A Nor’easter Blows Through

High winds early Friday morning woke me up several times. Was that a freight train coming at the house? Nope. A Nor’easter.

Laura Ambler, my writing partner, and I had worked on our play Thursday and she had warned me what was coming. Her day job is in aviation so she’s acutely aware of the weather. And the Nor’easter arrived just as predicted.


We watched the old silver maples on our property give up some limbs. Nothing very big, but a pick-up-sticks job to be handled. Although we are near the water we didn’t have any flooding like other parts of the east coast. However the rotation of the storm pulled water out of the local rivers and there were some really low tides. We never lost power although we do have a generator back-up. The winds were still roaring Sunday night and another storm is predicted for Wednesday.

Dancing Santa

The weather didn’t keep Laura and me from writing. Our play, commissioned by The Merlin Players in Faribault, Minnesota, is almost finished. We will be able to send it to Artistic Director,  Julianna Skluzacek, by the end of next week. We sent our ideas to Julianna in early October 2017 and began work in earnest on January 6, 2018. We have worked two to four days a week since then. Sometimes with our cell phones on speaker when Laura was in Florida on business. Usually we worked for two hours or a little more before our brains went on strike. Much of the time at the beginning is asking questions. What is the play about? What would happen if this character did x, y or z? What conflict would that generate? Does a scene further the arc of the story?

Since the play is about the same characters in The Santa Diaries (five years later), we had the luxury of knowing who would be playing some of the parts as actors who had played characters several years ago wanted to have those parts again. That meant we could write to an actor’s strengths. I’m very visual. It helped to know what a character looked like.

In the Rest of My Life

We’ve had a worrisome two weeks as my beloved daughter-in-law was in the hospital with post-flu viral pneumonia. She spent a week on a ventilator. Most of the time I’m just fine with my kids living on the other side of the country, but when something like this happens I sure wish we were closer. Janet is now home and recuperating. I spent alot of time knitting to keep my anxiety under control.

The weather has kept me from the gardens but I went out yesterday while dinner was heating on the stove and took some photos. The Hellebores are blooming, but I haven’t had time to get the winter damaged leaves pulled out yet. And it’s still too wet and a little early to do an all in clean-up. I like leaving leaf mulch around the perennials until the evening temps moderate.

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Columbines and tiny lamb’s ears are emerging through the leaf mulch.

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My agenda for today, Sunday, March 4, 2018.

  1. Plant some seeds using the soil blocking method. My efforts to start some seeds inside in a bio-dome are not going so well.
  2. Read the 90 page play script to see what tweaks are needed. Laura and I are scheduled to work early tomorrow morning before she has to go to her office.
  3. Help my husband pick up sticks on the lawn.
  4. Poach a chicken so there will be protein in the fridge for the coming week.
  5. Make red onion refrigerator pickles.
  6. Do laundry. We are out of socks.

Wow. That’s a long list. I’m thinking some of these items may get pushed to tomorrow afternoon. But the play work will get done…and the laundry. We need those socks.


Temporary Snow Birds

Both Laura and I were able to spend some time in warmer climes recently. My husband and I were in Key West for two warm weeks, and Laura and her husband happened to be there as well for one of the weekends before they headed off for a week in Cancun.

I always try to go to the Butterfly Conservatory while I’m in Key West and this time Laura joined me. Best time to go is early in the morning when the butterflies are most active, and before the tourists arrive in droves. Laura kept walking away when I tried to take her picture, so she’ll have to cope with a rear view.

Laura at butterfly conservatory

I had a couple of goals for Key West (in addition to having warm feet). One was to walk as much as I could and see if I could do some 10K step days. I actually managed that 7 times in the two week period and most days got at least 8K steps in. I usually start out about 7 a.m. before the sun gets too high and there aren’t lots of people on the streets. I love walking in Key West because there is so much to look at. I vary my walk every day and don’t run out of new routes in the two weeks we are there. Below is an amazing mural on the side of a building. My husband is the one with his feet on the sidewalk.

Roger with Key West mural

My other goal was to work on book three of my Caribbean novel series. I wrote the second ten years ago and never got back to the third book. The first thing I had to do was reread the first two books: A Dream Across Time and A Circle of Dreams. I suppose it’s not really surprising that I had lost some of the threads of those stories that follow several Caribbean families.

Then I had to figure out what the story arc for book three is. I’m still working on that, but am closer than I was. The love interest for one of the characters showed up in Key West and that was a breakthrough. It is incredibly frustrating how the creative process marinates in my brain and shows up when it is ready, not when I demand. But I love how it is there, all the time, just at the edge of my consciousness. In the meantime I keep writing dialogue or description or a scene even if I don’t know where (or if) it will go. This morning in the shower I realized how I think I want to start this book, so I dried off, got dressed, and sat down to write for ten minutes before I headed off through the frigid air to yoga class.

Update on Key West weather: It was in the 70’s and 80’s when we were there the last week in January and the first week in February. Today when I looked on Wunderground the projections were for highs in the 50’s and 60’s. That is cold for Key West!