Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inspirational half week at Caroline's Sewing Room!

Welcome to Caroline's Sewing Room. This is a big front porch area that is all glassed in and very comfortable. Through the door to the left of this picture is Caroline's Bed and breakfast, and through the kitchen is the door to her quilt shop. We had the luxury of living there for three days this past week and six of us from TC enjoyed it immensely! Sue is in the picture putting up one of her latest finishes. We hung things in front of every window as we finished project after project! It was fabulous.

Caroline is a wonderful Grandmotherly type of lady who is funny and earthy and warm. She is easy going, often telling us that we could use anything we found in her kitchen or pantry while we were there, and always coming out with jars of pickles, and beets and whatever else telling us in no uncertain terms that we had to try this! On top of her very giving hospitality she also is a very faithful woman thanking God daily for her life and her prosperity.

All in all I was totally inspired by this woman and her "family" of employees. Rose, runs the store, and is from Scotland. Brenda who does the Long Arm Quilting at the shop and who bakes such special enticing treats such as bread for the soup and fruit filled coffee cake for Mardi Gras! Carolyn (not to be confused with Caroline) is the bookkeeper and the wife of Caroline's minister. Caroline always keeps her cell phone handy in her pocket so she can call someone at a moments whim to ask them a question or to get advice, like when we accidentally blocked the sink with an orange peel, and when someone wanted to know if there were cloves in the pickles she was serving us.

Then there is Cubby! Cubby is the cutest little Terrier mix that I've ever encounter since my own terrier mix died when I was in my twenties. He was the most well behaved dog I've run across since Lassie! He was just as quiet as a mouse and as easy going as his mommy. The only time we heard him bark was when someone came to the door after the shop closed. He knew they didn't belong there and he was making sure we knew that. He kept whimpering the whole time until the person left.

We decided to go for a walk on our first day and Caroline asked us if we wanted to take Cubby. Someone said, yes, they would love to. So we went out to another fabric shop two doors down and after a quick glance through I realized there was nothing in the shop I wanted so I went out to spell the lady who was walking Cubby. I took his leash and let her go into the shop. I waited there for a while but then I thought, oh why not, so I walked down the road slowly with Cubby and he did his business. We were around the corner in a very few minutes and we kept going slowly around the little block. Well by the time we got to next corner the others hadn't even gotten to the first corner yet. So Cubby and I finished out walk together. He was very good. When a car came along he came right back to my side, just like he was supposed to. Then when nothing was around I would let him go and explore. He'd sniff around once in a while so I could stop and catch my breath. Then we'd keep going. Along the highway I had him heel so that he wouldn't get too close to the road. He knew just want to do.

The next day Caroline comes down into the sewing room and tells us this story:
"I woke up in the middle of the night and Cubby was asleep on the bed. I couldn't wake him up and was getting a little worried about him because usually he wakes up when I get up in the middle of the night. So I shook him and eventually he woke up. I let him out to do his little business and he came back in and fell asleep again on the bed. You must have had a real good walk, cuz you wore him out!"

He had the cutest toys too. He had a little duck and a rooster that actually crowed when he shook it, and several other things. He brought them out into the sewing room to show us. If I had a dog like him I would walk him daily just to spend quality time with him. Oh well!

Gas was cheaper in West Branch, they have a store that sells quality cuts of beef for less than I've seen anywhere, and it's the home town of Kaye Wood, of TV fame. I could live there, for no other reason than to be near Caroline! If you would like to schedule a retreat at Caroline's here is her website:

But I really shouldn't be promoting it, because I don't want her to overbook, I may not be able to get back there if she is!

More on this whole topic later! Love you guys down there in West Branch. Hope to see you soon.

Cindy K-K

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More about the Poll

At your right you can see the poll I am speaking about. I plan to write all of these stories in one form or another. I just wish to know which of them you would most like to see first. Here is a larger description of each of them:

1. Hell to Pay--Actually I also began to call this one Frozen Hell as in Hell Freezing over. A comedy about a married couple in their fifties who have always been in debt. In the opening scene we have the woman pouring herself coffee in the morning. Her husband is heard groaning in the next room and then we see him appear as well. They are both overweight, both are looking a bit low key with their morning ritual. Woman says: Hey, do you remember when we were young and first married? We used to talk about growing old together.
Man: (underwhelmed) Yeah?
Woman: (brightly) Done! Accomplished that goal! What do you want to do next?
Man smiles at the joke, then says: Get out of debt?
Woman nods dejected and goes back to sipping her coffee.

They talk about their bucket list, now that they can check off growing old together. But everything else on the list costs money. Whether its a hot air balloon ride or a trip to Yellowstone Park. So they have to conclude that the next thing on their bucket list will be to die debt free. So what are their conflicts? Everything from their son's student loan debts, to rising prices on gas and groceries, to their own poor health, until it seems they will never be debt free.

I have a lot of funny lines and some poignant moments between these two characters and I believe there is enough there to build a lot of scenes from. Just keep in mind that any resemblance to persons living or dead or who belong to my family are strictly coincidental. ((NOT!!))

MDQ (Major Dramatic Question): Will they get out of debt? More to the point, what keeps this particular couple struggling all these years together without their soul crushing debt tearing them apart?

2. Decisions: For those of you with my particular background in Literature or who have subjected themselves with Thomas Hardy's writing even by accident, you might recognize this story as a retelling of "Far From the Madding Crowd." But I didn't intend any such thing really.

It's about a woman who moves into a small town outside of Chicago for two reasons, one because it was the only place she could find a job that would pay enough to cover her rent. She is an artist and spends all of her spare time doing Multi-media found object art which is her passion. She shows her art in a consignment shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. Early on in the story she is excited because she finds that one of pieces has sold from the shop.

She works as a bartender doing the late shift four nights a week. She lives in a boarding house in a basement studio apartment. She chose this place because her landlady is allowing her to use the rest of the basement as her work area, but she has to share it with her landlady's nephew who does handyman work for her. As the weeks progress it seems that he has no other job and little job ambition.

One night at the bar she sees a young man about her age who is very handsome. She serves him a drink and he seems very kind. He looks her in the eye which is unusual for the men who frequent this bar. Usually their eyes don't get above her chin. She is intrigued and finds out that he is the manager of a computer store in town. Smart, well-to-do, and handsome, he seems to be just the kind of guy she would like to be with. Except all her new female friends think he's a light-weight and talk about him being such a geek in high school. They inform her that he was literally the guy that wheeled the projector cart from place to place. Because of that they could not see the handsome successful guy that he has become. She begins to date him.

Just after she starts her relationship with this guy, yet another fellow comes into her life. He is an older man with a southern drawl and very sexy for his age. He buys one of her pieces at an art show and strikes up a conversation with her. He wants to see more of her work so she invites him to her studio. He pulls some strings and gets her into a Chicago gallery where her work will get more exposure and he makes it financially possible for her to produce more work by paying off her credit card and setting up an account for her at a wholesale art supply distributor. At first she takes his help because she is convinced he only wants to patronize her. But all along he makes comments about how lovely she is and how he would not be opposed to a more steady relationship.

Meanwhile the nephew hangs out in the basement with her more and more often and she is getting used to him being around. They talk as friends and to most observing eyes it is apparent that he has fallen for her.

The MDQ: Which will she choose? Rich patron of the arts? Handsome, smart well to do business man? or friend with little job ambition? Which would you choose? There is a secondary MDQ as well concerning the sale of her art from the place in Grand Rapids. Who could have bought that piece? Was it one of her new friends from this small town? And if so who? (A question that has been on my mind since I began to sell books. At first I could tell you every person who bought one, but no more. Now I have no idea who could possibly be reading my stuff.)

3. Fate: Woman and her Autistic brother move to a small Northern Michigan community after the death of their parents. She is in her mid-twenties. Her brother is fairly high functioning but not able to live on his own. They move there because they have inherited their grandmother's house in this town. This woman knew she couldn't afford to keep the big house in Chicago that her parents owned so she sold that so that they could live more simply for a time until they establish themselves in the new town.

Meanwhile there is a man who has lived in this town his entire life. When he was 14 a fortune teller told him that one day he would meet a woman and from the moment he saw her he would not be able to take his eyes off her. But to beware of her because she would be keeping a secret from him.

Two days after she moves to town she goes into the grocery store and he sees her there for the first time. He literally cannot take his eyes off of her. He works at the deli counter and when she sees that he is noticing her, she goes up to him and orders more from the deli than she and her brother could eat in a week. But he is not intimidated, he just watches her as he is filling her order.

She decides to buy her groceries in the bigger town 20 minutes away from then on. A few weeks later she is walking downtown in this little town. She's decided she has to try to find some sort of a job, she wants to get herself established in this community and she thinks that a job will get her out into the public and meeting people. A brand new deli has opened up next door to the grocery store and there is a help-wanted sign in the window. She goes in to apply for the job and sees that it's this same man who has now opened up his own deli. She gets the job, needless to say. And the two of them start working together. But what is the big secret? He knows there is one, but he is too in love with her to worry about what she could be hiding from him.

MDQ: What is the secret? Is it something that will tear them apart or once shared bring them closer? And what impact will it have on this little town?

I've extended the dates on the poll, so come back and vote again and often (this isn't a national election). Tell your friends!

Cindy K-K