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

 

 

 

 

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Memphis, Yeah I’ve Been There😎 part 2

Memphis…music, people, food, music. It is a remarkable place. Yes the Mississippi River is muddy, broad, and moves forcefully past this amazing city.

But it is the inside of the town. The guts, the brain, the voice of a place filled with the passage of people and time that grabs you. I really dug it.

The sidewalks were well worn. The stores and club fronts showed the appearance of years of bodies leaning against them to get out of the heat or rain and watch humanity pass by. Beale Street had the character and style of an old railroad car with a fresh coat of paint. While we were there part of the street was cordoned off for a mass of bikers, a bikers meet and greet if you will. 

There were dozens of bikes, with riders milling around, laughing, drinking, smoking, and calling out to people passing by. It was friendly and fun.

I was raised by a man who loved motorcycles, and when I see one, especially a Harley, I am warmed by memories of riding with my dad. I wanted to get right down in the middle of them. 😍

Beale St is full of music.

Passing clubs, pubs, and bars the music pours out, drenching the sidewalk with jazz, blues, rock, and country. The first three are the ones I wanted to hear. I craved sittingt near the stage listening to live musicians give it their all. We popped into several establishments on our way to the place I wanted to be.

BB Kings House of Blues. Yeah dog! I did that. That’s me and BB Kings guitar. The food was good, we took our time, and then Corey Osborn and his band took the stage. It was a religious experience.

Corey was a teenage prodigal guitarist when BB King discovered him. We sat through two or three hours of food and music. Hubby and I were loving it. We met him and his band, bought a CD and had it autographed by them all. Looking back it was a special moment in time because only a few years later Corey was killed in a car accident. It’s hard to find his music now. That CD is really special.

Elvis was there too, in music, and memorabilia.

Even a musical note on the sidewalk bears his name. We left BB Kings and walked around in the evening, lots of lights shining and people milling around, such atmosphere in this city by the Mississippi River.

We asked for a random guy to take our picture together, he laughed and told hubby to cozy up to that woman!

He did and it was a wonderful memory of the park across the street from the House of Blues.

I would love to go back and spend more time there. The food, music, and history of this city is compelling, exciting, and covers you in mood. That mood is up to you.

 

Cheers!

-N

 

A Guide to Adventure

You are sitting in the break room, cafeteria or a common area at work, your personalized cup of coffee with stevia and cream in hand, waiting. You know that one person will be back today with another stunning vacation story and unbelievable photos. They never fail to deliver an amazing narrative of an over the top adventure. We are jealous of them, envy them, and want to go with them on the next trip! They usually bring back fun and interesting tokens to hand out: chocolates from Belgium, Kona coffee from the Big Island, a colorful silk scarf from Morocco, a crocheted bookmark from Venice, a cartouche with your name in hieroglyphics from Egypt.

There is always that one human blessed by the adventure fairy. 🚵‍♀️

Most of us, however, have also experienced that annoying person who believes everyone is jonesing to see their 789 personal photos of the trip to Uncle Georges’ funeral. 😜 We avoid them, or say we are in the middle of project, or sorry just leaving, or as one guy I knew would say, “pick out the best ten and come back.” I could never do that. 🤦‍♀️

Hubby and I discovered an easy way to make our trips more interesting, memorable, and entertaining. We use our Passport to the National Parks to find never discovered or our “long to visit” locations.

If you have never heard of it I’m gonna give you the 411. We started our Passport journey with the small book on the right. Once the adventures started, we filled so many pages completely, we upgraded to the binder on the left.

Inside are guides to the wonderful, informative, and historic locations in our great nation. At each of these locations is a place where you can get your book stamped with the date and place, just like a travel passport! Also at these locations you can purchase beautifully made stickers for the location you visited. Hubby and I check the Passport when we plan a trip, to see what is along the route and in the area of our destination. This enhances our trips.

Another thing that hubby loves are collectible pins which you can be purchased. You learn history and geography as you meet others while visiting these fantastic locales.

These are great wedding and baby shower gifts too. We helped start several friends on their Passport journeys this way. You can purchase the books at gift shops and visitor centers at the various locations.

On one trip hubby and I made to Chiricahua National Forest, we had just pulled into the visitor center parking lot, when out of another car two boys jumped and raced each other to the stamp kiosk, excited to get their books stamped.  Another time we visited Niobrara National Scenic River in Nebraska, a place we had never heard of and would have not found without our books. It had been months since someone had been to the visitor center, so they had to change the date on the stamp, and re-ink the pad.

The link below will take you to a page with lots of information and descriptions so you can start your adventure.

Cheers!

-N

https://www.eparks.com/store/department/30/Passport-Program/

(No compensation was received for this post.)

 

 

No cure for travel bug

I was born into a military family. When I was six months old my father was transferred from Harlingen, Texas to Yuma, Arizona. This began a life of travel for our family, thanks to the US Air Force. It was all I knew and I adapted well to this transient lifestyle. I made easy but not lasting friendships, and I looked forward to the next assignment my father was given.

By the time I started high school in Tucson I had lived in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Japan and the Philippines. In 1971 my father retired at Davis-Monthan  AFB in Tucson.

I was not happy about it. My sisters felt very different than I.

2There were so many places I wanted to see, but my dad was done. His retirement after 20+ years was what he wanted. Before his service in the Air Force he had spent active duty in the Navy then post WWII in Navy reserves as a very young man. So to him his military career was completed.

However, I had acquired an incurable case of travel bug.

I love going someplace I have never been, finding my way around, and fitting into life in that locale. Becoming acquainted with the locals who give you tips on the best places to eat, shop, and relax is enlightening and empowering as a traveler. Regularly I get what I think is a sort of travel depression from longing for the sights and sounds of a distant place.

My dilemma is the disposable cash to fulfill these desires.

So I study photos, history and literature, immersing my mind in what is still left to discover about places like Istanbul, Edinburgh or Budapest. Amazing as it may seem I’ve never been to New York City and count on it, that it’s on my bucket list. I would love to travel from Tuscany to Sicily trying local wines and food. I want to hike the Appalachian trail, spending the days finding the secrets of the mountains. I would love to sit at a bistro in Paris within sight of the Eiffel Tower, watching humanity pass by. Diving in the Florida Keys or the Red Sea, walking a forest of Blue Bells in Kent, waiting for Civil War ghosts at Gettysburg and riding the train from Tokyo to Misawa in Japan. You get the drift.

Desiring the unknown, compelled by different culture and language, finding out what I need to collect for understanding from the next stop and pushing myself toward discovery, I dream of skies, stars, food, faces, and an understanding that my journey will ultimately bestow on me is thrilling.

Immersing yourself in a new environment and culture is the best way to accept the differences and similarities in all of us.

Cheers!

-N

(P.S. My father was movie star handsome!)

 

 

Coast to Coast-almost, part 1

I have been out of communication for two weeks while I help my son make a move from Texas to Florida. It was a huge thing for him and hubby and I had the honor of helping him accomplish it. He was hired as a stage technician at DisneyWorld.

You see, Aaron and Chelsea will be living in it until they find a place to move into, probably an apartment or rental house.

First step was in Catalina and getting our 5th wheel ready for the move.  Got it cleaned up, stocked up, and made sure everything was set. Then we took the truck in for service. It’s a 2004 F250 diesel, a real workhorse, and it was time for the checkup. We were told it needed a new serpentine belt and rear pinion seal!! Only about $600-700. Color me dumbfounded. The service guy said these had to be done before we pulled the RV all the way to Florida. Chuck decided to look on you tube for videos – maybe he could do it himself since the seal only costs $15! After his research he figured he could do it, he needed two new tools. The belt actually cost more, but didn’t require taking apart the drive train. The plan was to leave at 1am on Wednesday morning after Chuck got off work Tuesday at 11pm. But…the truck needed these two things done before we left.  So the rush was on!

Monday morning we bought parts and Chuck started working. The pinion seal was the worry since it required disconnecting the rear drive train, pulling the seal, filling the diferential fluid, and putting it all back together. He got it half done, stopped to go to work then picked it up Tuesday morning. It was a relatively easy job and he felt confident. It worked like a charm. But then the belt came next and it was a freakin’ nightmare. We finally got on the road Wednesday morning at 4:30am! We had both be up since 7am Tuesday morning but we headed out for Lewisville, Texas. After eighteen hours of driving we arrived at the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Lewisville. The facilities manager, Jeff Hobson, gave us permission to park for the night. He was amazing!!

We slept for about four hours, solid hard sleeping, and got up to meet up with Aaron so he could store his stuff in the trailer. He was driving one of their cars out with us, so we filled up and headed out I-20 toward Shreveport. About an hour out of Lafayette it starting raining. An annoying hard rain, especially in the evening, at rush hour, on the highway, towing a 5th wheel. We made it to an amazing rest area just inside Mississippi and spent the night. We started out and managed to arrive in the Orlando area Friday night around 8pm Florida EST. We bunked again at a rest stop and the next morning we cut out at 7:30 am, grabbed some coffee and donuts at the Dunkin Donuts and were at Winter Garden RV park by 9am.

The rush was on again to get the trailer set up, plugged in, and turned on before we had to get Chuck to the Orlando Airport by 1:30pm for a 3:00pm flight. I was staying for a few days to drive the truck back to Tucson.

But we did it!!

Chuck did go coast to coast thanks to Southwest. He flew from Orlando to San Diego to Tucson!

More to come. Cheers!

-N

Yep, I did it again!

As is obvious, I have changed my page format. The last one seemed to be hard to read, difficult to navigate and seemed to scream at me every time I looked at it. I promise I won’t change it again, soon.

Bloggerverse citizens, how often do you change your page? I like the simplicity of many of the blogs I follow, so rather than suffer from blog envy I am tweaking (not twerking) my page theme. You know-going for that respectable author thing. What ever that is?

Hubby is going to be out of the house tomorrow for a several hours so I will be glued to the computer pounding out pages of the new story I am about 60 pages into. I have a ton of research to do on post civil war reconstruction-glorious. David McCullough said the interesting thing about history is when it was happening no one knew how it would turn out. Writing, research, music, wine and chocolate-note to self, have to remember to let Millie out to do her business.

A fun way to discover the history of our country is with a “National Parks Passport.” Chuck and I started with the small one and once it was filled we moved to the larger binder. It is a great way to see the country and find places you would never normally visit. 20160429_135443

When we know we are taking a trip we pull out the Passport and see what is nearby and plan our trip with these places in mind. As a history geek, I have learned so much about places in Nebraska and the Dakotas I would never have known about.

You can purchase the large binder or small book at the visitor center, usually near the stamp/sticker kiosk. What you do is head to the visitor center at a National – Park, Memorial, Historic Site, Battlefield, Reserve, etc., find the Passport kiosk (ask if you don’t see it right away) and there you will be able to stamp your passport page with a date/time stamp that has the name of the place you are visiting and now you have a permanent memory. You can also purchase a beautifully made sticker specific to the location. We have been to places so off the beaten path the date on the stamp had to be changed and the stamp pad re-inked. 20160429_135349

I remember once Chuck and I were heading into a visitor center in the Chiricahua National Park and just before we got there these two boys hopped out of their car and raced each other to the kiosk. That gave me the idea of purchasing them  as baby gifts. I’ve several young friends I’ve given them to who’ve let me know they use them all the time.

It is a very good way to discover the amazing places in the USA and appreciate the lessons we need to learn. Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas is a place every American needs to visit.

I told Chuck we should be Passport travel guides and have our own show. Right? I mean, come on we have this thing down and it would so feed my travel bug.

So my blogger friends do you have any special way you make your travel plans? Do any of you use the Passport?

Cheers!

-N

A change is nice

I just got back from four days away from home.  Two of the days were spent driving to the San Fernando Valley to be with my daughter and back home. We had a birthday party to attend and then whatever we wanted to do the rest of the time.

Splendid.

The birthday party was Saturday afternoon,  so morning was breakfast at Weiler’s and the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had. I always have breakfast at least once at Weiler’s when I go to the Valley.

Then the party. It was one of those parties for a one year old but really ends up being a more for the adults. Still very fun and the little guy made a haul.

That night was take out from Stonefire Grill. Yummy food.  Drank a good wine with the food and watched movies.

Sunday was sleep12771726_10208566974638499_4241239779438382470_oing in and then take out from another of my must visit places, Cavarettas Deli. We got super fresh deli sandwiches, pasta salad and cannoli’s that were so good as usual. We ate our lunch and enjoyed the afternoon at Rosenthal Wine Tasting in Malibu.

It’s one of my wine clubs.

After the food and wine we walked across the street to the Pacific Ocean.

Come on I cannot be that close to the ocean and not go get my feet wet. In this case I got wet up to my waist. I found a great rock to sit on just at the surf line so I just sat there and every four or five waves would wash up on me. That was the pic I posted yesterday of me standing fully clothed in the water.

It was heavenly.

We stopped at a pizza place to pick up dinner for friends who just had twin boys a few days before. We got to hold these tiny (5lb) humans. I love newborn baby smell and the person who could come up with a cream that could make your skin that soft would be a cajillionaire.

Since the next day was work/travel day we ate dinner at Marmalade Cafe, another yummy must add to my list and then chilled at Melissa’s place for an early night.

Monday morning I left for Tucson. The drive wasn’t bad even though I was in LA traffic during morning rush and Phoenix traffic during afternoon rush-ok I’m an idiot.

Sirius was playing jazz so I was calm.

Millie was glad to see me and it was nice to sleep in my own bed. My daughter is a very cool person to hang out with and she restores my faith in humans. I missed having Chuck there, but he is slaving in North Dakota. It would be nice to spend more time there with my girl, yet I’m good with my days of a little change of place.

Cheers!

-N

Crazy living this last two weeks

Since my last blog things went a bit crazy, everywhere.

I started to get ready to go visit my daughter over in California. She lives in the Valley in a cute little guest house and no room for Millie. Thus began the effort to find a kennel. I had previously used a place and they always had room. However…when I called them their number was not in service and I found out they closed down! Yikes now what? That began a the staggering process of finding a place that I was comfortable leaving my puppy. She is 6 months old and hadn’t been apart from us, and especially not for a week. I was starting to get concerned.20151012_092404

The search was hard because it was the holiday. No duh! After calling, leaving messages, asking friends and  neighbors and coming to the conclusion I might not be going I had a thought. Maybe there would be someone in the Valley I could use! I got online and in one night of searching I found a woman who is part of co-op of home kenneling. I got it set up and was back to my plan to leave the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

It was great.

So-Millie and I left by 7am Sunday morning after a not so good nights sleep but that’s why there is Starbucks right? Millie was not traveling well in the front seat of the Explorer. I was bringing a bunch of stuff to Melissa and there wasn’t room for her so she had to ride in the front. She had become a drooling mess, whining and wiggling around. I knew she wasn’t remotely comfortable and this was going to be a 7 hour nightmare. I was just to the outskirts of Phoenix when I got a text from Melissa saying she was terribly sick with a stomach bug. I spoke to her and found out this was going around her landlord’s house. Everybody was sick.

No thanks.

I was able to reschedule with the kennel, thank God, and turned back toward Tucson. Travel plans were changed to Wednesday to give everyone time to recover. One good thing, it reduced the amount of clothes and things I needed to bring.

Three days later I left for California with a much better bed for Millie. I made great time and was able to get Millie to the kennel, and stop for dinner with Melissa and get back to her place in time to take it easy. Thanksgiving was wonderful. A nice variety of food, though I was missing Chuck, Aaron and Chelsea, but the company was very relaxed and friendly.

Then Friday showed up. We ate breakfast at Weiler’s (yummy) and came back to her place to exchange her entertainment cabinet for my smaller one. That was a really good idea and it fit her place so much better. We had to take her big cabinet apart to fit it into my car but we had Jeff’s (her landlord) help with that. We decided to visit friends and then go to the movie, even paid in advance for a seat reservation. After about an hour at their house I started to feel ill. It didn’t take long before I was sick, and I mean sick!! The thing I thought I had avoided was happening! Ugh!! We went home and I literally crawled into bed. Melissa managed to get a refund for the tickets and took care of me. It was an awful night.

I still had to drive back to Tucson.

Saturday morning I was better. Not well but better. This was one of those suck-it-up-old-lady moments. We picked up Millie, filled up the car and went back to Melissa’s to pack up my car. I left California with my tail between my legs and counting the miles to my own bed.

But I did it.

I spent Sunday thinking about doing things, that’s pretty much how far it got. The cursed bug came back with a vengeance that night. I lost most of Monday trying to recover.

Today is better and all you fine readers are up dated. I know you wanted the latest details.

-N

Old wheels

When my Air Force father was stationed in northern Japan at Misawa Air Base I absolutely loved it. It was 1966 and coming from Tucson, Arizona half way across the world to this distinctly different and unique corner of the globe was a shock and a thrill. I was unsure, enraptured and enamored with my surroundings.

It was cold in Misawa, with a snow accumulation of almost twelve feet and blizzards that blew in off the northern Pacific. It was the first time I had participated in any kind of winter fun like sledding. It was also the first time I had seen Christmas lights reflected on the snow. That is a picture I will never forget. Trudging through the snow to and from school, level both ways, was not so fun but an open field of pristine snow to play in couldn’t be beat.

It was hilly and green, with forests of trees that surrounded the base. In the summer we would go down to the bay to swim and picnic. I remember we had, what seemed to me, a huge hill we had to drive down to get to the water. We would find little glass globes which were the floats for the fishing nets the Japanese fishermen used. I remember we had a basket full of various sizes and colors of these treasures. I don’t know what happened to them once we left.

The base had those big navy blue Air Forces buses that would carry me to the base exchange, movie theater, commissary and other places I would want to go, but when my parents purchased a bicycle for me my freedom was complete. I could go wherever and whenever I wanted. It was a beautiful Japanese bike that rode like a dream. I would take off on it and only when I realized it was time to go home did I return to our apartment on base.

This bicycle was to be the cause of one of my most wonderful and scary adventures into the Japanese countryside.

When we first arrived our housing was off base, near the main gate. We lived in “B” battery and then moved to the “W” housing further away. B Battery was small, a bit run down and very close to the main gate. We lived there for a few months and then were transferred to the W housing. This was a much bigger house, with three bedrooms, a very American feel to it except it was freezing cold in the winter. After we moved on base the apartment we lived in was like a palace to us, warm, large and carpeted!

After a while I starting taking rides off base and into the town of Misawa. I always carried my military ID just in case. Misawa was so quaint and rural with beautiful little businesses where I could spend my allowance and be greeted by smiling Japanese shop owners who lived above their stores. I was never afraid to be on my own. Sometimes I would have a friend with me but usually I was on my own. I am still like that to this day.

One adventure would take me further than I had gone before and I became a bit lost. I was trying to find our old house in W housing but made a wrong turn somewhere and before I knew it I was in the Japanese countryside. I decided to turn around and retrace my path when the chain on my bike came off. Now understand the chain was completely covered in a housing that protected it so I couldn’t even get to it. Well being lost and walking my disabled bike down a narrow paved road somewhere in northern Japan was more than this seventh grader could handle.I started crying.

I know I hadn’t walked too far when I passed a very traditional Japanese home, thatched roof and all. There was a Japanese man standing in the yard watching me. To me he seemed old, but he was smiling at me and pointing to my bike and his house. I wasn’t sure what to think and I remember shaking my head “no” but he came out to the road, still smiling, and waved me over to his yard. At this point a beautiful older woman came out and just like the man was dressed in very traditional garb. She was smiling and took my hand to take me into her house. He took my bike away and I cried. She brought me inside and I am sorry to admit I don’t remember too much about it aside from the large fire place in the middle of the room. She had cookies and water for me, and I remember her showing me some pictures. I know I probably cried some more but she kept feeding me and smiling. They spoke no English and I spoke very little Japanese, enough to say please and thank you and greet someone. I don’t know exactly how long it took but in he came and waved at me to follow him. As I walked outside there stood my bicycle. He had fixed the chain and I was ready to go. I had some Yen and wanted to give it to him but he shook his head and waved me off.

I road back to the base and never told anyone what happened for years.

I still have that bike and plan to clean it up and start using it again. I’ve never had a bike I was as comfortable on as that one. Old wheels will feel new again and my warm memories of our time in Japan and those two beautiful people will come alive for me.

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-N

I want humans to find me

I have been blogging for a while at blogspot and here at wordpress. My ideas and inspirations have been a variety of things that come to me in big splotches of thought. I was reading a post on Facebook that was talking about what would be the highlights of my life story.

Shit!@! I don’t have highlight’s of my life story. Not something I think anyone would want to know.

Ok, my dad was in the Air Force and my family lived in lots of places in the US as well as Japan and the Philippines. When he decided to retire I was kind of pissed because there were tons of places we hadn’t been to and he seemed to think he was done with his military career. What!! We hadn’t been to Europe and I really wanted to go to Greece and Italy.

Watching food and travel shows make me jealous.  I know I would be a great host on one of those shows.  Let me go from northern Italy to the Mediterranean eating local cuisines and drinking wine while taking along the viewers on an intimate visit and it would be a blast. Sitting in a provincial kitchen or a picnic by the sea sharing olives and cheese while locals tell stories about they way their families established themselves in the area is enchanting and fulfilling.

I want to wander slowly through the bluebell fields of Kent, stroll the tumultuous shore line of Wales, drink the best cappuccino at an alfresco cafe in Paris, let the sun toast me while I eat olives and drink orzo in Greece, and drinking wine and eating my fill of Parmesano Reggiano in Tuscany.

I can’t even tell you of all the other places I want to experience around the world.

But first and more importantly I have the absolutely coolest kids in the entire world.

My daughter, Melissa, is amazingly brilliant. She is sophisticated and cultured with an understanding of the whimsy of humans and their eccentricities. She went from being an expert in the retail culture, to immersing herself into the high end real estate of Beverly Hills to becoming a teacher and mentor for high school and middle school students. She is over the top so cool. Her students are in awe of her and she is a wonderful friend. I take no credit for the outstanding human being she is. Her genius is unique.

Then there is my son, Aaron. When God decided to make a template for a human with a heart of gold and a musical gift that those in the music industry would covet, he made my son. He is a person who makes you feel special and important. He is affectionate and compelling. He is overwhelmingly talented. Oh and my God can he sing! His voice is soothing, perfect and comforting. I love having him hug me and tell me he loves me. He married a woman who encourages him to be the best he can be and she is his perfect match.

I want to live in a place near water. I would prefer the ocean, salt water and I are simpatico. I also could handle a lake I could float around on. How the hell do I make that happen? Give me a place filled with every green in the world and water, with incense burning and candles lit, a kitchen I can cook anything I want in and a filled wine cabinet.  Give me prisms and crystals, fairies and dogs, my husband who loves me more than I deserve and I can keep going.

I would love for my readers to encourage others to follow my blog.  I would love to have my blog start trending!! Yes, I want to be trending. Let’s make it happen.

-N