Wed. March 23, 2022: Edits and A$$hats

image courtesy of Memed Nurrohmad via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Waning Moon

Partly sunny and cold

Yesterday was a mixed day. I did a bunch of admin work once I got back from the laundromat. Then, I headed out to the library. I got the file again on The Spruces and photocopied a bunch of information out of their original brochure that I will use as research/background information for the retro mystery. They also had six books waiting for me.

Planted the tansy seeds into two pots, so I can have one pot in front and one in back. Planted some saved seeds, and did some repotting. All will be discussed in detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

In the afternoon, I covered a script. There wasn’t anything in the queue when I was finished, so I switched to working on contest entries (but later, got two more scripts in the queue, that I will start today). I worked on the porch, because it was so beautiful. I’m having weird pains in my left ear. I hope I don’t get another ear infection.

Got an email from my Monthology editor. It’s time to start writing, and we have a deadline of June 24 for the first round. People with multiple monsters can either write 1 story of up to 5K with one monster and save the other for the future, integrate the monsters into a single story that fits the wordcount, or write two shorter stories. At this point, I’m going to integrate the monsters into one story, with the Gorgon being the primary protagonist and the Valkyrie being the secondary protagonist, and then, if there are future anthologies, I can shift them. The Gorgon story is almost fully formed in my head, and the Valkyrie was going to be a secondary character in it anyway, so this choice supports what I’ve been spinning, and also sets the foundation for future stories, should I have that opportunity. I think it’s a stronger choice than to have them crossing back and forth between two shorter pieces. It will also support what I hope will be a moving subplot.

If you want to learn more about this shared world anthology, you can explore it here.

Started reading Ngaio Marsh’s ARTISTS IN CRIME. I haven’t read her books for years, and I forgot how good they are.

The bank has marked the check they accused me of scamming by depositing it as “doubt collectability.” Mofos. They were dumb enough to send me a “customer experience survey” and I did not hold back. I tried to enter the virtual annual meeting – but they didn’t send a link for it, one had to access it via typing in my social security number. No. Just no. Yet more proof that NONE of this is about security and everything is about misogyny and economic discrimination.

The Republicans aren’t even pretending they’re not all paid up members of the KKK anymore. Their behavior at the SCOTUS confirmation hearings is disgusting. Of course they fear an intelligent, ethical Black woman after ramming through a Handmaiden and a sexual predator beer bro.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are so smart and engaged and compassionate. Amazing how not going to a place where they have to worry about being shot or getting COVID enchances the ability to learn.

Tessa woke me up at 4:10 AM this morning. I will be wrecked by noon. Since I had to be out the door early to go to the laundromat again, I didn’t dare go back to sleep.

Took another trip to the laundromat on foot this morning. Moon up when I left, and it was only 26F. Brrr. But I had sheets and comforters to wash, since the linens are moving toward spring, and I wanted to get caught up.

I’m starting to really enjoy my sessions at the laundromat. I get a lot done. I finished the first editing pass on the draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I went back and made notes where I want to layer in other information. Since I cut out one subplot, that would not work unless it was a central plot, I dropped another body, and I have to set up the conflict and layer it in. There were also some references that needed to start earlier.

So this means I’m ready to start the second draft of the book! I hope to work in sections of 3-5 chapters at a time. I want to say “a day” but I’m not sure I can commit to that. I hope that will also give me the momentum to get back to the first draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, which has to get back on track.

After breakfast this morning, I will work on the first three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER, then take a quick break and switch to The Big Project. The afternoon is about script coverage and, if there’s still time in the workday, contest entries.

It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week, and then plunge back into the twenties over the weekend. At some point in the next few days, I’ll do a grocery run, but, for the most part, I’m going to stay home and work, with breaks to spring clean. And try to get an appointment with the mechanic. The internet was down for a little while this morning, but it seems to be sort of working again.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Tues. March 8, 2022: The Car Is Home!

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny/Cloudy/Cold (more snow coming in)

International Women’s Day

(Note: I haven’t had a Beetle for years, but the last one I had was red).

Every International Women’s Day, I take some time to honor Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are major reasons I became a writer. I first learned about them through library books about them, in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. I read all the books about women when I was in elementary school. I keep taking out the books about Harriet and Louisa, re-reading them, until my parents bought me my own copies. As I got older, I read what they’d written, and read more about their lives and work. Both were strong, flawed, smart, funny women, and are still, in many ways, my guiding lights.

If you missed yesterday’s post over on the GDR site about how to dream your ideal life, the link is here.

Friday was the first day in a long time I felt like I was back to myself, working professionally, and balancing the different work elements.

I slogged through a bunch of emails. I wrote about 3K on The Big Project. I updated the tracking sheets for the project. I ran errands. I did a script coverage. I finished a book for review. The second shipment of contest entries arrived, so that was all sorted and checked in, and I went back to working on contest entries this weekend, too. I figured out the grocery list for Saturday’s shopping, although I had to do it again on foot.

For fun, I’m reading THE SHARPER THE KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY by Kathleen Flinn, about her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It’s such a well-written book, and definitely makes me want to avoid cooking school. But then, I’ve never wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I just want to hone good cooking techniques for my own cooking, and not be under all that pressure, especially not at my age.

Charlotte and Tessa woke me around 5:30 on Saturday morning, which was fine. 5:30 is a good time to start my day.

I did the 3+ mile round trip to the grocery store, with the rolly cart, and restocked our pantry and fridge. The scallops looked good, so I grabbed a pound, which made for sauteed scallops in white wine, butter, and rosemary on Saturday night, and a scallop alfredo on Monday. Hmm. I was going to order scallops from the restaurant for my birthday, but I’ll have had them already twice in the same week, so I’ll need to order something else.

Polished the pieces for the one bookshelf I hadn’t yet put up, put it together, and rearranged some books, which made room on other shelves. I hate having so many books in storage. I keep trying to find a book to look something up and it’s not here, it’s in storage.

Finished reading the book for review and got back to work on reading contest entries. Took the day off from script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and, as usual, it has some cool stuff in it. I had to chase down the new postman to get it out of the box. I talked to him last week, at length, and showed him how much smaller the slot is on the resident side, and asked him to please NOT shove the boxes in on the USPS side, but leave them at the door. When he puts the subscription boxes in the mail slot, I can’t get them out. He promised he would put them on the stairs – and then put the GP box in the slot. I ran downstairs and asked him, nicely again, to PLEASE not to do that, and hand it to me or leave it at the door. He said, “But this box is small.” I repeated, “It’s still too big to get out of the slot on the resident side.” My front door is six steps from the neighborhood mailbox. It’s not like it’s a long walk out of his way. He’s either extremely dumb or he’s doing this on purpose.

I miss our former, lovely postman, who I think has retired.

I realize, in the scheme of everything going on, it’s not much, but it’s a basic courtesy with common sense. Math, geometry, physics.

Sunday, it rained. I stayed in. I unpacked another box of books and shelved them. I unpacked the box that held my blank notebooks, and arranged them on a shelf so I can get at them as I need for projects. It was sunny and mild in the afternoon, so I moved the seedlings out to the porch for a bit, and also planted the lemon balm and the black-eyed Susan vine (more on that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post).

The cat grass has grown well, so I put it on an overturned box so that Willa and Charlotte feel like they have to work a bit to get at it. They both love chomping on it (but won’t, if the pot sits on the floor). Tessa is not interested. Tessa is interested in taking over the sewing room. That’s her latest conquest – the guest bed that has Charlotte’s pink blanky and Charlotte’s catnip banana. They also had huge fun getting into the bag of potatoes I got from the store, rolling them up and down our long hallway. A couple went down the stairs, too, which they watched from the top.

I turned around a script coverage, and then worked on contest entries. One of them was so good, I was up way too late, reading.

Up around 6 on Monday, reasonable. It has rained overnight, and most of the snow is gone.

Wrote up the book review, sent it, along with the invoice. Was paid in a couple of hours, and assigned the next two books for review.

Entered in the scores of the contest entries I read over the weekend. Did a bunch of admin work.

The rain briefly let up, so I did a circuit, on foot, to drop off/pick up library books, mail the bills. Stopped in at Cumberland Farms for eggs, but they were sold out.

When I returned home, there was a message from the garage that the car was ready! I took a cab over, paid the bill (which was even in my budget), thanked them profusely, and drove home. I was practically in tears of happiness and relief. And, of course, the aftermath was exhaustion. But I’m so happy to have the car back and that it works.

That means we can do something fun for my birthday this weekend. I usually try to ignore my birthday, but this is a Big Number, and this year, it’s important to me to Do Something.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, finished the book I really liked for the contest, and read a few more contest entries.

