Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words

image courtesy of Nicole via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

It was a busy weekend, but few-words busy. As in I don’t need a lot of words to talk about it, although the bulk of the weekend was all about words.

Friday & Saturday were almost entirely about LEGERDEMAIN. I got six episodes revised, edited, proofed, and up on Friday, along with some other stuff (which I don’t even remember). I did a library/post office/CVS run.

But almost everything was focused on LEGERDEMAIN, and, of course, it all took longer than I hoped. But things take as long as they take, and I’m doing 3-4 editing passes of each episode and then uploading/scheduling, so what would normally be a process stretched out over a period of weeks is now over a period of hours.

Different mediums require different processes.

I was also tired from Thursday night’s event, albeit a good tired, and thinking a lot about the other poets’ poems.

I meant to go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. At 7:30 in the morning, I sat down at the desk to “just do a little work” on the next 4 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. The next time I looked up, it was 3:30. So, I missed it.

But the episodes are uploaded and scheduled through Episode 20. I did the episode-specific ads and loglines, and uploaded and scheduled all those. I started working on some more general ads.

I did some work on a residency application. I still have to take some photos of clay and textile pieces I’ve made.

I was too tired to cook on Saturday night, so I ordered in Chinese. And read.

Sunday, I had a slow start. I handwashed and ironed some of the new fabric – I’d hoped to sew this weekend, but that didn’t happen. But at least everything is washed and ironed. I managed to finish the new tablecloth for the kitchen table, and swap that out, and tidy up all of that.

The cut mugwort stems were dry enough to strip, so I stripped them and put them in glass jars for the stillroom section of the laundry room. 3 jars’ worth, which should last me awhile.

I played with some ideas for the Shakespeare horror story. So far, I have ideas and scenes, but I need the narrative drive, and I haven’t yet settled on that.

In the afternoon, I drove down to the Edith Wharton homestead again, this time to be an audience member for Word X Word. Nine poets did pieces inspired by various pieces of sculpture. It was fascinating to see how  they used the pieces as jumping off points.

Driving home, I started writing in my head two new pieces. I need to get a notebook specifically for poetry-esque work. I mean, it takes about an hour to get anywhere, so writing in my head while I drive makes sense. And then having the notebook for the specific type of work makes sense (although I always carry one of the Fragment Notebooks with me, to jot down notes).

Stopped at the Adams Market to pick up pizza and a bottle of wine, because, again, too tired to cook.

Monday morning, I was just exhausted. I think the last few weeks are catching up with me. I managed to heave myself out of the house for a run to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop, and another store, where I went in to get Velcro dots and lightbulbs. I came out with those, and some project notebooks. Love back-to-school sales. I have to get down to Staples for more.

I got some more ironing done. I worked on an application for another residency, which had just opened up. I’d worked on all the pieces. It should have taken me 30 minutes to slot in what I’d written. But it took 2 ½ hours because the damn computer kept freezing and crashing. Windows11 sucks.

But I got it done and out, and I’m actually proud of it. We’ll see if they give me a slot next year.

Turned around a script coverage. Got my inbox down from over 900 emails to just over 170.

Roasted a chicken. It’s finally cool enough to make roast chicken again, my favorite, because there’s so much one can do with the leftovers. Had the makings of chicken stock simmering on the stove while I took Jeremy Rock Smith’s cooking class in honor of Julia Child’s birthday.

Didn’t sleep well, although I don’t have the overall sense of fatigue today that I had yesterday. I have to do some serious house cleaning this morning, because my friend the baker is coming over in the afternoon, and I’m going to teach her how to register her domain name and find a web host and maybe we’ll even apply for a grant or two. Tonight, I’m attending a virtual event with The Ripped Bodice for the release of Roselle Lim’s new book.

I have two scripts in the queue; I may do one today, or I may do both tomorrow. I will see how the afternoon goes. I intentionally kept the start of this week light.

This morning, in and around the cleaning, I’ll do some promo for Episode 7 of Legerdemain, which releases today, “There Are Rituals, and Then There Are Rituals.” The episode ad is lovely/creepy with a candle balanced on a raven’s beak.

Better get to it. Busy day, but again, it’s good busy.

Published in: on August 16, 2022 at 7:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words  
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Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pisabay.com

Friday, July 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Oops, I did it again. Wrote the first draft of another one act play before breakfast this morning. This one was inspired by an article I read in THE NEW YORKER last night. The title, at least at the moment, is “Inspired By.”

Got a letter from an editor that an anthology for which I’d made the short list of possibilities, telling me that it looks like it’s been scuppered, at least for the moment. Oh, well. At least she told us. And I had the chance to stretch in that direction. It’s worse for her than for me; I wrote one story. She read over a thousand entries.

Sent out an LOI to a company in Bennington, and got a lovely response. We will see if/how things moved forward, but that quick, professional acknowledgement went a long way. Started an LOI to another company, but, on digging into it, their budget can’t cover my rates, and I can’t downsize the scope of what they need to make it work. So I’ll skip that.

Meditation was good. That Thursday morning group has become a lovely anchor.

Willa wanted to go on the back balcony after lunch, so I took her out in her playpen. I worked on the multi-colored draft of the first large arc of The Big Project, and am mortified at how much sloppy language is in it. But that’s the point of edits/revisions. To make it better.

Did another editing pass on “The Little Woman” and sent it to the friend who is a Trusted Reader. She had excellent suggestions, which have helped me on a section I knew was shaky. Hopefully, this weekend, I can dig back in and get it done. There are a couple of script calls coming up where it might fit.

Started a script coverage, but was having trouble concentrating, so I put it aside and will finish today. I love this particular writer’s work and want to give it my full attention.

Ordered Chinese food in, because I was too tired to cook, and none of the leftovers appealed to me. Read THE NEW YORKER, which reprinted one of Shirley Jackson’s stories, the same week I’m reading her biography. Love when that happens.

I need to do a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, put gas in the car, and do some other errands, including getting some more of those Command hooks, so we can do some stuff around the house this weekend. We might actually start hanging a few things up. And, you know, finish that damn kitchen island cart.

Had weird dreams last night. Not bad, just weird.

We spent far too much time trying to figure out where to go for a quick, two day or so vacation in autumn, just for a change of scenery, that will also be COVID safe. Maybe rent a place with a kitchen, so we don’t have to worry about eating out. Sit on a deck somewhere pretty reading books. I mean, we do that at home, in our downtime, but sometimes it’s nice to do it Somewhere Else.

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

Published in: on July 8, 2022 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day  
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Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Thurs. Feb. 10, 2022: Flexibility is Key

Image courtesy of studioone via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

It snowed unexpectedly overnight, so I guess I’m not walking to the grocery store today! Well, that’s why I freelance and work remote, so there’s the capacity for flexibility. Good thing I ordered in extra Chinese food yesterday!

There’s a post about the first seeds that arrived and my plans for them over on Gratitude and Growth.

I cut myself a break yesterday. I got some blogging done in the morning. I stomped to the library – it was more like skating without the right equipment, because the sidewalks are so bad – to drop off/pick up books.

I made a detour to the college library, because a book I was going to pull through Commonwealth Catalogue is supposedly at the college library, and I figured I’d save us all some paperwork and having it move through the system by walking across the street. Only that book is missing from the library, and because I have a Community Card rather than a college card, they can’t get it for me. So I have to pull it through Commonwealth Catalogue anyway.

Tried to find the college bookstore and couldn’t, which was frustrating. I kept following the map directions and ending up in the Athletic Department. They are supposed to be in the same building, but I couldn’t find a hallway or doorway to elevator or anything to get me there.

In the afternoon, I read and wrote up a script, then gave myself the rest of the day off.

