Fri. Jan. 11, 2013: Murder Mystery Play a Go!

Friday, January 11, 2013
New Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was busy, but in a good way. Except Verizon is being a pain in the butt, as usual, but that will be handled, never fear!

Christian, to answer your questions — I’ve accumulated a lot of decorations through the years — frequently at thrift shops and yard sales, vintage stuff, interesting stuff, etc. When I worked on Broadway, I always decorated my actor’s dressing room, and my area, so I had boxes of that stuff that stayed either at the theatre or in storage. I decorated my apartment a lot, too (in fact, my tree was so big I had to move it every time I wanted to sit down on my couch). Add that to all the decorations accumulated while growing up, and the ones I add every year, and now that there’s a house and outdoor space and — I have a Christmas closet.

The space over the garage is a storage area with four closets and the rest bookshelves. I keep the Christmas decorations in one closet, the Halloween decorations in another closet, the rest-of-year decorations in the third closet, and the fourth is kind of a catch all. The bookcases have books (of course) and my yarn and fabric stashes.

I started taking courses via Coursera last fall, because I wanted a chance to catch up on things that interest me, but that I haven’t formally studied, especially in connection to the different types of writing I do. I was certified in Sustainability (which will make me more valuable as a local hire) and in Greek/Roman Mythology (so much of my writing is myth-based that, if I hadn’t earned the certificate, I would have been embarrassed). I successfully completed the World History Since 1300 course, but that wasn’t for certification, and I’m currently auditing Intro to Astronomy and Galaxies & Cosmology. It adds quite a few hours to the work week, but it’s worth it. The classes are taught by top professors at top universities from all over the world.

Yesterday, I struggled with the proposal for my agent. The proposal itself is solid, but the writing sample doesn’t yet sing. It feels a little “falsely cheerful” to me — I haven’t found the key to the protagonist yet. I’ll get there. I kind of have to — by today.

I also have to get another proposal out for an appearance in early June.

I’m all locked in for NERWA’s April conference, “Let Your Imagination Take Flight”. The conference is April 26-27 in Burlington, MA. I’m teaching my “Setting as Character” workshop on the 27th, but I plan to be there both days.

Most of yesterday, for me, was about prepping my idea packets for the National Marine Life Center meeting and then attending the meeting. It was a great, lively meeting with lots of great ideas and interesting discussions. There are some new-to-me people getting involved, with great ideas and enthusiasm.

The mystery play is a go — we brainstormed ideas, and I started writing the opening scene and fleshing out the plot and some of the tech stuff in my head driving home. I’m going to send out another brainstorming email in a few hours, when I’ve written my way into it a bit and figured out a few more things, and I got another performance piece idea (that’s less involved) for later in the year this morning while I made coffee.

I have to work fast, because it goes up mid-March!

Most of the snow melted, and now I can see how badly the plow guy hurt my lawn. Not happy about it. Will contact the landlord and then the town.

One of our seals is well enough to be released on Sunday — how exciting!

Busy day starts a busy weekend, so I better get moving.

I’ll have information on February’s workshop, The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects, up either later today or on Monday.

Have an awesome weekend, everybody!


Thurs. Jan. 10: Time Wasted Due to Coporate BS

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

I actually had a positive experience with Comcast yesterday. I’ve bashed them frequently over the years here, especially with problems in the Philadelphia area, but yesterday, we were able to have positive contact, intelligent discussion, and able to SOLVE the problem in a way that benefit both of us. In other words, actual customer service and negotiation. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. I thought it was worth a public mention, and I thanked the person who was so helpful.

Verizon, on the other hand — well, we won’t even get started there! They really need to be slapped around by the regulators, because they treat their customers like dog poo. I have a neighbor who works for them, and they pretty much treat their employees just as badly, but someone needs to get them in line. Hopefully, I can wrap everything up with them soon and not have to deal with them anymore. You’d think, after being a customer for a dozen years, they’d give a damn. But what do you expect from a company that funds crazy, right-wing political candidates and finds it acceptable for employees to THROW THE PHONE at customers who come in to ask questions?

Still feeling under the weather. Boston has declared a health emergency, due to the flu. I’m one of the small percentage allergic to the flu shot, so I can’t get it — the shot could kill me. The flu itself just makes me feel like crap for a week.

Worked with students, wrote a pitch, got some writing done, but not enough. Never enough, which is discouraging. I had to waste far too much time and energy fighting with Verizon when I should have been doing income-earning work.

Spent some time on school work, too. I’m trying to catch up in the Astronomy class — the sheer volume of lectures each week makes it tough. There are fewer lectures in the Galaxies and Cosmology class, which started this week, so I’m in pretty good shape on that. The math is far beyond me, but the quizzes on theory I’m doing quite well in (even though I don’t have the science background).

Struggling to finish the proposal for my agent. I haven’t hit quite the right tone for the sample. The proposal itself is very strong, but the writing that the proposal is ABOUT has to sing, and there’s a metaphorical frog in its throat right now.

Also, on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE, I’m over 80 pages in and have to stop and write the outline. I’m getting unfocused.

