My Amazing Village – Great Neighbors

Last Friday hubby and I drove to Phoenix so he could help Melissa put down new flooring on the stairs and a powder room, while I occupied Charlie. We got there around 1pm and they got to work straightaway. Charlie and I made Chocolate Chip Banana bread, then once that was done and cooling he and I left for my sisters house so Charlie could swim (burn off energy) and visit with them. She has a wonderful kids room for her grand kids and when Charlie saw it his first expression was “Whoa, wow!” He proceeded to be occupied for a while as us grown-ups chatted.

I did a Marco Polo message to Melissa asking if they were ready for our return and was told only if we brought food! I can do that – it meant a Whataburger trip.

What I love best about her place is the nearly next door proximity to a Whataburger.

So Charlie and I headed toward home via the Whataburger stop – drive thru only – and while we waited for our order Charlie got more and more annoyed that everyone else seemed to be getting their orders “Too long!” “Nannie where’s ours?” After at least 5 minutes of this grumpyness we got the order and drove home.

The next hours were spent eating, Charlie playing on the iPad, and Melissa and her dad getting a lot done. It was dark and I worried about our dog Millie. We left her outside for the day because we were going to be home that night and we didn’t need a big dog and Charlie underfoot during construction.

My niece Trinity called her mom Heather (who is my go to house/cat/dog sitter) because she has a key to our house to ask if she would go over and let Millie in. Heather went over and Millie was no where to be found. She always comes when you call. Heather called me back very upset and I told her I would call my neighbors to see if they might have spotted her or had her. Heather headed home with the statement she was going to drive around the neighborhood looking and calling.

I called Sandy, then Jayne, left a voice mail for Jan, and then called Sylvia. Sandy also contacted the neighbor behind her. Sylvia went outside where her husband and son where hanging out. While she was telling them about Millie they heard a bark in the direction of our house, it didn’t move around the acre, but seemed to be coming from one spot. We share a property boundary with them. Sylvia called me to tell me and I gave the guys my okay to check. They looked into the back yard and said the barking was coming from our back porch. As she was telling me this, Sandy called to tell me she saw the guys and heard Millie’s bark.

I called Heather again to ask if she could go back and see if she could get Millie from under the porch. She was able to get my very scared girl out, with lots of hugs, and inside the house. The porch is enclosed with one small opening, but when she pushed her way in it prevented her from getting out. We don’t know how long she was there, but there had been a quick thunderstorm come through late afternoon with strong winds and noise which make her very nervous. We think she hid from it.

Millie was well and truly traumatized by this and it has taken several days for her to relax completely. We took her for a drive to Tractor Supply where they love up on her and give her treats. Then spent lots of time cuddling and spoiling her.

All this to say I have the BEST neighbors ever! We have all lived in the neighborhood for decades. Hubby and I won the neighbor lottery. I cannot express how grateful I am to know I can call when I need help, and they are there for me, and they know the same from me.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Welcome to my VO journey

Well beautiful readers, I have started my Voice-Over (VO) journey!! 👏

As I’ve previously mentioned, years ago I was busy providing voice talent for local radio commercials. I was also active in local community theater, both of these fed a performance desire in me. Looking back on those times, and the interesting people I encountered, are some of my most fun memories. Being in that scene, in Tucson, was great for me, and a place I often went in my mind with the thought, “How can I do that again?”

Moving to the now. I saw the ad for the voice over class, and curiosity overcame, prompting me to sign up. After participating in the class, getting a positive response from the VO professional running the class I seriously considered getting the training. I felt confident I could do this. Hubby and I spent time talking about it, looking at the costs involved, and I signed on with Such A Voice for my training. 

It has been amazing, fun, challenging, enlightening, and encouraging. My VO coach is a seasoned professional who is helping me, when we meet weekly, to develop and improve my skills. She is a fun person with lots of experience and cool stories. I have three more sessions with her.

After that I will be meeting with the sound professional who will make sure my in home sound booth is up to my needs in order to produce professional VO auditions. I have an upcoming master class to hone the skills I have developed and network with other VO artist in my area. At this time I will also be meeting with my demo coach who will work with me in preparation of my custom scripts for my professional in-studio demo session. These demos will be my marketing tools.

After all of that is completed Such A Voice has more resources to help me be successful in the VO industry.

