Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Well, yesterday was a DAY. It started out pleasantly enough. it looked like the “workmen” had finally moved past our windows, and they’d moved the renovation table saws, et al, from under the window. I thought perhaps some of all that filing I’ve done against them had an effect.

I wasn’t particularly productive — I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop — but I got through some other paperwork, finished off a few projects that needed attention, took care of the neighbor’s cat, etc.

Around noon, I went out to the grocery store to run a few errands and to the grocery store. My neighbor’s driving back from Texas — the least I can do is have a meal in the refrigerator for her to heat up when she gets back.

I come back, and the ropes are in front of my windows again. I start cooking, then go to turn on the fan — and find that my screen is completely open. Yup, those dicks opened my kitchen window screen, leaving everything exposed. The fan could have fallen out, the plants and dishes I keep on the sill could have fallen out, and the cats could have gotten out. And management admits they have no reason for access. What are they gong to do next? Take my computer? Pee in the teapot?

This is NOT acceptable, and I am filing — including a police report. I do not feel safe with them on the premises. They are either intentionally aggressive or incompetent, neither of which are acceptable. I do not feel safe staying in the apartment, but obviously I can’t leave, because every time I do, they’re destructive.

So I was furious all afternoon — and didn’t get anything done except work on paperwork. How the hell can I work on getting out of here if all my time is spent filing against these morons? But if it’s not documented and photographed, they’ll deny it.

I was cutting them the “they’re only guys doing a job” slack. No more. This is targeted aggression, and I will not tolerate it. I don’t roll over when someone attacks. Badger is one of my totems, and if you’ve ever seen a cornered badger, you know what that means. Panther is another totem, and panthers claws and teeth on par with badger.

So, needless to say, I didn’t go to my friend’s place. Since the workmen won’t be here today, I’ll go today instead.

Elsa didn’t eat much this morning — I think the stress is getting to her, too. Violet, the tiniest, was sitting on top of a chair growling at them yesterday. Iris, being a coward, just hid.

At least no one went through the open window.

Violet is very purry and cuddly this morning. She’s proud that she stood up for her home.

I am exhausted and upset. I need to focus on my work (got a new assignment from Confidential Job #1, which looks really cool), but it’s hard to focus on anything. I had trouble falling asleep — it’s almost as though I feel I should be working when they’re not around, because I can’t work when they are around, but I also can’t sleep when they’re here.

It’s disgusting that the agencies that are supposed to protect us from these scumbags and prevent this from happening just let it go.

I managed to get a single query out yesterday, that’s all. One can’t earn a living like that, and I need to earn a lot of money fast in order to pull off the move.


Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 7:00 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Introducing . . .Annabel Aidan!

I’m unveiling the Annabel Aidan pseudonym. It’s now official — Champagne Books has contracted my romantic suspense novel ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, under this name. It will release in July 2011, and they get first look at the next Annabel Aidan-penned tome.

I’m pretty darned excited.

You can visit Annabel’s brand new web page here.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot. What’s weird is that I remember hurting it in a dream Monday night, pulled myself out of the dream, and Tuesday morning I have an injured foot.

Sounds like something out of one of the books!

Yesterday was a challenging day, to say the least. The scumbag landlords are at it again, acting like this is an empty building. Workmen are swarming over the fire escape, the roof, hauling up heavy equipment without safety mechanisms in place, hitting the windows, etc. We had no notice, they are not conforming to city code, they arrive in unmarked vans, have no identification — these are not licensed, skilled workers.

I was so enraged that, had I owned a gun yesterday, I would have slaughtered all of them. I have rarely been that enraged in my life. It would have made yesterday’s massacre outside of Hartford looked like child’s play. And then thing is, it’s not the workers that are the problem, it’s the landlord. It’s not the workers who should be slaughtered, but the landlord.

I wonder how much the astrological pressure is causing the trigger points to snap on people. According to the records, this configuration was last seen 537 years ago — and I’m too lazy to look up what happened then. It would not surprise me at all if there was a huge spike in violence between now and Monday — a lot of people snapping the way that guy did outside of Hartford yesterday and the way I nearly did. I don’t agree with his actions, but I understand them.

I have to remember to siphon off the rage somehow. And certainly not let it out on those who aren’t the root of the problem. It’s not a healthy feeling, to be that angry and that out of control. I have to stay as calm and as quiet as possible.

We’re supposed to get some harsh thunderstorms today — that should break some of the tension and prevent them from working on the roof, at least for awhile.

I worked on the manuscript yesterday, re-reading it to make notes of things to discuss with the editor and also to pull excerpts out for the marketing. I’m working on the marketing and cover art information, and starting to put together the media kit, which will build throughout the production process, and then it will be done on time, rather than having to start the process just before the book releases.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. I can’t work, breathe (because of the contaminated dust), eat, drink, sleep, wash (because the water’s contaminated) or do anything else. And the landlords are charging us for this crap.

It’s supposed to be over 100 degrees again today. I’m taking Elsa for another Reiki session this morning. She’s shown some real improvement in the past two days, and i hope it holds, and that we can build on it. She’s eating much better, not throwing up, has a lot of energy and is alert and involved. I hope we’ve hit a turning point, finally, and that she’s on a real road to recovery. Heaven forbid the vet do any follow-up. I’m going to email him on Monday, telling him to put in a refill on her prescription. I don’t know how much of her improvement is the Nalpoxtrene — since the improvement didn’t start until the Reiki started — and how much the Reiki is boosting the Nalpoxtrene. I think it’s a synthesis of the two along with a couple of other naturopathic therapies we’re doing. I don’t care what it is, as long as it works.

