Tues. Dec. 6, 2022: A Richly Busy Weekend

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Day Before Full Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Curl up and get comfy, and we’ll have a catch-up.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about looking back at November and forward to December.

Friday was a lot of fun. Mailed bills on the way out of town, and headed down to Great Barrington. I found a shorter route, which was good. But, because we’d left later than I expected, we stopped at another store on the way down that was open, but wouldn’t have been had we left on time, and picked up something we needed (but didn’t find the bayberry candles we went down to get).

On the way down, we made an impulse stop at the library in Pittsfield, which was having a lobby book sale and found some cool books. Some of them holiday craft books, because I am a sucker for even tacky holiday craft books (especially at 50 cents a pop). And these have some cool ideas in them.

We went only to one store in GB, one of our favorite thrift stores. I found a train station for my Christmas village and the crossing sign lights up! (Which is more than the crossing sign IRL down the street does). Found a couple of small plates in a favorite pattern, a really cool mermaid candle holder, and a silver chain and bracelet with the large links I need for the charms I have for each. I also found a silver-plated frame for my favorite picture of my dad (who died when I was 10).

On the way back, we stopped in Stockbridge, in search of bayberry candles, but no luck. Then it was to a store in Pittsfield to pick up the last gift for extended family in Maine, and a few goodies for us. With a stop at Adams Fresh Market for fish for Friday night supper.

Pizza for lunch. I’m going to have to start making pizza from scratch again. Store-bought pizza tastes worse every time we buy it.

In the afternoon, I turned around two script coverages, and did some admin work. I was tired by the end of it. Really, really tired.

Tried reading for pleasure, a mystery that came recommended. But the writer uses “witch” as a slur against women and the world’s internal logic doesn’t makes sense, placing the characters in the “too stupid to live” category. So that one goes back, and that author is crossed off my list.

In Ellen Byron’s latest newsletter, she posted a photo of gigantic earrings she bought several decades ago in a shop on Columbus Ave. in NYC. I started laughing, because I remember the shop AND the earrings. They were too big to wear, so she turned them into Christmas ornaments. I love that so much. And that’s just so Ellen.

Her next Catering Hall Mystery (under the Maria DiRico name) comes out in March, and I’m excited.

Saturday morning, I had trouble getting going. But I did. And I wrote the first draft of “Net Worth” (which goes up today on Ko-Fi). The bones worked, and I knew I would do some edits. It came in a little over 1K, but hey, I don’t have to fit someone else’s word count. It won’t go too far one way or the other once it’s edited.

I started “Comfort, Then Joy” which was originally aimed to Ko-fi, but which I now feel is better suited to the quarterly newsletter. The story’s in my head; it’s just a case of getting it down on paper.

After a couple of hours at the desk, we hauled out the big Christmas tree from the broom closet and brought it into the living room. I started fighting with the stand, which has never worked well (and I bought this damn tree in 1989, or maybe it was 1990).

I finally decided I had HAD IT. I put the stuff down, wrapped up, got into the car, and drove into the escalating storm to get a new artificial tree stand. I got the last small one in the store, and while I was there, picked up a couple of oversized decorative poinsettias that clip to branches. I had hoped to find a finial topper, but no luck. I’ll keep looking in thrift stores after the holidays. All the other traditional toppers were too gaudy for our tree.

Home. Unwrapped. The new stand snapped together in less than 5 minutes, the tree slipped in and locked, and we could spend quality time fluffing the tree, instead of fighting for an hour or more with the stand. We put the lights on the tree (which actually had stayed coiled properly this year). And moved the tree into position in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room. We use the glass doors to frame it.

Even though this stand is far sturdier than the other one, I tied off the tree to the door hinges, just for added security.

We unpacked all the ornaments from the big bin in the closet in the sewing room and put them on. The shimmery gold ornaments and some small wooden ornaments go on last, after everything else goes on, and we put those aside.

That took most of the afternoon, but we had a lot of fun with it. Each ornament has a story, and we tell and retell our history with it.

The kitty litter delivery from Chewy also arrived, so I got to haul 45 pounds of cat litter up the stairs.

Sprawled on the couch reading in the evening, with candles on and cats on laps.

Willa is so gentle when she checks out the tree. It’s kind of adorable. Tessa circled it a few times, and pointed out where some branches needed adjustment, and then was satisfied. Charlotte watched from a safe distance.

They really are all very good with the tree. But then, we don’t shut them out when we decorate. They’re always a part of the process of unpacking ornaments, putting things up, or packing them. ALL my cats have been good with the trees. I mean, Elsa (tortie) used to climb the bare tree, but she was fine once the ornaments were up. And Iris (Russian blue) used to choose a patch of tree she wanted bare and remove the ornaments. But none of them were ever destructive.

The storm intensified, and we had power outages on and off all night. Tessa did not like it, and roamed the house, complaining, each time it went off or on. I discovered that, while I could report the outage to the electric company, the gas company has no system for outages. WTF? Charlotte and Willa just burrowed deeper in blankets.

By the time I got up on Sunday morning, everything was fine again.

I mean, we live in a city, not a rural area (despite what Staples claims, when they slap “rural carrier fees” onto orders). It makes sense they’d get the power back on pretty quickly.

Sunday was cold and sunny. My neighbor knocked to let me know packages arrived last night. He’d knocked on the door, but, for whatever reason, I hadn’t heard, and he’d taken them in and then brought them over this morning. One was the Goddess Provisions box (which I didn’t expect until Monday) and the other was a gift from a friend in NY.

After breakfast, I revised “Net Worth” mostly for internal logic, and starting to layer in some sensory details. There’s plenty I intentionally don’t explain and leave for the readers’ imaginations.

I did some more work on “Comfort, Then Joy” which is surprising me for all the right reasons. I’m a little past halfway with it. I figure it’ll come in between 3-5K, a little longer than I wanted for a newsletter story, but it’s a fairly short newsletter.

In the late morning, we went over to the Alpaca Farm to pick up a gift for the cousin in Maine, and then to pick up a few things at Wild Oats. They had bayberry candles! And wonderful ones, from Mole HIll in Sturbridge.

The afternoon was all about wrapping presents, packing the packages, writing the cards to go in the packages, taping everything up, mailing labels, etc. I was tired, grumpy, and feeling every bit of my age by the end of it. Charlotte helped, which was pretty funny.

I like the wrapping and choosing things I think my friends would enjoy. But the whole post office prep can be a bit much. But I had the labels and the tape and the Sharpies and all the rest, so it was fine.

Too tired to do much more in the evening except have a glass of wine with some cheese, crackers, and fig/orange spread, enjoying the 2nd of Advent candles and the partially finished tree.

Dipped into a bit of Script Chat, but felt old and grumpy and in pain, so I wasn’t at my best.

To date, I have been invited to 17 different holiday gatherings, none with appropriate COVID protocols, and therefore have said no to all the invitations. Not worth the risk. I’m grateful they invite me, but I’m not getting sick because someone can’t be bothered to wear a mask. So I don’t put myself in high risk situations.

Fell into a very deep sleep. Charlotte woke me around 1:30. When I went back to sleep, I dreamed that I met Dewi Hargreaves, with whom I’m friendly on various social media, in person. We were meeting a couple of others we “knew” from social media in a parking lot somewhere, but they were wittering on about stuff we found vicious and tedious, so we ditched them to go to a book-lined bar and talk about books, which sounds like a nice evening to me. In this Dreamscape, we didn’t have to worry about COVID.

Tessa woke me up around 4, and I told her I was NOT getting up that early, and fell back to sleep. I dreamed that I was at an estate sale, bought 5 vintage suitcases, some books, and lots of women’s gloves. I have lots of suitcases (but love luggage) and I do pick up vintage gloves a lot (at least I did, pre-plague), so that made sense. But there was this other guy there, who kept trying to take stuff I’d already paid for and add it to his pile.

According to dream “experts”, dreams about suitcases mean an upcoming trip, or the need to access personal information about yourself. Dreaming about gloves shows a need for protection. It’s pretty obvious what someone taking something symbolizes. However, in this case, I think it was all more literal than metaphorical. But I’ll use the Rackham Tarot given to me by my friend to dig deeper. That deck works well for dream work.

I woke up late, and felt behind the beat and tired all day.

I got the Monday blogging done, made the SM rounds, sat down and made the grocery list. I took the packages to the post office. Managed to park right in front, walk right up to the desk, and was done in just a few minutes – AND within budget. Everything will be where it needs to be by the end of the week. It was sunny, so everyone was in a good mood (and most masked, indoors).

Went to Big Y to do the Big Shop. I think I’m all set for baking – will probably need to get more eggs, as some point. But I’ve been stockpiling staples for a few weeks, and I think I’m in pretty good shape.

Got a batch of veggie stock made in the crockpot. Did another draft of “Net Worth” so it was where I needed it to be in order to put it up this afternoon on Ko-fi. Polished the next two posts for The Process Muse, chose the graphics, uploaded and scheduled.

Turned around two coverages.

Jeremy’s soup class was great. He taught us to make Italian Wedding Soup, and I learned a bunch of new techniques. Charlotte was delighted, although I had to stop and grate some Parmesan for her, because he used Parmesan and talked Parmesan, and every time he said the word, she got all excited.

Tired. Had weird dreams overnight.

Last night was St. Nicholas Night, a traditional celebration, where one leaves out a shoe, and wakes up to find it filled with chocolate or candy or whatever. Chocolate and cocoa for us, this morning. And we generally put the goodies in either a gift bag or one of the Christmas stockings and put the bag in the shoe, because, you know, hygiene.

Waking up to chocolate is always good.

The coffee filter split this morning, so there are coffee grounds in the coffee. Better than no coffee, and I HAVE to get the new coffeemaker up and running.

Roxane Gay shared an article written by Isabel Kaplan about her boyfriend, a fellow writer, breaking up with her once she had some success. He didn’t like that she kept a journal. He felt it was his “responsibility to take her down a peg” and so on and so forth. It reminded me so much of a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship I was in back in the mid-90’s. I’m so glad I’m not still with that guy. I would be dead, emotionally (and most likely physically; he had a history of dead wives). She talks about parsing out her good news, about contorting herself emotionally until she’s a pretzel and then blaming herself for the hurt. It hit very close to the bone. Too many men in my life have defined “partnership” as me putting my writing last while doing physical, emotional, and sexual labor to promote their careers. No. Just no. The right partner will not sabotage the writing. The bell weather for me, in a relationship is – if my writing improves, sparkles, strengthens with this person, it’s a good relationship. If the writing falters or stalls, it means get the hell out.

And, as someone who has kept a journal for 50 years (there are boxes of them in storage), anyone who tried to keep me from my journal, or, worse yet, violated my trust by READING it, was gone in a heartbeat. My blogs are public. What’s in those handwritten books is private.

The big priority this morning is getting at least some of the next episodes of LEGERDEMAIN uploaded and posted. ‘Net Worth” goes up on Ko-fi this afternoon. We’ll see where we are, timewise, after that. I need to work on “Comfort, Then Joy” and also work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and more LEGERDEMAIN, but that might not happen.

The baking begins today. I’ll do two batches of one kind of cookie right after lunch, then start my script coverages for the day. That should let me get all my baking done by the end of the weekend, so I can start delivering cookie platters early next week.

No doubt, I will post photos as I bake.

Have a good one, my friends. Peace and joy to you.

The next epsiode of Legerdemain goes live today. Enjoy!

Fri. Nov. 18, 2022: Words, Grief, and Mars Retrograde Influences

image courtesy of Enrique Meseguer via pixabay.com

Friday, November 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Yesterday was just kind of weird and all over the place. Meditation was good, and Charlotte was thrilled and sat on my lap the whole time. Between meditation on Thursdays and soup class on Mondays, she feels very well adored. Because, of course, Zoom is all about her.

I was late getting my Nano words in on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but managed 2051, with an interesting twist to the story. I’m veering farther from the outline, which is why an outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I’m not thrilled with that day’s work, but it opens up some interesting arcs. I will have to decide if they all need to be wrapped up in this book, or some of them go a few books into the series. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Over 40K now, so the finish line is in sight. About halfway through the book’s sweet spot for the genre.

Did the social media rounds to promote Legerdemain, and to interact. Because they both go hand in hand.

Put in the Chewy order. Ordered the new coffeemaker in a pre-Black-Friday sale.

One of the things I don’t miss about Twitter that I liked about other platforms is that we are more responsible for curating our own feeds. I was so sick of the “if I haven’t followed you back, give me a shout” or “prove you’re not a bot”. No, bitch, I’m not your administrator. Fix your own timeline. I’ve got enough work handling mine. I’m not doing unpaid labor on your accounts.

Of course, the bullies and the trolls are trying to invade the other platforms, demanding what others can and can’t post about and how. Counter Social handles it well. Mastodon, because it’s so many different servers, and each has different protocols, is harder to navigate.

However, one thing I am firm about is not putting “content warning” on something because it’s a project I’m talking about or promoting. While I am more than my work, being on social media is about the work. If you don’t like it, we’ll just do a mutual block and not come up on each other’s timelines.

One traditionally published author was ranting about how writers “have to” put content warnings on anything that might sound like promotion (which is, basically, any time a writer talks about their own work), because she “didn’t want a timeline full of promotions like on Twitter.” Then curate your timeline, you dumbass. Again, don’t expect other people to do your work for you. You don’t want to read promos? Filter, block, mute, or hey, JUST SCROLL BY. Don’t bully others who are trying to keep a roof over their heads because you have a traditional publishing PR machine behind you.

Blocked. Noted the name so I NEVER buy or take one of her books out of the library. I rarely say never, but in this case? Never.

I completely forgot it was Freelance Chat day on Twitter and missed it.

In the afternoon I saw a post asking if anyone knows a video editor to “chop up” a large block of video into chunks.

Bitch, that’s not what video editing is.

How insulting to anyone who is an actual editor. Video editing is about nuance and precision timing, and restructuring the smaller blocks so they stand alone while feeding the whole arc.

Mars Retrograde much?

