Fri. Sept. 7, 2018: The Right Kind of Busy

Friday, September 07, 2018
Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, cloudy, warm

Yesterday, when the storm finally broke, I sat out on the covered deck and enjoyed it.

I am SO CLOSE to the end of this draft of RELICS. SO CLOSE. I just have to get there.

This morning, I had to flip around my usual schedule. Errands had to happen first. Then, I was lucky enough to hit a shoe sale – got a great pair of black suede ankle boots, gorgeous blue suede pumps with kitten heels, and a fabulous weekender bag – all within my budget.

I was just fretting the other day because several pairs of favorite shoes were wearing out – beyond what the cobbler can repair. Then, I realized I’d bought them FOURTEEN YEARS AGO. You know what? They earned their keep. They did right by me for fourteen years.

So the timing for all of this was wonderful.

My Goddess Provisions box arrived yesterday – Animal Spirits! What great, great products! Will keep me busy all months. I can’t say enough good things about them.

Sending off a few pieces today, and preparing a few proposals over the weekend. Along with finishing RELICS, getting DHARMA back on track, working on calendar articles, finishing the book I’m reviewing, rehearsing for the reading, and cleaning out some more boxes from the basement.

Busy. But the right kind of busy.

Have a great weekend!

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Fri. March 7, 2014: Details About the Adventures in Boston

Friday, March 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop over to Adventures in Vineland to see what’s going on with the latest wine experiment.

Yesterday was exhausting, but really fun.

I didn’t sleep much, and woke up just before the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. Yoga, meditation, a little writing, breakfast, getting interview ready (I REALLY hate to be in full hair and make-up by 6 AM — it feels weird). Had to wear SHOES all day. I don’t wear shoes working at home; I’m barefoot until I leave the house, so wearing shoes always feels weird. Even though I have a lot of cute shoes.

Out the door by 6:15. Drove to Kingston train station. I had to buy a train ticket. MBTA had answered my email and told me I could buy it at a place called Coffee, T, and Thee. According to Google Maps, it was smack dab in the center of the road leading to the station. I figured it was a cart or something.

It wasn’t, of course. It’s a building at the end of the train platform. I bought my ticket, got change for the parking, and had to ask someone how to pay for parking. You learn the number for your space, and then you stick your $4 one-dollar bills in the slot for that space — looks like a set of metal mailboxes in an old apartment building. The guy at the coffee shop told me to make sure I folded the bills a certain way and put them in one at a time, or they wouldn’t fit. I started doing it, and the train came in. I couldn’t get the bills in and figured the train would leave without me and I’d have to wait a half hour in the cold for the next one.

The conductor said, “Don’t worry, take a breath, we’re not leavin’ without you!”

I took a breath, someone showed me how to use the can-opener-like device attached the the mailboxes with a cord to shove the money in, and I hopped on the train. All good.

What can I say? I’m used to the hateful Metro North New Haven line, where the train people will watch you run down the platform, then slam the door and pull out just as you reach it.

Thank you, kind people at the Kingston train station!

The train was awesome! The cars are old-style, like the ones we had in NY in the 60s and 70s, but very comfortable, double-decker cars, and the trains run efficiently. The conductors are really nice. The announcements are clear.

I find trains soothing. The ride in was great. It amazes me how it’s three times the distance I had to travel from my mom’s outside of NYC into NYC, but is the same price AND takes less time. That’s because Boston’s commuter rail is far more efficient than Metro North.

South Station is TEENY. Yet it’s more confusing than either Grand Central or Penn. I took out my Google map for the first interview. After about ten minutes of walking in the brutal cold, I was pretty sure the damn map was wrong (again) and I was mad. I went back to South Station to ask at the Information desk, and that was useless.

“That way” is not an answer. Especially not when “that way” encompasses three exits leading to different streets.

No kiosk or display with street maps or any relevant information. The one kiosk with tourist information had information on . . .wait for it . . .Vermont.

WTF??????

By sheer chance, I found the right street, and headed down to the first appointment. I was still an hour early. My appointment was pleased, since her day was packed, and it worked out well to see me early. We had a really nice chat and discussed a variety of possibilities. I filled out yards of paperwork, and then it was off to my next appointment.

Fortunately, the map was more correct for that one, although I later found out it took me the longest and most circuitous route possible.

I got to walk through Chinatown — small, but what a sigh of relief. I now know where to go when I need specific supplies that I can’t get on Cape. Wherever I’ve lived in the country, I’ve lived near a Chinatown until I moved to the Cape. I miss it.

Chinatown led to the start of Boylston Street, and my appointment was waaaaay down the street. Well, it wasn’t that far, just a couple of miles. If it hadn’t been so cold, it would have been a great walk, especially since it’s past the Boston Commons/Public Gardens. And next to Emerson College’s theatre is a cool little alley with an iron-front gate with the comedy/tragedy masks and interesting-looking bits inside.

I was far too early for my second appointment — but it was only a block from Copley Square, which meant the Boston Public Library. I went in and the lovely lady set up my Sandwich Library card so I can use it in the BPL System. I’m excited — I now have access to the BPL System, the Old Colony network, and the CLAMS network. Talk about feeling rich!

The circulating portion of the library was too noisy, so I went up to the older building, the one that’s very similar to NYPL on 42nd St./Fifth Avenue, and set up in one of the reading rooms to do some work (because yes, I always bring work with me). I had a solid hour to work in the library, which was delightful.

Headed back to my next appointment. There were a couple of things that set of warning bells at first, but the person with whom I had the appointment, and the department in which it was in were terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When the appointment was done, I headed back towards South Station, first on Boylston Street, but then, instead of the weird zigzag the Google map had me do getting there, I cut through the theatre district. First of all, it was my type of area — theatres, I felt right at home. Second, it was a faster and more efficient way to get to the station.

I hit South Station in time to catch the train I wanted. Stopped at The Well for a really good coffee and Rosie’s bakery for a nice cookie — I’d eaten breakfast at 5:30 and hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch. If the weather was more temperate, I would have packed a few other things in.

Rode the top level of the double decker back, which was fun. I was just as excited as the five year old riding with his Grandma.

Got back to Kingston, headed back over the bridge. Stopped at Market Basket to pick up a few things, and home. Pizza for dinner.

Now that the psychological barrier’s been broken to get into Boston, I’ll be able to get in and out more efficiently and more often. That’s where the money jobs and several other good opportunities are, and I need to be able to take advantage of them. The bus would pick me up/drop me off faster, but it’s both more expensive than the train AND there’s the chance I’d be stuck in traffic, which, on days where I have rehearsal, is not an option.

Went to bed really early last night. My legs hurt from walking on concrete all day – not used to it. But I liked walking around, and will like it even more when the weather is better.

Now, I have a lot to catch up on and prep for the weekend. Back to the page! Have a great weekend.

Devon

Friday, January 15, 2010


I wish I was on Cape Cod

Friday, January 15, 2010
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (thank goodness)
Stormy and milder

If you want to donate to Haitian Relief, make sure it’s via a reputable organization. Your State Attorney General’s website should have information on all organizations registered in the state, and crosscheck with the BBB, and with CharityWatch.org. The ones I feel will be most useful in this case are The Red Cross (although I’m still mad at them in this area for ignoring the law allowing pets into shelters after the floods here in 2007), UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders. When the initial relief effort eases and rebuilding begins, I’m sure Habitat for Humanity will get involved.

Working on stuff for the webhost move. Moving three domains and numerous subdomains and all the various “stuff” is a pain and it’s lower than my neck. It will be worth it once it’s done, but a hassle to get there.

Once I figure out how to get my damned mail off the webmail onto my hard drive, Fearless Ink is ready to move. Much as I hate to lose the design for Cerridwen’s Cottage, that will be an easy one to move, so that may go next, with the main Devon site and its subdomains going last.

