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

 

My annual summer in southern Arizona rant

It’s July in Southern Arizona and I have reached my breaking point.

108 degrees today. It may be a dry heat but it is still hot! I laugh when I hear, “Albany is roasting in dangerous 96 degree heat!” Okay, so I’m told, “yeah, but they have humidity.”

Heat index equation temp/humidity = how it feels.

96 with 50% humidity = 108 (Albany)

108 with 20% humidity = 109 (Tucson)

BOOM! we win.

During monsoon season here in SoAZ we can have the following equation: 108/40% =137

Cry me a river, Albany. Granted that humidity level lasts for a few hours at a time then will drop back down to 20 or 30% but we were still feeling it here, and it does it almost daily. Do you know how hot every surface in a car gets when it is 108 degrees? People keep oven mitts in their cars so they can touch the steering wheel.🔥 Forget trying to sit on leather seats while wearing shorts! 🤬 The vehicle paint manufacturers had to come up with different paint so new cars don’t have the painted surfaces faded and peeling after a year. OK, so you stay inside during the snow – well we stay inside during the hot.

We had fires in the mountains next to us nearly all of June, with hot shot crews climbing all over in that heat fighting fires. I’m sure they figured they were in hell.

But it’s a dry heat.

But it’s still damn hot!

When hubby retires I hope we will downsize a bit – sell this place, and move to cooler climes. I’m thinking Ogunquit, Maine. My work: blogging, writing, voice-over can all be done from home so I can go anywhere as long as I have internet.

Fiction/children’s/biographies
Non fiction

I just need a space big enough for my books.

I love my books. This is not all of them.

Nothing in here is newer than 1950.

Hubby said a small house with books on all the walls. That works for me.

So – it’s time for a rain dance. I look forward to October. I keep doing my thing and enjoy hearing from you lovely followers.

Cheers!

-N

Giving back?

I’ve been reading lots of posts about how people are making great efforts to give back in their communities. For example the young person who had a lemonade stand raising funds for the family of a slain officer.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/girls-lemonade-stand-raises-1000-benefit-kin-slain/story?id=55789702

Giving back seems to be on the radar for many folks, and it’s a great thing.

However, is giving back to those who are strangers, or a group of people who are from a different part of the world more or less valuable and worthwhile than say focusing on needs in ones own village (family and close friends?) Is it selfish to see and target the needs in my local community, and not go all out for a dynamic that the rest of the world seems to be focusing on and fiercely directing the narrative toward?

How do humans spotlight a need without feeling guilty? Guilt that my concentration isn’t the same as what I’m being told should be my priority, or guilt that I’m fixating on the periphery of the real need.

My daughter is a single parent of a son on the Autism spectrum. I want to be the person she can count on when she has a need for my help. This is important to me yet I feel because we are not people of color (any color) I am typically selfish and self centered to identify this way.

Who decides what giving back truly looks like?

Is it me being part of a meal chain at my church that provides meals to families who are in need, but aren’t necessarily people of color? Is it my daughter adopting a child with autism and working hard to provide for his mental, physical, educational, and emotional needs? Or is it only in protesting for social change? Are my regular monetary donations to charities a cop-out? I always thought I was helping, doing something good for the world when I’ve sponsored several children in Kenya, supported arts at the school where my daughter teaches, supported a wildlife charity or environmental effort, or took a star from a giving tree to provide Christmas for a child in need.

Who gives value to the conscious efforts of others?

I won’t stop doing these things, but maybe, I won’t let others make me feel guilty for my efforts.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are we underneath?

I don’t know about anyone else but each day feels strange. A bit unsettled, maybe precarious and shaky, yet I look for the things that give me comfort – my beautiful plants, how funny and cute my grandson is, fighting the summer heat in my cool above ground pool, listening to all kinds of music, watching and reading about space travel, and sewing/quilting.

But thoughts come seeping in.

Matthew 7:12 New International Version (NIV). 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…

Who will we be in a year? Who do we want to be? I hope and pray I will be a loving and accepting person who emulates Jesus and the way he treated everyone with love. I want to see the institutionalized racism in effect since the civil war eradicated. This can only be done by people who see it for what it is, and accept nothing more than equality. It may take a few generations for this to truly happen, with the federal and state governments eliminating the use of “redlines” around undesirable neighborhoods based on the racial makeup to reduce the property value and tax based for infrastructure to discourage improvements and developments.

Whether your name is Todd or Shaquille, your college application should be viewed with equality not whether your name sounds black or white. There is no place for a biased perception where educating our youth is concerned. All youth. 

 As far as I know, there were no slave owners in my family, however I grew up with a grandfather who was a racial bigot and saw no wrong in it. He believed as many from his generation and the generation before him that _____(and he used the N word) couldn’t take care of themselves, that they were like dumb little children you had to look after. He saw no harm in the word, and laughed when I told him I would rather he said “colored” than that word. He was once asked what he would do when he got to heaven and blacks were there? “God wouldn’t do that to me,” was his response. I loved him, but I disagreed with him completely, and didn’t shy away from telling him so which got me in trouble.

The picture below shows the truth. There is not a white or black arm there, but beautiful shades of flesh. Take away that covering and you could not tell the difference. This is how we need to look at people. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It goes for everyone, every human. 

Comments are always welcome.

“Come on people now,

smile on your brother,

everybody get together,

try to love one another right now.”

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

You’ve Got To Be Taught

Any city USA:

The call comes in, suspect in a robbery. The witness describes a white male, approximately 5’10” tall with dark, shoulder length brown hair, sunglasses, jean and a navy hoodie. As the police are patrolling they see six different white men in a group on the street as they drive, but don’t stop to question them because obviously they don’t resemble the description of their suspect provided by the middle aged white woman.

The call comes in, suspect in a robbery. The witness describes a black man in jeans and hoodie. Police patrolling see a black man walking his dog wearing sweatpants and a grey t-shirt. They pull up beside him, telling him to stop, call for backup and ask him who he his, where is he going, where does he live, what is he doing. The man is shocked, scared, nervous, and reluctant to say anything. The cop reads his behavior as suspicious and as two patrol cars pull up the cop yanks the dog’s leash from the man’s hands, and push him against the car to handcuff him. His dog is barking, the man begins to ask why he is in custody, the other officers have guns drawn and in a matter of moments this man has lost the right of innocent until proven guilty; the benefit of doubt. The witness was a middle aged white woman.

You wonder why people of color distrust police?

My sweet German Shepherd was traumatized last Friday after being trapped under our back porch while escaping the loud thunder and winds of a storm that blew through. She was trapped for several hours and has since become very reluctant to go outside to do her business for fear of being trapped.  We have to go outside with her because of her learned fear.

People of color, because of past experience have developed a learned response. They have experienced bias, neglect, distrust, and fear based solely on their race. Expectations passed down from generations of family, friends, and cultures which they have had no reason to discard based on their everyday experiences.

A line from Casablanca in response to a murder, “Round up the usual suspects,” is the reaction of rogue bigots in law enforcement and those usual suspects are often not white.

I am not saying that white people are not judged solely on appearance, have you ever seen a nasty white dude hooked on meth? I was profiled by a cop because the peeling paint on my car made him think I didn’t have insurance – big $$ ticket for him. He came up with an extremely lame excuse for why he pulled me over. It felt awful.

What I’m saying is there are years-decades-centuries of people of color given no quarter, always under suspicion, the first to be accused, the person who is treated aggressively, the one who expects to be the focus of distrust, and without merit they are categorized as unintelligent, immoral, underhanded, brutal and lazy. This has to stop with us, now, all of us. All humans.

When a child is told every day to steer clear of cops because they will not keep you safe and they don’t like you because you are black. When they see a brother or uncle aggressively searched and handcuffed because they were in a group on the street in front of their house and must be up to no good so the cops decided to stop anything before it starts. When they are in a not too busy restaurant waiting to be served and watch as a family of white people get seated, drink orders taken and given menus from wait staff who haven’t even looked at them. What is that child supposed to think?

I’ve seen behavior by white humans who get obnoxious and yell at a server for messing something up or taking too long, demanding the manager who came and did their best to assuage the customer, that a person of color would never attempt because they know it will go very bad for them. I hear “what about black on black crime?” “what about all the whites killed by cops?” Listen to what you are saying! You can’t justify, gloss over, and dismiss any thing with these statements. It’s all bad.

My young cousin was incensed that cops were wearing black ribbons across their badges “hiding their numbers” while working the riots. I told him it is common protocol to do this for a fallen officer. His statement was why do this now when it inflames the situation? My thought was why did the rioters wear full-face covered masks? Humans are hiding behind masks, rhetoric, and bias which keeps the others from hearing. Who will be the voice that both sides will listen to, the one voice that can radiate calm and focus on the fact that this situation has been brewing for centuries not just in the last ten years of people shaking the bottle ready to let it explode.

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught-Oscar Hammerstein II “South Pacific”

You've got to be taught to hate and fear

You've got to be taught from year to year

Its got to be drummed in your dear little ear

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid

Of people who's eyes are oddly made

And people who's skin is a different shade

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late

Before you are six or seven or eight

To hate all the people your relatives hate

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be carefully taught

-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

No judgment here

I have lost three close friends to AIDS. I loved them.

I am a believer in Jesus and his example showed that there is no judgment only a true heart. I couldn’t say, as a believer, that I approve of a homosexual lifestyle. These friends knew this, but this never kept me from being a true, loyal friend. I accepted this was who they were, and I never turned my back on them or any gay friend because of their lifestyle.

If they asked why I felt the way I did, where my perspective came from, I was honest in response. They were still in my heart.

So…there is no judgement here should someone want to come out to me. A no judgement zone-just a loving heart who will listen, hand out hugs, and walk along.

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