I just want to sing

Last night I watched a program about Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson AZ native, called “The Sound of My Voice” and man did it stir me.

When asked about music she said that she just wanted to sing, she loved music and she wanted to be around music and sing. I know exactly what she means.

Another similarity between Linda and me is that when my family got together we would sing. Lots of singing. Hers was the same. My grandmother had a beautiful soprano voice, my grandfather carried a tune in his rough bass/baritone and we all have memories of them singing their love song – harmonizing to each other.

I have a new grandbaby due in January and that little peanut has DNA flooded with vocal music ability from both sides. I can’t wait to sing to and with that wee one.

Once, years ago I auditioned for a band with Linda’s arrangement of “Heat Wave” and booked it! I’ve been told I sound like her, especially when I was younger and could really belt out a ballad. I can still do a good job covering a song, age hasn’t stopped me yet. I’ve always wanted to sing the standards in a little combo, that played in a night club.

I remember when my grandmother was in her 70’s hearing her sing the voice was not as strong but the love for the music was there and she always was in tune.

At the end of the program, watching Linda and her family sing together truly moved me. She had to stop them at one point because she knew, in her mind, the note she wanted to sing, but it wouldn’t come out. The show ended with her finishing the song – hitting the harmony beautifully. I put my hand over my heart as I watched her sing and could see the Parkinson’s tremor in her hands.

Damn that disease for taking the voice of one of the best singers in the world!

Cheers!

-N

Monsoon, Woo Hoo!!!

Lots of people in the Tucson area have been praying to get a real monsoon storm with lots of rain to fill the underwater aquifer and help restore the Santa Catalina Mountains from the Big Horn Fire damage of last year. The mountains were a dull grey brown from the burned vegetation. They looked shrunken and sad.

But then last Friday they got prolonged hammering of rain over the afternoon and evening (we got 1.03″ in fifteen minutes) and “BOOM” they sprung back to their lush beautiful self.

So God heard the outcry of the desert dwellers and said ‘hold my beer!” and it was fabulous and scary.

Areas of Tucson got hit with heavy rain and super strong winds, and there was even a land spout tornado spotted and photographed. Along with this was some wind damage. Hubby and I remarked that we can water plants, run the sprinkler and the yard will struggle, but one – just one – big monsoon rain will change the dull, dry, brown color to me and God’s favorite color – green.

I caught video of the storm just as it hit us, and it was a deluge. This is looking from my back porch.

Cheers!

-N

 

Writing Is Fun

I was talking with a young man who is an English major in college about my writing process. His questions had me examining the way I write, where my voice comes from and how I work story out. I told him it wasn’t just getting a good story idea and plotting the chapters, but looking at who the people are, how they got to the place they were when the story begins and what is the real truth of character.

Just like real humans, story human’s reactions and perspectives are based on their life experiences – even if those are made up by the author.

It’s sort of like a PR guy who comes up with an identity that is appealing and interesting, and will make the celebrity into a money making character. The celebrity grabs onto this identity and runs with it.

That’s what happens when I come up with a fictional character. I reach a point where there is reality attached to them. I know what they sound like when they speak, I see their mannerisms and habits. I’ve learned their hopes, faults, mistakes and desires.

Creating my world filled with these people I’ve discovered in my mind thrills me. It’s what I like best about writing. The research is fun, the discovery of plot and story stokes my creative side. The beauty of it gives my imagination what it needs to grow.

Writing is fun.

Cheers!

-N

Scent and Memories

I have begun a study in fragrance. My collection of essential oils is growing, and I’m learning about the interaction and relationships that come into play when developing a specific aroma. Blending, exploring, a little of this, 2-3 drops of that and you are remembering a walk in the forest or by the sea.

Fascinating.

I have my besties whom I have created fragrances for, that not only make me think of them, but I hope would give them a feeling they need for peace and balance. God is amazing in the way he made the natural world to compliment his treasured souls inhabiting this planet.

I remember during a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, when hubby and I were riding a scooter and drove through clouds of scent. I had never experienced that outside of walking between the honeysuckle vines by my front door. On each side of us blooming plants climbed the sides of the volcanic rock lining the road. Visually it was stunning and then to get the whiff of strong natural fragrance was overwhelming. The combination was magical.

I love the pine forests with the pleasantly pungent aroma of the pines that welcomes you to the haven of mountains. It’s wonderful, especially beside a mountain lake.

A book I was recommended and have started reading is “Fragrant” by Mandy Aftel. It is informative in an easily read form, and the details are necessities in developing the understanding of the evolution of scent.

Did you know cinnamon is the king of spices?

Cheers!

