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

 

 

 

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

Anybody Out There?

When I created this blog it was intended to communicate, interact, and exchange ideas. I tend toward being a loner, not an introvert because I can schmooze with the best of them when it is required. Getting a smile back from the grocery check-out clerk gives me a great feeling. The idea I might have helped cheer someone’s day is wonderful. I try this on a lot of folks.

Conversation. I often enjoy it and I’m pretty good at keeping it going after learning a bit of the art of it, when and how to ask questions, and avoiding trite replies like “you’re kidding! really? no way!” and instead reply with “tell me more or that’s wonderful (or shocking) or I understand” which encourages engagement.

For several years I had a very best friend, one that would call me to check up, invite me over, get together for meals, she loved coming to my place to hang out. She taught me how to be a long term friend, since my youth was spent traveling to different stations my father was transferred to with the USAF. So friend making, true friend making, wasn’t part of my wheel house. My parents had their adult friends – most of whom worked with dad and moved where he did, but I really only had my sisters. Meeting her as an adult was enlightening to say the least. We took trips together, enjoyed music and wine together, loved the beach. But…she and her husband divorced and she moved to St. Louis to be with her elderly parents. We lost a lot of contact, and I lost that friend.

Her parents have both passed now, details of the estate have been sorted and she is staying in St. Louis until her daughter graduates high school. The light in this is she plans to move back to Tucson and I am thrilled.

Maybe I won’t give in so readily to my aloneness or that wee bit of melancholy you saw in last weeks post. BTW the test result from the 19th was good news. The room where I write, blog, do voice over, and sew in has become more and more about being in my own space. I covet my time in it.

However…back to the blog.

I don’t get many comments and I wondered why? Is there something I’m missing in what I share? If you have any constructive advice and comments I would love to hear them. More pictures, videos, book reviews, music reviews?

So I sit, praying for rain and cooler temps in Southern Arizona with a three hour YouTube video of fall rain playing on my laptop. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers!

-N

Math in real life

I remember in school hearing the comment, “why would I need math?” and I admit, I said that too. But then I grew up and got a checking account. Yeah, that is math folks.🤑

I only took one algebra class in high school and said “why would I need algebra?” and then I got a job in a cell culture lab where I was taught to grow cells. I called on that algebra to count cells, make cell culture growth medium, and titer antibodies. Yep, that was math too.🔬

Now…I love to sew and quilt and y’all there is plenty of math in it. Math in real life. How many yards, make sure to have the right seam allowance. Sizes, blocks, binding, and elastic, you gotta have the right amount or the dang thing won’t work.

I’m just finishing some small projects: a valence for the guest room shower, and a dog bed for Millie. These are the whip them out in a day and clear out some space type of jobs. I also started on my next project which is the Doctor Who theme quilt for Charlie. Cutting a bunch of 2 1/2″ strips to make into blocks. I’m stalled because I need more blades-those suckers get dull pretty fast!😜 I also have the stuff for two small quilts for two wee nephews, and one big one that’s a surprise for one of the humans I love. Not telling 😉

So back to the sewing machine (I love my machine-thanks mom) and the creative fun of construction.

Cheers!

-N

 

The words are back

I’m very glad to share I have been writing again!

I sat down, opened the file, read what I had already written – I’ve done this before with no results – and when I reached the end of the text another line came to my mind, then another, and before I knew it 1000 words were knocked out and my mind was flying. It was bliss. I’ve since added more words, plotted the next couple of chapters, and fleshed out an important character I didn’t yet know very well.

This fed the creativity in my brain for the cosplay costume I am making. I was becoming so stale it was disconcerting and depressing. I can’t express how great it feels to get things moving once more. One thing I did discover is I need to ignore the distractions, specifically a person whose negativity is counterproductive. I shut the door, blast the Netflix or music and get busy writing and sewing. Woo hoo, it’s fun.

I spent four days in the LA area with my sister, Mary, and I think that started the brain cleansing. The laughing we did felt great. A good, long, loud belly laugh does wonders for the perspective. We spent hours at the ocean, we cruised down one canyon and up another listening to great music, singing, and remembering. Went to a wine tasting, had breakfast at Weiler’s-twice-and spent plenty of time with Melissa and Charlie (love kissing that boy.) Got a little too much sun. I felt young, bright, free, and adventurous. It was a perfect respite from the tension that flows from the negative person in my house.

I would have liked to have Chuck along but this was a girls trip. Next time!

The nights are cooling off, finally! The days are still too close to hell fire for me, but thank goodness for refrigeration and lots of fans to keep the air moving. My nephew is holding his own in Army basic, hubby is busy with his leather working, my kids are busy productive humans, and life is going on.

“There’s no such thing as too much magic, pixie dust, or fun.”

Cheers!

-N

A chance to show off my skills

My daughter is a fan of Cons. You know those big events like Comi-Con, Gallifrey, etc. She is a big sci-fi fan, especially a certain regenerating character, so for the next one she is attending, she and her son are going to dress as Dr. Who and companion! It will be so cute, since Charlie will be two.

I have been tasked, willingly, to make his Doctor #10 and #11 costumes. I’ve never done anything like this. I am making a pajama pattern I’ve used before, so I’ve had to make adaptations to the pattern top to make it look like a suit jacket.

My daughter obtained the fabric in a pin stripe (#10) and tweed (11), and I have cut out the pieces and will start on it today.

I’m excited to see how it turns out.

I hope it fits!

Cheers!

-N

What makes a friend?

What makes one human appealing as a friend? Are there certain characteristics and behaviors that attract others and draw them into a circle of friends?

Because my father was military we moved a lot when I was young. Consequently my friendships were very transient.  I believe this made it difficult for me to form lasting friendships.  My sisters and I are close, but they now have their own families to concern them. I had no real idea of what a lasting friendship looked like.

Until I met Kristen. For some reason she wanted to be my friend.

We met at work in 1985 and are still friends to this day, although she now lives in  St. Louis. We connected immediately, even though she was ten years younger than I. She would call me and want to hang out, would invite me to join her for a weekend at Rocky Point, Mexico. She thought of me when she was going somewhere and would often get me a small gift. She would drop in with a rose bush or small tree for my yard. She spent weekends with Chuck and I and the kids, she liked being with us.

She taught me how to be a friend. When she married I actually was a bridesmaid, not the wedding singer I usually was (although I did sing a song too), which felt very special. We spent lots of years enjoying our families together.

Her move made me realize I didn’t have a network of friends.

The people I know don’t seek me out. I would love to have a couple of girlfriends to do things with yet, I hesitate. Maybe I’ve become the kind of human that others say “Hi” to but I offer nothing to motivate them to be buddies. Perhaps I need more self reflection to know what is about me that keeps acquaintances from getting closer. I see pics on social media of people getting together, making the effort to connect, enjoying human interaction, and it gives me pause.

I know writing and sewing are solitary activities, but I love talking and laughing at happy hour or at my house with the music playing and a bonfire fire going and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.

Is it me?

Cheers!

-N

Little humans from next door

I have three little guys who live next door that display all the characteristics of the male human. They are brothers but are so different from each other that I have to treat each one as individuals.

The oldest is a very typical older brother. He is more serious, he takes charge of the younger ones and likes to hang out with his dad. I love watching him as he is the boss. His life understanding is growing, I can hear it when he scolds one of his brothers for a perceived misbehavior. He also will direct them on how to interact with others. If I am working in the house and one of the younger ones comes in I will hear him as he follows them and tells them not to intrude or interrupt. His word is respected as the oldest.

The middle one is just that. He is a people person who loves to talk. He can talk pretty much about everything and he is always wanting to come in my house and “just be quiet” while I work. Yet when I explain that it is hard to concentrate knowing someone is here while I write or sew he will try another tactic. Usually the older brother will coerce him into leaving. But before he leaves he always hugs me and says “I love you.”

The youngest fella is the baby and in typical youngest fashion cannot do all the things the other two can. He is so cute with his big wide eyes and happy face. If he is playing outside and he sees me he waves and yells out “Hi Nancy!”  If I say hi but don’t say his name he will remind me what it is. Maybe this is to make sure he isn’t lost in the crowd? I’ve told him that when he is finally in first grade he can come over and play with my dog Millie like his brothers. He is trying to be understanding.

These boys have been raised well. I don’t hear yelling and fighting. They get along with each other and there is a love there that can only have come from their parents example, instruction and direction. I like those guys.

When we first moved out to Catalina in 1991 the father of these youngsters was the age of the middle son. We watched him grow up, get married and have kids. To him we have always been here and it is fun now to see his sons grow. To be a part of this process all over again is interesting. When I told the boys how long we’ve known their dad they were pretty impressed. Probably that such an old lady can remember so well! Haha.

Life goes on.

-N