Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
The Ides of March
Sunny with frost on the ground.

It snowed. I cried. I had a glass of wine.

That nowhere near sums up the day! 😉

I spent the day on the Tele-Seminar. First, I realized I had to move the conference board, because, on the site I originally placed it, when you clicked to register, everything was in Swedish. Now, I enjoy Swedes and Swedish as much as the next one (especially Swedish hockey players), but that is not the most user-friendly way to deal with seminar participants who pay to attend a conference.

So I moved it somewhere that “English” was the default language.

Then, it turns out the subdomain I set up for it via 1and1 — I couldn’t embed the code for the registration button. Oh, I COULD — if I “upgraded” my package and paid the additional monthly equivalent to my three month fee every month. I think not.

I designed (again) a page on iWeb, and I was pretty happy with it.

HOWEVER — since 1and1 won’t give me access to the FTP –for which I PAY — in order to upload the site, I couldn’t upload it. They gave me every excuse under the sun from “technical difficulties” with the FTP to everything else slimy. Now, realize, that if they actually give me access to the FTP — for which I pay — that means I can download the web files they’ve been holding hostage for the past three years. Once I have the web files, I can move hosts. I can’t lose over 10K of emails including contracts and business correspondence, and that’s what would happen if I switched hosts without being able to download the web files to my hard drive. Nor can I forward everything. I’ve tried. And if any of you dare mention “Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Explorer” I will drive a stake through your heart, because you ARE the most evil vampire — I’m on a Mac, damn it, and I’ve been trying to find a way to download since I switched (not that they let me download my files to an FTP when I was still on PC with access to Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Explorer anyway — they had excuses for that, too).

1and1.com should not be allowed to do business, because all they do is cheat you.

Anyway, I whimpered to AppleCare, who taught me how to upload the site to Mobile Me (guess I’m renewing that in April).

And, Ta-Da, here is the site for the Confident Freelancer. I hope you’ll come join us and get inspired!

Now, that took me from the time I logged on to the computer in the morning until dinnertime, along with going back-and-forth with my lovely partner and making sure we both ok’d copy before it was posted anywhere. She was working her ass off on other aspects of the project, too.

On the upside, it was the best possible day for this to happen. We’ve troubleshot as much as possible in advance, and now people can register and have a great experience. Yeah, I didn’t get to do other stuff I would have liked to get off my list — but I’m not behind, and I’m not scrambling. So it’s fine.

It’s the only day all week I could spend a big chunk of time on it, because I actually have to be in specific places at specific times every other day this week, meaning at X time, I have to walk away from the computer, no matter what is going on, come back later for a bit, leave again at Y time, etc.

Managed a quick trip down to the library to return some books due and get out another interesting stack — three Cape-centric mysteries and a book about Van Gough and Gaugin sharing a studio for nine weeks in Arles. Started one of the mysteries — hideously written. All telling, no showing, sloppy writing, cliched characters. I’m taking all three of the books in the series back today. I only managed to get to page 28 of the first one, and my time is too valuable to spend with that kind of bad writing.

In the library, I found a “biography” “written” by an actress I worked with on Broadway. Of course, I had to flip to the sections dealing with the shows on which we both worked. Wow. I don’t know if she’s delusional or trying to rewrite history to look more kindly on her or that’s the way she really thinks it happened. My diary entries for that same time period are VERY different (and no, I’m not mentioned in it by name — we were on the same show, but I was working directly with other actors).

I’ll only be on line briefly today — a little this morning (after I work on the play) to comment on student work (they have a deadline today), work on the conference board (I need to make postcards to take to the dinner tomorrow), start getting ready for Costume Imp’s visit, go to the grocery store, and, possibly, get to Ashumet, if it stays sunny. And I’m going to start the layout on the e-book.

Gotta love Canon customer service. I forgot something really basic on the camera last night (and needed the answer before the Flower show on Thursday). My instruction manuals are still packed goodness knows where. Shot them an email; got a response in under two hours — at night! Now THAT’s service! As frustrated as I’ve been with this last generation of printer, in general, they’re a fantastic company.

There’s frost on the ground this morning, which means I’m glad I didn’t put the rosemary plant out last night. It’s not happy inside, even in full sun, but I think it’s still too cold to set it on the back porch.

So that’s that, and the play needs attention, or it won’t get out the door by the end of the month.

Devon

Friday, January 28, 2011


Violet

Friday, January 28, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday, I hurt my back shoveling snow, and was down for the count all day. It’s muscular, fortunately, easier to heal, but very uncomfortable. It was too much snow for the electric shovel, so I did it the old-fashioned way, and it was heavy, wet snow. In the evening, the forecasters gave a formula for how much each cubic foot weighed. I did the math and found out that I shoveled just over a half a TON of snow. And I wonder why my back hurts!

Lying down was the worst, because in order to get up, I had to roll onto the floor onto my hands and knees and push up from there. If I bent down from the waist for something, it was close to impossible to straighten. And, because I hurt my knee a few days ago, I couldn’t squat down, either.

Not pretty.

I rested until I had to drive my mom to the doctor’s. She really, really likes her new doctor. The difference in quality between this practice and the previous one she had in New York is amazing. The doctor spent a solid block of time with her, getting to know her, talking WITH her, not AT her, listening to her, and they figured out a plan of action between them. The doctor feels she’s in good health, but wants her to get the cataracts done sooner rather than later, and promised not to force her into anything. She’ll have to go for a blood test and another visit in April to see if they need to modify any of the medications. A hundred times better than her previous doctor. Of course, the previous practice hasn’t bothered to send over the medical records. I’ve worked in many a doctor’s office over the years– two weeks is more than enough time to send medical files. They just can’t be bothered — a horrid place. The new doctor’s office just shrugged it off and said that they were sure we could all figure it out together without them. Had it been the other way around, the old place would have probably refused to continue the appointment. The staff at this new place is really sweet and friendly, they bother to get to know the names of the patients and the patient’s family, they even help patients to and from their cars if necessary. Imagine that! Health care focused on the patient — the way it should be!

Back home, my mom relieved that she actually has a responsive doctor and that the office staff is pleasant, rather than treating her like an inconvenience, the way they did in Westchester.

I went back onto the couch, with first ice, then heating pad, anti-inflammatories, etc. I tried to check in on the workshops, but couldn’t tap into the critical thinking part of the brain — I kept reading sentences over and over without being able to coherently respond.

So I put the computer aside and went back to reading just because. I read/skimmed one of the worst-written books I’ve ever encountered in my life — picked up at the library, self-published, and, let me tell you, there was a GOOD reason why no publisher touched this one. Interesting premise and location, poor execution, terrible characterization, sloppy writing, lapses of logic, etc., etc. Just awful.

It was a relief to slide into another Susan Wittig Albert book, DEAD MAN’S BONES. Her writing is good and I always learn something from her, in addition to simply enjoying the books.

To bed early, after taking some Valerian. Woke up feeling a little better, and, certainly, more coherent. Did some yoga to promote the back muscles’ healing. Pigeon pose was a challenge, but for the best. However, I couldn’t fold down into child’s pose, and, had I managed it, there’s no way I could have gotten out of it, so I skipped it for today.

Cancelled out of everything for this weekend — I was supposed to run around looking at patio furniture. I can’t sit in the car very long, and I couldn’t lift the furniture into or out of the car if I bought it, so it will have to wait. I will stay home, reading and writing. Maybe I can make some good headway on my deadline. I can take Valerian every night, which will also help my back. I only have the high dosage, so I’m not taking it during the day, or all I’ll do is sleep! Just because it’s an herb doesn’t mean you can take an unlimited amount safely! One has to be careful with herbs, and take into account weight, reactions to allergens, etc., etc. People who go around stating that because something is an “herb” or “natural” means it’s safe to take as much as you want are irresponsible. They work differently, more gently, and more holistically than prescription medication, but they are still MEDICINE, not candy.

I’ve got to wind up the workshop this weekend, too. And get some marketing done, or March will be a very lean month. A friend sent me an interesting possibility, but the way it’s worded sent up a few red flags. I have to think about it for a day or two.

I’ve also got a book to review for A BIBLIO PARADISE by one of my favorite authors. I’ve started it, but put it aside because I want to be able to really focus on it and enjoy it, and yesterday, I was only up for being entertained, not intellectual interaction.

Dishwasher’s on, and when that’s gone through, I’ve got a few loads of laundry to push through, and I have to vacuum and clean a bit.

And then it’s back to the page, back to the workshops. I’ve got a potential play deadline in March — I have to find out more about that, but it would be great to do it, because it’s been awhile since I wrote a new play.

Devon


Iris

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

My final post on Sole Struck Fashions is up. The blog is ending its run at the end of the month — which means I better get busy pulling my clips!

Yesterday was pretty quiet. Lots of percolating, some writing. Ran my errands, checked on my mom, got stuff to storage — I just have the tree to get in this morning, and the hallway is clear. I’ve still got more to pack up as I sort out some more stuff like wrapping paper and ribbons — I’ve hoarded stuff that really can go — and find a box for a rather large piece — but the bulk of it is done.

Finished that dreadful book yesterday. I was so angry when I was done. Yes, I should have probably put it aside, but I wanted to see, structurally, what was going on, and see if I could figure out why an editor, agent, and publisher would think this was a good, marketable commodity. I figured out the villain — I figured it would be the least logical, most two-dimensional, most peripheral person connected to the story, and it was. Hate that. I disliked the small-mindedness of both the author and the characters. I disliked the way the author denigrated or trivialized several religions that weren’t mainstream Christianity in a piece marketed as mainstream. The author had a Wiccan character do a walk-through simply to insult her (and then, in the chapter at the back, I find the character is central to the next book in the series — how much do you want to bet that character is killed off, punished for her religious choices? I won’t be reading it to find out). AND the author got the color correspondences wrong on what the Wiccan walked into a shop to purchase, after making a big deal about the color. Again, lack of research. There was such a lack of respect for so many people and ideas in the book that it made me want, as my grandmother used to say, spit nails.

I’m going to try to get some writing done in the morning and then take my mom to acupuncture. Tomorrow, I probably won’t get to blog until late in the day, if at all (I might just wait until Friday). I have to leave very early to drive Elsa to the vet. The medicine’s helped some of her symptoms, but not all.

Good yoga session both last night and this morning.

Now, back to the page. I’m trying to decide if it makes sense to work on and submit an essay on a topic I know well. I’m getting warier and warier of new publications, which is not necessarily a good thing. I have to see how I think my time will work out. I sort of feel that I should be focusing on the webhost move first.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am  Comments (10)  
Tags: ,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Lammas
Sunny and pleasant

Yes, I’m up very early, but Lammas is a very big day on my personal calendar, so here I am. I’ve already baked cornbread, done yoga, fed the cats, and am doing this before I do my first 1K of the day, for once.

Yesterday’s work day was cut short because of this silly insect bite that felled me like a tree. I went to the family-run pharmacy. They’re fantastic. We talked, they took a look at it, the pharmacist suggested we try a specific cream and some Benedryl. And I was instructed to ice it for 20 minutes every hour as much of the day as possible. He warned me, that, although the box states you can take up to six a day, I should not take more than TWO in a 24-hour period. He asked me if I’d ever taken it before — it was ten years ago, when a little kid I dressed got into poison oak and shared. So he told me not to drive once I’d taken it, and definitely not to take more than two in a 24-hour period. The good news is that, by the look of the area around the bite, my immune system is in good shape — as he said, because I don’t take antibiotics every time I turn around, so that my body actually has built its own immunities and can use them. He also gave me two lists of symptoms: If the first list appeared, I needed to go to the Walk-in clinic, insurance or not; if the second list appeared, I had to go to the emergency room immediately. And, if by last night it wasn’t markedly better, I needed to go to the clinic first thing this morning. He said the insect bites are particularly potent this year, and you can’t wait a few days to see if it gets better. You take the first steps — if they don’t work within the first day, you need to get something a lot stronger FAST.

Good to know.

I went to Staples to stock up on supplies. With my coupons and rewards and all the rest, I only had to shell out $1.36 of my own money. That’s what I call good shopping! They no longer carry the file boxes that will match the ones I have, so I have to try to order them online.

Went to Michael’s. Couldn’t find what I wanted for the harvest wreath, but came up with an idea on how to switch out flowers on the current wreath to make it more harvest-y.

Home, Iced. Ate. Iced. Put the cream on. Iced. Finished my client project and got it out the door FIRST, and then took the Benedryl. Which knocked me on my ass in about 10 minutes. Don’t drive? I could barely walk! But my arm started getting better in a little bit, and the bonus was that, because I couldn’t do much, my wrist got to rest, too.

Finished the badly written book I mentioned a few days ago. I kept hoping it would get better, but it didn’t. Hoped the murderer would kill the protag, but that didn’t happen, either. Won’t be reading anything by that author again! One of the traits that made me dislike the protag was that she felt justified in lying whenever she wanted and however she wanted, with disregard for others to get information, but got mad when others lied to her. And it was never really dealt with in the book. If she showed some growth or reason for the trait, it could have been interesting. But there wasn’t anything. She was supposed to be a likable protag, but she wasn’t.

Cooked dinner, relaxed, called the yoga studio to make sure the meditation session was on in spite of the bad weather, and was told yes. Drove the 20-30 minutes, parking was a bitch (why can’t these places ever rent space where there’s decent parking?), hiked to the center. It’s very new and shiny and hard. The atmosphere is very shiny and hard. I waited for the previous class to finish. Two guys came out of the class and tried to pick me up, while a couple of over-Botoxed women stood nearby, talking loudly and trying to move their faces into glares. Only the eyes managed to convey their annoyance — if looks could kill, there’d have been blood all over the place.

The studio emptied out, and everyone was posing in their expensive yoga clothes and talking very loudly about all the cool events they planned to attend and the famous people with whom they’d be hanging out with between now and the next class. Wonder what they’d think if they know I’ve dealt with most of those people in their underwear in the quick change booth backstage or in the trailer on set?

The workshop leader was a young woman but she, too, had a hardness about her. There were five of us and the leader in the class. It was a very different style than any other meditation group I’ve attended, which is fine, learn new things, whatever I was sitting between a fidgeter and a moaner. The fidgeter I could deal with — part of the process is learning stillness, and for some people it’s harder than others. But the moaner? I kept telling myself, “acceptance, maybe it’s a medical condition or a mental condition” or whatever. What it was was distracting and invasive to everyone else. But every breath was micromanaged by the leader, she spewed psychobabble at us, we sat for only ten minutes, and she dismissed us. Excuse me?

I didn’t get a sense of any commitment to practice from her. My sense was that she’s in this because, in a wealthy suburb, there’s a chance to cash in on all those who are trying to pretend they’re not shallow. There’s nothing wrong with making money from your business, and there’s nothing wrong with running a studio that focuses more on the physical aspects of yoga than the spiritual. But if you’re going to present spiritual aspects, do so from a place of connection and commitment. Don’t repeat what was said to you at an overpriced workshop and was simply a repetition of material pulled off the internet. Even the altar set up in the room had a cold, magazine-shoot feel to it rather than the warmth of a well-used and respected altar.

I don’t want to renounce everything and be a full-time yogi. But I’m not playing at this, either. Yoga, for me, is a way to improve my life through a balance of body and soul, by taking time to practice both alone and in community.

At the other studio earlier in the week, there was a sense of individualism, tranquility, acceptance, and, most importantly, joy. People came with baggage, but, left with huge smiles, and laughing and interacting in a centered, happy way. The leaders are great about keeping things running on time, and being respectful of everyone’s time, but there’s never a sense of feeling rushed. There’s a sense of welcome and inclusion — everyone who walks in is considered a friend one hasn’t yet met. There wasn’t the loud, nervous chatter there was in this place last night. And what struck me, when people left class, was the lack of peace, joy, and energy. Usually, when the doors to a yoga class open, people waft out, a little high from the class. They’re smiling, laughing, they’re quiet as they re-enter the world, but there’s a sense of connectedness. Last night, everyone rushed out to pose by the juice bar, brag, and gossip, like they couldn’t wait to leave class. They competed with each other, which turned me off. I wish them well, but it’s not the right atmosphere for me.

In other words, I’m not going back to the place I went last night, but will continue at the place at which I spent time earlier this week! That’s what you have to do, try this studio and that studio and see which one works for you.

It was interesting. I was very polite — after all, I was a guest in someone else’s space. I said thank you and bolted as gracefully as possible. I turned up the radio on the drive home playing death metal, and, had i passed a bar on the way and not had to drive home, I would have downed several shots!

But the drive home made up for what the meditative experience lacked — one of the largest and most beautiful rainbows I’ve ever seen curved across the road — it was almost as though I could drive right through it! I love rainbows, and I’m very fond of Iris, the Rainbow Goddess — it made my week!

Came home, did my nightly yoga session to get the bad taste out of my body and get back to center. More cream, more ice, another Benedryl, and a good night’s sleep.

Up early this morning. I’m playing today — will have lots to tell you about tomorrow!

Devon

Published in: on August 1, 2009 at 6:25 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to the Scruffy Dog Review blog for my article, “Don’t Assume You Know My Contract” and leave a comment.

I’m so tired of everything being damp and clammy all the time. Ick!

After a day as good as Tuesday, of course, yesterday was filled with interruptions and frustrations. I had a heck of a time getting out the door to storage, and it wasn’t fun hauling the crap to storage. My wrist and I are not on speaking terms.

I swung by the site where I needed to get some paperwork signed and took care of that, had lunch with a friend, and installed myself at the Greenwich Library to get some work done.

I wound up finding some very interesting material and going off on a tangent, but that’s okay, because it will come in useful further down the road. It just means working some additional hours today and tomorrow to get everything done.

I looked up about halfway through the afternoon and saw the storm moved in, so I gathered my belongings and headed home. I tried to get some more work done, and managed to write two articles and get some editing work done before the storm was bad enough for me to shut down all the electronics (since surge protectors are basically useless).

I tried to read a mystery I picked up. It lost me in the first sentence. I felt I was being unfair, so I struggled along. Most of the writing is far too precious — the writer is in love with the sound of her own voice and wants to sound “literary”, but doesn’t have the skill level to pull it off. And, while she writes well about the conceit of the protag’s profession, the mystery part of the tale falls apart. The protag makes such stupid choices that, should she become the killer’s next victim, it wouldn’t bother me too much. This is the third book of a series. I won’t be going back to read the first two, and I won’t read the books that follow. These are hours of my life better spent reading GOOD writing.

Well, at least I learned valuable lessons about what NOT to do in this type of book!

I packed up some more stuff — this has to be stacked in a corner until the furniture swap happens, and I can put it away in the furniture coming in. The new couch shipped, and, after using Safari to push the site link (it spun and wouldn’t connect in Firefox) and discovered that it left California on Tuesday (huh?), so I don’t think I have to worry about it showing up until the original Monday – Wednesday time frame.

I had a good writing morning on the mystery short story. I’ll have to rearrange a bit of the dialogue for logistical reasons, but I think I can finish it this weekend and let it sit for a week or so while I write the second story, and then go back, edit this one, edit the other one, and get them in on deadline.

I’ve got to vacuum (here we go, Jupiter Retrograde influence). I’m going to write in a local coffee shop for awhile, then I have a lunch date, then I’ve got a site job in CT this afternoon.

It also looks like I’ll land a gig down in DC for a few days in November, which will be really cool! IF all the contract details work out.

Of course, if I go down, I will build in time to visit my Senators and Congressional Reps. Can’t let any opportunity slip by. My Congresswoman wants me to be part of a Telephone Town Hall on health care tonight — only I’ll still be onsite at the time it starts. I’ve sent her my cell phone and also some thoughts on it, in general.

Devon