My Scrawny TV Viewing Habit


Okay, I admit it. I hardly ever watch television. For a while, I didn’t even own a TV. And honestly, the only time I missed it was when actor friends were in commercials or had roles in films or shows that I couldn’t view right away.

Growing up, I was more of a typical viewer and enjoyed many of the favorites of my generation—re-runs of Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Star Trek, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island and the Monkey’s. My parents became hooked on the night time soap opera - Dallas, so I watched as well. But they totally lost my viewership as an entire season was wiped out when J.R. woke up from a bad dream. Really?

Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) followed me through my college years. From that point on, not much else happened on a regular basis until my son, Trenton, got me started on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Love Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Mr. Stewart simply always brings class to every project he does. X-Men: Days of Future Past was my favorite X-Men movie.

Alright, back to television. After Captain Picard was off the air (1991), I didn’t get pulled back into anything else for a while. Although other members of the household watched plenty of television, I just seemed more interested in other activities including childrearing, working, writing and music.

That was until my all knowing Trenton suggested I take a look at the television show Fringe. He knew my tastes and I was sucked in after the pilot. The characters and the scifi story lines kept me engaged for the shows entire five seasons. Fringe was the only television show I watched faithfully (on my computer via Hulu) and nothing has replaced it since.

I was in search of just ONE show that I really liked that wasn’t reality or sit-com. Trenton is an expert on the Game of Thrones series having read all the books and understanding the characters and world they live in. So we went back and viewed all the episodes and now await the new season to start. It’s a very popular series and I can see why people like it. Although for me, it simply doesn’t replace Fringe. Haha! Of course, I have Fringe on DVD now so I can revisit the entire show on occasion…and I do.

Even though I haven’t been a diehard fan of television viewing, my love for movies has never waned. We watch movies all the time. I just never realized I actually wanted to make them until around 2005. But that’s a story for another time. I’m sure there are some really good television shows out there, just seems I’m not very motivated to hunt them down.

My true love lies in psychological types of story lines with lots of twists and turns and a touch of scifi. Not surprising, I’m drawn to write the same types of stories. My latest film, Blue Copper, as well as the novel I am currently writing, is no different.

A few days ago while visiting my friend in Georgia, the 40th Anniversary of SNL (Saturday Night Live) show came on. We decided to watch the fun. Wow, so many comedians came from or participated in that program over the years. It was a blast from the past laughing at parts of skits I hadn’t seen since the late seventies. And even though many of the cast members from the early years are now in their 50s, 60s and even 70s, the younger generations seemed to be continuing the hilarity.

It’s all about entertainment—television, movies, books, music, theater. Life would just be way too dull without a way to engage our minds, warm our hearts, or prompt us to action. No matter which medium you are drawn to, support and enjoy those art forms and those pursuing them. It is certainly not an easy road.


— For more information on my projects or to sign up for future announcements, please visit www.mindclover.com. If you sign up before the upcoming audiobook for Promise of Protection is released, you will have a chance to win it for free! My latest film project is Blue Copper and latest novel is Promise of Protection.

[To be notified of my future blogs via email, simply click on the Get Notified of Future Posts! link at the top of this page. Thank you!]

Ten to Life

Most things in life have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes this process from start to finish takes a lifetime. Perhaps years or months. Then there are ones that take weeks, days, hours or even minutes. Depending on what is being experienced, we may or may not have control over the timeframe nor the end results.

With my engagement four weeks ago, my thoughts today are focused on a wedding. Specifically the process of getting married. Not so much on the things like spending life together or the combining of families and so forth, but more practically on the actual wedding.

The Beginning.

Most weddings are carefully planned and executed over several busy, sometimes grueling months. Months filled with appointments, shopping, celebration and spending money. Finding the rings, settling on a date, deciding where to get married and who should officiate. Securing a location, agreeing on the guest list, choosing the wedding party, finding dresses/tuxes, picking a caterer, a florist, a photographer, a videographer, DJ, cake, etc..

There is absolutely nothing wrong with all this fanfare and hoopla as, after all, it is an important day in anyone’s life. Not just for the couple getting married, but their families and friends as well. It is a very public symbol of commitment followed by a party to celebrate. I have enjoyed those experiences in my past and have very fond memories.

And sometimes choosing a simpler way is more desirable and much less stressful. Rick and I chose to skip down that path. True, planning was still necessary, but a lot less effort in a much shorter period of time.

For various reasons, Rick and I married last weekend. About three weeks after our engagement. Whoa…wait, what? That was the response of some. How Rick kept a straight face I will never know as he stopped his employees in their tracks after informing them we rushed the wedding because I was expecting. That led to a few moments of silence and jaw dropping before a hearty laugh. Uh yeah, I’m past that stage!  

Aside from those Rick works with, we know very few people down here in Cotulla, Texas. So, we decided to make things “official” sooner then plan for a party back in Phoenix in a couple of months to celebrate with our close friends and family.  

This leads to the next step in the process. The Middle.

Many years ago, I videotaped weddings for my original production company. After about seven years of doing this, I swore I’d never shoot another wedding in my life! Haha! Talk about burn out. You can imagine after filming likely two hundred plus weddings, I’ve witnessed the very traditional to the very untraditional. Exquisite ones with upwards of 600 guests down to casual ones with less than twenty. From a bride holding a cascading bouquet worth a thousand dollars to a bride holding the bridal reins whilst sitting on the back of a horse. (Yes, the bride and groom rode off into the sunset!) From cathedrals to ballrooms to backyards.

Our ceremony was conducted by a minister under the Tower of the America’s in San Antonio early on Sunday afternoon. Who was there? Us and the minister! Oh, and the minister’s wife who took some photographs. Having none of our grown children, other family members, nor best friends there was a bit unsettling. But, knowing we would be celebrating with them soon allowed us to move forward with our little private ceremony.

We met the minister, he explained what would happen and he began. Within ten minutes our vows were said, rings on our fingers, and we were husband and wife. What made me think about today’s blog topic was how those ten minutes were spent.

Usually during a longer, more traditional ceremony, the bride and groom face the minister as he or she talks. Then they turn to face each other during the vows, then to their guests afterwards. Well, this officiant had us face each other and look into each others eyes for the entire time. At first, I thought no problem. I mean, if I can’t stare into the eyes of my future husband for ten minutes, I probably shouldn’t be marrying him!

What I actually experienced was totally surreal. After just ten seconds I was faced with the fact that if I stared into Rick’s eyes for even ten more seconds, I was going to fall apart! My emotions kicked in and the seriousness and beauty of the moment hit me like a ton of bricks. As our minister went on speaking of love and commitment, the union of two hearts, and dividing our burdens, I constantly blinked back tears, looked at his forehead, his chin and even his left ear!

It wasn’t about rituals or traditions. It wouldn’t have mattered if there’d been hundred people watching. In those ten minutes of intense eye-contact, what was nonverbally communicated was pure and deep, beyond anything we could have planned for.

Ten minutes set a lifetime in motion.

It is hard to describe, but that’s love for ya’. When it came to repeating our vows, I barely got the sentences out. But, it totally convinced me that if given the opportunity of officiating the marriage of two people, I’d definitely have them looking into each other’s eyes for at least ten minutes! What a simple, yet highly intimate experience. One we both will not soon forget.

Enough mush. Now to The End.

We enjoyed lunch at the Chart House at the top of the tower. It is a rotating restaurant 750 feet in the air. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the view of San Antonio was spectacular. Before drinking some champagne we texted some pictures and had some communications with our loved ones.

Oh, did I mention it was Superbowl Sunday? The New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks. We changed clothes in the car and found a fun sports bar to enjoy the game. And, it was a good one, for sure. Probably not many would think about spending their wedding day watching football in a bar with a bunch of strangers hooting and hollering, but honestly, it was a great way to spend the afternoon with my new husband.

I am not knocking or implying that big weddings are a bad thing to do. I have had my own and have participated in many myself. Each couple determines for themselves what they really want at their particular phase in life.

After all, it’s all about love anyway.


As a side note and completely off topic, I wanted to let my wonderful blog readers know about a free giveaway of my upcoming audiobook for PROMISE OF PROTECTION. We finished recording Kane Black reading the novel and it’s now being edited. We will randomly pick two lucky winners! Simply register your name on my Mindclover page and once the audiobook is ready to go, we will pick from those that have signed up. Click HERE for the link and scroll near the bottom. Thank you!!  


— For more information on my projects or to sign up for future announcements, please visit www.mindclover.com. My latest film project is Blue Copper and latest novel is Promise of Protection.

[To be notified of my future blogs via email, simply click on the Get Notified of Future Posts! link at the top of this page. Thank you!]

Jack

Some thoughts on perspective. But, first a short story!

JACK

The door closed behind Jack with a click. The room was completely dark with the exception of a slit of yellow light that pushed through a crack in the door.

A voice whispered, “Where have you been?”

“You don’t want to know,” said Jack with a shiver in his voice.

Please click HERE to continue reading the short story.

— For more information on my projects or to sign up for future announcements, please visit www.mindclover.com. My latest film project is Blue Copper and latest novel is Promise of Protection.

[To be notified of my future blogs via email, simply click on the Get Notified of Future Posts! link at the top of this page. Thank you!]

Old Traditions and New Thoughts

For years I participated in all the traditional seasonal activities that I grew up with…

Dragging out boxes from closets that were chock full of Christmas decorations and donning the inside (and sometimes the outside) of the house. Assembling the tree and adorning it with beautiful ornaments that had been hung year after year, some that had been carefully crafted by loved ones. Joining in the retail madness and shopping for just the perfect gifts. Baking up a storm to assemble cookie plates for neighbors and coworkers and packing the goodies carefully into shoeboxes to send to loved ones across the country. Writing Christmas letters and including them in cards with the latest photographs of the kids. Attending holiday parties for employers. Rehearsing for weeks with other singers in preparation for a performance at our church Christmas Eve service. Setting out the cookies and milk for Santa and the carrot for Rudolph. Wrapping and placing presents under the tree after the kids finally had fallen asleep.  Waking up very early Christmas morning (when the boys were young) and dragging them out of their beds later (when they hit junior high) to open presents in our pajamas. Cooking a big meal for my children and my parents and always gratefully accepting the delicious apple and pumpkin pies my mom brought over. Later in the afternoon, braving the crowds at the movie theatre. 

I have such wonderful memories of those times. 

My how life changes! It seems over the past few years the way I progress through December has altered. Not necessarily for the worse, just different. 

The boxes of decorations has reduced down to two strings of colorful lights I hang up inside wherever I happen to be staying. I like those lights. They make me feel happy. I’ve considered leaving them up all year round, but then they wouldn’t be so special. Who knew a couple $1.99 strings of lights could have such an effect!

I avoid the retail shopping experience completely by purchasing gifts online. Often opting for gift cards allowing for the recipients to simply purchase whatever they really want. Some may say that’s a cop out, but it works for me. And, I don’t hear any complaints from those that receive them!

The December after both my parents passed, the baking ceased. That first Christmas without them was a hard one. I just never returned to the full fledged goodie creation routine. 

The stack of cards once faithfully sent out each year now mostly go unsent. A few letters might make it out but if so, they are usually after Christmas. For years, I enjoyed putting together our family Christmas letter summarizing events and special moments that had taken place during that year, but now with technology and social media, sometimes that feels redundant. Occasionally, I still do a version of the letter for those distant friends and family that are not online.

As children grow up and have friends and other families to share time with the traditional morning with family changes. I was away this past December, but am looking forward to a trip back to see my grown children next week. No need to feed Santa, Rudolph or cook a big meal. I miss my mom’s apple pie, though. 

My family and loved ones are important and I still keep the old tradition of phoning those that I cannot be with on December 25th. Also, Rick and I both love watching movies and since there is no theatre down where we live, we watched a movie on DVD instead.

Do I miss the way I used to spend my December’s? Well in some instances, yes. But in many things, definitely not. 

Although I recall all what I loved about the crazy, busy holiday season, it honestly can quickly become self-inflicted stress. Just the shopping alone can make us exhausted and lose track of what is really important. It can become a time of year with ridiculously high expectations fueled by marketing experts in the retail industry. When I read about people being rude, initiating fights and camping out for days all to get their hands on some material item that they believe to be so important, it makes me shake my head. True, we all have different priorities so to each their own.

The few days between Christmas and New Years, I spent some very quiet time thinking and exploring project ideas for 2015. I say quiet because the place where I was staying had no Internet and very limited cell service! (Amazing these days.) However, it allowed for little distraction and some productive time.

And yes, I did bring and put up my two strings of lights! The weather was rainy and cold for an entire week, something that after living in Arizona for thirty years is tough to deal with! However, one late afternoon the sun peeked through the clouds providing a wonderful, reflective moment on Lake Palestine.

Most assuredly, I have come to like and appreciate a simpler December. A calmer one. One not filled to the brim with activities, over-the-top expectations, and trying to live up to someone else’s standards. 

I have so much appreciation to those of you who read my posts/blogs and am forever grateful for your love and encouragement. I have good vibes about 2015 and am excited in getting started. May you all have a blessed and fulfilled year.

— For more information on my projects or to sign up for future announcements, please visit www.mindclover.com. My latest film project is Blue Copper and my novel is Promise of Protection.

[To be notified of my future blogs via email, simply click on the Get Notified of Future Posts! link at the top of this page. Thank you!]

One Year in Cotulla

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This week, Rick and I “celebrated” living in Cotulla, Texas for one year. The word celebrated is in quotations because this move was all about an opportunity for his career rather than our choice to live here. It’s hard to believe a year has passed already. But as life goes, it isn’t surprising how quickly time has flown by. After living in Phoenix for thirty years, this was a rather significant change for me. 

A little about Cotulla.

It is located halfway between San Antonio and Laredo. The whole town is just two square miles. The population is about 4,000. However, that is NOT including all the truckers! It’s closer to double that size with all the employees that work in the nearby oil fields and either live in their trucks or in tiny portable housing units. A small but very busy town, indeed. With only one street light the traffic is often very heavy mostly with semi-trucks, large diesel pickup trucks and sand haulers. It is not a small quaint town by any stretch of the imagination. 

The infrastructure is trying to catch up to the growing number of workers. So more hotels are being constructed. Unfortunately, restaurants are slower in coming, although there is a fair number of fast food joints. We have only found one decent establishment where we exclusively dine one glorious night of the week. I'm exaggerating, but it is a friendly family owned Mexican restaurant called El Charro. The manager and most of the employees see our smiling faces every Wednesday night. What a far cry from life in Phoenix!

You won’t miss much if you don’t stop by Cotulla on your travels along I35 unless I happen to be here…then you MUST drop by!

What do we do for fun here?

Uh, in Cotulla? Nothing. We have to entertain ourselves since there is no movie theatre, bowling alley, ice skating rink, performance center, nor anything else. There is an annual rodeo but it was pouring down rain that weekend. It is a good thing that Rick and I both like to watch movies. We can’t stream down here but thankfully we have a Netflix DVD account and there are two RedBox machines…although fair warning - they do not work in the rain. :)

Mostly our sanity comes from getting the heck out of here on the weekends for some semblance of a normal social life. Thankfully we have found some fabulous restaurants and nice movie theaters in San Antonio which is 90 minutes away. Corpus Christi and Austin are each about 2.5 hours drive so we don’t get there quite as often. And it goes without saying that returning to Phoenix periodically to hug my children and mingle with friends is absolutely cherished.

What lessons have I learned while living here in this two bedroom manufactured house in the middle of an oil field? You’ve heard the old adage ‘home is where the heart is’. Well for me that is switched around to 'heart is where the home is’! And I have actually felt that way most of my life. Maybe it has to do with moving a lot as a child, but wherever I lay my head at night becomes my home. 

I can work anywhere there is at least some internet access. Living without consistently reliable high speed service makes me pull my hair out at times. However, I’m very grateful to have any service at all! 

And I am very thankful for technology to keep me connected to my children, my friends and my colleagues. It is the next best thing to actually being there. (I sound like a phone company commercial!)

We do feel that this was a good move for Rick in his career and we await for what might lie on the horizon for him.

Despite feeling totally sequestered at times, I have always been self motivated so keeping myself busy with projects comes naturally. In this past year in Cotulla, I have started a blog (dianedresback.com), received news that our feature film is finally available on DVD (Atrophy - formerly Paranoia), produced a winning short film back in Phoenix (Smoke Signals), written my first novel (Promise of Protection), run a successful Kickstarter campaign for a longer short film currently in post-production (Blue Copper), and managed to pound out a first draft of my second book.

Overall, I am making the best of my living situation in Cotulla. I’m remaining focused on my goals and continuing to live my passion for creating through storytelling.

I am one of those individuals that believe that life is an adventure, a journey, and a gift. I never find myself feeling bored—thankfully, because living down here could make the best of us prone to going a little crazy!

Project ideas are beginning to form for 2015 and I’m very excited about moving forward on them. Wherever we end up living is only a side note to intentionally choosing to live a full and satisfied life.  

— For more information on my projects or to sign up for future announcements, please visit www.mindclover.com. My latest film project is Blue Copper and my novel is Promise of Protection.

[To be notified of my future blogs via email, simply click on the Get Notified of Future Posts! link at the top of this page. Thank you!]