Welcome to my VO journey

Well beautiful readers, I have started my Voice-Over (VO) journey!! 👏

As I’ve previously mentioned, years ago I was busy providing voice talent for local radio commercials. I was also active in local community theater, both of these fed a performance desire in me. Looking back on those times, and the interesting people I encountered, are some of my most fun memories. Being in that scene, in Tucson, was great for me, and a place I often went in my mind with the thought, “How can I do that again?”

Moving to the now. I saw the ad for the voice over class, and curiosity overcame, prompting me to sign up. After participating in the class, getting a positive response from the VO professional running the class I seriously considered getting the training. I felt confident I could do this. Hubby and I spent time talking about it, looking at the costs involved, and I signed on with Such A Voice for my training. 

It has been amazing, fun, challenging, enlightening, and encouraging. My VO coach is a seasoned professional who is helping me, when we meet weekly, to develop and improve my skills. She is a fun person with lots of experience and cool stories. I have three more sessions with her.

After that I will be meeting with the sound professional who will make sure my in home sound booth is up to my needs in order to produce professional VO auditions. I have an upcoming master class to hone the skills I have developed and network with other VO artist in my area. At this time I will also be meeting with my demo coach who will work with me in preparation of my custom scripts for my professional in-studio demo session. These demos will be my marketing tools.

After all of that is completed Such A Voice has more resources to help me be successful in the VO industry.

So that’s the latest, beautiful readers, of my current adventure. Watch for updates to come.

I am still busy with my two books in process and it is interesting how the script analysis part of VO complements my writing. The best of both worlds for me.

Cheers!

-N

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Learning from the birds

The nest in the honeysuckle by the front door had four noisy chicks. They were noisy and growing – well cared for by their parents. Watching the process from nest building to fledging taught me a few things about taking care of business.

Hard work pays off, but there is always something that can get in the way. I watched as the parents flew back and forth bringing nest material, all the while tucking and weaving the desired shape of the home for their eggs. They knew how it should be – the height of the sides, and the width in the vine to hold the four eggs securely. The nest is a masterpiece, resistant to rain and wind. A few times while we were working in the front yard the adults would flee as we walked by (it is right by our front door) and act as if they were wounded by flopping in the grass or squawking at us from a nearby tree to draw our attention from the nest. I was quite proud of them.

As the eggs hatched, and the tiny babies started calling their hunger, the sweet soft chirping grew rapidly into a pretty noticeable racket from these little guys as they got bigger. And always one of the parents would show up promptly to feed them. A few times when we passed the vine it was bumped and those chicks stuck their heads up, their yellow beaks wide open ready for a meal! Often we would see one adult in the nearest tree and another across the yard on the fence.

I was on the front porch watering the potted plants and could see two little chicks climbing in the vines above the nest. I told hubby I thought they were getting ready to fledge.

Sure enough within a few days the beautiful nest was vacated. Perhaps one of them has flown in briefly to look at the old homestead, but it now sits, waiting for another couple to call it home, or a different bird couple will scavenge pieces of it for another nest in one of our big trees.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Its one of those days!

I’m busy the last three days of this week taking care of my grandson in Phoenix. Because of his autism issues he is not able to stay at the daycare he had been in for this school year. But his mom still needs to work so I am splitting caregiver duties with a woman my daughter met through her church until the end of the school year. Miss Diane has Monday and Tuesday, I have Wednesday through Friday.

But this leaves hubby on his own for three days! Oh my, the trouble that man could get into. 😱

It was a perfect storm of injury making reactions. Charlie and I were getting ready to run to the store yesterday afternoon to snag some ice cream and were in the garage when the garage door started to lift! Whoa, that surprised both of us. I was opening my car door to throw my purse in the seat, at the same time I called out “Charlie, it’s mommy!” He rushed past me and slammed into the inside of my open car door and ping ponged between the side of the car and the door, then fell back on the floor!! I was horrified and he was hurt and screaming. I gathered him up against me as his mom pulled into her spot. He finally calmed but was not a happy guy.

But he did want to get ice cream. 😊🍦

Fortunately. after a trip to the Walmart for ice cream, a discounted Easter basket and some nutellla snacks he was feeling pretty good. This morning he has a knot on his head, a scratch on his ear, and a scrape on his cheek, but he says he is fine.

Life with a busy four year old.

Cheers!

-N

 

Nerdy travel things

Most families who do road trips have the nerdy things they do, things kid remember when they are older and may incorporate into their own road trips as grownups.

Ours is signs! continental divide sign

Not just any signs but signs that tell a story about our trip. We try to catch the state signs as we cross the border. Most times it works, but occasionally, especially on bumpy roads or at night, the picture is blurry.

There are some signs we always try to get like the continental divide or time zones, or the one that makes you wonder “huh?” Bat cave

 

During our trip across country we saw a lot of interesting things, but the most startling were in the panhandle area of Florida, and the surprising evidence that remained of Hurricane Michael from last October. I just read this morning that this hurricane was upgraded to a category 5 and after our drive through its damage path I am not surprised.

The huge stumps of massive trees ripped from the ground, the ripped and tossed interstate signs, and houses and barns that looked like they exploded gave hubby and I pause at the power of nature’s fury. Interstate 10 was closed for quite a while due to downed trees and storm debris. Huge swaths of land were cleared where trees had been uprooted.

I’ve enjoyed road trips, mostly, especially when I go places I’ve never been and this trip took us through areas of our country that are the polar opposite of southern Arizona. I dug it!! Especially when we have plenty of time for side trips. We hit several places indicated in our National Parks Passport. This really gives us an even more diverse travel experience.

So now I have memories from which to compose, what I hope are interesting narratives, and photos of locations that might make you curious to go see for yourself.

So here we go…

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

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)

Looking for Cochise

I love historical research. I love history – that’s probably why I enjoy writing historical fiction. This past weekend hubby and I spent two days scouring the southern Chiricahua mountains for the site of a firefight between the US Army and Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches in 1869.

My fictional Army officer will be engaged in this event. I had questions about the location, and after searching through books and historical papers I managed to pinpoint the place I needed to see. To put myself in my character’s mind, explore his emotions, and find out who he would be after this was over, seeing the location was important for the story.

Much to her great pleasure Millie came along on the road trip, riding comfortably on her bed in the back seat. 

There was so much for her to see and smell, so much to experience. She was so good, and when we stopped for pictures or to explore she was happy to do her own research of the area. 🙂 

Rucker Canyon was where we were heading. It runs between the Chiricahua Mountains to the north and the Pedregosa Mountains to the south west. The creeks were running thanks to snow melt, and the dirt roads were well maintained, with a few places I wouldn’t want to drive on if they were wet.

  My driver did a good job getting me where I wanted to go, and he loved exploring those crude trails disguised as roads. I’m not so fond of the bouncing around on these, but he was having a great time.

Considering we were very close to the international border we saw this sign going either direction. Gave me pause. 

Using our topo map and the references, we were able to pin point the bluff where the Apache warriors held off the US Army. This series of fights lasted for a month beginning in October, and resulted in both sides suffering injuries and loss of life. It also prompted Cochise to examine the cost to his people of the continued fight against the whites.  He was dead five years later.

Walking the area where these two groups struggled to control the land was profound for me. The area is a pristine, rugged, and beautiful wilderness area of oaks and junipers. The bluff was found by us, and we spent time examining it and imagining the humans surrounding it, climbing, it, hiding behind its peaks, and moving in a strategic dance of combat. I was thrilled.

Left – from the south, right – from the north.

The south view was a steeper approach the Army attempted but were pushed back by the well entrenched Apaches.

The Army circled around to the north side which was a gentler slope, but still unapproachable. It was this activity that leads to my character’s encounter with a warrior and a crisis moment for him and his life going forward. After a bit more driving and a bit of hiking hubby suddenly stopped and said, “Here, it happens here.” He found a perfect place for the confrontation. In this area there were signs of human presence at least 100 years old. Nancy was in her happy place!!

Down this slope my character will struggle and his life will change. At the bottom is a creek, and beyond that a meadow lined with trees that are good cover for the warrior.

Boy did Millie like this place. She could wander and discover, glancing back at us to make sure we were near.

It was getting late, so we headed out for Douglas, Arizona and to the ranch home of old family friends of hubby. When I say old friends, I’m talking before marriages and kids, my father-in-law and Mr. Christiansen were BFF’s.

This ranch house was built in early 1960, and is one of the most comfortable, and welcoming homes I’ve visited. We chatted, laughed, looked at books and photos, walked around the land, and hubby’s memories were tickled. Millie loved this as well. She had plenty of room to run, sniff, and do her business. Our beautiful hostess, Mrs. Ursula Christiansen, made us comfy, fed us, and loved Millie. Ursula, born in Germany, married an American military man, and moved to this country. I asked her what she thought of southern Arizona when she arrived and she said she wanted to see Indians, she didn’t realize they were on reservations.

The two German girls got on pretty well. They’d had German Shepherds on the ranch, and she missed them. I think Millie sensed that. After a good nights sleep, Ursula wanted to take us to her favorite Mexican restaurant – El Pato (The Duck.) Chuck and I loved it, fresh and delicious Sonoran food.

Ursula was greeted warmly by the lovely owner Alba, she introduced us, and we ordered. If you ever get to Douglas, AZ go see Alba at El Pato.

 After our wonderful meal, and full bellies we headed back to the mountain for a few hours, then home.

My mind was racing with ideas, scenes, and plots. I can give the writing an authentic feel, and take the reader into the action with authority.

The best part was the chance to be there, on the spot, in the location, walking the same paths, seeing the same landscape, being in history, and becoming my character.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

 

Memphis, Yeah I’ve Been There😎 part 2

Memphis…music, people, food, music. It is a remarkable place. Yes the Mississippi River is muddy, broad, and moves forcefully past this amazing city.

But it is the inside of the town. The guts, the brain, the voice of a place filled with the passage of people and time that grabs you. I really dug it.

The sidewalks were well worn. The stores and club fronts showed the appearance of years of bodies leaning against them to get out of the heat or rain and watch humanity pass by. Beale Street had the character and style of an old railroad car with a fresh coat of paint. While we were there part of the street was cordoned off for a mass of bikers, a bikers meet and greet if you will. 

There were dozens of bikes, with riders milling around, laughing, drinking, smoking, and calling out to people passing by. It was friendly and fun.

I was raised by a man who loved motorcycles, and when I see one, especially a Harley, I am warmed by memories of riding with my dad. I wanted to get right down in the middle of them. 😍

Beale St is full of music.

Passing clubs, pubs, and bars the music pours out, drenching the sidewalk with jazz, blues, rock, and country. The first three are the ones I wanted to hear. I craved sittingt near the stage listening to live musicians give it their all. We popped into several establishments on our way to the place I wanted to be.

BB Kings House of Blues. Yeah dog! I did that. That’s me and BB Kings guitar. The food was good, we took our time, and then Corey Osborn and his band took the stage. It was a religious experience.

Corey was a teenage prodigal guitarist when BB King discovered him. We sat through two or three hours of food and music. Hubby and I were loving it. We met him and his band, bought a CD and had it autographed by them all. Looking back it was a special moment in time because only a few years later Corey was killed in a car accident. It’s hard to find his music now. That CD is really special.

Elvis was there too, in music, and memorabilia.

Even a musical note on the sidewalk bears his name. We left BB Kings and walked around in the evening, lots of lights shining and people milling around, such atmosphere in this city by the Mississippi River.

We asked for a random guy to take our picture together, he laughed and told hubby to cozy up to that woman!

He did and it was a wonderful memory of the park across the street from the House of Blues.

I would love to go back and spend more time there. The food, music, and history of this city is compelling, exciting, and covers you in mood. That mood is up to you.

 

Cheers!

-N

 

Memphis, Yeah I’ve Been There 😎 part 1

When we realized how close we were and that we had enough time, hubby and I took off for Memphis from Tulsa. We were in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a family reunion, so in our rental car we started east. This trip was full of some amazing and interesting places along the round trip. I had never been to the Ozarks or Little Rock. Never been to Arkansas. We got to Memphis, having spent a lot of time deciding what we would want to see. I had two places that were must see for me: Graceland and Beale Street. Fortunately hubby was with me on those. We also wanted to get some Memphis BBQ.

Graceland, what can I say. My parents were huge Elvis fans, they took us to every movie, listened to his music and we loved to hear the story dad told about meeting him in Paris while he was stationed in Germany. I had to go and I was so glad I did. It was great.

The business of Elvis is vast. When we arrived we parked, bought our tickets and waited for the shuttle to Graceland. Elvis Presley Blvd is a tree lined, busy road with the Elvis complex – a huge museum across the street from Graceland, and his private aircraft parked there, available for tours.

My favorite was the mansion itself, and I was a bit surprised at it’s size. It appears larger in photos, but it was still majestic. It is a time capsule, a trip into the late 1970’s. The carpet, the furnishings, the TV’s, it was so special. As we walked in, our tour group, a chatty group of humans suddenly hushed, gasped, and sighed. Almost in an orchestrated manner. We stood, heads turning, mouths open and we took in this place, this shrine, this home.

It sparkled and shone, the glass free of prints, nary a speck of dust, nothing out of place. Yes, we all felt the fortune of being one of thousands who have passed through the columns flanking the open door.

The first thought I had was my favorite Elvis song “Return to Sender.” I started humming it as we passed though the house. The kitchen had appliances, counters, and arrangements were typical of the Brady Bunch house!😉 Then we were at the jungle room. OMG, I loved it!!

The TV room was also so cool, with yellow and blue,

TV’s banked the walls.

I could picture Elvis and his “mafia” gathered on the long couches.

Part of the grounds are a museum filled with movies, costumes, photos and his gold and platinum records.

We used devices that narrated the displays. I enjoyed it. Those costumes blew me away.

When we came out I saw the pool, then realized we were at

his grave.

He was flanked by his parents and as you can see it was filled with flowers and mementos from visitors. The thing I noticed was the murmuring of the crowds. It wasn’t noisy.

The museum had cars, ones of his videos running, and his music filling the cavernous museum.

We also went out to where his plane, the “Lisa Marie” was parked. It was set up for comfort and as his home, very colorful. When I was living in Texas, I saw it parked at Meacham Field in north Fort Worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a wonderful day in a magic place, then that evening found a fun diner where we enjoyed their memorabilia and in Elvis’ favorite fried pickles.

Next is Beale Street.

Cheers!

-N