Wed. Sept. 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 133 — Furnace Day 2

image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Yesterday was definitely an interesting day.

Cleaned and oiled the bulkhead doors in the morning, swept the steps, did a final sweep of the furnace room to make sure they had space to work.

Tried to get some work done on the computer, but it wasn’t easy. And pretty impossible to be creative.

They showed up on time, early in the afternoon. Of course, they needed access to areas I hadn’t been told about and hadn’t moved stuff away from, because they have to run new vents. And the landlord told me that all the stuff that was promised as part of his loan application: insulation, air conditioning, a front-load washer, a new fridge – wasn’t happening.

So basically, months and months and months of my time was wasted losing billable hours letting this, that, and the other roam around and “assess” — only to find out the ONLY thing happening is the furnace being swapped out.

Which is just dumb on so many levels, since the washer and fridge were free. But, you know, he “doesn’t like being told what to do.”

I don’t understand it around here; people act like no one works for a living, and we can all take off all the time for everyone else’s schedules. And then when we do – it’s for nothing.

Whatever. We’ll have a new furnace.

I did a little ritual thank the old furnace. It soldiered on for the ten years we’ve lived here, and it was an old furnace when we got here.

The guys were fine – had their masks, appreciated the water and a designated bathroom. It’s just, they had to do what they had to do, so it wasn’t exactly conducive to creative work. But I got some admin and some other stuff done. I’d been checking some Google rankings of my own work, and found old pieces getting lots of hits that needed to go into my Media Room and on the Clients and Publications page. So I updated that.

Tessa was fine in my room. Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens in my mother’s room with her, and they were still having fits all afternoon. Willa has figured out how to roll her playpen like a hamster wheel that actually goes somewhere, and was flipping around all over the place up there.

I was downstairs in my office, trying to work. The guys were in the basement, trying to maneuver in really old surroundings. So we all did the best we could.

Even though it went smoothly and they cleaned up beautifully after themselves, I was exhausted by the time they were done. I scrubbed down their bathroom, and locked the bulkhead, then took a shower, decontaminated, and changed clothes.

I had a glass of wine (needed one), and then it was time for the Knowledge Unicorns. It was our last day on the octopus. I may never eat calamari again. Another family decided to switch from the remote learning model to full home-schooling. And one of the kids, who got C’s and D’s all last year in social studies got his first 94% on a test, based on the studying and work we did in the group. He’s feeling pretty pleased – and so are all of us.

More and more schools were briefly open and are shutting down. Here, kids are back to school – I got stuck behind several school busses on Monday. That makes NO sense, because our numbers are going steadily back up – every two days, we have nearly 1000 new cases. Also, the Health Dept. warned yesterday that our ICU numbers are the highest they’ve been since July.

And yet, people are still acting like it’s all over. Some because they’re bored; others because they’re greedy.

I collapsed into bed early, before the debate started. I didn’t plan to watch anyway. I don’t need to watch the Raving Lunatic call his right-wing nut-job gun nuts out against the rest of us.

I woke up at midnight, wide awake, and didn’t get back to sleep until nearly 3.

Up at 5, getting things ready for the furnace guys. The first one arrived a little after 7 (early) and got to work. Good thing I was up and ready!

I was supposed to go onsite for a client this morning, but I can’t leave until they’re done, and I’m just as happy to work remotely. Because this client claims she’s not going anywhere in order to keep us safe, yet her personal social media page shows just the opposite.

Anyway, going to get as much client work as I can done around all this, and then Remote Chat this afternoon. Hopefully, by the late afternoon, they will be finished with the furnace (just before it starts getting cold tonight).

The guys are as nice and considerate as can be. But as someone who is hypersensitive to sound, especially repetitive machine sounds, this is a challenge. I’m coping as best I can, but this, along with everything else going on, has shot my nerves.

I was joking about needing a Victorian rest cure a few days ago; not really a joke anymore.

Tomorrow is October 1, which means the Samhain decorations start going up (and the spiderweb curtains).

I’ve figured out a way to create treat bags safely that are then set out safely and distanced. I’m working on the assumption that trick or treating is happening around here; if not, I can save the bags and the non-edible treats for next year.

I’m also re-figuring the Winter Holiday treats I always bake.

I admit – I considered not baking this year. But it’s so much a part of the joy of the season for me that it would be hurting myself as well as not giving treats to people who deserve them.

What I am doing is starting to stockpile supplies early, buying a little extra every time I go to the grocery store. Especially when it comes to flour and sugar. I’m ordering bakery envelopes in bulk, and each cookie will be in a separate envelope. Each type of cookie is then put in a separate Ziploc bag with a tag stating what it is. Instead of platters and cellophane this year, I’ll put the Ziplocs into tins (if I can get enough tins) and then bows around the tins (I already bought and have the ribbon from a ribbon wholesaler).

I will be masked when I bake, so I’m not breathing on the ingredients.

But that’s a few months down the line. Right now, I need to concentrate on the furnace installation, getting up the Samhain decorations, and upcoming deadlines.

Check in tomorrow, friends. Have a good one.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies

Tuesday, January 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

I’m delighted to have Scott Dawson as my guest on A Biblio Paradise today, talking about his book, The Art of Working Remotely. Scott hosts the Remote Chat every Wednesday, which is one of the highlights of my week.

Friday afternoon’s get-together for my work colleagues went well, although I was tired by the end of it. Too much food, which is always better than not enough, and it didn’t go to waste, so all good. The rum cake even turned out well.

Saturday, up early. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance. Most of the day was spent taking down the holiday decorations. We got everything down in my writing room, the backroom, the upstairs. Packed away the Santas, the deer, the nutcrackers, the carolers. Switched out most of the fabric. Eight hours, and it still wasn’t done. Managed to get four loads of laundry in, though.

Weird dreams into both Saturday and Sunday, so I guess October and November will be. . .unusual. Which is kind of what I expected.

Saturday night, watched the movie THREE LITTLE WORDS, with Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, and Red Skeleton. It gave me an idea for a mystery set against Vaudeville. I’ve been playing with ideas like that, set against Vaudeville or Burlesque, on and off for awhile now. But I made some notes, just in case. Ordered some research material. Had a glimmer of an idea for a fantasy YA piece.

Had trouble getting going on Sunday, and really didn’t feel like dealing with the decorations. However, they weren’t going to pack themselves. Wrote a bit on the Winter Solstice romance (which is taking some turns). Made a quick grocery run, and got to work. Got the outside decorations in and up on mats to dry before I could pack them. Packed the ornaments from the tree (I’d set up tables with all the specialized boxes, which made it easier). Got the lights down in the living room and off the tree. Took apart the tree and wrestled it back into the back. Got almost everything packed into the Christmas Closet. Even though we have 7 more boxes then we had last year, it fits better, because I packed better and the boxes are more complementary to each other.

7 hours later, and I treated myself for a large Sidecar. I earned it!

Tessa hated all the upheaval, but Willa and Charlotte handled it pretty well. As long as they are around us when things change, they are fine.

Annoyed with the landlord. He had yet a third furnace guy over for a quote yesterday — but didn’t let me know until Sunday afternoon. Has he forgotten that I work for a living? I can’t just take off at the last minute. He said he has to get three quotes for the loan for which he’s applying. Why didn’t he tell me that in the first place? Plus, he doesn’t NEED the loan. I researched the furnaces. Our rent more than pays for the replacement.

The YA fantasy idea spun a bit, and I took notes.

Made ham pot pie for dinner, with extra cheese mixed into the crust. It was good.

Watched the documentary Soundies on Sunday night. Excellent. I wish I had watched it earlier — I would have pitched to write about fan dancer Faith Bacon for 365 Women. And write about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Maybe next year. I made some notes and ordered some research material.

Did NOT want to get up and go to my client’s on Monday morning, but I did. Put in a batch of ham, navy bean, and kale soup into the Crockpot to cook while I was gone. I was grumpy, though, on several fronts. I didn’t get as much as I wanted to done over the break, mostly because of exhaustion. That means I have to push harder this week.

Client work was okay, but I was glad to get out of there, even though it was into the snow.

Meditation was good. I needed it.

Ideas come in batches. My writer pal Paula said, “Like cookies.” From now on, I’m going to call them Idea Cookies!

With a client today and then some other appointments. Decent first writing session. One word after another, that’s all I can do.

 

Published in: on January 7, 2020 at 7:24 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019: Idea Cookies  
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Tues. Nov. 5, 2019: Nice Start to November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

A friend arrived on Thursday afternoon. We had cocktails and snacks. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, with orange rye bread. Gingerbread for dessert.

The weather was pretty vile, so there were only 8 Trick or Treaters.

At least I had enough candy.

We watched TEA WITH THE DAMES, talked. I’d done my ritual in the morning. I did my Tending the Dead ritual once everyone was asleep.

Willa bonded with my friend immediately, which was good. Charlotte behaved better. Tessa came out a little bit.

I tried anti-anxiety medicine on all three cats. It did nothing for Willa. It confused Tessa. It made Charlotte less aggressive, but more nervous. I kept Charlotte on it for a few days, but she was miserable.

A Letter to the Editor I ghost-wrote for a client appeared in the local paper. I felt a bit smug, and she was very pleased.

The weather was bad all night into Friday, although it started clearing up Friday mid-morning.

I cooked a big breakfast. We stopped at the library.

Then we went to the Cahoon Museum. It was delightful, as always, although it was between exhibits. I was sad they took down my favorite oil painting. But Ralph and Martha’s work always delights me. One of the two new exhibits, by a weaver, was beautiful. I’m trying to decide if I’ll go the opening reception this next week. It’s the last exhibit of this year, before they close for the winter.

