Fri. July 22, 2022: Seasonal Summer Heat

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Friday, July 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

It was difficult to settle into meditation yesterday, but I managed it.

Uploaded the content calendar for the ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE Topic Workbook release through the end of September. A content calendar is only useful if you follow through. I’ll do a post on that for Ink-Dipped Advice for September.

I had to run the repair on Word again in the morning. Getting tired of the constant problems with the computer, but that’s how it goes with PCs.

Plus, Windows 11 keeps changing things. What a lousy operating system.

Turned around my script coverage in the morning, before it got too hot and the computer really started suffering. I have a coverage to turn around today, for which I was requested, and another request just landed in my inbox that I will do on Sunday.

Freelance Chat was fun.

It was too hot to work upright in the afternoon. I spent most of it lying on the couch. I noodled with my article. I have to get the first 900-1000 words of It down on paper this morning, then another 900 tomorrow morning, then the final 900 on Sunday (it’s a 2800-word article). I want to revise it Monday and send it to my editor Tuesday, nearly a week early.

I also read a mystery, recommended by two writer friends, but I’m not enamored of this writer’s voice/style. It hits the genre conventions, but that’s about it.

Leftovers for dinner. We were promised a thunderstorm, which never materialized. Today and tomorrow will be hot. I’m worried about tomorrow afternoon’s performance. But I also trust the event organizers to take care of us.

The Jan. 6 Hearing last night simply confirmed that the Narcissistic Sociopath wanted a bloodbath. He should have been led away in cuffs the day after Biden’s inauguration. The fact that no one has been held accountable is unacceptable. And ALL the Republicans who voted against certifying the election need to be in prison.

I don’t know how I’m going to find a place to get my hair cut today.

I dreamed last night about one possible salon, that it was definitely the wrong place for me. In the dream, a friend told me that they were reasonably priced, but the quality was awful.

I had another dream where a Twitter acquaintance (who’s a lawyer out on the other coast) and I worked on a social justice performance piece. Weird dream.

Today will be another hot day. I’ll do as much as I can early on, and then stay quiet for the worst of it, and maybe do some work when it cools down again in the evening. That’s the joy of controlling my own schedule.

Tomorrow is all about Word X Word. I’m both excited and nervous. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure.

Have a great weekend! We’ll catch up next week.

Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Tues. June 7, 2022: When You Break The Important Bowl

image courtesy of Chuttersnap via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, June 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Saturn Retrograde

Partly sunny and warm

Talk about a weekend that was all over the place.

Mercury went direct on Friday, thank goodness, so there was a huge burden lifted. Don’t talk to me about the shadows of the retrograde; we’d spend far too much time in trouble if we had to tack on two extra weeks at each end of already too many Mercury Retrogrades every year.

But, of course, as Mercury turned directed, Saturn (the planet of life lessons) prepared to turn retrograde on Saturday, and they squared. Which caused tension.

Did a library run to drop off/pick up books, and then out to Wild Oats for eggs, guacamole, wine. You know, the basics. Turned around two scripts.

Read a book from an author whose work I’ve read a great deal of, over a great many years. Wasn’t that thrilled with this one. It was within her formula, but missing the sparky quality that usually sets it apart in the genre. It felt like she dampened it down to please a more conservative audience, and it didn’t quite work.

Up early Saturday morning, fussing over the plants. First thing, when they opened, I went to the Farmers’ Market, which is now in the outdoor location, and weekly through October. Got some great stuff, enjoyed talking with the vendors and the other shoppers. One woman starts at the Williamstown market, then hits North Adams, and keeps going. Saturday is her Farmers’ Market day.

Since I was out in that direction, I hopped into Big Y and filled in the other groceries I needed for the week’s meals, built around what I got at the Farmers’ Market.

Good thing I’d decided to drive.

Hauled everything home and upstairs, and put it away. Made a big salad for lunch.

Turned around two more scripts in the afternoon, and played with the next Monthology section. Had to deal with an issue with the storage facility on Cape.  They tried to put through the autopay early and whined that it was refused. Yup. That is correct. I put in a safeguard so it can’t be pulled early. The new owners suck, and I need to make arrangements to get things moved up here as soon as I can afford it (and find a storage facility not too far away. They are not plentiful here).

Read REAL MEN KNIT by Kwana Jackson, which is delightful. THE ENCHANTED MAP ORACLE arrived, which I like, although it’s very different than I expected, when I ordered it.

Dinner was salmon with softened onion, tomato, and red pepper aioli on romaine, with buttered steamed spinach. It was good.

There was an extra Zoom meditation session this week with Be Well Be Here, and I practiced with the group. Definitely helped me sleep.

Up early on Sunday, thanks to the cats.  Breakfast consisted of delicious blueberry muffins from Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery. But we also were out of the house early to visit Natural Bridge State Park, which is only a couple of miles away (and in the same town). The park entrance is right next to a mill where I’d attended a chamber event a few months back.

It’s absolutely beautiful. I posted some of the photos on my Instagram feed. It used to be a marble quarry. I hadn’t realized we had marble quarries here in New England, and I don’t even think I’ve ever seen marble out in the wild. Pretty stunning. The dam and the waterfalls are lovely.

