Charlie’s Hands

My six year old grandson spent the night with us this past Sunday night and we took him home Monday afternoon. He and his Poppa had a great time in the pool that night

GLOW SWIMMING

doing a glow swim which is swimming wearing glow stick necklaces.

Besides just hanging out with him and having fun laughing and talking I noticed something about his hands. They captivated me. Watching him do things using those precious hands was fascinating. The way he holds out his pinky when he drinks from his water bottle and the way his fingers move so quickly when he is playing Minecraft on my phone kept my attention.

MY COOL CHARLIE

He is very dexterous with holding things, carrying several things at a time and using his camera. His fingers are long and his palms are wide. His little fingernails are perfect.

It made me think of how amazing our hands really are. We can pick up a handful of items and balance them in our hands then reach over and open a drawer while not losing a thing. Just fascinating how our bodies are made. We can communicate with our hands by doing what I am doing right now – typing on my computer, or with American Sign Language we can have conversations.

Not sure there’s a cooler kid than him. Agree?

Cheers!

-N

Humans 😠

This story moved me because I remember my brave, blessed, beautiful father sharing with me some of his experiences in Vietnam where my dad related a similar experience while stationed at Phan Rang, Vietnam. He was in the USAF and took care of the B57 that were running bombing sorties over North Vietnam. Years later dad and I shared stories of his tour in Vietnam and my experiences as a young teen in the Philippines during the same time.

He told me about an order they had gotten telling them not to approach any Vietnamese children who might be alone walking across the base. It was because the Viet Cong (VC, North Vietnamese) would wrap the children in explosives and once a soft hearted American would come up to one of these little children to find out how to take care of them and the child was instructed to trigger the explosive when this happened.

He said that often these were 2-3 year old females. He was the father of three girls.

If you can handle it, look into the atrocities the Japanese committed against the Chinese in Nanking. The mind of a human who can do this to another human must be a repulsively, nasty, dark, dirty place.

My dad, a man who loved to laugh and took you for face value, suffered from his experiences and knowledge of the hell one human can put another human through.

If you want to support Ephraim and join their army check out their link:

https://strongholdrescue.org/support

Cheers!

-N

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

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.

Yes, that’s my voice

From the time I was little I remember singing. It was something on my mother’s side of the family that happened whenever we gathered together.

My grandmother

My grandmother had a beautiful soprano voice, and she loved to sing hymns whether she was cooking or hanging clothes on the line.

My Uncle

My uncle could out-sing a grand piano with his strong, operatic baritone. His brother could hold his own singing as well.

My mother was a fine alto as were her sisters. Most of my cousins all have varying degrees of singing skills. It’s a family thing.

I’ve always had a good voice which led me to performances in choir and musicals. I love to say I got my voice from my grandmother. After all we do have the same first name!

Now I’m using my voice in a different way by attempting to break into voice-over (VO). My speaking voice when I’ve done readings has always received favorable comments on my sound, tempo, and quality. I feel much of it comes from years of stage plays.

Rehearsing The Fantastics with Marty

I liked acting, and did it a lot in school and after in local community productions.

When I was just out of school I started doing commercials for local radio. It was a blast. The funny part was when someone would say they heard a commercial that sounded like me. I would ask what was it for and then confirm “Yes, that was my voice.” After a while family and friend would listen for me then tell me they heard me.

Years ago in the local malls (which hardly anyone wants to go to now) they had these mini studios where you could go and record yourself. I went in, found the background music for Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and did a recording. I picked it not because I was a big country music fan, but because I knew all the words. I didn’t try to sound like her, or to try to sound country, but just be myself singing a simple song. Well, we were having a party and I played it. My neighbor, Ed, asked me who it was. I told him and he said “That’s you?”

“Yes, that’s my voice.”

VO Sound booth

I’m looking for referrals for VO jobs so let me know if I can bring my voice to your project.

I work in a zero sound floor home studio that I use to record, edit and deliver professional quality Wav or mP3 files. Let’s work together.

Cheers!

-N

 

Revelations

Small revelations about myself have been bombarding me for a week or so. They run the gamut of emotional, physical, spiritual and everything in between. It’s pushed me to find a quiet mind place – place to dissect, delve, scrutinize, explore, eliminate, examine – you understand.

I’m not a huge self-discovery person so when a few things pushed at me I pulled them in and had to take a look.

First – alone time. Due to the extensive travel during my childhood with my Air Force father a type of wanderlust was created in me. Never one to want to be in one place for more than a few years (typical of duty stays in the military) I looked forward to the next place. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs this kept me from developing friend making skills because, heck, you would move on soon enough. What it did create was contentment to be alone. There are good times for this, but when you are married, have children, working full time, and nearby family it might have instilled resentment that I would retreat, hide, mind wander and make myself comfortable with myself and not be available. Both of my kids are like this as well, especially my daughter.

I love the sound of chimes, bells, rain, ocean, flute, fairy songs, and soft breezes. I love the feeling in my house when there is no sound-no TV, stereo, electronics. Just the random outside noise of birds, dogs barking, the kids next door playing in their pool. I also enjoy my rock & roll, jazz, pop music playlists on my apple music – loud.

But like everything else, the when and where of these live inside me.

I have a friend who is retiring and said she wanted to come hang out at my house with me once she is free from the work day drudgery. I like it, and I know she will respect that sometimes I just have to be alone. My dear friend who moved to St. Louis (actually Edwardsville IL) understood this wonderfully. It’s a true blessing to be in tune with another human this way.

Hubby gets me, most of the time, and gives me space when required. It’s how we’ve stayed together for forty years – yep that’s right. The only human who doesn’t get this is my precious grandson. He is five, busy, silly, active and fun. He can’t understand why Nannie (me) won’t come play sometimes. I explain it, he says okay and is back in ten minutes with something new.

Writing for me is gradually coming together after fits and starts, and my current work is progressing. The first third is written, the next third is plotted and I know the end goal for it. It’s fun and plays in my head like a movie. I’m really digging my blog and have thought of reading it on a  You Tube channel as a companion  vlog, sort of twin telling. We’ll see. I keep pluggin away at the voice over auditions and know that once I get that first job things will fall into place. There is a lot of competition, but I’ve a great space for it, my own little sound proof studio, for learning the software and equipment to record, edit and produce really good work. Anyone have a VO job for me?

So I am slowly coming out of a gloomy funk thanks to weird physical stuff that I had no idea of the source of and it scared me, a lot. Kind of got a bit depressed with that, missing my BFF, needing to hide, and letting God fill me up.

I’m getting there.

Cheers!

-N

You Tube and me

Greetings beautiful blog followers! 

Here is some news.

I plan to start recording YouTube videos on Tuesdays. The videos will be me sharing about the places I have visited and my understanding of those locales. Some will take more that one video to delve into the dynamics of the location (The Philippines) and some might be brief (Anchorage AK airport) as I explore the experiences of myself and my family.

I love to travel, and the greatest part is meeting locals who give you the best advice about places to check out that the tourists don’t know about. The wisdom and sophistication gained from the travel reality when you are faced with the awareness of the human situation in a “third world country” means you cannot come away unchanged.

An example of locations featured in the videos will be Texas, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, North Dakota, and California to name a few. Some of these are older travels, but just as many aren’t.

My first video will go up next Tuesday. I have a test video posted right now to initiate the set up of my channel, but the real stuff will begin next week.

I look forward to sharing my observations with you, and I would love to hear your YouTube experiences, tips, and techno knowledge.

Cheers! and happy travels.

-N

 

Florida here we come! I think?

Back in January my daughter told me that her and her son’s spring breaks were the same week, not like last year. This was great because hubby had been informed he needed to use up some vacation hours before he lost them.

The coincidence: Her break was in March and he had to use the hours by the end of March-perfect symmetry. So the plans were on for the four of us to travel to Florida to see my son and his wife, go to DisneyWorld, visit Kennedy Space Center and if enough time to go to the ocean. We had two weeks, but Melissa and Charlie only had one. Another fun thing we planned was to visit my cousin and her family in Jacksonville, NC on our way to Orlando. It was going to be awesome!

As we were down to the last week before we left my son said the park was still open, Kennedy was still open and everything was a go. Yay!

Daisy

Hubby and son had some work to do on the 5th wheel they live in, new flooring and new hot water heater, so we began to get Daisy (the travel trailer) loaded with food and such, and the F250 truck loaded with tools-lots of stuff like saw horses, a ladder and three tool boxes.

Then, we got word from my cousin in NC that the base ( Camp Lejeune) where her husband works had some cases diagnosed and he felt it wouldn’t be wise for us to come to stay since he had been exposed. Okay.

Then our daughter called and said one of the workers where our grandson goes to school had been exposed, however the test results weren’t back yet so no idea if she was infected. So after much debating and deliberation she felt they shouldn’t go. Okay.

So we pulled the stuff we had for them out of Daisy and left a day later March 15th to head east. BTW Head East was a really good band. On the morning after our first stop in Fort Stanton TX our son called to say the park was closing, Kennedy was closing, and the beaches were closing. Okay.

We headed on, Winter Garden FL on the GPS.

Then Covid-19 arrived big time in the good ole USA.

By the time we reached Winter Garden things were updating daily and hourly with each news report. Because my daughter-in-law, Chelsea, works in an essential field (vehicle titles) she was working from home, then going in to do copying, bringing a huge box of files back and forth every day.

Aaron

My son, Aaron, was on paid furlough at that time and so momma got to spend lots of time hugging, kissing and cuddling her baby boy so it totally worked for me.

The beautiful Chelsea

When Chelsea was done each day the men would get busy doing stuff. Often Chelsea and I would run errands  😉😉 (getting away from the house) to get take out, shop for groceries, just drive around, and make the requisite Walmart stop. We were seeing more and more humans wearing masks.

Once the work was finished on the floor it looked fabulous, and the hot water was very hot. Each day hubby and I would head back to wee Daisy. She is a tiny vintage trailer but with a toilet/shower combo, a fridge, stove top and a very comfy bed she worked perfectly.

So we headed home. It was and is always hard for me to leave my babies. I was sad to leave, but the dog/cat/house sitter was paid through Saturday the 28th, and hubby had to be back for work.

One day out from Catalina he heard from work that since he was coming back from being out of state he had to quarantine for 14 days before coming back. Okay.

So that is how things went down for our travels across country and back during the Covid-19 crisis. I know you are all happy to read this exciting narrative. Masks are still on, Aaron is still furloughed, Chelsea is still working, Melissa and Charlie didn’t get exposed because the worker did not test positive, and hubby finally went back to work.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Things that cheer my heart

Greetings all you fellow Covid-19 social distancers!!

I’ve been busy making masks for healthcare workers and my family, hubby has had a 14 day quarantine by his work because we took a trip to Florida to do some work on the 5th wheel my son and his wife are living in. We left on March 14th and at that time Disneyworld, Kennedy Space Center and the beaches were still open. On the 15th my son messaged me that the park was closing, so I checked and Kennedy was closed, and thanks to the lusty, drunken spring breakers the beaches were closed. So…we spent the time in Winter Garden, Florida being with our kids, eating too many sweets and working on the trailer. Chuck and Aaron installed a new hot water heater, a valve on the furnace, and ripped up the ugly carpet and installed a beautiful rich wood laminate flooring-much to my daughter-in-laws happiness.

It was quite the trip home in a world very different from when we left Arizona. More people were wearing masks, and keeping their distance. No easy stops at local restaurants, and the highways were mostly populated by big rigs. It’s a big change that will hang on after the virus has been controlled. My hubby has always said that one day the Earth will sneeze and reset itself. Maybe it just did.

So now to give you something wonderful and happy to view, I want to introduce you to some remarkable folks. I have started following two families on YouTube who have adopted children of a different race. They are on YouTube and Instagram and I LOVE them!!

I come from a adoption heritage – my father was adopted, my daughter was adopted by my hubby, my daughter adopted her son who is a different race and is on the autism spectrum, and I know several people who are adopters and/or are adopted. It is a heritage of which I am extremely proud.

**********

The first one is Sadie and Jarvis Sampson who adopted Ezra. These are so fun to watch and the love in this wee family is beautiful and precious. It filled my heart the first time I watched this and saw the love they share.

The next one is this beautiful single woman, Kimberly Holden and her two beautiful children. I found them when I saw this video title and had to watch it. This family is a blessing to me and I encourage everyone to watch them.

There you go and I hope you will love and enjoy watching them like I am. Upcoming is a blog about the Florida trip with lots of photos. Check back soon!!

Stay home and stay safe-love to all.

Cheers!

-N

Getting Holiday Motivated

It’s three weeks until Thanksgiving and about six weeks until Christmas.

My daughter and grandson live in Phoenix. My son and daughter in law live in Orlando. Hallmark channel is not helping.

I love the scenes of family gatherings depicted in these programs but they also make me miss having my kids with me. My daughter is a very manageable distance and I will be spending Thanksgiving with her. She and my grandson will be with us for a few days at Christmas.  Lots of cooking, laughing, pampering, and fun will happen.

I am grateful for that time with them.

I hope and pray that one day my son will be in the place in life and job he can spend some holiday time with us. He and his wife are so much fun, and our times together are fantastic.

So I sit, looking through cookbooks,  trying new recipes, thinking of decorating and having my babies with me.

It will be okay and the love will pass easily between us this season.

Cheers!

-N