I’m back from California, and have had major writer’s block for an entire week. Actually, what I needed to do was process and sort out everything that happened over the nine days I was away.

The trip started with Mom coming to visit me in Texas and seeing the house for the first time! She was extremely delighted to see that I do not live on a dry prairie full of tumbleweeds, nor a house surrounded by a corral. No guns racks, either! Mom *was* surprised by the “megachurches” that loom up out of the horizon, with a cattle farm next door and a place that looks like Southfork next to that. What can I say about the zoning laws here? That’s right, there are NONE. Everyone does what they want, including smoke inside public places. (I’m still not over that.)

A few days later we took our journey to California. We landed in Corona del Mar, and the next morning, we got a call my that cousin Sally had passed a few hours earlier. We did not get a chance to say that final goodbye, but we took comfort in knowing *she* knew we were coming.

Late last fall, Sally and her husband took what they thought would be her last trip to Cape Cod. There we had a big Italian dinner overlooking the water, and enjoyed a LOT of laughs and shed a few tears:

We were touched we had one last weekend to spend with her and reminisce about all the vacations we spent in Nantucket. Family and friends would ferry over every Memorial Day and spend a glorious week by the ocean, eating, drinking, sitting on the beach, and telling ghost stories at night.

It’s hard to imagine she is gone. I can still hear her laugh and her signature line “God that is just so cute!” If there was one thing Sally liked to do, it was shop and decorate, and there was NOTHING she didn’t think was cute.

And yes, we even dressed alike in the worst of 80’s fashions. And yes, that is me in stirrup pants.

The other mission we undertook in California was visiting with Mom’s sister, my Aunt Mary. To unfold the entire story of her life would take numerous blog posts, but the short story is she was estranged from our family for many years. Not too long ago, my Mom was contacted by a young girl who said she was Mary’s daughter. We were all blessed to meet her and it was her appearance in our lives that facilitated contact with Mary.

Sadly, Mary is wheelchair bound and in an assisted living facility with a disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s. She was been slowly losing her motor skills, and can no longer dress, feed or bathe herself. Her sense of humor is still intact and she knows EVERYTHING about pop culture. You should have seen her laugh when I mentioned Kim and Kanye’s baby!

What is so sad is that she cannot communicate. She can get some words out, but it’s easier to have a conversation and let her listen
and react. We heroically got her out to lunch in a beautiful restaurant by the Dana Point Harbor, and she heartily enjoyed her lunch. When I left that day I hugged her and told her I loved her, and I suspect we both knew this would be the last time we would each other. I cannot forget feeding her and the joy she took in being out with her family; it made me take stock of life. I wish we could have all the years she was away back again.

A million words of wisdom and sayings came to mind this past week, but the Cherokee proverb expresses it simply. It does no good to dwell on the past, but launch yourself into the day, and live it the best way you can.

But I will still remember Mary as she was:

Mary, me and Mom at my college graduation. And yes, I am really brunette.

Vintage Mary.

And thanks everyone, for listening today.

Where I’m Off and Running. Sort Of.

Meg has been busy with family the past few days; she is heading to California with her Mom to visit several sick relatives.

Sadly, it’s the kind of sick where you say your goodbyes and know you aren’t going to be seeing the person again. It’s been stressful and sad and it’s her duty to make sure things get done the right way.

Anyway, Meg will be back in blog land in a couple of weeks; don’t fret. Please keep Meg and her family in your thoughts as we take that journey that no one really wants to go on.

Where I Share A Little Piece of Me

So the fabulous Cupcake Murphy tagged me in her astounding blog the other day, and asked me to share a little something about my writing and ideas. I’m so beyong honored I’m not even going to write in my usual third person, but just straight from my slightly tarnished heart of gold.

I started writing this blog a few years ago, and along the way have virtually met, and indeed truly met, some of the most amazing people. Many, like Cupcake have published works, and others are very funny and talented people that have books in the works. But honestly, I do not have a book in process, but have a few thoughts percolating, so I’ll share those ideas.

I have to admit, I wake up every so often with an idea for a book, so I feel somehow my dreams must be encouraging me to write something. So at least, I wake up full of confidence and a surge of adrenaline and a desire to put pen to paper. Or fingers to keys.

So, let’s pretend I’m fleshing out a book, and let me tell you about it in an interview format, OK?

1. What the Title of My Book?

My Family and Eugene O’Neill.

Why? I relate to Eugene O’Neill, his realism, and his darkness. Plus, my great grandparents are buried in the same Boston cemetery as he is. Somehow that seems fitting and ironic given all my family history that he be included in the title.

2. How long did it take you to write a manuscript?

It’s a total work in progress and pending my REM sleep schedule.

3. What books compare to your genre?

I cannot believe the book The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer has not been made into a Oscar winning movie.

While I fear that we’re drawn to what abandons us, and to what seems most likely to abandon us, in the end I believe we’re defined by what embraces us…

I think that Moehringer sums up how I feel, and what I might write about. Also, if you have never read this book, please do so! It came out in 2006 and it still resonates with me.

4. What would be the one sentence synopsis of the book?

Eugene O’Neill and Kathy Griffin collide in the time/space continuum. You will fling yourself off a cliff and laugh at the same time.

5. Do I have a publisher?

Most likely!

6. What would pique a reader’s interest about your book?

That the fabric of our lives is more similar than we think. In other words, my family is just as crazy as yours.

7. Who would play your character or record your book?

Young Brenda Vaccaro would play me, and older Brenda Vaccaro would read the smoky sounding voice over.

And so readers, there you have it, a little seed of a dream that is tucked into my back pocket!

Thank you Cupcake, for prompting me to share a little bit of myself today.