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.