We came home, and I made bahn mi for lunch.

Then, we headed up to Sturgis Library, and then over to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth. I hadn’t been there in several years. It was delightful, as always.

The guy at the front desk is someone I recognized from one of the local reading series where I’ve tested new work. He had no idea who I was. I’ve attended often enough that one would think he’d recognize me.

That’s what gets me here. It’s a small community, so “everyone knows everyone.” Yet, in professional contexts, they don’t retain information. They’ll remember gossip about the friend of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin like they know them and it’s first=hand information, but not remember someone with whom they interacted professionally.

Stopped at Parnassus Books on the way back, always a pleasure. Then, went to Tumbleweed Quilts so my friend could buy some novelty fabric for her sister.

It was nice enough to have a cocktail on the deck. I made a Venetian pasta out of THE BRUNETTI COOKBOOK. We watched the first, very dark episode of Season 4 of SHETLAND.

The cats behaved pretty well. Tessa needs to stay out more, so they all get used to being together. She holes up in my office all the time.

Saturday morning, up early. My friend was looking for something for her mom. We drove around all over Hyannis, three different stores, and finally found it at a yard sale down the street.

My friend left in late morning. I brought in the Halloween decorations, cleaned them off, packed them away. We packed all the Samhain decorations and put them away. We switched out the spider web curtains for the winter curtains and changed Halloween fabric coverings to Harvest fabric. Re-made the beds. I did laundry.

Charlotte and Willa discovered the basement, and had adventures.

They didn’t like empty boxes coming out, but once they were filled, the settled down. Tessa always avoids the chaos when decorations go up or come down. She hates it.

Finished reading MISS BUNCLE MARRIED by D.E. Stevenson, and started THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY, which is quite wonderful and weird, but I’m worried it’s going to wind up being too religious for my taste.

Remembered to turn the clocks back.

Up early. Spent a good portion of the day working on edits. This draft is in good shape, and I’m happy with it. I have to smooth out a couple of things, and then I can get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DHARMA. I need to come up with an entire new outline for DHARMA, and I need to outline THE BARD’S LAMENT. I only have the most basic idea of where I want to go with it.

Yesterday morning, up early, trying to get back into the routine. Willa and Charlotte don’t really understand the concept yet of yoga and meditation time. They’re constantly up to something when I sit. It’s pretty funny.

Worked on my edits. Worked on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Worked more on it than I expected, but it’s flowing. Worked on site with my client. Bagged 30 gallons of leaves from the front yard.  Took a big stack of materials back to the library. Went to meditation. Worked on a book for review. Worked on a piece I’m doing for NMLC.

This morning, another writing session, another editing session, then off to my client. I’m debating whether to grocery shop today or tomorrow. Doing some more work on the piece for NMLC. I’m working with the Executive Director on it later this week.

Have to do some raking and yard work. I need to cut back a bunch of stuff, put the pots away from the deck (either cleaned and stacked, or, for the big plants, to the spot where they overwinter in the garage). I figure, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it gets done.

I’m also doing some sorting and purging. Again, trying to do a little bit every day. Set the time for 15 minutes here and there, make a commitment to unpack a box or two. I want to get rid of a lot of stuff that’s not relevant to me anymore. I’ll keep most of the books, especially non-fiction, but release what I no longer want to define my life.

I’m redefining my life right now, which feels good, is scary, and most definitely necessary.

Meanwhile, I keep the writing steady. So it’s back to the page.

Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a long, damn day onsite with a client. It was a good day, a productive day, but a long one. I couldn’t face cooking when I came home, so I picked up a pizza on the way.

And I’m still trying to take down decorations!

Put in my responses for the notes on the radio play. Called out the comments I felt were sexist — they’re not happening. But most of the other ones make sense, and I will implement them in the new draft. Of course, this company uses a format completely different from any other radio format I’ve ever worked in, but hey, gaining an additional tool is always valuable.

Got the next book I need to review. And the first shipment of books for the contest arrived. I’m excited to dig into them. They look good. Every time I pick up a book, either to review or for a contest, I want to fall in love with it. Doesn’t always happen, but I’m always excited and optimistic.

Tried adding the exercise bicycle to the fitness routine. I’d tried it a few years ago, and it caused so much pain in my knees, hips, and back that I stopped. But I need more elements in the routine, so I’m trying again. Just a short stint, but I was in pain a good portion of the night and this morning. I’ll give it a week of daily attempts; if it doesn’t feel better, I’ll stop.

Meanwhile, my 94-year-old mother does 20 minutes every day of the week on the bike! That’s her preferred form of exercise.

I’ve stuck to the weight training, though, and that feels good. I even upped the repetitions on one of the lifts. I’ve also added plank position every day back into the yoga sequence. I hate it, but I need it for the core. So I’ll deal.

I have some admin work to do today, and some LOIs to get out. Hopefully, a pitch for an article, and also work on a conference proposal I want to send out tomorrow. I also have a detailed proposal to go to my representatives on the federal level about the government shutdown. This crap has to stop, and if Mitch McConnell won’t do his job and let votes come to the floor, then remove Mitch McConnell. Even if it’s unprecedented. This administration has set the precedent that rules don’t count.

On today’s writing agenda: THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, start revisions on the radio play, and work on the first of the monologues. And write ahead on some blog posts. I’m going to introduce a Reader Expansion Challenge on A Biblio Paradise next week.

On the life agenda: Get the rest of the decorations down from the tree. Fix the printer, if possible.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Published in: on January 10, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing  
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Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades

I’d forgotten what it feels like not to have retrogrades.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for my take on “The Book Boyfriend Dilemma.”

Busy few days, and it was a little overwhelming. Friday morning was stressful with a client, then I had some errands in the afternoon. I ended up buying some clothes to freshen up my wardrobe, some pants and skirts. I need to have a bit more of a polished look this year.

When I’m writing at home, I can wear whatever I want (usually yoga clothes, never pajamas. I can’t write in pajamas). But when I actually have to leave the house, I need and want to look professional, even if it’s not to a formal meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived on Friday, a day early, so that was a fun treat.

Saturday morning, I had errands — and wound up doing more clothes shopping — more pants and a few jackets. So I’m all set for the coming season.

Got two sets of notes on the radio play — which they claim they originally sent early in December, and I never received them. I had a conversation months ago, when they claimed they’d sent me something and I had never received it, which is why they didn’t get a response — if I don’t respond in 2-3 business days, it means I didn’t get it, and please follow up. I can’t respond if I don’t know they need something. Which they did not do, again. Now, they want a new draft in a little over two weeks. When I should have had seven.

I’m all signed up for a conference at which I’m a presenter — the schedule hasn’t officially been released yet, so I can’t give out the details. I will, as soon as I get the okay. Got a pitch for another radio play out (to a different company).

Started taking down the decorations. It took me a month to get them up; I don’t know why I thought I could get them down in an afternoon. And I used enough florists’ wire to build a small city.

Got some writing done, and some work on galleys. Not enough, I’m behind, and it frustrates me.

Got yet more contradictory information on my health insurance. I now have four sets of documents, all which contradict each other. I’m turning the whole mess over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Don’t ever believe the marketing crap that health coverage in the state of Massachusetts works. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars in repeatedly having to send documents via certified mail (which they always claim they never received, even when I have proof) and dozens of lost work hours every year to sign up for health coverage — all with the threat that I’ll have to pay a fine WHEN THEY SCREW IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Single payer. Anything else is just stupid.

Exhausted on Sunday. Had trouble getting going. Working on finishing up a book for review. Had to do some client work that I couldn’t get finished last week, and which had to be done by Monday.

Worked on taking down decorations. Still not done. The tree only has lights left on it, but it will be another day or two before I can get them off and take the tree apart. I haven’t even stripped the tree in my office of ornaments yet.

I’m just unbelievably exhausted, and don’t see any option for rest coming up. It’s not about sleep. It’s about rest.

Sunday night was a fancy dress party. The reason I’d been shopping earlier in the weekend was to find a dress for this party. I didn’t find one, although I found pieces to freshen my wardrobe. But it turns out that I could fit into my favorite navy blue velvet evening gown. I paired it with my new blue suede pumps, thigh-high stockings (I’m sticking to my resolution not to wear pantyhose anymore), a multi-colored velvet wrap, elbow-length red velvet gloves, and I had my hair up with a tiara. I was pretty pleased with the effect.

The party was fun. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis. There was live music, a dance floor. I had a few glasses of Prosecco, danced, talked to people I knew and didn’t.

When I got home, I changed into pajamas and made scrambled eggs and ham for a late, light supper.

Monday was spent in client work, a couple of other appointments, and then a new meditation class. I desperately, desperately needed it.

I was exhausted when I woke up on Monday, but proud of myself for sticking to the weight training. I do the weights before I do yoga, and that works much better. I used to do it the other way around, and it didn’t work.

My printer is acting up – just when I have A LOT that needs to be done in the next few days. I’m trying to replace the drum and hope that solves it; otherwise, I have to buy a new printer.

With a client today and tomorrow. Thursday, I start digging into the radio script revisions, and focus on some of the other writing.

Usually, even when I’m too tired to physically write much, I can work out plot points and story themes. But I’m so physically and mentally spent that I can’t even string two silent thoughts together. It’s very hard to be vocally coherent with clients.

And maybe, MAYBE this coming weekend, I can get some rest.

I’m going to figure out where I can take a few days off, either later this month, or early next month.

I still have two books coming out quickly that need to be marketed; and get back in the groove of GRAVE REACH, which comes out near the end of the year. And the plays. This year is about a lot of scripts.

I also have to get the registration of the websites shifted over to Name Silo. That means the sites will probably go down for a bit, as 1&1 tries to sabotage the transfer. But I’m happy with A2 as my host, and I want Name Silo to hold the registration. I want to finally be free of 1&1 for good. I wish I’d had the courage and the knowledge to leave them years ago. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

But most of all, most of all, I am desperate for some rest.

Published in: on January 8, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest  
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Tues. Nov. 6, 2018: A Vital Election Day

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild
Election Day

This is the most important election of my lifetime. I’m worried. Worried, worried, worried.

Hop on over to the GDR site. I have the October wrap-up, November To-Do List, and the questions for 2019 up. The approach to the 2019 questions is different, hoping to create a different perspective on it, rather than running the same treadmill every year.

It was a busy weekend.

Had a lot of fun meeting a new colleague for coffee on Friday at Washashore Bakery in Mashpee. It was great to have a real, far-ranging conversation, and I hope we get to do it again.

The weekend’s work on DAVY JONES DHARMA was frustrating. I’m struggling, and I don’t have time to struggle, because I’m on deadline.

I worked on the revision of HEART SNATCHER, as part of the Women Write Change project. I restored the prologue. Fine, plenty of people don’t like prologues. In this case, the prologue works for the book. So I put it back in. Fixed it, but put it back in. Revised the first four chapters. The draft is tightening, which is a good thing. I’d cut a little too much before, and had to put some back, but I fixed and tightened it.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony website materials. As soon as BALTHAZAAR goes into galleys, I have to get the final drafts of those books ready to go to the editor.

The cover ideas we talked through for the Justice by Harpy trilogy are really cool. I’m excited to see the drafts.

Managed to get the outdoor decorations in before the bad weather, but it was Saturday before I got the indoor decorations down, everything packed away, and switched out the curtains. No more spiderweb curtains. We have the heavy winter drapes up in the living room. But, in my office, we hung the vintage 1940 green striped curtains that used to hang in the bedroom in Rye. They look good.

Damn neighbors spent most of the weekend leaf blowing. It was ridiculous on Saturday — it was raining and we had high winds. But heaven forbid the one dumbass at the top of the street not leafblow for at least an hour EVERY DAY. Granted, she does it so she can wander up and down the street spying on everyone.

And Sunday morning, the machines started before 9 AM. They should be banned on Sundays. Completely. And people should only be allowed to leaf blow for 20 minutes once a week.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s lovely. It’s such a great treat every month.

Drafting PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, the new novel dealing with gun violence and the opiod crisis, is going well. By Sunday lunchtime, I had 27 pages in longhand.

Read the book for review, and worked on the review, which went out yesterday.

The shooting at the yoga center in Tallahassee was upsetting. Both because it was a yoga studio, and because I lived in Tallahassee my first year of college. I need to somehow weave my response into PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

Yesterday, worked with a client, did some grocery shopping, and then went to a meditation for peace at my yoga studio, which was their response to the shooting.

Voted early this morning. It’s always a good experience in this neck of the woods. The polling place was packed. I drove several people, and will drive some more from the neighborhood later this afternoon.

I’m invited to a party tonight to watch results. I’ll have to see if I feel like I can bear being around other people, or if I just want to hunker down at home.

Turned down a freelance gig because the way the client wants to work is so counter to the way I work that I’m not the right fit for her business. I can’t be productive or creative within her parameters; there are plenty who will.

Digging into DHARMA for a big push this week. I love the story, so it doesn’t make sense that I’m struggling. By next week, I have to start pushing again on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too.

At the same time, I don’t want to lose momentum on HEART SNATCHER or PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

I just have to dig deeper and get it all done.

But worry about tonight’s results makes everything else pale.

Onward.

Tues. Dec. 12, 2017: The Aftermath of the #HolidayBakingFrenzy

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but, at this time of year, when is it not?

Another 270 gallons of leaves raked on Friday, and two trips to the dump to get everything out. The front is done. I still have the side yards, the terraced back, and the meadow, which will be done piecemeal as weather allows.

I put up the exterior decorations. Two strands of NEW lights — as in I bought them last year — aren’t working. So, when I went to replace them — of course, the place I bought them is sold out.

Also did important things like re-stock the cat food and cat litter.

Had great discussions with several webhosts. One, in particular, looks like it has everything I need, is reliable, and has good customer service, at a price I can afford. In fact, I’ll save quite a bit if I use them. Not only that, but I’ll be able to post my book covers and media kits and, you know, the things that make it possible for me to earn a living.

Another host was helpful, but I’m not tech-savvy enough to use their services.

Several other hosts haven’t bothered to answer the questions I sent. Which knocks them right out of consideration. This was, after all, an audition.

And my current host is just useless. On social media, insisting they are eager to make things right. But when I actually interact with them, they are cruel, condescending, and useless.

The holly walk at Ashumet was cancelled on Saturday, due to weather. So the weekend turned into a baking marathon. On Saturday, I prepped the rolled sugar cookies and the molasses spice cookies, which had to be chilled overnight. Then, I prepped and baking 15 dozen tollhouse cookies, 12 dozen oatmeal-currant cookies, and 13 dozen orange cranberry cookies. Baked, cooled, packed.

Every year, I swear I’ll buy chef’s clogs for the baking marathon, because standing and working causes excruciating pain in my lower back, hips, knees, and feet. Every year, I put it off and regret it. This year is no different. Hopefully, I’ve learned from my mistakes!

I was exhausted and in a lot of pain Saturday night. Yet, at the same time, I enjoyed the process of the day. I truly enjoyed the baking.

I also used some of the time (when I wasn’t intentionally being mindful — how’s that for being redundant?) to work out plot points on several pieces on which I’m working.

Sunday, up early, and an extra long yoga session, which helped stretch out the kinks. Then, it was back to baking.

Rolled sugar cookies first. Nightmare. I simply cannot do the volume necessary with this type of cookie in the time frame I have. This is the last year I’ll do them for the platters. I’ll do them for us in the coming years, but not for the platters.

Molasses spice next, which was fine. Takes time, rolling them and flattening them, but they’re fine.

12 dozen sugar cookies, 14 dozen molasses spice.

Because the mint chocolate brownie recipes didn’t work, I went back to the raspberry chocolate chip recipe, only as a cupcake, not a cake. I did the first 3 dozen cupcakes. They’re messy, but good.

Once the sugar cookies cooled, had to decorate them, then pack up everything. And put them in the coolers so they stay fresh and cold.

Yesterday, the cookie platters started moving out. I need to get them out in the next
few days.

Published in: on December 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 12, 2017: The Aftermath of the #HolidayBakingFrenzy  
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Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Quite the busy holiday weekend. And yet, it feels like I got very little done.

We didn’t go to Maine for the holiday, like we usually do. Usually, the first few days of Thanksgiving week, I’m finishing my Nano word count, cooking up a storm of desserts and other things. Then, we usually drive up on Wednesday, making our favorite stops. I bring up the dinner and dessert for twelve I prepared at home, and that’s what I serve those who set up the Hall that’s always rented for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. Thursday, I can usually get a bit of writing done in the morning, then help with the food prep at the hall (mashing vats of potatoes is my speciality), help with the clean-up, and preparing the snack for Thursday night. Because we have anywhere from 37 to 64 in the hall for the actual meal. And Friday, we head back while everyone else runs around shopping.

Not this year, because there’s too much post-op care after my mom’s surgery, and she still can’t fit into a shoe.

My mom had her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. He’s worried about her accelerated heart rate and is changing her medication. I took her home, got her settled, and spent a few hours on site with a client.

Then, home, and ready to dig in for the weekend.

Thursday morning, I was up early. The turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:30 in the morning. I read, and got some reading done, checking on the turkey and preparing the other dishes. We ate around 3. Maple-cranberry glazed turkey, my own stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, my own carrot-parsnip in mushroom gravy, peas. Apple pie for dessert.

My mother wasn’t feeling well, with bouts of dizziness from her medication. So, all of the cooking, the set-up, and the clean-up was on me. I put away the leftovers, took apart the turkey. I’d gotten a bit overzealous with the turkey — over 22 pounds, and just for the two of us. We’ve got a good bit of leftovers. I then boiled down the bones to make stock. Once the stock was done, I added onion, celery, carrots, herbs, garlic, etc. and some turkey meat and made turkey soup. Once that cooled, I put everything in jars and labelled it.

Basically, I was in the kitchen for about 13 hours.

But it was an outstanding meal.

Friday, I was up early. I got a few things done around the house, and I emptied the Christmas closet and stacked the boxes by category in the back room.

I had to take my mom to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, and then we dumped a stack of books in the book drop at the library, and picked up her new medication. Then, we headed to Country Gardens, where I got the wreath I’ll decorate for the door, a small tree for the barrel in the front yard, and a cyclamen.

Home, and got the laundry going. Then, I ironed all the holiday fabric, took off the Thanksgiving fabric from all the surfaces that were covered, and replaced them with the Christmas/Yule fabric. Stripped the mantel and the hearth, wrapped the iron candle stands in gold ribbon, set up the Advent Table. Put up the musical fabric over the fireplace, set up the garland, the gold bells, and the caroler collection on the top, and the herd of deer on the bottom. Got some of the Advent table done.

That took all damn day.

Watched a rather pointless documentary on Stonehenge and did some reading.

Saturday morning, up early, outlined the next section of the Lavinia Fontana play. Changed the beds, vaccuumed, moved things. Hauled the big tree down. Got it into the stand (worst stand ever). Put the tree together. Got the lights on. Even though I tested them before I put them on, once they were on, half the strand at the top didn’t work. Took them off. Tested them again. They worked. Put them on. Now they didn’t. Went to the store to get a replacement strand. Got them home. Tested them. Three quarters of the strand worked; one quarter didn’t. Went back to the store. Swapped them out. This strand worked. Got them on the tree, and it all worked.

Lost two hours on the damn lights.

Unpacked a lot of the ornaments. Got some of the windows decorated. Finished the Advent Table (since Sunday was the First of Advent). But didn’t get the tree done. Didn’t even get the ornaments on it.

We’re rearranging things this year, and a lot of it is trying something, deciding that’s not what we want and changing it.

Honestly, it was easier in the small apartment where everything only fit one way!

But I do enjoy the decorating process.

I was tired that night, though. Too tired to do much. I did get the Norfolk pine planted in the barrel. But the neighbors are doing yard work and I am not. I am doing the inside first.

I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted, so I invented on. Hello, chocolate espresso spice cake. It turned out well, but I think I want to tweak some of the proportions and make it better.

We had power fluctuations on Saturday. Power kept going on and off in the evening and all night. Good thing it happened AFTER the cake was done!

Sunday, I gave myself the morning off to read and play with the cats.

Then, I had to do some work for one of my clients. I was behind, and we were meeting yesterday to finalize some photos for the rough of the media kit and the brochure.

We also did a photo shoot in the cemetery for the cover of “Miss Winston Apologizes”, since everything we’ve come up with so far isn’t quite right. Hopefully, what we came up with will now work.

Didn’t sleep well Sunday night into Monday. I’m dreading when Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Managed to get some good work done yesterday morning on SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Had to help my client untangle computer issues most of the day yesterday. How much do you want to bet there will be more today? Scary when I’m the most IT-savvy person in any room! 😉

Busy week – I feel like I’m falling behind, so I’ll have to add in extra writing sessions, probably late at night.

And so it goes . . .

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track  
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Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules  
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Mon. Jan. 6, 2014: Back To It

Monday, January 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy, foggy, milder

It’s a little warmer today, before it dips back down to zero tomorrow, so it gives me the chance to finish clearing the snow off the deck and get some cat food into the house.

Busy weekend. Finished a teleplay, revised two screenplays, wrote three essays, did some invoicing. There’s a new post up at Gratitude and Growth about tomatoes.

Finished a book I have to review, read another book that I thought was overly simplistic and a little silly, and started re-reading Phyllis Theroux’s memoir THE JOURNAL KEEPER, which I really enjoy.

Yesterday, we spent the day taking down the holiday decorations (although we’re leaving the red ribbons up around doorways and windows until Valentine’s Day), changing out the fabric on tables, etc., doing laundry, putting everything away.

Normally, I’d have my Twelfth Night party tonight, but between not feeling well for weeks before the holidays and the bad weather, I’m better off doing one in spring instead.

The Editing Intensive starts today, I have a lot of admin work to do, I have to write a review, start two articles, and figure out an article pitch for a piece I want to write, and then figure out where to query it. Plus, trips to the post office, library, grocery store, and gas station.

Busy day!

Somewhere in there, I need to get back to the airship steampunk story, which is due soon, start revisions on the 30 minute teleplay, and start the play for which I got the grant!

Devon

Fri. Jan. 11, 2013: Murder Mystery Play a Go!

Friday, January 11, 2013
New Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was busy, but in a good way. Except Verizon is being a pain in the butt, as usual, but that will be handled, never fear!

Christian, to answer your questions — I’ve accumulated a lot of decorations through the years — frequently at thrift shops and yard sales, vintage stuff, interesting stuff, etc. When I worked on Broadway, I always decorated my actor’s dressing room, and my area, so I had boxes of that stuff that stayed either at the theatre or in storage. I decorated my apartment a lot, too (in fact, my tree was so big I had to move it every time I wanted to sit down on my couch). Add that to all the decorations accumulated while growing up, and the ones I add every year, and now that there’s a house and outdoor space and — I have a Christmas closet.

The space over the garage is a storage area with four closets and the rest bookshelves. I keep the Christmas decorations in one closet, the Halloween decorations in another closet, the rest-of-year decorations in the third closet, and the fourth is kind of a catch all. The bookcases have books (of course) and my yarn and fabric stashes.

I started taking courses via Coursera last fall, because I wanted a chance to catch up on things that interest me, but that I haven’t formally studied, especially in connection to the different types of writing I do. I was certified in Sustainability (which will make me more valuable as a local hire) and in Greek/Roman Mythology (so much of my writing is myth-based that, if I hadn’t earned the certificate, I would have been embarrassed). I successfully completed the World History Since 1300 course, but that wasn’t for certification, and I’m currently auditing Intro to Astronomy and Galaxies & Cosmology. It adds quite a few hours to the work week, but it’s worth it. The classes are taught by top professors at top universities from all over the world.

Yesterday, I struggled with the proposal for my agent. The proposal itself is solid, but the writing sample doesn’t yet sing. It feels a little “falsely cheerful” to me — I haven’t found the key to the protagonist yet. I’ll get there. I kind of have to — by today.

I also have to get another proposal out for an appearance in early June.

I’m all locked in for NERWA’s April conference, “Let Your Imagination Take Flight”. The conference is April 26-27 in Burlington, MA. I’m teaching my “Setting as Character” workshop on the 27th, but I plan to be there both days.

Most of yesterday, for me, was about prepping my idea packets for the National Marine Life Center meeting and then attending the meeting. It was a great, lively meeting with lots of great ideas and interesting discussions. There are some new-to-me people getting involved, with great ideas and enthusiasm.

The mystery play is a go — we brainstormed ideas, and I started writing the opening scene and fleshing out the plot and some of the tech stuff in my head driving home. I’m going to send out another brainstorming email in a few hours, when I’ve written my way into it a bit and figured out a few more things, and I got another performance piece idea (that’s less involved) for later in the year this morning while I made coffee.

I have to work fast, because it goes up mid-March!

Most of the snow melted, and now I can see how badly the plow guy hurt my lawn. Not happy about it. Will contact the landlord and then the town.

One of our seals is well enough to be released on Sunday — how exciting!

Busy day starts a busy weekend, so I better get moving.

I’ll have information on February’s workshop, The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects, up either later today or on Monday.

Have an awesome weekend, everybody!

Devon

Tues. Jan. 8, 2013: Trying to Get It All Done

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Hopefully, I’m not getting sick. I feel a little run down and achy. I may take a nap this afternoon, if I can. I can’t afford to get sick, on any level.

Yesterday, I worked with students, but the rest of the day was about taking down the decorations. The house looks so big with them down! Some of the ribbons still need to be dealt with, but, for the most part, things are packed away and the Christmas closet is full again. We’re leaving the red ribbons around the windows and doorways until Valentine’s Day, because they’re pretty.

Reconfigured the space in my office a bit, so I have more breathing/working space. I’d reconfigured it to have the high buffet table (built of boxes of books, covered in fabric) for the party, but it purposely cut off the desk space, and I needed to switch it around again.

The Galaxies and Cosmology class started yesterday — I’m auditing it, too, rather than going for certification. I’m still trying to catch up in the Astronomy class.

Worked on “That Man in Tights” yesterday, prepping it for the Smashwords release, and realized that it needs some major work. Did a lot of work on it yesterday, but I think it will probably be the end of this week or early next week before it’s truly ready for release. I’d rather make it the best it can be than release something with more holes in it than Swiss cheese. I need to expand it a bit, flesh it out. I don’t want to lose the somewhat slapstick comic element, but it needs to go deeper, and I have to trust that the comedy will come organically out of the situation.

Got a lot of work to do this morning, so I better get to it!

Devon

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 8:48 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. Jan. 7, 2013: Plough Monday means Ploughing Back into Life!

Monday, January 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Plough Monday
Sunny and cold

The whole weekend was about the Twelfth Night party. I baked/cooked/cleaned all day Saturday, did the last minute prep set-up on Sunday morning. Costume Imp was in Aruba, so he couldn’t co-host with me, but we had his picture at the cruise ship posted and people could toast him.

The party itself was a fun, eclectic group of friends and neighbors, mixing Marine Life Center people and Writers Center People and garden people and neighbors. Everyone got along and had lively conversations, which was terrific –people from different walks of life, interesting and interested, getting to know each other.

People loved the way the house was decorated, and the regulars always find it interesting how different it is every year. Which, for me, is kind of the fun of having a house. In the apartment, everything fit only one way — here, I can design something different every year. And they get a kick out of the fact that I set up a rolling rack for coats. Well, I’m a wardrobe person — I live by rolling rack! 😉

Tessa was a little bit sociable, and, when she had enough, she went back upstairs. Iris and Violet were gray blurs every once in awhile, streaking through the rooms to remind people they exist, but not social enough

The officially ended at 6, but some of us stayed and hung out for awhile, which was fun. Got the clean-up going, including starting to take down some of the decorations. Today is the big push to take down the decorations, once I’ve worked some more with my students.

I’d like to sleep for about three days, now that the holiday season is done — but no much luck!

I gave myself the weekend off from writing, and I knew I was going to do that, so I could work ahead and take off time with a clear conscience.

Onward,

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 8:02 am  Comments (3)  
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