Where I Come From

A long time ago, there was this couple who came together in a small town in north Texas, just miles from the Red River on the border with Oklahoma.

She was a petite beauty with a glorious soprano voice, a strong faith in God and His son Jesus. She carried herself with humility, gentleness, humor, and hard work. He was handsome, and strong, with a determined spirit and not too little pride.

He saw in her the perfect woman who would blend easily with him to create a home. She saw a man who might need some taming with love and understanding, but would become the head of the household she desired. They both came from large families. They learned the importance of holding family close, and the value a making the time and effort to gather together.

They shared a life of hard work, the loss of their first child that was followed by six who ultimately survived them. They were church going, tax paying, Great Depression surviving good people. They had a love song they sang together that all of the family have learned. She told stories we all loved, taught Sunday school and always had something cooking on the stove. He could do amazing things with wood. Beautiful custom desks, that he made for executives to use in their offices. The faults they had were culturally typical of the time and place of their lives, and as they lived they learned that their perspectives were not acceptable.

The picture of the beautiful hands I posted at the top of my blog page are the hands of these two humans, my mother’s parents.

They now are survived by only two children, my uncle Foy and my aunt Faith. Yet…the next generation-the grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on are perpetuating the love, closeness and attachment that Nannie and Papaw taught us. I am proud to be named after her, and have been told I resemble her. He and I had a few heated go-arounds in the past about his racial attitude and he did open his mind as he grew older, but I knew, no matter what, he loved me his first grandchild.

C.D. and Nancy Reba Forehand. My grandparents. I hope we will continue to make them proud.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

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Pulled by Clem and Carl, but Carl bites

Saturday October 20th hubby and I had a day trip to Tombstone, Arizona with our daughter and our grandson. What a trip!

It was Helldorado Days in Tombstone which means it’s a TombstoneCon. Everywhere you looked there were people in 1800’s dress. You know what I mean: women in long fancy dresses with bustles, wigs and facinator hats, and black garbed men in western dusters, handlebar mustaches, and lots of guns.

Chuck’s contribution was his black hat, snap button shirt, jeans and boots. He looked pretty handsome with his rattlesnake tooth bolo tie.

The attendees stayed in character as they roamed the boardwalks. The faux Wyatt Earp’s tipped their hats to the ladies and nodded to the men as they passed.

The streets were filled with horse and mule pulled wagons, re-enactors doing gunfights, and cowboy stories played out in the middle of Allen Street. There were even belly dancers (my grandson thought that was hilarious.) They had the town park set up so little buckaroos could get rid of excess energy, and for a price you could watch the cowboys do the Hollywood version of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Two horse drawn wagons and one mule drawn circled the town, with a driver narrated history of Tombstone. The mules were brown, and the horses were a pair of black and a pair of white.

Charlie had fun breaking in his new boots, saying hi to everyone then shooting them with his finger gun, and his most favorite was his ride in the red Conestoga wagon pulled by Clem and Carl. He liked them because they were white horses. The nice fella who set us up with our ride asked Charlie if he wanted to pet the horses. Charlie was nervous since it was his first up close to a horse and they were way bigger than he expected. The guy said to pet Clem cause Carl bites. He hesitated but with his mom’s help he rubbed Clem’s face and then wanted down, it was time to start the ride!

After our ride we went for lunch, and had to wait a few minutes to get in which gave us a chance to watch all the people walking around.

I think the best part for me was being with my daughter. She’s a very fun person and a great mother.

 

 

By the time we got back to the car, and passed the border patrol check point Charlie was passed out. About five minutes.

We all had a good time.

Last pic was taken by Charlie of his momma.

Cheers!

-N

Fading away, but starting fresh

My house is slowly losing the strongly imprinted energy of a human who resided there for years.

My mother.

She and dad moved in with hubby and I in 2000 after dad had a really bad stroke. He passed in 2002, and mom stayed for several years after he died. During part of that time she spent five years in a retirement community before coming back to us – she had physical needs costing a chunk of change each month. She moved back into the room she lived in with dad, and refreshed her energy in that space.

Now she has moved on, her physical body is resting with dad in a shared spot. They are, in our minds, together again. So the energy is fading ever so gradually.

The room, their room, is changing into a guest room with a University of Arizona theme. The walls are being painted cardinal red and navy blue. The furnishings will be different. The bedding and wall hangings conforming to the theme.

Yet…she and my father will still reside in this room that was originally built for them. Dad and mom’s UA sports memorabilia will fill the walls, joining the items we have and the things our daughter, a UA alum, is loaning us. Although the room will look strikingly different from the cozy room she passed away in, she and dad will be back.

Their human energy will fade, but memories will be nurtured for future generations to remember two cool people.

