Tuesday, September 27, 2016

why immature people shouldn't have smart houses

At this very moment the floors are being finished. Robert and I have been taking many breaks from packing to sneak peeks through the windows.  

When I first pulled out my phone to take pictures Robert shouted, "Wait wait wait," and took out his phone.  I thought, "why does it matter which phone we use to take the pictures?"  

Robert wasn't grabbing his phone to take pictures. He was grabbing it so he could do the gentleman thing and turn on all the lights in the house.  I just know that there are going to be many, many pranks played with this smart house stuff.  The question is, when a certain person is alone in the house taking a shower, how funny would it be to turn off all the lights?  Muahahaha.  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned by Sherman Alexie

What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned is the most original, electric, and soul-altering book of poems I’ve read in more than a year. It reads like a nonlinear memoir that skips around Alexie’s life, with common threads charging the poems like drumbeats.  The largest theme - growing up on an Indian reservation surrounded by a cast of remarkable characters with haunting stories – shows up in nearly every poem. Other themes of grief, recklessness, addiction, poverty and freedom reappear again and again. Alexie occasionally skips to the present, connecting his former and present selves, like the New Year’s Eve root beer float tradition that he has with his wife and sons in Happy Holidays!   

Alexie’s poems come in all different shapes, styles, lengths and forms. One poem reads like a page from a dictionary.  A poem about grief looks like tears of rage.  Most are very long and have you holding your breath until the very end.  And others, like Family Memoir, a poem about moving furniture from one burning house to another, are tiny and fierce and stomp your heart to pieces.  The sonnet lists, reading like run-on sentences interjected with numbers, were my favorites.  

I’ll never be able to list all of my favorite lines, because there are too many and you should really read this book. 

Here are a few: 

From Good Hair: “Are you warrior-pretend?  Are you horseback-never?” 

And later in the poem: 

“Did you cut your hair after booze murdered your father? When he was buried, did you baptize him with your braids?”

From Sonnet, with Pride: “What if God created hunger in God’s image? What if God is hunger? Tell me, how do you pray to hunger? How do you ask for hunger’s blessing? How will hunger teach you to forgive? How will hunger teach you to love?”

From Sonnet, With Some Things That I Have Seen: “Am I defined by what I’ve seen, or do I define the world by what I’ve witnessed?”

And the poem, Downpour: “I can't stop writing about my dead father. He’s sixty-two percent of me. Like water.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lookee cabinets!

We are so close to having a crapper and finished floors and possibly a shower.  And then we move!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

a little sad underneath all the happy

My brother, Scott, flew back to Tucson this morning, and I am so sad.

I'm not complaining.  I've had visits from two of my brothers in less than a month so I am extremely grateful and happy.  I'm just a little sad underneath the happy. One of my greatest wishes is to stuff all my loved ones into a snow globe and never let them leave.  

I'm sure they are very happy that I cannot do this.  

Scott and I had a ridiculously good time.  We biked, ate donuts, climbed a wizened and lovable tree, hiked, and played lotsa games - even Quiddler. Sucker!

Pops & Scott

Scott was worried I was going to drag him on a long and brutal bike ride.  I immediately dispelled his fears by taking a quick donut detour off the bike path.  

This grasshopper flew into me and hung on for awhile, gaining my love and affection... Until Scott pointed out that the little shit cutesy wootsy grasshopper was eating my pants (look closely).  

My delight at finding snakes, especially ringnecks, has only ever been completely understood by Scott. We also came across a garter snake who was very grouchy and wanted to eat us, so he doesn't get a spot on the blog.

Scott found two snake skins, one of which still had the eye holes!

I cannot take credit for this next one.  This is all Scott.  

But this little guy peeking into (eating?) a mushroom was all me.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

all sorts of craziness

We are moving back to the remodel in less than two weeks!

It's going to be a little crazy, but we've found a renter for the house we're in, and it's a good time to move back over - the floors will done soon, we will have lights, it's fall so the weather is darn near perfect, and quite honestly we're ready to nest and are looking forward to being fully immersed in the completion of the house. 

Here is a picture of the steps going in:

Oh, and my brother, Scott, is in town!  Like, right now!  We had a great weekend hanging out with our dad, going to flea markets and hiking in thunderstorms.  

Ha Ha Tonka State Park was, as usual, stunning:

And this was Scott at the spider-infested walk at Bennett Springs:

We couldn't take two steps without walking into a spiderweb.  They were everywhere.  More than I've ever seen on any hike, and probably the equivalent of a year's worth of hikes.

We found a few treasures at the flea markets, including this:

And it still has the handle!

I have another printers tray that Robert gave me a few years ago, and when I took it down before the remodel it was very full, so it's definitely time for another one.  It's probably going to take me years to fill it up, but I'm looking forward it.  For now they're both in storage, but not for long!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

all of your favorite holidays at once

One of the best things about working at a library is all the neat stuff I come across.  It's easy to take risks, and risks drive growth.  

I flip through books and take home anything that catches my eye.  A handful of those risks have altered how I speak, how I show love, how I paint and even how I breathe.  

Music is the same way.  Bagpipes and drums? Sure. Funny looking opera cd that has 10 discs? Why not?  If anything has a picture of a bird on it the odds are pretty great that it's going home with me. At first I though Foy Vance was some kind of parody of Vance Joy so I didn't even investigate it. Then I saw the beautiful swan on the cover, and it went home with me.  And what an album!  

Before I worked at the library I was a nanny and it was tough to tell who loved the books more - me or the children, but I never felt comfortable checking them out for myself.  Watching my coworkers go bananas over kid's books gave me the courage to start taking them home.  At first it was just a handful, now it's bags and bags.  

Occasionally, if it's slow at the library I'll crack one open and flip through it.  And a few times patrons will ask for a peek, which means that those kid's books end up going home with them, and hopefully making them feel a little less shy about checking them out in the future.   

Going to work each day at the library is like walking into a place that's celebrating all of your favorite holidays at once.  In addition to eccentric regulars, there is a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and excitement.  And every new cd, book or movie that looks promising is a gift that never stops giving.  

Soundtracks are on my list of favorite things.  They usually showcase a compilation of artists, which means lots of variety, which is important to me. And I almost always find someone new that makes my ears and soul happy.  

I couldn't get into the book, Me Before You, so I'm not sure I will ever watch the movie.  But I knew I had to take the soundtrack home. And I'm glad I did because it introduced me to Jack Garratt.  This song has quite the melody going on.  It's a good song to hum to, a good song to sit perfectly still with as it restores the soul after a long day's hard work, a day filled with helping others find their own Jack Garratts in the vast and never-ending stacks at the library. 


Monday, September 12, 2016

remodel update

Doors are going in!

And grass is coming up!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

restoring that fuzzy lava feeling

After a holiday the library can get a little bit... How do I say this politely?  

The library has a tendency to be a little batshit crazy after a holiday.  We are very loved, and my heart simply melts into fuzzy lava knowing that people miss us so much.  

However, we have a million things that were returned while closed, and all those things need to be processed.  Plus everyone gets a little spacey so we have a lot of what we call 'mismatches,' which is code for things returned without all their pieces.  

Oh and if I have a holiday and I'm not going out of town I like to do a bit of housecleaning, get caught up, that sort of thing.  Apparently we all feel this way because there's usually a wall of donations awaiting us.  

People also find items that were lost in the 60's and and naturally expect refunds.  

Other folks use the extra time to learn new library resources like databases and ebooks, and when its unsuccessful, need some help ASAP when our doors open after the holiday.  

Fines from ten years ago are discovered and must. be. paid. now.

Everyone's a little cranky because we have to go back to work.  Even people who work in libraries! WHAA?  

And added to all of this holiday mayhem is the fact that we are missing 25% of our staff due to promotions, moving, etc.  A lot of turnover.

So, today, on my day off, I am going to clear my mind, go for a walk, do a little yoga, and listen to as much music as I possibly can.  Tomorrow, I will greet you with only patience and a heart full of music when you need me to learn how to use Publisher in 5 minutes so I can help you make a graphic or you hand me a Walmart bag of pennies to put towards the fines on your six kid's accounts.  

Or if you accidentally returned an empty six cd set because you put each of those cds in unrelated cases that were on your grandma's best friend's account, I will nod understandingly and smile, even as I hear a thousand things fall on the floor in the backroom because the tub is overflowing.  

Yesterday a lady, who was at least 80, ducked her head in the back room.  
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"I was just following the sound of that beautiful music."
I was a little mortified because I was playing this:

Thank goodness it wasn't Big Pimpin'. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

biggest cardboard maze ever

We are getting very close to moving back in!  We might even be living there by the first of October. There is still a lot to do, but all we need are two bedrooms and a potty, so it's looking good.  While I was working Saturday, Rachel and Robert cleaned up the front yard and seeded it.  And yesterday I jumped in and the three of us got the backyard cleaned up and ready for seed.  I don't have any pictures because it went from a scary, messy mud pit to a very tidy and naked mud pit, and mud pits just aren't attractive.  We did pick up about 10 trash cans full of gravel, construction debris and hundreds of nails.  Our hope is that we can get some grass growing so that our dogs don't turn the house into a mud pit.  

And if the grass doesn't come up in time?  No worries!  I will just channel my six-year-old self and make the biggest cardboard maze ever.  Can you imagine two golden retrievers and three humans living in a cardboard maze?  

Currently, tile is going in!  This is one of the upstairs bathrooms.

Electricity things are happening (aka lights! audio! outlets!)

And our built-ins and kitchen cabinets are coming together.  We stopped by the warehouse to talk about stain and I snuck this picture of the built-in window seat that will go in my craft room, which is sitting on top of a bathroom vanity:

Friday, September 2, 2016

wisdom and inspiration

This is part 2 of August's Awesome Reads:

The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney 

I couldn't help it.  My review ended up a bit too long.  It's here.

What I've Stolen, What I've Earned by Sherman Alexie 

Longer review coming!  I will say that this is the most exciting book of poetry I've read in over a year.  And it's incredibly emotional and electric and genuine.

Drawn to Nature by Clare Walker Leslie

- This is inspirational paradise for anyone who journals, no matter what their medium is - For the next year I plan on recording the life of my little free library and the tree it sits beneath. This book gave me so many ideas I hadn’t thought of – such as documenting weather, time of day and any creatures that pass through. I can only hope that my completed journal is as happy and chock-full of beauty, color and inspiration as Drawn to Nature. 

What Would Buddha Say? by Barbara Ann Kipfer

- Excellent advice for anyone, but especially people like me who struggle with composure and articulation. - Each right-speech teaching is just a little blurb, usually no more than a sentence or two so there’s no chance of getting overwhelmed. 
- Though I read it all the way through over the course of a couple weeks I think its purpose would best be served by having a copy lying out somewhere in a visible spot so you can pick it up and read a few pieces at time.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

cuddling lotsa puppies

I read so many good books last month that it was tough to keep track of them all.  August's reading favorites will be a double post.

Starting with these:

Ms. Marvel: Super Famous by Willow Wilson and a handful of great illustrators (including my favorite, Adrian Alphona)

As all of Kamala Khan's true fans know, she is not a sellout. But in volume 5 there's a shady advertisement that looks like it could be otherwise. YIPES. In Super Famous Kamala's not just fighting bad guys. She's also fighting herself (the number of Kamala's is actually a bit closer to the hundreds range). And she's struggling with priorities and school and the terrible bomb Bruno drops on her. My favorite part is when she says, "Sorry. I don't exactly have quiet, pretty powers." I think every girl who reads this is going to write it in big letters on everything.

A Vacation for Pooch by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

-  adorable, easy-to-follow story that leaves you saying ‘awww’
- illustrations are plentiful, loud and very sweet (my favorite was the Pooch and Molly page)
- great way to illustrate that sometimes it can be a very happy thing when your original plans don’t work out

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Bo at Ballard Creek is for those of us who have always wondered what’s going on in one of those idyllic snow globes.  But even though the folks of Ballard Creek live a cozy life they also have to deal with Grizzlies, winter and illness.  
One review was dead on when it stated that it was a like a “rambunctious Little House on the Prairie.”  It’s definitely set in a harsh land – the Alaskan wilderness, and Bo is the apple of everyone’s eye, which as it turns out, is a whole lot of people.  She also has a loving family – two papas.  And every day is a fine blend of routine and adventure.
Reading this is the equivalent of cuddling a hundred puppies.  It’s utterly adorable, filled with loving and quirky characters, and there’s a sequel to boot.  It would also make an excellent book to read with children because of the short chapters, funny Eskimo names and cute illustrations.