Saturday, December 31, 2016

calling the waaahmbulance

I worked Christmas Eve, and due to it being a holiday weekend it was terribly slow.  When my throat started feeling itchy and the chills set in during the afternoon I decided to stick it out.  It was a good day to stick it out.  I was mostly sitting and had so few patron interactions (one of which was a gentleman who handed me a footlong sausage and jar of sauce from a nearby BBQ place and said Merry Christmas).  

Though I felt poorly, Rachel, Robert and I had an excellent dinner with Robert's brother and sisters. After that, I promptly passed out and pretty much slept through Christmas day.  I had a raging sore throat that lasted through Tuesday, and thankfully dulled by Wednesday morning because I had an interview at the same library system I work for.  Though I could barely speak the interview went well and I hurried home to spend time with Robert's sisters, who were back to stay for a couple days.

Thankfully I was feeling better and we spent a merry day touring Boulevard Brewery, playing games and making cookies.  That night, one of Robert's sisters became sick with a bug she caught at another family gathering.  The next day, Thursday, not only was I feeling poorly again, but both Robert's sisters were also sick.

Unfortunately, they both had long drives ahead of them and more visiting planned.  I promptly went back to sleep, and on Friday decided it was time for the dreaded antibiotics.  My doctor did something so marvelous I'm still in shock over it.  I called and talked to her nurse, who asked me about my symptoms and told me she'd talk to the doctor and call me back.  When the nurse called me back it was to tell me that a prescription for antibiotics had been sent in to my pharmacy.  I didn't have to see my doctor at all.  Hallelujah.  Unfortunately, because it's been years since I've had antibiotics I forgot how terribly they mess with my stomach. And also, Robert and Rachel are both sick now. The question is did they catch something from me or from the sisters...  Or both?  

Sitting here, completely alone so early in the evening because Rachel and Robert are both asleep, I am trying to appreciate the alone time, but with a tummy that can't keep anything down and a sad, neglected game of Ticket to Ride sitting on our newly unearthed dining room table, I cannot help but feel a little lonely.

But I have a lot to be thankful for.  Robert's mom and grandma spent a wonderful day hanging out with us.  Robert's sisters and their dogs stayed with us in our new house for two whole nights. Something else to point out is that both Robert and I won the sibling lottery.

I'm also thankful that our house is getting to be so homey.  I've been making smoothies all the time.  The kitchen is constantly being used.

We have a huge dining room table to play all the games we want (we're huge board/card games people).  And more importantly, we have so many friends and family to play games with.  Rachel made almost straight A's this past semester (Algebra 2 was a well fought-for B) and she's so close to getting her driver's license (I'm equally delighted for her and ridiculously petrified).

I also had another opportunity to interview (it took me 6 tries to get the position I have currently, and this was my 6th interview for the next step up), and even if I don't get the job I'm happy no matter what as long as I'm working at the library.  Robert also seems more relaxed.  With his computer business, working at local high schools as their tech guy and also remodeling the house, there's been little time for him to kick it.  There's been so much more of his nerdy glee recently.  It's been great.  I just have so much to be thankful for.       

So I roll my eyes at my loneliness.  There's too much to be happy about.  I will use this time constructively and watch lots of Will & Grace and cuddle my dogs and laugh quietly so I don't wake anyone up.

Friday, December 30, 2016

I love my Scottsy Snotsy

The past couple months I've been working on an embroidery piece for my brother, Scott, to hang in his newly remodeled home in Oro Valley, Arizona.

Because I made this for a very special person I decided to include myself in the progress pictures (which show shadows of blobby cacti that were later removed):

The upper left picture shows me starting the piece while I was on lunch in my car back in October, and the lower right picture shows me cleaning off my marks.  

And here's the best picture of all: Scott opening the gift.  Because we live so far away from each other we relied on FB messaging when opening our holiday gifts.  

Saturday, December 24, 2016

the magical wheezing feather duster

The other night I went out for a walk.  Because it was dark and the sidewalks were still a bit icy and snowy I was concentrating on each step.  Very meditative, yes, but also demanding most of my attention.  

Just ahead a very strange sight materialized - what I thought at first was either an upended feather duster or worse, an angry poofy sewer rat.  I say angry because the thing was headed straight for me.  

I had only seconds to decide what to do - run and risk slipping on the ice, change direction and walk in the road, or continue on, hoping naively that the thing wasn't actually running towards me, but instead, towards something just behind me.  

Perhaps it was curiosity but I didn't change direction or pick up speed.  I let the thing race to my feet where it began wheezing heavily while leaping spiritedly against my ankles.  It was a dog! A very tiny, hairy dog!

I gave it a pat, combing its hair and looking for the source of its wheezing, but alas, I never found its face.

I said goodbye and started to walk away, but the little booger followed me.  Thankfully I noticed an open and very lit up garage a few houses ahead, so with the little feather duster dancing at my ankles, we walked towards it.

An elderly gentleman greeted us in the driveway, swiftly scooped up the dog and tucked it into the bib of his overalls.

He smiled at me and walked back towards the garage, his overalls wheezing happily.

Monday, December 19, 2016

the best way to enjoy a snowy weekend

This weekend we had a small icy snow storm. Thankfully, we were snug in the house, playing with my new zoom loom and studying for finals (Rachel is almost done with her first semester!). We also made 50 mini loaves of banana bread for coworkers and cried all the way through the documentary about Caroll Spinney, I Am Big Bird.  

We bought the bananas a week ago and enjoyed watching them turn brown.  Brown bananas are not only excellent for baking, but also for smoothies!

Interestingly enough, awhile back I found myself absolutely smitten with a friend's zoom loom.  So much so that I bought myself one for my birthday. Turns out that doing it by myself is incredibly hard, and my first square looks like some crazed beast got ahold of it. And no, I'm not talking about Robert, though he helped me wade through the instructions and offered much support as I cursed my way through my first square.  

Will I give up?  Nope, I'm giving it another try on my next day off, and I'm going to use a different yarn and also aim for less tension when I'm setting up the loom.  Hopefully I'll have a square that is square-shaped to share after my next attempt!  

Progress is still being made here and there. Bannisters are up and nearly complete.    

Lots of boring, but necessary finish work is happening.  We're hoping to have the couch in its final resting spot here soon, and also have the guest bed set up after we clean up some of the finish work in the guest bedroom.  It's slow going right now, but we have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Last night's walk was a very cold one.  The temperature was a frosty 17 degrees with a wind that made every attempt to sneak in through my multiple layers of clothing.  But it was a wondrous stroll beginning with something so eerily perfect I am still having difficulty believing it happened.

As I was strolling through the neighborhood I saw a cat run from underneath a row of bushes in front of a house.  For a hopeful second I thought it was running towards me.  I felt chosen.  But only for a second, because that's when a gentleman stepped out of a car that was sitting in the driveway.

The cat, who was racing down the driveway, stopped as soon as the gentleman shut the door. The gentleman, who was a big burly fellow (though he could have been wearing layers too), bent down and very affectionately burbled the most eye-rolling baby talk I've ever heard from a grown man.  And with a quick pat, they were off, briskly walking up the driveway together.  When the door shut behind them, and they escaped into the warm house, I couldn't help but feel like I, too, had just entered a warm house.  

I carried that warmth with me for the rest of the walk.  

I also watched a man play ball with his two black labs.  The exciting thing about this was that the ball was lit up!  I chatted with the man, who told me where to get one, so it looks like my dogs will have a holiday surprise.  

And while I was on an unfamiliar street, I saw this:

 A little free library that's an airstream trailer with a license plate says 'luv2read.'

Monday, December 12, 2016


Folks, we have the beginnings of a bannister!

Rachel's bathroom is also coming along very nicely and should be done in a couple days!

Friday, December 9, 2016

questionable language

In the past two days at the library we had three parking lot fiascos:

1. Someone phoned in about a wallet they lost 'on the way to their car.' I tried to find it, but I wasn't going to crawl around under cars looking for it. Especially since her description of where she parked was vague. When I told the patron that I couldn't find the wallet she said, "never mind. I'm pulling in. I'll look for it myself."

Ok, so why the call?

Let me point out that the temperature barely reached 20 degrees the past couple days so I looked awfully suspicious with no coat, walking slowly around the parking lot with my eyes to the ground.

Thankfully the wallet was found and she left happy.

2. A car alarm went off for several minutes.  I ducked my head outside, located the car and saw that it was occupied by a gentleman holding his fob.  Relieved, I went back inside thinking the situation was under control.

Several more minutes passed and the alarm never ceased.  So I went back out to the car and politely tapped on the window.  He was now holding not only his fob, but also the owner's manual.  I asked him all the basics - did he turn on his car? Yes. Did he try unlocking the car from fob and door? Yes. And so on.

Apparently he had tried all the logical approaches so I asked for his fob and proceeded to click the unlock button a zillion times as fast as I could. Somewhere in all that clicking the alarm stopped.  And it didn't go off again, not once during the hour or so while the gentleman was in the library. 

The gentleman was very thankful, and quite honestly, I was too.  I will definitely always try madly pressing buttons first in the hopes that whatever problem at hand is magically solved. 

3. The craziest parking lot fiasco involved a gentleman who fell on a patch of rock salt (we had our first snow) and knocked himself out.  While the paramedics were checking him out they said it was likely he had a concussion, but in a much more urgent voice they said he was going to need some stitches because he tore his eyelid off.  

Later today, as I was wrapping up my work, one of our regular patrons handed me a signed copy of his book, which was a brand new third edition.  I had been wondering for years what kind of author he was, and so I was thrilled to get a copy.  

"It's about beating alcoholism," he said proudly.  

"There's some questionable language in here," he continued, looking concerned.  "Overcoming alcoholism is really tough," he said as if that explained it.  And then he gave me a really meaningful look and hurried off.  

Ok, so I've had a couple crazy days, but they haven't been that crazy.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Found in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book

It's been so long since I've seen one of these. My coworkers and I passed it around and made it feel very loved and welcome in our modern library.  And now it has a forever home in my journal.

Monday, December 5, 2016

spoiled and loved

I had such a fun birthday!

I woke up very excited because I was in the middle of a fantastic audiobook, and I had planned to listen to it while I walked to work.  It was probably the fastest I've ever left the house.  

The audiobook started skipping immediately and I was fine missing a few words here and there, but when the book went from chapter 25 to chapter 30 I lost my positive outlook real fast.  I called Robert, who threw on his cape and said he'd pick up a copy of the book that was available at another branch, and life was good again (yes, I'm very spoiled and loved).   

I enjoyed two pieces of fancy fruitcake toast when I got to work and spent a very peaceful and merry hour alone in the building before my coworkers arrived.  

During this time I found this in my mailbox:

Though I couldn't listen to my audiobook while processing materials I did listen to my music on shuffle, and because the stars aligned, it played several songs that made me think of my loved ones, and I felt like they were with me all day. 

They also called me nonstop (which made me smile pretty much all day). 

Rachel, Robert and Robert's mom, Audrey, picked me up after work and took me out for a steak dinner filled with plenty of wonderful conversation. 

And yes, I received lots of presents because I am spoiled : ). Robert and Rachel gave me a plushy, plaid robe, 2 new coffee thermoses and fancy holiday Elbow chocolates.  I tried out the thermos yesterday when I took my coffee to tennis.  I left the thermos in the car for about an hour and a half and it was not only still hot when I finished tennis, the coffee stayed hot all the way through grocery shopping afterwards.  And more importantly, it's sooo pretty.

Last night one of my most favorite people made me dinner (beef wellington and angel food cake): 

And she also gave me this excellent scarf:

It was a very special birthday : D

Sunday, December 4, 2016

we clean up nice

Robert, Rachel and I just celebrated a wonderful football season at Rachel's high school (Rachel was their AWESOME manager), and we took a snapshot to prove we clean up nice.  Sadly, the tree is not ours.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

the beauty of a crusty ski mask

Currently I have 5 journals.  

1. good books only 
2. gratitude (anything and everything)
3. work-related gratitude 
4. anything and everything inspirational
5. bicycling/walking

Without a doubt my gratitude journal has changed my life.  It definitely makes me realize just how fortunate I am and what an awesome life I have. It's a journal where there is absolutely no negativity allowed.  Since starting the journal in 2009, there is definitely less space for negativity in my life.

I started the work-related gratitude journal earlier this year, and though I love my job, it's definitely a more challenging experience. There are days I have too many things for the short three lines I'm given and though it's rare, I also sometimes struggle to fill those lines.  When I can't fill those lines I start pushing myself to be more present in my interactions, more observant of the everyday magic at the library, and the lines fill up.  

When I started my work-related gratitude journal there were a couple surprises.  First, because I continuously mention coworkers I now have a spot teeming with proof that librarians really do make a positive impact in the lives of so many people. When we did peer reviews recently I had a wealth of information about my coworkers that I normally would have forgotten, and it was all fantastic stuff. I also didn't realize how much the journal revitalizes and reminds me of my love for the library on the tough days. I flip through it just as often as I write in it. 

In addition to my work-related gratitude journal I also have what started out as a bicycling journal for the days I bike to work. When I started biking to work over four years ago it was a 14 mile round trip.  I saw so many things it was impossible to remember everything!  A couple years ago I switched to a library branch that is much closer to home and now I walk to work as many days as I bike.  So then the bicycling journal shifted into more of a 'how I got to work today and what I saw on the way here' journal.

I love my two work journals immensely. Occasionally I'll have a wonderful patron interaction or be a part of something library-beautiful after my last break, which is my last chance to write, and before I go home I've got to cram in a few more words before the moment disappears.

The journals fuel my already out-of-control enthusiasm. I rarely talk about the journals but I can't stop living what's going on inside of them.  

This morning I threw on my bicycling clothes and rushed to work.  When I got there I couldn't believe how badly my clothes clashed (dark pink pants, light pink top, green socks) and how crusty my ski mask was (eww I know).  And for a moment I was a little ashamed, and I told my journal this.  But last week I exercised so much and biked and walked to work every day except once that I couldn't be upset by the few clean clothes I had left.  I was down to the ugly, weird stuff, and yes, my mask was a terrible sight.  But it was the result of hours and hours of hard work, of living in the moment and pushing my boundaries.  So I said thank you to my ugly clothes and when I put them back on to go home, I wore them proudly.

Later, as I gathered my thoughts of the day I realized something. Writing in my gratitude journals has been such a huge attitude adjustment for me.  Prior to writing in my gratitude journals I'm not sure I would have seen the positivity in my terrible outfit this morning. So here's a thank-you to my gratitude journals. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Loved it thanx

I'm sure you've heard me ramble on about something called the send item list at the library, which is a list of items patrons have requested. Every library system is different.  Some libraries print multiple lists every day or grab the items as they are requested.  The library I work for generates a list that we print daily, first thing in the morning.  It's one of my favorite things about working at the library.  I love collecting the items and sending them to our many different branches and sometimes even faraway places.  

I can talk about the send item list all day.  But I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, so I'll move on to the reason I'm bringing it up again.  This morning I grabbed the nonfiction chunk of the list like I do every day.  It's my favorite.  It also tends to be a bit longer than the rest of the sections so I rarely get finished before the rest of the sections are snapped up by my coworkers.  Today, when I finished the nonfiction section I noticed that the fiction section was up for grabs so I nabbed it fast and hurried back to the stacks.

As soon as I got there I immediately started thinking about the authors I was going to look up for my staff picks.  I like to keep the staff picks packed which is difficult to do because it's extremely popular.  The first author I thought of was Billie Letts.  So I moseyed along, slowly made my way to the L's, and pulled all the books whose spines were destined for the sacred holds sticker.

Luck was on my side because there happened to be a couple Billie Letts books available.  I grabbed the lesser known one - The Honk and the Holler Opening Soon - and couldn't resist flipping through the pages.  

As I was flipping through the book my staff picks bookmark fell out, which gave me a chuckle.  

And then I saw the note written at the top:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

friends, memories and some awkwardness

I had lots of luck with kid's books in November beginning with the pleasure of listening to a storytime genius read Beekle, which is an easy book to fall madly in love with.  I found First Day Jitters at a Little Free Library on a walk, and because it's short, I read it several times while standing there at the little library, and it came home with me.  I shared Everything is Awkward with all my coworkers and nearly cried when I read The Lines on Nana's Face the first time.  My favorite book this past month is hands down, Some Writer, which is the story of E.B. White, and it's just so perfectly and lovingly executed by one of my favorite illustrators, Melissa sweet.  Here are my tiny reviews!

Beekle by Dan Santat

This is for those of us who've always wondered about how we ended up with our imaginary friends from childhood and where they come from. My imaginary friend of long ago was nowhere as sweet or well thought out as Beekle though! The pages where Beekle and Alice meet each other offer endless delight. An added bonus is at the very end of the book where there are several pictures of kids and their imaginary friends. Ah, such a brilliant idea executed with utterly adorable illustrations.

Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet

The illustrations are captivating, diverse and plentiful. Sweet also does an excellent job mixing the illustrations with the story of E.B. White's life. It's a perfect blend of memorabilia, Sweet's art and beguiling text. The text is a tribute to E.B. White's work, as it is both succinct and vivid with detail. I loved all the details of E.B White's relationship with Katharine Sergeant, his writing tips and New Yorker jobs. It didn't surprise me that he wrote the poem, "Natural History" for Katharine or that it took 17 takes for him to record the chapter, Last Day, in Charlotte's Web because he couldn't stop crying, but I was delighted by these details and many more. I loved and studied each illustration intensely, but my favorite was the family branch on page 48. The imagination and thoughtfulness that went into each illustration is astounding. The page layouts are also incredibly inventive. This book is a feast for the heart and eyes, and I will read it again and again.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and Illustrated by Judy Love

90% of my love for this book is based entirely on the surprise ending, which I won't spoil. I read it several times through to see if there were any hints about the surprise ending and I couldn't find any. It is so wonderfully written, and kids will love it and probably laugh even louder and longer than I did.

Everything is Awkward by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

This is sooo funny! I like this even better than the authors' previous books because of the wonderful message, which is all about embracing your awkward moments. They're what make us unique and adorable. They also give both ourselves and others a lot of joy.

The Lines on Nana's Face by Simona Ciraolo

What a beautiful way to talk about wrinkles with kids and let them know that they should be proud of the map that their memories make on their faces as they grow older. The illustrations are impactful, soft and colorful. And they evoke much emotion as the nana talks about her lines. An added bonus is the gorgeous red spine that nearly shouts at you to pull it from the shelf.

Monday, November 28, 2016

it's a tile saw kind of quiet

Over the holiday weekend Robert's cousin (and Rachel's brother), Sam, visited us.  We played games,  took a walk, talked a lot about Batman, visited the local arcade and did a pizza/movie night.  It was a lot of fun.  Now it is strangely quiet.

Even while the tile guy was downstairs slicing and dicing tile for the guest bathroom I couldn't help but think it was awfully quiet.

By the way, here is the start of tiling in the downstairs guest bathroom!  

So much craziness and family and fun.  Now, only vacuuming and picking up the games, mad libs and comic books that are lying everywhere.  

When we weren't running around madly Robert and Sam were involved in a very heated Monopoly marathon.  I'm not sure a winner was ever declared. 

Rachel made a pie to take to her family's Thanksgiving.  I love her smile in this picture.  

I love this next picture for two reasons.  First, this was when Sam and I had a very long and animated discussion about Batman (pretty much I just listened in rapt awe to his wealth of Batman knowledge). 

Robert, who was clearly left out of this conversation, was a good sport and let us have our superhero talk. The second reason I love this picture is because Sam, who is 10, is already bigger than I am!  His mom's fairly tall, but I remember his dad as a giant, so Sam is probably going to be a giant as well.   

And for comparison, this is the first picture of Sam and I ever:

See how much he's grown?!? For an extra bonus, here is Robert, Sam and Sam's dad, Rodney:

Friday, November 25, 2016

relaxing with the fam

Yesterday Robert, Rose, Ella and I snuck away to visit with family while Rachel had Thanksgiving with her mom and stepdad.  

We spent much of the day with my dad and his partner, Lisa, chatting and laughing.  

It was a really relaxing and much-needed visit.