The bridge itself is shut off right now, awaiting inspections. I assume there are safety issues. We’ll go back another day, when it’s all opened back up. A conspiracy of ravens was in one of the large trees on the cliff. They didn’t mind when we walked past first (as the only humans around), but when some others arrived, they were carrying on like they were having a group nervous breakdown. I guess they’ve learned humans are bad.

They were definitely ravens and not crows; much bigger than my local murder of crows, and the call is different.

Read Fiona Leitch’s MURDER ON THE MENU, the first book in her Nosey Parker series set in Cornwall. Although it’s set in a fictional town, there were also lots of familiar touchstones from places I’ve visited. The writing is great, the characters are fun, the plot is good. I wanted to read more in the series. Turns out, although it was only released last year, the whole series undergone a rebrand. This book is now THE CORNISH VILLAGE MURDER and all the covers are redone. The whole series has new titles and new covers to play up the Cornish village aspect. I wound up buying the whole series for Kindle, and pre-ordering the 5th one that will come out in August.

I’m noticing how the traditional authors are being pushed to release multiple books a year, often several in the same series within just a few months of each other. I have a sneaking suspicion they’re being paid less to work harder. Even before I got sick, that was one of the things that was killing me with my small publisher – being pushed too hard to write too much too fast for too little money. Pay writers enough and let them keep a sane schedule.

The publishing industry needs to make a lot of changes in order to be sustainable. Part of that is getting the corporate overseers out, and having a renaissance of smaller publishers with actual vision, who also have enough resources to pay their writers, editors, production people, artists enough on which to survive.

Started reading Jennifer Weiner’s THE SUMMER PLACE, which is a different style than many of her other books I’ve read before. Good for her, not sticking to formula, but writing what interests her.

The big drama for Sunday was a fire across the street, in the historical building that houses student apartments. There was a kitchen fire in a supposedly empty apartment. A couple of guys showed up and tossed burning things onto the pavement and poured water on it, and didn’t want the fire department to show up. But someone called them, because two cars of cops, and EMT, and two fire trucks showed up. The firemen were not amused by the way the guys packed smoldering materials in garbage bags and just poured water on them. Everything had to be undone and checked to make sure it didn’t catch again, thank goodness. And the fire department went in and brought out the blackened stove and several rods’ of burnt curtains. How did it even start? The apartment’s been empty since late May.

The building itself has Historic Preservation status, having been built in 1899, and it’s gorgeous. But this is the third time since we’ve lived across the street that the Fire Department has had to visit.

Dinner was chicken with honey barbecue sauce, in the crockpot, and potato salad.

The cats got me up before 5 on Monday morning. I was not amused. All three of them ganged up on me. At least there were lemon muffins from the Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery to which to look forward!

Slogged through a bunch of email, blogged, did the rounds, wrote a little over 1K on The Big Project, worked on a social media ad, worked on a blurb and log line for a project. Turned around only one script, not two, which means I have three to turn around tomorrow, because I can’t turn any around today.

Broke a beautiful vintage bowl from the 1950’s, the one I use to let the bread rise. I’m furious with myself, and have no sympathy for the fact that my hands are banged up. “Oh, it’s an accident, these things happen” doesn’t cut it. It was my responsibility to take special care of that bowl. And I failed, after making sure it was safe for decades. Which is unacceptable. I’m going to try to piece it together again; I think I’ve retrieved all the pieces.

Today will be challenging, and there’s no use talking about it ahead of time, so we’ll catch up tomorrow. Spare a good thought my way if you can, and we’ll catch up soon.

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Tues. March 29, 2022: Washer Woes

image courtesy of Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Fairly quiet weekend. There’s a March wrap up over on the GDR site, posted early, even though we still have a few days left in the month, and I’m just trying to steadily do the work.

It wasn’t a good writing day on Friday, sadly. Oversleeping threw off the morning for me. But I did write and turn in another book review, and cover a script. Did a bunch of admin work. Put the seedlings out on the porch. It’s still too cold at night to leave them. I received an internal promotion and a pay bump from a big client.

Tessa woke me early on Saturday. I moved to the couch and overslept. The sun overcame the clouds, so we could put the seedlings on the porch, at least for a few hours. More seeds are germinating (more on that in Thursday’s garden post.

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription. Because the weather was good, I went on foot, and then I took a different route from there to the library, to learn more about the town. I found some interesting restaurants and stores that I will visit at leisure in the future.

Dropped off/picked up books at the library.

In the afternoon, I tried reading a book that was supposed to be an exciting, twisty thriller getting a lot of buzz. I figured it out less than a third of the way through, and lost patience with the characters for not catching on. Checked the ending, to make sure I was right (yes, I was). That’s back in the return pile. Tried another book that came highly recommended, but it’s written in present tense, which I loathe, and, since I’m not being paid to read it, it goes back in the return pile.

Returned to reading contest entries, which was fun. It started raining in the late afternoon, so we brought the seedlings in. Crockpot chicken was a good choice.

Up early on Sunday, baked biscuits. Charlotte, or maybe Willa, chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings, so I’m trying to recuse them. A member of the extended family in Maine is very ill. I’ve kept a distance since the lack of support around the move last year, but I don’t want this person to be ill.

