Fighting back

Hubby and I have been working hard at staying healthy. I’ve not always been than way. Up until I turned 35 I had the metabolism of a hummingbird. Big mac, fries, milk shake, and regular coke at midnight – no problem, no weight gain. I didn’t break 100lbs until I was three months pregnant with my first child. Gaining weight was actually a goal for me.

Not any more.

Hubby has been studying natural ways to become healthy, get off prescriptions, lower blood pressure, and boost metabolism.  I’ve been careful of what I eat, exercise every night, and generally being a good girl and feeling pretty good. Lost a few lbs too.

I did see a bit of good news that red wine will supply anti-oxidants, support vascular health, and fight off the flu. I’m totally on that health kick!

Today was a typical warm winter day in southern Arizona, so hubby and I got outside to do some “spring” clean up. Yeah I know it’s February. I had some plants to clear out of some crowded pots and re-pot, weekly watering of some landscaping plants, and so on. I was about half way through and was hauling a tall plastic tub we keep garden soil in from the back yard to the front porch. It is pretty heavy but has wheels so I got on it. I had been sweating (good thing) and my heart rate was up a bit (good thing) when I began to feel a little dizzy.

Ok, I told myself, slow down, get some water and push through this.

I came inside for a water bottle, had a stressful “discussion” with my mother relating to her dementia world, then went back outside. After three shovel fulls of soil I became nauseous. So I pulled off my hat, sat on the front steps-they are brick and cool in the shade, when I got slammed with all of it, the whole shebang. Dizzy, nausea, pounding heart, you name it I felt it. I went inside and sat in a recliner and it took at least thirty minutes for things to settle down, and then…I got the migraine shimmer! Are you kidding me?!?!?

I slammed two advil, a bottle of water, lay down on the bed, and waited it out. About a half an hour later, hubby came in, closed the blinds, gave me another two advil, and ran interference with my mother, God bless him.

The shimmer left, the pain never got full blown, I got a shower, and now it’s just the pressure that lingers afterwards.




NFL goes out with a bang-for me

Yesterday was the “Big Game” for the NFL. I have to admit, as a football fan, the NFL has been a troubled platform for lots of fans and players. As a military kid, dad was Air Force, I have a strong patriotic heart. It’s true I was disheartened at the continued disrespect I saw, but this was not just in the NFL-it was everywhere.

It made me harken back to that time when we were on our way back to the US from the Philippines after my dad spent most of that tour in Phan Rhang, VietNam. We were told not to mention our dad serving in VN, and it was best not to mention our father was military. He was told not to wear his uniform on once he reached the shores US because of the strong and sometimes violent anti-military sentiment at that time.

1969 it was.

When I saw the protests of the players kneeling, the flag burning, and the things said about our military forces, it was Déjà vu. I felt my late father was being disrespected-again. His career in the Navy during World War II, and in the Air Force for Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no value or meaning to many of these humans who weren’t even around at that time.

So, yesterday I got a a bit of mine back.

I live outside of Tucson AZ, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats. My in-laws, my husband, and my daughter are all UA alum. I’ve worked there, and hubby currently works there.

If anyone was watching, the Wildcats had four ex-players in the game. Two for each team. It was splendid for me and for my dad’s memory. You see, for at least eight years my father volunteered his time to the UA football team for Coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey, as a time keeper for football practice, on the sidelines holding headset cables (before wireless,) and helping out with anything coaches, players, and trainers needed.

My dad loved Arizona Football. 

To see Nick Foles, Coach Dave Fipp, Rob Gronkowski, and Marquis Flowers playing in the Super Bowl would have brought my dad incredible joy. He would have been happy no matter who won, but I’m kinda thinking he would have liked Nick getting a Super Bowl ring, since Rob already had two. But just knowing some of his boys were playing, well lets just say there was cheering in heaven!

Everyone has their own opinion about the topic of what the flag means and why they protest. That is their right. But this is mine. I love my flag just like I love my country. I know history shows there was very bad and wonderfully good events. This is the point of keeping history, to be aware and make sure those mistakes are never made again.




Hubby and computer

Watching Chuck try to use the computer is something no one should miss. The man is smart – engineer brain – but using the computer seems to shut off logical thought. He will get crazy trying to find things, “I am in there, it is not showing up!” Then I go over, point and say “login, click there.” He will grumble “how do you do that?” or “how do you know that?” I don’t respond. Not a good idea.

I think I have finally broken him of the habit of making passwords that relate to the site he is in, (that he can never remember) rather that the very secure ones we use. There are about four or five of them that we change configurations on them regularly.

This is a man who can take something apart and put it back together without leaving any pieces. He can figure out how to repair a furnace, listen to a boiler and know what’s wrong, he can fix electronics, an all purpose guy. But he goes nuts trying to find the Galifrey One schedule of events, or log into the ticket portal.

He also gets irritated when I point at the screen when he is on his computer. He must think I try to screw it up on purpose since it is a touchscreen. I’ll admit I’ve accidentally touched it and it moved, but it’s what I do – point.

So here we sit, on our separate laptops, doing our own thing. I guess it’s how you stay married for 38 years!




Picking a name

While I’ve been working stories, especially fiction, the one thing I discovered is the complexity of character names. How do other people come up with names? Sometimes I’ve had a name from the start. In the case of my current story the main characters’ names have been in my head from the beginning. I also had several of the other background and ancillary characters with names I knew I wanted to use.

But this one guy. My main female’s ex-husband. What the crap is his name? Todd, Alec. Oh he’s dead, a jerk, and only referred to in past tense.

I’ve come up with those two names so far, but they just don’t strike me as the right one. All you writers out there. Where do you look for names? Do you have a proven method to find the one that works?

I am currently trying to blog, listening to classical music and eating a sandwich while trying to keep the cat from my food.

So let me know the way you find the best name for a fictional human.



Writing and Dogs vs Kitten

Good news on the writing front. I sat here in the living room, casting You Tube videos, with my tablet nearby, and the words just came rolling out. The scene I just finished set up an important relationship that will affect several of my characters and will drive the big drama between the main characters.

I looked back at some of the stuff I wrote a few days ago, being a bit more critical and immediately noticed necessary edits. But I’m not going to touch those until this first draft puppy is done. I know better than to mess with it like that when so much is yet to be written. I’m at 16k+ words right now.

I’ve been working on a design for our Galifrey One t-shirts. We are going to wear matching T’s on Friday. I think what I’ve come up with is pretty nice. Simple but gets the point across. I’m so ready to to be there. My kids live on opposite coasts which makes it hard to get together. I need to sell a bunch of books so I have the money to fly to Orlando more often. My daughter in LA is easier, just a eight hour drive from Tucson. Flights are also cheaper from Phoenix to LAX. Next month will be wonderful with all six of us together. I was telling my sister this a few days ago and almost started to cry.

We have some cold nights in the forecast this week so the dogs are spending the nights indoors. It’s 7:30 pm and 38 degrees. It’s been hilarious watching the dogs as they figure out the little furry boss in our family. Cleo runs the show, this teeny calico kitten running the two big German Shepherds around. She isn’t shy of them, and she will play, especially with Millie. We weren’t sure how they would all get on once they were introduced, but with patience they are coexisting.

Hope all of you are enjoying what ever is happening at your place.



Yay Nick Foles and the Eagles!! 

Writing, Quilting and Doctor Who

I’m writing here. Writing and sewing. Mozart is cranked, wine is poured. I’m basking in the solitude of creativity. It is awesome!!

Almost 1000 words today. Anchor Bay is coming into focus.

My story has been at a standstill until the other night, after my stress meltdown. I picked up my story folder, read through some notes, and started to plot some scenes. Before long the cobwebs cleared and I remembered who these people were and where they were going. As I sat here today with those notes spread out, and the map I drew of my imaginary town in front of me, the good feeling of accomplishment filled my literary soul.

Behind me is my cutting table with the pieces of a baby quilt cut and laid out in order. It is going to be so cute. It is for my brand new great nephew Andrew. I also owe one to great nephew Bodie, and that one is next. I enjoy the process of quilting. To make quilts, cutting and measuring need to be precise. Quilters are the first to say that making a quilt is a lot of sewing and pulling it apart and resewing.

It gives us quilters a good excuse to buy extra fabric!! You know – just in case.

This weekend hubby and I start prepping for our Galifrey One costumes. Chuck is going to be the “The War Doctor” (John Hurt played him) and I am going to be “Sarah Jane Smith” played by the late Elizabeth Sladen. We have been thinking of Charlie being K-9 but his mom and I don’t believe he would put up with wearing the costume all day! Oh well. Aaron, Chelsea, and Melissa are playing various Doctors and Companions also. I am going to make matching T-shirts for us to wear one of the days of the convention.

We are the WhoviVaughns.



Life is a Steamroller

So annoyed, ready to run away, so much to do, how far away can I get with what is in the bank, four projects due by the middle of February, no writing done since ??

Life has spiraled out of my control.

Wonder who the new football coach will be for the UA Wildcats?

My 87 year old mother lives here, we have two German Shepherds and a cat, and I am feeling trapped. My hubby is very busy speaking my love language – acts of service – and I wish I could just grab some me some vino (whiskey for him) and snuggle up for a make out session. But…the privacy issue is just that, an issue.

Chuck and I have tickets for Galifrey One in Los Angeles Feb 16-18, 2018. When we bought the tickets nearly a year ago we had my sweet Millie and that was it. Easy solution, drop her at the kennel and off we go. But oh no, not now! After a three week long search I was unable to find respite care for my mother that ran less that $150 a day, and only one place would do less than a two week minimum. Plus they all require a doctors orders since she is on prescription medications, and has memory and vision loss.

The two big dogs (even though they are very good dogs) are going to run me $50-60 a day. The cat is pretty self sufficient, just make sure the cat box is fresh, and food and water set out for the time we are gone and she is all good. I love her.

But damn!

I got to the point where I started to develop stress headaches every day at 4pm, I was about to cancel the whole thing. I really didn’t want to since all my kids and my grandson would be together with us for the first time in I can’t remember when.

Oh hell no, I’m not missing this.

Then…God took mercy on me and I found out my great nephew Kristopher is moving to Catalina soon and he will stay here the whole time, helping with his GG (Great Grandmother) and taking care of the animals! Woo Hoo! Did I mention I love that kid?! Last night, for the first time in weeks I didn’t get a headache.

So let’s see if things will settle down and I can focus on what I need to do before my awesome trip to Doctor Who land.



New family member

Hey all! We got a cat.

Actually she is a wee kitten, rescued from an abandoned litter that was born in my nephew’s shed. She is a beautiful little polydactyl calico that we have named Cleo. I believe she was about 6-7 weeks old when my nephew found the four kittens. He did a Facebook post showing them and within a day they were all rescued. One interesting thing, other than the polydactyl aspect, is that the lone male in the group is a grey tabby with a perfect M on his forehead which is typical of a Maine Coon (MC). Maine Coon cats also are prone to being polydactyl and calico.

I hope my sweet little girl is a MC because they are awesome cats.

She is playful, loves her scratching post and her ball-go-round toy. She is also very attached to Chuck and I. She is very cuddly which I love, and I think it’s because she was abandoned so young and missed the affection of her mother.

At first, before she was good at cleaning herself, I would wet a coarse cloth with very warm water and stroke her gently around her face, down her back, belly, and legs and finally her butt. Just the way her momma would have done. It was remarkable how it calmed her, and she seemed to enjoy it.

Another interesting aspect about a polydactyl is they are referred to as Hemingway cats, because Ernest Hemingway collected them at his homes. Cleo has six toes on one foot and five and a half on the other. The half is a not fully developed toe with a claw. The male was adopted by my sister, Mary. He is called Ernie, short for Ernest. Appropriately so.

I love her and she loves me. From the first she loved napping on me. She still does but rather than on my chest she lays in my lap. Sometimes she will stare at me, watching my face as I talk to her.

She will also follow me from room to room. If she can’t find one of us she starts meowing loudly until someone calls her name, then she comes running. A really funny thing she will do is follow me to the bathroom and we will potty together.

It is hilarious-she is such a girl.


-N and Cleo

Musical interlude

Last Friday night I went with a friend to a show called “A Celebration of Joni Mitchell.” I knew some of her stuff, mainly the older things and the songs made famous by steady radio play, but I was rather surprised to learn of her music evolution in later years.

She developed industry collaborations with artists like Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus wherein she delved into a bright, smooth, and moody jazz persona. I found I really enjoyed this style. I’ve always been a jazz/blues fan, and unlike others I can ride along with the waves of jazz improve and scat singing. This latter style is what much of this musical excursion was composed.

That night the crowd of Gaslight Theatre Music Hall was a bit older, a bit mellower, drinking wine, beer and lots of alcohol on the rocks. There were several men with their long grey hair pulled back in ponytails, and women like me dressed with a nod to the inner hippie with flowing tops, strings of necklaces, and long hair. There also were the retired couples who look like the AARP magazine covers, yet musically there was something for everyone.

The band, fronted by a woman named Kimberly Ford, were obvious professional musicians. Ms. Ford had a great voice, capable of flowing through the remarkable range of a Joni Mitchell song. She played her guitars, engaged with the audience and her band, while not missing a note of “Help Me” or “Coyote”.

I dug it.

It reminded me of a dream I once had of singing in a cellar club, with a combo consisting of drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, and sax. Doing Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mercer, along with some old big band ballads for an intimate group of nightowls. I guess we all have one of those dreams.



The words are back

I’m very glad to share I have been writing again!

I sat down, opened the file, read what I had already written – I’ve done this before with no results – and when I reached the end of the text another line came to my mind, then another, and before I knew it 1000 words were knocked out and my mind was flying. It was bliss. I’ve since added more words, plotted the next couple of chapters, and fleshed out an important character I didn’t yet know very well.

This fed the creativity in my brain for the cosplay costume I am making. I was becoming so stale it was disconcerting and depressing. I can’t express how great it feels to get things moving once more. One thing I did discover is I need to ignore the distractions, specifically a person whose negativity is counterproductive. I shut the door, blast the Netflix or music and get busy writing and sewing. Woo hoo, it’s fun.

I spent four days in the LA area with my sister, Mary, and I think that started the brain cleansing. The laughing we did felt great. A good, long, loud belly laugh does wonders for the perspective. We spent hours at the ocean, we cruised down one canyon and up another listening to great music, singing, and remembering. Went to a wine tasting, had breakfast at Weiler’s-twice-and spent plenty of time with Melissa and Charlie (love kissing that boy.) Got a little too much sun. I felt young, bright, free, and adventurous. It was a perfect respite from the tension that flows from the negative person in my house.

I would have liked to have Chuck along but this was a girls trip. Next time!

The nights are cooling off, finally! The days are still too close to hell fire for me, but thank goodness for refrigeration and lots of fans to keep the air moving. My nephew is holding his own in Army basic, hubby is busy with his leather working, my kids are busy productive humans, and life is going on.

“There’s no such thing as too much magic, pixie dust, or fun.”