Crazy and fun weekend!

Last week, hubby and I rented a very cute and fuel efficient Ford Focus to drive to So Cal for our grandson’s second birthday festivities. We left Thursday early afternoon and arrived in the San Fernando Valley that night. We managed to hit Phoenix I-10 gridlock, but missed LA traffic. Our bed was adequate, not perfect, but it would do. Thankfully I remembered to bring an Ambien to ward off the sleeping in a different place insomnia. Hubby and I were tired and ready to relax.

Ha!

My daughter told us there were 52 humans who had RSVP’d!! I looked at my daughter with gaping mouth. She said of the 52 she expected 14 children. OMG!

Friday morning we got up early enough to see Charlie before he went to daycare and then the rest of the day was spent taking care of some legal stuff on our part for the foster/adoption thing and birthday party prep.

Did I say she expected 52?

Chuck was tasked with making a cut out frame for party selfies, a birthday banner, a bean bag toss game thing, and putting stickers on cups. I made 72 cupcakes. Red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla, with frosting. I also made a small cake for Charlie to demolish as is the custom with birthdays for little humans.

Melissa and Charlie got home and we had fun hanging with the munchkin. Gosh he is so cute and he has elastic arms so we spent a lot of our time keeping him out of the party stuff. At one point we gave in and took a bunch of bags to the cars for safe keeping. After he went to bed we opened a bottle of wine for the girls and a beer for hubby and proceeded to fill a crap load of goodie bags! Bed time for big humans.

Saturday. Party day. Chuck made a bunch of pigs-in-blankets so they would be warm for the party. We loaded the cars with pigs-in-blankets, cupcakes, goodie bags, selfie frame, bean bag game thing, Charlie, and headed out by 9am to do set up. My daughter’s good friends and landlords brought the helium and balloons, we got busy setting up and managed to be mostly ready for the first arrivals at 10am.

I did say she expected 52, right?

The party was held at the private school where my daughter teaches, just outside her classroom. There was a great covered area with tons of tables and next to it a huge grass lawn for little humans to run. Happy Birthday was sung, candle blown out, and Charlie was properly covered in chocolate after eating fistfuls of thickly iced cake. He looked like he had a beard, and was thoroughly happy and on a sugar buzz.

We were cleaned up and gone by 1pm. I was impressed. My heart was warmed by the wonderful friends of my daughter who are there to support and encourage her and Charlie in this life adventure of theirs. She is a fantastic person and it is obvious by the long-time good friends she has. We headed back to her place to unload and open gifts-what a haul! I took off and got us Cavaretta’s deli sandwiches for dinner. Yum!

Sunday morning was departure day for us. We got our stuff together though, as I found out after we got home, we left several things there. Breakfast was at Weiler’s, us, Melissa and Charlie, then it was time to come home.

It was fast and furious-Vaughn style.

Cheers!

-N

 

Tumbling Dice

Mick Jagger and Linda Ronstadt both did great versions of this rocking song.

…This low down bitchin’ got my poor feet a itchin’,
Don’t you know you know the duece is still wild.
Baby, I can’t stay, you got to roll me
And call me the tumblin’ dice.
Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry,
Don’t you see the time flashin’ by.
Honey, got no money,
I’m all sixes and sevens and nines.
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
But baby, I can’t stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice

These lyrics have been running through my mind the last couple of days. That feeling of running, hiding my head in the sand, looking for a jolly holiday yet I can’t afford one. Most humans need and want stability. You know-this is me, this is who I am and where I am.

No, I don’t go there.

Climbing out of a barrel, digging out of a hole, pulling oneself up off the floor.

Hubby and I have to regroup and retrench. The man is my security. We made a big change this weekend. It was a hard one for me personally, but the necessity was absolute. It also hearkened back to a place and situation in my life where I lost control of my circumstances and was in an unavoidable emotional spiral. As these feelings surged through me I found myself sharing with Chuck a time in my life no one on this blue planet knew of except my father. I had buried the pain and shame of it deeply.

Now here I was, doing what was best, even though I felt totally responsible for the negative situation we found ourselves in and the old baggage floated to the surface. I controlled myself for the most part, giving in to the tears that fought painfully in my throat for release, and adulting my way through it.

I am better now, but this taught me a further lesson. The past is never truly buried. It can reach up and grab me, like the hand in the grave from the movie “Carrie” and scare the shit out of me, again.

Yep, the rank outsider; running and ducking, weaving and bobbing, headed for the Emerald City y’all.

Cheers!

-N

hubby blog

Chuck was venting and I told him it was blog fodder and he needs to put it down. So he’s gonna do it. He asked me if blog fodder was a technical terms and I told him it is for me. That works, right?

He is a great observer of humans, and his perspective is a mixture of curiosity and annoyance. His pet peeve is “strategic victimization” which he sees as a form of modern slavery.  I encourage him to jump into the debate in his blog and see what interaction will result.

He is an intelligent man, has integrity and he works hard. He’s a bit of a procrastinator, he has lots of ideas, reads a lot, and is honorable.

I feel his blog will offer an interesting read. Go for it Chuck.

I will share his link when he gets it set up.

Cheers!

-N

Coast to Coast-almost, part 1

I have been out of communication for two weeks while I help my son make a move from Texas to Florida. It was a huge thing for him and hubby and I had the honor of helping him accomplish it. He was hired as a stage technician at DisneyWorld.

You see, Aaron and Chelsea will be living in it until they find a place to move into, probably an apartment or rental house.

First step was in Catalina and getting our 5th wheel ready for the move.  Got it cleaned up, stocked up, and made sure everything was set. Then we took the truck in for service. It’s a 2004 F250 diesel, a real workhorse, and it was time for the checkup. We were told it needed a new serpentine belt and rear pinion seal!! Only about $600-700. Color me dumbfounded. The service guy said these had to be done before we pulled the RV all the way to Florida. Chuck decided to look on you tube for videos – maybe he could do it himself since the seal only costs $15! After his research he figured he could do it, he needed two new tools. The belt actually cost more, but didn’t require taking apart the drive train. The plan was to leave at 1am on Wednesday morning after Chuck got off work Tuesday at 11pm. But…the truck needed these two things done before we left.  So the rush was on!

Monday morning we bought parts and Chuck started working. The pinion seal was the worry since it required disconnecting the rear drive train, pulling the seal, filling the diferential fluid, and putting it all back together. He got it half done, stopped to go to work then picked it up Tuesday morning. It was a relatively easy job and he felt confident. It worked like a charm. But then the belt came next and it was a freakin’ nightmare. We finally got on the road Wednesday morning at 4:30am! We had both be up since 7am Tuesday morning but we headed out for Lewisville, Texas. After eighteen hours of driving we arrived at the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Lewisville. The facilities manager, Jeff Hobson, gave us permission to park for the night. He was amazing!!

We slept for about four hours, solid hard sleeping, and got up to meet up with Aaron so he could store his stuff in the trailer. He was driving one of their cars out with us, so we filled up and headed out I-20 toward Shreveport. About an hour out of Lafayette it starting raining. An annoying hard rain, especially in the evening, at rush hour, on the highway, towing a 5th wheel. We made it to an amazing rest area just inside Mississippi and spent the night. We started out and managed to arrive in the Orlando area Friday night around 8pm Florida EST. We bunked again at a rest stop and the next morning we cut out at 7:30 am, grabbed some coffee and donuts at the Dunkin Donuts and were at Winter Garden RV park by 9am.

The rush was on again to get the trailer set up, plugged in, and turned on before we had to get Chuck to the Orlando Airport by 1:30pm for a 3:00pm flight. I was staying for a few days to drive the truck back to Tucson.

But we did it!!

Chuck did go coast to coast thanks to Southwest. He flew from Orlando to San Diego to Tucson!

More to come. 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

The big picture

Been a while since I’ve blogged and it’s my own fault. Did ya miss me?  Just busy with humans, enjoying rare rainy weather, and figuring out who decided writing checks is still necessary.

If you go to the Fry’s grocery store the first Wednesday of every month you will encounter the last of the check writing generation. They have declared it old people shopping day, and half of them pay their bill by check!! They write out their check, flip through their check register and write in their check information like a good little bank account holder, then carefully rip out the check and hand it to the cashier who is obligated to look it over to make sure the digits are right, it is signed and then run it through the cash register to validate it.

Meanwhile I’ve had time to knit a scarf and read all the magazines.

We just got surround sound in our TV room so now as I watch a movie I get the real movie theater experience. Love the sub woofer best! This is good since I don’t go to movie theaters very often. Maybe once every four years. Sitting in a public movie theater is a yucky, disgusting experience for me. I feel like I’m covered in germs, the floor and seats are sticky, people are coughing, children are noisy, and you can read by the glow of cell phones. No thanks.

My daughter-in-law has taken on my theater disability as her personal project. God, I love her! Last Christmas she set up a trip to an amazing theater near their home in Lewisville, Texas. This place was brand new – check; had real food – check; alcohol – double check; and a wait staff – triple check. Saw the new Star Wars flick with my kids and after it was over we spent the hour after dissecting the story. Splendid.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books with coastal locales as the setting for each of them. Even though my home here in Catalina is nice, I really miss the ocean. 20160802_111143

I have lots of grass, trees, flowers, a fish pond, vines and shrubs-most of it not representing the desert in any way. If I could afford it I would at least have a pool at my house. Water.

If I had to pick between never seeing a mountain or an ocean I would have to choose the mountain. Put mountains and ocean together and I could work with that! I’m pretty sure I could never live without seeing the ocean.

Ironic for a woman who lives in the desert.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

People in pain

I had a chance to help someone

The time to act was now

People in pain are hard to comfort

When their minds are scattered and slow

 

Please give me patience

Please make me determined

Please help them hear

Please clear my heart from fear

 

Sometimes it is fight or flight

I hide from what I don’t know

Am I really the one to help another

This is me slipping on the border

 

Ok, I smile and give in, nervous

This person’s pain is quicksand

Yes, I will do my best, for them and me

I will give my time to help them stand

-N

It’s all related and it damages humans.

This blog was hard to write but I was compelled to share my opinion. I have noticed a disturbing trend in the news. The overwhelming reports of child sexual abuse. This abuse isn’t done by the scary guy hiding in the bushes or the creepy uncle who came for a visit. This is abuse done by fathers, mothers and siblings. Why? All abuse is wrong!

I realize this isn’t something that has just starting to happen, it has been around since humans have been around. What is disturbing is that children are dying because of it. Who can be so sexually aroused they rape a three month old to death? What is wrong with their brain that they can ignore the screams of pain and the blood, and expect no one will know. The abuser is a damaged human and if the child survives it is also damaged.

Another trend, I think related to this, is the alarming number of arrests for child porn. I put the desire for this up there with watching humans having sex with animals. It is wrong. No one can convince me otherwise. Don’t even try.

This leads to something else I believe is making humans into little more than basic life forms. Studies show the damage to committed relationships and the perception of women as objects is directly related to porn viewing. I personally feel the excessive display of the human body has diminished the beauty of the human body by making it common and ordinary. Men in loving relationships are turned off by their normal looking wives after viewing the altered bodies in porn. The beauty a man initially sees in the woman who has given herself to him body and soul is colored by a skewed perception that casual and excessive human nudity gives. I have heard so many stories of women who have said “My husband loves me no matter what” to find out he is addicted to porn and sees her as disgusting because she isn’t a size zero, nympho with huge fake boobs bouncing around. He doesn’t see that the woman he is getting off on would give him STD’s if he banged her.

Have you read what these actors go through physically to perform in theses programs? The men and women who allow hours of anal sex spend their days wearing pads to keep the feces from coming through damaged sphincter muscles. Most of the women have to be drugged to allow their bodies to be used by men and women they abhor. Many of the women who are in bondage and sexually violent videos spend hours recovering from the pain their bodies have endured.

How is this sexy?

I read an article that showed the effect viewing porn does to the brain. It is equated with what happens when a human becomes addicted to cigarettes. With repeated behavior the brain rewires itself to require the behavior. It changes the way a persons brain works.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Boys who view porn, and it is very common don’t kid yourself, see sex as their entitlement. If they watch rape, this is what they expect is their right. If they watch child porn, it tells them small children really want sex. If they see unprotected sex, they don’t worry about the consequences of unprotected sex for themselves or others. Imagine the brain of a ten year old boy who has spent a year watching increasingly graphic pornography when a girl he likes smiles at him and says he is cute. Where does he go in his mind? Imagine this same boy who has watched child porn and sees a beautiful little six year old girl. What images do you think his mind conjures up?