It snowed off and on all day. Sometimes flurries, sometimes intensely. In a break between it, I did a run to the liquor store and to get burgers. Bad choice on the burgers, and I was miserable all afternoon. Red meat and I are no longer friends. And yet, every few months, I crave it. But fresh trout for dinner was a better choice.

I covered a script in the afternoon, and then returned to working on contest entries. I ordered snapdragon seeds and marigold seeds. That means I have to go out and get more pots and soil next week, when I go to get the tomato cages. I set up the acknowledgements file for CAST IRON MURDER and for the retro mystery. Starting a document for acknowledgements early in the process saves a lot of panic later on.

Tessa woke me on Monday at 5:30, which is a perfect time. The usual early morning routine of writing in longhand, yoga, meditation. Blogged.

It started sunny, but too cold to put the seedlings out. More seedlings are sprouting, which is lovely. I got through some admin work. Didn’t get much done on The Big Project. Revised the next three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Worked on the grant proposal. I need to flesh it out some more today, and put material connected to the proposal up on one of my websites. I don’t have information on the stage and radio plays up on a website, and I should.

I also played with the MailerLite site, and worked on the newsletter, which will go out in a day or so (since it’s the end of the quarter and all). If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to, newsletter signup is here.

Received the next book for review. Started a script coverage. There’s not much in the queue, which worries me a bit, but also takes off some of the pressure. Worked on contest entries.

Noodled with some ideas for the play I have to start on Friday as part of the Dramatists Guild project. Noodled with some ideas for the Monthology story.

The Tamed Wild box arrived. In it, was a Rose of Jericho plant. I’ve put it in water, and it’s unfurling. Fascinating. It’s not a plant with which I have much familiarity.

Up early this morning, before Tessa even got started. Was out of the house and on the way to the laundromat early. Ended up spending more time there than planned, because the machine I used was stuck on “rinse” for 15 minutes, and then didn’t spin out properly, so the wash was soaking wet (no sink in the building, no techs). I had to have it in the dryer on high for an hour. I put a note on the machine, so that no one else has to go through this.

I brought the pages done so far on The Big Project with me, and worked on them while at the laundromat. I got a lot done.

Home to find more seeds are sprouting. It’s very exciting.

Today’s list items include work on The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, another revision of the grant proposal, putting information up on the website, a polish on the newsletter, and a script coverage. I might do some more contest entries, if I get the chance.

It’s supposed to start warming up again over the next few days. Let’s hope this was winter’s last gasp, and I can get the seedlings out on the front porch, and set up the enchanted garden on the back balcony sooner rather than later.

Have a good one.

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

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Greylock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Thurs. March 10, 2022: Yet More Snow

image courtesy of Marketa Morchova via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and snowy

There’s information on the seedlings, ordered seeds, birds, and more, over on Gratitude and Growth.

It snowed most of the day, with much more accumulation than predicted. It’s a heavy, wet snow, and will be hard to dig out my car, especially since the plow is pushing snow up behind it even as we speak.

But I need to pick up my birthday cake, and do not get between me and cake.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. I sent out three LOIs, and got back two demands for unpaid labor as part of the process. I responded with my contract for tests/samples/assessments, and I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again. I also added them to The List.

I slogged through way too much email, but I’m determined to keep it at manageable levels. I did some work on The Big Project, but not enough, and certainly not as much as I hoped.

Things have been slow with the big client. The contractors supposedly got a raise, yet the work since the “raise” has been much sparser, although there are “options” for pieces at a lower rate. No, thank you. I’ll just work on finding other clients that pay the proper rate to fill the gap.

Turned around a script coverage. Worked on contest entries. Read a book for fun, which had come highly recommended. It was okay, but for the first half, I kept getting too far ahead of the plot, and waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up. The book was okay, hit the genre expectations, but it didn’t grab me the way it did those who recommended it.

Tessa and Charlotte had been doing well there, for a few days, but now they’re fussing at each other again. And someone knocked over the cat grass plant overnight (most likely Willa), so I had to clean that up this morning.

But Tessa let me sleep until six, when she actually came into my room to wake me up. She hates my room here. She loved my room in the other house, because it was huge and carpeted. This is small (it’s fine for sleeping), and there’s a small rug by the side of the bed, but no carpet, and Madame Tessa Does Not Approve. Charlotte is just happy she can sleep on the bed with me here.

Meditation group this morning. Then, after breakfast, I will dig out the car, pick up my cake (and get more eggs, we’re out of eggs). I don’t have any scripts in my queue; if I don’t get another one, my long weekend starts early, at least as far as script coverage goes. Then, I’ll do contest entries and work on The Big Project today.

I’m taking a three-day weekend tomorrow, for my birthday. I have a few loose plans, but mostly, I will do exactly as I wish, and create the days.

The COVID tests I ordered a few days ago are supposed to arrive on Monday, which is fast. The ink was supposed to arrive yesterday, but the snowstorm caused an understandable delay, and it will get here today or tomorrow. The tansy seeds should arrive Saturday.

Next week, we start the big spring cleaning, in and around whatever work has to get done.

Tessa loves the new, fluffy dark green rug in the bathroom. Like I said above, she likes rugs/carpets.

Off to start the day. Hope it’s a calm one. I’m looking forward to being mostly disconnected from online for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll check messages and emails here and there, but I’m going to try to keep away from the horrors going on for a few days, so I can return renewed.

Have a good one.

Fri. March 4, 2022: Working Through The Weekend

image courtesy of Annie Spratt via pixabay.com

Friday, March 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly sunny/cloudy and cold

I dug the car out yesterday morning, and then it snowed again. I nearly cried. But it was only flurries, so it wound up being no big deal.

I couldn’t concentrate because I was so worried about the appointment at the mechanic. I managed to deal with nearly 400 emails and do some research for a new market to submit a story that was rejected. I really like the piece, but it may have been too genre for that first submission. I also might do another editing pass; I truncated some of it to fit the wordcount for the original market, and I think I might expand some of the sensory details before I re-submit.

The anthology editor was pleased with the materials I sent, so that’s a deep breath released. I’m going to write up plot points for each of my two stories; we’re not at the point of writing them, but since I’ve spent so much time in these worlds and collaborating to create for these characters, I want to get the shape and drive of the stories down. Then, when it’s time to write, I can drop back into the worlds and flesh out the stories. I don’t usually outline for short stories, but I think, in this case, I should.

Took CAST IRON MURDER with me to work on at the mechanic’s while he diagnosed the car. Couldn’t really concentrate. Only got about 30 pages done, and I’ll have to look at them again, because I’m not confidant in the work I did.

The car needs a new crank, and the dashboard computer isn’t communicating properly with everything else, but the crank should fix it. The car’s at the garage for a few days. He was nice enough to give me a ride home. The estimate is in my budget, so as long as nothing else goes cattywampus once he gets his hands on the part and gets to work, everything should be sorted out in a week or so.

I hope it’s all fixed by my birthday, so we can go to the local places we want that aren’t in walking distance.

But I guess I’ll be getting groceries on foot again this weekend.

Was wiped out by the time I got home. Heated up some homemade mac and cheese out of the freezer. I think I’ll have to make another big batch; it’s handy to be able to take out portions and they re-heat well.

Started reading the next book for review. I’d given myself off from script coverage yesterday, but I’ll read through the weekend, and ramp up the reading early next week so I can take a three-day weekend next week for my birthday.

Ordered tansy seeds and a night blooming jasmine plant. I wanted to order a patchouli plant, because I love the scent of patchouli, but it was part of a “bundle” that I didn’t want. And then I discovered it grows in zones 9-11. I’m in zones 4-5, so it wouldn’t work unless I built it a mini greenhouse.

Fell into bed exhausted early, which meant, when Charlotte woke me at 3:30, I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’ll pay for that later, but will make use of it now.

I’m going to work on the Big Project this morning, then run some errands. Script coverage and contest entries this afternoon. The second shipment for the contest is on its way, and I want to make sure I get as many of the digital entries from the first batch finished before the second batch arrive.

I’m frustrated at NATO’s lack of action. If they let Ukraine fall — and it will very much be NATO letting it happen – it’s too late. And that opens the path for the Russian assets in the GOP to make their next move, because Merrick Effing Garland won’t do what’s necessary to stop it.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. In addition to the regular work, we discusses the State of the Union, and how it’s possible to disagree with class, and not act like GOP trash.

I’ll be grumpy working through the weekend, but it will be worth it to take a three-day weekend off next week.

Have a good one, and see you on the other side.

Thurs. Feb. 10, 2022: Flexibility is Key

Image courtesy of studioone via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

It snowed unexpectedly overnight, so I guess I’m not walking to the grocery store today! Well, that’s why I freelance and work remote, so there’s the capacity for flexibility. Good thing I ordered in extra Chinese food yesterday!

There’s a post about the first seeds that arrived and my plans for them over on Gratitude and Growth.

I cut myself a break yesterday. I got some blogging done in the morning. I stomped to the library – it was more like skating without the right equipment, because the sidewalks are so bad – to drop off/pick up books.

I made a detour to the college library, because a book I was going to pull through Commonwealth Catalogue is supposedly at the college library, and I figured I’d save us all some paperwork and having it move through the system by walking across the street. Only that book is missing from the library, and because I have a Community Card rather than a college card, they can’t get it for me. So I have to pull it through Commonwealth Catalogue anyway.

Tried to find the college bookstore and couldn’t, which was frustrating. I kept following the map directions and ending up in the Athletic Department. They are supposed to be in the same building, but I couldn’t find a hallway or doorway to elevator or anything to get me there.

In the afternoon, I read and wrote up a script, then gave myself the rest of the day off.

I noodled with some outline notes. I need to spend some serious time over the weekend on Scrivener. I’ve picked two projects to use as learning tools to figure out how to navigate my way around. Neither are on hard deadline, so I can relax and take my time with them. They are all projects For the Future.

Finished reading THE MALTESE MANUSCRIPT and read DEATH WITHOUT TENURE. I really like this series.

Started reading a book by a new-to-me author, and am not sure about it yet.

Charlotte didn’t sleep on the bed last night, and she and Tessa came to wake me up at 5:30, which is just perfect. Of course, reading academic mysteries, I dreamed about research in a library all night, and felt like I’d put in a full day by the time I woke up.

Since I’m not going grocery shopping today (can’t maneuver the cart over the snow and ice until they plow), I can use that time to write, after meditation.

The conference needs a new bio, and they are going to be the first people to get the news of The Big Project (which should be available by the time the conference starts).

I have a lot of email, admin work, and correspondence to do today and tomorrow, so I want to get a handle on that. I have one more script I have to cover today, and then I’ll grab one for tomorrow. I also need to read the book for review and get back to contest entries.

The situation with the car weighs heavily on me, but all I can do is the best I can do.

Have a good one!

Fri. Jan. 28, 2022: Blizzard Warning

image courtesy of WildOne via pixabay.com

Friday, January 28, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus & Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Charlotte sat on my lap for meditation yesterday. It was funny.

After breakfast, I bundled up and headed out. It was all the way up to 9 degrees. Ashland Street was better, except for a few difficult spots. The ice mounds that are at property lines on the sidewalks make it difficult to navigate.

Mailed a big stack of cards and notes. Headed up to the library, where I picked up my books, and got an extension on a book I need for a project. Piled all the books in my backpack and walked back on Church Street, literally in the street, because the sidewalks were so bad. When cars came past, I stepped as close to the curb as possible and stopped until they were past. Once I hit college property, the sidewalks were walkable again.

I’ve craved peanut butter for lunch for the past couple of days, and have indulged myself. I’m grateful that I’m not allergic to nuts. I love them.

Got some reading and research done, and some script coverage written up.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. Because of the book banning insanity, now they all want to read MAUS (as they should). Some of them have read it and want to re-read it. So that is our next group project, along with juggling the individual homework assignments.

Tessa woke me at 2:45 this morning, but I fell asleep on the couch again almost immediately.

Today, I’m doing a run to the liquor store, and will stop at Cumberland Farms for a loaf of bread (although I also hope to bake a loaf or two). I want to get it done before the storm stars, and finish writing up my last coverages for the week. I may have to bake bread, if the store is already sold out.

They’d walked back storm predictions yesterday to 3-5 inches for this area. This morning, they are back up to at least a foot, with up to three feet further east and blizzard warnings. People are out and about doing storm prep. I have my pre-storm headache, so although it’s not supposed to start snowing until 11 PM tonight, it might start earlier, according to the pressure in my head.

Venus goes direct tomorrow, thank goodness. Then we just have to hang in there for a few more days of Mercury Retrograde. Once that goes direct, we actually have a little bit of breathing room until April.

Tuesday is Chinese Lunar New Year. Because I worked on so many shows with Asian or mostly Asian casts, that’s become an important day in my personal calendar. This is the year of the Water Tiger, which is what I am, so let’s hope that bodes well!  Wednesday is Imbolc, and I have to decide what will be planted as part of the ritual.

Next week is supposed to be in the forties, so hopefully I can dig out the car, and also get down to the grocery store and do a decent sized shop (although we don’t need that much).

Meanwhile, this weekend, I’m cleaning things up and hopefully getting some more unpacking done. Also working on contest entries, and maybe reading the book for review. I have a stack of books from the library that I want to read just because I want to read them.

I’m worried about the power going off, since we have neither a working fireplace nor a generator. On Cape, we were the only house on our street without one (landlord didn’t feel it was necessary), and National Grid’s attitude was that if we didn’t have a generator, that was on us. Since we haven’t lost power here since we moved in (except for about 5 minutes during a storm), I have no idea how it’s handled. Technically, the gas stove should work, even if the power goes out (It did on Cape). But who knows?

I guess we’re about to find out.

Plenty of blankets and books at the ready. I will adjust what I write to whether it has to be in longhand or can be on the computer.

Have a good one. Catch you next week.

Fri. Jan. 21, 2022: Creative Stretching

image courtesy of Caoha via pixabay.com

Friday, January 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and very cold

Meditation was fine yesterday, with Charlotte sitting on my lap for most of it, participating. She then went back to the rocking chair in my reading corner to go to sleep. I rarely get to use my reading corner anymore, because Charlotte is usually in it.

I signed up for a Zoom reading next week, with a group with whom I’m interested in getting involved. I’m on the wait list to actually read, and I drafted two short poems to read. One needs more work. I need to replace a couple of words with those that sharpen the image while fitting the rhythm. The second poem came out, in word and rhythm, better than I hoped. I might still polish, but it does what I want it to do.

I was surprised that I managed to write either, since I don’t consider myself a poet. I love poetry, but I never felt I could ride that tiger properly as a writer. I wanted to stretch, and I am. You learn how to write in different formats by writing in those formats. Should I even attempt to read them? Who knows? Chances are I’m too far down on the list and won’t get to read them anyway. I’ll learn from the other poets reading. I’ll learn from my own reading, even if it doesn’t go well.

I’d have a three minute slot, allowed one poem, and either poem takes up less than two minutes, even read in what I call “Dramatic Reading Voice.” (Which is different from Pretentious Sonorous Voice).

I can still always decide to only read none, or take myself off the list. But pushing myself, taking the risk, will be valuable.

I’ll work on and rehearse the poems for the next week, and be ready, whichever way the chips land.

I drafted a series of activist letters to the appropriate organizations and individuals. My weapons are words, and rather than social media-ing everything to death, I’d rather write specific, actionable proposals that will get results.

The way I did before social media.

I finished the first draft of the short story for the anthology. It was disquieting to write, so hopefully it will create strong emotions in the reader. It’s just under 1200 words, which gives me room to do some cutting and also layer in more sensory detail. I’m going to let it sit a few days before I approach it again. It has to go out next week, so I have a little bit of breathing room.

I picked up Cynthia Kuhn’s HOW TO BOOK A MURDER (a book recommended by Ellen Byron) “just to take a look.” Yeah, right. I read the whole thing straight through in the afternoon, instead of doing other things. It was a lot of fun. Now, I want to read her other series. My local library had one book, but I had to get three more through Commonwealth Catalog. Ironically, two of those three will come in from Sandwich. I can’t find the last one.

The Mystic Mondays Tarot arrived, and I am in love with it. I love the weight of the cards, their size, the way the sides are iridescent. I love the artwork on the deck – very different from any of my other decks, and in colors that really speak to me. I’m excited to start working with it. I think I will use it mostly in relation to creative work: spurring myself on creatively, finding ways around blocks and obstacles, etc.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids are working hard, they’re thriving in a virtual learning environment, and they’re doing well. One of the things we started when we first launched this homework group was to keep a journal. Of course, when we started, we thought the group would only be for the spring 2020 semester. Now, we’re starting into 2022. But the kids have kept up their journals. Not all of them write every day, and some of them are sketch journals rather than word journals (which is perfectly valid), But, after keeping it as a practice now for two years, they find it a useful tool. Even the ones who have no intention of becoming writers! As someone who has kept a journal for going on 50 years now, I’m glad it helps others; I know it has often been a lifeline for me.

In the evening, I attended a virtual author event for an acquaintance and fellow Sister in Crime. It was a lot of fun. She currently writes three series, plus short stories, which is the kind of schedule I really need to keep. The questions in the Q & A were the typical ones that are asked. The thing we all remind ourselves of is that, even though we’ve answered these questions dozens of times, it’s still new information to this person asking (unless it’s someone who attends events always asking the same question, There were a couple of those on Cape. They’d even ask the same question to the same person at event after event). Of course there was That One Person, who didn’t have a question, but a “comment” and made it all about herself. There’s always one self-involved audience member, who tries to turn every event into a personal platform. We learn how to be polite and gracious and move on. Good moderators shut that individual down; too many just look uncomfortable and expect the guest artist to deal with it, which is unfair.

Anyway, I was glad I was there, and could support my acquaintance. I also realized I’m behind reading one of her series!

After the event, I had to stay up and get out a script coverage that was due this morning. I’m behind in the script coverages (but still ahead of deadline) and will spend most of today working on those. It will need to be a long day, if I expect to have a weekend.

But I have no regrets about sitting and reading Cynthia’s book all afternoon!

I had a perfectly productive day, and yet, by the end of it, I still beat myself up for not doing enough. I need to stop that.

A couple more ideas are percolating for short stories; hopefully I can rough them out this weekend.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night; it was after midnight. Then the cats woke me up at three. I am not a happy camper today. I am a grumpy pants.

It’s been a frustrating, up and down week. Let’s hope next week is better.

Catch you on the other side.

Published in: on January 21, 2022 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 21, 2022: Creative Stretching  
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Wed. Dec. 22, 2021: Recovering From a Mac & Cheese Coma

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron Direct (as of 12/21)

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Rainy and raw

image courtesy of SocialButterflyMMG via pixabay.com

Usually, Tuesday is the long post. This week, it’s Wednesday, because yesterday was the Winter Solstice, my big holiday, and I decided to enjoy my holiday.

So today’s our day to sit down and have a catching up natter.

Friday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. A little windy, but warm enough to keep the door from the porch into the house open.

I drafted the first half of the Marie Collier play, and then walked down to the post office to mail some letters, and picked up wine on my way back. It was lovely to enjoy the good weather, knowing that a storm was coming in.

Went through some jewelry of mine, looking for something specific, a certain type of chain that I want to use for a talisman necklace I’m making. Couldn’t find it, so I’ll keep looking in thrift stores. There’s no deadline. I’d rather wait and get the right thing than any old thing.

The last charm for the talisman necklace arrived, along with another pieced I’d ordered, from An Enchanted Creature, on ETSY. I’d had a good experience ordering before. I hadn’t expected these pieces to arrive until the 27th of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them a full 10 days earlier.

Saturday was supposed to snow all day, so that’s how I planned. They were out in force in the morning, sanding streets and sidewalks, which is a good thing. The sky made a few half-hearted attempts with some snowflakes in the morning, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that it got serious about it. But it only snowed for a couple of hours before it switched over to rain.

We put up the rest of the ornaments on the tree, and put up the Santas on a shelf unit we moved into the front hall. They don’t look right there.

Did some reading, diving back into the Dorothy Parker/Dawn Powell research, so I can finish the third and final play of the year.

Sunday was a gray, gloomy day. We moved the Santa collection into the living room, rearranging a few things, and it looks better there. Plus, we can enjoy it.

I finished the draft of the Marie Corelli play. It took some fun turns, and all four characters are for actresses over 40. It can sit for a few days before revision, and I’ll get it out before the end of the week (today or tomorrow, most likely).

The fruit peel arrived, from Fleet Farm! That was quick. I didn’t expect it until around New Year’s. So there will be stollen for Christmas. I’ll make it either today or tomorrow.

I made the molasses spice cookies. Wound up being around 10 dozen molasses spice, which I did not expect. I also used one of the packs of fruit peel to make fruitcake cookies, which turned out well, and are a nice contrast to the other cookies on the platter.

I’m going to make the apricot sage cookies for us, a small batch, to test them. If they work, and I can make enough of them quickly, I’ll add them in to the platters next year.

Was too tired to cook, so ordered Chinese from the local place, and watched DoorDash drive it the six blocks over. It’s just far enough that it’s too far for me to walk and keep it hot.

The food was good. We put on the lights and candles and enjoyed the Fourth of Advent.

With Venus going retrograde, I’m trying to be quiet and careful. We’ve got the “bonecrusher” square, which I do not have the energy to deal with this week. Uranus is still retrograde. And then Mercury goes retrograde early in February. So basically, from now until February 3, I want to stay as quiet and hermit-like as possible.

Monday morning, I got up to discover that some of the battery-operated candles in the windows had turned themselves back on overnight.

Around here, the post office does an early morning package delivery run, about 7 AM. Two packages were dropped off: one from a friend (the one that had gone from NYC to Puerto Rico to Akron), and the next two books for review.

Tessa was fascinated by the packages. Willa was more interested in the postman. Charlotte ran around in circles at the top of the stairs. It was a very exciting start to their day.

I struggled to clear the ice off the car, and then we headed to the RMV to update the car registration and our licenses. I had been going back and forth about the appointment with the main RMV administration; they kept saying that we could not do it in one appointment, we could not go together (my mom is 97, it’s not like she can do this on her own), and so on and so forth.

We showed up for the appointment. Everyone was very nice. We got everything done. We don’t even need to get a new registration document, since it’s all updated in the system. When the registration has to be renewed next year, the right info will be there. Instead of issuing us new physical licenses, they told us to write the new address on the back; it’s in the system, and since it’s a real ID, no problem.

So all that stress was for nothing.

But I’m grateful they were so helpful, and that it’s done.

Then, it was off to CVS and to Big Y, to get the rest of what I needed for the Solstice dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. Got everything I needed.

We made it home. There are still dashboard lights going on that need to be dealt with. I’m going to contact the garage in Williamstown next week to see if I can get an appointment the first week of the new year.

I realized I’d forgotten a couple of errands, so headed back out on foot to the post office and the bank.

By then, I was wiped out, as much from stress as anything else.

But I rallied, in the late afternoon, to do the script coverage.

Slept in on Tuesday morning. It was Winter Solstice. Chocolate panettone for breakfast, which was fun. I prepped two cookie platters for the libraries, and delivered them on foot: one across the street, to the college library, and one down the street to the public library. I’d sealed each cookie separately in a cookie sleeve, for maximum safety so the platter could be out in the break room, and people could sort through cookies to find what they like.

Both libraries were delighted.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to be out, knowing that storms are coming in for the next few weeks. The weather is so changeable here.

Came home, finished up some script coverage I hadn’t finished the previous day. Changed from flannel sheets to fleece sheets.

Prepped the cookie platters for the neighbors and delivered them. They were pleased.

This year’s platters have chocolate chip cookies, orange cranberry cookies, currant oatmeal cookies, molasses spice cookies, and fruitcake cookies. It’s a nice variety.

Baked the honey spice cake. It was a little underbaked, even though the toothpick put in the center came up clear. It’s still good, but I wanted great. Maybe I should have put a chocolate silk glaze over it. Because chocolate can fix almost anything.

For dinner, I made Moosewood’s recipe for macaroni and cheese, from scratch. I cheated a little and added bacon into the mac & cheese. But it was a lot of dairy. The cheese sauce had four cups of milk and 10 oz. of various cheddars; there were breadcrumbs and then more cheddar over it, before it was baked. It’s really good, and we have a lot of leftovers, but it’s a lot of dairy.

Did the Solstice ritual of waiting for it to get dark, then, starting in the north, lighting all the candles and holiday lights, clockwise around the house, until it’s all lit up with candles and twinkle lights. I spilled red wax on the white windowsill in the kitchen – that will be not much fun to fix. But it was so pretty, and we sat without electric lights on (except for the holiday twinkle lights) all evening.

Since we no longer have a working fireplace, I took the big cauldron out on the back balcony and burned last year’s greens, slowly, one small branch at a time, so I wouldn’t worry the neighbors. It was a good way to let last year, and the Cape life, go.

Left the battery-operated candles on all night, to light the longest night of the year.

I was up earlier than Tessa this morning! I couldn’t find her and was frantic. She was still asleep, in her favorite red chair with Panda, and was very confused as to why I was awake before she was. The fleece sheets were too hot. I kept kicking off the covers in the night. Quite a difference from the other house, where upstairs was never warm after about September, no matter how high the heat was cranked.

The plan was to go to the laundromat, but it was raining, so I decided not to. I’ll go tomorrow or next week.

I’m going to do some work on the Big Project, and maybe THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. Then, I have to polish the Marie Corelli play and get it out the door. Then, it’s more script coverage. I have coverage work today and tomorrow, and then I’m off until Monday, and I hope next week will be a light week, coverage-wise. I want to dig into The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I also want to finish up a bunch of admin work before the end of the year.

I’m preparing to hunker down for the winter, only going to the grocery store, the post office, and the library, both due to weather and the pandemic. I’m frustrated that the Dems aren’t doing what needs to be done to curb the pandemic, or the right-wing extremists. People worked like crazy during a pandemic to get them elected. They need to deliver. No matter what corporate sellouts like Manchin and Sinema do.

Anyway, I have to get back to the page and get some work done. Books don’t write themselves, and I still have a living to earn.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Dec. 2, 2021: Getting Back on My Feet — Slowly

image courtesy of Alkaine via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Rainy/snowy, cold but warming up

I’m starting to feel reasonably functional again, thank goodness. I was better for a little while yesterday, and then I wasn’t.

Yesterday, everything took much longer than it should have. I spent most of the day resting, because I was still fatigued, achy, and had a bad headache. When I felt a little better, I managed to read a script, which I will write up this morning.

I managed to pull my newsletter mailing list off of Gmail. I’m getting fed up with Google. Making everything a 2-step verification sign in, tied to one’s phone has NOTHING to do with security, and everything with data collection. I am not a happy camper.

Anyway, I signed up with MooSend for the newsletter. They keep saying how “intuitive” it is to use their features. No, actually, it’s not. Or maybe it would be if I wasn’t feeling lousy, but it should be much simpler than it is. For all the issues I had working with Robly (for one of my clients), at least Robly was simple.

Wrote a rough draft of the newsletter, which I’m sure will be massive revision, since it was written when I wasn’t feeling well. But I want it to go out next week. Time to get my newsletter life back on track.

Got an email from a recruiter I hadn’t heard from in about two years about a job 4 days/week onsite in Boston, that wasn’t really what I do, nor was the pay what I said I wanted. I emailed back, thanking her for thinking of me, and explaining that I’d moved across the state, and was only doing remote work at this point. The recruiter said I should consider commuting in/renting a room. I said, “only if the company’s paying for all of that” which was met with an “oh, no, of course they’re not. But, you know, this remote-work will be obsolete within a year.”

HA!

NOT FOR ME.

To say I was grumpy by the time I stopped for the day is an understatement.

It cheered me up to read Maria DiRico’s IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE MURDER. I absolutely love this series. It makes me homesick for Astoria (even though I never lived there, only visited friends who lived there).

I actually cooked last night, for the first time this week, making a sort of a shepherd’s pie, using leftover turkey instead of meat. It turned out pretty well, but nearly knocked me out. Went to bed early.

Slept well. Tessa was at it again, early, even though my mom got up at 4:30 to feed her.

It snowed overnight again, just a little. It’s warming up (might go up to 60 degrees F) so it’s all getting slushy.

I was sitting on the couch reading, when I saw movement in my peripheral vision. A minute later, a pair of little black ears and a black nose came over the back of the couch. Tessa was standing on the heater, peering over the back of the couch.

It was pretty funny.

Meditation was good. Charlotte, as usual, sat with me for it. This week’s book is ATLAS OF THE HEART, which I ordered from the library.

I need to write up and send off the script coverage, and then go to the post office, the library, Wild Oats, and I’ll pick up Chinese food for lunch.

This afternoon’s mission is to figure out how to hook up the newsletter sign-up on my website to MooSend (they sent me directions yesterday, so I should be able to do it).

I’ve been working on organizing the notes for the Big Project, and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I will start The Big Project as soon as the notes are in good shape, and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY will begin on Monday. Because I like writing about the holidays IN the holidays. I’ll work on them in tandem, probably only 1K/each/day, and will only commit myself to 5 days/week on each. If I feel like writing more, I will, but I won’t set myself up for failure to do more, since I have to write between 3-5K of script coverage most days. I also got an idea for a 2ND Big Project, which is just going to have to percolate for a bit and wait its turn.

CAST IRON MURDER is resting (and will until the end of January). I hope to do the revisions on “A Rare Medium” tomorrow and over the weekend, and to write the Marie Corelli play next week.

I still have to finish decorating and write my domestic cards. And, you know, earn a living.

I also have to accept the fact that I can no longer pull fourteen-hour days, physically or mentally. So I need to adjust to that reality, without punishing myself and feeling like aging is a character flaw.

The Cape Cod house sold; for less than the owners asked, but still for a big chunk of change. So that’s a form of closure for all of us, I guess. I genuinely hope the new owners are very happy there. I’m sure there will be renovations (new bathrooms, all the windows need replacing), but, overall, it’s a lovely little house.

Now, off to write script coverage, while I still have some energy. My arm is still sore, and I have a headache, but otherwise, I’m feeling more like myself. The Grumpy Pants version of myself, but myself.