Monday, December 24, 2012: Christmas Eve & Plenty of Stirring (Bowls, Pots, etc.)

IMG_0738

Monday, December 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

Merry Christmas! It’s a frosty morning here, but beautiful.

Billy Root’s got some info on the free Jain Lazarus holiday story now available — for a limited time. Go visit him here.

Busy, busy weekend. Lots of food and fun. Caught up with schoolwork on Saturday, finishing off my World History course. Jeremy Adelman, the professor, truly opened my eyes and got me looking at the world and how and why patterns appear and continue in new ways, and I’m grateful to him for that. This class will stay with me, support, and influence my work for years.

I’m behind in the Astronomy course, but will catch up this week. Since I’m auditing it, rather than going for certification, I’m not under the same kind of deadline pressure.

Decorating is done, food shopping is done, cards are done. There are a few e-cards that have to go out today, but the rest is done. I also have to wrap presents.

MURDER’S INTOLERANCE is coming along well. I have the new manuscript deadline for CRAVE THE HUNT, which means that goes back into the roster as of January 1. I’m prepping the classes and the private student segments for the beginning of the year, and working on the new brochure. I’m working on my questions for Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — and getting some surprising answers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas stories are coming along — they are pretty funny. Kurt and Daisy, my two protagonists, are pretty wacky. I am, however, glad I didn’t put the pressure on myself to write, revise, and upload them for THIS year — I think that would have taken the fun out of it. As it is, I can WRITE them over this year, then put them away, look at them over the summer, and offer them next year — which should be a ton of fun.

Got an idea for a pseudo-Dickensian steampunk — I’m making notes for it, so I can figure out how and when to add it to the queue.

I’m easing up on hustling work for the next couple of days, but by Thursday, I need to get back into the swing of it. I need substantially more dollars coming in for January than are currently booked. Part of that is extricating myself from some slow-paying and low-paying clients (a recurring theme for this year).

I have some articles to write over the next ten days — looking forward to that.

I’d offered to be the on-call backup for the Marine Life Center these next few days, but haven’t heard, so I’m assuming they’re covered.

The Solstice ceremony itself was lovely. I added in a remembrance for those in Newtown, CT.

I had to cut a whole section out of the post, because it overlapped too much with material from an upcoming article.

In any case, I intend to read a lot, write a lot, and cook a lot over the next few days.

I wish you a lovely, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Devon

Two Nina Bell comic mysteries available for the holidays! Excerpts and buy links here.

A romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths by Ava Dunne here!

Fri. Dec. 21, 2012: Yule

IMG_0742

Friday, December 21, 2012
Waxing Moon
Yule — Winter Solstice
Rainy and cold

Happy Solstice! Longest night, shortest day of the year. I’m looking forward to this evening’s ceremony, but there’s a lot to do before hand.

Yesterday, I took the last two platters over the bridge. First stop — the National Marine Life Center. I got to take a peek at the two seal patients — they’re now in the same tank. Townsend is as curious as ever. And Major Margaret — who was so badly injured that we weren’t sure she was going to make it — is now lively and feisty. Popped right up when we came in, leapt up onto the platform to wiggle over, dived into the tank to get as close as possible, clearly stating, “Where’s my herring?!” When you think how she used to just lie in her dry holding pen for hours and not move, seeing her playful and curious and dancing around is just delightful. It made my week! If you’re interested in learning more about both of them, go over to the NMLC site — they even have a webcam for the duo!

I also met the group of Kemp’s Ridley turtles in the other big tank. They were cold-stunned, and are now recuperating in the hospital.

After that little sojourn, it was off to Plymouth, to get the car inspected, and deliver the cookie platter to them. They were pleased (prepping for their holiday party later that night). They’re always so good to us.

On the way back, it was a quick stop at the bookstore to pick up the last few gifts.

Paula, if I know someone has dietary restrictions (like gluten-free) or allergies, I’ll either make something different for them, or not give them food. I always have a cheat sheet or a tag that lets them know if anything has nuts in it, for instance. This year, nothing did, so no worries, but sometimes a cookie will use almond extract, or, last year, I did the chocolate chip banana walnut cookies, and I made sure people knew there were walnuts in there. However, I have no time or patience for the self-righteous who pretend to be on a regimen, declaring loudly during the holidays they are carb or sugar-free or whatever. They’re doing that to make themselves feel superior and people around them feel badly. On top of it, they’re going to make the choice not to stay strictly on it, or, if they do, they make a lot of noise so everyone knows what a martyr they are. If they’re serious about it, they do it well before the holidays, and people know and can adjust; if, for some reason, someone doesn’t know and hands them something they don’t eat right now, the gracious response is, “Thank you! Have a great holiday!” and then passing it on to someone who enjoys it, or serving it when people who aren’t on a fake diet show up at the house. There’s a way to handle it so no one feels hurt or insulted, and far too many choose not to do that. It’s more of an issue in places like New York and LA, where people do this kind of thing as a way to get attention rather than an actual lifestyle choice; here, even if people adjust their diets, they usually give themselves leeway a bit during the holidays and/or are gracious if someone doesn’t know. I mean, I’m gracious when I go to people’s houses and there’s stuff I can’t eat, like shrimp. I just avoid it. I don’t make big drama out of it so the hostess feels bad. I’m making a couple of gluten-free and/or full vegan things for the party in January, just to make sure there’s something for everyone.

Speaking of which, I started planning the party. The invites are going out on Monday, even though that’s Christmas Eve. Or maybe Sunday. I kept thinking Christmas Eve was Tuesday — obviously, I’m having a problem tracking my days!

Decent writing session this morning. That book is set right before Samhain, and I’m having a bit of trouble switching back and forth between the holidays. Also, this weekend, I want to work on my Twelve Days of Christmas stories — I know what I’m doing for the partridge in the pear tree, and for the ten lords a leaping — it’s the other ten pieces I have to figure out!

And I’m working on my goals, dreams, and resolutions to post on January 1.

Today, I have to get out the companion handbook for Flash 7 and get “First Feet” ready for the free download. I want to finish the cards (I’m up to “s”) and get them out, and tidy up a bit — do things like laundry. Tonight is the Solstice Ceremony, and this weekend, I want to focus on writing and catching up with schoolwork.

Have a lovely weekend!

Devon

Two holiday Nina Bell treats — comic mysteries for the holidays! And a romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths.

Join “When Words Align” from Jan. 2-9 to get your WIP or revision back on track.

“Sensory Perceptions” will give you tools to layer sensory detail into your work, raising it to a more engaging level, as you create six flash fiction pieces and one longer piece. Jan. 2-Feb. 3.

Thurs. Dec. 20: I Impersonate the Cookie Elf and Other Tales

IMG_0734
Advent Table

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was about packing and delivering more cookie platters. Yup, that was pretty much the entire day. Several libraries, the business center, the vet, the fire department, the dump, Country Gardens, The Writers Center, Long Pasture, etc. — all the places I spend a lot of time and where they’re always good to me. Everyone seemed really pleased.

Yes, the platters take time and energy, but it’s also a way of letting these people I deal with all year know that they matter.

Check out this article by Frank Mulligan on the National Marine Life Center — not only is it a good piece to get more attention to the Center, but it’s exceptionally well-written!

I spoke with my friend over at Long Pasture about partnering with the Marine Life Center on a few things in the coming year — he’s open to it. I think it would be tons of fun, and that way, all of us could utilize our membership lists and expand coverage.

Still haven’t finished the holiday cards!

The plan was to get the cards done today and take the last platters Over the Bridge tomorrow — however, the weather today is great, and tomorrow is supposed to be disgusting, so I got up early, baked the last batch of red velvet cupcakes, and will do it this afternoon. I did get some more of the decorating done yesterday, and am starting to clear away the boxes.

Yoga was great this morning. And I stopped at the beach on the way home.

Tomorrow’s Yule — the Winter Solstice. I’m excited — I’m looking forward to the ceremony.

Devon

Enjoy some Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays — two Nina Bell comic mysteries, and an Ava Dunne-penned romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide Myths. All under $2!

“When Words Align” — get your WIP or revision back on track in this week-long intensive, Jan. 2-9, 2013. Information and registration here.

“Sensory Perceptions” — take your writing to the next level, layering in sensory description, creating six flash fiction and one longer story from Jan. 2-Feb. 3, 2013. Information and Registration here.

Thurs. Dec. 22: Solstice Blessings


spice cake with eggnog icing

Thursday, December 22, 2011
Day before dark moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Winter Solstice
Still dark out

It’s appropriate that the Winter Solstice hits this year when we’re nearly at the dark moon — and yes, the nights are very, very dark around here — holiday displays, but not streetlights! It will be weird, though, to have Christmas Eve on a new moon — we’re so used to the image of Santa’s sleigh and the full moon.

Ran around and did a lot of errands, including looking at new possibilities for a microwave. Still negotiating for that other job. The new publisher of the Jain Lazarus Adventures wants to take a look at Book 2 after the first of the year, so I will give it another quick read (I just recently did so, before I entered it into that beta testing program, but — another look won’t hurt). I’ll get the other book out to Champagne at the same time, and then turn my attention to Book 3 of Jain Lazarus. While, of course, juggling the year-long course, private students, and the 5 in 10 short story class! Good to be busy, right? But it means I should really relish the next ten days or so and not overdo.

I’m doing a bit of writing on the harpy book and then heading to yoga. Yoga on the Solstice — that’ll be fun. And tonight, we’ll celebrate.

Ready for the Wheel to Turn, and excited about next year’s possibilities.

Now, I just have to live up to them.

I’m re-reading Terry Pratchett’s HOGFATHER. It’s one of my favorite books anyway, but absolutely perfect around this time of year.

Devon

Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 6:05 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Iris stays in bed on cold winter mornings

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Full Lunar Eclipse
Winter Solstice
Snow

Happy Solstice, Peaceful Yule!

It’s truly winter here, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, hop on over to Biblio Paradise, where Diane Parkin talks about her novel NIGHT CRAWLER. Leave a comment, so she’ll know you were there!

Then, hop over to my new gardening blog, GRATITUDE AND GROWTH, for its launch. Most of the time, I’ll post on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but I thought the Solstice on a Full Moon was a good day to start!

Okay, back now?

Yesterday was a good writing day. Finished, polished, and got off the big article on time, and my editors seem pleased with it. Prepped the two blog posts listed above. Caught up on email. Made some notes for a couple of projects — a play and a book — that have February deadlines.

It snowed all day, which was lovely. Mid-afternoon, I shovelled the walk and the driveway. It wasn’t too bad, but either I have to invest in a snowblower or hire someone if the whole winter is like this. I’m simply not strong enough if the snow gets much heavier.

It kept snowing in the night, and, when I went to turn off the outdoor trees at 10 PM, I couldn’t open the door! Not only had enough snow fallen so it blanketed the step above the doorframe, but more had blown against it. I wrestled the door open to get the trees unplugged, and went to bed.

I was awake on and off, hoping to see the lunar eclipse, but didn’t. Everything was that milky pale bright of moonlight.

This morning, the neighbors were up bright and early, with their snow blowers, and cleaned my driveway and walk for me. Isn’t that kind?

Yep, when we can get out of here tomorrow, I think it’s time for me to invest in a snow blower! It took them maybe 10 minutes to clear the drive and the walkway, so if I had a blower and did it myself, it would take maybe 20. I could hire one of the guys up the street to plow me out, but if we have a severe winter, the blower will earn its keep within a month or so.

And for some reason, the sound of the snow blower is at a different pitch and it doesn’t hurt the way leaf blowers do. (Just a reminder, the sound of a leaf blower causes the physical response in me that could trigger a heart attack, which is one of the MANY reasons I don’t own one. Why would I own a a machine that could kill me simply by turning it on?. The name of this condition is a very long word with lots of consonants).

I stuck my yardstick in a clear part of the yard, and it hit just under 13”. The weather folk keep saying yeah, the Cape got hit harder than expected (they said 2-4”), but we seem to have gotten more than the places they’re measuring.

My mom’s friend is supposed to visit today, but I don’t know if she can get here. After all, they had to close to Bourne Bridge for awhile last night, due to weather. And we’re supposed to get walloped over Christmas weekend with an even more severe storm, so I think we’re not going to make it to Maine for Christmas Day Dinner. Which is fine, I’ll just cook a turkey here (and hope the CO detector doesn’t go off).

I’ve got logs for the Yule ceremony this evening, and a chicken to roast tonight. I may call my favorite hardware store in Osterville and say, “Hey, babe, got a snowblower that fits in a volkswagen?” because why not give him a challenge, right? 🙂 I might as well be his resident eccentric.

I’m going to run the vacuum quickly through the house now (after sprinkling the carpets with lavender and peppermint) just in case my mom’s friend turns up. Then, I’ll get back to the page for awhile. I got very little done on yesterday’s To Do list (yes, I made a list for once), so I want to get a little bit more done today.

Yesterday was productive, and the quality was high, but today I need to add in some more quantity, too!

And I want to come up with something nice to do for the neighbors as a thanks!

Devon