Tues. Dec. 5, 2017: And We’re Definitely in Mercury Retrograde

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Yeah, Mercury’s Retrograde — AGAIN, and it looks like it’ll be a rough one.

Hop over to the GDR site for the November wrap-up.

Hop on over to the Kemmyrk site for some background on today, one of my favorite days, St. Nicholas Day.

I’m still recovering from the events of Friday and the car. I contacted my regular garage, and they’re putting together an estimate for me. I contacted a friend who knows the best places to get tires around here, and he gave me some suggestions.

Got a bunch of admin stuff done Friday, and then I went off to Nirvana in Barnstable to meet a friend for coffee. And was stood up. I had to dig deep — I don’t like that type of disrespect, and it’s a pattern between this individual and me.

But instead of sitting there feeling angry and hurt, I acknowledged I was both of those things, and I sat and enjoyed my mocha latte for a half hour. It was quiet, it was pretty, it was a nice atmosphere. Why shouldn’t I enjoy myself, since I was there? So I did.

Then, I went next door to Barnstable Market, and I found the plum pudding, Dresden stollen, and leibkuchen I wanted for the holidays.

I let the person know I’d waited for a half hour and then left. I didn’t hear anything until mid-morning on Saturday (since I know this person is intimately connected to mobile devices at all times, that didn’t help my attitude). She claimed she’d sent me an email, because a crisis at work came up, and she hopes to reschedule. Well, I never got it (Mercury Retrograde), and it is what it is. These things happen, and things get mixed up. Later in the afternoon, she forwarded the missing email — it had never left the Inbox. If she’s serious, she can contact me after the holidays.

This is huge progress for me, acting like a grown-up in this situation. I’m not striking out in anger. I’m also not committing to putting myself into a situation again that’s bad for me. I’m being polite, and giving the benefit of the doubt to a point, adding it to the balance sheet.

It builds on removing myself from a work relationship that had been toxic last year, where I’d done the equivalent of $150,000 of pro bono work over several years for an organization that repeatedly refused my professional suggestions because they were “too New York” (um, no, they’re “professional” which is why they WORK in New York) and then turned around and paid someone else to do the exact same thing I’d been doing for free. Truly a case of “why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” And yet, without that client, my life contains much less stress and unhappiness, although there are aspects of the work with them that I miss.

But aren’t balance sheets in relationships always uneven? To a point, yes. Relationships, friendships, the like, all go through cycles where one party tends to do more of the heavy lifting. If and when it gets out of balance, that’s when the relationship has to be reassessed. Either there are ways to get it back in balance, or it needs to end. And only the individuals within the relationship understand its unique balance.

In January of 2016, my promise to myself was “reciprocity” — because I feel that in this area of the country, most interactions lack reciprocity. One party demands everything and gives nothing in return. In New York, believe it or not, there was far more reciprocity, especially among professionals. Cape Cod is the epitome of how and why the “Trickle Down” fantasy the GOP keeps pushing DOESN’T WORK. It doesn’t let people break the cycle of poverty (on either financial or emotional levels), and, after awhile, people start living a “gimme” life. What the GOP claims is created by social services (such as SNAP and Medicare) — laziness, refusal to work, grabbiness, expecting handouts — is actually CREATED by THEIR policies when they remove those safety nets. But, because they’re being paid off to push the policies, they don’t care.

It’s been hard work these last two years to put the Reciprocity Model into action in my life. I often fail. But I’m more aware of it now, I’m better at saying “no” upfront when an unequal demand is made, or, once I realize it’s getting way out of whack, trying to rebalance and/or make the decision that is best for ME and walk away.

There’s definitely more work to do, but I’m making progress. Not the least of that progress is not letting the hurts and anger fester and dwell on them, rather than letting go and moving on. I remember, and I use what I’ve learned to make better choices.

Anyway, Saturday was about finishing up both a review and an article. I also raked another 270 gallons of leaves — still in the front. I haven’t made any progress anywhere else yet! Got a bit of decorating done, but there’s still so much more to do.

Thought about SERENE AND DETERMINED, but didn’t get anything written on it. I tried to make up for it yesterday and today. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time getting the play on paper this year.

