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

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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

 

My sage advice is this…listen to your instincts!

I learned a lesson, the hard way.

My daughter and grandson had just moved to Phoenix from LA last Saturday with the help of her dad. I had hoped to meet them Saturday to help unload, kiss my little fella and welcome my daughter back to her home state after twenty years in California. They got a late start and didn’t get into town until the evening. So a trip up wasn’t going to happen. We had made previous plans to meet up with our Phoenix family on Wednesday to kick back, watch fireworks and be together, but I wanted to see them, so…against my instincts to wait until July 4th, I decided instead drive up yesterday, drop off my mom at my sister’s house and go to my daughter’s new place to help her get things put together. I figured I could help her best by keeping Bubba busy while she got some stuff knocked out and settled in.

Wrong!!

Mom and I left after church, stopped for a burger and drink, and headed out on the two hour drive to my sister’s place. She lives in Glendale which is northwest Phoenix. Things were going okay until after I turned off Hwy 79 onto Hwy 60. Now remember this is mid day, summer, central Arizona. I was about two miles down the road after my turn when I heard a loud knock on the bottom of my car, drove a bit more and there was another one, then a couple more. I was getting concerned since I hadn’t noticed stuff in the road. This red car came up beside me and the woman was vigorously pointing at my front tire. Damn!

I pulled over, got out and saw I had a flat tire that was shedding chucks of tread. The couple in the red car pulled off in front and she hurried over asking if I needed anything and if they could help with changing the tire. She was dressed beautifully so I reassured her I had AAA and I didn’t want them out there on the hot asphalt changing a tire. After a few moments of convincing her I was okay they left. Called AAA, and they responded quickly and efficiently telling me I was a priority since I was on the side of the road, and informed me a truck was on its way ETA 2:41pm.

My radio clock said 1:56pm! Nearly an hour at 102° outside.

So with about fifty minutes to wait, I put up the sun screen in the wind shield, rolled down the windows, turned off the a/c and the car, and proceeded to wait. I had a bottle of water that I wet napkins for mom and I to keep cool. There was a breeze so we had good old fashioned evaporative cooling. It wasn’t cool but was survivable. We also had ice cold drinks. My mother is 88, and not in the best of health.

I was stressed.

I spent the time, letting family know the situation, where we were, and the status while I watched the progress of the Phoenix Metro Towing truck heading my way on the app provided by AAA. Just want to say, they were great and kept calling to check on  us. Anyway about 2:20pm I looked in my rear view mirror to see an Arizona State Trooper pull up behind me. Suffice to say I was relieved and knew no matter what it would be okay. He got out and came over to mom’s side and asked how we were. I said the tow truck was coming in about twenty minutes. He looked at mom and asked me if I had plenty of gas and a good a/c. I replied I did and he said to start the car, pull farther off the road, set the brake, and turn on the a/c for mom and let’s start to change the tire. I was so on this and that’s just what I did. Mom was doing okay and I was being proactive.

I discovered I had no jack!

The only thing I had was the tool to lower the spare and pump the jack. “Shit!” yep yelled that out loud to all the desert creatures and the trooper. He went around and got his jack, but it was too big to fit under the low front of the PT Cruiser with a flat. Please God!?!? But then who should drive up, Mike with Phoenix Metro Towing. The trooper told him the deal with the jack, he went and got one that worked like a charm. Mike was my new best friend! He got the flat off, and pointed out I was missing a lug nut and the lug looked like it was broken. Okay, but can the tire stay on? Yep.

Right on!

Since it was a Sunday Discount Tire and Big O Tire are closed. The closest place I could go to get two new tires was the Walmart on Apache Trail in Apache Junction. This put me about 50 miles from my sister in Glendale. Amazing Mike, after giving me directions, followed me to said Walmart and then departed for parts unknown. I pulled in and as luck would have it no waiting! But…when the attendant was checking me in and saw the lug nut/lug situation he said Walmart can’t touch it. What?!?!? Nope, the liability, but he filled the donut spare with the proper air pressure and wished me luck.

In the meantime, unknown to me, hubby had called sister to ask her to find a place that was open that could get tires. I got back on Hwy 60, headed west. I had gone about three miles when I saw a highway patrol car behind me with flashing lights pulling ME over. What now?!?! The lovely woman officer came smiling up to my car to inform me when she first ran the plates it came back as a different vehicle, but a second time it came back as my car and I was free to go. I mentioned the flat/spare situation and she said that she thought the Discount Tire on Power Road was open on Sunday so I thanked her, and once again headed out. Turned off on to Power Rd, and found the tire store right away. Nope – closed. My sister called at that point to say her hubby had found a Pep Boys on Peoria and 67th that would do the work, was waiting for me and they closed a 6pm. It was 3:25 and 107°. I asked her to ask him if he thought I was good on the spare for the forty miles and I heard him say “Yes!” so back on the 60 we go.

I know there were plenty of drivers yesterday who were cussing the lady driving the purple PT Cruiser down the highway at 60mph but screw ’em, I had no options if that donut failed!

Twenty minutes later I pulled into the Pep Boys parking lot. I went inside and told the guy at the counter I was the lady with the Cruiser. He looked at me like I was speaking Klingon. He told me  that when the guy called he told them he couldn’t do it. This isn’t happening. I had to have something work out. My brother-in-law showed up and when he talked to the guy he realized it was the Pep Boys on Peoria and 75th, so off we went. We walked inside, and up to the service counter.  Manuel at the counter turned to another guy and asked if he talked to a man about tires for a PT Cruiser. He said, “Not me, that was Devin. Hey Devin, the guy with the cruiser is here.” I let out a huge breath, handed over the keys, got in my brother-in-law’s car and mom and I went to my sisters house.

My brain in a fog, my head aching and my mom very quiet, I ate, played with my grandson and hugged my daughter who were waiting there for us.

An hour later I had the car back, with two new front tires – mom and I would make it home. The Cruiser has an appointment this Friday to get the lug fixed, two new back tires and an oil change.

If I had followed my initial instinct to wait until Wednesday, my husband would have been with us, there is a good chance the tire would have been flat and replaced before we left, and I would have had a fun time with my family celebrating our great nation’s birthday.

Wednesday is off the schedule now since the Cruiser is going to the car doctor. The family had planned a get together here in Catalina on the 14th so I will still have family time.

Listen to your instincts.

Cheers!

-N

June-here, hot and busy

After a call this morning from my niece about her visit this month, I looked at my calendar for June and found several things going on. I better take my vitamins.

First, the 100’s will hit Catalina AZ tomorrow! Damn, I’m not ready but at least they held off until now, so I only have to make it through one month and then monsoon season will show up to help my water bill. I can do that, yep I can. The spa is not heated so I can dunk myself, fully clothed, a couple of times a day to stay cool.

Second, my 88 year old mother will have a diagnostic procedure and followup appointments this month. It is part of a recent discovery made about her medical condition that will need monitoring. Yeah, that’s about all I can say on that one.

Third, my daughter and my grandson will make two trips out to Arizona from California this month. The first time will be mid month to do some logistics setting up the second visit. That one is her permanent move to Arizona for a new job in Phoenix!! Okay color this human ecstatically happy! Charlie will only be two hours from me-his Nannie. Melissa is having some strong emotions about this move since she has been in LA since 1997. She will leave lots of very close friends that make up the village who have been there for her while she fostered and adopted Charlie. They are family. But hopefully not too far away for visits.

Fourth, my great niece Kali will be coming down from Phoenix to stay with us for several days, and we will begin her Tucson indoctrination – haha. Phoenix and Tucson are so very different. Phoenix is the big metropolis with freeways, concrete and asphalt, tall glass towers, and very oppressive heat. As is typical of a city like Phoenix there is a lot of things to do. Tucson is also a big city, but because of a our surrounding mountains ranges our weather is not quite as hot. Don’t get me wrong it is hot here but rarely will Tucson have temps over 115. Phoenix does.

Anyone who visits needs to drive up to Mount Lemmon, and we plan to bring Kali up there for yummy cookies, homemade fudge, and a visit to the Living Rainbow gift shop. Also a ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain (over 9000′) and a trip to Sabino Canyon to play in the creek and have a picnic. Tucson has avoided expanses of freeways; some of us regret that, others are glad for it. Our mountains may not be Colorado mountains but they get enough snow for skiing in the winter and a right out my front door.

So we plan to introduce Tucson to Kali in all of its laid back coolness.

So this month will be hot and busy. But that is life.

Cheers!

-N

Boosting that post!

Book lovers are so cool!

On my Facebook author page I posted a piece, with photo, about my huge bookshelf hubby built for me, and mentioned I am soon needing another one for a different wall. Then I boosted it to my standard audience.

Well…the response has been amazing to say the least.

As of now over 4500 people have seen it, over 400 reacted, with dozens of comments and shares. I feel like I got a big ole hug from an international audience. Fantastic feeling!

There are plenty of book lovers out there who appreciate my collection and the room my hubby has set up for me. It has comfy seating, plants in front of the window, a shelf of memorabilia of my beloved late father, and displayed photos of my precious children, my grandson, and other family members. Its a cool space.

It was a thrill to hear from others about collections of books and how they love their books. One fun thing were the readers who noticed Cleo sitting on the love seat in the photo. I even had a women in the UK who offered me some books from 3000 her parents left her! How cool is that?!

With the increase in digital book purchases (I admit I am one of those, too) I feel the real thing is getting left behind unless true book lovers and collectors like myself make sure to keep a library. The joy I feel when I look at my books, re-read a favorite author, share a special part from one of them with someone, or open my glass cabinet with my very old tomes and sniff the air inside, is immeasurable and gives me comfort. Those books have inspired me, they’ve provided character names and locales for a story. They have provided necessary historical data so my stories are accurate no matter who would peruse them.

I love to share the special finds I’ve made at used book sales or used book stores (I love how those places smell!) because you never know what might have been left inside a favored copy of essays or poems. I once found a clipping of review of the book I bought written in the 1930’s, and I found a photo from the end of war in the Pacific in a used World War II historical atlas.

Take a moment and look at the post. I would love to know your impressions my fine followers!

Cheers!

-N

https://www.facebook.com/NancyTurnerVaughn

Snaps and whistles

I was remembering when I learned to whistle and snap. These actions seemed to cross us over a special boundary of human muscle control. Children are captivated by someone snapping or whistling.

Have you watched a child try to snap? They imitate the action but the sound isn’t there, frustrating them in their efforts. They watch your fingers, then they watch their own but something isn’t working and they know it. I adore observing this process of physical learning. What is it that happens in their brain that figures out the dynamic of friction necessary to make that cool sound?

And a whistle? There are a few grown ups who still cannot whistle – astounding as that may seem to us natural whistlers. I can whistle the regular way. I also have my football game whistle, two fingers together and it makes everyone around me cover their ears.

Lauren Bacall said it best “just put your lips together and blow” and that made Humphrey Bogart her slave!! Just awesome the power of a whistle.

After potty training, learning to snap and whistle are huge steps in growing up – right up there with learning to read and write.

Can you whistle? Do you remember learning to snap?

Cheers!

-N

Do Not Disturb

Some people don’t seem to understand what it takes to focus on writing. Just because the music is playing and I am walking around talking to myself doesn’t mean I am not in a writing zone and it’s okay to barge in and start chatting. I am seriously thinking I need a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door.

Some people need silence, solitude – space to make the words flow and the jumble of thoughts to become a cohesive body of narrative. Me, not so much. That works at times I’ve found, especially when I am editing. In most cases I have music – all kinds of music – filling my work room. I dance, pace, wander, talk to no one, and fiddle with my muse.

Right now the playlist is soul/pop from the last forty years. Prince, Jimmy Luxury, Michael Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, The Temptations. Whoa baby, digging it.

Then the interruptions….

Thus the blog refuge to focus my mind on creating and my fingers a needed a warm up – you get me?

 

Had a fun thing happen yesterday while hubby and I were gardening. Lots of soil was moved, reseeding the back yard and planting flower seeds by the pond. I asked if the spa was hot and he said yes, and I replied after this day we need a soak and alcohol, and who knew what next. He agreed and by 8:30 pm we were in the hot water, staring at the stars, planning our next adventures. It was splendid. In my mind I thought “I’m going to use this in a story!”

Isn’t that great when that happens?

We have introduced Cleo to the outdoors and she is digging it. She has gotten big enough and savvy enough to know to stay near the house while she explores. One interesting aspect is Millie, as the big sister German Shepherd, pays attention to her and when she gets out of Millie’s sight the search is on. Millie kind of whines as she tries to find the wee cat, only calming when she is back. So adorable.

They are so cute and are pretty good buddies. Cleo loves Millie’s big swishey GSD tail, and Millie will nudge and lick Cleo when she is laying on the floor. Their food bowls are in the same place separated by a water bowl they share. 

We had Jake for a while but he went back to his family once they were again able to house him, much to Jake’s happiness.

I have always liked having a dog and a cat. I love the difference in the two animals, and they both nourish the variety of pet lover needs I have. Chuck and I are both this way.

So now the words are flowing. Time to ease back into the past as Jude Tremaine arrives at Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory. It could very well be a bloody night in the mountains around him. Ready for a rowdy ride, a betrayal, and a heartbreaking loss? Volume II of The Tremaines is in progress. Pray for no more interruptions unless the house is burning down or the wine is running out.

Cheers!

-N

 

Looking for a price break!

I’m kind of a picky television watcher. I rarely ever watch network programming. There is nothing I am remotely interested in. Hubby watches very few as well*. Evidently we aren’t typical. Who knew??

I was talking to the loyalty department at Comcast, since we have been with them since 2002, about finding a way to reduce my bill, and she asked about the programs we watch. I said, “Outside of Netflix and Hulu right?” she sighed and said yes. I had to think about it since most of the programs hubby and I watch are usually on our DVR and we watch when we are ready.

Me: SYFY, Discovery, History, National Geographic, Destination America, TCM, PBS, BBC America.

Him: Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, NBC*, PBS (British mystery/drama programs), PAC12.

I think she was stumped. We didn’t fit into any package plan.

After quite a while she was able to reduce my bill by $15. Not enough but better. After talking to hubby we are still looking at cost reducing options. I really, REALLY like their internet.

So the saga continues.

Cheers!

-N