Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve got a very short post up on Gratitude and Growth, about the garden.

I started writing on Medium. I’m not using it as a daily blogging platform — I have this blog for that purpose, where I natter on about whatever is in my head at the moment. I’m using Medium to write essays on things that matter to me or bother me, where they don’t fit in traditional publications. Well, they would, if I were famous; there are similar essays in all kinds of magazines, such as VICTORIA and YANKEE, but they’re all by people who are Names. Medium gives me the chance to experiment. I’m not sure if it’s actual “essay” format — I don’t think I really stick to the essay formula. But I’m writing focused pieces about what I want to write.

The first one is “The Tree is My History”and went up earlier in the week. Publishing might be easy, but setting up the account was not.

I figure I’ll write something every 2-3 weeks there, as long as I have something to say. The curation/payment system has gotten complicated. There are people who are pounding content on the platform every day, and only 35 curators. So I’m not counting on that. But I signed up for the Partnership Program, which means if it’s chosen for something or read enough or something like that, I’m eligible for payment.

But I’m not counting on it for a source of income. I’ll be grateful for it, of course; but it will also allow me to expand some writing chops in a slightly different direction, with less pressure than I’d find in other venues.

We’ll see.

Yesterday, the overnight rain turned into snow by the time I got up, so it was not fun getting to my client’s. Honestly, I was dreading it. We’ve prepped everything for an event she’s doing at the end of next week, and she’s on a tear about a couple of other things. We’re ahead of where we need to be at this point, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I had a decent, but not brilliant, first writing session yesterday, and a slightly better one this morning. I’m still working on cards, and trying to get a few other things sorted out. There’s still plenty of decorating to do, and two books for review, and the play to finish.

The radio play, “Pier-less Crime” has been accepted for production down in Florida. I’m excited. That’s a good track record. They will have produced all three of the Frieda/Lazarus radio plays by next year.

I’m trying to sort out the writing projects for next year, to make sure everything stays on track. I want to get all the stage plays out on submission, so they’re earning their keep, and look at additional markets for the radio plays. I’d like to write a couple more radio plays, and at least two stage plays. (one of which is the one about the two female writers, which I couldn’t get done this year). And I have to stay on track with the novels, both for the series, and for the other novel ideas with which I’m playing. Honestly, I don’t know where short stories fit into next year.

So, I’ll have fixed deadlines, and then other pieces I’ll want to fit in as I can.

Plus, some new directions for the freelance/business/marketing writing, and solid financial points I HAVE to hit, because of the other changes and demands happening. So, it’s a lot to sort out, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and is attainable, not do it in a way that overwhelms me and then I get frustrated.

I’m off to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment, then write more cards, work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and do some more decorating. And maybe some more cookie deliveries.

Back to the page.

Published in: on December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing  
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Wed. Dec. 11, 2019: Trying to Stay Organized

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy/snowy and cold

Still more nasty weather today. Well, it is winter, and I live in the northeast. Part of the deal.

Hop on over toInk-Dipped Advice, where I talk about keeping the pitch out of business holiday cards.

Dropped off some more cookie platters on Monday night.

Meditation on Monday was lovely. Hard to pull myself out of the space and go out into the cold, rainy night to go home!

Re-watched ELF on Monday night, which is funny and silly and cute.

Started watching A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. I loved the first book, struggled with the second book (thought it should have been cut in half) and liked the third book, although I felt it, too, should have been cut. I have mixed feelings about the series, and a lot of it has to do with casting. Except for Alex Kingston, who’s fantastic in everything she does. Every time she’s on screen, the piece rights itself.

Working on the rest of the holiday cards, but it’s going more slowly than I’d like. Felt guilty when I got a card, yesterday, from someone in a letter of the alphabet to which I have yet to reach!

Had trouble getting started yesterday morning. Mediocre writing session. Dropped off a cookie platter on my way to my client’s on Tuesday morning. Client work was okay. Had a couple of things to do after.

Kept watching the series last night, and working on cards.

Hoping for a good first writing session for the morning, then client work, then home for pizza night, and to watch more, and work on cards.

This week is about getting things done, so that I can enjoy the holidays in the next few weeks!

I still have to decorate my office. Right now, it has everything in it that we didn’t know where else to put when we started decorating the rest of the house!

And so it goes.

 

Published in: on December 11, 2019 at 6:38 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 11, 2019: Trying to Stay Organized  
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Wed. Dec. 4, 2019: Definitely Winter

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Wintry weather mix

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for my post on updating my contract and raising my rates.

