Thursday, June 9, 2022: Unpacking Teapots

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Yesterday started rainy, then cleared up and was beautiful. I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

I didn’t get much writing done, which was frustrating. My brain decided it was Friday. So I focused on the client work first, after I’d gotten through all the email that stacked up while we were gone on Tuesday.

I turned around three scripts, in and around unpacking most of what we brought back up on Tuesday, and figuring out where to put it.

The box of Johnson Brothers china came up. I adore Johnson Brothers china, and I have a combination of it from my grandmother and that I’ve picked up in thrift stores and yard sales over the years. I can spot a Johnson Brothers design at 50 paces. Some of it is original, and had to be handwashed. Some of it is reproduction and can go in the dishwasher.

I also brought up my Pyrex and corning ware dishes (that are from the 60’s and 70’s), because we needed more of those dishes.

Two boxes of teapots came up. I unpacked one box and washed it, reminding myself of the story behind each pot. There are three more boxes of teapots which will need to come up in the autumn. They have to be all handwashed. Also in the box was a ceramic decanter and a pair of goblets that I picked up in a thrift shop and just love. I’m not sure yet where to put them, but I love them.

I might post the stories behind each teapot on my Ko-fi page.

I ordered an island cart for the kitchen. I need more counter/storage space. I wasn’t going to spend the money right now, but it was on sale right now, so I did. It will arrive on Monday. Not looking forward to putting it together, but the extra prep space and storage space are much needed. It’s on wheels, so I can stash it in front of the cookbook bookcases when it’s not in use.

I’m designing the way the new seat covers are going to work on the kitchen chairs, because traditional recovering isn’t going to work. Originally, I was going to staple the fabric to the frame, and then re-screw the seats into the chair frames. We’ve had problems with those screws since we got the chairs. Instead, I’m going to make like the quick change theatre wardrobe person I am and put snaps on the covers and the seat bottom, so I can remove these and wash them as needed. Then, I’m going to Velcro down the seats to the frames, allowing more stability and the flexibility to remove the seats as needed.

There is measuring and math involved, but needs must.

Somehow, in all of this, I managed to bruise the index finger of my right hand. I’m not sure if this is fallout from the bruising to that hand when I broke the bowl on Monday, of if I hurt it some more in the storage unit or unpacking. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s badly discolored, and definitely gets worse when I type. I’m keeping an eye on it and treating it with arnica cream. It’s not like I bang hard on the keys when I type. If anything, I have a light touch. (I worked with someone a few years back in the office, and she always pounded on the computer keyboard, and I’d think, “what has that keyboard ever done to you?”).

Anyway, meditation this morning, then work on The Big Project and the monthology story, then over to client work.

“The Collector” radio play has been accepted by the producer in New York, so we are talking contract terms. I’m very excited.

I have to do a library run today (books waiting). I’d planned a quick run to Pittsfield, but I think I’ll wait for better weather, tomorrow or over the weekend.

Ellen Byron’s newest release, THE BAYOU BOOK THIEF, is supposed to arrive today, the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook series. That is my treat for the weekend, along with finishing Helen Whistberry’s THE MELODY OF TREES, which is just wonderful. I also have a book to turn around for review, which I will try to do this afternoon.

This time last year, I was in moving hell, and it was so hot and humid, it was difficult to function. I am grateful  to be where I am now.

Have a good one, my friends.

Wed. June 1, 2022: A Day Out

image courtesy of Pete Linforth via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and a little cooler

Yesterday was hot and humid. Not unbearable, but uncomfortable.

I wrote 1K in longhand early in the morning, had a discussion about the new cover/new look for the Topic Workbooks, did some research on resources, and revised the first 25 pages of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

By then, it was time to leave for our rescheduled day out. We swung by the library first, to drop off and pick up books, then headed down to Pittsfield, and across to Hancock to visit the Hancock Shaker Village. We were there when it opened, so it wasn’t yet crowded. The staff was masked; locals were masked. You can always tell the tourists around here, because they don’t mask and don’t care if they make other sick.

The Village itself is beautiful. They’ve done a lovely job of setting up walkways and organizing a flow. It’s easy to go from building to building, to go through the medicinal gardens, see the art installations, and visit the buildings.

The Round House is amazing, stone and wood. The construction artistry, melding beauty and function, is breathtaking. Of course, we visited the animals, too: calves, goats, sheep, pigs and their piglets. One of the chickens slid out of the chicken coop and strutted around like she was giving a tour. Turns out her name is Trixie, and this is HER property. She graciously allows visitors. It was pretty hilarious.

When we went to the Discovery barn, the woman working there was childhood friends with a Broadway dresser (who’s still working in NYC). I was the only other Broadway dresser she’s ever met. Talk about a small world.

We came home, had a late, light lunch, and rested in the afternoon. I read Susan Mallery’s SUMMER GETAWAY, which Deborah Blake had recommended. I also found out that Lilith St. Crow’s beloved dog, Miss B, died, and my heart hurts for her and her family.

I have four scripts in my queue for today and tomorrow, so hopefully, this next pay period will be more lucrative than the last couple. I’m grateful for the break, but I don’t want to lose the cushion I was building up.

Up early today, and to the laundromat. Got about 25 more pages of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. It’s slow going, because every word has to be weighed. I hope to work on the first few chapters I’ve already marked later today.

There’s road construction up on Church Street, and they’re redirecting the traffic down our street, ignoring that it’s one way in the other direction. Someone’s going to get killed. I’m glad I got back so early from the laundromat, or my car would have been hit by one of these ignorant yahoos driving 60 mph down a residential one-way street IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. Yeah, Town Council’s gonna hear about this. It’s not that the drivers don’t know; it’s that they don’t care and do it anyway. Typical Masshole drivers.

I need to work on The Big Project and The Topic Workbooks and the radio play this morning, before I switch over to script coverage this afternoon. I also want to get the book review out this morning, so I can get my next assignment. We’re supposed to get the powerful thunderstorms that never arrived yesterday. Let’s hope so. I have a pre-storm headache to beat the band.

Have a good one.

Published in: on June 1, 2022 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 1, 2022: A Day Out  
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Wed. May 25, 2022: Roadtrip!

image courtesy of 453169 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was road trip day. We travelled over to Lake George, a day trip to make sure the car was working, and to get a few things out that way we couldn’t source around here.

We drove Rt. 2 across to Troy (New York), which was pretty, but the curvy mountain roads required intense concentration, especially since I haven’t driven much since December, and I’m not used to the mountain roads yet. I mean, they’re not the Alps, but still have challenges (mostly yahoos in rusty pickups who want to speed).

Troy is an interesting, historic city, and we picked up Rt. 9 North from there. Once we got around Saratoga Springs, I was back in familiar territory, although I hadn’t been out that way since before we moved to the Cape a little over a decade ago. It’s gotten more built up, of course, but it was still good to see familiar places with happy memories.

Somehow, we got sidetracked onto Rt. 9N north, instead of N, and took the roundabout way to Lake George which was . . .kind of retro kitschy? Very built up with games and “fun” parks and stuff, and one can barely see the lake for the tourist stuff. We’d hoped to grab some takeout and picnic near the lake, but there wasn’t anything we wanted to eat, and a plethora of school field trips, so we decided not to.

We stopped at the Timberland outlet and I got new walking shoes – black with purply-pink trim. I had my last Timberland walking shoes for nearly 15 years before they fell apart during the move last year. These feel great, and will be terrific for running errands. I doubt they’ll last as long as the others, between concrete city streets and hiking trails, but I have every intention of enjoying them. We stopped at a couple of other stores, too, and bought a few things, but mostly didn’t, and didn’t stay in stores where people weren’t masking. We, of course, stayed masked.

We picked up I-87 and dropped down to Albany, then went across on the Pike, and came back up through Lee and Lenox. We stopped at the kitchen store in Lenox; I hadn’t had a chance to do my birthday shopping there in March. One of the (unmasked) cashiers was walking around on her cell phone, talking about how she was “recovering” from COVID and how much she loved the anti-viral drugs. I grabbed two pretty blue bowls, went to the other cashier, and we got the heck out of there ASAP, sanitizing like crazy. Bitch should have still been home, or, at the very least, masked in the store, instead of spewing germs everywhere.

