Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Cloudy and muggy

One of the great things about Elsa being around for 15 years is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of happy memories revolving around her, and that is what I will try to focus on.

Every time I go to Philly, I have to leave my beloved Optimum and use Comcast. They just suck so badly. They are slow, they freeze, it takes minutes instead of seconds to load anything. And since it’s someone else’s account, I can’t call customer service and ream someone a new one! 😉

I dread losing Optimum when I relocate. Comcast is the premiere service where I’m going, and I don’t want them. It’s as bad as having my old PC on a bad day. I think I will take the advice and go with Time Warner. Right now, there’s an anti-Time Warner campaign in NY on television, but I’ll give it a shot and, if they’re awful — well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Besides, I have to have an address before I get fresh cable hooked up!

In spite of a jagged start to Saturday, it was a pretty productive day.

My mom said Iris and Violet are not doing well at all. They’re grieving terribly.

And then I hear a Megabus slammed into an overpass in upstate NY on Saturday, killing 4. Yeah, that gives me confidence for my next trip with them!

Saturday was very quiet. I worked all morning, I stopped to go to The Black Sheep, one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood for lunch. I had their Eggs Benedict — amazing! So wonderful and so perfect. I am an Eggs Benedict addict — if it’s on the menu, I must have it, and I’m very fussy. The Black Sheep’s version are right up there with The Egg & I’s version, up in Maine, which is still the best I’ve ever had.

Worked more Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Performed a Ceremony for the Dead in commemoration for 9/11l. Went to bed early again.

Must have had busy dreams again, because I work up on Sunday, thinking I was at home. I was completely disoriented.

Got some work done in the morning, read the papers, actually dashed out in the rain to McDonald’s for a sausage-and-egg McMuffin — not bad.

Left in the late morning, hauled everything to 30th Street Station, got on the Megabus. It was packed, which surprised me. I thought it would be fairly empty at that hour.

There was one annoying woman who insisted on screeching into the phone in as loud a voice as she could, on and on and on about family drama. Six people asked her to please keep her voice down. She refused, She said, “But I have to check in.” Finally, I said to her, “Checking in is saying, ‘I’m on the bus, it’s moving.’ It is NOT going on and on about family situations that none of us give a damn about and, frankly, are petty and boring. Your life is just not interesting enough to be forced on us for two hours. Shut up or we take the phone away.”

She shut up.

Because I would have done it — taken the phone and asked the driver to hold it until we arrived in NY. One of the bus rules is to keep phone conversation to a minimum and do it in a way that does not disturb others.

Ride wasn’t bad. We were only about 15 minutes late getting in due to traffic, and due to the bus ahead of us not giving us room to unload, and its passengers being slow and stupid about claiming their luggage.

Went over to 6th Avenue in the rain , caught a cab uptown — a young guy stepped in front of me and tried to take my cab, but the driver shouted, “Get out of my cab, you pig! I stop for the lady!” Gotta love NYC cab drivers.

Got on the train at Grand Central, the ride was uneventful (thank goodness) and I was home a little before 5. The cats were very glad to see me.

Unpacked, repacked some of the stuff I’m taking when I go back to Philly in a week and a half in the bigger suitcase I’m taking for that jaunt, posted my Welcome and first lecture for the workshop, and spent the evening reading magazines, catching up on mail, and comforting Iris and Violet. I don’t think Violet slept the whole time I was gone –she felt she had to be awake and vigilant. She’s exhausted, poor little thing.

In spite of the windows being closed, the apartment is filthy from Friday’s workmen outside, so I have to scrub everything down again.

The orchid, however, sent by my freelance writer friends, is amazing! I will have to post a photo tomorrow. Stunningly beautiful. Thank you so much for your love and support.

Today, I’m teaching the workshop, working on some other writing, getting out some other necessary paperwork, running a few errands (I’m out of wine, and, if I don’t take care of that, I will whine).

The “workmen” are already here making my life hell, so, no doubt, I will be filing more complaints against them.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (handwritten, first draft): 49,250 words out of est. 100,000 words (49%).

Friday, September 10, 2010


Another favorite Elsa photo

Friday, September 10, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Not sure of the weather — this is scheduled to post.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for your love and support regarding Elsa’s death, and before that, throughout her illness. It means a lot to me. Hopefully, she’s where she can chase as many butterflies as she wants, and is back with Olivia, Felicia, and Maude. Granted, Olivia is very busy running The Cosmic Cat Roster in the Sky, but Elsa always adored Olivia, and Olivia took very good care of Elsa when she was a kitten, so I’m sure that will be a happy reunion.

Elsa picked me when she was seven weeks old, jumped into my arms from the rescue pen and that was it. We were together all the time for 15 years. She was with me when I wrote, she was with me when I cooked, she was with me when I did things around the house, she was always on the yoga mat. She was a sunny, optimistic personality. She assumed everyone she met was a potential new friend. If something went wrong in the moment, she had full faith it would get better in the next moment.

Iris and Violet are having a tough time with all this. Violet understands exactly what’s going on and she’s both angry and heartbroken. Elsa was her best friend. She blames me for taking Elsa away and not bringing her back. She hasn’t really looked for Elsa — she just stares at me accusingly. She’s been more affectionate this morning, and we kept to our morning routine, but there are times when she catches a scent on a chair Elsa used to sit, or goes to one of Elsa’s usual spots to keep her company,and then remembers. It’s sad. Iris, who didn’t particularly get along with Elsa, started looking for her last night and meowing when she couldn’t find her. She doesn’t really understand what’s going on, just that Elsa isn’t there. Granted, most of the time they just batted each other upside the head, but Iris, in her own way, misses her, too.

Then there are the practicalities: washing the bedding, sterilizing the carrying case and the syringes, packing away the medicine.

When I get back from Philly on Monday, I will do a 7 day Ceremony for the Dead for her, because that is what I do, and the dead are mine. I’ll also honor her on Samhain.

I am so disappointed, disheartened, and angry about my experience at Smith Ridge Veterinary. They came highly recommended, and I went to them because I wanted a second opinion (which I think is important any time there’s a serious diagnosis), and I wanted to integrate alternative medicine with traditional. They’re supposedly the premiere cancer care integrated center for animals in the country. Too bad they’re all about the money. Sure, it’s beautiful, and sure they’re very nice as long as you keep waving a wad of cash at them. I made it very, very clear in the first visit that, if it was cancer, I did not want to set a course of invasive or torturous treatments. I wanted to keep Elsa as happy and comfortable for as long as she could have a good quality of life.

Instead, I paid a lot of money for X-rays, then a lot more money for them to be sent to a private consultant. And I was told there was no tumor. Yet, on Wednesday morning, her poor little face was all swollen and when I took her to the emergency clinic IT WAS BECAUSE THERE WAS A TUMOR. The only option by the time I took her to the emergency clinic on Wednesday was to put her on pain medication that would have had to increase as her suffering did, and that was not the right choice. I was told at Smith Ridge that it wasn’t cancer, but fungal infection that “might” turn into cancer. It was cancer. She was put on a course of treatment of eight doses of medication per day that caused the acid reflux and made her last weeks more uncomfortable than necessary. When I took her back to have the acid reflux handled, I got more medication THAT MADE IT WORSE. When I got frantic, I was told to put her on IV for 32 hours at a ridiculous cost, including a huge fee for a private technician, in spite of the fact that I had told them I didn’t want to use invasive procedures. When I re-iterated that I didn’t want to go that route, and that I had to keep an eye on cost, they lost interest. Sometimes, weeks would go by before anyone could be bothered to answer a question. The vet goes on vacation and there’s no one covering his patients? What the fuck is that? There were far too many nights when I was up all night with her, frantically trying to help her and not getting any response from the vet. I expect my vet to be a partner in my pet’s health and well-being, ESPECIALLY when they’re charging three or four times more than any other vet in the area charges (and vets in Westchester charge up the ying yang anyway). This facility charges for phone calls.

When Felicia was in the final stages of CRF several years ago, that vet called me EVERY DAY to check on her progress. On his own time, and he never charged. He gave me his beeper number, so if something happened, I could get hold of him any time, day or night, and not have to go through the answering service. I never used it, but it was a comfort to have. I wish I knew where he was now. The last time I heard from the Smith Ridge vet was over a month ago. Not acceptable on any level.

Now, I realize that Elsa’s condition was very serious, I didn’t expect miracles, and I was perfectly willing to try unconventional treatments, knowing they might not work. But to just leave me twisting in the wind, not listen when I said, “I think this is mutating every few days, what can we do?” and simply not respond once they found out I did not have unlimited financial resources — in addition to not giving me a correct diagnosis and the information and I needed to make an informed decision AND charge me the fees they charge — unacceptable. I feel they were stringing me along to get as much money out of me as they could for as long as they could, and once they found out I wasn’t an unlimited ATM, they stopped responding.

They are all about the money. The surface of the place looks good, but there’s no heart behind it, only conniving to get as much money out of people as quickly as possible.

The Reiki Master did more to keep Elsa comfortable and happy these last few weeks than Smith Ridge did in the past six months. And then the vet actually emailed me condolences. He didn’t help me when I so desperately needed help and now he wants to know if there’s anything he can do? Mercury’s Retrograde — I’m not going to strike back.

I hope I find a good, reliable, caring vet when I relocate.

And any time a client tries to lowball me on my rate, I will remember the ruthlessness of this vet and hold my ground. Because at least what I do is not life and death.

Wednesday morning didn’t start well anyway — I left Elsa napping, knowing she wasn’t feeling well at all, but hoping an afternoon in the park would help. I drove up county to check out the store I needed to — I’d checked the website, and it stated that the store opened at 10 AM. It was a forty minute drive, no problem. I got up there, and the sign in the door says it opens at “10:20 ish.” I was not happy for several reasons. First of all, put the correct time on your damn website. If you change the hours, change them on the website. Second, don’t give me any of this “ish” crap. Either open or don’t. But be honest about it. By 10:40, still no sign of opening, and the woman who runs the store beside it said, “Oh, she never opens until at least 11. But she thinks putting 10 on the materials sounds better.”

So I left.

A small business person can open whenever he or she wishes, but at least be honest about it, and be open when you say you will.

That business does not get any of my hard-earned money. I’ll spend it at a business that respects its customers.

Yesterday, I had to work away from the building, thank goodness, because the workmen grow daily more hateful. I only barely managed to get the bare bones of the work done, not all I wanted to, but I’m having trouble concentrating. I managed to get four loads of laundry done, so everything’s clean before I head out the door.

I came home to find the cats freaked out and my neighbor even more so. Not only was she struck by workman’s ropes on her way out of the building (no notice they were working over the doorways and no protection), someone in another section came home to find his window open and jewelry, money, and other things gone from the apartment. It happened during the work day, so, gosh, gee, who could it have been?

I scheduled this to post the night before because this morning I have to run around like crazy before leaving for Philly. I will check in from Philly.

Got some writing done Wednesday and more work on the lectures. I hope the workshop is well attended. Although they waited so long to put up the information (even though I sent it to them a month before deadline, and they kept “losing” it), that many of the people who wanted to sign up couldn’t and booked other things.

Mercury Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, what do you expect?

I still cry a lot about Elsa, but that’s all part of it. Iris and Violet are very upset, too. Violet cries a lot and Iris hides.

I’ll check in from Philly. Mercury’s retrograde, so I’m just putting on the iPod, pulling out my book and my chocolate bar, and hoping for the best.

Again, thanks for all your support. I will be getting back to each of you individually over the next week or so. I so appreciate your support.

Devon

Saturday, June 5, 2010 — Belmont Race Day

Saturday, June 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Hot, humid, stormy

My handicapping for today’s Belmont race card is in the post below this one.

I did not run on Friday morning — too tired. I got a little bit of Gerber’s baby food into Elsa, but she didn’t eat much. She’s interested in food, which is a good sign, but is having trouble actually eating it. I hope in the next day or two, her stomach settles enough so she wants more. I finally found an organic baby food that’s meat-based (most are just fruits and/or vegetables, which won’t work for her). She likes it better than the Gerber, and I fed her a few spoonfuls every couple of hours. At least she’s interested in food — or I’d be hauling her right back to the vet. Over the course of the day yesterday, I got almost a whole jar into her, a spoonful at a time, which is a good thing. She had a rough night, though, and I’m not sure what today will bring.

Left early, took the car in for servicing. It feels much better now. They think the constant tire problems are due to someone playing pranks in the parking area and letting air out of the tires. I guess it’s better than slashing, but I’m still not happy about it.

Bought an eco-friendly water bottle that matches my car’s color. Because I thought it was funny.

Picked up a few things I forgot yesterday at the store, found the organic food, and then stopped at Clay Art Center to pick up the pieces I made in the workshop a few weeks ago and buy my tools for next month’s class. They don’t look as bad as I remembered. Hopefully, I’ll make progress. My mom’s already making a list of things she wants me to make. She thought it was kind of silly to take the class — but now she’s in love with the pieces. Go figure!

Worked on the Shakespeare research while I waited for the car. It was nice to sit and have that uninterrupted work time. The research will actually be used in at least three different projects, and it’s been months since I did anything on it. It was fun.

Did some work on POWER OF WORDS. The rehearsal section should be tweaked enough to go out later today. I have to add a couple of short scenes, I’ve cut some stuff, and I’ve tweaked the material a bit.

Today’s Belmont day, so I’ll be tied up with horse racing all day. In incredibly hot and muggy weather. Somehow, though, organic cotton yoga pants and a sports bra are not proper racing attendance attire.

Philadelphia beat Chicago in last night’s game 4 of the Stanley Cup final. Now, they’ve each got two and they need four, so we’ve got a couple more to go. They’re great games, though — the two teams are well-matched. I feel like i should be rooting for Philly, because of all the time I spent there, but most of “my” guys are gone from the team, and Chicago is an Original Six team, for which I have a soft spot.

Back to the page and to taking care of Elsa.

Devon

Thursday, April 22, 2010


City Hall Park, NYC

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and warm
Earth Day

Yesterday, I was pretty much a waste of food. Sore from the walking the previous day, exhausted and overwhelmed by everything going on. Didn’t get much done, other than the grocery shopping, some business, and getting a few things packed up to go to storage.

A box of books arrived from Strand — the research books I needed to add to my library, after all that research in CT last week. Now I’ve got the books at my fingertips as I write — makes things so much easier. One of them — which I didn’t see at the library, but looks fascinating — is about the use of biological weapons such as poison arrows and scorpion poison, in ancient times. That opens all kinds of possibilities for fiction — maybe I can even weave some of it into the steampunk.

They also included a biography of Anne Sexton, by Diane Middlebrook. Fascinating. However, when one is exhausted and dealing with serious illness in the family, perhaps reading the life of a suicidal poet is not the best choice.

Elsa seems to improve with all these drugs, although she’s still sneezing a lot and has some bloody discharge. She’s lively and engaged, keeping to her schedule. Both vets said the medicine would cause lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Instead, she’s livelier than she’s been in weeks, and eating ravenously. Hopefully, tomorrow, we can get an accurate diagnosis and find a way to keep her steady WITHOUT so many prescription drugs. I am not a fan of the pharmaceutical industry — I want to find the cause of the problem and deal with it, not just mask symptoms. I think carefully managed medicines are fine to use as a means to an end — but there has to be an ending where the drugs are no longer used. Whether it’s a person or an animal.

I need to see if Strand has the book I didn’t buy at the museum the other day — if not, I’ll call the museum and have them ship it.

Hopefully, I can get some writing done and clear other business out of the way. I need to prepare for tomorrow — to get to the appointment on time, I have to have Elsa packed into the car before 9 AM.

The President is in NYC today, to talk about financial reform. Glad I’m not trying to get around downtown today — I couldn’t! i’ve only read the first 600 pages of the bill. First of all, I don’t think it goes anywhere near far enough. Second, as usual, the Republicans are misrepresenting the bill — or maybe they simply are incapable of cognitive reading, which means they shouldn’t be in office — there’s certainly nothing in the first 600 pages to indicate future bailouts — in fact, it seems to be trying to prevent that. I skimmed the rest of the bill and don’t see anything even remotely as a euphemism for “bailout”. There’s either deliberate misrepresentation going on (par for the course) or these politicians are too stupid to actually comprehend what they read, which opens up a whole other Pandora’s box. Or perhaps they’re having staff members read the bill and give a report — and the staff members can’t comprehend what they read. Is the bill badly written? They’re not going to make the bestseller lists anytime soon, let’s put it that way, but it’s certainly easy to understand if you have the most basic comprehension skills. It’s written in typical legislative-ese, which means I’m itching to take the red pen and rewrite whole chunks of it to be clearer. Honestly, I think it could say the same thing and say it better in half the words. But that’s not my job. It is my job, as a citizen, to know what the hell is in there — and know it firsthand, not second hand from pundits or press with other agendas, so I can tell my senators my position on it, where I think it needs to be strengthened, and how, ultimately, I’d like them to vote on it. But it’s not a good beach read, y’know?

My mom’s doctor’s office is all screwed up — they demand that she have a bloodtest before her next appointment on Tuesday, but they “can’t get around” to putting the order in for the bloodwork, and the lab won’t do a blood draw without the order. I used to temp in doctors’ offices, all over the country, dealing with front desk, appointments, and paperwork — you stay until whatever needs to get done for the day is done. This is people’s health at stake. There’s no such thing as “can’t get around to it” — especially at an establishment like that one, which has steadily lost patients over the last few years because they’re so disorganized. The doctor herself is great, and my mom, who is 86 and doesn’t like change, doesn’t want to change doctors, but the admin staff totally sucks. And today, they will have to deal with ME, and they will wish they’d gotten it right the first three times.

Trying to get stuff done,

Devon

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 6:48 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Something must be retrograde, but darned if I know what it is

I am a wreck. Tough weekend.

First, I came back from the site job on Saturday afternoon with a sore throat and a fever. I took to my bed, with a book, and the cats, and plenty of fluids. The book was okay — I didn’t have to think too much, it was pleasant and poignant. But it set a section among actors, and, while it was obvious the author reads tabloids, it was equally obvious the author’s never spent any time around actual actors, and that spoiled the book for me. You could still get the fairy-tale quality the author strove for if you based it a little bit more on the way actors actually behave in those situations.

Fever broke in the early evening, returned later that night, broke again in the night. Sore throat faded the next day.

I wrote on Sunday, working on a short story that I want to get out in the next couple of weeks, getting out a few short stories, following up on a few pieces that have been twisting in the wind for far too long, and getting out a few queries.

I tried to watch — and like RIVERWORLD last night. I really did.

Uh, no.

It took me awhile to figure out why I didn’t like it — there were the elements there for a cracking good story. And it just didn’t work for me. The first forty minutes, I kept saying to myself, “Okay, just roll with it. Roll with it.” But, after a certain point, if you have to keep TELLING yourself to roll with it, there’s a problem. And then the Conquistadors came in, and it went south for me. There was too much right wing-nuttism trying to masquerade as social enlightenment. If they really meant the latter, not the former, they did a poor choice of showing it, because it came across that they supported the former. There were a lot of good actors in it; some performances worked for me, and some didn’t. The character of Jessie didn’t work for me — mostly, I think, due to the directing, which Made. Every. Moment. Equally. Important. instead of working with ebb and flow. But if Jessie’s our hope for humanity, we are all damned screwed — too much Twinkie, not enough substance.

Again, to be fair — I only suffered through the first two and a half hours, and missed the last hour and a half.

Because I had to rush Elsa to the emergency vet.

She’d been getting worse all day, more and more mucous-y, and when she sneezed blood, that was it. I packed her up and drove to the emergency vet in White Plains. They were very nice. She behaved very well. They have her a very strong antibiotic, faxed the info over to my regular vet at North Short Animal League, and I have to call them to day and get an appointment in the next few days. The BEST case scenario is that she may have pneumonia. The worst is, well, much worse. So please keep a good thought for her.

Got home well after midnight. Couldn’t sleep at first. It was pretty late (or early) depending upon how you look at it, when I finally got to bed. I didn’t set the alarm for 5:30 to run this morning, but Elsa woke me at six anyway, patting me with her paw and saying, “Hey? Aren’t you usually up by now?”

Tried to work on the short story this morning. Hard to concentrate. I have to choreograph a fight scene using a welding torch, which is a challenge, and, hopefully, will wind up being a welcome distraction.

I was sad to read that one of the Derby-pointed horses I was interested in broke down and had to be euthanized over the weekend. That always makes me cry.

Weird tax fact: You can write off a racehorse, but not a hearse.

The Doubt Demons attacked in force this morning, since I am overtired and worried. I have to juggle a few things around re: the vet bills, and, of course, there’s the little voice saying, “Who do you think you are, thinking you can make it as a full-time writer? If you’d stayed on Broadway, you wouldn’t have to worry.” Which is, of course, a crock, because Broadway’s a hard place to make a living, too, due to the limited amount of work available. But it’s a familiar challenge, where the writing is a fresh challenge each day. The fresh challenges are one of the reasons I like it, but at times of great stress, it makes it harder.

I was going to write an essay/post about the remake of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and how Jackie Earle Haley must be kicking ass as Freddy Krueger, because the movie’s not even out yet, and I”m getting a lot of people contacting me (well, Cerridwen Iris) about dream stalking. So the post was going to discuss dream stalking, and how important it is to separate the actor from the role. You may think Freddy Krueger’s stalking you in your dreams, but remember it’s the character and not the actor. I think it’s safe to say that Haley’s way too busy working and living his life to go around stalking individual viewer’s dreams, even if he was trained in the way so to do, not just the way the movie (a piece of fiction) depicts it. The man’s working a lot right now (thank goodness) and has a life. Tip of the hat to him, though — it must be one hell of a performance. But that post is going to have to wait.

Must light candles today — 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. It still seems very fresh.

I have all sorts of business and admin stuff to deal with today, I have to take care of a very sick cat and see what we can do to get a full diagnosis and treatment, and I’ve got to find a club big enough to effectively beat back the Doubt Demons.

Devon

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I can’t believe it’s March 1! February will be known as “The Lost Month of 2009.”

Later today, or maybe tomorrow morning, I’ll post my To-Do List for March on the GDR site. March will be about a lot of catch-up from January and February.

We had a dusting of snow last night, like someone sifted powdered sugar over us all. It’s pretty, but we’re supposed to get a foot of snow tonight.

I’m kind of glad I’m not driving out to Long Island to see my show tonight – it would be rough getting home! Instead, I’m going out in a couple of weeks. I do want to see the production and meet everyone.

Elsa is pretty much the same – paying attention to everything, snuffily, taking her medicine like a good girl, eating everything she can get her paws on, opening the cat food cupboard and pulling out more cans, then getting frustrated because she can’t open them. I’m glad she’s not lying in a heap in the corner, but the respiratory stuff doesn’t seem to clear up at all. And I keep saying it – the Rescue Remedy seems to give her the most relief. When I give it to her in tandem with the antibiotics, she’s much better than with just the antibiotics.

I’m being careful to give all three lots of individual attention. They always get lots of individual attention, but they know something’s different, and I’m checking on Elsa every two minutes, so I have to give EVERYBODY extra attention.

I put up a “Buy My Books, Help My Cat” page on my website. If you know of anyone who might be interested in the fiction or the writing ebooklets (and are cat people), they can click on the link and it’s got all the information. Once Elsa’s all healthy again and the vet bills are paid, I’ll take down the page (after leaving a “thank you” up for a few days).

I got some work done yesterday, but, honestly, I felt quite under the weather, so I called it an early day. The first Bedtime Louie story, tentatively entitled “Death by Ice Cube” is going to be a heck of a lot of fun, but will need more research. I did some research on the subways and Jamaica racetrack in 1933, when I plan to set it, but wound up sending out quite a few emails to check historical details. When I first envisioned the story, who knew I’d have to find out whether or not the stop at Jamaica was an elevated subway or a trolley? Or that I needed to know if there was an admission fee at Jamaica racetrack in 1933 and how much it was? Yet, all those things come into play. I might have to make a trip in the next few weeks and go digging in some archives (one of my favorite things to do).

I went to bed at 7:30 last night and slept for 11 hours. Needless to say, I feel much better, revived and focused, ready to work on some fiction this morning, and then do some work for a client with energy and clear focus, which is what it deserves.

I made my infamous turkey chili last night – each time I make the recipe, it gets better. I like using actual chunks of turkey in it rather than ground turkey, and I’ve upped the cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder a bit to give it extra kick. And, instead of green peppers, I find celery tastes better in this particular concoction, especially since I upped the spices.

I might have to trudge out and get some more milk in before the storm really hits. But, other than that, it’s a day tucked home and working.

Hope the rest of your weekend’s great.

Devon

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 8:29 am  Comments (6)  
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re supposed to get a snowstorm tonight and another one tomorrow night. Maybe that means hours of uninterrupted work time!

Yesterday was busy, getting out the assignment for Confidential Job #1 in the morning, invoicing them, etc.

I went to my friend’s place to do laundry in the afternoon, cooked dinner there, came home, gave Elsa her evening medicine. One of the two medicines is giving her diarrhea – great, another complication. I phoned the clinic yesterday morning to ask if I should stop or adjust one of the medications; they have yet to get back to me. So far, it’s only been once each day; still, it’s worrying. And I really don’t see any improvement. I’m hoping I will by today or tomorrow – mid-day today will be the third day since the medication started. It should be showing some signs of something by now.

I’ve got the February wrap-up over on the GDR site, and I’ll put up March’s to-do list tomorrow. If you just want a taste of what I read this month, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise.

I’ve been spinning out some new stories with a character called “Bedtime Louie” that take place at a racetrack during the 1930’s. I’m going to use the Jamaica racetrack and Aqueduct tracks as the foundation, but I’m pretty sure I’ll create a fictional track set outside of NYC.

I have a critique for a client this weekend – I’m really looking forward to it. Other than that, I’m going to focus on fiction and on keeping an eye on Elsa. I’m going to stick close to home, and, hopefully, leave most of the business stuff until Monday. I need some time for the fiction and the plays. I also want to add a page to my website about Elsa. And I’d like to get some queries out on a project that’s ready to go.

Abby, thanks for the idea about the air purifier. I’ve been thinking about that over the past few weeks, since I’ve been coughing quite a bit, too, and the plants don’t look too happy. They’re renovating more apartments in our section, and I suspect the quality of air around here has deteriorated even further.

Hopefully, the work will flow in steadily over the next few weeks so I can take care of all of the vet bills and get Elsa (and the rest of us) that air purifier. I’m using sage and rosemary (boiled on the stove, not burned, because I don’t want to put smoke in the air, even good smoke) to get rid of any bacteria floating around, but the purifier might be a good idea. I started giving Elsa the Rescue Remedy again last night, and I think it does more for her than anything else thus far.

Back to the page. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Devon

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 8:22 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, February 27, 2009

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Friday, February 27, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

So, the moon turned a few days ago, and I didn’t pay any attention. So sorry. We’re waxing now. Which is a good thing – increase.

