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.

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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

 

 

Do you believe?

I was that little girl who utterly believed in Santa, and the magic of Christmas. To this day the feelings and joy of belief in Santa enchants me. I adore stories that validate my childish memories and build my depth of belief in the Christmas spirit.

Like many children I discovered the painful truth by accident. One morning I was looking for my father, and stumbled across him in the neighbors garage. I saw he and our neighbor were putting together one of those little play kitchens and before he could see me I ran off. You can imagine what I realized when that very toy kitchen was sitting next to our tree on Christmas morning.

I never told him what I knew, but by the next year my Santa connection sadly was over. Yet, I still wanted to believe.

This blog was prompted by me watching Hallmark Christmas in Summer movies. What can I say?

What are your memories, feelings, and  emotions that fill your heart for the upcoming season?

Share…

Cheers!

-N

An insecure 14 year old far from home

It was 1968, Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Philippines. Dad had been transferred from Misawa, Japan – not what any of us wanted.

I loved Misawa. It was beautiful, welcoming, rural and safe. I had good friends there, rode my bicycle everywhere, loved my school, and there were four seasons which I had never before experienced. I turned thirteen there, and had my first crush. Needless to say my life was wonderful and my memories, to this day, are warm. I cried when we left.

Clark Air Base: Hot, humid, very green, and frightening. Because there were a group of us who left Japan for Clark I had a few friends already. One, Victor Watson, was my safety when my dad was TDY (temporary duty) to Phan Rang, Vietnam.

We lived off base in Josefa Subdivision. Just off the main gate was the street to our house. We were at the end of the road, with a creek and railroad running behind our house. Behind those were cinderblock houses holding mutliple generations of Filipeno families. One thing we learned quickly was nothing was safe from thieves. There was a family living in our subdivision brought over from the US a teal VW bug. This vehicle was stolen from the carport and the gate was still locked with a chain and padlock! Yeah it was scary. To keep people out of our place the block wall was topped with barbed wire and broken glass set in concrete. Also large thorny agave and bouganvilla lined the inside. Deterrents that most of the others in this neighborhood had, still one never knew how effective would be. Mom and I took turns sleeping by our Christmas tree to keep our gifts safe.

A local “security” guy was paid monthly to guard the houses. Security and guarding are used loosely. My dad wasn’t sure for whom he worked. When dad was getting ready for hs first TDY he found this guy and told him “My wife is from Texas, she is tough lady and she has a gun. So if someone tries to come into our house she will shoot them.” He later said to us, “If your mother calls out ‘get my gun’ don’t say ‘what gun?'”

Early one morning my dad was outside and heard crying from the housing behind our house. He motioned a man over and asked what happened. He ascertained a child had died overnight, so dad went into our house, pulled out a pot of beans from our fridge and gave it to them, saying he was so sorry.

We had good friends in the Singletary family. Their daughter, Lynette, was my BFF. They were transferred back to the US before us and they gave us their dog “Snoopy,” a white Spitz. This was the meanest dog I have ever encountered. He would attack us – mom would use a broom to shoo him away so we could go in and out the door. My sister, Mary, has scars from that dog. Easter 1968 dad was gone, and mom said we were going on base to have dinner and see the movie The Sound of Music. When we got home, Snoopy was growling from the corner of the carport which was covered in softball sized rocks. He did his job and mom gave him a reward of a package of hotdogs.

We were never robbed.

We were at Clark during the 1968 Tet offensive. It was part of my PTSD. I’ll explain.

Clark Hospital was the place the injured from Vietnam were sent. The buses carrying these wounded humans came from the flight line. The curtains would be open and often the soldiers would wave, leaning up to look at all the Americans. Other buses from the flight line, with closed curtains, bypassed the hospital and drove to the morgue – a morgue which at one point was so full that the coffins waiting for transport were stacked outside. Yes, in the moment I typed those words my mind is vivid with memory of the stacks of silver boxes. My heart was frightened for my most beloved father who was in this place where killing was happening. I was never happy or secure when he was gone.

My mother, along with some other women from our church would go to the hospital to visit the wounded, write letters for them, and bring homemade treats. Because I was old enough to go with her she took me on her visits. There were soldiers there who were only five years older than me. Until you have sat in a room where a very young voice is crying for his mother, another has no arms, another has a face pulled together with stainless steel and buttons, or whose burned body smells of napalm, you cannot imagine what my naive, young mind worked to file in a dark corner of conciousness. I spent years never being able to enter a hospital without being nauseous at the smell. No one else could smell what I smelled. Suffice to say it took years to know what it was. It was the napalm burns. It smells, bad. No more of that now.

I have a thing for umbrellas. I love them. I have more than I need in southern Arizona. This is because of Clark. I carried a cute little pink umbrella my dad bought me in Japan everywhere I went. It was to protect myself from the Filipeno men I passed who would try to grab me and touch me when I was walking to the main gate, or a friend’s house. Unless Victor was with me my little umbrella was security. Victor was a very sweet and kind guy, who was protective of my tiny self if I needed him. It wasn’t a great place to be for me.

There is so much more to tell but my heart is done with the feelings these memories surface. So maybe another time.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

I’m back, but emotions are running high!

I’ve been on a brief blogging hiatus, spending time going between Catalina and Phoenix to take care of my grandson during the last three weeks of my daughter’s teaching schedule. I had days where I lived at her place in Phoenix, and then he would come down here and live with us. There were times it was hard for the little fella to get his bearings with the back and forth, and missing his mother.

During this time hubby has been working a crazy schedule giving neither of us good sleep and making us grumpy. So the two things together robbed me of time and blogging inspiration.

However I am ready to jump in.

Last week hubby’s two brothers came to town from Reno for the interment of their parents ashes. It was held at the Northminster Presbyterian church where they were married in 1956.

It was a very sweet and emotional service; my husband and his brothers honored their parents well.  Melissa and Charlie also came for the weekend. One special person was Janet Daub who was my mother-in-laws maid of honor came with her husband, Vic!

So four days of visiting family and friends, lots of cooking and cleaning, and so many stories with lots of laughter. Charlie got to know his two great Uncles from his grandfather’s side of the family well.

Now we have a week until the next visitor.👏👏

Saturday, my great niece, Kali will come down from Phoenix to spend the week with us. This will be her second summer doing this and we are already looking at fun things to do with her during her visit. She is a very sweet and fun almost teenager (no!!) and we are taking advantage of her willingness to hang out with us old folks 😎 She is excited about using the pool we just put in to keep us cool.

So I’m thinking of new topics, ideas, and life events to blog. Promise to have pictures.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Monumental Road Trip – Introduction

Yep, we did it! We took two weeks and one day to drive from Catalina AZ to Orlando FL. As anyone who has done something like this knows not everything can be prepared for or anticipated, and the best perspective is “expect the unexpected.”

The first hurdle was hubby working 12 hour days right up to our departure. That made things hard to get ready and I hate packing for him! I mean seriously, I never get things quite right, so…this waited until the absolute last moment – like, the middle of the night before we planned to pull out at 7am. We packed the truck and the trailer, hooked the trailer _DSC0059 (2) (here after referred to as Daisy,) filled the truck with gas and managed to be on the road by 9am.

Ok so we tried!

Two weeks is quite a while, but in retrospect I brought way too many clothes and shoes. I know part of my rational was I would be in at least two different climates so I wasn’t sure what to bring. Our stop in eastern Tennessee would be during winter, with cold rain and fog, but central Florida would be warm spring tropical so you tell me – what would you bring?? Another thing that was big were the amount of tools hubby brought. Those filled the back of the truck. He and Aaron had plans to do a bunch of stuff to the 5th wheel while we were in Florida and since hubby has way more tools than son he brought them along. I’m talking shop vac, a ladder, a bag full of tie-downs, three tool boxes, etc., you get my drift.

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It was a fun trip. The best part is always the humans who are part of the adventure. We learned some history, saw a musical production, roamed three DisneyWorld parks, and spent too much money $$$, but we had a good time and didn’t fight too much. 😉👍

Cheers!

-N

 

I’m Back!!

Well fantastic followers, after two weeks and nearly 4,000 road miles later I am finally back online and ready to blog. I have a ton of photos and stories to share with everyone. Still getting the pics downloaded and sorted so it will probably be a series of blogs.

Hubby and I had fun visiting (in order round trip from Arizona) New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, ending back home in Arizona of course.

Our sweet little 15 foot travel trailer we have fondly named “Daisy” performed exceptionally well. She is a vintage 1982 Sport and we look forward to sprucing her up. We got a lot of attention and great comments about her.

We spent a week with Aaron and Chelsea. Hubby and son working on some RV repairs, going to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom at DisneyWorld, watching Chelsea be excellent in a production of Beauty and the Beast, and eating way too many donuts!

Our place and our pets were well cared for by Heather Herman, with help from Kristopher and Trinity. It was such a relief not to have to worry about anything. Millie was crazy to see us again, and Cleo was mildly interested that we returned.

I finished the laundry, we’ve got most of everything put away, Daisy is cleaned out and now it’s the getting back to normal.

More to come!

Cheers!

-N

Give it to a busy person, yeah right!

Well, yeah, that’s what it feels like. Last week, this week, next week – not enough days and lots to do. February 2019 has decided I’m on it’s radar.

This month was Charlie’s birthday, my niece Kali’s birthday, my nephew Austin getting ready to deploy with the US Army, reconnecting with a precious young family, my niece Danielle’s bridal shower, hubby flew to Reno, doctor appointments, eye surgery, hair appointment, waxing appointment, weekly Bible study, truck repairs, travel prep…yeah it’s been busy in this short month.

Dang, that explains my loss of sleep!

The biggest event was the reason for the trip to Reno. My father-in-law passed away 31 January, and Hubby went up to help his two brothers clear out dad’s apartment. It was an unexpected passing, and Chuck cherishes in his heart he was the last person to talk to him. They chatted on Saturday a couple of times, and then during his sleep and he suffered a catastrophic stroke. He lingered unconscious for four days, and passed peacefully.

Charlie’s birthday celebration was rescheduled a couple of times because of circumstances, but he didn’t care as long as he had a party. The weekend after his birthday party he came down to Catalina and it snowed! He dug it.

We had a last minute gathering to give a loving deployment send off for my nephew Austin. Lots of love and hugs and promises of care packages. Pizza, beignets, and cake along with music, laughing, conversation and photos.

So now the month is over, the last appointments to be attended, and a look forward to March.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Hungry While Passing Through Catalina AZ?

Catalina is a rural village, just north of Tucson on Hwy 79. We have a beautiful view of the Santa Catalina mountains and are far enough from Tucson that the only signs are the bedroom community aspects of traffic and new construction. As is usual in communities like ours we don’t have all the dining options a metropolitan area would have.

However…

We do have a little gem called It’s Greek to Me. It is the best. The food is fresh, and prepared with love. The atmosphere is like sitting in the dining room of a Greek family home, with wonderful smells, laughter, children’s voices, and people enjoying the music. It is a place where you can sit at your table for however long you want, no rushing your meal. The wait staff, which can include the couple who own it, are super friendly and accommodating. 

Hubby and I we there last Friday for a late lunch. It is like visiting with friends. The owners David and Kaitlyn are hands on, cooking, serving, and going out of their way to  make the best dining experience possible. Their toddler son, was asleep in his playpen while his pregnant mom cooked – this is the way it goes in this family oriented place. She is due in June.

Kaitlyn had told me, whenever I came in, to ask if they had mussels, which I did. I was thrilled to hear an affirmative response! Yep, I ordered them in red sauce, along with a glass of a dry Greek (Skouras Saint George) red wine. Perfect!!

The lovely Rebecca was an attentive and friendly server. She enjoyed how much we loved our food, which feels wonderful to a customer.

Hubby had the Gyro Platter, always a favorite, for his meal. We started off with the hummus (so good) and warm pita bread, cheese and olives. They don’t scrimp on the portions so I had to go easy to make room for my mussels.  

We dug in and had a wonderful and extremely filling meal. I highly recommend the honey yogurt cake😋. It was my mother’s favorite. A side note, they have very fresh and wonderful vegan/vegetarian options as well.

This place is worth making a special stop in Catalina. Check out their website to see a menu, and don’t blame me if you get hungry.  https://itsgreektomecatalina.com/

Cheers!

-N

(no compensation was received for post)