We stopped at a food market that advertises all over the place and is always crowded (90% were masked, thank goodness)). I’d heard so much about it. I found them overpriced. Their prices are $2-$4 higher than the food co-op and $3-$5 higher than the other grocery stores in the area, for the same brands.

I bought some of their own brand to try it. The take-and-bake pizza had no taste. Not even a cardboardy taste. Completely bland, until I put some of the fresh basil from the garden on it. That brought out the cheese and tomato flavors, but the crust was still bland. The organic chocolates were flat, too. The texture was okay, but they lacked taste. This morning’s chocolate croissants were okay, but not brilliant. Let’s hope the rest of the stuff I bought there has more flavor, or I am going to be Annoyed.

Doubtful I’ll shop there again, unless the cheese I bought from the cheese monger is terrific.

But at least we know it’s hype without substance, and don’t have to shop there again.

We did full decontamination protocols on ourselves and everything we brought into the house, just in case.

Charlotte and Willa had missed us, and were glad we were home. Tessa had ensconced herself on the porch, and was like, “Eh, you’re home earlier than you said.”

Read in the evening, still reading DISORIENTED, which is such a strong book. Definitely has a lot of ha-ha-ow! to the satire.

Tried to re-order the cat food, but they are out of stock for the only food Tessa will eat. We still have a few weeks’ worth, which is why I usually order early. I can wait a few days before figuring out something else.

Was heartbroken and enraged by yet another school shooting in Texas. Every politician who blocks gun control and removing the filibuster is personally responsible for these daily killings, and should be charges as accessories to the homicides.

Up early this morning, confronted by a very angry Tessa. When we refilled her bowl before bedtime, we left it on the kitchen counter. She did not get her 2 AM snack, and she was enraged. For once, she didn’t even care that I was headed to the laundromat. Her attitude was, “Just go! You’ve done enough!”

Laundromat was fine. Lots of laundry, but got it done in a reasonable amount of time. I drove, because there was so much, and refilled the gas on the way back. I’d only had to fill the car once before since January, so I feel like I have no right to gripe about gas prices. Besides, it’s still cheaper here than, say, in the UK, where they pay for a litre what we pay for a gallon.

I haven’t had any scripts in my queue since Saturday, and am trying not to panic. I am way under my nut for this pay period. I’m still okay, but I’m trying to get ahead, not just stay afloat. I have some other paid work to do, fortunately, this week, but it irritates me that they gave us this big song-and-dance about wanting us to take on more work and put more of our focus on them, but then they can’t give us enough to meet our needs.

Time to add a few more clients into the mix. Another editor wants to know if I want to work with her again (it would be for a project coming out in 2024, although it would be due this August and paid next October, which is the way it works for the almanac). I’m going to say yes. I have a book to read for review, and radio scripts to do for producers. Plus, the Big Project, the monthology story, revising “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks, and the next edit on CAST IRON MURDER.

Speaking of CAST IRON MURDER, I started the multi-colored draft at the laundromat, and wow, is there a lot of sloppy language in it. It’s part of one character’s cadence, but I’m going to clean up the rest of it. Yikes.

If you’re not familiar with my multi-colored draft, my article on the layered editing process is here.

Back to the page. I have a headache from the driving yesterday, but there’s too much to do today to take another day off.

Have a good one.

Wed. Feb. 23, 2022: Mix and Match Creativity

image courtesy of Leolo212 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and mild

I forgot to mention the post over on the GDR site about one’s practice; and later today, there will be a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about being “Invited to apply.” The latter was supposed to post last week and didn’t. There’s a glitch with the scheduling tool, but I think it’s fixed.

I haven’t talked about the Ukraine situation because there’s nothing of value I can add to the conversation. Of course I’m upset at another war, especially one started by Russia. And I think the Congresspeople who pander to Putin (especially those who visited him on July 4th a few years ago) should be prosecuted for treason and face the ultimate penalty for it. Nothing short of that will stop them. That’s all they understand.

The entrepreneur meetup was interesting. Cool project, I’m looking forward to trying it. I didn’t say much, because there wasn’t anything to say; the presentation was clear, it’s an interesting piece, and now I need to interact directly with it. Any speaking I did would have been for the sound of my own voice, and that’s not necessary.

Part of the difficulty with networking (apart from the whole pandemic/isolation bit) is that I have to balance the need/ability to network with protecting the work. The work has to always come first, the writing. Things like The Big Project and the plays and writing/editing the books. Everything else has to build around it and feed into it, being “in addition to” not “instead of.” Sometimes that’s a difficult balance to strike. At other times, it’s impossible.

Headed to the library to drop off/pick up books. By the time I got home, it was raining, and kept raining, harder and harder, all day and into the night.

I renewed my Boston Public Library eCard, so that I have access to all their digital resources, which includes access to work via the British Public Library. That will help in my research.

Spun out some ideas for two grant proposals (one for one of my projects, one for a friend who’s got a big project). Did some brainstorming on the anthology. Covered a script for which I was requested (although I have to finish writing it up this morning).

In the evening, I attended a virtual author talk between Nina de Gramont and Wiley Cash about THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR. It was sponsored by Titcomb’s Bookshop. It was a lovely event. She’s a gracious and interesting speaker. Wiley Cash was lively and asked great questions, and I want to read his new book, too (I haven’t read any of his work before). There was a discussion about themes built around the different marriages in the book, and how unwed mothers were treated in Ireland at the time, which was very interesting, since so much of the press around the book focuses on Christie’s disappearance, and on the mystery side of it (and there are mysteries within mysteries in the book, too).

I started reading THE DECAGON HOUSE MURDERS by Japanese author Yukito Ayatsuji, translated by Ho-Ling Wong. It’s inspired by Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. It’s very clever and well done.

Although not a lot of words got onto paper, it was still a creative and interesting day, which is always a good thing.

Charlotte woke me up at 2, wanting attention. By 2:30, Tessa was howling, because Charlotte was getting attention and Tessa wasn’t. I moved to the couch, but couldn’t get comfortable. I finally dozed off and woke up around 6:30, completely disoriented.

But I have to “pull up my socks” as they say, and get moving. Lots to do today. Too messy out to hump the laundry to the laundromat, but I may go over to the college library and hunt down some research materials for various projects. And then, of course, more script coverage.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Feb. 3, 2022: The Rain Before Snow

image courtesy of InspiredImages via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mercury Direct

Rainy and mild

Today is the rain before the next snowstorm comes in, so I’ll have a chance to dig out the car, since the big snow pile behind it is melting.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the seed order, and a post on Ink-Dipped Advice about talking about money early in the hiring process.

Yesterday was a rather quiet day. A little frustrating, as I didn’t finish the radio plays as I’d hoped, so that’s the priority for this morning.

I slogged through a bunch of email, got some blogging done, stomped up to the library to drop off and pick up stacks of books. Most of the sidewalks were okay, but some were still bad. And this attitude of shoveling to the property line and leaving the snow mound at the line on the sidewalk irks me. The sidewalk should be clear all the way through.

Finished reading Cynthia Kuhn’s THE ART OF VANISHING. Wow. I usually get ahead of plot twists, but this one kept surprising me. I absolutely love this series. I love the literary conversations between the characters, too.

Started reading THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR, which is interesting and very different, in style and tone, from what I’ve been reading lately.

Put in the order for the Kitchen Garden seeds. I didn’t order much. They were out of both the globe thistle and the grey poppy.

Read two scripts, which I will write up today.

Spent a couple of hours on Discord, brainstorming the Monster Anthology with the other writers. I don’t want to give away too many details, but I’ve created a Playhouse as the backdrop for my characters, and it’s a space that can be used in other stories, as well as mine, so I’ve promised to draw up a floor plan and create some details about the space.

Tessa got me up at 4 again, I moved to the couch, fell asleep again, and got up around 6:30, which set me back for the day.

Meditation was great; Charlotte participated.

I have some bills to pay, and more documentation on the complaint I’ve filed against TracFone to submit, and then it’s back to the radio plays and The Big Project. I have to get the script coverage done and read two more scripts tonight, but I also want to work on the floor plan for the playhouse.

Lots of fun stuff in the hopper!

And Mercury turns direct today, thank goodness. I might even get to buy Scrivener tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Published in: on February 3, 2022 at 9:34 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 3, 2022: The Rain Before Snow  
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Thurs. Nov. 18, 2021: Early Morning Arias

photo courtesy of Isabella Mendes via pexels.com Note: This is not my Tessa, although this cat looks very much like Tessa.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

There’s a post about how the environment is changing over on Gratitude and Growth.

Got my words in yesterday, then switched over to script coverage, and worked on that. Remote Chat was a lot of fun, too.

I managed to book my COVID booster appointment for the Monday after Thanksgiving. It’s Pfizer, so I hope it doesn’t take me down the way the Moderna shots did. I mean, it’s definitely worth it, but I can’t afford to lose a week of work right now.

Ordered cat litter, got in some reading for fun.

Did a crockpot chicken that was really good.

Willa was dancing around in the evening, up and down on the kitty condo, running up and down the hall. I rolled one of balls with bells in it, so she had something to chase and play with. Charlotte later used the condo, too, so at least they’re in it, although they still prefer the Chewy box to anything else, and I left it for them, instead of breaking it down.

Tessa woke me up at 4, singing her version of opera. I moved into the sewing room. She started again, then realized I was there, stopped, and curled up on the couch. Willa came to check on me, and make sure I was still alive, and then Charlotte came to see where I’d gone. Then Tessa and Charlotte started fussing at each other. It was 5 by then, so I got up.

Got in my words on CAST IRON MURDER early, 2339 words. 50K is in sight, as is the end of the book. Although I want it to be around 72K, this draft will come in shorter, and then I’ll layer in the subtext and sensory details in the next draft.

Meditation this morning, and then we’re hoping to go to Great Barrington (if the weather holds). It looks like it wants to storm any minute, but the reports keep saying it will be on “partly” cloudy until this afternoon, and then rain. I’m seeing more than “partly” but go figure.

When we get back, I have coverage to write up, and more scripts to read. I’m going to work through the weekend, so I can take next weekend off. Although I’m wondering if I should work Saturday and Sunday, in case the booster wipes me out for a few days next week.

One day at a time, that’s all I can do.

I have a few things to pick up over the weekend for Thanksgiving (like the turkey), but we are mostly set.

Wed. Oct. 6, 2021: A Day of Cooking

image courtesy of Polina Tankilevitch via pexels.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

New Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Pluto goes DIRECT this afternoon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a very go-with-the-flow type of day.

As I mentioned in the post, I had three loads of laundry done at the laundromat before 8 AM, which sounds like a good start to the day.

After breakfast, I paid some bills. Then, we headed out, in the rain, to the post office to mail said bills, and then to the TD Bank in Williamstown to close our account. That bank is one of the few places around here that doesn’t require masks. The staff is masked, although our teller wore her mask under her nose. Yeah, glad to be done with them. Our accounts are now officially closed.

There are a couple of bookstores I want to go back and visit in Williamstown at some point.

Got our grocery shopping done at Wild Oats and Stop & Shop. The latter is definitely having supply chain issues, especially on big, national brands. Some empty shelves, and they’ve been out of certain products now for nearly a month. Very little of it is stuff I actually use; we’re still using up stuff I’d stockpiled during the pandemic, and replacing staples and some of the canned goods as we go, so that we’re always ahead of the game and have a full pantry. We did so last year during the pandemic, in case there was ever a real lockdown and we weren’t allowed out more than once a week; we kept stockpiling once we moved here, because we’ve heard winters are harsh and there will be times we can’t go anywhere.

I’m keeping an eye on things, and making sure we’re extra stocked with certain items, so that if there are problems, be it from supply chain issues or storms, we will be okay for a couple of months.

After we came home and put things away, we had to refold the sheets from the laundry. I’d done a lousy job at the laundromat.

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist who prayed a lot and asked for guidance wasn’t a very nice person (funny how that works, right?) and, frankly, was one of the characters who’s too stupid to live. So I won’t be reading any more in that series.

After lunch, I used up leftover sweet potatoes to make sweet potato soup (a Moosewood recipe). It’s pretty good, although when I heat it up for our lunches over the next few days, I think I will add a little more salt and pepper.

Found a “classic” radio station that was playing songs from the 80’s and 90’s, early in my career, when I had a lot of all nighters in various theatres or out and about, and the songs all hold lots of memories. So I danced around the kitchen while cooking, which was fun.

The soup took longer than I expected, and then I made a spiced apple cake (another Moosewood recipe). That turned out well, although I miss allspice in it. I like allspice in recipes with apples. It has cinnamon and cardamom. Next time I make this, I’m going to put in allspice, but I’m not sure if I will substitute it for the cardamom, or put it in addition to the cardamom.

That took longer than I expected, too, so it was after 5 before I got the chicken into the oven to roast (with potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots), and it was nearly 8 before we sat down to dinner. Late for us.

The cats were very confused.

While it was roasting, we had the Knowledge Unicorns session, which went well. The kids now being homeschooled have adjusted well, and are thriving. The kids who are doing remote learning through their regular schools are having a bit more of a struggle, mostly due to the pressure to go back in person. But we’re doing a lot of supplemental stuff to their various curriculums, as far as virtual museum tours and additional histories/readings and “at home” theatre performances online. They’re definitely learning more and more widely than if they were in-person.

But it also means I didn’t get any script coverages written up. I’m still fine with deadlines, as long as I stay on track today. I also didn’t read, so I have a lot of coverage to write up today, and a pile of scripts to read.

A group of characters arrived in my brain, in search of a plot. I made some notes, and we’ll see.

Although I’m not going into detail every post, I am steadily doing my first 1K of the day in longhand. Sometimes it’s a little more than 1K, sometimes a little less. But it’s happening. There’s just not much to say about it.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up around 3:30 this morning. I moved to the sewing room and dozed off until about 5, and then got up to feed them, at Tessa’s very loud insistence.

The plot around the characters who showed up yesterday is starting to take shape, so I took more notes.

I’m chained to the computer today, writing up script coverages and working on articles and blog posts and a book review. I plan to take time out for Remote Chat. With the new moon, I upped my daily yoga practice. I lost a lot of progress during the moving months, and I’m of an age where I have to work harder to get it back.

What I’d really like to do is take a nap! Maybe this afternoon, for a half hour or so. At least I have that flexibility.

Have a good one. Pluto goes direct this afternoon, so that eases some of the 7 Retrogrades pressure. We’ll be back down to six. (Eye roll).

Wed. Sept. 22, 2021: Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Autumn Equinox (Mabon) in the Northern Hemisphere

Cloudy, rainy, humid

Got some work done early, then headed out to Target to get a pair of white bookcases I need for the sewing room. Normally, I don’t like white anything, but these bookcases will flank the vanity table I’ve converted to a sewing table and hold fabric, sewing books, etc. I have to put them together, and that’s a project for the upcoming days.

What puzzled me was that two guys who worked at the store and helped me get the bookcases first into the cart and then into the car struggled with them. With one guy, I’m thinking, “Dude, I’m old enough to be your grandmother and I can handle them.” I didn’t say anything except, “Thank you.”

Handle the bookcases I did, getting them from the car and up to the stairs to the apartment BY MYSELF.

The afternoon was split with reading script coverage and a phone consultation with an ex-client. I’d worried about the conversation, but it went well. She basically needed an audience for decisions already made, although I pointed out some ethical elements she needs to add in.

Up early this morning, thanks to the cats. It’s the Autumn Equinox, and I’m busy with that, plus I have a lot of script coverage to write up.

And there’s Remote Chat later this afternoon, to which I look forward.

On the writing front, I had a decent first session on the novel, I’m doing research on a couple of pieces, and some world-building for another piece. Not much I can really talk about until I’m deeper in the process; while I don’t mind talking process, if I talk too much about what’s in draft, it loses creative energy. It’s one reason I don’t participate in social media games that ask too many questions about a WIP. That energy needs to be reserved for the actual writing. Speaking too much about a project publicly instead of writing it dilutes it.

Have a lovely Equinox!

Published in: on September 22, 2021 at 8:13 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy, rainy, humid

I have a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth about differences in air and earth between the Berkshires and the Cape.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the Knowledge Unicorns are back up and running. Since none of us believe any in-person learning in this country is safe at this point, and all the kids are being taught at home (be it online learning through their school or home schooling), the homework group is back. Most of the kids stayed in touch with each other over our summer break. Two of the families went camping together, and strengthened those bonds. So that is all good. Some of the kids are sad; friends of theirs have died, thanks to the anti-vaxxers. All of the kids are angry, and rightly so, that the systems and people who are supposed to have their best interests at heart are willing to let them die by trying to force them into in-person learning when it’s not safe.

Tuesday’s session was mostly about dealing with all these realities and emotions. Today, we will actually start on their homework.

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (so that I had time for yoga), and we were out of the house by 6 AM to do a storage run down to the Cape. In spite of the traffic, we arrived a little before 10 AM, and, even with switching stuff out of the units, unpacking and repacking the car, we were back on the road by 10:14 and home by 2 PM. It was a good day to drive, in spite of the traffic.

Unloaded the car, got everything upstairs, and got us late lunch/early dinner from Burger King, which I knew I would regret, but it was good while I ate it.

We got the new checks from the bank – hand-delivered, no less. So now, I can go about what I need to do to get the old account at the other bank closed. The checks written have to clear, and a refund has to show up. Then, I can go over to Williamstown and shut down the account. The bills I’m paying today will start coming out of the new account. All of this was way more chaotic than it needed to be.

I started the next book assigned for review, and, so far, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

We were back in time for me to attend the virtual Straw Dogs Writers Guild Annual Author Showcase. They are based in Pioneer Valley, and it was in partnership with Forbes Library in Northampton. So probably too far to get regularly involved, once it’s safe so do to in person. But I was curious to hear local authors read, and there were a dozen authors scheduled, a mix of poets and prose writers and memoirists.

They were wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed each reading. These writers are professional, recognize that this is valuable work, and take the craft as seriously as the art. They don’t shy away from the political implications and responsibilities of their work, either (unlike the right-wing panderers who claim they “don’t do politics” which, in itself, is political by supporting the inequity of the status quo). One author read from one of her older books, a scene depicting an illegal abortion in the days before Roe. She, too, is old enough to remember it, and we are frustrated that here we are again.

Craft matters to all of them. They take time and pride in the craft of their work, along with theme and art and entertainment. They understand that excellent work combines all of these.

I now have a dozen new-to-me authors, whose books I will get out of the library and/or purchase (as much as my budget will allow). I’m very excited to delve more deeply into their work, and I will attend more online events in which any of them are involved.

I’m so glad I attended.

Charlotte and Willa were impossible. Charlotte is always difficult during Zoom, because she wants everyone to tell her she’s pretty. Willa was fascinated every time a poet read. She loved the rhythm of it. So I guess I’ll be reading poetry to the cats!

I didn’t want to read any scripts after the event was over, because I was so filled with beautiful writing that I wanted to bask in it, rather than put myself into the “critical” headspace in which I need to be for the coverage reading.

Read passages in the published journal I’m reading, where the actor worked with someone I knew quite well. It was nice to read affectionate anecdotes about someone I know and worked with!

Got an idea for a difficult short story about a woman who makes a choice out of exhaustion and despair that turns out to be a relief, even though she is supposed to feel guilty about it. No, not abortion, something else.  It needs development and I’m playing with it. It’s one of those that will probably need a dozen or so rewrites to hit exactly what I want with it, and I have to write at least one draft before I can even start making it work. I’m hoping it will be between 3-5K. The premise is enough for a novel, but I really want to telescope the emotion and time frame into that of a short story.

The cats were impossible this morning, and would not let me sleep past 5. Nor would they let me go back to bed after I fed them.

Fortunately, writing in the morning works for me. I got some decent work done on the novel.

Online meditation group was good this morning. There was discussion on ways to break out of the self-criticism cycle, which is something I need to do, since that severely worsened during the entire moving thing.

I have a lot of work to do today, but I’m not planning on going anywhere, so I can focus on the work, and on doing some more unpacking. I put some of the stuff we brought back yesterday away (most of the carload consisted of holiday decorations). But there’s more to figure out where to put, which means more rearranging. Not that I’ve finished unpacking everything else, either.

Back to the page, and to the library and local bookstores, to find the work by these writers.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 9, 2021 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors  
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Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday was busy, but it was a good busy, not a nasty busy.