The Mars Retrograde definitely influences me wanting to punch so many people in the throat right now. And I have to watch myself.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon, not three. One has a problem, which I hope will be fixed. Grabbed a couple more for early next week. I have two very long coverages to do today, but I’ll do what I need to do.

Got the next two books for review.

Twitter is in its death throes. A lot of us were on there last night, saying goodbye. Some people I’m okay with letting go. I figure the ones with whom I’m really tight, we are already connecting through other means.

There’s talk about creating “another Twitter” but I don’t think that can be done. It was unique. For all its flaws, it did a lot for connection and communication. I’ve been on there since March of 2009, for goodness’ sake. That’s 13 years, which is a long time.

Other platforms are different and serve different purposes. Sarah Kendzior pointed out how this is different than other platforms fading away because this is intentional destruction. I’m sad I couldn’t save my Fearless Ink archive (I have my DE archive). But if I sign out of the DE account, I won’t be able to sign back in, and I won’t be able to sign into the FI account anyway.

I’m sad. It’s definitely meant my sales take a hit, as far as the Topic Workbooks, the Delectable Digital Delights, and the serial. But I will figure out other marketing paths and regain lost ground.

There are things I won’t miss, but there’s a lot that I will. But this is what happens when it’s owned by someone else, and why it’s so vital to have one’s own website and space, apart from social media.

With all the grieving, I also look forward to trying to create something different elsewhere. I will probably try and leave several platforms, or have to use different platforms for different things. But the work will continue.

Former clients are contacting me in a panic, wanting consults on what to do next. I’m telling them to hold tight, because entire marketing strategies will have to be re-devised, and we’re all making it up.

This morning, the cats let me sleep until a quarter to six, which was nice. The work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH took longer than I would have liked, but came in at 2831 words. It’s a complicated ensemble chapter, but sets up some necessary dynamics, and I’m pleased with the bones of it.

I was supposed to be part of a state legislative session on the arts this morning, but they didn’t send me the link, and I’m not chasing it down, so there’s that.

I need to pick up a lot of books at the library, and head out to Wild Oats to pick up a few things. Script coverage this afternoon. It’s snowing and not every few minutes, so hopefully the weather won’t be too bad for errands.

I hope tomorrow’s weather is good enough for the jaunt down to Great Barrington. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I had a migraine yesterday, but not the option to lie down until it passed. You can yammer about self-care and health all you want, but the reality, for many of us, is that we can’t just stop whatever we’re doing. Fortunately, since I work remotely, I could at least be grumpy and miserable at home.

The major need was to get the next batch of LEGERDEMAIN episodes edited, uploaded, and scheduled, and get the ads done. Although I’m still behind in the general ads from the last batch.

I’d hoped to get episodes 21-30 done. I got through episode 29. 30 really launches that last act of this first large arc, and it makes more sense to do it with the last batch of episodes. That last batch needs a lot of revision, and will probably wind up broken down into shorter episodes with more drive, which then puts the first major arc over 40 episodes. Which means the initial offering will go over 100. So much for that pretty 90 number! Oh, well. Needs must.

I changed the episode title of one of them. I’m overusing “Welcome” in episode titles.

Anyway, in spite of numerous computer crashes, one of which messed up the dashboard badly and I had to do a lot of work to get it untangled, I got all nine episodes revised. That was nearly 11K words, and I did about 3 drafts on each episode.

I wrote the episode loglines for the nine new episodes, and got to work on the episode ads. I only got five done before I ran out of steam.

Freelance Chat was fun, although I was distracted and a little grumpy. I had rehearsal stuff to deal with for a radio play. I worked on the Shakespeare horror story which has to get out the door this weekend. I’m struggling, because it keeps taking a comic turn, and they were very clear about not wanting comic horror, but horror-horror.

I got some admin done, but not enough. I got a little more done this morning. The Chewy order arrived, so there’s cat food for the next six weeks. And I ordered the tulip bulbs we’re going to try to plant in troughs overwinter and leave on the porch, and then put out on the balcony in spring.

Berkshire Gas hit me with an enormous “settle up” bill for the end of the balanced billing year, and raised my monthly rate yet again. Which is going to make the next few months difficult. So much for thinking I could ever get ahead or get any time off. They also shouldn’t be allowed to double the price per unit IN THE SUMMER, and then probably double it again in the fall, making sure they screw us all to the wall.

Today, I have to run errands. I meant to run some of them yesterday, but never left the desk, so they all have to happen today. It’s supposed to get very hot again during the day, but cool off at night, so we’ll see if I stay here all day to work, or pack up and go somewhere cool.

I need to get the ads done and finish a draft of the horror story. I should turn around a script or two, since I only read two days this week so far, and I have that big ass gas bill to pay. And I need to get the cats to the vet to get their shots updated. And, you know, establish with a vet here.

So I’m feeling stressed and overburdened right now. It will right itself, especially if I make the time over the weekend to get some rest.  But once I get this first big arc uploaded and scheduled, I can focus on writing the next arc. Episode 29 takes me through November 1, releasing twice a week, and the last episodes will get me into December. So that gives me some breathing room to do the next arc, but I also can’t drag my feet.

I also need to do some more work on the Legerdemain website this weekend. I want to be able to start promoting it, but I can’t do so unless there’s fun content on it, not just the episode releases and loglines.

I also need to read the next book for review, so I can send off the review on Monday.

The Topic Workbooks are chugging along nicely, and doing the content calendar/scheduling the ads has taken a lot of pressure off me. Being able to upload some of the Legerdemain ads has also been a help.

I need to get back to work on the next three radio plays, too. One has to go out by the end of the month, and the other two are due in September.

One thing at a time, right? All I can do is the best I can do. But it all has to get done, and I have to be ferociously protective of my time and energy right now.

I’m also not going to chase people down for stuff. I said I could do X within a specific time frame, and needed Y by Z. You don’t get it to me, it’s not happening. You’re not paying me. I said I could help out, but only within a specific time frame. I am not nagging or begging or “sending reminders.”  Be a fucking adult and do what you said you would do when you said you would, or communicate so we can adjust the schedule. Don’t just not do it or makes excuses or  ghost, and then expect me to jump when you get back in touch. I have paying work that takes priority. We set dates. Cough up or shut up. I am moving on to people and projects where any other parties involved step up and supply what’s needed with in the time frame. And pay.

Obviously, I need to make some serious meditation time this weekend.

Back to the page (and later, to the library). Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 19, 2022 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension  
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Tues. June 14, 2022: An Enjoyable Weekend

image courtesy of Rustu Bozkus via pixabayc.om

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Busy weekend, but a good one. Headed down to Pittsfield for a quick jaunt to pick up a few things I couldn’t source elsewhere. Turned around a script coverage. Got showered, dressed, and put on makeup to go to the art opening. It was close enough to walk, and the weather was good enough, so I did, even risking walking in cute shoes. I mean, I couldn’t wear sneakers with the dress. I could, but I didn’t want to.

The opening was artist Conrad Egyir’s solo show, after a year of teaching as an artist-in-residence here at the college. The work is wonderful. The way he captures eyes is compelling. There’s so much life in them. He’s also a really nice guy. We had a good conversation. The exhibit runs until September 1, so I can bring visitors to it.

