Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Different Paths

image courtesy of succo via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

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

Yesterday wasn’t as hot as expected, although today is supposed to be brutal. I managed to get the revision done on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. I had to do the sample pages in Publisher then save them as JPGs  to insert them, and some of them still aren’t right. I think I will print sheets, scan them, see if I can save them as JPGs and insert them, and see if that fixes the problem. Then I’ll do the final proofread, so it can release on time tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I turned around 4 scripts. It was a lot, but it takes pressure off me for the rest of the week.

This morning, I have meditation. Then, I have to dash out to Wild Oats for a few things (like coffee. I’m out of coffee after making this morning’s batch). Proofread the workbook. Work on the PowerPoint for class. Answer some questions on the radio script that’s in rehearsal. I have only two scripts to turn around this afternoon, which is good.

The workshop leader for the journaling workshop, after dissing daily journal practice as meaningless, offered techniques that have been used since the journaling explosion back in the nineties. I’m not going to comment other than to say, once again, my path is different from this group. There are other practices they have in place that I disagree with and find exclusionary rather than inclusionary, especially since it’s all based on money, but that’s a different conversation.

My path is different.

Back to the page. Plenty that needs to happen today. I’m enjoying it all, even while being tired. I hope it doesn’t get as hot as it threatens today, and I hope it starts cooling off at night soon; it’s hard to sleep in the humidity.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on August 4, 2022 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Different Paths  
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Fri. July 29, 2022: A Good Friend With a Beautiful Garden

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Friday, July 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE has released, in its new edition. It helps get and keep projects on track, and teaches techniques to build a calendar that works. You can learn more about it here.

LEGERDEMAIN launched yesterday. The first two episodes are free on Kindle Vella. The story link itself is here.

It would be helpful if you like the free episodes, if you can upvote them and also leave a short, positive review. And, of course, tell everyone you know. If it’s not your thing, spreading the word to those who might like it would be really helpful.

My father died on this day in 1972. He’s been out of my life longer than he was in it. But the day still has its challenges.

I had a great time with my friend in upstate NY. The ride there on Wednesday was okay, up until the last stretch on I-84, which was rather chaotic. But it was a short stretch, and I found her place just fine. She lives in a town that’s similar to where I live here in the Berkshires, in that it’s a former factory town now populated with artists.

We know each other from working in theatre, film, and television production. There are several studios popping up in upstate NY, because of the demand for streamed programs, so she doesn’t even have to commute to the city for everything, which is great.

Doesn’t make me want to start up in production again, though. Those days are done for me, except for script  coverage and creating budget estimates.

We had iced tea in the wonderful, naturalized pollinator garden she’s built, then when into town to a taproom, where we ate outside. First time I’ve eaten at a restaurant since COVID. The tables were far enough apart that it was comfortable. It was delicious, and I had a local beer called “Marlowe” that was pretty good.

We went to the gallery where she’s part of a group show. Her piece was wonderful, and there were all kinds of interesting pieces in the show. We visited a friend of hers who has a fabric store, and there are terrific pieces there. The museum we planned to visit was closed on Wednesdays, so we went to a shop called Notions and Potions where I picked up some incense and a few crystals.

My friend is a cat person, and she has a group of rescued cats living with her. Many of them are old and had spent years either on the streets or in shelters. Bob even has his own Instagram account. I bonded with Ben, a lovely 15-year-old cat who loves the other cats (especially Bob), but doesn’t like to be touched by humans. Once he realized I would respect that boundary, he stayed close for most of my visit. He investigated all my bags, and left messages for my cats. He hung around. Griddle is a lovely black cat, who is very social and liked to come and be petted. There’s a kitten in search of a name who’s very smart and friendly, and looks like my Willa’s baby brother. One-Eyed George is kind of shy (because he can’t see much), but he was around. The tortie, Star, got more and more curious, the longer I was there, but not close enough to be petted. She kept walking through the room and staring, as though she was on her way to some other appointment. Calamity Joon was shy, although she peered at me from a safe distance. I didn’t meet Bertie, who stayed in my friend’s room, and I didn’t see Slick, the outdoor cat, although his empty bowls assured us he was around.

Anyway, my friend and I had a good catch up, and then got pizza for dinner we ate at home. I slept well, although Tessa has me so well trained, I woke up at 5 anyway. I’d woken up a couple of times in the night because I Was Being Stared At, but whomever did the staring fled as soon as I looked at them. Anyway, once Griddle realized I was up, she came for a petting session. George came to check things out, and then fled. I dozed off again for a bit.

When I woke up later, and went to take my shower, I found Bob stretched out in the doorway to the room, with the other cats looking at me hopefully from a distance.

After the shower, Ben came in to help me pack, and to make sure I put everything in properly.

I brought my bags downstairs, and most of the pride trotted down hopefully with me to the kitchen, and then were very disappointed when I failed Breakfast 101. I don’t know the medicine/food routine.

Bob forgave me and sat on my foot, with Ben right next to him, and Griddle came in to get some extra petting action, and my friend came down soon after, so all was not lost.

Morning feeding happened; we went out to get bagels with everything on them, and came back to the house to eat. Real New York bagels! I mean, the Berkshire bagels are better than the Cape bagels, but nothing beats a real New York bagel.

My friend gave me a small lilac, and a tansy plant to replace the tansy that Spiro Squirrel destroyed. She also gave me some mugwort slips and some cut mugwort. And she gave me some small pink flamingos who will dance in the pots on the back balcony.

Driving back was smooth. I got caught up in the horse trailer traffic going north on I-87, because the Belmont/Aqueduct barns are sending them up to Saratoga for the big races this weekend. But it was really a smooth ride back. Much less traffic than going down the day before. And it was so nice to spend time with my friend in her amazing house and yard and with those wonderful cats.

Unloaded the car. The lilac will be okay in its pot for now. I repotted the tansy and the mugwort.

I did some promotion for LEGERDEMAIN, did my Italian lesson. I’m learning random words, and I can figure out the phrases by process of elimination, but I’m not learning structure. And that frustrates me. There’s no context for anything.

Had a quiet afternoon. It was hot.

My mom had been sick the night before (she ate too many hotdogs in my absence). I have threatened her with kale smoothies. But the cats took good care of her.

Tessa was fine. She was very interested in all Ben’s messages, and told me everything that happened while I was gone. Willa was chill, as usual. Charlotte was upset because I had the scent of other cats on me. It took her hours to calm down.

Slept decently, although Charlotte woke me around 4:30 wanting attention, and then Tessa chimed in. So I was up at the usual 5 AM to feed everyone and start the routine.

I’m getting ready to go down to MASSMoCA to attend the artist working group to which I was invited. When I get back, I have to get a lot done this afternoon, and then there’s yoga tonight. Tomorrow morning is the farmers’ market, and then I have to finish my Llewellyn article and get it off to my editor. I’ll probably work on Sunday, too. There’s something I want to go to at The Mount in the late afternoon, but if I can’t get my work done, I can’t go.

Monday is Lammas, a big holiday in my personal calendar. And then we’re in both another week and another month.

Have a good one! See you on the other side.

Wed. July 6, 2022: Of Typing and Glitching

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Yesterday was interesting, and kind of all over the place.

I wrote the first draft of the one-act play. It’s not long, but it still takes a specific kind of energy, so my psyche kept saying, “You put in a full day, right? I mean, you wrote an entire play. That means we get to play the rest of the day, right?”

Sadly, no. There was work to be done. Bills to be mailed at the post office. Books dropped off/picked up at the library. Groceries gathered at the store. Managed to get all the errands done before the rain began.

I heard from one of my colleagues on the Monthology anthology, who is reading the stories to help the editor decide on the order. She said my story (“Stone Garden”) was so beautiful, she cried at the end, which is EXACTLY the response for which I hoped. So I did a little happy dance.

Worked on an application for a residency. If I got in, it would be a Big Fucking Deal. It would be impressive on the old CV. The likelihood I’ll get in is small, but if I don’t try, it’s zero. And the organization contacted me specifically during this grant cycle to ask me to apply.

So I did.

Only, while I was in the process of filling out the application, the computer decided to stick/wonk/crash. It was so frustrating. Fortunately, a writer pal and a pal from Freelance Chat jumped in with ideas. I am deeply grateful to both of them. Working with both sets of ideas got things up and running and working again. It seems HP (my laptop is an HP Pavilion) and Windows11 have a difference of opinion, and something Win11 does makes HP think it needs to eat up more memory than it does. There’s a patch from HP, I downloaded it, and it seems to help, but I have to keep an eye on what’s being gobbled in my Task Manager, and then probably do regular fixes. Because, you know, heaven forbid that the companies who charge us money actually give us working products.

But it worked, and I got the application out, and now I can forget about it until November, when they tell if me I got it, or if I didn’t. It’s a project I won’t get to do unless I get this residency, more because of studio space than anything else. So I’m putting the notes for it aside and not getting too attached until I hear back, one way or the other.

I’m having a big issue with LinkedIn, and they don’t give a damn about it. Over the past week, I’ve gotten some really creepy “let’s connect” messages. First, they come through LinkedIn, which is how they’re supposed to. Then, after I either decline or ignore the messages, I’m getting even creepier, aggressive emails on my personal email, which is not connected to any of my websites, and supposedly protected on LinkedIn. All of these emails are coming from older white dudes in red states. None of them are involved in any business that would even remotely hire me for writing work. None of them should have access to my personal email. And yet, LinkedIn has somehow allowed it. Their position is that that’s what I get for not having a premium subscription. I’m tempted to take my profile down, but the email’s been compromised, and I’m not changing my personal email. Plus, pitching to agencies often requires a  LinkedIn profile.  I’ve got too much connected to it, and I like it. If LinkedIn won’t do anything, and the harassment continues, I will file with the IC unit of the FBI. They’ve been helpful before. But the fact that LinkedIn both allowed this and doesn’t give a damn that its happening is deeply disturbing. I already give them side-eye a good portion of the time, because I don’t find them particularly useful, but now? In this climate of the war against women? It’s unacceptable.

Turned around two scripts. One was deeply misogynistic while pretending to be about strong women. (Eye roll). Was requested to cover a new script by a writer whose work I adore, so I’m happy about that.

Used up the rest of the fennel for dinner to make a scallop fennel pasta dish. It was really, really good. Red Shirt Farm, from whom I got the fennel, said they’ll have some more in a couple of weeks, and I cannot wait. Between the Moosewood Cookbook and Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, I will learn how to use fennel in great dishes.

I indulged myself. COOK’S ILLUSTRATED sent me a special offer for an amazing deal for a two-year subscription and a cookbook. I’ve been a fan of the magazine for years, but the cost was always out of my budget. I usually read it through the library. But with this special offer, it’s well within it, so I’m indulging.

The downstairs neighbors have split the garden patch in front. Two of the guys who live in the apartment under me are growing corn and watermelon (which is unusual, in the middle of the city, but hey, I’m growing pumpkins), and they are so excited about it. It’s so much fun to watch these big ole construction dudes tending their seedlings. All grown from saved seeds from stuff they got from a farmer for whom they did some work. The neighbor in the other apartment last year grew the most amazing tomatoes (which she’s growing again), and beans.  I have cucumbers and tomatoes and herbs. So we’ve got our own version of a community garden growing.

I felt the full gamut of aches and pains echoing last year, when I was giving the Cape house the final scrub down. By 10 PM, when I had collapsed into the hotel room after the shower (I stayed in my favorite hideaway, The Publick House, in Sturbridge, on the way home), I finally relaxed.

I woke up feeling much better. Maybe now that I’ve ridden this out, I can get beyond the sense memory stress and build on what’s going well in the present.

A lot to do this morning, especially on The Big Project and the Topic Workbooks. And then script coverage in the afternoon.

My friend’s show opens on Cape tonight. I hope it has a good run!

An offhand (but deeply meant) Tweet I made last night went viral and it’s a little weird. But whatever. Some good conversations emerging. Dickheads are blocked. Not muting. It annoys me when someone starts something and then mutes, rather than deals with it. It’ll be over by the end of the day.

Forgot to mention that the Mid-Year Check-In went up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’m doing better than I thought, which is cheering.

Have a good one.

Thurs. June 30, 2022: Following Through on Creative Risk

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I talk about what’s new with the garden, especially in terms of taking out the cats in their playpens, and our neighborhood squirrels, on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started with frustration, moved to creativity, ended in sense memory stress. A day of variety, that’s for sure!

I got some work done early in the morning. Headed out to the library for a pickup/delivery. For some reason, I hadn’t received the email that the books arrived, and there was quite the stack, including several books by the poet/undertaker Thomas Lynch and a couple of Chilean authors who were recently recommended to me.

I stopped at the carrier to whom I hoped to switch my phone service, but they didn’t have the phone I want in stock, and I’d have to pay for another month at my current carrier, at least, while they got it in. So that’s a no-go.

I planned to order it online, but they would only let me order that phone if I started a committed contract, and I don’t want that, because I want the option to switch carriers. Plus, they were charging twice for the phone than listed yesterday.

I found the phone I wanted, supposedly at a nearby store (one at which I loathe shopping) at the price I wanted. I bought the phone, but of course, they wouldn’t activate it or help me with it. So I drove down to my carrier’s store in Pittsfield. They got it activated, and moved the SD card for me (and were nice about it). They couldn’t get the transfer done (said they didn’t have strong enough Wi-Fi), but wrote out the directions. I got it done at home. The photos I thought were all on the SD card (because that’s what I told the phone to do) were scattered throughout my phone, but I managed to corral them and get some of them onto Google Photos (which doesn’t seem to have a download option) and the rest onto my hard drive Photos (who knew I’d posted 888 photos on Instagram?) and will download onto my external hard drive.

I still have to re-enter my contacts. But it’s mostly done, I really like the new phone, I could get my meditation timer app back on it, so fingers crossed.

I have to figure out how to make sure ALL the photos go and stay on the SD card.

A much smoother and less stressful process than the months of hell trying to get my mom’s phone situation sorted out!

It’s a Motorola G Pure, which is what I wanted. I can also unlock the phone and change carriers down the line, should I choose.

But at least I have a working phone again. My other phone still works, to a point, so I’m keeping it handy, even though it’s not hooked up to a carrier anymore. It served me well for four years (all my other phones bit it after a year).

But it took time that I’d planned for other things.

I didn’t even get started on client work until 2 PM. But I turned around three manuscripts with notes for a client. I have four more to do today.

After dinner, I went back to work on the horror story. It truly is horror, and the first piece of mine that I believe needs trigger warnings. And yet, in light of what’s going on, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, which makes it even worse. I did a couple of editing passes on it before I called it a night. I’ll put in the changes this morning, do a final proof, and out it goes, on deadline.

Even if it’s not accepted, I’m proud of myself for taking a creative risk out of my wheelhouse and seeing it through.

Part of me wanted to immediately dive into the play that’s been poking at me since the workshop last week, but I went to bed instead.

And immediately suffered a severe bout of sense memory stress. This time last year, the clock had run out, and I had to negotiate a few extra days to finish clearing out the house, accepting the berating from the landlord. While I understood his frustration, I could have also walked away and left him to deal with everything, and I did not. I communicated and I followed through, even though it nearly killed me. But there were a lot of tears and a lot of feeling like I’d break permanently.

But I didn’t. Even though I may have sense memory stress all weekend, I got through it and I am here now. That’s what matters. Building something better.

My Ello page has over 200K views now, and has led to some intriguing creative conversations. Unlike the bottom of the barrel crap from LinkedIn, there are viable projects over on Ello. A much stronger choice for me.

I’m looking forward to meditation this morning. I doubt I can get my final copyedit/proofread of the story done before it, but it will go out early today. Then I can focus on the client manuscripts, and finishing the book for review. I have one script to read tomorrow, and then I’m taking the weekend. Which will be about The Big Project and finishing the damn kitchen island. I’m not “celebrating” this Independence Day on Monday (although I’m taking it as a day away from client work). How can I celebrate “independence” with a corrupt court is stripping away so many rights?

Back to the page. Have a good one.

Published in: on June 30, 2022 at 6:31 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 30, 2022: Following Through on Creative Risk  
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Tues. May 17, 2022: This, That, and Other

image courtesy of monicore via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and cool

So it was Mercury Retrograde chaotic. Friday morning, after my first writing session on the porch, I decided to do the script coverage in the morning, so I’d have a longer weekend, but it all took longer than expected. Plus, it took an hour to get the computer limping along again. I also cleaned out the refrigerator, which was a bigger job than I expected, but it’s clean and shiny and we got rid of those bits and bobs that tend to take up residence in the back of the shelves and morph into scary monsters.

By afternoon, I was tired, even though the work wasn’t that difficult. I read on the porch, played with the cats, fussed over the plants. We’re having wasp issues this year, again. I managed to kill one of them; according to MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL, I can use sugar water to get rid of them. If it continues to be an issue, that is what I will do.

I was actually happy for most of the day. I’ve been almost afraid to be happy since the move, afraid the other shoe would drop and something else awful would happen. But we are happy here. This was the right move. We love the home, we enjoy the city, there’s a lot for which to be grateful and to enjoy every day. I need to allow myself to experience that instead of being afraid of it.

My mom turned over her winter clothes for her summer clothes. Willa “helped” – which was pretty hilarious.

I made a simple dinner of breaded flounder, rice, and steamed vegetables for dinner, and we had gelato for dessert. Time to stock up on the gelato!

Rough night again of strange dreams and waking up with stress memory. Charlotte has decided she prefers to sleep either stretched out along my back or curled up against my chest. Which is sweet, except it’s a little too hot for that. That’s more of a winter thing!

Up early on Saturday, another sunny and hot day. I wrote on the porch, with Tessa for company. After yoga, I switched out the flannel sheets for bamboo sheets, and switched out the comforters.

McAfee forced me to renew the virus protection (nearly a month early). They gave me a “discount” and then I had to uninstall the old version and install the new version and restart the computer (which was having screen freezes anyway). When it all got fired up again – every screen looks completely different. Every feature runs differently. I assume that’s part of Windows11. I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet – I mean, it’s a sleeker, more modern look – but it’s different and I have to get used to it.

Did a bunch of paperwork that had to go out on Monday. Signed up for Counter Social. I’m @DevonEllington over there.

Usual Saturday housework stuff.

If you missed the Self-Care for Mercury Retrograde oracle spread over on Ko-fi, you can find it here.

Made potato salad and put some chicken in the crockpot with honey barbecue sauce. Switched from flannel sheets to bamboo sheets, and put away the winter comforter for the summer, rose-patterned one (Charlotte’s favorite). Fussed over the plants, including changing the water in the birdbath. Put together two of the three small shelf units I bought. They’re much nicer in person than they look on the package. The third unit is missing a shelf, so I had to return it yesterday.

These two small units are for my tarot cards, only I don’t think they will all fit, and I’ll still need to use some space in the blue bookcase (where they all used to live, in the other house, but where I also have writing books and poetry books now in my office).

Finished repotting the rest of the plants bought last week, repotted the last Cape Cod geranium, and planted some more seeds: the new morning glory, cat grass, some marigold seeds sprinkled in with the ruby cherry tomato we bought.

The college across the street had their graduation on Saturday, and it was a beautiful day for it. It was joyful in the neighborhood, although one young woman, wearing shorts and a tee shirt under her robe (and high heels), walked by and said, “Oh, my God! I just realized it’s all over. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

As someone who knew what I wanted by the time I was six, that made me laugh.

The neighbor across the street put rows of solar lights along the path to the front steps. Which is great, I love that they’re decorating. However, at night, it kind of looks like a landing strip!

We discussed the various road trips that have been on the table, that we hoped to do this summer. We decided to cancel the trip to Ithaca. It was supposed to be a pilgrimage to Moosewood Restaurant, but they keep having to close for a few days here and there as their staff tests positive for COVID. Which means their patrons are being selfish and going out to eat while positive. Even with outdoor seating, it’s not worth the risk. We’ll put it off, and see how things are in fall, or next summer. We’d also considered doing a quick hop to York, Maine, just for an overnight. But, with the variants being more dangerous for those over 60, even with double boosting, we’re not comfortable doing an overnight in a hotel, even if we can get our favorite pizza in the area as takeout. So that’s cancelled (although we have the sneaking suspicion we’ll have to head that way for a funeral at some point over the summer; a family member is not doing well).

I still hope to do a back-and-forth with friends to Beacon. I’d like to visit there, and would love them to visit here. I’m still hoping to do a day trip over to Saratoga during race season to visit with friends there whom I haven’t seen since before we moved to the Cape.

My mom really wants to do a couple of small trips, since she’s basically been in isolation for going on three years now. So we picked a few places nearby and will do short day trips. And I’ve got a book of unusual places right here in the Berkshires we can visit. We didn’t really get a chance to explore much last summer, because we were so traumatized and exhausted by the move.

Plus, with a season pass for Windsor Lake, we can pop up there whenever we want.

If we take our jaunts midweek, it won’t be as crowded. We won’t eat indoors; we’ll get takeout and eat in a park or something. The great thing about freelance is that if I take off a day midweek, I just work a weekend day, and, as long as I meet my deadlines, it doesn’t matter when the work is done, as long as it gets done. When we return, we will follow decontamination protocols, and we will continue to mask indoors. I mean, not at home, but I’m still masking at the grocery store, library, anywhere else I go inside. And when we travel, we will do the same.

So that discussion and those plans took a lot of stress out of the mix. We won’t be able to get a storage run in before Memorial Day, so maybe we’ll do one in early June, and then nothing until autumn again. I’m hoping I can get enough work this summer so I can afford to rent a storage unit up here and move everything up. If I can even find a storage unit up here. But the prices listed are much less than I’m paying on Cape, and it certainly would be easier to get at things. And maybe store things seasonally.

Dug into my Elizabethan theatre research again, for a long-time idea that might, later this year, be ready to form, if I tweak it into an alternate universe, instead of making it historical. An idea on a book about Jonson and his masques gave me an idea for an arc for The Big Project, should I decide that the initial arcs are strong enough to support continuing. (That will all make sense when I publicly announce what The Big Project actually is).

I have to figure out when I can make an appointment at the Williamstown Historical Society so that I can do some more research into the history of The Spruces for the Retro Mystery. I’m pretty sure I want to write it for this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November.

The eclipse energy started hitting me in the evening, and my emotions were all over the place.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 Sunday morning, which was wonderful. It’s light enough and warm enough now to do my first writing session of the day (in longhand) on the front porch, and once she’s had her breakfast, Tessa joins me. The scout crows stop by and we all have our morning chat. Tessa has developed a really strong relationship with the two scout crows. They chat every morning. And it’s not like the birds she wants to catch, out back, with the swishing tail and the predatory body language; it’s a chat.

Still having trouble with the computer. It takes an hour to boot up every morning, even from sleep mode. Then it takes about 20 minutes to start running properly, without freezing screens. If I take a break for a few minutes, with the laptop lid up and it goes into screensaver mode, it takes 20-40 minutes to rev back up. Usually, if I take longer breaks, I put the lid down to protect the keyboard from cats and dust, but then I have to start the whole hour boot-up process again.

This is not okay. It cuts in too much of my workday. How is this an “improvement” or an “upgrade”? I have PLENTY of space on the hard drive for this upgrade.

I got the email for the World’s Largest Poem, giving me the heads-up that I will get my prompt in 7-10 days. So excited to be a part of this.

Edited three chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. The pace, the flow, the story, are all working, thank goodness. Updated my tracking sheets, too.

Took “Personal Revolution” down and will revise it so it can work on more platforms. Since it’s set around the 4th of July, I want to make sure it’s clear of all the previous outlets before the re-re-release. Looking at it, it needs more revision than I’d hoped.

Updated the Devon Ellington Work site.

Finished reading TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE by Martha Waters, which was kind of fun. The theatre/backstage scenes were done particularly well, and I appreciated that.

Started John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY, which promises to be one of his typical wild rides.

We had thunderstorms, so I took down the hanging baskets, worried they would get pounded. Students are moving into the ground floor unit across the street; I wonder if they’re there just for the summer, or are staying all year.

Up early on Monday, thanks to Tessa. The computer actually booted up pretty quickly. Got some blogging done, and put up the GDR post for the week, which you can read here. Started revisions on “Personal Revolution.” It needs more work than I’d hoped, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Revised three more chapters for CAST IRON MURDER. Got the inbox down from over 1000 emails to just over 200. Looked at some calls for submission. Did some admin.

The morning was gorgeous, and I got out and did errands: returned the shelf unit missing a shelf for a refund (they’d sold out of the units, so I couldn’t just swap it out); dropped off/picked up books at the library; went to the liquor store.

Found out that Berkshire Gas is doing their inspection of the lines today (the one where I’d been trying to get actual information for weeks, and finally just turned it over to the landlord). They may or may not have to come into the apartment. Which meant I spent the afternoon cleaning instead of working. Not that the place is dirty (I mean, I cleaned over the weekend). But still. I wanted it to be even better. I mean, we still haven’t unpacked everything yet, and we’ve lived here for nearly a year.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESEERVATION SOCIETY, which was a wild ride. I don’t know how he does it, but that brain of his is certainly unique. Read THE AMBER CROWN, by Jacey Bedford, which was a much grittier alternate world fantasy than one usually gets. Started THE BONE ORCHARD by Sara A Mueller, which is fascinating.

Thunderstorms and intense rain came through in the afternoon and evening. But it’s absolutely gorgeous this morning.

The MADE IN MARSEILLES cookbook arrived yesterday. The jerk of a postman (I think our former, lovely postman retired) also left a package for 10 numbers down the street with my package. So I went down the street (in the rain) to make sure they got it. Our former postman loved his job and all the people on his route. This one doesn’t give a crap about any of it, and doesn’t even pretend otherwise.

Doing some last-minute cleaning this morning, and taking the garbage out. Then, it’s back to the page in the morning, knowing I could be interrupted at any point for the inspection. We’ve closed the doors to the bedrooms and the laundry room, and the cats are very confused.

I hope to work on revisions for CAST IRON MURDER, The Big Project, and the radio plays today, along with some script coverage. Tomorrow morning, the car goes back in, hopefully, to be fixed once and for all.

I’m hoping to even work outside on the back balcony, in one of our enchanted garden spots. I’m pretty sure if I do, Willa will want to come out, and we’ll put her in her playpen for safety.

I’m not talking about the three mass murders by gun over the weekend, or how the Supreme Court continues to force its ideological agenda on the country. This post is long enough. That will wait for a different day.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. May 10, 2022: Off To Yet Another Mechanic

image courtesy of Peter Gottschalk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

This is scheduled to post, since I had to leave the house very early to get the car to the mechanic, and I have no idea how that will go.

I made sure I had a quiet weekend.  Friday and Saturday were all about finishing the contest entries.

First thing Saturday, though, I went to the Farmers Market. This is the last time it’s indoors; starting in June, it will be outdoors every Saturday until November. What adds a sense of festivity to the market is that you buy wooden tokens (yes, I’ve considered the wooden nickels jokes) when you go in and pay with the tokens.

The woman who made the amazing baguettes wasn’t there this time, which was a shame, since I’ve been fantasizing about those baguettes since last month! But I made a stop at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery and had a good chat with the baker (who was a theatre major in college), and stocked up on the espresso coffee cake muffins, some cocoa bites, and a loaf of challah bread. I bought a cranberry pecan loaf from Cookies & More. I bought a big bag of spinach, a big bag of mixed Asian greens, and a lovely head of Bok choy from Red Shirt Farm. I bought a camembert-like cheese from Cricket Creek, and a bottle of maple syrup from Senecal’s Sugarhouse.

Filled up my bag with goodies!

And all through that, it was about chatting with the vendors and the other customers at the market, everyone in a good spirits and eager to share their favorite things.

It reminds me of the best of the Union Square Greenmarket, when I lived in NYC, rather than the markets in my previous location, where the vendors usually acted like they were doing you a favor by selling something, instead of it being a mutually beneficial transaction.

I wasn’t there very long, but I was tired when I got home, even from positive socializing! The joy of being an introvert. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I’m meeting people slowly. Most people are still masking; everyone’s as vaccinated as they can be.

Once I put away the bounty, I took a rest, and then went back to work on contest entries.

For dinner, I used the whole head of Bok choy with the rest of the leftover chicken to do a stir-fry from one of my favorite cookbooks, CHINESE SOUL FOOD by Hsiao-Ching Chou. It was delicious. I also made more vegetable stock.

Saturday was also the Kentucky Derby. I lost all respect for those running Churchill Downs when I learned that the Narcissistic Sociopath was in attendance.

It was pretty exciting to see Rich Strike, who wasn’t even in the race two days ago, win, at 84-1. My baby Epicenter came in second. Tiz the Bomb decided this wasn’t worth the effort that day (very much like his grandfather).

When I used to cover horse racing (more years ago now than it seems), I quickly found out that the Derby was the least fun of the three races, in spite of being the start of the Triple Crown, where everything is possible. And that’s because it’s stopped being about the horses and focuses more on the audience who wants to see and be seen. The Preakness became the most fun for me. It’s raucous, less pretentious than any of the others, and there’s still a lot of Triple Crown possibility. The Belmont was at my home track, and, while I always loved the race and the site, the crowds and the tension were exhausting.

As an off-site observer, for years before I started writing about racing, the Preakness was my least favorite; but, once I started getting more involved, it was the most fun to actually be onsite of the three races, in spite of all the chaos in the infield.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We had the espresso coffee cake muffins for breakfast. I made salads for lunch, using the spinach, Asian greens, carrot, cranberry, Canadian bacon, and hard-boiled egg, with an Italian vinaigrette. My mom asked for bangers and mash for dinner, so that’s what we had. And, of course, cheesecake.

I read for pleasure on Sunday, instead of logging entry scores, although I made a list of my top picks.

I read BOSS WITCH by Ann Aguirre, which I really liked, and CLAWS FOR SUSPICION by Deborah Blake, which I also loved. It was nice enough to sit out on the porch, so I read out there for a good portion of the day.

I went to bed very early on Sunday, because I was tired. In the third year of the pandemic, with the right wing Christofascists openly telling us they’re planning to murder us, after packing the courts so they can get away with it, and the DEMS SIT BACK AND LET THEM – it’s exhausting. Trying to live my life and also fulfill my responsibility as a citizen is exhausting, even if I don’t write about all the details of it here.

There is NO such thing as “not being political” anymore. If you make that claim, it means you agree with the rightwing extremists and think you’re safe from their hate. The thing is, they always need something and someone to fuel their hate, so no one is safe.

Up early on Monday.  Worked until 2 PM finishing the paperwork on the final category of contest entries, and sent it in. It was accepted and invoice requested. I sent the invoice at 7 PM and it was paid 39 minutes later. That’s how you show your freelancers you appreciate them!

I stress-painted the garden frog we bought when we first moved to the Cape house. I didn’t have the dark pink paint the petals on his back used to have (yes, he’s a frog, but his back is full of flowers), so I used a lighter pink, and then the yellow for the centers. He’s a bright, happy frog again who can sit amongst the plants on the front porch.

Read for pleasure (a mystery set in Venice, and then started reading a biography of Ngaio Marsh).  Spinach and cheese omlette for dinner.

Neighbors across the street are building a garden in front of the house, with all kinds of cute little plants and hanging baskets. Only. . .they plant but don’t water anything. I’m sure they will learn.

Finals at the college across the way must be done, because the students started playing music and hanging out in the street and blowing off some steam. Yes, they’re still masking. Even though they’re all vaxxed. Good for them (and us).

I am off to the mechanic. Let’s hope this guy will actually fix the car and not put me off another month. I’ve basically been without a car for six months now. I want to get it done.

Have a good one, and hold a good thought for the car and me.

Wed. Aug. 25, 2021: Still Drippy and Humid

image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Foggy, hot, humid

I forgot to mention something good from Monday. The Marie Corelli biography I ordered secondhand in Ohio, from the bookstore who had it at a price I could afford, arrived. The description made it sound like a sad copy, but it’s great! I’m so excited to read it.

I struggled with WordPress yesterday. It just would not cooperate.

Went over to the college library to return books and get new books. Found some eBooks that would be helpful in my research. Hopefully, I can check them out. Came home and realized the bill for the tolls for moving was due, so I wrote the check and dashed down the street to the post office.

On this walk, it was the first time the warning bells went off in regard to another pedestrian. A guy a few yards ahead of me set off those bells. Now, I lived on the Deuce in NYC a good long time, and I know to listen to the signals. And, as small and friendly as this city is, it IS a city, and I have to remain alert. Every woman who’s ever had to walk alone can relate.

Anyway, the guy was on the other side of the street at first. I didn’t like the way he stopped and turned to gaze after a woman who walked by him, like she was his next meal. He swaggered on. Then, he crossed to my side of the street, and started slowing down.

At the next crosswalk, I crossed to the other side and went into my new bank. He sort of meandered around on the opposite side of the street for a minute or two, then took off again.

I waited, then resumed my journey. The post office was on my side of the street now anyway. He was on the other side of the street. He saw me, and started slowing down. I’m thinking, “Aw, man, I’m gonna have to dropkick him, aren’t it?” hoping I haven’t gotten too rusty.

But then, a cop steps out of a doorway and the guy walks right into him. The cop talks to him, glancing over the guy’s head at me. For the record, we were all white. The guy mumbles something and rabbits off down a side street. The cop lifts his hand in greeting to me. I do the same in return, and go on my way to the post office.

Mailed my letter, walked the couple of extra blocks to the library, dropped off my book, got a Sarah Addison Allen book. I’ve read it, but I’m in the mood for her work.

Walked back along Church Street, among the lovely houses. Saw my delightful postman, and we waved across the street. Enjoyed the architecture and everyone’s plants, and how they’re sprucing up and loving these old, lovely buildings.

Whenever I see someone on their porch or in their yard, and they notice me looking at the house, I call out, “I love the (detail) you have.” They immediately brighten up, and usually tell me the story behind it, which is interesting. It’s a nice way to get to know the neighborhood. And the neighbors.

But I’m tired of the humidity.

Of course, as soon as I was home, I got an alert that a book arrived for me at the library I just left. Isn’t that always the way? Well, if that’s the most annoying thing in the day, not bad. Of course, it wasn’t the most annoying, just another mosquito of annoyance.

Frustrated by a recruiter contacting me for the same information I sent when she contacted me yesterday. Big red flag. At first I re-sent everything, pointing out I’d sent it yesterday (and the email acknowledging it). A little later, I pulled myself out of consideration. Not worth it.

I’m tired of unprepared recruiters wasting my time. I’m tired of companies demanding that the copywriter have Adobe Creative Suite experience in order to create graphics for copy. No, that’s the designer’s job. Stop combining jobs with different skills and trying to hire one person at 1/3 of the rate that ONE of those jobs should be paid. Too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and deserve to lose talent.

I didn’t write up enough script coverage; I concentrated on reading. So today, I have to make up for it, and have a boatload of coverage to write up. In order not to get overwhelmed, I will look at the individual coverages, and do something different in between them.

But no faffing around today. I also have administrative and unpacking work to do. And I have to run a check over to the TD bank in Williamstown, because the fucking app they FORCED me to put on my phone isn’t working properly for deposits. I will be so glad when we are finished with that bank.

Feeling burned out, especially since I know I have to work through the weekend this week. But that’s the way it goes, and at least I have the flexibility to do that, so I can enjoy spending time with a friend over Labor Day weekend for the first time since before the pandemic.

I will buckle down and do the work instead of faffing around today. Hopefully, it won’t be too humid. That’s what really slows me down. I do not deal with humidity well. Hopefully, when it cools into autumn weather, my energy will return.

Looking forward to Remote Chat. Always a bright spot in my week.

Published in: on August 25, 2021 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 25, 2021: Still Drippy and Humid  
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Tues. June 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 43 — Surgery with Mixed Results

Tuesday, June 30. 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy, stormy, humid

Venus went direct on the 25th, so at least a little pressure has eased.

I thought I’d scheduled a post yesterday. I’m sorry I didn’t.

I was on a clear liquid diet, pre-op, on Wednesday. Miso soup and white cranberry-peach juice for breakfast, chicken broth for lunch, more miso for dinner. It was pretty good.

Went for my COVID test in the morning. Very well organized. A few seconds of discomfort when they jab the swab up your nostrils, but that’s it. Everyone very nice.

Home. Info full quarantine. Checked in with a client, designed some A/B ads, got out an email blast. Participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Got the call from the hospital. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning. A relief to get in there in the morning, and home as soon as possible.

The COVID testers only call if it’s a positive. So, once the deadline passed and no call, I started the rest of the prep, which was awful, I had side effects, and I was up all night, miserable.

I got ready in the morning, and got a call at 8 AM, asking me to come in an hour and a half early.

I got there, and was sent to the OR. Um, I knew it was surgery, because they had to remove something, but had been told it would be a simple procedure. Originally, I was told it would be done in the office.

So I was prepped for surgery, much like the last time, and a little thrown by it.

Unfortunately, it took 7 tries to get the IV in. SEVEN. I was upset. I also felt guilty (which, looking back on it, I shouldn’t. It’s not MY fault they can’t hit a vein. But it hurt like hell).

They finally got a pediatrics nurse to get it in.

Then some guy starts yapping at me, and I finally asked, “Are you the doctor?” And then I deliberately mispronounced his name, which threw him.

He said yes and corrected the pronunciation of his name.

I said, “Oh, okay, it’s just that I’ve never met you or talked to you before and you’re about to go digging in my insides. I’ve dealt with more than a dozen people while I’ve been lying here in pre-op and I’m trying to keep them all sorted. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, what’s going on?”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a little presumptive sometimes” and then we talked about the surgery.

The nurses were howling. They told me later the male patients usually start sputtering and the female patients are often in tears. They never saw anyone stand up to him before.

So we had a chat about what was going on. I was a little disconcerted, because no one seemed to know why I was there. Why didn’t anyone read my chart? I’m not the professional. I’m the patient. I know, in basic strokes, why I’m there, but not the details.

I told the anesthesiologist that, especially after all the trouble getting the IV in, I didn’t want to know anything.

When I came out of it, the doctor said, “You should thank that CT technician. This surgery probably saved your life.”

Turns out it was much more complicated than anyone had told me, and, if I’d blown off this surgery (as I was tempted), by the time I knew something was really wrong, it would have been too late, and needed very complicated surgery.

So now I get to wrap my head around that and worry about the results of the biopsy.

The nurse called my ride, I got dressed, and off I went home.

I was too rattled to really sleep, but I also couldn’t do anything. I’d saved back some of the pain pills from the last surgery. Of course, they were on the list of things I couldn’t take. But I didn’t really need them.

To keep myself occupied, both the miserable night before surgery and the day after, I read the first four books in Martha Wells’sMurderbot series. I loved them. So clever, and funny, and full of action, and full of heart.

We’d set up the living room again for recovery. I ate scrambled eggs for dinner – I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours, but that’s all I could stand.

I went to sleep early, and slept through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

Friday, I got some material off to a client. Heard back that she’s going in a new direction for something. She’s going to try to push me to do work that needs someone with different skills, and there will be problems going forward. So I need to find a replacement client so we can part ways soon without me taking a major hit to my income.

I got out one LOI, and then back to bed.

One of my nurses checked in with me, to make sure I was okay. I am. I mean, I’m healing. “Okay” is relative at this point.

I heard from one of my other doctors, who found out I was having this procedure; he checked in to see how I was doing. He was the one who talked me into going through this second surgery; I wanted to blow it off. But he’d been right about everything else, so I went forward. It’s a good thing I did.

I have the same post-anesthesia effects I had last time – first day or so, I have a runny nose, and then I have a few days of a scratchy throat.

I have to monitor my temperature twice a day for two weeks, to make sure I didn’t catch anything at the hospital.

My arms are so bruised from the failed attempts to insert the IV. I have track marks and bruises. I’ll have to wear long sleeves for at least a week. And I need to heal before I go in for blood work.

I managed to go down to the library for a curbside pickup and got more books. Read Donna Leon’s BY ITS COVER. I love that series.

But it was not a productive day, by any means.

I got in touch with the guy who mows the lawn; he came and did it. It looks better, but I need to put fertilizer on it.

I did not sleep well on Friday. I was up by 3 AM, fretting.

Saturday morning, I moved the two potted trees on either side of the front door to the side. They’ve grown through the years, and don’t look right there any more.

I was working on cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest attached to the siding in the front, near the front door. I’m so sick of the damn wasps. It never occurred to me they would build there.

I didn’t want to go back to Hyannis Country Gardens, but I know where everything is there. So I masked up and drove over.

I am never going there again, even once this is all over. Wearing the mask around your neck is not wearing the mask. Staff and customers did this (register staff were the only ones fully masked). The place was packed.

I grabbed my wasp killer (you have no idea how much strength it took not to spray the Sliding Mask Skanks). I grabbed some lawn food. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

I felt safer walking alone at 2 AM in NYC’s worst neighborhoods than I felt in that store.

Our numbers are going up again in MA. Not as badly as in down south, but going up enough to be concerned.

Not that anyone else here is. Because, if you’re not rich around here, you’re expendable and expected to Die for Tourist Dollars.

Came home and took out my fury on the wasp nest.

Rested a bit; once the buzzing died down (pun intended), I brought some of the oversized red geraniums from the back to flank the front door. They look good, and it’s good Feng Shui.

I couldn’t work in the beds, so I took myself to bed and rested for a bit. I read Ellen Byron’s PLANTATION SHUDDERS, and loved it. Excellent book, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

Soaked in a bath of Himalayan Salts for a bit. Cooked dinner – nothing fancy, I’m easing back in.

So the Sociopath was informed in March that Russia pays bounties to kill American soldiers? And keeps making concessions to Russia? I hope the military turns against him, once and for all. We have a sociopath calling himself “President” who is not only actively killing citizens with a pandemic, but allowing our enemies to kill our soldiers for profit. What’s his cut, I wonder? Because he does nothing without an eye to personal profit.

Why would anyone think the GOP will do anything about it? Remember, only a year ago, over Fourth of July, 10 GOP Congress people traveled to Russia to genuflect.

Those 10 should have been arrested the second they returned. But they got away with it, and here we are.

No wonder the EU is banning Americans from travel. Good for them.

And the airlines who are going to start flying at capacity? I hope they all go under. And why the hell is ANYONE flying right now?

The selfishness and stupidity are overwhelming.

Moved back up to my bedroom by Saturday night, and had a good night’s sleep.

But sat on the deck early Sunday morning, weeping, because I feel overwhelmed on a personal level, and on a broader, societal level. I’m sick, exhausted, and don’t see a way forward in anything.

Rested most of Sunday morning, because that’s all I could handle. I read a delightful book called RAISING THE BARRE by Lauren Kessler, about her journey to dance in a production of THE NUTCRACKER as an adult. So well done, on so many levels. However, I did lose a bit of respect and felt disgust when she skipped part of the tour that was the reason to write this book in the first place because of “family commitments” and because she was teaching a writing workshop. That, hon, is why you’re not in the business. The show comes first. Always. Life fits around theatre (or, in this case ballet) for professionals. Theatre does not fit around life.

That, right there, is why I managed to be one of the 11% who actually MAKE it to Broadway. Commitment and priority to the work. And why dancers can do what they do.

My arms really hurt from the bruising of the failed IV attempts.

Got out 5 LOIs, then sat out on the deck for a bit, reading. Watered the back, where I’d put down lawn food and fertilizer. Couldn’t face another wasp battle in the front.

Tackled the mending, because the light was good, and I need true daylight at this point to sew. Got a good part of the stack done. Still have a few pieces, including socks.

Managed to sleep through the night on Sunday, up early on Monday, normal routine. Because, you know, the cats like a normal routine, and it’s all about the cats. Arms really hurt from the IV bruising.

Annoyed by people on social media who beg for followers, then deride people who support them. I don’t have time for that b.s.

Also annoyed because people are asking to come visit. As in show up and stay a few days. In a pandemic? I don’t think so. Close friends understand it’s not viable. We’re going to make plans to see each other WHEN IT’S SAFE. It’s the borderline “acquaintances” who are the problems. The ones who stay in touch because they see us as free accommodation in a tourist spot they want to visit. I can’t believe how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks that are “oh, we’re going to be in your area on vacation for a few days. We’d love to see you. Can we stay?”

Nope. Not doing any hosting this summer. Sorry you think just because the government decided to recklessly reopen, I’m going to put my life in danger so you don’t have to pay a hotel bill. Not happening.

Absolutely dreaded going in to the client’s on Monday.

Didn’t get a lot done on BARD Monday morning. I had to research mandolins and mandolin making before I could write the scene. Then, when I referenced something from an earlier chapter I found an enormous mistake. I have to go back and fix it, or it will throw the entire book off. I’m so annoyed with myself.

But that’s what I get for not making tracking sheets up front. Serves me right.

Discouraging, but my own damn fault.

Onsite for the client wasn’t bad. Staggered hours, lots of precautions. Only a little overlap, so we’re in synch, and not full staff (the way it should be, but isn’t on Wednesdays).  The client expects me to pull off the type of advertising campaigns that large companies with huge design and advertising budgets do, and she expects huge returns within 48 hours. That’s not realistic. She keeps sending me ads with “do that” — I can’t without design tools and time and professional photographs of product, and a budget to spend for placement.

Came home, wiped out.

I meant to only peek at the online course I’m taking on FutureLearn on The Book of Kells from Trinity College in Dublin. It was so interesting that I went through the entire week’s work. Which was pretty cool.

I decided I should brush up on my rusty Latin, and was looking for a way to do that, when, on Coursera, I stumbled across The Miracle of Human Language, from University of Leiden, where I’d studied the International tribunals a few years back. I signed up and started work on it. It’s fascinating.

That course will help me as I develop languages for books like DRAKECLIFF and other fantasies.

I was still worn out, and ran out of intellectual steam, so I stopped.

I also bought Sharon Hurley Hall’s SHADEISM. We’ve been talking about race, inspired by her most recent writings; this book will not only expand my understanding, but it will be good background for ELLA BY THE BAY.

Then, the phone rang.

It was the doctor.

As I wrote above, that’s never good news. They only call if something is wrong, never when it’s right.

The doctor had even improved his bedside manner, which worried me even more.

The news was mixed: there were some cancerous cells in what was removed, but at the tip of the polyp, not the base, and the cells scraped from the lining were clear. He believes he got it all. Originally, he wanted to see me in a year; now, he wants me back for another procedure In six months (um, Happy Holidays to me?). We’re going to treat it like another full-blown surgery, and hope it’s just a look that reveals everything is clear. He was upbeat and reassuring about it – which meant I wasn’t sure whether to go with it or worry more.

Something else to wrap my head around. Disconcerting, to say the least.

But what else can I do other than keep on keeping on?

I do have to behave as though I’m immune compromised and stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, socializing, etc. I told him that was the plan for the foreseeable future, anyway.

He promised to take good care of me. I thanked him (which surprised him) and he rang off.

I’m a little tired of 2020 piling it on.

I need to talk with my primary care doctor in the next day or two, and come up with a plan for the next six months. Losing weight and getting fit will have to be a part of it. I already eat pretty well, and I’d cut out most beef and quite a bit of pork out. I will have to continue with that. I’m glad I can cook.

I want to lose 20 pounds, the doctor wanted me to lose 10, we compromised on 15 (which I have not lost), but I think I want to go back to 20. I feel better when I weigh less.

I’d already started up core work again on Sunday, so I will do more of it.

I’d love to walk around the neighborhood, but the clumps of Maskless Wonders make it a non-starter.

Much as I hate the exercise bike, the exercise bike it is. If my 95 year old mother can do 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, I can work my way up to similar.

But I’m rattled.

Went to bed early; slept through the night.

Up early today. Have to fix BARD today, so I can move forward on it. There’s a deadline looming. Got two rejections on LOIs because they want someone with more experience in the tech sector. Which is understandable, but they SAID they wanted someone to communicate what they do to a more general audience. At least they responded, and I got responses from the companies themselves instead of a third party recruiter.

Client work. I have to come up with a new strategy for a struggling client. I have a few ideas, but I wish I had more time with them, because it’s hard to focus right now.

Classwork for Miracle of Human Languages later, and then maybe purging a few boxes in the basement. I need to get back to that.

I can’t believe it’s almost July. It’s hard not to feel defeated.

Especially when you look at the rampant corruption and stupidity people are getting away with, with absolutely no consequence.

Going back to the page will help. I hope.

Peace, friends.

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

June 11, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 24 — Trying to Get the Week Back on Track

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

New post up over on Gratitude and Growth about progress in the garden.

Some stuff going on with a client that is inappropriate to discuss publicly, so I won’t. But it’s causing additional stress. It has little to do with the work itself, but a lot to do with the work situation.

Annoyed that there is zero coverage about the procession to honor George Floyd on Tuesday, that was lead by the head of the local NAACP, but they show the protests led by white people all over the Cape, as if to say, “See? We care.”

The beauty and sorrow of the procession has stayed with me, and gotten me thinking about a lot of things. Including about how what I thought I wanted my life to look like, way back years ago, was deeply rooted in unrecognized racism/colonialism. I mean, even wanting a Victorian house – the Victorians got that architecture and all that STUFF on the backs of people they wouldn’t even let into the houses for tea, unless they were the ones making the tea and bringing it into the parlor for other guests. It’s not that people who like the architecture and want to restore and live in Victorian houses are awful, but we need to look at how and why these houses were built. Then we can turn them into something better.

About damn time the Confederate flag was banned from places like NASCAR. It should be banned everywhere in this country. I never understood why it was ever allowed. Confederates were traitors. They seceded and created their own country because they wanted to profit from unpaid labor and treat human beings worse than work animals. On top of that, they LOST. We’ve allowed their descendants and followers to moan about “northern aggression” and “northern oppression” – to romanticize their inhumanity and play the victim — for around 150 years. It was never “right” to own human beings, and we won a war about it. Any symbols of the Confederacy outside of a history class or a museum should have been banned immediately.

Lousy writing day on fiction yesterday, although fine with client work and LOIs.

Remote chat was fun, as it always is.

Baked an orange hazelnut chocolate pound cake from a Moosewood recipe. I’m still having trouble getting the center to bake through properly, while the outside is getting overbaked. I have to figure that out. It’s still really good, but I want it to be evenly baked.

The package that was supposed to be delivered on Saturday finally turned up, thanks to the USPS, who got it from UPS, who couldn’t be bothered to deliver it because it was a small package.

The quality of the contents was very good, but I still wouldn’t do business with the company again after their condescending response to my frustration.

The other package, which was supposed to be delivered last Friday, and has been sitting in the facility 11 miles away, and been on the truck THREE TIMES and not delivered, still hasn’t shown up. Nor has UPS responded to my complaints.

Companies have pushed for re-opening and act like it’s normal. So now they can’t whine that they can’t provide normal service.

Oh, wait – treating their customers like crap IS normal for UPS. That’s right. I forgot.

Don’t get my wrong, the drivers are great and working their asses off. It’s the administrators who are useless.

Lucy Burdette recommended two books, so I bought them (eBooks) and plan to enjoy them this weekend. Along with reading the book I have for review.

I hope to get in some good writing time today, both on the book and for a client, get out some LOIs. Maybe do a bit of yard work, purge a few boxes from the basement, and get started on my sewing projects. I have a nice, big stack. Since I don’t plan to go clothes shopping in a store any time soon, I might as well use my apparel stash and make some cool new pieces exactly the way I want them. There’s a lovely piece of fabric that I’m going to make up in a simple design (no pattern), that will go well with some basic black pants I want to make from a Vogue pattern. Plus, I found some great fabric that will make lovely new summer curtains for the bedroom, to replace the pair of lace panels that have gotten a bit raggedy.

If there’s decent sunlight the next few days, maybe I can also get the mending done.

While I sew, I can also work on plot points in the books.

Time to turn this stressful week around.

Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020: Projects and Exhaustion and Frustration

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I talk about my dreams of gardens.

Yesterday was exhausting, partially because the day before the dark moon tends to be my lowest energy day of the month.

I’m working on a big project with a client, so that’s taking a lot of time and attention for the next few weeks.

I started the next Kate Warne play, “The Rare Medium.” I hope I can keep the opening two lines. They are some of my favorites among all my projects. No, I am not posting them. I don’t blow first rights by splattering something in draft on public platforms.

Working on the book for review, and the other book for review finally arrived. Will finish one today and get the review out tomorrow, and read the other one over the weekend.

Have roughed out the short story inspired by the news event in my head, and will start drafting it later today.

Have a meeting with a potential client late morning tomorrow, so tomorrow’s blog will post late. It’s on YET another platform, so I need to download YET another app and I’m sick of it all. I don’t want to run my life on apps.

The rental inspection was this morning. Of course, one of the carbon monoxide detectors decided to start squeaking “end of life” because why wait until an hour later, when the inspection was done? Will contact the landlord to get a new one. He’s really good about stuff like that.

Needed Google Hangouts Meet App for tomorrow’s client conference. What a nightmare getting that to work. I HATE having to use apps for everything. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Working on the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too. I lost a few threads in this draft. Some of them I will remove completely — they’re bogging down the story. Others need to be reworked so they’re stronger.

Of course, scenes for GAMBIT COLONY keep forming in my head, when it’s not a good time to work on it. Because that’s the way it goes. Idea Cookies.

Some work at the library, then work at home, then taking my mother to her doctor’s appointment. Then home for more writing and reading.

Every one of those rude, corrupt GOP Senators walking out of the trial needs to be held in contempt, lose the right to vote, and be removed from the process (and office). No jurors are allowed to behave this way. Chief Justice Roberts’s refusal to actually behave like a judge during trial is equally appalling. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is supposed to be a leader, not a milquetoast.

The whole corrupt sham is disgusting.

In the meantime, I’m going back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 23, 2020 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020: Projects and Exhaustion and Frustration  
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Tues. Nov. 19, 2019: Weekend of Work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge on a family-oriented novel.

And a happy, happy birthday to my Twitter pal Jake! Have a beautiful day!

Friday afternoon, once I got back from errands and the library, it was about yard work. I hacked back the overgrown roses on the side of the house, took out the invasive oak and bindweed. It took a good portion of the afternoon, and I came away scratched and bleeding. I prefer the Sleeping Beauty look, and it discourages cutting through the property. But my landlord complained, and, knowing these damn men who will put in the new furnace, I guarantee they will insist on going down that side of the house, with the narrow path, rather than the side of the house with the driveway and the flat area to get to the bulkhead to load in the furnace. Because it’s “shorter.”

Only in your dreams, buddy.

But it’s done.

I didn’t write enough on Friday, and it threw off the rhythm of my day. The editing session was good, though.

I started reading my friend’s book, which is fun. I finally feel I’ve done enough work to earn that treat.

I moved Tessa up to my room to take some of the pressure off her with Willa and Charlotte. We got them to be company for her, but their issues are causing problems. I’m giving Tessa a break of a week, and then we’ll start re-integration under supervision again.

What’s funny is that Willa, who bothered Tessa the most, ran around the house looking for her and howling once I brought Tess upstairs, and now spends a good portion of the day sitting outside my bedroom door. Maybe they’ll make friends through the door.

Charlotte ran and hid when I picked up Tessa to take her upstairs; she thought she would be next, and she would be moved again.

I’ve had weird dreams the last couple of weeks. Positive, for the most part, but still weird.

Saturday, got up a little after 6 (late for me). Adjusted the morning routine so Tessa still got fed on time. Charlotte thought she could now eat in the kitchen in Tessa’s spot — no, honey, Tessa will be back there soon. You still eat in your spot.

Yoga, meditation, the first load of laundry in before 7.

Then, to writing. I finished editing a draft of a book late in the morning. I started doing the final proof, so I can send it to my editor for final galleys.

In the afternoon, tried to rake, but it was too windy. Scrubbed the railings and the deck. The landlord said it had mold — no, it was dirt. No mold. Some of the paint is coming off, because the last time it was painted was when we moved in in 2010.

Monday was supposed to be pouring with rain, so I don’t see how they’ll muck about and figure out what needs to be done. But that’s up to them, not me.

My back was killing me.

Spent some time with Tessa and studying runes. Read. Finished reading a memoir where the writer tries to present herself as the heroine, when in reality, she’s a manipulator who was caught out. Worked my last nerve.

Sunday, worked on a new recipe for muffins. They came out pretty well, although I’m going to add vanilla next time around.

Wrote all the posts for December for #UpbeatAuthors. Feel a sense of relief and completion.

Pulled the last bits in from the deck, and worked in the basement on Sunday.

Also made orange marmalade oatmeal bread. It was a lot of work, and I don’t like the result. It’s too dense and heavy. If I do it again, I will try it with just oats, not cooked oatmeal. I was very disappointed.

Scrubbed the basement floor.

Read some more in my friend’s book. Kept getting interrupted.

Did a good chunk of proofreading.

Overslept on Monday morning. I didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off (I’m usually up a half hour to an hour before it goes off). The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, or at least it seemed so when I woke up.

Morning routine, and then to editing. Went in to my client’s a little early, because I had to leave early because the landlord had the builder coming to look at the deck and the back of the house.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I don’t know what the workday/builder, etc. actually brought yet. I know I plan to be up early on Tuesday, finish the proofs, and get them to my editor.

I haven’t written any new material in a few days, and it’s throwing me off my game. But I need to get these edits done.

I did, yesterday, indulge myself in a few pages of THE BARD’S LAMENT. That helped.

Onward.

 

Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

Hop on over to see the latest on Gratitude and Growth. Not much to tell, but still. . .it’s there. Consistency is important, correct?

The cats officially have new names. The one I’ve referred to as New Kitty #1 is now Willa, for Willa Cather: smart, independent, resourceful. Willa wasn’t even one of the names originally considered: we had it narrowed down to Jane or Clara. But we came up with Willa, and she likes it, so Willa she is.

New Kitty #2 is Charlotte, for Charlotte Bronte and the various feisty Princess Charlottes over the centuries. Charlotte is stubborn, determined, and a bit of a diva. She picked her name early on; Willa was more difficult to name.

They are doing well. Tessa keeps them in line. Willa is exploring more than Charlotte is. Willa comes out to play. She’s even started asking for pets, started purring, and, yesterday morning, she sat in my lap while I typed. Willa even made friends with my mom, and now asks her for pets, too.

Charlotte is still figuring things out and wondering why no one pays any attention to her tantrums. But then, she came into the house two days after Willa did. Charlotte will get there. We won’t rush her. We’ll let her figure it out in her own time.

Tessa keeps unpacking Charlotte’s toy box and playing with her toys, just to prove she can.

As soon as they are comfortable enough to have their pictures taken, I will do so.

They haven’t even lived here a week, so I think they’re doing well. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but that’s the way it goes. The less we fuss at them, the faster they adjust.

I got some good writing in on Wednesday morning. Then headed in to a client’s.

I was invited to a chamber event on Wednesday night, at a new restaurant. I knew I SHOULD go, but I didn’t really want to. I mean, we had a nor’easter coming in.I also realized I need to make new business cards with the new logo. And the new contact address, to replace the hacked one.

This is scheduled to post because  I have a meeting first thing this morning, about potential projects. Tomorrow’s post will also be late, because I have another meeting, with a different potential client about a project.

The weekend is about writing, socializing the cats, and working on cleaning out boxes from the basement.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells  
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