Home again, happy, busier than ever!

Howdy, howdy, gang! YES, I am back home and YES, it was a most auspicious trip to New York, and THANK YOU to all of you who sent me birthday greetings last week! Oh, and YES (!!) I had CAKE!

First, I want to regale you with the riot of flowers that are blooming all over my yard this year. These are Roses of Sharon — taking over, as they are wont to do — because I have lived the entire summer not knowing when (or if) I was going to be packing up and moving away… Alas, I am still here, and the yard has become a veritable jungle of blooming madness (and also weeds).

The view through one of my garden gates
The view through one of my garden gates

Multiply all these blossoms on the right by the entire yard — back, front, sides– and you get a tiny idea of how crazy it is around here this summer. I went out to water my little herb garden on the kitchen stoop yesterday and discovered hundreds more blossoms blooming where they had never been before. The other garden gate is so overrun that I have to keep the gate open all the time, or the honeysuckle vines will wind all over it and keep it  permanently shut.

Well, it could be worse. I do love flowers.

So! The trip to Rhinebeck was a complete success.  We hammered out the version of the script that we will use for the staged reading of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story. We also made great progress on notes and a synopsis for the one-woman show I am writing for the same actress “about” Pearl Bailey. (I put it in quotes now because it has become apparent that the Pearl Bailey family won’t release any rights whatsoever for outsiders to use her likeness, so we have to tell her story in a different way now, but it will be even better. Yay.)

My most amazing news is that the actress is forming a production company and asked me to be the writer for it, since we already have 4 theater projects we are working on together, and I COULD NOT be more excited! (Even though Tell My Bones is a screenplay, we are also working on a version of it for the stage.)

The downside is that there was a heat wave in Rhinebeck the entire time I was there and the AC wasn’t working right and there were no fans. Not only did I think I was going to perish in the relentless heat and humidity, I was the only person who was being eaten alive by mosquitoes everywhere we went!!

It’s a good thing so much good stuff was happening. It made it easier to just “deal and get over it.”

Now that I’m back home again, the cats couldn’t be happier. They had to have a cat sitter the whole time I was away and since they are all the proverbial “scaredy cats,” it was not a fun time for them. Hopefully, the next trip I make back to Rhinebeck, they will all be coming with me and we will be moving into our new home…I hope. We shall see.

Okay, on this wonderful Monday morning, I leave you with something wildly upbeat. I dare any of you to have a bad day after listening to this oldies gem!!! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!

 

 

Off to New York! At least for a few days…

Yes, gang, I am finally off to New York for about 5 days!! I cannot wait!  I will be working on the staged reading of my screenplay, Tell My Bones, with the lead actress and the stage manager, up in Rhinebeck, NY.

Yes, this is where I’m moving to when I finally sell this house and move back to New York.  If you have never been there, Rinebeck is a real gem. And it is only a commuter-train-ride from the heart of Manhattan. So, for me, after having lived in the heart of Manhattan for over a quarter of a century (!!) and struggled like mad in my halcyon days, this is a much lovelier option as I squeak through middle age.

Rhinebeck, the village...
Rhinebeck, the village…
Rhinebeck, the surrounding town...
Rhinebeck, the surrounding town…

But back to the staged reading… It has been postponed until September, gang, because too many of the actors were already out of town, doing regional theater for the summer. So the lead actress and I, and the stage manager, are going to get all the little production-ducks in a row, so that we can hit the ground running once everyone is back in Manhattan come September.

Meanwhile, I am working like a crazy person, trying to get two weeks’ worth of homework turned in this weekend, so that I don’t have to even think about homework while I’m out of town.  Then, the moment I return from New York, it will be my birthday!! That fabulous CAKE time of year!! I will be a glorious 55 years old, gang!! I cannot believe it.

Okay, I gotta scoot. I’m teaching a writing class in about 7 minutes… Have a wonderful, sunny Saturday wherever you are, folks, and whatever you wind up doing! Thanks for visiting. See ya!!

Happy Birthday, Marilyn! July 22nd!
Happy Birthday, Marilyn! July 22nd!

Happy Solstice, gang!

It’s that magical time of year — the Solstice is upon us! The Solstice always harkens the zodiac sign of Cancer, which means that my birthday is just around the corner, gang! And even though I will somehow be turning 55 (!!!) for some hard-to-fathom reason –since I always feel about 12— I never get tired of birthday cake!!

Happy Birthday, Marilyn!
Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

So, Happy Solstice, folks! I don’t even care that it’s going to rain the whole darn weekend, I am digging it!

Oh, and another thing I’m digging is GreenBeanDelivery.com. It’s a group of local, organic farmers. Every week, I now get a ton of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to my wee bonnie door. I even get Hartzler’s milk delivered straight from the farm in the old-fashioned bottles! I love it. The milk is a little pricey, but the rest of it is comparable to buying organic produce in the grocery store, but doing it this way directly supports local farmers.

zhartzlers
Hartzler’s Dairy, Wooster, Ohio

If you’re a fan of organic food, you probably already know how great it tastes. It reminds me of when I was little (over 50 years ago), when food in this country actually had flavor. Even though I must admit that, back then, I was super excited by things like Space Food Sticks, Jello 1-2-3, and Shake-a-Pudd’n,  none of which, although we ate them eagerly, qualifies as food…

zspace
Space Food Sticks — Blast off, gang!!
zjello123
Jell-O 1-2-3. It looked stunningly beautiful in the parfait glass! Thanks, mom!!
zpuddn
The totally awesome yet highly suspect Shake-A-Pudd’n!! You can’t touch the 1960s for that unbeatable equation of Food + Gimmicks = So Bad For You!! Yippee-ki-yi-yay!!!

Okay…Here’s something else I am planning to do once I finally relocate and can settle down again:  WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).  You have to join the organization first, then you get yourself there (requires a passport & visa if you’re going overseas), but then the farmers provide your room and meals for free. In exchange, you work/study 4 hours on the farm each day, and then have the rest of your days/nights free. And you can go anywhere in the world where there are organic farms.

I’m actually more interested in staying on a farm that’s local/regional, and learning about organic farming. I’m more interested in that part than in the traveling part, but it’s a pretty cool way to see the world, too, if you’re into ecological-agricultural things. (For instance, wouldn’t it be awesome to stay on an organic farm in Provence?) (Assuming you ever wanted to step foot in France again, that is. The jury is still out on that for me because I had such a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE time the last time I was in Paris….)  Anyway, I think it is such a cool organization.

I think it’s safe to say that in my biological family, I’m probably the first generation in a thousand years that has not lived on or worked on a farm at any point in my entire life. However, it still seems to be in my genes, since my life is sort of “farmer-ish.” I go to sleep at 9 PM every night and am up at 5 AM. Then I spend an hour taking care of the many domestic animals around here, although they provide absolutely  nothing but cat hair…

Ha ha ha.

Okay, well, through some sort of SNAFU in both the weather and the AC in my car, my weekend trip was canceled and I now have almost 3 complete days to myself (except for 2 hours of teaching on Monday morning). I am in awe of this development! I have a short paper to write for school, which will take maybe an hour, and the rest of this weekend, I’m going to spend feeling sort of like a human being.  I cannot wait!

So, enjoy the Solstice, gang, wherever you are and whatever the wonderful world throws at you. Thanks for visiting, folks! See ya!

Happy Solstice, gang!
Happy Solstice, gang!

Free at last

Okay, time for a new selfie, since the one of me in the red dress is exactly one year old already…

No, the subject line, “free at last,” does not mean they have given me a date yet for my move back to New York.  It means that I am now living alone again — for the first time in 5 years.  I’d been renting out one of my furnished guest rooms for a while now and my tenant moved out on June 1st. In anticipation of my house being torn down, he opted to go get his own place. I don’t blame him! And as much as I wasn’t relishing the idea of living alone again, I discovered that I TOTALLY dig it!!

First of all, I am somebody who likes to clean. Actually, I love to clean, although I’m not OCD about it, as some of my dearest friends (read: Kevin) are.  But the guy I was renting the room to was young and not on the same wave length as me when it came to cleaning.  However, now my house is feeling like my home again! I can clean it one day, wake up the next day and …. it’s still clean!! Even with all these cats!! So that feels great.

No, I'm not trying to show you the food I eat. I'm showing you how I like my fridge to look when I open it!! Yippee ki yi yay!
No, I’m not trying to show you the food I eat. I’m showing you how I like my fridge to look when I open it!! Yippee ki yi yay!

All right! As usual, I’ve been busy. Some of it, not so good, since a very good friend of mine’s wife died the other day and it has been heartbreaking. He is moving back to the West Coast now, to be near his kids. I am going to miss him so much. I’ve been trying to help him get ready for the move as much as possible since he is elderly and I likely won’t get a chance to see him again once he moves away.  When he needs me for something, I drop everything, but that also means that other work is getting a little bottle-necked.

I’m also starting to wonder WHY ON EARTH I went back to school! Of course I know why I went back to school. And I’m going to stay in school at least until I move back to NY because it really keeps me grounded. But, boy, is it making it hard for me to stay on top of stuff at this particular juncture.

I did manage to get all my application paperwork together for the Screenwriters Lab I am hoping to get into in the fall (for women over 40).  The application involved writing 2 essays that kind of wore me out. But I did it and submitted it, one day before the deadline. I felt good about the final product. That said, though — it’s a really good thing I didn’t know beforehand that they are only choosing 8 (!!!) women to attend the lab, or I would have been too intimidated to bother applying. It’s a very high-profile lab in NY. For some reason, I was thinking it would be more like a conference, with about 30 or 40 women selected. But, no: 8 will be chosen. 8 will go. Since I’m guessing that well over a thousand screenwriters applied, the odds are not super hugely in my favor, gang. But, we shall see!!

Other than that, plans are still moving ahead for the staged reading of my screenplay, Tell My Bones, in NYC. We are trying to pin down actors who are net getting ready to go off and do summer stock all over the country.  So we are falling a little behind here. The reading needs to be done ASAP, since the lead actress, along with the stage manager, are going off to France for the month of August…

I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like there’s all the time in the world and then things seem to be moving at a snail’s pace. Then, suddenly, you’re out of time!! And rushing around. How does that happen?

Soon, enough, though, I will be in NYC, and not only for the reading. I’m going to get to see “my significant love interest,” at least for an evening. And for that, I cannot wait, gang. I bought a new dress and some new high heels… Luckily, he is tall. Because high heels make me about 6-foot-2.

I am so totally, totally, totally into this idea of trying out love again after so many years! All I know for sure is that he makes me really happy. He makes me laugh. He gets my sense of humor. So I am super excited about getting back to New York. Even though, at this time of year in New York City, it’s too darn hot…

Okay, on that happy note… I hope you’re having a great Saturday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!! Enjoy the heat, gang. Thanks for visiting!! See ya!

 

 

So much stuff going on!

Holy Moly. What a terrifically jam-packed couple of weeks it’s been, and I don’t mean that in the best way. Although, overall, everything is great.

First off — so what did you think of the Mad Men finale? I wasn’t completely sure how I felt, so I watched it twice. I came to the conclusion that each of the characters resolved in ways that were realistic to the characters overall, and that everyone, except Betty, of course, has a reasonably happy ending. More importantly, it felt as if the characters’ lives were going on into a palpable future that we as TV-viewers can only dream about… So even though I felt deflated after watching the final episode, I think that was only because I was sad to see it end.

Although kudos for closing with that killer Coke commercial! I vividly recall sitting in my family room one evening when I was 11 years old and seeing that Coke commercial on TV for the first time. I was blown away by it, as was most of America…

Hands down, the most stressful part of these past couple weeks was when my beloved cat, Doris (photo above) went missing for 8 long days!! She was one of the semi-feral kittens born in my basement 2 years ago and had never been outside in her life. Somehow, she got out and I couldn’t find her and it was beyond stressful and heartbreaking and exhausting.

