Mon. April 2, 2018: Relaxation #UpbeatAuthors

Mon. April 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Relaxation is important for us to keep healthy, both mentally and physically, especially during retrogrades. Mercury Retrograde is always a mess, with communication, travel, and electronics going wonky, Jupiter is a heavy planet, and planet of expansion, so when it goes retrograde, everything is harder. Plus, we have a Pluto retrograde coming up.

I find the most important part of relaxation is disconnecting. Turn the damn phone off. This idea that we have to be reachable 24/7 is ridiculous. There is always a way you can be reached in an emergency, even if your phone is off. Cell phones are a fairly recent invention.

I try to have one day a week that’s a “day of disconnect.” No internet, no phone, no social media. I loathe the phone anyway. I find it an intrusive device that destroys my creativity. In the days pre-cell phone, I had an answering machine and screened my calls. There were plenty of time, during my writing times, when I unplugged the phone.

When I am writing, as far as I’m concerned, the only acceptable excuse for interruption is a major emergency such as death or hospitalized illness. Anything other than that, wait until I’m done.

Where I live now, on Cape Cod, is a beautiful place. But, in summer, when so many other people come here to enjoy the beauty, it’s stressful. I’m lucky to have a big backyard (currently in need to post-storm cleanup) and a covered deck with beautiful skylights. Every spring, we build an enchanted garden on the deck, full of our container plants, and we have lilacs and beds of beautiful plants throughout. We eat as many meals as possible out there, and I do a great deal of writing.

If I’m working in my home office, I stop and have a glass of wine before dinner, out on the deck. Or a cocktail, in summer (we’ve reinstated cocktail hour here). I do the same when I get home from working on-site with a client. I even did it last week, after an afternoon of yard work! I poured myself a glass of wine and sat on the steps (since the furniture isn’t out yet; it’s still too cold).

For me, a glass of wine in my garden is one of the most relaxing and restorative things I can do.

I have a daily yoga and meditation practice, and that’s the other way I relax. Savasana is important. When you practice yoga, don’t skip Savasana!

In my yoga/cruise ship mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA, Sophie, my protagonist, doesn’t let her students leave class early to skip the pose! It’s a wonderful way to release and restore.

Relaxation allows you to appreciate the good things in your life, and paves the way for happiness.

So take some time for yourself, and relax!

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Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors

 

Wow. That’s a more complicated topic than it should be.

If you’d asked me about a place that gives me peace when I lived in New York City, I would have said the place that gives me peace was Cape Cod. When I couldn’t get to Cape Cod, I went to the Hall of Gems at the Museum of Natural History where it was dark, and, in between tour groups, quiet. I have no idea what it will be once they finish renovations. Probably light and loud.

I moved to Cape Cod in 2010 because it was the place that gives me peace, and that’s what I wanted for my writing.

Of course, living somewhere is different than visiting.

Sometimes I feel peaceful here; more and more often, I do not.

I love walking on the beaches off-season. Race Point in Provincetown has been a favorite of mine since I was six years old. Craigville Beach, close to where I live now, is where I often nip down for a quick hour or two in nice weather. I love the nature sanctuaries, especially Long Pasture and Ashumet, with all the holly trees.

I love my back deck, which is covered, with skylights, and, in summer, I turn it into an enchanted garden. When the Summer People invade, I don’t have to go out; I can escape to my back deck and enjoy myself, whether I’m reading, writing, or just being.

My meditation space, in my current bedroom (which is larger than my first NYC apartment), gives me peace. Every morning and most nights, I “just sit” in my practice, preparing for or letting go of, the day.

I find peace in my yoga practice, be it at the studio or at home. I used to find it at Kripalu, until they stopped enforcing their no cell phone policy and people started using their phones everywhere, including the Silent Dining Room.

I find that I need to seek peace multiple times a day, since so many people can’t stand quiet (because they might have to face who they really are, and it terrifies them). Because they can’t stand to face quiet themselves, they are determined to destroy it for those around them.

So I’ve built places and spaces, some within my own imagination, to find peace.

I have an inner place to find peace, one I’ve constructed inside of my imagination, one to which I can retreat whenever I want or need to. I won’t describe it here; that will destroy it for me. But it means I can take my “place where I find peace” with me wherever I go.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm  Comments Off on Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors  
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Tues. Feb. 14, 2017: We Vote So We’ll Be Left Alone

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Please know that each of you is valued.

When you live on Cape Cod, your life revolves around the weather no matter what else is going on in the world.

So it was this weekend. We had some storms come through, although not as bad for us as predicted. The family in Maine got about two more feet of snow dumped on them, with more on the way.

But I stayed in, wrote A LOT (I think nearly 70 pages in total), researched the Italian Renaissance, studied Constitutional Law. On Sunday, I had to drive to a designated site to take the quiz. It was not a space conducive to concentration. I did reasonably well on the quiz — two questions wrong. But, for my own standards, getting any wrong is not okay, so I’m frustrated with myself. But when you’re on a timed site and people keep coming up and talking to you, demanding you drop what you’re doing to take care of them — even though it’s not your job, and you’re just there as a fellow patron — even if you say, “I can’t talk, I’m on a timed site”, it breaks the concentration needed to be successful on the material. However, there’s no room for excuses. It was what it was, and I’ll just have to do better next time, no matter what the distractions.

Add to that snow shoveling and power fluctuations, and I’m a little tired.

Add to that the work I’ve been doing with my elected officials, and I’m even more tired.

So, General Flynn apologized and resigned, and now we’re supposed to forget. Um, no. There’s no way he behaved in a vacuum. He knowingly took actions that sabotaged a sitting president and put the country at risk, and I believe he did so with the full knowledge and encouragement of the incoming president. That is not okay.

