Name: Kim Tracy Prince
Web Site: http://www.kimtracyprince.com/about-me/
Bio: I am a writer. Most of my material is on the web, but the best stuff is still in my journal under the bed.
Posts by ktprince:
Back to school reading for grownups.
By the time a woman is thirty, she has experienced loss, most likely. It’s true for men too, I’m sure, but in Letters For Scarlet, a book about grief, friendship, grace, and courage, the losses are felt most keenly through the eyes of two former best friends, girls who have grown into women with missing pieces.
Corie is a teacher outside of Los Angeles who stayed in her hometown, married her high school sweetheart, and is struggling to get pregnant. She cherishes her extended family, caring for the children of her sister, a carefree soul who has a colorful side story in this novel. Her husband, Tuck, is frequently absent because of his medical sales job, so Corie makes the most of the times when he is home.
Scarlet is the prodigal friend, the one who left. She is a lawyer in San Francisco, an ambitious loner with few friends. The ones she does let in, though, are close to her heart. She’s accidentally pregnant with her boyfriend Gavin who adores her and wishes he could get closer. Clara is her confidante and sidekick, who allows Scarlet to lean on her when she is down.
Corie and Scarlet haven’t spoken in ten years. They have both allowed the rift to scar over, and it seems they will go on forever this way, until Corie receives a letter in the mail…from herself.
In their senior year of high school, the students in Corie’s English class wrote letters to themselves ten years in the future. Rich with expectation and hope, Corie’s letter assumed she’d be married to Tuck, a secret she kept from Scarlet at the time, because the three of them were best friends, seemingly unencumbered by romance. As the reader learns when adult Corie hears from student Corie, everything changed when tragedy hit the merry group of friends. A tragedy that sent Scarlet away, and Corie and Tuck missing her for a decade.
Once you’ve experienced such a loss—your friend or family member died, your relationship imploded, your dreams were dashed—that space inside you is never really full again. You learn to live with it, to somehow get through a day, and then another, and then look! Five years have gone by since she died. How did that happen?
Corie and Scarlet live their lives this way. They experience plenty of joy and love, but there’s a sadness in their thoughts that tempers every emotion. Corie clearly seeks redemption. Scarlet just wants to blot the feelings out completely.
But it’s Corie’s pining for her old friend that reaches into you and pulls your heartstrings right out of your chest. Gardner’s language is infused with pain and hope in equal measure. She gives Corie a voice through her letters—as the title implies there is a high school letter for Scarlet, but that falls into Corie’s hands. This prompts her to add her own, and she continues, journal-like, to write to Scarlet, pouring out her years of separation, her private yearning for a baby, her doubts and frustrations.
Gardner describes the scenes with such detail, enough that you feel like you’re really there, but not so much that you lose track of the story. It all feels like it’s heading to something inevitable, but just like in real life, characters are messy and unpredictable. Nothing works out like you expect it to, and that’s the real beauty of Letters For Scarlet. Like a packet of letters from an old friend, this book is a worthy companion.
I took pictures on the first day of school just like everybody else.
This is the photo I wanted
He’s headed off to middle school this year.
A Costa Rica vacation was just what this family needed.
When I traveled to Costa Rica in the fall of 2014, I made a goal to come back someday with my family. Our friends, The Fellmans, who lived there moved to Spain this July, so the goal was fast-tracked, and together we took the trip of a lifetime as soon as school got out.
The photo gallery below shows scenes from our first 2.5 days on the West Coast of Costa Rica, where we stayed in a little hotel in the tiny town of Playa Potrero – click photos to enlarge.
Our activities there included:
-floating in the pool
-long lazy meals at local restaurants
-strolling down the block to the black sand beach
-rocking in a hammock, drink in hand
-sightseeing in Tamarindo (about 20 minutes away)
-marveling at the strangeness of the “supers” – the little grocery markets where you can buy food, snacks, and phone cards
-riding in Harris’ death-defying Jeep
-attending an expat party at the top of a steep hill in the middle of nowhere
-ducking out of the torrential rain
It was a grand adventure, and despite tens of mosquito bites for one kid, we all enjoyed the vacation and I was overjoyed at fulfilling this goal for myself and my family. Read more details and tips learned the hard way in this post: Costa Rica With Kids.
I’ll be sharing our photos in several installments, because there is so much to share from our Costa Rica vacation – we spent a week in that beautiful country. More to come. Pura Vida!
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Whenever I order something online and I see a space on the checkout page that says “Enter Coupon Code,” naturally I search the internet for a coupon code. Usually, I come up with nothing, or I find codes that have expired. My friend Elena swears by one site and says she always saves a lot of money with those coupon codes, but I do not have the same experience.
The trick is to remember where you shop the most. I checked a list of online retailers who offer coupons through Groupon Coupons, and I see several online stores where I order things all the time. You can find sales and coupon codes that actually work! For example, 20% off the new Harry Potter book at Barnes & Noble:
Normally you think of Groupon as a deal of the day type site, but Groupon recently partnered with more than 9,000 national retailers to launch Groupon Coupons. It’s entirely free and an efficient way for shoppers to find thousands of coupons and exclusive promo codes from popular stores and companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and even eBay!
This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. Now excuse me while I go get my new Harry Potter!
My 20’s were the age of Yes. Somewhere between then and now I lived through the age of Nope. Now what?
Which way? Malibu Creek State Park, 2015
Over the years I’ve read a lot about the power of saying “No,” how it’s so…powerful, like you’re taking charge of your life, setting boundaries, being brave, etc. etc. I took it to heart, in fact, shutting down when I got overwhelmed. It served me well for a time.
But I was thinking the other day that I got this awesome life by saying “Yes.”
[Define “this awesome life”: solid marriage, lively and healthy kids, family and friends who love me. Enough money to eat and live in a nice house and send kids to a good school. Occasional play and work that feeds my soul. A snuggly kitty. Ripe tomatoes in my garden. Etc. Etc.]
I had an urge to move to California once. I said “Yes.” Even though most of my family was in Connecticut. Even though I didn’t have a job, a place to live, any plan once I got there.
But then I made all those things happen, and I got here.
On the road from Connecticut to California, 1995
I worked in life insurance. It paid the bills (mostly – so did the big credit card companies, for a while). And then I learned that I could work in entertainment. Someone said there was a job opening. I interviewed for it. I got the offer.
I said “Yes.”
Even though the pay was dismal and I’d have to drive from Pasadena to Santa Monica (and it wasn’t even as bad then as it is now). I made it work, with help from friends and family, and a couple of new roommates who lived in an apartment under the stairs.
And then I said “Yes” to a job that was temporary, but it lasted 3 years. And I said “Yes” when I thought “I should email that guy” even though that might seem stalkery and overbearing. I said “Yes” when he asked me to marry him, too.
All those “Yeses.”
But life threw me some big punches, some good, some very bad. Somewhere along the line I started saying “Nope.” Everything can be too much, sometimes. I had to draw the line. And it wasn’t just “No,” or “Maybe” but full stop. NOPE. I loved the word so much I had to get this shirt.
Best photo booth ever, 80’s party, 2016
And now I’m looking around, looking at what I’ve missed, and wondering if NOPE was the best answer. I know it was, in some cases. I can only handle so much. I am needed, so much.
But things pass me by. Podcasts. Vlogging. My goddamned novel. It waves at me every day. “You should write me,” it says. Some days I say “Yes.” Yes, I will write you. Some days I say “Yes.” Yes, I will write you badly. But too often I say “NOPE!” No, sorry, I’m too busy doing this other thing.
And one could argue (I do, actually, since I argue with myself all the time) that by saying “Yes” to some things, I have said “No” to all of the OTHER infinite possible choices I could have made. In that way, I shaped my life. I “Yes’ed” and “No’ed” myself into this corner.
It does feel like a corner. I am now faced with the unknown, and I feel a bit directionless. When I decided to move to California at age 24 without a plan, I felt the decision in my gut and my bones and my heart. I ached for it. It was the clearest choice. There was no other.
But now, at almost 45 with a husband, two children, a mortgage, and a strong sense of the value of my work, I don’t have that feeling about any of the possibilities before me. It’s as if the divining rod that led me across the country is sleeping. (Or whatever divining rods do when they aren’t tugging you towards the secret spring in the desert…)
I won’t go back to saying “Yes” to everything that comes along. There’s a certain wisdom that comes with this age and experience. Not that I can predict how an event or gig will turn out, but that I can be 100% sure that if I do THIS, I won’t be able to do THAT.
So what’s THAT? Knowing what THAT is helps me narrow down the NOPES.
To be here for my family while my kids are young.
To earn enough money to support our lifestyle.
To feel fulfilled in my work.
I’ve NOPED a lot of things over the last few years, and it’s served me well. Snapchat and Pokemon Go for a few examples. Still nope!
But I’m ready to say “Yes” again more often. Yes to the unknown, yes to the possibilities, yes to the things that will bring more of the wonderful into my life.
I mean, look at that last photo. I’m wearing a NOPE shirt, but obviously I said “Yes” to that wig. I mean.
Looks like 45 will be the year of Yes/Nope.