All posts by marilyn jaye lewis

writer, editor, publisher, thinker -- all-around joyful gal!

Moving Day is just around the corner!!

As anyone who has ever had to pack up an entire house by themselves and get ready to MOVE knows: My life has been total chaos now for a couple of weeks.

Moving Day is officially this Saturday, 10/22, but on Friday, I move all the cats out to their new temporary home. (I’m renting a friend’s  house for a couple of months until I can find a house I really want to buy and can afford.)

I’m not exactly moving to the middle of nowhere, but it is really far away from everything I normally do. It’s actually out in “Tea Cozy Murder Club” country– my fictional town called Parsons Ridge, which is liberally based on Granville, Ohio. I’m not going to be living in Granville, but in Heath, Ohio, which is about 3 minutes from Granville. Yes, my beloved 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium Sedan is going to be doing a TON of driving for a few months.  I’ve been getting some work done on it just to ensure it is actually able to withstand the constant trek from the hinterlands into the ‘burbs.

After 10 years of struggling, financially, with this (albeit, wonderful) house, I’m emotionally ready for the move, and I have psyched myself up for the necessity of having to move again in a couple of months, but I just want to make sure that this time, I will be buying a house I can actually afford all on my own.

So, even though I will be in a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom ranch house with a full finished basement come Saturday, I won’t be unpacking anything that I don’t absolutely need. I want to be ready for my dream home the minute it comes on the market!!

Okay. I gotta scoot because I have to start packing up my entire basement today. Just wanted to drop in and say hi! By the way, here’s my living room (click it to enlarge it):

If you look closely, to the far left, you'll see Doris working really, really hard...
If you look closely, to the far left, you’ll see Doris working really, really hard…

All righty! Thanks for visiting, gang! see ya! (OH! I almost forgot! The production company out in L.A. is doing a table read of my script, Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge in a couple of weeks. With actual actors! Yay! And they also asked to see my TV Pilot proposal for Cleveland’s Burning… Things are getting exciting again, gang.) Okay, see ya!!


The end of an era is upon us!

A scant few days after my beloved Fluffy (see below) succumbed to cancer and crossed that Great Divide, the County informed me that they had yet another Great Divide ready for crossing — and this one was for me: Yes, they informed me that they would be starting foreclosure proceedings against me in early November. Something to do with the endless, endless, ENDLESS property taxes that have dogged me since the moment I moved in here!

(Just a head’s up, gang: When you’re thinking about buying a home and you look at that MLS figure that tells you  the amount of property taxes that were paid that year, make sure you look deeper and determine the amount of taxes that were actually owed. HUGE difference in some cases, i.e., mine.)

Anyway. I have held on long enough. $37,000 worth of property taxes and 10 years later, I’m done with it. I cannot cough up $8,000 more. I am so ready to move on!

So I basically told the County, “Okey-doke,” and then promptly closed the book on this long, arduous, and mostly unpleasant 10-year passage of my life…

YESTERDAY I sold my house, as-is, to some local re-habbers who will put the $30K of needed repairs into the house and then just rent it out and wait for the bulldozers to come, as they most definitely will. One of these days.

But what a relief! Finally. I will be downsizing to a much more affordable house with a fraction of the property taxes. I will finally have my life back. I can travel when I want (or need) to. I can do things like take days off, and turn down projects that don’t thrill me. I can focus on what makes me happy again and not simply struggle to keep a leaking roof over my head.

One lovely thing, though: the re-habbers actually really love my sweet little house.  And I know they will bring it back up to its potential before they rent it out. I’m happy that they will take good care of it.

Oh, I meant to update you eons ago, but my writing projects (yes, that’s plural now!) and the production company in L.A. are yielding some incredibly exciting stuff for me; and the NY stage project is proceeding full-speed ahead. So all I need to do now is pack up everything I own, including 9 unsuspecting cats, 8 of whom were born here, and sally forth into a new era of my long, flabbergasting life!!

Ahoy, maties! Onward into that New Frontier! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya’ real soon!

All of us, sailing into that new era...
All of us, sailing into that new era…


Yep! You know what that happy driving dog means!

It means that I’m going to regale you with what I’m currently listening to at top volume while driving along in my prized 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium Sedan with the killer sound system!

It’s one of my all-time favorite big band numbers, Begin the Beguine, as played by the BBC Big Band Orchestra.

It’s a very upbeat little Cole Porter tune, with surprisingly bittersweet, not so upbeat, lyrics. It often reminds me of my marriage as well as the ending of said marriage. Even though we were not married on a tropical island. Nor were we married under the stars while palm trees were swaying. Not even close. Still, it reminds me…

That said, though, most of the time, when I listen to this song, I recall exceedingly fondly the 5 years I worked with Gus Van Sant Sr. in the business office of Gus Van Sant Jr.’s movie production company. Gus Sr. is probably the most endearing, compassionate, generous, interesting, and kindest man I ever met, let alone worked for.  And while we worked together in his office, he always played big band and swing music on the cable tv radio channel.  Begin the Beguine would often play (that, and Skylark!!) and since it was a favorite song of mine, it made for an even more memorable  & delightful atmosphere. For me, anyway.

Gus Sr.’s wife died last year and he moved back to Seattle to be closer to his kids. I miss him a lot. I miss that job! I miss a lot of things. And though life does indeed go on, I occasionally get nostalgic for the life I used to have, on so many levels.

But there are  some really cool things happening with my writing career right now, gang, so I’m not feeling entirely bittersweet! Sandra Caldwell, the actress that I’ve been working with on that one-woman musical in NYC, recently read my TV script for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge and she is extremely interested in playing one of the lead roles — the role of Mona Bell. So she has sent my script, along with my script for Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story, to her new agent in Toronto. (She and I have actually been trying to get that Helen LaFrance project off the ground for a couple years now.  Plus, it’s a script that has a lot to do with my relationship with Gus Sr., so we have come full circle, gang.)

Anyway! All’s good here, if only a tad bittersweet. I now regale you with the BBC Big Band Orchestra’s rendition of Begin the Beguine, followed by the lyrics, in case you’re interested in reading them.  Play the song at full volume!!!! And have a super-duper day, folks, wherever you are! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back a night of tropical splendour,
It brings back a memory evergreen.

I’m with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.

To live it again is past all endeavour,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.

What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;

So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.

Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
“Darling, I love you!”
And we suddenly know, what heaven we’re in,
When they begin the beguine

Written by Cole Porter • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Holy Moly, Another Miracle!

Several years ago, a good [online]  friend of mine encouraged me to go back to school to get my Divinity Degree, which I did. And I did it all on student loans — and a few grants. I had no clue how I was going to pay it back when the time came, but my friend encouraged me to just do it. So I did.

And I loved just about every minute of earning that degree (and I still intend to start my own para ministry just as soon as I can start focusing on something besides keeping this lofty roof over my head…)

Well, over the weekend, that time came to start paying back my student loans, and guess what happened, gang? Yes! They forgave all $37,000 worth of loans that I owed! That’s right! I don’t owe anything! What a miracle! (It had something to do with my advancing age, my receding income, high overhead, tax returns, and GPA…) (And also probably because I got a degree in something that you really can’t earn much of a living at without becoming a televangelist. Haha)

Anyway, yes, a miracle.

And now all I need is another one! My roof has sprung yet another leak and this one is leaking right over my bed. I desperately need a new roof and have nothing at all that resembles the money to pay for it

Several weeks ago, I made up my mind, yet again, to put my house on the market, just sell it as-is to one of the many, MANY house flippers who are always contacting me, and try to find a cheaper way to live… but a real estate agent came to look at the house and encouraged me to get it refinanced first. So I am in the process of doing that but it’s taking a while. (Forever, it feels like, as my roof develops more and more holes.)

Still, I am hopeful. I never, in a million years, expected that miracle re: my student loans. So you never know, gang. I might just get a new roof.  I’ll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, have a terrific Friday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! Thanks for visiting. See ya!



Life, Unexpected

You may recall that I recently wrote a post about my art project — a “Chore Chart” I made for my cats (see somewhere below) in order to get help with the housework around here and about how poorly the cats were doing with keeping up their ends of things.

Finally, it all came to a head the other day, when I unhappily discovered that all my cats had fleas and all the housework had to be done, by me, alone, posthaste. Yes. Cats that never go outdoors; cats living in a house that has had the central AC on all summer long; a house that sits on a property that has had professional lawn care (including certain insecticides) all summer long. And still all 10 cats had fleas.

8 of the 10 cats are either feral or semi-feral rescues that no human being on earth can touch because they are terrified of people touching them, including me, so they require oral, tuna-flavored, meds that I have to buy in bulk from out of state. Luckily they arrived within 2 days.

Friends tried to comfort me in all this by assuring me that it wasn’t somehow “my fault” and that “fleas are really bad this year,” but it didn’t make the chore of getting rid of the fleas any easier. It took about 4 1/2 hours to  launder all the various bed linens, furniture throws, throw rugs, etc.; then vacuum everything, wash down the floor, and then spray everything with Knockout flea spray. (Oh, the things you learn while eternally fostering a feral cat colony in your home. It used to take me several months to get rid of fleas, now it takes me about a quarter of a day…)

When I was finally done, and after I’d taken my shower and collapsed on the bed, ready to get lost in a terrific Erle Stanley Gardner Perry Mason mystery that I’d gotten from the library, my little cat, Fluffy, the one who has cancer, promptly had a stroke right there next to me on the bed.

The immediate after-effects of the stroke lasted nearly 2 hours and required two more loads of laundry from all the projectile vomiting and temporary loss of bladder control (hers, not mine) and then she settled down into a very deep sleep.

However, in the middle of the night, for two nights running, she woke up with a burst of energy and was doing weird things around the bedroom that she hadn’t had the energy to do for several months and it kept me from getting any decent sleep. At every weird sound she made, or every unexpected thing she collided with and knocked over in the dark, I kept lurching awake, saying, “Oh my God, Fluffy, why are you doing that?” as if her little bewildered self needed to explain to me that she’d very recently had a stroke and was also dying from cancer.

She has since settled way down and is somewhat “back to normal,” all things considered.

Then, yesterday, it was my turn to crash. I didn’t wake-up until 9 a.m. — I  am usually up by 5 a.m.  Twelve hours of sleep. And I was still exhausted. So, unexpectedly (and rather happily, as it turned out) I stayed in bed all day, read my library book in its entirety — The Case of the Stepdaughter’s Secret-– and even began re-watching a series of Midsomer Murder DVDs. I watched 3 of them — a total of 6 hours’ worth of Midsomer Murders in one lovely, rainy summer day. I’d been wanting to re-watch them because I’d recently read Caroline Graham‘s terrific mystery that launched the Midsomer Murders TV series, The Killings at Badger’s Drift.

So it was a day full of mysteries on every front — and I found myself making all kinds of notes for The Miracle Cats series, the series I’m writing with my friend, Val, in Brooklyn. (Sadly, her dad passed away over the weekend after a really long illness, so our series has been on hiatus.) As well as notes for my current novel-in-progress, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge.

I also managed to eat an entire 14 ounce container of Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. All by myself. While spending an entire day in bed.

I have to tell you, gang, it was not the worst way to spend 24 hours! I had a blast. And thanks to the flea infestation, I had an extraordinarily clean house to waste all that time in. I couldn’t have asked for a more delightful day.


YES!! It’s that time again, gang!

Time to find out what song I am playing OVER & OVER & OVER again on the CD player in my 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium as I drive all over town with all four windows down, the breeze blowing in like crazy because I have no AC in my car….

I am listening to the magnificent Dalida!


And specifically: Que La Vie Etait Jolie

You are certifiably CRAZY if you are not listening to the same song, gang!!

I regale you with this amazing song here. Have a great day, wherever you are and with whatever you’re driving around listening to (if you’re foolish enough to not be listening to this, that is)! Thanks for visiting! See ya!