Tag Archives: cats

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!



Getting to be that splendid time of year!

Yes, as this picture illustrates, it’s the time of year where I go for a ride on my bike, with my terrier tagging along, while I wear what was once referred to as a “coolie hat.” Now the word “coolie” is politically incorrect in most parts of the world and we’re supposed to refer to it as a “conical Asian hat.” However, it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue in the same vivid way. So we need a new word.

I guess we could call it my “cool” hat.  Which would not be a lie, but neither would it give you any accurate idea of what type of hat I’m really wearing, and if you were “visionally challenged” (or “blind”, in the old 20th-Century version of English), you’d be strictly on your own as far as understanding what comprised a “cool” hat. (Although if you’d been visionally challenged since birth, the whole concept of a hat would be in the realm of the somewhat fantastical altogether.) (By the way — do not use the word “visionally” out in public or at a party where you’re trying to attract the attention of someone “cool.” It is not, in fact, a word. I’m making it up.)

Anyway. I digress. I don’t actually have a bike, or a terrier, or any type of hat whatsoever.

However. Yes, autumn is beginning to arrive! My favorite time of year! The heatwave broke on Wednesday evening. The temperatures are down where I like them best: around 70 during the day and way down in the lower50s-upper40s at night. My cats are friskier than ever, since I leave some of the windows open until it really, really gets cold outside. And the cats are so darn cute when they’re being frisky. And cute cats make me happy.

Things are looking good on all fronts. Including revisions of my theatrical adaptation of my script, Tell My Bones. So I’m happy.  I’m still waiting to find out the amount I’m pre-approved for on my mortgage, though, so that’s making me a little antsy. I don’t like that limbo feeling.  But I’m guessing I will find out one day next week.

James Tabor has announced the itinerary for his 2018 Tour of the Holy Land. Each year, I tell myself that “next year, I’ll be able to afford to go.” And then I keep hoping that he’ll, in fact, have a tour the following year. These are not theological tours of Israel, by the way,  but archeological/biblical/historical tours. They hit all the places I would truly love to see with my own eyes, with none of the dogma.

Even though the tour is actually really affordable considering what it offers, I still can’t imagine — what, with getting ready to buy a new house, and all — that I can afford to go in 2018.

That is why I direct your attention to the link at the top right-hand corner of this blog! (Top-right, if you are facing the blog; top-left, if you have somehow managed to get inside the blog and are looking out…) Yes, that’s right. All you need do is buy me about two thousand cups of coffee (anonymously, if you prefer), which in turn puts $3 per cup into my Paypal account, and then I will finally be able to take that trip with James Tabor to the Holy Land.

James Tabor in Ceasaria

I’m officially thanking you in advance for all that coffee: Thanks, gang! You guys are the best! I’ll be sure to send plenty of postcards!

Okay! I gotta scoot. Gotta get back to the revisions of Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a terrific Friday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. See ya!


Oddly enough, things are getting better & better

Anyone who has known me well for a really long time, can attest to the fact that from the moment I was born, until just a few months ago, my life pretty much always sucked and generally got worse and worse as the years zipped by.

I’ve basically been a walking case of C-PTSD my entire life (from seemingly limitless physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, with no psychological safety-net, ever).  Even though a huge portion of my life has been spent struggling with suicidal depression,  I also seem to have been born with a boundless belief that God had a better plan for my life and all I had to do was keep looking and I would find it. (It’s called faith.) (It’s also called “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over“.)

I’ve also been blessed as a writer — just keep getting the words out, no matter what. Through any and all emotional upheavals and various & sundry dire circumstances and stressful situations. Even though it’s financially difficult, most of the time, to be a writer, I have always found the energy and time to get my projects done and send them “out there.” It gives this ridiculously difficult life what is called: A purpose.


That’s why this move to the Hinterlands came as such an astounding surprise to me — that I could ever find a place that made me so happy and that could really feel like home — for the first time, ever, and I have been alive now for over half a century.

