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Hugo’s and the Street Guy

 

One morning a couple of years ago, I was at Hugo’s Restaurant in West Hollywood having breakfast. I sat outside at a small table for two. A couple seated at the small bistro table next to me had recently left and the waitress hadn’t yet picked up their plates. To my IMG_2531astonishment, a very handsome young man, dressed in loose clothing, with wavy longish hair and a short beard walked by at a nice clip. He briefly stopped at their table and grabbed a napkin. Then without missing a beat, lifted a spoon, scrapped the last bit of food onto the napkin, then shoveled it into his mouth as he continued walking. He acted without the least hesitation. Without thought. As if he’d done this many times before. I sat stunned. Horrified at what had transpired, I watched him walk the length of the restaurant, then turn right before he disappeared.

When the homeless young man strode off, my heart cried out to stop him, to offer him a meal. But what 60-year-old woman runs after a thirty-year-old homeless guy? So, I did the normal, sane thing, simply sat there and watched him leave. I glanced around at those seated near me and not one of them seemed to have noticed him.

I’ve thought about that young man many times since then, replaying the scene over and over in my head. In my daydream, I call out to him. He stops and turns. I offer to buy him breakfast, and although surprised, he accepts. We sit at the bistro table on a beautiful California morning and I discover more about him over a hearty breakfast.

But, that’s not how it happened.

I thought about those who loved this young man, who worried about him. And mostly, I thought about his mother. As I pondered this man’s condition I played several scenarios in my head. Maybe he was a spy, undercover, and fleeing his most recent captors. Nearly starved. Why else would he eat off the plate of a stranger?

I knew someday I’d use him in a story and give him a reason to do what he did. Thus my undercover journalist hero was born. Then I gave my heroine the heart I’d wished I’d had that day. The heart that was in me, but afraid to act. I gave her the courage to actually go after the homeless man and the will to at least try and change his life.

The places she frequented would give most men pause. But, not her.

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McMillan and Wife

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Last week, while on Spring Break, I rediscovered one of my favorite TV shows from the early 70s!

      McMillan and Wife

darcy flynn romancesRock Hudson and Susan Saint James *sigh*

I simply adored their on screen chemistry! And the theme music depicts it beautifully. The show is on Netflix and Hulu and if you google the title you’ll find several other places online to view some of the shows. And of course, you can buy the dvd’s on Amazon.

Here’s the delightful theme song composed by Jerry Fielding from Once Upon a Dead Man, the movie that came before the TV series, McMillan and Wife. This is a compilation of both the opening and closing credits. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite TV show from the 70s? Did it have a fantastic theme song?

The Hollywood Illusion

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Gidget 1959

I have to say that the Hollywood musicals and romantic comedies of the 50’s and 60’s are mostly responsible for my childhood belief that falling in love and first kisses should be the most heart melting, toe tingling experience in a young girl’s life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reality and live with it daily, but growing up with wholesome, films like Tammy, Gidget, The Truth About Spring, Swiss Family Robinson, and How to Steal a Million, to name a few, painted a magical, fairy tale picture of what falling in love would be like, fueling my ‘tween’ imagination.

Then there were heart throb, teen idols like Davy Jones of the Monkees that sent my young heart into overtime every time I saw and heard him sing on TV. The cumulative effect of Hollywood’s illusion shaped my thinking then and now, and has definitely influenced my writing.

Of course, we all know imagination is a powerful tool. There are no limits to where you can go and to whom you can become. It fuels creativity and launches dreams.

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Sealed With a Kiss – Prequel to Keeper of My Heart

When I think of my growing up years and Hollywood’s influential mark on my thinking, it’s not hard to see why I write sweet romance novels.

We write what we know. 🙂

My new short story, Sealed With a Kiss, is a good example of old Hollywood’s influence on my writing. I love recreating the tone and voice of the stories I grew up reading and watching at the movies and on TV.

What movies or TV shows influenced how you think about life and love? I would love to hear from you.

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Talk About First Kisses

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Sealed With a Kiss – Prequel to Keeper of My Heart

 COVER REVEAL!

My new short story, Sealed With a Kiss, the prequel to my novel, Keeper of My Heart, is now live on Amazon. My heroine, Katie, experiences a kiss that changes her life. It’s her first kiss and you’ll have to read the story to find out more about it. 🙂

What is it about first kisses? They stick in our heads and whether they’re good or not so good, we never forget that very first one.

Writing about Katie’s kiss got me thinking about my first. Not nearly as magical as hers. But memorable just the same.

Freddie (not his real name) and I were in eighth grade and had been in school together since first grade. He was my second grade crush and all through my childhood I thought he was soooo cute. 🙂 So, in eighth  grade when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I was pretty excited. My second grade crush, the boy I’d thought was the cutest thing I’d ever seen, wanted ME to be his girlfriend.

He offered to walk me home that day but on the way we stopped at one of the many canals in New Orleans. He led me to one of the trees that lined the canal and told me he wanted to kiss me.

As you can imagine, I was pretty nervous but also excited.  My heart raced and stuck in my throat as his lips neared mine. His kiss was not sensual or sexy. It was a boys kiss. From a fourteen year old teenager still trying to master the technique. But, for me it was a dream come true.

But, after it was over and my beating heart slowed to normalcy, he did something that shocked and appaled this starry eyed fourteen-year-old girl. He took out a notebook from his shirt pocket and told me I was number eleven. Then he went on to explain that in order for him to kiss me, I had to first be his girlfriend. I guess in his mind, that made it all right.

I stood there and watched him check off my name from the list and if that wasn’t enough, he read the list to me.

*Sob*

He was racking up points. I was nothing more than a conquest, another of his ‘bragging rights’ to his buddies. Then, to top it off,  he told me he couldn’t finish walking me home.

I was crushed. Humiliated. As I tearfully walked the rest of the way to my house, I decided I would NOT be his girlfriend. When I got home I went to my room and burst into tears.

Today, I love that story. I wouldn’t have wanted my first kiss to be with anyone else or have happened any other way.  I think it’s both hysterical and cute and the essence of teenage, hormonal awkwardness. I have to say, having raised a son, I soooo get Freddie. All the things I didn’t understand about boys while growing up, I had the privilege of learning firsthand from my son. But, I digress. That’s another post for another time.

Today, Freddie is married to one of my childhood friends, has beautiful grown children and precious grandchildren!

I would love to hear about your first kiss. Come on. Don’t be shy. Tell us all about it!

The Dragon Awakes

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Partial map of the night sky

Tonight is the night the constellation Draco the Dragon will be shooting out meteors aka shooting stars!

The Draconid shower will produce the most meteors tonight and the thin waxing moon means the sky will be dark! Better viewing!

Yay!

What’s great about this shower is that it’s best viewed at nightfall, not in the early hours of the morning like most meteor showers.

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Waxing Moon

So grab the kids, lay out on the ground, preferably on one of grandma’s old quilts, feet pointing northward and enjoy!

For more detailed and scientific information about the Draconid Meteor shower check out the article in Earth Sky Magazine.

I love hearing from you! Connect with me on Facebook, I’d LOVE to be your friend!

More Mouse Mayhem

I really miss my cats. They both died within two weeks of each other over a year ago. Those of you who are cat lovers, know what I miss about them, so I won’t take the time to try to convince you cat despisers, otherwise.

But…one picture IS worth a thousand words.

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My Pirate, Jean Lafitte

Look at that face! Still not convinced? Then…

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Did you want something?

Come on…you know she’s cute!

Okay, I digress. Added to what I miss about my cats is the fact that they were great mousers!

Where was this cat when I needed him?

Where was this cat when I needed him?

Since my two furry felines have been gone, I’ve had my share of mouse mishaps and run-ins. From destroying sentimental handmade Christmas stockings, stashing kernels of popcorn underneath my rec-room sofa, to eating and decimating my stash of Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses! Yes! Those purpley wrapped chocolate morsels meant for human consumption only! Those!

Look closely at the photo below. The icky mouse droppings ARE there!

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Didn’t know mice were into chocolate!

And what about her? Some mouse deterrent! Yea, you better hide!

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Baily Girl

Or him??? Does he look like he’ll be going after the mice partying in my closet, anytime soon?

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Canine Siesta Time

Dream on!

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We’re here to stay!

What about you? Have you had critter squatters? How have you dealt with them? Cat? Mouse trap? Box held up with stick and tied to a string? You think I’m kidding about that last one, don’t you?

I always love hearing from you!

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem and The Delta Queen

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The Delta Queen – Art Print

This is a print of a pen and ink drawing by a very good friend of mine who passed away a couple of years ago. It’s not only special to me because of him, but the object in the drawing has significance to me, as well.

The Delta Queen, is an American sternwheel steamboat, historically, used for cruising the major rivers that constitute the drainage of the Mississippi River, particularly in the American South. So says Wikipedia.

I say, the Delta Queen was the the epitome of fascination and adventure! And THE most romantic riverboat ever to cruise the great rivers of America.

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The Delta Queen

Growing up, I often saw the Delta Queen docked in New Orleans and longed to board her. I had no idea my father often inspected that beautiful boat and knew her captain during that time.

So, once, when I was sixteen,  he took me to visit Captain Ernest Wagner when the Delta Queen was in the Port of New Orleans. The captain was a large jovial man and proudly gave me a tour of ‘his lady’. During the tour, someone played the calliope. The distinctive, old world sound added a festive air to the afternoon.

Here’s a little taste of the Delta Queen’s Calliope!

When it was over and my dad and I started to leave, Captain Wagner asked me if I would like to spend a few days traveling down river? There was only one window of opportunity available at the time as she was booked solid the rest of that summer. He told me if my father could get me to Louisville, KY, I could board her there and spend the next four days traveling down river like the gamblers of old.  He was gracious enough to include one of my girlfriends, if I was so inclined.

As you can imagine, I was elated.

So, I went home and asked my best friend if she could come with me. To my disappointment, she couldn’t. Then I asked another friend, and she couldn’t go either. And instead of being a brave adventurous soul, I declined the invitation.

Yes…you heard me right.

What is the saying, ‘if I had a nickel…for every time I thought what an idiot I was not to go by myself… I’d be rich!’ 🙂

Now, thanks to my artist friend, when I look at his drawing, I’m reminded…

To SAY YES to an invitation to explore.

To RESIST the urge to say ‘no’ because of fear.

And,

To SEIZE the moment, because it my be my last.

It reminds me that life is short. A vapor compared to eternity.

Has fear ever kept you from saying yes? Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of possible embarrassment?

Did you miss an adventure because of it? Looking back, do you regret that decision? Why or why not?

I love to hear your stories, even the ones where you said, yes! Because, we all know that sometimes saying, ‘yes’ can be the wrong decision, as well. 🙂

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I wish I’d learned to…before…

A few days before I got married, my sweet mother tried frantically to teach me to do the laundry! Yes…I was spoiled. 🙂 I went to college four blocks from my home and every Thursday I’d bring home my laundry, have a home-cooked meal and watch Hawaii 5-0 on TV!
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From original Hawaii 5-0, 1968-1980

Ah, those were the days. All I had to worry about were a few term papers, if the LSUNO Privateers would win their next basketball game ( I was a cheerleader, so this was important), and if I’d have a date on Friday night.
But I digress. Back to laundry…I was still a student when I married Tom and had no idea how to execute some of the “expected” tasks of being a homemaker. I never needed to, since my mother was happy to have ANY excuse to have me come home.
I remember standing at the washer and dryer next to her while she explained about the colors, the whites, how much detergent per size of load, if I should use hot, cold or warm water, use dryer or hang dry? And if dryer, how hot? This type of fabric need this, that type of fabric needed that.
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Laundry Day via darcyflynnromances.com

No problem. Easy Peasy. I had it down too, until the second week of married life, when I shrunk my honey’s favorite white shirt. 😦
The poor guy had to give me a laundry lesson right there in the basement of the apartment where we lived. I felt so badly about ruining his shirt and to this day, I never wash anything in hot.
Fast forward about 20 years. My son was eight (for you mothers with young children…that’s when chores are fun, by the way). I was determined he would be prepared to take care of himself in the basic life skills, so… I taught him to wash cloths and to clean the house. He’s 24 and still does a good job. My only regret, is that I didn’t teach him to cook. 🙂
What do wish you’d learned while you were young that would have made your adult life a bit easier?
Do you have any laundry or house hold tips you could share?
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Boxing Memories

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My Favorite Place in London to go “Junking”!

I used to love to scour antique malls and flea markets for that special something. For years I’d haunt antique booths from local fairs, to antique  malls all across the country. And when I lived in London, I frequented the famous Portobello Road, as well as the surrounding countryside.

Recently, I partnered with a girl friend to stock her booth at an antique mall in Nashville.

After a week of major de-cluttering,  I unloaded 12 boxes in her booth, filled with china,  1940’s and 50’s vintage table cloths, occupied Japan figurines, baskets, garden accessories , rattan chairs, paintings, and picture frames. I could go on, but you get the idea.

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Stuffed to the Hilt!

Memory lane doesn’t even come close to my experience packing, unpacking and displaying those objects. As I unpacked each box, I relived the moment where I bought each item. Who I was with, what time of year, the town. Some of the objects have sweet stories behind them.

My mom and I were in a toy store in New Orleans in the early 60’s and I was trying to decide which Chatty Cathy doll I wanted Santa to bring me. The blond or the brunette? I couldn’t decide so she told me Santa would know.

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Chatty Cathy sits waiting…

Today, almost 50 years later a perfect brunette Chatty Cathy, still dressed in her original dress and shoes, sits in a booth in Nashville waiting for her new owner.

Between me and you,  I hope she doesn’t sell. 🙂

For those of you  who’ve read my posts on de-cluttering, you know how much I labor over getting rid of things. Then I got to thinking of how excited I used to get when I’d find my precious a special treasure.

So, when I stess over parting with something now, I just think about that young homemaker, mom or professional who love to go ‘junking’, hoping to find something special. And when they see that thing, that object that they love, I can almost feel their excitement as they buy it and take it home.

There were many “someones” years ago who parted with, every special item I ever bought at an antique mall or second hand store. They made the choice to:

Scale down.

Clean out.

Let go.

Now the  years of shopping, perusing dusty shelves with best friends, have come full circle. Now, it’s my turn to let go and let someone else enjoy the ‘precious’.

Years ago while visiting Gettyaburg, I spotted a set of small green depression bowls at a street fair. I had been looking for these for several years and here they were stacked on a table in the historic town near the battlefield. I use them EVERY DAY!

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Green Depression Glass Bowls

I was thrilled to find them. The lady selling them told me her mother had almost kept them but at the last minute let them go.  She told me her mother would be thrilled to know that a young woman who’d been looking for them for years, would now be the owner.

I left many beautiful and sentimental items in my friends booth.

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I feel like I moved!

I’ll imagine that whatever sells, will be to someone who loves that object and that they’ll be pleased to have finally found it.

Where is your favorite place to go junking? Are you still gathering treasures or are you cleaning off your shelves? How is your de-cluttering going? Is it hard to let things go? Tell us!