Tues. Sept. 13, 2022: Fun With Friends

image courtesy of Fancycrave1 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury

Cloudy and humid

I completely forgot to post an intention for the week yesterday; I knew I’d scheduled something to post, and it was for the GDR site, not this one. Oops.

Friday and Saturday were about getting the house ready for guests, and cooking ahead somewhat (making the potato salad and the curried chicken salad and the black bean soup, etc.). Sunday morning, I put the chicken in the crockpot and made the devilled eggs.

My friends arrived a little before 11. We got them settled, and then I drove them around for the basic tour of the town, ending up at Windsor Lake. In the afternoon, we just caught up chatting and decided what to do on Monday. We ate and yakked and had a good time.

Tessa remembered one of my friends from his trips to the Cape. It was funny, because at first she didn’t, until she did. Charlotte and Willa had never met either of them. Willa was friendly, but Charlotte was anxious she was being given away, and hid most of the time.

We were up early on Monday, had a leisurely breakfast, and then headed out. I showed them the library (the building is beautiful) and then we spent the rest of the morning at MassMOCA. The space is enormous, and there’s only so much you can see before the brain fries.

But we saw Kellie Rae Adams’s very intense installation “Forever in Your Debt” which was just amazing. There was also an exhibit of Louse Bourgeois marble and metal sculptures I’d never seen before, Laurie Anderson’s fascinating, personal pieces,  Gunnar Schoenbeck’s musical art, Richard Nielsen’s set of 48 masked paintings, a group exhibit of Ceramics in the Expanded Field, and a kind of graffiti/pop art/neon set of rooms.

It was all fascinating. I often wonder how different the story I receive from these pieces is from the story the artist told. It’s such an education in different ways of telling stories that don’t all rely on words on pages, and how different textures, colors, and juxtapositions stimulate responses.

Definitely an inspiration to keep experimenting with different types of storytelling.

We came home for lunch, and then headed down to Lenox to The Mount (Edith Wharton’s home) to walk the grounds, visit the sculpture installation, and my favorite, the sunken garden. We had tea on the terrace and headed back. It was hotter and more humid than I’d expected.

More snacks, more cooking, dinner, and talking.

Charlotte got a little more comfortable as time went on, but I think she needed a couple more days to really make friends.

Charlotte woke me up at 3:15 this morning to let me know it was raining, so I could put the bucket out on the porch under the leak (it’s on the landlord’s list). Her work was done and she went back to sleep, but I was up. For a while there, it monsooned, but it tapered off.

I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and they got back on the road by about 8:30, in case the rain slowed them down.

It was a good visit with good friends with whom I have a long history of laughter and creativity.

Stripped the beds and prepared the laundry. I have to get back to work now, and get some stuff done today.

We’ll be out of the house mid-morning tomorrow, because my mom gets Covid Shot #5.

Episode 15 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today; I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one!

Published in: on September 13, 2022 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 13, 2022: Fun With Friends  
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Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words

image courtesy of Nicole via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

It was a busy weekend, but few-words busy. As in I don’t need a lot of words to talk about it, although the bulk of the weekend was all about words.

Friday & Saturday were almost entirely about LEGERDEMAIN. I got six episodes revised, edited, proofed, and up on Friday, along with some other stuff (which I don’t even remember). I did a library/post office/CVS run.

But almost everything was focused on LEGERDEMAIN, and, of course, it all took longer than I hoped. But things take as long as they take, and I’m doing 3-4 editing passes of each episode and then uploading/scheduling, so what would normally be a process stretched out over a period of weeks is now over a period of hours.

Different mediums require different processes.

I was also tired from Thursday night’s event, albeit a good tired, and thinking a lot about the other poets’ poems.

I meant to go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. At 7:30 in the morning, I sat down at the desk to “just do a little work” on the next 4 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. The next time I looked up, it was 3:30. So, I missed it.

But the episodes are uploaded and scheduled through Episode 20. I did the episode-specific ads and loglines, and uploaded and scheduled all those. I started working on some more general ads.

I did some work on a residency application. I still have to take some photos of clay and textile pieces I’ve made.

I was too tired to cook on Saturday night, so I ordered in Chinese. And read.

Sunday, I had a slow start. I handwashed and ironed some of the new fabric – I’d hoped to sew this weekend, but that didn’t happen. But at least everything is washed and ironed. I managed to finish the new tablecloth for the kitchen table, and swap that out, and tidy up all of that.

The cut mugwort stems were dry enough to strip, so I stripped them and put them in glass jars for the stillroom section of the laundry room. 3 jars’ worth, which should last me awhile.

I played with some ideas for the Shakespeare horror story. So far, I have ideas and scenes, but I need the narrative drive, and I haven’t yet settled on that.

In the afternoon, I drove down to the Edith Wharton homestead again, this time to be an audience member for Word X Word. Nine poets did pieces inspired by various pieces of sculpture. It was fascinating to see how  they used the pieces as jumping off points.

Driving home, I started writing in my head two new pieces. I need to get a notebook specifically for poetry-esque work. I mean, it takes about an hour to get anywhere, so writing in my head while I drive makes sense. And then having the notebook for the specific type of work makes sense (although I always carry one of the Fragment Notebooks with me, to jot down notes).

Stopped at the Adams Market to pick up pizza and a bottle of wine, because, again, too tired to cook.

Monday morning, I was just exhausted. I think the last few weeks are catching up with me. I managed to heave myself out of the house for a run to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop, and another store, where I went in to get Velcro dots and lightbulbs. I came out with those, and some project notebooks. Love back-to-school sales. I have to get down to Staples for more.

I got some more ironing done. I worked on an application for another residency, which had just opened up. I’d worked on all the pieces. It should have taken me 30 minutes to slot in what I’d written. But it took 2 ½ hours because the damn computer kept freezing and crashing. Windows11 sucks.

But I got it done and out, and I’m actually proud of it. We’ll see if they give me a slot next year.

Turned around a script coverage. Got my inbox down from over 900 emails to just over 170.

Roasted a chicken. It’s finally cool enough to make roast chicken again, my favorite, because there’s so much one can do with the leftovers. Had the makings of chicken stock simmering on the stove while I took Jeremy Rock Smith’s cooking class in honor of Julia Child’s birthday.

Didn’t sleep well, although I don’t have the overall sense of fatigue today that I had yesterday. I have to do some serious house cleaning this morning, because my friend the baker is coming over in the afternoon, and I’m going to teach her how to register her domain name and find a web host and maybe we’ll even apply for a grant or two. Tonight, I’m attending a virtual event with The Ripped Bodice for the release of Roselle Lim’s new book.

I have two scripts in the queue; I may do one today, or I may do both tomorrow. I will see how the afternoon goes. I intentionally kept the start of this week light.

This morning, in and around the cleaning, I’ll do some promo for Episode 7 of Legerdemain, which releases today, “There Are Rituals, and Then There Are Rituals.” The episode ad is lovely/creepy with a candle balanced on a raven’s beak.

Better get to it. Busy day, but again, it’s good busy.

Published in: on August 16, 2022 at 7:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words  
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Fri. Aug. 5, 2022: Ebbs and Flows

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Friday, August 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hazy and humid

Definitely tired and feeling the effects of the week. But I’ll do a big push this weekend, and, hopefully, next week will be a little easier.

Had a story rejected by a publication (I wasn’t sure it was the right fit, but gave it a shot, so it wasn’t a complete surprise). Got a rejection on a big grant application I put in earlier this year – again, not a surprise, because it was a stretch. They were encouraging and made suggestions on where to beef up certain sections of the application, and to reapply next year, so that is what I will do.

Got the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook uploaded and out, but there’s a problem with a couple of things. The issue with the cover I understand – I think I uploaded the wrong version, so I’ll fix that. I don’t understand the other note, about “mentioning competitive markets in conflict with the distributors.” It’s about how to set up a submission system. I don’t mention any publisher or distributor by name. I do have links to resources, so I wonder if that’s the problem. I have questions in, and we’ll see.

Did a run to Wild Oats for a few things in the late morning. The heat and humidity were oppressive. I managed to turn around two scripts, and also to finish a book for review, but I was wiped out by the end of the day.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm with bucketing rain, so I spent a good portion of the evening lying on the sofa, watching the storm.

It didn’t get comfortable enough to sleep until about 3 AM, so I’m a little slow today. But I had good coffee, which makes a big difference.

I worked on the latest draft of the radio play with the producer, and finalized virtually attending Tuesday’s rehearsal, which will be fun.

On today’s docket is finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow’s Developing the Series class, and getting both versions of the Workbook proofed. Class attendees will get a copy of the workbook as part of the class; it will release for sale next Wednesday.

If there’s time, I need to start uploading/scheduling the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, but that might happen on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, it’s Farmers’ Market Day, and then I teach in the late afternoon (at the worst possible time for me biorhythmically, but I’m prepared, so it will work). Sunday is a day of fun for me. I have two events at the Edith Wharton manse – I’m going to see a play by a local theatre (stage managed by a fellow poet from a few weeks ago), and, after that, there’s a poetry event inspired by the sculptures in the garden. It should be a fun day.

Next weekend will be busy, between script coverage and LEGERDEMAIN and a cooking class and the radio play rehearsal and participating in Poets in Conversation, but it should be fun, too.

Have a good one, friends, and we’ll catch up on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 21, 2021: Meandering

image courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy/sunny and warm

There’s a post about the garden and the seasonal changes over on Gratitude and Growth. Since my definition of “garden” has had to change since I moved from a third of an acre to a porch and balcony, it focuses on the surrounding area as I learn It, as much as my actual plants.

Yesterday was rather a lost day, in some respects. I did a good bit, but not on the deadlined work, which means I have to make up for it today. I will have fallen short of my week’s goal, financially, but my brain needs to break.

I didn’t get a chance to type up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER (the ones I’d written in the laundromat). I doubt I will have the chance so to do today, but maybe tomorrow or Saturday, depending on how I fare with the script coverage in the next couple of days.

I did the soul journey exercises in the morning, then headed off to the public library to pick up the books that had come in. It was a lovely day, and there wasn’t too large a stack, so I walked there and back, enjoying the day and the architecture. Had a conversation with someone who lives in one of the houses I like. People here are open to conversation, which is nice. As the ultimate introvert, if I can have all kinds of conversations with random people in passing, it says something about the overall friendliness of the area.

One of the books that came in was the biography of Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee. I own a copy of it, but it’s in storage, and I wanted to fact check something from a conversation I’d had with a Twitter pal a few days back. But I got immersed in re-reading it, so I guess it will take a few days to find the information!

It also makes me want to re-read some of the stories Wharton and Henry James wrote, that mirror each other’s themes.

Wharton and James might turn out to be my Winter Authors. Meaning I’d re-read all their work in order. Of course I own most of it, but, you guessed it, it’s down in storage. So I’ll have to get from the library what I don’t have with me. Fortunately, the college library across the street has a massive literature section. Although I still haven’t figured out how it’s organized.

I’m also reading a mystery by Elizabeth Flynn called GAME, SET, AND MURDER, set at Wimbledon, which I really enjoy. I want to read more of her books.

My friend Arlene Kay just signed a contract with Level Best Books for a new series. I’m so excited for her, and I can’t wait to read it.

I was in the beginning of Remote Chat, which was fun, then switched over to the live soul journey session.

Today’s work was Shadow Work, with which I’m familiar, and more comfortable than a lot of people. I like using the shadow side as a catalyst, rather than an obstacle or an excuse. What was interesting in this work was it was about the shadow aspects of the moon sign, which was new to me. It was very interesting, and I had a few moments of “yup, I do this, and here’s how I can break this pattern or use it in a more positive way.” So that was useful. (I have a Taurus moon sign, although my sun sign is Pisces).

The discussion of the shadow side of Capricorn moon hit home, too. I do some of that (and it’s definitely a detriment). So now I need to dig up my birth chart (which I know I have around here. . .somewhere) and see where Capricorn sits. So that I can turn that obstacle into a positive catalyst, too. Because the beauty of astrology is that it’s a puzzle, and the bits fit together. Understanding the influences helps understands why one reacts to something in a specific way. If it’s a way that causes harm, or creates a negative pattern, one now has the information to make necessary changes and not stay stuck. It’s all information, but if it’s not used for active choices, then it’s meaningless and yes, just more noise.

As long as I ignore the yammering of the energy vampires, I can get something out of the class.

With a view toward how I want to set up my future, I feel as though I’ve lived the noisy part of my life, and now want to live much more quietly. I still want to travel. Once it’s safe. I still have to keep somewhat publicly connected, in order to market/sell books. But I don’t want to get caught up in the cycle of forced extroversion that I was in for the past decade. And I had my years living in NYC, where I was out and about all the time. I don’t feel like I missed anything. I can be quiet now. Time for others to take up the fights.

That doesn’t mean I’ll let injustice, et al, go when I witness or experience it. I’ll still call an asshole an asshole when it’s warranted. But I can do the work differently.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, with sweet potatoes and spinach. Wrapped up the bones and stuck them in the fridge, so I’ll make stock today. I also have to make ratatouille, because I bought the vegetables the other day, and I don’t want them to go bad.

Got a script coverage done, and a good start on a second one, which has to go out today. I have four scripts to read today, two of which coverages I’d like to get out, although I’ll probably only get out one.

If the weather is as nice as predicted today, I hope to get up to the lake for an hour or so, in the afternoon.

Class yesterday gave me additional ideas for a piece on which I’d taken a few notes a few weeks back, and then put aside, because I wasn’t sure where it was going. I also have a short story, a ghost story, clunking around in my head, inspired by one of the few annoying college students in the neighborhood.

Meditation this morning, then the homework for class, then back to work on the script coverages until the live session. More books came in to the public library for me, but I’ll probably wait and get them tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Published in: on October 21, 2021 at 6:56 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 21, 2021: Meandering  
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Tues. Oct. 19, 2021: The Good Work of Writing

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

Jupiter and Mercury have gone direct, which means maybe we can have some positive forward motion.

You can hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the mid-month check-in.

The house we lived in on Cape, which was for sale with a pending sale? Back on the market. Not surprising, considering how much over the assessment valued they asked, and that the new owner will need to redo both bathrooms and replace all the windows. But I’m sure the current owners will somehow justify the fallen through sale as my fault. Whatever.

Used the Sundance Lab time on Friday to work on “A Rare Medium.” It was an excellent session. I got six pages done, the next scene, and I’m happy with the work. Although the breakout networking sessions aren’t what I need right now (although, in a professional sense, what I should attend), using the writing time in company can help me get these plays done.

Wrote up three script coverages. Was requested to read a new draft of a script I’d liked and given notes on a few weeks back, so that will be a good way to start the next workweek.

My mom is still a little tired from the COVID booster, but, overall, there were few side effects.

Worked with Charlotte on her bedmaking anxiety. She loves sleeping on my bed, but she gets anxious when I make it in the morning, or when I change the sheets. Most cats I’ve had love to use bedmaking time to play. They “hide” under the covers as I pile them on, and then either meow, and I flip back the covers to let them out, or they slither to the edge of the bed and drop down to the floor.

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

So I make sure not to cover her, because she doesn’t know what to do.

What we did, instead, was make the bed very slowly, giving her a chance to hopscotch on top of each sheet or blanket as I pulled it up. It didn’t take that much longer, and it was a fun game for her. When the bed was made, she rolled over, purring, and waving her feet n the air, happy as can be. Which is nice change from the upset she usually has around making the bed, where she growls and cries as I wrestle the covers from her. This game, she understands, and it makes her happy. I can take three extra minutes in the morning to make the bed in a way that doesn’t scare her.

The weather cleared up enough by mid-day on Saturday so that I could go to The Spruces for the Audubon Nature Walk sponsored by my town’s library. It was a small group, and, even though the adults were vaccinated, there was a young child in the group, so we masked without being asked, and without fussing. The people were nice, the walk was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d hoped to learn more about the history of the actual Spruces community, but that wasn’t the focus. I’m going to have to go to Williamstown and dig for it in the library myself. Which could be a fun project, it’s just scheduling it so I don’t lose income from other assignments.

There’s a book or a play or something related to the history of the Spruces that I need to write, I’m just not sure what yet.

Came home, showered (decontamination protocols, just in case). Fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.

This was the first in-person event I’ve attended since the pandemic. Although it was small, fun, safe, and enjoyable, I was still exhausted.

To bed early on Saturday night, which meant up early Sunday morning.

Sunday was spent finishing the short almanac articles, fact-checking, and proofing. If I hadn’t faffed about so much and wasted so much time during the day the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have had to work all day. But the time mismanagement is on me, so I did it. I’m actually satisfied with the work. I have the knowledge; I’d put in research and experimentation time. It was a case of writing it up succinctly.

To bed fairly early on Sunday, and even got to sleep until 5 on Monday.

Did a final proofread of the short articles, updated my bio, sent them off to my editor, and they were acknowledged. Much as I loved doing those 25 little pieces, it was an even better feeling to send them off. They are for the 2023 Almanac.

I have to spend some serious time in the coming months working on the Cerridwen Iris Shea website, blog, and putting together some of the older material into small eBooks.

Another Big Project for the winter.

Did my Soul Expedition work. The exercises were extremely useful, and I discovered important roots that need to be dealt with.

Had a good conversation with a Twitter pal about Edith Wharton, and about Tolstoy and his wife. So much on Twitter is “in passing” that it’s nice to have substantial interactions sometimes.

Spent some time on Women Write Change, and on the Nano site. I’m over on WWC almost every day, or, at least, every other day, although I don’t always talk about it. It’s a small group, but a good one. On Nano, I spent time on Enchanted Wordsmiths, and also had a conversation with the Writer-Bakers. I’ve gotten two new challah bread recipe recommendations through them.

I started typing up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER, and expanding/arranging them, for my outline.

When it hit noon, and Sundance Collab time, I felt I “should” switch over to work on “A Rare Medium.” However, the flow was going well on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I started to dither and then thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s not a major decision” and kept working on the outline during the Collab time. Got 4 of the 9 handwritten pages typed up, arranged, and expanded. Printed them out, just in case.

Quite a few people mentioned, on Twitter, how much more energized they felt. Yeah, that’s what having Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and Mercury (we all know those connotations) going direct on the same day will do for you.

Attended the live session of the Soul Expedition and was frustrated. I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow, when I talk more in depth about that and have some Nano tips.

Made brownies from the Moosewood recipe. It turned out well. Might be my favorite brownie recipe to date.

Ordered a bunch of books from the library. I can take out up to 50 books, but can only put on holds up to 20.  Oh, well.

Paid by a client, so I can pay bills this upcoming week. Might give myself a treat, too.

Read two scripts last night.

Had a good evening meditation session. A couple of “aha” moments in there.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:22 this morning. What a luxury! The usual morning routine (feed the cats, make the coffee, write in the journal, 1st 1K of the day, yoga, meditation, shower, dress). I’m changing up my laundromat routine. Since I’m often the first and only one there in the morning, and it’s a little creepy in the dark, I want to make sure I don’t keep a regular schedule. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about things like that.

Onward to the Soul Expedition work, and then more writing and script coverage. I have to do a post office, library, and grocery run today, too.

Have a good one, friends.

Mon. Feb. 6: I Still Prefer the Puppy Bowl

Monday, February 6, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Still dark out

Quick check-in, because I’m on my way to get my car serviced this morning. Busy, busy, busy weekend. I never made it to the yoga open house — I got caught up in work and went flat out all day. Friday was a busy day, too. Didn’t sleep well either Friday or last night, so I’m kind of dragging.

I stayed true to not getting online yesterday. I need to do that, at least one day a week. I re-read THE AGE OF INNOCENTS, which I needed to do in connection with the current project for Confidential Job #1. Liked it better this time — with twenty years’ more life experience through which to view it!

Once I get back from the mechanic, I hit the ground running — students have deadlines — more than half of the 5 in 10 are late with their last story — not only did they have a whole week to do it, it was their ONLY assignment all week — so tired of the lack of commitment bullshit. There’s no such thing as “no time to write.” There’s only “choose NOT to write.” And, if you choose not to write, you’re not a writer, because writers write. Period. No excuses, sometimes whining.

I’ve got to get the write-up out to Confidential Job #1, spend time with students, do some more work on a client project, get out some interview questions, get out some pitches, and get some of my own writing done. I’m taking some of it with me to the mechanic, and hope I can get some work done in the waiting room, , but it’s small and usually crowded, so I don’t know how useful that will be.

I was disappointed that the Patriots lost to the Giants. It’s not that big deal to me, since I’m not invested in football, particularly, but it was the home team, and it is one of the few games I watch all year. It was more important to me that the Patriots crushed Colorado a few weeks back, proving that skill triumphs over gimmick.

I was pleased that Madonna went there for her finale in the half-time show, although I bet a lot of people didn’t get it. A little disappointed that she slowed down the tempo on some of the pieces, such as “Vogue”, but hey, I couldn’t do what she does, so what the hell do I know?

Watched a bit of the Puppy Bowl, but, for the most part, had a quiet night. Tessa was fascinated by the Puppy Bowl and by the football game. I wonder if she’ll take the watching hockey, the way Violet does?

Repotted a bunch of stuff that needed attention. If it’s nice enough this week, maybe I can spend some time cleaning up the yard. Might as well make use of the mild winter.

Off to get the car serviced.

Devon

Sunday, September 6, 2009

IMG_0249
The garden at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA

Sunday, September 6
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

For some reason, I thought the full moon was tomorrow, but it was on Friday. Sorry about that.

I forgot this was up: I guested on Catalyst Blogger on the 2nd. Oop. Stop by and drop a comment, okay?

I was a little annoyed at an email posted on a board about what I’m “supposed” to do on 9/11 as my “duty.” I lost a LOT of people on that day, firefighters from my neighborhood, people with whom I went to school, people I knew from work. NO ONE tells me what I HAVE to do on that day. Especially not someone who lives thousands of miles away and lost no one. I think it’s wonderful people are putting together events and using it as a day of service, but no one has the right to dictate how anyone else mourns.

Yesterday morning was very productive — I polished an article and sidebar and submitted them. I also got the guest blogs sorted and uploaded and scheduled to post — if they post properly, there will be some really great articles here while I’m gone!

I spent the afternoon relaxing, reading a mystery that was a delightful surprise. I expected something light and brain candy-ish, but it actually had some substance. The writer knew the ins and outs of her character’s profession (instead of assuming she knew it from stuff she’s seen on TV), and created good characters and plots. My only disappointment was that I pegged the murderer the minute the character made its first appearance. Even though lots of suspicion was pointed at two other characters, I knew who it really was the first time the character was introduced to the reader.

While I read, I had the iPod on, listening to waves on the beach through an application called Naturespace. Most of these “nature” sounds are usually pretty cheesy, but this one is actually good. It’s a free app I downloaded via iTunes; I figured if I hated it, I could delete it. But it’s actually good! I spent half the afternoon listening to beach waves and the other half listening to a river in the woods.

So it SOUNDED like I was on vacation, even though I was home!

Lazy evening, good morning’s yoga practice, having a hard time getting started on AMENDS. I have to go to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food and get in some more milk. It’s my last chance to get out that way until not only after Prague, but after the scallop festival.

Did I mention I got my hair chopped off on Friday? Over 12 inches off! I hadn’t had hair that long in 15 years. It’s short again, but a kind of a wavy, bouncy cut instead of a very short, sleek, to-the-head one. I’ll do the color either today or tomorrow, and then I’m good to go. Just about anywhere.

I did a little digging around, and Switzerland’s not going to work as a home base. First and foremost, I don’t feel the sense of belonging when I’m there and the sense of longing when I’m not, the way I do in other places. Second, it’s land-locked, and I prefer sea, not lakes. Third, the real estate negotiations are ridiculous. So, Switzerland’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t see myself living there.

I liked the idea of living someplace neutral, though, a place not caught up in other people’s arguments. Lichtenstein’s run out of land, so that’s out. Plus, I drove through it once without realizing it, which is not a good sign. Costa Rica — well, I’m not really a tropical girl. Sweden and Finland both intrigue me, though.

Heads up, Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow for three weeks: travel delays, technology problems, miscommunication, no large purchases, but great shopping for smaller stuff.

Mantra: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Enjoy!

Devon
IMG_0295
the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC. A place of personal pilgrimmage for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

That was an intense two days. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post photos soon.

I was out of the house before 6 AM on Tuesday, and on the road. It was nice to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge as the sky just barely lightened — although the bridge is past its expiration date, and construction crews are desperately trying to keep it safe, considering how many thousands of people use it every day.

Traffic was heavy and steady all the way up I-87. Most of the Mobil stations are now Sunoco stations, and my gas card is a Mobil card, so I would up paying cash at one point to get in a few extra gallons, and then stopping at the next Mobil station I found to fill the tank. Still, gas is 20 cents per gallon cheaper upstate than down here. (And 30 cents cheaper around Lenox, MA).

The traffic going south on I-87, the other side, was just a total nightmare. It was a parking lot, barely crawling along at 15 mph from the bridge all the way up past Albany. So I decided I would not be returning that way.

I got into Saratoga early, so , of course, I hit Mrs. London’s for an almond croissant and a cup of coffee. I got a table by the window so I could watch the world go by — it’s completely different in the summer, with the tourists and the racegoers, than it is the rest of the year. The difference in vibe, and the tensions it causes is one of the things I want to explore in DEAD MAN’S STALL.

It’s a little different this year, due to the economy. The “playas” — guys who wear too much jewelry and too much cologne, chain smoke, have Botoxed bottle blondes in skimpy clothes hanging off their arms, throw money around, act like they’re big time horse better (but their choices rarely win), and generally behave badly, aren’t out in force this year. The economy’s kept them away.

There was a lot less tension around without them.

I spent a few minutes wondering what differences my life would contain had I accepted the acceptance to Skidmore College and studied in Saratoga, rather than going to Florida State for a year, where I made my commitment to theatre, and then transferring to NYU for film production. Would I have wound up on Broadway? Would I have gone into dance administration? Would I have started writing full-time earlier? Writing would always have been a part of it, but I’m curious about this particular road not taken.

I stopped to sigh over the amazing Adelphi Hotel. I love this place — I wish I owned it. It’s a stunningly beautiful Victorian Inn.

Magic Moon was closed so early in the morning, so I couldn’t go there. And the newsstand seems to be gone — so I went to Stewart’s to get the papers. Drove to Lowe’s, down on the other end of town. We don’t have a Lowe’s around here, and I love it. I had a list of stuff that one can’t get in Home Depot that one can get in Lowe’s, so I stocked up.

Then I headed over to the park. My first stop was the National Museum of Dance. They were having computer problems and didn’t want to handwrite a receipt, but I made them do it anyway. They are required by law to provide a receipt, whether they feel like writing one out or not.

The Museum itself is quite lovely. There’s a big Broadway section, which was interesting because most of the focus was on dancers with whom I’ve worked. I thought it was well done. There was also the Hall of Fame, very well done, and a section on things like the Ziegfeld Follies, the Ballet Russes, etc. I took a lot of photographs of the costumes. And, because it’s dance, the focus is on the feet — tables and tables and tables of shoes. I also photographed the label in one of Peter Martins’s costumes, because it’s made by the same shop which does a lot of the work for the Broadway shows I’ve done.

After the museum, I headed up to the Gideon Putnam Hotel to help set up for the Gala. I was pleased to see a lot more volunteers there than in previous years – and this batch actually got to work. They weren’t spoiled girlfriends and spouses of money people, they were actually interested in the event and its purpose. It was a pretty merry group, and we had a good time setting up.

The friend who’s the head of it and I headed back to her place after, to work on the computer. I wish I’d brought up MacGeorge — even limping, he’d have been quicker to set everything up on than the PC. My friend’s getting tired of the PC rearranging files all the time and not telling her where they are. Typical PC.

Anyway, we coaxed it into doing what we needed, we did some event scripting for the evening (a friend who attended texted me last night and said, “You wrote what X said, didn’t you? I could tell. He wouldn’t have been able to speak in complete sentences otherwise, and no one around here writes with both grammatical correctness AND a personal tone.”)

I had a chance to attend the Bruce Springsteen concert, and, much as I adore Bruce, I wasn’t about to cancel out on my friends.

I tossed my dress on and slipped into the cute shoes and drove back over to Union Street, where two of my friends just happen to be living in the same building — one friend bought an apartment there, the other is renting for the duration of the race meet. It’s a lovely historical landmark from 1886, with a graceful front porch, where we all met.

We went to an English pub on the other side of town called The Local, where we had some excellent food and drink and great conversation. I didn’t go with anything English — I had fish tacos, which were excellent. Then we went over to Congress Park, where there was an outdoor concert — good musicians, but they were playing what I call “70’s Lounge Music.” It was pretty funny. There were lots of dogs in attendance, so I got to make new canine friends.

I was also bitten my mosquitos, and the bites started giving me trouble. We passed one of the many natural sulfur springs, for which Saratoga became famous in the 19th Century. They’re disgusting to drink, but I splashed some of the water on the bites. It felt strange, but in about ten minutes, the redness and the itch stopped.

Good to know.

We wandered up the street to Uncommon Grounds for gelato and coffee, sitting outside, watching the Saratoga night life pass us by. More bikers than usual are in town this summer, but they were really funny and interesting.

Wandered back past Magic Moon — which was closed for the night. And headed back home. I stayed with one of my friends, one her sofa bed. It’s a lovely little apartment. It was so quiet that I had a hard time getting to sleep, but I finally did.

I woke up without the alarm around 5 AM, and met my other friend on the porch just before 6:30 (did my yoga and everything)! Packed the car, and we walked up Union Street to the track. He signed me in for a guest pass for the day, and we headed to the Oklahoma training track first for the works, then, at the break, over to the main track, where we met up with some of the Thorofan leaders. They are a new group, started by fans of the sport, who want to improve the overall sport. They have chapters all over the country, under a national umbrella, and are affiliating with tracks. Several of their members were among those volunteering for the gala. I was very impressed with everyone I met — genuine love for the sport and interested in both making the sport better and safer and drawing in more fans to keep the industry healthy. I’m going to do an article on them for FEMMEFAN.

Headed back up to the Gideon Putnam to help set up and arrange the items for the auction. The space looked lovely and cheerful and fun — a nice change from a lot of the more serious, formal fundraisers in town.

Put in a few hours there. I didn’t feel so guilty leaving, because plenty of volunteers came in. I knew it would be great this year.

I stopped by another friend’s house, but she wasn’t home, and I wasn’t able to arrange to see two other friends, so I hit the road. I took Route 50 down to Ballston Spa. It’s a cute town, but nothing particularly compelled me to stop, and I wasn’t in the mood to visit The National Bottle Museum today, so I kept going. I enjoyed the farms in Malta, and got back on I-87 going south — not fun.

At Albany, I picked up I-90 headed east, which shortly becomes the Mass Turnpike. As soon as I got on it, I relaxed. There was hardly any traffic, the day was gorgeous, low humidity, and about ten degrees cooler than New York.

I got off the first exit from the Pike and headed north through Lee to Lenox. Found a parking spot right away, bought the papers, went around the corner to The Haven, and that’s where I had lunch (curried chicken sandwich), and a meeting with a potential client up there. I’d really like to do more work in that area. It’s so laid back, friendly, and literate.

Stopped at the wine store and found a bottle of outstanding Argentinean Malbec on sale, so I bought it.

Hit the road again, taking 20 down to 8 down to the Merritt — only took me two and a half hours to get home. And, until Waterbury, there were only about a dozen cars on the road. From Waterbury down, there was a lot of traffic, but it moved well. So much more delightful than taking I-87 down!

I took a quick peek at 14 acres of land for sale on Laurel Lake — the same lake Edith Wharton’s property overlooks. I’d rather have a house already built, though, even if it needs work. But it’s awfully tempting to purchase the land so it can’t be developed.

Very tired when I got home. The cats were glad to see me. I didn’t unpack much. Ate, and went to bed early. Slept for 11 hours.

I had trouble getting going this morning. I skipped the morning yoga, which I know I will regret. I’ve got thank you notes to write, photos to download, follow-ups to do, email to catch up on. I have some client work to get to, and a follow-up on yesterday’s meeting. I need to do some more work on an article, and send questions to some other sources, and the formulate the interview questions for the Thorofan interview.

I have plenty of stuff percolating for both DEAD MAN’S STILL and the revision of SHALLID. I am eager to get back to AMENDS. I hope to talk to Apple today — I’ve finally got MacGeorge running the way I want it to, and I’m wondering if I should stick to the devil I know.

It’s hard to get back to “reality”, so I need to take another look at everything and see how I can move my reality — which is still better than most people’s, since I don’t work in an office on someone else’s schedule — to align it even more with the best of the past few days.

I am deeply saddened by Senator Edward Kennedy’s death. His work had an enormous and direct impact on my life. I’m mildly acquainted with the next generation of Kennedys, via various work-related encounters. Some of his actions angered me enormously — no matter how much good he’s done, it can’t erase Chappaquiddick. But he was passionate about social justice (most of the current politicians are far more interested in corporate welfare than the good of individual citizens or they wouldn’t allow the banks to continue their daily acts of economic violence against the citizens) and he was completely unique. He was a true Yankee individualist. I am tempted to go to Boston, where he will lie in State today and tomorrow — if I didn’t have to worry about Hurricane Danny, I probably would attempt it. But, much as I respected Senator Kennedy, getting caught in a hurricane is too much of a risk right now. I don’t want to be on the road in weather like that. So I will light a candle to his memory and honor him in my own way.

Back to work. There’s a lot to think about.

Devon

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining. Again.

Well, the sun didn’t last long enough yesterday for me to get out and enjoy it. Boo. 😦

I’m back, as Jenny, talking about writing without a contract in place, on Diane Parkin’s blog.

Pretty productive day, though. Got my assignment polished and out to Confidential Job #1. Took care of some business correspondence. Finished off a client project. Went to Trader Joe’s to restock the cat food supply.

I printed out CRAVE THE HUNT and had it stacked on the desk, waiting to go into a binder. And Iris had a temper tantrum and scattered the pages all over the living room. Sigh. Fortunately, they’re numbered.

I found that, if I use Safari, I can override the 1and1 server error. I can’t get into my sites to work on them, but at least I can access my email. Not perfect, but a stopgap until I can move things.

Trying to get back on track with the serial and CRAVE THE HUNT. There are some things looming in the near future that take a lot of energy and focus right now, and it’s negatively affecting the writing. Hopefully, once that’s sorted, I can get back in the groove.

I’m making preparations for the DC trip next week — so far I am not impressed with the organization, or lack thereof, and I’m setting a bunch of appointments on my own. I’m not going to stand around doing nothing, and it wouldn’t be right if I slipped away to a museum! So I’ll do my bit at the rally,and then I’ve got appointments with people who can actually create some positive change. I need affordable health care. This week is a good example — I don’t have insurance, and I can’t afford to spend several hundred dollars for a five minute doctor visit out of pocket (which is what it is here) unless I REALLY need it. I’m feeling off, not awful; I’ll deal. I had DECADES of pouring money into health insurance, and hardly ever needed to see a doctor. All of that should be credited, and I should be able to draw on it now Instead, I threw out money for years BECAUSE I WAS HEALTHY. How twisted is that? Plus, I’m sick and tired of the way they glance at you and order a plethora of tests, almost all unnecessary, because they can’t be bothered to spend the time to get to know you and your individual health issues. Assembly-line medicine doesn’t work. I do much better with my acupuncturist, and I’m calling her today to see if she can fit me in before she leaves for Saratoga. Whenever I leave a doctor’s office, I feel completely dehumanized. When I leave my acupunturist’s, I feel I can take on the world. The insurance companies in this country need to be gutted, and the health care industry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up so that doctors can provide individualized care and patients are treated like people, not like the plastic dummies one practices on in First Aid training sessions.

Next week is going to be a long day! 😉

I’m also prepping for the NHL Draft, which starts the day after the rally in DC. And, in a few weeks, I’m going to head up to Maine for a couple of days, to see my great uncle, and maybe visit some farms where they spin and die the yarn they shear from their sheep.

Hopefully the laundry room renovations are done. Six weeks ago, they told us it would take “about ten days”. Right. My friend’s out of town, so I can’t pop over to do laundry there, and the laundry bag’s about to burst at the seams. Fingers crossed.

I’ve got a fiction deadline coming up for a short story. I’ve got it percolating, and I’ve also got a couple of other short pieces percolating. Maybe, with everything going on these next couple of weeks, it makes more sense to focus on shorter pieces, pieces I can actually get done.

Now that I’ve visited The Mount in Lenox, it really makes Hermione Lee’s Edith Wharton biography come even more to life. It’s also making me itch to back to GOOD NAMES.

Back to business. There’s a lot to do. Maybe if I keep focused on work, I won’t notice that it’s raining. AGAIN. There are flood warnings, so I’ll be jumping up and down to check the brook every few hours, and see if I have to move the car. And I’m boiling and bottling water, just in case. Maybe today’s NOT a good day to do laundry!

Prepared fried cod cakes last night with home-made tartar sauce (wonderful) and roasted potato wedges (with oregano, cumin, and olive oil) dipped in lime-cilantro mayonnaise. Yum.

Back to work.

Devon

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Only one Retrograde. Hooray!

I can’t believe it’s June already.

Guess what I’m going tonight? Taking a computer workshop! I’m very excited. I’m hauling the Macbook to White Plains and taking a class on iPhoto. I lost most of Saturday afternoon trying to work with photos (okay, so there were over 2100 photos, but still). I couldn’t articulate to AppleCare what I needed, and, bless them, they tried to help me, but I was beyond help by that point. So I looked up the local store and saw they have a workshop on iPhoto today and on iPages on Wednesday. I’m taking both. It’s going to help me enormously.

So what did I do yesterday? Glad you asked. We were on the road before 7 AM on our way to Lenox, MA. We took the Merritt Parkway to Bridgeport and then took Rt. 8 all the way up to MA, only switching over to 20W a few miles away. I was afraid it would be a tiny, annoying road. Most of it wasn’t, and the tiny road portion wasn’t annoying.

I expected it to take forever, but it took us 2 1/2 hours. We arrived in Lenox far too early — The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, wasn’t even open yet. So we parked in front of the beautiful Lenox Library and walked around. Good thing the library was closed — had it been open, I would have parked myself in there and never left. I may have to return to Lenox just to go to the library one day.

We got coffee at an amazing bakery called Haven — if I hadn’t eaten a huge breakfast, I would have tried their Eggs Benedict (since I am an Eggs Benedict addict). As it was, we took the coffee and sat in a park filled with blooming lilac bushes for a half hour.

We headed back to The Mount, arriving shortly after opening. I wasn’t in the mood for a guided tour — I just kind of wanted to wander around. The volunteers are fabulous anyway, and they tell you all kinds of stories about the various rooms. I remember when Shakespeare & Company used to perform there — I wanted to work there one summer, but I was on Broadway, and, at that point, couldn’t ask for a leave of absence, because they’d already granted me leaves to take my shows to Edinburgh and Australia — it was time to let someone else have a turn – -which is totally fair.

The house is only partially restored — I hadn’t realized how recently they started work. The restoration that’s been done is wonderful. The atmosphere is that of light and air — colors and fabrics supporting the light streaming in from the large windows. It’s the kind of house one could really see oneself LIVING in.

My only surprise was how small the library was. It’s beautifully designed, and the bookshelves are amazing, but I expected it to be bigger. Since Wharton did most of her writing in bed, I guess it didn’t need to be!

The gardens are amazing, and I spent most of my time there — combination of French and Italian design, with the Italian influence dominant. Just beautiful – the way they descend from the house, and the view of the lake.

I could imagine working in many of the rooms in the house, and then taking the Macbook out to work on the terrace, which folds around the back and sides of the house, or in the gardens, especially the walled gardens. It’s an easy place in which to be creative, and I found myself scribbling a lot of notes!

The bookstore is great, but, much to my surprise, I discovered that I own about 2/3 of the books they carry! And not just the novels of Edith Wharton and Henry James, but the gardening book, too (although most of those are in storage).

I started Hermione Lee’s biography of Wharton when it first came out — now I’m going to go back and read it all through.

I wound up buying a book called BERKSHIRE READER, filled with stories, essays, and journal entires about the area from the late 1600s all the way to the 1990s — I’m looking forward to that. And I bought a program/catalog from an event used to raise money for the property. I also bought soap, handmade by a local woman — it smelled so good, I had to have some. She uses only essential oils, etc., and you can tell. I bought on bar of rose geranium and one of rosemary. Rosemary soap is my favorite, so I always buy that when I see it. I paid far too much for both, but it was one of those instances where I don’t think I’ll feel that way when I use it!

Back into Lenox for lunch. I’d researched several restaurants. One, Church Street Cafe, turns out to be closed on Sundays, which took it immediately off the list. We ended up at Bistro Zinc. I’d heard good things about it. I was a little worried, when we walked in, that it was trying to be too trendy, and the staff was in black — people, we area not in the East Village, you don’t have to dress as though we are. But once we were settled in the bar (the dining room was full), it was actually quite comfortable. The staff was REALLY nice, and not fake-nice, either. There was even a couple at the bar reading the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES and drinking champagne cocktails, which I thought was fun.

It was a nice mixed crowd — locals, even with their kids, and those on their way to a matinee at the theatre. The place was crowded, but we never felt like we were being rushed. The food was exquisite — I had trout with rice and green beans, and a glass of chardonnay I actually liked (I’m not big on chardonnay). My travelling companion had a burger with bacon and cheese and terrific fries (of which I ate half). There were at least six or seven things on the menu that sounded fabulous, out of about twelve. And the other five were knocked out of contention only because they were things I could cook at home, and one of the things I do at restaurants is order stuff I don’t make at home.

Then, we visited The Bookstore, the town’s independent bookstore, run by a guy who used to work at my beloved Gotham Bookmart here in NY. It’s a fabulous bookstore, and again, the staff was really nice. Everyone we met was really nice in Lenox, friendly, unhurried without being lethargic, and interested in conversation. There’s a big arts community up there — Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, Jacob’s Pillow — lots of writers and literary events, and a big holistic community. Really great.

I found the YA book I’d wanted to buy down here but couldn’t remember the title or author, just the cover. Turns out it’s called THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY. I started it last night and it’s fun, which is nice, because the book I’d started the night before, after finishing the enjoyable DEATH BY CHICKLIT, was just plain annoying.

We got back by about five, so the cats weren’t too furious with us — well, Violet was, but she thinks I should never leave the house. I had a nice quiet evening watching hockey and went to bed early.

The cats got me up ridiculously early this morning, and I’m having a slow start. A bunch of stories are whirling around my head, some of them inspired by yesterday’s trip. I have to sort things out today, catch up on everything I missed yesterday (since I didn’t even turn on the computer), and get some client work done before this afternoon’s class. I also need to get to Trader Joe’s this morning, because there’s only one can of cat food left, and they are not amused to see the cupboard so bare.

Good morning’s work on the Matty book. The serial was harder; I only got about half of what I wanted to get done written, but it’s better than nothing.

I probably won’t get the May wrap and the June to-do list up on the GDR site until tomorrow.

Devon

Serial, 1st draft: 6,945 words out of 50,000