Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 134 — First Full Moon of the Month

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cooler

There’s a new garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

The new furnace is IN. It took them almost all day to finish yesterday – and they were here by 7:15 in the morning.

The new furnace is impressive. Very fancy. With a big, complicated filter my landlord can’t expect me to find at the local building store. It’s a special order. The amount of new ductwork they had to build and run is astonishing.

The new thermostat is pretty cool, too. And the heat actually works upstairs, which it barely did all last winter, so there’s a nice change.

The crew had skill, knowledge, precision, and an eye for detail. They were nice to have around, and caused a minimum of disruption.

They explained stuff that needed explaining without mansplaining. They were friendly and neat.

Nobody ever sneer that these guys aren’t skilled or specialists or not worth the money, because they are.

So, while the office was not easy to deal with (mostly because they refused to communicate directly and I got everything second-hand), the actual crew that came out and did the work was stellar.

I worked from home for my client. It took a long time to get the next ad right. I couldn’t get the right look for it, but finally got something workable. It’s not as good as this week’s ad, in my opinion, but it works for what we need.

Remote Chat was fun.

But I was wiped out by the time the furnace was in, everything was cleaned up, the guys were gone.

The cats – they were hellions. Tessa was fine. She hung out in my room, the way she usually does, and ignored it all.

Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens upstairs. Willa managed to roll her playpen to the top of the stairs; I caught her before she tried to roll down. She taught Charlotte to roll her playpen, too, so the two of them rolled their playpens all day – sometimes into each other, which then caused hissing and growling.

It took them awhile to calm down, once everything was cleared out and they were let free. Then, they passed out in their favorite chairs, and that was it for them for the night.

I collapsed into bed early again last night. I woke up once, but managed to get back to sleep and slept through until a little after 5 (so, normal time for me). I’m still tired, but better.

This morning, I have the online meditation with the group from the Concord Library. Then, I have to run to Trader Joe’s. We need a few things that can’t wait until next week’s Big Shop. Then, I have to get some client work done; after that, it’s decorating.

Today is October 1, the first of two full moons we have this month. The Samhain decorating begins! I’m excited.

That includes taking down the lace curtains and putting up the spider web curtains. Decorating inside and out. Eventually, photos will be up on my Instagram account: @devonellingtonwork.

I have a feeling it won’t be finished today!

I managed to outline a suspense novel that I’d plotted Tuesday night when I woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, and made some notes on a fantasy idea. I wish some of these could be short stories, but no – they’re all long.

I have to figure out how to integrate these other projects I’ve been noodling with those on deadline. I have a resistance to working on stuff that was on deadline before the pandemic. I have to get over it and get back on track.

But at least I got some updates done on my clips, which helps.

Late afternoon, we have another Knowledge Unicorns session. After that, I have an NYU alumni event via Zoom on food activism, and after THAT, I have a NEW YORK TIMES OFFSTAGE event with Broadway people (also via Zoom) about adapting performance to the pandemic.

A very Zoom-y day, and busy on multiple levels.

I hope you have a peaceful day.

Wed. Sept. 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 133 — Furnace Day 2

image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Yesterday was definitely an interesting day.

Cleaned and oiled the bulkhead doors in the morning, swept the steps, did a final sweep of the furnace room to make sure they had space to work.

Tried to get some work done on the computer, but it wasn’t easy. And pretty impossible to be creative.

They showed up on time, early in the afternoon. Of course, they needed access to areas I hadn’t been told about and hadn’t moved stuff away from, because they have to run new vents. And the landlord told me that all the stuff that was promised as part of his loan application: insulation, air conditioning, a front-load washer, a new fridge – wasn’t happening.

So basically, months and months and months of my time was wasted losing billable hours letting this, that, and the other roam around and “assess” — only to find out the ONLY thing happening is the furnace being swapped out.

Which is just dumb on so many levels, since the washer and fridge were free. But, you know, he “doesn’t like being told what to do.”

I don’t understand it around here; people act like no one works for a living, and we can all take off all the time for everyone else’s schedules. And then when we do – it’s for nothing.

Whatever. We’ll have a new furnace.

I did a little ritual thank the old furnace. It soldiered on for the ten years we’ve lived here, and it was an old furnace when we got here.

