Fortune Teller

Very glad it’s Thursday already. I am tired again this morning–there was some insomnia last night, but not nearly as bad as that if the night before–but I am waking up and slurping coffee and getting ready to face the day. I did manage to get all the bills paid yesterday and did some writing–which wasn’t easy. I’m hoping to get some more of that done tonight and hoping that it actually will get better and easier the further I get into this new project. But in checking my emails there’s not a weather advisory today for the first time since before Christmas, what with freezes, high winds, hail, tornadoes, flash flood warnings, and dense fog advisories. Yeesh, that’s something, isn’t it? It’s like the weather has lost its mind down here–well, everywhere in the country for that matter, really–but climate change is a myth, y’all. (eye roll to infinity)

The schedule at work is picking up, too, and probably within a few weeks I won’t have time to breathe during the day anymore in the clinic. We have gone back to appointments every half hour rather than every hour–which is what we did before the pandemic–and that’s going to take some getting used to, I think. After work last night I had dinner with a very dear friend at Lilette, a lovely place on Magazine Street where they have amazing passionfruit bellinis (I limited myself to one, but easily could have slurped down three or four) and got caught up with each other. I really do have the best friends–such a blessing so late in life, you know, to make some amazing friends past forty. My life has gotten significantly better the older I get, which is probably the best way for that to occur…I just wish I had the energy I used to have so I could enjoy it more. That’s something I should have added to my goals for 2023: take time to appreciate and enjoy the good things in my life more. It’s so damned easy to only see the negative and the bad, which are always far outweighed by the good and positive. I’m going to try to get as much of my email inbox deleted before next Monday–or at least addressed in some way–and as my term with Mystery Writers of America starts to come to a close, I can also start archiving all my emails having to do with MWA business.

The sky is turning blue which means the sun is rising over the West Bank (don’t ask), and it’s only in the low fifties this morning, which probably means high sixties-low seventies during the day and when I get off work. I have to run errands when I leave the office this afternoon, and then I am going to come home and try to dive more deeply into the book I am currently writing–which is wickedly fun–and hopefully Paul will get home at a relatively decent hour so we can watch more Sherwood, and hopefully I can stay awake for a while tonight at any rate, LOL. Yesterday afternoon was when I hit the wall, which had me deeply concerned because I was having dinner with a friend I’ve not seen in nearly a year. But I came home from work, shaved and showered and got dressed, and felt fine as I drove uptown. I was early, as I always am, so I wandered around the neighborhood (a part of the city I am rarely in) and took pictures of houses with their Christmas lights or just some interesting shots of houses with their regular lights on. I need to do more of that, really–one of these football free weekends I need to take the streetcar (or walk) to the Quarter and take a look around, get more of a feel for it again. I am planning on spending the weekend of the festivals (TW, S&S) at the Monteleone this year (which means coming home periodically to feed the cat and spend some quality time with him), which will also help me explore and get to know the city a bit more, or re-familiarize myself with it. It occurs to me that probably a lot of my private places–the ones I could take friends for meals and drinks that were off the touristy beaten path–probably aren’t in business anymore. I know I recently saw the Green Goddess had closed because of the pandemic, which has me a bit concerned about the other places I used to take folks. But I am also getting to know my own neighborhood better–I can always bring people down to the Lower Garden District to eat and have cocktails; St. Vincent’s is a really nice place here in the neighborhood, and there’s that awesome Vietnamese cafĂ© next to our vet, and of course Lilette and Coquette and all the other marvelous place uptown of the Quarter to eat.

I really do love living in New Orleans. It’s quite marvelous, really–sure, there are endless frustrations and irritations every day (someone needs to make everyone in the city take a remedial driving course like yesterday), but it’s so beautiful here. Last night was a lovely evening, and as I walked around taking pictures of houses with their Christmas lights (or just their normal lights) I kept thinking to myself you really are so lucky to be able to live here. It still hits me sometimes when I am driving around running errands; I’ll notice something I’ve driven past thousands of times before that never registered and I’ll smile and think god damn, I live in fucking New Orleans! and it really makes my day.

And at this time next week I’ll be waking up in a hotel in New York–hopefully having slept decently. I am kind of excited about the trip–time has really flown since I booked my flights and things–and since it will be my last hurrah…I do have mixed feelings about stepping back from my role there. Sure, I will miss it–it actually could be a lot of fun a lot of the time–but there are also things I am not going to miss. I’ve always been super-hard on myself, and rarely, if ever, give myself credit for things I’ve done and accomplished. Part of this comes from not taking myself terribly seriously–I laugh at myself ruefully all the time–and I’ve always had this mentality that if I did something, it must not be a big deal because I am no more than, if not below, average. But I don’t believe that as deeply as I used to, nor do I think it’s necessary for me to constantly be humble about things I’ve done, either. I think it’s also time for me to update my CV again, which will enable me to count all my stories and novels again for an update.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Wish me well, Constant Reader, and I will do the same for you. And I will check in with you again tomorrow.

Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque

And now I am on vacation.

While it is lovely–it was quite lovely–to not have to get up and go to the office (or make condom packs, or do data entry) this fine morning, it’s also a bit bittersweet: this is the vacation time I took to attend Bouchercon a mere fifteen minute walk from the Lost Apartment. If this was NOT pandemic time, a friend would be arriving at the Lost Apartment around noonish; we’d store her bags in my car and we were going to have lunch and hang out until other friends arrived later, whom we would be joining for a lovely dinner at Coquette. I would also be checking into the Marriott on Canal Street at some point today; probably not staying there tonight, but definitely heading down there tomorrow morning as my first panel would be that afternoon. *sobs softly to self; shakes fist in fury at anti-vaxxers*

Ah, well. Things don’t always work out as they were planned, do they?

I slept in a bit this morning, which was lovely–I feel very rested and not a bit in the least groggy this morning, which is marvelous. The kitchen is a horrifying mess this morning, so once I’ve finished my coffee that’s the first thing on Today’s Agenda, among other things–first is actually making Today’s Agenda, so I can put clean the kitchen on the top of the list. The living room is also a mess; but I am going to make “room by room” the working theory of this lovely if too short vacation. I am starting small, in the laundry room today–the books! Dear God, the books in the laundry room! But if I don’t get everything done that I need to get done over this vacation–the most important thing the corrections and revisions to the book, of course, more on that later–but it feels rather nice to not have to go to the office today, or have condom-packing/data entry hanging over my head as I swill my coffee here at my marvelous new computer. But yes, this mess around my work space is a bit much–and the Lost Apartment itself is a disaster area from top to bottom. I worked on the manuscript last night some more, and am at the halfway point. But as I get deeper into the manuscript I am finding even worse mistakes than in the beginning, and some really atrocious writing. I literally was squirming in embarrassment as I corrected and cleaned up this horrifically sloppy manuscript last night. When I called it a night and started rewatching episodes of Ted Lasso (this show is really amazing; if you haven’t checked it out yet you need to) while waiting for Paul to come home. He was rather late, so after rewatching two of my favorite episodes (“Make Rebecca Great Again’ and “All Apologies”) I switched over to TCM and started rewatching The Way We Were, which is what I was doing when Paul got home and I stopped–Redford and Streisand were still at their unnamed college–and I was thinking, outside of the fact that they were clearly too old to be playing college students, there are other parts of this movie that actually would no longer fly today; I am going to have to finish watching it at some point because I want to review it as part of the Cynical 70’s Film Festival (it’s from 1973). I can’t think why I never activated the TCM app on my Apple TV before; just scrolling through the offerings last night before settling on The Way We Were was very exciting, as there are so many classics there I want to either rewatch or see for the first time (including Nightmare Alley, In a Lonely Place, and some classic Katharine Hepburn films I’ve never seen). Exciting!

Today’s Agenda also includes a short exploration trip for this book I just signed a contract for; I need to explore the particular neighborhood of the city where I am setting the book so I can take pictures and have more of a feel for the book. I’m now creating secondary characters for the regular cast (it always seems so weird to talk about books like they’re films; but blame it on all those Agatha Christie/Erle Stanley Gardner/Ellery Queen novels I read as a kid that had the list of the cast of characters at the beginning with a snide sentence or two defining who they were as people….which I miss terribly!), which I am really enjoying doing. This is maybe the most emotionally and intellectually satisfying part of writing any book–building the foundation for it with the creation of characters and the establishment of place–it’s certainly a lot more fun than rereading a manuscript and finding all the mistakes and fuck-ups, that’s for sure.

And of course I do want to spend some time with Megan Abbott’s The Turnout today, and I have to go to the gym at some point as well. MY DAY IS JAM-PACKED. But I do need to make today’s to-do list, as well as an overarching one of all the things I need to get done so I have a template to follow for my vacation daily agendas. (Rereading that last sentence made me realize how absolutely batshit insane I must come across…but that’s not telling you, Constant Reader, anything you’ve not been able to ascertain already for yourself, is it?) I also need to do some male grooming things–I’ve not shaved my face in days (thank you, mask mandates; which do not get enough credit for relieving men of the necessity to shave every fucking day) for one, and I also need to do some computer file organizing and rearranging and so forth. So many projects….which is why I need that overarching list of things to do.

And on that note, tis time to make lists and buckle down for the day. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I will chat with you again tomorrow morning.