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What I Learned This Week – 5/1/16

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This week I ran into a woman I hadn’t talked to in years. She used to work at the bank when I was a little girl. When I was young I lived in Riga. My mom would be like “we are going to run errands. We are going to go to the bank and the post office.” They were both on the same road we lived on, not a half mile away. Having never known anything else, I just assumed this was normal for everyone. For the grocery store and the laundromat, we did have to turn left and drive about two miles.

The woman, I’ll call her Mrs. B, had her husband with her.  Mr. B was like “Who’s this?”, which I found slightly amusing. Mrs. B said, “This is Lorie’s daughter.”

My first thought was “Lorie who?”  Then I remembered that my mom said that everyone used to call my dad Lorie. My mom told me this because of course she didn’t like it, so she called him by his full first name Loren, which I have never understood. It’s not like his nickname was Stinky or something. If that is what he went by, why didn’t she just call him that too? But I know why. Because she didn’t want to.

Just as a reminder, my dad died before I was born. I know it is terrible to day, but days go by where I forgot that I have a never parental figure that I never met. Another reason why I like Memorial Day so much, because he is a part of it.

That is what it is like in a tiny town. Everyone knows each other. I don’t know what my dad was like. I only have snippets of stories my mom has told me that I must then transform into memories that are not mine. Stories of him wetting down his hair before walking to his one-room school in the winter time, only to have it freeze by the time he arrived. I’ve heard that he used to get the mail off the train when it arrived and carry it over to the post office. Not a fancy job, to be sure, but for a kid who loved trains, it sure sounds interesting. And I have spent years wondering if the mail came on the old Erie and Kalamazoo line that is still there, the first railroad west of the Alleghenies, that is still there today or the Toledo & Western interurban line that has long since been removed, known to locals as the Teeter & Wobble. Did my dad ever ride the Teeter & Wobble? I would assume so. The T&W is such ancient history that they put on programs about it at the county historical museum. I guess that must mean my dad is ancient too.

Toledo & Western engine

Toledo & Western engine

“Lorie’s daughter” is something I almost never hear. Once in 1997 when I worked at the gas station which was geographically Riga adjacent, an old farmer asked me, “Who’s your father?” out of the blue, for no reason. And that was perfectly normal in my small town. Everyone was just used to knowing everyone. I told him, not expecting him to know me from Adam.  He said, “Lorie? Well I grew up with him.” The cleaning lady overheard this conversation. She had been a year or two behind my dad at the Riga school, which was so long ago it didn’t even exist anymore. (They tore it down to build the bank, which I think presently has been turned into a church building of some sort.) Her and I became good friends after that. I’m sorry to say she is in ill health these days.

And it literally has probably been twenty years since I have had the experience of someone realizing they knew my dad. And with a dad who would be 95 years old if he were still alive, how often is that going to happen again? Very possibly never. I NEVER knew my dad, and soon all the links of people who did know him will be gone.

Mrs. B left telling me that I had made her day. But after I left and kept smiling, I realized that she had really made mine. And the kicker? She saw me in the local paper and says she would like to buy my books. Maybe my dad would be proud?…

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 3/20/16

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This week I learned that GOOD CHARLOTTE is coming out with a new album!

The Good Charlotte boys, back in the day.

The Good Charlotte boys, back in the day.

Have I ever told you the long story about my Good Charlotte obsession? Well, it’s long and will have to wait for another day. Suffice to say, they are my boys! More specifically, the Maddens who, even though they bulked up, I still love.

I have all their previous albums. The still-untitled new album will be out this summer. This is great to hear, but, um, could you be more specific? Why not wait to announce it until you have a title or a date? That would be like me saying, “Hey, I have a new book coming out Fall of 2016. It is similar to my previous writing, but also new and different.”

Well, they got me to write about them, didn’t they? ❤ Those boys. I think I have seen them in concert at least four times.

This week I was looking for an item that is very special to me and that I thought would help inspire me while writing my latest book.

Of course, I couldn’t find said trinket (Jack Sparrow’s voice says that in my head), but I did find a collection of bookmarks I have had for 30 years. I’m sure for other people bookmarks come and bookmarks go. But to me these are special, especially an Amelia Bedelia one and one from my local library.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

I think I was in 4th grade when a real live author, Peggy Parish, came to our school and talked to us. I had never heard of her and I didn’t read her Amelia Bedelia books. But she was maybe the first celebrity encounter I ever had. (For more, please check out my page When Stars Align. You will find GOOD CHARLOTTE there.) It didn’t matter that I wasn’t her fan. I was a fan of what she did. SHE WROTE BOOKS. Words she wrote were in libraries all across the country (I was kind of clueless about bookstores back then. That would change in time as well.) with numbers on the pages, bound inside of covers with pictures on them, printed by some publishing house.

It is not a memory that I regularly revisit, but maybe it placed the notation into my head somewhere that it was a possibility for a career someday.

Speaking of possible careers, the bookmark from the local library was the winner in a bookmark contest many years ago. I kept it all these years because it was created by my asbestos friend! She has a book coming out September 2016 (the cover is featured below). Obviously she took the sentiment from her bookmark to heart: books can brighten your life. At a young age it also must have been imprinted into her that writing was a worthy pursuit.

I surmised (correctly, as it turns out) that my asbestos friend no longer possessed a copy of the bookmark herself. I decided to frame it, so that it would survived the coming years better than the previous ones. I decided to add a few of her other writing achievements into it as well. I think it turned out nice. She seemed happy with it, even hanging it on the wall. Now even if she doesn’t like it, she will have to hang it back on the wall every time I come over so my feelings aren’t hurt. Ha. (I think…)

The Evolution of E.A. Comiskey's writing life

The Evolution of E.A. Comiskey’s writing life

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 3/6/16

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This week I learned that you can go home again.

Especially if that home is the “painted lady” where the Tanner family resides in San Francisco.

I binge-watched Netflix’s Fuller House this week. I was a fan of the original: on my list of Top 10 shows, it probably comes in at 10.5. If you have hung around me or my blog for any amount of time, you know by now that I am a big fan of cheesy 80’s sitcoms, so I am the target audience for this resurrection. Was it lightning in a bottle? Well, no. There are rough edges and things that can be improved. But the many critics who spent their time panning it WASTED their time. I guess they got a paycheck out of it (which I won’t get for my review). They bashed it as “nostalgia culture”. Um, hello… I freakin’ LOVE nostalgia culture. It is so prevalent that Entertainment Weekly caters to it with at least one article every week. But before there was ever an announcement that Full House was coming back, the audience was already decided. It would be loyal fans of the old show who didn’t mind seeing that the characters had, in fact, aged, and a new younger audience brought up on cheesy Disney sitcoms, which were crafted from the mold of the original TGIF anyway.

Recently, I was at my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday party. I found myself in the same room with three other women from my same high school graduating class. It was familiar, but in a new weird way. I used to spend eight hours a day in school with these people. And while years and years had passed, essentially they were the same people I had passed everyday in the halls or sat next to in French (or Art) class.

The women of Fuller House.

The women of Fuller House. I think there is lots of TV magic happening here, with spanx and extensions, but they look fabulous.

That is exactly how it felt to watch D.J., Kimmy Gibbler, and Stephanie as adults and mothers on Fuller House. Sure, they were different. But it was like a weird high school reunion. Except now Stephanie, played by Jodi Sweetin, is set up to be the “cool, hip aunt”, filling in for the former cool, hip Uncle Jesse. And she is great in the part. Although I can’t help but remember that in real life she is a recovering meth addict. It makes me happy to be able to see that she is winning that battle.

If you loved the old show but aren’t interested in watching a reboot, then just watch the pilot. It is like a Tanner family reunion, and the one episode that contains the highest concentration of stars from the original run of the show. No, there is no Michelle. But even though she was a highlight of the original run, I really didn’t miss her here.

Future episodes rely heavily on guest stars and the aforementioned nostalgia. There is dancing and music from both New Kids on the Block and Dirty Dancing, unarguably two of the best things to come out of the late 1980s. Now that I mention it, there is A LOT of dancing on this new incarnation of the show. Here is what else I learned this week from Fuller House: As a woman, mother, and member of Gen X, I am apparently not dancing OR DRINKING enough. I will have to remedy that soon.

The men of Fuller House

The men of Fuller House

While the children were a big draw in the original run, the new batch of children are only agreeable. The romantic leads for the women actually make the show. D.J.’s coworker Matt Harmon (John Brotherton) and Kimmy’s soon-to-be ex Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace) steal all the scenes they are in. By the end of the season, you see where D.J.’s competing suitors, good ol’ Steve and Matt could have the beginnings of a beautiful bromance.

You will see some things in this full house that only time has allowed to appear in this reboot, such as men dancing with (and kissing) men and women dancing with (and kissing) women. I fully believe D.J.’s middle child is already being written to be set up as the gay child.

I have heard that a season 2 of Fuller House has already been greenlit. Probably because it got a large audience, because Netflix subscribers have already watched the stale movies and first-run TV series that are already a full season behind what the networks are airing.

Welcome back Tanners, Fullers, and Gibblers.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 2/28/16

On this, the 28th day of February, but not the last, I wanted to talk about the Syfy series 12 Monkeys.

(12 is not primary.)

I have wanted to see all of season 1 for a long time. Really since I became hooked on Nikita. It was while I was watching Nikita that I realized my favorite character on the show was Birkhoff. He was supposed to be the sarcastic comic relief, I supposed. But as I got further into the series, I realized I was then ONLY watching to see Seymour Birkhoff.

Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff on The CW's Nikita

Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff on Nikita

Birkhoff was played by Aaron Stanford, who I then looked up and realized was also Pyro in the X-Men movies. He must be a good actor, because Pyro was such an asshole that I couldn’t stand him.

Shortly after I finished Nikita (I was late to the party), 12 Monkeys premiered. (Maybe his Stanford’s goal is to only be on TV shows based off of movies?) Not having Syfy, I watched the first few episodes free on their website before they cut off the freeloaders like me. I had to wait another year for it to be released on DVD. I didn’t know from the first four episodes if I would want to buy the whole season on DVD or not. By the time Syfy released it, I don’t have the money now to buy it if I wanted to. I went to the video store to rent it. The season was split across three discs, all of course were checked out at the moment. The video store employee was lovely enough to tell me that they only received in one of each disc. They could have not told me that; I was left feeling very hopeless.

This week I was lucky enough to get my hands on them. (I rented each disc on a different day. I didn’t want to be a pig and have them all out at once, as I am sure others would do.)

Sooo good. By the end, there are a lot of plot points being juggled–possibly too many, time will tell. (Time, get it???)

The show grows from being about the big plague that trashes mankind and the time travel experiment to stop it to a mix of the 12 monkeys conspiracy (unfortunately, at the end of season 1 this still isn’t clear), the West 7 trying to gain control of the facility in 2043, the Daughters, creepy, blue-faced guys from the future, and a Cole vs. Ramse rivalry. There is at least one entire episode where Cole is missing. I believe this is a mistake, because while the cast is good, the show drags anytime Cole is not on the screen. I am never quite so pulled into this new world that I forget I am watching actors from Nikita and Fringe. FYI–Not finding a way to use Melinda Clarke is a BIG mistake.

Cole in a scene from "Paradox"

Cole in a scene from “Paradox”

I really believe Aaron Stanford got both the job on Nikita and 12 Monkeys because he can fake being in pain very well. Cole spends a lot of time getting his ass kicked. The next to the last episode “Paradox” feels like the best of the season. Cole is dying from time travel poisoning, and Dr. Railly teams up with an unlikely ally to save him with an unorthodox and dangerous solution. In the process, we get to see a young James Cole in 2015. I let out a big “Awww” on my couch as did Cassie in the show when we set eyes on him. He is just some generic child actor, but still moving. Ensuing events lead to Cole being naked (!!!) and trapped in 2015: two things I was always rooting for.

(Poor otter eyes.)

My biggest complaint is you can tell that Cassie and Cole like each other, that the writers WRITE it that way on purpose. And by the end of season 1, most of the earlier obstacles to this have been removed. And they STILL don’t get jiggy with it. They don’t even kiss. Cole desperately needs some 20th century loving. If he doesn’t get it from Cassie soon, then he just needs to go looking elsewhere. Crazy Jennifer would willingly give it up to him. I bet she would be cray-cray between the sheets as well.

Cole & Cassie on Syfy's 12 Monkeys

Cole & Cassie on Syfy’s 12 Monkeys

While I feel today’s dramas rely too heavily on the cliffhanger crutch at the end of each episode (remember when they only did that at the end of the season?), it is highly effective on this program. Cole is the lead in the show. I was only halfway through the season, but they CONVINCED me that he was dead. How can I not be eager for the next episode, believing there is no way that they can write themselves out of this.

It is going to be a very long wait until season 2 for me, as it doesn’t even premiere until April 18, 2016 on Syfy. I hope the show doesn’t experience a sophomore slump, finding they have too many story lines to juggle. Just in case, everyone should go out and buy 12 Monkeys season 1 and watch it right now. But DO NOT go out and rent it. It needs to be available to me for any future rentals…

And just to warn you, I have gone straight from one binge to another: straight from 12 Monkeys to Fuller House.

(Whatever happened to predictability…)

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 1/31/16

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Tiny little lines for intricate coloring. Seems more stressful than relaxing to me. I prefer my Hello Kitty coloring book any day.

This week I learned a new meaning to “adult coloring.”

Get your mind out of the gutter.

My asbestos friend the soon-to-be famous author bought a pair of white tennis shoes and decorated them with words using Sharpies.

Now, I instantly thought:

  1. What a great idea!
  2. What a waste of (a) canvas.

I love to write, but I also love to draw. When presented with a blank canvas and a rainbow of markers, my mind automatically goes to all the cool pictures and designs that I could create.

So, I totally stole her idea and decorated up a pair of shoes for myself. My son urged me to leave some white space, but I just couldn’t do that. I covered them in colorful doodles of whatever fell into my brain. Which, of course included Punky Brewster, the Wienermobile, and the logos for my website and book series.

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shoes-the back!

My decorated shoes-the back!

I have been daydreaming about living in a little pink shack in Hawaii lately. There is a picture I love by Hawaiian artist Holly Kitaura. I did my own representation on my shoes. (Don’t worry. They are just for me. I won’t sell them or make any money off of them.) I wanted to put Stitch on (as in Lilo &), but I forgot to.

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

I had many more important adult responsibilities to attend to on a gloomy Sunday, but I was drawn to work on the shoes until they were done. It is very possible that the Universe was sending me a message that I needed to take a breather. I’m glad I did.

My decorated shoes-the insides

My decorated shoes-the insides!

My decorated shoes-the outsides

My decorated shoes-the outsides!

I wonder if anyone would notice if I wore them to work. And would I rather no one noticed so that I wouldn’t get into trouble, or that they did notice because they are that awesome?

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish ForANNOUNCEMENT TOMORROW!

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