Fri. Oct. 7, 2022: Cooking, Noodling, and 100 FREE Episodes/Day

Friday, October7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday, the temperatures went up into the 70s, but my productivity did not soar along with it, except in terms of cooking. I noodled with some ideas (no pun intended), but didn’t get good words on paper (just mediocre words that will have to be scrapped and/or rearranged).

I made a batch of vegetable stock, I made a batch of Moosewood’s sweet potato and corn soup (which is wonderful), I roasted a chicken and later made stock from the bones, I made mashed potatoes, and my infamous carrot and parsley dish.

I created a marketing campaign for the free Kindle Vella week (which lasts until Oct. 11). You can read up to 100 episodes free per day, which means you can read all the episodes of Legerdemain that have released to date, plus a lot of other cool stuff. The link to Legerdemain is here.

Anyway, I created the campaign, and uploaded/scheduled 3 ads per day between now and the end of the 11th. It was mostly uploading/scheduling, because I used the general ads I’ve created, and rotated them through the slots, with the information. Plus, I had to promote the episode that dropped yesterday on the channels that don’t let me schedule ahead.

I looked through some submission calls. I have one more short play to prep for a call. I don’t have anything ready to go that would fit any of the other calls, and I don’t have the time or the energy to start yet something else and get it in shape in time for any of these calls.

I set up my project on Nano. The title for the first Retro Mystery will be THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which takes the title my friend Lori suggested and then adds “Death” into it to make it clear in which genre it sits. I’m going to use one of my friend Chris’s suggestions for the next book in the series, a play on cocktail titles. I put up a notification on The Enchanted Wordsmiths perch on the Nano site that we would be active in November. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in the newsletter than just went out. It looks like there’s no ML for the Berkshires, so I guess we’re on our own. Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy to volunteer.

I’ve spent 45 years of my life doing volunteer work across different organizations, the bulk of it unappreciated, and often, no matter how many hours I put in, there was always a demand for more. Someone else can step up, and I can step back and be careful where to place my time and energy.

I managed to get through some email, and then, it was time to switch over the script coverage. I had trouble focusing, but managed to pull it together to turn around two coverages with the attention they deserved. I couldn’t do the third script justice, so I’ve pushed it off to today, which means I have to turn four scripts around today, and then I’m done until Tuesday.

But it was nearly 10 PM by the time I was done. And I was tired.

At least Charlotte was calmer last night, and we actually got some sleep. She slept curled up against my chest. As long as there’s sleep involved, I’m fine with it.

I tried to get in for an oil change appointment this morning, but they can’t see me until Monday. Fingers crossed all goes well for the storage run this weekend.

I’m going to get some writing in now, then I have to do a run to the post office and the liquor store, then switch over to script coverage. I have a gallery opening I promised to attend at 5 tonight. When I return, I’ll have to finish up whatever script coverages are still left.

So I’ll be awake as long as it takes today.

Have a good, long holiday weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

And don’t forget all those FREE episodes on Kindle Vella!

Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys

image couresy of Simon via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Mars in Gemini

Cloudy and humid

The weekend was rocky. Friday, I still had a migraine. I dreaded going out to do the necessary errands, but it was sunny and pleasant out, and people were so darned happy about it, that it was fun to do errands. All of us who live there know that the sunny, pleasant days are numbered, and pretty soon, we have to hunker down for the winter.

Although I have to admit, I’m kind of looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

I did more work on LEGERDEMAIN on Friday, finishing the episode ads, although I have to still work on some general ads. And I had to break up the folders for the episode ads and the general ads. I also did some work on the Legerdemain website. There’s still more to do, but I hope, by early September, I will have enough fun material on it to make it worthwhile to start promoting the link to the website.

Saturday morning, I went to the Farmers’ Market, which was a lot of fun. It wasn’t so hot and humid, which was a big help. I’d worn a dress – nothing fancy, just something simple and fun, and got a lot of compliments. Genuine compliments, not creepy ones. So that was a nice boost to the ego.

Forgot to photograph the produce when I came home. I immediately pulled out the slow cooker and did a slight adaptation of Moosewood’s ratatouille recipe so it would work in the slow cooker. And used the wonderful Carmen peppers instead of regular bell peppers, which made such a huge difference. That went simmering along for most of the day while I worked. We had some of it over couscous for dinner, and the rest made up six packets that I froze.

I did more work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. Because I want portions of it to read like the Chamber of Commerce put it up, there was a big section on public transportation and how to best get there, money, checkpoints, etc. It needs some massaging, but it’s fun.

I put up a bunch of the business-oriented ads, but did not write the information around them.

I really need to sit down with the sketchbook I bought for the project, my dad’s old Faber Castell pencils, and draw maps.

I worked on a new logo for the Coventina Circle Series. The graphic I’m using is too busy. I’m still not fully satisfied with the new logo, but it’s moving in the right direction.

I struggled with the horror story. The version that works, that sings, and makes sense on plot, character, and structure levels leans too far toward humor, which the editor very specifically stated he does not want for this anthology. The version without humor falls apart on plot and structure levels, although some of the character stuff works. So the version that works doesn’t fit the guidelines, and the version that fits the guidelines doesn’t work. The first would be rejected because it doesn’t fit the vision for the anthology; the second would be rightly rejected because it’s not good. I’m not saying that seeking praise; I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something doesn’t work/is bad. The version that fits the guidelines can’t be salvaged before deadline.

So I decided not to submit, because submitting either version wastes the editors’ time and is disrespectful. It kind of broke my heart, because I was so excited about the premise. But that’s the reality.

I’m putting away the more comic version. I think that has the potential to grow into a novella, which might eventually fit some other publisher’s guidelines. But right now, I will let it sit. There’s too much on deadline that needs my attention.

It still meant I was very depressed for the rest of the weekend.

