Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Just Call Me Ms. Skinnypants

I'm proud to say that I have hit my target goal weight of 129, and my diet is successfully OVER!

I have lost Twenty-Five Pounds and it's taken me since Jan. 1st, 2015. I'm proud because it was friggin' HARD, and I had to work for every ounce.

But, after five months of calorie counting (1200 calories per day, using "MyFitnessPal.com"'s food diary (which is free and does all the work for you), I can honestly say I eat a more healthy and balanced diet, and found a new way of cooking foods. Mainly from "SkinnyKitchen.com" recipes which are lower calories and added spice and fat substitutions without giving up taste.

I got into all of my old jeans, and that's a miracle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Having a GOOD time!

Things are taking a turn for better and better! I am pinching myself, as I feel the doom and gloom dissipate and some really good things are happening in my life.


First of all, I love my new job at Euro Pianos Naples. We are "between" showrooms at the moment, so working out of my boss's house (which is big enough to store all the office furniture & equipment plus 13 grand pianos, temporarily!) but our new offices should be ready sometime this fall. Under construction. The best news is that I really, really like the people. My boss is a sweetheart, and has a lot of my own quirks so we perfectly understand each other. She also loves dogs, and her daughter's dog, Dixie, just flew in from Canada to live with her. She plans on taking her to the office every day when we move, and invited me to bring Sugar & Spice to the office as well! How fabulous is that? We're pretty sure the dogs will get along fine, and we'll test that soon.


So, not only do I heigh-ho to work with a smile on my face, but I am SO excited about the new book I'm writing, working title: BLUE LAKE. It's a thriller/murder mystery set in Humboldt County, in the Pacific Northwest (where most of the pot is grown these days!). I was never a pot smoker, so I've had to do a ton of research, and OMG, there's a whole drug culture, jargon, sub-society out there that I never knew existed (and I lived in the logging town of Blue Lake for two years!). So I am having such fun, and am in the middle of Chapter Four.

My protagonist is the daughter of an L.A. drug dealer, having a secret affair with his top lieutenant, Pablo, against her father's wishes, and when the father dies of diabetes, Pablo takes over the business, travels to Humboldt to meet the growers and the father's secrets begin to pour out. I've never plotted a mystery before, and I cannot tell you how much fun it is to unravel lives, shove characters into precarious situations, and then have to figure out a way to extricate them. It's better than the NYT Sunday crossword!


I've lost 22 lbs. only three pounds to go!! Wheeeee!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A ROOM NOT HER OWN (Flash Fiction)

The room gathers around me, --photos, feathers, neti pot, bong, everywhere chapbooks.

On TV, a G.I. floats face down in an Afghan river. They say two others already sank. Gather them to me. I want to fill this room. I want to lick the blue of their faces.

I want to mix margaritas for the mothers of those boys until every one of them is so drunk they smile.

Here’s a roll of quarters. Here’s a pencil from Disneyland. I do not have a son. Or a daughter. The ghost of my almost floats in some sewer. The ghost of my father hides in a piece of a B17.

A jumble of books, shoes, papers, dog toys, untended house plants. Sunlight bleeds through dirty windows. What made this room crazy? I vaguely remember some order in the world before virgins waited in the hereafter.

The virgins at the Academy of Holy Names used to slouch in the school bathroom, sneaking cigarettes, talking smut in low voices so the nuns couldn’t hear. Come right in, they used to say. I was the Day Girl, outsider. They would scare me away with taunts of “Kiss me, kiss me.”

In this room, now, in this world, today, I wish I had.

## Published in Opium Magazine 2009 (though I can't find my author's copy anywhere, so maybe it was accepted but never used?).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writer at Work!

Okay, life is settling down....to that subtle even keel where angst and anguish are in the past, and there's food on the table, part time paying job to be enjoyed, and a new book to be written!

Yes! I am really excited. Mind you, I am still sending out one or two queries each day to agents for LOOSE FISH. (the memoir) I am determined to sell that baby. But querying agents is a longggggg and arduous chore. Many of them don't reply at all unless they want you. Some take weeks or months to reply. Out of 30 queries, I have received three rejections to date. You can almost celebrate a rejection, since it's at least SOMETHING back. It is very unsatisfying to sit and wait for responses from agents. Even if they like the book, and take you on, then the entire process starts again -- this time with the agent looking for a publisher. So you can grow old with the business end of writing--not very exciting until the book actually SELLS.

However! My excitement comes because of a new project. I have decided to write a fictional thriller. For years, ever since I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I have had an idea in the back of my head. When I lived there in a tiny former logging town called Blue Lake, I heard about a child who had disappeared and never been found. So I have finally wrapped my head around a plot for that, and have started a new novel! It's taken a few sleepless nights to get the courage for this, as I've never written mystery before, but now I'm having a really good time. It morphs every few hours into a new plot, with new characters, and it's fun to explore and just keep going with the flow of it. I have a core idea, so looking to see where it takes me.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


My real estate agent shakes my hand --
not the one holding a new set of keys,
but the empty one hanging by my side
waiting to be filled with paint roller,
sander, scrub brush, & waxer.

“Don’t worry.
Super Dave can help.”

she leaves his number in large letters
on a gas company envelope.

On the phone, his voice is light,
his prices right, a cheerful volunteer
to plumb, paint, electrify the walls,
do all the little things a new home needs.
The old ghosts lie flat & white
on the walls, watching me, laughing
at my solitude. Middle aged woman in
big, empty space employs helpmate.
(Shouldn’t there be a man? The old song
says one is so nice to have around.)

When he arrives, his eyes come first,
blue set in wreathes of laugh lines
in a hardy, young, face. His hair is blond,
thick & lank like a schoolboy crop,
begging to be rumpled. Wide shoulders,
tapered waist, jeans tight enough to tell
any story you’d care to write made
my fingers itch for a pen. Who is this
giddy woman, leading a workman
from room to room?

Surely this bath can be redone - everything
here has to go. Take down a wall or two,
& the energy will flow -- better,
won’t it, Dave? Nods & smiles
& notes, before he has to leave -- to
find the screens, purchase lights,
plan the room, buy the rings,
get the license, ride the big, white
horse right into my living room.

As he pauses at the door,
his hand reaches to shake mine,
I see the glint of gold, oh god,
second finger, other hand, just
before he slips out of sight
taking the stairs in twos,
running like a rabbit for its life.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

One Bird

Lately I've been walking the dogs around my mobile home park (instead of driving 10 minutes to Connors park over by the beach). Henry, the old tabby of mine is waking us up at 5:30 am yowling for food, a new trick of his, so often the sun is not up and it's easier to walk the boys up Wiggins Pass to the Tamiami Trail where the bright street lights give us sidewalks and plenty of grass.

This morning we were late however, and the sun was up by the time we left the house. Being Sunday, there were no large trucks grumbling along Wiggins Pass (there's some kind of industrial site at the end of this road) and the air was cool and crisp -- a very mild 68 degrees. I wore a jacket and it felt good to be walking in coolness, instead of the 90 degree heat that will follow this afternoon.

I heard birdsong, and while the boys were sniffing out a lamppost, I looked up. Over the trees, on a telephone wire, sat one lone little bird. I couldn't tell you what kind of warbler it was, lacking any noticeable color than gray,but it's put me in pursuit of a name. The sound was HUGE for the size of this wee bird, a series of trills, chirrups, chirrees, a pause and then a whole other symphony of song would erupt. It wasn't ONE call, like the internet gives you for each warbler, it was a series of different songs. I stood for minutes listening. The bird was all alone, nobody was on the street--no traffic, no other people or birds. So it felt like I was an audience of one for this magnificent little performer. It was beautiful and it was really LOUD. No mics needed.

The dogs pulled me along, wanting to always go forward into the day and I was reluctant to leave the recital. But that one little bird altered my whole consciousness of this day. I was lighter of step, happier of mind, softer of heart as a result of our miniscule encounter. One bird made that big a difference in that short a time.

I know it's corny, but hey! One is forced to imagine what an impact one human being might make on her fellow humans...and I vowed, in spite of my fears and hangups, my reclusivity and insecurity, to keep practicing my feeble song...to sing when I can as often as I can, in my own way.