Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

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

Thurs. March 22, 2012: Nap, Please?

Thursday, March 22, 2012
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and warm

Yesterday was just flat out. I was up around 6 AM and didn’t stop until 10 PM at night. It was a good day, but busy. HEX BREAKER edits and updated front matter are out to my editor. In my Annabel Aidan persona, I’ve got an article up on The Writers Vineyard about fear. I managed to log in to the workshop site (which I couldn’t get into on Tuesday afternoon or evening), but it was right before I had to leave, so I couldn’t do more than say I’d put in extra hours today and tomorrow.

Hit the road by 9 AM. Lots of fog and traffic. We stopped in Mystic for a few things, and then in Niantic. I found some things I was looking for, and some I didn’t know I needed at the Book Barn, we had a quick lunch, and then continued on. I got Costume Imp to his 4 PM train back to the city, and arrived at the site shortly thereafter.

I unloaded, got settled a bit, and then there was a dinner — good food, good wine, good conversation. But by the time everything was all wrapped up, it was 10 PM, and I was far too tired to even try to comment on student work. One of the other guests was also a teacher, and we talked about educational modules, etc. I’ve been talking to a lot of teachers, lately, who are involved in many different types of teaching. We all face very similar challenges, no matter what type of organization we’re connected with.

Up at 4:30 this morning, had to do work here on site until a few minutes ago. I’ve got to get the HEX BREAKER media kit done in the next couple of days. I’m going to hop online and comment on student work for a couple of hours, then do some more work here, then go back and comment more, etc. I might have to take a 40 minute nap or something this afternoon. I am rather wiped out.

I’ve got website updates to upload soon, and I’m working on the Jain Lazarus tie-in story and the Billy Root marketing idea that will coincide with HEX BREAKER’s release. So, lots to do, and limited amount of hours.

Back to it.

Devon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and humid

The temperatures are supposed to fall a good 30 degrees today. We’re getting an early autumn. Cats’ fur and falling leaves are always right.

The trip over the last few days kicked my ass. It’s not like the content was complicated, but the driving was difficult. Driving through Rhode Island on Tuesday morning, the fog was so thick, it was like driving through quilt batting. And yet, some morons still don’t use their lights. WTF? Driving back yesterday was a lot of traffic.

Internet was wonky down there — I sort of got in, but the signal was weak, so it was three or four minutes in, five or six hours off. I’d warned my students, so no one felt abandoned.

It gave me some quality time to work on the Harpy book, which was good. Once I developed the antagonists, the pieces of the plot that I couldn’t figure out fell into place. Well-developed characters lead to interesting situations. I’m really starting to get excited about this book.

I did some research, pulling out mythology books and re-reading some of the myths and legends I want to feed into the book, seeing where I want to pull and where I need to change things to suit the story, but do so that’s logical.

The cats were happy to see me. They are still working things out. Iris hasn’t accepted Tessa. Violet tolerates her. Tessa wants to be friends. So there’s still work to be done.

It’s amazing how much planting a few pots of mums outside makes the house glow. Really lovely. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start taking in the pots that need to overwinter inside. We may get our first frost this weekend.

I’m spending the bulk of the day with my Dialogue Workshop students today — I have a lot of material on which to catch up. I’d hoped to mow the terraced back, but it’s supposed to rain, so that’s out. I have to run out and get some cat food — the cupboard’s looking a little bare. And I’d like to start on my big fall cleaning, so that it’s all done by the Equinox.

Lots to do! Better get going!

Devon

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 7:13 am  Comments (2)  
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Thursday, March 17, 2011


Ashumet Holly Sanctuary

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Supposedly sunny
St. Patrick’s Day

Well, yesterday was full out, but it was fun. Got some work done in the morning (although not enough — familiar refrain).

Out the door on time, dropped something off for my mom, wound up at the Cotuit Library early, but they were kind and took me in out of the rain. I stayed in a corner looking at books until they were ready for the event (I could have offered to help, but they have a system, and it would have slowed them down, at that point).

Anyway, the lunch was terrific, and the event was a lot of fun. Author Carol McCleary talked about her new book, THE ILLUSION OF MURDER. She writes a mystery series featuring one of my personal heroines, Nelly Bly, one of the first all-round investigative journalists and a champion for women and children’s rights. When I saw this in the events calendar I had to go — I’ve got the first book still in a box (the box is marked TBR, but, well, it’s still a box), and already had the second book on pre-order. So I was very excited to attend. Carol is a lovely, lively, smart, funny woman and had the whole audience with her for each moment. Makes me even more eager to read the books. And, of course, the lunch spread was great — it always is. And I met some really great people and there was some talk about future events and my possible involvement. I love supporting fellow authors and celebrating their new releases — when one succeeds, it brightens the future for all of us.

The woman sitting next to me was a fellow NYU grad, fascinated by film, daughter a librarian in NY, used to attend the Y where my mom used to work, goes to the track in Saratoga with her current (third) husband — one of those great synchronicity things. She told me some great NY theatre/opera stories from the times slightly before my own — I’ve filed them away in the brain, and I’m sure I’ll use them one day. It was a great conversation.

It was a lovely way to spend the late morning/early afternoon, even in this miserable weather. I also found some great books in the library, which I checked out and lugged home.

And, when I got home — I did my follow-up. I’m always emphasizing to my students how important quick follow-up is when you meet new people, and then I putter around and put it off. Not this time — I did it properly! 😉 And I even heard back from Carol a few hours later — it’s great to find kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables would say!

Came home, did my follow-up, commented on some of the student work, made the business cards and post cards I needed to take to the dinner.

Drove to the dinner, felt rather at a loss because I didn’t know anyone. Not one familiar face in the room. And I’m not a naturally outgoing person. I’m shy and awkward around people I don’t know. But a table full of friendly fellow writers invited me to join them, and we were off to lots of good conversation and interesting stories. They also taught me how to do things like pronounce “Cotuit” properly.

I also got to meet J. Bean Palmer, who writes the children’s series featuring the Cape Cod Witch. I first found the books at the gift shop in the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay and think they’re absolutely delightful, so it was great to meet the person who wrote them!

Jim Hill was the speaker, with a lively presentation on the uses of social media. And I met another charming woman who is also the chair of the New England Chapter of the Herb Society of America, who has one of the best and most inventive ideas for a children’s book I’ve ever heard. And she lives only a few blocks away — talk about synchronicity. There was another lovely woman whose first book is published next week — I meant to get info and didn’t run into her again. I told her to schedule something for release day so it’s not depressing if her publisher doesn’t fuss over her appropriately! A release day is a celebration!

All in all, a terrific evening at a rather odd chain restaurant that dealt with a larger-than-expected group of lively writers as well as they could.

What I love about people here is they don’t get all defensive about their writing — people are happy to talk about it and happy to support each other. Because we ARE all in this together, and when one of us is successful, it’s good for all of us. People NEED stories — it’s hardwired into us. Publishers and marketers can pretend there’s a limited need, but they’re looking at their own agenda, not how people are built.

I look at my students’ work in the current workshop — every single one of those books is unique enough and creative enough and intriguing enough to deserve publication. And I bet the bulk of the work the writers at tonight’s dinner is the same. We just have to keep at it, encourage each other, and use each individual victory to make us all more determined.

I’m going to schedule this to publish now, and try to tackle some more student work before bedtime — I will be out of the house and headed to Boston to the Flower Show early tomorrow, and I don’t want to leave my students dangling. Oh, and I did the post-dinner follow-up immediately — I better walk my talk, right?

I took a wrong turn coming home — down Phinney’s Lane instead of ShootFlyingHIll Road (locals will get a chuckle out of that) — in other words, I took the long way home through the fog. I hate driving in fog, but this is the Cape, and there is FOG, so I better learn how to fucking deal. 😉

Onward.

Devon

Join Lori Widmer and me on March 26 for the one-day online seminar The Confident Freelancer. More info here.