The big thing between now and Monday is to keep the rage under control. Because I’m really close to the edge, and I don’t want to snap and do something I regret. It’s almost as though one can feel the tension in these squares, like a rubber band being stretched more and more tautly. At least knowing the influences gives me information that can help me make choices that are more positive, instead of simply reacting to triggers with what could be horrible consequences.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cat fountain at the Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Okay, according to the astrologer, calling this a “difficult” week for me is being kind. In fact, on the 6 & 7, I’m supposed to have Hell Days — EIGHT planets are squared in my chart, which means, basically, everything’s yelling at and in conflict with everything else. I’m going to try to remember to shut the F up, keep my head down, keep to myself, and stay out of trouble!

My upstairs neighbor (the nosy, demanding one) is having a fit about the landlords. I’ve given her the information she needs a half a dozen times, but, since she refuses to take personal responsibility and expects me to fight her battles for her — and then denies she ever asked me to if she is taken to task for it — I’m staying out of this one. As usual, she does not respect any boundaries and is constantly banging on the door — I’ve told her I don’t open the door when there’s no appointment. She can bang until 2015 for all I care — when I am working, I am not opening it. Another elderly tenant died and, of course, the scumbags are being disrespectful as they clean out her stuff. Let’s just say there’s plenty of chaos I could get involved in, and I have to remember to STAY OUT OF IT right now or suffer the consequences. I can’t win arguments over the next few days, so I should try my best to avoid them.

Yesterday was not as productive as I wished, thanks to the scumbag landlords yet again making life difficult. I got out a bunch of queries, ran some errands, worked with Elsa.

Elsa actually seemed a bit better. We’re doing our “homework” assigned by the Reiki Master twice a day, and I’m trying some other integrative therapies with her. She thinks they’re ever so much fun. Her attitude’s improved — now, if I could just get her to eat more. I’m feeding her kitten food to see if that’s easier on her stomach. So far, it seems to be working. She ate well yesterday, and this morning, she ate more than she has for weeks. She also seems happier and more comfortable.

I’m writing, working on the lectures, working on the marketing materials, etc. The contracts showed up in last night’s mail, so I will go over them, and, if everything is in order, I can make my announcement in the next few days.

Good writing session this morning – phew!


Published in: on August 3, 2010 at 6:36 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Some of the tea cups we used in the photo shoot

Monday, August 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Busy weekend. Hit the ground running Saturday morning with errands — storage, Target, bookstore, Home Goods, Trader Joe’s, etc. Found the props I needed in storage and a whole lot more, thank goodness.

One of the things I bought was a PUR water filter. They say you just “snap it on” — lying like rugs! You have to “prepare the faucet” — which means you have to take it apart. To me, “preparing the faucet” means wiping it down, not having to attack it with a wrench and pliers and take it apart. But that’s what was necessary. I was so grossed out when I took off the faucet and found slime and GRAVEL pouring out. And I wonder why the plants are dying and we’re all in “gastric distress”?

Anyway, I figured out how to put on the adapter — which isn’t at all the way the directions say to do it — and got the PUR on. What a difference. You can see it in the plants after 24 hours, and we’re all better, too.

Read my friend’s piece — it was great, but I thought it was a short story — and it was a novel! So it took longer than I expected, but was worth it.

The scumbag landlords hit us with more crap — really, the only solution is to cut off their heads and stake ‘em at this point, because I’m convinced they’re not human. Keep those positive moving vibes coming so we can blow this pop stand!

Had some preparations to do for Sunday, because August 1 is always a huge day on my personal calendar.

Getting into Sunday was tough. I was shocked out of rather unpleasant dreams at 2 AM because some numbnut set off firecrackers near the trash piled at the curb, practically under my window. The whole thing could have gone up, which was probably the point. I couldn’t see anyone — I don’t know if someone drove by and tossed them out of the window, or what, so I couldn’t even call the police. The cats were very upset.

Then, I didn’t get back to sleep until about 5, and when I dozed off, I had weird theatre anxiety dreams. Not the best way to start the day.

Celebrated on Sunday, and also spent five hours on a photo shoot for the icon for the new pseudonym. The publisher’s also assigned a “mentor” to me, which is cool, and I’m working on the marketing pieces. But, since the contract’s not signed yet, I’m not making a formal announcement, nor am I putting up the web page. Nothing’s real until the contract is done, as far as I’m concerned.

The shots using the gun prop looked awful; the dagger shots are much better, and draping pearls over the dagger seems to work as well. I’ve got to make a final decision on the photo in the next day or two. I like my top three choices a lot — now I have to stop waffling and make a decision already!

It’s interesting — as I honed the bio for the name, it’s definitely affecting my decision on the photo that will be the icon associated with it. Since the bio has a bit of a harder edge than I originally envisioned, a little more flippant, I’m leaning away from the softer first choice of photo.

Today I’ve got yet more errands (do they ever stop?), re-reading my manuscript to pull out marketing excerpts, come up with the tag line, etc. (yeah, I know, I broke my own rules and didn’t do all of that at the start of the submission process — fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me, I had my reasons, and it wasn’t just laziness). I’ve also got to do some work on the lectures and get some other writing done. I let some uncontracted deadlines go because, well, they were uncontracted, and therefore I wasn’t bound to them.

I’ve also got to clean out four cupboards in the kitchen — decide what to toss, what goes into storage, and re-organize what’s there. AND I have to go through a box of other stuff I brought back from storage, because it was too complicated to try to sort through it there. Violet started to sort it, but decided it didn’t meet her job description of “cat”. So it’s all in a muddle.

Good first morning’s writing session.

Elsa’s hanging in there. She’s definitely more comfortable, but I don’t know if she’s actually getting better. I need to let go of my rage at the vet and move on. We’re now entering our third week on the new medication, and there’s been zero follow-up. I realize vets have many patients, but wouldn’t you think, when one is critically ill and you’re trying a controversial new medication, there’d be follow-up? Not that I think the medication’s doing much good.

