Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers

Friday, July 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

For some reason, I feel like one of those big steamrollers went right over top of me! I’m exhausted,physically and emotionally. I’m trying to solve those reasons, and change what needs to be changed, but it doesn’t happen in a day. Heck, it’s been taking me months, and certainly months longer than I’d hoped. But I’ll get there.

Got a little bit of writing done yesterday. Nowhere near enough. I lost the momentum I had on GRAVE REACH, and I’m fighting to get it back. ELLA has slowed down, but at least it’s putt-putting along. Of course it is, because that’s the piece that’s not on deadline.

Conferences with my cover artist and editor yesterday. The cover artist has roughed out the next two Coventina Circle books — THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book) and DEADLY GROVE (Diana’s book). They are kind of cool. I like the black and gray tones on all the Coventina Circle covers, with the yellow/orange lettering.

We’re still going back and forth on the Justice By Harpy books, which is just fine, since they are quite a way down the road. I am being difficult about them. I have a very clear idea of what I want, which my editor and publisher agree will be striking, but how to make it happen, how to layer and color, is a challenge. We may just bring in a painter to do small paintings of the three and then photograph or scan the paintings. Book 1 is close to ready to go into production, but I’m behind on Books 2 & 3, and we want all three ready to release quickly. And we’re discussing the Gambit Colony covers for the first six books.

I’m so lucky that my publisher allows so much input.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. He’s pleased with her progress. Had to take her over to Osterville for a blood test, only they were closed by the time we got there (it would have been nice to know they were closed before we left the doctor’s office).

Read on the deck in the afternoon, enjoying the yard. Worked on some article pitches I plan to send out early next week. I got some interesting leads, and I’m spinning ideas.

Still trying to chase down the freelance payment from that job I did over a month ago.

Some yahoo from TruGreen scared the bejesus out of us yesterday by pounding on the door like the FBI doing a raid. And then launched into a diatribe on how bad my yard was with all the weeds and how I “had” to pay him to fix it. WTF? Seriously? Why the hell would you dumbass think I would ever, EVER do business with you when you come to my house and try to intimidate me into hiring you? Especially since I have an organic lawn and every so-called “weed” is something that is there on purpose as a pollinator or because it’s good for the soil. TruGreen is getting SUCH a letter from me. I rarely say “never”, but I can say I will NEVER do business with TruGreen again, and the next time this jerk shows up and tries to intimidate me, I’m going to kick him in the nuts and then call the cops.

This morning, I was up early. Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. I really need to type up the chapters written in longhand, because I’m losing some threads in this draft.

Took my mom to the blood test. They were open this time, and it was early.

Then, headed to Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping, and then Staples. Because notebooks are on sale. I bought 16 spiral bound and 4 composition books, for a grand total of SIX BUCKS.

As a writer, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The school supplies go on sale.

I plan to spend the weekend reading, writing ELLA and GRAVE REACH, roughing out my article for Llewellyn, and maybe starting to shape the opening scene of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. The three Canaletto books I hunted down and ordered because I kept taking them out of the library arrived, and that will make the writing of the play so much easier.

I’m still trying to figure out the plot of the Brighton Pier radio play. I have sounds and jokes, but the plot is weak so far.

I ordered from Chewy this morning — cat food and cat litter. I refuse to shop at Petmart anymore, for multiple reasons. I’ve heard good things about them, but putting the order through was a major PITA. Let’s hope the rest of the customer service experience is better, or it will be a one-and-done.

I also hope to clear out some boxes from the basement. I also have to take the recycling in tomorrow. It’s getting a little crowded.

For the moment, though, back to the page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers  
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend, but what else is new? Up early on Saturday. Out to the park, for a lovely, fun ceremony burying the time capsule.

Headed out to Staples, where I spent enough money on three cases of paper and a lot of ink tanks to make me want to throw up. But the rest of the weekend was spent finishing the 150 packets (at 22 pages each, mostly double-sided) of handouts for the conference. I still have to print more postcards, but I’m out of ink and patience.

I also need to polish my presentation.

I’m packing everything in crates as it’s done, so I can just load the car on Friday afternoon.

Cleaned up a couple of email accounts while I was printing, which was a good thing. Of course, the “improvements” to the web accounts via 1and1 (AKA Scum of the Earth Web Host) means I can’t create new folders and file my mail. And I can’t download off the web to file it, either. I’ve got to get to the computer guy so he can release my web-files and I can move hosts.

It was too wet to put the bulbs in, but I managed to deadhead the mums. I’m sad that the orange ones, which glowed so beautifully, are already almost all faded.

Got three loads of laundry done. And fixed the hot water heater all by my damn self, so I finally had a hot shower for the first time in over a week.

My treat was to read Sharon Shinn’s newest release, TROUBLED WATERS. It was fantastic. I read it straight through. The level of detail and joy she puts into her world-building is magnificent. I loved it.

Hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE. Juliet Blackwell’s Lily Ivory was celebrated yesterday, and Ann Aguiree’s Corine Solomon his honored today.

I need to spend time with my students today, and get everything possible cleared off my desk, so I don’t have to worry this coming weekend, when I’m at the conference.

The book is plugging along well, and I’m happy where it’s headed.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1559
Total wordcount (including the weekend’s additions): 31,266

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009
Waxing Moon
About to snow like a mother!

Originally, they predicted 3-6 inches for this area. Now they’re saying 16+ inches, with blizzard conditions.

Yesterday was a mixed bag. The Buildings Dept. got the hot water back on, but who knows how long that will last? Got out the door, to the post office. Thank goodness I only had to mail letters, not buy anything — the line wrapped around the inside of the building twice and spilled into the street. Paid bills. Drove to Costco. THAT was interesting.

Costco is behind a big shopping complex one town over. It has its own parking lot that’s about the same size as the store. The traffic to get to Costco ran for about a mile up the street.

I finally get the parking lot, and I’m looking for a spot and witnessed a case of Karma being an even bigger bitch than I am: This couple, probably in their late 40s or early 50s, were pushing their cart down the aisle in the parking lot. They were right in front of my bumper. Instead of moving to the side so I could pass, they intentionally weaved back and forth in front of the car. I couldn’t back up because there were other cars behind me, and, every time I tried to maneuver around them, they jumped in front of my car, laughing their heads off. I was not amused, but, short of running them over and getting in trouble myself, there wasn’t anything I could do.

Finally, they reach their own car — and they have a flat tire!

Costco was out of my needed ink. That’s the gamble — when something’s in stock, you better buy a lot of it, because it might never be there again. So I got into the car, and, with dread, drove to the local Staples, the one that usually doesn’t have anything I need. I got the last cartridges of the ink I needed that they had in stock — and it was THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS more than at Costco. That’s a huge difference, at least to me.

I could have bought another pair of boots on clearance at DSW for that! 😉

Dashed in to the liquor store. Got another bottle of wine — don’t want to be snowed in without wine — and the tawny port in which I will soak the lemon sponge cake for the Trifle.

Overheard in the Staples parking lot: “It’s the season of peace and good will, you fucking moron!”

Even though the sky was clear, it was really cold, and I could feel the storm — my “pre-storm headache.” It’s not sinus — it’s more like a giant grabs the top of my head and squeezes. Once the storm starts, it goes away, but in the hours leading up to the storm . . .

Elsa moved the decorations on the coffee table so that she can sleep tucked against the greenery basket. Guess she likes to pretend she’s sleeping under a real tree — the artificial tree holds no interest for her. When I had real trees, the first day I had to leave it up without any decorations, because Elsa would climb it. The tree would shake and the little tortoiseshell head would pop out at the top. She was always so proud of herself for climbing the tree. And then I had to get her down.

My shopping is done, the gifts are wrapped, all is good.

The friend I’ve been trying to reach to deliver the last platter FINALLY called back and suggested we get together last night. He said he’d call to set a time — and never did. Good thing I have a strict no-waiting-by-the-phone policy. I understand that things come up, but at least have the respect to call and let me know. Maybe I should rethink whether or not this person actually fits into the “friend” category. There’s just been too much unreliability in the past few months.

Baked the lemon sponge cake for the Trifle (it’s really good — I hope I don’t snack on so much of it that there’s not much left for the Trifle) and an eggnog cheesecake. I had to use brandy extract in the cheesecake, because I couldn’t find real brandy in my cabinet — ironic, since a Mormon friend of mine just had to go out and buy real brandy because she couldn’t get her hands on any extract! I meant to bake maple-walnut-date muffins this morning for breakfast, but just couldn’t face any more baking. They’ll be good tomorrow, when we’re snowed in.

I’ve got to print some photos and send off another couple of cards — must do that immediately — it’s just started to snow. I want to stay tucked in and warm. I look forward to working on the decorating and getting some writing and reading done.

Devon

Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Violet and Elsa’s response to the baking activity

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

And we’re into Day 5 of no hot water. Getting tired of taking either cold showers or the infamous “whore’s bath.”

It will be months, probably next year, before I can face icing another cookie. I iced from noon until 11 PM last night — close to 500 cookies. AND baked another batch of thumbprints (which came out beautifully) and eggnog angels (that dough is a nightmare to work with).

Re: the latter, the eggnog cookies, I realized that EVERY recipe I tried from the magazine that contains that recipe was wrong. I’m wondering if they actually tested these recipes or, because of cutbacks due to the recession, someone made ‘em up and they printed them without testing. The proportions are wrong. The only even remotely usable recipe is the eggnog cookie (and the icing rocks,now that I’ve modified it). Now, the reason I buy other people’s recipes for holiday cookies is because I’m baking about 1000 of them, and I don’t have time to mess with the recipe. I want something that works. If I wanted to muck around with the recipe, I’d start from scratch and make my own!

Example: For the eggnog icing, it said to put in 3 Tablespoons of eggnog to the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla mixture and then spread on the cookie. You wanna know what 3 T of eggnog made it look like? Cornmeal. It took 7 Tablespoons of good-quality eggnog from my favorite dairy to make a spreadable consistency — 8 if you want it really smooth. SEVEN. That’s a big difference from THREE.

If I’d had the time, I could have messed with the recipe and figured out by how much the amount of flour was off, and how much more I needed to add to make it a solid, workable consistency, not only for rolling it out (I used THREE POUNDS of flour to roll out one batch of cookies, that’s how badly it stuck to everything), but so the cookies wouldn’t break. My normal breakage rate for cookies is about 3 or 4 out of every 100, so 3-4%. With this recipe, it was about 40%. With one of the other recipes in the same magazine, it was 100% — the cookies simply dissolved on the baking sheet.

I started baking cookies when I was four, so I’ve been doing this a LONG time, and I’ve never hit a package of recipes that are this far off, proportion-wise. I may mess with the eggnog recipe over the coming months to get the proportions right, but as for the rest? Not using this publication again, and certainly not buying it next year. AND I’m going to contact them and let them know why. In a half a dozen recipes, surely ONE should have come out exactly as written! I mean, they all should, but still . . .

On the flip side, Martha Stewart’s recipe for Royal Icing comes out perfectly, and I bless the day I picked up Wilton’s meringue powder at the chef store, thinking it might come in useful someday. That stuff is awesome.

Errands in the morning went well. Gotta love Trader Joe’s, dropped my cartridges off at the really good Staples in Larchmont, got my favorite Jim’s Organic Coffee at Mrs. Green’s, found where my yoga studio’s moved — a new, larger, lighter space with better parking, and about a minute closer to me. So that’s all good.

I’m downloading photos and doing the Cookie Cheat Sheets that I pack with them –a photo of the cookie and a one-line description, and warnings if there are any nuts or whatever. And then we assemble the platters, load them into the car and head out. I expect it will take almost all day to deliver 30 platters. I’m anchoring each platter with a small gingerbread cake, and then I have between 3-7 of six different kinds of cookies on each — you can see, there are a lot of cookies around. I have cookie tins stacked everywhere.

I also baked a cake yesterday — I meant to bake it for St. Nicholas Day, but oh well. It’s from the SILVER PALATE GOOD TIMES COOKBOOK, only I changed it. It’s supposed to be a straight up coffee cake with buttermilk, and then a layer of fruit on it and a layer of walnuts. Well, I went to the store because I never keep buttermilk in the house — don’t like it and usually forget to use it when I buy it. There were 16 kinds of eggnog (SIXTEEN — who knew you could have so many flavors of eggnog? Heck, I only drink eggnog once a year; I want it to taste like EGGNOG) — and no buttermilk. The entire shelf of buttermilk was sold out. So I guess a lot of people are baking this year.

Anyway, I picked up sour cream instead, and used sour cream instead of buttermilk — which to me, made the batter taste better. I mixed in the fruit and nuts instead of layering them — and it’s a pretty darned lovely cake, if I do say so myself!

Okay, off to finish the Cookie Cheat Sheets, assemble the platters. I think I’ll have to put the back seat down in order to load 30 cookie platters into a Volkswagen.

Have a great day, everyone!

Yeah, not much writing done yesterday OR this morning, but I have to admit, the minute I lose my holiday spirit, I sit down and write a few paragraphs, and it comes back.

Devon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Violet keeps an eye on things

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

I kept thinking yesterday was Tuesday, so I feel like I have the gift of a day. Woo-hoo!

I baked for 9-1/2 hours yesterday. I used a Thumbprint cookie recipe from the 1960’s and it came out PERFECTLY. So the recipes published this year must have shifted proportions, which made them not hold together. After the holiday frenzy, I’ll spread everything out and compare them.

I filled the Thumbprint cookies with three different types of jam — apricot, raspberry, blueberry. Not in the same cookie, don’t worry — I’ve got three different flavors, and I made three batches. I may have to make one more batch just to make sure I have a few extra. I made more molasses spice cookies — Lara, I’m going to scan the recipe and send it to you — and several batches of toll house cookies, AND the miniature gingerbread cakes in the molds — some are Christmas trees and some are gingerbread men.

As I baked, I kept thinking, “Oh, I have to write about that tomorrow” and darned if I can remember what “it” was! Every available space is decorated, so I had to flip over some of those empty milk crates that I meant to take to storage but couldn’t fit in the car, cover them with a board and a cloth, and use them for cooling stations. The new mixer and the new, deep batter bowl are awesome. It made everything so much more efficient and easier. Using three cookie trays worked just fine — the two in the oven were staggered, so I was always prepping one while the others were baking. The good thing about a tiny kitchen is that I can stand in one spot and reach everything (unless I’m storing it on top of the cupboards, in which case I have to stand on a chair).

All in a galley kitchen so small that I have counter space big enough for the mixing bowl, and you can’t stand in front of a cabinet door when you open it. So the next time one fo the spoiled brat bitches on HOUSE HUNTERS whines she “can’t” cook in a galley kitchen and fakes bumping into her significant other, I will hunt her down and smack her silly! I figured that, over the years, I’ve turned out somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 cookies in various tiny kitchens all over the country, and probably close to 500 cakes and pies. Would I like a huge kitchen? Absolutely! CAN I work in a tiny kitchen? Well, I have for years. These spoiled brats on the show, who are just starting out and expect 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, granite counter tops, steel appliances, etc. for $200,000. My goodness, you can’t even buy a CLOSET around here for that! Studio apartments are usually two or three times that amount.

Maybe I need a break from HGTV! 😉

Anyway, today is Icing Day. I’m going to ice the sugar cookies and the eggnog angels. So, tomorrow will be the pack-and-deliver day. I’ve got all my packing supplies — plates, festive bags, ribbon — and I’m going to make some tags on the computer (I can never find exactly what I want in the store, so I often make them).

I wrote domestic cards through “L” last night, and I’ll push to finish the alphabet tonight. I’m a little late (I like domestic cards out the door by the 10th or 12th), but they’re getting there. I have two packages to mail tomorrow, domestically; I have to figure out what the heck to get my cousin’s son and get THAT out the door — it’ll be late, but it’ll get there, it’s going overseas. I have one more gift to pick up for my Mom, probably on Thursday. And I am DONE. I can set up Ornament Hospital, finish some decorating, and just enjoy the season. I’ve got all the stocking stuffers, I can concentrate on my anthology deadline. And I can have fun with the holiday.

My eye seems to be okay. It’s sore, but not inflamed or any vision problems. Those eye drops I bought in Prague are magic!

Gotta head to Trader Joe’s this morning for cat food (the felines were horrified by their empty cupboard after I fed them the last can), gotta hit Mrs. Green’s for some coffee, and Staples (all in the same direction), then double back to Costco for more butter. So far, I’ve used 16 pounds of butter, 15 pounds of flour, 8 pounds of sugar, 4 pounds of chocolate morsels, and, when I did the math, realized I could paper a football field with parchment. And I’m not quite done yet — I’ve still got a few cakes to make and a Trifle. I’m trying to figure out which liquor to use to soak the spongecake — sherry, port, madeira, brandy?

I’m having a serial dream about a story. Very weird, but interesting. I have to make sure I take notes as soon as I wake up every morning, so that I don’t lose it. I think it could be quite a cool piece.

I have a Toyland display set up — ornaments of children and toys that are too big and heavy for the little tree, but are able to stand on their own. When I came into the ktichen this morning (it’s in the eating area of the kitchen), they were all rearranged and facing different directions! I don’t know if the cats played with them (they’re in a place the cats can’t usually reach) or the Christmas magic touched them and they had a party while we were all asleep.

