Lessons in graceful aging

My mother has always been outgoing, fun loving, and outspoken. She is a deep down Texas girl , and an over the top Arizona Wildcats fan. In fact this woman is a true sports fan. Depending on the season her TV will be showing football, basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, golf, volleyball; she knows and loves most sports.

She raised three daughters, while married to a career military man, moving from state to state, per the orders of the US Air Force. She adapted, was fearless, instilled love and family values, and made sure dad was able to do the things he needed to in his job.

She spent months on her own caring for myself and my sister Lisa while my dad was stationed in Germany. She had been very sick during her pregnancy, and after delivery had gall bladder surgery (a big deal in 1956) so they felt she should stay behind (she hated that she missed it.)

She managed, sometimes barely, during his constant TDY to Phan Rhang, Vietnam while being stationed in the Philippines at Clark Air Base. Looking back I’m not sure I would have done as well living in a foreign country alone while my husband was gone for two or three months at a time to a war zone.

Once we girls were older she always had a part time job. Whether it was working in the pro-shop at the base golf course in Misawa, Japan or as a teacher’s aide at Homer Davis School in Tucson, Arizona. She worked in the athletic department of the University of Arizona for decades, meeting countless people who would remember her whenever they saw her. There were times she was distracted with responsibilities outside of the home, and I was amazed at her energy and will to get things done.

She spent years keeping things stable for us girls while dad worked shift work at ASARCO mines. When dad was seriously injured on the job and was disabled from the injury she diligently cared for his wounds, kept up the house, babysat her grandchildren, and continued to take part time employment. I could write a book, hmm.

Now she is a sprightly 86, and her age is becoming a factor in her lifestyle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After my dad passed away she lived with Chuck and I, and it worked well as long as she could drive. But age related macular degeneration left her vision impaired enough she couldn’t pass a vision test so no more driving. I’ll admit we were all thankful to the DMV for that one. With my husband and I both working full time she spent many days sitting in front of the TV, talking on the phone and waiting for one of us to come home. She was getting bored and felt very lonely. Local family members would come and take her out when they could, but their situation was the same -working full time. At one point my sister and I noticed symptoms of depression, and worried her health would start failing. After a heart to heart with her about it she consented to a search for a fun place to live.

She moved into a retirement community, not assisted living which she is quick to clarify, and has done very well for several years. She was busy with the activities they offered, she made lots of friends, she could share interests with other residents, and she seemed to blossom with youth. However, in the last year we have all noticed a slowing, frequent illness, less participation, and her own acknowledgement that she is weaker. She has started using a walker giving her a bit of independence, but she is having a painful problem with one of her knees, and a related problem with her hip.

It gives me pause.

I just talked to her about the Arizona Wildcats basketball team being the Sweet Sixteen, and she is so excited about it. She recalled her years working at the local games, and wants to talk to anyone about the game. She can hold her own with the best of them. She even worked a Super Bowl in Phoenix and was interviewed on local television about her participation. The Dallas Cowboys were playing in the game, and she was and is a Dallas fan.

So…we keep watching with envy, this woman who is pushing through life with pride, determination, and joy. Go mom!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Bonus Child!

So perfectly said.
-N

grammyjoy

Bonus Child 2I am a stepmom and a stepgrandma.  I’ve been a stepmom for almost 28 years.  I’ve been through the good and the bad.  I know a little about this subject.

The new phrase is “Bonus Child.”  I like it.  It fits, but only if you want it to.  You see, the dynamic of a blended family can be either miserable or rewarding.  It takes work.  I made mistakes with my stepdaughters over the years and trust me, you don’t want to live with that guilt.

What I have found are some of the keys to step-parenting:  know your place – I’m not their mother, I am their father’s wife; and also, encourage your significant other’s relationship with their children.  I give to him, what I expect back.  My children and grandkids come first.  After all, they actually came first.  Doesn’t it make sense that I would have greater respect for…

View original post 110 more words

It’s getting hot-again!

The heat is building here in Southern Arizona. I know I’ve said it before, and I will most likely repeat myself in the future, but…I hate the heat. I am clinically heat intolerant. Thus, the arrival of the heat is a bad thing for me. It makes me grumpy, lethargic, nauseous, and constantly in the mood to move to Alaska.

One thing hubby and I do when it starts warming up is to stock the freezer with an assortment of ice cream products. We will keep it stocked until November. There is nothing like a frozen yummy at the end, the beginning, or the middle of the day during the summer.

We headed into the grocery store, quickly found the frozen foods area and spent at least ten minutes deciding. We bought three kinds of ice cream, two tubs of orange sherbet, a box of banana pops, a bag of cherry-mango pops, and a popsicle variety pack. Topped it off with a can of whipped cream, Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Well balanced. Agree?

We have a spa that is not heated during the summer and it is so refreshing when the temp is 110. Chuck planted a bunch of trees around the house over the years, which is great shade during the summer. Most are at least 20 years old and huge. When the thermometer rises, we tend to stay inside all day unless necessary. Kind of like northern states do during the winter snow storms. I am a water drinker all year round, but when it gets hot I regularly drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I generally don’t want anything but water.

Millie and our new GSD Jake (Millie’s brother) have staked out their resting spots outside. Jake lays on the the front porch. I guess the brick is cool in the shade. Millie lays in the back, which is a large shaded porch. They are content to nap, that is unless a rabbit or cat comes in the yard, then all bets are off.

So all you followers up north, remember me during your nice cool days. I will be jealous.

Cheers!

-N

PS The Expanse was renewed for a third season! Awesome.

 

DVR this

For the most part my hubby and I really don’t watch the same programming.

I  am not a fan of the NCIS, CIS programs. My attitude pretty much is watch the beginning and then come back in the last 10 minutes and find out who did it. He also likes hunting and fishing programs-no thanks.

I dig paranormal shows, ghost hunting programs, science documentaries, extreme weather programs, the Big Foot dudes.

However, we have found some programs we like to watch together. The DVR is busy with them.

The Magicians, Rosewood, and The Expanse.

The commonality in all of these is an intricate, convoluted, and character driven stories. We watch them, we talk about what happened, what is next, what make the plot move. I am always tuned up and tuned into my creative brain after watching these programs.

The stimulus of the story gives me a push in my own creativity. I’m good with that.

Cheers!

-N

 

The past showed up

Today was a day of story telling. It was fun, interesting, enlightening, and gave me lots of things to think about.

I had lunch today with a new and old friend. It was cool to make an acquaintance with someone I went to high school with. We moved in very different circles, so we were not really friends, but there were some commonalities. Now in the fullness of life we connected on many levels.

Her name is Loree and I look forward to knowing her better. She has had a very interesting life, and her passions have part of that history thing I love, and a love for books. We shared the things that consume us, for me writing and for her Titanic.

One thing we share is we both have widowed mothers. We had lots of similarities in our maternal relationships and we are both from families of all girls. We were talking about the lifestyles of elderly folks and while we were talking our very fun waitress, Amanda, shared that she had observed many loving couples of that certain age who, to her surprise, were not married and had no intention of marrying. Many of them would lose benefits should they remarry. Loree and I both shared that our mothers felt the same.

Here is a pic of Amanda who works at Chili’s on Oracle in Oro Valley. Shout out to Amanda! She does a great job.

So my walk down memory lane was also one that made me realize I have forgotten a lot of people. Kind of strange experience. Loree has kept track of so many of our classmates and it was so interesting to hear what had gone on while I moved on.

So, to catching up and carrying on. Let’s see what happens.

Cheers!

-N

 

Research is fun

I’ve mentioned previously I have started plotting my next book. As a historical romance, the emphasis for me initially is on the historical part of the story I am telling. So this means I get to do historical research.

Yum!

As a history geek, I love this part of writing these books. It is important to me the scenes are accurate in speech, dress, actions, and setting. The way these people in 1869 interact within the parameters of the time period are very different from now. My goal as a writer is to walk the reader into the comfort of existing in this place with these characters.

Currently I am in a logistical difficulty. 100_6614Most of my library of approximately 2000 books is boxed up and in storage while the shelves are relocated, set-up, and painted. This means much of my historical resources are not accessible. Bummer. I’m ready to get them out, sorted, and organized.

 

When I say I have resources, I mean I have enough material my son could write a 10 page paper for his history class requiring one source for each page, and only one online source, and I had all of it!100_6612

I love my books.
100_6613

I do read a lot of eBooks,
but I also collect hardback copies of my favorite writers. Hubby does too (can you say Clive Cussler.) I prefer hardback if possible in the books I add to my collection.
I also am a book sale fan. And I love the smell of old books.

My library is a legacy I will leave to my kids. My daughter is a teacher after all.

The research I’m doing is about Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory and this is a location I have100_7059 actually visited.

It is truly amazing to walk the area my character will walk. To look at the surrounding hills and mountains, and see the colors of the vegetation will give the words authenticity.100_7062 I want it to be real for the reader and this is part of it.

So, let’s see what my hero experiences so far from home. Will he be the same person when he returns from the southwest?

Cheers!

-N

My Friend

I’ve spent the last few months wondering where a new friend right here in good old Tucson would come from. My long time bff moved away, a sad and revealing time, and my mind found that the loss of my close buddy left an empty spot.

So…I’ve started looking around in all the places prospective friends might linger and discovered most of the peeps I’m close to don’t live near me.

Is it me?

But then, out of the blue, someone I went to school with made contact with me on Facebook. What’s interesting is I didn’t remember this person from high school. High school was no picnic for me. I went to one high school for the first two years, then the last two years at another. Made it hard to connect with people who had gone to school together all of their lives. I was an outsider. No fond homecoming or reunion moments for me.

Back to the friend. What has been special is that she has sought me out and we have had fun connecting. I won’t say re-connecting since no connection was ever made. Yet it is there, and she is a very interesting person. We have lunch planned for Thursday. Yay!

I will keep you posted.

Cheers!

-N