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.