Rose and dad were constant pals and though I was happy to exchange her for a couple cats (dad and Lisa have 5), we never struck a deal.

Today is all about coffee and yoga and music because this is what it's going to look like at work tomorrow:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

master bedroom aka the library

The master bedroom is completely done.  The bed has been installed (not by me) and thoroughly cleaned (definitely me).  Our mattress was lifted from the floor of the guest bedroom and  painfully dragged joyfully carried to the master bedroom (mostly Robert) and plunked ceremoniously onto its built-in frame, which was a perfect fit. 

(I took these pictures with only the reading lights on for a cozy effect.  Also, we will be getting blinds for the windows, but currently the entire house is without blinds, which is definitely on our to-do list.)

I now have the luxury of a reading light that can be dimmed and set for 30 or 60 minutes.  And if I am reading a particularly good book the button to add another 30 or 60 minutes is mere inches from my face in an open shelf.  On the open shelf I also have a place for several more books, my many journals (thus the scissors in the picture) and a place to charge my phone, which is incredibly tempting right now because I am listening to Peter Pan.  

(Here is the shelf, which is open to the bed so that everything is reachable.  There are doors on the front of the shelf so that the clutter behind them isn't too easy to see.)  

Robert has pretty much figured out a way to keep my bibliophile self from ever getting any proper sleep again. And for this I am eternally grateful.  

Or at least grateful until the next built-in is delivered and ready to be cleaned...   

Monday, November 21, 2016

the gifts of imperfection

Every morning at the library we print of the send item list, which is a list of items that people have placed holds on.  We print the list on 8 ups so that we can put the stickers directly on the items and not risk losing the hold information.  On very rare occasions I'll get a sheet of 8 ups with a mysterious red stripe running through the page.  Because the information is still readable I don't make new stickers for the rare items with the red stripe. 

The other day I printed the list and came across a very powerful and profound message thanks to both the title of the book and the rare red stripe:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

looking out for each other

I have been fighting a stubborn but not terribly awful cold bug.  The first few days I was simply fatigued. This was followed by a headache and sore throat so it seemed perfectly doable to play tennis on Monday, though I attempted to cancel but couldn't.

I may or may not have passed out while going for a shot.  I honestly don't think I did, but I had a very concerned audience plus several people checking in with me later.  It was very embarrassing and to top it off Robert and his mom came to rescue me so I wouldn't have to drive.  I slept for almost two days straight and am now feeling stuffy but much better. As much as I wanted to go for a walk tonight I curled up with some music and a good book instead.  Too risky.  

When you think you've merely sunk to your knees to regain your balance and clear the pounding from your head and then suddenly you have a crowd lifting you up, bringing you a chair and water, it makes you question not only your sanity but also your competence.  

To be burly and strong, composed and clear-headed.  And then suddenly completely unsure.  It makes you question everything.  

And it's really a good thing to question yourself, to look at your burly, clear-headed self and be aware that this isn't everything you are.  Knowing our boundaries is definitely an important component of self-preservation, but more important is that our boundaries make us vulnerable. 

We all need to be aware of our fragility.  That's a positive, heads-up, pay attention kind of thing.  But there's something else that's really special about what happened.  I think we're all looking out for each other more than we realize. Do I drop everything and help when I see someone go down in tennis?  Yes.  Why not expect others to do the same?   

Before tennis the other day I wouldn't have called any of the people that were there my friends.  Sure, we play tennis and enjoy each other's company, but we do not hang out beyond tennis.  

Today I feel differently.  Friendship has a little bit more depth to it.  Or a different side I hadn't considered.  

This feeling grew stronger today when a tennis player stopped by the library where I was working and asked how I was doing.  I didn't even see her on Monday, but she was there.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

looks like I need more books

We have plumbing in the kitchen!  And hot water!

Robert also unpacked all my water bottles, which is a weird thing to cherish, but I have some awesome ones from past vacations.
Now I can drink in style again!

And probably the most exciting thing that's happened this week is this:

We cannot throw our mattress on it yet because some adjustments need to be made, but hopefully in the next week we'll officially be in our bedroom and no longer sleeping on the floor.   

It is also looking like we have more built-ins than we know what to do with.  So there will be a lot of empty spaces.  Which translates to more room for books.

Monday, November 7, 2016

I have been opening the most important boxes...

How do I describe what it feels like to reunite with my book collection after 1 1/2 years?  

Thrilling.  Emotional. Way way more than I can possibly handle in one day.  The above box is part of my poetry collection, which is the only genre that is color-coded.  In the past 1 1/2 years I have reformulated my color-coding system so there will be a lot of happy work ahead.  

Since the beginning of October I have cleaned so many cabinets and shelves that I am now dreaming about it.  It's become the 'ordinary' part of my dreams that is always interrupted by the unusual. For instance, I will be up on a ladder cleaning shelves and I'll look out the window and there will be a dragon wearing a purple bikini walking her dog.  

Or I will be cleaning my shelves and cabinets but the building I'm in is my workplace at the library. Occasionally a patron will ask me to come down and help.  Apparently my sleep self is like, so you're officially a cleaner of cabinets and shelves.  Ok, I can make that your default setting.  

Cleaning the shelves that house my books are worth all the crazy dreams.  After touching and smelling all the books that make me who I am, all the books that say so much about my family and life, books that have cleared the paths that make up the veins of my very soul, I feel like I'm fully alive again.

Now I just need to find the rest of my books...  Buy more of course.  And every time I walk by the shelves, patiently listen to where the books want to sit and who they want to sit next to.  

For instance, yesterday I thought my Fancy Nancy books wanted to stick together.  Turns out it's a little too much glitter and pink.  Do I keep them with the other kid's books or should I do something radical and put them with my books on grieving and death?  Who knows?  My Fancy Nancy books may become the globetrotters of my collection, spreading their fancy words and serendipity to all those books who need it.

No matter what, once I've cleaned all the shelves and cabinets of all the land, I will happily spend my days shuffling my books around.  I will never be able to take them all the places they've taken me, but I can help them navigate the mighty living room and perhaps take them to new heights.  But only if I decide to have any shelves upstairs.  I may decide I don't want to clean them.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

time to start opening the most important boxes

It's barely November, and we're off to a bang with the remodel - cabinet pulls have been installed in the kitchen, doors and handles flying in everywhere, and probably the most exciting thing yet:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

tortoise kind of quiet

Here are the best books I read in October!  

Who Wants a Tortoise? by David Keane and illustrated by K.G. Campbell

The language is marvelous: 'new lump of a pet,' 'tortoise kind of quiet.' The story is adorable: will the little girl fall in love with the tortoise? And the illustrations will turn your heart the same color as the turtle's Sparkling Raspberry Delight nail polish.

Fancy Day in Room 1-A by Jane O'Connor and Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

I love the Fancy Nancy books and recently realized I hadn't read the Halloween one. That's when I had the terrible thought that maybe I've missed a few, which of course I have - yikes! So I am officially making sure I've read all of them. And I can't believe I missed this one! It's everything I love about the Fancy Nancy books - quirky, delightful illustrations, fancy words and a solid plot filled with creativity, resourcefulness and positivity.

Fred Stays With Me by Nancy Coffelt and Illustrated by Tricia Tusa

A heartwarming story about a girl whose parents are divorced, and though she has two very different places to stay, she has one constant, her loyal dog, Fred. Hands down, my favorite thing about this book are the illustrations, which are so sweet and so accurate. The car ride is my favorite illustration: happy Fred with his little girl, sitting in a cloud of watercolor mud from the park.

Zero Belly by David Zinczenko

Unlike most smoothie book introductions, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. It had the normal deluge of information, but it was organized well and broken up with wacky facts like weird things that kill your healthy gut bugs. Probably my most favorite thing about this book is all the beans. Yes, beans in smoothies. Something I'm excited about, but something I always mess up (probably because I love beans and use too much).

Fetch by Jerald Pope

It's a simple wordless story about a man playing ball with his dog. Ordinary stuff made extraordinary by a couple things. First, the surprise ending is very extraordinary, mysterious and completely up to the reader. And second, the illustrations grab your heart and never let go. The etchings are vibrant yet moody and illustrate the profound love shared by the man and his dog.