Jersey, My New Jersey (Krissie)

Photo on 9-23-15 at 12.45 PM #5At least I think that’s the way the state song went — elementary school was a long time ago. I started regaling the waitress and Jenny with it at the New Jersey restaurant and was quickly silenced. Cruisie thought NJ was the Garden State because of all the parks and stuff, and I said no, it was a big agricultural center in the past and our waitress (who studied it in school too) piped up and said yes. Hence the state song. It was good they stopped me, since that’s all I remember. I should google it and see if it still exists — it was fourth grade when I learned it and that was loooooong ago.
So we sat and had the best eggs in the world and discussed makeup. Neither of us wear makeup most of the time, and neither of us bother with moisturizer or stuff like that, at least not on a regular basis, but we look quite fabulous for 66 and 67. Must be clean living.
The dogs were overjoyed to see Crusie, Richie was less overjoyed when I said I was staying one more day (but understanding), and last night we watched movies and talked. Today we’re going to just sit around and talk and Jenny will give me yarn and the dogs will cuddle and I’ll drink Mexican Coke (no, it’s not a drug — wouldn’t it be funny if one of Donald Trump’s companies was the exporter?) and just have a good time. Tomorrow I head back and face reality again.
I’ve been so slothful while I’ve been here, but I think I’ve needed to be. First I played a computer game from beginning to end. Then I watched television. I watched two and half weeks worth of General Hospital. I watched the original Blithe Spirit with Rex Harrison (boy, Noel Coward’s women were bitches and his men were victims. Funny, though.) I watched Spy and loved the penultimate scene with Jason Statham and Melissa McCarthy in bed (the whole movie was funny) and watched The Voice and Dancing in the Stars and the last three episodes of iZombie on Hulu, I watched Kingsmen (loved it!) and God knows what else. TV nonstop instead of writing. I must have needed it.
Photo on 9-23-15 at 12.46 PM Milton just crawled into the chair I broke (the fact that I broke the recliner might have something to do with my not writing) and he’s trying to crawl on the keyboard. Ah, Milton!
He’s also dropping a masticated rawhide chew on my hand.
Jenny’s doing great — her father was 89 years old and died peacefully in his sleep. So we’re just going to sit around and enjoy ourselves and not worry about anything.
Nothing better than sister time. I just wish Lani were here too.

Krissie: All About Jenny’s (and you)

Photo on 6-23-14 at 9.36 AM Pay no attention to the third chin on that happy woman with the lovely hair. It’s an illusion.
I’m here at Jenny’s and blissfully happy for any number of reasons. It’s a gorgeous day. I’m at Jenny’s. I wrote three thousand words yesterday. I’m at Jenny’s. I’ve been free from diet drinks for 54 days (amazing!). I’m at Jenny’s. I’m going to write another thousand at least today. I’m at Jenny’s.
Did I mention I’m at Jenny’s? Jenny’s houses are all enchanted places. Well, I’ve only been in two of them, but I’m willing to bet the others were too. There was the house in the enchanted forest by the river (better known as Squalor on the River) and there’s the enchanted cottage by the lake (Squalor by the Lake). They’re houses filled with dogs and yarn and alibrijes (I’m guessing that’s how you spell them — Mexican folk art that I manage to cadge from her whenever I can). There are shawls everywhere in case you get cold, my official bedroom is tiny and perfect, with a bay window to make the largest and most necessary bedside table and magical painted furniture. I always arrive in a state of filth and sweat because I love her shower so much (and it was equally glorious in Ohio — the woman believes in huge, wonderful showers).
The stuff she’s done since I was last here (not that long ago) is really bringing a finish to what was pretty chaotic not that long ago. The living room is almost done. The kitchen is getting there, and I walked out there to make a cup of coffee and it just made me happy to look at. You’ve seen the new shelves she put up. I think we’re going to get the refrigerator drawer in — she’s already built the cabinet. After that she’ll have the pantry (she’s rethought the shelving, which is a good thing) which won’t take much, and then the porch that is basically Jenny-central. Having Richie remove the stairs and cover it over was just the start. The contractors made the narrow deck and the steps down onto one of the terraced outdoor spaces. Her’s bed’s done, and she’s doing to have her sewing machine (also today, I think) and she has a sofa with a tv to sit on that will also make a spare bed, work space in between the sofa and the bed. Oh, and yeah, she’s got to have the second bathroom put in to the empty room by her bed. Minor things.  And she’s doing it all herself, almost greedy with her determination to do it single-handed, and it’s making her happy and powerful (as if she wasn’t powerful before).
But it’s really coming together and it just makes me happy to look around me. That’s what her places are like. Everywhere you turn there are little bits of magic.
Mind you, if you’re OCD you’ll run screaming. We’re talking abundant life, glorious, rich life here. Quirky, unexpected things. Like this coffee cup. I HAVE to find a couple of coffee cups like this. Richie will kill me, since I’m packing up coffee cups, but then, I’ll be getting rid of ten to bring in two. Photo on 6-23-14 at 9.52 AM Every little thing here is a tiny treasure.
Poor baby — I made her hike down to the water yesterday to see if I’d be able to walk down. I brought my bathing suit, and down there she has a gazebo and a boat house and a deck – the water isn’t deep and I bet it’s warm and it would a wonderful way to spend the day, writing longhand and being lazy. She came back in a few minutes, panting, and I though she’d gotten a little ways down, had an asthma attack and given up, but no, she’d not only gone all the way down there and back but she’d carried a bench with her. Alas, it looks like I couldn’t make it down right now, but damned if I won’t later. Maybe not this summer, but next.
I have to go back home tomorrow — meetings and play stuff, etc., not to mention keep on with the house packing, working on, etc. Wish I could stay — maybe I’ll see if I can eke out one more day (I’m not sure on the meeting I have to get back for).
But no, you can’t stay in an enchanted cottage forever, only if you’re Jenny and know how to make magic out of everything.

So I’m sitting here drinking hazelnut coffee (black) and eating breakfast bars (Kashi – no high fructose corn syrup) and bemoaning how good I looked when I had lost weightPhoto on 6-27-12 at 8.54 AM #2 (almost same date in 2012). You know, I blame my mother. Hey, we can blame our mothers for everything, and while my kids aren’t currently doing that I’m sure they’ll get around to it again. If my mother hadn’t died but gotten better and gotten happily situated with people she could talk to (assisted living, not a nursing home) then I would have kept losing weight. Every now and then I get mournful and say to myself, “why did she have to die?” And my immediate response is “Oh, yeah, because she was 98, stupid.” Ah, it’s hard to lose a mother no matter what your relationship was like, because no matter how much you think it won’t matter, it does.

But that’s for another time and I’m letting go and today is a magical day in a magical place and I’m going to write my favorite book in years! That’s the great thing about writers. They can write until they die of old age. Often the last one is a little dicey, but they can be fabulous up till then, so I’ve got nothing holding me back.

So, how glorious is your day going to be? A lot of it is attitude — you can either notice all the glorious things around or you can brood. Sometimes there’s no choice — particularly if you’re plagued with depression, as I am. However, my depressions usually have a good solid thwap to push me into them, and I always know they’ll end, and there’s no darkness in sight right now.

Like Auntie Mame, I’m going to “Live, Patrick, my little love! Live!”

Go out and do likewise. And tell me how you’re going to do it amidst all the deadlines and commitments.

Krissie: I’m Still Here

Photo on 4-15-14 at 11.27 AM My condolences on the Ides of April, aka the National Day of IRS Mourning. Grrr. I really don’t like the IRS.

But I digress. I’m still caught up in the daily blog over at I’m down at Crusie’s and so glad to be here. Yesterday was a glorious day, but today we’ve got heavy rain, and all I want to do is sleep. I spend a lot of time sleeping here — it’s so nice to be able to nap without judging myself. (Richie doesn’t judge me, I do). I’ve been doing a lot of make-up work — writing a new epilogue (listen to Jenny scream) for the reissue of my first book, BARRETT’S HILL, doing copy edits, page proofs, etc. We haven’t watched much tv — some Leverage and some Person of Interest. We’ve kept eating out and shopping to pretty good minimum, and we’ve talked about craft, about Brene Brown, about our perfect life. Jenny’s living her perfect life, only a little messier.

I’m looking for mine. I’ve had long periods where I’ve been just who I want to be, only fatter. But it’s time for a metamorphosis, particularly since Richie had to listen to Tim vent about his life last night, and I spent a full one hour and 20 minutes on the phone with Kaim while she wept. But I held firm. We told her two more semesters at college and it’s too bad if she isn’t able to graduate. She’s been there 7 years! Plus three years elsewhere. She 29 years old, time to put on her big girl panties. No, she can’t have elective surgery right now, even if she has coverage. She has to take care of business and see what she can do to fix the mess she’s gotten herself in. When she finally got off the phone I wanted to slam my iPhone through Jenny’s plasma tv. Instead of cried, because i want to rescue her, I want to fix things for her, but I can’t do it. I shouldn’t do it any more, but I truly can’t.

