Mon. March 3, 2014: Retrogrades & Why You Need A Professonal-Level Editor

Monday, March 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I’ll have my March To-Do list up on the GDR site shortly.

Mercury went direct on Friday, thank goodness. It was like a huge weight was lifted off. Mars went retrograde on Saturday — so be careful about having too short a fuse and REacting instead of thinking first. Saturn went retrograde yesterday — it’s the planet of life lessons. If you refused to learn the last time it went retrograde and in the interim, while it was direct, if you’re not being true to yourself — Saturn will kick your ass even harder this time around.

There is something I’m doing, a commitment I must fulfill during this month, and then I will take a break from that particular part of my career. Doing it is too frustrating, takes too much energy without enough reward, and by continuing to agree to do it, I am not being true to myself. So I need to stop. Yes, Saturn, I am listening. Please don’t kick my ass! ;)

Worked flat out on Friday and Saturday. I’ve started working through the books that arrived for the contest — there are a lot of them. What I like about these is that, although they are indie published, so far, all of the ones I read hired in an actual, professional editor. What a huge difference from the contests I’ve judged where it was obvious there was no editor, or, if an editor was listed, it was obviously a cheap-ass, content-mill level editor.

As a writer who is grateful when I am paired with a good editor who pushes me to be my best, I know how important that partnership is. Unfortunately, too many aspiring writers don’t want to pay a professional price to get professional work, and can’t be bothered to learn the basics of third-grade level English themselves. Yes, that’s right — can’t be bothered. Every library has books on grammar, structure, editing. If you didn’t pay attention now, bother to learn.

If you can’t afford the rate for a professional to edit the whole novel, get the first three chapters line edited and APPLY IT TO THE REST. It’s called “critical thinking” and “reasoning”, and if you’re going to be in the world of words, you need to know how to do it.

A few months ago, an aspiring writer came to me for advice, complaining that the work was rejected over and over and over again. When I looked at it, there wasn’t a single sentence without a spelling, grammar, or punctuation error. A reader couldn’t even tell what the story was about because it was too hard to fight through the way it was presented to get to the content. When I pointed out the individual had to work on craft elements, the response was, “I don’t have time for that boring stuff. I’m an artist.”

All great artists fuse craft with art. They don’t always stick to the rules, but they know them inside out and choose when to break them.

Fortunately, so far, all the books I’ve read for this contest have at least had a good copy editor, and don’t get marked down on that aspect (yes, that is one of the things taken into consideration). Some of them could have used a strong content editor, but at least I can get to the story itself so it stands or falls on its own merits.

Landed an interview gig with someone based overseas. Am about to send off the questions. Should be fun.

Stuck to my staying-offline-on-Sundays (which, in most cases, is now a necessity — I need the break). Instead, I wrote, in longhand, nearly 30 pages of TRUE HOME. The research I’ve done the past week came together.

Watched the Oscars last night. Thought they were rather tepid. Also, award season’s gotten too cluttered.

Had a nice fire in the fireplace yesterday. When the snow stops in a few hours, I will go out and shovel.

The priority today is to finish the revisions on the play. I need to start casting this week.



Published in: on March 3, 2014 at 9:04 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. April 9, 2012: Dialogue and Tulips and Taxes

Monday, April 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root’s blogging over on his site about auditions and how he wound up on the film that’s the backdrop for HEX BREAKER. Check it out here, and drop a comment so I know you visited!

Things are going well for the Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions Seminar on Saturday, April 14. At this point, it looks like it’s the only dialogue workshop I’ll be teaching all year online. So if you missed the others, or if you want some new information, make sure to sign up here.

The dates for the next Fast and Fun workshops will be finalized in the next couple of days, and then pages will go up with the registration information. Unfortunately, 1and1, yet again, won’t let me put buttons on my site via Mac, so I’m going to go to the library and use a PC every time I need to put in a button. Definitely time to move hosts, once I get the webmail they’re holding hostage away from them. I was lucky last time, because I was working somewhere where I had access to a PC. The webhost shouldn’t dictate what type of computer I can use. I can’t even put in a “tweet this” button!

My “One Story, Many Voices” class starts today, and I continue as a student in the steampunk class.

I don’t know if I remember all the way back to Friday — I know I didn’t feel well, and that I did a lot around the house in preparation for the weekend’s company — tidying, washing floors, vacuuming, rearranging, that kind of thing. The house looked great, but I still want to do more with the front yard. However, it has to be inexpensive, whatever I do.

Had a good writing sprint with the students — it’s working better, on this book, to write in company.

