Author Archives: Laurie Ryan

Pot Pourri

So…I’m at a complete loss as to what to talk about this month. Lol. Does that ever happen to you? I’m a total blank. Lol. So I’m going to keep this short and sweet with a Dude pic and a funny to hopefully give you a smile for the day…

Dude is currently not a happy camper. He loves being outside, and loves hot weather. Our weather in the Pacific Northwest has turned toward Fall almost overnight. So now he sits in the window and ponders all his summer memories, then sighs and comes for a cuddle to warm up. Poor kitty. I think it’s going to be a long Fall and Winter for him. 🙂Dude

As for the funny, I’m not sure if the television show Big Bang Theory is world-wide or just a US show, but it’s a favorite of hubby’s and mine. So I thought I’d share some funny outtakes with you. Have a wonderful October! I hope you enjoy the warmth of your furnace or fireplace, the oranges and reds of Autumn wafting down on a breeze, and the company of a good cup of cocoa, tea, or whatever warms you from within. And I pray that your weather is temperate, not harsh.

Happy Fall!!!

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Did You See The Eclipse?

August 21st was a fun day around here. Even though we weren’t in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, we had about 92% coverage. It was exciting!

First, though, about a month before the eclipse, I checked with one daughter (and her daughter) who would have a good view of the eclipse. Got glasses? I asked. Not yet. So, good Gramma that I am, I researched the right glasses, hit Amazon, and ordered them sent to her. Nice and cheap.

A week later, I asked another daughter (with three daughters) if they’d be looking at the eclipse. Yep, she said. Got glasses? I asked. Not yet. So back to Amazon I went, ordering glasses sent to them. Only this time, they were almost twice as expensive. Still reasonable.

With 10 days left to the eclipse, I checked in with yet another daughter (who has one daughter) and she did not have glasses either. Off to Amazon I went. Uh oh. Those glasses I ordered earlier? They were over $100 for one pair! Wow. Supply and demand, huh? I ended up finding a pair and she got them just in time.

So, with my grandkids safely glassed-up, my husband and I spent that morning out on deck taking occasional looks at the eclipse.Solar Eclipse Helmets

No glasses for us. He had rigged two welding helmets for us to use and they were the best! We enjoyed the entire event, but even with the good lenses, didn’t look too long or too often. Still, it was amazing to see, even if it wasn’t totality here. I spent part of the time on the computer watching live streaming various places. There was so much excitement and such fun enjoyment in this event.

It was nice to have something uplifting to be part of. Did you get to see all or any of the eclipse? I sure hope so. It was pretty amazing to watch. And if you didn’t, maybe the next one will be right over your neighborhood, eh? You can check out when the next eclipse will be happening here.

Have a great month everyone. I hope your summer winds down with easy grace and an absence of some of the horrible weather that places like Texas and Louisiana have had to endure. My heart goes out to all the people touched by Hurricane Harvey.

An Emotionally Uplifting Summer

It’s been a fun month, even if it has been busy. I’ve been working hard on a new fantasy story and it seems like there’s been family event after family event. We have two spare beds in our house and I’ve been washing sheets like there’s no tomorrow! But it’s all been fun.

We held a family reunion at my brother’s house to celebrate what would have been Mom’s 93rd birthday. It was a lot of fun and visiting and catching up.

Hubby and I showing my aunt how the “photo booth” worked. 🙂

And we released balloons in Mom’s favorite color (purple) in her honor. We’ve always said that when Mom passed, she was finally with the love of her life, our beloved step-father, who passed away in the early 90’s. Well, two of the balloons released knocked up against each other and their strings entwined. They stayed that way all the way up until they were out of sight. It made us smile as we thought of them as Mom and John holding hands. 🙂 Have you ever had a moment like that? Where something random happens and it fills you with such a feeling of love? It’s an amazing blessing to be able to have that happen.

Also on the fun front, we went to see Neil Diamond in concert. Again. Must be about my fifth time. Two years ago, my daughter took me for a “banner” birthday. I blogged about that here. This time, we got my husband to come, along with another daughter and her husband.

You know…that man is 76 years old now and still doing concerts. Every other day during his tour. At 76! Wow. I hope I’m that active when I’m his age! I have to admit, he was moving a little slower. But that voice of his is as amazing as ever, along with his ability to fill a crowd with joy. He made us all feel special. He is a very special man with an amazing talent and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to see him so many times.

Now we’re in a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. A week or so of highs in the 90’s (32’s in Celsius numbers).  That’s really warm for us in the summer. We rarely get 100 degree days, or even approach them. So this is going to be a hot, hot week. We are lucky enough to have air conditioning. It doesn’t make it easier to sleep at night, but the days are much more comfortable, and we’re very grateful for that.

I hope you are all having a fun, fun summer. And staying cool in the heat, or embracing the sunshine. Whatever you love to do, this is the time to do it.

Summer rocks!

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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Preserving Our Planet

One of the coolest things about writing, well, anything, is the increased awareness you gain about the subject your writing about. If it’s a family history or memoir, you invariably learn more about yourself or your family. If it’s fiction, which is what I write, I try to pick an underlying subject that stretches me, makes me learn more.

I selected a schooner as a setting for the first book in my Tropical Persuasions series, and in the process of writing it, I learned a lot about sailing. Even got to spend four days on a working schooner. For Northern Lights, I learned a lot about the Alaskan indigenous people. In Show Me, I learned about the resilience it takes for a family to survive cancer.

I’ve recently branched out from my romance genre and am working on a series that is a post-apocalyptic fantasy. The further into writing this series I get, the more I want to know about what I can do to help preserve this planet for future generations. So in my spare time (yeah, right, when do we have that???) I’ve been reading blogs and checking out ways to reduce my personal footprint on this earth. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to disappear, and I sure as heck want to be remembered when I’m gone. But I’ve wanted to know what things I can do to recycle, reuse, and protect.

We all know the usual stuff, like changing out light bulbs to more efficient ones, driving our cars less,  turning the water off while we brush our teeth, or using a refillable water container. Below, I’ve listed a few things that either taught me something, were an idea I didn’t know, or just plain made me laugh.

  • Stir your coffee with a stick of dry pasta (like spaghetti) instead of a stir stick.
  • Take your car to the car wash (they use less water than washing at home)
  • Use organic, homemade pesticides. Click here for one of many websites I found that talk about homemade pesticides.
  • Soap nuts as laundry detergent – I’ve never tried this, never even heard of it, but these berry shells have saponin in them, which works as a natural surfactant. Click here to read an article that talks about them.
  • Clean up with vinegar. It’s a natural way to kill bacteria, germs, and mold. Click here for an article that talks about all the ways you can use vinegar to clean.
  • Bamboo, the fastest growing plant on earth, making it more sustainable, isn’t just for floors. It’s a biofuel, can be used to make clothing and towels, even disposable diapers. Eco-friendly diapers. Wow.
  • Unplug what’s not being used. Plug things into a power strip you can turn off when not in use.
  • Use glass, silicone or ceramic dishes in oven – more efficient and reduce cooking time.
  • When landscaping, use native plants.

And my two favorite ideas for staying warm in winter…

  • Invite friends over – they generate heat.
  • Cuddle up with your honey or your pet.

It’s been fun reading about the different ways to help. I’m interested in trying the vinegar thing. Hoping it doesn’t make my whole house smell that way, though. And the soap nuts intrigue me. I might have to give them a try, too.

I hope you have a relaxing, sun-filled sun-filled summer and get a chance to enjoy everything that is good about our planet.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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Website

Mt. Rushmore – Bucket List Item – CHECK!

I had the awesome privilege of visiting Mt. Rushmore in May. I have wanted to take a road trip for the longest time, and this stop was top of my list.

Late last year, I started writing a young adult fantasy series and I set it around Mt. Rushmore. My husband swears I used that setting to get him to go there with me. Personally, I thought it was a great place to set a post-apocalyptic fantasy. It had nothing to do with how much I wanted to visit and now had a reason to. Really. Well, sort of.

Hubby, who doesn’t like road trips, gave me the greatest gift this year. Nine days on the road. Different sights every day. We combined a couple things. First, he spent 3 years in the Air Force stationed in Glasgow (Northwest Montana). So we went there first and I finally got to see all the things he’s been talking about for thirty years. Like Fort Peck dam, which is an almost 4 mile long earthen dam.

Then we headed south. To Sturgis (motorcycle museum)…

To Deadwood (Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane’s graves)…

Caving (where we got a flat tire driving out of the place)…

And finally, to the mountain that made it all possible. There isn’t a single picture that does this site justice. It’s larger than life and I loved it!

We also found the picturesque little lake (Horse Thief Lake) near Mt. Rushmore that my fantasy village is set near. It was so cool to see it come to life. And as soon as I got home, I started updating descriptions in my story. I even changed my hero’s eye color to match the deep green of the lake.

After wonderful weather all along, a storm caught up with us as we drove west to come home. First, in the form of pounding hail, then in snow. It made for some crazy driving conditions and we got stopped for a couple hours in a pass due to jack-knifed semi-trucks.

Even that didn’t diminish the fun I had on this trip. Hubby’s back did okay (not great, but okay) and he’s really glad he went. The only regret I have is that I realized an author friend I admire, Allie K. Adams, lived near our route home, but the snow meant cancelling the hastily set up plans to visit.

We’ll just have to plan that visit for next year. After all, we did start talking about Yellowstone National Park on the way home. I wonder if I can tweak my series so it encompasses that area, also. Lol.

I ❤ road trips! I hope you get to do something you ❤ this spring or summer, too!

 

Wings Over…wherever you are

Recently, my husband and I took the bus up to Seattle. We don’t drive in that city often. Too many cars, too many pedestrians, and too many one-way streets. But we do occasionally like to take the bus up and play tourist. Last year, we went twice.

This time, we went for a specific purpose. We did this ride called Wings Over Washington. It’s one of those theme-park type rides where your seat moves but you never really leave the theater and I hear they have them in a bunch of cities. This one was supposed to show great views of our state…of it’s mountains, rivers, fields, cities, mountains. Yes, I said mountains twice.

You see, as I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’m afraid of heights, although I’m  trying nowadays to not give into it. So…we got seat-belted into our seats. Yes, they put seat belts on us. That should have been an omen for me, but no, I innocently let them belt me in. After all, there was a big wood structure right in front of me and my feet were on the ground.

Then the theater went dark. And our seats moved. Up, up, and over that nice, safe wood structure I’d seen. And my feet were dangling! I don’t do amusement park rides where I can’t hit my imaginary brakes, so this was not good.

The full room video screen lit up with scenes of Washington. They took us up, down, up, swooping down, over cliffs. An eagle led the way, so we had some altitude. And the chair? It shifted, of course. Up, down, sideways.

I was five feet off the floor and completely FREAKED out. I had a death grip on the chair handrails and my husband was talking me calm through the whole thing. Not that it worked. I could not convince myself I was safe. It was insane how well my phobia had me locked in.

I saw, well, most of the video ride. I didn’t get my eyes shut as we went over the first cliff, so I made sure I missed the drop-offs after that. It really was a great ride and view of the state, but geesh, do that have to make it seem so real??? I haven’t had a height issue that bad in a long time, and I wasn’t even really “in the air.”

Afterwards, and since, I’ve been laughing at myself. Guess this is one phobia that isn’t going to leave gently. I’m going to have to kick it to the wall a few more times. Until then, no more video rides. No thank you. I’ll go back to gondolas where my fear is real, not imagined.

To finish off, here’s a couple pictures from Pike Place Market in Seattle, always a fun place to wander through.

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Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!Has anyone had an opportunity to see the movie or stage play, Mamma Mia? The play has been on my bucket list for a few years and when I saw they are in their farewell season, I knew I HAD to go. I just took a look and they have a global tour going on also, including the UK.

The movie is great. Who knew (before this movie) that Meryl Streep could sing so well! In fact, I know she must had had to work really hard to not sing well in the Florence Foster Jenkins movie. But I digress.

Mamma Mia, in my opinion, is fun for any age. It’s uplifting, FUNNY, poignant, and energetic. For me, it carried a huge dose of nostalgia, too. I grew up in an era when ABBA’s music first gained attention. I cannot tell you how often just about any of ABBA’s songs would come on the radio and my friends and I would break out in song. Yes, we even had hairbrush microphones on occasion. 🙂 It makes me smile each and every time I think about it, so when the tickets came available, I snapped a couple up.

I live near Seattle, but rarely, if ever, drive into the city. It’s crazy busy, as you can imagine, and I’m a small town girl at heart. So my sister and I took the bus into the city so we didn’t have to drive. That didn’t mean that we didn’t have ABBA blaring in the car on the way to the bus depot, though. (And home.)Waiting for Mamma Mia!

After a couple hours shopping, we settled into our seats. Once the curtains opened, we were transported to another time and place. We laughed, cried, and yes, sang! One of the best parts of this play was the ending, which turned into a dance party. We were all standing, clapping, singing, and dancing, not easy to do in a theater filled with seats.

It was totally AWESOME!

So I hope, if you smile when you think of ABBA’s music, that you get (or have had) an opportunity to see this stage play. If you don’t, or if ABBA isn’t your thing, I hope you put on some music that is and dance around the house with a hairbrush for a microphone. Because sometimes, we all need to feel young again, eh?

Thank you, ABBA, for all the wonderful memories!

If you want more information about Mamma Mia!, click here. And here’s a piece from the movie to lift you up for the day: