Books: My Not So Secret Love

books and carMy not so secret love affair began when I was just a girl.

Short stories, diaries, articles, quotes, novels, poems, journals, monologues, plays, blogs, letters – Style and form are irrelevant. I love them all.

Dick and Jane | See Addison learn how to read.

I didn’t always have this deep abiding love.

Times are different now than they were then. Now a days, attending preschool is normal and often expected, but it wasn’t when I was a child. A child’s education didn’t begin until kindergarten, but education was important to my parents. They wanted to give me and my sister every advantage. Enrolling me in preschool, they hoped to start my education off on the right foot. And it did. Preschool taught me everything a kindergartner needed to know.

My school didn’t quite know what to make of me and my advanced knowledge. Worried that I’d languish about and be bored in kindergarten, the teachers recommended I skip kindergarten and start the first grade. Hesitantly, my parents agreed.

Sadly, this leap seemed to halt any progress I’d made. Struggling through the first grade, I quickly fell behind the other students. Seeing my frustration, Mom took matters into her own hands. Every day after school, she’d sit me down at our Formica kitchen table, and we’d read out of her old Dick and Jane books.

I hated every agonizing moment. It was my own torturous hell. The last thing I wanted to do after a long day of school was more work. No, I wanted to be set free to run and play and eat cherry flavored Popsicles. Instead, I was forced to sit side by side with Mom reading about Dick, Jane, and their dog Spot.

Delving into the pages of a story, I live a thousand lives.dr seuss

Attending a tea party with queens and kings, I sip on tea and sample sweet cakes. Crouched down in a corn field, I silently pray that I’m not discovered. Slicing through the warm waters of the Caribbean, I swim among the fishes. Heartbroken, I’m wracked with gut-wrenching sobs at the sudden death of my mom. Journeying to the farthest lands, I camp out under the stars and desert moon. Tying on an apron, I learn how to make candy from snow. Hanging upside down from a tree branch, I hold court with my friends, discussing the true meaning of friendship.

If only I’d known the wonderful world reading would open for me, maybe I wouldn’t have put up such a fuss to learn.

Isn’t a library supposed to be available for everyone?library

I’m at the high school with my two of my best friends. We are in middle school now, but we’ll be starting high school next year. We thought it would be fun to sneak into the school to see what it is like before we start attending here. Walking along the hall, we come to the library. It is twice the size of our school library. I’m in awe. There are so many books. Books run from floor to ceiling along all the walls and the seats are plush. Selecting a book from the stacks, I sink into a plush chair and begin to read. My friends aren’t as impressed. Quietly talking and giggling, they soon attract the attention of the librarian. We are asked to leave. Sadly, I put my book away, promising to come back another day.

Fun in the sundandelion

Summer stretches out before me. Holed up in my room, I’m surrounded by piles of books. Now that it is summer, I’m free to spend every waking moment with my nose buried in a book. Long after I’m supposed to be asleep, I use a flashlight and read late into the night.

My Mom helped me replenish my stockpile of books by regularly taking me to used book stores, second hand stores, and the library.

Spending so much time inside, I began to grow pale. Watching this go on day after day, my dad implores me to go outside and get some sunshine. Not a reader himself, he has a hard time understanding my fascination with books. One day, he finally had enough. Picking me up, he deposited me outside. Locking me out of the house, he told me I could come back after I’d spent the afternoon getting some sun.

Pounding on the front door, I beg for him to let me in. He stands firm. I need the Vitamin D. Finally, I give up, and ask him to at least let me have the book, I was reading. A few minutes go by…before he opens a window tossing my book out to me. Happy again, I snatch it up before he can change his mind. Heading off, I find a soft grassy area in our backyard before loosing myself back in my book.

My not so secret love affair began when I was just a girl.

 

 

 

 

 

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Liebster Award

Liebster Award3

Thank You for the Nomination:

I’d like to sincerely thank Mom and Me Publishing for nominating my blog. Please take a moment to check out their amazing blog: Mom and Me Publishing. This mom and daughter duo are a lively, creative, and funny writing team that offer beautiful insight. 

The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.

  • Display the award on your blog – by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget.

  • Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional).

  • Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers (*You can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets readers know this information.)

  • List these rules in your post.

  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked by the blogger who nominated you.

  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer when they post their nomination. 

  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated them for a Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.

A Blog I Like Reading: 

Hill Top Heaven is a creative and imaginative blog written by Cathy Holdsworth. Cathy has a zest for life which is powerfully portrayed in her blog posts. She uses her blog to explore her passion for life, travel, food, decorating, and writing. I happened to stumble upon Hill Top Heaven by chance, but it immediately captured my attention. Cathy’s perspective on life and her travels continue to draw me in.

While I enjoy Cathy’s travel adventures, I think my favorite post in her blog is ‘The Painting – A Short Story.’ This short story transported me into the marriage of Frank and his wife. This story brought me to the verge of tears. Year after year, this wife endured endless abuse at the hands of her husband. Using her imagination, she escaped by jumping into a Monet landscape. In this landscape she was everything she’d ever hoped to be – young, beautiful, and loved. One day, her dream came true. She finally escaped her husband, and found her hard earned happiness.

10 Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I’m a traveler who explores the United States in my 34 ft RV, I have affectionately nicknamed The Beast.

  2. I’m a mom who homeschool/roadschools.

  3. I’m short – only five foot.

  4. I love coffee, and I tend to be cranky without my morning cup.

  5. I’m afraid of heights, but I love to fly.

  6. Like most bloggers and writers, I love to read.

  7. I’ve never milked a cow, but eventually I will.

  8. I hate bananas.

  9. I absolutely adore New York City.

  10. I love listening to loud music while driving.

 I Nominate the Following Blogs:

Answers to the 11 Questions I was Asked:

  1. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
    • My favorite books are autobiographies which have been defined as authentic texts. I love reading about other people’s lives and experiences.
  2. Coffee, Tea, or neither?
    • Coffee – Definitely coffee.
  3. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
    • I prefer dogs. I have a Beagle and a Scottish Terrier.
  4. What’s one of the most moving experiences you’ve had?
    • The most moving experience I’ve had is giving birth.
  5. What makes you whole-heartedly happy?
    • Traveling – I love traveling.
  6. What book turned you into a “reader”? Or- What book has had the most impact on you?
    • I can’t name a specific book, but there are two authors that strongly impacted my love for reading: Dorothy Allison and Maya Angelou.
  7. What is your day like?
    • My average day depends on whether or not we are traveling. On travel days – I wake early, rush to get ready, and hit the road. On non-travel days – I sleep late, wake, explore my surroundings, and write.
  8. Briefly, describe yourself.
    • Writer. Blogger. Traveler. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Reader. Amateur Photographer.
  9. Why did you create your blog?
    • I was inspired by Casey Neistat, a YouTube Blogger. He started his vlog to constantly be creating and honing his craft. I loved this concept, and knew my writing would benefit from the same.
  10. Do you have a suggestion for us fellow bloggers on how to promote our page?
    • My only advice would be to read other blogs and interact with other bloggers. I also use social media to promote my page.
  11. Which tag do you search the most?
    • Travel and Life – are my two favorite tags.

Questions to Answer:

    1. What is your favorite place in the world?

    2. Why did you begin blogging?

    3. What is the worst nightmare?

    4. What is your overall strategy with your blog?

    5. What is your best memory?

    6. What was the scariest moment you’ve ever experienced.

    7. What is your favorite food?

    8. Who inspires you?

    9. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog? 

    10. What is your favorite quote?

    11. Where do you find inspiration for your blog?

Sakura-Con

sakura

An annual anime convention, Sakura-Con takes place at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

Excitement hangs in the air. Costumes decorate the city streets. Sakura-Con is here.

My daughter has spent months planning, crafting, and sewing together her costumes. She loves anime, and this particular convention holds a special place in her heart. It is the first, she attended.

Walking into the convention center, I’m instantly transported into a world of imagination and make believe. It is a world, I struggle to understand.

There are throngs of people everywhere. Hesitantly, I follow my daughter’s lead through the crowd. I don’t know what to make of the scene around me.Looking around, I wonder if saying “yes” to this event was such a good idea. People are everywhere in various states of dress – women and men in skimpy outfits, furry creatures, people decked out in armor, women and men in beautiful gowns, and anime characters galore. Moving about the crowd, I’m struck by the overwhelming sense of friendship and camaraderie. People talk, laugh, and pose for pictures with the characters they like.

Picking up a schedule, we map out our day. There are numerous activities, we can participate in – various panels, costume contests, fashion shows, meet and greets with different voice actors, band performances, anime video premiers,  gaming competitions, and more. The options are endless.

The stamina needed to keep up with it all is insane. Constantly on the go, the events run from early in the morning until after midnight.I’m exhausted by the end of the first day.This anime world is a crazy, but I’m comforted to know it is all in good fun.

The stamina needed to keep up with it all is insane. The events run from early in the morning until after midnight, entertaining everyone and keeping them on the go.

On the second day, I know what to expect and better prepare myself. Bringing my laptop and camera with me, I sit myself at a central location while my daughter goes to the events with her friends. Sometimes, I join them. Surprisingly, there are events that hold my attention. Other times, I simply wander about taking pictures.

By the third and final day, I’ve learned a few things. The panels have helped enlighten me. The anime videos have entertained me. The detailed work put into the costumes have astonished me. The friendly open people have helped to welcome me into their world.

We’ve attended several Sakura-Con’s over the years, and I still struggle to understand the world of anime. I couldn’t begin to tell you which character belongs to which anime. However, I have fun every time I go.

More Information on Sakura-Con

A Small Town Festival

watermelonI’m a collector – a collector of experiences, not possessions. For me, there is nothing better. As a traveler, I’m always looking for opportunities to add to my collection. In every small town, big city, and state we visit, I keep my eyes peeled for anything that promises to be interesting: events, museums, workshops, parks, exhibits, fairs, trails, galleries, festivals, beaches, and the like.

You never know when opportunity will present itself, but you must always be ready. Recently, I had such an opportunity.

On a quiet Saturday morning, we were headed to the store to restock our groceries when we came across a festival. No wonder the small town was so quiet, everyone in town seemed to be here. There is no time like the present to seize the day. Groceries were quickly forgotten as we pulled into a designated parking lot. Setting off to enjoy the local festivities we were presented with a question – How much watermelon can you eat? You can test your stomach’s holding capacity for the pink meat of this sweet fruit at the Watermelon Festival in Chiefland, Florida. Held annually on the first Saturday in June, this small town festival has something for everyone.

Festival goers can try their skill at the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, watch the floats in the Watermelon Parade, and enjoy intelligent, beautiful, young women square off against one another in hopes to win a scholarship at the Watermelon Pageant.

Children race from activity to activity. Some gravitate towards the giant wading pool with inflatable ride-on toys. Splashing about, they enjoy the cool water against the stifling heat. Others forego the water to jump on the bounce house.

Artists and craftsmen lay out their wares trying to entice customers into shelling out their hard-earned cash for items they just can’t resist.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more substantial than watermelon, you’re in luck. Food vendors are prepared to offer you the finest foods…gator, gyros, cracklins, snow cones, kettle corn, sandwiches, sausages, lemonades, and so much more.

How much watermelon can you eat? It is a question, anyone can easily answer at Chiefland’s Watermelon Festival.

However, it is a question I could’ve answered even if I hadn’t attended this event. None. I don’t actually like watermelon. Weird, I know. There is just something about the fruit, I’ve never cared for. My family all adore watermelon, and have never been able to understand my distaste for it. Nevertheless, I had fun adding the 62nd annual Watermelon Festival to my collection of experiences.

Watermelon Festival Information

 

 

Sharing a Meal

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It’s the perfect time of year. The leaves on the trees have turned from green to bright hues of yellows, oranges, and red. The tree line in the park is ablaze with the magnificent colors.

Pulling on my sweatshirt, I settle down beside the campfire. The smell of our dinner cooking among the embers wafts up, floating along the air, mixing with the damp smell of earth.

“Sorry to interrupt, but we were wondering if you’d all be willing to sell us a few pieces of wood.” A soft voice breaks across the camp.

Turning towards the voice, I see a couple of teenage kids standing at the edge of the road. They look to be about my daughter’s age, maybe a couple years older. Standing, I smile in welcome. Moving towards the wood pile to get them what they need, I can’t help but laugh to myself as I see Nana heading towards them. Nana is a people person. She loves meeting new people, and collects friends where ever we go. She’ll have those kids sitting around the fire eating dinner with us, before they even know what’s happened.

Beaming, Nana welcomes them.”It’s a nice night, isn’t it? Come, gather around the fire. Nothing would please me more than to have you and yours, join me and mine. Dinner is about ready. There is more than enough. We’re having campfire packets. Have you ever had them? They are simple and delicious.”

“No, Ma’am. We didn’t mean to intrude. We were just hoping to get some wood to start a fire for our own dinner.” The young girl explained with a small smile of her own.

“Nonsense. You’re not intruding. Fellow travelers are always welcome. We have plenty. While we wait for dinner to finish cooking among the coals, we can share a story or two to while away the night.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. If you’re sure?” The young woman responded, casting an eye over our camp before looking to the young man quietly standing beside her.

“Of course, I’m sure. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening than with good food and good company.” Beaming, she ushered them towards the fire to meet the rest of the family.

Scooting closer together, everyone shifted, making room for our guests. There is something relaxing and easy about a campfire and the smell of food cooking on an open fire. Before too long, we’ve gotten to know our new friends a little better.

Traveling from Maine to Texas, Craig and Jenny are driving down to surprise Jenny’s grandma who’ll be turning ninety-seven in a few weeks. They are good kids – not kids, really. In their early twenties, they are older than they look. Still kids to me. Craig is quiet and reserved while Jenny seems more open and outgoing. Both are a little hesitant and cautious. It’s understandable. I imagine they don’t quite know what to make of my crazy traveling family. We can be a lot to take.

Opening the campfire packets, we release the steam and the aromas into the air. The smell has everyone sniffing appreciatively.

“Wash up, everyone. Dinner is ready.” Nana calls as I begin dishing up the plates.

Food brings us together. It nourishes us. Food connects people in a way nothing else can. Sharing a meal is the same the world over. It is a time to talk, to laugh, and to appreciate the people around you.

Campfire Packet Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. Heavy Duty Tin Foil
  2. Chicken breast
  3. Cubed Potatoes
  4. 1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded and Sliced into Strips
  5. 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Seeded and Sliced into Strips
  6. 1 Red Onion, Sliced into Strips
  7. 1 Garlic Cube, Sliced
  8. Olive Oil/Pam

Preparing:

  1. Lay out 2 sheets of your heavy duty tin foil.
  2. Spray both sheet liberally with Pam
  3. Place chicken breast in center of of first sheet of tin foil
  4. Add your potatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic around it.
  5. Top with the other sheet of heavy duty tin foil.
  6. Roll the edges tightly.
  7. Wrap each packet in another sheet of foil to secure.
  8. Cook in the hot coals of a campfire until the chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.