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

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

Welcome to 2020!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, honey, I was leaving at noon.

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

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

So it all worked out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How sad and painful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Practical?” she sneered.

“A racist,” I replied.

She started sputtering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eggs Benedict was delicious. I love Eggs Benedict.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So starts The Year of Transformation.

 

Tues. Dec. 3, 2019: Catching Up on the Dailies

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Nasty weather

It’s been nearly a week since I shared my daily life. And quite a week it’s been.

Tuesday night, we decided not to go to Maine for the big 60-people-for-dinner-at-the-rented-hall. Between plumbing issues and furnace issues and car issues and traffic issues and my back issues, it didn’t make sense.

They were disappointed, but they understood.

Wednesday morning, the plumber showed up early. Put a new faucet in the kitchen sink, new valves, worked on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. I scrubbed out under the sink (where it had also leaked) and left it open, so it could dry

By the time he left, it would have been too late to get on the road anyway, and the traffic was dreadful. So was the weather. I was grateful to be at home. Popped out to get a couple of things we needed to cook the meal at home.

Managed to get out the polished version of “Pier-less Crime” out and the company is excited about it.

Watched ROMAN HOLIDAY with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s been years since I saw it, and I’d forgotten a lot of it.

Sketched out some story ideas (in words, not actual sketches). Figured out more of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, which is the play about Canaletto’s sisters.

Up early on Thursday morning. Made the stuffing, got the turkey in the oven. Wondered if maybe I went overboard buying a 20 lb. turkey.

For some reason, the meal prep upset Charlotte. She was very agitated. I wonder if she was moved after a large family meal more than once?

We had a high wind advisory with warnings of power outages, so I put it in a little early, to make sure the oven was on and we could actually have the meal. We had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas with it. Tiramisu for dessert. We ate about a half hour or so earlier than normal (in Maine, we usually sit down around 1 PM).

The meal was excellent, absolutely perfect. The weather outside howled and was frightful.

I felt like I did dishes for hours, though. My own damn fault, because we used some of our favorite old pieces, all of which have to be hand-washed. Which is just fine.

Make stock out of the bones, and then turkey soup. We also have plenty of leftovers. Yum, yum!

Too tired to watch anything on Thanksgiving night. Read. My back was bothering me. Everyone on our little street was away for the holiday. It was blissfully quiet.

Up early Friday morning. Put in the Chewy order. That was the extent of my Black Friday shopping. Put away the washed dishes. Two runs to the dump, one for household garbage and one for leaves.

Got the decorations out of the Christmas Closet and sorted them. Got the tree down and put it up, just the tree and the lights. Tied in place, because we don’t know how Willa and Charlotte will react to it.

Switched out the fabric on the various surfaces to Winter Holiday fabric, everywhere but in my office. My office is where everything we don’t know where to put while we’re decorating goes, so it will be the last to be decorated.

Put up the musical instrument fabric over the fireplace. Put up the red ribbons around the doors and windows (we hang cards from the ribbons around the doors and the ribbons look pretty around the windows).

Got the Advent table set up with the wreath, four silver candle stands, and the centerpiece this year is the Broadway snow globe.

Believe it or not, that took all day.

In my NYC apartment, everything only fit one way. Here in the house, we have the option to do things differently from year to year, which is fun.

Fish and chips for dinner, which is always fun to make and eat.

Re-watched A ROOM WITH A VIEW on Friday night. Much more critical of it this time around, although the locations and the camerawork are gorgeous.

Up early again on Saturday morning. Paid some bills. Had to go to Home Depot for something I couldn’t get elsewhere, and was so disgusted I left without buying anything. I hate Home Depot. I don’t like to spend money there anyway because the owner is a rightwing lunatic, so I avoid it unless I have no other choice.

Went to AC Moore. Will be sad when they close after the holidays. I like them as an alternative to Michael’s. Found a few things I needed. Went to Trader Joe’s for a few things, and to Christmas Tree Shops, where I ended up spending more than I planned, but I would have done so over the course of the month, so might as well get it all done in one go.

Went to put gas in the car — and couldn’t get the tank flap unlocked. I still had a half a tank of gas, so no reason to panic yet, but I was upset. I can’t afford another car repair. Headed to Country Gardens to get the plain wreath for the front door, so I could decorate it. Then the hatch wouldn’t open. I was furious. That was just fixed a few months ago. I’m tired of them fixing stuff and then, a few months down the line, it needs to be fixed again.

Driving away, suddenly the tank latch worked. So I turned around, headed back to the gas station, and filled up, just in case. The hatch started working again, too. At no point in any of this did any warning lights come on.

Decorated the wreath for the front door. Finished decorating the fireplace mantel. We put the carolers up there again this year, against the backdrop of the musical instrument fabric. The blue poinsettia garland hangs below the carolers. We have gold bells hanging center top, and, above that, by the ceiling, holly and ivy and gold ribbon and a gold musical instrument swag.

Unpacked a few other boxes of ornaments, but it took a long time and not a lot seemed to get done.

Got four loads of laundry done, though, and outlined two novels. Decided an idea that was going to be a Thanksgiving story would really be a Solstice/Christmas/New Year story.

Worked on the book for review.

Instead of cooking what I planned to for dinner, Twitter pals raving about Turkey leftover sandwiches inspired me to make gigantic dinner sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Delicious!

Read and made notes on a few projects.

Up early on Sunday. Worked on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT for a few hours, before I started back in on the decorating.

The Santa collection was set up on the Behemoth. Ornaments top the ribbons on the doors and windows. Pine cones will be added later. More ornamentation was added to the mantel. Most of the tree is decorated, but that usually is a work in progress until it comes down. But enough is on so that I could put on the tree skirt. The kitchen tree and the kitchen nutcracker are done, and I unpacked and washed the holiday mugs. Which means I have to pack away the same number of day-to-day mugs, so there’s room in the cabinet.

Turkey pot pie for dinner, a little reading and writing in the night. I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I went to bed early.

The weather turned on Sunday — rain, sleet, then back to rain by Monday morning.

Up early on Monday, morning routine and some writing. Getting ahead on blog posts. Writing a letter to fight for insurance again. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars and begging in order to get onto insurance every year. Romney-care DOES NOT WORK. We need a single-payer system.

I’m updating my freelance contract, and will update the website to reflect that. Rates are going up for 2020. When the locals balk, I just add more remote clients, who understand that skill and quality are worth the money. I have never lived anywhere that skills are so disregarded as they are here. The only thing respected is coming in rich.

Working on the release information, media kit, excerpts, promotion, etc. for GRAVE REACH, which releases on Thursday the 5th. I’m very excited about this book. I achieved what I set out to do with it. I learned a lot from this book, and that will feed in to the rest of the books in the series.

Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and also getting back into the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Worked on the book for review. I hope to have the review out either later today or tomorrow, latest.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, getting into the holiday madness. Onsite again today. Finally got back to meditation group after missing the last two weeks. It was much-needed.

The sink is working just fine, but the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is still leaking, so the landlord is going to have to deal with it.

Still lots of decorating to do, especially in my office.

I’m enjoying the Advent calendars, though.

Need to start writing cards this week. The overseas cards need to go out on Friday.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: The Good Busy

Friday, October 24, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy, busy times. Wednesday was a busy day at the library, and then I scooched out at 5 to go down to the Conference Center for the CCWC Annual Meeting. We had a great turkey dinner, took care of business. Some good conversations, but far too many people come to these dinners and spend their time making excuses for not writing. I don’t care why you’re not writing, and I’m not interested in the whining. There’s no such thing as “no time to write”. There’s not managing your time and CHOOSING not to write. I want and need to be around people who are actually writing.

Home in a bad storm. My 90 year old mother was already pulling furniture and plants in off the deck. We finished doing that, and then I had to bake. The inside of the house looks like a conservatory at this point.

Then, of course, the damn storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Up early on Thursday, packed the muffins, in the car and out the door by 7 AM. To Buzzards Bay for a board meeting at NMLC, which was pretty good, and then hurried to the library.

Busy day at the library – finished processing books, got about 60 or 70 out on the shelves and/or out to patrons. Helped a patron find a book he wanted, and introduced him to one of my favorite authors. Introduced another patron to the same author, when she expressed interest in the genre. Helped a college student find materials for a project she had due (the next day, of course) on etymology.

Off to Michael’s to look for foam core, but they no longer have it, so went to Staples and found it instead.

Picked up Chinese food for dinner, and then watched RUBY IN THE SMOKE, my “homework” for Masterpiece Theatre Book and Film Group. Matt Smith – who was the Dr. Who before this one – was in it, and was terrific.

I’m reading a biography of Thackeray that’s very entertaining. Published in 1947, the tone is as arch as some of Thackeray’s work is oddly amusing.

Not enough writing getting done, especially not on THE RED WIDOW. I will make up for it this weekend. I’m behind where I want to be on the diving homework, but I’ll catch up.

Next week will be flat out – Chamber meeting Tuesday evening, all-day conference in Sturbridge on Wednesday, an author event with the charismatic Kevin Symmons at the Stonebridge Club, Pinehills, Plymouth, on Thursday, and Samhain on Friday.

Saturday evening, all day Sunday, all day Monday, and most of Tuesday will be writing days. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” at the library, and then I have a fundraising workshop in the afternoon.

Busy, busy, fun, fun.

Check in next week! Have a great one, all!

Devon

Monday, December 14, 2009


Iris likes to be under the blankets

Monday, December 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Cloudy and mild

I have a post up at Sole Struck Fashions (up yesterday, actually), about quick gift ideas.

My eye hurt like crazy yesterday, but it seems better today. I just kept using drops, and chamomile tea bags on it. The vision’s no worse than usual — it’s just the movement that hurts.

They know me at Michael’s, because I’ve been in there every day for the past week! Sigh! Of course they didn’t have the garland I wanted, but they did have one left of a really lovely one — green with silver and blue accents — it works perfecatly over the ktichen, and I have my cat ornaments hanging from it — it’s the “cat garland”. It took two hours to do the other garland — I realized, once I was done, that I should probably do all the fastening BEFORE I put it up, instead of standing on a chair! What I usually do is fasten the blank garland and then decide where I want to place the elements I add.

Anyway, they both look really good. The coffee table’s done with the centerpiece and a slew of nutcrackers, another surface has most of my Santas (although there are Santas and angels and elves and snowmen peering at one from every shelf and surface in the house — it’s sort of like being back in Prague, with all the statues on the buildings staring down at you). The faux mantel is done. The tree is 2/3 done — I have one more box of ornaments to hang. The ribbons are up around the doorways — I put red ribbons on either side of the doorways, with pine cones or ornaments at the top, and that’s where I hang the cards. I have some ornaments that need to go to Ornament Hospital, which I will set up probably tomorrow. The Advent Table’s not yet finished (and there’s only one more Advent left!), and the kitchen table (the only table where we can eat) isn’t done, because I still need it for baking and Ornament Hospital. It’s the only working surface other than the living room floor that I have.

The little live tree looks cute — I have most of the Solstice ornaments on it, and it will be the centerpiece for the Solstice Ceremony next Monday. I’ve been trying to name the tree something meaningful and the tree keeps going, “Uh, no, that’s not my name”, but I don’t yet know what the name IS yet.

All six hours of TIN MAN ran, followed by all four hours of ALICE yesterday. I watched favorite bits of both in between the decorating (I never just have the TV on as background — it drives me nuts. I’d stop and watch and bit, then go back to decorating, then go back and watch a bit, and so on). SyFy’s going to have to cut some serious residual checks for yesterday! 😉

I’ve been having really odd, busy dreams the past week. Last night’s may turn out into the good foundation for a story. Here’s hoping.

The weather was dreadful yesterday. Although we didn’t get snow, the temperature fluctuated enough so there were patches of ice with rain on top of them. And lots of fog. I had to pick up my mom at night (she can’t drive at night anymore). With all the accidents on the highways (there was a 50-car pileup in CT), I took backroads. Very little traffic, and easier to see.

I’ve got butter softening in the kitchen. I’m back into baking mode today. I need to frost the cookies that need it and take inventory, and bake some more. I can’t store the cookie platters once they’re made — I have to prepare them, load them, and deliver them in one fell swoop — so I’ve got to make sure I have enough of everything. I may test some new recipes on family for the New Year.

I also have to sit down with the recipes, copy them out and put them in the protective sleeves, and make notes on what did and didn’t work, so I have a jump on future years.

I retrieved my coats from the cleaners. They look fabulous. I just have to put new buttons on them, and I’m all set.

Good writing session this morning, thank goodness, and now it’s off to baking. I’ll do another push on the cards tonight, once the baking is sorted.

Devon

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 8:46 am  Comments (8)  
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Sunday, December 13, 2009


Elsa thinks decorating is exhausting!

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Sleet and cold

We’ve had heat the past few days (amazing, the super goes away, there’s a substitute, and we have heat. Unfortunately, there’s no hot water this morning. Urgh.

Yesterday was a pretty decent day. Got a lot of errands done, including dropping stuff off where my Mom is staying, going to Michael’s yet again, going to White Plains. I wanted to get something for my cousin’s son at the Metropolitan Museum of Art store, which had an outpost in WP in Spring — and has since closed. I had a fit. I’d parked at the Target complex and sprinted the X blocks to the other mall (with the really expensive parking in the really scary lot, which is why I parked at Target), only to find no store.

Most people seem to be panic-shopping. Inventories are low, lots of empty shelves, and people are grabbing whatever’s there. Uh, no thanks. I went into one store, asked for something I wanted, and the sales person said, “Well, we don’t have that, so you’ll just have to settle for something else.”

My response? “No, actually, I’ll go spend my money somewhere else. Buh-bye” and walked out.

Restoration Hardware’s keeping their shelves stocked — the store looks gorgeous. They also had the most business — the line wound all around the store, and they’re being really NICE to their customers — and customers are buying.

Sprinted back to Target, ran into Target, picked up two things I needed, and dashed through the express check out. I managed to get into my car and pull out of my spot on the moment my meter ran out. Phew!

I was going to go to Home Goods, since I was already all the way in White Plains, but couldn’t face it.

Ran some more errands, including to the liquor store. Stopped into AI Friedman’s, which is gorgeous. They didn’t have what I needed today, but I’ll definitely hit the after-Christmas clearance. Michael’s is just letting the empty shelves sit, which looks awful, and putting up a few Valentine’s Day things. Uh, no. Even the most dedicated crafters I know are still trying to make Christmas happen.

Went to Home Depot, wondering if I should buy another artificial tree to replace the little one we have. It’s looking a bit sad, both listing and listless. I have a huge tree in storage, but it’s 8 feet tall AND 8 feet wide, and there’s just no room in the apartment for it. The trees that would fit in the space look as sad as the one we’ve got.

I stood there, feeling a bit overwhelmed, and this little girl (about 3 or 4) walks up to me. She’s sucking a lollipop. She pulls it out of her mouth and says, “You look sad. Would you like some of my lollipop? It’s cherry.”

Her father is with her, dying a million deaths.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I thanked her and said, no, but I’d had a long day, and now it was much better. I wound up going to the garden section and buying a basket of decorated greenery and a two foot live tree in a pot (the latter was less than $8!) and haulign them home. The little tree fits in the window, and I put some tiny decorations on it. The basket is on the coffee table.

It was around 2:30 before I could even start the decorating. There’s a lot half done, all the ornaments I brought in from storage are out of boxes, although not necessarily in their final spots. I have to bring the empty boxes back to storage this morning, because there’s no place to put anything with all the boxes. But what’s up looks pretty darned cute. I will post pictures over the coming days.

At 1:30 this morning, Iris stepped on my EYE and launched with her back foot on a jump. Do you have any idea how much that hurts? There was no blood, but it really, really hurts. I’m using the rest of the eye drops I bought in Prague. If it seems infected or there’s any change in vision, I’ll go to the eye doctor. I’m hoping I’ll just be sore and uncomfortable for a few days.

Good writing session this morning, off to storage now, and then yet ANOTHER stop at Michael’s for one more garland (if they have it) and some floral wire. I’ve been using ornament hangers wound together — just break down and get the floral wire, already! I had to buy wire cutters when I disconnected the old land line. The right tools make all the difference.

The cats love the new faux “sofa” I built out of boxes of stuff I can’t yet put in storage because it needs to be sorted. I covered the contraption with festive fabric and lots of pillows. All three cats have their favorite spots, although Violet also likes to sleep in the chair covered in a fleece throw where one of the stuffed reindeer currently resides.

More eyedrops, then off to storage before the sleet gets any nastier.

I thought Christmas was THIS week, but it’s NEXT week — gives me another day or two to get out the cards.

Have a great Sunday!

Devon

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid

We’re finally getting the summer weather, but it’s not anywhere near as bad as it could be.

I’m on retreat this weekend. Yay!

Yesterday was a hit-and-miss day. I went to Home Depot to pick up wood glue so I can work on the 1950’s couch and the 1950’s chair that also needs some help. Don’t you love it when there’s a whole aisle worth of stuff, and one individual purposely blocks anyone else from looking or choosing merchandise because “I need to look at it all as a piece so I know what I want.” Honey, this is a pubic store and you are not the only customer. Get over yourself. Literally, this guy was spreading his arms and dancing back and forth not letting any of the half a dozen of us or so who actually knew what we wanted and were reaching for it and then clearing out actually put hands on product. Get a life, bub. And learn some basic courtesy.

After Home Depot, I drove over to White Plains (looking longingly at the turn off to Target) to Verizon, where I wanted to talk to someone about upgrading my phone, the phone plan, and the problem of the forwarded calls (got a barely polite message frm the doctor’s office stating that “we didn’t do anything; you better call Verizon.” Um, what do you think I was doing on the phone with Verizon for an hour and a half? They INSIST the problem originates in the doctor’s office. Frankly, I don’t give a damn where it originates. It is VERIZON’S responsibility to fix it, and they’re just shrugging it off. It’s not surprising, but it’s annoying.

Anyway, the place was really busy, and after waiting around for a half hour, I was done. Plus, they only let you check in with one type of issue, and I had three. As usual, they try to put people in boxes instead of dealing with individual issues. So I left. They’re perfectly nice there, it’s just that the way they’re set up doesn’t meet my needs. And since I am paying them to meet my needs, we need to negotiate a bit more.

Continued to Hartsdale to the fabric store. Searched for bobbins for my Viking Hvesquenhana — which I bought there. Got a song and dance because they decided not to carry them there and have no idea what other bobbins are compatible. Found thread to fix a skirt of mine — and got a lecture on thread from one of the clerks. Honey, I’ve been in wardrobe for over 20 years. I KNOW what kind of thread I need for this repair. Don’t lecture me and damn well don’t condescend to me. Went downstairs with a swatch I’d gotten from them awhile back to actually purchase the upholstery fabric to recover the 1950’s chair. They didn’t have it, they’d never heard of it, etc., etc., even though I had the swatch and all the details from the last visit. I looked at the fabrics they had in stock — none of them were what I wanted for this chair. So I left, only purchasing thread, and with a bad taste in my mouth. They’ve always been a little eccentric, but, in the past, they were friendly and funny and it was worth putting up with the eccentricities. Not with these particular employees. I doubt I’ll go back.

Stopped at Michael’s — they have a variety of bobbins, but until I talk to Viking and find out which bobbins are compatible, I’m not buying them. The same packages are also half the price they were at the fabric store.

I really need to find a new fabric store, but there’s a dearth of them in the area. I think I’ll have to go hunting in CT, and, whenever I’m in MASS, I’ll have to add stops at fabric stores to my list. I don’t want to haul into the garment district in NYC every time I want some fabric. Although the silks at the fabric store are now three and four times more expensive than they are in the garment district, and not as pretty or as high quality. Well, maybe in fall I’ll make a list and do one big trip to the garment district with a wheeled suitcase and get everything in one haul.

In other words, it wasn’t a very good shopping day! 😉

Diane, the bureau isn’t the one I “inherited” at storage — that’s too big for this space. I’ll use it when I move. The one I’m bringing in is a smaller one. When I lived on the Deuce in NYC, right off Times Square, I went to a huge Salvation Army store on W. 46th St. I found a bureau there painted an ugly shade of green for about $25. I loved the lines of it. I took my little folding airport luggage cart, strapped it on, and wheeled it home. I stripped it and painted it a glossy black. Topped with a red silk scarf and some pretty little candles, stones, and other pieces, it had pride of place in the bedroom. It’ll fit in this space, once I clear out some other stuff, and I need the extra drawer space.

The 1950’s couch will go into storage once I re-glue it, but I won’t refinish it/make the new cushions until I move. I will recover the cushions in the 1950’s chair, however, over the next few months. That’s still here and will stay here. I’m getting rid of the black, broken recliner (which was delivered the day Bobby Kennedy was shot) and I want to replace it with another reading chair, yet to be found. The oversized reading chair that I love, stashed in storage, won’t fit.

Anyway, I came home to find some yoga/writing clothes I ordered arrived. I tried everything on; all but one piece fit and look good. They were on sale (like 60% off), and they’re a great, soft, organic cotton. I feel like I got a good deal. I’m returning the one piece that didn’t fit if I can catch the post office open. Since I can’t drive until the wrist heals, I either have to catch the post office up the street when it’s open, or wait. Or have someone drive me.

I ordered the new couch that will take the place of the 1950’s couch — it’s a light, simple piece that flips out into a sofa bed and works better for the space. Poking around on the internet, I found some promotional codes, and got a nice chunk discounted off that, too. It will be delivered in about ten days. Which means I have ten days to finish packing stuff up in the apartment and hire the guys to do the furniture switch. Provided the wrist heals quickly, it’s do-able.

I got some client work cleared off, caught up on a few things, read a bit I rested the wrist — icing it, taking some ibuprofen (since I want to remain on speaking terms with my liver, I’m being careful). Diane, great suggestion on the witch hazel compress — that made a big difference. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions — I’m implementing as many as I can to get this resolved as quickly and healthily as possible!

I thought I’d have to modify my yoga practice, but, for some reason, the poses don’t aggravate it. If they do, I’ll modify.

The cats didn’t like the thunder and lightening storms last night. They huddled under the blankets, watching the lightening strikes, and demanding that I make it stop. I enjoy a good thunder storm, especially if I’m inside!

This morning, one of the window shades spontaneously popped out of its fastening and shot across the room like a missile. I’m lucky it didn’t hit the mirror and smash it. The cats dived for cover. I managed to fix it and replace it. It seems to be working fine, now.

I had a good morning’s writing session. I’m off to the post office now to make that return,and then it’s back to a day of writing. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of it. I’ve got some ideas to work on, and some projects to get back to. I’ve also got a novel that looks like a lot of fun to sink into when I get tired of writing.

I had a great morning yoga session and I plan to do one more this afternoon and one tonight. No packing or client projects this weekend — just doing what I want and need to do for myself, getting refreshed both mentally and physically.

The landlords are being scumbags again, but I will deal with them on Monday.

And I answered someone’s question on a forum about my opinion on mill content sites (and one in particular) — I’m sure several of the “writers” on the forum will take issue with it. Too damn bad.

Devon

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 8:40 am  Comments (3)  
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