Category Archives: Laurie Ryan


Rock Painting

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Last month, I talked about our annual family winter cabin adventure. One of the things I forgot to mention is that we painted rocks. A while back, in my walks at a local park, I began seeing painted rocks in … Continue reading


Annual Blog – Winter Cabin

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Well, it’s February. And my blog this time of year is pretty much a repeat of the one a year ago. Over The Backyard Fence started in September, 2010. Wow. I can’t believe this blog has been going for over … Continue reading

Goals or No Goals?

It’s New Year’s Eve as I type this blog. This past week has been focused on setting up my goals for 2018. Do you do goals? I’ve gone back and forth on them until the past few years. Mostly because every time I set them, I’d consider myself a failure for never getting them all done in the year.

Then I realized something, after a year of not doing goals. When I do goals, I get more done. So maybe I don’t lose all the pounds I want to lose. But I see that list up above my computer and try a little harder. And maybe I don’t get four books written (did I REALLY write that as a goal?) But I get 2 ½ done. And that’s more than the one I did the year I didn’t write goals.

And fellow blogger Tricia Jones gave me an idea at the beginning of 2017. She suggested writing 100 goals for the year. Yikes! That was intimidating. But I did it. Everything from losing weight to getting the windows washed and the closets gone through. At the end of the year, I’d accomplished 49 of those goals. And I got another 13 over the halfway mark. I honestly don’t think I’d have gotten that far without having taken a look at that list every month.

So I’m officially a fan of goals. And, being a list-maker (I take after my mother), it’s completely satisfying to have a list to work from and check things off of.

Whether you do goals or not, though, my wish for each of you is that 2018 is a safe, happy, and peace-filled year.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Dude, in a rare outside foray with snow on the ground. He REALLY doesn’t like the cold. Poor kitty. But we managed a rare white Christmas this year, so Dude’s mom (me) was VERY happy. 🙂 Laurie Ryan

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Growing Older is…Fun!

One of the fun things about growing older is that you have a lot of memories about celebrations. Thanksgiving, for instance. I grew up going to my Grandma and Grampa’s house. Now, I’m one of five children. My Grandma and Grampa had eleven children. So I’ve got a few cousins. And that house was chaos every Thanksgiving. Wonderful, crazy, memory-filled chaos. This picture is just one of the tables. There were, if I recall, four or five to fit us all in. During the day, we kids would play in the bedrooms and attic upstairs. Hide and Seek or whatever we could invent. After dinner, Grampa got out the projector and we all snickered and laughed at each other as he showed family slides.

I’m the one peeking out from behind my Aunt Irene in the red. My mother is sitting across the table from me, in black.

Once I began having kids of my own, we had our own Thanksgivings. With our children, inviting our parents, family, and friends. Tables set for as low as seven and as many as eighteen. Each year as much fun as the last.

Now, as a parent of five and grandparent of eight, the baton has officially been passed. Oh, we’ve been mooching, er, getting invited to our children’s houses, or our siblings houses, for a few years. But this year was a first. We were invited to our grandson’s house. Wow.

It was small by our family’s standards, only eight of us. But that meant we actually got a chance to talk, instead of flying by with rolls or mashing potatoes over a story. It was one of the nicest holidays I’ve had. And the best part is the two pictures below. My grandson baked and brought a pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving at our house when he was a teenager. This year, I returned the favor, bringing pies to his house. Full circle.

Our children are fairly spread out and we’ve decided to start traveling for as long as we’re able, spending Thanksgivings with them each in turn (if the weather permits.) So I know there are more fun holidays in store.

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope the dinner was great and the conversation lively. If you didn’t, at least you didn’t gain the weight the rest of us did!  And my wish to you all is a holiday season filled with love and peace and laughter.

Happy American Thanksgiving (11/23/17)
Happy Hanukkah (12/12-20/17)
Merry Christmas (12/25/17)
Happy Kwanzaa (12/26/17-1/1/18)

And a very safe and hope-filled New Year (1/1/18)
Laurie Ryan and family

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We recently returned from a vacation that I call one of my top three best vacations. A year ago, we booked a fifteen day Hawaii cruise. Not fifteen  days in Hawaii. This one was round trip from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Five wonderful, relaxing days at sea getting over to the islands, four islands to visit, and five wonderful, relaxing days at sea coming home.

I found something out. I LOVE at sea days. I woke up and went walking on the Promenade deck each morning with beautiful ocean all around me.  (I may have mentioned once or twice that I LOVE the water.) I went to line dancing classes, walked again with my husband. I swam in the pool. I read FIVE books in two weeks. Five. Haven’t done that in quite a while.

My husband immersed himself in shipboard things, too. We watched fruit carving, ice carving, beer pong. We watched football. Got to watch  our Seattle Seahawks on the big screen by the pool. We proudly wore our “twelve” shirts and there were a lot of Hawk’s fans on board. In fact, that’s one of the things we love about cruising. Meeting and talking to so many people.

In the islands, we didn’t do much on Oahu. It’s a little too much like the big city and we get that at home. On Kauai, the Garden Island, we saw the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon. The pictures don’t do the rusts and verdant greens justice. It was beautiful!

On the Big Island, we went to the Kilauea caldera, the large crater and active steam vent that is huge and spectacular.

And look at the picture my husband got of the moon. Wow!

On Maui, I got to check off another bucket list item. We were in Hawaii once before, 27 years earlier, and I didn’t get out to Molokini to snorkel. We did this time. I was very worried about climbing up that swim ladder back into the boat, but I DID it! Twice! The water was warm, the fish and coral beautiful, and, just for a little while, I felt young again. It was awesome.

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Then came the homeward bound trip. I have to say that about two days from our return port, we both were feeling the tug to be back home. We’d left our Dude in good care, but knew he would miss us. Of course, the fact that, after an entire cruise of calm waters, we had two days of Gale Force winds and 10-15 foot seas might have helped us be ready to disembark.

All in all, it was amazing, restful, and beautiful. My husband and I danced, went to shows, held hands, and just enjoyed each other and the scenery. A perfect anniversary present to ourselves.

Now home, the weather’s changing. We even had a touch of snow yesterday. I’m okay with that. I like my seasons. It was nice to be tropical for a couple weeks, but even in 35 or 40 degree weather, I’m up, dressed and out the door for a walk around 8am. It feels good to be home.

Have a wonderful November, everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!




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!!!

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.