A new cast member

I am so proud to announce that I am officially a grandmother! My daughter has been in the foster to adopt process for this last year, and last week the process was finalized and Melissa became the legal mother to my adorable grandson Charlie Vaughn.

The experience was amazing, I shed a few tears. Judge Soto was wonderful and shared the joy of the occasion with us. He has stuffed animals in his court room to give to the children. Once everything was completed he welcomed us up to take photos. Charlie did very well through out the whole thing.

In fact, when the judge asked Melissa to raise her right hand to swear in Charlie was on board with that as you can see in the pic below.

It was so wonderful because several people who are part of the village that participate in his life in California were there to support my daughter. This made me so proud of her, that she is the kind of person who elicits this response of loyalty in her friends.

Living in a different state I am glad to know she has a network of good humans nearby. As a teacher, she also works with a good group of people who understand when she has to be gone to do the “mom” thing with a sick child.

Here’s another cute pic showing the love between them.

From the first she felt an attachment to Charlie as newborn foster child. Her landlord fosters infants so Melissa was used to babies being around. But this little man was different and her heart got involved.

I met him when he was two months old and fell in love. God meant him for us.

Our joy is shared by our extended family as well. They were all so excited for Melissa and Charlie, ready to graft him permanently into the family tree. My son Aaron and daughter-in-law Chelsea are ready to spoil their new nephew. Of course no spoiling from me, haha!

I am Nannie and Chuck is Poppa.

We are family!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

What makes a friend?

What makes one human appealing as a friend? Are there certain characteristics and behaviors that attract others and draw them into a circle of friends?

Because my father was military we moved a lot when I was young. Consequently my friendships were very transient.  I believe this made it difficult for me to form lasting friendships.  My sisters and I are close, but they now have their own families to concern them. I had no real idea of what a lasting friendship looked like.

Until I met Kristen. For some reason she wanted to be my friend.

We met at work in 1985 and are still friends to this day, although she now lives in  St. Louis. We connected immediately, even though she was ten years younger than I. She would call me and want to hang out, would invite me to join her for a weekend at Rocky Point, Mexico. She thought of me when she was going somewhere and would often get me a small gift. She would drop in with a rose bush or small tree for my yard. She spent weekends with Chuck and I and the kids, she liked being with us.

She taught me how to be a friend. When she married I actually was a bridesmaid, not the wedding singer I usually was (although I did sing a song too), which felt very special. We spent lots of years enjoying our families together.

Her move made me realize I didn’t have a network of friends.

The people I know don’t seek me out. I would love to have a couple of girlfriends to do things with yet, I hesitate. Maybe I’ve become the kind of human that others say “Hi” to but I offer nothing to motivate them to be buddies. Perhaps I need more self reflection to know what is about me that keeps acquaintances from getting closer. I see pics on social media of people getting together, making the effort to connect, enjoying human interaction, and it gives me pause.

I know writing and sewing are solitary activities, but I love talking and laughing at happy hour or at my house with the music playing and a bonfire fire going and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.

Is it me?

Cheers!

-N

Christmas wishes

I shared on Facebook something a friend had posted about what she wanted for Christmas from her kids. It spoke to me profoundly. She said she just wanted them.

I miss my kids. They live on opposite coasts and in different states from me. When my daughter Melissa started at the University of Arizona she moved out and never moved home again. After graduation in 1997 she moved from Tucson to Los Angeles and is in California still.

My son Aaron left for Northern Arizona University in 2001 and spent a couple of summer breaks at home, then moved to California to attend school there. He met his wife there and after about a year they moved to Oklahoma, then Texas and now will be living in  Florida.

I admit I am envious of mothers who live near their grown children. It would be wonderful to have them over for Sunday dinners, be able to share birthdays with them, and plan holidays together. Just being able to spontaneously go to a football game together or share a bonfire party would give me such pleasure.

So my Christmas wish is time with my children. To laugh, love, and spend precious moments together.

Cheers!

-N

The holiday sandwich

Well folks – Halloween down, Thanksgiving done, now the Christmas countdown begins.

The first two holidays were nonexistent this year. I never do the Halloween thing here since we haven’t had costumed trick-or-treating little humans in twenty years. We are a rural bedroom community north of Tucson with no street lights or sidewalks so there is just no reason to do things up. My decorations tend toward fall harvest themes inside the house. No pumpkins, skeletons, ghosts, witches or vampires in the vicinity.

Thanksgiving has, for years, been a real family time. My house tended to be the gathering place. I had plenty of room, and I enjoyed the whole process of celebrating the holiday with great food, football, laughter and love. I liked cooking the turkey, and sharing what everyone else brought to the table. I have a huge front yard where the annual Thanksgiving football game was held. Family made the effort to be together.

This year was different.

Neither of my kids could be here. Melissa and Bubba were with Vaughn family in Las Vegas. Aaron and Chelsea were in Florida and Oklahoma respectively and Aaron was working at his Disney World tech gig. My sisters had their own family things, and my mom was attending a huge Thanksgiving feast at her retirement apartments. Chuck got a notice from the University of Arizona asking employees and their families for help feeding the troops at Davis Monthan AFB who were staying in town for the holiday, so we signed up-ready to volunteer. We made a big mistake on the date, expecting it to happen on Thanksgiving day at the UA campus. At the last minute I discovered it was scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving and at the base! We totally blew it. Chuck was working that day and I hadn’t cooked anything or made any purchases, so that fell through.

We decided to keep with the volunteer idea and I started checking for places to help out. I found out that the Salvation Army did a Thanksgiving meal at St. Demetrius church so I started calling and emailing to put our names in the hat. Granted we were down to the wire time wise, so I wasn’t sure what would happen, but so be it. We never heard a word from anyone telling us yes, no or get lost. No return phone calls, no email reply. Nothing. So…Thanksgiving was just a day off for Chuck that we spent cleaning, doing outdoor chores, moving some furniture, binge watching Hallmark Christmas movies and just hanging out looking at all the pictures on Facebook of Thanksgiving feasts others were having.

Now we are planning Christmas. Melissa will be here with Bubba so it will be very fun having a wee one here. It is our first Christmas as Nannie and Poppa. Aaron will still be in Florida working and Chelsea will still be in Oklahoma. Hopefully my mom will be sharing Christmas eve with us which will be our Christmas meal since Chuck has to go to work at 1pm Christmas day. Yet we will be decorated and festive!!

How has your holiday season been so far?

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!)

 

 

He’s keeping us busy

Well faithful blog followers-an update. Myself and two other adults in my house have been kept amazingly busy tracking and chasing a 16 month old. My daughter came to visit with our soon to be grandson. Melissa is in the process of foster to adopt of this gorgeous, brilliant and busy little man.

He is fun, charming, flirty, and I’m pretty sure has elastic arms. He has his meltdown moments but then so do I.

Can’t express how proud I am of my daughter for voluntarily electing to be a single parent. This process is so different than a pregnancy. The state has so many requirements for education, preparing the home, parent background checks, regular wellness and safety checks. A baby birthed by her wouldn’t require any of this.

We have had visits to the indoctrination facility (University of Arizona campus,) he’s met a bunch of Catalina family (and survived,) will be going to the Santa Catalina mountains today (tradition,) and this Saturday will meet the Phoenix branch of the family. He still has to meet the little old ladies at my mom’s place and the new puppies at my nephew’s house.

To say it has been an adjustment is understating everything. We have plenty of room for him in our house and he has explored most of it. I have gone to bed tired and slept like a bear in winter. My daughter asked me last night if I had blogged at all and I told her I have been keeping up with the bloggers I follow but I haven’t stopped to blog.

So here is an update about why I have been out of contact. We are here, we are just busy!

Cheers!

-N

holding hands

Tis the season

Yesterday the weather started to change in Catalina with clouds and cool breezes. The Christmas music was playing and the tubs of decorations were brought in. The day was spent making the inside of my house glitter and sparkle with the spirit of the season.

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My Christmas theme is Santa Claus and the Nativity.  I’ve got the secular and Christian covered.

Chuck has his decorating tasks which are tree assembly  (yes we have an artificial tree) and lights. For the last several years we haven’t been home for the holidays so a real tree didn’t make sense. He also takes care of the top part of the tree ornaments since he is over six feet tall. I put the rest of the ornaments on the tree and put out all if the room decor. I like it just so, kind of like loading the dishwasher.

Millie is not sure what to think but she’s leaving it alone.

Watching soccer, what a trip-the crowd is singing. Coffee is ready so time for homemade mocha.  It’s been raining so will be frosty over night. Be sure to drop a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket, buy a toy for a child, give the food bank money for Christmas dinner and tell you family you love them.

-Cheers

-N

Crazy living this last two weeks

Since my last blog things went a bit crazy, everywhere.

I started to get ready to go visit my daughter over in California. She lives in the Valley in a cute little guest house and no room for Millie. Thus began the effort to find a kennel. I had previously used a place and they always had room. However…when I called them their number was not in service and I found out they closed down! Yikes now what? That began a the staggering process of finding a place that I was comfortable leaving my puppy. She is 6 months old and hadn’t been apart from us, and especially not for a week. I was starting to get concerned.20151012_092404

The search was hard because it was the holiday. No duh! After calling, leaving messages, asking friends and  neighbors and coming to the conclusion I might not be going I had a thought. Maybe there would be someone in the Valley I could use! I got online and in one night of searching I found a woman who is part of co-op of home kenneling. I got it set up and was back to my plan to leave the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

It was great.

So-Millie and I left by 7am Sunday morning after a not so good nights sleep but that’s why there is Starbucks right? Millie was not traveling well in the front seat of the Explorer. I was bringing a bunch of stuff to Melissa and there wasn’t room for her so she had to ride in the front. She had become a drooling mess, whining and wiggling around. I knew she wasn’t remotely comfortable and this was going to be a 7 hour nightmare. I was just to the outskirts of Phoenix when I got a text from Melissa saying she was terribly sick with a stomach bug. I spoke to her and found out this was going around her landlord’s house. Everybody was sick.

No thanks.

I was able to reschedule with the kennel, thank God, and turned back toward Tucson. Travel plans were changed to Wednesday to give everyone time to recover. One good thing, it reduced the amount of clothes and things I needed to bring.

Three days later I left for California with a much better bed for Millie. I made great time and was able to get Millie to the kennel, and stop for dinner with Melissa and get back to her place in time to take it easy. Thanksgiving was wonderful. A nice variety of food, though I was missing Chuck, Aaron and Chelsea, but the company was very relaxed and friendly.

Then Friday showed up. We ate breakfast at Weiler’s (yummy) and came back to her place to exchange her entertainment cabinet for my smaller one. That was a really good idea and it fit her place so much better. We had to take her big cabinet apart to fit it into my car but we had Jeff’s (her landlord) help with that. We decided to visit friends and then go to the movie, even paid in advance for a seat reservation. After about an hour at their house I started to feel ill. It didn’t take long before I was sick, and I mean sick!! The thing I thought I had avoided was happening! Ugh!! We went home and I literally crawled into bed. Melissa managed to get a refund for the tickets and took care of me. It was an awful night.

I still had to drive back to Tucson.

Saturday morning I was better. Not well but better. This was one of those suck-it-up-old-lady moments. We picked up Millie, filled up the car and went back to Melissa’s to pack up my car. I left California with my tail between my legs and counting the miles to my own bed.

But I did it.

I spent Sunday thinking about doing things, that’s pretty much how far it got. The cursed bug came back with a vengeance that night. I lost most of Monday trying to recover.

Today is better and all you fine readers are up dated. I know you wanted the latest details.

-N

Thinking

I have so many conflicting feelings about race and refugees. I have traveled a lot, not as much as I want, and I have experienced different races and cultures. This was good for me and it helped me be accepting and open to humans who were different from me.

When I was very small we were stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. It is the first place I remember clearly as a home. Earlier memories are only of scenes and senses. Anyway, we lived in a trailer park on the base that was filled with other military families. I remember Sam Guthrie and Lynette Singletary, but my best friend was Karen Tucker. The four of us played together and followed the big kids around. Our father’s were in the same squadron and worked together.

We caught lots of horny toads and road bikes and built forts.

Karen’s mother was Rachel and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Karen and I would watch her paint her long nails and put on her makeup. Karen’s mom and dad went out a lot to the base clubs. My folks were more likely to get together with friends and play cards or dominoes. I also remember that her parents would have some real good fights and when that happened she would come over to my house.

Once while I was hanging out with Karen I asked her mother to iron my hair the way she did Karen’s. Her mother tried to explain that my hair was different from Karen’s and it wouldn’t work. I was quite disappointed because Karen’s hair was so shiny, smooth and perfect.

At the end of my third grade year the whole squadron was transferred to Tucson, Arizona. When that happened we were all separated and scattered around town. I didn’t see any of them for many years. When I was in the sixth grade my mom said we were going to visit with the Tucker’s. I was so excited and ready to see how everyone was.

As we drove to their house I was a bit surprised where we were going. Tucson, like most towns, have areas that are predominately one ethnic group or another. In this case we were heading into an area that had a large African American population. When we got arrived and walked to the door we were met by someone I did not recognize.

Karen Tucker was black. I did not know.

In all of my memories, even now she isn’t distinguished this way in my mind. We were all the same. But when we moved from our small, insulated community on the base to a much larger town, we became what was expected of us in the mid 1960’s. It was shocking and suddenly it seemed Karen and I could no longer be friends. Even though we sat together and walked around the house the bond between us was broken, irretrievably. I was sad when we left and we never saw them again.

I would love it if I could find her.

Children are not born hating, they are taught this. My heart is sad that race and culture is at the heart of most of the world’s conflict, when these things should be cherished and given the chance to enhance our lives.

Adieu.

-N

Little humans from next door

I have three little guys who live next door that display all the characteristics of the male human. They are brothers but are so different from each other that I have to treat each one as individuals.

The oldest is a very typical older brother. He is more serious, he takes charge of the younger ones and likes to hang out with his dad. I love watching him as he is the boss. His life understanding is growing, I can hear it when he scolds one of his brothers for a perceived misbehavior. He also will direct them on how to interact with others. If I am working in the house and one of the younger ones comes in I will hear him as he follows them and tells them not to intrude or interrupt. His word is respected as the oldest.

The middle one is just that. He is a people person who loves to talk. He can talk pretty much about everything and he is always wanting to come in my house and “just be quiet” while I work. Yet when I explain that it is hard to concentrate knowing someone is here while I write or sew he will try another tactic. Usually the older brother will coerce him into leaving. But before he leaves he always hugs me and says “I love you.”

The youngest fella is the baby and in typical youngest fashion cannot do all the things the other two can. He is so cute with his big wide eyes and happy face. If he is playing outside and he sees me he waves and yells out “Hi Nancy!”  If I say hi but don’t say his name he will remind me what it is. Maybe this is to make sure he isn’t lost in the crowd? I’ve told him that when he is finally in first grade he can come over and play with my dog Millie like his brothers. He is trying to be understanding.

These boys have been raised well. I don’t hear yelling and fighting. They get along with each other and there is a love there that can only have come from their parents example, instruction and direction. I like those guys.

When we first moved out to Catalina in 1991 the father of these youngsters was the age of the middle son. We watched him grow up, get married and have kids. To him we have always been here and it is fun now to see his sons grow. To be a part of this process all over again is interesting. When I told the boys how long we’ve known their dad they were pretty impressed. Probably that such an old lady can remember so well! Haha.

Life goes on.

-N