Wed. Dec. 29, 2021: A Day at the Desk

image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Snowing

Yesterday was kind of a mixed day. I did more admin work than I planned in the morning, which cut into the writing time, but it needed to be done. I need to move admin later in the day, because it siphons off too much creative energy if I do it in the morning.

It cleared up enough mid-morning for me to gather the rolly cart and a few bags and walk to Big Y. It’s not that far, about ¾ of a mile. Because the streets are one-way around here, the necessary curlicues one has to take on the roads make it farther in the car. It’s a pretty straight shot on foot. Plus, I looked in store windows and art spaces and walked by Ramunto’s Pizza, which always smells so wonderful. I haven’t tried them yet; they are on my list.

Picked up my mom’s prescription at CVS, then went next door to Big Y. The carts have wider rims, so the hooks on my rolly cart didn’t work, and I had to stash my cart inside the bigger cart instead of hanging it off the end, like I’ve done in other stores. But I didn’t need much, although I bought more than I planned.

I found a duck, which is exciting, although I think I will cook it for New Year’s Eve, rather than New Year’s Day.  I’ll do the baked salmon on the Day instead, which will balance better with the Eggs Benedict breakfast anyway.

It wasn’t bad hauling everything back in the rolly cart, but I definitely had to take a rest when I got back. Everyone was masked and distancing, so it was less stressful than it might have otherwise been.

I mean, when I lived in NYC, I used the rolly cart all the time to go to the store (even though ALL the grocery stores offered delivery). I had the rolly cart with me in San Francisco, back in the 80s, when I used to have to walk to and from the various stores. I just can’t buy as much as I can when I have the car, and with the pandemic numbers going up, the safety mechanisms being rolled back because all the government cares about is corporate profits, I’m not thrilled with the idea of shopping more often. But needs must, and hopefully, I can get the car fixed in the next few weeks. Once that’s done, I’ll do a couple of major grocery shops to restock long-term supplies,

And the walk is good for me.

Used the ham bone from the Christmas ham, along with kale and navy beans and sundried tomatoes, to make soup. It turned out well. Not a lot of leftovers. Maybe enough for two more meals. But that’s fine. When that’s used up, I’ll make the Moosewood Recipe for Black Bean soup I’ve been wanting to try. I have all the ingredients.

However, I do have leftover kale. Since I am not a big kale fan (although I’m trying to use it more often, because it’s so healthy), I have to figure out what to do with the rest of it. The Berkshires is obsessed with kale, so I’m sure I’ll find a recipe quickly.

Puttered around rather than doing my work, but hey, this was supposed to be my vacation week, and that is what my brain and body want.

I could feel the tensions influenced by the bone crusher square, and, being aware of that, made me aware of CHOOSING to be less reactive to tensions and frustrations. More of a sense of “Okay, this is bugging me, but it’s not that big a deal and not worth an argument, so why don’t I make that choice instead? It avoids a fight, but I’m also not rolling over.” Knowing the tensions in the square make poor choices/rash reactions likely, I can take a breath and choose not to react that way. That’s what meant about using astrology as a tool, rather than an excuse. I could have behaved like a jerk and just used the bone crusher square as an excuse. Instead, I was aware of the way it negatively influences, and made choices that were better in the larger context instead.

You know, the whole acting-like-a-grownup thing. Only understanding why certain tensions and pressures are stronger on a particular day.

Got my script coverage done and read another script, which I will write up today. I need to read/write up two scripts today/tomorrow and one more tomorrow in order to finish and take New Year’s weekend off. I planned only the remaining two, but I was requested for a coverage. That’s always an honor, so of course I said yes. In the information notes, the writer said my notes on two previous scripts had given this writer “a lot of strength to keep writing” which is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.  I sometimes wonder if I care too much about each script, but notes like this make it worthwhile, because it means my suggestions are genuinely helpful to the writer. And that’s the point of this – helping them with their craft, so they can share wonderful stories with the world.

I heard, last night, that City Ballet in NYC cancelled the rest of the NUTCRACKER run, due to COVID. They usually end on New Year’s Eve anyway, so it’s not that much earlier, but still disturbing, especially since one of my best friends works there. I contacted him; his last test on Tuesday was negative, so fingers crossed he hasn’t caught a breakthrough case.

Will finish “Dawn and Dorothy” today, and, hopefully, send it off tomorrow. It’s snowing again right now, so I will put off going to get the car inspected until it clears up later this morning. I’m grateful to have the flexibility.

Angry at the CDC for rolling back isolation time because corporations want to force people back to work. Yes, the science grows and changes as more is learned about how the variants mutate. But CEOs should not be dictating this. If anything, people need MORE time off, not less, and it must be paid. All of this talk about how Biden’s economy is booming – too many people are being sacrificed for it. It’s disgusting.

It was very discouraging to see so many people who should know better post photos of their irresponsible holiday behavior. No wonder we can’t get this under control.

Someone on Twitter talked about instead of party spaces, having library spaces where one can read all day in comfy chairs, and waiters pass canapes. A Reading Resort! Sounds wonderful to me.

Back to the page. I won’t get anything done on the Big Project today, but maybe tomorrow or Friday, I can get back to it. I’m behind where I want to be, but the foundational work I’ve done is vital to being able to write it smoothly when I go back to it.

Have a good one, people. Mask up, distance, stay safe.

Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.

Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013: After the Holidays . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to Writers Vineyard, where in in Annabel Aidan persona, I talk about the blessings of the season.

Terrific couple of days off. I got a good bit of work done on Wednesday, especially on two novellas. Did the last-minute grocery shopping.

Christmas Eve dinner was pork loin with herbs and thyme gravy, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans, and cranberry horseradish sauce. Very good! With traditional stollen for dessert.

Christmas Day, we did the stockings and then had a big breakfast before stuffing the turkey and wrestling it into the oven. Yes, I cook my stuffing IN the turkey and have never had a problem. I know how to cook thing so they don’t make people sick!

Roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, corn for Christmas dinner, and for dessert, pears in warm chocolate sauce.

Then, we divvied up the food, boiled down the bones, strained them and made a lovely turkey soup!

In other words, I spent the day either cooking or doing dishes, but it was fine.

I did a lot of reading, too. Also watched the farewell tribute to Matt Smith on BBC America and his final DR. WHO episode. I wish they hadn’t hyped it so much — I thought most of the episode itself was a hot mess, trying to be too much in too many directions. Matt Smith was fun in the role, I still adore David Tennant, and I’m looking forward to Philip Capaldi. The beauty of the show is that each actor who plays the doctor has room to be unique.

Back to the grindstone today, although I’d love to have an actual vacation. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

I did some work earlier this week with a lovely new client, and I hope we get a chance to do more work together.

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 8:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Fri. Jan. 13, 2012: Day of Luck and Fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Friday the 13th — a wonderful day!
Cloudy and cold — bits of rain and sleet

I love Friday the 13th! It’s a day when the ignorant hide, due to their own fears and guilt, and leaves open space for the rest of us to come out and play!

Yesterday was a good day, even if it turned out unexpectedly. Worked early, early in the morning. Went to yoga. Dashed back, changed for acupuncture. Ran some errands on the way to acupuncture.

Acupuncture was great. My bad shoulder’s been squawky and my hip was bothering me, and I have all that neck and shoulder tension from hours on the computer. So we worked on that, and I was told to rest for the remainder of the day to let the treatment set.

I felt giddy with energy when I got out, like I could run a marathon (provided it was a spiral course). By the time I got home, I was ready to lie on the couch –and woke up up in time for dinner! Guess I needed some deep relaxation!

Made ham soup for dinner. Which sounds weird, but . . .we had a ham bone left over from the party. I cooked the meat off it, tossed in some herbs and carrots and celery and kale and white beans — yummy! And very filling on a cold, raw January night!

Took it easy in the evening and went to bed early.

Feel better for it this morning. I’ve got work to do, including dealing with my students. I have lunch with a writer friend,and then some more work. I’m looking forward to a focused writing weekend coming up. I want to work on my new brochure, in addition to working on fiction pieces, and I need to update my business writing portfolio. People around here like to meet in person and see physical samples. Fine with me — I just want to make sure I’ve got the best possible ones out there.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 8:14 am  Comments (2)  
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

So, did you miss me? 😉 I’ve been busy, working on a site job. The internet access is down there, so I couldn’t get back online until I dashed home this morning to feed the cats.

Honestly, i never even turned on the computer on Saturday or Sunday, and (please don’t be offended), didn’t miss it.

Christmas Day was a lot of fun — stockings and lots of food. Pannettone and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I roasted a turkey, made stuffing, we had cranberry sauce (I think it’s illegal for someone born in New England not to — besides, I LOVE cranberry almost-anything), green beans with hollandaise sauce, and mashed potatoes.

We were too stuffed from dinner to have dessert right away, so we put away the leftovers, I cooked the bones and made three large tubs of turkey soup (I’ll add in the noodles as I use each batch), and it was about 8 PM before we are the Buche de Noel. It was really good, although it’s completely different from any other I’ve had before. I’m used to chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. The cake was something really unusual — not your typical yellow cake, but in that family, darker, spicier, with the chocolate ganache. Really outstanding.

I was out of the house early, with a car stuffed to bursting. I dropped my mom off at her gig, headed on out to mine, got slightly unpacked, put on some make-up, and headed back to pick her up. We drove down Greenwich Ave. and were fortunate enough to find a parking spot not too far from the restaurant, where we met our friends (who’d come in from Pennsylvania) for lunch at Meli-Melo, which is a creperie. The food was fabulous, the service is great, and it’s a wonderful place.

It was great to see our friends and catch up. They’re doing well, and we’re all ready for the new decade.

Drove my mom back to where she’s staying, I went back to where I was staying. I got some work done, and even managed to sneak in a nap in the afternoon. No idea what I did in the evening — I think I watched a lot of mindless television that was so mindless I can’t even remember it.

Sunday morning, I slept in, did yoga and the usual routine, got some work done on-site, headed out. I went to Home Depot, which didn’t have what I wanted, and Michael’s, which didn’t have most of what I came for, but, fortunately, I can re-think creations on my feet, and I got other stuff, which I think will work just as well or better. Picked up a few things at the grocery store, and headed back to site.

I worked on the Winter Wreath in the afternoon, which will replace the pine-and-fruit spray currently hanging on the door. I’ll finish it this afternoon. I didn’t have all the materials I needed for the other craft project, which was a little frustrating, but oh well.

I should have worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Instead, I’m reading Christopher Fowler’s WHITE CORRIDOR, which is different and enjoyable.

Cooked a lot: my parsnip-carrot dish and my leek-potato dish, and made a vegetable chili based on a SILVER PALATE recipe that’s outstanding.

Did research for the steampunk novella.

Overslept this morning, so I’m late heading back out to feed the cats. I’ll do some things at home for a couple of hours (like post this) and then head back to site.

I’ve got two ideas for literary fiction novels rolling around in my head, very different from what I’m known to write, but both explore questions of “what if?” that interest me. Both will be rather uncomfortable, both to write and to read, but I want to do them anyway. What’s the good if there’s no challenge involved? One needs to be outlined in advance, because every thing hinges on everything else fitting perfectly. However, that one doesn’t want to let me in on all its secrets yet. The other one — I’ve got the major scenes already in my head, and it’s a case of figuring out how to get from point to point.

I hope you’re enjoying “Just Jump in and Fly.” It’s available here until January 6. What was interesting is that elements of both the Apocalypse story AND the other anthology story on which I’ve been working wove themselves into this one.

Gotta go — there are hungry cats waiting for me.

Don’t forget — New Year’s Eve is a Blue Moon, and I’ve also designated it as a “Wishing Moon.” I’ll post information on Wishing Moons on Kemmyrk in the next day or two.

Devon