Or the building is shifting again and we’re all screwed! 😉

Personally, I prefer Option 2.

Gotta run, there are angels to ice and cats to feed!

Maybe one of these days, they’ll fix the boiler, we’ll have hot water for more than five minutes (trouble for nearly a week now), and I won’t have to keep boiling water to wash the dishes. Pain in the —- when you’re baking and washing up as you go. Scumbag landlords. They make cosmetic “improvements” that make the building look like a hootchie joint where we rent by the hour, and skimp on things like the boiler. Typical.

Devon

Friday, October 23, 2009

IMG_0661

Friday, October 23, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still dark out

Yesterday was pretty productive. Worked on several different projects; got one polished and out. Headed off to Larchmont to the really, really good Staples. Got everything on my list, including the special folders for the grant material. That Staples has the best staff — they even found the refills for my favorite pen that I couldn’t find. The packet in which the pen comes calls the refill one thing, but none of the refills are so marked. Yet, if you look in a corner, there’s a teeny tiny number (totally different from the legible markings on either packet) that match.

Went next door to Mrs. Green’s, the organic store, and stocked up, and then to Trader Joe’s where, oh horrors, they only had ONE flavor of cat food, not three! I hope they haven’t stopped making it. I bought a few cans of the one, and I’ll head back next week, hoping it’s just a case of a late shipment. Because my cats do NOT eat the same thing every day. After three days, they’d be like, “You’re kidding, right? You’re feeding me THIS again? No!” and stalk off, noses and tails in the air. It wouldn’t hurt Iris to miss a few meals, but the other two really can’t at this point. My felines demand variety.

At Trader Joe’s, I also found my new favorite decadent delight, the dark Belgian chocolate crisps. They look like chocolate potato chips, but they’re out of chocolate. Oh, boy! Dangerous!

They also had a spiced apple bread mix. I’m not one for mixes too often, but it looked really good, so I picked one up. I noticed, standing in the checkout line that EVERY cart in line (about 20 of them) had several of those distinctively colored boxes! Too funny.

At this very moment, it’s mixed and in the oven.

Two tarot readings in the afternoon, then off to dinner at a friend’s, which was a ton of fun. So much fun that I stayed way too late and was surprised by the clock on the way home.

Up before the alarm this morning, which is good, since I have some Very Early Mornings coming up. Yoga, baking, at my desk before 7 AM.

“Lake Justice” is going very well.

I’ve got more errands this morning, one that can’t be done until this afternoon, another tarot client in between. The writing bag is almost packed for the weekend gig, and i leave around 7 AM tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 6:07 am  Comments (6)  
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

IMG_0035
A view from Eastham, MA

Saturday, September 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Nine days until Prague!

Yesterday was busy — out of the house early, up to Stamford. Visited the currency exchange — got the first four days’ worth of my budget in Czech krona. So there’s a start! Also got some more British pounds sterling, since we’ve got that 4-hour layover in Heathrow.

Went to the bookstore and got my fourth plane book: Italo Calvino’s IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER. I can’t wait to read it. But I have to wait until I head for the airport! 😉

I bought some books for my mom. She loves the writing of Mary Balogh, so we’re getting all of her books.

I seem to have fixed the power cord problem with extensive jiggling.

Visited the Staples in Stamford — no luck on the memory card for the camera. I don’t want 16GB — I want 2 GB, and not the tiny card, but the one that actually fits my camera. The card will only hold the photos from this trip. I keep the memory cards — in addition to backing up the photos on them, I also work directly from the cards. I don’t erase them and re-use them. That is my choice. I shouldn’t have to change the way I work because a store doesn’t feel like carrying what I need.

Drove to Larchmont, to that Staples. It’s on the site of what used to be a VW dealership when we first moved to NY in 1968. It’s now a fantastic Staples — not only is it huge, but the employees are helpful and friendly. They had what I needed, they helped me double check the reference just to be sure, and they had most of the other stuff I needed, too (although not the pen refills I need). Most importantly, they were pleasant and helpful. So they will now be my first choice of Staples around here, instead of going up the street to the one that never has anything or all the way to CT.

There was also a fantastic organic market in the same plaza, so I stocked up on a few things!

I started reading the novel PRAGUE and put it aside. It takes place in Budapest, and while that is part of the novel’s irony, I am not in the mood for irony right now; I wanted to read something set in Prague. I found myself muttering about it on every page and not doing the novel justice, so I’ve put it aside until I get back.

I tried to fact check something for an article that needs to go out with English Heritage, who runs the property. And got an email telling me it takes 21 days to check this fact. WTF? They can’t look it up or forward the email to the site? Puh-leeze. I’m going to see if I can get better information via the Northumbrian Tourist Authority. They’ve been very helpful in the past. And the National Trust usually gets back to me within 48 hours. Update: Lindisfarne Priory got in touch with me directly to answer my question — exactly what I needed. Article will go out this morning. Phew!

The CD version of DIXIE DUST RUMORS arrived, so now I’ve got something for people to have in hand when I give readings.

I’ve got to work on the guest blog posts this weekend, write my Sole Struck article, and get out at least one more essay.

I had a great morning’s work on AMENDS today. I wrote the scene with the Alzheimer’s sufferer. It’s true to life and there’s sadness there, but it doesn’t divert the themes and intent of the book.

I hope to get more work done on it today.

I received my first royalty check from PERFECTLY PLUM!, the anthology in which my essay appeared a couple of years ago. It’s earned out its advance, and we got some royalties! Love that.

If you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and haven’t yet checked it out, I hope you do.

My play, THE MATILDA MURDERS opens the day before I leave for Prague, so I won’t get to see it until I get back.

NYFA’s funding cycle covers both fiction and playwriting this year, so I will probably apply for both. I’m going through my work to decide what to submit for that, and what to submit for the residency in Maine next summer. I’m also working on another proposal for an overseas residency. I don’t think I’ve got the serious lit/academic credentials they usually go for, but I’m trying to shape the proposal to make that a strength.

A friend of mine suggested that if I’m serious about ex-patriating (which, if the US doesn’t stop its ridiculous, destructive downslide to the hard right that I hoped would cease with last year’s election but hasn’t, I certainly am), I should consider Switzerland. Honestly, I’d never even thought of Switzerland. I haven’t thought about Switzerland since I visited in the early 1970’s, except when I re-read Noel Coward’s autobiography.

The Democratic Party Platform: All have the right to equality and social justi–ooh, shiny!

The GOP Party Platform: ME, ME, ME! Die, suckers!

We need more legitimate parties than just those two. For all the chaos in the UK, at least they have a variety of valid viewpoints.

Which is why I am not affiliated with either of the above parties.

The only thing I remember about Switzerland is mountains, mountain passes, and riding a paddle boat on Lake Zurich and the paddles broke. So we waved and waved, and people waved back, thinking we were being friendly, until some Scandinavians with rope in their rucksacks figured it out, tossed us a line and towed us back in. I remember the floral clock in Geneva and the bears in Berne. And that’s about it.

I hope to get a lot of work done on AMENDS this weekend, and also learn at least a few more phrases of Czech. I’m tired of preparing — I just want to get on the plane and have the experience.

Of course, the fact that Mercury is in retrograde for the entire trip should add some, uh, interesting twists!

Devon

AMENDS: First draft: 20,937 words out of est. 75,000
27.9%
IMG_0314
Another view of Eastham, MA

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Bad storms yesterday into today. The beaches are closed, due to the rip currents connected with Hurricane Bill. And we’re on flood watch. I’ve got some errands to run this morning, and then I’m moving the car to higher ground.

Yesterday was busy — multiple trips to Staples, picking up more ink at Costco, session with Canon Tech support because the big printer and the computer weren’t speaking to each other properly to print postcards. The Staples closest to me is now officially sold out of glossy postcard stock. Designed postcards and business cards for the blog — yes, it’s useful to have business cards for this blog. I haven’t yet redesigned my personal business cards, because I like my previous design, only it’s in a program that’s incompatible with the Mac and I haven’t yet been able to import the graphic properly in order to tweak if for the card. But I will.

I got nearly 400 postcards printed, several hundred cards, a series of certificates, and signed some copies of the HEX BREAKER CD. And packed the envelopes. I’m on my way to the post office this morning to get them out.

I also turned around an emergency rush job for the client — he offered, without prompting, to triple my usual rush free (anything that has to be turned around in less than three business days gets a rush fee tacked on to it). He needed it done in a matter of hours, and therefore tripled the fee. He was especially desperate because he’d gone with a cheaper-priced writer (who works for mill content sites) who mucked it up royally, and he had tens of thousands of dollars on the line. I let the fee say, “I told you so” rather than saying it myself. If you hire someone who writes for mill content sites or bidding sites, that’s the quality you’re going to get. You get what you pay for. He was ecstatic with the copy I came up with. We’ll see if he’s learned.

I got a royalty check from a special performance of one of the plays. Royalties make me all warm and fuzzy.

I’m working a benefit in Saratoga for part of next week, so most of my focus turns to that. I’ve got a client project to get done, and then I can’t do any work for this client next week. The arrangements fell into place pretty nicely this year — I’m packing a lot into one single trip. I’ve also got to finish up a feature article for a publication.

And spend more time on my own writing.

And do some more prep for Prague — that’s coming up in just a few short weeks.

The next assignment came in for Confidential Job #1 and it looks awesome. Can’t wait to dive into it. I have to do a quick turnaround on that. I want to be able to invoice them and receive the check before Prague.

Great morning’s work on AMENDS. Yes, it’s too long to fit in quotes anymore. I’m about to write a scene about an animal shelter’s Death Row, which is as upsetting to write as it is to read, but it’s vital to the story.

Driving back from my final trip to Staples yesterday, I turned a corner and it was as though someone threw a blanket over the sun. In an instant, it went from bright sunshine to a deluge.

Off to do my errands and get back to the page.

Devon

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Well, yesterday was an adventure. I went out in the morning to do errands. Went to the Post office, which was actually open at a time I could go. Stopped at the wine store, went to Staples to get my external hard drive. The guy at the store tried to push me into having my PC cleaned. I explained I switched to Mac, and didn’t need the PC cleaned anymore, and I was there to get a Mac-compatible external hard drive. The Apple store used Seagate quite a bit, and it was on sale at Staples, so that’s the one I chose. Continued on with other errands, to Bed Bath and Beyond, who didn’t have what I needed and Michael’s, who didn’t have what I needed, and, well, you get the picture. I didn’t even make the planned stop at DSW. Just not in the mood.

Got home, took a look at the hard drive — and it’s only compatible with PC. Yeah. Part of that is my responsibility — I should have checked before I left the store, instead of trusting the employee to get from the stock room the item for which I asked. Especially at that particular Staples. But I should also be able to trust that the guy brings me the right piece of equipment.

Went back to the store, and, of course, heaven forbid any of the accounting should be easy. There were all kinds of accounting histrionics, and I won’t really know how it’s sorted until I get my statement next month. They didn’t have the Seagate hard drive that’s compatible with Mac, so I got a MyBook, which one of the other employees actually uses with her Mac.

Came home, hooked it all up, set up Time Machine — and it was done in an hour. An hour! That’s it! The last time I tried to back up the PC, a window popped up saying, I kid you not, that it would take FIFTY-FOUR HOURS to back up the computer. And I already have way more on the Mac than I ever had on any of my PCs.

One of my books arrived from National Geographic yesterday, the book on the Hubble Telescope. It’s amazing. It will take me weeks to thoroughly read it and absorb it, and it’s a book to which I will often go back.

Laid-back afternoon. Disappointing dinner — picked up some Thai food and it wasn’t very good Watched a movie — THE HOLIDAY. I’d heard awful things about it, and it wasn’t bad. There were a few logistical lapses I wanted fixed, and I think they could have pushed the comedy and still not gone over into slapstick, which they were careful to avoid. I like the casting. It was a perfectly pleasant evening’s diversion.

Elsa had a bad night, which meant I had a bad night. I was up with her quite a bit. I think the respiratory infection is back. This morning, I gave her medicine, which made her throw up, but now the respiratory infection seems to be better. Maybe we can both nap in the afternoon. I’ll give her some Rescue Remedy tonight, and then some more medicine tomorrow, and see how she does. If she’s got a relapse, I’ll have to take her back to the vet.

Violet raced around this morning like a lunatic, and then ran head first into a large, hard-backed book I held. I was worried she had a concussion, but she seems fine.

I finally had a really good writing morning today. What a relief! I’ve got an article to finish today, some information to get back to an editor, and then I’ll have to make sure everything is taken care of early in the week, because I’m working out of town the second half of the week — and will probably bug the cat sitter by calling every half hour to check on Elsa.

I need to get a bunch of stuff packed and hauled over to storage before I go.

It’s a lovely day — I was out for a walk this morning to the bakery, and maybe I’ll get a chance to go out again this afternoon — if I don’t opt to nap.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Devon