Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch

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Thursday, December 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I’m in the process of winding up year-end work with various clients. Some of it are permanent wraps on projects that are done, and I’ll be replacing them with new projects/clients in the coming weeks. Some are just getting things cleared up as much as possible before this holiday, and then I’ll be doing some work in between and then we start again in January.

By next year at this time, I want to arrange my life so I can completely take off from Solstice until right after the New Year. I need that time and space on multiple levels.

Got the exterior decorations up outside, including fixing some of the light strands. One is beyond help, but I had enough without it. Another, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a few things. The old white men were giving me sage, negative advice on what I “couldn’t” do, because, after all, I’m just a little woman, and couldn’t possibly know anything about electricity.

Honey, I started my career in lighting for rock ‘n roll. I can do things with a splicer, electrical tape, and pliers that you can only dream of.

Anyway, I got most of the lights working again. One set needs a bit more attention, but I was losing the light, and I need to be able to see.

Today, I’m running around finishing the cookie platter deliveries (even over the bridge). I did a big grocery shop, so I have the food for the Solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. I’ll deal with the New Year’s meals next week.

I’m playing tomorrow by ear, because of the weather. We’re supposed to get a big storm (rain, not snow). I’m supposed to take in the car and do a few other things (like get in some more liquor), but I might hunker down, celebrate Solstice, and then get the car in over the weekend. I also have a few more stocking stuffers to get, but for the most part, I’m in decent shape. I have to wrap. Which means I also need more tape.

Next year, I’m going to buy fabric and either silk or velvet ribbon, use pinking shears to cut, and wrap everything in fabric.

I will sweep the fireplace and lay the fire for tomorrow night today, though. I want to make sure all I have to do when it goes dark is strike the match, and then it starts.

I have writing and cooking and reading and some friends coming in for the weekend and holiday, so we’ll be brainstorming the next three plays I plan to work on. I’ll need to hit the ground running on them after the first of the year – with at least three books on the roster for next year (more, if something that’s written is picked up and needs editing), and some travel and appearances and other life stuff, I’ll have to plan my time carefully to write three plays along with everything else.

But they’re good ideas, and they won’t leave me alone until I fulfill them. I just have to fix a few structural things in the rest of my life so to do.

Have a lovely holiday, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on December 20, 2018 at 11:33 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch  
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Mon. Dec. 3, 2018: The Infamous Cookie Platters #Upbeatauthors

Monday, December 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

#upbeatauthors — Thriftiness — The Infamous Cookie Platters

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Some people look at thriftiness as being cheap, or not valuing the person on the receiving end of that thrift. Far too many people believe that the value of a relationship can be measured by the financial value of gifts exchanged.

I disagree. I would rather receive a gift given from the heart with some thought to it of a lesser monetary value, but a greater “heart value” than something expensive.

As a freelancer with a budget, I have to be careful with my holiday budget. Well, with any budget, but the holidays always put a special stress on it.

I’m a big holiday card person. I believe in writing and mailing cards. I don’t do a typed letter that I print out and stuff in; I handwrite notes on each cards. I’ve had years, when I worked on numerous shows in numerous locations, where I wrote and mailed nearly 500 cards; in the last few years, it’s closer to 75.

I love receiving cards, too. Our family tradition is to hang red velveteen ribbons around the doorways and windows in our house. (To be thrifty, I buy the ribbons on sale in bulk at an art supply store when they’re on sale, cut them to fit, take them down and wind them on marked spools for “doors” and “windows” so I can re-use them for years). We then fasten the cards we receive to the ribbons around the doorways. It’s lovely to look up from wherever we sit and have a reminder of friends and loved ones.

But what I’m known for, around the holidays, are my cookie platters. Every season, I bake about 1000 cookies and several dozen small cakes or cupcakes, and put them together in large platters that I deliver to neighbors, clients, the firehouse, the library, the guys at the transfer station, the yoga studio, postal workers, etc., etc.

This is actually a thrifty way to show these individuals that they matter to me (handmade, baked from scratch goodies) while not breaking the bank.

How do I do it?

I’m organized.

I decide, over the summer, which cookies I’ll make. There are either four or five varieties, and they have to be the kind that don’t go bad after three days (although, to be fair, once the platters are delivered, they are devoured pretty quickly).

Thanksgiving weekend, I sit down with the recipes, paper and pen, and make a list. How many platters do I need? It’s usually between 18-24. How many batches of each type of cookie does that need? Instead of doubling or tripling the recipes themselves, I make batches — the quality is better.

I sit down with the recipes and figure out how much of each ingredient I need. I usually start stock piling staples in autumn, and purchase the eggs, milk, butter, etc., as I need it. I start stockpiling parchment paper and wax paper in autumn, too.

I set aside several days, and bake one type of cookie each day, starting with the cookie that keeps best. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a variety of excellent tins in which to store the cookies; they are cleaned and sterilized at the end of each season, and then, again, before I start baking.

Before I start each batch, I check to make sure I have all the ingredients I need. If not, I run out to the store and get them. There were too many years where I ran out of something in the middle of the recipe and had to run out, leaving partial batter in a bowl!

The last thing I make are the small cakes or cupcakes. I make them either the night before delivery, or the day of delivery.

Everything is baked, stored, marked.

Now, I create the assembly line for the platters. I usually prep 3 platters at a time, using the oval Chinet-thickness platters. I put the cakes in the middle, and arrange the different types of cookies around them.

Then, I slide the platter into a large cookie bag (or I use cellophane, the type used for florists and gift baskets). I’m in the process of designing a more eco-friendly type of bag with my own designs on it, but haven’t yet perfected it. I close it with a twist tie, then add a gift tag with a thin ribbon. The gift tag either lists the cookies, or I have a cheat sheet with photos of each type of cookie that I include. I don’t use nuts in any of the cookies I give as gifts, and I make sure to say so. Once the tag is fastened, I use a yard of organza ribbon in either red or green to tie a large, flowing bow, and add a candy cane to the bow.

I plot my route for deliveries. I usually do two or three sets of deliveries. I walk the platters over to the neighbors. My favorite thing to do is to leave it at the door, so they find a treat when they come home; however, I’ve lived here long enough that they start watching for me, so they can invite me in!

I do my deliveries, and I’m done! Time for eggnog, with a good dose of rum in it. Except for the postal carriers who come to the house. We’re a weird little set of streets, and different carriers hit us on different days. So I make small packets, tucked into holiday-themed Chinese-food style containers, and give them out from the Solstice through New Year’s, whenever we have a different one.

I make sure to have enough cookies left over in case we need to put together another platter, or we are invited to a party and bring something, and so we can enjoy some ourselves! In other words, I usually make at least one batch more than I believe I’ll need.

By October, people start asking if I’m doing the cookie platters again this year, and what will be in them. I keep several of the old favorites, like tollhouse and molasses spice, but change up the other types.

By keeping my eyes open for sales on ribbon, platters, paper, etc., all year, and then stockpiling as certain items that hold freshness go on sale, I can create the platters on a budget, and still let the recipients know they are valued.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 6:56 am  Comments (1)  
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was one of those things where everything goes whacky, and, at a certain point, you just have to acknowledge it and go with it.

It started with promise — I felt more upbeat than I have lately. I got a lot done early, I ran errands (pet store, Michael’s to get a tote and an apron for pottery class, put gas in the car, picked up groceries for lunch, etc.). There’s a sidewalk sale, and some of the sports stores are involved. I’m looking for an armband or a wrist band where I can put my phone and my keys when I run. I cant’ stand the fanny packs — I think all those years of wearing either a pack or an apron backstage make me overly sensitive to anything around my waist at this point, and even the special running ones hurt my back. Anyway, I looked at these bands, and they’re black and clunky. I want something light and pretty. I was going through some of my old fitness magazines from last year — SHAPE, FITNESS, SELF — I saw a few sites mentioned. so I’ll check them out. This gear’s not cheap, so I want to buy something I really like that also gets the job done.

The afternoon was supposed to be about putting in the air conditioner. I’ve put it in many, many times over the years in this place — but not with the new windows. I never put it in last summer. Well, the new window bottom sill tilts downwards, which means the weight of the device would carry down three stories onto someone’s head, not to mention the fact that, if it’s crashed to the ground, it’s not doing its job in the window. I couldn’t figure out how to get it in — no matter what I tried to prop on the outer sill, nothing worked. I felt like an idiot.

I finally called the super. He and one of the maintenance guys came up and screwed it into the window frame. It should hold, for at least the summer.

Elsa was feeling well enough to be underfoot, which is a good sign, but really, it wasn’t time to make new friends! The twins vanished and hid.

It’s not that big a deal to call the super for help putting in an air conditioner, but, as I said, I felt like an idiot for not being able to do it myself. It’s not that complex — although, with these new windows, it’s harder than before and required tools of a sturdier grade than I’ve got. But it made me feel incompetent, and I don’t like that feeling.

But it’s in, it’s working, and it gave me the chance to sort through some boxes of stuff that accumulated around that corner of the room. Tossed a lot, filed and put away some, put a bag together for the donation box, and have another carload of stuff to take to storage.

But it wasn’t a very creative day, which was a disappointment.

Cooked a turkey piccata with rosemary rice for dinner — yummy. I’d craved roast beef at lunch (I hardly ever eat red meat anymore because I feel better when I don’t). But I got some roast beef, which means Elsa got some, too, and she loved it. I’m starting to think she should get specially prepared chicken, meat, and fish rather than prepared cat food. They’re off the Trader Joe’s brand for some reason, so I’m trying out different brands that are both organic and with low ash content. So there’s another adventure. I have to keep notes about who will eat what, and then figure out which brands all three like. They like variety — some cats will eat the same thing every day, but not mine. And they don’t give in if that’s the only thing on offer — they will refuse to eat for days, and then forage in the cupboards and among the plants.

But Elsa does seem a little better. I’m hoping it’s not just temporary progress, but that we’re really getting this under control. The licorice root helps with the mucus, and switching off the B complex vitamins with the olive leaf extract seems to be working. Once we’ve got the mucus under control, the vet wants to start a new low-dose medication on her that he believes will knock the infection out of her system once and for all without horrible side effects, and then we can use diet and supplements to make sure it doesn’t come back. Long road ahead, but hopefully, we’re moving forward.

I’m getting excited about my trip to Philly in July — will see some good friends, get in a lot of writing, and hopefully get some good research done, too.

Today, I’m going to do some revision work here, and maybe do some of it next door, while I’m hanging out with my neighbor’s cat for awhile. I never just go in and feed him — I always try to spend an hour or two with him, so he’s not too lonely.

Devon

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 6:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy, hot, muggy

Up early, out for my run. Creepy newspaper delivery guy changed his route and was following me again. Not happy. At least on this new loop of the route, there are plenty of people walking down to the train station. Although it makes it more difficult to run upstream through them, at least it’s not quite as isolated. And the attitude of some — I know my neighborhood’s streets aren’t wide as the boulevards of Paris, but there’s plenty of room for two people to pass in opposite directions, so get out of the middle of the sidewalk! I’m not running into the street to get crushed by the street sweeper. Oh, and by the way, I worked in wardrobe for a really long time — I know where you bought your suit and how much you paid for it by the way it drapes. I know who has a full-price Hugo Boss, who found an irregular at Marshall’s, and who’s shopping at Men’s Wearhouse. So cut the attitude!

Scumbag landlords are at it again: third consecutive week where they turn off the hot water at 9 AM and don’t turn it on until 5:30 on non-holiday weekdays because “everyone” works from 9-5, and if you don’t, they want you out.