Saturday was fun — long-time friends from CT came by for a visit and lunch. I hadn’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon for awhile, while doing some research for a project.

Sunday, I slept in, then spent most of the day catching up on the computer with what I hadn’t gotten done on Saturday. I like Sunday to be my day offline, but, oh, well. The work has to get done, and I wasn’t up to it on Saturday after company left. I worked with students, did some research for some proposals that will go out this week, got out some interview questions for a piece, and did some promo work. I had a weird dream about an old friend on Saturday night into Sunday, and woke up with an idea for a tweak on a piece I’m getting ready to send out.

I’m glad Mercury went direct, and I’ll be glad when Mars goes direct at the end of the week. However, Pluto goes retrograde tomorrow. THAT always brings some interesting revelations!

Lots to do today, both writing and administrative, so I better get to work. This will be a busy week – but then, lately, every week is busy. Fortunately, it’s “good busy”. But I’ve got to deal with the taxes this week — ick. Not so bad because I do quarterlies, but still, gathering all the paperwork (I was bad about keeping up all year) is a pain in the butt, and I just don’t feel like it. Too bad for me! ;)

Some of my tulips are already blooming — isn’t it a bit early?


Mon. March 12, 2012: Saturn’s Challenges

Monday, March 12, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Saturn is definitely challenging me.

Stressful few days. There’s payment drama with one of my biggest clients. Not only has the payment/time ratio stopped working, now the payments themselves are getting erratic. I shouldn’t have to beg for monies for a 10 week project that was successfully completed, and get a payment for a smaller project that was also completed within that time frame instead of being paid for both promptly. Add to that a “mistake” of listing something else I’m doing for them at 1/3 of what I agreed — it’s just gotten out of control. I wasn’t even told the offering was live; if I hadn’t checked it myself, I have no doubt we’d have gotten close to the start date and I would have been told there was nothing to be done about it. I hate suspecting that, but that’s what my gut tells me, based on the way the past few months have gone.

The bottom line is that my work is no longer valued, and therefore, I must wind up the current contracts and replace this client with others. It makes me very sad. Angry, too, but mostly sad. Sad doesn’t pay the bills, though; action does. But that’s the way it goes, and Saturn is kicking my ass, not even giving me the chance to realize and set transitions. Saturn wants me to just do and do other things. Don’t know what they are yet, but that’s the way it is. So I guess the next week or two are about me discovering what they are. There isn’t time for me to sit around and feel bad. It was literally making me sick on Saturday — chest pains, etc. — and it’s just not worth it.

A serious snow storm — it came down so heavily at times I couldn’t even see across the street — was all melted a few hours later on Saturday. It was pretty funny.

I managed to turn 50 without major trauma, which was nice. Too much other stuff going on for the birthday to be a big deal! I had an offline day with friends and family, out to the Beehive, yoga, meditation, tarot, time outside in the fresh air, all that good stuff. The only errand was re-stocking the cabinet with cat food, but that’s not one I begrudge the fur balls! I’m feeling pretty good about the next stage of my life, things opening up for me, even if I don’t know what they are yet!

I have a lot of client work to get through today, along with student work, my own writing, and getting ready for company. Costume Imp arrives tomorrow afternoon. My mom was sick all night, so I told her to stay in bed, and I’m taking care of her, along with the housework.

Now, to get things done and start the shifts that need to happen in the right direction. Mercury is retrograde, so I’d really just like to stay in bed for the next few weeks, but that’s not an option.


Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 7:35 am  Comments (3)  
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Monday, November 14, 2011

The tree in Mother’s Park before the storm

Monday, November 14, 2011
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I think my Mercury went retrograde a week and a half early! ;)

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, had a good day at the page. On an impulse, went to the yarn store and bought yarn for two projects. I want to crochet a chakra blanket (the chakra colors in order) for meditation. Found cotton yarn for that, so I can use it year-round. Also found a lovely blue alpaca yarn for a sweater my mom will knit for me. Started the blanket.

Saturday was busy – writing, then going to help clean up Mother’s Park. It was a lot of fun. We had a great group of people. Sadly, the enormous white pine that will be 100 years old had a section sheared off in the last storm — more than 20 feel lying on the ground. Heartbreaking.

One of the women I worked with is in a book group, so I gave her information, in case the group is interested in ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and having me come and speak.

I took lots of pictures of the day to document it, since that’s now my job as Secretary of the organization. When I went home to upload them, I found out that there’s a CCD problem with my camera, and it won’t take pictures in daylight anymore. With low light and no flash, I can kinda sorta get some pictures, but the quality is rapidly deteriorating.

We headed off to the stores in Wareham. Found some additional alpaca in the same dye lot and also some yarn for another project I’d like to do. I looked at other cameras in Staples and Best Buy. Honestly, between the camera and the printer, I’m wondering if I should re-think my twenty plus years of loyalty to Canon. The Nikons are very tempting. I can’t spend much, and I don’t need anything too fancy. But I need to carry a camera around with me all the time. That’s part of the gig.

I was frustrated, so I bought the shoes: a lovely pair of Anne Klein navy pumps. They’re gorgeous and go with just about everything.

Swung by the park on the way home. The angle of the sun had changed and I was able to get photos that, with enhancement, are somewhat usable, although not great. You can see the poor tree’s plight. As you see, the photo’s not great, even with enhancement, but it’s better than nothing, and at least it’s not all white light space.

injured tree after storm

Worked with the students, did some more work on the blanket. Even though I’m going all the way to the end and chaining up, I’m decreasing. I don’t understand why. Emailed Canon to find out my options.

Sunday, woke up early, got the papers, gave myself the day off writing. Wound up the Harry Potter class, did some work around the house. Canon got back to me — they gave me one trouble-shooting option I can try (but the light sensors are probably shot, so it may not work). My other options are to send it in for a refurbished one “at a customer loyalty discount” or get it repaired, which will cost more than a new one. Since soon I won’t be able to get the memory cards for this camera anyway, I think I should probably get a new one. While their camera customer service is definitely better than the printer customer service, I’m still on the fence about staying with them. Asked advice and was told that both Sony and Kodak are unreliable, so that narrows it down to saying with Canon or switching to Nikon. I usually avoid anything with a celebrity spokesperson on principle, but I played with some Nikons on Sunday and kind of liked them. We’ll see.

I’m going to see if there’s such a thing as a “disposable digital” — remember those disposable cameras a few years ago? — to tide me over. I have an older Canon digital that I had to stop using because the film sets couldn’t use the memory cards, which is why I bought this one for my kit in the first place. It’s still packed — somewhere. If I can find it and it works, maybe it will tide me over. I probably will wait until Mercury goes direct in mid-December. Even though it doesn’t turn retrograde until Thanksgiving Day (lucky me, on the road all day — yes, that was sarcasm), I’m already having so many technical difficulties that I want to be cautious. All I need is to buy something during the retrograde and have it implode as soon as Mercury goes direct. I’m doing an extra Time Machine backup on the computer later today, just to be sure.

Then, this morning, my mother’s bed frame collapsed — we’ve had problems since the movers put it together — they did a lousy job. So we took apart the frame and her bed is now on the floor like a college student’s. And the cable TV crapped out — AGAIN. Called Comcast, they “fixed” it — and twenty minutes later, it was out again. I am so sick of them, and so sick of them being the only option on the Cape. Their customer service people are perfectly pleasant, which is a point in their favor, but the company does not resolve problems. They use band-aids on amputations. One thousand points detracted.

I have SO much to get done today AND I have to clean the house top to toe because we have company coming tomorrow (at least they called first — and we really want to see them) for lunch, so I have to figure out what to serve.

I still have to put the garden to bed, but it’s been so windy, I haven’t had the chance to go out and do much.

Back to the page.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunshine-kissed kitty

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

More retrogrades, people! And, technically, the summer vacation-that-wasn’t for me is over, and this gig is nearly over. I needed to write 15K in these past two weeks, here on site. I got 500 done, due to interruptions and the amount of stuff piled onto me that had nothing to do with my job. I can’t write a single sentence without a massive interruption, and I cannot be in that situation. Even if I tried to stay up all night, after I was drained of every ounce of life force from this place, I’m interrupted constantly. Just not acceptable, and I can’t put myself in this situation again. The daily micromanaging has abated, slightly, but now I find out the client’s given out my cell phone number to this one and that one without permission — and I am extremely fierce about who gets that number. Again, not acceptable. Well, Friday, I’m gone.

I got the following sent to me about my former building in NY. Read the article here.

