#99: Becky – LibraryThing

While helping organize the library at the Gardner School, I discovered how easy it could be to organize my book collection. Which is extensive. And one thing I’ve found about having a big library is that it collides with my love of finding used books at thrift stores – sometimes I bring home duplicates.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

That ends now. I signed up for a nearly-free ($5 per year) membership at LibraryThing, which is the software that Gardner uses to organize all the books in all of their classrooms, so I know it can handle the size of our family’s collection. It’s super easy to scan in a new book, but also to search my collection while out to see if I already have something.

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As of right now (after Jólabókaflóð) I have 681 books in my library! This whole thing makes me so happy.

#92: Becky – Fix Teeth

This was the year of my teeth. It started early in the year, with multiple trips to the dentist to have all seven of my childhood fillings replaced. They were failing and tiny cavities were appearing underneath them. Next I had to have a crown replaced. It was not a pleasant time.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Since we currently have excellent dental insurance, it seemed like a good time to just take care of all my issues Starting in June (middle photo) I embarked upon the journey of ClearCorrect braces. As of today, I’m just a month out from being completely done! Then I get to have the “knobs” removed from my teeth and will be wearing retainers for awhile.


I’ve been asked over and over how I “like” clear braces. Well. They are the single most annoying thing I’ve ever dealt with for 7 months in a row. I can’t wait to be done. They are painful and require lots of maintenance as well as lifestyle changes.

Would I do it again? Maybe? Ask me when they are completely finished.

#95: Becky – Personal Trainer

Having finally gotten my back/hip problems under control earlier this year, my next step was to re-train my poor body in how to function properly. I knew that doing any type of group class would only lead to getting hurt again. I needed individualized attention, and nobody to compete with.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

I had already sourced an excellent trainer (RJ at Fit Ave), who came highly recommended from several people, and amazingly they had just moved to a new location within a mile of our house! The last 7 months of hard work and personal attention from an amazing trainer, and I am transformed physically and mentally.

(Ben here. I also joined this gym, going to the group classes three times a week, and I’ve been seeing results beyond what I expected. We’re both super happy with RJ and the Fit Ave community.)

This is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.  I’m nowhere near “finished,” but I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to continuing this journey. Five stars. Two thumbs up. A+++, highly recommended!

#94: Becky – Road Trip With Dad

It’s time to hit the road with my dad! This is the second time we’ve done this, and it might end up being a yearly tradition. I love that we get to visit people we care about, and see the country.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

On the first day we drove straight to Roseville (just outside Sacramento). We took I-5 the whole way, and stopped only for lunch and dinner – we were on a strict deadline. So the only Roadside America stops we made were in Albany, Oregon and Yreka, California.

In Albany, we stumbled upon a locals’-favorite Hungarian buffet(!), and ended up touring the woodcarving station below the historic carousel that the town has been restoring for ten years or so. We collected several more RA’s before moving on (post forthcoming).

In Yreka our dinner stop had a grilled-cheese sandwich with mozzarella sticks in it, so of course I had to order it. We wandered around with the setting sun, gathered a few more stops, and marveled at the historic main street.

We made it to Andrew and Michelle’s house really late. Dad and I convinced Andrew and the girls to spend an entire day with us, driving around Sacramento, gathering Roadside Americas, and getting to know their town better. This included a longish stop at Fairytale Town, a funky little place like Enchanted Forest. That night we went to original Roseville Square to see Beauty and the Beast under the stars.

The next day, the whole gang packed up and drove out to Empire Mine State Historic Park, where we toured the equipment, all the old buildings, and the big mansion. We stopped for a giant Italian lunch in a tiny town nearby, then we headed over to South Yuba River State Park where having forgotten my swimsuit did not stop me from going in the water and having a good time. We ended the day with dinner at Rita’s!

The next day we moved on, heading east to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. My dad likes revisiting neat places he went with my mother, and this park totally lived up to his hype.

We followed 395 south for a while, stopped in Lone Pine for a few more Roadside Americas, including the Film History Museum. Because this location was so close to Hollywood, this desert area is where more than 300 films were made, including the absolute classic Tremors!

From there we cut through Death Valley, where the temperature got up to 106°! In September!

That night we made it all the way to my dad’s sister’s house in Las Vegas, where we spent the next few days. We all had a great time catching up, digging deep into my dad and his sister’s fascinating upbringing and hanging out with my cousins.

From there, we headed towards Arizona, with several stops for Roadside Americas, including a really interesting stop to check out Meteor Crater, and a side trip through Seligman (the Route-66 town that inspired the Cars franchise).

We ended up in Pine Top, Arizona, where after I showed my dad the joy of an all-appetizer dinner, we settled into our rental condo.

We spent the next several days in Pine Top, where my dad had rented a condo through his time-share company. We explored the history museum in Holbrook, including the haunted basement, and spent half a day in Petrified Forest National Park, driving around, doing mini hikes, and seeing the visitor center.

