Reader’s Read

TBRDo you remember the fundraisers we had in school? From selling chocolate bars to anything-a-thon. My favorites were the Readathons. Who doesn’t like to curl up with a book and read as much as you can? My parents always pledged a penny a page.
Last weekend, I participated in the adult version of that, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. It takes place twice a year and is an excuse to gather up with your books for 24 hours. The Readathon starts at the same time all over the world, for me that was 7 a.m. on Saturday to 7 a.m. on Sunday.

So what did that really look like for me? I started at 7 a.m. on Saturday, picked up my book and read until 10:30 when I had to shower and get ready for the day. Rich had brought me coffee around 9 so I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet. After shower was a trip to Velvet Tacos in Fort Worth (wow!) and then we were off to a party. Not just any old party, this one would last all day long – no reading here, there were people to talk to!

We finally were home again around 10 and I thought I should just go to sleep I’ll catch the Readathon in the fall and see if I do better, I’d had a couple cocktails through the day, so I was sleepy. I tossed and turned for an hour though, I’m sure it’s because my brain knew I had made a commitment and I wasn’t fulfilling it. So, on went my reading light and I read until 5:45 a.m. Just an hour shy of the final deadline. I did ok, finished one book – although my TBR (to-be-read) stack had eight books in it, I always set out as an overachiever.

So, it might sound like this event is all about reading, and while that is the focus, there is another one just as important. The social aspect of this Readathon matters. Yes, reading can be social! There was a challenge every hour online that you could participate in on the social platform of your choice. I used Instagram. Each hour brought an opportunity to enter contests, write mashups, poetry, take pictures. It kept the hours moving, just a little check on my phone here and there to see what was up next, do the challenge, check out what others were reading, find some new friends to follow and then right back to work.

I’m so glad I took part – maybe next time it’ll be on a day I don’t already have something planned, but knowing our life, that’s doubtful. Next Readathon is October 21 – just checked my calendar, that’s Gala Day for the Rebelle Rally – maybe I’ll just put two books in my TBR stack 🙂


Day -4 Starting Over

dreamsMy birthday weekend was epic; for me at least: I got to dress fancy; be part of something bigger than myself; see 100+ friends; laugh loud and often; remember some folks I haven’t heard from in awhile; celebrate the 10/4 birthday club.  It was awesome!

Now, I have a few days under my belt and I’ve spent them thinking about what comes next.  I am 50 now, no more fifty in 365, I’m on the downhill side (as my sister so eloquently put it.)  So how do I continue 50 in 365??  About a month ago I wrote down a dozen plus ideas, now it is time to narrow them.

One of the best parts of the past year was learning new things, I didn’t master any of them, but I got to try a bunch.  Being introduced to new skills, new ideas has always been one of my favorite things.  So Goal #1 – Try 50 new things – the difference this year is that I’m going to try to master at least five of them.  No more just testing the waters, let’s find some new things to try that we can actually get good at.

Second best part of last year was going to new places.  Our world is so big and bold; Goal #2, Go to and Explore 50 new places.  I’ve already started making a list of places I’d like to go, this truly is one of the best things about our lifestyle!

New goal for the year is to do 50 new projects; I would expect these will turn mostly in to craft projects, but I’m ok with that.  I love to craft, I would love to be an artist, but I am not inventive enough to start from scratch.  So crafting it will have to be. In addition, I’ve got some big ideas I want to pursue…it’s time to go confidently in the direction of my dreams.

Goal #4 is also similar to something I’ve done for the last six years, to read 50 books, only this year, it’s going to be 50 new authors.  New to me at least, I have a habit of reading the same authors repeatedly, and while I am not going to turn my back on my favorites, my goal is to read 50 new authors in addition to the ones I follow.

A couple of other things on my list include writing 50 chapters in a book; sending 50 cards; and continuing to write in my blog.  I’m hoping to introduce you to a life well-lived, a family well-loved and a writer well-humbled by the folks who read her.  Here’s to LIVING 50 in 365!