If I still lived there, I’d be in a hotel somewhere — and what would have happened to the cats? I moved at the right time. My heart breaks for my former neighbors. I talked to a couple of them yesterday — they are in shock, dazed, and angry. One expects something like this from the scumbag landlords, but the City is also liable, morally if not legally, for continuing to allow those basement apartments to be rented when they are regularly flooded out and the residents lose everything. WHEN someone dies — and, eventually, someone will — these scumbags will still feel nothing. Because both the landlords and the current City Council there don’t consider the tenants are worthwhile citizens. The landlords consider them an ATM machine, and the City Council doesn’t think they are “good enough” to live in that pretentious Westchester town because they’re renters instead of owners, so the Council doesn’t care

Yesterday was practically productive, if not creatively productive. I got out some questions for a press release I’m working on, to wrap up the Mermaid Ball, four sets of interview questions, and got the last details worked out for the Year-Long Intensive, which starts tomorrow. I got in two good sessions of yoga, and a good meditation sit, which helped a lot.

I thought about what book I want to start working on tomorrow (while I finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which I simply can’t work on here, because I can’t get enough time in to write more than a line at a time without interruption, and then I lose my train of creativity). I circled back to the yoga mystery, reconnected a bit with it, and wondered if, maybe, that’s what I should work on. I’d be challenging myself within the formula, but not setting up so huge a challenge that I can’t meet it. In other words, it’s a pretty safe choice, which means I’m not sure I should do it. I’m trying to decide if I should do one of the two urban fantasy ideas I was playing with. Both are unique, stories I haven’t seen before, and I’m writing them because they are something I’d like to read. One rotates through three POVs — initially, it only rotated through two, but a character who was supposed to just be in a couple of scenes stepped up and said, “Hey, I’m important to this process!” The other one has a strong base in mythology and an intense central relationship, but never quite handled in this particular way. Then, of course, there’s the urban fantasy comic noir, which I originally envisioned as a series of linked short stories or novellas, but I could turn into a novel. And I need to make a decision — soon.

Today, I have to write the press release, work on the newsletter, and see if maybe I can possibly get any writing done. There will be a cleaning crew in here on site, so, again — constant interruptions.

Two more days. I just have to keep it together for two more days.

I feel very, very lucky and have enormous gratitude for the fact that I am HERE and not where I used to live, and that we had little storm damage and kept the power on. So many are so much worse off than I am, that, in perspective, these irritants are just that — irritants. They are something that I can,ultimately, not let happen again. But you can’t control a hurricane.


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Late posting, because well, it has been INTERESTING, that’s for sure (although maybe just to live, not to read).

Trip down yesterday was okay. Lovely sunshine, more traffic that I wanted, but I made it down in just over 4 hours, including two stops. All good. Went grocery shopping for a few last things, etc.

Some unexpected developments took up most of the afternoon, but that’s why I’m here, to solve problems. So, all was set at Site #1, things sorted out.

Moved over to Site #2 this morning, had some more unexpected kerfuffle to sort, but it seems to be sorted. Have to run out this afternoon quickly to take care of a couple of things and then it’s back to writing. I don’t usually write much in the afternoon, I’m more creative in the morning, but here’s hoping I can get it together and focus.

A gorgeous red fox is roaming between the sites of Site #1 and Site #2 (which aren’t far from each other on the same street). Definitely the same one — so lovely. Fox is one of my totems, so I’m always happy to see one close enough to appreciate it, but far enough away to honor the fact that it’s not a house pet.

It amazes me how much more stressful everything is here than on the Cape. Everyone’s running and frantic and worried. There’s the same amount to be done in both places, but somehow it all gets done on time, more efficiently, and with less fuss on the Cape than here.

Also, because it’s a Saturn Retrograde, every time I’m put in a position where I’d usually be RE-actionary, I stop, take a breath and think, “Saturn retrograde. How can I approach this differently than I have in the past?” and then I try something new. The “new” tends to be more ACTionary and REactionary, and gets things done with less stress, and, certainly, fewer personal/personnel conflicts.

So, knowing a retrograde is in place doesn’t mean just shrugging and using it as a reason for things going wrong — it’s a chance to change patterns that haven’t worked in the past.

I’m not entirely successful yet, but at least I’m aware and making an effort.

Both job sites have wonderful bird feeders and watching the birds is just amazing. The cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, and all the other birds I can’t yet identify — I could spend hours just watching them.

Okay, I better get going and get my errands done so that I can settle in and write. Tomorrow I move back to Site #1.

Back to the page. It looks like it wants to snow again, so I better get everything done before it does.


Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 11:47 am  Comments (3)  
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So nice to have only one planet in retrograde! But that’ll change by the end of the week, when Mercury goes retrograde from the 10th to the 30th, so I want to get the car light fixed and the DMV kerflamma handled before then. (It’s the DMV — there’s going to be kerflamma).

