Thursday: A Little History Lesson 

As usual at a holiday in express, we started our day with their breakfast. The day before, we had met and chatted with the woman Who oversees the breakfast room. She offered to make hot chocolate for the girls with warm milk from the back, instead of using the hot water dispenser. That was a big hit! Then we hit the road for Thursday’s excursion. 

Virginia City!

We took our time getting there. We first drove through Dayton. And then took a back road into Virginia City. Very interesting. 

We easily found parking in Virginia City, and made our way to the visitor center, where we purchased tickets to a silver mine tour. We wandered the wooden sidewalks and visited the old shops. We had an encounter with a man named stinky and his donkey, Bernadine. 

We had our pictures taken in old west garb. Drama princess didn’t want to do it, until she heard she could dress up as a cowgirl. Then she was all in. 

We headed back to the car for lunch. We were going to eat our picnic out of the back of the car, but to the side of the parking lot we spied a picnic table under a tree. It was in the yard of the courthouse, but the gate was open. We decided to spread out there, and if anyone came and told us we couldn’t be there, we would leave. People came and went from the courthouse, usually they smiled at us. One commented, “We don’t even use our own picnic table. Nice to see someone enjoying it.”

After lunch we headed to our mind tour. The Chollar Mine is about a mile from town. We thought it a bit closer and decided to walk. After half a mile downhill, Grampy decided to go back for the car. We girls forged ahead, and waited at the mine entrance. It’s a 400 foot walk into the mountain, led by an unenthused old-timer who would have sounded perfectly normal droning, “Bueller … Bueller…” instead of silver mining facts. 

We headed back to town, wandered through a few more shops, bought some old-fashioned candy, and called it good. 

We stayed the night with my cousin in Gardnerville. She has a lovely home on acreage. The girls were in heaven with a dog, a bird, chickens, and goats. 

We ended the day with another chapter about Mma Ramotswe’s cases. 

Friday: Lake Tahoe! 

Wednesday: Lessons in Patience (For Everyone)

Wednesday morning was time for Stud Muffin and I to earn this trip. We had to go to the 90 minute timeshare presentation. We knew we weren’t buying so it was just a matter of wasting an hour and a half with two squirrelly girls. 

We bestowed our electronics on the girls, threatened them with no swimming, and crossed our fingers. They did great for the first hour. But it worked out. Just as the electronics lost their appeal, it was time to ride in a golf cart to look at a sample unit. After that, just ten minutes of repeating, “I understand it’s a great deal. I know the same deal won’t be available later. We still say no,” and we were free again. 

We headed back to Genoa and toured the Mormon Station Museum/replica fort. Drama Princess loved the pelts on display. She was less enthusiastic about the other displays and definitely disapproved of any picture taking. 

After finding a Walgreens to replace the missing goggles, we visited  Farmers Market for more fruit. Then lunch at the hotel, more swimming, pizza for dinner, a movie on my laptop (Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan), more swimming, and finally bed. Drama Princess fell asleep during the movie and couldn’t/wouldn’t wake up for swimming. We expected her to be wide awake at 11 PM, but she slept over 12 hours straight. And woke up talking. 

Day Two: I Don’t Want to Be A Cat! 

Day Two Highlights: Pupils that contract and dilate. Naked women in the spa. Disappearing goggles. 

Tuesday morning started with the Drama Princess waking up crying because she had a dream she turned into a cat. Then she walked to the full-length mirror to be sure she hadn’t changed into a cat. 

Loud wailing ensued for 10 minutes. Because she had just woken up, her pupils were dilated. She was convinced this meant she was becoming a cat. Grampy and Grammy explained how the pupil of the eye works, in the light and the dark. She spent the next 40 minutes watching her eyes in the mirror, turning the light off and on, as her pupils dilated and contracted. 

Both girls love a hotel. After their Holiday Inn Express breakfast, we headed to the pool, while Grampy ran some errands.

We decided the girls needed swim shoes because their feet were already getting cut from the bottom of the pool, from all the jumping into the pool. Grampy headed out for swim shoes, and more Lunchables. The girls are eating more on this trip than we have ever seen them eat. They both have a hollow leg.

They swam till almost noon, then we went back to our room for lunch out of the ice chest. We thought a bit of a quiet time might be a good idea. So both girls and Grampy fell asleep and took long naps. We finally left the hotel at about 3 PM. We drove to Genoa, Nevada.

Genoa is billed as, “the oldest city in Nevada.” It has a one-block long old town, with antique shops, a general store, a bar and grill, and museums. We heard amazing reviews of the ice cream available in the general store so after walking through the town and into a few shops, (which took about 15 minutes), we each had a scoop. There’s a beautiful park, with a statue of the man who delivered mail to the town in the late 19th century. In the winter, he came twice a month, on long skis, with the mail on his back. It took three days to get here from Placerville. 

We then headed to the resort, where we have access to the mineral dprings, hot tubs, and a pool. We spent several hours there, and the girls had a blast. 

The two notable things at the resort: one pair of goggles has disappeared into thin air. She had them and then she didn’t and we have no idea where they are. It was literally 10 minutes from the time she took them off till we discovered they were missing. And we hadn’t gone very far. From the pool to the locker room. 

The second notable thing was them seeing a woman in the locker room. She was naked. This sparked questions and a conversation about locker rooms, spas, nudity, appropriateness of nudity, and the use of optional changing rooms.

We’d had our picnic dinner in the park, but both girls were starving again. So Grampy made a quick stop at Dairy Queen for chicken strips which they ate in the hotel room. We read Chapter 3 of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. No tears this time, but a bit of judicious editing by Grammy was needed. The elder child caught that something was awry, so we will be having another conversation about appropriateness.

Lights out. 

Three Weeks in July

I’m a big fan of memories. Some of my favorite times with family and friends are remembering other fun times we had in the past.

This has become even more important and precious to me in the last few years since we lost our beautiful niece, Laura. Memories of her bring a mixture of laughter and tears. But it’s also made me acutely aware of the need to be making those memories.

So I’ve been consciously trying to give gifts of memories and experiences, instead of more stuff. We’ve been blessed to be able to go on some trips to the Carson Valley, Nevada. One of these trips was thanks to Laura. It was a resort stay that we purchased at a fundraiser for her. They were very hospitable and welcoming, and we enjoyed ourselves very much. And of course, a few months later, we got a call inviting us back, this time with an invitation to stay nearby, enjoy the resort facilities, and listen to a timeshare presentation. We don’t usually do these things, but it appeared the perfect opportunity to bring along our two granddaughters and make some memories.

I’ll be recording some of our memories and fun times this week, on the blog. We will have both granddaughters all this week, and then just one for two more weeks.

Yesterday, July 10, we left our home and began the four and a half hour drive to Nevada. We fielded the expected, “how much longer?” questions and road games.

The beautiful mountain scenery over the pass, and the gorgeous lakes elicited only casual interest. Until we stopped at one lake and walked across a foot bridge over the causeway. And they were both enthralled with the water right under our feet and looking for fish. We got to town and checked in, and then went looking for dinner. We found a local burger and deli joint. Emphasis on “local.” Apparently you have to have lived in this area a certain number of months before the information is deposited in your brain. We were completely at a loss about where to order, where to get drinks, what to do, how to order. Even after we told the staff several times, “We’ve never been here before, we don’t know what to do,” they were spectacularly unhelpful. The hair in Stud Muffin’s salad, after waiting twice as long for our food as anyone else in the place, was the final straw.

Back to the hotel to get the girls in the swimming pool, to work out some of the pent-up road trip energy, and hopefully tire them out for bedtime.

Granddaughter number two, the blonde six-year-old, is enchanted with the mini fridge in the room. She promptly stowed her swim goggles in the freezer portion, to see how cold they could get. After our swim, she put her wet suit in the refrigerator, also to see how cold it could get. The answer: pretty darn cold. It was still dripping wet this morning when she went to put it on for the morning swim.

Granddaughter number one can’t find her suit, so is swimming in shorts and a tee. She had it at our house Sunday. I did a walk-through of the house before we left, and didn’t see it anywhere… It’s a mystery.

As I was stuffing a book bag with games and books to keep them occupied in the car, at the last second I added The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, thinking they would enjoy hearing some of Mma Ramotswe’s adventures. We finished Chapter 2 last night. They are enjoying it. But I had forgotten just how heartbreaking chapter 2 is. It’s the story of Mma Ramotswe’s father’s life in the mines, and how he died, and his love for his family, his daughter, his cows. Tears and sadness all around.

Monday’s memory: The refreshing feel of cold swim goggles and bathing suit!

Book Talk Tuesday: Pintip Dunn

Big thank you to YA Books Central for revealing the cover of Seize Today!

Pintip croppedAnd a big thank you to Pintip Dunn for stopping by today to share her upcoming release with us.

The stats:

Author: Pintip Dunn


Release Date: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Entangled TEEN


Seventeen-year-old Olivia Dresden can literally see the path to goodness in each person. Her precognition means that different versions of people’s futures STflicker before her eyes. But forced into isolation, she can only watch as her mother, Chairwoman Dresden, chooses the dark, destructive course every time. Even so, she remains fiercely loyal to the woman her mother could be.

When the chairwoman captures Ryder Russell, a boy from the rebel Underground, Olivia sees a vision of her own imminent death. Despite her bleak fate, she rescues Ryder and flees with him, drawing her mother’s fury and sparking a romance as doomed as Olivia herself. As the full extent of Chairwoman Dresden’s gruesome plan is revealed, Olivia must find the light in her mother—or blink out of existence with the rest of the world.

Author bio:

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. In addition, it is a finalist for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, the Japanese Sakura Medal, and the MASL Truman Award. THE DARKEST LIE was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other books include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, the novella BEFORE TOMORROW, and the forthcoming GIRL ON THE VERGE.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at


Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Goodreads  Preorder

Book Trailer

Haven’t read the FORGET TOMORROW series yet? Read Book 1 now for the bargain price of $1.99! Sale ends 05/14.

Kobo  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  iBooks 

Thank you, Pintip! That cover is gorgeous!!


Monday Musing: Time as a Commodity

Since I’ve been working more hours, I have less time. A fact that seems to correlate perfectly.

But do I really have less time? I still have 24 hours in my day, same as always and same as everyone else.

Not my work. It’s labeled as licensed for noncommercial reuse, so I grabbed it to show as an example.

When I worked outside the home, I had time for reading and crafting. I loved to make handmade cards. I sewed. I quilted. I knitted. I read 80-100 books a year.

So what has really changed?

Well, it seems, a lot.

Social media.

Phones that double as communication and entertainment devices.

More sources of entertainment.

Now, instead of picking up the book I’m reading, when I sit in the recliner after dinner, I’m more likely to pull out my phone. I may play a game, check email, or look at Facebook or Instagram.

I still have the same number of hours in my day, but I’m feeling less productive than ever.

I’ve struggled to read even 80 books the last two years. Last year, I slipped in with 78 on December 31st.

In my ongoing quest to find more time, I deleted most games off my phone. I finished a year-long+ puzzle kind of game and deleted it. I took off several apps, including Facebook.

In an effort to become more social, I took some bridge lessons. Which by the way, can become a whole new obsession passion. I now own (and read) BRIDGE FOR DUMMIES and I actually know what Two No Trump means.

I managed to fit in the bridge lessons for one simple reason: I put them in my schedule and when the time arrived, I was in place and ready.

I have three quilt tops that are all pieced and are waiting for the backing and quilting. I have a quarter of a shawl knitted. I still have paper and (some) stamping/card making supplies, although I cleaned out a bunch of stamps in the past couple of years. Because I didn’t have “time,” anymore. fb

What a crock I fed myself.

And I know I’ve done it to myself. I can blame social media, Netflix, DirecTV, or Words With Friends.

But I need to turn off the device, open the book, or  pull out the crafting supplies. I know this in my head, but the recliner, TV remote and iPad are powerful magnets.



Book Talk Tuesday: ON SECOND THOUGHT

I’m in love with Kristan Higgins. I’ve said it before, but she is an amazing writer with wonderful stories.

Which is why I was so disappointed by last year’s IF YOU ONLY KNEW, Higgins’ first foray into women’s fiction from romance, her wheelhouse. It was okay, but I’m trying to only review books that either I a) really love or b) received to review.

So I was reluctant to try ON SECOND THOUGHT which came out recently. I still love Kristan Higgins. I still love her romance. I just wasn’t sure I was going to love her women’s fiction.

ostTurns out I had nothing to worry about.

ON SECOND THOUGHT is the story of two sisters, Kate and Ainsley. They are actually half-sisters, born more than a couple of years apart.

When the book opens, both girls are in happy relationships. Kate is nearly forty and a newlywed who’d given up dating and trying to find her soul mate.

Ainsley has been with Eric since she was 21. She’s supported him through his career and through chemo.

Kate is suddenly widowed and Ainsley is suddenly single. They are both shocked and grieving and can’t believe what has just happened.

I loved the relationship between the sisters, and how it grew. Kate has always been more reserved while Ainsley is like a Labrador Retriever puppy. They learn to appreciate each other and their different approaches to life. Both women also get to know themselves better.

The story asks hard questions, like if you knew you’d be widowed after 96 days of marriage, would you remain single and never risk your heartbreak? Would you pour yourself into a selfish jerk if you’d been able to see his true self? And can you risk your heart a second time?

I’m so glad I risked my heart on Higgins’ second women’s fiction book. I loved it!