Wed. Oct. 14, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 147 — Cooking Gives Hope

image courtesy of Barbara Rosner via pisabay.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

We needed the rain yesterday. We’re supposed to get more later in the week, and maybe even snow by the weekend.

There’s a post on more career re-shaping over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

On other levels, the dumbfuckery never stops, does it?

Landed in my inbox: an “opportunity” to write 3-5 articles A DAY for $1000/month. Um, no. That breaks down to fractions of a penny per word or per hour.

Another thing that landed in my inbox: someone is looking for a person to write/send the emails to the client list. Great, no problem. Only, the description adds “must be willing to work outside in extreme weather.” Now why would I have to work outside in “extreme weather” to WRITE EMAILS?  If you’re hiring a WRITER for EMAILS, that is not being done outside in bad weather.

Having both hardware and software problems with the nearly-new laptop, because Mercury is retrograde and PCs suck.

On a happier note, I got information about some editors in search of additional freelancers. I pitched myself to two; one responded within 15 minutes asking for specific article pitches; I’m working on a pair to send her. They will be fun, if I get to do either of them.

Switching between script drafts on the screen to look at examples isn’t working for the other article. I’m going to have to print them out.

So that won’t be done until Thursday.

I got a fun ad done for a client for next week’s campaign.

Got my mom’s RMV appointment scheduled for next week, and also her bloodwork before her next medical appointment. At least that means we get it all out of the way next week.

The cooking demonstration with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu was spectacular. He is such a wonderful teacher, and his sense of humor, his skills, his ability to teach, and his joy give me hope.  I look forward to studying with him more intensively in the future.

Knowledge Unicorns was great. Everyone’s hunkering down, doing the work, trying to stay alive until election day. Even though none of them can vote yet, they’re keeping up on things and making sure their parents do. I always rode herd on my godkids to vote, because some of their parents couldn’t be bothered. It’s kind of fun to see their own children doing the same thing.

But I was definitely worn out by the end of the evening.

The package with stuffed orange raccoon toys arrived today, and the catnip bananas are set to arrive on Thursday, so some of the Kitty Drama is alleviated.

On today’s agenda: I have to go onsite for a client, have to do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library, and there’s Remote Chat.  Will also try to get some more LOIs out, and work on the article with which I’m struggling. I’d like to get it out the door tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be nice the next few days, so maybe I’ll get some yard work in.

I do love autumn.

Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
MERCURY GOES DIRECT

I cannot tell you how glad I am that Mercury goes direct today. It kicked my ass. Yet again. I did some good inner work on resolving a few issues, but it kicked my ass.

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve been having trouble on that site, with posting (and my host is useless). If it worked, there will be a post on The Artist Statement up.

If not, you’ll be able to hear me swearing wherever you are.

They never showed up on Monday to take a look at the deck. Or let me know they weren’t coming. Yes, it makes sense — it was rainy and raw. But they should have contacted me. I changed hours at my client’s, cancelled another appointment that was for billable hours, and didn’t go to meditation.

I’m tired of losing money because these people can’t be bothered to communicate or show up on time.

I had a good proofreading session in the afternoon, which made up for some of the loss, and a good rune study session.

Then, Monday night, started watching GOOD OMENS. I meant to watch two or three episodes. I watched 5 out of the 6. The production values are spectacular. David Tennant and Michael Sheen are amazing. Well, I think David is always amazing, but the little details, the swagger in Crowwley’s walk, the small gestures, the way he tossed off a line, or gives emphasis to a particular word — wonderful.

The library is doing automatic renewals now on materials that don’t have holds on them. I HATE it. Not only is it harder to keep track of the books, but it’s an insult. It assumes that I am not enough of a responsible adult to get my books back on time.

Tuesday was rainy and yucky, too. I was out early, putting the stake in the ground for the septic pumper guy to find the tank.

Decent few pages on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Good proofreading session.

I held the fort down alone at my client’s yesterday. Got some good work done, but also had to deal with things I don’t usually deal with, which got a bit distracting.

Watched the rest of GOOD OMENS last night. AFTER I did a bunch of housework, like vacuuming and mopping floors. And general tidying up. There are times when I feel like all I do is clean, and it’s dirty again in 5 minutes. And we’re not dirty people.

Up early this morning. Writing, proofreading. I’m going in early to my client’s because we’re leaving early to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

My back is bothering me a lot. I have a feeling I’ll have to go to the doctor, once my insurance is sorted out again. MA insurance, AKA Romney-care is a joke. It’s about having insurance coverage in name only, not at all about actual care.

Meanwhile, one word at a time, one box at a time, one small thing at a time to get things into motion for the changes that need to be made. I want to take a break for the holidays and work more slowly. I need to work quickly on a couple of projects that need to be cleared off by the end of the year. But next year has to be different. Stronger. Better.

Both on the political spectrum for the country, removing the corrupt. And personally, to achieve what I want and need in my life.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on November 20, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!  
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Autumn Equinox/Mabon
Sunny and warm

Joyous Autumn, everyone!

Thanks for all your kind words. I took it easy on myself yesterday – everyone has difficult days sometimes, and now it’s my turn. I did a little work in the morning, but mostly read.

I read something by an author whose work I adored about fifteen years ago, although she had the reputation for being somewhat “soap opera-y-ish”. At the time, I didn’t think so at all – I really connected with many of the emotions and characters. Yet, yesterday I saw how she gained that reputation. While there are still some beautifully written passages and interesting imagery, her work no longer ensorcells me the way it used to. Basically, she’s doing the same thing she did fifteen years ago, while my life has taken a different direction. She’s stuck to the formula – which is successful for her, and good for her. But her writing trajectory would not work for me, because I feel it’s important to stretch in new directions from novel to novel. When I need to look up to someone who’s done that, I look to Virginia Woolf, who re-invented so much with each novel. Not that I’m Woolf-quality, but to look at a trajectory.

Did a lot of cooking, too, as I will be doing my retreat in a few weeks, and I need to make sure there’s enough for my mother to heat up and eat properly. She hates to cook (although she’s a very good cook) and she just won’t. So, pretty much, I prepare all the food for her and then she can heat it up for her meals. She’s been away most of the past two months, so it hasn’t been an issue (I sent her off with plenty of little packets), but now she’ll return and I’m off, so I better re-stock her freezer. Sort of like I do when I visit my grandmother – cook meals ahead of time and stock her freezer, so all she has to do is heat it up. My own version of “TV dinner” – but gourmet-style! 😉

There are a couple of story ideas percolating around, so I may do some outline work over the next few weeks and see if any of them are useful for NaNo. I have mixed feelings about Nano, mostly because Script Frenzy left such a sour taste in my mouth. Also, it depends where I am in the moving process as to whether or not I can participate. I’ll sign up, but this year, keep the perspective that it’s quite possible I will need to let life get in the way in order to settle the next few years of my life. This year, Nano can’t be a priority, which does not bode well for vomiting up 50K in a month.

But you have to be flexible. If you allow yourself to be imprisoned by what you consider “your process”, you won’t be able to create the mix of living and working life you need in order to both function AND be happy.

See what happens when I take time off? I start THINKING again, gosh darn it . . .;)

Thanks for the kind thoughts, everyone. I’m fortunate to have both a supportive group of friends and family in my immediate, three-dimensional vicinity, and a wonderful community of supportive cyber-pals, too. I salute and treasure each and every one of you!

Devon

Published in: on September 23, 2007 at 10:23 am  Comments (6)  

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Waxing Moon
Sunny and warmer

Mindy Klasky’s new book Sorcery and the Single Girl comes out on September 25. I adored her last book, Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft – in fact, it made my top picks on Biblio Paradise a few months ago – so I can’t wait for this one! Jump on over to her blog Virtual Cocktails (linked at the right) to check out the book and more about her. She’s terrific.

Instead of chaining myself to the computer yesterday, I got a call from a friend as I was out grocery shopping who said, “It’s too beautiful to stay inside. Come over and we’ll sit out!”
So I got my groceries in, packed up some stuff, and spent the rest of the day in her backyard. The sun did great work on my back. I rested, played with the dogs, read, and finished crocheting a sleeve for a project (I’ll write about it in detail on The Tactile Muse). I cooked dinner and came back home in the early evening, then spent the rest of the evening in bed reading.

I had a gentle yoga session this morning, and a great morning’s work on Revenge Tangents. Even though I have to do a lot of structuring in the revision, the shape of the overall piece and the overall series is taking shape. And since I’m only on my own deadline for this, I don’t have to stress.

The back is a little better. There’s still pain, but mostly it’s discomfort, only occasionally crossing the pain line. Movement is still limited, but greater than it was yesterday and the day before. I didn’t take any medication yesterday and don’t plan to do so today – I want to give the body a chance to heal without interference.

My editor loves my gardening articles for October, and I’m having fun researching and writing the November articles. I’m a little pissy at a different publication that still hasn’t paid me for work done back in August – will have to chat with them yet again. I’m not turning in the last couple of articles until I’m paid for what I’ve already done. And I seriously doubt I’d work with them again.

I have work to do on the Dialogue Workshop today, I have to finish a critique, and I want to get some other blog entries up. And maybe get some of the research done for the next section of Untitled Literary Fiction.

I also have to get to the store for a few things I forgot yesterday – the Equinox is on Sunday, and I’m going to prepare Cornish Hen stuffed with carrot and parsnips.

Confidential Job #1 has been sending me material – and I haven’t received it. The delivery service claims someone in the building said that “the premises are closed.” Huh? Each of us is investigating. If it’s true that someone here is interfering with the delivery of my work, I will nail him to the wall by his balls; if it’s the delivery service, it’s up to CJ1 to handle it. Either way: not acceptable.

I’d better get going – I “slept in” until nearly 7, the yoga took longer than usual due to my back, and I’m a bit behind schedule!

Devon

Revenge Tangents – 21,375 words out of est. 25,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
21 / 25
(84.0%)
Published in: on September 20, 2007 at 8:33 am  Comments (8)  

May 7, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Hop on to Circadian Poems – we’ve started up again, with Wren Fallon’s “Desire in Passing” and, barring any more natural disasters/downed power lines/ illness/other acts of disruption – we should be up and running on the usual schedule until July 4.

My weekly Dog Blog ramblings should start up again this week, too. And Devon’s Random Newsletter for May will go out in the next day or two. If you’re not on the list, you can sign up here. Just make sure you put “subscribe” or “newsletter” in the subject line so I can pull you out from the spam.

Yesterday, I was basically a waste of food. The exhaustion of two floods, a lingering flu, trips to Plymouth, Portland, and Iceland – all caught up. All I wanted to do was curl up and read. Plus, I’m having some sort of respiratory problem – coming back into the pollution of New York just didn’t agree with me.

But I can’t afford that luxury – baby doesn’t write, baby can’t pay the rent or the food bill or anything else. So baby wrote. And scoured last week’s job listings to send out pitches. And went grocery shopping, did some hand laundry, balanced (well, you could call it that) the bank statement, etc., etc., etc. Roasted a chicken for dinner.

And was happy to find checks from both Confidential Jobs waiting for me in the stack of mail.

Two things I missed terribly in Iceland were cooking and reading the newspaper. Although I managed to understand some (very basic) Icelandic while I was there, I couldn’t grasp enough to read the newspaper. And English language newspapers were simply out of my price range on this trip. So I did without, and devoured The New York Times as an oasis of ink. It’s a shame I can’t read Icelandic – Iceland publishes five – or maybe it’s six, depending upon whom you ask – daily newspapers, and I would have loved to be able to read them and compare points of view. And, while every meal was luscious, I still missed the physical act of cooking.

However, I found short-term apartments for rent in a section of town in which I’m comfortable, so that’s an option for the next trip. Actually, the next trip will probably be a quick stop on the way back from Scotland – but the trip after that, I’d like to plan for two weeks, rent the apartment, and do it as a self-imposed writing retreat.

Caught up on most of the blog readings. Brandy, Kristen, ME Ellis, etc: If you don’t have the option in your comment section for me to choose another identity, I can’t comment, because Blogger swears I no longer exist. Some of the blogs HAVE this option, but, for some reason, won’t accept what I type in. So, my friends, I am reading your blogs, but can’t always comment. Brandy, I especially wanted to let you know, because I enjoy your blog so much and feel like I’m being a bad friend by not commenting.

Segueing from the guilt of being a bad friend to the topic of bad neighbors – Idiot Neighbor, who behaved so badly in the flood, does not accept that I am done with her. I mean, of course she misses the fact that Devon’s General Store (which is how she treated my apartment) is now closed to her. And she wrote me a note with a lame “I apologize, it’s all my teenage daughter’s bad behaviour” note which doesn’t address the issue, just makes excuses. I don’t know about you, but a 17 year old does NOT make the decisions in any household in which I participate. It’s up to parents to actually parent. Anyway, she was annoyed right before the trip to Maine that I wasn’t willing to take her laundry up to Maine, too, and do it for her (lady, I’m not even speaking to you – what makes you think I’m going to drive your laundry 600 miles and then do it for you)? And now, she’s moaning because she was in a car accident this week, “got hurt” (she looks pretty mobile to me) and her car’s been totaled. She stood there, waiting for me to offer my car, and I simply said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it all works out for you.” I’m not obligated to lend her my car any more than I’m obligated to let her use my computer when I’m not home (an argument we had a few months ago – this is a woman who breaks absolutely everything she touches – no way am I going to imperil either my computer or my car). She still believes that she suffered more than anyone else in the flood, and that the emergency service people were unjustified in prioritizing the evacuation of the elderly and the woman who was eight months pregnant over her. She’s never going to get it. She’s in love with being a victim. And every time she’s presented with an opportunity to stop being a victim, she gets hostile. Enough already. It’s been four or five years of this type of behaviour. I am not obligated to be anything more than a polite neighbor in passing.

I must admit, the nasty side of my personality thought, “Wow! The Cat Goddess certainly worked fast to call up the Karma Dogs.”

Got the post-Derby article done and out. One makes mistakes in horse racing. I’m not going to back pedal, make excuses or pretend. I backed the horse I liked best, but another horse was better on that day and in that race. He was terrific, in fact, and absolutely deserved to win.

You’ll all be terribly disappointed in me – I didn’t photograph any of the Icelandic men! When I was interacting, I completely forgot. Those I saw in passing – well, I felt it would be rude to just whip out the camera and objectify them! You’ll just have to read some of the upcoming fiction to find out what they looked like! Seriously, if I don’t want to be objectified, I have to show the same respect to those around me. I can joke around about the good-looking and interesting men I met, but I wouldn’t trot them out publicly. This blog touches my personal life only in how it affects my writing life. Those who were my muses on this trip know who they are, and hopefully, they’ll be flattered by the way the characters they inspired morph into fiction.

And since I have a strict “no photo” policy when it comes to myself (what’s the point of publishing under multiple names if the same photo’s up?), I certainly would not put up anyone else’s photo without specific permission.

I searched online. I found some stock photos, but they don’t do the men justice. Hair color was pale blond to dark brown. Eyes from blue to brown and everything in between. They tended to be in good shape – some long and lean, some shorter and broader. And, almost every single one I met was nice. Even when they’re flirting, they’re not sleazy. You can have an actual conversation with them. I read some travel blogs where the bloggers (I swear, one of them should have been called “Around the World in 80 Men”) complained that the men were too dumb or too shy to flirt – I didn’t find that at all. I didn’t find them aggressive or spouting lousy pick up lines, which is such a relief. Most of the men I met (and there are always exceptions) were interesting AND interested, could hold up a conversation, had actual opinions and points of view, and a wonderfully dry sense of humor – which is something to which I really respond. I noticed a definite tendency, in some instances, toward the melancholic (understandable, in light of the weather), a strong work ethic in almost everyone, and a very different sense of time and lack of information up front, which sometimes drove me close to the edge. But, in general, I found the majority of the people (regardless of gender) genuinely nice. You’ll be reading about some of the exceptions as well as some of the good ones. Of course, this is a generalization. I was there for a short span of time, in a heavily touristed area. I only got a sampling – I’m sure there are as many diverse personalities and agendas and everything else going on there as anywhere else. Anywhere you have more than two people, there are going to be competing and sometimes conflicting agendas. I was lucky in that I had, people-wise, except for one restaurant experience, positive interactions.

I think, in every instance, you get out what you put in. As a writer, when I travel, I tend to be interested in almost everything. Shy myself, I try to move past that by asking lots of questions, and people respond. I attempt to be respectful, unless I’m pushed past my limits, and try to be a considerate guest in any country I visit. Most people I’ve encountered in Scotland are extremely gregarious hosts. Icelanders are more reserved, but if you make the effort, they tend to respond positively.

Printed out 240 of the photos (all the paper I had), the photo index, and attempted to copy the photos to CD for safekeeping. I’ll start loading some of them into the computer so I can post them – it’ll be hard to choose!

Today’s work is all about finishing the photo print, catching up on things, doing a few more pitches, and preparing for the week. I’m full-time on the show this week, back on the Big Broadway, and I have to re-adjust. I need to focus on the work there without letting any of the freelance work or the creative work slide.

In other words, warning – I’m going to be one tired and cranky bitch all week long! 😉 Consider yourself warned!

Devon

Good Names — 6,312 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 100
(6.0%)

April 15, 2007

Saturday, April 15, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining and cold

I cooked yesterday. And cooked and cooked and cooked: batches of food I plan to take up to my grandmother later in the week; extra in case it floods. Food that can be eaten hot or cold. Ratatouille, leek-and-potato in mushroom sauce, carrot/parsnip sauté, pasta salad with fresh vegetables, chicken, sour cream coffee cake (I wanted to use up the sour cream in case the power goes out. I’ve got some canned food in, extra batteries, and I’m boiling water and filling jugs.

Spooky was here for breakfast, but wouldn’t come in to the apartment (even though Elsa tried to make friends) – so I’m hoping he doesn’t wander too far afield, especially not into the basement.

The car’s been moved twice – now it’s way up a hill, hopefully also sheltered from the winds.

The brook’s higher than my comfort level, and the tide is still coming in.

The county and city managed to get the Reverse 911 out in time, so everyone’s been warned. Hopefully, they’re listening.

I’m said to miss my friend Jackie’s book party tonight, but I can’t see how I could get to the city – or get back.

So, I’m going to hunker down and deal with what needs to be dealt with here. I hope it’s not as bad as the predictions – but we’re all much more prepared than we were last month. I expect the power will go out at some point, so if you don’t hear from me for a few days, don’t worry – just think good thoughts.

I’m hoping to get some of Confidential Job #1 done, and some writing done, even if it’s by candlelight. The Chicago Historical Society pointed me in a great direction for some resources, as did the person from the hotel who answered my request. It’s all very exciting.

And I’m still hoping to head to Maine later this week.

Most overused word in this entry: “hope”. But it’s just what I need.

Devon

PS My taxes are complete and ready to mail – without Turbo Tax – but I’m going to wait until the flood waters recede before sending them out!

Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 9:34 am  Comments (22)  

April 9, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Didn’t post yesterday, because I was busy writing. So I’m posting today.

Check out “Vapid” by Kell E. Harper over on Circadian Poems.

Harmony, of Writer in the Making tagged me back on Friday, so here are my answers:

How do you achieve balance in your life?
I ruthlessly prioritize. I constantly ask myself what’s the most important, and act on that. And, I give myself the day off or change my mind when my intuition tells me so to do. I’m getting better at throwing other people’s agendas back at them instead of feeling I have to acquiesce. Also, running two full-time careers, even though I’m doing the transition, is not easy. It’s been difficult to stay balanced through all the home-and-hearth chaos with the Evil Developers. I’m counting on it being easier once I’ve moved.


What is your biggest challenge in balancing your life?

Other people’s agendas in conflict with mine. Constantly having to weigh where someone fits (or doesn’t) into my life and if that agenda should be taken into consideration.


What are your priorities?

My writing and my extended family hold the top spot together. They are equally important to me. Writing is breathing to me, and I’m no good to anyone, including myself, if I’m not writing. Walking my talk is another priority – I have strong opinions as far as personal conduct (treading lightly on the earth, treating people well, social justice, etc.) – but if I don’t live my life that way, it means nothing.


How have your priorities changed over time and why?

Writing has always been a priority, but there were about 15 years in the middle where working in technical theatre took over, and often the only writing was in my diaries. I lost confidence in my abilities, and I made the mistake of putting other people’s work before my own – thinking it would naturally balance out. Of course, it doesn’t – those people expect and demand to always be put first and never are willing to offer the same kind of support. So, eventually, if you have any self-esteem, you remove yourself from the situation and re-prioritize. At this point, “partnership”, to me, means we both work towards both our goals – not one or the other repressing or putting aside the goals only to work for the other person’s.

What advice can you share to help all of us learn to balance our own lives?
The word “no” is your best friend.
Don’t settle. Always strive.

I’m going to tag: Tammy, Rhian, Colin, Ann, and Tori for this one (and anyone else who wishes, please feel free to join in).

Ink in My Potting Soil
Over the past few days, four little tiny morning glory plants have struggled up through the soil. Nothing else has ventured out yet – but those four determined little shoots are here!

Writing
I spent most of yesterday working on Good Names. I wrote the first draft of Chapter One – slow going, just over 2500 words, but steady progress, and it feels right. I did some research, and embarked on the second chapter. We’re still in Chicago, but Althea has taken Ruby (the character through whose eyes the story is told) and her younger brother and sister (Althea’s brother’s children) away from their cruel stepmother. I’ve decided to lodge them at the Congress Hotel. They will only be in Chicago for another chapter or two before I put them on the Twentieth Century Limited luxury train and send them to New York. I decided that Althea’s New York City home will be in the Grammercy Park area; I’m still not sure in which town in Westchester she will live, although I’m leaning towards Tarrytown. I can’t make it to the Westchester Archives for the next two weeks – but I doubt I’ll be done with the New York city section by then.

I still have to weave Jane Addams and Agnes Nestor into the Chicago section, but I have to do some more research before that will work. I remember reading about Jane Addams when I was in elementary school, as one of The Childhood of Famous Americans series – but that’s not going to be good enough for this.

I did a little bit this morning, just over two pages, but need to do some more research for detail.


Ink in My Kitchen

The blueberry scone recipe went out yesterday. If you didn’t get it, but wanted it, drop me an email with your email and I’ll send it off to you.

I also worked on some other recipes for The Project. I’m being naughty – I should do one batch exactly as written before I make any changes – but when I know something isn’t working, or when I taste and it’s bland – I’m making the changes right away. And notating them.

I baked a few loaves of Swedish Coffee Bread (which doesn’t look like any Swedish recipe I’ve ever seen in a Scandinavian cookbook). Then, I worked on the cottage cheese pie recipe – different crust – and something went wrong in the oven, it started belching black smoke and there were the beginnings of flames, and I was afraid we’d have a kitchen fire (we had one in 2002). I turned everything off, got the cake out of the oven, turned on all the fans, opened the windows. The fire didn’t catch, it went out, fortunately – I didn’t even have to use the fire extinguisher. But it was traumatic. And here I had a partially warmed cottage cheese mess on my hands – so I dashed to a neighbor’s downstairs and used her oven instead. Thank goodness for neighbors.

And, when I move, I’m getting a custom-built oven.

Both the bread and the pie taste pretty darned good, though!

This morning, I tore apart the over and scrubbed everything down – even though it was remarkably clean. I couldn’t find any reason for what happened – which worries me even more. I tested the oven, and it seems to be working fine, but I’m still nervous.

Other Stuff
I went to my friend’s place to do laundry on Saturday. When I tried to leave – the dog jumped into my brand-new car and wouldn’t get out. It took the two of us forty minutes to wrestle him out of the car – and now I’ve got blonde Labrador hair all over the car! I even drove him around the driveway a few times, hoping he’d be satisfied, but no . . .I didn’t dare take him for a longer jaunt because they’ve got an electric fence and I didn’t want him to get shocked. It was funny . . .to a point.

Spooky ate two dishes of kibble Saturday and demanded a good, long cuddle. He’s shedding, too, so I have to get him his own brush (until everyone’s been to the vet I’m not mixing anything they use and I’m washing my hands thoroughly in between touching anyone). AND I’m looking after my neighbor’s enormous cat while she’s away this weekend, and he had to have attention – I’m telling you, Saturday was all about being at the beck and call of critters.

My girls were horrified that I smelled of two other cats AND a dog!

We watched programs on professional cat shows and on doggie day care, and I said to my three, “See, there are owners out here who are even nuttier than I am!” They were truly horrified by the cat show program and the cats yowling, and figured they have a much better deal here. Nothing against cat shows – those owners do adore their cats – but it’s not the kind of life mine want!

One of the cat food cookbooks arrived – vet approved recipes – and there’s a section called “Cooking in Tandem” with quantities for owners and pets together – dual recipes. Um, that might be even too extreme for me.

I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert, of course, hooks up with another guy by the end of the book – god forbid she should actually be comfortable in solitude, which is far more complex than simple celibacy. She goes on and on about how different she is now, after her trip – well, all I see is a woman who went from being in a marriage, rearranging her life for some guy, to being in an affair and rearranging her life with some guy. It seems, to me, she’s in the same situation, but in a different location with a different guy. Change is about more than just a few weeks without sex.

Started reading Daughter of Vermont, about Ella Eaton Hepburn, a young woman who was one of the early classes in the co-educational St. Lawrence University, near the turn of the twentieth century. The book is fascinating and there’s information I can use in Good Names.

I want to get back to Good Names today, do some more work on Circadian and a few other projects. Hopefully, Confidential Job #1 will give me my next assignment and Confidential Job #2 will send me the test assignment, and I can get going on those.

Devon


Good Names
— 3,000 words out of est. 100,000

April 5, 2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Misty and cold

I decided that Saturn can’t STILL be retrograde, so, even though I can’t find a “direct” on my calendars – I hereby declare it DIRECT! With both Pluto (hidden things) and Jupiter (money, material things) retrograde, I am NOT dealing with a continuing Saturn Retrograde as well. SO THERE!

I could not get the engines fired yesterday. I made it to Old Greenwich to Staples, where I got the binders I needed and a new Staples Rewards card. About time – I’ve had the old one for five years and it’s done me NO good.

At least I have binders to organize the information for Good Names.

Someone asked me the other day if I didn’t think Good Names was too close to Mia King’s title of Good Things. Well, no, and not just because they’re in two different genres and two different time periods. When I speak the title of Mia’s book, I put the emphasis on the first word: GOOD Things. When I speak the title of my book, the emphasis is on the second word: Good NAMES. To me, the inflection keeps the titles from being too similar. Plus, to me, both are the beginnings of phrases with quite different roots and meanings – they take us to different places.

Got out a couple of pitches and spent too much time dilly dallying on the internet. Now that I’ve limited the time spent on various forums (although I’m still having technical difficulties and can’t get in to the freelance forum that’s my absolute lifeline), I’m more focused with my time. But I’m doing some research, and the problem with research is tangents. I love tangents, and some of my best inspiration comes from tangents, but one still has to be careful.

It rained and rained and rained yesterday, so I kept the car on high ground and I’m hoping I don’t get a ticket. I will challenge it if I do.

Spooky stopped by this morning for a snack and a pet. He has absolutely no interest in being an indoor cat. He likes his independence too much. However, he does count on me for regular meals and cuddling. He’s getting the best of this deal, I think, but at least my girls aren’t upset.

I’m enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love more and more. It’s nice to watch her blossom into herself, instead of completely defining herself by men all the time (at the start, she was one of those people who had to be in a relationship all the time – the type of woman with whom I have absolutely NO patience). And her details and asides, especially in the section on Italy, are wonderful, funny, and engaging.

Worked on the guest blogger piece. Will give it a quick polish before I send it out this morning.

Started to sign up for the Freelancers Union – but found some of their questions during the sign-up process intrusive, and, quite frankly, none of their business. I should be able to choose not to answer them. If they keep insisting – I will UN-sign up.

Chaz Brenchley’s new novel, River of the World, arrived last night, and I look forward to reading it.

I prepared chicken and Italian sweet sausage last night, cooked in garlic, onion, tomato, and thyme, served over pasta, with green beans on the side. It was very good.

I have a busy morning ahead of me – the post office may deign to be open for a few hours, and I need to get some packages out to my cousin in Germany. And then I need to sort some more receipts in preparation for taxes. And work on The Project. And write. I want to get some work done on Good Names.

Devon

April 3, 2007

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Lisa Gates, whose wonderful blog Design Your Writing Life I found through my friend Lori’s wonderful blog Words on the Page gave me a lovely mention in her blog yesterday.

Thank you, Lisa! Her blog’s great, and I’m adding it to my daily blog reads.

Ran a bunch o’errands yesterday morning – tried to get something that was advertised in the Staples circular by going to the store up the street – why do I bother? They NEVER have anything I need and they have absolutely no interest in getting it in the store, even if nicely asked. Which is why I usually go all the way to damn Connecticut for supplies. Nothing against the state, but I shouldn’t have to drive one state over when there’s a branch of the store up the block! I didn’t drive to CT – I simply went without.

Used a coupon at Linens N Things AND took advantage of their buy 2-get-1-free baking pan offer – got two more loaf pans AND the right kind of springform pan for proper cheesecake (no more store bought graham cracker crusts for me)!

And bought a new purse for me for an upcoming trip (more on that at some future date).

April’s turning out much busier and more social than I expected, but it’s all good.

Finished the work for the Confidential Job, wrote up what I needed to, got it out. Goody.

Spent a few hours today sorting receipts, filing, and, in general, taming the Paper Monster. Two of the three piles on my desk are now small. The third – well, we’ll get to that by the turn of the next century. Maybe.

I’m organizing the notes for Good Names, so I can see where there are holes. In this instance, I’m going to plug the holes BEFORE I start – because of the historical time frame, I need to pre-plot pretty tightly, and then I’m going to research specifics as I go. We’ll see how that works. As I’ve said many a time, every project is someone like reinventing the wheel. But you take what you’ve learned before and apply it, so usually the process is quicker than the previous times.

I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and it’s interesting in the best sense of the word. There’s a lot of beautiful writing. There are also plenty of times when I want to slap her silly. However, I also appreciate that she’s not trying to make herself look better, she’s out there, flaws and all. She’s sharing a very personal journey. Part of me applauds her for it and part of me wonders why. Although she’s pretty upfront about why – her publisher accepted the book about her trip before she took it, which gave her the money to take that year off and experience the experiences in the book. There’s some self-obsession with her own drama, at least in these early pages, that sets off warning bells for me, though.

Managed to get out a piece on submission that’s been sitting around, tapping its foot (its binding?) and is finally out the door. Hopefully, I’ve matchmade it to the right home this time.

I have to go into the city early to do some business before I get to the show – I haven’t been at the theatre for nearly two weeks. It will be odd to be back.

Devon

PS. The blueberry scone recipe will go out to those who requested it later this week. It’s based on Brooke Dojny’s cranberry scone recipe, but a little different, from The New England Cookbook, cross referenced with some of the little Scottish cookbooks I picked up when I was in Scotland.

April 2 — Happy Anniversary, Ink!

Monday, April 2, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Happy Anniversary to Ink in My Coffee!

The blog turns 3 today. Who knew I had so much to say?

Yesterday was all about cooking, working on recipes. And doing some of my own cooking. Made blueberry scones for breakfast. Experimented with a bread that was in a handwritten cookbook my grandmother gave me – only the proportions were off, I had to improvise, when the dough rose it nearly took over the entire kitchen like some sort of sticky alien monster – and it turns out the recipe was written by someone else! It tastes good, though, and, in the end, that’s what matters. And then I did a cottage cheese pie from the same book – but this time, I was sure it was my grandmother’s handwriting! I created a good red wine marinade for pork chops and created a nice sauté of eggplant, tomato, and peas with cilantro and basil. So it all worked out just fine – but it was a whole day of cooking. And now I have to make the notations, etc.

I caught up on a bunch of paperwork last night. There’s still a paper monster to tame, but at least I’ve made some progress. I want to get my taxes done on Wednesday, so I have to finish up all my receipts in the next couple of days.

Circadian Poems should return by the end of the day, if all goes well.

I have to run some errands (like getting more loaf pans for the Swedish Coffee Bread that has to be baked today) and finish the work for The Confidential Job. So I guess I’ve got a busy day ahead of me!

Worked on the 1903 piece both last night and this morning – I think I’m almost ready to type up my notes/outline, do some preliminary research, and start. I even have a title for it: Good Names, which will make sense once you know the plot, since it has a lot to do with society and reputation.

I hope, later this week, to read the draft of Assumption of Right and get to work on the revisions.

Had a revelation about the Changeling trilogy. It’s not a trilogy of novellas at all – it’s a novel. So now I can get on with it – and I’m going to call the whole piece Chasing the Changeling. There will still be three distinct sections in the book, but it’s one piece, not three little pieces, and I might as well admit it and do what’s right for the piece, instead of trying to make it what it’s not.

Sometimes you look at your work where you’ve been struggling and suddenly you just go, “Duh.”


Ink in My Potting Soil

The begonia, Christmas cactus, and one of the kalachoe are blooming. I need to repot a lemon tree (grown from seed) that’s as tall as the double window and needs more room, and plant some wheat grass for the cats. Today is another planting day.

Devon

Published in: on April 2, 2007 at 8:29 am  Comments (15)  

April 1, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I caught up on some email yesterday. It was a nice day, so I thought I’d take my work to the beach again, but it was a little too cold. I felt overtired, as though I’d pushed too hard, so took it easy in the afternoon.

Finished the first two volumes of LM Montgomery’s Journals. In many ways, I like them; in many ways, she annoys me. She needed to learn to say “no” much earlier in life, and to stop playing the martyr. Simply saying women didn’t have the choice at that time is not entirely true – the only way, throughout history, any progress has been made, is for individuals (male and female) to flout society and do what they knew was right – or what they had to do in order to protect their calling, be it artistic, scientific, whatever. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton broke the mold in earlier years. The constant complaining about how boring everyone is around her and the constant crying and illness – honey, you’re a writer. These people are material. Just because they don’t share the same interests you do doesn’t mean they don’t have value. When she finally stood up to the publishers who’d cheated her, I wanted to jump up and cheer. I was also unhappy to find out what a snob she was – constantly calling people coarse and vulgar. It may well have been part of the language of the times, but it wasn’t pleasant to read. At the same time, she did have a rough row to hoe, and there are many beautiful passages in the Journals.

I ordered the third volume out of Canada. I’m simply not patient enough to wait another two or three years until it comes up on eBay. Plus, supposedly, the third volume deals with the Emily books, and I’ve always been fond of them.

I was actually hungry last night, and fixed a meat sauce for the pasta with onion, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, tomato, and a touch of hot sauce. Yum!

This morning, I made blueberry scones, and I have several other recipes with which I need to play in the course of the day.

Got a bit more done on the 1903 outline today. The middle seems to be un-muddling a bit. I have a feeling I’ll be lucky if, when I finally sit down to write it, I can do a page a day. I suspect this piece will have a slow creation process. Each piece has its own rhythm, and I have to trust the rhythm.

