Thursday, January 31, 2019


It's my birthday. It's my birthday.

All I can say is WOW. It has been quite a jubilee year. Lets review.
Birthdays and chocolate. What's not to love!
Fabulous dinner out at Pazzaluna. One can never go wrong for eats at this place.
Woke up to 50 years old at the Saint Paul Hotel. 
My jubilee year was a year of many firsts. I had never been to Mickeys Diner in St Paul, so this was our breakfast stop. You have to go if you've never been.
St Paul is famous for its Winter Carnival. It's cold! Today especially. We're breaking records this week. No need to worry about anything melting. Last year we spent some time checking out the snow sculptures. Creatives out there. Amazing.
Yep. Had to go! 
Ended the perfect day at Red Cow with family. Best burgers EVER. Let the jubilee begin.
February brought us to an outdoor event in Wisconsin. Book across the Bay. We pushed our exercise limit here! Cross country skied across the bay. We made it. Barely. What an experience. Great memories. And a meal at the famous Delta Diner. So . Much. Fun. 
I bought a Mini ! I LOVE Diana. That's her name. Diana. So fun to drive! Every once in awhile, I look over and someone is smiling as I drive past. I think its the rear view mirrors! Wink wink!   
Who knew my jubilee year would include a royal wedding! Of course I got up early to take it all in. I didn't get an invite...shoot! But not long after the big day, I found myself in my happy place!
England! It was so wonderful. I'm grinning right now from ear to ear.
Grand Marais, MN. We went camping in September. Probably not the smartest thing we ever did. It was pretty cold. Should have known better.! But the fall colors were pretty epic.
A sad day in June, as Kate Spade took her life. On so many levels, this news gave me pause. I made my way to a Kate Spade store and bought a wallet. Every time I pull it out of my purse, I think about the gift of life and how fragile it is.
I joined the Jane Austen society in my year of jubilee. The gift that keeps on giving. In February, I'm going to a meeting about regency valentines. This society is going to grow me intellectually! I love it.
Today I turn the page on a great chapter. I loved every day of celebrating 50. Frankly, I don't want it to end. I'm sad to see it go. But oh the possibilities ahead. Life is to celebrate and that is what I will continue to do.
Yes, I planned a lot of my jubilee year. You need to do that because if you don't, life will just pass you by.
But there were many many serendipitous moments in my jubilee year. Every day wonders. I wrote in my journal..."The best moments of my life don't make it to social media."-patience pennington.

I know those moments, and didn't feel the need to share it socially. Like for instance, snowflakes that fell from the sky looking more like soap flakes! Or, seeing a shooting star and making a wish. Or...watching an eagle as it soared. These are here-now wonders. Life wonders. And I don't want to miss any of it or take it for granted. I hope I learned that this year. Wonders.

And so today starts a new chapter. I am so grateful I get to turn 51 today. The day is mine to do whatever I want. I live in the tundra and most things I was planning to do, I can't because so many things are closed due to the polar vortex! Yep. That's a thing here. Polar vortex. I don't understand all the science behind it, but I know for's FREAKING cold!!! It's best to stay put. And so even in this cold, I'm thankful. I get to write and read and imagine the possibilities ahead.

51. I'm liking it already. 

Monday, January 28, 2019


Why yes, yes I did complete my writing goal this weekend. Thanks for asking! Now I have a new goal. March 15. Contest entry deadline.
One foot in front of the other. Walt Disney once said..."It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Onward! Now back to England I go for this post!

Remember...we're in Jane Austen territory!

Once we settled into our bed and breakfast and had a bite to eat, we went for a walk through the village. Our innkeepers gave us a trail map. And not just any old map. A Jane Austen Trail map!

Come on along. I'll show you the highlights.

 I have to admit, I'm really bad at reading maps. Like, really really bad. Just ask Mr. Wonderful. When we started, I thought there would be signs for every stop along the way. Wrong!  Not that simple. You actually have to read the map. Go figure!  I'm so lost without my hubby. Just saying!
First stop. 1 High Street.
A place Jane Austen dined at one time.
4 High Street
Jane Austen doctor lived here. 
10 High Street
Swan Hotel and 31-33 High Street
The coach stopped here. Jane hitched a ride sometimes from here to London.
74 High Street
Surgeon home
89 High Street
The family who worked on the cottage that is now the Jane Austen museum once lived here.
106-110 High Street
Jane Austen brother James once lived here.

This is a photo of the village. I could live here. Easily. It's just a quaint little place to amble down the streets at a quiet pace.
And to be so close to where Jane Austen walked. Oh the joy. I love English villages.
That and the smell of lavender. Go ahead. Take a big whiff.



Thursday, January 24, 2019

So glad its cold outside

I will make this brief.

I'm so glad it's cold where I live. That sounds crazy because right now it's tundra cold. Like Polar Vortex cold.

I have spent the last three hours writing and editing my work in progress for a contest entry. It would be quite distracting if it were nice outside.  What I do for fun!

I'm definitely working my word these days. Intentional. Deadlines help. For a good portion of this month, I have been eat, sleeping, and breathing words. Lots of words. But, I love it. And this is where I will be for the next few days.

See you Monday.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Eating out

Pubs in the UK.
Each one unique in their own way. Most are like entering your own dining room and all have a cozy feel to them.
Take the George, for instance.
A pub our innkeepers highly recommended.
An inviting sign as we peered inside.
"My kind of place." I winked at my hubby.

"I'm guessing we're staying," he replied.

He knows me.
We could have taken a spot at the picnic tables outside, but opted for inside instead.

 See what I mean? Homey.

  Warm and welcoming.
Melt in your mouth, amazing. And the oil and vinegar...WOW.
The bread was obviously homemade and just the right warmth. We had seconds!
Just the right amount of food. England has the portion control thing figured out. We could learn from them.
The George. I highly recommend.
I try to find places such as this pub where I live here in the states. I'm not a fan of chain restaurants. My goal is to always eat somewhere warm and inviting. They're out there. You just have to look a little harder here in America. Eating out just takes a bit of strategic planning and a desire to not just eat, but have an experience while dining.   

Monday, January 14, 2019


Did you know blue plaques can be found all over the UK? They're basically a historical marker  commemorating a link to the location of a famous person, event, or sight.

It's true! I found myself keeping an eye out wherever I ambled in England.
They're everywhere. You just have to look!
I kind of figured there would be one at his house!
Mr Wonderful even found one. And to know it is a favorite movie character was icing on the cake for him.  Bond. James Bond!
Our Innkeepers told us to keep an eye out for this one particular plaque while we walked about Alton. We had a good chuckle.  Quite sure the owner of this home gets a good giggle when he sees tourists stop and have a look. Clever I say. Clever.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book Club

For being such a book lover, I have never been in a book club.

I have a good friend that raves about hers. The group has been reading together for over sixteen years. Sixteen years.
This is my year of intention. Time to find one. 

Not long after deciding, I happened to be at my library. As fate would have it, there at the counter in plain sight was my invite. Don't you love the advertisement? No need to try and persuade me. I was all in. Where do I sign up?

 The first meeting is next week. We travel to different restaurants in the county where I live. Books and food. Win win! The first four books have already been chosen.
What I already knew about book clubs is that the picks are usually ones you probably wouldn't choose to read for yourself. Different genres are good. Keeps you well read.

Here's the first book of the year...
It's about hockey. That's all I know so far, but there's a deeper story within these pages. I'll let you know how it ends.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Bed and Breakfast

We made it to our first destination!
I got out of the car and literally kissed the ground. Driving on the wrong side of the road is not for sissys. Just saying.

So great to park the car and just walk where we wanted to go.
But first, our stay.
This is England. My happy place. Outside of London. The countryside.
We stayed at St Mary's Hall. A refurbished church in Alton, Hamptonshire. Otherwise known as Jane Austen territory.
Joan and Jack were our hosts. A lovely England couple.
Hubby thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Jack. They soon found they had motorcycles in common and that was that. Their conversations left Joan and I to talk of our own interests without the boys!
We had our own private suite. This bed and breakfast is exactly what you would dream an Inn to be in England. Pure loveliness. Delightful.
Oh to go back again.
Our breakfast table. Don't you love the woodwork?
We woke the next morning to breakfast and a card from Joan and Jack wishing us a Happy Anniversary. How lovely to have been in England on our 30th Anniversary. What a lovely start to a lovely day.
We felt special. Honored guests, to be sure.
With full stomachs, we were ready for our next adventure.

Here's a hint...Hamptonshire =Jane Austen.