And then came what was probably my dad’s favorite part of the trip. Following an obscure internet tip, we followed nearly-invisible dirt roads just outside the park, to find a few beat-up trailers in a big field of petrified wood chunks of all sizes. My dad filled two big Home Depot buckets with chunks of fossilized tree, and took them home for $40.

The next day, we checked out the local nature center, did a short hike, and later that afternoon did a longer hike near the condos, and came across cows on the trail. There was also lots of quiet reading time and several HGTV shows.

The next morning, my dad dropped me off at the super-tiny Show Low Airport, where I rode in the smallest commercial plan I have ever been on. This last photo is taken from the very back row.

This time around we listened to podcasts, instead of an audiobook. We had a wide variety, and learned a lot of stuff. Our favorites were Maeve in America, The Sporkful, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. My dad is already planning where we’ll be going next year!

#97: Becky – More OCT

Ever since 2010, when Margaret and I tried to hike the Oregon Coast Trail and had to stop early, I’ve felt like it was unfinished business. Two years ago I started to work on completing this quest, and this year I knocked another 35 miles off the total.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Here’s the full list. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Day 1 – Neskowin to Lincoln City – 14 miles

The first day my favorite person in the entire world joined me! We started at Neskowin State Park, hiked up and over Cascade Head, and ended at Cold Stone Creamery in north Lincoln City. It was brutal. The first 5 miles were all uphill on highway 101, and by the time we got to the top we felt like quitting. But there was nobody who could come pick us up, and happily the next segment was a pleasant forested downhill.

I was also joined on this hike by my new ClearCorrect™ braces, which meant that even if I was in the middle of the woods, I had to brush my teeth after lunch, and stick them back in.

The forested part of the hike was lovely, but once we emerged back onto 101, it got tedious, hot, and boring again. Only about ⅓ of today’s hike was fun, the rest was all noisy and boring. But we made it! We had some ice cream to celebrate, then called a cab for a ride back to our car in Neskowin.

Day 2 – Pacific City to Neskowin – 10½  miles

The second day I was joined by my dad! He always loved hiking with my mom, so he enthusiastically agreed when I invited him along on my quest. We started in Pacific City, at the community center where back in 2010 Margaret and I were picked up and eventually ferried down to Waldport (for a myriad of reasons). Today was half highway 101, half straight beach walking, and 100% pleasant conversation.

Day 3 – Lincoln City to Salishan – 10.5

Our final leg took us to Salishan Lodge, where I re-began this journey solo two years ago. Ben dropped us at the northernmost beach access in Lincoln City. Our first 7 miles were all on the beach. It turns out Lincoln City sand is much, much more rock-like and after several miles my feet were a bloody mess, due to the tiny rocks chafing with my sport sandals. My dad very generously administered first aid (twice), and cleaned and bandaged my feet.  Ben was able to join us for lunch when we passed by the condo we had rented (where he was telecommuting.) The final 3 miles were warm highway miles and I was so ready to be done.

So there we go; another 35 miles knocked off my total, and at this point almost all the “middle section” is done! (I have another 8ish miles right near Cape Mears.) Perhaps next year I’ll start on the southern section!

Becky in Victoria

When one of my favorite people contacted me for a 2-day rush visit to Victoria, BC, I instantly said yes. (This person was my good friend Debbie, who happens to be married to a cousin of mine.) One fine Thursday in April I hopped a train up to Tukwila and got to have dinner with their awesome family before checking in to an Airbnb for the night. Very early the next morning Deb picked me up and we boarded the Seattle Clipper for a 3 hour lovely cruise up to Victoria. In just two short days we:

  • Wandered around the gorgeous downtown full of spring flowers and orca art
  • Had fancy afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel with a beautiful window table
  • Spent three hours in a Zodiac on Puget Sound
  • Saw a dozen whales in a couple transient pods, and some babies!
  • Got caught in a storm (which was miserable, but the whales made it worth it)
  • Visited Miniature World (my third time!)
  • Walked the waterfront
  • Had donuts at Tim Horton’s
  • Managed to have tea one more time before catching the Clipper back home

Excellent trip, 10/10, would adventure with Deb again.

#93: Becky & Lucy Seaside Weekend

Earlier this year it was my turn to take Lucy on a retreat, and while I knew I couldn’t beat snowboarding, Lucy hasn’t been to Seaside in a few years, so hitting an old favorite (the ocean) in a new way seemed like a sure thing.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Here’s the full list. Click on the photos for a closer look!

For this trip, we brought along Lucy’s best friend and her mom. Yes, that’s the same family Ben and Lucy met at Timberline. No, Lucy never gets tired of them.

We did all the good stuff: fish and chips at the Bowpicker (again), all the Lewis and Clark monuments (which tied into their current program at school!), walking on the sunny beach, flying kites, feeding seals, meeting an octopus, playing games, riding a four-seater surrey bike around town, elephant ears. The works.

We had a really great time with Lucy’s BFF and her mom, and we hope they’ll be joining us on further adventures!

Becky in Wisconsin

In March, I (Becky) flew out to Verona to spend a week with my sister and her family. We did the usual: hanging out, visiting the library and the dog park, and treating my older nieces to a special “dessert dinner”.

