Tag Archives: Laurie Ryan

What’s on Your Refrigerator?

As soon as I came up with the idea for this blog, I realized it might not apply as much anymore. In the day and age of stainless kitchen appliances, there may just be more refrigerators with nothing on them than there are fridges covered in life and magnets.

But I’m still going to ask the question. What’s on your refrigerator? Here’s a picture of mine, well, of the front, at least. The side is covered in grandchildren’s art.

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There is inspiration, like the saying:
“Today, I will go with the flow.” (Something kind of hard for me to do, so I need reminders.)
Or the picture of our granddaughter, who was a princess in our local Daffodil Festival. (A reminder that we can do anything we set our minds to.)

There are things to make us laugh, like the Optimist cartoon or the magnet from Roslyn, Washington that says:
“Weekend Trail Pass $50
New Hiking boots $200
Seeing firsthand that bears really do S%$t in the woods PRICELESS.”
(I know. I’m proving to you that I’m a little warped.)

And there are reminders of some of the best places we visited. Like Alaska, which will always have a special place in my heart since I saw the Northern Lights there. And Banff, Canada, where I bravely fought my fear of heights and got on the gondola. And Gulfoss Waterfall in Iceland, for finally doing something off the beaten path.

There’s a reminder of my husband’s love of steam trains, and even a magnet from Dubai from my world-travelling bird-nerd friend. And of course, one of my loves…a bottle of wine. :)

Yep, there’s lots of life on this fridge. And this is the streamlined version. A few years ago, I cleaned as many magnets off as I left on so I wouldn’t look totally trailer trash when folks came to visit. :)

Because of those showcased moments, I smile every time I open the fridge. I’d love to be able to say it helps me NOT open the fridge. I’m not that lucky. But it lightens my mood to look at it. And anything that makes me stop and remember a good moment or two is, well, very good for my soul.

So my fridge will probably always be covered with bits and pieces of life’s moments. And I hope your fridge is full of the fingerprints of life. If it can’t hold magnets, I hope you have a wall or table somewhere that brightens your day whenever you look at it.

Thankful…

While Thanksgiving is the time to talk about what we are thankful for, I have an especially important reason to be talking about it now, as Christmas nears.

You see, a month or so before Thanksgiving, on October 20th, to be exact, our 91 year old mother took a health turn for the worse. Her heart decided it didn’t want to work right anymore. And because of that, she’s had significant breathing issues (and looming kidney issues from the meds).

I am happy to say that, after 53 days of hospitalization and rehab center living, Mom has rebounded significantly. Her life has changed. She can no longer live independently as she was. And her time driving is now done, too. But that doesn’t stop Mom.

Last week, she reached the point in her strength recovery that she was able to move in with hubby and I. It’s been several days of adjustment (and a few sleep-deprived nights) but things are starting to settle into a pattern. She’s getting around well with her walker and home health is coming in to help us all adjust to this new normal.

I think it’s going to work. And I’m so grateful for this continued time with Mom. We all are.

What amazes me the most is how gracious she has been about all these changes. Not perfect. She gets down sometimes, and cranky others. But she has helped us make decisions that had to be made with a gentle strength and positiveness that I can only pray I mimic when my children have to deal with these issues where I am concerned.

We’ve also been trying to integrate two cats who have never had pet-mates in their home…our Dude and Mom’s Mia. They are co-existing, but not happy. They’ve claimed ends of the house and things get dicey when they meet in the middle. I’ve been leaning heavily on Lavada for cat advice and am grateful to her friend who runs a cat re-homing organization called Feline Friends for all the advice and help. (If you want to see some adorable cats…and their equally adorable descriptions, check them out.)

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So from our entire family (both human and animal) to yours, we wish you a holiday surrounded by family and friends, filled with smiles and peace and that rare sense that all is right in the world.

Because all is right in ours at the moment and we would love to share that sentiment with you. :)

Six-Word Memoirs

A few years ago, a friend gave me the coolest book called Six-Word Memoirs. originalsix

It’s a compilation of life stories filtered down to only six words and it’s amazing. It’s based on a website that SMITH magazine launched in November 2006 and now has over 800,000 memoirs listed.

The intro to this book has the best six-word memoir I’ve ever heard, indicating a legend that Ernest Hemingway accepted a challenge to write a story in six words. He came up with:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Oh. My. Gosh. That is powerful and sad and it really is an entire story in a few words, isn’t it?

I have given it a lot of thought over the years since I read this compilation. It took a few iterations, but I finally came up with my memoir:

“Human, but surrounded by the best.”

That’s what I would say about my life. What would you say?

Spring Cleaning…in the Fall?

Lately, I’ve been into cleaning cupboards. Maybe it’s the change in the weather, but I’m Spring cleaning in Autumn. And since we’ve lived here for 26 years and I’ve gone through these cupboards and closets before, it always amazes me that I find more STUFF to get rid of. Especially since we’ve been working harder to not buy a bunch of stuff that we just won’t use. We’ve all done this, right? Bought something just knowing we’d use it, only to have it molder away in a cupboard or closet? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Lol.

Anyhow, I started with the kitchen. And apparently there were a couple cupboards there I ignored for a year or two…or ten. Like the spice and baking cabinets. I found powdered milk that had turned orange. Cornmeal that had turned rancid and white. A vanilla pudding box that didn’t even have a use by date on it, it was so old.

I’m a pretty clean person, so I was astonished at the amount of ancient stuff I found. Thankfully, going through the rest of the kitchen was less eventful, with nothing that pre-dated me. :)

Next was our clothes closet. That’s not too bad, since I go through it twice a year to move the summer or winter clothes to the front or back. But tucked in the back are several formal outfits from various events (cruises, weddings, etc.). We’ve become such an informal society here in the Pacific Nortwest (is it that way everywhere?) that I’m not sure I’ll ever wear any of them again. But I keep them anyhow, because each time I open the clothing bags to see what’s in them, I remember. My daughter’s wedding…that cruise dinner where we stayed past our welcome because we were having such fun with our tablemates…the Christmas or New Year’s dances spent with my husband. Honestly, I don’t care if I ever get rid of them. Sometimes, the memories of worth that little bit of space they take up.

How about you? Are you hunkering down for winter or cleaning out closets? Is it fun to open a door and glimpse the memories? Or do you have orange powdered milk in your kitchen cupboard?

As I close and head out to clean yet another closet or drawer, I’d like to wish every person out there who’s protected our way of life a very Happy Veteran’s Day on Wednesday. Thank you for serving.

Iceland is Awesome!

A while ago, we had a discussion about Iceland and how cool a place it is to visit. I’m curious how many people want to visit this awesome country? I got the opportunity to spend a day there as part of a trans-atlantic cruise a few years ago and thought I’d pull out my pictures (thank goodness we had a digital camera by then) and show you the bits of Iceland we got to see.

First off, the cruise was a re-positioning cruise, so it was a once a year opportunity. It was moving from European cruises to the Caribbean. We flew to Copenhagen and boarded, then visited England and Ireland before heading west.

Iceland is the land of fire and ice. Where dark winters are offset by summers with sunshine at midnight and geothermal activity doesn’t keep it from being home to the largest glaciers in Europe (even though ice only covers about 10% of the land). In fact, Iceland is known as the world’s greenest country. It’s diverse countryside shows off green valleys, active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and amazing rivers. Their water is some of the purest around and they are huge environmentalists and conservationists, since they depend so much on natural resources. Over 90% of their heat is geothermal, which helps make them one of the least polluted countries in the world. The flip side to that is that there is quite a bit of volcanic activity.

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Geothermal activity outside a gift shop we stopped at.

Iceland sits astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a 40km crack in the ocean floor caused by the separation between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. They call this part of Iceland “No Man’s Land” and we got to stand here, between these plates. We’re standing near one plate wall and looking out over the expanse of No Man’s Land in this picture. You can see the ridge (the small rocky fence-like wall just past the river) in the distance that is the Eurasian plate.

As these plates rub together, they release pressure in the form of earthquakes and geothermal activity.

During a one-day, eight-hour tour, we visited an “Old Faithful” type geyser, a crater formed by an explosive eruption, No Man’s Land, Gulfoss Waterfalls, and the capital city of Reykjavik. So we got a good glimpse into this country, but someday, I’d like to see more. To spend more time exploring the rugged countryside and getting to know the people. It’s an expensive place to visit, but well worth it in our estimation. It is still one of my two favorite cruises. (The Panama Canal is the other favorite.) I hope that if Iceland is on your bucket list, you get there someday. It’s worth it.

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Of course, the fact that we also got to set foot in Greenland helped make that cruise ultra-special, too. Lots of times, they can’t get close enough due to icebergs. So here’s a couple Greenland pics to finish up with. A very colorful community in a very harsh environment:

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Roller Skating Rinks – Are they extinct?

Lately, I’ve had several occasions to travel down a road that was a huge part of my childhood. It’s a nondescript, busy city street, but it housed the place that I spent loads of time at…a roller skating rink.

I skated all through my childhood and into my teen and young adult years. I looked back through my pictures and I don’t have a single print of me in skates, which is a bummer. So it’s all memory pictures. Of school skating parties. Of Mom dropping me off to skate for the night. Even overnight skates.

I skated in the races for a free pop. I did the Hokey Pokey with everyone else. I met my first husband there.

The coolest thing about this particular rink? My mother skated there when she was a young woman. And I had the opportunity several times to take my daughter skating there. In fact, one of my funniest stories is hers. She’s very outgoing and was even more so as a child. I was divorced at the time, so she’d decided it was her job to find me a new guy and proceeded to tell one of the regulars there all about our lives and that I was looking for a new husband. Mortification, anyone? It’s something we laugh about to this day.

But time marches on, and before my daughter hit double digits, the rink was torn down in favor of a lot to sell cars. To this day, I refuse to step foot on that property and will never buy a car from that business (which has changed names several times, but I can hold a grudge with the best of them.) And it’s still bittersweet to drive by there. Mostly sweet because I have so many happy memories of that place. I miss it still and it’s been 30 years since it closed.

Skating rinks are slowly dying off around here, much like drive-in movies. There’s now only one local rink left. Do you have a skating rink in your area? Or a drive-in movie, for that matter? Any places from your childhood that fill you with fond memories?

And, since I don’t have a skating picture, here’s a picture of teenage me, maybe on a night when I’m getting ready to go skating? By the way, aren’t those some lovely olive drab drapes? Hard to believe those were ever popular, but they were. lr 2

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Done, done, and DONE…Triathlon Re-Cap

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I did it! I ran and I biked. I would have swum (swam?) if not for circumstances beyond my control. More on that later. So, as most of you know, I started training a little over 3 months ago for … Continue reading