Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and hot
Festival of Salacia and Sulis

Yesterday was fun. Different than I expected, but fun. I was out of the apartment early, walked east on Chestnut Street to the historic district. Never made it to Ben Franklin’s grave, although it turns out I was always within a block of it. There are thousands of boy scouts on their way to a jamboree — thousands of ‘em, all over the place. I spent most of the day trying to dodge the large groups. A store proprietor said they’d be at mostly family-friendly places; I hoped to find a tavern to hide in.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re very nice and reasonably well-behaved, in spite of being older teenaged boys. But they ARE teen-aged boys, and there are thousands of them, and there’s only so much of that I can take.

Paid my respects to Betsy Ross, photographed the fountain in her courtyard with the cats. Swung by the Old Quaker Meeting House, and the store at the Visitor’s Center. I wanted to buy some silly gifts, but the store was overpriced, and there wasn’t anything appropriate. And why do the stores in the Bourne Center sell replicas of the Statue of Liberty and postcards of NYC? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Carpenter’s Hall (good bookshop there), swung back around on 2nd St. to the Clay Center. Although it states on the website that the gallery opens at 10, and I was there after 10:30, it was locked and dark. Typical Philadelphia.

Ducked down Elfreth’s Alley, full of tiny little row houses and window boxes, and pre-revolutionary lane that still has people living there. Poor things, the tourists must drive them nuts. And there’s Blanden’s something or other, another little alley leading of Elfreth’s Alley, which would be lovely and peaceful is so many people weren’t crawling around taking photos! I was one of them, but I tried to do it quietly! 😉

Took some lovely photos in the cemetery at Christ’s Church, dodged four troops of boy scouts (for a minute, I thought I’d have to hop over the wall, which, in a dress, would have been an adventure). Walked across to the Society Hill neighborhood, full of restored (expensive) row houses.

There’s an oddly designed red brick building, heading south, called the Center for Living History that “closed permanently” on June 18. That’s a shame. And I wonder what they’ll do with the monstrosity.

The plan was to eat at a pub I’d read about called The Artful Dodger that looked interesting. I thought I’d check it out and write a short article about it. There are plenty of publications who take that type of stuff. I got there about a half hour before they were scheduled to open. I was hot and tired, in spite of carrying water. I wandered around the neighborhood, which is lovely, and spent a good bit of time in the churchyard next to St. Peter’s. I took some interesting photographs — I like old graveyards, they have stories, and they tell them if you listen quietly enough. Also met a woman walking two Wheaton terriers who told me about some interesting graves in the graveyard next door, at cemetery beside Old Pine St. Church, and about some lovely little gardens tucked away between Society Hill and where I’m staying off Rittenhouse Square.

By the time we were done, it was a few minutes after noon. I walked back to the pub, and it was even a few more minutes after noon. Not only was it not yet open, the staff saw me waiting and turned their backs. Not a wave or holding up a hand to indicate five more minutes. Dismissal.

So I left. Not spending my money there.

The service in Philadelphia restaurants sucks more often than it doesn’t anyway, which is a shame, because Philadelphia has a lot of outstanding restaurants. It sucks more than in most other towns I’ve travelled to throughout the world. But the servers seem to think they’re doing you a favor by letting you come in and sit down and pay them to maybe come by your table if they feel like it and can get off their smart phones or be bothered to stop conversing with their colleagues. 98% of the wait staff in Philly couldn’t last a single shift in NY.

Exceptions that I’ve discovered (and to which I keep returning) are Smith’s, on S. 19th St., a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, and The Black Sheep, on S. 17th St. Hopefully, the place we’re going for lunch to today will also fall into that category.

Walked west on Pine Street, which was lovely. Row houses, Antiques Row (a series of antique stores — if I’d been in shopping mode, I’d have stopped at a few, but I wasn’t). I hoped to find a little cafe to stop and have a bite, but didn’t see anything that particularly struck me.

