Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night we had an intervention with Nicole and her drinking/drug problem. It happened quickly. Gwen gave me a call a few days ago saying Nicole was arrested after getting into a fight at a bar near Lake Chelan. She was charged with disturbing the peace. She called Gwen and was upset. Gwen called mom, Jill and me. Gwen felt Nicole had a drinking problem. She thought an intervention might be necessary when we all arrive in Seattle for Mathew’s high school graduation. Gwen, Jill, mom and I got on the phone and concluded an intervention was the right thing to do. Nicole still lives at home with her parents and she’s 23. She was arrested a few months ago for a DUI. Craig reduced the charge to reckless driving. I’m tough when it comes to personal responsibility. I expect a lot of myself and others. I don’t understand drinking and partying and taking drugs. I’ve never been that way. Nicole isn’t yet ready to give up that lifestyle. In the meantime, her goals and dreams have moved further and further from reality. The latest Hough family crisis escalated when Mathew told Gwen Nicole was worried she was addicted to cocaine. Gwen told me, mom and Jill. We scratched the old plan and decided immediate intervention was necessary. When Nicole arrived home from Lake Chelan Monday night, Gwen, Greg and the boys met with Nicole in the kitchen. “Oh, a family meeting,” Nicole said. Gwen said she thought Nicole needed treatment, but Nicole thought Gwen was overreacting. Nicole didn’t think she had anything wrong. Gwen confronted Nicole with her cocaine use. Nicole said it was purely recreational, maybe ten times total. The meeting ended with Nicole leaving the house.
Mom drove to Gwen’s the next day. The were ready to confront Nicole last night after she came home from her double-shift at her second job (she was fired from her other job). Jill and I got on the phone and put together an action plan for what Gwen and mom had planned to say to Nicole. Basically, Nicole had only one option: she either had to go to treatment for her substance addictions or move out of the house and not have any contact with the family until she was ready for treatment. It was not a discussion, but a decision. It’s great to have Jill as a professional guiding us through this process.
Nicole came home last night at around 9:45. I three-way-phoned Gwen and Jill and could already hear mom talking with Nicole using very strong, very stern language. Listening to Nicole without seeing her body language or being in the same room with her was truly incredible. Her voice was flat, almost monotone. She was certain she did not have any issues of any kind. She did not have a drinking problem or drug problem. She absolutely was not going to treatment. Then Jill spoke with her. She was firm, clinical and matter-of-fact. She was harsh. Then I was asked to speak. I said I completely agreed with Jill. I also said any member of this family who uses drugs is really doomed given the history of alcohol abuse in this family. I mentioned how from day one I have been a major cheerleader and supporter of Nicole, that she has had lots of opportunities, and yet, if she does not get treatment I will not interact with her until she does so. I was extreme and firm. I sounded like Dad, which might not be the best thing. Mom then spoke again, then Gwen. Nicole then left the room to pack a bag and leave. She plans to move out by Thursday. Her plan is to stay out of our lives for a year and show us all that she can make something of her life. I hold zero hope for her. Not with drugs and alcohol in her life. No way. She wants to party. That’s what she wants to go. What a waste.
Jill and I stayed on the phone another 45 minutes. Mom was extremely upset. I hadn’t heard mom cry that loudly in years...if ever. She was simply devastated. It was so much harder to be there in person than over the phone. I was all right, though I’m obviously saddened by the choices Nicole has made and how difficult her life will become. She has now become a drug addict and alcoholic. She was always a candidate for heading down the wrong road. We all knew this. I think that’s why we all gave her so much love. We knew she’d need it. In a way, it’s not surprising this is where she is. My favorite memories of Nicole were when she was at Jill and Chris’s wedding. She was so helpful and in such a good place. What that her senior year? I also loved watching her play softball. She was like me and would get so angry at herself if she didn’t perform well. Those times seem far away. Life can be harsh and oddly predictable. Nicole should have done better for herself. I wish her luck in this relentlessly indifferent world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Outside

The temperature yesterday was in the 90s. Today it's a little cooler, but still hot. It's most pleasant at 6:00 am when the sun comes out. At Craig's tournament two days ago, someone called my AK pre-flop raise with 92 and the flop was 92A. So painful. What's worse, I was slow-rolled when all the chips were in. It was brutal. Frank is so in trouble.

I played Byron in racquetball today and beat him 15-3, 15-2. It was sweet. I played well, though there was still room for improvement.

I'm writing three projects right now. I'm a writing machine. I'm also getting back into poker after a month off. I doubt I will play in the WSOP this year. No vacation time, plus I don't think I'll win an entry. My online play is not very lucky. Maybe I"m not very good and just don't realize it.

Michael Bell is spending his last day here. His visit has been very enjoyable. The weather couldn't have been better. He's a great great guy.

OK, on to some writing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Michael Bell in Town - Drive up the Coast

California really is a spectacular state. So beautiful. I took Monday and Tuesday off. Michael Bell is in town, so we drove up Highway 1 from Stinson Beach all the way to Fort Bragg. Truly remarkable. The weather was terrific. A little chilly, but sunny and clear of traffic. We took our time. We reached Mendocino around 4, and only had an hour or so to check out some arts and crafts stores. We hit a magnificent store featuring wood pieces by students. Amazing desks, burrows, etc. We stayed at Fort Bragg for the night at the Budget 8 and had fish & chips at Cap'n Flints. On Tuesday, we drove along Highway 128 through a Redwood forest. Another spectacular adventure.

As we drove, I thought about my young adult franchise. It's brewing in my head. The Chapel story needs a grand theme (life energy and death energy).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Energy

So I have several projects I’m working on at the same time: 1) my romantic comedy memoir, 2) my Chapel franchise, 3) Retro-Therapy. I still want to finish Don’s screenplay that I abandoned several years ago. I’ve never been so busy or productive. I’m doing all the things I want to do. I’m just not getting paid to do them. I finished a 1,000-word piece for Chris on our LA trip. I like it. I think he will, too. Retro-Therapy feels like another winner.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

It takes about 20 minutes for me to wake up each morning. Then I have to motivate myself into being productive. Every day it's the same thing. Without the pep talk, I'm lazy and full of negative thoughts. It's a challenge convincing myself that I'm going to have a productive day. But my pep talk usually works.

I feel unlucky for some reason. This is one of the negative aspects of playing poker. I feel I have terrible luck at cards and always lose. I feel it's worse than it should be. If I have someone dominated, their overcard will hit. I know, every poker player feels they're unlucky.

I'm writing a lot lately. Lots of ideas have come into my mind. I'm really happy that Chris and I wrote and finished Deja Bride. I think it's a great script. I really like how it turned out. Our next project is Retro-Therapy. This one could be lots of fun. We're outlining ideas already. Out with the old script, in with the new one. Chris is feeling a great wave of creative energy. My goal is to get someone going with our screenplays so he can quit his job and write full-time. That's my mission. I also am ready to start publishing books and getting some of that ancillary gold heard people talk about last week in LA.

This morning I'm writing non-stop for one hour. 15 minutes on this blog, 15 minutes on my memoir, 15 minutes on Julia _____ and The Chapel of Chimes, about a girl who discovers a connection between life and death, and 15 minutes on the piece I'm writing for Chris.

Then I'm spend 15 minutes reading The Brain book, 15 minutes reading Harry Potter, 15 minutes reading Grandudes, and 15 minutes reading Selling for Dummies.

Then I'll spend an hour getting ready and zoning.

Then an hour prepping for poker for May. I didn't play a single limit hand in April. Too busy writing, and I needed a break from the awful March loss.