Beyond the books–A look at my new town

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is a look at my new town.

I’ve been in Des Moines about two weeks now. I don’t have a tour of the town yet, but we’ve been a couple places since we moved here.

Note: I just got internet so I was able to complete this post! It will take a while before I catch up on my comments, but I’ll work at it.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The photos above are of the tropical plant part inside the geodesic-domed conservatory built in 1979. It is 80 feet tall and 150 feet wide with  plants, paths and seating areas.

There are also extensive outdoor gardens with plantings which will grow in this area. I’m looking forward to exploring the plantings to get ideas for our yard.

We visited and joined the botanical garden the first weekend we arrived here in Des Moines. And it’s wonderful! I know we will spend many wonderful hours here. They have classes, a wonderful garden shop (where I already bought some stuff), a cafe and at the beginning of May a plant sale I’m looking forward to going to.

Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge

Center-Street-Bridge

A pedestrian bridge along Center Street renamed the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in 2013 to honor Iowa women who have made significant achievements to Iowa and around the world. Downtown Des Moines is on both sides of the river.

Chinese Cultural Center of America & Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens

This park is just south of the botanical gardens along the Des Moines River. There’s also a Riverwalk along both sides of the river which I’m going to enjoy exploring since there are parks, fountains, an ice skating rink in winter, gardens with sculptures and more.

Downtown Des Moines has experienced a resurgence in recent years with many new restaurants, parks and a wonderful multi-block farmers market. I’m going to have so much fun exploring my new town.

What about you? What do you love (or dislike) about your town?

Beyond the books–Things I miss about being a kid

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is things I miss about being a kid.

Small town living

I grew up in a small town and walked or rode my bike all over town. A great feeling of freedom.

Freedom to wander

Living on a hill.  We lived on a hill on the last road above the town and there were only a few houses around us. (Now that hill is completely covered with houses and the town and county have grown and grown.) There weren’t too many kids living close to us, but there were two sisters around my age and we played together a lot when we weren’t in school. In the summer we often met up early in the morning and wandered the hillside all day long–not coming home until dinner sometimes.

Wandering with my dog. Sometimes I would wander the hillside with just my dog. She was a Brittany Spaniel (similar to a Springer Spaniel) and she loved to run along the hillside. Occasionally we would scare a deer or rabbit and off she would go!

Sledding. Since we lived on a hill when there was snow the sledding was great. Lots of kids would come around our hill to sled and we sometimes stayed all day long.

The cliff and river. We lived a couple blocks from a cliff with a river at the bottom. We weren’t supposed to go there, but, of course, we did! We found ways to climb around on the rocks, climb down to the river (which was deep and swift) and play by the river. (Makes me shudder now thinking about my kids around something like that at that age.) I remember once picking a bunch of cattails to give to my Mom. When I got back home it dawned on me that the cattails  only grew along and in the water. If I gave them to Mom she would know where I had been. So I took them apart until there was fuzz all over the grass. I remember Mom and Dad wondering what in the world had gotten into the yard! Of course, I didn’t say a word.

Weather

Since we lived on a hill we could see for miles. I loved watching storms rolling in. That’s how it looked–like the weather was rolling closer and closer. I miss seeing the weather like that.

The wonder of summer

Summers were the very best. Long days outside. The weather was usually warm after a cold night. I loved laying on my back on the grass just watching the sky and the clouds–seeing shapes in the clouds– and daydreaming. Maybe falling asleep in the warm sun. I would sometimes sleep outside on a summer night on our deck under the stars–looking at all the stars. Having one of our cats (indoor-outdoor cats) come and sleep with me. That was bliss.

The library

Reading. Another vivid memory is visiting the library with my Mom (and then having her read the books to me) when I was small and walking to the library myself when I was older. I loved to spend hours just walking through the aisles smelling the books…lol…and browsing and finding new authors and books to read. Even though I spent a lot of time outside I managed to read a lot, too.

Many other memories

Of course, there are many more memories–learning to cook and bake, camping in the mountains during the summer, fishing with my parents, visiting my grandparents who lived on a ranch and riding horseback with my cousins.

So many great memories! What about you? What did you like best about being a kid?

 

Beyond the books: Why I started blogging

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is why we started blogging.

I’m talking about why I started blogging and how that has changed through the three years I’ve blogged.

Why I started blogging three years ago

When I began blogging my main reason was to keep track of the books I read and to review them so I would remember them six months later! I had kept track of the books I read for a number of years on a spreadsheet, but often a few months later I couldn’t remember what a book was about. I figured reviewing the books would help me remember the books and I could always look up my review…lol.

After a few months

I found that reviewing a book makes me more discerning and aware of the things I like and dislike about a book. I still tend only to read the books I like so I give most of the books I read at least a B rating, but now I have reasons for my rating and share my thoughts–good and bad–about a book.

I started out on Google’s Blogger and discovered another reason to have a blog: I love technology and learning new things about it. I took an online class to learn about WordPress.com and then moved my blog to WordPress. I loved WordPress.com, but soon decided to take another online class to learn to use WordPress.org and create my own self-hosted blog. I’ve learned a lot though there’s a lot I don’t know and I’m sometimes frustrated trying to do something new with my blog!

And now

When I started out I told myself I didn’t care if no one ever read my blog, but I quickly learned that was a lie…lol. I really enjoy connecting with other bloggers. I enjoy reading their comments and visiting their blogs to see what they have written.

I’ve found so many blogs I enjoy reading and so many good books from reading other people’s blogs and seeing what they read. It’s really nice to connect with a blogger who reads some of the same books I like to read and who can recommend a new author or book to me. Not many of my friends or family in real-life like to read (which is pretty sad) or if they do read they don’t read the same type of books I read. It is such a pleasure to read other people’s reviews and posts for the kinds of books I like. And sometimes I find a book I wouldn’t have thought of reading before I started my blog if it weren’t for another blogging friend’s suggestion. I love that!

What about you? Why did you start to blog?

Beyond the books–“Me” time

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is what we do with “me” time.

My “me” time

I usually wake up early and it’s a great time to spend an hour or so in the quiet house reading. A great way to start the day!  A cup of coffee, a cat or two on my lap and a book. Perfect “me” time!

Another way to spend the time I have for myself is to make greeting cards for my friends and family. I love the time I spend with rubber stamps, inks, paper, paints and all the other ingredients I like to use. Sometimes it takes awhile to switch off the analytical part of my brain, but when I get in the creative groove it’s so fun to try new items or new ways of using them. Some cards look better than others and sometimes the creativity doesn’t kick in, but it’s great “me” time however it works out.

What about you? How do you use your ‘me” time?

 

My fear–Insects aka bugs

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is a fear I have.

My fear–insects aka bugs

When I read this topic I immediately thought of bugs. I have other fears, of course, but even though I don’t think about this very often (unless I see bugs in my house!) it is one of my oldest fears.

It started early. I was just a toddler when I sat in a red ant pile. (I think these were harvester ants not fire ants.) My mother told me I even had ants between my toes and had bites from the ants all over me. I had nightmares for years about giant ants walking around outside our house ready to carry me away! I still don’t like ants very well though most of the ants I meet today don’t bite!

I really dislike most insects. I know spiders do a lot of good and as long as they stay outside they can live! If they come inside my house and I see them I try to get my husband to kill them for me. If he’s not around then I will do it–especially if I see the spider in our bedroom. I have trouble sleeping if I know I have a spider in the bedroom. And I don’t want to see cockroaches ever–inside or outside our house.

I take this phobia–this fear–to the point of telling my husband I never want to live further south than where we are now–in Maryland…lol. And I’m happy we are moving to Iowa where the winters are cold enough to kill lots of insects each winter.

There are a few insects I don’t mind–butterflies, ladybugs (however, not the Asian version), dragonflies (my brother studies them so I’ve gotten up close and personal many times!) However, I’m not wild about a lot of other bugs when I’m gardening or sitting outside.

I have to admit writing this post about spiders and ants and cockroaches made me anxious! I decided I couldn’t even put photos of them in my post.

What about you? What is one of your fears?

Do people in your real life know you blog?

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves.

This week’s topic: Do people in your real life know you blog?

My immediate family and a few other people know I blog. My daughters read my blog sometimes and sometimes I ask my husband’s opinion on how something sounds or looks. One of my daughters even reviewed a book on my blog a couple of years ago and I hoped she would do more, but she’s too busy right now. My son knows I blog, but I don’t know if he has ever read any of my posts.

Most of my friends and family don’t read very much. If they do read they don’t read the same kinds of books I read. That’s one reason I blog–to talk to other people who love the same kinds of books I read. However, one of my daughters did read some of my blog posts last week and left some comments which is kind of funny since she didn’t know I was writing this post!

I’m always hesitant to mention to people that I have a blog and the few times I have they haven’t been very interested…lol. Especially when they hear I like to read science fiction, fantasy and mysteries.

Do your family or friends know you blog? Do they read your blog?

Beyond the Books–parenting tips

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is parenting tips.

Will this matter when she’s 16?

potty-training
My daughter potty training her doll

My children are grown and have flown the coop. But the best advice I remember from when my oldest was a toddler and I was trying to potty train: “Is this going to matter when she’s 16?” In other words, whether it takes a week or a month isn’t going to matter or be remembered when she’s 16! I discovered when I had my first child that parents are quite competitive when it comes to their kids. The milestones: “When did she begin to crawl?” Walk? Talk? Use the toilet? Read? And it goes on and on. And if my child does it earlier than another child that was good–Right? And I should let other parents know–Right?!! Wrong!

Now when l look back I can see that we were all uncertain. Not sure our child was developing the “right” way or soon enough. And if we could say “Suzie walked when she was nine months old” that must mean she’s doing great and is smarter than all the other children.

We were all stressed, wanted the best for our kids and not sure we were doing it “right.”

Books and well-meaning advice

I tend to turn to books when  something new is happening and/or I’m stressed.  So as soon as I was pregnant with my first child I read and researched about pregnancy, birth and childhood. I went to the library and bookstores so I had lots of books to choose from! Plus advice from our parents and other mothers. And I discovered as I read: “experts” often didn’t agree. And it was stressful to read all the different advice. What was “true and scientific” tended to change over the years. The best advice was that there is no “one” answer for every child, that we will make mistakes. And that we need to love our kids and try to do the best we can.

The end-game

I learned I didn’t have all the answers, but neither did books or other mothers. I did decide when my daughter was potty trained wasn’t going to matter when she was 16! I did decide to relax and learn to follow my instincts. And love and enjoy my daughter (and two more children when they came along). And listen to experts like my pediatrician when necessary. I used my mantra: “Is this going to matter when she’s 16” over and over again. Sometimes it mattered, but most of the time it didn’t.

What about you? Are you a parent? What are the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Beyond the Books–what I’ve won

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is something(s) we won.

I don’t win things very often. I don’t think I’m very lucky, but also I don’t enter many drawings for books or other things. When I do enter it’s usually for a book and it’s because I’m really excited about the book.

Books

The only time I’ve won a book was five or six years ago when I won an ARC on the Dear Author site. Because there were so many entries, however, I didn’t get the ARC I was excited about. Instead I received an ARC for a book and author I’d never heard of…lol! I must admit I never read it.

I also won a $5 gift card from Amazon a year or so ago at Anya’s blog On Starships and Dragonwings

Godiva Liqueurgodiva-liqueur

Once I won a bottle of Godiva liqueur at a Christmas party raffle! That was fun. I used the liqueur for 10 or 15 years to make a Christmas cookie (see my recipe for Mocha-Chocolate Crinkles. I’ve finally run out of the liqueur and I should buy another bottle because I think the cookies tasted a little better when I used it.

Swedish Embroidery–Ribbons

swedish-embroidery
Swedish embroidery example

I have to go back to my teenage years when I won something based on something I did! I learned to do Swedish embroidery (also called huck embroidery) and entered some of the embroidery I made in the County Fair. I won some ribbons for that. I don’t have any photos of my embroidery and don’t even know if I still have the pieces I made. However, this picture shown on one of Suzette Neal’s Pinterest boards is an illustration of one of the designs I made.

 

What have you won? Are you a lucky person who wins lots of things?