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

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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.

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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.

Wed. July 7, 2021: Home

image courtesy of Sophie Ilvarinen via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

I am home.

Aren’t those beautiful words?

I spent the holiday weekend on Cape, finishing the clearing out. Most of what was left over ended up in the dumpster, although I salvaged a enough for 7 carloads that went into storage over the various days.

My lovely neighbors down the street helped me pack the dumpster on Saturday and Sunday. They’re very efficient, dumpster geniuses, and we got it all in. Monday, once I finished the storage runs, was about cleaning.

The cleaning took a lot. The basement, where boxes had gotten damp and stained the walls, needed the most work, but I used a bleach mixture and it’s better. It still needs repainting, but hey, it’s been ten years.

As I cleaned, an alarmed face showed up in the streaks. I should have taken a photo of it. It wasn’t exactly Taco Jesus, but it was interesting. (“Taco Jesus” was the name of a play I stage managed way back in the 80’s at the One Act Theatre Company of San Francisco, with Michael McShane in the lead).

There’s still a lot of processing to do, and I will do that, and decide what I’m comfortable publicly sharing. Lots of emotion involved in all of that. But it was easier to do without my mom underfoot and every toss out becoming an argument.

I was also frustrated cleaning, because I’d clean something, and 5 minutes later it looked worse. I had to clean all the baseboards again in the house. I’d cleaned them the day the movers cleared out the furniture. Here it was, less than two weeks later, in an empty house, and they were filthy again. I don’t get it.

I scrubbed and cleaned all day. Of course, the landlord called me at 5 to see how I was doing. I was ready to go just after 6. The key exchange was nice enough, although, even though he’s keeping the security deposit, he wanted to charge extra for these five days of clearing out. No, honey, that’s what the security deposit is for. Plus, I could have just walked away and left him to deal with it; according to MA state law, he couldn’t just toss everything. He would have had to photograph and inventory everything and store it for 60 days until I claimed it. But I did not do that. I came and dealt with it myself. He gave me the water bill – although he’s paying a portion of it, for the water used for the lawn. Again, that could come out of the security deposit. He’s making noise about charging me above the security deposit, if he finds things cost more.

No. The place needs painting. It hasn’t been painted in 10 years. Most of the paint has held up very well. There’s a little wear and tear, and some damage where I removed the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs we fastened on the walls when we moved in – damage because the hardware store guy sold me an adhesive he promised wouldn’t damage the walls, but, like everything else he told me, that was wrong.  Aside from the staining and some dry wall shrinkage in the basement, and the ding in the wall at the bottom of the stairs caused by the movers, the place is not in bad shape. It needs paint, and it needs a professional scrub. The central vac didn’t have any suction – mostly because the landlord never ordered the special bags it needs (it’s original to the house) and never told me where I could get them. Our vacuum went on the moving truck, so I was using a broom and dustpan, and also using my little hand vac. I Rug Doctored the heck out of the carpets.

What it really needs are bathroom renovations and new windows, but we know that’s not happening coming from them, and I’m not paying for that.

There were plenty of things in the ten years we lived there that the landlord “never got around to.” I’m not paying for those.

Let him jump on the Short Term Rental Greed Train. He’ll find out it’s not as easy as having a year round tenant. When holiday renters are paying top dollar for a property, they don’t want  something that’s original to the house just because it’s Cape Cod – especially since this house is 5 miles from the beach. They want better stuff than they have at home. He can blame me all he wants for not being able to rent out the place by July 4th weekend. But even if we’d gotten out at the end of April, the place wouldn’t be ready.

I was happy to drive out of there without looking back. It was about 6:30 by the time I finally got out of there.

I was practically numb with exhaustion trying to get over the Sagamore Bridge. I’d only had an egg for breakfast and some watermelon for lunch. It took 40 minutes to get over the bridge, and, according to the radio, it kept backing up.

There was another backup around Middleboro, but then it wasn’t too bad.

I managed to get to Sturbridge by 9-ish, to my favorite inn, The Publick House. I stumbled in, begging for a room in the lodge, the section that has all the goofy toile wallpaper and the little balconies.

The lodge was sold out to a special group.

I was ready to cry. I was too tired to go any farther.

But, I’m a regular guest there, sort of. I’m in their system. So they offered me a room in Tillyear House, at a big discount, which only made it about $20 more than staying in the lodge.

I said yes.

