Really? A Winery Here?

That’s what I exclaimed as hubby and I were driving back through Arkansas toward Tulsa from Memphis. We tend to travel the back roads when possible because you never know what and who you will find. If we like something we will grab a bottle or two to bring home, and if they sell them a couple of wine glasses.

We drove west out of Clarksville, AR on old hwy 64, crossed I-40, passed through Hartman and Coal Hill, and unbeknownst to us were entering Arkansas wine country. I will admit it was simply beautiful. The green hills along the Arkansas River running south of the Ozarks blew me away. After passing a couple of signs for wine tasting I said lets stop at one of them. He was onboard, so we stopped at the Post Familie Winery in Altus, AR. It was a very friendly tasting room, rustic and comfortable. They had a couple of good dry wines. A Seyval (similar to a savignon blanc) that I liked (rare for me,) and a red I had never tried but enjoyed, a Chambourcin.  We bought a couple of bottles.

FYI, I am a dry red wine fan. I love a really good Cabernet Savignon.

Another time I said the same thing was on the southern tip of the Big Island, HI. We drove south out of Kailua-Kona where we had been staying for seven days and heading to a B&B in Volcano for a couple of nights. The two-lane highway wound and twisted through the most brilliantly colored flora and vivid green trees and ferns I had ever seen. This desert girl was enraptured. We saw a sign for Volcano Winery! We had enjoyed the best coffee and now a winery. I was ready to toss my return ticket in the lava. The wines in Hawaii have amazing fruits blended into the grapes, very floral. They packaged very nicely for us the three bottles we brought back.

Hubby and I had a great trip with our destination actually in the middle of the whole vacation. We headed to Red Lodge, MT for a family reunion which took us through Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. We used our National Parks Passports to find places to visit on our travels. We were pulling a fifth wheel so we could stop in RV parks or road side rest areas, and the occasional Walmart boon-dock. On our way through Nebraska (on a back road) we found an RV park and a winery in a small town near Scotts Bluff in western Nebraska. The winery has since closed and I don’t remember the name. I will admit these were not the best overall wines, but there were a couple we liked and brought some bottles back with us.

The Arizona wine country has some award winning bottles, and the area is in the rolling hills of Southeastern Arizona. Many of the vineyards were started with vines from Napa, Sonoma, and Europe. You drive south out of Tucson to Sonoita, AZ on AZ-83. In Sonoita you will find some retailers who can provide maps to the area wineries. There are also a few in the Willcox area. I really like Coronado Winery, Flying Leap, and Kief-Joshua the best. Many of these have their own vineyards and supplement with area grown grapes from different vineyards. If you are in Southern Arizona and have the time it is worth the trip through the area.

With a road trip coming up in a few months we are looking forward to finding new wines to try and fill our Passport to the National Parks book with some new stickers and cancellations!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

A Guide to Adventure

You are sitting in the break room, cafeteria or a common area at work, your personalized cup of coffee with stevia and cream in hand, waiting. You know that one person will be back today with another stunning vacation story and unbelievable photos. They never fail to deliver an amazing narrative of an over the top adventure. We are jealous of them, envy them, and want to go with them on the next trip! They usually bring back fun and interesting tokens to hand out: chocolates from Belgium, Kona coffee from the Big Island, a colorful silk scarf from Morocco, a crocheted bookmark from Venice, a cartouche with your name in hieroglyphics from Egypt.

There is always that one human blessed by the adventure fairy. 🚵‍♀️

Most of us, however, have also experienced that annoying person who believes everyone is jonesing to see their 789 personal photos of the trip to Uncle Georges’ funeral. 😜 We avoid them, or say we are in the middle of project, or sorry just leaving, or as one guy I knew would say, “pick out the best ten and come back.” I could never do that. 🤦‍♀️

Hubby and I discovered an easy way to make our trips more interesting, memorable, and entertaining. We use our Passport to the National Parks to find never discovered or our “long to visit” locations.

If you have never heard of it I’m gonna give you the 411. We started our Passport journey with the small book on the right. Once the adventures started, we filled so many pages completely, we upgraded to the binder on the left.

