Milestone Birthday Preparation

I have a milestone birthday coming up in 2015.

I have been thinking of what I want to do for that milestone. I know this is really nerdy, but I think I’d like to attend a writer’s conference. I have taken a few online writing classes, and a couple of regular classes. You know, old school, I actually had to sit with others in a classroom. For writers, I think that is difficult. We tend to be introverted and people sometimes frighten us. I didn’t think the experience was terrible, so I am game for another live class/conference.

Here is my dilemma…which conference should I attend. I don’t have any novel ideas that have been stuffed away in the back of mind for years and years. I love reading mysteries, but the thought of writing one just sounds unappealing.

So, what do I love to write about? Me, of course. And I don’t mean that in an egotistical sort of way. I mean that I love to experience new and different things and then I like to write about them. It’s like I get to taste that experience twice. And, I borrowed that line. Here is the actual quote.

“I write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~Anais Nin.

I have always enjoyed keeping a journal. I love to write personal essays and memoirs. I wrote a memoir about my trip to London last year, and I had a blast writing about it. The doggone thing was 25 pages long, and it was about a one day excursion to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath.

I also love to travel and some day, if I could be paid to be a travel writer, I would do it.

So, should I take another memoir class? How about a travel writing class? What about creative non-fiction? I love writing for magazines and I do quite a bit of research for the articles I write. It wouldn’t hurt to learn a little more about writing non-fiction.

I feel I need to answer question number one first. What type of writing conference should I attend?

Now for question number two. Where in the heck should I go? I am going to limit the course work to the United States. I live in Minnesota; are there any good conferences in the state or in the Midwest that I should attend?

East coast? West coast? Southwest? The perfect place in my mind, is a state that I haven’t been to yet. So that leaves, North Dakota, Louisiana, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Montana or Idaho.

I hoping for a conference that not only provides me knowledge, but I also want to meet writer’s and make new connections for more freelance work.

Has anyone been to an amazing writer’s conference?

What class? Where was it? Would you recommend it?



Fifth Wedding Anniversary: Part IV The Badlands

July 5th was our last day in South Dakota. There were a few minor things on my to-do list that we didn’t get a chance to do. One of the things I wanted to do was go wine tasting at a local winery. And, I thought a cave might be fun too. But we opted to drive the entire way home on Saturday so we could see our fur kids and rest up for the work week. Ugh, work just gets in the way.

We originally planned to stay one more night, so after we packed up the jeep we stopped at the front office to see if they were able to rent out our campsite. If so, then we were refunded the money from Saturday night. It wasn’t all that much money, but it seemed like a waste to pay for a site we weren’t going to use. So we stopped in at the office and sure enough, they had it rented for Saturday night.

Last day of our vacation.

We packed up our belongings for the long drive home.

Mystery Mountain Resort in South Dakota

We said our good-byes to the Mystery Mountain Resort.

Mystery Mountain Resort


Before long, we were on the road.

It didn’t take long to get to the Badlands National Park. Once again, we paid to drive through the national park. I am blanking on how much we paid, doesn’t matter, it was worth it!

The Badlands in South Dakota

Hello Badlands!

The drive was absolutely breathtaking, I know, such a cliché word, but the Badlands were like nothing I had ever experienced. There were 244,000 acres of this chalky, mountainous region. The vegetation was sparse and the overlooks were awe-inspiring, but the overlooks made my gut do flip flops. I am afraid of heights, and to look over the edge was frightening! I couldn’t go any closer to the edge in the picture below. Notice my stance, it looks like I am bracing myself for an earthquake!

The Badlands

It was blazing hot on July 5th. We opted not to hike in the Badlands today.

244,000 acres of Badlands

The Badlands


I felt much better with the railing between me and the edge. It didn’t hurt to have hubby by my side!

Fifth Anniversary trip to South Dakota

Last day of our fifth anniversary vacation!

I am not sure what the allure is for me, but I love the arid climates. I not only loved the Badlands, but I enjoyed the Black Hills as well. I lived in Colorado for five years and at times, I don’t know why I left—that is a whole other blog post. While living in Colorado, I was able to visit Salt Lake City, Utah, Moab, Utah, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and my favorite place on the planet, Lake Powell! I do hope to live in the desert southwest some day. But for now, my life is in Minnesota, and I will do everything in my power to make it great!

The Badlands

More chalky, mountainous terrain.

The Badlands

More Badlands!

The Badlands

I love the Badlands!

I rode through this National Park thankful for every moment! Mother Nature, you have out done yourself…

Are you partial to arid climates, or, do you love humid, sticky midwestern heat?



Moms Make a Difference

Moms (& Dads) Make a Difference

I love Huffington Post! I frequent the Style, Women and Travel sections often-sometimes more than two or three times a day—they post new things, I can’t help it. And today, like many other days, as I was searching for reading material, I found something that made me smile and I wanted to share.

To preface this little gem of an article I found, I thought I would give you a little peek into my childhood. To start, I was that kid who did a little bit of everything. I started playing t-ball at the ripe ol’ age of 5. I took up volleyball as soon as it was offered in grade school. I ran in Little Olympics. I learned to play the violin, briefly. I was in Brownies and then Girl Scouts, again, briefly.

By the time I graduated from grade school I had been team captain and MVP in most all the sports I participated in. In junior high, I gave up the violin and started to play the flute. I was the first chair flute player (and an athlete) and things were going my way.

But, the one thing I remember most about all of my accomplishments was my mom. She was behind me every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was present and accounted for too. He was the one who pushed me to be better, but my mom, my mom thought I was a superstar at every event no matter how well or how poorly I played. She was is amazingly supportive!

We never had a lot of money, but my parents could always afford, new shoes and the proper attire for each sport or band concert.

When I was in high school, I focused on volleyball. I stopped playing everything else and played volleyball year round. My mom traveled to almost every volleyball game that I had. During some months of the year, she devoted almost every weekend to traveling to away games, packing lunches, making cookies and other goodies for the team.

And, my senior year, the girls I played volleyball with had been together for a long time. We were a strong team.  We made it through sectionals and then to state. It was a huge accomplishment. And my mom was one of the few who put together goodie bags for all the girls who played. Her and a few other moms decorated our lockers, traveled to the games and cheered the loudest!

I know it isn’t Mother’s Day or my mom’s birthday, but I had to give a shout out to my best friend and mother. I love you for who you are and who you helped me become. Thank you from my heart to yours!

Take a minute to read this Huffington Post article and go give mom a hug!

Was your mom an awesome cheerleader?