Thursday, June 10, 2010

A much needed breather...

We had temperatures hitting 110 degrees last weekend, and even with air conditioning that would cause icicles to form on a polar bear's nose hairs, it was still stifling. The hottest part of the day was from 3pm to 5pm. I couldn't get cool no matter what I tried.

I usually swim every morning and that seems to cool my core, and it gives me the strength to do the normal activities required in life, like go to the bank, post office, market, and so on. If there is outdoor work to be done, windows or gardening or hosing off the patio, I do that in the wet swimsuit. I know, I know...but I just love scaring the neighbors. : ) I think this year we were lulled into a false state by the mild weather in May, then June hit and we jumped about twenty degrees in one weekend. That's got to be hard on a body.

So the general idea in the summer months is breakfast, walk the dog, swim, then take a quick shower and go do what I have to do as fast as I can do it, and then come home strip off my clothes and throw on a loose shift sans the undies and head to the computer to work on my latest manuscript. By three pm I collapse on the couch with a book.(And pray that no unexpected visitors show up at my door, because I look like hell, and I'm terribly grumpy.) Thank goodness we have a gated community with a security gate and attendants, so we get a call from them if there's a visitor or service person. Call it a three minute warning, or enough time to slip on a bra. But the UPS and Fedex are allowed in and they show up unexpectedly, so do the HOA gardners. Then there's the occasional neighbor with some kind of emergency.

Three days ago one of my neighbor friends drove from her block to mine and rang my doorbell. And I was in my usual summer state of near nakedness, but I invited her in. I could tell by her wide eyes and rapid speech that something bad had happened. The evening before, she'd been walking her dog, a tiny black chihuaha named Elvis, and three coyotes came rushing down the pavement of the main road leading to the man-made lake. Two of the animals took off in different directions but the remaining one headed straight for her. She grabbed Elvis tight and scaled a four foot high fence. The bottom part was stone and had a ledge and the top was wrought iron. She said she had no idea how she got over it but knew it was her only choice. The coyote was frustrated and sniffed around on the grass where Elvis had been walking, and then it took off. She said her adrenaline was pumping so hard and fast and she ran the short block back home, and almost became a puddle in the front foyer of her home. It took her an hour or so to realize she'd scraped the skin on her shinbone and had a nice looking bruise forming.

Today we're petitioning the city, and animal rescue, to have the coyotes captured and released into the wild somewhere. We have rocky foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains behind us and there are all kinds of caves that make for a nice condominium complex for the animals. Of course the state where my friend comes from would just have a bunch of guys go out and shoot the coyotes but, hey, this is California. ; ) I know the animals musn't have been able to wait for nightfall, up in those rocks in 110+ degrees, and needed to come down for water. But it is scary when you have young children and small animals wandering around. There's one young man who has loved to walk his two dogs and his four children around the lake, I guess we won't see him doing that again.

And now for the breather part...

The temperature dropped down to ninety five degrees today. And there's a breeze. And there have been no coyote sightings in two days. It has been such a gorgeous day and I got so much work done outside and inside the house. And, another little respite, I'm not writing anything. Yay! No, seriously, this is because I'm taking Lani Diane Rich's class on Discovery. She has us working on our soundtrack for our next story. Each week we have a new assignment and she advises us to explore our story world, but not start writing yet. We're to read a lot, watch movies, immerse ourselves in the narrative form. I've never written a manuscript this way but am elated. It feels like vacation time. And it's least by desert standards, and it will stay this way for the next five days. In June! Can you imagine?

Movies watched this week:
Sex in the City 2, absolutely hated it. There was no story.
Why did I see this? It was my friend's birthday request.

Married to The Mob, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Mondine. Loved it! Why did I see this? Research for my next story.

It Happened One Night, with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Loved it! Why did I see this? It was a film discussion over at And the discussion is about writing and the critiques are done by Jenny Crusie and Lani Diane Rich, and well worth you stopping by. Every Friday at 7pm EST.

Books read this week:
The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason. Slow start but an amazing finish. The settings were London and Burma, but mostly the latter. The era was late 1800's. In retrospect I loved it, but while reading it found it a bit tedious due to some style issues the author chose.

Sizzle, by Julie Garwood. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It's a spine tingling contemporary suspense. Setting: Los Angeles and San Diego. Her hero is FBI agent, Sam Kincaid. What a great hero, tall, quiet, and with a Scottish brogue. Wonderful pacing and believable romance.

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