New family member

Hey all! We got a cat.

Actually she is a wee kitten, rescued from an abandoned litter that was born in my nephew’s shed. She is a beautiful little polydactyl calico that we have named Cleo. I believe she was about 6-7 weeks old when my nephew found the four kittens. He did a Facebook post showing them and within a day they were all rescued. One interesting thing, other than the polydactyl aspect, is that the lone male in the group is a grey tabby with a perfect M on his forehead which is typical of a Maine Coon (MC). Maine Coon cats also are prone to being polydactyl and calico.

I hope my sweet little girl is a MC because they are awesome cats.

She is playful, loves her scratching post and her ball-go-round toy. She is also very attached to Chuck and I. She is very cuddly which I love, and I think it’s because she was abandoned so young and missed the affection of her mother.

At first, before she was good at cleaning herself, I would wet a coarse cloth with very warm water and stroke her gently around her face, down her back, belly, and legs and finally her butt. Just the way her momma would have done. It was remarkable how it calmed her, and she seemed to enjoy it.

Another interesting aspect about a polydactyl is they are referred to as Hemingway cats, because Ernest Hemingway collected them at his homes. Cleo has six toes on one foot and five and a half on the other. The half is a not fully developed toe with a claw. The male was adopted by my sister, Mary. He is called Ernie, short for Ernest. Appropriately so.

I love her and she loves me. From the first she loved napping on me. She still does but rather than on my chest she lays in my lap. Sometimes she will stare at me, watching my face as I talk to her.

She will also follow me from room to room. If she can’t find one of us she starts meowing loudly until someone calls her name, then she comes running. A really funny thing she will do is follow me to the bathroom and we will potty together.

It is hilarious-she is such a girl.

Cheers!

-N and Cleo

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It’s getting hot-again!

The heat is building here in Southern Arizona. I know I’ve said it before, and I will most likely repeat myself in the future, but…I hate the heat. I am clinically heat intolerant. Thus, the arrival of the heat is a bad thing for me. It makes me grumpy, lethargic, nauseous, and constantly in the mood to move to Alaska.

One thing hubby and I do when it starts warming up is to stock the freezer with an assortment of ice cream products. We will keep it stocked until November. There is nothing like a frozen yummy at the end, the beginning, or the middle of the day during the summer.

We headed into the grocery store, quickly found the frozen foods area and spent at least ten minutes deciding. We bought three kinds of ice cream, two tubs of orange sherbet, a box of banana pops, a bag of cherry-mango pops, and a popsicle variety pack. Topped it off with a can of whipped cream, Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Well balanced. Agree?

We have a spa that is not heated during the summer and it is so refreshing when the temp is 110. Chuck planted a bunch of trees around the house over the years, which is great shade during the summer. Most are at least 20 years old and huge. When the thermometer rises, we tend to stay inside all day unless necessary. Kind of like northern states do during the winter snow storms. I am a water drinker all year round, but when it gets hot I regularly drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I generally don’t want anything but water.

Millie and our new GSD Jake (Millie’s brother) have staked out their resting spots outside. Jake lays on the the front porch. I guess the brick is cool in the shade. Millie lays in the back, which is a large shaded porch. They are content to nap, that is unless a rabbit or cat comes in the yard, then all bets are off.

So all you followers up north, remember me during your nice cool days. I will be jealous.

Cheers!

-N

PS The Expanse was renewed for a third season! Awesome.

 

Red pen edits and dog sitting

Greetings you awesome blog followers!

I just got my manuscript back from time spent in the hands of my awesome beta reader and let’s just say the red ink was flowing. But it’s a good thing for the story and the writer. Some of the best responses are “what did this mean?” or “that came out of the blue” or “who is this talking about?” will give me the chance to look with fresh eyes at what I wrote.

I was told my writing skills have improved since my last book which is great to hear. The red pen noted discrepancies, inconsistencies, and just plain old punctuation and grammar errors that eyes too familiar with the story can miss.

So…it’s time to put the writer cap on and dive into this story with new eyes and fresh motivation. The history this tale delves into is fascinating, and curiously enough, quite timely in certain aspects. My fictional humans are living in a tempestuous and challenging time. Gotta get it right!

20161002_1741211For the past four days we’ve been baby sitting Millie’s brother Jake.

These two German Shepherds eat a lot, play rowdy with each other, forget they are not lap dogs, love ice cubes, and whine in exactly the same way. It’s been good for her to have another canine to patrol the acre with, to bark at the neighbor dogs with, and all the other dog stuff.

She has enjoyed it and rather than him being the alpha (which is his nature) Millie has shown Jake 20161002_1745131how to live in our house. He has mellowed since his arrival, learned he has to sit to come in the house, and is sleeping later. Hey, she lives with adults.

He is a handsome fella, with a deep powerful bark, and lots of energy. I’m pretty sure she will miss him when he leaves today.

Hope he can come over for play dates.

Is there a special dog breed your family loves? We are GSD people.

Cheers!

-N

Productive authoring!

This has been one of my most productive writing days in a while. I really knocked it out of the park today. Characters talking, acting up, being bad, and essentially being real fictional humans. Got that?!

My two big rewrites are done, bam!

And if I do say so myself – I did a great job on them. It’s cool being a writer and getting so wrapped up in the story you start talking back to your characters. Twice I actually said out loud “Oh no you are not going to say that!” It was glorious.

I don’t know how others do their editing but mine is done with written notes and post its on a printed manuscript. This is rev#3.

flame-edits

I have two scenes that need elaborating, but other than those most of the edits I have to finish are grammar and punctuation. Hope my beta readers are ready for this story.

Tomorrow night hubby and I have two tickets to see Cabaret at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus. Its a Broadway touring show and I am very excited to experience it up close.

We will be very busy next weekend with a big yard sale, and at the same time babysitting Millie’s brother Jake. It will be interesting since Jake is a big, gorgeous, alpha German Shepherd. His temperament is very different from Miss Millie who has been raised by two adults. I hope the siblings get on okay, since she is a bit intimidated by him. Damn, most people are intimidated by Jake even though he is a very nice boy.

Sometime in the next few weeks I will have some wonderful news to share but not yet. Patience.

Time for a glass of good wine.

Cheers!

-N

Not having fun

My body is rebelling.

For most of this week I have been fighting with obnoxious histamines from whatever the hell is in bloom in southern Arizona.  Nothing is working to ease my symptoms and it’s pissing me off. I’ve avoided going anywhere because others would see me and think I was contagious. I look like crap.

Yesterday I had a small skin cancer removed from my left hand. Not a terribly deep lesion but now I have to be checked every six months. Damn.

I’ve been lax in my writing, stressed by all of this and wishing for escape. My one sweetness is Millie my beautiful German Shepherd. She seems to know I’m not myself. She curls up next to me on the couch or rests at my feet. She is very curious about the bandage on my hand. My baby puppy.

Poor hubby is having to look after himself. He’s stepped up and made his lunches, loaded the dishwasher, and been patient with me. I’m blessed.

Time to get my butt gear. Life is waiting.

Cheers!

-N

Thunder alarm clock

It was 5:50 am and I heard what I thought was a truck rumbling by, but that made no sense to me. Millie scratched on the screen door telling me to get my butt up and let her out. Then I heard it again. Was that thunder? Interesting.

Millie went out, and did her thing. I lay back down and started to doze off.

At the screen door scratching around 6:30 I got up to let her back in and realized it was sprinkling. Hallelujah! Rain to start a Tuesday morning. Filled my coffee, grabbed my phone and headed to the back porch to enjoy the rain. Then it really started to rain, a full fledged rain shower. I looked to the north and there was a thick, wide rain shaft with low clouds that appeared to be moving my way.

See me smile and sigh.

Chuck joined me with his coffee and we watched as the storm came near. Then boom! That was close. A few minutes later a brilliant lightning bolt struck very close, like 1/4 mile away with an instant, shocking BOOM! The wind started to pick up testifying the storm was here. The temps dropped fast and we sat enjoying the show as small hail mixed with rain fell.

Abruptly, suddenly, quickly, immediately – pick and adverb – the wind shifted and got stronger, blowing rain and hail straight at us, hail was landing in our laps, tables, chairs and on Millie. We jumped up, gathering our things and hurried inside with Millie leading the way.

It was awesome!

Now, a few hours later it is still over cast with thick clouds, with an occasional sprinkle and the rumble of distant thunder.

What a way to start my morning!

Cheers!

-N

I needed this!

I just came in from outside where I was sitting on the front steps, wine glass in hand, watching Millie go crazy with her toy in the steady rain falling from a very cloudy sky. This friends is my perfect day. 20160802_110957

After what seemed like months of oppressive heat and dryness, we are being refreshed with wonderful rain. My yard is green, my dog is loving the wet grass and cool rain, and I am feeling renewed.

The rain was coming in the form a roll cloud to the north. I was watching it move toward me.

20160802_111018

I hurried inside to grab my phone and once I was outside the breeze picked up and it started to sprinkle. I am lucky that Catalina is near the mountains and higher in elevation making it easier for us to grow green stuff!

20160802_111143My front yard. We are very green right now.

It is a good day to write.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

A mind walk

It will be 107 degrees today. I know it’s summer in southern Arizona and it is to be expected, but it reinforces my feeling that I don’t belong here. I’ve lived here for 47 years, so you would think I would be accustomed to it. But it seems as though the older I get the less I am able to tolerate it. The only redeeming part of this season is the monsoon rain storms that visit in the evenings, though those have been AWOL for the last several weeks!

My fantasy home will be in a place that enjoys four seasons, with lots of green in the summer and lots of white in the winter, near a mountain lake or the ocean. Water is necessary.

I have a lot of books. My last estimate was 1300-1500. So I would need a house with an attic and basement, a large room for books and my writing space. I’ve always wanted to live in a Victorian two story house. More dreaming would be large fireplaces and maybe a friendly ghost.

As you can see I am finding a place in my mind to hide from the stress of the hot weather.

Last night a storm hit us coming in from the north east. It made it’s presence known when a large brown patio umbrella broke in half and struck the house making Millie and I jump. She went to the window and barked like crazy. The wind was powerful and once the heavy rain started everything got soaked. The storm moved quickly and then it was over. The humidity was 60% and the temp was 80. Sticky and still.

So here I sit, hidden in the air conditioned house, regularly getting wet to cool off, and a fan blowing on me. I imagine snowy mountains, cool breezes and temperatures that require a sweater and scarf.

Cheers!

-N

I’m back!

It’s such a thrill when people you don’t even know start commenting on your work. I published an excerpt from my book “Blame It On Whiskey” to my author page on Facebook and the comments have been so wonderful. To hear from people who have connected with my characters and enjoyed the fictional world I created is amazing.

As my last blog post indicated I have been sort of out of communication while my daughter was here with my soon to be grandson. I consider him my grandson already and introduced him as such. Boy did he keep us going, but it was great fun. I had my DVD’s rearranged (evidently I didn’t set them up right) and all the glass lids and pans were moved so he could play with the metal pans. You had to watch where you walked because some of those toys are painful on bare feet! Most of the house was toddler-proofed prior to his arrival, but you never know what he can get into or is interested in until the little human occupies the space.

He and Millie became buddies, lots of puppy kisses between them, and Millie was extremely happy to clean up the post meal droppings around the high chair! After I dropped them at the airport Monday and came home the house was quiet. No Disney Junior or Sprout blaring from the TV, no big humans tracking the movements of the little human, no little voice calling out and babbling at the top of his lungs.

It was different. I miss him.

The monsoon season is upon us in Southern Arizona thank goodness. Our location in Catalina AZ just north of Tucson, higher in elevation, and next to the Santa Catalina mountains means we are cooler and get great storms. Woke up this morning to a wet yard and signs of some wind during the night. The storm didn’t wake me since that stuff works like Ambien on me, as long as the wind isn’t too strong.

Now back to my next book, current book marketing, some plot development for future work, more blogging, wine, chocolate and music.

Cheers!

-N

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01CXRU1QA

Blame it on Whiskey KDP file

Yep, I did it again!

As is obvious, I have changed my page format. The last one seemed to be hard to read, difficult to navigate and seemed to scream at me every time I looked at it. I promise I won’t change it again, soon.

Bloggerverse citizens, how often do you change your page? I like the simplicity of many of the blogs I follow, so rather than suffer from blog envy I am tweaking (not twerking) my page theme. You know-going for that respectable author thing. What ever that is?

Hubby is going to be out of the house tomorrow for a several hours so I will be glued to the computer pounding out pages of the new story I am about 60 pages into. I have a ton of research to do on post civil war reconstruction-glorious. David McCullough said the interesting thing about history is when it was happening no one knew how it would turn out. Writing, research, music, wine and chocolate-note to self, have to remember to let Millie out to do her business.

A fun way to discover the history of our country is with a “National Parks Passport.” Chuck and I started with the small one and once it was filled we moved to the larger binder. It is a great way to see the country and find places you would never normally visit. 20160429_135443

When we know we are taking a trip we pull out the Passport and see what is nearby and plan our trip with these places in mind. As a history geek, I have learned so much about places in Nebraska and the Dakotas I would never have known about.

You can purchase the large binder or small book at the visitor center, usually near the stamp/sticker kiosk. What you do is head to the visitor center at a National – Park, Memorial, Historic Site, Battlefield, Reserve, etc., find the Passport kiosk (ask if you don’t see it right away) and there you will be able to stamp your passport page with a date/time stamp that has the name of the place you are visiting and now you have a permanent memory. You can also purchase a beautifully made sticker specific to the location. We have been to places so off the beaten path the date on the stamp had to be changed and the stamp pad re-inked. 20160429_135349

I remember once Chuck and I were heading into a visitor center in the Chiricahua National Park and just before we got there these two boys hopped out of their car and raced each other to the kiosk. That gave me the idea of purchasing them  as baby gifts. I’ve several young friends I’ve given them to who’ve let me know they use them all the time.

It is a very good way to discover the amazing places in the USA and appreciate the lessons we need to learn. Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas is a place every American needs to visit.

I told Chuck we should be Passport travel guides and have our own show. Right? I mean, come on we have this thing down and it would so feed my travel bug.

So my blogger friends do you have any special way you make your travel plans? Do any of you use the Passport?

Cheers!

-N