Wed. Dec. 22, 2021: Recovering From a Mac & Cheese Coma

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron Direct (as of 12/21)

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

image courtesy of SocialButterflyMMG via pixabay.com

Usually, Tuesday is the long post. This week, it’s Wednesday, because yesterday was the Winter Solstice, my big holiday, and I decided to enjoy my holiday.

So today’s our day to sit down and have a catching up natter.

Friday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. A little windy, but warm enough to keep the door from the porch into the house open.

I drafted the first half of the Marie Collier play, and then walked down to the post office to mail some letters, and picked up wine on my way back. It was lovely to enjoy the good weather, knowing that a storm was coming in.

Went through some jewelry of mine, looking for something specific, a certain type of chain that I want to use for a talisman necklace I’m making. Couldn’t find it, so I’ll keep looking in thrift stores. There’s no deadline. I’d rather wait and get the right thing than any old thing.

The last charm for the talisman necklace arrived, along with another pieced I’d ordered, from An Enchanted Creature, on ETSY. I’d had a good experience ordering before. I hadn’t expected these pieces to arrive until the 27th of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them a full 10 days earlier.

Saturday was supposed to snow all day, so that’s how I planned. They were out in force in the morning, sanding streets and sidewalks, which is a good thing. The sky made a few half-hearted attempts with some snowflakes in the morning, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that it got serious about it. But it only snowed for a couple of hours before it switched over to rain.

We put up the rest of the ornaments on the tree, and put up the Santas on a shelf unit we moved into the front hall. They don’t look right there.

Did some reading, diving back into the Dorothy Parker/Dawn Powell research, so I can finish the third and final play of the year.

Sunday was a gray, gloomy day. We moved the Santa collection into the living room, rearranging a few things, and it looks better there. Plus, we can enjoy it.

I finished the draft of the Marie Corelli play. It took some fun turns, and all four characters are for actresses over 40. It can sit for a few days before revision, and I’ll get it out before the end of the week (today or tomorrow, most likely).

The fruit peel arrived, from Fleet Farm! That was quick. I didn’t expect it until around New Year’s. So there will be stollen for Christmas. I’ll make it either today or tomorrow.

I made the molasses spice cookies. Wound up being around 10 dozen molasses spice, which I did not expect. I also used one of the packs of fruit peel to make fruitcake cookies, which turned out well, and are a nice contrast to the other cookies on the platter.

I’m going to make the apricot sage cookies for us, a small batch, to test them. If they work, and I can make enough of them quickly, I’ll add them in to the platters next year.

Was too tired to cook, so ordered Chinese from the local place, and watched DoorDash drive it the six blocks over. It’s just far enough that it’s too far for me to walk and keep it hot.

The food was good. We put on the lights and candles and enjoyed the Fourth of Advent.

With Venus going retrograde, I’m trying to be quiet and careful. We’ve got the “bonecrusher” square, which I do not have the energy to deal with this week. Uranus is still retrograde. And then Mercury goes retrograde early in February. So basically, from now until February 3, I want to stay as quiet and hermit-like as possible.

Monday morning, I got up to discover that some of the battery-operated candles in the windows had turned themselves back on overnight.

Around here, the post office does an early morning package delivery run, about 7 AM. Two packages were dropped off: one from a friend (the one that had gone from NYC to Puerto Rico to Akron), and the next two books for review.

Tessa was fascinated by the packages. Willa was more interested in the postman. Charlotte ran around in circles at the top of the stairs. It was a very exciting start to their day.

I struggled to clear the ice off the car, and then we headed to the RMV to update the car registration and our licenses. I had been going back and forth about the appointment with the main RMV administration; they kept saying that we could not do it in one appointment, we could not go together (my mom is 97, it’s not like she can do this on her own), and so on and so forth.

We showed up for the appointment. Everyone was very nice. We got everything done. We don’t even need to get a new registration document, since it’s all updated in the system. When the registration has to be renewed next year, the right info will be there. Instead of issuing us new physical licenses, they told us to write the new address on the back; it’s in the system, and since it’s a real ID, no problem.

So all that stress was for nothing.

But I’m grateful they were so helpful, and that it’s done.

Then, it was off to CVS and to Big Y, to get the rest of what I needed for the Solstice dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. Got everything I needed.

We made it home. There are still dashboard lights going on that need to be dealt with. I’m going to contact the garage in Williamstown next week to see if I can get an appointment the first week of the new year.

I realized I’d forgotten a couple of errands, so headed back out on foot to the post office and the bank.

By then, I was wiped out, as much from stress as anything else.

But I rallied, in the late afternoon, to do the script coverage.

Slept in on Tuesday morning. It was Winter Solstice. Chocolate panettone for breakfast, which was fun. I prepped two cookie platters for the libraries, and delivered them on foot: one across the street, to the college library, and one down the street to the public library. I’d sealed each cookie separately in a cookie sleeve, for maximum safety so the platter could be out in the break room, and people could sort through cookies to find what they like.

Both libraries were delighted.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to be out, knowing that storms are coming in for the next few weeks. The weather is so changeable here.

Came home, finished up some script coverage I hadn’t finished the previous day. Changed from flannel sheets to fleece sheets.

Prepped the cookie platters for the neighbors and delivered them. They were pleased.

This year’s platters have chocolate chip cookies, orange cranberry cookies, currant oatmeal cookies, molasses spice cookies, and fruitcake cookies. It’s a nice variety.

Baked the honey spice cake. It was a little underbaked, even though the toothpick put in the center came up clear. It’s still good, but I wanted great. Maybe I should have put a chocolate silk glaze over it. Because chocolate can fix almost anything.

For dinner, I made Moosewood’s recipe for macaroni and cheese, from scratch. I cheated a little and added bacon into the mac & cheese. But it was a lot of dairy. The cheese sauce had four cups of milk and 10 oz. of various cheddars; there were breadcrumbs and then more cheddar over it, before it was baked. It’s really good, and we have a lot of leftovers, but it’s a lot of dairy.

Did the Solstice ritual of waiting for it to get dark, then, starting in the north, lighting all the candles and holiday lights, clockwise around the house, until it’s all lit up with candles and twinkle lights. I spilled red wax on the white windowsill in the kitchen – that will be not much fun to fix. But it was so pretty, and we sat without electric lights on (except for the holiday twinkle lights) all evening.

Since we no longer have a working fireplace, I took the big cauldron out on the back balcony and burned last year’s greens, slowly, one small branch at a time, so I wouldn’t worry the neighbors. It was a good way to let last year, and the Cape life, go.

Left the battery-operated candles on all night, to light the longest night of the year.

I was up earlier than Tessa this morning! I couldn’t find her and was frantic. She was still asleep, in her favorite red chair with Panda, and was very confused as to why I was awake before she was. The fleece sheets were too hot. I kept kicking off the covers in the night. Quite a difference from the other house, where upstairs was never warm after about September, no matter how high the heat was cranked.

The plan was to go to the laundromat, but it was raining, so I decided not to. I’ll go tomorrow or next week.

I’m going to do some work on the Big Project, and maybe THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. Then, I have to polish the Marie Corelli play and get it out the door. Then, it’s more script coverage. I have coverage work today and tomorrow, and then I’m off until Monday, and I hope next week will be a light week, coverage-wise. I want to dig into The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I also want to finish up a bunch of admin work before the end of the year.

I’m preparing to hunker down for the winter, only going to the grocery store, the post office, and the library, both due to weather and the pandemic. I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t doing what needs to be done to curb the pandemic, or the right-wing extremists. People worked like crazy during a pandemic to get them elected. They need to deliver. No matter what corporate sellouts like Manchin and Sinema do.

Anyway, I have to get back to the page and get some work done. Books don’t write themselves, and I still have a living to earn.

Have a good one!

Fri. Dec. 17, 2021: Snow Coming In!

image courtesy of Stijn Dijkstra via pexels.com

Friday, December 17, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was challenging, to say the least.

I managed to do a grocery run, although the car is not happy. I’d gone to a store I don’t really like, but it’s close, and they claimed to have the fruit peel. Of course, they didn’t, but I stocked up on a bunch of stuff, since I was there.

Came home, unpacked. Went on Nuts.com, which had been recommended. The fruit peel was about double what I pay in the store for the same amount, but I figured, well, online. They promised free shipping over a certain amount (which I easily hit) if I signed up for their mailing list. Only they wouldn’t put the free shipping through because “It’s only for new customers.” Well, that would be me, since I’ve never ordered from them before.

So I cancelled the order. And unsubscribed from their list.

I went on the Fleet Farm website. They had the brand of fruit peel I like, at the same price I paid in the store. I ordered my several pounds of it, the shipping was reasonable, and it was still half of what I would have paid at Nuts.com, even with the free shipping.

They said there were shipping delays, so I figured okay, it’ll probably get here around New Year’s or a little after. We’ll just have our stollen late this year, and eat it into February.

They shipped it within two hours.

Yeah, worthwhile company.

I lost too many hours in the afternoon trying to get the paperwork I need from the insurance for the RMV appointment to update the title on the car with the new address. Can’t get it inspected without it, and have to do that by the end of the year. Each wouldn’t give me what I needed without something from the other, who wouldn’t give it to me until I had the thing from the other that they wouldn’t give me without what they wouldn’t give me. Nightmare.  As, no doubt, the RMV appointment will be on Monday.

After all that chaos, I still managed to bake 8 dozen orange cranberry cookies and 6 dozen oatmeal currant lace cookies. They came out well, which helped me regain some of my lost baking confidence after the bread went all cattywampus the other day.

Worked on the shape of the Marie Corelli play. I hope to sit down and write the first draft today.

I’d made red lentil chili in the crockpot. It was spicier than I expected, but really good.

The Knowledge Unicorns did their Winter Holiday pageant for the parents last night. Via Zoom. The kids had brainstormed, written, designed, costumed their various spaces, rehearsed, and put it together via Zoom. It was a parody of every bad holiday pageant you’ve ever witnessed or imagined, along with sharply pointed satire at politicians, book banning/censoring, women’s rights, anti-vaxxers, and gun violence. It was brilliant. The parents and I were all so proud of them. They basically took all the stresses and fears and enraging politicking since the pandemic started and turned it into something creative, wonderful, and cathartic. That kids like that exist gives me hope for the future.

Charlotte now sits on my lap while I work at the computer, for a good portion of the day, whether Zoom is on or not. It’s pretty funny. She’s also made a lot of progress with the bed-making. It used to terrify her. We’ve now turned it into a game, with plenty of belly rubs and head scratches and cuddles. Yes, it takes longer, but now she’s not afraid of moving blankets anymore, so it’s worth it.

Astrologically, we have a full moon in Gemini coming up tomorrow. And then a square of several planets known as “the Bonecrusher” which I am totally not up for. But the planets are gonna do what they do, and I just have to understand the possibilities and make smarter choices. Somehow, an RMV appointment during a Bonecrusher square does not hit me as the best choice, but needs must.

There are rumors that the new virus variant is so transmissible, there will need to be shutdowns over the winter. Gov. Baker didn’t have the balls to do a full shutdown the first time around (it was a “stay-at-home”, for all people bitched they were quarantined — people who obviously don’t understand what a quarantine entails), so I doubt he will this time. But we’re pretty much isolating anyway, except for a couple of ventures out for groceries, books, and wine, so we’ll deal with whatever. But Biden needs to cancel student debt AND we need another stimulus payment. No matter what.

Back to the page. I want to work on the Marie Corelli play and the Big Project. I have to make the dough for the molasses spice cookies, so I can bake them later. Not sure if I’ll attempt the apricot sage cookies today or tomorrow. They are a new-to-me cookie, and I’m not sure I can make enough of them for the platters, but we’ll see.

I have to walk down to the wine store for a few things, and mail some cards in response to unexpected cards I received. It’s supposed to snow all weekend, so any errands need to happen today, or wait until Monday. And Monday is stacked to the gills as it is, so that I can take Tuesday off for the Winter Solstice.

I also have two scripts to cover today, and I’ll see what else is in the queue. I probably have to work on coverage all weekend, so I can take the Solstice and then next weekend off.

Still have some ornaments to put up. It’ll get done. Somehow.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it.