June-here, hot and busy

After a call this morning from my niece about her visit this month, I looked at my calendar for June and found several things going on. I better take my vitamins.

First, the 100’s will hit Catalina AZ tomorrow! Damn, I’m not ready but at least they held off until now, so I only have to make it through one month and then monsoon season will show up to help my water bill. I can do that, yep I can. The spa is not heated so I can dunk myself, fully clothed, a couple of times a day to stay cool.

Second, my 88 year old mother will have a diagnostic procedure and followup appointments this month. It is part of a recent discovery made about her medical condition that will need monitoring. Yeah, that’s about all I can say on that one.

Third, my daughter and my grandson will make two trips out to Arizona from California this month. The first time will be mid month to do some logistics setting up the second visit. That one is her permanent move to Arizona for a new job in Phoenix!! Okay color this human ecstatically happy! Charlie will only be two hours from me-his Nannie. Melissa is having some strong emotions about this move since she has been in LA since 1997. She will leave lots of very close friends that make up the village who have been there for her while she fostered and adopted Charlie. They are family. But hopefully not too far away for visits.

Fourth, my great niece Kali will be coming down from Phoenix to stay with us for several days, and we will begin her Tucson indoctrination – haha. Phoenix and Tucson are so very different. Phoenix is the big metropolis with freeways, concrete and asphalt, tall glass towers, and very oppressive heat. As is typical of a city like Phoenix there is a lot of things to do. Tucson is also a big city, but because of a our surrounding mountains ranges our weather is not quite as hot. Don’t get me wrong it is hot here but rarely will Tucson have temps over 115. Phoenix does.

Anyone who visits needs to drive up to Mount Lemmon, and we plan to bring Kali up there for yummy cookies, homemade fudge, and a visit to the Living Rainbow gift shop. Also a ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain (over 9000′) and a trip to Sabino Canyon to play in the creek and have a picnic. Tucson has avoided expanses of freeways; some of us regret that, others are glad for it. Our mountains may not be Colorado mountains but they get enough snow for skiing in the winter and a right out my front door.

So we plan to introduce Tucson to Kali in all of its laid back coolness.

So this month will be hot and busy. But that is life.

Cheers!

-N

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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.

Cheers!

-N

 

So freaking hot!

I’m sitting here inside my air conditioned home, drinking an iced coffee with Bailey’s thinking of why did anyone in their right mind stop and settle in Tucson or Phoenix? Okay, so Tucson does have beautiful mountains that get snow every winter and offers a cool respite from the damnable heat. A hundred years ago there were rivers that ran year round. But Phoenix?? The Salt River ran, but the hills are black volcanic rock.

Had to have been in winter.

June is hell in Southern Arizona. No rain, hardly a cloud, humans and animals hide inside, underground, in shade, wherever it is cooler. Folks who live where it gets very cold do the same thing during the winter – find warmth and shelter and hunker down.

There is a point in the day where nothing can cool me but to get wet. If I had a pool it would be ideal, but I don’t – so – I turn on the cold water in the shower and get drenched. It works, and I can make it through the day. In one of my books* I described the way evaporative cooling was done in this part of the state.  Fabric was soaked in water and draped over windows, the breeze would be cool as the fabric dried. June is perfect evaporative cooler month. They work great unless the temperature is too hot and the humidity is too low. In that case you will spend the day hosing off the cooler pads.

Years ago my son and I house-sat in Phoenix for my sister during the summer. It was my first experience at how ineffective a “swamp” cooler could be in the hot and dry Phoenix summer. My brother-in-law showed Aaron how to climb up the ladder holding the hose and wash down the cooler pads. Wet the pads worked great. Fortunately they had a pool so we spent hours in the water. It’s 120 degrees of dry heat!! That’s bull shite.

I hope one day to live in a home either at the ocean or on a lake, in a place that gets four seasons.

It is my dream, it is my fantasy.

Cheers!

-N

*https://www.amazon.com/Blame-Whiskey-Tombstone-Nancy-Vaughn-ebook/dp/B01CQ4S8R4

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.

 

Yeah I’m ranting.

Greetings all!

It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last several days. A member of my family is struggling with mental illness and it has been a test of patience and enduring emotional highs and lows. It’s chased away my muse and now that things are improving I am on the search for it.

One exciting thing to share is I will be a great aunt again. My niece is in labor with her second child right now. She is one of those women who is very fit and I expect her to do well, especially since it is her second. Can’t wait to meet the wee boy she is having.

Just finished the edits on the first draft of my newest story. I have to revise and rewrite a scene that will add at least 10 pages. It comes from a discussion I had with my hubby about a question I asked him. The more we talked about it the more I realized I had to trash a bunch of words and start over. His suggestions were perfect and gave me a great scene but requires some character building I wouldn’t have recognized previously. Now I have some historical research to do on costumes and vehicles. Also have to flesh out a character who revealed themselves during the edit. He showed up and I knew I needed more backstory, so there it goes.

So its time to go through the manuscript and fine tune before handing it to my beta readers.

My writing combines two things I enjoy: romance and history. The historical accuracy is important to me. I love the feeling of immersing in a specific time and place in history. If I can add a bit of spicy romance to it then mores the better.

Two more months until fall in most places, four more months until it shows up here. Southern Arizona has two seasons: hot and not so hot. Although where I live is a higher elevation than Tucson, and we are up next to the 9000 ft mountains when it is 110 in Tucson it is 107 here in Catalina! Gaaah, hate heat. I loved Misawa, Japan, with its 10-12 feet of snow, blizzards and earthquakes. It worked for me. I am still a cold weather fan. When Chuck and I were living in Tioga, ND it was perfect. I loved bundling up and tromping around in my fur lined snow boots. If it’s going to be hot then there should be a lake or ocean nearby.

Well enough ranting, time to get to work.

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

Marketing multi-tasking

Life really does go on even though my brain is wrapped up in writing. I now have an author Facebook page, this blog, twitter, Linkden, Tumbler-all the places I go to get the word out and all this is happening while the rest of the world is doing its own thing.

I woke this morning, my brain running to all the places I need to check and what needed to be done next. This is really good for me. It is also really challenging.

Yesterday Chuck and I spent a glorious three hours attending the Tucson Book Fair at the campus of the University of Arizona. 20160312_125044I met authors, editors and publishers. I found some interesting books, new and used and saw some very cool science stuff courtesy the UA science departments (I got to make my own lightning.) I bought a cute parasol to ward off the intense southern Arizona sunshine, 20160312_125135and caressed a beautiful king snake named Elvis.

The book fair is eight years old and has grown tremendously in attendees and vendors. They included about 400 author tents along with many other types of vendors using the opportunity of exposure to around 150,000 visitors. It was packed but everyone was having fun. I found a very cool board game for my daughter’s class room and OMG there were books for sale everywhere! There was one vendor selling antique books which I was totally into, but all the books were wrapped in plastic. I mean that was annoying because-hello-how can you smell the books if they are wrapped up. The guy running the booth did unwrap one for me so I could smell it. I love the smell of old books.

Anyway, we had a fun day. I got a little sunburn thus the parasol but we came home with memories of a good day.

All I kept thinking was “I’m gonna do this one day.”

Cheers!

-N

Friday, Friday

I remember Friday being the best day. After getting off work I would hurry home, pick out an outfit, shower, shave (you never knew), put makeup on and be ready to be out the door by 7pm to par-tay. It was glorious and I felt like an adventure was just waiting for me.

In 1972 Arizona lowered the drinking age to 19. For Real!! It didn’t last long but the best part was I was 19. So I was legal and it was cool.

I could vote and drink. There is symmetry to that.

It was often an evening spent dancing at the Wildcat House, I was there for the opening night! Then across the street to the Bum Steer mostly to see who was there. Tucson back then was a pretty cool place. Lot’s of celeb sightings all over, we had an amazing promoter (can’t remember the name) who managed to get the best concerts here. The Tucson Community Center opened with an arena beckoning artists, we had a hopping music scene.

I used to do voice talent for radio and I met a lot of music people in town to promote their artists. It was exciting. They had money and drugs. I would record at KWFM and then the copies would go out to the other stations. I can say for a fact, since I was there, that when the DJ’s put a song on that lasted more than 10 minutes they were smoking a joint on the balcony. It’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida time! https://youtu.be/UIVe-rZBcm4

I got tickets to concerts and free albums (vinyl) and an education.

Tucson was also a place to make movies and TV programs. There was a big sound stage out at Old Tucson (western movie location) in use constantly. Regularly streets, especially downtown, were barricaded for filming and locals knew the hotels the actors used and we would show up there to party. Most of them were pretty cool hanging with locals. Anyone who’s lived here for a long time enjoyed a Tucson that was Hollywood’s little secret.

“Shut up and dance with me!”

Cheers!

-N

Ps: Thanks Tony Burgess for the inspiration!