I had a good first writing session, I got out some LOIs. Still have a lot of email to catch up on which came in over the weekend. Got some administrative work done.

It was a pleasant day, so I walked to the post office to mail bills. More people are wearing masks even outside again, and the laundromat, which was busy, was full of the masked. Which is a good thing, not a complaint. But I’m a little sad we’re back that. However, I’m grateful that people are being considerate, and not fussing.

Mailed the bills, dropped off/picked up books at the library. Found some books on the free cart which looked kind of fun, and also found a bunch of information on local farms/growers/markets and local, independent newspapers, including one that has a lot of arts information and bookstore information for upstate New York, Vermont, and the Berkshires. I am relieved to see how many arts organizations are requiring proof of vaccination AND masking to attend events.

Walked back along Church Street, which is always a joy, because of the beautiful architecture and yards. Ran into my lovely postman, who introduced me to the woman who lives in one of my favorite houses on the street. She is as lovely as her house.

I’m reading the published journals of an actor with whom I was acquainted, back years ago in New York. He died, quite a few years ago now (although it seems recent). I was shaken by his death, because I had respected his work and enjoyed our conversations when we crossed paths. I kind of wish I wasn’t reading his journals, because, bluntly, he’s a selfish shit who treated people (especially the women in his life) badly. He was a parasite in his relationships, finding a woman to be the “backbone” of his career, at the detriment to her own. Yes, it was her choice, but still, that’s not my idea of a partnership. Goodness knows, enough have tried to drain me that way, having me “handle” their careers and their work at the detriment to my own. They got kicked to the curb pretty quickly, because that is not the kind of partnership in which I want to participate.

I think far less of him than I did, and yet, I can’t stop reading. Which shows what a compelling person/writer he was, in spite of it all.

It gave me the idea for a short story, for which I jotted some notes, so I wouldn’t lose it.

Got out some script coverage, read some more scripts.

I have a day out and about today, and will catch up tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be back in time to attend the Straw Dog Authors’ Showcase via Zoom tonight. I’m looking forward to hearing local authors read, although I’m sad I’ll miss Remote Chat.

Have a good one, people. We’re supposed to have some yucky weather tomorrow.

Published in: on September 8, 2021 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman  
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Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work

image courtesy of sujo-foto via pixabay.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

Yesterday was kind of a mixed day. I managed to write up three script coverages, so I’m on track where I want to be with that. I have two more to write up today; for the weekend, I’ll only do one per day.

I forgot to mention yesterday that, the day before, my book arrived from the UK, the one on Squire and Marie Bancroft. It’s a 1909 copy published by John Murray, and not in the best shape, but definitely usable and readable. I’m excited. And delighted it was published by John Murray. I am friendly with the current John Murray (yes, an actual man and descendant of the founder), and fond of that house’s long legacy.

Drove to the TD Bank ATM in a Williamstown parking lot to deposit a check, only to arrive and discover I’d left my wallet at home. Drove back, retrieved the wallet, drove to the ATM – only to discover it didn’t accept checks. TD is the worst. I will be so happy when I am permanently done with them.

I will take the check and deposit it at Greylock this morning, instead.

We did a Target run. Got most of what we needed. I was so excited by some of their hardcover Mead notebooks that I forgot to get the yellow pads I use for my script coverage notes, and I forgot to look for the extension cords I need. The old extension cords don’t work in these sockets, or with the newer lamps. And I don’t want to use the thick outdoor cords inside for a basic lamp.

It was terribly humid, which made everything yesterday a chore. It’s still humid today, but not quite as hot, and the humidity is supposed to break by tomorrow. I have to go to the bank and the library this morning, and then I’ll do a run to Job Lot to see if they have the yellow pads and the extension cords.

Didn’t get in much writing this morning, although I worked on the novel, and I did some re-reading/edits on GAMBIT COLONY, whose siren song has been calling. I hope to get some work done on A RARE MEDIUM later this morning.

I’ll be working through the weekend, along with unpacking and preparing for my friend’s visit next week. I want to get ahead on a few things, so I can thoroughly enjoy taking next weekend off.

Have a good one, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 27, 2021 at 7:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work  
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