Tues. May 10, 2022: Off To Yet Another Mechanic

image courtesy of Peter Gottschalk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

This is scheduled to post, since I had to leave the house very early to get the car to the mechanic, and I have no idea how that will go.

I made sure I had a quiet weekend.  Friday and Saturday were all about finishing the contest entries.

First thing Saturday, though, I went to the Farmers Market. This is the last time it’s indoors; starting in June, it will be outdoors every Saturday until November. What adds a sense of festivity to the market is that you buy wooden tokens (yes, I’ve considered the wooden nickels jokes) when you go in and pay with the tokens.

The woman who made the amazing baguettes wasn’t there this time, which was a shame, since I’ve been fantasizing about those baguettes since last month! But I made a stop at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery and had a good chat with the baker (who was a theatre major in college), and stocked up on the espresso coffee cake muffins, some cocoa bites, and a loaf of challah bread. I bought a cranberry pecan loaf from Cookies & More. I bought a big bag of spinach, a big bag of mixed Asian greens, and a lovely head of Bok choy from Red Shirt Farm. I bought a camembert-like cheese from Cricket Creek, and a bottle of maple syrup from Senecal’s Sugarhouse.

Filled up my bag with goodies!

And all through that, it was about chatting with the vendors and the other customers at the market, everyone in a good spirits and eager to share their favorite things.

It reminds me of the best of the Union Square Greenmarket, when I lived in NYC, rather than the markets in my previous location, where the vendors usually acted like they were doing you a favor by selling something, instead of it being a mutually beneficial transaction.

I wasn’t there very long, but I was tired when I got home, even from positive socializing! The joy of being an introvert. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I’m meeting people slowly. Most people are still masking; everyone’s as vaccinated as they can be.

Once I put away the bounty, I took a rest, and then went back to work on contest entries.

For dinner, I used the whole head of Bok choy with the rest of the leftover chicken to do a stir-fry from one of my favorite cookbooks, CHINESE SOUL FOOD by Hsiao-Ching Chou. It was delicious. I also made more vegetable stock.

Saturday was also the Kentucky Derby. I lost all respect for those running Churchill Downs when I learned that the Narcissistic Sociopath was in attendance.

It was pretty exciting to see Rich Strike, who wasn’t even in the race two days ago, win, at 84-1. My baby Epicenter came in second. Tiz the Bomb decided this wasn’t worth the effort that day (very much like his grandfather).

When I used to cover horse racing (more years ago now than it seems), I quickly found out that the Derby was the least fun of the three races, in spite of being the start of the Triple Crown, where everything is possible. And that’s because it’s stopped being about the horses and focuses more on the audience who wants to see and be seen. The Preakness became the most fun for me. It’s raucous, less pretentious than any of the others, and there’s still a lot of Triple Crown possibility. The Belmont was at my home track, and, while I always loved the race and the site, the crowds and the tension were exhausting.

As an off-site observer, for years before I started writing about racing, the Preakness was my least favorite; but, once I started getting more involved, it was the most fun to actually be onsite of the three races, in spite of all the chaos in the infield.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We had the espresso coffee cake muffins for breakfast. I made salads for lunch, using the spinach, Asian greens, carrot, cranberry, Canadian bacon, and hard-boiled egg, with an Italian vinaigrette. My mom asked for bangers and mash for dinner, so that’s what we had. And, of course, cheesecake.

I read for pleasure on Sunday, instead of logging entry scores, although I made a list of my top picks.

I read BOSS WITCH by Ann Aguirre, which I really liked, and CLAWS FOR SUSPICION by Deborah Blake, which I also loved. It was nice enough to sit out on the porch, so I read out there for a good portion of the day.

I went to bed very early on Sunday, because I was tired. In the third year of the pandemic, with the right wing Christofascists openly telling us they’re planning to murder us, after packing the courts so they can get away with it, and the DEMS SIT BACK AND LET THEM – it’s exhausting. Trying to live my life and also fulfill my responsibility as a citizen is exhausting, even if I don’t write about all the details of it here.

There is NO such thing as “not being political” anymore. If you make that claim, it means you agree with the rightwing extremists and think you’re safe from their hate. The thing is, they always need something and someone to fuel their hate, so no one is safe.

Up early on Monday.  Worked until 2 PM finishing the paperwork on the final category of contest entries, and sent it in. It was accepted and invoice requested. I sent the invoice at 7 PM and it was paid 39 minutes later. That’s how you show your freelancers you appreciate them!

I stress-painted the garden frog we bought when we first moved to the Cape house. I didn’t have the dark pink paint the petals on his back used to have (yes, he’s a frog, but his back is full of flowers), so I used a lighter pink, and then the yellow for the centers. He’s a bright, happy frog again who can sit amongst the plants on the front porch.

Read for pleasure (a mystery set in Venice, and then started reading a biography of Ngaio Marsh).  Spinach and cheese omlette for dinner.

Neighbors across the street are building a garden in front of the house, with all kinds of cute little plants and hanging baskets. Only. . .they plant but don’t water anything. I’m sure they will learn.

Finals at the college across the way must be done, because the students started playing music and hanging out in the street and blowing off some steam. Yes, they’re still masking. Even though they’re all vaxxed. Good for them (and us).

I am off to the mechanic. Let’s hope this guy will actually fix the car and not put me off another month. I’ve basically been without a car for six months now. I want to get it done.

Have a good one, and hold a good thought for the car and me.

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.