I did get approved for my USDA mortgage — I still don’t know for how much, yet. It won’t be a lot but it’ll be enough to buy a little cottage out here and stay put, forever. I have been on Cloud 9 since I got the letter.

Although I will probably have to travel constantly between NYC and LA, and occasionally to Bristol, England; my home base will be here in the Hinterlands and I simply couldn’t be happier. I wake up every day and cannot believe how blessed I am. Whenever I feel those niggling feelings of stress, I simply step outside and am instantly reminded that this place is magical. The stress simply evaporates.

The old farmhouse from 1910, that I mentioned in a previous post below somewhere, sold a couple weeks ago. The little lake house, which is really just indescribably cute, is still available  but I don’t think I want to get involved with the cost of flood insurance. I currently have my eye on a really cute old house — really tiny– from 1900 that’s been completely updated and is very close to the lake, but wouldn’t involve flood insurance. We’ll see how much of a mortgage I get pre-approved for, then I can make up my mind and life will finally begin!

Meanwhile… I need to close this and go focus on the Helen LaFrance theatrical adaptation. During my last phone call with Sandra Caldwell in NYC, mere hours before she had to go onstage for the opening night of Charm, she very pointedly asked, “when are you going to get here?” and made it plain that she had a number of people she wanted to discuss the Helen LaFrance piece with, so getting the revisions finished might be a really good idea…


So here I go.

Have a great Friday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing! I leave you with this, gang! Play it loud and keep on keeping on, regardless of what anyone else advises. Thanks for visiting. See ya!



The Unthinkable Happened!

Yes, that’s right; a few days ago, one of my friends actually came out here to visit me in the Hinterlands!!

Unbelievable, right? I’ve only lived out here for almost exactly one year, and someone finally came to visit me.

And guess what happened? That’s right. She loved it out here. She couldn’t believe how peaceful it was here, how happy it made her feel to just sit out on my patio and look at the trees and the sky, and listen to all that QUIET.

She spends a lot of time in New York (she was born and raised there, actually), so she knows: A.) How great New York is; B.) How expensive New York is; and C.) Why it is that I fell in love with the Hinterlands and now never want to leave it.

When I mentioned to my Dad the other day that I had decided to buy a house here, rather than rent something else temporarily and then eventually move back to New York State, he was flabbergasted. He said, “But I thought the plan all along was for you to move back to New York?!!”

I said, “That was the plan, for a really long time, but I am so happy out here. and nothing is more terrifying than growing old in New York if you don’t have enough money.”

He concurred.

Now, on a more forlorn and bittersweet note…

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Fluffy’s death.

I still simultaneously cannot believe that: A.)She’s been gone from my life a whole year already; and B.) That she died at all.

That’s right. I still cannot get over that she is gone from life. Followed so closely by Bunny’s passing, as well. (Bunny died on October 23rd, the morning after we moved here to the Hinterlands.)

Fluffy was a very sick, starving, pregnant kitten when she arrived on the front porch of a house we rented briefly in Pennsylvania, in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains.  None of the vets I took Fluffy to wanted to treat her because they thought she was a lost cause. I was living with Mikey Rivera back then,  he was a plumber. He went on a call to fix a leak at a guy’s house way out in the country and the guy turned out to be a veterinarian.  He took care of a lot of stray animals and he agreed to take a look at Fluffy for us. (By this point, the ASPCA had aborted Fluffy’s kittens, but they wouldn’t treat her for the pneumonia or anything else that was wrong with her, because they, like everyone else, thought the kitten was a goner.)

However, this vet out in the wilderness, told us to simply give her these over-the-counter anti-histamines (pills meant for people) around the clock, keep her quarantined from my other cats, and just let her sleep. He warned us it would take months for her to get well, but she did. In fact, it took almost an entire year for her lungs to clear up, and even though she had breathing troubles throughout her whole, furry life, she lived another ten years and she was the sweetest, goofiest, most adoring cat ever. I miss her so much.

I know she is  out carousing now in the fields of the Lord.

Enjoy the sweet hereafter, Fluffy. Thanks for being here while you were.