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Mother Nature’s Storytelling Prompts

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Devil’s Rock and the Giant Bear

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One of the most frequent questions that writers get is “Where do you get your ideas.” Most writers I know scoff at that question. I don’t. I am as interested in that question as any reader.

My ideas have come from overhearing a conversation, mishearing a phrase (The Salem Witch Tryouts, for example), watching a movie and wondering would what have happened if the a plot choice had gone a different way….in short, there are story prompts for writers everywhere I look. I have notebooks full of them, and I’d need to write for a thousand years to write them all.

I visited one of Mother Nature’s story prompts in Wyoming on my most recent trip out to visit The Best Grandbaby In the World™ in the Bay Area. Devil’s Tower has been inspiring stories for ages. The Arapaho have one, the Cheyenne have one, the Crow, the Kiowa, and the Lakota. They all feature a big bear, making scratches on the rock. And, like most storytellers, every tribe’s story is just a little different.

Me, I wondered why this particular natural wonder inspired so many stories. My trips out west have taught me that there are so many wondrous formations ready to inspire story in travelers.… Read the rest

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Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Maid of the Mist

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Maid of the Mist is Misnomer – More Like Maid of the Sluice

Day 4 – July 18, 2012

I woke up at the Holiday Inn in Waterloo, NY and Kelly was gone! She left a note saying she was getting caffeinated. I took this opportunity, after a few sips of hotel coffee to revisit the fitness room (Kelly used it after our swim last night. I chose instead to sit in the Jacuzzi and a few minutes in the sauna), the usual cardio but also a Universal machine.  Got a few sets in. Moving weight does feel different than my usual BowFlex workout.

Kelly and Yelp identified a good breakfast place called Connie’s.… Read the rest

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Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Howe Cavern

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Secret Cave narrowIf the surface is hot, go underground

Day 3 – July 17, 2012

I slept very well, had not slept much the night before. Kelly got up first and asked if I wanted coffee or anything as she headed off to the free breakfast.  As expected it was all carbs but, much worse, a $40 charge if you took ANY food out of the room or ANY drink. She couldn’t even get her coffee.

She decided we would hit the road.  We were not having any luck and hunger won out, we stopped at McDonalds. Blueberry oatmeal for me and big breakfast for Kelly (thanks for the piece of bacon).… Read the rest

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Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Report From Jim: Ben & Jerry’s

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Hole in Door

There used to be a deadbolt in that hole.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Wedding: Vermont – A Nice Inn, with Undertones of Stephen King

Day 2 – July 16, 2012

K went to get breakfast and work while I showered. She couldn’t get the door open. The dead bolt knob turned but the bolt would not retract.

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A Visit to Mall of America

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So Not a Shopper, But…

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…I finally visited Mall of America in Minneapolis Minnesota. It was overwhelming. 4 stories of shops and things to do.

I went into a store that sold only salsa and hot sauces of every different kind. Sampled some, but ended up not buying any, as we were on the road.

Molly has got to shop this place in an upcoming book! It’s huge, and there’s always something going on. We skipped the roller coaster (although our friend Roz assured me it wasn’t quite as awful as a full version adventure park version).

Instead, we went to the Star Trek exhibit. Fun. When are they making the next movie? I’m curious to see where they go from here.

20140609-065427-24867355.jpgBest thing of all? The giant Lego Transformer. Now I know what to get my grandson for the next dozen years. It will take us that long to make something like this.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?

Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Mount Washington

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Cog Railroad

Mt. Washington Summit Sign

Day 1 – July 15, 2012

Left about 30 mi utes behind schedule at 8:30 am.  First stop was to top off the gas. I had filled up the day before and logged 15 miles when I got back to the gas station.  Put in an additional 2.4 gallons, too nervous to see if could over fill it more.

Then a car wash for ” the ultimate” , the car is “looking good”. Kelly said that if anyone told her I’d stop and get a wash before hitting the road she would have said they were crazy.… Read the rest

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Vermont Solitude

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Another trip across country begins

I’m on the road again!

baybridgelightsWe’re heading toward grandson territory in California. This time, we decided to go through Canada. Passports in hand, we looked forward to conquering new lands.

20140606-121147-43907269.jpgWe only got as far as Lyndon, Vermont the first day.

We stopped at a B&B, where the proprietor made us feel like slackers — she and her husband retired, then bought and spent three years renovating a beautiful Vermont farmhouse as a B&B.

20140606-121147-43907892.jpgAfter 25 years, she clearly still loves the work, and takes care that her guests will be comfortable in one of the 5 unique bedrooms. Because we were her only guests that night, we picked the canopy bed room. Lovely night’s sleep.

20140606-121148-43908444.jpgThe breakfast was done on an AGA stove (I forgot to snap a picture!) and served in a dining room with an elegantly set table.

The little touches were everywhere. Flowers. Paintings, a huge photobook of the renovation process (they took the place down to the studs in some areas).

If you’re ever in Lyndon, Vermont, I highly recommend the Branch Brook Bed and Breakfast. They’re open year round, and love bicyclers, hikers, snowmobilers, skiers, and anyone with an interesting story to tell. … Read the rest

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports From Jim — Brick Oven Pizza and S’Mores at Chalet View Lodge

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1 day until the WEDDING!!!

I admit it was a bit of a blur; we met family at the continental breakfast while plans for the day were made. A hike was planned but my blister kept me sidelined and I seemed to have enough to keep me busy. Those who went on the hike climbed mountains and valleys for 5 hours and had a great time. My brother confided he worried a bit about keeping up but his pride wouldn’t let Kelly’s aunt outdo him!

The groom-to-be’s family kept with the casual and friends-and-family focus for the rehearsal dinner. Since most of the guests were staying at the Chalet View Lodge, they arranged for brick oven pizzas on the outside patio.

The rehearsal itself was very casual (Twenty Mile House, where the wedding would take place, was busy with another wedding). It was all the participants circled around the bride-to-be being told not to worry too much about it, it would all work out. And then on to the fun.

The hotel had an outside area with a brick oven for gourmet pizza so pizza, along with some great sides, beer, wine and mojitos were on the menu.  … Read the rest

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Posted in About a Wedding

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — We Arrive at the Wedding Venue

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Winding Our Way to Graeagle

It was a 5 hr trip from SF to Graeagle, where we rented a house for the wedding. We could choose to travel back on I-80 (through the Donner Pass), which we had done on the way from Reno or the back route, about same time according to Mavis (and future son-in-law Pete). We took the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (no toll in our direction-saved $5!) on 580 to 80 to Sacramento. We crossed a small bridge which cost $5 (no free lunch for us). Left SAC for 99 north to Yuba City.

The plan was to stop and get lunch, gas and groceries along this stretch. I assured Kelly we would have plenty of choices. We had none, there was nothing there.

In Yuba we stopped for gas at an ARCO that did not take credit cards (they did take debit). Decided to pass and had to wait for the guy in front of me to fill up before I could leave. Paid a bit more to gas up a few miles away but missed the Carl’s Jr where we planned to have lunch.  There would be more places  I said confidently (there weren’t) so we had “lunch” about 5 pm.… Read the rest

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On the Way to the Wedding: Jim’s Roadtrip Reports — California, Here We Are

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For those of you who have been hanging on to read about the best part of the trip, good news: we’re almost to the wedding. Today’s episode sees us arrive in San Francisco, California for a visit with Daughter  (aka Kristen) and Almost Son-in-law (aka Pete) before heading to Graeagle, where the wedding will take place. Thank you for your patience as we unfold the story. I promise the wedding pictures will be spectacular.

A Home is Made of Family and Friends, But Walls and a Pool are Also Nice

We left Reno for the 5 hr drive to Kristen and Pete’s new house. The ladies were planning to go shoe shopping so Kristen went and picked up Kelly’s mom from Kelly’s sisters place where she was staying. She then joined us after work.  Kristen had done some pre-shopping that turned out to fill all needs so shopping was cancelled. We had a tour of their house, which has a nice pool and deck. The house will be filled with friends, family and much love and will make them a fine home.

We walked with Kristen and Pete to a local pizza place and had dinner before we left Kristen to deal with the 4,327 remaining wedding details.… Read the rest

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