There needs to be a full and independent investigation, not just of this portion of it, but of the interconnections. Treason is going on. Not a mistake, not jumping the gun — treason.

Every Senator who agreed to the rushed confirmation and voted for this guy needs to apologize to the American people (with additional apologies to their own constituencies) and cooperate in the investigation. I believe that the investigation will find that some of them colluded and others were complicit in their silence. It needs to be untangled.

Supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath now want David Patreus to take over. Someone who’d have to get permission from his parole officer to travel. Someone who shared confidential security information with his mistress. Just because she was also American doesn’t make it okay.

Anyone who is nominated must be thoroughly vetted BEFORE confirmation. No more of this rushing. The GOP needs to stop ramming both the unqualified and the corrupt down our throats.

Any Senator who continues so to do must be removed as soon as is possible, be it in the next election, or because that individual, too, is discovered to have committed treason.

Treason is not “disagreeing” with the government, or protesting. It is knowingly and willingly working to undermine it, which the GOP has been doing since 2008. It has to stop. Their oath is to Constitution (meaning “We the People”), not party. Anyone who does otherwise has to go.

That’s why, in all this discussion about flipping districts, I’m not blindly supporting someone just because there’s a “D” next to the name. The individual needs to be researched. If I don’t think a candidate is ethical or able to stand up for beliefs, that candidate is not getting my support, no matter what the letter next to the name. Blue Dog Dems need to go — there’s no reason to have someone in there with a “D” next to the name if they’re going to vote blindly Republican instead of Democrat, or at least standing as an individual. The party platforms are now far enough apart so that if you support one or the other, that’s the party you sign with. If you don’t believe in healthcare or Medicare or Social Security, then don’t run as a Democrat. Putting someone in to a slot just to get enough letters in a particular column doesn’t do any good if they disagree with the policies that got them into office in the first place. You can be bipartisan without betraying either party or country. It sounds contradictory — support your party, but don’t be afraid to stand up to them. Some would say that’s what Blue Dogs do. It’s the “why” that needs to be dissected.

It’s great when there are issues that can be bipartisan — let’s hope the Flynn/Russia interference with elections investigation is one of them, and that there can be more. The point of bipartisan is that you’ve reached a consensus that works IN A POSITIVE WAY for the largest number of people possible. You don’t diminish the greater good; you add to it. And yes, you put your constituency and country AND YOUR OATH TO THE CONSTITUTION before your party. But not out of a fear of not being re-elected; out of a belief that what you are doing is right FOR THE PEOPLE you represent. FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS. When you’re getting thousands of calls from your constituency telling you to vote against something and you vote for it because it’s the party line — you need to go. You don’t vote the way companies or special interests want, just because they bribed you, as our Secretary of Education did. Call it “donation” all you want — that chick bought her position and is woefully unqualified for it.

Again, I think we need more than two legitimate parties. Not fringe, foil-hatted parties. But genuine parties with clearly defined positions on a variety of issues. Right now, the bigoted racist misogynists have hijacked the GOP. Let them have their own party, and the GOP can go back to being the party of Lincoln. The Democrats are a hot mess, it’s worse than herding cats, because at least cats have common sense. The DNC is trying to appeal to everyone, and therefore only succeeds at pleasing no one. The party, in general, is just right of center, when it needs to break up to be slightly left of center and far left.

The far reaches of each party need to balance each other. Most of us vote because we want someone to represent our point of view so that we can live our lives and not bother with every bill and worry about every decision and every vote. We want to be left the hell alone to live our lives. There’s a need for extreme on both the left and the right, so there’s compromise in the middle that does the least damage. The most good is rarely done — the past couple of decades it’s been about the least damage. Most of us will live with that — win a few, lose a few, don’t take away my earned benefits or mess with my personal, bodily rights. Go do your jobs and leave me alone to live my life.

Unfortunately, that is not possible right now. The GOP is not only violating the Constitution and supporting the Narcissist in his daily dismantling of it, the GOP is actively interfering in my daily life.

The party that claims to want SMALLER government is determined to regulate women’s bodies, decide who one can love and marry, decide who is allowed to use a toilet, diminish education, force religion into schools and onto people who don’t believe in it, deny others rights because of their religion, take away food safety standards, allow polluters to destroy the earth, encourage the collapse of the ice shelves that will drown a good percentage of the population, sell off our natural resources to special interests who will build condos no one can afford anyway, force the elderly into poverty, force wages down so that people can never climb out of poverty (don’t you fucking say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when most people live paycheck to paycheck while the top executives WHO DO NOTHING line their pockets will millions). All of this is being LEGISLATED by the party who claims to want SMALLER government. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

My fellow artists and I want nothing more than to be able to go back to creating full time and not worrying about all the rest, but we take our responsibilities as citizens very seriously. We will keep working against corruption, and to move through the current dystopia to the best possible lives for people, where they have individual freedoms, while also respecting others. We will not shut up. We’re not stupid because we work in the arts. One of the things I’ve learned, since I moved away from an art-centric culture, is how much SMARTER people who make their living in the arts are, in most cases (reality show participants don’t count — they are not artists — they are paid spokespeople).

So, no, artists will not shut up. Art has always changed the world, since the time of papyrus and Greek ritual theatre and Shakespeare and Vaclav Havel. It will continue so to do.

Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Day after Lunar Eclipse
Snowy and cold

I don’t often post on a Saturday; let’s see if I can today, or if nothing’s working.

We had a blizzard on Thursday. Basically, the Cape shut down. The Governor told people to stay home. Although it didn’t hit the Cape until around noon, people paid attention — schools, libraries, lots of businesses closed. Most things were closed yesterday, although it wasn’t as bad as predicted.

During the blizzard, I looked out of the window, and there was something flapping in one of the snow banks. It looked like a person in distress. I bundled up and dashed out, wondering if I was going to have to call my lovely firemen. But it wasn’t a person — it was my neighbor’s flag, whose line had snapped. The way it landed in the snow bank looked like a body (it’s a big flag). I managed to grab it before it ever technically hit the ground (it was above the ground on the snow bank) and took it in. I hung it in the bathroom to let it dry off, then folded it up and gave it back yesterday, when he came over to help us dig out the bottom of the driveway. He was glad to get it back — and glad it hadn’t touched the ground.

I wrote, although not on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back working on what was originally called POWER OF WORDS. Now that I know what I want to do with it, once it’s all done and goes through a massive editing process, I’m inspired again. Yesterday, I finished what will eventually be Book 2 of the series and started Book 3. Yesterday I got about 40 pages done. I’m first-drafting right now, so it’s fast. It’s the basic plot and character drives, and then, in the second draft, I fill it out and deepen it. I’d already done the second draft for book 1 and part of book 2. The tandem drafting is a little odd, but every project requires its own process.

I studied Constitutional Law. It’s depressing to see how the GOP have turned into such oathbreakers. The level of corruption in the current administration is appalling. The courts are our last line of defense, and the administration is bound and determined to shred them, too. But I’m learning a lot in the class. My professor is terrific, and the course is very well done. My professor is much more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure!

I’ve been researching the Italian Renaissance, which is such a pleasure. It’s also relevant — in terms of the development of humanism and the need for art. It’s interesting how the wealthy of that time were determined to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone, becoming patrons of the arts to create things that were both beautiful and challenging. The present-day rich only want to take more from themselves and hurt others. They want to shut down beauty, challenge, and, especially, education.

That is why art is always political and always important. It can also be entertaining and a relief from the strife of daily life, but, for it to connect to people, there’s got to be something meaningful there. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories. Sometimes one needs that as a stress relief valve, but genuine art always challenges and always makes the world better, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’ve got a stack of books out of the various libraries in the network, and I’ve also checked out “Great Courses” in both art and in history. The lectures are interesting, although dense, and it’s interesting to see how connected everything is. Both professors are committed to context, and that is so important.

In other words, I’m making good use of my snowed-in time!

I have to venture out today to return some books, send off some material, and run some errands. We had more snow overnight — which means more shoveling — and expect another storm tomorrow into Monday, which could wipe out most of Monday.

Last year, the wood lasted all winter. I’m already running low. Might have to restock the wood next week.

Back to the page — things are rolling with this piece, and I want to keep up the momentum. SONGBOUND SISTERS also is starting to pull again, as is NOT BY THE BOOK, so I’m hoping I can give them some attention soon, too.

However, the bulk of the day and tomorrow morning must be about studying for the Constitutional Law quiz. If I can even take it, depending on the power situation.

Power issues all week have put me behind in getting stuff out.

At least I can write in longhand by candlelight, if necessary! 😉

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank  
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Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music

I used to write to music.

However, when I write, it needs to be instrumental, or the lyrics distract me.

One of my favorite procrastination techniques is to create Character CDs – a CD for each of my main characters, filled with the music to which I think that character would listen.

I’ll play it before I write about the character; or, if it’s instrumental, while I write about the character.

Writing the romantic suspense novel Assumption of Right(as Annabel Aidan), I told the tale in chapters from alternating points of view. Each day’s chapter was from one or the other’s point of view. So I’d pop in that character’s CD, listen to it for a few minutes, and I’d be in the right mindset to write.

That was when I lived in New York, and it was noisy and full of interruptions. Once I moved to Cape Cod, for the most part, I stopped writing to music. Weather-permitting, I have the windows open and listen to the birds and the wind and sometimes, even the rain.

If someone’s running a leaf blower or some other power tool, and I’m ready to strangle them with their own cord, I’ll put on the iPod and crank up the tunes.

But, still, it has to be instrumental.

I never, EVER use a soundtrack from a play or movie. That music was created and assembled to support someone else’s creative vision. It bleeds into your writing. When students turn in work that was written to soundtracks, I can tell exactly which ones, because it shows up in the writing.

Published in: on October 24, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music  
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Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am looking forward to Mercury going direct tomorrow!

So, the library is an official Come Write In! Center for Nano, which I think will be great fun. We will have drop-in writing hours on Tuesdays from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for the month. There are other Cape Cod Write-ins and events throughout the month – if you’ve signed up for Nano, go to the Cape Cod Region Forum, and you’ll find the information.

Also, I’m going to revive my “30 Tips for 30 Days” for Nano, and schedule one writing tip per day for the duration. It will be set apart from the daily blog post and clearly marked as a 30 Tips for 30 Days post. Basically, they’re cheerleading posts to help you get through the month.

I won’t be “doing” Nano per say, as in starting a new book on November 1 and writing it through November 30, because of my current deadlines and where I am with current projects. I don’t want to lose the current momentum on any of them.

However, I will be likely “writing along with” Nano, on my projects in process, to ride the enormous current of creative energy that Nano generates.

I’m not mentoring individuals this year, either – the 30 Tips posts will be used for that, but too often, the Mentees flake, and I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t commit to writing for one whole month every day. Harsh, blunt, true. My own work must come first.

Yesterday was a good, busy day. I was pretty tired when I came home. Watched KILL THE MESSENGER, which is a good film, although I would have restructured the opening a bit. Also started watching the first season of SCORPION, which I liked better than I expected.

Woke up extra early this morning, got in some decent writing on the contemporary piece. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a couple of comic scenes that revolve around Hollywood pitch meetings, so revisiting those experiences and dramatizing them has been fun.

I have some proposal packages to work on this weekend, a house inspection to prepare for on Tuesday, and, of course, going through my uncle’s photos and documents.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.  
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Wed. Oct 31, 2012: Post-Sandy Samhain

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Samhain

We made it through Sandy. We were pretty lucky, tucked in mid-Cape. We lost power about mid-day on Monday, as the storm picked up speed. The gas stayed on, though (the lines didn’t flood), so we could cook and had hot water, which made it all much easier. In other words, we didn’t need to cook in the fireplace!

Sunday, we’d pulled in all the plants, creating an indoor jungle that Tessa loves to play in. Friday totally sucked, on so many levels I don’t even want to get into it, crowning with the deadbeat client who paid me three months late giving me a rubber check — don’t even get me started. Needless to say, it’s started a negative ripple effect that will take weeks to sort out, and, since the client is in the worst of the hurricane zone, it is unlikely I will EVER see the money. I don’t want to be unsympathetic to a hurricane, but it should have never happened in the first place.

On the positive side, we did a big Market Basket run, and were well-stocked. Since the power was off for only about 12 hours, we didn’t lose anything, and we could cook. We hunkered down, reading books, eating, and listening to the battery-operated radio. We woke up in the middle of the night when the power kicked back on, and started watching the news at 4:30 in the morning.

The devastation in NY and NJ is horrible. Kudos to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pointing out that we’re getting the “100 year storm” every 2 years and climate change! Even Broadway shut down for two days, which is a heck of a lot more unusual than the damn Stock Exchange.

The town I grew up in was hit hard, especially the art deco amusement park down by the water. The boardwalk was seriously damaged, and one of my favorite restaurants destroyed. I’m glad I took so many photos while I still lived there. I’ve tracked down most of my friends and neighbors, who are fine, but in the dark. We never lost mail delivery, but someone tacked a sign on the post office in my former home town — which happens to be at one of the highest points in town — saying, “we’ll be back when it’s safe.” Although the official news reports are saying how things are running smoothly, I hear very different stories from the people actually living there, and much bemoaning that the former mayor isn’t still in charge — someone good at dealing with this type of crisis.

It’s that mix of relief that I’m here, and things are fine, and guilt that I’m not there, with the people I’ve known for so many years.

We are in much better shape here. In fact, everyone yesterday was, in typical Cape Cod fashion, Very Busy yesterday. There was as much traffic as on a summer day — it’s as though people had been trapped inside for a week instead of a day.

I did cancel the writers’ group gathering, since the roads were still hit-and-miss, and there were lots of power outages.

Today, it’s buckling back down to work, and getting everything re-decorated again for Halloween. I’ve still got to finish edits on a manuscript and knock out a couple of articles, not to mention get started on my school work for the week. Costume Imp is figuring out if he’s going to try to go back at the end of the week, as planned, or stay longer. He’s welcome to stay as long as he needs to.

All I want to do is sleep!

Devon

PS on two fronts — the “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” seminar is ON for this Saturday, only $20 to learn how to interpret and successfully prepare your submissions to guideline. More information here.

The deadline for application for the Playwrighting Intensive has, per request, been extended to November 20, in light of the hurricane and power issues. Decisions will still be announced on December 1. More information and application here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Countdown to ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT release — 5 days! Available from Champagne Books on June 6

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
New Moon
Solar Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to see how the garden’s growing — with lots of photos!

Gosh, so what did I do yesterday? Um, um, um . . . finished the missing chapter on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, then realized I have to create another Rufus chapter before I can write the next Bonnie chapter, gosh darn it. Not sure what to write. I’m tempted to write the Bonnie chapter first and then go back, but, chronologically, the Rufus chapter needs to happen first. I think I covered too much time in this Rufus chapter because I thought I was leading up to the next Bonnie chapter, but I don’t have enough material to split it in tow.

Urgh.

Mowed the front lawn. The mower and I each kept our sides of the deal. Took grass clippings and recycling to the dump. Did some grocery shopping, and picked up another rosemary, and a spearmint and golden ginger mint for the front steps (ant repellant). The small painted bookcase was dry enough to set on the deck. Finished painting the other bookcase for my room (it looks really nice). Repotted the new plants. Swore a lot because some of the other plants already need repotting, and I’m out of intermediate sized pots.

Read Anatole Broyard’s WHEN KAFKA WAS THE RAGE, about living in Greenwich Village in the 40’s. He turns up in all the letters, memoirs, and biographies of the time, but I’d never read anything he wrote before. Every word was a little too precious and important for my taste. And he used so many metaphors and similes that sometimes I just thought, “could you call it what it is, and not try to compare it so self-importantly to something else?”

The cats explored in the basement, and I had a heck of a time chasing them back up the stairs. Some of the boxes have collapsed under the weight of other boxes, so it’s no longer neatly stacked. And, of course, they have to explore everything!

Got two articles out yesterday and percolated a third, which I hope to start today. And got a bunch of PR done for the book.

The busy season is here on the Cape. Tonight, I have a planning meeting for the Mermaid Ball; tomorrow, I’m on the Vineyard; Friday morning, I have friends stopping by for breakfast on their way to Wellfleet; Saturday, I’m meeting friends for lunch in Wellfleet; Sunday, I have a friend stopping by on her way back from the Vineyard; Monday, the book releases. Plus all the writing, and polishing the workshops that start soon and the PR for the release and the garden. Take a look at my June To-Do List on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

Writing this morning, then another trip to the dump with grass clippings, mowing the terraced back section of the yard, trimming the beds, hopefully deadheading some more rhodies and doing a bit more pruning on the lilac, if I can find a chair or step stool that lets me reach that high. I’d hoped to start painting two more small bookcases, but I can’t see that happening until the weekend or next week. I’ve got to sort out the ferry details and where to leave the car, and make sure I’m on the road for my meeting by 4:30. Yes, I”m getting as Very Busy, like a real Cape Codder!

I’m also eating lots of salads and berries and vegetarian dishes — not by any thought out choice, but because that’s what I’m craving. I’m getting protein from eggs and fish. And it’s really boosted my energy. That, and yoga, and sitting zazen two or three times a day. Sometimes I worry about taking the time for it, but it makes such a difference that I simply do it. A 20 minute sit will give me 4-5 hours of energy, and the yoga is helping rebuild my back and my overall strength. I can’t afford NOT to take the time.

Back to the page, and then to everything else.

And . . .we’re OFF!

Devon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and Cold

I’m falling into the Cape pattern of being Very Busy all the time. Granted, I get an awful lot done — but I’m still Very Busy.

After catching up with online business, I headed over to Osterville. I put the car title in the safety deposit box and ran into the owner of the hardware store there. I met him back at his store — he got me set up with a year’s worth of filters for the furnace, and we talked lawn mowers. He showed me one that’s the right size, weight, and price for me. It’s a heck of a lot less expensive than anything I’ve seen yet, a reliable brand, and he’ll deliver it. Not only will it cost me less, I get to support a local business. I’m waiting until he gets a few shiny new ones in at the beginning of spring, and we’ll sort out the details. Load off my mind, and I don’t have to try to fit a lawnmower into a Volkswagen. This is one of the great things about living in the area — people remember you and are actually interested in trying to get you what you need, not just part you from your money.

Ran some other errands, spec’d out some large plant pots at good prices (and they’re pretty) and some garden decor at good prices at three different places, so I have options. Picked up cat food, so now it can snow! And some milk for my coffee and my hot cocoa.

Bought some more scratching boards so now there’s one in every room of the house except for the kitchen. They’ve never been furniture scratchers, except they are now scratching the new wingback chairs. No. So I’ve put catnip-scented scratch boards beside each chair, and that seems to be catching their interest when they wander over to be naughty. And, on the times they take that minute to think and make the conscious CHOICE to choose “Scratchy-Scratchy” over the chair, they get a treat.

Iris is coming downstairs to explore on her own like she’s never seen the house before. And she’s got her little panic room set up under my bed, complete with toys, a sock, and an old slipper. Violet is very confident that this is HER house. At least they’re playing now, rushing around the house having fun, instead of hissing at each other. Iris came with me when I opened the living room drapes this morning. She was on a side table beside one of the windows, I pulled the drape — and Imp Dog was out there, paws on the outer sill, looking in! They were both shocked, nearly nose-to-nose, just separated by window glass, yelped and ran as fast as they could in opposite directions. It was hilarious.

Thanks for the tip on the outdoor furniture, by the way. I’ll keep my eye on both KMart and Target — and I’m trolling Craigslist every day, just in case.

Paid the cell phone bill (which I forgot to do while Costume Imp was here). Picked up some things at Border’s — was disappointed when they didn’t have two books about which I’m excited in stock. But picked up a notebook I need for the herbal seminars, et al, and some magazines.

Back home, unloaded, took care of some other business stuff, handled some stuff for my mother in her absence, and started taking down the decorations. I thought I could just pull boxes (since all of them are marked with what’s supposed to go into them), fill them, store them (made room — I have a whole “Christmas closet” in the storage area), pull some more, etc. Of course, that would be too easy, and too organized. I have to rearrange some stuff, so I’ve pulled the boxes into the back bedroom, spread them out, so I can arrange and re-arrange as I pack. And now I also have to find other cloths for some of the tables (digging through the linens bins in storage) and rearrange a few other things — sort of a domino effect.

In other words, I’m not done yet. 😉

Made good progress, but not done yet.

I took down the evergreen wreath, which is only starting to dry out now (not bad, considering I got it right after Thanksgiving) and put up the grapevine snowflake wreath. I have to remove all the evergreens from the wire frame before I can take them to the dump. Now I REALLY need to get that door knocker! I think I’ll get a pineapple one. The gothic knockers are have too dark a vibe, the Victorian ones are too frouffy, and we all know I’m on the Cape — I don’t need a starfish or a seashell or a mermaid — it’s too cutesy for the architecture. A nice, simple pineapple says “welcome” and will still be pretty, provided I keep polishing it.

Won a pretty zodiac tile on eBay for the garden. I’ve got my eye on one or two other pieces, too, but found the same bits at an online store that will give me free shipping, so . . .

The sun melted the snow on almost the entire back yard — good to know, good to grow.

Getting some good groundwork done on the new piece. SHOULD be working on a few other pieces, too, but this one’s pulling at me, and I want to get it sorted out before I go back to anything else. Now that most of the moving and holiday chaos is over, I should be able to spend a good chunk of the day writing and another chunk of the day unpacking and organizing. I need to figure out what sort of structure to give my day, with the flexibility to change as things come up.

One Story, Many Voices is going well. We’ve settled into a nice rhythm, although some students are getting into the pattern of post their previous exercise the day before before the next one is due instead of the day it’s actually due, which means they’re 3-4 days behind.

Booked a lot of work for February and a lot of work for May, most of it in CT, so I’ll be on the road a lot of those two months. Gotta love wireless, laptops, and the fact that I stacked up on so many books in Niantic — I’ll have plenty to read. I’m worried about leaving the garden in May, but I’ll leave careful instructions.

Deadheaded the indoor roses this morning, watered the plants that needed it. About to settle in for some quality writing time before I start commenting on the exercises due today.

Later this morning, I’m taking the garbage and recycling to the dump, so it’s all out of here before the storm.

I’m drinking soda. I have left over soda from the party, and I’m drinking the bottles that are open. The closed ones I can leave in the garage until whenever. I don’t have a moral position on soda or anything — I just rarely have it in the house, so I rarely drink it. And I kind of love those Shirley Temples . .

We’re set to have quite the storm. Hopefully, it won’t interfere with the live chat I’m doing for Savvy Authors tomorrow night. Depending upon which forecast you listen to, we’re getting anywhere from 7-20 inches overnight and well into tomorrow. We’ll see.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Scheduled to post

How to make me froth at the mouth: When I say I am not phone accessible for X amount of time and I need you to EMAIL me information, do not fucking CALL me!!!!

Okay, now that that’s out of the way!

We were on the road by 6:30, at the house by 10:30 on Thursday. Hit my head badly on the car — have a truly egg-shaped lump that hurts like hell. But I’m not seeing double and no slurred speech, so it’s all — well, not good, but nothing serious. Instead of La Famille Raccoon, we were cheered on by a skunk. By the time I finished packing the car, the skunk was making faces because he was downwind of me and I was that rank! 😉 Thank goodness for the fabulous shower at the house. The owner was there, repainting the cover on the back deck. He and his wife are so great! She’s friends with the local librarian, and will take us over to introduce us, once we’re really moved in — and have a utility bill so we can get a library card. That’s always my favorite part of going to a new place — getting the library card.

Unpacked, started the dishwasher, raced out to do some errands regarding my mom’s birthday, picked up some gifts, etc. Came home, had lunch, and my mom went with me to pick out my new mattress. I haven’t had a comfortable bed since I gave up the Manhattan apartment, so it’s about damned time!

It gets delivered when we’re back up at the house on Monday.

And it will have new sheets on it, because I bought some new sheets and towels. Somehow, no matter how many sheets and towels I have, I always want a new set for a new place.

Put the new sheets and towels in the wash and, in the dryer, wound up with a fluff bomb! The lint trap was cleaned, but it refilled about every five minutes. Finally took the sheets out and hung them up in the storage room over the garage to dry (the storage room that has two walls of bookcases and a wall of closets, and will eventually have two reading chairs, a lamp and a rug in there, too).

Did some more errands, mostly looking for lamp shades. All the shades I liked came with lamps. And, if I bought lamp & shade and then swapped out the shade, I’d have to find a new shade for the now-naked lamp. And I didn’t like the bases that came with the shades.

Yeah, I know, earth-shattering stuff, isn’t it? I am well aware that the Fate of the Universe will not be affected by my choice of lampshade.

Found a great consignment shop in S. Yarmouth. Right near some of the other houses we looked at, and near Seven Beans, the really good coffee place. I like the woman who runs it a lot. I’ll be back when I’m in a headspace for vintage clothes and shoes — they were great, but I’m in “housewares mode” right now, and couldn’t focus.

Cooked a great stir-fry dinner. I love cooking in the new kitchen. And now most of my baking pans are up. Soon, there will be cookies!

Did some more measuring, figured stuff out, hung out in the livingroom with the candles and decorations. Those candelabra I bought look AWESOME on the mantel. I’d actually measured the litter boxes and the small ones will fit where we want them. Don’t yet know where we’ll put the big one.

Meditation before bedtime — so much easier there. Slept well, up early, wonderful yoga and meditation session in the morning. I have my mat and my crate with the weights, jumprope, yoga books, etc. up there now, which is nice.

Good breakfast, packed the car, had to wait what seemed like an eternity for the dishwasher to cycle through — I’m still at the stage where I don’t want to leave the house until everything is OFF. Watered the grass seed — provided entertainment value to the neighborhood as I wrestled with a garden hose for the first time in my life. Pretty funny, and got my shirt dirty, so had to wash it and change before we could head home.

Opened the front door and found my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 was delivered to the house! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Didn’t get out the door until 8:30 this time, but had done a thorough walk-through, check list so I didn’t have to drive back again. I love this house — it feels like it’s alive, and it’s happy when we’re in it. When I’m away from it, I miss it.

Stopped in Old Saybrook. The trunk — something was wrong with it. When I touched it to check it out, it felt really, REALLY wrong. So I didn’t buy it. And the good tile tables were gone. So I bought a copper kettle and a pear-shaped candleholder.

Drive back was fine. Got to the apartment in early afternoon. The landlord crap was awful, as usual. It’s gone beyond ridiculous. So it was a rough afternoon. I got a little packing done, unpacked and repacked the bags I need for the weekend gig, prepared my mom’s birthday dinner.

She had a really good birthday, and thanks you for all your good wishes.

We already have guests booked for December, January, and February at the house! It’s such fun to be able to be hosts again. Haven’t been able to do that in a long time. And here, I’m the one so infamous for my monthly dinner parties for 20+ on the West Coast, and I haven’t been able to do that for the past few years.

Violet is so upset she’s throwing up her food. I spent as much time as I could calming her down. Iris just pretends none of this is happening.

Came home to find the rest of my book order for the classes I taught last month, and also my zafu cushion. Love it. I got 2-for-1, so my mom gets one, too.

Sleepy’s called twice already to push back the delivery time for my new mattress. It HAS to be there on Monday. Period, end of story, because we’re not there Tuesday. And, considering how damn much they charge for delivery — they damn well better be there when they say so, or there will be Better Business Bureau HELL to pay.

Speaking of which, Cablevision is acting like (string of nasty words deleted), and I’m not even talking about losing the Fox channels. Look, let’s face it, Fox does some great fiction, and that includes what they call “news” — (in my opinion, most of their so-called “journalists” wouldn’t recognize a fact if it walked up and hit them over the head with a two-by-four). So I don’t really miss those channels — but if I pay for X channels, I should have X channels. No, they’re being dicks about the previous complaint, and have sabotaged my service since I filed with the BBB. So I keep sending them invoices. I look forward, next week, to cancelling my service with them. Boy, do I have egg on my face after saying how great they were. They actually were good, the first year I had them. And then they grew too fast and reverted back to being, well Cablevision.

Unfortunately, my ONLY option on the Cape is Comcast. Which I already know totally sucks. And I will tell them, when I place my order, than I expect them NOT to suck.

Off to a job in CT this weekend, leaving early this a.m, which is why it’s scheduled to post — looking forward to lots of rest time in there — actually, my boss on the gig planned it so I could basically get paid just for being there. Gotta love it.

Hopefully, I will have packed some more last night, but I’m REALLY tired, so I might give myself the night off to rest, and then attack what needs to be packed Sunday night for Monday’s trip. I have the boxes that are the first layer, so it’s all about packing the mirrors and pictures and the broom and my oak staff and my head-on-a-stick (don’t ask), and my Karma Fairy Wand from the Moontribe Tales Project in 1999, which will live in my office and — you get the idea. My oak staff — bought at the Central NY Scottish Games a few years ago is tall, and my broom is the same height I am. We’re calling the carload “pictures and sticks”. Because if it’s a stick or a stone or a shell, I pick it up on my travels.

Hey, imagine that, it’s going down into the 30s and the scumbags gave us heat. CC’ing the Health Department on my complaints is getting results.

And yes, “resting” this weekend – includes writing.

Heck, this IS a writing blog — I at least have to use the word once a week during the moving process, right? 😉

Devon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pleasant and warm

Wednesday we travelled to Plymouth and to the Cape, just for the day. There was a very specific agenda, which I can’t yet talk about for fear of jinxing it, but it was productive and great fun. We also picked up a few things in Hyannis, which means that I didn’t have to go running around here yesterday. Pretty much everything we need is on Rt. 132. Plus, there are plenty of small, independent businesses we like to frequent. I also managed to replace the wine glass I broke with two very pretty ones, and found a set of 100% cotton aqua-colored sheets.

Plymouth was a little disappointing — both in our agenda, and that some of the stores we planned to visit where, for some reason, closed. On a Wednesday? Really? Maybe in preparation for a long holiday weekend? One of my favorite stores there only seems to open whenever someone decides to show up. And they weren’t there that day!

Yarmouth, Sandwich, Barnstable, Dennis, Masphee — all as pretty and friendly as ever. What a great region. We had several stops to make — and EVERY set of directions was wrong. I thought Google Maps was supposed to be better than Mapquest? They both pretty much suck.

We stopped in Niantic on the way home in the evening. First stop was the Niantic Diner, where I had one of the best linguini with clam sauce dishes I’ve ever had in my life — clams served in the shells, perfect sauce with white wine, garlic, oil, and chopped tomatoes. Then, it was a hop across the street to the Book Barn, where I got a stack of books on various topics and played with several of their cats. Their little black cat followed me from shelf to shelf, telling me all about it.

Driving back was tough. I love the Merritt Parkway — no trucks and it’s pretty. And the Recovery Act construction projects have turned roads into a pleasure around New England that have been a nightmare to drive since the late 1960’s. I approve of the way those of my tax dollars are at work! However, whenever there’s work on the Merritt Parkway, it seems deliberately scheduled to be as incompetent and to create the most amount of inconvenience for drivers as possible. Whoever’s making the decisions about structuring the work on the Merritt either is a dingbat and shouldn’t have the job, has never driven the Merritt and doesn’t realize the problems he’s causing (and therefore shouldn’t have the job), or is trying to get revenge on people who drive there. And shouldn’t have the job.

We got home around nine. I tended to the cats and the cat next door. On the one hand, Elsa was happy to have a quiet day and not get poked all the time and get medicine shoved down her throat. On the other hand, I think she missed us.

Anyway, it was a great day, although driving to the Cape and back in a single day is a bit of a haul. Usually we stay at least one night. But at least now we know we can do it. and we’ll probably have to do it that way a few more times in the upcoming months.

Yesterday, I slept in, then dashed around getting stuff ready for class and taking care of the cat next door.

Pottery class was great. It took me awhile to adjust to this teacher’s teaching style, so different from the last teacher with whom there was instant rapport. But, by the end of the class, one was building. She’s really good. And I’m trying to learn how to think visually instead of verbally. There are six people in the class — five women and one fifteen year old boy. He’s very sweet and talented, but, poor thing, it’s gotta be hard to be fifteen and in a class with a bunch of women old enough to be his mother! But it’s a nice group.

We worked on pressed-mold bottle vases yesterday. We have to finish them next week. And I finished early enough to make a pressed mold bowl, which is a little wonky, but I sent it for firing anyway. I’m going to try to take advantage of some open studio hours in the coming weeks to do some work on my own, and actually have a technique. Because I have no technique yet, everything is very rough. It’s a little better than the original pieces I did in May, but there’s still a long way to go.

I’ve already used half my 25 lbs of clay in just the first class, so I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up buying more. We’re working in stoneware rather than earthenware this time, and the clay looks similar to what I worked with last time, but feels different. I’m still heavy-handed and don’t really have the feel of it yet. That’s why I need the open studio hours — to just be able to sit and work with it, squish it if it doesn’t work, and start again.

I’d like to take another class in the fall, but I don’t know if I can afford it or make the 14-week time commitment. It depends how much work I land over the summer, and what else is going on in the fall.

In more disturbing news, two little kids in this town were attacked by coyotes — in the kids’ own yards — within four days. One kid is six, and one kid is three. Both will be okay, but still . . .it’s disturbing. And the coyotes are way smarter than the people trying to hunt them down. In this area, that is not at all a surprise. People are being cautioned not to let their kids play unattended in the yard (how sad is that?) and not to run, especially not alone. I was supposed to start running again on Monday, but I may put it off for awhile. While I’m used to dealing with coyotes, that doesn’t mean I should set myself up as potential prey.

Bossy Girl moved! I heard her screaming yesterday afternoon and looked out the window. Her human had her in a harness, she was yelling and tossing her cookies, and then was stashed in the front seat of a U-Haul van. She was a pretty cat, and a smart one. I will miss her — but at least she won’t be coyote dinner. It’s way too dangerous to let one’s cats out around here, between the highway, the train, and the coyotes. Yet people do. And then they wonder when their cats are torn to shreds or hit by a car.

Today is the start of the holiday weekend — yay! It’s still supposed to be nice today and tomorrow, and then a heat wave well into the 90s all next week. Ick.

I have an appointment at 11:30 about a possible new gig at the end of the summer — hope it works out, it would pay for the fall pottery class! And I’ve got a bunch of writing to do today, too, on several projects. I go back to working on other people’s projects next Tuesday; an acquaintance sent me a play to read, which I’m happy to do, but it will have to be early next week.

Elsa’s hanging in there. I’m still waiting for the information about the new medication from the vet. Violet now sits in my lap on next to the computer on the desk whenever I’m working. Iris spends most of her time looking out of the window and complaining about the workmen.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 5:50 am  Comments (4)  
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Today’s My Birthday! March 11, 2010

Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Waning Moon
Sunny and cool

Today’s my birthday! Not a huge one by anyone else’s standards, but I’m older than I ever thought I’d be!

Thanks for all the good wishes and ideas about the amethyst — I’m pretty sure the cats stashed it somewhere — although it’s a big, heavy piece. I’ll respond to the individual comments when I get home — I can’t plug in here at the hotel, there’s no outlet that’s grounded, so I’m on battery power.

Weather’s great, I plan to spend most of the day out on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Yesterday had a bit of a glitch — although they was very little traffic and we hit the Cape by about 10:30 in the morning. I pull into the parking lot of Staples in Hyannis, and the guy in the next car says, “You have a flat tire.”

Yep — ANOTHER flat, this time in the rear. I never had flat tires and now THREE in just a couple of months? Something is very wrong.

I called VW Roadside Assistance — they were so nice! First question always is, “Are you safe?” which I thought was great. Anyway, they sent out a mechanic, told me where the nearest VW dealer was located (only 1/4 mile away). We were told to expect a mechanic in an hour — it was only 20 minutes. The guy was soo nice — and it turns out that, not only is our spare a full-sized tire, brand new, but we have a whole set of tools tucked into the trunk, too, which we never knew about. It took about 15 minutes. Drove up to the dealer — they checked the tire to make sure it was an actual tire, not just a spare donut — it’s fine. The busted tire is in the back, where the spare is — I’ll get it back to my own guy and decide if we can patch it and use it as a spare, or if I need to buy a new tire and put the spare back as the spare.

We barely lost an hour of our day, which is unheard of.

Thank you, VW and Silver Cloud towing!!!! You rock!!!

Ate at Marathon in Yarmouth – great restaurant, family-run, fantastic food. Then we went to the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham to walk the trails. It was terrific.

We found an inexpensive hotel that’s pleasant, clean, and close to everything. Grabbed some lobster rolls at a local shack for dinner. Had a quiet evening.

My guilty pleasure was watching HUMAN TARGET — finally, they had a villain with a developed character! About damn time. They tried to work the Winston/Guerrero scenes as comic relief which almost worked, but for me, just missed because of pacing. The dialogue was there, but the direction was just a shade off. But, overall, it was a good episode, and I hope the show is renewed, because I want to see where some of the threads they’ve started lead.

Today, I plan to spend the day outside, probably on the National Seashore grounds. We’re in for a weekend of heavy rains and possible flooding, so I want to be outside as much as possible.

Yes, I promise to take lots of pictures!

May everyone have a great day on my birthday!

Devon

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 8:47 am  Comments (10)  
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A Mystery for March 10

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars DIRECT (thank goodness)
No idea what the weather’s like

I’m headed to Cape Cod for my birthday (it’s tomorrow). Hopefully, I actually got out the door early. Cat sitter promised to be there about a half hour or so after I left, even though I said she didn’t have to arrive mid-morning. I think she wants to avert the Destructo-Kitty Syndrome. At least she seems more reliable than the last one.

So, I leave you with The Mystery of the Missing Amethyst.

I hope you can solve it, because I’m stumped.

I keep an amethyst cluster on the bedroom window sill, per feng shui orientation. Yesterday morning, I noticed it was gone. I assumed one of the cats (probably Iris, because she spends a lot of time in the window and is a klutz), knocked it down.

Looked everywhere — under the bed, along the entire window sill, behind the cushions, everywhere.

No amethyst.

Basically tossed the room.

No amethyst.

There’s no tear in the screen. The window’s kept locked unless we’re actually in the room, because the window is on the fire escape. Plus, there’s a rune on the window, so if anyone prowls around the fire escape when they shouldn’t be, it triggers something in them and they freak out.

Ideas? Theories? Suspects?

I’m curious to see what you come up with.

Devon

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 2:11 am  Comments (9)  
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