What Am I Doing? Glad You Asked!

Hi gang! This is what I’m doing…

I have been writing and sewing like crazy – and I love it.

With writing one thing I try to do when working on my fiction is to give an authentic perspective to male characters. Not always easy for me, so I discovered if I give my first draft pages to my hubby he brings his Clive Cussler/Tom Clancy/Louie L’Amour reader viewpoint to the action and dialogue I’ve written. This really fleshes out my fictional males, and works wonderfully in bringing depth and realistic dimension to them. He has helped me plot out some actions scenes which is fun, and I will bounce ideas off of him. I occasionally have to remind him not to try to re-write my story. He also shows me where I haven’t completed my thought or dropped into a scene without the needed information or details. I know my story, my locale, my characters voices, so I might start a scene of dialogue with a clear direction in my mind, but for my reader it’s like walking in during the middle of a movie!

I’m really have fun making my own clothes. I love fabric and patterns, the sound of a sewing machine, and the finish of a serger (overlock) so it seems I always have multiple projects. I have designed new face masks for me and hubby, based on what my husband would like to wear. He likes a longer front, so I started with a modified pattern and together designed what he wanted. After working it up I liked it so much I’m making one for myself. We found the fabric in the color we wanted, and got the appropriate notions. Now it’s just cutting out the pieces, and sitting at the machine to put them together. I was one of those folks that made a bunch of face masks at the beginning of the pandemic when the hospitals and first responders ran out. Myself along with dozens of others in Southern Arizona made thousands of masks. I gave me great joy to know I helped protect those important people. I also made masks for several family members.

So as we jump full speed into February I hope and pray for health, happiness, kindness, and hugs for all.

Cheers!

-N

December Is Moving On

The morning is going easily by, it started with a morning temp of 25° – BRRR.

It’s hubby’s last of four days off before his next four on; his work shift is four 12hour days. Long work days but the four days off is nice. We enjoyed our coffee together, chatting about the day to come. We’ve moseyed through the morning, hubby went to men’s group, and then we had a walk to the mail box (we are rural so it isn’t out front.) Millie came with us which made her excessively happy.

I have a young woman coming at noon to try on a wedding dress I made alterations to, it was her late mother’s dress so I hope she is happy with the way it turned out. I had such a wonderful experience with it and hope I can get the chance to do more things like this. I have two machines: a sewing machine and a serger, and they give me the tools to do most any type of sewing I desire.

One of our Christmas traditions is that hubby is responsible for filling the stockings. He takes this job very seriously and it is always a combination of toys or gadgets with lots of candy. Also there is always a Lifesaver’s book inside. As he starts to add things I hear him chuckle as he is thinking of their reaction to what he has picked for them.

Since we will spend Christmas eve with our daughter, and he is working Christmas day I hosted a get together for my besties and their spouses last weekend. I made shepherd’s pie with ground elk instead of beef, and homemade soda bread. I can’t have beef unless it is very lean like veal. It turned out pretty good according to all who sampled it. We also did an ornament exchange which was so fun with lots of laughs. We each brought a wrapped tree ornament, then drew numbers to pick in order. We only had one trade, and all were happy with their ornament.

Covid-19 struck me in the job hunting department. I sent in a cover letter and resume to Biosphere 2 for a cashier position. However because of the virus the attendance is down so no hiring right now “but they will keep my information.” Dang virus!

I got a good report from my vascular surgeon, and now I only have a few more follow-up visits. My incision looks good and not so noticeable. I was a bit self-conscious.

So all you fine folks are caught up on the Catalina AZ news.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

My New Dietary Plan

The discovery of the medical condition that led to my right carotid endarterectomy surgery still exists in my body. But I can adapt and adjust, to arrest it’s progress and hopefully change the status going forward. I joyfully say I am at the end of post surgery two weeks of being careful and taking it easy and tomorrow I can get back into life…full speed.

At the bottom of this post are shots of my incision over the course of two weeks.

As a self professed ocean lover 💙 when I saw the Mediterranean Diet it made sense. Since its time to adjust my eating style and exercise efforts, pretending to be living in Greece or Italy while I do it makes perfect sense. 🏃‍♀️🚶‍♀️🚴‍♀️

So here are the diet deets, with the adjustments based on my medical needs.

  • The foundation of this plan is exercise, daily whether ten minutes or an hour, just move.
  • The next level is plant based. Fruits and vegetables – lots of them raw or cooked. I have a sweet tooth so snacking on fruit is starting to feed that. I especially love grapes, apples, mango and pineapple. We have a dehydrator, and so have started making our own dried snacks. Another good snacking item are nuts. I especially love almonds. However due to my Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) it is necessary that I avoid salt. Not completely, I can use some in cooking, but reducing it, so no salted nuts. I’m incorporating beans, legumes, couscous, Quinoa, and bran into my cooking. I am changing out butter for extra virgin olive oil and it works quite well.
  • The next level is where I get my protein – and my focus is fish, chicken, turkey and not much super lean meat. Again the CAD recommends no meat like beef and pork. I also add some dairy like eggs and fat free cottage cheese. I check every thing for cholesterol, fat, and sodium numbers.
  • The top level is what I call my treats like alcohol, baked goods, etc. Those are extremely limited in consumption for me.

So now I start watching for changes in my systems, and I have already noticed some. I feel different. My scar is healing but has a ways to go, and my energy is improving. As I get familiar with some recipes I will share those with you.

I am following the works of Dr. Kim Foster and Dr. Amy Riolo for guidance and information.

An exciting side note, I am doing a wedding dress alteration! It such a wonderful thing to know I can do something I love like sewing and actually get paid. How cool is that?!?!

Cheers!

-N

SCAR 01 Dec 2020
SCAR 19 Nov 2020
SCAR 27 Nov 2020

Expanding My Village

Greetings all! I am happy today because this is the day that leads into a weekend of colder temps and a chance of rain. ⛈ Yahoo! It is overcast which means temps rise slower. Those of you who have followed me for a while know my disdain for hot temps.

Another reason I am happy is because of two wonderful women who have become part of my life as close, good friends. One of them I can say is my new BFF. We have so much fun together, have so much in common, and are moving into each other’s world. Her name is Kathy. She is so beautiful and has a laugh that rings. I’ve been missing a bff, and I spent time looking at myself wondering what it is about me that kept me from connecting like that again. But just like my first bestie, Kristen, Kathy just found me. We met at our little church where I sing and her husband plays electric guitar. Her energy is bright and welcoming, and blissful friendship has grown. She calls or texts to see how I am, tell me what’s up with her or figure out ways to get together. I am so enjoying it, and my heart if full. The best part is we can be candid in our conversation knowing confidences are sacred.

My other friend, Kim (both K names, how funny) also share a wonderful connection. Our husbands are buddies: hunting, cigars, and whiskey, and Kim and I share music interest. She also plays the flute and acoustic guitar with the church praise band. Kim is a wonderful person who will go out of her way to help out others. I admire her so for her kind heart. Kathy, Kim and I have been spending time together and look forward to a post-covid new year of growing together as church sisters and besties. Fortunately our hubbies get on well.

Both of them are excited to hear my latest project whether its blogging, writing, VO, or sewing and they are encouraging me as I do all of these things. With some stressful stuff coming up in my life they have both aligned to support and encourage me. I’m blessed.

MALEFICENT

Speaking of sewing I made a semi-custom costume for my daughter-in-law. It’s the third one I’ve done for her. It took three different patterns, and yards of fabric but her Maleficent costume turned out pretty well. She got a great response to it when she did the downtown Halloween walk where they live.

I gotta say I was pretty please with myself.

So today is laundry/writing/blogging/sewing day. This time I’m making something for myself with deep green velvet.

I hope your day is fantastic, amazing, exciting, and full of love.

Cheers!

-N

Creative spaces

HUBBYS DESK

Because my home is the place I create my fiction, write my blog, record voice-over, and enjoy my sewing projects, I have tried to find the best use of space. The room that used to serve as my sons bedroom was converted into the all-purpose office/craft room. Suffice it to say it is not very spacious. When hubby and I are both working it is crowded and congested to say the least. Millie, our German Shepherd dog, always seems to want to take up floor space in the middle of the room and is often nearly run over by one of our chairs.

BUSY DESK AREA

In Catalina, Arizona where we make our home, is a wonderful thrift store called The Golden Goose that benefits from its proximity to a well-heeled community called Saddlebrook, and benefits us middle class types with nice stuff we can afford. A couple of weeks ago, while making a quick stop to look for a bike rack for my car hubby spotted a desk.  It was oak, with a hutch and a plethora of storage.

NOT ROOM ENOUGH TO SEW

I will add here the desk I am currently using in the office was not comfortable for him to use. He is 6’3” and he doesn’t fit. With this new desk he was sure he would fit easily.

So after discussing it: replacing two pieces with this one, where it would go, how would it be best used by us, and how the room could be adapted, we agreed that if the desk was still there – on payday – we would get it if we could afford it. The follow-up trip to the Goose showed the desk was still there, was affordable, and the purchase was completed!

Once it came to our home the process of sanding and staining the desk and hutch by hubby began.  For myself, it was a purge of the room, cleaning out drawers, shelves and cabinets.

MESSY SEWING AREA

I like a purge! It is interesting, occasionally disturbing, what you find when you empty out a drawer or file cabinet.

BOOKCASE IS MOVING TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE DESK

I’ve learned after four decades with this man I can never set up his space the way he would. So the old desk and printer cabinet was moved out, and his work station was moved into place, and everything that was on it is stacked on top for his perusal. He can organize it however he wishes.

THE BEAUTIFUL DESK

One thing I will add…pretty sure I burned some calories doing this. Lots of sweatiness. At one point we were working together, lots of sweat, and I got a whiff of BO! I did the stealth sniff and I knew it wasn’t me. I was helping hubby put up the camera we use when the grandson is here and was in hubby armpit range. The man wasn’t just ripe, he was spoiled! I bailed on him.

CUTTING TABLE

So here enjoy the before and after shots.

LOOK AT THAT FABRIC!
HUBBYS NEW SPACE
THE BOOKSHELF MOVED HERE (LEFT SIDE)

It’s wonderful to have useful work space for both of us. Ever in Tucson come on out to Catalina.

Cheers!

-N