Tues. July 5, 2022: New Week, New Play

image courtesy of Kohji Asakawa

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Why, yes, I started the week by writing a full draft of a new one-act play this morning.

Friday morning, I got the review and invoice out. I was paid my month-end fee by the biggest client. I got some information on something for which I want to apply in autumn. Sent a marketing idea to my shared world anthology editor.

I set up all #31Prompts to release via Tweetdeck at 11 AM each day. They will be consistent on Tweetdeck, and hit all the other social media channels whenever I can get them up. But at least, if you follow along on Twitter, it will be consistent.

Made a logo for #31Prompts, and also for the Friday Journal Prompts which are exclusive to my Ello page.

Turned around a script coverage in the afternoon, and received two scripts I will turn around today.

Got the information for The World’s (Possibly) Largest Poem event on the 23rd – when to get there, how we’ll be set up, etc. They’re giving us a travel stipend for gas, which will help. Thankfully, gas prices have gone down 34 cents in the last week or so. Which is good, since I need to top up this week (I always refill the tank when I hit half).

Spent the late afternoon on the front porch with an ice-cold martini, reading THE NEW YORKER and VANITY FAIR. It was hot, but not unbearable.

An article I read in VANITY FAIR gave me an idea to layer into GAMBIT COLONY, so I started doing that. Yeah, I’ve been working on that series for years. Eventually, I will finish it! But it’s always a comfort for me to work on it, even though it’s large and unwieldy. It has a very specific target audience. Anyway, I wrote about six pages of new material, to layer in another character’s story. At some point (probably over the autumn and winter), I will go back to finish Book 5 and write Book 6, then do another pass, because those first 6 books encompass the major story arcs and hopefully will release fairly close together.

But GAMBIT COLONY can’t be the main focus right now, just a stress release valve. The Big Project needs my primary focus.

A thunderstorm with lightning woke me a little after midnight, going into Saturday. Tessa and Charlotte were scared, so I stayed up with them for a bit. Willa yawned and went back to sleep. Not a lot bothers her.

It was still drizzling when I went to the Farmers’ Market, but I made my rounds, and then went to the grocery store to fill in.

Saturday was a bit of A Day: woke with a migraine, stepped on glass later in the afternoon and cut my foot, choked on a vegetable at night. Survived, but let’s hope that’s my quota for the month!

Dived into the world of GAMBIT COLONY and stayed there most of the weekend, tweaking, making notes on additional scenes, making cuts. The years of work put into it need to eventually add up to something. I wrote about 20 pages of new material.

A friend is working a show at an historical playhouse on Cape where I worked  a few years back. I had a very mixed experience (slanting to the negative) when I worked there. I’m glad I got to be a part of its history, but it’s highly unlikely I’d work there again. I hope she has a better experience.

Salmon with fresh dill and lemon basil on Saturday night, which was good. Coq Au Vin in the crockpot Sunday, which was okay, but now that I have the base recipe, I need to work on it to deepen the flavors.

We were so lucky for most of the weekend. There were some controlled fireworks for about an hour or so every night, but not the constant shelling, danger, and noise that we had on Cape. So much healthier for us and for the cats. I heard from colleagues still living on Cape that it was absolutely packed and awful all weekend. Hard to get into the grocery store; lines to get to the beaches; and so forth.

I wonder how high the Covid numbers coming out of there will be in two weeks?

The weather’s been warm, but not unbearably hot, which has been nice. I haven’t taken advantage of Windsor Lake yet, but that’s on this week’s schedule! Spending regular time at the lake.

Monday, I was paid by a client and received my next assignment.

I intentionally stayed fairly quiet this weekend, in spite of the nice weather. My body demanded it, with all the sense memory stress. Here’s hoping that I pull out to the other side in the next few days.

I took Willa out on the back balcony on Monday afternoon. Tessa and Charlotte set up a Big Fuss. So everyone got a turn, each in her own playpen, for about a half hour each. That allowed for harmony in the afternoon.

There were some fireworks, but not dickheads setting them off in the streets. Around 10 PM, down past the end of our street, there was a professional fireworks display that ran 20-30 minutes, setting the starbursts over our street. It was beautiful, well-choreographed, and not very loud. Very pretty. We sat on the front porch and watched it. Well, Tessa didn’t like it and hid in the bathroom, but the rest of us watched it from the front porch, and some of the neighbors came out into the street to watch. It was fun.

Unlike feeling like one was being bombed 24/7 for days and having to worry about the roof catching fire, like on Cape Cod.

The shooting in Highland, IL was atrocious, especially since the cops were right there, “couldn’t” catch the shooter, but later took him “without incident.” This, after a black man in Akron was shot 60 times for a traffic stop and his dead body handcuffed. This is not acceptable.

And the Dems just shrug, tell us to “vote harder” and try to fundraise off it.

No. Just no. Do your fucking jobs.

When I finally did get to bed, I had a huge sense memory flashback to this time last year, when I was in the almost empty house, with the last few loads of boxes going to storage, hoping the roof wouldn’t catch fire from the illegal fireworks, because I’d given the hose away. On the 5th last year, was the day of my final storage runs, cleaning the house, and finally getting the hell out, so maybe, just maybe by 9 PM tonight, when I’d hit my favorite hotel in Sturbridge last year, exhausted and in tears, and they upgraded me to a fancy room, I will finally be done with the sense memory stress. I just have to ride out today.

It already started better than this day last year. I woke up with an idea for a short play, sat down before breakfast, took a quick breakfast break, and had the first draft written by 8:30 AM. It’s short, a one-act, but it was a place to put my rage, with a character who comes up with a solution. I mean, it needs work, it’s a first draft, but I said what I wanted to say. Once it’s polished, it’ll go out on submission. It’s called “The Little Woman” so you can guess the context and content.

A colleague on the Monthology anthology, who is helping the editor decide the order of the stories, said she read mine last night and it was so beautiful it made her cry. I’m delighted! I hoped it would have that power.

Today, I catch up on a lot of admin, and start writing my Llewellyn article, which is due by the end of the month. I’ll go back and wrestle with the formatting on the SUBMISSIONS Topic Workbook, and start putting in the edits to the first big arc of The Big Project, so that I can have clean copy to submit by early next week. I have some scripts in my queue, including one for which I was specifically requested. This week, I’ll also do some work on a couple of the other Topic Workbooks, and work on the slides for my class. If you haven’t yet signed up for it at the CCWC, the class is about “Developing the Series” and you can sign up here. It’s in the late afternoon of Aug. 6.

I hope your long weekend wasn’t too chaotic, and you were able to have both rest and pleasure.

Peace, my friends. We have to go to war for it (again), but we can get there.

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

image courtesy of Peter Gottschalk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

Filled up my bag with goodies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tues. March 8, 2022: The Car Is Home!

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny/Cloudy/Cold (more snow coming in)

International Women’s Day

(Note: I haven’t had a Beetle for years, but the last one I had was red).

Every International Women’s Day, I take some time to honor Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are major reasons I became a writer. I first learned about them through library books about them, in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. I read all the books about women when I was in elementary school. I keep taking out the books about Harriet and Louisa, re-reading them, until my parents bought me my own copies. As I got older, I read what they’d written, and read more about their lives and work. Both were strong, flawed, smart, funny women, and are still, in many ways, my guiding lights.

If you missed yesterday’s post over on the GDR site about how to dream your ideal life, the link is here.

Friday was the first day in a long time I felt like I was back to myself, working professionally, and balancing the different work elements.

I slogged through a bunch of emails. I wrote about 3K on The Big Project. I updated the tracking sheets for the project. I ran errands. I did a script coverage. I finished a book for review. The second shipment of contest entries arrived, so that was all sorted and checked in, and I went back to working on contest entries this weekend, too. I figured out the grocery list for Saturday’s shopping, although I had to do it again on foot.

For fun, I’m reading THE SHARPER THE KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY by Kathleen Flinn, about her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It’s such a well-written book, and definitely makes me want to avoid cooking school. But then, I’ve never wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I just want to hone good cooking techniques for my own cooking, and not be under all that pressure, especially not at my age.

Charlotte and Tessa woke me around 5:30 on Saturday morning, which was fine. 5:30 is a good time to start my day.

I did the 3+ mile round trip to the grocery store, with the rolly cart, and restocked our pantry and fridge. The scallops looked good, so I grabbed a pound, which made for sauteed scallops in white wine, butter, and rosemary on Saturday night, and a scallop alfredo on Monday. Hmm. I was going to order scallops from the restaurant for my birthday, but I’ll have had them already twice in the same week, so I’ll need to order something else.

Polished the pieces for the one bookshelf I hadn’t yet put up, put it together, and rearranged some books, which made room on other shelves. I hate having so many books in storage. I keep trying to find a book to look something up and it’s not here, it’s in storage.