I finished reading the Anita Loos biography. I always wished I lived around the beginning of the film industry, writing scenarios. I’ve always loved reading about it, and how writers used to move smoothly from coast to coast, and between prose, theatre, and film writing.

Sunday, I hit a wall. Or maybe the wall hit me. Not sure. I was exhausted (didn’t sleep well Saturday night). I was worried about a boundaries conversation I had to have with someone. Anyway, I made a late brunch of salmon Eggs Benedict, and spent most of the hot and humid da on the couch, reading Donna Andrews’ latest, ROUND UP THE USUAL PEACOCKS, which is a lot of fun.

The whole Mars in Gemini bit, with Mars being the planet for forceful momentum, and Gemini being quick-thinking and action, is hitting me hard. I have zero patience, and the urge to slap idiots upside the head is overwhelming. Seven months of this? Ick.

At least the migraine abated a little by Sunday.

Sunday night into Monday was rough, too. First, I was awakened by a cat in heat crying outside. All three of mine moved from window to window, worried. Finally fell back to sleep, and Charlotte woke me up a few hours later, because I had a nightmare. Took awhile to get to sleep after that.

But I woke up feeling better on Monday, and it turned out the boundary conversation was unnecessary, because the other party decided to respect the boundaries after all, so all is good. I have some ideas for the next couple of arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, one of the seeds which will be planted in the rewrite.

I’m considering putting all the Legerdemain stuff onto its own flash drive (in addition to backing it up on the external hard drive) instead of just having it on the general writing flash drive. I think the project needs its own. If I do wind up doing more serials (which wouldn’t happen until early next year, because I don’t want to undermine Legerdemain), maybe there would be room to put all of them on that drive. I’m thinking about revising ANGEL HUNT, finishing it, and putting it up as a finite serial, and then maybe revising EARTH BRIDE, and doing the same with that. It would be interesting to see how they stack up against each other. ANGEL HUNT started as a serial back when I wrote for KIC, and was unfinished when the company tanked. EARTH BRIDE was a Nano project way back in 2007 (I think) that wound up growing into a possible trilogy, but it might work as a serial, because it mixes science fiction and fantasy elements. But first, I want to get the first three major arcs of LEGERDEMAIN up and running, let them run, see if it’s worth continuing for several more arcs for the next year or so. Whenever I decide to finish it, I plan to leave it up for several months, up to a year, just to see how it does, and then I’ll decide if that’s it, or if it will have a life in a different format (after a multi-year break).

Readers who wait for an entire series to publish before they start reading are not my audience (and those readers are also why so many book series wind up dropped by their publishers, and no one gets to read the whole thing).

Worked on revisions for Legerdemain’s episodes 30 & 31. The new episode I need is between 31 & 32, and then the rest of the episodes to finish that arc get pushed back a number. I might break some of those last episodes into more than one episode, to keep the word count tight and the pacing strong. I got a few ideas for some general ads, and got to weave in some of what’s on the website into the episode, so each supports the other.

I ran into the landlord on the way out to do errands. The city inspector is coming around next week, and needs to come in and see our place before I have to take my mom to the doctor, which is not a problem. We’ll mop and vacuum Monday afternoon, and good to go. It was never a problem on Cape; it won’t be here, either. The place looks happy and comfortable. I will rearrange a few things between now and then, but it will all look good by the time he gets here, and it lights a fire under my butt to get it done.

Had to pick up more envelopes, staples for the stapler, some flash drives, a couple of small crochet hooks for the new yarn. It’s very delicate, so it needs a smaller hook than what I have here. Drove down to City Hall to drop off my mother’s ballot, and give them a little nudge because I still haven’t received mine. Picked up a couple of things at the grocery store, swung by the post office.

Home, and got the rest of the episode ads uploaded and scheduled through Episode 29, which takes me into November. I plan to revise, edit, proof, upload and schedule the last episodes for this major arc this week, and then get back to work on the next two arcs next week. There’s a character who died in this arc whose spirit is going to come back in the next couple of arcs, I think, and I’ve got a good idea of specifics I want in each of the two upcoming arcs.

I wrote a new episode, which I’m calling “31.5” in the first draft, but will eventually be Episode 32. It introduced a character who’s important to the murder arc, and sets him up for being central to the next big arc. I then did the multi-colored draft of the last batch of episodes in this arc, which are now ending with Episode 41. Actually, Episode 41 is a bridge episode winding up the last few details of this first large arc and launching the second arc. I’ve broken down episodes where I think it makes sense, structurally, to keep the pace and rhythm. I’ll work on those later this week, to get that whole arc finished and uploaded this week, which gets me through mid-December, as far as episode releases.

I read the next book for review, and need to discuss a few things with my editor before I submit the actual review. To say the book is problematic is an understatement. It was well over 400 pages of awful, and needs multiple content warnings. The content warnings section will be longer than the review itself.

But I was up until 2 AM with that atrocity, hoping at least the ending would make sense. But it doesn’t actually end. Just stops in the middle of a scene and promises a “next book.”

The cats got me up at 6 AM. While 6 hours of sleep is my sweet spot, 4 hours no longer works. However, I do not have the luxury of naps or taking the day off, so I just have to dig in and get things done.

I’d hoped to ease off the final two weeks of August and have some time to recharge, but that’s not happening. I still  hope to take the holiday, though.

Episode 9 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today!

Hope your week starts well and gets better.

Published in: on August 23, 2022 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys  
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Wed. July 6, 2022: Of Typing and Glitching

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Yesterday was interesting, and kind of all over the place.

I wrote the first draft of the one-act play. It’s not long, but it still takes a specific kind of energy, so my psyche kept saying, “You put in a full day, right? I mean, you wrote an entire play. That means we get to play the rest of the day, right?”

Sadly, no. There was work to be done. Bills to be mailed at the post office. Books dropped off/picked up at the library. Groceries gathered at the store. Managed to get all the errands done before the rain began.

I heard from one of my colleagues on the Monthology anthology, who is reading the stories to help the editor decide on the order. She said my story (“Stone Garden”) was so beautiful, she cried at the end, which is EXACTLY the response for which I hoped. So I did a little happy dance.

Worked on an application for a residency. If I got in, it would be a Big Fucking Deal. It would be impressive on the old CV. The likelihood I’ll get in is small, but if I don’t try, it’s zero. And the organization contacted me specifically during this grant cycle to ask me to apply.

So I did.

Only, while I was in the process of filling out the application, the computer decided to stick/wonk/crash. It was so frustrating. Fortunately, a writer pal and a pal from Freelance Chat jumped in with ideas. I am deeply grateful to both of them. Working with both sets of ideas got things up and running and working again. It seems HP (my laptop is an HP Pavilion) and Windows11 have a difference of opinion, and something Win11 does makes HP think it needs to eat up more memory than it does. There’s a patch from HP, I downloaded it, and it seems to help, but I have to keep an eye on what’s being gobbled in my Task Manager, and then probably do regular fixes. Because, you know, heaven forbid that the companies who charge us money actually give us working products.

But it worked, and I got the application out, and now I can forget about it until November, when they tell if me I got it, or if I didn’t. It’s a project I won’t get to do unless I get this residency, more because of studio space than anything else. So I’m putting the notes for it aside and not getting too attached until I hear back, one way or the other.

I’m having a big issue with LinkedIn, and they don’t give a damn about it. Over the past week, I’ve gotten some really creepy “let’s connect” messages. First, they come through LinkedIn, which is how they’re supposed to. Then, after I either decline or ignore the messages, I’m getting even creepier, aggressive emails on my personal email, which is not connected to any of my websites, and supposedly protected on LinkedIn. All of these emails are coming from older white dudes in red states. None of them are involved in any business that would even remotely hire me for writing work. None of them should have access to my personal email. And yet, LinkedIn has somehow allowed it. Their position is that that’s what I get for not having a premium subscription. I’m tempted to take my profile down, but the email’s been compromised, and I’m not changing my personal email. Plus, pitching to agencies often requires a  LinkedIn profile.  I’ve got too much connected to it, and I like it. If LinkedIn won’t do anything, and the harassment continues, I will file with the IC unit of the FBI. They’ve been helpful before. But the fact that LinkedIn both allowed this and doesn’t give a damn that its happening is deeply disturbing. I already give them side-eye a good portion of the time, because I don’t find them particularly useful, but now? In this climate of the war against women? It’s unacceptable.

Turned around two scripts. One was deeply misogynistic while pretending to be about strong women. (Eye roll). Was requested to cover a new script by a writer whose work I adore, so I’m happy about that.

Used up the rest of the fennel for dinner to make a scallop fennel pasta dish. It was really, really good. Red Shirt Farm, from whom I got the fennel, said they’ll have some more in a couple of weeks, and I cannot wait. Between the Moosewood Cookbook and Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, I will learn how to use fennel in great dishes.

I indulged myself. COOK’S ILLUSTRATED sent me a special offer for an amazing deal for a two-year subscription and a cookbook. I’ve been a fan of the magazine for years, but the cost was always out of my budget. I usually read it through the library. But with this special offer, it’s well within it, so I’m indulging.

The downstairs neighbors have split the garden patch in front. Two of the guys who live in the apartment under me are growing corn and watermelon (which is unusual, in the middle of the city, but hey, I’m growing pumpkins), and they are so excited about it. It’s so much fun to watch these big ole construction dudes tending their seedlings. All grown from saved seeds from stuff they got from a farmer for whom they did some work. The neighbor in the other apartment last year grew the most amazing tomatoes (which she’s growing again), and beans.  I have cucumbers and tomatoes and herbs. So we’ve got our own version of a community garden growing.

I felt the full gamut of aches and pains echoing last year, when I was giving the Cape house the final scrub down. By 10 PM, when I had collapsed into the hotel room after the shower (I stayed in my favorite hideaway, The Publick House, in Sturbridge, on the way home), I finally relaxed.

I woke up feeling much better. Maybe now that I’ve ridden this out, I can get beyond the sense memory stress and build on what’s going well in the present.

A lot to do this morning, especially on The Big Project and the Topic Workbooks. And then script coverage in the afternoon.

My friend’s show opens on Cape tonight. I hope it has a good run!

An offhand (but deeply meant) Tweet I made last night went viral and it’s a little weird. But whatever. Some good conversations emerging. Dickheads are blocked. Not muting. It annoys me when someone starts something and then mutes, rather than deals with it. It’ll be over by the end of the day.

Forgot to mention that the Mid-Year Check-In went up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’m doing better than I thought, which is cheering.

Have a good one.

Tues. Jan. 25, 2022: Woolf & Burns

image courtesy of blende12 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Virginia Woolf’s Birthday

Burns Night

Weekend was kind of all over the place. Friday, I concentrated on finishing up script coverages and reading the last three scripts in my queue for the week, which I wrote up on Saturday morning. By noon Friday, my brain was ready for the weekend, but that just wasn’t my reality this week.

On a more positive, creative side, I made notes for another short story, and characters are approaching, telling me how they fit into a phrase that I realized is a great title. WHEN I’ll get to write all of this, I don’t know, but I like that it’s percolating.

Worked steadily with the Mystic Mondays tarot all weekend, and love it more and more.

Received my next book for review. A call for submission for a reading series landed on my desk on Friday afternoon, with the deadline that day. Fortunately, I had a play ready that fit the guidelines, and sent it off. Either they’ll want it, or it doesn’t fit what they’re looking for. But neither of us will ever know if I don’t send it out.

Got a confirmation that my monster pick for the new shared world anthology went through, so I’m excited to find out the next steps.

Stayed up way too late on Friday, which made the cats happy, but I was a little tired on Saturday. However, I finished writing up script coverages.

I also went to run errands. The sidewalks are ice walks. There was no way I could walk to get groceries, using the rolly cart. Instead, I mailed bills at the post office, switched out some library books, got my mother’s prescription and refill card for her cell phone, and picked up wine. I ordered pizza from Ramunto’s for late lunch. It’s very different than the other pizzeria, and each is quite wonderful in its own way. I also managed to negotiate with the grocery store to deliver a few things I needed to get in before the next storm, although it was far more expensive than if I’d been able to hump the groceries over the ice. However, I’d rather pay a few extra bucks and not break any bones.

The Tamed Wild box arrived on Saturday, filled with delights, including a High Priestess tarot card necklace.

Tessa and Charlotte shared the sofa in the afternoon, without any blanket barriers between them, and without fussing. Progress.

Of course it meant that I had to curl up elsewhere to do my reading.

Sunday, the cats woke me up early. I did some tidying up and vacuuming, basic housework. The grocery delivery arrived a little before 11, so I could get the roast chicken into the oven on time. I made lemon mousse.

I alternated working on contest entries with reading library books, and got quite a bit done on both fronts.

The roast chicken was good, although there won’t be as many leftovers as I’d hoped. But still, enough to do a few things that I want to do. Made stock from the bones, which I will use up this week. Saturday and Sunday, I made vegetable stock. So we are stocked with stock, so to speak.

Monday morning, the cats woke me up too early. Charlotte and Tessa are now getting along well enough to work together in the mornings.

But I polished and sent out a short story for an anthology call (the deadline was the end of this week). It’s way out of my comfort zone and usual genres, but I wanted to give it a shot. So I did. Whatever happens, I learn something new.

I did two big chunks of The Big Project, one that was around 2K and another around 1400 words.

I also sent out a pitch to an anthology to which I was invited; there’s no guarantee I’ll be chosen as one of the authors, but it’s a shared world anthology, and I would absolutely love to participate.

That rather tired me out for the day.

I should have read scripts in the afternoon; instead I worked on contest entries.

The free Covid test 4 pack arrived. For some reason, all three cats went bonkers over it and tried to tear open the boxes. Not the outer box, but the actual test boxes. What is there in the kit that attracts the cats? We had to store them way up high in a cupboard they can’t get to.

I adapted a Moosewood recipe for a fish and vegetable soup, and made it into a stew instead, serving it over rice. It turned out well.

I actually set the alarm this morning, and was up before the cats. Dressed in layers, and humped the laundry down to the laundromat. There was only one other person there, and we kept about 20 feet apart, so fingers crossed. I had everything done and home just before 8 AM, as the snow was starting, and it’s intensified, so I timed it well.

I started outlining a project at the laundromat. I find that I outline when the laundry’s in the washers, and read when it’s drying. I started reading one of John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway rare book mysteries. I read the series several years ago, and I’m re-reading it now. I like it a lot. Books built around books and/or art heists are special favorites of mine. Love them, haven’t been able to write a good one yet.

If it clears up, as it’s supposed to, I’ll go to the library to drop off/pick up books. If it keeps snowing, I’ll just stay home and work.

There’s plenty on my plate today, across several different arenas, so I better get to it!

It’s also both Burns Night and Virginia Woolf’s birthday. I will celebrate both, and the kids tonight have a task of picking a passage from one or the other’s writing and bringing it in to share. That should be fun. I dislike haggis, so I’m making bangers and mash instead.

Have a good one. Let’s hope today is creative, too.

Tues. Jan. 11, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of Nicky Pe via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Bitterly cold

It is 1 degree F this morning.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step.

The weekend was kind of all over the place. Worked on coverages all the way through. Was honored to be requested by two writers (on two different scripts) to read revisions based on notes I gave them a few weeks ago.

Worked on packing decorations and figuring out where to put everything so we actually have living space for the year. I’m handwashing the holiday fabrics. Some of that is because I don’t want to put the glittery fabric in a commercial machine; also because there’s no way I’m humping it all down to the laundromat in this weather.

The library has cancelled all in-person programs for the month, which is a wise idea. There was a positive test at the co-op, and that staff member and two others who were in close contact are now in quarantine. I hope they are okay.

We’re having the weather we were warned about, so staying home is my only option (especially since the car doesn’t work). Snow and freezing rain all weekend, frigid temperatures today. I have a big stack of books to return to the library, but that will happen later this week. Since the virus numbers keep going up, and the entire country is back in “Die for Your Employer” mode, I’m happy to stay home.

Did some reading for pleasure, because I needed the break. Didn’t work on The Big Project until Monday, which threw off my rhythm for everything else. We’re eating leftovers, which is a good thing to clean out the fridge and not waste food, and because I just don’t have the energy to cook right now. Although I managed a chocolate mousse on Sunday, which was delicious.

Tessa is really angry at me for taking down the big tree that was in the doorway between the sewing room and the living room. She loved to glide under it to go from one room to the other, and also liked to sit under it.

As a joke, I put a small, 15” tree (that was on one of the bookcases) down in the same spot the big tree stood. Tessa glared at me like, “You think I’m stupid?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte walked around it, checking it from all angles, and then looked at me, puzzled, like, “I remember this being bigger last time I was here.”

Willa paid no attention, being her Willa self, and busy with other things.

The dog bed that was once Tessa’s and then became Willa’s is now Willa’s again. It is on top of my mom’s bed (instead of being on top of boxes near the window, where we thought Willa would like it), and she sleeps curled up in it during the day (and curled around my mom at night).

Saturday was sunny, but cold. I ran a few errands on foot, and then dug out the car, so that Friday’s snow wouldn’t freeze down when Sunday’s freezing rain hit. Definitely a good call, because Sunday was miserable. The plows were out all day, scraping down to pavement and then sanding, very conscientious, before Monday’s next snowstorm hit.

Sunday was nasty, freezing rain all day. I was glad to stay in, work on script coverages, and read. And keep working on packing up decorations. I’ve somehow misplaced two boxes – the decorations came OUT of them, so I don’t see how I could misplace them in this finite space.

After 10 years, I had the packing/unpacking down to a system, because of the way it fit into the Christmas Closet in the storage area over the garage. But I have to figure out how it works best here, so it’s a lot of geometry involved, finding out it doesn’t work, and starting over.

It snowed most of Monday. Again, the plows were conscientious about coming around to scrape down to pavement. Once the snow stopped, in the late afternoon, they put down a lot of sand, in preparation for today.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate. I did work up some notes on The Big Project, finding a way to integrate a new idea into the current outline, and giving it room to create another big arc (if I decide that’s what I want), or maybe even a spin-off.

I plowed through the email that had stacked up. Outlined some specialty blog posts. Spent some time on the acupressure mat. Worked on script coverage. Started on the print books in one of the categories I’m judging. I have to contact my book review editor; for some reason, I can’t find the links to upload the two reviews I just worked on. I also have to get back to the search for someone to fix the car today, so I can set that up for next week or so.

Made a black bean soup from the Moosewood recipe – very good, and easy. That recipe will become a staple recipe in my repertoire.

The Chewy order finally arrived; I felt sorry for the driver. The delay in delivery is not a problem at all – I’d rather the drivers stayed safe. The way Fed Ex lies about the delivery is not okay. Just tell me it’s delayed; don’t keep insisting it’s coming “today” as they did Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Target order – which is five small, but necessary items – is coming in three different boxes. And I’ll have to put in another order with Chewy this week for the cat litter (the one that arrived was for food – we’re good for the next nine weeks). The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with good stuff.

I’ve received so many oracle decks in the past few years, between Tamed Wild and Goddess Provisions, that I think, in spring, I’ll give away the ones with which I don’t connect strongly/don’t use. As I’m unpacking stuff and setting up the office/bookcases/ reading nooks, I will put aside the ones I want to give away, and then set it up in spring, when it’s easier to get to the post office.

Once I post here, I’m off to do some work on The Big Project, to try to get back on track with that. I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this point; however, I really like the quality of the writing. Then, I’ll write up the scoring sheets for the entries I read last night, and get back to the script coverage. I have to get a lot read this week if I want to make my nut this pay period (and I’m pretty sure I’ll fall short, but I’m so damn exhausted, and it’s not fair to the writers if I’m not in top form to write up the coverage).

I need to get back on track with THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, too, but that can happen this weekend. And I need to get some LOIs out.

Later this month, I need to get back to working on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, so they can start re-releasing. I was so thrilled with the new covers, and now I’m having second thoughts that they might be too busy, using photographs instead of line drawings. The original covers are too similar; these new covers are too different, and the tiny logo in the corner doesn’t really tie them together enough. I’ll have to mull that over. Although I’m not going to go for a re-design during a Venus retrograde because that’s simply not wise. But I can think about it and consider options and styles, and how I really want these workbooks to sit in the world. They are my steadiest sellers, so I want them to be both useful and easy on the eye.

Today is bitterly cold. It was supposed to snow all day, but it’s sunny right now. I’m just grateful the power is still on!

Charlotte woke me at 3:33 AM, wanting attention, and the minute Tessa heard her, Tessa started, in full voice. I grabbed the feather bed and moved to the couch, grumpy that I had to leave my cozy fleece sheets, but not wanting Tessa to wake the neighbors at that hour. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was 7 AM and more snow had fallen. Poor Willa got the short end of the stick this morning – no attention AND late breakfast. I had weird dreams on the couch – busy dreams, not stress dreams, at least. But I still felt like I’d already put in a full day by the time I woke up.

It’s supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, and cloudy, so the plan (so far) tomorrow late morning is to pack up as many of the library books as I can carry and return them, and pick up the books that have come in. I’ll probably go across the street to the college library in the next few days. I have some digging I need to do in their shelves. Best to do it before classes start up again next week.

I hope the virus numbers go down enough in spring and summer that I can work IN these two libraries a couple of times a week. The spaces are so terrific, I want to utilize them. But not now. Now, I’m isolating as much as possible.

Stay safe and healthy. May you have the energy you need to both get through the day and create.

Wed. Oct. 20, 2021: Thoughts on Nano, Inner Work, and Daily Life

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

image courtesy of Pexels.com

I wanted to share some NaNoWriMo Tips that have served me well in previous years, and I hope will do so this year:

Prep. Even if you don’t do a formal outline, make notes on the story. That way, when you rip the time out of your day to write, you can drop right into the book where you are and not have to wonder what you meant to do when you stopped the previous day. The work I prep always drafts more smoothly than the work I don’t. Plus, the prepped work needs fewer rounds of revision than the uncharted work, although anything I write in Nano needs much, much more revision that work written outside of it.

Set Daily Goals. To write 50K in 30 Days, you need to hit 1667 words EVERY day. For me to feel comfortable, I like to hit 2K/day; for me to feel really good about the work and leave room for the chaos of life, I try to hit 2.5K/day, especially early on. I know I need days off here and there; I like to have 50K by Thanksgiving. This year? I have no idea, since my writing rhythms have been totally thrown off between COVID and last year’s surgeries and job changes and moving. My reason for doing Nano this year is to both reclaim my writing rhythm and, hopefully, find an even better one, that will sustain me long after November is in my rear-view mirror.

Frontload and bank words. The rush of the start and that initial creative wave feel great. If you can go beyond your daily goal early on (or at any point), do so. That way, WHEN something comes up and you have to skip a day or a few days, you won’t fall behind.

Plan breaks. You’ll need to take a day here and there for a break. Or maybe you have family plans for the whole weekend of American Thanksgiving. Plan for that. Include in the planning, working AHEAD on word count, so that when you hit the day off, you already have that day’s words in the bank. It’s harder to catch up than to work ahead.

