Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Tues. Sept. 28, 2021: Goldenrod Season (Achoo)!

image courtesy of MrGajowy3 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and cool

Yup, Mercury went retrograde yesterday, and will go direct on October 18. So buckle up, buttercups, we have seven retrogrades until October 6, when the planets start turning direct again, and we get some relief.

Yesterday’s post on the GDR site is about how I’m trying to form a better perspective on things.

The weekend was pretty good. I had to finish one last script coverage early Saturday morning. Once that was done, I attempted to put together the shelving unit. But that was defective, too. So I returned those units. Only got a partial refund, because they’d given me a gift card as part of the last purchase. I offered to return the gift card, but that was “too hard.” So, in other words, I paid for the gift card. To a store in which I don’t shop often.

Headed to a thrift store nearby, just in case, to see if they had shelving. They didn’t, but they did have a train case. In blue. It’s a Featherlite, sold by Sears back in the day. I have wanted one of these for decades. It was only $7. Because they were having a sale on certain items, it was only a little under $4.

The same style of case sells for $58 on eBay.

It’s a lovely condition. I was so happy, and it more than made up for the shelving issues.

I went through some of the art books from the college library. There was more good Canaletto information; I may be done with the play about his sisters, but I’m interested in writing something about his family and the Bibiena family and their stage designs.

I paged through a volume of AMERICANS IN FLORENCE, about the ex-pat artists community in Florence around the time of the Impressionists. That got me going on a few different ideas: the Fabbri family interests me, and I might pitch a play about Ernestine and Cora to 365 Women at some point. I was also interested in William Morris Hunt, and the female students he took on, called “Huntites.” That gave me an idea for a steampunk piece, and I spent some time writing a few pages of notes.

While I was doing that, an idea that’s been niggling at me for quite a few years decided it was time to spew forth enough information for a few pages of notes on that, too. It takes place starting after WWII, and running as long as it wants to run, about a couple who marries right after the war, the husband remaining in the military, and how they have to navigate their relationship through the huge changes that came after the war. Originally, I was going to have the wife be a quiet, smart, dedicated homebody, making her home a work of art wherever they live. I’m keep those aspects, but adding in that she was a ferry girl during the war, flying planes within the US. And that she misses flying.

A chance sentence in a book inspired an idea for a short story set in the afterlife. Made a few notes on that, too.

It feels good to be creative again. It’s nice that the Idea Fountain is turned back on again.

I needed to relax, so in the afternoon, I started reading CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson, which was recommended to me. It’s a very different type of mystery, stylistically, and I enjoyed it, because it was so different.

Puttered around and managed to put away some more Winter Holiday decorations. I need the shelves in place before I can really rearrange things. But I also have to take my time and find the right shelves. Or, possibly, build them, if I can get the lumber at a reasonable price.

I’m getting a little tired of the cats getting me up at 4. 5 is fine, I like starting my day at 5, but 4 is just too damn early.

But I was up way too damn early on Sunday. I got in an excellent first writing session the novel. Saturday’s was okay, steady progress, but Sunday’s was actually good.

Cooked a salmon Eggs Benedict for breakfast.

I opened the train case to give it a good clean, inside and out. To my surprise, I discovered three decks of cards and a hunk of modelling clay inside it. All of which had price tags on it. I wondered if someone had put everything together and meant to come back for it. But wouldn’t they have left the case behind the cashier’s desk?

I went through the decks of cards. One deck has all but one card; but there are several cards that have been marked, so that deck was used, somewhere, to cheat. The other two decks were intact.

The modelling clay was something I had planned on buying over the next few weeks, so it made sense.

I contacted the store, when it opened, to tell them what I found and offer to pay, but they said it was their mistake for not checking when I paid, and I shouldn’t worry about it. Which was kind of them.

I gave the case a good cleaning, and am using it to store the extra Ipsy bags I’ve accumulated. When I travel, you can be darned sure I will use it; and I’m sure it will turn up in some of my writing.

I decided to pack away the summer dresses and shirts from my closet, so that I had some room for fall/winter stuff. I ended up unpacking six boxes still in my room. I found a bunch of stuff, including winter shoes and boots.

In other words, I don’t need to shop for clothes this autumn. Which is a good thing, considering how many carloads of stuff I donated before the move. I have plenty of pieces I like, that look good on me, in which I feel comfortable.

I rearranged some stuff in my room, too. I’m keeping some of my summer shoes in the moving boxes, until I can either bring up the shoe rack, or find a pretty bin for them. I still have two boxes of stuff to unpack, and then the bedroom is basically unpacked. I still have to figure out how to fit two more large suitcases in the room. They were in the closet in the sewing room, but I removed them so I could put in the decorations, and now I need to figure out where to stash them.

I’m adding one Samhain decoration to the porch/living room windows every day this week; then, on Friday, October 1, I’ll do the big decoration for the season.

I’ve been having a terrible time getting my tablet to charge. It’s my preferred way to read the scripts for coverage, because it’s easy to enlarge the font; with the amount of reading I’m doing at the moment, my eyes get tired. But the tablet wasn’t charging beyond 53%, even when I had it plugged in all day.

Just for the heck of it, I plugged it into my phone charger, and it charged. We’ll see how long that lasts, but every day helps. Never buy a Linsey tablet; it’s crap.

Yesterday, I was up again, way too early. I couldn’t get as much done as I wanted on the novel, because I have to do some research that will directly affect the structure and information in the scene. Can’t use placeholders.

The coffeemaker had a hissy fit. Every Mercury Retrograde, there’s an issue with the coffeemaker. Maybe I’ll stick to the French press during the retrograde.

I had to go to the college library across the street to drop off books. I looked for information on William Morris Hunt, but didn’t see anything. I did get a book of some of Bernard Berenson’s diaries, which should be interesting. My allergies were acting up, so I didn’t stay to search the academic network library catalogues.

I went to the public library to drop off/pick up a book. The book came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so it goes back unread. I loathe present tense in novels, and will only force myself to read it if I’m being paid so to do.

Contacted Berkshire Health Systems to see if I could take my mom up the street for her Pfizer booster. The woman I spoke to was very nice; they were having their meeting that day to figure out how to manage the boosters along with the regular vaccinations. She asked me to call back by the end of the week. I thanked her and said I would; she was surprised that I didn’t argue. Why argue? They’re doing the best they can.

By this time, my allergies were out of control. I’m not usually a mucus machine, but this was bad. For a few minutes, I wondered if I had a cold, or, heaven forbid, the plague (COVID). But I could smell and taste, and, if anything, my appetite had increased, so I figured I was okay.

I took some Benadryl (that I bought in Europe, not any of the milquetoast US stuff). It started drying me up. I wrote up the two script coverages due, and went back to reading the book for review before the Benadryl knocked me out. I took a nap for about an hour and a half, then staggered into the kitchen to reheat some pasta. I felt dopey from the nap, but definitely better.

The Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s lovely. It also has a booklet of herbs used in medicine, which is good, since all my herbals are still packed in storage.

Read two scripts after dinner, then went to bed early. Slept through the night, although Tessa woke me at 4 again. Fed them all, tried to go back to bed, but they weren’t having it, so I took the featherbed and moved to the couch, and everybody settled down.

By breakfast, Tessa and Charlotte were both on the couch, buffered by the featherbed, in temporary peaceful co-existence.

We’ve started closing the door to the porch, so it doesn’t get so cold at night. Pretty soon, we’ll have to put on the heat.

Decent morning’s writing session on the novel. I realized I hadn’t done the research I needed to do for the next scene, but the conversation took an unexpected turn, so I bought myself some time (even if I cut that conversation in a future draft).

Lots to do today, especially since I’m behind on emails, and on the short articles. The allergies are starting to act up again; let’s hope it’s not as bad as yesterday. Benadryl knocks me out, and I can’t afford to lose a few workday hours again.

I had planned to do laundry this morning, but didn’t feel up to going to the laundromat, so that’s been pushed off until tomorrow. I’m hoping to play a little with ideas on the short story, too.

Have a good one!

Tues. Sept. 21, 2021: Finding Rhythms

image courtesy of Petra Boekhoff via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Last Day of the Full Moon

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

Sunny and cool

I am happy to say that the weekend was less stressful than I expected. Which is a good thing.

I was in touch with my friend on Friday to find out if he was coming by to drop off the carload of Christmas decorations, or if he needed to move it to a different weekend. First he said he wasn’t; a few minutes later, he was back in touch to ask if he could. So we were back on.

I baked his favorite from my baking repertoire, lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting. I thought the frosting was a little too sweet; I need to work on my buttercream frosting skills. But, overall, they turned out well.

I also baked brownies, because I craved brownies, and, since I had the oven on anyway, why not?  They turned out really well, too.

Saturday, I vacuumed and mopped and did general housework in preparation for my friend’s arrival. He and his family had decided to make it a day trip, but had gotten a later start than expected. No worries. I was caught up with everything and ready.

I worked on GAMBIT COLONY while I was waiting, re-reading the rest of Book 4 and what I’ve written so far into Book 5, making some edits here and there. But, overall, I’m pretty happy with it. It’s not the kind of series targeted to a general audience; it’s definitely for people interested in the arts, who can deal with large ensembles. And I want to have the first six books of the series submission-ready before I start pitching them. Those first six books encompass auditions, rehearsals, shooting the mini-series, and then the first season when it’s picked up. At some point in the game, I’ll get back to working on the series website. I don’t know if my publisher would even consider it, or if I should go pure indie.

Anyway, in the early afternoon, I heard from my friend; he had taken a wrong turn, and was about an hour behind where he expected.  Again, no worries. I felt worse for him than for me.

He finally got here, and it only took 15 minutes to unload the car (under Charlotte’s supervision). He’d dropped off his family to do a short hike while he unloaded, and I gave him the cupcakes, which delighted him. They planned to go apple picking, and then stop at their favorite barbecue place on the way home. So they had a nice family day out, off Cape. Sometimes, it’s hard to get over the bridge, even when the traffic’s not a nightmare.

The day had started kind of rumbly and drizzly, but by the time they got out here, it had turned into a gorgeous autumn day. I was delighted for them, and so grateful for the carload of stuff!

My Kindle Fire is acting up; books I buy aren’t necessarily downloading. I believe this is Amazon trying to force me to buy a new Kindle (which they keep sending me emails about), which I don’t want to do, because I like this one. And hate Amazon. Customer Service wasn’t much help. No surprise there.

On Sunday morning, we were on the road by 6:30, headed back to Cape. It was a reasonably smooth ride down, and the weather was gorgeous. We arrived a little after 10, and I rearranged things in the main storage unit so that whatever we couldn’t get into the car would fit, and moved out of the second storage unit. The car was packed, but it was mostly light stuff (and yeah, more Christmas decorations). I also got the trunk full of yarn up, and the giant bin with all our winter coats. Once I empty that bin, I will fill it with the small boxes of holiday decorations, so that they are all safe and protected and in one spot, instead of in dozens of tiny boxes that have to be stacked like a weird Rubik’s cube.

I did the move-out paperwork for that unit, and we were back on the road by 11:28. Over an hour earlier than I’d expected. Unfortunately, the traffic over the Bourne Bridge was a nightmare, but we were still over before noon (the storage facility is just over the bridge on the Cape side).

The traffic was heavy all the way back to the Berkshires, but it moved, except for a messy patch around Worcester.  We made it back by 4, and my leg only hurt a little. The relief at getting it all done is immense.

Unpacked, hauled everything up, and rested. Since the book I bought still wouldn’t download to Kindle, I started reading the next book for review.

Up way too early on Monday, thanks to the cats. But got in a good meditation session, and good first writing session.  The cats were running and playing like loony tunes. But then, full moon, what do you expect? It was pretty funny.

There’s a bunch of new paperwork involved in getting the car registration and our licenses switched over to the new address, and I am frustrated with it. Also frustrated because Spectrum went down again in the afternoon. I fixed the problem myself from this end while I was waiting for the tech.

Got some work done early. Headed over to the college library to drop off books and check out some other books. Headed to the grocery store to get what I still needed for the Equinox dinner tomorrow. Unpacked the oversized bin with all the winter coats, and got those hung up. Refilled the bin with small boxes of fragile winter holiday decorations. I have to rearrange the big closet in the sewing room; I think most of that closet will house decorations.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of general decorations we’d never used in the Cape house. They fit better here. They are from our travels. Some of them definitely have the Deco/Nouveau vibe that works so well here. Stuff that we decide not to use is getting repacked, and will go back down when we do our storage run in spring.

Wrote up script coverage on two pieces, and read three others.

Trying to get into a more regular work rhythm for the fall and winter.

Found my favorite comfy pants pattern, and will make some fleece pants for both of us to wear around the house this winter. I’m looking forward to getting the sewing room set up and getting back to making clothes.

Have a bunch of coverages to write up today, more scripts to read, articles to write. An ex-client wants to talk to me, and I’m not looking forward to it. There are very good reasons this client is a former client rather than a current one.

My keyboard is now all wonky, too. I’m having trouble with all my devices. My Mercury has gone retrograde early. I better back everything up today.

Sigh. It’s going to be one of THOSE days, isn’t it? Hope you, at least, have a good one.

Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: Emotion is a Weird Thing

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a hot, summer-like day. Enjoy them while we have them, I guess. I hear winters are miserable here.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the start of the autumn colors.

Greylock Federal Credit Union is, once again, making life difficult. There’s no reason for everything to take 10 steps instead of 2. I should be able to deposit a check without it being a production. I should be able to write a check without it being a production. I shouldn’t need FIVE security questions for everything, and constant haranguing by their staff on issues we’ve already settled.

Obviously, I made a mistake choosing them as my bank. I’ve always preferred credit unions, because the reason for their existence is to treat their members with dignity, not have the traps and fees commercial banks use, and to smooth the financial path for their members. Greylock does the exact opposite.

I can’t switch banks again for 90 days, but I’m looking into other banks. I may actually go in and interview them.

Because I am not putting up with this shit.

