Flood Watch (September 30)

Thursday, September 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Tropical Storm NIcole

Like I have time for a flood/hurricane right now. Make an appointment, bitch! 😉

Unfortunately, I checked the brook at 7 AM and we are screwed. It’s got 4 feet before it floods, but that means it gained about 4-5 feet already overnight. I moved the car. I have to run an errand at 10 AM, and then I’ll probably move it up to the train station, which is the highest point in town. It’s not like Metro North is running properly anyway. And I’d rather risk a ticket than lose another car in a flood — especially my blue baby.

Busy day yesterday. Didn’t get anywhere near enough admin work done, or transfer crap from the PC the way I should have. Post office, bank, Trader Joe’s, PetSmart, storage, where, to my horror, I discovered I’ve used up the file boxes.

Back over to Staples (in the same complex as Pet Smart — bought 10 boxes. Used them all, just for “the good china”. WTF? I have that much good china? I’ll just have to have a Very Large Housewarming Party. I’m out of bubblewrap and almost out of tape, so I’ll be going back to Staples in a day or two. Thank goodness I stockpiled so much newspaper.

The cats are not amused by this AT ALL, and are making their feelings known.

Effing workmen nearly smashed my livingroom window AGAIN with their ropes. Local cops gave me a desk number to put on speed dial each time it happens, and they’ll just keep sending someone out. I’ve sent the landlords certified complaints about this and the illegal lease charges they’ve put in, and they ignore the documentation and simply keep charging. And send in more people to get physically aggressive. Thank goodness it’s only the City Council on their payroll and not the cops. The cops and the City Council are at odds right now because the City Council wants to union bust. Here, we have great cops and not enough of them, and the new Council treats them like crap AND wants to cut their pay. I’ve lived places with lousy police forces — I’m lucky to live somewhere that the cops are good and dedicated (and I grew up with most of them).

Packed up all the glassware and the cookbooks. You know I’m getting serious about things when I pack the cookbooks. Ran out of boxes, my friend stopped by with another stack, packed almost all of those. She can get the really good kind, that hold reams of paper, at work, so she’s stockpiling for me, and bringing them over whenever she can.

I’m boiling water and doing flood prep. I’ve got it down to a system by now. I’m hoping that, yet again, I’m overly cautious, but I’d rather be too prepared than unprepared.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Iris, aka “Princess Hellion”

Saturday, September 25, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Things nice and quiet. Went to Trader Joe’s yesterday to go some grocery shopping. Went to the library for some research; they didn’t have what I needed, so I went to the big Barnes & Noble and skimmed through the material. Of course, this is all stuff I ordered three months ago and it went astray. And stuff I need for the workshop.

Got quite a bit of writing done, but not on what I expected. Still, it was about 3K, so all good, and I had a good first writing session of the morning.

Word from home came that the corrupt, Republican City Council betrayed the tenants again, basically allowing our landlords to do whatever they want as long as they keep greasing the right palms — and taking out ads in the paper that two Council members are connected to. They should be ashamed of themselves — not to mention the fact that they should be in jail. And, of course, the self-styled head of the Tenants’ Organization is too much of a coward to speak against them.

Well, soon it won’t be my problem anymore. And when their karma comes back around, I hope I hear about it.

Slept well, despite bizarre dreams. Am headed to Reading Terminal Market in a little while to pick up a few things, and the rest of the day is all about writing and winding up my workshop, which ends tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, all!


Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 7:32 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Why I do not own a gun — I would use it on these aggressive workmen who thunder up and down the fire escape, try to open my windows, and use leaf blowers under my window at 8 AM in violation of the City Code. And of course, the City doesn’t care and just looks the other way because the right palms were greased. The town has reverted to its worst possible self with this new Council.

What a shame, because the day started out well, although I overslept. The writing was going very well and I hated to stop. The piece is taking some interesting turns. Its natural pace is much slower than the action-packed pieces we’re so used to, but it’s one of the things I like about it.

Not as organized for the trip as I’d like, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. If I don’t have something, I have to do without. I’ll have my computer and lecture notes and all that, so it will be fine. Let’s hope the journey is smoother than the last few have been!

Acupuncture was great yesterday, but she had so much work to do on me that I’m sore today, which I haven’t been since I started the whole acupuncture process about ten years ago. The migraine was gone until the fucking bastards started up with the leaf blowers. In my opinion, anyone who uses a leaf blower should be chopped into little pieces. It’s an act of aggression against the environment and other people, not a working tool. It’s not like any of them ever use it to actually move leaves — they wander back and forth kicking up dust and making noise. There’s something about the sound range that just turns me into a raging maniac. It causes enormous physical and psychological pain. I’m putting it in the new lease that no one can use a leaf blower on my property. I’d rather do the lawn care myself.

Violet is ready to go. She gets in the carrier all by herself and even shuts the door. She also goes with me to the door each time I get ready to leave, and even tries to get it open when it’s closed. She is OUTTA here! Maybe she won’t be so upset during the actual journey. She hates all the chaos. I know how blistering the pain is to my ears with the noise — the thought of how much worse it is for the cats is heartbreaking.

Traffic was awful yesterday; fingers crossed the busses have smooth roads today. I just want to get on that bus, pull out my book, put on the iPod and zone for two hours. And I want a quiet time in Philly — do my work, run my workshop, work on the Willowspring Grove novel and SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Because when I get back, things get crazy!

Will check in from Philly.


Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 7:34 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Bench at the center of the labyrinth

Monday, September 6, 2010
Waning Moon (Day before dark moon)
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Labor Day

Pretty good weekend. Not much writing done on Saturday, but a great first session on Sunday morning — more than made up for it. And a decent session Monday morning.

I travelled to Narnia and back in my closet on Saturday. It wasn’t anywhere as scary as I feared. Everything’s packed and ready to be loaded when the time comes. I have three more bags of clothes for donation. I have some more stuff to take to storage.

I know, why take it to storage when it’ll just be moved anyway? Because I need the room so I can pack what’s left. This is a very small space, and i need room to both pack and continue living.

I used one of the mustards I bought at Sturbridge Village in the chicken recipe I cooked Saturday night. Very good. Next time I’m there, I’ll get more. And I’m still eating the fudge!

I’ve been woken up every day this holiday weekend at 5:30 AM by construction noise, because someone paid off the City to look the other way and not enforce the City Code. Unacceptable.

It was so beautiful on Saturday afternoon that we went out. First, to Bruce Museum Park to walk around the sculptures. I also picked up some acorns, which are now in the little green pottery dish I made. We took a wrong turn and got lost in an exclusive section of a nearby town. I wondered, as we drove through it, why there was such a bad vibe everywhere — talk about one’s skin literally crawling, in spite of beautifully manicured exteriors. And then I saw the sign and it all made sense: It’s an exclusive enclave populated by those who helped create the current depression — the heavy karma hanging over the place is ominous because they’re about to get their asses kicked. They have their own security — they don’t want any poor people in the enclave unless they’re maids or gardeners. One of the most awful murders in the area took place on the grounds when I was just a kid. Figures – -they have their own security to keep out people who aren’t as rich, so they go around murdering each other instead.

So how did I get past security? I’m white, my car may be small but it’s shiny, and I’m decently put together. They didn’t even question me. It would almost have been better to get stopped and turn around rather than being lost in there for nearly 40 minutes!

I was glad to get out! Very oppressive atmosphere, in spite of all the ornate trimmings.

We then drove to Wainwright House, here in our town, to get rid of the bad vibes (I don’t want to be infected with that kind of evil and bad karma) by walking the labyrinth and looking out over the water. They were preparing for a sunset wedding — we offered to leave, but they said if we just walked around the side of the property, to go ahead and enjoy. We were only there for about twenty minutes, but it was very revitalizing.

Elsa was better on Saturday morning, then worse again Saturday night. I spent a long time on Saturday night just cuddling her and trying to make her feel better. She perked up on Sunday morning a bit.

One of the sad drawbacks of fighting with the landlords for the past four years is that it’s injured my capacity for joy. Every time I see a glimmer and start to feel good again, I start wondering when the other shoe will drop. I’ve never been that kind of person, and I don’t want to live my life like that. I wasn’t a fan of this town growing up, I left, I came back to take care of family issues, and hoped it had matured and grown as I had. For awhile, when we had a City Council that actually gave a damn about its citizens, it seemed to be the case. But this new, corrupt, greedy, cowardly Republican City Council (I think these individuals would be cowardly or corrupt no matter with what party they were affiliated) with one thumb up its ass and the other hand extended waiting for a payout epitomizes everything I disliked about the town growing up and some of the reasons I left in the first place. It’s a shame, because there’s some real beauty in the town, and it’s being destroyed by the poison of particular, greedy, selfish citizens.

Elsa had an adventure on Sunday morning. The Reiki Master said the best way to help her heal was to get her away from the building on any nice day and take her outside in the grass and sunshine. I’ve been trying to find a park that didn’t charge. I found a small park in the next town that seems to fit the bill, so we packed up Elsa and took her to the park. There was an event going on in another section that involved singing, and really, I wished I had a bucket in my trunk to offer them so they could carry a tune. But other than that, it was lovely and breezy and fine. Elsa’s never had her paws on grass before — she wasn’t too sure about it. But she batted at a butterfly, and recognized the pine cones (I have bowls of them in the house) and tried to slip away and investigate some wildlife in a bush (she did not succeed). She also got to sniff and play with pine branches and sharpen her claws on an oak tree. She was lively and perky the whole time, and had a lot to say, but wasn’t stressed out or scared. And she was much better the rest of the day, and even ate better. It really made a positive difference. Plus, she could brag to the twins.

Cleaned, purged, and packed another closet. One more closet today — the front hall closet, nicknamed “The Scary Monster Closet” and all the closets are packed and ready to load when the time comes. Not too shabby!

Much as I appreciate the understanding of all who try to make me feel better about my decreased productivity, I don’t write on the side, THIS IS HOW I MAKE MY LIVING. No money comes in if I’m not on top of things. The bills don’t pay themselves. I don’t know where people think I get the money for expenses if I don’t stay productive. There’s no Money Tree on the fire escape and no Hundred-Dollar Bill Fairy leaves anything under my pillow. I don’t have the luxury of “life getting in the way.” Bills don’t get paid, I can’t pay rent — much less put down a deposit and hire movers, I can’t eat, I can’t take care of the family. There is no spouse or partner’s income. I don’t have a trust fund, or I’d have gotten out of this hellhole a long time ago. It’s all on me. I have to take care of an elderly parent, an old sick cat, two little cats, and myself. And help out with the family up in Maine whenever possible, shouldering my share. If I want this move to succeed, I can’t let anything slide on the writing front. And, before it became an issue that the move had to happen right now, I managed to book more work for the next four months than I’ve had in the past eight. And NONE of it can fall by the way side. NONE. None of it is stuff that can be scheduled for any other time. It’s date-specific and location-specific. I don’t get to take a week or six to settle in — not during the packing, not during the move, nothing. I don’t get to be offline for more than 24 hours. I’ll be in coffee shops all up and down New England with my laptop as the weeks move forward (at least until I get internet set up at the new place), stopping along the highway to meet deadlines on my way back and forth with carloads of stuff. I need the money, I need the credits, I need the business building, I’m under contracts that can’t be broken. So I am just going to have to fucking deal. AND pack. AND move. AND fight with the landlords., who are going to get really nasty (yeah, up to now, this was them being their version of cordial). And do all the other daily things that have to happen in order to keep the home running. That’s just the way it is. I’ll try not to whine too much about it! 😉

When I move and have cleared off my deadlines — I’m taking off two weeks to sleep! 😉 The work is booked steadily until December 5, and then all I have to worry about is finishing the edits on ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, which are due on January 1. I’m not booking anything else in the month of December (I’ll probably eat my words, but that’s the plan right now). And, of course, the move has to happen right around all of that, too!

And it gets crazy again in January, work-wise, thank goodness!

I have to be organized and focused. Once I can set some definite dates and schedules and lists, great. Until then, I’m doing what I can to prep, because the less last- minute scrambling I have to do, the less stress there will be. When I left Manhattan, I had only 10 days to pack up 13 years of my life, which I did with help from my friends, and that was great. This time, I’m hiring movers, which is a whole different dynamic with its own set of problems. But at least I do all my own packing. And I’m a damned good packer.

Speaking of organized and focused, I swear I cleaned my desk this weekend, and yet again it looks like a Staples truck threw up on it. I’d blame the cats, but most of this stuff is too big for them to haul around. The Paperwork Gnomes are at it again!

And I’m nearly out of boxes. . .


Because, really, what other choice is there?

It’s Labor Day. I’m going to go labor!


First Willowspring Grove novel (first draft, handwritten): 42,750 words out of est. 100,000 (42.75%)

Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 6:19 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Violet finds this all exhausting

Friday, August 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

They promised it would be cooler and less humid today. They lied. I know, why am I surprised? If they were only paid when they were right, they’d all be out of a job.

Yesterday was very frustrating. The “workmen” nearly ripped the air conditioner out of the window three times — even though I’d talked to them about being careful. They’re working on one of those window-washer scaffoldings, and, literally, landed on it instead of pushing away from the building. Now, if they rip it out, it’s screwed into the window, which means it will take out the whole window and its frame, and it’s plugged into the wall — no I am NOT unplugging it – -which means it will take out part of the wall, the electrics, and half the bedroom furniture. And I”ll call the cops and the nearest ambulance-chasing lawyer.

And when I complained? They put a piece of carpet over the air conditioner. Yeah, THAT’ll help.

Not only that, but they’ve drilled holes in the brick and left them there. Yes, I took photos for the documentation I’m filing.

REAL masons apprentice for years and don’t pull this crap. AND they are willing to admit for whom they work, and wear work ID. And they wouldn’t be arriving in an unmarked van.

I also find it interesting that they’re only working around the windows of the long-term tenants that the landlords are trying to harass out of the building. Oh, they have other scaffoldings up along the side of the building. But no one’s on them. But the three long-term tenants in this section? Relentless for the past few days. And I actually know where actual work needs to be done on the bricks around our windows. And they haven’t touched a single spot. It’s a farce.

None of this is legitimate. It’s all yet another form of harassment.

The cats hate all the noise and commotion, too.

Since I couldn’t concentrate on writing, and I couldn’t leave because WHEN they smash a window I have to be here, I worked on cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. I reorganized a bunch of stuff, purged a bunch of stuff, and packed eight boxes that I will haul to storage this evening. It’s stuff that will be useful in the future, but I don’t need on a daily basis, so it’s packed. The packing took next to no time — I’m a very fast, good packer, I’ve packed myself and dozens of friends to move. It was the sorting that took a long time.

I’ve been figuring the packing for when I move. I figure the kitchen will need 25-30 boxes, the tiny dining area about 12 (a lot of them for cookbooks), the living room 40-60 (I have 9 bookcases in the living room), the hallway about 30 (because of the wall of books), the linen closet 10-12 (it’s big), the bathroom about 6, and the bedroom about 20-30 — again, a lot of books. Everything in storage is packed, so that’s just a case of the movers pulling up the truck and loading it. It’s a lot of stuff, but it’s packed. The hardest to move will be the plants and the cats. It’s going to be expensive, because the apartment is a third-floor walk-up, but at least everything’s going down.

At this point, it’s about finances and finding a place willing to rent to a freelancer. I’d prefer to buy, but I don’t know if I can make that happen fast enough to get out of here before things get violent from the landlords. They’ve already managed to contribute to the deaths of three senior citizens in the past few months, and driven out over a dozen formerly long-term tenants — since the corrupt new Republican City Council took office, because they cut a deal with them so that the City Council, Buildings Dept., et al, look the other way while the landlords do whatever they want.

Today and tomorrow are the days where the planetary squares are at their worst — eight out of twelve planets screaming at each other, pass the Excedrin now, please. Except for fighting with the “workmen” if necessary, I’m just going to keep quiet and try to stay out of trouble.

I did not have a good writing session this morning, but some great books arrived yesterday, so maybe I’ll just put on the iPod and read a lot today. I’ve got some stuff to do in the early evening, like go to storage — I’ll wait until the harassers have left for the day — but it shouldn’t take long. And, hopefully, I can pick up a walking cast. I could do most of the packing and sorting while sitting down yesterday, so that was a help. It will hurt to haul everything down three flights of stairs and out to the car, but it’ll be worth it.

The plan is to have a as low key a day as possible. We’ll see how the reality turns out.


Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 6:08 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!