Monday’s weather was awful. I wound up cancelling an afternoon appointment after my first client. I swung by the library to drop off and pick up, and then had another meeting run long, so I missed meditation group.

I’d contacted the landlord about the continuing leak in the downstairs bathroom. He called a different plumber, and made an appointment for them to come by late yesterday morning. Since I am scheduling this to post, I won’t have an update on whether or not it worked until tomorrow!

The rain switched over to freezing rain overnight Monday. Tuesday, it didn’t switch to snow until 7 AM, and it started accumulating quickly. That made my day a bit more complicated, although I tried to keep it simple. I knew I could make it to the first client (with a stop at the post office), and then play it by ear from there.

Monday night, we watched the musical movie version of GIGI. Leslie Caron was delightful, but the entire piece I found creepy and misogynist. She was raised to be a courtesan, kept by men. I don’t believe for one minute that Gaston was actually in love with her. He just knew he needed to marry her to get what he wanted. I loved the costumes, but the piece itself creeped me out. Now, I want to go back and read Colette’s actual novel by the same name. I’m sure it was watered down and any social commentary/satire was removed by Hollywood — which made it even creepier, because it came across like this was all a good thing, and this behavior was okay.

Writing a bit, but not enough. Never enough. Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, working on the promotional materials for GRAVE REACH’S release, and, to relieve stress, working on the winter holiday romance piece. This isn’t one to go into the newsletter; it’s a novel that I’m writing, here and there, because I want to. I always want to write about Thanksgiving and the Winter Holiday during them, although I can edit at any time.

I should have started working on the holiday cards Monday night, but I was too tired, so I started, instead, on Tuesday.

Washed out the cookie storage tins yesterday. Did a bit more decorating.

This afternoon, when I finish my work for the day, I’m going to bake the tollhouse cookies for the cookie platters, and then write more cards. Tomorrow morning, first thing, I’m going to get the rest of what I need for the baking, and then it’s all baking, all the time for the next few days, so I can start delivering the platters on the weekend.

The Crystal Bar soap order arrived, so I can wrap those gifts, too.

I’m trying to do as much as possible early in the month, so I can actually enjoy the holiday.

Looking forward to the Remote Chat today.

Hope everyone has a lovely Wednesday!

Published in: on December 4, 2019 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 4, 2019: Definitely Winter  
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Tues. Dec. 3, 2019: Catching Up on the Dailies

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Nasty weather

It’s been nearly a week since I shared my daily life. And quite a week it’s been.

Tuesday night, we decided not to go to Maine for the big 60-people-for-dinner-at-the-rented-hall. Between plumbing issues and furnace issues and car issues and traffic issues and my back issues, it didn’t make sense.

They were disappointed, but they understood.

Wednesday morning, the plumber showed up early. Put a new faucet in the kitchen sink, new valves, worked on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. I scrubbed out under the sink (where it had also leaked) and left it open, so it could dry

By the time he left, it would have been too late to get on the road anyway, and the traffic was dreadful. So was the weather. I was grateful to be at home. Popped out to get a couple of things we needed to cook the meal at home.

Managed to get out the polished version of “Pier-less Crime” out and the company is excited about it.

Watched ROMAN HOLIDAY with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s been years since I saw it, and I’d forgotten a lot of it.

Sketched out some story ideas (in words, not actual sketches). Figured out more of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, which is the play about Canaletto’s sisters.

Up early on Thursday morning. Made the stuffing, got the turkey in the oven. Wondered if maybe I went overboard buying a 20 lb. turkey.

For some reason, the meal prep upset Charlotte. She was very agitated. I wonder if she was moved after a large family meal more than once?

We had a high wind advisory with warnings of power outages, so I put it in a little early, to make sure the oven was on and we could actually have the meal. We had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas with it. Tiramisu for dessert. We ate about a half hour or so earlier than normal (in Maine, we usually sit down around 1 PM).

The meal was excellent, absolutely perfect. The weather outside howled and was frightful.

I felt like I did dishes for hours, though. My own damn fault, because we used some of our favorite old pieces, all of which have to be hand-washed. Which is just fine.

Make stock out of the bones, and then turkey soup. We also have plenty of leftovers. Yum, yum!

Too tired to watch anything on Thanksgiving night. Read. My back was bothering me. Everyone on our little street was away for the holiday. It was blissfully quiet.

Up early Friday morning. Put in the Chewy order. That was the extent of my Black Friday shopping. Put away the washed dishes. Two runs to the dump, one for household garbage and one for leaves.

Got the decorations out of the Christmas Closet and sorted them. Got the tree down and put it up, just the tree and the lights. Tied in place, because we don’t know how Willa and Charlotte will react to it.

Switched out the fabric on the various surfaces to Winter Holiday fabric, everywhere but in my office. My office is where everything we don’t know where to put while we’re decorating goes, so it will be the last to be decorated.

Put up the musical instrument fabric over the fireplace. Put up the red ribbons around the doors and windows (we hang cards from the ribbons around the doors and the ribbons look pretty around the windows).

Got the Advent table set up with the wreath, four silver candle stands, and the centerpiece this year is the Broadway snow globe.

Believe it or not, that took all day.

In my NYC apartment, everything only fit one way. Here in the house, we have the option to do things differently from year to year, which is fun.

Fish and chips for dinner, which is always fun to make and eat.

Re-watched A ROOM WITH A VIEW on Friday night. Much more critical of it this time around, although the locations and the camerawork are gorgeous.

Up early again on Saturday morning. Paid some bills. Had to go to Home Depot for something I couldn’t get elsewhere, and was so disgusted I left without buying anything. I hate Home Depot. I don’t like to spend money there anyway because the owner is a rightwing lunatic, so I avoid it unless I have no other choice.

Went to AC Moore. Will be sad when they close after the holidays. I like them as an alternative to Michael’s. Found a few things I needed. Went to Trader Joe’s for a few things, and to Christmas Tree Shops, where I ended up spending more than I planned, but I would have done so over the course of the month, so might as well get it all done in one go.

Went to put gas in the car — and couldn’t get the tank flap unlocked. I still had a half a tank of gas, so no reason to panic yet, but I was upset. I can’t afford another car repair. Headed to Country Gardens to get the plain wreath for the front door, so I could decorate it. Then the hatch wouldn’t open. I was furious. That was just fixed a few months ago. I’m tired of them fixing stuff and then, a few months down the line, it needs to be fixed again.

Driving away, suddenly the tank latch worked. So I turned around, headed back to the gas station, and filled up, just in case. The hatch started working again, too. At no point in any of this did any warning lights come on.

Decorated the wreath for the front door. Finished decorating the fireplace mantel. We put the carolers up there again this year, against the backdrop of the musical instrument fabric. The blue poinsettia garland hangs below the carolers. We have gold bells hanging center top, and, above that, by the ceiling, holly and ivy and gold ribbon and a gold musical instrument swag.

Unpacked a few other boxes of ornaments, but it took a long time and not a lot seemed to get done.

Got four loads of laundry done, though, and outlined two novels. Decided an idea that was going to be a Thanksgiving story would really be a Solstice/Christmas/New Year story.

Worked on the book for review.

Instead of cooking what I planned to for dinner, Twitter pals raving about Turkey leftover sandwiches inspired me to make gigantic dinner sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Delicious!

Read and made notes on a few projects.

Up early on Sunday. Worked on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT for a few hours, before I started back in on the decorating.

The Santa collection was set up on the Behemoth. Ornaments top the ribbons on the doors and windows. Pine cones will be added later. More ornamentation was added to the mantel. Most of the tree is decorated, but that usually is a work in progress until it comes down. But enough is on so that I could put on the tree skirt. The kitchen tree and the kitchen nutcracker are done, and I unpacked and washed the holiday mugs. Which means I have to pack away the same number of day-to-day mugs, so there’s room in the cabinet.

Turkey pot pie for dinner, a little reading and writing in the night. I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I went to bed early.

The weather turned on Sunday — rain, sleet, then back to rain by Monday morning.

Up early on Monday, morning routine and some writing. Getting ahead on blog posts. Writing a letter to fight for insurance again. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars and begging in order to get onto insurance every year. Romney-care DOES NOT WORK. We need a single-payer system.

I’m updating my freelance contract, and will update the website to reflect that. Rates are going up for 2020. When the locals balk, I just add more remote clients, who understand that skill and quality are worth the money. I have never lived anywhere that skills are so disregarded as they are here. The only thing respected is coming in rich.

Working on the release information, media kit, excerpts, promotion, etc. for GRAVE REACH, which releases on Thursday the 5th. I’m very excited about this book. I achieved what I set out to do with it. I learned a lot from this book, and that will feed in to the rest of the books in the series.

Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and also getting back into the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Worked on the book for review. I hope to have the review out either later today or tomorrow, latest.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, getting into the holiday madness. Onsite again today. Finally got back to meditation group after missing the last two weeks. It was much-needed.

The sink is working just fine, but the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is still leaking, so the landlord is going to have to deal with it.

Still lots of decorating to do, especially in my office.

I’m enjoying the Advent calendars, though.

Need to start writing cards this week. The overseas cards need to go out on Friday.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Tues. Nov. 5, 2019: Nice Start to November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

A friend arrived on Thursday afternoon. We had cocktails and snacks. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, with orange rye bread. Gingerbread for dessert.

The weather was pretty vile, so there were only 8 Trick or Treaters.

At least I had enough candy.

We watched TEA WITH THE DAMES, talked. I’d done my ritual in the morning. I did my Tending the Dead ritual once everyone was asleep.

Willa bonded with my friend immediately, which was good. Charlotte behaved better. Tessa came out a little bit.

I tried anti-anxiety medicine on all three cats. It did nothing for Willa. It confused Tessa. It made Charlotte less aggressive, but more nervous. I kept Charlotte on it for a few days, but she was miserable.

A Letter to the Editor I ghost-wrote for a client appeared in the local paper. I felt a bit smug, and she was very pleased.

The weather was bad all night into Friday, although it started clearing up Friday mid-morning.

I cooked a big breakfast. We stopped at the library.

Then we went to the Cahoon Museum. It was delightful, as always, although it was between exhibits. I was sad they took down my favorite oil painting. But Ralph and Martha’s work always delights me. One of the two new exhibits, by a weaver, was beautiful. I’m trying to decide if I’ll go the opening reception this next week. It’s the last exhibit of this year, before they close for the winter.

We came home, and I made bahn mi for lunch.

Then, we headed up to Sturgis Library, and then over to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth. I hadn’t been there in several years. It was delightful, as always.

The guy at the front desk is someone I recognized from one of the local reading series where I’ve tested new work. He had no idea who I was. I’ve attended often enough that one would think he’d recognize me.

That’s what gets me here. It’s a small community, so “everyone knows everyone.” Yet, in professional contexts, they don’t retain information. They’ll remember gossip about the friend of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin like they know them and it’s first=hand information, but not remember someone with whom they interacted professionally.

Stopped at Parnassus Books on the way back, always a pleasure. Then, went to Tumbleweed Quilts so my friend could buy some novelty fabric for her sister.

It was nice enough to have a cocktail on the deck. I made a Venetian pasta out of THE BRUNETTI COOKBOOK. We watched the first, very dark episode of Season 4 of SHETLAND.

The cats behaved pretty well. Tessa needs to stay out more, so they all get used to being together. She holes up in my office all the time.

Saturday morning, up early. My friend was looking for something for her mom. We drove around all over Hyannis, three different stores, and finally found it at a yard sale down the street.

My friend left in late morning. I brought in the Halloween decorations, cleaned them off, packed them away. We packed all the Samhain decorations and put them away. We switched out the spider web curtains for the winter curtains and changed Halloween fabric coverings to Harvest fabric. Re-made the beds. I did laundry.

Charlotte and Willa discovered the basement, and had adventures.

They didn’t like empty boxes coming out, but once they were filled, the settled down. Tessa always avoids the chaos when decorations go up or come down. She hates it.

Finished reading MISS BUNCLE MARRIED by D.E. Stevenson, and started THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY, which is quite wonderful and weird, but I’m worried it’s going to wind up being too religious for my taste.

Remembered to turn the clocks back.

Up early. Spent a good portion of the day working on edits. This draft is in good shape, and I’m happy with it. I have to smooth out a couple of things, and then I can get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DHARMA. I need to come up with an entire new outline for DHARMA, and I need to outline THE BARD’S LAMENT. I only have the most basic idea of where I want to go with it.

Yesterday morning, up early, trying to get back into the routine. Willa and Charlotte don’t really understand the concept yet of yoga and meditation time. They’re constantly up to something when I sit. It’s pretty funny.

Worked on my edits. Worked on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Worked more on it than I expected, but it’s flowing. Worked on site with my client. Bagged 30 gallons of leaves from the front yard.  Took a big stack of materials back to the library. Went to meditation. Worked on a book for review. Worked on a piece I’m doing for NMLC.

This morning, another writing session, another editing session, then off to my client. I’m debating whether to grocery shop today or tomorrow. Doing some more work on the piece for NMLC. I’m working with the Executive Director on it later this week.

Have to do some raking and yard work. I need to cut back a bunch of stuff, put the pots away from the deck (either cleaned and stacked, or, for the big plants, to the spot where they overwinter in the garage). I figure, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it gets done.

I’m also doing some sorting and purging. Again, trying to do a little bit every day. Set the time for 15 minutes here and there, make a commitment to unpack a box or two. I want to get rid of a lot of stuff that’s not relevant to me anymore. I’ll keep most of the books, especially non-fiction, but release what I no longer want to define my life.

I’m redefining my life right now, which feels good, is scary, and most definitely necessary.

Meanwhile, I keep the writing steady. So it’s back to the page.

Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge. I read a delightful anthology called HAUNTED NIGHTS.

The bulk of the weekend was devoted to cat socialization. When you think it’s only been a bit over a week, they’re doing very well. There are still some hissy-spitties and growlies, but, overall, they are adjusting.

The weather was so dreadful on Friday that I never left the house. I read, worked with the cats, wrote. I shouldn’t be working on GAMBIT COLONY right now, but that’s my stress release piece, so I am.

Friday’s phone interview with a potential client did not go well. Again, it’s that whole unpaid labor as a requirement of the hiring process. I’m not working for you for free. I am not giving up billable hours because you’re incapable of reading my portfolio and analyzing my writing skills. That is a lack of skill on YOUR part, not mine. Yesterday, I withdrew from consideration.

I need to follow up with another potential client this week. I knew there was a busy period coming, but I can’t wait any longer, or there won’t be room in the schedule. I need to know whether or not we’re moving forward.

Saturday morning, I ran some errands, even though it was still raining. None of the places I went to has the filter I need for the furnace. I need to get my hands on one before they come to do maintenance on Friday. My landlord complains if they charge him for the filter, saying they charge too much. Um, why is this my problem? It’s not like the rent doesn’t cover it. Especially with the increase.

We had a fire in the fireplace Saturday afternoon. Willa wasn’t sure about it, which is funny, because Willa is The Little Adventurer. Charlotte was fascinated. She sat at a safe distance, but where she could watch it. Tessa’s been around fireplaces since she was a kitten, so she was nonchalant about it all. It was pretty funny.

Sunday morning, they had me up at 4 AM, because they were hissing and growling and chasing each other around the house. Well, because they all three wanted to be in my bedroom and THEN the hissing, growling, and running around the house started.

They settled down once they had breakfast, but I was up. Once I’m up, I’m up.

The sun was out, so I put the exterior decorations back up. I’ll add in the lights this weekend or so. I had to drive to Brewster to pick something up. The pickup went well, although the person doing the handoff made me feel uncomfortable.

Stopped in Dennis for some overpriced but delicious baked goods. But it was a little too much sugar for one day.

Read the newest Donna Leon, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN, which was excellent. I love that series. Read a different mystery by a different author where I like the characters, but there’s a lack of research in some of the aspects that really bothers me. So I always have mixed feelings when I read one of the books.

Up early on Monday. The cats tried to get me up at 4 AM again, but I closed the door, keeping Tessa in the bedroom with me and the other two out. Then, of course, they all worked to try and get the door open, but I managed to stay in bed until 5:30, which is a reasonable time to get up.

I did not take the holiday. I went in to do some work onsite with a client, hoping for a quiet day. No meditation group. Went in search of the furnace filter, and then make chicken pot pie for dinner. I’m getting good at making chicken pot pie from scratch.

Had a good follow-up from Thursday’s conversation, and am moving forward on that. Also got my edits/proofs from my editor at Llewllyn for the piece for 2021. Will turn those around this week.

Today, I’m onsite with a client most of the day, and then off to the library for a bit. Along with writing, revisions, and final galleys.

The whole situation with Syria and the Kurds is disgusting. The woman who was raped and then stoned to death — unacceptable. Sending our troops to Saudi Arabia — not acceptable. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee as people are slaughtered, and he makes a personal profit. The GOP, who could stop him, won’t. Not out of fear, but out of greed. Add to that the video of the Sociopath killing people who disagree with him that’s running at his resort? He should be in front of the Hague, and then locked away until he rots. It will take decades to repair what he’s destroyed. Which is, of course, what he was put in there to do in the first place. Destroy. Every single person who enables and votes for him is complicit. And must be defeated. This is what the GOP has worked toward since Reagan was in office. Greed and apathy made it possible.

