Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Went Direct Late Last Night

Thank goodness Mercury won’t be in retrograde for my birthday.

At least, in these last few weeks, with surgery and healing and prepping for more surgery, and all that, I’ve gotten a chance to think about a few issues and make some decisions. I will review those decisions now that Mercury is direct, and then, after my next surgery in ten days, start acting on those decisions. I will share those decisions as I’m comfortable so doing.

I worked on one of the books to review, but didn’t finish it. I needed rest, and to do so, I decided to re-read some of Donna Leon’s Brunetti books. That was good.

I did some of my own writing (although not enough). I worked on article pitches. I figured I’d wait until today and tomorrow to send them, when Mercury is direct.

Worked with the cats. With Charlotte, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But at least it’s that ratio, and not more backward movement than forward. I have to accept that it will take several years to undo the damage they have. But at least she loves to sit in her bed next to the window while I work on the computer. When I have to go out, she sits there and waits for me to come home, and then greets me. I just have to figure out a way to broker a deal for peaceful co-existence between her and Tessa.

Willa and Tessa have peaceful co-existence, and they might even work up to being friends one day.

From their behavior, I suspect their original human thought it was “cute” when they competed for attention. Therefore, they believe that only one of them can get attention and affection. When, in reality, there is plenty of attention and affection for all three, and when one gets it, it doesn’t mean less love available for the other two. That’s learned behavior, and only socialized affection over a long period of time will get them to adjust. Working on it every day.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived — all about dreaming. Some good stuff in there.

The Chewy order arrived on Saturday afternoon. Fed Ex dumped it on the side yard, instead of leaving it at the door. We couldn’t see it from the windows; the only reason I knew it arrived was because the tracker said it was delivered.

Then, I had to drag it into the garage and unpack it into the garage, because, after surgery, I still can’t lift much.

But we’ve got food and litter and new toys. The cats were thrilled with their new toys. Tessa got a catnip-filled carrot with feathery bits on top. She drags it around the room upstairs and loves it. Charlotte got a rattly catnip squirrel and Willa a soft, catnip-filled mop ball. Only Charlotte stole Willa’s toy, and Willa was upset. She didn’t want it anymore, with Charlotte’s cooties on it.

There are catnip fish and mice that I hid and will dole out in the coming weeks.

We put the sofabed away, finally, on Friday afternoon, and have some semblance of a normal living room back, at least until the middle of next week, when we set it up again for my next surgery. I got the instructions for the prep and am not happy about it. Everyone’s acting like this is nothing; I think it will be worse than the first surgery.

I’m trying to adjust the iron pills, because I’m in a constant state of nausea from them. That’s the one good thing about the second surgery — no iron pills for the week before.

Four loads of laundry on Saturday. Should have baked bread, but was too tired.

It snowed overnight into Saturday — just a few inches. And was lovely and spring-like Sunday, but I was too tired to do yard work.

Trying to get some tidying done because of those damned Home Energy Assessment people coming on Friday morning (before my follow-up appointment). I resent that I’m the one who has to lose work so the landlord can apply for a loan. This is the fourth time I’ve had to lose work in this whole replace-the-furnace debacle — and we still don’t have a new furnace. Not to mention it’s in the middle of all the health issues. I resent it. The landlord had THREE YEARS to get this done. And we HAD an assessment — SEVEN YEARS ago, and he made zero changes from it.

So I’m grumpy.

I’m also grumpy from the whole “spring forward.” I hate it. It upsets my energy levels and internal clock for weeks. I felt behind all day yesterday, even though I got up almost at my usual time.

I made a vegetable sauce for pasta out of the Brunetti cookbook last night, and it was good: eggplant, zucchini, tomato, three kinds of peppers, olives. Just yummy.

I’m worried about the spread of the Corona virus. My mother is in the top risk category, being in her nineties. Because of my current health issues, I am also high risk. So we’re being cautious. And the people who don’t take it seriously and take glee in putting others at risk make me angry. Interesting how all of them around here who do that are also supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Up at the normal time yesterday, grumpy as all get out. The first early morning writing helped lift my mood. Had to go onsite with a client for awhile, then pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

Up early today, writing, and then onsite again with a client. Not happy that I can’t do the work from home. Can’t afford not to work for this particular client right now. So I’m being as cautious as I can in the situation.

Onward.

Published in: on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 10, 2020: Trying to Stay On Course  
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Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?

Friday, March 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Partly sunny and colder

Yesterday’s big grocery shop left me feeling secure. I like to have a well-stocked pantry. We’re supposed to be prepared for a 14-day quarantine at this point. I like having that much on hand anyway. As a freelancer, when I’m in periods where I’m earning more money, I try to stock up so I don’t run out in the cycles where the money’s slower coming in. I am stocking up a little more than usual on cat food and cat litter. And toilet paper.