Finished reading the book for review and got back to work on reading contest entries. Took the day off from script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and, as usual, it has some cool stuff in it. I had to chase down the new postman to get it out of the box. I talked to him last week, at length, and showed him how much smaller the slot is on the resident side, and asked him to please NOT shove the boxes in on the USPS side, but leave them at the door. When he puts the subscription boxes in the mail slot, I can’t get them out. He promised he would put them on the stairs – and then put the GP box in the slot. I ran downstairs and asked him, nicely again, to PLEASE not to do that, and hand it to me or leave it at the door. He said, “But this box is small.” I repeated, “It’s still too big to get out of the slot on the resident side.” My front door is six steps from the neighborhood mailbox. It’s not like it’s a long walk out of his way. He’s either extremely dumb or he’s doing this on purpose.

I miss our former, lovely postman, who I think has retired.

I realize, in the scheme of everything going on, it’s not much, but it’s a basic courtesy with common sense. Math, geometry, physics.

Sunday, it rained. I stayed in. I unpacked another box of books and shelved them. I unpacked the box that held my blank notebooks, and arranged them on a shelf so I can get at them as I need for projects. It was sunny and mild in the afternoon, so I moved the seedlings out to the porch for a bit, and also planted the lemon balm and the black-eyed Susan vine (more on that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post).

The cat grass has grown well, so I put it on an overturned box so that Willa and Charlotte feel like they have to work a bit to get at it. They both love chomping on it (but won’t, if the pot sits on the floor). Tessa is not interested. Tessa is interested in taking over the sewing room. That’s her latest conquest – the guest bed that has Charlotte’s pink blanky and Charlotte’s catnip banana. They also had huge fun getting into the bag of potatoes I got from the store, rolling them up and down our long hallway. A couple went down the stairs, too, which they watched from the top.

I turned around a script coverage, and then worked on contest entries. One of them was so good, I was up way too late, reading.

Up around 6 on Monday, reasonable. It has rained overnight, and most of the snow is gone.

Wrote up the book review, sent it, along with the invoice. Was paid in a couple of hours, and assigned the next two books for review.

Entered in the scores of the contest entries I read over the weekend. Did a bunch of admin work.

The rain briefly let up, so I did a circuit, on foot, to drop off/pick up library books, mail the bills. Stopped in at Cumberland Farms for eggs, but they were sold out.

When I returned home, there was a message from the garage that the car was ready! I took a cab over, paid the bill (which was even in my budget), thanked them profusely, and drove home. I was practically in tears of happiness and relief. And, of course, the aftermath was exhaustion. But I’m so happy to have the car back and that it works.

That means we can do something fun for my birthday this weekend. I usually try to ignore my birthday, but this is a Big Number, and this year, it’s important to me to Do Something.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, finished the book I really liked for the contest, and read a few more contest entries.

A local organization for whom I was preparing an LOI packet, because I thought they’d be interesting to work for has not only dropped masking requirements indoors, but also dropped proof of vaccination requirements for those entering. So, nope, cross them off the list and move on.

Found out that one of my editors is just over one third of my age, which makes me feel even older. However, she’s an excellent editor, and I enjoy working with her; since we’re not being mutually ageist, but respecting each other’s work, it’s all good.

Had a restful sleep for once (now that the car stress is done). Still have lease renewal stress, but fingers crossed I’ll hear good news on that front soon.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me a little before 5. Completed the morning routine, and was out the door just before six. I was able to drive to the laundromat, instead of walking, which felt like the height of luxury.

While the laundry washed and dried, I worked on the revisions for CAST IRON MURDER. I had to re-revise the pages on which I’d worked at the mechanic’s last week. Caught a bunch of errors. I also marked a couple of places where I need to look something up and change a name, because it’s too similar to another name in the book. There are a few habits/routines that establish too late in the book, and I need to make initial references to them in the first or second chapter, or they look like they come out of nowhere. But I’ve got about the first third of the book done in first pass revisions, which is pretty good, considering I do most of it at the laundromat.

Getting some work done at the desk, then running errands (for which I need the car). It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so I’ll stay in. Thursday, I have to pick up my birthday cake (I have a thing about not making my own cake for my birthday). I’m going to dig into the work today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so that I can take a three day weekend without guilt.

Anything I have to say about Ukraine and the Russian-owned GOP is repetitive at this point. Indict and prosecute the mo-fos already. It will only get worse from here.

Have a good one, friends! I’m headed back to the page.