Tuesday, October 30, 2007

KUOW Sound Focus interview now online

I taped an interview this morning at KUOW (the awesome NPR station in Seattle) for their Sound Focus program. It aired this afternoon and I heard the beginning of the interview as I was driving home from a doctor's appointment. I ended up sitting in a parking lot listening to the rest of the piece and crying.

Admittedly, it was just a few tears but I was affected by the experience because I opened up and talked about my family and the struggles I've had connecting with them, pretty much all my life. As the previous author on the program (the awesome Amanda Ford) pointed out, life is not a checklist and for me, that's certainly true. My relationship with my family is improving but it's ever-evolving with setbacks and breakthroughs.

What's your relationship like with your family? I'd love to hear from those of you who struggle with finding common ground or who feel like they are the white sheep of the family.

Listen to the interview.

P.S. As I'm writing this in a coffee shop, there is a woman on the phone talking to her mom on her cell, and asking about her grandparents' history (profession, date of birth, hometown, etc.) for a geneology project. I kid you not.

Monday, October 29, 2007

DIY video available on youtube

Check out the DIY video I posted on youtube, showing how to make lavender linen waters with just three ingredients. The project is from The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life and while video production and post-production is definitely not my forté, you'll get the idea and be able to make inexpensive and soothing linen water to spritz on your sheets, curtains, ironing, and clothes that may need a bit of freshening up.

If you like what you see, please rank it. If you don't care for it, post a comment here and let me know why. I can take it. And believe me, I know the production value is low and the video is grainy. I'm working on that.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Carrie Akre, pure goodness

I discovered Carrie Akre when she fronted for the band Goodness in the 90s. Goodness is still what I turn on and turn up when I want to rock out. Carrie has a new album out (Last the Evening) and I was fortunate enough to catch her release party at the Tractor Tavern last night. It's soulful, it rocks, it's chock-full of songs that if I close my eyes, I can see being used as a soundtrack for a Drew Barrymore rom-com montage (and I mean that in the best way). Check out a couple of the tracks here. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I have officially gone down the rabbit hole

I just got a call from the office of a medical specialist I visited earlier this week. They were confused about the doctor I listed as my primary care physician, since they couldn't find her in the network. After about 10 seconds of drawing a blank, I realized I gave her the name of Mac Daddy's vet, not my g.p.

In my defense, I've seen Dr. Westerdahl a heck of a lot more in the past two years for Mac Daddy's many issues than I've seen Dr. Weitkamp. I know, I know. I have officially lost my mind.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prairie girls can be hip and tranquil as well

Kimberly Wilson, aka Hip Tranquil Chick, is airing her interview with me on her podcast today. We cover how to have a fun spa evening with the girls, my writing process (or lack thereof!), and The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life and Backcountry Betty. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Craftzine.com Q&A

Craft magazine's online blog has featured a Q&A with me about The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life, and is sponsoring a contest to boot. Submit your most creative handmade apron; five winners will be sent a copy of Prairie Girl. Check out the interview, where I share my thoughts on everything from modern design to the importance of undergarments to how downright crafty Laura Ingalls Wilder was. (Apron from Annie's Attic, at Etsy.)

Aaarrggghh! Peter Gwin on pirates

Check out the October issue of National Geographic (the one with the ear of corn on the cover): my pal Peter Gwin wrote an amazing story on modern-day pirates. "Dark Passage" chronicles the problem of piracy in Malaysia's Strait of Malacca. In some ways, I envy his adventures as a journalist. But then I got to the part where a machete was held against his throat and I was okay with writing about lacing corsets and spinning yarn.

Hear his interview on NPR's Weekend Edition. Gosh, I'm so proud of Peter. I knew him back in the days when I worked at The Magazine Group and he was the managing editor of Europe magazine. We liked our jobs then, we love them now. (photo by Peter Gwin)

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Prairie Girl's Guide to Life" in stores now!

The wait is over. The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life goes on sale today. Like Bobblehead Laura, run, don't walk, to your local mercantile and pick up a copy. Heck, it's only 14.95, which makes it a great gift or an inexpensive way to learn 50 crafts and skills. It's October—don't you need to know how to make applesauce or a scary scarecrow?

As for me, in between publicity, consulting, and writing projects, I'm hunkered down knitting swatches for a class this Saturday (leave it to me to have homework for a knitting class) and eating my way through a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Things could be worse.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Prairie girls are coming out of the woodwork

Check out this great review of The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Denise Neil, a columnist for the Wichita Eagle. The beauty of Prairie is its blend of easy-peasy projects. If knitting or braided rag rugs seems too daunting, start by mixing up your own lavender linen waters to spritz on your ironing or make homemade insect repellent.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Little fan on the prairie

I've been having the time of my life in Minnesota. I am absolutely in love with St. Paul, visiting Garrison Keillor's bookstore Common Good, driving through funky regentrified neighborhoods with my Aunt Carol, marveling at the manses on Summit Avenue that F. Scott Fitzgerald passed through, sitting around the dinner table with my cousins, and poking through generations of family photos with my Uncle Greg.

In addition to these activities, I had to travel to the absolute epicenter of all things prairie, seeing as I wrote the book on prairie girl pursuits.

I went to Walnut Grove.

I climbed in my rental and drove to Southwestern Minnesota on Saturday, stopping at the Dairy Queen in Sleepy Eye for a snack. I sat in a window seat, watching a train heading east. I continued west on 14, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway, until I reached Walnut Grove, pop. 599. At least that's what the sign said.

When I pulled over to take a photo, I climbed out of the car and was immediately assaulted by a hot prairie wind. It was unseasonably warm, to say the least--87 degrees, but it felt warmer. I could have done with a trip to an ice house at that point but who am I to complain? I just crawled back into my air-conditioned Saturn.

I found the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and I have to admit, I went just this side of nuts. I bought out the gift shop (the prices were downright reasonable and how can any self-respecting prairie girl pass up a limited-edition bobblehead Laura?) and checked out the displays, staring into the eyes of Charles Ingalls in his wedding portrait, gazing with admiration at a quilt Laura had made, and marveling at the low ceilings. Prairie folk sure were short.

As I hit the road, I hit seek on the radio and found the NPR station, just as A Prairie Home Companion was beginning and the sun was setting.

It was as perfect a moment as any prairie girl could ask for.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Walnut Grove, here I come!

I'm headed to Minnesota to promote The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life. I'm especially excited to drive to Walnut Grove to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum there. I love walking where others have gone before and I'm tickled pink to soak up the atmosphere and imagine what it must have looked like in the nineteenth century as a burgeoning prairie town. But mercantiles have come a long way, and I'm going to load up on Christmas gifts at the museum store, which is chock full of Laura and prairie souvenirs. Paired with my book, I suspect there's something for everyone.

Reports from the prairie to come...

A sampling of my books