It was a lovely room. Enormous, with two queen beds with soft mattress toppers, a huge bathroom with a tiled shower, a reading/writing area, and giant TV.

First thing I did was take a shower, slather on their wonderful bath products, and feel like a human being again.

Of course, I had no real food. I had leftover chips and cookies, and the remnants of the wine I’d bought to wind down in the evenings when I camped in the empty house. So I had chips and wine, and watched Food Network and HGTV for an hour or so, until I was tired enough to fall asleep.

I slept. I woke up around 5, the latest I’ve slept in months. I lounged in bed until about 6:30, then got dressed. I’m so sick of cargo pants I can’t stand them anymore (they made the most sense during the move). Fortunately, I’d thrown some other clothes into my bag, so I put those on. I’d thrown one of my Ipsy bags in my purse, so I even had a little makeup, so I didn’t look like death warmed over.

Hopped next door to the bakery to get my complimentary breakfast of coffee, blueberry muffins, coffeecake squares. Took it back to my room, ate, wrote in my journal. Enjoyed having finished the house.

I was tired enough to want to go back to bed, but I got my act together and was back on the road by 9. The woman at the desk and I had a lovely talk, and she encouraged me to come back for my birthday weekend in March. If the weather’s not bad, I just might book myself in there for a weekend of reading, writing, and spa time, in Tillyear house. Much as I love the funky little lodge, it was nice to indulge in one of the fancier rooms.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, although once I left the Pike at Lee, the last hour to home took a little longer because there was more traffic than at 7 AM when I usually breezed through. But I got home around 11:30. Mom and cats happy to see me.

It took awhile to unload the car, because it was full of weird bits and pieces from the clearing out. I took breaks in between, due to the humidity. But I got it all done. Then I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.

Got up, made dinner, and went to bed early.

The cats woke me a little before 5 this morning, demanding breakfast. Tessa marched out of her bastion near the front porch, all the way down the long hall to the kitchen, demanding to speak to the manager, because breakfast was late, and That Will Not Do.

A client contacted me yesterday about a possible steady writing gig. I was too incoherent to respond, but I will do so today, and we’ll see if that works out. I will start up again with the script coverage work today, and also let my book review editor know I’m ready for the next book.

There’s a lot of unpacking to do; we will do so slowly, and figure out where we want things. Shift and re-shift things around a bit. We need to do a good grocery shop.

Hopefully, I can re-read some of my own writing later in the day; I want to get back to my first 1K of the day early on in the next few days.

I need to ease in, instead of jump in, due to exhaustion. I have to prioritize the paying work, because I’ve lost three weeks’ of work due to the move and clearing out. Bills are already starting to come in, and I want to make sure everything is paid on time.

I have to process the emotions of the move, and of the friction between the life I thought I wanted on Cape Cod and the reality of life on Cape Cod. That will take time. I have to create new, sustainable routines for life here, and explore my new area.

While I need to work steadily to earn a living, I also want a balance. I need rest, and I want to enjoy my life. I am going to be much more cautious about getting involved with any local groups or organizations here – it will take me some time to recover from the burnout from the organizations on Cape Cod. I don’t care about being a good sport or fitting in anymore – I’m going to figure out how to craft the life I want, and people can either accept those boundaries or fuck right off.

I’m beyond tired, but I’m also relieved that the move is done, and I’m looking forward to building a positive next act here in the Berkshires.

Thank you so much to all of you who cheerleaded (cheerled?) and contributed to the GoFundMe, and, in general, supported me through a difficult time. I am filled with gratitude.

Fri. Aug. 31, 2018: A Flying Poodle & Beer Nuts

Friday, August 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Finally, a break in the heat and humidity.

August wrap up is up on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. September’s To-Do List won’t go up until Wednesday.

Yesterday, after I was done at the library, I went to the liquor store (of course I did). Or, as we call it here, “the Package store.” Two Ladies of Certain Age were in there. Old-school, with wigs, dark make-up, oversized sunglasses, blinding cocktail rings. One of them had a male, black, toy poodle on a leash. They’re either having a party or they plan to be drunk for the next five days, because in addition to one woman with a full shopping cart of bottles and the other woman’s arms full of vodka bottles, a staff member had two cases of wine on a hand truck. Good customers, nice sale.

I’m about to step up to the next counter with my own bottle of vodka when the poodle yanks his leash out of his human’s grip and leaps into the air at me. I tossed my vodka bottle to the clerk, who caught it like an infielder, and the poodle landed in my arms, whereupon he wriggled with joy and licked my face.

The woman was embarrassed, but I told her no problem, I love dogs, and it was an honor that he wanted to make friends. I put him down and she pulled him back to her counter so she could finish paying.

Only there are rows of snacks under the counter.

So the poodle grabbed a bag of beer nuts. Which he shouldn’t have. The two women and several employees were alternately trying to scold and coax him to drop the beer nuts. But he’s got it by the corner of the packet, backing away and growling at anyone who comes near.

I got on my knees (technically Hero Pose in yoga, with my feet tucked under) and the poodle bounced over to me. I held out my hand and asked, “Will you share?” He dropped the bag onto my lap and did that two-step bounce back dogs so often do when they bring you something. I told him he was a good boy and he danced around, wagging his tail, happy as could be.

It was hilarious.

I didn’t keep the nuts.
When I came home smelling of boy poodle, both Tessa and Lucy were displeased, so I had to scrub the poodle scent off.

I’m reading the anthology WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE, and enjoying. Donna Andrews has a great story in it called “The Haire of the Beast.” I laughed out loud when I read it.

Managed to unpack four basement boxes yesterday. Sorted some stuff, found some really cool stuff, am airing out and cleaning some things, and there’s stuff to throw out. Slowly, but surely, if I keep at it, I’ll get the whole thing tackled and done. I should have been doing it since we moved in, but should have doesn’t solve anything. I’m now DOING.

Percolating some story ideas as I work. We’ll see what happens. Fitting them into the schedule is the big thing right now.

Ari Meghlen needs the blog post earlier than expected, because of a schedule change, so I will write it this weekend and get it out early next week.

Finishing this draft of RELICS is on the agenda, making good progress on DHARAMA and calendar articles. More box-purging, and sorting and integrating what I’ve unpacked that I’m keeping so far. Writing ahead on the month’s posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice. Doing yard work, if it’s not too hot. Meditating.

It’s interesting how GRAVE REACH, the fourth and next Coventina Circle book, is taking more and more shape the closer I get to the end of RELICS. I’ll revisit the outline for it shortly.

Hopefully, I’ll also have some time for relaxing!

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Friday, November 4, 2011


Herring Cove Beach

Friday, November 4, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was up at 5:30 in the morning yesterday, wrote 3500 words, and out the door by seven thirty for yoga. Yoga was good. We did a lot of work on immunity-building stuff for the winter, which means, of course, I’m getting rid of toxins today as they work their way out of the body and I’m not feeling so great! I was able to do fish pose properly for the first time, but there were a few poses I had trouble with, due to the rotator cuff problem in my shoulder. Part of it is that it’s gotten injured and re-injured so often that I’m overprotective of it in the wrong way, and I have to get over that in order to strengthen it.

It was such a nice day when I came home that I decided to just chuck everything else for the day and go to Provincetown. We walked on Herring Cove beach for a bit, gathered some stones (I found a really wonderful one). I drove to the inn where I want to set a section of POWER OF WORDS and took photos. My memory card filled, and, when I went to put in the new one, it didn’t work. I was not pleased.

Drove back along 6A, enjoying the nice fall weather. Found my receipt and took the memory card back to Staples. Turns out my camera is “too old” to handle anything over a 2 GB memory card, and they’re no longer manufacturing those. Now, why should I be forced to buy new equipment because some dumb corporate fucks decide to “stop making something”? They should not be allowed to force additional large purchases like that. And why isn’t that information ON the product itself?

Anyway, I found another memory card by a different manufacturer that fits and swapped them out. I’m wondering if I should order 3 or 4 more memory cards (they last me about a year and a half each) while it’s still possible to get them. I love this camera, and I plan to keep using it as long as possible.

Wrote a fun scene for class that I want to use at some point in the trilogy, but am not yet sure where it fits.

Early night — I was tired.

But check out my post on The Writer’s Vineyard about the importance of Daily Practice.

I need to finish the yard, but it looks like it’s going to rain, so that may not happen today. Need to spend time with students, polish lectures for next week, run media kits for the book, write some follow-up notes, and catch up on admin. All I want to do is work on the book and a couple of short stories, so I have to figure out how to best configure my time without letting any of the balls drop.

I also need to prepare a big marketing push for later this month, and I’m wondering whether or not I should rent a PO box for business correspondence.

I talk to Tessa, the kitten, so much every day, and she’s responding so well that she could probably ace the SATs at this point. She comprehends a larger vocabulary than many college-age students!

Need to unpack some more boxes from the garage and set up some more shelving in my room. And tonight, I’m attending a meditation workshop. Busy, busy! But good.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1,010
Total word count: 54,018

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Busy day, which seems to be the norm now, but in a good way! Spent a lot of time with my students in both classes. I’ve given the Advanced Dialogue students a couple of optional exercises and am getting ready to wrap up that class. Also getting ready to start the Scaling the Wall: Unsticking Your Book workshop on Monday, and we start writing our books in the year-long class tomorrow. I’m doing a proofread of the information packets for my in-person class that starts next week, and for the conference, and then I’ll print them over the weekend.

I feel good about the book I’m set to start tomorrow. I think I hit the right balance of planning and left enough room so it’s not over-structured, and I can flow with the story. I have a good handle on the characters and a solid plot, so, off we go!

I was offered a contract on one of my books yesterday. I need more information before I can make an informed decision (and I need to run it by my lawyer), but my gut reaction is to decline. Part of me says I must be crazy, since this is a hard book to place, but I have a bad feeling about this, and my instincts are telling me this is not a good match. I need to think about it some more.

Worked hard to get the storage room to rights yesterday. i have two more closets to sort out (there are four closets in the storage unit, plus five enormous,built-in bookcases. Unpacked and shelved twenty boxes of books, got knick-knacks and linens and sheets and towels sorted. Put together an etegere for the living room, which gives us some more space to display some of our favorite things, and rearranged a few other things. You know how it goes –you change one thing, and it affects twelve others.

I’ve got some bills to pay and some errands to run and other freelance work to kick out today, and then it’s time with my students. Tonight, I’m going to a craft class taught by a colleague from Broadway who’s out here as an artist-in-residence. Should be fun.

Devon

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 7:22 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, July 11, 2011


Heritage Museum and Gardens

Monday, July 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy weekend. Saturday, I got some work done, did three loads of laundry, and unpacked about six boxes of books in the basement, slowly, figuring out where they will actually go.

Violet was sick, and I was very worried about her. I managed to reach a nearby vet and set up an appointment for this morning. Of course, once I made the appointment, she had no symptoms for the rest of the weekend! Which is a good thing, but now we have to go to the vet today! I needed to find a new vet and get their shots updated, so it’s not a bad thing. But the negative vet memories connected to Elsa’s illness are still very raw.

Sunday, I was up early, got the papers and read them, and went to over to Armstrong-Kelley Park in Osterville for a meditation walk through the garden. It was lovely. The group was small, but everyone was very welcoming and friendly. The Park itself is gorgeous, and much bigger than I expected.

When I came home, I unpacked some more stuff from the garage, which wound up being three more loads of laundry, some great finds, some things that will be ironed and go to the consignment shop, and some stuff for the donation box.

Put a coat of black gloss paint on the bureau. Dealt with the laundry. Unpacked and put away three more boxes of books downstairs. Spent time with my students.

This morning, Violet and I are off to the vet (think good thoughts for us), and then I have a lot of work to do both on the Mermaid Ball and the book. Also have to get my post written and scheduled for The Writers Vineyard. Both cats are irritated with me right now because there’s no breakfast until after the appointment.

I’m playing with ideas to offer a short story tie-in to go with ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT — something to please those who have read the book and intrigue those who haven’t yet. I’m not sure if I should set it before or after the events in the book, or deal with some of the ghost stories told in the book. Mulling over the possibilities, while other characters from other pieces squawk at me.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Friday, June 10, 2011


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHTavailable from Champagne Books.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Friday, June 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The delightful Shirley Wells is hosting me over on her blog on how “Dressing is Not for the Faint of Heart.” Since Morag, one of the two main protagonists of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, is a Broadway dresser, yes, it ties in to the release!

Yesterday was busy. Ran around a lot, doing errands, which somehow always takes longer than I expect. Managed to get more cat food in (huge priority), get a small table to match my Adirondack chairs for the deck, some other small plant tables, Juliet’s new book HEXES AND HEMLINES, and some other stuff. Also stopped by Country Gardens to get the petunias for the planter (where the lobelia failed to come up) and some other stuff, including something so I could treat the lawn for ants. The guy said I should do it ASAP, since we’re supposed to have rain that night, and rain is better than the hose for getting the stuff into the ground.

Spent some time in the basement dealing with boxes, doing some unpacking, getting things ready for today’s inspection.

Came home, treated the lawn, watered it in, and, of course, it was the day every dog in the neighborhood came by to play, so I had to chase them off and warn the owners to wash their feet! The water makes the stuff BUBBLE, which is a little disconcerting.

I hated the thought of using this stuff (even though it’s EPA approved), but, according to the garden center, there’s no fully organic way to get rid of ants. Ants are very persistent. I can divert them from the house with the mint and the tansy and the red pepper, but to get them off the lawn, I have to treat it.

Dashed off to Buzzards Bay for a really good meeting on the Mermaid Ball. I really like the people at the National Marine Life Center, and I’m glad I can do some work with them. I’m also doing some “recommended reading” — I don’t have a background in marine biology or oceanography, so I’m playing catch-up. I should probably take a course of two at the local junior college.

Drove back in a bad storm. It was both gorgeous and frightening to cross the metal Sagamore Bridge with lightening streaking down on both sides. Rt. 6 had some very deep water-pits along the way. It drains off quickly, but until it drains — it was up to the running board in some spots.

But I got home safely, ate, didn’t go online, and started Juliet’s book instead. I really enjoy the Lily Ivory series, so I was glad to get my hands on the newest book!

When I pulled into the driveway, the lawn, where I put down the ant treatment was absolutely frothing! It’s not supposed to hurt birds or pets or people after a few hours — I hope that’s true!

Up early this morning. Didn’t have to water because of the rain. The crows haven’t managed to pry the crystals out of the vegetable bed (the crystals are too big and heavy).

I don’t feel like I can start much until the inspection is done, and then the owner is going to come over and help me prep the house for summer, so today’s pretty much a wash. I’ve got a few things to do for the Mermaid Ball, and I’d like to get some writing done, but the primary focus today is on the house. Which is a good thing.

The Belmont Stakes are tomorrow, and my next class, the Write in Company, starts on Monday, so busy, busy. But it’s good busy, and there’s a bunch of stuff coming up that I really want to do with the local wellness community, and Costume Imp is coming in next week, and the garden stakes are in and . . .

You get the idea! 😉

Devon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The close-up of the heather is for you, Lara!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Tried to catch up on things yesterday — three loads of laundry, getting things straightened up, going through mail, getting stuff sorted with the publisher.

My new, pushed-up release date for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is June 6. Gulp! So I’ve got a lot of promo work to do in the coming weeks. It’s coming out digitally first, with the possibility (if it does well) of a print run 3 or 4 months later. I’ve also been chosen for the publisher’s Author Spotlight for June, so I have to get all that info out today.

According to the calendar, yesterday was a planting day, so I got some repotting done (thing are growing fast) and started two kinds of tomatoes, the echinacea, the yarrow, the soapwort, and the Love-in-a-Mist. I’m looking forward to getting some work done outside towards the end of the week, when it’s supposed to stop raining. It stopped for about ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and people were out mowing their lawns! I thought the grass had to be DRY — my manual is very clear about that.

Not enough writing or reading done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today. Got HEART OF STONE finished, and really liked it, so I’m looking forward to the next one, hOUSE OF CARDS. However, I have 2 1/2 books I have to read before I can start that, all within the next few days.

Caught up with my class. There’s been a lot of good work this month, and I’m glad.

I’ve got to prep for the Preakness this weekend, too. I’m doing a little bit of prep, not much.

I unpacked three more kitchen boxes from the garage, and found some wonderful stuff I forgot I had. Lots of washing and drying and oohing and aaahing. Now, to figure out where to put it!

Not sure where to start with the work today, so I’m just going to pick one thing and get going. There’s a lot of hiring going on in the area, not just the Cape, but in Boston — nearly 6000 jobs in health care alone. And all sorts of other jobs, too. I’ve got to get my proposals finished and out the door, and the brochures redone, too. Strike while the iron is hot, right? There’s a lot of work. I may push a little harder for the next few months so that I really can sit back in August with a clear conscience. Several people are mad at me for taking the month off. “Why can’t you just do X for me?” “Because I’m not available.” “But you can make the time.” “No, I can’t.” I’m tired of going for years without a real vacation because other people are disorganized. Part of this Saturn return lesson — taking a reasonable amount of time off to recharge every year!

Of course, August seems VERY far away right now! 😉

Devon