Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.

 

Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?

Friday, March 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Partly sunny and colder

Yesterday’s big grocery shop left me feeling secure. I like to have a well-stocked pantry. We’re supposed to be prepared for a 14-day quarantine at this point. I like having that much on hand anyway. As a freelancer, when I’m in periods where I’m earning more money, I try to stock up so I don’t run out in the cycles where the money’s slower coming in. I am stocking up a little more than usual on cat food and cat litter. And toilet paper.

Although the price gouging on toilet paper has started — doubled in price since two weeks ago.

Spent a little time at the library; it was noisy and distracting there today, Got a few things out, including an introductory package to a place I thought I’d like to work for until the list of materials kept growing exponentially. It least they read resumes and look at materials. Another company, touting its positive remote culture — wanted me to do one of their projects (a newsletter) as an unpaid “sample” as part of their interview process. Didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, folks. No. No unpaid labor as part of the interview process. Look at my resume. Read my samples. Ask for additional samples. If I have to craft something project-specific to your company, there’s a fee involved. I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a career professional with decades of experience. You want unpaid labor? Bite me.

Heartbroken that Elizabeth Warren dropped out. The misogyny from her own party and the media has been revolting. I don’t want an old white man as president. in spite of the genuine affection and respect I have for Joe Biden (I was lucky enough to work on a few things with him over the years).  I’m done with that. I don’t want a moderate. Moderates putting their hands over their ears singing, “la-la-la” is part of how we got into this mess in the first place. Where we are now has been in the works since Reagan. And could have been stopped.

But removing the Narcissistic Sociopath and his Evangelical Q-Tip have to be the priorities right now.

Agreed to help a friend with editing some of his college work. He’s going back to school, which is great. His professor uses MLA, which is eye-rolling. I mean, it’s always good to learn all kinds of skills but MLA is rarely used outside of academia, and my friend isn’t planning to work in that arena. Heck, I tossed my MLA handbook back in 1985, when I realized how little relevance it had to my life. Going to the community college bookstore to see if I can hunt down another one, and ordered one from the library.

The college bookstore is selling used copies of a “reference” that includes a little MLA — for $63. Um, no. I ordered it off the internet for 99 cents. A new guide, JUST MLA style.

Didn’t get much writing done this morning, so will have to adjust that later in the day. Working on some article pitches. Put in a big Chewy order this morning — cat food, cat litter, and then ordered a bunch of toys to get the free shipping. Because the little monsters are so happy when we open the box and it contains new toys. Which is even more important than the free shipping.

Working on the books for review, and getting back to the new batch of contest entries. Will do some of the paperwork on the entries I’ve read this weekend, so it’s not all in one big lump at the end.

This morning was the first full morning yoga practice since the surgery. A little sore, but I’m glad I did it. Hoping I can add an evening practice back in soon.

I didn’t realize how long I’d felt bad (since about 2013) until I started coming back from surgery and feeling more like myself. Amazing how you adjust incrementally to feeling lousy so you barely notice it until you’re forced to notice.

Knowledge to use moving forward.

We have to start some spring cleaning this weekend, although I’ll be limited in how much physical work I can do. But it’s time. The mourning doves are back early this year, and so are the Phoebes.

Planted nasturtiums, cucumber, spinach, and snap peas (inside) yesterday. Made tollhouse cookies last night because I felt like them. Will make some cardamom wheat bread (new to me recipe) either later today or tomorrow.

Target run on the schedule today, a bit of work at the library, and then back to the page.

Have a great weekend! It’s supposed to get colder and stormy here.

 

Published in: on March 6, 2020 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 6, 2020: Maybe A “Normal” Weekend?  
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Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mercury’s gone retrograde just before I have surgery. On the one hand, it’s not a good time for surgery; on the other hand, Mercury retrograde is about resolving issues hanging on and preventing one from moving forward, and that’s a good definition for what I’m going through, so I’ll work with it. Plus, it’s happening just a few days before the dark moon, so that’s going to help with the blood loss. (The closer to the full moon, the heavier any bleeding, because blood is our interior tide).

Friday morning, as I stated in Friday’s post, I had my pre-op, got some stuff done at the library. I told my book review editor I’d have the other book review for her on Monday, and what was going on; she was very supportive. Even getting in the review yesterday, it was early. Sent off the big article, and told that editor what was going on, and that I could turn edits around early in the week, but otherwise it would have to wait until next week. Haven’t heard anything from her. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she took Friday as well as Monday as part of the long holiday weekend, but I’ve gotten the article to her FIVE DAYS EARLY. If she comes at me tomorrow to turn it around — no. It’s the day before my surgery. If I get it today, I could turn it around tonight and send it off tomorrow, but if it comes tomorrow, it has to wait until next week. I busted my ass and used up most of my energy to get it in to her early. (Update: she’s being lovely and supportive, so my worries are for naught — details in tomorrow’s post).

I’ve been working with my book editors on new deadlines — I can’t be in galleys and final revisions right now. We have to adjust. They’re 100% supportive. We’re also talking about whether and/or how to handle the Corona virus in The Nautical Namaste Series. There are several different routes we could take, although I doubt any of them will show up in DAVY JONES DHARMA at this point. We are discussing how what I’m going through now will add some depth to one of the subplots in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Went in to my client’s late Friday morning, and we finished the designs for the 2021 collections and sent them to Thailand. She goes next week.

Came home around 1 PM and hit the wall. I slept most of the afternoon, and even the most basic tasks were just too much work.

Ate — I’m making sure I eat, whether I feel like it or not. Watched the last of THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Went to bed early.

Had trouble sleeping. Up on Saturday. Had my mom drive to us to the grocery store, so we got a few additional things for the coming week. Made apricot/honey/almond/orange bread. Researched iron-rich foods. Taking too much of the iron supplement makes me sick, so I’m taking slightly less supplement, with more iron-rich foods. Turns out I like a lot of them, and have been craving them anyway.

Worked on the book for review. Napped in the afternoon (and people who know me know I am not a napper). Tessa purred beside me.

Made the sardine/fennel pasta from Dorie Greenspan’s book. It’s yummy. Felt better about a half hour after eating it.

Wasn’t up to watching DVDs, so read instead.

Charlotte and Willa are both worried. They lost their original human to illness, so every time they smell hospital or medicine on me, they worry.

The arm the CT port/IV technician hurt on Wednesday looks AWFUL, is still horribly bruised, and I have trouble using my right arm.

Slept so-so. Didn’t feel up to making the whole wheat bread. The medication I’m on for the moment has side effects, which are starting to get to me, the worst being absolutely ridiculous mood swings. I have to keep reminding myself I’ve lost perspective, and not make long-term decisions until I can think clearly and review all the evidence. I levelled out slightly on Sunday and Monday.

But I was still angry at the paperwork that arrived from the hospital on Saturday, about pre-op prep. I’m responsible for keeping track of my things WHILE I AM UNDER ANESTHESIA IN THE OR or else I should expect everything stolen. Because this hospital is too fucking cheap to have security. There isn’t any. There are signs claiming there are cameras, but no security. Anyone can wander anywhere they want in the hospital at any hour unchallenged. It’s one of the things that has made me uncomfortable every time I’ve had to go there.

I’ll be lucky to have my clothes to return home in.

They can bite me.

I have follow-up tests on the afternoon of the day my landlord wants to have the “home energy assessment.” I told him they can come first thing in the morning, and have to be out of here by 1 PM, or it has to be rescheduled. We HAD this done already. To make us go through a bunch of jackasses stomping through the house again right now is ridiculous. Nothing has changed in the intervening years; everything’s just gotten older. Probably that’s why the landlord is getting it again — because he didn’t do any improvements based on the last one, and is going to pretend it didn’t happen.

Took it easy Sunday. Made arrangements with a friend to pick me up from surgery on Thursday. She’s making it easy-peasy, no drama, which is how it should be. I also specifically asked her because she won’t let the hospital admin bully me on the way out when I’m still trying to get re-oriented after anesthesia, and, based on the pattern of this past week, that’s EXACTLY what they’ll try to do.

Again: bite me.

I was making arrangements with the library the other day, letting them know what was going on, and making sure I get anything back that has holds on it, and extend whatever I need to extend. The librarians wee lovely.

Unfortunately, some random patron eavesdropped and commented, “I can’t stand being around people who are sick. I don’t do sick.”

I turned around and said, “I don’t do assholes, and you aren’t part of my life anyway, so back off.”

Again, since the 2016 Election, people are encourages to be their worst selves. There was no reason that individual had to make ANY comment. The person could have kept her mouth shut or walked away. But no, she had to make a comment, knowing it was inappropriate and hurtful. She deliberately set out to cause harm.

Leaning into my meditation and yoga practices doesn’t mean I’m going to allow people to be deliberately hurtful.

Finished the book for review. Sent off my review yesterday. The next set of books has arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them.

I have a ridiculous amount of books stacked near my recovery area. I ordered more, which I hope will come in by Wednesday — Helene Hanff’s books, which are charming and fun.

Rested and read a lot on Sunday. Roasted a chicken. Noodled with some ideas, but didn’t do any real writing. Got a different, more potent iron supplement that’s already showing me improvement. CVS was selling 30 of the pills for nearly $15. Target had the same one but 180 pills, for $6. Considering I have to take 4 pills/day right now for the next three months, I got it at Target.

Tried to clean up some of the branches that fell from the last storm, but didn’t get too far. Just didn’t have the energy.

Charlotte managed to climb to the top of the big bookcases in my writing room and run around along them. She’s very proud of herself.

Started watching MURDERLAND. The acting is wonderful, but I don’t like the fractured storytelling and repetition from different angles. A little bit is great, but this is too much. From the two points of view? Great. But the same scene from the two points of view repeated six times? No, thanks. Structurally, the storytelling doesn’t work for me.

Woke up about 4:30 on Monday. Didn’t feel too bad. My injured arm is still in bad shape.

Went in to work with my client for a few hours. I can’t afford to miss work. I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and I need money coming in right now.

If I hear one more news “report” about the lack of skilled workers, I will scream. There are plenty of skilled workers. It’s HR that’s useless, only interested in running resumes through algorithms & treating people badly in interviews. They want skilled workers? Don’t insult them with stupid tests and demands for unpaid labor. Want to retain your workers? Pay them fairly and treat them like human beings. It’s not that hard.

I’m playing each work day by ear right now. Working until I get tired, then stopping. Doing a little writing, but not much. A friend sent a draft of her screenplay to read while I recover — can’t wait.

Planning on going in to work with a client for a bit today. Will swing by the library to drop off/pick up books. When I go home, we’re going to vacuum the house and mop floors, so everything is clean. Tomorrow, when I come home, we will set up the living room as my recovery room.

I won’t know when I’m going in on Thursday until late Wednesday.

I have some placeholder posts scheduled, but I don’t expect to post much until sometimes next week (I’ll have something go live tomorrow).

I just have to survive each day, before I worry about the next one.

Published in: on February 18, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation  
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Fri. Feb. 14, 2020: Keep on Keeping On

valentines-day-3984154_1920
image courtesy of JillWellington via pixabay.com
Friday, February 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Cold & Snowing
Valentine’s Day

Yesterday wasn’t too bad. I made my mom do the driving, with me in the passenger seat giving directions, so she’d get comfortable in the car again and learn her way around. After a few minutes, she seemed to think she’s Speed Racer. She’s used to driving the Autobahn in Germany, so little Cape Cod road speed limits are an adjustment.

It was pretty funny.

But she’s more comfortable in the car again, and I’ll have her do the driving tomorrow when we go grocery shopping.

Got some work done at the library, dropped off books at Sandwich Library, stopped and updated my nurse. The arm that spat out the port is painful. Not discomfort — pain — and looks awful.

The CT results were pretty good, but there was one worrying thing — so my original doctor insists on scheduling another procedure for that as soon as the first surgery done. I keep hoping they can do it in one procedure, but no such luck. They can’t schedule the second until they know how I’ve come out of the first.

The scheduler called to book the surgery — and tried to put me off until March 20. I said no, I was told it had to be next week. She said nothing on the paperwork said so. I told her I SAW the doctor write it on the paperwork — he did it right in front of me, and he actually has nice handwriting. I also told her that my body could not tolerate the problem that caused the need for the surgery for another month, which is why everyone has been rushing me from test to test. I will be dead. The doctors want it done next week. She said, “Well, you’re on medication.” I repeated I am not waiting for a month, and the doctor wanted it done next week. She said, “Well, they don’t understand how this works.”

I was getting ready to contact my nurse when the chastened scheduler called back. The doctor put his foot down. Surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, February 20.

My pre-op was this morning. Easy-peasy, the doctor is going to make sure I’m not battered. The bruised arm looks even worse today and hurts like hell. I have a bunch of follow-up appointments to look forward to (ha) in the coming months, much of which will depend on how the pathology tests come back from surgery. But the doctor is optimistic, and happy that the medication change has made such a big difference so fast.

Worked on the article and finished it around 10:30 last night. I sent it to my editor this morning, with an update on what’s going on. I can turn around revisions early next week, if necessary.

Did a few things at the library, headed in to a client’s to work for a couple of hours and finish a big project. Then, I’m resting for the weekend. I’m wrung out, on every level.

Next week will test my endurance.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Published in: on February 14, 2020 at 9:57 am  Comments (2)  
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January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Published in: on January 31, 2020 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short  
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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Fri. Jan. 10, 2020: Reviewing Focus & Prepping for a Writing Weekend

Friday, January 10, 2020
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Ava Dunne blog, Affairs of the Pen,to read about what the characters miss when they go out to sea.

We’re supposed to hit record high temperatures this weekend around here. The snow is already melting. IF it’s dry enough, I’ll do some more yard work.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, worked on the GRAVE REACHmedia kit, did some work on the marketing plan for the overall series.

Dropped off and picked up a bunch of stuff at the library.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived. Very exciting! I unpacked them, checked them against my list. I have a few digital ones to download, which I will do over the next few days, and then I’ll start reading. I like getting the entries in two shipments. It means I can finish the first batch by the time the second batch arrives, and it gives me time to give the ones vying for the top spot and finalist spots a second read.

Yes, I take my work as a contest judge seriously. These authors poured heart and soul into the work. I approach each with excitement and joy. I WANT to fall in love with every book I pick up. The categories have become more and more competitive each year, with both the quality of writing, and the way the winning authors are growing the genre.

In the afternoon, I read F.P. Lock’s dissection of Susanna Centlivre’s plays, letters, and poems. It was very interesting, and makes me even more excited to write about her. I look forward to reading her plays — I got several from Project Gutenberg. The Lock book came from Taunton Library via the Commonwealth Catalog — I’m so lucky to have access to that.

To my great joy, I received notification that 365 Women accepted BOTH the proposal for the Susanna Centlivre play and for the Isabella Goodwin play. I’m absolutely delighted. I am researching Susanna already. I’d like to get that play done and out by the end of June. That gives me the second half of the year for Isabella’s play.

I got a little bit of work done on the Winter Solstice romance. I’m at the point (six chapters in), where I need to start typing what I’ve written in longhand and making tracking sheets, because I’m losing certain elements. I have an outline, which helps. I have a feeling it will be more of a women’s fiction novel with romantic elements rather than a romance novel. There are issues I’m exploring that take it out of the romance formula, while still having my two protagonists falling in love.

I’m still struggling with the last few pages of “Trust.” I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I need to do some tweaks on the Lavinia Fontana play, too, SERENE AND DETERMINED, because I have my eye on a potential submission for that.

I had a wacky idea of an out-there dream project (in real life) that I will never be able to fund (in real life), but it would make a cool premise for a book. Made some notes. So we’ll see.

Idea Cookies, right?

Working on the books for review. I want to get the reviews out next week, and get in the next books for review. I can juggle those deadlines with contest entries and research books.

Re-read Donna Leon’s QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP and A NOBLE RADIANCE over the last couple of days. I get so much out of this series every time I read it.

Finished watching the documentary on the Dark Ages. I didn’t know most of what was in it. Very interesting.

One of the LOIs I sent out yesterday already got a response for more interaction. I will do that later today. We will see if we are a good match. But it was a pleasant, professional response, and it was quick, so we’ll see how it goes.

Lots of errands this morning. As I’ve been writing this, it’s moved from sunny to cloudy. Reminds me there was a red sky in the morning, which means there could be rain later. Looks like it will be sooner, rather than later.

So, how did I do on this week’s intent of focus?

Pretty well, even though the focus was spread over a lot of projects. But whatever I worked on, I FOCUSED on. I got more done (although it never, ever feels like enough).

I feel as though the energy I focused on the Susanna Centlivre research really paid off, as did the focus on the LOIs. It’s too early to see if the pitches hit true, but I’m happy with the quality of what I pitched.

I’m looking forward to a creative weekend. Let’s hope next week is positive and creative, too!

Wed. Jan 2, 2020: A Long, Catch-Up Natter

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
8th Day of Christmas (last night’s dream is August’s Oracle)
Hanukkah Finished (as of Dec. 29)
Kwanzaa Finished (as of Jan. 1)
Sunny and cool

Welcome to 2020!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site, where I’ve answered the questions posed for 2020, which I consider the year of Transition and Transformation.

Starting Monday, for the next cycle (90 Days or so), I will begin this blog’s Monday with an intent for the week here, and some tools and suggestions for achieving goals over on the GDRsite.

Pull up your favorite beverage; it’s been nearly two weeks since we sat down for a natter. Last daily post was the Friday before Christmas, although the 23rd and the 30th had Upbeat Author posts. I planned to post on the 27th, but I had so much going on that I decided to cut myself a break. So this will be a loooooong post!

The Winter Solstice celebration on the 21st was lovely. We sit without electric lights as the sun sets; then we start by lighting the fire (with greens from last year’s Solstice season). Once the fire catches, we light the candles, put on the trees and the other lights (working clockwise from the North), and then put on the outside lights. Once all the lights are up, a simple ritual welcoming the return of the sun, and a wish for peace, joy, and prosperity in the coming year.

Dinner was Cornish hen with sweet potatoes and spinach. It was yummy.

Sunday night was both the 4th of Advent and the First Night of Hanukkah. We lit the fourth candle on the Advent table. I still haven’t found my lovely silver-plated Menorah (haven’t seen it since we moved, although I know it went onto the truck). But, in honor of the first night of the celebration, and because I miss my Jewish friends from New York who always included me in their celebrations, I made potato latkes. They were pretty damned good.

We watched MISS FISHER’S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES, where Phryne’s niece takes over in the 1960’s. If it wasn’t connected to the original, I would have liked it better. But that constant referencing kept reminding me that it didn’t quite measure up.

It was difficult to get up early and out early to my client’s. But I was there. I took in a shipment — with one box missing. I had other stuff to do, of course, wrapping up before the holiday, but we’d hoped to get everything in. I promised to come in Christmas Eve, at least for a few hours, to wait for the box.

It was Nameless Day — I’m going to start incorporating that into my celebrations. A day for Potential. I have not lived up to my potential in the last few years, and I intend to change that in the New Year and the New Decade.

After I was finished there, I went to the library, to drop off and pick up. Was tired of computer work, so sat in a corner and read for awhile, just enjoying how lovely it was to be in a building full of books.

Went to meditation group. It was a small group, led by a sub this week. One of the attendees was The Woman Who Tests My Compassion. She shows up now and again, and is an energy vampire. She sucks all the energy we generate as a group into herself. I try to be generous, maybe she needs it, I don’t know what she’s going through, etc. But she is such a black hole of energy that it hurts everyone else’s practice. But I put up my shields and focused on my own work. The teacher taught a new exercise for the lower back that helped me enormously. First time I was pain free in weeks.

Another furnace company came by to look at the work that needs to be done. I respect getting multiple estimates, but the day before Christmas Eve? Really? Not happy about it.

Baked and frosted the Red Velvet Cake. It looks glorious. I rarely make them, because they are such a pain and need to be eaten so quickly. But I wanted to do something different for this holiday.

I wrote steadily through all this, even if it was only a few pages in the morning.

Up early again on Christmas Eve. Went to my client’s, waiting for the Fed Ex shipment. Basically, for most of the day, the tracking had no information, just that it was scheduled “before 4:30.”

Well, honey, I was leaving at noon.

I waited five extra minutes past noon, feeling down about it all. I’d gotten a bunch of work done for the client, and I was the only one in the office, which meant uninterrupted work time, my favorite. I locked up, turned on the alarm, pulled out of the lot — and looked in the rearview mirror to see Fed Ex turning in. I reversed up the road and turned back. (Luckily, there was no traffic).

The driver had done his best to get there by noon, and it was only a few minutes after. I unlocked the door, turned off the alarm, signed for the package, shoved it into the warehouse in back, set the alarm, locked up, and went home – where I fixed myself a nice, big Sidecar.

So it all worked out.

Put in the pork roast, played with the cats, enjoyed the tree and the drink. The dinner turned out perfectly — roast loin of pork, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans with Hollandaise. The lovely red velvet cake for dessert.

We cleaned up and put the leftovers away, and opened presents. The new coffeemaker made me especially happy.

I put the new clothes into the washer, and we settled down with new books to read, Icelandic-style. I read Val McDermid’s updated NORTHANGER ABBEY, set in and around the Edinburgh Festival, which was delightful. Burned down the bayberry candle, and had a lovely, cozy Eve.

I was sad to read, on social media, all the racist drama around the RWA. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed. I’m also disappointed in white colleagues I know who are heavily involved in the organization who aren’t saying a word. Or, even worse, defending the racism. Again, in many cases, I’m not surprised. But I am disappointed, and have lost respect for several people. I’ve always been leery of RWA — to me, it always looked like a pay-to-play organization. A group that charges high fees and expects a lot of unpaid time put in. While I’ve had good experiences teaching at NECRWA, I’ve noticed the racial imbalance on the national level, and also a great deal of economic segregation.

It’s so painful for the many people who’ve spent countless hours of their time, unpaid, working to make the organization better. Working FOR the organization, without compensation instead of on their own books. How many tens of thousands of dollars have writers lost through their volunteer work with the organization? How many books will always remain unwritten? And now, they find the trade-off wasn’t worth it. What they worked for didn’t happen, and, in fact, they are being slapped in the face for working toward it.

I’ve been there, with other organizations. I know how much that hurts.

Releasing their statement the day before Christmas Eve was a deliberate strategy on their part, hoping their members would be too busy to notice. Then, trying to walk it back on Christmas Eve, when there was a furor — how could they believe the members who feel so betrayed would ever trust them again? It should never have happened in the first place, the process was skewed, and, without a clean sweep of everyone involved and a fresh start, how could they ever rebuild trust?

Or do they believe that their primarily white membership won’t care or even agrees with them?

How sad and painful.

Anyway, along rolls Christmas Day. Stockings, scrambled eggs, panettone, a quiet day of reading and writing.

For the big dinner, I made a rib roast, with mashed potatoes and peas. I don’t eat red meat often anymore. As good as it tasted while eating, I was uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

I took off Boxing Day from all obligations. Read and wrote and played with the cats. My oracle dream for January was a mishmash that basically boiled down to, “You will find allies in unexpected places.” So I have to remember that in January and be on the lookout.

Watched ON THE TOWN, which I hadn’t seen in years, and was kind of fun, except for the number in the museum, which was a little inappropriate.

I did a lot of running around on Friday, the 27th, especially when it came to grocery shopping. I had an encounter in one of the grocery stores what just depressed me.

When I got to the self-checkout, there was a $20 bill hanging out of it. I called over the store worker supervising the self-checkouts and said it had been left. She thanked me for turning it in, took it out of the machine, and said she would take it to the Customer Service desk in case anyone came back looking for it. I was glad about it — everyone’s overtired and stressed, and that $20 could be important to someone. Plus, I knew this worker, we talk often at the store, exchanging pleasantries and cooking tips.

When she walked away, the woman beside me said, “You’re in idiot. You should have kept the money. She’s just going to put it in her own pocket. You know how those Hispanics are.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “I’m glad I’m not you,” I said.

“Practical?” she sneered.

“A racist,” I replied.

She started sputtering.

“Don’t you start clutching your pearls at me,” I said. “You’re the one making a racist comment.”

“I’ve never been spoken to like this in my life!”

“Get used to it. Or change your behavior.” I went about my checkout as she huffed off, but the whole thing depressed me.

I went to Michael’s to take advantage of their sale. I found a small, artificial tree, and some white fabric roses I want to use to decorate it. I found a Santa on sale (for my collection) and a pineapple ornament. And candles (one of the few places that still sells tapers) and thank you notes.

Then to another grocery store, home, unloaded, to the library to drop off and pick up, home to read and write, because that’s all I felt up to.

However, in the late afternoon, I saw a vanity table go up on Craigslist just a few miles away. I jumped into the car, raced over, and wrestled the table and its chair into the car. I’ve always wanted one.

Watched CALL ME MADAM, which I’d never seen before. It was a lot of fun. Now I’ve got the song, “You’re Not Sick, You’re Just in Love” stuck in my head. For days.

Woke up Saturday, having lost the dream that was February’s oracle. I know it had something to do with organization and was positive.

Got the vanity table and chair out of the car and up the stairs. The chair is too high for the table, but that’s okay. It was a stage prop and had a fake mirror on it, but the real one came with it, and I swapped them out. It’s a really cool piece. I have to repaint it in spring and touch up the gold edging, but I like it.

Tessa wasn’t sure about it, but within two days, she was sitting on top of it, lording it over Charlotte on the floor.

I didn’t remember March’s dream, but I woke up calm, so I hope that’s a good sign for March.

Put together a platter of baked goods and drove it to the Emergency Vet to thank them for their kindness through tough times. Took 6A back, to enjoy the nice day.

Read and wrote. Made pork banh mi for a late lunch, which meant we really didn’t want much dinner.

I’m reading Lucy Worsley’s biography of Jane Austen, which is quite good. Came across information on Susanna Centlivre, the most famous female playwright of the 18th Century. Jane Austen and her family used to perform her plays as part of their theatricals. Susanna will be my top choice to write about for 365 Women next year.

Woke up late on Sunday. Couldn’t remember my dream, so let’s hope that means a quiet April, too.

Wrote. Did laundry. Finished THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. What a relief to get it done. It’s a one act, and I barely scratched the surface of time and place, but I picked one dramatic incident in their lives and, hopefully, did it justice. I hope I have the chance to do more research, especially on the Bibiana family of theatrical scene painters. I would love to do a piece about them.

We watched THE ROYAL WEDDING. It has two of Fred Astaire’s most famous dances in it — the one with the hatrack, and the one where he dances up the walls and on the ceiling. Great filmmaking there, but the rest of the movie didn’t work for me. I especially hated the character of Ellen. What a whiny, unprofessional little brat. There’s no way she could have achieved success with her brother as a team with an attitude and behavior like hers.

Didn’t remember my dream when I woke up on Monday morning, so I hope that means May will be calm!

Up at 5, morning routine, did a final proofread of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT so I could send it out. Got it off my desk and onto the company’s desk.

Was at my client’s by 8. Worked on Year-End stuff. Got out a mailing for next week’s big trade show.

Followed up with a colleague with whom I want to do an interview for Biblio Paradise. He’d never gotten the materials, so I re-sent them.

The weather was awful. Raining, switching to sleet, switching back.

Meditation was cancelled, sadly. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up. Went home and sat zazen on my own.

Dinner, reading. I read Elinor Lipman’s essays, I CAN’T COMPLAIN. They are lovely.

Up early on the 31st. At my client’s by 8 AM. Got out two more email blasts, worked on some appointments for the trade show. Didn’t remember my dream, so hopefully that means a quiet June.

Got the information on the first shipment of contest entries that is on its way. I’m only doing two categories, not three, this year.

Downloaded a bunch of Susanna Centlivre plays onto my Kindle from Project Gutenberg.

Interacting on Twitter with a fellow author, I decided I wanted to feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE, too. Plus, I have to ask my friend Arlene if she wants a slot for the book that released a couple of months ago.

Receipt of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT was acknowledged. I’m glad.

Stopped at the grocery store and the liquor store on my way home from the client’s. Made the chocolate/honey/almond/fig bites and a peppermint/chocolate cake. Dinner was salmon with a brown sugar/lemon/mustard/cumin glaze, mashed potatoes, and spinach. Yummy.

Read LISTENING VALLEY by D.E. Stevenson. Love the line, “You need to make friends with your life.” I want to do that in the coming year.

Finished LV and started THE TWO MRS. ABBOTTS, by the same author. I really love her work.

Burned down the bayberry candle. Let the old year out of the back door, welcomed the New Year in by the front door. I wish they did First Footing here.

Raised a glass as we watched the ball go down on Times Square. I’m grateful I used to be able to watch from my living room window, and grateful I no longer live there.

Slept well, up at a decent hour. The day did not start off well. I’d forgotten to make ice, which delayed the Fire and Ice ritual. The bathtub stopper didn’t work properly, so the Abundance bath bomb dissolved before I could soak in it. I fixed the drain and made my own concoction. But by then, we were out of hot water, so I splashed around in lukewarm water. I hope it’s a case of “bad dress rehearsal, good opening” and not “2020 is gonna suck.”

Especially because I came into the year feeling better and more centered than usual. Instead of forced optimism out of desperation, I felt much better at the end of 2019. Glad to see it gone, but able to release the ghosts of past mistakes. I realized, as I fretted over mistakes I made back in the 1980s, for goodness’ sake, that the people involved probably don’t even remember who I am anymore. I am some random chick who was in their lives for a few months, not someone important. They lived their lives, I lived mine. I don’t have to still feel bad about fleeting mistakes from 40 years ago. That gave me a sense of liberation.

So Jan. 1 starting off with things going wrong was upsetting. But, again, none of it was monumental. So I don’t get the bath the way I wanted it. So what? I came up with an alternative and it worked. It’s not important in the scheme of the universe.

The Eggs Benedict was delicious. I love Eggs Benedict.

I sent in my proposal to 365 Women. I had to pick three possible women to write about, so I picked Susanna Centlivre, Isabella Goodwin, and Frances Marion. I can’t write about all three (and said so) this year, with my plans to do the additional Kate Warne plays and the play about the two female authors. So we’ll see what happens.

I wrote 8 pages of a new play called “Trust.” It’s a short play, based on an idea I had last month. I have to do some research on a couple of myths, and then I can finish it. It’s only going to be about 10-12 pages. I have it aimed to at least one market so far.

I took a half hour walk because it was such a nice day and I’m trying to walk more. Wandered around the neighborhood and found a warren of streets and sweet houses I never knew existed. People waved as I walked past and I waved back.

Started reading Lauren Dane’s BLOOD AND BLADE, her latest Goddess of the Blade series, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Dinner was ham glazed with bourbon and molasses, mashed potatoes, and my special carrot-parsnip in mushroom sauce concoction. It was good.

Made bourbon balls that will be given as gifts to the work colleagues I’m having over on Friday. They turned out well.

Watched THE BELLE OF NEW YORK. What a hot mess. Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen’s dancing was good, but there wasn’t much story. It started as a rip-off of GUYS AND DOLLS and went. . . nowhere. The women’s costumes were lovely, though. The dresses designed for the dances were superb. Helen Rose designed the women’s costumes. There was a different designer for the men’s costumes. More than half the movie is dance numbers, which is a relief, because the rest of it is a mess.

Up early this morning. Didn’t remember my dreams, so here’s hoping for a quiet August!

Wrote a few pages on the Winter Solstice romance. Started weight training again, before my yoga/meditation practice. I’d stopped late last summer when my back started bothering me. But I need to start up again. I definitely felt it by the end of it. I will be sore tomorrow!

I am happy to say that I meditated at least once a day EVERY day in both 2018 & 2019. It’s made a huge difference.

Library this morning, getting out some interview questions to people, posting ahead on some of the blogs, and then I have to track down a few things for tomorrow’s get-together.

I’ll clean the house this afternoon. And make the rum cake for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll go to the grocery store for the last few things, prepare them, and swing by the library for a bit.

The weekend is about taking down the decorations and packing them away. I’m doing it a few days early this year (I prefer to wait until Jan. 6). But the 6th is a Monday, I’m not throwing a Twelfth Night party this year, and it makes more sense to take everything down over two days of weekend. After all, it took 3 weeks to put up!

Hope all of you had a great holiday season. New Year, New Decade!

So starts The Year of Transformation.

 

Tues. Dec. 10, 2019: The Deliveries Have Begun

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend. I got most of the baking done for the cookie platters. I will make more stained glass cupcakes as needed. The chocolate spice cake I created on Thursday is excellent, but I don’t think it will keep long enough to be included in the cookie platters next year.

I do want to find a good vegan and/or good gluten free cookie recipe to include next year.

Saturday morning, I made the first batch of stained glass cupcakes, then created a drop biscuit recipe with chocolate chips and some of the leftover cranberries. Yummy!

We then went to the library, where they were having a greens/bake/ornament sales. The wreaths and centerpieces people made and donated were just gorgeous. I got a great idea for a small arrangement in a holiday mug that cracked, so it can no longer hold liquid, but it’s not yet broken, so we don’t want to throw it away (it still holds memories).

Inside, we found some delightful ornaments at great prices. I came back with another Santa for my Santa collection, a nutcracker for my nutcracker collections (he has a beaver hat and carries a drum), a small snowman, a snowman bell, a wooden small standing tree, a wire small standing tree, a Scandinavian wooden tree candleholder, a dish towel, and two little stuffed animals I couldn’t resist. The whole haul was $17.25.

The pieces integrated beautifully into what we had.

We skipped the Cahoon open house and put up the exterior decorations instead. Lights, garlands, bows, ornaments on our two little trees out front, lights draped along the front to the larger shrubs at either end. Large ornament balls in the front basket holders, smaller ones hanging from the deck.

Of course, although I’d tested all the lights before putting them up, two strands stopped working, so I will have to replace them. Very frustrating.

Put up more lights inside along the windows in the living room and the back room and the stairs. They look pretty.

I should have started delivering cookie platters, but I was too tired.

Re-watched CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT. It was sillier than I remembered. It plays on sexism and misogyny. It doesn’t go far enough, but probably went as far as it could at the time. Barbara Stanwyck was terrific.

Slept in on Sunday, upsetting the cats. Should have gone out and raked leaves, but, instead, stayed inside and wrote holiday cards. I got all the overseas written, and the domestic A=H. That was close to 50 cards. I will get the rest done this week and out. If they go out by Friday, they should still get there before the holidays.

It took all day. I was worn out by the end, and annoyed with myself for not writing on other stuff. But the cards needed to get done.

Watched THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS. Some fun stuff about the writing process, but, overall, I thought it tried too hard and was a bit overwrought.

Up early yesterday. Decent first writing session of the day. Not brilliant, but decent. Too much bad advice for writers starting out on twitter, encouraging mediocrity. There’s no magic formula, and constantly allowing yourself not to write won’t make you a professional writer. Show up, do the work, learn the craft, stop making excuses.

Got a few cookie platter out on my way to my client’s (at to my client). Onsite part of the day. Back home, more cookie platters more delivery.

Meditation, which was desperately needed.

Card writing. Other writing. Tired. Started watching A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. Back onsite with the client, making cookie platter deliveries on the way. I need to spend some time at the library this afternoon, and then more card writing, and more work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT.

Back to the page. I look forward to getting a lot of the holiday stuff done by this weekend, and then writing, reading, socializing, and enjoying.

Fingers crossed that’s the way it works out.

 

Published in: on December 10, 2019 at 6:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 10, 2019: The Deliveries Have Begun  
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Wed. Dec. 4, 2019: Definitely Winter

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Wintry weather mix

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my post on updating my contract and raising my rates.

Monday’s weather was awful. I wound up cancelling an afternoon appointment after my first client. I swung by the library to drop off and pick up, and then had another meeting run long, so I missed meditation group.

I’d contacted the landlord about the continuing leak in the downstairs bathroom. He called a different plumber, and made an appointment for them to come by late yesterday morning. Since I am scheduling this to post, I won’t have an update on whether or not it worked until tomorrow!

The rain switched over to freezing rain overnight Monday. Tuesday, it didn’t switch to snow until 7 AM, and it started accumulating quickly. That made my day a bit more complicated, although I tried to keep it simple. I knew I could make it to the first client (with a stop at the post office), and then play it by ear from there.

Monday night, we watched the musical movie version of GIGI. Leslie Caron was delightful, but the entire piece I found creepy and misogynist. She was raised to be a courtesan, kept by men. I don’t believe for one minute that Gaston was actually in love with her. He just knew he needed to marry her to get what he wanted. I loved the costumes, but the piece itself creeped me out. Now, I want to go back and read Colette’s actual novel by the same name. I’m sure it was watered down and any social commentary/satire was removed by Hollywood — which made it even creepier, because it came across like this was all a good thing, and this behavior was okay.

Writing a bit, but not enough. Never enough. Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, working on the promotional materials for GRAVE REACH’S release, and, to relieve stress, working on the winter holiday romance piece. This isn’t one to go into the newsletter; it’s a novel that I’m writing, here and there, because I want to. I always want to write about Thanksgiving and the Winter Holiday during them, although I can edit at any time.

I should have started working on the holiday cards Monday night, but I was too tired, so I started, instead, on Tuesday.

Washed out the cookie storage tins yesterday. Did a bit more decorating.

This afternoon, when I finish my work for the day, I’m going to bake the tollhouse cookies for the cookie platters, and then write more cards. Tomorrow morning, first thing, I’m going to get the rest of what I need for the baking, and then it’s all baking, all the time for the next few days, so I can start delivering the platters on the weekend.

The Crystal Bar soap order arrived, so I can wrap those gifts, too.

I’m trying to do as much as possible early in the month, so I can actually enjoy the holiday.

Looking forward to the Remote Chat today.

Hope everyone has a lovely Wednesday!

Published in: on December 4, 2019 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 4, 2019: Definitely Winter  
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Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
MERCURY GOES DIRECT

I cannot tell you how glad I am that Mercury goes direct today. It kicked my ass. Yet again. I did some good inner work on resolving a few issues, but it kicked my ass.

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve been having trouble on that site, with posting (and my host is useless). If it worked, there will be a post on The Artist Statement up.

If not, you’ll be able to hear me swearing wherever you are.

They never showed up on Monday to take a look at the deck. Or let me know they weren’t coming. Yes, it makes sense — it was rainy and raw. But they should have contacted me. I changed hours at my client’s, cancelled another appointment that was for billable hours, and didn’t go to meditation.

I’m tired of losing money because these people can’t be bothered to communicate or show up on time.

I had a good proofreading session in the afternoon, which made up for some of the loss, and a good rune study session.

Then, Monday night, started watching GOOD OMENS. I meant to watch two or three episodes. I watched 5 out of the 6. The production values are spectacular. David Tennant and Michael Sheen are amazing. Well, I think David is always amazing, but the little details, the swagger in Crowwley’s walk, the small gestures, the way he tossed off a line, or gives emphasis to a particular word — wonderful.

The library is doing automatic renewals now on materials that don’t have holds on them. I HATE it. Not only is it harder to keep track of the books, but it’s an insult. It assumes that I am not enough of a responsible adult to get my books back on time.

Tuesday was rainy and yucky, too. I was out early, putting the stake in the ground for the septic pumper guy to find the tank.

Decent few pages on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Good proofreading session.

I held the fort down alone at my client’s yesterday. Got some good work done, but also had to deal with things I don’t usually deal with, which got a bit distracting.

Watched the rest of GOOD OMENS last night. AFTER I did a bunch of housework, like vacuuming and mopping floors. And general tidying up. There are times when I feel like all I do is clean, and it’s dirty again in 5 minutes. And we’re not dirty people.

Up early this morning. Writing, proofreading. I’m going in early to my client’s because we’re leaving early to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

My back is bothering me a lot. I have a feeling I’ll have to go to the doctor, once my insurance is sorted out again. MA insurance, AKA Romney-care is a joke. It’s about having insurance coverage in name only, not at all about actual care.

Meanwhile, one word at a time, one box at a time, one small thing at a time to get things into motion for the changes that need to be made. I want to take a break for the holidays and work more slowly. I need to work quickly on a couple of projects that need to be cleared off by the end of the year. But next year has to be different. Stronger. Better.

Both on the political spectrum for the country, removing the corrupt. And personally, to achieve what I want and need in my life.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on November 20, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!  
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Tues. Nov. 19, 2019: Weekend of Work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge on a family-oriented novel.

And a happy, happy birthday to my Twitter pal Jake! Have a beautiful day!

Friday afternoon, once I got back from errands and the library, it was about yard work. I hacked back the overgrown roses on the side of the house, took out the invasive oak and bindweed. It took a good portion of the afternoon, and I came away scratched and bleeding. I prefer the Sleeping Beauty look, and it discourages cutting through the property. But my landlord complained, and, knowing these damn men who will put in the new furnace, I guarantee they will insist on going down that side of the house, with the narrow path, rather than the side of the house with the driveway and the flat area to get to the bulkhead to load in the furnace. Because it’s “shorter.”

Only in your dreams, buddy.

But it’s done.

I didn’t write enough on Friday, and it threw off the rhythm of my day. The editing session was good, though.

I started reading my friend’s book, which is fun. I finally feel I’ve done enough work to earn that treat.

I moved Tessa up to my room to take some of the pressure off her with Willa and Charlotte. We got them to be company for her, but their issues are causing problems. I’m giving Tessa a break of a week, and then we’ll start re-integration under supervision again.

What’s funny is that Willa, who bothered Tessa the most, ran around the house looking for her and howling once I brought Tess upstairs, and now spends a good portion of the day sitting outside my bedroom door. Maybe they’ll make friends through the door.

Charlotte ran and hid when I picked up Tessa to take her upstairs; she thought she would be next, and she would be moved again.

I’ve had weird dreams the last couple of weeks. Positive, for the most part, but still weird.

Saturday, got up a little after 6 (late for me). Adjusted the morning routine so Tessa still got fed on time. Charlotte thought she could now eat in the kitchen in Tessa’s spot — no, honey, Tessa will be back there soon. You still eat in your spot.

Yoga, meditation, the first load of laundry in before 7.

Then, to writing. I finished editing a draft of a book late in the morning. I started doing the final proof, so I can send it to my editor for final galleys.

In the afternoon, tried to rake, but it was too windy. Scrubbed the railings and the deck. The landlord said it had mold — no, it was dirt. No mold. Some of the paint is coming off, because the last time it was painted was when we moved in in 2010.

Monday was supposed to be pouring with rain, so I don’t see how they’ll muck about and figure out what needs to be done. But that’s up to them, not me.

My back was killing me.

Spent some time with Tessa and studying runes. Read. Finished reading a memoir where the writer tries to present herself as the heroine, when in reality, she’s a manipulator who was caught out. Worked my last nerve.

Sunday, worked on a new recipe for muffins. They came out pretty well, although I’m going to add vanilla next time around.

Wrote all the posts for December for #UpbeatAuthors. Feel a sense of relief and completion.

Pulled the last bits in from the deck, and worked in the basement on Sunday.

Also made orange marmalade oatmeal bread. It was a lot of work, and I don’t like the result. It’s too dense and heavy. If I do it again, I will try it with just oats, not cooked oatmeal. I was very disappointed.

Scrubbed the basement floor.

Read some more in my friend’s book. Kept getting interrupted.

Did a good chunk of proofreading.

Overslept on Monday morning. I didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off (I’m usually up a half hour to an hour before it goes off). The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, or at least it seemed so when I woke up.

Morning routine, and then to editing. Went in to my client’s a little early, because I had to leave early because the landlord had the builder coming to look at the deck and the back of the house.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I don’t know what the workday/builder, etc. actually brought yet. I know I plan to be up early on Tuesday, finish the proofs, and get them to my editor.

I haven’t written any new material in a few days, and it’s throwing me off my game. But I need to get these edits done.

I did, yesterday, indulge myself in a few pages of THE BARD’S LAMENT. That helped.

Onward.