Tues. July 12, 2022: Building a Sense of Creative Community

image courtesy of ds_30 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, humid

There’s a quick post over on the GDR site about how too many prompts, etc. can be counterproductive.

Friday was actually pretty fun. I wrote the first draft of the one act in the morning. I did my errands: gas station, couple of stores to get hardware and more pots, library, wine store. Ran into my friend the baker at the library, and made plans to get together at the Farmers’ Market Saturday.

Home, and got everything unpacked.

Did my first Duolingo Italian assignment. I’m keeping my expectations low, just 10 minutes per day. The first lesson breezed right past. Having a little bit of French definitely helped. I could see correlations. What I’m not sure about is if I’m actually learning the vocabulary, because a lot of “writing the sentences” was about choosing the words that made the most sense. But am I really learning them? Still, it was fun, and if I feel comfortable with the Italian lessons in a few months, I might see if I can level up my French with them, too.

I kept up with the Duolingo assignments every day all weekend. I enjoy them, but I also need an Italian textbook to understand some of the “whys” behind the choices.

Saturday was Farmers’ Market Day. The weather was gorgeous, the stalls filled to bursting with glorious offerings. I stocked up on large tomatoes, cucumbers, baby red potatoes, fennel, sugar snap peas, lemon basil, eggs, espresso coffee cake muffins, banana bread – just wonderful. It’s as much as social/community experience as a shopping one. The regulars chat with each other, it’s full of friendly dogs making friends, everyone is cheerful and happy to be there. I look forward to going there every week.

I talked to my friend the baker about commissioning her to make the cheesecake for my mom’s 98th birthday in October. Cheesecake is my mom’s favorite, and she should have a good one. I always buy one (because I am terrible at making cheesecake), and I’d rather the money go to a local, small business, really talented baker.

I popped into the grocery store to build around the FM finds, then headed off to Wild Oats, the co-op, to fill in a couple of other things, and then to another grocery store on the way home to pick up something I knew they carried.

The stores have put the signs back up “recommending” and “requesting” people masks again, regardless of vaccination status. Locals have been good about it throughout, but it’s tourist season, and while it’s nowhere near as whackadoodle here as it was on Cape, there are still germy nasties roaming around.

At one of the grocery stores, a white (of course) woman whined to the manager, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to wear a mask, and I shouldn’t have to look at anyone else wearing a mask. Maybe I’ll just take my tourist dollars and go home.”

I stopped my masked ass the requisite social distance from her and said, “You’re gone, we’re alive, sounds like a win to me.”

She did that guppy face thing, and the manager cracked up.

Because fucking tourists.

The Cape’s COVID numbers have gone way up (of course). Makes me glad I’m not there anymore; makes me worry about friends and colleagues living/visiting/working there.

We were considering taking our two-day autumn break at the tip of the Cape, on the beach, but my mom said, “No way am I going to Cape Cod when they continue to behave like selfish idiots.” And then I got an email from the state health whatever about how the highest rate of monkeypox in the state is in Provincetown, so yeah, we’ll skip it.

So we will go elsewhere. Maybe the coast of Maine or to Newport. I just want to sit somewhere overlooking ocean and read books for two days. No sightseeing (which is why it makes sense to go somewhere familiar). No indoor dining. A room/cottage with a deck, an ocean view, and books. A room with a fridge, and we’ll do takeout. If there’s a kitchen, I can cook. Although, hey, vacation, maybe I’ll stick with takeout. If the virus numbers keep going up, we aren’t going anywhere.

Speaking of cooking (note the segue way), I used the lemon basil from the market and made pesto, because I do love pesto, and I love Full Well Farm’s lemon basil, so lemon basil pesto it is.

I made vegetable stock in the crockpot, which worked well. I’ll freeze one jar and keep the other two in the fridge to use up.

Saturday afternoon, I could not put it off any longer, and finished the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because the directions are so bad, I had to take something apart, do the next step, then do the thing I had to take apart, because if I did it in the order of the directions, I could get at the bit that needed to be done next. But by flipping the order, I could do both. Also, they kept instructing work done on it when it was sideways on the floor, when it made more sense to work on the bottom when it was upside down, and I could use my bodyweight. It was impossible to tighten the top the way the instructions ordered – there was no way to get in a tool to do it in that space. I’m trusting gravity, and, if need be, later on, Gorilla glue. The piece for the back wasn’t cut square, but I managed to nudge it to at least cover what needs to be covered. The doors splintered when the hardware was fastened. So they are put aside. I found one of my old tension rods, and I’m using the sewing mouse café curtains that always adorned my offstage workstation off-Broadway at theatres like the Variety Arts. They’re a little long and wrong, but until I can make other curtains (I have good fabric in my stash), they will do. I will also get some fabric for the back of the cart, because it’s so darn ugly I can’t stand to look at it. I will trim it and Velcro it onto the back, so that I can wash it when needed.

But the drawer (I built a drawer; I’m so proud) and the shelves  and the top are fine. The Tupperware is in the bottom, and the baking pans I had stacked over the cabinets nearest the kitchen window all fit. Now I have room, on that cabinet top, for the teapots I’m bringing up from the next storage run. The top is a good workspace, and I always need more workspace.

But I was achy and tired by the end of the day.

Sunday was another beautiful, sunny, temperate day. The wreath we bought the weekend after Thanksgiving, hung on the door for the Winter Yule season, then stripped of ornaments and hung on the living room since, just started drying up. So I stripped the wreath. I have one jar of small needles/twigs for Winter Solstice. I have 5 jars of pine needles stripped from the rest of it.

What would you use pine needles for? Glad you asked. Incense, sachets, charms, bath mixtures, and potpourri. For instance, for this holiday season, I’ll pour pine needles in a bowl, take an orange, stud it with whole cloves, toss in some cinnamon sticks, and there’s a holiday scent without anything perfumy. I can take a cheesecloth or linen bag, put in pine needles, rosemary, and orange or lemon peel, and put it in the bathwater. (Trust me, you want it a bag you can soak and then dump, not loose in the water. Learn from my missteps. There are places on the human body in which pine needles should never venture).

I’ll keep the frame, in case I want to build some other kind of wreath using it.

Tessa helped. She loves anything scented (and I think she misses my stillroom as much as I do). Willa watched from a safe distance. Charlotte slept through the whole thing.

But most of Sunday was mellow, enjoying reading, being on the porch, playing with the cats, etc. The neighborhood was quiet, because people took advantage of the nice weather to go out and do things Elsewhere. Which meant Here was quiet.

I finished the Shirley Jackson biography and read Thomas Lynch’s wonderful poems WALKING PAPERS. He is a poet who is also an undertaker. I have several of his books to read.

Sauteed fresh trout from the local fishmonger in butter, with salt and pepper, boiled fresh red potatoes (from Red Shirt Farm) and served them with butter, and blanched sugar snap peas (from Full Well Farm) in boiling water, then tossed them with sesame oil and parsley. Absolute bliss, tasting real flavors.

I’m enjoying the kitchen island cart. The additional workspace is wonderful.

Went to bed ridiculously early. Woke up at 1:30, but went back to sleep, until Tessa and Charlotte rousted me out of bed around 5:30.

Got the email box down from over 700 emails to 67. Worked on my day’s Italian lesson. Created interview questions for a project. Did a run to the library and the grocery store to pick up something forgotten over the weekend. Worked out a visit in a few weeks to a friend I haven’t seen since before I moved to the Cape (although we always kept in touch).

I’m having trouble with my keyboard. It’s only working on the top half of the screen. More Windows 11-HP-McAfee miscommunication, no doubt.

The dickhead postal carrier AGAIN put my box in the mail slot, where I can’t get it out because the residence side is 1” smaller than the postal slot. Seven fucking months this has gone on. So I wrote it all out in a formal letter to the postmaster. If it continues, I’ll file the complaint through the main USPS system. I was polite in the letter and asked for better training, even though I know, after seven months of conversations and notes with this guy, he’s just being a dick.

Read a script in the afternoon, but didn’t finish the analysis. I will do that today, and read another script that came up in the queue, only the file was corrupted, so I had to request a new copy. That came through, so all good.

In the early evening, I went over to Greylock Works, the converted mill, that’s a really cool space now. The Northern Berkshire Artist Meetup was there, coordinated by several groups. It was a mixed experience. Cool space. But indoors, and not everyone was masking (I, of course, did). With food and drink, even those masking had to remove them sometimes. More people in the space than I was comfortable with, although the fans and ventilation system was strong.

Some very cool people. I met an older artist who calls works in “oversized political origami” and married to a guy who was a Madison Avenue adman in 1960’s NYC. I met a filmmaker/sculptor/teacher. I met a guy who moved up here from DC with his poet boyfriend (I told him about the World’s Largest Poem). And, in passing, a bunch of other people. One chick announced, “Oh, my husband just tested positive for COVID. Maybe I should wear a mask?” and started giggling. No, hon, you should LEAVE.

Everyone near by stepped back, and those who weren’t masking scrambled to put theirs on. Fortunately, she was way more than 6 feet away (more like 12 or 16, but hey, airborne). I stayed away.

The new director of MASSMoCA, Kristy Edmunds, was the guest speaker, sharing her views on sustainable creative practice, and her vision to help artists shape and live sustainably creative lives (in other words, paid for their work and supported). She takes the time to get to know people in the community as individuals, not just the big donors. That makes a huge difference. She was really interested in talking to us, and in continued conversation. Several other organizations/agencies distributed information and resources. There’s a lot to tap into, and a lot of sharing of resources going on.

I left soon after the talk and those conversations. I would have liked to stay and listen to the music, but too many people indoors and, I’m not yet comfortable with that. As it is, I’m going to be a paranoid hypochondriac for the next 10 days, watching for symptoms. But, as the friend who worked on the vaccine pointed out, I’m probably exposed to just as much virus every time I got into the grocery store. I need to keep masking, remain cautious, and let the vaccines do their job.

I was masked. Let’s hope this wasn’t a miscalculation. I’ll know soon enough, right? When I came home, I went through the old, pre-vaccine decontamination protocols, just in case.

I didn’t get much sleep, thanks to Charlotte and Tessa hurling furballs all night. The cats have shed their summer coats already, and are growing in thick winter coats. The squirrels are putting things away for winter (destroying a lot of the plants on the balcony). It bodes for a tough winter.

Up early this morning (because it’s hard to sleep through hurling furballs). Off to the laundromat. Worked on the multi-colored draft of The Big Project. I’d like to work on revisions for the one acts, but I have to get the Big Project where it needs to be, so the announcement can go out next week, and the marketing push can begin. I will also follow up on the cards/postcards/contacts I collected yesterday.

I may, however, need to take a nap somewhere in there. The cats, of course, are all fast asleep.

I have some bills to drop in the box at the bottom of the road, but I’m going to spend the morning on Topic Workbooks and The Big Project, and the afternoon on script coverage. This evening, I will start reading the next book for review.

That’s the catch up. Hope you’re having a great week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but really good.

Made those Martha Stewart banana-walnut chocolate-chunk goodies. Oh, my goodness — one of the best cookies ever! Totally loved them. They are now my second-favorite cookie recipe, behind my favorite molasses spice.

The owl program at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History was amazing. I didn’t realize that screech owls and saw-whet owls were so tiny! So cute, especially the saw-whet. The barred owl was lovely. I absolutely adored the Great Horned Owl — he has no natural predator and he knows it. That was a bird with major ‘tude — he was looking at some of the smaller children like he considered them a tasty snack. So, of course, I adored him. The snowy owl, who’s been with this group since babyhood (owlet-hood?) was a showoff — loved the play the crowd. And the enormous Eurasian Eagle Owl know she was totally gorgeous and just demanded all to adore her. Really, really great program, and I can’t say enough great things about the people in charge. Check out their website for lots more info. I learned a lot, and now I know what to look — and listen for — when it comes to owls.

I sat next to a lovely woman who is part of the Friends program at the Center and gave me information. She said she had to come to this — or else she’d have to rake her yard! I may not join Friends — because my freelance schedule is so transient, I’m leery of initially committing to anything. But I might buy and inscribe a brick in Elsa’s memory for the walkway, and become a member, since I’ll be going to so many of their programs whenever I get the chance.

Their gift shop has gorgeous stuff, most made by local artists. I knocked four people off my Yule list right there!

I was really impressed with the kids — they’re lively, rambunctious, and very, VERY smart. And yet they’re totally well behaved. No screaming, no tantrums, no bad behavior. And they weren’t sticky, thank goodness. Kids come to me as often as dogs do. I’m not a particularly child-friendly person (one reason I chose not to have any), but for some reason, they really like me. I was surprised by how they paid attention and could refer to something at the beginning of the program later on when they asked a question, and how much they remembered. One kid, who couldn’t have been more than six or seven, could identify a Great Horned owl skull from a program he remembered at his school last year. Pretty impressive.

And the stuff they chose to buy was pretty interesting, too. None of this made-in-China plastic crap. They wanted very site-specific toys and books that required imagination. In general, I’ve been very impressed by the local kids, from toddler to teen. Quite different from the Summer Brats, I’m sure, and very different from the horribly behaved, selfish, bored and boring, entitlement-obsessed children in Westchester.

Back to the house too late to rake. Stopped at Trader Joe’s to get a wreath for the front door — everyone else in the neighborhood is decorated, and I feel behind the beat. Unpacked some more boxes — made a good dent in the pile still in the kitchen.

We got the area rugs up for the living room and the back bedroom and cleaned them both. They look great. I didn’t think the one would work in the back bedroom, but it looks great.

Did some work on the lectures.

Went to bed early, and the cats kind of let me sleep. Or maybe I was just so tired I didn’t notice them playing.

I’m still having weird anxiety dreams. They all have to do with being stuck somewhere in NY, in a theatrical situation, on a show without running notes. I’ll get over them eventually, but they’re annoying.

Up at a reasonable hour on Sunday, yoga, meditation, made biscuits for breakfast. Did some more work on the lectures. Read the Sunday papers – -haven’t done that in ages! Lots of good stuff in there.

Went outside and raked for a couple of hours. The raised part of the backyard. It’s only a small section, but it’s a whole section, so I got that feeling of accomplishment.

Had lunch, then ran some errands. Went to Sandwich to the Herb Shop to pick up a few things I needed to make sachets for the closets, and then swung by Lavender Moon to get the necklace with the amber that I looked at last week, but hadn’t bought. I can’t wear it every day, but it will be lovely for special occasions.

Also stopped at the Yoga/Wellness Center just down the street (seriously, I could walk if I wanted to — it would be about 15-20 minutes) to pick up their schedule. Looks like they have yoga classes along the lines of what I’m looking for, meditation group, and even an acupuncturist on staff. I’ll give them a try. I probably won’t start going to class until the New Year, but I’m going to try to get into one of the acupuncture sessions. My hip is really bothering me again.

Back to the house, and back to raking. I did some more in the backyard. Doesn’t it look better?


And I met the neighbor across the way who has the Scottie and the Westie, both of whom are rescues. The Westie is just a little love bug. But then, they know a soft touch when they see one. Basically, everyone up and down the street takes in rescues — the neighbor across the street only has two; most have three or more. Fine with me — the more happy animals around, the better. And I’m invited to an open house to meet the neighbors in two weeks!

And here’s what’s left for me to do in the back in the next couple of days:

I still have to tidy up the front before the rains hit Tuesday night.

Once I was done raking for the day, I started with the Yuletide decorations. I still can’t find a bunch of stuff, and I’m sure we’ll be rearranging things as we go, but I got part of the advent table up (enough to light the candle for the First of Advent, which is what yesterday was). The mirror’s not yet up over the fireplace, but I kind of like having all the nutcrackers there, and, for now, I have about half the Santas on one bookcase (one of the ones where I can’t find the shelves). I’m kind of at a stopping point until I get the tree up, and then decide what I want to do around that. But, now that I can put up my Very Big Tree — well, it’s an OLD Very Big Tree, and each branch has to be inserted individually, so it will take me three damn days!

I posted my welcome message and the first lecture for the workshop.

Violet is very cuddly lately. She seems to be settling in better than Iris, although Iris brought about five or six toys into the bed overnight. At least it’s not pork bones out of the garbage, which is what Elsa used to do!

Egg on face moment — for some reason, I thought my editor had booked a different article, and that was what I was working on until she straightened me out. NOT the way to impress your boss, right?

Mattress World never called me to give me a window for delivery today, so I will have to get on them about it. I can’t sit around indefinitely waiting for them to show up. Even though I need to spend a good portion of the day raking.

Got my first Yuletide card on Saturday — from the National Marine Life Center. Designed by one of their volunteers, who is seven years old. I’m telling you, the kids here are preternaturally bright. It’s an adorable card. I’m looking forward to putting it up.

And I have to get the overseas cards out this week.

Pretty much all we’ve watched since we got the TV hooked up is WGBH, Boston’s Public Television station. That’s the best on right now. Perhaps we should become members!

Actually stayed up until a reasonable hour, kept working on the lectures.

Up early this morning to find frost on the ground, yoga, meditation, feeding the cats, getting down to work, etc. The other split box is supposed to be delivered today — hope it actually happens — and then I can start really putting the bedroom to rights. I haven’t unpacked/found my sewing boxes yet or my hot glue gun, and there are some ornaments in desperate need of Ornament Hospital. I need to teach, work on some blog posts, and work on the article.

And rake. And unpack. And keep decorating.

No one’s stressed and frantic around here, but an awful lot gets done in a short amount of time. There’s no dithering or procrastination — they just get to it. My kind of place.

Oh, does anyone have any idea what kind of bush this is? It’s in the backyard, with orange berries and pale yellow flowers — a nice late bloomer.

Devon