The guys were fine – had their masks, appreciated the water and a designated bathroom. It’s just, they had to do what they had to do, so it wasn’t exactly conducive to creative work. But I got some admin and some other stuff done. I’d been checking some Google rankings of my own work, and found old pieces getting lots of hits that needed to go into my Media Room and on the Clients and Publications page. So I updated that.

Tessa was fine in my room. Willa and Charlotte had to be confined to their playpens in my mother’s room with her, and they were still having fits all afternoon. Willa has figured out how to roll her playpen like a hamster wheel that actually goes somewhere, and was flipping around all over the place up there.

I was downstairs in my office, trying to work. The guys were in the basement, trying to maneuver in really old surroundings. So we all did the best we could.

Even though it went smoothly and they cleaned up beautifully after themselves, I was exhausted by the time they were done. I scrubbed down their bathroom, and locked the bulkhead, then took a shower, decontaminated, and changed clothes.

I had a glass of wine (needed one), and then it was time for the Knowledge Unicorns. It was our last day on the octopus. I may never eat calamari again. Another family decided to switch from the remote learning model to full home-schooling. And one of the kids, who got C’s and D’s all last year in social studies got his first 94% on a test, based on the studying and work we did in the group. He’s feeling pretty pleased – and so are all of us.

More and more schools were briefly open and are shutting down. Here, kids are back to school – I got stuck behind several school busses on Monday. That makes NO sense, because our numbers are going steadily back up – every two days, we have nearly 1000 new cases. Also, the Health Dept. warned yesterday that our ICU numbers are the highest they’ve been since July.

And yet, people are still acting like it’s all over. Some because they’re bored; others because they’re greedy.

I collapsed into bed early, before the debate started. I didn’t plan to watch anyway. I don’t need to watch the Raving Lunatic call his right-wing nut-job gun nuts out against the rest of us.

I woke up at midnight, wide awake, and didn’t get back to sleep until nearly 3.

Up at 5, getting things ready for the furnace guys. The first one arrived a little after 7 (early) and got to work. Good thing I was up and ready!

I was supposed to go onsite for a client this morning, but I can’t leave until they’re done, and I’m just as happy to work remotely. Because this client claims she’s not going anywhere in order to keep us safe, yet her personal social media page shows just the opposite.

Anyway, going to get as much client work as I can done around all this, and then Remote Chat this afternoon. Hopefully, by the late afternoon, they will be finished with the furnace (just before it starts getting cold tonight).

The guys are as nice and considerate as can be. But as someone who is hypersensitive to sound, especially repetitive machine sounds, this is a challenge. I’m coping as best I can, but this, along with everything else going on, has shot my nerves.

I was joking about needing a Victorian rest cure a few days ago; not really a joke anymore.

Tomorrow is October 1, which means the Samhain decorations start going up (and the spiderweb curtains).

I’ve figured out a way to create treat bags safely that are then set out safely and distanced. I’m working on the assumption that trick or treating is happening around here; if not, I can save the bags and the non-edible treats for next year.

I’m also re-figuring the Winter Holiday treats I always bake.

I admit – I considered not baking this year. But it’s so much a part of the joy of the season for me that it would be hurting myself as well as not giving treats to people who deserve them.

What I am doing is starting to stockpile supplies early, buying a little extra every time I go to the grocery store. Especially when it comes to flour and sugar. I’m ordering bakery envelopes in bulk, and each cookie will be in a separate envelope. Each type of cookie is then put in a separate Ziploc bag with a tag stating what it is. Instead of platters and cellophane this year, I’ll put the Ziplocs into tins (if I can get enough tins) and then bows around the tins (I already bought and have the ribbon from a ribbon wholesaler).

I will be masked when I bake, so I’m not breathing on the ingredients.

But that’s a few months down the line. Right now, I need to concentrate on the furnace installation, getting up the Samhain decorations, and upcoming deadlines.

Check in tomorrow, friends. Have a good one.

Tues. Sept. 29, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 132 — Furnace

image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Saturn goes DIRECT

Foggy and humid

I am deeply annoyed that, for the last two weeks, when I schedule posts for Monday, for intent, they don’t publish until Tuesday. I double check them. I’m sick of Word Press making things worse every time they “upgrade.”

Saturn going direct is going to take some pressure off, but Mars still interferes way too much. And, as Saturn is turning direct, it squares the Mars retrograde, which means stress.

One of the fun little things I found cleaning out was a pair of DKNY Absolut Vodka gloves. They’re tiny – just fit the hands, don’t go down over the wrists. Navy blue knit with pink logo. I must have worked some event in NYC during my production days and they were in the swag bag.

I am enraged that Breonna Taylor’s murderers face no consequences. And to all of those saying we shouldn’t protest? We’ll stop protesting when the government stops murdering its citizens – through ignoring the pandemic, through police violence, through refusing to deal with domestic terrorists, through economic, social, and racial inequality.

The first part of the weekend was a lot about socks. I FOUND that big box of socks for which I was looking. And it was even larger than I remembered – a WB Mason box, not a banker’s box.

Washed all those socks and tried to pair. I only got about 30 pairs out of the whole thing – and have about 100 orphan socks. I’m sure more orphan socks will turn up as I keep cleaning out, and those left, the true orphan socks – a Twitter pal said they make good craft projects for puppets, etc., and gave me some ideas. As soon as organizations feel its safe to accept donations, I will do so.

It was hot and humid all weekend, here at the end of September. Almost what used to be called “Indian Summer” but damper.

Sunday is best not talked about. It was a difficult day on the personal front, and not appropriate for me to air publicly. But it will resonate for a long, long time, and certainly didn’t make me feel more optimistic about anything.

The cats know I’m upset, and they worry, especially Charlotte and Willa. I keep trying to reassure them that nothing bad will happen to them, none of this will hurt them, but they remain unconvinced.

Read another of the books on the series I keep waffling about. This one I liked. It feels like it’s moving back into positive territory again.

Also re-read Louise Penny’s A TRICK OF THE LIGHT. That was the first Gamache book I ever read, and is still one of my favorites.

Got a bit of writing done, but not enough.  Having Sunday all day in turmoil set me back even further.

Monday, up early and out to the client’s. I was onsite on my own for most of it, which is as it should be, just overlapping for a bit (as safely as possible) with a colleague to make sure we were both on the same page with a few things, and not doubling the work.

Risked hopping over to Barnes & Noble in person. I got my first three journal books for the year (the private journal) there, matching this year, and need a fourth. They were sold out of what I had, but I found one that’s a close match and also looks a little holiday-ish, so that will work. And bought the first two books for next year – they didn’t have four matching books, so I’ll deal – something more fantastical, because I want next year to be filled with the fantastic, the magical, the wonderful.

Even if the bulk of it is spent at home.

In fact, it will be more magical if I spend the bulk of it at home.

Wherever home may be next year, since everything is being turned into short-term rentals in Barnstable, and those who can’t buy are screwed.

Anyway, the clerk told me that the principal of Barnstable High School was put on leave because he “wouldn’t let students read any books by white people” which sounds like she must have gotten it wrong. Expanding the curriculum to include diverse voices isn’t not letting students read books by white authors. Also, the principal can’t dictate what they read on their own time. So it sounds like she’s being a racist, but who knows? The Cape Cod papers all just said he was “on leave” and the announcement didn’t give a reason. Heaven forbid reporters should actually hunt down information around here. But the clerk told me that supposedly the Cape Cod Times will have a big piece in today’s paper all about the scandal. Of course, if it’s in the Cape Cod Times, which is owned by a “media group” and has gotten more and more right-wing over the years, why would I trust it? An acquaintance complains it’s gotten “too far left” – left of WHAT, exactly? It hasn’t been any more than an overpriced ad sheet with a few bits and pieces about friends of the “reporters” for years.

I’ll look it up and see what they have to say, and then see if there are any other stories on it, by organizations that aren’t controlled by the right. Which, on Cape Cod, is next to impossible to find at this point.

I swung by CVS to pick up my mom’s prescription. Home, decontaminated, and was exhausted.

Then got an email from the landlord. The landlord contacted me on Friday to let me know that the furnace people wanted to come by this afternoon to “take a look” to see what they needed for the new furnace. Which makes no sense, since they spent a couple of hours doing just that back in January, mansplaining and chatting when it could have been done in a half hour or less. Didn’t they take notes? Or were they too busy chatting?

I emailed the company back, cc’ing the landlord, stating Tuesday afternoon was fine, but I needed a time, and anyone entering the house must be masked, or they weren’t coming in.

No response.

Sunday afternoon, I got an email from the landlord, saying he heard from the furnace company that they were coming on Monday. I said they were not; they couldn’t just announce they were showing up. If they wanted to come in the afternoon, they could GET IN TOUCH WITH A TIME.

Nothing.

Yesterday morning, I got an email from the landlord stating that the furnace company had apologized to him for the confusion and the guy would be here today to look around “sometime after 2 PM” – which is just way too fucking vague. I’m supposed to sit around all afternoon and wait?

Talk about the shadow of the upcoming Mercury retrograde already being there.

Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from the landlord saying he heard from the owner of the company, and they have the furnace and want to start the installation today. It’ll take two days, and the heat has to be off, but it’s warm, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

While I don’t like all this last-minute crap and the fact that they refuse to deal WITH ME – and it’s not because I’m the tenant, it’s because I’m a woman, and this is all a club of Old White Men – I’m delighted that it will all get done in these two days, while it is mild, and not prolonged.

They are NOT doing the promised insulation, just switching out the furnace.

I cleaned out the furnace room, to give them space to work. There are still a lot of the empty boxes I’ve been stockpiling in anticipation of moving, but everything else has been cleared out. Swept the floors, gave the laundry table a good scrub. 

I have to clean the bulkhead doors this morning and oil the bulkhead doors. It was pouring down rain yesterday afternoon, and I wasn’t going to let it rain into the basement.

I have a case of water on the laundry table, and I deep cleaned the downstairs bathroom and have rearranged it for their use with liquid soap (lavender, but hey) and paper towels.

The cats will be upstairs in their playpens, and my mom will be up there keeping them company.

Everyone better be masked, because I’m not compromising on that.

Let’s get this done.

I’m not watching tonight’s debate. It will just make me sick to see the Narcissistic Sociopath prancing around up there.

It’s no surprise he’s broke and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Anyone who dealt with him in NY knows he never paid for anything, just used other people’s money. The whole thing is revolting.

I’m going to do the homework group with my Knowledge Unicorns, finish reading Rachel Caine’s INK AND BONE, and try to get some rest.

This morning, once I’ve cleaned and oiled the bulkhead, I will try to get in some client work before they arrive.

The chaos of the next two days is worth it. If we have a new, working, efficient furnace.

Peace, friends, and catch up with you tomorrow.

Tues. Sept. 25, 2012: Writing, Dissection, and Process

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy work day yesterday. Some library this-n-that done, I’m almost caught up with the tarot students, I started on this week’s work in the Sustainability Course, the World History Course, and the Greek/Roman Mythology course. The dynamics in each class are fascinating to me — the tone set by the professors, the way students interact, the types of people drawn to each class with their stories — but then, I’m a writer. I’m going to go beyond the surface of the course and get into both the interpersonal dynamics of the material and of the people around me. That’s what I do.

Very dangerous, knowing a writer. Everything is material. But that’s part of why it’s so great to BE a writer! 😉

Speaking of writers, I hope you’ll hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE today and drop a comment for my colleague and fellow Cape Cod author, Steven Marini. He’s a guest on the blog.

Got through some more submissions, some of which were much better. I’ve got two more stacks to get through this week. Got out my material for Confidential Job #1. Pitched for a job that I don’t think will be a good fit, not in content, but in time frame, and I don’t think it will work out. Of course, I realized that after I hit send.

I also had an absolutely mortifying egg-on-face few moments — I’m a guest on a bunch of different blogs to promote both ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and HEX BREAKER (and, then, soon, I’ll be appearing to promote DEATH SPARKLES and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK). I keep track of what’s due when and where, and I wrote several of them in the last few days. Well, I thought I was late on one, scrambled, and hit send — to realize I’d sent it to the wrong person! Mortified. Absolutely mortified. I pulled it back, apologized profusely (I’d sent her everything she needed for my appearance) and then sent it off to the right person (who is very happy with it). Everything worked out, and everyone was cool about it, but I was still upset with myself. There’s a reason I’ve set up systems and organized things, and that’s so I can stay on top of multiple projects. When I make a careless mistake, I’m angry at myself.

My own work suffered yesterday, so today, I have to make up for it. I also have to do a major grocery shop over at Market Basket in Sandwich, which just makes me happy.

The furnace guy was here yesterday, cleaned the furnace and the ductwork, everything is great. Considering that it was 39 degrees this morning, and the heat’s kicked in for the past few weeks, I’m glad.

Watched REVOLUTION last night. (Spoiler alert). They came out with a bang, and now we’re getting into the episodes that both reveal and set up the future complexities. I had some frustrations — I need to watch again the scene after Charlie killed two men and she’s trying to wrap her head around it. I feel like there was a missed opportunity — Miles could have made it clear that you hope you never “get used” to killing (it’s obvious that, although he kills when he has to, he doesn’t enjoy it); he could have dismissed her concerns; he could have pretended to dismiss her concerns as a combination of not really knowing how to deal with her and also as a bit of misplaced “tough love” because he knows she’ll have to do a lot more killing before this is done (besides, she killed someone or several someones in the first episode when she and her friends came to help him in the Big Fight Scene in Episode 1. It’s not her first kill, although it’s the first of this type of kill). Instead, it didn’t really commit to any of the above. The actors had to work too hard in that scene — the problem, I felt, was in the material and in the direction. It wasn’t layered; it was messy. That meant the actors had to work harder to try to pull it off, and the work showed, instead of it being organic. That’s not a failure on the actors’ parts — they did what they could with the material, and the writing needed to be both crisper and more layered, and the direction needed to be more specific in that scene.

Why does this moment bother me? Because it could have been a pivotal point of connection and understanding in the relationship between Charlie and Miles. The actors reached for it, but the material, in this case, didn’t give them the support it should have. You’ve got to hand it to Billy Burke — when he’s in a scene with someone, he’s totally there. A lesser actor would have hung his scene partner out to dry in order to look better, and he did not. Those are the actors you want on your project, the ones who give and receive in a scene, rather than take. Giancarlo Esposito had a lot of wonderful small moments in his scenes, too — a more insecure, self-involved actor would have used some of those moments to chew scenery or wipe the floor with his fellow actors. He doesn’t need to, and he’s far more effective doing what he’s doing. I can’t wait until Esposito and Burke have scenes together. As a writer, while it’s frustrating to see that flawed material in something that’s on network (but not a surprise), it’s also interesting to break it down and figure out what could have made the material stronger, and yet still fit into the constraints of the production (the need for scenes to be truncated for commercial breaks). As someone who worked so closely with actors for so many years, watching performances grow and change night-to-night, show-to-show, sometimes on a daily basis, I feel for the actors, and I’m always fascinated by the development of material.

So, why am I going on and on about beats and scenes in a television series that, truly, has nothing to do with me? That whole dissection experience made me a little resentful that I’m not even included in a rehearsal for my play’s reading on Friday, and that the director hasn’t even spoken to me about the material. If I was in the rehearsal room and heard the actors speak the words, I could make tweaks for it to flow more naturally before the performance, which is going to make everyone look better. I don’t believe every word is gold simply because it drips from my pen. I believe in making the words better. Part of that is being in the rehearsal process. Because I will not be pleased if the director or actors take it on themselves to change lines without discussing it with me first (there’s a reason Dramatists Guild contracts don’t allow that). There’s a difference between riffing and improvising off material and just paraphrasing or changing it. The first two, in the right hands, can take the material to the next level. The third and fourth, almost all the time, takes all the air out of material. That would be a sign of both huge ego and huge disrespect on their parts, none of which are unusual in this business. What will really kill the material if the actors take a lot of self-involved pauses you could drive trucks through. It’s written to a very specific rhythm, the rapid-fire 1940s noir patter. Friday will be interesting. It could be amazing, or it could be a disaster. Either way, I know I’ll be taking a lot of notes, and subjecting myself and the pages to the same type of dissection that I do above.

On a happier note, I was thrilled that Damian Lewis won the Emmy for HOMELAND. In my opinion, he’s one of the top actors out there, again, with a lot of quiet, detailed work, and it’s about time he got recognition.

Alright, enough musing — time to get back to the pages and get my own creative work done. I’ve got a book to finish.

Devon