Inside are guides to the wonderful, informative, and historic locations in our great nation. At each of these locations is a place where you can get your book stamped with the date and place, just like a travel passport! Also at these locations you can purchase beautifully made stickers for the location you visited. Hubby and I check the Passport when we plan a trip, to see what is along the route and in the area of our destination. This enhances our trips.

Another thing that hubby loves are collectible pins which you can be purchased. You learn history and geography as you meet others while visiting these fantastic locales.

These are great wedding and baby shower gifts too. We helped start several friends on their Passport journeys this way. You can purchase the books at gift shops and visitor centers at the various locations.

On one trip hubby and I made to Chiricahua National Forest, we had just pulled into the visitor center parking lot, when out of another car two boys jumped and raced each other to the stamp kiosk, excited to get their books stamped.  Another time we visited Niobrara National Scenic River in Nebraska, a place we had never heard of and would have not found without our books. It had been months since someone had been to the visitor center, so they had to change the date on the stamp, and re-ink the pad.

The link below will take you to a page with lots of information and descriptions so you can start your adventure.

Cheers!

-N

https://www.eparks.com/store/department/30/Passport-Program/

(No compensation was received for this post.)

 

 

The New Year is Here!

Today Christmas left the building. One thing I really wanted to do was organize all of my Christmas decorations into better groupings of items and themes. It was fun, and hubby helped, with no arguments!! His help made it go so fast I can honestly say we whittled it down significantly in the number of Christmas storage tubs. Also the tree ornaments were separated by type, and packed by theme. Next year I want to have a small real tree to compliment our big artificial one. The small one will be angels, stars, and snowflakes. The big tree will be all of the rest of them. I may get a small table top artificial one for the non-sparkly decorations. I am considering it.

Charlie spent Christmas with us, then he came back for New Years so his mother could finish last minute stuff without him underfoot (you can imagine the havoc an almost four year old can wreak) and also get a break before the school year starts.

Christmas was fun with Charlie. He was very patient while waiting to open his presents. When we said it was time to open gifts he celebrated. He did pretty well this Christmas and then when he came back to our house for second time it snowed on New Years day. And he loved it!

He discovered he could eat snow, and throwing a snowball at me makes me jump. (Insert him laughing hysterically.)

So, we are four days into 2019 and the best I can say is it feels like winter here in southern Arizona, and my house is Christmas free 😁👍 .

I hope to upgrade my blog by the end of the month. My Twitter and Instagram pages will stay the sames. Facebook will have a big change for my current author page. It is connected to my personal page and I cannot separate it. Instead I will set up a whole new one and move everything over to that page. This will take some fancy footwork on my part but it is part of making a more professional footprint of my internet presence.

Good luck all and I hope 2019 will be stellar for all!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

I did it for the first time!

Yes I did, and I can admit I was nervous. 

     Would it look silly? What if my idea was laughable? Would others appreciate it?

I ordered photo Christmas cards and a self inking address stamp! I am so proud of myself. Every year I get those from friends and family, loving the new pics and wishing I had my act together to do it for hubby and I.

But this year I did, a bit behind the date but I hope the folks who receive one will enjoy it and want to keep it. I must have dozens of these I’ve saved for years. They are so special and some come with a newsy letter. I have them in a manila envelope and plan to make albums for them.

My card this year has hubby, me and Charlie in Santa hats, wearing Christmas light necklaces. We went to my daughter’s house and took the pics in front of her tree. Such fun to corral an almost four year old with unlimited energy in front of a decorated tree, trying to get him to leave the hat on, let go of the lights, stand up, smile, etc., but we managed to take some very fun photos. I think this will be our tradition, hubby and I with grandkid/s in Santa hats and Christmas light necklaces.

We also got some of Charlie and his momma too. They are sweet and funny, but one was of momma giving him “the look” when he wandered off and wouldn’t listen, and we laughed outloud when we saw it. I told her she needed to make a poster of it and put it in her classroom 😉👌.

I used Shutterfly for the cards and it was pretty easy. Now I hope to get them addressed and out before Christmas!

Fourteen days until Christmas Eve. Get those gifts wrapped, hire someone to clean the house, put up the lights, finish the cooking and baking, learn the songs for the Christmas Eve service, keep writing and sewing.

I’ve got this. 🤞🎄

Cheers!

-N

 

 

When did that happen?

One thing my hubby and I are proud of is we raised two kids who grew into successful, responsible adults.

They have jobs, they pay their bills, they do life and take care of business. This is our crowning achievement in parenting. They moved out and made a life for themselves. I’ve looked back at my life and found there are some benchmarks we all must meet which indicate we are making progress toward adulthood. See if you agree.🤷‍♀️

Blowing your nose, going to the bathroom by yourself, whistling and snapping your fingers, figuring out colors- letters-numbers-shapes, blowing out birthday candles, starting school. Those are the biggies for our wee ones that show their brains are growing along with their bodies.

Then there is tweens and teens 😕. Angst and hormones, tears and sulking. Yes the good old days when hubby and I had to keep reminding ourselves that their problems are just as important to them as writing a check for groceries you hope won’t clear until payday Friday was to us. Yet somewhere along the way you manage to get a drivers license, for girls a period, for boys wet dreams. You start dreaming of becoming a. . . well don’t know yet , you run out of gas, get a flat tire, get a kiss, go on a date, have a crush, figure out what classes you need to graduate, think about the future again, successfully take a road trip, graduate and either get a job or go to college. 🎓

Looking back I wish I had been more tenacious about school and less worried about having a boyfriend. I wish I had read more books, learned another language and to play piano so I could accompany myself singing.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – my daughter and her friends played it as a drinking game. But it is reality. 🍸

Then the big things start to come at you. A career? A marriage? A child? Buy a house? Move away? Figuring out friends are family too and the connections you want to make become clearer. Now you realize you have too much debt, need to go on a diet, how much do you spend on TV/Internet/Cell phone, getting insurance-all kinds, watch your kids start blowing their noses.

So we laugh, find the reality and put on our big girl/boy pants and make life happen.

Cheers!

-N

Are Christmas Cards Passé?

I have a collection of Christmas cards that come from several years. They were the last one or two left in the box, unused. I have counted them and I found I have no need to purchase cards this year. The leftovers will take care of my needs. I don’t send out nearly as many I did in the past. It seems cards aren’t the thing they once were.

My mother-in-law, like many of her generation sent out dozens of cards often with school photos, a Christmas letter or both.  They kept track of friends who have moved away, family in distant places, and acquaintances who were now only “Christmas card friends.”  Do you read the Christmas letters when you get one?

This Saturday hubby and I will be meeting our daughter to take a photo with our grandson. This photo will be included in our Christmas cards for close friends and family. My daughter was teasing that instead of being in the picture she will be taking it! We will, however, be taking photos of her and Charlie for her own Christmas greetings.

When we get photo cards (I never get around to getting those made😜) I save them. They are precious records of people I care about. One day I plan to put them in a scrap book showing how families have grown up.

I remember mailing fifty cards (hubby and I each signed them,) hoping the addresses were correct and if returned would include a forwarding address. Now most of these have been replaced with Facebook and Instagram holiday greetings.

Will the actual cards become a thing of the past?

What will USPS do with all those holiday themed stamps?

Cheers!🍸🍷

-N

Fading away, but starting fresh

My house is slowly losing the strongly imprinted energy of a human who resided there for years.

My mother.

She and dad moved in with hubby and I in 2000 after dad had a really bad stroke. He passed in 2002, and mom stayed for several years after he died. During part of that time she spent five years in a retirement community before coming back to us – she had physical needs costing a chunk of change each month. She moved back into the room she lived in with dad, and refreshed her energy in that space.

Now she has moved on, her physical body is resting with dad in a shared spot. They are, in our minds, together again. So the energy is fading ever so gradually.

The room, their room, is changing into a guest room with a University of Arizona theme. The walls are being painted cardinal red and navy blue. The furnishings will be different. The bedding and wall hangings conforming to the theme.

Yet…she and my father will still reside in this room that was originally built for them. Dad and mom’s UA sports memorabilia will fill the walls, joining the items we have and the things our daughter, a UA alum, is loaning us. Although the room will look strikingly different from the cozy room she passed away in, she and dad will be back.

Their human energy will fade, but memories will be nurtured for future generations to remember two cool people.

Cheers! and Bear Down,

-N

 

 

 

Computer coolness

Greetings all!

I am so stoked!

Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.

Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.

At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.

I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.

So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.

Cheers!

-N

Space is clean

I’m feeling crowded. The urge to wipe spaces clean is swamping me. I have no problem getting rid of clutter. However I am married to a future “Hoarder” episode. I have few items which have true sentimental value. Photos are the most valuable, along with things from my kids like baby books, school drawings and cards. The collections made during travels, some things I have picked up with historical connections, and things like my grandmother’s costume jewelry. My vinyl collection and turntable.

Also my library. I am attached to those tomes and relish adding to my library where ever I go. Used book stores are my drug.

To my mind space is clean, and just because there is an open area on a shelf or a clear spot in a corner or a space of open wall does not mean it’s okay to put something there. I have a thing about not having anything in front of my windows. I like being able to walk up to a window and look out. Just because the piles are neat doesn’t mean they belong on that counter or corner of the room.

I go through my drawers and closets regularly. It is liberating. I don’t like crap in my car either.

Hubby, well…neat piles of who knows what on every surface, a used Burger King bag collecting garbage in his truck that never gets washed or vacuumed, a t-shirt drawer stuffed so full he can barely get the five he wears all the time inside, and a back yard filled with stuff he plans to reuse. This is why I am married to him. To keep him from being an episode of “Hoarders”. I’ve already told my kids they have to watch out for him if I die first and leave him alone. I can picture it now – a recluse watching TV, dirty dishes everywhere, his recliner surrounded by TV trays filled with projects he will never finish. Him loading the washer and dryer so full they explode, and never rinsing off a dish or pan before putting it into the dishwasher. It’s my nightmare.

But we argue, sneak, tease, laugh, question, ignore, and get sexy. It’s how we’ve stayed married for 39 years.

Cheers!

-N

A Season of Learning

I am in a season of learning.

My desire right now is to discover learning opportunities. Webinars, podcasts, you tube videos, ebooks, wherever I spot something I want to know more about I am jumping on it. As I was starting this blog I had at least six tabs open on my laptop with various searches, emails, and a PowerPoint presentation on script reading ready for my perusal. I had my cell phone next to me and a notepad with a mechanical pencil at the ready.

In my home growing up there wasn’t any emphasis on learning. School wasn’t made any kind of priority. I can’t even remember my parents asking if I had homework or making me sit down and do my homework. It seemed if I liked what I was doing that was good enough for them. There were no parent/teacher meetings about my progress, no issue made of my grades, and if my folks wanted to take off for a trip to Texas they thought nothing of taking us out of school to go, and no worry about textbooks or concern about missed assignments while we was gone.

My middle sister had what we know now as a learning disability-ADHD and probably dyslexia. School was a nightmare for her, she was held back in first grade as much for her behavior as her lack of understanding. She had no idea how to be a student. My youngest sister and I were pretty good in school from nothing more than being natural learners. I do wish my parents had put greater emphasis on our school work. It might have been because we were military brats who moved every three years including overseas until my father retired, but I knew of other kids like me who achieved success in school.

Why didn’t they notice I loved writing stories and plays and encourage my talent? Why didn’t they find someone to help me with math when they saw I struggled?

My husband’s experiences were the opposite of mine and fortunately this motivated us to promote the importance of learning and school to our kids. They both went on to college and university.

So now, after years of wishing I had attended college, I am drawn to all sorts of learning. My love for history has directed much of my writing-it’s a joy to do historical research for my stories. I adore books. Geology and meteorology fascinate me and I can have meaningful discussions on these topics. My curiosity is strong and my desire to know more has given me the drive to seek out opportunities. I love challenging my brain, and hope this season is a long one.

Cheers!

-N