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

Mysterious and fantastic words

I love words!

There are some words used to express perplexities that are often beyond the daily walk of our life. Some of these words are fanciful, some are distinct in the way they work our imagination.

What do you picture when you hear vanished, abyss, summit or abandoned? Do you imagine a ghost ship or an explorer? What about paranormal, telekinesis, singularity or heliopause? Aren’t those the coolest words and fun to say out loud?

Bottomless, crevasse, wall cloud, and epicenter: let your mind wander to the place these words will take it. What do you see or feel when discovering the substance of their meaning?

I remember in 8th grade reading a story about the famous ballerina Isadora Duncan. It said that she was riding in a convertible car while wearing a long red scarf. When I read the words “the long scarf wrapped around the wheels of the car, snapping her neck and killing her instantly”, I gasped. As you can see those words have never left me.

Another time the words of a book seized me was while reading “Unbroken” about the life of Louis Zamperini as a Japanese prisoner of war during WWII. I felt those words physically and the relief I felt once I finished it was profound. It is a tremendous book but I can never read it again.

I read the book “The Exorcist” and once I finished it I told my sister I never wanted to see the movie and watch any of it on the screen – and I never have.

Books, magazines, Kindle, Nook, anywhere words exist to convey the thoughts of another human into readable form attracts me.

I read a lot.

Daily.

Cheers!

-N

Contemplation

I’m sitting here, reading a Melissa Foster book, rounding out a day that started yesterday with rain and then snow ❄.  Its cold outside, but my glass of cabernet savignon is warming me.

The book is sexy, the temperature is 40°, and I’m looking at my sleeping German Shepherd Millie curled up on the couch. Also watching my polydactyl calico cat Cleo curled up dozing in the rocking chair.

Snow is low on the mountains, and the clouds are low in the sky. There is a hard freeze warning for our area which means I will have to cover the outdoor plants that are vulnerable.

I’m enjoying my solitude. I have times when being alone and quiet gives me comfort. I think with age we find these times exceptionally valuable.

So to all you lovely folks waiting for inspiration – gaze at the stars, listen to the soft breathing of a sleepy puppy, and relish the complexity of a good wine.

Cheers!

-N

 

Glad the cat’s not dead

I found out I am poisoning my cat. Not on purpose, but from a lack of information. For the last couple of years, ever since I bought Jerry and installed him in my house my cat has been eating pieces of Jerry’s leaves.

Jerry is a big beautiful dracaena or Dragon Tree.

Jerry the Dragon Tree

His name is in memory of the amazing musician Jerry Riopelle. What I failed to find out was that dracaena is bad for cats, in fact bad for dogs and cats.

I would hear that cat puking sound, you know that sound – it can wake you from a dead sleep – and she would puke up what looked like grass. Okay this cat doesn’t go outside and we don’t grow indoor grass so this led me to discovering she was munching Jerry!

Two days ago when she once again puked up pieces of Jerry I looked it up, low and behold:

Dracaena species plants contain saponins which may cause drooling, vomiting, weakness, incoordination and dilated pupils (cats) when ingested.”

Oh man, this was bad! Another site said it can cause seizures! What to do?

I remembered I had this plant pest spray that was not harmful to animals so I pulled it down and checked it out. It is made with Cayenne Pepper and a couple of other non-hazardous things. I thought maybe she would leave it alone just because of the taste and smell.

Cleo the cat and Millie the GSD.

I sprayed Jerry and waited. I’m happy to report Jerry and Cleo are now safe. She moved on to the Boston Fern and it got sprayed as well.

Guess it’s time to buy some indoor cat grass for my silly cat. Cleo the calico polydactyl weirdo.

Cheers!

-N

 

Checking In

Checking in on this cool, rainy morning.

Wondering about a bunch of stuff. Car needs an oil change, I’ve got tons of laundry to start, must get ready for a short road trip, have an audio book audition to prepare, a garment alteration job to start, and have to make gingerbread cookies sometime today.

All I want to do is read.

I’m an avid reader. I read electronic media as well as the good old printed and bound pieces. The pleasure of words cannot be adequately expressed. I love the feeling of holding a book, and of immersing in a story.

more books
books

These shelves of books give me pleasure to look at, to touch, and in the case of my glass book case, filled with nothing newer than a 1950 copyright, the smell of old printed tomes.

Nothing in here is newer than 1950.

I’m proud of my collection. It is special to me, and I enjoy adding new books, as well as classics. I’m a bookstore’s friend. I’ve decided that one day I will have a book sale. None from my glass cabinet or the classics like Louisa May Alcott or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but the Janet Evanovich, Mary Higgins Clark or Tom Clancy will be put out there for another book lover to discover.

After todays projects are completed, and I can feel comfortable relaxing with a glass of wine I will pick up a story. They are waiting for me.

Cheers!

-N

December Is Moving On

The morning is going easily by, it started with a morning temp of 25° – BRRR.

It’s hubby’s last of four days off before his next four on; his work shift is four 12hour days. Long work days but the four days off is nice. We enjoyed our coffee together, chatting about the day to come. We’ve moseyed through the morning, hubby went to men’s group, and then we had a walk to the mail box (we are rural so it isn’t out front.) Millie came with us which made her excessively happy.

I have a young woman coming at noon to try on a wedding dress I made alterations to, it was her late mother’s dress so I hope she is happy with the way it turned out. I had such a wonderful experience with it and hope I can get the chance to do more things like this. I have two machines: a sewing machine and a serger, and they give me the tools to do most any type of sewing I desire.

One of our Christmas traditions is that hubby is responsible for filling the stockings. He takes this job very seriously and it is always a combination of toys or gadgets with lots of candy. Also there is always a Lifesaver’s book inside. As he starts to add things I hear him chuckle as he is thinking of their reaction to what he has picked for them.

Since we will spend Christmas eve with our daughter, and he is working Christmas day I hosted a get together for my besties and their spouses last weekend. I made shepherd’s pie with ground elk instead of beef, and homemade soda bread. I can’t have beef unless it is very lean like veal. It turned out pretty good according to all who sampled it. We also did an ornament exchange which was so fun with lots of laughs. We each brought a wrapped tree ornament, then drew numbers to pick in order. We only had one trade, and all were happy with their ornament.

Covid-19 struck me in the job hunting department. I sent in a cover letter and resume to Biosphere 2 for a cashier position. However because of the virus the attendance is down so no hiring right now “but they will keep my information.” Dang virus!

I got a good report from my vascular surgeon, and now I only have a few more follow-up visits. My incision looks good and not so noticeable. I was a bit self-conscious.

So all you fine folks are caught up on the Catalina AZ news.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

I’m Ready To Roll, Deal With It!

I’ve been released! Essentially this means my two weeks of post-op recuperation requiring me to stay house bound is over. On Wednesday 2 December I was sprung. I can tell you it was wonderful. It was the first time I had driven further that the local grocer a couple of miles away. I actually drove into real Tucson traffic and it was a trip!

This surgery is one of those negative check marks when looking at hiring an older individual. We are considered a feeble risk and we will drive up the cost of premiums in the company insurance policy. No matter that we are doing our best to be healthy, we are loyal and give our best.  I’ve lost weight, am eating carefully, and sleeping better that I have in a while, yet I’m seen as a risk to the millennials in charge. To the company we create issues in their minds.

This is what it feels like to be profiled. It has nothing to do with who I am, who I really am as a human. It has to do with perception. To the new college graduates and the millennials in charge I am the age of parents or grandparents and we are useful only for telling stories about the past and keeping traditions going. We make them uncomfortable.

Well I have a few stories to tell.

  • How about the first time I did speed at a concert that was also my first laser light show-Steve Miller and left there to go to Jekyll and Hyde’s, a gay bar for dancing.
  • Or the time I was at the Boston Concert and kept dropping the ball of hashish from the pipe bowl every time I tried to light it.
  • What about  my friends and I hitchhiking up and down Speedway Blvd in Tucson on a Saturday night, leaving my car at Pinecrest Center?
  • Or the time my buddie Eddie gave me a gram of coke for my birthday, and in gratitude I shared the lid of weed I had.

I got memories for you!

Hippie 70’s Nancy

Experience is what teaches lessons – all of the lessons – good and bad.

I have years of administrative office experience. I worked for doctors, realtors, insurance brokers, scientists, retail buyers…you get my idea. With plenty to offer and the time to offer it, why doesn’t that equal a desire for these skills?

Want more? I throw a good party, I’ll keep a confidence, and I’ll be there for happy hour. I can talk about football or laboratory sterile technique. I can kill it at karaoke too!

Now back to my writing. My female lead is about to get busted by her son coming back from a hot date with her new man.

Cheers!

-N

Being Strong Right Now

I follow several Instagram pages with families that are mixed race. Some because of the parents races, some because of adoption, some because of marriage. The uniform message seems to be they are strong in their trials.

One couple, she’s black and he’s white with multirace children all adopted deals daily with bigotry and judgemental ignorant humans. These people are great parents and their children lack nothing. Another couple she’s white and he’s black are doing an exceptional job in raising three beautiful blended children and her son from her first marriage. I can’t believe how many humans want to accuse her of favoring him over her other children and vice-versa.

Another couple I follow on YouTube are both black and are raising their white adopted son. That child is one of the happiest kids I’ve seen. They are now pregnant with twin girls from adopted embryos. Who cares what race those babies are, they will be loved and treasured by their parents.

Humanity is having to fight a big fight right now against racism,  misogyny, Covid-19, religious intolerance, and every day struggles to survive in this world. Its hard to pay bills, buy food and necessities, gas, and keep the lights on when you can’t work full time. Hubby and I are trying to find ways to make $$ spread. At our age options are limited.

I’m proud of these families that face the struggles with love and creativity. My daughter, a single parent, does this hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly while raising an adopted child of a different race on the autism spectrum. He is well loved, well fed, and so wonderful. But its not easy.

So let’s talk about what we can do to support others in this life. Let’s be tolerant, and not accept humans that bully, abuse, and strike out in ignorance.

God bless. Cheers!

-N

 

My New Dietary Plan

The discovery of the medical condition that led to my right carotid endarterectomy surgery still exists in my body. But I can adapt and adjust, to arrest it’s progress and hopefully change the status going forward. I joyfully say I am at the end of post surgery two weeks of being careful and taking it easy and tomorrow I can get back into life…full speed.

At the bottom of this post are shots of my incision over the course of two weeks.

As a self professed ocean lover 💙 when I saw the Mediterranean Diet it made sense. Since its time to adjust my eating style and exercise efforts, pretending to be living in Greece or Italy while I do it makes perfect sense. 🏃‍♀️🚶‍♀️🚴‍♀️

So here are the diet deets, with the adjustments based on my medical needs.

  • The foundation of this plan is exercise, daily whether ten minutes or an hour, just move.
  • The next level is plant based. Fruits and vegetables – lots of them raw or cooked. I have a sweet tooth so snacking on fruit is starting to feed that. I especially love grapes, apples, mango and pineapple. We have a dehydrator, and so have started making our own dried snacks. Another good snacking item are nuts. I especially love almonds. However due to my Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) it is necessary that I avoid salt. Not completely, I can use some in cooking, but reducing it, so no salted nuts. I’m incorporating beans, legumes, couscous, Quinoa, and bran into my cooking. I am changing out butter for extra virgin olive oil and it works quite well.
  • The next level is where I get my protein – and my focus is fish, chicken, turkey and not much super lean meat. Again the CAD recommends no meat like beef and pork. I also add some dairy like eggs and fat free cottage cheese. I check every thing for cholesterol, fat, and sodium numbers.
  • The top level is what I call my treats like alcohol, baked goods, etc. Those are extremely limited in consumption for me.

So now I start watching for changes in my systems, and I have already noticed some. I feel different. My scar is healing but has a ways to go, and my energy is improving. As I get familiar with some recipes I will share those with you.

I am following the works of Dr. Kim Foster and Dr. Amy Riolo for guidance and information.

An exciting side note, I am doing a wedding dress alteration! It such a wonderful thing to know I can do something I love like sewing and actually get paid. How cool is that?!?!

Cheers!

-N

SCAR 01 Dec 2020
SCAR 19 Nov 2020
SCAR 27 Nov 2020

The 3rd Verse

O HOLY NIGHT is a Christmas Hymn that isn’t really a favorite for many because its a bit hard to sing, and most people consider it a song for a soloist.

I’ve sung it quite a bit, but this morning I had Christmas music playing and this song came on. In this case the third verse was sung and it blew me away. The words are powerful and profound. Take a look and see. It takes on a new meaning, kind of like the other verses of the National Anthem do.

Verse 3:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us Praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

Cheers!

-N