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.




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.



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.”



A Catalina Party

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus, primarily because I was struggling with inspiration for any kind of writing. The stresses of life hit me like a category five hurricane. Thoughts and ideas were destroyed like 200 mph winds throw around a metal shed, and rip off the roof. The next step in my story plot was washed away from my mind like the storm surge will swipe the surface of the ground away, debris lost to the tides. I have struggled, cried, complained, and spent quiet time in thought. Where can I start? Author Twist Phelan gave me a suggestion, to start with just a paragraph, so that is what I am doing. This is Nancy fighting back, rebuilding the house, pumping out the water, throwing away the ruined furniture, and repainting.


Last Saturday I held a farewell party for my nephew, Austin, who is leaving for Army basic training. He is actually my great nephew but I never make those distinctions. This party was important to me for a couple of reasons. The first is I was there when Austin was born. I helped his mom be calm through a difficult delivery. I watched as he was helped to take his first breaths, when he made his first cries, and when he peed on his dad.

Austin has always been important to me.


He has struggled with some poor life choices, let the wrong people influence him, dealt with abuse, and turned the corner to focus on a direction that is healthy, both physically and emotionally. He has found his spiritual voice giving him a strength to release detrimental humans in his life. I am incredibly proud of him.

The party was here at my house, in the “party yard” and was filled with family and friends who came to celebrate this step in his future.


The music was rocking, the kids were running, the drinks were flowing, the food was plentiful, the ice cream was homemade, and the cake was Army cammo.

Once the sun went down the bonfire was lit and the little ones were entertained by waving sparklers.

Austin represented third and fourth generations at the party – how cool is that! He was able to tease and chase his young cousins. He had cousins present who were older by a decade to as young as a year old. He had friends there who grew up with him. It was perfect.


I took a moment to share with everyone how proud I was of him and to give him a cheer.






It was fun. I think he was a bit surprised at the whole thing.


He will leave for basic training on October 2nd. But he will stay in our hearts and minds as he serves his country and makes us all proud! dsc0043.jpgSo I leave you with this special picture of Austin and I, and the party.

This is a Catalina AZ party!



Mom brain

I use Marco Polo to video chat with my kids and hubby. It is an easy app that works like a video walkie-talkie. It’s great to see their faces while chatting, and I have the app on my tablet and phone.

I had a chat with my son last night that was a bit unnerving. We were talking about them preparing for Hurricane Irma who is now a category 5 and is likely to hit Florida. My kids live in Orlando. The governor of Florida has declared the entire state in emergency status.

Our family are still dealing with damage and clean up of my aunt and her children who live in the Houston area. Waiting for updates was stressful. Watching Harvey hover over Seabrook was scary. Even a hurricane prone region with time tested preparation can only handle so much water and wind.

My son and daughter-in-law are living in our 5th wheel in an RV park. It is water tight so rain isn’t an issue, but the wind is the nemesis of a trailer. He was talking about locating the nearest shelters, storing important documents and possessions, asking us to check on our insurance coverage: it gave me pause. My first thought was a mom thought “I have to go to him!” but then the reality of the situation expanded in my mind and that’s the last thing he needs.

He is a smart man, with common sense. If he needs to he will talk to his dad about the details, and take care of his wife and himself. I know this rationally, but my mother brain wants to protect him. He’s my baby. It would be no different with my daughter. I’ve told hubby if a big earthquake happened in LA I would go. But…she is strong and smart, and unless she calls I would be in the way.

Yet, it is hard to stay here. I will pray and wait.



Finding solitude

I’ve never been a fan of rising early unless it was to catch a flight to Hawaii. I was always the kid that slept in on Saturday mornings. I always waited until the last moment to get out of bed to get ready for work. I loved lying abed.

However since my mom moved in I have found the early morning, all by myself with my coffee and my tablet, is treasure for my sanity. Hubby sleeps until 8 since he gets off work at 11pm and is home by midnight. It takes him an hour or so to slow his mind and decompress so he is usually in bed by 2am.

In my morning solitude I read, feed the birds and the dogs, and listen to the early sounds of the neighborhood waking. On weekdays this includes the sounds of school buses, the garbage trucks, and people leaving for work. I imagine myself sitting on a porch beside the ocean or a mountain lake, trekking through Paris searching for a meal or stopping in a pub in Ireland for conversation and laughter.

Sometimes my mind plans home improvement ideas and the standard “if I won the lottery” schemes. Occasionally mom and Chuck are up and moving around at the same time, but there are those days that my care giving doesn’t start until 8:30 or 9am. Those are wonderful mornings.





My new normal

My mother moved into a room in my house last Saturday.  She is 87, and is legally blind, has trouble with her knee, and requires a bit of supervision which she was paying for in the place she was living. It is not cheap.

Her room is a large bedroom with a handicap access bathroom. Lots of hand holds next to the toilet and in the tub. A shower chair is installed, and there is room for her to move about with her walker. It is coming together for her, and the days are slowly falling into a routine, for both of us. She has a very advanced case of macular degeneration so she does require help figuring out the remote for the television, connecting her phone to the charger, finding items in her room, and other things that are part of daily living.

I am with her 24/7, and I will admit after three days I needed some away time. Tuesday morning I took off and went to the store. All by myself. I grabbed a mocha frap with an extra espresso shot, bought six bottles of wine, and spent an hour wandering the store. It was very relaxing and once I was home my attitude was chipper!

Today I took another time to myself. A trip to Gadabout for waxing and stuff, another relaxing alone time.

This is how I will keep my sanity-having alone time. I have been known to retreat, hide out, and be in my own head to repair my psyche. I am fine on my own, alone, and exploring.

My mother is a person who requires the presence of others for conversation and not being alone. She has always been thus. She spends lots of time on the phone chatting up everyone she has a number for, and we have to make sure the filter is on – the “just because you are in the house doesn’t mean everyone needs to know our business” filter. Another thing we are working with her on is that her bedroom is a private space and we have no need or desire to know and hear what she is watching on TV, that she is in the bathroom, or changing clothes. The door must be closed!!!

This is my new normal. Fortunately my hubby is a kind and patient man.




An adorable distraction

So many distractions. Not bad ones, but enough to make a new normal for a short time. My daughter and my grandson have been with us for a few days. Charlie is two and a half and very good at it. Someone was always on Charlie alert! “Tag you’re on Charlie alert!” We would laugh and get busy. My house is generally prepared for him, but there are still a few things he has to be watched over while he is near them.

Curiosity, energy, and fearlessness.

I was drinking from my water bottle and Charlie, who was eating graham crackers, came over and wanted a drink. Okay, no thinking about it I let him drink from it. Can you say backwash? Well that became his bottle and Nannie got a new one.

Poppa always has cool stuff to interest the little human. Feeding the dogs or building a porch, he had his own little shadow. Chuck is a good grandfather, and he connects to Charlie man to man.

Charlie has been to our place enough that he has started to remember things like the rack that holds the pots and pans, which bedroom is mine, which door goes to the dogs yard; all things imprinting on his memory. He also knows that if he runs up to me with his arms wide and calls “Nannie” I am a total sap. He pulls this pretty effectively with “Poppa” also.

We have had a very active monsoon in southern Arizona so far, nearly 4 inches of rain in the last couple of weeks, so my grass is lush and soft. Just perfect for a barefoot boy. He also discovered the joys of playing in a big puddle. Big rocks make big splashes and makes Momma and Nannie jump – much to his glee. I think in a few years we will have a tree climber on our hands. He really wanted to get up in the branches.

Last Saturday we went to a birthday party in Phoenix. My niece’s little boy turned one. The coolest part was that I brought my mother along and she sat with her littlest great grandchildren for a priceless picture. They call her GG and we realized that the two older ones are the only ones who will probably remember GG.  I am so joyful when I hear Charlie say GG.

The progress of our family relationship with him keeps my mind excited, and my heart fully engaged with love.