like a seeing eye cat.

Willa and Charlotte have not been socialized much. It’s obvious their original human adored them and spoiled them. But they’ve never really learned how to interact, although they want to. So we’re working on that.

Willa is more outgoing. She’s already a lap cat, and loves to play and interact. But she gets oversitmulated, and then, even on a lap, can get yowly and growly. She nipped the first few days, but we’ve gotten her past that. She’s very sweet, for the most part, although she needs to learn to be a Writer’s Cat — I need BOTH hands to type, and will pet her in between paragraphs.

Willa does start the yowling and screeching with both of the others. I think she wants to be dominant cat. She might be dominant over Charlotte (although I suspect Charlotte only lets her think so sometimes), but Tessa is Head Cat in this house, and Tessa is not putting up with Willa’s antics.

Willa does back down from Tessa, though. Which is good.

Willa is also fascinated by running water. She likes to be on the bathroom counter when the tap is going, and she’s trying to learn how to turn it on herself. Fortunately, one needs thumbs for that. She doesn’t like closed doors, especially not bathroom doors. She loves the new perch we made for her on the old tea cart from Chicago’s Pump Room that’s in my office and usually holds plants. We put a fleece blanket on the top, which is even with the windowsill. She sits and watches the squirrels and neighborhood dogs and cars. Her behavior has vastly improved since we set that up.

She needs a lot to do. Lots of playtime, interaction. I’m thinking of getting her some battery-operated toys.

Charlotte is at the stage where she wants company, but she doesn’t know how to interact with people or other cats. She sits and watches most of the time, which is fine. She comes and asks for attention, but still won’t let anyone pet her.

I think she and Tessa will make friends first. They barely growl at each other anymore, and, when they do, it’s half-hearted.

Charlotte likes to be up — on the behemoth, on the bureau. She likes to be on the bed with me. Unfortunately, so do the others, so it can get a little dicey.

Tessa stomps around, keeping them in line.

Willa and Charlotte swat each other sometimes, but not Tessa. And they swat each other with soft paws. It’s more vocal than physical, thank goodness.

They’re getting lots of individual playtime, but now they want to be involved in each other’s playtime. But then they get upset that the other cats are there, and run away. But it’s already better.

Today is only two weeks since Willa arrived, and a little less for Charlotte. Tessa is much happier with them here, even though she’s telling them off. My cat vet in NY said that once, “It’s better for two cats to live together than alone. As long as they don’t attack each other, even if they don’t like each other, it gives them something to do.”

So this weird insistence here in MA shelters that adult cats have to be “only cats” makes no sense.

The Storm Day was good for socializing. With no power, no street lights, library closed, many businesses closed, and the sirens going for police and fire all day, I was lucky I could stay home.

Even without power, it wasn’t too cold. We bundled up in sweats & sweaters & socks & blankets. The cats settled in with us. We read and played with them. It was quiet (except for the neighbors’ generators). They got used to all being in the room together and associating good things with it.

Willa and Charlotte learn fast. They already know that “bedtime snacks” means treats and then I head upstairs for meditation and bed. Now, they gobble their snacks and get there ahead of me.

Charlotte is fascinated by the meditation space. Sometimes, she sleeps on the cushion when I’m not there.

The power came on for a few minutes in the early afternoon. Then it waved, off and on, until it steadied later in the afternoon. Cell service was out for most of the day. Most of the batteries I stockpiled for just such an emergency were new, yet didn’t work.

Candles are much more reliable.

The batteries in the radio worked, though, so we could get news, which was a help.

I finished reading MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, which was odd and charming and delightful. I read a mystery by an author whose earlier work I adored, but whose turn into puritanical mystery in locations with no flavor and stock caricatures instead of characters disappoints me. I’d skipped her last few books, but thought I’d
try again. It didn’t work for me. The relationships, including the supposed romantic ones, are flat and bloodless. No, thanks.

Started reading a mystery by a new-to-me author who has a lot of books in the series (how did I miss her )? The location is unusual and well-rendered, the human-animal relationships are good, but I’m not sure about the rest yet.

My treat for myself this weekend is my friend Arlene Kay’s newest release, Homicide by Horse Show. Once I get everything done.

Made a Kripalu recipe of roasted eggplant, tomato, raisin, and mint over couscous for dinner. It was good. Hope to make cowboy cookies (from the Moosewood recipe) later today.

There’s a lot of yard cleanup to do. Plenty of branches came down, although I don’t think any big limbs did. Some idiot was out in the nor’easter yesterday using his leafblower.

I have some client meetings to finalize for next week, and some other work to get done at the library, along with pickups/drop-offs. The furnace guy is coming this afternoon for yearly maintenance. I have stuff to put away.

I didn’t turn around the edits for my Llewellyn article; will do it this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have some other edits to finish this weekend, too.

I gave myself yesterday off for the storm and cat socializing. Now, I need to get back to work.

Have a great weekend!

 

Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge. I read a delightful anthology called HAUNTED NIGHTS.

The bulk of the weekend was devoted to cat socialization. When you think it’s only been a bit over a week, they’re doing very well. There are still some hissy-spitties and growlies, but, overall, they are adjusting.

The weather was so dreadful on Friday that I never left the house. I read, worked with the cats, wrote. I shouldn’t be working on GAMBIT COLONY right now, but that’s my stress release piece, so I am.

Friday’s phone interview with a potential client did not go well. Again, it’s that whole unpaid labor as a requirement of the hiring process. I’m not working for you for free. I am not giving up billable hours because you’re incapable of reading my portfolio and analyzing my writing skills. That is a lack of skill on YOUR part, not mine. Yesterday, I withdrew from consideration.

I need to follow up with another potential client this week. I knew there was a busy period coming, but I can’t wait any longer, or there won’t be room in the schedule. I need to know whether or not we’re moving forward.

Saturday morning, I ran some errands, even though it was still raining. None of the places I went to has the filter I need for the furnace. I need to get my hands on one before they come to do maintenance on Friday. My landlord complains if they charge him for the filter, saying they charge too much. Um, why is this my problem? It’s not like the rent doesn’t cover it. Especially with the increase.

We had a fire in the fireplace Saturday afternoon. Willa wasn’t sure about it, which is funny, because Willa is The Little Adventurer. Charlotte was fascinated. She sat at a safe distance, but where she could watch it. Tessa’s been around fireplaces since she was a kitten, so she was nonchalant about it all. It was pretty funny.

Sunday morning, they had me up at 4 AM, because they were hissing and growling and chasing each other around the house. Well, because they all three wanted to be in my bedroom and THEN the hissing, growling, and running around the house started.

They settled down once they had breakfast, but I was up. Once I’m up, I’m up.

The sun was out, so I put the exterior decorations back up. I’ll add in the lights this weekend or so. I had to drive to Brewster to pick something up. The pickup went well, although the person doing the handoff made me feel uncomfortable.

Stopped in Dennis for some overpriced but delicious baked goods. But it was a little too much sugar for one day.

Read the newest Donna Leon, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN, which was excellent. I love that series. Read a different mystery by a different author where I like the characters, but there’s a lack of research in some of the aspects that really bothers me. So I always have mixed feelings when I read one of the books.

Up early on Monday. The cats tried to get me up at 4 AM again, but I closed the door, keeping Tessa in the bedroom with me and the other two out. Then, of course, they all worked to try and get the door open, but I managed to stay in bed until 5:30, which is a reasonable time to get up.

I did not take the holiday. I went in to do some work onsite with a client, hoping for a quiet day. No meditation group. Went in search of the furnace filter, and then make chicken pot pie for dinner. I’m getting good at making chicken pot pie from scratch.

Had a good follow-up from Thursday’s conversation, and am moving forward on that. Also got my edits/proofs from my editor at Llewllyn for the piece for 2021. Will turn those around this week.

Today, I’m onsite with a client most of the day, and then off to the library for a bit. Along with writing, revisions, and final galleys.

The whole situation with Syria and the Kurds is disgusting. The woman who was raped and then stoned to death — unacceptable. Sending our troops to Saudi Arabia — not acceptable. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee as people are slaughtered, and he makes a personal profit. The GOP, who could stop him, won’t. Not out of fear, but out of greed. Add to that the video of the Sociopath killing people who disagree with him that’s running at his resort? He should be in front of the Hague, and then locked away until he rots. It will take decades to repair what he’s destroyed. Which is, of course, what he was put in there to do in the first place. Destroy. Every single person who enables and votes for him is complicit. And must be defeated. This is what the GOP has worked toward since Reagan was in office. Greed and apathy made it possible.

One word at a time. That’s all I can do.

 

Fri. Oct. 11, 2019: Interesting Times, My Friends. Interesting Times

Friday, October 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about Location.

We’re still in the throes of the Nor’eastern. Wondering how long we’ll have power.

Speaking of power, what PG&E is pulling out west is crap. The ONLY reason a power company exists is to provide power for its customers. Customers pay. The utility provides. Because the company is too incompetent to maintain/improve its equipment so it doesn’t start wildfires, everyone has to sit in the dark? No. Just no. Get rid of them and hire someone competent. Dismantle the company. Fine them in the billions and drive them out of business. What they are doing is NOT acceptable. THEY are at fault for this problem. To inflict it on the people who are the reason for the company’s existence is not acceptable on ANY level.

Cat update: Willa is a little love bug. She’s in my lap constantly. Wants to be petted. Wants to be included. We’re giving Tessa plenty of attention, because I am Tessa’s Primary Human, and she is not amused.

Charlotte is the one left out right now. I’m spending some quality time just with her to get her socialized and comfortable.

I posted photos of Willa on Wednesday night; still trying to get photos of Charlotte.

Got some work done yesterday on GAMBIT COLONY and GRAVE REACH. Had a phone interview with what turned out to be a recruiter. There are some possibilities there. I have to say this is the first recruiter I’ve spoken to since I moved to the area who hasn’t been a complete waste of space. She knew what she was talking about and actually listened.

Another potential client asked for more information, and I sent that off. I have another phone conference with yet another potential client this morning, so I am scheduling this to post on Thursday (while we still have power).

Yesterday was about meetings, writing, storms, and cats. Today will be about meetings, writing, and cats. This weekend, we add cleaning out boxes from the basement into the mix.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

Hop on over to see the latest on Gratitude and Growth. Not much to tell, but still. . .it’s there. Consistency is important, correct?

The cats officially have new names. The one I’ve referred to as New Kitty #1 is now Willa, for Willa Cather: smart, independent, resourceful. Willa wasn’t even one of the names originally considered: we had it narrowed down to Jane or Clara. But we came up with Willa, and she likes it, so Willa she is.

New Kitty #2 is Charlotte, for Charlotte Bronte and the various feisty Princess Charlottes over the centuries. Charlotte is stubborn, determined, and a bit of a diva. She picked her name early on; Willa was more difficult to name.

They are doing well. Tessa keeps them in line. Willa is exploring more than Charlotte is. Willa comes out to play. She’s even started asking for pets, started purring, and, yesterday morning, she sat in my lap while I typed. Willa even made friends with my mom, and now asks her for pets, too.

Charlotte is still figuring things out and wondering why no one pays any attention to her tantrums. But then, she came into the house two days after Willa did. Charlotte will get there. We won’t rush her. We’ll let her figure it out in her own time.

Tessa keeps unpacking Charlotte’s toy box and playing with her toys, just to prove she can.

As soon as they are comfortable enough to have their pictures taken, I will do so.

They haven’t even lived here a week, so I think they’re doing well. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but that’s the way it goes. The less we fuss at them, the faster they adjust.

I got some good writing in on Wednesday morning. Then headed in to a client’s.

I was invited to a chamber event on Wednesday night, at a new restaurant. I knew I SHOULD go, but I didn’t really want to. I mean, we had a nor’easter coming in.I also realized I need to make new business cards with the new logo. And the new contact address, to replace the hacked one.

This is scheduled to post because  I have a meeting first thing this morning, about potential projects. Tomorrow’s post will also be late, because I have another meeting, with a different potential client about a project.

The weekend is about writing, socializing the cats, and working on cleaning out boxes from the basement.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on the business side of things.

I needed meditation group on Monday! Felt so much better when it was done. Came home. Cats were fine. They had a quiet day, mostly sleeping, which is good for them. They’ve had a rough few days.

Had fun opening the latest Goddess Provisions Box. It’s such a treat. My prize arrived from last week’s remote chat, which was fun, too.

New Kitty #1 came out and we even played a bit. She’s very sweet. I thought she was striped, but she’s not. She’s a gray-and-white tuxedo. She’s very pretty. After a few minutes, though, she had enough interaction. She took refuge in my reading chair in the writing room, and contemplated possible names. She did a few half-hearted hisses, but no one would engage.

Tessa got into the toy box that came with New Kitty #2. She took every single one out, marked them, played with them, and left them all over the living room. She feels it’s a job well done. When I put them back, she took them all out again. Now, we have LOTS of toys all over the house. She has her favorite toy, with which we play every day. But she had to show who is boss.

I was exhausted and went up early to read in bed. After awhile, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To my surprise, it was New Kitty #2. She looked as shocked as I did. She growled, and I said, “Okay, I won’t look at you if you won’t look at me.” Well, Diva Princess that she is, that doesn’t work. I went back to my book. She explored the room, checking to look at me sometimes. I looked at her when she was busy. She finally sailed out of the room, tail high. First periscope tail since she moved in. Progress.

Quiet night. Up early yesterday. I spilled a cup of coffee on the light-colored carpet in my bedroom, so they got to hear me swear and watched as I scrubbed.

Good writing session. New Kitty #1 still has a fort in my office, but she likes to watch me at the computer. Tessa sits and keeps me company, as she always has.

Tessa feels secure because we are maintaining the routine. The other cats are learning it, and the fact that (in spite of freelancing and ME doing different things every day) THEIR routine is consistent helps. Tessa sets a few boundaries and makes it clear she is in charge. After being bossed for years by Iris & Violet, she likes being the boss.

They both are really nosy, now that they’re not terrified. They’re starting to seek engagement with us. That makes a smoother transition than if we tried to force it on them. Cats always prefer it when it’s their idea.

It makes us miss Lucy and Lucy’s sunny personality even more, though.

I think we have New Kitty #2’s name. One that suits the little diva princess, and to which she responds. New Kitty #1 is being more particular. There were several names I tried which she definitely does NOT like.

Got some good writing done in the morning. Onsite at the client’s. Only one in the office, which meant I got A LOT done. Set some appointments/meetings for later in the week. Got out some more LOIs.

New Kitties are venturing out more to explore, so I think we have some more hissy-spitty and growly days ahead of us as they work it out.

Today, I’m onsite with the client again. I’m looking forward to the Remote Chat (it’s become one of my favorite parts of the week). Thursday and Friday have the potential to be a good busy.

Hoping some other pieces fall into place, but I’m making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Having multiple plans works for me. That way, I can mix and match elements as I need, and have options while still being flexible.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too many options.” I have no time for people who whine about that. Fine. Too many options for your comfort. Get out of my way, because I intend to make full use of them.

And showing up at the page every day keeps things steady, and gives me tangible progress.

Have a great day!

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Oct. 8, 2019: New Additions to the Household

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

It’s been a stressful weekend, without enough writing getting done. I’m way behind where I need to be.

But it’s for a good reason.

We brought two new cats into the house. They’ve had a rough time, for the past year. The man who raised them since they were kittens had seriously worsening medical issues over the past year. The cats (littermates) started fighting. Then, the man got a service dog and couldn’t keep the cats. The cats have spent the last year being moved around between relatives, sometimes together (where they fought in the new environment, which is understandable), sometimes apart. A niece decided to put them up for adoption, we found each other, and I agreed to take both.

One arrived on Friday night. She’s very cute, but she was very upset, hissy spitty and growly. She threatened a lot, but didn’t attack. I set up her food and water dish in the kitchen. I let her out in the bathroom, with the door closed, so she knew where the litter box was.

She shot out of her carrier, checked out the litter box, and demanded I open the door. I did; she did a quick recon of the kitchen, then set up a fort in my office, amongst the books (but on the carpet, because she’s smart). She was unhappy all night.

We checked on her, but ignored her hissing, spitting, and growling. Humans did. Tessa growled back once, when New Kitty #1 advanced on me, growling, once. But Tessa’s handled it all calmly.

We simply let New Kitty #1 do her thing. We keep our usual routine. That makes Tessa feel safe, and it gives structure for New Kitty.

She came out to the living room while we watched TV to lodge a complaint before dashing back into the office. When we made the rounds before going to bed, she was in my Victorian wingback chair, and stuck her little head out to hiss. We laughed at her, which perplexed her. But it was kind of cute. I gave her a toy mouse, which she clutches like a teddy bear.

Tessa came up with me, as usual, and even slept on my bed.

Saturday morning, she was much calmer. She’d eaten and used the litter box in the night. She didn’t hiss or growl when we spoke to her. But we basically left her alone. She napped most of the day. Poor thing was exhausted.

I had gotten up at 5 AM and made raw apple muffins, but kitchen noise doesn’t bother her.

We had a quiet Saturday. I didn’t work in my office. I left it for her to feel safe. I read in the living room. Tessa stuck with me. We checked on her occasionally, to make sure she was okay. She watched us with a quiet, thoughtful gaze.

I put up most of the outdoor decorations for Halloween. I haven’t yet put up the lights.

I was up early again on Sunday. Usual routine. This time, I sat in my office to do some editing for a bit. I wanted to go in and write later in the day, but it didn’t happen.

I baked orange rye bread and my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread.

The second cat arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday. She came with lots of stuff, including Bliss Mist and her own pink fleece blanket, and an elaborate set up for her food dishes.

She, however, would not come out of her crate in the bathroom. I kept it near the litter box, so she’d know where it was, and left her there for a bit. She wouldn’t come out. I moved the crate to the living room, where she yowled her unhappiness. I moved her into the back bedroom, near her things, and let her be.

She took a nap for awhile, and then started yowling again. Hissing, growling, yowling. Diva Princess tantrum (I was warned she is the princess of the two). We let her alone. She had an even bigger tantrum when Tessa came downstairs (the stairs go into the back room). Tessa skirted around her and ignored her.

I sprayed her with Bliss Spray and she settled a bit.

New Kitty #1 came to tell her off. They hissed and spat and growled, but didn’t fight. They were saying some pretty nasty things, though, in feline.

Tessa stayed with us in the living room. Lately, she’s started sitting in the rocking chair (where Violet used to sit).

Then, New Kitty #1 decided since there were stairs, she might as well see where they led. She ventured upstairs. She hung out in my room for awhile.

New Kitty #2 was carrying on with a major tantrum still when we went to bed. We let her have her tantrum. Tessa was still downstairs. I didn’t realize New Kitty #1 was still in my room until I tripped over her. She fled back down the stairs.

At some point, Tessa sneaked up. She rummaged around upstairs and then settled on the bed.

I had insomnia for a bit, and then finally fell asleep. I woke up around 5 when Tessa was growling at someone. I guess one of the New Kitties was roaming around upstairs, but I don’t know which one.

I started the normal morning routine. Tessa came down to the kitchen with me. I put out fresh food and water for everyone.

New Kitty #2 finally came out of her crate and sat on one of the beds in the back bedroom, where she can see everyone. She started hissing. I said, “Good morning,” and kept going. Tessa ignored her.

New Kitty #1 was back to hanging out in my office in her fort. Again, calm. I went to my desk to work. Tessa came in and sat with me, as she always does. Tessa and New Kitty #1 can hang out in the same room and ignore each other.

I had a decent first writing session before I had to head off to my client’s.

I was tired and slow, but managed to get the work done. Headed to the library for a bit, then to meditation, which, believe me, I needed.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I have no idea what the night will be. I’m hoping it will be quiet and New Kitty #2 will get over herself. If we don’t engage in her tantrums, I hope she’ll calm down, the way New Kitty #1 does.

The cats were named with actresses that have a variation on the same first name and different middle names. No wonder they’re confused.

I had hoped to rename them Harriet and Louisa, after Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott, but the names don’t suit them. I will let them settle in a bit more and reveal their personalities, and then we’ll work on names together. I have tried several on New Kitty #1, and she is not impressed. Nor does she like her original name.

New Kitty #1 calmed down pretty fast, so I hope New Kitty #2 will do the same. We are letting them initiate any interaction they want with us, other than basic greetings and giving them food. If and when they want to check us out or getting petted, they can come and ask. But giving the day basic structure, with freedom and quiet for them within it helps more than anything.

Lucy, in spite of her difficult history, was a much easier cat with a sunnier personality.

Tessa is already happier to have other cats in the house, although right now, they’re a pain in her butt.

Friday night, we finally heard from the landlord that he’s willing to extend the lease another year. We had asked in August, and have lived on tenterhooks ever since.

Of course, the rent is raised. More than is comfortable, but it’s still less than market rate. Which means a lot of other things have to change. And, in MA, the landlord can raise the rent however high they want. So, while this is uncomfortable, we’re still lucky, especially since there’s a housing shortage here.

Although about half of my town is up for sale.

On a happier note, when I was out doing my grocery shopping, I ran into a couple visiting from Marseilles. They were trying to get directions, and having trouble understanding the people who were trying to help. I intervened, apologizing for my bad French, and managed to make them understand, while showing them on the map, in French.

They invited me for coffee (not at Starbucks, which we all can’t stand, but at an independent place). We sat outside and talked, in a mixture of French (mostly) and English. I helped them plot out their next two weeks, with maps and recommendations. They think the Cape is beautiful, but are disappointed in how many people who support the Narcissistic Sociopath are here, and feel America, in general, has lost its sense of independence. I agree. It’s gotten worse in this area. I mean, really: Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, and now Hobby Lobby? Home Depot is my last resort, only if I can’t get something from one of the local hardware stores. But I refuse to set foot in Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby.

I’m exhausted, on so many levels.

But one word in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one paw in front of the other.

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 6:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 3, 2019: Perhaps a Moment of Respite?

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Drizzly and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to catch up on the latest with the garden.

If you didn’t get a chance, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for yesterday’s post about trusting your instincts in early meetings/job interviews.

I had a bizarre experience on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. I was awakened by odd music a little before 4 AM. I could have sworn someone was on the deck. At first, I thought someone was stealing my wind chimes, but it sounded like playing a pennywhistle or something. Came up on the deck for a bit, then moved away. I should have gotten up and checked what it was, but it was too creepy.

When I came down in the daylight, everything was fine.

It was disturbing.

Yesterday was busy at my client’s. She’ll be away next week, and right before she goes is always chaos.

The Remote Chat was fun. It always is.

Came home exhausted. Tessa was busy and kept us going. We have a lead on an adoption that I hope will happen over the next week or so. So far, the conversations have been really good.

I’ve been lucky to have steady, good writing sessions every day, in and around client work. That always helps keep me on keel. Show up at the page; do the work. Stay creative.

I had a good first writing session. I haven’t worked on ELLA for the past few days, because I’m on deadline with another two projects, which had priority. I’m looking forward to getting back to it early next week, though.

I’m working at the library for a bit, and then I’ll go back to my own desk (where I’m most productive), and get back to the page. I want to get the radio play polished and out.

There’s still high stress in certain other areas of my life, so, of course, I use GAMBIT COLONY to ease it. It’s not time that would be spent on the deadlined work; it’s time I’d spent fretting. Instead of fretting, I’m creating.

I’m absolutely dreading the upcoming Mercury Retrograde at the end of the month, especially combined with the ongoing Neptune and Uranus retrogrades. Plus, the whole being in my second Saturn Return.

All those people who told me in my first Saturn Return that the second one would be easier? They lied.

Tomorrow’s post will be late, because I have to take the car in for an oil change.

Anyway, one word in front of the other, and, eventually, it gets done. Back to the page.

Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy, but then, we’re in autumn, and autumn is always busy! It’s unseasonably warm.

Friday, I ran some errands. I had to put gas into the car — I was all the way down to the bottom of the tank. Unusual for me — I usually refill it when I hit half. Of course, because I was so low, they were working on the street and had a detour so I couldn’t get to my usual gas station. I made it to another one, but I was not a happy camper.

One of the annoying things about Cape life is that you’re stuck in ridiculous traffic all summer on roads that can’t handle it. Then, during “shoulder season” — spring and summer — you’re stuck in one-lane only traffic because that’s when they work on the roads.

Only this year, they did roadwork all summer, too, so the summer traffic was even worse than usual, and now it’s no better. Plus, the damn tourists just aren’t going home. It’s gotten to the point where there’s about a week in mid-March where you can get where you need to go on time, where it’s not blocked by snow and too early for roadwork.

The very idea that they want to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges with bridges doubling the current spans is not the solution. There’s no way for that traffic to feed into the current roads and no way to widen those roads. Just have one bridge for on-Cape traffic and one for off-Cape. It will still be a mess. The Cape is beyond capacity.

If you live on Cape, it’s harder and harder to get anywhere OFF Cape and get back to get anything done. And it’s getting harder and harder to get around on Cape. Not to mention that the mass transportation system is awful on Cape, and limited to get on and off. You can get to Boston, but not a whole lot of other places.

On top of that, all the tree-cutting is out of control. It has nothing to do with the health of trees, and everything to do with clear-cutting and leaving the Cape looking like a cross between a sandbar and a prairie. Personally? I like the oxygen trees provide. Breathing matters.

So Friday was annoying. I went to the library to do some work, but it was chaotic and noisy (not in a good way), so I wasn’t there very long.

I couldn’t get all my errands done on Friday because of the traffic. Plus, I hadn’t slept much — insomnia most of the night.

Crashed early on Friday because of Thursday night’s insomnia and slept for 10 hours, which is unusual for me.

So, Saturday, I had to finish what I couldn’t get done on Friday, which included taking the garbage to the dump, coming back and taking the recycling to the dump, and washing out the garbage bins. Also got some raking done, our first raking of the seasons.

In the afternoon, I switched out the lace panels on the first floor for the spiderweb curtains. Even though today is the first of October, and I don’t usually do it until now, I had the time on Saturday, so that’s when I did it. I put up most of the interior decorations. I’ll put up the exterior ones this week.

Roasted a chicken on Saturday night (served with sweet potatoes and spinach). We’ll have some good leftovers this week. I’ll do a curried chicken salad, and maybe a chicken potpie.

Made cinnamon buns on Sunday morning for breakfast. Wrote on Sunday, had a good writing day. Didn’t get everything I’d hope to finish done, but it was still a good writing day.

Tessa hates being an only cat, even though we’re giving her lots of extra attention. We went to the shelter down the street to meet some new arrivals. There are some sweethearts, but we had more questions before we can try to adopt. Let’s hope they can answer. It’s the same place where I adopted Tessa, but they’re made the adoption process more complicated since I adopted her.

Sunday night, made turkey meatloaf in mushroom gravy, served with mashed potatoes and steamed peas.

Read a mystery where the premise was good, but the execution poor. The protagonist annoyed me. She wasn’t cute and relatingly human –she was whiny and annoying. Read two more Travis McGree novels. Again, the female characters were awful. The way Travis tries to romanticize his promiscuity gets annoying. Just admit you’re a dog and be done with it. Stop trying to make us believe you’re different and somehow noble, because you’re not. He’s as damaged as the hot messes he’s always bedding.

Finished reading a couple of memoirs, one by someone with whom I’d worked in New York, another by someone involved in some of the same productions. It amazed me how differently the anecdotes were printed on the page than what was said backstage.

A few major things are up in the air right now, which is something I don’t do well with. But I have to be flexible and keep my ability to think on my feet. This will be a stressful month. And then we go back into Mercury Retrograde, which I dread on so many levels I can’t even start talking about it. There’s too much going on at the same time as not enough. It’s a weird kind of friction.

More insomnia Sunday night into Monday, which means I woke up cranky and out of sorts. Decent early morning writing sessions, time with a client. The necessity of yet more errands that I couldn’t finish over the weekend, piled on with end-of-month errands, meant I missed meditation.

Onsite with a client, and then some other appointments. Too much tension in my life right now.

But as long as I keep showing up at the page every day, at least there’s progress somewhere.

 

Tues. Sept. 10, 2019: RIP Lucy

20190705_085358

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

RIP Lucy

It was an awful weekend.

We lost our darling rescue cat Lucy, who’s only been with us for 13 months, on Saturday, to an inoperable liver tumor.

Her behavior had changed last week, and we were worried about her. She started eating less and less. On Thursday and Friday, she refused food completely. I tried to get in with my regular vet, and got no response. I tried to get in with the vet to whom I’d hoped to switch. No response.

On Saturday afternoon, I took Lucy to the emergency vet in Dennis. They were so kind and attentive, but the news was bad. Even if we did all the procedures to help her, surgery, etc., she might not survive the surgery and she would only have about three months of pain left.

The only humane thing to do was to let her go.

I made the wrong choice with Olivia, Felicia, and Elsa, when each of them was sick. I kept them going medically too long. I wasn’t going to do that with Lucy. I always adopt rescues, and there’s always a risk with rescues that there will be medical issues. But I don’t regret any of the adoptions.

It hurt so much to say goodbye to our beautiful girl. She came to us last summer as a terrified rescue, who’d never had a toy and didn’t understand any words. In the past 13 months, she blossomed into a sweet, funny, affectionate, smart little girl. She and Tessa got along beautifully, and she was my elderly mother’s constant companion.

We are devastated.

I’ve always said that the story the guy who gave her up told didn’t make sense with her behavior. Now, I’m pretty sure he knew she was sick, and that’s why he rehomed her. He knew she was dying.

And my regular vet didn’t catch it. That makes one mis-diagnosis (Iris) that I figured out and Iris managed to have a good life until she was 21. And one missed diagnosis that cost Lucy her life. Definitely time to change vets.

At least we managed to give Lucy 13 months of happiness. After the first week with us, when she was scared, she truly was a happy cat. As sad as I am at losing her, I wouldn’t change those 13 months where she was happy and loved and brought joy into the house.

Tessa looks for her, and worries. She also takes her job as “companion” now very seriously, splitting her time between my mother and me. Tessa hates being an only cat.

But I need to establish Tessa with a new vet before I can adopt again.

It’s frustrating here, because so many of the shelters don’t socialize the cats and mark the adoptable cats that they have to be the only pet in the house. That doesn’t work in this household, where we have multiple cats. Also, I have nearly three decades of experience at this point integrating new cats into the household. I know how to do it. I certainly have more experience than an arrogant 20-something in her first job.

So I’m considering going back to one of the organizations where I adopted before. I’m still established and still in contact with some of them.

But it’s still too early. We need to grieve. Tessa was an only cat for just a week when Iris died, before we brought Lucy in, but it might be longer this time. We have to make sure it’s not too hard on her.

Needless to say, not a lot of writing got done. I managed to get a pitch out to one of the slicks (high-paying print mags on glossy paper) on Friday morning, and I’m proud of it. I hope they take it. I got some work done on “Pier-less Crime” and not enough work done on GRAVE REACH. ELLA was hit and miss, but it’s not on deadline, so it can take as long as it takes.

We barely got spanked by Hurricane Dorian. A little bit of damage to some of the plants on the deck, but that’s it, thank goodness. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they predicted, although the ferries to the islands were cancelled.

I could barely get out of bed yesterday. The thought of going in to work onsite with my client was too much, but I can’t afford to take a day off.

I didn’t go to Meditation yesterday. They would have been kind, but focused on heart-opening work, and my heart needs protection right now.

We grieved for Iris last year, but she was 21 and died of old age after a long, happy life (I had hand-raised her since she was 4 weeks old). Lucy was only 8. I wish we’d had more time with her. She was our little love bug. Our cuddler. We loved her very, very much.

We are heartbroken.

Published in: on September 10, 2019 at 6:27 am  Comments (3)  
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Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in a good way. Not a lot of words down on the page, but plenty of project brainstorming and development.

Friday and Saturday morning were about cleaning and cooking ahead for the weekend. I’d just finished when my guest arrived.

Lucy, the newer cat, loves having company. More people to give her attention!

We had a good catch-up session over drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres. I roasted a chicken and we had rumbledethumps (a Moosewood recipe), and chocolate mousse for dessert.

We talked and talked and brainstormed projects. People who haven’t worked in theatre or other production don’t realize how much time it takes to develop projects and get them into production. YEARS.

We watched an awful movie about the Stork Club, although it was interesting to see details about the club, and the Edith Head costumes were great.

Sunday, we had a leisurely morning capped by Eggs Benedict and prosecco. Then, we headed out to see a bit of the Cape — some local shopping, a stop in one of the libraries, then out to Dennis to see the Cape Playhouse (where I worked a few years ago), The Cape Cinema, and the exhibits at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. There were several interesting exhibits going on, and they really do make use of every inch of possible space. A chorale concert was getting ready, about to start just as we were leaving. We took a scenic drive back along 6A and through Sandwich, for the old buildings and the lighted sculptures.

Back home for more conversation, maps and projects, cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvres, and then I made baked scallops with noodles and spinach for dinner. More conversation, more project brainstorming. Watched a few episodes of MISS FISHER (which is theatrical and fun and has brilliant clothes). More conversation, and a late night.

All in all, a creative weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good brainstorming sessions with people over the last few weeks. There’s a ton of information to process, and then I have to sit down and sift through it and apply it to projects. Who are the best producing partners? What other artists can be included? Where do we get the funding? Because WE ARE PAID TO CREATE. This is our business, not our hobby. Our vocation as well as our passion. Because without integration and application, it’s all just yapping.

I was up early, weight training, yoga, meditation, some writing. Prep for some meetings later this week. Writing ahead on some blog posts for various commitments.

Worked with a client yesterday for a few hours, then had some admin work to do and some pitches to get out, then meditation group.

Quiet evening at home, recovering!

Today, I’m with a client for a few hours, and then have some more pitches, etc., after my first writing session of the morning.

I can’t believe January is almost gone. I have so much to do. Being sick put me way, way back, and I’m scrambling to catch up.

Published in: on January 29, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend  
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I have a Guest Rant up on Kristen King’s InkThinker blog on “Dealing with ‘You Should Write . . .’”, a topic that particular drives me ‘round the bend. Yeah, I know, it’s a real short drive, but come check it out here:

Well, yesterday was, um, interesting. On the positive side, I got my assignment off to Confidential Job #1, and an editor with whom I’ve worked on and off for several years has asked me for ideas for a 2010 calendar. Which, of course, will be due this June, because annuals are written two years ahead.

I spent the afternoon rearranging the living room, and I’m not sure I like it – some of the proportions seem off to me, re-mixing the furniture, so I may have to keep tweaking it. The twins, however, are very pleased and racing around. They like having chairs in front of the window, because now they can sit along the backs and look out over the plants. I’ll take cat happiness over correct proportions any day. Plus, it gives me more space to do my yoga. My back and neck are killing me, though, and, of course, building maintenance STILL hasn’t shown up to remove those air conditioners, and I can’t do any more shifting around until they are out, especially in the bedroom. If I have to hire a bunch of big, brawny guys from Rent-A-Husband, I’m charging it to the building. I’d entice some big, brawny hockey players with the promise of a home-cooked meal, but the guys I know nearest to me are in the playoffs right now, and I will NOT risk them getting hurt moving damn air conditioners from the 1970s during the most crucial weeks of the season.

I put together a sample package of monologues I promised a colleague, and updated my overall script samples package, pulling out some old ones and substituting some of the newer scenes. Those went off. I’ve turned them into PDFs, which should make life easier for all of us. Several of my older disks are missing, and I had a heck of time converting documents, because heaven forbid Microsoft can open their own programs if they’re a few years old. I had to do document recovery on most of them and then reformat.

Paperless office. Yeah, right.

I sent a query to a new-to-me publisher and, within two hours, received a request for a full. Now THAT’S the way I like to work. Keep your fingers crossed! Got a whole bunch of queries and submissions to get out this week and next. Too much stuff backing up.

A trio of characters appeared and started yapping late last night. I need them to shut up, so maybe I’ll make a few notes to appease them while I concentrate on other things.

Going back to the Frenzy screenplay today – I think I can finish it in a day or two.

Devon

PS I rearranged the living furniture again. The proportions drove me nuts. It’s better now, and the cats aren’t complaining, so it stays.

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (9)  

Slowly Returning to the World of the Living

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I survived. I feel like hell, battling the second day of a migraine, but I survived.

On Monday morning, I was up at 3 AM. I did a good hour and a half of yoga, fed the cats, and did the last minute stuff to prepare for the window crew. By 6:30, I was totally ready for them and just sitting around. I managed to capture and crate the cats by 7:30 (took the opportunity when I could), and took them to a neighbor’s shortly thereafter.

The felines were NOT amused. Iris screamed in her crate for THREE HOURS without stopping. I had someone sit with the crate on the lap, trying to keep her quiet. No go. That cat is a drama queen. Elsa complained once or twice, but she was pretty calm. Violet was angry. She didn’t scream, but she was determined to find a way out. There was a point where she was upside down in the crate, trying to chew her way through the bars. She managed to work part of the door out of its fastening, but I found out and tied it shut.

The window crew arrived at 8:30. The windows were all out in the blink of an eye. It took 3 guys to get out the air conditioner that had been put in in 1973, and it’s still in the middle of the bedroom, because the building can’t be bothered to send anyone to get it out, and I can’t even slide it anywhere. It’s that heavy. The new windows went in fairly quickly, but this apartment is an anomaly – each window is a different size, but only by between ¼ and ¾ of an inch. Just enough to really screw everyone up. Especially since the team was told that all the windows on this side of the building are the same size, and heaven forbid our management company should set up appropriate measuring appointments. And there was some rotted wood around some of the frames. So they had to build some new somethings or others in order to have something on which to fasten the new window frames. I was the only one who actually cleared back the requested five feet of workspace, so they had the room to work.

In spite of it all, they were completely finished within only two hours. Three weeks of prep work and schlepping for two damn hours. But the crew was terrific – fast, efficient, and really, really nice. The windows let in a lot more light (hey, they’re clean for one thing, and, again, it’s not like management ever cleaned the windows, and we couldn’t clean them from the outside.) These we can.

I spent the afternoon sanding the sills. The window crew hadn’t damaged them; they’d been damaged in the bad weather around the flooding this time last year, because the old windows weren’t securely sealed. So I sanded, primed and did two coats of paint (I still had the Snowy Egret left over from when I painted the place in ’06). We put back a few things, but until these old air conditioners are out of here, we’re at a stopping point. Kind of frustrating.

The cats ran around and screamed a lot. Violet was completely over-stimulated and wouldn’t sleep. She was hissing and fretting all evening. Elsa and Iris settled down as soon as they saw their bowls were back in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I woke up with a migraine. I managed to drag myself out of bed. I worked on the screenplay – up to p. 113, past the re-creation of lost material and on to new material. I also turned around a piece for Confidential Job #2, and worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, which is due today, so as soon as I post this, I’m back to working on that.

They turned off the heat on Monday at 9 AM and it wasn’t back on until 6:30 this morning, in spite of the fact that Monday night and last night it was in the 30s here. And, because we were without windows for a couple of hours, the apartment got really cold on Monday. If you want to learn how to spell scumbag, just look up our landlords. Totally illegal and they totally don’t care.

I’ll have a couple of new articles appearing soon, one in a magazine for writers called Vision. I’ll put up the link when it runs.

The next few days will be spent putting together writing samples promised to a few people, drafting a monologue for a friend, working on the screenplay, hustling for work, and, of course, trying to figure out what to bring back from storage and what to leave in. I am NOT bringing it all back. I’ll have to figure out when I can head to Maine to see my grandmother – maybe by midweek next week. I also have to watch a bunch of video as research for some interviews I’m doing. It’s impossible to concentrate with a pounding head. Excedrin Migraine takes off the edge, but that’s all.

I need to get the pre-Derby article done as well. The Derby is a-coming – and my first choice horse is out, due to injury, and my next two choices haven’t done well in the past few weeks. So I have to look over the entire field again and re-shuffle my Derby deck.

And the hockey playoffs are happening, so I have to pay attention.

I’m hoping, in a few days, as I slowly put the apartment back to rights, it will be easier to concentrate. I’m re-arranging stuff, too. Just because I don’t plan to be here much longer doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look good while I’m here.

I bought pansies yesterday – they’re such a cheerful flower, and now that the apartment is so much lighter, they’ll be able to thrive.

I did my taxes on Sunday. I had all my receipts done and collected throughout the year, so it was a case of sitting down with the folders and adding up the numbers. It took about an hour. This is the first time I had to file a Schedule E because of royalties – pain in the butt to fill it out, but a good feeling that I finally have to declare royalties on my taxes!

Back to work. Someday my head will stop pounding and I’ll feel human again.

Devon

Script Frenzy – 113 pages out of 100 pages (113%).

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (8)  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

So tired I’m crawling. But everything’s stacked, covered in sheets, I took a big load to storage yesterday, and I might have a small load today.

Tomorrow is the Window Tango, so I might be offline for a couple of days. I think we’re going to be ready. Crated Kitties are resting in a neighbor’s apartment, things are clear from the windows. I have to stack things in the kitchen tomorrow morning.

Realized I have to go back in and add the scene I cut in the re-created screenplay, because it sets up some important relationships amongst the secondary characters. Which means I need to kill more trees and re-paginate and re-print. So much for a “paperless office”.

Unfortunately, once I wrote the scene, it no longer works in the place where it sat originally. The script has changed enough so I have to create another place in it to set up these relationships. And it needs to happen soon, because it’s integral to what happens farther down the line.

I think, a few more drafts down the road, this will make a good screenplay sample for the portfolio, but I also think I’m going to wind up converting it back to novel form, because I also think it’ll sell well as a book. With the potential for more stories set in this world, that the screenplay doesn’t. IE, the screenplay is not a pilot – it’s a stand-alone. But I think more can be said about this world in novel format.

I’ve also been thinking of The Annym Rooseteyr’s Return a lot. I feel as though I truncated a lot of the story to fit within the specified word count. I’m thinking of re-visiting the piece and expanding it. Personally, I think it’s an 85K story, not a 15K story, but I had no way of knowing that when I first created it. Some writers are really good at being able to tailor their pieces to word count – I still tend to have to find my way through it in early drafts and then figure it out. Not good when you’re juggling deadlines.

Yesterday my life was writing, and packing. Confidential Job #2 wants me for a new assignment – yippee! They’re always a pleasure. And I have an assignment for Confidential Job #1 that’s due on Tuesday. I’ve started it, so it won’t be a huge push at the end; I’m just tired. It’s pretty interesting, though.

Today is writing, packing . . .and taxes. I have a feeling there won’t be much writing.

Tomorrow is Window and Recovery.

We’ll see what the rest of the week holds.

My grandmother didn’t sound good when I spoke to her today, so I want to get up there by the middle of next week.

I almost forgot – woke up at 3 AM because I heard a cat yowling outside. My cats were in the window, not too happy. I was worried it was sick or hurt, so I got dressed, took a big flashlight and went looking for it, but couldn’t find it. I was terribly worried, and not sure what to do. I’d hate to think it was injured or hungry.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 8:37 am  Comments (6)