Although the price gouging on toilet paper has started — doubled in price since two weeks ago.

Spent a little time at the library; it was noisy and distracting there today, Got a few things out, including an introductory package to a place I thought I’d like to work for until the list of materials kept growing exponentially. It least they read resumes and look at materials. Another company, touting its positive remote culture — wanted me to do one of their projects (a newsletter) as an unpaid “sample” as part of their interview process. Didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, folks. No. No unpaid labor as part of the interview process. Look at my resume. Read my samples. Ask for additional samples. If I have to craft something project-specific to your company, there’s a fee involved. I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a career professional with decades of experience. You want unpaid labor? Bite me.

Heartbroken that Elizabeth Warren dropped out. The misogyny from her own party and the media has been revolting. I don’t want an old white man as president. in spite of the genuine affection and respect I have for Joe Biden (I was lucky enough to work on a few things with him over the years).  I’m done with that. I don’t want a moderate. Moderates putting their hands over their ears singing, “la-la-la” is part of how we got into this mess in the first place. Where we are now has been in the works since Reagan. And could have been stopped.

But removing the Narcissistic Sociopath and his Evangelical Q-Tip have to be the priorities right now.

Agreed to help a friend with editing some of his college work. He’s going back to school, which is great. His professor uses MLA, which is eye-rolling. I mean, it’s always good to learn all kinds of skills but MLA is rarely used outside of academia, and my friend isn’t planning to work in that arena. Heck, I tossed my MLA handbook back in 1985, when I realized how little relevance it had to my life. Going to the community college bookstore to see if I can hunt down another one, and ordered one from the library.

The college bookstore is selling used copies of a “reference” that includes a little MLA — for $63. Um, no. I ordered it off the internet for 99 cents. A new guide, JUST MLA style.

Didn’t get much writing done this morning, so will have to adjust that later in the day. Working on some article pitches. Put in a big Chewy order this morning — cat food, cat litter, and then ordered a bunch of toys to get the free shipping. Because the little monsters are so happy when we open the box and it contains new toys. Which is even more important than the free shipping.

Working on the books for review, and getting back to the new batch of contest entries. Will do some of the paperwork on the entries I’ve read this weekend, so it’s not all in one big lump at the end.

This morning was the first full morning yoga practice since the surgery. A little sore, but I’m glad I did it. Hoping I can add an evening practice back in soon.

I didn’t realize how long I’d felt bad (since about 2013) until I started coming back from surgery and feeling more like myself. Amazing how you adjust incrementally to feeling lousy so you barely notice it until you’re forced to notice.

Knowledge to use moving forward.

We have to start some spring cleaning this weekend, although I’ll be limited in how much physical work I can do. But it’s time. The mourning doves are back early this year, and so are the Phoebes.

Planted nasturtiums, cucumber, spinach, and snap peas (inside) yesterday. Made tollhouse cookies last night because I felt like them. Will make some cardamom wheat bread (new to me recipe) either later today or tomorrow.

Target run on the schedule today, a bit of work at the library, and then back to the page.

Have a great weekend! It’s supposed to get colder and stormy here.

 

Published in: on March 6, 2020 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?  
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Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work

Friday, February 7, 2020
Waxing Moon
Foggy and cooler

I’ve got a short post aboutMotive up on Affairs of the Pen.

I did an enormous grocery shop yesterday morning. I turned around the contract for the article and got out my requests for quotes. I have a good portion of the article already written in my head, and now am working on getting it on paper, and then adding in the quotes as I get them, and tweaking as needed. I’d like to get it to my editor a few days early, since it’s the first time we’re working together, and I want to give us enough time in case she requests revisions.

Started prepping for the grant proposals. I want to do at least one more revision on the actual material that will get the grant committee’s attention. I’m not sure, for one, if I should submit something in radio play format, which I know works, or something in novel format, which is what I’d actually use the grant money on, for one of them.

For the other proposal, I need to look at a project I put aside last year. It’s a project I’d used for a residency application, and put aside when I didn’t get the residency (they decided not to accept Americans that year).

I tweaked a recipe yesterday afternoon and made a honey/almond/orange cake. I was worried I made too many changes all at once, but it really, really worked. It amazes me how much I like substituting honey for sugar, and how much better I feel eating it

I answered someone’s question on social media and someone else jumped into the conversation to argue with me about not signing a detrimental contract because my lawyer agreed that it was not in my best interest. I’m not arguing. My lawyer is a professional; I get to decide what contracts to sign and not sign. I don’t care how many other people choose to sign it. And if Chickie-poo “doesn’t know anyone” who refused the contract, she must not know many professional writers, because I know plenty who won’t sign that particular contract, especially since we are all expected to sign a boiler plate.

The contract you receive with a publishing offer is the START of negotiations. If a “publisher” is not willing to negotiate contract clauses, it’s not a “publisher” with whom I want to associate.

I get to make that choice. Not be attacked by someone who made a different choice.

The stupidity on social media gets to me sometimes. There’s plenty I scroll past, but it annoys me when I answer someone’s question with my experience and someone else jumps all over me – and the person who asked the question SAYS NOTHING. That’s irresponsible. If you let trolling happen on your feed and ignore it, you’re not someone worth my time. Buh-bye.

Got my Chewy order in. Had to order cat toys to get it up for the free shipping. “Had to.” Riiiight. I’ll own it – that was how I chose to get up to the amount needed for free shipping. I think the cats will enjoy some fresh stimulation, especially Willa. I’m trying to teach Charlotte how to play, and Tessa needs some new toys. Busy cats are happy cats!

This weekend is about writing, purging boxes in the basement, and baking. I have a LOT to get done, and I can’t waste my time on people or situations who aren’t worth it.

Have a great weekend! I’m going back to the page.

Published in: on February 7, 2020 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work  
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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.

Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers

Friday, July 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

For some reason, I feel like one of those big steamrollers went right over top of me! I’m exhausted,physically and emotionally. I’m trying to solve those reasons, and change what needs to be changed, but it doesn’t happen in a day. Heck, it’s been taking me months, and certainly months longer than I’d hoped. But I’ll get there.

Got a little bit of writing done yesterday. Nowhere near enough. I lost the momentum I had on GRAVE REACH, and I’m fighting to get it back. ELLA has slowed down, but at least it’s putt-putting along. Of course it is, because that’s the piece that’s not on deadline.

Conferences with my cover artist and editor yesterday. The cover artist has roughed out the next two Coventina Circle books — THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book) and DEADLY GROVE (Diana’s book). They are kind of cool. I like the black and gray tones on all the Coventina Circle covers, with the yellow/orange lettering.

We’re still going back and forth on the Justice By Harpy books, which is just fine, since they are quite a way down the road. I am being difficult about them. I have a very clear idea of what I want, which my editor and publisher agree will be striking, but how to make it happen, how to layer and color, is a challenge. We may just bring in a painter to do small paintings of the three and then photograph or scan the paintings. Book 1 is close to ready to go into production, but I’m behind on Books 2 & 3, and we want all three ready to release quickly. And we’re discussing the Gambit Colony covers for the first six books.

I’m so lucky that my publisher allows so much input.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. He’s pleased with her progress. Had to take her over to Osterville for a blood test, only they were closed by the time we got there (it would have been nice to know they were closed before we left the doctor’s office).

Read on the deck in the afternoon, enjoying the yard. Worked on some article pitches I plan to send out early next week. I got some interesting leads, and I’m spinning ideas.

Still trying to chase down the freelance payment from that job I did over a month ago.

Some yahoo from TruGreen scared the bejesus out of us yesterday by pounding on the door like the FBI doing a raid. And then launched into a diatribe on how bad my yard was with all the weeds and how I “had” to pay him to fix it. WTF? Seriously? Why the hell would you dumbass think I would ever, EVER do business with you when you come to my house and try to intimidate me into hiring you? Especially since I have an organic lawn and every so-called “weed” is something that is there on purpose as a pollinator or because it’s good for the soil. TruGreen is getting SUCH a letter from me. I rarely say “never”, but I can say I will NEVER do business with TruGreen again, and the next time this jerk shows up and tries to intimidate me, I’m going to kick him in the nuts and then call the cops.

This morning, I was up early. Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. I really need to type up the chapters written in longhand, because I’m losing some threads in this draft.

Took my mom to the blood test. They were open this time, and it was early.

Then, headed to Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping, and then Staples. Because notebooks are on sale. I bought 16 spiral bound and 4 composition books, for a grand total of SIX BUCKS.

As a writer, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The school supplies go on sale.

I plan to spend the weekend reading, writing ELLA and GRAVE REACH, roughing out my article for Llewellyn, and maybe starting to shape the opening scene of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. The three Canaletto books I hunted down and ordered because I kept taking them out of the library arrived, and that will make the writing of the play so much easier.

I’m still trying to figure out the plot of the Brighton Pier radio play. I have sounds and jokes, but the plot is weak so far.

I ordered from Chewy this morning — cat food and cat litter. I refuse to shop at Petmart anymore, for multiple reasons. I’ve heard good things about them, but putting the order through was a major PITA. Let’s hope the rest of the customer service experience is better, or it will be a one-and-done.

I also hope to clear out some boxes from the basement. I also have to take the recycling in tomorrow. It’s getting a little crowded.

For the moment, though, back to the page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers  
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