Not happy with the work I did for Confidential Job #2, so will rework it today and send it off — today’s the due date. Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS. Had some discussion with the group in Austin — they are excited to see the pieces. Four skits are percolating, and I hope to write them this week, polish them over the weekend, and get them out Sunday night in time for their meeting next week. Working on my Stanley Cup article. Prepping for Belmont. Have not been paying attention to the America’s Cup this year at all. Turned down 17 different invitations for stuff this weekend — seems everything is happening this weekend — and I’m booked between the horse racing and the ice hockey! And the Tony Awards are any minute, too, and I haven’t even been paying attention (once I knew none of my friends were individually nominated). Need to schedule a service appointment for my car — hopefully tomorrow — maybe I’ll work on the skits while I wait for it. Sorting out a few days’ worth of events for August — I think I’ll be able to do my usual volunteer work prepping for the gala in Saratoga, then head over to North Adams for an event at MassMoca, and down to Lenox for something else all within the course of 2-3 days, provided my mom’s free to take care of Elsa. Got out a few queries. Have to finish up some documentation for the Illinois Attorney General, who’s taking care of a nasty matter for me.

I don’t particularly feel focused or responsible or reliable, but I have to be, so, oh well. There’s a lot that has to get done, it has to get done within a very specific time frame, and I’m the one who has to do it. So I better get to it.

Still waiting to hear back from the vet. The cats decided they no longer like the food from Trader Joe’s, so I went up to Pet Smart yesterday to buy a variety of organic types to see which ones they like, and then I’ll stock up. My cats are feline gourmands — if you try to put down the same thing in the dish every day, they tip it over and wipe it all over the floor. The “experts” say changing a cat’s food upsets them, but mine DEMAND it.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 2, 2010 at 5:26 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

I didn’t blog yesterday. Oh, well. I only had the computer on for a few minutes in the evening to shoot out a client project. Since I’m working out of town tomorrow and Wednesday, I wanted to make sure everything was off my desk before I left.

Of course, more came in last night, but that has to wait until Thursday or Friday. I am fully booked today.

Most of yesterday was spent in the car, dashing around. We went to Target, in search of more bins. They’re sold out of the ones I like, but I got one of the faux leather totes to stick in the corner by my desk for important stuff, and a few small, flat bins for small items that will fit under the bookcase. The cats are not amused — they consider the tote their new cat lounging area, and the newly cleaned up area under the bookcase a hidey-hole. They keep pushing/pulling the bins out. I wanted to get some fabric bins to set in a row in front of the bookcase, with different projects in different bins. That way, everything is all together, and when I’m done with a project and it goes to press, I can file the bin and use it for something new. But everything Target had was fuschia, and that’s not really me. The faux leather milk crate-types are okay, but too expensive. I’m also worried that any of these bins aren’t sturdy enough to hold the amount of research books I use for different projects. The plastic crates are sturdy enough, but, design-wise, don’t look good. The steel mesh crates are great, but only for files, not for books. I can’t just keep stacking stuff all over the floor, and there’s not room for hollow ottomans — which would be a good design choice, but I can’t spend that kind of money to have an ottoman for every project I’m juggling, nor do I have the room!

So I’ll keep looking.

We also looked at a couch that looked good in the photos, but in person, there are design elements you don’t see which make it too unwieldy and take up too much room in the space available.

I re-measured the front door. With the new frame, it’s now FOUR INCHES narrower than before, so pretty much any furniture can’t go through it any more. Very frustrating. Even if you take off the door, there’s a narrow metal inset — at least one of the dimensions on a piece has to be less than 30 inches in order to wrestle it through.

We also went to Barnes & Noble, where I got the travel mat I wanted — sticky on one side, soft on the other, folds up small enough to fit into my carry-on. Because if the Merc Ret hits us full force and we are stuck somewhere for more hours than we’re supposed to, I am rolling out the yoga mat in the airport lounge. Don’t think I won’t! And Costume Imp can hide in the bar, pretending he doesn’t know me!

Also picked up a journal book for the Prague trip.

Got some groceries, came back, messed around with rearranging stuff. Got frustrared, so got back in the car, and we headed back to White Plains, to a plaza to which we’d never been. There’s a Home Goods there. I’ve never been to Home Goods — the commercials are so tacky, I avoided the place. Yet the actual merchandise isn’t bad, and the prices are pretty good. I got some ideas for future stuff — yeah, it might not be there then, but I’ll deal. They didn’t have what I needed/wanted today. They had some nice bins, but not enough of the same pattern for me to invest. But I got some ideas.

We visited a huge outlet shoe store — some cute stuff, but nothing I couldn’t live without right now, although I’ll definitely go back. And another B&N, where I got Karen Marie Moning’s DARKFEVER as the third of my plane books. It came highly recommended by people I trust. I wanted more of a mix of genres, but everything I’ve got so far is dark/urban fantasy. Maybe I can pick up something at the airport that’s different. I’ll definitely grab stuff at Heathrow in either direction that I can’t get in the US.

Went to K-Mart to see if they had any decent bins. I rarely shop at K-Mart, although the one in Hyannis is huge, neat, clean,and friendly. This one was not, and I won’t go back. Plus, they didn’t have anything I wanted or needed, and everyone was in a bad mood, with far too many screaming/badly behaved children. Uh, no.

Stopped in at Pier 1. They have some gorgeous reading chairs, but until I do the furniture swap and have the room, I can’t buy anything. I also really like their painted cabinets, but the truth is that I can pick up something at a thrift shop, strip it down, and, using stencils, paint it myself, and then it will truly be one-of-a-kind.

In other words, not a good shopping day!

Came back, got started on the assignment for Confidential Job #1 — which is awesome, this time around, and finished up some client work to send off.

It was so ookey and rainy and awful. But it didn’t flood, thank goodness. Today seems a little better, and since I’m headed to Saratoga tomorrow, it should be beautiful.

I had a GREAT morning’s work on AMENDS, and can’t wait to get back to do some more later in the day. I’ve got to get to Trader Joe’s to restock the cat food and a few other things, get in some more of Elsa’s special food so she can be properly fed while I’m away (the change in diet would horrify many “experts”, but she has improved enormously in just a few days and a real old-school vet thinks I’m doing absolutely the right thing).

I still have to pack for Saratoga — I can’t believe that I’m waiting until the day before! Instead of getting caught up in the whole changing-clothes-six-times-a-day, I’m bringng a single small duffle, my mat bag, and some writing.

I’m wearing the clothes in which to help set up, I have a dress and cute shoes that will have to take me through dinner and whatever we wind up doing after. I’m taking something in which to sleep, and then, the next day’s clothes have to work for the morning works at the track (at 5:30 AM!), set-up , and the other couple of things I have to do before I head back downstate. I keep debating if I should toss in a few more pairs of cute shoes, but really, I think my Timberland sneakers for running around (they look good as well as being comfortable) and the one pair of cute turquoise shoes to go with the turquoise dress are just going to have to do.

I hope to take some notes for DEAD MAN’S STALL. I also used bits of Saratoga to inspire the setting for SHALLID. I’ll probably run around a bit and take some more photographs.

If I can steal some time between events to write a page here and there, at a cafe, or on the grounds of the Gideon Putnam between setting up for the gala and dinner, I will do so. So I’m taking a small writing bag with my notebook, my journal, and AMENDS.

I’m not taking the computer because, until I get things sorted with Apple, I don’t know if I can trust it; plus, there’ll be no time to hook up. I’m better off with notebook and pen. I AM taking the iPod, so if I can tweet along the journey, I will. I’ll probably tuck in a book, just in case.

Off to Trader Joe’s, and then back to spend some more time on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and AMENDS. The death row animal shelter scene was hard to write, but important for the overall course of the story, and tells us a lot about the main character.

Devon

Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 7:53 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Partly sunny and pleasant

Supposedly we had horrible storms and hail all night. I slept through it; never heard a thing. The cats woke me up at 5 AM (so not cool), but it wasn’t because of storms. And I have an hilarious “bad kitties’ photo to post later this week. Little stinkers!

Spent about three hours working in the unit yesterday; got a lot done, started getting the medium-sized unit folded in. I found quite a few books I needed, and carted those home, and tossed quite a bit of stuff. Since I can’t leave the garbage there, I had to haul it back in my car and dispose of it here. I don’t know when the big move is yet, but I’m getting the energy and momentum going for it.

Ran a few errands. Did some client work in the afternoon. The assignment for Confidential Job #1 is a bit more complex than I expected, so I’m a bit behind. But I’ll catch up today. Client work, discussions with editors, pulled a couple of listings for possible pitches, but didn’t have the time to actually pitch them (guess I didn’t want them enough).

Did not watch the Michael Jackson memorial. I enjoyed his music growing up, I’m sorry he’s dead, but I didn’t know him, never worked with him, and it doesn’t have a lot of personal impact. I wish they’d stop carting his casket around and let the poor man rest in peace. I feel for his family and the friends who actually knew him and loved him, especially his kids. I have nothing but contempt for the so-called “friends” who were “too upset” to attend. This isn’t about you, bitches; you should have put aside your egos, pulled it together, and shown the man some public respect. With “friends” like that . . .

Cooked salmon in a sesame-ginger teriyaki sauce and put today’s pork chops in the maple chipotle marinade so they could soak all night. I have to go grocery shopping today after I spend a few hours working in the storage unit, and I need to make my list. I’m also going to do a rough inventory of everything, so that when I relocate I have an idea of what’s where.

Talked to a friend to make plans for dinner next week — we haven’t seen each other in awhile and want to catch up.

Lousy writing session this morning. I’m just going to have to navigate rough waters for a bit.

Watched the premiere of WAREHOUSE 13 last night. I thought most of it was clever. I had a few structural problems with it, although, for the most part, I liked the writing and the casting. Cross-cutting Artie in the warehouse hunting down the portrait with the building investigative MTV-byte-length scenes, in my opinion was a mis-use of comic relief — it dissipated tension/suspense instead of building it. And it was unclear why the professor brought back the book with the comb — it sounded as though he was ordered to do so, but if the comb is where the power lies, it doesn’t make sense he would just “happen” to find it and bring it back. It’s kind of a chicken-egg question that was ignored and never logically explained. I could conjecture, but I wanted to KNOW. It may well have been a scene that was shot and then cut. I also wanted more character development in the guest roles. I know one has to establish the leads and the core quickly, but give them interesting CHARACTERS to play off of each week, not just odd SITUATIONS. Although the nod to the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK warehouse situation did make me giggle. And the Sci-Fi channel now calls itself “SyFy”? Really? Barf. It’s not a “hip, cool re-name”. It’s stupid. It makes me not want to spend time on the channel because I feel as though those making the decisions are insulting my intelligence. Yeah, i know they do that anyway, especially with their Saturday movies which are so poorly written and executed that they’re laughable, excruciating, and unwatchable (I think I’ve lasted maybe four minutes on a couple of them, and less on most), but some of the series are actually pretty good. However, this re-name pushes me away from the channel rather than drawing me towards it because the name alone means I can’t trust the content.

Okay, I’m going to get some more work done on the assignment for Confidential Job #1 before heading back to storage.

The problem with having a subscription to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is that they also publish fantastic books. And they have sales. Yes, I succumbed.

Devon

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

So, I’m sore in places I forgot I had. I meant to only go and reorganize the large unit, but we were on a roll, and wound up consolidating the smallest unit into it. I’ve got some things to be re-boxed this morning (the boxes are breaking), and I want to find an accessible area to stack the “Misc.” boxes so I can go through them and purge over the next few months, but we got a lot done. And today, after the re-boxing, I want to get at least 1/3 of the medium unit folded in.

I found a bunch of stuff I forgot I had. Some I brought back to the apartment (mostly books, a few dishes, a table). Some boxes I just labelled better so when I need something or when I unpack after the relocation, I’ll have an easier time of it.

I’m still looking for a few books I haven’t managed to locate, but found some that I need. So it’s all good.

The furniture I want to swap out is all stacked in the front corner of the unit for easy access. I’m sorting the stuff that has to go to the electronics recycling and the stuff I want to put up on Freecycle.

It’s quite a long process — a lifetime’s worth of stuff — but it’ll be worth it to get it sorted, organized, and purged BEFORE the big move. Why pay movers to cart stuff to a different state if I’m only going to throw it out once I get there?

Came home, exhausted, picked up Chinese food on the way from my favorite place. Rested a bit, then did some client work and started the assignment for Confidential Job #1, but didn’t get very far. I was distracted by a book called COBWEBS AND CREAM TEAS, about working at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk. I rented the Mustard Pot cottage on that property several years ago, and love the estate. The people who work there are delightful, and the whole place has a warm, loving atmosphere.

The photo is The Mustard Pot, where I stayed. If you click the Felbrigg Hall link above, you’ll see the actual main house and grounds.

mustard pot2

I’ll have to make up for not working on the assignment today, since it’s due tomorrow.

I’m talking to an editor about an article, and a second editor contacted me about some sportswriting; however, the latter is ignoring questions as to frequency of assignment, length of assignment, and, most important, pay. If those questions are not answered, I will tell him to forget it.

The only computer workshop I need to take this month is on a day I can’t go. Oh, well.

Lousy writing session this morning. It’s taking me awhile to find my rhythm again. But I just keep pushing through, and, eventually, I’ll get there. I’m experiencing the part of being a full-time writer that’s not so much fun — facing the page when there is zero inspiration available, and all I’ve got to fall back on is craft. The only way to conquer it is to work through it and not give up because it’s a little more difficult or because I “don’t feel like it.” That’s what separates the pros, who CAN make a living writing from the wanna-bes — we do it eve on the rough days.

The Jupiter Retrograde is having a heavy effect on me this time around — I’m sorting out everything I can when it comes to house and home, and not taking any prisoners! Well, if there’s going to be a retrograde, I might as well use it POSITIVELY, right?

I’m going to attempt a little more work on the page this morning, and then it’s back to storage. I need to get the medium size unit sorted and consolidated by the end of the week.

Devon

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Well, I did a bunch of stuff yesterday, but not necessarily what I was supposed to. Isn’t that often the way?

I worked on the mystery, and then I did some work on “The Ramsey Chase”. I’m making good progress on it, although not as fast as I’d like. However, I don’t want this last section and the ending to feel rushed. That will cheat the reader. And since I want them to enjoy Cornelia and Roman for many adventures to come . . .I need to make sure it’s clever enough to hook the readers and make them want more. The overall theme is a little darker than I expected, but the actual piece itself manages to be retro, futuristic, and comedic all at once.

I rearranged a bunch of stuff in living room, which made it look more chaotic, not less, at least temporarily (that always depresses the heck out of me); hauled a bunch of stuff to storage, brought back some huge cushions someone gave me a million years ago that I used to pile on the floor in order to watch TV. They’re now on the couch, replacing the old, wonky pillows. I cut back some plants – okay, seriously, some sort of citrus plant – can’t remember if it’s a lemon or a tangerine, but I grew it from seeds of the fruit I bought at the grocery store – is now about five feet tall and has BARK, so I was pruning it. Rearranged some bookcases and got a bunch off books off the floor and onto shelves. Got out the leather conditioner and revived two leather jackets that have been in storage since 2001 (I gave a third away). Found a small end table that needed a home and gave it one – I’ve got meditation symbols on it, and it’s beautiful. Got the cat condo out from the trunk of the car (where it’s rattled around for a month because I’m either hauling too much to get it up three flights of stairs, or, if I have nothing in the trunk, I forget). Figured out how to rearrange things to put up the Yule tree later this month. Make a big pot of ratatouille.

In other words, I did a lot that wasn’t writing!

The cats were NOT amused.

I forgot to mention that on Friday night, I helped my friend and her brother move a couch and an antique table to the new condo she bought. The condo’s great, absolutely adorable, and I’ll probably give her a hand in packing this coming week. But I’m sore!

I was ridiculously fatigued last night, ready for bed by 7:30; but if I’d done that, I’d have woken up a little after midnight and wound up being up for 24 hours straight right before a stressful Monday 14 hour+ day at the theatre, too. I don’t think so. I sat up and read instead.

Good morning’s work on the mystery. I hope to get a little bit done on “The Ramsey Chase” before I jump on the train.

Off to the theatre – two shows, fourteen hours, and my mind in a million other places with characters. Oh, well. I like the people, so it will all be good.

Devon

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery: 23,246 out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 50
(46.5%)

Untitled Helena Francis Mystery: 23,246 words out of est. 75,000 (total goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 75
(30.7%)
Published in: on November 9, 2008 at 8:43 am  Comments (7)  
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