Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year? New Dirt!

Truth be told... if I had my way, everyday would be NEW YEARS DAY! I love new beginnings. That is probably why when I go out each day, I love to get the mail! Everyday is different and there is always a chance some NEW dirt will come my way. In making my plans for the new year and what I would like to accomplish with my dirt collection, I thought it would be wise to recap all of the states that I recieved dirt from in 2008.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, California, no wait...

On second thought, it would be easier to list the states that I DID NOT recieve dirt from....

Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

So 2009, HERE I COME! I hope to finish off my list of Capitols for sure. And another goal is to have dirt collected from the new LDS temples being dedicated this year. I have even thought of starting my celebrity dirt quest as well. With the Sundance Film Festival right around the corner, you never know who might be walking around, just waiting to hand out some samples from their hometowns! (You never know, it could happen?!)

I could use everyone's help for sure! So call your travel agents, plan lots of trips, call lots of relatives, and send lots of samples! I will be sure to give you credit. Out with the old and in with the new! Send me some dirt, and I'll always LOVE you!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Gift from Puerto Rico

I had a coworker at one time that was from Puerto Rico. His name was Angel and it was truly, the perfect name that should be given to him. He was one of the most humble, caring, and giving people I have ever been blessed to be around.
2 years ago, Angel and his family traveled back to Puerto Rico to visit with family and friends for the holidays. When he returned he told me that he remembered I collected dirt and wanted to give me a little something from where he was born and raised. This sample is what he brought to me. He told me about the area in which it was purchased and how it is a very famous spot because of the battles that had been fought there.
Porta Caribe was the location of where this sand was bottled from. It stands for the "Gateway to the Caribbean". Go to for more information on Puerto Rico. They have lots of information on how to get there as well as what to do when you are!
Time has passed and I don't know what journey Angel is on now. Wherever it might me, I hope he knows, this little part of him, is now a little part of me. Gracias, Angel.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Apache Junction,Arizona

The people that read your blog might surprise you. There are the obvious "just passin' through" types, they are the ones that type something in incorrectly, only to realize their mistake and begin retyping. Then, there are the "comic page" types, they are the ones that read only the things in your blog pertaining to them and the level of happiness received from only those posts they are particulary interested in. Then, there are my personal favorites. The blog buddies. The ones that, for whatever reason, find your blog, read your blog, sincerely enjoy your blog, then find a reason to participate in your blog. Thus, I give you the following dirt sample. This I received from my newest blog buddy the Angry Georgian who was on a trip visiting Arizona.
Remember in my original post, I commented on the main reason that I love collecting dirt from others and not just my own experiences, is because of the happiness it brings me knowing that someone took the time to first think about me, second, gather some dirt, or sand, or soil, or shells, or rocks, or treebark, or whatever, and third send it to me. WAY COOL! Thank you again. I look forward to more of your adventures and a little piece of them coming my way. For those of you wanting more information about Apache Junction, Arizona, read the Angry Georgians' comment or just google away!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From BLOG to BOOK!

The people in my family, simply put...are AMAZING!

They contacted a company called Shared Book. They are so proud of me for finally getting my blog up and running that they rewarded me BIG TIME! They took the information that I have put on the world wide web and had it produced into Book Form... All of my posts up to the end of November 2008 are there in that book. All 34 pages of it. It has a Dedication page, Table of Contents, and even has a footnote section that lists all of the comments that have been left by readers of my blog!

They are going to update it for me periodically and promised me that the next one will arrive sometime in May. Mother's Day perhaps? Whenever it comes makes no difference to me! I am just glad they found this place and had it delivered on Christmas morning. Thank you so much to my family. And of course, all of you, since, after all YOU are the stars of my show. So now, when I write stuff on my blog, I know that eventually, I will get to see it in book form. Hit the web site. It really is amazing, and very affordable to do as well! Look closer, that may be you on that page!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Cheer

Whatever is in Santa's bag for you this year, I hope that it is something that you will always hold dear to your heart. It's always easy to give and receive this time of year. The trick is to keep things in focus, and not get lost in the commercial side of the season. For me, this time of year is when I like to reflect on all that has been done for me. Thank you to everyone that has helped me to reflect on all the areas in the world that are beautiful. All the places on this earth that have been "given" to us to enjoy and appreciate.

The ornament hanging on our tree that best symbolizes the meaning for this season is our nativity ornament. It contains sand from Bethlehem along with a nativity scene that includes the Child in a manger. I have also included pictures of dirt from both Jerusalem as well as Nazareth.

All of these hold special places in my heart.

One last photo I have included. It is my favorite holiday item that is put up each year at my house. Season's Greetings to all of my family and friends, wherever in your journey you are.

Christmas is the time when even he who gives, remembers Him who gave.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christine O. Gregoire and Washington Dirt 2

I knew she wouldn't let me down! I received my dirt from the Department of Natural Resources, Geological Department today, located in Washington State. The funny thing is, they sent it to Ms. Gregoire, only to have her mail it on to me! Thank you for all of your efforts, and especially to Gary and Carol for making it all happen. The dirt is beautiful and will be bottled up and placed in my collection to join all the others very soon. You are appreciated!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ruth Ann Minner and Delaware Dirt

I love the letters that come with my dirt samples. Of course, they are all saved and will some day be put into many "physical" scrapbooks. They are all sort of worded the same way. Very polite and PC. They probably get hundreds of requests every day at the state Capitols for stuff like I requested. Oh, okay, so maybe not DIRT requests but important things none the less. Here is my response and dirt sample from the state of Delaware. As the letter stated, Delaware is a unique state in many ways, a good source of information on Delaware is located at This sample was taken at the Tatnall Building in Dover. It was a very rich brown color and almost reminded me of a sample I received from Iowa years ago. Sometimes, even when the states are so far apart, the dirt still looks very similar. Thank you to Alexis Carter who is Ms. Minner's assistant. You are appreciated!

Mark Sanford and South Carolina Dirt

The State of South Carolina actually holds a lot of personal ties for me. Even though I am from California, I did marry a southern boy. He was from Greenville and since we have been together it seems like we are always running into people from this great state. Many of our baseball players actually hail from South Carolina. This sample was sent from the Govenor's office there with the help of Ms. Leanna DuPree. It's texture is simple enough, and it is truly beautiful to look at. Thank you to the state of South Carolina. Not only for the great dirt sample, but for sending a certain Southern boy my way!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christine O. Gregoire and Washington Dirt

Someone could learn a valuable lesson from this lady! Congratulations on being so on the ball! And for not sending me a "dirty" letter. Here is my letter that was sent in response to my request for dirt from the State of Washington. They were even so kind as to include my self-addressed stamped envelope. Hey, maybe I could use it to give California another chance!
Hey Arnold.... "I'll be back!"
I will be patiently awaiting another envelope from these fine folks. Washington is a BEA utiful state. My favorite town was Seattle. We visited there several times while moving to Junea, Alaska many years ago.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Famous by noon tomorrow...

Or is it infamous? I love going to my stat finder and seeing where all the hits to the blog site are coming from. On Sunday, for no particular reason, I happened to have an enormous amount of "hits". I wondered what was up, because I didn't really have anything very quippy to say about anything, I didn't post anything new, not a single thing was updated or changed! Then, after finding out that Florida apparently reads my blog, I discovered what was up. Go to to see for yourself what all the excitement was about.

After doing so, be sure to go to the calendar for the Sunday December 14th posting. How fun!

I've got some catching up to do...

Dear Blog Buddies,
Sorry, I have gotten a tad bit behind. I'm horrible I know. I am constantly requesting that everyone that blogs, do so on a regular basis. Mainly as a complement however, because I love to read what they have on their minds. Now I know how it be bugged about it! To those of you waiting to see your posts, please be patient. I haven't forgotten about you. To those of you sending more dirt to me...HURRY UP! I don't have all day! Just kidding of course. As you can see, I've got some catching up to do...Please be sure to tune in on December 25th for a SPECIAL HOLIDAY post. No Peeking until then.


So, here it is...the ultimate in Dis...On November 3rd I received this letter...

Dear Ms. Ridley,

Thank you for taking the time to send your request to Governor Schwarzenegger. As we hope you understand, the Governor receives many similar requests, and although he would like to fulfill each one, his busy schedule simply does not permit it.

Again, thank you for contacting the Governor's office.


Office of Constituent Affairs

My favorite part?

A. It was on my birthday!

B. It wasn't even signed

C. It was on my birthday!

Shhhhhsh. Denied by my own "home" state.

tsk tsk tsk.

P.S. What the heck is the Office of Constituent Affairs anyway?

