Tues. Nov. 9, 2021: Music, Cats, and Sleep Deprivation

image courtesy of cottonbro via pexels.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Last week, the prediction was that we’d have our first snowfall by yesterday. Instead, we’re having gorgeous weather. Frosty nights and glorious days. I’ll enjoy every one we get.

Catch-up time from the weekend, huh? I’d miscalculated how much time I needed for the script coverages, and ended up reading/writing up coverage all weekend. I have a feeling I’ll be doing so until Thanksgiving, so that I can take a four-day break without worrying.

Work on CAST IRON MURDER for Nano was steady. Friday-2439; Saturday-2574; Sunday-3008; Monday-2121; this morning-2584. Part of Sunday’s was doing an insert to the previous day’s work, where I’d forgotten to write a rather important scene. Yesterday was a bit of a slog, but the second week of Nano is always the hardest for me. Today, I had a late start, but it went well.

Friday was an absolute debacle of a day. It was gorgeous weather, and we planned to go to Holyoke and South Hadley, about an hour and a half away to the east, to hit up some stores we don’t have around here. I’d printed out the directions, planned the route, all good, right?

Only it wasn’t.

The drive across to Northampton was lovely. They’re just hitting peak color there; we peaked Halloween weekend. Northampton is kind of an odd, funky city, and I hope I get to spend more time poking around at some point, when the pandemic is more under control.

But once we got to Holyoke, the directions had little to do with the map, and neither of them had anything remotely to do with the signage. We couldn’t find any of the stores, and there was no place to stop and ask for directions.

We found 91, and took it down to the Mass Pike, and back west to Lee. Lee was busy, and there was no parking, so we decided not to roam around Lee, but keep going.

To my delight, the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield was having a book sale. The sale was gigantic (and everyone was masked and following protocols). I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a stack of eight books, two cookbooks, and eight classical music CDs.

So the day wasn’t a total wash. Because, book sale.

Their next sale is my birthday weekend, which means I’m less upset about having to cancel the planned trip for That Big Birthday than I was a few weeks ago.

We stopped at a market in Adams we’d been wanting to try. They have some stuff I can’t get anywhere else, but no staff and few patrons masked, so I won’t be going in there often or for long. One of the few places around here that’s lax on masking.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home, because it was late, and we were hungry. Bad idea. We had the chicken sandwiches, which were basically carboard slabs on other cardboard slabs. And felt awful after. We know better.

The month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was a delight of crystals and a mug and a window hanging and all kinds of fun stuff. A bread cookbook I forgot I’d ordered also arrived.

Was up way too late doing script coverage.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:22 on Saturday, a real gift.

Wrote my quota on the novel, and then we headed to Job Lot, where we got a few things my mom wanted, and a draft blocker for the back door, and a snow shovel. Because if a plow pushed snow against the back of the car in the parking lot in winter, I’m going to have to dig it out, and I gave away the snow shovel we had on the Cape before we moved.

Since we were up that way anyway, we stopped at a favorite thrift store. I got another Santa for my collection (this one with little gray kittens who reminded me of my beloved Iris and Violet), some jingle bells, and another metal deer. For Five bucks, for all of it.

To CVS, where it turns out my mom’s new prescription insurance hadn’t come through as promised, so I’m back to working on that.

The library, which was busy, to pick up and drop off books. The Saturday librarian with whom I often talk books in detail was busy, so I just waved to let him know I saw him.

Script coverage in the afternoon and evening. Also finished reading THE LOLA QUARTET, which was interesting, but I got frustrated by the way the characters didn’t learn from their mistakes. The writing’s beautiful, though.

I’m enjoying Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries. They are light and fun.

Saturday was the last sunset after 5 PM until February 3, according to local weather people.

Turned the clocks back, and Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 on Sunday, which was a win, all the way around. However, we had a Serious Conversation. Tessa sat in front of me and told me that they elected her Spokes-Cat, and they would very much like it if I fed them BEFORE I started the coffee in the morning, not after.

Not happening.

Frost in the morning on the cars. I didn’t miss scraping the windshields when I had a garage, I’ll tell you that much. But it only takes a few minutes.

Wrote my Nano quota, more script coverage, some reading for fun.

Discovered I can’t have Bach’s harpsichord music on when I’m trying to do anything else. It’s definitely not background music, but listening music. I also enjoyed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday night into Monday, Charlotte was the one who was impossible. She woke me up every two hours, all purry and cuddly, wanting attention. By 3 AM, Tessa began singing her arias.

I grabbed the feather bed and moved into the bed in the sewing room. Tessa quieted down. Charlotte joined me for a few minutes. Charlotte’s catnip banana was under my back, so I pulled it out and threw it on the floor. Charlotte and Tessa fought over the banana, and then over Tessa’s catnip carrot.

I told them I didn’t care anymore; I just needed some sleep.

I dozed off again, and was woken up a little after 6 by a cold kitty nose. It was Willa, saying, “Please, could you get up and feed us? I am very hungry.”

Since she asked nicely, I did.

AFTER I started the coffee.

I was grumpy most of the day. I did my Nano words, and even came up with titles for the next two books in the series.

Wrote up a script coverage. Got out some LOIs.

I’m so behind on email, it’s not even funny.

Spent a good part of the day trying to sort out my mother’s insurance again. Elizabeth Warren’s office has been a big help. Hopefully, it’s done this time. I need to pick up her medications.

Big grocery shop over at Big Y, then over to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop on the way back for stuff I couldn’t get at the other two places.

Read scripts in the afternoon and at night, which I will write up today.

Roasted chicken thighs with both sweet potatoes and Yukon golds, served with creamed spinach. It was yummy.

Up early this morning, even before the cats, and over to the laundromat by 6 AM, even with scraping off the car windows. My mom came along, wanting to know what it was like. We had a lot of laundry, because I procrastinated, and we had a houseguest, and we had all the fabric from Halloween. So it was two loads in the big industrial machines and two loads in the smaller commercial machines.

We were still washed, dried, folded, and home before 8. And I got a couple of pages done on the outline for the second book.

I made an egg, leek, chevre, and tarragon scramble for breakfast (Kripalu recipe), and put some potatoes, carrots, and pork chops in with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker for dinner. The house smells great.

Did my Nano words (went well today, unusual for week 2). Writing this, then catching up on email and doing script coverage. Oh, yeah, and putting all the damn laundry away.

I have two new review assignments, so I have to get started to those, too.

Maybe a nap in the afternoon, or at least 20 minutes or so on the acupressure mat.

We’re ready for winter (I think), but we’re enjoying every beautiful autumn day we can get. The front porch is still great in late morning well into the afternoons. Tessa has taken over the porch. Trying to get her in when it gets dark is getting more and more difficult. But it’s great to sit out there and read or write, while the cats watch the world go by.

Willa was excited by the birds having a meeting on the back balcony. I put up the blinds a bit in my mom’s room, so she could watch a squirrel dancing around in the tree out there. She is just fascinated.

Tessa always liked my bed to be smooth and clean (no lumps). Charlotte moves around the covers and blankets every day to build little nests.

No wonder Tessa spends most of her time on the porch.

Back to the page. I still have to finish “A Rare Medium” in the next few days, too.

Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs

Skelly (photo by Devon Ellington)

Friday, September 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Raining and cooler

Thank goodness it’s raining. We need it badly.

If you enjoy reading serial fiction, it would be great if you’d fill out my survey on serial fiction here. I’m curious about a few things.

I am so glad I signed up for Concord Library’s meditation group! Yesterday’s session was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next week. The leader is wonderful – I suspect she either trained at Kripalu or trained with someone who trained at Kripalu because the style is familiar.

After meditation, I put on Real People Pants and did my run to Target. I wound up buying more than I planned (gee, what a surprise). We were low on toilet paper, which is why I went. But then, I bought Halloween lights (mine were wonky last year) which were on sale. And there was a skeleton dachshund all by himself that I couldn’t leave because he looked so sad. They didn’t have the wooden spoons I wanted, but I bought a cute little bear mug for my mom and an owl mug for myself. The soups were nearly half the price they are in the other grocery stores, so I stocked up on those, got the toilet paper, some other bathroom necessities, and there we were. At least everyone was masked and distancing, and I was early enough so there weren’t a lot of people in the store.

Grinding my teeth about it, I went to Country Gardens to get wood for the fireplace, since it’s getting colder and we have no idea when the new furnace will come in. I also grabbed two good-sized pots of mums for the front of the house.

At least everyone was masked, but the woman behind me demanded I let her cut in front of me because she was late for work. Didn’t ask – TOLD me she was doing it. I said no. Then she crowded me. Then she complained that the staff was too slow, and made fun of the lovely older man who was ahead of us and so happy with his purchases because he wasn’t fast enough to suit her, and, you know, she was late for work.

I finally turned around and said, “Lady, NONE of us are to blame because you can’t manage your time, so back off.”

Then the sales clerk had no idea what I was talking about when I said I wanted to by a sixth of a cord of wood. She kept insisting that they only sold full cords, half cords, and third cords. I said that I’ve been buying it every autumn for ten years, and I just walked right past the sixth coming in to the store, with the sign right on it and everything. She said, ‘Oh, you mean the wheelbarrow.”

Yes, the wheelbarrow is a sixth of a cord of wood, it has a sign on it to that effect, which is how I know it’s a sixth of a cord. For fuck’s sake, people, get a clue.  You can see it from where you’re standing at the register.

The guy who was supposed to help me load the wood kind of sauntered over and picked up a log here and there, so I loaded the car my damn self. I’ve been buying wood there at the start of the season for ten years now, and they’ve always been lovely until this year. I realize that the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on all of us, and bulk of the customers I’ve encountered there have been utter jerks, but take it out on THEM, not the ones who are treating you decently.

Making the choice not to shop there unless it was the last resort is the right choice.

Came home, unloaded the wood into the garage (I stacked it well this year, if I do say so myself), did a full decontamination process, and was exhausted.

Tessa loves Skelly, the skeleton dog. Willa and Charlotte aren’t sure. My mom wants me to sew a little brown felt coat for him after Halloween so he can stay out all year.

Managed to work on a couple of ads for a client (which I hope to finish today), noodled a little with some writing, participated in Freelance Chat, got out a couple of LOIs.

Cleaned out a box from the basement. Threw a bunch of stuff out, have to file other stuff. Found drafts of manuscripts, and notes on a couple of projects that are worth going back to next year.

I finished SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. I liked it, although I felt the author self-marketed her other work too much within the text. I know, I’ve been to those seminars who encourage that. I hate it, and it’s more likely to turn me off the author and the product than encourage me to look at the other books.

Did a variation on a recipe for dinner using Chinese Five Spice Powder, and it worked really well.

Trying to decide if I have a script in good enough shape to submit to the O’Neill Center for next year. Either of the Italian plays are probably more suited to the O’Neill than the small company in Brooklyn. I don’t know. I’ll wait for my friend’s notes. Maybe both scripts are just terrible and shouldn’t go anywhere.

Signed up for a cooking class with Jeremy Rock Smith from Kripalu in October. He’s such a great teacher. And his recipes are fantastic.

We’re still playing with times for the Knowledge Unicorns, but had a good session yesterday. Trying to juggle all the different assignments in two hours is a challenge, but with the stretch breaks and dance breaks and the fact that we can work in company and ask questions when stuck, I think (hope) it’s helpful. There’s a lot of laughter, which is good, too. And who knew the octopus was such a fascinating creature? Plenty of people, I guess.

Today, it’s client work and writing. I have to do a curbside pickup at the library, work on the book for review, and clean out at least one more box. We couldn’t wait until Saturday to put the flannel sheets on, so we’ve already changed out the beds, which meant more laundry yesterday. I’m also getting ready for the Equinox on Tuesday. I’m going to pack up some of the books stacked in my office and mark them as “donations” when the library is open for donations, and those I’m keeping. These are from the contest I judged earlier this year.

I’m working on a spec sheet of what I need from a social media management platform and I’m going to send it to the corporate offices of various platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Social Pilot, etc) and see if any of them can meet my needs. I can’t be the only social media manager running multiple accounts for multiple clients.

I also need to work on Grief to Art.

In other words, a busy Friday.

The weekend will be, I hope, about reading and writing and cleaning stuff out of the basement.

Have a great one!

Published in: on September 18, 2020 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 121 — Juggling Work Needs  
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Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors

 

Wow. That’s a more complicated topic than it should be.

If you’d asked me about a place that gives me peace when I lived in New York City, I would have said the place that gives me peace was Cape Cod. When I couldn’t get to Cape Cod, I went to the Hall of Gems at the Museum of Natural History where it was dark, and, in between tour groups, quiet. I have no idea what it will be once they finish renovations. Probably light and loud.

I moved to Cape Cod in 2010 because it was the place that gives me peace, and that’s what I wanted for my writing.

Of course, living somewhere is different than visiting.

Sometimes I feel peaceful here; more and more often, I do not.

I love walking on the beaches off-season. Race Point in Provincetown has been a favorite of mine since I was six years old. Craigville Beach, close to where I live now, is where I often nip down for a quick hour or two in nice weather. I love the nature sanctuaries, especially Long Pasture and Ashumet, with all the holly trees.

I love my back deck, which is covered, with skylights, and, in summer, I turn it into an enchanted garden. When the Summer People invade, I don’t have to go out; I can escape to my back deck and enjoy myself, whether I’m reading, writing, or just being.

My meditation space, in my current bedroom (which is larger than my first NYC apartment), gives me peace. Every morning and most nights, I “just sit” in my practice, preparing for or letting go of, the day.

I find peace in my yoga practice, be it at the studio or at home. I used to find it at Kripalu, until they stopped enforcing their no cell phone policy and people started using their phones everywhere, including the Silent Dining Room.

I find that I need to seek peace multiple times a day, since so many people can’t stand quiet (because they might have to face who they really are, and it terrifies them). Because they can’t stand to face quiet themselves, they are determined to destroy it for those around them.

So I’ve built places and spaces, some within my own imagination, to find peace.

I have an inner place to find peace, one I’ve constructed inside of my imagination, one to which I can retreat whenever I want or need to. I won’t describe it here; that will destroy it for me. But it means I can take my “place where I find peace” with me wherever I go.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm  Comments Off on Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors  
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