One of the things Egyir mentioned echoed what the artists in the Open Studios at MassMOCA said: that being here gave them a sense of freedom and liberation to experiment and try new work. They didn’t feel the commercial pressure and expectations they felt at home. People are busy doing and creating here. Instead of putting newcomers through tests to join various inner circles, they open up, include, and encourage, and that’s a nice atmosphere to be around.

Attending these events makes me think more about my own work. How can I take more chances? How can I mix disciplines to tell stronger stories?

Came home, got into comfy clothes, and made dinner, then worked on the next review assignment.

Signed up for a yoga class – again, in walking distance (although I will drive). It’s one of the few studios in the area with strict COVID protocols. I’ll take the class, see if I like the teaching style and feel comfortable at an indoor class, and go from there. It will be my first in-person class in nearly three years. It’s at the end of the month, a special new moon yin class.

Going to the art opening tonight and going to class in a couple of weeks are both calculated risks. If I’m wrong, I’ll pay the price.

Actually slept well on Friday night, although the cats got me up early. I was at the Farmers’ Market just after they opened, and so excited to gather the week’s bounty (and talk to the farmers and other shoppers). Farmers’ Market is as much as social experience as a shopping experience.

After the Farmers’ Market foray, I went to the grocery store and built the week’s meals around what I bought at the market.

When I came home and put things away, I had to make another batch of vegetable stock, because my “odds & ends” bag in the fridge was full. I’ll need to rearrange the freezer as I freeze lots of stock, so that we have it in the winter. I used a lot of cilantro stems in this batch, so the whole house smelled like cilantro (which is a smell I enjoy).

The Goddess Provisions box arrived and it’s wonderful, built around the sun, and summer solstice.  Ellen Byron’s book, BAYOU BOOK THIEF, the first in her new series, arrived. After lunch, and answering some follow-up questions on a script coverage, I started reading it, and finished it on Sunday. It inspired me to see if The Pump Room in Chicago ever put out a cookbook or cocktail book in its heyday. I have one of their drinks carts and some glassware, which an extended family member who worked there gave my parents when the restaurant underwent one of its renovations. I’d like to see what they cooked. One of the later chefs, when it was part of the Ambassador Hotel, has out a cookbook, but I want something from the early days.

It was supposed to rain on Saturday all day, but it didn’t, so people went out and enjoyed the day. In the evening, people had their drinks out on their porches and balconies and called out conversation from safe social distances. It was fun.

A Twitter pal was talking about how there should be magicians at funerals, and now I must write a short story “The Funeral Magician.”

Up early on Sunday, thanks to the cats.

Discussed airlines and airports between LA & NY with Dianne Dotson, in preparation for her upcoming trip. Liana Brooks and her family fly out of Seattle Sunday, to live in Korea for two years.

There’s a lot of transition in the city where I live now, especially among artists coming and going in various residencies. I always lived that way in theatre, too. And it makes me realize how stuck I’d gotten on Cape, not actively pursuing more residencies and opportunities, even before the pandemic made it unsafe to travel. Sometimes it was financial; but other times, it was almost as though I felt I didn’t have the right to it, because I have everything set up the way I want/need it in my home office. There’s got to be a middle ground between living in transient situations and getting overly stuck. I want to be grounded and put down roots and feel like the place I live is my wonderful home. But I also don’t want to feel like I “shouldn’t” go for residencies and other short-term opportunities.

Granted, they’d have to be short, since I am the breadwinner and the caretaker of an elderly parent. But I still should do some of them.  I have a few ideas, for the next couple of years.

I’m not yet comfortable attending conferences in person. Too many people. Too few COVID protocols. But residencies with small groups and protocols in place should be do-able. I’m not yet ready to fly again, with the airlines being irresponsible dickheads turning planes into spreader events, but maybe something in driving distance now and again, until I feel comfortable enough to try, would be a good thing.

There were plenty of things I “should” have done, but I chose rest instead. I did, however, wash the inside of the large kitchen window, and re-set the fun little items along the sill that I took down when we decorated for the winter holidays. The outside of the window needs a good scrub, too, but it was supposed to rain, so I decided to wait.

I read THE SACRED BRIDGE by Anne Hillerman, which was good (although I figured out the murderer the first time the character appeared on the page).

Had a restful afternoon/evening using various products from the Ipsy and Goddess Provisions boxes. Made scallop-and-vegetable pasta for dinner.

Every once in a while, I get sense memory stress from this time last year (the next two weeks could be particularly rough). As I mentioned yesterday, I use meditation techniques to bring myself back into the actual moment, and remind myself I’m not going through that right NOW. That was the past. NOW is different, better, and what’s important.

The TONY Awards were on Sunday night. I was delighted that Matt Doyle won for his work in COMPANY. I worked with him on SPRING AWAKENING, and enjoyed it. Patti LuPone won for her work in COMPANY as well (of course she did, she’s Patti LuPone). I was happy to see Shoshana Bean nominated for MR. SATURDAY NIGHT (we worked together on WICKED). The tribute Bernadette Peters did for Stephen Sondheim was lovely. I’m lucky to have worked with both of them.

Slept well on Sunday into Monday, which was nice. Tessa had a fit because it was nearly 5:45 by the time I got up to feed them.

Got some writing done, caught up on email. Went to re-order checks, and discovered when the account was set up at the bank, they’d mis-spelled the address, even though they copied it from the lease. So I went to change it, and, as usual, it was Big Drama. I am so sick of being treated like a criminal instead of a customer every time there’s something to be addressed. The thought of moving banks again is overwhelming, or I’d do it as soon as my “year” is up in August (here, you can’t switch banks until you’ve been with a bank for a year). NONE of this is about security, as they claim. It’s all about control. None of the systems are to actually serve the customers.

Because it was a beautiful day, I walked to the library to drop off/pick up books, mailed some bills at the Post Office, and stopped at the bank to make a deposit and leave the letter with all the details in writing for the manager. Of course, there was still Big Drama all afternoon, and I am sick of it.

We had squirrel hilarity at lunch (which I will write about in the garden blog on Thursday), and then I took Willa out after lunch in her playpen. Charlotte ran away when I tried to put her in her playpen, so I only took Willa out, and then Charlotte pouted. Her own fault. Tessa would rather be on the front porch, on one of the Adirondack chairs, and not limited by a playpen.

Started reading a book which I sort of like, sort of don’t. It’s set in Cornwall, which I like. The plot reminds me an awful lot of the first season of BROADCHURCH. And the author uses third person omniscient. Not as badly as many authors do, but not all that well, either.

Got the Mystic Mondays booklet of New Moon and Full Moon Spreads – I will use one tonight, for the full moon. Ordered a couple of things online, including putting in a new Chewy order. They’d never contacted me, as I requested, when the cats’ preferred food came in stock. It is now $4/bag more expensive than it was. So we’re sticking to the less expensive food, which they are eating just fine, which is $8/bag less than the original food.

Started a script coverage, but kept getting distracted. I have plenty of time until it’s due, and I grabbed some more for this week, so all is good. Sent off a couple of radio plays to a producer with whom I’ve worked before. They’re darker than he usually uses, so they might not work for the company, but I want to keep everything out there, earning its keep!

The kitchen island I ordered arrived, ready to assemble. I’m sure it will take the rest of the week, but, once it’s done, it will be great. The box was 70 pounds, but I managed to get it up the stairs.

Enjoying the long evenings, where we can sit on the porch or the balcony, reading or just being. Next week is the Summer Solstice, and then the days start getting shorter. So I will enjoy as much as possible. That is one of my goals this summer – to actually enjoy it.

Busy day today, so better get to it. Hope you are well, happy, and having a good one.

Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates

image courtesy of Christoph via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy and pleasant

There’s a garden update on Gratitude and Growth here.

As I mentioned yesterday, while I was at the laundromat, I did 26 pages of the multi-colored draft on CAST IRON MURDER. Yeah, that will take some time, to clean up the sloppy language. I’m keeping some of it as a cadence choice for a particular character, because it supports/reveals who she is, but will fix it in plenty of other places. So much for being happy with the book!

Had a terrific conversation with my Llewellyn editor about the article I’ll write for them in 2024. Which will be contracted in the next couple of weeks, and due in August. Because almanacs work two years in advance. The material I wrote last year for next year will release in August.

It’s also a reminder to put reworking the Cerridwen iris Shea website into the schedule for this summer, as well as sorting through the twenty-six plus years’ worth of material I’ve written for Llewellyn annuals, where the rights have reverted back to me, and I can publish them elsewhere. That’s kind of a major project, since there were years where I had multiple articles in multiple annuals, which is part of the reason I burned out.

Another thing on the list, right?

And then, the rest of the day just sort of evaporated. Much of it was due to the combination of grief and rage against the elected officials for allowing continued gun violence and refusing to do anything about this. I’m tired of my government’s determination to kill me and those about whom I care (and even those about whom I care, who I don’t know). I’m tired that we are expected to pay to be murdered. It has to change. Part of that is that Democratic leadership has to change. They need to be as ruthless, no, MORE ruthless than Republicans.

I did some research, and found out that one can file a petition with the IRS is a tax-exempt organization has broken the rules. I looked at the checklist, and the NRA has broken many of them. Gathering supporting documentation won’t be difficult. I posted the link multiple times, but I doubt anyone else will do anything. I also worked on a letter to Chuck Schumer demanding Joe Manchin be removed from all committee assignments. Stop pandering to someone who stabs us all in the back at every opportunity. The carrot hasn’t worked. Used the stick and beat the SOB into submission until he’s voted out. I’ve worked with Senator Schumer. I like and respect him a great deal. But he’s not ruthless enough. If McConnell can always get everything he wants, Schumer needs to be just as much of a dirty fighter.

We took Willa out on the back balcony in her playpen in the afternoon. She was fascinated by the sights and smells. So different from being out on the deck on Cape. I will have to take the cats out in the playpens by turns – there isn’t room for all the playpens at once, like there was on our deck. So each day, one of them gets to go out. I have a feeling Tessa won’t like it, but I at least want to give her the option. Charlotte definitely wants to go out. And she’s very good in her playpen.

Put in a Chewy order. The food Tessa likes is out of stock; I’m trying one bag of a similar one, and ordered treats and the cactus scratching post. Because the 100% response to the Twitter poll was that I should get it (like I wasn’t going to, anyway). I had to buy a toy, too, to get it up to the level for free shipping.

I’m trying to look at the lack of script coverage work as a gift of time, to heal from burnout, and enjoy it, rather than worrying.

I read the next book for review, and will write up/submit that today, and hopefully get assigned a new one before the holiday.

Meditation this morning, then some work on the Big Project. I have to do a library and grocery run, and then it’s back to the page to work on the Monthology story, some more edits on CAST IRON MURDER, and the radio plays.

There’s plenty to do, I just have to stop frittering away time.

Have a good one!

Published in: on May 26, 2022 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates  
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Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Fri. Feb. 18, 2022: Spiro Squirrel Is A Brat

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pxabay.com

Friday, February 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Snowing

Yesterday was another somewhat scattered day. It was in the 50’s, mild, and raining all day. It was supposed to be mild today, then temperatures drop tonight with another storm coming in, but it was already snowing before 8 AM this morning.

Meditation was good. Charlotte sat in my lap the whole time.

Smoked salmon Benedict on brioche for breakfast, which was yummy.

Got the next section of The Big Project done, at just over 1600 words.

It was raining and windy, so I put off my errands.

Got some admin done, did some background research on some companies I want to pitch, participated in Freelance chat. Got an idea for a series of interlocked short stories, inspired by something I read in the book club book.

Spiro Squirrel knocked on the back window at lunchtime, as though he expected me to hand him my sandwich through the window, the little brat. It’s squirrel mating season, and they’ve decided the back balcony is their lovers’ lane, so there’s that going on.

The Chewy order arrived, with the treats and the new toys, including Robot Mouse. I want to give the cats some interactive toys to keep them busy. I figured Willa would like Robot Mouse, because she’s such a good mouser.

She does. She thinks Robot Mouse is excellent fun, and chases it, catches it, and plays with it. Since it’s a robot, she can’t tear it apart, the way she does with real mice.

Charlotte is curious, but cautious, and keeps a safe distance. Tessa Is Not Amused.

The afternoon was split between script coverage and collaborating on the anthology. I also got some reading snuck in for book club (I need to catch up online with everyone). I got some good ideas for my anthology story, based on our discussions. We’re doing detailed world building, amongst all of us, that I want to make sure that richness is part of the piece, not that the world is a backdrop. It needs to be integrated.

I rearranged a single shelf in my office. A baby step, but it makes me feel like I got something done.

Unpacking one of the boxes of books that wasn’t supposed to come up; it’s mixed books, rather than project books. However, some of them are relevant to new projects, so I’m sorting and shelving them, and it’s all working out.

Pasta with sausage and tomato for dinner. Yummy.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are excited for the winter break next week, so no sessions. Not that any of them are going anywhere, but there won’t be classes; it’ll be books read for fun and games and videos and puzzles, and stuff like that.

Today, I was supposed to do errands, but if it’s snowing, I’ll limit them. Tomorrow’s supposed to be bad out, so I’ll just have to cope with whatever. If I can’t do errands this weekend, I can’t do errands, and they just have to be pushed back until next week.

I have to clear off some script coverage, and I’m done for the week with that. I am way below what I’d hoped to earn there this week, but I’ve been burned out, and I’d rather do less coverage, but give each script the time and attention it deserves, then rush through it and not give each one a fair shot.

Work on the Big Project today and all weekend, plus working on contest entries. I need to catch up with some admin, and do housework this weekend, too. I hope I get some rest in there.

Charlotte woke me at 1:30, but I managed to fall asleep again, and then overslept until nearly 7, so it was a rocky start this morning. But bagels will make everything better, so I’m off to eat my bagel for breakfast, and then return to the page. Peace, friends, and see you on the other side of the weekend. Have a good one.

Published in: on February 18, 2022 at 8:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 18, 2022: Spiro Squirrel Is A Brat  
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Wed. Jan. 12, 2022: Writing In My Head

image courtesy of Chriszwettler via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was another day that was kind of all over the place. But I got some good stuff done.

Plowed through a bunch of emails, got out an LOI. There were some interesting submission calls in my inbox. One, I really wanted to do, but I don’t have anything suitable. It’s for a one-act play, 30-40 minutes, 4 characters. All my plays of the correct length have more characters; the ones with four or fewer are too short. I started to adapt a short story into a stage play, but that’s going to be too short, too. I don’t have time to write a new play from scratch, and have it in anywhere near decent shape by deadline.

There’s another call for a short story that got my wheels turning. It only needs to be about 1500 words, so if I can actually sit down and do a rough draft today, and it’s strong enough, I could revise it and have it in by deadline. I started writing it in my head. If it goes on the page as well as it’s unfolding in my brain, I’ve got a shot.

We’ll see.

Wrote a little bit on The Big Project. Not as much as I wanted to, but it was a comic scene that had to be properly structured. The joke lands, so I think it will be okay.

Worked on script coverage and on contest entries.

Charlotte sat down on my keyboard, causing all kinds of chaos, but now the “Editor” function is back in Word. Go figure.

Thank goodness there are plenty of leftovers.

Put in the Chewy order for cat litter. Packed away the boxes of holiday decorations. One box was dripping. I opened it—it contained large, outdoor balls I hadn’t used this year. They were full of water. A small hole in the top, where the hanging loop was put in, meant that, being outside, they could accumulate water inside.

I drained them and have left them on the counter to thoroughly dry. Don’t want them getting moldy inside.

That was weird. Just weird.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. Because everyone’s still remote, the kids don’t have to spend most of their day worrying about active shooters and whether the person next to them will expose them to a deadly virus, they can actually learn. Let’s face it, none of this insistence about forcing in-person learning is actually for the well-being of the kids. It’s all about making sure their parents go back out to Die for Their Employers. It’s disgusting.

I woke up on my own around 5:30 this morning, no feline choir. I’m writing this morning. Then, late morning, I will bundle up, load up as many library books as I can carry, and do a drop off/pick up.

Script coverage, book reviews, and contest entries this afternoon.

Onward.

Tues. Jan. 11, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of Nicky Pe via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Bitterly cold

It is 1 degree F this morning.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step.

The weekend was kind of all over the place. Worked on coverages all the way through. Was honored to be requested by two writers (on two different scripts) to read revisions based on notes I gave them a few weeks ago.

Worked on packing decorations and figuring out where to put everything so we actually have living space for the year. I’m handwashing the holiday fabrics. Some of that is because I don’t want to put the glittery fabric in a commercial machine; also because there’s no way I’m humping it all down to the laundromat in this weather.

The library has cancelled all in-person programs for the month, which is a wise idea. There was a positive test at the co-op, and that staff member and two others who were in close contact are now in quarantine. I hope they are okay.

We’re having the weather we were warned about, so staying home is my only option (especially since the car doesn’t work). Snow and freezing rain all weekend, frigid temperatures today. I have a big stack of books to return to the library, but that will happen later this week. Since the virus numbers keep going up, and the entire country is back in “Die for Your Employer” mode, I’m happy to stay home.

Did some reading for pleasure, because I needed the break. Didn’t work on The Big Project until Monday, which threw off my rhythm for everything else. We’re eating leftovers, which is a good thing to clean out the fridge and not waste food, and because I just don’t have the energy to cook right now. Although I managed a chocolate mousse on Sunday, which was delicious.

Tessa is really angry at me for taking down the big tree that was in the doorway between the sewing room and the living room. She loved to glide under it to go from one room to the other, and also liked to sit under it.

As a joke, I put a small, 15” tree (that was on one of the bookcases) down in the same spot the big tree stood. Tessa glared at me like, “You think I’m stupid?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte walked around it, checking it from all angles, and then looked at me, puzzled, like, “I remember this being bigger last time I was here.”

Willa paid no attention, being her Willa self, and busy with other things.

The dog bed that was once Tessa’s and then became Willa’s is now Willa’s again. It is on top of my mom’s bed (instead of being on top of boxes near the window, where we thought Willa would like it), and she sleeps curled up in it during the day (and curled around my mom at night).

Saturday was sunny, but cold. I ran a few errands on foot, and then dug out the car, so that Friday’s snow wouldn’t freeze down when Sunday’s freezing rain hit. Definitely a good call, because Sunday was miserable. The plows were out all day, scraping down to pavement and then sanding, very conscientious, before Monday’s next snowstorm hit.

Sunday was nasty, freezing rain all day. I was glad to stay in, work on script coverages, and read. And keep working on packing up decorations. I’ve somehow misplaced two boxes – the decorations came OUT of them, so I don’t see how I could misplace them in this finite space.

After 10 years, I had the packing/unpacking down to a system, because of the way it fit into the Christmas Closet in the storage area over the garage. But I have to figure out how it works best here, so it’s a lot of geometry involved, finding out it doesn’t work, and starting over.

It snowed most of Monday. Again, the plows were conscientious about coming around to scrape down to pavement. Once the snow stopped, in the late afternoon, they put down a lot of sand, in preparation for today.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate. I did work up some notes on The Big Project, finding a way to integrate a new idea into the current outline, and giving it room to create another big arc (if I decide that’s what I want), or maybe even a spin-off.

I plowed through the email that had stacked up. Outlined some specialty blog posts. Spent some time on the acupressure mat. Worked on script coverage. Started on the print books in one of the categories I’m judging. I have to contact my book review editor; for some reason, I can’t find the links to upload the two reviews I just worked on. I also have to get back to the search for someone to fix the car today, so I can set that up for next week or so.

Made a black bean soup from the Moosewood recipe – very good, and easy. That recipe will become a staple recipe in my repertoire.

The Chewy order finally arrived; I felt sorry for the driver. The delay in delivery is not a problem at all – I’d rather the drivers stayed safe. The way Fed Ex lies about the delivery is not okay. Just tell me it’s delayed; don’t keep insisting it’s coming “today” as they did Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Target order – which is five small, but necessary items – is coming in three different boxes. And I’ll have to put in another order with Chewy this week for the cat litter (the one that arrived was for food – we’re good for the next nine weeks). The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with good stuff.

I’ve received so many oracle decks in the past few years, between Tamed Wild and Goddess Provisions, that I think, in spring, I’ll give away the ones with which I don’t connect strongly/don’t use. As I’m unpacking stuff and setting up the office/bookcases/ reading nooks, I will put aside the ones I want to give away, and then set it up in spring, when it’s easier to get to the post office.

Once I post here, I’m off to do some work on The Big Project, to try to get back on track with that. I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this point; however, I really like the quality of the writing. Then, I’ll write up the scoring sheets for the entries I read last night, and get back to the script coverage. I have to get a lot read this week if I want to make my nut this pay period (and I’m pretty sure I’ll fall short, but I’m so damn exhausted, and it’s not fair to the writers if I’m not in top form to write up the coverage).

I need to get back on track with THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, too, but that can happen this weekend. And I need to get some LOIs out.

