Missing Dad

This day is hard. My dad and I had a close, wonderful relationship.


I tell people, when I get to heaven all I want is to climb up in God’s lap and rest my head on His shoulder, the same way I used to do with my dad.


Today would have been dad’s 96th birthday. He passed away in 2002 after suffering the first of several strokes that took out his right side, on mother’s day of 1998, at my house. After surgery to remove the blockage he could no longer walk or speak.

It makes me sad that the youngest members of our family do not know him, or in the case of those who were born after the stroke and before he passed away, they have no memories of him.


Dad used to volunteer with the University of Arizona football team during the time of Coach Smith and Coach Tomey. Dad had a great time being part of the team and was interviewed a couple of times by the local TV stations. I have a VHS tape with those interviews so I can hear his voice. I cry every time, but I treasure those few minutes of memories. I got choked up writing those last two sentences.

Dad was a handsome, gregarious man. He was full of laughter and loved riding motorcycles, the Dallas Cowboys, and adored my mother. He survived a difficult childhood that could have made him bitter but he had us, we were his, and he made sure


we knew how important we were to him.

So here’s a toast to my dad, Jack Turner.



A Keepsake or a dust collector?

Keepsake: a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it.

What makes an item a keepsake? Is it necessarily small? When is it bestowed with the emotional attachment of keepsake? I have a quite a few things in cabinets, on shelves and dressers, on nightstands and in drawers that are what I consider keepsakes and cherished mementos. I also have tubs, drawers, and closets full of things that have yet to be given memento/keepsake status.

University of Arizona cabinet

I suppose this requires defining the difference between collecting vs pack-rat/hoarding.

Collector: a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby.

     Pack Rat: a person who saves unnecessary objects or hoards things.

I have my own art collection which is primarily art from individuals I am acquainted with, for example my aunt,


my cousin, my nephew’s best friend, the photographer I met in Greer, AZ, the dear friend who passed away. But I do have things that have enormous emotional value like the old radio from hubby’s grandfather,

or the copper plaque presented to my father-in-law by his community when he moved from Kearny AZ to Soda Springs ID. Also the items from my fathers time as a volunteer with the University of Arizona football team.


I’m sure most people place emotional value and attachment to photos. We have a cabinet full of photos. I teased my husband that if there was ever a fire threatening our home it would take his truck to get all the pictures and valuables out of our house.


Some small things that mean a lot to me are in a little jewelry box from my grandmother. An arrowhead my Papaw found and gave me, the broach given to my Nannie by my aunt, and her costume jewelry pieces I remember her wearing. I also have the shell casings from the twenty one gun salute for my father’s military funeral.

These are things I can tell a story about and share with the generations to come. I am fortunate to be part of a family who are close and value family connections, even if we are spread around the country.


We bought a tall cabinet a while back that has a lighted glass case on top and an enclosed bottom. I call it the museum. In the top part are collectible items we’ve obtained from travels, hubby’s camera collection, and sweet things like a hummingbirds nest, and sea shells.

After living in Japan I have this idea of “space is clean” and order gives peace. Clearing clutter feels good. If there is a place to store something then that’s where it goes!

Are you a collector of keepsakes or a pack rat hoarding things that aren’t necessary? What do you do with your collections?






NFL goes out with a bang-for me

Yesterday was the “Big Game” for the NFL. I have to admit, as a football fan, the NFL has been a troubled platform for lots of fans and players. As a military kid, dad was Air Force, I have a strong patriotic heart. It’s true I was disheartened at the continued disrespect I saw, but this was not just in the NFL-it was everywhere.

It made me harken back to that time when we were on our way back to the US from the Philippines after my dad spent most of that tour in Phan Rhang, VietNam. We were told not to mention our dad serving in VN, and it was best not to mention our father was military. He was told not to wear his uniform on once he reached the shores US because of the strong and sometimes violent anti-military sentiment at that time.

1969 it was.

When I saw the protests of the players kneeling, the flag burning, and the things said about our military forces, it was Déjà vu. I felt my late father was being disrespected-again. His career in the Navy during World War II, and in the Air Force for Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no value or meaning to many of these humans who weren’t even around at that time.

So, yesterday I got a a bit of mine back.

I live outside of Tucson AZ, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats. My in-laws, my husband, and my daughter are all UA alum. I’ve worked there, and hubby currently works there.

If anyone was watching, the Wildcats had four ex-players in the game. Two for each team. It was splendid for me and for my dad’s memory. You see, for at least eight years my father volunteered his time to the UA football team for Coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey, as a time keeper for football practice, on the sidelines holding headset cables (before wireless,) and helping out with anything coaches, players, and trainers needed.

My dad loved Arizona Football. 

To see Nick Foles, Coach Dave Fipp, Rob Gronkowski, and Marquis Flowers playing in the Super Bowl would have brought my dad incredible joy. He would have been happy no matter who won, but I’m kinda thinking he would have liked Nick getting a Super Bowl ring, since Rob already had two. But just knowing some of his boys were playing, well lets just say there was cheering in heaven!

Everyone has their own opinion about the topic of what the flag means and why they protest. That is their right. But this is mine. I love my flag just like I love my country. I know history shows there was very bad and wonderfully good events. This is the point of keeping history, to be aware and make sure those mistakes are never made again.




Marketing multi-tasking

Life really does go on even though my brain is wrapped up in writing. I now have an author Facebook page, this blog, twitter, Linkden, Tumbler-all the places I go to get the word out and all this is happening while the rest of the world is doing its own thing.

I woke this morning, my brain running to all the places I need to check and what needed to be done next. This is really good for me. It is also really challenging.

Yesterday Chuck and I spent a glorious three hours attending the Tucson Book Fair at the campus of the University of Arizona. 20160312_125044I met authors, editors and publishers. I found some interesting books, new and used and saw some very cool science stuff courtesy the UA science departments (I got to make my own lightning.) I bought a cute parasol to ward off the intense southern Arizona sunshine, 20160312_125135and caressed a beautiful king snake named Elvis.

The book fair is eight years old and has grown tremendously in attendees and vendors. They included about 400 author tents along with many other types of vendors using the opportunity of exposure to around 150,000 visitors. It was packed but everyone was having fun. I found a very cool board game for my daughter’s class room and OMG there were books for sale everywhere! There was one vendor selling antique books which I was totally into, but all the books were wrapped in plastic. I mean that was annoying because-hello-how can you smell the books if they are wrapped up. The guy running the booth did unwrap one for me so I could smell it. I love the smell of old books.

Anyway, we had a fun day. I got a little sunburn thus the parasol but we came home with memories of a good day.

All I kept thinking was “I’m gonna do this one day.”