Wed. Jan. 26, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of WildOne via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Bitterly cold

Yesterday was a bit of a lost day.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I humped the laundry over to the laundromat early in the morning, using the rolly cart. Got everything washed, dried, folded, and back in a little under two hours. It was just starting to snow as I returned, so the timing worked.

While I was there, I started outlining a project whose characters have been yapping at me. I’m hoping it will be novella-length, although it will take some research about Singapore in 1899.

I have to sort through some information from a major client and decide on next steps. I feel that there are conflicting instructions. I have voiced that, and those concerns are being dismissed, so I have to decide how to proceed from there. Part of that is enlarging my client pool, which I have let shrink over the past months, out of sheer exhaustion.

Dealt with a couple of hundred emails and a bunch of admin. There was a pause in snow showers, so I headed up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Of course, as soon as I got home, more books had arrived. But they can wait until tomorrow.

I had a terrible migraine, and my ears hurt, so the afternoon was pretty much a wash. I spent it on the couch, reaching THE BOOKWOMAN’S LAST FLING. Well, re-reading it. I read it when it first came out, back in 2006. And yes, sometimes with a migraine, I can still read, although I took frequent breaks to close my eyes.

I’m still well within my deadlines for this week’s work, but I’m behind where I wanted to be.

Last night, with the Knowledge Unicorns, we celebrated both Robert Burns (for Burns night) and Virginia Woolf (whose birthday it was). One can’t spend time in Scotland without being caught up in the affection for Robert Burns and his work. Plus, in the time I spent in Ayrshire, I visited his birthplace and all that. A new visitor center has been built there; it was quite simple and unassuming when I visited. Virginia Woolf has been an influence on me since I was in my teens, and certainly in college and beyond. So I like to make the time to acknowledge both of them on this day. When I worked at a library, I wrote a tribute performance piece that two local actors read for the library audience. Sharing it with the kids, getting them excited about their writing, is a lot of fun.

We don’t like haggis, so I made bangers and mash instead, which was good.

I did make it a fairly early night, since I wasn’t feeling great.

I was up early this morning, thanks to Charlotte. Tessa was very good, for once.

The waning moon was visible from the front windows, against a dark blue sky, and quite beautiful.

I still have the echoes of the migraine, but I hope I can focus and get some work done today. I have some correspondence to deal with, and I want to work on The Big Project, before turning my attention to script reading.

It is bitterly cold out, so I hope I won’t have to go any farther than the mailbox.

We have a big storm coming in this weekend, but then it’s supposed to turn warmer, so I’m trying to get a car repair appointment for next week. Fingers crossed.

Have a good one.

Tues. Jan. 25, 2022: Woolf & Burns

image courtesy of blende12 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Virginia Woolf’s Birthday

Burns Night

Weekend was kind of all over the place. Friday, I concentrated on finishing up script coverages and reading the last three scripts in my queue for the week, which I wrote up on Saturday morning. By noon Friday, my brain was ready for the weekend, but that just wasn’t my reality this week.

On a more positive, creative side, I made notes for another short story, and characters are approaching, telling me how they fit into a phrase that I realized is a great title. WHEN I’ll get to write all of this, I don’t know, but I like that it’s percolating.

Worked steadily with the Mystic Mondays tarot all weekend, and love it more and more.

Received my next book for review. A call for submission for a reading series landed on my desk on Friday afternoon, with the deadline that day. Fortunately, I had a play ready that fit the guidelines, and sent it off. Either they’ll want it, or it doesn’t fit what they’re looking for. But neither of us will ever know if I don’t send it out.

Got a confirmation that my monster pick for the new shared world anthology went through, so I’m excited to find out the next steps.

Stayed up way too late on Friday, which made the cats happy, but I was a little tired on Saturday. However, I finished writing up script coverages.

I also went to run errands. The sidewalks are ice walks. There was no way I could walk to get groceries, using the rolly cart. Instead, I mailed bills at the post office, switched out some library books, got my mother’s prescription and refill card for her cell phone, and picked up wine. I ordered pizza from Ramunto’s for late lunch. It’s very different than the other pizzeria, and each is quite wonderful in its own way. I also managed to negotiate with the grocery store to deliver a few things I needed to get in before the next storm, although it was far more expensive than if I’d been able to hump the groceries over the ice. However, I’d rather pay a few extra bucks and not break any bones.

The Tamed Wild box arrived on Saturday, filled with delights, including a High Priestess tarot card necklace.

Tessa and Charlotte shared the sofa in the afternoon, without any blanket barriers between them, and without fussing. Progress.

Of course it meant that I had to curl up elsewhere to do my reading.

Sunday, the cats woke me up early. I did some tidying up and vacuuming, basic housework. The grocery delivery arrived a little before 11, so I could get the roast chicken into the oven on time. I made lemon mousse.

I alternated working on contest entries with reading library books, and got quite a bit done on both fronts.

The roast chicken was good, although there won’t be as many leftovers as I’d hoped. But still, enough to do a few things that I want to do. Made stock from the bones, which I will use up this week. Saturday and Sunday, I made vegetable stock. So we are stocked with stock, so to speak.

Monday morning, the cats woke me up too early. Charlotte and Tessa are now getting along well enough to work together in the mornings.

But I polished and sent out a short story for an anthology call (the deadline was the end of this week). It’s way out of my comfort zone and usual genres, but I wanted to give it a shot. So I did. Whatever happens, I learn something new.

I did two big chunks of The Big Project, one that was around 2K and another around 1400 words.

I also sent out a pitch to an anthology to which I was invited; there’s no guarantee I’ll be chosen as one of the authors, but it’s a shared world anthology, and I would absolutely love to participate.

That rather tired me out for the day.

I should have read scripts in the afternoon; instead I worked on contest entries.

The free Covid test 4 pack arrived. For some reason, all three cats went bonkers over it and tried to tear open the boxes. Not the outer box, but the actual test boxes. What is there in the kit that attracts the cats? We had to store them way up high in a cupboard they can’t get to.

I adapted a Moosewood recipe for a fish and vegetable soup, and made it into a stew instead, serving it over rice. It turned out well.

I actually set the alarm this morning, and was up before the cats. Dressed in layers, and humped the laundry down to the laundromat. There was only one other person there, and we kept about 20 feet apart, so fingers crossed. I had everything done and home just before 8 AM, as the snow was starting, and it’s intensified, so I timed it well.

I started outlining a project at the laundromat. I find that I outline when the laundry’s in the washers, and read when it’s drying. I started reading one of John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway rare book mysteries. I read the series several years ago, and I’m re-reading it now. I like it a lot. Books built around books and/or art heists are special favorites of mine. Love them, haven’t been able to write a good one yet.

If it clears up, as it’s supposed to, I’ll go to the library to drop off/pick up books. If it keeps snowing, I’ll just stay home and work.

There’s plenty on my plate today, across several different arenas, so I better get to it!

It’s also both Burns Night and Virginia Woolf’s birthday. I will celebrate both, and the kids tonight have a task of picking a passage from one or the other’s writing and bringing it in to share. That should be fun. I dislike haggis, so I’m making bangers and mash instead.

Have a good one. Let’s hope today is creative, too.

Tues. Jan. 18, 2022: Planets, Cards, Pages

collage by Devon Ellington via pixabay and Canva

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Uranus DIRECT

Sunny and cold

Uranus goes direct today. Uranus is “the Awakener” energy, so when it’s retrograde, things that need to be shaken up in your life are stymied. It also is about what makes you unique. While having it direct helps you get out of your own way, shaking things up in the already chaotic Venus/Mercury retrogrades isn’t fun. The full moon was in Cancer last night, which meant emotions were heightened.

Friday morning, the two scout crows from my local murder were in the tree outside my office window, telling me the news. They’re very chatty. The squirrels were running around, too, preparing for the storms. They are constantly knocking down the bird feeder, and I keep moving it and trying to figure out where I can put it where it won’t be taken down and dragged all over the balcony, but so far, no luck.

I got some work done early in the morning. Later in the morning, I layered up and did the pre-storm errands: dropped off/picked up library books; mailed bills and cards, and bought stamps; picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the liquor store. We may live in a city, but it often feels like a small town, because people like to chat (masked and at a safe distance).  I always know that if I head out for errands, I’m going to have to talk to people. Which is fine, because they are interesting and nice, and, let’s face it, everyone’s felt so cut off and isolated going onto three years now, they just want to know there’s another human being out there who’s not a complete and utter jerk.

But errands aren’t something I can do if I’m in a rush. I build time to chat into all the errands time. And, even though I’m an introvert instead of an extrovert, I don’t mind. Like I said, the people are nice, and they’re interesting.

I was looking at the artwork on various tarot decks. I don’t need any more decks, goodness knows, but I still love them. Three decks in particular have my attention right now: Ask the Witch Tarot, Tarot de la Nuit, and the Gilded Tarot.

I was scrolling through social media and saw a book cover – that was almost exactly like one of the tarot cards in the Tarot de la Nuit deck, although the blurb had nothing to do with tarot. I pulled up the image of the deck and put it next to the social media post. The only difference was the way the man’s hand wrapped around the sword. Other than that, the cover artist had used the tarot image. Now, maybe the artist had permission. Or bought the image. I don’t know. But I still found that disturbing. The tarot artist’s style on the deck is very distinctive. It’s not like the typical stock Rider Waite image that’s widely available. The tarot image I used for the collage at the top of this post is a typical Rider Waite free image.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat in the afternoon. Wrote up two script coverages and answered some questions on another one. I’m below my nut for this pay period, but that’s the way it is. I’ve just been too exhausted to take on more.

Worked my way through some more contest entries.

Was up until nearly midnight, and then had trouble getting to sleep. Tessa would rather I stay up and play with her, but at least I slept in until after 7 on Saturday.

Mercury has gone retrograde in Aquarius. In my birth chart, Mercury sits in Aquarius. Aquarius is about independent thought, and Mercury is about quick thinking. So when it’s retrograde in the place it sits in my birth chart, no wonder my brain is mushier than usual. Layer pandemic brain over that, and it is not a good thing.

Saturday was sunny, bright, and cold.  I polished the short story and got it out by deadline. I’ll hear by May if it’s what they’re looking for or not. I wrote two book reviews and sent them off. I worked on contest entries.

I made colcannon for dinner, adding leeks, Canadian bacon, and shredded cheese to the traditional cabbage and potatoes. It was wonderful.

Weird dreams lately, set in a city I don’t recognize as knowing in real life, but it’s where I live and work in the dreams. They are busy dreams, not stress dreams, so by the time I wake up, I feel like I’ve put in a full day.

Tessa got me up before 6 on Sunday. I made muffins with cranberries and chocolate chips, refining a recipe on which I’ve been working, and they turned out well. Which is good, because some days I feel like I’ve forgotten to how cook or bake properly.

Worked on contest entries. It was sunny and cold. I’d prepped as much as I could for the incoming storm, so I just rested and worked on the entries. I did take out the garbage, so we wouldn’t be stuck with garbage in the house during bad weather, but that’s as ambitious as I got, as far as going out and about. Read a script.

Charlotte woke me up before 4 AM on Monday. I think the storm upset her. Tessa was in the doorway with her, “You’re up? Do I need to start vocal exercises?”

I got up and fed them, then grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, where I fell asleep again. It had snowed quite a bit by then. I woke up a little after 7, and the snow was serious.

Still, people were out with shovels and plows, getting things done. Men shoulder their portion of the work better here than they did on Cape. The Cape was full of white men who would moan that they “couldn’t” shovel or carry groceries or do anything because they had a “bad back” and then immediately go play golf all day.

The past few weeks, I’ve landed in the same place in my dreams, as I mentioned above. I don’t remember much about the dreams, but I do know they take place in the same location. It’s a small city, that I don’t recognize when I’m awake, but is my home city in the dreams, and I’m comfortable. Lots of brick buildings, three and four stories. Coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, small theatres, museums, a library, etc. No virus, as far as I can tell. The me inhabiting that dream space is a younger me (thirties?), and I’m happy there, with friends and work I like, although I don’t know what my work there is (I suspect it’s similar to what I do here, or I wouldn’t be happy). So far, I only recognize one person in that circle of people from my circle of people on this side of the dream scape, and that’s someone I knew when I first started working on Broadway, and who has since died. The dreams are pleasant, although they are busy, so I always feel as though I’ve put in a full day by the time I wake up. I’d like to try entering the space in lucid dreaming, so I have a better idea of where it is and why I keep visiting.

Eggs Benedict for Monday’s breakfast, because why not on a cold, snowy day?

I’m thinking of investing in Scrivener, after all these years. As long as I can save into .doc, .rtf, PDF, and create script templates, I should be fine. I’m unhappy with Word. I have a 50% off coupon from Nano, so I might as well use it. Not until Mercury goes direct, though, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Spent Monday morning working on The Big Project, and got two sections done.  I need to catch up on the tracking sheets for this piece (I’m now four sections behind) or I will be in trouble moving forward. In the afternoon, I worked on writing up the script coverage for the script I read the night before, and then, in the evening, I read two scripts for which I will write up coverage today.

A Twitter pal and I talked about a tarot reading she did, and the deck she used was so pretty that I ended up ordering it (Mystic Mondays Tarot, in case you’re wondering). I don’t need another tarot deck, goodness knows, but this one called to me.

It might be time to sit down and write my tarot book. I’ve been working with the cards for nearly forty years now.

Had good yoga and meditation sessions this morning. When I make the time to sit for a decent stretch, it starts the day in a more focused, grounded way.

I’m debating whether or not to head over to the college library later this morning. There aren’t a lot of students around, so it seems like a good time to poke around and find the materials I need to develop two different, but art-related projects.

I will do some more work on The Big Project this morning. I have contest scores to enter, script coverages to write up, and a couple of client blog posts to write. I might try to get some LOIs out, too, and I have two more scripts to read.

A friend has a new call for submissions out that got me thinking, although she works in a genre that would be a stretch for me, especially as I don’t read much in it. But I like the premise of the anthology call, and it’s only a 1K piece, so it’s worth thinking about. The deadline is the end of the month, which is do-able, if I find the right story and characters.

Had an idea for another piece in the same general family as The Big Project, only it wouldn’t be as big (The Medium Project as a working title?). The central protagonist and the premise came to me when I was writing in my journal this morning. At first, I thought it could be a spin-off to The Big Project, but it insists that it inhabits its own world, and I need to trust the work.

The power held, and I’m glad the storm wasn’t as severe as predicted. We’re supposed to get another one this coming weekend, so I have to figure out when to go out and about to take care of whatever needs out-and-about-ing, and then hunker back down next weekend.

Which suits me just fine.

Wed. Jan. 12, 2022: Writing In My Head

image courtesy of Chriszwettler via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was another day that was kind of all over the place. But I got some good stuff done.

Plowed through a bunch of emails, got out an LOI. There were some interesting submission calls in my inbox. One, I really wanted to do, but I don’t have anything suitable. It’s for a one-act play, 30-40 minutes, 4 characters. All my plays of the correct length have more characters; the ones with four or fewer are too short. I started to adapt a short story into a stage play, but that’s going to be too short, too. I don’t have time to write a new play from scratch, and have it in anywhere near decent shape by deadline.

There’s another call for a short story that got my wheels turning. It only needs to be about 1500 words, so if I can actually sit down and do a rough draft today, and it’s strong enough, I could revise it and have it in by deadline. I started writing it in my head. If it goes on the page as well as it’s unfolding in my brain, I’ve got a shot.

We’ll see.

Wrote a little bit on The Big Project. Not as much as I wanted to, but it was a comic scene that had to be properly structured. The joke lands, so I think it will be okay.

Worked on script coverage and on contest entries.

Charlotte sat down on my keyboard, causing all kinds of chaos, but now the “Editor” function is back in Word. Go figure.

Thank goodness there are plenty of leftovers.

Put in the Chewy order for cat litter. Packed away the boxes of holiday decorations. One box was dripping. I opened it—it contained large, outdoor balls I hadn’t used this year. They were full of water. A small hole in the top, where the hanging loop was put in, meant that, being outside, they could accumulate water inside.

I drained them and have left them on the counter to thoroughly dry. Don’t want them getting moldy inside.

That was weird. Just weird.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. Because everyone’s still remote, the kids don’t have to spend most of their day worrying about active shooters and whether the person next to them will expose them to a deadly virus, they can actually learn. Let’s face it, none of this insistence about forcing in-person learning is actually for the well-being of the kids. It’s all about making sure their parents go back out to Die for Their Employers. It’s disgusting.

I woke up on my own around 5:30 this morning, no feline choir. I’m writing this morning. Then, late morning, I will bundle up, load up as many library books as I can carry, and do a drop off/pick up.

Script coverage, book reviews, and contest entries this afternoon.

Onward.

Tues. Jan. 11, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of Nicky Pe via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Bitterly cold

It is 1 degree F this morning.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step.

The weekend was kind of all over the place. Worked on coverages all the way through. Was honored to be requested by two writers (on two different scripts) to read revisions based on notes I gave them a few weeks ago.

Worked on packing decorations and figuring out where to put everything so we actually have living space for the year. I’m handwashing the holiday fabrics. Some of that is because I don’t want to put the glittery fabric in a commercial machine; also because there’s no way I’m humping it all down to the laundromat in this weather.

The library has cancelled all in-person programs for the month, which is a wise idea. There was a positive test at the co-op, and that staff member and two others who were in close contact are now in quarantine. I hope they are okay.

We’re having the weather we were warned about, so staying home is my only option (especially since the car doesn’t work). Snow and freezing rain all weekend, frigid temperatures today. I have a big stack of books to return to the library, but that will happen later this week. Since the virus numbers keep going up, and the entire country is back in “Die for Your Employer” mode, I’m happy to stay home.

Did some reading for pleasure, because I needed the break. Didn’t work on The Big Project until Monday, which threw off my rhythm for everything else. We’re eating leftovers, which is a good thing to clean out the fridge and not waste food, and because I just don’t have the energy to cook right now. Although I managed a chocolate mousse on Sunday, which was delicious.

Tessa is really angry at me for taking down the big tree that was in the doorway between the sewing room and the living room. She loved to glide under it to go from one room to the other, and also liked to sit under it.

As a joke, I put a small, 15” tree (that was on one of the bookcases) down in the same spot the big tree stood. Tessa glared at me like, “You think I’m stupid?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte walked around it, checking it from all angles, and then looked at me, puzzled, like, “I remember this being bigger last time I was here.”

Willa paid no attention, being her Willa self, and busy with other things.

The dog bed that was once Tessa’s and then became Willa’s is now Willa’s again. It is on top of my mom’s bed (instead of being on top of boxes near the window, where we thought Willa would like it), and she sleeps curled up in it during the day (and curled around my mom at night).

Saturday was sunny, but cold. I ran a few errands on foot, and then dug out the car, so that Friday’s snow wouldn’t freeze down when Sunday’s freezing rain hit. Definitely a good call, because Sunday was miserable. The plows were out all day, scraping down to pavement and then sanding, very conscientious, before Monday’s next snowstorm hit.

Sunday was nasty, freezing rain all day. I was glad to stay in, work on script coverages, and read. And keep working on packing up decorations. I’ve somehow misplaced two boxes – the decorations came OUT of them, so I don’t see how I could misplace them in this finite space.

After 10 years, I had the packing/unpacking down to a system, because of the way it fit into the Christmas Closet in the storage area over the garage. But I have to figure out how it works best here, so it’s a lot of geometry involved, finding out it doesn’t work, and starting over.

It snowed most of Monday. Again, the plows were conscientious about coming around to scrape down to pavement. Once the snow stopped, in the late afternoon, they put down a lot of sand, in preparation for today.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate. I did work up some notes on The Big Project, finding a way to integrate a new idea into the current outline, and giving it room to create another big arc (if I decide that’s what I want), or maybe even a spin-off.

I plowed through the email that had stacked up. Outlined some specialty blog posts. Spent some time on the acupressure mat. Worked on script coverage. Started on the print books in one of the categories I’m judging. I have to contact my book review editor; for some reason, I can’t find the links to upload the two reviews I just worked on. I also have to get back to the search for someone to fix the car today, so I can set that up for next week or so.

Made a black bean soup from the Moosewood recipe – very good, and easy. That recipe will become a staple recipe in my repertoire.

The Chewy order finally arrived; I felt sorry for the driver. The delay in delivery is not a problem at all – I’d rather the drivers stayed safe. The way Fed Ex lies about the delivery is not okay. Just tell me it’s delayed; don’t keep insisting it’s coming “today” as they did Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Target order – which is five small, but necessary items – is coming in three different boxes. And I’ll have to put in another order with Chewy this week for the cat litter (the one that arrived was for food – we’re good for the next nine weeks). The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with good stuff.

I’ve received so many oracle decks in the past few years, between Tamed Wild and Goddess Provisions, that I think, in spring, I’ll give away the ones with which I don’t connect strongly/don’t use. As I’m unpacking stuff and setting up the office/bookcases/ reading nooks, I will put aside the ones I want to give away, and then set it up in spring, when it’s easier to get to the post office.

Once I post here, I’m off to do some work on The Big Project, to try to get back on track with that. I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this point; however, I really like the quality of the writing. Then, I’ll write up the scoring sheets for the entries I read last night, and get back to the script coverage. I have to get a lot read this week if I want to make my nut this pay period (and I’m pretty sure I’ll fall short, but I’m so damn exhausted, and it’s not fair to the writers if I’m not in top form to write up the coverage).

I need to get back on track with THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, too, but that can happen this weekend. And I need to get some LOIs out.

Later this month, I need to get back to working on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, so they can start re-releasing. I was so thrilled with the new covers, and now I’m having second thoughts that they might be too busy, using photographs instead of line drawings. The original covers are too similar; these new covers are too different, and the tiny logo in the corner doesn’t really tie them together enough. I’ll have to mull that over. Although I’m not going to go for a re-design during a Venus retrograde because that’s simply not wise. But I can think about it and consider options and styles, and how I really want these workbooks to sit in the world. They are my steadiest sellers, so I want them to be both useful and easy on the eye.

Today is bitterly cold. It was supposed to snow all day, but it’s sunny right now. I’m just grateful the power is still on!

Charlotte woke me at 3:33 AM, wanting attention, and the minute Tessa heard her, Tessa started, in full voice. I grabbed the feather bed and moved to the couch, grumpy that I had to leave my cozy fleece sheets, but not wanting Tessa to wake the neighbors at that hour. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was 7 AM and more snow had fallen. Poor Willa got the short end of the stick this morning – no attention AND late breakfast. I had weird dreams on the couch – busy dreams, not stress dreams, at least. But I still felt like I’d already put in a full day by the time I woke up.

It’s supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, and cloudy, so the plan (so far) tomorrow late morning is to pack up as many of the library books as I can carry and return them, and pick up the books that have come in. I’ll probably go across the street to the college library in the next few days. I have some digging I need to do in their shelves. Best to do it before classes start up again next week.

I hope the virus numbers go down enough in spring and summer that I can work IN these two libraries a couple of times a week. The spaces are so terrific, I want to utilize them. But not now. Now, I’m isolating as much as possible.

Stay safe and healthy. May you have the energy you need to both get through the day and create.

Fri. Jan. 7, 2022: Taking Down the Ornaments

image courtesy of Theo Crazzolara via pixabay.com

Friday, January 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

It snowed overnight. Not much, just enough to be pretty. The plows are already out. They’re good about that here. Unlike on Cape, where it could take days. Although I hear Boston and the coast all the way down past New York are getting more than two inches of snow per hour.

Fortunately, today is another day where I don’t have to go out.

It stopped snowing for a couple of hours, and started up again, tiny little flakes which will, no doubt, stick and freeze over. I’ll have to dig out the car later so it doesn’t turn into a mini iceberg.

I finished writing up a coverage yesterday morning and got it in just under the wire. Then, I put the chicken and mushrooms and spices in the crockpot, so I didn’t have to worry about dinner.

We were late starting to get the decorations down, and the sheer amount to be rounded up, packed, and stashed is overwhelming. I don’t know why I’m surprised; it took three weeks to put up. Taking more than a day to put it away shouldn’t surprise me.

But I was discouraged.

Got the front door wreath down, and have it up on the living room door, where the big jingle bell wreath was, although I’ve stripped it down to green. We will enjoy the greens as long as we can, and then I’ll harvest some to burn at Yule this coming December. The heart door decoration is now up, ready for Valentine’s Day.

The ribbons and cards and lights and little decorations are down from the kitchen. It looks very bare. I’m thinking it needs a valence. I like the big windows and don’t want curtains, but it does look terribly bare, now that everything’s gone.

We packed up the decorations from my office, the sewing room, the bathroom (yes, I even decorate the bathroom), and Tessa’s room. We took down the small tree on the porch and packed everything away in the closet in Tessa’s room. I still have to take down the lights, but they’re tied to the blinds, so that’s a chore for another day.

We stripped the big tree of all the ornaments. The ones that have specific boxes are all packed away. There are still a big pile that go into the plastic bins, and that’s a task for today. The big tree with just the lights is still up. I have boxes for the lights that are organized by type of strand and length of strand, so it has to be done with precision And it won’t be fun to unwind the length of lights I put around the trunk in a fit of over-decorating zeal.

We still have to strip the stairs of lights and garlands and bits, put away the Santas, the deer, and the nutcrackers. And then figure how to pack it so we still have some space for the year. Most of it goes into the closet in the sewing room, and some of it goes into the top  pantry shelves. There will, no doubt, be some rearranging.

Read a script just before dinner. Had the slow cooker chicken stroganoff, which turned out well, and then wrote up the coverage. I have one script I have to read/write up today, and I should do two. I behind where I need to be to make my  nut this pay period.

But I’ve struggled this week. I’m exhausted and frustrated and disheartened.

President Biden’s speech was a good one, but I remain dubious until there are arrests and convictions. Anyone involved in the insurrection or who voted not to certify the election committed treason and should face the strongest of penalties for that. Anything less is giving them a pass to do it again. Every House Republican who did not show up for the moment of respect on the floor yesterday should be censured and removed.

And, while I’m glad the economy is “booming” when the cost of it is close to a million lives, no. Just no. This administration is forcing people to work to death just as much as the last one. That is not acceptable.

They ran on promises of monthly stipends of $2K/month for the length of the pandemic and 3 months beyond. Instead, they gave us $1400 a year ago.

Not acceptable.

Word has dumped the “Editor” function in yesterday’s reboot, so I’m back cross-checking with style guides (like Strunk, Chicago, etc.) which I had to do anyway, because Word’s Editor was usually wrong.

I’m just so damn tired of all of it.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Thurs. Jan. 6, 2022: The Sense of Time Running Out

image courtesy of anncapictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Cloudy, windy, cold

Twelfth Night

Next winter holiday cycle (2022 into 2023), I need to figure out how to earn enough so I can schedule time off from the Winter Solstice through the first week of January. I don’t know if it’s pandemic fatigue, burnout, car stress, or a combination, but I’m having a difficult time getting going this year. The Uranus, Venus, and upcoming Mercury retrogrades aren’t helping.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the seed catalogs.

The crows fly past for their morning visit, but it was the regular murder, not the murderati, and they weren’t upset, so whatever the threat was seems to be gone.

I coaxed the car to the grocery store, did a big shop, and managed to get back. Still trying to find a mechanic to fix it. It was stressful to coax the car there and back.

Too many people sneezing and coughing in the store, although everyone I saw was masked. On the one hand, one wants to judge them for not staying home. On the other hand, there’s no grocery delivery around here, and a lot of people are on their own, with no one who can help them.  They HAVE to go to the grocery store.

There were a lot of empty shelves at the store. Big brands, not local ones. Some of the trucks were caught up in the I-95 snow debacle and still haven’t made it up. But I got what I needed, most of what I wanted, and forgot a few things that had me kicking myself when I got back.

I was exhausted by the time I got back, and it was still morning. I got everything in just before the rain started, so at least that timing worked.

Then, some sort of siren went off. Not like someone’s house alarm, but an actual town-wide warning siren. Only I had no idea what it could be since this city isn’t great at communicating, something I hope the new mayor will fix. It was raining, but not tornado weather, so it couldn’t be the tornado siren. The sluice gates were open, so it was unlikely to flood. And no one was worried; everyone just went about their business. So I figured I shouldn’t worry, either.

But it’s stressful to hear a siren go off and not know why.

They’re considering closing schools in Pittsfield because of COVID spikes – but not switching to remote learning, which is majorly effed up.

Today is the year anniversary of the attempted coup by the Narcissistic Sociopath. And there are still too many people out there who should be in jail. I don’t want a “speech” from Garland. I want the traitors punished. None of this crap about how “it takes time” to build the case. First of all, it was broadcast live. Second, we don’t HAVE the time. Get it done or step aside for someone who will.

On a personal level, the fact that it happened on January 6th angers me, because Twelfth Night/Epiphany is a joyous day in my personal calendar.

Well, it will be joyous again if someone would ever do something about holding these traitors accountable. All they do is nothing, which emboldens the traitors.

I didn’t get any work done on The Big Project, and it threw off my entire day. I was out of sorts. I’ve been unsettled since the start of the year anyway, but skipping writing days on these projects makes it worse.

Struggled with the script coverages, and didn’t get enough done, so I have to finish today, while taking down the decorations. I’d hoped to bake a King Cake, but I don’t really have time.

A job description landed in my inbox, for a part-time, remote copywriting position wanting someone “feminine.” WTF does that have to do with writing good marketing copy? And whose definition of feminine” is being used? Some old white man’s? Talk about insulting.

Made a ham pot pie with leftovers. Don’t want to waste anything. It’s like a chicken pot pie, only using ham, cream of celery soup, vegetables, garlic, and onion, and topping it with a Bisquick crust. It was really good, but I’m not happy with the way the oven is calibrated. Outer edges brown quickly while middles underbake.

Befana night is being included in our holiday celebration schedule, so this morning, little gifts were at the breakfast plates. Large crystals, this year.

The computer was cranky this morning. I had to shut everything down and boot it all back up. It took for damn ever. This PC is not even two years old. My Mac worked well most of the time for ten years.

I have meditation group (thank goodness, maybe it will help me be less scattered). Then, I have to finish a script coverage, take down decorations, put dinner in the crockpot, read and write up another script coverage, take down more decorations. I’d planned not to write on the Big Project today, but I still feel unsettled. Hopefully, the power will stay on until I get out my coverages.

Some poor soul in the neighborhood has a car alarm that keeps going off. I was worried it was mine, but it’s not.

I was requested for a coverage to read a revision of a script I liked, but on which I had a few suggestions. I’m honored that the writer wants me to take a look at the revision.

I need to figure out how to rework my time on things. I just can’t knock things out as fast as I used to. It’s very frustrating, and I hope it’s just pandemic brain and not something worse. But whatever it is, I have to adjust and make it work for the work.

Have a good one.

Tues. Jan. 4, 2022: Back to the Page

imageg courtesy of Nile via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Clear and cold

Happy New Year! I hope yours was everything you wanted it to be.

The car failed inspection on Thursday, but I have 60 days to get it fixed by a registered garage. Now, if only one of them would work on Volkswagens. . .

Finished up script coverages on Thursday afternoon, and was able to take the entire three day weekend off. I stayed off social media, too, although I hopped online a bit when I heard that Betty White had died. What a shame she didn’t make it to 100.

Friday, I did a run to the post office, the library, and the liquor store (on foot). A good friend send a birdfeeder that’s supposed to attach to the window, so one can see the birds. I will try to get it up this week. Kitty TV.

Made roast duck for New Year’s Eve. It was very good. With potatoes and steamed vegetables. We still have plenty of stollen, so we had that for dessert. I’d made our favorite devilled eggs to snack on, and we did the traditional smoked herring before midnight. There was a small party in the house next door, but mostly, it was quiet in the neighborhood.

We watched the ball come down in Times Square online, and toasted in the New Year with prosecco. I let the old year out of the back door a little before midnight, and then the new year in the front door just after. Too bad they don’t have First Footers here. There were some fireworks in the distance, but nothing close and disturbing. Burned the second bayberry candle, for luck and prosperity.

I was very disappointed to see that NYC went ahead with letting people into Times Square, and how irresponsibly people behaved. A good many of them could be dead in the coming few weeks. Will they think this was worth death?

I used to watch the ball come down from my window, in my NYC apartment. I could watch them get the ball ready, too. Then, the years I had Broadway shows on New Year’s Eve night, I couldn’t get home in time for midnight, because it was blocked off, even if you lived there. So I was forced to go to a party or an overpriced restaurant until after the square cleared out. I’m glad I had the experience of seeing it from my window, but don’t miss the chaos. That’s probably why I still always feel so unsettled. That desperate energy of people trying too hard to have a good time.

I’d started taking New Year’s Eve off and leaving the city a few years before I moved out. Sometimes just to be with my mom; sometimes to go to a yoga retreat. Then, shows started cancelling the evening shows and only have matinees, because people couldn’t get to the theatre, or, after, had to go all the way up and cut through Central Park to get anywhere else.

The chaos takes the fun out of it, and it puts too much strain on all the services that have to work that night.

Got to bed a little before one, woke up again at three, and then Tessa woke me at five. I was grumpy and out of sorts. Tried to do the fire and ice ritual, but the ice maker wasn’t working. Then, I realized that the first day of the New Year fell on the dark moon. So the natural dark moon energy of releasing was battling the desire to start fresh we have in the new year.

So I stopped fighting it and read all day. Except when I made lemon mousse, and later, did the baked salmon in the lemon-mustard-brown-sugar-cumin glaze.

Over the weekend, I read THE TWELVE JAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Donna Andrews, laughing out loud at a lot of it. And then I read the second and third of Emily Flynn’s books, DEAD GORGEOUS and END OF THE ROADIE, both of which were excellent: writing, plotting, characters. I really like her work.

Sunday, I did some work on The Big Project, cleaning up what I’ve worked on so far, so I could dive back into it. I’m behind where I want to be, so I need to double down on it in the next few weeks. But I’m happy with the quality, the tone, the plot, the characters.

I was disappointed to learn that 365 Women a Year is not calling for projects for 2022. I hoped to write a play about Marie and Squire Bancroft, well-known Victorian actors, for them this year. There’s no reason I can’t still write it, but pitching it to 365 would have given me momentum.

I’m doing an Excel spreadsheet (oh, horrors) with details of the various scripts ready for submission, so that I can get back on track with it this year. Details on length, characters, production history, etc. I have 21 plays that can go out there and keep earning their keep after their initial readings or productions, and I have a handful I’ve pulled because I’ve outgrown them, and the market is in a different direction. I’ll do another one for the radio plays, and then a third one for the screenplays. I wanted to focus on creating and stockpiling, and that’s what I’ve done. Now, things need a polish, and need to get out into the world to earn their way.

A conversation with author and illustrator Dewi Hargreaves about Hope Clark’s 13-in-Play made me realize I need to get that back up to speed again. 13 pieces out at any given time, so the work earns its keep. The new version of THE WRITERS MARKET arrived, and I will go through it, cover-to-cover, making notes, and then work my way through pitches and/or submissions wherever I think it’s appropriate. Of course, I’ll have to cross check the information with the websites of each place, but that should get me back on track with keeping submissions out there properly, as I create new work. Almost all the new work I have on tap for this year is long form, not short form, and I need to mix it up a bit more.

The first shipment for the contest I’m judging has arrived, and I’m at work on those pieces, too. I have two book reviews to write and submit, and then get my next assignments from that editor.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up around 5:30. I fed the cats, did the usual longhand writing session. Expanded the morning yoga practice by a few more asanas. Extra-long meditation session.

After the shower, I sat down and wrote just over 3100 words on The Big Project, and I liked most of them, which is a good way to start the day, the week, the month, the year.

Headed to the library to pick up/drop off books. It was darn cold. It kept looking like it wanted to snow, but it didn’t smell like snow, and didn’t snow.

In the afternoon, I caught up on email. I sent off a grant proposal. I doubt I’ll land the grant; it’s unlikely they’d give it to a genre writer, thinking they’re “not serious enough” and my work samples were comic noir mystery/fantasy and mystery. But I have zero chance if I don’t try, so it was worth putting it together and sending it off.

Read two scripts. Should have written them up, but was too tired. Too tired to start on the contest entries, too.

But all in all, it was a good start to the day, week, month, year.

The answers to the GDR questions are posted here, if you’re interested, and if you want to post your own.

Back to the page now, to get the day’s quota done on The Big Project. Once I’ve hit that, I can decide how to structure the rest of today. A lot of it will be taken up with script coverage, but I have to run down the street to get eggs from Cumberland Farms, and then maybe take down the decorations out on the front porch. Rather than taking everything down on Thursday, I’m doing the outer rooms, and then getting the big tree, etc., down on the 6th. We have to figure out how we’re going to stash it all until next year, so it doesn’t take up all the closet space and hall space. Geometry. Fun times.

Tessa didn’t wake me this morning; I woke up all on my own, a little after 5:30. Heaven!

Back to the page, and I hope you’re having a good start.

Wed. Dec. 29, 2021: A Day at the Desk

image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Snowing

Yesterday was kind of a mixed day. I did more admin work than I planned in the morning, which cut into the writing time, but it needed to be done. I need to move admin later in the day, because it siphons off too much creative energy if I do it in the morning.

It cleared up enough mid-morning for me to gather the rolly cart and a few bags and walk to Big Y. It’s not that far, about ¾ of a mile. Because the streets are one-way around here, the necessary curlicues one has to take on the roads make it farther in the car. It’s a pretty straight shot on foot. Plus, I looked in store windows and art spaces and walked by Ramunto’s Pizza, which always smells so wonderful. I haven’t tried them yet; they are on my list.

Picked up my mom’s prescription at CVS, then went next door to Big Y. The carts have wider rims, so the hooks on my rolly cart didn’t work, and I had to stash my cart inside the bigger cart instead of hanging it off the end, like I’ve done in other stores. But I didn’t need much, although I bought more than I planned.

I found a duck, which is exciting, although I think I will cook it for New Year’s Eve, rather than New Year’s Day.  I’ll do the baked salmon on the Day instead, which will balance better with the Eggs Benedict breakfast anyway.

It wasn’t bad hauling everything back in the rolly cart, but I definitely had to take a rest when I got back. Everyone was masked and distancing, so it was less stressful than it might have otherwise been.

I mean, when I lived in NYC, I used the rolly cart all the time to go to the store (even though ALL the grocery stores offered delivery). I had the rolly cart with me in San Francisco, back in the 80s, when I used to have to walk to and from the various stores. I just can’t buy as much as I can when I have the car, and with the pandemic numbers going up, the safety mechanisms being rolled back because all the government cares about is corporate profits, I’m not thrilled with the idea of shopping more often. But needs must, and hopefully, I can get the car fixed in the next few weeks. Once that’s done, I’ll do a couple of major grocery shops to restock long-term supplies,

And the walk is good for me.

Used the ham bone from the Christmas ham, along with kale and navy beans and sundried tomatoes, to make soup. It turned out well. Not a lot of leftovers. Maybe enough for two more meals. But that’s fine. When that’s used up, I’ll make the Moosewood Recipe for Black Bean soup I’ve been wanting to try. I have all the ingredients.

However, I do have leftover kale. Since I am not a big kale fan (although I’m trying to use it more often, because it’s so healthy), I have to figure out what to do with the rest of it. The Berkshires is obsessed with kale, so I’m sure I’ll find a recipe quickly.

Puttered around rather than doing my work, but hey, this was supposed to be my vacation week, and that is what my brain and body want.

I could feel the tensions influenced by the bone crusher square, and, being aware of that, made me aware of CHOOSING to be less reactive to tensions and frustrations. More of a sense of “Okay, this is bugging me, but it’s not that big a deal and not worth an argument, so why don’t I make that choice instead? It avoids a fight, but I’m also not rolling over.” Knowing the tensions in the square make poor choices/rash reactions likely, I can take a breath and choose not to react that way. That’s what meant about using astrology as a tool, rather than an excuse. I could have behaved like a jerk and just used the bone crusher square as an excuse. Instead, I was aware of the way it negatively influences, and made choices that were better in the larger context instead.

You know, the whole acting-like-a-grownup thing. Only understanding why certain tensions and pressures are stronger on a particular day.

Got my script coverage done and read another script, which I will write up today. I need to read/write up two scripts today/tomorrow and one more tomorrow in order to finish and take New Year’s weekend off. I planned only the remaining two, but I was requested for a coverage. That’s always an honor, so of course I said yes. In the information notes, the writer said my notes on two previous scripts had given this writer “a lot of strength to keep writing” which is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.  I sometimes wonder if I care too much about each script, but notes like this make it worthwhile, because it means my suggestions are genuinely helpful to the writer. And that’s the point of this – helping them with their craft, so they can share wonderful stories with the world.

I heard, last night, that City Ballet in NYC cancelled the rest of the NUTCRACKER run, due to COVID. They usually end on New Year’s Eve anyway, so it’s not that much earlier, but still disturbing, especially since one of my best friends works there. I contacted him; his last test on Tuesday was negative, so fingers crossed he hasn’t caught a breakthrough case.

Will finish “Dawn and Dorothy” today, and, hopefully, send it off tomorrow. It’s snowing again right now, so I will put off going to get the car inspected until it clears up later this morning. I’m grateful to have the flexibility.

Angry at the CDC for rolling back isolation time because corporations want to force people back to work. Yes, the science grows and changes as more is learned about how the variants mutate. But CEOs should not be dictating this. If anything, people need MORE time off, not less, and it must be paid. All of this talk about how Biden’s economy is booming – too many people are being sacrificed for it. It’s disgusting.

It was very discouraging to see so many people who should know better post photos of their irresponsible holiday behavior. No wonder we can’t get this under control.

Someone on Twitter talked about instead of party spaces, having library spaces where one can read all day in comfy chairs, and waiters pass canapes. A Reading Resort! Sounds wonderful to me.

Back to the page. I won’t get anything done on the Big Project today, but maybe tomorrow or Friday, I can get back to it. I’m behind where I want to be, but the foundational work I’ve done is vital to being able to write it smoothly when I go back to it.

Have a good one, people. Mask up, distance, stay safe.

Tues. Dec. 28, 2021: Post-Holiday Errands

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

I hope everyone had a good weekend, whether or not you celebrated the Christmas holiday.

Ours was fine: lots of food, lots of books. We were tired of the foods we “traditionally” had for the Christmas Eve and Day meals. So for the Eve, it was baked trout, baked whipped potatoes with garlic and herbs, and spinach. For the day, it was a baked ham with a bourbon-molasses glaze. We don’t eat much pork anymore, but my mom wanted ham, so we had ham. I didn’t feel all that great afterwards, but not too bad.

Desserts were stollen on the Eve and chocolate mousse on the day, and that was all good.

We usually do presents on the Eve and stockings on the Day, but, again, my mom wanted to wait and do everything on the Day, so that’s what we did.

We had fun opening things. Tessa “helped.” Charlotte and Willa watched from a safe distance. Tessa adored her present – a catnip toy that looks like a gift. Willa and Charlotte didn’t know what to do with theirs. Charlotte figured it out, and then she was afraid someone would take it away.

But most of the time, we just relaxed.

It was perfectly pleasant, although I felt somewhat unsettled the entire time.

I checked in regularly with my friend, who lost her mother the day before Christmas Eve. There’s not much I can do, except give her as much support as possible. The whole world shifts, and it’s painful.

Sunday, I puttered around with paperwork, and getting my email inbox down to 13 emails for a brief, shining moment, before it filled up again. Worked on the blog schedule for some of the blogs, and tried to get ahead a bit on ones that don’t rely on being in the moment. Researched some companies and added them to the list that will get the postcard mailing in January. Looked through some article guidelines. I’m going to work up some pitches this week, although I won’t send them until the New Year, because it’s just tacky and thoughtless to send them out now. Dived back into the research for “Dawn and Dorothy.” I made a loose writing plan for 2022, which, no doubt, will change by the middle of January. But at least it’s a starting point.

Yesterday, I went to the laundromat. I like to change up my days, but Monday is not a good day. People. The last thing I want, when the virus numbers are back up again, is to be around any more people than necessary. But things got done. Using the rolly cart to go to and from the laundromat is actually easier than getting everything down to the parking lot, loading the car, driving to the laundromat, unloading, reloading, driving back, etc. I just roll the cart down the block, around the corner, down another half a block, and there I am. Plus, yesterday, their parking lot was like a skating rink. I could have fallen and gotten seriously hurt. The sidewalk was clear. Much easier.

While the laundry was going, I make some organizing lists, and worked on a couple of arcs for The Big Project. There are three major arcs that have to be resolved, one after the other, along with less-important, longer-reaching arcs.

A little more than half the neighbors took down all their holiday decorations already. We are keeping ours up until Twelfth Night. That is a tradition we intend to uphold this year.

We never did put a tree topper on our tree this year. None of the ones we have looked right. And the tree looks just fine without it.

Read Colleen Cambridge’s MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL and loved it. Stayed up until nearly midnight to finish it (I think that was on Christmas Day). I hope there are more books in the series.

Read a book by a new-to-me author set in Venice, which I liked. Put aside another book I started, also set in Venice, that just wasn’t doing it for me.

Started reading Sally Wright’s PURSUIT AND PERSUASION, which I’m enjoying.

Did my errands on foot. My mom won $20 on a scratch ticket that was in her stocking, so I picked that up for her. Mailed thank you notes and birthday cards at the post office. Dropped off and picked up a stack of books at the library. It was pretty cold and windy, but still nice to be out.

Got irritated by an author on Twitter. He’d followed; I followed back, as I do with most authors. The first interaction was a long DM from his “publicist” asking me to read and review the guy’s book. It was a long, involved DM, with a tone making it clear that they were doing me a favor. The publicist is male, of course, and the DM was typical male mansplaining privilege.

Okay, wrong on so many levels. First of all, I’m a paid reviewer by publications. Occasionally, when it doesn’t violate my contract terms, I can review a book for free, usually by someone I know, because the publications that pay me don’t want me reviewing books by people I know. But it is work. It relates to my job, and is therefore unpaid labor. I’m not doing unpaid labor for a stranger. Second of all, how often have I publicly stated that if the first interaction from a new mutual follow is a DM trying to sell me something (or ask for free labor), that’s an immediate unfollow, and often a block? Often. If the idiot can’t be bothered to do due diligence, not someone I want to deal with. Third, a professional publicist would know better than to pull crap like that, because that’s negative public relations, not positive public relations. So either the guy’s amateur hour (which means I hope the author’s not paying him much) or it’s the author using a pseudonym as a publicist. Fourth, if the social media is set to “automatically” DM any new mutual followers marketing crap, again, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and are not someone with whom I wish to interact on any level. Fifth, don’t ask someone to work in the week between the holidays, unless you’ve done your due diligence and know that they are actually working. It’s rude.

That author also goes on my “do not ever buy or read” list.

Caught up with my lovely postman so I could give him his cookie packet. He was pleased.

Read a script, which I will write up today. Grabbed some more scripts to read the next few days. I’m reading less this week, but I need to read something.

Had Doordash deliver Chinese from my favorite place in Williamstown. One order for last night’s dinner (their duck lo mein is one of my favorites), and a chicken pad thai for today (yes, I know the latter is not Chinese food, but it’s from the same restaurant).

It’s clearing up, so I will bundle up, get the rolly cart, and head to CVS to pick up my mom’s prescription, and Big Y to pick up a few things I need for the meals over New Year’s. It’s a bit of a hike, but I’m trying to preserve the car until I can get it looked at.

Today, the “bonecrusher” square supposedly ends, and Jupiter goes into Pisces tonight/tomorrow, which, in my chart anyway, is supposed to be a good thing. I could use a break, and I’ll take any support from the stars I can get!  😉

On the agenda today, after I get back from the grocery store, is writing up the script coverage, and then finishing the short version of “Dawn and Dorothy.” I hope to get some work done on The Big Project, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a week of more rest than work for me, but there’s always work to do.

Debating whether I’ll do a mini retreat over New Year’s. New Year’s is usually a tough few days for me, on multiple levels, and I want to be as gentle with myself as possible.

Jeremy Rock Smith is teaching an online cooking session on the 4th; seriously considering taking it, because I love learning from him. He’s a wonderful teacher, in addition to being a quality human being.

That’s the latest; off to the store now. Since I can only buy what I can carry, I have to stick to my list!

Hope your weekend was great, and that the days between the holidays are peaceful.

Wed. Dec. 22, 2021: Recovering From a Mac & Cheese Coma

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron Direct (as of 12/21)

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

image courtesy of SocialButterflyMMG via pixabay.com

Usually, Tuesday is the long post. This week, it’s Wednesday, because yesterday was the Winter Solstice, my big holiday, and I decided to enjoy my holiday.

So today’s our day to sit down and have a catching up natter.

Friday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. A little windy, but warm enough to keep the door from the porch into the house open.

I drafted the first half of the Marie Collier play, and then walked down to the post office to mail some letters, and picked up wine on my way back. It was lovely to enjoy the good weather, knowing that a storm was coming in.

Went through some jewelry of mine, looking for something specific, a certain type of chain that I want to use for a talisman necklace I’m making. Couldn’t find it, so I’ll keep looking in thrift stores. There’s no deadline. I’d rather wait and get the right thing than any old thing.

The last charm for the talisman necklace arrived, along with another pieced I’d ordered, from An Enchanted Creature, on ETSY. I’d had a good experience ordering before. I hadn’t expected these pieces to arrive until the 27th of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them a full 10 days earlier.

Saturday was supposed to snow all day, so that’s how I planned. They were out in force in the morning, sanding streets and sidewalks, which is a good thing. The sky made a few half-hearted attempts with some snowflakes in the morning, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that it got serious about it. But it only snowed for a couple of hours before it switched over to rain.

We put up the rest of the ornaments on the tree, and put up the Santas on a shelf unit we moved into the front hall. They don’t look right there.

Did some reading, diving back into the Dorothy Parker/Dawn Powell research, so I can finish the third and final play of the year.

Sunday was a gray, gloomy day. We moved the Santa collection into the living room, rearranging a few things, and it looks better there. Plus, we can enjoy it.

I finished the draft of the Marie Corelli play. It took some fun turns, and all four characters are for actresses over 40. It can sit for a few days before revision, and I’ll get it out before the end of the week (today or tomorrow, most likely).

The fruit peel arrived, from Fleet Farm! That was quick. I didn’t expect it until around New Year’s. So there will be stollen for Christmas. I’ll make it either today or tomorrow.

I made the molasses spice cookies. Wound up being around 10 dozen molasses spice, which I did not expect. I also used one of the packs of fruit peel to make fruitcake cookies, which turned out well, and are a nice contrast to the other cookies on the platter.

I’m going to make the apricot sage cookies for us, a small batch, to test them. If they work, and I can make enough of them quickly, I’ll add them in to the platters next year.

Was too tired to cook, so ordered Chinese from the local place, and watched DoorDash drive it the six blocks over. It’s just far enough that it’s too far for me to walk and keep it hot.

The food was good. We put on the lights and candles and enjoyed the Fourth of Advent.

With Venus going retrograde, I’m trying to be quiet and careful. We’ve got the “bonecrusher” square, which I do not have the energy to deal with this week. Uranus is still retrograde. And then Mercury goes retrograde early in February. So basically, from now until February 3, I want to stay as quiet and hermit-like as possible.

Monday morning, I got up to discover that some of the battery-operated candles in the windows had turned themselves back on overnight.

Around here, the post office does an early morning package delivery run, about 7 AM. Two packages were dropped off: one from a friend (the one that had gone from NYC to Puerto Rico to Akron), and the next two books for review.

Tessa was fascinated by the packages. Willa was more interested in the postman. Charlotte ran around in circles at the top of the stairs. It was a very exciting start to their day.

I struggled to clear the ice off the car, and then we headed to the RMV to update the car registration and our licenses. I had been going back and forth about the appointment with the main RMV administration; they kept saying that we could not do it in one appointment, we could not go together (my mom is 97, it’s not like she can do this on her own), and so on and so forth.

We showed up for the appointment. Everyone was very nice. We got everything done. We don’t even need to get a new registration document, since it’s all updated in the system. When the registration has to be renewed next year, the right info will be there. Instead of issuing us new physical licenses, they told us to write the new address on the back; it’s in the system, and since it’s a real ID, no problem.

So all that stress was for nothing.

But I’m grateful they were so helpful, and that it’s done.

Then, it was off to CVS and to Big Y, to get the rest of what I needed for the Solstice dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. Got everything I needed.

We made it home. There are still dashboard lights going on that need to be dealt with. I’m going to contact the garage in Williamstown next week to see if I can get an appointment the first week of the new year.

I realized I’d forgotten a couple of errands, so headed back out on foot to the post office and the bank.

By then, I was wiped out, as much from stress as anything else.

But I rallied, in the late afternoon, to do the script coverage.

Slept in on Tuesday morning. It was Winter Solstice. Chocolate panettone for breakfast, which was fun. I prepped two cookie platters for the libraries, and delivered them on foot: one across the street, to the college library, and one down the street to the public library. I’d sealed each cookie separately in a cookie sleeve, for maximum safety so the platter could be out in the break room, and people could sort through cookies to find what they like.

Both libraries were delighted.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to be out, knowing that storms are coming in for the next few weeks. The weather is so changeable here.

Came home, finished up some script coverage I hadn’t finished the previous day. Changed from flannel sheets to fleece sheets.

Prepped the cookie platters for the neighbors and delivered them. They were pleased.

This year’s platters have chocolate chip cookies, orange cranberry cookies, currant oatmeal cookies, molasses spice cookies, and fruitcake cookies. It’s a nice variety.

Baked the honey spice cake. It was a little underbaked, even though the toothpick put in the center came up clear. It’s still good, but I wanted great. Maybe I should have put a chocolate silk glaze over it. Because chocolate can fix almost anything.

For dinner, I made Moosewood’s recipe for macaroni and cheese, from scratch. I cheated a little and added bacon into the mac & cheese. But it was a lot of dairy. The cheese sauce had four cups of milk and 10 oz. of various cheddars; there were breadcrumbs and then more cheddar over it, before it was baked. It’s really good, and we have a lot of leftovers, but it’s a lot of dairy.

Did the Solstice ritual of waiting for it to get dark, then, starting in the north, lighting all the candles and holiday lights, clockwise around the house, until it’s all lit up with candles and twinkle lights. I spilled red wax on the white windowsill in the kitchen – that will be not much fun to fix. But it was so pretty, and we sat without electric lights on (except for the holiday twinkle lights) all evening.

Since we no longer have a working fireplace, I took the big cauldron out on the back balcony and burned last year’s greens, slowly, one small branch at a time, so I wouldn’t worry the neighbors. It was a good way to let last year, and the Cape life, go.

Left the battery-operated candles on all night, to light the longest night of the year.

I was up earlier than Tessa this morning! I couldn’t find her and was frantic. She was still asleep, in her favorite red chair with Panda, and was very confused as to why I was awake before she was. The fleece sheets were too hot. I kept kicking off the covers in the night. Quite a difference from the other house, where upstairs was never warm after about September, no matter how high the heat was cranked.

The plan was to go to the laundromat, but it was raining, so I decided not to. I’ll go tomorrow or next week.

I’m going to do some work on the Big Project, and maybe THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. Then, I have to polish the Marie Corelli play and get it out the door. Then, it’s more script coverage. I have coverage work today and tomorrow, and then I’m off until Monday, and I hope next week will be a light week, coverage-wise. I want to dig into The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I also want to finish up a bunch of admin work before the end of the year.

I’m preparing to hunker down for the winter, only going to the grocery store, the post office, and the library, both due to weather and the pandemic. I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t doing what needs to be done to curb the pandemic, or the right-wing extremists. People worked like crazy during a pandemic to get them elected. They need to deliver. No matter what corporate sellouts like Manchin and Sinema do.

Anyway, I have to get back to the page and get some work done. Books don’t write themselves, and I still have a living to earn.

Have a good one!

Fri. Dec. 17, 2021: Snow Coming In!

image courtesy of Stijn Dijkstra via pexels.com

Friday, December 17, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was challenging, to say the least.

I managed to do a grocery run, although the car is not happy. I’d gone to a store I don’t really like, but it’s close, and they claimed to have the fruit peel. Of course, they didn’t, but I stocked up on a bunch of stuff, since I was there.

Came home, unpacked. Went on Nuts.com, which had been recommended. The fruit peel was about double what I pay in the store for the same amount, but I figured, well, online. They promised free shipping over a certain amount (which I easily hit) if I signed up for their mailing list. Only they wouldn’t put the free shipping through because “It’s only for new customers.” Well, that would be me, since I’ve never ordered from them before.

So I cancelled the order. And unsubscribed from their list.

I went on the Fleet Farm website. They had the brand of fruit peel I like, at the same price I paid in the store. I ordered my several pounds of it, the shipping was reasonable, and it was still half of what I would have paid at Nuts.com, even with the free shipping.

They said there were shipping delays, so I figured okay, it’ll probably get here around New Year’s or a little after. We’ll just have our stollen late this year, and eat it into February.

They shipped it within two hours.

Yeah, worthwhile company.

I lost too many hours in the afternoon trying to get the paperwork I need from the insurance for the RMV appointment to update the title on the car with the new address. Can’t get it inspected without it, and have to do that by the end of the year. Each wouldn’t give me what I needed without something from the other, who wouldn’t give it to me until I had the thing from the other that they wouldn’t give me without what they wouldn’t give me. Nightmare.  As, no doubt, the RMV appointment will be on Monday.

After all that chaos, I still managed to bake 8 dozen orange cranberry cookies and 6 dozen oatmeal currant lace cookies. They came out well, which helped me regain some of my lost baking confidence after the bread went all cattywampus the other day.

Worked on the shape of the Marie Corelli play. I hope to sit down and write the first draft today.

I’d made red lentil chili in the crockpot. It was spicier than I expected, but really good.

The Knowledge Unicorns did their Winter Holiday pageant for the parents last night. Via Zoom. The kids had brainstormed, written, designed, costumed their various spaces, rehearsed, and put it together via Zoom. It was a parody of every bad holiday pageant you’ve ever witnessed or imagined, along with sharply pointed satire at politicians, book banning/censoring, women’s rights, anti-vaxxers, and gun violence. It was brilliant. The parents and I were all so proud of them. They basically took all the stresses and fears and enraging politicking since the pandemic started and turned it into something creative, wonderful, and cathartic. That kids like that exist gives me hope for the future.

Charlotte now sits on my lap while I work at the computer, for a good portion of the day, whether Zoom is on or not. It’s pretty funny. She’s also made a lot of progress with the bed-making. It used to terrify her. We’ve now turned it into a game, with plenty of belly rubs and head scratches and cuddles. Yes, it takes longer, but now she’s not afraid of moving blankets anymore, so it’s worth it.

Astrologically, we have a full moon in Gemini coming up tomorrow. And then a square of several planets known as “the Bonecrusher” which I am totally not up for. But the planets are gonna do what they do, and I just have to understand the possibilities and make smarter choices. Somehow, an RMV appointment during a Bonecrusher square does not hit me as the best choice, but needs must.

There are rumors that the new virus variant is so transmissible, there will need to be shutdowns over the winter. Gov. Baker didn’t have the balls to do a full shutdown the first time around (it was a “stay-at-home”, for all people bitched they were quarantined — people who obviously don’t understand what a quarantine entails), so I doubt he will this time. But we’re pretty much isolating anyway, except for a couple of ventures out for groceries, books, and wine, so we’ll deal with whatever. But Biden needs to cancel student debt AND we need another stimulus payment. No matter what.

Back to the page. I want to work on the Marie Corelli play and the Big Project. I have to make the dough for the molasses spice cookies, so I can bake them later. Not sure if I’ll attempt the apricot sage cookies today or tomorrow. They are a new-to-me cookie, and I’m not sure I can make enough of them for the platters, but we’ll see.

I have to walk down to the wine store for a few things, and mail some cards in response to unexpected cards I received. It’s supposed to snow all weekend, so any errands need to happen today, or wait until Monday. And Monday is stacked to the gills as it is, so that I can take Tuesday off for the Winter Solstice.

I also have two scripts to cover today, and I’ll see what else is in the queue. I probably have to work on coverage all weekend, so I can take the Solstice and then next weekend off.

Still have some ornaments to put up. It’ll get done. Somehow.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it.

Wed. Dec. 15, 2021: A Quiet Day

image by DGlodawksa via pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Short post today (is that a sigh of relief I hear? 😊)

Yesterday was about getting the review out, invoicing (and I was immediately paid, and even got a year-end bonus, which was lovely). My next two books for review are being sent out.

Slogged through over 500 emails, after which I rewarded myself with a couple of chocolate chip cookies. But at least I’m almost caught up. I hate starting the New Year with a backlog of emails. And having 800 emails stack up over a weekend is a lot. Most of them were quickly dealt with; a few needed more attention and got it. I’m careful to keep up with email on regular business days, so it’s not like anything was falling by the wayside.

It was a lovely day, so I ran some errands on foot: mailed a bill, took some checks to the bank, walked up a delightful street I hadn’t yet explored on my way to the library. Yesterday was big leaf clean up here – they went down our block and got all the leaves (which meant leaf-blowing, but it’s not a daily thing here, so I can cope). The little street I explored was also having their leaf clean up. I asked the guy in the truck – the whole street gets together and hires the landscaper, who works his way down the street and removes all the leaves from the yards.

Unlike on Cape, where they leaf blow every day into a pile that the wind then redistributes, and I was the only one on my street who ever actually raked up all the leaves and took them to the dump. In other words, I did the leaf removal for the whole street. Unpaid. Because, eventually, all those leaves ended up in my yard.

Not my problem anymore.

Had a nice chat with the librarians, and a nice walk back.

Finished reading ONE LAST CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE, which was a lovely holiday read. The author is a little overly fond of exclamation points in narrative, but the rest of it so lovely that I could deal with it. (I find too many exclamation points in narrative rather than dialogue exhausting. In dialogue, they indicate cadence and reveal character).

Got some work done on script coverage, but was too exhausted to really focus on it. The writer deserves my strong attention, not me pushing through when I’m overtired.

Instead, I put some of the decorations up on the big tree. The advice is to do it with the lights on, but the lights are rather bright, and it was difficult to see. Now, in daylight, I will have to move a few things as I add more! But every ornament has a story, and it’s fun to relive the memories each year when we decorate the tree.

Also figuring out where to put ornaments and things that don’t go on the tree. Since the space is new to us, and we’re trying to figure out how to make things work in it. Which is fun.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so ordered in from a restaurant I’d previously liked. This choice was not good – it was heavy and not prepared the way I liked it. Also, I’d been craving red meat, which I rarely eat any more, and that’s what I ordered. Since it wasn’t prepared properly, it was even more of a mistake than it would be otherwise. Shoe leather with sour cream, anyone?

It felt like a lump in my stomach, and I countered it with ginger tea, but overall, my body handled it better than expected, so there must have been something it needed.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Some of them had made Santa Lucia wreaths to wear on the 13th, with battery-operated candles instead of real ones, so that they didn’t set themselves or their houses on fire. They had fun adding that festival into their holiday calendar. Tomorrow is the Winter Holiday pageant they’ve written and rehearsed and will perform online together. I can’t wait.

Slept reasonably well; up once around 4 because I wasn’t feeling great, but the cats remained asleep, and didn’t get me up until a little after 6.

Did my first longhand writing session of the day and yoga and all that. Got some bread on the first rise. I will do some work on The Big Project, and then work on script coverages today.

This afternoon is the final Remote Chat. I’m sad the group is ending; it got me through a lot. I met great people there, and I hope I will stay in touch with at least some of them.

I might get some more baking done today, but I doubt it. oOther than the bread. I’ll have to get a lot done tomorrow and Friday instead. I’ll probably deliver to the neighbors over the weekend, and then to the libraries, post office, etc., on Monday. I have a bunch of admin stuff to finish up this week, too.

Back to the page.