Tues. Sept. 13, 2022: Fun With Friends

image courtesy of Fancycrave1 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury

Cloudy and humid

I completely forgot to post an intention for the week yesterday; I knew I’d scheduled something to post, and it was for the GDR site, not this one. Oops.

Friday and Saturday were about getting the house ready for guests, and cooking ahead somewhat (making the potato salad and the curried chicken salad and the black bean soup, etc.). Sunday morning, I put the chicken in the crockpot and made the devilled eggs.

My friends arrived a little before 11. We got them settled, and then I drove them around for the basic tour of the town, ending up at Windsor Lake. In the afternoon, we just caught up chatting and decided what to do on Monday. We ate and yakked and had a good time.

Tessa remembered one of my friends from his trips to the Cape. It was funny, because at first she didn’t, until she did. Charlotte and Willa had never met either of them. Willa was friendly, but Charlotte was anxious she was being given away, and hid most of the time.

We were up early on Monday, had a leisurely breakfast, and then headed out. I showed them the library (the building is beautiful) and then we spent the rest of the morning at MassMOCA. The space is enormous, and there’s only so much you can see before the brain fries.

But we saw Kellie Rae Adams’s very intense installation “Forever in Your Debt” which was just amazing. There was also an exhibit of Louse Bourgeois marble and metal sculptures I’d never seen before, Laurie Anderson’s fascinating, personal pieces,  Gunnar Schoenbeck’s musical art, Richard Nielsen’s set of 48 masked paintings, a group exhibit of Ceramics in the Expanded Field, and a kind of graffiti/pop art/neon set of rooms.

It was all fascinating. I often wonder how different the story I receive from these pieces is from the story the artist told. It’s such an education in different ways of telling stories that don’t all rely on words on pages, and how different textures, colors, and juxtapositions stimulate responses.

Definitely an inspiration to keep experimenting with different types of storytelling.

We came home for lunch, and then headed down to Lenox to The Mount (Edith Wharton’s home) to walk the grounds, visit the sculpture installation, and my favorite, the sunken garden. We had tea on the terrace and headed back. It was hotter and more humid than I’d expected.

More snacks, more cooking, dinner, and talking.

Charlotte got a little more comfortable as time went on, but I think she needed a couple more days to really make friends.

Charlotte woke me up at 3:15 this morning to let me know it was raining, so I could put the bucket out on the porch under the leak (it’s on the landlord’s list). Her work was done and she went back to sleep, but I was up. For a while there, it monsooned, but it tapered off.

I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and they got back on the road by about 8:30, in case the rain slowed them down.

It was a good visit with good friends with whom I have a long history of laughter and creativity.

Stripped the beds and prepared the laundry. I have to get back to work now, and get some stuff done today.

We’ll be out of the house mid-morning tomorrow, because my mom gets Covid Shot #5.

Episode 15 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today; I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one!

Fri. Sept. 2, 2022: Hello, Mr. Fireman

image courtesy of F.Muhanmad via pixabay.com

Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cool

Finally, some cooler weather! Although it doesn’t smell like autumn yet.

I read a friend’s rewrite of her play yesterday and it was wonderful! I’m so excited for her. And I got my ballot down to City Hall and left it in the ballot box. So we’ve both voted in next week’s primaries.

Well, we had some excitement here yesterday. Yes, that was sarcasm.

I was working on the computer when I smelled something like burned toast. I got up to see if one of the burners was on, or if the toaster or the microwave or the coffee machine was doing something funky. Nope.

Then I wondered if I was having a stroke.

But I felt fine. Ish.

The fire alarms started going off, with their beeping, and the weird, robotic voice going, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”

They do that pretty regularly, but we could smell smoke.

A minute later, the next-door neighbor pounded on the door saying, “Get out! It’s real! The old lady downstairs has a kitchen fire!”

We grabbed the cats and stuffed them into their crates. Willa ran and hid, but when my mom called for her, she came out, and I grabbed her and popped her into her crate. I grabbed the computer, my bag of flash drives, and my purse, forgetting my passport and my phone. My  mom had the backpack where we keep the important papers, her phone, her purse. She took Willa. I had Tessa and Charlotte, and we went downstairs and sat on the curb.

The firemen were there by then, and the neighbor had gotten the woman and her walker out of the apartment, his roommates had gotten out with the dog, and the other downstairs neighbor had evacuated along with her kid (the other kid was in school).

It wasn’t bad; the woman had put something in the microwave to heat up, and, for some reason, it caught fire. It was mostly smoke. The firemen brought in big fans to clear everything out. No one was hurt. Nothing was destroyed except the microwave and the poor woman’s lunch. She was so embarrassed. I told her not to worry; it was more important that she was okay.

Tessa Was Not Amused. She sat in her crate with her back to the world, mumbling and threatening revenge. Charlotte and Willa, however, reveled in the extra attention. Everyone stopped by to tell them how pretty they were (Charlotte was purring by then). People driving by actually stopped and got out of their cars to admire them.

The firemen did a walkthrough of the apartments to make sure everything was fine, and up we went. The apartment smelled a little rank, but the windows were open, and I’d just gotten new incense in cedarwood and jasmine, so that went right on the burner, and soon it was back to rights.

We let the cats out of their crates and they ran around checking on everything. Tessa Was in A Mood, hissing and swiping at everyone, eating a whole bowl of food, and then not having anything to do with anyone until this morning.

The adrenalin crash wasn’t pretty, but I managed to cover two scripts (I needed to do three, but I’m still okay, deadline-wise. But not  a whole lot got done.

It was a good test run. We’re going to have to run drills to pack the cats faster. Willa and Charlotte’s crates were handy, but Tessa’s had been stored in a place that took too much time to reach, so that will be adjusted. We have to be efficient about packing up what we need and getting out in under three minutes. I think this time, we took six, and that’s too long. We were lucky; it could have been a lot worse, and now we know what we need to adjust for future emergencies.

I started the next book for review, which is kind of meh. Calls itself a thriller, but the pace is slow and the male protagonist falls into the Too Stupid To Live category. Never a good sign when I’m rooting for the protagonist to get murdered.

Started panicking in the evening when I had a sore throat, worrying I’d come down with the plague, and then remembered we’d had a fire and the apartment was filled with smoke. Took some slippery elm and felt better.

Slept well until about 3 AM, then had trouble falling back to sleep. I was restless, even though I wasn’t fretting. But I did fall asleep, and didn’t wake up until after 7, so it’s been a slow start.

I have to run some errands this morning. We didn’t have a chance to swap out to September fabrics (everything is still very summery) or change the wreath on the door, so that has to happen today. And I have to cover three scripts. I’d hoped to start my holiday weekend today, but no such luck.

At least it should be a good weekend. I plan to spend a lot of time resting and doing inner work. Maybe some work on LEGERDEMAIN. Maybe start recovering the kitchen chairs (which is the next project on the list).

Have a good one, and enjoy the holiday!

Published in: on September 2, 2022 at 8:16 am  Comments (2)  

Wed. Aug. 31, 2022: Inspection Day

image courtesy of Graphics Mama Team via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny, still humid, a little cooler

I was up early yesterday morning, doing the final wipe on the granite countertops, on the stainless steel fridge and dishwasher, wiping the mirrors. The cats trailed along after me, letting me know when I missed a spot.

The inspector and the landlord were here promptly, and the landlord said he was delighted by what we’d done with the place (it was the first time he’d been inside since we moved in). The inspector seemed surprised that I actually talked to him and was glad to see him. So I’m glad about that. Charlotte captivated them both, and had them wrapped around her dainty paw in seconds. Tessa and Willa ignored them.

The inspection of the whole place just took about 15 minutes. I mean, we keep it in good shape, the landlord had it in good shape when we moved in. There are a few little things he’s going to take care of, but nothing major.

For some reason, we were exhausted after (maybe because we spent four days getting the place ready, rearranging things we’d planned to take care of for months).

The doctor’s office phoned and asked if my mom could come in earlier for her appointment than originally scheduled, so we got in the car and drove over, and she had her appointment.

I spent the afternoon writing up the analysis of the novel-with-and-eye-to-adaptation and sent it off.

I put a hand-stitched double wedding ring quilt on the bed that I bought in Plymouth, MA years ago, but haven’t really used. However, Charlotte just adores it. She knows she looks gorgeous on it, and takes full advantage.

But that was pretty much the day. This morning, they are fixing something downstairs and the water if off (not fun, especially since there was no warning).

We might head out to the fabric store this morning. I have ideas for a lap quilt I want to make for the winter, and there’s a sale. I have several scripts to turn around today (end of the month, always busy), some promotion to do on the LEGERDEMAIN episode that dropped yesterday, but most of today will be about script coverage. Tomorrow, I get back to work on the LEGERDEMAIN revisions, so the last episodes in the first large arc can be uploaded and scheduled before the holiday weekend. I’m also working on the Fearless Ink postcard that needs to go out a week or two after the holiday.

Next week, I’m also going to do a social media clear out, going through the following/followers and getting rid of the non-reciprocal accounts.

Busy few days preparing for the long holiday weekend, but I’m looking forward to having a few days off.

As I was planning the upcoming errands (be they today or in the next few days), I thought about where I would buy mulch. Then, I realized I’d dreamed I needed mulch for a garden last night. I don’t actually NEED mulch for what we have.

I’m looking forward to the weather taking a cooler turn, though. Between the humidity and the ragweed, it’s a challenge. Of course, the morons using leaf blowers only make the ragweed worse.

Have a good one.

Published in: on August 31, 2022 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Aug. 30, 2022: That New Moon in Virgo Energy

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and humid

This will be short, partly because there isn’t much to say about the weekend, and partly because today is overly busy.

Most of the weekend was spent getting the apartment ready for the inspection. I cleared out the pantry and rearranged it (which makes it work better). I pulled everything out of the laundry room, reorganized it, and built shelves out of crates, so it’s usable space and we can get at everything. I rearranged my room quite a bit. There’s more to do to make it the sanctuary I want, but at least it’s neat. Reorganized a bunch of things in the office and the sewing room and the living room. We hung up some more pictures and other art things. I cleaned off/out the rolltop desk (which lives in the sewing room in this place), and now it’s usable workspace again. I want to paint the filing cabinets teal and do the handles in a really pretty silver, but that couldn’t happen this weekend.

I also sewed the new curtain panel from The Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, a nice, bright sunflower fabric. All handstitched, because setting up the sewing machine seemed like too much work. It only took a couple of hours by hand, and the natural light was excellent this weekend. I sewed the back panel (coral and fishes) and velcro’d it on, so I can take it off and wash it as needed (I mean, kitchen. Things spill). Someone wondered why I hadn’t just stapled it on, and, frankly, it never occurred to me.

I read the book for review. I was assigned a novel to read for analysis as a something for potential adaptation, which I did. It was by an author whose work I know well, and for a company who has a script in production that I read a few months ago (and really liked).

I got out a couple of LOIs, including one to teach for a writers’ organization.

And, around all the organizing and unpacking boxes and getting rid of stuff that we don’t need, there was also lots of vacuuming and scrubbing floors and cleaning mirrors, and all the rest.

In other words, a good portion of our fall cleaning is done early. Which is great. On September 1, I’ll swap out the fabrics on the tables, etc. Oct. 1 is when the spiderweb curtains go up, and we put up the Samhain decorations.

But I’m tired and achy from moving stuff around and climbing up on stepstools and all the rest. And I’m worried, because I didn’t get in as much script coverage as I hoped these last two weeks – a combination of burnout, and that there just wasn’t all that much out there, and much of what was paid way too little.

That Virgo new moon is a hard taskmaster! But I went very Virgo-y, with all the organization, and things do look good. I even put the handmade double wedding ring quilt on my bed, which I bought in Plymouth a couple of years before we even moved to the Cape, and I’ve never used. It’s a gorgeous piece of usable art. Charlotte adores it. She better not puke on it.

But all of that physical work also gave me time to think. I am happiest when I focus on the work. I get grumpy and frustrated when people try to pull me off my work to serve their agendas (especially when they try to get me to work for free).

Why have I been able to make a living in the arts since I was 18? Because I didn’t let other people derail the work. Because I didn’t let them force their agenda into my priorities and syphon off my energy and creativity to serve them. I allowed it far too often on the Cape, because I was trying to figure out how to navigate civilian life, and let people take advantage. And it was always to my detriment.

My joy is in the work. I am a writer who loves the actual writing. So I need to get back to the work and focus on the work, and let the rest fall away. That way, I’m doing the work that keeps a roof over our heads AND doing the work I love to do.

Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries.

Which fits in well with this new moon Virgo energy.

Of course, now we’ve moved into Libra, and we have a fuckton of retrogrades, with the Mercury Retrograde looming over us, but focusing on the work is the key.

And there’s still a pandemic going on, so it’s not like it even makes sense for a sane person to get on a plane, be It for a vacation or a conference) and go dancing around unmasked. I got five emails over the weekend canceling events due to “unexpected circumstances.” When I asked what those were, they were all COVID. Stop fucking gaslighting. COVID is not an “unexpected circumstance” when you haven’t followed protocols. It’s a given. Stop lying. I mean, I wasn’t planning on attending any of those events anyway, due to lack of safety protocols. But the lying  really bothers me.

Anyway, I have to finish my analysis for the book’s potential for adaptation. I’m waiting for the inspector. I have to take my mom to the doctor. I have another script to turn around this afternoon. And it’s hot and humid, still.

But tomorrow, I can go back to the work.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on August 30, 2022 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Mon. Aug. 29, 2022: Intent for the Week — It’s About the Work

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Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time (around as I was working on other things) thinking about the root of my frustrations lately.

When am I happiest? When I focus on the work.

When do I get frustrated? When other people demand that I put their work (espcially unpaid) ahead of my own.

How have I been able to make a living in the arts since I was 18, rather than doing hated “day jobs” and only writing/working in theatre “on the side”? Because I haven’t let other people sabotage me when they didn’t have the courage to follow their dreams and resent that I follow mine.

So this week is about getting back to the work. Less other people, more myself.

I mentioned last week that I’ve peopled too much over the past weeks, and I’m ready to batten down the hatches for autumn and winter. I have tentative plans with several old friends for the autumn, which I hope come to pass, but I don’t want to get pulled into anything around here that requires much, if anything from me. That’s true not just because of COVID, but because too many people want to benefit from others’ labor without doing their part in their own work.

I’m focusing on the work this week, and that will help reset the equilibrium. I have my work; I have client work. I’m tired and burned out, but there is a holiday weekend coming up and I have every intention of taking it, and probably not dealing with anyone (or many people, other than, say, the grocery store or the library).

I keep joking that I don’t even plan to get out of my pajamas all next weekend, but it might not be a joke!

However, today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday — those are about the work. The rental inspector comes by tomorrow, so there is last minute tidying up to do. I have a book to read and analyze for possible adaptation for television for a client today, too, along with my own work.

Have a good one!

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on August 29, 2022 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Mon. Aug. 15, 2022: Intent for the Week — Balance Between Work & Rest

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I’ve pushed hard the last few weeks, and I’m tired. So this week, my intent is to balance the necessary work with the need for rest. Not push too hard, but not let things slide. Listen to my body and my heart, along with my head.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on August 15, 2022 at 10:15 am  Comments Off on Mon. Aug. 15, 2022: Intent for the Week — Balance Between Work & Rest  

Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry

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Friday, August 12, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday, but it was still good.

The script changes for the radio play were approved by all involved. Thank goodness for rehearsals, where one can find out where something doesn’t work and change it.

I converted the PowerPoint I used for Saturday’s class into a PDF. I proofed the Developing the Series Topic Workbook, made some necessary changes, and that is up for pre-order and ready to release next Wednesday, the 17th. I then added in some information to another version of the manuscript – I’m not allowed to actually discuss any platform or the distributors reject it, saying I’m listing “competing markets.” Well, part of the class had to do with markets, so I went back and listed them in the version for class participants. I then converted that version to PDF. I sent it to the list of students and to the conference organizers for their archives.

Episode 6 of LEGERDEMAIN dropped, so I did some promo on the channels where I couldn’t schedule posts. I need to get back to work on that website next week. I’m behind where I want to be on the website. It’s live, it’s just not where it needs to be so I can promote it well.

Freelance Chat was fun. The guy behind the Hectic App was the guest. The talk was about getting paid and automated invoicing, but the app itself looks like it takes the best of platforms like Asana and Slack, and also adds accounting stuff. I asked if there was a way to plug in royalty payments and the like. There’s a huge gap in the working artists market, and if Hectic could somehow include them and what they need in there, it’s a big market. Anyway, I might play with the app and see how it works and build on it.

So far, I like Asana, mostly, but it’s still not doing everything the way I want and need to do it. But at least it doesn’t tell me to vacuum my house, the way Todoist did!

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then rehearsed the poem.

I’d sent my friend the draft of “Inspired By” and she had great notes. I’m looking forward to making those changes, and they gave me an idea on how to expand a beat that feels rushed and truncated (it’s a one act, so it’s all, technically, one scene, but the beats and dynamics shift).

I showered and dressed. Since the event was in an art museum, and the topic was “landscape” I wore a top and skirt that looked like brushstrokes in blue and red and black. Because, you know, once in theatre, always in theatre.  Drove to the Berkshire Museum down in Pittsfield. Took the back way behind the library, rather than having to drive past the museum and find a place to turn around, since one can’t turn left into the museum from the main road. And it worked! I actually found my way. I even found a legal parking spot in front of the museum.

I was early (of course), so I helped set up. The woman from the museum turns out to have done her master’s in Shakespeare, so I’m sending her information today on the Shakespeare horror anthology.

It was a small group, the first time the poets have met inside since the start of the pandemic. There were eight poets reading, and a smattering of audience members. The different takes on the theme of “landscape” were wonderful. And then, after we were done, one woman shyly asked if she could read something. The answer was, of course, yes, and that’s what this is all about. And it was nice to talk to the other people after.

When we came down the steps of the museum, the sky was an amazing array of pinks and grays, and we all just stood there and enjoyed it for a few minutes.

Anyway, I’ve been invited to do more with them. Some of their upcoming events, I think I will be there to listen, as an audience member, rather than read.

It’s such a different experience to read my own work than it is to have actors perform it. Because I am not an actress creating my own work to carve a place for myself, it’s very different. As the event’s leader points out, it works best when you learn something about both the poet and the topic through the poem. So, although I worked on story, rhythm, image, and told the story through a character, there were still revelations about me as a person. And, as someone who prefers to stay in the background, that’s a challenge.

Anyway, came home, and was reminded that my night vision sucks. Which, as the days get shorter, will also limit what and where I do things. Talked to the across-the-street neighbor for a bit. Gathered up the mail, which included THE NEW YORKER (I’m about four issues behind), and the check for teaching at the conference. Caught up with Chef Jeremy’s video chat, and signed up for his class Monday night in honor of Julia Child’s birthday. This weekend, I’m going to write him a letter, telling him how much his classes and just, in general, his being a kind, caring person have meant to me these last few years.

Didn’t sleep particularly well, but the cats got me up early. My cousin’s funeral is today. Workwise, I have to focus on LEGERDEMAIN and get caught up with that. I’m behind where I hoped to be uploading the next set of episodes, and I need to get to work on writing the next arc, too.

I need to go to the bank and the post office and the library and pick up a prescription for my mom. I’d planned to go to the laundromat to wash the fabric I’ll use this weekend, but I can’t find the laundry bag. I used it, last trip. I remember emptying it and folding the bad into quarters. But it’s not where I usually put it, and I am baffled. I might just wash things here at home, and, if I need to tomorrow morning, throw them in the laundromat’s dryer. Downside of not having washer/dryer in the house.

This weekend is house-and-hearth stuff. If there’s not another deluge of rain, I may go to the Mount Sunday afternoon and listen to the poets read poems in the sculpture installation. But that’s all up in the air.

And, I want to get some rest. The last few weeks have tired me, and I want to recalibrate a little.

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 12, 2022 at 7:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry  
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Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022: Plans and Poetry

image courtesy of Adriano Gadini via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Prepped for my meeting yesterday morning. The meeting ran longer than expected, and there’s a follow-up here at my place next Tuesday afternoon, so I can help my friend apply for some grants.

I was much later getting back in the afternoon than I expected, which meant a later start on the scripts. I had three to turn around, which I did, two before dinner, one after. The radio play rehearsal was moved to last night, but I didn’t find out about it until too late. This morning, I have to do some rewrites from what came up in rehearsal.

I finished and polished the poem after all that, and spent some time rehearsing. I have a three-minute slot, and the piece consistently comes in at 2:11 or 2:15, so I’m fine. Even though this is way out of my wheelhouse, I worked on story, image, and rhythm, and it’s doing what I want. So, we’ll see. Every time I get nervous, I remind myself that it is about the work, not about me. The focus is on making sure the work lands with the impact I want, not tying myself in knots about being the one to read it.

I’ll miss Chef Jeremy’s special session tonight, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. He knows he aways has my utmost respect, support, and affection.

The 6th episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today, so there will be all kinds of promotion.

After meditation this morning, I will do the final proofread on the Topic Workbook, so I can send it and the PDF from the class out, and move the release date of the Workbook to next week. I have to see if I made an ad for it; if not, then that’s on the agenda, because once the links go live, I need to be able to upload and schedule the marketing content calendar for it.

September’s not that far away, so I’m already playing with marketing ideas for the Topic Workbooks from October through December.

And I need to get the next 10 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN uploaded and scheduled. And cover a script.

I’m tired. I feel as though I could sleep for about a week. I’ll get a chance to rest a bit this weekend, but there’s also a lot of home-and-hearth stuff that needs to be done. I want to fix the chairs and make the new chair covers and do the curtains and the back panel for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Maybe I’ll even get to unpack a few more boxes, and rearrange some stuff in the pantry and the laundry room.

But I also want and need some rest.

Have a good one!

Published in: on August 11, 2022 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022: Plans and Poetry  
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Wed. Aug. 9, 2022: Just Chugging Along

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was another hot day, although the temperature started going down later in the day. But I hadn’t slept well, which was not a good way to start.

I had trouble getting going in the morning. I had to deal with stuff on the personal front, of course, with everything going on. I managed to get the book review written and out, and was assigned my next two books for review. I worked on catching up with emails, and handling a bunch of admin. I pushed back the release date for DEVELOPING THE SERIES so that I can finish proofreading it and make sure the students really get it well before it goes into general release. I did the promotion for Episode 5 of LEGERDEMAIN that dropped yesterday, “The Luminous Lady.” The ad I made for it is one of my favorites.

I worked on the poem a little.

I let myself grieve when I needed.

There was a thunderstorm in the late morning, which helped break some of the heat and humidity. But then, it was warm and sunny again.

We headed back to the quilt shop in Williamstown. And ran into a detour, because there was a gas leak, and a big chunk of Rt. 2 was blocked off by the fire department. So I had to take back roads. The fact I knew which backroads to take pleased me.

Anyway, we went to the quilt shop, and I picked up some fabric to make holiday-themed curtains for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because this weekend, when I’m working on seat covers and kitchen island curtains, I might as well do all of them at once.

A big guy working the lines came into the quilt shop, curious because his grandmother used to quilt, and he was interested in looking at the quilts. That, of course, triggered a story idea for me, so those characters are percolating. Now, the question becomes are they their own set of characters in their own world, or do I fold them into one of my other worlds?

On the way back, we did a stop at Wild Oats for a few things, and I paid my next year’s membership. I got to introduce my mom to the general manager, who is a sweet, smart, wonderful guy, and that was good.

Did a script coverage in the afternoon. Then, it was cool enough to prepare the rest of the Farmers’ Market vegetables as roasted vegetables, and served it over couscous. The rest of this week will be leftovers from the past few days of crockpot, primavera pasta, and roasted veggies.

Right after I finished, it was time for the cooking class with Chef Jeremy over at Kripalu (via Zoom). He’s moving into a full-time faculty position, after being the Executive Chef there for 12 years (which, as he said, is “like 187 Chef years”). He’s such a brilliant teacher, and he loves it so much, I’m glad he has the opportunity. And I’m excited to, at some point, study with him again in person.

Anyway, class was tons of fun. As usual, I learned a lot (like the difference between a tian and a gratin).

After class, I had another script to cover, but I got everything done.

It was the first night in weeks where it was cool enough to sleep, and I slept. Although I had a nightmare, and Charlotte woke me up at 3 AM. But I managed to fall back to sleep, and got up a little after six.

The damn computer took nearly an hour to do an update, and then none of the programs talked to any of the other programs, so I had to go in and wiggle things around until it worked again. I am not an IT person, and I shouldn’t have to fake being one just to get the computer up and running every morning. Especially since it’s still under warranty (although no one has any interest in honoring the warranty). And I’m only using 25% of the computer’s capacity.

I did not have these problems with my Mac.

Anyway, I have a meeting to prepare for this morning, the workbook to finish proofing, the poem to polish, and then three scripts to cover this afternoon, so it’s another busy day. But good busy.

Spiro Squirrel tried to remove the kitchen window screen again yesterday afternoon and Willa was right there, letting him know that was not an option. When I heard her scampering down the hallway early this morning, I was sure he’d somehow managed to get in and she was chasing him around the house, but she was just running up and down the hall because it was cool enough to run again. All the cats were perky this morning, because it was cool enough to feel like themselves again.

Hope you’re having a good one.

Published in: on August 10, 2022 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 9, 2022: Just Chugging Along  
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Tues. Aug. 9. 2022: Grief Intrudes

image courtesy of Tumisu via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hot and humid

Friday feels so far away, I’m not even sure what I did. Fixed SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, and it released. Polished my presentation. Uploaded DEVELOPING THE SERIES for the final proof.

It was so damn hot, that’s all I could do.

I was up early Saturday morning, to go to the Farmers’ Market before my class. It was so hot and humid that I nearly passed out. I got to the air-conditioned grocery store and it took me awhile to cool down enough so that I could think enough to shop.

Home, hauled everything up the stairs, put it away, and had to lie down.

I joined the Zoom for the conference’s keynote speech (with my video off), and it was good. Showered and dressed for my own class. Went over the class materials.

I had the worst possible slot for me (and for everyone else) – 2:45 – 4:45 on a hot Saturday afternoon. But I dug down and found the energy. The participants were enthusiastic and jumped into the exercises and had good questions, so it was a good class.

I was wiped out afterwards, though. Made tacos for dinner. That’s become a go-to for me.

Went to bed early, but it was too hot to sleep. I moved to the sofa in the living room halfway through the night, because there was a breeze.

Thank goodness we have good water pressure, because I’m taking multiple showers a day, just to hose down.

Sunday, I read in the morning (DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY, which is a wonderful novel). A little after noon, I got in the car and headed back to the Edith Wharton homestead, where I went to see a play reading by a local professional company that interests me.

I was there early enough to take a photo of my favorite sculpture in this installation, a dragon.

The play was in the converted stable. The chairs were too close together, and, although it was a requirement to stay masked while inside, too many of the audience members kept slipping their masks down around their chins constantly, when they thought no one was looking. Only white audience members, of course, with their fucking sense of self-entitlement.

The play itself was wonderful, Caryl Churchill’s ESCAPED ALONE. The four actresses were amazing (and all of 70). Truly a professional performance, even as a reading, that gripped the audience and didn’t let go. The stage manager was one of the poets from The World’s Largest Poem, and how I found out about it, and I thanked her for letting me know. She was delighted that I actually followed through and showed up.

There was a really interesting talk back after the reading. Although it was not lost on me that one of the (white) women who talked about how important it was for the community of women to look after and connect and care for each other was one of the ones who’d kept sneaking her mask down during the show. Fucking hypocrite. Don’t give an impassioned speech about the importance of caring in community when you refuse to wear your fucking mask properly for seventy fucking minutes, showing that you actually do not give a fuck about anyone around you. I truly wanted to punch her in the throat, but I refrained.

As we exited the theatre, the skies opened and we were caught up in a downpour. In the few hundred yards to the car, I was completely drenched.

The original plan had been to stay through for a poetry event that started in the same location at 5. It was now just a few minutes after 3. I’d hoped the Terrace Café was still open, to get a drink and a snack, but they closed at 3. It was pouring, so wandering the gardens was not an option. I could sit in my car and be wet for an hour and a half, but then I’d be miserable and couldn’t enjoy the event.

So, I started up the car and drove home. There were times, driving through Lenox and parts of Pittsfield, I thought I would have to pull over, because the rain was so intense, I couldn’t see beyond the hood of the car. By the time I hit Cheshire, I needed my sunglasses again.

It had never even rained at home.

I got out of the car and wrung out my dress as best I could while still wearing it. Yes, I was truly that drenched, even after an hour’s ride in the car. When I got upstairs, I peeled the clothes off, toweled off, and put on other clothes. I’d done a crockpot chicken, so at least I didn’t have to worry about cooking.

Again, to bed early. Again, too hot to sleep well.

Up early on Monday, feeling exhausted. Did a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, mailed some stuff at the post office and got more stamps, and then we headed over to the quilt shop in Williamstown. It is amazing. Truly a fabric wonderland.

I got the fabric I will attach to the back of the Kitchen Island Cart From Hell, and for the new curtains. Because let’s face it, cute little blue curtains with mice who are sewing don’t really work in the kitchen.

Home, lunch, and just could not move through the humidity to work in the afternoon. The computer was glitching. I couldn’t concentrate.

I finally (after a Twitter poll – yes, I was so desperate and in such cognitive dissonance, I asked TWITTER what to do), packed everything up and headed back out to Williamstown to the library there.

Because most people mask.

I’m not sure what they’re doing across the street at the college library. The public library four blocks away no longer requires masks and asks that patrons respect those who choose to wear them (which shouldn’t need to be said). The library in Williamstown “recommends” them, and 98% of the patrons are respectful enough to do so.

So I set up in their hipster lounge and did my script coverage work. I was only there for the last hour and a half of their open hours, but I did more than I usually get done in 4 hours of home heat and humidity.

When I came back out, it was sunny as all get out, with 98% humidity, and puddles everywhere. There’d been a downpour while I was inside.

Drove home, and made a pasta primavera with produce from Saturday’s shopping.

Found out that the extended family member who went into hospice a couple of weeks ago died. I was planning to finish and send off the materials to Saturday’s students, but family stuff needed attention, to I let the conference organizers know it would be a few more days.

The family member who died was elderly. He’d been vaxxed and boosted, but had to go into the hospital and then rehab for non-COVID-related issues. But he’d caught COVID in rehab, and never recovered. He was a quiet, thoughtful, kind, sweet man. He and his wife had been together for 65 years, and have three great sons, all of whom are married, and a passel of terrific grandchildren. He was my grandmother’s brother’s stepson — yeah, I don’t know what that means, either, but we called each other “cousin.”

He could fix anything and was always the first to offer help when someone needed a driveway plowed or a lawn mowed.

The service itself is being kept small, because we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Instead of flowers, I’m going to respect the family’s wishes and give a donation to their local public library.

I have kept somewhat of a distance from that extended family since the move. When we were stressed and frightened about having to move out, without any idea how to pull it off, the advice from that quarter (though not this particular cousin) was that I should put my mother in a home (because “she’s old, she only needs one room”), get rid of the cats, get rid of all my books and everything else, rent a room in someone’s house, and get a minimum wage job in the hospitality industry. Um, no. While we did not want nor ask for financial help, some emotional support would have been appreciated.

But then, even when I worked on Broadway, that section of the family has always considered me a loafer who should buckle down and get a “real job.”

When we managed to pull off the move (thanks to my theatre friends and writing friends, to whom I will be forever grateful), they were surprised. My mother kept in touch with them, but I really have not, other than Christmas and birthday cards.

However, there’s still a sense of grief and loss. There were lots of good times, since we started going to the big, 60+ people Thanksgiving dinners at the Legion Hall, starting way back in 1972, right after my dad died.

Emotions are layered and messy and more than one thing.

They’re also exhausting.

It’s still terribly hot and humid, and I have a lot to get done today. I’ve written a ritual for a friend who needs some help navigating a difficult situation, so that goes off this morning. I need to write and send off a review for a book I disliked. I need to finish proofing the workbook, so one version can release tomorrow, and the slightly different version can go out to the students.

I need to upload the next episodes for Legerdemain (and promote the episode that drops today).

I have a cooking class tonight with Chef Jeremy (which I love), and the radio play rehearsal was cancelled, so there’s one less thing.

I have to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting with a local baker, where I’m going to help her with some grant possibilities.

I need to polish my poem for Thursday night, and work on the Shakespeare horror story.

I have two scripts and some follow up questions in today’s queue.

I have to make another run to the quilt shop, because there were a few things there we kept thinking about, so we’re just going to go back and get them.

I may pack up this afternoon and work in the library again. I’m not sure yet.

I also need to give myself room to grieve. There were plenty of things the Victorians were overzealous and controlling about, but at least they has a process for mourning, instead of expecting it to be compartmentalized into a day or two.

Hopefully, you are not suffering in the heat, and things are going well for you.

Fri. Aug. 5, 2022: Ebbs and Flows

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Friday, August 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hazy and humid

Definitely tired and feeling the effects of the week. But I’ll do a big push this weekend, and, hopefully, next week will be a little easier.

Had a story rejected by a publication (I wasn’t sure it was the right fit, but gave it a shot, so it wasn’t a complete surprise). Got a rejection on a big grant application I put in earlier this year – again, not a surprise, because it was a stretch. They were encouraging and made suggestions on where to beef up certain sections of the application, and to reapply next year, so that is what I will do.

Got the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook uploaded and out, but there’s a problem with a couple of things. The issue with the cover I understand – I think I uploaded the wrong version, so I’ll fix that. I don’t understand the other note, about “mentioning competitive markets in conflict with the distributors.” It’s about how to set up a submission system. I don’t mention any publisher or distributor by name. I do have links to resources, so I wonder if that’s the problem. I have questions in, and we’ll see.

Did a run to Wild Oats for a few things in the late morning. The heat and humidity were oppressive. I managed to turn around two scripts, and also to finish a book for review, but I was wiped out by the end of the day.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm with bucketing rain, so I spent a good portion of the evening lying on the sofa, watching the storm.

It didn’t get comfortable enough to sleep until about 3 AM, so I’m a little slow today. But I had good coffee, which makes a big difference.

I worked on the latest draft of the radio play with the producer, and finalized virtually attending Tuesday’s rehearsal, which will be fun.

On today’s docket is finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow’s Developing the Series class, and getting both versions of the Workbook proofed. Class attendees will get a copy of the workbook as part of the class; it will release for sale next Wednesday.

If there’s time, I need to start uploading/scheduling the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, but that might happen on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, it’s Farmers’ Market Day, and then I teach in the late afternoon (at the worst possible time for me biorhythmically, but I’m prepared, so it will work). Sunday is a day of fun for me. I have two events at the Edith Wharton manse – I’m going to see a play by a local theatre (stage managed by a fellow poet from a few weeks ago), and, after that, there’s a poetry event inspired by the sculptures in the garden. It should be a fun day.

Next weekend will be busy, between script coverage and LEGERDEMAIN and a cooking class and the radio play rehearsal and participating in Poets in Conversation, but it should be fun, too.

Have a good one, friends, and we’ll catch up on the other side.

Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Different Paths

image courtesy of succo via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

There’s a post on the garden news over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wasn’t as hot as expected, although today is supposed to be brutal. I managed to get the revision done on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. I had to do the sample pages in Publisher then save them as JPGs  to insert them, and some of them still aren’t right. I think I will print sheets, scan them, see if I can save them as JPGs and insert them, and see if that fixes the problem. Then I’ll do the final proofread, so it can release on time tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I turned around 4 scripts. It was a lot, but it takes pressure off me for the rest of the week.

This morning, I have meditation. Then, I have to dash out to Wild Oats for a few things (like coffee. I’m out of coffee after making this morning’s batch). Proofread the workbook. Work on the PowerPoint for class. Answer some questions on the radio script that’s in rehearsal. I have only two scripts to turn around this afternoon, which is good.

The workshop leader for the journaling workshop, after dissing daily journal practice as meaningless, offered techniques that have been used since the journaling explosion back in the nineties. I’m not going to comment other than to say, once again, my path is different from this group. There are other practices they have in place that I disagree with and find exclusionary rather than inclusionary, especially since it’s all based on money, but that’s a different conversation.

My path is different.

Back to the page. Plenty that needs to happen today. I’m enjoying it all, even while being tired. I hope it doesn’t get as hot as it threatens today, and I hope it starts cooling off at night soon; it’s hard to sleep in the humidity.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on August 4, 2022 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Different Paths  
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Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Published in: on August 3, 2022 at 8:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity  
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