• Vignettes

    Music, Milk Bottles & Mayhem!

    I grew up in a musical family. My mother occasionally taught syncopation, my father played the harmonica like James Cotton. Our house was filled with everything from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to honky tonk. When they weren’t practicing, jamming, or having sing-songs with their friends, they danced to tunes emitting loudly from the record player. There was something about French in my house. Whenever “La Vie en Rose” played on the radio, my dad would dip my mom in a seductive tango over the bubbling dinner gravy, while dogs barked, and I twirled in my new ballet shoes. The only reason my mom schlepped me to ballet was because she’d discovered…

  • Vignettes,  War Serenade

    Mountains, Miracles, And Santorini

    I am all about “If you dream it you can do it.” War Serenade in tangible form is proof of that. I dreamed about “her” for 40 years until I did something to make her happen. I learned the screenwriting craft only because the story demanded it – I saw it in moving pictures, and writing a script was the means to an end. What came in the guise of my first miracle was a one year movie option – wow! One year to work with a producer to raise the $8 million needed and shine my script into something special people might pay to see. I – the antithesis…

  • Vignettes

    Goodbye

    Coming to live in America from South Africa in the late 80s was steeped in differences, but not for obvious reasons. Yes, we spoke the same language, but we held our forks in left hands; drove on the “right” side of the road; and we said “Have a nice day,” and meant it. We bought our trendy threads at boutiques not voluminous clothing stores with too many choices. Our norm was to endure an airport-worthy, single-body-scan-tubes before entering our local bank to draw money.  Imagine then, the shock of cruising casually in and out of a drive-through to cash a check! The chasm was as wide as being served a…

  • Vignettes,  War Serenade

    Listen

    One of my very best birthday gifts from my husband a decade ago was a week’s worth of boot camp for screenwriters given by one of the most sought after gurus in LA. I flew across the country with completed script in hand, excited and somewhat confident. It was, after all, the second screenplay I was working on – my first was optioned – so I was as high as the 747 whisking me off to Hollywood. Jim Mercurio – our esteemed pundit – not only taught master classes in screenwriting, he directed and produced movies. Jim’s irrepressible energy, dynamic delivery, and years of experience blew the minds off our…

  • Vignettes

    Bathrooms, Brothels & Blimps

    My first Broken Filter experience was years ago, when Athol and I were showing an elderly couple homes. We’d sold their life-long business and at last, they were able to upgrade to a fancy pad. The wife was quivering with excitement, but the husband? Well, he was old and ornery and entirely devoid of “must have’s” or a wish list; he simply wanted to find a place to hang his hat, and quickly. The very first house we showed them was a lovely open plan where privacy’s only promised behind bedroom doors. Modern living makes eavesdropping a lost art – now you simply cock your head in the direction of…

  • Vignettes

    Love Month

    It’s Love Month and my prince, on the 15th February, yelled from his office to mine “Happy Valentine’s day for yesterday, Honey”. But that’s okay, because luckily, I have his heart 365.25 days a year. Consider all the glorious, passionate love stories in history or Shakespeare. They were mostly short lived. How easy it is to fall in “love” when you’re young and blinded by lust, and, like Romeo and Juliet, you’ll just die if you couldn’t be together forever. For me, the real test of love lies in time. Time brings out the worst in us all. Complacency is a killer. Taking your partner for granted is the kiss…

  • Vignettes

    Ice Rinks, Husbands And Spaghetti

    Realtors have long been compared to used car salesmen. We of the former profession, huff and puff, insulted to the quick that we should be compared to the latter. To parallel our “distinctive” vocation to one that reeks of sleaze and grease and falsehoods? No. NO. NOOO. We Realtors are far superior. Listen, a car may be a person’s second largest investment, but a house? Now we’re talking VERY important! That’s us! I am a Realtor—have been for 26 years. My peers and I are hardworking control-freaks, (I have license to generalize) intent on harnessing situations we don’t have a hope in hell of controlling. Contrary to what it may…

  • Vignettes

    Reflections

    First and foremost, I wish you and yours a happy 2019 filled with good health, unexpected joys, and MOST everything you wish yourself. (I have to remind myself that we can’t have EVERYTHING, but we sure as hell can try!) As is my custom, I look back and take stock of what the past year brought and taught. Since my 365 days of memories are not worthy of a whole brain-bin, I pop the nyaggas (bad stuff) in my handy, dandy, mental-shredder to eliminate lingering negativity and angst-inducing disappointments, chalk the tough stuff up to necessary life-lessons, and promise myself there is no room in the Must-Keep pile for regrets.…

  • Vignettes

    Foot Loose & Fancy Not-So-Free

    My very vivacious, delightful friend, Debbie, told me this fabulous true story. It was the first night of Debbie’s short stay with her daughter Sally on the west coast. When Sally’s boyfriend, Jack popped by her modest apartment after work, he immediately took off his shoes and put his sock-clad feet up on the coffee table.   Debbie thought, “Hmm, that’s a bit rude. I’ve just met the guy!” But as we all know, we’re not allowed to rush to judgment as far as our children’s/best friend’s/mother’s new significant others are concerned. “I see you’re working two jobs,” said Sally as Jack’s sock-encased toes wiggled. The couple tittered. “Ah, to…

  • Vignettes

    Blacklisted

    “Living in a homeowners association has its merits,” I always tell my real estate clients. “Yes, they might be a pain – but HOA’s protect the value of your property by preventing your neighbor’s house becoming an eyesore.” Yet, here I sit, hiding inside behind tinted windows, slipping out only when I must, wearing my false moustache and my hat. Okay, painting our house was not a financial priority…but when water gushed in through stucco cracks, we had to rob Peter to pay Paul and get it sealed and painted PRONTO before Michael and the rest of the alphabet of hurricanes veered our way. Listen, “Soft Buttercup” looked fabulous on…