May 8, 2007

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

My heart goes out to all those in Greensburg, Kansas, devastated by that awful tornado. What can one say? The destruction is apocalyptic.

Iceland photos will be on the top and bottom of the entries for the next few days. IE, there are three photos above this entry, and three photos below it. Tomorrow’s bottom three will be on top of today’s top three, etc. So keep scrolling and don’t miss anything!

If you haven’t entered Mia King’s contest yet, scroll below today’s photos to yesterday’s second post and hop on over to her blog. I believe the contest runs until tomorrow – and you can win an astrological report, among other things!

Research help: Does anyone know or know where I can find out the proper form of address, in 1903, for an adopted child to the parent, if the child is old enough to remember the birth mother? IE, the child was taken in as a ward, then adopted. Would the new parent be referred to as “Mother” or as “Aunt” or as something else? The etiquette books I’ve found for that don’t seem to cover it. If you can point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it.

Remember how I had all that stuff I needed to do?

Instead, as I printed out the rest of the Iceland photos, I began The Tactile Muse. Yes, I’m doing a blog devoted to the fiber crafts I enjoy. The trip to Iceland inspired me to re-learn knitting, and I want to have a place to discuss, in depth, the quilting and sewing and other crafts. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting every day. Just intermittently. But you can read yesterday’s errors in knitting, should you choose.

If I do it all here, it’ll take you an hour every morning to read the entry. This way, you guys can pick and choose the topics in my life that hold any (if any) interest to you.

Rhian, thanks for making Wren’s poem part of the train. I wasn’t quite sure how to hook up to that. We’re both honored.

Devon’s Random Newsletter for May went out yesterday. If you didn’t get your copy, or want to sign up for the newsletter, you can do so here.

Went to Staples to get some more photo paper. Went to the liquor store to get more wine. Went to AI Friedman to get the photo albums for the Iceland photos and to get on-sale yarn – I should have gone to Michael’s, but I always forget we have a Michael’s near by until I’ve already spent the money at Friedman. Oh, well. It’s inexpensive “test” yarn for my knitting practice.

Caught up on a bunch of paperwork, but barely made a dent. It’s amazing, how quickly it all stacks up. Unpacked my bag from the trip and repacked it as my daily travel bag to and from the city this week.

Tried not to pour ice water on the guys making lots of noise with machinery under my window all day as they worked on . . .something . . .in the basement, and I tried to get work done up above. I realize that they have to do their work, and I respect it. It’s just that repetitive machine noise drives me crazy – and, trust me, it’s a very short drive!

Fortunately, if I get up early enough, I can get my 1000+ words for the day done BEFORE they start making noise!

I’m having an allergic reaction to all the mold/mildew/other crap kicked up by the storm. Complete respiratory meltdown. Not pretty, and not fun. I guess I should be glad I’m away from the building for most of the week, working. It got progressively worse as the day wore on – it’s acting rather like a bad cold, but not. I’d like to stay tucked in bed tomorrow – but I have an 8-show week. And I can’t call in: A) because I’m a swing, and it’s my job to be there when someone’s out and B) because there are various strikes looming in my industry this summer and fall (justified ones, I might add), and I have to take as much work as possible before they happen. Gotta love that Nyquil!

I have to find my book of yoga cures so I can do poses to counteract what’s going on. I’ve been sick far too much this year, and it needs to stop.

Good morning’s work on Good Names – tons of research still to do, but it’s coming together, story-wise and character-wise and even plot-wise.

Off to the theatre, for day-work and a show. Not in the mood. I need to decompress, get healthy, and do a lot of writing. But, as mentioned above – got to grab the work while it’s there – it could be a long, dry summer! Hopefully, everything will be negotiated in time – but I wouldn’t count on it.

Devon

Good Names – 7,812 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7 / 100
(7.0%)
Published in: on May 8, 2007 at 8:15 am  Comments (8)  

Great Contest!

My friend Mia King, who wrote the wonderful GOOD THINGS has an exciting new contest over on her blog — especially if you enjoy astrology!

Check it out here.

And good luck — if Mia’s got something to do with it, it’s bound to rock!!!

Published in: on May 7, 2007 at 1:02 pm  Comments (2)  

April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

So, some self-righteous, sanctimonious, smug woman on a writing forum made a comment about how an agent must not be married and have kids and therefore has time to blog. I’m so sick and tired of married women with kids acting like they are the ONLY ones with busy lives. Honey, you aren’t. You’re not that important, and the world does not revolve around you and your kids, although YOUR world might. Get over yourself. There are plenty of people who are unmarried and childless who are making the world a better place, and to give you a world in which to raise your kids.

Mia King is a mother and a writer, and has one of the most balanced outlooks on her writing and family life that I’ve ever come across. It’s so refreshing to hear a writer who is a woman and a mother not use her kids as an excuse not to write. Men rarely make that excuse – although, when they do, it’s “my wife won’t let me” – which makes me want to barf. Are you over 21? An adult? There’s no such thing as a spouse “letting” or “not letting” unless you’re a major wimp or in an abusive situation that you should leave. Again, this is an example of a person refusing to take responsibility for his or her own life.

Mia TAKES responsibility. She balances. She knows that a career she loves does not have to endanger the family she loves. Go, Mia! May your success grow book to book, because you certainly deserve it! Jill Shalvis is another writer who keeps the balance going well – and also has a sense of humor about it.

Mothers who say they want to write should look to those two women as examples of positive ways to balance the writing life with the family life.

Work was fine yesterday. New York was unpleasant – too many people in too small a space, everyone trying to get somewhere. The usual. I’m booked for a couple of weeks when I get back from my trips in May – so that’s good. Pay some bills, replace some money used for the car.

Good thing I don’t have to go in until tonight – Metro North is down – again! Tonight, I’m taking my friend J. to one of the events at the PEN World Voices conference. We’re going early enough to stop at the Algonquin for drinks first (provided the trains run properly).

Verizon came to fix the landline yesterday and screwed up the DSL. When I called to complain, they said it was not possible for me to have working DSL without a dial tone. Then what have I been doing since last Friday? IMAGINING my time on line?

I’m so tired of idiots.

No response from Icelandiar. I am even less impressed with them than I was 24 hours ago.

Trying to get some writing done, after I scour the job boards and see if there are pitches to get out.

I’m offline for the next few days – planned. I’m going to Maine to visit my grandmother –and to do laundry – because who knows when the laundry rooms will be fixed in the building? Not a complaint, mind you – they are working their butts off to get the building back to rights. And they have to scour everything with bleach, because the smells have traveled up the old dumbwaiter shafts (one of those round stick-to-the-wall closet things helps). I checked out a few Laundromats in the area – they’re kind of dirty, and I’m not too happy with them. My friend, at whose house I often do laundry, lost his whole laundry room in the flood and has to rip everything out a renovate, too. I can’t take it to work, because there’s too much show laundry (and I don’t REALLY want to haul laundry on a three hour round trip commute on the train). I’ll hand wash as much as I can here at home, and we’ll play the rest by ear.

I’m doing my pre-Derby article that will appear next week on FemmeFan. Finally, I can reveal my Derby horse – I promised I’d stay quiet until Derby week, so the horse could do its work and mature without additional pressure.

The Plum essays were sent out for a final proof. It looks good, and I’m excited about the book’s release in June. Perfectly Plum – you can pre-order it from Amazon.

Have a great rest-of-the-week, all, and, hopefully, both landline and DSL will be working when I return.

Devon

PS  There are a lot of great moms and writing moms who read this blog.  Needless to say, I do not mean YOU — although you’re probably the ones who then worry you’re being too self-centered when you’re not.  I’m fortunate enough to have attracted a group of generous spirits here.

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

March 25, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was difficult. As anyone who’s cared for an ill, elderly parent knows, it’s not easy. Things looked pretty grim until about mid-afternoon, when everything took a turn for the better, and she finally got some sleep. Elsa was great, staying right there all the time. She (my mom, not the cat) is better today, but still a little wobbly.

In between taking care of my mom, I worked on the various letters in reference to the pet food recall. Let me just say that the more research I did, the more appalled I am by the entire industry. And I didn’t like what I heard from Trader Joe’s – although I’m grateful they got back to me so quickly. Although their food is NOT on the recall list, it IS prepared at Menu Foods, and they’ve pulled it all to run their own tests. They suggested I return everything I have to the local store for a refund. Which I will definitely do.

According to Amelia’s comment yesterday, she’d heard from CNN that the additional animals who died did so at the same time while they were testing foods at Menu; the information I had from NBC was that they tested the tainted food on animals when the complaints began coming in. I’ve asked NBC to clarify.

Purina only outsourced one brand of pouched dog food in the recall – the rest is manufactured at their own plants, so it seems (I’m waiting for a confirmation). However, I don’t know if I entirely trust their wet food, either.

None of the pet stores or book stores around here carry THE NATURAL CAT, and most of them claim they can’t even order it (hey, it’s on Amazon, why can’t they order it?). I ordered a copy through Strand (hopefully they’ll pull it before someone gets to it) and I’m giving the girls baby food for the next few days until I decide what to do. Yes, I could JUST give them dry food, but they’ll tear the house down. Their routine is wet food in the morning, dry food later on. And you don’t mess with their routine! Not without serious consequences, anyway!

If you ever read the wonderful book by a New York City vet called ALL OF MY PATIENTS ARE UNDER THE BED, he states that baby beef is perfectly all right to feed cats. Of course, I also give mine baby turkey, baby ham, etc. And it has to be Gerber’s Stage 2. They hate all other brands, and Stage 1 is too mushy. I have a few jars, but I’ll get some more tomorrow when I pick up the newspaper. Generally, I only give them baby food if they have an upset stomach, but in the circumstances, I think it’s safer than anything else out there, at least in the short term.

Just in case, I checked the Gerber site to see if there were any recalls.

And you really want to get angry? Check out www.iamscruelty.com.

By the way, Iams and Eukanuba are basically the same company, under two different brand names.

I finished Susan Cheever’s lovely book American Bloomsbury, about Alcott, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Hawthorne. It’s a personal book as well as an historical one. I highly recommend it. I also recently read Mary Poppins, She Wrote, which an excellent biography of PL Travers, and Mia King’s Good Things.

I loved Good Things. You can visit Mia’s blog on my list to the right (Mia Musings) to find out more about the book. Her main character is someone I feel I could be friends with, and she avoids the genre traps of overly neurotic protagonists. It’s a warm, lovely book which has enough surprises so the reader never gets complacent. Go read it.

Once I finished American Bloomsbury, I started on the first volume of LM Montgomery’s Journals. They are fascinating. I love her books anyway, above and beyond the Anne of Green Gables books. And her journals! I also love the way she refers to herself as a “book drunkard”. I know exactly what she means.

Hopefully, my mom will continue to improve today AND I’ll be a bit more all-around productive. The less time I make to write, the more fractured I feel. Now that I’ve tasted the non-writing life for a few weeks – it’s not for me.

Devon