I noodled with some outline notes. I need to spend some serious time over the weekend on Scrivener. I’ve picked two projects to use as learning tools to figure out how to navigate my way around. Neither are on hard deadline, so I can relax and take my time with them. They are all projects For the Future.

Finished reading THE MALTESE MANUSCRIPT and read DEATH WITHOUT TENURE. I really like this series.

Started reading a book by a new-to-me author, and am not sure about it yet.

Charlotte didn’t sleep on the bed last night, and she and Tessa came to wake me up at 5:30, which is just perfect. Of course, reading academic mysteries, I dreamed about research in a library all night, and felt like I’d put in a full day by the time I woke up.

Since I’m not going grocery shopping today (can’t maneuver the cart over the snow and ice until they plow), I can use that time to write, after meditation.

The conference needs a new bio, and they are going to be the first people to get the news of The Big Project (which should be available by the time the conference starts).

I have a lot of email, admin work, and correspondence to do today and tomorrow, so I want to get a handle on that. I have one more script I have to cover today, and then I’ll grab one for tomorrow. I also need to read the book for review and get back to contest entries.

The situation with the car weighs heavily on me, but all I can do is the best I can do.

Have a good one!

Tues. Dec. 28, 2021: Post-Holiday Errands

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

I hope everyone had a good weekend, whether or not you celebrated the Christmas holiday.

Ours was fine: lots of food, lots of books. We were tired of the foods we “traditionally” had for the Christmas Eve and Day meals. So for the Eve, it was baked trout, baked whipped potatoes with garlic and herbs, and spinach. For the day, it was a baked ham with a bourbon-molasses glaze. We don’t eat much pork anymore, but my mom wanted ham, so we had ham. I didn’t feel all that great afterwards, but not too bad.

Desserts were stollen on the Eve and chocolate mousse on the day, and that was all good.

We usually do presents on the Eve and stockings on the Day, but, again, my mom wanted to wait and do everything on the Day, so that’s what we did.

We had fun opening things. Tessa “helped.” Charlotte and Willa watched from a safe distance. Tessa adored her present – a catnip toy that looks like a gift. Willa and Charlotte didn’t know what to do with theirs. Charlotte figured it out, and then she was afraid someone would take it away.

But most of the time, we just relaxed.

It was perfectly pleasant, although I felt somewhat unsettled the entire time.

I checked in regularly with my friend, who lost her mother the day before Christmas Eve. There’s not much I can do, except give her as much support as possible. The whole world shifts, and it’s painful.

Sunday, I puttered around with paperwork, and getting my email inbox down to 13 emails for a brief, shining moment, before it filled up again. Worked on the blog schedule for some of the blogs, and tried to get ahead a bit on ones that don’t rely on being in the moment. Researched some companies and added them to the list that will get the postcard mailing in January. Looked through some article guidelines. I’m going to work up some pitches this week, although I won’t send them until the New Year, because it’s just tacky and thoughtless to send them out now. Dived back into the research for “Dawn and Dorothy.” I made a loose writing plan for 2022, which, no doubt, will change by the middle of January. But at least it’s a starting point.

Yesterday, I went to the laundromat. I like to change up my days, but Monday is not a good day. People. The last thing I want, when the virus numbers are back up again, is to be around any more people than necessary. But things got done. Using the rolly cart to go to and from the laundromat is actually easier than getting everything down to the parking lot, loading the car, driving to the laundromat, unloading, reloading, driving back, etc. I just roll the cart down the block, around the corner, down another half a block, and there I am. Plus, yesterday, their parking lot was like a skating rink. I could have fallen and gotten seriously hurt. The sidewalk was clear. Much easier.

While the laundry was going, I make some organizing lists, and worked on a couple of arcs for The Big Project. There are three major arcs that have to be resolved, one after the other, along with less-important, longer-reaching arcs.

A little more than half the neighbors took down all their holiday decorations already. We are keeping ours up until Twelfth Night. That is a tradition we intend to uphold this year.

We never did put a tree topper on our tree this year. None of the ones we have looked right. And the tree looks just fine without it.

Read Colleen Cambridge’s MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL and loved it. Stayed up until nearly midnight to finish it (I think that was on Christmas Day). I hope there are more books in the series.

Read a book by a new-to-me author set in Venice, which I liked. Put aside another book I started, also set in Venice, that just wasn’t doing it for me.

Started reading Sally Wright’s PURSUIT AND PERSUASION, which I’m enjoying.

Did my errands on foot. My mom won $20 on a scratch ticket that was in her stocking, so I picked that up for her. Mailed thank you notes and birthday cards at the post office. Dropped off and picked up a stack of books at the library. It was pretty cold and windy, but still nice to be out.

Got irritated by an author on Twitter. He’d followed; I followed back, as I do with most authors. The first interaction was a long DM from his “publicist” asking me to read and review the guy’s book. It was a long, involved DM, with a tone making it clear that they were doing me a favor. The publicist is male, of course, and the DM was typical male mansplaining privilege.

Okay, wrong on so many levels. First of all, I’m a paid reviewer by publications. Occasionally, when it doesn’t violate my contract terms, I can review a book for free, usually by someone I know, because the publications that pay me don’t want me reviewing books by people I know. But it is work. It relates to my job, and is therefore unpaid labor. I’m not doing unpaid labor for a stranger. Second of all, how often have I publicly stated that if the first interaction from a new mutual follow is a DM trying to sell me something (or ask for free labor), that’s an immediate unfollow, and often a block? Often. If the idiot can’t be bothered to do due diligence, not someone I want to deal with. Third, a professional publicist would know better than to pull crap like that, because that’s negative public relations, not positive public relations. So either the guy’s amateur hour (which means I hope the author’s not paying him much) or it’s the author using a pseudonym as a publicist. Fourth, if the social media is set to “automatically” DM any new mutual followers marketing crap, again, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and are not someone with whom I wish to interact on any level. Fifth, don’t ask someone to work in the week between the holidays, unless you’ve done your due diligence and know that they are actually working. It’s rude.

That author also goes on my “do not ever buy or read” list.

Caught up with my lovely postman so I could give him his cookie packet. He was pleased.

Read a script, which I will write up today. Grabbed some more scripts to read the next few days. I’m reading less this week, but I need to read something.

Had Doordash deliver Chinese from my favorite place in Williamstown. One order for last night’s dinner (their duck lo mein is one of my favorites), and a chicken pad thai for today (yes, I know the latter is not Chinese food, but it’s from the same restaurant).

It’s clearing up, so I will bundle up, get the rolly cart, and head to CVS to pick up my mom’s prescription, and Big Y to pick up a few things I need for the meals over New Year’s. It’s a bit of a hike, but I’m trying to preserve the car until I can get it looked at.

Today, the “bonecrusher” square supposedly ends, and Jupiter goes into Pisces tonight/tomorrow, which, in my chart anyway, is supposed to be a good thing. I could use a break, and I’ll take any support from the stars I can get!  😉

On the agenda today, after I get back from the grocery store, is writing up the script coverage, and then finishing the short version of “Dawn and Dorothy.” I hope to get some work done on The Big Project, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a week of more rest than work for me, but there’s always work to do.

Debating whether I’ll do a mini retreat over New Year’s. New Year’s is usually a tough few days for me, on multiple levels, and I want to be as gentle with myself as possible.

Jeremy Rock Smith is teaching an online cooking session on the 4th; seriously considering taking it, because I love learning from him. He’s a wonderful teacher, in addition to being a quality human being.

That’s the latest; off to the store now. Since I can only buy what I can carry, I have to stick to my list!

Hope your weekend was great, and that the days between the holidays are peaceful.

Wed. Dec. 22, 2021: Recovering From a Mac & Cheese Coma

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron Direct (as of 12/21)

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

image courtesy of SocialButterflyMMG via pixabay.com

Usually, Tuesday is the long post. This week, it’s Wednesday, because yesterday was the Winter Solstice, my big holiday, and I decided to enjoy my holiday.

So today’s our day to sit down and have a catching up natter.

Friday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. A little windy, but warm enough to keep the door from the porch into the house open.

I drafted the first half of the Marie Collier play, and then walked down to the post office to mail some letters, and picked up wine on my way back. It was lovely to enjoy the good weather, knowing that a storm was coming in.

Went through some jewelry of mine, looking for something specific, a certain type of chain that I want to use for a talisman necklace I’m making. Couldn’t find it, so I’ll keep looking in thrift stores. There’s no deadline. I’d rather wait and get the right thing than any old thing.

The last charm for the talisman necklace arrived, along with another pieced I’d ordered, from An Enchanted Creature, on ETSY. I’d had a good experience ordering before. I hadn’t expected these pieces to arrive until the 27th of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them a full 10 days earlier.

Saturday was supposed to snow all day, so that’s how I planned. They were out in force in the morning, sanding streets and sidewalks, which is a good thing. The sky made a few half-hearted attempts with some snowflakes in the morning, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that it got serious about it. But it only snowed for a couple of hours before it switched over to rain.

We put up the rest of the ornaments on the tree, and put up the Santas on a shelf unit we moved into the front hall. They don’t look right there.

Did some reading, diving back into the Dorothy Parker/Dawn Powell research, so I can finish the third and final play of the year.

Sunday was a gray, gloomy day. We moved the Santa collection into the living room, rearranging a few things, and it looks better there. Plus, we can enjoy it.

I finished the draft of the Marie Corelli play. It took some fun turns, and all four characters are for actresses over 40. It can sit for a few days before revision, and I’ll get it out before the end of the week (today or tomorrow, most likely).

The fruit peel arrived, from Fleet Farm! That was quick. I didn’t expect it until around New Year’s. So there will be stollen for Christmas. I’ll make it either today or tomorrow.

I made the molasses spice cookies. Wound up being around 10 dozen molasses spice, which I did not expect. I also used one of the packs of fruit peel to make fruitcake cookies, which turned out well, and are a nice contrast to the other cookies on the platter.

I’m going to make the apricot sage cookies for us, a small batch, to test them. If they work, and I can make enough of them quickly, I’ll add them in to the platters next year.

Was too tired to cook, so ordered Chinese from the local place, and watched DoorDash drive it the six blocks over. It’s just far enough that it’s too far for me to walk and keep it hot.

The food was good. We put on the lights and candles and enjoyed the Fourth of Advent.

With Venus going retrograde, I’m trying to be quiet and careful. We’ve got the “bonecrusher” square, which I do not have the energy to deal with this week. Uranus is still retrograde. And then Mercury goes retrograde early in February. So basically, from now until February 3, I want to stay as quiet and hermit-like as possible.

Monday morning, I got up to discover that some of the battery-operated candles in the windows had turned themselves back on overnight.

Around here, the post office does an early morning package delivery run, about 7 AM. Two packages were dropped off: one from a friend (the one that had gone from NYC to Puerto Rico to Akron), and the next two books for review.

Tessa was fascinated by the packages. Willa was more interested in the postman. Charlotte ran around in circles at the top of the stairs. It was a very exciting start to their day.

I struggled to clear the ice off the car, and then we headed to the RMV to update the car registration and our licenses. I had been going back and forth about the appointment with the main RMV administration; they kept saying that we could not do it in one appointment, we could not go together (my mom is 97, it’s not like she can do this on her own), and so on and so forth.

We showed up for the appointment. Everyone was very nice. We got everything done. We don’t even need to get a new registration document, since it’s all updated in the system. When the registration has to be renewed next year, the right info will be there. Instead of issuing us new physical licenses, they told us to write the new address on the back; it’s in the system, and since it’s a real ID, no problem.