Ink in My Potting Soil

Yesterday was a planting day, according to my lunar calendar. I planted some cuttings, plus put in seeds for two kinds of morning glories, moonflower, marigold, a single sweet pea seed I had left, lemon, and some nicotiana. We’ll see if any of it comes up – they are old seeds, and I wanted to use them up. Plus, I only have north-facing windows. Yet the lemon, lime, and tangerine seeds I’ve planted in previous years usually come up pretty well.

I can hope, right?

Devon

Published in: on April 1, 2007 at 8:54 am  Comments (3)  

March 31, 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself. I ran my errands in the morning, which included hitting a bookstore to pick up a belated birthday present for a colleague, replacing my atlas that was lost with the car in the flood, and picking up yet another book for myself. I’ve been on a book-buying frenzy lately, and it really needs to stop.

Right.

Came back, ate lunch (major victory), and then packed up the work for the Confidential Job and took it to the beach. I got a little over a third of it done there during the afternoon, which was great. It’s an interesting assignment, which always helps.

It was such a gorgeous day, and lovely to be outside. Very restorative.

I wanted to shake one lady, though. She’s there with her two kids, and all she does is talk to people and tell them what an angel her older son is and what a problem her younger son is, right in front of them. Talk about a way to screw up the kids! My vibe was that the older “angel” just knew how not to get caught, and the younger one bore the brunt of everything. Idiots like that woman are why the issue of licensing parents comes up.

Plenty of dogs playing in the park (they are, after all, the inspiration for the “Dogs on Beach” stories).

Came back and was ravenously hungry, so I made chicken in a wine sauce with mushrooms, rosemary, onion, olives, and tomatoes, based on a Marcella Hazen recipe, but a little different. It turned out pretty well. Along with the baked potatoes.

Also got out three more pitches – but one has an address that’s “undeliverable”. I’ve checked the address three times, and it’s right, so there was a mistake in the ad. Oh, well.

And it’s always the lowest paying gigs with the biggest egos, isn’t it? There’s a little Podunk publication paying below minimum asking for pitches for short articles (200 words). I have the research, it seemed like something relatively painless, maybe even a bit fun. I send them some detailed pitches, and they write back asking me to “develop” the pitches so they get a sense of my voice. All with plenty of exclamation points and smilies in the email, of course. My voice is blatantly obvious in the pitch and cover letter, and you have to be kind of an idiot not to get a sense of it. Or aren’t actually reading what’s in front of you. Uh, any more developed and you’ll have the entire article, and, babycakes, I’m not doing it without a contract, since I’ve never heard of you before and it’s unlikely I will again. Had they asked for samples, no problem. I’ve got a portfolio of samples, ready to go out upon request, which give solid indications of style, voice, and range. But, basically, here, they’re asking me to write on spec, and they’re just not worth it to me. If the article is 200 words, the pitch isn’t going to be 199. Buh-bye.

I’m not going to do a March Wrap-Up because March was basically a lost month, between the flood, the lost car, the new car, and getting sick. So I’m rolling over the bulk of the March GDRs to April and seeing what I can get done. I totally blew a deadline for an anthology, but it was requested, not contracted, so I don’t feel as bad as I might otherwise feel. All the contracted work was completed on time. The rest – take a number and I’ll get to it when I can.

Today I need to do a bunch of admin work, finish the assignment for the Confidential Job, and work on The Project. And maybe do some of that at the beach, if it’s another nice day. I managed about an hour this morning, outlining the Turn of the Century project. I’ve got a strong beginning and a strong ending plotted. As usual, I’m suffering in the middle. I’m also keeping a running list of what I need to research as I plot.

Devon

PS Brandy – thanks for the tip on the dry food. I feed mine Purina Naturals or Purina Indoor formula. I emailed Newman’s Own yesterday, asking them where their food is prepared and how. I received a quick, very nice response that still got on my nerves. They have a “confidentiality agreement” with the plant, and can’t tell me where, but assured me they have their own quality control people checking the site regularly and that the gentleman who responded feeds his animals NOO in clear conscience. My retort was that, if he couldn’t tell me it was NOT prepared at Menu Foods, I wasn’t about to risk it. I ordered a cat food cookbook yesterday, and found another one which I plan to order – and I’m going to go back to preparing their food myself. I’ll ask the vet if I need to add vitamin supplements to the mixes.

Published in: on March 31, 2007 at 8:54 am  Comments (6)  

March 6 Update

The heat kicked in around 3 AM, which is a good thing, since, with the wind chill, it is -19 this morning.

Yesterday was all about dealing with insurance, getting the car towed, getting the loaner, etc. I was just too tired to do much online — although I managed to send out two pitches (although I doubt I’ll be hired — I played hardball with the $$ upfront).

I kept the apartment warm yesterday by cooking and experimenting with recipes for The Project yesterday, and I have a cake in the oven this morning.

Hopefully, there’s enough hot water left so I can shower here instead of at the theatre. We’ll see.

It snowed yesterday and is supposed to snow tomorrow. Are we ever going to catch a break?

I’m exhausted, physically and emotionally, and heading into the theatre for another 14 hour day. I’ve also managed to pull something in my lower back, so work will be a challenge.

I’ll write in more detail in a few days, when I feel up to it, and post the photos.

Off to the show.

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2007 at 8:10 am  Comments (11)