Through the help of many kind cat rescuers online, I learned how to find and catch a terrified, extremely timid semi-feral cat.  I tell you, they hide right under our noses, but indeed, as I was emphatically guaranteed by the professional lost-cat trappers, we can’t see them but they are there! They’re watching us, but are too terrified to come out of hiding until the wee small hours of the morning. The whole adventure was maddening. I was out in my dark backyard, in my red Wellies and my cotton nightgown, at 4 a.m. for several incredibly humid days running, catching glimpses of her but to no avail!!

But I finally trapped her at 5:09 a.m. this past Monday morning — in a humane trap — and brought her back into the fold.

Other more upbeat things: School is going incredibly great. I still don’t know if I can keep up this notion of being back in school with homework to do every single day, but so far, I am loving it. There’s honestly no reason for me to still be in school, I’m already an ordained minister with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. However, for now, it keeps my mind off this never-ending limbo of “when will I move back to NY?”

Appropriately enough, though, through some “miracle,” I am on vacation from school this week. Just in time to take on a new web content client who needed help with new content “yesterday” (it required a ton of research & writing immediately). That was turned in this morning, and now I have to draft two killer 500-word essays for a writer’s lab I seriously want to get into, and the deadline is June 1st.

The staged reading in NYC of my screenplay Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story is still moving ahead. It is going to happen SOON, gang. As in “the next few weeks.” And — I’ve been asked to be the Narrator, so I will be on stage with the actors, instead of lounging around stress-free in the audience. But I am super excited and I hope all of you can get to NYC and attend!! Yay!!

Okay, well, I guess that’s my update for right now. I gotta get crackin’ on those 500-word essays. I hope you’re having a wonderful month of May, wherever you are and whatever’s been going on in your world. Thanks for visiting, folks. See ya!!

 

I don’t think I can stand it

That’s right, I’m talking about these last few episodes that are left of Mad Men!!!

What the heck is going to happen?? And why are they screwing around with Joan? And how come Peggy always, always, always seems to just barely have a clue?  And, as always: Poor Don!!

My body posture when I watch this show is to sit with my legs crossed and my arms folded tightly across my chest. I should point out that this has been my body posture while watching this show since the summer of 2007.  I love all these characters so much and they all just seem like a world full of loose cannons. This morning, when I finished watching Episode 7, I was so relieved to turn off the TV and to go back to focusing on my quiet little life, wherein women are taken a tad bit more seriously — however, I guess if you still look at advertising these days or watch much TV, you’d have to add “but not much.”

Oh well. Only 2 episodes left… Then I hope they release the magnificently designed, boxed-DVD set the very next day.

Okay!!! Guess what I did over the weekend? That’s right. I completed the revisions on my screenplay, Tell My Bones. I was still only able to get it down to about 60 minutes, which is the high end of the time limit they wanted for the staged reading. But we shall see. Maybe it’ll be fine. If not, maybe they’ll tell me what else has to go and I can just chop it off  without even looking because, frankly, I can’t see where/how to cut the script down any further and still have it make sense.  (But then, I wrote it, and I can’t really see where/how anyone would want to experience anything less than its full 105 pages!!) (But perhaps I am a wee bit biased.)

Anyway, it felt great to get that off my plate and officially on to the next phase of the upcoming staged reading. I have to say, I am starting to feel like this reading is going to run smack dab into me selling this house here in Ohio and having to buy a house back in New York and move. I just get the feeling that all this endless waiting I’ve been doing for so many years now is going to culminate in everything imaginable happening at once.

I can just see me flying into Manhattan, attending the reading, applaud, applaud, applaud, then hop the commuter train up to Dutchess County, look at the house I have my eye on, exuberantly say “I’ll take it!! Where do I sign?” Then hop on a plane back to Ohio, take all my possessions and throw them into a dumpster somewhere, load myself and my many beloved cats into my new (used) Jeep Commander, and head straight back to happily-ever-after-ville!!

Or something like that… Meanwhile, yes, I turned in the script, and all my homework is done for school (for today, anyway), I already taught my writing student this morning, so that’s done, and it is a gorgeous day here today, so I’m outta here!

Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you have something wonderful going on in your corner of the world. See ya!

Peggy Olson is too cool!
Peggy Olson is too cool!

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis