Friday, October 23, 2009

The Peso Finds a New Casa

I may have had the PESO for two years? Help me, girls, to remember how long it's been since a weekend in Mexico had a group of six women tossing around a peso every time a bad joke escaped our lips. Wait, were they "bad" jokes or merely tasteless? (I can't remember that either). I do remember they were darn clever and I had the last one of the weekend so I got to keep the peso.

Well, last night I brought the peso to the party in my back pocket, and I willingly gave it up to the better pool players. Just before the stroke of midnight, the new recipient sunk exactly the right ball to deserve peso ownership.

Way to get behind that eight-ball, Beav. Love ya! Now take care of our precious peso. It's worth a hellofa lot!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Desert Dwelling

I saw a snowman on TV this morning. Looks like the rest of the country is having an early winter. Meanwhile, we desert dwellers are still sweating. The thermometer outside my kitchen window reads 98° at 2:00pm . . . and, mind you, it’s in the shade. It appears in the two months since we’ve been back from the Northwoods, we’re experiencing the summer we didn’t have. Whew.

Another thing I saw when looking out my kitchen window, which was probably the opposite of a snowman, was a roadrunner. We see (and hear) coyotes everyday but roadrunners are little bit more elusive. And I don’t think I’ve ever had one bouncing around my garden. Yesterday we saw a bobcat and last week we had a rattlesnake in the guesthouse and two black widows under the ramada. All we need is a tarantula on our doorstep and we will have batted for the cycle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Irish Twin

On October 13 each year, my sister, Gayle, catches up to me. She walks beside me, equal in age for two weeks. It’s a time when we are reminded that we have always led parallel lives. But have our lives turned out the same? It’s a question I’m exploring by using our history as the basis for two fictional characters, sisters named Jennifer (Jenny) and Catherine (Caylie).

When I first began writing a novel I’m calling “Irish Twins,” it was hard to separate Jenny and Caylie from Gayle and Michele; however, somewhere around chapter seven or eight, I finally had a clear distinction in my head. I had taken so many liberties and had as much “untrue” stuff in there as “true,” that the book took a satisfactory turn from memoir to fiction. BTW: It’s an oxymoronic event when fictional characters become “real.”

Readers often suspect authors of writing autobiographical material and I make no excuses about pulling detail from my life and masquerading it as fiction. After all, I come from the school of “write what you know.” But after what started out as a comfortable stroll down memory lane, it soon felt like running the risk of offending the truth. I, for example, didn’t want my sister to come after me and say something like, “wait a minute! I never said or did that!”

It’s gonna happen. I’m sure of it. And my planned response to my sister is, “I know you didn’t do that. Caylie did it.” Let it be known that at this point, I don’t even know what either character is going to do move the plot forward. That’s part of what makes the process fun for me.

Gayle hasn’t given me any rules where this story is concerned; however, she did make one request: “Can you make sure that ‘my’ character ends up extremely successful and very rich?”

If I could write prophetic rather than reflective fiction, how successful would that make me? Perhaps I should give some thought to walking a parallel road with Caylie. In the meantime, I’d like to wish my dear sister, Gayle, the happiest of birthdays. And honey, my hope for you has always been that all your wishes come true.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Jewelry Store is Open

PLEASE NOTE: The necklace featured in the photo above HAS sold.

I have been feverishly creating new designs in the Dream Life jewelry store. Inspired by some beautiful new silver pieces, I have created a new line of Fine Silver. Please take a moment to check out our online store I try to upload photos and descriptions daily. Start thinking about your holiday shopping!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Shrugging It Off

I have the overwhelming desire to turn a cartwheel, to celebrate the completion of the chore of reading Atlas Shrugged. And there’s no mistaking it. Reading this 1168 page tome was a CHORE.

Why did I take it on? Number one: It was the October selection for my book club, a group of women I cherish. Number two: It’s been on my bookshelf gathering dust since 1992. (Do the math. That’s 17 years).

So, it took me 17 years to think about reading this monumental piece of literature, and six weeks to plow through it. Until yesterday, it took over my life.


Perhaps slightly changed by reading this rich story of American industrialists in a capitalism vs. communism struggle, regardless, I want my life back—my productive, happy life. Because I had both the hardbound version and the audio version, the story and the characters rarely left me. The good news is that I didn’t just sit on my arse and read. While listening, I was a productive member of society and created an entire jewelry line using precious metals and copper. I’m not sure, however, if it would have earned me an invitation to “Galt’s Gulch” (Rand’s version of Atlantis). In fact, I had a hard time sorting through all the larger-than-life characters to find someone to whom I could relate.

The heroes are all, perhaps, too perfect and the “looters” are all too pathetic. Dagny Taggert is a brilliant and beautiful engineer who runs a railroad. One of her many lovers is Hank Rearden, who creates a new, industry-changing metal. Another is Francisco d’Anconia, of the d’Anconia Copper family. And then, of course, there’s the most significant character of all, about whom we are asked from beginning and throughout the story, “Who is John Galt?” The king of the pathetic looters is James Taggert, Dagny’s moronic brother, who is one among a host of government-directed 'officials' who systematically take steps to destroy the country by imposing and acting upon a series of directives/acts.

The story is fascinating and the characters are incredibly well drawn, albeit highly unlikeable. First published in 1959, some aspects are dated, and yet, current political and governmental activities, particularly relating to corporate bailouts and economic stimulus plans, make Atlas Shrugged eerily prophetic and certainly worth discussing in intellectual circles.

Its biggest detriment is the length. Characters don’t dialog. Instead, they engage in proselytizing speeches that go on and on and on and on and on to the point of mind-numbing repetition. I think Rand could have easily gotten the same message/information/story across in half the number of pages.


Now that I’m finished I don’t regret the reading experience. As a writer, I can’t help but admire Rand’s accomplishment and her amazing focus. I could take a page from her book—so-to-speak—and get back to writing my own novel. So, I will therefore close Atlas Shrugged once and for all (I don’t anticipate reading it again) and before I get back to work, I will contemplate my role in society and what I have to offer.

First things first: Should I name the new jewelry line “Rearden Metals?” How about “Michele Shrugged?”

Whatever. Who is John Galt?

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