Monday, Dec. 2, 2013: Adventures in Maine

Monday, December 2, 2013
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sleety and cold

Don’t forget to sign up for the “Organize Your Life” Workshop on Sat. December 7. A few hours on Saturday afternoon, and your writing life is sorted out for 2014! The techniques will serve you well beyond the class and the year. Information here.

We haven’t had a good sit-down for quite awhile, and that’s because I haven’t been around.

Monday night, during the 11 PM news, it became clear that Wednesday was going to be a stormy, difficult travel day. So, we stayed up until 3 AM baking lemon cupcakes and preparing beef stroganoff and putting together everything else we needed to take to Maine. We caught a few hours’ of sleep, called Maine at 8 AM and asked if we could come up a day early. The answer was a resounding “yes”, so I did as much work as possible, and we were on the road by 11 AM.

The drive wasn’t bad — a little testy around Boston, but, otherwise, traffic wasn’t bad and roads smooth. We made a couple of favorite stops up in Kittery and York, but made decent time, and arrived near sunset a little after 4 PM.

We were staying at my great-uncle’s house — a place we’ve visited since the mid-1970s. Many memories tied up in that house. But my great-uncle was moved to a nursing home a few months ago, so the house is mostly empty. Before that, he wasn’t able to do much, especially not cook. In other words, in addition to bringing up all the food we expected to need for the week, we also brought up pots and pans, and, from my writing bag, I had my wooden spoons, can opener, and wine opener.

We relaxed on Tuesday night and went to bed early. I slept like someone knocked me unconscious.

Up early Wednesday — and it was a miserable, stormy day. We were so glad not to be on the road. We hunkered down in the little house. Maine can be spooky, with the dark and the fog and the silhouettes of trees. There’s a reason a lot of horror and thriller writers live in Maine! There’s no internet access there, so I got as much done as I could, then hopped over to the library in the early afternoon, set up there, did what I needed to do online, and came home.

My job on the big Thanksgiving holiday is to make Wednesday’s dinner for the family members who work all day setting up the Hall for the holiday feast. Hence the stroganoff. The stove in the house is AWFUL — a very old electric thing. I was glad I’d done the cooking ahead of time on my good gas stove. It took over 40 minutes to heat the meal up. And no, it couldn’t go in the microwave, it would have tasted disgusting. But we had the meal and the wonderful Portuguese bread and the dessert I made, so it was all good, not to mention the chance to sit around and talk at the meal.

The Big Day consisted of writing in the morning, and then going over to the Hall to set up. We have so many people for dinner that we rent the Legion Hall every year. Everyone tosses in a few bucks for the rental and the food. I help set up, and am in charge of the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes. We’re taking vats with 20-30 pounds of potatoes in each, mashed with a four-foot tall masher. Not for the faint of heart.

We had 53 people for dinner this year, of all ages. The tables are in a “U” formation, and there’s the dinner buffet set up on one side, and the dessert buffet on the other. Great food, good company, no egos or drama. The rules are, if you show up, you treat everyone with kindness and respect. Those rules are always followed.

After the dinner, the clean-up crew moves into the massive kitchen and starts washing and drying the dishes. Yes, I help with that, too. I’m on the drying team. Dishes and pans from the Hall are washed, dried, returned to their shelves; personal pans and platters are washed, dried, and set out on the counter for pick up. We all split the leftovers and then go home in a turkey coma.

Shortly after getting back to the house, my cousin (well, not sure how the permutation works, but I call her my cousin) came over and we drove into Portland to visit my great uncle. He’s in an amazing rehab/nursing facility — brightly painted walls, an outstanding, enthusiastic and very kind staff, and it smells fresh without the scent of decay or chemicals.

My great-uncle is now in a wheelchair. His memory’s fading, but he recognized us still, and lit up when he saw us. We took him down to the very cheerful dining room so he could have his dinner, and met some of the friends he’s made at the facility. It’s amazing how they all light up the minute you treat them as an individual, with kindness and dignity. Some of them are fading, mentally, but their bodies are still going strong. Many of them are still sharp as tacks, but the body hasn’t kept up. But everyone was worth spending time and few words with.

My cousin goes every day. By this point, she knows most of the staff and the other residents. She’s practically an additional staff member. She’s also an amazing human being, and I admire her enormously. A lot of it, though, is just talking to the residents like people, which is something all of us did, asking questions, listening to their stories (many of their anecdotes are hilarious — a lot of these were quite the hell-raisers, back in the day, in the best possible way).

We got my great-uncle settled for the night after dinner, and went back to the house, and packed for the trip home. My cousin feels a lot of guilt about my great-uncle being in the facility. However, it’s as good as it gets for that kind of place, and so much better than any other facility of its type I’ve ever seen. He gets excellent, round-the-clock care, which he needs. He also has interaction with other people, more so than when he was home alone, getting checked on several times a day by the family. The family simply can’t take care of him at home, because he needs round-the-clock care, and hiring three shifts/day of in-home care would still mean numerous trips to the ER whenever something went wrong — as it does, unfortunately, quite frequently at this stage in his 96 year old life. He truly has a better quality of care in the facility, and family members visit him every day. In this particular case, it was the right choice.

This is probably the last time we will be in the house. It holds many wonderful memories. There were still some things there from my grandmother (she died four years ago), which my cousin gave me — little mementoes that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else but me, because they hold specific memories.

It’s an emotional threshhold on which to stand.

We drove back on Friday. Very smooth drive. Everyone was far too busy shopping to be on the road except around the malls. Since I don’t shop on Black Friday on principle, I was happy to have clear roads.

I don’t believe stores should open on Thanksgiving itself. I think it’s disgusting. I also believe that stores that encourage brawls — and, let’s face it, the brawls happen in the same stores every year, such as WalMart, because that’s the kind of individual those stores attract — should forfeit their right to open on both Thanksgiving and the following Black Friday, if there is an altercation in the store. The individuals involved in the altercations should be banned from the site for 18 months, so they can’t come back the following year and behave badly again.

Exhausted when we got home Friday, but got some work done Friday afternoon, and more work done on Saturday, although a lot of things went to hell without even the handbasket. I managed, however, to upload all the topics for next week’s class. All I have to do next Saturday is show up and teach. Caught up Friday night with some episodes I’d missed earlier in the week, but what is the use of On-Demand when the show is only available for three days after broadcast? WTF?

By Sunday, I felt like I’d been run over by a steamroller. I got some work done, fretted a lot, tried to rest. It was the first of advent. We managed to get the tree into the stand (the stand SUCKS and is so poorly designed, don’t even get me started). The lights are on, some ornaments are on it, the festive fabric is mostly in place, and some of the decorations are up. It will be a work-in-progress for the upcoming weeks.

I re-watched THE ITALIAN JOB last night (such fun), THE TOWN (I like it better every time I see it), and sobbed my way through ANGELS IN AMERICA. It was a brilliant piece of theatre and translated into film wonderfully.

I’m exhausted and spent, but I have work to do this morning, then I’m helping set up NMLC’s tree at the JFK Library for the Spectacle of the Trees event, and then, who knows? Maybe I’ll get to bed early.

Right now, I have to try and get some work done, and hustle more work for the coming weeks.

Devon

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Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I knew it was too good to be true. I kept my head down for the first few days of the Mercury Retrograde and hoped for the best, and got whammed this morning when Comcast screwed me. I am so sick of them having a stranglehold on the Cape and being my ONLY choice. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them?

Yesterday I worked at getting the screenplay on track, and I think I’m getting there, at least for this draft. Then I worked on the palate-cleanser, which is just taking off.

Sent out a few pitches, and got immediately hired on a new, potentially long-term, fun gig. My first assignment is on its way, so we’ll see how that works out.

Got in many of the plants from the deck. Working at putting everything to bed. There’s a LOT of work still to do in the yard, but I’m doing a little bit every day, and, eventually, I will get there.

Most of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the CCWC Annual Meeting (in costume). Not having to set up the ball all day and then having only 40 minutes to get ready made a big difference. I got an hour just to do the make-up, and it was much better. Getting into the corset was, of course, an adventure in itself. Next corset will be front-lace.

Since it was raining, I had to put a cloak over the costume, and maneuver the cloak and the tail. Quite the adventure.

Dinner was fun, the annual meeting part of it was quick and fun, and it was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.

Home at a reasonable hour, stripped out of the costume pieces back into sweats, to bed early (after taking nearly as long to scrub the make-up off as it took to put it on).

Worked with students, shot an email to an editing client asking for the new ETA on the project that was supposed to arrive on Monday. Have two articles to write in the next few days, an article to wrap (got two new sources yesterday), and an essay to get started on.

Deep breath, pull it together, move forward.

I need a nap, and it’s barely 9 AM.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast  
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Thurs. Aug. 15, 2013: Writing Hangover

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was an outstanding writing day, at least for the fantasy novel. Nearly 7K. I have one or two more chapters and this section is done. Then, I skip ahead in the chronology of the piece to what will be the final third of this middle volume, then it’s off to the last volume, which seems to come full circle to where the book started, but actually goes beyond.

It meant I didn’t get much else done, but the novel burned, and it’s at a delicate, critical stage, which means it had to take first priority, and everything else had to work around it.

Six loads of laundry in the new machines. Nice to catch up.

Add to that, a former flame/old friend showed up. Fortunately, he’s very supportive of the writing, and made sure I had the cocoon in which to work. He read the mystery novel that’s going out on submission and loves it; read the draft material of the fantasy novel and was thrilled with it. This is someone who always tells me when I’ve gone off the rails on a project, so it was nice to get the positive feedback.

Did some pick ups for the Mermaid Ball and some drop offs at the libraries. Headed to the meeting, but only stayed an hour. Mermaid Ball is sold out, and things are on track. I think it will be a lovely evening.

Came back to a great dinner cooked by my friend, and we caught up. I hadn’t seen him in five years, so there was quite a bit of catching up to do!

This morning, I have to get the work done that wasn’t done yesterday, and then head East to do more Mermaid Ball pick-ups. Also going to work on the tail for my costume.

I’m going to do some work on the novel, although I’m worried I’ll get caught up in it again and everything else will fall by the wayside. Next week, that can happen, but not this week. At the same time, I can’t risk losing the momentum. My friend is here until tomorrow, so we’ll have a good chance to catch up, and he’s good about letting me work when I need to.

I’ve refused several potential students for the upcoming private student slots. If they can’t follow the instructions on the application, they are certainly not going to survive the pace, intensity, and expectations of the program. My work with private students is not a service; it’s an apprenticeship program. You meet the standards, or you’re gone. I do not lower/change the requirements. You have to rise to them. Or you are refused. Every moment spent on student work is a moment not spent on my own. I only want to spend time with students who are serious and committed to their writing.

Moment by moment. Best I can do.

Devon

Published in: on August 15, 2013 at 8:29 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. May 29, 2013: The Challenge of The Travel

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Yesterday was certainly a challenge!

The morning started well, although I felt a wrench at being away from the garden this week. The irises are about to open. They are my favorite flower. I think they’ll have come and gone by the time I get back. The terraced back needs mowing, and I’m worried that the ants will get the upper hand while I’m gone.

But everything will rub along without me — plants were doing that for thousands of years before people started to garden!

I opened my email to find out that I’ve been contracted for 14 short articles (yes, paid) over the next seven months. I’ll do the first one next week, when I get back. I also finished and pitched another article to a different publication. Not a bad way to start the week!

The drive to Providence wasn’t bad, except for the construction work around New Bedford. If it’s the left lane that’s closed, why is that the only one moving? Because the travellers in that lane are pushy bastards, that’s why. If everyone let one person get ahead of time, and six people didn’t force their ways forward, causing the other lane to come to a grinding halt, we’d all get where we needed to go on time.

Megabus late in Providence. Turns out, the bus coming from NY broke down in CT, so they had to send another bus. However, the bus they sent was a single decker, and the Providence-NY bus was sold out as a double decker. Not everyone could get on the bus — some had to wait for another bus they were sending. Um, why didn’t anyone check the manifest for the trip BEFORE sending out a bus? We do make reservations ahead of time. There’s no reason to act surprised that there’s a line of people waiting.

Needless to say, I was on that first bus. 😉

Once we got rolling, it was okay. I ate the lunch I packed (simple– hard boiled egg, carrots, celery, radishes, a gigantic chocolate bar). I read Joelle Charbonnau’s END ME A TENOR, which was a lot of fun. I’m meeting her for a drink tonight, so I wanted to read at least something of hers!

The wifi on the bus didn’t work, and people were even having problems with cell phones, so at least it was quiet!

The problems happened from Bridgeport to New York. Should have taken maybe an hour and a half for that stretch. It took a little over three. The traffic was just backed up, it was raining and miserable.

I was glad that I packed the rain gear I wore in Iceland a few years back. It’s a light windbreaker that folds into its own pocket.

Once we disembarked in NY, we were in the midst of rush hour. Taking the escalator down into Penn Station, watching all the people scuttle around, was like descending into a colony of cockroaches. Reminded me of one of the reasons I no longer live here and have to deal with the commute.

Got the Metro Card — actually, I refilled the one I used when I was down here for Costume Imp’s birthday. Turns out they now charge you $1 for a new card, but credit you an extra $1.50 (three quarters of a ride? Huh?) if you refill. I opted for the refill.

I got the C train — I even got a seat! Headed out to Brooklyn. Humped the luggage in the rain through Ft. Greene to the place I’m staying. Imp left the key at the diner around the corner. Retrieved the key, hauled my luggage up the steps of the brownstone, and then up the steps INSIDE — tall ceilings, lots of steps.

It’s a wonderful place — and it’s the location I based the Ft. Greene brownstone in which Sophie, Fawn, and Bianca live for THE CHARISMA KILLINGS.

Greeted the animals, handed out the toys I brought, gave out pettings. The Puerto Rican street cat decided maybe I should give her some extra attention, and even climbed on the bed with me a few times. She wasn’t sure what to do next — she’s not a cuddler — but it was funny. Imp’s cats were delighted to see me and tried to convince me they haven’t been fed in at least three days. Riiiight.

Went back to the diner and had a roast chicken dinner. Yummy. Chatted with the housemates for a bit, read, waited for Imp to get back from the ballet. He had to haul out to Long Island for a photo shoot for HARPER’S BAZAAR, and had trouble getting back to the city in time for his show, too.

But we caught up, played with the cats, he lent me three more of Joelle’s books to read (and one of Pauline Gadge’s). And I lent him END ME A TENOR.

Slept like a log. I did wake up at 3 AM — like I have for the past few weeks — but got over it, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I’m showered and dressed (although the makeup has yet to be applied). Did yoga. The younger of the two huskies and the Puerto Rican Street cat have wandered in and out a few times. Had my first cup of coffee. My run-around day bag is packed — promo materials, notebook, camera, in-case book to read, all the directions and appointments for the day.

Going to do some work with students and then a few email things — the editor of the publication to which I pitched wants to see the article, so I need to polish it and get it out. A proofreading job to which I applied says they want me, but the terms sound slimy — they want to pay by KB instead of by word or page, which sounds weird to me, and a few other things made the red flags go up.

Will foray out to get some breakfast soon, get some stuff done, and then I’m headed out for the day’s appointments, including the Indie Next Generation Book Awards at the Harvard Club tonight. I better get going!

Devon

Monday, Nov. 26, 2012: Back in the Writing Swing


The pumpkin I grew — so happy that it came up, even if it’s small!

Monday, November 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury goes direct this evening (thank goodness)
Cloudy and cold

First of all, check out my 200-word flash fiction piece “Love in a Wok” over on Daily Love. Drop a comment, so I know you were there!

Busy week. Wednesday morning, we were on the road by 6 AM. Even with traffic around Boston, we hit Maine a little after 9. Stores were barely open. We made a few stops; bought very little. Part of it was the budget, but there was really very little we couldn’t live without. My favorite thrift shops were a disappointment — Mercury was retrograde, there should have been all kinds of wonderful buys. Tante Tchotke abandoned me this time around! 😉

Had lunch at the Stone Dog in Windham, which is very good, and got settled in to the house. My great uncle will be 96 on Christmas Day. He’s doing pretty well for himself.

I brought the dinner for those doing the set-up, and we had a pasta with sausage-pancetta-cream sauce and some lovely Portuguese bread. Visited, read a bit, had an early night.

Up early the next day. Wrote nine pages (longhand, since I didn’t take the computer) — this piece is coming along nicely. The first four pages were challenging, hard to focus, but then I got into the rhythm of it. Made some notes on a few other things.

The dinner itself was fun — 53 people in the hall. Lots of laughter and catching up, and, as always, the four-foot potato masher and plenty of dishes! This time, we were among the last to leave. Good food, good company, no drama. We’ve been attending this gathering now for 38 years.

Tired in the evening, but read a bit. The books I’d taken with me were all a disappointment — not well-written at all.

Up early on Friday, and back on the road by 6. The fog was intense. It’s so interesting to me how different Maine fog is from Cape Cod fog. Maine fog is somehow more ominous, as though the fog itself has substance. Cape Cod fog is more ethereal, as though it reveals spirits, rather than BEING spirits.

At the last minute, we took a detour to Salem. I hadn’t been there in several years. Because we made such great time — nothing was damn open. You’d think on Black Friday, the stores would open a little earlier, even the small businesses. Nope. So we hung around until 11, when things started to come to life. The architecture is gorgeous there. I hope to take Costume Imp up in the spring.

We got home a little after 1, thoroughly exhausted. Unpacked. The cats had figured out how to pry open the basement door, took their toys downstairs, and that’s where I think they spent most of their time. Got some writing done.

Up very early on Saturday, delighted to be home again. Started getting down the Yule-tide decorations. Spent 4 1/2 hours ironing seasonal fabric, and got the tree in the stand. This year, I managed to get the hardware to work so the tree is steady. Not that it has anything to do with the directions, but it works. That, and three loads of laundry took up the entire day.

Yesterday, I wrote. Pretty much all day. I tweaked the Fearless Ink website — it needs a complete overhaul, but it looks a bit better. I got started on my new brochure, but I’m having graphics issues, getting the graphic sized properly to fit the space. I revised a novella, which will be released later this week, and started tweaking some short stories, which will also release shortly. I worked with my tarot students, caught up on my Greek/Roman Mythology class, took the quiz, and wrote a paper for that class on justice. Ties in with the Harpy trilogy nicely.

Up early again today, and lots to do — have to get back to the decorating — everything’s a mess. Have to get the novella released, run errands, deal with admin crap. Too much to do and not enough hours in the day! But I’m feeling cheerful, even if I don’t feel fully prepared to deal with the season.

Devon

Reminder: Flash 7 Workshop from Dec. 7-16 — write, revise, submit 7 Flash Fiction pieces in 10 days! Details here!

Thurs. Jan. 19, 2012: Even the Cat is Busy


Tessa

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Still dark out

It’s supposed to be pretty stormy tonight into tomorrow, some snow, but not a lot. I’ll know what today’s weather is like in a bit when I leave for yoga.

Owner came to work on the wall yesterday. I got as much done as I could — a lecture on the writer’s need to remember he is a business person AND an artist, and that the two don’t cancel each other out, plus critiquing the latest 5 in 10 stories. With 32 in the class, and the lengths now in the just over 1K range, that’s 32K minimum for me to read, twice a week, which takes awhile.

Worked on my short stories. Not happy with the progress on either novel these past two weeks.

Went to a library one town over. Got out a book I need as research for the current assignment for Confidential Job #1, and some books that just looked interesting. Happens when I’m around books. On the sale shelf was an enormous, brand-new Monet book. The sign said $1 for sale shelf items, but I figured this book must have been left there by mistake. Nope. It was for sale and it was $1. I bought it. When I got home, the flap was still on — original price $75. Now THAT’s a sale! I’d love to do a collection of short stories inspired by his paintings of women by the sea or walking through gardens. There’s an optional assignment for the class next month to do a short story based on a painting — I’m going to use Hopper’s painting of a woman in a theatre lobby — but the plates in these books give me more ideas. I’d love to do a collection of short stories based on the work of each painter. A few years ago, a poet put out a volume of poems inspired by Hopper’s work. I’ve got it here somewhere — not unpacked yet.

I’ve got two sets of interview questions to get out for future guests on the book blog.

Last night was the Writers’ Night Out dinner. It was at a nice restaurant in Yarmouth. Sat with a memoirist I’d met at an earlier event, and met some new-to-me people who were very interesting, too. I like that the conversations at these events is always wide-ranging. So often at these types of events, conversation focuses on desperation of not being published (and that’s usually because the ones who want to be published aren’t actually using the butt glue and getting any writing done). Here, writers are writing, but they’re also doing all kinds of interesting things and can talk about them. The balance is better and the attitude is healthier.

The speaker was interesting, and I got to toss a few ideas around with him after the event. I also got to talk to my friend, who wants to get together for our next meeting on the theatre piece, and the Center’s director, who’s interested in having me speak at one of the breakfast meetings, which I think would be tons of fun.

When I came back, I discovered that Miss Tessa Houdini, the kitten, had not only found a way to get the dishwasher door open, she’d filled up the dishwasher. And not with dishes, but with pieces of paper and cat toys. Well, she sees me filling it up, so she figured she should “help out”. It was hilarious. The papers were in the slots for dishes and the cat toys were in the cutlery holders. She is extremely organized. And she was very, very proud of herself. The other two cats were running around howling. Typical evening, in other words. Tessa has Stuff To Do, while the other two act like the sky is falling.

Trouble getting up this morning — wanted to stay in bed. But I hauled myself out, and I’m trying to get a bit of writing done before I head to yoga. More work on the wall later this morning, must push through the student work, get further on Confidential Job #1’s assignment, get some paperwork filed, mail a signed copy of a book for a friend, and then, tonight, I’m attending a women’s health lecture.

Holiday Hocus Pocus will be a fun class. Even though it only runs a week, students will have a year’s worth of resources by the end of it, and notes that will serve them, probably, for the next five to ten.

I gave some students advice yesterday about “batch outlining” — outlining several projects in the space of a few days, and then working one’s way through, project by project. I think I might need to take some of my own advice. I’m a little derailed in my own schedule of the projects that need to get done and out this year, and I need to get back on track.

You know the drill: 1000 words a day, at least 5 days a week. Such is the life of a working writer. And most of the time, you damn well better be doing more than 1K/day, and it better be on more than one project, if you expect to keep a roof over your head.

To the page, and then to yoga.

Devon

New Year’s Day — First Day of the New Decade!

Friday, January 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold
New Year’s Day

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I hope you all had fun entering it.

My Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for the coming year are up on the GDR site. Hop over, take a look, add your own if you like, or just use the questions for your own musings.

I had a pretty quiet day, reading and writing. Elsa’s not well again, so I was worried. I made an appointment with the vet for Tuesday morning, and am hoping that she won’t need to be rushed to emergency services before then. She was better in the afternoon, then had another bad bout in the evening, then got better during the night and into the morning.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Post that I bought at the Riverrun Bookstore in Portsmouth, ME right before Thanksgiving. It’s very good.

Burned bayberry incense and part of a bayberry candle for incoming prosperity and good health. Will burn more incense today and burn down the rest of the candle.

Started work on Universal Principles. Good start, but the scenes aren’t taking as many pages/words to write as I expected. Since this is a fairly fast-paced piece, I think that’s probably a good thing.

Lovely dinner of salmon in a garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet potatoes, leek-and-potatoes in mushroom sauce, and the rest of the green beans in hollandaise. Small group of friends made for a calm celebration, but full of laughter.

Blue Moon/Full Moon/Year End ritual went well. All of the cats participated, of course. They have to be right in the middle of EVERYTHING. Besides, they love ritual.

Set the herring over the “saintly” eggs and ate them before midnight, so long-standing family tradition fulfilled. Not a huge fan of herring. I really like smoked eel, but herring, not so much.

H’ors d’ouevres and champagne leading up to midnight. The general consensus is that my deviled eggs, which evolved from the SILVER PALATE recipe, are better than the “saintly” egg recipe I tried this year. Fortunately, I made both, so we could chow down.

The cats don’t usually pay any attention to alcohol, but, for some reason, champagne fascinates them — the bottle, the cork, the noise, the bubbles, all of it. It’s really funny.

So we had our toast to the New Year at midnight, threw open the windows (brr) to let out the old energy from last year and welcome in the new energy from the new decade. I opened the front door, took the big besom and swept out the old luck, making room for the new (and welcoming a lovely First Footer).

If you aren’t familiar with the custom of First Footing, download my Jain Lazarus adventure “First Feet” which weaves the custom into the story! 😉

People in the building started returning from their various parties aroudn 1 or 2 in the morning. Some numbnut slammed the door so hard that one of my display tables toppled over and about a half a dozen ornaments broke. So, later this afternoon, I will set up Ornament Hospital to fix them.

I’m not sticking to strict writing schedule today, since it is a holiday, but I do want to spend some time at the page. There was a very relevant line for today’s card in THE MEDICINE WOMAN INNER GUIDEBOOK: “The strands of life continually pull you from all directions until you take command of the reins of power within your being.” That’s a very kind, supportive way of saying, “No more excuses for not leading the life you want to lead.”

Off to make eggs benedict (another tradition: pork before noon on New Year’s Day), burn the incense, burn the candle, watch the Rose Parade. New Year’s morning ritual was lovely. Cornish hen for dinner with potatoes, carrot-and-parsnip, and I’m not sure what green vegetable yet. There are plenty of sweets for dessert, including a wonderful box of cookies from Costume Imp.

Today I will take as a holiday, a time of rest and renewal. Tomorrow I begin implementing the new GDRs. We had a lovely dusting of snow — it looks gorgeous around here.

Happy New Year!

Devon

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I’m headed up to Maine for the Big Dinner with 50+ people. It’s always wonderful — especially since the agreement is to keep conflict outside the door, and, for over 30 years, that’s the way it works.

It will be slightly bittersweet this year. My grandmother died a few days before Thanksgiving last year, and, while we missed her, she still felt very present, especially since her memorial service was the day after Thanksgiving. This year will be the year we realize she’s truly gone.

I’m feeling tired and run down from all the dealings with scumbag landlords and corrupt state agencies. Too many entities feel they are above the law. And they count on grinding down those who won’t just roll over and take it. I’m glad to have a few days to regroup and dig in again.

Migraine yesterday didn’t help, either.

In the category of Unbelievable Ignorance, I was tweeting about editing/revision/cutting with some people and mentioned how much I love to cut and edit and that “The Red Machete is my best friend” meaning I use a red pen when I edit and I cut a lot. I’m not unnaturally attached to words, I know nothing is ever wasted, etc. So what happens? In a matter of minutes, I get a slew of nasty emails and DMs from right wing nuts accusing me of all kinds of things because they think “Red Machete” has a political or religious connotation. Which, of course, it doesn’t — I did my research before starting to use the term. Don’t these people have lives? They’ve already proven they don’t have brains or hearts, but one would think they’d have more important things to do than troll the internet and attack people for imagined contexts.

It’s part of the deal if you’re going to be out in public, and, if you’re a writer, you have to spend a certain amount of time out where people can take shots at you. If you’re going to cave or threaten to pack up your toys and go home every time someone behaves like a dick, this is not the line of work that’ll make you happy. I have no problem with legitimate discussion of different points of view, but in our current Culture of the Screech, far too many people make judgements with nothing to back it up.

Let’s just say being offline for a few days will be good for both body and soul! 😉

Ran errands. Baked Toll House Cookies. Made a shepherd’s pie big enough to feed 10 people. Cooked dinner for myself and another. We did all the dishes. At the time I had to post this, I still had to wrap presents and decide what the heck I’m wearing to The Dinner!

The shepherd’s pie tray doesn’t fit into the cooler, so I have to build a make-shift cooler to transport it and the cheesecakes. Oy!

When I get back, I need to go back to storage and get out all my other cookie sheets. I accumulated a lot of them over the years, especially the year I baked 30 cakes and 1200 cookies. I’m not going quite that far this year, but it will be . . .a lot.

I love using parchment paper to line the sheets, though. I prepped all the sheets with parchment, stacked them, then just filled them and slid them into the oven.

Considering I have a galley kitchen, it’s amazing how much I can get done!

Signing off until the weekend. Have a great holiday, everyone!

Devon

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 1:41 am  Comments (4)  
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