Have to put some material together for a meeting this afternoon at the Marine Life Center. Also have to remember to take my camera to do some promo shots of Townsend and Major Margaret. MM is healthy enough to be released this weekend!

It looks like the only class I’m teaching in February is going to be a three-day seminar called “The Graveyard of Unfinished Projects.” More details to follow. Should be fun.

So much to do, hard to focus. But, somehow, it will all get done.


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Wed. May 2, 2012: Egg on Face Moment

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Worked as much as I could; couldn’t get as much done as I needed because of the ongoing dispute with Verizon, and their refusal to actually provide individualized customer service or comply with Federal Law. So, now it’s up to the authorities.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and have to do the write up today. Thought I had a meeting in Buzzards Bay, cancelled out — found out it’s actually tomorrow (I wrote it down wrong). I still can’t go — I’ll be dealing with my grandmother’s ashes — but it was truly an “egg on face” moment.

Revised five chapters of HEART SNATCHER and wrote just under 2K on HEART BINDER. I feel better about both projects. The students in the year-long are doing very well, and I’m proud of them. It’s an intense revision process, quite different from the way most people teach revisions, because we look at individual trees AND the forest together. It’s less about doing X on page X than putting together a cracking good story that hangs together in each individual situation.

Still feel like crap, but oh, well. Eventually I’ll feel better, right? 🙂

Busy day of writing, proposals, reports, and taking my mom to get her eyes checked. Also preparing for bringing my grandmother’s ashes home later in the week. I’m surprised at the feelings that is bringing up. It’s a good thing, a necessary thing, but it’s still emotional.

Tessa is taking full advantage of being a birthday girl! She’s so funny.


Don’t forget the Amazing Antagonists workshop on May 12! Create complex, fascinating individuals that are a good match for your beloved protagonists!

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 6:52 am  Comments (2)  
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December 31, 2010 — New Year’s Eve

Friday, December 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe this year is over, and it’s been quite a roller coaster of a year!

If you’d like to see my evaluation for 2010, which I thought would be depressing, but actually turned out to be quite enlightening (for me), hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog, which has been sorely neglected in the past few months.

My back kind of limited a lot of activity yesterday. I had to do a bunch of paperwork dealing with various transitional business — really, most of these companies are staffed by morons. There are enough people looking for work that companies should dump the incompetent and hire the intelligent. Oh, wait, that would mean they had to pay people a fair wage for a fair day’s work and the intelligent might actually question the corporation’s culture of screwing the public, and that would never do!

But the auto insurance kerflamma is sorted out. Turns out they sent the bill BEFORE they checked my driving record, and it’s even less than the original quote, thanks to me being a careful driver in the past (and now I have the pressure to continue)!

Paid a bunch of bills, so I can go into the New Year without bills hanging over my head.

Played with the cats, who wanted attention.

Filled the car to bursting with garbage and recycling and took it all to the dump. 80% of our garbage is recycling — we really generate very little stuff for the landfill, which is good.

Went grocery shopping and spent far more than I intended — I thought when you have a list you stay under budget? Even with a list, I bought more than I thought I would — and I stuck to the list! Also stocked up on some wine for next week. For a state with such tight blue laws, they have a lot of awesome wine shops around here!

I was in so much pain in the morning that I considered a trip to the emergency room. But, again, it would be a lot of money and tests and all they can do is give me a stronger painkiller, which doesn’t solve the problem. Alleve did NOTHING, didn’t even take the edge off, and neither did Excedrin. Spent most of the afternoon lying on the couch reading, with a heating pad on my back.

Yet another customer service person from Verizon told me that they “can’t” do anything to help me unless I buy the blocker. I ignored them, and I think I’ve finagled it so that it’s blocked — I’m not getting messages every 15 seconds any more.

Costume Imp and I are getting next week figured out — it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Saw a lovely rocking chair for sale for a great price on Craigslist – I was hoping to pick it up today, but haven’t heard back from the owner. If I can’t get it today, it’ll have to be next week, and they’ll probably sell it to someone else. Oh, well. I’ll either get it or I won’t.

The appliance repair place called and will come today to fix the washer. I can do laundry here before the New Year! I hate starting the new year with dirty clothes!

I also want to do my hair today — I want to start the New Year with shiny hair AND clean clothes!

My hurricane cylinders arrived yesterday (they weren’t scheduled to arrive until Monday) and this time, the UPS guy HANDED me the box instead of throwing it from the truck. Which is good, since they’re glass. They are beautiful. They fit the candlestands perfectly, although they’re taller than I expected, but look great. I washed them last night, let them dry and they’re up now. It will make things safer.

I’m looking forward to a nice, cozy celebration here at home tonight (I’m not big on New Year’s shindigs, and I don’t have to be banned from my own home until 1 AM, like I was in NYC). Yes, when I lived a block from Times Square, if I left the house after 6 PM, I was not allowed back in until after 1 AM, even though I lived there! Isn’t that awful? I usually had a show on New Year’s Eve (thankfully, most shows now only do a matinee), and then I was forced to go to a party. I don’t like New Year’s Eve — too much forced joviality for me — I like to celebrate quietly at home with one or two people.

Once I moved out of the city and wasn’t working full-time anymore, I refused to accept work for New Year’s. I did a yoga retreat upstate for several years, which was great. After that year where I was on the train when the year turned, I decided no more of other people deciding how I start my year!

So, I’ve got some errands to run today, and the repairman to wait for, and my hair to do, and some shelves to put up in the basement to sort the dishes I don’t need every day, some writing to do, and then enjoy sweeping the old year out of the back door and welcoming the New Year in the front!

I’ve got my bayberry candle for tonight; my bayberry incense for tonight and tomorrow, and the stuff I need for the dawn ceremony I do on New Year’s.

I want a peaceful end to this year and a quiet, fun start to 2011!

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to see my post about the work I have ahead of me in the garden.

Got some work done in the morning, including correspondence and getting out the material for Confidential Job #1. Then, it was de-icing the driveway a bit, and going out on errands — picking up a few things at Christmas Tree shops, going to Staples, the bank, K-Mart — where I bought some metal shelving for the basement. I had some sort of points, and basically wound up getting one unit for free. As I unpack, I’m setting up shelving to store what I don’t need every day in bins, boxes, etc., so I can get at it when I need to without having to move stacks of boxes. Buying a couple of shelving units at a time won’t break my budget and will allow me to unpack slowly without boxing myself in, so to speak.

Headed to the bookstore, where I used up my gift card getting two new books on Louisa May Alcott and a book on container gardening. When I hit the Book Barn next week with Costume Imp, I’ll scoop up as many good gardening books as I can!

Off to Pet Smart to stock up on cat food and treats, and then to Home Goods, where I picked up a few containers and a set of Calvin Klein towels for Costume Imp’s visit. This way, whenever he comes up, he’s got his own set of stuff.

Did some unpacking and rearranging in the writing room — still too many unpacked boxes, but at least the armchair has its corner and its lamp.

My back is really bothering me, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

In a big fight with Metro North and Verizon. Metro North is texting me 20-30 times per day, at all hours, with service updates. I don’t live there anymore. I’ve taken myself “off the list” on their site now a half a dozen times and it never takes. I’m emailing then and emailing them and emailing them telling me to stop, and, of course, they ignore it. After all, it took them THREE YEARS to start texting me after I requested it. Anyway, they are using up my message allotment. I shouldn’t have to pay for text messages I don’t want. There’s no way to block the number on my phone. I tried to do it on the Verizon Wireless site, and kept getting the screen telling me that, in order to block calls or messages, I have to add a special program for another $5/month. I shouldn’t have to do that. I sent them some strongly worded messages. Then, I found a site that tells you how to get around it, so I did. But I only have a 5 digit number for the message, and it won’t block without a 10 digit number. I extracted the email address and tried blocking it with that. According to the site, it’s blocked — but the messages keep coming through. Not only is the usage and money a problem, being woken up at all hours of the night is also a problem. If I turn my phone off, I don’t have it for an emergency, and when I turn it on, the mailbox is completely full of messages. And they are duplicates. It’s not like they send a message and the next one is different. They send 15-20, one minute after another, that are identical.

And Verizon, of course, has no interest in helping unless I pay them. Last time I checked, that was called “extortion.”

I hear New York is still in a terrible muddle with unplowed streets and people dying because ambulances can’t get through. Glad to be out of that mess. My drive and walk are still a bit icy, but I’m using ice melt and, as soon as it gets mushy enough to move, I’ll use my regular shovel and clear it. I went to the edge of the drive to meet the mailman yesterday so he wouldn’t risk slipping and HE was worried about ME. They’re so nice here.

According to the mail carriers, I get the most mail of anyone on this route, which I think is pretty funny.

Iris and Violet spent most of yesterday chasing each other around the house, which was pretty funny. They play tag. One chases the other, swats her bottom, then turns and runs away as the other wheels around, chases her, swats her bottom, and they reverse.

At night now, we do “bedtime snacks” (because I got tired of them waking me at 2 AM because they were hungry). I say, “Who wants a bed time snack?” and they sit down in front of me like a pair of puppies (Felicia would be horrified). And I give them some snacks, and up we go to bed. It’s pretty funny.

I think I’m going to make a run to Target today to pick up a few things. I don’t know if I’ll make it to Chatham for that lecture, but I’m not booked and promised, so if I don’t, I don’t. I might just try to get some more unpacking done, polish the lectures, and polish the post that’s due tomorrow.


PS At the bank, the cashier asked me what my New Year’s Resolution was and I said, “Have more fun.”

And I mean it! 😉

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 8:36 am  Comments (6)  
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not one, single snowflake all day yesterday. Unbelievable! Honestly, as badly as I feel for those who were hammered, I do feel cheated!

So, in the past two days, I’ve read two mediocre books (I kept hoping they’d get better) and one book so bad that I had to put it down by page 15. Hate it when that happens. Fortunately, the one I started last night is a lot of fun.

Yesterday was a DAY. I’ve been dealing with harassing phone calls for the past few months, from a commercial number, but I can’t trace it back because it’s an 877 number. I’ve told them numerous times to stop calling. I am on the Do Not Call list. It’s ignored. They don’t actually tell me what they want anyway — just heavy breathing. So, I filed a formal complaint with the FCC — and the calls escalated. That SOB on the other end of the phone better hope the FCC finds him before I do. Because I am so done. I also told Verizon they damn well better pay attention — I’ve complained to them for months and they don’t even have the courtesy to respond. I’ll file with the Attorney General’s office and name them as an accessory. I did some further digging and managed to get information on the number — belongs to an outsourcing telemarketer with a history of scams. So, at least I have a file to send to the FCC and the AG.

Add to that, my neighbor went all weird, putting on NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET at top volume, with the door open to the hallway in the afternoon. The cats flipped out. Several neighbors and I asked her to turn it down and we were ignored. So I fought back, first with Bach and then with Nordic rock, an album called WILD WOMEN OF THE NORTH. I won. Gee, I can tell you’re surprised. 😉

Later on, the same neighbor had on a war movie, although not quite as loud. The cats were freaking out. I think she has a new large-screen TV with surround sound — she better get the settings worked out sooner rather than later, because I am not having stuff fall off the walls and listening to someone else’s idea of “entertainment” indefinitely.

At least I had a good first writing session on REDEMPTION KILL. I want to do a little more on it this morning, then switch back over to the steampunk, which never got the attention it deserved yesterday, because of all this other chaos. I also managed to participate in a loop chat on Castles in the Sky, which featured my new publisher at eTreasures.

So, all in all it was a productive, of somewhat frustrating and chaotic day.

Back to the page. I’m really glad I’m working out of town so much for the rest of this month.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010
Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Really darned cold!

Minus four degrees F this morning — and I’ll have to go out in it later to run some errands. Ick From what I hear, it’s snowing farther south. It smells like snow here, too, in spite of the predictions, so I think I’ll head out earlier rather than later.

Yesterday was okay, but frustrating. I had focus problems, and felt I was getting bogged down in the logistics of the WIP. I pushed through, and it’s getting better.

Had fun at my friend’s place. Always good to unwind.

Knock me over with a feather! Verizon actually sent a check for some of the money they owe me from the provider switch over. Imagine that!

Watched the series finale of DOLLHOUSE. Wow. Not what I expected, but in a good way. And no neat little bows to wrap things up without any ambiguity. What impressed me the most was the actors’ total commitment to the work, and how they went for it fearlessly. You could tell how much they cared about this project, no matter how badly Fox treated them. Alan Tudyk had some great moments, some casually delivered lines that could have been throwaways in the midst of a tense scene, and the way he delivered them was just brilliant. Whedon’s great at being true to the vision of his created worlds, rather than giving the audience (or the network) what they expect. It’s one reason I respect his work so much. Whereas I stopped watching LOST in spite of good writing and scenework because I felt the creators were messing with me (meaning the audience) just to mess with me and broke my trust, I never feel that way with Whedon’s work, even when it takes unexpected or disturbing turns. He never breaks the pact with me as an audience member, and I know I can trust him to take me on an unusual journey and not be left twisting in the wind or disappointed at the end.

Tried to watch CAPRICA. I want to like it, and I like parts of it, but I’m not sold on it as a whole yet.

Pitched for two script writing jobs last week. Because of where they were listed, I’m pretty sure they’ll go with someone cheaper and less experienced, but they sounded like interesting projects, so I at least wanted to try.

Got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, and it looks interesting. Will start tackling that probably on Monday. This weekend, I want to write, and maybe catch up on some DVDs I’ve got stacked up. I’ve got iN BRUGES to watch, and the full season of LIFE ON MARS. A friend’s encouraging me to see WATCHMEN, saying I’ll either love it or froth at the mouth in fury.

What I watch tonight depends what kind of mood I’m in after a day of writing.

Back to the page, and then braving the cold to get things done.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 9:11 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid

I frittered away far too much time yesterday. I got writing done, I got client projects done, I did some prep for Prague, but it wasn’t anywhere near what I hoped to get done.

I received a call from Apple’s executive office, but I wasn’t there to take the call. So I had two messages to leave in return. At least there are people who are finally taking the situation seriously. However, as I made it very clear, I’m talked out and tech’d out. I’m not going back to the store for another round of crap. So leave me some actual information in the message.

And Verizon — I’m going to have to file a complaint against them. They won’t give me the information for the final billing cycle/change of service. They want me to create an new online account to access the information. I told them, no, send it to me via email or in writing — since no one can be bothered to pick up the phone. I am NOT creating a new account for a company when I’ve stopped doing business with them because their customer service is non-existent and they keep trying to do bait-and-switch. I’m stuck with them as my wireless provider for two more years, but it’s now been over a week since the change was implemented in the internet and landline, and they’re ignoring it. I’m not paying for services I’ve cancelled, well after my initial contract with them is fulfilled. And they still owe me a credit from two years ago, which I bet I’ll never see.

Anyway, I’m dropping some stuff off in CT this morning, then heading upcounty to pick up a friend, and we’re off to the Botanical Garden. Should be a great day. Hot, but good.

“Amends” is going really well. I’ve hit the right balance between comedy and mystery. Phew.


Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 7:17 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

One of our sightseeing options in Prague is a collection of whale penises displayed at a monastery. Huh?

Got some editing work done in the morning (which is weird, because I prefer to edit in the afternoon), but I wanted to get it done before the Optimum guy arrived.

He arrived early in the designated time period — I was shocked. He was in and out in 30 minutes — with Iris, who usually is afraid of strangers, supervising. Fortunately, the dispatcher took it seriously when I booked the appointment and told her to send someone who’s comfortable around cats.

I had trouble signing in, initially, so I called tech support, and he got me all set up in just a few minutes — phone, voice, wif-fi, ethernet, the whole deal. And the TV is still working properly, too, so it’s all good.

Remember when I switched to Verizon and it took two weeks to get it up and running? I’m already a happier customer.

But then I decided to start reconfiguring the space right away. I wanted to move my desk about four feet to the left and put the shelf unit I’d been using to my left – in front of the bookcase I dismantled — to the right, setting up the small printer and using it for office supplies, primarily. But to set both pieces back against the wall, I need ONE more INCH. ONE INCH. So I had to take all the books out of the enormous oak bookcase directly to the left of the new space in order to move it that ONE INCH, because it was too heavy for me to move with the books and tchakes in it. Which meant I had to dust everything, which was a good thing, because I hadn’t been able to get to that bookcase to dust it for awhile.

I truly loathe those “experts” who tell you not to have objects out on your shelves because that means you have to dust. So what? Every object has meaning and has a story, and dusting time means I re-tell the story to myself and remind myself of personal history and happy moments. Okay, so the collection of elephants took awhile — I didn’t realize how many there were, and working on those tiny tusks can be a bit time consuming — but it’s worth it.

I don’t trust people who don’t have books in their homes or who don’t have personal mementos displayed. In the former instance, someone who doesn’t read isn’t someone I can be comfortable around. In the latter instance, I always wonder what they’re hiding.

Anyway, I jiggled the bookshelf over its inch, hauled the desk across, and set up the shelf unit. Once I actually excavate my desk and get rid of all the crap that’s stacked up, it will look very nice (and get rid of the behemoth PC). The little printer is very happy on its top shelf, I’ve got my box of disks stacked beside it, and there was even room on the wall to hang my calendar. I could also get to the clock high up on the wall (I used to have to move the PC monitor and stand on the computer desk) to change the battery and reset it.

I tried to reset the 400-day clock, which ran down a few months ago, but it needs a professional.

I wasn’t able to unpack the office supplies and get them re-shelved, but at least I’ve gotten a start on it all.

A friend of mine gets really great boxes at work, and dropped off four on her way home, so I can unpack some of the bins where I’ve stored the books and pack the ones I don’t immediately need in the boxes and take them to storage. Then I can use the bins to finish packing up the stuff that needs packing in the bedroom, so I can do the furniture swap.

I was pretty wiped out last night and took it easy.

I’m really not happy that Yoga Accessories won’t take back the travel mat. It’s stinking up the whole house. I’m going to wash it with castille soap, and I found a place through SHAPE magazine that requested donations of yoga equipment. I’ve still got the box, so on Monday, I’ll pack it up and ship it off. Someone will be able to get good use out of it, especially when I get the smell out. I’m probably too fussy about texture, but texture in a mat is very important to me, and this just didn’t work.

This morning, I had to be up early to do my yoga, do a backup on Time Machine, run through the problems on the Mac, and get out the door a little after 8 AM for my Genius Appointment. I better walk out of there with everything solved this time around.

Then, I’m covering the Wellness fair at a location in town. I’m in the same town as one of the most prominent spiritual and wellness centers in the country, and I never spend time there. Mostly because I don’t like the egotistical infighting and the high prices. But I’ll see how the fair is – if anyone’s got a massage chair out to give 10 minute neck-rubs, I’m there!

Tomorrow is all about my writing — I’m packing up and going to visit a friend in CT for the day, hang out by the pool, relax, etc. and get some of my own work done. The last few weeks, my own work has been pushed to one side, and that can’t happen.

My writing is the priority, and everything else has to fit around the writing, not the other way around.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day, thank goodness. I got the site work done — in and around the cleaning crew that had come in! Hard to get any creative work or anything that needs serious concentration done with vacuum cleaners and mopping and scrubbing happening all the way around!

The same place has booked me again in October, for two weekends, right after I get back from Prague, book-ending the week I teach at the Muse Conference.

So, basically, October’s booked! Yay! I might take on one or two more small projects, but, for the most part, it’s done. I’ve already got a few things booked for November. This year, I hope to wrap up client work by December 15 and then give myself a holiday break until after the first of the year. If that’s financially viable. Between what’s booked and my own deadlines, it should be a productive autumn, and, while I’ll do some marketing, most of it will be geared to projects after the first of the year.

I’m lining up some guest bloggers to appear while I’m in Prague, so you won’t miss me too much!

I feel better — I’m wondering if the air conditioning caused the sore throat and swollen glands.

I’ve got to head over to the family pharmacy when it opens and pick up some herbal supplements I need, then wait for the Optimum guy. I have to clear out a little more space so we can get at the plugs, and he’s got about 5 feet of space at the phone jack, and about 3 where the cable lead comes into the apartment. And that’s the best I can do for him. He’s just going to have to work around boxes and bins and piles of stuff.

I decided that, since I’ve pulled so much stuff out of the way in the first place, I’m going to dismantle the entire office area and reconfigure it so it works better. It means moving the 3-tired desk unit that accommodates the computer and one printer about five feet to the left and setting up new shelving to my right, where it’s actually useful to me (being right-handed), and getting a row of project containers to sit along the front of it, instead of just keeping things in stacks that the cats rearrange.

The new yoga blocks are fantastic, as is my new mat bag. I still haven’t found where the cats stashed the other block. But the yoga travel mat I ordered simply will not work. The one I saw in the store was like a rough towel — soft, flexible, folded in quarters, could fit in my carry-on. The one that arrived is an overly long piece of vinyl which not only won’t roll up again, sticking on itself like cling wrap, but gives off such a strong chemical smell I nearly reeled. The cats won’t go anywhere near it.

I’m hoping the whole switch over won’t be too painful. I need to get some editing done, and I need to turn attention back to my own deadlines, which ALWAYS must come first.

Tomorrow, I’ve got a 9 AM appointment at the Genius Bar, and I want to get this damned computer re-aligned once and for all. I spent over two hours last night installing software updates. The huge update was for Apple Software. The tiny one was for Word for Mac — which took four times longer, and immediately I got a flag that I had to download an additional update because of “critical failures” in the previous update. Bite me, Microsoft!

I’m hoping these updates will make things run more smoothly, and that tomorrow’s Genius can smooth it out.

The zipper on my three-month old computer bag broke. Can ANYONE make something that lasts for more than a minute? I am so sick of shoddy manufacturing.

Let’s hope the ISP switch isn’t too much of a nightmare. When I switched TO Verizon DSL from whomever I had before (I can’t even remember who it was), I had two weeks of hell.

Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Okay. I’m officially exhausted.

Got home yesterday — it was very temperate in the apartment. I turned on all the fans to get it as cool as possible while I was there, spent time on the internet downloading and sending out things that needed to be sent. I also did a back-up — which took longer than I hoped, because it was the first time Time Machine met the new hard disk, and they had to get acquainted. Still, it took less than an hour (an ounce of prevention, and all that), which is much better than the PC’s 56-hour back-up time!

Went to Verizon, Throwing the phones was definitely a viable option. They couldn’t/wouldn’t even test my mother’s phone to see what was wrong with it, because it was more than two years old. WTF?????? I had to BUY a new phone. Not happy, especially since, two weeks ago, on the phone they said I could simply trade it in for the one I got, which is specially featured for seniors, with large keys and displays. Heaven forbid anyone at the store is “able” (yeah, right) to confirm this promise with anyone at the call center — even though I have the person’s name who made the promise. Liars and thieves, the lot of them. And now I’m stuck in a new two year contract, or I couldn’t get a new phone, and my elderly mother would have been put into danger by not being able to call for help, should something go wrong. They also swore up, down, and sideways, when I tried to find a better-priced plan to meet my needs better (as in, add in text and email) that such a plan doesn’t exist — even though it does, according to The only plans that include what I need, are, of course, quite a bit more expensive than what I pay now. Which is typical of Verizon. They charge you to breathe. Just because I’m saving money by getting away from Verizon for landline, cable, and internet — I’m not giving them all that savings for a new phone plan. The personnel are perfectly pleasant, but the company does not give them what they need to actually provide customer service.

I didn’t even bother to try to upgrade my phone. If my poor little old phone can limp along another two years, I’ll simply get iPhones, even it means switching to AT&T.

And now they want me to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. Are they serious? Face it, would YOU want to be the one reading that particular survey?

Never made it to Target, because I had to get back to work. Dropped off my mom’s phone, and had to go back later in the evening to set it up.

Worked, went over and set up my mom’s phone, and had to do an evening event for work. Totally wiped out. The heat and humidity don’t help, either.

Slept well, though, and had a good morning yoga session. A good, long yoga session in the morning helps my posture and helps keep me in alignment far into the day.

Did some work on both “Personal Revolution” and “Amends” this morning.

Heading out — hope to make it to Target this morning on my way to feed the cats, check a few things online at home, and then get back here EARLY this time for a productive day on site.


Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 10:07 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

It was supposed to storm yesterday and be pretty today, but they were wrong. Gee, what a surprise! 😉

Yesterday’s work day was truncated because I spent so much time on the phone with Apple Care. The Macbook is fine, but AGAIN, I’m having synch problems with the iPod. We couldn’t figure it out, so I’ve got another Genius Bar appointment on Saturday. Urgh. It seems to be connected to the Mobile Me. Mobile Me is supposed to make my life easier and more efficient; instead, I feel as though it’s limiting me. I’m getting really frustrated.

I also have HAD it with Verizon’s landline lack of service and the failing DSL. That’s because they’re trying to force everyone over to FIOS. I don’t want FIOS. They can bite me. Additionally, they still owe me a major credit they promised me TWO YEARS AGO, when we were without phone service for two weeks. They never posted it, and ignored all my contacts. They also have tried bait and switch offers too many times — an offer for better/cheaper/more efficient service,which, when you actually call to get it done, suddenly the offer’s expired, but they can offer it to you at double the price. Again, bite me. AND, they’ve refused any cooperation to stop the phone harassment situation with which I’ve been dealing for over a year. No, I am NOT changing my number. Give the damn number from which these calls originate to the authorities so they can deal with it. So I took the time to switch to Optimum yesterday. i save nearly $70/month AND actually receive customer service. Go figure. Of course, they have to send out a tech at the end of next week. The poor guy has to come into the middle of all this chaos — and I have to take down several bookcases so he can get to the correct wall jack.

It’s going to be a pain in the ass, but I’ll be happier in the long run, and I’ll be able to access wi-fi, which will also make my life easier. I’m keeping Verizon for wireless, but will also upgrade my phone and adjust my plan later this month. They used to be really good and helpful in most areas, but have really gone downhill in the past two years.

And the commercial, where they offer a “free” netbook — you ONLY have to pay the taxes and shipping? It’s either free or it’s not, and this isn’t free. The taxes and extra charges they add to everything — and raise every few months without proper notification — are ridiculous. And the daily solicitations, both by phone and mail, trying to get me to move to FIOS, even after I’ve told them orally AND in writing to stop — no. Buh-bye.

I know some really great individuals who work for Verizon, but the direction the company as a whole is taking is just not consumer-oriented enough to retain the bulk of my business.

On a happier note, I cleared off a bunch of client projects, and I’ve just got one or two more to finish tomorrow before I focus my attention on the site job next week. I applied for a job that could be really cool — if the price is right. I worked on a couple of proposals. The second mystery has really taken off — I think I can finish the first draft tomorrow, and then go back and make the cuts in the first ones. I’m happy with both these pieces — what I’ve learned over the past few months is applied, and it makes the pieces stronger.

Another story got rejected — I just love it when guidelines say they want something unique and quirky, but what they really mean is “mainstream neurotic.” The first issue of the publication I read made me think the piece could fit the publication, although I wondered why the voice of all the pieces in the issue were so similar. Now that I’ve read several issues (which, yes, I should have done first, but usually a full issue cover to cover gives you a good sense of a publication), ALL the pieces sound the same, and that’s worrying. I don’t know if they’re all actually written by the same person and appear under multiple names, or simply edited to sound uniform. Warning bells went off. In the interim, I found a market I think is a better fit, so out it goes again tomorrow.

I’m headed out to the city for a long lunch with Costume Imp for Prague Planning. In five weeks, we take off. And, even though it’s lunch, since it’s a three hour round trip, it becomes a day trip.

Have a great day all — I hope I don’t get rained on — we’re supposed to eat outside. Just in case — I’m switching OUT of the suede shoes to something more waterproof.


Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 8:15 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid

We’re finally getting the summer weather, but it’s not anywhere near as bad as it could be.

I’m on retreat this weekend. Yay!

Yesterday was a hit-and-miss day. I went to Home Depot to pick up wood glue so I can work on the 1950’s couch and the 1950’s chair that also needs some help. Don’t you love it when there’s a whole aisle worth of stuff, and one individual purposely blocks anyone else from looking or choosing merchandise because “I need to look at it all as a piece so I know what I want.” Honey, this is a pubic store and you are not the only customer. Get over yourself. Literally, this guy was spreading his arms and dancing back and forth not letting any of the half a dozen of us or so who actually knew what we wanted and were reaching for it and then clearing out actually put hands on product. Get a life, bub. And learn some basic courtesy.

After Home Depot, I drove over to White Plains (looking longingly at the turn off to Target) to Verizon, where I wanted to talk to someone about upgrading my phone, the phone plan, and the problem of the forwarded calls (got a barely polite message frm the doctor’s office stating that “we didn’t do anything; you better call Verizon.” Um, what do you think I was doing on the phone with Verizon for an hour and a half? They INSIST the problem originates in the doctor’s office. Frankly, I don’t give a damn where it originates. It is VERIZON’S responsibility to fix it, and they’re just shrugging it off. It’s not surprising, but it’s annoying.

Anyway, the place was really busy, and after waiting around for a half hour, I was done. Plus, they only let you check in with one type of issue, and I had three. As usual, they try to put people in boxes instead of dealing with individual issues. So I left. They’re perfectly nice there, it’s just that the way they’re set up doesn’t meet my needs. And since I am paying them to meet my needs, we need to negotiate a bit more.

Continued to Hartsdale to the fabric store. Searched for bobbins for my Viking Hvesquenhana — which I bought there. Got a song and dance because they decided not to carry them there and have no idea what other bobbins are compatible. Found thread to fix a skirt of mine — and got a lecture on thread from one of the clerks. Honey, I’ve been in wardrobe for over 20 years. I KNOW what kind of thread I need for this repair. Don’t lecture me and damn well don’t condescend to me. Went downstairs with a swatch I’d gotten from them awhile back to actually purchase the upholstery fabric to recover the 1950’s chair. They didn’t have it, they’d never heard of it, etc., etc., even though I had the swatch and all the details from the last visit. I looked at the fabrics they had in stock — none of them were what I wanted for this chair. So I left, only purchasing thread, and with a bad taste in my mouth. They’ve always been a little eccentric, but, in the past, they were friendly and funny and it was worth putting up with the eccentricities. Not with these particular employees. I doubt I’ll go back.

Stopped at Michael’s — they have a variety of bobbins, but until I talk to Viking and find out which bobbins are compatible, I’m not buying them. The same packages are also half the price they were at the fabric store.

I really need to find a new fabric store, but there’s a dearth of them in the area. I think I’ll have to go hunting in CT, and, whenever I’m in MASS, I’ll have to add stops at fabric stores to my list. I don’t want to haul into the garment district in NYC every time I want some fabric. Although the silks at the fabric store are now three and four times more expensive than they are in the garment district, and not as pretty or as high quality. Well, maybe in fall I’ll make a list and do one big trip to the garment district with a wheeled suitcase and get everything in one haul.

In other words, it wasn’t a very good shopping day! 😉

Diane, the bureau isn’t the one I “inherited” at storage — that’s too big for this space. I’ll use it when I move. The one I’m bringing in is a smaller one. When I lived on the Deuce in NYC, right off Times Square, I went to a huge Salvation Army store on W. 46th St. I found a bureau there painted an ugly shade of green for about $25. I loved the lines of it. I took my little folding airport luggage cart, strapped it on, and wheeled it home. I stripped it and painted it a glossy black. Topped with a red silk scarf and some pretty little candles, stones, and other pieces, it had pride of place in the bedroom. It’ll fit in this space, once I clear out some other stuff, and I need the extra drawer space.

The 1950’s couch will go into storage once I re-glue it, but I won’t refinish it/make the new cushions until I move. I will recover the cushions in the 1950’s chair, however, over the next few months. That’s still here and will stay here. I’m getting rid of the black, broken recliner (which was delivered the day Bobby Kennedy was shot) and I want to replace it with another reading chair, yet to be found. The oversized reading chair that I love, stashed in storage, won’t fit.

Anyway, I came home to find some yoga/writing clothes I ordered arrived. I tried everything on; all but one piece fit and look good. They were on sale (like 60% off), and they’re a great, soft, organic cotton. I feel like I got a good deal. I’m returning the one piece that didn’t fit if I can catch the post office open. Since I can’t drive until the wrist heals, I either have to catch the post office up the street when it’s open, or wait. Or have someone drive me.

I ordered the new couch that will take the place of the 1950’s couch — it’s a light, simple piece that flips out into a sofa bed and works better for the space. Poking around on the internet, I found some promotional codes, and got a nice chunk discounted off that, too. It will be delivered in about ten days. Which means I have ten days to finish packing stuff up in the apartment and hire the guys to do the furniture switch. Provided the wrist heals quickly, it’s do-able.

I got some client work cleared off, caught up on a few things, read a bit I rested the wrist — icing it, taking some ibuprofen (since I want to remain on speaking terms with my liver, I’m being careful). Diane, great suggestion on the witch hazel compress — that made a big difference. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions — I’m implementing as many as I can to get this resolved as quickly and healthily as possible!

I thought I’d have to modify my yoga practice, but, for some reason, the poses don’t aggravate it. If they do, I’ll modify.

The cats didn’t like the thunder and lightening storms last night. They huddled under the blankets, watching the lightening strikes, and demanding that I make it stop. I enjoy a good thunder storm, especially if I’m inside!

This morning, one of the window shades spontaneously popped out of its fastening and shot across the room like a missile. I’m lucky it didn’t hit the mirror and smash it. The cats dived for cover. I managed to fix it and replace it. It seems to be working fine, now.

I had a good morning’s writing session. I’m off to the post office now to make that return,and then it’s back to a day of writing. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of it. I’ve got some ideas to work on, and some projects to get back to. I’ve also got a novel that looks like a lot of fun to sink into when I get tired of writing.

I had a great morning yoga session and I plan to do one more this afternoon and one tonight. No packing or client projects this weekend — just doing what I want and need to do for myself, getting refreshed both mentally and physically.

The landlords are being scumbags again, but I will deal with them on Monday.

And I answered someone’s question on a forum about my opinion on mill content sites (and one in particular) — I’m sure several of the “writers” on the forum will take issue with it. Too damn bad.


Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 8:40 am  Comments (3)  
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