My Bucket List

“The desire to explore and see new things is fundamental to the human experience.” -Tim Ferriss

I always wondered a little bit about the purpose of a bucket list.

On another bucket list post, they described their list as, “completely self-indulgent, but it means something to me.” I agree 100%, and I want mine to be an intentional movement towards self-improvement and enrichment.

Many bucket lists I read focused on traveling globally (“see Petra”, “boat down the Amazon”, “See Stonehenge”), some were dare-devily (“go skydiving,” “climb a mountain,” “backpack Asia”), others religious (“read the Qur’an,” “go on a pilgrimage,” “go to the Vatican,” etc.), humble (“raise chickens,” “learn the piano,” “pick apples from an orchard”), and of course…a touch overachieving (“win gold at the Olympics,” “go to the moon” …y’all…).

Continue reading “My Bucket List”

Grandma Alida (Poem)

I actually wrote this poem several years ago, but didn’t think to place it anywhere. My Grandma Alida always thought my poems were very clever, or at least she told me as much (they were rhyme-y little things I’d write to her as a 6th grader, mostly about moldy cheese and other such revelations of 6th grade)–so when I took a poetry workshop to meet an upper division writing requirement for my degree–what other topic was there left, truly, to write about?

Continue reading “Grandma Alida (Poem)”


Should I wear mascara? She would have. So you put it on. There isn’t any logic to this really, you know that it’s going to run down your face twice before you leave and when you finally get yourself together and the third application of Loreal is fresh on your lashes, it will turn you into a specter before the end of the service anyway. But, she would have done it and so you apply. She would have wore heels and earrings and she would have done her hair. She would have done it for you, you know it– she would have spent hours. Which pair should I wear? You look at your nails– she would have done her nails…but it’s to late for that now, the service is in two hours. A twinge of regret wraps around your heart and chokes some tears past the knot in your throat, and you re-apply your mascara. Continue reading “Connection”

The Ultimate Beginner: A Guide to your First Backpacking Trip (Ever)

Day 9 (I) Instructions
A to Z Writing Challenge


I’m a lazy sort of adventurer. I like to improve and refine my skills, but I like to take a moment to breath in the crisp air and lick the salty sweat from my lips while my pack lists awkwardly against a bush–forgotten, while I eat m&ms. Doing an activity is not always about putting in the most elevation gain, or packing the most miles. It’s about enjoying the effort, and wanting to come back for more.

During this A to Z challenge, I posted about how I love to go backpacking and my friend asked me a lot of questions. They were good questions, and I wanted to address them in another post. So, first I sat down and thought of a letter I could use as an excuse to address them. Since it was going to be Instructional in nature, “I” seemed a fitting choice.


  1. What do you need?
  2. Where do you go?
  3. How hard is it really?

How To: Backpacking is a book. A huge, sweaty, six-pack wielding, book. Intimidating, right? The books can be big and the selection is vast. They are useful, but too useful for our goals–we’re going to focus on one, single, weekend trip. Your first, ever.

A first-time foray into any new, well, anything, reminds me of my first time walking into Babies R Us to actually purchase a baby item. Oh god–the options. What on Earth matters? What is this? Does it matter? There is an entire wall of this…so…it must be important, right? This package says this item is essential. Am I succumbing to marketing? Is this even a good cost? (I ended up just buying my sister a ton of diapers)

It’s also hard to enter any activity that others (sometimes) take very seriously–and here you are, just wanting to experience it, try it on. You’re not exactly planning on committing to it at a near-religious-level.

Don’t worry Ultimate Beginner, this is for your very own, one-night backpacking trip (weekend trip). The first of many, I hope. Continue reading “The Ultimate Beginner: A Guide to your First Backpacking Trip (Ever)”

I am…

Day 8 (H) Heritage
A to Z Blogging Challenge

“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.” ― Beatrix Potter

Friday, October 11, 1901

A most beautiful October day. Suzzie and I washed.

Fred went down to the farm quite early today, and they finished pulling the onions. Ray and Finnell stayed here and were they good boys. Continue reading “I am…”

Fiskesuppe: Norwegian Cod Chowder

Day 3 (C) Cod Chowder!
A to Z blogging challenge

I love cod. Aside from salmon, it’s my second favorite fish. I went to Costco and bought cod and chicken. Lots of it–well, a normal costco-sized amount anyhow. My husband dutifully packaged it and placed it in the freezer for me, while I set out trying to find a way to use it up:

photo 2

Via pinterest and foodgawker I’ve stumbled onto a few exceptional recipes from SAVEUR. Continue reading “Fiskesuppe: Norwegian Cod Chowder”

Changing Names: The “Last Name” Quandary

So, I’ve spent years, 100% of my life thus far, loving my last name. Garland is basically a cool last name. Frances Gumm changed her name to Judy Garland–did you feel that shiver? That’s how cool Garland is.

Garland is the Scottish surname Gærland from Old English and it means “Spearman’s Property.” I should probably attach that as a notice to potential burglars on my fence, for their own safety.

You’ve been warned.

Garland also means my uncles, my family, and everything I have ever considered about my personal history and indentity. I use Garland as the all-encompassing excuse for my sense of humor. I say, “It’s just a Garland thing” about once a month.

Now–If you have ever attempted to fill out your own family tree, you’ll find her more than once–that random great grandmother. The one you only know as Mrs. Johnson–no birth certificate to be found. Sometimes she’ll even have a first name, but her “maiden” name being gone means her lineage is gone. Not only that, she’s a name which provides little meaningful information–her tree ends there. Her only notable accomplishment was that she got married, gave birth to seven children before dying, and two years later was replaced by a second wife who came to birth five more. A fertile nobody. Continue reading “Changing Names: The “Last Name” Quandary”

Spring Book Club Challenge 2013!

The book club I’m a member of enjoyed the flexibility of the last book challenge so much, we decided to create our own. We created over 36 categories total, and individually ranked them from 1-36 to discover our favorite 12 for this upcoming challenge.

Feel free to follow along! Below is the rundown of the rules and categories, and I’ve included my choices: Continue reading “Spring Book Club Challenge 2013!”