Sarah and I escaped for a full day and drove all over the countryside collecting Roadside America sights (more on this in a later post.) So much fun and randomness.

One last attempt at a selfie with my Hannah Becky ❤

#96: Becky – Read 100 Books

This is my second year setting my sights on reading 100 books, and I’ve discovered that it’s too many.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Given the unforeseen circumstances this year has provided, it was extremely difficult to finish this challenge. In addition to being really ambitious, it turns out that reading this many books means I don’t consume stories in other ways – I don’t read magazines or blogs or listen to podcasts as much as I’d like, because I have to be reading books. Don’t expect this to show up on the 2017 list.

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But I did finish! In case you’re curious, here are the books I listened to or read this year (some of them are audio books):

  1. The 5th Wave, Rick Yancy
  2. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food & Longing, Anya von Bremzen
  3. The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs
  4. The Good Mother Myth, Avital Norman Nathman
  5. Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl: A Memoir, Susan McCorkindale
  6. My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem
  7. Troubled Waters, Sharon Shinn
  8. Garlic & Sapphires, Ruth Reichl
  9. A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler
  10. Royal Airs, Sharon Shinn
  11. Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers, Nick Offerman
  12. Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  13. The Guinea Pig Diaries, A.J. Jacobs
  14. Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster
  15. Here is New York, E.B. White
  16. Wildflower, Drew Barrymore
  17. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Alida Nugent
  18. Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family, Patricia Volk
  19. Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, Shel Silverstein
  20. The Housemaid’s Daughter, Barbara Mutch
  21. The Martian, Andy Weir
  22. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  23. Because I Said So!, Ken Jennings
  24. Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China, Jen Lin-Liu
  25. Things I Want to Punch in the Face, Jennifer Worick
  26. Revenge of the Lawn, Richard Brautigan
  27. Drop Dead Healthy, A.J. Jacobs
  28. Happily Ali After, Ali Wentworth
  29. Homer Price, Robert McCloskey
  30. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein
  31. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  32. Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
  33. Hector and the Search for Happiness, Francois Lelord
  34. Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!, Stephen Manes
  35. The Year of Miss Agnes, Kirkpatrick Hill
  36. Wingman, Daniel Pinkwater
  37. Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Leanne Shapton
  38. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris
  39. Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  40. The Bedwetter, Sarah Silverman
  41. Kindred Souls, Patricia MacLachlan
  42. Navel Gazing, Michael Ian Black
  43. Miss Fortune, Lauren Weedman
  44. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  45. Bright Lights, Big Ass, Jen Lancaster
  46. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast
  47. You’re Not Doing it Right, Michael Ian Black
  48. Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl, Debra Ollivier
  49. Good In Bed, Jennifer Weiner
  50. Stolen Innocence, Elissa Wall
  51. Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue, Kathryn R. Simpson
  52. The Opposite of Spoiled, Ron Lieber
  53. Escape, Carolyn Jessup
  54. The V-Word, Amber J. Keyser
  55. The Witness Wore Red, Rebecca Musser
  56. The Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball
  57. Locally Laid, Lucie B. Amundsen
  58. Triumph, Carolyn Jessup
  59. The Year of Reading Dangerously, Andy Miller
  60. Medium Raw, Anthony Bourdain
  61. Troublemaker, Leah Remini
  62. Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes
  63. Instant Mom, Nia Vardalos
  64. Beyond Belief, Jenna Miscavige Hill
  65. Dear Girls Above Me, Charlie McDowell
  66. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It, Various
  67. The Star of Kazan, Eva Ibbotson
  68. The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes
  69. Rabid, Bill Wasik
  70. Moranthology, Caitlin Moran
  71. My Mad Fat Diary, Rae Earl
  72. Eating on the Wild Side, Jo Robinson
  73. The City of Mirrors, Justin Cronin
  74. The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  75. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer
  76. Judy’s Journey, Lois Lenski
  77. Owls in the Family, Farley Mowat
  78. My Antonia, Willa Cather
  79. Well Fed Weeknights, Melissa Jouwlan
  80. Paleo Soups and Stews, Simone Miller
  81. World War Z, Max Brooks
  82. American Savage, Dan Savage
  83. Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Rob Lowe
  84. D.V., Diana Vreeland
  85. Good Clean Fun, Nick Offerman
  86. Against All Grain Celebrations, Danielle Walker
  87. Peppermints in the Parlor, Barbara Brooks Wallace
  88. Dirty Daddy, Bob Sagat
  89. Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick
  90. Paleo By Season, Peter Servold
  91. The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky
  92. Devil in the Details, Jennifer Traig
  93. Talking With My Mouth Full, Gail Simmons
  94. Where am I Now?, Mara Wilson
  95. Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, & So-Called Hospitality, by Jacob Tomsky
  96. The Care & Keeping of You 1, Valorie Schaefer
  97. Wisconsin Death Trip, Michael Lesy
  98. The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner
  99. Food Freedom Forever, Melissa Hartwig
  100. The Paleo Cure, Chris Kresser