Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend, but first of all, hop on over to the Savvy Authors’ Blog and read my piece on “Character, not Caricature”.

I hope you sign up for the deconstruction workshop on Stephanie Plum in January, the One Story, Many Voices workshop in January, and then, from mid-April to Mid-May, the Setting as Character Workshop. The latter two have limited enrollment, because of the intensity of assignments. The Plum workshop can fit in as many as want to take it.

The weekend — Saturday was busy. The breakfast at the National Marine Life Center was a lot of fun, I met a lot of great people, and the progress they’ve made in the past real is truly wonderful! They’re doing an amazing job, and once the center is complete and fully functional, it will make a huge positive difference in marine wildlife around here. They’re up for a $250,000 Pepsi Challenge grant, so if you could vote for them as often as possible (you can only vote once a day, but you can vote every day in the calendar month), it would help them get the grant and hook up the next part of the facility.

Came back, did some unpacking in the afternoon. It seems no matter how much I unpack, there’s no change, and it gets discouraging.

Decided, on Friday night, that I didn’t like where my bed was situated, behind the door. I started to feel claustrophobic. However, my head is in the North, (northeast, actually) which is the best way for me to sleep. But I moved it to the opposite site of the room, so my head is northwest now. The cats like it better, the room feels overall better, but I didn’t sleep well on Friday night into Saturday at all.

Read the papers Sunday morning, then planned to spend a couple of hours working on my room, which turned out to be the bulk of the day. Of course, a lot of it was spent rearranging the closets, so you can’t really see much impact on the room itself. However, I couldn’t unpack boxes in my room until I took out and unpacked the boxes in my closet which didn’t belong in the closet, but were stashed in there because I was afraid they’d go astray during the moving process.

Also managed to get a few loads of laundry done.

Got dressed up, went to the neighbor’s open house across the street. The little Westie no longer lives there — had to go to another home because of separation anxiety, poor thing! The Scottie is still there, and very cute. Met a bunch of the neighbors, who are all very nice, and each has their own unique qualities. They seemed relieved when I said we planned to be here for at least two years — I wonder if other renters moved in and out quickly? Anyway, I met the two women who live in the house on the corner, with the absolutely amazing yard, and they are happy to give me advice come summer. They also recommended a vet, and there’s a no-kill shelter close by they work with, and I may get my next cat there instead of the other shelter. We’ll see — it’ll be at least mid-January, to give these two a chance to settle in more, and for me to put away the decorations. New cat + many decorations is just an accident waiting to happen.

There’s a serial arsonist on the loose in the area. He (assuming it’s male) seems to be targeting people he thinks are rich, so we should be okay. This house is really cute, sweet, and loved, but it’s hardly a McMansion or in the throes of a multi-million dollar renovation. Still, it’s disturbing — a house in Sandwich was torched, a house in Barnstable was torched, and, last night, a lovely historic inn in Yarmouth that just went under renovation. I’ll have to be vigilant and set up some extra protections.

There’s an enormous black something sitting on the shed at the far end of the yard across the street. It’s much too big to be a cat (unless it’s like, a panther, and I doubt there’s be a panther sitting on someone’s shed washing its face), so I’m assuming it’s yet another Very Large Dog. It’s too far for me to see, but whatever it is, it’s calm and feels it’s on its home turf.

No one knows who owns Imp-dog. I told them my sense is he sneaks out without his owner’s knowledge. I’m hoping I can get close enough, eventually, to read his tags.

They told me, however, who’s most likely to be tossing the beer cans on the lawn. It seems there are some renters around the corner who think, because they’re renting, it doesn’t matter what they do in the neighborhood. They give renters a bad name.

Bad storm last night, but I slept better anyway, and the basement remains dry, so that’s good. The house definitely passed the “squishy test.”

Weird dreams last night (head in the West), but they might turn into an interesting story.

I want to spend some time on the page before I go back to the Search for an Ethical Insurance Broker so I can get these plates switched out and be in compliance with the law. In addition to just being angry at Allstate for not knowing the regulations in the state and not caring to find out, I have no confidence that, if, heaven forbid, anything happened, they would make good on the policy. Yes, they have in the past, but we had an individual dealing with it, not an outsourced 800 number where the person on the other end has no reason to care. (An Allstate commercial came on last night when we were watching TV and we started yelling at it).

Had a lovely conversation with someone for whom I worked who booked me for a week in February and another week in May. That will be fun. There will be some organization necessary on the cat front here, but we’ll figure it out, and it’s one of my favorite gigs, so I’m happy they still want me.

Also got a call from the family in Maine –we’re going to nip up for the big Christmas Day dinner. We’ve never been able to spend Christmas with them, because of distance and I was usually working on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both, depending upon the show schedule. We do our big celebration on Christmas Eve anyway, and then just stockings on Christmas Day morning. We’ll nip up for the meal and come back the same day.

And the neighbors are all good about keeping an eye on each other’s houses without getting into each other’s business, so we just tell each other our schedules and keep an eye out. A utility truck and a jumpsuit do not credentials make! Not in this neighborhood! 😉

Watched Carrie Fisher’s WISHFUL DRINKING on HBO last night. It’s well done, very well done, in fact, but more bitter than I expected.

Off I go. Maybe I can get some of the kitchen boxes in the garage unpacked today, so that I have everything I need for the party. And I have to finish writing cards and packing gifts. I kind of got stuck mid-N.

Devon

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Violet uses the chair to pretend she’s a professional log roller

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, rainy, cold

Wrote in the morning, in spite of Violet now insisting that she must sit in my lap while I type. She’s small, but it’s still like trying to reach around a meatloaf.

Spent most of the morning raking and tidying up the front and side yards. They look pretty darned good, if I say so myself, and even some of the neighbors stopped to compliment me on the hard work! One has a landscape business and I don’t think he understands that I WANT to do this — what’s the point of having a yard if you simply hire someone else to do it all the time, like they do in Westchester? It’s interesting — on this street, most of us have much larger yards than the clients I worked for in CT — yet here, most people do their own yard work (and then hire someone to come in and haul it away or do the last-minute tidying that makes more sense by machine. Everyone here works (except for my retired neighbor, but he’s always very busy — his wife is already on the 14th batch of holiday cookies in her baking cycle!) and has busy lives, and it all gets done somehow. Back in Westchester, everyone just spun around and complained how busy and stressed they were and nothing ever got done on time, there were always excuses, so they kept hiring in people to do it. People actually DO a lot more here, and a lot more gets done — there’s simply less drama about it. Plus, there’s not that sense of entitlement and resentment and feeling like one doesn’t have enough because someone else has more. I think the difference is that here, people actually do stuff — they’re not concerned with what I called “faux busy-ness”, where one’s schedule is crammed with meaningless crap. There’s work, the stuff that has to get done to maintain one’s home and family, and there’s fun stuff. And somehow, it all seems to flow together without much angst. I greatly prefer it.

In the afternoon, we drove up to check out Barnstable Village — very cute. Stopped at Nirvana Coffee, which was nice (can you tell I’m looking for a new coffee hangout spot?), walked around, met a really nice (and cute) guy with his newly rescued husky, who thought coffee was something she really ought to try.

Drove back and saw that one of the houses I’ve admired for about ten years is on the market, so stopped and picked up a flyer. It’s out of my budget at the moment, unfortunately, and right on 6A, which is a little too busy for me. But it was built in 1700 and modernized, and has a large main house, a guest cottage, and a fully electrified post-and-beam barn that used to be an antique shop. The grounds are gorgeous. It even has a library! And five working fireplaces. The only drawback (other than the fact that I don’t have the cash sitting around to buy it) is that it is on that main road. It’s busy now, and, in summer, will just be hateful. And since so many of the summer people have no respect for anyone’s property and just park wherever they want and wander over people’s yards and litter, etc. — I’d probably hurt someone.

But that’s another cool thing about living around here — since I’m planning to rent for a few years, I can watch the houses I really like and see if they go up for sale. If the right house becomes available at the right time . . .

I love this house, and I want to stay for a few years, but the simple truth is that, when I buy, I need to go bigger. I always joked about that 13 room Victorian — yeah, that’s about the size I need for myself, my books, and the animals.

Anyway, hit a gift shop I’ve been meaning to check out for awhile, found some great Yule gifts, but didn’t like the vibe of the owner at all, so I won’t be back. Drove home a different way, learning the neighborhood, through lots of horse paddocks and conservation land, which I’ll have to check out as soon as it’s warm enough. Approached my street from a different direction and nearly missed it, because it’s harder to recognize.

Started the assignment for Confidential Job #1 — interesting, but again, I’ve had a whole set of very similar assignments in a row from that job, and they’re starting to lump together.

Some books arrived from Strand, although the pie book was sold out. But I got Alan Bennett’s UNTOLD STORIES he’s one of my favorite playwrights) and Nicholas Basbanes’s EVERY BOOK ITS READER. I started the Bennett book. It’s wonderful, but I expected no less.

I’m still playing with the character who arrived the other day, and still don’t quite know what to do with her. I’d like to try a short story and see if we get along, before I make a novel-length commitment. Have another idea I’m playing with this morning.

The workshop is humming along nicely. I have to finish up a couple of blog posts today and get them off. I’m hoping I can sneak in a bit of time raking the flat back before the rains start, but it looks a little sketchy right now. I might just have to leave it and hope it dries out this weekend so I can take care of it.

Comcast totally sucks, as expected — trouble with the TV, the internet, the phone, impossible to reach a customer service rep either via “live chat” (right, live, that’s why no one shows up) or on the phone. So much for 24 hour support! Really not happy they are my only option on the Cape.

The big event today is to start putting up the tree — my Very Big Old Tree — we’ll see how that works.

I can’t believe it’s December already! Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate — I really need to get my act together and start getting those cards out!

There’s going to be a full moon on the Winter Solstice — how lovely!

Devon

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Just a quick check-in. We are at the apartment to pack some more, finish packing up storage, and do last-minute stuff.

Packing the car yesterday morning was a challenge, but we got a lot in and had a smooth ride up to the house. Unloaded, ran some errands, which included getting a new safety deposit box. The bank down the street doesn’t have a vault, so we had to go one town over, but they are very nice, we got a bigger box, and we’ll share it. It’s in TD Bank, my mom’s bank — I’m starting to think I made a mistake going to Citizen’s Bank — so far, I’m not happy with their service and hoop jumping. Well, if I hate them in a few months, I’ll switch banks. In MA, you can actually do without signing away your first born and making a deal with the Devil, like you have to in order to get an account in NY.

Stopped at the 1875 (76?) Country Store on the way back to town, on Lori’s recommendation. Lori, it’s still cute as a button with some amazing stuff in it. I’m definitely going back to do some of my holiday shopping there. As it was, I bought a stone bracelet designed by a local artist. No, I didn’t need it; but it was lovely and one-of-a-kind, so I bought it! Turns out the woman behind the counter used to create haute couture for rock star girlfriends in NY, and we shopped at all the same fabric places in the garment district — most of which are gone now. She’s getting the backstage bug, so I said she should try hiring in as a stitcher at a theatre she likes — they always need stitchers on staff. If she hates it, she never has to do it again; if she likes it, she can take it from there. Anyway, another NY theatre person to hang out with — I can’t believe how many I’ve found. Seeds of my own company (obliterate that thought). But it’s interesting how we’re all finding each other.

Drove to Hyannis to do some errands (including stocking up on cat food in the house), then stopped at Cooke’s for lunch — buttered scrod, very good. There are fish often-used on the Cape that I need to learn how to cook. It’s not like scrod is all that exotic — I simply don’t use it much here.

Back to the house — raked for a couple of hours. Got most of the front done. Met the neighbors on both sides — very nice, very helpful, said if we ever needed anything, to let them know. The dogs across the street watched and barked. There was some sort of Major Yard Work going on at the green house on the corner with the amazing yard — it better not be empty, because I wanted to be friends with them! Waved at another neighbor and big dog who drove by. Saw one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles — I think he’s a mastiff. Elsa would have been delighted. He was very confused and stopped in mid-bark when I told him what a handsome boy he was!

The yard turns out to be about double the size I thought it was — makes the raking and fall prep work a bit more of a challenge. By the time I’m done, I figure 60-70 of those 30-gallon leaf bags. I’m up for it — I just have to do it in increments, and get a smaller tool to get in around the bushes. Turns out there’s a wagon wheel at the side of the house, so that’s where I’ll grow morning glories and moonflowers in the spring, let them vine right up it. And the vegetable bed is on my property, so I’ll have to decide what to plant there. The tomato/basil containers will be on the deck, as will the rosemary and most herbs, so I think I’ll grow lettuce, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and maybe eggplants and peppers. I’ll do flowers in containers.

I don’t have quite the feel of the yard yet, but I’m sure as I work in it the coming weeks, I will. 10 bags of leaves just for the front of the house!

Chatted with the mailman, too. Such fun to get mail in a mail slot in the front door!

Read the papers, put up signs to tell the movers where to put stuff, just sort of hung out. To bed early again.

Up later than usual — it was nearly 6 AM, imagine that! I’ve been waking up at 4 the past month. Yoga, meditation, putting the last few things together to bring back to NY and making sure the house is prepped.

Drive up wasn’t much fun — too much traffic, especially around Providence. Cats were happy to see us, landlords are being asshats (and this is new and different/). Only one neighbor has responded to my leaving announcement, my next-door neighbor, who was very supportive and gracious.

Headed to storage to pack up the last few stray items there, then I will stay up tonight packing as long as I can stand upright. Lara, thanks for the Aleve tip — I forgot I had it. Found four capsules — I’ll take two Thursday and save two for Friday. Advil and Excedrin Extra Strength aren’t cutting it any more, and I can’t function (much less drive) if I take the Canadian pain pills, so I haven’t. Reconfirmed with the movers.

Still have heard NOTHING from Sleepy’s. So — I’ll have a frame and a mattress on Friday, but no boxspring. I’m tempted to cancel the order, but I bet you they wouldn’t give me my money back. Definitely not doing business with them again, and will write to their CEO to let them know exactly why. I’ve bought plenty of beds in my time, and I have NEVER had this much unnecessary hassle. “Mattress professionals”? I think not!

I get to watch my guilty pleasure NCIS LA and get my Eric Christian Olsen fix tonight, but miss the premiere of the new HUMAN TARGET season tomorrow, so no Jackie Earle Haley fix until after I move. Somehow, I think I’ll survive. Honestly, I haven’t missed being without television most of the time. HUMAN TARGET has a new showrunner and has been extensively re-tooled. From the promos, I’m really on the fence about it, but I’ll give it a chance.

I can’t wait to get back into a regular writing routine. The stories and characters are getting impatient and want attention. I’m sure part of it is that the Nano energy is so strong, with so many people writing, but also — I need the daily writing sessions in order to successfully function.

And soon I’ll have them — in my very own brightly lit, comfortable writing room.

Two days until the big move.

Two.

Devon