So I wound up at The Black Sheep, which is close to where I’m staying. I already knew they had great burgers and a nice selection of beers. I sat in the bar. The only person working was the bartender, who was also serving, but she was great. Nice change. I had the fish tacos — a huge platter with delightful condiments including one of the best cilantro sauces I’ve ever had. And a couple of pints of Flying Fish beer, which was very good. All reasonably priced, served promptly and politely, in a good atmosphere. Because The Black Sheep is so close to where I stay, I tend to overlook it, but I won’t anymore.

After lunch, I returned to the apartment and collapsed in the air conditioning. I was pretty wiped out. Didn’t do much of anything for the rest of the day except some percolating and email. I overheated during the day, in spite of drinking a lot of water, so it took me awhile to cool down.

Contract negotiations are not going well. I hope I don’t have to walk away and start the submission process all over again on this project, but if it comes to that, I will. I like this company, but they’re not taking one of the non-negotiables for me seriously and they think I’ll blink. They are sadly mistaken.

I will tell them so politely and firmly, and we’ll see where that leaves us.

Back to the page for awhile this morning, and then it’s off to lunch with some writer pals at a Belgian restaurant only about two blocks away whose menu looks fantastic. Let’s hope the service is up to par.

Boy, am I spoiled with my Optimum internet service at home. Comcast sucks — it’s hard to get anything done efficiently. Pages take about 3-1/2 minutes to load — when they can be bothered to load at all. I hope they are not my only option when I relocate.

Today is the festival of the goddesses of mineral springs, salt water, and healing waters. I will honor them tonight by a good soak in the tub with salts!

Devon

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Yesterday turned out pretty well, thank goodness. I did conference work in the morning, finished packing, ran some errands in the afternoon. I stopped by Robin’s Bookstore, in their new location. They were still constructing the new space, and I just couldn’t deal with the nail guns, but I did buy a book about the case on which Edgar Allen Poe based his Marie Roget story, which seems fascinating, and the first 6 pages have already given me ideas for other work.

Started working on Confidential Job #1. They’ve sent me two assignments due on two consecutive days — hey, I’m happy for the cash. I plan to do the first one today and tomorrow and get the next one done by the weekend.

Found a great bar/restaurant on 19th St., between Walnut and Chestnut, called Smith’s. The staff is great, the food is great, the prices are reasonable — I had a really wonderful chicken pot pie and a local beer. All good. Definitely a place I’d go back to regularly on subsequent trips.

Hauled all my luggage to the bus stop outside of 30th St. Station. Loaded on, settled in with Kate Carlisle’s IF BOOKS COULD KILL (I liked her first one, so was happy to grab this). Had my iPod on, there were very few people on the bus, and it was a smooth, pleasant ride back to Manhattan. Took a cab from the drop-off point on 28th St. up to Grand Central Station (yeah, it was $10, but I’m not carting my luggage over a mile uphill). Even managed to catch the 7:40 train, get a seat on it, and got home around 8:30. Had dinner, unpacked, played with the cats. Elsa and Iris were happy to see me; Violet didn’t speak to me until this morning.

My back hurts, but I’m going to acupuncture next week, so I will deal.

I’m glad to be home with my good internet connection. I’m headed to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food and a few other things — another storm tomorrow. Today will be mostly conference work, some correspondence, and then turning my attention back to BLOOD SOUP and the steampunk. Wrap-ups and To Do lists should be up shortly. I’ve also got to get to work on the 15 pages of query notes I made from that one section of WRITER’S MARKET. I’m going to try to get one out every weekday, at least.

I need to rearrange my time a little bit again. I need more percolation time, time to just sit and stare at the wall and let stories spin, so that when I sit down to put them at the page, they’re ready to spill out. I’m not getting enough percolation time, and it’s affecting the work. But I have to keep up on the output and get everything else done, too. It’s more a case of figuring out what time of day is strongest for what kind of work, and then setting up my day that way.

Also, have to talk to Maine today and get schedules sorted out to help while my family member undergoes cancer treatment.

Devon

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 8:10 am  Comments (11)  
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