The earliest the service place can take me to fix the light is tomorrow afternoon. Whatever. At least it will get done, and maybe I’ll hit the DMV, probably for most of the day, on Thursday.

Spent an hour at the post office, waiting in line. Granted, it’s a tiny post office, only two clerks, and I was sixth in line, but three of the six people ahead of me were idiots. Don’t get to the counter and dither. Especially when there’s a line of people going out the door. Know what you want, or at least ask some relevant questions. The clerks were very patient and handled them well (nice change from NY). When I got there, I had a long list of stuff, but it was all organized, so it took less time than the five people ahead of me combined. And the clerk said, since I have so much to mail in the coming week or so, maybe I need a smaller post office! I couldn’t resist: “They come smaller than this one?” Yeah, it was bratty, but, I mean, come on, the only post office I’ve ever seen that’s smaller was in a little tiny town in Ayrshire that has a postal window in the General Store.

But all the overseas cards are out, the overseas gifts are out, and one of the Hanukkah gifts is actually going to get there only the day after Hanukkah. Ran some errands, including getting outdoor lights, cable, and garland for the new trees. Spent a good part of the afternoon getting that all set up (instead of doing yard work). But they’re really, really cute, aren’t they? I’m so happy with them. Nice and simple, not too much, but gives the front a little festivity. And, with the candles in the windows, at night it has a nice glow.

Had to go back to Osterville House and Garden. I tried to get flat stops for the screws holding the tree in place so they’d actually hold it in place. I’m surprised they don’t hide behind the counter when they see me coming — but they’re always lovely and helpful. Also had to get an extension cord so the one little tree could reach the main cord. Unfortunately, all they had was orange, which kind of stands out — I was hoping for the more subtle dark green I’ve got along the side of the house. But I can live with it. It works.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1; this morning, I have to write it up and get it out the door, since it’s due today. I have to do some yard work, and run yet more errands. Didn’t get any cards done yesterday, but plan to knock out a few today, along with packing up some more of the gifts.

I overslept this morning, so I’m already starting a little behind the beat.

The big event today is we have to go to the dump — ahem, transfer station. We’ve been stuffing the big garbage bin and the recycling crates in the garage. Now it’s time to get them out, and maybe find a way to maneuver in a few bags of leaves without getting leaves all over the car.

Because I have more raking to do, which means more leaves!

Playing with story ideas. There are several possibilities. I’d like to get one done for an anthology call, but don’t know if I can pull it together by January 1.

So the Republicans are “fiscal conservatives”? Is that why they forced a tax cut for the wealthy that will dig us $900 billion more into the hole? If you earn ten times more than I do, you should be paying more taxes than I do, not less because of ridiculous breaks and loopholes. Fiscal conservative, my ass. As usual, they only pander to the rich and are trying to turn everyone else into serfs, with themselves set up as “nobility.” And, of course, the Tea Party, who pretends to hold them “accountable” won’t say a word in protest, because they’re not grass-roots at all, but funded by the Party. For a group that uses “socialism” to scare people, they’re acting an awful lot like the former Soviet Union regime during the cold war. So typical of their ongoing hypocrisy.

I’m actually in favor of a flat tax of 10% on all income, split 3 1/3 between federal, state, and local, and each area has to manage their budget just like the rest of us. No loopholes. Period.

Happy that the New England Patriots (the only football team I ever really gave a damn about) whomped the NY Jets 45-3 last night.


Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 8:18 am  Comments (8)  
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Day before Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

And, of course, no heat, so, because of the damp, it feels even colder.

I couldn’t get my hair cut on Saturday, and, if I can’t find a place to get it cut before Friday, I can’t get it cut until November 18. Venus is retrograde from Friday until November 18 (when Jupiter also goes direct), and, trust me, you do NOT want to do any beauty procedures, including getting your hair cut, while Venus is retrograde! Also, if you’re in a relationship, make sure you really listen to each other and to what’s under what’s being said.

I unloaded on a local Senior Advocate about all the crap going on here, and he is looking into it. There is no reason my 86 year old mother, who has never missed or been late on a rent payment and has been an ideal tenant for 38 years in the same apartment, should be put through this torture.

Thanks Lara and Brenda, for the lovely book!

I put up a dozen books on BookMooch and 8 of them were mooched within an hour, so I’m making a big trip to the post office.

Almost all of yesterday was spent on listings and setting up appointments. One seemed too good to be true, and, of course, was. It was in an area that’s my fallback, but the house looked and sounded so good, I made an inquiry. Then I get an email about how it’s listed as a sale, but isn’t really, and this guy’s a volunteer in Africa and “can’t find” an agent to handle it — blah, blah, blah. Yeah, right, does he think I just fell off the turnip truck? “Scam” written all over it.

Another sounded perfect — a three year lease while the family is transferred overseas, but I actually know the company that they work for and it’s all legit — but the place is furnished. So THAT won’t work.

There were the possibilities that fell off the map pretty fast: “You have to get rid of one cat” (no, I don’t have to even look at your place), and another who expected me to get up at 3 AM and drive there in order to see the house before 7 AM instead of booking an appointment at that time the following day, when we’d actually be in the area. Then, there was the ad where they tell you how to speak over the phone to leave a message. All of these things are very telling, and they tell me that none of those places is the right match. A couple of agents offered to negotiate the multiple cat thing, but I said, look, either a landlord is pet friendly or not, and if something like that has to be negotiated from the get-go, neither of us will trust the other and the relationship is already strained from the start. It’s better to pass.

I don’t need fancy finishes — I’ve never been a finish whore. I need storage space, a room to write, a bit of a yard, and pet-friendly. In addition to the whole bedrooms and kitchen thing.

But almost all my slots are full for tomorrow, and most of Thursday’s slots are full, too. So, we’ll see what we come up with.

The stress is starting to manifest physically, along with the cold and the damp, so I’m trying really, really hard not to get sick.


Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 6:56 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, August 20, 2010

don’t disturb Iris unless you’re offering food

Friday, August 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Yep, Mercury goes retrograde today, until Sept. 12. If I didn’t have so much to do, I’d just go off the grid. I think my personal Mercury went retrograde about two weeks ago.

Good gig in CT, although I didn’t get as much of my own work done as I wanted. Got some solid work done on the Willowspring Grove novel, and that’s it.

On Wednesday afternoon, I fell asleep and had a dream-within-a-dream, which was weird. In the inner dream, I dreamt about an actor I don’t know and whose work I don’t particularly care about, so I have no idea why, of all people, he’d show up in my dream. I was pulled out of that dream, into my actual surroundings when I heard a toilet flush and heard a man call, “Jean? Jean?” But I couldn’t open my eyes. I kept thinking that it was weird that the dog wasn’t barking, but if someone had come in, I should talk to them. But I couldn’t get up, and I couldn’t open my eyes. I was still dreaming, although I thought I was awake and in the place where I was outside of the dream. When I finally pulled myself out of that dream, I called to the dog, who got up from her nap, ambled over and said, “What? Cookie?” It was very weird. Not the cookie part, that’s normal, but the rest of it.

I was completely disoriented for the rest of the day.

I drove home in the afternoon to check on Elsa and give her medicine, and, of course, the “workmen” were at it again. This time, there was a hammer left in my windowsill. I wanted to photograph it, then realized I’d left my camera on-site. I was going to take it in as evidence, when a workman climbed up on the fire escape (again — in violation of the City Code, which the City is too corrupt to enforce), grabbed it and waved it at me. Now, he could have been startled that I was there, but I felt threatened. And why was a hammer left on MY windowsill when, supposedly, they were working in a different section of the building? Because, perhaps, the SOB planned to smash my window, only I startled him? I think that is the most likely scenario, given the circumstances around here right now.

Once I knew they were gone for the day and everything secure, I headed back to the site. I gave up on getting the mail — it’s a 15 minute drive from the site to the mail box, because, in that area of Greenwich, the postal carriers are far too lazy to actually bring the mail to the house — they bring it to the bottom of the road, even though there’s a huge vandalism and theft problem at those mailboxes. I’d driven down four times by 8 PM and STILL no mail, so that was it for me. I’m driving through Red Riding Hood’s woods anyway to get there and back — not going back and forth all night.

I picked up the mail early in the morning — I had to hand off the car to my mom, who was going home to give Elsa her medicine and deal with the exterminator. She drove me back to site so I could get back to work, and headed home, where she found the workmen hanging from scaffolding outside our living room windows AGAIN.

Now, they are supposed to “do” 120 apartments in two months. So why are the ONLY focused, three weeks into this two-month stint, on the apartments of the tenants the landlord wants out? Because they are not legitimate workmen and this is not legitimate work.

And, of course, the exterminator never showed up. When my mom called the super he said, “Oh, I don’t think he’s coming today. We’ll just come in whenever he shows up.” And she said, ‘No, you will not. The appointment was today, between 10 and 11:30. I can’t sit here all day, and you do not have permission to enter when no one is home.”

That is a tenant’s right under NY State Law — the landlord MUST make an appointment unless it’s an emergency. The landlord can request access at other times, but it does not have to be granted. What these scumbags are trying to do is get tenants to agree to entry when no one is home once, and then go in and out as they please and do who-knows-what, claiming they have permission for entry. So we have a “stop notice” (provided by the Attorney General’s office) posted on the door, “reminding” them they do not have entry without an appointment. Past precedent has proven they are untrustworthy. They cannot enter without someone here in the apartment, ready for them. We have a special additional lock on the door that only we and the Fire Department have the authority to open — they can try to get in when on one’s home, but won’t get very far.

And then, on top of it all, my mom ran into another problem that normally would not have been a big deal, but, because of the stress and harassment, became one. Which I had to try to resolve by phone from where I was. So we had a rough day all the way around.

Elsa, funnily enough, is the calmest of everyone. She’s just getting through the day being very Zen.

I got home around 8 PM last night, unpacked, checked the windows (no further damage), etc. Elsa and Iris were glad to see me. Violet wouldn’t speak to me, but this morning, she is Velcro Kitty.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do here this morning, including preparing my neighbor’s apartment for her return tonight, and then I’m headed to a friend’s this afternoon to hang out and do laundry.

Hopefully, I’ll either have updated word counts tomorrow or next week.

I am not looking forward to this Mercury Retrograde. I’d really like to just go back to bed for a few hours, but, hey, the workmen are getting busy again, so I can’t.

I want to be long gone when the pack of Karma Dogs arrive for these guys.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to commute via train yesterday. In typical Mercury Retrograde fashion, Metro North didn’t run most of the morning. Ick. I have to travel towards the end of the retrograde — I’ll give myself plenty of extra time. And maybe some Valium.

Sorry the post lacks a focus on writing and is focused mostly on harassment from the landlords. I am, unfortunately, someone who needs an absolutely secure and calm home base (although I CAN write anywhere, I prefer to write in a serene home environment), and with the daily fights going on nearly three years, ebbing and flowing, it’s taken a huge toll.

Hopefully, the coming weeks will be more productive, both writing-wise and house-hunting wise, and I will get back into a steady focus on the work.

I considered flipping my schedule to write all night — but with the chaos, I can’t sleep during the day, and I can’t sleep elsewhere, because I have to be here to protect my home.

Have a good weekend.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter DIRECT
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Jupiter goes direct today, thank goodness. That should ease up on some of the hearth-and-home and tangible stuff. Neptune’s still retrograde — which, as my ruling planet is no fun, and Uranus retrogrades are just a pain in the ass, pun intended.

Yesterday was busy — although not all 81 students are regularly posting exercises, enough are so that I’m spending 8-10 hours a day reading and commenting. It’s a little more of a challenge this year, because I wasn’t able to clear the desk off as far as deadlines, so I’m juggling projects.

I have to say that I’m delighted with the students. They’re dedicated and have some great ideas. There are a few who’ve taken the workshop every year, and their growth as writers is joyful to behold.

Acupuncture was great yesterday, and I feel so much better. She fixed the ear problem I’ve had since I got on the plane and got most of the knots out. A lack of sleep is bringing some of them back — between the scumbag landlords banging around all day so I can’t rest or concentrate and Metro North working on the train tracks across the street all night and me hating ANY kind of repetitive machine noise — life Chez Devon is not a barrel of laughs right now.

The work on the short story is going beautifully, although I know I’ll have to make cut to get it in under the word count. But it’s all I really want to be working on — so it’s a challenge. I love the characters, I love the potential.

I’ve got to write up the stuff for Confidential Job #1 and do another pass on the essay today, along with keeping with everything in the Muse Conference. All the while, trying to refrain from burying the scumbags with their own ditch digger.

1and1 is still not working properly, so next week’s priority needs to be redesigning the websites and pulling off what I still need from the mail accounts so I can move hosts. This is out of control. I hate to lose the design of the Cerridwen site, but I’ll just have to come up with something better. I think I can — I’ve got a few ideas percolating. I know what I want from the Devon site — I’ve even picked out a few designs. It’s the Fearless Ink one with which I’m struggling. I have a basic, overall idea, but I’m not sure how to execute it in iWeb or where to find the elements I want to layer. Redesigning the logo is the hardest part — I’m fully capable of it, but it’s settling on the elements of it that are the challenge — what I feel represents both me and the sense of “fearless” and open space that’s so important to the site, yet still tied to writing and business writing. Something that smacks of corporate isn’t going to cut it for me, but something a little too granola won’t do it, either.

The beautiful Linden tree in the back that we hope to save gave me a wonderful gift yesterday, as I returned from acupuncture. It’s a little longer than a branch for a traditional wand, but it’s lovely and will be treasured.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Overcast and humid

I scheduled my Sole Struck Fashions post on the Fall Season to go up this morning, but, heaven forbid it actually posted. And I can’t post from this computer, because the text is on my other computer and I can’t use a flashdrive on this one.

I’m doing this from the computer on site, since they didn’t leave me the password for the wireless. I can’t transfer work from my computer to this one, but at least I can get online here, since I’m not dashing home to feed the cats this a.m.

And 1and1 has been down for a couple of days, so I haven’t been able to access my email. Some of it I managed to pull through a different server, but most of it came through as gibberish, so I can’t deal with it until I get home and can use my own computer on my own hookup.

Which may or may not be tomorrow, since tomorrow is the big switch from Verizon to Optimum and I bet you, dollars to doughnuts, that Verizon shuts me off at midnight and I won’t have internet until Optimum shows up between 11 and 2 to wire me up.

On top of that, the Macbook is running poorly. It hasn’t run properly since they put the new hard drive in. And I was REALLY screwed yesterday, when I went home and tried to print out the short story for the anthology that had to go out yesterday and put in the headers. Suddenly, it won’t put in headers –not in Word, not in Pages. I’ve been putting headers into documents since I got the damned computer. Only suddenly, it won’t do so.

I call Apple Care. And I get ATTITUDE. “I’m not trained in Word, you have to call Microsoft.” Yeah, the ones who don’t help and whose “help” function is useless. And, as far as Pages — “we don’t tell you how to do things. We’re here for TECHNICAL support.”

Hey, dumbass, when it’s functioned for four months and suddenly doesn’t, it’s a TECHNICAL issue!

The Spotlight function, which searches out documents so you don’t have to go file-by-file, also isn’t working properly now. It finds the major stashes like “hard drive”, “desktop” and “documents”, but doesn’t always find individual files, which it always did before.

Who knows what else I’ll find doesn’t work as I pull up different documents? This is NOT acceptable.

I called the head office in CA. I am NOT putting up with this shit. I spent enough money on this system for it to work for more than four months. I spoke to a very nice woman who understood my concerns and frustrations, and reassures me this is not the norm for an Apple computer. I told her I have yet another Genius Bar appointment on Saturday morning at 9 AM, I am NOT taking 10 hours and driving over 2 states, and I expect to walk out of there with a computer that runs PERFECTLY. She agrees. Great, she’s nice, but agreement is not a solution, and I want a SOLUTION.

I doubt it will happen, but I’ve detailed everything in a letter to Steve Jobs, and it’s going out via certified mail tomorrow. Either Apple stands by their product and they make it right, or I want my money refunded and I’ll try yet another manufacturer.

I am NOT going through the same crap I went through with Dell for years.

So, yesterday was not a particularly productive day, although I finally managed to get the story out, although the story’s title was in the header on the right, near the page number, not the left as instructed. If that’s enough for them to reject it, then so be it.

Can you tell I am NOT a happy camper? Really, I just want to curl up into a fetal position and sob.

I cleared away the area for the cable guy to work yesterday, dismantling an entire wire-framed bookcase and the wooden shelf unit in front of it that held office supplied. I kind of like the space, so I think I’ll just set the shelf unit back. I obviously didn’t need most of the books that were in the bookcase behind it, so I’ll pack them and take them to storage.

Came back and did my site work. Not very productive, but got it done. Had another work-related event in the evening, which was fine.

Abby, the retrograde for good bargain shopping on small items and non-electronic items is Mercury, which goes into Retrograde in early September. It’s about about mixed up communication, travel delays, electronic glitches, etc., so of course, it will be in Retrograde when Costume Imp and I go to Prague! We figure as long as the plane stays in the air, we’re good, and we’ll cope with everything else. Besides, we’ll have good shopping!

I have noticed good shopping lately on household goods, which could be the effect of the Jupiter Retrograde, when it’s time to get home and hearth in order.

I feel like I’m getting sick — sore throat and swollen glands. I do not need this right now — I’m sure it’s triggered by stress.


Just a lousy week, for the most part (although I love this particular site job and look forward to coming back in early October). I will be glad to see the end of it, and greet a new week. Let’s hope it’s better, especially electronically!

Perhaps MY Mercury never went direct last time around! ;)

Brandy, Chris, thanks so much for your comments. I appreciate them.


Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 8:12 am  Comments (3)  
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