Eating My Dreams

What the heck does that mean?

For me, it means, not letting fear hold me back from a goal or trying something.


Let me go waaaaay back to how these words came about.

I was asked by my girlfriend at the time what I wanted to do with my life; I was 34 and halfway through my Associate degree but contemplating a master’s degree. She already had her MA in Education so she knew how much longer I had to go. I had no idea what academia was going to be like and we were just bouncing dreams around.

The phrase we used at the time was actually “Crack Smoking Dream” so I responded, “my Crack Smoking Dream would be to fly helicopters.”

She said you should do it. I said really, you support this. She said if that is what you want to do, then do it.

So then next day I looked up helicopter flight schools, booked a demo flight and was hooked riding co-pilot for 30 minutes in the cockpit. I started training that week. (See But I Fly Helicopters blog.)

My mom was terrified, but she was on board for me to start training to be a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), I had a lot of fear but I also had a lot of support. I spent 12 months training like a CFI to unfortunately run out of money at the very last hurdle. I. Was. Crushed. I had passed the FAA written test, the medical flight test, and all I had to do was the actual flight test.

I was stopped dead by $1000. Mind you this was the last $1000 of a very expensive training program. I couldn’t ask for anymore money from anyone. I was on my own. So what to do?

Get a job, work on plan B which was my MA, then if I really wanted to finish my training go back and take the test. I had one year to go back before all my training would be lost.

So I got a good paying, part time job and resumed my studies toward my MA. My gf and I had broken up so I moved back home with my parents and started the process of building myself up all over again.

This time the plan was to have a degree to always have something to fall back on and if I ever felt like flying helicopters again, I would.

\m/ determination feels good \m/

I was determined to not let anyone or anything get in the way of this plan. I spent ten years straight in school, working both full time and part time while getting my AA (at one time I was working 5 gigs: I was freelancing for 4 music publications, and worked a part time job—sleep was optional 0-o), then my BA, then MA (I tutored part time and was a Teaching Associate—once again sleep was optional). I was fried but dammit I had done it. I had eaten my dream: I got my Master’s in Literature at 40.

I had a lot of fear during those ten years, but I always had support. I had dreams and goals. I knew I could do anything after my Air Force career (I lived in Turkey for 18 months this was right after Desert Storm), helicopter flight training, and lastly surviving grad school.

After reflecting on how far I’d come and what was next, I decided that “Crack Smoking Dream” was not the best phrase and started saying “Eating My Dreams.”

So when the next opportunity came to “eat my dreams” I took it. (See Heartsleeves Coffee Comes the O.C and Snow Coffee).

Now that I had tasted and eaten the helicopter, grad school, coffeeshop and cabin in the woods dreams, the next steps are to work on my rebooting my podcast and lastly my blog-to-book project.

Both projects are currently underway and I am super excited to sharing a coffee while chatting with some friends and sharing my very first blogs from my first website.

Stay tuned as I continue to eat my dreams and see where my tastebuds lead.

Coffee Lover not Coffee Snob

I’ve always described myself as a coffee lover or coffee fan; I would not say I’m a coffee snob. Here’s my thought process.

I’ll drink any and all types of coffee.

Gas station coffee, fancy coffee, automatic drip coffee, Keurig coffee, Instant coffee, Espresso, Turkish coffee, leftover coffee, Air Force coffee, fast food coffee, decaf coffee occasionally, and of course coffeeshop coffee.

Just a few of the coffees in the cupboard.

I have been drinking coffee since I was 16 years old.

Most of it was really bad coffee, mind you, but dammit—I was drinking coffee because that is what the cool kids did.

See I was not your typical teenager, I was the poet-writing, deep-feeling romantic who just didn’t quite fit in and I embraced that about myself. I preferred the company of adults and the adults I hung out with drank coffee. Lots of it.


Mostly I blame it all on Adam Ant.

I was in love with Adam Ant at 12 or 13. His favorite drink was cappuccino. I had heard of it, seen it on menus, but had no idea what it was. So I did what any kid who has access to a full set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas (the Google of Gen X) does: I looked it up. I learned all about the name, the drink, and was fascinated. Now I wanted to try a cappuccino!

I asked my mom about this drink, she told me all about growing up in Argentina and how they went to Espresso Bars where you ordered at the counter, drank while standing up and then went about your daily routine in the city. Wow! I thought my mom was so cool, she drank every kind of espresso drink and knew all about the glasses they were served in and what time of the day you drank them. It was so much more than coffee. It was a culture. I was in love and I hadn’t even tried any of the drinks she told me about: Espresso, Macchiato, Cortado, Cappuccino, Latte, Viennese, Affogato. I was in love with the words!!

If my mom could have made a chart of the coffee drinks she told me about, it would have looked like this.
Credit: https://coffeesesh.com/every-espresso-drink-explained-espresso-chart/

I was steeped in coffee culture as a child of an Argentine and had access to espresso on the regular as my parents owned a small home machine. I watched as they would grind the beans into a fine powder, fill the odd-shaped metal thing with a handle (Portafilter, I was a kid and had no idea all these parts had names, and each glass had a name) with the coffee powder, then smash the powder, stick the thing into the machine, place the very small glass under the odd metal thing, push a button and a few minutes later, dark foamy liquid started spilling out of the odd metal thing.

My mom would say, “look at that crema!” She seemed happy about this so that must mean it’s good. Then they would steam some milk and add just the smallest scoop of foam to the drink. My mom would take the “demi tasse” mug, give it a “profundo” inhale and say, “now that’s a coffee.”

Me, me, me. I’m next!! I would say. I want a cappuccino. It was my turn now and I would watch the same process again. Grind the coffee. Bang the metal thing, fill the metal thing, insert the metal thing, push the button, and bam, espresso comes out. Steam some more milk, add the milk and foam, tah dah cappuccino.

Mind blown!!

Next thing I knew I was hanging out at local Cafes and Espresso Bars drinking my cappuccinos and writing. The problem was these coffee shops weren’t always open all hours so I had to find other places that served coffee all night. I went to Denny’s, Bob’s Big Boy, Carrow’s, and other late night places to write and drink coffee.

The coffee was not good, but I drank it nonetheless.

I learned to drink any coffee and manage to make it palatable with cream and sugar. If I was a coffee snob I would be very disappointed by every coffee that I didn’t make. And I would have horrible coffee experiences around the world. Well I did have a few of those, but that is a blog for another time.

As I grew up I learned more and more about coffee, roasting, origins, cupping, and the different coffee cultures around the world.

I loved coffee so much I wanted to have my own coffee shop and live above it. At one time I wanted to have a Yoga/Coffee Shop on the beach in some tropical location and then I did have a coffee shop. (See https://coffeefitnessunicorn.com/2019/10/21/heartsleeves-coffee-comes-to-oc/). I had a life-changing soy cappuccino from the sexiest barista alive and we have coffee together on the daily. So thank you Mom, Adam Ant and Brandi for sharing your love of coffee.

My dreams changed over the years, but my love of coffee has never waned.

Once a coffee lover, always a coffee lover.

Guilt-Free Coffee

What is guilt-free coffee?

Coffee with a view can be guilt-free 😉

Some could say Fair-Trade, others would say substituting sugar-free syrups in place of the heavy calorie sauces.

My coffee is pretty low in calories even when I have a “cheat coffee” which is an oatmilk cappuccino these days. My morning coffee is anywhere from 45-65 calories depending on how creamy I want it. My cappuccinos are only 65-95 calories depending on the size I get which means I add two sugar in the raw packets or one. So again this is not really anything I feel super guilty about.

What I mean when I say, “guilt-free coffee” is that my coffee is sourced from a fair wage plantation that takes care of the workers and the profits go right back to the producers. My conscience is guilt-free and I know that I am helping the farmers and workers.

sustainable coffee producers

There is another element that guilt-free means and that has to do with my creamer. Most people are surprised that I used powdered creamer. Before I go into the details of that let me explain why I use powdered creamer.

Before we knew I was lactose intolerant. ❤ you mom.

I’m lactose intolerant and cannot use, drink, consume, or go anywhere near dairy cow’s milk. My mom informed me that I was covered in a rash from head to toe and had to have goat milk delivered to the house so I could get my calcium and nutrients. My rash was so bad that I would be walking around in a diaper or just completely naked. I am glad she never took pictures of these memories and only shared them with via story-telling.

So growing up it was always hit and miss with dairy. Sometimes I was fine, sometimes not so much. I think I have had upset tummies all over the world and have learned that I should not go anywhere near half-and-half in Southeast Asia because it’s really just milk 0_o.