A local organization for whom I was preparing an LOI packet, because I thought they’d be interesting to work for has not only dropped masking requirements indoors, but also dropped proof of vaccination requirements for those entering. So, nope, cross them off the list and move on.

Found out that one of my editors is just over one third of my age, which makes me feel even older. However, she’s an excellent editor, and I enjoy working with her; since we’re not being mutually ageist, but respecting each other’s work, it’s all good.

Had a restful sleep for once (now that the car stress is done). Still have lease renewal stress, but fingers crossed I’ll hear good news on that front soon.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me a little before 5. Completed the morning routine, and was out the door just before six. I was able to drive to the laundromat, instead of walking, which felt like the height of luxury.

While the laundry washed and dried, I worked on the revisions for CAST IRON MURDER. I had to re-revise the pages on which I’d worked at the mechanic’s last week. Caught a bunch of errors. I also marked a couple of places where I need to look something up and change a name, because it’s too similar to another name in the book. There are a few habits/routines that establish too late in the book, and I need to make initial references to them in the first or second chapter, or they look like they come out of nowhere. But I’ve got about the first third of the book done in first pass revisions, which is pretty good, considering I do most of it at the laundromat.

Getting some work done at the desk, then running errands (for which I need the car). It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so I’ll stay in. Thursday, I have to pick up my birthday cake (I have a thing about not making my own cake for my birthday). I’m going to dig into the work today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so that I can take a three day weekend without guilt.

Anything I have to say about Ukraine and the Russian-owned GOP is repetitive at this point. Indict and prosecute the mo-fos already. It will only get worse from here.

Have a good one, friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists

Friday, June 19, 2020
Day Before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot
Juneteenth

Sorry this is late. Busy morning.

I want to smack some of these local racists upside the head, complaining that there’s any acknowledgement of Juneteenth. And the insistence that the hate rally go on tomorrow in Tulsa is revolting.

WBZ News Radio is lying about cases in MA going down. The numbers are better, but I’m tracking the daily numbers, and they are headed back up. Not as fast as I thought they would, but they’re moving up again.

Restaurants can have people dine inside starting next week. I won’t be one of them. Not for a long, long time.

Yoga studios are talking about opening for classes and letting people take off their masks as soon as they’re on their mats. Um, no. In an enclosed space? Six feet isn’t far enough apart, even WITH masks. I won’t be an a space where people take their masks off and do fire breath. No effing way.

Yesterday was fine. Client work in the morning, Freelance Chat, reading in the afternoon. Some plotting and percolating on a couple of projects. It’s always difficult to explain how the percolation process works. It’s mental mapping, or clustering, or organizing. One idea leads to the next and the next and the next, and suddenly, there’s a piece and I scramble to write notes before I lose it.

I got some planting done in the afternoon, too: more cucumbers, lettuce, mixed greens, two kinds of sunflowers, beans. I hope to get some peas planted on Sunday, which is the next planting day.

Was awakened around midnight by sirens. Lots and lots of sirens. Don’t’ know what was going on.

Amazon is being bitchy about the refund. They gave me the refund; now they want to rescind it. I guess that’s it for me and Amazon, although I like using them to support authors with books on Kindle. But their lack of customer service and their customer-screwing policies are not acceptable.

Up early. Geared up and loaded the car, headed to the dump for the recycling. Dropped everything off. One of the guys who works there was very upset. He said, in all the months he’s been on shift, I’m the only one who respects social distancing. By January or February, he expects to be either very sick of dead. It’s not fair to put employees through that.

Ban the bitches who won’t follow the guidelines.

Made a quick stop at Shaw’s – and, yes, it could be quick. I only needed a few things, there was no line, everyone was masked and distancing, easy peasy in and out. Trader Joe’s next – again, I timed it so there wasn’t a line. In and out in 20 minutes. I needed a bit more, but I was able to focus and get it done.

Almost like pre-pandemic days.

But the majority of the license plates are out of state, and you KNOW these bitches aren’t quarantining for 14 days. It’s the tourists who are causing a problem at the grocery store. One chickie poo tried to run in to Trader Joe’s without a mask, jumping the line (as I was going out, a line had formed), saying she just needed to run in for a few things to go to the beach and it would just take a minute. No, bitch. Put on your mask and get in line.

Another chick (because most of the badly-behaved I’ve encountered are not only other women, but other WHITE women) came up to me as I was loading the car and said, “Oh, just give me your mask so I can go into the store. You don’t need it anymore.”

At this point in the game? That’s like asking me to give her my underwear. No. Just no.

Home, full disinfectant protocols for all the items and for me. Even though it was early in the day, I was exhausted.

Taking care of some admin, finishing laundry, working on the book for review, maybe doing some mending this afternoon.

My NEW YORKER subscription has started, and I’m so pleased. Can’t wait to read the issue that arrived yesterday (and is in quarantine).

Hoping I get in some good writing sessions and some good basement-purging sessions.

Juneteenth ritual later tonight, and, tomorrow, it’s the Summer Solstice. With a solar eclipse. And then we start losing daylight every day.

Next week will be challenging, both mentally and physically. I’m doing what I need for my and my family’s wellbeing, and to hell with everyone else.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on June 19, 2020 at 12:27 pm  Comments Off on Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists  
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Fri. May 22, 2020: Taking A Long Holiday Weekend

Friday, May 22, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got a bunch of work done yesterday, client work, LOIs, etc.

Putting together some relevant clips from some fairly old material got me started on a project I’d been putting off for ages. I’m going through all the old Llewellyn material, under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name, and seeing what I can do with it. The pieces that haven’t been scanned for the clip file are being put into PDFs. I’m re-reading everything, taking notes on where I want to expand, how to organize, etc. The rights have all reverted back to me, so I can use the material however I want. In eBooks, on the website, etc. There’s a good article about Coventina that I will use on the Coventina Circle website.

My local library will start curbside pickup by appointment next week, and we can start leaving things in the book drop again. I took down two bags of books and a bag of DVDs, and it’s only about half of what I had out when everything shut down, so I will take down another load today and be done. They can only fill orders from their own shelves; most of what I have on order is from other libraries in the network. But I HAVE books from that library, and other people might want or need them, so I want to get everything back as soon as possible. I’m masked, I go down early in the morning when no one is around. Although a whole group of people was hanging out in the parking lot when I got there before 7:30 in the morning. At least they were masked, and keeping somewhat of a distance from each other.

Recycling opens at the dump next week. Maybe by the end of the week, I can take in at least the first carload. Supposedly, everyone must be masked. How will they enforce it?

Two of the local businesses I’d done my best to support during shutdown are now open to customers and have stopped curbside pickup. Well, I’m not going in there. Even if I trust the staff, I don’t trust the other customers. Everyone’s dancing around in groups without masks like it’s all over and nothing ever happened. We will be one of the nation’s hotspots in a few weeks, all because of greed for tourist dollars.

It’s too early to reopen. People didn’t follow protocols during Stay at Home, and they’re sure as hell not doing so now.

Planted some flower seeds. Let’s hope they come up.

Good first writing session of the day this morning (unlike yesterday). I’m gearing up to drop off more books, then have the day off. Yes, I’m going to write, but only what I feel like writing. And maybe the review for the book I read the other day, so I can send it to my editor first thing on Tuesday.

I hope the idiots with their power tools shut the hell up this weekend so I can actually enjoy my deck and my yard. I’d like to do some work on the beds, clean them out a bit more, and write and read outside as much as possible.

Last night, someone in the neighborhood had a fire pit going. I don’t think it was the usual neighbor, because his wood smells lovely and doesn’t give off much smoke. This time, the smoke billowed, and it smelled chemical, so I bet they were burning random painted wood. The smoke filled my bedroom and set off the smoke alarm in the house. Now, the houses aren’t that far from each other here, but they’re not that close, either.

So this morning, my throat is scratchy, and I can’t wait to jump in the shower and get the smoke smell out of my hair.

Have a great holiday weekend. Peace.

Published in: on May 22, 2020 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 22, 2020: Taking A Long Holiday Weekend  
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Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Busy weekend, but a different busy than I expected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Work is coming along steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s different than my usual pieces, and I’m taking what I’ve learned in other pieces and applying it here. It’s taking on its own form and rhythm, while still holding genre elements which interest me.

Working on GRAVE REACH, which is interesting in the way it’s forming, too. I feel as though last year I’d hit a plateau with my work. Although I wanted to improve, I’m not sure I did. I think both GRAVE REACH and ELLA will wind up being really good books. They’ll need a lot of work to get there, but the bones are solid on both of them, and I can layer on in the edits.

Ran errands on Friday, got out some LOIs, handled some stuff for my mom, and some grocery shopping. Saturday morning, more groceries, gas in the car, and a trip to Country Gardens so that I could get the stuff I need to treat the deck for ticks, et al. There were lettuce six packs on sale, so I could replace some of the lettuce we lost.

I did some trimming in the yard, and spent a good portion of the day transplanting tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings, and repotting some herbs. I also planted nasturtium, morning glory, moonflower, kale, mesculan green, and spinach seeds.

We have to take some of the tender plants back in at night, but they need the long sunshine.

Did the first of the tick treatments on the deck. I’m probably more afraid of ticks than anything else.

Later in the day, I enjoyed the scent of lilacs on the breeze, as I did research for a couple of projects.

The check arrived from the radio play in Minnesota that was taped last week. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the check from the Boston production a month ago. I’ll wait a few more days and then do a follow-up.

The Preakness was wild. Both in the entrants, and the poor horse who ran without his jockey.

Last week, I re-watched, on DVD, Bill Moyers’ FAITH & REASON, which took place at a PEN conference in NYC a few years back. What those writers predicted is even more chilling today. Now, I’m watching A WORLD OF IDEAS, conversations Moyers had with writers way back in 1988. E.L. Doctorow predicted what has since come to pass.

I overslept on Sunday, not getting up until after 8. I can’t remember when I’ve done that. Put the plants out on the deck for the day. Will have to take them in and out all week, because the nights are still too cold. I’m slowly taking out the teak furniture, a piece at a time, and rubbing it with teak oil, so it won’t crack in the weather. Did three loads of laundry. Wanted to mow (okay, not really, more like NEEDED to mow), but it kept threatening to rain, so I didn’t. That was my excuse, anyway. I need to get the meadow done soon, or it will be too high for the mower.

Worked on ELLA; worked on GRAVE REACH; worked on a tweak my editor asked for in the review; got ahead on some blogging. Worked on the articles that are due this week.

Woke up at 2:30 on Monday morning; managed to get back to sleep, but it always means I’m groggy and have a problem getting going when the alarm goes off. The weather was lousy, so I kept the tender plants inside.

I think I’m going to stick to my plan of taking off from this Thursday through Memorial Day. I’ll make it a long weekend of reading, writing, and yard work (weather permitting). As little online as possible, not dumping things on people’s desks except for deadlined work. I need the break, or I will break.

Taking Sunday almost completely offline helped a great deal. I need to go back to one day a week that’s disconnected; for a long weekend, I plan to spend most of it disconnected.

Was with a client yesterday. It was a little chaotic. Will be there today and tomorrow, and then I have a break from client work until next Tuesday. I barely made it to meditation on time.

I desperately, desperately need it.

 

Published in: on May 21, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out  
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Tues. May 14, 2019: Trying to Get Some Equilibrium Back

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I tried to take some time off this weekend to regroup.

I’m keeping up the Go Fund Me at least through this week. I’ve landed two article assignments that I have to turn around this week, have pitched a couple more, and am in the process of pitching more.

I’ve done the Tip Sheets for tomorrow night’s talk in Brewster. I have my other materials — list of favorite writing books, promotional materials — ready.

I did some work on the book I have to review, but I needed to give myself a break, at least on Sunday, and not do anything that was a “have to.” I needed some quiet.

Friday, I had to go onsite with a client, because I couldn’t get there on Wednesday because of the car situation. Got a bunch of work done, then did the grocery shopping. Saturday morning, took the garbage to the dump and picked up a few Mother’s Day essentials. I did a little work in the yard — some pruning — but nowhere near as much as I should have. It was nice to enjoy a sunny, pleasant day.

Did a little bit of work on the play that has to go out at the end of the month. It’s supposed to be a gentle comedy, but I don’t feel very funny right now. I have to let the characters talk and let the humor evolve organically, then shape it to build proper beats and laughs.

We got the curtains switched out to the lace panels in the windows. I washed the winter curtains and put them away. I polished the wooden front door. I’m working on washing and packing away the thick winter sweaters — although we still have frost warnings, and it snowed in the Berkshires.

I’m behind on the planting, but I can’t do any of the outdoor planting until it gets warmer, and we’re out of room inside.

Sunday it was wet and cold and raining. I cooked a big Mother’s Day breakfast for my mom, and we spent a quiet day, mostly reading. I had a fire going in the fireplace to take off the damp chill.

I finally got to read Juliet Blackwell’s A MAGICAL MATCH, which I really liked. I’m also re-reading Louisa May Alcott’s Journals, which soothe me.

