Heading Back to LA

We left the orange grove after dinner this evening. We had a very productive few days there and the little house for Ron and Liz has a roof, sides, insulation and even wall covering on almost all walls. The wires are all run for electricity and there is a clear plan in place for the next work day. So all is well on that accord.

I had a glorious visit with my little grand babies since I was on baby duty when I wasn’t working as the cook. I was support for babies since Sarah was there and the primary cook. I had lots of time to chat with Sarah while we watched the kids play. I also had time to chat with Luna while we walked around the orange grove or down the road on the property. Nico chatted as well and I could even understand him about 80% of the time. At 20 months, some of his conversation is a little hard to decipher. Still, he is such a happy little fellow, his needs are pretty easy to figure out. I am very happy those little folks seem to love the orange grove so much. That makes my heart sing.

Liz, Ron, Gregorio and Ray worked tirelessly on the building project. They should sleep very well tonight. They have put in a lot of hard work.

Yes, a very satisfying few days. Hooray.

I will check in with you again tomorrow. Until then, have a happy and restful night.

Up in Ojai

Hi everyone,

I am sitting among my family here at the orange grove, typing while they are talking together.  Clearly, I am going to make this a short post.  I am posting now because I am using Ron’s “Hotspot,” which is an extra treat versus heading off to Starbuck’s and sitting in my car to post.  So, suffice it to say, I am happy.

Today, Sarah and Gregorio are here with my grandbabies, along with Ron and Liz. Rachael was here earlier but has returned to LA to observe Yom Kippur with Ariel.  Liz and Ron’s little spot is coming along very quickly, which is quite heartening.  They have almost all the walls up and some of the interior as well.  It is a free-standing bedroom that accompanies their mid-century Spartan, where they will be living by the end of October.

Okay, I am closing.  Gregorio took this gorgeous photo of the kids earlier.  This should say it all in terms of what it’s like to be up here in this lovely orange grove.

I’ll check back in with you again tomorrow.

Nico and Luna



Thoughts on Lack of Excerpts

Dear friends,

Let me address why you have not gotten more excerpts from my manuscript so far this week. The truth is I have discovered that I have more rewriting to do before I can again post.

My original plan was that I would take each excerpt and rewrite, one per night. But I have realized that some pieces are taking much longer than I expected to get to a level I feel happy about. For example, I spent three hours one evening rewriting the dialogue between my mother and me and, though I was happy with the result, I instantly saw that given that amount of time, I could not possibly stay true to my original plan of an edited post per night. Since then, I have encountered a few other problems. One being that I need to write two scenes that go before the final scene in Chapter Two. After feedback from a reader, I realized that I needed to develop the relationship of my mother and Dorothy in order to clarify my complicated but deep love for both of them.

This leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I want to continue this process but I see that I need to have a few edited scenes queued up so that I can work at a more leisurely pace and make sure that I have each scene in its right order.

I have begun work on the additional scenes for Chapter Two. I will add these in the next week and then resume a systematic posting. Of course, I have to fit this in between students, editing jobs and help with the Ojai building project for Liz and Ron. We are, in fact, en route to Ojai as I write. We will be proceeding with the work project tomorrow since Liz and Ron hope to be living in Ojai by the end of next month.

Thank you for your support of my book project. I appreciate your encouragement very much. I promise to return to regular posts of excerpts once I can get those scenes written!

Hope you are having a good night.

I will check back in tomorrow, probably with photos of grandkids and building progress since we are having a family work weekend at the orange grove.

Camp Fire Bracelet

Have any of my fellow Camp Fire Girls ever seen the bracelet featured below? I have not, but we are selling two of these on eBay and I did research to find out their origin.  That’s when I discovered the ad below.  This is a sterling silver Fire Makers bracelet with the Camp Fire motto of Wohelo (Work, Health, Love) written in Alaskan Tsimshian letters. I have a very long history with Camp Fire, having grown up in Bonham, Texas where Mrs. Jesse Adams ran a thriving organization that involved many of the girls in our town.  I have many happy memories of Blue Birds, Camp Fire Girls and then Horizon Club.  I am very proud of the fact that I reached the Gypsy rank in Camp Fire while in high school, which is the highest rank in outdoor living.  I can still cook a full meal over a campfire, including a cake!

I found myself singing “Wohelo for work, Wohelo for health, Wohelo, Wohelo, Wohelo for love,” very loudly this afternoon while I was posting on eBay.  I know my fellow Camp Fire Girls know that song and also the pride I feel as a past member of that wonderful organization.



Visit from My Sweet Madison

Today I had the pleasure of seeing one of my long-standing students, Madison Stingray. We have known each other since she was in fourth grade and we’ve been friends and fellow writers now for the past twelve years. She is a recent graduate of Georgetown University and is leaving on Friday to start a Master’s degree in Archaeology at Cambridge University in England.

Madison and I have stayed in close touch while she was in college.  She has taken online courses with me through Story Circle Network (SCN) and has even worked as a social media intern for SCN, helping me to publicize the Online Classes program that I coordinate.  LIke all good friends, we began talking the minute she sat down and continued until I was waving a teary good-bye two hours later.  We share a deep love of writing, which creates a bond that runs deep.

Here’s to a wonderful adventure, Madison, over this next year.  Come see me during winter break and tell me all about Cambridge and your studies there.  I am already eager to hear your stories.

Much love, my sweet friend.


Moving Ahead with the Ojai Building Project

Here is the progress on Liz and Ron’s little spot up at the orange grove.  Another hard day of work, but look what was accomplished!  Please forgive the brevity of this post.  I am a little tuckered out after starting very early and ending fairly late.  I hope to get a good night’s sleep so I can resume work on my manuscript very soon.

Here are a few photos: