Yes, I’m Happy

We’re adjusting to life without Bunny and Fluffy and finding that life does, indeed, go on.

The shrine to Bunny, Fluffy, and Buster on top of my dresser.
The shrine to Bunny, Fluffy, and Buster on top of my dresser.

And we are adjusting to a much smaller living space (discovering that we actually like the smaller space better!) and adjusting to the endless, endless, ENDLESS driving in order to get anywhere.

In case I wasn’t clear before — I am only renting this faraway house until I find a townhouse I want to buy back in “town,”  as it were. So the endless driving won’t go on forever.

I am in the process of trying to streamline my schedule in order to settle back into writing again. I’m still a bit discombobulated by the many changes in my life — all during the last several months. The fact that I will have to move again in the not-too-distant future keeps me from really feeling settled in, but we’re getting there.

Also, just FYI, by “we” I mean myself and 8 cats…  (The cats who will soon be earning their keep by being featured prominently in my upcoming mystery book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.)

So. Speaking of mysteries…Two of my favorite worlds are colliding! Johnny Depp is slated to appear in yet another remake of Agatha Christy‘s Murder on the Orient Express!!

I’m guessing that with both Oscar-winning Judi Dench and oft-nominated-though-never-Oscar-winning Johnny Depp in the cast, their budget for creating a really splendid re-creation of the Orient Express train will undoubtedly be through the roof!! (YES! Diagram that sentence if you feel foolhardy enough!)

Also, at least in the tabloid gossip, Johnny Depp is rumored to be re-attached to his ex-common-law-wife, Vanessa Paradis. I have no idea of this is even partially true, gang, but I, for one, think it would be so great if it were true! For reasons I cannot reveal here, I am a Certified Expert on the number of times Johnny Depp has smiled in his entire life — the number is 5, by the way. And 4 of those times occurred while he was with Vanessa.

(Do you recall this photo?? This was the 2nd known  time he smiled in his entire life…)

2nd known time Johnny Depp smiled in his entire life
2nd known time Johnny Depp smiled in his entire life

 

We shall see, right, gang? Meanwhile, life goes on… Have a terrific November 10th wherever you are, whatever you’re doing — and, most importantly these days, to wherever you might be driving!!

catdriving

See ya, folks, and thanks for visiting!

 

Nothing pithy or enlightening today

Just saying hi and letting everyone know I’m adjusting to the new house and to the loss of Bunny, so close on the heels of the loss of Fluffy.

The other cats have adjusted just fine and enjoy gamboling across the wide hardwood floors…(at all hours) (but particularly in the middle of the night)

I love living out here in the bucolic rolling tree-filled hills of non-urban, non-suburban Ohio. I’m not sure my beloved 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium Sedan is as happy as I am, though. I’ve already had about $1500 worth of work done on the car in 2 weeks and also need to invest this coming week in a set of brand new tires… But I’m hoping that will be that for a while and that the car will be around for a lot longer. I’m racking up hundreds of miles  on this poor car, really quickly.  It wasn’t really meant for this kind of tootling around. But so far, so good.

I’m trying to get back on track with my various writing projects. The one-woman musical (Hiding in Plain Sight) with the actress in NY  (Sandra Caldwell) is going superbly!! We are both verging on getting giddy about it. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again — man, these revisions and re-writes and re-focusing stuff takes FOREVER. But… it is worth it.

Next, I get back on track with The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, illustrated by my friend, Val, in Brooklyn. There have really been a lot of intense challenges in both our lives this whole year, but we are finally feeling able to tackle this project again. I will work on that while I await revision suggestions on the two TV projects I’m tackling with folks in L.A.

Yes, life is good.

Okay, I leave you with what Ive been listening to in my car lately!! Remember Lou Bega? He’s still around. I love Lou Bega. And I love this old song of his from the 90s: I’ve Got A Girlfriend Everywhere. Give it a listen — preferably at top volume, while you’re driving around! And, as always, thanks for visiting, gang!!

See ya!!

R.I.P. Bunny

bunny-with-buster
Bunny in the foreground

My beloved cat, Bunny, died yesterday morning. Bunny has been grieving the loss of Fluffy, my cat who died several weeks ago from cancer. Bunny never got over it. She stopped eating, for the most part — living on cat’s milk and chicken stock — but seemed to be improving over the past few days. The move on Saturday to the new house was stressful on all the cats (to put it mildly), but especially so on Bunny. She had a heart attack yesterday morning, around 10 o’clock.

I will miss her so very much.

Above, she is pictured with her brother, Buster, who left us 3 years ago. I know they are frolicking together again — with Fluffy, too! I am so lonely right now for all of them. I can’t believe the old gang is gone, now. Bunny was almost 15. They had all been with me since they were kittens.

A selfie of me and Bunny. I can't remember which one of us snapped the candid shot! Probably me, since Bunny almost never had her phone with her.
A selfie of me and Bunny. I can’t remember which one of us snapped the candid shot! Probably me, since Bunny almost never had her phone with her.

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

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis