Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mercury’s gone retrograde just before I have surgery. On the one hand, it’s not a good time for surgery; on the other hand, Mercury retrograde is about resolving issues hanging on and preventing one from moving forward, and that’s a good definition for what I’m going through, so I’ll work with it. Plus, it’s happening just a few days before the dark moon, so that’s going to help with the blood loss. (The closer to the full moon, the heavier any bleeding, because blood is our interior tide).

Friday morning, as I stated in Friday’s post, I had my pre-op, got some stuff done at the library. I told my book review editor I’d have the other book review for her on Monday, and what was going on; she was very supportive. Even getting in the review yesterday, it was early. Sent off the big article, and told that editor what was going on, and that I could turn edits around early in the week, but otherwise it would have to wait until next week. Haven’t heard anything from her. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she took Friday as well as Monday as part of the long holiday weekend, but I’ve gotten the article to her FIVE DAYS EARLY. If she comes at me tomorrow to turn it around — no. It’s the day before my surgery. If I get it today, I could turn it around tonight and send it off tomorrow, but if it comes tomorrow, it has to wait until next week. I busted my ass and used up most of my energy to get it in to her early. (Update: she’s being lovely and supportive, so my worries are for naught — details in tomorrow’s post).

I’ve been working with my book editors on new deadlines — I can’t be in galleys and final revisions right now. We have to adjust. They’re 100% supportive. We’re also talking about whether and/or how to handle the Corona virus in The Nautical Namaste Series. There are several different routes we could take, although I doubt any of them will show up in DAVY JONES DHARMA at this point. We are discussing how what I’m going through now will add some depth to one of the subplots in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Went in to my client’s late Friday morning, and we finished the designs for the 2021 collections and sent them to Thailand. She goes next week.

Came home around 1 PM and hit the wall. I slept most of the afternoon, and even the most basic tasks were just too much work.

Ate — I’m making sure I eat, whether I feel like it or not. Watched the last of THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Went to bed early.

Had trouble sleeping. Up on Saturday. Had my mom drive to us to the grocery store, so we got a few additional things for the coming week. Made apricot/honey/almond/orange bread. Researched iron-rich foods. Taking too much of the iron supplement makes me sick, so I’m taking slightly less supplement, with more iron-rich foods. Turns out I like a lot of them, and have been craving them anyway.

Worked on the book for review. Napped in the afternoon (and people who know me know I am not a napper). Tessa purred beside me.

Made the sardine/fennel pasta from Dorie Greenspan’s book. It’s yummy. Felt better about a half hour after eating it.

Wasn’t up to watching DVDs, so read instead.

Charlotte and Willa are both worried. They lost their original human to illness, so every time they smell hospital or medicine on me, they worry.

The arm the CT port/IV technician hurt on Wednesday looks AWFUL, is still horribly bruised, and I have trouble using my right arm.

Slept so-so. Didn’t feel up to making the whole wheat bread. The medication I’m on for the moment has side effects, which are starting to get to me, the worst being absolutely ridiculous mood swings. I have to keep reminding myself I’ve lost perspective, and not make long-term decisions until I can think clearly and review all the evidence. I levelled out slightly on Sunday and Monday.

But I was still angry at the paperwork that arrived from the hospital on Saturday, about pre-op prep. I’m responsible for keeping track of my things WHILE I AM UNDER ANESTHESIA IN THE OR or else I should expect everything stolen. Because this hospital is too fucking cheap to have security. There isn’t any. There are signs claiming there are cameras, but no security. Anyone can wander anywhere they want in the hospital at any hour unchallenged. It’s one of the things that has made me uncomfortable every time I’ve had to go there.

I’ll be lucky to have my clothes to return home in.

They can bite me.

I have follow-up tests on the afternoon of the day my landlord wants to have the “home energy assessment.” I told him they can come first thing in the morning, and have to be out of here by 1 PM, or it has to be rescheduled. We HAD this done already. To make us go through a bunch of jackasses stomping through the house again right now is ridiculous. Nothing has changed in the intervening years; everything’s just gotten older. Probably that’s why the landlord is getting it again — because he didn’t do any improvements based on the last one, and is going to pretend it didn’t happen.

Took it easy Sunday. Made arrangements with a friend to pick me up from surgery on Thursday. She’s making it easy-peasy, no drama, which is how it should be. I also specifically asked her because she won’t let the hospital admin bully me on the way out when I’m still trying to get re-oriented after anesthesia, and, based on the pattern of this past week, that’s EXACTLY what they’ll try to do.

Again: bite me.

I was making arrangements with the library the other day, letting them know what was going on, and making sure I get anything back that has holds on it, and extend whatever I need to extend. The librarians wee lovely.

Unfortunately, some random patron eavesdropped and commented, “I can’t stand being around people who are sick. I don’t do sick.”

I turned around and said, “I don’t do assholes, and you aren’t part of my life anyway, so back off.”

Again, since the 2016 Election, people are encourages to be their worst selves. There was no reason that individual had to make ANY comment. The person could have kept her mouth shut or walked away. But no, she had to make a comment, knowing it was inappropriate and hurtful. She deliberately set out to cause harm.

Leaning into my meditation and yoga practices doesn’t mean I’m going to allow people to be deliberately hurtful.

Finished the book for review. Sent off my review yesterday. The next set of books has arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them.

I have a ridiculous amount of books stacked near my recovery area. I ordered more, which I hope will come in by Wednesday — Helene Hanff’s books, which are charming and fun.

Rested and read a lot on Sunday. Roasted a chicken. Noodled with some ideas, but didn’t do any real writing. Got a different, more potent iron supplement that’s already showing me improvement. CVS was selling 30 of the pills for nearly $15. Target had the same one but 180 pills, for $6. Considering I have to take 4 pills/day right now for the next three months, I got it at Target.

Tried to clean up some of the branches that fell from the last storm, but didn’t get too far. Just didn’t have the energy.

Charlotte managed to climb to the top of the big bookcases in my writing room and run around along them. She’s very proud of herself.

Started watching MURDERLAND. The acting is wonderful, but I don’t like the fractured storytelling and repetition from different angles. A little bit is great, but this is too much. From the two points of view? Great. But the same scene from the two points of view repeated six times? No, thanks. Structurally, the storytelling doesn’t work for me.

Woke up about 4:30 on Monday. Didn’t feel too bad. My injured arm is still in bad shape.

Went in to work with my client for a few hours. I can’t afford to miss work. I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and I need money coming in right now.

If I hear one more news “report” about the lack of skilled workers, I will scream. There are plenty of skilled workers. It’s HR that’s useless, only interested in running resumes through algorithms & treating people badly in interviews. They want skilled workers? Don’t insult them with stupid tests and demands for unpaid labor. Want to retain your workers? Pay them fairly and treat them like human beings. It’s not that hard.

I’m playing each work day by ear right now. Working until I get tired, then stopping. Doing a little writing, but not much. A friend sent a draft of her screenplay to read while I recover — can’t wait.

Planning on going in to work with a client for a bit today. Will swing by the library to drop off/pick up books. When I go home, we’re going to vacuum the house and mop floors, so everything is clean. Tomorrow, when I come home, we will set up the living room as my recovery room.

I won’t know when I’m going in on Thursday until late Wednesday.

I have some placeholder posts scheduled, but I don’t expect to post much until sometimes next week (I’ll have something go live tomorrow).

I just have to survive each day, before I worry about the next one.

Tues. Fri. 11, 2020: Health Issues Change the Game

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

It’s amazing how your whole life can change in moments. Last week, it seemed to be for the better. Now, I’m facing some new challenges.

We’ll get to that.

I’m not sure why yesterday’s post disappeared instead of going live. My apologies. My intent, however, for the next few weeks is changing.

Busy, busy weekend. But the right kind of busy.

Friday was about gathering quotes for the article and starting to write it in my head. I find that shifting my process a bit to write more in my head means my first draft isn’t just blather. I carry the piece within me, thinking about it as I go through my day, working out phrasing and shaping. It makes it easier when I sit down to write.

Watching the fourth season of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. It’s giving me ideas for my own cooking show treatment (not to star me, but something I’m interesting in creating, and also to get used to writing a non-fiction treatment). There are elements I like about the show, but the show I’m craving also does some things differently.

The weather was awful on Friday. Winds 75 mph. Much to my surprise, the power held. But I didn’t work on the computer in the afternoon or evening. I worked in longhand.

That included background notes and the partial outline for the Millie Quinn books. They’ve been part of my “back pocket document” for several years now, but they’re pulling at me. I wanted to get the basics out of my head and on paper, so it didn’t push out the stuff on which I need to be working.

Saturday, I was up early. I experimented with some breakfast pastry, and remembered why I hate working with puff pastry, especially on only one cup of coffee. I realized, as I made the whipped chocolate cream, that it had to be filling added after the baking, not something that could go into the oven (pretty basic common sense). So I basically made pastry for cream puffs, which turned out well. Unfortunately, my pastry tool that was supposed to inject the cream didn’t work. So I sliced the pastry and made sandwich-style cream puffs instead.

I tried doing a variation on a chocolate croissant, using Nutella in the puff pastry. I rolled it a little too tightly, so the pastry didn’t have room to expand in the middle, but it was okay. Not brilliant, but okay. Needs some work.

I had pastry cream in my hair before 9 AM, which gives you an idea of how it went. But that’s part of experimentation and recipe development.

Made a dump run for household garbage, and then another one for recycling. Ran into a couple of friends at recycling, which was pretty funny. It was clear and cold out, and I have my work cut out with me, clearing all the branches that came down in the storm. Friday was the first time; in the ten years we’ve lived in this house, where it didn’t feel secure during a storm.

Scrubbed down when I came home. Most of the Chewy order arrived for the cats. I didn’t expect it until Monday, and was delighted to get it early, because of the toys.

Tessa, Willa, and Charlotte each got a new catnip mouse, and they were delighted. I also got them spring toys, which I waited until Sunday to give them. I did, however, put together the laser toy so they could Chase the Red Dot. Willa and Charlotte were thrilled and ran and jumped and chased as long as I had the energy to hold the wand. Tessa had never seen it before, and had no idea what to do.

Giant load of laundry in as well.

Working on the article, shaping, seeing where I want to fold in the quotes. I had two of them back by Saturday morning, confirmation a third was forthcoming, and the contact info for the fourth. So I’m really only waiting for the quotes from London and Ireland, which should arrive today.

Worked on one of the grant proposals. I have to submit ten pages of work. I’m not sure if I should do 10 pages on a single project, or 5 on two different projects that show more range. I might send an email and ask.

I’m having trouble accessing the other grant’s information, and have to get an email off about that, too.

I want to get both grant proposals and the article out before Mercury turns retrograde on the 17th.

Worked on blog posts for the various blogs. Revised the beginning of the steampunk play, which I will use for one of the grant proposals.

The cats were hilarious. So happy with their new toys. It was the first time all three cats were genuinely happy in the same space since Willa and Charlotte joined the household. I hope this is the beginning of that being the rule, rather than the exception.

Sunday, I wrote 11 pages on one project, not something I should have been working on, of course. Sent off another quote request.

Worked on the article.

Made a smoked salmon brunch tart. Damn thing took over 3 hours. It tasted good, but the look lacked a good look. This weekend reminded me how much I hate making pastry.

Worked on writing and reading, including one of the books for review.

Over the weekend, some serious health issues accelerated. First thing yesterday morning, I went to the doctor. Who was alarmed. Who initially wanted to send me to the ER for a blood transfusion, which I refused. She did some in-office testing, and found that I didn’t really need one. But I had to go to the hospital to have an emergency ultrasound.

I was sent home to be more comfortable at first until the appointment. I used the time to work on the article that needs to get done this week. The hospital was supposed to call me with the time to come in. Hours went by, and nothing. So I called them — now, remember, I have hyperaccussis — talking on the phone is nearly impossible for me, because it causes such pain. Yet I was repeatedly forced to be on the phone because HEALTH CARE PERSONNEL refused to accommodate me.

I called the doctor — and got a third party, who got in contact with the doctor. Meanwhile, the third party told me to schedule the procedure myself. Only the scheduler wouldn’t do it. She said they couldn’t fit me in. I kept telling her that the doctor insisted it was emergency and had to be done today, and she refused. I was headed back to the doctor to find out what to do when the nurse called. She had called the scheduler and the hospital and told them it was an emergency and they had to make it happen.

I had to dash into the car, race across to the next town where the hospital was, not find parking, and then navigate the corridors for the appointment. But once I got there, radiology took me right away. They were very kind for the multiple procedures — some of them unpleasant. But it took multiple technicians at times, and I was there over an hour.

Then, I had to go and get a blood workup done — only the paperwork hadn’t been handled properly up front. So I had to go back to radiology, where they faxed paperwork to reception who then emailed whatever they needed to email back to the blood draw lab — which was across the hall from radiology.

The technician was lovely and kind. She understood my fear of needles, and was quick and gentle. I thanked her for being kind, and she was surprised.

By the time I managed to get back to the car, then nurse called and asked me to come back to the office. Although they were technically off-hours, they wanted me back. They HAD THE RESULTS. None of this waiting for a week. Everything was there by the time I got back across town to the office.

There, they did another round of unpleasant exams — which they did with kindness and gentleness.

The short conclusion is that I have a challenging few weeks and months ahead. In the very near future, I have an emergency specialist appointment coming up, possibly today; a CT scan this week. Fast track surgery. After the surgery, we will re-assess and see if more has to happen, and if so, what the options are. I said if I have a vote, and I will be vocal about it, there are certain things I want to happen sooner rather than later, and she said it might have to happen that way anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m willing to go even consider it. She’s also worried that I’m joking too much and not processing enough.

I shed some tears early on — and the doctor reassured me that it wasn’t my fault and I’d done nothing wrong. Which, of course, I know intellectually, but emotionally is quite different. But what else can I do except joke around with the technicians and try to make it as easy as possible for all of us to get through it? Living in the terror of it all isn’t going to help me. Acknowledging the fear is one thing, but living in it is something else, and I’d rather not live there. I’d rather keep on keeping on, adjusting as needed on the way.

I was put immediately on a medication to get me through until the surgery can happen, and told to watch for certain symptoms. If I have any of them, I am to go to the ER immediately.

Getting the prescription — CVS tried not to use the insurance, and I had to get the insurance re-run, but then it was all affordable. I’m really glad I switched my insurance — had I been on the old insurance, not only would none of this have been covered, but I wouldn’t even have been able to get in to see the doctor. On the old insurance, any time I wanted a doctor visit, I had to wait 3 months. I’m also grateful that I landed with health care

I’m not sure how much I feel comfortable talking about the details of all this, although you can be damn sure I’ll be talking about health care system issues along the way. Some posting might be a bit erratic, and I may pull back on a few blogs , and I apologize in advance. I’m going to try to get ahead on as much as possible.

I’m worried about money. I’m already living too close to the bone, and I was just starting to land opportunities to fix that — I HAVE to, because I have to move later this year, and I may need a new car. If all I’m worried about is money, I won’t have the emotional or financial resources to get well.

The medication started working right away. If they had started me on it earlier in the day, the day might have not been quite so traumatizing. I do want to emphasize how kind everyone except a couple of admin people were along the way. Plus, for the first time in my life, I feel like I have medical professionals that are on my side.

My client told me not to come in today, but I want to go in early and get ahead on a few things.

I wrote the review and sent it out; went to the office. I am waiting to find out when my specialist appointment is today.

I would appreciate any good thoughts you could send my way. I don’t have the support system here that I had in the Broadway community, and being without them scares me — although some of them will support me every step of the way from wherever they are.

Peace.

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Raining and mild for February

Well, it’s been an interesting few days, that’s for sure. And I use “interesting” in multiple connotations.

First, I have a quick post on Gratitude and Growth about my concerns that it’s not cold enough this winter.

Back? Okay, let’s settle in and talk.

I didn’t write about Tuesday evening’s meeting, because I needed to think about it and get over my anger by the end of it. Although the conversation went well, and I enjoyed the person with whom I spoke, there were red flags: a 12-hour day instead of an 8-hour day (but at 8-hour rates), no mention of a relocation package, it not being the position or the organization I expected the meeting was about. Then came the “next steps” part of it. Testing, which I don’t do for free. I understand needing to check someone’s proofreading skills, but you’re going to pay me for my time. Typing? Excuse me? I’m not 20 looking for my first job. Plus, typing accuracy is not necessary on a computer, because you fix your mistakes otherwise. Again, since it’s uncompensated labor, no.

But the deal breaker, for me, was the insistence on taking a DISC personality test — again, unpaid time. Above and beyond the unpaid time, any organization that uses a “personality test” as part of the interview process is not a place with which I want to be associated. Of course, it was presented as a “way to look at communication skills” — which isn’t what DISC or any of these other “personality tests” are AT ALL. They are a way to dehumanize candidates and sort them into single categories, denying complexity, individuality, and creativity to limit one into test boxes. It is data that is weaponized by employers to manipulate employees.

Here are two articles that support my position,“How Accurate are Personality Tests?”and “A Warning Against Using Disc/Briggs-Meyer in the Workplace.

Take your test and shove it right up your ass, honey. I don’t care that “everyone” in the company has to take these tests, and that you have taken them. The mere fact you asked means I’m no longer interested.

I sent a polite refusal, to which I got a link “explaining” what DISC is used for — a load of marketing crap I recognized, because I worked for the American Management Association back when these tests came into more prominent use. I know how the sausages are made. And why.

I was asked to “reconsider” and agree to take the tests. No. I said no, and I mean no. What part of “deal breaker” is too complicated for you? I’m not asking for an exception. I’m STATING, clearly, that any company who demands this of ANY potential employee is not a place I want to work.

I was so angry by the end of the night. Just furious

Another useless third party yakker wasting my time and energy.

So, that was that.

Wednesday was busy at the client’s. Still working on a big project. She’s all set to sign a set of contracts on a project that will be a disaster. I pointed out the contract language that needs changing, and she just shrugged and said the contract is meaningless. She’s wrong, but it’s her decision. I’m not cleaning up the mess.

I was disappointed to learn that one of the radio production companies on the west coast with whom I’d hoped to work this year is on hiatus. They liked the play, but aren’t in a position to produce it right now. I’m sending them a potential funding source later today that might interest them.

I also didn’t get chosen for a regular article gig for which I’d pitched last week. They liked my samples, but felt my voice was too unique. Well, they’d asked for samples in MY voice, not ghostwritten samples. Still, they were nice about it, and at least they gave me an answer. So it’s disappointing, but not devastating.

Add to that, the travesty in the Senate yesterday, with most of the Republicans voting to acquit the Narcissistic Sociopath.

We are truly in dark times.

Then, a bolt from the blue! A major publication for whom I’ve wanted to work FOR YEARS accepted one of my pitches! It’s a tight turnaround time, but completely do-able. The contract is on its way, and I’m sending out my requests for quotes. I’m excited!

I’m working on revisions the next few days, the short story, and two big grant proposals that need to go out next week. I’d like to curl up and sleep, but, right now, that’s not an option.

I also need to purge boxes from the basement. I’m way behind on that.

Finished watched Season 3 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. What a great bunch they were! I liked them all so much.

I’m experimenting with a cake recipe this afternoon. It’s using the basic yellow cake recipe again, but making some more changes.

I did a gigantic grocery shop yesterday morning. That should keep us going for a bit. Making pork bahn mi for lunch. Can’t wait.

Charlotte continues to be a lot of work. She doesn’t connect behavior and consequences. She knows certain things result in getting what she likes, but hasn’t connected that other things result in results she doesn’t like. Plus, this morning, she walked over one of the CD/tape players and set off a fast forward button and it scared her. Poor thing. It’s hard to be Charlotte.

I have a lot to do, so I better get to it.

Have a great day!

Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about books that had a strong impact on me in 2019.

It was a rather frustrating weekend, at least as far as productive writing. I’m still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I worked on, but did not finish the Kate Warne curtain raiser. I am at a crossroads with the scene on which I’m working. I don’t want to add characters this late into the play, nor do I want to have the climax of the play happen offstage.

I got an idea for two more comic mystery radio plays: one a steampunk, and one set against a vintage circus. I wrote the first eleven pages of the steampunk. I had to re-figure the plot once when I changed direction on one of the characters; then again, when I realized that some of the tropes I’m playing with could come across as offensive, and, within the restrictions of time and number of characters, I couldn’t do enough to turn those tropes inside out so using them wouldn’t be offensive. I’d need it to be a full-length evening in order to do that. Maybe I should make it into a two-parter? I’m confused. I have to think about it. There are already a few identity switches, but now I might have to add a character who is only referenced and do another mistaken identity. Or, or, I could enter this character and make this character the Big Bad. Because right now, the Big Bad is never in the script, and I feel that lets the audience down. The characters are all at odds with each other. Or do I want this as part of a series, like I did with the Frieda and Lazarus plays, and have the big reveal in the third play?

I don’t know yet.

I had a question from the director of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” from one of the actors. I think I’ve fixed it in a single line. Fingers crossed.

Discouraged about the LOIs and the article pitches. I’m tired of companies lying about what they want in a certain role. That’s what it all is — lies, to get someone cheap instead of skilled, frightened instead of an independent thinker, and to force them to go beyond the scope of what drew them to the company in the first place — and not beyond the scope in a good way. Not a stretch, but a diminishment.

As far as article pitches, I’m discouraged with myself for not getting them drafted, polished, and out fast enough. I managed to finally get one pitch, for a publication with whom I really want to work for, polished, and sent it off yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Did laundry, worked with the cats a lot, cooked, baked, worked on contest entries and the book for review. Finished the book, wrote the review, sent it off.

We had a snowstorm on Saturday night into Sunday which we needed, but it changed over into rain overnight. We need some steady snow cover, or the tick and bug problem will be out of control and the growing season will be challenging. We had snow flurries on Monday morning, but nothing substantial.

Worked on site with a client, in spite of the holiday. No meditation, so I sat on my own in the afternoon.

Onsite today with a client, and then some work at the library. Video conference with London with a different client, before I go onsite.

Just feel disappointed and discouraged all around. Let’s hope I can shift that this week.

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes  
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Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020: Rain, Writing, Other

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

The temperature is dropping, It’s going to snow this weekend.

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

Yesterday was exhausting with the client, and will be for the next few weeks, while we work on a big project. It’s fine, I’m just wiped out when I leave.

Home, worked with the cats. Charlotte was being difficult. But the Chewy order arrived, which put all three of them in a better mood.

Worked on contest entries, and am re-reading Donna Leon’s FATAL REMEDIES.

Up early this morning, took my mother to a medical appointment. Got some writing done. Off to two different libraries today, for resources that are unique to each.

I am determined to wrestle the end of “Trust” into something that works over the next few days.

Will start my next book for review tonight.

Hope to finish “Trust” and the Kate Warne curtain raiser, and also get some serious work done on BALTHAZAAR. That deadline is looming.

Hoping to get some more LOIs out today or tomorrow, and then polish some article proposals over the weekend.

At least there’s never a dull moment!

Published in: on January 16, 2020 at 10:55 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020: Rain, Writing, Other  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild for January, but getting colder

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about Winter Work. Then, hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the Mid-January check-in.

Yesterday was tiring onsite with the client, but it is what it is. Today will be the same, and so will the next few weeks. We have some big projects coming up.

The more that comes out about this corrupt administration, the more disgusting it is. The Chief Justice must also take action against any Senator who breaks the Oath taken when sworn in for the trial. One of the reasons it’s getting worse and worse is that there are no consequences for breaking Oaths and the law.

Got my reviews out, and new books assigned.

Swung by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up.

Home. Got a chicken in the oven to roast. Worked with the cats. Worked on contest entries.

Delighted to find out that the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” will be performed on January 27. I wish I could fly down and be there for it, but I can’t.

In the first two weeks of January, I’ve had two radio plays scheduled for production, and a proposal for 2 plays accepted. Nice start to the year.

Over the past few days, watched documentaries on The International Sweethearts of Rhythm and THE GIRLS IN THE BAND, which had some overlap. I want to write something rooted in there, but I’m not sure what yet. I have to let it percolate, while I write the other things.

Today, I’m at a client’s, and the home. I’ll be wiped out, no doubt, but I plan to get some work done on the plays and the contest entries. I have the rest of the Kate Warne play in my head — now I have to get it down on paper. Would be nice to come up with a title, too. And I need to finish “Trust.” It’s frustrating that these last four pages are so difficult. I had a decent first writing session on the Winter Solstice novel.

The last couple of days, I tried to start my writing day by reading about writing and craft before writing, but that was a mistake. I need to do it later in the day, and hit the page first thing.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to be a literary cat, but since she’s awkward anyway, it’s taking time. But at least she’s making the effort, and she likes to be in my writing room with me when I work.

I hope I can participate in Remote Chat, but I have a feeling that it will be too chaotic.

The next four days are about writing and going through boxes and putting the last of the winter holiday stuff. It’s supposed to get very cold over the weekend and then snow, so it will be a good weekend to stay in.

Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing  
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Tues. Jan. 14, 2020: The Skeezy & The Stormy

Tuesday, January 14, 2019
Waning Moon
No Retrogrades

Can you believe it? We have a short window with no retrogrades. It’s going to feel strange.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I have an interview up with historical author Jean Roberts.

I was so, so angry on Friday. I’d gotten a quick response from an LOI, asking me for more information and sending me a link to pre-interview questions on a Google doc.

The “questions” were a demand for me to write a proposal, complete with sources. Unpaid, of course. Another question was about how I’d go about contacting a Big Name this company wants to land for a project.

First of all, I don’t do unpaid work, especially not this kind. The company expects “interviewees” to write full proposals WITH SOURCE MATERIAL. Unpaid. Then, the company will tell each one who did it that they didn’t make the cut. Then, the company has a year’s worth of proposals written without paying for a single one. Can you say scam?

Second, I HAVE the contact information for this particular Big Name. I don’t give it out, certainly without permission. And I sure as HELL wouldn’t give it to a sleazy organization like this one.

Third, none of this has anything to do with the parameters of the job about which I sent an LOI — scriptwriting. They said they wanted scriptwriters to write spots FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Not proposal writers to land new clients, or mine people’s contact lists. Yet that’s what these “pre-interview” questions demand.

Boo, shove those questions right up your ass.

It was a decent writing weekend. I have some ideas on what I want to build the Susanna Centlivre play around. I may use both of them, or I may choose one and make it a shorter, more focused play. I need to do some more research.

Friday afternoon, I worked on the books for review. Saturday morning, into the afternoon, I wrote, getting ahead on blog posts. Spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and starting contest entries. I’m still working on the laundry to finish and put away from the holidays.

Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa are making progress. Tessa and Charlotte are still having trouble.

Re-read MY STAGGERFORD JOURNAL, Jon Hessler’s account of writing his first novel. I enjoyed it, but was much more aware of white male privilege this time around.

Made rumbledethumps on Saturday night, from the Moosewood recipe. That’s always good.

It was warm and sunny out on Saturday. I should have done yard work, but I was busy doing other work.

It was stormy Saturday into Sunday. Terrible winds. Warm with rain, but the damp made it feel cold. I didn’t dare work on the computer until the afternoon, for fear the power would go out and hurt the machine. It’s old and limping along as it is. I want to be good to it.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on “Trust.” The end still isn’t where I want it.
Worked on the Kate Warne curtain-raiser, which still doesn’t have a title, but is plugging along decently. I got an excellent ten pages on it, which means it will be longer than I expected — a tad more than a curtain raiser.

Worked on contest entries. This year’s entries are strong, with terrific premises. Always exciting.

Monday client work was fine, and I was happy to get to meditation.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then other meetings.

Looking forward to some solid writing time.

Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

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

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity  
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Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies

Tuesday, January 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

I’m delighted to have Scott Dawson as my guest on A Biblio Paradise today, talking about his book, The Art of Working Remotely. Scott hosts the Remote Chat every Wednesday, which is one of the highlights of my week.

Friday afternoon’s get-together for my work colleagues went well, although I was tired by the end of it. Too much food, which is always better than not enough, and it didn’t go to waste, so all good. The rum cake even turned out well.

Saturday, up early. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance. Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations. We got everything down in my writing room, the backroom, the upstairs. Packed away the Santas, the deer, the nutcrackers, the carolers. Switched out most of the fabric. Eight hours, and it still wasn’t done. Managed to get four loads of laundry in, though.

Weird dreams into both Saturday and Sunday, so I guess October and November will be. . .unusual. Which is kind of what I expected.

Saturday night, watched the movie THREE LITTLE WORDS, with Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, and Red Skeleton. It gave me an idea for a mystery set against Vaudeville. I’ve been playing with ideas like that, set against Vaudeville or Burlesque, on and off for awhile now. But I made some notes, just in case. Ordered some research material. Had a glimmer of an idea for a fantasy YA piece.

Had trouble getting going on Sunday, and really didn’t feel like dealing with the decorations. However, they weren’t going to pack themselves. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance (which is taking some turns). Made a quick grocery run, and got to work. Got the outside decorations in and up on mats to dry before I could pack them. Packed the ornaments from the tree (I’d set up tables with all the specialized boxes, which made it easier). Got the lights down in the living room and off the tree. Took apart the tree and wrestled it back into the back. Got almost everything packed into the Christmas Closet. Even though we have 7 more boxes then we had last year, it fits better, because I packed better and the boxes are more complementary to each other.

7 hours later, and I treated myself for a large Sidecar. I earned it!

Tessa hated all the upheaval, but Willa and Charlotte handled it pretty well. As long as they are around us when things change, they are fine.

Annoyed with the landlord. He had yet a third furnace guy over for a quote yesterday — but didn’t let me know until Sunday afternoon. Has he forgotten that I work for a living? I can’t just take off at the last minute. He said he has to get three quotes for the loan for which he’s applying. Why didn’t he tell me that in the first place? Plus, he doesn’t NEED the loan. I researched the furnaces. Our rent more than pays for the replacement.

The YA fantasy idea spun a bit, and I took notes.

Made ham pot pie for dinner, with extra cheese mixed into the crust. It was good.

Watched the documentary Soundies on Sunday night. Excellent. I wish I had watched it earlier — I would have pitched to write about fan dancer Faith Bacon for 365 Women. And write about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Maybe next year. I made some notes and ordered some research material.

Did NOT want to get up and go to my client’s on Monday morning, but I did. Put in a batch of ham, navy bean, and kale soup into the Crockpot to cook while I was gone. I was grumpy, though, on several fronts. I didn’t get as much as I wanted to done over the break, mostly because of exhaustion. That means I have to push harder this week.

Client work was okay, but I was glad to get out of there, even though it was into the snow.

Meditation was good. I needed it.

Ideas come in batches. My writer pal Paula said, “Like cookies.” From now on, I’m going to call them Idea Cookies!

With a client today and then some other appointments. Decent first writing session. One word after another, that’s all I can do.

 

Published in: on January 7, 2020 at 7:24 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies  
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Fri. Jan. 3, 2019: Short & Sweet Post (For A Change)!

Friday, January 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
9th Day of Christmas
Rainy and cool

Today’s post is short and sweet, in contrast to yesterday’s long and meandering. I have work colleagues coming over for some merriment in the afternoon, and I am running around doing last minute prep.

Make a chocolate rum cake last night – not sure I’m happy with it.

I have plenty of food, I always do. Yet I always worry, and I always worry I don’t have enough liquor.

Cleaned and tidied yesterday afternoon. Did some research for the new play (which I plan to finish this weekend). Started reading the next book for review. Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa have made huge progress; even Tessa and Charlotte have made SOME progress. Charlotte is our Problem Kitty.

Wrote a few pages on the Winter Solstice romance.

Furious that the Narcissistic Sociopath with the Rapture Secretary of State are getting us into another war. Heartbroken at what’s happening in Australia, too.

This weekend, the tree comes down and everything is packed away, I finish the play, I work on the romance and the BALTHAZAAR edits, polish some article pitches, work with the cats, and read the book for review.

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, where I have my January To-Do List. I already have a few unexpected additions not posted!

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on January 3, 2020 at 10:19 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 3, 2019: Short & Sweet Post (For A Change)!  
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Tues. Dec. 3, 2019: Catching Up on the Dailies

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Nasty weather

It’s been nearly a week since I shared my daily life. And quite a week it’s been.

Tuesday night, we decided not to go to Maine for the big 60-people-for-dinner-at-the-rented-hall. Between plumbing issues and furnace issues and car issues and traffic issues and my back issues, it didn’t make sense.

They were disappointed, but they understood.

Wednesday morning, the plumber showed up early. Put a new faucet in the kitchen sink, new valves, worked on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. I scrubbed out under the sink (where it had also leaked) and left it open, so it could dry

By the time he left, it would have been too late to get on the road anyway, and the traffic was dreadful. So was the weather. I was grateful to be at home. Popped out to get a couple of things we needed to cook the meal at home.

Managed to get out the polished version of “Pier-less Crime” out and the company is excited about it.

Watched ROMAN HOLIDAY with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s been years since I saw it, and I’d forgotten a lot of it.

Sketched out some story ideas (in words, not actual sketches). Figured out more of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, which is the play about Canaletto’s sisters.

Up early on Thursday morning. Made the stuffing, got the turkey in the oven. Wondered if maybe I went overboard buying a 20 lb. turkey.

For some reason, the meal prep upset Charlotte. She was very agitated. I wonder if she was moved after a large family meal more than once?

We had a high wind advisory with warnings of power outages, so I put it in a little early, to make sure the oven was on and we could actually have the meal. We had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas with it. Tiramisu for dessert. We ate about a half hour or so earlier than normal (in Maine, we usually sit down around 1 PM).

The meal was excellent, absolutely perfect. The weather outside howled and was frightful.

I felt like I did dishes for hours, though. My own damn fault, because we used some of our favorite old pieces, all of which have to be hand-washed. Which is just fine.

Make stock out of the bones, and then turkey soup. We also have plenty of leftovers. Yum, yum!

Too tired to watch anything on Thanksgiving night. Read. My back was bothering me. Everyone on our little street was away for the holiday. It was blissfully quiet.

Up early Friday morning. Put in the Chewy order. That was the extent of my Black Friday shopping. Put away the washed dishes. Two runs to the dump, one for household garbage and one for leaves.

Got the decorations out of the Christmas Closet and sorted them. Got the tree down and put it up, just the tree and the lights. Tied in place, because we don’t know how Willa and Charlotte will react to it.

Switched out the fabric on the various surfaces to Winter Holiday fabric, everywhere but in my office. My office is where everything we don’t know where to put while we’re decorating goes, so it will be the last to be decorated.

Put up the musical instrument fabric over the fireplace. Put up the red ribbons around the doors and windows (we hang cards from the ribbons around the doors and the ribbons look pretty around the windows).

Got the Advent table set up with the wreath, four silver candle stands, and the centerpiece this year is the Broadway snow globe.

Believe it or not, that took all day.

In my NYC apartment, everything only fit one way. Here in the house, we have the option to do things differently from year to year, which is fun.

Fish and chips for dinner, which is always fun to make and eat.

Re-watched A ROOM WITH A VIEW on Friday night. Much more critical of it this time around, although the locations and the camerawork are gorgeous.

Up early again on Saturday morning. Paid some bills. Had to go to Home Depot for something I couldn’t get elsewhere, and was so disgusted I left without buying anything. I hate Home Depot. I don’t like to spend money there anyway because the owner is a rightwing lunatic, so I avoid it unless I have no other choice.

Went to AC Moore. Will be sad when they close after the holidays. I like them as an alternative to Michael’s. Found a few things I needed. Went to Trader Joe’s for a few things, and to Christmas Tree Shops, where I ended up spending more than I planned, but I would have done so over the course of the month, so might as well get it all done in one go.

Went to put gas in the car — and couldn’t get the tank flap unlocked. I still had a half a tank of gas, so no reason to panic yet, but I was upset. I can’t afford another car repair. Headed to Country Gardens to get the plain wreath for the front door, so I could decorate it. Then the hatch wouldn’t open. I was furious. That was just fixed a few months ago. I’m tired of them fixing stuff and then, a few months down the line, it needs to be fixed again.

Driving away, suddenly the tank latch worked. So I turned around, headed back to the gas station, and filled up, just in case. The hatch started working again, too. At no point in any of this did any warning lights come on.

Decorated the wreath for the front door. Finished decorating the fireplace mantel. We put the carolers up there again this year, against the backdrop of the musical instrument fabric. The blue poinsettia garland hangs below the carolers. We have gold bells hanging center top, and, above that, by the ceiling, holly and ivy and gold ribbon and a gold musical instrument swag.

Unpacked a few other boxes of ornaments, but it took a long time and not a lot seemed to get done.

Got four loads of laundry done, though, and outlined two novels. Decided an idea that was going to be a Thanksgiving story would really be a Solstice/Christmas/New Year story.

Worked on the book for review.

Instead of cooking what I planned to for dinner, Twitter pals raving about Turkey leftover sandwiches inspired me to make gigantic dinner sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Delicious!

Read and made notes on a few projects.

Up early on Sunday. Worked on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT for a few hours, before I started back in on the decorating.

The Santa collection was set up on the Behemoth. Ornaments top the ribbons on the doors and windows. Pine cones will be added later. More ornamentation was added to the mantel. Most of the tree is decorated, but that usually is a work in progress until it comes down. But enough is on so that I could put on the tree skirt. The kitchen tree and the kitchen nutcracker are done, and I unpacked and washed the holiday mugs. Which means I have to pack away the same number of day-to-day mugs, so there’s room in the cabinet.

Turkey pot pie for dinner, a little reading and writing in the night. I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I went to bed early.

The weather turned on Sunday — rain, sleet, then back to rain by Monday morning.

Up early on Monday, morning routine and some writing. Getting ahead on blog posts. Writing a letter to fight for insurance again. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars and begging in order to get onto insurance every year. Romney-care DOES NOT WORK. We need a single-payer system.

I’m updating my freelance contract, and will update the website to reflect that. Rates are going up for 2020. When the locals balk, I just add more remote clients, who understand that skill and quality are worth the money. I have never lived anywhere that skills are so disregarded as they are here. The only thing respected is coming in rich.

Working on the release information, media kit, excerpts, promotion, etc. for GRAVE REACH, which releases on Thursday the 5th. I’m very excited about this book. I achieved what I set out to do with it. I learned a lot from this book, and that will feed in to the rest of the books in the series.

Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and also getting back into the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Worked on the book for review. I hope to have the review out either later today or tomorrow, latest.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, getting into the holiday madness. Onsite again today. Finally got back to meditation group after missing the last two weeks. It was much-needed.

The sink is working just fine, but the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is still leaking, so the landlord is going to have to deal with it.

Still lots of decorating to do, especially in my office.

I’m enjoying the Advent calendars, though.

Need to start writing cards this week. The overseas cards need to go out on Friday.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.