Tues. Dec. 14, 2021: A Twisty Weekend

image courtesy of WaldNob via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Well, let’s just say, it’s been quite the few days.

Friday, I decided to do a hail Mary pass on the car and see if putting in a new battery solved the issues with the EPC light coming on, which my research indicated was sometimes the case. I joined AAA at the tier which promises roadside battery replacement back in November. Not that they’ve sent me my membership card. I’m still carrying around a printout of the email.

So I jump through all the ridiculous hoops on the AAA website to get the quote, to approve the quote, to get them to email me the quote, and to put through the request.

The guy shows up in 20 minutes.

To jumpstart the car.

“They no longer do” battery replacement in the Berkshires.

Then WHY DID I HAVE TO DO ALL THAT FUCKING PAPERWORK?  And why was not told this when I specifically chose the AAA tier that included the promise of this service?

The way companies based outside the Berkshires take money from us without providing the services for which we pay around here is appalling.

The guy didn’t even need to give me a jump. The car started.

I took it down the street to the mechanic I trust. Turns out my battery is fine. They ran a diagnostic. Didn’t find anything wrong with it. So the dealer in Pittsfield strung me along for weeks, and I’ve been without a car for WEEKS for no damn reason.

In case the light goes on again, I now have the information of a local guy who specializes in foreign cars.

Because I’m not taking it to the dealer in Pittsfield unless there’s no other choice.

Came home exhausted.

But got back to work in the afternoon, with script coverages, catching up on emails, getting out some LOIs, and the like.

Sendinblue has flagged my entire mailing list for the newsletter. They said there were too many bounces, and it had 0% opening rate. You know when they flagged it? THREE MINUTES after it was sent. I don’t know about you, but it’s often a week or more before I open and read newsletters. According to the dashboard, no one opened the newsletter. Yet I was hearing on social media and via email from a good portion of the list how glad they were the newsletter was up and running again. Also, what my dashboard shows as bounces (which I can either delete or research for updated emails) and what they’re telling me bounced don’t match. At all.

And they won’t let me just fix the bounces. They 86’d the entire list. Including the people who signed up via their contact form on my website.

It’s ridiculous.

I’ve worked with several email platforms over the years, both for myself and for clients. None of them have ever pulled this crap. Sendinblue’s response is they “can’t” only flag the bounced emails. If a certain number (and their number is higher than what shows up on my dashboard) bounce, the whole list is gone.

So I signed up for MailerLite (after several conversation with them), exported the whole list, ditched the Sendinblue contact form on my website and put in the MailerLite, and it looks like we’re good to go. I’m not sure if I should re-send the newsletter – Sendinblue claimed they only allowed it to go to a “sample” before 86-ing the entire list, but they won’t tell me to which addresses. I might do a “Take 2” with new information on the top, and tell people where they can stop reading if they already got the list.

Let’s hope MailerLite actually does what they claim to do.

So that puts MooSend and Sendinblue on my “no way do I want anything to do with them ever again.”

I mean, I do a quarterly newsletter. It’s not like it’s a big strain on any platform. Which was another problem with Sendinblue – quarterly wasn’t going to be enough for them. The list would have been flagged for inactivity after a month– and needed to be deleted and re-entered yet again.

No, thanks.

The company is not willing or able to meet my needs, so I will find someone else who can.

Saturday was a rainy, yucky day. Cold and raw. The storm let up for about a half hour, and I did a run over to Big Y and did a big grocery shop, including what I need for the baking, except for the candied peel, which I’m still struggling to find.

Got everything home and unpacked. Read a bit in the afternoon. Worked on script coverages.

Totally enjoyed PAYBACK’S A WITCH by Lara Harper. Very well done.

A little squirrel came up on the back porch, climbed up onto the bench and knocked on the window. He wanted our apples. No, I didn’t feed the squirrel. I don’t want it to go out on the Squirrel Collective Mind that I feel squirrels, or we’ll be overrun.

Sunday was mild and sunny. Got some script coverage done in the morning. We headed out with the last of the cards, dropped off some library books. The dashboard lights came on again in the car, and it gave a bit of a hiccough. I was worried it would stall out, but it smoothed out again. We went to Colonial Alpaca in Williamstown, so my mom could buy a gift for her friend. Then, it was off to Wild Oats to stock up.

They had a small Dresden stollen, so if I can’t get my hands on candied peel and make my own, at least we can have a little stollen. They also had the Nuremberg Gingerbread that I absolutely love. And it was fresh, not stale and left over from years before.

Got home, and we put up the big tree in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room. It looks like a normal-sized tree in this house. It always dominated the Cape house. But it’s just. . .nice here. The stand, as always, was a pain in the ass to put together. I have to see if I can find a stand that works for artificial trees that isn’t so awful.

But it’s much sturdier here than it was on the floor back on Cape, and I might not even need to tie off.

We only got the tree up and the lights on, and lights up on the mantel and the front windows. That was as much as we could get done.

Besides, it gives the cats a chance to get used to the tree. We’re lucky; they’ve always been good with it. I mean, they check it out and they sit under it, but they haven’t been destructive, at least not yet. We let them hang out and “help” when we unpack the decorations, and their special Yuletide toys come out and go under the tree, and we have stuffed ornaments for the bottom branches, so it all works out.

Read two scripts, and most of the next book for review.

Tessa actually let me sleep on Monday morning, until after 6. Progress.

Reshuffled my morning yoga sequence. It didn’t work in the way I expanded it, so I put some of the new sequence at the front of the session, and it works better than sticking them on the end.

I had an excellent morning meditation session. Did not want to get up. Could have sat much longer, instead of 30 minutes.

Got blogs up for the Intent for the Week, for the GDR blog, and for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

Found over 800 emails in my inbox, which is not the way I wanted to start my Monday. I got a couple of “we invite you to apply” emails from companies I’ve never heard of. I will have to see what that’s about. How about, if you like my website so much, we have a conversation about what you’re looking for, and whether we’re a good fit? Instead of “invite to apply.” Which, sent out on a Saturday night, sends off warning bells.

Found a couple of things that should have gone into a friend’s holiday package where Willa “helped” pack it – and she swiped those two things and put them in her stash. I retrieved them, wrapped them, and packed them. My mom packed the gift for her friend. I headed down to the post office (on foot) to send them off. Huge line, but moved fast. Told the clerk how grateful I was that the packages mailed last Thursday were already arriving. She was delighted.

Whenever there’s a line, everyone starts chatting with everyone. Like I said, the post office is the happening place around here. Where you go to find out what’s going on. In Lee, it’s Joe’s Diner. Here, it’s the post office.

Home, and back to work. Wrote up some blog posts. Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project. Wrote up two script coverages. Started doing some planning and scheduling for blog posts on various blogs for the new year. I need to start batch blogging for some of the blogs (not this one or Gratitude and Growth, which are dependent on the moment) and work ahead.

In the afternoon, I baked 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies for the holiday baking. Much easier and less stressful in this kitchen than it was on Cape, for some reason. Also, because I’m not doing all-day baking marathons, I think that eases up some of the stress, too. And my feet don’t hurt as much working in this kitchen.

I did use up most of the tins I brought up. I thought I’d brought up another box of them, but maybe not.

On the list for spring’s storage run: More tins for the cookies.

I miss my special china and the snowflake cups/plates/pot I got last year. Oh, well, I’ll get it on one of the summer or fall trips to storage, and we’ll have it for next year.

Read the script for which I’d been requested; it was veery good. It will be a pleasure to write it up. Finished reading the book for review. Will write the review, send it and the invoice off today. Ordered a couple of things off Etsy, from an artisan whose work I like, for something I’m working on for the new year.

Started reading Trisha Ashley’s ONE MORE CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE, which Deborah Blake recommended. Thoroughly enjoying it. I wonder if this is the book that will convince my mom to read some of the books she likes on Kindle? She’d love this. I stayed up way too late reading.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:39 this morning. Fed everyone, and curled back up on the couch with the book, instead of doing what I should be doing.

Got through a little over 500 emails. I have to hope the car holds up to do an errand, and then get back to work on the review and the script coverage. Or maybe I’ll do the review/invoice first, and then attempt my errand.

I need to write up a long, complicated report on the script I read last night. On this afternoon’s agenda are the orange-cranberry cookies and the oatmeal lace currant cookies. Then, it’s two more scripts to read.

Those emails “inviting me to apply” that I received over the weekend? Bogus. Had nothing to do with anyone actually paying any attention to what I do or my skills. It was a series of automated emails from several different “recruiters” who are just looking to bump their numbers, not actually looking at actual talent to fill roles. Waste of my time to even open the emails.

Off to attempt productivity, when all I want to do is read that book!

At least my work for copyediting clients is done for the year. It’s only script coverage and the last two plays on deadline, both of which I’m writing in my head a good deal before I try to put anything on the page. The Marie Collier play is only a ten-minute play, so once I sort out some more possibilities in my head, I can just sit down and write it. I’m still working on some Dawn-and-Dorothy arcs, and I need to go back into the research materials a bit. Because the latter is so specifically stylized, it’s harder to pull off.

Have a good one.

Tues. Nov. 16, 2021: Juggling Manuscripts

image courtesy of Mochammad Algi vis Pexels.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I enjoyed the weekend, which is a good thing.

Friday was a bit of a slog. It started absolutely bucketing down rain, monsooning harder than it ever has since we lived here. I guess I should be grateful it wasn’t snow. But there was no way in hell I was going to go out in that.

Got through a bunch of emails, sent out some LOIs. Did my script coverage. Both read and wrote up the last script of the week (I was going to read Friday, write Saturday, but decided I needed a whole day off). So I worked until 8:30 at night, but at least I got it all cleared off my desk.

I was exhausted, and fell into bed early.

Charlotte started nuzzling me a little after 5 AM on Saturday, and then Tessa began singing the song of her people, so I got up to feed them.

2783 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and they went kind of well.

It was a lovely autumn day, so I grabbed the letters for the post office and the books that had to go back to the library, and headed out. As safe as I feel around here, most of the time, I’m still aware that it’s a city, and I still keep the awareness high of everything going on around me, and keep up with what I learned to survive living in NYC.

Such as: always carry a small compact with a mirror with you. You can “check your makeup” when you’re really checking to see who’s behind you. In a pinch, you can smash the mirror and use the shards as weapons (thereby putting the seven years’ bad luck of a smashed mirror onto your attacker, not keeping it).

Fortunately, I have yet to use that here, but I’m ready, if necessary.

I also feel often safer here than on Cape, because I’m not being harassed by that asshat Trump supporter with the tricked-up pickup and the American flags trying to run me off the road because I’m a woman driving on my own in a blue car, and must therefore be a femi-Nazi libtard and deserve to be driven into a ditch. Or a telephone pole. Nope. Don’t miss him at all.

Anyway, dropped off the mail at the post office. The clerks with whom I usually exchange information aren’t working on Saturdays, so I left without finding out the latest happenings.

Up the street to the library, to drop off and pick up books. One of the librarians suggested a book she really liked, so I added it to the stack, and got some books off the Free Discard table.

When I got home, it was so lovely that we headed to the car and drove up to Windsor Lake, to enjoy being outside while we still can. Explored some more of the lake. It’s a small lake, gouged into the side of a mountain in a residential area, but it’s lovely. I look forward to spending as much time as possible there.

By the time we got back, the clouds were moving in, and soon, it started raining again. So I’m glad we had the time outside.

Read for fun all afternoon. Finished one book and read another which had been recommended to me. They didn’t work for me, although the plotting is clever and well-thought out. I’m not fond of hapless protagonists, unless they grow and change, and this one didn’t, over the course of the two books I read. Also, “witch” was used as a derogatory more than once, by characters I’m supposed to like, without consequences, and that’s a non-negotiable line for me. Don’t pretend you’re an inclusive author when you refer to other women and an entire belief system in that derogatory way. You’re a fucking hypocrite. Any author publishing after 2000 can’t use the excuse that it’s a phrase “everybody uses.” No, hon, it’s a phrase those supporting white privilege status quo use. If a writer uses it in a book published after 2000, a line goes through the name, they are off my list. Writers can and should write whatever they want. But when they personally spit in my face, they can’t expect me to support their books, either by buying them or by praising them. There was a lot of maintaining the status quo white privilege in both books, which turned me off. When an author tries to create a protagonist that does that, while still pretending the protagonist is tolerant and accepting, it rarely works. While a lot of that comes from pressure from traditional publishers, editors, and agents, it’s rarely written with enough skill to work.

Done with that author.

As soon as Charlotte and I started drifting off to sleep on Saturday night, Tessa started wailing. I got up, sat with her while she had a snack, and we had a little chat about the human need to sleep through the night.

She started in again, for a few minutes around 5 on Sunday morning, but I didn’t get up until about six.

There was a brilliantly red sky for the sunrise, which made me figure we were in for some weather.

Baked biscuits in the morning. The American kind, not the British kind.

Wrote 2643 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Just over 100 were an insert on yesterday’s chapter; I realized I hadn’t planted the first part of a clue, so I had to go back and do that, or an upcoming scene won’t make sense.

In the outline for the second book in the series I’ve been working on, I originally planned to kill off the husband of this book’s murder victim, because he’s annoying. However, as I’ve been writing CAST IRON MURDER, he’s evolving into an interesting enough character, and I’ve invested enough in his development, that I’m thinking he might be fun to keep around as a character one can love to hate, who sometimes has redeemable moments. So now I have to come up with a new victim for the second book, and decide if that victim was the intended victim, or if the victim was killed by accident, because the murderer though it was this other character. For a while, I thought it would be the wrong person who initially got killed, and then the right person (because I can’t have a single body drop in the next book, I need at least two), but I’m rethinking the whole plot.

Something to ponder the next time I go to the laundromat and work on the outline.

If it makes more sense to kill this guy off, even though I’ve invested in him, that’s what I’ll do. But if it makes an interesting story to keep him around for a few more books before I kill him off, maybe I’ll do that.

I like having options.

I’m on page nine of my twelve-page outline for CAST IRON MURDER, and worried I’m running out of plot while only being a bit over a third of the way through my projected word count. Fortunately, the sequence in which my characters are currently engaged will take at least two, possibly three chapters.

CAST IRON MURDER definitely has passages that make it a “not quite cozy” rather than a cozy, because the book deals with race, and has references to sexuality and sexual choices in it, although I expect most of the sex will happen behind closed doors, once the protagonist falls for someone.

I find the terms “clean cozy” and “clean romance” rather vomit-inducing, because it suggests that all sex is somehow “dirty” and “unclean” and I disagree with that delineation. People can have all the different kinds of fun they want in their sex lives, and if they chose to call it “dirty” or “nasty” or whatever, that’s up to them. But to define books as “clean” meaning the characters are chaste and sexless not by choice but by publisher or reader demand is way too evangelical and censored for my taste. Also, I find a lot of those books unbelievable, because if people are in a healthy, romantic relationship, it often involves a healthy sex life, and to pretend that part of their lives doesn’t exist is unhealthy. There are plenty of stories where the tone makes more sense for the details of the sex lives not to be portrayed, but to deny the characters even have sex lives, unless a character has chosen celibacy or is ace (and let’s face it, dealing honestly with an ace character would make the readers who like to bully and  censor cozies take up arms, too) is a turnoff for me. Some writers can pull it off with great skill, but there are plenty of authors who, in my opinion, don’t. I’m also sick of militant reader groups trying to bully authors. Read whatever you want. Don’t bully authors into writing the way you want them to write. You can support or not support an author by where you place your money. But telling them how to write the books is not okay. You want to read a certain kind of book and can’t find it? Write it your damn self. Learn what it takes to actually write a book, instead of bullying those who already do.

So I keep trying different authors, and I keep crossing authors off my future TBR list when what they do does not work for me. And sometimes, an author’s books will work for multiple books until, suddenly, it takes a turn, and it doesn’t anymore.

Writers have the right to write whatever they want (or whatever they choose to write, because they’re being paid appropriately). I have the right not to read it. As anyone who finds my books and stories don’t work for them has the right not to read mine.

That doesn’t mean I’ll publicly trash them, unless they start a public fight with me. But I’ll stop reading them, or buying their books or recommending them in the various forms in which I recommend books.

At one point on Sunday afternoon, I was lying on the couch, with Tessa purring beside me. Charlotte jumped into my lap. For a minute, they considered fighting, but then they decided not to. Charlotte settled on my lap, Tessa stayed beside me. I figured 30 seconds to a minute of peace, but we stayed there nearly an hour, until Tessa decided she wanted her dinner. Progress.

Up early Monday, thanks to Tessa, but got a lot done. We were supposed to have snow flurries, so I planned not to leave the house. Didn’t see any; if they were around, they didn’t stick.

Wrote 2770 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and even liked a decent percentage of them.

Had to reformat some of my comic script samples, because somehow, they managed to wonk, in both .doc and PDF formats, and I needed to send those samples to a potential client. So that took up more time than I wanted.

Once those were fixed and out the door, I turned my attention back to “A Rare Medium. I had just one more scene to write on it, and it was taking some interesting turns.

I stopped long enough to make roasted parsnip and apple soup. It’s a Kripalu recipe, by Chef Jeremy Rock Smith. I had a difference of opinion with the immersion blender, and the blender won, leaving the kitchen a mess, so I didn’t take any photographs, but the soup tastes good.

After lunch, I went back to work on the script for a bit, took a quick break on the acupressure mat, and then got back to work. I finished the draft just after 4. Later than I’d hoped, but it felt so good to get it done. Now, it can sit for a week or two before I do revisions, and I’ll still get it in by deadline.

Finished the leftover meatloaf for dinner.

I took a basic astrology class from The Sisters Enchanted in the evening. I needed to brush up on basics, and see where I had gone off track in the layering of the houses with the birth chart with the planets, and then, of course, the transits/retrogrades go over the top. They didn’t add in the transits, but the rest was a good basic refresher of those first three layers.

I remember when I had a professional astrologer read my chart in NYC years ago, a one-hour session took three hours, because she found my chart so complex and interesting.

Another project for winter: untangling my birth chart for a better understanding.

Of course, the astrology books are in storage, and I can’t get at them until spring.

Anyway, TSE has a four-month astrology program that would be interesting, but it’s out of my budget right now. Not that I think they should lower their prices; they’re running a business, deserve to be paid, and charge a fair price. But that doesn’t keep it from being out of my budget at the moment. Which is fine, when the time is right, I’ll take it.

Why does astrology matter? Isn’t it just woo-woo b.s.? It’s often used that way. But it’s information that can help see patterns and make smarter choices. Too many people use astrology as an excuse for their bad behavior. Their chart says X, Y, Z, so they’re not responsible for their behavior, which is a load of crap. Others use it as a reason not to do anything, not to make decisions, because it’s all “fixed” which is also crap.

What it does is give information as to tendencies in behavior and reactive patterns, based on influences and stresses in the chart. If I keep having a response to a set of stressors (which are also affected by environmental and nurturance factors), I can look at my chart and see influences for those stressors. Then, when I feel them, I can stop, take a breath, realize that this is a reactive pattern that does not serve me, and make a smarter choice in my behavior and responses. And, in areas that support positive explorations and choices, I can lean into the support of those influences.

It’s information, to be used or ignored.

There’s also a lot of math involved, which makes me cringe, but hey, the stars and planets have a lot to do with math and science.

I wanted to bask in the afterglow of class, but because I’d spent so much time on the book and the play, I still had script coverage to write up. Got that done. I was about to sign off for the night when I got in an irritating email about something that I thought had been resolved.

Instead of reacting angrily in the moment, I closed out for the night. I will prepare a professional, considered response today and send it during business hours.

Because boundaries, and working to break negative patterns.

Had trouble falling asleep last night, even though tired, and then dreamed of hotels. I’m pretty sure this hotel complex has been in previous dreams. Whatever.

Up at 5, woke up on my own, just before Tessa began singing her morning opera scales.

2378 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and I even like some of them.

I’m dashing out to the grocery store soon, because it looks like we’re getting in some weather, and I want to be done before it hits. I’m taking a cooking class online tonight, via NYU Alumni, and I need to get the ingredients.

More script coverage when I get back, email, LOIs, and then on to the next play.

Peace, friends, and catch you tomorrow.

Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Rain (At Least It’s Not Snow)

image courtesy of Sam Willis via pexels.com

Friday, November 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Raining pretty hard this morning, so I’ll put off the trip to the post office and the library until tomorrow.

Yesterday, I stayed in and worked. I’d hoped to get enough cleared off my desk by lunchtime so I could go to the lake in the afternoon, but it was already getting cloudy, so I skipped the lake.

Got in my Nano words, got out some LOIs, checked on my Nano Buddies, caught up on some email, did some research for a project, wrote up script coverages. Wrote the thank you notes to the people at all the different agencies who helped sort out my mother’s insurance and medication stuff. It was quite a stack by the time I was done. Pretty soon, I have to do the annual Freshening of the Websites, and I need to print up my new business cards for Fearless Ink. I don’t think I have any with the new logo on it.

My Ipsy bag arrived, with lots of good stuff for the month.

Read a new book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed. This is in a different genre than the other work I’ve read. It hits the genre expectations, is more inclusive than typical in the genre, and the writing’s fine, but there’s a fire missing in it that was there in this author’s other work. I’m annoyed with myself for not loving it, but I don’t. Of course, it’s in a genre in which I don’t read much because the genre parameters often annoy me, but I wanted to see what the author would do. I want to love it, but I just don’t.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids are getting vaccination appointments.

Cape Cod’s virus numbers are way up. Which is not surprising at all.  Vermont’s are, too, which is surprising, since they have such a high vaccination rate. I guess that’s it for us in Vermont until the spring. I got an email from the Credit Union that an employee tested positive at one of the branches (not the one I frequent), and the branch is closed for deep cleaning, and everyone with whom that employee was in contact will be tracked down so they can be warned and tested. I’ve noticed some sloppiness about masking lately around here, especially in CVS, where the customers tend to pull their masks down to lean over the counter and talk to the pharmacists. Because those customers are morons. If I do get sick, I’ll have caught it at CVS.

We have one more out-and-about trip planned, late next week, to do a sweep of a bunch of small artisan stores to get the gifts we need to ship. Then, we’re done for the holidays and for the winter, and it’s just the grocery store and the library until spring. Although I’m not at the point where I’m back to decontaminating all the groceries when I come back from shopping, I think I’ll start jumping in the shower and decontaminating myself again. I’d just gotten back into the habit of only the morning shower. So I guess I’m adding in an extra one on grocery days. Can’t take the risk, with numbers going up.

And I’ll get my booster as soon as it’s allowed.

Willa wanted to play last night. Charlotte was willing to play with her, only they were playing by different sets of rules and ended up in a fight. Tessa glared at them from the chair, glad to be out of it. Poor Charlotte’s feelings were hurt. It’s not her fault she didn’t understand Willa’s rules for the game. Charlotte doesn’t really understand playing, except with her catnip banana. We’re working on that.

Read two scripts last night, which I will write up today. Only one to read tonight, and I’ll write it up tomorrow, and then not read again until Sunday. This pay period closes Monday, so I can read Sunday, write it up Monday, and make my nut for the pay period. Several monthly bills are going up, and I need to make sure I hit at least my target, if not a little more. Plus, I want to ease up between Christmas and New Year’s, although I doubt I can take that week completely off.

Slept in until 6. Tessa fussed at 4:23, but I ignored her. My mom got up to feed the cats just before 6 and Charlotte started headbutting me at 6.

2689 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Tough first 400 or so, and then it flowed well. I plan to write every day this weekend on it, not to lose the flow. If I can get more than 50K done by the end of the month, and then finish the draft by the end of the year, that will be a good way to get back on track with the other projects, too.

I’m writing the overseas cards this weekend, so we can mail them just before American Thanksgiving. Not taking any chances on them not showing up until, say Valentine’s Day.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Hopefully, I can get some more unpacking done.

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Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

photo courtesy of Ginny via pexels.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!

Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)

image courtesy of Mustafa Ezz via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

The other side of the state is getting pounded by a nor’easter. We have some heavy rain here, but it’s not bad. I like being tucked into the mountains.

Friday’s soul journey material was all about upselling to another class, which was a disappointment. There was very little real meat to the session, although the exercise for the day was about an affirmation to move forward. The live session in the afternoon was pretty much all recap/upsell instead of how to use the work done this week to move forward. There was talk about doing the work over and over again, in a circle/spiral, but, to me, it feels like it should be more of an elongated spiral, to make sure you wind up in a different place than you start, rather than going ‘round and ‘round like you’re in a washing machine.

But different people are at different points in the journey.

They run a business, and they deserve to be paid for all the work they put in. But the courses they’re selling are for those new to the work; but they want everyone to have similar training, so you can’t participate further unless you go through the basic courses. Which is perfectly understandable, but not where I am right now in my journey. I respect their work enormously; but our paths are separating. My way through the forest is different. I am grateful for the tools I gained through this week. I showed up and did the work every day, without whining or excuses, no matter what else was going on. Now I need to integrate what I learned and build on it.

Getting through to AAA was a nightmare; on hold for 40 minutes. What if I’d been roadside, in severe distress, without a fully charged phone?

Once I got through, I was given an ETA arrival time of just over an hour. Okay, whatever, there was stuff I could do on the porch while keeping an eye out.

The mechanic got there in about 20 minutes, which was great. I have a full-sized spare in the trunk; he switched them out. Easy peasy. For him, anyway. I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.

He showed me the problem: a tack about the size of a dime. He said it was fixable. I thanked him, tipped him, he took off, I just made it to the live session of my class (although I missed the Sundance Collab session, and therefore, working on the plays).

After that, I looked through information, and found a highly rated mechanic not even 5 minutes away. I contacted them about the tire and an oil change. Heard back right away; they were very nice. I set up an appointment for Saturday morning.

The rest of Friday was finishing up the soul journey work, and finishing up the script coverages. Which I did, although it took me way too late into the night, and I still didn’t earn what I planned for the week.

But I was cooked.

I slept on the sofa bed in the living room on Friday night, so Tessa would have company. She was delighted; Charlotte, not so much. But I slept until 5:30 on Saturday, and woke up with an idea for a series of interlocked short stories. It’s an idea I’ve played with on and off for years, but which finally is coming together. I wrote up the notes first thing, so I wouldn’t forget them.

A couple of other ideas poked at me, related to other notes I’d started over the past few weeks, but I couldn’t yet connect the dots.

Saturday morning, I was out the door early to my mechanic appointment, with plans to continue up that same street to run some errands further along, once I was done.

Only there’d been an awful accident further up the road. It was blocked off, because a telephone pole had to be taken out and replaced. I was able to get to the mechanic – and then their power went out. It came back on pretty quickly, and the whole oil change/tire repair went smoothly. The woman who runs the place told me they do a lot of tire repairs, because the streets are always full of stuff causing punctures, due to all the industry here. So at least I know it wasn’t just me being careless!

I couldn’t run any of my other errands up that street, but I went back and around to go to the public library, who has a huge stack of books for me. Got those off their hold shelf.

Read and relaxed in the afternoon. Really enjoyed Elizabeth Flynn’s book. Read Maria DiRico’s LONG ISLAND ICED TINA. I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks, and it made me miss my Greek and Italian friends in Astoria. It’s such a good book!

Did some more decorating. I still have to run the last few strings of lights up the bannisters, but then the decorating is done!

Slept in my own bed on Saturday night, and Tessa let me sleep until about 5:30 again on Sunday.

Sunday was my “Just for Me” day, at least for most of it, so I puttered around, and read and relaxed and generally didn’t worry about a schedule. I had a live Shadow Work session at noon with the same group that sponsored the soul journey work. Their approach to Shadow Work is very different than the way I’ve been trained, and I got a couple of good tools I can use. But again, there was a lot of upsell, and a lot of first-timers who don’t pay attention to the session, yammer incessantly, but expect to be spoon-fed individually all the information that was just discussed. That’s just not where I am right now. Blessings to them all, but my path takes me somewhere else.

Read a book that was interesting, but not brilliant. Relaxed. Made ratatouille to go with the fish for dinner.

At one point, all three cats were sitting in different chairs in the sun on the porch, which has never happened. It was a big step.

Read four scripts Sunday night.

Tessa woke me a little after midnight on Monday. I got her settled, then she started up around 4:30, but I was out like a log, and didn’t wake up until nearly 6. She was not amused.

That put me back in everything for the day, which is okay, since it got done, just in a different time frame. I can’t be too tightly scheduled here, because everything runs on its own time.

Got some excellent writing done in the morning, especially on an outline for a piece whose characters and situations have been rolling around in my head since late August. It started to come together.

Had to go to CVS to try and negotiate my mom’s thyroid medication, since the insurance problems are still ongoing. The pharmacist who helped us before managed to pull the prescription from the Cape CVS and get a 90-day refill at a price I could afford. Thank goodness.

Dropped off books at the library. Came home and discovered a check from a client – more than double what I expected, which is great, because it takes off the pressure for end-of-month bills.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

Tried to work on “A Rare Medium” during the Sundance Collab time, but I absolutely lost the thread of where I was going with the next scene. Even though I have notes. I was completely baffled.

This is why I need to work every day on the first draft of something until it’s done, and not in fits and starts. I have to block out time to work on this play every day, even if it’s only a short session. I was so frustrated with myself.

Wrote up three script coverages in the afternoon, and read three scripts at night.

Charlotte woke me up this morning at 1 AM. She wanted cuddles and playtime. She was sweet and purry, but it was one a.m. I got her settled and dozed off again. Then, Tessa woke me at 3:27 with her howling. I grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, got her settled, and dozed off again. Willa woke me at 6:30, because she was Very Hungry and I was late feeding them.

Sigh.

Working on the outline this morning, for the piece that’s coming together, and then, hopefully, finishing the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I want it to marinate (no pun intended, since there’s a lot of cooking in the piece) before I start writing next Monday. I will also block off some time to work on “A Rare Medium” and read over the source material, as well as working on the next scene. I have script coverage to write up, and more scripts to read.

I’ve done the meal planning for my friend’s visit this weekend; what we actually get up to (other than the Samhain celebration and giving out candy to Trick or Treaters), we will somehow play by ear, because so much depends on the weather. But it will be a lot of fun. Our first houseguest since before the pandemic, which means it’s a little over two years since I’ve seen my friend in person. My mom’s triple vaxxed, and my friend and I are both double vaxxed. Plus, we all still take precautions, so, fingers crossed, it will be okay.

Time to get back to the page.

Published in: on October 26, 2021 at 7:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 26, 2021: Ruled By Cats (and Words)  
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Thurs. Oct. 7, 2021: Cat-aversaries

Willa, photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

I talk more about foliage and farmer’s markets over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was a quiet day. I worked through some emails, wrote up four coverages, participated in Remote Chat, sent out some LOIs. Read three more scripts. Steady workday, although not as varied as some.

The longer morning yoga session helped counteract all the sitting, and I did another yoga session before bedtime. I want to get back into doing that. I sleep better when I have that transition time of yoga and the night meditation, especially if I’ve been reading scripts all the way up until bedtime.

I’d bundled the chicken carcass into the fridge because I was tired the previouos night, but made the stock yesterday. That will be good for the rest of the week’s cooking.

Yesterday was Willa’s 3rd anniversary with us, and tomorrow is Charlotte’s 3rd anniversary. Although they are litter mates, and were raised by the same guy, they’d been separated by the time we adopted them. Their original owner got the pair of them as kittens. He had a lot of health problems, and needed a service dog. The cats and the dog didn’t get along, so he had to give up the cats. For eighteen months, they were moved around to different relatives about every two weeks, sometimes together, sometimes separated because they fought (of course they did, they were stressed). By the time we adopted them, they were both very traumatized. It’s been a lot of daily work, but they’ve both shown a lot of improvement. They are healthy, curious, funny, and loving. Willa is the goofier one; Charlotte is more of a princess. Charlotte still has some behavioral issues, especially when it comes to sharing space and humans; she and Tessa have attained peaceful co-existence most of the time, but usually fuss at each other once or twice a day. Willa and Tessa are sort of friends, although they don’t really understand each other. But they hang out together and sort of play in the same space, but at a safe distance from each other. They were six when we got them, so they are about nine now, and Tessa’s going on eleven.

Charlotte, photo by Devon Ellington

We love all three of our furry critters, and are glad they are part of the family.

Tessa let me sleep until 4:46 this morning, which is just perfect. Got up, and had a good morning routine, finally. Coffee, first writing session (which went well), the extended yoga session, a good meditation session. I have meditation with the online group in a little bit.

I have four script coverages to write up today, and two more scripts to read (which I will write up tomorrow), and then I’m done for the week. I have to write up the book review today and send that off, so I can get my next assignment. Errands today: both libraries and the bank.

I hope to catch up on some more email, and get out some more LOIs.

I’m hoping for a few quiet weeks to get settled into a solid remote work routine, and also finish unpacking!

I managed to book my mom’s Covid booster shot for next Thursday, just down the road at the local CVS. They’re so much nicer and, you know, actually work with their customers instead of against them here.

Have a great day, friends!

Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday was busy, but it was a good busy, not a nasty busy.

I had a good first writing session, I got out some LOIs. Still have a lot of email to catch up on which came in over the weekend. Got some administrative work done.

It was a pleasant day, so I walked to the post office to mail bills. More people are wearing masks even outside again, and the laundromat, which was busy, was full of the masked. Which is a good thing, not a complaint. But I’m a little sad we’re back that. However, I’m grateful that people are being considerate, and not fussing.

Mailed the bills, dropped off/picked up books at the library. Found some books on the free cart which looked kind of fun, and also found a bunch of information on local farms/growers/markets and local, independent newspapers, including one that has a lot of arts information and bookstore information for upstate New York, Vermont, and the Berkshires. I am relieved to see how many arts organizations are requiring proof of vaccination AND masking to attend events.

Walked back along Church Street, which is always a joy, because of the beautiful architecture and yards. Ran into my lovely postman, who introduced me to the woman who lives in one of my favorite houses on the street. She is as lovely as her house.

I’m reading the published journals of an actor with whom I was acquainted, back years ago in New York. He died, quite a few years ago now (although it seems recent). I was shaken by his death, because I had respected his work and enjoyed our conversations when we crossed paths. I kind of wish I wasn’t reading his journals, because, bluntly, he’s a selfish shit who treated people (especially the women in his life) badly. He was a parasite in his relationships, finding a woman to be the “backbone” of his career, at the detriment to her own. Yes, it was her choice, but still, that’s not my idea of a partnership. Goodness knows, enough have tried to drain me that way, having me “handle” their careers and their work at the detriment to my own. They got kicked to the curb pretty quickly, because that is not the kind of partnership in which I want to participate.

I think far less of him than I did, and yet, I can’t stop reading. Which shows what a compelling person/writer he was, in spite of it all.

It gave me the idea for a short story, for which I jotted some notes, so I wouldn’t lose it.

Got out some script coverage, read some more scripts.

I have a day out and about today, and will catch up tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be back in time to attend the Straw Dog Authors’ Showcase via Zoom tonight. I’m looking forward to hearing local authors read, although I’m sad I’ll miss Remote Chat.

Have a good one, people. We’re supposed to have some yucky weather tomorrow.

Published in: on September 8, 2021 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman  
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Thurs. Aug. 19, 2021: Hurricanes and Dilemmas

image courtesy of Comfreak via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Uranus goes retrograde today. I’m a little tired of heavy retrogrades. It’s going to feel like slogging through molasses until the planets start turning direct in October.

There’s a new post on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d hoped. The humidity slowed me down, so I had to take a break again in the middle of the day and start up in the evening again. Grateful for the flexibility, but it makes me grumpy to work until 10 PM some nights.

Got out a bunch of LOIs, which is necessary, since I’ve been slacking lately on that. Did some more Marie Corelli research, thanks to a resource forwarded by a friend.

Broke down the stacks of boxes that accumulated in the front hall, and took them across the street to the dumpster. It took more than one trip. A couple of maintenance guys stepped in to help, which was very kind.

The hall looks great now. The bookcases look good, there’s space.

Vacuumed. I’m very happy with the new Eureka vacuum. The cats, however, are not. Screaming cats flying in all directions.

Remote Chat was fun.

Finished the third Wonky Inn book. Not letting myself get the next one in the series until I finish my work for the week, or I’ll read it instead of working!

Read two scripts, and wrote up coverage for a third last night. I have to finish coverage on another one this morning, before meditation, and write up the two I read last night, then read two more today to write up tomorrow. I’d like to take the whole weekend off from coverage, but not sure I can.

I have a lot of admin paperwork to deal with today, too.  I have the online meditation group this morning, Freelance Chat at noon, and a Zoom meeting with the co-op I joined tonight. An in-person networking event for the end of the month, to which I was invited and sent regrets because it was in-person, has switched to virtual, and I received another invite. I sort of feel I HAVE to go now; at the same time, I don’t want to rouse myself out of my semi-recluse state, as I said yesterday.

Part of me would like to look for a writers’ group (a virtual group, since I’m not doing in-person anything until at least next spring). There are plenty of groups around here, and they’re open to new members. My hesitation is that, right now, I want and need specific things from a group (rather than being more freewheeling and flexible, as I’ve been able to be in other situations). I’m just not sure how to graciously find what I need without coming across like a jerk.

I’ll do a lot of listening as far as information on writers’ groups, but not a lot of “visiting”, even virtually. If I’m patient, the right group will make itself known. Hopefully, they will want me to join as much as I want to join.

The best bet, at least for the next few months, is to do as little “joining” as possible. Concentrate on building strong work rhythms, and getting back on track with projects and clients and earnings.

I think today’s rain is the remnants of Fred; Henri is supposed to hit the coast this weekend at the other end of the state, and I’m not sure how much of it we’ll get here. Guess I’ll find out.

Just thinking about today exhausts me, so I better get started.

Tues. Aug. 17, 2021: Frustrating Start

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Mid-month check-in is up at the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

It was a good weekend, although I had a late start to it. In the hot weather, I’ve been taking a break during the worst heat/humidity in the middle of the day and focusing on the reading portion of my job(s). But that means I have to get back to the writing in the evenings, when it’s cooler and I can actually think. I wasn’t finished on Friday until about 8 PM, which I hate. (Which is why when someone approaches me with the line, “Must work PST hours” I refuse).

Also, too much of Friday was spent trying to open the new account at Greylock Federal Credit Union. It shouldn’t take three hours to open an account, and it shouldn’t take two weeks before the account is up and running. Seriously wondering if we made the right choice. Well, if we hate it, there are a ton of banks around here, and we’ll just change over again.

Tons of email to get through; I’ve been waiting too late in the day on Fridays with the admin. Hopefully, that will change now that it’s a little cooler.

After dinner on Friday, we had the lights off in the kitchen and sat, watching the thunder and lightning roll around the mountains. It was really cool.

Saturday was heavy with humidity, and it was hard to concentrate on anything. A friend is visiting for Labor Day weekend (yes, vaccinated), and booked her train ticket. I’m going to pick her up/drop her off at the train station in Albany, which will be an adventure.

Put away the holiday decorations we brought up in this last storage run. Winter on one side of the shelves, autumn on the other. There’s still plenty more coming up, but we will figure it out. There’s still room.

Got Mother’s prescriptions transferred up to the local CVS. The one on Cape said they’d do it, but, of course, didn’t. Everything is set up – only when we came home, there was a letter from Tufts that they are dropping her from their health insurance because she moved. They supposedly cover the entire state (one reason we wanted to stay in MA), sent her four volumes of statewide doctors and a list of local ones (none of whom were closer than 18 miles away), and now they’re dumping her. During a pandemic. After raising her premiums while doing less. This is not acceptable. Hey, I’m all for her having a better health plan, but Tufts needs to be bitch slapped by Health & Human Services, Maura Healey’s office, and Elizabeth Warren’s office for this type of behavior, and I am damn well going to make sure that happens. I’d like to bitch slap the Tufts CEO myself. In person.

Wrote up my book review and got it in on time. I always drag my feet when the book is a disappointment. This one needed both a developmental and a copy edit. It was a meandering mess.

Sunday was a lovely, sunny, cool day. We checked the local Goodwill, which is huge and has a lot of stuff, but nothing we needed. Then, we headed over to The Spruces, just over the border into Williamstown. The Spruces was a planned senior community of trailer homes, begun in the 1950’s, with its own mayor and city council. It was flooded out permanently in either 2011 or 2012, and now the town owns it and turned it into a community park. It’s filled with wildflowers and trees, and there are still ghostly outlines of some of the properties. The entrance has two white lion statues on very tall pedestals. It’s beautiful and a little creepy all at once.

The news of the earthquake in Haiti is sad, and what’s going on in Afghanistan was completely predictable. It was never about independence for the country, but about how much money our military contractors could make, Of course, the same GOP who doesn’t want to support those seeking asylum are the ones screaming about what’s going on there. Not to mention it was a Republican who got us into the mess in the first place. Typical hypocrites.

Read Peter Ackroyd’s short biography of Wilkie Collins, which gave me some ideas, especially when it comes to the Victorian actors Squire and Marie Bancroft. Put aside the book of letters between Yeats and Maud Gonne – that research is not leading where I’d hoped so I’m putting that project aside for now.

Worked on unpacking and setting up the sewing room (which also doubles as a guest room. Still more to do, but we’re getting there.

Wrote steadily all weekend, and that felt good. Writing steadily first thing every morning.

Monday started as a cool, lovely day. Good writing session, caught up on email. Went to the post office to mail a stack of bills and letters. Went to both libraries.

Got Mother’s social security deposit information changed to the new bank. No luck with the insurance. The Medicare “help line” who’d sent her paperwork promising to help passed her from person to person to person, NONE of whom helped. I have to contact Health & Human Services, copying Maura Healey and Elizabeth Warren.

Only the Brother laser printer needs a new yellow ink toner, and won’t let me override to print in black and white. Staples won’t ship the regular cartridge. It has to be picked up in store. The store in Pittsfield doesn’t have it – I’d have to drive to Albany, and they won’t guarantee it’s still there, even if I purchase it for in-store pickup. I had to order, online, the more expensive cartridge to be shipped. It’s supposed to be here by tomorrow. They sent me a “driver’s release” form so the driver just leaves it at the door – but the link doesn’t go anywhere.

Can’t ANYBODY do their fucking job?

I’m so sick and tired of losing hours and days of work for stupid people. They’re costing me too much money.

Tried to fill out the paperwork so my mom’s pension goes into the new bank account. But because I couldn’t print it out for her to sign, I don’t know if they’ll accept it. She signed a statement. They also wanted a void check – only we don’t have checks, so the bank gave us a letter of authorization, stating the account was open. Let’s see if they accept that. If the pension goes into one account and the social security goes into another, it will be a hot mess.

None of this should be difficult, nor should it take days to “process.” You have the information electronically. Fucking type it in and save it, and then use it.

It was faster when NONE of it was electronic.

Read the second Wonky Inn book, which was fun. Got my next book assigned for review, so I’m looking forward to it. Read one of the scripts I have to cover – turns out it’s about an historical even into which I’ve done extensive research. So that’s fun.

It’s getting humid again.  We’re supposed to have showers on and off throughout the week. High humidity, although the temperatures won’t be that bad. I think we’ll get smacked with a bit of Hurricane Fred at some point, although nowhere near as much as the coast will.

I have to head over to the laundromat to get the laundry done. Big pile of it, since I didn’t go last week (we did the storage run instead).

Script coverage, almanac articles, starting the book for review, LOIs. Just another day in Freelance Life.

There was a beautiful rainbow stretching over the mountain, when I was on the front porch doing my first writing session this morning. The camera in the phone couldn’t capture it, but I enjoyed watching it until it faded away.

Have a good one, friends.

Thurs. Aug. 5, 2021: Some Days Just Don’t Go Very Far

image courtesy of calibra via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday just wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

Most of the day was spent on class preparations, which was a good thing. I’m still shuffling and reshuffling some of the slides. I’m still switching out some images. I’m going to run the presentation a few times today for timing, and probably cut a few things.

I wrote up one of the script coverages.

I got out some LOIs. I got frustrated at a few companies who don’t even read the materials, just make demands for unpaid work as part of the pre-interview process. They can take their assessments and shove them right up their collective ass. You want me to take a test? Fine. You will pay me for my time.

Wild Oats is going to require masks inside again, which is a relief. I think I’m going to skip in-person networking events until spring. Even vaccinated, I just don’t feel comfortable enough to be around people I don’t know inside. Even outside, I’d rather have 60 feet between us than 6.

I mean, I’ve been wearing masks in stores and buildings all along, but I’d much rather it was a requirement than a request.

Had a good first writing session this morning; got in my four pages. The piece is following the themes that originally intrigued me, but also taking on a shape of its own. I’m following where it leads for now; in the next draft, I’ll impose more on it, craft-wise. This draft, I’m trying to figure out what I want to say, and what I want to explore.

I’m going to work on the class today, finish off the handouts and upload them so they can be downloaded after tomorrow’s class. I have two coverages to write up, and one script (so far) to read. Looks like I’ll be reading over the weekend, which I’d hoped not to do. But with teaching tomorrow and doing a storage run next week, that removes two reading days from my work schedule, so I have to work through the weekend to make my nut,

Meditation soon, and then, back to the page. It hasn’t decided if it’s going to rain or clear up. If it rains, I’ll stay in. If it clears up, I have books to return to the public library, and more to get out.

There were two black cats wandering the neighborhood this morning. One sat and watched what was going on, then followed her person back home. The other was the tall, lean cat I met in the parking lot a week or so ago. She sauntered across the street, paused to acknowledge me as I greeted her from the porch, then strolled onto the porch of the house next door. I hope they don’t get hit by a car. I worry about cats outside.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on August 5, 2021 at 7:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 5, 2021: Some Days Just Don’t Go Very Far  
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Tues. Aug. 3, 2021: Love The Libraries

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

For some reason, the weekend feels like a really long time ago.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog. I’m slowly gearing up the other blogs.

I didn’t manage my time properly, so I ended up writing up script coverage all weekend. I need to figure things out better, so I have weekends off from the coverage, or it’s just too much.

I found out that a new independent bookstore opened, within walking distance. My first instinct was to run right over and check it out. However, I decided to wait until I get paid, so that I can actually spend money there (not just buy one thing because I feel like I can’t go in without buying something, but buy several things and give them some serious business). I also discovered that, at Norad Mill, on the way to Wild Oats Market, is a yarn store. I don’t need more yarn – I have so much in storage. But there’s a yarn store, so you know I’m going to go there.

The list of possibilities for upcoming Artist Dates grows. And that is a good thing.

I like that there are places I can frequent within walking distance.

Norad Mill also has a yoga studio, with strict vaccine rules for in-studio work. Even with that, that everyone needs to be vaccinated, masks are welcome within the studio, I’m not sure if I feel comfortable going back into the studio. There’s another studio (near the new bookstore), but it’s online only right now. As much as I’d like to go back to class, I’m not sure, even with precautions and protocols, I feel comfortable enough so to do. I feel like I’d need a separate set of mat, blocks, props, etc. to take to class that would need to be decontaminated and kept separate from my daily mat and blocks I use at home.

But it’s nice to know that the studios here follow protocols. Unlike the studio on Cape, where, during the height of it all last year, pre-vaccine, people could be inside without masks.

I received sad news. The Broadway colleague fighting COVID, who seemed to be improving, died of a heart attack on Friday night. He was a sweet, gentle soul who is an enormous loss.

It also increases my rage against anti-vaxxers. They are domestic terrorists, walking biological weapons, and need to be dealt with as the murderers they are.

Saturday, I put the cat condo back up. It’s in a corner of the living room. Because the ceilings are so much higher here, it doesn’t dominate the room, the way it did in the Cape house. The cats aren’t sure about it yet. It has to be their idea to go back into/onto it.

Worked on unpacking/setting up my office some more. It’s better, it’s workable, but I want it wonderful, and it’s not there yet.

The new Eureka vacuum arrived. It’s wonderful. It was also horrifying to see how much dirt was in the rugs that the other vacuum hadn’t picked up. But now, we’re finally getting things clean.

When I lived a block from Times Square, in NYC, the constant cleaning was discouraging. I’d scrub everything down; an hour later, there was a light layer of soot and grime over everything. When we first moved to the Cape, a decade ago, things were a little gritty because it’s sandy (beaches have sand), but, overall, it was cleaner. However, it got progressively dirtier, as trees are cut down, and there were the constant mowing/leaf blowing/chain saws. The dirt had an oily residue from all the machinery in constant use. Even with regular house cleaning, it was difficult to get it clean, much less keep it clean. As we unpack, even though we cleaned things before the move, everything needs a second, thorough scrub.

The dirt and dust, at least so far, is a different, lighter consistency. So far, at least, it’s easier to clean, even though we technically live in a city.

Who knew there were so many kinds of dirt? Not soil, but dirt.

Sunday was about some more unpacking. There are still a few boxes in the living room that need unpacking, but it’s not stuff for the living room. And we need to rearrange some stuff, and decide what to put on the mantel. So far, nothing looks quite right. Our mirrors are the wrong size and shape. I feel as though it should be a painting. If we keep the porcelain figurines (which have been in the family for generations and keep getting hauled around) on the mantel, I feel it should be a pastoral scene with a lake (for feng shui, there needs to be water over a fireplace, even if it’s not a real one), so it looks like the figures stepped out of it. If we move the figures (although who knows where), it can be some other sort of painting, as long as there’s a watery vibe to it (but not a sinking ship type of thing; not good for feng shui).

I tried putting the pieces I brought back from Australia oh, so long ago, when my play was produced there, but they don’t look or feel right there, either. They will probably go in my office.

Monday morning, in my first writing session of the day, I passed my daily quota, for the first time in months. It felt good. I’m getting back in synch with my creativity. I’m starting, slowly, to feel like myself again. The self I was when I moved so optimistically to the Cape ten years ago (nearly eleven now), although I doubt I’ll ever feel that level of optimism about anything ever again.

Got out some LOIs, caught up on email. Worked on the class presentation. Walked down to the post office to mail a few things.

I can see the college library from my front windows. So, yesterday morning, I walked over and got a Community Card. I have permission to both check books out of the library and to work in the library (it was practically empty today and everything is well spaced, but if COVID numbers keep going up, I doubt I will). Everyone at the college – students, faculty, staff, vendors – is required to be fully vaccinated, at least. But I don’t want to push my luck.

For research, it’s a fantastic library. Lots of books I can’t find anywhere else. I only checked out two books, but they will keep me busy for a bit!

Home, tried to get back to work, had a bad case of the I Don’t Wannas. Did a little unpacking and rearranging.

Worked on some script coverage. Started the next book I have to review. Paid some bills.

An interesting call for a flash fiction submission landed in my inbox, so I’m playing with some ideas.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat, with the eye pillow on, and Willa was absolutely convinced I was dying, and it was her job to resuscitate. Poor cat. Her original human, who gave her up because he was too sick to take care of her and of Charlotte, must have been in bad shape.

At least I’m sleeping better.

As I’m roaming around the neighborhood, learning my way about, I’m meeting various neighbors. People are good about distancing when unmasked outside, and everyone in the area is vaccinated (most are connected to the college, or to other companies that insist on vaccination). The timbre of conversation here is so different than it was on Cape.

For comparison:

Topic: My life and work in New York, and it comes up that I worked backstage on Broadway for years.

Typical Cape Cod response: “Oh, so you were fired and came here? But I bet you still have connections. How soon can you get me free tickets? There are lots of shows I want to see, but I’m not paying those prices.”

Berkshires: “I bet you got to work on some cool projects and with some talented people.”

(For the record: I was not fired. I was aging out, and wanted to leave while I still loved it).

Topic: Professions. I’m asked what I do for a living, and I respond with “writer.”

Typical Cape Cod: “What’s your real job?”

Berkshire: “Can we get together one day to take a walk around the lake/get coffee and talk about how you approach character and plot? I’m vaccinated, I promise.  I’m trying a few things, and I’d love to hear how you do it.”

See the difference?

Not everyone on Cape was like that, of course. The people who became my friends weren’t like that, or we wouldn’t have formed friendships. But, at networking or Chamber Events or Writers’ Center events or art openings, meeting and chatting with new people, that same response came up over and over and over again, for years.

Not that it’s perfect here. The Town Clerk still hasn’t responded to my request to change voter registration (which, according to the Secretary of State’s office has to be done here), and the equivalent of my health organization hasn’t responded to any of my requests for information. The original requests went in nearly a month ago. The local chamber of commerce hasn’t responded to my request for information (although the larger 1Berkshires has).

But when I meet people and talk to them, I’m met with interest, rather than the hostility of “you think you’re so great because you work in the arts, but you can’t be that great or you wouldn’t live here” which I got pounded with constantly on Cape for years.

It’s not about my view of my own “greatness.” It’s the fact that this is my profession, not my hobby, I put in the work, and earn my living at it.

Up early this morning, wrote my 1K in longhand. It felt good. There’s stuff I need to research, details, but the writing itself feels good, even though the story itself is light years away from what I usually do. Stretching is a good thing.

The bulk of today’s focus will be on the materials for class: finishing up the Power Point presentation, putting together the handouts. My host is doing maintenance, so I can’t upload anything until tomorrow, but if it’s ready to go, that means I can upload, test, and troubleshoot before Friday’s class.

I also have to make another trip to the post office, and then I’ll swing by the public library to return books/pick up books. I think it’s nice enough to walk today, so that’s what I’ll do. Walking more is both a good way to learn the area, and a way to regain fitness and strength. It’s safe to walk around here, too. People aren’t idiots, and don’t roam in unvaccinated packs, like they did on Cape. Even when we’re unmasked and vaccinated, we give each other room, passing on the sidewalk, etc. None of this invading personal space and literally blowing on the backs of people’s necks that the assholes did during the pandemic on Cape, thinking it was “funny.”

Got to do a grocery run, too. I’m out of oat milk. I put cow’s milk in my coffee this morning, and that was a mistake. We need a few things like eggs and butter, too.

Time to get back to work. Slowly, I’m finding my work rhythms again. I still get tired quickly, and have to take more breaks, but taking breaks isn’t a bad thing. When I take proper breaks, I’m more focused and productive when I actually work.

And I’m soooo much more productive working fully remotely than going into someone else’s office.

Back to the page, hoping for a good day, on multiple levels.

Thurs. July 22, 2021: We Found the Lake

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hazy, humid (but a little cooler)

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I hoped. That seems to be a theme lately.

Managed to get work done on the short articles for Llewellyn. Got out some LOIs. Started one of the script coverages (which is due today, so I’ll finish it this morning). Read two more scripts. Noodled a bit for the class. I should be ready to start putting together some slides for the presentation today.

Remote Chat was fun.

After Chat, we got into the car and drove up to Windsor Lake, which really is a 3-minute drive away, albeit all uphill. The lake is above us. It’s very pretty. They’ve got concerts there on Wednesday evenings (when it doesn’t rain). If it ever stops raining, it will be nice to pack a picnic and some books and stay for a few hours.

Cooking and reading and writing and trying to figure out each day. I still feel like crap most of the time. Started taking the iron supplement again, hoping that will help. I should be feeling better by now. But I’m not. I’m still exhausted, on every level.

There’s still a good bit of unpacking to do, too. Will have to focus on that this weekend. I think once we’re unpacked, it will feel better, too. Less chaotic. I have to think in terms of different types of storage, too. But I need to be unpacked and have things arranged as I can, so I can see what I need.

We looked at some rugs online. But what we liked in our budget is sold out, and we’re not going to buy rugs we don’t like, so we’re on hold for a bit on that. We need a rug for the guest bedroom we’re calling “Tessa’s room” because she spends a lot of time in there, and I’d like a rug for my bedroom.

Patience. I have to have patience with all of this.

Got some writing done this morning. Will join the online meditation. A recruiter wants to talk to me about a job with a company for whom I won’t work, so that’s a no. Script coverage to write up. I need to work on the class presentation, the short articles, and the book for review.

One step at a time. That’s all I can do.

Published in: on July 22, 2021 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 22, 2021: We Found the Lake  
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