Later this month, I need to get back to working on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, so they can start re-releasing. I was so thrilled with the new covers, and now I’m having second thoughts that they might be too busy, using photographs instead of line drawings. The original covers are too similar; these new covers are too different, and the tiny logo in the corner doesn’t really tie them together enough. I’ll have to mull that over. Although I’m not going to go for a re-design during a Venus retrograde because that’s simply not wise. But I can think about it and consider options and styles, and how I really want these workbooks to sit in the world. They are my steadiest sellers, so I want them to be both useful and easy on the eye.

Today is bitterly cold. It was supposed to snow all day, but it’s sunny right now. I’m just grateful the power is still on!

Charlotte woke me at 3:33 AM, wanting attention, and the minute Tessa heard her, Tessa started, in full voice. I grabbed the feather bed and moved to the couch, grumpy that I had to leave my cozy fleece sheets, but not wanting Tessa to wake the neighbors at that hour. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was 7 AM and more snow had fallen. Poor Willa got the short end of the stick this morning – no attention AND late breakfast. I had weird dreams on the couch – busy dreams, not stress dreams, at least. But I still felt like I’d already put in a full day by the time I woke up.

It’s supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, and cloudy, so the plan (so far) tomorrow late morning is to pack up as many of the library books as I can carry and return them, and pick up the books that have come in. I’ll probably go across the street to the college library in the next few days. I have some digging I need to do in their shelves. Best to do it before classes start up again next week.

I hope the virus numbers go down enough in spring and summer that I can work IN these two libraries a couple of times a week. The spaces are so terrific, I want to utilize them. But not now. Now, I’m isolating as much as possible.

Stay safe and healthy. May you have the energy you need to both get through the day and create.

Thurs. Nov. 11, 2021: Getting over a Grumpy Pants Day

Image courtesy of Sandy Millar via Unsplash.com (not one of my cats)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Veterans’ Day

Yesterday was a Day of Grumpy Pants for me. There’s a much happier post this morning over on Gratitude and Growth, celebrating what’s lovely around here.

Once I got the Nano words done, I cleaned out about 300 emails (still have a lot to do). But at least that was progress.

There’s a new post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, because I have just HAD it with these companies and organizations who shout how great their work culture is, and then expect/demand unpaid labor as part of the interview process or as a condition of interview. The fact that LinkedIn has jumped on that bandwagon is even more enraging.

Yet another reason to despise LinkedIn.

Went to the library to drop off/pick up books. The librarian on duty apologized that books keep coming in as soon as I walk out the door. I reassured her that she has no control over what time the delivery van gets there, and I’m right up the street, so it’s not a big deal for me to head to the library a few times a week. In fact, I enjoy it.

From the library, I went to CVS to see what was going on about my mother’s insurance/medication. I’d gotten conflicting emails the day before on what was going on.  While I had to stand in multiple lines for well over an hour to sort it out, everything is sorted, and, honoring my mom’s payment of her deductible, in spite of Tufts being asshats, the co-pay was zero, for all three medications. We’ll have to start again in January, with the next deductible co-pays, but I’ll take it for now.

I didn’t really mind standing in the various lines for so long, because the pharmacists were actually listening and helping the customers. And they were giving out flu shots in the moment. Anyone checking out was offered a flu shot, right then and there.

What a difference from the CVS in Centerville, where any question was met with, “No, we can’t do that” before one even finished asking (unless one paid cash under the table), and any time a shot was scheduled, they’d make excuses not to do it, or, if they did it, act like it was the biggest inconvenience they could imagine and it ruined their whole day.

So, yeah, I’ll stand in the lines and not get impatient, because these pharmacists are actually helping people.

But I missed Remote Chat, which yes, I missed. I’m fond of that group.

Did some reading for fun after lunch, and then buckled down and wrote up my script coverages. Paused to make turkey meatloaf and get that into the over. After dinner, I read two more scripts, which I hope to write up this morning; if the weather holds, I’d like to spend some time at the lake this afternoon.

Charlotte is so happy playing and sleeping in the Chewy box that I don’t have the heart to break it down and put it away yet.

Like we don’t have top quality cat beds in every room, as well as the cats allowed on couches, chairs, beds. And that big ass kitty condo.

But, if it makes Charlotte happy . . .

They let me sleep until 5:35 this morning, which was a gift.

Got 2442 words written on CAST IRON MURDER. Hard to get into it today, but once I was past the 600-word mark, it got easier. I passed 26K in the 50K for the month, so I’m on track. I’m a little over a third of the word count I think the full book will have. Getting there, as long as I can keep it up.

Meditation group online was great this morning. Charlotte spent the first half on my lap (because, hey, ZOOM, and she loves the sound of the teacher’s voice). The second half, she spent on her favorite table spot next to my desk, looking out of the window at the falling leaves. Which, since the teacher talked about trees and leaves today, was kind of funny.

Planning to write up the script coverages, and then see if I can get a little more work done before lunch, to clear some more off my desk. If the weather holds, I want to go to the lake. If it turns, I’ll start the books for review, before reading today’s script quota.

Most things are closed and quiet for Veterans’ Day. I will do my Ceremony of Thanks tonight, after Knowledge Unicorns.

And on we go.

Thurs. July 29, 2021: Dressing For Me

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

This is the 49th anniversary of my father’s death.

Yesterday was a heavy reading day. I got some writing done in the morning, caught up on email, etc. Got out a script coverage. Participated in Remote Chat.

In the afternoon, I read the book for review, and two more scripts.

Which means today has to be a heavy writing day, with four script coverages and a review to write up, not to mention working on my short articles and next week’s class.

I’m jotting down ideas for upcoming posts on both the GDR site and Ink-Dipped Advice. Those blogs will start up again in the coming weeks. I don’t want to start everything all at once, because then it will be overwhelming. I’m going to stockpile material and then stagger the starts of the various blogs’ returns. I’d like to always be about a month ahead. That gets sticky for some of the GDR posts, because the nature of that blog is immediate and mutable, at least for the posts at the start, end, and mid-month. But the Monday “tools and resources” posts can be done ahead of time.

I’m working on the questions for 2022, which should be interesting, considering what we’ve all been through, and what we’re facing.

One of the things I’m doing now, in the morning, after my first writing of the day/yoga/meditation/shower, is to get dressed properly. When I cleaned out my clothes before the move (and donated oh, so much from my NYC life), I found a lot of cool, interesting pieces that both fit and are comfortable. So now, I’m wearing them.

There’s no reason I can’t be comfortable in my clothes as a remote worker and still look good/professional. Those are not mutually exclusive. I’ve never been someone who can work in pajamas. Pajamas mean sleep. I have enough sleep issues; working in pajamas would only complicate them. And I’d gotten into the habit of wearing the same few items over and over again. I have a whole closet and drawers full of great pieces which make me feel good. Why not wear them? I use the good china “just for us.” Why not the same with clothes?

Do I sometimes still need to change out of writing pants to put on “real people pants” to go out and run errands? Yes. But that’s getting to be more the exception than the rule. I always put on lipstick, even under the masks. For years, I’ve said I can be stark naked, but as long as I wear lipstick, I feel dressed. That’s still true.  I’m also putting on a little bit more makeup, too, whether I plan to leave the house or not. I do it for me. After all, I have the monthly IPSY subscription – why not use it, instead of stockpiling? Not just when I have Zoom meetings, but because it makes me feel good.

I’d started wearing my rings again (for those of you who know me, I generally wear 8 rings, each with a specific story/meaning), I stopped wearing rings and most jewelry when I left the house during last year’s portion of the pandemic because of the decontamination protocols – I’d have to decontaminate all the jewelry every time I returned. Once the decontamination protocols eased, I’ve been wearing jewelry again out and about. But now, that numbers are going back up, and we’re talking about putting the protocols back in place, I’m not doing it as often.

I’m tired of having my life dictated by the tyranny of the stupid and the selfish. Anti-vaxxers should be banned from public spaces. Let THEM be the ones forced into isolation for the coming months. Stop punishing the people who’ve worked hard to do what’s right for themselves, their families, and their communities for the past eighteen months. I have no problem continuing to wear a mask until the vaccine is developed for kids, we can vaccinate kids, and we can get 97% or more of the population vaccinated. No problem. It’s a mask. It’s not a big deal. I DO have a problem with selfish idiots refusing to do their part and helping the virus mutate and kill more people. Those individuals need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on others. And not allowed to cause any more damage.

Anyway, I’m joining the online meditation group this morning, and then it’s all about writing reviews and script coverage. If I can fit it in, I might participate in Freelance Chat at noon, but I’m not counting on it.

The days are getting shorter. When I first got up, just before 5, it was too dark to write out on the porch. I may get a battery-operated camp lantern out there (mine is, of course, in storage – will see about bringing it back when we do the storage run).

Our old Hoover vacuum is not working properly. It’s about 30 years old, so it’s definitely put in its time. I ordered a new Eureka vacuum from Chewy, and it should be here tomorrow. It says a lot that I am so excited by the thought of a new vacuum!

I’m looking forward to Lammas on Sunday.

Published in: on July 29, 2021 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 29, 2021: Dressing For Me  
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Tues. July 13, 2021: Patient Rebuilding

image courtesy of Peter Fischer via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

It certainly rains a lot here. At least it keeps the temperature down. And everything is very green.

The weekend was good. The rain let up a bit on Saturday morning, so we headed to Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire. Bought a few plants and herbs, and some fruits and vegetables. Boy, are their strawberries amazing! Pretty much everything was delicious.

Rested a bit in the afternoon, and worked on the unpacking. It goes slowly. It’s like a puzzle. Do a bit here, then have to adjust something there. It will take a few weeks to figure out how it all fits, and then feng shui it properly. This place is difficult to feng shui. But we will figure it out.

I finished some script coverage on Friday, so I didn’t take on any more over the weekend. At least for the summer, I will try to keep my weekends work free. We will see what the finances demand in the autumn. I do intend to put my head down and work steadily, taking on as much as possible for as much money as possible, although I have to wait until my head clears a bit before so doing. The exhaustion won’t let up.

Six months of stress won’t melt away in six days.

Sunday was about unpacking. Most of the kitchen is now unpacked. I was rather horrified by how dirty the pieces that were inside a glass-fronted cabinet had gotten. Granted, last year, when I was sick, I didn’t do the all-out spring and fall cleanings we usually do, but still, things shouldn’t be that filthy after a year. Inside a closed cabinet. It’s an indication of how the pollution has increased on Cape since we’ve moved there – with the constant chainsaws and mowers and leaf blowers and other tools, there’s no clean air any more. One used to smell the salt air of the sea; no more.

We are only a few blocks from downtown in the new neighborhood, but we are surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s the occasional mower or leaf blower for 10 or 15 minutes once a week or so, during business hours. It’s not the constant cacophony of destruction it was on Cape.

Read a book on the Kindle for the first time since I moved here. Bought something on a whim, that sounded fun. It was. Fun and didn’t strain my brain too much. Not brilliant, not terrible, just decent brain candy. Sometimes, we need brain candy.

Grabbed a couple of scripts to cover on Monday. Slid back into sending out LOIs, trying to catch up on emails. Paid some bills. The check arrived from TD Ameritrade on Friday afternoon – by UPS, not Fed Ex, so no wonder I couldn’t track it. Because, you know, it would be too much to expect them to know the difference between two different companies.

Also got a lovely housewarming gift from friends who live in Kentucky, from a company called Grandma’s Chicken Soup: chicken soup, mac and cheese, challah bread, chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food from the farm was so delicious. What a taste bouquet!

Mixed feelings about the Branson “space” flight over the weekend. On the one hand, I’m of the generation who adored the Apollo missions; however, there’s plenty the billionaires should be doing to help THIS planet before feeding their space egos. Like paying taxes, for one. Yes, I want more space exploration. No, I don’t want it by billionaires.

I have to get to work on the Llewellyn pieces – I have 25 short pieces due in October, so I’m going to do 3-4/week over the summer.

Monday, I also re-started my yoga practice, after weeks away from it. I may have gained some strength, but I’ve lost flexibility. So I will work, daily, to get it back. It’s a shame that years of building strength and flexibility were all lost over a couple of months, but time to build back up.

My meditation practice suffered, although I did at least a few minutes every day. I want to figure out where I can set up a meditation space and get back into longer daily meditations. Maybe I can rejoin the online group in Concord on Thursday mornings.

Got some work done in the morning. I feel as though I’ve lost all my creative skills. The tank is empty, and everything is a struggle. I feel horribly uncreative and untalented. The reality is exhaustion and warped perception, and I have to be kind to myself as I ease back in. I’d hoped to jump in, but don’t have the resources.

At ten, we headed to the library to get our new library cards. I’m a little disappointed that we’re on a sort of probation for three months, and can only take out two books at a time, before we are considered full library patrons. From someone who regularly checked out 50 books at a time, it’s a difficult adjustment. But I got out a book on local history, and the reference librarian is eager to help me find more, so I will go back and do some research in the lovely room.

Swung by the post office to drop off letters and bills.

My Ipsy bag arrived (it’s lovely, as always), along with Goddess Provisions, and the Chewy order.

Got started on the pieces for Llewellyn. Amazing how writing even one short piece helped.

Tessa got me up early this morning, because the cats were hungry. I can ignore Willa and Charlotte when they are a pain, but then they bring in Tessa, the Big Gun. Tessa is She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

I started re-reading Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION, about journal writing. I’m using my personal, handwritten journal, first thing in the morning (after I feed the cats) to try to reconnect with my own creativity, so I can get back to my daily 1K first thing in the morning again.

My bad shoulder hurts today (the one that was dislocated and has rotator cuff problems). This morning, I have to take the laundry down the street to the laundromat. That should be an adventure. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have laundry in the building before. I’m taking work with me. More script coverage, more LOIs, more short pieces for the almanac. Slowly, slowly, building back my creative life.

Slowly, slowly, figure things out. Make sure it works for life as it is now, not doing things because it’s the way I did them before. I don’t want to get stuck, the way I did before.

Onward.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.