-N

 

 

A New Fascination

A young friend of mine was wearing a homemade scent that smelled of patchouli. I love patchouli probably due to my 70’s pot smoking days. I do love scent, like incense and scented candles. Hello. Light bulb moment!!💡

So…

I’ve been my typical self, delving full speed into researching essential oils, aroma families, and homemade soaps, perfumes and lotions. What a blast!!

I have this little note book I’ve been making copious notes in it as I learn. I’ve discovered the world of personal perfumers. The more I learn the more I like the idea of doing this for myself and perhaps for others. I woke this morning thinking of an aroma idea. Perfume, soap and lotion groups of specific nature fragrance blends. These can be made animal free and organic which makes me happy.

Don’t get me wrong I’m still writing, sewing, etc., but my mind is having fun exercising and growing with new knowledge.

We will see. I will blog about my progress and products developed – who knows I might make some money with this.

Cheers!

-N

PS: Don’t believe it when a company says it doesn’t practice age discrimination. 😒

Our Cool Yearly Visitor

We’ve had a teenage girl living with us for five days. I can honestly say it is a different world!

First of all she is the kind of teenager you want every teen to be like. She is kind, interested, funny, and respectful. She is affectionate and she figures out the dynamics of living with us and being with us. This is amazing since we are her great Aunt and great Uncle, so our age difference is considerable.

She has confidence in herself and yet she has a charming shyness that her uncle and I adore, and want to protect. She challenges without being rude or disrespectful. What I truly appreciate about her is her lack of interest in being a Kardashian which is so typical of most girls her age (13). She would rather smell like horses than perfume. I have to get on her case a bit to brush her hair or get a shower. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t sloppy or dirty. She just doesn’t think about it.

So refreshing.

She has goals, and plenty of interests, and during the various trips we’ve taken during her visits with us, she has put her best into learning and discovering each destination. For example this year seeing her reactions to things she encountered in Tucson visitor staples like the Flandrau Planetarium, Pima Air and Space Museum, Titan Missile Historic Site and Sabino Canyon Recreation Area shows she is open to learn. Rather than showing boredom with these locations, she absorbed the knowledge available.

Our sweet niece.

She visits us for about a week at the end of each school year. This is our 4th year hosting her and I love that she still wants to hang out with us. It may not last much longer. So we are taking advantage of the opportunities.

So… I just gave her a bowl of homemade whipped cream and a bottle of chocolate syrup! What can I say, she deserves it and earned it. We got hugs and so did she.

She loves hugs!

Cheers!

-N

Wash your hands

Any one else have mask avoidance syndrome? You know those feelings you have when you want to go to somewhere, any activity you rarely avoid, but your first thought is “Yuck, I will have to wear my mask!” Or that incredible relief when you yank off the mask when you leave a building.

Hubby and I went to a “welcome home” celebration for the University of Arizona Women’s basketball team when they returned from playing in the national championship game. It was held outside at the football stadium and about 1000 socially distanced, fans were there. I didn’t mind the warm temps or the speeches. I hated wearing that mask.

My cardiologist’s nurse said in most cases, the mask keeps a sick person from spreading the virus, but the best way to avoid catching it is hand washing. Wash your hands all the time. If you wear gloves you wash your hands anyway and change the gloves after every use.

I think it’s interesting we have had no flu season.

When the number of cases was on the rise, just saying “herd immunity” out loud you got accused of wanting people dead.  I read recently that “the goal of Covid precautions is to reach stable “herd immunity” so now what?

In 2020 co-morbidity was the name of the game. The number of dead, the percentage in all age groups stayed at a stable level from previous years. Old people, people with pre-existing conditions and cancers all had the same number of death rates. The Covid cases and deaths weren’t in addition to the other causes but in place of those causes. If you look at the causes of deaths the numbers of cancer, heart disease, stroke, accidents, etc., went down. Instead these were listed as co-morbidity with Covid.

What we need to learn is this…If you are sick, stay home, socially distance and wear a mask to protect others if you must go out; wash your hands often and well. The Japanese do this readily. You will see individuals of all ages in masks, going about their business. It is a country where the work/school culture is you don’t call in sick. Compound fracture, heart attack, open bleeding wound, giving birth – ok – go to the hospital. Cold or flu, wear your mask and show up.

Cheers!

-N

 

A wonderful visit, a perfect guest

Last Wednesday through Saturday I had a very special guest in my home. My sweet friend Kristen, long time BFF, keeper of secrets, Mexico travel buddy, she and I have been friends since 1989.

She left Tucson five years ago after huge life changes and moved to the St. Louis area to help with the care of her aging parents. Though we go long spells without contact, once we are together again it’s as though we hadn’t been apart a day. We laughed a lot, drank wine, chatted for hours, and I introduced her to my new besties. It was a joy to have her here.

Kristen is an easy guest to have for a visit. Not much cleaning up after her. She keeps her space clean, she helps around the house, she was always stopping by the store and bringing fruit and munchies (always black olives,) she shared with us. But most of all, hubby and I know she cares deeply for us, as we do for her.

An animal lover, Kristen fell in love with our Millie. Kristen’s mother always had German Shepherds (or German shedders as she called them) so she was more than comfy with our sweet girl. She didn’t hesitate to scold when Millie misbehaved which I appreciate and knew it was because she was comfortable in our home. It’s such a great feeling about a close friend.

She helped me see my home, inside and outside with new eyes. She loved the way our house had evolved since her last visit, especially the paint and new book shelves as well as my office space. We spent time outside, in the breezy cooler days, enjoying the honeysuckle and roses, the grassy yard and trees. I hope these mild temps last through May. Her room has a porch surrounded with trees that the morning chorus of birds, resting in the branches, woke her.

The oddest thing about this whole visit is neither one of us took any pictures. I realized it after she left Saturday morning. How did that happen?

So, I hope to have the chance to return the visit with my own trip to her home.

Cheers!

-N

Kristen

Here is a picture of my friend, with a typical bowl of black olives we always had.

Both Side of The Walton’s Time

I’m a huge fan of The Walton’s. It shows a much simpler time of home, family and faith many humans now days still crave. They talk about the good old days with longing.

Walton’s

There are many things about those times that drove human improvement. People worked hard because there was no government assistance, the women tended the inside house and the children, the men worked outside the home in jobs or farming and kept up the outside house and buildings. Families who were in need, in most cases, were helped by their community. Most homes had cellars/sheds where fruits and vegetables were “put up” for the lean times. Many were like my grandparents who had gardens, raised chickens and lambs, and hunted and fished to help feed their families, and supplemented income by bartering goods and services. Children were taught respect for other people and their property. Social activity in the communities were centered around the churches along with purpose driven gatherings like a quilting bee, sewing circles and barn raisings. Most folks didn’t travel much, and the community was the focus.

However, there were some not so great things. Schools were adequate, but in rural areas not easily accessible so education was for those with means. Education, especially higher education, was for men. Domestic violence and child abuse were common, with no advocates for those victims. The abusers received no penalty since their wives and children were essentially property. Slavery in the form of adoption was also commonplace where a young boy or girl was adopted for the primary purpose of servitude on farms and in households. Sexual abuse was impossible to prosecute except under extreme situations, and rather than dealing with family incest, abuses were suppressed and kept quiet, racial prejudice was rampant as was the oppression of women. A white man would have sex with a black woman but would not ride on a bus with her.

So, there are elements of that time I agree are desirable and I would love to see happening again. However, just as much of it I am grateful that humans are actively fighting to eliminate.

Cheers!

-N

What Am I Doing? Glad You Asked!

Hi gang! This is what I’m doing…

I have been writing and sewing like crazy – and I love it.

With writing one thing I try to do when working on my fiction is to give an authentic perspective to male characters. Not always easy for me, so I discovered if I give my first draft pages to my hubby he brings his Clive Cussler/Tom Clancy/Louie L’Amour reader viewpoint to the action and dialogue I’ve written. This really fleshes out my fictional males, and works wonderfully in bringing depth and realistic dimension to them. He has helped me plot out some actions scenes which is fun, and I will bounce ideas off of him. I occasionally have to remind him not to try to re-write my story. He also shows me where I haven’t completed my thought or dropped into a scene without the needed information or details. I know my story, my locale, my characters voices, so I might start a scene of dialogue with a clear direction in my mind, but for my reader it’s like walking in during the middle of a movie!

I’m really have fun making my own clothes. I love fabric and patterns, the sound of a sewing machine, and the finish of a serger (overlock) so it seems I always have multiple projects. I have designed new face masks for me and hubby, based on what my husband would like to wear. He likes a longer front, so I started with a modified pattern and together designed what he wanted. After working it up I liked it so much I’m making one for myself. We found the fabric in the color we wanted, and got the appropriate notions. Now it’s just cutting out the pieces, and sitting at the machine to put them together. I was one of those folks that made a bunch of face masks at the beginning of the pandemic when the hospitals and first responders ran out. Myself along with dozens of others in Southern Arizona made thousands of masks. I gave me great joy to know I helped protect those important people. I also made masks for several family members.

So as we jump full speed into February I hope and pray for health, happiness, kindness, and hugs for all.

Cheers!

-N