Yesterday, I was onsite with a client, and then worked on my articles, and then worked on more pitches. I was also dealing with my car insurance – since I have comprehensive insurance, they might cover part of the repair.

This morning, the adjustor/inspector is coming to check the car. Fingers crossed.

Desperately needed meditation group by the time I got there.

I’ve been working pretty steadily in longhand on ELLA BY THE BAY, but I’m behind where I want to be on GRAVE REACH, and that has to change this week.

Mostly, I am desperate for some rest.

 

Published in: on May 14, 2019 at 5:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 14, 2019: Trying to Get Some Equilibrium Back  
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Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend

Friday, February 01, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday wound up being one of the most quietly happy days I’ve had in a long time.

Hop on over to the GDR site to check out my February To-Do list. Which will need adjustments, because some things are happening that will recalibrate the rest of my year. It’s all good, but will need flexibility on my part to make it work.

I had a good phone meeting with a potential client this morning, and we will meet in person next week.

The radio play split into the 2-part version and the short play to fill the remaining time in that second slot went out yesterday, along with another requested radio play.

I set up nearly a month’s worth of marketing posts for my books on Twuffer; however, they don’t seem to be posting. (Note: I fixed it; time zone issue. Phew)

In the afternoon, I drafted half of the new comic ghost story radio play. It’s a lot of fun, and, as with the other comedies, a little silly. But that’s part of what makes it work. I hope to finish the draft this weekend, let it sit, and revise next week, so it can go out the following week.

As soon as that draft is done, I dive right into the straw hat theatre comedy.

WHILE I’m juggling the novel revisions and working on the monologues and working on the first act of the anti-gun violence play AND research for the Venetian play and the two women writers play.

So it’s busy. But the right kind of busy, which makes me happy.

It’s supposed to get warmer this weekend. First planting should be tomorrow – my seeds haven’t arrived yet, so I’ll have to find something to plant.

Imbolc tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.

I want to have a happy weekend of reading and writing, because the next few weeks will be very, very busy.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 11:09 am  Comments Off on Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend  
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Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold
Imbolc

I sent off my letter of withdrawal from the ghost writing project. The author apologized, saying she hadn’t meant to insult me. What did she think the response would be to “imaginary research”? She also seemed to think that I would say all was forgiven and I’d work for her substandard rate that would work out as cents per hour, instead of a fair rate. That would be “no.” So we have officially parted ways. What a relief.

I discussed it with my one of my freelancers’ groups — professionals, not wannabes — and almost every single one of them has stopped working with individual authors for similar reasons: the arrogance and the reluctance to pay a fair rate. They want professional work for nothing. Why? This is a profession, not a hobby.

At this point, I have one long-term author client with whom I’m working to finish a project, and that’s it. Only accepting contracts to work with authors through publishers beyond that. Work that the publisher has contracted, and where I know I’ll get paid fairly and on time. Not worth the hell these unprofessional dilettantes put us through.

Worked on contest entries yesterday and made good progress. Re-read some work on a piece I’d put aside. It’s better than I remembered it.

The Constitutional Law class is a challenge, but a good one. I hope I can keep up! Things are so chaotic in the world, it’s hard to start at the beginning in order to learn the foundation, but it’s so, so important.

Today’s interview was moved to next week. I think I’ll get my hair cut, instead. It’s been months, and it needs it, especially since I’m out and about in the world interviewing and working. I hate getting my hair cut. I find it stressful to sit in the chair during the process. I never know if it’ll come out, and I’m not interested in confiding in the hair dresser.

I’m really tired of Congress selling this country down the river. Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State? Spare me.

Last night, I dreamed I was walking down a crowded street, and someone shoved a leash in my hand and walked away. And that’s how I got a dog named Molly. She was very sweet, a corgi mix. I do want a dog, although I can’t adopt one right now. I wonder what else the dream means? It was very clear.

The cats were both staring at me when I woke up, like they knew.

Hope to get some writing done before I head for the hair dresser, and then, when I get back from the library.

I hate the fact that there’s no collaborative office space available around here. They have it in Boston; they had it in New York; heck, they even had it in White Plains. I expected the Cape to be progressive, but I swear, I often think it’s stuck in 1956.

Today is Imbolc, so I’ve got a celebration and the first planting to do. In spite of the snow on the ground.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 10:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ  
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Thurs. May 9, 2013: The Damp and Cranky Day

Thursday, May 9, 2013
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Yesterday was quite the experience!

Got some work done in the morning, on the blogs, with students, pitching, etc. Decided I had to get out into the yard before the rain started. Mowed the front, set down some grass seed.

Went downstairs to turn on the garden faucets so I could hook up the hoses. A new turny-thing (yeah, I’m a college graduate, can you tell by the vocabulary?) was put in last fall, when I couldn’t get the water to turn off. Anyway, I turn it on and . . .get soaked. So does a corner of the basement. Water gushing everywhere except out through the spigot into the garden.

I shut it off, called the landlord, called the plumber. Went back out and hauled buckets of water to saturate the new grass seed (felt like a pioneer woman — hey, they had to do this every day without running water), and then replanted the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the kale, and put some kale and lettuce into the veggie bed. Planted some cosmos in about three or four beds, where I thought they’d look pretty.

Also went to war on those icky little bugs. They tried to go after the tomatoes, cucumbers, and sage. I wasn’t having it.

Plumber arrived. Turns out a pipe had split and needed to be replaced. These guys are great — they have everything in the truck. It’s not like in NY, where they don’t show up for a week, shake their heads and talk about ordering a part, and then you’re lucky to ever see them again. This company gets in there and fixes the problem.

And then I had to mop up, set up fans, run the dehumidifier, etc.

I couldn’t go to the Mermaid Ball meeting after all, so I made pizza instead and attacked the revision of CHARISMA KILLINGS. Made some good progress. The pass is about catching errors and inconsistencies, tying plot elements together, making sure I have enough mystery and revelation, and developing subplots.

This morning’s yoga class was great. Stopped at the beach and the library on the way home, and now, I’m attacking my work for a few hours, because I’m going to help a friend in the afternoon. Then, it’ll be back to more revisions. I also finished material for Confidential Job #1 and have to write it up.

To the page!

Devon

Published in: on May 9, 2013 at 9:58 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 26, 2012: Home to Trees and Updates and Facebook

Monday, March 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am home!

So glad!

First of all, I updated my Workshop page, so it actually has relevant information on upcoming workshops. I’d like you to pay special attention to a one-day online seminar I’m doing, called “Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions”. If you’re just stepping your toe into dialogue, or you want some fresh perspectives, I hope you’ll join us — it’s a bargain at $20 AND you get an ebook of the lectures after. There’s more information here.

For all the complaining I’ve done about 1and1 over the years, I actually landed a couple of techs this time that gave me the help I needed to sort out kinks. It was much appreciated.

The Hex Breaker site has also been updated — check it out when you get a chance. I’ve put the books on a separate page from the short stories, and I think it’s cleaner.

I even (take a deep breath) put up a Facebook page for Annabel Aidan.

Still not sure how it works — I’m having trouble responding to people’s comments and going back to their pages and finding the “like” button or any button that lets me interact and thank them for stopping by. Obviously, I’ve got some learning to do. I will probably put up a page for the Jain Lazarus Adventures, too, at some point.

Worked on HEX BREAKER press stuff, worked on the short story that needs to be ready to go with the relaunch, dealt with student work, did some reading, did the work I was actually paid to do on the site, worked on the novel(s), worked on the new business plan — it was quite the weekend.

Today, I have to interview someone for an article, talk to an editor about another article, get out three proposals, finish a critique for a private student — oh, and 11 trees and 6 bushes showed up while I was away, so girl’s got some plantin’ to do! 😉

My eyes are really bothering me from all the computer work, but, oh well. This is the last week of Sensory Perceptions, and then I have a week before One Story, Many Voices starts, which is good, because the first week of April is where we set up the revision systems for the year-long intensive, and that’s going to be a damn intense week over there. I also start (as a student) a steampunk workshop on the 2nd.

Billy Root’s blog starts on April 1 — which should be a ton of fun, but also some work. I do love writing in his voice, though, so I think that will be a fun way to spread the work about HEX BREAKER.

I’ve also got a handful of short stories to polish and get out the door this week. Busy, busy!

But it’s a good busy.

I’m so happy to be home. I enjoyed my time in CT, but I missed the house, the cats, the yard. The magenta azalea is in bloom, the witch hazel is almost done (and therefore ready to repot), the lilacs are starting to get leaves and buds. The heather is just gorgeous, and soon it will be pansy time!

Meanwhile, I have 11 trees and 6 bushes that need some dirt . . .

Devon

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon