Tues. Nov. 9, 2021: Music, Cats, and Sleep Deprivation

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Last week, the prediction was that we’d have our first snowfall by yesterday. Instead, we’re having gorgeous weather. Frosty nights and glorious days. I’ll enjoy every one we get.

Catch-up time from the weekend, huh? I’d miscalculated how much time I needed for the script coverages, and ended up reading/writing up coverage all weekend. I have a feeling I’ll be doing so until Thanksgiving, so that I can take a four-day break without worrying.

Work on CAST IRON MURDER for Nano was steady. Friday-2439; Saturday-2574; Sunday-3008; Monday-2121; this morning-2584. Part of Sunday’s was doing an insert to the previous day’s work, where I’d forgotten to write a rather important scene. Yesterday was a bit of a slog, but the second week of Nano is always the hardest for me. Today, I had a late start, but it went well.

Friday was an absolute debacle of a day. It was gorgeous weather, and we planned to go to Holyoke and South Hadley, about an hour and a half away to the east, to hit up some stores we don’t have around here. I’d printed out the directions, planned the route, all good, right?

Only it wasn’t.

The drive across to Northampton was lovely. They’re just hitting peak color there; we peaked Halloween weekend. Northampton is kind of an odd, funky city, and I hope I get to spend more time poking around at some point, when the pandemic is more under control.

But once we got to Holyoke, the directions had little to do with the map, and neither of them had anything remotely to do with the signage. We couldn’t find any of the stores, and there was no place to stop and ask for directions.

We found 91, and took it down to the Mass Pike, and back west to Lee. Lee was busy, and there was no parking, so we decided not to roam around Lee, but keep going.

To my delight, the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield was having a book sale. The sale was gigantic (and everyone was masked and following protocols). I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a stack of eight books, two cookbooks, and eight classical music CDs.

So the day wasn’t a total wash. Because, book sale.

Their next sale is my birthday weekend, which means I’m less upset about having to cancel the planned trip for That Big Birthday than I was a few weeks ago.

We stopped at a market in Adams we’d been wanting to try. They have some stuff I can’t get anywhere else, but no staff and few patrons masked, so I won’t be going in there often or for long. One of the few places around here that’s lax on masking.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home, because it was late, and we were hungry. Bad idea. We had the chicken sandwiches, which were basically carboard slabs on other cardboard slabs. And felt awful after. We know better.

The month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was a delight of crystals and a mug and a window hanging and all kinds of fun stuff. A bread cookbook I forgot I’d ordered also arrived.

Was up way too late doing script coverage.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:22 on Saturday, a real gift.

Wrote my quota on the novel, and then we headed to Job Lot, where we got a few things my mom wanted, and a draft blocker for the back door, and a snow shovel. Because if a plow pushed snow against the back of the car in the parking lot in winter, I’m going to have to dig it out, and I gave away the snow shovel we had on the Cape before we moved.

Since we were up that way anyway, we stopped at a favorite thrift store. I got another Santa for my collection (this one with little gray kittens who reminded me of my beloved Iris and Violet), some jingle bells, and another metal deer. For Five bucks, for all of it.

To CVS, where it turns out my mom’s new prescription insurance hadn’t come through as promised, so I’m back to working on that.

The library, which was busy, to pick up and drop off books. The Saturday librarian with whom I often talk books in detail was busy, so I just waved to let him know I saw him.

Script coverage in the afternoon and evening. Also finished reading THE LOLA QUARTET, which was interesting, but I got frustrated by the way the characters didn’t learn from their mistakes. The writing’s beautiful, though.

I’m enjoying Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries. They are light and fun.

Saturday was the last sunset after 5 PM until February 3, according to local weather people.

Turned the clocks back, and Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 on Sunday, which was a win, all the way around. However, we had a Serious Conversation. Tessa sat in front of me and told me that they elected her Spokes-Cat, and they would very much like it if I fed them BEFORE I started the coffee in the morning, not after.

Not happening.

Frost in the morning on the cars. I didn’t miss scraping the windshields when I had a garage, I’ll tell you that much. But it only takes a few minutes.

Wrote my Nano quota, more script coverage, some reading for fun.

Discovered I can’t have Bach’s harpsichord music on when I’m trying to do anything else. It’s definitely not background music, but listening music. I also enjoyed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday night into Monday, Charlotte was the one who was impossible. She woke me up every two hours, all purry and cuddly, wanting attention. By 3 AM, Tessa began singing her arias.

I grabbed the feather bed and moved into the bed in the sewing room. Tessa quieted down. Charlotte joined me for a few minutes. Charlotte’s catnip banana was under my back, so I pulled it out and threw it on the floor. Charlotte and Tessa fought over the banana, and then over Tessa’s catnip carrot.

I told them I didn’t care anymore; I just needed some sleep.

I dozed off again, and was woken up a little after 6 by a cold kitty nose. It was Willa, saying, “Please, could you get up and feed us? I am very hungry.”

Since she asked nicely, I did.

AFTER I started the coffee.

I was grumpy most of the day. I did my Nano words, and even came up with titles for the next two books in the series.

Wrote up a script coverage. Got out some LOIs.

I’m so behind on email, it’s not even funny.

Spent a good part of the day trying to sort out my mother’s insurance again. Elizabeth Warren’s office has been a big help. Hopefully, it’s done this time. I need to pick up her medications.

Big grocery shop over at Big Y, then over to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop on the way back for stuff I couldn’t get at the other two places.

Read scripts in the afternoon and at night, which I will write up today.

Roasted chicken thighs with both sweet potatoes and Yukon golds, served with creamed spinach. It was yummy.

Up early this morning, even before the cats, and over to the laundromat by 6 AM, even with scraping off the car windows. My mom came along, wanting to know what it was like. We had a lot of laundry, because I procrastinated, and we had a houseguest, and we had all the fabric from Halloween. So it was two loads in the big industrial machines and two loads in the smaller commercial machines.

We were still washed, dried, folded, and home before 8. And I got a couple of pages done on the outline for the second book.

I made an egg, leek, chevre, and tarragon scramble for breakfast (Kripalu recipe), and put some potatoes, carrots, and pork chops in with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker for dinner. The house smells great.

Did my Nano words (went well today, unusual for week 2). Writing this, then catching up on email and doing script coverage. Oh, yeah, and putting all the damn laundry away.

I have two new review assignments, so I have to get started to those, too.

Maybe a nap in the afternoon, or at least 20 minutes or so on the acupressure mat.

We’re ready for winter (I think), but we’re enjoying every beautiful autumn day we can get. The front porch is still great in late morning well into the afternoons. Tessa has taken over the porch. Trying to get her in when it gets dark is getting more and more difficult. But it’s great to sit out there and read or write, while the cats watch the world go by.

Willa was excited by the birds having a meeting on the back balcony. I put up the blinds a bit in my mom’s room, so she could watch a squirrel dancing around in the tree out there. She is just fascinated.

Tessa always liked my bed to be smooth and clean (no lumps). Charlotte moves around the covers and blankets every day to build little nests.

No wonder Tessa spends most of her time on the porch.

Back to the page. I still have to finish “A Rare Medium” in the next few days, too.

Mon. Nov. 8, 2021: Intent for the Week: Steadiness

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The steady work on the novel every day, working on National Novel Writing Month, helps me get back into my groove. Uusally, the second week of Nano is a slog for me. Whether it is or not, I plan to keep my head down and just keep going.

Steady progress, without a lot of peaks and valleys, works better for me than starts and stops.

That’s my intent not just for the week, but moving beyond Nano, into a steady writing rhythm once again.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on November 8, 2021 at 8:56 am  Comments (8)  

Fri. Nov. 5, 2021: Hands On Keyboard

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Friday, November 5, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The nights are getting cold here, into the twenties. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that we’ll get snow next week. I’m excited!

I also have to find my gloves. I have enough of them, and they’re up here, not down in storage.

Did my Nano quota yesterday, did the rounds of the buddies, etc. to check in on everyone and make sure they’re okay.

Got through some email. Did some script coverage (not as much as I hoped), and read two more scripts. I have two more to read tonight, and to write everything up over the next couple of days, and I’m done for this week, then start back up Sunday night. Got out a couple of LOIs.

Took down the rest of the lights from the front porch. Put the lights away, and all the spider web curtains away. I still have a little bit of fabric to switch out. Damn lot of laundry to haul to the laundromat next week.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. The kids are actually excited that they can get vaccinated, even though they’re not happy about the whole needle thing.

Wrote Chapter 5 of CAST IRON MURDER this morning, 2439 words. Broke 10K the first 5 days, so I’m on track. I’m hitting my 2K minimum for my own purposes, but not the 2.5K I hoped. But it’s getting done.

Out on errands most of the day, then back to write up script coverage. I’ll write CAST IRON MURDER throughout the weekend, so that I stay on track to hit 50K by Thanksgiving, and then take Thanksgiving weekend off, or at least have a lower daily quota, so I can enjoy the holiday.

