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I’m so excited…really!

I just got my first issue of Country Living Magazine. It’s further evidence of my new life path. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s difficult to contain my enthusiasm right now, even when my youngest chickadee is rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me.

I’ll back up a bit. During my LONG summer vacation I spent a fair few minutes thinking about my life-where I’ve been, where I’m going, blah, blah, blah. I came to a realization that I wanted to consider a new career. Right now I’m in education-which is grand. But unfortunately It wouldn’t sustain me and my family if I needed to be the sole bread-winner. That’s just the facts. I set about researching other possibilities. I’ll spare you the tedious parts-basically I looked at anything and everything that seemed at all interesting. Then I decided.

I returned from vacation, went back to work, and became an Interior Design student. I found a distance learning program based out of San Francisco. I’ll graduate in a year. I really like my Advisor. She has lots of education and experience. She also is a wiz at CAD-which I am eager to master.

Back to Country Living – The September is extra cool because it has alternate “covers” included. There are four versions on the same dining space. It is also the new plan for my dining room. I have disliked the dining room ever since we bought our home. I just can’t seem to get it right-until now. I was searching for a bench seating idea and low and behold my mom pointed me toward this photo layout. LOVE IT! I’ll be looking for a round table – preferably with leaves/extensions so I can have room for more people. You should really check it out-Dining NooksI think it’s going to change my life.






I Did It!

Remember at the beginning of June when our vacation started? I was reading a book and left it on the plane. It was James Patterson’s Sam’s Letters to Jennifer. I tried to check it out at the Library, but I couldn’t find it. So, I put it on the back burner and went on having a great vacation with my chickadees, family, and friends.

But I couldn’t stand it any longer–a few days after flying home I downloaded the book onto my Kindle. I just had to finish it.  I was so happy! I didn’t expect the ending, but I really enjoyed finishing the story. James Patterson is a unique writer. He crosses over many genres and uses a different voice in each. That’s pretty hard to do, I think. He must have a brain that never quits. I would highly recommend this book. Look at me – I bought it twice!

On the Road Again!

Humidity. Heat. Beautiful corn fields. Illinois summer at it’s best.

Just like the view outside my hotel

It’s a little strange being in my hometown. It’s been ten years. Lots of change. The sun is more intense than in Alaska but less so than Utah. I swear the Utah sun is crazy hot. If I didn’t have a hat on I literally had to cover my scalp when walking from the car to a store. Sheesh! In the words of the pitiful Gollom – “It burns us!”

The heat hit early and strong this year in Utah and AK, but southern Illinois has been rather wet which makes for lovely green grass on the rolling hills. You would think with all the mountains around my home that I wouldn’t miss the hills. But I do. It hits me anytime I visit Illinois. And the cornfields. It’s been so long since I’ve seen corn growing. Wow-it brings back lots of childhood memories.

I have to give a shout out to my friend Anita and her husband, Tom. They have pretty much been babysitting me since my plane landed-late I might add. Bless their hearts they stuck it out after working all day .  Then they probably only got a few hours of sleep before they were at it again. Note to self: get earlier flights when asking friends to sacrifice their time to shuttle you around. Better yet-rent a car so you don’t have to bug anyone.  Thanks again to the Maxsons! You two are troopers!

St Louis Arch
The Arch

Another thing that struck me about being here was sighting the St. Louis Arch. It still takes my breath away and makes my knees weak. Tecninally it’s on the Missouri side of things, but it’s still a huge part of what I consider my childhood home.  My parents both spent many years working in St. Louis and getting Cardinal tickets as rewards for good grades meant we zipped over to Missouri quite often as a family too. Go Red Birds!

I don’t have any books to report on — still addicted to HGTV. Don’t worry I’ll get my fill of that and go cold turkey when I get home – no cable. Such a wise decision! It keeps me from being a complete couch potato! Now that just makes me want to exercise. Sweat here I come!

Here’s What I Think

For some reason it’s SUPER quiet. Oh yeah, the chicakadees are off camping with a ton of girls for the next few days. I’m hoping they’re having an excellent time. I on the other hand am doing laundry after pulling myself away from my latest “DIY-Crashers” shows. I cannot watch only one episode, seriously. It’s BINGING at it’s worst. No kidding. Crashers! Check out the link.

Now that I forced myself away from the television I can blog! I was reviewing what I wrote last time and realized that I never published my Man of Steel post. It was just hanging in the draft box. So I just stuck it out there for your viewing pleasure despite that it’s out of chronological order. The OCD part of me doesn’t like the disorder, but I’ll get over it.

On to the books. I finished both of the books I talked about a few days ago.

The Innocent was good. I have to say it is a bit unsettling in a few spots because one of the characters is/has been involved in the exotic dancing scene. Not my favorite subject for sure. The chapters in the book that included descriptions about this material were not graphic, but still could prove to be uncomfortable to read for some. It’s just a scary, sad lifestyle that was important to the plot. If you don’t want to wade through that, I wouldn’t read this book. I plan to check out another one of Coben’s books soon to see if his style is the same and if he always writes about uncomfotable themes. I’ll get back to you on that. I did really like the main character – Matt Hunter. Coben had me routing for him from the get go.

Gifted Hands was, as I mentioned before, inspiring. I’m still mystified that hemispherectomies work. I highly recommend this book to anyone. Dr. Carson has written other books. I believe this was his first. It covered his childhood through then 1990s? It was published in 2005.

Dr. Carson is an excellent example of believing in yourself, living up to your potential, and humbly acknowledging God’s support and guidance. I have no doubt that this man is living up to his potential. None. I believe that many people, including myself, tend to be burdened by our disappointments, mistakes, and negative energy in general. We too often doubt our value. We too often get in our own way.

Gifted Hands has made quite an impression on me. I am pondering my talents, experiences, and relationships because of it. I plan to hang on to these feelings to affect positive change – where needed – in my life. And to support the positive things that I’m already about. Excellent book. It’s about 240 pages, but allow yourself time to ponder as you read. Don’t zip through it like a novel. You’ll be glad you didn’t.

Man of Steel

(I don’t think I ever published this blog-it was supposed to go out sometime between June 22 and July 9. )

I went to see Man of Steel tonight with my chickadees and my husband.

Man of Steel (2013) Poster

I must say – it was action packed for sure. Whew!

All of us liked it. They cast a perfect Ka-el/Clark Kent/Superman. I feel particularly proud of their pick because I picked him for my movie too. It’s not an actual movie, not yet anyway.

I read this series of books called The Great and the Terrible by Chris Stewart. 

After reading the the books I wanted to watch the movie, but there wasn’t one. I decided to cast it myself. So I grabbed my computer and started picking out actors I thought could handle the parts of the main characters. You know how you read a book and form opinions about what the characters look like-even beyond the description on the page? Well, I just took that to a new level with my virtual cast. Some of them came easy-Gary Sinise, as the father. Sela Ward as the mother. Funny right? I didn’t know they were on a show together until I cast them. Even Chris Hemsworth made the short list. It’s hard not to like him as Thor and Capt James Kirk’s father.

Anyway, I was looking for some strong, young soldier-type for one part and guess who I picked? Yep-our new Man of Steel-Henry Cavill. He was someone I’d never heard of before, just found him on imdb. He was perfect for my cast.  Too bad it wasn’t real. Maybe someday I’ll get to cast a real movie, or actually have a screenplay that not only gets attention but becomes a motion picture. A girl can dream! And maybe one day meet “Superman”.

Henry Cavill Picture

Having a list and checking it twice

It’s been almost two weeks since the last blog. Way too long.  I’ve been occupied with happily crossing off items on my list! I told you I would, and now it’s time to REPORT.

I’ve completed most everything on my TO DO list, with few modifications. I’ve run into a bit of a snag due to seasonal allergies flaring up-stinky pollen!

For the most part I feel content with everything I’ve been able to do and experience. The chickadees have had an enormous amount of fun with only minor homesickness here and there. We’ve even got E considering a move to be closer to all the family we’ve been getting to know.  That’s quite an accomplishment!

E & G-Happy cousins

We were lucky to attend our niece’s wedding events. She was beautiful and glowed with happiness. Here’s a picture. You’ll see what I mean.

Wedding Day

The chickadees went to Bear Lake for girls camp and are prepping to go to their second girls camp on the 15th of this month, July. Two of their cousins will be joining them. They are getting excited.

I only have a week left here. Seems like it’s gone by quickly. My sister is coming tonight. Woot! Woot! For a few days my siblings and I will be in the same state.  Should be fun. Hasn’t happened since…I don’t know the last time that’s happened actually.  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Now-onto books. I have finished one and started two more. This first one was  by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ve read a fair few of her books. They are usually quick reads and involve some type of murder or other serious crime. I liked this one except the dialogue of the 3 year old twins seemed a little advanced. Other then that it was a good read.

The other two books are very different from each other. One is about a doctor-nuerosurgeon, Ben Carson.

Product Details

It’s very interesting-inspiring actually.  I’m about 3/4 way through. I’d recommend it. It’s got me thinking about what to do with the rest of my life. Check it out.

The second book is by Harlan Coben

Product Details

I haven’t read any of his books before. I’m really liking this one. It’s about the consequences of one event and how it can change your course in life. I’m about 1/2 way through it and my mind is rattling with possible outcomes for the main character, Matt Hunter. I’m excited to see what happens next.

Mr. Coben has an interesting style of writing. His characters think out loud in order to get backstory. I’m not sure if this is how all his books are, but it’s effective. Every chapter seems to switch to a different character’s part of the story. It keeps you wanting more and frustrated when you have to pull yourself away to deal with your real life.  It’s definitely worth checking out. I’ll let you know how I feel when I finish The Innocent and Gifted Hands. I’ve got a good feeling about both of them.


Traveling through the Blogoshpere

I’m still such a newbie to this blogging thing. Sometimes it seems silly. Other times it is lovely-typing willy nilly then tossing words out to the world. I tend to overthink most everything. It keeps be from DOING. And that just isn’t good.

So I resolve to get out of my own way. My first baby step-going back to making lists. Really. I used to be the biggest list maker on the planet. Ask my sisters. I’m pretty sure my first diary was full of them. I remember being obsessed with keeping track of day to day activities and writing down things I bought and how much they cost. I was sure that prices would go up-even as an eight year old-and I thought it would have significant historical value for whoever may come across my writing in the next century. 

I was also concerned about truth in history, at least my history. So I tried to write about things accurately. It was difficult because I knew my eyes would see different things than others even if we experienced/viewed the same event. I had a hard time wrapping my head around that. 

I think the final demise of my list making habits came when I revisited my teenage journals. Prior to that I prided myself on being level headed and definitely not boy-crazy. Then I opened up my journals. Yikes! Who is this girl I thought? I just couldn’t believe it. I never bought teen magazines, never hung up posters of famous boys, I listened to Barry Manilow for heaven’s sakes. (Shout out to Barry, you got me through middle school with your music. I especially appreciated “I Made it through the Rain”. Thanks!) Yet there on the page were my yearnings to be noticed, valued, and loved. I still shake my head when I think about it.

Again, reading some of those journals made me feel like a fraud, so I stopped writing. Not necessarily a great reaction, especially since I wanted to be an author. 

My first book

Fast forward a few years…I am an author yet still a hesitant writer at times. Ridiculous, I know. But the difference now is I know I can write. I know I can fight the beast of feeling ‘blocked’. And once in a while I can write something I’m proud of and readers enjoy. 

As I am learning to be a blogger I’ve been looking for other bloggers to see how they do it. Below is a book that I found about writing by Kristen Lamb. I just started following her blog. I’m excited to learn more. Her latest blog was about a writing conference in Colorado and her encounter with some sneaky food. Check it out!

Just moved to the top of my reading list

I’m being summoned. Apparently my family has made some yummy food they want me to eat. I love being on vacation! Happy summer reading! 


Sleep Evades Me

I should be sleeping. Everyone else is. It’s extremely quiet right now. The clickety clack of the keyboard is so loud. I had a headache earlier so there’s still a little caffeine running through my veins. It’s one of the side effects of my medication. It’s more than a fair trade for pain.

At Peace

I finished Loving Will Shakespeare last night. I enjoyed it, but still have that overwhelming feeling of injustice for women as well as the wide gap of the haves and have nots. Do some things never change? I do feel blessed to be a woman, especially now. There isn’t much standing in my way of success. I can work, I can stay home, I can do both, I can do neither. I got my education, became an author, travel, speak my mind, and enjoy so many blessings that women in the past had no idea would be part of my life. For this I am grateful. I’m pretty sure I would have gotten myself into trouble ‘back in the day’. I would have voiced my opinion at the wrong time and ended up in the stocks or the bawdy court of some such thing.

I feel somewhat responsible to these women of the past. I owe some of my success to them. Reaching my potential is a tribute to all the men and women in my life and to  those I don’t even know. I also need to pay it forward. . .for all my children and others that walk in and out of my life. It’s a little overwhelming. I pledge to do my best.

I read another book today. I give it a thumbs up. It had me going full speed most of the time. The author has another book out too. If Caller ID is like this one. I’m sure I’ll zoom right through it-gladly.The only problem with reading these books late at night. They can be a little scary. I should pick something lighter for my next read. Ideas? Maybe I’ll check out some friends virtual book shelves. There should be plenty to choose from there.

Where did the week go?

old typewriter sf utah62013
Olympia Typewriter – Confetti Antiques and Books

I did it. I made a schedule. Maybe that’s why I’ve neglected blogging–too busy checking off the list of activities. As much as I crave nothing much but leisure and spontaeous activities for this vacation I have children to think about and family and friends to visit. So – I’m saving most of my book reading to the bedtime prelude. I’ve finished one book already and am half way through the second. I did start a James Patterson book on the plane then lost it when I disembarked in Denver. I have never lost anything on a plane before. I’m not a huge traveler, but still I was 100% sure I wouldn’t lose anything this time either. As a matter of fact, when the flight attendant shared her kind reminder to check around our seats I chuckled to myself, “Those poor people who forget things on the plane. I’m sad for them.”  Yeah-I did that. The hardest thing about losing the book was that I was really into it and about 2/3 through. Grrr. Then my thoughts went to how some lucky person might get to read it too. All the better. I tried to find a copy in the local library here, but it wasn’t available. I’ll have to try again. I’m not frustrated enough to go buy it again. Not yet anyway. Here’s the book. I highly recommend it.

Lost on plane! Enjoy if you find it.

The book I finished was a crime novel centered around a newspaper reporter. It’s called Deadline by Clair M. Poulson. The first couple pages were a bit muddled to me, but I got pulled in by the second chapter. It was a fun, quick read. See a picture of the cover below.


Now I’m on to a YA novel called Loving Will Shakespeare. It’s Carolyn Meyer’s fictional account of Anne Hathaway’s life from childhood and how it entertwines with Shakespeare’s. So far it’s. . .a little stressful. Though it seems to be true to historical events of that time I feel frustrated at the way women are regarded. It makes me want to shake people. I’m at the point where Anne, actually Agnes, is 22 years old, experiencing one disappointment after another. The jury’s still out on the recommendation. I’ll let you know. Here’s the cover.


If you can’t tell, I’ve been staying up late. It’s really one of the easiest ways to keep the reading part of my vacation wish list in my schedule.

As far as other things we’ve done here’s a bullet list of what’s transpired in 7 short days.

  • Visits to Main Street shops in Spanish Fork, UT
  • 4 Favorite shops: Rocket Rebel, My Sister’s Closet, Confetti Antiques and Books, and Ella & Bella
  • Old fashioned Shakes at the drugstore counter – shiny red stools and all
  • Boating with cousin, aunt, and uncle
  • Visit to the MOA exhibits at BYU
  • Eating Corn on the Cob purchased from a corner stand
  • Going to a storytelling class with cousin and other family
  • Eating more vegan meals-yum
  • Shakes from Barry’s in Spanish Fork
  • Watching cousin’s baseball game in Salem, UT – Go Hammerz!
  • Snacks at the Cougar Eat (So sad it’s a food court now)
  • Pictures of my college apartment on BYU Campus-Go Maeser Hall!
  • Experiencing eats at Sonic Drive In, Chick Filet, and Arctic Circle

I think that’s about it. We’ve laughed and joked and gotten a little crabby from the heat. We Alaskans can handle cold MUCH better than heat. I do secretly like the appetite supressant effect of hot weather. Between that and the workouts I’ve started again…I may finally whip myself back into shape.  So time is trotting right along. I’m getting up everyday ready to enjoy whatever adventure we choose next.


Fine I’ll make a schedule!


We’ve officially been on vacation for 5 days. I’m feeling the pressure. I don’t want to plan anything, well a few things, but mostly I just want to be spontaneous and casual and stress-free. I guess that’s not going to work. So…starting tomorrow I have to sit down and make a list of things we need to do and when to do them.

The biggest benefit to this task is the busier I keep the girls the more family and friends and fun things they get to do AND the less homesick they will feel. So that’s my motivation.

I’ll probably have less regrets myself. I’d hate to go home and feel like I didn’t enjoy myself. As the Trekies out there might say…Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. 

I think we’ll begin our scheduled events at the Library. I’ll head for the children’s section, of course. It’s my favorite part of any library. I may even volunteer to read at story time – if they need any help. Who knows where that will lead?