I Have a Santa Diaries Dream

In the dream I was in Minnesota for the Merlin Players production of The Santa Diaries. But something was very odd. The play was being held outside and it wasn’t cold. December in Minnesota and the grass was emerald green, as if brand new turf had just been rolled out.

rolls of turf

Chairs were set up on the grass facing a huge stage with multiple elaborate sets. I overheard actors complaining about how they had to run to get between the living room, and the bedroom sets, and I remember being confused because the Christmas weather seemed to be missing.

Apparently I was there for a rehearsal and the actors were amazingly good. And with those sets I knew this was going to be an outstanding production. I guess Laura was going to miss it, because she wasn’t in this dream.

But then, I needed to find something. Don’t you just hate it, in dreams, when you can’t find something it’s really important to find? I don’t remember now what it was, but I do remember running around trying to find it.

Finally it was opening night. As is true for all my dreams, it’s really all about me. There I was, ripping through my suitcase, throwing things on the bed. OMG. No clean underwear! That part of the dream was flat out disappointing. Couldn’t my writer’s unconscious have come up with something more original than no clean underwear?

In my dream or in my waking life, I’ve never worried how the Merlin Players would treat our play. And in the scheme of my writing life, not having clean underwear is no biggie.

The dream may have been anxiety about Minnesota weather, so when we go to see the play in a couple of weeks, I’ll make sure to pack winter clothes–and plenty of clean underwear.

Update from Faribault

Keep up with our play, The Santa Diaries, being performed this December in Minnesota. Laura Ambler and I are going to see it. Road Trip!

The Santa Diaries Project

An update from Michael Lambert (who stars as Will Hawes) about the rehearsals of The Santa Diaries in Faribault, Minnesota where it is now officially winter. The play will be produced by The Merlin Players.

snow michaels back yard

“Hi Mala and Laura –

Winter hit Minnesota pretty hard yesterday, dropping up to 14 inches of snow and ice in some parts of the state. The maple tree in my backyard decided to finally drop its foliage … I wasn’t sure whether to use the leaf blower or the snow blower …

I have a bit of a cold, and the icky weather prompted me to call in and work on lines. My cat, Pippin, had other ideas and wanted to get snugly. Not helpful, Pip! But he’s such a handsome boy …

Michaels cat

Stephanie Weiss (Martha) and I drove down to rehearsal in Faribault together and it was a slow, slick ride. This…

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Clean-up Time

Laura has been really busy at work so we haven’t done much collaborative writing for a couple of weeks. I’m taking advantage to do some cleaning up…in my office and outside where we’re getting the yard ready for winter.

Outside: I manage to convince myself that outside clean-up is more pressing than the inside. It will soon be too cold to work comfortably outside; however, I think the real reason is that the decisions about what office stuff to get rid is more difficult. That box of assorted computer cords and gizmos always goes back into the closet. What are those things for, anyway? And what if I need something in that box? It’s been nine years since we moved into this house and I haven’t needed anything yet, but you never know.

This is the time of year when I put the bag on the lawn mower and switch over to bagging. That always involves turning the mower over on its side and cleaning out the underside with various sizes of screw drivers. I feel quite virtuous mulching the leaves and grass and putting it on the garden beds. Free fertilizer. And I like mowing better than raking leaves.

We’ll have a hard freeze one of these nights, so it’s also time to bring inside the houseplants that have been living outdoors. There seem to be more every year and I’ll have to take a trip to the garden supply store for more saucers to put under the pots so water doesn’t damage my wood floors. My geraniums always love being inside. They grow to three feet tall and are full of blooms. This window faces northeast and gets some morning sun. The photo is from last February.


I extended my drip irrigation in one of my beds. That can only be done on a sunny, warm day because you have to fit plastic pieces together and that requires a little give. The first time my husband and I tried to put some drip irrigation together was on a March day. We used a hair dryer to warm up the plastic and putting the pieces together was very difficult. Note to self: only install drip irrigation in warm weather.

I have to order more tubing and parts and will finish that project next spring. The drip irrigation saved me so much time this year. We put it in the window boxes at the front of the house and they’ve never looked so good. Before the drip system was installed, I was watering those window boxes twice a day by the end of August. The irrigation system is on a timer and once that’s turned on in the spring, I don’t have to think about it again.

window box

The Office: It’s hard to know what to keep and what to pitch, but I’ve long ago run out of storage so I need to try. I did make a dent in a 7′ bookcase the other day when I pitched old software. Some of it I knew I would never use. Some was so old the software downloaded from floppy disks. (I might have a floppy disk converter in that box of computer odds and ends.) I kept the PhotoShop 7 that I got when I took a class at Harford Community College years ago. It does the things I need to do and if I ever have to reload it on a new computer I’ll be ready.

It’s the boxes of writing drafts that I really agonize over. The drafts are on various files and since most of the writing I’ve done in the past five years has been with Laura, we have these files on both our computers. How many versions of our novel Big Skye Ranch do we really need? In fact, do we need to save any paper versions?

Sorting through things reminds me of projects started and abandoned. I found a copy of a romance novel that my husband and I worked on ten years ago. Could I pull that out and get it ready to publish? It was set in the 80’s, before internet, cell phones and iPads. I hardly remember that life. Would readers relate to that story now?

I thought there might be a file of that novel on my old laptop, but I booted it up and couldn’t find one. Retyping 250 pages isn’t very appealing. And last week I had an email from someone who had just read my two Caribbean paranormal/ghost novels (A Dream Across Time and A Circle of Dreams) and wanted to know when the third was coming out. I had to tell her it was not at the top of the writing project list.

I suppose clean-up time is a lot like reworking a piece of writing. What to keep and what to toss? Cold weather is expected this weekend so escaping into the garden is no longer going to be an appealing option. I’m going to have to make a decision what writing project to work on until Laura is able to free up some time.