Thurs. Aug. 26, 2021: Thoughts (Uh, Oh)

photo courtesy of MyriamsFotos via

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

I am looking forward to autumn.

Check out the post on Gratitude and Growth. I’m hoping someone can identify the bug on my geranium. I hope it’s not something icky.

I wrote up a couple of coverages yesterday, and still have a stack more to write today, although I only had one script to read last night, not two. And I was too tired last night to give real attention to the book for review.

Got the debit card for the new bank activated and tied to PayPal, and to the automatic payments for the storage units. 85 steps when it should be, at most, 2. It has NOTHING to do with security for the customer, and everything to do with micromanaging.

I read a bit in a book of essays I got from the college library, about journal writing in classroom situations. It’s giving me ideas, mostly for fiction that uses journal writing as part of the narrative drive. There was an interesting tidbit about the use of “reply” and “respond.” The author pointed out that one “replies” to a question, but “responds” to a person. It made me realize how often I have misused those words, especially when it comes to dialogue tags, and I need to be more careful in the future.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun, and several of us ended up having a side discussion when I mentioned how frustrated I am with Kripalu for not enforcing the no cell phone policy anymore, and how, when I asked about it as they reopen, I was told, “Everyone is on their own journey.” Well, MY journey means if I’m paying a fuckton of money to attend Kripalu, I don’t want the selfish and the stupid dancing around using their cell phones which DESTROY my experience and my peace/reflection time, when we’ve all signed an agreement not to use them outside of the designated areas. Which means I will think twice about going back to Kripalu, even though I’m much closer and it should be easy and fun for me to attend.

I think what I’m looking for is a silent retreat. Where there’s a commitment to not just shut off electronic devices, but not speak (except for a few designated times). One of my fellow chatters attended a Buddhist retreat with her husband a few years ago, and wrote about the experience for MARIE CLAIRE magazine. It was a good article – although she broke the rule of no electronics and blogged during the retreat, a choice with which I disagree.

I’m not sure I want that much time sitting in formal meditation or listening to talks. The no electronics and shut the hell up, that I’m there for. But one reason I didn’t attend the Zen retreats with the first meditation group with which I connected on Cape was that they don’t want participants writing in their journals, either. For me, the journal process is a vital part of retreat. And no, I wouldn’t just sneak the writing in while I’m in my room, because that is disrespectful.

Susan Wittig Albert did a silent retreat at a monastery in Texas that sounded more along the lines of what I need. Reading and writing in her cottage; walking on the property and using their library; not talking and no cell phones. Of course, that book is packed in storage, so I can’t pull it out and look up the details. I remember it was in Texas, and I don’t know if I’d go to Texas for any reason at this point, and certainly not during a pandemic, or even immediately after.

Then there’s the whole, well, if all I want to do is read and write and be quiet, I can do that the hell at home and turn off my phone and my computer. Do I really need to pay a bunch of money to do that somewhere else? And if I like the idea of not cooking during the retreat days, I can either cook ahead or buy meals at the co-op that I can just heat up. (Every time I pass the frozen meals at the grocery store, I remember the final weeks of moving and feel sick).

I mean, I have a big birthday coming up in March, and I’m hoping to spend a weekend at my favorite Inn in Sturbridge doing just about that. Reading, writing, eating good food prepared by someone else. And it’s not like I’d go to any retreat during the next wave of the pandemic anyway.

I have time to decide what I want and need.

For some reason, my phone battery was down to 1% this morning. It was 88% when I went to bed. I have a feeling I have to buy a new battery. Another unexpected expense. Hopefully, I can put it off for a couple more weeks.

I have to write up a complicated script coverage, then do a Target run, then write up more coverage. At some point, I hope to grab a couple more scripts to read tonight and write up tomorrow.

I was sitting on the front porch in the dark last night, semi-meditating, ruminating, more like, about the healing from disappointments from the last decade on the Cape. I was thinking to myself about how it will take a long time to heal. Then, I thought, why should it? That is not my life anymore. It’s done. Learn from it and move on. Don’t hang on to the bad bits. Remember the good bits with affection.

