Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!

summer-2951887_1920
image courtesy of Nanou22 via http://www.pixabay.com

Friday, June 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice/Midsummer
Rainy and cool

Four planets in retrograde, with Mercury getting ready to join them in early July. Time to take the time for clarifications on multiple levels.

Blessed Summer Solstice! This is MID-summer, not the “first day of summer” as is so often erroneously cited.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I finally have the post up about the play I read for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Yesterday, I was up early, and on the bus to Boston. Even though it’s about a two hour trip, especially in traffic, since I’m not driving, I don’t mind. I managed my first 1K of the day on the bus by the time we hit Plymouth.

Traffic was bad from Hingham all the way up to Boston, but we were only five minutes behind schedule, and I was still very early for my meeting.

I enjoy South Station enormously. As I walked down the platform, from the bus terminal to the train terminal, the Acela from Boston to Washington was boarding, and they called out the name of my old hometown (Rye) as one of the stops. For some reason, that just tickled me.

It had started to rain quite heavily. It wasn’t a long walk from South Station to the meeting on Tremont Street — just up Summer Street, then Winter Street, then turn left on Tremont. About ten minutes, past stores and restaurants. But I was pretty soaked by the time I got there. I was early, and waited in the conference room, trying to keep the dripping in one place.

The meeting was short and went well. We’ll see. Either I’m what they’re looking for, or I’m not. I suspect they want to go with someone younger and with ad agency experience. And, of course, in the back of my mind I’m saying, “I had to make a four hour round trip for a half hour meeting?”

But I wanted to take advantage of being in Boston.

Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out for me to get to the MFA and research in their library.

But the rain had lessened to a drizzle by the time I left. I walked back toward the Station. I got my New York City smarts back the second I’d left the bus, so the grifters looking to hit on the tourists scattered the minute they spotted me. Don’t even, people, I lived a block from Times Square.

There was a green market on the plaza opposite the station. Small, but good quality. But I forgot all that when I saw there was a Vietnamese food truck. Bon Me. I haven’t had Vietnamese food since I moved to the Cape, and it’s my favorite of all the Asian cuisines.

I was enchanted by the choices and stood to one side, taking my time to make my choice, without getting in the way of people ordering. I decided on the Namesake sandwich (a banh my, from which the truck’s name is derived) and an Iced Vietnamese coffee. I adore Vietnamese coffee — didn’t even know one could get it iced.

Those of us who waited under the shelter of the awning (it started pouring again), laughed and chatted. It was so nice to be within a diverse group of people. I didn’t pay attention to it when I lived in New York, because it was a fact of life. But on Cape, it’s homogeneous, and not in a good way. So it was nice to be around a different group of people who were smart and funny and looking forward to their lunch.

I took my meal in to the station and sat at one of the high tables in the food area, enjoying it immensely and eavesdropping on various conversations, as writers do. I mentioned, at one point, that this was the second best sandwich I ever had. That meant that other people at the table wanted to know what was the best, which was the first muffaletta I ever had from Central Grocery in New Orleans.

I stopped at Au Bon Pain to get some chocolate croissants, and headed back down the train platform to the bus terminal and to the bus. I’d missed the previous bus by about five minutes, which is why I decided I could indulge in lunch. Although, once I spotted Bon Me, I would have happily missed the bus on purpose.

The bus I wanted didn’t show up; word was that it was cancelled. But then it showed up late, and took the first ten of us (all that could fit). Traffic was bad and it was raining. I settled back in the seat with my book to enjoy the ride.

An aging Southern Belle was on the bus, on her way to visit friends on Nantucket. She did that helpless thing that absolutely drives me nuts, to get the men to jump to her tune and help her, instead of just asking for someone to help. Then, when the bus hit the brakes because some stupid car from New Jersey cut in front, made an abrupt stop, and then gunned the engine and took off, she claimed she hit her face on the safety bar (she was in the front seat). She was moaning and carrying on how she needed ice and would have a black eye and scrambled to put on her oversized sunglasses.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Let me see.” I took a look and told her (in all truth), “Sweetie, your foundation’s not even smudged. It’s not going to get red, much less swollen or a black eye.”

She wasn’t pleased, because then she had to shut the hell up.

I didn’t make it home in time to get to the yoga class my friend was covering. But I made Moosewood’s “Best Chili” and cornbread for dinner, and it was darn good.

Today, I’m doing some remote work for a client and getting out some pitches. I have some errands to run (because we can’t run out of toilet paper, you know), and then I’m headed over to Old King’s Coffeehouse, which just opened up on the Hyannis/Yarmouth line. I’m looking forward to trying them.

It’s pouring with rain, so I might move some of my other errands to tomorrow. I’ll play most of the day by ear.

Have a lovely weekend! It’s supposed to be sunny and gorgeous here, so I’m going to alternate writing and working in the garden.

Published in: on June 21, 2019 at 8:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!  
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Tues. Dec. 18, 2018: Trying to Get it Done by . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

It was a busy weekend.

Ran around Friday, trying to get everything done earlier rather than later. Did not get enough writing done. I’m frustrated with myself.

Had a lovely grown-up evening in Boston with a friend — dinner out, concert at Symphony Hall, champagne bar, after-concert brandies at a cool, nearby bar. It was nice to dress up and go out, although it was odd to have tables and dining in a symphony hall, as far as I was concerned. A little too dinner theatre for me. We weren’t at a table; we were up in a box, which was much more to my liking.

Saturday morning, I made stollen from scratch. Stollen is a big deal tradition in our family. One used to get really good ones from Karl Ehmer, on the upper East side of NYC. Then, they went out of business, and it was a scramble, but one could usually find a decent kind.

Not lately. I swear, they’re made in February and left to get stale. They’re overpriced, undersized, and taste like cardboard dusted with powdered sugar.

So I decided to make the traditional Dresden stollen from scratch.

It took 8 hours. I started a little before 8 AM, and it was a little after 4 PM when it was done. It’s a long, involved, arduous process. But, I wound up with three stollen about three pounds each, and they’re really, really good. Wouldn’t do it more than once a year, though.

Also made beef stew, which turned out really well.

I’m thinking about reviving the cooking blog next year, but worried it’s too big a commitment.

Got a couple of thousand words written on THE LINGERIE TRAIL in and around the baking.

Sunday, I was wiped out. I had a hard time getting anything done. Got a little writing done. Had my phone off for most of the day, which was a relief.

Got up most of the interior lights. Still have to do the ones in my writing room. Put up the small tree in the writing room, with the blue and silver ornaments and the pearl garland. Got some of the other garlands up, and the nutcrackers out, and the boxes put away.

When I unpacked the little holiday stuffed animals, we discovered that someone had burrowed into the box through the handle and hidden acorns there over the summer and fall. Not sure if it was a squirrel or a chipmunk. They didn’t hurt the stuffed animals at all, just hid the acorns in the bottom of the box.

So everything had to be cleaned, and the box tossed. I put the acorns back outside. I felt guilty, but how did they get into the Christmas closet in the first place?

Monday was onsite with a client (the next few months will be, shall we say, challenging, to be nice about it). Then wrote up a cheat sheet to help a Twitter pal set up a blog on WP.

Then, a friend delivered a rug we’re inheriting. Not that I can put it anywhere until the holiday decorations come down.

Then, it was about running around delivering more cooking platters.

Tired much?

Today is about being onsite with one client, then doing some other work at a different location, and then delivering more platters.

I will be glad when it’s 4 PM on Wednesday. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this week.

 

Published in: on December 18, 2018 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 18, 2018: Trying to Get it Done by . . .  
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Tues. March 13, 2018: And Another Storm

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Waning Moon

We’re set to have another snowstorm today. Boston might get up to 18″ of snow.

My mother isn’t feeling well, so that’s a worry, especially in bad weather.

Speaking of Boston, that’s where we spent Saturday. Up early, on the bus into South Station, a cab to the MFA — which cost a lot of money. It would take three different trains on the T, but I’m thinking we should have done that instead. Not happy about the cab costs.

Anyway, we met some friends and wandered around the MFA, and saw exhibits including Jewelry Revival, Musical Instruments, Phantasmagoria (which I can use in upcoming books), Regency furniture, Klimt, Escher, Monet, and some of the Dutch and Flemish painters. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was for good art.

When I lived in NYC, I was a regular at the Met, and often visited the MOMA and the Guggeneheim; less often the Whitney and the Frick. Not to mention popping in to gallery openings here and there. I miss the access to wonderful artists. Yes, there are artists here, and some of them are quite good; but not on the scale of artists whose work has been around for decades or hundreds of years with good reason.

Originally, we were going to have lunch at the museum; however, I wasn’t thrilled with any of the choices. The most expensive restaurant’s choices were too much for a light lunch. New American Cafe was a loud, overpriced cafeteria with poor acoustics and screaming children. Taste looked like it accumulated Starbucks’ leftovers. The Garden was, again, full of screaming children. No. Just no.

Hey, great there are so many kids, get ’em hooked on art when they’re young. But there was no way I was going to have my meal disrupted by them.

So we skipped lunch.

We headed back on the bus in the afternoon, and had Chinese take-out with a nice wine. Much more satisfying, all around.

Sunday was my actual birthday. It was lovely to have so many warm wishes flying across the internet. I felt really special.

It was a day for prosecco, good food, chocolate, and relaxation. There were plenty of things I should have done, it being a nice day and a day off. But I didn’t. I took the time off.

Of course, I was a big groggy and cranky from “jump ahead.” I HATE jumping ahead for daylight savings time, and resent it when it’s on my birthday. I prefer jumping back in fall, and gaining an hour.

So Sunday felt very short, and I felt I couldn’t get much done.

I cooked a lot — a potato, egg, and andouille salad for this week’s lunch, and a huge pan of lasagna for dinner. Both turned out very well. Yes, I cooked on my birthday and enjoyed it!

I took the weekend off writing, for the most part. In spite of being on deadline. I needed the break. I did, however, jot down some notes for some ideas that started percolating. One idea, in particular, is being very insistent. But the notes are down, and it will have to wait its turn. The characters are arguing about their names — I will probably change them. Because they know what their names are, and if I impose them, it won’t work.

Monday, was back to work, writing. I’m so close to the end of REPOSITORY I can taste it. I can’t wait to get it off my desk and on my editor’s desk.

Fearless Ink, the business website, is up and live. Part of it is a new, business-oriented blog called Ink-Dipped Advice, that will premiere tomorrow and run on Wednesdays, talking about my odd way of approaching business writing, how I meld it with my fiction, and why it works for me. Doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, but it works for me. I hope you will check it out. I hope you will become a regular reader.

We’ll see what the storm does. If I’m not online tomorrow, it’s due to the storm. I will be late on Thursday, because my mother has medical appointments.

Have a great week!

Published in: on March 13, 2018 at 6:55 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 13, 2018: And Another Storm  
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Fri. March 7, 2014: Details About the Adventures in Boston

Friday, March 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop over to Adventures in Vineland to see what’s going on with the latest wine experiment.

Yesterday was exhausting, but really fun.

I didn’t sleep much, and woke up just before the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. Yoga, meditation, a little writing, breakfast, getting interview ready (I REALLY hate to be in full hair and make-up by 6 AM — it feels weird). Had to wear SHOES all day. I don’t wear shoes working at home; I’m barefoot until I leave the house, so wearing shoes always feels weird. Even though I have a lot of cute shoes.

Out the door by 6:15. Drove to Kingston train station. I had to buy a train ticket. MBTA had answered my email and told me I could buy it at a place called Coffee, T, and Thee. According to Google Maps, it was smack dab in the center of the road leading to the station. I figured it was a cart or something.

It wasn’t, of course. It’s a building at the end of the train platform. I bought my ticket, got change for the parking, and had to ask someone how to pay for parking. You learn the number for your space, and then you stick your $4 one-dollar bills in the slot for that space — looks like a set of metal mailboxes in an old apartment building. The guy at the coffee shop told me to make sure I folded the bills a certain way and put them in one at a time, or they wouldn’t fit. I started doing it, and the train came in. I couldn’t get the bills in and figured the train would leave without me and I’d have to wait a half hour in the cold for the next one.

The conductor said, “Don’t worry, take a breath, we’re not leavin’ without you!”

I took a breath, someone showed me how to use the can-opener-like device attached the the mailboxes with a cord to shove the money in, and I hopped on the train. All good.

What can I say? I’m used to the hateful Metro North New Haven line, where the train people will watch you run down the platform, then slam the door and pull out just as you reach it.

Thank you, kind people at the Kingston train station!

The train was awesome! The cars are old-style, like the ones we had in NY in the 60s and 70s, but very comfortable, double-decker cars, and the trains run efficiently. The conductors are really nice. The announcements are clear.

I find trains soothing. The ride in was great. It amazes me how it’s three times the distance I had to travel from my mom’s outside of NYC into NYC, but is the same price AND takes less time. That’s because Boston’s commuter rail is far more efficient than Metro North.

South Station is TEENY. Yet it’s more confusing than either Grand Central or Penn. I took out my Google map for the first interview. After about ten minutes of walking in the brutal cold, I was pretty sure the damn map was wrong (again) and I was mad. I went back to South Station to ask at the Information desk, and that was useless.

“That way” is not an answer. Especially not when “that way” encompasses three exits leading to different streets.

No kiosk or display with street maps or any relevant information. The one kiosk with tourist information had information on . . .wait for it . . .Vermont.

WTF??????

By sheer chance, I found the right street, and headed down to the first appointment. I was still an hour early. My appointment was pleased, since her day was packed, and it worked out well to see me early. We had a really nice chat and discussed a variety of possibilities. I filled out yards of paperwork, and then it was off to my next appointment.

Fortunately, the map was more correct for that one, although I later found out it took me the longest and most circuitous route possible.

I got to walk through Chinatown — small, but what a sigh of relief. I now know where to go when I need specific supplies that I can’t get on Cape. Wherever I’ve lived in the country, I’ve lived near a Chinatown until I moved to the Cape. I miss it.

Chinatown led to the start of Boylston Street, and my appointment was waaaaay down the street. Well, it wasn’t that far, just a couple of miles. If it hadn’t been so cold, it would have been a great walk, especially since it’s past the Boston Commons/Public Gardens. And next to Emerson College’s theatre is a cool little alley with an iron-front gate with the comedy/tragedy masks and interesting-looking bits inside.

I was far too early for my second appointment — but it was only a block from Copley Square, which meant the Boston Public Library. I went in and the lovely lady set up my Sandwich Library card so I can use it in the BPL System. I’m excited — I now have access to the BPL System, the Old Colony network, and the CLAMS network. Talk about feeling rich!

The circulating portion of the library was too noisy, so I went up to the older building, the one that’s very similar to NYPL on 42nd St./Fifth Avenue, and set up in one of the reading rooms to do some work (because yes, I always bring work with me). I had a solid hour to work in the library, which was delightful.

Headed back to my next appointment. There were a couple of things that set of warning bells at first, but the person with whom I had the appointment, and the department in which it was in were terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When the appointment was done, I headed back towards South Station, first on Boylston Street, but then, instead of the weird zigzag the Google map had me do getting there, I cut through the theatre district. First of all, it was my type of area — theatres, I felt right at home. Second, it was a faster and more efficient way to get to the station.

I hit South Station in time to catch the train I wanted. Stopped at The Well for a really good coffee and Rosie’s bakery for a nice cookie — I’d eaten breakfast at 5:30 and hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch. If the weather was more temperate, I would have packed a few other things in.

Rode the top level of the double decker back, which was fun. I was just as excited as the five year old riding with his Grandma.

Got back to Kingston, headed back over the bridge. Stopped at Market Basket to pick up a few things, and home. Pizza for dinner.

Now that the psychological barrier’s been broken to get into Boston, I’ll be able to get in and out more efficiently and more often. That’s where the money jobs and several other good opportunities are, and I need to be able to take advantage of them. The bus would pick me up/drop me off faster, but it’s both more expensive than the train AND there’s the chance I’d be stuck in traffic, which, on days where I have rehearsal, is not an option.

Went to bed really early last night. My legs hurt from walking on concrete all day – not used to it. But I liked walking around, and will like it even more when the weather is better.

Now, I have a lot to catch up on and prep for the weekend. Back to the page! Have a great weekend.

Devon

Saturday, January 1, 2011 — Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and mild

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope this year brings us all an abundance of health, joy, and the stamina to make our dreams come true.

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog so you can see how I’ve retooled my wishes for the coming year. And hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read my “Wish for the Garden.”

I’ve put together my To-Do list for January (daily to-do lists get in my way, but a monthly helps keep me on track). In addition to all the short turnaround, quick-pay jobs to make sure I stay on top of bills, and waiting to hear from my editor so I can actually do the edits on the book that’s slated for July release and all the new ideas that are pulling at me, I want to finish stuff and get it out.

I have way too much of a back log. Some of it is work that’s finished, polished, and is either waiting to go out, or came back and needs another look before it heads out again. I have one novel out on the submission process (it should be a lot more than that). I have a series that needs to change publishers, which means retooling that and rethinking the overall arc of the series. I have to make sure the second book is ready to go when the first book launches for a particular publisher, and I’ve only done a single chapter (I’d hoped to have a whole draft done by today). I have a great opportunity to do a YA book for a contest, provided I set it in one of my favorite places in the world, and I don’t want to drop the ball on that.

And then there’s ANGEL HUNT. It started as a series several years ago, evolved into a novel when the publisher went belly up, and I did some major reworking over the last two years. It moved from occult to paranormal to urban fantasy. The problem is that, when I work on it, I’m completely consumed and obsessed by it, and nothing else gets done. What I have to do is carve out that patch of time so I can obsess about it, finish the new ending, rewrite the query, and start getting it out there. I think about it constantly, but I haven’t done any actual physical work on it in months.

That has to change.

Because I’m so obsessed with it, there’s an element of fear involved in actually getting it finished and out the door. Not because I’m worried about rejection — either it gets rejected or it doesn’t, until I find the match, big whoop — but because I don’t want to let go of it and not obsess about it anymore.

I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but there are times when a writer’s psyche doesn’t make sense.

What I need to do with this book is get out of my own way, give it the finish it deserves, and get it out the door so it can live its life.

I know what I have to do; now it’s just about the doing.

The owner stopped by to give me a choice of fire extinguishers. He wants to make sure we have no more emergencies and is trying to think of every possibility. I actually have a pair of extinguishers I brought up in the move, but I don’t know if they’re still good — might be too old.

Repairman showed up and put in the new hose. In and out in ten minutes. Fingers crossed it actually works!

Still getting the annoying texts. Verizon is bound and determined to extort more money out of me. Guess it’s time to file a formal complaint. And now I start billing both Verizon and the point of origin of the annoying texts. Although, I tried a little something-something and managed to get a confirmation that the texts would stop. So far, so good. No thanks to Verizon!

Off to Harwich for the rocking chair. I got lost — because the owner gave me the wrong directions. I kind of don’t understand how you don’t know where you’ve lived for 30 years, but whatever; he realized it, we connected, he gave me directions to a Dunkin Donuts, from where I followed him to the house. It’s a lovely house overlooking a lake with two lovely rescued dachshunds. Of course, I had to play with them for awhile.

The rocking chair is gorgeous, the proper money changed hands, it fit into the VW, and off I came home, stopping on the way to pick up a few things at the store.

Once I got the chair situated, I did my hair, scrubbed the bathrooms, washed the floors, and vacuumed the whole house. Can’t go into a New Year with last year’s dirt on any level, now can we?

Got up some of the first lectures for both workshops — I’m doing some rewriting on the Plum ones, so the first of those will go up later today, although the Welcome is up.

Cooked salmon fillets in a cumin glaze for supper, played with the cats, enjoyed seeing out the old year quietly with a glass of champagne. Just before midnight, opened the back door to let the old year out; just after the midnight toast, opened the front door to welcome to the New Year, and, much to my surprised, get first-footed! Don’t know who the lovely dark-haired gentleman was, but it was much appreciated.

Times Square looked like an even worse zoo than usual, and I was glad to be away from New York. The celebration in Boston looked like a ton of fun, though — lots of creative performances by people and local groups, kinetic artwork and ice sculpture, not just bringing in a bunch of wanna-be and/or washed up pop stars like they do now in Times Square.

Well, it was quiet until the drunken dumbasses around the corner set off fireworks next to their garage, which is directly opposite my front window and doors. They weren’t the pretty kind that do anything — basically, it was just canisters of blasting powder that made a big noise. The first time it went off, I thought one of the houses on the street had exploded. But it was just the drunken jerks. I may not have kept up my pyro license from my special effects days, but at least I’m properly trained. They keep machinery filled with gasoline and cans of gas in that garage — how stupid do you have to be to set off explosives next to it? The ground is all black over there this morning.

It was nearly 2 AM before the bayberry candle “burned to the sprocket” for prosperity in the year –even though I’d started it at 4 PM! We were at the point where I sat on the couch with Iris on one side and Violet on the other and just stared at it, willing it to burn down!

Up early, great yoga and meditation session, lovely Greeting-the-Dawn New Year’s Day ritual, good first writing session. How goeth the writing goeth the year, and I don’t like to take New Year’s Day off from writing, although I sometimes take off other holidays.

Packed to drive my mom to CT and then pick up Costume Imp. Still not organized enough for the party, but that’ll happen.

The Christmas Cactus is in full bloom. When I bought it, I thought the blossoms would white, but they’re actually a very pale pink.

Will watch the Tournament of Roses parade this morning, cook a lot, eat a lot, play with the cats, do some more last minute tidying up for Costume Imp’s visit, polish the Plum lectures one final time.

And the New Year starts!

Happy New Year, all!

Devon