Sunday, April 26, 2015

Surpassed Weight Loss Goal!

Whoooeeeee! I have passed the 20 pound loss mark, and on my way to my new target weight of 128!

ONE New Year's Resolution accomplished!

Friday, April 24, 2015


Ah, a crazy limbo. Things are weird as the season turns, the snowbirds clear out and traffic thins. New bugs appear on my morning walks, and my skin seems to be more prone to bites. And of course the heat was 85 yesterday.

But that's the climate, not the weirdness of my mind. I am in limbo waiting for rejection letters from query letters sent out to agents, trying to find representation for Loose Fish, my memoir. I don't think anyone's keen on rejection, but my skin, so vulnerable to bug bites, is also thin enough to feel the stings of rejection more than I used to. It's the game, of course, just like the acting game and any other where the stakes are high, but it's difficult. Form letters are the worst. All the work put into a query only to be deleted with a return form.

On the brighter side, I begin my second day of training on the new job. The company is in the upheaval of moving to new offices, so things are chaotic (in limbo?) for awhile. Euro Pianos Naples is the sole Floridian distributor for Fazioli pianos (made in Italy) and they are the Lexus of pianos. I'm really pleased to be working for this classy outfit. How would you like this in your living room? Call me! Check this out:

On the weight loss front, I'm down my 20 lbs. (my target on 1/1/15 New Years Resolutions) but I want to lose another six lbs now. My eating habits are very changed, but the weirdness of that is that I keep buying food! I can't seem to stop myself from overstocking, almost as if I don't think I'm ever going to get enough to eat again. It is so strange. I have Omaha steaks, salmon, sausage, shrimp and casseroles in the freezer! I have more vegetables that I can ever cook before they spoil. I have new diet products (I found wet asian noodles that are only 45 calories a servings!) and all manner of low cal cookies and crackers. I just buy boxes and boxes of the things. A little weird. There is definitely weirdness in the air.

Cod liver oil and plain yogurt are the winning ingredients for food additives to prevent the dogs from itching. They went through months of obsessive scratching. I tried everything the pet store sold, and some they didn't. Cortisone and sprays and creams, bathing with oatmeal and moisturizing. Nothing helped. But cod liver oil (in small amounts on their kibble) with a tablespoon of yogurt does the trick! Both together work better than just one of either. No idea why. One more weirdness in my life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

2014 film "Tracks"

I really enjoyed this film made from Robyn Davidson's memoir. Wow!!


Director John Curran (THE PAINTED VEIL, WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE) and the producers of THE KINGS SPEECH bring you the film TRACKS, which tells the remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska), a young woman who leaves her life in the city to make a solo trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert. Accompanied by only her dog and four unpredictable camels, she sets off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) who begins to photograph her voyage. (C) Weinstein

Friday, April 17, 2015

Questions and Queries

Today is my first day of training at Euro Pianos and I want to be sure to get all my questions answered. I'm very excited about this job, and will be happy when the move to new quarters is finally settled and I know where I'll be working permanently.

Meanwhile, busy busy busy sending out queries on the memoir which is now called "Loose Fish." I have been advised by the more knowledgable (including Chuck Sambuchino, Bob Erickson and others) that dropping "Chronicles" off the book cover makes a lot of sense. Just visualize how crowded it would be otherwise?

I'm using Query Tracker (the software isolates the agents that handle memoir) and then going down the list, one by one, and visiting their websites, reading their bios, their authors lists, et al. and determining which agents "click" with me. I've sent out six queries so far, two with sample pages numbering 50. I think if one sends sample pages, 50 pages is a smart request. Any less than that does not give a full flavor of MY work, so I am ignoring those who request less.(for example 5 pgs)

This evening one of our Writers Group is having a cocktail party for the writers, so it looks to be a busy day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Very Good Year....

This past New Year's Eve, I made a lot of resolutions, and decided that 2015 was going to be a very good year. I think I'm right on target!

From my 12/31/14 blog post:
My resolutions are:

  • Lose 20 lbs. and get healthy
  • finish the memoir (again) (it's being rewritten in past tense.)
  • bring my bowling average (118) up to 150
  • keep my writer's group intact and productive
  • get some new paintings done, now that I have a studio again!

  • That's it. That'll keep me busy.

    So! This is April: (nine more months left in this year!)

  • I have lost 19 lbs. and am eating healthier than I ever have! Walking three times a day with the pooches and longer!

  • Finished Volume 1 (of a 2-volume memoir) and it's in past tense, polished and edited. I have a new query letter prepared ready to go out

  • My bowling average (league) was up to 128 when season ended. The non-league bowling is now on for summer. Last week I bowled 141, 160 and 120.

  • My Writer's Group has faced two challenges with personality conflicts, and we've managed to hang together. All involved are thrilled with our group. Every one of us is getting productive writing done and the books are getting completed!

  • I haven't found time to paint yet, but the studio's ready for me...and there's nine months left!

  • BUT THE MOST EXCITING THING IS: I have a wonderful new job. It will encompass more than bookkeeping, using some of my writing skills and blogging skills. And it pays 5% more than the last job. It is right around the corner from where I live and it is with incredible people who share my values and my goals in the workplace. These are the same nice people who offered my writer's group space for meetings, free! Yes! No accidents in the universe.

    Euro Pianos Naples

    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    She Wants to Sing (poem by Lisa J. Cihlar)

    I would play a love song
    on all my instruments.
    A Tibetan singing bowl,
    an African Thumb piano,
    a didgeridoo, a rainstick.
    I would beat a drum
    that calls in ruffed grouse
    to prove that I can do it.
    But my hands are wheelchair
    hands now. Stuck in curves,
    callused, dry, sore. I can still
    play your body with my mouth.

    I would write a haiku and place
    it in the middle:

    It is sweet and orange
    Eating a fall persimmon
    Here, it is my heart

    I have never tasted a real persimmon. In pictures,
    they are heart-shaped.
    They must be poems. Fruit
    and flowers always are,
    as is the woman found dead
    in the snow in Milwaukee
    and brought back to life.
    Does she knows something
    new now about the world?
    Or will she go back
    to the bar to drink
    tequila sunrises which remind her
    of warm islands.

    She joins a church choir and sings
    through the rest of winter.
    I would surprise you with
    all the things I have to say.

    Lisa J. Cihlar is the author of two chapbooks, The Insomniac’s House (dancing girl press, 2011) and This is How She Fails (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, In Posse Review, Bluestem, and The Prose-Poem Project.

    Photo by Karen M. Byerly ##

    Make Good Art -- the Ultimate Lifesaver

    "Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

    Make good art.

    I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

    Make it on the good days too."

    Excerpt from commencement address at University of the Arts by Neil Gaiman 2012

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    The Fool and Foolish Things

    I decided to contemplate my own foolishness today.

    I think introspection is important. The unexamined life and all that... I just feel that too many people have no interest in their foibles at all. Better to hide them than face them.

    So let it be heard that I know I'm a fool. You don't have to tell me. You don't have to teach me. I am clear. Extremely clear on the subject.

    That is not to say there's a whole lot I can do to correct it at this late date, but at least I can acknowledge it. I mean, they've dedicated a whole day of the calendar year to April's Fool. Somebody needs to pick up the Joker's hat and wear it! Not as a costume, but as a hairshirt, if needs be.

    I am coming down the mountain now, carrying my baggage. Once I went up the mountain, fearless and determined, but this is descent. And I am humble and humbled by the foolishness of my life. The foolishness of my choices. Of my trust. Of my yearning. And it's okay. I forgive myself.

    April Fool's Day