Wed. June 29, 2022: Creativity, Cats, and Yoga

image courtesy of Tamba Budiarsana via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I’m happy with the work I did on The Big Project yesterday, and that will probably be the biggest focus for the upcoming weekend: getting the edits on the first large section done while working on the second large section (this will all make sense when I reveal what this project actually is). It’s bizarre not to finish the entire thing and then edit the entire thing, but since there’s technically not and “end” (although there are options to impose one), that’s how this needs to be done.

The editor confirmed that I am in the first volume of The Monthology shared world anthology. I’m very excited, and I’m excited about my fellow contributors. There are still contracts to sign and edits to complete and all of that, but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to be part of a shared world anthology since Thieves’ World first showed up in the 1980’s, and now I am. Always nice when a creative dream comes true!

Played with the horror short story. If I don’t choose the right way to tell it, it will read voyeuristic and exploitative, instead of terrifying. I think I’ve got the right angle on it now; we’ll see as more words go on the page.

Spent a lot of time in the morning updating the links for the “Personal Revolution” re-release, and putting up the ad for it every damn where I could think to put it. Scheduled a bunch of tweets with the ad through next Wednesday on Tweetdeck, one per day. Don’t want to do overkill; at the same time, it needs promotion. Even with a list, I’m sure I missed a few places that will come to mind over the next few days.

Hopped down to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription.

Willa wanted to come out on the back balcony when I watered all the plants yesterday morning. I told her she couldn’t, and she was unhappy. I promised her that I’d take her out after lunch, in her playpen, and I did. At first she was happy, but then she was restless, so I brought her back in. Charlotte, who was upset that she couldn’t come, too, had given up by then and fallen asleep. But Tessa insisted that she wanted to go out. I told her it had to be in the playpen, and she let me put her in her playpen (each of the three cats has her own playpen) without trying to rip my lungs out, the way she usually does.

I took her out and she had a good time. She was interested in everything, especially all the different birds we have. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and tree-like shrubs nearby, with a large variety of birds. I need to look them up in the bird book. I don’t know what some of them are.

When we came back in, Willa kept running into the laundry room and trying to drag out her now folded up playpen, to go back outside.

I’m glad Tessa enjoyed herself. She always loved going out on the deck at the other house, although I didn’t need to put her in the playpen. She knew the boundaries and stayed on the deck. But the back balcony isn’t safe unless they’re in their playpens.

The computer was being wonky and frustrating. Again. And my phone is limping alone, just about done.

Something I ordered way back at the start of the month arrived, and was a big disappointment. The photo of the piece was highly stylized. Had I known what it really was, I wouldn’t have bought it. It was also presented as something created and made by an individual artisan (which is why I paid what I paid for it), but it is poorly mass-manufactured. It’s not worth returning, but I am unlikely to order from that company again. I will take some time with it and fix it up to be unique and what I want it to be, but it should have arrived that way.

I tried to concentrate on client work in the afternoon, but with the January 6 Hearings, I just couldn’t. Every seditionist and supporter needs to be removed from power any and every way necessary and prosecuted. The way nothing is happening is disgusting.

SCOTUS upholding gerrymandering in Louisiana to disenfranchise black voters doesn’t help, either. Dems need to stop telling us to “vote harder” and THEY need to fight smarter.

I went to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years yesterday. Local place, in walking distance, should I choose. Loved the vibe of the place, liked the way the teacher teaches, enjoyed the other members of the class. The vaccination requirement is strictly enforced, some of the students still choose to mask, there’s plenty of room for everyone, and great ventilation.  I felt safe within the space (although I’ll still test in three days, then six days), along with feeling renewed after class. I definitely would like to take more classes there. It’s a little late in the game to buy the unlimited summer pass (maybe I’ll do that next year). I’m going to see about buying the 10-class pass in a week or two, once the bills are paid – and once I know how much the new phone will run me.

The place in Pittsfield doesn’t have the phone I want (and is unlikely to help me switch everything over if I order it online). I might switch carriers. A different carrier with a store a few blocks away has a similar phone (but one step up) that may be a little more expensive, or it may be on sale and around the same price. The monthly no-contract plan is less than what I’m paying now, for about double the capacity. I’ll go down and talk to them today, after I do my library run. If they can’t/won’t do what I need, I’ll stick with my carrier, get the phone I want online, and see if I can do the transfer myself (urgh). But let’s hope I don’t have to.

This morning, though, before I run my errands, I want to get the horror story drafted (it’s short), and maybe work on some of the format wonk in the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. This afternoon has to focus on client work.

The kitchen island cart is still in pieces all over the place. It’ll be the weekend before I can deal with that, too.

For the moment, though, now, it’s back to the page.

Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty

image courtesy of planet_fox via pixabay.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and hot

This is going to be the retrograde of computer malfunctions, I guess. Windows11 is awful. No more autosave – it tries to force you to save to the cloud. I don’t want to save to the cloud, and it should be MY decision. So, when I’m reading on screen and taking notes in a document, I have to save the document any time I switch back to the reading screen, or I lose everything. On top of that, when I opened the computer to start my day, it decided it had to “restart” and then “update” and then, when it asked for my PIN and I put it in, it gave me the gray screen of death. More than once. I shut it down and turned it back on, and it’s glitching.

As usual, Microsoft sucks. Although, from what I hear, Apple has descended to Microsoft’s level of ineptness.

In any case, yesterday was a decent day, although it got hot. I had trouble getting online to the meditation, but got there, and was glad I did. I got some work done in the morning, including slogging through way too much email. I had trouble getting the computer and the printer to talk to each other again after the upgrade, which is frustrating, because I have paperwork that needs to get done. I managed to get the next book for review downloaded, although that was a chore, too.

Once Mercury goes direct, I have to go through my Download file and dump a lot of it. It’s been double downloading things, and taking up space I can better use otherwise.

Headed for the grocery story, which had a special deal on hanging baskets, and we got a couple of lovely baskets of impatiens, one in a dusky pink and one in a bright pink. Headed to another store, where I wound up getting a lovely, soft shirt in organic cotton (on sale – gotta love Mercury Retrograde bargains). Headed back to the other store and got more potting soil, more pots, another patio rug, and three small shelf units that I plan to put together and use in various parts of the house. They’re kind of a dull brown. I will see what they look like put together, and then maybe paint them. Or, at least, stencil them.

The curried chicken salad I made the night before was perfect. We have a great big batch of it to enjoy, and that recipe might be a summer go-to for me. I used the Asian greens in it, almonds, currants, and golden raisins. I’d picked up a ciabatta on our errands, and that went perfectly with it.

After lunch, we set out the new rug on the back balcony – it even matches at the seam to the other rug. Having the two rugs run the length of the space unifies it. We hung the impatiens, and hung and filled the bird bath. We put the cushions on the bench and the bistro chairs. It’s a really nice, shady retreat. When the front porch, with its southern exposure, gets too hot in the afternoons, we can retreat to the back balcony, with its northern exposure.

Charlotte and Willa sat in the kitchen window and watched. I’m sure we will have to take them out sometimes in their playpens. Tessa happily stayed on the front porch.

I turned around a script coverage and cleaned up some other work, then read on the porch. The Ipsy bag arrived with the monthly goodies, and also MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL by Judy Griffin, which had been recommended by an Instagram pal. It’s a lovely book, and covers a lot of ground. Since most of my herbals are still in storage, this will serve me well, and I look forward to savoring it.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We’re prepping them for finals, and the kids are ready for summer.

Leftovers for dinner, and read. I was achy and tired, so went to bed pretty early. Had a rough night, though. I kept waking up with stress memory of this time last year, when that landlord was pressuring us to get out and we had no idea where we could go yet. I kept having to calm myself down (yoga and meditation came in handy) and get back to sleep.

Woke up with a scratchy throat and sneezing, but the itchy eyes and open windows tipped me it’s more likely to be pollen than plague. I was woken by screaming cats. At first I thought they were mine, but my trio was sitting in a row at the window (together) watching cats fight outside.

A friend’s card arrived yesterday, which made me happy, and another friend signed up for The World’s Largest Poem, so I hope that means she comes up for the performance!

Today, I have more email to get through, paperwork to take care of and get out the door, and work on The Big Project and the radio plays. I also have a script coverage.

This weekend, I have to turn over the linens and the closet from winter to summer, but I also want to get a lot of work done on The Big Project and work on the anthology story.

I need to get more scripts in my queue for next week, because I was well below my nut this pay period, and it was because there weren’t many scripts. I didn’t mind the break, because it gave me time to really focus on finishing the contest entries, and that paid more than I expected. But I have to look ahead, and I have a couple of big bills coming up in June.

It doesn’t help that I can’t trust the computer to power up properly or work properly, either.

Fingers crossed. Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on May 13, 2022 at 6:20 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty  
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Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment

image courtesy of Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.com

Friday, April 29, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The Retrogrades are starting, and Pluto goes retrograde today, and stays retrograde until October 8. Pluto’s retrograde works to reveal what’s hidden and force us to face fears, causing long-lasting transformations. Tomorrow is Beltane Eve with a new moon and a solar eclipse, so there’s a lot going on, and if you’re wondering why your emotions are all over the place, take a deep breath and a nap.

I had high hopes for yesterday, which were quickly dashed. I had trouble focusing in meditation. Charlotte had no such issues, spending most of the session quietly on my lap.

Then, Tracfone started again. First, they sent a text saying the phone number transfer was happening. Then, they began a series of phone calls in escalating harassment along the lines of “this is our number and we decide when and if it transfers.” They kept demanding a series of “press this key and that key” – which wasn’t possible, because one of the issues with that smartphone is that the dial pad was dumped and couldn’t be retrieved. Basically making the phone useless. Which has been explained to them, in detail, over a dozen times. Anything that they deemed wasn’t used “often enough” (which, by their definition, is multiple times a day) was removed from the phone. My mom is 97. She doesn’t need to dial her phone every day. So the dial pad was removed and the phone was even more useless than possible. In addition to the whole thing that she doesn’t need a smartphone and it was too difficult for her to learn. They were also trying to force another month’s payment while they ‘considered’ whether or not to release the number.

I turned off the phone, went back to Consumer Cellular, cancelled the transfer and got a new phone number. I was able to end SIX MONTHS of torment and harassment in five minutes.

Tracfone could have solved this issue six months ago in fifteen minutes and kept a customer they’d had for a decade. Instead, they chose harassment, believing if they harassed long and hard enough, we would just cave and pay them whatever they demanded and do whatever they demanded.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to let everyone know her new number, it’s better than Tracfone’s unacceptable harassment. Not to mention the literally thousands of dollars I’ve lost in billable hours/work time because of this.

The service ran out at the end of the day, and we are done with Tracfone. I am filing a formal complaint with the state’s division of public utilities, under which cellphones fall, but at least they’re not getting anymore money out of us, and can’t call anymore.

The new number needs a bit of time to settle down. In the first 12 hours, we had to block 4 scam calls.

At least they’re not like Verizon, which demanded a $4.99 charge every month for every number blocked, so one really couldn’t afford to block numbers.

I was exhausted by the end of that debacle, but also relieved that we’re done. And my mom has a simple flip phone that she can actually use, and that works.

I lost all the time blocked off for writing.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It’s such a great group.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage for something on which I’d been requested, and grabbed another script to read today. I’ll be a little under my nut for this pay period, but I need to focus on the contest entries over the weekend, and possibly into part of next week.

I spent some time on Ello, and put up a tarot post over on Ko-fi.

We did some Monthology brainstorming for a project logo, which we can slap around all over the place on websites and stickers and whatever. I mean, there are 50 of us, we can have an impact and get people interested and excited about the project.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’ve set our final virtual meeting date for late May, before Memorial Day weekend. More of an online party than anything else, to celebrate what we’ve built over the past two and a half years, and that we survived, at least so far.

I keep talking about how great Ello is, but friends are having trouble signing up. I feel bad about that, since I’ve been hawking the site. But the numbers I get on it are high – well over 100 for most posts, and over 1000 for others. In addition to cross-posting content, I also need to create specific content for that platform. Just not sure what yet.

Speaking of trouble signing up, Prime Storage, which bought the CubeSmart storage facility on Cape, is ignoring my requests for customer service and assistance setting up auto-pay. Their website will not acknowledge me as an existing customer or allow me to sign up as a new customer. It just keeps booting me out. I have no doubt this is intentional – they are trying to make sure there are late payments, so they can charge late fees. So I have to write a check and send it express mail to make sure it gets there on time. And you better believe I’m going to make them sign for it. AND send them the tracking number.

Another hateful company.

Worked on contest entries last night. I’m a little behind where I hoped I’d be, so I have to push hard this weekend. But that’s okay. Everything will get done by deadline, and it’s always exciting to read such a wide range of new work.

Going to hit the page this morning. I need to finish the first draft of the radio play by tomorrow for Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event. I have a seminar with them this afternoon, which should be interesting, on curating one’s archive.

I have to make the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, and the liquor store.

This afternoon, I’ll turn around another script and go back to the contest entries.

Tomorrow, we’re switching out the winter curtains to the lace panels, swapping out some early spring fabric for more summery fabric, and doing other houseworky things that have somehow become part of Saturday’s routine. I also have an online yoga session tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll have to finish the first draft of the radio play and do contest entries.

Saturday is Beltane Eve, the new moon, the eclipse; Sunday is Beltane and the start of May. Another month whizzing past.

April definitely was more chaotic and less productive than I’d hoped, but I’m looking forward to May and spring and plants and all that good stuff.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on April 29, 2022 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment  
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Wed. April 13, 2022: The Lack of Professionalism is Frustrating

image courtesy of Andrea Piaquadio via pexels.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cool

Well, yesterday was a frustrating day. In spite of still feeling lousy, I pulled myself together and took the car to the mechanic on time. Only to have them refuse to fix the problem because it would “take too long.” WTF? So now I have the phone number of some sketchy guy who “specializes in foreign cars” (my car may be a VW, but it was built in a plant in Tennessee). The guy doesn’t even have a website, and I’m supposed to trust a very expensive repair to him? Because the repair I need is going to cost about a grand. Not happy about that at all. Also displeased with a mechanic who only wants to do quick repairs.

So I am not a happy camper.

Felt like crap when I got home. I still had a dull headache, body aches, and the brain fog was bad. The Tylenol nauseated me, but I took more anyway to clear up the brain fog enough to turn around a script.

Haven’t been able to do any creative work, though, which is frustrating. One of the parents handled Knowledge Unicorns last night, because I wasn’t up to it.

I listened to the first episode of the series in which the NY-based radio producer is interested in having me write. The production quality is outstanding.  It’s definitely a darker, more dystopian tone than my comic noir pieces – mine lean a little too much in the direction of froth and farce. But “Owe Me” and the comic horror piece are more in tone with it, and I’m pretty sure “The Collector” would work (which he already has), although I’ll probably have to do some revisions. The Mr. Ding-A-Ling creepy ice cream truck has been around again lately, and that’s getting something percolating. And maybe a haunted amusement park. We’ll see.

Plants went out onto the porch when the sun finally came out. It’s a lot of pots to haul in and out. Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to leave them on the porch, and, soon after that, move the ones we want onto the back balcony.

Today I need to do library and grocery runs. And figure out what to do about the fucking car.

But first, I’m going to spend some quality time on the page, since it’s been several days. And I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and a book to review, and I have to get back to contest entries. No matter how I feel, I have to get back to work, because heaven forbid we have a society that gives us room to, you know, be human.

Published in: on April 13, 2022 at 6:32 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. Feb. 16, 2022: Some Days Are Rougher Than Others

image courtesy of LeoNeoBoy via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Full Moon

Partly sunny, partly cloudy, starts cold and gets milder

Yesterday was one of those sucky days. Everything was ten times harder than it should have been.

I dealt with an unpleasant situation with a big client. It took most of the day, draining emotional and creative energy. I think we’re on better ground now, but I still want to expand my client pool. I sent out a few LOIs; already heard back from one, up in Bennington, who wants more information. So that’s promising, at least.

A submission call for short plays landed on my desk. I had two which would fit the bill (and did a quick revision on one of them, to tighten it). But I decided to send the funnier one, since they admitted they favor comedy.

A friend has recommended me for a type of gig I’ve always wanted to try. The pay’s kind of low, but it’s steady, and might do as a stop gap for a few months. I’m willing to have a conversation with the potential client about it, at the very least.

I made the trek to the library, returning 8 books and picking up 13. I was annoyed when the librarian whined about having to move the books from the shelf to the checkout desk. Hon, that’s your job. I’m carrying them over a half a mile there and back on foot, so don’t go whining when you have to move books, two or three at a time two feet. If it’s too difficult for you, maybe you should be out on sick leave, or maybe you should ask someone to carry them for you, or maybe you shouldn’t be in the job (because I saw the job description, and one of the requirements is being able to lift up to 25 pounds. And I worked in a library, where I was regularly expected to lift a lot more than that). But what is NOT okay is to whine at a patron because books arrived from different places at the same time, and those checkouts are what keeps the library funded.

Got an email from a company of which I’d never heard, congratulating me for registering, and that the monthly fee would be $55. Say what? I went to unsubscribe and they wanted my credit card information. No, tell me what credit card you think you’re going to pull this from. Talk about a scam. I warned my bank, sent the company’s customer service department an email demanding to be removed from their list and asking what card they thought they had on file. Since they didn’t even have my name, just my email address, and I never gave them any information, we should be okay. I received a cancellation message.  But the bank and I will keep an eye on the account.

Filled out the Artist Census for the city, which is getting information from working artists on what they need to thrive here. Hopefully, that will open up new possibilities. Just from the Census alone I learned about a half a dozen or so opportunities that I am now following up.

I’ve somehow injured my foot, to the point where I can barely put weight on it, and I have no idea how, which is disturbing on multiple levels.

I have to finish reading ARTCURIOUS for book club. I love it. I’m going to have to buy myself a copy, because it’s a book I’ll keep using.

Knowledge Unicorns were fine. The kids were having a tough day, too, as were a lot of my colleagues all over the place. I guess it was just one of those days.

Since I cleaned up my Twitter account, I was able to have actual, interesting conversations with several people yesterday, and it was terrific. I also blocked a twat who called herself a writer and posted the faux engagement “what is your hobby besides writing?” Writing is not a hobby, you moron. Calling yourself a writer and asking such a question is insulting. It assumes no one makes their living writing. Just because the questioner isn’t good enough and won’t put in the work so to do doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of us who can and do make a living at it. I have full respect for part-time writers who work while carrying full-time work in other careers. I have full respect for writers who love writing as a hobby. I have no respect for people calling themselves “writers” who insult other professioanl writers because those “writers” can’t earn a living, and assume no one else can, either. Not worth engaging with such a person, so block and move on. And not just scrolling past, either, because it’s never just one dumbass “question” from someone like that. And I am just DONE with these jerks.

Got an idea for a couple of sets of short pieces – flash fiction, prose poems, short plays – tied to specific visuals. It’s one of those things that when I see something that sparks it, I’ll write it, and then collect the pieces on a theme to submit. . .somewhere. It’s a long-term, undeadlined project to let me stretch and experiment.

Up early this morning (after weird dreams set in a hotel, but a different hotel that’s shown up in previous dreams). Fed the cats, did some yoga and writing, was at the laundromat when they opened at 6 AM, had everything washed, dried, folded and home by 7:30.

I have to head to the grocery store again later today. MA is dropping the indoor masking recommendation, because they’re idiots. I’m going to keep masking until spring or summer.

I don’t have that much on my grocery list this time, so hopefully, it won’t be too difficult to get it all home.

I started the initial re-read for revisions on CAST IRON MURDER. It holds up better than I thought it would. Although there are plenty of details to smooth out, and writing to tighten.

I have a lot of script coverage to do today (didn’t get much done yesterday), and I want to work on the Big Project.

So I better get going, hadn’t I?

Tues. Jan. 18, 2022: Planets, Cards, Pages

collage by Devon Ellington via pixabay and Canva

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Uranus DIRECT

Sunny and cold

Uranus goes direct today. Uranus is “the Awakener” energy, so when it’s retrograde, things that need to be shaken up in your life are stymied. It also is about what makes you unique. While having it direct helps you get out of your own way, shaking things up in the already chaotic Venus/Mercury retrogrades isn’t fun. The full moon was in Cancer last night, which meant emotions were heightened.

Friday morning, the two scout crows from my local murder were in the tree outside my office window, telling me the news. They’re very chatty. The squirrels were running around, too, preparing for the storms. They are constantly knocking down the bird feeder, and I keep moving it and trying to figure out where I can put it where it won’t be taken down and dragged all over the balcony, but so far, no luck.

I got some work done early in the morning. Later in the morning, I layered up and did the pre-storm errands: dropped off/picked up library books; mailed bills and cards, and bought stamps; picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the liquor store. We may live in a city, but it often feels like a small town, because people like to chat (masked and at a safe distance).  I always know that if I head out for errands, I’m going to have to talk to people. Which is fine, because they are interesting and nice, and, let’s face it, everyone’s felt so cut off and isolated going onto three years now, they just want to know there’s another human being out there who’s not a complete and utter jerk.

But errands aren’t something I can do if I’m in a rush. I build time to chat into all the errands time. And, even though I’m an introvert instead of an extrovert, I don’t mind. Like I said, the people are nice, and they’re interesting.

I was looking at the artwork on various tarot decks. I don’t need any more decks, goodness knows, but I still love them. Three decks in particular have my attention right now: Ask the Witch Tarot, Tarot de la Nuit, and the Gilded Tarot.

I was scrolling through social media and saw a book cover – that was almost exactly like one of the tarot cards in the Tarot de la Nuit deck, although the blurb had nothing to do with tarot. I pulled up the image of the deck and put it next to the social media post. The only difference was the way the man’s hand wrapped around the sword. Other than that, the cover artist had used the tarot image. Now, maybe the artist had permission. Or bought the image. I don’t know. But I still found that disturbing. The tarot artist’s style on the deck is very distinctive. It’s not like the typical stock Rider Waite image that’s widely available. The tarot image I used for the collage at the top of this post is a typical Rider Waite free image.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat in the afternoon. Wrote up two script coverages and answered some questions on another one. I’m below my nut for this pay period, but that’s the way it is. I’ve just been too exhausted to take on more.

Worked my way through some more contest entries.

Was up until nearly midnight, and then had trouble getting to sleep. Tessa would rather I stay up and play with her, but at least I slept in until after 7 on Saturday.

Mercury has gone retrograde in Aquarius. In my birth chart, Mercury sits in Aquarius. Aquarius is about independent thought, and Mercury is about quick thinking. So when it’s retrograde in the place it sits in my birth chart, no wonder my brain is mushier than usual. Layer pandemic brain over that, and it is not a good thing.

Saturday was sunny, bright, and cold.  I polished the short story and got it out by deadline. I’ll hear by May if it’s what they’re looking for or not. I wrote two book reviews and sent them off. I worked on contest entries.

I made colcannon for dinner, adding leeks, Canadian bacon, and shredded cheese to the traditional cabbage and potatoes. It was wonderful.

Weird dreams lately, set in a city I don’t recognize as knowing in real life, but it’s where I live and work in the dreams. They are busy dreams, not stress dreams, so by the time I wake up, I feel like I’ve put in a full day.

Tessa got me up before 6 on Sunday. I made muffins with cranberries and chocolate chips, refining a recipe on which I’ve been working, and they turned out well. Which is good, because some days I feel like I’ve forgotten to how cook or bake properly.

Worked on contest entries. It was sunny and cold. I’d prepped as much as I could for the incoming storm, so I just rested and worked on the entries. I did take out the garbage, so we wouldn’t be stuck with garbage in the house during bad weather, but that’s as ambitious as I got, as far as going out and about. Read a script.

Charlotte woke me up before 4 AM on Monday. I think the storm upset her. Tessa was in the doorway with her, “You’re up? Do I need to start vocal exercises?”

I got up and fed them, then grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, where I fell asleep again. It had snowed quite a bit by then. I woke up a little after 7, and the snow was serious.

Still, people were out with shovels and plows, getting things done. Men shoulder their portion of the work better here than they did on Cape. The Cape was full of white men who would moan that they “couldn’t” shovel or carry groceries or do anything because they had a “bad back” and then immediately go play golf all day.

The past few weeks, I’ve landed in the same place in my dreams, as I mentioned above. I don’t remember much about the dreams, but I do know they take place in the same location. It’s a small city, that I don’t recognize when I’m awake, but is my home city in the dreams, and I’m comfortable. Lots of brick buildings, three and four stories. Coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, small theatres, museums, a library, etc. No virus, as far as I can tell. The me inhabiting that dream space is a younger me (thirties?), and I’m happy there, with friends and work I like, although I don’t know what my work there is (I suspect it’s similar to what I do here, or I wouldn’t be happy). So far, I only recognize one person in that circle of people from my circle of people on this side of the dream scape, and that’s someone I knew when I first started working on Broadway, and who has since died. The dreams are pleasant, although they are busy, so I always feel as though I’ve put in a full day by the time I wake up. I’d like to try entering the space in lucid dreaming, so I have a better idea of where it is and why I keep visiting.

Eggs Benedict for Monday’s breakfast, because why not on a cold, snowy day?

I’m thinking of investing in Scrivener, after all these years. As long as I can save into .doc, .rtf, PDF, and create script templates, I should be fine. I’m unhappy with Word. I have a 50% off coupon from Nano, so I might as well use it. Not until Mercury goes direct, though, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Spent Monday morning working on The Big Project, and got two sections done.  I need to catch up on the tracking sheets for this piece (I’m now four sections behind) or I will be in trouble moving forward. In the afternoon, I worked on writing up the script coverage for the script I read the night before, and then, in the evening, I read two scripts for which I will write up coverage today.

A Twitter pal and I talked about a tarot reading she did, and the deck she used was so pretty that I ended up ordering it (Mystic Mondays Tarot, in case you’re wondering). I don’t need another tarot deck, goodness knows, but this one called to me.

It might be time to sit down and write my tarot book. I’ve been working with the cards for nearly forty years now.

Had good yoga and meditation sessions this morning. When I make the time to sit for a decent stretch, it starts the day in a more focused, grounded way.

I’m debating whether or not to head over to the college library later this morning. There aren’t a lot of students around, so it seems like a good time to poke around and find the materials I need to develop two different, but art-related projects.

I will do some more work on The Big Project this morning. I have contest scores to enter, script coverages to write up, and a couple of client blog posts to write. I might try to get some LOIs out, too, and I have two more scripts to read.

A friend has a new call for submissions out that got me thinking, although she works in a genre that would be a stretch for me, especially as I don’t read much in it. But I like the premise of the anthology call, and it’s only a 1K piece, so it’s worth thinking about. The deadline is the end of the month, which is do-able, if I find the right story and characters.

Had an idea for another piece in the same general family as The Big Project, only it wouldn’t be as big (The Medium Project as a working title?). The central protagonist and the premise came to me when I was writing in my journal this morning. At first, I thought it could be a spin-off to The Big Project, but it insists that it inhabits its own world, and I need to trust the work.

The power held, and I’m glad the storm wasn’t as severe as predicted. We’re supposed to get another one this coming weekend, so I have to figure out when to go out and about to take care of whatever needs out-and-about-ing, and then hunker back down next weekend.

Which suits me just fine.

Tues. Jan. 4, 2022: Back to the Page

imageg courtesy of Nile via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Clear and cold

Happy New Year! I hope yours was everything you wanted it to be.

The car failed inspection on Thursday, but I have 60 days to get it fixed by a registered garage. Now, if only one of them would work on Volkswagens. . .

Finished up script coverages on Thursday afternoon, and was able to take the entire three day weekend off. I stayed off social media, too, although I hopped online a bit when I heard that Betty White had died. What a shame she didn’t make it to 100.

Friday, I did a run to the post office, the library, and the liquor store (on foot). A good friend send a birdfeeder that’s supposed to attach to the window, so one can see the birds. I will try to get it up this week. Kitty TV.

Made roast duck for New Year’s Eve. It was very good. With potatoes and steamed vegetables. We still have plenty of stollen, so we had that for dessert. I’d made our favorite devilled eggs to snack on, and we did the traditional smoked herring before midnight. There was a small party in the house next door, but mostly, it was quiet in the neighborhood.

We watched the ball come down in Times Square online, and toasted in the New Year with prosecco. I let the old year out of the back door a little before midnight, and then the new year in the front door just after. Too bad they don’t have First Footers here. There were some fireworks in the distance, but nothing close and disturbing. Burned the second bayberry candle, for luck and prosperity.

I was very disappointed to see that NYC went ahead with letting people into Times Square, and how irresponsibly people behaved. A good many of them could be dead in the coming few weeks. Will they think this was worth death?

I used to watch the ball come down from my window, in my NYC apartment. I could watch them get the ball ready, too. Then, the years I had Broadway shows on New Year’s Eve night, I couldn’t get home in time for midnight, because it was blocked off, even if you lived there. So I was forced to go to a party or an overpriced restaurant until after the square cleared out. I’m glad I had the experience of seeing it from my window, but don’t miss the chaos. That’s probably why I still always feel so unsettled. That desperate energy of people trying too hard to have a good time.

I’d started taking New Year’s Eve off and leaving the city a few years before I moved out. Sometimes just to be with my mom; sometimes to go to a yoga retreat. Then, shows started cancelling the evening shows and only have matinees, because people couldn’t get to the theatre, or, after, had to go all the way up and cut through Central Park to get anywhere else.

The chaos takes the fun out of it, and it puts too much strain on all the services that have to work that night.

Got to bed a little before one, woke up again at three, and then Tessa woke me at five. I was grumpy and out of sorts. Tried to do the fire and ice ritual, but the ice maker wasn’t working. Then, I realized that the first day of the New Year fell on the dark moon. So the natural dark moon energy of releasing was battling the desire to start fresh we have in the new year.

So I stopped fighting it and read all day. Except when I made lemon mousse, and later, did the baked salmon in the lemon-mustard-brown-sugar-cumin glaze.

Over the weekend, I read THE TWELVE JAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Donna Andrews, laughing out loud at a lot of it. And then I read the second and third of Emily Flynn’s books, DEAD GORGEOUS and END OF THE ROADIE, both of which were excellent: writing, plotting, characters. I really like her work.

Sunday, I did some work on The Big Project, cleaning up what I’ve worked on so far, so I could dive back into it. I’m behind where I want to be, so I need to double down on it in the next few weeks. But I’m happy with the quality, the tone, the plot, the characters.

I was disappointed to learn that 365 Women a Year is not calling for projects for 2022. I hoped to write a play about Marie and Squire Bancroft, well-known Victorian actors, for them this year. There’s no reason I can’t still write it, but pitching it to 365 would have given me momentum.

I’m doing an Excel spreadsheet (oh, horrors) with details of the various scripts ready for submission, so that I can get back on track with it this year. Details on length, characters, production history, etc. I have 21 plays that can go out there and keep earning their keep after their initial readings or productions, and I have a handful I’ve pulled because I’ve outgrown them, and the market is in a different direction. I’ll do another one for the radio plays, and then a third one for the screenplays. I wanted to focus on creating and stockpiling, and that’s what I’ve done. Now, things need a polish, and need to get out into the world to earn their way.

A conversation with author and illustrator Dewi Hargreaves about Hope Clark’s 13-in-Play made me realize I need to get that back up to speed again. 13 pieces out at any given time, so the work earns its keep. The new version of THE WRITERS MARKET arrived, and I will go through it, cover-to-cover, making notes, and then work my way through pitches and/or submissions wherever I think it’s appropriate. Of course, I’ll have to cross check the information with the websites of each place, but that should get me back on track with keeping submissions out there properly, as I create new work. Almost all the new work I have on tap for this year is long form, not short form, and I need to mix it up a bit more.

The first shipment for the contest I’m judging has arrived, and I’m at work on those pieces, too. I have two book reviews to write and submit, and then get my next assignments from that editor.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up around 5:30. I fed the cats, did the usual longhand writing session. Expanded the morning yoga practice by a few more asanas. Extra-long meditation session.

After the shower, I sat down and wrote just over 3100 words on The Big Project, and I liked most of them, which is a good way to start the day, the week, the month, the year.

Headed to the library to pick up/drop off books. It was darn cold. It kept looking like it wanted to snow, but it didn’t smell like snow, and didn’t snow.

In the afternoon, I caught up on email. I sent off a grant proposal. I doubt I’ll land the grant; it’s unlikely they’d give it to a genre writer, thinking they’re “not serious enough” and my work samples were comic noir mystery/fantasy and mystery. But I have zero chance if I don’t try, so it was worth putting it together and sending it off.

Read two scripts. Should have written them up, but was too tired. Too tired to start on the contest entries, too.

But all in all, it was a good start to the day, week, month, year.

The answers to the GDR questions are posted here, if you’re interested, and if you want to post your own.

Back to the page now, to get the day’s quota done on The Big Project. Once I’ve hit that, I can decide how to structure the rest of today. A lot of it will be taken up with script coverage, but I have to run down the street to get eggs from Cumberland Farms, and then maybe take down the decorations out on the front porch. Rather than taking everything down on Thursday, I’m doing the outer rooms, and then getting the big tree, etc., down on the 6th. We have to figure out how we’re going to stash it all until next year, so it doesn’t take up all the closet space and hall space. Geometry. Fun times.

Tessa didn’t wake me this morning; I woke up all on my own, a little after 5:30. Heaven!

Back to the page, and I hope you’re having a good start.

Tues. Dec. 14, 2021: A Twisty Weekend

image courtesy of WaldNob via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Well, let’s just say, it’s been quite the few days.

Friday, I decided to do a hail Mary pass on the car and see if putting in a new battery solved the issues with the EPC light coming on, which my research indicated was sometimes the case. I joined AAA at the tier which promises roadside battery replacement back in November. Not that they’ve sent me my membership card. I’m still carrying around a printout of the email.

So I jump through all the ridiculous hoops on the AAA website to get the quote, to approve the quote, to get them to email me the quote, and to put through the request.

The guy shows up in 20 minutes.

To jumpstart the car.

“They no longer do” battery replacement in the Berkshires.

Then WHY DID I HAVE TO DO ALL THAT FUCKING PAPERWORK?  And why was not told this when I specifically chose the AAA tier that included the promise of this service?

The way companies based outside the Berkshires take money from us without providing the services for which we pay around here is appalling.

The guy didn’t even need to give me a jump. The car started.

I took it down the street to the mechanic I trust. Turns out my battery is fine. They ran a diagnostic. Didn’t find anything wrong with it. So the dealer in Pittsfield strung me along for weeks, and I’ve been without a car for WEEKS for no damn reason.

In case the light goes on again, I now have the information of a local guy who specializes in foreign cars.

Because I’m not taking it to the dealer in Pittsfield unless there’s no other choice.

Came home exhausted.

But got back to work in the afternoon, with script coverages, catching up on emails, getting out some LOIs, and the like.

Sendinblue has flagged my entire mailing list for the newsletter. They said there were too many bounces, and it had 0% opening rate. You know when they flagged it? THREE MINUTES after it was sent. I don’t know about you, but it’s often a week or more before I open and read newsletters. According to the dashboard, no one opened the newsletter. Yet I was hearing on social media and via email from a good portion of the list how glad they were the newsletter was up and running again. Also, what my dashboard shows as bounces (which I can either delete or research for updated emails) and what they’re telling me bounced don’t match. At all.

And they won’t let me just fix the bounces. They 86’d the entire list. Including the people who signed up via their contact form on my website.

It’s ridiculous.

I’ve worked with several email platforms over the years, both for myself and for clients. None of them have ever pulled this crap. Sendinblue’s response is they “can’t” only flag the bounced emails. If a certain number (and their number is higher than what shows up on my dashboard) bounce, the whole list is gone.

So I signed up for MailerLite (after several conversation with them), exported the whole list, ditched the Sendinblue contact form on my website and put in the MailerLite, and it looks like we’re good to go. I’m not sure if I should re-send the newsletter – Sendinblue claimed they only allowed it to go to a “sample” before 86-ing the entire list, but they won’t tell me to which addresses. I might do a “Take 2” with new information on the top, and tell people where they can stop reading if they already got the list.

Let’s hope MailerLite actually does what they claim to do.

So that puts MooSend and Sendinblue on my “no way do I want anything to do with them ever again.”

I mean, I do a quarterly newsletter. It’s not like it’s a big strain on any platform. Which was another problem with Sendinblue – quarterly wasn’t going to be enough for them. The list would have been flagged for inactivity after a month– and needed to be deleted and re-entered yet again.

No, thanks.

The company is not willing or able to meet my needs, so I will find someone else who can.

Saturday was a rainy, yucky day. Cold and raw. The storm let up for about a half hour, and I did a run over to Big Y and did a big grocery shop, including what I need for the baking, except for the candied peel, which I’m still struggling to find.

Got everything home and unpacked. Read a bit in the afternoon. Worked on script coverages.

Totally enjoyed PAYBACK’S A WITCH by Lara Harper. Very well done.

A little squirrel came up on the back porch, climbed up onto the bench and knocked on the window. He wanted our apples. No, I didn’t feed the squirrel. I don’t want it to go out on the Squirrel Collective Mind that I feel squirrels, or we’ll be overrun.

Sunday was mild and sunny. Got some script coverage done in the morning. We headed out with the last of the cards, dropped off some library books. The dashboard lights came on again in the car, and it gave a bit of a hiccough. I was worried it would stall out, but it smoothed out again. We went to Colonial Alpaca in Williamstown, so my mom could buy a gift for her friend. Then, it was off to Wild Oats to stock up.

They had a small Dresden stollen, so if I can’t get my hands on candied peel and make my own, at least we can have a little stollen. They also had the Nuremberg Gingerbread that I absolutely love. And it was fresh, not stale and left over from years before.

Got home, and we put up the big tree in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room. It looks like a normal-sized tree in this house. It always dominated the Cape house. But it’s just. . .nice here. The stand, as always, was a pain in the ass to put together. I have to see if I can find a stand that works for artificial trees that isn’t so awful.

But it’s much sturdier here than it was on the floor back on Cape, and I might not even need to tie off.

We only got the tree up and the lights on, and lights up on the mantel and the front windows. That was as much as we could get done.

Besides, it gives the cats a chance to get used to the tree. We’re lucky; they’ve always been good with it. I mean, they check it out and they sit under it, but they haven’t been destructive, at least not yet. We let them hang out and “help” when we unpack the decorations, and their special Yuletide toys come out and go under the tree, and we have stuffed ornaments for the bottom branches, so it all works out.

Read two scripts, and most of the next book for review.

Tessa actually let me sleep on Monday morning, until after 6. Progress.

Reshuffled my morning yoga sequence. It didn’t work in the way I expanded it, so I put some of the new sequence at the front of the session, and it works better than sticking them on the end.

I had an excellent morning meditation session. Did not want to get up. Could have sat much longer, instead of 30 minutes.

Got blogs up for the Intent for the Week, for the GDR blog, and for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

Found over 800 emails in my inbox, which is not the way I wanted to start my Monday. I got a couple of “we invite you to apply” emails from companies I’ve never heard of. I will have to see what that’s about. How about, if you like my website so much, we have a conversation about what you’re looking for, and whether we’re a good fit? Instead of “invite to apply.” Which, sent out on a Saturday night, sends off warning bells.

Found a couple of things that should have gone into a friend’s holiday package where Willa “helped” pack it – and she swiped those two things and put them in her stash. I retrieved them, wrapped them, and packed them. My mom packed the gift for her friend. I headed down to the post office (on foot) to send them off. Huge line, but moved fast. Told the clerk how grateful I was that the packages mailed last Thursday were already arriving. She was delighted.

Whenever there’s a line, everyone starts chatting with everyone. Like I said, the post office is the happening place around here. Where you go to find out what’s going on. In Lee, it’s Joe’s Diner. Here, it’s the post office.

Home, and back to work. Wrote up some blog posts. Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project. Wrote up two script coverages. Started doing some planning and scheduling for blog posts on various blogs for the new year. I need to start batch blogging for some of the blogs (not this one or Gratitude and Growth, which are dependent on the moment) and work ahead.

In the afternoon, I baked 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies for the holiday baking. Much easier and less stressful in this kitchen than it was on Cape, for some reason. Also, because I’m not doing all-day baking marathons, I think that eases up some of the stress, too. And my feet don’t hurt as much working in this kitchen.

I did use up most of the tins I brought up. I thought I’d brought up another box of them, but maybe not.

On the list for spring’s storage run: More tins for the cookies.

I miss my special china and the snowflake cups/plates/pot I got last year. Oh, well, I’ll get it on one of the summer or fall trips to storage, and we’ll have it for next year.

Read the script for which I’d been requested; it was veery good. It will be a pleasure to write it up. Finished reading the book for review. Will write the review, send it and the invoice off today. Ordered a couple of things off Etsy, from an artisan whose work I like, for something I’m working on for the new year.

Started reading Trisha Ashley’s ONE MORE CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE, which Deborah Blake recommended. Thoroughly enjoying it. I wonder if this is the book that will convince my mom to read some of the books she likes on Kindle? She’d love this. I stayed up way too late reading.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:39 this morning. Fed everyone, and curled back up on the couch with the book, instead of doing what I should be doing.

Got through a little over 500 emails. I have to hope the car holds up to do an errand, and then get back to work on the review and the script coverage. Or maybe I’ll do the review/invoice first, and then attempt my errand.

I need to write up a long, complicated report on the script I read last night. On this afternoon’s agenda are the orange-cranberry cookies and the oatmeal lace currant cookies. Then, it’s two more scripts to read.

Those emails “inviting me to apply” that I received over the weekend? Bogus. Had nothing to do with anyone actually paying any attention to what I do or my skills. It was a series of automated emails from several different “recruiters” who are just looking to bump their numbers, not actually looking at actual talent to fill roles. Waste of my time to even open the emails.

Off to attempt productivity, when all I want to do is read that book!

At least my work for copyediting clients is done for the year. It’s only script coverage and the last two plays on deadline, both of which I’m writing in my head a good deal before I try to put anything on the page. The Marie Collier play is only a ten-minute play, so once I sort out some more possibilities in my head, I can just sit down and write it. I’m still working on some Dawn-and-Dorothy arcs, and I need to go back into the research materials a bit. Because the latter is so specifically stylized, it’s harder to pull off.

Have a good one.

Thurs. Dec. 9, 2021: Trying To Cope Without the Car

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Neptune Retrograde

Snowy and cold

I talk about snow and some of the decorating over on today’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I finally got a response from the VW dealer in Pittsfield. The earliest they can see me is next week, and they still haven’t given me the estimate I requested. Only the estimate for a diagnostic. So I will be in touch with them again.

It will mean, by the time it’s fixed, I’ve been without a car for nearly a month, in an area that’s not great on public transportation. This is not okay.

I don’t get the garages who say they “can’t” fix this issue. I remember voting on a bill – which passed – several years ago that gave all garages access to dealer information to fix any issue.

Anyway, more stress on that level.

After going back and forth with the dealer to get an appointment and try to get an estimate (there will be another email going out from me today), I decided to go ahead and get the groceries delivered. Stop & Shop sends us a circular every Wednesday, touting their delivery service in this region. So I had to go on the site, and get an account set up, which took way more steps than it should, especially since I’ve had a Stop & Shop card for years.  They had my zip code for the setup, everything seemed fine. I went through the onerous searching for the items on my list, putting them in my card, or when they were sold out, trying to find something else I could use (I need to do my holiday baking this weekend). Went through all the steps for the delivery – only to have them say they don’t deliver to my zip code. Which makes no sense, since they send me a weekly flyer to my address IN MY ZIP CODE encouraging me to try their delivery service. And the store is less than 3 miles away IN MY ZIP CODE.

They could have told me this when I set up the damn delivery account.

Totally ridiculous. And, of course, there’s no customer service email, because Stop & Shop actually providing customer service is way too out of the ballpark.

Only curbside pickup.

If I had a car I could drive to the curb, I’d go in the damn store and get the groceries myself!

Big Y (which is closer) doesn’t deliver, although they’re connected with Instacart, and, after Instacart’s assurance they could deliver in an hour, they can’t deliver to this address. The garbled message made no sense.

Hey, assholes, how about this: Don’t advertise delivery service when it doesn’t exist? How about not lying to your customers?

After that whole debacle, I wrapped and packed the packages that need to be mailed, and packed everything in a bag I can carry down to the post office tomorrow, along with the cards.

After lunch, I participated in Remote Chat, bittersweet, since it’s the second-to-last one. These colleagues helped get me through the pandemic. I will miss them.

Once Remote Chat was finished, I did some more work on the newsletter, then wrapped up and went down the street to Cinnamon Girl Apothecary, where I found the last couple of gifts I have to mail out. Brought them home, wrapped them, packed them, added them to the Post Office bag.

We received a lovely package from friends in Kentucky, of cheeses and spreads and yummy things we will enjoy.

Read three scripts, which I will write up today, once I get back from the post office and the library. I’m looking forward to this morning’s meditation session; goodness knows I need it. Although my extended yoga practice this morning and early morning meditation session went well.

Off to do some work on The Big Project. Hope I can get in some work on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY later, too. I have coverage to write up, and more scripts to read/write up, and a book to finish and review. Plus, I’d like to finish/test the newsletter draft and to get the ads up for the holiday shorts.

I think I’m going to break down my grocery list into two or three smaller chunks. I’ll walk to Big Y, dragging my upright cart, and buy what I can carry, and spread the shopping out over a few days.

Because the baking has to get done.

It already looks like I can’t make stollen this year, because I can’t get the mixed fruit peel I need. That’s a disappointment.  But I’d started stockpiling non-perishables in late October/early November, so I don’t have that much to still buy.

Fingers crossed.

Keep a good thought that the car repair is actually within my budget.

Peace, friends.

Fri. Nov. 19, 2021: Road Trip!

image courtesy of Marta Wave via pexels.com

Friday, November 19, 2021

Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Sorry this is posted so late, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Yesterday was a lot of fun. After meditation and my daily word quota, we got in the car and headed down to Great Barrington. It’s a town I’ve always enjoyed, even before I moved to the area.

The weather was sunny and gorgeous, and it went all the way into the sixties, temperature-wise, so that was fun. Grab the beautiful weather whenever possible, right?

We stopped at a thrift shop, where I found a beautiful teapot and matching plate, with peacocks on them. Lovely. The pattern is just gorgeous. I got a lovely Santa & reindeer music box, another wooden Santa for the collection, a small festive tray, and a small ceramic bowl that looks like a partner to the one I made in pottery class years ago.

We went to the BookLoft, where I found some cool, fun gifts. (I mean, that was the purpose of the trip, our holiday gift shopping). We also stopped at an Asian market, where I was excited to get wonton wrappers and spring roll wrappers. Finally, a place where I can get the ingredients for my Asian recipes. The woman at the store was really nice, too, and we had a lively conversation about making dumplings.

We stopped in Stockbridge, on the way back. I wanted to show my mom the Red Lion Inn, because it’s so famous. I love some of their furnishings. The gift shop and the General Store down the street didn’t have what we were looking for, unfortunately, nor did the stores we hit up in Lee and Lenox.

We stopped at a couple of places in Pittsfield, but mostly didn’t find what we were looking for, although I did get the notebooks for my 2022 handwritten journal. Stopped for a few groceries, too, on the way home.

Walked out of two of the stores that had mask policies posted for staff and customers, but the staff had their masks down around their chins. Nope. Not spending my money there. If you’re not following protocols, especially with lots of customers around.

Once home, we hauled our stuff up the stairs, and then I ordered a pizza from the small, independent place that’s a few blocks down the street on Ashland. It was a pain in the butt to get set up at Allhungry, but the pizza arrived faster than projected, and it was delicious. Will definitely order from them again. And it was big enough to have leftovers. Leftover pizza is always a good thing.

I’d gotten a good chunk of work done in the morning, before meditation and after my word quota, so I only had about four hours’ worth of work to do when I got back to it around 5 PM.

But I was definitely tired when I fell into bed.

The lunar eclipse wacky energy was all over the place.

Pet peeve: Pagan men who jump on a social media thread that has nothing to do with them and mansplain. Even worse than the usual irritating white boy bros who do it. Pagan men should know better! Considered retorting or blocking or whatever, but it wasn’t worth the energy.  Just ignored it. Always good to know who to avoid, though.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’re taking all of next week off, beause, as they said, who’s going to be serious about homework a coupla days before Thanksgiving? One of the parents is stepping in to run the session on the 30th, since I have my COVID booster on the 29th. I’ll be glad to get it; the numbers in this state are back up to where they were in February.

The alarm this morning got me up at 5. I tried to roll over for a few more minutes, but Charlotte and Tessa were having none of it. Got up, fed everybody, did my yoga, got in about 1400 words on CAST IRON MURDER before I had to get ready to leave the house for the coffee meetup.

Of course, the directions from Google Maps had nothing to do with the actual streets, so I had to stop at a Cumberland Farms, where they were nice enough to help me figure out how to get there from here.

“There” is Beaver Mills, one of the old industrial mill buildings that’s in the process of conversion, and the meetup was at The Studio at Beaver Mill, which used to be Frog Lotus Yoga Studio (and it makes me sad that they closed, because I’d hoped to start taking class with them when it was safe). The Studio is now a rental space for rehearsals, performances, events, etc.

The guy who owns and runs it is the founder of Rhythm Monster, which is an organization devoted to the cultures of drumming through drumming.

And I think Rhythm Monster might be one of the missing pieces for a big, international, long-term project that I’m trying to put together again, now that enough people are getting vaccinated to make it viable.

So I need to get in touch with my primary collaborator about that, and I also need to sit and do some serious thinking about the focus of the project in the next few weeks.

Anyway, I had a great time at the meeting, and my fellow attendees were all interesting, too: from the organization, from the Historical Society, a city councilor, a critic, and someone from the college, who wants to form closer relationships with businesses in the city.

The next meeting is in December, in Great Barrington. If the weather holds, I want to go.

Once I left the Mill, I drove over to Williamstown to Wild Oats, because I had to get the essentials (eggs, wine, coffee). Then, I hit up the post office to mail my overseas cards and get some more overseas stamps, and catch up on What is Happening. The temperature was dropping rapidly as I made my way around town doing my errands, and I wondered if it would snow.

After the post office, it was up to the library, to drop off/pick up books and catch up with the librarians.

Got home, and back to the page, to finish my work on CAST IRON MURDER for the day. 2739 words, bringing me over the 47K mark. And I still have two pages of outline notes, so I think I’m okay.

I’ve got some email to get through, then a break on the acupressure mat, then it’s back to work. I have a feeling I won’t have an early finish today. I do plan to work through the weekend, with Thanksgiving coming up next week, and then my booster. So I’ll push this weekend, even though I’m tired (and even though I have to at least start writing the domestic holiday cards).

We do have to do some more gift-hunting this weekend, and I also have to pick up the turkey, so there’s a bunch of stuff to juggle.

But I have to build in some time to percolate on this project.

It’s so exciting to be around people of all disciplines who are doing things!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Tues. Oct. 19, 2021: The Good Work of Writing

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

Jupiter and Mercury have gone direct, which means maybe we can have some positive forward motion.

You can hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the mid-month check-in.

The house we lived in on Cape, which was for sale with a pending sale? Back on the market. Not surprising, considering how much over the assessment valued they asked, and that the new owner will need to redo both bathrooms and replace all the windows. But I’m sure the current owners will somehow justify the fallen through sale as my fault. Whatever.

Used the Sundance Lab time on Friday to work on “A Rare Medium.” It was an excellent session. I got six pages done, the next scene, and I’m happy with the work. Although the breakout networking sessions aren’t what I need right now (although, in a professional sense, what I should attend), using the writing time in company can help me get these plays done.

Wrote up three script coverages. Was requested to read a new draft of a script I’d liked and given notes on a few weeks back, so that will be a good way to start the next workweek.

My mom is still a little tired from the COVID booster, but, overall, there were few side effects.

Worked with Charlotte on her bedmaking anxiety. She loves sleeping on my bed, but she gets anxious when I make it in the morning, or when I change the sheets. Most cats I’ve had love to use bedmaking time to play. They “hide” under the covers as I pile them on, and then either meow, and I flip back the covers to let them out, or they slither to the edge of the bed and drop down to the floor.

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

So I make sure not to cover her, because she doesn’t know what to do.

What we did, instead, was make the bed very slowly, giving her a chance to hopscotch on top of each sheet or blanket as I pulled it up. It didn’t take that much longer, and it was a fun game for her. When the bed was made, she rolled over, purring, and waving her feet n the air, happy as can be. Which is nice change from the upset she usually has around making the bed, where she growls and cries as I wrestle the covers from her. This game, she understands, and it makes her happy. I can take three extra minutes in the morning to make the bed in a way that doesn’t scare her.

The weather cleared up enough by mid-day on Saturday so that I could go to The Spruces for the Audubon Nature Walk sponsored by my town’s library. It was a small group, and, even though the adults were vaccinated, there was a young child in the group, so we masked without being asked, and without fussing. The people were nice, the walk was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d hoped to learn more about the history of the actual Spruces community, but that wasn’t the focus. I’m going to have to go to Williamstown and dig for it in the library myself. Which could be a fun project, it’s just scheduling it so I don’t lose income from other assignments.

There’s a book or a play or something related to the history of the Spruces that I need to write, I’m just not sure what yet.

Came home, showered (decontamination protocols, just in case). Fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.

This was the first in-person event I’ve attended since the pandemic. Although it was small, fun, safe, and enjoyable, I was still exhausted.

To bed early on Saturday night, which meant up early Sunday morning.

Sunday was spent finishing the short almanac articles, fact-checking, and proofing. If I hadn’t faffed about so much and wasted so much time during the day the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have had to work all day. But the time mismanagement is on me, so I did it. I’m actually satisfied with the work. I have the knowledge; I’d put in research and experimentation time. It was a case of writing it up succinctly.

To bed fairly early on Sunday, and even got to sleep until 5 on Monday.

Did a final proofread of the short articles, updated my bio, sent them off to my editor, and they were acknowledged. Much as I loved doing those 25 little pieces, it was an even better feeling to send them off. They are for the 2023 Almanac.

I have to spend some serious time in the coming months working on the Cerridwen Iris Shea website, blog, and putting together some of the older material into small eBooks.

Another Big Project for the winter.

Did my Soul Expedition work. The exercises were extremely useful, and I discovered important roots that need to be dealt with.

Had a good conversation with a Twitter pal about Edith Wharton, and about Tolstoy and his wife. So much on Twitter is “in passing” that it’s nice to have substantial interactions sometimes.

Spent some time on Women Write Change, and on the Nano site. I’m over on WWC almost every day, or, at least, every other day, although I don’t always talk about it. It’s a small group, but a good one. On Nano, I spent time on Enchanted Wordsmiths, and also had a conversation with the Writer-Bakers. I’ve gotten two new challah bread recipe recommendations through them.

I started typing up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER, and expanding/arranging them, for my outline.

When it hit noon, and Sundance Collab time, I felt I “should” switch over to work on “A Rare Medium.” However, the flow was going well on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I started to dither and then thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s not a major decision” and kept working on the outline during the Collab time. Got 4 of the 9 handwritten pages typed up, arranged, and expanded. Printed them out, just in case.

Quite a few people mentioned, on Twitter, how much more energized they felt. Yeah, that’s what having Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and Mercury (we all know those connotations) going direct on the same day will do for you.

Attended the live session of the Soul Expedition and was frustrated. I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow, when I talk more in depth about that and have some Nano tips.

Made brownies from the Moosewood recipe. It turned out well. Might be my favorite brownie recipe to date.

Ordered a bunch of books from the library. I can take out up to 50 books, but can only put on holds up to 20.  Oh, well.

Paid by a client, so I can pay bills this upcoming week. Might give myself a treat, too.

Read two scripts last night.

Had a good evening meditation session. A couple of “aha” moments in there.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:22 this morning. What a luxury! The usual morning routine (feed the cats, make the coffee, write in the journal, 1st 1K of the day, yoga, meditation, shower, dress). I’m changing up my laundromat routine. Since I’m often the first and only one there in the morning, and it’s a little creepy in the dark, I want to make sure I don’t keep a regular schedule. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about things like that.

Onward to the Soul Expedition work, and then more writing and script coverage. I have to do a post office, library, and grocery run today, too.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Foggy Weather, Foggy Mind

image courtesy of Tatiana via pexels.com

Friday, October 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

After a foggy start, it was sunny/cloudy in fits and starts yesterday.

Tessa and Charlotte were impossible during meditation. Thank goodness the audio/video were off on my end. I got less than 5 minutes of quiet time. For once, they weren’t fussing at each other; Tessa was pulling items out of boxes in my office and playing with them. Charlotte was trying to get the attention of the Zoom Room, not understanding they couldn’t see her, and therefore couldn’t tell her she was pretty. Charlotte believes Zoom exists so various humans around the world can see her, appreciate how pretty she is, and tell her.

The internet was wonky, which made everything more difficult, too.

By 9 AM, I pretty much accepted the day would be a wash.

I managed to get one script coverage out. I worked on the other two, but have to finish/send them today.

I tried to read the second book in a mystery series. I’d read the first a few weeks ago. I hadn’t liked the start, but then liked it better, although I figured out the murderer at least 100 pages before the protagonist. With the second, again, I didn’t like the start. I kept at it for about fifty pages, and then decided no, I don’t want any more of this series. I don’t like the protagonist. She’s not an amusing hot mess – she’s insecure and mean. There wasn’t any growth from the first book to this book. She’s back to doing the same old again, and I’m done.

Fortunately, I don’t own this book, and can take it back to the library. But I’m not ordering any more. I have a whole stack of books waiting for me at the library, and I hope I like most of them more than I liked this one!

It does, however, give me information for my own work, especially when it comes to growth in character arcs.

I’m reading a wonderful book by the essayist Vivian Gornick called THE END OF THE NOVEL OF LOVE, that’s sending me back to books like MRS. DALLOWAY to re-read with new perspectives, and to read the work of George Meredith, who, sadly, I have not yet read.

We did the prep for my mom’s COVID booster. I dropped her off at CVS and went next door to Big Y to pick up a few things while she got the shot and waited her 15 minutes. She was fine when she got home; if anything, more energetic than she was before. I was the one with no energy.

I did my Soul Expedition journaling exercise for the day, about boundaries and energy vampires. There are people in the group stating they want others in the group to “hold” them accountable and keep them on track, “remind” them to do the exercises and the work. No, sweetie, we are working on our own journeys, albeit in community. YOU are responsible for keeping yourself on track, not expecting someone else to take time and energy away from their journey and feed it into yours. The daily online sessions are the “reminders” to do the work.

Not within the group, but outside of it, some twenty-something with less than a year in the Craft contacted me via Instagram message stating she was “strongly drawn” to my name, and did I want a tarot reading (for a large fee, or course). I wrote back, “Hon, I was reading the cards before you were born.” I waited until I was sure she’d read it, and then blocked. Charlatan. I have no problem with experienced, trained readers getting paid for their work, but this is not how to get clients. And do a little due diligence.

I grabbed two scripts to read, and then got a note that the due date was changed on one – to three hours from the time I claimed it. I said I couldn’t turn it around that fast, and requested it removed from my queue. I’m worried that it will cost me points with the company, but my on-time record is 100%, and I knew I couldn’t deliver in 3 hours. I had to take care of my mom and run Knowledge Unicorns.

Made Henhouse Pie for dinner (basically, shepherd’s pie, but with chicken). It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine, although we didn’t get to do the virtual tour of a Venetian museum, because we were working on essays that had been assigned in various classes. We will try again on Tuesday night. Read a script.

Went to bed early, exhausted. My mom woke in the night because her arm hurt, and she took some liquid Tylenol and went back to sleep. I was awake every few hours, not because of the cats this time, but because I had a series of weird dreams, filled with people I knew in the dream, but don’t know outside of it.

Woke up exhausted, but at least it was 5 AM and not earlier. Cats, coffee, writing, yoga, meditation. I have a lot to get done today that hasn’t gotten done yet, and I have a feeling I will be working on the articles through the weekend to get them in shape for Monday’s deadline. I have three script coverages due today.

I also want to work on the outline some more for CAST IRON MURDER. I realized that one of my favorite characters hasn’t been woven through the piece enough. I need to go back and do that in the outline. She will also serve as one of the red herrings, which will help solve that problem.

I just am weary, and feel like I could sleep for a week. Which is frustrating, because, basically, in and around typical Mercury retrograde glitches, things are going in the right direction.

One step at a time. I have to keep reminding myself we’re still in a pandemic. I’m also getting sick and tired of this whole “return to normal” fiction. “Normal” wasn’t great in the first place. I want something different. Better. More fulfilling, on multiple levels.

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

Fri. Oct. 8, 2021: Promise of a Lovely Autumn Weekend

image courtesy of Yaroslav Shuraev via pexels.com

Friday, October 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Supposed to be sunny and beautiful, after a cloudy start

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

Mediation was great.

Errands in the morning. Took my mom with me to the college library when I dropped off some books. She was curious, and she was so impressed with the beautiful space. When I feel comfortable being indoors with vaccinated, masked strangers for extended periods, I will do some work there.

Headed to the bank to do a deposit. Then to the public library to get our cards updated from “temporary” three-month probation to permanent. The staff is starting to get to know me, which is nice. Took my mom around to all the beautiful rooms in the library; again, when it’s safe to work indoors offsite, I will sometimes work in there. Maybe next spring or summer.

We parked on Main Street to take a walk around. Only a quarter for an hour, which is a good deal. Found the RMV office, so when we finally change over our driver’s licenses and car registration, we know where to go. Checked out a few stores and picked up something from a local bakery to try it.

Nipped around the corner to Bear and Bee Bookshop. I found a copy of Deborah Madison’s LOCAL FLAVORS, recipes built around farmers’ markets, for only fifty cents! Grabbed it. I love her cookbooks. Felt like I couldn’t just spend 50 cents at a local store, so I bought another book, too, a suspense novel.

We came home, ate our bakery treats. They were kind of bland; at the risk of sounding egotistical, my baking is better. I think sometimes businesses scale back on taste because they assume people’s palates are bland.

Looked through the cookbook. I want to try at least 60% of the recipes.

Spent the afternoon writing up script coverages. Got all four done.

Instructions arrived for my mom’s COVID booster next week. Quite a list of prep. More so than the original shots. But then, they’ve learned since they started.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re in a groove.

Used leftover BBQ pork from the slow cooker to make pork and black bean enchiladas, which were really good.

Read three scripts last night, which I will write up today, and then I’ve met my nut for the week, and can start the weekend. Once the mist clears, and it’s really as sunny and beautiful as promised, we are going out to enjoy it, so I’m going to get the coverage done earlier, rather than later, and also get my review out.

I may do some article work this weekend, but I want most of it focused on finishing the Samhain decorating and unpacking some more, especially in my office and in the sewing room.

The cats didn’t wake me this morning, but I was woken around 4:30 by college students having noisy sex in a car out front. So the cats were like, well, you’re awake, so. . .so I fed them. I guess it’s the students’ turn to be a cliché at this point in their lives.

I like the extended yoga practice I’ve started. The extra sequencing has some challenging stretches that are a good counterpoint to all the sitting.

I’m on several “alert” lists for copywriting gigs. So it made no sense that I was sent a listing for a bomb technician for the U.S. Navy. Whatever. . .

Have a great weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Holiday Monday, although I plan on working on short articles and script coverage anyway.

Published in: on October 8, 2021 at 6:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 8, 2021: Promise of a Lovely Autumn Weekend  
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