Thurs. March 12, 2020: Sometimes You Outgrow Places

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Waning Moon

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

Lots to talk about, lots to think about. Yesterday was my birthday; tomorrow is Friday the 13th (one of my favorite days) which will encompass the pain-in-the-butt Home Energy Assessment in the morning, and then the follow-up appointment with the specialist in the afternoon. Next week is the next surgery.

It’s been a little more than a month since this particular health emergency started. It feels like much longer, because it’s taken up so much of my life, and put me behind in several areas of my life. I’m starting to take control again (and will do more so after the next surgery), make decisions, weigh evidence, and do what I can about moving forward in the areas that need change. I’ve learned a lot. Some of those have been hard lessons, but knowing is always better than not knowing.

I’ve been lucky in the support I’ve had around me from friends and coworkers and some random people I’ve met through different arenas. Seriously, something as simple as “I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re doing well” makes a huge, positive difference.

The silences have been telling, too.

The most disappointing one is from my yoga studio, and I’ve given a lot of thought to that. It has put into perspective and brought into light some things that have bothered me throughout my time at the studio, but I was willing to overlook, because I felt what I gained in terms of deepening my practice outweighed the things that bothered me.

That balance has shifted.

I have attended that particular studio for nearly two years now. Weekly, most of the time. Sometimes more than once a week. The location works. I like the atmosphere most of the time, the teaching style, the flexibility, and the price.

I’d visited the studio, which was under different ownership, when I first moved here. The owner at the time told me that it was useless to go unless I attended class there 2-3x week, and my only option was to be on Auto-pay. I could drop in once to try out a class, but after that, everything had to be booked ahead of time and on Auto-pay. I explained that, as a freelancer, that didn’t work for me. My schedule changes day-to-day, week-to-week. My income fluctuates. I can buy something like a 10-class pass, but I don’t do Auto-pay (not to mention that any Auto-Pay I’ve been on for anything has regularly simply taken whatever sum of money out of the account whenever they wanted, whether or not it was something I actually bought). The owner argued with me. I thanked her for my time, told her this was not the right studio for me, and that was that.

I was with another studio for about a year in another town, about a half hour’s drive. I liked a lot about it, but the teacher started making classes about her instead of about the practice, so I left. The first two summers I was here, I did sunrise yoga on the beach in Chatham, but over the years, with the increased traffic, the hour-long drive turned into nearly two hours each way, even that early in the morning, and it became unfeasible.

It never even occurred to me to go back to that first studio until I started studying with a specific teacher at her special events. I liked her style. She brought flyers in about her regular teaching — and she was at that studio. I mentioned I’d had a bad experience when I first moved here, and she told me the studio had changed owners.

I went back, I liked it for the most part, and I’ve been there for about the past two years. Last spring, there was an incident where I felt my trust had been broken; we sort of worked it out, although the studio did not fulfill a promise it made to help make things right. But I liked the studio, the teacher with whom I studied most often, the other teachers whose classes I tried, most of the other students. Some of the students only want to study with one teacher; I don’t like to get dependent on a teacher in that way. Life means change; teachers leave or go to another profession. I also like learning from teachers with different styles. I feel that enriches my practice. The price worked within my freelance life, and the payment schedule had options — you can have auto-pay, but you don’t HAVE to. Regular drop-ins are fine; if a class has finite room, they let you know. I sometimes felt like the teacher was trying to micro-control a little too much, especially in student interactions, but I thought maybe I was imagining it.

One of the things that has bothered me in all the studios here on Cape is the lack of community. They talk “community” constantly, but it doesn’t really exist. For the most part, we’re respectful and polite to each other in class. There’s some chatting amongst students. But most people are there for a respite from their day, not another social obligation. Some people come with friends, and they only interact with those friends. Some come in and out. But most people go to class and then leave.

In other areas I’ve lived/practiced over the decades, you wind up getting to know the “regulars” pretty well in class. They might not be your best friends, but generally, the chatting before or after class gets longer and longer, and there are usually one or two people with whom you connect and are in contact with outside of the studio. Maybe you’ll have coffee or a cocktail occasionally. Take a walk on the beach. Sign up for a workshop together you might not take on your own. If someone from class is sick, or suffers a loss, or has a crisis, one’s fellow practitioners rally around and offer support. Sometimes it’s in the form of physically doing something for someone (I’ve made casseroles, run errands, walked dogs, done laundry, etc. for fellow practitioners); sometimes it’s sending good thoughts, listening, just letting them know you care. There’s a sense of community.

Not here. People who’ve grown up here tend to stay friends with people they’ve known since childhood and not make new friends. Many of the people around here spend part of the year living elsewhere. They get together with their nearest neighbors when everyone’s home, have their families visit, but that’s it. I’ve tried to make plans with people from class, and they never come to fruition. Which is fine; if someone doesn’t want to hang out, I’d rather not hang out than one or both of us feeling forced and uncomfortable. I make plans once; if they don’t happen because the other person cancels, and the other person then doesn’t take the lead to make future arrangements, I let it go. To me, it means the person doesn’t want to spend time together, and that’s fine.

I also understand that far too many people who aren’t retired and living off investments have to work multiple jobs and are exhausted most of the time. But this attitude that “I don’t want friends” — which is said often in all kinds of contexts, disturbs me.

As a theatre person, where we build families of choice and expand them with every show, where the attitude is, “There’s always room for one more; pull up a chair” that’s an anomaly to me.

But people are who they are, and no one wants to be forced to be around people with whom they don’t want.

However, if you’re going to run around talking about compassion and community and connection in class, shouldn’t you also practice it outside of class?

Otherwise, yoga class serves the same purpose as going to church: you show up once a week and mouth meaningless words, then go back to being a jerk as soon as you walk out the door.

Another thing that bothers me (along with the lack of diversity) is that only Rich White Republican Ladies have the right to feel safe in class. Again, there’s all this talk about safety and inclusion. But when it comes down to it, Rich White Republican Ladies can say any racist, sexist, homophobic, inappropriate remarks, and we are all just supposed to sit there and put up with it because “it’s just the way they are.” But if anyone calls them on it, or makes a remark that is in opposition to something the Rich White Republican Ladies want to hear, the accusation is about “don’t bring politics into the studio” and making it “unsafe space.” Why are only the Rich White Republican Ladies entitled to a lack of politics and safe space?

And, in the world we’re living in, if you claim to follow yogic teachings, you’re not living your path if you’re not speaking up and acting to change things.

Whether or not it makes Rich White Republican Ladies uncomfortable or not.

This happens in studios all over the Cape, in my experience. I get that these studios are a business, and the Rich White Republican Ladies make up the bulk of the student population. Studios don’t want and can’t afford to lose the money.

But I want to be around people living their practice, not treating it like Religion Lite, where they mouth banalities so they can feel better about themselves and keep acting like entitled jerks.

I’m tired of the Rich White Republican Ladies doing and saying whatever nasty, inappropriate thing they want and getting away with it, but no one else can speak a different truth. It taints the purpose and the practice for me.

Another aspect of studio life around here I think is odd is that there aren’t classes on holidays. I get it on the big family ones, but a lot of these holiday Mondays are time that people who wouldn’t normally be able to attend class could. But classes are usually cancelled. Is it because the teachers need a break, too (which is understandable)? Or because people don’t show up on holiday Mondays here, unlike in other places where I’ve lived, where they flock to class on days off?

Thinking about this all and pulling it apart stemmed from the silence from the studio since I’ve been sick. I’m usually in regular contact with either the teacher or the owner. If I have to miss a class, such as the Monday meditation group to which I’ve gone for two years, I let them know ahead of time instead of just not showing up. The teacher has our emails and lets us know if there will be a sub or if class is cancelled for weather, or she’s sick or something else comes up. If she’s got something going on, I offer support, either by offering to do something tangible or doing energy work.

I thought the teacher and I built up a good relationship. We could talk about various issues, share good news and bad, have exchanged cards and small gifts over the years. Not quite friendship, in that we didn’t hang out away from the studio, but respect and appreciation.

If you’ve been following the bouncing IV needle here for the past few months, you know that when I had the urgent care visit and the first doctor basically told me I was at death’s door, I got in touch with the teacher. I let her know I had a medical emergency and was facing surgery or a series of surgeries and wouldn’t be in for awhile. I said that when it was all done, I would like to book a (paid, full price) healing session with her, but I didn’t know when it would be, because things were changing and getting booked day-to-day. She offered to do distance healing as a “gift” and said she needed some things from me in order to do it, and did I want more information? I said I wanted more information. She sent me a list that was absolutely overwhelming to me at that time while I was trying to deal with a slew of emergency medical appointments and surgery that had to happen within a week or two — AND said I had to book three healing sessions at a specific time at X price.

Now, I’m already frightened and vulnerable and losing work and worried about medical bills I didn’t expect. Everything is in flux and changing day to day; test results determine the next steps and how fast they have to happen. I CAN’T book three sessions. I can’t commit to the time and then cancel out at the last minute — it’s not fair to anyone. I don’t know what my financial situation will be due to missed work and incoming bills, and can’t take on any additional financial commitments, either. A “free” first session doesn’t mean a whole lot when the rest of the REQUIRED sessions (which I’d have to cancel anyway) are out of my reach financially. And the list of stuff she “needed” was overwhelming to me at the time.

I told her I couldn’t commit right now, because everything was in flux, and right now, the list was overwhelming and I couldn’t put it together and send it to her.

She argued with me. It wasn’t “what do you need, how can I help?” It was “Do what I tell you to do on my schedule.” Which rather shocked me, in the context of the past two years, and in the practice in general. She argued that putting together the list would “only take a few minutes” (no, it wouldn’t, and since I could barely even move at the time, it was too damn much), and that I NEEDED to do these sessions. Um, no, I NEEDED to work with the doctors so I wouldn’t die. That was the first priority. I had to not die. Then I get to heal.

I said I could not commit to it right now, with everything happening and changing so fast. She then told me I needed to book the post-surgery healing session now, because she books a few weeks in advance.

At that point, I didn’t know when the first surgery was scheduled or what came next. I told her I couldn’t.

I have never heard from her again. Not one word, since the 10th of February. Not one “how are you doing? I’m thinking of you.” Nothing. I didn’t want or need anyone from the studio to DO anything for me, but some good wishes would have been appreciated. But there was only silence.

Which tells me a great deal.

Compare that to the editor for the big article. We’d never worked together before. I was upfront with her about what was going on, got her the material ahead of deadline, and she worked with me around the surgery for the edits. This is someone who never knew me before, and she gave me more support than someone I’d been in weekly practice with for two years.

Heck, yoga studios into which I’ve dropped in occasionally in both Maine and Central Massachusetts have been in more frequent and more supportive touch than the studio in which I practiced regularly for the past two years.

I haven’t heard from the studio owner, either. Nor from anyone in the class.

Silence.

I am only a source of income to the teacher and the studio owner; I am irrelevant to my fellow practitioners. That’s the reality, no matter how many pretty words and phrases in which they try to wrap up the class experience.

I let myself feel the hurt and anger, because it existed. Silly to pretend it didn’t. No one wants to feel like they don’t matter. And then, I started picking at the threads of things that had bothered me over the time there, the things mentioned above, but that I’d chosen not to make a big deal out of because I felt what I got out of practicing there outweighed what bothered me.

That is no longer true.

I am deeply, deeply grateful for two years of deepening my practice and learning and growing. But I’ve gone as far as I can there. I need something else from practice-in-company and a studio experience. They are who they are, and they do what they do. I need something different.

I seriously doubt I will find it on Cape. I look at the other studios — auto-pay, demands that you attend several times a week (do they not realize that people work? Or are their only students more Rich White Republican Ladies who don’t work)?

I see a lot of the words of “inclusion” and “welcome” and “sanctuary” but I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence of walking the talk. I may try some open houses that studios often give in early summer to attract the summer people, but I think the bulk of the practice will be home or remote study via online workshops (smarter in this time of virus anyway).

I worked to a place where I’m at peace with that. Acknowledge the hurt and anger, release it instead of letting it fester, realize I can’t get what I now need, and search for it elsewhere, while still growing my practice. I leaned on my practice, especially meditation, a LOT during this entire health crisis, and it was a huge help. I didn’t miss a single day of meditation through the whole thing. No matter how I felt, I sat at least once a day, often twice. I used breathing techniques in various appointments and in the hospital to get me through stressful or painful times. It made a difference.

Then I get an email from the studio on Tuesday. I saw the sender (the owner) and thought maybe she wants to let me know they’re thinking of me and hoping my recovery is going well. Silly me! Obviously I haven’t learned as much as I thought I had from this experience.

It was an email addressing the worries about the Corona virus. Which is a good thing. Talking about policies and practices and how everyone can protect each other. Responsible and necessary.

Then, they slip in the middle of the email that they’re going to start charging a rental fee for the mats in the studio to make sure they get cleaned properly. Um, what? We clean the studio mats after we use them. They claim it’s “temporary” but you know it will simply never get rolled back. Added fees are never rolled back; a new reason is always found for them. But people are “welcome” to bring their own gear to class.

So either rent the disinfected gear or bring in your own germy mat and contaminate the space? Seriously? People bringing in their own gear is MUCH riskier than using disinfected mats in the space. Because you KNOW people aren’t cleaning their mats every time they bring them to class.

It’s a way to get more money out of the students.

The email angered me. And then I laughed. Because it reinforced my decision that this is not the place for me anymore. And that’s okay.

I can still appreciate all I’ve learned and know it’s time for new teachers and new experiences. As a teacher myself, I’m delighted when my students outgrow what I can give them and soar. I’m very proud of former writing students who are out there in the trenches writing and publishing and living the writing life.

It has not been an easy journey, navigating these emotions and realizations along with everything else going on. But it’s been important.

Let’s hope I can apply the lessons moving forward.

Tomorrow is busy in all kinds of ways, and Monday is the Intent post, so it’ll be Tuesday before we have a good natter again, and I can fill in on the low-key birthday and whatever else happens over the weekend.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and peace.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2020 at 5:57 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. March 11, 2020: Another Birthday. Who’d’a Thunk?

cake-3163117_1920
image by manfredrichter courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Waning Moon

Today is my birthday. Considering a few weeks ago, it didn’t look like I’d have another one, I’m pleased I got here.

Monday was irritating at my client’s, because people there are not taking the Corona threat seriously. The sheer arrogance and selfishness sickens me.

I seem to have gotten the issues sorted out with Tweetdeck, and I’m using it to schedule posts for both myself and one of my clients. I’m also going to expand to Hootsuite, and see how I like them. Buffer comes highly recommended, but won’t give a free trial without a credit card. Having been burned too often by companies who claim they won’t bill if you cancel before the end of the trial period, and then randomly remove whatever amount they want whenever they want,I don’t do that anymore. Should one of my clients want to put it on their company card, fine. But I’m not taking on that burden. If it winds up making sense for me to run multiple accounts for social media on a paid site, I will build it into the billing, but right now, it doesn’t.

After work, swung by Trader Joe’s for a couple of things, dropped off and picked up library books.

Started cleaning the windows from the inside when I got home. It was such a lovely, bright, mild day. I opened windows and doors, and managed to clean the windows in the living room. It’s a bit of a slog, because they are sectioned into six pieces on the top, six on the bottom. The outside storm windows need a good scrub, but that’s for a later day. Yesterday, I did the windows in my office, the back bedroom, the downstairs bathroom, and the kitchen. Today, I’ll do the windows upstairs.

Excellent writing sessions both Monday morning and Tuesday morning; hope that’s true today, too. It sets a positive tone for the day when that happens. We’re trying to figure out what to do with the Nautical Namaste series — it’s hard to promote it with people quarantined on cruise ships. And is it even ethical to promote it? An ongoing discussion.

I had a good evening yoga session on Monday night. A good hip-opening sequence. Last night, I was a little smarter about the every-other-day core work I’m working up to. I’m feeling better with the weight I’m dropping, but I need to get the fitness and the stamina up. I know it won’t be my 30-year-old self, but I want to be appropriately fit for my this-age self.

Client work was okay on Tuesday; then it was a quick trip to the library to drop off and pick up, and picking up my birthday cake.

I’m going to have a low-key day today. A client wanted to take me to lunch, but I asked to postpone it. The medication I’m on leaves me in a constant state of mild nausea, and I can’t really enjoy meals right now. So I’ll go to work, lift a glass in the afternoon, have a little cake. I’m going to do what I want, as much as possible, and enjoy the fact that I’m around to do it.

I will have to do housework today, although the big push is tomorrow, since the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment happens first thing on Friday.

Tomorrow’s post is shaping up to be a long one, where I share some of the musings and sortings-out I’ve been working on. Friday’s post will be short (and is scheduled already) because of the Annoying and Unnecessary Home Energy Assessment and the follow-up appointment with the specialist.

If the weather is nice, we might go to Truro on Saturday. We’re playing it all by ear.

Next week is all about prepping for the next surgery. I hope it’s the last one. I need to get back on track with a lot of different things.

We’re working on Charlotte’s fear of garbage trucks. I’m trying to teach her that the garbage truck goes to other houses, and only drives by, making noise. If I’m next to her when it goes by, she’s okay. If she’s on her own, she gets upset.

Tessa is thrilled with her catnip carrot and guards it from everyone else.

And so we go on.

Published in: on March 11, 2020 at 6:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Oct. 30, 2019: Prepping for Company

Wednesday,October 30, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Tired. I’m getting plenty of hours of sleep, but I don’t feel rested.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest.

Working with the cats.

My mom had a nice birthday.

Turned in my review, got paid, got the next book. I like working with this company.

Working on some article pitches. I hope to get them out tomorrow. Even though Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, and I’d much rather just hide.

Remote chat is today. I’m looking forward to it.

Then, I’m doing a final scrub of the house and making bread. My friend from NY arrives tomorrow for a couple of days. She just got back from London. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Good writing session this morning. I’m trying to balance the work on the revisions of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA along with drafting THE BARD’S LAMENT, so I don’t get behind on that or lose momentum.

One word at a time. The best I can do.

Published in: on October 30, 2019 at 5:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 30, 2019: Prepping for Company  
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Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!

cake-1776661_1920
image by Bernadette Wurzinger via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Today is my mother’s 95th birthday. She still does really well. Rides her exercise bicycle 20 minutes a day. Does her puzzles. Plays with the cats. Drives.

I am lucky to have her with me still.

Busy weekend, but, as usual lately, not in the way I expected.

The bulk of the weekend was spent on novel revisions. What wasn’t taken up in novel revisions was taken up working with the cats. Charlotte is the aggressor, most of the time. She’s picking on both Tessa and Willa. They don’t actually hit each other, but there’s lots of noise and raised paws and running. It’s much better than it was, and we go through long stretches of peaceful co-existence in the same room. Then Charlotte gets nasty, and we have to start again. The positive stretches are getting longer and longer.

It will take a few months.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got into the car to go to the yoga studio, the battery was dead. It’s close enough to I could walk down and still make it in time.

The sound bath was great, and I walked home to a good dinner of turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. Then, kitty playtime and positive socializing, and watching the SNOOP SISTERS, which I’d seen years ago when I was a kid. I get many more of the jokes now.

Tessa was with me in the night, Willa with my mom, and Charlotte in the rest of the house, which meant Charlotte was cranky on Sunday morning. But we got them settled after breakfast.

Worked on the November posts for Upbeat Authors, novel revisions, the book for review.

I read a cozy mystery, the third in a series by this particular author. While I enjoy some of the interactions between the characters, the protagonist is such an idiot, and too often a nasty piece of work, that I’m done with the series. Her romantic interest should dump her. He’s great. She’s an idiot.

I gave the series three books. I was frustrated by all three. So I’m done. Moving on.

I still have to read my friend Arlene’s newest book. But I haven’t felt as though I earned a treat lately.

Now, why don’t I just call AAA, you ask? Remember, last time my battery died, I had AAA. They were supposed to come to the house (the battery died in the garage again, thank goodness). First of all, they gave me a hard time about sending someone, because I wasn’t on the road. They told me I had to push the car out of the garage, down the driveway, to the road. I refused. When the guy finally showed up, he insisted it wasn’t the battery, but something much more complicated. He refused to change the battery. He gave me a jump and I made it to Tracy VW, where, of course — it was the battery. And I had to pay more than the service AAA promised to give me.

When I complained to AAA about it — they STILL haven’t answered. And this was in January 2015. They ignore all the correspondence. Their rates kept going up exponentially. And they refuse to come to my house, even though everyone else I know who has AAA gets house calls without a hassle.

When I had the major car repair in spring, my insurance company told me I had Roadside Assistance. So I tried to make arrangements through them for someone to give me a jump on Monday morning. Only now they’re telling me I DON’T have roadside assistance.

So there I am. With no one to help. Typical around here.

I contacted the place close by where I got my car fixed a few months ago to ask them who they could suggest. They told me to call Buckler’s Towing. They were very nice, and got me started.

I made it to the mechanic. They drove me to my client’s.

I hear back from the mechanic. Not only is the battery more than double than it was the last time they put a new one in, they came up with another $1800 worth of work they want to do on the car.

No. This attitude that every time I come in, they find thousands of dollars’ of repairs to do, and that I have tens of thousands to throw into the car, needs to stop.

I told them to just do the battery.

It should have taken a half hour. They couldn’t get it done until after 2.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment. She’d called the ride service that’s supposed to take seniors to their appointments, for a $5 donation. No one ever got back to her.

My client lent me her car — a big Audi. So I could take my mom to her appointment. By the way, the doctor said those were some of the best lab results he’s ever seen. I am to be commended for making sure she eats right.

I returned the car to my client, with effusive thanks. The mechanic came and got me. I picked up the car. It drove better after the jump start than it does now with the new battery.

Yes, I know I have to work on putting the resources together for another car, but I’d hoped to get another year or two out of this one. I love this car. It’s the first new car I ever bought myself, and I’m very attached to it.

Picked up my mother’s birthday cake and fixings for her birthday dinner.

Barely made it to meditation, but I needed it.

Dinner, finished the book for review. I turned in the review this morning, and my invoice. I’m ready for the next one.

Tessa stayed with me last night. Charlotte was cranky and aggressive with both Tessa and Willa this morning. Lots of noise. By the end of each day, we achieve peaceful co-existence, but overnight, it all falls apart. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot more to make.

With a client all day today, and then to the library, to get the work done I didn’t get done yesterday.

And to figure out the way to put together money for a new car.

At least I had a great session this morning, working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5), which releases next year.

Onward.

Published in: on October 29, 2019 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!  
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Thurs. Aug. 22, 2019: Sometimes You Have to Make the Break

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid, with incoming storms

If my father was still alive, this would have been his birthday.

Yesterday was okay. Had a decent morning’s work on GRAVE REACH before I headed to my client’s. Had a decent morning’s work on ELLA.

Got a good bit done at my client’s.

The Remote Chat was terrific. I always have such fun with that group.

Stopped at the grocery store, then went home.

Set up an interview with a potential new client near end of day next Tuesday. The company is fairly new, and their work interests me, so we’ll see what happens when we talk.

The Narcissistic Sociopath now claims to be “King of Israel” and the “Second Coming of God”? He’s insane. It’s so infuriating that no one will DO anything to hold him accountable.

Decided to end a friendship because the other person is so toxic in my life. I’ve tried to be a good friend over the years; she’s talented, and I know she’s struggling with mental health issues. But she continues to hurt, attack, stand me up, try to manipulate me all the time. I am done. Her position is that she has mental health issues and therefore can’t be held responsible for what she says or does. She needs to do what she needs to do in the moment to take care of herself, and if lashing out is what she needs to do, then she’s going to do that. She considers it my job to stand there and take it without complaint. Even when it’s behavior I have repeatedly told her is harmful to me. I agree that she has the right to do whatever she needs to. I also have the right not to be her whipping post. Not to constantly be expected to accept the poison and hurt she keeps trying to pour on me. I, too, have the right to take care of myself. We’re done. If her therapist is telling her it’s okay to commit deliberate acts of cruelty toward the people in her life, I have problems with that.

The loss of the good times and her potential and her talent will be mourned; her refusal to take any responsibility for toxic behavior will not.

Today is supposed to be brutally hot and humid, then storms that will break it. I hope that’s true.

I am focusing on my article and on GRAVE REACH today. Had an excellent morning on ELLA. The first draft of ELLA is a mess, all over the place, but I’m loving the process. I have a basic idea of the points I want to hit, but I’m not working from a detailed outline the way I often do.

It’s important to change up the process occasionally, and not get into a rut.

My hand is still bothering me. I have a few hours where I feel better, then a bunch of hours where I don’t. One day at a time, I guess.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on August 22, 2019 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 22, 2019: Sometimes You Have to Make the Break  
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Wed. March 13, 2019: Post-Birthday Recalibration

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we continue to work on our personal strategic plans.

My birthday on Monday was low-key and lovely. Birthdays can be fraught, even more than New Year’s, weighed down by all the things not achieved. I made a determined effort not to fall into that trap this year.

The greetings through various social media channels and email and mail and in person were much appreciated. I had a lovely lunch, and then went to my usual Monday meditation group, where we had a celebration, and then a quiet night with plenty of chocolate cake!

Site work with the client was a little bit more stressful than usual, and it will continue to get more so, due to the situation that started in December. The client is not listening to what I’m saying, and it all needs to be dealt with in the next few months. I want it to be weeks, but I have a feeling it will be months. Tuesday the stress continued, as it will today, which only reinforces what I already know.

The birthday blues threatened on Tuesday — since I’d held them at bay on Monday, they seemed determined to come at me stronger on Tuesday. Fortunately, what I’ve worked on in meditation and yoga this past year, and focusing on the writing, helped. Step by step, that’s all I can do. Step by step.

Was assigned two new books to review; one is downloaded and started. The other is in print and on its way. I like working with this particular organization. The quality of the books is overall pretty good, I like working with my editor. She appreciates honest reviews and doesn’t send things back to “please the client” the way the other publication last year did. A review has no integrity unless it’s honest.

I’m reading the book for the Reader Expansion Challenge. It’s a lot of fun. I will discuss it in detail next week on A Biblio Paradise.

I’ve been steadily working on contest entries.

There weren’t and won’t be any memorial services for the neighbors who died. It is, of course, up to the family. They aren’t local, and I can understand it’s difficult for them. But it leaves me feeling unsettled and without a way to contain the sadness. So I decided that, when I have the deck set up with the plants, and the yard work well under way, I will hold my own ceremony of remembrance. They were wonderful gardeners. This will allow me to process the loss while still respecting the family’s choice. Maybe I’ll invite the neighbors over to join me.

Working on the monologues. Working on the trade journal pitches. Saw that one publication to which I planned to pitch in a couple of months has filed for bankruptcy protection. I’m not particularly surprised, since they kept recycling old material all the time. They refused to have articles that grew with their readers; they kept everything at the early-career stage.

Had an awful headache on Tuesday. Made it more difficult to get anything done.

Just keeping my head down and doing the work.

 

Published in: on March 13, 2019 at 4:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 13, 2019: Post-Birthday Recalibration  
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Mon. March 11, 2019: Kindness to Self – #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, March 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
My birthday

Today is my birthday, which is always a mixed day. I want to have a happy day, but it’s hard not to beat myself up about not getting everything done in the previous year that I wished.

So, today, I have to be kind to myself.

That doesn’t mean lowering my standards or letting myself off the hook. But it means giving myself today as a personal holiday, and enjoying the day without bringing in unnecessary baggage.

Personal holidays are important. These are days that have nothing to do with anyone else’s calendar or traditional holidays. They are days you take for yourself, just because the day has meaning, and you get to do whatever you want. August 1 is one such day for me. I’m resolving to turn my birthday into another.

So, today, I resolve not to get caught up in other people’s drama. I’m just going to nod and smile and move on. I resolve not to focus on the half-empty, but the half-full.

On a practical level, I will write today. I will spend a few hours onsite with a client. Then, I’m going out to lunch, and then to meditation group, and then have a nice dinner and a quiet evening doing what I want with whom I want.

My kindness to myself.

How will you be kind to yourself this week?

 

Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors

 

Okay, when I picked myself up off the floor from this . . .

Why would today’s topic make me laugh?

For a couple of reasons. First, it was my birthday yesterday, which meant healthy eating was the last thing I worried about.

Second, because yesterday was also when we “spring forward” — and I can’t tell you how much I resent losing an hour of sleep ON MY BIRTHDAY. I take it very personally.

However, for the most part, healthy eating is more the normal part of my day than the exception. Why? Because when I eat properly for my body and my life, I feel better.

I rarely drink soda, and never “diet” soda. I eat very little junk food or processed food.

I’ve cut way back on sugar, especially refined sugar. In my baking, I’m working on substituting honey for sugar whenever possible, and then adjusting the rest of the recipe around it.

I don’t use fake sweeteners.

I do, however, drink whole milk, use real butter, etc.

I also grow as many of my own herbs and vegetables as possible. I believe in the mission that Edible Landscapes teaches, “Have your yard and eat it, too!” I currently rent, which means much of what I plant is in containers; but when I own my own place, there will be very little traditional lawn, and very much wild space and native plants — and many more vegetable beds.

I love to cook, and that helps me eat healthy, too. I read cookbooks the same way I read novels, and with the same pleasure. You might even say I “devour” them. I own many, many cookbooks — and even use most of them. I often use the recipe as a baseline, and then experiment from there.

The cookbooks I use most frequently and can’t live without are:

MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT FAVORITES
THE NEW BASICS by Julie Russo and Sheila Lukins
THE MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK by Mollie Katzen
MARCELLA CUCINA by Marcella Hazen
THE NEW ENGLAND COOKBOOK by Brooke Donny
THE WAY TO COOK by Julia Child
JULIA’S KITCHEN WISDOM by Julia Child
THE POOR POET’S COOKBOOK (I bought that for 99 cents in San Francisco in the 1980s and still love it) by Ann Rogers
BEARD ON PASTA by James Beard

I often test drive cookbooks by checking them out of the library and cooking a few recopies from them. If I like the book enough, I buy it.

Control the food, control the population. Food is a social justice issue for me as much as it is a pleasure. We have the right to access fresh, healthy food. That means we have to put people into government who do not destroy environmental protections. If the soil and water are polluted, our food will harm us instead of keeping us healthy.

If we allow corporations to use pesticides to kill bees, we won’t have food. If we allow sterile seeds to be our only source, the corporation who creates the sterile seeds can decide not only WHAT we eat, but IF we eat.

That is not acceptable to me.

Growing as much as I can keeps me connected to the process — there’s a lot of joy as well as a lot of flavor in eating something you grew. I also know that the soil is good and free of contaminants, the water I use the same.

I am still an omnivore, although more and more of my choices veer away from red meat, and, over time, over meat in general.

Cooking makes eating healthy much easier. I enjoy cooking. I don’t believe it’s “too much work” to cook for myself (although I often cook for more than myself). I believe I deserve healthy, well-prepared meals. I enjoy the process of making them. Granted, vegetarian meals tend to require a great deal of chopping, which means you need a good set of knives. But it’s worth it.

Roast chicken is easy — half an onion and lemon juice in the cavity, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper over it, 5 cups of water in the roasting pan, cover, put in an oven for 2-1/2 hours and it’s tender and delicious.

