Tues. Fri. 11, 2020: Health Issues Change the Game

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

It’s amazing how your whole life can change in moments. Last week, it seemed to be for the better. Now, I’m facing some new challenges.

We’ll get to that.

I’m not sure why yesterday’s post disappeared instead of going live. My apologies. My intent, however, for the next few weeks is changing.

Busy, busy weekend. But the right kind of busy.

Friday was about gathering quotes for the article and starting to write it in my head. I find that shifting my process a bit to write more in my head means my first draft isn’t just blather. I carry the piece within me, thinking about it as I go through my day, working out phrasing and shaping. It makes it easier when I sit down to write.

Watching the fourth season of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. It’s giving me ideas for my own cooking show treatment (not to star me, but something I’m interesting in creating, and also to get used to writing a non-fiction treatment). There are elements I like about the show, but the show I’m craving also does some things differently.

The weather was awful on Friday. Winds 75 mph. Much to my surprise, the power held. But I didn’t work on the computer in the afternoon or evening. I worked in longhand.

That included background notes and the partial outline for the Millie Quinn books. They’ve been part of my “back pocket document” for several years now, but they’re pulling at me. I wanted to get the basics out of my head and on paper, so it didn’t push out the stuff on which I need to be working.

Saturday, I was up early. I experimented with some breakfast pastry, and remembered why I hate working with puff pastry, especially on only one cup of coffee. I realized, as I made the whipped chocolate cream, that it had to be filling added after the baking, not something that could go into the oven (pretty basic common sense). So I basically made pastry for cream puffs, which turned out well. Unfortunately, my pastry tool that was supposed to inject the cream didn’t work. So I sliced the pastry and made sandwich-style cream puffs instead.

I tried doing a variation on a chocolate croissant, using Nutella in the puff pastry. I rolled it a little too tightly, so the pastry didn’t have room to expand in the middle, but it was okay. Not brilliant, but okay. Needs some work.

I had pastry cream in my hair before 9 AM, which gives you an idea of how it went. But that’s part of experimentation and recipe development.

Made a dump run for household garbage, and then another one for recycling. Ran into a couple of friends at recycling, which was pretty funny. It was clear and cold out, and I have my work cut out with me, clearing all the branches that came down in the storm. Friday was the first time; in the ten years we’ve lived in this house, where it didn’t feel secure during a storm.

Scrubbed down when I came home. Most of the Chewy order arrived for the cats. I didn’t expect it until Monday, and was delighted to get it early, because of the toys.

Tessa, Willa, and Charlotte each got a new catnip mouse, and they were delighted. I also got them spring toys, which I waited until Sunday to give them. I did, however, put together the laser toy so they could Chase the Red Dot. Willa and Charlotte were thrilled and ran and jumped and chased as long as I had the energy to hold the wand. Tessa had never seen it before, and had no idea what to do.

Giant load of laundry in as well.

Working on the article, shaping, seeing where I want to fold in the quotes. I had two of them back by Saturday morning, confirmation a third was forthcoming, and the contact info for the fourth. So I’m really only waiting for the quotes from London and Ireland, which should arrive today.

Worked on one of the grant proposals. I have to submit ten pages of work. I’m not sure if I should do 10 pages on a single project, or 5 on two different projects that show more range. I might send an email and ask.

I’m having trouble accessing the other grant’s information, and have to get an email off about that, too.

I want to get both grant proposals and the article out before Mercury turns retrograde on the 17th.

Worked on blog posts for the various blogs. Revised the beginning of the steampunk play, which I will use for one of the grant proposals.

The cats were hilarious. So happy with their new toys. It was the first time all three cats were genuinely happy in the same space since Willa and Charlotte joined the household. I hope this is the beginning of that being the rule, rather than the exception.

Sunday, I wrote 11 pages on one project, not something I should have been working on, of course. Sent off another quote request.

Worked on the article.

Made a smoked salmon brunch tart. Damn thing took over 3 hours. It tasted good, but the look lacked a good look. This weekend reminded me how much I hate making pastry.

Worked on writing and reading, including one of the books for review.

Over the weekend, some serious health issues accelerated. First thing yesterday morning, I went to the doctor. Who was alarmed. Who initially wanted to send me to the ER for a blood transfusion, which I refused. She did some in-office testing, and found that I didn’t really need one. But I had to go to the hospital to have an emergency ultrasound.

I was sent home to be more comfortable at first until the appointment. I used the time to work on the article that needs to get done this week. The hospital was supposed to call me with the time to come in. Hours went by, and nothing. So I called them — now, remember, I have hyperaccussis — talking on the phone is nearly impossible for me, because it causes such pain. Yet I was repeatedly forced to be on the phone because HEALTH CARE PERSONNEL refused to accommodate me.

I called the doctor — and got a third party, who got in contact with the doctor. Meanwhile, the third party told me to schedule the procedure myself. Only the scheduler wouldn’t do it. She said they couldn’t fit me in. I kept telling her that the doctor insisted it was emergency and had to be done today, and she refused. I was headed back to the doctor to find out what to do when the nurse called. She had called the scheduler and the hospital and told them it was an emergency and they had to make it happen.

I had to dash into the car, race across to the next town where the hospital was, not find parking, and then navigate the corridors for the appointment. But once I got there, radiology took me right away. They were very kind for the multiple procedures — some of them unpleasant. But it took multiple technicians at times, and I was there over an hour.

Then, I had to go and get a blood workup done — only the paperwork hadn’t been handled properly up front. So I had to go back to radiology, where they faxed paperwork to reception who then emailed whatever they needed to email back to the blood draw lab — which was across the hall from radiology.

The technician was lovely and kind. She understood my fear of needles, and was quick and gentle. I thanked her for being kind, and she was surprised.

By the time I managed to get back to the car, then nurse called and asked me to come back to the office. Although they were technically off-hours, they wanted me back. They HAD THE RESULTS. None of this waiting for a week. Everything was there by the time I got back across town to the office.

There, they did another round of unpleasant exams — which they did with kindness and gentleness.

The short conclusion is that I have a challenging few weeks and months ahead. In the very near future, I have an emergency specialist appointment coming up, possibly today; a CT scan this week. Fast track surgery. After the surgery, we will re-assess and see if more has to happen, and if so, what the options are. I said if I have a vote, and I will be vocal about it, there are certain things I want to happen sooner rather than later, and she said it might have to happen that way anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m willing to go even consider it. She’s also worried that I’m joking too much and not processing enough.

I shed some tears early on — and the doctor reassured me that it wasn’t my fault and I’d done nothing wrong. Which, of course, I know intellectually, but emotionally is quite different. But what else can I do except joke around with the technicians and try to make it as easy as possible for all of us to get through it? Living in the terror of it all isn’t going to help me. Acknowledging the fear is one thing, but living in it is something else, and I’d rather not live there. I’d rather keep on keeping on, adjusting as needed on the way.

I was put immediately on a medication to get me through until the surgery can happen, and told to watch for certain symptoms. If I have any of them, I am to go to the ER immediately.

Getting the prescription — CVS tried not to use the insurance, and I had to get the insurance re-run, but then it was all affordable. I’m really glad I switched my insurance — had I been on the old insurance, not only would none of this have been covered, but I wouldn’t even have been able to get in to see the doctor. On the old insurance, any time I wanted a doctor visit, I had to wait 3 months. I’m also grateful that I landed with health care

I’m not sure how much I feel comfortable talking about the details of all this, although you can be damn sure I’ll be talking about health care system issues along the way. Some posting might be a bit erratic, and I may pull back on a few blogs , and I apologize in advance. I’m going to try to get ahead on as much as possible.

I’m worried about money. I’m already living too close to the bone, and I was just starting to land opportunities to fix that — I HAVE to, because I have to move later this year, and I may need a new car. If all I’m worried about is money, I won’t have the emotional or financial resources to get well.

The medication started working right away. If they had started me on it earlier in the day, the day might have not been quite so traumatizing. I do want to emphasize how kind everyone except a couple of admin people were along the way. Plus, for the first time in my life, I feel like I have medical professionals that are on my side.

My client told me not to come in today, but I want to go in early and get ahead on a few things.

I wrote the review and sent it out; went to the office. I am waiting to find out when my specialist appointment is today.

I would appreciate any good thoughts you could send my way. I don’t have the support system here that I had in the Broadway community, and being without them scares me — although some of them will support me every step of the way from wherever they are.

Peace.

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work

Friday, February 7, 2020
Waxing Moon
Foggy and cooler

I’ve got a short post aboutMotive up on Affairs of the Pen.

I did an enormous grocery shop yesterday morning. I turned around the contract for the article and got out my requests for quotes. I have a good portion of the article already written in my head, and now am working on getting it on paper, and then adding in the quotes as I get them, and tweaking as needed. I’d like to get it to my editor a few days early, since it’s the first time we’re working together, and I want to give us enough time in case she requests revisions.

Started prepping for the grant proposals. I want to do at least one more revision on the actual material that will get the grant committee’s attention. I’m not sure, for one, if I should submit something in radio play format, which I know works, or something in novel format, which is what I’d actually use the grant money on, for one of them.

For the other proposal, I need to look at a project I put aside last year. It’s a project I’d used for a residency application, and put aside when I didn’t get the residency (they decided not to accept Americans that year).

I tweaked a recipe yesterday afternoon and made a honey/almond/orange cake. I was worried I made too many changes all at once, but it really, really worked. It amazes me how much I like substituting honey for sugar, and how much better I feel eating it

I answered someone’s question on social media and someone else jumped into the conversation to argue with me about not signing a detrimental contract because my lawyer agreed that it was not in my best interest. I’m not arguing. My lawyer is a professional; I get to decide what contracts to sign and not sign. I don’t care how many other people choose to sign it. And if Chickie-poo “doesn’t know anyone” who refused the contract, she must not know many professional writers, because I know plenty who won’t sign that particular contract, especially since we are all expected to sign a boiler plate.

The contract you receive with a publishing offer is the START of negotiations. If a “publisher” is not willing to negotiate contract clauses, it’s not a “publisher” with whom I want to associate.

I get to make that choice. Not be attacked by someone who made a different choice.

The stupidity on social media gets to me sometimes. There’s plenty I scroll past, but it annoys me when I answer someone’s question with my experience and someone else jumps all over me – and the person who asked the question SAYS NOTHING. That’s irresponsible. If you let trolling happen on your feed and ignore it, you’re not someone worth my time. Buh-bye.

Got my Chewy order in. Had to order cat toys to get it up for the free shipping. “Had to.” Riiiight. I’ll own it – that was how I chose to get up to the amount needed for free shipping. I think the cats will enjoy some fresh stimulation, especially Willa. I’m trying to teach Charlotte how to play, and Tessa needs some new toys. Busy cats are happy cats!

This weekend is about writing, purging boxes in the basement, and baking. I have a LOT to get done, and I can’t waste my time on people or situations who aren’t worth it.

Have a great weekend! I’m going back to the page.

Thurs. Oct. 10, 2013: Jain Lazarus Short and More Instincts

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

If you haven’t read “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the short story Jain Lazarus tie-in that takes place between the events of HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, it’s available as a free download on the Hex Breaker site. Enjoy!

Yesterday was a day of fretting and not getting much done. Very frustrating.

I withdrew from consideration from a project because, frankly, I don’t believe it’s real. For two weeks, I’ve said that, in order to continue talks, I need to know the schedule and financials associated with the project. The only response is that the potential client wants to “talk”. First of all, I charge for phone time, like a lawyer. Second, I repeatedly said I would not schedule a phone conference without knowing if the schedule and financials worked. I was repeatedly ignored. So I withdrew. If this was a real project, the so-called client would give me this very basic information. “Talking” is a waste of time — 97% of phone calls with clients are a waste of time, which is why I charge for them — and the so-called client is not going to “talk’ me into doing the project for free.

Once I withdrew, I was so relieved. Just the frustration alone of not getting the information I needed to look over the schedule and see if it would work financially and every other way took a toll.

Did some pitches, prepped the story. First thing in the morning, a contest opportunity landed on my desk that sounded kind of cool. I rarely enter contests, but this was fun, and I had something for it, AND, because I walk my talk as far as my SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, I had everything in place and it only took 15 minutes to submit. If I had to put everything together from scratch, it would have taken me a couple of hours, and I wouldn’t have had time to do it.

I have to finish an article today — the interview sources are dragging their feet getting the info to me, so I’m moving on. They’re not THAT important that they can’t respond to an email within the standard business protocol of 48 hours. If you’re not in the office, set up an auto-respond. If they didn’t want to be quoted, a simple “no” takes 15 seconds to type and send. The rude turn the bulk of the so-called “business community” has taken is appalling. Also have to finish a couple of grant proposals, and work on the novella, the short story, and Project B, which suddenly has an early November deadline (when I thought I had until spring to finish it).

So I better get going.

Devon

Wed. Oct. 2: Meetings and Friends

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Day before dark moon
Sunny and pleasant

I worked hard yesterday, but feel like I didn’t get a lot done. I was waiting to hear back on some contract questions. While not all the factions that needed to weigh in got back to me (which is ridiculous, especially since some of them had 48 hours in which to do so), the WGA stepped out and went above and beyond. I’ve always admired them, and it’s even better to know that they have my back, no matter what.

I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, and I hate that. I like to get things done, get definites in place, and then move forward on them.

I got one of the grants polished and hand-delivered it. The organization was pleased with it, so fingers crossed their awards committee will like it, too.

Mowed the terraced back, did some cleaning up in the yard. Time to put the yard to bed for winter.

Today, I’ve got a meeting in Providence about which I’m very excited, and then I pick up a friend at Megabus, who is visiting from the UK. We used to do the conference circuit together.

Can’t wait!

Devon

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 7:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

IMG_0447
New York Botanical Garden

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Apple’s “solution” is that I HAVE to spend (waste) hours on the phone today with one of their Super-Techs. Right. That’s gonna help. I’ll play along, to show that I’m being “cooperative”. And if/when it doesn’t work, I will rip them a new one. And turn the matter over to the Attorney General. It’s been over a month since I started having problems. Enough, already!

I’m restating — if I was a man, this would have been solved properly the first time, and I would not be forced to jump through all these hoops.

And if that was our “next step” — why wasn’t I told that when the phone messages started TWO WEEKS AGO, and why wasn’t it set up then? Two weeks of “let’s talk” messages when all they were going to to do is make me sit through another useless tech session.

Unbelievable bullshit (pardon my language).

I know, at least they keep calling back, which is more than Dell would ever deign to do (although the NY State Class Action Suit against Dell may force them to actually honor their service contracts). But I still don’t have a solution — which, to me, the only acceptable solution is a computer that runs properly.

What did I do yesterday? I went grocery shopping (just about my favorite thing in the world), I did more Prague prep, I wrote, I did some research for an international proposal that has to go out when I get back from Prague, I drove to Greenwich to use their library computers so I could invoice Confidential Job #1 (and picked up a few books from their book sale while I was there), looked over the NYFA site. This year’s grant cycle includes both fiction and playwriting. The deadline is the beginning of November, and the applications aren’t available yet, but should be in about a week.

The big thing was that Stop&Shop sent out new membership cards and an offer for a discount if we signed up online. However, when you go to the website, it’s hijacked by someone or other who claims that you have a Trojan in your computer (because it’s put one there) and the only way you can get off the site is to BUY their anti-virus software.

Fortunately, I have an Apple, even a limping one, so my computer was not infected, the Trojan didn’t gain access, I could simply quit Safari, run the proper function to make sure everything was healthy and move on. I called the head office, who shrugged it off and said,”That’s out of our control.” Bite me, you bastards; I was lucky, because I had a Mac, albeit it a flawed one. But if I was still on the PC, I would have lost everything. YOU are responsible for the security on your site, especially when you have a marketing campaign out there falsely offering a discount when all that really happens is a computer virus. That is absolutely unacceptable, and hopefully anyone whose computer was infected won’t just roll over and take it.

I did some more work on AMENDS, got some reading in for Prague. I did a favor for a neighbor, which, unfortunately took longer than it should have, and I missed my meditation group. Fortunately, the nature of the group is that you’re there and they’re glad to see you, you’re not and they don’t make you feel guilty, so it’s not that big a deal.

Had a slow start on this morning’s session with AMENDS, but once I got into it, it went pretty well. I’m about to write a scene with my protag and a character with Alzheimer’s — another difficult scene, but vital to the plot.

I hope to get out a bit of correspondence before the tech session. This afternoon, I have to go through some boxes in storage to find some papers and send off copies for something that was resolved five years ago and has come back to haunt me because of either the other party’s incompetence or corruption.

The results of the Bush Administration: Incompetence and corruption without consequences.

So, we’ll see how today goes. I don’t want to go into the session with a completely negative attitude, but I’m very skeptical it’s anything but another waste of time and vamping on Apple’s part, hoping that if they drag it out long enough, I’ll just give up. If it DOES work, and the computer actually runs the way it’s supposed to, I will go back to being a happy camper, but still be highly skeptical of Apple’s integrity because of the way it was handled to date.

I really want to pack, but if everything sits in a suitcase for 12 days, it will be horribly wrinkled. My carry-on’s mostly packed, though. I’m trying to put as little as possible in it: Books for the plane, yoga mat, journal, camera.

I’m going to print out the luggage specs, so when the airline tries to overcharge or tell me that the luggage is the wrong size, I have the correct specs in writing. I haven’t flown British Air in years, but, in general, the international carriers are often more committed to customer service than the US carriers, so I’m hoping there won’t be too much hassle. Air France is my favorite carrier. I liked Icelandair once we were actually on the plane, but getting on it was a little disorganized.

The weather’s gorgeous and I need to get a lot done today, because I’m headed out to CT to check out a site tomorrow.

Let’s hope my Super-Tech session doesn’t take hours and solves the problems.

Devon

AMENDS: First draft: 18,875 words out of est. 75,000
25.16%
IMG_0001
Eastham, MA

I could use a few hours staring at a peaceful view like this right now!