Wed. Jan 2, 2020: A Long, Catch-Up Natter

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
8th Day of Christmas (last night’s dream is August’s Oracle)
Hanukkah Finished (as of Dec. 29)
Kwanzaa Finished (as of Jan. 1)
Sunny and cool

Welcome to 2020!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site, where I’ve answered the questions posed for 2020, which I consider the year of Transition and Transformation.

Starting Monday, for the next cycle (90 Days or so), I will begin this blog’s Monday with an intent for the week here, and some tools and suggestions for achieving goals over on the GDRsite.

Pull up your favorite beverage; it’s been nearly two weeks since we sat down for a natter. Last daily post was the Friday before Christmas, although the 23rd and the 30th had Upbeat Author posts. I planned to post on the 27th, but I had so much going on that I decided to cut myself a break. So this will be a loooooong post!

The Winter Solstice celebration on the 21st was lovely. We sit without electric lights as the sun sets; then we start by lighting the fire (with greens from last year’s Solstice season). Once the fire catches, we light the candles, put on the trees and the other lights (working clockwise from the North), and then put on the outside lights. Once all the lights are up, a simple ritual welcoming the return of the sun, and a wish for peace, joy, and prosperity in the coming year.

Dinner was Cornish hen with sweet potatoes and spinach. It was yummy.

Sunday night was both the 4th of Advent and the First Night of Hanukkah. We lit the fourth candle on the Advent table. I still haven’t found my lovely silver-plated Menorah (haven’t seen it since we moved, although I know it went onto the truck). But, in honor of the first night of the celebration, and because I miss my Jewish friends from New York who always included me in their celebrations, I made potato latkes. They were pretty damned good.

We watched MISS FISHER’S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES, where Phryne’s niece takes over in the 1960’s. If it wasn’t connected to the original, I would have liked it better. But that constant referencing kept reminding me that it didn’t quite measure up.

It was difficult to get up early and out early to my client’s. But I was there. I took in a shipment — with one box missing. I had other stuff to do, of course, wrapping up before the holiday, but we’d hoped to get everything in. I promised to come in Christmas Eve, at least for a few hours, to wait for the box.

It was Nameless Day — I’m going to start incorporating that into my celebrations. A day for Potential. I have not lived up to my potential in the last few years, and I intend to change that in the New Year and the New Decade.

After I was finished there, I went to the library, to drop off and pick up. Was tired of computer work, so sat in a corner and read for awhile, just enjoying how lovely it was to be in a building full of books.

Went to meditation group. It was a small group, led by a sub this week. One of the attendees was The Woman Who Tests My Compassion. She shows up now and again, and is an energy vampire. She sucks all the energy we generate as a group into herself. I try to be generous, maybe she needs it, I don’t know what she’s going through, etc. But she is such a black hole of energy that it hurts everyone else’s practice. But I put up my shields and focused on my own work. The teacher taught a new exercise for the lower back that helped me enormously. First time I was pain free in weeks.

Another furnace company came by to look at the work that needs to be done. I respect getting multiple estimates, but the day before Christmas Eve? Really? Not happy about it.

Baked and frosted the Red Velvet Cake. It looks glorious. I rarely make them, because they are such a pain and need to be eaten so quickly. But I wanted to do something different for this holiday.

I wrote steadily through all this, even if it was only a few pages in the morning.

Up early again on Christmas Eve. Went to my client’s, waiting for the Fed Ex shipment. Basically, for most of the day, the tracking had no information, just that it was scheduled “before 4:30.”

Well, honey, I was leaving at noon.

I waited five extra minutes past noon, feeling down about it all. I’d gotten a bunch of work done for the client, and I was the only one in the office, which meant uninterrupted work time, my favorite. I locked up, turned on the alarm, pulled out of the lot — and looked in the rearview mirror to see Fed Ex turning in. I reversed up the road and turned back. (Luckily, there was no traffic).

The driver had done his best to get there by noon, and it was only a few minutes after. I unlocked the door, turned off the alarm, signed for the package, shoved it into the warehouse in back, set the alarm, locked up, and went home – where I fixed myself a nice, big Sidecar.

So it all worked out.

Put in the pork roast, played with the cats, enjoyed the tree and the drink. The dinner turned out perfectly — roast loin of pork, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans with Hollandaise. The lovely red velvet cake for dessert.

We cleaned up and put the leftovers away, and opened presents. The new coffeemaker made me especially happy.

I put the new clothes into the washer, and we settled down with new books to read, Icelandic-style. I read Val McDermid’s updated NORTHANGER ABBEY, set in and around the Edinburgh Festival, which was delightful. Burned down the bayberry candle, and had a lovely, cozy Eve.

I was sad to read, on social media, all the racist drama around the RWA. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed. I’m also disappointed in white colleagues I know who are heavily involved in the organization who aren’t saying a word. Or, even worse, defending the racism. Again, in many cases, I’m not surprised. But I am disappointed, and have lost respect for several people. I’ve always been leery of RWA — to me, it always looked like a pay-to-play organization. A group that charges high fees and expects a lot of unpaid time put in. While I’ve had good experiences teaching at NECRWA, I’ve noticed the racial imbalance on the national level, and also a great deal of economic segregation.

It’s so painful for the many people who’ve spent countless hours of their time, unpaid, working to make the organization better. Working FOR the organization, without compensation instead of on their own books. How many tens of thousands of dollars have writers lost through their volunteer work with the organization? How many books will always remain unwritten? And now, they find the trade-off wasn’t worth it. What they worked for didn’t happen, and, in fact, they are being slapped in the face for working toward it.

I’ve been there, with other organizations. I know how much that hurts.

Releasing their statement the day before Christmas Eve was a deliberate strategy on their part, hoping their members would be too busy to notice. Then, trying to walk it back on Christmas Eve, when there was a furor — how could they believe the members who feel so betrayed would ever trust them again? It should never have happened in the first place, the process was skewed, and, without a clean sweep of everyone involved and a fresh start, how could they ever rebuild trust?

Or do they believe that their primarily white membership won’t care or even agrees with them?

How sad and painful.

Anyway, along rolls Christmas Day. Stockings, scrambled eggs, panettone, a quiet day of reading and writing.

For the big dinner, I made a rib roast, with mashed potatoes and peas. I don’t eat red meat often anymore. As good as it tasted while eating, I was uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

I took off Boxing Day from all obligations. Read and wrote and played with the cats. My oracle dream for January was a mishmash that basically boiled down to, “You will find allies in unexpected places.” So I have to remember that in January and be on the lookout.

Watched ON THE TOWN, which I hadn’t seen in years, and was kind of fun, except for the number in the museum, which was a little inappropriate.

I did a lot of running around on Friday, the 27th, especially when it came to grocery shopping. I had an encounter in one of the grocery stores what just depressed me.

When I got to the self-checkout, there was a $20 bill hanging out of it. I called over the store worker supervising the self-checkouts and said it had been left. She thanked me for turning it in, took it out of the machine, and said she would take it to the Customer Service desk in case anyone came back looking for it. I was glad about it — everyone’s overtired and stressed, and that $20 could be important to someone. Plus, I knew this worker, we talk often at the store, exchanging pleasantries and cooking tips.

When she walked away, the woman beside me said, “You’re in idiot. You should have kept the money. She’s just going to put it in her own pocket. You know how those Hispanics are.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “I’m glad I’m not you,” I said.

“Practical?” she sneered.

“A racist,” I replied.

She started sputtering.

“Don’t you start clutching your pearls at me,” I said. “You’re the one making a racist comment.”

“I’ve never been spoken to like this in my life!”

“Get used to it. Or change your behavior.” I went about my checkout as she huffed off, but the whole thing depressed me.

I went to Michael’s to take advantage of their sale. I found a small, artificial tree, and some white fabric roses I want to use to decorate it. I found a Santa on sale (for my collection) and a pineapple ornament. And candles (one of the few places that still sells tapers) and thank you notes.

Then to another grocery store, home, unloaded, to the library to drop off and pick up, home to read and write, because that’s all I felt up to.

However, in the late afternoon, I saw a vanity table go up on Craigslist just a few miles away. I jumped into the car, raced over, and wrestled the table and its chair into the car. I’ve always wanted one.

Watched CALL ME MADAM, which I’d never seen before. It was a lot of fun. Now I’ve got the song, “You’re Not Sick, You’re Just in Love” stuck in my head. For days.

Woke up Saturday, having lost the dream that was February’s oracle. I know it had something to do with organization and was positive.

Got the vanity table and chair out of the car and up the stairs. The chair is too high for the table, but that’s okay. It was a stage prop and had a fake mirror on it, but the real one came with it, and I swapped them out. It’s a really cool piece. I have to repaint it in spring and touch up the gold edging, but I like it.

Tessa wasn’t sure about it, but within two days, she was sitting on top of it, lording it over Charlotte on the floor.

I didn’t remember March’s dream, but I woke up calm, so I hope that’s a good sign for March.

Put together a platter of baked goods and drove it to the Emergency Vet to thank them for their kindness through tough times. Took 6A back, to enjoy the nice day.

Read and wrote. Made pork banh mi for a late lunch, which meant we really didn’t want much dinner.

I’m reading Lucy Worsley’s biography of Jane Austen, which is quite good. Came across information on Susanna Centlivre, the most famous female playwright of the 18th Century. Jane Austen and her family used to perform her plays as part of their theatricals. Susanna will be my top choice to write about for 365 Women next year.

Woke up late on Sunday. Couldn’t remember my dream, so let’s hope that means a quiet April, too.

Wrote. Did laundry. Finished THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. What a relief to get it done. It’s a one act, and I barely scratched the surface of time and place, but I picked one dramatic incident in their lives and, hopefully, did it justice. I hope I have the chance to do more research, especially on the Bibiana family of theatrical scene painters. I would love to do a piece about them.

We watched THE ROYAL WEDDING. It has two of Fred Astaire’s most famous dances in it — the one with the hatrack, and the one where he dances up the walls and on the ceiling. Great filmmaking there, but the rest of the movie didn’t work for me. I especially hated the character of Ellen. What a whiny, unprofessional little brat. There’s no way she could have achieved success with her brother as a team with an attitude and behavior like hers.

Didn’t remember my dream when I woke up on Monday morning, so I hope that means May will be calm!

Up at 5, morning routine, did a final proofread of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT so I could send it out. Got it off my desk and onto the company’s desk.

Was at my client’s by 8. Worked on Year-End stuff. Got out a mailing for next week’s big trade show.

Followed up with a colleague with whom I want to do an interview for Biblio Paradise. He’d never gotten the materials, so I re-sent them.

The weather was awful. Raining, switching to sleet, switching back.

Meditation was cancelled, sadly. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up. Went home and sat zazen on my own.

Dinner, reading. I read Elinor Lipman’s essays, I CAN’T COMPLAIN. They are lovely.

Up early on the 31st. At my client’s by 8 AM. Got out two more email blasts, worked on some appointments for the trade show. Didn’t remember my dream, so hopefully that means a quiet June.

Got the information on the first shipment of contest entries that is on its way. I’m only doing two categories, not three, this year.

Downloaded a bunch of Susanna Centlivre plays onto my Kindle from Project Gutenberg.

Interacting on Twitter with a fellow author, I decided I wanted to feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE, too. Plus, I have to ask my friend Arlene if she wants a slot for the book that released a couple of months ago.

Receipt of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT was acknowledged. I’m glad.

Stopped at the grocery store and the liquor store on my way home from the client’s. Made the chocolate/honey/almond/fig bites and a peppermint/chocolate cake. Dinner was salmon with a brown sugar/lemon/mustard/cumin glaze, mashed potatoes, and spinach. Yummy.

Read LISTENING VALLEY by D.E. Stevenson. Love the line, “You need to make friends with your life.” I want to do that in the coming year.

Finished LV and started THE TWO MRS. ABBOTTS, by the same author. I really love her work.

Burned down the bayberry candle. Let the old year out of the back door, welcomed the New Year in by the front door. I wish they did First Footing here.

Raised a glass as we watched the ball go down on Times Square. I’m grateful I used to be able to watch from my living room window, and grateful I no longer live there.

Slept well, up at a decent hour. The day did not start off well. I’d forgotten to make ice, which delayed the Fire and Ice ritual. The bathtub stopper didn’t work properly, so the Abundance bath bomb dissolved before I could soak in it. I fixed the drain and made my own concoction. But by then, we were out of hot water, so I splashed around in lukewarm water. I hope it’s a case of “bad dress rehearsal, good opening” and not “2020 is gonna suck.”

Especially because I came into the year feeling better and more centered than usual. Instead of forced optimism out of desperation, I felt much better at the end of 2019. Glad to see it gone, but able to release the ghosts of past mistakes. I realized, as I fretted over mistakes I made back in the 1980s, for goodness’ sake, that the people involved probably don’t even remember who I am anymore. I am some random chick who was in their lives for a few months, not someone important. They lived their lives, I lived mine. I don’t have to still feel bad about fleeting mistakes from 40 years ago. That gave me a sense of liberation.

So Jan. 1 starting off with things going wrong was upsetting. But, again, none of it was monumental. So I don’t get the bath the way I wanted it. So what? I came up with an alternative and it worked. It’s not important in the scheme of the universe.

The Eggs Benedict was delicious. I love Eggs Benedict.

I sent in my proposal to 365 Women. I had to pick three possible women to write about, so I picked Susanna Centlivre, Isabella Goodwin, and Frances Marion. I can’t write about all three (and said so) this year, with my plans to do the additional Kate Warne plays and the play about the two female authors. So we’ll see what happens.

I wrote 8 pages of a new play called “Trust.” It’s a short play, based on an idea I had last month. I have to do some research on a couple of myths, and then I can finish it. It’s only going to be about 10-12 pages. I have it aimed to at least one market so far.

I took a half hour walk because it was such a nice day and I’m trying to walk more. Wandered around the neighborhood and found a warren of streets and sweet houses I never knew existed. People waved as I walked past and I waved back.

Started reading Lauren Dane’s BLOOD AND BLADE, her latest Goddess of the Blade series, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Dinner was ham glazed with bourbon and molasses, mashed potatoes, and my special carrot-parsnip in mushroom sauce concoction. It was good.

Made bourbon balls that will be given as gifts to the work colleagues I’m having over on Friday. They turned out well.

Watched THE BELLE OF NEW YORK. What a hot mess. Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen’s dancing was good, but there wasn’t much story. It started as a rip-off of GUYS AND DOLLS and went. . . nowhere. The women’s costumes were lovely, though. The dresses designed for the dances were superb. Helen Rose designed the women’s costumes. There was a different designer for the men’s costumes. More than half the movie is dance numbers, which is a relief, because the rest of it is a mess.

Up early this morning. Didn’t remember my dreams, so here’s hoping for a quiet August!

Wrote a few pages on the Winter Solstice romance. Started weight training again, before my yoga/meditation practice. I’d stopped late last summer when my back started bothering me. But I need to start up again. I definitely felt it by the end of it. I will be sore tomorrow!

I am happy to say that I meditated at least once a day EVERY day in both 2018 & 2019. It’s made a huge difference.

Library this morning, getting out some interview questions to people, posting ahead on some of the blogs, and then I have to track down a few things for tomorrow’s get-together.

I’ll clean the house this afternoon. And make the rum cake for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll go to the grocery store for the last few things, prepare them, and swing by the library for a bit.

The weekend is about taking down the decorations and packing them away. I’m doing it a few days early this year (I prefer to wait until Jan. 6). But the 6th is a Monday, I’m not throwing a Twelfth Night party this year, and it makes more sense to take everything down over two days of weekend. After all, it took 3 weeks to put up!

Hope all of you had a great holiday season. New Year, New Decade!

So starts The Year of Transformation.

 

Fri. June 7, 2013: Coughing Zombie With Lawnmower

IMG_1306
Violet with the “special” dice

Friday, June 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I can’t believe I’ve had to put the big winter quilts back on the bed the last two days. It’s downright chilly!

Yesterday, I went to yoga, and then, had I been an art installation, my title would have been “Coughing Zombie with Lawnmower”. I had to mow the front before this weekend’s rains hit (courtesy of Tropical Storm Andrea), but I felt like utter crap. I got it done, but that was about it for me; managed to work with students and deal with some business stuff, but not much. Nothing in the tank.

Had to cancel out of the evening’s meeting — I knew I wasn’t on my game, nor was I feeling well enough to drive over the bridge and back.

Material for Confidential Job #1 is a slog.

Worked with students. Need to implement a new policy — too many people are booking slots and then flaking out, which wastes my time AND costs me money. So, a nonrefundable deposit will now be due upon the booking. If you flake, you don’t get it back, and I’m not totally financially screwed for the time I put aside that you can’t bother to keep your commitment; if you act like a professional and do what you say you’re going to do, the deposit is credited towards the final payment. I’m done with the irresponsible bullshit from wanna-bes.

That’s one of the things my college mentor and I discussed in NY — I asked him how he can keep up his excitement and joy in the teaching. I’m lucky in my current crop of private students, because they step up, but so often, in the bigger classes, the students just suck the life out of the class, because they can’t be bothered to do the work. My mentor can still find it exciting because of the stringent vetting process NYU has before letting people in to programs — they have to PROVE they DESERVE to be there, not that they just think it might be kinda cool to take that type of class. Plus, because it’s so expensive, they have to really WANT to be there in order to shell out the dough.

Speaking of classes, I’m teaching at RWA for the next two weeks, my “Supporting Characters” class, starting Monday. Here’s the link. If you have problems registering, I CAN’T FIX IT. I AM NOT THE ADMINISTRATOR. Contact them directly.

Had a great conversation with my agent yesterday. Something landed on her desk that she thought I would be perfect for. It’s something I would LOVE to do, so I’m putting together a proposal this weekend, and she’s going to look at it Monday, we’ll make what tweaks are needed, and off it goes to the requesting editor.

Today, I’ve got some correspondence to do, an article to finish, another one to send off, the partial to get to that other requesting editor, a review to write, and schoolwork to finish.

I wrote my archaeology paper in my head yesterday and will get it on paper today. I started the material for the Climate Literacy paper due next week. I also have to get to a couple of libraries to pick up materials on hold for me.

Better get going — the storm is supposed to hit this afternoon and be bad all weekend. I hope the Belmont Stakes isn’t a washout tomorrow, and then the Tony Awards are on Sunday!

Devon

Tues. May 28, 2013: Getting Ready to Hit the Road

IMG_1108
I will miss this over the next few days!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Check out my opinion of Twyla Tharp’s THE CREATIVE HABIT, a book I found helpful.

Also, I’m teaching my Supporting Characters Workshop for RWA from June 10-24. Sign up here. There will be a lot of writing involved! Only $15.

Weekend was busy. I was trying to clear things off for this week’s trip. I mowed, yesterday, the front and No Man’s Land. Didn’t get the terraced back done. I finished the meadow last week — was it Friday? I can’t remember. It’s one long day after awhile. Battled the ants. They are destroying the front yard.

Did my classwork for the Climate Literacy Class for last week and worked ahead and completed this week’s work, so that it’s not hanging over me. Finalized some appointments, moved around some other appointments, printed out a schedule, set up some “if I’m in the neighborhood and can fit it in” type things.

It will be HOT in NY this week — I’m going from having to put the winter quilts back on the bed because it was so cold to running around in 90 degree weather.

Cleared off a review, some library books that needed handling, some pitches and article stuff, and some correspondence. I’d like to finish an article this morning before I leave, but don’t know if that will happen.

The pollen’s been so bad that everything’s covered in a film of yellow. Iris and Violet are miserable, and even I’m having allergy issues. From tree pollen to smog in a matter of hours — gotta love it.

The cats are in a tizzy. They hate the suitcase. They know what it means.

So much of this trip is research for upcoming/ongoing projects, as well as trying to land some new ones. I’m trying to balance what I have to do, what’s expected of me, with what I want to do.

New SD card in the camera — I plan to take A LOT of photos this week.

I’m not going to be gone for long — just a couple of days. I don’t know why it feels like it will be months. The change of location and lifestyle, I guess. I’ve worked so hard in the last few weeks, doing energy alignments with the land. It’s going to be weird to be in a space with layers of frenetic energy.

Off to get things done, and then hit the road.

Devon