Mashed potatoes are easy, and the secret is to warm the milk before you add it to mash (and always use whole milk and real butter, along with a bit of salt and pepper).

Steamed broccoli is great with a little seasoned salt over it.

Steamed green beans get an extra kick from some lemon juice or hollandaise sauce.

Moosewood Favorites has a great eggplant stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes — the potatoes are mashed with cream cheese instead of milk and butter. There are a mix of spices in it, along with diced red peppers, carrots, and peas. The filing can be eaten on its own or used as a side dish for other food.

Dice up a few fresh tomatoes, add some cooked corn and diced onions. You’ve got a salsa that’s great with steamed fish. Add some parsley, fresh spinach, oil and balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got a salad.

Fresh herbs can brighten up even the most boring meal. And no meal needs to be boring. Experiment.

If it doesn’t work, you’ll know and try something different the next time.

I never enjoyed eating until I started to cook. Once I enjoyed cooking, tasting and eating are part of that. I used to only enjoy cooking for others. But I got tired of both the expense and the quality of eating out.

My rule of thumb when I’m in a restaurant is I only order what I wouldn’t/couldn’t make at home. As my home-cooked repertoire grows, what I order when out shrinks!

The positive part of that is it makes me try new dishes instead of ordering the same old, same old when I’m out. It also encourages me, when I like something I’ve tried in a restaurant, to figure out how to cook it at home.

Decide what foods make you feel good, not just while you’re eating, but after. What fuels your body and your spirit? If you genuinely listen to your body instead of stuffing it with empty calories, you’ll start to align with foods that are better for you and that you wind up enjoying more.

Try that this year — grow a few things you LIKE to eat. Take sensual pleasure in cooking, tasting, preparing and eating food, even if it’s for yourself.

Worry less about calorie counts and more about nutritional value, taste, and presentation.

You’ll find yourself naturally gravitating towards healthier foods.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2018 at 4:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors  
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Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and gorgeous

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had a good day. I didn’t do much. I’d hoped to do some yard work, but the weather didn’t clear up until too late in the day for me to be productive.

I ate and read and ran some errands. I worked on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC – I’ll have the first draft finished by the 15th. Then it can marinate for awhile, while I work on the play and get to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS. I’ve definitely decided to flip it with TIE-CUTTER. I’m making notes on the major changes I have to handle in the edits, to fix the big logistical problem that led to several smaller problems in the manuscript, so when I officially start edits in a month or so, I will have everything set and can dig in.  I have a working title for the new play, which is always exciting.  The right title helps focus.

Three months is really too tight a timeframe for a first draft, unless I can spent 10 or so hours a day at the desk, and am not juggling multiple projects.. Four months makes for a stronger manuscript.

I was going to bake for today’s Caroline Kepnes author event, but she’s ill and had to cancel. It’s been rescheduled for next Saturday, so I’ll bake then.

I basically just chilled out. Ate too much cake! 😉 Did a lot of yoga.

When I get home after locking up today, I’ll get back to work on the book, and do my final push tomorrow and Monday. Monday, I have to be up extra early, because I have a Marine Life Center Board meeting, but when I come home, it’ll be that final stretch so I can write “The End.” It’s so close, I can taste it!

It’s a gorgeous day outside. It’ll be too late to do yard work when I get home, but I hope I can sit outside and enjoy it a bit.

Some black locust has invaded the side front yard, in front of the dogwood. As soon as the ground is mushy enough, I’m going to have to yank all of it out, and put in wildflowers and other plants that will attract bees and butterflies.

Looking forward to spring! This winter hasn’t been bad, especially not compared to last winter, but I’m still ready for it to be over. Hate losing an hour of sleep to “spring forward” tonight, though.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on March 12, 2016 at 10:36 am  Comments Off on Sat. March 12, 2016: Post-Birthday Writing  
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Wed. Oct. 30, 2013: The Beauty of Project Bins

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We might get snow flurries today. So not ready for that!

My mom had a good birthday yesterday. Low key, but she enjoyed herself, I cooked some of her favorite things, she caught up with old friends, etc.

I worked on the project that’s manifesting. Did quite a bit of work in the project notebook, wrote about 18 pages in longhand, did some research. I’m writing my way in — I have an interesting ensemble of characters, and I have to solidify a plot, but I have to write my way into the set-up so I see which way the plot goes. One of my supporting characters, who is supposed to wait until Book 3 to be central, is pulling more focus than he should right now. He is an awesome character, but he can’t be central to every story — the central protagonists need to shift.

The work in longhand is rough sketching out of scenes, characters, and situations. As I type it up, I want to flesh it out with the historical, architectural, and sensory details that will make the piece stand out — it’s kind of Gilded Age steampunk, but set in New York, not in London.

I pulled books from my research shelves and am setting up my project bin. When I start a new project, especially one that requires research, I do something similar to what Twyla Tharp does — she has a “project box”, which she keeps intact well after the project is over. I have a “project bin”, where I put all the books, charts, maps, photographs, ephemera, and other research materials. When I’m finished, I file the research folders in the general files and put the books back on their shelves.

The advantage to having all my materials in the bin is that I have it where I need it AND if I choose to work other than home — if I have a site gig or go on a trip — I just load the bin into the back of the car and take it with me.

Did some work on the novella, and am trying to sort out scheduling of the various projects I’m juggling. Still waiting for an editing project to come in that is now ten days late, which is beyond disrespectful. I wrote a feature-length screenplay from scratch in five days, and this person can’t turn around a rewrite by the given deadline, and is already double beyond the time it took me to write from scratch? Ridiculous. Worked on some articles, got some quotes to wrap up another article.

Trying to get the rest of this year sorted out, along with early next year.

Devon

Published in: on October 30, 2013 at 7:27 am  Comments (3)  
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Tues. Oct. 29, 2013: Developmental Process

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Happy 89th birthday to my mom! She’s doing pretty well.

Today is also the year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. We were lucky here; didn’t hit us too hard. The Nor’easter the following week was much worse.

I was spectacularly unproductive yesterday, although I managed to print out VISCERAL INVISIBLES and put it away to marinate for two weeks. Revision start Nov. 11.

I just couldn’t focus on anything. I could feel another idea formulating, but it was just out of my grasp. By the end of the day, I had a wonderful ensemble of characters, and I was in search of a plot. This ensemble is part of a series, so I’m sorting out book-specific arcs from character arcs that overreach several books. I’m calling it Gilded Age Steampunk, but I’m not sure if that’s what it’s going to stay.

Couldn’t find what I needed researching the internet, then realized I’ve written in that era before and have a whole bookcase full of research materials. Made much more sense to use the hard copies. This is why I keep all my research books — I wind up using them for years.

I’m going to have to write my way a few chapters in before I know what I’ve got, and one of the supporting characters in the beginning (who is supposed to move to a more central position on Book 3) is turning out to be one of the strongest characters in the piece.

And then I have to figure out how to slot it in with everything else that I’m juggling.

But it’s not a bad problem to have.

Devon

Published in: on October 29, 2013 at 7:10 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and chilly

Well, my birthday seemed pretty insignificant in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I spent a good portion of the day watching the coverage.

Thank you for all the good wishes via email, on the blog, Twitter, cards, etc. It’s lovely to receive the good thoughts!

Deciding what I want to do on my birthday is always a challenge. When I lived in NY, the big, fun thing to do was to come to the Cape. Now I LIVE on the Cape! There was talk of going to Maine or New Hampshire, but the weather’s been so awful, we didn’t want to travel.

Went out to lunch at a place I’ve wanted to try in Sandwich for years, but never got around to trying. It was good, but not great, and I expected great, from its reputation. There are plenty of restaurants in the area that can give NY restaurants a run for the money — this isn’t one of them. But, at least I tried it, and there was nothing wrong with it, it was adequate.

Picked up the cake on the way home (many layers of chocolate with chocolate buttercream frosting) and enjoyed that. (No, I didn’t eat the whole thing, just a piece).

Read the Kay Thompson bio in the evening, which is interesting, and, if I come across it on one of my book-buying trips, I should probably add it to the research shelf for its information on working under the studio system and the early days of Vegas, both of which are settings for projects of mine, and may be settings for future projects.

It poured with rain all day, so, other than lunch, I stayed tucked in and cozy at home, which was perfectly lovely.

Since I took yesterday off, I’m back at it today — writing, commenting on student work (they have a deadline today), working on the play, working on the board for the Tele-seminar. The next two weeks, up until the moment the seminar is scheduled to start, have gotten insanely busy, especially the second half of this week, so I want to make sure I’m well-organized and don’t procrastinate on anything. The more that’s in place ahead of time, the smoother everything can run.

If it stays sunny, I might take a walk later today, too, and maybe clean up the yard a bit.

Speaking of the yard, the first crocus photo on the property is up at Gratitude and Growth.

Devon

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 7:44 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy

Today’s my birthday, so I’ll be offline most of the day. I’ve got Fun Stuff to do! 😉

Yesterday was busy — spent time on the workshop, got some great work done on the play, had to do some research for the play (why do I insist on writing about lost civilizations and lost languages all the time, and then I have to go find them?), and working on the landing page for the seminar.

Web Design is not my forte, and, of course, because I could design a pretty nifty page on iWeb, I couldn’t upload it to my host. So I deleted one of my sub-domains (which needs revamping anyway) and used the host’s site builder to create a simple landing page. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but all the info is there. It wasn’t too much of a gut-wrenching nightmare, actually. It even let me cut-and-paste (usually I have to hand-enter every keystroke). It didn’t let me do everything of course, and I’m not particularly quick, but it’s done, and now we can tweak it over the next few days and jazz it up a bit, and then promote it. I also started setting up the conference board, but then hit the point where I couldn’t think straight any more. I’ll have to go back to it tomorrow.

I even spent some time cleaning up the fallen branches in the front yard, and, lo and behold, as I hauled them to the back to pile ‘em up, I found crocuses valiantly peeking up and around the rose bushes on the side of the house.

But that’s a post for tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth! 😉

The next assignment has come in from Confidential Job #1, and I will start tackling that this weekend.

I’m reading a biography of Kay Thompson — I didn’t realize she had a long career in radio and in Hollywood as a singer and musical arranger before she wrote the Eloise books! Very interesting to see how radio worked in the thirties, forties, fifties, etc.

Last night’s kundalini yoga kicked my ass, but it sure helped my hip! 😉 This morning’s session was pretty good, too.

Tomorrow, it’s back to commenting on student work, setting up the conference, and working on my deadlined material, but today is all mine!

Devon

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (10)  
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