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.

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

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

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.

 

A mind walk

It will be 107 degrees today. I know it’s summer in southern Arizona and it is to be expected, but it reinforces my feeling that I don’t belong here. I’ve lived here for 47 years, so you would think I would be accustomed to it. But it seems as though the older I get the less I am able to tolerate it. The only redeeming part of this season is the monsoon rain storms that visit in the evenings, though those have been AWOL for the last several weeks!

My fantasy home will be in a place that enjoys four seasons, with lots of green in the summer and lots of white in the winter, near a mountain lake or the ocean. Water is necessary.

I have a lot of books. My last estimate was 1300-1500. So I would need a house with an attic and basement, a large room for books and my writing space. I’ve always wanted to live in a Victorian two story house. More dreaming would be large fireplaces and maybe a friendly ghost.

As you can see I am finding a place in my mind to hide from the stress of the hot weather.

Last night a storm hit us coming in from the north east. It made it’s presence known when a large brown patio umbrella broke in half and struck the house making Millie and I jump. She went to the window and barked like crazy. The wind was powerful and once the heavy rain started everything got soaked. The storm moved quickly and then it was over. The humidity was 60% and the temp was 80. Sticky and still.

So here I sit, hidden in the air conditioned house, regularly getting wet to cool off, and a fan blowing on me. I imagine snowy mountains, cool breezes and temperatures that require a sweater and scarf.

Cheers!

-N

Yeah I’m ranting.

Greetings all!

It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last several days. A member of my family is struggling with mental illness and it has been a test of patience and enduring emotional highs and lows. It’s chased away my muse and now that things are improving I am on the search for it.

One exciting thing to share is I will be a great aunt again. My niece is in labor with her second child right now. She is one of those women who is very fit and I expect her to do well, especially since it is her second. Can’t wait to meet the wee boy she is having.

Just finished the edits on the first draft of my newest story. I have to revise and rewrite a scene that will add at least 10 pages. It comes from a discussion I had with my hubby about a question I asked him. The more we talked about it the more I realized I had to trash a bunch of words and start over. His suggestions were perfect and gave me a great scene but requires some character building I wouldn’t have recognized previously. Now I have some historical research to do on costumes and vehicles. Also have to flesh out a character who revealed themselves during the edit. He showed up and I knew I needed more backstory, so there it goes.

So its time to go through the manuscript and fine tune before handing it to my beta readers.

My writing combines two things I enjoy: romance and history. The historical accuracy is important to me. I love the feeling of immersing in a specific time and place in history. If I can add a bit of spicy romance to it then mores the better.

Two more months until fall in most places, four more months until it shows up here. Southern Arizona has two seasons: hot and not so hot. Although where I live is a higher elevation than Tucson, and we are up next to the 9000 ft mountains when it is 110 in Tucson it is 107 here in Catalina! Gaaah, hate heat. I loved Misawa, Japan, with its 10-12 feet of snow, blizzards and earthquakes. It worked for me. I am still a cold weather fan. When Chuck and I were living in Tioga, ND it was perfect. I loved bundling up and tromping around in my fur lined snow boots. If it’s going to be hot then there should be a lake or ocean nearby.

Well enough ranting, time to get to work.

Cheers!

-N

Feeling insecure

I’ve been having second thoughts about Facebook and the security of my online connection. My phone is requiring I install Messenger even if I am logged in through the internet. When I looked at the permissions it requires to run it made me extremely nervous. I don’t have to have it yet on my laptop to use it.

I have a FB friend who had been off and then came back claiming she had been hacked. Earlier I had received a friend request from her that surprised me yet I accepted it, and now I have received instant messages from this person very late in the evening. It isn’t clear to me if it is her hijacked account. The messages are vague and one or two words. I was suspicious. Is this the hacker or my friend?

I hate when it feels as though technology runs my life.

Chuck and I rescued a hummingbird! It had somehow fallen into our fish pond and Chuck found it floating on the surface. Not knowing how long it had been there he picked it up thinking it was drowned, but its body twitched. We brought it inside and using a 1ml syringe we started trying to get it to drink some sugar water. It took a while but I noticed it open its beak, then its tongue flicked out several times and it started drinking. It opened one eye, then the next and started trying to move its wings. Suddenly it flew up and away, while we chased it to keep it from the ceiling fans. That was pretty funny seeing Chuck moving, hands in the air, chasing a wee hummingbird. It did get a little bonk by the fan, so we took it outside and set it in a planter. After a few more drinks it flew away to a nearby tree. Needless to say there was a lot of human high fives.

We were blessed with rain off and on yesterday that helped to cool things a bit from the 100’s to mid 90’s. The 100’s will be back with a vengeance along with the increase in my electric bill.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

Right hand butt wiping

I’ve been out of commission for the last two weeks after surgery on my right hand. Typing is easier now and I can use all my digits but the hand is still a little sore and if there are mistakes you will understand. I hope.

This surgery changed some everyday things for me. I am mostly ambidextrous(sometimes shockingly so) but there are some things that took a bit of practice to acquire the left hand skills-teeth brushing and butt wiping weirdness.

Five days after surgery I managed to sprain my right wrist! My hand surgery was healing very well and I had begun using my hand and the bandage was off. I was getting a carton of Silk from the refrigerator with my left hand and it slipped. So what do I do? I reached up with my right hand and caught it, awkwardly. I felt the pain in my entire hand and wrist and knew I was hurt.  Back to square one.

But now things are improving and I am back to my blog.

I am tolerating the heat here in southern Arizona thanks to a hurricane. Dolores sent some moisture that cooled things from 110 to 92 with 40-60% humidity. This is not a dry heat. We are halfway through the hottest time. I would rather deal with extreme cold than extreme hot. I am heat intolerant. I’ve actually managed to get nauseous and sick in the time it takes for the car a/c to cool down after coming from the house.

No writing has happened since my surgery either and I am ready to get back to my routine. Get up-coffee-breakfast-exercise-blogging/writing-finish the day productively and start again. I will be getting my German Shepherd puppy this weekend. Her name is Millie and I look forward to her companionship. My last shepherd loved going places with me. We walked the trails of Catalina State Park together. I look forward to Millie and I having the same wonderful experiences. I know she is going to be beautiful.

I’ve had two beta readers give me some great input on my historical story and I am excited to use their advice to improve the writing. Interestingly, in their varied comments, they mentioned the same scene that needed clarification. Waiting to hear from three more.

Time to head out. Oh I am getting rid of DISH. Not that I don’t like them but TV wastes too much time and I tend to watch things I don’t care about. Will just have internet as a substitute.

Saving money and brain cells.

-N