Category Archives: Life

Author Talk with Tim O’Brien

Last night, I went with my friend Pam to hear author Tim O’Brien speak at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t read the book that he was talking about, The Things They Carried, but after his talk I’m dying to go out and get it! The Things They Carried was inspired by his service in Vietnam, a war that he was opposed to, and has been named by the New York Times as one of the 20 best books of the last quarter century and was a finalist for the Pulitzer. He’s a great speaker—his talk didn’t focus on the blood and the bullets, but the other, seemingly smaller atrocities of war. For example, he told a story about how his company was marching through some small Vietnamese village and, at the center, there was a well where an elderly, blind Vietnamese man was pulling out buckets to give showers to the GIs. He’d been helping bath the troops for about two hours when, at the same time, a delivery came in, filled with cold beers and sodas and milks. For no reason at all, one of the men, a kid named Tom, took his milk carton and threw it at the old man, hitting him right in the face. The villagers all went quiet, and stared, and after a minute or two, the old man resumed giving showers. Tim O’Brien stressed that that had stuck with him for four decades because of his own compliance, by not saying “hey, that’s wrong.” And he continued that, while war is often about killing the enemy, acts like that also serve to do nothing more than make enemies.

It was a very powerful talk and, as I gather from the reviews, an amazingly powerful book. The title, by the way, refers to the things GIs brought with them from home—a cross, a book, a photo of a girlfriend. I’m very excited to pick up my copy of The Things They Carried, and kudos to Sierra Nevada College and the Writers in the Woods series for bringing in such a renowned author.


Almost Fall!

It’s slowly but steadily changing from summer to fall here in the Sierra! This is my favorite season: Watching the aspens change colors, sipping hot apple cider, baking pumpkin bread and, this year, getting ready for Second Baby Bender to arrive in October. I’m still doing some editing with TQ, but I’ve had a nice little break between my other projects, which is great because there is a lot of work to get done around the house before SBB arrives. Now if only my toddler was better at operating the miter saw or the nail gun…

Saturday Storytelling


My little bookworm!

Reno hosts this very cool month-long celebration of arts and culture called Artown that, between being knocked up and having a toddler, I hadn’t participated in yet this year. However, I was browsing the listings and was very excited to see that there was a free event at my favorite bookstore, Grassroots Books, called Storytelling as an Art Form this past Saturday. Since it said it was suitable for all ages, I packed Nora up and took her along. The event description claimed that it would teach the art of truth stretching, fact polishing and sensationalism all in the name of a good story. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to the description. The girl was very sweet and her own stories were entertaining, but she only skimmed the surface of storytelling by talking very generally about what types of subjects may be interesting, as well as how you could start and end a story. Still, it was nice to be around other writers as my writing group seems to be on hiatus, and I always find a ton of inspiration just by visiting a bookstore, so overall, a nice literary little Saturday!

San Francisco Style!

Nora and I tagged along with Jason on a trip to San Francisco and have been having a great time! We’ve done the Ferry Building, Chinatown, North Beach, Pier 39 and, my favorite, Ghirardelli’s Square for a brownie sundae. We lived in the city when we first moved West and I’d almost forgotten how much fun it is; I’m loving sharing it all with Nora, though she seems pretty content to sit in the hotel and play with the phone. Who knew landlines could provide this much entertainment, especially when there’s an entire city outside?

I Heart NOLA

What a fun trip! I’d never been to New Orleans before but that city is incredible! We stayed in the French Quarter, got a taste of the insanity that is Bourbon Street, enjoyed the random jazz performances that seemed to be in every bar and on every street corner, briefly tried to hunt down Brangelina’s home and spent a good portion of the trip wearing pink crowns and giant, flashing rings. It’s not a bachelorette party without tiaras, right?

Anyway, today is a work day, then I go back into vacation mode with a day trip to a Lake Tahoe beach tomorrow and a camping trip near Tioga Pass on Friday. Vacation, workday, vacation—seems like the perfect routine to me!

Almost New Orleans-Bound!

This is where I will find myself in less than a week! I’ve never been to New Orleans before and am so unbelievably excited about my weekend in the French Quarter with some of my old college roommates. However, it means that this next week is going to be chaos: I’ve got an article to write for Tahoe Quarterly, a newsletter to send out for Star Resort Group and some tweaks to make to a website that I’m working on with the very talented April Marriner. On top of that, I want to get some instructions and meals put together to make Jason and Nora’s first ever daddy/daughter weekend a little easier, and spend as much time as possible doing fun things with Nora—I have a feeling that being away from her for three nights will be much harder on me than it will be for her!

Memorial Day Weekend Snowstorm

Typical Sierra spring: Two days ago, it was sunny skies and beautiful. Friday morning, I woke up to snow. It was so cloudy that you couldn’t even see Mt. Rose most of the day (as evidenced by the photo). We may not be barbecuing this weekend, but I predict spending a lot of time in bed with my laptop, hopefully making progress on some writing. Gotta love silver linings!