I did it for the first time!

Yes I did, and I can admit I was nervous. 

     Would it look silly? What if my idea was laughable? Would others appreciate it?

I ordered photo Christmas cards and a self inking address stamp! I am so proud of myself. Every year I get those from friends and family, loving the new pics and wishing I had my act together to do it for hubby and I.

But this year I did, a bit behind the date but I hope the folks who receive one will enjoy it and want to keep it. I must have dozens of these I’ve saved for years. They are so special and some come with a newsy letter. I have them in a manila envelope and plan to make albums for them.

My card this year has hubby, me and Charlie in Santa hats, wearing Christmas light necklaces. We went to my daughter’s house and took the pics in front of her tree. Such fun to corral an almost four year old with unlimited energy in front of a decorated tree, trying to get him to leave the hat on, let go of the lights, stand up, smile, etc., but we managed to take some very fun photos. I think this will be our tradition, hubby and I with grandkid/s in Santa hats and Christmas light necklaces.

We also got some of Charlie and his momma too. They are sweet and funny, but one was of momma giving him “the look” when he wandered off and wouldn’t listen, and we laughed outloud when we saw it. I told her she needed to make a poster of it and put it in her classroom 😉👌.

I used Shutterfly for the cards and it was pretty easy. Now I hope to get them addressed and out before Christmas!

Fourteen days until Christmas Eve. Get those gifts wrapped, hire someone to clean the house, put up the lights, finish the cooking and baking, learn the songs for the Christmas Eve service, keep writing and sewing.

I’ve got this. 🤞🎄

Cheers!

-N

 

 

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When did that happen?

One thing my hubby and I are proud of is we raised two kids who grew into successful, responsible adults.

They have jobs, they pay their bills, they do life and take care of business. This is our crowning achievement in parenting. They moved out and made a life for themselves. I’ve looked back at my life and found there are some benchmarks we all must meet which indicate we are making progress toward adulthood. See if you agree.🤷‍♀️

Blowing your nose, going to the bathroom by yourself, whistling and snapping your fingers, figuring out colors- letters-numbers-shapes, blowing out birthday candles, starting school. Those are the biggies for our wee ones that show their brains are growing along with their bodies.

Then there is tweens and teens 😕. Angst and hormones, tears and sulking. Yes the good old days when hubby and I had to keep reminding ourselves that their problems are just as important to them as writing a check for groceries you hope won’t clear until payday Friday was to us. Yet somewhere along the way you manage to get a drivers license, for girls a period, for boys wet dreams. You start dreaming of becoming a. . . well don’t know yet , you run out of gas, get a flat tire, get a kiss, go on a date, have a crush, figure out what classes you need to graduate, think about the future again, successfully take a road trip, graduate and either get a job or go to college. 🎓

Looking back I wish I had been more tenacious about school and less worried about having a boyfriend. I wish I had read more books, learned another language and to play piano so I could accompany myself singing.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – my daughter and her friends played it as a drinking game. But it is reality. 🍸

Then the big things start to come at you. A career? A marriage? A child? Buy a house? Move away? Figuring out friends are family too and the connections you want to make become clearer. Now you realize you have too much debt, need to go on a diet, how much do you spend on TV/Internet/Cell phone, getting insurance-all kinds, watch your kids start blowing their noses.

So we laugh, find the reality and put on our big girl/boy pants and make life happen.

Cheers!

-N

Are Christmas Cards Passé?

I have a collection of Christmas cards that come from several years. They were the last one or two left in the box, unused. I have counted them and I found I have no need to purchase cards this year. The leftovers will take care of my needs. I don’t send out nearly as many I did in the past. It seems cards aren’t the thing they once were.

My mother-in-law, like many of her generation sent out dozens of cards often with school photos, a Christmas letter or both.  They kept track of friends who have moved away, family in distant places, and acquaintances who were now only “Christmas card friends.”  Do you read the Christmas letters when you get one?

This Saturday hubby and I will be meeting our daughter to take a photo with our grandson. This photo will be included in our Christmas cards for close friends and family. My daughter was teasing that instead of being in the picture she will be taking it! We will, however, be taking photos of her and Charlie for her own Christmas greetings.

When we get photo cards (I never get around to getting those made😜) I save them. They are precious records of people I care about. One day I plan to put them in a scrap book showing how families have grown up.

I remember mailing fifty cards (hubby and I each signed them,) hoping the addresses were correct and if returned would include a forwarding address. Now most of these have been replaced with Facebook and Instagram holiday greetings.

Will the actual cards become a thing of the past?

What will USPS do with all those holiday themed stamps?

Cheers!🍸🍷

-N

Human behavior – puzzling, baffling, stupid.

We have lived in Catalina, Arizona since January 1991. We have seen this rural area slowly become developed as a bedroom community for Tucson, spreading north into Pinal county, and south toward Oro Valley on the north end of the Tucson city limits.

We moved out here to get our kids away from the growing gang threat and gun violence in the southern part of Tucson where we lived. We would be in bed, listening to gun shots, and the constant police helicopter and vehicle presence in our neighborhood.

My young son was harassed, bullied, beat up, and was being forced to adapt in the 2nd grade. These little gangsters were targeting boys like my son, a mellow, kindhearted fella and he was changing, withdrawing, and was happy only when he was at home with family. I was frightened for him.

My lovely, 8th grade, ginger haired, freckle faced daughter endured teasing, bullying, sexual and racial harassment while trying to enjoy school. She always liked school. It hadn’t been a problem for her prior to entering junior high.

We started looking for property and with the hand of providence my husband found an advertisement for the acre we now own. The acre had two little mesquite trees, was nice and flat, and was very near the Santa Catalina mountains. A perfect spot for us. Melissa had been commuting to a different high school where she had several good friends so she was in her junior year when we moved, Aaron was in 4th grade. We have been here since then watching the area grow up, people moving in, and developers building housing developments. It still has a rural feel to it.

Fast forward to the first of this month. I got a call from my neighbor Sandi asking if my dog Millie was inside and when I confirmed she was, she said to keep her in because there were a pack of pit bulls that had attacked and killed her next door neighbors two alpacas, and she was holding a gun on the pack to stop their attack on her neighbors horse. It was a killing field and my neighbor was heartbroken and furious. She had called 911 twice and was waiting, gun in hand, for the sheriff who took about two hours to arrive.

The people who own the pack exercise no control over these animals. These dogs escape and roam the neighborhood at will, harassing and fighting with animals that are securely and responsibly contained. This behavior has altered some of these otherwise tame animals, provoking aggression in them. When these irresponsible pet owners are called to come get their animals they always have an excuse. They do not get these animals fixed so it is a puppy mill at that place. Just this past Saturday the ringleader, a large white one, was out roaming and fence fighting. At this point there has been nothing done other than the three who carried out the attack were removed, but have since been returned to them. Animal control has yet to interview the alpaca owners, the neighbor who witnessed the attack, or any of us who have witnessed this repeat behavior.

I worry that one day the news people will be out here interviewing us because this pack got out again and attacked a human. We will tell them of the lack of response from the appropriate authorities, and maybe something will be done. Please God, don’t let that happen!

Be a responsible pet parent. Get your animals spayed/neutered, train them, and keep them under control. Everyone will be happy, especially your animal.

Cheers!

-N

 

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

 

 

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

 

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