But I digress. Not going to think about the kids. Going to focus on Richie and me and a new life, somewhere peaceful, somewhere I can be happy. With mountains and water and a buffer of privacy without being isolated. We’ll find that place, sooner or later.

So today we’re socked in by rain. Whereas Richie, who has even warmer weather than we did yesterday (upper seventies) will have lows around 18 degrees and the rain will turn into six to twelve inches of snow. And I took off my snow tires.

So I’m staying down for an extra day in hopes that spring will reappear in the frozen climes of Vermont. In the meantime, I’m with my sister, and I’m going to take another nap.

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Krissie: NJ Tuesday

Photo on 2-25-14 at 11.05 AM I look strange. Here’s the question. I clearly need my hair trimmed. I think I need bangs. I have a long face with a high forehead (all those brain’s, y’know) and I think I need wispy bangs. Opinions?
And aiyeee!!!!! (in more ways than one) for blood sugar. When I had my last physical it was 105 (pre-diabetic) so I decided to check it down here. I made Jenny stick me and it was 110. And then 83. And then 118. (We did two sticks and three tests). It was fasting, of course. Hmmmmmmm.
Which means I need to go back to my doctor to see what’s going on, because I’m trying, I really am. And I’m doing pretty well, so why is my blood sugar nutzoid? We don’t have blood sugar issues in the family, even in the chubs ones.
Anyway, that’s for dealing with when I get home.
I got down here on Thursday and we went out for dinner at Kathy’s Diner, our favorite place. Friday we went to Walmart and Staples while I looked for a lap desk — I’d left mine at home but Jenny finally jerry-rigged one out of a dog gate so I could write. Wrote tons and we ate our meals at home. Saturday we stayed at home. Sunday we went out for breakfast (Kathy’s) and then I went out and bought a few things (a little fruit instead of crumb cake — I have resisted that wicked temptation) and a couple of other things. During all this I dealt with the trauma of finding my latest proposal was turned down, but fortunately I was already 25 pages into a new sort of book that I really really liked, and my agent had wanted 50 pages before she sent it out, so I finished up the pages and revised and revised so I could send it out Monday (yesterday). We’ve been watching episodes of Arrow and Leverage and White Collar and we saw Despicable Me 2 (which was wonderful!) and so far no crocheting! But lots of talk about writing and story and what works and doesn’t work. It’s been glorious.
Today we go to Jenny’s eye doctor, then treat ourselves with our ceremonial visit to ihop where we have healthy pancakes (ha!). When we get home I’ll pack and get ready to leave tomorrow, weather willing, and I’ll probably cry for the first half hour.
But things are good at home. I’m not sure when I’ll get down again, because the baby’s due at the end of March and I expect I’ll be glued to things for a while. But I also think getting away will be a healthy thing, and Erin’s got a fairly decent maternity leave so I won’t be needed that much, so I’ll wean myself away by the end of April and come down and enjoy spring and Jenny.
Tonight we’re going to watch Blacklist and Thor, if it arrives. Heaven! It’s a drag to be torn between two places, but then again, it’s wonderful to have a bolt hole. Now all I have to do is find where I put my iPod classic. I dropped it underneath my car, rescued it and brought it in triumphantly and then set it down and Jenny’s House ate it. My house does the same thing. So I’ll need to make it regurgitate it before i leave tomorrow — it has all my music on it (I have books on the iPhones.)
I don’t know if I mentioned it by my beloved iPod Nano died on the way down (and the classic is on borrowed time – can’t use earphones with it so I can’t listen to it when I go to sleep). Nothing I’d like more than to buy a new classic and a new Nano, but that’s not in the cards financially, so instead I ordered a tiny Sansa clip with a micro SD card. It’s an excellent alternative to my beloved iPods, and I just have to bite the bullet right now. Publishing is insane, and it only seems to get crazier. I need to come up with a plan, though that requires much discussion with La Crusie. Good thing I’m here.
May you live in interesting times. There is always something glorious about disaster if you look hard enough. It’s not like publishing is ever a secure profession, and all this chaos means that following the rules and being a good girl doesn’t do squat. It frees you to follow your bliss, because if you aren’t going to get the contracts (or sizable ones) or the publisher support then you may as well write what you really really want and hope you’ve got enough people who’ll buy it.
I bought a sappy card at the health food store in Burlington that I loved. It said “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.”
So today I’m dancing.