Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Yesterday wound up being hot. My poor grass!

I got out a few pitches in the morning, and ran some errands. Got some research done around lunchtime. Worked on an essay, and a couple more pitches in the afternoon. Tried to work on the teleplay, but couldn’t concentrate.

Managed to get some more pitches ready to go out this morning. I want to get work set up for the rest of the summer.

Thinking of freshening up a website and some of the names I haven’t used recently. Will play with some ideas. Freshening up is always a good thing!

I pitched to do some corporate video scripting for a new fragrance company. They want to shoot by the 25th of June, so it would be a quick-turnaround, but the scripts would be short. I sent them my credentials, writing samples, price. They responded by telling me, at 10 PM last night, that they want me to send them two spec scripts, either by midnight last night or by afternoon today.

Uh, no. That’s not how it works, bubbelah. I don’t write corporate scripts without a contract and a deposit in place. If you can’t tell if my style and tone match what you want from my previously-produced samples, you shouldn’t be in the position you’re in.

Far more likely, you’re trying to get the scripts for free. We’ve seen all these fake gigs – they want project/product-specific samples, tell the writers who apply they didn’t get the gig, change the company name, and use the material without paying. It’s called theft and/or fraud.

Not only is that a way to get on Whispers & Warnings and keep professional writers away, it’s a good way to make sure none of the writers or anyone in their circle ever buys your product. You lose customers. Buh-bye.

Sent a polite, but still to-the-point letter withdrawing from consideration for a local position. As is usual here on Cape, they want you to work without pay in the hope of “maybe someday” money. Sorry, I am paid for hours work, as is NOW THE LAW.

So, Delta now sees itself in the business of censorship? Pulling its support of the Public Theatre Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of JULIUS CAESAR because some moron thought it makes fun of the Narcissistic Sociopath is ridiculous. First of all, the reason JC’s been done for well over 400 years is that it’s politically relevant to EVERY time period. That’s the point of the play. I bet you no one at Delta saw the production or even read the play.

Second, how come the Narcissistic Sociopath and his followers can attack, degrade, and incite violence against anything and anyone they wish, but anyone who criticizes them is threatened? Authoritarianism much? First Amendment, people. If he and those who drank his Kool-Aid can say and do whatever they want, so can everyone else.

That means Delta joins United on the I’m Not Flying Them Anymore list. Pretty soon, there won’t be any US carriers getting my money.

Makes me think my article, which will post soon on A Biblio Paradise, should be about JULIUS CAESAR instead of THE TEMPEST, but too bad! 😉

It’s too hot to mow this morning (that’s my excuse, anyway), so I’m going to work on the teleplay, the essay, the short story, and some more pitches.

Several incidents mentioned above made me cranky, but, at the same time, standing true to my boundaries only serves both me and the work well in the long run. In the end, it’s all about serving the work, with as much creativity and integrity as possible.

Back to the page.

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Published in: on June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)  
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s been back up in the 90’s for the last few days, but low humidity. That seems to be changing — the humidity is rising to meet the temperatures. And it looks like we may have to deal with Hurricane Earl over the holiday weekend. Ick.

Yesterday was tough. The workman/landlord situation was bad in the morning, which of course, stressed me out and made Elsa worse. I spent most of the morning in tears out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.

Got some queries out. We’ll see what happens. Tried to start the assignment from Confidential Job #1, but couldn’t concentrate. Managed to get some research done in the afternoon, with the iPod on to Naturescape, which has to be my favorite app ever. Ran a few errands, put gas in the car, things like that. It cost me $10 more to put the same amount of gas in the car at the place near here with the best prices than it did up in Sturbridge last week.

I’m still eating the fudge I bought up there — best fudge I ever had. Smooth and creamy and rich. I have one little slice every day, and I still have a lot. That’s the way I like it!

Booked my tickets for the two Philly gigs in September. So that’s all sorted out. Even though it’s ridiculously early — I don’t leave for the first until the end of next week — I’ll probably pack in the next day or two.

Made a note the other night as I fell asleep for a story idea. Now I have to decipher it!

Had a lot of trouble sleeping. Well, I GET to sleep just fine. But I wake up completely anxiety-ridden.

Decent writing session this morning on the Willowspring Grove piece. Not a brilliant one, I’m having to fight for the words harder than I’d like, but I’m getting there. I’ve got to get back to SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Even if I don’t hit my goal every day, even a few pages a day would be better than no pages a day. But it’s noisy and dirty and chaotic here, and I can’t concentrate. As it is, I’m having to get up at 5 AM to get anything done before the rat bastards descend. And I can’t flip my schedule completely because I can’t sleep when they’re “working.” And I can’t leave to work elsewhere because I have to be around to make sure they don’t destroy the apartment.

I’m gathering references for the moving packets. Even though I can’t get my hands on the cash for a few more months, I want to have everything ready.

Will head to the museum this morning to see the exhibit before it closes (my mom is staying with the cats), and then come back to do some more sorting and purging. And I have to start Confidential Job #1 — it’s due on Friday.

Elsa is a little better this morning; let’s hope she doesn’t get worse now that the rat bastards are back.

It’s relentless, and it’s hard to keep any energy and focus. I feel like I’m fading and failing. And I have to hold the line until I can get out. Thanks so much for all your support. Sometimes it’s all that keeps me going.

I pitched a piece, never thinking they’d really want it, and they came back wanting more than one. I have to go over the terms and then sit down and get them done in the next 72 hours, provided the terms are acceptable. It would be some quick cash on something fun — if it works out. We’ll see.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (first draft, handwritten): 36, 125 words out of est. 100,000 (36%). I’m not sure how I wound up with a lower word count today than yesterday, when I wrote an additional 4 1/2 pages this morning. Headdesk).

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 6:59 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I seem to have a perpetual heat exhaustion headache. Ick.

Anyway, Saturday was good. I got some stuff done in the morning, cooled down the bedroom with the air conditioning for the cats, and headed off to open studio hours in the afternoon.

I made six little objects: three pinch pots, one raised round disk on square feet that I think will be a candle holder (for pillars), a slab-rolled cut-out leaf design that’s too open to be a bowl, so I think it will hold one of my crystal balls, and a small tray.

I’d stopped at Michael’s to buy a package of loose leaves (like autumn leaves, not tea leaves), because I wanted to try the slab leaf projects a teacher showed us on Wednesday. But these leaves didn’t have deep enough ribs, so, when I tried to roll them onto the slab (using a rolling pin — it’s amazing how useful kitchen tools are in ceramics) it didn’t make a deep enough design. The larger leaves have the clearly defined ribs and work better. So, instead, I used the leaf as a pattern to trace into the slab/tray bottom with my needle tool, and then I drew in the leaves. I rolled, cut, measured, and attached the sides of the tray, putting in extra clay for shrinkage, and hoping it won’t separate once it dries.

There were three other people working in open studio, all on the wheel. We wound up putting out our pieces to dry in the parking lot in the sun (talk about old style) because it was more efficient than just sitting it in front of the fan.

I was there for the whole open studio time — and STILL have clay left over! 😉

But I had a blast. I love, love, love handbuilding and slab work. If there’s a class for that which is for a beginner in the fall, that’s what I want to take. I feel like I should tackle the stuff I’m not good at, but I want it to stay fun. A mixed class would probably be best, but if there’s just a handbuilding class that’s not too advanced, I have a feeling I’ll take that instead. I love rolling the clay (between two cloths) through the slab roller. I love checking it and using the needle tool to remove air bubbles, then sliding it through again a few times. I love figuring out how to cut and shape and playing with tools and texture. It made me happy.

One of the other women there has been taking class for two years. She said that, for the first eighteen months, she couldn’t get the feel of the wheel at all. Then, suddenly, she had a breakthrough, and now she’s obsessed.

Hopefully, I’ll hit a point where I can do wheel as well, but right now, it just discourages and intimidates me. Maybe, once I’ve moved, I’ll take a few private lessons (if I can find a really good teacher), who can baby-step me through both the theoretical and the experiential. Because so much of wheel work is understanding the feel of the clay.

My morning glory somehow managed to grow through the screen and is trailing down the side of the building. Oops!

I go this from Brandy, who got this from Dru . . .

Five things always in my purse: lipstick, pens, small screwdriver for my glasses, a couple of crystals, a Susan B. Anthony dollar (for luck, not to spend)

Five things always in my wallet: driver’s license, bank card, store discount cards (actually, at this point, only Costco, Borders, and Staples Rewards — all the rest are in their own wallet), too many receipts, National Wildlife Federation card.

Five things always in my refrigerator: milk, wine, eggs, cranberry juice, lemons and limes.

Five things always in my closet: Well, my closet is kind of like the one in THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE — it looks small, but I keep putting things into it and it expands to meet need. When I empty it to move, I may find Jimmy Hoffa and a trail to another country in there. At this point, stuff in there includes clothes, my childhood sled, offseason shoes (on-season are on a shoe rack in the bedroom or in the front hall for easy access), boxes of fabric, childhood ballet costumes.

Five things always on my desk: Printer (computer is a laptop, so it travels), gargoyle, crystals, Ganesh statue, too many projects (not that I’m complaining — it means the work is going well).

Sunday was pretty quiet. I got some work done in the morning. I packed up the baking materials and went to my friend’s place, where I baked brownies all afternoon and worked on notes for a new series while the brownies were in the oven and cooling. It was a nice, quiet workspace, both the oven and the airconditioning worked, and I got a lot done.

Quiet night reading and playing with the cats. In the morning, Elsa scooped a blueberry right out of my bowl and started playing with it on the floor, so at least she felt well enough to play.

Hopefully, her medicine arrives today, so we can start it before I leave. I’ve got to do a lot of last minute running around — a bit of bill paying, getting my tickets and money sorted, finish packing, return my friend’s key.

I should have internet in Philly (famous last words), and, for some reason, I’ve decided I want tea towels with Ben Franklin and/or the Liberty Bell on them. Yeah, I don’t get it, either. I’m building up my stock of tea towels/kitchen towels, and am on a novelty tea towel kick.

I’m trying to limit the projects I’m taking, because it will be a busy week: the work for Confidential Job #1, notebooks for two projects, the new booklet, the books on which I’m lecturing, and a couple of other books just to read for fun. That, along with what I’m doing while down there,should give me a productive week.

I do plan to blog all week, internet- permitting, and I hope to get the last bit of the potential contract sorted out, so that I’ll have good news by next week. Here’s hoping.

In the 90’s+ all week in New York, which means it will be even hotter in Philly. I have to mentally gear myself up for a lot of running around hauling luggage in hot weather tomorrow.

Devon

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

We’re supposed to break 100 degrees again today. Ick.

Off to pottery yesterday, for my last regular class. Finally, I found something I”m good at — mask-making. We did slab masks (which means we created a slab on the roller, then shaped it on a newspaper form and decorated it). I’m thrilled with mine.

I have some experience with mask-making, both for ritual purposes and for theatre productions, although I’ve never made one in clay before.

We also trimmed the pots we threw on the wheel. So, I was back to going clockwise, which feels more natural to me, but other than that, it was a disaster. Now, it’s just getting to the point where I’m afraid of the wheel, which is not a good thing. My pot is a disaster, but I’m firing it and glazing it anyway, because when I master my fear of the wheel (like, when I’m 105), I can see how far I’ve come.

Glazed my little tiny pressed mold pot, which looks cute, and glazed my enormous pressed bottle vase. I love the glaze room, and I’ve gone from being fascinated by glazes to being obsessed with them.

Several people praised the pressed bottle vase, which surprised me. I look at it and see the flaws, but they think it’s really cool, the way I played with texture. I thank them for their support of a newbie.

When I get back from Philly, there are a few glazing days, so, provided this work’s been bisque-fired (the first firing), I’ll be able to glaze it and send it on for the second firing.

I received an unexpected check which, I think, will pay for fall’s pottery class.

While I was at class, my mom dealt with the new exterminator now handling the building. He’s very nice and very thorough — what a great change from the guys who wandered in, squirted the hose a few times at baseboards(and then we had to wash away the run-off before the cats stepped in it), and wandered out. Everything he uses is pet-safe (Elsa, being Elsa, followed him around to make sure, and the twins peered out from under a table; Elsa must always supervise and remind anyone who enters that this is a cat-centric household, and she expects proper greetings and pettings) and his equipment is very precise, so there’s no drippage or leakage or it getting onto anything but what he focuses on. With all the construction and other chaos going on, we needed a good exterminator around here, not to mention so many people moving in and out. It’s a fact of living around New York — you have to battle vermin on every level.

Unfortunately, because he was so thorough, it means I can’t use the gas oven for two weeks.

And while that was happening, I’d merrily offered to bake for the final class party that I’ll miss next week, and leave it on Monday at the clay center before I leave for Philly on Tuesday.

So, I called up a friend of mine, who will be away this weekend (she goes to an old family retreat every weekend all summer), and asked if I could borrow her oven. She was just talking to her co-workers about our last adventure when I called, thought the whole thing was funny, and we’re sorting out the key exchange later today.

I received a very exciting offer, but there are a few contract details to sort out, and the person I’m supposed to deal with is on vacation — but the contract is supposed to be signed “immediately” — so I went to the person who sent me the offer and asked who I should deal with in the interim. Someone’s got to be covering, or, if not, it won’t be finalized until that person gets back. Not signing something just because the other side is in a rush. Anyway, IF we get these two contract points sorted out, it will be exciting news and I’ll be able to share it.

Also received my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which looks pretty darned interesting. Sometimes, I think my editor over there reads my blog!

Elsa’s new medicine did not arrive yesterday — although it was sent out and to the correct address. Why am I not surprised? And, of course, the vet still hasn’t made his promised phone call. She actually was a little better, although she’s kind of droopy. I want to call the acupuncturist/Reiki master recommended by the woman in my pottery class when I get back from Philly and see if I can set up an appointment. Elsa’s moving sometimes as though she’s uncomfortable (although she can still outjump Iris, who never bothers to do the math before she does a jump, but just flings herself on and off things and assumes inanimate objects will move to accommodate her). I think a little acupuncture or some Reiki would do her good. I know I sure as heck could use some Reiki. So, I’ll meet with these people and see if we connect, and then maybe they can at least help Elsa stay more comfortable. Supposedly, they do acupuncture at my vet’s, and I’ve asked for it several times, and the request has been ignored. I’d rather go to an independent professional anyway. My acupuncturist was recommended by both a jockey friend and a trainer’s wife, and she’s been a life saver — certainly a career-saver. I would have had to quit Broadway much sooner because of disability had I not started seeing her.

Anyway, I’ve got some running around to do today, some correspondence, hopefully get some writing in. I got some ideas for a couple of little projects to use up what’s left of my clay, so I might head back to the studio for open studio hours this afternoon and finish up for a couple of hours. Got a couple of things sorted out for the Philly trip — looks like I’ll be dealing with another set of scumbag real estate management company when I hit Philly, who are creating unnecessary problems at the site. I’m used to real estate scumbags by this point, and if they get physical, I’ll file a police report. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. I’m starting to think that 98% of the people who work in real estate make pond scum look like a higher life form.

I am certainly looking forward to things lightening up after July 21. Saturn can’t leave the House of Pisces fast enough for me. Enough life lessons already! 😉

I’ve got to pack for Philly and decide which projects to take with me. I’m doing a lot of running around, so I don’t want to take too many projects and then not get around to doing them. I’m definitely taking both books on which I’m lecturing, to finish the notes and lectures. If the contract is finalized before I leave, I’ll be outlining another project along the same lines (per the contract); if it’s not finalized, I’ll wait. I’ve got the booklet to work on and some short stories. I’ll take the assignment from Confidential Job #1, which I don’t think I can finish before I leave. And, oh, yeah, I kind of have to do the work I’m paid to do while I’m there, right? 🙂 I’ve also got to write up Elsa’s medication schedule and feeding schedule so my mom can take care of it while I’m gone, and cook ahead so my mom doesn’t have to cook while I’m gone.

Yeah, it’ll be a busy weekend. And a hot one. I will probably run the air conditioner a lot. Yesterday, even in air conditioning, I just couldn’t cool down.

Devon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
This weather is disgusting

If this is a “break” . . .use your imagination. Ick. Perhaps the temperature is down outside, but in here, the bricks in the building absorbed the heat from the past few days and I feel like I’m a loaf of bread baking in a traditional oven.

I am not a heat-and-humidity girl, which is one of the many reasons I live in a mid-Atlantic state rather than a more tropical one, and one reason I hope to move further north.

Even Elsa is coping better than I am. Actually, she’s showed steady improvement over the last few days — although she is smart enough to prefer the air conditioning. Violet has ben fine; Iris got all sulky for some reason, kept getting out of the air conditioned room and hiding in one of the hot rooms, so I had to drag her out and back into the cool. Since she’s the fattest of the cats (as the vet says, she is “at the top of her weight range”), I have to watch her carefully in this weather.

I got some work done, mostly reading and note-taking. The possibility of several non-fiction books looms on the horizon — two are fairly new ideas to me, but make sense; one has been swirling around for years, but I think I finally have a handle on it; and one I wrote up an entire notebook of notes on about a year ago, and am now expanding those notes into chapters and essays here and there. I’m going to play with shaping them a little more to see if they are actually viable, and then get to work on outlines, sample chapters, and proposals. Two would go under the Cerridwen Iris Shea moniker and two under the Devon Ellington one.

Also made notes on another piece of fiction, but I’m not sure if anything will ever come of it.

Have to go next door early to look after neighbor’s cat, then it’s off to pottery class. If the studio isn’t sweltering and I’m not at the point of collapse after three hours, I may stay and try to do another hour or so of work. Then, I have to come home, shower, and change — the opening of my first wonderful teacher’s exhibit is tonight, and I want to be there.

I found two potential pottery studios to join in the area in which I hope to relocate. One is close by, but I don’t like it as much as the one that’s about an hour away, and seems run more like this one is. Of course I’d like the one farther away. Once I move if that’s where I land, I’ll attend events at both and see which one feels best. That’s the one I’ll join.

Because I am hooked on clay.

Devon

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 6:45 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, disgusting

It hit 101 here yesterday, with 103 in the city. I was cooked by 8:30 in the morning.

I need to clarify — the power issues have nothing to do with the landlord — it’s strictly the power problems Con Ed has. There are so many millions of people in this area that pressure the grid that the lines burn out. In Queens, a batch of power lines burst into flame Monday into Tuesday night, taking out the power in the neighborhood and landing on cars, torching them. Con Ed’s running around congratulating themselves that only about a dozen major feeds blew out of 1200 — but for the people served by those broken feeds, it’s horrible. The guys actually working the lines are great — it’s the ones making the decisions that are idiots. And, when you have the most densely populated area in the country, you know you need a lot of power. If you can’t provide it, while still raising rates every year by the amounts they do — maybe someone else needs to provide the power. Our monthly payments are contracts, and a power outage like this is breaking the contract.

I am grateful that our power’s held, thus far, and hope it continues today. I am running the air for a few hours, then trying just to sit in the cooled down room with it off during peak hours. Don’t know how many others are following the guidelines, but hopefully, if I’m not the only person in the county doing it, we can keep things going.

I am extremely grateful that I freelance, especially in this type of weather. Most summers, I would be stuck on Metro North — sometimes literally — and, since they are dolts, they run the heat on the trains in the summer and the A/C in winter. I would have to slog through the hot Manhattan streets, and then haul baskets of laundry up and down three to five flights of stairs for hours at a time, then take at least an hour and a half slogging through the streets and on a heated train to return. Those of you that have been reading the blog since the Broadway days probably remember the tales of nightmare commutes and being stuck on Metro North, sometimes until three a.m.

I miss my theatre pals sometimes a lot,and the interaction and adrenalin rush of working a show, but I don’t miss the commute!

I don’t do well in heat and humidity, so I was done before 8 AM yesterday. I barely made it online at all, and the computer was off for most of the day. I didn’t dare take the computer into the air conditioned bedroom to work, for fear I’d run down the battery, the power would go out, and I couldn’t recharge.

I bounced back and forth between keeping my cats in the air conditioned bedroom (barricading the door with pillows, because they hate closed doors and the doors are so warped with paint in this place that they don’t close) and going over next door to run the air for the big cat for a few hours.

I had trouble concentrating — I always do in hot weather. I didn’t take any of the computer work with me. I finished LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani. I think all of you would enjoy it, but it struck me as something particularly that Lara, Dru, Brandy, Ada, and Teresa would like. Dru — it talks about a lot of neighborhoods we know well!

Also read Nicole Peeler’s newest in her Jane True series, TRACKING THE TEMPEST. I’d picked up the first book in the series because the cover was so outstanding, and was pleased that I liked the book (and Nicole) a lot. This builds on the first book beautifully — a great story on its own, but also builds the character arcs of all the regular cast. It’s very well done.

I tried to read an historical research book for a project, but couldn’t focus.

I started re-reading Doris Lessing’s THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK, which I haven’t read since college (and which I may be writing about). It came out the year I was born, and was an enormously influential book in the 1960’s and 1970’s for women and the fight for equality. So it’s very interesting, in this 10th anniversary edition — which came out in the 70’s — to read her introduction detailing that how it was received was quite different than her intent in writing the book.

That’s the thing with writing — you sit there and work your ass off and have a very clear vision of what you’re doing. But once it’s out in the world, people approach it with their own frames of reference. The better the writing is, the stronger the response, the more likely you are to get a wide range of responses. If you spark a response in someone who speaks or writes persuasively about that response, many other readers will either approach it with that frame of reference imposed on their own, predisposed to see it through that secondary lens, or think they SHOULD view it that way, or will be perceived as stupid, and the author’s entire vision of the book is shifted, then, to the critic’s or essayist’s.

Sometimes meanings that the author didn’t realize were there come through, which can be fun or disconcerting: “Hey, I didn’t know that was in there when I wrote it!” (Of course, the subconscious did, but that’s a whole other ball of wax) or “That’s not at ALL what I meant!”

I have some errands to run, which I will try to get out of the way before we hit triple digits — I’m out of cat food, and it would be a good idea to get some people food in, too. Elsa is actually handling everything very well — she’s eating well and every day is a fraction more “Elsa” and less “invalid”. Still waiting to hear back from the vet. She’s lost far too much weight quickly, which puts stress on her liver and kidneys, and, although I want her to put it back on, we have to do it slowly, so as not to stress them in the other direction. I really want to start her on the new medication sooner rather than later.

I hope to start the first of the books I’m deconstructing in fall, re-reading it and taking notes to shape the week of lectures.

We’re being careful in the heat — that’s all we can do. I’m very excited about pottery class tomorrow, but sad I haven’t been able to do any studio time.

Devon

Wednesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sunny, sticky

The humidity wasn’t a problem yesterday until later in the day, although the heat soared. Today, I doubt we’ll be that lucky. Now they’re saying we’ll break 100. That’s pretty rare around here.

I wanted to put studio time in, but the website wasn’t updated, and no one answered the phone, so it was a pretty good bet they were closed.

I got out a couple of queries for the plays. I finished the draft changing BEHIND THE MAN from a three-act interactive piece to a two-act proscenium piece. I expanded it a bit in Act I and have to add some more in Act II — it’s still a little short. And I need to work on the new material. It’s not yet seamlessly integrated with the other material.

I started the same transformation on THE MATILDA MURDERS. My dilemma there is that one of the jokes in the interactive version is that all the characters interact/acknowledge the audience except Nate, and he starts to wonder if he’s crazy or if they’re crazy. I’ve been trying to make that work in the two-act structure, but it doesn’t. I may have to lose that whole element. That makes the gap between the three-act and two-act versions wider, which is a good thing, but means I have to come up with extra business to replace the business I’m cutting, and, again, make the play longer.

It’s a fascinating process.

Finished Susan Turnbull’s ALMOST FRENCH. In many ways, it works better for me than Elizabeth Gilbert’s overpraised EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Don’t get me wrong — I think Gilbert’s writing is beautiful. But, to me, she went on this incredible journey and ended up in the same place she started. The man was a different individual and the location was different, but she hadn’t really made progress. The entire focus of her existence was still on a man. Yes, she spent time on her own, but one never got a sense that she developed as an individual. It was always in how she related to the men on her journey. And then, the second book of hers that came out a few months ago, is a justification as to why she agreed to marry this new guy after swearing she’d never get married again. Don’t plan to read it. It’s none of my business. It’s her life, not mine. I don’t care what she does, and if she wants to change her mind, that’s up to her. But she’s doing it publicly, and in my opinion, she’s being well-paid to be a hypocrite. It doesn’t matter on a personal level because we are not a part of each other’s lives. I think it’s great she’s a success, good for her, it’s hard to make a living in this business. So, she found out her “ethics” on the matter of remarriage weren’t all that strong when push came to shove and she’d have to make actual compromises for her supposed “principles.” I don’t need to spend my hard-earned money reading her justification. Turnbull, on the other hand, although she comes to Paris because she’s fallen in love with a guy, actually builds a life AND a partnership, and, for all the growth and change she manages during the six years before her marriage, she also stays true to an essential core of herself, even when she makes mistakes, even when it’s not always pretty, even if she’s not always right. And I really like and respect that about both her and her book. She doesn’t make excuses or justifications. She simply IS. She’s doing the best she can, she’s learning along the way, and she’s taking joy in the journey. For a memoir, there’s not a whole lot of naval-gazing going on, and yet she has a wonderful journey of self-discovery.

Roughed out two comedy sketches, one political, one more universal, about scumbag landlords. They still need work — the political one needs more zap leading to the end, and it’s very vicious. I may need to dial down the viciousness, yet still be witty enough to get my point across. But they were fun to write. I want to write two more, polish them, and that will be my first bunch sent to the comedy group.

Started reading Adriana Trigani’s LUCIA, LUCIA, which is a lovely novel. I’m throughly enjoying it. Although most of it is set in the Greenwich Village of the 1950’s, enough of it remained when I went to NYU in the 80’s to enjoy the landmarks. Some of them are still there, but NYU is rapidly buying up all the lovely historical buildings, ripping them down, and building soulless dormitories. I’m sometimes embarrassed to be an NYU alum; it used to mean something, one could take pride in it, but now — they’ve been such poor stewards of the grace and history of the Village for the past twenty years that it’s disgusting.

Will try to get some writing done and read at least a bit of the play sent over by my acquaintance before it gets too hot to work and I have to shut off the computer. We have to “conserve power” — either the air can be on or the TV or the computer. Let’s see, now, Con Ed raises our fees by 17% every year, but can’t provide the power we need. Something’s not only twisted about that, but fraudulent. Their JOB, their reason for existence, is to provide the power we need because we’re paying for it. Fingers crossed they don’t screw us like they usually do — there’s no place I can take the cats to cool down if the power goes out.

No studio time for me today. It’s not even 7:30 in the morning, and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I do not do well in heat and humidity. I am a Winter Girl all the way!

Elsa is hanging in there. She’s not making huge progress, but she’s eating better and interacting more and making decisions. She’s not backsliding, although the heat and humidity are tough on her, too. Still waiting to hear back from the vet about her new medication. Getting a little tired of having to wait at least a week every time I make contact.

Stay cool, stay hydrated.

I’m going back to the page.

Devon

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday, June 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and HOT!

Hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July.

I wanted to start running again today, but between the humidity and coyotes and the warning that the pollution is so bad we shouldn’t run — I didn’t. I’m starting to understand why people use treadmills.

Lots of yoga, though, to make up for it.

We’re supposed to have a week of hot, humid weather in the high 90’s, with heat index bringing it well over 100. Ick. Let’s hope Con Ed doesn’t screw us with a power outage.

I’ve had a good few days working on POWER OF WORDS, getting back into the rhythm of it. Rolling around some other ideas that I hope will migrate from percolation to page in the coming weeks.

Reading ALMOST FRENCH by Sarah Turnbull, and, for the most part, enjoying it. The fact that she adopted a Westie makes me like her (and the book) even more, since I have a soft spot for West Highland Terriers.

Reading all these ex-pat tomes makes me realize that I approach living in a new place very differently than many others. Which is odd, because I’m shy and not outgoing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always felt like an outsider, so I never worry about whether or not “they” consider me an outsider or not. I’m just me — deal. I start from a position of respect and courtesy. If you try to walk all over me, I won’t put up with it, but politeness is met with politeness. Friendship takes time and shared experience, so you’re not going to go somewhere and make instant friends. It’s more likely to happen in the theatre — I’ve actually made several long-term friendships when my shows travelled — but, again, there’s shared experience.

I don’t sit around and wait for people to be friendly. When I land somewhere, whether it’s a holiday house rental or a stop on the show schedule — I set up house, I find the nearest grocery store, newsagent, cafe, pub, and bookshop. If the newsagent’s is close enough, I get the papers first thing every morning. Newsagents know everything and everyone. I’m polite, pleasant, I listen. I’ve got my notebook and camera, so I’m busy. I walk the neighborhood, learning it, in ever-widening circles. I always meet people who are walking dogs, because almost every dog I meet will stop to greet me. Even if I don’t feel particularly social, I am polite to people I meet. I let things develop organically. There’s always going to be an element of loneliness in a new place — or even a place you’ve lived for years. That’s part of the deal. When you actively participate in what’s around you, everything else happens organically. Granted, it’s easier when one is in theatre, because theatre people are used to transience, and tend to be friendly from the get-go. Even if I’m not in a theatrical capacity, if there’s a local theatre, I know I can find people to talk to. Having Broadway credits gets one through most stage doors.

Several places around here had fireworks last night, close enough to see from the apartment windows, and certainly close enough to feel. The cats were not amused. I left mine in good hands and went next door, to my neighbor’s cat, who was just terrified. I didn’t want him to get overly stressed. I sat with him under the table, petting him and talking to him, until it was quiet again. Poor thing.

If Elsa was healthy, I would have just brought him over at the beginning of this three-week stint and integrated him here, but I think it would be too much chaos for her. Even though she’s the friendly one.

I’m hoping it doesn’t get quite as awful, weather-wise, as they predict. I’d like to get up and about and get a few things done. I’m pretty sure it’s a holiday Monday, so I’m hoping it’s relatively quiet.

The producer who relocated is talking to companies in her new locales about my plays. That’s great, but I need to see a contract if there’s interest. This is my business, not my hobby. So, we’ll see what happens.

I want to get some writing done, some revisions done, and get started on the fantasy novel on which I’m giving the seminar in fall. Two weeks ago, I followed up with someone else on a workshop proposal I sent; chickie said she was on vacation for a month (must be nice, but why no auto-responder? If you put out a call for proposals immediately before going away FOR A MONTH, you need to put up an auto responder — or put out the call when you get back) and would get back to me the next day. Of course, I have yet to hear from her. So I’m not holding the slots. Your disorganization is not my problem, and I don’t put my life on hold because you can’t get it together.

Busy week coming up. I hope I can get in some studio time. And that the weather is not as awful as predicted.

Devon

Published in: on July 5, 2010 at 5:59 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

The humidity let up, thank goodness, because yesterday, it was disgusting. There were severe storms all around us, with enormous damage and possibly tornadoes, but we didn’t see a single raindrop.

Had a good day on POWER OF WORDS, finishing Chapter 15. This whole section is pretty weak, and I have to tear is apart and restructure a lot — I haven’t integrated the logistics well enough into the story, and the two are very interdependent. But at least I have something on paper with which I can wrestle.

Hung out with the cat next door quite a bit — got some reading and writing done over there. Put the air on for him for a few hours, too. He’s a big cat, and he suffers in the heat.

Elsa was in pretty bad shape yesterday. I had to haul around quite a bit to find the tasteless Pedialyte — damn them all for only having flavored varieties in the single-serving sizes. I had to buy a huge bottle. Anyway, since she wouldn’t eat, I gave her Pedialyte every couple of hours all day. She ate a tiny bit in the evening, baby food and a little cooked chicken. She still has what seems like acid reflux, so she wants to eat, but it’s physically difficult for her.

And I”m STILL waiting to hear back from the vet, which irritates me. I think he’s just hoping she’ll fade away at home and be done with it, since I can’t afford to drop tens of thousands of dollars on treatment, and I resent it.

This morning, however, Elsa is very perky and dancing around, shades of the old, funny Elsa. She was very busy all morning, making the rounds she used to make before she was so sick. She ate better than she has in about a week — it was hard work for her, but she was determined– interacted well with the other cats, and is now happily curled up in front of the fan, enjoying the breeze. Best she’s been in a few weeks. I’m hoping it’s not just a momentary rally.

I’m going to do some more research and see what else I can figure out.

I hope to have a reasonably quiet day today. I do have to fight with some scumbags (not landlords for once) who are trying to take advantage of my elderly mother, and I will not tolerate it. I’ve got some paperwork to do, a few more pitches and queries to get out, and a proposal to work on. So, provided dealing with the scumbags doesn’t totally wipe me out, it should be a reasonably productive day.

And, hopefully Elsa will continue to improve. She’s definitely happier and more cheerful than she’s been in awhile. All your good thoughts are helping — thank you!

Devon

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 6:28 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, sticky, icky

I pretty much wilted yesterday, and fairly early. Got the grocery shopping done, hung out with the neighbor’s cat, got a bit of writing done.

In spite of honoring Fandango, the Air Conditioner Goddess (thank you, Barbara Ardinger), I had all the excitement of a wet dishrag. I am a Winter Girl, born in a snowstorm under a full moon. Heat and humidity don’t do it for me.

The cats got absolutely frantic in the afternoon, trying to get out of the air conditioned room. At first, I thought it was their usual hatred of closed doors. But then, Elsa, who had not been doing well all afternoon (I thought I’d be posting her obituary today), hauled herself up, yanked away the barrier that blocked them from opening the door, pried it open, and led them to “safety.”

Turns out there was an earthquake near Ottawa, and it could be felt all the way down here! I sure didn’t feel it, but the cats did.

Funny thing is, whenever Elsa gets very busy, we always tease her with, “Is there an earthquake in New Jersey?” because once, when there was one, she practically climbed the walls. And this wasn’t in New Jersey, but she could sense it anyway. Always trust the cats and dogs, right? They know what’s going on.

Checked on the neighbor’s cat in the afternoon. That apartment wasn’t too hot. I actually fell asleep with him on my lap for about an hour, which was pretty funny, but at least he had some company. Three weeks is a long time for a cat, and that’s how long his human is away.

I wasn’t very productive yesterday. Today’s supposed to be hotter and more humid, so more of the same. We were supposed to head to Plymouth, MA and just over the bridge on the Cape to take care of a few things, but I can’t leave the cats in this heat. They need the air, and it’s not safe to leave the air on without us here — too much of a fire risk. So we’ll try to go sometime next week instead.

Elsa’s having a hard time eating, still. She wants to, but it’s like she physically can’t. I haven’t heard back from the vet yet, so I’m going to get some Pedialyte and see if that will help. The vet had suggested it earlier, and that’s what we give to actors when they’re ill, but we still have to get them onstage. Feeding her a few teaspoons every couple of hours is keeping her going, but now we need to find something stronger and more longterm. And it’s hard on the other cats, too, especially Violet, who adores Elsa. Iris has my mother as her own, personal human slave, but Violet and Elsa have always been very close. Elsa’s illness is breaking Violet’s heart, as well as not being much fun for Elsa.

I’m going to try to get some work done on a few articles this morning, before it gets too hot to work, and maybe a little bit of work on POWER OF WORDS. I need to work on some proposals, but I’m not up to zippy, excited language today. More like mojito-on-the-beach language.

I am grateful to live someplace where the seasons are clearly defined. I don’t do well in the heat, but I do even less well when there’s an unchangeable climate. I like variety.

Devon

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 5:43 am  Comments (8)  
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!

Devon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

We have heat! And the repair guys came to fix the bolt on the door in the morning (which hasn’t worked since the new doors were put in) and the intercom in the afternoon (which hasn’t worked for three years). Everyone was very nice, and each repair was done in about ten minutes. Elsa, of course, was right in the midst of everything, making new friends. If only relations with the landlords would stay pleasant, but I’m sure they’re dreaming up some fresh hell for the tenants.

In and around the repairs, I completely restructured the first section of SETTLING THE SCORE. Now, I have a series of quick scenes setting up the characters up front, once we’ve set up Lucas at the gravesite. You don’t know WHY these people are connected, but the group photo that sends Lucas on his journey is established early with the various characters who are in it, and it brings it back to being an ensemble story, my original vision, instead of simply Lucas’s story I’m tightening a lot of the scenes already there, but now, I think it has a better flow. Everyone important (hero and villain) is established early on, with the audience not entirely convinced who falls into which camp, and then we see Lucas bringing things together with the news of his father’s murder, and pieces of the ensemble’s former connection and strong emotional ties coming through. It’s less linear, but more cinematic, which, being a screenplay, matters. And I chose NOT to go with flashbacks, which I think is a stronger choice.

Should I decide to adapt the final screenplay into novel form (because, for me, where I am in my career, that would probably sell faster, unless these early summer meetings land me something quickly I don’t expect), I will go back to a more linear format.

As I moved through the material, tweaking it, I also incorporated the notes I made the other night. It will still run long, but I can then make more internal cuts and collapse dialogue and make things more specific in further rewrites.

Watched LIE TO ME last night, for the first time. Liked Tim Roth’s work a lot, on the fence about the whole show. It’s trying to masquerade as an ensemble vehicle, without making the supporting characters strong enough. Tim Roth is an interesting and inventive enough performer to deserve equal matches around him, in fact, I think it would even elevate what he’s doing, and he’s not getting the challenge. A lot of that, I think, is in the writing. I see why it’s a show on the bubble. There are some really good ideas in it, but the execution feels diluted.

This morning, I will write for an hour or so, but then I’m getting in the car and driving up to CT. I’m actually going shopping — Mercury is retrograde, and I want to see if I can pick up a few things I need. I have my tickets booked for the out of town job at the end of next week. I got a lovely orientation packet from the pottery workshop. Now that I see who’s teaching it, I am Very Intimidated. This place is for pros, not dabblers. And I’m going to find out if I really like working in clay, or if I only like the IDEA of working in clay. I’ll make my decisions from there.

I’ve already had to cancel plans to attend two writing conferences, a yoga conference, a trip to Maine, a trip to Seneca Falls,and two trips to Canada due to Elsa’s illness and the vet bills. I’d really like to participate in something fun, challenging, and unique over the next few months, but it has to be closer to home and not too expensive. We’ll see. I hate having my wings clipped.

By the way, I STILL haven’t heard from the vet. Not happy.

I’m reading a fantastic book called SPANNING TIME: A DIARY KEEPER BECOMES A WRITER by Elizabeth Yates, who won a Newbury Award in 1951. The diaries span her life as a teen in the teens to either the 40s or 50s, and show how determined she was to be a writer rather than a debutante. It’s wonderful, and it certainly makes me want to hunt down and read her other work.

Devon

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Elsa thinks decorating is exhausting!

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Sleet and cold

We’ve had heat the past few days (amazing, the super goes away, there’s a substitute, and we have heat. Unfortunately, there’s no hot water this morning. Urgh.

Yesterday was a pretty decent day. Got a lot of errands done, including dropping stuff off where my Mom is staying, going to Michael’s yet again, going to White Plains. I wanted to get something for my cousin’s son at the Metropolitan Museum of Art store, which had an outpost in WP in Spring — and has since closed. I had a fit. I’d parked at the Target complex and sprinted the X blocks to the other mall (with the really expensive parking in the really scary lot, which is why I parked at Target), only to find no store.

Most people seem to be panic-shopping. Inventories are low, lots of empty shelves, and people are grabbing whatever’s there. Uh, no thanks. I went into one store, asked for something I wanted, and the sales person said, “Well, we don’t have that, so you’ll just have to settle for something else.”

My response? “No, actually, I’ll go spend my money somewhere else. Buh-bye” and walked out.

Restoration Hardware’s keeping their shelves stocked — the store looks gorgeous. They also had the most business — the line wound all around the store, and they’re being really NICE to their customers — and customers are buying.

Sprinted back to Target, ran into Target, picked up two things I needed, and dashed through the express check out. I managed to get into my car and pull out of my spot on the moment my meter ran out. Phew!

I was going to go to Home Goods, since I was already all the way in White Plains, but couldn’t face it.

Ran some more errands, including to the liquor store. Stopped into AI Friedman’s, which is gorgeous. They didn’t have what I needed today, but I’ll definitely hit the after-Christmas clearance. Michael’s is just letting the empty shelves sit, which looks awful, and putting up a few Valentine’s Day things. Uh, no. Even the most dedicated crafters I know are still trying to make Christmas happen.

Went to Home Depot, wondering if I should buy another artificial tree to replace the little one we have. It’s looking a bit sad, both listing and listless. I have a huge tree in storage, but it’s 8 feet tall AND 8 feet wide, and there’s just no room in the apartment for it. The trees that would fit in the space look as sad as the one we’ve got.

I stood there, feeling a bit overwhelmed, and this little girl (about 3 or 4) walks up to me. She’s sucking a lollipop. She pulls it out of her mouth and says, “You look sad. Would you like some of my lollipop? It’s cherry.”

Her father is with her, dying a million deaths.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I thanked her and said, no, but I’d had a long day, and now it was much better. I wound up going to the garden section and buying a basket of decorated greenery and a two foot live tree in a pot (the latter was less than $8!) and haulign them home. The little tree fits in the window, and I put some tiny decorations on it. The basket is on the coffee table.

It was around 2:30 before I could even start the decorating. There’s a lot half done, all the ornaments I brought in from storage are out of boxes, although not necessarily in their final spots. I have to bring the empty boxes back to storage this morning, because there’s no place to put anything with all the boxes. But what’s up looks pretty darned cute. I will post pictures over the coming days.

At 1:30 this morning, Iris stepped on my EYE and launched with her back foot on a jump. Do you have any idea how much that hurts? There was no blood, but it really, really hurts. I’m using the rest of the eye drops I bought in Prague. If it seems infected or there’s any change in vision, I’ll go to the eye doctor. I’m hoping I’ll just be sore and uncomfortable for a few days.

Good writing session this morning, off to storage now, and then yet ANOTHER stop at Michael’s for one more garland (if they have it) and some floral wire. I’ve been using ornament hangers wound together — just break down and get the floral wire, already! I had to buy wire cutters when I disconnected the old land line. The right tools make all the difference.

The cats love the new faux “sofa” I built out of boxes of stuff I can’t yet put in storage because it needs to be sorted. I covered the contraption with festive fabric and lots of pillows. All three cats have their favorite spots, although Violet also likes to sleep in the chair covered in a fleece throw where one of the stuffed reindeer currently resides.

More eyedrops, then off to storage before the sleet gets any nastier.

I thought Christmas was THIS week, but it’s NEXT week — gives me another day or two to get out the cards.

Have a great Sunday!

Devon