The bliss just gets blissier!

This gift from the gods was added to my world last evening:

Aerolatte!
Aerolatte!

The Aerolatte literally froths milk for lattes and cappuccinos in a nano second! I was so excited when I got out of bed this morning, because I knew that a latte awaited me and that all I needed to invest at that early hour would be a nano second… (I have to say, though, that I was a little free & easy with the cinnamon at 6 a.m., but once I had finished choking from inhaling all that cinnamon into my lungs, I thoroughly enjoyed my latte!)

It doesn’t take much to make me blissful, gang, does it? In fact, I ordered these this morning, in order to train my lungs to handle massive amounts of cinnamon inhalations (or perhaps cocoa) every morning:

Seriously inexpensive coffee stencils!
Seriously inexpensive coffee stencils!

I’m thinking that if I ever used that heart-shaped stencil pictured in the top row, I would need to drink my latte through a heavy-duty surgical mask, a la Michael Jackson:

The late Jacko
The late Jacko

So, probably, I will need to get up even earlier, in order to don my latte-drinking attire, before getting that cinnamon-dosed latte in a nano second…

Chances are I would terrify my cats if I ever showed up in the kitchen at that early hour in an outfit like that, so I guess I better just learn to tolerate cinnamon in my lungs. (Or better yet, give up breathing while drinking latte.)

zscaredy

Okay, gang!! It’s that kind of morning here. I’m going to get crackin’ on some writing before heading off to work for 5 hours (yes, I’m working on this sunshiney Sunday!). Thanks for visiting, though. Hope you’ve got a blissful Sunday ahead of you today, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are! See ya!!

 

 

 

Bliss and more bliss!

Even though I still work 17 million day jobs, now that I’m out of school, life feels like a veritable daily vacation!

And even though I currently have 4 active writing projects going on right now, yesterday I started writing a new novel! Yay!

It’s a project that I’ve been making notes on for a few years already (The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parson’s Ridge —  a cozy mystery), and I even have a producer in L.A. who is interested in the TV-movie version (which I will write afterwards, when I only have 16 and a 1/2 million day jobs and twenty or so other writing projects in the works… ha ha ha). (However, anyone who knows me, knows, that it so ME! As soon as my plate is cleared of one thing, 17 trillion more projects plop down on top of it!) (An additional “‘however”, however, is that I am gradually getting to that blissful place where my life is just plain simpler: cats, writing, nature, trips to the city, ministry, and someone to love.)

But, anyway!

Yes! Life is so good!! I am sure that 2015 will be a banner year for everyone. I have plans to be very peaceful tonight. A few phone calls to make in order to catch up with some folks, but mostly, I plan on just writing, doing a little yoga, hanging out with the cats. Listening to Ella Fitzgerald while making an awesome dinner for myself! (Yes, I do that, too — I love to cook, even for one, although I prefer two.)

Okay, my blessings go out to all of you to have a wonderful and meaningful time, ringing in 2015, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Thanks for visiting, gang! I’ll see ya in the New Year! [And I leave you with this mighty, mighty piece of bliss!! Enjoy it by candlelight with someone you love… See ya!)

Yes! I Have Returned!!

Finally! A break in the insane schedule that had become my life for the last two and a half years.

Yes, I graduated!!! Yay! I am now completely, 100% “a minister”.

And, fittingly enough, my ministry begins today, on St. Stephen’s Day. (St. Stephen being the Patron Saint of deacons and all those who are called to serve God.) Do not feel that you need to follow my ministry to hang out here in Marilyn’s Room, but you can if you want to!

I had a great Christmas, although it was a very quiet one. (And I did spend a lot of it wondering what next Christmas will be like when I am finally back East, among all my friends.) I heard from quite a lot of those friends yesterday, and my sister also stopped in for a visit, which was so nice but too short.

I am off now to visit with a friend who is in town from a far away Western state! So, really, I am just passing through the blog to let you know that I have returned.

[While “Art Thou Weary” is the traditional hymn for St. Stephen, I also really love the carol “Good King Wenceslas” and especially as sung by the Irish Rovers, so here you go!!] Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya super soon!

This could be the last time you see me for a while…

Naturally, now that I am in my final course of school, preparing to graduate, it is clearly going to be one of the most time-consuming courses I’ve taken so far.  So much reading and writing that it won’t be funny, gang. Luckily, I’ll get one week off for Thanksgiving, but other than that, I don’t know if you’ll see me here or not over the next several weeks.

After that, I will graduate and then have time to start going through all my belongings, throwing out what I don’t absolutely need, and then packing up all the rest of it, preparing for my next long-distance move.

The trip to NYC last week got cancelled at the last minute, due to a death in the actress’s family down in D.C. I was disappointed, but soon enough, I will be back there permanently. For now, we are working on Skype until the airfares go back down again after the holidays.

I know I keep telling you how excited I am to be working on this project, but I must say it once again: I am so excited to be working on this theater project!! Yesterday when we were Skyping, I found out that I already know the director (I never worked with him, but I lived in the same apartment building as he and his wife for many years.) And I know the stage manager — to put it mildly. It is my ex-husband! I said, “You’re kidding??!! Wayne is the stage manager?” He is perfectly suited to that role, btw, and he and I still get along really well, so, wow, what a cozy little group. The only people I don’t know yet are the music director and the agent who’s repping it.

Between Skyping every Wednesday now with the actress, and Skyping every Saturday with Kevin (my writing partner in Brooklyn, on a different project), and this colossal ton of homework required for my final class, and my regular ton of part-time jobs… it leaves little brain-space for the re-writes of the TV pilot, but I still manage to squeeze it in. Even though all of this stuff is really exciting, it is stressful and leads to lack of sleep and to depression. I sure do wish I didn’t have to work quite so many part-time jobs.  But the end is in sight.  Soon enough I will be able to concentrate on my ministry and my writing — and my new/old relationship with my guy-friend back in New York.

I just have to keep hanging in there. My depression is very low-grade at this point and I know that as things progress and change and end and new beginnings begin, the depression will evaporate. So, on that happy note, I’m gonna scoot and start reading the SEVENTEEN (!!!!) (yep — 17) chapters in my textbooks that I need to write papers on this weekend.

Oh, btw, here’s my theme song! It gets me through. Give it a try, it might help you, too!!

All righty!! See ya, gang. Thank you so much for visiting!

 

The best laid plans…

As excited as I was for my Halloween night at home, I spent it entirely differently than I had thought I would. (See post from Thursday.)

Yesterday morning, I decided that I was going to be diligent and do homework all afternoon, but that plan lasted until about 12:15 PM when I found I could no longer resist the temptation to go down to the family room and watch the episode of Father Brown that I had DVR’d the night before.  And once that happened, I was not going back to that homework idea…

However, none of the Halloween movies appealed to me this year.  And when I noticed that Amazon Prime was offering free streaming of Radio Days, one of my most very favorite Woody Allen films, I dropped everything and watched that. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen that movie since it came out in 1987; I have lost track. But I never get tired of it.  IT is so charming and uplifting. And the soundtrack is to die for (for me, anyway — someone who loves to live in the past!)

Radio Days 1987
Radio Days 1987

Then I switched to YouTube and watched several episodes of Hetty Wainthropp Investigates! I love Patricia Routledge and it’s refreshing to see her being clever and not being Hyacinth Bucket once in a while.

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates; BBC 1996-1998
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates; BBC 1996-1998

Which reminds me that another one of my favorite films is on tonight — on Turner Classic Movies: Dame Margaret Rutherford in Murder Most Foul!! I have to say that Dame Margaret had the strangest take on Miss Marple ever, but it is still really fun to watch her movies. She made 4 Miss Marple movies — this one is the one where she joins a local theatrical troupe in a small English village in order to, of course, solve a murder. It is really fun — made in England in 1964.

Murder Most Foul starring Dame Margaret Rutherford, 1964
Murder Most Foul starring Dame Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple, 1964

Even though I’m going to DVR this, I will probably stay up and watch it tonight, since tomorrow we set the clocks back anyway. I won’t miss any sleep.

This weekend is the final weekend of the course I’m taking in school, so I have a final project to write, plus 3 other shorter papers to write. Then I have one last course to take and I graduate (still on track for magna cum laude!). Kind of hard to believe that, come Christmas, I will suddenly have so much free time. I am going to spend all that free time packing and throwing stuff away and getting ready for yet another out-of-state move. This will be my 4th long-distance move and hopefully it will be my last.  (Well, I don’t mind if I move to another house, I just don’t want to move out of state again. It is a lot to deal with, especially now that I will be transporting a colony of feral cats with me.)

Although, I have to say, they get less feral all the time. Here is a shot of Weenie on my bed last night, while I was watching Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. He is very comfortable around me, although most of the time, he won’t let me pet him. He’s getting better about that, though.

Weenie, relaxing on my bed last night!
Weenie, relaxing on my bed last night!

Okay, I guess I better close this and start working. I’m going to make a pot of butternut squash soup (the easiest soup ever — boil the squash, an onion, celery and a carrot, 4 small peeled potatoes, sea salt and a dash of red pepper flakes for about 30 minutes, then puree it!), finish the laundry, then get crackin’ on all that homework.

Have a wonderful (meaningful?) All Soul’s Day, wherever you are, gang! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

[Fantastic opening credit music to Murder Most Foul!]

Wishing you a happy All Hallows Eve in advance!

Okay, gang, just wanted to wish you all a very happy All Hallows Eve, wherever you live and however you celebrate!

I will most likely celebrate it the way I always do nowadays: A rustic wine (notice how big the jug is and how there appears to be only one autumnal wine glass! Hmmm); popcorn in my special scary-Halloween-movie popcorn bowl; and some sort of old, fun Halloween movie. (I include Edward Scissorhands in my Halloween movies, for some reason, even though it has that really sad Christmas-y snowy ending).

My own personal Halloween accoutrements!
My own personal Halloween accoutrements!

Actually, I will likely start my Halloween celebrations by watching the non-Halloween episode of Father Brown that I will be DVR-ing on PBS tonight. I love that show. My only complaint is that it is only an hour long so they have to cram way too much plot into the allotted time and then suddenly, boom, Father Brown in solving the murder. But I still love the show! I am totally into cozy mysteries.

Father Brown Mysteries BBC/PBS
Father Brown Mysteries BBC/PBS

If you are still super young and have never spent time watching the older vampire movies, you are missing some real treats.  Here is an assortment of truly cool movies that you can either find free on YouTube or hunt down before tomorrow night.

This is a nice & creepy compilation from Nosferatu, a great silent Dracula movie from Germany, 1922 (I know you can watch this entire film free on YouTube):

Here ‘s the trailer for a wonderful movie made in 2000 about a fictional account of making Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire:

This is a great version of the Dracula story that is full of soul brothers and is also kinda scary!! The infamous Blacula!

A great creepy later version of Dracula/Nosferatu starring the great and rather creepy German actor, Klaus Kinski, from 1979:

Here’s something that was not creepy at all, from 1966, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

There is of course the famous 1931 version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. If you have never seen this, well, frankly I find that hard to imagine! But the sets in this film are — if you’ll excuse the pun — to die for!!

Oh, and here’s another one of my favorite’s, from 1992, Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

And here is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies ever, from 1994, Ed Wood:

Well, all righty! If you’re planning on staying in tomorrow night and have plenty to drink but nothing to watch, this list should give you a good start! In the meantime, have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are. And thanks for visiting, gang!! See ya!

What a welcome surprise!!

Yes, by that, I mean that I basically have the whole day off. I only have about 75 minutes’ worth of work to do (meaning work I do to get paid), and then the rest of the day is MINE!!

And best yet, I cleaned the whole house yesterday, did all the laundry on Saturday, and so I have no chores I need to do, either. Plus, I don’t have anymore homework due for school until Wednesday.

So. Methinks today will be all about doing my own writing, taking a walk (it’s a gorgeous day here again), playing with the cats, baking something autumnally aromatic; just stuff that I love doing.

Speaking quickly of cats… I have to report that those Brewer’s yeast tablets I began giving all of them earlier this summer have given them really gorgeous coats.  They shed less and their colors really pop. The tabbies’ coats look particularly  incredible — the black and tan are all marble-y and have such a bright sheen. And the ginger cats are super ginger-y.  When I took Bunny to the vet a couple weeks ago, the vet said, “She’s either really good at cleaning herself or you’re doing a great grooming job.” (I do try to comb her once a day, but I think it’s more those Brewer’s yeast tablets, to be honest. I didn’t say that to the vet, though. I let Bunny get all the credit.) Here’s a shot of Lucie, who is notoriously difficult to get a photo of — more proof that today is just an incredible day, gang!

Lucie in her shiny coat!
Lucie just moments ago,  in her shiny coat! Although it doesn’t look particularly shiny in this photo! I am just thrilled I got her on film, finally. She is super camera shy.

On the writing front: I am halfway done with a new outline for the TV pilot. I should complete it today. (The plot remains essentially the same, it’s just being told from a different character’s perspective and that shift of POV really made the story come alive emotionally.)

As far as baking goes: So far this fall, I’ve baked oatmeal raisin bars, two pumpkin pies, a squash cake with chocolate chips & pecans that was to die for!! (I baked an acorn squash and pureed it, seasoning it and using it like you would a pumpkin. ) If I bake something today, it might be cranberry-nut bread. Not sure yet, though.

Here I am, baking up a storm! I appear to be baking a cocoanut still in its shell. A delicacy the world over. Not sure who the little girl is -- she just wandered in.
Here I am, baking up a storm! I appear to be baking a coconut still in its shell. A delicacy the world over. Not sure who the little girl is — she just wandered in. But I let her stay because she clearly adored me. Plus, she washed the dishes.

All righty, gang! I gotta scoot and do that 75 minutes of work! Thanks for visiting! Oh — forgot to mention that I went to see St. Vincent over the weekend and really liked it a lot. Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Naomi Watts are all splendid, along with a great little newcomer, Jaeden Lieberher. Terrence Howard also has a nice role as the reluctant goon. The film was beautiful, funny, poignant, uplifting.  Here’s the trailer.

Okay! Have a great Monday, gang. See ya!

What’s wrong with this picture?

One of my friend’s signed up at oDesk and eLance recently because she needed to drum up more work. Now, I am the kind of writer who always needs to drum up more money; I never need to drum up more work!

But sometimes (okay — frequently) I forget this!

Yesterday, after I came home from a freelance editing job, and while I was organizing the homework assignments I had to write for this week, and after I had talked to the actress in NYC again about nailing down the flight I needed to take to get to NYC and begin working on the original off-Broadway musical, and while staring at the piles of notes I had for my screenplay re-writes with Kevin in Brooklyn, and from the producer in L.A. for the TV series we’re trying to develop, and while thinking about the new book I wanted to write (a fun murder mystery that I think will be a blast! I already have a producer interested in a holiday screen adaptation for women’s television), I thought to myself: You know, I ought to sign up at oDesk and eLance, too, and try to make some more money…

So sign up, I did!That’s right!

But then, as my head hit the pillow last night, I thought to myself: How bizarre! What the heck is the matter with you? When do you think you’re actually going to be able to do anyone else’s writing and still have time for your own???

So I un-signed up this morning.

Why is it that it is so hard for writers to consistently earn enough money to live on and still write creatively (as opposed to hired-and-sometimes-hack work that other people can’t or won’t do)? It has plagued me throughout my entire career, and I’ve been a professional writer now for 25 years. Sometimes the money is great. Sometimes it stays consistently good for a good chunk of time. Then it disappears entirely and you resort to prayer. Then, happily, it picks up again. Sometimes, it even snowballs into more money than you’ve ever seen, but I haven’t experienced that. Yet. (You’ll notice, though, that as a recently ordained minister, I have made resorting to prayer part of my full-time job! I am really, really good at resorting to prayer. However, that said, I have also gotten really good at standing back and letting prayers be answered, left, right, and center. It had a lot to do with this stuff –click link & scroll down– and it took years to master it. And some days, I don’t master it at all.)

I honestly think that you’ve got to be happy. It is imperative. Do only what makes you happy — and you might be surprised at what types of little jobs might make you happy. I know I’ve surprised myself over the years. (4 years ago, I said yes to a 2-hour cleaning job without knowing it meant I would be working for this company and that, as a writer, it would open all kinds of doors for me and turn my life around.) Make yourself happy and then the other stuff that comes to you makes you, surprisingly, even happier. But sometimes you have to really wait.  And that “waiting” part is when a whole lot of people just give up, turn around and go home. (i.e., “do stuff they hate.”)

I don’t think that writers are going to get paid what they’re worth in this lifetime. A small few will — but it’s fewer and fewer all the time. However, you can at least make enough to live a fulfilled and happy life.   And, really, I believe that’s what we’re here for. When we’re fulfilled and happy, we do astounding things that can’t help but have a beneficial trickle-down effect for everybody.

On that happy note, I gotta scoot!! Have a terrific Wednesday, wherever you are and whatever happy thing you’re doing!! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya.

[One of my all-time favorite films. Who knew it would be part of my destiny, kind of??]

 

 

 

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis