Sunday, November 23, 2014

He's back up north

Well, Chuck has left Arizona and is safely back up north. We had a really nice time and had lots of fun going places and hanging out together. After my last blog I left you on Monday. This past week was spent for the most part in Catalina.

We did lots of work around the property and spent time enjoying visits with friends and having fires. He made sure my bike was working again, got the yard cleaned up and the grass mowed so it wouldn't need too much care while he is gone.

He also spent time catching up on all his shows that were recorded on the DVR and watching UA basketball games. Mornings were so nice enjoying coffee and breakfast together and we had hours spent sitting together while we read.

There was one downer that happened this week. I learned that an old friend had died very suddenly and unexpectedly. Donna was one of the kindest and genuinely good person I have ever known and her loss is great. Her memorial service is tomorrow.

As I dropped him off at the airport for his flight back I was glad to know that his next trip home is already set up and will be a nice one. After his two weeks at Dickinson he will be back on December 8th for two weeks in Tucson followed by Christmas week in Disneyland with our kids.

I have a second blog steviawithcream.wordpress.com. It is different from this one-not as personal and more about my writing. I would welcome anyone to enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

-N

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making it memorable

Since Chuck arrived for his two weeks off I have wanted the days to be fun and filled with great things to remember. He arrived late Monday night the 10th so we drove the long way home from Tucson International to Catalina trying to stay awake. Lots of talking and catching up.

Tuesday we were busy. Chuck got a haircut, we went grocery shopping (remember I haven't been cooking), getting the Escape ready to be sold and me getting used to having someone else in my house!

Wednesday was so fun because we drove to Phoenix to meet Nick and Darlene to hand over the title for the Escape. This was the culmination of a God thing that gave us the opportunity to be blessed as well as blessing someone else. They needed another car for her since she has a 3 year old and a newborn. You've gotta have a car with kids. They have been sharing and that was really hard and inconvenient. So there we were with this really good extra car and the match was made.  The smile on Darlene's beautiful face when she drove the car over to put the kids and car seats in it warmed my heart.

Thursday we decided to go up the mountain, and it was spectacular. Mt. Lemmon was not too crowded, very cool and overhead bright blue skies. We stopped at the Palisades ranger station for a quick look around and then up to Summerhaven for a stop at The Living Rainbow gift shop and then next door to The Cookie Cabin. It was so nice not to be in any kind of hurry.  After that we drove up to Ski Valley and road the ski lift up, took a short hike around the top and the road it down. It was the most peaceful and serene moment, snuggled up to Chuck and watching the mountain pass beneath us. Once we were off the lift we went to The Iron Door restaurant for chili. We had the most fun waiter, he was speaking five or six language to serve us. So fun. We drove home relaxed and smiling.

Friday was terrific. I had lunch with some of the women I worked with when I was at Ventana Medical. It was so fun to catch up and hear what everyone was doing, who was coming and going and all the other work talk that you do when you haven't seen people in six months. The food was good and the company was fantastic. That evening Chuck and I enjoyed the company of dear friends Mars and Kristen along with their two children and a young friend. We had a wonderful meal together laughing and talking about all the crazy things that life had thrown our way. We then enjoyed music, beer and wine outside around a roaring warm bonfire. The sky was clear with the stars shimmering brightly and the laughter carried through the cool night air. The kids had fun running in the yard and the adults enjoyed the rekindling of friendships.

Saturday was a sort of catch-up day. Laundry and yard work was the agenda with a stop in the middle for the UA football game. We won. The evening was a mellow one with reading and some movies. Splendid.

Sunday was a great day which started with a stop at Pusch Ridge Christian Church for a lovely worship and a chance to greet many friends. We were smiling brightly when we left. We made a stop at In-N-Out and headed south to the wine country of Sonoita and Elgin. The day was cool and breezy with high clouds. Perfect for a wine tasting tour. We stopped into six wineries and were able to fully stock our wine cabinet. We enjoyed visiting with another group doing the same thing and traveling in the same direction as we were. We would laugh when we ran into each other at every stop. It was a perfect day and we were both very tired and relaxed by the time we got home.

Monday-today-it was a blast from the past for Chuck. We took a road trip on the old Florence/Kelvin Hwy into Chuck's old stomping grounds in and around Kearny. We stopped at the overlook to watch the activity in the Ray open pit mine, and then cruised through Kearny as Chuck pointed out who used to live where and told me stories of life in a small mining town during the heydays of the 60's and 70's. He really loved it and I could tell there was more going on in his mind than what he was sharing with me. That happens to all of us when memories fill our hearts. We drove back through Superior and down through Florence and back to Catalina.

And here we are now.

-N

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Big things coming up

Got an interesting phone call this morning from Chuck. He told me that on his way home from work he was driving I-94 and was near Dickinson when his truck hit a stretch of black ice and he spun out and slid off the road.  He was able to get back on the road and get home safely, not truck damage or injuries. It made it clear to us that we need something for the truck tires in this cold weather. He will be home for two weeks tomorrow and we will start looking into options.

Speaking of him being home, he is more than ready to be back to relax and be out of the snow and ice. We have some things planned to do but are really going to just hang out by ourselves and enjoy the time together. I will have to start cooking again. When I am by myself I tend to not really cook very much.  Coffee and breakfast is my main meal. I usually snack throughout the day rather than have a real meal. I am not very hungry.

Chuck is an eater and is always ready for meals! Means more shopping and groceries.

Speaking of cooking-I am not cooking for Thanksgiving Day!

Well except for cherry crumb cake at the request of my nephew Kris. For the first time in many years there will be no big family feast here in Catalina. I am so glad to announce my sister Mary will be hosting at her home in Phoenix. I am so excited for it and relieved not to have to plan, shop and cook. I know that must sound selfish but I was not looking forward to the whole big thing.  The best part is that my daughter Melissa will be there for a couple of days. I am flying her out and we will spend the time enjoying food and the newest grandchild in our family.

I will however have a small Thanksgiving early for Chuck and I. Much smaller bird and fewer sides. It will be special for us and it will give him a celebration memory to take back to Dickinson. This will be the start of the Holiday Season which is going to be very special. I am happy to be part of a family who want to be together and put in the effort to make it happen.

Keep smiling and enjoy the colors, smells, sights and sounds.

-N

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trying to catch up

Greetings!

I realized I hadn't done anything with this blog in a while so it is time to catch up. This week is Chuck's last one of his three week long night shift duty. He has been through a few really cold, windy and some rainy/snowy nights these last two weeks. He has the best clothes for working in this weather so he hasn't been uncomfortable. He's also been eating much more regularly at this new site versus the old one. A lot of times at the old site he wouldn't get the chance to snack or eat until his shift was almost over and it was not good for him.

The move to Dickinson was a good one for my honey.

He was proud to tell me that they had a really great month in October and the higher ups were pleased. In fact his supervisor bought everyone a bunch of FR (flame retardant) cold weather work clothes. Head-to-toe new stuff. I can't imagine how much it cost but the crew appreciate it and feel appreciated too. I am really proud of him, and am ready for his two weeks down here.

Family talk down here has been about Thanksgiving plans.

Chuck will be back in Dickinson by that week so that puts me kind of at the mercy of whomever or whatever. My nephew Kris asked me about my plans and we started talking. He even said something about getting Melissa back here for it and that got me very excited.  Then my sister Mary in Phoenix asked me the same thing and said that her son, future daughter-in-law and their new baby would be there. Mmmm baby skin nibble on. She wanted to have my mom and Bob to come up and I asked Kris what he thought. He was going to get back to me.

And then things started rolling.

Mary's will be a full house with lots of love, food, laughs, football and conversation. I texted Melissa and she loved the idea of seeing Nick, Darlene and baby Alex so now I'm waiting to hear from Kris. It has really perked me up thinking of it all.

I have to admit that when I get a chance I have been watching all of those smarmy, romantic Christmas shows on Hallmark Channel. They are so formula and predictable but it is kind of like reading a series of romantic novels about a family of seriously gorgeous sons and the seriously beautiful soul mates they find. I have to set the alarm on my phone to quit after a set amount of time. They are addictive.

Hmmm, that sounds like a blog for "steviawithcream.wordpress.com".

-N

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chuck on night shift

Well Chuck officially started a three week stretch of night shift. What is interesting is that he prefers this shift. He doesn't like to get up at 4am to leave at 5 to get to work at 6. He would rather work at night. He has always been a night owl.

I wake naturally at around 7am.

I used to tell people the perfect shift for me was 10am to 2pm Tuesday through Thursday but making the same money I was working an 8 hour day. I am most efficient from about 9am to around 2pm. After that my brain doesn't want to focus.

After this stretch I will get to see him. He had to put brakes on the truck and is carpooling with his co-worker which is great on gas. It is so weird that up in the oil fields gas is more expensive that here in Tucson.

I had a wonderful night last night at my friend Kristen's house. Had a great meal and lots of catching up. Her kids are getting so big and it was a comfort to spend time with my dear friend.

I enjoy making my own schedule of appointments now that I have more time to myself. I'm not working and I am enjoying the fact that I don't have to do anything. When I worked full time I coveted my time off and didn't want to give it up. It frustrated Chuck because he wanted to go places like hiking or camping and all I could think was I have to clean the house and do laundry. In my mind if we went off the time would go really fast and before I knew it Monday was there.

I know selfish, right?

Now that pressure isn't there and I can relax and go when and where I want. I really like it. I worked pretty much most of my adult life and all I really wanted was to be a housewife. I am enjoying my house and my hobbies. I can take my time with those things with no worry that the hours are flying by.

I'm doing okay.

-N

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Birthday what??

Oh Jeez, when did my baby get to be 33!!!! I am 33 so this is not possible. He is four, I am sure of it. In my dreams he is four or maybe six, but 33?? Uh nope.

This will take some processing.

Aaron was that dream baby who was hungry, snuggly and affectionate. He was fun and thoughtful and he still is. When I look at him now, how tall and mature with warm dark eyes and an infectious laugh it makes me so happy. He is still snuggly.

Aaron was his dad's birthday gift in 1981, along with a basketball. There is symmetry to that since one of Aaron's first words was basketball. No kidding.

October birthdays: Chuck is the 13th, Aaron is the 15th, my grandfather Papaw was the 18th and my dad's was the 28th. Aaron also chose this month for his wedding so throw that one in on the 17th and it is colossal.

One of the most heart warming things about both of my children is how close they are to their dad. When they were asked about their hero they both said it was their dad.

How cool is that?

So many children don't even know who dad is, or if they do dad is not remotely like a hero. A child needs to know their father would die for them, that their welfare is utmost and they will be unconditionally loved and honored as gifts from God.

My kids know this.

I knew this.  My dad was the best. I know that no one is perfect and he wasn't perfect but I knew he loved me and my sisters and would have moved heaven and earth to take care of us, keep us safe and make us happy.

I wish this for all the children in the world.

-N

Friday, October 10, 2014

My kids

There are times like today when my thoughts have been about my two amazing children. They are wonderful humans who have carved out their own paths in life and are taking care of themselves. I am proud of them beyond measure and would never change anything about them.

Except their proximity to me.

Melissa is in Southern California and has been since the late 90's. She is independent, self sufficient and knows her own mind. She has been like this since she was small. This is a person who at 7 1/2 months old was walking! As a child she never wanted to be cuddled much or was one to stay still for long. No task was too much of a challenge for her, she pushed herself to accomplish. I admired her and used to tell people she raised herself.

Recently we have spent time together, just she and I, and my admiration just increases. She is smart and wise, caring and determined and a loyal friend to her circle of companions. Many of her former students stay in contact after they move on which shows the profound impact she has on them. Her creativity is boundless.

She is a treasure to her parents.

Aaron was another story. He was a mellow easy going little guy. He liked to snuggle and was always affectionate. He immersed himself in family life. He also had an amazing memory for lines in movies. He could watch a movie a couple of times and would wander around quoting half the lines of the show. He was also like that with song lyrics. I remember hearing him sing a song from the Disney movie Aladdin and I realized how well he sang. His voice was great. I remember my grandmother saying how well he held the tune when he was little. I should have known music was in his heart. I love singing with him but with him in Oklahoma that doesn't happen too often.

My immense loss.

Then came Chelsea. I believe the best thing I can say about her is she loves my son as much as I do. She is the best daughter-in-law that God ever made and she compliments Aaron perfectly. I hoped and prayed for the wife my son would choose. That she would build him up and support him, that she would help him in his faith walk and provide love and acceptance.

My prayers were answered.

I just wish they were closer to me so I could hug them and give them my time, love and attention more easily. Then again maybe that makes our time together more special.

-N