Friday, September 19, 2008

Coming Up: Bend and L.A.

The next two festivals are in Bend, OR and in L.A. Bend is Friday October 10 at 10:30 am *cringe*. I am expecting a small audience of course, as we are screening so darn early :(

High hopes not to go in the early morning in L.A. at the La Femme Film Festival ( but I do not know our slot yet. It would be SO nice to have an evening slot for once!!! October 16-19, Fine Arts Theatre Venue 1 & 2. *fingers crossed*

Ever hopeful . . . beginning pre-pre-pre-production again on the next one, which we can't really begin till we get some money from somewhere. Like, maybe, selling the first one? *looks hopefuly heavenward*

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So THIS is why I came . . .

This morning I went to church at my new friend Ronda's church, "Fresh Fire Outreach Center", here in Shawnee. Talk about life-changing. The worship was wonderful and healing, the sermon was uplifting, the people were incredibly welcoming, and as is typical in very "alive" churches, worship went for two hours, and then four amazing ladies stayed afterwards for half an hour to pray for me and for "The Dark Horse". They want to bring me back to Shawnee to have a special screening in the Hornbeck Theatre, and I want to come! Turns out Ronda, who volunteered at the festival, is the chair of the downtown association.

Out of this festival have come two friends, Sandy and Ronda. That is very worth the price of admission.

I know this movie will come out. And that our struggle is not with flesh and blood alone . . . good to be reminded though.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One more chalked up to experience

We didn't win. Zero for three. Tomorrow I will be all happy for my friend Sandy whose film about losing the farm won the "Seriously Good Movie" award. Tonight I am very sad and drowning my sorrows in Lord of the Rings Online. Lookout Orcs, Corrie needs to escape reality tonight; cruel reality that has me holed up in a moderately yucky hotel room in a small town in Oklahoma with no laurel leaves for my poster yet, except three "Official Selection" ones.

Here's hoping we have better luck at the Bend Film Festival.

Here I sit in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the quintessential Small Town, at the Southern Winds Film Festival. The next-door state, Texas, is in the middle of a hurricane, so the rains are torrential. My film screened yesterday at noon, the first slot of the day. As with the Texas festival I went to in July, we had six people in the theatre. We screened first in the day there too. I will test my theory about that tonight at the awards cermony - I suspect that they program winners in the evening slots in these small festivals, as there is an audience then.

It is so surreal being here after being in Ireland a week ago... I had three days home then jumped on an all night flight to get here for a TV station interview (which they weren't ready to do, so it got put off 5 hours grrr). I have slept here two nights and will one more, as the plane reservations were way cheaper if you stayed another day. Tomorrow I hope to get some writing done.

I have watched all sorts of things I never would have been exposed to, including a doc about "Okie Noodling", a sort of muddy river hand-fishing sport where you reach down in the mud and catch huge river catfish from underwater tunnels. Oh, and it happens to be illegal in some states.
I have passed, and smelled, two dead skunks, and a live one walked down Main Street yesterday night before the Outdoor Screening.

I get all sorts of comments on my hair. Hair is big here. Wish I had brought my video camera for the doc I am shooting about that.

I met another very nice lady filmmaker, Sandy, who made a movie about saving the farm...sigh.

Met some nice guys here from LA with a very funny short film with a SAG cast called "Man's Best Friend." They wisely give out copies of it to everyone. A DVD of one's short is a very good CV.

I am fighting the loneliness as much as possible. It is a privilege for any filmmaker to be invited to any film festival anywhere. I miss my three boys so much . . . and home.

They are very sweet and very grateful to have us here. Fingers crossed for the awards ceremony...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Back Home

Oh my . . . got up at 6 am, flew from Dublin to Amsterdam, but the Aer Lingus flight was delayed, ran like a panting bunny through Amsterdam airport to try to make my formerly 45-minute connection (???) that was now 20 minutes . . . missed the flight . . . rerouted to Detroit, waited two hours there finishing LOTR (the Battle of the Pellenllor Fields in the long Amsterdam security line), flew 8 hours to Detroit, waited an hour there, then flew 5 hours home and was very glad to see Terry after 25 hours of airports and planes!!!

I am whupped.

And now I wait for my mailed box of riding boots and laundry to arrive!

Oh and I should mention one thing that both Terry and Megan didn't get: if you right-click on the pictures on this blog the pictures are nice and big.

Friday, September 5, 2008

On the way home

Sniff. In the Dublin Airport. Sniff.

Megan got up to say goodbye, the dear silly person. She is off possibly to more archaeology, hopefully Newgrange.  Not jealous at all. No, not at all.


Oh well, back to the 50 billion emails and Life.

I am very excited to see the three best guys in the world . . . very very late tonight by my bod-clock. Got only 4 hours of sleep in the hotel . . . gonna be a day.

Bye Ireland and Wales and England!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Last Day: Queen Maeve and Dublin

Our last day was completely astonishing, of course.

We got up early for a last breakfast in Cashel House and hit the road for a long and lovely sunny day rather like a road movie. We drove across Galway and up to Westport, Castlebar, then across County Mayo to Sligo, where by smelling it out (and Megan's strong Irish Instincts calling her) we found at last the path up to Maeve's Tumulus. We had a long, joyful and breathless hike up to the hilltop, where after an hour's walk we finally achieved the glory of standing upon the sacred cairn and looking out over Sligo's two bays, Strandhill, and the glorious blue Atlantic. We had our tears and our prayers. I sand "The Parting Glass" and "May the Road Rise Up to Meet You" and "Sing Alleluia", and we put our stones into the cairn. I brought a stone all the way from the beach at Indian Point for our ceremony. It was beautiful. Then we stood and just enjoyed the light sea wind, and watched a rain cloud blow up, and looked over Ireland and said goodbye for now. Sniff. But with a big grateful grin.

Then we drove across Roscommon, Longford, and Meath to Dublin Town, and by Megan's dead reckoning found the Best Western miraculously, along the Liffey River of many buses and off the rather intimidating O'Connell Street. We got a bit settled (I got stuck in the service elevator . . . a wee bit tired) then Dan Carollo (one of the composers for "Dark Horse", the fabulous Celtic guitar player!) and his lovely wife Susan arrived, and they showed us a bit of the town (the Post Office of Easter Uprising fame) as we went out for dinner (Baileys Ice Cream!) and traditional music at a bar called Goherty's. It was so much fun I could hardly stop grinning!~ Megan was sad that they sullied one of her favorite songs, that her mother used to sing to her, "Molly Malone", with jokes, but other than that it was magical :) What fun to see friends and colleagues from Seattle in Dublin!

And now I am going to try to sleep as my wake up call is 6:30 am and I have to fly to Amsterdam for some unknown reason tomorrow before flying to Seattle . . . grunk.

I really hate to go. It has been a perfect vacation. I will miss me Megan Merry McCormick a lot. We turned out once again to be fine travelling companions once we got all the sisterly stuff sorted, and she was very kind to let me do my favorite Long Drive in the Sun thing, bless her, with very few white knuckles. It has been since college since we have travelled together for a long period of time, and it was a treat. "Sheep!" - Megan

"Here comes the Dry Rain!" "You know why the Pope said no women praysts, you know? Cause they would talk too much in confessional." "I think I should be a Norman, then I could have two wives." - Padraigh Connelly the Inimitable

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sept. 3 - Inish More!

It is going to be difficult blogging on my phone after a long wallow of a very hot bath in the peat-colored water of Cashel House, lying between extremely soft Irish linen sheets as Megan showers over there ... Zzzz... Oh yes, where was I?

Today we went to the Aran Islands!!! Well to the biggest one, Inish More.

We got up early and had a nice Irish breakfast (including my lovely Porridge and Whole Wheat Sodabread). Then we drove to the ferry landing, once more not trusting our instincts and going far enough, and arriving late and nearly missing the boat. The ride over was extremely hairy as the boat prow beneath us smashed into the 10-foot rollers. Megan felt sick and had to go on deck. Special times in the Atlantic.

Took about an hour to get there. Once into the harbor we perused the line of buses with distaste. Megan declared she did not want to go in another diesel-smelling vehicle. Just then a nice sixtyish Irishman called Padraigh Connelly came up hat in hand and politely asked if we would like a tour of the island in his horse trap, for only 25 Euros. Would we EVER!!! In joy, we followed him to his lovely green side-seat carriage and his sweet little mare Grace, and then proceeded a wonderful 5 hours of exploration of the island as we clopped behing wee Grace. SUCH FUN!

The wind was sweet and fair off the Atlantic, with many long doses of the Yellow Thing, and only 3 or 4 monsoons. We saw the seal colony, lots of Connemaras and Irish Cobs in pastures and in fellow carts, lovely houses old and new and walls that were probably 2,000 to 3,000 years old. He showed us houses abandoned in the Famine, but he said 800 or people so came over to the Island in the Famine time as the fishing was so good. We saw graveyards with gorgeous Celtic crosses, and the flat rocky landscape that he said was all there was till settlers made the earth out of seaweed and sand and manure and imported peat. Inch by inch they piles stones for walls and made earth. Padraigh said the biggest trade used to be peat for fish, as there are no peat bogs on the island, but very good springs.

