Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Took my mom to the doctor yesterday morning and got that sorted out. Took all morning, but at least everything seems to be okay. Which means, of course, they have no idea what’s going on, but at least they took the time to fit her in and she feels better. Re-stocked cat food on the way home. Caught up with my students in the afternoon.

Reading a mystery where many of the elements in it are wonderful — plot, setting, inventive ways to deal with things we’ve seen before. However, the protagonist keeps making the same STUPID mistakes and having the same conversations about them. She’s not learning. This is the second book in the series, and keeps referring back to the first, where, it’s obvious, she made the same stupid mistakes and hasn’t learned from them.

Not someone I want to continue to spend time with.

I want to see growth in characters, and, more importantly, intelligence. It’s not cute and endearing when a female character acts like an idiot, nearly gets killed, and does the same thing again and again. It’s offensive.

Even shows I usually enjoy seemed banal last night, which is unfortunate.

Up early for yoga on the beach. It looks like it wants to rain, but I hope it holds off until we’re done. I need this morning’s class! 😉

Will spend a few hours with my students, and, hopefully, on my own writing, when I get back. I’ve got to work on site this afternoon, and I have a meeting (that I’m not looking forward to) this evening. I need to have my guard up for that. Living the principles I work on on the mat and in meditation group does not mean allowing poor treatment.

Prepared for battle or not, I’ll be glad when this day is over.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 5:03 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, June 10, 2011


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHTavailable from Champagne Books.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Friday, June 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The delightful Shirley Wells is hosting me over on her blog on how “Dressing is Not for the Faint of Heart.” Since Morag, one of the two main protagonists of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, is a Broadway dresser, yes, it ties in to the release!

Yesterday was busy. Ran around a lot, doing errands, which somehow always takes longer than I expect. Managed to get more cat food in (huge priority), get a small table to match my Adirondack chairs for the deck, some other small plant tables, Juliet’s new book HEXES AND HEMLINES, and some other stuff. Also stopped by Country Gardens to get the petunias for the planter (where the lobelia failed to come up) and some other stuff, including something so I could treat the lawn for ants. The guy said I should do it ASAP, since we’re supposed to have rain that night, and rain is better than the hose for getting the stuff into the ground.

Spent some time in the basement dealing with boxes, doing some unpacking, getting things ready for today’s inspection.

Came home, treated the lawn, watered it in, and, of course, it was the day every dog in the neighborhood came by to play, so I had to chase them off and warn the owners to wash their feet! The water makes the stuff BUBBLE, which is a little disconcerting.

I hated the thought of using this stuff (even though it’s EPA approved), but, according to the garden center, there’s no fully organic way to get rid of ants. Ants are very persistent. I can divert them from the house with the mint and the tansy and the red pepper, but to get them off the lawn, I have to treat it.

Dashed off to Buzzards Bay for a really good meeting on the Mermaid Ball. I really like the people at the National Marine Life Center, and I’m glad I can do some work with them. I’m also doing some “recommended reading” — I don’t have a background in marine biology or oceanography, so I’m playing catch-up. I should probably take a course of two at the local junior college.

Drove back in a bad storm. It was both gorgeous and frightening to cross the metal Sagamore Bridge with lightening streaking down on both sides. Rt. 6 had some very deep water-pits along the way. It drains off quickly, but until it drains — it was up to the running board in some spots.

But I got home safely, ate, didn’t go online, and started Juliet’s book instead. I really enjoy the Lily Ivory series, so I was glad to get my hands on the newest book!

When I pulled into the driveway, the lawn, where I put down the ant treatment was absolutely frothing! It’s not supposed to hurt birds or pets or people after a few hours — I hope that’s true!

Up early this morning. Didn’t have to water because of the rain. The crows haven’t managed to pry the crystals out of the vegetable bed (the crystals are too big and heavy).

I don’t feel like I can start much until the inspection is done, and then the owner is going to come over and help me prep the house for summer, so today’s pretty much a wash. I’ve got a few things to do for the Mermaid Ball, and I’d like to get some writing done, but the primary focus today is on the house. Which is a good thing.

The Belmont Stakes are tomorrow, and my next class, the Write in Company, starts on Monday, so busy, busy. But it’s good busy, and there’s a bunch of stuff coming up that I really want to do with the local wellness community, and Costume Imp is coming in next week, and the garden stakes are in and . . .

You get the idea! 😉

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, June 19, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was one of those things where everything goes whacky, and, at a certain point, you just have to acknowledge it and go with it.

It started with promise — I felt more upbeat than I have lately. I got a lot done early, I ran errands (pet store, Michael’s to get a tote and an apron for pottery class, put gas in the car, picked up groceries for lunch, etc.). There’s a sidewalk sale, and some of the sports stores are involved. I’m looking for an armband or a wrist band where I can put my phone and my keys when I run. I cant’ stand the fanny packs — I think all those years of wearing either a pack or an apron backstage make me overly sensitive to anything around my waist at this point, and even the special running ones hurt my back. Anyway, I looked at these bands, and they’re black and clunky. I want something light and pretty. I was going through some of my old fitness magazines from last year — SHAPE, FITNESS, SELF — I saw a few sites mentioned. so I’ll check them out. This gear’s not cheap, so I want to buy something I really like that also gets the job done.

The afternoon was supposed to be about putting in the air conditioner. I’ve put it in many, many times over the years in this place — but not with the new windows. I never put it in last summer. Well, the new window bottom sill tilts downwards, which means the weight of the device would carry down three stories onto someone’s head, not to mention the fact that, if it’s crashed to the ground, it’s not doing its job in the window. I couldn’t figure out how to get it in — no matter what I tried to prop on the outer sill, nothing worked. I felt like an idiot.

I finally called the super. He and one of the maintenance guys came up and screwed it into the window frame. It should hold, for at least the summer.

Elsa was feeling well enough to be underfoot, which is a good sign, but really, it wasn’t time to make new friends! The twins vanished and hid.

It’s not that big a deal to call the super for help putting in an air conditioner, but, as I said, I felt like an idiot for not being able to do it myself. It’s not that complex — although, with these new windows, it’s harder than before and required tools of a sturdier grade than I’ve got. But it made me feel incompetent, and I don’t like that feeling.

But it’s in, it’s working, and it gave me the chance to sort through some boxes of stuff that accumulated around that corner of the room. Tossed a lot, filed and put away some, put a bag together for the donation box, and have another carload of stuff to take to storage.

But it wasn’t a very creative day, which was a disappointment.

Cooked a turkey piccata with rosemary rice for dinner — yummy. I’d craved roast beef at lunch (I hardly ever eat red meat anymore because I feel better when I don’t). But I got some roast beef, which means Elsa got some, too, and she loved it. I’m starting to think she should get specially prepared chicken, meat, and fish rather than prepared cat food. They’re off the Trader Joe’s brand for some reason, so I’m trying out different brands that are both organic and with low ash content. So there’s another adventure. I have to keep notes about who will eat what, and then figure out which brands all three like. They like variety — some cats will eat the same thing every day, but not mine. And they don’t give in if that’s the only thing on offer — they will refuse to eat for days, and then forage in the cupboards and among the plants.

But Elsa does seem a little better. I’m hoping it’s not just temporary progress, but that we’re really getting this under control. The licorice root helps with the mucus, and switching off the B complex vitamins with the olive leaf extract seems to be working. Once we’ve got the mucus under control, the vet wants to start a new low-dose medication on her that he believes will knock the infection out of her system once and for all without horrible side effects, and then we can use diet and supplements to make sure it doesn’t come back. Long road ahead, but hopefully, we’re moving forward.

I’m getting excited about my trip to Philly in July — will see some good friends, get in a lot of writing, and hopefully get some good research done, too.

Today, I’m going to do some revision work here, and maybe do some of it next door, while I’m hanging out with my neighbor’s cat for awhile. I never just go in and feed him — I always try to spend an hour or two with him, so he’s not too lonely.

Devon

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 6:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy, hot, muggy

Up early, out for my run. Creepy newspaper delivery guy changed his route and was following me again. Not happy. At least on this new loop of the route, there are plenty of people walking down to the train station. Although it makes it more difficult to run upstream through them, at least it’s not quite as isolated. And the attitude of some — I know my neighborhood’s streets aren’t wide as the boulevards of Paris, but there’s plenty of room for two people to pass in opposite directions, so get out of the middle of the sidewalk! I’m not running into the street to get crushed by the street sweeper. Oh, and by the way, I worked in wardrobe for a really long time — I know where you bought your suit and how much you paid for it by the way it drapes. I know who has a full-price Hugo Boss, who found an irregular at Marshall’s, and who’s shopping at Men’s Wearhouse. So cut the attitude!

Scumbag landlords are at it again: third consecutive week where they turn off the hot water at 9 AM and don’t turn it on until 5:30 on non-holiday weekdays because “everyone” works from 9-5, and if you don’t, they want you out.

Not happy with the work I did for Confidential Job #2, so will rework it today and send it off — today’s the due date. Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS. Had some discussion with the group in Austin — they are excited to see the pieces. Four skits are percolating, and I hope to write them this week, polish them over the weekend, and get them out Sunday night in time for their meeting next week. Working on my Stanley Cup article. Prepping for Belmont. Have not been paying attention to the America’s Cup this year at all. Turned down 17 different invitations for stuff this weekend — seems everything is happening this weekend — and I’m booked between the horse racing and the ice hockey! And the Tony Awards are any minute, too, and I haven’t even been paying attention (once I knew none of my friends were individually nominated). Need to schedule a service appointment for my car — hopefully tomorrow — maybe I’ll work on the skits while I wait for it. Sorting out a few days’ worth of events for August — I think I’ll be able to do my usual volunteer work prepping for the gala in Saratoga, then head over to North Adams for an event at MassMoca, and down to Lenox for something else all within the course of 2-3 days, provided my mom’s free to take care of Elsa. Got out a few queries. Have to finish up some documentation for the Illinois Attorney General, who’s taking care of a nasty matter for me.

I don’t particularly feel focused or responsible or reliable, but I have to be, so, oh well. There’s a lot that has to get done, it has to get done within a very specific time frame, and I’m the one who has to do it. So I better get to it.

Still waiting to hear back from the vet. The cats decided they no longer like the food from Trader Joe’s, so I went up to Pet Smart yesterday to buy a variety of organic types to see which ones they like, and then I’ll stock up. My cats are feline gourmands — if you try to put down the same thing in the dish every day, they tip it over and wipe it all over the floor. The “experts” say changing a cat’s food upsets them, but mine DEMAND it.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 2, 2010 at 5:26 am  Comments (6)  
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Violet keeps an eye on things

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

I kept thinking yesterday was Tuesday, so I feel like I have the gift of a day. Woo-hoo!

I baked for 9-1/2 hours yesterday. I used a Thumbprint cookie recipe from the 1960’s and it came out PERFECTLY. So the recipes published this year must have shifted proportions, which made them not hold together. After the holiday frenzy, I’ll spread everything out and compare them.

I filled the Thumbprint cookies with three different types of jam — apricot, raspberry, blueberry. Not in the same cookie, don’t worry — I’ve got three different flavors, and I made three batches. I may have to make one more batch just to make sure I have a few extra. I made more molasses spice cookies — Lara, I’m going to scan the recipe and send it to you — and several batches of toll house cookies, AND the miniature gingerbread cakes in the molds — some are Christmas trees and some are gingerbread men.

As I baked, I kept thinking, “Oh, I have to write about that tomorrow” and darned if I can remember what “it” was! Every available space is decorated, so I had to flip over some of those empty milk crates that I meant to take to storage but couldn’t fit in the car, cover them with a board and a cloth, and use them for cooling stations. The new mixer and the new, deep batter bowl are awesome. It made everything so much more efficient and easier. Using three cookie trays worked just fine — the two in the oven were staggered, so I was always prepping one while the others were baking. The good thing about a tiny kitchen is that I can stand in one spot and reach everything (unless I’m storing it on top of the cupboards, in which case I have to stand on a chair).

All in a galley kitchen so small that I have counter space big enough for the mixing bowl, and you can’t stand in front of a cabinet door when you open it. So the next time one fo the spoiled brat bitches on HOUSE HUNTERS whines she “can’t” cook in a galley kitchen and fakes bumping into her significant other, I will hunt her down and smack her silly! I figured that, over the years, I’ve turned out somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 cookies in various tiny kitchens all over the country, and probably close to 500 cakes and pies. Would I like a huge kitchen? Absolutely! CAN I work in a tiny kitchen? Well, I have for years. These spoiled brats on the show, who are just starting out and expect 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, granite counter tops, steel appliances, etc. for $200,000. My goodness, you can’t even buy a CLOSET around here for that! Studio apartments are usually two or three times that amount.

Maybe I need a break from HGTV! 😉

Anyway, today is Icing Day. I’m going to ice the sugar cookies and the eggnog angels. So, tomorrow will be the pack-and-deliver day. I’ve got all my packing supplies — plates, festive bags, ribbon — and I’m going to make some tags on the computer (I can never find exactly what I want in the store, so I often make them).

I wrote domestic cards through “L” last night, and I’ll push to finish the alphabet tonight. I’m a little late (I like domestic cards out the door by the 10th or 12th), but they’re getting there. I have two packages to mail tomorrow, domestically; I have to figure out what the heck to get my cousin’s son and get THAT out the door — it’ll be late, but it’ll get there, it’s going overseas. I have one more gift to pick up for my Mom, probably on Thursday. And I am DONE. I can set up Ornament Hospital, finish some decorating, and just enjoy the season. I’ve got all the stocking stuffers, I can concentrate on my anthology deadline. And I can have fun with the holiday.

My eye seems to be okay. It’s sore, but not inflamed or any vision problems. Those eye drops I bought in Prague are magic!

Gotta head to Trader Joe’s this morning for cat food (the felines were horrified by their empty cupboard after I fed them the last can), gotta hit Mrs. Green’s for some coffee, and Staples (all in the same direction), then double back to Costco for more butter. So far, I’ve used 16 pounds of butter, 15 pounds of flour, 8 pounds of sugar, 4 pounds of chocolate morsels, and, when I did the math, realized I could paper a football field with parchment. And I’m not quite done yet — I’ve still got a few cakes to make and a Trifle. I’m trying to figure out which liquor to use to soak the spongecake — sherry, port, madeira, brandy?

I’m having a serial dream about a story. Very weird, but interesting. I have to make sure I take notes as soon as I wake up every morning, so that I don’t lose it. I think it could be quite a cool piece.

I have a Toyland display set up — ornaments of children and toys that are too big and heavy for the little tree, but are able to stand on their own. When I came into the ktichen this morning (it’s in the eating area of the kitchen), they were all rearranged and facing different directions! I don’t know if the cats played with them (they’re in a place the cats can’t usually reach) or the Christmas magic touched them and they had a party while we were all asleep.

Or the building is shifting again and we’re all screwed! 😉

Personally, I prefer Option 2.

Gotta run, there are angels to ice and cats to feed!

Maybe one of these days, they’ll fix the boiler, we’ll have hot water for more than five minutes (trouble for nearly a week now), and I won’t have to keep boiling water to wash the dishes. Pain in the —- when you’re baking and washing up as you go. Scumbag landlords. They make cosmetic “improvements” that make the building look like a hootchie joint where we rent by the hour, and skimp on things like the boiler. Typical.

Devon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I went to check Angie’s List to try to find a man-with-a-van. You have to pay to join. I don’t think so. I’ll keep hunting on my own.

By the way, Lori, the people running the leafblowers at 5:10 in the morning belonged to the Department of Public Works. Yeah, the city’s own employees completely disregard the city code. Of course what they were doing is illegal. But they don’t give a damn.

Yesterday was frustrating. I lost the thread of the Christmas story, and I’m having trouble getting it back. It’s been better this morning. I’m almost back, but I need to sort out more plot.

Ran errands, went to Costco to stock up on a bunch of stuff, went to Party City to stock up on plates and cookie bags — last year I waited too long and they were out. I’m trying some different cat food because I think Elsa has an allergy, and I’m wondering if it’s food-related, so I went to Pet Smart and bought a can of several different brands. This morning’s, called “by nature” was not a hit. Picked up a few things at the grocery store to get me through the next few days until I leave for Maine.

Started figuring out what I’m baking and who gets cookie plates this year.

Did some research for the Christmas story, took care of some unpleasant correspondence, searched for another man-with-van, sent out a few more requests for a quote. I guess we must be out of the recession, since so many of these places can’t even be bothered to give me a quote. They must not need the work. My great movers from July seem to have vanished.

Started reading AS Byatt’s THE CHILDREN’S BOOK. Not at all what I expected, and I have to shove away my expectations in order to properly appreciate it.

The cats woke me up at 4 and I said, “No way” and went back to sleep, which, of course, meant I overslept until 7 and had a slow start getting back to the page.

Writing today and more errands. It feels like I’ll have a better day at the page, which is a good thing. I’m behind, and allowing myself to get overwhelmed by the forest instead of dealing with the individual trees. i have to up my quantity and improve my quality simultaneously. Since I don’t have a day job to fall back on, it pretty much doesn’t matter whether I “feel” like writing or not, or whether the Muse smacks me upside the head, or whether or not life is getting in the way. The writing has to get done.

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2009 at 8:43 am  Comments (7)  
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