Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs

Skelly (photo by Devon Ellington)

Friday, September 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Raining and cooler

Thank goodness it’s raining. We need it badly.

If you enjoy reading serial fiction, it would be great if you’d fill out my survey on serial fiction here. I’m curious about a few things.

I am so glad I signed up for Concord Library’s meditation group! Yesterday’s session was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next week. The leader is wonderful – I suspect she either trained at Kripalu or trained with someone who trained at Kripalu because the style is familiar.

After meditation, I put on Real People Pants and did my run to Target. I wound up buying more than I planned (gee, what a surprise). We were low on toilet paper, which is why I went. But then, I bought Halloween lights (mine were wonky last year) which were on sale. And there was a skeleton dachshund all by himself that I couldn’t leave because he looked so sad. They didn’t have the wooden spoons I wanted, but I bought a cute little bear mug for my mom and an owl mug for myself. The soups were nearly half the price they are in the other grocery stores, so I stocked up on those, got the toilet paper, some other bathroom necessities, and there we were. At least everyone was masked and distancing, and I was early enough so there weren’t a lot of people in the store.

Grinding my teeth about it, I went to Country Gardens to get wood for the fireplace, since it’s getting colder and we have no idea when the new furnace will come in. I also grabbed two good-sized pots of mums for the front of the house.

At least everyone was masked, but the woman behind me demanded I let her cut in front of me because she was late for work. Didn’t ask – TOLD me she was doing it. I said no. Then she crowded me. Then she complained that the staff was too slow, and made fun of the lovely older man who was ahead of us and so happy with his purchases because he wasn’t fast enough to suit her, and, you know, she was late for work.

I finally turned around and said, “Lady, NONE of us are to blame because you can’t manage your time, so back off.”

Then the sales clerk had no idea what I was talking about when I said I wanted to by a sixth of a cord of wood. She kept insisting that they only sold full cords, half cords, and third cords. I said that I’ve been buying it every autumn for ten years, and I just walked right past the sixth coming in to the store, with the sign right on it and everything. She said, ‘Oh, you mean the wheelbarrow.”

Yes, the wheelbarrow is a sixth of a cord of wood, it has a sign on it to that effect, which is how I know it’s a sixth of a cord. For fuck’s sake, people, get a clue.  You can see it from where you’re standing at the register.

The guy who was supposed to help me load the wood kind of sauntered over and picked up a log here and there, so I loaded the car my damn self. I’ve been buying wood there at the start of the season for ten years now, and they’ve always been lovely until this year. I realize that the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on all of us, and bulk of the customers I’ve encountered there have been utter jerks, but take it out on THEM, not the ones who are treating you decently.

Making the choice not to shop there unless it was the last resort is the right choice.

Came home, unloaded the wood into the garage (I stacked it well this year, if I do say so myself), did a full decontamination process, and was exhausted.

Tessa loves Skelly, the skeleton dog. Willa and Charlotte aren’t sure. My mom wants me to sew a little brown felt coat for him after Halloween so he can stay out all year.

Managed to work on a couple of ads for a client (which I hope to finish today), noodled a little with some writing, participated in Freelance Chat, got out a couple of LOIs.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. Threw a bunch of stuff out, have to file other stuff. Found drafts of manuscripts, and notes on a couple of projects that are worth going back to next year.

I finished SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. I liked it, although I felt the author self-marketed her other work too much within the text. I know, I’ve been to those seminars who encourage that. I hate it, and it’s more likely to turn me off the author and the product than encourage me to look at the other books.

Did a variation on a recipe for dinner using Chinese Five Spice Powder, and it worked really well.

Trying to decide if I have a script in good enough shape to submit to the O’Neill Center for next year. Either of the Italian plays are probably more suited to the O’Neill than the small company in Brooklyn. I don’t know. I’ll wait for my friend’s notes. Maybe both scripts are just terrible and shouldn’t go anywhere.

Signed up for a cooking class with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu in October. He’s such a great teacher. And his recipes are fantastic.

We’re still playing with times for the Knowledge Unicorns, but had a good session yesterday. Trying to juggle all the different assignments in two hours is a challenge, but with the stretch breaks and dance breaks and the fact that we can work in company and ask questions when stuck, I think (hope) it’s helpful. There’s a lot of laughter, which is good, too. And who knew the octopus was such a fascinating creature? Plenty of people, I guess.

Today, it’s client work and writing. I have to do a curbside pickup at the library, work on the book for review, and clean out at least one more box. We couldn’t wait until Saturday to put the flannel sheets on, so we’ve already changed out the beds, which meant more laundry yesterday. I’m also getting ready for the Equinox on Tuesday. I’m going to pack up some of the books stacked in my office and mark them as “donations” when the library is open for donations, and those I’m keeping. These are from the contest I judged earlier this year.

I’m working on a spec sheet of what I need from a social media management platform and I’m going to send it to the corporate offices of various platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Social Pilot, etc) and see if any of them can meet my needs. I can’t be the only social media manager running multiple accounts for multiple clients.

I also need to work on Grief to Art.

In other words, a busy Friday.

The weekend will be, I hope, about reading and writing and cleaning stuff out of the basement.

Have a great one!

Published in: on September 18, 2020 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs  
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Fri. June 5, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 18 – Local Disappointments

Friday, June 5, 2020
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We sort of skipped spring this year, and are getting right into summer.

I went to Country Gardens yesterday to pick up some plants, and it was not a good experience. I couldn’t find what I wanted, the plants weren’t in particularly good shape (which is unusual; they usually have outstanding plants). But the worst was that too many people were either running around without masks or being Sliding Mask Skanks, with their mask down around their neck.

The older white women were the worst. Masks around the neck, getting into the employees’ faces, playing Lady of the Manor ordering around the serfs.

They should have been kicked out.

The fact that they weren’t means that Country Gardens is putting profit over the health and safety of both employees and customers. So I won’t be back any time soon. Losing my business won’t hurt them; they’re busy enough. But in the next wave, when enough contact tracers find them on the list, maybe it will matter.

Not putting my life in danger to buy a couple of pots of petunias.

I’m all for shopping local over box stores. But when the local businesses practice and advocate what is counter to what I believe is right, I’m not spending money there. Conscientious consumerism means deciding WHICH local businesses get my money. If an artisan in another part of the country walks the talk more in alignment with my beliefs, I will support that individual over someone down the street who’s an ass.

Besides, the petunias looked terrible. And they didn’t have any six packs of small marigolds.

I considered going to Mahoney’s, but wanted to check their hours and policies. As I suspected, they “strongly encourage” a mask, but don’t require it.

Nope. Not going there.

I’ll do without marigolds.

I might try going to Scenic Roots in Sandwich. Supposedly, they are following the protocols, and I’ve always had positive shopping experiences there.

Came home, followed full disinfectant protocols, and then replanted everything I’d bought: basil, lavender, thyme, chives, nasturtiums, a single mortgage lifter tomato plant, parsley. Repotted the tomato seedlings (with the basil). Planted some eggplant seeds and cherry pits. Should have planted more, but by then, I was too damn tired and the morning was gone.

Disinfectant protocols are time consuming.

But it beats the alternative.

Participated in the Freelance Chat, which was fun.

Willa was out in the playpen for the repotting, and she loved it. She had the best time. I took Tessa out in the playpen in the afternoon and she hated it. Cried and cried, upsetting the other two. It was heartbreaking.

She loves to be outside, but we have such a hard time getting her back in that she has to be in the playpen. But she hates the playpen, because she’s used to being able to roam around on the deck. So she can’t go outside for awhile. It makes me sad. But I can’t risk her running away because she’s upset and doesn’t want to come back in.

Finished reading STEELFLOWER by Lilith St. Crow. Loved the world building and the characters. Sad for her (and for us, her readers) that piracy destroyed the series.

The problem with a Lilith St. Crow book is, as you as you sigh in the pleasure of finishing a really good book, the immediate need to read another of her books strikes, or there are withdrawal symptoms.

Plenty of things I should have done yesterday. Didn’t do any of them, so will have to catch up today.

It’s a lunar eclipse during four retrogrades – the only thing I’m doing off property is the curbside pickup for my library book.

There’s plenty that needs to be done in the house, in the yard, and on the computer.

Of course, because I have no time for new ideas, I got a new idea while baking the brandy-currant-sour cream pound cake from the Moosewood recipe. Paranormal romantic comedy/mystery around a haunted bakery. The idea has to get in line, although I’ll make notes.

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend; let’s hope they’re right. Have a good one, in spite of the Sociopathic coward who built a fence around the People’s House.

The new case numbers are going up again in the state, but the powers-that-be are ignoring them and moving forward with reckless re-opening.

Best wishes for a peaceful, healthy weekend.

Published in: on June 5, 2020 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 5, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 18 – Local Disappointments  
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Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Busy weekend, but a different busy than I expected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Work is coming along steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s different than my usual pieces, and I’m taking what I’ve learned in other pieces and applying it here. It’s taking on its own form and rhythm, while still holding genre elements which interest me.

Working on GRAVE REACH, which is interesting in the way it’s forming, too. I feel as though last year I’d hit a plateau with my work. Although I wanted to improve, I’m not sure I did. I think both GRAVE REACH and ELLA will wind up being really good books. They’ll need a lot of work to get there, but the bones are solid on both of them, and I can layer on in the edits.

Ran errands on Friday, got out some LOIs, handled some stuff for my mom, and some grocery shopping. Saturday morning, more groceries, gas in the car, and a trip to Country Gardens so that I could get the stuff I need to treat the deck for ticks, et al. There were lettuce six packs on sale, so I could replace some of the lettuce we lost.

I did some trimming in the yard, and spent a good portion of the day transplanting tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings, and repotting some herbs. I also planted nasturtium, morning glory, moonflower, kale, mesculan green, and spinach seeds.

We have to take some of the tender plants back in at night, but they need the long sunshine.

Did the first of the tick treatments on the deck. I’m probably more afraid of ticks than anything else.

Later in the day, I enjoyed the scent of lilacs on the breeze, as I did research for a couple of projects.

The check arrived from the radio play in Minnesota that was taped last week. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the check from the Boston production a month ago. I’ll wait a few more days and then do a follow-up.

The Preakness was wild. Both in the entrants, and the poor horse who ran without his jockey.

Last week, I re-watched, on DVD, Bill Moyers’ FAITH & REASON, which took place at a PEN conference in NYC a few years back. What those writers predicted is even more chilling today. Now, I’m watching A WORLD OF IDEAS, conversations Moyers had with writers way back in 1988. E.L. Doctorow predicted what has since come to pass.

I overslept on Sunday, not getting up until after 8. I can’t remember when I’ve done that. Put the plants out on the deck for the day. Will have to take them in and out all week, because the nights are still too cold. I’m slowly taking out the teak furniture, a piece at a time, and rubbing it with teak oil, so it won’t crack in the weather. Did three loads of laundry. Wanted to mow (okay, not really, more like NEEDED to mow), but it kept threatening to rain, so I didn’t. That was my excuse, anyway. I need to get the meadow done soon, or it will be too high for the mower.

Worked on ELLA; worked on GRAVE REACH; worked on a tweak my editor asked for in the review; got ahead on some blogging. Worked on the articles that are due this week.

Woke up at 2:30 on Monday morning; managed to get back to sleep, but it always means I’m groggy and have a problem getting going when the alarm goes off. The weather was lousy, so I kept the tender plants inside.

I think I’m going to stick to my plan of taking off from this Thursday through Memorial Day. I’ll make it a long weekend of reading, writing, and yard work (weather permitting). As little online as possible, not dumping things on people’s desks except for deadlined work. I need the break, or I will break.

Taking Sunday almost completely offline helped a great deal. I need to go back to one day a week that’s disconnected; for a long weekend, I plan to spend most of it disconnected.

Was with a client yesterday. It was a little chaotic. Will be there today and tomorrow, and then I have a break from client work until next Tuesday. I barely made it to meditation on time.

I desperately, desperately need it.

 

Published in: on May 21, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out  
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Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. That seems to be the mantra, doesn’t it?

Saturday was my Saturday “on”, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. I read, worked on contest entries, worked on the outline of the gothic, and percolated on the two short stories I have to write in the next month.

Sunday was Easter — even though we don’t technically celebrate it, the way I do with the Equinox, we ate an egg for breakfast and enjoyed the fact it’s a holiday. The weather wasn’t good enough to work in the yard. I did some planning, though, for what I’d like to do in the yard in the upcoming weeks. I baked a ham, and we had a good holiday dinner.

I worked my way through another stack of contest entries. The entries in the genre I’m currently reading, are, unfortunately, both derivative and weakly-written.

I took a break to read something well-written, which was Dawn Tripp’s novel GEORGIA, about Georgia O’Keefe. It was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, I did some work in the morning, ran errands, and took my mom to the doctor. The weather was vile, but we got there. Good news — she’s in good shape, n spite of the X-rays and the pulmonary test for which she was sent. But she has to exercise more. On nice days, we’ll walk on the beach. On nasty days, she walks around the house trailing a cat toy, so the cats get exercise, too.

Went to Country Gardens to drop off a sample of the invasive, pick up a present for a colleague, and do some pricing on things I want/need in the next few weeks for the garden.

Came home and percolated on various projects — reading background material, sitting in the office in the reading chair, and just being quiet and contemplative. People don’t realize how important that kind of time is to the creative process. I have ideas for several more paintings and one or two mixed media pieces I’d like to play with, so I’m also going to build more studio time into the schedule. It can’t interfere with the writing, but I also want to make sure that I follow this thread of creativity, simply because I enjoy it.

Went out to dinner at the Black Cat in Hyannis with a writer friend — it was her thank you for me reading a draft of her novel (and giving her nineteen pages of notes on it). We had fun. It was a pleasant evening out, and we both miss the nineties! 😉

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty day. I tried doing a scene for SONGBOUND from a different POV — didn’t work at all for the story. Although I’m working in close third, it needs to remain in Enid’s POV throughout. Good to know.

The play is coming along slowly. Its innate natural rhythm is much slower than a lot of other things I write, although the actual playing pace of it will be brisk enough to keep it from sagging. I have a title — “Just a Drop” — and that’s helping its shape. It won’t be done by tomorrow, which was my original deadline — but I’m pretty sure I can finish it by the end of April, which still gives me May for revisions. Scripts don’t need as much “resting time” in between revisions as novels for me.

Went to a birthday lunch for a work colleague yesterday. She’s a lovely woman, and it was nice to let her know she’s appreciated.

Took my mom to get her medication, and then we walked on the beach. A little windy, but nice. Too windy and raw to work in the yard, though. Tried sitting on the deck for awhile, working, but it was too cold for that, too. In fact, it went down to 33 degrees overnight!

But the seedlings inside are thriving.

I’ve been re-reading some of the books on my shelves — books that meant a lot to me, for one reason or another at different parts of development — and jotting notes down about them, thinking there might be material in there for an essay “someday.” I realized, yesterday, that I have the basis for two non-fiction books. Nonfiction #1 will take about a year to eighteen months to re-read everything and then sort out the material, get in additional statistics and anecdotes; Nonfiction #2 will take between three and five years. Some of this is because they have to fit in and around other projects. Some if because it will just take that darn long. But the process will be a pleasure, and I think I’ll get something good out of it.

Last night was the Artist HobNob, back in Hyannis (I’ve been to Hyannis a lot this week) at Kelly’s on Main. Fun evening, good speaker. Good talk with two other artists, who’ve been very supportive of my foray into mixed media. We’re talking about doing a ‘play date” and just messing around, to see what we come up with. That sounds like fun.

This will be a long week at work — today, tomorrow, and then Friday night we have a big fundraiser, so it will be a 13 hour day for me. Fortunately, I don’t have to work on Saturday — although I’ll be doing plenty of work –errands, dump run, cat food, garden center, yarn shop, etc., etc. Saturday night is the opening of the “Unsafe” exhibit, so I’ll be over there for a couple of hours. Sunday, there’s Julian Cyr’s campaign kickoff in Truro, so I’ll be out there.

I’m hoping the weather will be nice enough to get some yard work done, too!

Plus, of course, work on SONGBOUND SISTERS and “Just a Drop”, starting the short stories, and continuing on with the non-fiction pieces.

I hope it will be a productive spring. A POSITIVE spring.

Devon

Published in: on March 30, 2016 at 9:12 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 30, 2016: Refilling the Well & Moving Forward  
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Fri. July 13, 2012: Linky, Linky, Zombie Disco Party

Friday, July 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Happy Friday the 13th! Always one of my favorite days on the calendar.

Have I got links for you! 😉

First of all, I hope you’ll come join me today in a virtual Disco Zombie Party to celebrate the release of HEX BREAKER, over on Author Roast and Toast, later today, going well into the night. Attendees have the chance to get the new Billy Root story before it goes live!

Second, my article on “Smart Gardening” is up on Fifty is the New Fifty. I’m doing six articles for them (I sent off my fourth last night).

Third, I’ve got a piece up on the Writers Vineyard (as Annabel Aidan) about the pleasures of discovering a short story is the seed for something bigger.

Before I could even post this, I conducted an interview for another client. It went very well — I really, really like her and think we can work well together.

Yesterday was crazy busy. I kept thinking, “I can blog in the next hour” and then I couldn’t. My apologies.

Yoga was fantastic. I had to do some errands, including a stop at Country Gardens to pick up some petunias (the pansies in the urn are fading), and get more bamboo hoops, this time for the wisteria. I worked with students, worked on articles and short stories, and considered how to rework my resume geared to a specific Boston facility.

I’ve got a lot of writing and teaching to do today, along with errands, so I better get going. Tessa is grumpy this morning, because she can’t be outside as much as she’d like. She learned pouting and sulking from her big sister, Iris. Can’t the twins teach her any GOOD habits? 😉

Have a great weekend, everyone! It’s supposed to get hotter over the next few days — we’ve been so lucky, weather-wise.

Devon

Registration closes tonight for the Series Bible Seminar, tomorrow! If your story encompasses more than one book, this online seminar will help you keep it all organized! More information and registration here.