So all that stress was for nothing.

But I’m grateful they were so helpful, and that it’s done.

Then, it was off to CVS and to Big Y, to get the rest of what I needed for the Solstice dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. Got everything I needed.

We made it home. There are still dashboard lights going on that need to be dealt with. I’m going to contact the garage in Williamstown next week to see if I can get an appointment the first week of the new year.

I realized I’d forgotten a couple of errands, so headed back out on foot to the post office and the bank.

By then, I was wiped out, as much from stress as anything else.

But I rallied, in the late afternoon, to do the script coverage.

Slept in on Tuesday morning. It was Winter Solstice. Chocolate panettone for breakfast, which was fun. I prepped two cookie platters for the libraries, and delivered them on foot: one across the street, to the college library, and one down the street to the public library. I’d sealed each cookie separately in a cookie sleeve, for maximum safety so the platter could be out in the break room, and people could sort through cookies to find what they like.

Both libraries were delighted.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to be out, knowing that storms are coming in for the next few weeks. The weather is so changeable here.

Came home, finished up some script coverage I hadn’t finished the previous day. Changed from flannel sheets to fleece sheets.

Prepped the cookie platters for the neighbors and delivered them. They were pleased.

This year’s platters have chocolate chip cookies, orange cranberry cookies, currant oatmeal cookies, molasses spice cookies, and fruitcake cookies. It’s a nice variety.

Baked the honey spice cake. It was a little underbaked, even though the toothpick put in the center came up clear. It’s still good, but I wanted great. Maybe I should have put a chocolate silk glaze over it. Because chocolate can fix almost anything.

For dinner, I made Moosewood’s recipe for macaroni and cheese, from scratch. I cheated a little and added bacon into the mac & cheese. But it was a lot of dairy. The cheese sauce had four cups of milk and 10 oz. of various cheddars; there were breadcrumbs and then more cheddar over it, before it was baked. It’s really good, and we have a lot of leftovers, but it’s a lot of dairy.

Did the Solstice ritual of waiting for it to get dark, then, starting in the north, lighting all the candles and holiday lights, clockwise around the house, until it’s all lit up with candles and twinkle lights. I spilled red wax on the white windowsill in the kitchen – that will be not much fun to fix. But it was so pretty, and we sat without electric lights on (except for the holiday twinkle lights) all evening.

Since we no longer have a working fireplace, I took the big cauldron out on the back balcony and burned last year’s greens, slowly, one small branch at a time, so I wouldn’t worry the neighbors. It was a good way to let last year, and the Cape life, go.

Left the battery-operated candles on all night, to light the longest night of the year.

I was up earlier than Tessa this morning! I couldn’t find her and was frantic. She was still asleep, in her favorite red chair with Panda, and was very confused as to why I was awake before she was. The fleece sheets were too hot. I kept kicking off the covers in the night. Quite a difference from the other house, where upstairs was never warm after about September, no matter how high the heat was cranked.

The plan was to go to the laundromat, but it was raining, so I decided not to. I’ll go tomorrow or next week.

I’m going to do some work on the Big Project, and maybe THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. Then, I have to polish the Marie Corelli play and get it out the door. Then, it’s more script coverage. I have coverage work today and tomorrow, and then I’m off until Monday, and I hope next week will be a light week, coverage-wise. I want to dig into The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I also want to finish up a bunch of admin work before the end of the year.

I’m preparing to hunker down for the winter, only going to the grocery store, the post office, and the library, both due to weather and the pandemic. I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t doing what needs to be done to curb the pandemic, or the right-wing extremists. People worked like crazy during a pandemic to get them elected. They need to deliver. No matter what corporate sellouts like Manchin and Sinema do.

Anyway, I have to get back to the page and get some work done. Books don’t write themselves, and I still have a living to earn.

Have a good one!

Fri. Dec. 3, 2021: And the Holiday Break is Blown

image courtesy of mohamed hassan via pixabay.com

Friday, December 3, 2021

Dark moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

Yesterday was a mishmash of a day. Meditation was great, and Charlotte sat with me.

After breakfast, I got through a bunch of email, and then wrote up my script coverage and sent it off. It took longer than I thought.

Headed off to the post office and the library. The librarian who checked me out was planning to get the Moderna booster after two Pfizers, and thought she’d be able to work tomorrow and Saturday. I wished her well, although I seriously doubt she’ll be able so to do.

Headed to Stop & Shop to see if they have the candied fruit peels I need for the stollen. No luck.

When I got back to the car, I had trouble starting it, and when I finally did, the EPC light was on, which scared the heck out of me. I didn’t dare go to Wild Oats or to the Chinese restaurant in Williamstown, where I planned to get our lunch.

I headed back home instead, worried I wouldn’t make it. Got the car into the lot, did a little research on EPC, which seems like a manageable repair, if I can find someone to do it. I really don’t want to take it to the VW dealer in Pittsfield, because I’m afraid they’ll do what the dealer on Cape did, overcharging and always trying to force more than necessary repairs. But the mechanic I used here can’t do it. And Pittsfield didn’t respond. So I don’t know what to do.

I can’t afford a huge repair. And even if it’s not that huge a repair, there goes any hope of taking any time off during the holidays. Which just sends me into all kinds of depression and despair because I am burned out. But I have to get it fixed before I get the registration switched over and get the car inspected by the end of the year.

So today will be about finding a decent, reliable mechanic who can do the job. I’m going to contact the head of the regional networking group (that replaced the chamber of commerce) to see if he can recommend someone.

Because so many of the listed “mechanics” around here don’t even have a basic website, and if a “business” doesn’t have a website by 2021, I’m not trusting that it’s legitimate.

Why couldn’t this have happened in January, for goodness’ sake!

In a fit of pique, I ordered from a Chinese place not far away and had it delivered by Door Dash. It wasn’t expensive, I wanted Chinese food damn it, and so I stuck to the plan. Plus, it was fun watching the car come on the map.

And, on a happier note, the package Amazon misdelivered wasn’t in Pittsfield, it was to a house down the street. They were away for the holiday and just found it. They asked The Lovely Postman if he would walk it down the street to me, and he did, apologizing profusely that he hadn’t been around last week to fix the problem. I told him no worries; I was just glad to have it. Especially since Amazon had no interest in either tracking it down or giving me a refund. Because I sure as hell wasn’t going to trust them to replace it.

The package was Deborah Blake’s latest release, DOGGONE DEADLY, her second Catskills Pet Rescue mystery, and, in a further fit of pique, when I couldn’t get answers from anyone, I sat down and read it. It was a good stress reliever. And one of the parents stepped up to take last night’s Knowledge Unicorns, because I still wasn’t up for it.

Slept like the dead, and dreamed that a friend of mine appeared in the chorus of a Broadway production of WEST SIDE STORY at the Belasco Theatre, in a gorgeous green and gold, fifties-inspired dress. We’ll ignore the fact that she’s as much of a backstage person as I am, and wouldn’t go onstage. The dream is obviously tied to the death of Sondheim, and the fact that I worked on his FOLLIES revival at the Belasco, so my memories of working with him are tied to that theatre.

One positive side effect of the Pfizer booster is I’m sleeping through the nights.

Charlotte woke me up when she was chasing her tail on the bed. She caught it, bit it, and cried when it hurt. Poor thing. She’s usually smart, except when it comes to catching her tail.

Tessa wasn’t too bad this morning.

I’m working on the notes for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY (I plan to start it on Monday), and then I have a script to read/cover, before dealing with email and finding a reliable mechanic. I won’t be able to get the car fixed until at least Monday, which means I can’t get any of the errands I planned to do this weekend (like grocery shopping) done efficiently. If I need to, I can take my upright trolley and walk to Big Y, do a fairly light shopping, and roll it back. Don’t say “order online and get it delivered.” They won’t get it right and will do unacceptable substitutions.

Hopefully, I can get more work done on the outline for The Big Project later, because I’d like to start it tomorrow. I also have to do the domestic holiday cards, and get the packages wrapped. There are still a couple of gifts I have to get, so I better hurry up and get them from places in walking distance soon, so I can mail everything off next week.  I also have to do more decorating. I’d hoped to get the tree up this weekend, but who knows. I also have to figure out how to tie my website to MooSend for the newsletter signup, finish the newsletter, and get the promotions done for the holiday shorts. Can’t pay the for the ads I hoped to run until I know how much the car repair bill is.

And worry about the car repair bill.

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

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

photo courtesy of Ginny via pexels.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!

Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and colder

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I actually felt well enough to add a new post.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Things are what they are.

Remote chat was fun and informative. We talked about how the Corona Virus is changing ways we work and interact. You KNOW it’s only a matter of time until the internet service providers (especially Comcast) jack up their rates and cut people off, making it impossible to work from home without paying extortion fees, because they can and no one ever punishes them when they break laws & regulations. They need to be broken up. We need to have viable options, not a monolith controlling everything.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home; too tired to cook.

Finished reading a book that totally annoyed me. It’s set in an area I know well, that the author obviously does not. The author put in details that don’t exist in that area (but do a state or two over) that made it ring even more false. When the protagonist’s family is threatened, she cowers and waits for a man to save her. Really? If someone threatens one of mine, the towering RAGE I feel would burn down the town until I rooted out that person. And yes, I HAVE fought back against that kind of threat. You threaten one of mine? Honey, you better HOPE the cops find you before I do. Because I will be both relentless and merciless. I expect at least that from a protagonist in a book.

But the most irritating turn-off for me was the author’s eyelid fetish. In every damn scene “lids” were doing something, usually closing. Really? How can you solve a murder when you can’t keep your eyes open? When your response to EVERYTHING, good or bad, is to close your eyes? Especially in such annoying, repetitive language? It’s not a cute character trait.

All of the above completely negated the good things in the book — strong relationships between characters, some gentle comedy, some good descriptions.

Started reading a novel that’s gotten a lot of fuss, but I’m annoyed with all the characters so far. I’ll give it another 50 or so pages, and then I’m done. I don’t care if “everyone” raves about it. If I don’t like it and I’m not being paid to read it, I’m putting it down.

After all, I have a book to review for which I’m getting paid, and the rest of the contest entries arrived, so I have to read those. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter broke off its relationship with Twuffer. That screws both my scheduled book promotions, and a promotion run I had set for a client. I tried to switch things over to Tweetdeck — and nothing posted as scheduled. Tried to sign up for SumAll, which is supposedly good — couldn’t sign up. Buffer and Hootsuite come highly recommended, but the plans in my current price range don’t have the versatility I need for current clients. I could bump the rate for new clients, but until I do an across-the-board rate hike, I can’t justify the price to current clients.

Mercury Retrograde is NOT the time to make these decisions and sign those contracts, anyway. I’ll wait until next week, and see what happens.

Had an excellent writing morning. Things plugging along. Have to go grocery shopping, then some time at the library, then hopefully another writing session this afternoon, and some reading time.

Lifted too much while grocery shopping early this morning, and paying the price.

Got an issue solved that I’ve been fighting and has been weighing on me for years. Got the paperwork so they can’t suddenly decide the decision never happened. So that’s good. I’ve been considering some other things that have come up through this whole process, and weighing different elements against each other, so I can make the most informed decisions I can.

Meanwhile, I’m doing as much as I can until I run out of energy every day, and trying to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work  
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