A new cast member

I am so proud to announce that I am officially a grandmother! My daughter has been in the foster to adopt process for this last year, and last week the process was finalized and Melissa became the legal mother to my adorable grandson Charlie Vaughn.

The experience was amazing, I shed a few tears. Judge Soto was wonderful and shared the joy of the occasion with us. He has stuffed animals in his court room to give to the children. Once everything was completed he welcomed us up to take photos. Charlie did very well through out the whole thing.

In fact, when the judge asked Melissa to raise her right hand to swear in Charlie was on board with that as you can see in the pic below.

It was so wonderful because several people who are part of the village that participate in his life in California were there to support my daughter. This made me so proud of her, that she is the kind of person who elicits this response of loyalty in her friends.

Living in a different state I am glad to know she has a network of good humans nearby. As a teacher, she also works with a good group of people who understand when she has to be gone to do the “mom” thing with a sick child.

Here’s another cute pic showing the love between them.

From the first she felt an attachment to Charlie as newborn foster child. Her landlord fosters infants so Melissa was used to babies being around. But this little man was different and her heart got involved.

I met him when he was two months old and fell in love. God meant him for us.

Our joy is shared by our extended family as well. They were all so excited for Melissa and Charlie, ready to graft him permanently into the family tree. My son Aaron and daughter-in-law Chelsea are ready to spoil their new nephew. Of course no spoiling from me, haha!

I am Nannie and Chuck is Poppa.

We are family!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Books, life, and high school

I’m sitting here with three chapters written, ten chapters plotted, and at least half of the story laid out on paper. This feels good.

Also on my plate, is the design and construction of a cosplay costume for my daughter-in-law. So the creative muse is very busy.

My own personal deadlines for each project are good for me. I need these and work well in this situation. I always have. I am good at spreading a project out, making timelines, seeing what needs to happen next, and looking forward to the thrill of completion.

Time works when I have plenty to do. That saying “if you want something done, give it to a busy person,” well that is me. When I am busy, I am very productive.

Recently I have connected with some people from my high school years. I went to two different high schools, changing between sophomore and junior years. Sunnyside was a big school where I, as a new kid, could fade into the background and find my niche. The second school, Flowing Wells, was a smaller school where it seemed everyone had grown up together and had long histories, and the new kid was on probation. These classmates from Flowing Wells are the ones I am meeting. I express it this way because I never knew these folks when I was in school. I really didn’t know many of the students at all.  Getting to know them and hearing their stories has helped with some bitterness I had about the school. They are very nice people and I hope to have more chances to get together.

At both schools I was involved in drama and music. I was fortunate enough to have some wonderful instructors and my enthusiasm for these subjects helped ease me through the troublesome high school times. I’ve used my high school experiences as fodder for my writing. In fact my short story “The Green Bag” has a few scenes colored from personal experiences at Flowing Wells, and drawn into the fiction of the story.

I think this is why I love to tell stories. My grandmother, my beautiful Nannie, was a story teller. In a scene from The Walton’s the grandmother tells John Boy that her people would gather in the evenings and tell all kinds of stories and she intended to pass these stories on to him. Nannie did this with her children and grandchildren, with the result that we all have our “Nannie” stories.

My cousin Niki and I have written down one of our most favorite about a family of bears, and I hope one day that it will be published. It would be a wonderful tribute to Nannie, and a wonderful opportunity for other children to hear the story that captivated us.

Books. I have over a thousand in my personal library. It is something I hope to hand over to my children as a heritage. Writing, story telling, books-they are part of me. But the best part is sharing them with an eager reader. Don’t you agree?

Cheers!

-N

I’m back!!

Greetings all!

I am back from ten days spent caring for my grandson, and back to good internet service. He and I had a good time, lots of chasing a little human, flying body hugs, cleaning up messes, laundry, and all the assorted things that go with caring for a toddler.

It kind of kept me on my toes. Yet I had an advantage by his attendance at daycare. It is already paid for since he is still in the foster to adopt system, at least for a few more months, so I was able to get a lot of things done for my daughter while she was off chaperoning 15 eighth graders to Washington DC and NYC. Some grocery shopping, cleaned a lot, and got all her laundry done. Ran some errands for her, as well as having fun with the little man when he was with me.

Charlie is fearless. He would run to the little kid slides and climbing things, but once he was into it all he wanted to do was get on the big kid stuff. I was blown away by his balance and strength. He wasn’t fazed by the height, (not like me) and he liked the fast slides. But…he also really like covering himself in the sand. All I could think as I watched him roll around in it was ring worm, and kitty litter! Little humans get really dirty when they play.

I did discover the internet at her place was not a good as mine. It seemed to run intermittently, sometimes being very strong, then a moment later it was off. I mean as in my laptop saying no internet service. Very frustrating when trying to blog, email, and do research online.

Thus, I never got to do a blog post.

Well I am back, and after a couple of days of being sick once I got home, I am online, cleaning up after hubby being home by himself for ten days, and getting lots of love from Millie and Jake.

Cheers!

-N

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.

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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

 

 

Crazy and fun weekend!

Last week, hubby and I rented a very cute and fuel efficient Ford Focus to drive to So Cal for our grandson’s second birthday festivities. We left Thursday early afternoon and arrived in the San Fernando Valley that night. We managed to hit Phoenix I-10 gridlock, but missed LA traffic. Our bed was adequate, not perfect, but it would do. Thankfully I remembered to bring an Ambien to ward off the sleeping in a different place insomnia. Hubby and I were tired and ready to relax.

Ha!

My daughter told us there were 52 humans who had RSVP’d!! I looked at my daughter with gaping mouth. She said of the 52 she expected 14 children. OMG!

Friday morning we got up early enough to see Charlie before he went to daycare and then the rest of the day was spent taking care of some legal stuff on our part for the foster/adoption thing and birthday party prep.

Did I say she expected 52?

Chuck was tasked with making a cut out frame for party selfies, a birthday banner, a bean bag toss game thing, and putting stickers on cups. I made 72 cupcakes. Red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla, with frosting. I also made a small cake for Charlie to demolish as is the custom with birthdays for little humans.

Melissa and Charlie got home and we had fun hanging with the munchkin. Gosh he is so cute and he has elastic arms so we spent a lot of our time keeping him out of the party stuff. At one point we gave in and took a bunch of bags to the cars for safe keeping. After he went to bed we opened a bottle of wine for the girls and a beer for hubby and proceeded to fill a crap load of goodie bags! Bed time for big humans.

Saturday. Party day. Chuck made a bunch of pigs-in-blankets so they would be warm for the party. We loaded the cars with pigs-in-blankets, cupcakes, goodie bags, selfie frame, bean bag game thing, Charlie, and headed out by 9am to do set up. My daughter’s good friends and landlords brought the helium and balloons, we got busy setting up and managed to be mostly ready for the first arrivals at 10am.

I did say she expected 52, right?

The party was held at the private school where my daughter teaches, just outside her classroom. There was a great covered area with tons of tables and next to it a huge grass lawn for little humans to run. Happy Birthday was sung, candle blown out, and Charlie was properly covered in chocolate after eating fistfuls of thickly iced cake. He looked like he had a beard, and was thoroughly happy and on a sugar buzz.

We were cleaned up and gone by 1pm. I was impressed. My heart was warmed by the wonderful friends of my daughter who are there to support and encourage her and Charlie in this life adventure of theirs. She is a fantastic person and it is obvious by the long-time good friends she has. We headed back to her place to unload and open gifts-what a haul! I took off and got us Cavaretta’s deli sandwiches for dinner. Yum!

Sunday morning was departure day for us. We got our stuff together though, as I found out after we got home, we left several things there. Breakfast was at Weiler’s, us, Melissa and Charlie, then it was time to come home.

It was fast and furious-Vaughn style.

Cheers!

-N

 

A chance to show off my skills

My daughter is a fan of Cons. You know those big events like Comi-Con, Gallifrey, etc. She is a big sci-fi fan, especially a certain regenerating character, so for the next one she is attending, she and her son are going to dress as Dr. Who and companion! It will be so cute, since Charlie will be two.

I have been tasked, willingly, to make his Doctor #10 and #11 costumes. I’ve never done anything like this. I am making a pajama pattern I’ve used before, so I’ve had to make adaptations to the pattern top to make it look like a suit jacket.

My daughter obtained the fabric in a pin stripe (#10) and tweed (11), and I have cut out the pieces and will start on it today.

I’m excited to see how it turns out.

I hope it fits!

Cheers!

-N

A new release!

Hey Y’all,

I am so excited to share a new release of mine on Amazon Kindle. This is a short story I’ve had mulling around in my brain, then writing and re-writing on the computer, then getting input from several people, and finally deciding it was going to stay a short story. I hope I portray these fictional humans in a realistic, feminine, sibling way. It might even help some men out there understand their wives and/or sisters.

It was one of those ideas that just popped into my head and before knew it was taking shape.

It is about the lives of two sisters, and is told from the perspective of the surviving sister. Sisters and their relationships are unique because of the difference in the way they see the world, although they have lived the same life experiences. There might be a few similarities from my own life.

Please check out this lovely story, and be sure to leave a review (you know how Amazon likes that) after you’ve read it.

P.S My hubby took the cover photo!

Cheers!

-N

Holiday insanity is over

My life is finally coming under my own control. Beginning the first of December I felt as though I was being let loose in a maze with no direction and doubtful resolution.

I started the month with a colonoscopy. Ugh, nasty thing, but I got a good report and don’t have to do it again for ten years! The prep is the worst, the procedure is no big deal since you are asleep. Wish I was asleep for a lot of other things. Then it was the eye doc and mammogram. I hate to admit this stuff because it’s old people crap.

Chuck started plans for a new deck on the north side of the house, running the length of the house, and will incorporate our spa. It is quite the undertaking, and as usual the two of us had “discussions” about what we wanted. Most of these things are done in sections since the construction budget is based on what we can afford when the bills are paid!

We also started working on rearranging the inside of the house, moving furniture and putting the television in the living room, installing in the old tv room large bookshelves that need sanding, wood filler, painting and molding. It’s lots of work to make it look rather like a built in. We are about halfway done with it. Also are planning to put in a wood stove in the same area, it will be a den filled with my beloved books.

We were very busy making Christmas gifts, two of which had to be mailed so the rush was on to finish them in time. We were also preparing the guest room for Melissa and Charlie who were coming for the holiday. I was trying to work on my newest book during all of this and feeling frustrated when I couldn’t spend time on it. I had about twenty pages of corrections, edits, new scenes and rewrites I had to finish. Also needed chapter numbers before I set up the format for publishing.

We planned to set Charlie’s pack & play in the sewing room/office giving Melissa her own digs but before they left for Catalina he got really sick with bronchitis. He was on the mend when they arrived but he did not want to be away from momma, so we moved his bed in the room with her. It was an interesting visit with a coughing, snuffy little man who moves constantly.

During her visit there was a lot of running around seeing people, shopping, having visitors at home and watching Charlie enjoy Christmas. It did take three of us to corral him! He is an amazing little guy, very bright, a bit mischievous, but we love him to bits.

During their time with us Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passed away. I will admit it made me feel very strange. Especially just after Alan Thicke passing, I felt very mortal.

The day after they returned to LA I came down with a stomach bug that hung around for three days. It was hellacious. Chuck and I managed to stay awake on New Years Eve long enough for 2017 to show up on the east coast. As far as the book, I did manage to finish the cover, format the text, so now I just need to submit for my proof.

I don’t know what to expect from this year, but I hope and pray for success, happiness, prosperity, and health for my family.

Cheers!

-N

 

Christmas wishes

I shared on Facebook something a friend had posted about what she wanted for Christmas from her kids. It spoke to me profoundly. She said she just wanted them.

I miss my kids. They live on opposite coasts and in different states from me. When my daughter Melissa started at the University of Arizona she moved out and never moved home again. After graduation in 1997 she moved from Tucson to Los Angeles and is in California still.

My son Aaron left for Northern Arizona University in 2001 and spent a couple of summer breaks at home, then moved to California to attend school there. He met his wife there and after about a year they moved to Oklahoma, then Texas and now will be living in  Florida.

I admit I am envious of mothers who live near their grown children. It would be wonderful to have them over for Sunday dinners, be able to share birthdays with them, and plan holidays together. Just being able to spontaneously go to a football game together or share a bonfire party would give me such pleasure.

So my Christmas wish is time with my children. To laugh, love, and spend precious moments together.

Cheers!

-N

December prep

December 2016 started with me dropping a couple of pounds thanks to a bowel prep for a colonoscopy. I don’t really mind the procedure itself since I’m in a propofol dream world when it is happening but its that nasty day before thing I hate. I sat in the bathroom watching Netfilx on my tablet. I have a whole new feeling for Ernest Saves Christmas! At least I got a good report and don’t need to revist this particular humiliation for ten years. It is an old people thing to have happen, one more thing to remind me I’m ageing and I hate it.

Christmas has arrived in my house!

We are decorated. christmas-tree-2016It was so special to take the entire Saturday, to cover my home with lights and color, listening to Christmas music, and making the house look festive. As I removed items from the storage tubs the memories associated with that particular piece filled my heart, they are occasionally bittersweet, but worth taking the time to remember the story for each one.

I have so many things to complete this month. Beside the natural holiday shopping, cooking, and gift wrapping, I am finishing my second book this month! Finishing it has been delayed thanks to a ten day trip to Florida, spending several weeks helping my sister prepare for a disability hearing, several pages of critical edits and so on.

This morning blogging and writing are the first items on my to do list.

Now I am looking forward to sharing the season with our soon to be grandson (hopefully the adoption will be done by March) and welcoming a new year which I hope will have many new adventures and new friends.

I’ll be in touch.

Cheers!

-N