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

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