Monday, May 30, 2016

Thank you

The only thing English about my post today is this author.
Today in America it's Memorial Day. A day we pay tribute to those who died for our freedom.

I can't  help but think of the deep grief family members have suffered, and continue to do so.
Oh, the pain and agony of loss.

C.S.Lewis penned his own grief throughout the pages of this journal. I'm thinking many can relate to his ache.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid...At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me...And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief...I loathe the slightest effort..."

Today especially,  I will remember the cost. Thank you for serving for me so I can roam about freely. I will try my best to make my life worthy of your sacrifice.

Just one of the many heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Click on the below link and meet my friend Julie.

We became fast friends last year. We both love to write, but more importantly, both of us are obsessed with the UK!  I'm not sure who is worse. I'm thinking her! ( I know. Hard to believe!)
If you look in the dictionary, you just might find our photos plastered right below the word anglophile!

Like her blog states, we try to meet at least once a month. Keeping each other accountable with our writing is the goal! I admit, she is more focused. After all, she's the published one. Me? Working on it!

Julie and I  enjoy writing letters.   I keep all the ones she writes to me.
Here's an example. (Notice the theme!)
What a gift to find someone who shares some of my same interests. Julie is a treasure to me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Another stop

Hi Ho Hi Ho, across the pond we go!

26 more days.
I'm starting to organize my suitcase. The excitement is palpable.
Meanwhile, I've done a bit of research on another place we will visit.
If you go to the UK, you must visit at least one National Trust. In short, the National Trust is an organization that preserves legacies. Magnificent homes, lovely gardens and priceless paintings all taken care of for future generations to learn history.

Chartwell is one such place.

A family man, painter, writer and statesman lived there. I didn't know he was a writer. Shame on me.
He was quoted, "It was great fun writing a book. One lived with it. It became a companion."
Such true words. He actually wrote 43 works and won the Nobel prize in literature in 1953.

He also happened to be the Prime Minister of the UK from 1940-1945 and then again in 1951-1955.
Does an image of  a cigar drooping from his mouth come to mind when you think of Winston Churchill? Yeah-me too! Smoking, indeed, is bad for your health, but the Prime Minister managed quite nicely.  He lived until he was 90! (I will still forever say not to smoke! )

There happens to be a garden in Chartwell. AND, there are swings beyond that garden. My eyes got a little wider when I read that part. Swings? There are swings?  I'm going to find those swings and if at all possible, I'm going to get on one of them,  and yes,  I am going to pump my legs and swing higher and higher!

Winston Churchill loved animals. In particular, a cat named Jock. Jock was a "marmalade coloured cat." Don't you love that description?  Jock wasn't just an ordinary orange colored cat. He was portrayed in detail. Marmalade. I love that.   I will be keeping my eye out for Jock VI. I will  snap more than a few pictures and hopefully show you his marmalade coat when I return!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

One great adventure

Imagine a front row seat to a pretty spectacular show.

Want to take a guess which one?

Wicked? Nope. Guess again.
Les Miserables? Sorry. Wrong again.
Okay, Cirque du Soleil?
All great seats. I would love to see all three, but nope. None of the above.

This  particular show is full of a very different kind of adventure.
One that keeps a mother awake a lot of nights.

A certain mother (yoohoo, pick me, pick me!)  wonders if on any given day throughout the summer months if  her son got chased by a bear, or worse---eaten by one!

Yeah, that has been my life for the past few summers.  Wondering.

My son just can't be like any ordinary kid and slide into third base playing baseball all summer long. Oh no. He decides flying into some remote lodge in the middle of nowhere (Alaska) sounds much more inviting. He has been a fly fishing guide.  He loves it.

The first year he went, bears broke into the lodge over the winter months and demolished the place.
Just what a mother wants to hear on the other end of a SAT phone. "Hey mom, bears broke into the lodge, but don't worry. I'm fine. Can't talk now. CLICK!"

Communication is like that. All summer long. I wait for the phone to ring. Then hope he catches one of us at home when he dials!  

Every morning  he wakes to the splendor of Mt. McKinley.  Tourists spend a lot of money just to catch a glimpse of that glorious mountaintop.  Clouds can sometimes hide the peek. That was our story when we were able to go to Alaska.   For our son, it was a morning ritual. Get up. Stretch. Look out his shack window (literally-shack! I've seen pictures!) and view the majesty displayed in front of him.  He never took the majestic sight for granted.

On any given day guiding in Alaska, anything is possible. From a simple walk along the river scoping out eagles soaring above, to turning a trail's corner and WHAMO! There stands  a bull moose up close and personal!

And what about those  big  furry grizzlies?  They plant themselves in the middle of a swelling river, trying to catch lunch. Salmon jump just out of the grip of those razor sharp claws, only to tempt fate again and end up in the belly of that hungry bear.  Now there is a theatrical show to be sure!
I'm told there are bear stories. I just don't want to know. It's that time of year again. He may be going back. Those dramatic stories would only make me worry!

I thought you might enjoy a little peek of what he experiences there in Alaska.

Click on the link!  He shows  up in the video around 1:48.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A place to stay

Bed and breakfasts in the UK are a royal treat. That is an understatement.
I had no idea what to expect when the four of us drove  to our first Inn. (By the way, only one of us drove!  That would be John.  I can barely keep up with traffic in the USA, let alone driving on the WRONG side of the road in the UK. I'm bowing to John right now---wink wink!)

