Tag Archives: Laurie Ryan

Book Clubs

Thought I’d talk about readers groups today. I have the privilege of belonging to Round Table Readers, which used to be called the Tacoma Reader’s Group. Now, I’m an author, as are quite a few of the bloggers in this community. But I belong to Round Table Readers as a fan of books. Because first and foremost, I love to read. I’m kind of a relaxed, I want to be entertained reader. And yes, the stories I love the most are romance. And fantasy. And paranormal. And…well, the list goes on and on…

There are lots of different types of reader’s groups and book clubs. Probably the most well known is Oprah’s Book Club. Wow, that woman has launched many an author’s career! And she’s selected some great books to launch.

There are also lots of small book clubs. People gather, select a story, and everyone reads it so they can come together to discuss the good and not so good (hopefully, no bad). :)

There are library book clubs. Our local library has an online club, where they showcase a different book each week.

Round Table Readers is different. First, it’s the oldest and largest book club in the US. Second, we don’t select and all read the same story. We gather to celebrate all stories, usually with 50+ women (and men). We talk about what exciting title we’ve just finished, and old favorites that sit dog-eared on our shelves. We are run by a couple of wonderful ladies, Ursula and Irene, who find authors to come and speak to us every month.

Author Karla Stover speaks at Round Table Readers

Author Karla Stover speaks at Round Table Readers

It’s a continual reminder of why I sit down at my computer and put stories on the screen. Because lots of others, like me, love to read them. And I am always, always happy to know I’m not alone in that love.

So here’s a shout out to everyone who’s ever opened a book and immersed themselves in a new world. And here’s to the new horizons we’ll crest when we open that next book…

Happy reading, everyone!

Back to the Mountain!

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by checking off a bucket list item: spending the night on Mount Rainier. Paradise Inn is a venerable old lodge where the rooms are tiny and half of them share bathrooms with the floor. But you know what? That drives folks to a wonderful lobby. I spent quite a bit of time sunk deep into a chair or couch here, reading. We played cribbage, chatted with people and soaked up the ambiance.P1100494

Quick facts: Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet above sea level. Paradise is at the 5,400 foot level. It’s considered a volcano, with its last eruption somewhere in the 1800’s. Each year, a little over 10,000 people attempt to summit the mountain. Only half make it to the top. And each year, a few lives are lost in the attempt. Sigh.

Back to fun stuff. You know, this is probably petty, but the parking lot is always packed to overflowing here at Paradise on Mount Rainier. The park gets 1.2-2 million visitors PER year. We came here on a weekend earlier this year and had to turn around because there was no parking. So getting to relax, have a glass of wine, and watch the lot empty out of all but the folks staying at the lodge was rather nice. :) As well, we got some excellent star-gazing in. It’s not often we catch glimpses of the Milky Way anymore.

For both Mark and I, this is a second marriage. We have been uber-blessed because all five of our children have been happy we got together. In fact, they surprised us will a certificate for dinner in the exquisite dining room. It was excellent!P1100500

We also took in a short hike, to Myrtle Falls. Really, this mountain has something beautiful for everyone to see, no matter your physical capacity. Myrtle Falls is only three tenths of a mile from the lodge. Of course, it’s uphill (and subsequently, downhill) but we even saw a wheelchair on this paved path.

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So I highly recommend anyone in the area make the trip to see this massive reminder of how wonderful our Earth is. Just do it on a weekday, so you can find a place to park.

And hubby? It’s been a great 25 years, and I’m looking forward to the next chapters in our life together!

Laurie

Moonglow Awesome

I had what, for me, is a rare opportunity recently. During last month’s Supermoon, I had the chance to go for a night hike in the hills around Mt. Rainier. It wasn’t a long hike, only 3 miles and a 500 foot elevation climb. But that’s a lot for me. I walk most days, but 1-2 miles on flat, asphalted surface. Not rocky, rooty dirt paths that are going up and down.20140808_200132

We saw deer feeding, mountain meadow lakes and wonderful wildlfowers. Hmmm. Painted Ladies were one of the flowers. I don’t remember the others.

We didn’t do this hike in an hour, or even two. It took us four hours. Mostly because we started early, then stopped at the halfway point with other hikers until full dark had settled over the land, so we could see moonglow on the mountain. I wish I could describe the look of moonshine on Mt. Rainier. I think I’ve seen pictures of it, but none of us were professional photographers with the equipment for night shots. There was an…effervescence to the mountain. It was awe-inspiring and a memory picture I hope I never forget. 20140808_210242

The second half of the walk was done by moonlight, which is a little intimidating for a klutz like me. There were a few spots where the trees were so thick, we had to use the flashlights, but mostly, we navigated by nature’s own light. And no one fell. I’ve never done anything like that before and it was one of the coolest things EVER.

This picture isn’t very flattering, but I honestly don’t care.20140808_205407 I was having SO much fun! And I hope you all get or have gotten the chance to see just how glorious this place we live is, whether it’s on a mountain peak or in our own backyards, eh?

Simple Pleasures

Hubby and I were walking at a local park a while back and came across a family stopped in the middle of the path. Their son, who looked to be around 5 or 6, was crouched down, with a small branch of red berries in his hand, staring at something.

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As we got closer, we saw what he was looking at and I just had to take a picture (with his parents permission, of course.) You see, he’d found a banana slug trying to make its way across the asphalt path. And he’d decided it needed decorating, as shown in the picture below.

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Ah, the simple pleasures in life, eh? His parents beamed like he’d created a masterpiece. Hubby and I chuckled our way through the rest of the walk, talking about the simple things we used to do as kids for fun. Like using cardboard and old wood to make forts that must be defended. :) And how about tossing blankets over dining room chairs to create an indoor fort? Or using an old jar to catch bugs in. Then, to Mom’s disgust, tearing up her flowerbed to make a muddy roadmap that our toy cars and trucks could travel along. (I was a bit of a tomboy growing up…played more with my brothers than my sisters, I think.)

What about you? What did you have fun with when you were growing up? Whatever they were, I hope you are still enjoying some simple pleasures in life.

Roadmaps of Our Lives

P1100068A couple years back, hubby and I bought a world map and decided to hang in on the wall in our house. We grabbed some of those little stick pins, too, and started marking places we’d visited. It turned out to be a cool walk down memory lane as we plunked pins into place we’ve been. It also, to hubby’s chagrin, gives me a visual of how much there is still to explore. There are places I’d still like to see, like New Orleans and Australia. P1100149

 

But there are some great moments stuck on that map. Like seeing the northern lights in Alaska. And visiting hubby’s cousin, who carved an oasis out of a cornfield in Guatemala. I like to look at this map. It’s a reminder of adventures we’ve taken together. A memory map. It brings all the pictures scattered around, and the little knick-knacks picked up various places, into a cohesive story. It mingles with all the family heirlooms and pictures, reminding us how lucky we’ve been to have had the chance to see these things.

 

Do you have memories scattered around your house? Is it a map of the best parts of your life? Of your travels? Family? Do you have a favorite? Mine is quickly becoming this map (well, right after the family stuff, of course). :)

Happy 90th birthday, Mom!

Happy 90th birthday, Mom!
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A week or so ago, we held a special event in our family. A celebration of the 90th birthday of our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, aunt, and friend. The past year was a bit of a health crisis year, but things have leveled out, Mom is healthy and still living in her own house and driving, and we wanted to celebrate this milestone.

We’ve done these gatherings before, and I am continually awed at how well this family works together. First, there were several planning sessions. Wine and/or beer may or may not have been involved, but a lot of work got done, too. Menus planned, venue settled, invite list grown.

One brother and sister-in-law provided the venue…their back yard, God bless them! And if you’ve ever hosted a party, you know what it takes to get that yard to shine extra special. The other brother and sister-in-law provided amazing food, table and chair reconnaissance and delivery, and a special talent for ambiance and decorating I truly admire. Two long distance sisters provided food and lots of moral support. And various cousins and grandchildren also brought food.
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When the day arrived, we all congregated…63 adults and children, to honor Mom. It was an afternoon of awesome conversations, reminiscences, and checking in on current lives. And all because of our mother.

She is kind.
She taught me the “family first” rule.
And that being myself was the perfect way to be.
That working together is easier than butting heads.
And that helping people is the best feeling in the whole wide world.

And that’s why my brothers and sisters and I work so well together. And our husbands and wives join in with the same dedication. Because Mom loves us all unconditionally.

I know this is getting pretty sappy, but I can’t stop bragging about the wonderful family I am part of. And the wonderful world we’ve created. A world that keeps expanding with each grandchild and great-grandchild.

By the way, here’s the specs for Mom’s family:

5 children
9 grandchildren
17 great-grandchildren

And a legacy that will live on for years to come. Next stop…100!
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What’s happening, er, happened?

At a loss for a topic today, I went out to the web to find inspiration. That was a mistake, because I got caught up in that “shiny new toy” thing we’ve talked about in the past. Half an hour later, I realize I still don’t have something to chat about. So I plunked in July 9th and came up with a list of historical happenings. So I pulled a few that interested me into this blog.

1872 – Doughnut cutter patents by John Blondel, Thomaston, Me
1877 – 1st Wimbledon tennis championship is held
1893 – Daniel Williams performs 1st successful open heart surgery without anesthesia
1910 – Walter Brookins becomes 1st to pilot an airplane to 1 mile altitude
1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims 1st 100 m free style under 1 minute
1955 – Bill Haley & Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” tops billboards chart
1956 – Dick Clark’s 1st appearance as host of American Bandstand
1958 – Giant splash caused by fall of 90 million tons of rock & ice into Lituya Bay, Alaska washes 1,800 feet up the mountain
1968 – All star MVP: Willie Mays (SF Giants)
1972 – 1st tour of Paul McCartney & Wings (France)
1978 – “Hello, Dolly!” closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 152 perfs
1979 – Voyager 2 flies past Jupiter
1980 – Walt Disney’s “Fox & The Hound,” released. (FYI – this is the movie all our grandkids grab to watch when they come over. )
1981 – Jacksons begin a 36-city tour

I grabbed these from a website called Historyorb.com. You can read more events here. In fact, I think I’m going to head back there to see what happened on my birth…ooh, cute kitten video…

Have a GREAT hump day, y’all!