Over the years I have had enough burbling and gurgling in my insides to stop the madness and take care of things my way. The dairy-free way. And that means powdered, non-dairy creamer. I have never had any issues with this product. I can pack it with me and take it around the world. And I have.

I like my coffee sweet and creamy (see How You Take Your Coffee blog). I have consumed black coffee with sugar in Ireland, Thailand, Fiji and other places where I feel the creamer could be suspect. It’s not my preferred taste or color, but it’s just not worth the trouble if I take the risk.

Black with sugar 0_o in Kauai, no cream 😦

This leads to the last element of guilt-free coffee: Coffee-Mate, non dairy, powdered creamer. I know this is what seems to shock everyone. The good news is Nestle is now committed to safe palm oil production and this makes the last element of my guilt-free coffee even better.

Not only is my coffee guilt-free, my sugar is guilt-free, and my creamer is also guilt-free.

This makes the perfect cup of coffee for me.

Happiness in a mug.

Proper coffee with cream and sugar. Look at the sexiness in a glass.

Coffee Slurping!!

Do you do this?

Is there anyone who actually enjoys this sound?

I sometimes make this sound when I am so desperate to get the coffee into my system while it’s still scalding that I will make a slight slurping sound.

I try to be cognizant of the noise as I am doing it, but sometimes I just can’t help it.

I’d love to hear what you have to say about coffee slurping.

Let’s take a poll:

Some people can’t stand the word, “moist” which I think is silly because it is used in food references all the time. The general consensus is cake should be moist. Who wants to eat a dry cake?

So it seems that coffee slurping would be more disturbing than the word “moist” but I could be completely wrong.

I’ve traveled to very humid places and we would say the air was very thick and moist; I never thought about how it might upset someone to say this. I have made a conscious effort not to slurp my coffee.

If I do slurp it is due to my rash behavior and not being able to control myself with a fresh cup of coffee.

If you’re okay with the word moist and coffee slurping is cool with you, but some other thing drives you crazy, let me know in the comments below.

CoffeeFitnessUnicorn Podcast is Back!!!

CoffeeFitnessUnicorn podcast is back!!

Hello!! I’ve got some Great News!!

The CoffeeFitnessUnicorn podcast went through some changes from a solo operation to a joint effort to once again being a solo endeavor.

I’d like to take this time the thank all of you who supported the Those Coffee Humans podcast and redirect you back to the CoffeeFitnessUnicorn program.

I know you loved us both to tell stories and share tales about ourselves and our adventures, however, this new podcast will have special features: such as subscriber benefits, VIP access, and Instagram LIVE specials where I can talk with you personally to make it more interactive.

The latest episode is up on Spotify

Right now the voice is automated as we are still unpacking from our arduous and somewhat traumatic move. I did find the podcast equipment, I just wasn’t able to set it up in time to release the episode. Next episode will me talking and sharing the newest features of the podcast.

Stay tuned for more details, give the episode a listen and let me know what you think.

Tell me what you would like to hear, know and how we can make this a better user experience for you.

Thank you!!

Coffee Mugs are Perfect.

Coffee mugs have traveled with me around the world and I have traveled back with mugs from those exotic places so I can savor the memories while enjoying my favorite beverage in those magical containers.

If you have ever been a guest, I probably served you a drink of some sort in a coffee mug, be it wine, whiskey, soda, or of course coffee.

I may not have much, but I will always have coffee and coffee mugs. When I was overseas in the Air Force the only kitchen items I had were a: mini coffee maker, mini espresso maker, plate, bowl, and coffee mug. It was all I needed and I never thought about buying anything else. I had everything my little coffee-loving heart needed, why be superfluous with my purchases?

I have pretty much always been utilitarian with things and the coffee mug is the perfect utility drinking tool for me.

Coffee mugs are very multifaceted and depending on the size, it can fit a plethora of uses. I’m sure I’ve even used one as a vase for fresh flowers at sometime.

Many times I’ve used a coffee mug as a pen holder. See image below. I usually use an Alumni mug for pens to remind me how far I’ve come. In the case below, we had just moved and I wanted a little reminder of a friend so I used the mug she gave me <3.

Using a coffee mug as a toothbrush holder was a first for me and I am sure it won’t be the last example of the ever multi-purposeful coffee mugs.

When you move and your household items are two weeks behind you, you get creative with coffee mugs and toothbrush holders.

I’d love to hear that I am not the only one who does such things with coffee mugs.

Do you have any creative coffee mug uses to share? Tell me in the comments below…

But I Fly Helicopters!

This is my mantra when I am facing something scary, for example: spiders, bugs in general and anything that isn’t flying helicopters.

Why is this my mantra?

Flying helicopters was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Think about it, it’s a flying death machine being controlled by a human. What could go wrong, right?

I have had to face my fears many times without this mantra and it was not easy. For example, I had to face several of my greatest fears at one time: ocean water, sharks and stingrays all at the same time. That’s right I swam in shark and stingray infested waters and I didn’t have the mantra back then. 

I did have a hunky Tahitian guide with a traditional tattoo of a shark and stingray so I had a feeling I was in good hands. We were on an excursion of a lifetime and this was the moment you enter the traveler-zone or stay in the comfort-zone.

The brave ones jumped into the water without hesitation while the rest of us who were more apprehensive considered our options. One-by-one the reluctants joined in. It was me and one other lady and she was not even having it. So I watched our guide as he explained how the stingrays eat, he gave it a fish in the mouth and what looked like its ear! Holy shit! That was creepy!!

Since I was still on the boat, he asked me to hand him the bag of fish. It was blood-soaked and heavier than I expected. Fish blood and fish juice got all over my hand and arm and I was about to go into the shark and stingray water. WTF was I thinking?! 

I wasn’t, I just slowly climbed down the ladder into the warm clear water, making sure not step on a stingray because that would be bad, very bad. What you had to do was float and keep your hands and feet close to you so the sea critters don’t think your hands are food and try to eat them. So there I am doing the oddest doggy-paddle of my life while seeing sharks and stingrays through my snorkel mask. 

Then I heard my breath. Slow and steady. Calm as I could be while “swimming” with sharks and stingrays. It was the craziest thing I had ever experienced. 

I guess you could say, “But I swam in shark and stingray infested waters” would be a good mantra, but I disagree. 

Here’s why. I chose to learn to fly helicopters. I paid for lessons. I trained and I drilled the maneuvers. I was prepared for the weather situations, I was prepared for things not to go right and how to adapt. It was skill and hard work—and it was scary as hell. 

But you were trained and exposed to various elements that helped you handle a situation. And when you survived it you felt exhilarated. 

For example: Turbulence. We know them and dislike them in large commercial aircraft. Let me tell you they feel very different in a small flying death bubble. 

The first thing you are trained to do is to ease off the controls when you hit them. Most people want to plow through them and accelerate. WRONG answer. This is a very scary situation, you are bouncing around and being tossed about all the while trying to pay attention to your speed, altimeter, and listening for odd noises. 

During one of my three cross country flights I hit some really bad turbulence and I literally thought I saw my heart leave the cockpit while I tried to gain control of the flying death bubble.

Here’s what happened: I was flying through a canyon as per the flight plan. I was flying at the correct altitude and speed. Then I dropped and bounced in the sky. My training kicked in. I eased off the collective, cyclic and pedals, then looked at my gauges about shat myself because I saw the worst thing I could see. My speed gauge hit the red zone which means I could crack the engine and fall from the sky. Yup, that just happened. You are one and half hours away from your home airport what do you do? You pay attention to every sound she makes. You watch those gauges and prepare to land anywhere that looks safe. This is what you train for. This is what has been drilled into you. You can handle this. They would never let you fly by yourself for three hours if they didn’t believe you could do it. You are doing it and taking control of the situation.

You just recovered from a torrent of angry air and maintained control. You can do anything. 

That is why I say my mantra is, “But I fly helicopters.” To remind myself that if I can survive a flying death bubble, I should be able to kill a spider or any other creepy-crawly thing out there.


Guillaume Maillet, my first CFI and the best!! He was my favorite instructor. He believed in me and gave me the confidence I needed to fly R22 helicopters.

Here’s an article that sheds some light on the flying world from the pilots and owners of my flight school.

Here’s a video of a student pilot and instructor during lift off, clearance and take off. (Clear Left, Clear Right. Get that ETL.)

(We’re in the middle of a move so my log book, certificate, and photos are all packed up. I trained well before social media was a thing and documenting my flights was hard since I had a flip phone back then. If I was flying now, you bet I’d be filming everything!!)

Word problems, for me, are not the same as word problems were designed.

For example: If Sally goes to the store with Billy and Sally has $.57 and Billy has $.72 how many watermelons can they buy if watermelons are $.17 a pound?

What the hell is this craptastic scenario?!

My brain gets stuck. Not on the math—but in the story.

I want more of the story. Where the hell is the rest of the story?!

For me, my brain, is imagining Sally with a blonde, bob hairstyle, blue eyes and she is wearing a cute, flowy and flowery babydoll dress with patent leather Mary Jane shoes. Billy has a red and white striped shirt, faded jeans and white, low-top Converse shoes. He has a gentle face with brown eyes and a buzz cut. He is very protective of Sally as she is his little sister. In my mind, I’m wondering why their mom has sent them off to the store to buy watermelons since they are so young and watermelons are heavy.

Anytime I saw a “Word Problem” it was indeed a word problem. I was so lost in the story and it was problematic that the rest of the story was missing.

Every time I read a “Word Problem” I had to work even harder to focus on what it was that I was supposed to do because I was so lost in the missing story.

I wanted Sally and Billy to buy purple elephants and apple-sized lollipops. It was so hard for me to do the math when they had that many words without a real story. I always wanted more of the story. Or I wanted to know why these children were doing the things they were doing.

Or better yet, why was a guy standing on platform at the train station? Where was he going? In my mind he was wearing a London Fog, camel-colored trench coat, he was holding a leather bag, he wore a grey fedora hat, shiny wingtip loafers, he had thick black-rimmed glasses, and an intelligent face. I wanted to know what he did for work, what he was going to eat when he got to Chicago or New York. To me, it did not matter how long it took him to get to these places, I wanted to know what he was going to do when he got there. 

What in the missing letters Hell is this shite!!

I survived the “Word Problems” of my childhood only to be more baffled as I got older and advanced to Algebra. When I saw “Solve for X” on the board I was like where is the rest of the word?

Why was there only one letter?!

Is “X” the first letter or the last?! 

Was the missing word “Xylophone” or was it “Sex” or was it something trickier? 

In my mind you could not just put a letter on the board, there had to be more.

Math for me was the most torturous thing because it always involved letters and these letters were missing letters. I hated that the letters equalled numbers. The letters should be with more letters not be reduced to a singular number.

It is a true miracle I survived my math classes in grade school, high school and college, (Statistics-ugh! Don’t even remind me of that course. I passed with hard work and by the kindness of my professor and walked away never to do anything other than basic math ever again). I could never tell anyone what was happening in my brain with “Word Problems” or Algebra because I knew they would think I was completely mental. I suffered through it and thank the Word Gods who helped me realize words are my friends and as long as I can keep my bank account balanced, I’ll be just fine.

Only now can I share with you the problems with word problems from my youth and know that I am not completely mental. I am a word lover and word freak and in my mind words tell a story. If you give me only bits and pieces of a story, my mind will create a story and get lost in the details that I filled in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Words are not problematic for me, words are not numbers, words are delicious distractions, wondrous wishes, and things of beauty to get lost in. 

“Where Ravens Roost” is Karin Nordin’s Debut Novel in the Detective Kjeld Nygaard Series

Meet Karin Nordin, badass blackbelt who loves cats and writes Scandinavian Noir.

If you could describe WRR in three words what would they be?

Chilly. Brooding. Feathers.

Why Scandinavian Noir/Nordic Noir?
-which title/name do you prefer?
 

Most of my family lives in Norway and Sweden so Scandinavian Noir is something I’ve always been drawn to. I also did my first master’s degree in Scandinavian Literary Studies and my thesis was specifically focused on work vs. family relationships in Scandinavian crime dramas, so it’s a topic I’m really interested in. Likewise, that’s a theme which is very prevalent in Where Ravens Roost and in the follow-up, Last One Alive.

I also love the importance Scandinavian Noir puts on a story’s location. A large amount of detail and attention is invested in the setting. Setting is intricate to most stories, but Scandinavian Noir really pushes it to another level. The settings in that genre take on a persona of their own and become an essential character in the book. The environment permeates the narrative and often adds an extra layer of difficulty for the characters. That’s something which has always fascinated me. I’m really pulled into stories with bleak, dark, and unforgiving environments because of that extra level of tension it gives to the story. It makes the protagonists’ struggle even more challenging when they have to deal with unforgiving surroundings on top of whatever problem they’ve come up against in the plot.

I actually prefer the term Nordic Noir, but I think that comes from my research and experience in academic literary studies where that term is more commonly used. (Also because I’m a sucker for alliteration!) I think nowadays in the general publishing world it’s more appropriate to call it Scandinavian Noir so as to be more inclusive of the different countries. Also because the word ‘nordic’ is more traditionally associated with Norway.

If you could have Fika with any character in the book, who would it be?

If I could have Fika with any character in Where Ravens Roost, it would probably be Esme. She’s the character who’d come up with the most interesting conversation topics. She does a lot of reading up on strange facts and she isn’t afraid to be blunt about her interests and passions. She’s also quite a bit more personable and forthcoming than a lot of the characters in the novel. She has an introverted side that will be explored more as the books go on, but she’s an extroverted introvert. She can be very social when she wants to be. She’s not afraid to speak her mind. And I think she’d have a lot of good stories to tell. There wouldn’t be an awkward lull in the conversation. Kjeld is more the kind of character who you go out for a beer with. Fika usually happens in the first few hours of the work shift and by that point Kjeld would already be fixated on whatever the problem of the day is. So, getting a good conversation out of him that doesn’t involve crime or murder might be difficult. There’s actually a kind of Fika moment in the second novel between Kjeld and his colleagues and he really struggles to keep up with the perfunctory aspect of the conversation. He’s way more internally preoccupied than the other characters, and for very good reasons, but I think that stunts his conversation skills a bit. But at the end of the week and after a few drinks he’d probably be more interesting to talk to. The sequel also introduces a new character, Sixten, and I think he could be fun to have Fika with as well. Mostly because he’d bring the best pastries! (Just don’t ask him to make your coffee for you, because he always gets it wrong.)

 What Fika pastry would you pair with your books?

 I think Where Ravens Roost would go well with a good old fashioned kanelbulle (cinnamon roll) because it has more of a traditional Swedish feel to it. It also takes place at the start of winter and that’s always nice to enjoy on a cold day. Last One Alive would probably be better paired with a punchrulle or dammsugare (punsch roll) because it has more layers as a story. And some of the turns, like the taste, are more unexpected if you’ve never tried it before.


More Detective Kjeld in September 2012

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The Phantom Tollbooth

Lethargy, the Doldrums. I was 10 years old and clueless as to what these words meant let alone how to pronounce, “lethargy.” So I went to the dictionary and began my love affair with The Phantom Tollbooth.

It was also the book that helped me fall in love with words and literature.

It is a book of wonder and I have read it at each decade of my life.

I love this book so much that I have “To Lands Beyond” tattooed on my arm in an open book.

There is something so magical about this book and I am disappointed I did not write down how I felt when I read it all those times. I had no idea that I would be doing a reading experiment with myself every decade so this read through I will pay particular attention to my emotions.

What sparked my rereading of this book in my 20s was getting it as a gift from a very good friend of mine. It was the 35th Anniversary issue and she wrote a lovely note inside. I was in a very unhealthy relationship and stuck in my life. We talked about how to unstick ourselves and must have mentioned this book and here it was, my journey was about to begin again. Where would this next step, page, door take me? It took me home to find myself again and never doubt my strength and resolve. That was the 26 year old version of this book.

The 36 year old version was the acting version. When I was in undergrad I used this book as my theater book, meaning that we had to act out scenes from it and be filmed so we could see and hear how we projected, emoted and paced with words. I had so much fun using this book because it was so familiar and getting to act out the opening scene was a highlight of my 30s. I was building on the strength from 26 to 36.

Who knew a child’s book could be the impetus for such success?

I read it again at 42 for fun as my life was in quite the upheaval. My late wife was sick off and on and we tried to tap into the things that made us feel happy or good. So I went to my trusty paperback still in pristine condition and read once more about Milo and his adventures. I had many years of memories from this book and my late wife knew how much I loved this book she got me the annotated volume as a wedding gift. It came with pictures of the author and illustrator being silly as they autographed this book!! I was beyond the lands beyond. I was floating in pure joy and happiness. It was the perfect gift and we were about to go on the perfect trip to Thailand and get married.

We had another 5 years of good and bad and I struggled to find my happy again after her passing. It took a whole lot of help from friends to get through that dark period and I am very glad to be on this side of the blackness. I have found love again and I couldn’t be happier. We packed up and moved to a quieter life to write and be creative and find new adventures together.

Now at 50 I am about to embark on a very different, but familiar journey with Milo and Tock as we all head into strange lands together. I am very excited to see and feel this book again after having been through so much at each decade.

To Lands Beyond indeed; lead the way Milo.