Happy St. Paddy’s Day from the Hinterlands!

Yes! I am all moved in! Only need another 6 months to complete the unpacking…

I’m exhausted, gang, but I couldn’t be happier with my new (extremely old) house! And I am so excited that I decided not to have the garage/barn/shed thingy torn down (see post below somewhere that has photos). My guy-friend came out on Wednesday to take measurements for the new roof and it was the first time I actually went inside the old building and it was indeed a barn at one point. In fact, it was built (in 1910) as a horse-drawn buggy barn. One half of the “garage” was the horse’s stall, and the other side, which we plan on turning into a gardening shed, was where the buggy was stored. Right down the middle, is a wall with one of those half-doors in it for feeding the horse.

Like this, only 108 years older…

It is SO COOL! And it was so well constructed. The roof needs replacing because an enormous maple tree fell on it, but the actual building sustained no damage at all.  It is just too cool. I can’t wait until it’s fixed up. I will regale you with photos!

The village is great. It is TINY. The church (according to google maps) is 417 feet away from my new house –yes, I can easily see it. Yes, it’s that close. The church has been active for 200 years! And they still ring their church bells on Sunday mornings. (I’m guessing they will also ring on Christmas Day!)

Between the train going by, and the church bells ringing, and the birds, the trees, the rolling hills on the far horizon, and the BAZILLION stars at night, I simply could not be happier.

Unfortunately, I still have a ton of unpacking to do, so I can’t tarry here on the blog. But I do want to mention that not only is it St. Paddy’s Day today, but also the birthday of my many cats!! The three parents are 7, and the “kittens” are 6 years young today.

Happy birthday to my many cats!!

They all survived the traumatic move. I am so glad that part is over, gang. It’s horrible, trying to relocate a colony of semi-feral cats. I could not have accomplished it without my good & patient (and very much scratched and gouged) friend, Diane. But it’s done and now we can stay put for a really long time. (And, as I predicted, the cats LOVE the 22 windows in this old house!!)

Okay. Gotta scoot. Thanks for visiting, folks. Have a really fun (and safe — for instance, don’t drink & drive because I can NOT afford to post your bail!!) St. Paddy’s Day, wherever you are. See ya!

The Thrill of it All!

Now, refresh my memory, gang; is there anything on earth more exhilarating than packing up to move to a new house??? (Please. Don’t say “bungee jumping”. Let’s keep this in the realm of things I’m actually likely to do.)

The thrill of packing!

Even though I hate packing, this time is not quite as mind-bogglingly tedious  as other times since I never really unpacked from the last move, a year and a half ago. I only need to pack dishes, clothes, sheets & towels, some books, and the medicine cabinet stuff.

However. Lest we forget…

6 of the 8 critters who travel with me!

…I live with 8 semi-feral cats who basically refuse to be touched and/or get into their cages, regardless of the imperativeness of the circumstances! [Note to readers: Do not use “imperativeness” while conversing at dinner parties or at other socially crucial events because it is not really a word and you will likely be laughed at and humiliated! — Ed.]

Anyway, all is actually going pretty smoothly with the moving arrangements, except for the stress of knowing I have to move these 8 little creatures. I brought the 8 cages out of storage and set them around the living room, to help them at least get used to the sight of them, and a couple of the cats are so scared of the cages that they won’t come out from under the recliner… The last move was truly traumatizing for all of us.

But we’ve still got 10 days! 10 days of positive thinking! 10 days of affirmations! 10 days of creatively visualizing 8 semi-feral cats happily arriving at their new home! And I’m off now to make sacrificial offerings to the Goddess of Semi-Feral Cats, in the event She can intervene on our humble behalf!  (It doesn’t hurt to approach it from every conceivable angle…)

All righty!

Have a wonder-filled Friday, wherever you are, gang! And have a terrific weekend. Thanks for visiting! See ya.



The Birds have Returned!

Yes! As the song says, “It might as well be spring!”

It began over the weekend, when I noticed that tons of robins had arrived in all the yards. And, in the air, a bit of chirping. And then, this morning, with the bedroom window open at around 6am, the full-on, merry serenade of bird songs!

