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Wednesday, January 20th 2010

7:49 PM

Moving my blog

  • Pages Written Today: editing
  • Where did I walk/ride? Didn't walk due to rain (though I could have used an umbrella!)
This has been a very difficult decision, but I've decided to move my blog to a different site.

I want to thank all of my readers, especially those who have been with me from the beginning and stayed with me 'til the end!  I know I have not been a faithful blogger over the past year or so, but now that I am moved in to the new house and on a slightly more regular schedule, I intend to do better.

Please, please visit me at the new blog:  http://karalennox.wordpress.com.

You can also find me on Facebook.  And Twitter, search for karalennox.

My webpage (though seldom updated!) is karalennox.com.

Sincerely,
Kara

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Tuesday, January 12th 2010

8:43 PM

A lot has happened ...

  • Pages Written Today: Netted about 6, but I think I deleted about 5.
  • Where did I walk/ride? To Fresh 'n' Easy--about a mile either way.
I've been without phone or Internet for two weeks.  That's my excuse for why I haven't blogged, and I'm sticking to it.

I've moved into my new (old) house (see below.)  It's primitive right now.  Holes in the walls, not much kitchen, floors half-refinished.  But we now have a brand-new fridge and stove, a new washer and dryer, and plumbing that works.  (You are lucky I was unable to blog the day we had the massive sewer back-up.  I probably would have gone into the gory details, but by now, I've blocked them from my mind.)  I have a hot shower every morning, coffee, a computer, and a comfy bed to sleep in at night.  We aren't doing much fancy cooking, but we have peanut butter and tuna and cheese and crackers, Clementines and cold cereal.

I'm quickly discovering you don't need much else to be pretty comfortable.

I was concerned about the neighborhood, that it might be too noisy, since we are on a major thoroughfare and we have an apartment building on one side and a preschool on the other.  But the apartment dwellers are extremely quiet (except for the one who has about a hundred parakeets living on her balcony, but even that is a tolerable noise).  The kiddos at the school only come out for two or three playtimes per day, and they seem well-mannered.  At any rate, the sound of children playing is kind of nice.

Traffic noise is a constant, but by the second day here, I'd tuned it out.

I've put bird feeders out, but so far, no takers.  (Every day, I put out a slice of Clementine, and every day it disappears, but I never see who takes it.  It might be the tame squirrel.)  We do have a mockingbird that sings at the top of a tree right outside our office.  I put Da Vinci's cage in the window so he can see and hear it.  We are hoping he will attract a nice lady mockingbird and they'll build a nest in that tree.  I also often see hummingbirds at that tree, and yellow-rumped warblers.

It's been a challenging move, but I don't regret it for a moment.  When I hear that it is 15 degrees in Dallas, I know I made the right choice.  (It's in the '70s here most afternoons this time of year.)  I am getting into my writing again.  Life is good.

Ask me again tomorrow, though, and I might change my mind.

Kara

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Thursday, December 10th 2009

8:33 PM

House getting worse before it gets better

  • Where did I walk/ride? To the post office and out to dinner
  • Treasures found: 1 penny
Electricians and plumbers are busy doing this sort of thing to all of my walls.

This is Bryan, my plumber.  He is very cute.  Here, he is busy installing fixtures for my tub.  I now have faucet and shower head coming right out of the wall--pretty cool.  (The holes are not so cool.)

This is what my garage looked like after we emptied the first POD.  Now, it is completely full.  Unfortunately, our tall ladder is in the back somewhere.

We've decided to take a class on Saturday, all about tiling walls and floors.  It's something we'll have to do eventually.

On the writing front, my two synopses were well received.  I now have a three-book contract with Superromance, instead of a one-book.  Yippee!

Kara
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Sunday, November 22nd 2009

8:26 PM

Home from Catalina

We survived, the pets survived.  I always get nervous, leaving my kitty home by herself for even short periods as she is so freakin' OCD.  But she surprised me.  She was calmly asleep when we arrived home.  She sniffed me from head to foot for about five minutes.  It appears she ate and drank while we were gone and she's not even mad at us.

The trip was very relaxing.  We did a lot of walking.  Saw sea lions and tons of birds.  I really enjoyed the acorn woodpeckers, never saw them before.  We watched about a half dozen of them cavorting around some tall palm trees.  they store their acorns and other small treasures inside holes they drill in the trunks.

Just before we came home, we were killing time in a dive bar called The Marlin Club.  It's a local hang out, very small with just a bar and one pool table and a couple of other tables.  The bar is shaped like the bow of a boat, very cute.

Well, the place was filled with drunk men who all knew each other.  Kinda like Cheers (but less classy).  When they realized we were writers, they were all trying to give us things we could write about (yeah, thanks!)  They started with the story about the man who rode a live bison into the bar.  They have a picture of it, so that story was true (and heck, I might even use that one).  Then the stories degenerated.  We learned how the rather well-endowed mermaid ended up hanging up over the bar.  Then the bartender told us a shaggy dog story about accidentally lighting his neighbor's balcony on fire with his barbecue, and he was wearing this apron, so he lifted up the apron and there was a fake penis that he used to squirt water on us.  Rob laughed so hard he almost fell off his stool.

Once the penis jokes started, there was no turning back.  We had to endure the story of the penis that was so long, the guy could stand five feet from the bar and pick up a dollar bill with it.  Then we had a demonstration; bartender slapped a dollar bill on the bar and then he whipped out another fake penis and swung it and it somehow did stretch about five feet and grab the bill off the bar.

By now I was in hysterics.  And this story is probably not very funny in the retelling because I think you had to be there.  Something about the surprise factor.  These drunk guys were so happy to have a fresh audience they were pulling out all the stops (and all the penises, too).  I was relieved when it was time to go catch our boat.  I wasn't even drinking at the bar, just coffee, but it was probably the most entertaining 30 minutes of the whole weekend.

Thanks for reading,
Kara


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Friday, November 20th 2009

9:03 PM

Good news and bad news

Good news:  I have finished my two synopses, Books 2 and 3 of the "Project Justice" series, and I've sent them flying off to my editor!

Bad news:  Because I've been focused on these two stories for the past couple of weeks, I haven't been working much on my NaNoWriMo manuscript.  The terrible truth:

17,539 words so far  

That means 10 days to write 32,500 words.  3250 words per day.  About 13 pages.  And I have a trip to Catalina and Thanksgiving to worry about.  I have a bad feeling about this.

Good News:  Right about now, This Old House should be free of termites.

Bad News:  We're gonna have to pay for it.

Good News:  Heading for Catalina tomorrow for fun weekend.

Bad News:  There is no bad news, unless I get seasick on the ferry or something.  I'm gonna watch birds and hike and shop and eat and listen to the ocean.

Then it's back to reality.  Meeting with gas man on Mon. to turn on the gas and light pilot lights.  Meeting with contractor on Tuesday to discuss rewiring entire house and updating the plumbing.

And so it goes ...

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Sunday, November 15th 2009

9:11 PM

Celebrities at the flea market

  • Where did I walk/ride? All over the flea market. Then out to lunch.
  • Treasures found: 1 penny and a whole ton of cool jewelry bargains.
  • Affirmation of the Day: I am happy for no freaking reason!
The Long Beach Flea Market is about the last place I expected to see a celebrity.  It's not exactly a posh event.  I go there to replenish my supply of jewelry to sell on etsy (vintagedazzle.etsy.com) and, okay, sometimes I buy stuff for me, too.  But it's a hot, crowded, dirty, smelly place.  So I was a little bit surprised when I saw Marisa Tomei there.  She is just so adorable.

I also thought I saw Ryan O'Neal, but that sighting wasn't confirmed.  Sure looked like him.

Closing on the house Wednesday, and then the real fun begins.  We have no idea what to do first.  Electricity?  Termites? Plumbing?  Security?  I'd really like to get out PODS delivered so we can get our stuff!  Soon, soon.

Er, NaNoWriMo is a bust.  Now, it's not just because I'm lazy.  Here is what happened.  I was writing along happily on this book that I sold to Superromance--wait, I probably never told you that.  I sold a book to Superromance, yay!  Anyway, my editor wants two more books, double-yay.  So I have to stop working on the manuscript and come up with two more stories, so I can sell three books instead of one.

Once I turn in the two synopses, I'll see where I stand with NaNo, but I have a feeling it won't be doable.

Cheers,
Kara
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Friday, November 6th 2009

3:59 PM

Am I insane? I just bought this house.

  • Where did I walk/ride? To the farmer's market
  • Treasures found: Fresh brussels sprouts and string beans


This is the front.



I fell in love with the4 wood floors and the woodwork.  Not so much the celery-green paint.



My new kitchen


Dining room windows



My future office.  I have no idea what is going on with that wall.  The door leads out to a suicide balcony.  The railing comes up about to my knee.

But, hey, we finally have a house!  We made the decision to move out here well over a year ago.  It's taken that long to pull it all together, but damn it, we did it!  Now if I can just survive the renovations ...

NaNoWriMo going amazingly well.  I am 1/5 of the way there, exactly on schedule.

10,128 words so far  

Kara

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Thursday, October 8th 2009

10:08 PM

Real Estate Nightmares

Actually my whole life is a real estate nightmare right now.  Every house I try to buy is jinxed!

But as I was perusing the listings this evening, I ran across this gem.  Now, the picture of the house didn't look that bad.  But the write up would scare anybody away.  I've made offers on some pretty radical fixer-uppers, but I don't even want to look at this one:

"Charitable Trust Sale. One of the biggest fixers I've seen, and I've been around a while. Tax rolls show this as 20 units. Okay, well, there appear to be eight studios in the back with garages, plus a very big front house. It seems then that the front house is shown as 12 sleeping rooms, in order to get the 20 unit total. But I don't know for sure nor do I guarentee it. Tax rolls do show 6176 square feet total. This project is a major fixer, and could be hugely profitable. Absolutely cash only."

And you can own this property for a mere half million dollars.  What a steal.

We are making yet another offer on a house tomorrow.  It's not an REO, not a foreclosure, not a short sale.  The owner is actually living in the house and we met him.  So if fifty other people don't offer on this house, maybe there's a chance ...  Wish us luck.

Not a good writing day for me.  I'm stuck again.  So I just took a nap.

Thanks for stopping by,
Kara
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Tuesday, October 6th 2009

10:07 PM

The Recycled Art Supply Store

  • Pages Written Today: Meh, 6 or 7
  • Where did I walk/ride? All over the darn place
  • Treasures found: 3 pennies
Today Rob and I stumbled on this great store.  It sells recycled stuff for you to use as art supplies, everything from bottle caps to egg cartons, fabric scraps, paper scraps, rocks and shells.  I wandered through there for about an hour and in the end didn't buy anything, it was so overwhelming!

This discovery was made during a looooong, errand-running walk today.  We hit the library, the bank, the post office and the art supply store, and finally the grocery store.  That's what I love about downtown Long Beach.

My writing is going better.  I am actually making progress on my paranormal book (though the paranormal part is giving me fits).

Went to yoga tonight, had a "hamburger salad" for dinner (I saw Rachael Ray do this one time).  You grill a hamburger patty, then make a small salad.  You plot the patty on top of the salad, add some cheese and sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms, then slice it all up with a knife and fork and toss it.  It's a burger without the bun.

And finally, I painted another ACEO.  Here is the result:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=32185268

Thanks for reading,
Kara
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Monday, September 21st 2009

8:31 PM

Watercoloring fool

  • Pages Written Today: Not sure, but I made progress.
  • Where did I walk/ride? rode to the post office and art supply store, a couple of miles. Walked down to the Pike for dinner, maybe another mile.
  • Treasures found: 2 pennies, one of them a wheatie!
  • Affirmation of the Day: When I stay busy, I stay productive.
I decided I wanted to learn to watercolor.  So I bought a box of kids watercolors, some cheap brushes, some watercolor paper, and I just jumped right in.

So far my efforts haven't set the world on fire, but I am having fun.  Here is my little ACEO that I just listed in my shop for sale:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_1&listing_id=31327821

It's not a masterpiece but what the heck. 

I rode my bike to the art supply store and the post office.

I'm working on my voodoo book.  I wrote a hundred pages of it lo these many years ago, and it sucked, big time.  Now that I'm revisiting it I can see why it didn't sell.  (And that is a relief--maybe I am getting better???)  It will be an entirely new book when I'm done.  About the only thing I'm salvaging are the characters' names.

Date night tonight.  We went to Islands, which is a chain but it started in So. Cal and I've never been there.  We had some really, really fine burgers.  (Rob and I were joking that if you see the word "fine" in a description of a restaurant, it's a code word for "expensive."  These burgers were both "fine" and "expensive."

Going to bed early tonight.  It's been a long day. 

Aloha,
Kara


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