Have a good one, friends. Let’s hope the weather breaks soon.

Published in: on August 26, 2021 at 8:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 26, 2021: Thoughts (Uh, Oh)  
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Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision

Tessa suns herself by the front door

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Read about the garden and see some of the new pictures on Gratitude and Growth’s latest entry.

Worked with students, worked on the book. Finally got through chapters 12 & 13, and am tackling Chapter 14. This chapter needs some substantial new material, so it’s taking awhile. I like what I’m coming up with, though, and tying the different elements together.

Had hoped to have the draft done today, but that’s not going to happen. However, these chapters are the most complex and needed the most work, so putting in the extra time now will benefit the book in the long run.

Had a meeting in Sandwich — it went well, we had a lot of fun, got a lot of work done. Dropped off books at the library, but didn’t take out any more, since I’ll be away when they’d be due.

Came back, exhausted. Got some reading done in the evening, but not much else.

Finished Susan Wittig Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE, and am now re-reading Joan Anderson’s A YEAR BY THE SEA. I lived in NY when I originally read it, so I’m looking at it from a very different perspective.

Back to the page — must press on.

And, of course, I must MOW. I haven’t even done the meadow yet, and it’s looking like high grasses in the savanna, and I already have to do the terraced back and the front again!


Published in: on May 15, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision  
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Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book

Tessa enjoys the sun

Monday, May 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Had to take in the tomatoes,etc. last night. It’s in the 30s overnight for the next few days. Brrr.

I’ve tackled the first ten chapters of the CHARISMA KILLINGS revision. Ripped them apart, moved around story lines and subplots, got some more “detecting” in there, planted some more red herrings.

As I’m doing the revisions, I’m also setting up the Series Bible. Normally, I don’t do that until a piece is in final galleys, but, since this is the first book in the series, I’m doing it early, and I’ll make tweaks as the book progresses through production.

Worked in the garden, worked on the book. That defined my weekend.

Celebrated Mother’s Day by giving my mom a cheesecake (what she wanted most) and cooking her a steak.

Re-reading Susan Witting Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE.

We had some heavy rain over the weekend. I’ve gotten into the habit of putting out buckets on the porch steps to capture some of the water and use it in the garden. I have enough containers for 26 gallons — makes a difference when you’re gardening. And the grass! We could genuinely see it GROW over the course of the weekend. No pause in the mowing for me!

Lots of admin and other stuff to do today, including pitching some ideas to one of my former editors who is interested in having me work for her again.

And, of course, the book. Right now, everything is about the book.


Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 7:03 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book  
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Mon. May 6, 2013: Recoving From the 5th, and Moving Forward on Manuscripts


Monday, May 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Misty and cold

It amazes me that, by Monday, Friday seems so far away I can’t remember what I was doing.

I know I was pounding forward on the book. I know I did some work with students. I know I sent out the May Manuscript Prep Tip.

I wrote a review due to my editor.

I can’t remember if I mowed the terraced back section of the lawn on Friday or Saturday.

I saw an anthology call, and submitted one of the Merry’s Dalliance pirate stories. Fingers crossed it’s accepted.

We got a birdbath on Saturday — finally found one we like. It’s out in the back bed, with lilies and hostas springing up around it, and the birds are happy.

I’ve started re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS in the mornings, after I’ve done the first walk around the yard (pulling up a weed here and there), while I sit on the deck and drink my first cup of coffee. I find that book an immense restorative.

Saturday morning, the Beautification Committee headed out to Mother’s Park, pruning and weeding, and generally getting the park ready for spring. It was a lot of fun and full of lively conversation to go along with the work.

In the afternoon, I puzzled over the book’s ending, because it was pulling me away from the original outline.

Later in the afternoon, I watched the Kentucky Derby. A friend was riding, but I didn’t have a favorite horse this year, so I didn’t feel I had as much of a personal stake in things.

Diana Rigg and her daughter guest-starred together on DR. WHO — always interesting to see that type of dynamic. Between this and GAME OF THRONES, Dame Rigg keeps busy. She will also be Emma Peel in the AVENGERS to me, though. The ultimate kick-ass heroine.

Sunday morning, I sucked it up and finished the book. The draft is DONE. Now, I put it aside for a few days and, on Wednesday, dig into revisions. I have about ten days for the revisions. Less time in between and to revise than I’d like, but that’s the reality of this particular situation, so I must step up.

Wrote a little book illustrated with photos for my friends, whose son turned one yesterday. They had a Cinquo de Mayo party in his honor over in Sandwich. Great food, margaritas and fun. I ate too much — which was good, since it was the first time I’d had tequila in quite awhile!

This morning, the Manuscript Prep Tip is already out, and I have to work with students, do some freelance work, and decide which drafts to work on. I need to get back to the non-fiction book today — it’s behind where I’d like it to be. I’m going back to the adaptation, and I think LEADING OPPORTUNITIES is next up in the drafting queue. I’ve also got a short story to finish and get out this week, and another one tugging at me. I also have to follow up on the February pitches and land a few more short-term gigs for the month.

Back to the page!


Thurs. July 5, 2012: Over the Holiday Hump

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy times! Hope you had a great holiday! I was off line earlier than I expected as of Wednesday, with this and that going on, and a houseful of people and all that. Lots of cooking, eating, conversation. Some thunderstorms, too — in Boston, they had to evacuate the Esplanade before the fireworks for awhile. But everyone was safe, and the show continued.

Wound up working mostly on the deck on Tuesday — took my work outside. It was a lovely day, with storms moving in later, but by then I was running around getting ready for company, and Wednesday, when there were quite a few storms, I just stayed offline.

House full of people for a few days — Tessa thinks it’s wonderful. A neighbor invited us over yesterday, but we never managed to get over to the party he was having, which was a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Everyone sort of goes their own way, and then converges for food and conversation, so there’s no pressure, and I’m getting some work done.

Of course, today there’s a ton to do, since I was offline, and I’ll put in some extra hours tonight. Article due, have to get some bookings into the calendar so I don’t blow them, catch up with students, get out the newsletter, get out a mailing for an organization of which I’m the secretary, work on the ghostwriting project. It will all get done, I just have to look at each piece and deal with it, not get overwhelmed by the entire list. Also, HAVE to get cat food in — Tessa’s at the bottom of her bag. Everyone fills the bowl when they walk past and see it empty, so she’s feasting. Fortunately, she’s still growing and allowed for the next few months!

I’m starting to notice weak editing when I read. Read a fantasy novel that didn’t deliver on its promise, but a lot of the problems could have been fixed by an editor with a sharper eye. The grammar, spelling, etc. was all great (always a relief), but there were some logistical elements that I could see the writing missing, but the editor should have caught.

Also re-read Susan Wittig Albert’s wonderful memoir, TOGETHER, ALONE. Beautiful book. And I’m re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES. THUNDER & LIGHTENING is my favorite of hers, but WDB is good to re-read. I remembered it being much more self-indulgent — it’s really not, and it talks about first draft freedom. Unfortunately, too many of the book’s disciples use it to mean you don’t have to EVER worry about things like grammar, spelling, structure, whereas she’s saying don’t let it trip you up in the first draft. Use the freedom to explore, and then work and massage the material so it makes sense –which is what all good writing teachers say. She advocates showing up at the page every day, writing specifics, showing instead of telling. Too many writers think the first draft is THE draft. It’s THE draft once it’s published — before that, everything’s up for change! 😉

I’m off to yoga, and then a busy day.


Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Valentine’s Day
Cloudy and cold

Each and every one of you are precious to me, and, as far as I’m concerned, you are all my valentines!

Busy weekend. The year-long intensive writing workshop I’m teaching, starting in September, is a go. Spent quite a bit of time going back and forth, finalizing the details. I’ll post the sign-up/application link as soon as I have it. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but we write, revise, edit, and start to submit a novel, start a second novel, and write a few short stories during the year. The students get their money’s worth, and wind up with submission-ready work. It is limited, there’s an application process, and applicants better know the difference between possessive and plural! I’m only accepting twelve students.

I was a little worried that it might be priced out of some people’s range; however, it needs to be priced high enough to pay me for my time — and the students get more than their money’s worth; it has to be priced high enough so they take it seriously; and it has to make up for the work I’ll have to turn down in the coming year. It’s still less than the herbalism master class I want to take next spring, and it definitely requires more work on my part to teach than the class I plan to take next spring requires to teach.

The red fox visited Site #2 Sunday morning, coming quite close. He is gorgeous, one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen — all red and gold with a white vest, and black face and paws. Healthy and shiny and vigorous.

Finished up at Site #2 in late morning, went back down to Site #1, and I’ll be here until mid-day on Thursday. Some snow flurries on and off all weekend, but nothing major, and we’re promised a thaw. I’m ready.

Worked on the essay and the short story, both of which are due tomorrow. I think I can get the essay out the door today — I want to tweak the story a bit more. I’m not satisfied with it.

I’m reading Susan Wittig Albert’s TOGETHER ALONE — gorgeous book. Definitely on the recommended reading list for “Setting as Character.” Stylistically, it wouldn’t work for what we’re doing in class — she’s talking TO us instead of integrating information into action, hey, it’s a memoir, that’s the point — but the use of language to evoke emotion about place works really well.

I also read and then tossed to the side one of the lamest “writing” books I’ve ever seen in my life. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and had been looking for it for a few years. I finally hunted down a copy in Niantic. What a piece of psychobabble crap! I did not find ONE useful piece of information in the entire book. And the exercises make you a weaker writer, not a stronger one. I’ll put it up on BookMooch as soon as I get home.

Hopefully, today I can put in a lot of hours of uninterrupted, focused work time. It always takes awhile for me to settle when I move from place to place — I don’t quite have the transitioning down yet. And I miss home.

Word from home is that the cats are in a MOOD. Violet is stomping around, knocking things down, and Iris is running around yelling.

To the page.


Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (9)  
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I frittered away far too much time online yesterday, although I sent a proposal to one place to pick up some work for March, and I did some brainstorming on another possibility.

Ran some errands, including post office and library. Found a book on local history, about which I was very excited, but it’s so badly written I have to return it. It is unreadable. In other words, I will not be hunting it down for my personal library! 😉

Everything stopped when the mail arrived, because it included a box of books. Within that box, was Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release in the Otherwworld series, Book #9, BLOOD WYNE. Life had to come to a screeching halt while I curled up in the big chair in the living room and read it straight through. Came up for air in time for dinner, that’s it. It’s really good; the series keeps getting better, and it’s wonderful to watch the sisters grow and change.

Also in the box are Susan Wittig Albert’s two memoirs, AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS, her journal of 2008, and TOGETHER ALONE: A MEMOIR OF MARRIAGE AND PLACE. Both will go on the recommended reading list for the Setting as Character Workshop.

I’ve started reading the first, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It should go on the must-read list for every writer. Heck, it should go on the must-read list for every human!

Today, I have to be very focused, and catch up on everything that didn’t get done yesterday. The most important thing is to get signed up for my own insurance. Ick. And catch up with work on the book,which has been percolating. That should make it easier to sit down and write. I’ve also got to tackle the essay and the short story, although I have a feeling the short story might be done all in a burst over the weekend.

Weird dreams, some of which had to do with riding on a new type of triple-decker Amtrak train (which is yet to exist). The start of the journey — a place I don’t recognize from my real life — is a place I’ve dreamed about before, with train dreams. I have no idea where I was going or why, but the train was very full, and I’d just gotten settled in one of the few seats left all the way up top when the Hounds of the Baskervilles woke me up with their howling. So I never found out where I was going, or why I was going there on Amtrak.

I should have a post up at Gratitude and Growth by the end of the day — I’ll post the link tomorrow. I got out the thank-yous, links, and PDF files for the article out to all the contributors. I have to check some dates — an editor of mine is going to arrange for a press pass for a few things around here. My clothes are packed for the trip — I have to pack my writing bag and my reading bag.

Onward and page-ward.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Someday it will stop snowing. Someday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing, sleeting, raining

So far, one groundhog “claims” spring is coming. I’ll believe it when the crocuses bloom! And I don’t have to shovel any more.

I had serious concentration problems yesterday. I was procrastinating, with no good reason. I wound up ordering two of Susan Wittig Albert memoirs and Yasmine Galenorn’s newest, BLOOD WYNE. Yeah, I’m on a book-buying moratorium EXCEPT for Yasmine’s new book until my birthday, and I cheated by adding the Albert memoirs to it. That’s on me.

I was also concerned, because, according to the tracking, a book that hadn’t been delivered was marked as delivered a few days ago. After some backing-and-forthing, I found out that it had been delivered elsewhere on the street; a kind neighbor returned it. Last week, there was a different carrier on the route for only a day, but everyone’s mail got mixed up, and we’re still going from house to house sorting things out. I think he just put all the mail for the street together, shuffled it like a deck of cards, and delivered a handful to each house. Because I know I had at least one, sometimes more, pieces of mail for each person on the street. And they had mine.

Not going to Staples before the storm bit me in the ass. I needed to print out a full novel manuscript and send it out (they want a hard copy, not as a PDF or RTF), and then later got a request from someone else for the first fifty pages of a manuscript, again, hard copy. Have the paper; don’t have enough ink. Not going to be able to get the ink until at least tomorrow. So they will go out on Friday, which is fine. Since they are just as snowed in as I am, it’s all good. But I’d like to get it out the door sooner rather than later.

Terrible time concentrating on actual writing. I need to focus, because I’m negotiating what will be a long-term contract with a client, and that will reshuffle my writing time. It’s all good, but it will mean I either need to focus more when I put butt in chair, or butt in chair will regularly stay there past midnight. What has to get done has to get done, whether I’m in the mood to do it or not. Since I haven’t heard back on the questions I had about another potential job with in the requisite 48 hours to answer business correspondence, I’m assuming it’s a no-go, at least from my end. The red flags I questioned were obviously justified.

All the dicks and ignoramuses who are anti-health care should go though something like this type of experience and/or loss personally, so they can experience how much they hurt people.

It hits close to home, because this could just as easily be me as this lovely writer.

The ONLY reason the health care reform sucks as badly as it does is because the cowardly Democrats compromised with the Republicans on over 160 amendments, all in favor of the insurance companies who perform economic rape and violence on a daily basis, with full permission from the GOP, who are on the special interest payrolls. It is a Republican amendment, not the original bill (the good one) that’s allowed insurance companies to hike their rates this year. The original bill prevented that. I worked on it with my representatives; unlike most of the media and most of the public who only listen to the sound bite crap, I know what was actually in it.

The unpublicized call that came right after the House voted to “repeal” the current health care reforms was one put forward that, until there is real health care reform in this country, Congress should give up THEIR health care — which is among one of the best plans in the world and works similar to single-payer system the Republicans are paid to hate. Fourteen Republicans, the few who are not complete and utter hypocrites, said fine. The rest, of course, did not, because it’s not about health care at all, it’s about pleasing the people who fund their campaigns, who are making money off of the general population like vultures.

You can check any of the votes in the House or Senate at the Government Printing Office site. It’s a good resource to follow what’s not getting coverage in the media, and also via the Library of Congress, which keeps tabs on Roll Call votes. The local papers here are also very good at keeping track of how various MA state and federal politicians vote on different issues, so you can keep track of who’s actually representing you and who’s only representing special interests.

It really doesn’t matter what any of these individuals says during a campaign — it matters how they actually vote (providing they show up to vote at all).

Speaking of which, on Friday, I have to sit down with the agency that helps MA residents find affordable heath care and sign up with someone, or I’ll be hit with a fine. I’m glad that states are challenging the ruling and saying that you are forced to BUY healthcare — what we need is a single-payer system that covers everyone. Insurance companies used to be non-profits — that is what they need to return to. No one, certainly not some damned executive, should be getting millions of dollars in salaries and perks because his company leaves people to die, and his board pats him on the paycheck for saving them the money they are supposed to use for CARE.

Shoveling wasn’t too bad, but still created a problem in the back healing. Not looking forward to today, either, although I think it’ll be more ice than anything else, which means more chance of power loss. So I’m trying to get as much done as possible before it goes out.

Had to take something for the back pain (pretty soon my liver won’t be speaking to me) so I’m hoping it kicks in soon and I can get some writing done.

I managed to get most of the work on Confidential Job #1 done yesterday — the assignment is just as cool as I hoped it would be, and I was so thrilled to be chosen for this particular one. I’m going to wind up getting it in over a week early. Which means I can invoice.

I hear that an article of mine goes live today — will post the link tomorrow for you all and will prepare the PDFs for people who were kind enough to be interviewed for the article.

Back to the page (ow — sitting still hurts).


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The only thing I did outside yesterday was go out and get the papers and deposit a check in my mother’s bank. Driving was tough on my back, but it wasn’t far, and all was accomplished.

I’m writing about my Green Pepper Experiment on Gratitude and Growth, so go have a look.

I managed to do three loads of laundry — the Yuletide fabric can finally be put away, nice and clean! The vacuuming had to wait until today or tomorrow, because I couldn’t handle the hose for the central vac. I always feels like I’m in HARRY POTTER wrestling the mega-snake.

Didn’t get enough writing done, got a bunch of admin done, caught up on the workshop. I can’t believe it ends tomorrow!

Finished Susan Wittig Albert’s DEAD MAN’S BONES, which was very good.

Started a book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed, but this one, for me, misses the mark. It’s supposed to be a modern comedy of manners, but I can’t find humor or satire in it. I find formulaic cliches, which, if this was a comedy of manners, or a satire, would have been exploded or at least turned inside out. But they’re just there. And I don’t like any of the protagonists. It’s one thing to have an unreliable narrator, or a narrator who isn’t the best of human beings — a skilled writer can make you care. But the protags in this book are ordinary in the way only a fictional character can be, whiny, and refuse to learn from experience. I realize there are plenty of people like that. I don’t keep them in my life (whiny and refusing to learn from experience are cut out — I find uniqueness in everyone I know), and I don’t want to spend my free time with them in a book, especially if, halfway through, there’s been zero character growth.

When something like this happens with an author whose work I’ve liked before, I always feel guilty. Authors need reader support. They also need the freedom to write whatever they want, and try new things, even if they don’t always work, and not lose support. In this case, I’d read this author’s work again; I just don’t like this book. If the next three books or so don’t work for me, then I’d probably stop. But if I want the freedom to write whatever I please, even if it doesn’t always work, I have to support other writers who do the same.

Have to run a few errands this morning before the next storm hits. I think it will hit sooner than they’re saying — I have the pre-storm headache. So maybe I will just stay home and work!

The back is better — I’m mostly uncomfortable rather than in acute pain, and I have a better range of motion. I just hope the snow isn’t another six inches, because if I have to shovel again, I am screwed.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I talk about pots in today’s entry of Gratitude and Growth. Hop on over.

Saturn went retrograde this morning, and will stay retrograde until June 12, according to my calender. Saturn is the planet of life lessons. When it goes retrograde, the life lessons it tried to teach you in the last retrograde and you ignored/refused to learn will come back and bite you in the butt here. Saturn does not take prisoners; it is a tough love planet. If you keep making the same mistakes, you dig yourself in deeper.

I have a dear friend who, since I’ve known her, has been caught in a pattern and refuses to break it. Saturn retrogrades are particularly difficult for her. We’ve talked in detail how to break these patterns holding her back, but she refuses. And yet she wonders why each Saturn retrograde cycle is more difficult than the previous one. Until she takes action to break the negative patterns, it’s going to keep getting worse.

I went through a couple of those cycles when I knew it was time to leave Broadway,but I was afraid so to do, both financially and emotionally. And, each Saturn retrograde cycle, I was reminded (harshly) that it was time to go.

Hopefully, moving here broke a negative pattern in which I was mired, and hopefully I can learn how to get what I want and stand up for myself in a more positive way in this cycle. I have to make sure I don’t fall back into old patterns just because they’re familiar.

Yesterday, it snowed almost all day. There wasn’t a lot of accumulation, but it was still kind of a pain to get around. Got to the library; returned the books due, got out some new ones, and got my mom all set up with her library card. They are so nice there!

Back home, read for awhile, then called the place holding the seminar to make sure it was still on. It was, so I layered up and headed back out onto the road. My little lane was kind of a mess, but once I got onto the bigger roads, it was fine, as long as I was cautious. The turnoff to the seminar location was tricky, and the hill going up — let’s just say I’m grateful I have a VW!

The first parking lot hadn’t been plowed since the last storm, so there was no way I was going to park there. I managed to squeeze into a parking spot closer to the buildings, but those roads were in bad shape.

It was a small class, among them the nature columnist I met a few days ago at Ashumet, which was great fun — we exchanged information and will go play, soon.

I had mixed feelings about the class. The weather was too bad for us to go tromping around identifying plants, so it was modified so we could stay inside. All good. The teacher knew what she was talking about, but her style of teaching did not work for me. I found her very condescending and making sweeping generalizations: “We all demand prescriptions”, “Heaven forbid we turn off the TV” , “you won’t read these guides, but you should”– stuff like that. I was biting my tongue, wanting to say, “Listen, bitch, maybe most of your students do that, but why do you think we’re here, learning this? I haven’t had a prescription since 2002, and it’s easier to pill a feral cat than to get me to take anything stronger than an Advil. And I have the TV off most nights to read. And when I get a guide, I READ it from cover to cover. You just met me; don’t assume you know anything about me or that I fit some preconceived societal notions.”

To actually say that in class would have been incredibly rude, even for me, so I kept my mouth shut, but I think my new acquaintance next to me knew something was up from the way I shifted around in my chair. I kept having to unfold my arms and change my body position, because, in a class of five, it’s noticeable when you have negative body language.

I’m sure she thought I was responding negatively because I’m her societal cliche.

Once I could filter through the way the information was presented, I got some good notes, which I now have to learn.

However, I also felt she didn’t have proper respect for poisonous plants. I’m as deeply attuned to the facts that there are a lot of positive uses for poisonous plants as she is. However, a poisonous plant doesn’t give a damn about your beliefs or “place in society” or anything else. If you don’t approach a poisonous plant with the proper respect and knowledge, it’s gonna kill you, no matter who you are. It’s very non-discriminatory.

She knows a lot, but her teaching style doesn’t work with me or connect positively with me (really, one should not leave a class wanting to smack the instructor upside the head). But you’re not going to get along with everyone, and I can be cordial when we meet again (as we’re bound to in a community this small) and appreciate the information I was able to separate out from the teaching style. She’s simply not the teacher under whom I want to train professionally next year, when I am in a position to take classes for certification. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard through the teaching style to get to the information.

I managed to make it down the hill (love my VW) and back onto the road. Stopped at Lavender Moon to get the icky energy off, replenish some incense, and have a nice chat with the proprietor. Actually, I made a conscious effort to leave the negativity outside the door before I entered the shop.

Came home, burned incense, roasted a chicken with lemon caper sauce, and read Susan Wittig Albert’s WORMWOOD, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I used to read each of her China Bayles mysteries as soon as it came out (because of the herb shop aspect as much as the mystery). I don’t know why I stopped, but I’m pretty far behind at this point.

We’re supposed to get hammered with another storm today, so I’m staying home to write and comment on exercises. The big black cat sauntered past this morning, and is lounging on top of the shed across the way.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, and then, back to the page.