Letter from Joy
March 23, 2017
Greetings from sunny Florida, where it's been raining pretty hard on and off all day. Since it's one of the rare inclement days we've had all season, weather-wise, I can't really complain. In fact, I used the day to rest from golf (and company - more of that soon) and finish a book I've been reading for weeks now (THE GERMAN GIRL - not that great, which is maybe why it took me so long to finish it) and help my husband clean out his closets. I also went for a wonderful massage, something I badly needed as my back has been acting up a bit. The sirens have been going on and off all day on the golf courses, as lightning threatened to strike, but despite the thunder, I haven't seen any lightning. I started out on a walk this morning, heard the thunder, and promptly turned around and went back home. The downpour started shortly thereafter and has been continuing in regular spurts all day. It's tapering off at the moment, but will likely start back up again soon.
We've had a lot of company this visit, and I've enjoyed all of it. First, a business associate of my husband's arrived for a night and then golf the next day, which was lots of fun. Hours after he left, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law arrived to spend a week, and we had a wonderful time with them, eating and shopping and going for long walks. Then the day after they left, my daughter, Annie, her husband, Courtney, and my two gorgeous grandchildren, Hayden (age 7) and Skylar (age 4) arrived for ten days. I know I've said it many times, but they really are the two most glorious grandchildren in the world. They're so interesting and incredibly sweet and sensitive. Also hilarious, although they don't realize it. For example, when I asked Skylar what she wanted for breakfast one day, she shrugged and said, "Just coffee." (She also told me that I had big breasts! I replied that she was the first person to ever tell me that! Is it any wonder I adore her?)
We swam almost every day - my hair is in permanent disaster mode - and the kids had two tennis lessons and one golf lesson. Skylar is very focused while Hayden tends to be all over the place, but they did very well, and were a lot of fun to watch. We also played miniature golf, went to a spring training baseball game, took a Diva Duck Tour (on those buses that turn into boats and go into the water) which we all loved, did lots of arts and crafts, went shopping and out to eat, and I read to them every day from Roald Dahl's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. My husband took the kids to see "Beauty and the Beast" which they enjoyed, while Annie, Courtney and I went to see "Get Out", which I highly recommend, even if horror movies aren't your thing. It's more creepy than horrific, and the performances are uniformly excellent. The ten days flew by and I was very sorry to see them leave. The house feels so empty without them.
After they left, I spent two days cleaning up and doing laundry, hence the problems with my back. Of course golf probably doesn't help my back, but I persist. I tend to think way too much - I'm writing a whole book of instructions between my backswing and follow-through - and at my age, I'm probably not going to improve a whole lot, but I've been taking lessons again and hopefully I can correct some of the bad habits I've picked up over the years. (Why is it only bad habits that we pick up?) I'm still very inconsistent - 94 one day, 104 the next! - but there's nothing like the feeling of hitting a good shot.
Speaking of my age, it was my birthday on March 18 and the family celebrated by going out to one of my favorite restaurants, the Palm Beach Grill. But because it's also almost everybody's favorite, we could only get a reservation for 5 o'clock! Since we had the kids, it worked out fine, and we were home by 7 to light the single candle on my cake, a cake that was covered in green icing in honor of St. Patrick's Day. (Note to cake lovers: Publix makes the best birthday cakes in the entire world) Thank you to all my readers who sent me their best wishes. They were much appreciated.
I mentioned that I saw "Get Out", but aside from that, there has been absolutely nothing to see, as far as the movies are concerned. The only worthwhile things are on TV. I'm thinking specifically of "Big Little Lies" and "Girls". At first I wasn't too keen on "Big Little Lies" because I thought it was so close to the book that I felt I'd already seen it, but I stuck with it, and I'm so glad I did. It's amazing. Very true to life and women's experiences, and the acting is sensational. The (male) critics who gave it negative reviews totally missed the point. They dismiss some of the woman as psychotic when they're actually quite three-dimensional - and justifiably angry. (These same critics seem to have no trouble lauding such ridiculous, unpleasant male characters as Ray Donovan.) And "Girls" is having a terrific season. The episode with Matthew Rhys playing a Philip Roth-type writer going toe-to-toe (and then some) with Lena Dunham's Hannah was one of the best half hours I've watched on TV all year. I also continue to love John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight", and as regular readers of this newsletter know, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills", which has been outstanding in terms of sheer entertainment. Such schmutz! It's like being back in High School with a roomful of mean girls. Can't get enough. Of course, there's always "Law and Order" which runs on one of three stations almost every day all day and night long. I don't think there's an episode I haven't seen at least half a dozen times.
As far as my writing goes, it looks as if everyone is happy with the changes I made to my new novel (out next fall) and it's time to start thinking of the next one. I have two ideas and am trying to decide which one is the most ready to go. When I'm back in Toronto, I'll start getting my thoughts organized. (It's very hard to think when I'm down here.) I'll be appearing at the Lantana Public Library on April 3 before heading back to Canada, making up for an event I had to cancel in January because I was sick. We head out to Vancouver for three days toward the end of the month, then it's back to Florida in early May for a week or so, along with my sister, and that's it for the season. I really can't believe how fast this season has gone. Soon it'll be Christmas! Yikes!
And I've finally opened an Instagram account (@fieldingjoy), and I hope you'll start following me. Until next month, stay well and bee happy.
P.S: It's started raining again.