Monday, March 21, 2011


Violet is curious about the kitties in the mirrors

Monday, March 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy, cold, chance of snow

I hope you’ll join Lori Widmer and I for The Confident Freelancer seminar this coming Saturday, March 26. We’ve got seminars sure to inspire, motivate, and boost your writing productivity, Q&A sessions, networking opportunities, and you can win a free fiction critique from me and a free non-fiction critique from Lori. More information and registration is on the link above.

Busy, fun weekend. I worked on Saturday morning until Costume Imp got up. We decided to skip the Eco-Toilet Summit on the Uses of Human Waste and go to the farmers’ markets instead.

Somehow, we missed the market in Marstons Mills without ever finding it (or the turnoff to Main St.). We continued up to Sandwich, where we found the combined market/antique show, but didn’t see any food, and, even though there were nearly two hours still scheduled, everyone was packing up.

So we had lunch at the Beehive Tavern instead — lobster quiche, which was great.

Stopped at Lavender Moon, went to the Borders in Hyannis which is about to close and stocked up on a few things, picked up some essentials at Trader Joe’s, came home to read and hang out.

Cooked dinner, then, when the sun was down, headed out to see the “Super Moon.” We drove to the lake up the street first — it was beautiful, and several people had come out with the same idea. The moon over the water was just stunning.

Then, we drove to Covell’s Beach in Craigville. The moon wasn’t positioned over the water there, and people were driving in, turning around, leaving, and one woman in an SUV was literally just driving in circles. We weren’t sure if it was catching, so we left pretty fast.

There was a point in the night where the moon was positioned so it came in through the glass panes at the top of the front door– really cool.

It was cold, though — in the 30s.

Up early on the Equinox, performed my sunrise ceremony in the cold on the deck. Very nice, with all the birds chirping and the sun coming up and all of it. Iris and Violet stood at the kitchen door, with their little noses pressed to the glass, watching. They’re used to being in the middle of it all!

I started the Racer pumpkins and the Chucky pumpkins in the seed starter pots. I’m very confused — the seed packet says to start them in May or June, but Cape dwellers say they have to be started on the Spring Equinox inside, then moved out later; I got emails from the seed companies telling me to start the eggplants and tomatoes now, but Cape dwellers tell me to wait until Memorial Day. So I’m very confused!

Caught up on student work, emails, teleseminar business, etc. Read the papers. Saw two of my courses listed — for the wrong dates (July and August instead of June and July). That’s been fixed. Sorted out everything for the class I’m starting to take (as a student) today. Received some materials from a place to whom I need to make a pitch.

Made Eggs Benedict for brunch, which we had with Prosecco. Lovely way to start the season!

In the late afternoon, we went to Hyannis to a jazz jam at a local restaurant, to which I’d been invited during Thursday’s horticulture outing. The musicians were outstanding, and some teens showed up to play a few numbers — love the fact that they’d rather be out jamming with a bunch of professional musicians on a Sunday afternoon rather than playing video games. They’re good and have a lot of potential, and it will be exciting to see how they progress. There was a sixteen year old near the end who is the real deal. You could tell he had a lot of commitment to the craft by the way he listened to others before he joined them, and when he did — he’s got a lot of talent, the poise of someone much older and more experienced, and the commitment not to let other people’s agendas for him get between him and the music. There was also an older gentleman on coronet, early on — he was excellent now, and I can only imagine what he was like when this was the central focus of his life. If I have half the verve he has when I’m his age, I’ll consider myself lucky!

The singers on the other hand . . . not impressed. Of course, Costume Imp and I are more critical of singers than most people, due to our years on Broadway, listening to (mostly) excellent singers eight times a week. And Imp toured with one of the greatest singers of all time, so . . .

I think it’s great that they got up there and did it. If they sing again another time I attend and they’ve shown improvement, I’ll be pleased for them. If they just get up and do the same numbers in the same way making the same mistakes, I will retain my jaded outlook. 😉

It was a lot of fun, good company, good music, a great way to spend the afternoon into the early evening.

We grabbed a bucket of KFC on the way home and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I had to deal with a bunch of admin for the seminar, but it was all fine and got sorted out. There was also some tech issue with a blog post for another place that had to get sorted. Jeez, and Mercury doesn’t go retrograde until the 30th!

I went to bed early – I was exhausted from being up at dawn, and I’m having a lot of trouble with my back again. I’ve got numbers of some acupuncturists and I’m going to see when I can get an appointment.

It’s supposed to snow later today, so I’m going to stay in, write, work on the play, work on the layout for e-book for the seminar, keep up with the registrants to make sure they’re getting everything they need, spend time with my students, finish the material for Confidential Job #1, and start the steampunk workshop I’m attending as a student. I’ve also got to get some business correspondence out, and a couple of other places have asked me for proposals for this, that, and the other.

So it’s all good, I just have to stay on top of it all!

Devon

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Small, three-legged pinch pot made during July’s workshop. What’s odd is that the glaze is supposed to be black, but it came out like this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t get as much done as I would have liked yesterday. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, landlord-wise. They are trying to evict several of the tenants who have fought back. It’s been quieter directly under my windows, but I bet they’re gearing up for the next volley.

Ran errands in the morning, including going to the bookstore in Stamford to pick up a few things, and the farmer’s market right next door. Spent most of the afternoon helping out a neighbor with an issue. Landlord-related, of course.

Elsa’s not doing well, so I’m glad she’s getting a treatment today.

I had a pretty good writing session this morning, thank goodness, on the Willowspring Grove novel. After Elsa’s treatment, I hope to get some work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and maybe even get out a few queries.

When my home is unstable, such as fighting with the scumbag landlords, I can’t work. If I can’t work, I can’t earn the money to leave, and it’s an endless downward spiral. I can’t leave to work somewhere else, because I have to be here to defend the premises — and the cats. It’s not a good situation.

I was offered a job on a movie in Michigan that supposedly stars A Very Well-Known Actress (who will remain nameless on this blog) starting “as soon as possible” — which means they are either very disorganized, or they couldn’t find anyone to work for that price, or their supervisor already quit because of the working conditions. I’m not sure why they called me, since I’m no longer in the union and don’t do this anymore, but I said no. Plus, the money was ridiculously low. Um, WHY would I put myself through the stress of supervising stars in another state and not get well compensated? I’m not just starting out. I don’t need the credit on my resume, and I’m certainly not star-struck. I mean, I have nothing against this particular actress, but I still expect to be well-paid to do this kind of work, if I was even still doing it. I also don’t like it when they call me and leave a message without leaving the name of the movie or the production company. That always sends off warning bells.

So, no thank you.

Hopefully, today will be a fairly productive day, in and around Elsa’s Reiki session. I’m feeling very discouraged about just about everything, though, and just want to find a way out of here.

Devon

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 7:27 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, August 5, 2010



Details of the cat fountain at the Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

It will be a miracle if I make it to Monday without seriously hurting someone. Lara, you got it in one — that unfettered rage is an awful feeling, isn’t it?

At least having the information helps me make more informed decisions. There were two incidents yesterday where I normally would have just gone off, but I restrained myself.

The first actually worked out for the better — the person apologized and was honest about the fracas instead of trying to do ass-coverage. Although I still felt the situation was disrespectful, I chose to accept the apology without rebuttal and we actually had a good work session.

The second time I nearly belted a check out clerk at one of my least favorite grocery stores, the A&P in Rye Brook. Not only are their prices high and their quality low, most of the employees with whom I’ve dealt over the past couple of years are the worst of the worst. It used to be a decent store, years ago, but in the past two-three years, it’s horrible. I go there about once every six weeks or so, when it’s on my way and it would be a chore to go elsewhere, but no more. I’m really sick of the clerks picking people they know out of the check-out line and serving them first, instead of taking people in the order they line up. In addition to being rude, slow, and lazy. It’s not acceptable, and I will no longer shop there. The A&P stores in this area in general have gone down the tubes in the past year, in spite of their “fresh” campaigns with Kelly Ripa. Quality down, prices up, and awful employees.

I held my temper, paid for my two items, and left. Hopefully, it will be the last time I ever have to walk through those doors. If I’m willing to drive 150 miles out of my way not to shop at Wal-Mart, I can drive an extra 5 to avoid the A&P.

The dickheads that the landlord employed to “work on the building” (which means torture the tenants) not only went up and down the fire escape and banged against the windows all day, they peeped into the neighbor’s bathroom as she showered. Because the landlord paid off the City, neither the Health Department nor the Buildings Department will take any action. They don’t have work IDs — which they are required to carry and show on demand by law. But no one will enforce that. Also, because of the dust they raised, we couldn’t have the windows open and use the fans, and we couldn’t have the air conditioning on, because the dust came through the vents. So we had to swelter inside with closed windows in 100 degree weather. Not acceptable.

I can’t leave because I can’t leave the cats. WHEN they smash one of the windows, either by accident because they’re incompetent, unskilled laborers or because they’ve been paid to smash property, I don’t want the cats sliding out of a broken third floor window and getting hurt.

Elsa had a good Reiki session yesterday, although both she and I tested positive for abnormally high levels of lead and arsenic. Like I said, the landlords are poisoning us, and the corrupt City Council lets them, because they’ve bee paid off.

Additionally, it looks like I broke a bone or several small bones in my foot, which is why it hurts. I can’t afford the $282 for X-rays, but I had it looked at, and, as far as can be told without X-rays, that’s the most likely scenario. No idea how I could have broken bones in my foot — a little weird. A cast isn’t going to do any good – I might make a poultice and just keep it rested for a few days so it can start to knit on its own. I’m trying to stay away from anyone and everyone for the next few days anyway.

We managed to get out of the house for a bit and go to the Stamford Farmer’s Market (serious limping on my part). In spite of all the astrological conflict, everyone there was lovely, as always, and we got some terrifically high quality produce at great prices. It’s one of the best markets in the area, both in quality and price, much better than the one down the street.

I have a tin Tibetan goddess statue I picked up in a second hand shop in PA a few years ago. She’s been sitting in my bookcase. I put her in the window yesterday as a deterrent for the dickhead harassers (on the inside). This morning, she’s in a different window, hanging off a plant trellis, looking out over the main road that runs past the building. Pretty funny. Guess she was busy in the night.

I have a prop that looks like a skull on a pole in one of the windows this morning. He has glowing red eyes. I was trying to download audio of hellhounds baying to run as a loop whenever they came near the window, but really, nothing that I’ve found is even remotely intimidating. Sounds more like sad puppy left alone than a baying hell hound. Unfortunately, renting a Rottweiler is not an option. Of course with my luck, I’d get the one that just wants his tummy rubbed rather than standing in the window looking intimidating!

The avocado that finally sprouted is doubling in size nearly every day. Will be interesting to see how it grows.

The purified water is a big help, and I think we’ve saved almost all the plants except for the morning glory. I think that’s a total loss.

Good first morning’s writing session. Let’s hope I can be productive today.

Devon

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

It’s so humid that it feels like I’m trying to breathe underwater. Ick.

Drove to Stamford to use a gift card at the bookstore. That was fun. There was also a lovely farmer’s market in the lot beside the bookstore’s. Got some absolutely wonderful produce, still sun-kissed from the gardens. Which contributed to a delightful lunch with a friend.

Called the acupuncturist recommended to me by the woman in my pottery class. She picked up the phone herself; my acquaintance had talked to her about me, so she was expecting my call. We discussed Elsa for awhile, and she actually has an opening this morning, so, off we go.

Elsa thought we were going immediately, and tried to get into the carrier as soon as I was off the phone!

I really don’t think the new medication is helping her much. So, we’ll see what happens here. At the very least, this practitioner can make her more comfortable, even if there’s not much more we can do for her. And quality of life is more important than length. Of course I want Elsa around for a long, long time, but I also don’t want to torture her. When she’s ready to go, she will let me know. She’s made it pretty darned clear she’s not ready yet — she actually was the dominant cat yesterday, for the first time since we lost Felicia several years ago, bossing the twins around.

Read the second book in that series I’ve been reading. It was much tighter, better plotted, better written. If it wrapped up the story, the first book would have been unnecessary, and it could have all been the second book and been just fine. I read the first chapter of the third book, and it’s not grabbing me. So, we’ll see. If I come across it next time I’m in the bookstore, I might pick it up But I’m in no rush.

I also got Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release, NIGHT MYST, the first book of her new series, and I’m reading that and enjoying it very much.

It’s raining and gross outside. Not the kind of weather I want to haul Elsa around in, especially since the directions don’t really make sense to me, but we’ll see. Somehow, it will all work out. And, if it helps Elsa, it’s worth it.

Good first writing session this morning, about 1200 words. Will try to get a little more done before I have to pack up Elsa and go.

Considered applying for an editing job yesterday, but I don’t want to put that much energy into someone else’s work right now. The business writing and articles are fine, because it’s mine, even if I’m doing it to attract customers to someone else’s work. But working on someone else’s creative work — other than reading the piece for my friend — just not in that headspace right now, and why set myself up for a job I won’t enjoy at this point?

Would like to do some more adaptation on the plays so that I can work on query letters and start pitching them in August.

Well, I’ve been assigned an editor for my new book and sent the paperwork for marketing and cover art — but I’ve not signed the contract, so I’m not yet making any announcements. Guess we’re going forward, though, on what I hope will prove to be an exciting new venture. It also means I have to get started on the next book for them – and re-read this manuscript so that I can come up with blurbs, teasers, etc. I want to get that all turned around in the next few days. And it means the photo shoot needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Today is the 38th anniversary of my father’s death.

Devon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!

Devon

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Pretty decent weekend, actually. Elsa made solid progress, both Saturday and Sunday. I’m trying to ease up on some of the medications as she steadies. I think part of the reason she backslid was she was being overmedicated. As we clear up certain symptoms (and, hopefully, the causes), I’m changing dosages, stopping cycles, and adding different things to fight the other problems. Eventually, I want her symptom-free, so then we can rebuild her immune system and she won’t get sick again. The antibiotics really caused serious damage to her system. Imagine what it’s doing to humans, all this over=prescribing of antibiotics, if this is what happens to cats! I had a vet in the city who said you could predict human illness by watching which illnesses grew prevalent among the companion animal population.

Saturday sucked as far as being a writing day, but I soldiered on. I watched the US-England World Cup Soccer game on Saturday afternoon, which I thought was kind of “eh” although I think our goalie, Tim Howard, is pretty awesome. I still find ice hockey more exciting. I’m not well enough versed on it all to write intelligently about it, so maybe in four years, if the US gets into it again, I’ll be positioned so to do. This time, I’m just watching to watch. Saturday night, there was nothing on TV and my hip was giving me a lot of trouble, so I did two hours of yoga and a good, long meditation.

Sunday, I spent some time at the farmer’s market, getting in good stuff, and had a much better writing day. The radishes, the cilantro, the strawberries — heaven!

I read a book by someone who’s work I’ve read for more than twenty years. I used to love her writing and her quirky, off-the-wall characters, but hadn’t read anything of hers in a long time. The writing’s still often beautiful, but the characters aren’t as interesting. And, she tried to write a politically astute book without doing the research and getting the solid facts on which to base it, so it didn’t work. If you’re going to write that kind of book, you need to know the facts inside out, whether the point of view condones or refutes those facts. But if there aren’t any facts on which to build it, you just look lazy and ignorant, and that’s how it came across. I was very disappointed, and expected more from her — certainly more intelligence. The characters don’t have to come across as rocket scientists, but the author shouldn’t come across as not very bright. When you want to put across your point of view, you have to have a delicate touch, not ram it down your readers’ throats. When you’re trying to explore an opposing point of view, you have to be even more thorough in research and fact-checking than when it’s a viewpoint with which you’re familiar and support.

Decent writing day yesterday — finished Chapter 14 of POWER OF WORDS. it’s weak, but at least there’s something there to work on.
Elsa was well enough so I could attend a Tony Awards party last night. For the most part, i thought it was well done, although there were sound problems in the first section that were simply unacceptable. The mix was bad, the wrong mics were on and off — either the sound guy really screwed up OR (and this is a strong possibility) the PSM was calling cues wrong, and it was the sound guy who wound looking like the jerk. I was happy to see that, in one of the categories, I had worked with four of the five nominees. I also got to see friends of mine perform a number from a show I hope to see in the coming weeks. I vehemently disagreed with some of the choice of winners, but it’s an exciting night and I’m not going to publicly trash anyone in my industry here, no matter what I think, especially not on a night that’s filled with so much joy. And, every year, the Tony Awards reminds me how proud I am of the work we do on Broadway, and how grateful I am for the years I’ve spent there. And I can say I’m thrilled for all the awards won by RED — it’s a fantastic play.

Home late, up early, out for a run a little after five. It was so humid I had a tough time. Oh, well, at least I was out and moving. Now, it’s back to the page. I want to start Chapter 15 of POWER OF WORDS, finish an article, and work on transforming Act I of BEHIND THE MAN from interactive to proscenium. I also need to figure out where to put the act break. As an interactive piece, it’s a three act. For proscenium production, it needs to be a two act. Which means I have to create a cliffhanger somewhere in what is currently the middle of the second act.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (3)  
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