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

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