Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days! I’ve been trying to balance work along with having company.

Company arrived Saturday, from NY via Megabus, although they changed the Megabus stop, so at first I was at the wrong place. Typical Mercury Retrograde!

But we found each other and got home. I’ve been cooking a lot for the company – good, homecooked, American food. We’ve gone out a few times—we spent Monday going all along the National Seashore, Eastham, Light houses, all the way down to Provincetown, where we had a wonderful lunch at Patio. The food there just gets better and better, and the service is great, too.

I’ve managed to get some writing done, one on a piece I’m calling UNBOUND, at least for now, and the other on an untitled short story that I have a feeling is going to turn into a novella.

The time in Provincetown on Monday gave me some ideas; I’m trying to decide if I want to write a contemporary suspense novel, or if I want to develop some of these ideas into one of the series on which I’m working. I have a feeling a one-off suspense novel will make more sense. So we’ll see. I’m playing with ideas.

Although time is short, the ideas are churning, which is always a good thing.

I helped some visual artists write grants this week, which is always fulfilling. I hope they get what they seek!

Next week, when the company is gone, I will go back into the next round of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it submission-ready this fall, and have it start making the rounds.

Saturday, when we take our friend back to the bus in Providence, we will then drive to Newport, where I will do some research for the Victorian mystery, and also meet some other friends en route from Boston to Philadelphia for lunch.

I’m also developing my essays. Essays take me longer than long fiction!

Busy times, but good ones.

Hope you are all well and happy!

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2016 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel  
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Wed. May 29, 2013: The Challenge of The Travel

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Yesterday was certainly a challenge!

The morning started well, although I felt a wrench at being away from the garden this week. The irises are about to open. They are my favorite flower. I think they’ll have come and gone by the time I get back. The terraced back needs mowing, and I’m worried that the ants will get the upper hand while I’m gone.

But everything will rub along without me — plants were doing that for thousands of years before people started to garden!

I opened my email to find out that I’ve been contracted for 14 short articles (yes, paid) over the next seven months. I’ll do the first one next week, when I get back. I also finished and pitched another article to a different publication. Not a bad way to start the week!

The drive to Providence wasn’t bad, except for the construction work around New Bedford. If it’s the left lane that’s closed, why is that the only one moving? Because the travellers in that lane are pushy bastards, that’s why. If everyone let one person get ahead of time, and six people didn’t force their ways forward, causing the other lane to come to a grinding halt, we’d all get where we needed to go on time.

Megabus late in Providence. Turns out, the bus coming from NY broke down in CT, so they had to send another bus. However, the bus they sent was a single decker, and the Providence-NY bus was sold out as a double decker. Not everyone could get on the bus — some had to wait for another bus they were sending. Um, why didn’t anyone check the manifest for the trip BEFORE sending out a bus? We do make reservations ahead of time. There’s no reason to act surprised that there’s a line of people waiting.

Needless to say, I was on that first bus. 😉

Once we got rolling, it was okay. I ate the lunch I packed (simple– hard boiled egg, carrots, celery, radishes, a gigantic chocolate bar). I read Joelle Charbonnau’s END ME A TENOR, which was a lot of fun. I’m meeting her for a drink tonight, so I wanted to read at least something of hers!

The wifi on the bus didn’t work, and people were even having problems with cell phones, so at least it was quiet!

The problems happened from Bridgeport to New York. Should have taken maybe an hour and a half for that stretch. It took a little over three. The traffic was just backed up, it was raining and miserable.

I was glad that I packed the rain gear I wore in Iceland a few years back. It’s a light windbreaker that folds into its own pocket.

Once we disembarked in NY, we were in the midst of rush hour. Taking the escalator down into Penn Station, watching all the people scuttle around, was like descending into a colony of cockroaches. Reminded me of one of the reasons I no longer live here and have to deal with the commute.

Got the Metro Card — actually, I refilled the one I used when I was down here for Costume Imp’s birthday. Turns out they now charge you $1 for a new card, but credit you an extra $1.50 (three quarters of a ride? Huh?) if you refill. I opted for the refill.

I got the C train — I even got a seat! Headed out to Brooklyn. Humped the luggage in the rain through Ft. Greene to the place I’m staying. Imp left the key at the diner around the corner. Retrieved the key, hauled my luggage up the steps of the brownstone, and then up the steps INSIDE — tall ceilings, lots of steps.

It’s a wonderful place — and it’s the location I based the Ft. Greene brownstone in which Sophie, Fawn, and Bianca live for THE CHARISMA KILLINGS.

Greeted the animals, handed out the toys I brought, gave out pettings. The Puerto Rican street cat decided maybe I should give her some extra attention, and even climbed on the bed with me a few times. She wasn’t sure what to do next — she’s not a cuddler — but it was funny. Imp’s cats were delighted to see me and tried to convince me they haven’t been fed in at least three days. Riiiight.

Went back to the diner and had a roast chicken dinner. Yummy. Chatted with the housemates for a bit, read, waited for Imp to get back from the ballet. He had to haul out to Long Island for a photo shoot for HARPER’S BAZAAR, and had trouble getting back to the city in time for his show, too.

But we caught up, played with the cats, he lent me three more of Joelle’s books to read (and one of Pauline Gadge’s). And I lent him END ME A TENOR.

Slept like a log. I did wake up at 3 AM — like I have for the past few weeks — but got over it, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I’m showered and dressed (although the makeup has yet to be applied). Did yoga. The younger of the two huskies and the Puerto Rican Street cat have wandered in and out a few times. Had my first cup of coffee. My run-around day bag is packed — promo materials, notebook, camera, in-case book to read, all the directions and appointments for the day.

Going to do some work with students and then a few email things — the editor of the publication to which I pitched wants to see the article, so I need to polish it and get it out. A proofreading job to which I applied says they want me, but the terms sound slimy — they want to pay by KB instead of by word or page, which sounds weird to me, and a few other things made the red flags go up.

Will foray out to get some breakfast soon, get some stuff done, and then I’m headed out for the day’s appointments, including the Indie Next Generation Book Awards at the Harvard Club tonight. I better get going!

Devon

Wed. Dec. 5, 2012: Home and into the Fray

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

I am back!

It was quite the trip. I am exhausted and stumbling around, and will be for another day or two. The roofers are starting tomorrow, so that should be, um, interesting. The guy heading it up is really nice, so, other than my usual horror of noise, I doubt it’ll be a problem.

Sunday, I managed to get the newsletter out (It will be up on the Devon Ellington site later today). Then, off we went to Providence to pick up the Megabus. The streets we needed were closed due to some sort of road race, but I got out and walked the few blocks to the bus stop, and off I went.

Bus ride was smooth, no problems. They let us out in front of FIT, and I hauled my luggage over to Penn Station for the subway kerflamma. Yes, I realize I should be grateful there’s even subway service to Brooklyn post-Sandy, but it was a lot of unnecessary chaos.

I got on the C train. Suddenly, we were told that the C line wasn’t running, so we’d have to take an F train, that would run on the local C stops in Brooklyn — only not the stop I needed. I was instructed to get off at W. 4th Street and take the B. I get off at W. 4th, haul the luggage down to the level where the B train is — only to find that the B does not run on weekends. The sign on the platform said take the D to Atlantic Avenue and pick up the Q. I had multiple sets of directions to the house, but the D didn’t figure in any of them. However, I jumped on the D train. When it stopped at DeKalb, I thought, “well, DeKalb is on my list of stops for the B or the Q. I’ll get off the platform and if I see a B or Q sign, I’ll know I’m in the right place; if I don’t, I’ll find a cop and ask him how to get to where I’m going.”

I got off, it was the right stop, all good. I hauled everything up too many flights of stairs, and walked down DeKalb until I hit my friends’ street, and there was the brownstone on the corner. I got in, hauled my luggage up to the third floor, and played with Costume Imp’s cats until he got back from work.

We went to a local diner for diner, really good food, and all got to know each other, friends and family from different phases in his life. Late to bed, up early, did my yoga, read a bit while I waited for everyone else to get up.

Monday, we set up for the party, cleaning and decorating, and all the rest. The party itself ran from about 1 PM to 8 PM (technically), although it was closer to 10 by the time everyone cleared out. It was a great celebration of Costume Imp, and old and new friends met and melded well. The food was amazing. We cleaned up and got to bed a bit after midnight. The house’s owner (also a friend) has a very old husky who’s blind and not very well. I think the party overstimulated her, because she paced and was upset all night. Since I slept downstairs in the parlor on an air mattress, I was up with the dog all night. I finally got her settled around 4:30, but I had to be up at 6, so it wasn’t really worth going to sleep. Poor baby. The other husky is a young male, lively and friendly, and there was also a little, lively dog, and another cat. Busy household. But it’s a household filled with love and laughter, the very best kind.

And I met an actor-musician at the party with whom I had an interesting conversation that got a dormant idea for a play percolating again. So that’s all good.

Out the door by 9:30, couldn’t find the subway I was supposed to take, found a different one, got directions from the very nice woman in the booth, switched trains one stop in and got an express to Penn. Exited Penn Station and headed all the way to the Hudson on 34th St. The Megabus now leaves from 34th St. between 11th and 12th Avenues. I got there waaaay too early and had to stand for over an hour, but finally the bus bothered to show up and we could get on it.

We left on time, and it was a smooth ride, although I couldn’t get comfortable, and wanted to doze, but couldn’t. Got in the driver’s seat of the car in Providence, drove back to the Cape, stopped for gas, unloaded the car, greeted the cats, popped something in the microwave, scarfed it down, and headed back to the Sandwich Library for the Cape Cod Writers Center Board meeting.

The businesses on Rt. 6A have a series of glorious, over-sized light sculptures up along the route. So beautiful! What a treat to drive it, tired as I was.

Meeting was good. Interesting. Learning the people and learning the dynamics. I was practically falling over with exhaustion by then, so limited myself to asking questions. I have to understand the foundation of what we HAVE before I can make useful suggestions of how to build on it.

Home, showered, fell into bed. Staggering around this morning. Already had to deal with the roofers, and have to call the plumber, because I can’t get the front spigot for the hose to shut off. All I want to do is go back to bed!

But there’s a ton of email waiting to be dealt with, and I have to hustle some quick turnaround, quick pay jobs in the next few days.

To the page.

Devon

Last two days to sign up for Flash 7 — write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days. Dec 7-16. Sign up here.

Published in: on December 5, 2012 at 10:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Well, those were a bunch of zany days!

Monday, I was basically a waste of food. I dreaded coming back to NY, I couldn’t concentrate, Trying to get appointments sorted for next week, and everyone’s got an excuse for not following through with what they initially promised. Typical realtors. Pond scum.

And Comcast, which hadn’t been too bad all week, went back to major suckage.

So, Monday was a lost day, creatively, and I’m moping around Monday night when I get a phone call that the people I covered for had landed at the Philly airport. A day early. Huh?

It’s amazing what a whirlwhind one can turn into under pressure. In the 20 minutes it took them to take a cab from the airport, I had stripped the beds and started the laundry, taken the clean dishes out of the dishwasher (thank goodness I ran it right after dinner), put them away, packed my crap that was scattered all over the place, cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, and was ready to go.

Only I couldn’t GO back to NY that night, because the transportation schedule didn’t work in my favor. So I was stashed in their studio a few blocks away. Since they’re having trouble with their landlords (familiar refrain), once I was in for the night, I couldn’t leave. And, for some reason, the ethernet cable in the place won’t talk to my computer, so I was offline.

Which was fine, only I was unfocused and couldn’t concentrate. I had the TV on, but I couldn’t tell you what was on. I didn’t sleep well, because the thermostat runs automatically, and it was as cold as a meat locker. And I couldn’t find any extra blankets. So I put on socks and a sweatshirt and all the rest. I swear, I am never travelling without my hot water bottle again, no matter what the time of year! 😉

Had to order in breakfast the next morning, repacked the suitcase, and kind of puttered around. I was looking forward to a good diner breakfast of poached eggs, corned beef hash, hash brown potatoes, and toast. Well, first, it arrived cold. The eggs were hardboiled, not poached. And they ddidn’t have corned beef hash. Sigh. Certainly not enough to alter the course of the universe, but a disappointment.

Much quicker trip back to 30th St. Station — when I got out of the apartment, I could see it, and it was a straight shot. It started sprinkling as I reached the station — the whole area was under tornado watch. Walked through the station and out the other side to the bus stop. As I walked out of the station, a group of workmen stood to the side smoking joints. Glad I wasn’t going to be around the heavy machinery they were operating for the rest of the day. So, by the time I got to the bus, the smoke was in my hair and my clothes. I got strange looks the whole trip.

Megabus let us stand in the rain, as usual, while they had their little coffee klatch inside the bus. I think I’ll try one of the other carriers for the next trip. They finally loaded us up and off we went. Not too many people, smooth ride until we got stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel for awhile, due to traffic, which is so not my idea of a good time.

Rolled the suitcase a couple of blocks to where I get a cab. There was a guy who obviously was having trouble getting a cab. I didn’t even stick my arm out until he was safely settled in one, and then got one immediately. Thank you, Karma Dogs!

Managed to catch a train immediately upon hitting Grand Central, smooth trip back, picked up at the station, got a bottle of wine and a chocolate cake on the way home. Unpacked, relaxed, never even went online last night.

Watched some TV. Disappointed with the script for the NCIS-LA episode. I thought they were inconsistent with Deeks’s character, and, at times, made him goofy and suffering from foot-in-mouth disease the wrong way (the first scene with Sam, expecting Kensi to come up with a way to get them out–he’s proven he’s a good enough cop to have had ideas of his own on that). Eric Christian Olsen’s good enough and inventive enough to pull it off (I can think of at least a dozen other actors who’d have turned it into whiny self-pity and I would have had to change the channel). The snake story and some of the other stuff is in keeping with the humor they’ve established for the character, but those two scenes were very discordant. If the scenes had been written better, it would have added a wonderful dynamic to the overall episode.

As a writer, though, it’s a good lesson in character development (or, in this case, mis-delvelopment).

Overslept this morning. I have a lot to do early today, so skipped yoga and my first 1K of the day, which will come back and bite me in the butt later.

The only food in the house is cat food, so I’m off to the bank and the grocery store, then have to file more paperwork against the landlords. They’ve upped the threats and the harassment, and I may have to bring in the cops.

Sigh.

I know, I just have to hang in there. But I need a really, really stable home base to get anything done, and I haven’t had that for nearly four years. It’s been a disgusting downward spiral.

Devon

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 7:18 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, September 11, 2010


Philadelphia

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
9th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001

The hardest part of adjusting to life without Elsa is late night/early morning. As soon as the lights went out, she would climb into the bed and snuggle. It was great in the winter — a purry hot water bottle! And she’d wake me up in the mornings (often earlier than I’d like) purring.

The other two cats are definitely grieving. I’m trying to help them as much as I can, but they are desolate. Elsa was the sunshine in all our lives. Wandering Author, you are absolutely right.

I woke up far too early yesterday, tried to keep to the morning routine, yoga, writing, etc. Got everyone fed. Ran a few errands. The self-styled head of the Tenants’ Organization tried to stop and talk to me; I was pleasant and keep going. I have nothing to say to him. He has not been helpful at all. One of the head A-holes was on the property and tried to intimidate me, so I just stood there and stared at him, completely impassive, thinking, “Go ahead. Give me an excuse to bring in the cops.” He backed down.

I blew right through the workmen’s barriers (they were supposed to reopen that particular walkway last week), suitcase and all, on my way to the train. They all just stood there, mouths open, staring at me. No one challenged me, which meant I had no excuse to flip them the bird as I passed! 😉

Then, on the train, someone else from the landlord’s entourage was in my car! I minded my own business, and I could tell he wanted to talk to me, but didn’t dare. Hey, if he grew a pair, he’d have to work for someone else. I wasn’t about to instigate anything,but if they did, I was ready to bring it.

I got my wish and we actually came in on an upper track at Grand Central, much easier for maneuvering my luggage. Walked over to Penn, where I found complete and utter MegaBus chaos. It was well after 11 AM and the 10:45 (not to mention a slew of other busses) hadn’t even arrived, much less departed. There were no designated lines for different busses, and hundreds of people just milled around, not getting information. Megabus was great when they first started, and they’ve seriously gone downhill in the past few months. My trip in 2 weeks is booked on them (non-refundable), but after that, I will try some of the other companies that run this route.

The 10:45 and 11:45 busses arrived around noon. They just crammed people on the first bus. I waited, because hey, two busses were there, we were all going to get on. One woman beside me said, “I’m getting on that 10:45. I’m not waiting until they load the second bus” and elbowed past. Goody for her.

When they opened the second bus, they had it parked so one couldn’t load luggage, so I just hauled my suitcase up and to my regular seat. There turned out to be only about 15 of us on the bus, so it wasn’t a problem. We got on the road around 11:20, just over a half hour late, but still better than those poor 10:45‘ers.

And we passed their broken-down bus on the NJ Turnpike later on. So much for the woman who elbowed her way on the bus!

I just put on my music, read my book — but couldn’t say I absorbed a word — and sat back for the ride. We hit some traffic, but it wasn’t too bad, and I finally got to the apartment around 3. Considering I left at 9:30 in the morning, and Philly is only 2 hours from NY — typical Mercury Retrograde.

There were a bunch of British teens on the bus, and one of them was upset when we entered Philadelphia because he wanted to know where the cows were. For some reason, he thought cows still roamed the streets of Philly, and didn’t expect a big city. He thought Amish country was IN Philadelphia, not a couple of hours away. No, sweetie, Philly is/was Quaker, not Amish, and this isn’t Cornwall, the cows stay in their fields most of the time. (I have photos of driving behind herds of cows in Cornwall). At first I thought he was trying to be funny, but he was serious. And I thought the American education system was broken!

Dumped my stuff, went to pick up coffee and a fruit/oat bar, and got Chinese food. Ate (hey, I had breakfast at 7 in the morning and no lunch), watched some TV, couldn’t concentrate on anything, went to bed early.

Got a phone call from home that a Very Big Box arrived from the Smithsonian with a Very Beautiful Orchid in Elsa’s memory and in her favorite colors. Thank you so much! And I’m keeping the Very Big Box so I can safely move the Very Beautiful Orchid when the time comes.

After a night filled with weird dreams, the bedside alarm went off at 4 AM (not mine). Not happy. Slammed it off, but couldn’t go back to sleep, so got up, did my yoga, did some meditation, wrote a few pages, then fell asleep on the couch, had more weird dreams, and woke up a little after 7, totally disoriented. Ate, read the paper, showered, wrote some more.

The plan today is to work on lectures and scripts. I’m going out to lunch, but that’s it. I need to have a quiet weekend. I’m doing a 9/11 ceremony later today, too, but mainly keeping quiet.

I head back to NY in the morning tomorrow — hopefully it will be an easier trip. Monday starts the first deconstruction workshop, the fantasy romance. I hope you join me. It’ll be a fun week.

Again, thanks for all your love and support during a difficult time.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (handwritten first draft): 48,000 words out of est. 100,000 (48%)

Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 8:25 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Greetings from Philadelphia! Yes, I’m here. It’s hot and expected to get all the way up to 99 by Saturday. Ick.

Trip down was fine. Our Megabus left a few minutes late because the previous bus, headed to DC, was filled with morons who couldn’t seem to get on the bus. Honestly, the guy in charge was far too nice. He should have left them to wait for the next one, after the THIRD time he told them they had to board so the bus could leave.

Our bus boarded in about five minutes, and it was all good. At first, I had two seats to myself, but once we cleared the tunnel and were in NJ, a young guy asked if he could join me; his seatmate was freaking him out, in addition to reading what he worked on and commenting on it. What’s one of the universe’s little jokes is that, as people were boarding (I was third in line and had my pick of seats), this guy was the ONE person I thought, “Oh, if I have to have someone next to me, he’s the one I can deal with.”

We had a perfectly companionable time, chatting a little, but mostly he was working on his Macbook, and I was reading the material for Confidential Job #1. They paid me earlier than expected, so they have a temporary reprieve! 😉

Headed to the apartment in Philly. Dropped my stuff off. Grabbed my shopping bags. Headed nearly all the back back to he train station to Trader Joe’s. Did some grocery shopping. Stopped at the wine store. Stopped at Metropolitan Bakery. My usual settling-in routine. It rained a bit on my travels, but nothing major.

However, I got back to discover the corkscrew was gone. So, I headed across the street to the kitchen store to buy wine opener (the kind that looks like it has little arms that raise and you lower them and pop out the cork; it’s the only one I can use), and a wooden spoon. I stay at so many places, and I’m sick of having to hunt down what I need or do without; I’m putting together a “site kit” with a corkscrew, a set of wooden or bamboo spoons, a bath plug, etc. I already carry my French press along with me most of the time. It’s just easier to have a set of stuff that can get tossed into my bag when I travel, and then I don’t have to worry.

Had a late lunch; read and relaxed in the afternoon; got settled. Made a chicken biriyani for dinner. Watched a little TV, but went to bed early.

I hear Elsa is doing well, which is a relief. But I can’t believe how much I miss her! I miss the twins, too, but especially Elsa.

I’m headed to Reading Terminal Market this morning. It’s supposed to be 90 by noon and 94 by 3 PM, so I want to be back here and tucked away by noon. I hope to write this afternoon — I want to work on the new booklet and do some more planning on the new series.

I’m specifically not working on POWER OF WORDS this week, because I want it to percolate.

According to the astrologer, Saturn leaves Pisces today — thank goodness! I could use the break.

I’m forced to use Comcast while I’m here and it’s so damn slow! It’s like having dial-up again. Urgh.

Devon

Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 6:55 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Snowing

After quite a bit of chaos and thissing and thatting, I am here in Philly. And, even more importantly for conference purposes, online.

I was out the door in sleet early on Thursday. Had to stand on the train, which wasn’t my favorite way to travel, but, really, it wasn’t so crowded it got disgusting, so I was fine. By the time I hit Manhattan, it was snowing, but lightly, so I figured what the hey, and started walking from Grand Central to Penn. Yes, with the luggage. Once a drop of water falls from the sky, it’s impossible to catch a cab. They all put on their ‘off duty’ signs and dash away.

The snow escalated steadily as I walked, and by the time I hit Penn, it was falling quickly in big, thick flakes. But the busses were still running, and Megabus even brought in the busses earlier than usual to load us up, so we didn’t have to stand out in the muck. I met a lovely woman who travelled all the way from Toronto, starting the previous day, headed for Philadelphia because she loves the city so much. She’s taken 18 trips down there in the past year.

On the bus, iPod on, book out. Once we got into Weehawken, it was seriously snowing, and it was so bad around Newark, I worried we’d have to turn back. But we pushed on through. The snow-drenched trees were heartbreakingly beautiful.

The book I’m reading is fascinating: Jedidiah Berry’s THE MANUAL OF DETECTION. I’m not sure if it qualifies as surrealism or magical realism, but it’s quite wonderful. Just a delightful book all the way around.

Arrived in Philly only a little late, in much lighter snow than we’d driven through. We make the first stop, opposite the Liberty Bell — and the door gets stuck in the “open” position. Well, at least we were in Philly and not stuck on the Jersey turnpike, right? Eventually, they got the door shut and got us to our stop at 30th St. station. I trundled my luggage down JFK Blvd, to Site A — not where I’m supposed to stay for the duration, but, because the people for whom I’m covering couldn’t leave due to weather, that’s where I had to stay for the moment. Dropped off the suitcase, got the keys, took my computer bag, etc., and headed for the other site on 17th St, where I should be based for the bulk of the job. Dropped off the computer bag, did a few things that were site-specific, then headed out.

Had lunch at Elvez, on 13th and Sansome (remember that place, Lori?), because I’ve been thinking about their mahi-mahi tacos for about three months. They did not disappoint. Passed Robin’s Bookstore — looks like they’ve lost the two-story enormous space they used to have and are now just upstairs, making room for a wine/pizza bar and an upscale florist. Ick. If I’m here through the weekend, I will go back and spend some money there.

Hit another bookstore, which had put aside for me Louise Erdich’s SHADOW TAG and Phyllis Theoroux’s THE JOURNAL KEEPER.

Headed back to 17th St, to get some work done, but didn’t manage to get online.

Met friends for a tapas delight dinner at Continental on 18th & Chestnut. The food’s very good, the atmosphere a little loud and echoey, the service okay but not brilliant. There was a bit of attitude at first from the hostess (I was so cordial she backed down — when I start getting “cordial” as opposed to “polite” or “friendly”, watch out, because it means I’m preparing to rip your lungs out). Obviously, the message came across, because there was a serious attitude adjustment. Our actual server was lovely, and the manager sorted things out. Other than bringing out the string fries AFTER we finished the meal instead of WITH the meal, it was fine. The BBQ Chicken Quesidilla is awesome. We ordered seconds.

Back to JFK Blvd., cup of tea, Olympics on, tried to get online — no luck. Slight panic attack, but it’s not a crisis until today.

Worried because, when I called home, the brook was within 6 inches of overflowing. Made arrangements to get the car to safety; made arrangements with friends to check on my mom and the cats if it actually flooded. Stressful to be away at such a time, but at least everyone who usually depends on me during flood times had resources and a Plan B. Instead of “what do we do?”, it’s a case of “If this happens, do X; if that happens, do Y” and so forth. It didn’t flood last night, thank goodness, but I was a bit of a wreck.

Started reading THE JOURNAL KEEPER instead. If you write or paint or have any sort of creative life and try to balance it with the rest of your life, you MUST read this book. If I tried to pull quotes for you, well, there are wonderful quotes on every page.

My favorite is “The soul cannot do its work when we are in constant motion.” (p. 41).

Fell asleep early, exhausted. Woke up early, to see much more snow falling today than we had yesterday. Meanwhile, rain turned to snow at home, with 10 inches falling overnight and snow expected all day today. The snow’s blown against the windows, and the cats don’t understand why they can’t see out. So, according to my mom, they decided to take another nap and try again later. Gotta love their attitude.

Yoga, breakfast, some reading. Not a pot or pan to be found at that site, but at least there was a kettle, and I’d picked up a croissant on my rounds yesterday. I carry my French press when I travel, and had coffee, so I could make coffee or it would NOT have been pretty. Packed up around 10 and shifted everything back over to the other site, where, miracle of miracles, I’m online. I’m going to take care of my workshops now, and then take the rest of the day as it comes.

The people for whom I’m covering are supposed to fly out tonight. If that actually happens, I’m here through Monday; otherwise, I will try to trek home tomorrow.

Off to the workshops. Let’s hope I can settle in here for a few days. The thought of lugging everything back home tomorrow exhausts me beyond belief.

Devon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and mild

I’m up early because I went to bed early. I’m trying to find info on how to get the DC metro to actually give you a Day Pass — what it does is eat your money and then spit out a card that’s NOT a day pass. Most logical cities have you choose your option and THEN put in the money, but not DC — they’re going to take your cash and give you whatever. If that’s not a complete analogy of government, I don’t know what is.

The trip down was quite pleasant. No problems getting the train into NYC, got in so early (we took an “earlier” train that was late rather than waiting for a later train that would probably be later), that we walked leisurely, dragging our little suitcases down 5th Avenue and over to Penn. We realized that we packed less for a four day trip than most poor commuters cart in on a daily basis.

Grabbed sandwiches to take on the bus and newspapers. We had a double-decker bus, and I was every bit as excited as any five year old. Yes, we rode on the top level.

For the most part, it was great ride. Across the aisle where an annoying young 20’s couple who alternated between making out, spilling orange juice everywhere, and taling really loudy about how ecologically responsible they are — of course, spouting misinformation and dropping contents out of at least half a dozen plastic grocery bags instead of canvas bags! You know, in the slice-and-dice movies, the arrogant couple that are amongst the first to get chopped up? These two were THAT much of a cliche. It was pretty funny.

Once we hit DC, it was only two blocks to our Metro, and, once the fare card kerflamma was dealt with (for at least yesterday), it was a quick 5-or-so stop ride up the red line to Van Ness. Our hotel is only about 4 blocks from the stop. The neighborhood is really great — UDC Van Ness campus, lots of little stores and restaurants, and, if you head towards downtown, the embassy residences. Quiet, green, feels safe.

The hotel: mixed feelings about it so far. The positive side: Enormous, comfortable beds, Wi-fi. Good desk, good desk chair. Nice shower. Lots of natural light. Heat that works and that I can control (which is more than can be said for home). The towels are decoratively folded (yeah, i know, silly, but a nice touch). The downside: They made us line up in the lobby before “official check in time” started. WTF? The “coffee maker” makes one cup at at time, they only give you the ability to make ONE cup of coffee, and there’s no creamer, which I didn’t know until I tried to make a cup of really bad coffee early this morning. Can you say “cranky”? There are no drapes or blinds — just sheers. There’s heavy fabric along the edges of the window, but it’s for show and doesn’t pull across the window. On top of that, the lights for the well-lit parking lot shine into the room so I can read without putting lights on. Not all the lights in the room have light bulbs in them.

Let’s say I’m having a chat with the desk when I go down. I’ve stayed at this chain a lot, although never at this hotel, and this hotel does not meet the chain’s usual standards.

We walked around late in the afternoon, enjoying the embassy residences — somehow I ended up over by the Czech Republic residence — CZK turns up everywhere in my life lately. There’s some lovely architecture in the neighborhood, and you get the sense that people really live here.

And everybody runs. That’s the big thing here — running. I guess they spend so much of their day sitting that, the minute they get out, they run. I’ve never seen so many runners in the early evening in my life outside of marathon training sessions.

There’s a little cafe down the street, so we’re going there for breakfast, and then heading first to Arlington National Cemetery,then to the monuments on the National Mall, and then to the various Smithsonians. Tomorrow is Library of Congress and Folger, and maybe sticking my head in at Capitol Hill to say “hey”. We left timing loose. (And yes, I have solid enough relationships with those I’d see at the Captiol that they said, “Just stop in whenever you have a minute; we’re always glad to see you.”) I’ve also got a couple of work appointments for Confidential Job #3 that are scattered across the days, but everything’s pretty close together.

I’m going to try to get a little writing done in the next hour or so before we leave.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 6:25 am  Comments (3)  
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