Cheers! and Bear Down,

-N

 

 

 

A change has happened

In June my mother was diagnosed with small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), a very aggressive non curable form of this dreaded disease. It took four months for it to do it’s cruel work. On September 18th she passed away peacefully in her bed, surrounded by family. Her life slipped away after a week of steady visits from family and friends showering her with love and affection, and the cancer won this battle – but God won the war. Her strong faith reassured us she was resting in paradise.

Her funeral was special. Many people complimented the family on how personal and uplifting it was, and that they came to know mom better from it. There were stories told, songs sung, laughing, tears, and a profound sense of peace afterward. She would have loved the reception catered by her favorite restaurant, It’s Greek To Me. Family and friends gathered for a few hours, taking time to remember her, picking out favored mementos and keepsakes, sitting in the peacefulness of her now vacant room, and being together – just like she would have wanted.

Now my new normal has started. Clearing out the things left behind, donations of clothes, shoes, furniture, and medical equipment arranged, financial arrangements to be conducted, and the last of the funeral expenses to be paid. Then I have a room to convert from an elderly woman’s apartment to a guest room.

I still sense her.

Loading the dishwasher I sense her standing beside me, or a glance toward her room I expect to see her walk out, or sitting with hubby watching TV and listening for the distinct shuffle of her steps. She is imprinted in this place. I know she has gone on but her human energy is still active. I think it will be for a while.

So now we move on. My sisters and I have no parents. My children are down to one grandfather. But we have family connections I hope will stay strong after this loss. Time to get back to my routine – my new normal.

Cheers!

-N

Computer coolness

Greetings all!

I am so stoked!

Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.

Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.

At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.

I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.

So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.

Cheers!

-N

Space is clean

I’m feeling crowded. The urge to wipe spaces clean is swamping me. I have no problem getting rid of clutter. However I am married to a future “Hoarder” episode. I have few items which have true sentimental value. Photos are the most valuable, along with things from my kids like baby books, school drawings and cards. The collections made during travels, some things I have picked up with historical connections, and things like my grandmother’s costume jewelry. My vinyl collection and turntable.

Also my library. I am attached to those tomes and relish adding to my library where ever I go. Used book stores are my drug.

To my mind space is clean, and just because there is an open area on a shelf or a clear spot in a corner or a space of open wall does not mean it’s okay to put something there. I have a thing about not having anything in front of my windows. I like being able to walk up to a window and look out. Just because the piles are neat doesn’t mean they belong on that counter or corner of the room.

I go through my drawers and closets regularly. It is liberating. I don’t like crap in my car either.

Hubby, well…neat piles of who knows what on every surface, a used Burger King bag collecting garbage in his truck that never gets washed or vacuumed, a t-shirt drawer stuffed so full he can barely get the five he wears all the time inside, and a back yard filled with stuff he plans to reuse. This is why I am married to him. To keep him from being an episode of “Hoarders”. I’ve already told my kids they have to watch out for him if I die first and leave him alone. I can picture it now – a recluse watching TV, dirty dishes everywhere, his recliner surrounded by TV trays filled with projects he will never finish. Him loading the washer and dryer so full they explode, and never rinsing off a dish or pan before putting it into the dishwasher. It’s my nightmare.

But we argue, sneak, tease, laugh, question, ignore, and get sexy. It’s how we’ve stayed married for 39 years.

Cheers!

-N

Fall, please fall on me.

I sit, sipping my third cup of coffee. Thinking about the order to my day and how I need to be productive. However what I really want to do is walk outside my door, sit in the shade of the massive oak, and dip my feet into the coolness of the creek. Please cool waters wash away my stress.

Yeah right.

There is no massive oak or cool creek outside my house or any house within miles of here to wash away the stress that has accumulated over the last year. My inappropriately green yard for the Sonoran Desert here in Catalina, Arizona struggles, as I do, to endure and survive the stress brought on by the intense hot temperature delivered by the searing rays of the sun.

People talk about the dry heat. Well that is in the month of June. July and August have humidity ranges of 47% up to 80% thanks to the monsoon flow. Yes, last month we had a day where the air temperature was 105 degrees with a humidity of 75%. Let’s talk about that dry heat.

So now it is September. The forecast is a high 90 and low 69 with a humidity 48% and dew point at 63 degrees. So far the forecast shows no more 100’s thank God.

I can still dream of the shade of that big oak and the cooling freshness of that creek. As a writer that’s what I do. right?

Cheers!

-N

A Season of Learning

I am in a season of learning.

My desire right now is to discover learning opportunities. Webinars, podcasts, you tube videos, ebooks, wherever I spot something I want to know more about I am jumping on it. As I was starting this blog I had at least six tabs open on my laptop with various searches, emails, and a PowerPoint presentation on script reading ready for my perusal. I had my cell phone next to me and a notepad with a mechanical pencil at the ready.

In my home growing up there wasn’t any emphasis on learning. School wasn’t made any kind of priority. I can’t even remember my parents asking if I had homework or making me sit down and do my homework. It seemed if I liked what I was doing that was good enough for them. There were no parent/teacher meetings about my progress, no issue made of my grades, and if my folks wanted to take off for a trip to Texas they thought nothing of taking us out of school to go, and no worry about textbooks or concern about missed assignments while we was gone.

My middle sister had what we know now as a learning disability-ADHD and probably dyslexia. School was a nightmare for her, she was held back in first grade as much for her behavior as her lack of understanding. She had no idea how to be a student. My youngest sister and I were pretty good in school from nothing more than being natural learners. I do wish my parents had put greater emphasis on our school work. It might have been because we were military brats who moved every three years including overseas until my father retired, but I knew of other kids like me who achieved success in school.

Why didn’t they notice I loved writing stories and plays and encourage my talent? Why didn’t they find someone to help me with math when they saw I struggled?

My husband’s experiences were the opposite of mine and fortunately this motivated us to promote the importance of learning and school to our kids. They both went on to college and university.

So now, after years of wishing I had attended college, I am drawn to all sorts of learning. My love for history has directed much of my writing-it’s a joy to do historical research for my stories. I adore books. Geology and meteorology fascinate me and I can have meaningful discussions on these topics. My curiosity is strong and my desire to know more has given me the drive to seek out opportunities. I love challenging my brain, and hope this season is a long one.

Cheers!

-N

 

Fly sweet spirit.

This morning a beautiful woman transitioned from this world to the next.

Chuck’s mother, Elaine Vaughn, is out of pain and no longer suffering. This amazing woman worked hard all her life, living in mining towns in Papua New Guinea, as well as rural Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. She lived to see both of her siblings go before her. This planet released to the heavens a special soul.

Please remember the Vaughns in your prayers.

-N

Potty training as a writing distraction

Yes you read that correctly. Hubby and I spent the last weekend helping our daughter with potty training our three year old grandson. He needs to be trained for day care and preschool and it made me realize how similar housebreaking a puppy and potty training a toddler can be.

  • Puppy: regularly taking them outside to do their business, lots of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for them taking the position prior to the deed.
  • Toddler: regularly taking them to the toilet, lot’s of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for the pee/poop position signs.

Yeah it’s pretty similar.

Toddler couldn’t care less about the whole process and get bored, however the puppy wants to please the adored pet parents. So the biggest difference comes into play – convincing toddlers, by negotiation, this is a good thing for them. Easier said than done my friends.

It took us a few tries before the perfect negotiating tool revealed itself. He can only ride the school bus from day care to preschool if he goes potty in the toilet! This kid is crazy for buses. So…the task was on. He was spending the weekend with us while his mom, who is a teacher at a new school, was setting up her new classroom, running a bunch of errands, and having some peaceful nights sleep before the hectic school season starts.

Hubby and I have this-right? Charlie calls his grandfather Poppa and I am Nannie. He was having a good time with us and we started doing the potty breaks.

 “Charlie, let’s try to go pee in the potty.”

     “No.”

     “Let’s just try, remember you have to potty on the toilet to ride the bus.”

     Insert big sigh here and he goes with the person who initiated the topic.

Poppa and I tag teamed this, and the first day (Friday afternoon) there were some accidents, not unexpected. Then it became a watching game. We kept our eyes on him since he was wearing big boy underwear, not pull ups, so no leak barrier.

We didn’t let him carry a cup full of juice around all the time because we were watching the I/O on the little human. He had a busy day, and actually did the deed in the toilet. When he discovered Poppa stands up to pee, he refused to do it in the potty chair. He wanted to stand up-it’s what guys do.

He woke the next morning with a dry pull up, got up, got some breakfast, said he had to pee and proceeded to pee like a race horse. Damn we were proud. This kid might be a genius. He was having fun, playing with Hot Wheels, and I was talking to his mom. I looked into the kitchen when I spotted him crouched down, sort of hiding, and very still. This is not good. It took only a few steps toward him to smell it. Yeah one of those. At this age they poop like adults and it’s a gag fest.

As the day went on he was telling us the pee thing, and didn’t do another #2 (thank God,) and we felt he was getting it. He went to bed that night, awoke again with a dry pull up, same routine as Saturday morning. We went to church, he wore big boy undies, and got lots of reminders about telling Sunday School teacher if he needed to pee/poop. Got out of service and went to pick him up-no accidents, not issues-woohoo! Met his mom for the hand-off and she had a good afternoon with him.

Today same morning as the last two. Except he didn’t pee before going to day care (insert here he is in a class for fully potty trained three year olds) where he proceeded to have three accidents. Okay so we jumped the gun on this one. But this kid has the idea, it will happen. At this age the focus when having fun and playing is not there. Plus it was a new place and maybe he thought the only place he had to do the potty stuff was with Poppa and Nannie and mom.

So it was interesting, my hubby was a rock star, Charlie is going to figure it out, and his mom will be able to ditch the diaper bag.

The moral of this story-I didn’t do any writing, none.

Cheers!

-N