Fri. Dec. 6, 2019: Deep Within the Baking Marathon

Friday, December 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to AFFAIRS OF THE PEN, where I talk about the fun of holiday romances.

I got back to baking in the early afternoon, after having adventures finding decent vanilla that was also affordable. It’s shocking how much food prices have gone up this year, while the packages are smaller and the quality is often lower.

I made the orange-cranberry cookies from the recipe in THE CAPE COD COOKBOOK. I started making them a few years ago, and they’ve become a favorite. I made about 10 dozen. I prepped the dough for the same amount of molasses spice cookies, which I will bake today.

I had leftover orange zest (I got a little over-enthusiastic trying to find a way to actually LIKE zesting oranges). So I built a chocolate spice cake around the leftover zest, using ideas from several different recipes, and then tweaking them.

It was outstanding.

I already got the request (although it felt more like a demand) to share the recipe. Um, no. When I put a bunch of work into developing a recipe, I’m not flinging it up on the Internet so anyone can claim it. I’m saving it for my own cookbook. I am thinking of reviving The Heritage Recipe project next year, where I work on family recipes and adjust them for modern times. I think there’s another website with that name already, so I probably need to rename mine.

Then, I wonder if it’s too much to take on, with everything else that has to happen next year.

Watching SHETLAND, Season 5. It’s so well done.

Got in one of the research books for an essay I’m working on. I need to get the other essay done this weekend, so it can go up on Monday, and I’m thinking of doing one more before the end of the year, then the two I’ve been thinking about for a long time early next year.

This morning, I have errands (grocery store AGAIN, post office, library, etc.), some work to get done/out, take my mom to get her blood pressure checked. Then, it’s baking the molasses spice cookies and the oatmeal/currant lace cookies.

Tomorrow morning, I will bake the cupcakes. Then, we’re going to the holiday greens sale at the library, and the open house at the Cahoon Museum. After that, I’ll frost the cupcakes, and maybe deliver ones to the neighbors. Sunday and Monday will be more deliveries. I want to make sure I get them all out by mid-week.

I’m behind on the overseas holiday cards. I wanted to get them out this morning, but I will have to stay up as long as it takes tonight in order to get them out tomorrow morning instead. Otherwise, it’ll be Valentine’s Day before they arrive.

I carefully read through the National Grid bill. We were so careful with gas last much, and our bill is so much higher. You know why? They double the price per therm from November to April. It’s not that I’m using so much more — although, with cold weather, of course I am. It’s that they’re charging DOUBLE. How is that legal? And, there’s both a delivery charge and a service charge. Huh? Aren’t they the same thing? That’s ridiculous. People already use more energy in the winter, because they need to heat the house. The company’s making more money. But now they DOUBLE the price? That’s not right.

I will be talking to my elected officials about that, in our regular conversation, along with all the other points we need to discuss.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of it. We’re supposed to get a little more snow today. I already have my pre-storm headache.

 

Thurs. Dec. 5, 2019: Release Day for GRAVE REACH

Grave Reach 3D Cover
Release Day: GRAVE REACH, the 4th Coventina Circle Novel!

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool
St. Nicholas Night

It’s finally here! GRAVE REACH, the 4th Coventina Circle novel. You can read an excerpt and find out more about it by visiting the Grave Reach page on the Coventina Circlewebsite. I’m excited about this book – I achieved what I wanted with it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Blurb:
Lesley Chase fought her way free from an abusive marriage, thanks to Coventina Circle. After her ex-husband’s murder, she took a sabbatical to study yoga, meditation, and dreamwalking in Costa Rica. A passionate affair with Sam Pierce helped her self-confidence and healing, but she insisted they break all contact when she returned to New York. She’s stunned when she runs into Sam, who has an office in the same building as her therapist. He convinces her it’s just a weird coincidence, and he won’t try to rekindle their passion. But when Lesley’s dreamwalking crosses into dangerous territory, and her ex-husband starts stalking her from beyond the grave, Sam is determined to set her free, once and for all. Of course, Sam has a few dark secrets of his own, on both sides of the veil . . .

$3.99 on multiple digital channels.

***

I was wiped out by the time I got back from work both Tuesday and Wednesday – which means I’m behind on the overseas cards.

The Remote Chat was great, as always. What a great bunch of people. I always learn so much.

