Tues. Nov. 2, 2021: Here We Go, Nano!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

image courtesy of StartUp Stock Photos via pexels.com

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny/cloudy and a little cold

The weekend was a lot of fun.

I prepped some more food, and we cleaned the house on Friday morning, then drove up to Bennington, VT to meet my friend’s bus. It was a lovely, crisp autumn day. It was a nice drive back to the house.

We unloaded and had snacks and wine. The chili was in the crock pot; I’d made cornbread in the morning, and there was my mom’s birthday cheesecake for dessert. We took a walk around the neighborhood between cocktail hour and dinner, enjoying the architecture, and random people just stopped to talk to us and tell us about the buildings, which was pretty cool. And we met a woman who was walking her dog who lives around the corner from me and works for Hearst Magazines. She used to be an actress, so we had a lot to talk about!

We were up talking and catching up.

MassMOCA now has a proof of vaccination policy and timed entries. I tried to get us a slot for Saturday. No one answered the phone; the message said they’d call back. They never called back; they never emailed. I tried to book a slot online. I had a library pass, and there as no option for it. So no MassMOCA for us. Disappointing, but certainly not a tragedy.

Tessa let us sleep until 6 on Saturday.

I made raw apple muffins for breakfast. Instead of going to MassMOCA, we walked back up to the library. Met some more random people with some more information about houses. I showed off the library (which is beautiful), and we had good conversations with the librarians. It was raining when we came back, so we took the car and went to Cinnamon Girl (even though it was close enough to walk). I bought my friend her first tarot deck, and we got sundry other goodies. We headed to Whitney’s Farm and got a pumpkin and cider, then kept going (in the rain) down to Pittsfield, to Re-Store. My friend had heard about Re-store, but never seen one. So we visited the land that is Re-Store, and I found a pair of tapestry footstools that hinge open. So those came home with us. We continued down to Lenox to the joy that is Chocolate Springs Café.

Even though it was rainy, it was still pretty, and we were chatting all the way.

More snacks when we came home, and then it was trout poached in a wine-leek sauce with couscous, and lemon mousse for dessert.

Chatting, chatting, chatting, playing with the cats.

Tessa let us sleep in on Sunday, too. I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast (with prosecco, of course). Lazy morning, then headed to Bear and Bee Bookshop, where we found a bunch of great stuff.

From there, we went to Berkshire Cider Project, which is in the renovated Greylock Works Center. That place is amazing! We bought a bunch of cider and got Halloween treats. The woman working there recently moved from California. She and her husband are working on starting a restaurant; we exchanged information in case they need to hire someone for marketing.

We went to The Spruces and walked around and talked about the history of the place. My friend let me start spinning out ideas for an historical mystery series set there when it was a residential community in the 1950’s and 60’s. We had some great conversations with people walking their dogs.

After that, we found an alpaca farm/store in Williamstown, Colonial Alpacas.. The guy is part of a fiber co-op. He has a lovely bulldog, who showed us around. We bought some alpaca goods, and went to meet the alpacas, although they were not interested in coming out of their sheds and getting their feet muddy.

But it was a delightful afternoon full of interesting people who were doing things. Everyone followed safety protocols without fussing. People were friendly, interesting, and interested.

Home, unloaded, my friend carved her pumpkin. We put on the lights and were ready for Trick or Treaters. There were a few, but not many.

Hunter’s pasta for dinner, and then the Samhain Ancestor rituals, which were satisfying, although we were up pretty late.

Up at 5 on Monday. Managed 2100 words on CAST IRON MURDER before breakfast and driving my friend back to Bennington to catch her bus. On the way back, errands at the market, the pharmacy, the post office, the library.

Came home, and started working my way through all the email which had piled up in my box since Thursday night. Did the Sundance Collab session, and wrote 7 pages/the next scene of “A Rare Medium.” I think I can wrap it up in one more scene.

Willa and Tessa looked for my friend for a bit, then Tessa decided to settle on the porch. Charlotte was on my bed until the Sundance Zoom – as far as Charlotte is concerned, Zoom exists so people all over the world can see her and tell her she’s pretty.

The cold warnings went out for the area. Although we won’t descend into frost yet, it was cold enough to pull in our plants from the back balcony, and bring in most of the furniture. The big bench and the bistro chairs will stay out, but everything else came in. Most plants can be on the front porch, until that, too, is too cold.

Made sausage and Brussels sprouts for dinner. Read two scripts and some source material for a new play in the evening.

Went to bed ridiculously early, after doing my Tending the Dead ritual for the night.

Tessa let me sleep until nearly 6:30 this morning. I was writing in longhand on a project, and just taking my time. Didn’t even sit down to write on CAST IRON MURDER until 9 AM. Took me two hours to write 2364 words, but I’m even happy with some of them. Yesterday’s work was more hit-and-miss. But I’m starting to hear and feel the rhythm of this book.

Now, it’s time to take down most of the Samhain decorations, although I still have a few more Tending the Dead rituals. You can read more information about that here.

I have two script coverages to write up. I’d hoped to finish “A Rare Medium” today, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. I hate to lose the momentum, though. I have at least one script to read tonight, but I’m hoping to grab a second at some point this afternoon.

There will be leftovers tonight, as there will be most of the week. And, hopefully, a lot of writing!

Fri. Sept. 24, 2021: Apples, Books, Learning

image courtesy of Michal Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Friday, September 24, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and warm

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Meditation was great, of course.

Then, I hauled the heavy, flawed bookcases down the stairs and got them loaded into the car. We drove to Target in Lanesborough, and the return was drama-free, thank goodness.

Since we were almost in Pittsfield, we continued on to Re-store, looking for bookcases/shelving. As we entered, the manager was yelling at someone to get out and off the property, for being inappropriate with a female employee. The manager later came around to apologize for the ruckus. While I’m grateful he stood up for her and kicked the guy out, it was still unsettling.

But there wasn’t anything that was what we were looking for, so that was that.

We went to some of the box stores on Hubbard Street – I popped into Barnes & Noble to take a look, we got a small picture frame at Michael’s, and we did some shopping at Price Chopper. I’d never been in a Price Chopper before. Some stuff is good, but most of the low prices are for their generic store brand. Otherwise, prices are similar to Big Y and Stop & Shop here, although Price Chopper has Stonewall Kitchen products. I got a Rewards Card to use there, just in case.

Home, unloaded. In the afternoon, I wrote up some coverages. I still have a lot to write up today, the thought of which is a bit overwhelming. But I will just work my way through them. Read scripts later in the day; one was a stage play that was quite good.

It started raining in the evening, and poured all night. I’d like to run a few errands today, but don’t want to be out if it’s bucketing.

I do, however, like to lie in bed or on the couch and listen to the rain. It’s soothing.

Charlotte was the catalyst of being up way too early this morning, setting Tessa off. So I fed them at 4:30, and then curled up on the couch to doze for an hour or so, before starting my day.

Good first writing session, and spinning some ideas for what to teach at the conference next summer.

There are times when I skip scenes as I write the novel. Not because I’m working out of order, but because the reader doesn’t need them. Normally, I’d write them, and then cut them; in this particular book, I think them through, so I know what happened, but the reader doesn’t need the scene, so I move on to write the next scene the reader needs, and then integrate any information necessary from the unwritten scenes into the upcoming scenes, but without info dumping.

Knowledge Unicorns went well last night. We’re going to do some work with virtual museum tours around the world, to discuss the art and then create stories, poems, dance, etc., inspired by various paintings.

The kids who are now homeschooled are much calmer and more focused than the ones who are doing online learning with their schools. As one of the homeschooled kids said, “I don’t have to worry about dying from the virus because some classmate has a stupid, selfish, anti-vaxx relative. I don’t have to worry about being shot at school. I can actually LEARN.”

The kids who are doing virtual learning through their school are under a bit more pressure, both to return in person, and because the hours are set for schooling, whereas the homeschooled kids have a more flexible schedule based on the day, and on the remote work their parents are doing. Every style of learning has its challenges, but I’m glad we’re all sticking to the decision that NONE of them are going back in person this year.

I should be able to get my mom set up for her third Pfizer shot right up the street soon.

I hope I can get a bunch of unpacking done this weekend. I’m getting a little tired of my bedroom and my office being stacked with so many unpacked boxes.

I want to do some more world building and work on the outline for the piece I’ve been developing. It really wants to start spilling out.

If the weather’s nice over the weekend, I hope to spend some time at the lake, too. Take a book, take a notebook in which to do some writing.

I got a nice big bag of apples yesterday, so I’ll probably make an apple cake, too, this weekend. And I’d like to make bread.

Have a good one, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on September 24, 2021 at 6:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 24, 2021: Apples, Books, Learning  
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Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Wed. April 20, 2016: Writing Intensifies – So Does the Garden

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Two retrogrades, and Mercury goes retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until everything goes direct?

The past few days were good, although flat out busy. Saturday, I had lots of errands, but managed to get to the NMLC Seal Pup Shower, which kicks off April vacation week. We got a lot of donations of basic necessities — Pedialite, laundry soap, etc. First thing that morning, I’d done a major run to Country Gardens. Got the fertilizer for the lawn, lettuce plants, basil plants, etc. We’ve planted pansies in hanging baskets for the front and the deck — they’re happy in this cool weather. The lettuce is repotted, and so is the basil.

We’d bought a small table at Restore, and I repainted it an apple red, and repainted one of our metal plant stands green. I painted a few planters. I still have two more tables and a shelf unit. We put some of the furniture on the deck — we tend to rearrange every year — and some of the hardier plants.

I worked on the HEART SNATCHER rewrites. I have Max’s first chapter where I want it, so I think the Prologue and first three chapters are in good shape. I worked on the following six chapters. I’m still not happy with Carey’s introductory chapter. It needs more work. But the chapters where Max and Valerie keep running into each other are working. I’m doing quite a bit of tightening, better use of language, more sensory detail. I’m also about to cut a chapter.

I started re-reading DEATH OF A CHOLERIC with an eye to its revisions. I think it will need two more revisions, not just one. I’ve had to do a major shift in some of the relationships so it makes more sense, and I need to put those in and then read it through again, and THEN do another draft before that’s ready to go out.

Did a nice chunk of work on Nonfiction #1.

Received the radio contest entries, read them, made notes. I found it disturbing that not a single entry is in correct radio format. One of them is a screenplay; another is a stage play. Some of them tried, but don’t understand the use of sound in radio.

Worked on the pages for the MOBY DICK marathon reading in which I’m participating next weekend.

Did some yard work, although not enough. Somehow, it’s never enough, is it?

Read a couple of delightful mysteries: KILLER TAKEOUT by Lucy Burdette, and, especially, THE CRACKED SPINE by Paige Shelton, which is set in Edinburgh. Enjoyed them both.

Got some submission materials completed for a major script entry I have coming up.

Baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and almond cookies, and made a non-alcoholic syllabub for tonight’s Tribute to Shakespeare. I’d done the programs last week. I tried to put together the Globe Theatre model, but it was a disaster. No instructions, it makes no sense, and it doesn’t work to watch a You Tube Video. I want step-by-step, well-written instructions. Will never deal with THAT company again!

Up early this morning. Worked on Nonfiction #1, and also did a bit of yard work. Today will be a ten hour day for me at work — the full day, and then the Tribute to Shakespeare tonight. It will be a very long week. So will next week, especially since I’ll be flat out every day I’m not at the library, but then, I have a much-needed vacation.

I’m so wiped out when I get home at night that I can’t get anything done in the yard, so I’m going out on nice days in the early, early morning. Even twenty, thirty minutes here and there will eventually add up.

Onward.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 20, 2016: Writing Intensifies – So Does the Garden  
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