Author Archives: Laurie Ryan

Ahhh, Summer…

First of all, Happy Fourth of July to all the USA folks who just got done celebrating it. And Happy (belated) Canada Day to our northern neighbors.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a fairly temperate climate. We get snow in winter…sometimes. We get rain. And we have well-rounded seasons. What we don’t normally get is over 100 degrees in the summer. Last weekend, we hit 110 in places. That’s unheard of around here, and with so many people not having air conditioning, it was brutal.

Hubby and I were lucky. We have air conditioning. Put it in a few years ago when we hit 100 degrees five times in one summer (another very rare occurrence.) So we were able to weather the heat fairly well, though we got a little worried about how hard that A/C unit was working! I sat on deck and did some work in the mornings before the heat got bad, then it was inside for the rest of the day.

This is me, the one time I stepped outside late afternoon. It was 105 degrees and I didn’t stay out there for long. I’d never do well in a torrid climate. Yikes!

On a slightly different subject, I was recently at my grandson’s house visiting. Their backyard is torn up, so we sat in the front yard for an outside visit. It made me realized that I never see people sitting out front anymore. Houses uses to have big porches and people would sit there and visit, greeting folks that walk by. Does that happen anymore? Most of our outdoor entertaining and visiting is done in our back yard. That seems to be the way things are these days. It’s kind of sad, to be so sequestered. I like my neighbors. I just don’t see any of them very often because we’re all in back yards. Lol.

Well, I wish you all a wonderful July, full of sunshine and just enough rain to keep things green. And full of laughter, love, and enough work to make your time off precious.

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Inspiration

This month, I launch a new romance series. I’m a beach junkie. I love being at the ocean, walking along the beach in search of treasures, watching the waves roll in, or just sitting in a chair reading and listening to the roar of the ocean.

I decided to set my series on the Washington Coast, and Willow Bay was born. Fictitious, but tied to some of my best beach memories. It’s been fun writing these stories and I may (or may not) have used them as a reason to head for the ocean. Inspiration always powers books to strong finishes, right?

As a writer, those kinds of inspirations can come from anywhere. I went to a Tall Ships festival and my three-book series, Tropical Persuasions, was born. My fantasy series, Earth Legacy, came from all the news about climate change. My horse story, Rudy’s Heart…well that came to me in a dream. 🙂

Inspiration enhances all our lives. Just looking at our Over The Backyard Fence blog partners. If you like to paint, like our own Kit Domino, a field of bluebells sends you rushing home to the canvas.

If you love dogs, like Faye Avalon, you help raise puppies to help others and end up with the love of your life in Miss Vivvy. Or, like Marie Tuhart, you search for one dog and take on a sister and brother both.

Lavada Dee is inspired by family, life, and travels near and far to expand her horizons, and we are inspired through her travel blogs here.

Jillian Chantal does a weekly photo blog, Wordless Wednesday, and she inspires me with the the amazing pictures she posts.

Without inspiration, it seems like there would be no forward momentum, no growth. I for one, try to keep my eyes open for those inspirations. From an eagle floating overhead to the beautiful blooms of a flower. From a friend’s post about what got her through a tough time to another’s announcement of an imminent wedding. It’s all fodder for my own happiness and for my stories.

Do you notice inspiration around you? I hope so. 🙂 Have a wonderful month and I hope you get some glorious sunshine to inspire you.

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Geocaching Mars

Has anyone been keeping an eye on Perseverance, NASA’s robotic explorer, since it landed on Mars? Hubby and I have enjoyed keeping an eye on things. It was a nail-biter the day it landed, but all went smoothly. If it’s something you’re interested in you can find more about it here.

Some of the highlights:

7/30/20 – Launched.

2/18/21 – Landed in Jezero Crater on Mars.

2/19/21 – MEDA environmental analyzer records first weather report on Mars. -4 degrees Farenheit (-20 degrees Celsius)

4/19/21 – Helicopter Ingenuity lifted off from Mars surface, the first powered flight on another planet. By the way, did you know a small piece of muslin from the Wright Brothers’ first flight is affixed to Ingenuity?

But one of the coolest things that happened, for hubby and I, was something we were actually able to participate in. We like to geocache. I’ve probably mentioned that a time or ten, including in last month’s blog. It’s urban treasure hunting without the treasure and it gets us out walking and you can find more about it here.

Well, Geocaching.com and NASA got together and planned the best geocache EVER. An alphanumeric code was added to a plate that the Perseverance camera would use for calibration once it landed. It would take pictures of that code and send them back to NASA.

We, as geocachers, were able to dig through the Perseverance pictures and find that code, then log the find on geocaching.com. So we’ve officially geocached Mars and we got this digital souvenir to remember it by.

So far, almost 76,000 other folks have, too! I know I’m being a geek, but this was soooo cool to be part of.

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Happy Places

I’m a water person. I love being near the water. In January, I went to the beach by myself to get some oceanside time. It was a new rental in a new area for me and I keep saying I found my happy place. It was 160 steps down the path to be on the beach. And I could watch the waves from our bottom floor apartment, as well.  A couple weeks ago, I went back with hubby and he liked it too. Now, he’s a farm guy, so our little acre of grass and garden is his happy place. But he gladly went with me to see mine.

We got lucky with one day of abundant sunshine and we got out geocaching the area. For those of you who might now know about geocaching, it’s kind of like urban treasure hunting (without the treasure.) People hide containers with paper logs in them and we use our GPS to find them and sign the log, then go online and log that we found it. It gets us out walking and we’ve found some really neat hidden places this way. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can check geocaching out here.

Anyhow, after the day of out and about, we had a very stormy day. Windy, sideways rain, angry waves etc. We were snug in our little place and got to watch the storm blow through for most of the day. That was as cool as the sunny day before.

I can hardly wait to go back, but alas, this particular rental is very popular and I might not make it back there again until fall. But it’s in my heart and I’ve got lots of pictures to remind me when I feel the tug.

Where’s your happy place? Is it at home, at the beach, deep in the forest, in a high rise apartment in the midst of all the hubbub of the city?

In other news, I released a short story last week in my fantasy line. Wolf’s Call was the final time I’d be with the characters I developed for the Earth Legacy series. I’ll admit I cried writing it, cried editing it, and cried when it released. That series, for me, was a years long endeavor and the characters were dear to my heart. You can find out more about Wolf’s Call here.

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Gallery

One Month at a Time

It’s been a strange month, waiting to get our vaccines, which we’ve both now gotten. I had some side effects from the second vaccine (Hubby did not) but I’d do it again to have this bit of protection. In looking … Continue reading

Gallery

Home Away from Home

I should be posting about my family winter cabin adventure here. This would have been our 21st year, I think. We postponed it because of COVID-19. It’s only a year. We’ll be back at it, and we’re all very grateful … Continue reading

2021 – Finally!

Did we make it? Are we out of 2020 and into the new year? I’ve been afraid to poke my head out from beneath the blanket to check.

As January tends to be one of the months where getting fit is promoted (due to all those New Year’s Resolutions), I thought I’d talk about an experience I had at a boot camp a few years ago.

I thought it would be a good way to lose some weight.

Boy, howdy, was it. I lost, I think, 34 pounds in a month. But what a way to lose them. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done.

I started on a Thursday. Day 3, for me, was Memorial Day weekend that year. And I found out the hard way that there is a special workout that CrossFit places do around Memorial Day. It’s called the Murph and is named for Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a US Navy SEAL killed in action in 2005. 

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Lt. Murphy. What a horrible thing. And I applaud this kind of remembrance, one that is helpful and healthy.

My only problem with the Murph workout is that it occurred on DAY 3 of my boot camp.

Here’s what the Murph includes:

  • A one mile run.
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 unweighted squats
  • Another one mile run

I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to do that workout, but it was somewhere around 3 hours. I was the only one left working out for the last hour. And I sat in my car crying my eyes out, wondering why I did this to myself.

The next day was Sunday, our day off. Ooooh, boy, was I sore! I give myself props for showing up on Monday and for the rest of the month.

But never again! Now, I’m older and it’s harder to lose the weight, but I continue to walk and try to eat healthy and lose a little bit here and there. For me, that’s the balance I need. And that’s what my goal for 2021 is. To find balance.

I hope you had a safe and joyful entry into this new year and that your heart is full of possibilities and balance.

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Decorating for the Holidays

Every year at this time, getting the Christmas boxes out is like a rite of passage. I smile as I open the boxes and view the things I haven’t looked at since the prior year. I smile as I pull each old friend out. Some of them are new, some have been with me for years. All are things I treasure. And as I put them around the house, I think about how I picked this one up at a bazaar with my sisters-in-law.

How Kris Kringle, a gift from my sister, smiles back at me from his corner by the bookcase.

How my husband, who doesn’t like decorating but puts up lights on the house for me, lets me put a few small nick-nacks and color in his corner of the family room.

The nativity set my daughters always loved.

The crafted reindeer a friend gave to my Mom while in a rehab facility to cheer her up.

How old traditions and new meld each year, turning our house into a beloved family history lesson. Decorating for the holidays makes me nostalgic and happy and is more important this year than any before. A lot of people put up their trees weeks ago and I applaud them for doing that. Because now is the time to slough off the stress and just enjoy. From a distance, but thankfully, there are electronic ways to be together. Even 50 years ago, the isolation would have been so much worse.

I hope that, whatever holiday you celebrate, that you have treasures to unearth and smile at for a while this year.

Happy Holidays, everyone! And remember, 2020 is almost…nope. Not going to say it until it’s a done deal. 🙂 Instead, I’ll leave you with a picture of hubby and me on Thanksgiving. It might have been just us, but we dressed up (I even put on makeup!) and got the good china out for dinner.

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Happy Things

Fall Color

In America, the elections are over and only the counting continues. And, enough said about that. When you add in that most of our holiday celebrations will be muted this year due to COVID-19, well… Enough said about that, too.

Instead, I’m going to celebrate all things good in 2020. Some nationally and internationally, some personal.

  • I get online with three of my grandchildren every week as an adjunct to their online schools. We do some math games, play hangman, and read out loud. Well, at least, that’s what I do with the eleven-year-olds. The six-year-old and I have a dance party. After a week of trying to sit for various online school sessions, she needs to expend some energy. So on goes the music and we dance on our respective sides of the video screen. J
  • The U.S. celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which recognized women’s federal right to vote.
  • My husband and I have taken a couple days here and there to stay in rental homes or condos and get different views. That’s kept me sane because we’re staying home a LOT. Don’t get me wrong, I like our house and we have an acre of property, but I need something different once in a while.
  • I’ve binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy. (Made it through season 11, sigh, and I’m currently in season 12.)
  • Drive-In theaters have made a comeback.
  • I haven’t (yet) grown out of my jeans, even though I spend most of my time in sweats. Whew!
  • Diversity is discussed more now than ever. (Praying that brings about positive changes.)
  • Brad Pitt won his first Oscar. (About time.)
  • Hamilton. Wow. Enough said.
  • We have an amazing great-granddaughter, now 7 months old and so precious.
  • I finished a painting project and a 30-year long crochet project, among other things.

And so many more. It’s been a good year in so many ways. I hope you all have an opportunity to count your blessings.

Walking in the rain! 🙂

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Flu Vaccine

It’s the beginning of October and the days are getting shorter and cooler. And wetter, for us in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to take a moment to urge everyone to get flu shots. This has been a scary year and, while my husband and I get flu shots every year, this year, it feels more important than ever. I had hoped to post a pic of my bandaid, but my appointment isn’t for two days yet. And I’ll have two bandaids as I’m getting my pneumonia vaccine as well.

Are flu shots 100% coverage? No, not from my research. They have to make an educated guess at what strain of the flu will be prevalent in the next season. Even if they guess right, it may not completely prevent you from getting the flu. But it can reduce symptoms. And if we don’t get sick, there are more resources available for treating COVID-19 patients.

How long does a flu shot protect me? About 6 months, which is why we get ours in early October. That carries us through until Spring.

Bottom line, I believe they are important and I’d just like to add my voice to the message that is trying to get us all, old and young, through this winter.

And, to leave you with happier thoughts, the following are pictures of my granddaughter’s new companion. My granddaughter is six, and you can see the bonding progress through these pictures. My heart is happy when I look at them.

I hope you have a safe, healthy, happy month.

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