I just want to sing

Last night I watched a program about Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson AZ native, called “The Sound of My Voice” and man did it stir me.

When asked about music she said that she just wanted to sing, she loved music and she wanted to be around music and sing. I know exactly what she means.

Another similarity between Linda and me is that when my family got together we would sing. Lots of singing. Hers was the same. My grandmother had a beautiful soprano voice, my grandfather carried a tune in his rough bass/baritone and we all have memories of them singing their love song – harmonizing to each other.

I have a new grandbaby due in January and that little peanut has DNA flooded with vocal music ability from both sides. I can’t wait to sing to and with that wee one.

Once, years ago I auditioned for a band with Linda’s arrangement of “Heat Wave” and booked it! I’ve been told I sound like her, especially when I was younger and could really belt out a ballad. I can still do a good job covering a song, age hasn’t stopped me yet. I’ve always wanted to sing the standards in a little combo, that played in a night club.

I remember when my grandmother was in her 70’s hearing her sing the voice was not as strong but the love for the music was there and she always was in tune.

At the end of the program, watching Linda and her family sing together truly moved me. She had to stop them at one point because she knew, in her mind, the note she wanted to sing, but it wouldn’t come out. The show ended with her finishing the song – hitting the harmony beautifully. I put my hand over my heart as I watched her sing and could see the Parkinson’s tremor in her hands.

Damn that disease for taking the voice of one of the best singers in the world!

Cheers!

-N

Monsoon, Woo Hoo!!!

Lots of people in the Tucson area have been praying to get a real monsoon storm with lots of rain to fill the underwater aquifer and help restore the Santa Catalina Mountains from the Big Horn Fire damage of last year. The mountains were a dull grey brown from the burned vegetation. They looked shrunken and sad.

But then last Friday they got prolonged hammering of rain over the afternoon and evening (we got 1.03″ in fifteen minutes) and “BOOM” they sprung back to their lush beautiful self.

So God heard the outcry of the desert dwellers and said ‘hold my beer!” and it was fabulous and scary.

Areas of Tucson got hit with heavy rain and super strong winds, and there was even a land spout tornado spotted and photographed. Along with this was some wind damage. Hubby and I remarked that we can water plants, run the sprinkler and the yard will struggle, but one – just one – big monsoon rain will change the dull, dry, brown color to me and God’s favorite color – green.

I caught video of the storm just as it hit us, and it was a deluge. This is looking from my back porch.

Cheers!

-N

 

I’m Ready To Roll, Deal With It!

I’ve been released! Essentially this means my two weeks of post-op recuperation requiring me to stay house bound is over. On Wednesday 2 December I was sprung. I can tell you it was wonderful. It was the first time I had driven further that the local grocer a couple of miles away. I actually drove into real Tucson traffic and it was a trip!

This surgery is one of those negative check marks when looking at hiring an older individual. We are considered a feeble risk and we will drive up the cost of premiums in the company insurance policy. No matter that we are doing our best to be healthy, we are loyal and give our best.  I’ve lost weight, am eating carefully, and sleeping better that I have in a while, yet I’m seen as a risk to the millennials in charge. To the company we create issues in their minds.

This is what it feels like to be profiled. It has nothing to do with who I am, who I really am as a human. It has to do with perception. To the new college graduates and the millennials in charge I am the age of parents or grandparents and we are useful only for telling stories about the past and keeping traditions going. We make them uncomfortable.

Well I have a few stories to tell.

  • How about the first time I did speed at a concert that was also my first laser light show-Steve Miller and left there to go to Jekyll and Hyde’s, a gay bar for dancing.
  • Or the time I was at the Boston Concert and kept dropping the ball of hashish from the pipe bowl every time I tried to light it.
  • What about  my friends and I hitchhiking up and down Speedway Blvd in Tucson on a Saturday night, leaving my car at Pinecrest Center?
  • Or the time my buddie Eddie gave me a gram of coke for my birthday, and in gratitude I shared the lid of weed I had.

I got memories for you!

Hippie 70’s Nancy

Experience is what teaches lessons – all of the lessons – good and bad.

I have years of administrative office experience. I worked for doctors, realtors, insurance brokers, scientists, retail buyers…you get my idea. With plenty to offer and the time to offer it, why doesn’t that equal a desire for these skills?

Want more? I throw a good party, I’ll keep a confidence, and I’ll be there for happy hour. I can talk about football or laboratory sterile technique. I can kill it at karaoke too!

Now back to my writing. My female lead is about to get busted by her son coming back from a hot date with her new man.

Cheers!

-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

I’m looking for cash

So much of my thoughts right now is on how to work from home. If you google that phrase you will get pages of suggestions-much of it the same kind of thing. I want to work from home for two reasons. First I want to be available if my daughter needs me to care for my grandson, second I want to bring in extra income, but not full time, to help with fun expenses like travel and hobbies.

Writing is fun and when I get to publish a new book its out there for folks to buy and enjoy. I like both of those. The thought that someone would honor me by purchasing one of my titles is humbling. I also love that the reader is going to get caught up in the characters and historical trip the story takes them on – especially when I read a review saying they were digging it! However I am no Stephen King or Janet Evanovich – not yet – so I keep writing.

My blog is such a release for me, relaxing and an immediate gratification as I watch the blog stats after it is published. It is a creative outlet for me, and I like that my followers are coming to know me through this venue. But, I’m not as widely read as I would like, so the $$ support from possible sponsors isn’t where it needs to be, but I keep blogging.

Nancy history: Just out of high school I got a job as a media buyer for a small advertising firm. It was a great job, I met amazing and interesting people, and my creative side was jumping with joy every time I saw a television spot or heard a radio commercial I placed for a client. I was able to be part of some of the production for these as well. It was so cool. With one of these spots I was asked if I was interested in being the voice talent! This led to a couple of years doing radio commercials for a variety of local businesses. A local DJ at KWFM Jim Ray and I had a series of spots for Summit Hut, a local outdoor sports outfitter. It was so popular that we had listeners calling the stations to ask about the “couple” on the spot. Jim and I had a good time with that one.

This leads to my next adventure in cash:

I am delving into the voice over business. I have recorded some audition pieces, but the equipment I have is fairly basic so I am purchasing enough sound equipment and devices to produce professional auditions. So we will see if my studio time and theater work from a few years ago will serve me well in this venture. Keep your fingers crossed!

Cheers!

-N

Fall, please fall on me.

I sit, sipping my third cup of coffee. Thinking about the order to my day and how I need to be productive. However what I really want to do is walk outside my door, sit in the shade of the massive oak, and dip my feet into the coolness of the creek. Please cool waters wash away my stress.

Yeah right.

There is no massive oak or cool creek outside my house or any house within miles of here to wash away the stress that has accumulated over the last year. My inappropriately green yard for the Sonoran Desert here in Catalina, Arizona struggles, as I do, to endure and survive the stress brought on by the intense hot temperature delivered by the searing rays of the sun.

People talk about the dry heat. Well that is in the month of June. July and August have humidity ranges of 47% up to 80% thanks to the monsoon flow. Yes, last month we had a day where the air temperature was 105 degrees with a humidity of 75%. Let’s talk about that dry heat.

So now it is September. The forecast is a high 90 and low 69 with a humidity 48% and dew point at 63 degrees. So far the forecast shows no more 100’s thank God.

I can still dream of the shade of that big oak and the cooling freshness of that creek. As a writer that’s what I do. right?

Cheers!

-N

June-here, hot and busy

After a call this morning from my niece about her visit this month, I looked at my calendar for June and found several things going on. I better take my vitamins.

First, the 100’s will hit Catalina AZ tomorrow! Damn, I’m not ready but at least they held off until now, so I only have to make it through one month and then monsoon season will show up to help my water bill. I can do that, yep I can. The spa is not heated so I can dunk myself, fully clothed, a couple of times a day to stay cool.

Second, my 88 year old mother will have a diagnostic procedure and followup appointments this month. It is part of a recent discovery made about her medical condition that will need monitoring. Yeah, that’s about all I can say on that one.

Third, my daughter and my grandson will make two trips out to Arizona from California this month. The first time will be mid month to do some logistics setting up the second visit. That one is her permanent move to Arizona for a new job in Phoenix!! Okay color this human ecstatically happy! Charlie will only be two hours from me-his Nannie. Melissa is having some strong emotions about this move since she has been in LA since 1997. She will leave lots of very close friends that make up the village who have been there for her while she fostered and adopted Charlie. They are family. But hopefully not too far away for visits.

Fourth, my great niece Kali will be coming down from Phoenix to stay with us for several days, and we will begin her Tucson indoctrination – haha. Phoenix and Tucson are so very different. Phoenix is the big metropolis with freeways, concrete and asphalt, tall glass towers, and very oppressive heat. As is typical of a city like Phoenix there is a lot of things to do. Tucson is also a big city, but because of a our surrounding mountains ranges our weather is not quite as hot. Don’t get me wrong it is hot here but rarely will Tucson have temps over 115. Phoenix does.

Anyone who visits needs to drive up to Mount Lemmon, and we plan to bring Kali up there for yummy cookies, homemade fudge, and a visit to the Living Rainbow gift shop. Also a ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain (over 9000′) and a trip to Sabino Canyon to play in the creek and have a picnic. Tucson has avoided expanses of freeways; some of us regret that, others are glad for it. Our mountains may not be Colorado mountains but they get enough snow for skiing in the winter and a right out my front door.

So we plan to introduce Tucson to Kali in all of its laid back coolness.

So this month will be hot and busy. But that is life.

Cheers!

-N

NFL goes out with a bang-for me

Yesterday was the “Big Game” for the NFL. I have to admit, as a football fan, the NFL has been a troubled platform for lots of fans and players. As a military kid, dad was Air Force, I have a strong patriotic heart. It’s true I was disheartened at the continued disrespect I saw, but this was not just in the NFL-it was everywhere.

It made me harken back to that time when we were on our way back to the US from the Philippines after my dad spent most of that tour in Phan Rhang, VietNam. We were told not to mention our dad serving in VN, and it was best not to mention our father was military. He was told not to wear his uniform on once he reached the shores US because of the strong and sometimes violent anti-military sentiment at that time.

1969 it was.

When I saw the protests of the players kneeling, the flag burning, and the things said about our military forces, it was Déjà vu. I felt my late father was being disrespected-again. His career in the Navy during World War II, and in the Air Force for Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no value or meaning to many of these humans who weren’t even around at that time.

So, yesterday I got a a bit of mine back.

I live outside of Tucson AZ, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats. My in-laws, my husband, and my daughter are all UA alum. I’ve worked there, and hubby currently works there.

If anyone was watching, the Wildcats had four ex-players in the game. Two for each team. It was splendid for me and for my dad’s memory. You see, for at least eight years my father volunteered his time to the UA football team for Coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey, as a time keeper for football practice, on the sidelines holding headset cables (before wireless,) and helping out with anything coaches, players, and trainers needed.

My dad loved Arizona Football. 

To see Nick Foles, Coach Dave Fipp, Rob Gronkowski, and Marquis Flowers playing in the Super Bowl would have brought my dad incredible joy. He would have been happy no matter who won, but I’m kinda thinking he would have liked Nick getting a Super Bowl ring, since Rob already had two. But just knowing some of his boys were playing, well lets just say there was cheering in heaven!

Everyone has their own opinion about the topic of what the flag means and why they protest. That is their right. But this is mine. I love my flag just like I love my country. I know history shows there was very bad and wonderfully good events. This is the point of keeping history, to be aware and make sure those mistakes are never made again.

Cheers!

-N

 

So freaking hot!

I’m sitting here inside my air conditioned home, drinking an iced coffee with Bailey’s thinking of why did anyone in their right mind stop and settle in Tucson or Phoenix? Okay, so Tucson does have beautiful mountains that get snow every winter and offers a cool respite from the damnable heat. A hundred years ago there were rivers that ran year round. But Phoenix?? The Salt River ran, but the hills are black volcanic rock.

Had to have been in winter.

June is hell in Southern Arizona. No rain, hardly a cloud, humans and animals hide inside, underground, in shade, wherever it is cooler. Folks who live where it gets very cold do the same thing during the winter – find warmth and shelter and hunker down.

There is a point in the day where nothing can cool me but to get wet. If I had a pool it would be ideal, but I don’t – so – I turn on the cold water in the shower and get drenched. It works, and I can make it through the day. In one of my books* I described the way evaporative cooling was done in this part of the state.  Fabric was soaked in water and draped over windows, the breeze would be cool as the fabric dried. June is perfect evaporative cooler month. They work great unless the temperature is too hot and the humidity is too low. In that case you will spend the day hosing off the cooler pads.

Years ago my son and I house-sat in Phoenix for my sister during the summer. It was my first experience at how ineffective a “swamp” cooler could be in the hot and dry Phoenix summer. My brother-in-law showed Aaron how to climb up the ladder holding the hose and wash down the cooler pads. Wet the pads worked great. Fortunately they had a pool so we spent hours in the water. It’s 120 degrees of dry heat!! That’s bull shite.

I hope one day to live in a home either at the ocean or on a lake, in a place that gets four seasons.

It is my dream, it is my fantasy.

Cheers!

-N

*https://www.amazon.com/Blame-Whiskey-Tombstone-Nancy-Vaughn-ebook/dp/B01CQ4S8R4

It’s getting hot-again!

The heat is building here in Southern Arizona. I know I’ve said it before, and I will most likely repeat myself in the future, but…I hate the heat. I am clinically heat intolerant. Thus, the arrival of the heat is a bad thing for me. It makes me grumpy, lethargic, nauseous, and constantly in the mood to move to Alaska.

One thing hubby and I do when it starts warming up is to stock the freezer with an assortment of ice cream products. We will keep it stocked until November. There is nothing like a frozen yummy at the end, the beginning, or the middle of the day during the summer.

We headed into the grocery store, quickly found the frozen foods area and spent at least ten minutes deciding. We bought three kinds of ice cream, two tubs of orange sherbet, a box of banana pops, a bag of cherry-mango pops, and a popsicle variety pack. Topped it off with a can of whipped cream, Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Well balanced. Agree?

We have a spa that is not heated during the summer and it is so refreshing when the temp is 110. Chuck planted a bunch of trees around the house over the years, which is great shade during the summer. Most are at least 20 years old and huge. When the thermometer rises, we tend to stay inside all day unless necessary. Kind of like northern states do during the winter snow storms. I am a water drinker all year round, but when it gets hot I regularly drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I generally don’t want anything but water.

Millie and our new GSD Jake (Millie’s brother) have staked out their resting spots outside. Jake lays on the the front porch. I guess the brick is cool in the shade. Millie lays in the back, which is a large shaded porch. They are content to nap, that is unless a rabbit or cat comes in the yard, then all bets are off.

So all you followers up north, remember me during your nice cool days. I will be jealous.

Cheers!

-N

PS The Expanse was renewed for a third season! Awesome.