Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

I was at my desk, working steadily yesterday, for ten hours, and still didn’t get everything done that I hoped I would! It was good, steady, productive work, but there was a lot of it.

My only breaks were a half hour for lunch and a half hour when the couch arrived.

Ah, the couch. I ordered a flip couch that’s supposed to sleep two adults. That’s what I paid for. Unfortunately, they sent me a CHILD-SIZED couch. It fits better in the space, and it flips out to sleep one adult just fine (it’s really comfortable), but it’s not what I paid for. I’m perfectly willing to keep it — provided they refund the difference. There will be some negotiating. I checked my order — I ordered something different than was sent. They’re arguing about it, saying they don’t carry the adult-sized couch “anymore.” Um, that’s really not my problem. That’s what I ordered and the order was confirmed, so stick to your side of the deal.

The cats love it. It’s red micro-suede, and, in couch form, it’s the perfect size for them. Violet, in particular, considers it hers. I explained that I don’t pay that much money for a cat bed. She simply snorted at me.

Anyway, it was a productive day. In addition to work on client projects, I got out a half a dozen submissions and a half a dozen pitches. After months of low-paying, uninteresting jobs, the boards are starting to perk up again, both in pay rate and content. There’s a lot coming out of DC, in areas that actually interest me, such as environmentalism and conservation. I don’t know if I’ll land any of it — I haven’t written much in that arena, but I have the writing skills and the learning curve to pull it off. I’ve also got to warn everyone in pitches that I’ll be out of the country in September, and that might toss me out of contention on certain projects.

I was also asked to write an article for a colleague’s blog, to run while she’s on vacation, and I have to finish my column today. I’m behind on the GDRs and on the July/August newsletter, but those will happen. I got a few more anthology invites — I have to look over the deadlines and see if I can slot them in. They’re really fun, and at least one of them could involve the crew of The Merry’s Dalliance.

I sorted out upcoming get-togethers with friends over the next few weeks, and sat down to figure out the food for the site job next week — I always take it with me. There’s a great kitchen, and I love to cook there, so I bring in my own food and have a blast.

Today’s roster contains more client work — I hope to finish up a couple of pieces; the column; the guest article; starting to type up “Plot Bunnies”; a large grocery shopping trip; wrapping some fragile pictures in bubble wrap and getting them into storage.

I started the second mystery (everything is due on August 15 it seems). I’m struggling because it wants to be written in first person and I want it/need it to be written in third person. “Plot Bunnies” is in first person, and it makes more sense to have one story in first person and one in third, especially if they’re going to appear in the same anthology. But the damn piece wants to be written in first. I’m sure it will win, but I’m not going down without a fight.

Devon

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

It was a busy, fun weekend, and it’s going to be a heck of a busy week.

We hit the road by 9 AM on Saturday, and drove up into CT. The first part of the trip was great, but once we had to leave the Merritt and travel up I-95 — nightmare. The entire I-95 was backed up going North all the way through CT for no reason we coudl ascertain. And heaven forbid the news stations gave us any real information. The Boston station is great about accurate traffic information – the NY and CT stations SUCK.

But we finally got to Old Saybrook Recycled Furniture. I walked in a got a chill –there was a trunk identical to the one I wrote about in GOOD NAMES — simple, unfinished wood with some of the original, once-scented floral paper inside. It was even the same manufacturer I named in the novel. I looked at the tag and figured it must be a mistake — there had to be at least one more zero there — but there wasn’t. And I bought it. I also spotted a two-place-setting, 16 pieces of red-and-white Johnson Brothers china and a few stray pieces from the same set — all for just over $20. Since I’m obsessed with Johnson Brothers china, I grabbed it all.

Originally, it looked like it was all one set. Closer inspection, at home, shows that some of the pieces are from the original “Coaching Scenes” set, and some are later replacement pieces. And the two dinner places are from the “Cotswold” set. But they look good together, and I like them all, so I’m happy.

Then, it was off to Niantic and my beloved Book Barn. I had a list this time, and I didn’t want to deviate too much from it. We stopped downtown first, and I picked up three of the books on the list. Then, it was up to the main set of buildings, the houses and outbuildings that comprise the central Book Barn. I found seven more books. Most of them were on my list; a few weren’t. They didn’t have any of the Edith Whartons I wanted, or anything on Carthage, but I still found more than I normally do when I go up there with a list.

The person in line ahead of me complained that the inventory isn’t online and they don’t ship. The lovely staff member explained that they get eight to ten THOUSAND books in per week, and if they were expected to enter them into a database, they’d all quit. I added that it was a good excuse for a day trip, anyway, and you always find treasures you never knew you wanted.

The staff member also mentioned he’s encouraging people to take the Niantic tote bags with them with they travel and take pictures all over the world with them. I promised to take mine to Prague!

We had lunch at our favorite Yankee Clipper restaurant – baked scallops with garlic and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, cole slaw. As always, delicious.

Then we drove south and visited the Tanger Outlet in Westabrook. Now, I’m not one for malls, but they had the only branch of a store we needed, so we bit the bullet. And I have to say, I”m very impressed with the design. Plazas, green space, very wide covered sidewalks — you don’t feel crowded or rushed, and busses kept vomiting people out every few minutes.

We found the store we needed and made our purchases. There was a Wilson Leather Store, and I got the perfect purse for Prague — at 75% off. So now I’ve got the suitcase, the purse, the wallet. And I like my carry-on. So I’m set.

We stopped at the pet store for me to pick up a few things and I fell in love with a boxer puppy. What a doll, and the coat was so shiny and velvety! If he was up for adoption, I’d have grabbed him in a second! He’s going to be big, though — enormous paws! Very loving, though.

Picked up a few other things, and left, impressed with the place. I’d actually go back voluntarily.

Drove down to Orange, to the LL Bean Outlet, which was a disappointment. They had a lot of stuff — just nothing I wanted or needed.

I-95 North was STILL backed up all the way through CT — and going south wasn’t much better. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see the Merritt Parkway in my life!

Home, dinner, rest. The arm is much better. I used the cream at intervals all day, and iced whenever I could. I didn’t take a Benedryl until just before bedtime, and it conked me out.

Yesterday, I didn’t even turn on the computer. I rested the arm. I photographed the trunk and took it to storage, because I wanted to get it somewhere climate-controlled as soon as possible — the humidity would hurt it. It’ll need some TLC when I move. I’m going to do some restoration work on it just so it looks better, not for any value reason.

I tried to work on the 1950’s couch, but it needs a professional. I am way out of my league on it. I started fixing the similar-style chair. That I can do, although I have to do it over the course of three days, to let each repair dry completely before moving on to the next.

Photographed and logged the china, so I can do some research on it.

I’m reading a fantastic book, I’D RATHER BE WRITING by Marcia Golub. She basically gives the same advice I do about writing, revising, creating time to write, etc., only she’s more personable about it!

The cats got me up at 4 and wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. I am not amused. The couch should arrive today.

I finished “Plot Bunnies”, the comic mystery, this morning. I have to type it and then cut about 1500 words to fit the anthology guidelines. I’ll type it and then put it away for a few days while I work on the second story. While I know it needs work, I’m also pretty happy with the overall content and structure.

I have client projects to do this week, work on the article for which I did the interviews last week, and prep for the site job next week. Since I’m staying there, and only coming home every day for about an hour to feed the cats, clean the litter box, and pick up the mail, I have to be very organized.

I also need to bubble wrap some pictures and haul them to storage, once the couch shows up. And pack more so that I can do the furniture swap when I get back from the site job.

Busy time. But it’s all good.

Lara, yes, I’m a total Benedryl lightweight! That’s what happens when you take the occasional Advil, but nothing else! Abby, great idea — I’ve been thinking of joining SCBWI. I didn’t realize they had insurance. I might also be able to get it through the National Writers’ Union. Brandy, the bite is FINALLY better. And the meditation practice even helps me not scratch it to pieces. The minute I sit down to meditate, I get itchy. If I just keep sitting, it subsides. Applying the same thing whenever the bite acts up helps me not make it worse.

Devon

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to the Scruffy Dog Review blog for my article, “Don’t Assume You Know My Contract” and leave a comment.

I’m so tired of everything being damp and clammy all the time. Ick!

After a day as good as Tuesday, of course, yesterday was filled with interruptions and frustrations. I had a heck of a time getting out the door to storage, and it wasn’t fun hauling the crap to storage. My wrist and I are not on speaking terms.

I swung by the site where I needed to get some paperwork signed and took care of that, had lunch with a friend, and installed myself at the Greenwich Library to get some work done.

I wound up finding some very interesting material and going off on a tangent, but that’s okay, because it will come in useful further down the road. It just means working some additional hours today and tomorrow to get everything done.

I looked up about halfway through the afternoon and saw the storm moved in, so I gathered my belongings and headed home. I tried to get some more work done, and managed to write two articles and get some editing work done before the storm was bad enough for me to shut down all the electronics (since surge protectors are basically useless).

I tried to read a mystery I picked up. It lost me in the first sentence. I felt I was being unfair, so I struggled along. Most of the writing is far too precious — the writer is in love with the sound of her own voice and wants to sound “literary”, but doesn’t have the skill level to pull it off. And, while she writes well about the conceit of the protag’s profession, the mystery part of the tale falls apart. The protag makes such stupid choices that, should she become the killer’s next victim, it wouldn’t bother me too much. This is the third book of a series. I won’t be going back to read the first two, and I won’t read the books that follow. These are hours of my life better spent reading GOOD writing.

Well, at least I learned valuable lessons about what NOT to do in this type of book!

I packed up some more stuff — this has to be stacked in a corner until the furniture swap happens, and I can put it away in the furniture coming in. The new couch shipped, and, after using Safari to push the site link (it spun and wouldn’t connect in Firefox) and discovered that it left California on Tuesday (huh?), so I don’t think I have to worry about it showing up until the original Monday – Wednesday time frame.

I had a good writing morning on the mystery short story. I’ll have to rearrange a bit of the dialogue for logistical reasons, but I think I can finish it this weekend and let it sit for a week or so while I write the second story, and then go back, edit this one, edit the other one, and get them in on deadline.

I’ve got to vacuum (here we go, Jupiter Retrograde influence). I’m going to write in a local coffee shop for awhile, then I have a lunch date, then I’ve got a site job in CT this afternoon.

It also looks like I’ll land a gig down in DC for a few days in November, which will be really cool! IF all the contract details work out.

Of course, if I go down, I will build in time to visit my Senators and Congressional Reps. Can’t let any opportunity slip by. My Congresswoman wants me to be part of a Telephone Town Hall on health care tonight — only I’ll still be onsite at the time it starts. I’ve sent her my cell phone and also some thoughts on it, in general.

Devon