Wed. Jan. 5, 2022: And Then The Crows Came

image courtesy of kytalpa via

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I think there’s a storm coming in. I hope I can coax the car to the grocery store and back. It’s too cold to walk, and I need to do a big shop, not a small one.

What happened around DC yesterday, with people being stuck in their cars on the road for 27 hours is not okay. This is where we need robotics; mechanized plows that understand the difference between stalled cars or life forms and snow, who can clear roads in bad weather and get people out when they’re stuck, so that emergency personnel can then follow in and provide assistance.

I managed a little over 1600 words on The Big Project. I like what I wrote, but I needed to get double done.

Mailed some bills down the street at the mailbox in front of the college security building, and then went next door to see if Cumberland Farms had any eggs left. They did not.

Got some blog posts written, and then got into a container gardening discussion on Twitter. It hit me just how much I miss my beloved lilacs, some of which I raised from slips. But at least I gave them to avid gardeners, who will care for them, or pass them on to those who will.

Then, my murder of crows showed up, joined by two other murders of crows (I’m calling them a “murderati” even though it’s not correct).  One of the crows who usually visits me at the front of the house every day kept flying back and forth at the office window (which is on the side of the house). Very upset. All the crows were very upset. It’s not like them, especially at dusk, and they were joined by their friends, so something was up.

I excused myself from the conversation and bundled up (figured I might as well get the mail while I was out). The crows were really, REALLY upset, flying, swooping, screaming.

I think their behavior has more than one reason, although I don’t have all the answers.

There were some flocks of birds – I think they were starlings, but I couldn’t see, in the lack of light – flying over. The crows drove them away, but that couldn’t be the cause of the upset. I didn’t see any hawks, eagles, or owls. 

Back on Cape, when I had an owl living in the back yard for a few years, the owl kept to the back and territories past the backyard, while that local murder of crows hung out in the front. It was the blue jays who went back and forth, making trouble.

However, my direct downstairs neighbors had a visitor. The crows HATED him for some reason, and were dive bombing him. Which made me immediately suspicious of him. Had he hurt one of their group?

My dislike was supported when the dogs in the neighborhood all started growling at the guy. Now, my other downstairs neighbors have two guard dogs who don’t like anyone outside of their own people, although they’re starting to get used to me (especially since I always tell them how handsome and good they are, every time I see them). But the little mop dog across the street, who loves EVERYBODY, pulled on her leash and growled like she was going to rip the guy’s throat out.

In other words, this guy is bad news.

He scrambled into the house, and I hope he doesn’t stay long.

But the crows were still upset. They were flying around and screaming over by the library cattycorner from where I live. There’s some construction in a building near it, and I worried that maybe one of their group had gotten injured or tangled in something. I went over to the library parking lot to see if I could figure it out (and then call someone), But the crows took off from there, and went across the street, to the wooded area behind some houses, sort of in the direction of the lake.

I couldn’t follow them without trespassing. It didn’t seem like the behavior of crows having a funeral for one of their own (if you’re interested, there’s a good article about that here).

But they were very upset, and I didn’t like not being able to help them. They kept moving further and further towards the lake, so maybe it was some sort of predator (hopefully a four-legged and not a two-legged) and they were trying to get it out of their territory. I didn’t find any evidence that any of them were actually hurt.

I hope it’s not a fisher. I dislike fishers intensely. In Maine, they ate all the cats, and attacked dogs and some humans, too. But the fishers I’ve encountered have a distinct smell, sulphery, like rotten eggs, and I didn’t smell that at all.

I didn’t write up my coverage, so I will have to catch up today, along with the grocery store and some other things, and the next chunk of The Big Project.

Hopefully, the car will make it to the store and back. I’m going back to decontamination protocols for myself whenever I leave the house and come back after interactions. We’re not back to washing the groceries yet, but, if need be, we will.

Also, once I’m back from the store (hopefully, before the storm starts), I’ll take a tromp around the neighborhood to check on the crows. They did a fly-by this morning, but it was the regular murder, not the murderati. It was pretty much the morning hello.

Knowledge Unicorns started back up last night. The relief all of us involved have at the kids not being in school with all the chaos is huge. As is their relief not to have to deal with constant active shooter drills, in addition to worrying they might catch COVID from fellow students with anti-vaxxer morons for parents. We made the right decision. Everyone’s tired, but at least, at this point, still alive, which is more than can be said for several of their friends and their friends’ parents.

One of the fun things we did was to do a virtual tour of the Doges Palace in Venice, and talk about some of the art and the history.

I have to be off, so I can get everything done before the storm. Peace, friends, and let’s hope the power stays on, at least until I get my coverages submitted.

I really needed to take this week off, too, although I can’t afford it. Will have to consider that for next year, planning my time so that I take from the Winter Solstice off through the first week of the new year.

Published in: on January 5, 2022 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 5, 2022: And Then The Crows Came  
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It feels as though my soul is sick. That’s the only way I can describe it, because this is far more than just physical exhaustion. It feels as though the whole weight of the last three years, which started with my mom’s accident and the Evil Developers trying to drive everyone into the street just hit me with a wallop.

However, people tend to be kind if you allow it, and I’m certainly allowing people to be kind right now. All of you are lovely, and several clients and potential clients understand that I will be out of touch most of this week, dealing with family matters.

The coward in me doesn’t want to go to Maine to face the inevitable, but I know I would always regret it if I didn’t go.

I slept most of the day yesterday, but was, basically, non-functional. I packed, and my writing bag is almost packed. I hope that the pleasure I always take in the journey will give me strength so I can take care of my grandmother and everyone else who needs to be taken care of once I get up there.

Wrote and got out my post-Derby article, with a few choice words for those who want to ban the sport. Because, as usual, those who screech the loudest have no suggestions for the care of the tens of thousands of horses who would be left homeless by such a ban. If you’re going to pretend to be an activist, take an active part in coming up with solutions, not just standing on a soap box making proclamations.

Celayne, I understand your disagreement. But, like the rest, you did not offer a solution. Have you ever spent any time around thoroughbred barns? Have you ever seen the interaction between the horse and the trainer, the horse and its jockey, and, especially, the horse and the groom? At least 10,000 thoroughbreds are foaled per year. Horses live between 20-30 years, and it takes a couple of thousand dollars per week to feed and house them. If an immediate ban were put on the sport, the majority would be sent to slaughterhouses and turned into dog food, because there’s no one to feed them and care for them. You have dogs, Celeyne. Chances are good that if you feed them purchased food instead of preparing your own that you’re feeding them race horses that have been sent to the slaughterhouse once they stopped earning their keep. Most dog food has horsemeat in it. It doesn’t say so on the can, but do a little research on your particular brand. Even some of the so-called “natural” foods use horse meat as their main source. Where do you think that comes from? Not from horses that died natural deaths. What solution do you propose? What, personally, do you intend to do to manifest change? How many of those horses are you personally willing to take on? How many ex-racehorses have you adopted? Now, I don’t have one sitting in the parking lot, but horse charities are where the majority of my donations go. In other words, although I don’t keep one in the courtyard, I do pay money every month towards keeping rescued and retired racehorses fed and alive. If I had a farm and the income, I’d have a facility for rescued/injured/retired thoroughbreds. That’s one of my dreams. Along with a financial plan to make sure they aren’t sold to slaughter once I die. But to simply ban the sport without having a plan IN PLACE to care for these thousands of animals is a larger act of cruelty than to try to fix the sport from the inside.

I’m about to take the car in for its 10K check-up. Barely a year old, and already 10K! Gas is now between $4.29 and $4.69 a gallon up here. Bush just keeps letting his friends economically rape us, and he just sits back and giggles. If I can come up with at least a dozen viable solutions to ease the pain at the pump, the government should be able to come up and implement twice as many. But Bush will never see his buddies make less than a double billion figure profit, no matter how much of this country descends into poverty and recession. Because it doesn’t affect him personally, he has the ability to ignore any reality he doesn’t like, and he simply does not care, as long as he gets to play President and do as he darn well pleases, getting stroked by big business.

I’m off line most of this week, up in Maine, taking care of my grandmother. I will check in when I get back.


Devon’s Bookstore:

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

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

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

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 6:27 am  Comments (8)  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The trip down to Philly was so smooth. Up at 5 (okay, not so much fun), on a 7 AM train to the city (late as usual), cruised smoothly across the Deuce. Kind of gross when a dead pigeon fell from the sky and landed on the sidewalk next to me, but it would have been worse if it landed ON me.

Got to Port Authority; saw the building in which I used to live, which is in terrible shape. Got on the bus, we left on time, and we made it down to Philly in an hour and a half. I’ve never travelled down that smoothly.

Needless to say, I did not take The Demon Bus from Hell this time. I stuck to Greyhound.

Grabbed a cab, got to where I’m staying, unpacked, went grocery shopping. Decided to go to the bookstore. Grabbed the Sharon Shinn novel I wanted, and, on impulse, went upstairs to the DVD section, and there it was: A Dog’s Breakfast. Can’t get it in NY, but it’s here in Philly. So I grabbed it. Can’t figure out how to use the DVD player in this place (why do there have to be SEVEN remotes and one needs a different configuration for everything?), so I’ll watch it when I get home. But I have it.

It was sunny and I spent some time in Rittenhouse Square, playing with other people’s dogs. I am a puppy magnet. I used to go to Central Park to read and write, and within five minutes, I was covered in dogs. I don’t mind at all.

I spent most of the day reading Sharon Shinn’s MYSTIC AND RIDER, which has joined my list of favorite books. I know I’ll re-read it often.

Worked on the screenplay. I hit 60 pages, the halfway point, this morning, and hope to get a lot of writing done on several different projects today.

Stacia, just because you haven’t received advances in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or that any of us shouldn’t. I emphasize again: Publishers have no reason to exist without writers. And writers deserve to be paid for their work. Paid a fair, living wage, and THEN a share of continuing profits. Not pie-in-the-sky, maybe you’ll get paid someday. Accounting numbers are moved around all the time to say what companies want them to say. Bet you most of those people never get a penny EVER. And yet the publisher will show a profit. That’s why we have unions — so we get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work with a finite amount of time.

Will this experiment destroy publishing? No. Does it chip away at the few rights writers retain? Of course. It’s what happens at every negotiation, because publishers/producers/etc. have no respect for what creative people do. And unless the writers and their agents take a stand, pretty soon the only kind of publishing that exits will be POD. A line needs to be drawn, and this is a good place to start.

I have no problems with advances that aren’t in the six figures, but have more parity spread among the authors on the list. As long as it’s a reasonable amount. And as long as the lack of a large advance doesn’t cause the publisher to ignore the promotional needs of the book. What I’m against is NO advance, with the promise that “maybe” in the future you’ll get a larger share of royalties. I’m telling you right now there will be clauses in the contract declaring royalites won’t even start being considered until all production, shipping, editing, etc. costs are recouped, so most writers will NEVER see a penny. They won’t start calculating royalites with the sale of the first book. I’ve worked on contracts departments — I know how they do this.


Published in: on April 6, 2008 at 8:14 am  Comments (9)  

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Just a quick check-in – home only long enough to refill cat feeders, unpack and repack, take care of some business, run some errands, and off I go again.

The first article for Blessed Gardens is here:

And the 2008 Llewellyn Annuals are out! I have work in The Magical Almanac, The Spell-A-Day, The Tarot Reader, and the Herbal Almanac.

I’m thinking about the next novel. I wanted to wait awhile, but this particular tale has been forming for a few weeks now, and, since Good Names is now in typing stage instead of creation stage . . .I have to do some more percolating, and I’ll probably actually start it when the moon turns to new next week. Plus, I sat down and figured out what projects are in what stages, so I can get through the backlog and start getting projects out. There’s no point in doing all this writing if it just piles up. Finishing, revisions, and submissions are important.

The past few days, I’ve been in the city working with a small dog. He was taken off death row in one of the shelters by an acquaintance of mine who felt sorry for him. The shelter workers hated him; no one wanted him; he was deemed unadoptable, aggressive, and sentenced to death.

Those people were either crazy or lazy.

This is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever met. He’s young, affectionate, and intelligent. He’s also frightened and insecure, and when he panics, it blocks his intelligence. Yes, he was a basket case when I walked in the door. But, when I left yesterday to go to the theatre, he was calm, affectionate, obeyed basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, “go find” and “no”. All he needed was structure and love, and he got both. He’s fine. He’s a delight. He’s still unsure of strange people, but he’s really good with other dogs. When I sat at the table, writing, he’d curl up by my feet. When I read the paper in the morning, he’d sit in my lap. He snuggled when we watched television at night, or later on in bed. He’s a delight. If his human keeps up the structures I’ve started, there’s nothing he can’t learn, except maybe to do things that require opposable thumbs.

How many other dogs are being killed every day, simply because they’re smart and the people around them were either stupid or lazy? It breaks my heart.

And I miss him terribly. Talk about instant bonding.

My untrainable cats are happy that I’m home and I’ve lavished plenty of affection on them last night and this morning. They all “helped” me crochet last night – which means I spent quite a bit of time retrieving yarn from under the bed, behind the bookcase, etc., etc.

Diane – to answer your question, new owners are unlikely to improve our conditions. What they are likely to do is try to toss us all out on our asses again, despite the ETPA protections. Which is yet another reason I’m stepping up the house hunt. I’m sick of the bullshit.

Brandy – to answer your question: most people find knitting very easy. I have a terrible time casting on, although Anita at “Snapshots of a Life in Pictures and Words” is a great knitter and gave me some good tips. Once I’m actually knitting, I’m okay, although I’m slow. But the casting on . . . I’m pretty useless. And without casting on, you can’t knit. I’m still more comfortable with crocheting, so that’s what I’m focusing on now. My mom is a superb knitter, but won’t use a pattern. I buy the yarn, sketch out what I want, and she does it.

Day work was okay yesterday, but my focus is so far from theatrical work right now that I really had to pay attention. I can’t slack off and expect other people to clean up after me because I’m busy with other things. Plus, the call is getting more and more stuff heaped on it all the time, so I just prioritize each time I’m in there, and do the most important things first, and then however much else I can fit into the call and there it is. Some of the stuff has been put in because the dressers don’t feel like doing it; some of it is simply because different people are in different tracks and different things happen.

The construction guys are using the power tools that drive me crazy (yes, I know, short drive) right under my window. So much for getting creative work done this morning.

I managed to get some decent work done on “Revenge Tangents”, which I’ve finally accepted is actually Revenge Tangents and will be a novella.

Off to deal with the unpleasant b.s,, run some errands, do some prep work, and off to the next gig. “See” you all in a few days.


Revenge Tangents – 13,635 words out of est. 15,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
13 / 15
Published in: on September 5, 2007 at 7:58 am  Comments (11)  

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m making a flying visit home to feed the cats. The gig in CT is going well – they have a great fitness room, and I’m taking full advantage.

I have THREE articles in this week’s issue of FemmeFan:

Horse Racing at Saratoga, pre-Travers:

Horse Racing at Del Mar:

and the Central New York Scottish Games:

Check them out, if you get the chance!

I’m home long enough to feed the cats, check some email, and get some business done, then it’s back to CT. I don’t have internet access there. I don’t mind, though, because I’m getting both writing and percolating done.

I do have something to say about the Michael Vicks case: this man is accused of running a dog fighting ring and either drowning or hanging several dogs himself. The NFL is only worried about the gambling aspect; and Vicks himself has apologized for his “mistakes”. Torturing and murdering animals is more than a “mistake”, and the NFL’s shrugging off of these acts is disgusting. All I have to say is give me ten minutes with Vicks, alone in a room with him. At first, I wanted a machete. But I don’t need one. And I’m sure there are many people who feel the same way I do.

In my opinion, the so-called “justice system” is going to wait until he murders a girlfriend or someone he considers a rival somewhere down the road before they do anything more than slap him on the wrist. Again, look at the studies: if someone is capable of doing this to an animal, they often move up to do it to children and then adults.

And PETA completely failed the animals here. All they did was go to the hearings, stand outside and screech. If they were actually motivated activists, they would have infiltrated the ring and taken it down. The idea of an organization like PETA is a good one, but the way they put their so-called beliefs into action – or lack thereof – is ridiculous.

Let us hope the Karma Dogs appear very quickly to take care of this situation. I have no doubt they will be far more inventive and imaginative than I could ever be.

Good Names is chugging along well. I’m in the last three or four chapters. I think it will come in at under 100K, which is a good thing, because than it means the next draft won’t be so over the word count I have to cut 1/3. I’m also slowing down as I near the end, because I hate the thought of leaving these characters. However, the next draft needs to build more tension and toss in more red herrings at certain points. This is far too straightforward a narrative as it currently stands.

“Revenge Tangents” is moving along, but it’s getting bigger than I thought. That’s okay, because I have the scope of the overall project in my head, and it can be whatever it wants to be.

Did some planning on some other projects, and I hope to get some work done on Tracking Medusa over the next few days.

Must check job boards, get some pitches out, do the first couple of pages on a couple of articles, and then get back to CT. I have a batch of brownies in the oven – it’s easier for me to make them here than over there, although I’m totally enamored of the kitchen there.

My thoughts are with everyone in the middle of the country, dealing with flooding. I hope the waters recede soon and there’s a break in the weather. I know, first-hand, how devastating this can be.

And the Utah miners and their families are in my thoughts and prayers. Something must be done to bring these men home. The owner saying there’s nothing he can do is crap. Then he shouldn’t have sent them in there in the first place.

FDNY lost two more firefighters when the former Deutsche Bank building beside the World Trade Center site caught fire – and they were trapped by shoddy construction work and the fact that the stand pipe supposed to get water up to the higher floors had been taken apart by the construction crews and left in the basement. The way this building’s demolition has been handled for the past six years has been completely unacceptable – especially since they keep finding human remains from 9/1ll there. Two more firefighters – from a house who lost 11 men on 9/11 – should not have had to die because of the greedy developers. And I’m getting tired of these same greedy developers – who did not lose anyone on that day – saying that we need to “get over” 9/11. There’s a difference between getting over something and healing from it to rebuild lives. The developers don’t care how many people were murdered that day; they want their cash. We never will get over it, even as we rebuild lives, the site should be a memorial the way Pearl Harbor is a memorial, and these greedy bastards need to be run out of town.

On that note (ahem), I’m going to do an hour or two of focused work here online, and then get back to the CT gig.


Good Names – 65,632 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
65 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 11,875 words out of est. 12,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
11 / 12

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Love this cooler weather!

Last night was quite the ridiculousness, thanks to Psycho Next-Door Neighbor. I wanted to catch up on rest, so I went to bed early. Imagine my surprise when I wake up, a couple of hours later, to hissing cats and some guy I’ve never seen before trying to open my screen, then saying, “There’s someone in here” and PNDN saying, “you’re kidding.”

I jumped right up and yelled, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing out there!”

The excuse was that PNDN had locked herself out of her apartment and the super’s not around to let her in. Now, there’s no way she could have mistaken my window for hers – she uses the fire escape like a personal balcony all the time. She and the guy were trying to break in to my apartment, no matter what story she comes up with.

Then, she tries to turn it around on me, saying, “Well, why didn’t you answer the door when I knocked?”

My response was, “First of all, I was asleep. Second of all, I’m not required to open the door; and third of all, how were you able to get upstairs past the security door to knock on my door if you don’t have your keys?”

Needless to say, she couldn’t answer that. And she and her buddy climbed in through her window.

I’m letting the super know and if even a cat hair is out of place when I get back from traveling, I am filing a police report. This is the one who misbehaved so badly during the flooding and with whom I deal with as little as possible.

So, I get back to sleep and, a few hours later, we’re all woken by hisses and growls from outside – the cats hide under the bed – a cat’s in an argument with a skunk. From the smell, I’d say the skunk won and there’s a very stinky cat wandering around out here somewhere.

Not much sleep, needless to say.

Which is shame, because yesterday was a lovely day. I gave myself the afternoon off, went to a friend’s, did three loads of laundry, played with the dog, and read a book just for fun. I’ve had so much reading for work it was nice to read something just because. I cooked dinner, we had some nice wine, I came home fairly early and did some more reading just for fun and went to bed early.

Great core workout last night; decent yoga session this morning.

Today, I’ve got two articles to polish and send off (one is the pre-Travers article — Travers Day is next Saturday), and then I’m spending the afternoon with a friend again.

And I’m making sure the lock on my window is very secure.


Good Names – 62,882 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

62 / 100

Published in: on August 19, 2007 at 9:00 am  Comments (9)  

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Did you miss me?

It’s been quite a week! Good, in many ways, but exhausting. 656 miles on the car in four days.

Let’s start with getting the heck out of Dodge last Friday. My crazy downstairs neighbor came home again roaring drunk at 2 AM, this time singing at the top of his lungs and playing on his furniture with drumsticks for hours. It’s completely out of control. So, not only did I barely get any sleep, but the weather was dreadful. As usual, the meteorologists were wrong – they’d downgraded from predicting storms as bad as the ones that spurred the tornado two days previously to “light rain”.

Now, I don’t consider rain pouring down in curtains so that I can’t even see the end of the hood of the car “light”. It was awful all the way across the Tappan Zee Bridge the entire trip to Albany. It finally lightened up about 20-30 miles west of Albany, and the rest of the trip wasn’t bad.

I still made it from home to Syracuse in just over 5 hours, which isn’t too shabby. It was too early to check into the hotel, so I went to the Denny’s next door. I hadn’t been in a Denny’s since I lived on the west coast in the mid 1980’s. I forgot how big the portions are and how much salt they dump on everything. No wonder I was the only person in there who was under 300 pounds!

Drove around for a bit afterwards – found a Michael’s, looked at yarn, etc., but was too tired to buy anything.

Finally got into the room. It was fine, simple – wallpaper peeling a bit, the toilet tank took its time refilling. But it was clean, had large windows, got a lot of light, and was safe. I took a nap, tried to get some writing done, did about an hour of yoga, and went back to get take-out from Denny’s for dinner. Couldn’t finish it all – too big a portion and too salty.

Watched some bad television, did a core workout and went to bed early. There were dogs and kids in this hotel. The dogs behaved beautifully. The kids were a nightmare. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re too stupid and lazy to teach your kids to behave like decent human beings in public, leave them at home. Don’t inflict them on the rest of us. They’re not cute; they’re horrid.

Woke up early on Saturday. Did an hour of yoga, and got a bit of writing done. The complimentary breakfast was fine, although the coffee was awful. I met a lovely Great Dane named Princess Leia, who wanted my doughnut badly, but was far too well-behaved to just snatch it from my hand.

Got into the car and headed over to Liverpool for the Central New York Scottish Games. Got there just as they were gearing up, and got a parking spot only two rows from the gate, which was a good thing, considering how often I went back and forth to the car over the course of the day.

The Games were fantastic. I didn’t want to leave. It’s amazing that you can have over 1000 people, 200+ dogs, wandering around in the sun all day long, and nobody’s an asshole. Yes, there were plenty of kids dashing around and being rambunctious – but none of them were horrid. There was NO LITTER. Over 1000 people, no one designated to clean up, and no litter. Everyone picked up after themselves. There were trash barrels, recycling barrels, etc., etc., and everyone took personal responsibility. There was a little kid recycling a bottle that was almost bigger than he was. Everyone was nice and friendly and genuine. There was no snobbery, no exclusion, no nastiness. Everyone was there having a good time and interacting.

Music, music everywhere. There were dozens of pipe bands, plus other musical acts in the entertainment tent. And a hut full of harpists.

I admit that, after the first two hours of listening to pipers warming up, I’d kind of had it. I enjoy piping, but . . .however, after a handful of Excedrin and a Tennant’s, I felt much better.

There was a beer truck. As in a massive truck with taps on the side, with Guinness, Harp, Tennant’s, and some others. I hadn’t had a Tennant’s since the last time I sat in The Last Drop in Edinburgh, and that was far too long ago. (Here at the St. Andrew’s Pub, the only Scottish bar in Manhattan, I usually order a Bellhaven).

I played and played and played with dogs – Alfred, the “aggressive” Westie who rolled over to get his tummy rubbed every time he saw me; the German Shepard puppy with the huge paws who crawled into my lap and fell asleep, sucking my thumb; and many, many more. I met a woman who runs a Scottie rescue – Scotties aren’t good with cats, but she has a friend who does Westie rescue and often comes across puppies. If I raised a Westie from puppyhood with cats, he/she would be fine, and I’d rather have a rescued dog than go to a breeder.

For details on the actual games, you’ll just have to read the article in next week’s FemmeFan, but they were fun: the shotput, the weights, tossing the caber, tossing the sheaf, etc., etc. I got some good pictures to go with the articles. The pipe bands also had competition, which was just as fervored at the athletic competitions.

It was great to spend a day with people who were genuinely nice. And how often do you spend time at an event where no one is rude or annoying? I’d definitely go back. There was plenty of playing and flirting, but everything was in good fun. There was no hassle or sleaziness or annoyance involved. It was all upbeat and low key.

And, even better, that night, we got to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower!

I did not want the night to end.

Did core work when I got in Saturday night, and an hour of yoga Sunday morning. Skipped the hotel breakfast and got mine from the Dunkin Donuts across the street. Got on the road around 9:30. Made it to Saratoga by noon.

Unfortunately, it took an hour to drive from the exit to my friend’s place – a drive which usually takes 10 minutes! It was beach chair giveaway day, and people were insane – getting five or six vouchers, going back again and again and again. They gave away over 72,000 chairs! The track was packed, it was hot and humid and not a great race card. Kind of a disappointment. I did get to see my friend’s horse run in the feature race, and I met the horse named Dave.


If you follow racing, you know that most horses have complicated names. But Dave is simply “Dave”. He’s the closest thing to a hippie horse I’ve ever seen – totally mellow. Nothing phases him. He’s friendly and curious, with this attitude of, “Hey, I’m Dave. Cool.” As he walked from the paddock to the track, people yelled, “Hi, Dave!” and he’d turn in their direction and nod his head as though he was saying, “Hey.” He’s a pretty good runner when he gets on the track, too – pays attention to his jockey, tries hard. He came in fourth for this race, which means he got some money, even if the bettors didn’t. He’s got a very distinct and engaging personality.

After the meet, we went back to the house to change, and then headed over the few blocks to Union Avenue, where someone was giving a reception with food, drinks, and music. I have no idea what it was for – never saw the invite. Met some interesting people – a man who used to be in the airline business, a woman who runs a site for women in racing, a woman who does feng shui consults. And, of course, it’s interesting to watch the whole band-for-hire culture at work, especially when they try to hit on the trophy wives. The older, wealthy men with the dumbass, shallow arm candy get real old real fast. But at least if they’ve got each other, they’re not inflicted on the rest of us, right? And we can go off and have fun with people of substance.

Speaking of which, several of us then went out to dinner at Leon’s, a Mexican restaurant owned by an ex-jockey. The food was okay, but one of our group found a piece of metal in the food, which is just not good. Needless to say, he didn’t have to pay for his meal.

We were all tired and had too much sun, so we made it a relatively early night.

I was up early the next morning, did my yoga. We went over to my friend’s barn during the workouts to visit with the horses and see my friend. She was outriding today, and they were working out on the Oklahoma track rather than the main track. We went back to the house for breakfast, which was fun – a lively, wide-ranging group. Another friend of my friends stopped by and wanted to go to the Horseshoe Inn for another breakfast. I decided to decline and get on the road early. I stopped by Mrs. London’s, the wonderful bakery, to grab something for later, and headed home.

The traffic was dreadful, and there were some real crazy people on the road, like the guy in the Mercedes who forced me into the median just because he felt like it. He had plenty of room to safely pass me and then get in front of me in my lane, but he wanted to occupy my space at the same time I was. It wasn’t that he couldn’t see me – he was looking right at me as he forced me off the road. Fortunately, a state trooper saw it and went after him. If there’s been a barrier instead of just grass in between, I would have had a serious accident. But I got home in one piece, albeit exhausted, unloaded the car, had dinner at a friend’s, caught up on a few things.

I plunged back into shows Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m not going to say much about it. Too much crap going on and I have other things that need my attention. Managed a good dinner with friends between shows yesterday, but the rest of it – it’s time for me to totally disengage.

Came home from the theatre at midnight to find that my crazy downstairs neighbor had his television blasting again and my crazy next door neighbors were in the midst of yet another domestic dispute. I’m going to start calling the cops on them, because talking to them politely isn’t fixing the problem. And I’m sick of disruption every single night, in violation of our leases.

I got some nice work done on both Good Names and “Revenge Tangents” during the time away. I’ve now pushed the word count for the latter up to 12K. I’m also working on a giveaway for people who signed up for the Muse Online Writer’s Conference in October, and a couple of other projects. I have a half a dozen article deadlines coming up, and the material for Confidential Job #1 is due tomorrow.

Busy, busy. Better get to work.


Good Names – 59,632 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
59 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 8,375 words out of est. 12,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8 / 12

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!

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.


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

February 20, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Mardi Gras
Sunny and a little warmer

I’d like to say I had a really productive day yesterday, but . . .

I caught up on some email stuff; I put gas in the car; I drove to Trader Joe’s to get cat food and a few other things; I went to CT and did 3 loads of laundry at my friend’s house; he hasn’t felt well lately, and his dog desperately needed some active play time, so I did that; I cooked us all a nice, big dinner; and I read the March issue of Vanity Fair.

I actually enjoy doing laundry – good thing, because it’s part of my work in the theatre. In fact, I’m so fussy about the way I like my laundry done that I don’t let anyone else near it! Although I’m grateful to have laundry in the building, hauling it up and down four flights of stairs is a drag, AND paying $1.75 per load to wash and at least $1/load to dry adds up. So, whenever possible, I haul it over to my friend’s place (only three flights of stairs to the car) and cook for him in return for letting me do laundry in a pleasant, clean environment.

I can’t wait to have my very own laundry room – you would not believe how many detailed sketches I’ve drawn – it’s not just going to be a laundry room – but a laundry OASIS. And yes, you’re all invited to bring your laundry over, throw it in, and we’ll relax with a glass of wine and some tapas while it sloshes around in the machines.

Today, I’m back to the theatre, just for day work, and then I can come back and relax.

I’m still feeling that adjustment bump between the theatre life and the writing life (what I consider my “real” life).

Oh, and the big thing I did was to take Artie’s advice and get Firefox. The IE7 upgrade that was forced on me was getting on my last nerve. Every page “could not be displayed” at least five or six times before I got it, and I was OVER it. I’d used Firefox when I stayed at Artie’s and it runs much more smoothly.

Got some work yesterday done on The Project (as soon as a name’s been chosen, I’ll let you know). I have to take some photos for it later this week.

This morning, I put in a batch of banana bread first thing, so it could start baking while I did my yoga. Yum! The entire apartment smells lovely.

Managed to ease back in to Changeling a bit. It still feels a bit odd, because of the time away, but I’m just going to push through. I’m now behind on my personal schedule for it, which is frustrating.

The phone consultation didn’t happen yesterday – typically Mercury Retrograde. Will give it another go tomorrow.

Now, to slather some butter on warm banana bread, and then head off to the theatre . . .


Chasing the Changeling — 25,592 words out of est. 45,000

The World Meter account was suspended again, so no wordbar for me today. Oh, well.

Published in: on February 20, 2007 at 9:04 am  Comments (12)  

February 17, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Diane, wonderful editor that she is, pointed out that the description “cat humidifier” made her wonder why I’d want to humidify a cat. Of course, the un-lazy description would be “cat-shaped humidifier”. And, of course, at this point, it’s been decided that the humidifier is a male tom cat-type and his name is Horace.

Of course, “erranding” didn’t work out the way I hoped, it being Mercury Retrograde and all, but I simply shrugged and plodded along.

I came back, got another pitch out, did some groundwork on The Project, realized I have a deadline looming for something else that I completely forgot about once I was sick, ordered some stuff online, etc., etc.

The great thing about having Horace here puff away is that, although he’s a cool steam humidifier, keeping it moist makes the place feel warmer. Even the wonderful Lilac potpourri I got from Aphrodesia about two weeks ago revived and the entire apartment smells lovely.

Came across some other books relevant to The Project by accident at Strand, so I ordered them. I also need to make a trip to the Upper East Side and visit Kitchen Arts and Letters – if you’ve never been to this place, check it out. It’s awesome.

My mom gave me a scare – I was trying to reach her and she wasn’t answering her cell phone (she’s on a dog sitting job). So, I called a neighbor and had the neighbor go over and check on her. Fortunately, my mom was fine, and had just put the phone aside and didn’t hear it. But getting her to keep the phone handy is always a struggle. She’s in her 80s, recovering from a major injury – come on, here! I swear, when we get the room, I’m getting her a dog and training the dog so he knows she is his primary responsibility. He’ll be a herding dog or something, to keep track of her.

Grabbed a new notebook at the bookstore for The Project – I need to write pages and pages to figure out what I’m actually going to say in print. There are so many directions here, and I have to figure out how to weave things together properly.

Show was fine; slightly frustrating due to the personnel situation, but nothing insurmountable. I’m almost done with the week, have a week away from the fray, and then I’m in for someone else, so it’ll be fine.

The Martha Gellhorn biography is wonderful.

Off to finish the “erranding” this morning, and then I’m heading in to the city for yet another 14-hour day. It may take me 20 minutes to wrap up to go out in the cold, but it’s worth it once I’m out there. That LL Bean coat really IS good for up to 35 below zero! Keeps me toasty on the walk to and from the theatre!

I’m taking The Project notebook with me today to see if I can get some work done on the train. April isn’t all that far away, you know!


February 5, 2007

Monday, February 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and brutally cold

Ben Schwartz’s poem “Airport Waiting Room” is today’s Circadian Poem.

I answer some tarot questions on Kemmyrk. I got a batch of interesting questions; some of my answers are bound to piss off some people. Oh, well, it’s my opinion, my belief, and I stand by it.

Can I just say that I think the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet is much more fun than the Super Bowl? I’m bummed that the Colts won, as much as I can be about two teams that mean little to me.

But Prince’s half-time show was wonderful – even in that rain, he gave it everything. There are many things about Prince that make me roll my eyes, but as far as musician-ship – he is a genius. And genius is not a word I use lightly.

Worked on the copyedits for the Plum essay. The way the changes were tracked was a little confusing; I hope I got everything the way my editor needs it. I was loathe to lose a couple of the things that were cut, but my editor was right – they open a Pandora’s box that the scope of this particular essay in this particular collection can’t hope to address. I feel that one of the points that was the most important to me has been watered down to the point of almost non-existence, which is frustrating. And then, there are other changes that I think are great, and I’m so grateful that my editor caught me out in a bad habit, one of using too many dashes. I thought I’d edited them out of the draft I sent, but there they were, highlighted. So I’ve learned an area where I need to be more careful in submissions.

And, of course, being a typical writer (much as I like to think of myself as unique), when I’m hardly edited, I fret because I worry that maybe a stronger editing hand can help get me to a higher level; when I’m heavily edited, I fret that it’s too much change to my voice and meaning. It’s always about taking a breath, stepping back, and looking at the piece as though someone else wrote it. It’s about knowing when to step up and fight for something that’s truly important, and when to accept that the editor has the big picture in view, while the writer has the writer’s piece of the puzzle in view. And that’s only learned through experience.

No one told me I had to be better at balancing that a high wire walker! 😉

I get tired of “balance” – I’m even getting sick of the word. Sometimes, I want to be un-balanced. I want to sit in a sunny corner and read a book ALL DAY and to hell with everything. I want to take off my shoes and dance around the park, singing at the top of my lungs. I want to live from emotion rather than reason.

Doing all of it every day would be like eating too much ice cream; eventually, you’d throw up. But this constant mantra to which we’ve all become enslaved lately – “balance” – sometimes I just get sick of it.

Yes, it’s necessary. Yes, balance equates to better health. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it every minute of every day.

I had to repack everything. Because it’s winter, and this week promises to be the coldest week we’ve seen in the region in two years, I’m taking lots of layers, and more clothes than I normally would for a simple week. However, they’re winter clothes and bulky. So, instead of taking a variety of little bags, I put it all into one BIG suitcase (on wheels) – a suitcase big enough so I can put my yoga mat into it. I’m treading dangerous ground here, not even one dress-up piece, but I figure, any place I go is going to be directly after work and I wouldn’t go back to the apartment to change anyway, so everyone is just going to have to deal.

I’m taking A LOT of writing work with me. Probably more than I should. But I’ve got those extra three hours a day that would be used to commute, and I plan to use them to write.

We had a feline visitor for awhile yesterday. A neighbor knocked on the door – an orange and white cat was wandering in the halls. When I opened my door to see what was going on, the cat slunk into the apartment – and promptly took it over, intimidating the twins. Elsa was under the sofa, sleeping, and missed it all. The cat investigated the place and began to stake out territory, while my neighbors went door to door trying to figure out where she belonged. Turns out she belongs to someone who just moved in on the first floor – and she scratched him badly when he came to get her. She was in a MOOD, growling and yowling. It might have made more sense to just ignore her for awhile and let her settle down and then take her back, but her human wanted her home then and there; he lunged at a growling critter and snatched her up and then wondered why she drew blood. Poor thing. But she got home safely, and that’s what counts. And while there were hissy spitties between her and the twins, no blood was shed there.

Every cat that slips out of its home ends up here, what can I say? Just call me the Hotel Caterwaul.

Rhian – I’m always here to listen.

Tim – I also make incenses, bath salts, poultices, etc., so I try to keep a variety of herbs and spices on hand at all times.

I have to do a few things for my mom to make sure she’s all set while I’m away – fill up her car with gas, etc,, etc.

Trying to clear some more off my desk before I head in this afternoon – missives the rest of the week will be from the Big Apple.


Chasing the Changeling – 22,842 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
22 / 45

February 4, 2007

Sunday, February 4, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Caught a morning train for the city yesterday, and hauled a few bags’ worth of stuff over to Artie’s. The cats were happy to see me; I fed them and played with them for awhile. I let them know I’d be back on Monday to stay for awhile. We’re going to keep “Little Roo’s Journal” during the week, sketches and anecdotes about our adventures for Artie to read when he gets home.

Took the E-train subway down to Greenwich Village. That, in itself was an adventure. The Metro Card machines weren’t working; there was a person in the booth who refused to help customers, claiming the booth was closed. If it’s closed, what the hell are you doing in it, lady? When customers said the machines weren’t accepting money, she said we’d have to wait until she rebooted the computer, and she’d do it when she “got around to it.”

Meanwhile, no one can buy a Metro Card and get on the subway.

So I went over to a machine, entered the information, put in my money – and kicked it (I wore my workboots). It flickered a bit, then spat out the Metrocard.

“THAT,” I said, “is re-booting the computer.”

And off I went.

First stop was on MacDougal Street, to the Himalayan store. I’ve had my eye on a small Durga statue for months, but the store was never open when I was in the neighborhood. Today it was, there was the figure, in and out in ten minutes. Then over to Porto Rico Imports to pick up a pound of freshly ground coffee. Then across Bleecker Street to Aphrodesia. In addition to stocking up on cooking herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, etc., I also needed to stock up on things like buckthorn bark, all-heal, and oak moss.

I’m telling you, a half hour in that store has the same effect on me as a day at the spa.

Walked east across Bleecker all the way to Lafayette, and then up past the Public Theatre, etc. to the Astor Place station at Union Square. Around Great Jones Street, there was a man walking his little dachshund wearing a big puffy coat. The dog slowed down. His human said, “It’s only eight more blocks.” Now, that’s a long way for something with two inch legs. So the dog sat down, and there was nothing the human could do put pick him up and juggle dog, newspaper, and coffee.

Took the #6 train back to Grand Central, grabbed a newspaper, and just made the 1:37 train back out.

That’s the way to be in the city – on one’s own schedule, walking as much as possible on a sunny day, relaxed (except for the initial subway kerfluffle), and enjoying the rhythm of Manhattan.

Finished the Barbaro article, polished it, and sent if off – later than I wanted to, but it got out last night.

Two other pieces are pulling at me, plus I have another anthology deadline, plus I have to finish the copyedits on the Plum essay, so I have to sit down and focus.

Chicago trip was postponed due to the Super Bowl – the company’s doing an event, and the people with whom I need to meet won’t be back in town tomorrow in time for me to meet them before I’d have to get back to New York. We talked a bit by phone; they’re trying to back down on the money and the expenses (flying twice a month to Chicago is an expense THEY must carry, because I’m sure as hell not), so we’ll see what happens. The bottom line is that the client likes my writing samples the best of everything shown, and feels I have the best grasp of the overall campaign. When the company tires to nickel-and-dime me about the money, they said, “Well, aren’t X dollars better than no dollars?” And my response is, “If I don’t get X dollars from you, I get them from another job. This is how much what you want costs.”

Because, while I’m confident that I am the best person for this particular job, I don’t crave it so much that I’ll take it without making a decent sum of money from it, and certainly not if it costs me to work.

I’ve been having back problems the past two days. I only had a back problem once in my entire life before starting this particular show; now it seems to flare up every few weeks. I’ve adjusted everything I can in my approach to the job, but it’s the actual physical demands that are causing the problem.

I had terrible dreams last night, connected to the Situation The Sequel, and the building’s new owners. I hope they’re more anxiety dreams than prophetic dreams – because if things come to pass the way they did in the dream, it’s going to get REALLY ugly around here in the next few weeks.

Got to clean off my desk some more, finish packing, and see how much more I can get cleared off my desk before tonight’s Super Bowl bash. I’m making my infamous devilled eggs, plus a few different kinds of dim sum dumplings. I’ll prepare the dumplings here ahead of time and steam them when I arrive.

Got some work done on Changeling this morning. I like Elizabeth George’s discipline – she writes five pages every day (when she’s working on a book), whether she’s on the road, on vacation, or wherever, so that she doesn’t lose the rhythm of the book. While much of her process is far too structured and restrictive for me, some bits and pieces I think work well in my process. Got to keep trying until you find the way that works for you, right? Each person’s process is individual.

And there are things that so many people swear are “musts” in a writing career that I’m not willing to do. So I’ll see where I need to draw my own boundaries and work from there.

Back to the page.


Chasing the Changeling – 21,842 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

21 / 45

Published in: on February 4, 2007 at 12:12 pm  Comments (6)  

January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The Capercaillie Beautiful Wasteland CD finally arrived (I ordered it in November). So I loaded it onto the Zen V. It’s one of my favorite CDs.

I only load music I completely love to the Zen V – the tried-and-true – Capercaillie, Texas, Tellu, Hedingarna, Ani DiFranco, Elvendrums, Pat Benatar, Springsteen, etc. That way, I can just play all the tracks in any order and be happy.

It helps a lot when the train gets frustrating, or there’s too much construction noise, or I’m off by myself doing day work.

Managed to get out a submission before I left for work.

Very sore from dragging around the heavy coats on two shows yesterday. This morning’s yoga got a lot of the major kinks out, but I’m still sore. And I get to turn around and do it all over again.

The cats hate the feeling of the sticky mat under their paws. However, Elsa figured out that if she stands next to it and rolls onto it, her paws never have to touch the mat!

My mom said the dog is like a different animal – he’s happy and peppy and playing. So, all he needed was company and reassurance.

Yesterday, my mom had to come over while I was at work – because I couldn’t get the front door to close, and I had to make the train for work. Even with the keylock chain on the door to keep intruders OUT, I couldn’t risk the door being cracked open for fourteen hours – it was wide enough for nosy felines to slip through. So, the door’s been fixed. And cats corralled.

What sort of omen is that, eh?

Artie treated me to dinner last night at eatery. It’s been around for quite a few years – since Miss Saigon was running, and that was back in 2000 – but I’d never eaten there. A group of us from that show had gone in when it first opened, but they were so rude, we walked right back out. But I’d heard good things in the interim. The food was very good – Artie had farmer’s pasta and I had a duck tostada – and the service was also good.

And, there are three new restaurants in the neighborhood that we have to try in the coming weeks.

I wandered up to the Time Warner Center after (actually, I was thinking of something else and wandered all the way up to Lincoln Center before I realized I overshot it). I went to Borders and got books by two of this blog’s visitors: Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis, and The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy. I look forward to reading both of them.

I’m reading Philip R. Craig’s Death on a Vineyard Beach. One of the things I like about his books is how he weaves daily life into the mystery. In most books of the genre, the mystery IS it. It drops in, rips the fabric of life, and first people have to get through it, then they have to cope, and we often don’t see them doing so. In both of the Craig novels I’ve read, the mystery is there, but so is the daily life. Yes, JW investigates – but he also keeps to his unfettered schedule of fishing and drinking Sam Adams and spending time with his wife, and generally, having a life. I like that style a lot. It breaks the rules one is taught in mystery writing workshops – but, to me, it allows me a deeper connection to the characters, and lets me suspend my disbelief and live in the world of the book more thoroughly.

Did a bit of work on Changeling this morning, but am not happy with it. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s not working, but it doesn’t feel right.

Back to the show for a matinee. This will be the last time I do this track for quite awhile. The way it was originally set up, it was my favorite track. Some of the permutations make sense, but some were made to stoke the various dressers’ egos, and I have no patience for that. Changes should make the track run more efficiently, not be made just so the dresser can mark territory.

The shower beckons, and then I need to eat and catch a train . . .


Chasing the Changeling – 18,717 out of est. 45,000

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18 / 45