Showing posts with label moving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label moving. Show all posts

14 March 2013

New Move/Old Photos

by Eve Fisher

As many of you are aware, we moved the end of February, from a big two-story house with a two car garage and 1000 square foot studio, where we had lived for 22 years, to a one-bedroom apartment in the former kindergarten room of an old school, with a classroom for a studio for my husband and the principal's office now my office.  The reasons why we moved are multiple, including freedom from maintenance and lawn care and the freedom to travel, snowbird, etc.  (Speaking of snowbirding, I'd love to pick anyone's brains out there about how you actually go about finding an apartment to rent for a couple of months every year!) 

The living room; lots of light.
The movers were four strapping young men who would have packed the dustbunnies if we didn't stop them, and who could move anything, anything at all, without seemingly breaking a sweat.  One of them spotted the book I wrote for Guideposts - "The Best is Yet to Be" - and asked if that Eve Fisher was me.  I said yes, and he said "I never met an author live and in person before."  So I gave him a copy.  They worked, they ran, they hustled, they rarely stopped, and they were great.  If we could only have kept them to unpack, it would have been REALLY great. 

But we love the new place.  The apartment is pretty much set up, and we got all the books up in my office, as you can see.  It took a lot of hard work, and a trip to the chiropractor, and there are still odds and ends that need to be done, but we are in, and functioning again, except that Allan's computer died and is in the computer hospital even as we speak.  (More on that later.)

My office, almost fully stocked.
Meanwhile, twenty-two years in the same place - which is longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my entire life - means that you accumulate all kinds of crap.  They range from the understandable (you can never have too many end tables or lamps), to the puzzling (who packed every single coat hanger, including that knot of them from the back closet that I was always meaning to throw out?), to the downright unbelievable (where did that strange Aztec ceramic head come from, anyway?  Answer - I made it, years ago, but it took me a while to remember.  And don't ask me why I did.)  I keep finding stuff to throw out.  Or put on Craig'slist, or E-bay, or SOMEWHERE.

And I find things that I haven't looked at for years.  Including a photograph album full of my father's photos from World War II.   (I'd share some of my father's photos with you, but Allan's computer that died had the scanner.)

My father served in Dutch New Guinea.  There are lots of photos of him posing athletically - he looked like a young Greek Burt Lancaster in those days - either in uniform or in bathing suit or in a towel.  There are lots of photographs of trees and ocean and sand, which, to be honest, since these are all in black and white and are about 2" by 4" max, aren't nearly as beautiful as the actual scenery must have been.  He wrote notes on the back of almost all of them to my mother, ranging from "village" to "always yours, heart and mind, body and soul, your ever-loving Charlie." 

A Google photo, but you get the idea
Since he was a guy, there are also three pages of photographs of native women, ranging from a young, deeply sun-burnt Tondelayo type, who looks REALLY good leaning against a tree wearing nothing but a grass skirt, to two toothless old women holding pigs, with their breasts literally sagging down to their waist.  (I have no idea what my mother thought receiving these pictures.  I also suppose it's true what my godchild's husband said - "we don't really care what they look like, as long as they're showing.")  There's also one photo of him and two buddies, stark naked, taking a bath out of a basin.  Of course all you really see is their white butts, but it was still pretty racy for the 1940's!  And, on the backs of all of them, little notes which in their day were undoubtedly hilarious and today would be considered fairly inappropriate. 

There were also some photos of a Japanese soldier, alone, and also with what apparently is his graduating class from the military academy.  These old, very faded photographs were undoubtedly taken from a dead Japanese soldier, although I doubt if my father killed him.  (My father worked for the catering corps, and while he saw some action, because there was action all over New Guinea at the time, I always got the impression that he was never on the front line as a soldier.)  All that's written on the back of these is a laconic statement, such as "Japanese soldier."  But it makes me wonder who he was; how old he was; if his family ever found out if and where he died... 

Old memories, old wars, old times, new place.

26 September 2011

From 375 SQ Feet in 180 Days or Less

by Jan Grape

I’ll admit I was reasonably happy living in my 30 ft. 5th wheel RV with my two 14 year old cats, Nick and Nora, when my daughter, Karla, said she wanted to buy me a house. “Buy me a house?” said I. “I barely have energy enough to clean this trailer, how the heck will I be able to keep a house clean?”

“But, Mom. Just think how awesome it will be to live in a nice house, decorated with plants and nice pictures and nice furniture. You can have a real bathroom without dealing with emptying the black water tank. You won’t have to worry if your propane tank is going to run empty in the middle of the week-end and a Blue Norther is swooping down from Amarillo. You can have a washer and dryer and not have to use the laundromat at the RV park."

“Hmm.” She did make it sound enticing. Except all I could think of was vacuuming, mopping and dusting all that knick-knack sh** that I knew she wanted to decorate with to make the house look awesome. “But a house, a whole house. I’m just not sure.”

“Okay,” she said, “but you think about it and I’m flying down there next week and we’ll look around.”

My daughter came down from Nashville, where she lives, to Central Texas where I was happy as a lark in my RV and guess what? We found a great house, she and her hubby bought it and I moved in the last week in August. And I love it. Three bedrooms, two baths, a fire place, a bay window and a kitchen island. It’s decorated with plants, super pictures, positive sayings, and all that knick-knack stuff that make a place warm and awesome.

My late husband, Elmer and I had semi-retired in 1990, then decided to open a mystery bookstore. Mysteries and More was a wonderful store, and we featured our local Austin and Texas area mystery writers. Mysteries, because that was my first love and I was also writing mysteries.

In 1999, Elmer and I decided to retire and follow our dream of traveling the west and southwest so we sold-out the bookstore, bought a 5th wheel and took off for New Mexico and points west. We spent three summers traveling and coming back to Austin to our house, then decided to give up the house and live in the RV full time. We enjoyed every minute of it and so did Nick and Nora, who you might suspect were named after The Thin Man’s Nick and Nora Charles.

I’d penned a Private Eye novel in the mid-eighties but it wasn’t good enough to be published although I did get close a couple of times. In the late-eighties I published a couple of short stories in a small subscription magazine that paid in copies. I was writing a column for Mystery Scene magazine, did interviews and wrote book reviews. Soon I began selling stories to Ed Gorman, Marty Greenberg and Bob Randisi for anthologies. The ones for Ed and Marty were for theme anthologies; the Cat Crime Series, holidays like Christmas and Mother’s Day, White House Pets, etc. For Bob Randisi who founded Private Eye Writer’s of America: stories for Deadly Allies and Lethal Ladies. In 1998, I won an Anthony for Best Short Story, “A Front Row Seat,” in the Vengeance is Hers anthology, which was also nominated for a Shamus award.

Dean James and I co-edited Deadly Women which had articles, interviews and stories by and about women mystery authors. We were nominated for an Edgar, an Agatha and a macavity. We won the macavity, given by Mystery Reader’s International.

I sold my first mystery novel in 2000, titled Austin City Blue, featuring Zoe Barrow an Austin policewoman. It was nominated for an Anthony for Best First Novel. The second Zoe Barrow, Dark Blue Death came out in 2005, and in 2002, Five Star, my publisher, released a collection of my short stories titled, Found Dead In Texas.

Last September, my third mystery, What Doesn’t Kill You, a non-series book was published by Five Star.

In 2009, R. Barri Flowers and I co-edited, ACWL Presents: Murder Past, Murder Present, an anthology of stories written by members of the American Crime Writer’s League, published by Twilight Times. In April, 2012 our second anthology, Murder Here, Murder There will be released by Twilight Times. I have a short story in both.

“What does this all have to do with my moving?” you ask. For one thing, I now have a room that is going to be a real office. With “Going To Be” being the operative phrase here. After living in an RV for over nine years, I had accumulated more books, tablets, pens, reams of paper, etc., than you could imagine and now I’m slowly, very slowly trying to get the “office” set up.

This entailed getting internet access, which isn’t always easy or affordable in the TX Hill Country, getting my old computers set up and operational. It’s just NOT that easy for a person who has the cyber-technology skills of a horned toad to do.

However, having said, all that I’m delighted to be joining my fellow writers in this great new blogging adventure and look forward to seeing each of you readers every other Monday. My writing partner is Fran Rizer and I certainly expect her to keep me in line, online and on time. So y’all come back now, you hear?