Thurs. March 10, 2022: Yet More Snow

image courtesy of Marketa Morchova via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and snowy

There’s information on the seedlings, ordered seeds, birds, and more, over on Gratitude and Growth.

It snowed most of the day, with much more accumulation than predicted. It’s a heavy, wet snow, and will be hard to dig out my car, especially since the plow is pushing snow up behind it even as we speak.

But I need to pick up my birthday cake, and do not get between me and cake.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. I sent out three LOIs, and got back two demands for unpaid labor as part of the process. I responded with my contract for tests/samples/assessments, and I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again. I also added them to The List.

I slogged through way too much email, but I’m determined to keep it at manageable levels. I did some work on The Big Project, but not enough, and certainly not as much as I hoped.

Things have been slow with the big client. The contractors supposedly got a raise, yet the work since the “raise” has been much sparser, although there are “options” for pieces at a lower rate. No, thank you. I’ll just work on finding other clients that pay the proper rate to fill the gap.

Turned around a script coverage. Worked on contest entries. Read a book for fun, which had come highly recommended. It was okay, but for the first half, I kept getting too far ahead of the plot, and waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up. The book was okay, hit the genre expectations, but it didn’t grab me the way it did those who recommended it.

Tessa and Charlotte had been doing well there, for a few days, but now they’re fussing at each other again. And someone knocked over the cat grass plant overnight (most likely Willa), so I had to clean that up this morning.

But Tessa let me sleep until six, when she actually came into my room to wake me up. She hates my room here. She loved my room in the other house, because it was huge and carpeted. This is small (it’s fine for sleeping), and there’s a small rug by the side of the bed, but no carpet, and Madame Tessa Does Not Approve. Charlotte is just happy she can sleep on the bed with me here.

Meditation group this morning. Then, after breakfast, I will dig out the car, pick up my cake (and get more eggs, we’re out of eggs). I don’t have any scripts in my queue; if I don’t get another one, my long weekend starts early, at least as far as script coverage goes. Then, I’ll do contest entries and work on The Big Project today.

I’m taking a three-day weekend tomorrow, for my birthday. I have a few loose plans, but mostly, I will do exactly as I wish, and create the days.

The COVID tests I ordered a few days ago are supposed to arrive on Monday, which is fast. The ink was supposed to arrive yesterday, but the snowstorm caused an understandable delay, and it will get here today or tomorrow. The tansy seeds should arrive Saturday.

Next week, we start the big spring cleaning, in and around whatever work has to get done.

Tessa loves the new, fluffy dark green rug in the bathroom. Like I said above, she likes rugs/carpets.

Off to start the day. Hope it’s a calm one. I’m looking forward to being mostly disconnected from online for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll check messages and emails here and there, but I’m going to try to keep away from the horrors going on for a few days, so I can return renewed.

Have a good one.

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

image courtesy of Theo Crazzolara via pixabay.com

Friday, January 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

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

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

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

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

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

But I was discouraged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not acceptable.

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

I’m just so damn tired of all of it.

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

Fri. Dec. 10, 2021: Just Let Me Hide in a Book Fort, Away From the Incompetents

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, December 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a dusting of snow overnight. Just enough to be pretty.

Meditation was great yesterday. Charlotte participated the whole time (because, you know, Zoom).

After breakfast, I grabbed the bags with the packages and cards, and with the library books, and headed out. The sidewalks weren’t too bad, heading out, just a few patches of ice, and I went slowly.

There was a line at the post office, but the packages were mailed out, and the postage was about half of what I expected it to be. So that was good. Everything is supposed to arrive in 3-5 days, which means about 10, but should still get there in time for the holidays. The cards all went on their way, too, so, hopefully, they will arrive at some point in the next 10 days.

Headed up to the library to drop off and pick up books. Came back along Church Street, which was quite slippery, at least up until I reached the college property.

Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project, because if I lose track of the details, I will be in big trouble.

Finished off the newsletter. There was some wonk in the contact list. It wasn’t a difficult fix, just took a bit of time. Let people know they can still sign up before it goes out – I’ll actually send it this morning. And then block into next year’s calendar when it needs to go out again, and start a document that I can add to as interesting tidbits come up to go into March’s.

As I get more comfortable with the templates in Sendinblue, I can probably bump up the visuals, eventually.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It was about virtual assistants. I used a virtual assistant when I did more online courses, to handle the admin bits, but what I do now doesn’t really need one.

The VW dealer in Pittsfield downright refuses to give me an estimate for the repair, and won’t even estimate how many hours – at over $100/hour – the diagnostic will take. Um, diagnostics take about 35 minutes. My cousin helped design the fucker. So when they tell me it might take “several hours” to run the diagnostic and THEN they’ll be able to give me a detailed repair estimate, I know they’re out to screw me.

On top of that, after ignoring me for two weeks, I’m getting multiple emails every day from different people in the sales department, asking me what I’m looking for in my new car.

THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT. ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF BASIC READING COMPREHENSION? AND YES, I AM SCREAMING.

Seriously, I’ve driven Volkswagens all my life, my cousins was in R & D for years, and I have never dealt with such a bunch of incompetent headcases. Not only do I doubt they’ll fix the car, I am convinced they will screw me as badly as possible through the whole process.

Not a happy camper.

Wrote up three coverages. Read a short story that’s under consideration for adaptation, and two more scripts, all of which I will write up today. And have to get out a review for a book which definitely did not work for me.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, although everyone’s looking forward to the winter holiday break.

Reading Erin Sterling’s THE EX HEX, which is a lot of fun, although there are some logistical glitches that bother me. Still, the writing is energetic, the pacing is good, the premise is fun, and the characters engaging.

It’s supposed to warm up into the 60s by tomorrow. My body does not enjoy the fluctuating weather. The forsythia are already blooming back on Cape Cod, which means it will be a wonky spring down there.

Have a good weekend, my friends. Catch you on the other side.

Wed. Dec. 8, 2021: The Card Writing Process

image courtesy of pinwhalestock via pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Snowing

Yesterday was a frustrating day, on multiple levels.

I STILL can’t get a mechanic to answer me about the car. INCLUDING THE FUCKING DEALER. What the hell is WRONG with these people? If they’re too incompetent, disorganized, and unethical to give me a written estimate, why would I believe they were even capable of fixing the car? No wonder this area is economically depressed, with that level of unprofessionalism.

However, getting the laundry done wasn’t tough at all. That little upright cart is wonderful.

When I got back, I unloaded and put things away; after breakfast, it looked ominous, so off I trundled to CVS to pick up what needed picking up there, and mail some bills at the post office. It wasn’t bad at all – about a mile and a half round trip, and what I had to carry wasn’t heavy.

Got through a ton of email, and got out a few LOIs. Then found out that the Fearless Ink site was glitching. Of course it was, since that was the one I needed up and working for the LOIs. But my lovely host helped me get it fixed.

Worked on the newsletter. I hope to get a test out later today, and then send out the newsletter either tomorrow or Friday. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here.

I’d gotten a good bit of work done on the outline for The Big Project (at least the details of the first third’s arc; the piece has three major arcs, leading into each other, not in tandem). But I hadn’t gotten any actual writing done on it, or on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. By lunchtime, I accepted the fact it just wasn’t going to happen yesterday.

I spent the afternoon, instead, writing the domestic cards, and got them done. I’ve put aside the cards that go in with the packages. I’ll wrap packages today. I want to get everything out to the post office tomorrow. I still have a couple of things to pick up, which I haven’t been able to do because of the lack of a car. Two gifts, I think I can just walk up to the place where I want to get them, so that’s not an issue, but the other is in Williamstown, and I have to drive.

I enjoy writing cards, but I handwrite everything, and every card has something different written in it, because my relationship with each person is different, so it takes awhile. There weren’t that many cards this year – just over 50. I remember years when I had closer to 500, years when I’d worked on multiple shows and was sending cards to everyone on the contact lists.

There’s choosing the right card for the person (I like to buy a bunch of different boxes of cards), there’s writing it, there’s addressing it, there’s putting the holiday stamp on it. Yes, I’m big on choosing specific stamps. It’s quite the process.

As part of my “letting go of the past” process, there were a bunch of names dropped from this year’s list; people to whom I’ve written cards for years, and never heard back, either by mail or email. Some of them are just people with an “I don’t write cards” policy, which is perfectly valid; however, it’s time for me to stop putting my energy there.

There are a bunch of people who stay on the list, because the winter holidays are the only time we’re in touch, but we’re in touch, and it’s a nice catch up.

Holiday cards are a Big Deal for me. Can you tell?

But they’re done, and there’s a nice big stack on the hall table, ready to go out. I thought of a couple more to write this morning. I still have some holiday stamps left over, so it’s all good.

They’re filming something over at the college across the street. I recognized the production trailers. That’s probably why the clock hasn’t been chiming the last few days – can’t have the clock chime interrupting the take!

Part of me was tempted to wander over and see what was going on, and then I realized how disrespectful that was. These people are WORKING. Having spent enough time on sets, where there’s never enough time to get everything done, the last thing they need is some rando demanding attention, even if said rando is me and I used to work in the business.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. There’d been some talk amongst us, now that the adults and teens are vaxxed and boosted, and the younger kids are getting vaxxed, about some of them going back to in-person learning after the winter holidays. But with the numbers going back up (they doubled in this state in the past week), we’re not. The kids are doing well in their studies, they’re learning more and more widely than they would in school, and, as one of them pointed out, they don’t have to worry they’ll be shot. So, the consensus is everyone stays out of the school buildings this year. The ones who live where online learning is not an option, because they’re trying to force the kids back into school (and then act surprised when people are getting sick) have switched to being home schooled.

I see parents on social media talking about how “angry” they are when they send their kid to school and the kid gets sick. What the hell did they think would happen? Come on, people. Have a little bit of common sense.

Several of the parents are switching off days going in to work, so that one parent is home any given day. Other parents are in situations that have allowed them to continue working remotely. Still other parents have changed jobs, because, in a case where they have to choose between their employer and their child, they choose their child, and they have the skills that allow them so to do.

After Knowledge Unicorns was done for the night, I switched Zooms over to the Annual meeting for the food co-op. They’re really well run, with an outstanding general manager and an engaged, active board. Not a lot of people showed up at the virtual meeting, which I thought showed a lack of responsibility on the membership, but I was glad I was there. And Charlotte, who loves Zoom, had a great time.

I’m really pleased I found them, and it’s an honor to be a part of this organization, that’s active not just within the four walls of the business, but actively trying to make life better in the community.

Tessa let me sleep until nearly 6 this morning. I sent another frustrated email to the dealer, and actually got an automated response back, so maybe, maybe this time someone will actually respond and I can get the damn car fixed.

In the meantime, it’s snowing like crazy. I think it will be more than the predicted 2 inches.

I have writing to do today, and script coverage, and some other client work. And there’s Remote Chat. The group is ending in two weeks, which makes me sad. They’ve helped me get through the week for the last few years, and through some tough times. But things change, and I’m grateful for the time I had in it.

In the meantime, in between tasks, I will enjoy watching the snow fall!

Have a good one.

Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

There was no post on Ink-Dipped Advice this week. My back has limited the amount of time I can spend at the desk. I was working on the week’s post and was in so much pain, I had to stop. It’s a post on client voice, and it will go up next week.

This month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived and it was delightful. I’m thrilled with every single piece in it. This box has become vital to my self-care routine.

Willa and Charlotte are getting along much better. Now, we just have to re-integrate Tessa back into the mix. Time and patience. I keep reminding myself it takes time and patience, and for something this important, “no time” is not an option. I make sure to spend quality time with Tessa every day, so she doesn’t feel neglected.

Charlotte was on my lap on Tuesday night and Willa tried to hop up, which didn’t quite work. Charlotte was good — no hissing or growling. Willa complained, but that was it.

They also call a truce for Bedtime Snacks, which is pretty funny.

They’re starting to remember that they CAN get along. The more positive time they spend together, the more they’ll associate each other with good things. They have to learn that yoga/meditation time means QUIET, not climbing-all-over-the-human time, but they’ll get there.

Season 4 of SHETLAND is just heart-breaking. What a terrific show.

Excellent writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Wednesday morning, and this morning. Some good editing work, too. Made a decision to cut yet another subplot of GRAVE REACH, and streamline it a bit more. Late in the game to be doing it, but necessary for the flow to work.

Client work. I’m always tired by Wednesdays. Great Remote Chat about stress.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Worked on the book for review (I hope to get the review out either today or tomorrow). Worked on another client project. I’m meeting with the client tonight. Sent out an LOI for an exciting new position. I’m a long shot — I’m sure they want a Big Name for it. But I’d be a strong choice, and would love the opportunity. If I don’t try, then I can’t succeed, right?

Sent an LOI to work remotely with a client in Michigan on email campaigns. They sent back an online “test” — so, no, they’re out. If you’re too lazy to read my portfolio and expect free labor as part of the interview process, you’re out. Sent another LOI to a company in Colorado who says they’re “open” to working remotely with the right candidate, although they’d prefer someone local. There are plenty of good writers in Colorado, so I doubt I’ll get that, but again, I liked the company and the product, so it was worth the LOI. Am prepping an LOI to a company in Boston with a terrific mission, but I’m not sure if we could work out the logistics of the work.

Doing research on a publication so I can put together a good pitch for them.

Working on the questions for the 2020 GDR.

Good session on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning. And a decent editing session. Because it’s not due until next year, I only set the goal for 2 pages a day. But I’m regularly writing more. Wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead on this draft, without dropping the ball on the other contracted projects? I’m enjoying the process. I also love doing research on harps.

Doing the work, putting in the time, redefining what I want from my work life.

 

Published in: on November 7, 2019 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm  
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February 23, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Icy and cold

We had about 10 inches of snow yesterday, which then turned to freezing rain. I went out in the afternoon and shoveled out the car so the freezing rain wouldn’t make it impossible. The workouts must be working — I shovelled for an hour and wasn’t even breathing hard. Now THERE’S a change!

My new Canon Pixma arrived, and I installed it, uninstalled and packed up the HP. Once I find the driver for the HP, I will put it up for sale. Cheap. So, if anyone knows anyone who might want it, let me know. It’s fine if you don’t print 100+ pages nearly every day. And it’s not even two months old. The Pixma was $20 cheaper than the HP, and the print quality is 10X better. Go figure. It’s gorgeous – and the cats leave it alone! I feel like I should keep a special cloth in the drawer next to it and wipe it clean like a car every day, so it keeps gleaming. It doesn’t have a catch tray for the pages coming out, so I’ll make one out of a box lid. The HP had a catch tray and it still spit the pages all over the living room.

Did a bit of writing, noodling around. I have to do some research before I can go any farther on one particular piece.

Read another book for the essay. I probably could have read two, had I pushed, but I needed to spend some time away from the dark world for awhile. When you read one book per year there, it’s one thing; when you’re reading 16 back-to-back . . .it’s a little much.

It’s nasty out there again today, but I don’t have to go out until this evening, so this morning I’ll do some things like, oh, I don’t know, maybe vacuum? Since the cats are shedding their winter coats and we have tumbleweeds of hair flying around.

Again, I’m operating on so much internal work that I really have nothing interesting to say right now. There are plenty of job practicalities I should be dealing with, but, right now, I’m refilling the creative well a bit.

Devon

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

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 9:18 am  Comments (2)  

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
First of Advent
Snowing

It’s snowing! Everything looks absolutely gorgeous!

Yesterday, I was felled by a migraine. Part of it was migraine, part was pre-storm headache. The pre-storm headache let up as soon as it began to storm, but the migraine is down to feeling like someone is stabbing me in the left eye with an ice pick.

Went grocery shopping in anticipation of the storm yesterday. Ran some errands for my friend who’s recovering from surgery, and cooked some meals for her. Brought them over. She can heat them up whenever she wants. I’d made my famous Shepard’s pie using chicken instead of beef or lamb, and that always goes over well. Today, I’ll make beef stroganoff, which I always think is a lovely meal to have on a snowy day.

Did a bit of reading and work on Confidential Job #1, but wasn’t very productive.

Had trouble focusing on yoga this morning.

Had a great morning’s work on Earth Bride. 2,294 words, all of Chapter Thirty Two. This book is going to sprawl well beyond 100K, and I’ll have to cut it somewhere in the edits. For now, I need it all. It’s my epic – we all have one epic inside us, and this one’s mine. I love this piece, and I think about it constantly.

Part of me wants to push to finish it, but I’ve got to get that paranormal novella done. Of course, I did zero work on it yesterday and still can’t decide which one to do. I have to do something on it today or I’ll be so far behind I can’t possibly catch up.

I’m also starting the edits of Tracking Medusa. I broke one of my own rules and fed chapters to a trusted friend and reader during this first draft (we were swapping chapters for awhile while she was on deadline). I’m going to print out all her notes and read them over, too, before I start. But the one thing I realized, going over the material, is that I didn’t figure out enough the story within the story. I focused on the relationship between Gwen and Justin, how she learns to trust him and how her respect for him and his abilities gives him more self confidence and self-respect. The part of the caper in the present is a lot of fun, and most of it works pretty well. But what they’re actually researching/investigating/uncovering is weak. I have to go back and write out that story for myself, and then decide how much of it to use and where to insert it. Since so much revolves around Harold Custis’s diary of his discovery of The Medusa (which is a statue), I’m also considering opening each chapter with a diary entry. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m hesitant to do so because sometimes it comes across as to “precious”, but at the same time, it might give a stronger sense of what happened 85 years ago or whenever – see, I also have to decide WHEN the original archaeological expedition happened. Strengthening that internal structure will help with everything else.

As usual, the character interaction is fairly strong – although there are some scenes that need to be deepened between Gwen and Justin. But there are plot holes that need to be filled.

I’m going to try my new snow boots and stomp through the snow to get the Sunday paper. And then, it’s back to work.

Devon

Earth Bride – 87,260 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
87 / 100
(87.0%)
Published in: on December 2, 2007 at 9:24 am  Comments (11)  

April 7, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

For crying out loud, it SNOWED yesterday! Not much, but . . .I mean, really!

I can not believe how much time all the paperwork takes in reference to the three regular gigs. I’m not talking about the actual assignments – I’m talking about tracking the assignments, incoming and outgoing deadlines, invoices, and payments, and the various instructions that fly back and forth. But I figure if I take the time now, at the beginning, to set up solid systems, I can just plug in the rest as I go, and keep track. It’s quite different than the one-offs, where you just pitch, negotiate, contract, do it, send it, and get paid, and move on to the next thing.

Thank goodness for Excel!

Worked on the Writer’s Outline for Good Names yesterday morning. Found a few holes to plug, a few character bits to strengthen. In general, it’s coming along well. It feels different than anything else, but it feels right.

Spent the afternoon at the local library, researching turn of the century architecture, etc. in Chicago and New York. I found lots of good information – and two books that I have to hunt down and purchase. There’s one book in particular, on the Mississippi, that not only serves Good Names, but will be a big help in the restructuring of The Widow’s Chamber.

I had to leave the reference room because it was so frigging loud – this is a LIBRARY, people! Shut the fuck up! And, if someone is on the cell phone – they should be excommunicated from the sacred space of the library!!! I long for the days of stern librarians!

I moved upstairs to “the quiet room” and we were all quiet – although, I swear, I ended up on the squeakiest chair known to man and was mortified. And then I got distracted by a biography of Daphne du Maurier (which I now want to own, too) and ended up spending far more time there than I should. On the sale shelf, I found an almost-new copy of Patricia Wells’s Bistro Cooking. It’s one of my favorites, my copy is in storage, this one was only $2 – it is now mine. I can always use it as a contest prize when I get my own copy out of storage, or put it up on BookMooch or something.

On my way home, I stopped at Patisserie Salzburg and treated myself to a chocolate éclair. Not just any chocolate éclair – this one had chocolate filling, not custard! Yum!

Came home and those idiots with their leaf blowers started up as soon as I walked in the door. They had an entire afternoon to be annoying – why did they wait until I got home? Personally, I think leaf blowers should be banned – they’re bad for our ears and nerves, and lousy for the environment, the way they belch exhaust. Use a rake, people!

Did some online research about Chicago – still don’t have the information I need about neighborhoods, but I have some on hotels, restaurants, stores, etc., that I can use. I might pop off an email to the Chicago Historical Society over the weekend for some specifics. I also found some books at Strand – but I have to restrain myself for the moment.

The first chapter of Good Names is starting to bubble up, but I want to have the details of place IN PLACE, in my mind at least, before I start. Place is an additional character in this book.

I’m off to a friend’s for a few hours today, to do laundry and maybe get some work done. And then I need to come home and do more on The Project.

Confidential Job #2 keeps adding more and more things to the confidentiality agreement, which makes me think they are a little paranoid beyond a reasonable scope. I’m a bit skeptical about this gig. We’ll see.

I still don’t have my energy back from this bout of flu. I took most of the evening off yesterday and actually watched television (you know I’m not feeling like myself when that happens).

Oh, and down the street – they’ve started with the effing leaf blowers – already! Um, it’s spring, the leaves aren’t even out yet.

Harmony tagged me – I’ll post the results tomorrow.

Devon

February 26, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy

Every once in awhile, patience is rewarded. I really want a set of L.M. Montgomery’s Journals; ordering them from Canada costs over $100, including shipping. Trying to get them in the states runs even higher.

I won volumes 1 and 2 on eBay yesterday – cost for both, with shipping, just under $20. So, by being patient (I’ve wanted them for nearly two years), I’ve got my hands, nearly, on two out of the five volumes. I’m going to remain patient and come up with the other three volumes.

Disengaged from yet another wanna-be who expects working writers to do her work for her and open doors for her when she hasn’t earned it. This is yet another person who can’t be bothered to learn the basics of the craft. Can’t be bothered; not worth my time. Someone else who wants everything for nothing, and believes that she doesn’t have to learn how to construct a sentence, how to spell, the difference between similar-sounding words, how to research, or how to do anything else. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s nothing wrong with starting at zero. But one has to be willing to learn and do one’s own work.

Coincidentally (I don’t believe in coincidence), the March issue of More magazine has an article on mentoring and how to deal with parasites.

Most of the day was spent cooking – working on a recipe for The Project, cooking for the party, etc., etc. Not a bad way to spend a day with a snowstorm threatening.

The Oscar party was fine. I thought the ceremony itself was rather dull and filled with unnecessary filler – if they want to it to move at a good pace, get rid of the crap. Focus on the awards and stop scripting silly banter that the actors don’t even bother to try to deliver with finesse.

Many of us ended up making it a sleepover, due to the weather. I’m going to head home in a bit, once the plows have come through again. So Circadian, Kemmryk, etc. will be late today. Oh, well. There’s plenty to do once I get home, to prepare for the next three weeks, when I somehow have to figure out how six hours of work each day has to fit into two.

Got some work done on Changeling this morning. Yes, I almost always have my writing bag with me, even if it’s living in the trunk of the car at a party!

Devon

Chasing the Changeling — 27,467 words out of est. 45,000

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 9:27 am  Comments (6)  

February 25, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
About to dump a bunch of snow on us

Worked on The Project. Worked on the books I need to review. Worked on some pitches, but I’m not satisfied with them, so I’ll have to revise them before I send them out. Worked on the reconstructed newsletter, but am still not happy with the tone. It’s too precious now, and lost its lighthearted touch. Probably because I’m trying to do it when I’m upset. I need to get the excitement of the topic back, so that I can translate it onto the page.

Received the March issue of Vogue, which is the size of a coffee table. Should be fun.

Cooked pork chops with broccoli and carrots in a wine sauce – based on a Marcella Hazen recipe.

Playing with some ideas zooming around my brain (guess there’s plenty of room in there right now).

Printed more photos and worked on the 2006 album – I’m STILL printing out photos from Mohonk House last August! At least we’re moving into the garden photos at this point! Still, I think it would be great to set a YA mystery on the grounds of a place inspired by that resort.

I did a major grocery shopping trip this morning – 3 stores and about 16 bags of groceries. I still have a heck of a lot of work done before I leave for the black-tie Oscar party tonight. I’m making my regular deviled eggs, the variation with radishes, and the variation with smoked ham; the chicken dim sum dumplings; and some spicy beef empanadas. Should be fun.

Rhian – you an always amend the question to – what do you need in order to paint?

I have to go figure out how many cups of flour is meant by “two pounds of flour”. Sigh. One of the challenges of translating handed-down recipes.

Devon

Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm  Comments (6)  

January 25, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Burns Night
Virginia Woolf’s birthday
Snowing

Have a laugh at my attempts at herbal studies over on Kemmyrk.

Check out the poetry news on Circadian.

Sometimes, you lose.

I lost yesterday, to the migraine. I managed to get some admin work done, but I thought my head was going to explode. It was the type that also creates nausea, so all was unhappy.

I wonder if the stuff the exterminator used triggered it.

It’s not supposed to affect humans or pets adversely, but I somehow doubt it.

However, the cats were fine (thank goodness), but I was not.

I tried everything – lying down, gel pack, passive traction with the rubber balls at the base of the skull.

Nothing.

So I caved by 2:30 and took a Canadian pain pill. It took the edge off, and made it difficult to focus. After awhile, I was able to read for short periods of time, but not any of my research material.

I managed to finish Archie Mayor’s The Ragman’s Memory. What a wonderful, thoughtful, clever, enticing book. I definitely want to read the entire series.

In response to the responses to yesterday’s second entry, “How to be a Full-Time Writer” (if you haven’t read it, scroll down): I forgot how many of you recently joined me on this journey. I’m in the midst of TRANSITIONING from two full-time careers into the full-time writing. I lost eight months of the transition fighting the developers last year, who were trying to drive out the 100+ families in this building. So I’m a little behind schedule, but, for once in my life, I’m TRANSITIONING instead of LEAPING. I’ve already cut way back on the theatre and increased the writing. That steady progress has to continue. In this case, a break as opposed to a flow is the wrong choice.

It was a choice I SHOULD have made back when it was pointed out to me over a dozen years ago. But I didn’t. In some ways I’m glad I didn’t, but in some ways, I know it makes the hill all that much steeper to climb now. It points out consequences of a road not taken. As glad as I am to have had 20+ years in the theatre, it took a toll on my writing and the overall flow of the writing career.

And I certainly wouldn’t cut and run when I made a commitment to the show until the beginning of March. Once I make a commitment, I do everything I can to keep it.

To bed early last night, because I could not get rid of the migraine. It’s a combination of the physical factors of the demands of the show and the mental demands of trying to balance the writing and the theatre work.

The migraine woke me up at 5:30, so I got up to start the day. A long session of yoga and plenty of coffee (in spite of the warnings about caffeine with migraines, it helps mine), helped. And, once the snow began, the pre-storm pressure lifted, leaving just the migraine.

Because I’m a swing, and I cover when others are out, calling in sick is not an option. So I’ll take some Excedrin migraine and work through it.

Managed to get some decent work done on Changeling. Working on it alleviated some of the migraine pain – probably because it released the tension built up by not writing. Although I have a loose outline, I find each chapter creates itself and its world, and the process of discovery is exciting. I feel as though I have the best of both worlds – the world of pre-planning, and the world of blank-paging. Let’s hope it all holds together for a coherent story.

Since “Illuminated Nude” is far more complex than I originally expected, I need to work on the other two stories due by the end of the month first and make sure they get out. “Illuminated Nude” would be great to include, but I’m not going to rush through it and hurt the story – especially since it’s not a deadline with a signed contract.

I have a lot to clear off my desk before I start doing full weeks on the show again. Next week will have to be very long days of practical work rather than creative work.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 17,217 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 45
(37.8%)

Snow!!!

January 18, Part II

It’s snowing!

Woo-hoo!!!!!

Published in: on January 18, 2007 at 1:25 pm  Comments (7)