Tag Archives: writing

Wow, A Very Happy Thanksgiving is Underway!

So much to be thankful for here, gang!

1.)  I bit the bullet and decided to get cable again after I moved here because I don’t have an HD television anymore and can’t watch everything on an iPad — and my new cable lineup carries reruns of Perry Mason, one of my all-time favorite shows! Yay!

2.)  I discovered an AMC megaplex 3 minutes from my new house and was able to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them this past Tuesday afternoon, without having to drive 40 minutes each way! Yay!

3.)  My 50-year-old 10-cup Corning Ware percolator finally bit the dust and I bought this beautiful shiny retro-looking new one yesterday at Sur La Table! (Welcome to the future of coffee while still managing to live in the past!) Yay!

4.)  I’m having Thanksgiving dinner today at one of my favorite places — the Buxton Inn in Granville, Ohio, which is now, quite conveniently, only 10 minutes away! (It used to be 30 minutes away, but, as you know, I recently moved to the middle of nowhere!) (Just FYI — in my TV movie script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge, the Buxton Inn is renamed the Peabody Inn and Granville is renamed Parsons Ridge.)

And, speaking of my TV movie script…

5. )  The same production company in LA that is interested in developing The Tea Cozy Murder Club, the same company that had also asked to see my TV pilot proposal, Cleveland’s Burning, a couple months back, finally gave me their feedback on that project and guess what, gang? They loved it! This week, we officially signed the contract to begin developing Cleveland’s Burning!! Double, triple YAY!!!

Yes, that’s right. I officially could not be happier.

Oh, and of course I’m thankful for my good health and the rollicking, robust health of each and every single one of my remaining 8 cats, gang! I’m thankful for this great house we’re living in (and now that the old, expensive house is gone, my credit scores are through the roof again! Yay!!) (But, sadly, the new owners of my old house cut down all my trees, my rose bushes, my azaleas, my rhododendron — you name it, they cut it down. I was devastated when I drove by there, but we must move on, gang.) I’m also thankful for this lovely little town I’m living in! And thankful that, after several thousand dollars’ worth of repairs (!!), my beloved 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium Sedan is in terrific shape once again!! And, well, the list goes on…

Yes, after a truly difficult year, we are winding it up on a very high note. Hope it’s going the same in your neck of the woods! To everyone living state-side, have a lovely Thanksgiving. And to everyone else, have a great day!

Thanks for visiting! See ya. (Click the image; it gets bigger.)

The town I now live in actually looks like this (for the most part)...
The area of Ohio that I now live in actually looks like this for most of the 40-minute drive back to town…

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!!

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!!

 

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

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.

kittensleep

When it rains, it pours!

Yes, I am up to my eyeballs with projects.

First and foremost, I have made a chore chart  for everyone who lives here and I’ve posted it prominently in the kitchen! I’m trying to get everyone to take on their fair share of the cleaning duties around here because I do not have enough time to do everything. So I’ve made the kind of chart where you give each person a little colored foil sticky star that indicates how they are doing as far as accomplishing their chores goes. You know, sort of like this:

Chore Chart
Chore Chart

Then I stick a little star in the “day of the week” column. Gold, of course, means “excellent”. Silver means “showing improvement”. Green means “needs improvement”. Blue means “lacking initiative”. Red means “poor”.

YES, I do realize that everyone who lives here, besides me, is a cat! But that shouldn’t be an excuse for getting a free ride! So far, Fluffy, who, albeit is dying from cancer, has the difficult chore of “sleeping at all times” and she, even in her poor, fragile condition, is the ONLY ONE who consistently gets a gold star. EVERYONE ELSE hovers in the “lacking initiative” and “needs improvement” zones…

When I try to point this out to them, they insist on regarding me blankly. Some even have the audacity to look at me and then glance at the fridge, as if treats might  be coming! (Have you ever known “lacking initiative” or “needs improvement” to equal treats?? I have not.)

I am NOT KIDDING about the chore chart, however, it is only an art project I made for myself in order to remember to laugh when I look around at the regrettable state of the house. No one (me) is dusting. No one (me) has washed the kitchen floor in several weeks. No one (me, again, as it turns out) has vacuumed in about 10 days.  I’m actually up to my eyeballs in writing projects, so that is a really happy thing. Still, I stress when the housework doesn’t get done.

But, on that merry note — the actress in NYC (the one I’ve been working with on the original one-woman musical) came back from the pitch in Toronto with excellent news. The response to the project was incredibly great, so we are almost to the final draft that will be shopped to theatrical producers, etc. It is so exciting. She’s been working on this musical (she wrote the play and all the songs — it is about her staggeringly unexpected life) for about 5 or 6 years. And I’ve been working with her (editing, advising, tweaking) (not implying any use of meth amphetamines when I say “tweaking”) for about 3 years now. But it is a really great show, gang, and I know it is going to get funded.

Anyway, so that is getting ready to go into high gear, while I am also in the throes of writing The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge, the novel.

Remember how — many, many posts ago — I proposed the idea of writing 5 pages a day on the novel in order to have it done by Labor Day? Yeah, well….

I’m trying. It’s now looking more like late September. (Assuming that on your calendar, “late September” actually means October… hahaha.)

It has been a rough summer, gang. An expensive summer. An “every time I turn around, a week has disappeared, where is the time flying to?” summer. Hence, the chore chart, to remember to keep my sense of humor.

All right. Well, it’s a lovely, sunny, ungodly humid, hot Saturday here, gang! Luckily, the central AC is kicking butt this year!! Yay!! My house stays at an always-comfortable 72 degrees!! I’m going to get crackin’ on the novel. (Okay, I’m going to go down to the kitchen and get another cup of coffee, then get crackin’ on the novel.)

Have a great day, wherever you are and whatever you get crackin’ on in your neck of the woods!! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

Me, getting crackin' on the novel! I know, it looks suspiciously like me "tinkering" in the previous post. Trust me, there are shades of nuance when I'm getting crackin' and when I'm tinkering.
Me, getting crackin’ on the novel! I know, it looks suspiciously like me “tinkering” in the previous post. Trust me, there are shades of nuance when I’m getting crackin’ and when I’m tinkering.