The idea that sex is meaningless was underscored recently when the news reported an incident of a teenage girl who had casual sex with several boys while more boys came to watch and video tape it. The only real outcry came when it was revealed she had been captive in a sex trafficking ring and her brain couldn’t distinguish what she was doing was harmful to herself, because it was how she was trained to respond to demands for sex from males. Her brain was altered by repeated behavior. She is in therapy but what is the cost? Do you think these young men will feel they did something wrong?

Girls as young as 7 or 8 are expected to perform oral sex on a boy before he will be her boyfriend. First of all, who decided a child that young was capable of being a girlfriend or boyfriend. By middle school children are actively engaged in sexual activity their bodies and brains aren’t ready for. Instead of sex being the source of love and affection in committed relationships, it is play time for 6th graders.

Boys expect it, girls desperate for attention give it. It has no value. When did giving your body become a common place and routine act with no depth, connection or emotion? Why is excessive sex and graphic violence required to tell a story? It is sad that the young people of this day and time cannot see what they are doing to themselves. Humans are losing the one thing that makes us special-sex with love, maturity, understanding and attachment.

It is like urinating.

-N

I can’t help it and other stuff

So…I have been having a great time with all my new Twitter followers. When I get a new follower I thank them for following with a nickname. The response has been fun, too fun and I can’t help it. There seems to be a bit of a theme with my followers. Wine, books, travel, food, writing – you know the usual suspects. It’s a hoot to connect with humans from other countries.

I have great news to share. I told all of you beautiful readers that my hubby, Chuck, after job hunting for two months got a new job. Well he has officially started at the new place. The man is enjoying learning and meeting his co-workers, figuring out his way around the new place and being part of the workforce again. While he was unemployed he kept himself busy with projects around the house and he has done a lot to perk up the property. He had time to reconnect with Millie who thinks he is her new BFF. Speaking of BFF (he hates when I describe it this way,) he has also reconnected with his buddy Bob. Those two men and their dogs have been hanging out and planning golf outings.

I’m not looking forward to summer in southern Arizona. It is hard for me to handle the heat. A swimming pool will be the first purchase if I win the lottery! Summer here seems to last from April to October. We’ve had 90’s to the end of October. When people say they love the heat but I don’t get it. At least with the cold you can bundle up to stay warm, but you can’t get naked enough to cool off if it is 110. Before you say I don’t know cold, I’ve lived in northern Japan where we averaged 10ft of snow and blizzards off the ocean, and North Dakota where the highs were -18.

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My mom will be celebrating 86 years on the 24th, so here is a shout out to mom, Happy Birthday! 

She is a firecracker of a lady who likes all sports but is a huge football fan, is a notorious name dropper, loves and is inordinately proud of her children, grand children and great grandchildren.

She and my father had their first date July 4th 1950 and got married July 25th 1950 and were married until he passed in 2002.

The rough draft of my second book should be finished this week. Woo hoo. Then the heavy editing and rewriting starts. Anyone out there know a good history reference for Camden, New Jersey?

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

Watching humans

Without a doubt, people watching is an amazing exercise in confusion and humor.

I love to watch humans. I try to figure out what their story is, who they are, do they walk with confidence, do they appear shy, are they gregarious, what do their clothes tell me and so on. If you want a writing prompt then people watching can give you plenty.

This morning I was in a lobby just as people were changing shifts and the human interactions were telling. A tall security guard carrying an ice chest lunch box strides out of the elevator on his way home passes a cute petite woman who responds shyly to his bright hello. Who are they? Why is she shy? What makes his walk so peppy and his greeting so cheerful?

The best people watching is done in shopping malls and airports. There are crowds of people moving in different directions, talking, juggling bags, looking for direction signs, noticing other humans and finding their way around.

It’s fascinating.

Disneyland is another great people watching place. I tend to notice the parents with the children, who are really too young to be there, trying to force their tired, cranky and sensory overwhelmed toddlers to “have fun”. The adults spend all of their time corralling kids and arguing with each other, while wistfully watching the childless couples strolling, holding hands, flirting and laughing. I don’t understand why people think a toddler has any business in a place with so many things that distract and agitate the child. Most of them are scared to death at the sight of a six foot tall Mickey Mouse!

What is your favorite place to people watch? What are you looking for when you watch humans? Have you ever been busted while observing someone?

Cheers!

-N

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