Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's time to share some of the views from the apartment with you. I promise to get lots of pictures of my neighborhood and surrounding areas once the weather is better. It's been too damn cold to take off my gloves to point and shoot!!!!!

First - Early morning from my windows facing West with the sun just hitting the buildings.
New York Harbor. High rises in the background are on the southern tip of Manhattan.

Small, older building on the left is Borough Hall. This part of Brooklyn is called Brooklyn Heights.

Manhattan Bridge is only visible if I stand close to the window and look hard right - hence the less-than-sharp colors

The land you see in front of Lady Liberty is Governor's Island. Obviously this is the max close-up
my little camera can get.

That orange boat is the Staten Island Ferry. There is one crossing constantly. Better shot of Governor's Island.

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Next are a couple of late afternoon and early evening shots. These are looking more southerly towards the mouth of the harbor

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And finally....  On the 4th night we were here, we had an amazing experience. At about 7 pm, just as it got dark, fireworks started shooting into the sky from either side of the Statue of Liberty. They were all red, white and blue and sparkles. It was, to say the least, goosebumpy awesome! Then we realized there was a huge ship cruising past Lady Liberty. Then another and finally, a third. The Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2 were all in port. Apparently this has never happened before and the city decided to give them a true NYC/USA send-off. Obviously no photos could possibly do this incredible scene justice - especially with a little point and shoot camera like mine, but I have to share just a few of my fuzzy photos.

The bow of the QM2 is just appearing in the upper right corner

An enormous ship. They all were.

Welcome to New York...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Final Revision?

Part 4 of: From Blank Screen to Printed Book OR Writing the Book was the Fun Part...

With a lot of often painful revising and cutting, I reduced the 150,000 word first draft of my book into a tight and nimble 73,000 word manuscript. I felt great about the end result and couldn't imagine Suzanne - my editor - would feel the need to do more than a few minor tweaks. Wrong. Apparently, publishers won't look at a memoir that rises over the 70,000 word mark. Who knew the creative process was, in reality, a numbers game?

Suzanne spent a few weeks reviewing my 73,000 words and then sent them back. The pages on which they lay, now covered with penciled arrows and slashes. I will admit, my first reaction was anger. It was PERFECT! I took some time for my initial defensive flare to cool, then went through the pages slowly and ended up incorporating about 60% of the changes she made. Although I couldn't bring myself to agree with all she thought should be done, her suggestions made me look at the content with new eyes and pushed me to do some rewriting that I wouldn't have done otherwise. In other words, once again, she pushed me to be better.  

I loved writing my book. I really loved the process of sitting down at my computer, tapping on the keys and watching the words fill up the screen. I even loved the revision process, as painful as it sometimes was, because I was learning, growing. I was about to be introduced to the business side of writing a book. The love fest was over.

To be continued...

Monday, January 17, 2011

New York, New York

I apologize for the long lapse since my last post, but it has been a crazed, life-altering few weeks. 

A week before Christmas, hubby's boss told him that the company would subsidize an apartment for a year while we wait for the house to sell. But, if we were going to take advantage of the offer, we had to do it immediately.  Fortunately I was in the city, so I immediately hit the internet to get a feel for what was out there. It took about 15 minutes to realize we couldn't afford to live in Manhattan. So on a blustery, freezing cold day, I subway'd it over to Brooklyn, looked at as many apartments as I could find and, of course, found the perfect one! It is in a new building with great amenities. Garage parking for hubby, washer & dryer in the unit for me, great gym for both of us (we just have to USE it...). We plopped down a holding fee, application fees, first month's rent and security deposit, then headed home to celebrate Christmas and organize a move.

The challenge of pulling this together - besides moving in two weeks with Christmas week being the first of the two - was keeping to as strict a budget as possible without taking much stuff from our NH house as it is still on the market and, if it doesn't sell, I'll go back for the summer. So, we took furniture from the finished basement, one rug from the living room and I went through the kitchen grabbing everything that I had two of (an embarrassing number of things, as it turned out). We combed the attic looking for stuff, but with two kids who'd done the same thing a few years ago, it was slim pickin's... 

On January 7th, I picked up a UHaul truck, and that night with the help of some good friends (did I forget to mention that hubby was away on business the first week of January and didn't get home until 6 pm the night before we moved?), loaded it and our car with a couch and love seat, one chair, a rug and lots of boxes. At 6 a.m. the next morning, with Zoe cozy and snug between boxes in the back seat of the car, our little caravan pulled out of the driveway, headed for our latest Great Adventure!

We are settling in beautifully. The kids were here to help us unload and unpack and have been over for dinner since. We did an insane Ikea run the day after we moved in and spent every evening last week putting furniture together. Zoe loves her long morning walks and play-time in the local dog park, and once the weather warms up a bit, I'm sure I will too!! She has been amazingly mellow throughout this entire experience and is quickly learning leash and elevator etiquette. I love our bright and sunny apartment. It's small and comfortable and I can clean it in about ten minutes! And when I want to go somewhere, the subway is mere steps from my door.

I promise to get back to the saga of the book this week, but had to share our news first. Pretty cool, huh?