Thought about a few other things I want to create next year — long-term business plans.

I sent out a bunch of questionnaires to potential web hosts. My current web host 1&1, did nothing but insult me and give me the runaround instead of taking 15 minutes to answer my questions. I need a new web host!

Behind on TRACKING MEDUSA, too. Behind on “Miss Winston Apologizes” — release date moved back on that. Although the new cover is pretty cool.

My mom’s foot is taking a long time to heal. We still have a lot of post-op care.

Outlined two new ideas. Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to work on them, but the premises intrigue me.

Over the past month, my mom and I have read all of Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop Mysteries and her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. They’re fun, and I like the way she grows the character relationships from book to book, so they’re all of a piece. That’s what I’m trying to do in the Nautical Namaste and the Picaroon Island mysteries.

Tessa loves the Christmas Tree. She’s very gentle with it, but she loves to spend time under it — especially when it’s lit.

Session with the client went well yesterday. Hopefully today will also be great, and forward progress.

A lot of deal with this week. During Mercury Retrograde. I’d rather hide in my bed, but I guess that’s not an option!

 

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Tues. Nov. 21, 2017: So Much Going On!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and get to know my guest for the week, Patsy Collins.

Friday afternoon, I raked and bagged 180 gallons of leaves. And that was only half of the front yard! But I wouldn’t trade my trees for anything.

Also, Friday, I was irritated by trolls. At this point, one expects them regarding politics. But now there’s a cadre of people attacking writers who write regularly (every day or most days), claiming “most” writers don’t write every day, they’re living their lives, and people in the industry should stop talking about writing every day. Oh, and if you’re writing that much, you’re a hack and can’t possibly care about quality.

I have no idea if the attackers consider themselves writers or not. I sure as heck couldn’t find any published credits. But most professional writers I know write on most days. I couldn’t keep a roof over my head if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it or that I don’t care about quality.

But it my job. It is my business, not my hobby. I don’t do it on the side. It’s how I pay the bills, how I keep a roof over my head. No matter how much I do write in any given day, there’s still more that needs to be written.

I don’t wait for inspiration. I hunt it down.

Some whiny wanna-be who wants to be praised for not writing isn’t going to get cut a break from me. Do it. Don’t do it. Your choice. But stay out of my way. And don’t attack me because I love my job, I’m good at it, and I earn a living at it.

And guess what? I have a pretty terrific life along WITH the writing.

Hey, if you’ve got a high-powered agent who gets you six figure advances and CAN take five years to write a book, more power to you. But I need to show up every day and do the work.

Speaking of inspiration, another conversation on Twitter about a powerful medieval woman, inspired an idea for a new play, which I will pitch to 365 Women in January. Here, I’d decided four plays in three years were enough with them, but I’ll pitch one more. The person who extolled this particular woman was shot down — she’d gotten her people mixed up — but there were enough sources for me to start my research. I will reveal the name of the woman and a bit about her if the pitch is accepted.

Saturday, I finished a guest blog article for someone kind enough to host me, and sent it off with various information. I went to the post office to find out what happened to the package that was supposedly delivered on Thursday. Turns out it was delivered in another state. When I went on the site to rate the seller, it turns out that five other people have had the same issue THIS WEEK. There were no such reviews when I placed the order. I contacted Amazon. They are opening and investigation, and the lovely customer service rep filed an A-Z refund request on my behalf. Hopefully, I’ll get my money back. I can’t just cancel the card before that happens, or I won’t get the refund. But, as soon as I have it, I need to cancel that bankcard and get it replaced. I’m worried. I don’t want this person to make false charges on my account.

In the interim, I’ve cancelled my outstanding orders on Amazon, and I don’t plan on doing any of my holiday shopping through them. I wasn’t planning to do much anyway — I prefer local businesses with unique items. But there were a few things where Amazon seemed like the best deal. But now, I don’t trust the transactions. If things are resolved quickly and to my satisfaction, I may re-order; at this point, I doubt it.

I raked another 240 gallons of leaves. The front yard is now done. It took two trips to the dump to get them out.

Read a little, wrote a little in the afternoon. Watched travel documentaries in the evening, and did some plotting on some outlines.

It looks like I’m going to have to move all my websites soon. Not to a different host, but because the host “upgraded,” I am basically fucked. Because heaven forbid THEY take care of it when they’re the ones who make changes. What am I paying for again? I really need to start auditioning new webhosts. I have to go back to the questionnaire I started a few months ago.

Sunday was a day to dig in and write. Worked on the aging novel. I’m rewriting what I’ve got so far in third person to first person. The protag is talking in first person, and I need to go with it.

It was pouring with rain, so I couldn’t do any yard work. I did some housework, but I’ll do the big scrub right before the holiday.

I wrote about 1K of new material on the aging novel and then went to type up he first handwritten chapter. When I rewrote it in first and actually got into what I was trying to say and how to say it, it wound up being two chapters. Massive rewrite — not the way I usually work, rewriting as I go. But every book needs its individual process, and you have to honor the work.

Anyway, I wound up writing 29 pages on the book.

Then, I switched over to the play, SERENE AND DETERMINED. It seemed like I’d done massive amounts of work on that, but it turned out to be only 12 pages. Frustrating, since that deadline looms. But those pages are good pages, so I should be happy. Even if I wish I’d managed 29 pages on the play and would have been content with only 12 pages on the novel.

It means I have to dig deeper this week, and will probably add late night writing sessions in, along with the early morning sessions.

I worked on site with one client for a few hours, got some work done at the library, and did some writing for another client, which I added to this morning, and which goes off this afternoon, in advance of our next meeting after the holiday.

Started raking the side front lawn, but didn’t get very far. In yesterday’s storm, a bunch of the leaves from the side blew back onto my newly-cleaned front. Of course, it doesn’t help that the neighbors use leaf blowers to blow their leaves into the street, which then blow into my yard. So I’m basically raking leaves for the entire neighborhood.

In addition to digging down on both the play and “Miss Winston Apologizes” over the holiday weekend, I have a book to read for review, and I need to finish the TRACKING MEDUSA edits, which have to go out next week.

Somewhere in there, I’ll be doing the cooking for Thanksgiving and starting to put up the holiday decorations. The tree will make it into the stand and the Advent Table will go up, if nothing else. Plus, the overseas cards need to be written — they have to go out next week if I want them to arrive before February. For some reason, from the Cape it takes for damn ever for an airmail card to actually take air.

We’re still changing the dressings on my mother’s foot regularly, adn she goes back to her regular doctor tomorrow morning.

Onward.

Published in: on November 21, 2017 at 2:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 21, 2017: So Much Going On!  
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Wed. Nov. 28, 2012: “Just Jump in and Fly” — a fun twist on Yuletide Myths!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Here’s the cover for “Just Jump in a Fly” a romantic comedy/fantasy re-working of the Yuletide Myths that went up yesterday under the Ava Dunne name.

Blurb:
Samantha Wright has a problem. The attractive Kris Teague crash- landed his sleigh and eight not-so-tiny reindeer in her driveway. His uncle Nick happens to be THAT Nick – as in Claus – and they need Samantha Wright’s help to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at one of the Universal Gates not only to save Christmas, but keep Earth turning. A fresh, romantic comedy turn on Yuletide myths and traditions!

For an excerpt and Buy Link, go to the Ava Dunne page. It’s only 99 cents!

I love this story — I had such a great time playing with the myths of the season. I’m planning to do more with these characters for each turn of the wheel. Which means the next piece has to be released by February1!

I figured out how to do better covers in Pages. I realized, for the PDFs, I don’t have to work in .doc. I also learned how to save into PDF and transform that into a JPG. Unfortunately, the back cover fill doesn’t convert from Pages to PDF, so, while the stand-alone cover I’m using to promote the book has the background color I want, the download is in simple black and white.

I tweaked the cover for “Tumble”. I think it looks much better. Again, I can’t replace the cover in the PDF, but it’s close, and this looks better for promotion. It’s much easier to work with photographs than anything else, so I need to go find some mistletoe and re-do the other cover. The Nina stories are too much fun to suffer from poor covers!

And yes, I’m hiring a cover ARTIST for the Nina Bell book release on April Fool’s Day! 😉

My bio’s up on the Indie Book Award site, and I look forward to being one of their judges this winter/spring. Exciting!

Had a good writing session in the morning, both yesterday and a little tougher one today. Ran errands — had to find a new tree topper — it’s hard! Finally found one that I think will be pretty.

Got some raking done in the back — the terraced back area and one side of the house. That’s all we could get done before the sleet started. Took seven bags of leaves to the dump. Most of the day was about getting “Just Jump in and Fly” done.

Good meeting in the evening. I’m going to change the way we handle the mailing list, and set up a gmail account for the organization, which will make more sense and give us more flexibility. I’m also going to set up a WordPress site for them. We need to have an internet presence, and be able to link to other sites in the town, etc.

Started packing for the NY trip this weekend. Worked with tarot students. Set up a Tarot Lounge on the workshop board so that we can continue the conversation once class ends, and set up a Yahoo loop called “Myth-Drunk Writers” so we can continue the conversation once the Greek/Roman Mythology class is over.

I’ve got an article to write today, and I’ve got to prep “That Man in Tights” to upload, and get the lights on the darned tree — I finally found them. Tessa spends a lot of time playing with the tree — it makes her feel like outdoor kitty! Also have to go to the local library and Sandwich, and find mistletoe to photograph!

Busy times. But happy ones.

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 — Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days! Info and registration here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 7:32 am  Comments (7)  
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The rug for the writing room

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday, the kitties had a Big Adventure. Turns out that sometimes, when the heat comes on, the door to the basement “burps” open unless it’s firmly shut. That’s what it did yesterday morning, after I put some stuff into the laundry bin. Suddenly, I come into the hallway and the door to the basement is open.

Uh, oh.

I turn on the light and head downstairs. I see two little furry faces staring up at me, and then the cats Take Off. I managed to trap Iris in the laundry room –she was running around in circles, screaming, with a fat tail. I grabbed her, took her upstairs, and tucked her back into the flannel sheets, where she feels safe, closing the upper bathroom door.

No Violet.

There are a zillion places to hide down there, and the door to the stillroom was still closed, so I figured she wasn’t in there. I left the basement door open and just waited.

Sure enough, after about twenty minutes or so, she tiptoed up and shot into my office. I FIRMLY closed the basement door and that was that.

But they were both velcro kitties for the rest of the day. The basement is full of Scary Monsters (unpacked boxes, furnace, water heater, etc.). It was inevitable they’d get down there sooner or later; I’d just hoped it would be later, so I could get things organized a bit more down there.

Mattress World called me before I could call them to schedule delivery. They were on time, got everything set up in less than ten minutes, no fuss, no drama. So much better than dealing with Sleepy’s (not to mention half the price). So, Mattress World gets high marks in my book. The delivery guys were local Cape guys, too, totally efficient and laid back at the same time. What I love about this area is that people show up when they say they will, everything is done on time and right the first time, but no one stresses out. They just Get It Done.

Speaking of Getting It Done, I spent most of the afternoon raking. Most of my body is no longer speaking to me, but that’s okay, because the rains are coming tomorrow, and I want to get as much done as I can before that. I got a little on the side done and a huge chunk of the back. I also found basil, rosemary, and sage still growing in one section of the yard, the garden border along the stone wall! That’s very exciting. I’ll be planting some of my own in pots, and I want a lot of mint and some other herbs, too, but I’m excited to see how what’s here will grow.

Evidence that an owl lived in at least one of the pitch pine trees in the back. If I hadn’t gone to that seminar, I wouldn’t know how to recognize it! Thankfully, no pellets to be found, because I’m still enough of a city girl to think they’re gross. (If you don’t know what an owl pellet is, look it up. Ewwww).

Quite a few neighbors were prepping their yards, too; everyone’s trying to get it done before the rains. I’m going to work on tidying up the front and the sides this morning, and I hope to get the last section of flat back done this afternoon. Next weekend, if it’s dry, I can do the odd bits that will be left.

I’m going to have to hire someone to take the leaves to the dump. As it is, I’m double-stacking bags, and I want to be able to put my car in the garage! Besides, I could only fit about four bags of leaves in the VW without them exploding all over the place. There are people who have trucks and actually hire themselves out for dump runs, so I’ll be looking into that this week.

So, it turns out the little black and white dog doesn’t belong next door. I don’t know where he lives — he’s tagged, but I haven’t gotten close enough to read it yet. He marked the side of the back deck yesterday while I was raking, got scolded, then shot across the yard at top speed, squeaked through a hole in the fence I didn’t know existed (the fence, much less the hole), and marked the other side of the fence, then went over to tease one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles. He’s neighborhood, but let loose. I’m going to call him Imp until I find out what his real name is. Cute as can be, but rambunctious, and needs to learn this is NOT his yard, much less his potty patch.

The FOOD & WINE cookbooks arrived — very yummy. Can’t wait to try stuff from there. As it was, I cooked pork chops in mushroom sage sauce, mashed potatoes, and red cabbage — very nice.

Class is going well, plenty of interesting discussion and points of view, although I’m still typing in lectures, and i usually prefer to have them all typed and ready to paste before the class starts. But it’s all done and on time. And these people read the book, which means there’s more interactive discussion going on. I have to write a couple of blog posts today, in and around everything else, rake some more, and hit some of the artisan stores to do more Yule shopping. I want to get both the overseas cards and gifts out by next weekend.

Playing with some story ideas. I’ve got a great idea for a character, but she appeared within the context of a type of piece I don’t particularly want to write. So I’m going to work with her, and see if I can get her into a different type of piece, while still honoring her essence. It will be an interesting challenge. I think if I work along the more comic elements of her nature, I might pull it off. I also got information on a couple of anthologies, which sound interesting, if I can balance that with the work already booked, the unpacking, and the holiday prep.

I’m starting to figure out the morning routine, and I love being at my desk super early and watching everyone walk their dogs before work. But my writing room is so lovely (even with the boxes) and so sunny and bright on most days that it’s a pleasure to work in it at any time of day. What a nice change!

Back to the page.

I haven’t had a chance to say that in a long time.

Devon

Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 6:57 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but really good.

Made those Martha Stewart banana-walnut chocolate-chunk goodies. Oh, my goodness — one of the best cookies ever! Totally loved them. They are now my second-favorite cookie recipe, behind my favorite molasses spice.

The owl program at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History was amazing. I didn’t realize that screech owls and saw-whet owls were so tiny! So cute, especially the saw-whet. The barred owl was lovely. I absolutely adored the Great Horned Owl — he has no natural predator and he knows it. That was a bird with major ‘tude — he was looking at some of the smaller children like he considered them a tasty snack. So, of course, I adored him. The snowy owl, who’s been with this group since babyhood (owlet-hood?) was a showoff — loved the play the crowd. And the enormous Eurasian Eagle Owl know she was totally gorgeous and just demanded all to adore her. Really, really great program, and I can’t say enough great things about the people in charge. Check out their website for lots more info. I learned a lot, and now I know what to look — and listen for — when it comes to owls.

I sat next to a lovely woman who is part of the Friends program at the Center and gave me information. She said she had to come to this — or else she’d have to rake her yard! I may not join Friends — because my freelance schedule is so transient, I’m leery of initially committing to anything. But I might buy and inscribe a brick in Elsa’s memory for the walkway, and become a member, since I’ll be going to so many of their programs whenever I get the chance.

Their gift shop has gorgeous stuff, most made by local artists. I knocked four people off my Yule list right there!

I was really impressed with the kids — they’re lively, rambunctious, and very, VERY smart. And yet they’re totally well behaved. No screaming, no tantrums, no bad behavior. And they weren’t sticky, thank goodness. Kids come to me as often as dogs do. I’m not a particularly child-friendly person (one reason I chose not to have any), but for some reason, they really like me. I was surprised by how they paid attention and could refer to something at the beginning of the program later on when they asked a question, and how much they remembered. One kid, who couldn’t have been more than six or seven, could identify a Great Horned owl skull from a program he remembered at his school last year. Pretty impressive.

And the stuff they chose to buy was pretty interesting, too. None of this made-in-China plastic crap. They wanted very site-specific toys and books that required imagination. In general, I’ve been very impressed by the local kids, from toddler to teen. Quite different from the Summer Brats, I’m sure, and very different from the horribly behaved, selfish, bored and boring, entitlement-obsessed children in Westchester.

Back to the house too late to rake. Stopped at Trader Joe’s to get a wreath for the front door — everyone else in the neighborhood is decorated, and I feel behind the beat. Unpacked some more boxes — made a good dent in the pile still in the kitchen.

We got the area rugs up for the living room and the back bedroom and cleaned them both. They look great. I didn’t think the one would work in the back bedroom, but it looks great.

Did some work on the lectures.

Went to bed early, and the cats kind of let me sleep. Or maybe I was just so tired I didn’t notice them playing.

I’m still having weird anxiety dreams. They all have to do with being stuck somewhere in NY, in a theatrical situation, on a show without running notes. I’ll get over them eventually, but they’re annoying.

Up at a reasonable hour on Sunday, yoga, meditation, made biscuits for breakfast. Did some more work on the lectures. Read the Sunday papers – -haven’t done that in ages! Lots of good stuff in there.

Went outside and raked for a couple of hours. The raised part of the backyard. It’s only a small section, but it’s a whole section, so I got that feeling of accomplishment.

Had lunch, then ran some errands. Went to Sandwich to the Herb Shop to pick up a few things I needed to make sachets for the closets, and then swung by Lavender Moon to get the necklace with the amber that I looked at last week, but hadn’t bought. I can’t wear it every day, but it will be lovely for special occasions.

Also stopped at the Yoga/Wellness Center just down the street (seriously, I could walk if I wanted to — it would be about 15-20 minutes) to pick up their schedule. Looks like they have yoga classes along the lines of what I’m looking for, meditation group, and even an acupuncturist on staff. I’ll give them a try. I probably won’t start going to class until the New Year, but I’m going to try to get into one of the acupuncture sessions. My hip is really bothering me again.

Back to the house, and back to raking. I did some more in the backyard. Doesn’t it look better?


And I met the neighbor across the way who has the Scottie and the Westie, both of whom are rescues. The Westie is just a little love bug. But then, they know a soft touch when they see one. Basically, everyone up and down the street takes in rescues — the neighbor across the street only has two; most have three or more. Fine with me — the more happy animals around, the better. And I’m invited to an open house to meet the neighbors in two weeks!

And here’s what’s left for me to do in the back in the next couple of days:

I still have to tidy up the front before the rains hit Tuesday night.

Once I was done raking for the day, I started with the Yuletide decorations. I still can’t find a bunch of stuff, and I’m sure we’ll be rearranging things as we go, but I got part of the advent table up (enough to light the candle for the First of Advent, which is what yesterday was). The mirror’s not yet up over the fireplace, but I kind of like having all the nutcrackers there, and, for now, I have about half the Santas on one bookcase (one of the ones where I can’t find the shelves). I’m kind of at a stopping point until I get the tree up, and then decide what I want to do around that. But, now that I can put up my Very Big Tree — well, it’s an OLD Very Big Tree, and each branch has to be inserted individually, so it will take me three damn days!

I posted my welcome message and the first lecture for the workshop.

Violet is very cuddly lately. She seems to be settling in better than Iris, although Iris brought about five or six toys into the bed overnight. At least it’s not pork bones out of the garbage, which is what Elsa used to do!

Egg on face moment — for some reason, I thought my editor had booked a different article, and that was what I was working on until she straightened me out. NOT the way to impress your boss, right?

Mattress World never called me to give me a window for delivery today, so I will have to get on them about it. I can’t sit around indefinitely waiting for them to show up. Even though I need to spend a good portion of the day raking.

Got my first Yuletide card on Saturday — from the National Marine Life Center. Designed by one of their volunteers, who is seven years old. I’m telling you, the kids here are preternaturally bright. It’s an adorable card. I’m looking forward to putting it up.

And I have to get the overseas cards out this week.

Pretty much all we’ve watched since we got the TV hooked up is WGBH, Boston’s Public Television station. That’s the best on right now. Perhaps we should become members!

Actually stayed up until a reasonable hour, kept working on the lectures.

Up early this morning to find frost on the ground, yoga, meditation, feeding the cats, getting down to work, etc. The other split box is supposed to be delivered today — hope it actually happens — and then I can start really putting the bedroom to rights. I haven’t unpacked/found my sewing boxes yet or my hot glue gun, and there are some ornaments in desperate need of Ornament Hospital. I need to teach, work on some blog posts, and work on the article.

And rake. And unpack. And keep decorating.

No one’s stressed and frantic around here, but an awful lot gets done in a short amount of time. There’s no dithering or procrastination — they just get to it. My kind of place.

Oh, does anyone have any idea what kind of bush this is? It’s in the backyard, with orange berries and pale yellow flowers — a nice late bloomer.

Devon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Day before Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Back from the house. Loading the car yesterday morning was complicated when a skunk darted out from under the car across my foot and I screamed. Fortunately, he just kept running and didn’t stop to squirt me, or, we would have had a delay (to say the least).

Up to the Cape in 4 hours, unloaded, had lunch, drove to Wareham to the Big Box Stores not allowed on the cape — Lowe’s, Target, etc. Target had TVs on sale, but I was too tired to make an informed decision. I did, however, find a lovely white lampshade for the horse lamp. I was literally shaking with fatigue by the time we left — even fueled myself with a Starbucks for the drive back.

Slept for an hour, then went out to tackle the front yard. Had to rake — it was unfair to the neighbors, who are raking, for my yard to have leaves blowing into theirs. Didn’t have the right bags, but made what I had work — 6 large trash bags’ worth of leaves. Discovered the rake I bought sucks — I thought a lighter build would be easier for me to handle, but it’s poorly made, and the handle kept pulling out. So on Saturday, I’m buying a heavier, SERIOUS rake! Live and learn, right?

The front yard looked lovely when I was done. And was full of leaves again this morning, thanks to the pair of oaks in the front yard! 😉 All part of it, right?

I’m not even tackling the back yard yet — it’s a carpet of leaves.

Cooked a lovely dinner, took some more measurements, read part of a book I need to review this weekend (I haven’t even started the assignment for Confidential Job #1 yet, and that’s due on Monday).

To bed early, slept really well, up early, yoga, meditation, baked apple bread this morning, rolled my eyes when I saw the front yard full of leaves again.

On the road just before 8 AM. Bad trip back — rainy, too many idiots driving without their lights on in rain and fog. Made it back around lunchtime, got more boxes. Iris was so happy to see us that she promptly threw up. Niiiiice.

Happy with election results in both NY and MA — those I voted for here got in, and those I wanted to get in where I’ll be living got in. I feel well-represented. And, believe me, those new representatives will know me quite well before long. I’m delighted that Andrew Cuomo got elected Gov. of NY. He was an outstanding Attorney General, his dad was my favorite Governor ever, and he doesn’t take crap from anyone. I think he’ll be really good for NY. Schumer, Gillebrand, and Lowey all got back in — they are very conscientious towards their constituents, as well as being responsive and delightful to work with, As far as the MA races, delighted that Deval Patrick was re-elected, as was Barney Frank (even though he won’t be representing me, I adore him — truly one of the best and brightest we have in DC), and happy that William Keating will represent the district in which I now live. MA Senators were not up for re-election this year — I’m very happy with John Kerry, and Scott Brown will realize he better pay attention quite soon, or he’ll have a migraine, if he goose-steps with his party instead of representing me!

Need to lie down for a bit and give Violet some attention, and then — back to packing.

Diane — gas isn’t too bad, because I know a great place in Rhode Island — fill up going up and coming back, and it winds up being a saving equivalent of a gallon of gas each trip. Plus, I get great mileage on this car.

A nap, packing, and working on my assignments so I actually have some money once the move is complete! 😉

Devon

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