Thurs. Oct. 21, 2021: Meandering

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy/sunny and warm

There’s a post about the garden and the seasonal changes over on Gratitude and Growth. Since my definition of “garden” has had to change since I moved from a third of an acre to a porch and balcony, it focuses on the surrounding area as I learn It, as much as my actual plants.

Yesterday was rather a lost day, in some respects. I did a good bit, but not on the deadlined work, which means I have to make up for it today. I will have fallen short of my week’s goal, financially, but my brain needs to break.

I didn’t get a chance to type up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER (the ones I’d written in the laundromat). I doubt I will have the chance so to do today, but maybe tomorrow or Saturday, depending on how I fare with the script coverage in the next couple of days.

I did the soul journey exercises in the morning, then headed off to the public library to pick up the books that had come in. It was a lovely day, and there wasn’t too large a stack, so I walked there and back, enjoying the day and the architecture. Had a conversation with someone who lives in one of the houses I like. People here are open to conversation, which is nice. As the ultimate introvert, if I can have all kinds of conversations with random people in passing, it says something about the overall friendliness of the area.

One of the books that came in was the biography of Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee. I own a copy of it, but it’s in storage, and I wanted to fact check something from a conversation I’d had with a Twitter pal a few days back. But I got immersed in re-reading it, so I guess it will take a few days to find the information!

It also makes me want to re-read some of the stories Wharton and Henry James wrote, that mirror each other’s themes.

Wharton and James might turn out to be my Winter Authors. Meaning I’d re-read all their work in order. Of course I own most of it, but, you guessed it, it’s down in storage. So I’ll have to get from the library what I don’t have with me. Fortunately, the college library across the street has a massive literature section. Although I still haven’t figured out how it’s organized.

I’m also reading a mystery by Elizabeth Flynn called GAME, SET, AND MURDER, set at Wimbledon, which I really enjoy. I want to read more of her books.

My friend Arlene Kay just signed a contract with Level Best Books for a new series. I’m so excited for her, and I can’t wait to read it.

I was in the beginning of Remote Chat, which was fun, then switched over to the live soul journey session.

Today’s work was Shadow Work, with which I’m familiar, and more comfortable than a lot of people. I like using the shadow side as a catalyst, rather than an obstacle or an excuse. What was interesting in this work was it was about the shadow aspects of the moon sign, which was new to me. It was very interesting, and I had a few moments of “yup, I do this, and here’s how I can break this pattern or use it in a more positive way.” So that was useful. (I have a Taurus moon sign, although my sun sign is Pisces).

The discussion of the shadow side of Capricorn moon hit home, too. I do some of that (and it’s definitely a detriment). So now I need to dig up my birth chart (which I know I have around here. . .somewhere) and see where Capricorn sits. So that I can turn that obstacle into a positive catalyst, too. Because the beauty of astrology is that it’s a puzzle, and the bits fit together. Understanding the influences helps understands why one reacts to something in a specific way. If it’s a way that causes harm, or creates a negative pattern, one now has the information to make necessary changes and not stay stuck. It’s all information, but if it’s not used for active choices, then it’s meaningless and yes, just more noise.

As long as I ignore the yammering of the energy vampires, I can get something out of the class.

With a view toward how I want to set up my future, I feel as though I’ve lived the noisy part of my life, and now want to live much more quietly. I still want to travel. Once it’s safe. I still have to keep somewhat publicly connected, in order to market/sell books. But I don’t want to get caught up in the cycle of forced extroversion that I was in for the past decade. And I had my years living in NYC, where I was out and about all the time. I don’t feel like I missed anything. I can be quiet now. Time for others to take up the fights.

That doesn’t mean I’ll let injustice, et al, go when I witness or experience it. I’ll still call an asshole an asshole when it’s warranted. But I can do the work differently.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, with sweet potatoes and spinach. Wrapped up the bones and stuck them in the fridge, so I’ll make stock today. I also have to make ratatouille, because I bought the vegetables the other day, and I don’t want them to go bad.

Got a script coverage done, and a good start on a second one, which has to go out today. I have four scripts to read today, two of which coverages I’d like to get out, although I’ll probably only get out one.

If the weather is as nice as predicted today, I hope to get up to the lake for an hour or so, in the afternoon.

Class yesterday gave me additional ideas for a piece on which I’d taken a few notes a few weeks back, and then put aside, because I wasn’t sure where it was going. I also have a short story, a ghost story, clunking around in my head, inspired by one of the few annoying college students in the neighborhood.

Meditation this morning, then the homework for class, then back to work on the script coverages until the live session. More books came in to the public library for me, but I’ll probably wait and get them tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Tues. Oct. 19, 2021: The Good Work of Writing

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

Jupiter and Mercury have gone direct, which means maybe we can have some positive forward motion.

You can hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the mid-month check-in.

The house we lived in on Cape, which was for sale with a pending sale? Back on the market. Not surprising, considering how much over the assessment valued they asked, and that the new owner will need to redo both bathrooms and replace all the windows. But I’m sure the current owners will somehow justify the fallen through sale as my fault. Whatever.

Used the Sundance Lab time on Friday to work on “A Rare Medium.” It was an excellent session. I got six pages done, the next scene, and I’m happy with the work. Although the breakout networking sessions aren’t what I need right now (although, in a professional sense, what I should attend), using the writing time in company can help me get these plays done.

Wrote up three script coverages. Was requested to read a new draft of a script I’d liked and given notes on a few weeks back, so that will be a good way to start the next workweek.

My mom is still a little tired from the COVID booster, but, overall, there were few side effects.

Worked with Charlotte on her bedmaking anxiety. She loves sleeping on my bed, but she gets anxious when I make it in the morning, or when I change the sheets. Most cats I’ve had love to use bedmaking time to play. They “hide” under the covers as I pile them on, and then either meow, and I flip back the covers to let them out, or they slither to the edge of the bed and drop down to the floor.

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

So I make sure not to cover her, because she doesn’t know what to do.

What we did, instead, was make the bed very slowly, giving her a chance to hopscotch on top of each sheet or blanket as I pulled it up. It didn’t take that much longer, and it was a fun game for her. When the bed was made, she rolled over, purring, and waving her feet n the air, happy as can be. Which is nice change from the upset she usually has around making the bed, where she growls and cries as I wrestle the covers from her. This game, she understands, and it makes her happy. I can take three extra minutes in the morning to make the bed in a way that doesn’t scare her.

The weather cleared up enough by mid-day on Saturday so that I could go to The Spruces for the Audubon Nature Walk sponsored by my town’s library. It was a small group, and, even though the adults were vaccinated, there was a young child in the group, so we masked without being asked, and without fussing. The people were nice, the walk was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d hoped to learn more about the history of the actual Spruces community, but that wasn’t the focus. I’m going to have to go to Williamstown and dig for it in the library myself. Which could be a fun project, it’s just scheduling it so I don’t lose income from other assignments.

There’s a book or a play or something related to the history of the Spruces that I need to write, I’m just not sure what yet.

Came home, showered (decontamination protocols, just in case). Fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.

This was the first in-person event I’ve attended since the pandemic. Although it was small, fun, safe, and enjoyable, I was still exhausted.

To bed early on Saturday night, which meant up early Sunday morning.

Sunday was spent finishing the short almanac articles, fact-checking, and proofing. If I hadn’t faffed about so much and wasted so much time during the day the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have had to work all day. But the time mismanagement is on me, so I did it. I’m actually satisfied with the work. I have the knowledge; I’d put in research and experimentation time. It was a case of writing it up succinctly.

To bed fairly early on Sunday, and even got to sleep until 5 on Monday.

Did a final proofread of the short articles, updated my bio, sent them off to my editor, and they were acknowledged. Much as I loved doing those 25 little pieces, it was an even better feeling to send them off. They are for the 2023 Almanac.

I have to spend some serious time in the coming months working on the Cerridwen Iris Shea website, blog, and putting together some of the older material into small eBooks.

Another Big Project for the winter.

Did my Soul Expedition work. The exercises were extremely useful, and I discovered important roots that need to be dealt with.

Had a good conversation with a Twitter pal about Edith Wharton, and about Tolstoy and his wife. So much on Twitter is “in passing” that it’s nice to have substantial interactions sometimes.

Spent some time on Women Write Change, and on the Nano site. I’m over on WWC almost every day, or, at least, every other day, although I don’t always talk about it. It’s a small group, but a good one. On Nano, I spent time on Enchanted Wordsmiths, and also had a conversation with the Writer-Bakers. I’ve gotten two new challah bread recipe recommendations through them.

I started typing up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER, and expanding/arranging them, for my outline.

When it hit noon, and Sundance Collab time, I felt I “should” switch over to work on “A Rare Medium.” However, the flow was going well on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I started to dither and then thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s not a major decision” and kept working on the outline during the Collab time. Got 4 of the 9 handwritten pages typed up, arranged, and expanded. Printed them out, just in case.

Quite a few people mentioned, on Twitter, how much more energized they felt. Yeah, that’s what having Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and Mercury (we all know those connotations) going direct on the same day will do for you.

Attended the live session of the Soul Expedition and was frustrated. I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow, when I talk more in depth about that and have some Nano tips.

Made brownies from the Moosewood recipe. It turned out well. Might be my favorite brownie recipe to date.

Ordered a bunch of books from the library. I can take out up to 50 books, but can only put on holds up to 20.  Oh, well.

Paid by a client, so I can pay bills this upcoming week. Might give myself a treat, too.

Read two scripts last night.

Had a good evening meditation session. A couple of “aha” moments in there.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:22 this morning. What a luxury! The usual morning routine (feed the cats, make the coffee, write in the journal, 1st 1K of the day, yoga, meditation, shower, dress). I’m changing up my laundromat routine. Since I’m often the first and only one there in the morning, and it’s a little creepy in the dark, I want to make sure I don’t keep a regular schedule. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about things like that.

Onward to the Soul Expedition work, and then more writing and script coverage. I have to do a post office, library, and grocery run today, too.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Foggy Weather, Foggy Mind

image courtesy of Tatiana via pexels.com

Friday, October 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

After a foggy start, it was sunny/cloudy in fits and starts yesterday.

Tessa and Charlotte were impossible during meditation. Thank goodness the audio/video were off on my end. I got less than 5 minutes of quiet time. For once, they weren’t fussing at each other; Tessa was pulling items out of boxes in my office and playing with them. Charlotte was trying to get the attention of the Zoom Room, not understanding they couldn’t see her, and therefore couldn’t tell her she was pretty. Charlotte believes Zoom exists so various humans around the world can see her, appreciate how pretty she is, and tell her.

The internet was wonky, which made everything more difficult, too.

By 9 AM, I pretty much accepted the day would be a wash.

I managed to get one script coverage out. I worked on the other two, but have to finish/send them today.

I tried to read the second book in a mystery series. I’d read the first a few weeks ago. I hadn’t liked the start, but then liked it better, although I figured out the murderer at least 100 pages before the protagonist. With the second, again, I didn’t like the start. I kept at it for about fifty pages, and then decided no, I don’t want any more of this series. I don’t like the protagonist. She’s not an amusing hot mess – she’s insecure and mean. There wasn’t any growth from the first book to this book. She’s back to doing the same old again, and I’m done.

Fortunately, I don’t own this book, and can take it back to the library. But I’m not ordering any more. I have a whole stack of books waiting for me at the library, and I hope I like most of them more than I liked this one!

It does, however, give me information for my own work, especially when it comes to growth in character arcs.

I’m reading a wonderful book by the essayist Vivian Gornick called THE END OF THE NOVEL OF LOVE, that’s sending me back to books like MRS. DALLOWAY to re-read with new perspectives, and to read the work of George Meredith, who, sadly, I have not yet read.

We did the prep for my mom’s COVID booster. I dropped her off at CVS and went next door to Big Y to pick up a few things while she got the shot and waited her 15 minutes. She was fine when she got home; if anything, more energetic than she was before. I was the one with no energy.

I did my Soul Expedition journaling exercise for the day, about boundaries and energy vampires. There are people in the group stating they want others in the group to “hold” them accountable and keep them on track, “remind” them to do the exercises and the work. No, sweetie, we are working on our own journeys, albeit in community. YOU are responsible for keeping yourself on track, not expecting someone else to take time and energy away from their journey and feed it into yours. The daily online sessions are the “reminders” to do the work.

Not within the group, but outside of it, some twenty-something with less than a year in the Craft contacted me via Instagram message stating she was “strongly drawn” to my name, and did I want a tarot reading (for a large fee, or course). I wrote back, “Hon, I was reading the cards before you were born.” I waited until I was sure she’d read it, and then blocked. Charlatan. I have no problem with experienced, trained readers getting paid for their work, but this is not how to get clients. And do a little due diligence.

I grabbed two scripts to read, and then got a note that the due date was changed on one – to three hours from the time I claimed it. I said I couldn’t turn it around that fast, and requested it removed from my queue. I’m worried that it will cost me points with the company, but my on-time record is 100%, and I knew I couldn’t deliver in 3 hours. I had to take care of my mom and run Knowledge Unicorns.

Made Henhouse Pie for dinner (basically, shepherd’s pie, but with chicken). It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine, although we didn’t get to do the virtual tour of a Venetian museum, because we were working on essays that had been assigned in various classes. We will try again on Tuesday night. Read a script.

Went to bed early, exhausted. My mom woke in the night because her arm hurt, and she took some liquid Tylenol and went back to sleep. I was awake every few hours, not because of the cats this time, but because I had a series of weird dreams, filled with people I knew in the dream, but don’t know outside of it.

Woke up exhausted, but at least it was 5 AM and not earlier. Cats, coffee, writing, yoga, meditation. I have a lot to get done today that hasn’t gotten done yet, and I have a feeling I will be working on the articles through the weekend to get them in shape for Monday’s deadline. I have three script coverages due today.

I also want to work on the outline some more for CAST IRON MURDER. I realized that one of my favorite characters hasn’t been woven through the piece enough. I need to go back and do that in the outline. She will also serve as one of the red herrings, which will help solve that problem.

I just am weary, and feel like I could sleep for a week. Which is frustrating, because, basically, in and around typical Mercury retrograde glitches, things are going in the right direction.

One step at a time. I have to keep reminding myself we’re still in a pandemic. I’m also getting sick and tired of this whole “return to normal” fiction. “Normal” wasn’t great in the first place. I want something different. Better. More fulfilling, on multiple levels.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 14, 2021: Enchanted Wordsmiths

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was not as productive as I hoped. There was a popular phrase in the 70’s: “My get up and go got up and went.” That was me, yesterday.

Weather-y post over on Gratitude and Growth.

I got through a bunch of emails in the morning.

I took the time to create the above logo for a Writers’ Group I started for Nano, Enchanted Wordsmiths, and chose a header background of maps.

The sun was out for a bit, so I took a walk down to the post office to mail bills and catch up on what’s going on in town, and then headed over to the library to drop off and pick up books. I walked back down Church Street, as I love to do, enjoying the architecture, and, now, the decorating.

Home, read for a bit until lunchtime. Was wiped out, for no good reason.

Remote Chat was fun.

Did my journaling prep for the Soul Expedition. In the online group, there are already people making excuses about not doing the prep. Energy vampires, the lot of them. At least I know who to avoid during the expedition. I’m there to dig deep and replenish energy, not allow strangers to leech it off, because they can’t be bothered to do the work, and want to siphon off the energy from those who do.

Got the deadlined script coverages out, and read another script.

Received a DM on the Twitter account, haranguing me for posting to offer condolences to people grieving, support people struggling, and celebrate people’s triumphs. I was accused of “performative niceness” which doesn’t even make sense. If I can take 90 seconds out of my day to offer comfort to someone who is sad or hurting or struggling, why wouldn’t I? And why wouldn’t I be happy when someone succeeds in their dream? Sharing sorrows and celebrating joys is part of the reason I’m on social media.

It wasn’t worth arguing, so I just blocked the person. Arguing with them is not worth my time. It exasperated me as much as it bothered me. If someone doesn’t like the way I interact, they can choose not to follow me. Or block me. This wasn’t someone I regularly interacted with, anyway.

Did another block this morning, a self-styled “marketing guru” who was being an ass.

The block button takes a lot of stress out of my life.

The friend whose trip up here was cancelled due to Hurricane Ida is rescheduling for Halloween weekend, so that will be fun.

Went to bed early, because I was so exhausted. Pandemic fatigue strikes again.

Tessa woke me up at 3:30 and I discovered Spectrum internet was down. Again. Put in my repair tag, and tried to doze on the couch, but Tessa and Charlotte fussed at each other. I fed everyone at 5:30 and got going on my day.

Meditation group this morning, which I definitely need. I’m going to get my script coverages done this morning, because we have to do the prep for my mom’s COVID booster this afternoon. I’m expecting her down for the count the rest of the day today and then tomorrow, and have adjusted my schedule accordingly.

I need to work on the short articles and do a little more script coverage before the end of the week. I need to devote the weekend to the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, and unpack/decorate some more.

Since my friend is coming to visit, I need to get it done in the next two weeks!

Have a good one.

Fri. Oct. 8, 2021: Promise of a Lovely Autumn Weekend

image courtesy of Yaroslav Shuraev via pexels.com

Friday, October 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Supposed to be sunny and beautiful, after a cloudy start

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

Mediation was great.

Errands in the morning. Took my mom with me to the college library when I dropped off some books. She was curious, and she was so impressed with the beautiful space. When I feel comfortable being indoors with vaccinated, masked strangers for extended periods, I will do some work there.

Headed to the bank to do a deposit. Then to the public library to get our cards updated from “temporary” three-month probation to permanent. The staff is starting to get to know me, which is nice. Took my mom around to all the beautiful rooms in the library; again, when it’s safe to work indoors offsite, I will sometimes work in there. Maybe next spring or summer.

We parked on Main Street to take a walk around. Only a quarter for an hour, which is a good deal. Found the RMV office, so when we finally change over our driver’s licenses and car registration, we know where to go. Checked out a few stores and picked up something from a local bakery to try it.

Nipped around the corner to Bear and Bee Bookshop. I found a copy of Deborah Madison’s LOCAL FLAVORS, recipes built around farmers’ markets, for only fifty cents! Grabbed it. I love her cookbooks. Felt like I couldn’t just spend 50 cents at a local store, so I bought another book, too, a suspense novel.

We came home, ate our bakery treats. They were kind of bland; at the risk of sounding egotistical, my baking is better. I think sometimes businesses scale back on taste because they assume people’s palates are bland.

Looked through the cookbook. I want to try at least 60% of the recipes.

Spent the afternoon writing up script coverages. Got all four done.

Instructions arrived for my mom’s COVID booster next week. Quite a list of prep. More so than the original shots. But then, they’ve learned since they started.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re in a groove.

Used leftover BBQ pork from the slow cooker to make pork and black bean enchiladas, which were really good.

Read three scripts last night, which I will write up today, and then I’ve met my nut for the week, and can start the weekend. Once the mist clears, and it’s really as sunny and beautiful as promised, we are going out to enjoy it, so I’m going to get the coverage done earlier, rather than later, and also get my review out.

I may do some article work this weekend, but I want most of it focused on finishing the Samhain decorating and unpacking some more, especially in my office and in the sewing room.

The cats didn’t wake me this morning, but I was woken around 4:30 by college students having noisy sex in a car out front. So the cats were like, well, you’re awake, so. . .so I fed them. I guess it’s the students’ turn to be a cliché at this point in their lives.

I like the extended yoga practice I’ve started. The extra sequencing has some challenging stretches that are a good counterpoint to all the sitting.

I’m on several “alert” lists for copywriting gigs. So it made no sense that I was sent a listing for a bomb technician for the U.S. Navy. Whatever. . .

Have a great weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Holiday Monday, although I plan on working on short articles and script coverage anyway.

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!

Thurs. Sept. 30, 2021: Cat Playtime Works

photo courtesy of pexels-pixabay

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Rainy and raw

I’ve got a post about the “Idea Fountain” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, and a post about the Celtic Tree Month of Ivy over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was another quiet day, just steady work. I had a lot of email to get through, wrote up script coverage, read another script. I have one more coverage to write up today. I’ve made my nut for this pay period. I’m giving myself off from reading until late Sunday night, when I’ll read the scripts to write up on Monday.

Remote Chat was fun, but then, it always is.

I handled some administrative stuff. I tried to get the heat on in the apartment. The thermostat says it’s on, but nothing is coming out of the radiators, so I have to find out what other switch has to be flipped, and where it is. It’s too cold and raw to be without heat. Plus, we’re paying for it, so if I want it on, I should be able to turn it on.

Finished reading the book for review, and will write that up later today.

I kept waking up Tessa and Charlotte during the day yesterday, played with everyone vigorously before bedtime, and they let me sleep until 4:58 this morning. Big improvement.

Meditation starts in a few minutes, and then there are errands, and then I have to get in touch with someone about the heat. I want to work on almanac articles today, too, and get some baking done. Knowledge Unicorns is tonight, too. Tuesday’s session went well, and I’m sure tonight’s will, too. We are in a good rhythm. Every day’s news about schools having to go back partially remote or daily testing in the schools because someone was exposed reinforces our decision to keep the kids out of school this year. I don’t understand parents who are sending their kids into danger every day, and then act all surprised when their kid gets sick. What did you think would happen? There is NO safe in-person learning for unvaccinated children yet. At all. Anywhere. It’s not even truly safe for vaccinated teens. Or adults.

Tomorrow is the first of October, which means it’s a major decorating day for Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead. I’m looking forward to it.

Fri. Sept. 24, 2021: Apples, Books, Learning

image courtesy of Michal Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Friday, September 24, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Rainy and warm

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Meditation was great, of course.

Then, I hauled the heavy, flawed bookcases down the stairs and got them loaded into the car. We drove to Target in Lanesborough, and the return was drama-free, thank goodness.

Since we were almost in Pittsfield, we continued on to Re-store, looking for bookcases/shelving. As we entered, the manager was yelling at someone to get out and off the property, for being inappropriate with a female employee. The manager later came around to apologize for the ruckus. While I’m grateful he stood up for her and kicked the guy out, it was still unsettling.

But there wasn’t anything that was what we were looking for, so that was that.

We went to some of the box stores on Hubbard Street – I popped into Barnes & Noble to take a look, we got a small picture frame at Michael’s, and we did some shopping at Price Chopper. I’d never been in a Price Chopper before. Some stuff is good, but most of the low prices are for their generic store brand. Otherwise, prices are similar to Big Y and Stop & Shop here, although Price Chopper has Stonewall Kitchen products. I got a Rewards Card to use there, just in case.

Home, unloaded. In the afternoon, I wrote up some coverages. I still have a lot to write up today, the thought of which is a bit overwhelming. But I will just work my way through them. Read scripts later in the day; one was a stage play that was quite good.

It started raining in the evening, and poured all night. I’d like to run a few errands today, but don’t want to be out if it’s bucketing.

I do, however, like to lie in bed or on the couch and listen to the rain. It’s soothing.

Charlotte was the catalyst of being up way too early this morning, setting Tessa off. So I fed them at 4:30, and then curled up on the couch to doze for an hour or so, before starting my day.

Good first writing session, and spinning some ideas for what to teach at the conference next summer.

There are times when I skip scenes as I write the novel. Not because I’m working out of order, but because the reader doesn’t need them. Normally, I’d write them, and then cut them; in this particular book, I think them through, so I know what happened, but the reader doesn’t need the scene, so I move on to write the next scene the reader needs, and then integrate any information necessary from the unwritten scenes into the upcoming scenes, but without info dumping.

Knowledge Unicorns went well last night. We’re going to do some work with virtual museum tours around the world, to discuss the art and then create stories, poems, dance, etc., inspired by various paintings.

The kids who are now homeschooled are much calmer and more focused than the ones who are doing online learning with their schools. As one of the homeschooled kids said, “I don’t have to worry about dying from the virus because some classmate has a stupid, selfish, anti-vaxx relative. I don’t have to worry about being shot at school. I can actually LEARN.”

The kids who are doing virtual learning through their school are under a bit more pressure, both to return in person, and because the hours are set for schooling, whereas the homeschooled kids have a more flexible schedule based on the day, and on the remote work their parents are doing. Every style of learning has its challenges, but I’m glad we’re all sticking to the decision that NONE of them are going back in person this year.

I should be able to get my mom set up for her third Pfizer shot right up the street soon.

I hope I can get a bunch of unpacking done this weekend. I’m getting a little tired of my bedroom and my office being stacked with so many unpacked boxes.

I want to do some more world building and work on the outline for the piece I’ve been developing. It really wants to start spilling out.

If the weather’s nice over the weekend, I hope to spend some time at the lake, too. Take a book, take a notebook in which to do some writing.

I got a nice big bag of apples yesterday, so I’ll probably make an apple cake, too, this weekend. And I’d like to make bread.

Have a good one, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. Sept. 23, 2021: Unnecessary Complications

image courtesy of Michael Gaida via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was nowhere near as productive a day as I’d hoped. I got some work done in the morning, between script coverage and other small projects.

I’ve been invited to present next year at the Cape Cod Writers Conference. If it’s live, I’ll be down there for a weekend (it’s a paid gig, plus meals and accommodations). If it’s virtual, I’ll do it from here. Either way, it will be fun. Think of how much money they’d have saved all the years I lived right down the street from the conference center (they wouldn’t have had to pay accommodations). I have about a month to come up with what I want to teach. Their workshops are about rolling up the sleeves and writing in class, so I’m going to create or re-slant a workshop that focuses on the writing.

I started to put together the bookcases for the sewing room, only to discover that they weren’t properly prepped for assembly. Instead of being a single tall cabinet, they are built/broken down into two smaller units that need to be stacked and then fastened together. Only one of the units lacks the capacity to fasten it to the other.

So I took it all apart again and put it back in the box and tried to contact Target to arrange a return. Only Target tries to force phone calls. The claim to have a live chat option, but it kept going around in circles and not letting me enter. What they sent me was a “customer experience survey” which I filled out and gave them a zero.

I also dug out the email address from the corporate office that I used last year, when UPS lost a mail order. I contacted them, explained the situation, and asked for something in writing to allow me to return both boxes and get a refund. Because, you see, Target’s stated refund policy is that they only return goods in UNOPENED boxes.

One of the bookcases is in an unopened box. But there was no way I could have known that the bookcase was improperly prepared without opening and starting to assemble the one in the other box.

I heard back from the manager of the Target, who wanted to talk on the phone to “make it right.” What part of “I don’t do business on the phone” is so hard to comprehend? I told him, no, we were not talking on the phone, as I stated in the previous email, and that the only thing I wanted was to return both bookcases for a refund.

This morning, I got an email from him stating that I could.

Now, I lost 2 billable hours getting the damn bookcases in the first place; I lost 3 billable hours trying to put them together, and now I’ll lose at least another 2 billable hours returning them. That’s almost a full workday lost. But they’ll be returned, and I’ll head to Re-store to see if they have something that works that’s already an actual bookcase and not a bunch of shitty, overweight particle board that’s flimsy while being heavy.

Before anyone starts with “what do you expect from a cheap Target bookcase?” – the answer is I expect a cheap Target bookcase that will sit in the sewing room, not look too bad (I’d planned to embellish it), and hold the items I need it to hold for 2 years or so. I’m not looking for heirloom whatever. I wanted a simple bookcase to hold stuff. It shouldn’t be this much drama around it.

Because I lost three hours of worktime yesterday, I ended up working until 10:45 last night, not something I want to become a habit.

Autumn Equinox dinner was good: Cornish hen with apples and sage, sweet potatoes, spinach.

Simple Equinox ritual,

We’re having too much kitty drama, too, lately. On Cape, Tessa always stayed with me in my room and slept on my bed (since she was a kitten). Charlotte was shut out of my bedroom. In this place, Tessa doesn’t like my bedroom (no carpet, and I’m not unpacked yet) and doesn’t want to stay there. Besides, she likes to roam around at night. So Charlotte now sleeps on the bed with me.

But, by 4 AM, Tessa is hungry and lonely and starts howling. If we were still in the house, I’d let her howl and not get up until 5. But I can’t have her waking the neighbors. So, she gets what she wants, and I stagger up to feed her. But when I try to go back to bed, she starts howling again as soon as she finishes her breakfast. I move to the sofa and try to doze off again, and she’s fine.

She gets plenty of attention during the day, but she wants the day to start at 4 AM, and that’s too early for me. I’m fine with starting at 5. But 4 is too much.

Meditation was good this morning, and now I have to figure out how to get the heavy bookcases back down to the car and go back to Target. Urgh. I have a lot to do today, so I have a feeling it will be another day of work rolling well into the night.

I still haven’t gotten the paperwork sorted to switch over the car registration and our licenses. Since Mercury goes retrograde on Monday, that’s all going to be even more of a nightmare than it needs to be. Urgh. Again.

Well, nothing for it but to get to it.

The house on Cape has an offer pending on it. I’m sure my former landlord is relieved, and I hope whomever buys the place is very happy there.

Post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

Onward.

Fri. Sept. 17, 2021: Research Time

image courtesy Stocksnap via pixabay.com

Friday, September 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

Meditation was good yesterday, as always. I recently doubt I should attend, sometimes, because we talk a great deal about compassion, for ourselves and others. However, my well of compassion has run dry when it comes to anti-vaxxers and right-wing extremists. I’m saving it for the people they hurt and murder.

Slow, fractured day, and not as productive as I would have liked. Got a little bit done on several different fronts, but not big chunks which I’d hoped.

Managed to do some unpacking, though, and some work on GAMBIT COLONY.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. It has been fine ever since we started back. Because several states have removed the remote learning option from their schools, in order to force children into situations that could kill them, quite a few of the kids have been pulled out of school completely and are now being homeschooled. Regulations differ from state to state, but we’d all discussed and decided not to send the kids back this year, so, when necessary, parents had time to get the necessary requirements.

The homeschooled kids are feeling a lot less stress and anxiety than the kids doing remote learning, mostly because of the pressure on the remote-learning kids to go back in person. Considering how often classes/schools have to revert to remote learning due to COVID outbreaks in those situations for weeks at a time, the homeschooling makes more sense. Some of the parents are working remotely; others have made arrangements to switch off their work situations to a hybrid situation.

It’s not easy, but it’s better than sending the kids to die.

The kids decided they are creating a pageant this year, for the holidays. They’re going to write it (working virtually), rehearse it virtually, and perform via Zoom. Should be a ton of fun.

I uploaded a photo of the signature on the sketch to both Facebook and Twitter. A friend in Germany said that it’s written in the Sutterlin Script, and the name is “Konrad Poritz.” I’m not having luck in direct Googling, so I will get in touch with some museum contacts in the US and Germany, and see if they can point me in the right direction. The college library across the street has books in French, German, etc., so maybe I’ll find something there, too.

Lots of script coverage to work on today, and some errands. I have a stressful weekend ahead of me, and I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: Emotion is a Weird Thing

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a hot, summer-like day. Enjoy them while we have them, I guess. I hear winters are miserable here.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the start of the autumn colors.

Greylock Federal Credit Union is, once again, making life difficult. There’s no reason for everything to take 10 steps instead of 2. I should be able to deposit a check without it being a production. I should be able to write a check without it being a production. I shouldn’t need FIVE security questions for everything, and constant haranguing by their staff on issues we’ve already settled.

Obviously, I made a mistake choosing them as my bank. I’ve always preferred credit unions, because the reason for their existence is to treat their members with dignity, not have the traps and fees commercial banks use, and to smooth the financial path for their members. Greylock does the exact opposite.

I can’t switch banks again for 90 days, but I’m looking into other banks. I may actually go in and interview them.

Because I am not putting up with this shit.

I went down a research rabbit hole for a project, which was fun, but set me back on a few other things.

Remote Chat was fun, although I was still in Grumpy Pants Mode from dealing with Greylock.

Windows keeps telling me I need an update, and then the update “fails”. I’m frustrated.

I unpacked a few things from the last storage run. One of them is an original sketch, signed by the artist, done in 1969. I’m trying to decipher the artist’s name so I can research the artist. I think it was a gift from my uncle, who was a well-known artist in Europe, done by one of his colleagues, because the name I think is one the sketch comes up connected to Hamburg, near where my uncle was based. I might post the signature on Twitter, so see if anyone can help me decipher it, so I can do the proper research. It’s a very atmospheric black and white sketch, and I want to find a place to hang it here. But I also want to know about it.

Found out that the house in which we lived for the past 10 years is on the market. For a lot of money. The landlord repainted the inside (which it needed, because hey, ten years) in sterile colors downstairs, and didn’t repaint the upstairs bedrooms. The old carpets are still there, and the lawn’s been mowed, but where’s all this “landscaping” he talked about? The broken boards on the steps of the deck where replaced, and the deck washed, and the back windows repainted (which he did while they were still there). But that’s it. So all the fussing at me, about how the work was going to take him six months and I’d put him so far behind wasn’t true. It took six weeks to slap on some paint and put the house on the market.

None of this should matter. But it’s still a wrench, because that place was my home for a decade, and, with all the ups and downs, I did love the house. But he was never going to sell it to me, even if I could have or wanted to buy it. And, with the way the neighborhood was changing, and how the Cape is changing, it’s not where I wanted to live out the rest of my life.

Yet, there are still complex emotions.

I sat with them in meditation last night, which helped a lot.

I do wish whomever buys the place is very happy there, because the house itself encourages happiness.

Meditation this morning, and then it’s back to work. I need to write up the scripts I read last night, and grab some more to read today, write some short articles, and start the next book for review.

And, of course, unpack.

Have a good one!

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Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, rainy, humid

I have a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth about differences in air and earth between the Berkshires and the Cape.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the Knowledge Unicorns are back up and running. Since none of us believe any in-person learning in this country is safe at this point, and all the kids are being taught at home (be it online learning through their school or home schooling), the homework group is back. Most of the kids stayed in touch with each other over our summer break. Two of the families went camping together, and strengthened those bonds. So that is all good. Some of the kids are sad; friends of theirs have died, thanks to the anti-vaxxers. All of the kids are angry, and rightly so, that the systems and people who are supposed to have their best interests at heart are willing to let them die by trying to force them into in-person learning when it’s not safe.

Tuesday’s session was mostly about dealing with all these realities and emotions. Today, we will actually start on their homework.

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (so that I had time for yoga), and we were out of the house by 6 AM to do a storage run down to the Cape. In spite of the traffic, we arrived a little before 10 AM, and, even with switching stuff out of the units, unpacking and repacking the car, we were back on the road by 10:14 and home by 2 PM. It was a good day to drive, in spite of the traffic.

Unloaded the car, got everything upstairs, and got us late lunch/early dinner from Burger King, which I knew I would regret, but it was good while I ate it.

We got the new checks from the bank – hand-delivered, no less. So now, I can go about what I need to do to get the old account at the other bank closed. The checks written have to clear, and a refund has to show up. Then, I can go over to Williamstown and shut down the account. The bills I’m paying today will start coming out of the new account. All of this was way more chaotic than it needed to be.

I started the next book assigned for review, and, so far, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

We were back in time for me to attend the virtual Straw Dogs Writers Guild Annual Author Showcase. They are based in Pioneer Valley, and it was in partnership with Forbes Library in Northampton. So probably too far to get regularly involved, once it’s safe so do to in person. But I was curious to hear local authors read, and there were a dozen authors scheduled, a mix of poets and prose writers and memoirists.

They were wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed each reading. These writers are professional, recognize that this is valuable work, and take the craft as seriously as the art. They don’t shy away from the political implications and responsibilities of their work, either (unlike the right-wing panderers who claim they “don’t do politics” which, in itself, is political by supporting the inequity of the status quo). One author read from one of her older books, a scene depicting an illegal abortion in the days before Roe. She, too, is old enough to remember it, and we are frustrated that here we are again.

Craft matters to all of them. They take time and pride in the craft of their work, along with theme and art and entertainment. They understand that excellent work combines all of these.

I now have a dozen new-to-me authors, whose books I will get out of the library and/or purchase (as much as my budget will allow). I’m very excited to delve more deeply into their work, and I will attend more online events in which any of them are involved.

I’m so glad I attended.

Charlotte and Willa were impossible. Charlotte is always difficult during Zoom, because she wants everyone to tell her she’s pretty. Willa was fascinated every time a poet read. She loved the rhythm of it. So I guess I’ll be reading poetry to the cats!

I didn’t want to read any scripts after the event was over, because I was so filled with beautiful writing that I wanted to bask in it, rather than put myself into the “critical” headspace in which I need to be for the coverage reading.

Read passages in the published journal I’m reading, where the actor worked with someone I knew quite well. It was nice to read affectionate anecdotes about someone I know and worked with!

Got an idea for a difficult short story about a woman who makes a choice out of exhaustion and despair that turns out to be a relief, even though she is supposed to feel guilty about it. No, not abortion, something else.  It needs development and I’m playing with it. It’s one of those that will probably need a dozen or so rewrites to hit exactly what I want with it, and I have to write at least one draft before I can even start making it work. I’m hoping it will be between 3-5K. The premise is enough for a novel, but I really want to telescope the emotion and time frame into that of a short story.

The cats were impossible this morning, and would not let me sleep past 5. Nor would they let me go back to bed after I fed them.

Fortunately, writing in the morning works for me. I got some decent work done on the novel.

Online meditation group was good this morning. There was discussion on ways to break out of the self-criticism cycle, which is something I need to do, since that severely worsened during the entire moving thing.

I have a lot of work to do today, but I’m not planning on going anywhere, so I can focus on the work, and on doing some more unpacking. I put some of the stuff we brought back yesterday away (most of the carload consisted of holiday decorations). But there’s more to figure out where to put, which means more rearranging. Not that I’ve finished unpacking everything else, either.

Back to the page, and to the library and local bookstores, to find the work by these writers.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 9, 2021 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors  
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Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!