Tag Archives: Boca Raton

Pam Bondi top vote-getter in Florida

Pam Bondi, Florida's new AG-Elect.

Seems the Sunshine State has a formidable conservative female force of its own in Palin-endorsed Pam Bondi, who not only won her AG race handily, but garnered the most votes of all Florida candidates. The Conservative Divas and other South Florida patriots caught up with Pam on election eve at the Boca Raton Airport, just before she left to return to Tampa.

Congratulations to a real superstar with a proven record of accomplishment as a prosecutor and legal analyst. With Bondi as AG, Florida’s fight against Obamacare will continue.  Keep up the great work, Pam!

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Scenes from the Allen West Victory Party

Lt. Col. (RET) Allen West poses with my brother Ralph after an event in Deerfield Beach, Florida in August, 2009.

Aside from the euphoria of a decisive Allen West victory over progressive, incumbent mud-slinger Ron Klein, I had the pleasure of bumping into Robert Stacy McCain, one of my favorite bloggers last night. Saw the fedora racing from the ballroom area to the lobby of the Boca Marriott and just had to follow. Strangely, the first thing he asked after I offered him and his blog glowing, sincere praise was, “Can you buy me a beer?”

Unfortunately for RS McCain, I’d quickly changed purses after a long day of poll watching and had left my cash behind. He did eventually end up with a beer, so all is well (not sure who bought). And it was pretty cool to meet him. Not as cool as an Allen West victory, but memorable nonetheless. 😉

So thrilled that Florida Congressional District 22  “de-Kleined” in favor of a constitutionally conservative war hero after an acrimonious, repugnant campaign in which the incumbent Democrat with the 98% pro-Pelosi/Obama record threw as many false accusations and character assassinations he could at a decorated war hero. Apparently, the hundreds of “racist rednecks” in attendance last night agreed with me as they cheered on their new congressional representative and showered him with hugs, kisses and high praise. It’s an honor to call West my representative, and I can only imagine how poor, pitiful Obama felt listening to his inspirational, unapologetically American victory speech, if indeed, he did.

Be afraid, Barry. Be very afraid.

Anyway, here’s some raw footage of one of the most uplifting, high-energy events in recent memory.

More videos coming soon.

Update: I should have clarified (though this post was written in good humor) that McCain was having trouble with the hotel’s ATM, which wouldn’t read his card. Problem was eventually resolved. And yeah, it was an awesome night all the way around, even though Ron Klein refused to show any class by calling Allen to congratulate him. Sore loser.

Update 2: Found this on YouTube:

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Rally for Allen West and All FL Conservative Republican Candidates

Lt. Col. (RET) Allen West poses with my brother Ralph after an event in Deerfield Beach, Florida in August, 2009.

Spent a good portion of yesterday and today rallying with other like-minded patriots in Boca Raton, at the corner of Glades and  St. Andrews, by the Town Center Mall. It’s always comforting, reassuring and uplifting to spend time  among grassroots Americans who love their God, country and constitution, even more so now that we’re less than 48 hours away from the most consequential midterm elections in modern history.

We got many approving honks and thumbs-up from passing  cars, though we were also subjected to the occasional angry liberal flipping the bird and shouting obscenities and epithets,  not just at us, but — quite shamefully — a true American war hero. Voting for Lt. Col. Allen  West was a great honor for me; I’ve met him on many occasions and have nothing but respect and admiration for his character, his distinguished Army career and his many accomplishments.

That know-nothing Obama zombies of all ages would spew such drive-by venom and vitriol toward West is hardly surprising, though no less outrageous. After all, his incumbent Democrat  opponent Ron Klein has based his entire re-election bid on mudslinging and character assassination.  As previously noted, when you have a 98% pro-Obama/Pelosi voting record, the last thing you want to do is run on your record of support for odious and unpopular legislation like Obamacare, Cap and Trade and stimulus.

Readers of my blog may be surprised to know I am also a “fu^%$ing redneck”. Well at least that’s what some guy who looked to be around my age yelled out to me from his Range Rover as he sped by. I’ll take it as a compliment — the redneck part, anyway. After all, if loving my freedom, country, national security and creator make me a redneck, I am guilty as charged.

Here’s the first video from yesterday’s gathering; I will upload the second one soon.

Go West, Rubio, Bondi, Scott/Carroll, Putnam and all great Florida conservative Republican candidates!

Update: Here’s a video from Sunday’s rally. Not sure why I am swaying from side to side during my interview, but it’s probably because  the wooden sign I am holding was very heavy!

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The Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals Summed Up in a Single Phone Call

The other day, after having attended the monthly REC meeting, I recorded a robo-call on behalf of Pam Bondi, Republican candidate for Florida Attorney General. Prior to heading out to precinct walk yesterday, Pam’s South Florida campaign coordinator called to inform me that they system would be sending my message out to several zip codes in Boca Raton, so I should expect a least a few return calls throughout the course of the day.

And as I hung clear plastic bags filled with candidate collateral on doorknobs, I simultaneously responded to at least a dozen or so calls on my cell phone. Most of the folks I spoke with were highly supportive of Pam, and one gentleman even asked for assurance that she was a “conservative” Republican, as it was important to him to have an Attorney General who respected both the Florida Constitution and the US Constitution.

When I assured him Pam was a staunch conservative with a proven track record as a tough prosecutor, he exclaimed, “Oh, she’ll definitely get my vote!” and remembered seeing Bondi supporters at his polling location when he voted in the primary back in August.  And yes, he’d voted for her back then too, based on what he’d seen and heard, though he was excited to speak with someone who’d actually met Pam and was actively volunteering on her campaign.

Others who were not familiar with her promised to visit her website.

But the most memorable call of the day took place in the evening, when I returned a voicemail message from an elderly couple. The wife answered with a thick New York accent, and after listening to my brief introduction and solicitation for her support on November 2 inquired:

“Pam Bondi? What is she?” (Yes, you read that correctly. Not “Who is she? but What is she?”)

While I could’ve been sarcastic and retorted with something like, She’s an alien from outer space, I patiently explained Pam’s credentials. Undaunted, the woman persisted (did I mention her New York accent was obnoxious, no offense to my NY friends?):

“Yeah, but what is she?”

Realizing this was a lost cause, I noted that Pam was a conservative Republican. I might as well have told her Pam was a handmaiden of the devil who drowned kittens in her spare time — not that it would’ve made a difference. I could almost see the woman recoiling in horror as she yelled:

“Oh NO! God NO!” and promptly hung up on me.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, exemplifies one of the major differences between conservatives and liberals. Every other neighbor I spoke with wanted to know about Pam’s qualifications and accomplishments, and most asked for clarification of her website address so they could learn more about her.

This woman, on the other hand, was only interested in confirming her preconceived biases of liberals as good, conservatives as evil. Everything else was immaterial.

But this call was illustrative on a personal level, too. Instead of feeling angry and upset over her ignorance and the rude manner in which I’d been treated, I had a really good laugh. Of course, it helps knowing Bondi is going to win the AG race soundly on November 2. And visualizing the shattering disappointment on this woman’s face as the returns roll in on Election Night was pretty damn satisfying as well.

Ironically (although she doesn’t realize it), my elderly neighbor will be one of the beneficiaries of a Bondi victory because Pam will continue the fight against Obamacare — with its “death panel” rationing and soulless, cost-containment dismissal of old people whose lives aren’t worthy of valuable medical procedures.

This New Yorker, who in all likelihood was raised on FDR Kool-Aid, will have the “heartless” conservatives to thank when Bondi becomes Florida’s next AG.

Go Pam Bondi!

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Precinct Walking with the Conservative Divas, Part Two

Kathy, Ellen, Savannah and Daria with more on-the-scene reporting from Boca Raton:

Ellen and Kathy check in with reaction from registered Republicans to our precinct walking efforts.

In this video, I thank grassroots activists and urge other conservatives to join us in saving our country.

Discussing our interaction with the couple who yelled at us for interrupting their dinner.

Ellen discusses her run-in with an alleged super voter who doesn’t vote.

Ellen and Savannah summarize our day of precinct walking in Boca Raton.

Kathy, Daria and Ellen discuss school board, judges, Blog Talk Radio and some of their favorite grassroots candidates in other states.


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Saving Our Country, Precinct by Precinct, State by State

Today I spent several hours with many of my favorite South Florida patriots, walking the neighborhoods of Precinct 4088 in Boca Raton. While it was an overwhelmingly positive experience, dealing exclusively with registered Republicans for the upcoming Florida Primary on August 24, we did run into a few snafus.

