When did that happen?

One thing my hubby and I are proud of is we raised two kids who grew into successful, responsible adults.

They have jobs, they pay their bills, they do life and take care of business. This is our crowning achievement in parenting. They moved out and made a life for themselves. I’ve looked back at my life and found there are some benchmarks we all must meet which indicate we are making progress toward adulthood. See if you agree.🤷‍♀️

Blowing your nose, going to the bathroom by yourself, whistling and snapping your fingers, figuring out colors- letters-numbers-shapes, blowing out birthday candles, starting school. Those are the biggies for our wee ones that show their brains are growing along with their bodies.

Then there is tweens and teens 😕. Angst and hormones, tears and sulking. Yes the good old days when hubby and I had to keep reminding ourselves that their problems are just as important to them as writing a check for groceries you hope won’t clear until payday Friday was to us. Yet somewhere along the way you manage to get a drivers license, for girls a period, for boys wet dreams. You start dreaming of becoming a. . . well don’t know yet , you run out of gas, get a flat tire, get a kiss, go on a date, have a crush, figure out what classes you need to graduate, think about the future again, successfully take a road trip, graduate and either get a job or go to college. 🎓

Looking back I wish I had been more tenacious about school and less worried about having a boyfriend. I wish I had read more books, learned another language and to play piano so I could accompany myself singing.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – my daughter and her friends played it as a drinking game. But it is reality. 🍸

Then the big things start to come at you. A career? A marriage? A child? Buy a house? Move away? Figuring out friends are family too and the connections you want to make become clearer. Now you realize you have too much debt, need to go on a diet, how much do you spend on TV/Internet/Cell phone, getting insurance-all kinds, watch your kids start blowing their noses.

So we laugh, find the reality and put on our big girl/boy pants and make life happen.

Cheers!

-N

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Human behavior – puzzling, baffling, stupid.

We have lived in Catalina, Arizona since January 1991. We have seen this rural area slowly become developed as a bedroom community for Tucson, spreading north into Pinal county, and south toward Oro Valley on the north end of the Tucson city limits.

We moved out here to get our kids away from the growing gang threat and gun violence in the southern part of Tucson where we lived. We would be in bed, listening to gun shots, and the constant police helicopter and vehicle presence in our neighborhood.

My young son was harassed, bullied, beat up, and was being forced to adapt in the 2nd grade. These little gangsters were targeting boys like my son, a mellow, kindhearted fella and he was changing, withdrawing, and was happy only when he was at home with family. I was frightened for him.

My lovely, 8th grade, ginger haired, freckle faced daughter endured teasing, bullying, sexual and racial harassment while trying to enjoy school. She always liked school. It hadn’t been a problem for her prior to entering junior high.

We started looking for property and with the hand of providence my husband found an advertisement for the acre we now own. The acre had two little mesquite trees, was nice and flat, and was very near the Santa Catalina mountains. A perfect spot for us. Melissa had been commuting to a different high school where she had several good friends so she was in her junior year when we moved, Aaron was in 4th grade. We have been here since then watching the area grow up, people moving in, and developers building housing developments. It still has a rural feel to it.

Fast forward to the first of this month. I got a call from my neighbor Sandi asking if my dog Millie was inside and when I confirmed she was, she said to keep her in because there were a pack of pit bulls that had attacked and killed her next door neighbors two alpacas, and she was holding a gun on the pack to stop their attack on her neighbors horse. It was a killing field and my neighbor was heartbroken and furious. She had called 911 twice and was waiting, gun in hand, for the sheriff who took about two hours to arrive.

The people who own the pack exercise no control over these animals. These dogs escape and roam the neighborhood at will, harassing and fighting with animals that are securely and responsibly contained. This behavior has altered some of these otherwise tame animals, provoking aggression in them. When these irresponsible pet owners are called to come get their animals they always have an excuse. They do not get these animals fixed so it is a puppy mill at that place. Just this past Saturday the ringleader, a large white one, was out roaming and fence fighting. At this point there has been nothing done other than the three who carried out the attack were removed, but have since been returned to them. Animal control has yet to interview the alpaca owners, the neighbor who witnessed the attack, or any of us who have witnessed this repeat behavior.

I worry that one day the news people will be out here interviewing us because this pack got out again and attacked a human. We will tell them of the lack of response from the appropriate authorities, and maybe something will be done. Please God, don’t let that happen!

Be a responsible pet parent. Get your animals spayed/neutered, train them, and keep them under control. Everyone will be happy, especially your animal.

Cheers!

-N

 

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

 

 

 

Computer coolness

Greetings all!

I am so stoked!

Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.

Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.

At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.

I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.

So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.

Cheers!

-N

Fall, please fall on me.

I sit, sipping my third cup of coffee. Thinking about the order to my day and how I need to be productive. However what I really want to do is walk outside my door, sit in the shade of the massive oak, and dip my feet into the coolness of the creek. Please cool waters wash away my stress.

Yeah right.

There is no massive oak or cool creek outside my house or any house within miles of here to wash away the stress that has accumulated over the last year. My inappropriately green yard for the Sonoran Desert here in Catalina, Arizona struggles, as I do, to endure and survive the stress brought on by the intense hot temperature delivered by the searing rays of the sun.

People talk about the dry heat. Well that is in the month of June. July and August have humidity ranges of 47% up to 80% thanks to the monsoon flow. Yes, last month we had a day where the air temperature was 105 degrees with a humidity of 75%. Let’s talk about that dry heat.

So now it is September. The forecast is a high 90 and low 69 with a humidity 48% and dew point at 63 degrees. So far the forecast shows no more 100’s thank God.

I can still dream of the shade of that big oak and the cooling freshness of that creek. As a writer that’s what I do. right?

Cheers!

-N

A Season of Learning

I am in a season of learning.

My desire right now is to discover learning opportunities. Webinars, podcasts, you tube videos, ebooks, wherever I spot something I want to know more about I am jumping on it. As I was starting this blog I had at least six tabs open on my laptop with various searches, emails, and a PowerPoint presentation on script reading ready for my perusal. I had my cell phone next to me and a notepad with a mechanical pencil at the ready.

In my home growing up there wasn’t any emphasis on learning. School wasn’t made any kind of priority. I can’t even remember my parents asking if I had homework or making me sit down and do my homework. It seemed if I liked what I was doing that was good enough for them. There were no parent/teacher meetings about my progress, no issue made of my grades, and if my folks wanted to take off for a trip to Texas they thought nothing of taking us out of school to go, and no worry about textbooks or concern about missed assignments while we was gone.

My middle sister had what we know now as a learning disability-ADHD and probably dyslexia. School was a nightmare for her, she was held back in first grade as much for her behavior as her lack of understanding. She had no idea how to be a student. My youngest sister and I were pretty good in school from nothing more than being natural learners. I do wish my parents had put greater emphasis on our school work. It might have been because we were military brats who moved every three years including overseas until my father retired, but I knew of other kids like me who achieved success in school.

Why didn’t they notice I loved writing stories and plays and encourage my talent? Why didn’t they find someone to help me with math when they saw I struggled?

My husband’s experiences were the opposite of mine and fortunately this motivated us to promote the importance of learning and school to our kids. They both went on to college and university.

So now, after years of wishing I had attended college, I am drawn to all sorts of learning. My love for history has directed much of my writing-it’s a joy to do historical research for my stories. I adore books. Geology and meteorology fascinate me and I can have meaningful discussions on these topics. My curiosity is strong and my desire to know more has given me the drive to seek out opportunities. I love challenging my brain, and hope this season is a long one.

Cheers!

-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