A Modern Little House on the Prairie #Thursday Book Feature

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie

by Christopher Ingraham

Copyright 2020

 

What Amazon Says

 

The hilarious, charming, and candid story of writer Christopher Ingraham’s decision to uproot his life and move his family to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, population 1,400—the community he made famous as “the worst place to live in America” in a story he wrote for the Washington Post.

Like so many young American couples, Chris Ingraham and his wife Briana were having a difficult time making ends meet as they tried to raise their twin boys in the East Coast suburbs.  One day, Chris – in his role as a “data guy” reporter at the Washington Post – stumbled on a study that would change his life. It was a ranking of America’s 3,000+ counties from ugliest to most scenic. He quickly scrolled to the bottom of the list and gleefully wrote the words “The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) … Red Lake County, Minn.” The story went viral, to put it mildly.

Among the reactions were many from residents of Red Lake County. While they were unflappably polite – it’s not called “Minnesota Nice” for nothing – they challenged him to look beyond the spreadsheet and actually visit their community. Ingraham, with slight trepidation, accepted. Impressed by the locals’ warmth, humor and hospitality – and ever more aware of his financial situation and torturous commute – Chris and Briana eventually decided to relocate to the town he’d just dragged through the dirt on the Internet.

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now is the story of making a decision that turns all your preconceptions – good and bad — on their heads. In Red Lake County, Ingraham experiences the intensity and power of small-town gossip, struggles to find a decent cup of coffee, suffers through winters with temperatures dropping to forty below zero, and unearths some truths about small-town life that the coastal media usually miss. It’s a wry and charming tale – with data! –of what happened to one family brave enough to move waaaay beyond its comfort zone.

 

My Thoughts

 

When I read an excerpt from this book in the June issue of Reader’s Digest, I was intrigued. It’s one example of what can happen when a reporter doesn’t check things out thoroughly. Luckily for Christopher Ingraham, this turned out better than anyone could have expected.

I’ve always enjoyed stories that take place in Minnesota, including the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon vignettes. This book didn’t disappoint me. The author’s accounts of deer hunting and ice fishing fascinated me, although I doubt I’ll ever engage in such activities. Having once spent six months in Fargo, North Dakota, located on the border with Minnesota, I could empathize with the family’s struggles during the winter. This is a great book to read on a hot summer day.

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By the way, from now through July 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Don’t Be Shy #TMI Tuesday

This week’s questions are really raunchy. So, I had to get creative. I hope you enjoy my answers and aren’t too offended. Be sure to scroll down to learn how to participate, if you dare.

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Should we be worried about sex robots?

 

Absolutely not! During this time of uncertainty, there are worse things to worry us.

 

A humanoid (a life-like robot) that looks like your biggest crush, and acts exactly the way you hoped your crush would act has been created. This humanoid initiates sex, with you. Would you have sex with the humanoid?

 

In my opinion, I’m too old to have crushes. Besides, I’m still in love with my late husband Bill. So, I’m not about to have sex with any other being.

 

What’s your typical sleep attire?

 

I wear either nightgowns or pajamas, depending on the weather. Once in a while, during the summer, if it’s hot enough in the house, I’ll sleep in the buff.

 

What is the most cringe-worthy thing you have experienced in the bedroom?

 

Turds, believe it or not! If you think dog droppings are bad, try husband poop. If I’ve intrigued you, read My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds to learn more. Needless to say, I don’t have a pet because during the six years I cared for Bill after the strokes that paralyzed his left side, I picked up enough fecal matter to last a lifetime.

 

Are you satisfied with the amount of after-sex affection (e.g., spooning, cuddling, intimate conversation) you receive? Yes or no. If no, how could it be better?

 

I don’t believe a relationship should be based purely on sex. Bill was impotent, but neither of us cared. We were glad to be with each other in any way we could. Again, you can learn more about this by reading My Ideal Partner.

 

Bonus: What is your most useless skill?

 

I don’t have any useless skills. In my opinion, all the things I can do are necessary in order to survive.

***

Now, it’s your turn. Click here to learn how to participate. Alternatively, you can put your answers in the comment field below. Remember. Don’t feel like you have to answer all the questions. But if you want, you can do what I did and use your answers to promote your work. Have fun!

By the way, from July 1st through 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

What’s Cooking? #Tuesday Tidbit

I was never much of a cook. But after I married Bill, I had to learn. Originally, we agreed he would do the coking, and I would help with clean-up. But three months after we were married, he suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side, and he was never able to cook again. The following excerpt from My Ideal Partner details my ill-fated attempt at preparing oatmeal under Bill’s guidance.

***

Following his instructions, I poured a generous amount of oatmeal into a saucepan and added enough milk to cover it. “How long do I cook it?” I asked after I placed the pan on the stove and turned the heat to medium.

“I don’t know. Till it’s done.”

When Bill did the cooking, he had a sixth sense that told him when food was cooked, I thought as I stirred the pan’s contents. A few minutes later, when it seemed to be done, he said, “Ooh, I gotta pee. Oh, it’s too late. I wet my pants.”

With a sigh of resignation, I turned off the stove and took Bill into the bathroom. It took another fifteen minutes to remove his soiled jeans and underwear and replace them with clean ones. After I settled him back at the kitchen table and returned to the stove, I discovered that the oatmeal had congealed to the consistency of cement.

I added more milk, turned on the heat, stirred vigorously, and served it up a few minutes later. It didn’t taste very good, even with added sugar, but we were too hungry to care. We ate in silence. Finally, I said, “Honey, maybe you should have married a woman who can cook.”

“Come here, woman.” This was what he said when he wanted to hold me, and I wasn’t within reach. I got up and walked around to his right side, and after we embraced, he said, “You’ll learn, sweetie. I love you.”

***

This inspired a scene from The Red Dress in which my main character Eve’s attempt at making oatmeal has similar results.

***

She poured two and a half cups of oatmeal into a saucepan, covered it with four and a half cups of  milk, and turned on the stove burner to medium heat. As she was stirring the mixture, her cell rang.

The caller was Charlene. Oh, great, Eve thought, but she couldn’t send her to voicemail. Charlene  didn’t always have the strength to talk. Thinking she could let the mixture simmer for a few  minutes without stirring it while they chatted, she answered the call.

“Hi, did I get you at a bad time?” asked Charlene in her usual raspy voice.

“Not really. I’m making oatmeal.”

“Oh, God, remember the stuff they served at CU that passed for oatmeal?”

Eve laughed. “The problem there was that they made it with water. I make it with milk, the way my  mother did.”

“Oh, yeah. My mom did it that way, too. You have to keep stirring it, though. Otherwise, it’ll turn  into cement.”

“I know, but I wasn’t sure when you’d be strong enough to talk again.”

“I hear you. It seems that lately, the times when I’m strong are getting few and far between. By  the way, Brenda and I are getting excited about seeing you and Ashley. My husband, Jon, is also  anxious to meet you. There’s plenty of room, so if you all wanted to stay here, you could. And we  have a swimming pool.”

Eve chuckled. “Greg and the kids just might take you up on that. Of course, Greg will want to see  his family. They’re in Pasadena.”

“Oh, yeah. That’s not far from Valley Village, where we live.”

They chatted a while longer. As Eve was putting her phone away, the kids trooped into the kitchen.

“Ugh! What’s that you’re making?” Julie said, pointing to the congealed mixture on the stove.

Eve sighed. “It’s oatmeal. I’m sorry. I got tied up on the phone.”

“With Charlene?” asked Ashley as Eve poured more milk into the saucepan and stirred.

“Yes, Charlene. They want all of us to stay with them when we go there next week. They have a  swimming pool.”

“Cool!” said Thomas.

“Maybe we should have leftover meatloaf for breakfast,” said Julie. “Dad says it’s pretty good.”

“It is good,” said Ashley, “but not for breakfast. Yuck!”

“Ashley’s right,” said Eve, continuing to stir the mixture. “It’s getting better, now, so all is  not lost. Ashley, get me the cinnamon out of the cupboard above the microwave, will you?”

***

Who is Charlene? Why is she not always strong enough to talk on the phone, and why is she inviting Eve’s family to California? Read The Red Dress and find out.

By the way, from July 1st through 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

In the Garden #Musical Monday

Dr. Crystal Grimes inspired me to share this song today. It was a favorite of my late mother-in-law. I sang it many times during the fifteen years I worked as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents.

During the summer of 2006, while my late husband Bill was recuperating from his first stroke in a nursing home, his mother, who lived in a nursing home in Fowler, Colorado, started declining. Soon, her death was eminent.

One Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from Andy, the activity assistant on duty at the nursing home where Bill was. She told me that his mother had passed away and he was in tears. Thinking his niece had contacted him instead of me, I rushed to his side, only to find out that his mother hadn’t yet gone. Apparently, Bill had broken down during a church service while this song was being sung. Andy had misunderstood the reason for his tears.

A couple of days later, Bill’s mother did pass. But when I told him, he didn’t break down again, as I’d expected. He must have gotten all his grieving out of his system Sunday afternoon. You can read more about this in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Now, here’s my rendition of this beautiful song.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, The Red Dress, is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

A Conversation with Yours Truly

Today, instead of a book review, I’m pleased to bring you my interview with Patty Fletcher, owner and operator of TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD Marketing. She has recently started a podcast where she interviews her clients about their work. Last week, I sat down with her and told her all about my books and other aspects of my life. Enjoy!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, The Red Dress, is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.