When I got home yesterday, I baked 10 dozen Tollhouse cookies for the cookie platters. I also baked a Swedish Visiting cake, a recipe from YANKEEMagazine. It was simple, and delicious. I didn’t have almonds or almond extract, so I substituted anise (with trepidation, since I don’t always like it). But it’s excellent, and will become one of my go-to cakes.

Started watching Season 5 of SHETLAND. It’s always such an intense, well-done piece.

Out early this morning, doing a big grocery shop for the rest of the baking materials. This afternoon, I’m prepping the molasses spice cookies, and baking the orange cranberry cookies.

I have an essay to finish and polish, that needs to be ready to post early next week.

Tomorrow, I’ll bake the molasses spice cookies, and bake the oatmeal currant lace cookies. I’ll either start the stained glass cupcakes tomorrow afternoon or bake them on Saturday. Although I think I’ll bake them tomorrow, frost them Saturday, and deliveries start on Sunday.

In and around all of this, I have more errands to run, writing to get finished, and the overseas holiday cards to write and get out. But front-loading at the beginning of the month will allow me to relax and enjoy the actual holidays themselves.

Tonight is St. Nicholas night. We will put out a shoe (with a napkin inside) and tomorrow morning, it will be filled with candy – or coal! It’s one of the traditions of our childhood that we still retain, and I love it.

Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

There was no post on Ink-Dipped Advice this week. My back has limited the amount of time I can spend at the desk. I was working on the week’s post and was in so much pain, I had to stop. It’s a post on client voice, and it will go up next week.

This month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived and it was delightful. I’m thrilled with every single piece in it. This box has become vital to my self-care routine.

Willa and Charlotte are getting along much better. Now, we just have to re-integrate Tessa back into the mix. Time and patience. I keep reminding myself it takes time and patience, and for something this important, “no time” is not an option. I make sure to spend quality time with Tessa every day, so she doesn’t feel neglected.

Charlotte was on my lap on Tuesday night and Willa tried to hop up, which didn’t quite work. Charlotte was good — no hissing or growling. Willa complained, but that was it.

They also call a truce for Bedtime Snacks, which is pretty funny.

They’re starting to remember that they CAN get along. The more positive time they spend together, the more they’ll associate each other with good things. They have to learn that yoga/meditation time means QUIET, not climbing-all-over-the-human time, but they’ll get there.

Season 4 of SHETLAND is just heart-breaking. What a terrific show.

Excellent writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Wednesday morning, and this morning. Some good editing work, too. Made a decision to cut yet another subplot of GRAVE REACH, and streamline it a bit more. Late in the game to be doing it, but necessary for the flow to work.

Client work. I’m always tired by Wednesdays. Great Remote Chat about stress.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Worked on the book for review (I hope to get the review out either today or tomorrow). Worked on another client project. I’m meeting with the client tonight. Sent out an LOI for an exciting new position. I’m a long shot — I’m sure they want a Big Name for it. But I’d be a strong choice, and would love the opportunity. If I don’t try, then I can’t succeed, right?

Sent an LOI to work remotely with a client in Michigan on email campaigns. They sent back an online “test” — so, no, they’re out. If you’re too lazy to read my portfolio and expect free labor as part of the interview process, you’re out. Sent another LOI to a company in Colorado who says they’re “open” to working remotely with the right candidate, although they’d prefer someone local. There are plenty of good writers in Colorado, so I doubt I’ll get that, but again, I liked the company and the product, so it was worth the LOI. Am prepping an LOI to a company in Boston with a terrific mission, but I’m not sure if we could work out the logistics of the work.

Doing research on a publication so I can put together a good pitch for them.

Working on the questions for the 2020 GDR.

Good session on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning. And a decent editing session. Because it’s not due until next year, I only set the goal for 2 pages a day. But I’m regularly writing more. Wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead on this draft, without dropping the ball on the other contracted projects? I’m enjoying the process. I also love doing research on harps.

Doing the work, putting in the time, redefining what I want from my work life.

 

Published in: on November 7, 2019 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 5, 2019: Nice Start to November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

A friend arrived on Thursday afternoon. We had cocktails and snacks. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, with orange rye bread. Gingerbread for dessert.

The weather was pretty vile, so there were only 8 Trick or Treaters.

At least I had enough candy.

We watched TEA WITH THE DAMES, talked. I’d done my ritual in the morning. I did my Tending the Dead ritual once everyone was asleep.

Willa bonded with my friend immediately, which was good. Charlotte behaved better. Tessa came out a little bit.

I tried anti-anxiety medicine on all three cats. It did nothing for Willa. It confused Tessa. It made Charlotte less aggressive, but more nervous. I kept Charlotte on it for a few days, but she was miserable.

A Letter to the Editor I ghost-wrote for a client appeared in the local paper. I felt a bit smug, and she was very pleased.

The weather was bad all night into Friday, although it started clearing up Friday mid-morning.

I cooked a big breakfast. We stopped at the library.

Then we went to the Cahoon Museum. It was delightful, as always, although it was between exhibits. I was sad they took down my favorite oil painting. But Ralph and Martha’s work always delights me. One of the two new exhibits, by a weaver, was beautiful. I’m trying to decide if I’ll go the opening reception this next week. It’s the last exhibit of this year, before they close for the winter.

We came home, and I made bahn mi for lunch.

Then, we headed up to Sturgis Library, and then over to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth. I hadn’t been there in several years. It was delightful, as always.

The guy at the front desk is someone I recognized from one of the local reading series where I’ve tested new work. He had no idea who I was. I’ve attended often enough that one would think he’d recognize me.

That’s what gets me here. It’s a small community, so “everyone knows everyone.” Yet, in professional contexts, they don’t retain information. They’ll remember gossip about the friend of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin like they know them and it’s first=hand information, but not remember someone with whom they interacted professionally.

Stopped at Parnassus Books on the way back, always a pleasure. Then, went to Tumbleweed Quilts so my friend could buy some novelty fabric for her sister.

It was nice enough to have a cocktail on the deck. I made a Venetian pasta out of THE BRUNETTI COOKBOOK. We watched the first, very dark episode of Season 4 of SHETLAND.

The cats behaved pretty well. Tessa needs to stay out more, so they all get used to being together. She holes up in my office all the time.

Saturday morning, up early. My friend was looking for something for her mom. We drove around all over Hyannis, three different stores, and finally found it at a yard sale down the street.

My friend left in late morning. I brought in the Halloween decorations, cleaned them off, packed them away. We packed all the Samhain decorations and put them away. We switched out the spider web curtains for the winter curtains and changed Halloween fabric coverings to Harvest fabric. Re-made the beds. I did laundry.

Charlotte and Willa discovered the basement, and had adventures.

They didn’t like empty boxes coming out, but once they were filled, the settled down. Tessa always avoids the chaos when decorations go up or come down. She hates it.

Finished reading MISS BUNCLE MARRIED by D.E. Stevenson, and started THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY, which is quite wonderful and weird, but I’m worried it’s going to wind up being too religious for my taste.

Remembered to turn the clocks back.

Up early. Spent a good portion of the day working on edits. This draft is in good shape, and I’m happy with it. I have to smooth out a couple of things, and then I can get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DHARMA. I need to come up with an entire new outline for DHARMA, and I need to outline THE BARD’S LAMENT. I only have the most basic idea of where I want to go with it.

Yesterday morning, up early, trying to get back into the routine. Willa and Charlotte don’t really understand the concept yet of yoga and meditation time. They’re constantly up to something when I sit. It’s pretty funny.

Worked on my edits. Worked on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Worked more on it than I expected, but it’s flowing. Worked on site with my client. Bagged 30 gallons of leaves from the front yard.  Took a big stack of materials back to the library. Went to meditation. Worked on a book for review. Worked on a piece I’m doing for NMLC.

This morning, another writing session, another editing session, then off to my client. I’m debating whether to grocery shop today or tomorrow. Doing some more work on the piece for NMLC. I’m working with the Executive Director on it later this week.

Have to do some raking and yard work. I need to cut back a bunch of stuff, put the pots away from the deck (either cleaned and stacked, or, for the big plants, to the spot where they overwinter in the garage). I figure, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it gets done.

I’m also doing some sorting and purging. Again, trying to do a little bit every day. Set the time for 15 minutes here and there, make a commitment to unpack a box or two. I want to get rid of a lot of stuff that’s not relevant to me anymore. I’ll keep most of the books, especially non-fiction, but release what I no longer want to define my life.

I’m redefining my life right now, which feels good, is scary, and most definitely necessary.

Meanwhile, I keep the writing steady. So it’s back to the page.