So that’s the latest, beautiful readers, of my current adventure. Watch for updates to come.

I am still busy with my two books in process and it is interesting how the script analysis part of VO complements my writing. The best of both worlds for me.

Cheers!

-N

Its one of those days!

I’m busy the last three days of this week taking care of my grandson in Phoenix. Because of his autism issues he is not able to stay at the daycare he had been in for this school year. But his mom still needs to work so I am splitting caregiver duties with a woman my daughter met through her church until the end of the school year. Miss Diane has Monday and Tuesday, I have Wednesday through Friday.

But this leaves hubby on his own for three days! Oh my, the trouble that man could get into. 😱

It was a perfect storm of injury making reactions. Charlie and I were getting ready to run to the store yesterday afternoon to snag some ice cream and were in the garage when the garage door started to lift! Whoa, that surprised both of us. I was opening my car door to throw my purse in the seat, at the same time I called out “Charlie, it’s mommy!” He rushed past me and slammed into the inside of my open car door and ping ponged between the side of the car and the door, then fell back on the floor!! I was horrified and he was hurt and screaming. I gathered him up against me as his mom pulled into her spot. He finally calmed but was not a happy guy.

But he did want to get ice cream. 😊🍦

Fortunately. after a trip to the Walmart for ice cream, a discounted Easter basket and some nutellla snacks he was feeling pretty good. This morning he has a knot on his head, a scratch on his ear, and a scrape on his cheek, but he says he is fine.

Life with a busy four year old.

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

 

I’m Back!!

Well fantastic followers, after two weeks and nearly 4,000 road miles later I am finally back online and ready to blog. I have a ton of photos and stories to share with everyone. Still getting the pics downloaded and sorted so it will probably be a series of blogs.

Hubby and I had fun visiting (in order round trip from Arizona) New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, ending back home in Arizona of course.

Our sweet little 15 foot travel trailer we have fondly named “Daisy” performed exceptionally well. She is a vintage 1982 Sport and we look forward to sprucing her up. We got a lot of attention and great comments about her.

We spent a week with Aaron and Chelsea. Hubby and son working on some RV repairs, going to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom at DisneyWorld, watching Chelsea be excellent in a production of Beauty and the Beast, and eating way too many donuts!

Our place and our pets were well cared for by Heather Herman, with help from Kristopher and Trinity. It was such a relief not to have to worry about anything. Millie was crazy to see us again, and Cleo was mildly interested that we returned.

I finished the laundry, we’ve got most of everything put away, Daisy is cleaned out and now it’s the getting back to normal.

More to come!

Cheers!

-N

Looking for Cochise

I love historical research. I love history – that’s probably why I enjoy writing historical fiction. This past weekend hubby and I spent two days scouring the southern Chiricahua mountains for the site of a firefight between the US Army and Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches in 1869.

My fictional Army officer will be engaged in this event. I had questions about the location, and after searching through books and historical papers I managed to pinpoint the place I needed to see. To put myself in my character’s mind, explore his emotions, and find out who he would be after this was over, seeing the location was important for the story.

Much to her great pleasure Millie came along on the road trip, riding comfortably on her bed in the back seat. 

There was so much for her to see and smell, so much to experience. She was so good, and when we stopped for pictures or to explore she was happy to do her own research of the area. 🙂 

Rucker Canyon was where we were heading. It runs between the Chiricahua Mountains to the north and the Pedregosa Mountains to the south west. The creeks were running thanks to snow melt, and the dirt roads were well maintained, with a few places I wouldn’t want to drive on if they were wet.

  My driver did a good job getting me where I wanted to go, and he loved exploring those crude trails disguised as roads. I’m not so fond of the bouncing around on these, but he was having a great time.

Considering we were very close to the international border we saw this sign going either direction. Gave me pause. 

Using our topo map and the references, we were able to pin point the bluff where the Apache warriors held off the US Army. This series of fights lasted for a month beginning in October, and resulted in both sides suffering injuries and loss of life. It also prompted Cochise to examine the cost to his people of the continued fight against the whites.  He was dead five years later.

Walking the area where these two groups struggled to control the land was profound for me. The area is a pristine, rugged, and beautiful wilderness area of oaks and junipers. The bluff was found by us, and we spent time examining it and imagining the humans surrounding it, climbing, it, hiding behind its peaks, and moving in a strategic dance of combat. I was thrilled.

Left – from the south, right – from the north.

The south view was a steeper approach the Army attempted but were pushed back by the well entrenched Apaches.

The Army circled around to the north side which was a gentler slope, but still unapproachable. It was this activity that leads to my character’s encounter with a warrior and a crisis moment for him and his life going forward. After a bit more driving and a bit of hiking hubby suddenly stopped and said, “Here, it happens here.” He found a perfect place for the confrontation. In this area there were signs of human presence at least 100 years old. Nancy was in her happy place!!

Down this slope my character will struggle and his life will change. At the bottom is a creek, and beyond that a meadow lined with trees that are good cover for the warrior.

Boy did Millie like this place. She could wander and discover, glancing back at us to make sure we were near.

It was getting late, so we headed out for Douglas, Arizona and to the ranch home of old family friends of hubby. When I say old friends, I’m talking before marriages and kids, my father-in-law and Mr. Christiansen were BFF’s.

This ranch house was built in early 1960, and is one of the most comfortable, and welcoming homes I’ve visited. We chatted, laughed, looked at books and photos, walked around the land, and hubby’s memories were tickled. Millie loved this as well. She had plenty of room to run, sniff, and do her business. Our beautiful hostess, Mrs. Ursula Christiansen, made us comfy, fed us, and loved Millie. Ursula, born in Germany, married an American military man, and moved to this country. I asked her what she thought of southern Arizona when she arrived and she said she wanted to see Indians, she didn’t realize they were on reservations.

The two German girls got on pretty well. They’d had German Shepherds on the ranch, and she missed them. I think Millie sensed that. After a good nights sleep, Ursula wanted to take us to her favorite Mexican restaurant – El Pato (The Duck.) Chuck and I loved it, fresh and delicious Sonoran food.

Ursula was greeted warmly by the lovely owner Alba, she introduced us, and we ordered. If you ever get to Douglas, AZ go see Alba at El Pato.

 After our wonderful meal, and full bellies we headed back to the mountain for a few hours, then home.

My mind was racing with ideas, scenes, and plots. I can give the writing an authentic feel, and take the reader into the action with authority.

The best part was the chance to be there, on the spot, in the location, walking the same paths, seeing the same landscape, being in history, and becoming my character.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

 

The New Year is Here!

Today Christmas left the building. One thing I really wanted to do was organize all of my Christmas decorations into better groupings of items and themes. It was fun, and hubby helped, with no arguments!! His help made it go so fast I can honestly say we whittled it down significantly in the number of Christmas storage tubs. Also the tree ornaments were separated by type, and packed by theme. Next year I want to have a small real tree to compliment our big artificial one. The small one will be angels, stars, and snowflakes. The big tree will be all of the rest of them. I may get a small table top artificial one for the non-sparkly decorations. I am considering it.

Charlie spent Christmas with us, then he came back for New Years so his mother could finish last minute stuff without him underfoot (you can imagine the havoc an almost four year old can wreak) and also get a break before the school year starts.

Christmas was fun with Charlie. He was very patient while waiting to open his presents. When we said it was time to open gifts he celebrated. He did pretty well this Christmas and then when he came back to our house for second time it snowed on New Years day. And he loved it!

He discovered he could eat snow, and throwing a snowball at me makes me jump. (Insert him laughing hysterically.)

So, we are four days into 2019 and the best I can say is it feels like winter here in southern Arizona, and my house is Christmas free 😁👍 .

I hope to upgrade my blog by the end of the month. My Twitter and Instagram pages will stay the sames. Facebook will have a big change for my current author page. It is connected to my personal page and I cannot separate it. Instead I will set up a whole new one and move everything over to that page. This will take some fancy footwork on my part but it is part of making a more professional footprint of my internet presence.

Good luck all and I hope 2019 will be stellar for all!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

I did it for the first time!

Yes I did, and I can admit I was nervous. 

     Would it look silly? What if my idea was laughable? Would others appreciate it?

I ordered photo Christmas cards and a self inking address stamp! I am so proud of myself. Every year I get those from friends and family, loving the new pics and wishing I had my act together to do it for hubby and I.

But this year I did, a bit behind the date but I hope the folks who receive one will enjoy it and want to keep it. I must have dozens of these I’ve saved for years. They are so special and some come with a newsy letter. I have them in a manila envelope and plan to make albums for them.

My card this year has hubby, me and Charlie in Santa hats, wearing Christmas light necklaces. We went to my daughter’s house and took the pics in front of her tree. Such fun to corral an almost four year old with unlimited energy in front of a decorated tree, trying to get him to leave the hat on, let go of the lights, stand up, smile, etc., but we managed to take some very fun photos. I think this will be our tradition, hubby and I with grandkid/s in Santa hats and Christmas light necklaces.

We also got some of Charlie and his momma too. They are sweet and funny, but one was of momma giving him “the look” when he wandered off and wouldn’t listen, and we laughed outloud when we saw it. I told her she needed to make a poster of it and put it in her classroom 😉👌.

I used Shutterfly for the cards and it was pretty easy. Now I hope to get them addressed and out before Christmas!

Fourteen days until Christmas Eve. Get those gifts wrapped, hire someone to clean the house, put up the lights, finish the cooking and baking, learn the songs for the Christmas Eve service, keep writing and sewing.

I’ve got this. 🤞🎄

Cheers!

-N

 

 

When did that happen?

One thing my hubby and I are proud of is we raised two kids who grew into successful, responsible adults.

They have jobs, they pay their bills, they do life and take care of business. This is our crowning achievement in parenting. They moved out and made a life for themselves. I’ve looked back at my life and found there are some benchmarks we all must meet which indicate we are making progress toward adulthood. See if you agree.🤷‍♀️

Blowing your nose, going to the bathroom by yourself, whistling and snapping your fingers, figuring out colors- letters-numbers-shapes, blowing out birthday candles, starting school. Those are the biggies for our wee ones that show their brains are growing along with their bodies.

Then there is tweens and teens 😕. Angst and hormones, tears and sulking. Yes the good old days when hubby and I had to keep reminding ourselves that their problems are just as important to them as writing a check for groceries you hope won’t clear until payday Friday was to us. Yet somewhere along the way you manage to get a drivers license, for girls a period, for boys wet dreams. You start dreaming of becoming a. . . well don’t know yet , you run out of gas, get a flat tire, get a kiss, go on a date, have a crush, figure out what classes you need to graduate, think about the future again, successfully take a road trip, graduate and either get a job or go to college. 🎓

Looking back I wish I had been more tenacious about school and less worried about having a boyfriend. I wish I had read more books, learned another language and to play piano so I could accompany myself singing.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – my daughter and her friends played it as a drinking game. But it is reality. 🍸

Then the big things start to come at you. A career? A marriage? A child? Buy a house? Move away? Figuring out friends are family too and the connections you want to make become clearer. Now you realize you have too much debt, need to go on a diet, how much do you spend on TV/Internet/Cell phone, getting insurance-all kinds, watch your kids start blowing their noses.

So we laugh, find the reality and put on our big girl/boy pants and make life happen.

Cheers!

-N

Are Christmas Cards Passé?

I have a collection of Christmas cards that come from several years. They were the last one or two left in the box, unused. I have counted them and I found I have no need to purchase cards this year. The leftovers will take care of my needs. I don’t send out nearly as many I did in the past. It seems cards aren’t the thing they once were.

My mother-in-law, like many of her generation sent out dozens of cards often with school photos, a Christmas letter or both.  They kept track of friends who have moved away, family in distant places, and acquaintances who were now only “Christmas card friends.”  Do you read the Christmas letters when you get one?

This Saturday hubby and I will be meeting our daughter to take a photo with our grandson. This photo will be included in our Christmas cards for close friends and family. My daughter was teasing that instead of being in the picture she will be taking it! We will, however, be taking photos of her and Charlie for her own Christmas greetings.

When we get photo cards (I never get around to getting those made😜) I save them. They are precious records of people I care about. One day I plan to put them in a scrap book showing how families have grown up.

I remember mailing fifty cards (hubby and I each signed them,) hoping the addresses were correct and if returned would include a forwarding address. Now most of these have been replaced with Facebook and Instagram holiday greetings.

Will the actual cards become a thing of the past?

What will USPS do with all those holiday themed stamps?

Cheers!🍸🍷

-N