I went down a research rabbit hole for a project, which was fun, but set me back on a few other things.

Remote Chat was fun, although I was still in Grumpy Pants Mode from dealing with Greylock.

Windows keeps telling me I need an update, and then the update “fails”. I’m frustrated.

I unpacked a few things from the last storage run. One of them is an original sketch, signed by the artist, done in 1969. I’m trying to decipher the artist’s name so I can research the artist. I think it was a gift from my uncle, who was a well-known artist in Europe, done by one of his colleagues, because the name I think is one the sketch comes up connected to Hamburg, near where my uncle was based. I might post the signature on Twitter, so see if anyone can help me decipher it, so I can do the proper research. It’s a very atmospheric black and white sketch, and I want to find a place to hang it here. But I also want to know about it.

Found out that the house in which we lived for the past 10 years is on the market. For a lot of money. The landlord repainted the inside (which it needed, because hey, ten years) in sterile colors downstairs, and didn’t repaint the upstairs bedrooms. The old carpets are still there, and the lawn’s been mowed, but where’s all this “landscaping” he talked about? The broken boards on the steps of the deck where replaced, and the deck washed, and the back windows repainted (which he did while they were still there). But that’s it. So all the fussing at me, about how the work was going to take him six months and I’d put him so far behind wasn’t true. It took six weeks to slap on some paint and put the house on the market.

None of this should matter. But it’s still a wrench, because that place was my home for a decade, and, with all the ups and downs, I did love the house. But he was never going to sell it to me, even if I could have or wanted to buy it. And, with the way the neighborhood was changing, and how the Cape is changing, it’s not where I wanted to live out the rest of my life.

Yet, there are still complex emotions.

I sat with them in meditation last night, which helped a lot.

I do wish whomever buys the place is very happy there, because the house itself encourages happiness.

Meditation this morning, and then it’s back to work. I need to write up the scripts I read last night, and grab some more to read today, write some short articles, and start the next book for review.

And, of course, unpack.

Have a good one!

Published in: on September 16, 2021 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: Emotion is a Weird Thing  
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Tues. Aug. 31, 2021: This and That

image coourtesy of Goumbik via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy, foggy, humid, but cooler

Good weekend, although busy. I worked straight through the weekend on script coverage. I kept my promise to myself not to whine, either in person or on social media, and I didn’t. it wasn’t that bad; I paced myself, it wasn’t as hot and humid as it’s been, and I got it done. Since I didn’t take the time to whine, there was nothing to whine about. The pay period ends today, and I want to be able to enjoy taking four days off for the holiday weekend while my friend visits. Without worry or guilt. So I shut up and worked, and it was fine.

Ran some errands Friday. Didn’t get enough admin work done Friday, so that meant a lot of extra yesterday.

The students were checking in/moving into the college across the street on Saturday, so it was a little chaotic out there. It was nice to be able to sit on my second-floor porch above the fray! Everyone has to be vaccinated and wear masks indoors, so this neighborhood is safer than most (since those of us already here are already vaccinated).

Got some more unpacking done, especially the sewing room, which doubles as a guest room, and is where my friend will sleep. I don’t have the sewing machine up yet, but once it is, the room will be a good workspace. Ran some extension cords to lamps, and got them bulbed. I still have to invest in a few more household extension cords, but things are coming together.

Basically, there’s just my office and my bedroom to finish unpacking, and that doesn’t have to happen before my friend gets here.

As boxes are unpacked and things are put away, the space looks nice and big. The high ceilings help. There are still some pieces I’m slowly looking to add:  bookcases, always bookcases, but different shapes and sizes than at the other house; a nouveau-style cathedral mirror to go over the fireplace; a cabinet/island on wheels for the kitchen; new slipcovers for the wingback chairs; maybe a glass-fronted, curved low cabinet with shelves to store a mix of knick-knacks and fabric. Rugs. I know what I want, rug-wise, but haven’t found them in my price range yet.  It would be nice if the couch cover I ordered nearly a month ago would show up. It’s been stuck at the Edison, NJ Fed Ex facility since the 19th, and they deny that it’s there. And the place from which I ordered doesn’t give a damn about finding it, replacing it, or giving me a refund.

Unpacking decorations, and seeing where they fit. I’m sure I will keep moving things around. Frustrated at how dirty everything is coming out of the box, when I washed the pieces before they were packed. It’s as though that weird grit absorbed into the pieces, and the pieces are now expelling it. So everything’s being washed again, and cleansed on multiple levels before it’s placed.

My Yoga Frogs are out, which makes me happy.

Worried about Hurricane Ida, and colleagues in that area. There are still people with whom I lost contact because of Katrina with whom I’ve never managed to reconnect. But glad that we have a president who at least gets emergency help in place early on. I’m sick of the privileged sniffing how people deserve it if they didn’t evacuate – most of them can’t afford it, have no transportation, and have nowhere to go. Oh and the people making nasty comments about how we shouldn’t give aid to red states. The Republicans who keep systems in place that kill people need to be removed (permanently, from all walks of life), but fellow citizens deserve help. Even if I don’t agree with them. I’m sick of Democrats bringing a cupcake to a gunfight, but that doesn’t mean I want to see people indiscriminately drown. The hurricane doesn’t care how anybody voted. The hurricane is going to wreak havoc on everything and everyone in its path.

While I am glad that we are officially “out” of Afghanistan, and thankful for the amazing amount of people evacuated out, I am angry at the DOD for ignoring Kabul Small Animal Rescue, although they had the funds and resources in place to leave, but couldn’t get the paperwork signed. It was only 100 small animals and some staff; it wouldn’t have prevented any humans from evacuating. Their staff and Puppy Rescue Mission and everyone who worked flat out to get it done are devastated. All because some bureaucratic fucktard wouldn’t sign the paperwork. I hope every one of those horrible, disgusting individuals who refused to sign those papers meets an awful end. Because that’s what those poor animals, and some of the staff left behind, face now.

The human race is a failed experiment.

I haven’t been sleeping well. All that script reading is making it noisy in my head, and interfering with the ability to hear my own work.

Out of the house early this morning to go to the laundromat. I was the first one there, and had my pick of the machines. Three loads in and out in an hour and 15 minutes. Not bad.

I have a LOT of paperwork to do today on various issues, plus script reading, plus writing up coverage. Tomorrow, I need to get back to the short almanac articles for a few days. I’m still ahead of where I need to be, but behind where I want to be.

I used the time at the laundromat to outline a project that has been percolating, a kind of weird, cross-genre thing. And here I made all this fuss about keeping my notes organized, and I can’t find another set of notes I wrote up on a different project, about which I have some more ideas. It’s very frustrating. Even though I have specific places I’m putting things, they’re not there when I go back for them. It doesn’t make sense.

Covid numbers in the Berkshires have risen 61% in the past 2 weeks. That’s with most people vaccinated, and is still one of the lowest area numbers in the state, but still too much.

I also have to get to the store and get a bunch of other stuff done. Today and tomorrow are big pushes on the work front. On Thursday, there’s a lot of baking and cleaning on the agenda, and on Friday my friend arrives, and I have a weekend off.

I need it.

Have a good one.

Published in: on August 31, 2021 at 8:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 31, 2021: This and That  
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Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole

Photo courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Got the laundry done at the laundromat yesterday. Three loads, but since it was nearly empty, I could run three machines at the same time, so washing, drying, and folding took just over an hour. Brought it all back; headed to Wild Oats for Owner Appreciation Day, and then to Stop & Shop for some other things.

And that was the morning. Those few things took all morning.

Which is why I really need to get up at 5 AM, not 6 AM, much as I’m loving that extra hour in bed.

Heard back from Williams College. I have to pay a fee to access the books I need in their collection. But the collection is only open to Williams students, faculty, and staff due to COVID right now. So I’ll check back with them in autumn, and we’ll see where we are. They were very nice, and I appreciate the information. I’m just not sure I need access badly enough to pay $60.

I searched for the Marie Corelli biographies I need (that are in Williams College library) online via various secondhand bookstores. Most of them are expensive and out of my budget, even second hand. I can get the books she wrote for Kindle either through Project Gutenberg, or through the library, so I can do that. But I can’t see spending nearly $300 on the biographies.

I finally managed to find a copy of one of the biographies, which doesn’t seem to be in great shape, but as long as I can read it, hey, I can afford it, so I grabbed it. It looks like I can access the other two biographies through JSTOR and through Semantic Scholar, so I might be able to do everything in my budget.

Then, I came across the memoirs of Squire and Marie Bancroft. Most of those copies are wildly expensive collectors’ editions, but there’s a copy in questionable condition from a bookstore in Devon, England, and the shipping’s not that bad. I grabbed it. Of course, there was an email this morning, upping the shipping costs, but it’s still less than a fifth of the fancy copies. I don’t need that book until either later this year or early next year, so it can take its time coming across the pond.

Found some other interesting research on Marie Corelli, tied to her home Mason Croft in Stratford-on-Avon, where she was involved in preserving buildings connected to Shakespeare. Not sure if that will be the event around which I build the play, but it’s a possibility.

Wrote up script coverage, read two more scripts, which I will write up this morning. The toner cartridge arrived last night, and I have to put it in this morning and get all the backed-up paperwork done.

My reward for getting the scripts read last night was to start reading the third Wonky Inn book. I’m enjoying that series.

Slept until six this morning. Wrote on the front porch, working on a tricky emotional scene in the book, so it was slower and a lower word count than I’d hoped, but I’m hitting the points I want to hit, so it’s worth it. I’m well into Chapter Four in longhand, so I should start typing soon, or it will be overwhelming.

Script coverage, paperwork, article work, LOIS, reading today. Maybe unpacking a couple of boxes. If it’s not too humid, I can work straight through and stop at a normal time; if it’s yucky, I’ll take a break mid-day, and then work more at night. Which is why I like flexibility in my hours.

I’m looking forward to Remote Chat today.

I had a thought, though, earlier this morning: What if, even when it’s safe again to socialize and network in person, I choose not to? One of the biggest sources of unhappiness the past decade was too often being bullied into pretending to be an extrovert on far too many occasions, just to serve others’ agendas and make THEM feel comfortable. What if I just. . .don’t? What if I choose to stay semi-reclusive?

We may all have to be semi-reclusive through the winter. The entire state is back to being high risk. But at least here, people are masking up indoors without fussing. Takes a lot of stress off.

Something I noticed walking around downtown the other day was that most buildings have a sign on their sides reading “Watch out for sliding snow and ice” so I guess that’s a thing here in winter. I’ll find out, won’t I?

Published in: on August 18, 2021 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole  
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Tues. Aug. 3, 2021: Love The Libraries

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

For some reason, the weekend feels like a really long time ago.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog. I’m slowly gearing up the other blogs.

I didn’t manage my time properly, so I ended up writing up script coverage all weekend. I need to figure things out better, so I have weekends off from the coverage, or it’s just too much.

I found out that a new independent bookstore opened, within walking distance. My first instinct was to run right over and check it out. However, I decided to wait until I get paid, so that I can actually spend money there (not just buy one thing because I feel like I can’t go in without buying something, but buy several things and give them some serious business). I also discovered that, at Norad Mill, on the way to Wild Oats Market, is a yarn store. I don’t need more yarn – I have so much in storage. But there’s a yarn store, so you know I’m going to go there.

The list of possibilities for upcoming Artist Dates grows. And that is a good thing.

I like that there are places I can frequent within walking distance.

Norad Mill also has a yoga studio, with strict vaccine rules for in-studio work. Even with that, that everyone needs to be vaccinated, masks are welcome within the studio, I’m not sure if I feel comfortable going back into the studio. There’s another studio (near the new bookstore), but it’s online only right now. As much as I’d like to go back to class, I’m not sure, even with precautions and protocols, I feel comfortable enough so to do. I feel like I’d need a separate set of mat, blocks, props, etc. to take to class that would need to be decontaminated and kept separate from my daily mat and blocks I use at home.

But it’s nice to know that the studios here follow protocols. Unlike the studio on Cape, where, during the height of it all last year, pre-vaccine, people could be inside without masks.

I received sad news. The Broadway colleague fighting COVID, who seemed to be improving, died of a heart attack on Friday night. He was a sweet, gentle soul who is an enormous loss.

It also increases my rage against anti-vaxxers. They are domestic terrorists, walking biological weapons, and need to be dealt with as the murderers they are.

Saturday, I put the cat condo back up. It’s in a corner of the living room. Because the ceilings are so much higher here, it doesn’t dominate the room, the way it did in the Cape house. The cats aren’t sure about it yet. It has to be their idea to go back into/onto it.

Worked on unpacking/setting up my office some more. It’s better, it’s workable, but I want it wonderful, and it’s not there yet.

The new Eureka vacuum arrived. It’s wonderful. It was also horrifying to see how much dirt was in the rugs that the other vacuum hadn’t picked up. But now, we’re finally getting things clean.

When I lived a block from Times Square, in NYC, the constant cleaning was discouraging. I’d scrub everything down; an hour later, there was a light layer of soot and grime over everything. When we first moved to the Cape, a decade ago, things were a little gritty because it’s sandy (beaches have sand), but, overall, it was cleaner. However, it got progressively dirtier, as trees are cut down, and there were the constant mowing/leaf blowing/chain saws. The dirt had an oily residue from all the machinery in constant use. Even with regular house cleaning, it was difficult to get it clean, much less keep it clean. As we unpack, even though we cleaned things before the move, everything needs a second, thorough scrub.

The dirt and dust, at least so far, is a different, lighter consistency. So far, at least, it’s easier to clean, even though we technically live in a city.

Who knew there were so many kinds of dirt? Not soil, but dirt.

Sunday was about some more unpacking. There are still a few boxes in the living room that need unpacking, but it’s not stuff for the living room. And we need to rearrange some stuff, and decide what to put on the mantel. So far, nothing looks quite right. Our mirrors are the wrong size and shape. I feel as though it should be a painting. If we keep the porcelain figurines (which have been in the family for generations and keep getting hauled around) on the mantel, I feel it should be a pastoral scene with a lake (for feng shui, there needs to be water over a fireplace, even if it’s not a real one), so it looks like the figures stepped out of it. If we move the figures (although who knows where), it can be some other sort of painting, as long as there’s a watery vibe to it (but not a sinking ship type of thing; not good for feng shui).

I tried putting the pieces I brought back from Australia oh, so long ago, when my play was produced there, but they don’t look or feel right there, either. They will probably go in my office.

Monday morning, in my first writing session of the day, I passed my daily quota, for the first time in months. It felt good. I’m getting back in synch with my creativity. I’m starting, slowly, to feel like myself again. The self I was when I moved so optimistically to the Cape ten years ago (nearly eleven now), although I doubt I’ll ever feel that level of optimism about anything ever again.

Got out some LOIs, caught up on email. Worked on the class presentation. Walked down to the post office to mail a few things.

I can see the college library from my front windows. So, yesterday morning, I walked over and got a Community Card. I have permission to both check books out of the library and to work in the library (it was practically empty today and everything is well spaced, but if COVID numbers keep going up, I doubt I will). Everyone at the college – students, faculty, staff, vendors – is required to be fully vaccinated, at least. But I don’t want to push my luck.

For research, it’s a fantastic library. Lots of books I can’t find anywhere else. I only checked out two books, but they will keep me busy for a bit!

Home, tried to get back to work, had a bad case of the I Don’t Wannas. Did a little unpacking and rearranging.

Worked on some script coverage. Started the next book I have to review. Paid some bills.

An interesting call for a flash fiction submission landed in my inbox, so I’m playing with some ideas.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat, with the eye pillow on, and Willa was absolutely convinced I was dying, and it was her job to resuscitate. Poor cat. Her original human, who gave her up because he was too sick to take care of her and of Charlotte, must have been in bad shape.

At least I’m sleeping better.

As I’m roaming around the neighborhood, learning my way about, I’m meeting various neighbors. People are good about distancing when unmasked outside, and everyone in the area is vaccinated (most are connected to the college, or to other companies that insist on vaccination). The timbre of conversation here is so different than it was on Cape.

For comparison:

Topic: My life and work in New York, and it comes up that I worked backstage on Broadway for years.

Typical Cape Cod response: “Oh, so you were fired and came here? But I bet you still have connections. How soon can you get me free tickets? There are lots of shows I want to see, but I’m not paying those prices.”

Berkshires: “I bet you got to work on some cool projects and with some talented people.”

(For the record: I was not fired. I was aging out, and wanted to leave while I still loved it).

Topic: Professions. I’m asked what I do for a living, and I respond with “writer.”

Typical Cape Cod: “What’s your real job?”

Berkshire: “Can we get together one day to take a walk around the lake/get coffee and talk about how you approach character and plot? I’m vaccinated, I promise.  I’m trying a few things, and I’d love to hear how you do it.”

See the difference?

Not everyone on Cape was like that, of course. The people who became my friends weren’t like that, or we wouldn’t have formed friendships. But, at networking or Chamber Events or Writers’ Center events or art openings, meeting and chatting with new people, that same response came up over and over and over again, for years.

Not that it’s perfect here. The Town Clerk still hasn’t responded to my request to change voter registration (which, according to the Secretary of State’s office has to be done here), and the equivalent of my health organization hasn’t responded to any of my requests for information. The original requests went in nearly a month ago. The local chamber of commerce hasn’t responded to my request for information (although the larger 1Berkshires has).

But when I meet people and talk to them, I’m met with interest, rather than the hostility of “you think you’re so great because you work in the arts, but you can’t be that great or you wouldn’t live here” which I got pounded with constantly on Cape for years.

It’s not about my view of my own “greatness.” It’s the fact that this is my profession, not my hobby, I put in the work, and earn my living at it.

Up early this morning, wrote my 1K in longhand. It felt good. There’s stuff I need to research, details, but the writing itself feels good, even though the story itself is light years away from what I usually do. Stretching is a good thing.

The bulk of today’s focus will be on the materials for class: finishing up the Power Point presentation, putting together the handouts. My host is doing maintenance, so I can’t upload anything until tomorrow, but if it’s ready to go, that means I can upload, test, and troubleshoot before Friday’s class.

I also have to make another trip to the post office, and then I’ll swing by the public library to return books/pick up books. I think it’s nice enough to walk today, so that’s what I’ll do. Walking more is both a good way to learn the area, and a way to regain fitness and strength. It’s safe to walk around here, too. People aren’t idiots, and don’t roam in unvaccinated packs, like they did on Cape. Even when we’re unmasked and vaccinated, we give each other room, passing on the sidewalk, etc. None of this invading personal space and literally blowing on the backs of people’s necks that the assholes did during the pandemic on Cape, thinking it was “funny.”

Got to do a grocery run, too. I’m out of oat milk. I put cow’s milk in my coffee this morning, and that was a mistake. We need a few things like eggs and butter, too.

Time to get back to work. Slowly, I’m finding my work rhythms again. I still get tired quickly, and have to take more breaks, but taking breaks isn’t a bad thing. When I take proper breaks, I’m more focused and productive when I actually work.

And I’m soooo much more productive working fully remotely than going into someone else’s office.

Back to the page, hoping for a good day, on multiple levels.

Fri. July 30, 2021: Sliding into the Weekend (Through the Rain)

image courtesy of Olmheidi via pixabay.com

Friday, July 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Raining. Again.

Everything yesterday took much longer than it should have. Some days are like that.

Meditation group was great, and it was a good way to start the day.

Wrote and submitted a book review; got my next assignment. Caught up on email, got out an LOI, wrote up a long script coverage.

Participated in Freelance Chat, where the topic was burnout, and it’s comforting to know we’re not alone in it. And again, the pandemic stress is layered on top of the burnout, which makes everything ten time harder. Or a hundred times harder.

My Broadway colleague is making progress in his fight against COVID. That’s at least, good news.

Wrote up another script coverage in the afternoon, and started a third. I’d hoped to write up four, but that wasn’t happening.

Participated in one of Creative Capital’s discussions, “Artist Roles in Reimagining the Social.” It was a terrific discussion, Kenneth Bailey, the head of Design Studio for Social Intervention, is interested in keeping the conversation going, and I have a few ideas, which I will write up and send off later today.

Leftovers for dinner, nothing interesting. Read two more scripts, which have to be written up today, in addition to the other one and a half scripts that need to be written up.

Big storm last night, with thunder and wild lightning. I’m getting a little tired of all the rain, and worried that the rivers will overflow.

Playing with some story ideas, seeing where they lead. One is well in my wheelhouse, but a different slant; another is a bit further out, but playing with characters and ideas similar to what I’ve done before; the third is pretty far out of what I usually do, which is part of why it’s interesting. It’s fun to noodle without pressure, and it’s leading me back to the work that’s on deadline.

We had to deal with a centipede in the bathtub this morning, which was NOT fun.

Getting back into daily yoga practice is good. Even only two weeks in, I can feel the difference. I may add in another yoga session just before bedtime.

Today is about finishing up the script coverage, so I don’t have to do any this weekend. I need to unpack over the weekend, and do some work on my class that’s next Friday. I also have to do a quick trip to Wild Oats to pick up a few things and put in my membership.

The new vacuum is supposed to arrive today. I’m excited to try it out.

I plan to do some writing over the weekend, but most of it will be devoted to unpacking, and to celebrating Lammas.

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side!

Tues. July 27, 2021: Attacking the New Week

image courtesy of Andreas Lischka via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and humid

It was, all considered, a pretty good weekend. I was finished with the work that HAD to be done by noon on Friday, and gave myself time to rest and read. Claire Cook’s newest book arrived, and I settled in with that.

I wandered down the street in the afternoon to visit Cinnamon Girl Apothecary, and introduced myself to the owner. We had a nice chat (both masked because hey, indoors, and we’re not idiots, even though we’re both vaxxed), and I bought a new tarot deck and a blue onyx crystal as my Lammas gift to myself for next week. Not playing with the deck until August 1 is a challenge.

Up early Saturday. Spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the laundry room and organizing it so it’s a workable space. It’s nice and neat and almost where we need it to be; at least it’s useful now, and not just a place to dump stuff we don’t know where to put. Got some more kitchen boxes unpacked. Rearranged some stuff.

Juliet Blackwell’s newest book arrived Saturday, along with our sheets, and my 2022 calendars. As soon as I was finished with the laundry room, I started reading SYNCHRONIZED SORCERY.

Sunday, it rained again, so it was mostly a rest day. We dashed out to Stop & Shop for a few things, which turned into more things. But it was reading and resting, and then I cooked chicken with leeks and mushrooms, and made leek stock with the leftover leaves, et al, from the leeks.

I shouldn’t have tossed ALL my empty glass jars; I need some of them now.

For a decade on Cape Cod, I was so conscientious about recycling. We recycled 80%. And you know what? We were punished for it. Constant rate hikes. Towns should not charge residents for recycling. It should be unlimited and free. Barnstable’s whine that “they have to pay for it” – so the fuck what? We pay taxes.

I’ve been tempted to not make my own stock, etc., here, but the truth is that I LIKE my own stock, and use it. So I made leek stock, which I will use up in the next few weeks.

I also made chocolate mousse, which was pretty darned good.

It’s rather alarming to sit here across the state and watch the Cape’s COVID numbers rise again. Cape Cod’s cases are rising at 7X the rate as the rest of the state, per the BOSTON GLOBE. Well, what the hell did they think would happen? The past eighteen months made it very clear that businesses don’t give a damn if their employees or their customers die, as long as they can squeeze a few more cents out of them.

Glad we’re out of there.

I saw photos posted from a local festival for small businesses. Yes, it was outside, so less need for masking. But it was crowded, and no one was social distancing. In fact, people posed in clumps for pictures. How many will get sick from the unvaxxed idiots wandering around there?

Another article in the GLOBE made me glad I skipped Community Day at MassMOCA last weekend. While in previous years there were 3000 people going through on such a day, this time there were only a bit over 1600. Even in a space that size, unless there’s proof of vaccination required and everyone masked (which MassMOCA is not doing), I wouldn’t be comfortable around that many strangers. While they are saying masks are “welcome”, I don’t feel the museum is taking enough precautions to protect their staff or their visitors. So I guess it’ll be awhile until I visit, or I’ll pick the lowest traffic day I can imagine to wander through – masked.

I was also disappointed that, during the pandemic, they laid off most of their staff. It makes me think less of them. The pandemic was a time for employers to prove that their employees mattered, not cut them loose at the first sign of trouble.

So I need to re-think how I want to interact with MassMOCA. I had figured they would be the anchor of my creative life around here, but what I’m seeing and hearing makes me not trust them.

So many people are posting photos of being out and about in crowded places with no masks and no social distancing, and I’m thinking, “You’re nuts. You really think the variant won’t happen to YOU?”

Heard that a Broadway colleague is in the hospital with COVID, about to be intubated. Fuck all the anti-vaxxers. They should not be allowed in any public space. If they choose not to get vaccinated because they don’t “believe” in it, fine. Then stay home. They do not have the right to put other people at risk. And when they do cause illness in others, they must be held accountable for it.

They’re not “victims” of disinformation. They’ve made the CHOICE of disinformation.

As I’m unpacking and setting up the space here, I want it to be comfortable, inviting, and efficient. Whether it’s due to COVID numbers or bad weather, I’ll be spending a lot of time at home over the coming months, and I want it to be a happy space. Part of me is angry that a minority of ignorant dumbasses have far too much to say about how I live my life through their selfishness; the rest of me just shrugs, because I am fully capable of staying home, and therefore will do a lot of it. I work remotely. I LIKE working remotely. Yes, I’d like to get to know my new community, but if it takes longer than originally planned, that’s the way it is.

A recruiter contacted me over the weekend (red flag 1) about a job that has very little to do with what I actually do (and I doubt they could afford me). I politely declined.

Tessa has started walking the halls and howling at night. I think she wants to re-instate her 2 AM snack. She had her own place for her snack in the other house; if we set it out here before our bedtime, Willa and Charlotte would gobble it up. So we have to re-think how to make Tessa happy so she doesn’t keep us up most of the night, while not providing the resources for Charlotte and Willa to overeat. Last night, I set her up in what we call “Tessa’s room” (the third bedroom), with the door to the porch, which she loves, open. There’s a litter box, and I put her snack and water down. Closed the door to the rest of the apartment. She could relax without Charlotte bothering her. No howling. We’ll see how long that lasts.

I dropped off/picked up books at the library yesterday and dashed into Big Y grocery for a few things. While on Sunday, at Stop & Shop, only about a third of the customers wore masks in the store, by yesterday, at Big Y, 75% wore masks. More people, here, at least, are taking the Delta variant seriously.

The haze from the wildfires out west hung over the mountains, obscuring them for most of the day. It started clearing up a bit at night, enough so we could see some stars.

Mother demanded hot dogs for lunch. We hardly eat beef anymore, because we always feel awful, but I was dumb enough to give in and let her make us hot dogs for lunch. We were both sick as could be for the rest of the day. No more beef franks. At least we both feel better this morning, but yesterday afternoon was lost, as far as productivity. I managed to read the scripts I had to cover, and read some of Barbara Delinsky’s new novel, but that was it.

I’m writing in longhand every morning, playing with ideas, and then having some more word playtime on the computer before I get into the day’s work. I need to shake up my process and reconstruct it in a way that works here.

I’d like to take the rest of the summer off, but no such luck.

Working on my presentation for next week’s class. Working on the articles for Llewellyn. Sending out LOIs. Working on the Topic Workbooks and the brochure. Working on the script coverage.

Packing up stuff it turns out we don’t need here and can take back to storage, and making a list of what’s in storage and should be up here. We’re going to do a few storage runs over the next couple of months, before the weather gets bad.

Headed out to do laundry this morning at the laundromat. Hopefully, it won’t be crowded AND the machines will work without eating my money.

Have a good one.

Fri. July 23, 2021: Sunshine!

image courtesy of Republica via pixabay.com

Friday, July 23, 2021

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Sunshine! And not too hot and humid. What a nice change. It was, however, cool enough to need a blanket in the night.

I got some work done yesterday morning, and script coverage out. Because the sun was out, we got into the car and drove to Williamstown (which is lovely, even during Festival), and then up to Bennington, VT. Bennington is a lovely town, with lots of great stuff in it (not to mention the college). We also stopped at a thrift store, and bought a lovely little teapot (because all my teapots are in storage, and we have an entire moving box with loose teas), two matching floral cups and saucers, and I found a blue and white Spode cup and saucer that I had to rescue, too.

Because you know how I am about orphaned china.

We drove back on 7 South, towards Pittsfield. It’s pretty, but it’s not a faster drive than Rt. 8. We did, however, find the Target in Lanesborough. I thought they were still building it. Turns out it is the only store in the Berkshire Mall. It’s like they built a mall, and nobody came. Supposedly, there are 22 stores in it, but it looked closed and empty, except for Target.

While I’d much rather buy from independent local stores, I still prefer Target to Walmart. We stocked up on some cleaning supplies, etc., then headed back on Rt. 8, swung by the liquor store, and got home just before another rainstorm hit.

My Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous, crystals and a lovely necklace, etc. My contributor copies for the 2022 WITCHES’ COMPANION also arrived. I’m excited to read it. Of course, I checked my article first, and it looks good. I also realized I never read all of this year’s COMPANION (which also has one of my pieces in it), so I’m reading through that, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Fish and chips for dinner, and then wrote up another script coverage. I have one more to write up this morning, and then I’m done for the weekend. I’m going to work on short articles for Llewellyn this morning, and then read the book for review this afternoon.

It might be nice enough to sit on the back balcony to read later, which would be nice. And I want to get some writing done on a fiction project.

The daily yoga is helping, although I’m still far too exhausted and in too much pain for this far past the move. We’re almost finished unpacking the kitchen, and I did a little work in the sewing room. There’s a dearth of electrical outlets (one per room), so it will be interesting to figure out how to run extension cords in a way that doesn’t cause people/cats to trip.

This weekend, I hope to get more unpacking done in my room and in my office. I can function in my office, but I want it to be a lovely, creative space. It has wonderful natural light. And the router is strong enough so I can work from anywhere in the house, so I can change up work spaces as I want.

Have a great weekend, my friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Thurs. July 22, 2021: We Found the Lake

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hazy, humid (but a little cooler)

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I hoped. That seems to be a theme lately.

Managed to get work done on the short articles for Llewellyn. Got out some LOIs. Started one of the script coverages (which is due today, so I’ll finish it this morning). Read two more scripts. Noodled a bit for the class. I should be ready to start putting together some slides for the presentation today.

Remote Chat was fun.

After Chat, we got into the car and drove up to Windsor Lake, which really is a 3-minute drive away, albeit all uphill. The lake is above us. It’s very pretty. They’ve got concerts there on Wednesday evenings (when it doesn’t rain). If it ever stops raining, it will be nice to pack a picnic and some books and stay for a few hours.

Cooking and reading and writing and trying to figure out each day. I still feel like crap most of the time. Started taking the iron supplement again, hoping that will help. I should be feeling better by now. But I’m not. I’m still exhausted, on every level.

There’s still a good bit of unpacking to do, too. Will have to focus on that this weekend. I think once we’re unpacked, it will feel better, too. Less chaotic. I have to think in terms of different types of storage, too. But I need to be unpacked and have things arranged as I can, so I can see what I need.

We looked at some rugs online. But what we liked in our budget is sold out, and we’re not going to buy rugs we don’t like, so we’re on hold for a bit on that. We need a rug for the guest bedroom we’re calling “Tessa’s room” because she spends a lot of time in there, and I’d like a rug for my bedroom.

Patience. I have to have patience with all of this.

Got some writing done this morning. Will join the online meditation. A recruiter wants to talk to me about a job with a company for whom I won’t work, so that’s a no. Script coverage to write up. I need to work on the class presentation, the short articles, and the book for review.

One step at a time. That’s all I can do.

Published in: on July 22, 2021 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 22, 2021: We Found the Lake  
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Tues. July 20, 2021: Enjoying the Differences

image courtesy of kareni via pisabay.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

I’m starting to wonder if I will ever stop feeling like crap. I’m still achy and fatigued all the time.

It was a good, fairly restful weekend. I got my script coverage done by late Friday afternoon, and didn’t have to worry about it all weekend.

There was a good bit of rain, but I managed to get some errands done Saturday morning, in between storms. I met the husky puppy two doors down, and a lovely, sleek black cat in the parking lot where the car now lives when not in use (who had a lot to tell me). People are better about masking and social distancing here than they were on Cape. No surprise that COVID cases are on the uptake with a cluster around Provincetown, etc.

Read a lot this weekend, including re-reading some Terry Pratchett, and reading a book by a popular author using a trope of which I’m sick. I’m sick of the trope of leaving the city to go back to the hometown and reconnecting with one’s first love. Yes, it’s fantasy. It can also be toxic. It also shows a lack of growth from teen years.

Was assigned another book to review, which I will start this morning, while I’m at the laundromat.

Got some unpacking done (not enough, but rooms are slowly taking shape). Put up a pretty lace curtain at the front door, instead of the broken blinds. Put up most of the wind chimes. Have a nice little reading corner set up in my office.

I hate being separated from so many of my books and dishes. It’s painful. Also, because I have bookcases of varying shapes, heights, and sizes, I can’t store my books by subject, but I have to put them where they fit. At least for the moment.

Trying to find a good routine, one that also works for the cats, because they love their routines.

Sunday night, I was approached by the Cape Cod Writers Center. One of their instructors for their online conference dropped out due to a family emergency, so I was asked to take over the class. I’m happy to do so. It’s on Character, and I have some ideas that hopefully will help the participants. I’m trying to keep it along the lines of the original class blurb, and what they signed up for, although I’ll probably push them a little harder. And they will have handouts, because I am the Queen of Handouts.

I got to work on Monday, playing with ideas for the class. I did a short piece for the Llewellyn Almanac, got some script coverage done. Started rereading Gail Godwin’s QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD. There was a point where I loved her writing, until she got so obsessed with religion, and I want to see how I still feel about it, years later. I read two volumes of her journal, which were interesting to a point, but she’s so obsessed with boys (not men, boys) and always puts them ahead of her writing, which gets tedious. I see a glimmer of that in the beginning of this book, the protagonist doing so, and I hope that’s not the case.

I submitted a short story to a call, and several calls for plays landed in my inbox – I might even have relevant plays to submit. I will get to that today and tomorrow. I want to get back to have 13 in Play all the time – always have at least 13 pieces out there, earning their way in the world.

I got through a few hundred emails. Still catching up from the move.

Slowly, slowly easing back into creative life. I want to meet the other artists around here – I have a feeling MassMOCA will be my go-to for that, at least initially. At the same time, with virus numbers going up, I’m not comfortable being around strangers indoors, even though I’m vaccinated, and continue to mask. Most of the writers’ events are still virtual. WordXWord has an event at The Mount, outdoors, the next few nights, but I don’t’ know if I feel up to going. I go to the grocery store, the liquor store, the library (always masked), and that’s about it. I might go to some outdoor events, if the weather ever improves. We’re close to the college, and they require all students, teachers, staff, and vendors to be fully vaccinated, so that makes the neighborhood safer for all of us.

Yesterday afternoon, I could hear a composer, in one of the houses in the neighborhood, working on the latest piece. It was wonderful to hear that creation going on, as I was doing my own work. Creativity fuels creativity.

More writing, script coverage, LOIs today on the agenda. More work on the class, so I can start putting together the PowerPoint for it. More unpacking. Reading. After I get back from the laundromat, I might try to find the Big Y grocery store (supposedly less than a mile away). If the weather is decent, maybe tomorrow, we’ll jaunt over to Williamstown and Bennington. If the weather holds this afternoon, maybe we can go to Windsor Lake, which is supposedly a 3-minute drive.

The cats are getting used to the space and having fun running up and down. It’s a long, narrow space, front to back. Tessa loves running up and down the stairs to the front door, fast as can be, while the other two watch. Charlotte and Tessa still fuss at each other, mostly late at night, but not as badly as before. Hopefully, they are adjusting.

They all love to watch the birds. We have lots of trees around here, sturdy trees, and people aren’t constantly trying to cut them down. We also have two bird houses and a nest up in the rafters of our back balcony. The cats are fascinated. No matter which window they sit in, throughout the house, or the kitchen overlooking the back balcony, or the front porch, overlooking the street, there are birds to watch.

We used to have lots of birds around the house on Cape, until all the neighbors destroyed habitat. I’m sure the owner’s going to cut a bunch of trees down, now that we’re gone.

No longer my problem, although I hurt for the wildlife there, especially Che Guevara Chipmunk and the coyotes.

Meanwhile, I have a new area to learn. Living in the mountains is very different than living by the sea.

Tues. July 13, 2021: Patient Rebuilding

image courtesy of Peter Fischer via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

It certainly rains a lot here. At least it keeps the temperature down. And everything is very green.

The weekend was good. The rain let up a bit on Saturday morning, so we headed to Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire. Bought a few plants and herbs, and some fruits and vegetables. Boy, are their strawberries amazing! Pretty much everything was delicious.

Rested a bit in the afternoon, and worked on the unpacking. It goes slowly. It’s like a puzzle. Do a bit here, then have to adjust something there. It will take a few weeks to figure out how it all fits, and then feng shui it properly. This place is difficult to feng shui. But we will figure it out.

I finished some script coverage on Friday, so I didn’t take on any more over the weekend. At least for the summer, I will try to keep my weekends work free. We will see what the finances demand in the autumn. I do intend to put my head down and work steadily, taking on as much as possible for as much money as possible, although I have to wait until my head clears a bit before so doing. The exhaustion won’t let up.

Six months of stress won’t melt away in six days.

Sunday was about unpacking. Most of the kitchen is now unpacked. I was rather horrified by how dirty the pieces that were inside a glass-fronted cabinet had gotten. Granted, last year, when I was sick, I didn’t do the all-out spring and fall cleanings we usually do, but still, things shouldn’t be that filthy after a year. Inside a closed cabinet. It’s an indication of how the pollution has increased on Cape since we’ve moved there – with the constant chainsaws and mowers and leaf blowers and other tools, there’s no clean air any more. One used to smell the salt air of the sea; no more.

We are only a few blocks from downtown in the new neighborhood, but we are surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s the occasional mower or leaf blower for 10 or 15 minutes once a week or so, during business hours. It’s not the constant cacophony of destruction it was on Cape.

Read a book on the Kindle for the first time since I moved here. Bought something on a whim, that sounded fun. It was. Fun and didn’t strain my brain too much. Not brilliant, not terrible, just decent brain candy. Sometimes, we need brain candy.

Grabbed a couple of scripts to cover on Monday. Slid back into sending out LOIs, trying to catch up on emails. Paid some bills. The check arrived from TD Ameritrade on Friday afternoon – by UPS, not Fed Ex, so no wonder I couldn’t track it. Because, you know, it would be too much to expect them to know the difference between two different companies.

Also got a lovely housewarming gift from friends who live in Kentucky, from a company called Grandma’s Chicken Soup: chicken soup, mac and cheese, challah bread, chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food from the farm was so delicious. What a taste bouquet!

Mixed feelings about the Branson “space” flight over the weekend. On the one hand, I’m of the generation who adored the Apollo missions; however, there’s plenty the billionaires should be doing to help THIS planet before feeding their space egos. Like paying taxes, for one. Yes, I want more space exploration. No, I don’t want it by billionaires.

I have to get to work on the Llewellyn pieces – I have 25 short pieces due in October, so I’m going to do 3-4/week over the summer.

Monday, I also re-started my yoga practice, after weeks away from it. I may have gained some strength, but I’ve lost flexibility. So I will work, daily, to get it back. It’s a shame that years of building strength and flexibility were all lost over a couple of months, but time to build back up.

My meditation practice suffered, although I did at least a few minutes every day. I want to figure out where I can set up a meditation space and get back into longer daily meditations. Maybe I can rejoin the online group in Concord on Thursday mornings.

Got some work done in the morning. I feel as though I’ve lost all my creative skills. The tank is empty, and everything is a struggle. I feel horribly uncreative and untalented. The reality is exhaustion and warped perception, and I have to be kind to myself as I ease back in. I’d hoped to jump in, but don’t have the resources.

At ten, we headed to the library to get our new library cards. I’m a little disappointed that we’re on a sort of probation for three months, and can only take out two books at a time, before we are considered full library patrons. From someone who regularly checked out 50 books at a time, it’s a difficult adjustment. But I got out a book on local history, and the reference librarian is eager to help me find more, so I will go back and do some research in the lovely room.

Swung by the post office to drop off letters and bills.

My Ipsy bag arrived (it’s lovely, as always), along with Goddess Provisions, and the Chewy order.

Got started on the pieces for Llewellyn. Amazing how writing even one short piece helped.

Tessa got me up early this morning, because the cats were hungry. I can ignore Willa and Charlotte when they are a pain, but then they bring in Tessa, the Big Gun. Tessa is She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

I started re-reading Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION, about journal writing. I’m using my personal, handwritten journal, first thing in the morning (after I feed the cats) to try to reconnect with my own creativity, so I can get back to my daily 1K first thing in the morning again.

My bad shoulder hurts today (the one that was dislocated and has rotator cuff problems). This morning, I have to take the laundry down the street to the laundromat. That should be an adventure. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have laundry in the building before. I’m taking work with me. More script coverage, more LOIs, more short pieces for the almanac. Slowly, slowly, building back my creative life.

Slowly, slowly, figure things out. Make sure it works for life as it is now, not doing things because it’s the way I did them before. I don’t want to get stuck, the way I did before.

Onward.