Thanks for all your support. I appreciate it. Both Diane and Anne-Katherine bring up important points about me knowing Elsa the best, since I’m with her every day. The only time she’s ever had to be under anesthesia was when she was a kitten and I got her spayed. She did not handle the anesthesia well, and it took longer than it took any of my other cats for her to shake it off. My gut instinct is that she couldn’t survive it at her age, especially not with the neurological problems, and I’m going to try alternatives. Every time I let a vet talk me into an intricate procedure against my gut, I’ve regretted it. I appreciate the expertise of that medical community, I know there are times when one needs modern medicine, but the most success I’ve had both with my own medical care and that of my animals is when I’ve mixed medical knowledge with alternative therapies to let each work their strengths. Actually, with these antibiotics, I’m worried about the Orabex. I did some research, and it can cause seizures in cats with neurological problems. I discussed Elsa’s neurological problems with the vet in detail, and the dosage is about 1/5th of the standard dose, but I’m still keeping a close eye on her. I found something that I’m going to try in lieu of that particular procedure, but I think I have to wait until she’s done with her antibiotics first. At least she’s good about taking medication – it used to take four people to wrestle a pill into Olivia, and she was only a twelve pound cat!

She’s still very mucousy, and I hope that starts drying up soon. The antibiotics must have an appetite stimulant in them, because she’s eating more than ever (and she always has a healthy appetite). She’s definitely herself, she’s just sounds like she’s got a bad cold, only much worse than the usual kitty colds that go around occasionally.

All three cats have been exceptionally clingy lately. And Violet started sneezing this morning, so I hope she’s not getting it. Of course I’ve started sneezing and coughing, too, but I suspect it’s more in empathy than anything else. I’ve been disinfecting the apartment daily within an inch of its life.

Everything I did yesterday was business and errand-related, which is frustrating, but clearing it out of the way should help me do creative work this weekend.

I fell asleep early without finishing the assignment for Confidential Job #1. I want to get that out before I go out to my friend’s place to do laundry.

I was actually rejected for a job writing for an astrology site yesterday because they wanted someone “more amateur”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be horrified. They’d rather hire someone who’s cheap and knows nothing about astrology to write articles for the site than hire a professional who’s worked in the metaphysical field for fourteen years. Let’s just say I won’t believe anything I read on THAT site! 😉

And we wonder why there’s so much crap on the web.

Yet another newbie posted on one of the forums I frequent, asking the same old questions without bothering to research, wanting to know how to publish articles, but “not caring” whether or not there’s money involved. I ignored the post. The moderator later contacted me and asked me why, and I told her that I’m sick of wasting my time and advice on people who aren’t serious about the profession and are dragging the rest of us, who make our living at this down. She wants to get serious, I’ll answer her questions. I’ve answered that particular question at least a dozen times on that site, so she can do a little research in the archives her damn self. Done. One of the other so-called writers, a couple of weeks ago, contacted me off-site, asking me not to post when I publish something new because I get published “too much” and it’s “not fair” to writers who aren’t getting published. WTF? I get published because I work hard at my art and my craft, it’s my profession, I get better with every piece, and I put in the work.

Maybe I should take a break from that board.

McAfee is out of control again – hopefully, things will settle down a bit next week and I can get it out of my system once and for all.

Back to the page and the assignments.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Devon

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 8:26 am  Comments (11)  
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Elsa

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This is Elsa, the cat who’s ill. She’s a 14 year old tortoise-shell, and I’ve had her since she was 7 weeks old. I took her to North Shore Animal League’s Clinic yesterday. She likes to ride in the car. The barking dogs in the waiting area made her glad she had the safety of her carrier, but she wasn’t too freaked out. After all, they were out THERE, and she was safely tucked in her cage. One of the waiting dogs was a dachshund, and Elsa wants a dachshund of her very own, so she was happy about that. She was happy to meet the vet and make a new friend – that’s the kind of cat she is – she assumes that everyone is her friend until proven otherwise. If only we were all so open!

The problem is three-pronged. The first, and most important, is to deal with the respiratory infection that brought her there in the first place. She received two antibiotics, one in pill form and one in liquid form. Fortunately, she’s not bad with medication. Frankly, I think the Rescue Remedy with which I’ve been dosing her had a stronger effect, but antibiotics usually take a couple of days to work in people, so maybe it’s the same way in cats. So we’re optimistic, and we’ll see. Her appetite’s never wavered (always a good sign), she’s alert, friendly, sticking to her schedule. She smells different because of the medication, and that upsets Violet, who thinks there’s an imposter in the house, but Iris could care less as long as no one invades the Princess’s personal litter box. Elsa seems better during the day, but the nights are rough, and I’m feeling a little sleep-deprived from spending the last few nights up with her more than asleep.

The second thing they discovered was a mass on her underside. The vet said it could be nothing – it doesn’t bother her, she purred when the vet handled her, and tapped her with a paw to remind her it was petting time when she stopped. But they want to keep an eye on it over the coming months.

The third part is a procedure they want to do that would require her to undergo full anesthesia. Frankly, I don’t think she can survive it. I’ve had one cat and one dog go through this procedure as senior animals. Neither was ever the same after, and neither lived more than six months. Several friends of mine have had the same experience with the same procedure. I’m reluctant to put her through it.

When, at age 18, Felicia was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, my vet gave me a wide range of options, including dialysis and kidney transplant, both of which I refused. She was an 18 year old cat, and I felt that put unfair stress on her at such an advanced age. We actually got rid of a tumor via Reiki (I brought her in on Friday; they found the tumor and everyone looked grim. I brought her back in on Monday; they asked me if this was the same cat, because the tumor was GONE – we kept looking at the X-rays, the vet called in everyone in the building, and everyone was shocked. They even checked the X=Ray machine to make sure nothing was wonky). And, with a combination of fluid injections (which my vet taught me to do) and alternative therapies, we managed to give her a full year of good quality of life. When she was ready to go, she let us know. It was heart-breaking, but when it was her time, it was quick and painless, and she hadn’t been put through torturous medical procedures.

So, I’m looking into alternatives for the latter procedure, and I might also set up a Reiki session for her. I spoke to the wonderful folks at Whiskers, a pet store specializing in alternative care down in the East Village. They’ve been around for ages, advocating alternative therapies before it was popular, and they know their stuff. Stressed out as I was, I got quite emotional on the phone with them, and they were very helpful.

A few people suggested pet insurance. I looked into it a few years ago. First, it’s expensive. Second, there are so many caveats that basically, they don’t have to pay for anything unless your animal is hit by a car on the fourth Tuesday of the month when there’s a full moon. There are so many restrictions that it hasn’t made sense to get it, even in Felicia’s case.

It was quite a day, and it’s going to be a long haul for the next few months.

North Shore doesn’t work on installments, but is reasonably priced; however, this is still an unexpected expense during a recession. So, while I’m constantly pitching for jobs, etc., I’m also telling people that, if you haven’t gotten around to buying my books, my stories and/or my little e-booklets for writers, this would be a really helpful time so to do. E-book royalties get to writers much more quickly than traditional royalties. ALL royalties help decide whether a publishing house keeps or drops an author, so every time you buy any book by any living writer, you have a direct impact on their income and their future. Thirteen shows closed on Broadway in January, so I don’t have theatre work on which to fall back. And not much is filming, both due to the SAG uncertainty and the economy. The Republicans’ success in cutting out stimulus money to help production companies will keep thousands of people out of work for a longer period of time, instead of putting thousands of people back to work in the spring, which would then stimulate the economy in every location in which filming takes place. Just because someone works in the entertainment industry doesn’t mean the person is a celebrity making a zillion dollars.

For those of you who faithfully purchase my work as soon as it comes out, I am deeply grateful, and I hope to have some new, fun work out in the next few weeks that might catch your attention. And if you know of anyone you think would enjoy my work, I hope you’ll consider recommending it.

I’m sticking to my deadlines, turning around as much work as I can, and hunting down new work – while not falling into the trap of working for the mills that want 20 articles for $5, because let’s face it, all I’ll do is make myself sick and not get paid properly. I’ve sent out some really strong proposals this week to my prospect list, and will follow up with them in the next couple of weeks. But all of that takes time.

It was really discouraging to return from the half-day it took to get to Long Island and back, sit in the waiting room for over an hour, and then go through the examination, get the prescription filled, etc., and find a response from yet another company that turns out to be a mill rather than a legitimate site. I’ve got a much better shot at properly paid work with the proposals, once they work their way through the various layers that need to make a decision on it.

One of the little courtesies North Shore provides is that you get the medication right there, instead of having to go somewhere else to get prescriptions filled AND they cut up the pills for you. It’s a big help. I remember when I lived in the city, had to fill a prescription for Olivia’s valium and had to go to the local Duane Reade, where they treated me like some sort of junkie forger. Considering I rarely take anything stronger than an Advil, it was especially insulting.

I’ve got the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, and I hope to turn it around in the next few days.

Not much creative work done in these last few days. I’ve got some business letters to get out and to the post office today, and pay some bills; hopefully, I can also complete the assignment for Confidential Job #1 (it’s very good) and get that out by the end of the day, too.

Maybe Billy will get some more attention this weekend. It’s frustrating not to work on his story, since I’d finally made a breakthrough.

Devon

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Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 8:52 am  Comments (16)  
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