The cats, naturally, were crowded around the open window, transfixed by the singing. The temperature had reached 77 here yesterday, so, between the lovely weather and the birds once more singing at dawn, the cats have been completely bamboozled into thinking it’s spring!

But au contraire… The temperatures are set to plummet back down to the February range later today.  But it always feels so good to get that early reminder of how the world feels in spring, doesn’t it, gang?


First of all, a belated thank you to those of you who have been signing up for my non-appearing newsletter. Once I finally move, unpack, and get settled into an actual life again, the newsletter will resume! Probably only quarterly, for now.  I’ve got too many backlogged writing projects for there too be much news to report for awhile.

You know, I have these grand dreams of “life after the move,” wherein I will immediately return to my normal writing schedule, as well as do things like get up-to-date  on all the various work-related weekly podcasts I subscribe to — mostly writing, publishing, and stagecraft podcasts, but a few thrown in that I simply enjoy listening to. For example, The 1600 Sessions, by the White House Historical Association.  Or LeVar Burton Reads. Or the Joel Osteen weekly sermon. Or Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast (really super funny but not for the faint of heart.)

Honestly, how on earth do we find time to keep up with everything anymore? There is just way too much stuff vying for our attention. I realize that everybody already knows this, but sometimes it is simply staggering to consider just how much we are trying to take in — and this is one of the reasons that I am truly excited about my upcoming move deeper into the Hinterlands.

The little village I’m moving to has: a police station, a fire station, a post office, a diner, a gas station, 2 churches, a Family Dollar, a Dairy Queen, a mini storage, a couple of beauty salons, and that’s it. Seriously. Nothing else but a handful of people and a whole bunch of stuff that God created — i.e., trees, birds, flowers, animals, seemingly endless hills and rolling fields, and sky and stars. (And one road leading in and out of town that is named after the High School football team from the early 1900s! The High School itself has long since been torn down.)

The only real distraction is going to be the darned Internet, folks, so I’m hoping to use it productively because I have a ton of writing projects piling up. Mostly re-writes of projects in various stages of development for stage and TV, but there are a couple of books I also want to write just for my own enjoyment…

That said, though, I am currently addicted to the old Phil Harris – Alice Faye Radio Program from the late 1940s-early 1950s (on youtube). It is so funny. I love Phil Harris. And The Detectorists, a BBC TV series written by/starring Mackenzie Crook, that is so charming, sweet, funny, wry, delightful.

And when I’m not zoning out on those 2 things and a nice bottle of French red, I’m up to my eyeballs with packing, and still doing a TON of paperwork re: the mortgage and the upcoming move.  I really, really, really need the future to become the present, gang, as quickly as possible, so if you have any pull in that area, I would appreciate your helping me out! It is so many months already that I’ve been dealing with this move.

All righty!

And that said, I need to get cracking around here because I have to drive deep into the Hinterlands here soon to inspect the repairs that were done to the new house and make sure we are ready for closing (which is supposed to be next week, however, the lender informed me yesterday that if she doesn’t get the title survey by, like, today, the chances we are closing next week are “slim to none.” Ay caramba!!! Don’t tell me that!! The truck & movers are already scheduled!!)


Anyway, gang. The stress continues. But the end is in sight. I hope you have a relatively stress-free Wednesday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing. I leave you with this awesome stress-breaker! Give it a listen if you’ve never heard it before! It will get you bopping!

Okay, thanks for visiting, folks! See ya!



At last, living the dream!

Yes, well. My new house doesn’t look exactly like this, but I’m sure that, in essence, it will feel the same! I’m so excited.

Yes, the darn bank appraisal finally came back the other day and the house passed with flying colors! The only negative thing the report pointed out was that the house “fronts to railroad tracks which is considered adverse due to traffic &/or noise”. [See post below somewhere, wherein I discovered the startling and quite sobering sound of the train barreling into my soon-to-be new living room during the home inspection. – Ed.] [Also, I should point out that it is an old coal train, with few cars, that passes by in under a minute. It’s not some long, drawn-out, train with a zillion cars that takes 20 minutes to pass. – Ed. again]

Yes, the house I’ve been laboring over, for over 2 months already, is finally going to be mine! It is a really old house (1901), in the tiniest town you can imagine (well, population around 1300, so you can probably imagine towns tinier than that, but still…).  I am going to be, pretty much, extremely far away from everything, however, I’m seriously up for the new adventure.

When I say “laboring over,” this is what I mean: I saw the house listed on Realtor.com and, even though it was in a town I had no real interest in, it was in my price range so I decided to investigate. The house had been on the market for nearly 500 days, and had been in & out of contract twice. My realtor said, “I don’t think you want to see that house; I took a client through it when it first went on the market and it was a disaster.”

Oh well, all right. Onward.

But I just kept coming back to it, and I asked my realtor, “Can’t we at least go see it? The photos online don’t look that bad.”

Realtor: “They aren’t going to post photos of the really bad things.”

Oh well, all right. But… “Can’t we at least go see it?”

Then, because it was the holiday season, it was like pulling teeth to get the seller’s realtor to respond and then to arrange for us to go in and see it. And, true, the outside grounds need a lot of work. Some siding & gutters needed fixing, the picket fence surrounding the backyard is rotting in huge sections, and an old tree had fallen on the roof of the shed/garage/barn-thing out back. But inside the house — wow. Big rooms. Sunny. All new plumbing, new wiring, 22 brand new windows with screens, a totally dry old basement for storage, new furnace, new water heater, new counter tops, new sinks & toilets, great closets with plenty of storage there, too; a big kitchen with lots of cupboards, and new carpeting throughout most of the house.

My guy-friend, who had come out to see the house with me, took me aside and said, “This is a sweet little house; you ought to buy it.” And I said, “I know. I’m planning on it.” And then it took 6 more weeks to finally get the A-Okay from the lender, but I did. And now I couldn’t be happier.

So, be on guard, gang; trust your gut. If you keep getting the feeling that something is better than everyone’s saying it is, follow up on your hunches because you could be right and everyone else might all be misinformed.

By the way, here are 2 photos of the shed/garage/barn-thing that appeared to be in horrible shape.

Front of shed
Side of shed


Everyone said it was going to have to be torn down. I took these photos to send to a wood-salvage company that was going to come out and tear it down. But as I got closer to the building (I can’t go inside because it’s locked up tight and the roof is severely damaged), I realized that it was a really COOL old building.  The windows were filthy but I could still see inside and it looked awesome in there.  Really well constructed. Built in 1910, it was obviously more of work space than a garage. And it probably did start out being a barn back in 1910.

My guy-friend went out to the house recently to check on the rotting fence and he texted me and said, “We should just fix the roof on that old garage.  It will be easy to do. It’s really cool inside there, and would make a really great work space/gardening shed.”

I immediately got very excited and halted the plans to deconstruct the old shed.

So now I am buying a really cool, completely updated, old house from 1901 that nobody wanted and keeping the old shed that everyone said had to be torn down. Of course, my guy-friend has a lot to do with this. If he hadn’t built his own house from scratch, out in the middle of nowhere, I wouldn’t feel quite so uplifted about the challenges connected to This Old House and living alone in that seriously remote old town…

All righty!! Well, have a great Saturday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, gang.  We’re supposed to get more snow today. We’ll see.  Meanwhile, I leave you with this! Another Rudy Vallee ditty– this one from 1934 — that I’ve been playing nonstop in my car!

Gotta love those old melodies, folks. They really stick with you! Okay. Thanks for visiting! See ya!






Lest we forget!

I know!

I’m always either talking about my upcoming new house, or about cruising around the Hinterlands in my nifty Honda Fit, or about how much I love animals, even when the deer were munching merrily away  on all my various blossoming flowers all summer — it’s easy to forget that I’m actually A Writer!

Well, lest we forget, I’ll take a quick moment to remind you that I am one!! And yesterday, the prestigious Black List gave my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script (aka Cleveland’s Burning) a really positive review!! I was so thrilled.

It began, “There are some really engaging stories teed up for all the characters in the Robinson family that allow anyone watching to get invested in some aspect of the show. ”

And closed with, “This series has potential. The story itself provides an interesting way into the fight on civil rights and does a great job of bringing the audience in through the lens of the Robinson family. The members of the family are all set on their own journeys that are ripe with great character drama and conflict that could create a compelling series.”

So, off we go, gang!! It really just made my day.

On other fronts: the appraisal of the new house is happening Monday (!!) and after that, we CLOSE and the house becomes MINE! Then I will actually feel like I’m really moving & I can announce it to everybody. Explaining the new house to my cats will be at the top of my list of things to do. I know they will be really excited.

Some of my cats when they’re really excited!

Okay, gang. I’m going to go collapse on the couch for awhile and watch an old Sherlock Holmes movie on my iPad. Now that the weather’s warming up, I have a terrific sinus headache. Yay.

Thanks for visiting, though! Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re choosing to celebrate in your corner of the world! See ya!

Can It GET More Exciting??!!

I don’t think so!!

Got my new washer & dryer for the new house today! The house is still not officially mine yet, so I had to put them in an outdoor self-storage unit. Well, when I say that “I” had to put them in an outdoor self-storage unit, what I actually mean is that I stood close by while my new friend and one of his sons did all the really heavy lifting as they unloaded the washer & dryer from the back of their pick-up truck, and I said things like, “Oh gosh! Be careful! Don’t hurt yourself!” etc., etc.

Plus it was sleeting out. [Sleet is  a noun that is “a form of precipitation of ice pellets, often mixed with rain or snow”, in case you were curious.] Sleet is probably THE very best weather for moving heavy appliances into outdoor self-storage units. So, in the event you want to move a bunch of heavy appliances around outdoors, grab your Farmer’s Almanac to pinpoint the days that will likely have THE very best weather for doing that. Check the months of January and February first; then check the month of March, because torrential downpours and thunderstorms make for a close second when it comes to great weather for moving stuff around outdoors.

I am seriously hoping that this upcoming move will be my last move for a really, really long time.

As an aside: After I drove home from the storage unit —  a half an hour away — I was pulling into the driveway of the house I’m currently renting and I realized: OMG! I was only 2 blocks from the new house and I forgot to go over and stare fondly at it!! I’d been so excited this morning that I was going to get to at least drive by the new house again and then I completely forgot to go do it.

The reason I forgot is because I was once again blown away by just how friendly the people are out there deep in the Hinterlands.  Not just my new friend and his son being willing to heave a bunch of heavy appliances around for me in god-awful weather, then giving me a big hug and a smile when they said goodbye, but also the owner of the storage facility was on his way out when I came into the office to pay for the month of storage that I’ll need.  In a hurry, he said, “Just write down your information on a piece of paper and I’ll mail you a bill you in February.”

None of this “show me all your identification,” and “I have to run a check with your bank first because we’ll need to do an automatic debit of your account,” and “you have to sign all these stacks of disclaimers plus purchase insurance, plus pay tax on all this, plus give us 10 days notice when you want to get your stuff out or there will be another fee,” etc. etc.

No, he’ll simply mail me a bill weeks from now. He was in a hurry because he also  drives a school bus and it was almost time for school to let out. I said, “Wow, you drive a school bus?” He said, “Yes. All my troubles are behind me now…”

“All my troubles are behind me now!”

It took me a minute to get the joke, but when I did, I started chuckling to myself as I walked back to my car.  And as I marveled at how friendly everyone was around there, I simply got in the little Honda Fit and headed for home in the falling snow, totally forgetting that I had wanted to gaze fondly at my new house!!

Okay! On that super happy note, I leave you with this super happy 2 minute video! It’s my all time favorite poet, the late Frank O’Hara, reading one of my favorite poems: “Having a Coke with You” (text). Listen and enjoy, gang! And thanks for visiting.

See ya!



The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis