A blog for people who don't want to spend all their free time in the real world. After all, we live and work there. Escape the mundane with books, travel, and writing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter in Vsetin

These days in Phoenix, when it's a high of 57F (14C) and everyone's about to die of cold, I think of beautiful, beautiful Vsetin, Czech Republic, and REAL winter.

Here's where I walked a mile to work every day::

A walk along the Bečva, in Vsetín, Czech Republic 

That's ice coating those trees.

Vsetín, Czech Republic

Vsetin, I miss you!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"When Calls the Heart," by Janette Oke

When Calls the Heart, Repackaged Edition
When Calls the Heart, by Janette Oke, is a historical romance set in frontier Canada.  A city girl from the East goes to teach school in Calgary, where her half brother lives.  Immediately assigned to a country school, she learns to adapt to the wilds and love her sweet school children.

The whole book is a little too sweet to be real.  Everyone is so nice and noble and giving except the one school superintendant man who only has a short appearance in the book.  The hero's nearly perfect.  All her students are too well behaved—and eager to learn—to be quite believable.  Still, it's a nice, gentle, CLEAN romance, not just between a man and a woman, but between a frontier school teacher and her new home and her humble students.

My rating:  4

Thursday, January 3, 2013


When I was little, I spent all December playing with the wrapped gifts under the tree.  I rearranged them by giver, by receiver, by wrapping paper, by size.  I stacked and restacked and shook and poked, all the while wondering what lay inside.  I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve.  I burned with anticipation.  In the morning, we were barred from the living room until Mom put on a scratchy old Christmas record and turned the tree lights on.  Then we'd emerge into a wonderland of toys and gifts.  Though not extravagant by many people's standards, it was fantastic to me.  I loved Christmas morning, but I also loved the anticipation of all those many days before.  And maybe, just maybe, I loved the anticipation more.

Now it's not Christmas that gets me rearranging things for hours, dreaming of what will come.  It's travel.  I spend hours rearranging my search criteria on travel websites, entering different dates for a flight abroad, different ports for a good deal on a cruise, researching cheap hostel options and public transportation routes in new cities.  I browse guidebooks and websites and talk to other travelers.  I can spend hours and hours on my vacation before I ever set foot out the door.  That anticipation feeds me.

I booked my first cruise five weeks before departure.  Those five weeks were a blur of happiness.  Happiness and packing.  My Dad joked that I was getting at least $100 of fun out of it before I ever got on the ship.  And that made it a very cheap cruise. 

I once traveled budget style around Central America for six months.  You should have seen me hunting down Permethrin to do a long-term insect repellent treatment on my bed-sized mosquito net, waterproofing my shoes, shopping for clothes that were light-weight, wrinkle-free, and quick-drying, for all the sweat and hand washing and hauling everything around on my back.  The trip lasted for six months, but the joy of it started a year before and hasn't ended yet.

Memories let you live an experience twice.  But anticipation lets you live it three times.