Live Life and Practice Writing

The Story

It was dark outside. There was a loud noise and sirens. I remember being carried by my Mom down the street to Wendy Court. There was a bright spot,  huge flames and firetrucks. I was not yet 5. The flames appeared to be all over a garage. I heard the adults talking and what my child brain put together was a guy was working on a car and it burst into flames. He was killed.

I’m not sure how much time passed from the garage event to this next one, but I walked to this one. There were only sirens and I walked down the street to Mr. and Mrs. Brooks house with my Mom. My Dad was a volunteer fireman. There was a lot of smoke. I saw them bring the barrel of a dryer out Mrs. Brooks’ side door and douse something black inside. Then I remember seeing them lead Mrs. Brooks out looking very unlike the Mrs. Brooks who made us blueberry pancakes. I did not see Mr. Brooks anywhere.

We moved to the new house not long after this event and I don’t think I ever saw the Brookses again.

This left me with the idea that things can and did burst into flame. A fear of things like ovens, dryers and cars bursting into flame still haunts me today. It made cooking problematic. The broiler was the most troubling. Five hundred degrees! But as I cooked more and more in the oven and on the barbecue my fear lessened. Now I use the broiler all the time. It is a great way to cook steaks when you can’t barbecue.

The Steaks

The key to a good steak starts at the meat counter. You want to get a good cut with little white lines of fat running through it. The flavor is in the fat. Watch out for the clear white gristle. My preference is for rib steaks. They have several names, rib-eye, club steak, Delmonico etc., and are characterized by a swirl pattern and a tail. If I can’t find them, I will go with a strip steak or New York Strip. Porterhouse is to big and I don’t like t-bones, but they could be used if you like. 1/2 to 3/4 an inch is the best cooking thickness. Continue reading

I edit old posts all the time. I came across this one and still think it is a good idea for a screenplay.


I wish I had a clone.

Cloning myself. Sci-fi isn’t my genre, but here it goes.

I would need two clones with independent thought, but who think like me with my memories, sensibilities  and talents.

Clone One or Cloe One would be responsible for the house work, this would include the dishes, snow removal, gardening, lawn care and all the research that goes with making decisions on things like should I cut down the 11 conifers in the yard that will eventually die from needle-cast? Do the gutters on the house need to be replaced and how much will that cost? She would learn things like basic plumbing, basic carpentry and other handyman type stuff so I don’t need to pay some one. If a contractor is needed, she will handle all that.  This clone will keep house better than me; vacuuming every three days, dusting; doing the bathroom once a…

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Me16Jan18210.4 lbs

14 Days without a Soda


Wow! I need a different background.

My thinking on scales has changed over the years. It used to be I never cared if I had one or not. I was a skinny person. In fact, I was picked on in school because I was so skinny.

In my thirties when I started to put on 10 or so pounds over the Holidays, I would say, “I won’t stress out about weight. If my clothes start getting tight I’ll just do more exercise.” Yeah, I’m laughing to.

That 10 pounds or so adds up over the years. And with work and school who had time to workout. When I did step on a scale I was shocked to realize I weighed 160 lbs. How? I joined a gym and did good for a while.

Then my life fell into a comfortable spot. I had a job I liked, I was living in New York, I had my friends and we’d go out to good restaurants and drink good wine and liqueur.

The next time I stepped on a scale I weighed 190 pounds. I still did not own a scale. I joined Weight Watchers and had to weigh-in every week. I dropped 20 pounds in 6 months.

Moving back to Michigan, I went into a nutritional tailspin. Being back in Michigan, having to take my Dad to physical therapy and doctor appointments was a big culture shock and I was depressed for the first couple of years. Then I couldn’t find a job.

My Dad had a mid-thigh amputation and I moved back to my hometown, the house I grew-up in, so he could stay in house. With only one leg his life had changed dramatically and I felt sorry for him. Plus, I felt it was my duty. He is my father and everything should not fall on my sister.

My Dad knows nothing about nutrition. He was a meatcutter for over 30 years you would think he would know something, but you would be wrong. He now had one leg and could no longer walk the dogs 5 plus miles a day and ride his bike, but he kept eating every day as if he still did those things. He insisted on eating at Zorba’s Coney Island twice a day. It was easier to give-in than fight it.

I topped out at 283 pounds. I learned to cook by writing a cooking blog. (I plan to carry that over to this blog.) I put my foot down about going to Zorba’s. If my Dad wanted to eat like that, he could. I stopped.

All this has changed my thinking about scales. I give the credit to Weight Watchers. I owe my current success in losing weight to what I learned from WW. And it starts with the scale.

If I had formed the habit of weighing myself a few times a week before I had a weight problem, I could have done something about the Holiday 10 back when my metabolism was faster.  I would have realized I needed to change my eating habits and exercise more. It would have been right there in big numbers. Proof that my waist line was growing.

I now own a scale and like it or not, I weight myself a few times a week. I can’t deny it when that number 210.4 is staring right back at me. I have to be accountable. No one but me can change that number.

Another thing I learned from Weight Watchers is you can’t let yourself off the hook, but you have to be kind to yourself. It is about changing your relationship with food. I still eat like a thin person who never gains weight. Loosing weight is hard and I am not good at it. If this were easy, there would be no fat people.

I own a simple Taylor digital scale with huge numbers on it. It has become my friend.

img_2506This is what I weigh in the evening with my boots and three layers on. I do my normal weigh-ins in the morning, naked, after a shower. This is why I don’t consider it a real drop unless it is at least 10 lbs. This is a 6.4 lbs. difference.

How do you feel about scales?


via Daily Prompt: Static

It is good to mix things up and not remain static.

Today my goal is to write this, proof it and post in 20 minutes. Go!

Dramatic writers have many conversations about the status quo. A play or screenplay is stasis, chaos, new stasis.

As a new writer, the idea of status quo was very difficult for me. My characters were extraordinary beings, how dare anyone suggest they have normal lives!

Writing for TV and needing to turn out storyline after storyline changed my thinking on this. Even the extraordinary has a static state. A sky diver’s status quo is jumping out of an airplane; for me, jumping out of an airplane would be a bolt of static electricity.

When starting a story it is important to know your characters’ normal, what’s their daily routine? Then ask what breaks that routine? What’s different about today? Why? Now? Today? That’s the beginning or your story. Although in some cases, it could be the end depending on how big a break it is.

Back to the skydiving, if the character were me, jumping out of the airplane would probably be the climax of the story with the rest of the story building to that moment. That freeing scene in the movie that has the crowd cheering and feeling proud of the character. You start to see how the story would be built to achieve this ending. Jumping  would be the thing that concretizes something else in the character’s life; taking back control, accepting mortality, breaking free of controlling relationships, being an authentic self.

I can also see it as a starting gesture to a change, but in this case the story is about the character’s loved ones dealing with a person who has broken out of the box. Which ones will can handle it and which ones can’t?

Anyway that is my bit of writing advice today.

How did I do?

Write every day. It is my favorite piece of writing advice. The post  “Should You Write Every Day? A Close Look at the Oldest Piece of Writing Advice,”  by Nathaniel Tower on Juggling Writer made me re-think how I give it.

Reading the post, I realized Nathaniel and his followers do not know why, “Write every day,” is the oldest piece of writing advice.

Writers hear this advice a lot. It’s given so often without explanation that it has become a platitude that disappears into the background to be ignored. It should not be ignored because it is the single most important thing a writer can do. Continue reading


Me at 214 pounds Christmas of 2017. My God, do I look like my mother.

214.4 pounds

4 days without a bottle of pop.


I must, must, get rid of this weight!

Two years ago I stepped on a scale and saw the number 242. I could not believe it. I tried a different scale. 242. I remember weighing 125 and thinking I was fat. 242. When I lived in New York I weighed 190 and felt pretty good. My doctor would tell me to lose 20 pounds. I joined Weight Watchers and lost the 20 pounds.

When I moved back to Michigan to care for my elderly father, my life completely changed and so did my eating habits. Gone were the healthy habits that were so easy to establish in New York. 242.

I bought a FitBit and started with a step goal of 7,000 steps. I tried to track calories, but that is difficult unless you eat a lot of processed foods pre-labled for you. I try to stay away from that. I tracked my exercise and found it easy to meet my daily goal and increased it to 10,000 steps.

In two months, I was down to 220 and have hovered around that for the past year. I know why I am on this plateau and will blog more about my struggle with healthy eating and my Dad.

In the summer of 2017, I reached the low of 195, my current goal is 190. But it did not stay there. Today I weigh 214.4. On the upside, I did not gain any weight over the Holidays.

As I re-commit to getting healthy at the start of 2018, I will post my weight and how many days I have gone without a bottle of soda or as they call it in my corner of the world–pop. For me eating healthy is reflected in the face and although I take terrible selfies, I will include of photo of myself.

My reason for wanting to be healthier has not nothing to do with looks. I want to feel better and have more energy because I have more responsibilities than ever.

Please post any tips, recipes or just some encouragement in the comments. I need all the help I can get in my moments of weakness. Feel free to ask questions.

via Daily Prompt: Viable

Words have different meanings in different places. In New York, viable meant worth doing, possible. A new creative project; a play, a musical to consider. Or it was a solution to a creative problem a friend was having. It meant my advice was wanted and sought. I was viable every day and I gave freely.

Living back in my hometown in Michigan it means a job, usually hourly, that pays almost a livable wage, is less than 45 minutes from my house and includes health insurance. The industry and scope of the work doesn’t matter.

No one seeks my advice and my opinion is not wanted.  I no longer feel viable. I often feel invisible.

As a writer, being invisible has a viability of it’s own.

You can listen and observe and no one notices. People reveal their lives with abandoned. So much to write about when you’re invisible. You are safe and all walls are down.

When you are viable it is hard to be invisible, but when you are invisible, you can make yourself viable and than disappear again. I like that.


Categories: Life

via Photo Challenge: Growth

img_2379First, I had a heck of a time trying to post a photo on my blog. I use my iPhone to take all my photos and apparently during my hiatus Apple got rid of iPhoto and moved everything to Photos to make it easier to share photos across all devices. That’s great.

For some reason they removed the ability to export your photos to JPEG which is a must in order to use the photo on my blog. I started at 1 pm EST writing this post and it is now 5:39 pm EST and the only way I was able to get a photo to this blog was to download the WordPress App onto my iPhone and upload the photo from the phone. I didn’t want to do that because it’s inconvenient.

Photo exports in .MOV and .HFIV, but not .jpg. I tried manually changing the file extensions, I dragged and dropped 10 different ways, tried to use my old iPhoto App, I contacted Apple, I contacted WordPress (They tried to help) and nothing. I wanted to scream and throw my computer against the wall.

I am not going to write this post unless I can upload this photo on my iMac!!! I’m not! I’m not!! I’M NOT!!!

After the tantrum, I looked at the goal–to post a photo about growth. Not to post it in the most convenient way, but to get it done. No one but me cares how. I downloaded the WordPress app on to my phone and uploaded the photo to the Media and here it is.

My post was going to be about facing fears and succeeding in spite of them. I used to be afraid of the broiler and now I make excellent steaks with it. Instead it is about overcoming life’s frustrations and getting it done.  Not letting myself get pig-headed and digging in my heels and quitting because things aren’t going my way. I let it go and got it done. Growth of the soul.

Perseverance plus letting go equals growth.

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