I also want to finish “A Rare Medium” this weekend, and finish the research for the Marie Collier play, so I can start it next week.

I’m back in touch with an old friend from Broadway days, with whom I’d like to collaborate on an international project, and write a proposal to develop it at an artists’ colony in France in a year or to. So I need to find my original notes and improve them this weekend, too.

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

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

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Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!

Wed. Nov. 3, 2021: Rolling With the Writing

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was just one of those days when everything takes longer than one expects. Rather par for the course, here, and I am grateful that my schedule allows for that flexibility.

I was much happier with the work yesterday on CAST IRON MURDER than with the first day’s work. Usually, I have a great start out of the gate, and then settle into the book’s natural rhythm. This time, I struggled a bit on the first day, but I’m starting to hear and feel how it flows. This morning, it felt pretty good, too, and I wrote the third chapter, at 2181 words.

I’m not doing the 2500 words I’d like to be doing a day, but I’m getting over 2K, and I’m writing in full chapters, which works well for this particular project. I need to trust in the work. I’m over the necessary word count, so, if I can keep it up, I should be okay. I’d like to hit 50K by Thanksgiving, and then, everything after that is gravy (pun intended). I’m planning this book to be around 70K, and I want to finish the draft by the end of the year.

Because I had a late start, I only worked on CAST IRON MURDER in the morning. In the afternoon, I wrote up the two script coverages, grabbed four more to read, and started putting away the Samahain decorations. It was too late/dark to get the lights down from the front porch, so I will do that today. We changed out the spider web curtains for the red curtains that will see us through the winter, on the front door, the porch door, and the front windows. The turkey wreath is up on the front door. Switched the Halloween fabrics with more Thanksgiving-oriented fabrics.

We paused to eat the leftover trout for dinner (yummy), and then I finished packing up the decorations.

I read two of the four scripts. I’ll write up the two, then read and write up the third that’s due tomorrow. I grabbed a script this morning, so I’ll read two tonight to write up tomorrow.

The plants look good on the porch. Tessa spent most of the afternoon out there.  They finally emptied the dumpsters across the street, so I could bring over the garbage. It’s still better than keeping it in bins in the garage and having to drive it to the dump.

All the front porches have ice melt and shovels at the ready. We’re supposed to get our first snowfall next Monday, and rain the rest of the week.

Two good first writing sessions so far this morning. I’m going to write up the script coverages, get through some email. I’m hoping to get the final scene written on “A Rare Medium” either today or tomorrow, so the draft can rest before revisions.

Remote Chat today, and then I have a Zoom NYU Alumni thing tonight, which should be fun.

Charlotte slept in the living room with Tessa all night. Granted, they were on different bits of furniture, but they didn’t fuss. Charlotte came and woke me up just before six, and Tessa started howling a few minutes later. Progress.

I need to pay some bills, run to the market, and do a library run, so I hope it’s not raining too hard by the time I’m ready to do that all.

Have a good one, and happy writing!

Tues. Nov. 2, 2021: Here We Go, Nano!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

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Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny/cloudy and a little cold

The weekend was a lot of fun.

I prepped some more food, and we cleaned the house on Friday morning, then drove up to Bennington, VT to meet my friend’s bus. It was a lovely, crisp autumn day. It was a nice drive back to the house.

We unloaded and had snacks and wine. The chili was in the crock pot; I’d made cornbread in the morning, and there was my mom’s birthday cheesecake for dessert. We took a walk around the neighborhood between cocktail hour and dinner, enjoying the architecture, and random people just stopped to talk to us and tell us about the buildings, which was pretty cool. And we met a woman who was walking her dog who lives around the corner from me and works for Hearst Magazines. She used to be an actress, so we had a lot to talk about!

We were up talking and catching up.

MassMOCA now has a proof of vaccination policy and timed entries. I tried to get us a slot for Saturday. No one answered the phone; the message said they’d call back. They never called back; they never emailed. I tried to book a slot online. I had a library pass, and there as no option for it. So no MassMOCA for us. Disappointing, but certainly not a tragedy.

Tessa let us sleep until 6 on Saturday.

I made raw apple muffins for breakfast. Instead of going to MassMOCA, we walked back up to the library. Met some more random people with some more information about houses. I showed off the library (which is beautiful), and we had good conversations with the librarians. It was raining when we came back, so we took the car and went to Cinnamon Girl (even though it was close enough to walk). I bought my friend her first tarot deck, and we got sundry other goodies. We headed to Whitney’s Farm and got a pumpkin and cider, then kept going (in the rain) down to Pittsfield, to Re-Store. My friend had heard about Re-store, but never seen one. So we visited the land that is Re-Store, and I found a pair of tapestry footstools that hinge open. So those came home with us. We continued down to Lenox to the joy that is Chocolate Springs Café.

Even though it was rainy, it was still pretty, and we were chatting all the way.

More snacks when we came home, and then it was trout poached in a wine-leek sauce with couscous, and lemon mousse for dessert.

Chatting, chatting, chatting, playing with the cats.

Tessa let us sleep in on Sunday, too. I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast (with prosecco, of course). Lazy morning, then headed to Bear and Bee Bookshop, where we found a bunch of great stuff.

From there, we went to Berkshire Cider Project, which is in the renovated Greylock Works Center. That place is amazing! We bought a bunch of cider and got Halloween treats. The woman working there recently moved from California. She and her husband are working on starting a restaurant; we exchanged information in case they need to hire someone for marketing.

We went to The Spruces and walked around and talked about the history of the place. My friend let me start spinning out ideas for an historical mystery series set there when it was a residential community in the 1950’s and 60’s. We had some great conversations with people walking their dogs.

After that, we found an alpaca farm/store in Williamstown, Colonial Alpacas.. The guy is part of a fiber co-op. He has a lovely bulldog, who showed us around. We bought some alpaca goods, and went to meet the alpacas, although they were not interested in coming out of their sheds and getting their feet muddy.

But it was a delightful afternoon full of interesting people who were doing things. Everyone followed safety protocols without fussing. People were friendly, interesting, and interested.

Home, unloaded, my friend carved her pumpkin. We put on the lights and were ready for Trick or Treaters. There were a few, but not many.

Hunter’s pasta for dinner, and then the Samhain Ancestor rituals, which were satisfying, although we were up pretty late.

Up at 5 on Monday. Managed 2100 words on CAST IRON MURDER before breakfast and driving my friend back to Bennington to catch her bus. On the way back, errands at the market, the pharmacy, the post office, the library.

Came home, and started working my way through all the email which had piled up in my box since Thursday night. Did the Sundance Collab session, and wrote 7 pages/the next scene of “A Rare Medium.” I think I can wrap it up in one more scene.

Willa and Tessa looked for my friend for a bit, then Tessa decided to settle on the porch. Charlotte was on my bed until the Sundance Zoom – as far as Charlotte is concerned, Zoom exists so people all over the world can see her and tell her she’s pretty.

The cold warnings went out for the area. Although we won’t descend into frost yet, it was cold enough to pull in our plants from the back balcony, and bring in most of the furniture. The big bench and the bistro chairs will stay out, but everything else came in. Most plants can be on the front porch, until that, too, is too cold.

Made sausage and Brussels sprouts for dinner. Read two scripts and some source material for a new play in the evening.

Went to bed ridiculously early, after doing my Tending the Dead ritual for the night.

Tessa let me sleep until nearly 6:30 this morning. I was writing in longhand on a project, and just taking my time. Didn’t even sit down to write on CAST IRON MURDER until 9 AM. Took me two hours to write 2364 words, but I’m even happy with some of them. Yesterday’s work was more hit-and-miss. But I’m starting to hear and feel the rhythm of this book.

Now, it’s time to take down most of the Samhain decorations, although I still have a few more Tending the Dead rituals. You can read more information about that here.

I have two script coverages to write up. I’d hoped to finish “A Rare Medium” today, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. I hate to lose the momentum, though. I have at least one script to read tonight, but I’m hoping to grab a second at some point this afternoon.

There will be leftovers tonight, as there will be most of the week. And, hopefully, a lot of writing!

Mon. Nov. 1, 2021: Intent for the Week — Creative Flow

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National Novel Writing Month begins today. I hope it will help shake out the creative cobwebs, and get me back into healthy routines and flows. Sounds counter-intuitive, since the point of Nano is to spew a lot of words on the page, but I’ve found that the focus and the overwhelming wave of creative purpose at the start, is a good boost.

Fingers crossed for a creative start to a creative month.

What’s your intent this week?

Published in: on November 1, 2021 at 8:43 am  Comments (5)  

Fri. Oct. 29, 2021: Birthday, Houseguest, Samhain

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Friday, October 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

Today is my mother’s 97th birthday. I am lucky she is still around.

Meditation was good yesterday. Tessa decided to hang out for it; Charlotte was asleep elsewhere.

After breakfast, I headed out for the Big Grocery Shop. I swung by CVS & got the last pack of toilet paper they had. Got what I needed from Big Y, then headed to Stop & Shop for the rest.

There are definitely bare shelves, but it’s mostly big, corporate brand names. As I’ve said, someone is making a profit from the supply chain issues, or they’d have been solved. Yes, there are issues. But corporations are also seeing this as a way to increased demand (by keeping it in short supply), so they can jack up prices.

I’m not worried. I have a good pantry, and as for the rest, I will simply adjust. The shelves filled with goods by local farmers and artisans remain full. I may not get what’s most convenient, or what I originally planned, but that’s why, even during the worst of the pandemic, I went to the grocery store in person. As a cook, I can look at what’s available, and menu plan in the store. We can still eat food that’s healthy and delicious, even if/when it’s out of our usual, or not the conveniences we’ve relied on.

And when the big box brands are available again, I bet they’ll be surprised how many people didn’t miss them. All they’re doing is hurting themselves, by using the supply chain issues to try to price gouge.

The latest threat is there’s going to be an alcohol shortage. Okay. If/when that’s the case, I’ll stop drinking alcohol. Will I miss it? Sure I will. Do I need it? Nope. I’ve gone weeks, even months without drinking alcohol before. I can do it again.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the local brewers and vintners, until this year’s supply runs out.

Finished my script coverage, got some tidying up done. Left the vacuuming until today, because, when I got ready to vacuum, Tessa and Charlotte were both settled on the front porch, not fussing at each other. I didn’t want to destroy peaceful co-existence. I didn’t expect it to last as long as it did, all afternoon, but, oh well.

Make the raspberry chocolate chip cake, the black bean hummus, the ranch dip all yesterday afternoon.

Dinner was a motley assortment of leftovers. It didn’t look pretty, but all the bits were good, so it tasted okay.

I needed the room in the fridge.

Tessa let me sleep in until 6. I had a good first writing session. The cornbread is about to come out of the oven, I made the lemon mousse, and I’ll do the devilled eggs after breakfast.

Then, it’s cleaning time.  I’ll put on the crockpot chili just before noon, and it will be ready after my friend and I get home, when I pick her up in Bennington.

I have to do a run up to the library when it opens to drop off/pick up, and get museum passes for tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to the weekend! Catch you on the other side, and Blessed Samhain!

Published in: on October 29, 2021 at 7:13 am  Comments (6)  

Thurs. Oct. 28, 2021: Preparing

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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/partly cloudy and chilly

For some reason, yesterday feels like a really long time ago. Post on Gratitude and Growth about the seasonal changes.

I got a script coverage written and out, then ran over to Wild Oats to do my shopping there. Bought more than I planned, of course. Today, I hit up the other grocery stores for the rest of the items on my list for the weekend company.

On the way back, I stopped at a local thrift shop, hoping something I’d liked but hadn’t bought in the moment was still there. It wasn’t, of course, but I bought a lovely candlebra with crystals hanging from it. I have to get tapers, but it’s just perfect.

Came back, finished getting the lights strung on the stairwell. It looks really pretty. Got the hooks up over the kitchen windows, and hung the pumpkin lights, which is also festive. Had to wrestle with the tops of some windows, which slid down, so cold air was coming in the top. I’ll have to keep an eye on that over winter. Did some more tidying up. There’s still a bunch of unpacking to do, but the sewing room is a pleasant guest room, the living room and kitchen look good. There are still boxes stacked in the sewing room, but not interfering with a good night’s rest. Most of the boxes to unpack are still stacked in my office.

Got out two more script coverages (one was long and complicated). It was about 9 PM before I was done. I have one more to do today, and I’m finished for the week.

Started reading Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen series, which is energetic and a lot of fun.

Two of my errant packages arrived: WINTERSWEET, a truly wonderful cookbook, from which I will get great joy cooking in the coming months and years; and a small, book-shaped pendant I ordered from an artisan as part of the talisman necklace I’m putting together.

Dinner was put together from leftovers. Trying to clean out the fridge, so that there’s room for what I’m making for the weekend.

Tessa let me sleep until 6 this morning. On the one hand, great; on the other hand, it puts me behind in all I need to do.

Meditation group this morning. Then, it’s off to the grocery stores. Back to write up script coverage. I have a few things to prepare for the weekend today (a dip, black bean hummus, baking a cake), and then it’s cleaning time.

My friend arrives tomorrow afternoon, so there will be a few things to prepare in the morning, and then I’m going to drive up to Bennington to meet her bus.

I’m looking forward to a weekend of fun, and then diving in to start writing CAST IRON MURDER on Monday. I feel ready for it.

Wed. Oct. 27, 2021: Focused Writing

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

It rained here all day yesterday, but that was it. The other side of the state got pounded by the nor’easter. Power outages, closed schools, the works. I’m glad we’re not dealing with all that.

Yesterday morning was spent finishing/organizing/polishing the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, so that it can marinate, and I can jump in next Monday. It took a few interesting turns, especially for my work. But it’s organic to the story, while still meeting genre expectations, so I will see how it goes. The outline will get me through the first draft; after that, we’ll see what changes need to be made so that it’s the best it can be. Anything I write during Nano usually takes five or six more drafts and a couple of years’ worth more work to get submission-ready than anything written outside of Nano.

It felt good to spend a concentrated period of hours (instead of just one hour or an hour and a half) on my own work. I have to build more of that into my schedule.

After lunch, I planned to take just a short break and clear my mental palate by reading Susanna Clarke’s PIRANESI, which I’d started the day before. But I couldn’t put it down, and read it until I was done. It’s a slender book, but with big ideas and beautiful writing. It’s sad and uplifting and works on multiple levels. It’s a book that one can’t really talk about, except with others who’ve read it, because it’s experiential as much as it is about ideas. If you want a captivating read that will also make you think, I highly recommend it.

I have nine packages in varying states of transit with the USPS. I hope they start showing up soon. Four of them, are, of course, cookbooks.

I got some script coverage done in the late afternoon, but not enough, so I’ll have to make up for it today. Also got a script read.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We got a lot done. As one of the teens put it, “When you don’t have to worry you’re going to get shot every day, you can put that energy into learning.” Unacceptable our kids have to live like that. On top of it, the relief that the younger kids can get vaccinated is huge (the youngest kid in the group is now 8). The next discussion then will be if any of them will go back to in-person learning after the winter holidays, or if they’ll all just stay out of school until next year. But let’s get them all vaccinated first.

On today’s agenda is some of my own writing, on another outline and on “A Rare Medium”, script coverage, Remote Chat, and I have to run some books back to the library, and get some stuff from the co-op. The big grocery shop for the weekend happens tomorrow. I also have to get the last of the lights up today, and put together the Halloween treat bags for the trick or treaters.

Tessa let me sleep until 5 AM, and didn’t even howl. I woke up on my own, which was great.

So it’s back to the page now, and then on to the rest of the day. Have a good one.

Published in: on October 27, 2021 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 27, 2021: Focused Writing  
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Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)

image courtesy of Mustafa Ezz via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

The other side of the state is getting pounded by a nor’easter. We have some heavy rain here, but it’s not bad. I like being tucked into the mountains.

Friday’s soul journey material was all about upselling to another class, which was a disappointment. There was very little real meat to the session, although the exercise for the day was about an affirmation to move forward. The live session in the afternoon was pretty much all recap/upsell instead of how to use the work done this week to move forward. There was talk about doing the work over and over again, in a circle/spiral, but, to me, it feels like it should be more of an elongated spiral, to make sure you wind up in a different place than you start, rather than going ‘round and ‘round like you’re in a washing machine.

But different people are at different points in the journey.

They run a business, and they deserve to be paid for all the work they put in. But the courses they’re selling are for those new to the work; but they want everyone to have similar training, so you can’t participate further unless you go through the basic courses. Which is perfectly understandable, but not where I am right now in my journey. I respect their work enormously; but our paths are separating. My way through the forest is different. I am grateful for the tools I gained through this week. I showed up and did the work every day, without whining or excuses, no matter what else was going on. Now I need to integrate what I learned and build on it.

Getting through to AAA was a nightmare; on hold for 40 minutes. What if I’d been roadside, in severe distress, without a fully charged phone?

Once I got through, I was given an ETA arrival time of just over an hour. Okay, whatever, there was stuff I could do on the porch while keeping an eye out.

The mechanic got there in about 20 minutes, which was great. I have a full-sized spare in the trunk; he switched them out. Easy peasy. For him, anyway. I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.

He showed me the problem: a tack about the size of a dime. He said it was fixable. I thanked him, tipped him, he took off, I just made it to the live session of my class (although I missed the Sundance Collab session, and therefore, working on the plays).

After that, I looked through information, and found a highly rated mechanic not even 5 minutes away. I contacted them about the tire and an oil change. Heard back right away; they were very nice. I set up an appointment for Saturday morning.

The rest of Friday was finishing up the soul journey work, and finishing up the script coverages. Which I did, although it took me way too late into the night, and I still didn’t earn what I planned for the week.

But I was cooked.

I slept on the sofa bed in the living room on Friday night, so Tessa would have company. She was delighted; Charlotte, not so much. But I slept until 5:30 on Saturday, and woke up with an idea for a series of interlocked short stories. It’s an idea I’ve played with on and off for years, but which finally is coming together. I wrote up the notes first thing, so I wouldn’t forget them.

A couple of other ideas poked at me, related to other notes I’d started over the past few weeks, but I couldn’t yet connect the dots.

Saturday morning, I was out the door early to my mechanic appointment, with plans to continue up that same street to run some errands further along, once I was done.

Only there’d been an awful accident further up the road. It was blocked off, because a telephone pole had to be taken out and replaced. I was able to get to the mechanic – and then their power went out. It came back on pretty quickly, and the whole oil change/tire repair went smoothly. The woman who runs the place told me they do a lot of tire repairs, because the streets are always full of stuff causing punctures, due to all the industry here. So at least I know it wasn’t just me being careless!

I couldn’t run any of my other errands up that street, but I went back and around to go to the public library, who has a huge stack of books for me. Got those off their hold shelf.

Read and relaxed in the afternoon. Really enjoyed Elizabeth Flynn’s book. Read Maria DiRico’s LONG ISLAND ICED TINA. I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks, and it made me miss my Greek and Italian friends in Astoria. It’s such a good book!

Did some more decorating. I still have to run the last few strings of lights up the bannisters, but then the decorating is done!

Slept in my own bed on Saturday night, and Tessa let me sleep until about 5:30 again on Sunday.

Sunday was my “Just for Me” day, at least for most of it, so I puttered around, and read and relaxed and generally didn’t worry about a schedule. I had a live Shadow Work session at noon with the same group that sponsored the soul journey work. Their approach to Shadow Work is very different than the way I’ve been trained, and I got a couple of good tools I can use. But again, there was a lot of upsell, and a lot of first-timers who don’t pay attention to the session, yammer incessantly, but expect to be spoon-fed individually all the information that was just discussed. That’s just not where I am right now. Blessings to them all, but my path takes me somewhere else.

Read a book that was interesting, but not brilliant. Relaxed. Made ratatouille to go with the fish for dinner.

At one point, all three cats were sitting in different chairs in the sun on the porch, which has never happened. It was a big step.

Read four scripts Sunday night.

Tessa woke me a little after midnight on Monday. I got her settled, then she started up around 4:30, but I was out like a log, and didn’t wake up until nearly 6. She was not amused.

That put me back in everything for the day, which is okay, since it got done, just in a different time frame. I can’t be too tightly scheduled here, because everything runs on its own time.

Got some excellent writing done in the morning, especially on an outline for a piece whose characters and situations have been rolling around in my head since late August. It started to come together.

Had to go to CVS to try and negotiate my mom’s thyroid medication, since the insurance problems are still ongoing. The pharmacist who helped us before managed to pull the prescription from the Cape CVS and get a 90-day refill at a price I could afford. Thank goodness.

Dropped off books at the library. Came home and discovered a check from a client – more than double what I expected, which is great, because it takes off the pressure for end-of-month bills.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

Tried to work on “A Rare Medium” during the Sundance Collab time, but I absolutely lost the thread of where I was going with the next scene. Even though I have notes. I was completely baffled.

This is why I need to work every day on the first draft of something until it’s done, and not in fits and starts. I have to block out time to work on this play every day, even if it’s only a short session. I was so frustrated with myself.

Wrote up three script coverages in the afternoon, and read three scripts at night.

Charlotte woke me up this morning at 1 AM. She wanted cuddles and playtime. She was sweet and purry, but it was one a.m. I got her settled and dozed off again. Then, Tessa woke me at 3:27 with her howling. I grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, got her settled, and dozed off again. Willa woke me at 6:30, because she was Very Hungry and I was late feeding them.

Sigh.

Working on the outline this morning, for the piece that’s coming together, and then, hopefully, finishing the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I want it to marinate (no pun intended, since there’s a lot of cooking in the piece) before I start writing next Monday. I will also block off some time to work on “A Rare Medium” and read over the source material, as well as working on the next scene. I have script coverage to write up, and more scripts to read.

I’ve done the meal planning for my friend’s visit this weekend; what we actually get up to (other than the Samhain celebration and giving out candy to Trick or Treaters), we will somehow play by ear, because so much depends on the weather. But it will be a lot of fun. Our first houseguest since before the pandemic, which means it’s a little over two years since I’ve seen my friend in person. My mom’s triple vaxxed, and my friend and I are both double vaxxed. Plus, we all still take precautions, so, fingers crossed, it will be okay.

