Right Place, Right Time

Two round trips: between Phoenix and Orlando. Sometimes it is apparent you are in the right place at the right time.

We were scheduled to leave Phoenix, our departure time 5:55pm, however, to our dismay, the flight was delayed to an 8:15pm departure. This meant an arrival in Florida of 2:00am! We were not the only group of inconvenienced passengers. There were 22 who had a delayed flight from San Diego into Phoenix so they missed their connection. Consequently they were put on our flight.

One of the passengers from San Diego was Paul. He was a nice man, very interesting and as he told us of his travels around the world I found myself thinking of another very interesting man I met years ago while I worked at the Retail Center at the University of Arizona – John Peterman.

J. Peterman

Now some of you might remember this name if you watched Seinfeld years back. Not this man but an actor played the character. The real J. Peterman was fascinating, just like Paul. When we arrived in Orlando I gave him my card and hoped to hear from him since his farewell included a “come to SD and stay at my place at the beach” OK.

We had an outstanding visit with my son, his wife and our

Three generations

handsome, brilliant and fantastic youngest grandson.

Our flight back was Orlando to Chicago to Phoenix. The Orlando to Chicago-Midway flight was packed and there were at least a dozen kids – I didn’t know what to expect but to my surprise it was a calm flight. The Chicago to Phoenix trip included another fortuitous human connection – Max.

Max was 85 years old, with a gorgeous white goatee and a full head of white hair. He was right out of a movie – a very handsome man (wish I had gotten a photo.) He was traveling alone.

Max was having a bit of a cough, he seemed uncomfortable so I grabbed a cough drop I had in my bag and gave it to him, he was glad to take it and I assured him it was sugar free and he responded “That’s good for my diabetes,” and smiled at me. I went back to the movie I was watching on my phone. After a while I noticed he was clearing his through and coughing (differently than the first) so I asked him if he was okay. He said he just needed a drink. I had an empty plastic cup and we had a bottle of water so I filled it and handed it to him. Again a thankful smile and he took a drink. He told me the cough drop had cleared his head a bit.

He started to talk. About the lights in the darkness outside, his family, his house in Buckeye AZ, that he travels between Chicago and Phoenix by himself since his wife didn’t travel, and he always traveled Southwest Airlines. One more fill of water and by the time the flight was over he was relaxed and I felt like we were meant to sit with him.

Max, I hope you are doing well.

Cheers!

-N

Two Weeks of Love and a conflict

I had a two week trip to Apopka FL (near Orlando) in January to meet my second grandson.

Nannie and Jackson

Let me say I am in love.

He was two months old and just yummy. He is a sweetheart and I spent every chance I got holding him, feeding him, and doing all the other baby things. It was my pleasure to help my son and daughter-in-law with the multiple tasks, giving them a well deserve break. I remember one afternoon saying, “Why don’t you guys have a date night?” which was met with enthusiasm. Anytime there was a comment about running to the store or going for coffee I piped up with a “go ahead I’ve got him,” with a big smile on my face. I loved my solo time with my wee fella.

Well, we are going back next month – lets just say I am ready to snuggle that boy again. This time he will get to meet his Poppa (grandfather) since hubby was sick and had to cancel last time. I am excited to see hubby with the baby grandson.

Now I come to the conflict referenced above. My kids have managed to live across the country from each other! One is in Phoenix, one is in Orlando. Could they have made it any harder on me? Although I will say my daughter moving from So Cal to Phoenix helped the dilemma a bit. Still it’s 2000+ miles to the others.

I told hubby when he retires I want to move halfway between them, which according to google maps is Rexville TX. Ready…its a ghost town! A crossroads location with about four houses.

Uh, no.

Charlie dressed to dance

So I’m here and keeping the credit cards paid off so I can travel, and taking every opportunity to see my Phoenix grandson. Yep, two grandsons.

Cheers!

-N

How much longer?

ATLANTIC COAST

Ever ridden in a car with kids on a road trip? Yes? You’ve heard this question constantly.

Ever been stuck in quarantine with close family? Yes? How many times did you ask yourself this question?

Ever been a caregiver for an aging parent nearing the end of life? Yes? How often did this thought come to you?

 

 

It is in the nature of humans to want to know what is next, what is around that corner, who is coming and when will they be here. Children aren’t the only impatient ones. We all have that thing that we are anticipating and ready to encounter. New job, new relationship, paying off debt, getting accepted to that school – goals and plans require waiting for the next step in the process.

A step that is part of a journey.

For myself this question comes up thanks to my son who regularly asks if the current book I’m writing is finished. I also think this question when I submit voice over auditions, wondering when those paying jobs will start and some cash starts to flow. I wonder this when I am sitting in the hot desert and I think back on my visit to Ogunquit, Maine and long to move away from here and relocate my life to the Maine coast.

LIGHTHOUSE

What is your “how much longer” question?

Cheers!

-N

What’s New?

I don’t know.

While I sit here, thinking, I have a video playing of the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine. Ogunquit is my spirit place, the place I dream of living, the desire of my heart locale. I visited it once and it left it’s indelible mark on my psyche.

Marginal Way foliage.

Such beauty, color, texture, vibrancy and history.

Me in Perkins Cove, Maine

For a reluctant desert dweller videos of this kind help my mental and emotional escape.

🌊💚🏊‍♂️🏄‍♂️

We are in the height of heat here. Normally, June tends to be the worst for us heat wise, however this year, 2020 – the year from hell, it hasn’t been that way. Typical weather for summer (laughs at the irony – SoAZ is a place with a nine month summer) June is hot, boiling, melting, followed by July which is hot but has nearly daily monsoon rains, then August which is hot and continues monsoon season rains into September.

But not this year! Yeah June was hot and dry; July was hot and dry; and now August is burning and mercilessly dry.

Anyone need a seaside care taker for their house? Can I bring my books?

Can I get a lobster roll?

Maine Lobstah roll, fresh that morning.

Yes, chips please. The cutest teenage girl served me and told me her dad brought in the lobster that morning. So, so good. Pretty sure I would be completely happy living where I could get fresh sea food daily.

So what’s new? Got a new (to me) desk from our local amazing thrift store The Golden Goose, hubby is refinishing it in a lovely dark chestnut and I am purging the office. I like purging the office😁. This new desk will replace two pieces from the office, with lots more storage, and will be put in my library. The room I’m in now will be just for sewing, crafts, and voice-over work. I’ll post pics once completed.

We will see how desk sharing works for hubby and I, well I hope, since we often aren’t working at the same time. The biggest issue will be keeping the desk clean. I am a clean desk-everything in it’s place person. Years of office admin jobs have made me this way. I like things filed, in folders, organized, labeled, and stored. If I need to find it I want to go directly to where it is. Hubby – not so much. He likes piles and stacks. No clear surface is safe from his stuff.

We’ll work it out.

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

 

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

 

 

Physics and Hurricane Michael

I am a meteorology, geology, astronomy geek. Yep, and proud of it.

Last Wednesday I went to a presentation at the University of Arizona by the folks who helped get the image of the black hole M87. I had chills. It made my mind fly with excitement, and frustration.

The frustration was because I was never encourage, pushed, or helped to do well in school. My folks were not those kind of parents. I was never asked if I had homework, much less if I did my homework. If I got a good grade that was nice, if I didn’t (math specifically) I was told I probably wasn’t good at it, instead of working with me to improve.

My father was in the Air Force, and we lived lots of places. This gave me the chance to experience every kind of meteorological and geological event. Hurricanes in the Philippines and earthquakes in Japan. Tornadoes in Texas and monsoon flooding in southern Arizona. I’ve chased storms in tornado alley, and sat on a cliff in Hawaii watching the lava flow into the sea.

When I came back from helping my son move to Florida I took a side trip to Pass Christian MS to see where storm surge of Hurricane Camille washed the coast clean back in 1969.

I get notifications from NASA whenever the ISS is visible in my area and I watch for it. I’ve learned parts of the sky with my star charts. I eagerly followed the courses of Voyager 1 and 2 out of our solar system, kept track of the arrival of Osiris Rex at asteroid Bennu, watched the images of New Horizons when it flew by Pluto, and set my alarm to wake up so I could watch live the reveal of the first images of a black hole the Event Horizon Telescope captured.

I dig this stuff.

I want to know how they did this stuff. How do scientists figure out the way to image a black hole with six telescopes around the planet? How do geologists measure the movement of the plates? How did meteorologists come up with the CAPE measurement?

I mentioned in a previous blog about observing the damage done by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle back in October 2018. The damage six months later gives the evidence why this storm was recently upgraded to a category 5. All of these photos were taken on I-10.

I know I have a science leaning. I worked in a cell culture lab for seven years where I was taught how to grow cells, titer antibodies, and make tissue blocks used in cancer diagnosis. I used high school algebra I thought long forgotten, and learned the same sterile technique for a biological safety hood taught to freshmen biology students at the University of Arizona. I had my own projects, and developed procedures I taught to incoming staff with PhD’s. With just a high school diploma.

What more could I have done with the proper encouragement in math and science?

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – physics.

So I still try to learn, my curiosity is as strong as ever.

Cheers!

-N

 

Roads and bridges and tunnels – Oh my!

I live in the arid country of southern Arizona. We have bridges, but the go over washes, which are dry river beds that only have water during monsoon season. They are boring flat bridges, grey-brown in color to match the desert.

But…then…in Florida… Yeah we were crossing a bridge through an amazing preserve and low and behold there was water under that bridge. Lots of water, for miles and miles.

I got a view of this bridge as we were coming up to it.

Seriously,how cool is this!?!? Ok, there are no cool bridges like this anywhere in Arizona.

Official bridge geek here.

I believe bridges are forms of art.

So amazing, and thrilling to drive over and through.

The geek in me wonders how engineers design these so they will continue to stand during hurricane winds. It’s math – physics, yes but it is fascinating.

Some are so elegant and graceful you feel grateful to have the opportunity to use them.

Some we drove on really looked as if they might need a bit of reinforcement or elevating.

 

 

When we were crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis on a rainy night it was pretty spectacular and bumpy. 

You can see the rain drops on the windshield and the Tennessee sign on the cool bridge spanning the river, and the lights of the city in the distance.

Big  river,  pretty  lights.

And then, in Mississippi (the state) we ran into this awesomeness.

A freaking tunnel that took us through the bay and under downtown Biloxi!!

Fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Yep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very cool at night too.

 

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

 

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.

_DSC0069 (2).jpg

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