Diane, I can’t get a “job” as you put it, that would pay me enough and be stable enough in the area I want to live in until I actually live there — and there’s nothing around this area that would pay me enough except Broadway, and I’m not going back to Broadway, because then I’m caught back in the same cycle I was in before. Saturn’s kicked my ass enough for taking as long as I did to learn that lesson. Getting a job at McDonald’s isn’t going to pay the rent or the mortgage or the cost of the move, and, because I’m unmarried, even a job at McDonald’s isn’t going to make landlords approve the rental application. A “job” here isn’t going to put me in a position to to live somewhere else. Out in the ‘burbs, there aren’t the kind of jobs for which I’m qualified and could earn a decent amount of money. If I start commuting into Manhattan again, I’ll lose 30-50% of my earnings in train fare again, after taxes, which will put me in a worse position than I am now, not to mention a three hour commute time every day, round trip. Taxes in this area of the country run close to 30%, so I’d be losing between 60-80% of my income. Plus, I’d have to get daily care for Elsa, which isn’t cheap, since she can’t be left alone for more than a few hours at a time. If I went back to a traditional job in the city or back to Broadway, I’d wind up bringing home 10% or less of what I earned. I couldn’t pay rent or bills, and I still wouldn’t have heathcare. And the “jobs” for which I’m qualified in the areas I want to live, won’t hire me unless I already live there. I earn better money freelancing, even though it doesn’t give me the “job” on paper that the landlords want to see. You need the job to get the apartment, but you can’t get the apartment without the job. Do you really think I’m so stupid I haven’t sat down and crunched the numbers on all this? Unemployment in this area is close to 10%, and if you count the people who fell off the rolls, it’s closer to 17%. I can — and do — earn more as a freelancer than I can in a day job.


Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 7:08 am  Comments (9)  
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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Yesterday turned out to be a great day, after a very rocky start.

By rocky start, I mean we were all suffering from, shall we say “gastric distress” in the morning — I believe our water’s contaminated, and even boiling it isn’t helping. I used the pH strips I got for Elsa’s testing — extremely high on the acidic side. Fortunately, most of the time, the cats get bottled water, not boiled tap water. I’d put boiled tap water down for them this morning and they refused to drink it. Then, we got sick, so I switched it all to bottled, and they drank the good stuff and were fine.

So, yeah, basically, although I doubt it would stand up in court, the landlords are poisoning us. Plus, my downstairs neighbor moved out yesterday, which means they will start the renovation torture and it will be impossible to think or breathe or survive as of Monday.

If I COULD move out this week, I would. But people in this neck of the woods won’t rent to an unmarried female freelancer, no matter how reliable or what the law says. Besides, I don’t want to live HERE — I want to relocate. Which I’m trying to do, in spite of obstacles. I need everyone to hook into Diane’s heavy-duty moving vibes, and we’ll get it done. The move itself will cost at least $10K, which isn’t chump change, and it’s a case of having someplace to GO.

Immodium AD is a beautiful thing, and we were able to get on the road only about an hour late. We drove up to Old Saybrook, to my favorite “recycled furniture store”. I bought a set of Japanware cups and saucers for the shoot, a beautiful blue outside with a lovely gold glaze inside. It’s a little more modern than I originally envisioned, but it gives us options. I also found an almost-complete set of silver plate flatware that is monogrammed with my initial AND the pattern complements the William Rogers pattern I use daily. This flatware is by Old Company, but it’s beautiful. I may use some of it in the shoot, too. Everything came to $25, well within my projected budget.

We walked across the street to a warren of antique dealers, and I found a pair of Bond Ware cups and saucers with the rose pattern on the outside I wanted, and even inside, which are perfect for the shoot. $10 for the pair, still within budget.

From Old Saybrook, we hopped back on I-95 and headed up to Mystic, CT, where we wandered around the shopping village (rather than the historical village). I found Mystical Elements, the shop I wanted to visit. Their oil suppller is not one I particularly like, so I skipped the oil, picked up some of the herbs on my list, and stocked up on some much-needed crystals — the price and quality of the crystals are great. Also got some candles.

Headed southward again, to Niantic, to all three locations of the Book Barn. Found some books for my mom by her favorite author (Mary Balogh), but nothing for me. Youo know I’m sick when I walk around thousands of books and don’t buy ANY. I had three black cats accompanying me on my travels around the book sheds. It was hilarious. One led the way, telling me where to go, and the two younger ones trailed behind. I miss having black cats.

The drive back was a bit of a chore, because the traffic was bad. Not as bad as coming north, though — both I-95 and the Merritt Parkway seemed to be backed up all the way from Manhattan to New Haven. I felt sorry for those stuck, and grateful that, although traffic was heavy and moved slowly on our side, at least it moved.

Carefully washed the cups and saucers and pulled some other choices out of the cupboard. Couldn’t find what I wanted — those should NOT be in storage, but I’ll look.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home, had a quiet evening of EUREKA and HAVEN. I’m getting a little ahead of HAVEN, perhaps — each case is caused by something similar — strong emotion. Make the connection already and work on it! EUREKA’s fun, though. The invisible cat just made me howl. I could watch James Callis in every scene — I still think he’s being somewhat under-utilized. They brought him in beautifully, but aren’t using him enough. However, next week are the cross-over episodes with WAREHOUSE 13, and that should be fun.

Today, I’ve got to dig out some more dishes and props from storage, then head to Target for bins and other supplies, and find a pair of matching (or complimentary) blank books for a project. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the photo shoot today, and then, if I don’t like how it came out, I can do another round of photos tomorrow.

Must also read my friend’s piece and re-read the book just accepted so that I can do the marketing and cover art questionnaires and get them back out — along with the photos — early next week.

Had an excellent first writing session this morning.

Busy, but all good.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

We’re supposed to break 100 degrees again today. Ick.

Off to pottery yesterday, for my last regular class. Finally, I found something I”m good at — mask-making. We did slab masks (which means we created a slab on the roller, then shaped it on a newspaper form and decorated it). I’m thrilled with mine.

I have some experience with mask-making, both for ritual purposes and for theatre productions, although I’ve never made one in clay before.

We also trimmed the pots we threw on the wheel. So, I was back to going clockwise, which feels more natural to me, but other than that, it was a disaster. Now, it’s just getting to the point where I’m afraid of the wheel, which is not a good thing. My pot is a disaster, but I’m firing it and glazing it anyway, because when I master my fear of the wheel (like, when I’m 105), I can see how far I’ve come.

Glazed my little tiny pressed mold pot, which looks cute, and glazed my enormous pressed bottle vase. I love the glaze room, and I’ve gone from being fascinated by glazes to being obsessed with them.

Several people praised the pressed bottle vase, which surprised me. I look at it and see the flaws, but they think it’s really cool, the way I played with texture. I thank them for their support of a newbie.

When I get back from Philly, there are a few glazing days, so, provided this work’s been bisque-fired (the first firing), I’ll be able to glaze it and send it on for the second firing.

I received an unexpected check which, I think, will pay for fall’s pottery class.

While I was at class, my mom dealt with the new exterminator now handling the building. He’s very nice and very thorough — what a great change from the guys who wandered in, squirted the hose a few times at baseboards(and then we had to wash away the run-off before the cats stepped in it), and wandered out. Everything he uses is pet-safe (Elsa, being Elsa, followed him around to make sure, and the twins peered out from under a table; Elsa must always supervise and remind anyone who enters that this is a cat-centric household, and she expects proper greetings and pettings) and his equipment is very precise, so there’s no drippage or leakage or it getting onto anything but what he focuses on. With all the construction and other chaos going on, we needed a good exterminator around here, not to mention so many people moving in and out. It’s a fact of living around New York — you have to battle vermin on every level.

Unfortunately, because he was so thorough, it means I can’t use the gas oven for two weeks.

And while that was happening, I’d merrily offered to bake for the final class party that I’ll miss next week, and leave it on Monday at the clay center before I leave for Philly on Tuesday.

So, I called up a friend of mine, who will be away this weekend (she goes to an old family retreat every weekend all summer), and asked if I could borrow her oven. She was just talking to her co-workers about our last adventure when I called, thought the whole thing was funny, and we’re sorting out the key exchange later today.

I received a very exciting offer, but there are a few contract details to sort out, and the person I’m supposed to deal with is on vacation — but the contract is supposed to be signed “immediately” — so I went to the person who sent me the offer and asked who I should deal with in the interim. Someone’s got to be covering, or, if not, it won’t be finalized until that person gets back. Not signing something just because the other side is in a rush. Anyway, IF we get these two contract points sorted out, it will be exciting news and I’ll be able to share it.

Also received my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which looks pretty darned interesting. Sometimes, I think my editor over there reads my blog!

Elsa’s new medicine did not arrive yesterday — although it was sent out and to the correct address. Why am I not surprised? And, of course, the vet still hasn’t made his promised phone call. She actually was a little better, although she’s kind of droopy. I want to call the acupuncturist/Reiki master recommended by the woman in my pottery class when I get back from Philly and see if I can set up an appointment. Elsa’s moving sometimes as though she’s uncomfortable (although she can still outjump Iris, who never bothers to do the math before she does a jump, but just flings herself on and off things and assumes inanimate objects will move to accommodate her). I think a little acupuncture or some Reiki would do her good. I know I sure as heck could use some Reiki. So, I’ll meet with these people and see if we connect, and then maybe they can at least help Elsa stay more comfortable. Supposedly, they do acupuncture at my vet’s, and I’ve asked for it several times, and the request has been ignored. I’d rather go to an independent professional anyway. My acupuncturist was recommended by both a jockey friend and a trainer’s wife, and she’s been a life saver — certainly a career-saver. I would have had to quit Broadway much sooner because of disability had I not started seeing her.

Anyway, I’ve got some running around to do today, some correspondence, hopefully get some writing in. I got some ideas for a couple of little projects to use up what’s left of my clay, so I might head back to the studio for open studio hours this afternoon and finish up for a couple of hours. Got a couple of things sorted out for the Philly trip — looks like I’ll be dealing with another set of scumbag real estate management company when I hit Philly, who are creating unnecessary problems at the site. I’m used to real estate scumbags by this point, and if they get physical, I’ll file a police report. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. I’m starting to think that 98% of the people who work in real estate make pond scum look like a higher life form.

I am certainly looking forward to things lightening up after July 21. Saturn can’t leave the House of Pisces fast enough for me. Enough life lessons already! 😉

I’ve got to pack for Philly and decide which projects to take with me. I’m doing a lot of running around, so I don’t want to take too many projects and then not get around to doing them. I’m definitely taking both books on which I’m lecturing, to finish the notes and lectures. If the contract is finalized before I leave, I’ll be outlining another project along the same lines (per the contract); if it’s not finalized, I’ll wait. I’ve got the booklet to work on and some short stories. I’ll take the assignment from Confidential Job #1, which I don’t think I can finish before I leave. And, oh, yeah, I kind of have to do the work I’m paid to do while I’m there, right? 🙂 I’ve also got to write up Elsa’s medication schedule and feeding schedule so my mom can take care of it while I’m gone, and cook ahead so my mom doesn’t have to cook while I’m gone.

Yeah, it’ll be a busy weekend. And a hot one. I will probably run the air conditioner a lot. Yesterday, even in air conditioning, I just couldn’t cool down.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot & humid

I went flat out yesterday. Documentation for three workshops and two short story submissions out before breakfast. Enquiry as to anthology deadline — there are three anthologies by the same company for which I think I’d be a great fit. I may have to sit down and write all three stories this week. Quarterly self-employment taxes. Finished reading/commenting on the play. Mailed a stack of stuff — pretty sad that I have to drive 20 minutes to another town when the post office is up the street from me — only it’s never open when I need it, and when it is open, the line is long and the people they’ve got working there now make turtles look like racehorses.

Afternoon spent in the air conditioned room, herding cats (because they hate closed doors), reading, and working on the deconstruction lectures for the fantasy romance. I’m taking lots of notes as I read, and then I’ll type them into the computer, organize them, and figure what’s going to go into each lecture for each of the seven days.

Also took notes for a new booklet of fun writing exercises — it’s one of the things I’ll work on in Philly next week, and maybe it will be ready to release by the beginning of August.

Caught up with friends, talking about preliminary plans to go to the quilt show in Lowell, MA next month, and an exhibit called “The Dressmaker’s Art” one town over, once I get back from Philly. Hey, once a wardrobe gal, always a wardrobe gal.

Ran into the former mayor of this town, who I adore — the one who’s NOT corrupt — and had a good catch-up.

Finally heard back from the vet — but without any information — just a “call me”. Yeah, because I’m charged by the facility for every phone call.

Elsa’s been eating well, and she lets me know when it’s time to turn on the air conditioner. Iris lives up to her nickname of “Princess Hellion”, and Violet is just Very Busy all the time. It was much easier when Felicia, the big tuxedo cat I used to have, was alive. She kept us all organized, both human and feline. No one ever argued with her, she was very gentle, but ruled with an iron paw. And here we are, five or six years later, and still, none of the others want the job.

I was offered a kitten who hasn’t even been born yet. I’m so tempted, but we’re so cramped, and there’s so much chaos going on, trying to pull off the relocation and keep the money coming in and deal with Elsa’s illness, that this is probably not the best time.

I hope to get some writing in today, work on the lecture some more, and it’s time for a Costco run. I’m putting together everything for my trip to Philly next week.

I just don’t do well in this weather, and there’s no end in sight. I perk up a little bit in air conditioning, but even air conditioning saps my energy after awhile.

I’m looking forward to autumn — which is my favorite season anyway.

Oh — I’ve been meaning to share my two cents on some of the shows, old and new, I’ve watched lately.

Eureka: I love this show. Charming, funny, intelligent. I’m so glad it’s back for another season.

Haven: I really want to like it, but I’m on the fence about it. I worked with one of the actors in it, so, for his sake, I hope it does well. But I’ve got reservations about the writing, acting, and directing. Camera work’s pretty, though. Maybe it’ll find its feet.

The Glades: Wanted to like it, but the writing doesn’t have enough snap, and we’re watching the actors work too hard, instead of seeing them “be.” I may skip the show for a few weeks and then go back to see if it’s found its feet — not sure I want to watch the process.

The Closer: Love this show. Worked with some of the actors years ago when we were all off-Broadway. Glad it’s back.

Rizzoli & Isles: I’m a fan of Tess Gerritsen’s books, so, of course, I’d watch. Angie Harmon’s doing her usual thing. Sasha Alexander’s doing her usual thing. They have a great rapport, but neither one of them’s being challenged to stretch yet. Plots are nice and tight. FBI guy was a little passive and hang dog for me. Not sure if he was a one-shot guest spot or will be a semi-regular. His role needs to be better written if it’s the latter. I can’t even remember his name(actor or character), which is not a good thing. I felt bad for the actor, because he had so little to work with, on either a writing or directing level. They let him twist in the wind with no help, and I hate to see that. Right now, the show, as a whole, is serviceable; I’d like to see it shine a little more. I’m willing to try a few more episodes to see if it gets there. I worked with one of the actors who plays a supporting character — on the same show as the actor who’s now in HAVEN, which is pretty funny. Glad they’re both working.

Scumbag landlords are at it again, acting like this is an empty building. Some dick has a ladder up against my window. There was no warning, we have no idea who this is, why he’s here or how long.

Uh, no.

Oh, regarding the pet sitting — I’m paid to do it. I did it as a favor to this neighbor because she’s been unemployed for months, but, for the most part — people pay me to cater to their little darlings. I don’t mind, as long as I can take my writing with me. But it’s a specialized skill, part of my freelance life, and I don’t do it for nothing! 😉 Pet sitting’s a very lucrative business in this area, especially in Manhattan. I don’t charge as much as most people do, and I don’t work for an agency that demands bonding and all the rest — it’s all word of mouth. (I think the animals gossip and tell their owners, who then track me down).

Let’s hope I can be at least a little productive today!


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Hazy and warm

The Divine Caroline picked up my Preakness article from FEMME FAN. Nothing like reaching a wider audience, right?

The scumbag landlords are at it again. For the last two and a half weeks, they’ve turned off the hot water between 9 AM and 5:30 PM. since I usually shower early after my run, it’s not as big a deal as it might be otherwise, but they do not have the right to decide when I bathe or do the dishes. Under law, they MUST provide hot water 24/7. Of course, yesterday, it was on, because the DHCR inspector was supposed to come by. But, at 8 AM, there’s shouting and ropes flung down from the roof and they’re hauling sheet rock, shouting back and forth up four stories all day and banging around on the roof — because heaven forbid they use a radio. They haven’t told us what’s going on — for all we know, they could be adding another story. And here they are again, ruining the summer. Under state law, we have the right to “peaceful enjoyment” of our homes. We have had exactly one day of that (that wasn’t a Sunday or a federal holiday) since they bought the building. It has to stop.

It was very difficult to work.

But work I did, getting out some paperwork (not enough of it, but some), polishing and getting out my assignment for Confidential Job #1, and making the appointment for the car service — which is tomorrow, not today, unfortunately. And I finished the second section of POWER OF WORDS. It still needs some work, and a few things need tweaking, but, based on the comments I got from the first section, it helped strengthen this one. I thought it would take me until the end of August, so I’m pretty pleased.

I’m eager to start the third section, where they shoot the actual mini-series. That will probably wind up Book 1 of these tales, and then Book 2 will start with the first full season they shoot. I’d rather have them all in one book, but it will be too long.

The arc paragraphs aren’t working, so I’m doing a chart for each character during season one. One side of the page has the arc of the character they play in the show, and the other side has the personal arc.

Elsa seemed to be doing much, much better and then took a turn for the worse yesterday, with different symptoms. This morning, she won’t eat. This cat has never missed a meal in 15 years. So I’m calling the vet later and seeing if I can bring her in today.

Some books arrived yesterday: CONTESTED WILL by James Shapiro (for my Shakespeare research) and Jerry Weintrabu’s WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU’LL KNOW I’M DEAD. I started the latter — great book. He’s a showman, a saleman, and a marketing genius who loves talented people. Not only is it fun to read about his exploits because I’ve admired the work of some of his favorite people and even worked with a couple of them, but I can learn from the way he puts things together.

I’m absolutely beside myself with worry about Elsa, fury at the landlords (and a few other things), and don’t know how I’ll get back to the page. But I have to. No writing, no eating or bill paying.


Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 5:17 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy, hot, muggy

Up early, out for my run. Creepy newspaper delivery guy changed his route and was following me again. Not happy. At least on this new loop of the route, there are plenty of people walking down to the train station. Although it makes it more difficult to run upstream through them, at least it’s not quite as isolated. And the attitude of some — I know my neighborhood’s streets aren’t wide as the boulevards of Paris, but there’s plenty of room for two people to pass in opposite directions, so get out of the middle of the sidewalk! I’m not running into the street to get crushed by the street sweeper. Oh, and by the way, I worked in wardrobe for a really long time — I know where you bought your suit and how much you paid for it by the way it drapes. I know who has a full-price Hugo Boss, who found an irregular at Marshall’s, and who’s shopping at Men’s Wearhouse. So cut the attitude!

Scumbag landlords are at it again: third consecutive week where they turn off the hot water at 9 AM and don’t turn it on until 5:30 on non-holiday weekdays because “everyone” works from 9-5, and if you don’t, they want you out.

Not happy with the work I did for Confidential Job #2, so will rework it today and send it off — today’s the due date. Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS. Had some discussion with the group in Austin — they are excited to see the pieces. Four skits are percolating, and I hope to write them this week, polish them over the weekend, and get them out Sunday night in time for their meeting next week. Working on my Stanley Cup article. Prepping for Belmont. Have not been paying attention to the America’s Cup this year at all. Turned down 17 different invitations for stuff this weekend — seems everything is happening this weekend — and I’m booked between the horse racing and the ice hockey! And the Tony Awards are any minute, too, and I haven’t even been paying attention (once I knew none of my friends were individually nominated). Need to schedule a service appointment for my car — hopefully tomorrow — maybe I’ll work on the skits while I wait for it. Sorting out a few days’ worth of events for August — I think I’ll be able to do my usual volunteer work prepping for the gala in Saratoga, then head over to North Adams for an event at MassMoca, and down to Lenox for something else all within the course of 2-3 days, provided my mom’s free to take care of Elsa. Got out a few queries. Have to finish up some documentation for the Illinois Attorney General, who’s taking care of a nasty matter for me.

I don’t particularly feel focused or responsible or reliable, but I have to be, so, oh well. There’s a lot that has to get done, it has to get done within a very specific time frame, and I’m the one who has to do it. So I better get to it.

Still waiting to hear back from the vet. The cats decided they no longer like the food from Trader Joe’s, so I went up to Pet Smart yesterday to buy a variety of organic types to see which ones they like, and then I’ll stock up. My cats are feline gourmands — if you try to put down the same thing in the dish every day, they tip it over and wipe it all over the floor. The “experts” say changing a cat’s food upsets them, but mine DEMAND it.

Back to the page.


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The alarm went off early, so I was out by 5 AM for the run.

I’ve been really lax about marketing, because I’ve concentrated so much on fiction and scripts over the past few months, but now that the theatre commissions are winding down (at least until the next round of meetings/commissions), I need to get back on the stick. The job listings have sucked the last few months — the content mills are pulling down a lot of the prices, and I’m not going to write a press release (for years my bread-and-butter) for one-fifth of my normal rate.

I looked at Media Bistro — LOTS of jobs, well over 1000, legitimate jobs at legitimate rates, but very few that interest me. One did, it’s a company I’ve looked at for awhile and something opened up I could definitely do, but the amount of invasive paperwork and “investigative rights” you’re supposed to sign over to even apply for the job pissed me off, and I decided not to. I don’t do drugs, but I’m still not going to pee into a cup on demand, nor am I going to sign paper work to let you delve into my personal life. My personal life’s not particularly interesting or salacious, but IT’S MINE, and it has nothing to do with providing copywriting for your frigging company. I could understand if it was some national-security type job for a government or research or medical or defense firm where people’s lives were on the line, but copywriting for this type of company? Give me a break. And, knowing what I do about this particular organization, at least 70% of the people administering the tests are cokeheads, so I don’t think so. Hypocrites. There was another organization that looks really interesting (and the application process less invasive), but the job offered isn’t really what I want. However, I’m going to do some research and send them a proposal creating the freelance position I want, and we’ll see.

The NYFA job search board has a lot of jobs listed — again, they’re good, solid, legitimate jobs, many with benefits, but not what I’m looking for, too much full-time; but I can pull information and do direct mail pitches. If I can get a mailing out by early June, that would be great. I’ve built an interesting prospect list over the past few months, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s just sitting in a folder.

Got some work done on SETTLING THE SCORE. When I’m done with this sequence, some of these scenes will be darkly funny. The trick is to give the actors and director enough solid, specific text WITHOUT STAGE DIRECTIONS so they can explore and have fun and bring their uniqueness to the material, and yet make it precise enough so the layers of meaning are clear without everything being overly explained.

For some reason, I got very nauseous yesterday. It came and went all day. I have no idea why. I managed to get the grocery shopping done, and took a nap, but it wasn’t the productive day for which I hoped.

Cleaned a bunch of stuff. Literally wiped off all the papers that piled on top of my desk and stuck them in a box. I’m going to sort & file from that box for 15-30 minutes per day to get it all handled. I now have a clean desk, which, to Violet, means a place to perch and watch me while I work. I still have the old behemoth PC because I’m not done transferring the disks — yes, it’s taken over a year and I’m still not done — but there’s a lot more room to work. It’s been a long time since I had a clean desk. It’s a little intimidating, but hopefully, will lead to more productive worktime. Definitely better feng shui. I need to look up in my favorite feng shui book, MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, how to rearrange the desk.

“Organizers” say you “can’t” have “stuff” on the desk” — well, i can’t work without my “stuff”. It’s my creative fuel. I have my gargoyle and my dragon and my crystals and my Ganesh and other items that have personal creative meaning for me, along wiht the pens and the computer and the Rolodex and whatever I’m working on at the moment. Files are nearby, but not on the desk, and books are stacked in crates beside the desk by project, and office supplies in a bookcase against the wall beside the desk. Photos relevant to various projects are on corkboards, and I put the one I need up on top of the office supply bookcase where I can see it while I work. Works for me, and that’s what matters, right? I’ve yet to meet an “organizer” whose systems had any relevance to my life and work. Julie Morgenstern’s books come the closest, but then, she used to work in theatre, so she gets it.

Still haven’t heard back from the vet and am getting frustrated. I’m trying to hold Elsa steady, but we need to make decisions to move forward. If he needs to see her again (and wants me to dump more money at the facility) TELL me to make an appointment. Don’t just not get back to me.

Today is a day for dealing with scumbag landlords who are coming in to “make repairs”, but, in reality, coming in to snoop to see how they can continue to make lives miserable. Will also get on their case about the heat.

LOST just annoyed me yesterday, and that’s all I have to say about it. At this point in the story, I don’t care to learn backstory of anyone we’ve haven’t lived with a lot unless it takes 3 (short) scenes or less. Even if I did go to college with one of those guys. Again, no surprises, just the order in which they’re revealing stuff, and the length of time they’re taking to jerk the audience around.

I am looking forward to the day being over.

Hey, whaddaya know? 6:14 AM and the heaters are clanking. What do you figure, three, four minutes of heat this morning before they turn it off again?


Saturday, March 26, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

16 degrees F overnight and they barely gave us any heat. Typical scumbag landlords. Thank goodness for hot water bottles and LL Bean sleeping bags that can be used in temperatures down to 20 below! (with little cat heads peeping out, because they were cold, too).

First half of the day sucked, but then it got better. The suckage had nothing to do with the workshops, but with other stuff going on.

Some good stuff in the workshop. Sent back a batch of exercises for the motion exercise. A “walk AND talk” does not mean “tell us the characters walked somewhere, THEN stop to have a conversation, THEN tell us they walked somewhere else.”

Yes, I am the Evil Dialogue Dominatrix.

And yet, there’s a lot of really great work going on, and a good many of the students are blossoming. Quite a few of them relish the fact that the exercises are challenging and I don’t cut slack. Some of them have told me this is the first time they’ve ever gotten specific feedback — previously, it was always, “that’s bad” or “that’s not it”, but never WHY. I do get extremely specific with each individual’s exercise, because, to me, that’s the point. Vagueries don’t help anyone. A vague comment is me not doing my job, and doesn’t help the student focus the idea. The more focused every element is in a scene, the better the overall story works. For them to learn specificity, I must be specific.

Several dozen of my previous students have now sold work developed in my classes, so I’m doing something right.

An intriguing relocation possibility reopened yesterday and needs to be explored further. I’d written it off because of high cost of living and economic problems in the area. But not only does it seem to be making a solid recovery, the laws mean that I would literally have access to health care the minute I stepped off the plane (since they actually are a civilized country that respects its citizens), I would be considered an asset to the nation because I’m a writer with a track record, and I’d have access to programs to learn the language. It’s early talks yet — the offer would have to be solid and financially viable in the long term, and the cats would have to come.

Next assignment came in for Confidential Job #1, and pointed up my current mess — I’m paid the same for this one assignment, which takes a few hours spread over a few days, as I’m being paid for a 2 week workshop with 60 students. That’s just so wrong on so many levels. Well, at least I learn from my mistakes.

Good season finale on CAPRICA last night. Hope it’s renewed.

Lots to do — ugh, I have to face my taxes this weekend, among other things.


Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Grey and gloomy

The headache is back, gosh darn it. And I can’t even take a hot shower or bath, because there’s no hot water. The scumbag landlords turned off the water again yesterday, without proper notice, claiming an “emergency” and saying it would be down from 9 AM – 1PM. It didn’t come back on until well after 6. And this morning, the water coming out of the hot water tap is colder than the water coming out of the cold water tap. Yes, they know it’s illegal. They don’t care. And I don’t buy that every time they’re doing renovations, it’s an “emergency”. It’s bad planning and poor workmanship.

Still can’t get into my webhost so I can take down the auto responder. 1and1 gets worse every day. But I can’t dump them until I can pull off my materials, contracts, etc., and they’re holding them hostage.

Ran errands in White Plains yesterday. Didn’t find everything I wanted, but it was a pleasant time anyway. Found lots of things I liked, but can’t use right now, so that was that!

Did conference work, worked on Confidential Job #1. Struggled with the play, but will have to get back to that today.

I’ve been very strict, this conference, that each exercise must fit all the criteria set out or I won’t accept it, and that they must create new material for each day’s work, not pull something from a WIP and slap it up in their post. Yesterday’s exercise had to fit a list of points, and contain two characters. So what does someone do? Posts an exercise with four characters and said she hoped it was okay. It wasn’t, and, if you have to ask, it means you know it doesn’t fit the criteria, so don’t waste all our time by putting it there! It also makes me suspect that the student’s been posting scenes from previously written material instead of creating fresh scenes every day.

As I stated at the top of the week to the class,, part of getting published means following guidelines. And following guidelines in an exercise is good practice for following submission guidelines.

For the most part, the students have been pretty conscientious, other than that and then the person who submitted the same piece in both workshops. It’s been good to have smaller class sizes and be able to spend more time on each exercise. The group in the One Story, Many Voices Workshop is small, but they’ve done some terrific work, and the way they let themselves go as they move from genre to genre is really great.

I need a dose of inspiration to get back on track with my own work, so I think I will re-read Terry Brooks’s SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS.

Today’s about wrapping up the conference and finishing up some deadlined work. I’ll be out of town for part of next week, and can’t have any of it hanging over my head — I’ll just be working on the plays while I’m gone. I wanted to do laundry today, but with the water situation, it’s doubtful I can. Sigh.

Now that Violet’s forgiven me for going to Philly, she’s Velcro-Kitty. She’ll be mad at me again next week for the next voyage!

The weekend’s supposed to be nice – -hope I can get out and walk on the beach a bit. Have a good one.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Violet keeps an eye on things

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

I kept thinking yesterday was Tuesday, so I feel like I have the gift of a day. Woo-hoo!

I baked for 9-1/2 hours yesterday. I used a Thumbprint cookie recipe from the 1960’s and it came out PERFECTLY. So the recipes published this year must have shifted proportions, which made them not hold together. After the holiday frenzy, I’ll spread everything out and compare them.

I filled the Thumbprint cookies with three different types of jam — apricot, raspberry, blueberry. Not in the same cookie, don’t worry — I’ve got three different flavors, and I made three batches. I may have to make one more batch just to make sure I have a few extra. I made more molasses spice cookies — Lara, I’m going to scan the recipe and send it to you — and several batches of toll house cookies, AND the miniature gingerbread cakes in the molds — some are Christmas trees and some are gingerbread men.

As I baked, I kept thinking, “Oh, I have to write about that tomorrow” and darned if I can remember what “it” was! Every available space is decorated, so I had to flip over some of those empty milk crates that I meant to take to storage but couldn’t fit in the car, cover them with a board and a cloth, and use them for cooling stations. The new mixer and the new, deep batter bowl are awesome. It made everything so much more efficient and easier. Using three cookie trays worked just fine — the two in the oven were staggered, so I was always prepping one while the others were baking. The good thing about a tiny kitchen is that I can stand in one spot and reach everything (unless I’m storing it on top of the cupboards, in which case I have to stand on a chair).

All in a galley kitchen so small that I have counter space big enough for the mixing bowl, and you can’t stand in front of a cabinet door when you open it. So the next time one fo the spoiled brat bitches on HOUSE HUNTERS whines she “can’t” cook in a galley kitchen and fakes bumping into her significant other, I will hunt her down and smack her silly! I figured that, over the years, I’ve turned out somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 cookies in various tiny kitchens all over the country, and probably close to 500 cakes and pies. Would I like a huge kitchen? Absolutely! CAN I work in a tiny kitchen? Well, I have for years. These spoiled brats on the show, who are just starting out and expect 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, granite counter tops, steel appliances, etc. for $200,000. My goodness, you can’t even buy a CLOSET around here for that! Studio apartments are usually two or three times that amount.

Maybe I need a break from HGTV! 😉

Anyway, today is Icing Day. I’m going to ice the sugar cookies and the eggnog angels. So, tomorrow will be the pack-and-deliver day. I’ve got all my packing supplies — plates, festive bags, ribbon — and I’m going to make some tags on the computer (I can never find exactly what I want in the store, so I often make them).

I wrote domestic cards through “L” last night, and I’ll push to finish the alphabet tonight. I’m a little late (I like domestic cards out the door by the 10th or 12th), but they’re getting there. I have two packages to mail tomorrow, domestically; I have to figure out what the heck to get my cousin’s son and get THAT out the door — it’ll be late, but it’ll get there, it’s going overseas. I have one more gift to pick up for my Mom, probably on Thursday. And I am DONE. I can set up Ornament Hospital, finish some decorating, and just enjoy the season. I’ve got all the stocking stuffers, I can concentrate on my anthology deadline. And I can have fun with the holiday.

My eye seems to be okay. It’s sore, but not inflamed or any vision problems. Those eye drops I bought in Prague are magic!

Gotta head to Trader Joe’s this morning for cat food (the felines were horrified by their empty cupboard after I fed them the last can), gotta hit Mrs. Green’s for some coffee, and Staples (all in the same direction), then double back to Costco for more butter. So far, I’ve used 16 pounds of butter, 15 pounds of flour, 8 pounds of sugar, 4 pounds of chocolate morsels, and, when I did the math, realized I could paper a football field with parchment. And I’m not quite done yet — I’ve still got a few cakes to make and a Trifle. I’m trying to figure out which liquor to use to soak the spongecake — sherry, port, madeira, brandy?

I’m having a serial dream about a story. Very weird, but interesting. I have to make sure I take notes as soon as I wake up every morning, so that I don’t lose it. I think it could be quite a cool piece.

I have a Toyland display set up — ornaments of children and toys that are too big and heavy for the little tree, but are able to stand on their own. When I came into the ktichen this morning (it’s in the eating area of the kitchen), they were all rearranged and facing different directions! I don’t know if the cats played with them (they’re in a place the cats can’t usually reach) or the Christmas magic touched them and they had a party while we were all asleep.

Or the building is shifting again and we’re all screwed! 😉

Personally, I prefer Option 2.

Gotta run, there are angels to ice and cats to feed!

Maybe one of these days, they’ll fix the boiler, we’ll have hot water for more than five minutes (trouble for nearly a week now), and I won’t have to keep boiling water to wash the dishes. Pain in the —- when you’re baking and washing up as you go. Scumbag landlords. They make cosmetic “improvements” that make the building look like a hootchie joint where we rent by the hour, and skimp on things like the boiler. Typical.