Know the Difference Between Asking for Encouragement and Being an Energy Vampire. We all hit hard days during the process, and often hit several of them in a row. Week 2 tends to be the rockiest, because the initial rush has worn off, and it’s down to showing up to do the work. It’s healthy to admit you’re struggling and ask for suggestions or encouragement. But don’t expect/demand people to hurt their own work in order to get you back on track with yours. Every year, there are people who try to make the entire experience about THEM, and, if they start to struggle, they try to derail everyone else around them.

Stick It Out, Even if You Don’t Hit 50K. Using Nano to get into the rhythm of daily writing, and also knowing how to PLAN breaks in that daily writing, will serve you well moving forward.

There are all kinds of tips and daily encouragements in my free book 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, available for download here.

I’m extremely disturbed to see how many right-wing and religious-based writing groups have taken over the discussion forums. You can’t tell me they’re working on systems of equality and inclusion, especially since most of the LGBTQ forums have locked down for protection. No thread should have to lock down for protection, if the community is actually run on respect and inclusion.

Now, on to my experience on the soul journey workshop I’m in this week.

I was a little worried, on Monday, that it was for newcomers to this type of work, people with less experience than I have. I was disturbed, in the day’s video, by the talk of one’s spiritual life and one’s mundane life being on parallel paths. It’s often true at the beginning, but isn’t part of the point of the work to integrate the two, so one lives one’s path?

I also reminded myself how important it is to go back to basics, and start with fresh eyes, as though it’s the first time, because there’s always something to learn.

I’ve been doing the work, and learning. Some of it is uncomfortable, but that’s okay, because it’s showing me where I’m stuck in patterns that hurt, and how I can break out of them to stumble along a path that heals.

Five days barely scratches the surface, but it’s giving me ideas on how to build this work into my schedule on a regular basis, and where to go from here. I want to keep doing the work, definitely through the Chiron retrograde, because that’s working with the natural energies rather than against them.

I keep hoping maybe January will give me a period of rest. I’m hoping I can adjust the work schedule without losing money, and that I can give myself a bit of a break on inner work and just rest/be for a few weeks.

Monday’s work was good; I decided that the Journey Tarot, which I received in the last Goddess Provisions box, was a good match for this work, and I was right. I did the work, and felt I got a lot out of it. The live chat was a little frustrating, because, as happened during the prep time, the people yelling excuses about not doing the work, and demanding validation for not doing the work are sucking all the energy out of the collective space. The people who are MAKING the time and DOING the work are getting lost in the noise. There’s no space for those of us doing the work to go deeper and safely share that experience with each other. The people not doing the work are trying to siphon off the collective raised group energy without contributing anything to it. That is something that rubs me the wrong way (to say the least). Everyone is on their own journey and has their challenges; but do NOT expect to be validated and steal the collective energy when you refuse to add anything to it.

I did some additional work during meditation Monday night and the Hermit card kept coming up. Which makes a lot of sense in the context.

Tuesday’s video was good, and so was the additional meditation/visualization. It was very helpful in figuring out a few things. During the live chat, I ignored the chat running down the side (with all the energy vampires), and focused on the group leaders and what they had to say. There was something that really resonated. In thinking about one’s “future self”, focus more on how you want your life to FEEL as you live it then, rather than what you DO. Which is a good point. We are groomed to always work for someone else’s profit. Usually receiving far less than our work is worth. If we visualize our future for the type of life we want to enjoy on an experiential level instead of assuming that if we just have a particular job or live in a particular house we’ll feel good – if we work on the emotional landscape we want, then we can create the physical portions that support it and make it possible.

There was also an emphasis on being “all in” – which translated to me as “do the work.” But, as I said, I ignored most of the chat stream, because there were still too many people on it making noisy excuses, and I’m not engaging with that.

Looking forward to seeing what today’s work is about.

This week is definitely a starting point, but it’s giving me useful tools and ideas of where I want to focus this type of work over the next few months.

Chop Wood, Carry Water, and all that Life Stuff

On the life level, I got some work done in the morning, then had to run errands. I’m telling you, the Post Office is the happening place around here. That’s where I go to keep up with local events. I had a stack of cards and letters to drop off (including another letter trying to get my mom’s insurance straightened out), and buy stamps.

Dropped off a bunch of books at the library (and didn’t get the notification that some of my holds were in until I got home. Oh, well).

Headed off to Wild Oats to stock up on a bunch of stuff, like coffee, wine, lentils, and eggs.

Picked up a few things at Stop & Shop that I needed, and probably snagged the last bag of frozen peas in the Berkshires. Those freezer cases are very bare.

Made red lentil soup for lunch (Moosewood Recipe, of course), which was pretty darn good.

Most of the afternoon was taken up with the soul journey class. When that was done, I attempted to pay the next six months’ worth of car insurance (instead of paying monthly). It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to put through an online payment. But it did. And it was wrong. So I had to contact them and get it sorted out. Which, supposedly, it is.

Grrr.

I’d gotten a great promotion for a Wine Advent Calendar and decided I wanted it. So I go to order it, get through the checkout, and then it says it “can’t” ship in my state. Even though the company is located in my state. Then why send the promotion? You know where I live. And hey, having worked for businesses who send out promotional emails, I know that it’s possible to set up email blasts with different parameters based on location, to focus promotions.

It was sloppy marketing and not using email platform functions well. Which pissed me off as a potential customer (this would have been my first purchase from them), and it is highly, highly unlikely I would do business with them in the future. Anytime I see their logo, I’m going to think, “The assholes who sent me a promotion in which I couldn’t actually participate” and move on to a different vendor.

That ate up the time I’d set aside to write up script coverages, which was frustrating. And I still had two scripts to read after dinner.

Got a question from a client, which I honestly answered, but I worried it would mean they no longer wanted to work with me. Instead, they told me the experience makes me more valuable to them. So why do I do this to myself, set myself up with unnecessary worry? Why do I always expect the worst? I need to stop that. Hopefully, this week’s class will give me tools so to do.

Did some percolating on CAST IRON MURDER, but very little was added to the outline. Will have to make up for that today.

Sent off my workshop proposal to the conference that invited me next summer. Decided to go to an outdoor writing event in Lenox over the upcoming weekend.

Reminded myself that the Hermit card cannot be denied, and I need to do all this slowly, slowly, being careful to marshal my energy.

Pork chops smothered in mushroom-tarragon gravy for dinner, with rice and red cabbage. It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was good, although, again, we had to put off the virtual tours of Venetian museums because of pressing classwork. But discussing ETHAN FROME, Nancy Drew, and the racism in the required reading considered “canon” was a pretty good way to spend time.

I gave myself permission not to read scripts last night, and just relax. Which would have restored me, except that Charlotte started bothering me at 3 AM, and by 3:43, Tessa was in full voice.

To the laundromat early, and got two loads washed, dried, folded. I change my days and times there, because I’m often the only one there, and I don’t want to set myself up for trouble. I never have my back to the doors/room. I’m hyper aware of anyone even walking past. Because as a woman, I have to worry about these things.

But while I was there, I worked more on the outline notes for CAST IRON MURDER. I created the other possible suspects, their backstories, and why they might have killed the murder victim. Some of those “whys” also make my protagonist an even more likely suspect.

So it was time well spent.

My downstairs neighbors decorated the front porch, and it is delightful! We are going to have so much fun in the coming weeks.

Lots to do today. Previous Me would have piled on the work, insisted on trying to attend the Sundance Collab, immediately flip over to Remote Chat, and then try to juggle Remote Chat while doing the live classwork.

And felt like a failure when it didn’t work.

Current Me doesn’t do the Collab on Wednesdays (just Mondays and Fridays, when I can). I will do the beginning of Remote Chat, and then give myself a few minutes break before joining my class.

This morning, though, I have to make a quick dash to the library to pick up my books. And get coverages/reading done that didn’t happen yesterday.

Onward. Somehow, it will all come together.

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.

Wed. Oct. 6, 2021: A Day of Cooking

image courtesy of Polina Tankilevitch via pexels.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

New Moon

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

Pluto goes DIRECT this afternoon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a very go-with-the-flow type of day.

As I mentioned in the post, I had three loads of laundry done at the laundromat before 8 AM, which sounds like a good start to the day.

After breakfast, I paid some bills. Then, we headed out, in the rain, to the post office to mail said bills, and then to the TD Bank in Williamstown to close our account. That bank is one of the few places around here that doesn’t require masks. The staff is masked, although our teller wore her mask under her nose. Yeah, glad to be done with them. Our accounts are now officially closed.

There are a couple of bookstores I want to go back and visit in Williamstown at some point.

Got our grocery shopping done at Wild Oats and Stop & Shop. The latter is definitely having supply chain issues, especially on big, national brands. Some empty shelves, and they’ve been out of certain products now for nearly a month. Very little of it is stuff I actually use; we’re still using up stuff I’d stockpiled during the pandemic, and replacing staples and some of the canned goods as we go, so that we’re always ahead of the game and have a full pantry. We did so last year during the pandemic, in case there was ever a real lockdown and we weren’t allowed out more than once a week; we kept stockpiling once we moved here, because we’ve heard winters are harsh and there will be times we can’t go anywhere.

I’m keeping an eye on things, and making sure we’re extra stocked with certain items, so that if there are problems, be it from supply chain issues or storms, we will be okay for a couple of months.

After we came home and put things away, we had to refold the sheets from the laundry. I’d done a lousy job at the laundromat.

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist who prayed a lot and asked for guidance wasn’t a very nice person (funny how that works, right?) and, frankly, was one of the characters who’s too stupid to live. So I won’t be reading any more in that series.

After lunch, I used up leftover sweet potatoes to make sweet potato soup (a Moosewood recipe). It’s pretty good, although when I heat it up for our lunches over the next few days, I think I will add a little more salt and pepper.

Found a “classic” radio station that was playing songs from the 80’s and 90’s, early in my career, when I had a lot of all nighters in various theatres or out and about, and the songs all hold lots of memories. So I danced around the kitchen while cooking, which was fun.

The soup took longer than I expected, and then I made a spiced apple cake (another Moosewood recipe). That turned out well, although I miss allspice in it. I like allspice in recipes with apples. It has cinnamon and cardamom. Next time I make this, I’m going to put in allspice, but I’m not sure if I will substitute it for the cardamom, or put it in addition to the cardamom.

That took longer than I expected, too, so it was after 5 before I got the chicken into the oven to roast (with potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots), and it was nearly 8 before we sat down to dinner. Late for us.

The cats were very confused.

While it was roasting, we had the Knowledge Unicorns session, which went well. The kids now being homeschooled have adjusted well, and are thriving. The kids who are doing remote learning through their regular schools are having a bit more of a struggle, mostly due to the pressure to go back in person. But we’re doing a lot of supplemental stuff to their various curriculums, as far as virtual museum tours and additional histories/readings and “at home” theatre performances online. They’re definitely learning more and more widely than if they were in-person.

But it also means I didn’t get any script coverages written up. I’m still fine with deadlines, as long as I stay on track today. I also didn’t read, so I have a lot of coverage to write up today, and a pile of scripts to read.

A group of characters arrived in my brain, in search of a plot. I made some notes, and we’ll see.

Although I’m not going into detail every post, I am steadily doing my first 1K of the day in longhand. Sometimes it’s a little more than 1K, sometimes a little less. But it’s happening. There’s just not much to say about it.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up around 3:30 this morning. I moved to the sewing room and dozed off until about 5, and then got up to feed them, at Tessa’s very loud insistence.

The plot around the characters who showed up yesterday is starting to take shape, so I took more notes.

I’m chained to the computer today, writing up script coverages and working on articles and blog posts and a book review. I plan to take time out for Remote Chat. With the new moon, I upped my daily yoga practice. I lost a lot of progress during the moving months, and I’m of an age where I have to work harder to get it back.

What I’d really like to do is take a nap! Maybe this afternoon, for a half hour or so. At least I have that flexibility.

Have a good one. Pluto goes direct this afternoon, so that eases some of the 7 Retrogrades pressure. We’ll be back down to six. (Eye roll).

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

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fri. Nov. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 177 — Yes, We Really Are Dying & Being Ignored

image courtesy of minorthreadsco via pixabay.com

Friday, November 13, 2020

New Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Mars DIRECT

Cloudy and cooler

Today is Friday the 13th, which is a day that usually makes me very happy, but this is 2020, so I’m not counting on anything.

Meditation yesterday was lovely. I’m so grateful to have found this group. We may be online, but it truly feels like community. We connect to the teacher and each other, not just to the teacher, the way the meditation group I used to participate in in-person did. The contrast is interesting. The meditation leader also teaches us Qi Gong, which I like. I’d never really paid much attention to it before, but I’m glad I found it now.

I finally got out a couple of pitches to a new-to-me publication. I may have sent them in too late to be of use, but we’ll see.

I found contact information for a company with which I’m interested in working, and I’m putting together an LOI for them. It’s a big deal, international thing, and it would be exciting to work for them.

Heard back from a couple of other LOIs that they’re going with people who are more traditionally-marketing-niched (and, I bet, younger). Which is fine. I’d rather hear back, even in the negative, then never hear back. Some of these companies I will keep in touch with as part of my quarterly postcard mailing; others I will let go and move on.

A good portion of the day – probably too much of it, if I’m honest – was spent putting together visuals for two different projects. It was a lot of using the snip tool, converting to jpg, marking each visual, putting it in the right folder, and also putting together a PowerPoint and then modifying it to PDF and saving in multiple locations so I can access it. I didn’t PowerPoint the second set of visuals yet.

I also played with paint visualization tools, looking for a place where I could upload a photo of a house and try different exterior colors. Most of them were very frustrating, and I couldn’t find one (for free, anyway) that allowed me to do the detailing of shutters and trim differently than the exteriors. Of all the tools I played with, I liked the Home Stratosphere Paint Visualizer the best.

For dinner, I made the Eggplant-Mushroom Marsala, although I substituted white wine for the marsala, and it was just fine. It’s a Moosewood recipe. I’m being encouraged to revive the food blog. I might, since people like reading/seeing about what I cook, and respond well to the photos on Instagram.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We didn’t meet on Tuesday, because everyone’s so burned out. But we met yesterday, and got back to our rhythm. We’re studying the turkey this month. Here’s an article from Live Science that we used.

The Sociopath continues to Sociopath and murder American citizens at an alarming rate by simply ignoring the pandemic and hoping it kills as many of us as possible. My main goal between now and January 20th is sheer survival. I have to add in other goals, like earning a living in there, but survival, in spite of the Sociopath and all the Covidiot dickheads around me, is key.

One day at a time, one project at a time, one moment at a time. Hopefully, my internal resources have strengthened the past few months to help me through.

The weekend is supposed to get cooler, and be rainy off and on. Doubt I’ll do much yard work. Plan to do some baking, and I have to do a run to the dump to get rid of garbage and recycling. If we’re going to have another shutdown, I want to get as much recycling out before it happens as possible.

See you on the other side of the weekend, and hope it’s good.

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On

image courtesy of Thomas B. via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

One calendar says today is new moon and Mars direct; another says it’s tomorrow. I will apologize for yesterday’s belief it’s today, and go with tomorrow, since it’s Friday the 13th anyway.

There’s a new post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden. The front lawn is a carpet of leaves. The lawn guy is coming soon; every time a neighbor turns on a leaf blower, I am more determined than ever not to rake. Although the dumbass running his leaf blower who woke me at 3:30 this morning, IN THE RAIN, angered me.

Yesterday was chaotic. I went in to my client’s. I knew she had a medical procedure the day before, so didn’t expect her in. Going through the emailsto see what needed to be done, I found out that the other colleague in the office has been in the hospital. I felt bad that I didn’t know and offer to help out. But if no one tells me anything, I can’t know.

Anyway, BOTH of them came in, so there were too many people in too small a space, but we caught up on everything (and were masked) and got everything handled.

I was glad to get out of there.

Stopped at CVS to get the prescription to prep for the next surgery, and, of course, it wasn’t there. I will check with the doctor’s office next week to see what’s going on, and if they decided to cancel the surgery due to surging virus cases, but haven’t told me yet. This happened last time, too. It took three calls from the doctor’s office before CVS could bother to fill the prescription.

We had 2495 new cases in the past 24 hours. More than we had in spring. But the mask mandate isn’t enforced, and nothing is shut down. Instead, people are encouraged to pack more into the daylight hours in too close quarters.

Tomorrow, I have to fight to keep my insurance next year. That should be fun. Not. That’s one reason I hope I can slide the surgery in this December; I might not have insurance next year, at least at the beginning of it.

Tried a new-to-me Ina Garten recipe that worked well last night. Have to make a dash to the liquor store for a bottle of marsala (and more wine) so I can make Eggplant-Mushroom Marsala (from Moosewood) tonight.

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving in two weeks.

The Sociopath is still sociopathing, and too many people pander to him. He needs to be charged with the murders of everyone dying from the virus he’s “bored” with.

Lots of writing needs to get done today, and I’m looking forward to this morning’s online Meditation.

I’m just trying to stay alive until January 20.

Published in: on November 12, 2020 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 176 — Hanging On  
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Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.