My friend Kathy and I were practically assaulted for the terrible injustice of interrupting one couple’s dinner when they angrily informed us that they’d already voted. Fair enough, but couldn’t they have politely shard that information with us and — dare I say — maybe even thanked us for doing our civic duty? It’s August in Florida, after all, and intense humidity is not your friend when lugging around a backpack filled with campaign literature.

Seriously, radical lefties are destroying our country and these idiots are mad about having to answer the doorbell? Give me a break!

Another winner was the guy who announced to Ellen that he doesn’t vote. If ignorance doesn’t kill us, apathy most certainly will! I remind you, these were registered Republican voters, not Obama-zombies. I expect more from them, especially when our country is on the precipice.

Anyway, lots of great video coverage to come, starting with these four:

Stuffing envelopes prior to heading out.

Ellen Snyder, the woman who inspired the title Conservative Diva, with Little Diva, Savannah.

Kathy Robbins, another fabulous Conservative Diva who makes me proud!

Taking it to the street in Precinct 4088 in Boca Raton.

Stay tuned: plenty more to come!


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Scenes from a South Florida Deli

Kelly Ripa: Beautiful and talented, but not quite endowed enough for the "pigs" in the deli.

I’ve overheard and observed so many interesting conversations and interactions at a local deli where I often go for the excellent food and the free WIFI that I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog: Scenes from a South Florida Deli. Because writing is such a solitary activity, there are times when I take my laptop to this local hangout and continue my work, surrounded by the sights and sounds of humanity. One of my friends recently asked how I could possibly concentrate amidst all the noise and mayhem; doesn’t it interfere with my ability to churn out good content?

As strange as it may sound, when I am in the “zone” of type, type, post, there could be an earthquake going on around me and I’d barely notice. Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do have the ability to tune out most things when engrossed in creative activity. As paradoxical as it is, that’s just me.

Anyway, the deli also provides some great fodder for blog posts, much in the same way the cafe does for my good writer friend, Brooke Musterman, who penned the excellent book, Reptiles on Caffeine, based on her experiences as a barista.

In my first installment of this series, I would like to address the oft-repeated conventional wisdom, “Men are pigs” (the truth of which is upheld by even the decent guys I know, including a very good Facebook friend). An incident that occurred in the deli the other day would seem to support this hypothesis.

The owners of the establishment have two plasma TV screens located at the front and back of the dining areas. Without fail, one of the shows they broadcast every day (in addition to their unfortunate inclusion of CNN in the daily line-up) is Live with Regis and Kelly.  Now, let me state forthrightly that I have never  been a big fan of Kelly Ripa, Regis or this show, which I’d never willingly watch in the privacy of my own home. However, I am going to defend Kelly here because whether you like her or not, the fact remains that she is a beautiful, accomplished woman.

But try telling that to the “pigs” that frequent the deli, all of whom I truly like when they’re not channeling their inner hormonally charged, perpetually immature high school adolescent. None of these men are particularly attractive and it’s safe to say most of them could afford to shed a few pounds. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop them from commenting on Kelly Ripa’s lack of  cleavage, as they ridiculed her “flat-chest” and stated that her male co-host probably has bigger boobs than she.

And as I looked at the trim, effervescent and radiant Ripa, I marveled at the fact that she hasn’t succumbed to the pressure of our superficial culture by undergoing surgery to transform herself from an “A” to a “D” — just to make the day of some slobbering men with beer bellies and receding hairlines. Kelly Ripa obviously cares about her looks, wears make-up, gets her hair and nails done, and stays in shape — all very admirable. I do believe in looking one’s very best and I am certainly not demeaning any woman who chooses to increase her bust size via implants. If it’s her choice and hers alone (not one made under pressure by a spouse or boyfriend), more power to her.

What I am stating however, is that there is something terribly wrong with our culture when a woman as physically beautiful as Kelly Ripa is mocked for being an A-cup.

Ironically, later that day I ran into a woman who’d obviously been under the plastic surgeon’s knife a multitude of times. She was unnaturally thin, yet sporting breasts that looked like two inflated hot-air balloons, and occupied pretty much every inch of her chest — to the point where you couldn’t differentiate between her waist and her upper body. Botox-enhanced lips completed the entire Boca Babe vibe. And if her attitude was any indication, this woman was thoroughly convinced she was a femme fatale — a sentiment with which the Kelly Ripa critics in the deli would no doubt concur. I didn’t actually speak to her, but I am pretty sure there wasn’t much going on between her ears, as if that even mattered to most men. Superficially speaking, if I were asked to deem the more attractive woman of the two, Kelly would get my vote in a heartbeat; while the guys in the deli, I am quite certain, would choose big and fake over small and real.

Beauty after all, is in the eye of the beholder. Some of us believe it comes in all forms and sizes — unlike the “pigs” in the deli — who would be wise to invest in a full-length mirror before critiquing a woman they could never hope to date (even if she was available)  on a good day.

Update: My good friend Suzi — who concurs that Ripa is adorable – just informed me that lips do not get botoxed, but instead are filled with a substance such as Juvederm or Restylane. Thank you, Suzi, for the clarification! 🙂

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Six Degrees of Separation: Elyse Meets Erin

My friend “Elyse Lombard” has been living in Boca Raton, along with her entire family, for almost 30 years. For at least the past 10 years, she’s been working in the family moving business as VP of Sales and Marketing, which affords her plenty of opportunities to meet all kinds of people and customers throughout South Florida. She’s also been actively involved in  both the Boca Raton and Delray Beach Chambers of Commerce for as long as I can remember, having met her in early 2001 through a mutual friend.

A mover and shaker, “Elyse” is beautiful, smart, gregarious, charming and hard-working, and her family’s business is well-known and respected in the area. For this reason, it’s often very difficult for her to attend any sort of midday networking events, as she’s typically booked with at least five moving estimates per day. It’s all she can do to keep up with her early-morning leads group meetings at the chambers of commerce — and oftentimes, she exceeds the allowable absences, although she’s never asked to leave because she’s such a great networker.

But one day in January of this year, she was able to attend a luncheon event she’d previously declined when a customer canceled their scheduled appointment. Feeling very strongly that she would bump into “Erin” at this event (a woman she’d never met before), “Elyse” contacted me on the way to the venue to obtain “Erin’s” real name, which I then shared with her.

Did I mention “Elyse” is very intuitive and quite often correct in her hunches?

Later that afternoon, she called to breathlessly inform me that her psychic premonition had been right on target. Even stranger was the way in which it all went down: they didn’t simply “bump” into each other, “Erin” actually strode right up to my friend (who’d been chatting with a few other women) specifically to introduce herself — which is normally the kind of thing good networkers do at such gatherings.

And “Elyse” — in spite of her intuitive awareness — was still quite taken aback when it took place for real. She also thought it rather odd that for someone who’d gone out of her way to initiate an introduction, “Erin” exhibited a strange unfriendliness, a noticeable  aloofness. To the best of my knowledge, she’d had no prior inkling of “Elyse’s” relationship to me, but this description coincided with the one put forth by my photographer friend’s friend — the woman who’d been unhappy with “Erin’s” professional services.

Speaking of which, soon after I hung up the phone with “Elyse”, my photographer friend called me on behalf of her friend — “Erin’s” former, dissatisfied client — to obtain “Elyse’s” phone number. Normally, I’d think nothing of it, but coming on the heels of what had just transpired at the business luncheon, I found it all very curious.

But the story doesn’t end there.

A few weeks later, “Elyse” had the good fortune of being able to attend yet another midday event (again, highly unusual for her), where she just happened to be seated diagonally across from “Erin”. She’d discovered this after greeting another mutual friend (who’d been assigned to the table directly behind her) and exclaiming in her boisterous, effervescent manner “Isn’t it great we’re both gonna be on Daria’s show!”, referring to The Liberty Belle Hour.

When “Elyse” took her seat, “Erin” (whom “Elyse” is fairly certain heard the exchange) kind of gave her a strange look. And apparently, throughout the course of the event, she kept trying to make eye contact with my friend, who kept averting her gaze. If memory serves correctly, I believe they did briefly say hello at some point.

Being the protective “older sister” she is, “Elyse” related her discomfort about the whole interaction and the thought of developing a professional association with “Erin”, but I assured her that business is business; there was no reason to feel awkward about talking to “Erin” at all. I am secure in our enduring friendship and have never been the kind of person who makes unreasonable demands like, “If you’re my friend you won’t talk to so-and-so”, or “If you’re really my friend, you’ll do this or that”. That’s not how I roll. Besides, I’ve done nothing wrong.

If anything, “Erin” should be ashamed of posing as her husband on a social media site and attempting to “trap” an innocent woman whose only “crime” was fictionalizing some real life events into a novel. I might further add that I also put myself through some pretty intense and nearly debilitating heartbreak by pretending to be thrilled when “Ken” asked me point-blank how I felt about his engagement back in 1995 — because I didn’t think it was fair to hurt a woman I didn’t even know.

Would the outcome have been different if I’d been honest with him? Well, as Maddy muses to herself in Chapter 19:

At least the reason for the change in the tone of his calls had been revealed, though Maddy couldn’t quite decipher the timeline of events. Not that it even mattered at this point. She wouldn’t dare hurt a woman she’d never met by coming clean with Ken about her real feelings, about how she still loved him deeply in spite of everything. Even if she did go out on that limb, there was no guarantee he’d return the sentiment, or assuming he did, break off his engagement to Erin to pursue a renewed relationship with her.

One other curious thing that also took place concurrently with the “Erin/Elyse” events I’ve described: another one of my friends happened to come over to my house one night, unexpectedly bearing a particular product that had been on sale at the store, thinking perhaps I could use it. This product just happens to bear the name of the person upon whom “Erin” is loosely based. Very interesting, indeed.

So 2010 certainly started out on an interesting note; funny that this all happened exactly one year after the LinkedIn incident and the Boca Raton Entrepreneur Meetup. In this town, six degrees of separation is simply a way of life.

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LinkedIn, The Star Spangled Banner and the Tea Party Movement

After that little interaction with the nice lady at the networking event, not much else transpired on the “Ken and Erin” front for most of the year.  Armed with new insight into Erin’s integrity, based not only on the LinkedIn email, but also a friend of a friend’s experience with her as a businesswoman, I felt the urgency to steer clear of both of them even more strongly. As I’ve mentioned, I was not out to ruin anyone’s marriage, though the deception displayed by Erin in pretending to be her husband and writing that ridiculous message does make me wonder about the state of their union.

If their marriage was solid and strong, why would a fictionalized novel even have the power to drive her to do something so outrageous in the first place? Did she stop to think about his reaction? Assuming we were having an affair (which I’ve stated is not the case), did she honestly think I’d broadcast it in an email?

Oh yes, Kenny, I want to tell the whole world about your johnson! And while I’m at it, I’ll give them an explicit account of every extramarital tryst we’ve shared, so everyone will know what we’ve been up to!

I mean, it’s simply absurd.

Now one thing I do remember about “Ken” is that like me, he can be overly sensitive; he can also  transform from fun-loving and full-of-life to angry and defensive if he feels hurt or betrayed by someone else’s behavior. I can’t imagine he reacted well upon receiving my forwarded email of the original request, and can only surmise that at the very least, they had one heck of a fight about it. Speaking for myself, if my husband had logged onto a website using my credentials in an effort to “trap” an old boyfriend, that alone would infuriate me.

And if she really thought it possible that he’d been cheating, why not confront him about it directly and calmly? Why add insult to injury by being deceptive?

Looking back, I guess I must’ve salvaged a Christmas Holiday for her, because it took me until the day before New Year’s Eve to even respond, that’s how taken aback I was.

But as 2009 unfolded, I concentrated exclusively on promoting my book, co-hosting internet talk shows, getting involved in the grassroots Tea Party Movement, editing for clients, blogging and otherwise avoiding any potential run-ins with Ken and Erin, either in cyberspace or in real life. Funny, but I’ve lived just two miles away from them all these years and have never once spontaneously bumped into either one, ever.

But in December of 2009, I received an email from “Ken” (who’d also included some pretty big media names in the distribution, like Sean Hannity). This time, it was nothing personal, just a copy of his email response to a stupid liberal sportswriter who thought it was a great idea to eliminate the singing of The Star Spangled Banner at professional sporting events. By this time I’d been contributing regularly to Parcbench, Canada Free Press and my other blog, Palin Drone. I have a pretty good idea that “Ken” had been checking out my posts and hence, thought I could get his editorial letter additional exposure, which I did. I’m sure he also knew it was a hot-button topic for me; one that I would not be able to resist commenting about.

So perhaps knowing I shared his passion for the subject and the USA, he’d sent this to me as a way of re-establishing communication? Who knows. But it did give me a great idea for a story, which in the end was published on the Parcbench site. I am also incorporating it into my sequel, Sea To Shining Sea, as a letter Ken writes to the editor, because it fits in perfectly with the plot and themes unfolding in that story.

“Ken’s” request for distribution led to a series of cordial email communications — none of which so much as mentioned Water Signs — prompting me to use the opportunity to set the record straight about the LinkedIn debacle. In very clear terms, I recounted the entire story of how I’d put all of the pieces together, which ultimately verified my initial gut instincts. He replied that he never uses LinkedIn much at all (we have that in common, too) and confirmed “It sounds like you have figured out that it was not me”.

And I was relieved to finally get it out in the open. For whatever reason, it was bugging me that — as far as he knew — I still believed that tacky, immature email came from him and not his wife. For that matter, I wanted her to be aware that I was on to her little schemes, and in fact, told him forthrightly I “wanted this nonsense to stop”.  And it has.

However, social media would prove to be revealing on other ways as far as these two were concerned. More on that in my next post.

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Intriguing Events, Post Publication

A few weeks after Labor Day 2008, and the conversation I described with “Ken” in my last post, I finally published Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal. A while back, I discussed the evolution of the novel in great detail, explaining the unexpected event in early 2008 that ignited the creative process, but also the vision I’d had of a book I knew I’d one day write, back in 1994. Even all those years ago, I had the title in mind: Water Signs. Somewhere in the four-month frenzy of pounding away at the keyboard every weeknight and and every weekend, the subtitle, A Story of Love and Renewal, popped into my head.

Ultimately, the novel is a literal and metaphorical journey for my two main characters, who are renewed physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally at the end of 16 long, grueling years. The word “love” applies not just to their feelings for each other, but also love of God, family and country. As my Facebook ad reads:

In this tale of first love and second chances, author Daria DiGiovanni takes readers on an inspiring journey of faith and soul renewal.

And of course, out of love springs forgiveness — something we all need as fallen human beings — which allows for the renewal of the important relationships in the book  including Ken and Madeline, Ken and his father Carl, Madeline and her mother Monica, and Madeline and her first boyfriend, Jake (though for her, it’s a forgive and move on kind of experience — not an event that leads to regular communication).

When I excitedly published the finished product on the internet, I’d hoped my first novel’s many intricately woven themes, lovable characters and heart-wrenching events would resonate with my readers. I also chose a happy ending for Ken and Madeline because I wanted Water Signs to stand as a testament to the power of love, faith and belief. At the same time, I knew I was going to write a sequel and I wanted to pick up with Ken and Madeline as a newlywed couple who, although very much in love, would face even more formidable obstacles, but this time as a united front — not as individuals acting as catalysts in each other’s personal and spiritual development.

That Labor Day weekend conversation was the last one I’ve had to date with “Ken”, and as of this very moment, we’ve never discussed or mentioned Water Signs, post-publication (not even via email, though as I will explain, there have been a few of those). I can only assume he obtained the book and read it, after all of the build-up I’d given it. Speaking for myself, if I knew a writer had immortalized me in fiction, I’d sure as heck get a copy of the work as soon as it was available. And knowing he was “flattered” by the whole concept, I have no doubt he’s read it.

However, as per one of my primary motivations for contacting him, I’d hoped if he’d gone online and purchased a copy, he’d had it mailed to his office and not his home. I tried to impress upon him the fact that there were aspects of the book that would not go over well with members of his family, especially his wife — and not simply the fact that Ken divorces Erin and eventually marries Madeline.

I’ve noted that Erin is mostly based on a stereotype, not so much a real person, though an actual woman provided the initial inspiration for the character. However, in the opening chapters of Part Two, there are many factual elements put forth that — shall we say — would not go over too well with “Ken’s” spouse (and without an understanding of my motivation for turning the character into a self-absorbed princess, the Boca Babe thing wouldn’t exactly be welcome, either).

For example, in Chapter 19, Ken surprises Madeline at her apartment one Saturday morning to share some significant news, a scene that is faithful to the way it all went down in real life:

She’d just finished applying her make-up and pulling her long hair into a ponytail when a knock on the door startled her. It was only 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Who on earth would be stopping by so early? A moment later that question was answered dramatically when she opened the door of her Boca Del Mar residence to find Ken standing before her, dressed in his work attire; his typical smile betrayed a trace of nervousness. Maddy nearly fainted at the sight of him, though she maintained a façade of nonchalance.

“Ken! What are you doing here?”

“Hey, I’ve been wanting to talk to you. I have some news to tell you but I wanted to do it in person.”

“You’re engaged,” she stated matter-of-factly as she closed the door behind him and offered him a seat on the couch.

“Yes!” he replied, awestruck. How did she know? And why was she so calm?

Utterly defeated, Maddy nevertheless kept a sunny expression on her face while her stomach began to churn in distress. She willed it back into submission as he went on, barely able to look into her deep, brown eyes.

“Um, I finally decided that I didn’t want to live in sin any longer than I had to,” he explained. “She didn’t either, so we got engaged back in September. We went up north to share the news with our families. My parents were happy, her parents were happy. But right now she and I are having a little problem. See, she’s a bit insecure because she’s an older woman—well, not older, but she’s a few years older than me.

“Anyway, it all started on Valentine’s Day. I had to work both jobs so we never got to spend any time real time together and—Madeline I am just not good at relationships!”

Hoping his admission would act as an entrée into a profound conversation about the two of them, Ken was disappointed when his plaintive sigh was met with silence. As usual, Maddy was at a loss for words at a critical juncture. She couldn’t determine if he was seeking counsel from her as his newly minted “buddy” or trying to convey something more significant. Either way, she wasn’t willing to oblige.

“To make matters worse,” he went on, “She wasn’t happy with what I bought her. I got her a pair of rollerblades—”

“Oh, I learned how to do that!” Madeline exclaimed. “My friends from the dance studio taught me; we have the best time at the park in Pompano. It’s actually much easier than I expected. I love it!” She was hoping to take the discussion in a new direction to remove the image of Ken pledging his love and fidelity to another woman in front of God and witnesses from her mind. Besides, it was the truth. Rollerblading was second only to dancing and swimming now on her list of preferred recreation.

“Good for you,” he complimented, puzzled by her reaction. “It is fun, isn’t it?”

“And it’s great exercise,” she added. Then for effect, “Gosh I’d be thrilled with a new pair of rollerblades, whether for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion!”

She recalled the beautiful sweater she’d purchased for him on Valentine’s two years back—a gift she’d given to her brother Greg after he stood her up for their ski date. A comment Ken had made sometime prior to that about Valentine’s Day being a “Hallmark Holiday” suddenly came to mind. Slowly, anger began to replace heartbreak, though she continued to listen politely.

“Yeah well unfortunately, Erin didn’t think rollerblades were a good choice. She accused me of not caring for her, of not having time for her. Anyway, we’re just going through a tough time right now, but I’m sure we’ll be alright.”

“Yes, you will,” Maddy affirmed while the voice inside her head kept repeating the mantra, I am a tower of strength, I am a tower of strength, over and over again. Then he hit her with an unexpected query. “Now how do you feel?” he asked nervously.

How the hell do you think I feel Kenny? You were the one calling and crying on the phone for nearly two years about how much you loved me and missed me; the one who practically begged me to move here in the first place; and the one who kept your live-in girlfriend a secret until there was no turning back! How the hell do you think I feel after uprooting my entire life, hurting my family and having to face the consequences of a misinformed decision alone? How could you deceive me like that? Is this some sort of payback for hurting you?

Granted, this all happened in 1995, but still, if she’d had no knowledge of her husband’s conversation with me previously — one in which he’d confided such personal details of their relationship — would it make her angry? “We didn’t want to live in sin anymore” as a primary factor for getting married, not “I am madly in love with this woman and I can’t wait to marry her”? Wouldn’t make me feel too good.

How about this:

“She kind of depends on me,” he explained. “She has a good job and everything, but most of the people in the office have kids so they’re busy with their families. And of course, most of them live in Miami anyway. But I know you two would get along so well. You could go out shopping, go to the beach or just do whatever girls do when they get together.”

Believe me, I was sick inside just listening to him ramble on that day about the possibility of Erin and I becoming great friends, and I did my best to convey that via Madeline’s reaction. But “survival mode” had already kicked in, so I’d put on the performance of my life, pretending to be happy for him (something I’d finally admitted to him during one of our phone conversations…more on that later).

In Chapter 23, Maddy has a very real and altogether heart-shattering dream about Kenny breaking off his engagement, which is also straight out of real life:

Suddenly, a knock on the door startled her. After throwing on a short robe, she answered it to see Kenny’s smiling face. “Can I come in Maddy?” he asked. “I really have to talk to you!”

“Ken, come on now, you shouldn’t be here!” she admonished him forcefully.“Please, sweetheart? I have something really important to share with you!” His sparkling blue eyes pleaded with her earnestly.

“Oh, ok,” she agreed. “But please, make it quick; I have a busy day tomorrow.” He entered the living room and sat down on the couch before motioning for her to join him. Against her better judgment, she sat down, tightening the belt of her robe as she did so.

“Maddy I wanted you to be the first to know I broke off my engagement to Erin. There was no way I could marry her when I am in love with someone else.” Her heart jumped to her throat as she struggled to digest this shocking but welcome news. For a moment, she was speechless. That’s when Ken took her hand in his and leaned in close to her.

“I love you, Madeline Rose. You’re the woman I want. No one else comes close to you. Please forgive me for hurting you! I am so very sorry.”

“Kenny, of course I forgive you,” she cried, throwing her arms around him. “I love you, too, so much!”

“Oh my God!” he laughed. “I am the luckiest man alive! And in the very near future, I am going to make you my bride, just like I’ve always promised!”

“Oh, Kenny, I can’t wait to be your wife,” she sighed, before they melted into a passionate kiss.

And, just as it happened for real back in 1995, a few days later Ken shows up again unexpectedly at her apartment door:

By the time early afternoon rolled around, she’d finished her chores and had changed into her bathing suit and cover-up. She was busily placing a towel, a magazine and a few bottles of water into her canvas tote bag when a knock at the door took her by surprise. Her heart lurched when she opened it to find Kenny standing before her, smiling in his typical fashion, dressed in shorts and a tee shirt. It bothered her that in spite of all the pain he’d inflicted, her body still tingled at the mere sight of him. Suddenly, she remembered the dream she’d recently had about him breaking off his engagement.

“Ken! I must say, this is an unexpected surprise!” She endeavored to remain cordial and calm, while keeping her hopes in check.

“Hey, how are you doing, Maddy? Can I come in?”

Uh, I guess there’s no harm in that,” she replied lightly, offering him a seat and a cold bottle of water. Was it her imagination or did he possess the unmistakable aura of a defeated man?

There was no sparkle, no luster in his aquamarine eyes, which appeared to be lost in thought as he stared off into the distance. And as he held the bottle of Zephyrhills in his hands, he leaned forward on the couch as if grappling with an unspoken, internal conflict.

“Is everything ok?” she inquired, settling in at a safe distance beside him. “You seem a bit preoccupied.”

“Huh? Oh yeah, everything’s fine. It’s just that—well I guess I’ve turned into my father after all,” he sighed. Madeline wasn’t quite sure what to make of that statement, though it hardly coalesced with the profile of a happily engaged man eager to exchange vows with his beloved. What exactly was he trying to convey?

“Oh,” she responded softly, recalling the difficulties he and his dad had endured in the course of their relationship. Though they’d seemed to patch things up that New Year’s Day at her house in Pennsylvania, Maddy had no idea where things stood with them at this point.

“Well is that such a bad thing?” she asked.

Kenny turned to face her, staring deeply into her amber eyes, nearly causing her to tumble to the floor.

“I hope the excitement comes back after Erin and I are married,” he confessed.

Yes, the lines uttered here are the same ones the real guy spoke to me way back when, while I remained guarded and unable to express my genuine feelings. I couldn’t believe he was admitting to a lack of excitement in his relationship with Erin to me, although something deep inside told me that “Ken” was hell-bent and determined to go through with the wedding as planned.

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that “Erin” had no knowledge of this conversation, which was yet another reason why I tried to encourage him not to share the novel with his wife. I wasn’t out to harm their marriage; just cooperating in a creative process that would not be denied.

In any case, I am certain anyone reading this post understands why — with just the few examples I’ve cited — flesh-and-blood Erin would be furious should she ever obtain a copy of Water Signs. And as with her husband, I can’t state with 100% accuracy that she did — though some very interesting things took place in December of that same year that would seem to confirm this to be so.

I just never thought she’d log onto her husband’s LinkedIn account, pretend to be him and ask me for a “reference”.

More intrigue to come involving “big johnsons”, Pennsylvania cookbooks and a photography session!

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