Time to get back to the page.

Published in: on October 26, 2021 at 7:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)  
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Mon. Oct. 25, 2021: Intent for the Week — Replenishing Energy

image courtesy of Jared Rice via Unsplash.com

Last week was about protecting my energy in group work. This week, it is about replenishing energy that’s been lost over the past months.

It won’t all be restored, but I hope to use techniques learned in last week’s course and through the weekly meditation sessions to replenish the energy and tone down the burnout. Since I can’t take extended time off to heal the burnout, I have to carve out focused time each day, and make it the focus of this week.

Samhain is coming up, and a friend is visiting, at the end of the week, which will be great. National Novel Writing Month starts next week, which will also require giving and receiving energy.

So this week, I need to replenish, and, maybe, even stockpile a bit.

I want to approach the coming weeks with a sense of energy being able to flow, and that creative energy used then creates more creative energy to flow.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on October 25, 2021 at 8:36 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 25, 2021: Intent for the Week — Replenishing Energy  
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Fri. Oct. 22, 2021: Tire Woes

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pexels.com

Friday, October 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was kind of all over the place. Meditation was good, although Charlotte jumped up and wanted attention from the Zoom room. I managed to get her settle on my lap. At least it wasn’t as bad as last week, when both Charlotte and Tessa were impossible.

Got out my script coverage. Did the soul journey visualizations, and found them quite helpful. One of the exercises is making a talisman. I designed the one I want, and now it’s a case of finding the bits and putting it all together.

Got my script coverages done and out. Attended the live chat for the workshop, which had a good point – one can manifest what one wants, but if one hasn’t built the resources to hold it and understand, one falls back into the same old patterns and loses it. That’s important information.

Wanted to go to the lake in the afternoon, but something came up and I couldn’t. Which was disappointing, but not devastating. Made some notes on a couple of projects. That ghost story really wants to be written.

Got a DM on Twitter scolding me for posting on Instagram, saying there was a big discussion of blocking people who post IG links, because when they click the link, they’ve been hacked. So I shouldn’t post an IG link on Twitter, because I’d be blocked and lose followers.

Like I give a flying fuck.

If people don’t like that I post cat photos or any other type of photo, or that I use Instagram, guess what? They can make the CHOICE to scroll past. They can make the CHOICE not to click a link. They can make the CHOICE to unfollow, mute, or block. But to bully me, pretending it’s “in my best interest” to tell me what I can and can’t have on my own feed?

Fuck right off.

Gave myself some time off to read in the afternoon, just for me. Made a chicken tiki marsala for dinner with the leftover chicken from the roast chicken.

Read four scripts in the evening, which I will write up today. Knowledge Unicorns was fine.

Tessa woke me at 2:15, because she wanted company while she ate her snack. (We’d started leaving food out for her at night, hoping she would snack and not howl. But now she wants company for her snack). I sat with her while she ate, but when I tried to go back to bed, she started howling again. So I got the featherbed and settled on the bed in the guest room with her food, which we call “Tessa’s room.” I must have dozed off; I woke up just before 7, and she was fast asleep on the couch in the living room.

Discovered that the right front tire of the car is flat, so that has to be dealt with today. Good thing I recently rejoined AAA. Or is it good? They were such a nightmare the last time I belonged, and totally useless. We’ll see. I’ll know after I contact them if they’re actually going to give me the services for which I paid, or if, yet again, they lie, cheat, and steal. Guess I’ll find out. I specifically paid for the tier of coverage that offers flat tire assistance and replaces car batteries, because I’m worried the car battery will give out this winter.

I need to get one of the script coverages in this morning, because it’s on deadline, and I don’t want to miss a deadline because I’m dealing with the flat tire.

Then I will go into Tire-land, and see if I can get this sorted. Hopefully, the full-sized spare is still in good enough condition to use (it’s been over ten years since I had a flat), and then I can make it until next week, when I can get to one of the multitude of tire places and get a new tire.

Yet another expense I wasn’t expecting. Let’s hope it’s not too much. I was just starting to get a little bit ahead.

This is what I get for the thought, a day or so ago, that I got through Mercury Retrograde fairly unscathed!

I hope I can get everything sorted out so that I can go to the WordXWord even tomorrow at the Mount. And I hope I can still take Sunday off as a personal day of self-indulgence.

But, whatever happens, I’ll just have to deal, won’t I?

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

Published in: on October 22, 2021 at 7:57 am  Comments (2)  
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