  • Send 50 cards
  • Read 50 books and 50 new authors
  • Write 50*4 blogs
  • Do 50 new projects
  • Visit 50 new places
  • Try 50 new things
  • Write 50 chapters in a book

Day 0 – It’s My Birthday!!!

imagesI’ve always been of the belief that you shouldn’t set people up to fail…I want my husband and friends to know when my birthday is, no subtly, no game playing.  It’s MY BIRTHDAY, let me shout it from the rooftop.  Today, I am 50, half a century, five decades, 18,263 days….I have a girlfriend who told me once that our lives are too important to celebrate on just a single day.  But today is the day, the one I have been working toward all year, the culmination of my year of blogging.

365 days ago, I started, with a list of goals I wanted to complete, did I make them all?  No, but I put a serious dent in them.  I love setting goals, they help me to always keep striving for new things.  Years ago, when I was part of the Jaycees, we had a saying that “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”  The same is true for all of us.  Each of us needs to challenge ourselves daily, set goals, live life….be the person YOU want to be, Create the Life that YOU Imagine.  It’s time to set up your year, your life, don’t wait, don’t just go through the motions, find your passion, set your date to begin and start.  I mean really start living.

My 50th year was awesome, I watched 8 classic movies I had never seen before; I read 53 books; I went to 36 new places; I tried 33 new things.  I love my life, I’m excited to start this new decade with all the great people that are in it.  Tomorrow I get to start all over again, I get to set new goals, I get to try new things, I get to set the standards for the next 365 days, I can’t wait for my life to start…or, rather continue, it’s awesome!


    • Goal:  Watch 50 classic movies – completed 8
      • Shane
      • Sunset Boulevard
    • Forrest Gump
    • Amadeus
    • The Manchurian Candidate
    • The Philadelphia Story
    • Yankee Doodle Dandy
    • A Place in the Sun
  • Goal:  Read 50 books – completed 53
    • Heroes of Olympus – Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
    • Raising Jake – Charlie Carillo
    • The Rosetti Letter – Christi Phillips
    • A Fistful of Collars – Spencer Quinn
    • Plum Wine – Angela Davis-Gardner
    • The Shoe Queen – Anna Davis
    • Little Bee – Chris Cleave
    • Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
    • The Big Nap – Ayelet Waldman
    • Wicked Business – Janet Evanovich
    • The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
    • The Woman who Died A lot – Jasper Fforde
    • Death Gets a Timeout – Ayelet Waldman
    • Track of the Cat – Nevada Barr
    • Blind Descent – Nevada Barr
    • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley
    • Zero Day – David Baldacci
    • A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley
    • The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier
    • Men and Dogs – Katie Crouch
    • Dreamfever – Karen Marie Moning
    • Viola in the Spotlight – Adriana Trigiani
    • Dreams of Joy – Lisa See
    • I am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley
    • Speaking from Among the Bones – Alan Bradley
    • The Noticer – Andy Andrews
    • Artifacts of Death – Rich Curtin
    • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Steven Chbosky
    • The Widow of the South – Robert Hicks
    • The Scent of Rain and Lightening – Nancy Pickard
    • Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
    • February’s Files – Rich Curtin
    • The Brightest Star in the Sky – Marian Keyes
    • The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
    • Italian for Beginners – Kristen Harmel
    • Backseat saints – Joshilyn Jackson
    • The Art Forger – BA Shapiro
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling
    • Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen
    • Affairs of Steak – Julie Hyzy
    • The Map of True places – Brunonia Barry
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
    • Life Studies – Susan Vreeland
    • The Confession – John Grisham
    • Wrapped in Rain – Charles Martin
    • The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival – Ken Wheaton
    • Montana 1948 – Larry Watson
    • The Little Giant of AberdeenCounty – Tiffany Baker
    • $1000 and a Good Idea – Sam Wyly
    • Full of Grace – Dorothea Benton Frank
    • Cash Out – Greg Bardsley
    • If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name – Heather Lende
    • March – Geraldine Brooks
  • Goal:  Write 50*7 blogs – completed 165
  • Goal:  Visit 50 new places – completed 34
    • The Big Texan
    • The Sandia Tramway
    • Bryce Canyon
    • Zions National Park
    • Scorpion Bay
    • Lethbridge, Canada
    • Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera Cruise
    • Cabo San Lucas
    • Puerto Vallarta
    • Tucson Jewelry Show
    • Guadalupe Mountain National Park
    • Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns
    • Birmingham
    • Sloss Furnaces
    • Civil Rights Museum
    • Civil War battleground
    • National Cemetery
    • Capitol Reef National Park
    • The Missions of San Antonio
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park
    • George Rogers Clark Memorial
    • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
    • Notre Dame University
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
    • Rubicon Springs
    • Dayton Courthouse – Scopes Trial
    • The First National Military Park – Chickamauga and Chattanooga
    • Fort Donelson
    • Mammoth Caves
    • International Motorsports Hall of Fame
    • Sea Life Center
    • Homer, AK
    • Kenai Fjords National Park
    • Whittier, AK
    • US Olympic Training Center
    • Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
  • Goal:  Try 50 new things – completed 33
    • Dremel
    • Wheeling from behind the wheel
    • Junior Ranger
    • Melting Crayon Art
    • Civil War Re-enactment
    • Stung by Stingray
    • Spent a whole day in bed
    • Curling Match
    • Get Married again
    • Played on a Game Show (on the cruise)
    • Acupuncture
    • Take a bus in Mexico
    • Thriller Dance
    • Letter punching
    • Lit Chinese Lantern
    • TIG welding
    • Senior Ranger
    • Walk the Race Course
    • Monster Party
    • Wheeling in Moab
    • Broke on the trail
    • Tour a micro-brew
    • Fly in an experimental plane
    • Opened new food truck
    • Junior Civil War Historian
    • Halibut fishing
    • Skipping Rocks
    • Darts
    • Sisterhood badge
    • Zumba
    • Color Run
    • Disc Golf
    • Eyebrow Threading

I can’t wait to see what happens next, what’s on your list???

Day 64 – Recycling

recycleIt is sometimes difficult for me to recycle.  We live in a truck, storing anything for any length of time is tough.  So recycling has to be easy and convenient.  Sometimes, I have to find my own way to recycle.  Last week, it was buying a vintage dress, this week it was buying used books. Perhaps I’m more in to Re-Using than Re-cycling.  Ok, so maybe I’m stretching it a little, maybe I’m not really helping the planet here, but boy, do I like it.

We are in Placerville, California, home of my in-laws.  They live just a few blocks from the historic downtown of Hangtown.  I love the downtown area.  It is full, every store front is filled, mostly with antique stores and art galleries, restaurants and crafting stores.  Many of my favorite places are located within just blocks of each other.  But my favorite, if I can get to none of the others, I always have time for The Bookery.  It is a cramped, used bookstore with shelves rising to the ceiling, scattered throughout the store at all angles, aisles are only wide enough for a single person to get through.  There are nooks and crannies everywhere, stacks of books that don’t fit on the shelves line the floor.  Any book you are looking for is in there, it’s not even that hard to find.  Completely organized, it just takes a little time and attention to follow all the signs in the store.

I’m not usually looking for just A book, I want to discover and unearth something that I would never find online or in a new bookstore.  I certainly don’t want to find it too fast, then my adventure would be over.  If I just go in for one book, what might I miss?  I love bookstores of all kinds, but the Bookery is truly my favorite.  There are special finds everywhere you look, there are authors I haven’t yet discovered and in a used bookstore, I convince myself that buying twelve books is a bargain.  I can pick up more than I usually would because I’m not paying full price.  Admittedly, it’s a self-deception, but I’m ok with that, don’t we all have something we lie to ourselves about?  I love reading books and can’t wait to get started on many of my new treasures, thanks to the Bookery and its’ staff for a wonderful afternoon.

Day 292 – Authors you might like

authorI got the opportunity to hang out in a book store the other day, how much fun was that!  I miss book stores, while I might read on electronic devices, there is nothing like hanging out around books.  Libraries are fun, but book stores are awesome.  Imagine my excitement when some of my favorite authors had newly published books.

When someone asks you…Who’s your favorite author?  How do you respond?  My first response is always Jasper Fforde.  He has a series of books set in an alternate universe that is based on all of our favorite books, Thursday Next is his heroine, and she is awesome.  His novels make you think and also make you thankful that you are a reader. He has two other sets of books that are as good, one is referred to as the Nursery Crimes series, and recently it was Shades of Gray, all about colors – not the seemingly all-encompassing Fifty Shades (which I have not read), just the one.

My next favorite is Sarah Addison Allen, her books are magic, well, and about magic too, but most importantly, they are feel good books.  I’m always racing to the end to see what happens next.  I love how her books make me feel.

From there, I will read just about anyone.  I enjoy Janet Evanovich, Daniel Hecht, John Dunning, and so many more.  I’m sure I’m forgetting someone important, but who do you say is your favorite?

Day 356 – BOOKS! Said like a swear word

Last Christmas we moved out of our house and in to our mobile unit.  We live in a 280 square foot converted furniture trailer, it has a bedroom with a queen size bed, a bathroom with a large shower and a living space.  The living space encompasses about half of the square footage and doubles as a kitchen and office too – I guess that means it triples instead of doubles.  The space is very utilitarian, wood floors that can be dirty or muddy, walls that could be wiped down – no glamour or opulence here, none is needed and I would just be disappointed when it got dirty, and it would get dirty.

When the house was being emptied, I left, I went to SoCal with my daughter to work on the Rose Parade and Josh came in from NorCal to help Big with the move.  I had a lot of stuff, most of it was being auctioned off, so the boys loaded it in to a storage trailer to be parked at the auction barn.  Part of my “stuff” was books, lots and lots of books.  Poor Josh got to move most of them.  I love books, all kinds, no specific genre for me, I’ll read it all.

Books 🙂

It was about 1995 when my Mom and I had a revelation.  We decided that we were old enough and mature enough to NOT have to wait for the paperback version of our favorite authors.  Thus began the acquisition of hardcover books, did I mention I had a lot of them.  By the time Josh had unloaded all the books from the floor to ceiling bookshelves in the “library” he had moved hundreds of pounds of books and replaced the F* word with the B* word.  When we finally met the boys at the Hammers for New Years, Josh just used Books! Whenever he swore.  It was hysterical.  To this day, I can’t get him to lift a book for me.

My love of books comes from my dad, he was always reading something, usually something heavy and historical, but always something.  My goal for the last several years has been to read 50 books a year, I’ve not accomplished it until this physical year, now for my 50th year, I have the same goal, I’m on number 2 and 3 right now and they are both so good, I can’t decide which one to pick up, generally it depends on the lighting, one is a physical book, the other is on my kindle (which I can read on my backlit Tablet.)

It’s funny, Josh doesn’t swear when he hands me my Tablet, I wonder if he knows how many books are on there?  What method do you like to use to read?

Day 361 – Change can come from the strangest places, if you let it

The books that changed my life

About ten years ago, when I was facing my true mid-life crisis, about to turn that dreaded 4-0 – I realized, I was a MOM – I’m still a mom, but at the time, it was all consuming.  I was Haley’s Mom at Girl Scouts; Kayla’s Mom at soccer, Josh’s Mom at the high school.  I was lost.  You know how they say there is no I in TEAM, well, there isn’t one in MOM either.  My whole identity was wrapped up in my kids.  I love them, but I had lost myself along the way.  In my late twenties and early thirties I still had myself, I was able to do some cool things, advance my career, live a little.  But by the time my mid-to-late thirties came along, I was gone, totally enveloped in their schedules, their needs, their lives. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing, but you have to know when to get out of that mode, when to find yourself again, because if you are doing it right, they are going to grow up and move out, then where will you be?

Enter an author who changed my life….Rita Golden Gelman.  I’ve not met Rita, I occasionally will read something about her, but she wrote a book that completely opened my eyes to the possibilities.  Tales of a Female Nomad was published in 2001, I try to read it about every five years to remind myself of the possibilities of living large in the world.  I followed it up with a number of other travel books, including everything by Tim Cahill – my personal favorite, and the one with the most impact was Road Fever – a hilarious narrative of a trip from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. To top it off, I read Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding, a practical application of how to travel the world on the cheap.  While all of these books describe international travel, the same can be applied to the travel I do now.  Most importantly wasn’t the stories they told or the impact they made in their travels, most importantly to me was that adventure really was available.  It would take a change in the way I lived, but it was completely practical.   All I needed to do now was wait.  My kids had to grow up first so I could go back to being just a mom, a role I still cherish.