He left us at the base of the great hill fort Dun Aengus, and we had a long merry climb up the switchbacked hill to the high-stone-walled eyrie above the sea. Utterly glorious cliffs like the Cliffs of Moher, only crowned with an astonishing hill fort.
Megan got Archeological and taught me a bit about it till the monsoon drove us down the hill for postcards.

We explored the ancient church that dated from 700 AD - sigh- I put a stone on the small altar of stones for Indian Point and Towhee both, and I prayed for our loved ones living and dead. Then back in the trap (with one more nice lady fromSpain aboard) for the exploration of the only other road on the island, the High Road. On it we saw old style thatched roof houses and a wee leprechaun house like the one we had seen by Dun Aengus. Padraigh said the leprechauns were all in the pub.

It was over too soon and we had to say goodbye to Padraigh and Grace. We wandered through the sweater shops, tried on many and did not buy one, had a scone and off to the quai for the much-less-bouncy ride back. On the way back once again Megan was convinced we were lost and wanted to ask everyone the way, but when we finally did ask we were once more on the exact right road, we just hadn't been patient enough to get to the next intersection :)

We had a nice, long, leisurely pub dinner and discussed things near and dear to the two of us; what at Whitman we would have called an "HDR". And once again we were wat too sleepy to go out to a pub for music that started at 10pm; a good thing too as we had to get all packed to load out tomorrow bright and early for 6 hours in the car!

I hate to leave Connemara; am very glad we chose this place to hunker down for three very horsey days :)

Sept. 2 '08- Connamara Sur la Plage!

The second day riding was even more fabulous than the first, if you don't count the inevitable saddle sores. I could not justify buying half-chaps, because somewhere back home there is a pair in some trunk...yay for the pocketbook and boo for the leg skin :)

Really makes my want to start riding again when I get home . . . with more leg protection that is . . .

We went down to the dining room for breakfast. I am so happy that the chef has promised me the recipe for the dark grain soda bread of delight!

Then we did our best to get out the door, managing once again to be late to the stable alas, but of course they were still assigning hats and boots so it was fine. The weather was much less fine than the First Ride, there was the occasional bucket-dumoing rain - very glad for my REI raincoat :).

They gave Megan "Boots", not "Rocky", which was a step up as she could actually walk out. When they had taken Megan off the lead line on the first ride she had had a hard time helping Rocky keep up. I rode the patient mule-eared Bess again.

Our first event, after the riding skills test in which Megan wisely chose not to canter after all, was the monsoon-blown ride up the hill. Bess, like the other horses, did it in a sort of a half-pass, tail to the wind and face away. I took her advice and followed suit.

The Yellow Thing came out part of the long merry way to the beach, and shone intermittently thereafter, to our joy.

This was to be a three hour tour *wink* but ended up being much longer...ahhhh. The wide sand ithsmus between the main island and the smaller one was about a mile wide in places, and the kind wrangler would go trotting on ahead with the newer riders and leave the three of us more experienced riders far behind, and she was so far away across the sand that we could not even see her signal and had to guess when they had settled, before starting our whooping, glorious hand gallop across the water-packed golden sand. I shouted "Forth Eorlingas!" And the French co-riders didn't care:) Total glee. Nice Bess is so beach-patterned by now that she doesn't shy at bits of flotsam on the sand, only on the road.

Then we got to the island, about half the size of Iona, and wandered its lovely rocky roads with merry grins pasted on our faces, admiring the Connemara mare and foal and donkey friend in one rock-walled pasture (picture coming at the airport if not before, I promise!).

As we turned for the return trip I could not help singing, I was so happy. I sang "The Whistling Gypsy" and "The Parting Glass" (though Megan tried to stop me as it was Too Painful, so I sang it under my breath for just Bess) and "The Trees, They Grow High", and "The Golden Vanity"... The monsoon stopped my singing and thoroughly drenched us-ran down under us so that we were sitting in puddles- a new trail experience for me-and once again I followed Bess' lead and turned away from it.

At the barn we reluctantly dismounted with much dramatic groaning (it has been about 8 months since I have ridden, sadly) and then I had the joy of watching the beautiful Siobhan school her second-level warmblood in the driving monsoon. Poetry in motion. Later, after she was done, she told me that after schooling in a muddy-all-year monsoon-prone, windy little arena, when she goes to compete, her horse sails in indoor arenas and is thoroughly unflappable.

We tore ourselves from the place with great reluctance, and drove home through the second rainbow of the day.

In town we had pub grub Irish Stew again for Megan, Tikka Masala for me, then did a little light shopping (ahem) for presents before grinning our way home to Cashel House, where we went down to the sea by the hotel for some Ritual Moments with thistles at Magic Hour before retiring early.

Because we are about to go on the Aran Island Ferry this morning!!

Ah Megan is doing her baby noises about to wake up, and Irish Breakfast is imminent! Off again to the sea for our second-to-last day here:)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Connemara Ponies By the Sea!

Yes, today we did it. We rode equines in Connemara by the sea (and in it!).

Once more I woke and showered before tired jet-lagged Megan, and she grogged awake at ten. I remember that feeling . . . poor lady. The front desk called about 10:30 to see if we wanted breakfast (they are hurting for business a bit since the American tourists haven't been showing up as much this year, consequently they treat us like queens). We relented (we were going to settle for apples and tea) and let them send up a very nice breakfast, including fresh boiled eggs from their hens, fresh hothouse berries from here, real marmalade on dark sodabread, nice porridge, and lovely tea.

Then we motivated enough to go outside, and we strolled the grounds, admiring the fabulous tree ferns, until I oriented myself to find the horses - a lovely young bay horse being warmed -up on a longe line in the muddy outdoor arena, and many lovely lovely horses in their loose boxes. Megan photographed them making friends with me.

Then we found Megan's pile of barn cats. kittens everywhere and two very pregnant queens, ruddy brindle lovelies and black and white ones . . climbing all over the pile of cut peat. :)

We investigated the tack shop they have here for Cashel House Stud, and wonder of wonders, they happened to have the very short paddock boots that I have been trying to find for about 10 years, and in my size. Now, who could resist that, I ask you? Not me!

We went in to the front desk to inquire about riding, and Mrs. McEvilly, the lovely sweet owner of Cashel House, called ahead to the stable, which she said was a 45 minute drive away. Or so. (The man in the office said "ch, at least an hour, ladies.") So we got all sunblocked and in already-worn clothes (and my new boots *wacky-happy grin*) and piled into the car to drive to Cleggan for our ride. Um, the roads weren't well marked, and the directions were not accurate, and suffice to say we had a few swear words shared lovingly between us as we went down every single road in the small town before Cleggan, until finally after our third asking of directions along Sky Road, a nice grey heaired lady gardening in her rocky yard pointed us to a road we had gone down four times already, back and forth. Sigh. We made it just as they were beginning to assign the horses and get all the 9 riders booted. PHEW!!

breathing, we signed up and got our horse assignments - Megan on asweet sleepy Gypsy Cob looking pinto gelding called "Rocky" and me on a sensitive, patient, dull-sided (of course) and donkey-eared mare called "Bess".

We went to the little muddy arena, mounted up and did a few passes at the gaits to see who could do what. I was warned that Bess would probably not take the proper lead at the canter, but I just gently supported her into it and she did fine, though I know she needs either chiropractic work or a back surgeon from the stiffness of her gait. When Siobhan came to tighten my girth for me, she said "You ride beautifully" under her breath, with a quick smile. Which was nice of her. But then again she is used to tourii with sack-of-potatoes riding :)

And we set out. Two Middleaged Middle-Earth-Dwelling Ladies in Connemara. It was a nice hack to the beach, past lovely crumbly walls and the ubiquitous coreopsis lilies and bracken and heather and blackberries - the nice kind. Cars politely pulled over as we passed by. And then we were there- on the glorious, Mediterranean-blue seashore, with white soft sand and lovely round hills and the bay, and our friend the Yellow Thing shining merrily overhead. Sea wind in our hair, nice well-cared-for horses, surf and pure joy. They took the not-as-experienced folks for four long trots by the seashore, and the three of us with experience got to wait at the end of the long beach, and then gallop to the herd across the nice sea-packed sand, laughing the whole way. And then we all turned into the surf and rode through the waves. Ahhh . . . . . . One mare began to paw it like she was going to roll, and he sweet German lady aboard her did not understand the wrangler who was trying to tell her to get out of the sea, so I helped herd the mare away from a near-roll. Phew.

Then we had a nice trot up the road, and a slow meander back to the stable. And I sort of made my cheeks hurt from grinning so widely the entire time.

They only had us fill out one sheet with our riding experience on it, and one box to check that we knew that riding was dangerous, which contrasted utterly to the piles of insane paperwork in the SCA. How I wish it wasn't such a Big Deal there :(

We are planning to back tomorrow for a longer ride, through the surf, out to a little island in the bay, and then the next day we will go to the Aran Island that is right off the coast, and then to Maeve's Tomb and Dublin and home. I wish I could afford to hire a little cottage here near the stable, and write a screenplay involving Gypsy Cobs and Connemara Ponies in the surf . . . would only take a month . . . or three . . . *wicked grin*.

Megan called me Eowyn today, like she did in High School. We truly have wanted to do this most of our lives.

Ah, here comes the rain. Like Camelot it only seems to downpour at night, of course. *fingers crossed*

Blessings to all who read these!