Tues. Dec. 28, 2021: Post-Holiday Errands

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

I hope everyone had a good weekend, whether or not you celebrated the Christmas holiday.

Ours was fine: lots of food, lots of books. We were tired of the foods we “traditionally” had for the Christmas Eve and Day meals. So for the Eve, it was baked trout, baked whipped potatoes with garlic and herbs, and spinach. For the day, it was a baked ham with a bourbon-molasses glaze. We don’t eat much pork anymore, but my mom wanted ham, so we had ham. I didn’t feel all that great afterwards, but not too bad.

Desserts were stollen on the Eve and chocolate mousse on the day, and that was all good.

We usually do presents on the Eve and stockings on the Day, but, again, my mom wanted to wait and do everything on the Day, so that’s what we did.

We had fun opening things. Tessa “helped.” Charlotte and Willa watched from a safe distance. Tessa adored her present – a catnip toy that looks like a gift. Willa and Charlotte didn’t know what to do with theirs. Charlotte figured it out, and then she was afraid someone would take it away.

But most of the time, we just relaxed.

It was perfectly pleasant, although I felt somewhat unsettled the entire time.

I checked in regularly with my friend, who lost her mother the day before Christmas Eve. There’s not much I can do, except give her as much support as possible. The whole world shifts, and it’s painful.

Sunday, I puttered around with paperwork, and getting my email inbox down to 13 emails for a brief, shining moment, before it filled up again. Worked on the blog schedule for some of the blogs, and tried to get ahead a bit on ones that don’t rely on being in the moment. Researched some companies and added them to the list that will get the postcard mailing in January. Looked through some article guidelines. I’m going to work up some pitches this week, although I won’t send them until the New Year, because it’s just tacky and thoughtless to send them out now. Dived back into the research for “Dawn and Dorothy.” I made a loose writing plan for 2022, which, no doubt, will change by the middle of January. But at least it’s a starting point.

Yesterday, I went to the laundromat. I like to change up my days, but Monday is not a good day. People. The last thing I want, when the virus numbers are back up again, is to be around any more people than necessary. But things got done. Using the rolly cart to go to and from the laundromat is actually easier than getting everything down to the parking lot, loading the car, driving to the laundromat, unloading, reloading, driving back, etc. I just roll the cart down the block, around the corner, down another half a block, and there I am. Plus, yesterday, their parking lot was like a skating rink. I could have fallen and gotten seriously hurt. The sidewalk was clear. Much easier.

While the laundry was going, I make some organizing lists, and worked on a couple of arcs for The Big Project. There are three major arcs that have to be resolved, one after the other, along with less-important, longer-reaching arcs.

A little more than half the neighbors took down all their holiday decorations already. We are keeping ours up until Twelfth Night. That is a tradition we intend to uphold this year.

We never did put a tree topper on our tree this year. None of the ones we have looked right. And the tree looks just fine without it.

Read Colleen Cambridge’s MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL and loved it. Stayed up until nearly midnight to finish it (I think that was on Christmas Day). I hope there are more books in the series.

Read a book by a new-to-me author set in Venice, which I liked. Put aside another book I started, also set in Venice, that just wasn’t doing it for me.

Started reading Sally Wright’s PURSUIT AND PERSUASION, which I’m enjoying.

Did my errands on foot. My mom won $20 on a scratch ticket that was in her stocking, so I picked that up for her. Mailed thank you notes and birthday cards at the post office. Dropped off and picked up a stack of books at the library. It was pretty cold and windy, but still nice to be out.

Got irritated by an author on Twitter. He’d followed; I followed back, as I do with most authors. The first interaction was a long DM from his “publicist” asking me to read and review the guy’s book. It was a long, involved DM, with a tone making it clear that they were doing me a favor. The publicist is male, of course, and the DM was typical male mansplaining privilege.

Okay, wrong on so many levels. First of all, I’m a paid reviewer by publications. Occasionally, when it doesn’t violate my contract terms, I can review a book for free, usually by someone I know, because the publications that pay me don’t want me reviewing books by people I know. But it is work. It relates to my job, and is therefore unpaid labor. I’m not doing unpaid labor for a stranger. Second of all, how often have I publicly stated that if the first interaction from a new mutual follow is a DM trying to sell me something (or ask for free labor), that’s an immediate unfollow, and often a block? Often. If the idiot can’t be bothered to do due diligence, not someone I want to deal with. Third, a professional publicist would know better than to pull crap like that, because that’s negative public relations, not positive public relations. So either the guy’s amateur hour (which means I hope the author’s not paying him much) or it’s the author using a pseudonym as a publicist. Fourth, if the social media is set to “automatically” DM any new mutual followers marketing crap, again, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and are not someone with whom I wish to interact on any level. Fifth, don’t ask someone to work in the week between the holidays, unless you’ve done your due diligence and know that they are actually working. It’s rude.

That author also goes on my “do not ever buy or read” list.

Caught up with my lovely postman so I could give him his cookie packet. He was pleased.

Read a script, which I will write up today. Grabbed some more scripts to read the next few days. I’m reading less this week, but I need to read something.

Had Doordash deliver Chinese from my favorite place in Williamstown. One order for last night’s dinner (their duck lo mein is one of my favorites), and a chicken pad thai for today (yes, I know the latter is not Chinese food, but it’s from the same restaurant).

It’s clearing up, so I will bundle up, get the rolly cart, and head to CVS to pick up my mom’s prescription, and Big Y to pick up a few things I need for the meals over New Year’s. It’s a bit of a hike, but I’m trying to preserve the car until I can get it looked at.

Today, the “bonecrusher” square supposedly ends, and Jupiter goes into Pisces tonight/tomorrow, which, in my chart anyway, is supposed to be a good thing. I could use a break, and I’ll take any support from the stars I can get!  😉

On the agenda today, after I get back from the grocery store, is writing up the script coverage, and then finishing the short version of “Dawn and Dorothy.” I hope to get some work done on The Big Project, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a week of more rest than work for me, but there’s always work to do.

Debating whether I’ll do a mini retreat over New Year’s. New Year’s is usually a tough few days for me, on multiple levels, and I want to be as gentle with myself as possible.

Jeremy Rock Smith is teaching an online cooking session on the 4th; seriously considering taking it, because I love learning from him. He’s a wonderful teacher, in addition to being a quality human being.

That’s the latest; off to the store now. Since I can only buy what I can carry, I have to stick to my list!

Hope your weekend was great, and that the days between the holidays are peaceful.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Friday, December 14, 2018: Deliveries and Cards and . . .

Friday, December 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy day yesterday. My friend’s cat turned up, which was great news. He’d been hiding inside the house and sauntered out when he was good and ready.

Some remote client work, some work on THE LINGERIE TRAIL and a couple of other projects. All humming along nicely.

Caught up on some reading in the afternoon. I’ve now read three books in a series by a particular author. I LOVED the first book. The second book angered me, because it reinforced negative female tropes that are destructive to keep reinforcing. The third book was good, but not a single female character was positive. Even the women who are called “kind” or “responsible” are also described as “ugly” or “plain” or “hags.”

The only conclusion I can draw from this body of work is that this male author has serious problems with women. The writing is good, but he’s a misogynist. I tried to excuse it because of the historical context; but the books, over and over again, reinforce the misogynism instead of pointing it out and fighting against it. That bothers me.

Wrote about a third of my holiday cards last night. Large grocery shop this morning, then more cookie platter deliveries, then time at the library, then the hunt for more fruitcake mix so I can make stollen tomorrow.

The post office, the library, and my lovely firemen were all thrilled with their cookie platters.

This afternoon is about writing and decorating and finishing the cards — early on. I have plans this evening.

Busy weekend ahead of baking, decorating, writing, and delivering more cookie platters.

I can’t believe the holidays are almost here!

A new friend gifted me with a paperwhite. I’ve always wanted one, but never got around to buying it for myself. I never mentioned it in any of our conversations; it just happened to be the gift he gave. Very sweet.

Back to the stove — and to the page!

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 11:20 am  Comments Off on Friday, December 14, 2018: Deliveries and Cards and . . .  
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Thurs. Dec. 14, 2017: First Accumulated Snow of the Season!

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Late getting on today, because we had three inches of snow this morning! Very pretty.

Busy day with a client yesterday. Lots of social media work, promotions, et al. I’m tracking to see what kind of return these promotions get. I’m doing that with the books, too. As an author, I am as much of a small business as anyone else. If the marketing dollars I put out don’t show a TANGIBLE return — meaning book sales — I will put them elsewhere.

Cookie platter deliveries in the morning, before meeting with my client. I was almost out of cupcakes (which I knew would happen, they have to be baked just before they go out). So, in the afternoon, I baked another 3 dozen chocolate chip raspberry cupcakes and frosted them.

A couple of gifts arrived from friends, which is always fun.

Got some writing done in the evening. An editor wants a revision done on a piece — I disagree with it, but I’m going to do it anyway. This is on the difficult gig, from which I hope to extricate myself in a few months.

The snow this morning means my morning cookie platter deliveries will be moved until after it clears up.

Finishing up the work on the new opening for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so that TRACKING MEDUSA can go to the publisher. Then, it’s back to finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, and the FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

I’ve captured the text I need from my websites; there are some changes I will make in the re-design and the move. By late January, I hope to have the new designs on the new host. I’m also looking at getting some logos designed. Fearless Ink needs a more unique logo — and a more unique look for the website. I still want to keep everything simple, but the graphics need to be more striking, and more to the point.

When I put up the ocean graphics for both Fearless and the main Devon Ellington Work sites, that’s where I was, that’s who I was. At the edge of the ocean. The work and I have both evolved, and the websites need to reflect that.

So, today is about digging in to the work, about revising for an editor, about my mom’s appointment with the surgeon, and delivering cookie platters. I’m also digging in to the holiday card writing later — I need to get that done!

Tomorrow, I will be late blogging — car repairs will take up the morning, and then more cookie platter deliveries! But then, I should be done with the platters, and can focus on finishing the cards, and finishing up some work for a client meeting on Monday.

I love sitting here, watching the snow fall! (Although I dread going out in it later — there’s much more snow than predicted)!

 

Published in: on December 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 14, 2017: First Accumulated Snow of the Season!  
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Cloudy and muggy

One of the great things about Elsa being around for 15 years is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of happy memories revolving around her, and that is what I will try to focus on.

Every time I go to Philly, I have to leave my beloved Optimum and use Comcast. They just suck so badly. They are slow, they freeze, it takes minutes instead of seconds to load anything. And since it’s someone else’s account, I can’t call customer service and ream someone a new one! 😉

I dread losing Optimum when I relocate. Comcast is the premiere service where I’m going, and I don’t want them. It’s as bad as having my old PC on a bad day. I think I will take the advice and go with Time Warner. Right now, there’s an anti-Time Warner campaign in NY on television, but I’ll give it a shot and, if they’re awful — well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Besides, I have to have an address before I get fresh cable hooked up!

In spite of a jagged start to Saturday, it was a pretty productive day.

My mom said Iris and Violet are not doing well at all. They’re grieving terribly.

And then I hear a Megabus slammed into an overpass in upstate NY on Saturday, killing 4. Yeah, that gives me confidence for my next trip with them!

Saturday was very quiet. I worked all morning, I stopped to go to The Black Sheep, one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood for lunch. I had their Eggs Benedict — amazing! So wonderful and so perfect. I am an Eggs Benedict addict — if it’s on the menu, I must have it, and I’m very fussy. The Black Sheep’s version are right up there with The Egg & I’s version, up in Maine, which is still the best I’ve ever had.

Worked more Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Performed a Ceremony for the Dead in commemoration for 9/11l. Went to bed early again.

Must have had busy dreams again, because I work up on Sunday, thinking I was at home. I was completely disoriented.

Got some work done in the morning, read the papers, actually dashed out in the rain to McDonald’s for a sausage-and-egg McMuffin — not bad.

Left in the late morning, hauled everything to 30th Street Station, got on the Megabus. It was packed, which surprised me. I thought it would be fairly empty at that hour.

There was one annoying woman who insisted on screeching into the phone in as loud a voice as she could, on and on and on about family drama. Six people asked her to please keep her voice down. She refused, She said, “But I have to check in.” Finally, I said to her, “Checking in is saying, ‘I’m on the bus, it’s moving.’ It is NOT going on and on about family situations that none of us give a damn about and, frankly, are petty and boring. Your life is just not interesting enough to be forced on us for two hours. Shut up or we take the phone away.”

She shut up.

Because I would have done it — taken the phone and asked the driver to hold it until we arrived in NY. One of the bus rules is to keep phone conversation to a minimum and do it in a way that does not disturb others.

Ride wasn’t bad. We were only about 15 minutes late getting in due to traffic, and due to the bus ahead of us not giving us room to unload, and its passengers being slow and stupid about claiming their luggage.

Went over to 6th Avenue in the rain , caught a cab uptown — a young guy stepped in front of me and tried to take my cab, but the driver shouted, “Get out of my cab, you pig! I stop for the lady!” Gotta love NYC cab drivers.

Got on the train at Grand Central, the ride was uneventful (thank goodness) and I was home a little before 5. The cats were very glad to see me.

Unpacked, repacked some of the stuff I’m taking when I go back to Philly in a week and a half in the bigger suitcase I’m taking for that jaunt, posted my Welcome and first lecture for the workshop, and spent the evening reading magazines, catching up on mail, and comforting Iris and Violet. I don’t think Violet slept the whole time I was gone –she felt she had to be awake and vigilant. She’s exhausted, poor little thing.

In spite of the windows being closed, the apartment is filthy from Friday’s workmen outside, so I have to scrub everything down again.

The orchid, however, sent by my freelance writer friends, is amazing! I will have to post a photo tomorrow. Stunningly beautiful. Thank you so much for your love and support.

Today, I’m teaching the workshop, working on some other writing, getting out some other necessary paperwork, running a few errands (I’m out of wine, and, if I don’t take care of that, I will whine).

The “workmen” are already here making my life hell, so, no doubt, I will be filing more complaints against them.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (handwritten, first draft): 49,250 words out of est. 100,000 words (49%).