I had a two week trip to Apopka FL (near Orlando) in January to meet my second grandson.
Let me say I am in love.
He was two months old and just yummy. He is a sweetheart and I spent every chance I got holding him, feeding him, and doing all the other baby things. It was my pleasure to help my son and daughter-in-law with the multiple tasks, giving them a well deserve break. I remember one afternoon saying, “Why don’t you guys have a date night?” which was met with enthusiasm. Anytime there was a comment about running to the store or going for coffee I piped up with a “go ahead I’ve got him,” with a big smile on my face. I loved my solo time with my wee fella.
Well, we are going back next month – lets just say I am ready to snuggle that boy again. This time he will get to meet his Poppa (grandfather) since hubby was sick and had to cancel last time. I am excited to see hubby with the baby grandson.
Now I come to the conflict referenced above. My kids have managed to live across the country from each other! One is in Phoenix, one is in Orlando. Could they have made it any harder on me? Although I will say my daughter moving from So Cal to Phoenix helped the dilemma a bit. Still it’s 2000+ miles to the others.
I told hubby when he retires I want to move halfway between them, which according to google maps is Rexville TX. Ready…its a ghost town! A crossroads location with about four houses.
So I’m here and keeping the credit cards paid off so I can travel, and taking every opportunity to see my Phoenix grandson. Yep, two grandsons.
Small revelations about myself have been bombarding me for a week or so. They run the gamut of emotional, physical, spiritual and everything in between. It’s pushed me to find a quiet mind place – place to dissect, delve, scrutinize, explore, eliminate, examine – you understand.
I’m not a huge self-discovery person so when a few things pushed at me I pulled them in and had to take a look.
First – alone time. Due to the extensive travel during my childhood with my Air Force father a type of wanderlust was created in me. Never one to want to be in one place for more than a few years (typical of duty stays in the military) I looked forward to the next place. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs this kept me from developing friend making skills because, heck, you would move on soon enough. What it did create was contentment to be alone. There are good times for this, but when you are married, have children, working full time, and nearby family it might have instilled resentment that I would retreat, hide, mind wander and make myself comfortable with myself and not be available. Both of my kids are like this as well, especially my daughter.
I love the sound of chimes, bells, rain, ocean, flute, fairy songs, and soft breezes. I love the feeling in my house when there is no sound-no TV, stereo, electronics. Just the random outside noise of birds, dogs barking, the kids next door playing in their pool. I also enjoy my rock & roll, jazz, pop music playlists on my apple music – loud.
But like everything else, the when and where of these live inside me.
I have a friend who is retiring and said she wanted to come hang out at my house with me once she is free from the work day drudgery. I like it, and I know she will respect that sometimes I just have to be alone. My dear friend who moved to St. Louis (actually Edwardsville IL) understood this wonderfully. It’s a true blessing to be in tune with another human this way.
Hubby gets me, most of the time, and gives me space when required. It’s how we’ve stayed together for forty years – yep that’s right. The only human who doesn’t get this is my precious grandson. He is five, busy, silly, active and fun. He can’t understand why Nannie (me) won’t come play sometimes. I explain it, he says okay and is back in ten minutes with something new.
Writing for me is gradually coming together after fits and starts, and my current work is progressing. The first third is written, the next third is plotted and I know the end goal for it. It’s fun and plays in my head like a movie. I’m really digging my blog and have thought of reading it on a You Tube channel as a companion vlog, sort of twin telling. We’ll see. I keep pluggin away at the voice over auditions and know that once I get that first job things will fall into place. There is a lot of competition, but I’ve a great space for it, my own little sound proof studio, for learning the software and equipment to record, edit and produce really good work. Anyone have a VO job for me?
So I am slowly coming out of a gloomy funk thanks to weird physical stuff that I had no idea of the source of and it scared me, a lot. Kind of got a bit depressed with that, missing my BFF, needing to hide, and letting God fill me up.
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.
I plan to start recording YouTube videos on Tuesdays. The videos will be me sharing about the places I have visited and my understanding of those locales. Some will take more that one video to delve into the dynamics of the location (The Philippines) and some might be brief (Anchorage AK airport) as I explore the experiences of myself and my family.
I love to travel, and the greatest part is meeting locals who give you the best advice about places to check out that the tourists don’t know about. The wisdom and sophistication gained from the travel reality when you are faced with the awareness of the human situation in a “third world country” means you cannot come away unchanged.
An example of locations featured in the videos will be Texas, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, North Dakota, and California to name a few. Some of these are older travels, but just as many aren’t.
My first video will go up next Tuesday. I have a test video posted right now to initiate the set up of my channel, but the real stuff will begin next week.
I look forward to sharing my observations with you, and I would love to hear your YouTube experiences, tips, and techno knowledge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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!
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.
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.
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?