Being on track

There are so many things requiring my focus this summer, and I have to prioritize now more than ever. At the end of this month my mother will be moving into our house and a whole new set of issues will come with that. We have some changes to the house in order to accommodate her walker. She can’t do stairs without assistance so a ramp is required for access. Also an exterior door for her is being installed. Chuck is taking care of these changes, and he is doing a good job.

I have two stories in the works, and researching developing an author web site. My daughter and grandson will be here in a few weeks, there is a big birthday party in Phoenix for my great nephew at the same time, providing a chance to visit with family.

Monsoon storms are about ready to bust out which will be great for the fires in the mountains. We can smell the smoke in the air. The wildfire crews have been staging their helicopter water drops from Catalina, so we have been watchng them flying in and out.

I have a quilt to start and shirt to finish, some mending to do, and five bags of clothing donations to catalogue.

I hope to start going back to the gym in the fall, maybe make one more trip to California before school starts, and try to be as productive as possible in my writing.

I’ll be good as long as the wine holds out!

Cheers!

-N

No cure for travel bug

I was born into a military family. When I was six months old my father was transferred from Harlingen, Texas to Yuma, Arizona. This began a life of travel for our family, thanks to the US Air Force. It was all I knew and I adapted well to this transient lifestyle. I made easy but not lasting friendships, and I looked forward to the next assignment my father was given.

By the time I started high school in Tucson I had lived in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Japan and the Philippines. In 1971 my father retired at Davis-Monthan  AFB in Tucson.

I was not happy about it. My sisters felt very different than I.

2There were so many places I wanted to see, but my dad was done. His retirement after 20+ years was what he wanted. Before his service in the Air Force he had spent active duty in the Navy then post WWII in Navy reserves as a very young man. So to him his military career was completed.

However, I had acquired an incurable case of travel bug.

I love going someplace I have never been, finding my way around, and fitting into life in that locale. Becoming acquainted with the locals who give you tips on the best places to eat, shop, and relax is enlightening and empowering as a traveler. Regularly I get what I think is a sort of travel depression from longing for the sights and sounds of a distant place.

My dilemma is the disposable cash to fulfill these desires.

So I study photos, history and literature, immersing my mind in what is still left to discover about places like Istanbul, Edinburgh or Budapest. Amazing as it may seem I’ve never been to New York City and count on it, that it’s on my bucket list. I would love to travel from Tuscany to Sicily trying local wines and food. I want to hike the Appalachian trail, spending the days finding the secrets of the mountains. I would love to sit at a bistro in Paris within sight of the Eiffel Tower, watching humanity pass by. Diving in the Florida Keys or the Red Sea, walking a forest of Blue Bells in Kent, waiting for Civil War ghosts at Gettysburg and riding the train from Tokyo to Misawa in Japan. You get the drift.

Desiring the unknown, compelled by different culture and language, finding out what I need to collect for understanding from the next stop and pushing myself toward discovery, I dream of skies, stars, food, faces, and an understanding that my journey will ultimately bestow on me is thrilling.

Immersing yourself in a new environment and culture is the best way to accept the differences and similarities in all of us.

Cheers!

-N

(P.S. My father was movie star handsome!)

 

 

Birthday hug for me

My actual birthday is this Monday, but since hubby has to work 1pm-11pm that day he gave me my birthday gift last night. He nailed it! That man knows me well.

Started my birthday celebration at Gentle Ben’s. A college landmark just off the University of Arizona campus, although businesses on University Blvd are considered part of the campus 0923161851thanks to swarms of students filling the area, it was fun to be surrounded by the energy of youth on a Friday night.

 

We had a wonderful server who enjoyed our celebration as much as we did. She laughed with us and took good care of us. Wine for me, beer for him and a yummy appetizer.

We listened to the pep rally for the UA Wildcats football game occurring across the street, and people watched the herds of humans moving up and down, in and out.

Superb!

The next part of the evening was my actual gift. Tickets to the Broadway touring company presentation of Cabaret! It was fantastic. We had good seats in Centennial Hall, were feeling relaxed thanks to the drinks, and sat back to let the story and song flow over us. 0923161937

If you don’t know the story, and the play is the best way to experience it, there are some hilarious scenes, some heartwarming and romantic scenes, and scenes that will shock and disturb you, with the story set in pre-WWII Berlin.

The performers did a great job, the choreography was spot on, the musicians immersed themselves in the cast, and the set was dramatic and brilliant.

I liked it! Thanks Chuck XOXOXO.

On our way back to our car we walked past my absolute favorite building on the UA campus. Herring Hall. Built in 1903 it has a strong presence of old academia, and if you can have a crush on a building, well, I have had a crush on this one for 30 years!0923162241

I love touching and caressing the old red brick-waiting for them to tell me stories, looking in the darkened windows for reputed ghosts, and hugging the massive columns. 0923162243

It was the first time I had my photo taken with it and I know it was happy to be remembered.

I wanted to linger and walk around it, running my hands across, capturing the feeling of a small, old, but majestic academic structure that is being crowded out by the new and architecturally splendid edifices spilling out all over campus. 0923162242a

 

New is good and fine, more attractive to youth, and technologically adapted to the future, but the beauty of this one shouldn’t ever be overshadowed or dismissed.

It has served the University of Arizona well and continues to offer it’s space to the needs of generations to come.

I said good night to my building, finishing off my wonderful birthday celebration.

Do you have a special place, space or building that touches your heart and mind? I would love to hear about it.

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

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.

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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

 

 

 

Laptop is sick

For a year now I have had issues with the power on my laptop. The cord doesn’t plug in with a click that  means it is well seated. Also the cord will gradually works its way out and I lose power.

Well today it is doing this weird thing, sort of the way the WalMart stores have the lights dim and then brighten. My computer screen is doing this. It gets dark, then brightens and I have it plugged in right now.

I really can’t afford a new one right now. Just not in the budget. Glad everything is saved on the cloud. Too crazy. Time for wine.

Cheers!

-N

Wine and whiskey

Today started so nice and mellow. A cup of coffee on the back porch while watching the birds swarm the bird feeders, and chase each other around chirping brightly. Chuck repeatedly tossed a toy for Millie who loves the daily morning fun. It really was rather dreamy and chill for the three of us.

I am refurbishing some metal outdoor chairs with new paint and padded seats, very Pinterest of me, so a run to JoAnn for vinyl for the seats was in order. I already had purchased the paint so this would give me all the supplies I need to begin.

While out we also had to make a stop at Planet Scuba on First Ave. to drop off two unused BCD’s for consignment. In case you don’t know what a BCD is, it is a vest divers wear that holds the pressurized air tank and can be inflated/deflated to create neutral buoyancy underwater-buoyancy control device. Hopefully they can sell them for us. It would be great if we can get back to diving more, it is fun but we haven’t been able to do much of it. BCD’s are easy to rent from a dive shop, especially so if you are on an out of town dive trip. It is much better than trying to pack and check with the extra weight. My mask, regulator and fins are personal to me, one is fit to my face-no leaks, one goes in my mouth-not sharing that one, and one fits my feet perfectly. The rest of it I can handle renting.

After these two stops we were right across from Total Wine at Wetmore and Oracle in Tucson so it made sense to stop in for wine and whiskey. Chuck also picked up some cigars. I was trying to find a really good red wine and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man who was at the Bordeaux tasting a few months ago and I knew he was well versed in reds. So I took off to find him. A sales person asked if she could help me and I told her who I was trying to find. She said, “That’s Justin. Let me call him.” In just a moment here he came.

After telling him what I was looking for he directed me to an Italia20160414_122841n, a Spanish and an Argentinian. He was so helpful and attentive, so I asked him if I could take his pic for my blog and explained I would be sharing about my day. He said sure and so here is Justin. Should you visit that location and need assistance he is the man for you. Not only is he knowledgeable he is cute too.

Love the long hair!

At the check out we were helped by a very fun and cool woman named Megan who approved of the bitters we bought and confirmed our impression of Justin. We left with a box full of spirits and the joy of meeting two very nice humans.

It was a fun day.

Cheers!

-N

Oh man, I like these people

I’m sitting in my writing place. This is it! Dark chocolate and a Napa Cab nearby.writing place

Maybe I should change the blog to vinowithchocolate, but I digress.

My ebook will be available on Amazon in twelve days and I smile whenever I think of it. I can’t wait for the readers to meet Mitch and Amanda.

I’m building followers on my blog, my Facebook author page and Twitter which amazes me. I love followers and I welcome as many as there are out there.

I have started my next book. I had a lot of it roughed out, a lot of research done-love research-and it is well plotted so the writing has started to flow. Flow is the optimal word to describe what is happening. These are really fun people to write for. My heroine is a dream to write dialogue for with her voice in my mind. She is spunky, immature, adventurous, spoiled and sexy. My hero is, well, a hero, you know-tall, dark and handsome-oozing testosterone.

The male voice and perspective is the part where my husband steps up.

I’ve mentioned this before, he is a man’s man and will tell me when I’m writing my male characters too soft or not in a true gender POV.

He’s the first one to go through the story for errors and inconsistency. Like me, he is an avid reader, but not in this genre, so he has fresh eyes.

My stories are historical so the research is paramount to it being valid as not only a romance but in giving the reader a stimulating historical experience. I had someone ask me if I would want to live in the time I am writing and I had to be honest and say-um no. I like central air and heating, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and feminine hygiene products. But in my study of the times and people there were people who blew my mind.

I have been mulling the idea of a biography of an amazing woman who lived in the late 1800’s. She was who I would have wanted to be had I lived in the time she lived. She watched history be made. We’ll see.

Time to get back to work. I need more iTunes music.

Cheers!

-N

Feeling crazy young

I just had the absolute best time. My nephew is painting my house, he’s a pro. Yeah he’s getting paid. Anyway, his daughter, my so extremely cool niece Trinity and her buddy Casey came by. They live just down the road so the girls walked over to ride back with my nephew Kris.

I turned on the music (of course) and I began doing my aunt duty by giving them lessons in wine tasting, mind you no one underage drank anything, but I showed them the finer point of wine tasting. Using a Malibu red blend I demonstrated what to do and what to look for. They took to it like the pros I expected from them. Trinity is related to me, and Casey is her friend so is awesome by association.

We talked, pretending to be grown ups as I described varietals and the best year for red grapes. We made fun of people who drank fruity wines and sweet Rieslings, you know the routine.

It is my duty to help.

Then we went into my office and Trinity saw the books were being packed up and my laptop open. This girl knows me well. We started talking about my writing and what they had happening in their lives. Such cute girls. These are the girls I did the Cupid Shuffle with at my nephews graduation party, but I digress.

I said, “Listen to this song,” and I played Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson, then Try Me by Jason Derulo. Then I played…House Party by Sam Hunt. There was excessive teenage girl squealing and then the three of us proceeded to sing at the top of our lungs and dance like it was a Hollywood dance club! We were laughing and singing and dancing and the years between us were gone.

God that was fun!

I think this needs to happen very often.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

A change is nice

I just got back from four days away from home.  Two of the days were spent driving to the San Fernando Valley to be with my daughter and back home. We had a birthday party to attend and then whatever we wanted to do the rest of the time.

Splendid.

The birthday party was Saturday afternoon,  so morning was breakfast at Weiler’s and the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had. I always have breakfast at least once at Weiler’s when I go to the Valley.

Then the party. It was one of those parties for a one year old but really ends up being a more for the adults. Still very fun and the little guy made a haul.

That night was take out from Stonefire Grill. Yummy food.  Drank a good wine with the food and watched movies.

Sunday was sleep12771726_10208566974638499_4241239779438382470_oing in and then take out from another of my must visit places, Cavarettas Deli. We got super fresh deli sandwiches, pasta salad and cannoli’s that were so good as usual. We ate our lunch and enjoyed the afternoon at Rosenthal Wine Tasting in Malibu.

It’s one of my wine clubs.

After the food and wine we walked across the street to the Pacific Ocean.

Come on I cannot be that close to the ocean and not go get my feet wet. In this case I got wet up to my waist. I found a great rock to sit on just at the surf line so I just sat there and every four or five waves would wash up on me. That was the pic I posted yesterday of me standing fully clothed in the water.

It was heavenly.

We stopped at a pizza place to pick up dinner for friends who just had twin boys a few days before. We got to hold these tiny (5lb) humans. I love newborn baby smell and the person who could come up with a cream that could make your skin that soft would be a cajillionaire.

Since the next day was work/travel day we ate dinner at Marmalade Cafe, another yummy must add to my list and then chilled at Melissa’s place for an early night.

Monday morning I left for Tucson. The drive wasn’t bad even though I was in LA traffic during morning rush and Phoenix traffic during afternoon rush-ok I’m an idiot.

Sirius was playing jazz so I was calm.

Millie was glad to see me and it was nice to sleep in my own bed. My daughter is a very cool person to hang out with and she restores my faith in humans. I missed having Chuck there, but he is slaving in North Dakota. It would be nice to spend more time there with my girl, yet I’m good with my days of a little change of place.

Cheers!

-N