Does this photo give you a clue as to what might have been going through my mind?
Pinch me,  because this couldn't possibly be where we are staying, could it?
The view out our bedroom window.
My "yellow brick road." (The driveway!)
I spent lots of time in the gardens. Magnificent. There are no words.
I could live here. Forever. And ever.
I'm counting the days to my happy place arrival!  We leave in 33 days! Squeeeeeee!!!

One of the lovely hotels we get to rest our heads on this trip is George Hotel in Rye. The Inn dates back to 1575. Can you believe that? 1575! I'm so excited to see it. I can't stand the wait!

Take a peek for yourself.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A really great kid

What is on your TBR pile? (To Be Read,  just in case you didn't know that acronym)


Fly A Little Higher by Laura Sobiech

I would have shown you a picture of the front cover, but I couldn't get my camera to work. Shoot.  It's a great cover. A photo of a boy and his guitar.

Who is the boy?
Answer:  Zach Sobiech.

Need a good story? Google him.  You'll find lots of encouragement.  His mom wrote the book.  I think I'm drawn to this particular story because his family lives relatively close to where I do.

May 03, 1995-May 20, 2013

There's a dash between those dates. I never had the privilege of meeting this boy. I wish I had. He did a lot between the dash.

I'm on Chapter Six. I'm quickly writing this blog so I can get back to the pages!

Zach got diagnosed with cancer when he was 14. Osteosarcoma. He didn't let it define him. This story is "about a boy who learned to live while dying....."

He wrote a song after his diagnosis. It went on to top the billboard charts. "Clouds" is the title.

I encourage you to get the book, listen to the song, google Zach, and view the videos about his story.

It will make you cry, make you want to live large, and hopefully, help you to  "Fly A Little Higher."

Monday, May 9, 2016


Yesterday was Mother's Day in the USA.
I'm a mother.  I took full advantage and did what I wanted to do. Recently, I learned of a street  in St Paul, MN I  never knew existed.  Described to me in detail, I had to check it out.  Off we went!  After dodging a few bicycles and slow moving pedestrians, we found it!  The entire lane is paved in brick. No, it wasn't yellow, but wow. What a lovely alley  for an afternoon stroll.  We ambled along and paused to smell the lilacs that decorated the path.

See that golden cross reaching for the sky? Well, that is The Cathedral of St Paul. I've always wanted to peek inside, so guess what? Church was just letting out, so we sneaked in!  It was pretty glorious. So quiet. People wandering about without a peep.
Reminded me of another cathedral...
This is St Paul's Cathedral. Only its not in Minnesota, USA. To get there, you have to fly. Across the pond. To London. As in, England.
I learned so much and walked every inch of St Paul's.  After all, this was where Princess Diana was married.

While in England next month, we will be going to yet another cathedral. A really old one.

Canterbury Cathedral.

Prayers have been said for over 1400 years between its walls, and over 2000 services are annually held in the cathedral.
St. Augustine was the First Archbishop of Canterbury, arriving in Kent around 597 AD.
The cathedral was once a monastery until 1540. That's when Henry VIII closed it. He was such a bully.
Did you know there was a murder in the cathedral? Me neither! In 1170. Name was Thomas Becket. Look it up. Quite interesting.  By the way, there is another reason to call Henry VIII a bully. In 1538, he destroyed Becket's shrine. Yep. Bully!

Stained glass graces many areas within the cathedral. I can't wait to see it. I wondered how each piece is cleaned. I found this little video educational.  I think you will too.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


As the world waits for autopsy results surrounding the death of Prince, I remain perplexed.

Not that it matters one bit what I think, but it does make me scratch my head and wonder.

What is it that baffles me?

HE DIDN'T HAVE A WILL.  As I write that, I am shaking my head.

I'm no rock star, nor am I fabulously wealthy, but even I have a will.   Don't you?  Shouldn't everyone?

Especially Prince.  I can't be 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure he was rich. Like, really rich. Really, really rich.  Good for him. No matter if you liked his music or not, you have to admit he was talented. All those instruments he played...WOW. Talent with a capital T!!

Maybe he didn't care about the money. But, he had to.  At least enough to be able to fly privately. That takes money. Lots of it.

I've had a few interesting conversations concerning  this subject and the general consensus is, at the very least, those surrounding him should have given better advice.  At least to be able to keep his estate out of the courts. Fine, he didn't have kids to pass along the legacy,  but WOW--I'm thinking he could have easily made sure it ALL went to the charities of his choosing.

Seems such a waste  it will be tied up for years to come.
Have a favorite Prince song? I'm partial to When Doves Cry. What can I say---I'm an 80's fan!

Monday, May 2, 2016


One of  the most enjoyable events while on holiday is eating! Finding the perfect pub is part of the fun.
 We stumbled upon this well frequented restaurant on our first day in England those years ago now. The blooming flower arrangements first caught my eye. When my jet lagged body caught up, I scanned the signboard across the front and  knew we had arrived!   We ordered up a few beers and had our first taste of fish and chips. (For the record, hubby ate the fish and I ate the chips! )  
I love the pub signs. Not only is the building full of charm, but so are the names.
I can always stop for ice cream!
Quaint is how I would describe this pub. It felt as though I was walking into a pal's living space. I loved this one perhaps the most, because I can still taste the most amazing strawberry meringue I have ever had. Ever.

On my upcoming trip, I know for sure of  one eatery we will gather at while on holiday in Kent. I've already perused the menu. Yes. Excited would be an understatement. I just want to walk the grounds.
Want to peek yourself? Click the link below.