The vet is pleased with Elsa’s progress, and she got all her shots updated. The LIE and the Cross Island Expressway were nightmares in both directions, but the Hutchinson Parkway was okay, so it worked out. There were lots of small, yappy dogs in the waiting room. Elsa likes dogs (after all, she wants a dachshund AND a mastiff), but when four of them tried to make friends at the same time, pawing at her carrier, it was a bit much. She gave a growl, and they were so shocked, they all sat down. And then she settled back and started purring.

However, somehow, when we put the carrier together in the examining room after her visit, something went wrong. When I took the carrier out of the car in the building parking lot, it fell apart. Bits snapped off, the door came off, it was a mess. Fortunately, it was Elsa and not one of the twins, or they’d have run into the street and been killed. As the carrier disintegrated around her, she jumped onto my chest and hung on. I was wearing the big LL Bean coat I bought back when I was doing TV location shoots a few years ago, so there was plenty to hang on to. I gathered the scraps of the carrier in one hand, supported her with the other arm, and we got back inside, all intact except for the carrier. I don’t quite understand — it’s a fairly new carrier, but it’s like the plastic got brittle and it’s falling apart.

Sigh. Guess I’m headed out to get new carriers.

Thank goodness Elsa’s instinct was to grab onto me instead of running. Iris and Violet would have bolted, and I’d never have found them.

Elsa’s got all her shots and certificates and tags. She could travel to Canada or France. Of course, I have to get my passport renewed first! I’m a big believer in always having a valid passport handy, and mine expires in August. Since they now hassle you if it expires within six months of a trip, and I may be going to Canada a few times this year, I have to mail in my renewal in the next couple of weeks.

Packed up some more decorations, percolated the next chapter of the steampunk, sent out a query for a project, and a few follow-ups on other stuff. There are two publications I may query in the next couple of days — they pay decently, and I’ve got some article ideas.

I read Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING and liked it. It’s a fresh take on the genre, I love that some of it’s set in Maine and some just outside Quebec (both areas of which I’m rather fond). I like the characters, the story, the new take on old myths. It stays out of cliche, and when it refers to a cliche, it turns it inside out. Wonderful contrast to the previous book I read.

And now I’m reading Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, which I just love. The writing’s gorgeous, the characters are great, I like the plot and the setting, and enjoy the fact that the protag comes from a large, unconventional but ultimately loving family. It was hard to put it aside once I’d started,but there was stuff that had to get done. So I used chapters as carrots — if I completed X task, I could read one chapter (of course, I always read at least two, but you get the picture).

Today, I’m carting more stuff to storage, checking on my mom (the acupuncture helped her A LOT –as in, she can move around again and walk). In fact, I’m taking her shoe shopping so she can use the gift card I gave her. And I just might treat myself to something, too. Although I still haven’t had a chance to wear the gray Liz Claiborne boots I bought the last time I went there — to buy the gift card!

As the saying goes — how many pairs of shoes should a woman own? One more than she already has!

So, I got a rejection from a query I sent out — but it’s NOT FOR MY BOOK. No, I’m not going to correct them. I’m crossing them off the list for any further submissions. That kind of carelessness is not acceptable. We would not be a good fit. I’m tempted to send them a snarky response pointing it out, but it’s not worth it.

Had a great first morning’s writing session on the steampunk. THAT’s the way it’s supposed to go! 😉

Back to the page for a few hours before I head out.

Devon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and mild

My head is so stuffed full of information, it’s ready to burst. It was a good day, but a long one.

Train ride in was mediocre, as usual. I couldn’t stand the thought of being underground, so I decided to take the bus up Madison Avenue and then across 79th St. to the west side. The bus ride up Madison was excruciatingly slow, because there was a water main break at 57th St. The ride across the park was fine, except for the bratty, spoiled little rich kids with their nannies on the bus. One, in particular, a little girl of about six, was exceptionally horrid. Tantrums, screaming, whining, hitting other kids, trying to hit adults. She didn’t try it with me – like most bullies, she’s a coward at heart. I glared at her once and she hid behind the nanny. I’m not one for hitting a kid very often, but this one needed a good smack. Actually, maybe if they started by telling her “no” occasionally – and meaning it – it would make a difference. If she’s like this at six, what will she be like as a teenager, or as an adult? It’s a shame, because she’s very pretty. Too bad the inside doesn’t match the outside.

The Museum of Natural History was full of kids. I forgot that this is the time of year for school trips. You can tell the city kids from the suburban kids. The city kids are loud and rambunctious, but, living in the city, they’re very aware of personal space. They invade their friends’ space, but they’re careful not to invade that of strangers. The suburban kids have the same unwarranted sense of entitlement that their parents do, and just don’t care.

There was a really cute little boy of about eight with his dad, who thought EVERYTHING was AMAZING. There was a little girl of about eight or nine making sure her younger brothers and sisters didn’t wander off – there were about five in that group. The youngest could barely walk, but liked all the animals. She’d (Eldest) read a bunch of books before coming to the museum and was telling them stories about everything – it was great. A teacher-in-the-making (and most of it was even right). There was a girl of about eleven or twelve sketching, photographing, taking lots of notes in the Northwest Coastal Indians exhibit. Either she had a paper to write, or she’s an archaeologist-in-the-making. One little kid fell asleep in a corner of the Hall of Gems – it’s dark and only the cases with the gems are lit. There was a group of teenage boys wandering through North American Mammals, singing Pat Benatar lyrics. I told them I was impressed that they knew the lyrics to her songs, and they all blushed.

The Museum has a lot of stuff for kids, and several of the shops are geared specifically towards kids, filled with learning toys and books – really, they have one of the best shops I’ve ever seen. Low on the kitschy souvenirs, high on the education-presented-engagingly.

I wandered through the special floor of the main store dedicated to books. I could have easily dropped nine or ten THOUSAND dollars just in that bookstore. Fabulous stuff.

I visited some of my favorites – the Blue Whale, the African elephants, the owls, the biodiversity exhibit. I spent more time in the Human Evolution exhibit than I planned, because they were explaining archaeological and anthropological methods and evaluations, and I figured that would be good for the Gwen/Justin books. Yes, I eavesdropped, but the (very cute) lecturer didn’t seem to mind.

I spent quite awhile in the biodiversity exhibit, refreshing my memory. It’s a great exhibit, but once you’ve spent time in a real rain forest (I went to one in Australia), nothing else quite compares. You can recreate the look of it, but not the energy flow.

I spent a lot of time in the Halls of Minerals and Gems. It’s one of my favorite places. It’s very soothing to sit amongst enormous chunks of amethyst and crystal. Because of the dramatic lighting and carpeting, when it’s not full of rambunctious kids, it’s a great place to simply sit and be quiet. It’s a very meditative space.

The Hall of Meteorites is always fascinating. And I spent a lot of time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Honestly, I liked it better when it was the Hayden Planetarium. This has more levels and more open space, but I felt there was more concentrated information in the former, and it wasn’t all focused on making you buy an extra ticket for the Space show or the IMAX show. I took a lot of notes on the information that was there, and the Planetarium shop is terrific. I jotted down many titles, but I bought three books: Miss Leavitt’s Stars by George Johnson, about the woman who figured out how to measure distances between stars and galaxies. I’d never heard of her before; have you? I also bought a very basic book on the Solar System, because I haven’t read anything about it since about the fourth grade, and, other than being able to recite the planets in order from the sun and know what the retrogrades mean . . .that’s all I know. There was also a book on the sale table that I scooped up called A Traveler’s Guide to Mars by William K. Hartmann. The more I read about Mars, the more I think it was once fairly similar to Earth and that civilization destroyed the planet much as we are destroying this one. Flipping through the book, it seems that some of my theories are laid out and backed up in the book, but some of the things I think are possible are discounted, so I’m interested to read it and learn. It’s over 400 pages, so it will be quite a read. I also jotted down a bunch of titles that I’m going to try to get elsewhere.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to go up to the dinosaur exhibits. I’d always loved them as a kid (if I hadn’t gone into the arts, I would probably have been an archaeologist). I’d wafted through briefly after it was re-conceived, but hadn’t spent any time there. This time, I did.

Wow.

The curators truly did a spectacular job. One of the things I loved was how graceful the skeletons looked. That sounds weird, since they were these huge, lumbering beasts, or these delicate raptor-type things, but the way the spines curved and the tails stretched and the angle of the heads and front arms – really beautiful. I took a lot of photographs and wrote a lot of notes (so I’ll know what the photographs represent). This will help me in the evolution of world-building, as will the biodiversity exhibit and the Space Center exhibit.

I probably gathered information for about a dozen projects here; it’s information I can use on projects in progress, and information I can continue using in the future. I think I’m going to get some children’s books on the basics of stars and their physiology (when in doubt, get it in children’s book format – they often have terrific information stated engagingly). I still might contact some of the staff at the museum with questions, but I want to see if I can answer them on my own first.

That was the bulk of the day. I wandered down Central Park West and over towards Lincoln Center. I browsed in the big Barnes & Noble there – since when did it become a pickup joint along the lines of San Francisco’s Marina Safeway of the 1980’s? At first I thought I was delusional, but after the sixth guy asked me for my phone number . . .

My friend and I were supposed to meet at a place on Columbus Avenue, but Fordham University had its graduation ceremony and the place was packed. So I grabbed a few bar stools over at Josefina’s on Broadway instead, and that’s where we met. It’s a place for grown-ups and was a much-needed respite. We had an elegant glass of wine and caught up on life, then maneuvered through the renovations at Lincoln Center to the Walter Reade Theatre for the PEN Literary Awards.

What a beautiful evening! Low key but elegant and friendly. Jonathan Ames was the host. I’ve never read anything of his, but after listening to him up there last night, I am going to! If he writes anywhere near as wonderfully as he speaks, he’ll become one of my favorite aauthors. The ceremony was lovely, simple, from the heart, and inspiring. Richard Nelson received a lifetime achievement for his plays – one of my favorite playwrights, by the way. Janet Malcolm, whose work I thoroughly admire, received an award for her biography of Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas (if you haven’t read Malcolm’s work on Sylvia Plath – read it. Now.). Cynthia Ozick received the Nabokov award. There were awards for translation and a children’s book-in-progress, and first novels and poetry and all sorts of inspiring stuff. Truly lovely. And there was an empty chair to signify the writers we work so hard to release via the Core Freedoms/Freedom to Write program who are imprisoned throughout the work for speaking their truths.

The reception after was lovely. Whoever does the catering for PEN always does a terrific job. The h’ors d’oeuvres are just the right size, not too messy, and tasty. My favorites were the sesame rounds with guacamole and the farmstead cheese with pear drizzled with lavender honey.

The only unfortunate part of the day was how badly my feet hurt. I was dressed up, yes, and on my feet all day. But I wore one of my most comfortable pairs of boots. Yet, by the time I got home, after 11 PM, I could barely limp. I couldn’t believe it. And I realized – I’m not used to wearing shoes – at all – any more.

I work at home. We have a no-shoes-in-the-house rule. I put on a pair of shoes to go to the store or out to dinner, but that’s maybe a couple of hours. I wear my Timberland sneakers to do shows. But, other than that, I don’t wear shoes. I buy them. They’re on my shoe rack looking cute. But I spent most of my time barefoot.

Shoes hurt. My feet get claustrophobic.

Actually, my feet hurt, my ankles hurt, my shins hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurt, and my neck hurt by the time I got home, and I’m not feeling so perky today (damn alignment)!

Fortunately, I have acupuncture tomorrow.

I have to have an organized writing day. On the train, I figured out the final obstacle for THE MATILDA MURDERS, so I hope I can finish it today. And I got some interesting ideas for the adaptation, and want to do some work on the two stories.

I should probably also pitch for more short-term paying work.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: