Tues. April 26, 2022: A Reasonably Restful Weekend

image courtesy of haegenmatteORG via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

For once, this Tuesday post won’t be pages and pages. There’s a post over on the GDR site about putting together the pieces that have been discussed there over the past few weeks.

I picked this photo because people love their hammocks around here, and are starting to put them up again for the summer.

Friday, we set out the plants on the porch for the day. It was quite lovely, and I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription and stopped at the liquor store on the way back. I was testing a pair of cute flats, rather than the boots I’ve worn all winter. While the cute shoes are fine if I drive somewhere, walking a three-mile round trip didn’t work in them. I had bleeding blisters and my ankles hurt from the concrete. Live and learn. I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Expanded the pitch to my Llewellyn editor and sent that off. Hopefully, she’ll want one of the two ideas. Of course, I thought of a third idea once I sent it off; I can either save that for next year, or, if she doesn’t like either of my ideas, counter with this one. Although I would prefer to do some practical work on the idea this year so I can more accurately write about it.

Spent the whole day Friday on contest entries. I was so happy I could work on them out on the porch.  One category is complete. The second category should be done tomorrow, or Thursday latest, and the final category by next Monday. I truly enjoyed the work, although more and more of the admin is being pushed onto the judges, without the pay going up. But we’re paid, which is more than most contests do.

At the end of the day, I oiled the other Adirondack chairs. It makes me laugh that I bought these chairs out on the Cape, the first summer we lived there. And yet here, where we are close to the actual Adirondacks, they’re selling Hyannisport rockers! (Hyannisport is an upscale enclave on the water, near where I used to live).

Juggling several books to read for pleasure, in addition to all the contest reading. I absolutely loved PROVENCE, 1970 by Luke Barr, about MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, et al, who convened there for several weeks of cooking and talking. They were at turning points in their lives and careers, and the food world was also at a turning point. The talk about Sonoma County, in California, at that time, kind of reminds me of what’s going on here with the farm-to-table movement.

The plants had to come in overnight, because it’s still going down to the thirties at night.  They went out on the porch on Saturday, came back in Saturday night. I had the chance to oil the bistro table. Sunday, it was too cloudy and cold to put them out at all, but we brought them out again on Monday, while it was sunny. And today, I will oil the small table.

I still have to oil the bistro chairs and the bench out on the back balcony, but I have to wait until the temperature stops going down so low at night, or the wood will crack.

Saturday, I read and puttered and arranged and rearranged a few things around the house. I took it easy, feeling weary, and needing the time to rest. I did a good bit of percolation on several projects, just letting my mind roam freely through them, poking at different aspects and seeing what came out. I’ve narrowed too much of that creative time out, and I need to create space for it again, because the work is so much better when I do.

I treated myself, on Saturday, to smoked trout with a touch of horseradish cream on buttered rye bread and prosecco (making like a Venetian with the latter). It was perfect. Saturday night dinner was very simple – leftover ham (I feel like we’ll never be done with the leftovers) with vegetables turned into a ham pot pie.

Sunday morning, I made biscuits, and, later in the day, I did an easy chocolate mousse. But the rest of the day, I puttered around, noodled with ideas, and re-read APPETITE FOR LIFE, the wonderful Julia Child biography. I’d read it when it first came out, in 1997, and enjoyed it. I appreciate it even more this time around.

I broke my “day of disconnect” to keep an eye on the elections in France and Slovenia. Glad to see the fascists lost, at least for the moment. Would that we could remove them from positions of power here, too. The lack of consequences for crimes committed publicly in real time is appalling.

While I understand that people want to reconnect, the photos of people who should know better behaving irresponsible at conferences, festivals, and events are deeply disturbing. No one better act surprised when they get sick. Because it is “when” and not “if.”

Yesterday morning, Tessa got me up early, awakening me out of “busy dreams.” They weren’t bad dreams at all, but I was very busy in them, and woke up exhausted. Still, we got our morning routine done, and the plants out.

I tried to get in contact with the mechanic, and they were closed yesterday. I’m getting really frustrated. Also, the transfer of my mom’s number was initiated on Thursday, late in the day, and it’s still not complete. This let’s-screw-the-customer-because-we’re-the-only-choice is revolting.

I got some blogging done, working ahead a bit. I need to start spending more time over on Ello and build up that platform. If Elon Musk buys Twitter, and it looks like he’s succeeded, that’s it for me over there, which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. Don’t like FB, and resent that I feel forced to be on it. Instagram has so many scammers on it that it harms my pleasure in it, although I block daily. I never even bothered to join Reddit, because all I see from it are people being awful to each other.  My website posts are connected to Tumblr, but I rarely spend much time on it.

We’ll see. Don’t borrow trouble, right? Keep my own sites going. Limit my time on sites that no longer serve my needs. Do the work. I’m reconfiguring my relationship to work, in general, so I might as well reconfigure it with social media, too.

The weather was gorgeous. Walked up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Trees and bushes and flowers are coming into bloom, and it’s gorgeous. The smells are wonderful, too.

Did my script coverage sitting on the porch, enjoying the nice weather. Did a 20-minute mid-day meditation, which was also good. And then went back to working on more contest entries.

Up around 5 this morning, thanks to Tessa. Who needs an alarm clock, when one has a Tessa? Although she’s more about what she wants when she wants it, then consistent time. It wasn’t raining yet, so once I did my yoga, I bundled up the laundry and hauled it over to the laundromat. Got it turned around quickly, although forty-five minutes in, other people showed up to do their laundry. They were perfectly fine; we acknowledged each other and did their own thing. I’m just proprietary about the laundromat early in the morning, because I can get so much work done.

And I did get good work done, on The Big Project, which I hope to continue this morning, in and around trying to get an appointment with the damn mechanic, and some other admin stuff, and more script coverage.

I got home before the rain started, so I’ll call that a win!

Have a good one!

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

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!

Published in: on September 7, 2018 at 10:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 7, 2018: The Right Kind of Busy  
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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: