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

 

 

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Pulled by Clem and Carl, but Carl bites

Saturday October 20th hubby and I had a day trip to Tombstone, Arizona with our daughter and our grandson. What a trip!

It was Helldorado Days in Tombstone which means it’s a TombstoneCon. Everywhere you looked there were people in 1800’s dress. You know what I mean: women in long fancy dresses with bustles, wigs and facinator hats, and black garbed men in western dusters, handlebar mustaches, and lots of guns.

Chuck’s contribution was his black hat, snap button shirt, jeans and boots. He looked pretty handsome with his rattlesnake tooth bolo tie.

The attendees stayed in character as they roamed the boardwalks. The faux Wyatt Earp’s tipped their hats to the ladies and nodded to the men as they passed.

The streets were filled with horse and mule pulled wagons, re-enactors doing gunfights, and cowboy stories played out in the middle of Allen Street. There were even belly dancers (my grandson thought that was hilarious.) They had the town park set up so little buckaroos could get rid of excess energy, and for a price you could watch the cowboys do the Hollywood version of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Two horse drawn wagons and one mule drawn circled the town, with a driver narrated history of Tombstone. The mules were brown, and the horses were a pair of black and a pair of white.

Charlie had fun breaking in his new boots, saying hi to everyone then shooting them with his finger gun, and his most favorite was his ride in the red Conestoga wagon pulled by Clem and Carl. He liked them because they were white horses. The nice fella who set us up with our ride asked Charlie if he wanted to pet the horses. Charlie was nervous since it was his first up close to a horse and they were way bigger than he expected. The guy said to pet Clem cause Carl bites. He hesitated but with his mom’s help he rubbed Clem’s face and then wanted down, it was time to start the ride!

After our ride we went for lunch, and had to wait a few minutes to get in which gave us a chance to watch all the people walking around.

I think the best part for me was being with my daughter. She’s a very fun person and a great mother.

 

 

By the time we got back to the car, and passed the border patrol check point Charlie was passed out. About five minutes.

We all had a good time.

Last pic was taken by Charlie of his momma.

Cheers!

-N

Fading away, but starting fresh

My house is slowly losing the strongly imprinted energy of a human who resided there for years.

My mother.

She and dad moved in with hubby and I in 2000 after dad had a really bad stroke. He passed in 2002, and mom stayed for several years after he died. During part of that time she spent five years in a retirement community before coming back to us – she had physical needs costing a chunk of change each month. She moved back into the room she lived in with dad, and refreshed her energy in that space.

Now she has moved on, her physical body is resting with dad in a shared spot. They are, in our minds, together again. So the energy is fading ever so gradually.

The room, their room, is changing into a guest room with a University of Arizona theme. The walls are being painted cardinal red and navy blue. The furnishings will be different. The bedding and wall hangings conforming to the theme.

Yet…she and my father will still reside in this room that was originally built for them. Dad and mom’s UA sports memorabilia will fill the walls, joining the items we have and the things our daughter, a UA alum, is loaning us. Although the room will look strikingly different from the cozy room she passed away in, she and dad will be back.

Their human energy will fade, but memories will be nurtured for future generations to remember two cool people.

Cheers! and Bear Down,

-N

 

 

 

A change has happened

In June my mother was diagnosed with small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), a very aggressive non curable form of this dreaded disease. It took four months for it to do it’s cruel work. On September 18th she passed away peacefully in her bed, surrounded by family. Her life slipped away after a week of steady visits from family and friends showering her with love and affection, and the cancer won this battle – but God won the war. Her strong faith reassured us she was resting in paradise.

Her funeral was special. Many people complimented the family on how personal and uplifting it was, and that they came to know mom better from it. There were stories told, songs sung, laughing, tears, and a profound sense of peace afterward. She would have loved the reception catered by her favorite restaurant, It’s Greek To Me. Family and friends gathered for a few hours, taking time to remember her, picking out favored mementos and keepsakes, sitting in the peacefulness of her now vacant room, and being together – just like she would have wanted.

Now my new normal has started. Clearing out the things left behind, donations of clothes, shoes, furniture, and medical equipment arranged, financial arrangements to be conducted, and the last of the funeral expenses to be paid. Then I have a room to convert from an elderly woman’s apartment to a guest room.

I still sense her.

Loading the dishwasher I sense her standing beside me, or a glance toward her room I expect to see her walk out, or sitting with hubby watching TV and listening for the distinct shuffle of her steps. She is imprinted in this place. I know she has gone on but her human energy is still active. I think it will be for a while.

So now we move on. My sisters and I have no parents. My children are down to one grandfather. But we have family connections I hope will stay strong after this loss. Time to get back to my routine – my new normal.

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

Fly sweet spirit.

This morning a beautiful woman transitioned from this world to the next.

Chuck’s mother, Elaine Vaughn, is out of pain and no longer suffering. This amazing woman worked hard all her life, living in mining towns in Papua New Guinea, as well as rural Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. She lived to see both of her siblings go before her. This planet released to the heavens a special soul.

Please remember the Vaughns in your prayers.

-N

Potty training as a writing distraction

Yes you read that correctly. Hubby and I spent the last weekend helping our daughter with potty training our three year old grandson. He needs to be trained for day care and preschool and it made me realize how similar housebreaking a puppy and potty training a toddler can be.

  • Puppy: regularly taking them outside to do their business, lots of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for them taking the position prior to the deed.
  • Toddler: regularly taking them to the toilet, lot’s of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for the pee/poop position signs.

Yeah it’s pretty similar.

Toddler couldn’t care less about the whole process and get bored, however the puppy wants to please the adored pet parents. So the biggest difference comes into play – convincing toddlers, by negotiation, this is a good thing for them. Easier said than done my friends.

It took us a few tries before the perfect negotiating tool revealed itself. He can only ride the school bus from day care to preschool if he goes potty in the toilet! This kid is crazy for buses. So…the task was on. He was spending the weekend with us while his mom, who is a teacher at a new school, was setting up her new classroom, running a bunch of errands, and having some peaceful nights sleep before the hectic school season starts.

Hubby and I have this-right? Charlie calls his grandfather Poppa and I am Nannie. He was having a good time with us and we started doing the potty breaks.

 “Charlie, let’s try to go pee in the potty.”

     “No.”

     “Let’s just try, remember you have to potty on the toilet to ride the bus.”

     Insert big sigh here and he goes with the person who initiated the topic.

Poppa and I tag teamed this, and the first day (Friday afternoon) there were some accidents, not unexpected. Then it became a watching game. We kept our eyes on him since he was wearing big boy underwear, not pull ups, so no leak barrier.

We didn’t let him carry a cup full of juice around all the time because we were watching the I/O on the little human. He had a busy day, and actually did the deed in the toilet. When he discovered Poppa stands up to pee, he refused to do it in the potty chair. He wanted to stand up-it’s what guys do.

He woke the next morning with a dry pull up, got up, got some breakfast, said he had to pee and proceeded to pee like a race horse. Damn we were proud. This kid might be a genius. He was having fun, playing with Hot Wheels, and I was talking to his mom. I looked into the kitchen when I spotted him crouched down, sort of hiding, and very still. This is not good. It took only a few steps toward him to smell it. Yeah one of those. At this age they poop like adults and it’s a gag fest.

As the day went on he was telling us the pee thing, and didn’t do another #2 (thank God,) and we felt he was getting it. He went to bed that night, awoke again with a dry pull up, same routine as Saturday morning. We went to church, he wore big boy undies, and got lots of reminders about telling Sunday School teacher if he needed to pee/poop. Got out of service and went to pick him up-no accidents, not issues-woohoo! Met his mom for the hand-off and she had a good afternoon with him.

Today same morning as the last two. Except he didn’t pee before going to day care (insert here he is in a class for fully potty trained three year olds) where he proceeded to have three accidents. Okay so we jumped the gun on this one. But this kid has the idea, it will happen. At this age the focus when having fun and playing is not there. Plus it was a new place and maybe he thought the only place he had to do the potty stuff was with Poppa and Nannie and mom.

So it was interesting, my hubby was a rock star, Charlie is going to figure it out, and his mom will be able to ditch the diaper bag.

The moral of this story-I didn’t do any writing, none.

Cheers!

-N

Is it a romance novel?

Well…I guess it has romance.

It’s a question I get when I’m asked about two of my books. How do I explain it is a genre mix? My books have good, well researched history of dress, speech, locale, conveyance, and real historical figures merged appropriately into the setting of my books. That is of huge importance to me as a HistNerd.

Yep, made that one up!

That being said, I do incorporate the human side. Family, love, struggle, conflict, all the parts of who humans become as we live. Yeah, there is sex. However it is not erotica by any stretch. I don’t do gratuitous in any media I access. But my stories are sexy. I love sexy people; what they think, how they move, how they speak, the way they touch. Sexy is fun. However these two stories are set in a time when there was no deodorant, shampoo, washing machines, toothpaste, and tampons. Women had body hair, men had even more. You get me right?

I don’t avoid these things in my historical writing. It’s how it was.

The settings are fleshed out to give the reader easy access to the time period. With language it is important to be precise in order to drive the reader into the feel of a relationship. I do describe dress both male and female, as well as room decor to pull out who the people in the story are and what their lives are like. Are they rich? Do they have servants and how many servants would this person have in their lifestyle of the time period? Do they struggle to feed their children? Do they have to work and what would that work look like. It is a disservice to readers to give 2018 attitudes to women and men of the 1880’s.

Likewise forcing the language of the 21st century on 19th century characters diminishes the powerful effect of the communication of people of that time. They wrote letters, they kept journals, and they read newspapers, all part of human interaction and understanding. I love it!

So when you read about two proud individuals who are forced into a farce of a marriage, they still adhere to the standards of the day. When you read of a woman who is used by a man to gain favors and blackmail, she is a victim, but in the time there would be no rescue for her.

I am a mixed genre author and reader.

Cheers!

-N

1 X 4 X 9

1 by 4 by 9, the dimensions of the monolith.

The first time I watched the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” it confused me. It didn’t help that it was a drive-in and I was stoned. After a clearheaded second viewing I still wasn’t sure on the point of the story behind the monolith.

By a stroke of luck I came across a copy of the book. My mind was blown. The beautifully artful piece of cinema was compelling, but it didn’t go through the details of the book enough to deliver the powerful punch the book landed.

Years later I was listening to the broadcast of our local public radio which, for a time, had narration of select books. The book I listened to was “2010: Odyssey Two” and it captivated me. After listening to it, I went out and found the book for my library. I read it several more times, before I heard it was being made into a movie. Interesting.

As with 2001, the film version of 2010 was a bit different from the book, some parts left out, but for the most part the storyline it delivered was enough information to uncover everything. I was curious how two aspects would be presented on film-the discoveries on Europa and the supernova of Jupiter. The first had the suspense of the book, but for the second the book description dealt the shock and intensity more fully than the film.

Still…these two books and movies are repeat go to’s for me.

I also completed my hardback “Odyssey” collection of four books in my library.

It always improves the experience, I feel, to absorb the book before, during, or after enjoying the film version.

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