Monday, November 26, 2007

Goodbye Winter

New York -- The Saga of the Winter Coat Continues:
I was back in my new winter coat on Friday. George thinks it's so cool (actually, he used the word "cute" but that's embarrassing) he took a pix of me heading out to a restaurant to meet friends for dinner. If you promise not to gag you can see it. It's not a bad thing for your husband to admire you in your new coat. Especially after 28 years together (anniversary coming up next week!).

We had a lovely time with the family over Thanksgiving weekend. Here we are following brunch at Odeon on Saturday. I know, it's really hard to see everyone clearly. I promise to do better over Christmas in Key West.

For the record,we are: Randy, Larry, and next to me George, and Elliot. Amanda couldn't get away. She's the busiest person I know, running Bill Richardson's presidential campaign.

It's time to pack up for our flight to Key West tomorrow. I always pack too much, especially sweaters and scarves. But you never know -- sometimes we get temps as low as 60 in winter. Go ahead, laugh! My grandson does. He can't believe I sometimes wear socks and sweaters and even a leather jacket in Key West. I like to think if I pack it, I won't need it. It's my little game. The kind of game I learned from my mother.

Getting back to Key West means getting back to work. First I'll be revising Going, Going, Gone... the 3rd book in the Pain & the Great One series. Then I'll start thinking about the 4th book which I'll have to write over the winter. I like knowing what my winter writing project will be.

Hope you're all recovering from your holiday weekend. I just ate the last piece of Randy's apple pie. Yum!

More from Key West....
PS If you've been browsing here and wonder what's going on with the blog colors, we're getting ready for the launch of the new website (soon!) and are experimenting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

New York-- and a Happy Thanksgiving to all! It's going to be 65 degrees today! Who knew? The new black winter coat will spend the day in the closet but I'm not regretting the purchase yet because tomorrow it's supposed to be freezing! Hey, I remind myself. Life is about more than the weather. When I was growing up in Elizabeth, NJ we went to the high school football game on Thanksgiving morning. I remember all kinds of weather but nothing like this. What a treat for those on the street, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, not to mention those who are marching in it. The parade passes by our building. Here's the view from our window.

I choke up when I hear a marching band. Don't ask why -- I've no idea. George looks at me as if I've totally lost it. Maybe it has to do with a childhood memory. Whatever, I cried several times while craning my neck out the window to watch what was going on 12 stories below. Couldn't tell from up here what this group in green represented but I liked the way they twirled.

Speaking of twirling -- when I was 9 I wanted desperately to twirl a baton. We lived in Miami Beach then and went to the Orange Bowl parade where I first saw baton twirlers up close. I was given a baton for Hanukkah that year and I practiced and practiced, throwing my baton up in the air and trying to catch it. I got hit in the head more than once. Never did get to twirl with a marching band but if you give me a baton (or any object resembling one) I'll do a couple of figure eights for you.

Now that the parade has passed it's time to get ready for the rest of our day. We're gathering at my former husband's house. Among the many things I'm grateful for today (and every day) is that John is married to the wonderful Myrna and that we've become one extended family. It means a lot to our grown children, to Elliot, and to us.

I know this can be a tough (and lonely) time of year for some of you who have written to me and I'm thinking of you today.

For those of us lucky enough to have friends and family to share the holiday -- enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Autumn in New York

New York -- We flew to NY on Saturday to spend Thanksgiving week with friends and family. On Sunday morning it was so cold in the city I bought myself a winter coat! It's probably been 20 years since I've bought a coat. I'm only here for a week, I kept telling myself as I walked across the park, freezing. Yes, but it's a long week, I argued. And what's the point of being here if you can't comfortably walk everywhere? Finally, I convinced myself to go for it.

On Monday morning when we woke up it was snowing! This is the view from our bedroom window. You can't see the snow but it didn't last that long anyway. The trees in the park are just past peak color but still beautiful. They're a month behind schedule. Usually by Thanksgiving, the trees are almost bare.
The city is packed with visitors from other countries. George and I were counting how many languages we heard while walking through the park to 5th Ave. The visitors are shopping like mad. Only they think the prices are affordable. Still, I'm glad they're enjoying our city.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving Day when I'll see Randy, Larry, and Elliot!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Astro and Jazz

Key West -- I got an offer I couldn't refuse to fly down with some friends and their dogs last Saturday. I like dogs but I'm allergic to some of them. I get giant hives wherever they lick me. And once, when I was a senior at high school I rolled around on the floor with a standard poodle at the home of our family doctor. By the time I got home my face had swelled, my eyes were nearly shut, and I was wheezing. The doctor told my father, who was a dentist, to give me a shot of adrenaline. No one knew then that I have mitral valve prolapse, a benign condition that can make getting adrenaline dangerous -- and if not dangerous, frightening. My heart pounded, I shook all over, and I was scared out of my mind.

So the idea of spending three hours in a small cabin with Astro and Jazz was of some concern. But I'm happy to report the dogs weren't allergic to me and I had no trouble with them. They were excellent travel companions.

I'm so glad I decided to go for it. If I'm going to be locked up working for two weeks this is where I want to be. I love New York but I no longer like working there. When I look out the window I want to be outside. I feel as if I have to have some kind of mission every day to get me out of the apartment. In Key West I work at a desk facing a garden. When I slide open the big glass doors I feel as if I'm outside in the garden.

Did I say I was able to send my editor 4 stories from the third book in the Pain&Great One series (Going, Going, Gone!) before I left? That means I have to finish two more stories plus some words of wisdom from Fluzzy the Cat. I'm giving myself a week for each story.

The problem is, the first story seems to have turned into two. I'm not sure I want it to be two. So I'm letting it rest for a couple of days while I get going on the next story. In this one the family is visiting an eccentric grandpa who lives near the Everglades.

George once took me on a canoe trip through the Everglades. We camped out for a week. Never saw another human. But saw plenty of incredible birds and even a group of 3 alligators. I'd read a book about poisonous snakes in the Everglades the night before our trip began. Not smart! I had leather dress boots with me (low heeled I'm happy to say) and never took them off, not for 7 days and nights, not even to portage through thigh high gray muck because my book said snakes and alligators (I think it said alligators) can't bite through leather. So while the Pain&the Great One won't be on a week long trip through the Everglades, Grandpa Pete will surely take them out in his canoe to see the birds never know what might happen. Stay tuned...