At least the Governor of the State of Washington took the time to forward my request onto someone else who could take care of it. (please see upcoming post...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pennsylvania Coal

Thanks go out to my nephew in Pennsylvania for this really cool sample of Coal. Even though it's not dirt, I loved the bottle in came in. I poured some out in order to look at it and was very surprised at how strong it smelled like soot. It also left quite a bit of "soot" on my counter as well. The coal was surprisingly shiny too. I did get a little more information about this amazing little bottle of coal today from my sister in California. The coal is from the Lakawana Railroad Museum in Scranton, PA. She actually got it for me while attending a conference in Wilkes-Barre. The Lakawana Museum is home to the Steamtown NHS' UP #4012 "Big Boy" engine. Here's the link: . Take a gander and let me know what you think. Oh yeah, and let me know if they yell, "ALL ABOARD".

Thank you Sue!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Family Digs

Here are 4 dirt collections from my niece Michelle in California.

Rumsey, ClearLake Oaks, Esparto, and Willits. Michelle lives, let's just say, "OUT" in the country, but goes into Sacramento for dentist, doctor appointments, and other stuff. I was so glad she thought of me when heading into town her last time. Each sample was really dry except for the Rumsey dirt. I have been drying it for almost a week and it is still too wet to put in a bottle. Makes me wonder what makes it so water retentive. Thanks Michelle.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Berry, Illinois Eddieville, Kentucky

These 2 samples were sent along with some Dominican Republic dirt from Rodney Brooks. The dirt from Berry Illinois is fun to look at mainly because it's not from somewhere famous but just another "home town" sample. The good folks at the Hampton Inn in Eddieville actually hooked my family up with a great rate after they had the misfortune of a flat tire. Dirt will be dirt.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Zealand Dirt

I received this sample from a young lady my daughter used to compete in gymnastics with. Funny how life always makes a complete circle eh? Andrea went to New Zealand and brought this sand back for me. She said their dirt is very similar to the red soil in the Carolinas, although this sand she collected is darker. It is not from one of the black beaches but was from just north of Auckland on the east coast of the North Island. The color up close is beautiful. This particular sample when I opened it seemed to be (for lack of a better word), humble. Just tranquil and calm. I would imagine the waters surrounding it would be the same. Thank you Andrea.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Charlie Crist and Florida Dirt

Thank you Mr. Crist for not 1 but 2 samples from your great state. Mayakka sand is the state soil of Florida. It was almost powdery in consistency and was a pretty shade of gray. The other sample given to me was from the Capitol building in Tallahassee. If interested in Mr. Crists' initiatives visit this web site: and click on "Subscribe to Notes from the Capitol. I hope to visit Florida again someday. The beaches are beautiful. My sand from Key West is amazing and I will post about it later.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dear John,

Dear John,

I love my dirt you sent me...

You are the greatest person for sending me a wonderful "mystery" sample of soil from that "mystery" location. I think the dirt must have a "mystery" ingredient. This is what I need...The "mystery" way to get the stain off of my countertops, my washclothes, and my t-shirt that I was wearing while filling up my dirt sample into it's home inside a bottle. Thank you so much! You know how to get in touch with me.

All My Love,


Dirt! The Movie

da da da da da...News Flash! This just in. Scott "Skippy" Jessop, you know the fellow that proposed to Mandy Moore last year at the Sundance Film Festival? Well, he just called to inform me about a new movie that will be premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Believe it or not, it's title is.... Dirt! The Movie. You can read about the movie by going to . I really liked the production status section. WOW! Finally a movie I can enjoy! Did somebody say OSCAR?

Magnetic dirt? YES!

SO... I may have received the coolest dirt sample ever! A big shout out to Jay E. Bates for sending me this sample. The dirt he sent me is from the Benitoite Gem Mine in San Benito County California. The only place in the world where Benitoite is found in gem quality. Benitoite is the state gemstone of California I am told and that in itself is cool. But the best is yet to come...Benitoite contains magnetite which is very magnetic. Jay told me that if you put a magnet in the dirt, it would be buried by the dirt which is attracted to the magnet. So that's what we did. And sure enough Jay wasn't lying. We grabbed a magnet off the fridge and the dirt stuck right to it! That's me holding the dirt up in front of my kitchen cabinet. Included in my goodie bag was also Benitoite and Neptunite crystals. There was a glossy black crystal, that turned out to be very dark red. All that talk about refractive indexes sounded really intelligent too! In simple terms, that means they sparkle. All I know is that the sample was amazing and I now have a magnet on my desk, magically holding dirt!

The Eiffel Tower and Versailles

Jeremy has traveled again, and so has my dirt! This is a sample from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. He mentioned that he got it from the very base of the tower. What a cool addition to my collection. I love the color green that DOBA uses for their company so in honor of that lovely color, here ya go. Versailles was another stop on the Hanks' vacation to France. Both of the samples that they brought back with them were kind of damp. And actually, the sample from Versailles almost looked like SOS. (That's hamburger gravy for those of you not familiar with the military term). I'll post some additional photos after they have both dried out. Till then, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dominican Republic Digs

I received a LITTLE envelope the other day with a BIG gift inside! Lots and lots of dirt from my "family" in Alabama, the Brooks Clan. They sent me a sample of dirt that was beautiful from the Dominican Republic where Beau was playing baseball. He and several other boys of summer spent about 3 weeks there, working on their baseball skills and extending their season. The dirt is several shades of red and orange and is very dry. It has a texture of almost ground rock. But then again, isn't that what all dirt is? Also included was a ,sample from Eddieville, Kentucky where, chance would have it, a flat tire inspired the gathering of dust just for me! Thank you once again to my friends in Bama!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bill Richardson and New Mexico Dirt

I have grown so attentive to the details lately. This letter was actually the first one I received after sending out my requests to the governors of each state. Congratulations to Bill Richardson for being on the ball! This sample was one I really needed because I have very little if any soil from the state of New Mexico. You can visit his state on the web at or Thank you again for being the first to respond to my request. I noticed!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Thank you to Mariel Connelly for the great Christmas "dough" and of course, for the dirt sample from the Phillipines. It was such a quick drop off that I didn't get all of the details, but Mariel sent me an email explaining about the dirt. Hundred Islands is located just off Alaminos City in the Phillipines. Her parents are serving an LDS mission there and she and her sisters got to spend some time with them over a short vacation. The ocean surrounding the islands is the South China Sea. The island that this particular dirt came from is called the Children's Island. People are forbidden to remove the sea shells and other items from the islands for fear of bad luck. Lucky for me, dirt wasn't included in the rules! Thank you Mariel!

Sarah Palin and Alaska Dirt

This past week has brought me 12 samples of dirt. From as far away as the Phillipines to as close as right down the street. Having my family with me for the holidays was pretty special, and when we went to get dirt from the Old Mailbox, they were all very impressed with a little envelope from the state of Alaska. Yes, the Governor herself, the Vice President candidate, Sarah Palin, sent me a little something from her fine state. Having lived in Juneau many years ago, I had a couple of samples already. But, what made this unique was that she sent the dirt along with this card. And yes, it was personally signed by her. Even with all her busy schedule demands, she found time to send me this. What a great way to start the holiday season with a "gift" from her. The sample is similar to the ones I collected in 1985 in front of the Mendenhall Glacier. The state is beautiful and so is the soil. I have many fond memories of living there. From the Northern lights to bear cubs at my window. Thank you Ms. Palin, the dirt was appreciated! Now, could you give Arnold a call in Cali?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Angry Georgian

Another shout out is in order! This time to... the Angry Georgian. He sent me this sample of Georgia Red Clay all the way from where other than... Georgia! The red turf is quickly becoming my favorite of all the dirt from the United States. Read the Angry Georgian's blog! It is quite interesting! I still have a great deal more to post, and now that the MS body has won yet another battle, I am on it! Thank you to the Angry Georgian, you made my whole day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The game of RISK

Many years ago my family played the game of RISK. It got to be more of an obsession than just a means to pass time with a family game. We played religiously every Friday night. The winner was even awarded a giant belt similar to the one worn by wrestlers in the WWF. The board game itself wasn't big enough to accommodate all of the people we had playing each weekend so we created a larger version of the game out of several kinds of wood, stain, and a wood carver. I spent probably 2 days on the art work alone. On each side of the board was even a rolling tray for the dice. The whole thing took a little over 2 months to create, and up until now has just hung on our basement wall. As I was redecorating the basement in preparation for the holidays, it occured to me that I have dirt from almost all of the different countries on our risk board. Whalaaaa...the new display case for my dirt collection. Complete with velcro in order to remove and admire the dirt, it holds about 200 samples. Needless to say, it was filled up quickly. The whole display takes up an entire wall. I L.O.V.E. it! Now the only question is where do I put the other 200 bottles?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nancy Crumcakes and Cinnamon rolls

Lots and lots of dirt has arrived since my last post. I've been so excited to be able to start posting about each of them. Sadly, my mind and heart want to get right to it, however, my MS ridden hands are not cooperating this week. So, it's taken me a little bit of time, but I am committed to catching up pronto. My first shout out is to Nancy Crum aka...Nancy crumbcakes and cinnamon rolls. We have never met but have a mutual acquaintance. Not only was her dirt from Woodland Washington fun to receive, but the home made cinnamon rolls were D-lish! Thanks to Nancy for the dirt AND the cinnamon rolls!