Wed. Nov. 24, 2021: Holiday Meal Prep

image courtesy of Sarah Chai via pexels.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

After yesterday’s quota on CAST IRON MURDER was met, I headed for the post office to mail the two packages (one overseas, one domestic that I wanted to arrive during Chanukah). The overseas rate has gone way up, but it’s the only package, so I’m not worried. The domestic package rate has gone up somewhat, but along what I expected.

Then, off to the library, to drop off and pick up books. To Big Y, for a few last-minute items.

Home, unpacked, and worked on script coverage. I was done about midafternoon. I have one more to read/write up before the holiday, but I was just too tired. Each script deserves my ability to concentrate and respond at top capability.

Leftovers for dinner. I’m trying to clean out the fridge to make room for turkey leftovers!

Pondering how I want to change things for next year, as far as work schedule, the way the workload is spread out, etc. I’m on the right track; I need to make a few decisions about where to put my focus and energy. I need to figure out the roster of projects I need/want to get done, and how to juggle them so I don’t burn out and can truly enjoy each of them.

I want to go back to Sundays (or at least one day a week) being disconnected from social media, email, etc. I want to use that day for yoga, meditation, projects I WANT to do, rather than things I feel I HAVE to get done before the next week starts. I want to shift some of my focus, copywriting-wise in the next few months, with a bigger emphasis on certain areas, while pulling back in others. I like the flexibility I have now, and I like taking what Americans consider a long-ish break in the middle of the day, even if it means working later at night.

Went to bed early. Tessa woke me up at 4:10. I moved to the bed in the sewing room, and she settled down, happy. Then Willa and Charlotte came to check in, and I gave up and got up.

Headed for the laundromat early, and got everything done in about an hour and a half. I was the only one there. Sometimes it’s creepy, but today, it wasn’t.

I worked on the outline for the second HEARTHSTONE book (the series started with CAST IRON MURDER). I’m calling that book THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, at least for the moment. Outlining is something I can do at the laundromat, because the hum of the machines gives the writing an underlying beat, and I can still be aware of what’s going on around me. If I’m deep in scene work, I’m not alert enough to my surroundings.

I realized I have to seed a couple of things in CAST IRON MURDER for it to make sense in KRINGLE CALAMTIY, so when I go back in a couple of months to revise CIM, I’ll seed them in. Unless I put them in as inserts in this draft. I forgot to write a scene in CIM that’s kind of important to set something up for the end of the book, so I’ll go back and do that this weekend. When I go back and revise, I have to clean up some timeline stuff; it’s too vague the way it is right now.

Made some notes on the project with which I’ve been playing. It’s still mostly world-building and character relationship notes, although I’m starting to feel more than see how the first three major arcs will go.

When I came back, after breakfast, I wrote 2951 words on CAST IRON MURDER. I realized about two pages of this chapter needed to be the end of the previous chapter, not the opening of this one, so I moved them back into that chapter, and then this chapter made more sense. I need to smooth out a bit of logic, which I can do once I’ve added the insert scenes.

One more chapter (and insert scenes) and I’m done with this draft.

Since it’s not a contracted, deadlined project, I can then put it aside to rest and marinate for two months, before I start working on revisions.

And get back to my contracted, deadlined projects.

I hope to do the revision of “A Rare Medium” early next week, and get that in before deadline. I’m hoping to start the Marie Corelli play this weekend.

I got through about 500 emails this morning. I’m trying to get (and keep) the email situation under control.

I’m a little concerned, because the COVID numbers are going up again here, and Pittsfield is back in the red zone. Since we were shopping in Pittsfield last weekend, I’m monitoring us.

I have one more script to cover, and I’m done for the holidays. I’m debating reading another couple of scripts Saturday/Sunday, in case the COVID booster knocks me out Monday/Tuesday. I’ll see how I feel on the weekend. My brain needs the break.

I’ve got some baking to do this afternoon – cheddar and apple turnovers, an apple/ginger cake, and possibly the chocolate walnut butter bread. Or I might do the bread over the weekend.

Tomorrow morning, I make the stuffing and put the turkey in the oven. I’m serving it with traditional mashed potatoes and homemade turkey giblet gravy, peas, and I’m doing my carrot-parsnip dish in mushroom sauce. I have a bottle of local hard cider from Berkshire Cider Project that I bought specifically for the meal.

Friday, we start the winter holiday decorating, and work on the domestic cards. Sunday is already the First of Advent and the beginning of Chanukah. At the very least, I need to get the Advent table up.

Yes, there will be photos, especially since this is the first time we’re decorating this space, and it will be very different from the past ten years in the Cape house!

Monday, I get my COVID booster in the morning, mixing Pfizer with my previous Moderna shots. Hopefully, I won’t have strong side effects. My mom had 3 Pfizers, with barely any side effects, except sore arm and fatigue. My first two Moderna shots kicked my ass.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. Enjoy the holiday. Rest, eat, enjoy.

Wed. Aug. 25, 2021: Still Drippy and Humid

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Foggy, hot, humid

I forgot to mention something good from Monday. The Marie Corelli biography I ordered secondhand in Ohio, from the bookstore who had it at a price I could afford, arrived. The description made it sound like a sad copy, but it’s great! I’m so excited to read it.

I struggled with WordPress yesterday. It just would not cooperate.

Went over to the college library to return books and get new books. Found some eBooks that would be helpful in my research. Hopefully, I can check them out. Came home and realized the bill for the tolls for moving was due, so I wrote the check and dashed down the street to the post office.

On this walk, it was the first time the warning bells went off in regard to another pedestrian. A guy a few yards ahead of me set off those bells. Now, I lived on the Deuce in NYC a good long time, and I know to listen to the signals. And, as small and friendly as this city is, it IS a city, and I have to remain alert. Every woman who’s ever had to walk alone can relate.

Anyway, the guy was on the other side of the street at first. I didn’t like the way he stopped and turned to gaze after a woman who walked by him, like she was his next meal. He swaggered on. Then, he crossed to my side of the street, and started slowing down.

At the next crosswalk, I crossed to the other side and went into my new bank. He sort of meandered around on the opposite side of the street for a minute or two, then took off again.

I waited, then resumed my journey. The post office was on my side of the street now anyway. He was on the other side of the street. He saw me, and started slowing down. I’m thinking, “Aw, man, I’m gonna have to dropkick him, aren’t it?” hoping I haven’t gotten too rusty.

But then, a cop steps out of a doorway and the guy walks right into him. The cop talks to him, glancing over the guy’s head at me. For the record, we were all white. The guy mumbles something and rabbits off down a side street. The cop lifts his hand in greeting to me. I do the same in return, and go on my way to the post office.

Mailed my letter, walked the couple of extra blocks to the library, dropped off my book, got a Sarah Addison Allen book. I’ve read it, but I’m in the mood for her work.

Walked back along Church Street, among the lovely houses. Saw my delightful postman, and we waved across the street. Enjoyed the architecture and everyone’s plants, and how they’re sprucing up and loving these old, lovely buildings.

Whenever I see someone on their porch or in their yard, and they notice me looking at the house, I call out, “I love the (detail) you have.” They immediately brighten up, and usually tell me the story behind it, which is interesting. It’s a nice way to get to know the neighborhood. And the neighbors.

But I’m tired of the humidity.

Of course, as soon as I was home, I got an alert that a book arrived for me at the library I just left. Isn’t that always the way? Well, if that’s the most annoying thing in the day, not bad. Of course, it wasn’t the most annoying, just another mosquito of annoyance.

Frustrated by a recruiter contacting me for the same information I sent when she contacted me yesterday. Big red flag. At first I re-sent everything, pointing out I’d sent it yesterday (and the email acknowledging it). A little later, I pulled myself out of consideration. Not worth it.

I’m tired of unprepared recruiters wasting my time. I’m tired of companies demanding that the copywriter have Adobe Creative Suite experience in order to create graphics for copy. No, that’s the designer’s job. Stop combining jobs with different skills and trying to hire one person at 1/3 of the rate that ONE of those jobs should be paid. Too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and deserve to lose talent.

I didn’t write up enough script coverage; I concentrated on reading. So today, I have to make up for it, and have a boatload of coverage to write up. In order not to get overwhelmed, I will look at the individual coverages, and do something different in between them.

But no faffing around today. I also have administrative and unpacking work to do. And I have to run a check over to the TD bank in Williamstown, because the fucking app they FORCED me to put on my phone isn’t working properly for deposits. I will be so glad when we are finished with that bank.

Feeling burned out, especially since I know I have to work through the weekend this week. But that’s the way it goes, and at least I have the flexibility to do that, so I can enjoy spending time with a friend over Labor Day weekend for the first time since before the pandemic.

I will buckle down and do the work instead of faffing around today. Hopefully, it won’t be too humid. That’s what really slows me down. I do not deal with humidity well. Hopefully, when it cools into autumn weather, my energy will return.

Looking forward to Remote Chat. Always a bright spot in my week.

Published in: on August 25, 2021 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 25, 2021: Still Drippy and Humid  
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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.

Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole

Photo courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Got the laundry done at the laundromat yesterday. Three loads, but since it was nearly empty, I could run three machines at the same time, so washing, drying, and folding took just over an hour. Brought it all back; headed to Wild Oats for Owner Appreciation Day, and then to Stop & Shop for some other things.

And that was the morning. Those few things took all morning.

Which is why I really need to get up at 5 AM, not 6 AM, much as I’m loving that extra hour in bed.

Heard back from Williams College. I have to pay a fee to access the books I need in their collection. But the collection is only open to Williams students, faculty, and staff due to COVID right now. So I’ll check back with them in autumn, and we’ll see where we are. They were very nice, and I appreciate the information. I’m just not sure I need access badly enough to pay $60.

I searched for the Marie Corelli biographies I need (that are in Williams College library) online via various secondhand bookstores. Most of them are expensive and out of my budget, even second hand. I can get the books she wrote for Kindle either through Project Gutenberg, or through the library, so I can do that. But I can’t see spending nearly $300 on the biographies.

I finally managed to find a copy of one of the biographies, which doesn’t seem to be in great shape, but as long as I can read it, hey, I can afford it, so I grabbed it. It looks like I can access the other two biographies through JSTOR and through Semantic Scholar, so I might be able to do everything in my budget.

Then, I came across the memoirs of Squire and Marie Bancroft. Most of those copies are wildly expensive collectors’ editions, but there’s a copy in questionable condition from a bookstore in Devon, England, and the shipping’s not that bad. I grabbed it. Of course, there was an email this morning, upping the shipping costs, but it’s still less than a fifth of the fancy copies. I don’t need that book until either later this year or early next year, so it can take its time coming across the pond.

Found some other interesting research on Marie Corelli, tied to her home Mason Croft in Stratford-on-Avon, where she was involved in preserving buildings connected to Shakespeare. Not sure if that will be the event around which I build the play, but it’s a possibility.

Wrote up script coverage, read two more scripts, which I will write up this morning. The toner cartridge arrived last night, and I have to put it in this morning and get all the backed-up paperwork done.

My reward for getting the scripts read last night was to start reading the third Wonky Inn book. I’m enjoying that series.

Slept until six this morning. Wrote on the front porch, working on a tricky emotional scene in the book, so it was slower and a lower word count than I’d hoped, but I’m hitting the points I want to hit, so it’s worth it. I’m well into Chapter Four in longhand, so I should start typing soon, or it will be overwhelming.

Script coverage, paperwork, article work, LOIS, reading today. Maybe unpacking a couple of boxes. If it’s not too humid, I can work straight through and stop at a normal time; if it’s yucky, I’ll take a break mid-day, and then work more at night. Which is why I like flexibility in my hours.

I’m looking forward to Remote Chat today.

I had a thought, though, earlier this morning: What if, even when it’s safe again to socialize and network in person, I choose not to? One of the biggest sources of unhappiness the past decade was too often being bullied into pretending to be an extrovert on far too many occasions, just to serve others’ agendas and make THEM feel comfortable. What if I just. . .don’t? What if I choose to stay semi-reclusive?

We may all have to be semi-reclusive through the winter. The entire state is back to being high risk. But at least here, people are masking up indoors without fussing. Takes a lot of stress off.

Something I noticed walking around downtown the other day was that most buildings have a sign on their sides reading “Watch out for sliding snow and ice” so I guess that’s a thing here in winter. I’ll find out, won’t I?

Published in: on August 18, 2021 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole  
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