Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

One of my bucket list items is to one day see and be apart of “Sky Lantern Festival.” I am pretty sure there can’t be much out there that is more breath taking.

My chance ALMOST occurred in August of last year….yes…ALMOST.

Right now I am in that phase of life where everyone around me is getting married. Especially everyone in my close group of friends. We would laugh to each other and say after each wedding, “And then there were 5” after the next wedding, “And then there were 4”, and so on and so forth. (Btw now it is “And then there was 1” can you guess who that is? Yes. It is me. Another story, another time…haha!)
So my little sister, Katie got married last August and she like me ( and probably two billion other people out there) was IN LOVE with these sky lanterns. She and her fiancé bought about 70 from some “not commonly known” internet site. But who cares? Their “wedding exit” was going to be an epic event. And I was going to be able to cross something off my bucket list. Everyone in the wedding party was THRILLED.

Except Katie’s future father-in-law, Dave.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he would say shaking his head.
“You guys are gonna light somethin on fire,” more head shaking
“I think those things are illegal” followed by look of disapproval

Katie and Noah decided, to ease Dave’s fears by testing out the lanterns a few weeks before the wedding. Even during the testing Dave was warning against it.

“Dad, it won’t even do anything. Look the label says that the fire extinguishes in air, hundreds of feet above the ground and then it slowly comes back down. There won’t be any fires,” Noah told him in his usual happy-go-lucky voice.

“I REALLY think this is a bad idea,” Dave said firmly and added, “and I think it’s illegal in our township.” (btw….I never heard or knew townships existed before coming out east…so complex people!)

“I’ll just see if it will raise into the sky and right when it starts to lift, I’ll grab it and put the fire out. Dad, It WILL BE OK!” Noah said holding one sky lantern in his hand.

A group of us gathered on the back porch to watch: Katie, me, my boyfriend, and a hesitant Dave.

Noah opened up the lantern the best he could and lit the wick (which was a square contraption-I have no idea how it worked.) We all watched with twinkling eyes waiting for that magical moment when the sky lantern would lift. And there is sat. And sat. And sat.

Thinking it was defective Noah set up and lit another lantern. Same thing. No movement, not even an inch off the ground. “Let me give it a boost.” Noah said and lifted the lantern about an inch off the porch. Nothing. He tried over and over again, raising it higher and higher each time; still the lantern just sunk to the floor. We were all disappointed, except Dave, he was clearly relieved.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the lantern. LIGHT BULB goes off in my mind! “You guys, in the movies you have to ‘send it off’ almost push it into the sky,” I said picking up the lantern and imagining myself as a native of Taiwan. I lifted it high over my head and pushed it off.


We all gazed on it starry eyed….but then it was 15 feet in the air.

“Noah-grab that sucker!” Dave hissed.

“CRAP!” Noah leaped into the air in a futile attempt to bring the sky lantern back to earth.

It was now floating twenty feet above our heads. Noah grabbed a nearby snow shovel and attempted to bat it from the sky. But it was no use, the lantern had officially set sail. Fifty feet, one hundred feet, two hundred feet it went up. We watched it become a speck in the sky.

Dave was frazzled. “This is bad. This is very bad. The police are going to come.”

“Dad, they won’t know where it even came from, besides it was an accident,” Noah said.

We watched the speck of the lantern hovering over the city, thrilled that it worked and believing there was nothing to worry about.

“It’s so beautiful! These will look awesome at the wedding!” Katie and I exclaimed.

“See, Dad, no worries. They are harmless–

Noah hadn’t even finished his sentence when Dave cut him off, “Is it just me or is it coming down? It is coming down-fast!”

We watched in horror as the sky lantern seemed to pause in mid air then come crashing at top speed back to earth still on fire.

“Someone get water!” Noah screamed and went running in the direction of the lantern.

I grabbed a bucket and filled it with water from the kitchen sink and went running after him to find that the lantern had logged itself into a tree.

This just got from bad…to worse. We watched helplessly as the fire still remained flickering fifty feet up in this tree knowing that it would be just a matter of moments before the tree was engulfed in flames and an entire mobile home park was in danger.

Then, like promised, the fire went out. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. We all screamed cheers and started to breath again.

Needless to say, Katie and Noah didn’t have sky lanterns at their wedding- so seeing a sky full of sky lanterns is STILL on my bucket list. (and yes, I am tempted to use the remaining 68 lanterns…maybe a beach adventure?)

Anyone else have a bucket list/ wedding disaster?


Inspiration: Don’t Quit

Inspiration: Don't Quit

Inspirational quote of the day:

“We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”
by Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book.”

Don’t be afraid of hard work!

photo credit: google images

Liebster Award…nominations coming soon!

So…super excited to have been nominated for the Liebster Award!!Thanks again John Guillen!

The 11 random facts about myself:

1. I am a twin…but people might already know that. (btw random twin fact…twins typically don’t like to be referred to as “the twins”….we have names!)

2. I am terrified of heights

3. Unless by unavoidable circumstances…I will NEVER cut my hair shorter than my shoulders. I have done it before and yeah…NOT MY LOOK!

4. I have lived in Alaska before in a town of maybe 500 people(me and my twin sister were the most popular kids in our kindergarten class upon arrival to our school! I don’t think the town we lived in ever had seen twins before!)

5. I am a hiking fanatic but I think people that hike Mount Everest are crazy…admirable…but crazy! Way too cold and too high!

6. I suck at most sports except Badmitten (lol) and Ultimate Frisbee.

7. When I was little I came up with a bunch of different ways to get out of eating vegetables…my favorite was throwing them in the toilet..until I got caught because I forgot to flush!

8. This one is really weird: I am a “super taster”…I have like a million “sweet” taste buds that pick up on the sugar flavor so intensely that anything with a sweet flavor (apples, chocolate, cake, peaches etc.) tastes like too sweet (imagine a cup of juice with half a cup of sugar -that is what anything sweet tastes like to me.) I never eat icecream-candy-fruit (except lemons!)

9. Nerdy Life Moment: joining a mime group in junior high…yeah…what was I thinking?

10. My brother-in-law looks almost exactly like Tim Tebow.


11 Questions I’m answering. (I hope I’m doing this right!)
1. What kind of music do you listen to, if any while writing?
Sometimes I set Pandora onto “Love Songs”..I’m obsessed with romance. But most of the time I just don’t bother listening to music while writing (I get carried away with singing to the music eventually).
2. What is it about writing that keeps you going, when you are not sure you want to continue?
There is something deep inside me that loves it. I don’t think I could ever loose this love.
3. Who is your favorite author?
Autumn Komzik…haha no…I have a few. Classic Author: Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is a fabulous book. Nicolas Sparks I think is great at characterization. I don’t love all of his books but The Guardian and Safe Haven and The Last Song are phenomenal. Great writer!
4. What genre do you read but swear you will never write?
Every now and then I will pick up a Biography. History Nerd Alert!
5. What do you do when you tell yourself something along the lines “I will only procrastinate a little bit longer”? Hopefully I understood this question correctly.
If I am procrastinating I am probably hanging with people, cooking, getting carried away with Pandora and singing to the tunes, reading a super good book, pondering life.
6. What brings you right into a writing mood, how do you keep it that way?
Reading a great book, thinking about my novel, looking up amazing places/ interesting historic sites and facts, letting my imagination run wild…usually this keeps me going the most…often happens when I am going on a walk all by my lonesome.Trying new things or going new places or meeting new people.
7. Favorite series and favorite stand alone:
The Hunger Games. I think I read the last two books in one week. The last book in two days. (Another great series: Sebastian St. Cyr.) Well, I don’t think I have a favorite book but the book I have read the most is “The Captive” by Victoria Holt.
8. Have you ever seriously messed up your sleeping schedule because of a book? Was it worth it? What were you reading?
Sometimes I write deep into the night because it is the only time I have alone. Job, life, ect. can fill my day pretty quickly. But reading a book deep into the night: “The Last Song” was my most recent. “Why Mermaid’s Sing” was another.
9. What do you do to remember those ideas you come up with when you are not able to write?
Sticky notes and random pieces of paper! I also have a “writing notebook.” Sometimes I can’t whip the notebook out at work…but sticky notes and scrap paper are always available in the office!
10. Any books or series you thought were great and then the ending ruined them for you? I read this book in high school, I can’t even remember the name, but it was a fictional story about this man who had survived the Holocaust. He and his wife got separated in Germany during that awful time and afterwards he spent his whole life looking for her. In the book he is in his 80s and randomly meets this lady who ends up finding his wife for him. As they are just about to meet again (the wife is literally walking through the door) the man has a massive heart attack and dies without ever seeing her. Left me feeling totally depressed.
11. Why do you write?
It gives me this feeling that I can create things: beautiful things, interesting things, thrilling things. And I can connect and touch hundreds of people that maybe I have never met or will meet through writing. And it is so much FUN!

So I will nominate soon….I just have to figure out how to tag people…I’m sorry =( There are so many good blogs!!!!!! I love reading them all!!! So Nominations will be coming!!!


 A shiver ran up my spine as I stared into the black hole in front of me. My fingers had turned white with the way I was gripping the steering wheel. I never believed in ghosts, but I knew for certain that there was evil out there: the devil, demons, witch craft; I knew unseen evil existed.And it is a scary thing. For years I had decided that one day I would take the drive into the mountains on the dusty road that led you through a series of haunted tunnels simply to just say I did it. To knock an item off of the ‘ol bucket list. Here I was, on Gold Camp road staring into the face of a tunnel carved through a mountain, uncertain that if I drove through it I would come out of the other side in one piece. I put the car in drive.

Three years earlier…

“Haunted?” I repeated, my voice full of disbelief. It was just another day at the zoo, a blisteringly hot day. I stared out one of the two massive windows that made up Safari Cafe. Don’t be fooled. It was nothing of a quaint sandwich shop you imagine when you here the word cafe. It was a more of a “pop-up” carnival stand where people order from the window and receive their food from the next window and sit outside on picnic tables. Food choices were: cotton candy, hot dogs, chips, popcorn and pretzels all for exorbetent prices. (And people never looked at the prices either so when you rang up their order shock and awe were in order…and not the good kind of shock an awe) The floors were constantly sticky with soda syrup and ketchup stained beyond help. If it was hot outside, you could always count on it being at least 10 degrees warmer inside. Anyway, back to my story….

“Yes,” Kelsey said nodding her head and her circular blue eyes growing even larger. 

I adjusted my visor, annoyed that I had to wear one; what possible purpose do visor’s have when you aren’t outside other than making you look like an explosion from the 1990’s? I pulled closer to the window hoping to catch a breeze from outside. “Well, what’s the story?” I asked her curiously. 

Kelsey spoke with her hands and her voice became more dramatic. “About 30 years ago, a school group was going on a field trip into the mountains and they took Gold Camp Road, hoping to make the trip shorter by cutting through the tunnels. Many people had driven through the tunnels before, they were without question, safe. BUT, the when the school group drove through, one of the tunnels caved in crushing the bus and killing everyone inside.” 

I shivered ghost stories were always worse when children are involved. But still, I reminded myself it was just a ghost story, make believe stuff, nothing to fret about. 

“So, people say that now, all the tunnels along that road are haunted by the children’s ghosts,” Kelsey’s soft voice had by now completely turned into the typical ghost story voice. “Legend says you drive into into one of the tunnels at night, turn off all of the car lights and stay parked for as long as you can handle. When you drive out, little hand prints from the ghost children will be all over your car.” 

I started shaking my head trying to shut down my over active imagination. 

“I didn’t believe it either, but it happened to me!” Her eyes were huge now. Suddenly the sun disappeared; my heart beet a little faster as if the ghost children knew that we were talking about them. I glanced at the sky, it was just a cloud passing by over head. 

“You saw finger prints on your car?”

Kelsey nodded. “But not right away. We drove up there, me and my girlfriends totally thinking it was just a bunch of crap! We parked, let the dust settle on the car and drove away without a single finger print!” 

We were momentarily cut off by a lady asking for a lid and a straw. “I’m sorry, Ma’am but we don’t have any lids or straws due to the fact that they are animal hazards,” Kelsey said the line we all knew by heart. The lady left our window with a helpless moan like the world would be ending in the next 5 minutes. Kelsey and I rolled our eyes and I reminded her of where she left off on the ghost story. 

“Yeah, so like we got to my friend’s house and were laughing and stuff and then one of my friend’s just screams bloody murder!” Kelsey mimicked her friend, sending a couple looks our way. 

“When we got out of the car there were the little hand prints…and I am not lying. It was totally scary.” 

“At least the worse they do is put hand prints all over your car,” I said jokingly. 

“No, if you get hand prints, you are cursed. My friend, is like so worried; and it’s true bad stuff has already started happening since we went last week.” 

“What kind of stuff?”I asked. 

“Like, ok her Dad lost his job on Monday and he was like totally secure in it; and my friend, Anna, keeps having dreams and seeing the children in her room!”

“That is creepy!” I exclaimed with a shiver.
“You have to go!” Kelsey urged me, “it’s a totally out of this world experience.”
“Yeah, NO.” I said. I am the girl who cannot watch horror movies, even CSI gives me nightmares.
“You don’t want to be the lame grandparent who doesn’t have any cool stories do you?”She asked with a laugh.
I laughed back and said,”Maybe I’ll put it on my bucket list..” If I did go…it couldn’t be that bad. The Ghost Adventures show was so worked up it was almost funny to watch. That is what this would be like. The ghost story wasn’t true. I knew it wasn’t true. 



“Maybe we shouldn’t do this!”My twin sister Andrea cried out and grabbed my hand. Usually she was the one who was a bit more daring than me. (Even she had urged me to continue driving on the haunted road when I hesitated upon a stop sign crossed out with graffiti and in place of the word stop was written, “GO.”) Here we were terrified twenty-four year old’s just trying not to be totally lame grandparents.

Suddenly we heard car wheels squeal behind us. People were waiting. This was like a tourist attraction…there were other people around us what could possibly happen? And the guy behind us in his white pickup truck made it impossible to turn around so the only choice we had was to go through the tunnel.

“Let’s just do it!” I said summoning up any remaining courage I had. The silver honda I was driving lurched as it drove over deep dips carved into the red dirt road. Andrea and I both screamed as we entered the tunnel as if ghostly children would grab us at any moment. My car lights bounced on the stony walls but they still hadn’t picked up the end of the tunnel. We were encased in an eerie darkness. Finally I saw the end which meant we were in the middle. Which meant now was the time to park the car and turn out the lights.

With trembling hands I set the car in park and watched the dust swirl around us before turning off the headlights. The blackness that surrounded us is a darkness you can feel. There was no difference between closing my eyes and having them open.Evil was lurking. With a terrified scream I flicked the lights back on and raced the car and Andrea and myself into safety.

Andrea and I both squealed in delight that we had finally accomplished driving through the Gold Camp Tunnels. We had conquered a fear and that’s the best feeling in the world. And no ghostly finger or hand prints…..yet.

I hope you enjoy my vacation inspired story! I went to the Gold Camp Tunnels again last week when I was in Colorado and man! They are freaky but it’s just something you got to do!

Any haunted places in your homeland?