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

 

Published in: on October 15, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm  
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Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

The weather is all over the place this week. Warm, cold, humid, dry, rainy.

Monday afternoon was fun. Got some errands run in Bourne and Sandwich, took my mom along, because it was a nice day for a ride.

Up to season five of the MARY TYLER MOORE show. I was too young to understand a lot of the innuendo the first time around. So many of the guest actors went on to solid careers of their own. It’s fun to see them here.

Was awakened Tuesday morning a little after 4, because yet another of the carbon monoxide detectors hit “end of life.” So there’s something else to replace. Yes, technically the landlord should, but it’s easier if I do it.

Decent writing sessions in the morning. Onsite with a client most of yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon, spent another work session at the library. Not sure if I’ll do that today or not. I don’t usually go to the library on Wednesdays. I’m too tired after being on site.

LOIs out, meetings, discussions on projects and potential projects. Got out some email blasts for a client and finishing up a roster of scheduled tweets for the month, for the same client.

We’re supposed to have some rain; I’m waiting until it passes through before putting up the exterior decorations. Yes, I’ll make sure to take photos! I’ll put them up on Instagram.

Still in search of a feline friend for Tessa.

Ordered a research book for a new series I’m developing. I won’t actually get to write it for a few years, probably not until the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries is done and Covetina Circle series is almost done. But I keep taking this particular book out of the library constantly, so I tracked down a used copy (it’s out of print) and ordered it for my personal library.

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Spinning some ideas, seeing where they go. Trying to stay on top of deadlines. I’m not doing enough marketing for my own work; I have to ramp that up, especially with the holidays coming.

And I’m on the hunt for a new webhost. A2 was great for breaking away from the horrible 1&1.com. However, A2 is incapable of making a simple fix and their security has gone downhill in the past few months. They’ll give me the runaround about getting into the sites for which I pay, but any random computer geek can hack in. That’s not okay. Their security is failing, and their customer service has gone downhill. And when there is a customer service issue, their solution is to send me into an endless loop of the same steps that didn’t work, through a variety of so-called tech support people. Which doesn’t solve anything, because all they do is pass it around the table instead of solving the issue. So it’s time to go elsewhere. It’s disappointing. I hate moving webhosts. It took me nearly a year to completely break free of 1&1. But I learned a lot since the move. Hopefully, I can apply it. Because I don’t upload FTP files, but build on the host, it’s going to be a pain to move things.

It means building everything from scratch again, the thought of which just makes me tired.

But if I have notes on all my specs and copies of all my copy, it shouldn’t be too bad. Famous last words.

Because of everything else going on, I’ll probably see out my term and make the switch in January.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness  
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Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Monsoon-like rains

Sorry this is late, but the weather’s thrown a monkey wrench into things this morning. Tomorrow’s post will be late, too, because I have a morning meeting.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden. And if you didn’t see Monday’s post about Flexibility on the GDR site, it’s here. I’m working on the questions for 2020, and they will be posted soon.

It’s been a tough week. We miss Lucy terribly. Tessa steps up, trying to take care of everyone in the household, but she misses Lucy, too.

One of my clients was at a luncheon with the head of Bide-A-Wee, where I adopted several of my cats when I lived in NYC. She got us in touch, and Leslie looks forward to helping me find the next member of our feline family when we’re ready. It means going to NY, but I’m established with Bide-A-Wee, and they don’t automatically mark every cat as “must be only pet” as they do here.

We are, of course, open to a cat coming to us from another source, but it’s nice to know we have options.

The writing has been a struggle. I’m close to the end of this draft of GRAVE REACH and am pushing through. I’m working slowly but steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. I’m working slowly and not quite as steadily on “Pier-less Crime”. I’ve also been playing with another idea that’s pulled at me and pulled at me.

I have a meeting early tomorrow morning. I like what I know of the company, but wasn’t thrilled with the interactions with the person I’ll be talking to tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m getting jaded. Most of these appointments are a complete waste of time. They’re about putting quotas into the statistics column, not actually finding the right person for an assignment or a marketing campaign. It’s a waste of time.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with A2 hosting. Now, when I have a question, I have to jump through multiple levels of “security” that has nothing to do with actual security and everything to do with asking me questions that are none of their damn business. Not to mention not actually reading my questions and answering them. Or providing any actual security against spam or anything else. Any random hacker can do whatever they want to my sites. But me? The owner who actually pays for them? Not so much.

A social media contact sent me the link to an article about how A2 has had security breaches since May of this year and isn’t fixing them. Yeah, that’s about when the problems started.

So I’m back to interviewing hosts again. I like what I see and hear so far with Site Ground. I want to have a more detailed conversation with them and maybe move everything over in a few months.

Working on LOIs and some more article pitches. Just so, so weary and sad.

But the Fearless Ink Twitter account I started to keep the business writing part of my social media life separate from everything else is working out well. And the Remote Chat yesterday was tons of fun, as usual. I feel very lucky with these colleagues.

Yesterday, September 11, was difficult, as it is every year. What was especially sickening was that the Narcissistic Sociopath tried to make it all about him, and those damn GOP hypocrites, talking about honor and remembrance, when just a few weeks ago, they tried to deny health care to those who came in and worked on the pile. I hope they all burn in hell for eternity.

I’m nearly finished reading Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters mysteries. They are a lot of fun. I like her writing. It has a lot of energy, warmth, and humor in it. Plus, she’s a good plotter. It’s also fun to read books set in an area I know — Philadelphia and Bucks County.

I made chocolate chip cookies last night just because. Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track  
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Fri. Aug. 23, 2019: This N That

Friday, August 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Yesterday was unpleasant, in terms of weather. Got some work done at the library. Took care of a bunch of stuff.

Quiet afternoon reading. I’m reading both Elaine Viets’s Dead End Job series and her Mystery Shopper series. They’re fun and lively. She balances plot and character well.

Started reading the Wendy Wassersetein biography WENDY AND THE LOST BOYS. I knew her from my NYC days, although she was a few years ahead of me on both years and her career. I admired her work enormously, although I didn’t know her well. But it was a reminder of a lot of that off-Broadway world that nurtured new work from the mid-seventies into the nineties. I knew some of the same people and places. Brings back a lot of memories. It’s always interesting to read another perspective about something you’ve lived.

Up early this morning. Out to run errands. What usually takes me 30 minutes took TWO HOURS because of traffic.

Friends coming in tomorrow for a bit, so I will clean the house — and hopefully not re-injure my hand. I had a great session on ELLA this morning, and look forward to working on both GRAVE REACH and my article this afternoon.

And focusing on GRAVE REACH all weekend. Next week will be a roller coaster.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on August 23, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 23, 2019: This N That  
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Fri. April 19, 2019: Trying to Stay On Track

Friday, April 19, 2019
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d like. I got out a few LOIs, handled some admin work, worked on “Aurora Nightingale” and my presentation. I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them. It’s very frustrating. But I have to keep at it. I’m going to go some more research on current events. That should help.

Worked on contest entries in the afternoon and evening. Just felt tired and discouraged, but better for being off line for a good part of the day.

I’m trying to juggle everything that has to be done before I leave for the workshop. The hotel stuff gets more and more frustrating and complicated. I’m remembering why I dislike that hotel so much.

But the workshop will be fun.

I’m trying to track down monies owed that are late — so sick of this. We all have bills to pay. Pay on time and let everyone else pay their bills on time.

We had rain yesterday afternoon, so I couldn’t do yard work. It’s sunny now, but we’re supposed to get another storm. I have things away from home that I can’t put off this morning; I’m hoping the weather will hold for the afternoon.

The weekend is supposed to be a little nasty. But maybe they’ll be wrong, and I can get some yardwork done.

Playing with some ideas that are niggling at me. Getting back into the groove with GRAVE REACH. But the bulk of the focus will be honing the presentation and making sure I have the handouts.

I’m under intense pressure on several different fronts. All I can do is put my head down and do the work.

Have a great weekend, everyone. For those celebrating Easter and Passover, best wishes to you.

Published in: on April 19, 2019 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 19, 2019: Trying to Stay On Track  
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Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy & cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

It looks like I may be moving webhosts again, or at least when my current term nears expiration. Here I thought A2 hosting was so great. Their price point is perfect. I like their panel. Yet the fact that I can’t access my sites from anywhere I want means they cannot serve my needs. I work on different machines in different locations. That is the nature of my work. I need to be able to access my sites WHENEVER and from WHEREVER I need. But because I don’t do so from a “static IP” address, they claim I triggered a firewall and won’t let me sign in far too often.

Basically, I’m only “allowed” to sign in from a single computer they recognize. Which is not how my life works. Nor am I going to change it to suit them.

They claim this is for “security.” Yet my email accounts have been hacked multiple times by outside sources and they shrug and tell me there’s nothing they can do. But I cannot access the sites for which I’m paying far too often. And ALWAYS when I’m under time pressure.

Which means A2 Hosting cannot meet my needs, and I must look elsewhere. Which is a shame, because there are so many things I like about them. The plan has to be affordable, allow me to run unlimited websites and unlimited email accounts, and also allow me to sign in from whatever computer and wherever I am located in the world.

A2 Hosting was great for the transition away from the awful 1&1, and they are light years superior to 1&1. A2 is so much better than Green Geeks. You remember what I nightmare I went through with them when I was trying to transition my sites over a year ago. But A2 Hosting is still not what I need. I am not an IT person or a developer, nor can I afford to have one on-call. I understand most of WordPress and am always learning, but I can’t run my own server. I don’t have the skills. I need shared hosting.

Both InMotion and SiteGround have come highly recommended. They were under consideration for the last move. I may talk to them both again.

I’m really tired of the sales departments of these hosts writing checks the tech department won’t cash. I ask very specific questions when I’m interviewing hosts, and when I’m assured they can and will meet my needs, I expect them so to do. They need to stop lying and misleading in order to land the sale.

I checked out Blue Host and HostGator. They could not meet my needs.

So the search continues. I welcome recommendations. My registrations are now all with Name Silo and I love working with them. No drama. Great customer service. Great prices.

The event I attended the other night was not what I expected, and not for the better. It was presented as a speaker teaching us how to make best use of visuals on social media. Instead, in an hour and a half, the “speaker” — reading from notes she took at someone else’s social media basics workshops — never got beyond joining groups on Facebook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now I know.

Wednesday morning, I worked on GRAVE REACH and on my presentation for next week’s NECRWA workshop. Two people I really like have let me know they’ll be in the workshop. It will be great to see some friendly faces.

Had to send an email ending a situation where I feel I’ve been jerked around for a week. It should have been simple and straightforward, and the other person is making Big Drama. Sorry. I keep it on the page and out of my life. The person responded in the evening, wanting to string me along indefinitely. So I said no and ended the situation. It leaves me heart-sore on one level, but I’m tired of the demands in this area of constantly having to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses, and not getting ANY accommodation for ANYTHING ever in return. It’s non-reciprocal, and I’m not participating.

Waiting to hear back from another potential client who told me they’d make a decision at the end of last week. I’m assuming they’re still negotiating with their first choice. We’ll see what happens. On the fence about whether I’d even say yes at this point. If I’m not the first choice, it’s not the right situation for either of us.

Got a weird email back from one of my LOIs, trying to justify making an offer to someone else. Hey, doesn’t matter to me. He’s the one hiring. The email made me think he has hirer’s remorse already. I sent a gracious email back.

Got out some LOIs. Had to sent a follow up email to one of the radio producers, because it’s been nearly a month and no check yet. Professional protocol is that the check goes out the day of or the day after the final performance. Not whenever someone feels like getting around to it.

I’m weary and exhausted from all the crap.

It’s all cycles. I had a strong cycle a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s more difficult. I have to acknowledge the frustration, the anger, the pain instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I have to sort through each situation logically and figure out the best way to respond, handle, extricate, or move forward. Then I have to take the actions so to do.

My life is mine. It is not to be lived for others’ convenience or agendas.

I’m invited to another event next week, and I doubt I’ll attend. Why bother? It’ll be same old, same old. Lots of meaningless chatter in the moment, no follow-through. Then, when I follow through, trying to get me to work for nothing. That’s the pattern here. I’m not playing the game anymore.

Working on contest entries, working on GRAVE REACH, working on “Aurora Nightingale.” I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them.

Tempted to work on GAMBIT COLONY, although I really shouldn’t. But working on that piece is a great stress reliever.

Working on the presentation. I think it will be a lot of fun next weekend. I’m not happy about being in the last slot of the day, when I’m at my lowest energy, but hey, someone had to be in it, so why not me? I’ll pace myself during the day and then pull up the energy and leave it all out in the room when it’s my turn.

I had hoped to have four solid days to do yard work, but it will be raining the entire time I have off. I need to get into better alignment with the weather, so I can get the yard done!

Going to do some policy work with a few people later today. That will make me feel better. Doing something that might actually make a positive difference somewhere.

So, yeah, going through a few tough days. It will even out eventually. In the meantime, I’m frustrated and exhausted and disheartened.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others  
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Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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