Fri. Dec. 15, 2017: More Snow = Writing Weekend

Friday, December 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

How much do I love my mechanics in Plymouth? Car is all set. What a relief. And they loved the cookies!

Yesterday, cookie deliveries were cancelled due to weather. But I took my mom to her appointment — they’re happy with her progress.

I got the edits in to my editor on the short piece. I got my galleys back for TRACKING MEDUSA and am working on those. I’m getting some work out to a client ahead of our Monday meeting.

I’m hoping to reschedule some of the cookie deliveries for this afternoon — tomorrow we’re supposed to get more snow. But it may wind up happening next week.

This weekend is about TRACKING MEDUSA galleys, writing holiday cards, and finishing SERENE & DETERMINED.

Have a great one!

 

Published in: on December 15, 2017 at 11:27 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 15, 2017: More Snow = Writing Weekend  
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Fri. May 16, 2014: Busy Times — But Good Busy!

Friday, May 16, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and muggy

The lilacs are in bloom. They are so pretty! I’ll post photos soon.

Yesterday morning was such chaos, I don’t even want to get into it. But the script episode went out, I made it to the Marine Life Center Board Meeting (late, but I got there), and found out I was elected Clerk. So now, I hold offices on two boards!

Dashed to work, even found the Marstons Mills Post Office on my way — which was in a completely different place than I expected! Too funny!

Busy day at the library — I ordered some cozy mysteries and some science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal to expand our collection, some new CDs, and I’ve got my eye on some graphic novels. I landed a speaker I really, really wanted for June (he wrote a book I think is terrific), and I was asked to present a workshop at the library in early June. I’m also working on my presentation (and the infamous Tip Sheets) next week at the Cape Cod Writers Center Writers Night Out on Writer’s Block.

Dashed to the store for a bunch of stuff I forgot when I did the Big Grocery Shop the day before, came home, had a glass of wine on the deck, cooked dinner, read something I wanted to read just for me, but collapsed into bed pretty early — I’d gotten up at 4 AM that day!

Up early this morning (darn cats). Tessa and I went out, I’m taking care of a few things, and then I’m headed back to the library for another busy day.

The weekend will be busy, too — tomorrow, some of us from the Mermaid Ball Committee are heading up to Plymouth to look at the venue, and then, in the afternoon, is the Preakness. Sunday, I will probably just collapse — although I have to mow!

I also have to finish revisions on the first two episodes, revise episode three and get the final galleys turned around for TRACKING MEDUSA — AND finish the next book I’m reviewing for my editor.

Maybe sleep somewhere in there, too?

Devon

Fri. Dec. 21, 2012: Yule

IMG_0742

Friday, December 21, 2012
Waxing Moon
Yule — Winter Solstice
Rainy and cold

Happy Solstice! Longest night, shortest day of the year. I’m looking forward to this evening’s ceremony, but there’s a lot to do before hand.

Yesterday, I took the last two platters over the bridge. First stop — the National Marine Life Center. I got to take a peek at the two seal patients — they’re now in the same tank. Townsend is as curious as ever. And Major Margaret — who was so badly injured that we weren’t sure she was going to make it — is now lively and feisty. Popped right up when we came in, leapt up onto the platform to wiggle over, dived into the tank to get as close as possible, clearly stating, “Where’s my herring?!” When you think how she used to just lie in her dry holding pen for hours and not move, seeing her playful and curious and dancing around is just delightful. It made my week! If you’re interested in learning more about both of them, go over to the NMLC site — they even have a webcam for the duo!

I also met the group of Kemp’s Ridley turtles in the other big tank. They were cold-stunned, and are now recuperating in the hospital.

After that little sojourn, it was off to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and deliver the cookie platter to them. They were pleased (prepping for their holiday party later that night). They’re always so good to us.

On the way back, it was a quick stop at the bookstore to pick up the last few gifts.

Paula, if I know someone has dietary restrictions (like gluten-free) or allergies, I’ll either make something different for them, or not give them food. I always have a cheat sheet or a tag that lets them know if anything has nuts in it, for instance. This year, nothing did, so no worries, but sometimes a cookie will use almond extract, or, last year, I did the chocolate chip banana walnut cookies, and I made sure people knew there were walnuts in there. However, I have no time or patience for the self-righteous who pretend to be on a regimen, declaring loudly during the holidays they are carb or sugar-free or whatever. They’re doing that to make themselves feel superior and people around them feel badly. On top of it, they’re going to make the choice not to stay strictly on it, or, if they do, they make a lot of noise so everyone knows what a martyr they are. If they’re serious about it, they do it well before the holidays, and people know and can adjust; if, for some reason, someone doesn’t know and hands them something they don’t eat right now, the gracious response is, “Thank you! Have a great holiday!” and then passing it on to someone who enjoys it, or serving it when people who aren’t on a fake diet show up at the house. There’s a way to handle it so no one feels hurt or insulted, and far too many choose not to do that. It’s more of an issue in places like New York and LA, where people do this kind of thing as a way to get attention rather than an actual lifestyle choice; here, even if people adjust their diets, they usually give themselves leeway a bit during the holidays and/or are gracious if someone doesn’t know. I mean, I’m gracious when I go to people’s houses and there’s stuff I can’t eat, like shrimp. I just avoid it. I don’t make big drama out of it so the hostess feels bad. I’m making a couple of gluten-free and/or full vegan things for the party in January, just to make sure there’s something for everyone.

Speaking of which, I started planning the party. The invites are going out on Monday, even though that’s Christmas Eve. Or maybe Sunday. I kept thinking Christmas Eve was Tuesday — obviously, I’m having a problem tracking my days!

Decent writing session this morning. That book is set right before Samhain, and I’m having a bit of trouble switching back and forth between the holidays. Also, this weekend, I want to work on my Twelve Days of Christmas stories — I know what I’m doing for the partridge in the pear tree, and for the ten lords a leaping — it’s the other ten pieces I have to figure out!

And I’m working on my goals, dreams, and resolutions to post on January 1.

Today, I have to get out the companion handbook for Flash 7 and get “First Feet” ready for the free download. I want to finish the cards (I’m up to “s”) and get them out, and tidy up a bit — do things like laundry. Tonight is the Solstice Ceremony, and this weekend, I want to focus on writing and catching up with schoolwork.

Have a lovely weekend!

Devon

Two holiday Nina Bell treats — comic mysteries for the holidays! And a romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths.

Join “When Words Align” from Jan. 2-9 to get your WIP or revision back on track.

“Sensory Perceptions” will give you tools to layer sensory detail into your work, raising it to a more engaging level, as you create six flash fiction pieces and one longer piece. Jan. 2-Feb. 3.

Fri. May 11, 2012: Lilacs and Car Repairs


White lilac with moon in background

Friday, May 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Registration closes this evening for the Amazing Antagonists workshop tomorrow. So sign up NOW — or you miss out!

I have to mow, no way around it! The rain was terrific, but boy, does it make more mowing!

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Went to Plymouth to the mechanic to get the car serviced — and found out I had to get the back brakes replaced. Not an expense for which I was prepared, but it had to be done. Took awhile (although they were quicker than estimated), so we had lunch at a place called T-Bones. I didn’t expect much, and was pleasantly surprised. But the bill was a shock, and it means hustling more work in the next few weeks to make up for it — especially since all three cats go to the vet next week.

Came home, got final approval on materials from my pro bono client and sent them out to the media.

The National Marine Life Center is a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Program. That means we could win a Highlander, which would allow reliable transportation for injured marine life, and then to release point after rehabilitation, and to continue the educational outreach. Please put May 26 in your calendar and vote for us on Facebook at www.100carsforgood.com between 10 AM and Midnight. Don’t worry — I’ll remind you! If we get enough votes — we win the car.

Couldn’t get into the Savvy Authors board at all to work with students, which was frustrating. I feel badly for them; however, if I only have time between hour X and hour Y and can’t get in, I can’t do my work.

My neighbor is already out mowing — guess I’ll have to get into my gardening clothes and go join him! 😉

Lots to do today, to make up for the hours lost yesterday, plus hustling new work. I’m looking forward to that break over Memorial Day Weekend!

Devon

Tues. Feb. 7: And Saturn Goes Retrograde

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Three tires.

Yup, yesterday, I had to buy three new tires at the servicing. I was ready to cry when they told me, but I’m also grateful that it was caught BEFORE I start the next six weeks of way too much driving, and nothing bad happened to me on the road. The mechanic gave me a very fair price, and I can trust his work, so I’m glad it all happened there and not at some anonymous place who-knows-where.

So, it was a shock, but it could have been much worse, and I’m grateful for the bits that worked.

Wanted to run some errands in Plymouth, but the whole thing took much less time than expected, so every place I needed was still closed. Came back to the Cape and ran errands here, including doing some market research at Barnes & Noble that made me decide to do this new, potentially lucrative project. I even managed to get 1K of it done yesterday.

Came home to the happy news that Cape Cod Women Online wants me to do a story for their spring issue — I was delighted to accept. Also saw the first pass at the cover art for the new HEX BREAKER — just needs a slight tweak, and it will be there. Much happier with this cover than the previous one. And had a good conversation with my editor. My first-round edits should come through today, so I’ll have to get to work on those, along with everything else. Figures that would all come through as soon as I made the decision to accept the other project! 😉

Got my write-up out to Confidential Job #1, got out a guest blog post, finished critiquing a client’s manuscript and sent back the notes. Caught up with my students in both classes. The student with boundary issues left the class — but of course, I found out second hand. Then, this morning, I discover that individual’s tried to do an end run around me, going to administration to get them to intervene to change the parameters of the rest of the course just to suit this particular individual. Um, no. Again, an action that is completely out of bounds and unacceptable, shrouded in manipulative language. I worked with actors and television producers, some of the most skillful manipulators on the planet. I know manipulation when I see it. And such attempts piss me off, not make me cave.

Speaking of theatre, watched SMASH last night, since I’ve worked with some of the people on it! Production values are very well done, and it’s an interesting look into one view of the process, very different than anything we’ve seen. Theresa Rebeck, who’s a wonderful playwright AND television writer, is writing it, and the quality shows. Still not a fan of Katherine McPhee’s. I’ve always felt she works very hard at coming across as genuine instead of being genuine.

Anyway, my list of what has to get done today is very long, so I better get to it. Saturn goes retrograde today, which means any life lessons I didn’t learn last go-round will come back to kick me in the butt. I think I’ve made a lot of progress in the past year, so let’s hope I keep growing in the right directions! 😉

Devon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


/View towards Sandy Neck from Long Pasture Sanctuary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Waxing Moon
Stormy and cold

Well, let’s hope the scolding i gave the students Sunday night into Monday means they’re actually going to step up. We’re halfway through the workshop, have only been working for two weeks, and there are certain members of the group who are regularly posting days late, some of them are getting sloppy in their construction. Instead of using the workshop to learn how to make the best of each genre, they’re slapping up whatever. The lack of respect for my time and the time of the students who are keeping up is just appalling. You can make all the excuses you want about what’s going on in your life, but we all have life stuff and we all have to keep commitments in spite of it.

It’s one reason I’ve sat on the longer-term proposals. If they can’t commit to a month and sustain it, how will the commit to longer?

Didn’t watch much of the Golden Globes on Sunday. Just wasn’t interested. Am pleased for Steve Buscemi, Laura Linney, Melissa Leo — about time their work was recognized.

Drank herbal tea that was supposedly calming before bed on Sunday, because I had to be up at five a.m.

Couldn’t sleep.

Sort of drifted in and out, but got up like a bear with a sore head when the alarm went off on Monday morning, and even yoga and meditation didn’t help much.

Battled through my first 1K of the day on the Samantha Light piece and realized I have to research yachts. Not necessarily a negative, but I have to research yachts. I need to know how they’re built, what they look like, etc. Time for another trip to the library.
The opening takes place on a yacht. Even if I make this a created world instead of a real one, I need to understand yacht construction. I know I have some books on it from my America’s Cup research, but they’re not yet unpacked.

Believe me, it was a battle. I did not feel like writing. But butt went into chair, and I fought my way to nearly 1K.

And then, while eating breakfast, I had a breakthrough on the piece due at the end of February, the one with which I’ve been struggling: I started with the wrong opening and set the wrong tone — no wonder I was lost! I changed the opening line, and suddenly, the book opened out before me.

Drove to Plymouth, found the garage, checked in, was given a ride to Main St. Unfortunately the coffee shop I wanted to hang out in didn’t open until 9:30 (really? are you freaking kidding me? 9:30?) and it was 8. Found another one open, further down the street, which was like walking into a Land of Lost Souls. They were mostly regulars, but they were lost. Settled in with coffee and a wonderful blueberry muffin. Tried not to let the Really Loud Guy Desperate for Attention work my last nerve too much. Got some good outlining done on the book. Now, I have to write my way into it a bit before I can finish the rest of the outline. I also need to get a couple of books out of the library on the Tower of London, since I don’t know where mine are. And I have to tweak the beginning, because one of the rules for this book (by the publisher) is that it has to be set in Scotland. So I have to make sure it opens in Scotland and have the few short scenes as JFK airport and in London as flashbacks.

When I got as far with that as I could go, I switched to working on the material for Confidential Job #1 that’s due this week.

Left the coffee shop earlier than planned because the guy sitting next to me was tunelessly whistling. I’m like a cat when it comes to whistling — I don’t like it. And TUNELESS whistling sends me right over the edge. However, people whistle out of happiness or for comfort, and I don’t have the right to interfere with that, much less rip anyone’s throat out over it, or give them Dark Looks.

So I left and started walking back to the garage.

In 13 degree weather. Windy. Without a scarf.

Not one of my more brilliant moments, by a long shot. Add to that the fact that 90% of Plymouth’s sidewalks hadn’t been cleared — even if a lame attempt was made to push a little of the snow to one side occasionally, it was pure ice underneath. And it’s a state law that walkways are to be cleared 2 hours after a storm ends. Guess no one sent the memo to the whole damn town. Even in front of town hall it was a mess. Only the churches and museums paid any attention. And Rt. 44 is far too dangerous to walk on.

I was so furious I nearly melted the snow with every step. Or maybe I should say “stomp.” 😉

At least it kept me from realizing how cold it was.

Got there, read a little more as they finished up the car. Car’s in great shape, just needed some basic servicing and a few filters changed. I liked them there a lot — they were nice, they’re knowledgeable, they’re ethical, they’re busy as all get out with people they know by name. I think I found the right place for the car.

And the car feels great. Unlike the previous place, where I asked them to check tire pressure and brakes and they didn’t but lied, I could feel the difference here. I hadn’t even asked them about the brakes, and they adjusted them for me. And the tires feel better. If they’d just hosed her off, they’d be perfect!

Unfortunately, it’s too cold out for me to sponge her down, even with warm water. I’m going to have to wait a bit.

Ran some errands because the storm is supposed to hit this morning, not this evening as originally predicted. Got a new flashdrive for the more current work. I’m a little worried about my hard drive. I’m being vigilant about backing up/printing out, but . . .I’m hoping it’s a Comcast issue, since it’s only being cranky when I get online.

Came back to the cats racing around with brush-like tails. No idea why.

Wrote and read in the afternoon. Discussed workshop proposals with the person to whom they were pitched.

No request to the response for press credentials for the new, local pro hockey team (I went through proper channels and had my editor request and everything). So I stayed home! I’m interested in following them from Day One, but I also have deadlines coming up, and, if I can’t slot it into “work”, I can’t do it right now.

Watched some TV. (spoilers) What can I say? Brandy and I were right about the Orwell character in THE CAPE. 😉 Seriously, there’s some good stuff in the show, I understand some of the snarky criticism that’s come in, and I still feel there are a bit too many cooks in it. I’m hoping it’ll find its feet in the next few episodes, and that it gets time so to do. My biggest problem with it is that the character of Peter Fleming is not a strong enough or interesting enough antagonist. All he’s got is money and ego. The “Villain of the Week” concept would work better if Fleming was more dynamic and pulling more strings. Also, I’m annoyed at the “Submit your Villain and we might use it!” campaign. You want me to CREATE a character and HAND him over to you? No WGA contract, no licensing fees? I’m supposed to just be happy you picked my character? Bite me!

Woke up with the “pre-storm headache” and wish it would start already so the storm would hit.

Figured out how I re-injured the bad shoulder, the one where I tore the rotator cuff a few years ago. When I go down to the basement, I twist my arm behind me at a weird angle to shut the door. That’s causing problems. I have to stop a few steps down, turn around to face the door, and then shut it. Great. Another few seconds for the cats to sneak down! 😉 But it will take the strain off the shoulder.

Going to see if I can put to use some of that outlining I did yesterday, and then, this afternoon, maybe I can make a good dent in the work for Confidential Job #1. Also, my students have a new exercise due today, and I have to post the one due Friday. We only have two more weeks/three more exercises! It’s gone very quickly.

I better get going. There’s a lot of writing to be done!

Devon

Monday, January 17, 2011


View over Plymouth Harbor

Monday, January 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Martin Luther King Day

This is scheduled to post, because I had to get my butt out of bed and get on the road far too early in order to get the car to Plymouth for its spa day. Hopefully it means that, by the time most of you read this, I’ll be back. My car gets a spa day and I get to freeze my ass off in Plymouth before any of the stores open. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Plymouth, but here’s hoping I find a nice, warm coffee joint and can do some writing!

I have a dilemma with the Samantha LIght piece. I originally wanted it to be speculative fiction in either a created world or a parallel world. But I keep making familiar references. I don’t know if that means I should set it in a somewhat futuristic NY/Scotland/Paris or just use those references in the first draft, and then change them substantially into a created/imagined version of similar cities in revisions. Stopping to world build right now will make me lose the dynamic between the characters. But, in the ultimate piece, the setting will be very, very important.

Regarding my protag, Samantha, I’m not having trouble with her. I thought it would be a challenge, because, on the surface, she seems like the kind of woman I can’t stand, and yet, she’s very much her own person without being the sort of cliche we see of this type of woman on tv, in the tabloids, or in fiction. So, I’m having fun with her.

Costume Imp moves today, leaving Queens to go up to Washington Heights. New situation, new roommates, the whole thing. He brought his delightful beasts up on Friday night — yowling all the way. They can give Iris a run for the money when it comes to feline opera performances.

I certainly learned how far some students will go to bend the rules in class. In the historical/western assignment, we had more than one person have a character “tell a story” about an historical time to another character. I had to let it go since I hadn’t expressly forbidden it, but now I know, and I’ve tweaked the exercise for future classes. When I say “set your characters in an historical or western piece”, having them tell each other a story about someone else doesn’t cut it. Even when it’s cleverly done and good as a piece in its own right. But again, I guess I have to expressly forbid just about any place they have wiggle room.


Can you find the hawk hidden in the tree?

The raptor release at Long Pasture Sanctuary was magnificent. First of all, the place is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to spend more time walking around there when the weather is a little warmer. I learned a bit about identifying hawks — I’ll have to practice a lot more before I can actually do it. Two hawks were released — both females. The first one, who recovered from a broken wing, was still a little overweight. She flew to a nearby tree and stayed. Hey, I don’t blame her — she was used to room service! Two other hawks circled near by, wanting to know what was going on. The second hawk, also a female, nearly tore the carrier apart. When the door opened, she backed to the rear, took a few steps, and soared out. She paused on top of a nearby tree to get her bearings, and then she was outta there! Absolutely gorgeous.

Again, the kids who attended the event were bright, engaged, enthusiastic, asked some of the best questions and made some of the best comments. No crying or whining.

I like how the parents here actually engage in conversation with their kids when they’re off doing something, whether it’s at an event or going to the grocery store. They talk to them like actual human beings, unlike in the suburbs of NY, where parents are on the cell phone all the time talking about stupid gossip and just pause long enough to yell at the kid. Here, when parents take their kids grocery shopping, one kid has the list, and another kid scouts the aisle, and they learn how to tell if a piece of fruit or a vegetable is a good choice, etc., etc. Just a much healthier dynamic, and you can see the difference in the kids. They’re not as brittle and wounded and desperate for attention and filled with the sense of entitlement they see from their parents as suburban NY children.

The director took us on a short walk on the sanctuary — he showed us how to recognize rabbit tracks and otter tracks and we saw the pond where the otters like to come and fish. The otters were to smart enough not to let us see them, but it was fun to see where they played and slid.

It was just a great couple of hours, even though I’d lost all feeling in my toes before the end of it! I need to start dressing for these things like I did on the days I spent outside on location for television shows. And, Diane, I couldn’t find my silk thermals. I was not happy. I also need to find my fleece-lined jeans for the next event, and slip some toe warmers into my boots and hand warmers into my gloves. I will also pre-heat by drinking ginger tea before I go (learned from the Great Cape Herbs seminar last week).

I drank quite a bit of ginger tea when I got home, and that helped a lot.

‘Cause there’s no reason to attend these events if I don’t apply what I learn, right? 😉

The mail brought a box of books containing the second volume of Gail Godwin’s journal and Antonia Frasier’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, so I was a happy camper. Wrapped myself in a blanket, put on some jazz, and started the Godwin memoir.

I read a lot of her books in the late 80’s, early -mid 90’s and really enjoyed her writing. I haven’t read her lately, and I’m interested, once I unpack them, to re-read some of the books I read and see if my perceptions have changed. The writing on the page remains the same, it is fixed once it’s published, but do I respond to it differently?

I remembered getting impatient with the first volume of journals, but couldn’t remember why. I’m not very far into this volume of journals, and I get impatient again. Yes, it was the early 1960’s, and women had a different frame of reference. But if she spent even an eighth of the energy she wastes on pursuing toxic relationships with men on her writing, she would have gotten a whole lot further a whole lot faster.

The diary can help you see patterns and break them. I look at my diaries from my twenties and self-indulgent thirties and cringe. But writing it all down and looking back also helped me break negative patterns and realize how I was getting in my own way, both personally and professionally. That person helped form who I am now, but I wish she’d gotten her act together earlier. Maybe that’s why I get impatient with Godwin’s journals — I see too much similarity. The qualities I didn’t like in myself at that age, I see in those journals.

When she details observations on the world around her, and how her writing process evolves, it’s very interesting.

Also got a lovely CD mixed by a good friend that is a joy to play. I was just casting around for some new music, and it appeared in the post! Thanks, Colin!

Went to bed pretty early. Got up on Sunday pretty early, having dreamed I was working on location in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and I was as tired as if I’d actually spent the night doing just that. These “busy dreams” take it out of me! 😉

Morning routine, out to get the papers, read the papers. The papers here are better written, have fewer typos, and are more balanced that most other papers I’ve read across the country. They poke at multiple sides of an issue, so you get a broad spectrum of both information and opinion — each of which is clearly defined, so that biased opinion isn’t presented as journalism. It makes it easier to get a more complete picture of an issue to figure out one’s own stand on it. I read more than one paper, and each paper contains multiple points of view on different issues, so one really gets a good cross-section of information.

Decided that Sunday was going to be my day off from writing this week. I kind of feel that all of my life since I’ve moved is a bit of refilling the creative well, which I desperately need. I’m trying a lot of new things and trying to open myself up to a lot of new experiences I didn’t/couldn’t in NY, and seeing what I learn.

Read a lot. Caught up on some emails. Caught up on filing and receipts. Played with the cats.

Got frustrated with the workshop because so many people seem to think that the date an assignment due is a suggestion. Far too many of them post their assignment days late, the day before or the day the next assignment is due. Some people are skipping exercises, which they were told UP FRONT they can’t do. I had to resort to keeping a tracking sheet so I can track, as I jump back and forth between the assignments, who’s keeping up and who isn’t. It’s just so disrespectful. We all have life stuff. If you expect to have a career in anything, you learn how to deal with life and your career. You can’t wait until you’re earning a paycheck to behave that way or you’ll never earn a paycheck.

Enough. I had to get up at five frigging a.m. in the freezing cold to get in the yoga, meditation, and my first 1K of the day before I left for the garage. So I don’t want to hear about anyone’s conflicts when they have a half a week to get a 1300 word assignment done. In four days, I have to do AT LEAST 4000 words. Usually a heck of a lot more. AND run my life.

Devon

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
It’s snowing

OK, no one said anything else about more snow. At least not until tomorrow night. It’s not bad at all — just flurries — but a lot of them. I guess I better get my act together and get my errands done early in the day, rather than later.

The cats broke my Green Man plaque while they were playing, and then managed to turn a light switch on with a tail as they raced to get away. They are having fun doing laps around the house, though. It’s nice to see them settling in a bit.

Yesterday was a good day, all the way around. Shoveled the snow (okay, that wasn’t that much fun), headed out to Dennis to the library for the herb seminar. The Google Map directions were useless and I found the place by accident, but I found it and I found it on time, which is what counts.

The seminar was GREAT. It was given by the folks at Great Cape Herbs in Brewster — a store I can’t wait to check out. Some of the information was familiar, but there was also enough that was new to me that I took several pages of notes. Now, I’m going to study and memorize the notes.

I also realized that some of the things I crossed off my garden list need to go back on.

Drove home, my head stuffed so full of great information I thought it would pop off. Stopped for take-out Chinese food on the way. I haven’t had Chinese food since the day before the big move. I’m used to always living close to a Chinatown or an Asian market, and either getting take out or cooking Asian at home. I miss it.

As soon as the cats smelled the Chinese take-out, they both came running. It’s not that they get to eat any of it — but the scent is familiar to them.

Booked the car into the garage in Plymouth on Monday for its “spa day” and caught up on some other calls before I had to head back out again to the library.

The library in my little town is just as cute as can be, and much bigger than it looks from the outside! The owner’s wife met me there, introduced me to the library director (who is lovely), and she got me set up with my library card. Now I feel like I really live here. Everyone was highly amused that I was so excited about getting a library card. I took out three books — one about gardening on Cape Cod, a mystery that looked good, and a biography I’ve wanted to read for at least ten years and never got around to reading.

I’ve also been invited to spend whatever time I can with the horticultural group that does the upkeep on the local parks, etc. They’re perfectly happy to teach me stuff, and I think it would be good training. I need to learn all this stuff, and what better way to learn than by doing?

Ordered some garden pieces that are kind of cool from an interesting store I found online — the pieces are both inexpensive and unusual.

I have to do my quarterly taxes, which will be depressing. Not because I owe that much, but because I was hemorrhaging money last quarter due to the move. But I have to say, I enormously prefer paying quarterly taxes and just adjusting the paperwork in April.

Today is about writing, cleaning the house, and commenting on the exercises due in the workshop. First writing session of the morning did not go well. The piece isn’t flowing, I haven’t quite found the voice of it, but I’m behind on it, and, if it’s going to make the end of February deadline, I need to step up. No excuses; butt in chair, words on page.

Devon

Wednesday, January 5, 2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades
Sunny and cold

We are retrograde free for a few days. Can you believe it? Take a few minutes to really feel what it’s like, because it’s quite rare.

Costume Imp slept in yesterday. I was up early, as usual, yoga, meditation, fed the cats, made the coffee, did my first 1K of the day, taught my classes.

Around 8:30, I thought it was a civilized hour to make some noise, so I baked cinnamon rolls and showered.

We had a leisurely morning and walked the property, talking about garden possibilities, which are discussed over on Gratitude and Growth. We finally managed to get out of the house about noon.

Headed to Lavender Moon, which was, as always, was wonderful. I bought some incense, and Imp found a beautiful Egyptian piece which had obviously been waiting just for him, since the woman behind the counter couldn’t remember ever seeing it before!

We had lunch at the Beehive Tavern, one of my favorite spots. It was delicious, as always. Then, up to the Sandwich Village Herb Shop, where I stocked up on lavender (I want to vacuum the carpets before the party tomorrow, and I’m almost out of lavender for that — hopefully this summer, I can use home-grown lavender). I found a couple of books and calendars I needed, and then — there was a gorgeous statue of Cerridwen. I knew I shouldn’t really spend the money, but I kept coming back to it. It’s so beautifully rendered and just fascinated me. So I bought it. One less patio chair, right? 😉 Or I just have to write another menu for someone.

I better hustle a few quick-turnaround, quick-pay jobs this month to make up for what I’ve spent on books and statues!

After Sandwich, it was over the Sagamore Bridge and up Rt. 3 to Plymouth. They’ve drydocked the Mayflower! Perhaps they’ve done it every year, but I was truly surprised. And the great little shops next to it were shut, which is a shame, because they have delightful oddities you can’t get anywhere else.

We stopped at Plymouth Pebble — really, to have this gorgeous faux Greek temple around this tiny piece of granite just makes me laugh. We walked up the hill to the overlook, with its gorgeous view of the bay, and then walked up to the main street of town, which has lots of great little shops, most of whom are taking a much-deserved January hiatus.

Laughing Moon was, unfortunately, closed. They seem to open and close randomly, which, on days I drove all the way from NY to see them drove me nuts, but being only a few minutes away is not a big deal.

Drove back to the Cape, stopped at Trader Joe’s for the fixings for pizza and some things for the party. Came home, realized we hadn’t bought our MegaMillions tickets, went out and did that. Had some eggnog while we caught up on stuff online (I love wireless, we can work anywhere), watched the weather. Imp may be here an extra day or so because of weather.

We made pizza, which was great, and had a quiet evening working on our various projects that needed work.

Today we have a few errands to run and few things to get in for the party and the upcoming storm. We might go looking for the lawnmower.

The cats haven’t completely accepted him yet. They don’t run away quite as fast, and they hang out with us in the evening –staring at him. I feel bad, because he misses his cats and he’d love to play with mine and they’re still like, “Stay over there, Stranger.” But at least they’re not hiding. That’s a good first step.

He’ll probably wake up with them draped over him the day he has to go home! Cats.

Off to comment on exercises and respond to discussion comments on the classes. I was a little irate early in the day yesterday when a few of the students whined about wanting more time for the first exercise. It’s 750-1000 words. I do that every day before breakfast. 48 hours is more than enough time for the first assignment. Put butt in chair and DO IT. Let’s face it, given more time, most of them would wait until the last minute anyway.

I need to stash some boxes today and straighten up for the party, so I’d better get as much done on classwork today as possible before Imp wakes up.

Devon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pleasant and warm

Wednesday we travelled to Plymouth and to the Cape, just for the day. There was a very specific agenda, which I can’t yet talk about for fear of jinxing it, but it was productive and great fun. We also picked up a few things in Hyannis, which means that I didn’t have to go running around here yesterday. Pretty much everything we need is on Rt. 132. Plus, there are plenty of small, independent businesses we like to frequent. I also managed to replace the wine glass I broke with two very pretty ones, and found a set of 100% cotton aqua-colored sheets.

Plymouth was a little disappointing — both in our agenda, and that some of the stores we planned to visit where, for some reason, closed. On a Wednesday? Really? Maybe in preparation for a long holiday weekend? One of my favorite stores there only seems to open whenever someone decides to show up. And they weren’t there that day!

Yarmouth, Sandwich, Barnstable, Dennis, Masphee — all as pretty and friendly as ever. What a great region. We had several stops to make — and EVERY set of directions was wrong. I thought Google Maps was supposed to be better than Mapquest? They both pretty much suck.

We stopped in Niantic on the way home in the evening. First stop was the Niantic Diner, where I had one of the best linguini with clam sauce dishes I’ve ever had in my life — clams served in the shells, perfect sauce with white wine, garlic, oil, and chopped tomatoes. Then, it was a hop across the street to the Book Barn, where I got a stack of books on various topics and played with several of their cats. Their little black cat followed me from shelf to shelf, telling me all about it.

Driving back was tough. I love the Merritt Parkway — no trucks and it’s pretty. And the Recovery Act construction projects have turned roads into a pleasure around New England that have been a nightmare to drive since the late 1960’s. I approve of the way those of my tax dollars are at work! However, whenever there’s work on the Merritt Parkway, it seems deliberately scheduled to be as incompetent and to create the most amount of inconvenience for drivers as possible. Whoever’s making the decisions about structuring the work on the Merritt either is a dingbat and shouldn’t have the job, has never driven the Merritt and doesn’t realize the problems he’s causing (and therefore shouldn’t have the job), or is trying to get revenge on people who drive there. And shouldn’t have the job.

We got home around nine. I tended to the cats and the cat next door. On the one hand, Elsa was happy to have a quiet day and not get poked all the time and get medicine shoved down her throat. On the other hand, I think she missed us.

Anyway, it was a great day, although driving to the Cape and back in a single day is a bit of a haul. Usually we stay at least one night. But at least now we know we can do it. and we’ll probably have to do it that way a few more times in the upcoming months.

Yesterday, I slept in, then dashed around getting stuff ready for class and taking care of the cat next door.

Pottery class was great. It took me awhile to adjust to this teacher’s teaching style, so different from the last teacher with whom there was instant rapport. But, by the end of the class, one was building. She’s really good. And I’m trying to learn how to think visually instead of verbally. There are six people in the class — five women and one fifteen year old boy. He’s very sweet and talented, but, poor thing, it’s gotta be hard to be fifteen and in a class with a bunch of women old enough to be his mother! But it’s a nice group.

We worked on pressed-mold bottle vases yesterday. We have to finish them next week. And I finished early enough to make a pressed mold bowl, which is a little wonky, but I sent it for firing anyway. I’m going to try to take advantage of some open studio hours in the coming weeks to do some work on my own, and actually have a technique. Because I have no technique yet, everything is very rough. It’s a little better than the original pieces I did in May, but there’s still a long way to go.

I’ve already used half my 25 lbs of clay in just the first class, so I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up buying more. We’re working in stoneware rather than earthenware this time, and the clay looks similar to what I worked with last time, but feels different. I’m still heavy-handed and don’t really have the feel of it yet. That’s why I need the open studio hours — to just be able to sit and work with it, squish it if it doesn’t work, and start again.

I’d like to take another class in the fall, but I don’t know if I can afford it or make the 14-week time commitment. It depends how much work I land over the summer, and what else is going on in the fall.

In more disturbing news, two little kids in this town were attacked by coyotes — in the kids’ own yards — within four days. One kid is six, and one kid is three. Both will be okay, but still . . .it’s disturbing. And the coyotes are way smarter than the people trying to hunt them down. In this area, that is not at all a surprise. People are being cautioned not to let their kids play unattended in the yard (how sad is that?) and not to run, especially not alone. I was supposed to start running again on Monday, but I may put it off for awhile. While I’m used to dealing with coyotes, that doesn’t mean I should set myself up as potential prey.

Bossy Girl moved! I heard her screaming yesterday afternoon and looked out the window. Her human had her in a harness, she was yelling and tossing her cookies, and then was stashed in the front seat of a U-Haul van. She was a pretty cat, and a smart one. I will miss her — but at least she won’t be coyote dinner. It’s way too dangerous to let one’s cats out around here, between the highway, the train, and the coyotes. Yet people do. And then they wonder when their cats are torn to shreds or hit by a car.

Today is the start of the holiday weekend — yay! It’s still supposed to be nice today and tomorrow, and then a heat wave well into the 90s all next week. Ick.

I have an appointment at 11:30 about a possible new gig at the end of the summer — hope it works out, it would pay for the fall pottery class! And I’ve got a bunch of writing to do today, too, on several projects. I go back to working on other people’s projects next Tuesday; an acquaintance sent me a play to read, which I’m happy to do, but it will have to be early next week.

Elsa’s hanging in there. I’m still waiting for the information about the new medication from the vet. Violet now sits in my lap on next to the computer on the desk whenever I’m working. Iris spends most of her time looking out of the window and complaining about the workmen.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 5:50 am  Comments (4)  
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 17 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT (as of yesterday)
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Wasn’t the Preakness great? Go, Rachel Alexandra! And Mine That Bird ran a great race, too.

I had a great few days out of town, on the Cape. Unfortunately, even though I dragged around the laptop, the internet access promised in the room didn’t work properly, so I was disconnected for those days — which was fine with me

We hit the road around noon on Tuesday, deciding to leave a half a day early. The weather looked great, and it seemed like it would be a great day. And then we hit a bad storm around New London. But we drove through it, and by the time we hit Rhode Island, it was gone. The storm moved west to east, and we drove south to north.

We chose a motel in the middle of Hyannis — we got a great deal on the room, and it was simple, no frills, but fine. I probably wouldn’t choose to stay there again, unless I had no other choice, but, for what I needed for research purposes, it was fine. It was clean and plenty of hot water, which are two of my top needs. We walked around town for a bit. For an affluent, rather famous community, I found it disturbing that there were so many homeless, mentally disturbed people wandering around,, and so many bored teens looking around for trouble. I immediately went into my I-Lived-on-the-Deuce-and-you-didn’t-so-don’t-even-think-of-messing-with-me mode. They didn’t. These kids may be bored, but they’re not stupid.

We had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called Alberto’s — I had amazing mussels, and when THIS restaurant makes a house salad, it’s an assortment of greens, blood orange slices, walnuts, shredded carrots and prunes with a homemade vinagrette — wonderful. Quite different from the supposedly excellent Italian restaurant on the night I went out to Long Island to see my play, who considered their house salad iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing. The wine, a California pinot noir, was okay, but not brilliant. The chocolate mousse, however, was sublime.

Got some work done in the evening. It helps, bringing the laptop, although I couldn’t get the wi-fi hook up to work. Oh, well. I had the yoga mat, so I could stay on schedule with the yoga.

Up early the next morning — coffee, yoga, but not much writing. I was in reasearch/experiential head, not writing head. We had a great breakfast at La Petite France Cafe — the food’s very good, the service is good, and the guy behind the counter is very nice. He’s there if you want something, but doesn’t try to be best friends just because you walked in the door.

Hit the road early, travelling East. I’ve been to the end of the Cape’s seashore, The Province Lands, ever since I was a little, little kid. But I never investigated the other end, the Eastham end of the shorelands. So, we went to the National Seashore and walked the trails for several hours. I took a lot of photos. It was thrilling to see so many red-winged blackbirds so close, and to hear the frogs chatter, and the ospreys and swans and all the rest. Truly gorgeous. It was a wonderful day, and plenty of benches. We could just sit and BE. The beach plums were in full bloom — gorgeous white flowers. One of the rangers told me I hit it just right – they weren’t in bloom last week and wouldn’t be in bloom next week. Good timing!

I picked up some materials in the bookshop, including a volume of letters from whalers to their families, put out by Descendants of the Whaling Masters. How’s that for a name?

On the spur of the moment, we turned to Nauset and went down to the beach and the lighthouse. I have a fondness for lighthouses anyway. This one was gorgeous, and, yes, still working. We went down to the beach — gorgeous light green water close to the beach, deepening to cobalt blue farther out. We sat on the beach for awhile, watching dogs play and someone try to surf. I gathered up stones. And then we headed back to the lighthouse.

It was still too early for the lighthouse to be open to the public during the week, but one of the workers was there to do something inside and asked if I wanted to come in. Yes! While she did what she needed to do, I got to climb around and explore the lighthouse on my own. It was fabulous! It’s a small house, without living quarters attached, but still a working light. It’s just beautiful. And it was so generous to let me in.

Lunch at a great, family-run fish shack called JT’s — terrific cod burgers with wonderful fries and coleslaw.

Then, it was back towards Brewster, to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural HIstory, one of my favorite places on the cape, to walk the trails on Wing Island. They have an “osprey cam” set up — a camera on an osprey nest, so you can watch the young osprey develop. I didn’t go inside to watch this year — last year’s batch where quite the little hams! The trail was lovely, and the wildflower garden was also beautiful.

I would say we walked at least ten miles over the course of the day. And we were in serious need of salad for dinner, so it was chicken caesar salad for dinner, and a quiet evening reading the materials I collected and typing up notes. The Helena Francis books are set on the bay side of midcape, and parts of the Matty book take place at the Natural History Museum and the shorelands, plus I’m thinking of setting a YA in the area.

Thursday was cloudier and windier. We ate at La Petite Francaise again, and headed out the door early. This time, we headed back over the Sagamore Bridge, off the Cape, to Plymouth. The Matty book is set along the coast just below Plymouth, and I wanted to get some geographical details and some photographs of the stretch where I want to place the house. We did all that, made a wrong turn and wound up in the center of Plymouth, which was okay, because I could grab some more pictures of where I want to set one of the confrontations.

Then, it was over to Buzzards Bay. There’s a marine life rescue center. I wanted to visit and maybe pick up a book on turtles, since turtle rescue is part of what they do. One of the characters in the Matty book loves turtles. I’d hoped to find one at the Natural History Museum, but the only one I found was large, unwieldy, and didn’t focus on Cape area turtles, which is what I need.

On the way to the center, we stopped to stare at the Railroad Bridge. It moves. In other words, the center span is stored in the “up” position, allowing boats to travel the canal freely. When a train comes across, it lowers so the train can actually cross the Canal. We happened to be there as they lowered and then raised the span. Fascinating. And yes, I will post photos.

Unfortunately, the Marine Life Center is both under renovation and not open for the season. I’m going to contact them about visiting in the fall. There’s an event I hope to cover in the area in September — just a few days after I get back from Prague. Maybe I can come out a day or so early or stay a day late and visit the center.

We headed back over the Sagamore Bridge and over to the Canal Visitors’ Center in Sandwich. They did a fantastic job — the museum is wonderful, and the educational DVD about this history and building of the Canal is one of the best of its kind. What I found interesting was that August Belmont — think Belmont Park Race Track here in New York — was the one who built the first canal as a toll thoroughfare. However, it was too shallow, and, due to the amount of accidents, failed. The Army Corps of Engineers took over, redug it during the Depression (in an example of an original stimulus plan), and now it’s a very active channel — and Cape Cod is an island, not a peninsula! We walked to the point where the canal ends and the bay begins. Turning back, I saw that they use actual traffic lights — the yellow metal lights, like they do on the street corners — for the channel. It was pretty funny.

Next stop, Sandwich, just about my favorite town on the Cape. Dashed into their wonderful library, checked email, got a few responses out, Twittered quickly, and was done They use Windows Vista — what a nightmare — everything was so slow and had to be done twice. Typical Dell/Windows!

Then, it was over to the Sandwich Glass Museum. The work there is fantastic, and I learned a lot about glassmaking. The demonstration was fantastic, and the woman who gave it was terrific. I wanted to slap the man sitting in front of me upside the head — instead of appreciating the delicacy required in rolling and pulling the glass, he wanted to see her make a show of the blowing — which, it turns out, is a very small part of actually working the glass. Instead of being excited to learn the intricacies and delicacies of how it’s actually done, he wanted to see what he expected. Moron.

In the gift shop, I found a history of the Orleans Inn at such a good price I was afraid it was a misprint. But it wasn’t, and I snatched it up. Can’t wait to read it.

We drove to Barnstable and the Sandy Neck beach. By now, it was cloudy and very, very windy. The beach is lovely, and this is the area where I’ll stick Collier’s Cove, the setting for the Helena Francis mysteries.

We had lunch at the Beehive Tavern in Sandwich — fantastic! I had some locally brewed Cape Cod Summer Ale. I’m very fussy about beer and ale, preferring wine, but this was terrific. And I had a wonderful sole stuffed with lobster, vegetables, and rice. Really, an excellent meal, great service, great atmosphere. Definitely a place I’d go again.

We headed down to Chatham for a look around, and then picked up some food from a local, mom-and-pop deli on the way back — a chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, which was great.

Another quiet night full of typing up notes and reading. And watching playoff hockey, Boston vs. Carolina — heartbreaking loss for Boston in overtime.

Friday morning was rainy, so we headed back right after breakfast (again, at the cafe). A big bus nearly crushed me twice near the canal. I got its information and plan to complain to the company. I’m sorry, you don’t come to a dead stop in the middle of a roundabout and then suddenly swerve to a turnoff you’ve already missed, ignoring the cars around you — after you already nearly forced me into construction nearly a half a mile back. Not acceptable. Traffic was an absolute nightmare around Providence. I swear, Rhode Island has some of the worst drivers I’ve encountered anywhere in the world — and I’ve driven many places in the world. They’re even worse than New Jersey drivers.

Couldn’t make good time coming back from the Cape — combination of weather and traffic. Managed to stop in Niantic at the Book Barn, where I played with the cats and got a stack of books, including several on the Cape and several books I’ve wanted for years! Lunch in Niantic, and then continued back. Stopped at the apartment to switch out some stuff and then continued down for the Preakness. Horrible traffic, early night.

The races started really early Preakness Day. And the temperature was a good twenty degrees higher than it was on the Cape and muggy. I expected a deluge any minute, but the rain held off until there was a light shower just as the horses went to the post for the Preakness itself.

As thrilled as I was by Rachel Alexandra’s win, I just wanted to be home by the end of it all. I was supposed to leave revoltingly early this am to head back up to MA for the US Olympic Women’s Hockey Team tryouts, but that fell through. As annoyed as I am with USA Hockey right now, I’m also relieved not to spend six hours on the road today and six hours watching tryouts at a hockey ring.

I’ve got to finish my post-Preakness article and get if off to FemmeFan, and then take a final look at the DIXIE DUST proofs — the last round of corrections arrived while I was gone. The next assignment for Confidential Job #1 came in, I have client projects to work on tomorrow, and some reviews to do this week for A BIBLIO PARADISE. UHaul again made me livid, and it’s time to file charges with the appropriate authorities. Enough already.

Read one of the books I bought in Niantic already — THESE RUINS ARE INHABITED by Muriel Beadle, about her family’s year at Oxford University. It was published in 1961, and it’s funny how little has changed, and, of the changes that have taken place, which ones.

I hope to take it a little bit easy today, but I’d like to get a jump on all the work stacked up for the coming week.

Cape photos to follow.

Devon

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

HEX BREAKER got a great review over on FALLEN ANGEL REVIEWS. Check it out! I’m thrilled!

Maine was a roller coaster, as usual, and as tends to happen when one is dealing with long-term illness. It’s tough on everyone, from the day-to-day caretakers, to the people who are ill, to those who come up and try to play catch-up whenever possible. On the positive side, we all try to enjoy every moment we have together and sit down and figure out practicalities. No time is wasted on guilt or argument. So that’s a plus.

The trip up was surprisingly smooth, considering we’re in a Mercury Retrograde. Nice weather, very little traffic. We stopped at Stonewall Kitchen in York to pick up some necessities – can I just say that their Lemon Pear Marmalade is superb? I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, and I love it. We had lunch at Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells, which was good, and did some shopping up in Windham. The colors popped in Kennebunk more than anywhere below or above the town – as though someone painted in the trees for their upcoming pumpkin festival! It was quite lovely.

We had another excellent dinner at Gilbert’s Chowder House in Windham, where I had their excellent steamed mussels again. I’ve been thinking about those since the last time I had them, back in August! This time, I kept the shells – I can use some, and I know people who do art with found objects, so they can use them, too. No reason for them to be tossed in the trash.

I’ve been looking for a large oval tray and found a brass/copper engraved one in Plymouth – I’m thrilled, I can’t wait to set it up for Samhain. It’s gorgeous. And we found the BEST, most magical, wonderful independent bookshop in East Sandwich called Titcomb’s. When I relocate to the area, that’s where you’ll find me several times a week. I plan to do an article on them for A Biblio Paradise in the next few weeks.

I bought a fascinating book in the gift shop near the Mayflower II, of all places, in Plymouth, a YA (or maybe it’s middle grade) called STEALING SHAKESPEARE. Yeah, I know, buy a book about Shakespeare at Plymouth Rock (or, as I call it, Plymouth Pebble). But hey, that gift shop (and the one at Plimoth Plantation) carry a GREAT selection of books for all ages. You know when I have something appropriate I’m going to use the fact that I spend so much time (and money) in those gift shops to convince them to carry MY books. Actually, one of the managers and I talked about a YA mystery type she’d love to see and carry in the store – I’m tempted to write it just for her!

The minute I drive over the Sagamore Bridge and land on the Cape, I’m happy, and I’m always sad to leave. I can’t wait until driving over the bridge towards the Cape means I’m headed home. It is absolutely the right place for me.

Believe it or not, I got some writing done, although not necessarily what I should be working on. I have a project I call my Blowing Off Steam Project. It may never go anywhere, but I enjoy writing it.

I packed both the bag for Maine and the bag for Philadelphia before I left for Maine, so it’s only a case of switching a few things around and re- packing my writing bag.

I’ve got to pay some bills, deal with building scum, and load up the info on a brand new flash drive dedicated to The Big Project before I head off to Philadelphia. I need to get some writing done, too, so I better get back to the page.

As difficult as some of the family illness is to deal with, it was a wonderful trip to New England, and I wish I could have stayed longer.

Now, it’s off in the other direction for some more hopefully focused work.

I cooked like crazy all day Sunday, and there’s barely room in the refrigerator or freezer for a pretzel stick, much less anything else. I love a full larder!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 7:51 am  Comments (6)  
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, not, humid

Isn’t it always the way? Go off-line for a few days and there’s a lot to say. So, for reading ease, I’ve used sub-headings – you can pick what you want to read and skip the rest: Politics, planets, trip, life, writing. This is a very long post, so be warned.

Politics:
You may have noticed that I haven’t spoken much about politics on the blog lately. Mostly, because I’m worried that we’re totally f—, especially if McCain gets elected (I nearly said “re-elected”, thinking in terms of a Bush third term – my Freudian slip was showing). If that happens, I honestly believe the Mayans were right and the world as we know it will end on the Winter Solstice of 2012. The Republican Party has become an abomination and perversion of its original purpose, in my opinion. The Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Economic Rape and Pillage. As a woman, I do not EVER use the term “rape” lightly, but that’s what’s happened over the last eight years. Bush’s buddies get richer and richer while the rest of us, who actually do the work and keep the country running, are screwed.

At the beginning of the Democratic Primaries, I was pretty excited, because there was such a wide field of choices, and I was interested in hearing all the points of view and seeing how it played out. I didn’t get a voice in it (something I resent), because, in the State of New York, if you are an independent voter, you don’t get to vote in the primaries. Other states allow independent voters to vote, but not NY, something I think is wrong.

I had no intention of voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she was a woman; she needed to convince me she was the best candidate for this particular time and place. I like a lot of her ideas, she’s done a lot of good as a NY Senator, and she’s got a grit that gets the job done. However, I was already leery because, several years ago, when the hospital up the street was closed, I contacted her office for help. Since health care is a big issue for her, I thought she would be the person to whom to turn. A YEAR AND A HALF LATER, I received a form letter email from her office that had nothing to do with the topic. And the hospital was long closed. That has really stuck in my craw all this time, in spite of the many good things she’s done for New York. Her office is a huge contrast to the other NY Senator’s office, Senator Charles Schumer. You call his office –an actual human picks up by the second ring. You email, you get a response in the same day. You write a letter, you get a response – an actual response, not a form letter – within a week. And there’s always follow-through AND follow-up. Since I consider politicians my employees – after all, it is my tax money that pays their salaries, that is the way I like it done.

On the other hand, as a woman, I was angered by the sexist media coverage. Her hair, clothes, etc. were focused on in a way that NONE of the male candidates’ clothing choices were. That’s wrong. And, have you noticed? We refer to the male candidates by their last names, but to Senator Clinton always by her first name. Is that to differentiate her from her husband, the former President? Or is it a sign of disrespect that’s not even noticed, because for hundreds of years women have been referred to less formally than men? So that really bothered me, and made me more sympathetic to her.

On yet another hand (or am I starting on feet now), the fact she voted FOR the war bothered me. I remember being at a rally here in NYC before the war was declared. The Pretender President came out and said (direct quote) to the crowd, “I don’t care what you think.” Buddy, as my EMPLOYEE, you damn well better care. Politicians can back-pedal all they want about the misleading information they were given, but the fact is, we are paying them and IT IS THEIR JOB to dig deeper before they make their decisions.

Most of the women I know, of one generation older than I am, who laid the groundwork for women in politics and in many other areas, are upset because they feel that this was the last chance in their lifetime to see a woman become President. For now, it’s still in the realm of the Sci-Fi channel instead of being a reality in this country. And that’s a shame.

Yes, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President, as well as the first woman to have a company on the New York Stock Exchange back in the days of Cornelius Vanderbilt, but the fights women fought through the 1960’s and 1970’s really set a lot of groundwork for today. (If you’re interested in Victoria Woodhull’s story, the mystic daughter of a snake oil salesman who became so prominent in NY and then made a bid for the White House, read Barbara Goldsmith’s fascinating social history OTHER POWERS. It also deals with the fact that Frederick Douglass broke with the suffragettes because, even though they supported abolition, he felt supporting a woman’s right to vote would hold back the black cause – every once in awhile, I wonder how many shades of reflection of that are in this campaign).

As far as Obama goes, I like his ideas, I like the way he can walk into a room and talk to anyone, I like his grace under pressure, I like the way he did not vote for the war. My concern is whether or not he can implement his ideas, or whether he’ll be blocked by high-rolling lobbyists.

For Democratic women (and by that, I mean women who lean towards the Democratic Party, not all women who believe in democracy), this has been a very emotional and tumultuous few months. You can’t discount completely race and gender, yet you want to support the candidate you believe has the best ideas and is ABLE to implement them.

Something that gets on my last nerve across the board is the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on campaigns. That’s money that should be going into education, health care, veterans’ medical care and rehabilitation, rebuilding crumbling infrastructures, and wildlife conservation, not in buses and planes criss-crossing the country, polluting and spending money that could be used to improve the country.

I realize history has been made no matter what; I’m still ambivalent.

Planets
So, Mercury went retrograde last week without me noticing, which means I signed contracts and traveled during the Retrograde. However, since it never felt like it went direct last time, this retrograde actually feels like a relief, because things are getting resolved. So I’m not going to stress about it.

The Neptune Retrograde – hey, I’m a Pisces, it’s never easy, but too darned bad.

The Jupiter Retrograde actually feels like a relief because it oversees home and hearth and material things, and that’s been in such a mess, it feels like this retrograde will help with the resolution.

This is a case of me welcoming retrogrades.

So far.

The Trip
Ah, heaven! It was really, really, REALLY hard to come back. I missed the cats and the books and the writing and my friends, and, surprisingly, even the show. But it was heaven to be out there.

Considering how tired I was getting back from the show at midnight on Sunday morning, and then getting up at 4:30, I’m surprised I did as much as I did. On the road by six; traffic pretty light, and yet, more people traveling than I expected in this high-gas economy. We managed to find gas for $3.99/gallon up in MA the whole time, which made me do a happy dance at the pump. Seriously, it wound up equivalent to a free gallon of gas at each refill compared to prices down here, which are at least 50 cents more per gallon.

The weather was fabulous, sunny, warm, gorgeous.

We headed first up to the North Shore, Cape Ann area. I hadn’t been there in years. Drove around Rockport, doubled back to Gloucester, and spotted at Hammond Castle.

Hammond Castle is a medieval castle on the cliffs of Gloucester, MA, built by inventor John Hays Hammond in 1926 as a gift for his bride, Irene Fenton Hammond, a portrait painter. Both collected antiques, and the castle is amazing. The front is in German gothic style, the back in French, complete with flying buttresses. It was a museum since 1930 (they moved into it in 1929), and they were the caretakers. Hammond has more than 800 inventions to his credit – his “war room”, a circular room under the circular library, is pretty amazing. The library, wonderful as it was – was too small to hold all my books – isn’t that a scary thought!

There’s an interior courtyard with a glass roof (three stories up) – talk about the ultimate sun room. It’s Romanesque in design, with some of the doorways made out of volcanic, porous rock, and some out of limestone.

There’s a Great Hall where Gershwin once played, and a series of Tower Galleries, where each level has different objects, including religious icons and relics. The Castle is reputed to be haunted, but the room with religious relics was the only one that felt, to me, filled with unseen presences.

You walk through all these winding hallways, nooks, crannies, tiny rooms of medieval antiques and then come into a 1930’s kitchen – the contrast is astonishing. And the views over the harbor are magnificent.

I promise to post photos.

Then, back in the car to Salem. All I needed was a good map and some photos of Salem; Old-Fashioned Detective Work has a small bit set just outside of Salem, and I couldn’t remember its configuration. We had a quick lunch, and then headed back down.

There was a parade in Boston, which backed up the Tobin Bridge and the southern expressway, so we got stuck for a bit; but the Big Dig seems to be fixed, (nothing fell on the car, always a good sign), so once we were clear of the parade traffic, it was a smooth ride.

Instead of staying in Plymouth as planned, we continued south. There’s something about soaring across the Sagamore Bridge that always makes me happy (in spite of the sign the Samaritans posted with their number for those who might be inclined to jump off the bridge).

We ended up staying in Hyannis, getting an excellent rate at a hotel still under construction. It was cheap and clean, all we really needed. It had a small balcony. The toilet made funny gurgling noises and some of the hardware on the furniture needed to be replaced, but it also had a fridge, a huge television, REAL keys (not those vile keycards, which I hate) AND genuine old, soft, cotton sheets, not the poly sheets most hotels use (unless you’re in the $400/night ones). Okay, the sheets were PINK – but boy were they comfy! And the shower was fantastic!

Had we had the time, we could have walked from the hotel to the Nantucket ferry and hopped over for the day, leaving the car in Hyannis. Good to know for the future. I got to see where the writers’ group meets (the one I met during Nano last year that said I was always welcome), and we got a sense of the area pretty well.

Picnic lobster supper – always a good thing. And early to bed because, well, it was a busy day and we’d been up since 4:30 in the morning!

We had a leisurely breakfast by the pool the next morning (included in the hotel, it was a buffet and it was good), sitting next to the pool amidst overflowing pots of cheerful red geraniums.

Then, we drove down to Provincetown. On the way, I was looking for the Nauset Light, which I wanted to re-photograph (it’s been at least ten years since I was there), but couldn’t find it. Instead, I found the Cape Cod Light, also known as the Highland Light – which was fantastic. They moved it back to its current location in 1996, because the sea cliffs are eroding at one foot PER YEAR (faster, even then here in Montauk), and expect they’ll have to move it again within 30 years.

Wow.

The light is gorgeous, the surroundings are magnificent, the staff is phenomenal. A freelance writer handles their PR, newsletter, etc. – a woman after my own heart who’s doing an outstanding job, and I have to track her down via her website and congratulate her!

We bought the COOLEST wind chime – a four-side triangle (four plates, each triangular in shape) with a different lighthouse painted on each one. It sounds like a buoy, which I just love.

Again, I promise to post photos.

Over to the Province Lands Visitor Center, out by Race Point Beach. I’ve been going there since 1968, since I was six years old, and it’s always a pilgrimage. They’re wonderful there, and teased me that, when I live in the area, I should come and give tours, too! (Personally, I don’t think I’m nice enough to be a Park Ranger, but I appreciated the sentiment).

Into P-town, past Pilgrim Monument (I’ve been up those darned stairs so often over the years I really don’t need to do it anymore – but if you’ve never done it – do it). Parked on Macmillan Wharf. They’ve rebuilt the end of the wharf and done a lovely job. There are now glass partial roofs and benches and pavilions, so you can sit and enjoy it. It’s still a working wharf, but now it’s also a multi-tasking wharf.

One of the warehouses on the other wharf was rebuilt, and now has, on its outside walls, an art exhibit – photos of Portuguese women who were instrumental in the development of Provincetown.

My reason for going to P-town was the Whydah Museum, the excavation of a pirate ship off the coast of the Cape. I’d been there when it first opened years ago, but now, with the research for CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE, “The Merry’s Dalliance”, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I wanted to revisit.

It’s a small museum, but lovely. It emphasizes pirates, and I was more interested in the nuts and bolts of the archaeology, but there was also some great information and demonstrations about concretions and the x-rays to see what the concretions cover, and the grid system used. Great stuff, which helps me a lot in my writing. Again, the personnel there were lovely.

We walked a little bit around P-town. The last time I was there, several years ago, they were very discriminatory towards straight women, and I was tempted not to go back. I don’t judge people by their sexual choices and I expect the same. Who I sleep with is my business. I found it a very hostile environment, which saddened me (since I’ve come there since the late 1960’s, when it was full of painters on the wharves) and angered me. However, it’s mellowed out a lot (or maybe the season hasn’t yet kicked in). Everyone was friendly and pleasant, and it was a very dog-centric community, which I liked. Many, many happy dogs. You can tell a lot about a place by the temperament of the pets.

And, joy of joys, the Portuguese Bakery is still open! I’d been told they closed, but they haven’t. I did a happy dance at the register. We had lulas (flaky, cone-shaped pastry filled with whipped cream) there, and took – well, I can’t remember the pretty Portuguese name, it starts with an M – but, basically, it’s hunks of moist, light, fried bread. We had to triple wrap it so the grease wouldn’t soak through and ruin the trunk of the car.

Then, we meandered back along the Cape to Brewster – a town we fell in love with. I hadn’t considered Brewster a possibility in my house-hunting, but it is now. The size and ages of many houses fit what I want, it’s a friendly, low-key, year-round community.

We stopped at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History –as soon as I relocate to MA, I’m becoming a member. Fantastic trails through forest, salt marsh, and to the tidal dunes. A camera on the Osprey nest, so you can watch their activities. A lookout room with comfy chairs and binoculars to look out over the marshes and a journal in which to make notations. The exhibits are wonderful, and the tiny aquarium is terrific. I took pictures of curious turtles who came to the side of the tanks to see the visitor. I was exposed to a slew of new-to-me nature writers whose work I want to read. Again, a terrific staff, and their ongoing programs are wonderful. I’d go two or three times a month if I lived in the area.

We found a clam shack for a late lunch and slowly meandered back along route 6A, past Hyannis and to Sandwich, Mashpee, and Marstons Mills for house hunting. And some shopping, of course, at the Lavender Moon and Sandwich Herb Shop. I wanted to find the glass studio, but sailed past it, realizing too late its only designation was a painted mailbox – this area is filled with individual artisans, which is great, but sometimes the signs are a little too subtle!

I can get a ton of freelance writing work out there, so, once I move, I’ll be able to make a living.

Again, a dinner picnic and a relaxing evening. There’s so much to do all over the Cape all year round at this point that, not only can I earn a living writing for it and about it, I won’t feel deprived being away from New York.

I also got to watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, between Detroit and Pittsburgh. Wow! It went into 3 overtimes, before Pittsburgh managed to score the final goal to keep them alive in the series. I’m a big fan of Marc-Andre Fleury, the Pittsburgh goalie, and Gary Roberts, of whom I’ve been a fan since his Maple Leaf days, but, as a team, I’m rooting for Detroit. What an amazing game, although it was 80 degrees outside the arena in Detroit, and a good portion of it was played on slush.

On the way home, we stopped at the Book Barn in Niantic, CT, where I got books by Julie Czernerda, Sharon Shinn, Jim C. Hines, and a bunch of science and nature books that I need for the upcoming projects.

The trip was great, I took nearly 200 photos – don’t worry, I won’t post them all – and I feel better about the whole house-hunting situation, because now I have a more solid sense of which communities I think are best suited to what I need, and I know what types of properties are in each community.

So, although I didn’t find “my” house, I feel much more confident about finding it.

Life
So the ever-lovin’ cable box forced on us by Cablevision worked less than 24 hours. I emailed them before I left, stating that they WOULD have a technician out here the morning I returned and it WOULD be fixed at no additional charge. I am currently waiting for said technician. Then, I have to go to Trader Joe’s – I’m out of cat food.

Oh, and the cable box that was guaranteed to be delivered on May 19? Delivery was finally attempted by the incompetent UPS on June 3. And refused.

Sorted out the problem with MacAffee. Once I could actually track down a live person, it was easily solved. Figuring out a way past all the recorded messages to get a live person was a challenge.

Hard to get settled back in. The cats were calm when we got back, because it was quiet in the building (heaven forbid they actually finish any of the construction in the building – they’ve ripped everything up and left it). The cats are happy we’re home, but at least they weren’t frantic.

I’m having a hard time getting mentally focused back on what needs to be done. I simply want to pack, load up a truck and go the Cape, but I need to have to place to go TO before I do that. All the steps need to be completed in the right order for this to work. I’m not 18 anymore; I can’t just pack two suitcases and a typewriter and land in a strange city, the way I’ve done so many times in my life, and start over. I’m uprooting an entire life and relocating it. It takes more organization.

There’s all sorts of building chaos going on and I don’t feel like engaging right now, so I’m not. “No” has become my favorite word lately. Without explanations or justifications. Simply, “no.”

Writing
I only wrote notes the entire time. I’d brought an enormous bag of work, the MATILDA MURDER rewrites, other stuff – nothing.

I had a huge breakthrough on YURI’S TALE – how I can keep it linked short stories that can also stand alone, yet, together, make up an entire novel arc. So that was good. But I didn’t write any of it.

I have to type up my notes (I’m bad at that – I tend to file the notebooks and then take hours looking for what I want).

I’ve given myself off from regularly scheduled writing until tomorrow, so I can settle in and get back my focus.

Believe it or not, that’s the short version!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: