Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sunday Drive

This is a picture of my grandpa -- he's the little boy in the photo -- with his mom and dad and sister. I'm thinking it was taken around 1914 and I imagine they might be out for a Sunday drive. People used to do things like that, back when Sundays were a day of relaxation and family time. I remember taking an occasional drive with my family when I was a little girl. Most of the time we drove to see one or the other sets of grandparents for Sunday dinner. We loved going to either house.

My dad's parents' house (the house of the little boy in the photo when he was all grown up), was special because my brothers and I were the only grandkids. We loved the grand piano, which we could play if we were very careful, and there were always new coloring books or games to play with. It was a quieter environment than when we visited with my mother's side of the family. She was one of seven kids and there were 20 grandchildren. There was always a crowd of people and my grandpa's house sat on acres of land that held large gardens and chickens and ponies. There was a huge oak tree and beneath its branches the adults would gather, sitting in Adirondack chairs and at picnic tables, visiting and talking, while the kids ran amok. It was great fun.

Today, I was thinking of the places I like to visit in Blogland, places that make me feel right at home.

Gifts from the Sea, is a lovely, cozy blog that my Aunt Riz recently started. I think you'll like it and you will love her. Aunt Riz writes about her trips to Amish country, her love of the ocean, tea parties and all things that make a home. Drop her a visit and tell her I said "hi". I'm sure she'll have the kettle on:)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cute "Pocketbook"

I bought this at one of the booths at our town festival last weekend. Isn't it a cute idea? They're pocketbooks made from old books. Perfect to hold a cell phone, small wallet and a comb. I chose this one because one of the stories, listed on the spine, is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dex Man

One of the advantages of having my 20-year-old son living with us again, is that I have my very own Dex guy. You know, the guy on the t.v. ad that is a living phone book, sits cross-legged in the kitchen cabinet, and blurts out information on demand. Well, instead of a phone book, my Dex guy is an encyclopedia. There's a slight flaw in his software, though, because oftentimes he'll just blurt out facts at random.

The other day he came into the room and was several sentences into his spiel, when something caught my ear. "Wait a minute. Rewind," I said, twirling my finger in the air. "What did you just say?"

Pleased to have my full attention, he said, "You know how you think that as you get older time goes faster? Well, it's true. It does."

He went on to explain in some kind of quantum physics-trigonometry-algebraical fashion that time as we know it -- in seconds, minutes, hours -- doesn't exist. That the actual passing of "time" isn't measured like we think. Our measurement is calibrated by seconds and minutes, for practical purposes. But our brain's interpretation is altogether different. . . . .Oh heck, I obviously can't explain it. But the important thing is, I'm not going crazy.

There was a time in my life, when time flowed through the hourglass in a streamlined, orderly fashion. That little space in the hour glass was so small that the grains of sand fell one or a few at a time, slipping past, even getting caught for extended periods while I waited for events such as Christmas or summer vacation when I was a child, or the arrival of one of my babies when I was a young adult.

I don't know when the space began to widen, and the sand started to flow more freely. The baby boy started school, the little girl was riding a bike, the young boy is driving a car. At times the granules seem to race each other and pour through as though liquid. It seems like a few weeks ago that we put the Christmas decorations away and before you know it it will be time to take them out again. At the end of the day, I don't know where the hours go, as homework assignments, soccer practice, doctor appointments all fall through the hour glass at once, and still there are things left to be done. The little boy who couldn't wait to grow up, is now grown and out the door. And back again:)

Life rarely gives you second chances, to have moments back. Having my son living with us again has been a challenge in some ways (for him and us both), but there are parts of it that I savor. For one, I love having the whole family around the dinner table again each night. The kids are a bit older, the conversation is more adult at some moments and then joking and laughing and being silly the next. There seems to be a new energy to sitting down at the table, new things to discuss, and I have a renewed interest in preparing new recipes.

Because I know it won't last long. Before we know it, someone else will be leaving the nest. That ever-elusive Time -- real or not -- will have slipped by and we'll be looking back, wondering where it went.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Into Reading

Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting her seasonal reading challenge. The idea is to make a list of the books you plan to read this fall, list them in a post, and then in December follow up with a review of how you did. There's no pressure, very few rules. You can have a long list, a short list, you can even change your list. That's how I like to read, as the spirit moves me. Having said that, I do have a TBR (to be read) pile that seems to grow whenever I'm not looking at it. So, I'm going to choose a few books from the pile, throw in the upcoming books for my book club this fall, and join the challenge.

Here's my list:

1. Book of Bright Ideas, by Sandra King. This is the October selection for my book club.

2. The Beautiful Catastrophe of Wind, by Roger Theodoredis. The November selection for my book club.

3. East to the Dawn; the Life of Amelia Earhart, by Susan Butler. I want to read this in preparation for the movie that is coming out this fall. The copy I have was my mother's. She was fascinated by the Amelia Earhart story.

4. True Compass, Ted Kennedy's memoir. Biography is one of my favorite genres.

5. Am I Not a Man; The Dred Scott Story, by Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. This is a book of historical fiction and I'll be reviewing it for a Blog Tour in October.

6. Standing in the Rainbow, by Fannie Flag. On a lighter note, I've had this book for at least a year, maybe longer. Looking forward to another great story by Fannie Flag.

Since the challenge runs into December, I'm sure I'll add a Christmas story or two to my list. Thank you, Katrina, for organizing this!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Welcome, Fall

Today is our town's annual celebration. For me, it has always marked the official first day of Fall. We are almost always blessed with beautiful weather. Blue skies, crisp, cool air, and the leaves just starting to turn. The festivities begin on Friday night with a concert, dance and Bingo. I have to admit, it's been years since I've joined in on that part. Last night, Emily went with a friend and her family to play Bingo, and they had a ball.

When the kids were small, we would start out early on Saturday mornings, usually to join the parade. All of the local schools are represented and the kids wear their school colors or costumes according to a theme. The year our school put on a new addition, the kids were all in yellow construction hats. One year, our beloved pastor dressed up as a knight in shining armour (the school mascot) and led the kids through town.

As the years passed, we were happy to just be parade spectators. As luck would have it, the first two homes we owned were within steps of the beginning of the parade route. I loved it. Waking up early in the morning to instruments being tuned, clowns hurrying down the street, and horses and llamas clip clopping by.

After the parade, there is a huge fair in the middle of town. Craft booths, food booths, inflatables for the kids, camel rides, and a stage where all the local dance troupes and choirs perform. I always buy something from the crafters for my fall decorations. Local businesses are all represented and I find that it's a good time to load up on pencils and notepads, shopping bags and fridge magnets.

This year, Dan and I went down to the festival early. We dropped Em off with some of her friends, so they could wander and get their hair colored goofy colors, buy snacks and search out all of their school friends. Dan and I headed off to find coffee and our guilty pleasure of funnel cake for breakfast. We wandered through the booths, and ran into many familiar faces -- a friend who recently retired, our family vet, the local celebrity who is master of ceremonies for the parade, to name just a few. When you've lived in a small town for 40-plus years, it seems you know everyone.

We both agreed that it was so nice to be able to enjoy everything without strollers, kids pulling us both ways, and not having to march in that darn parade! Dan was patient with me while I shopped and then he enjoyed the antique car show set up at the far end of the park. We both enjoyed the informal dog show, as everyone seems to bring their family pet. One of the newer attractions, in addition to the dog clown costume contest which is hoot! is a contest for the dogs where they run a long ramp and dive into a pool, going for the longest yardage. It's great fun to watch dogs of a every shape and size, racing down the ramp and plunging into the pool.

When our feet started to give out, we grabbed some lunch from the high school cheerleaders booth and found a picnic bench to sit at and enjoyed just watching the festivities. We gave Em permission to stay a bit longer with her group of friends and decided to head on home.

Now that Fall has officially started, it's time to pull out the pumpkins and scarecrows!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This 'n' that

I found the neatest new blog. It's called Forgotten Bookmarks. Here's how the blogger describes the site:

I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books.
I can just imagine someone, thoroughly engrossed in a book, reaching for the nearest thing to mark the page before he lays it aside. An invitation, a photo, a scribbled note. This blog gives us a glimpse into some of those things. Check it out.

I've been buying vintage tablecloths from ebay. My plan is to make some kitchen curtains. Or pillows. So far, I haven't done either one. But I love the 50s style prints on the faded, worn out cloths that graced tables so many years ago. My favorites are patterns with lots of blue and red and yellow. Florals or farm themes with roosters and hens. They're fun to collect and I have about ten. I think I'll stop buying them until I've made something. Or maybe not.

Hubs is gone this week. I get up every morning and have to make the coffee. I just can't get it right. For two days now it has been weak. I pour half the cup in the sink, pour in some more coffee without anymore cream. And it's still weak.

Our oldest moved back home a week ago. He has set up shop in our basement. Several computers, a desk made from an old door and some bookcases, cardboard boxes filled with files. I suppose many an entrepreneur got his start in a basement. In fact, the company my husband works for today started that way. In a basement. And it's currently on the Fortune 500 listing. Hmmm. Maybe I should quite nagging Son about the mess. Maybe I should buy stock. Maybe I'll just keep feeding him turkey sandwiches and hope for the best.

September is half over. I need to devote an entire post to my favorite month of the year. I love the smell of it, the crystal clear air, the colors of the leaves, the constant breeze that seems to inhale ever so slowly and then slowly exhale, shivering the aspen trees outside my window.

My book club meets tonight. We're going to discuss A Bride in the Bargain by Diane Gist. It was a fun, light read, set in the northwest in the 1800s. I suspect we'll have a short book discussion and then linger for a long while on the patio of a local Mexican restaurant. It will be a nice evening for it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, September 7, 2009


A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that one of my projects was to refinish a corner hutch that I have. A couple of you expressed an interest in seeing the finished product, so here it is! The first photo is the hutch as it looked when I bought it -- for $25 at a garage sale. The photo doesn't show how beat up it was. I tried covering the scratches, but they were just too deep. There were doors with glass on the top part, but the glass was missing and the door frames were pretty racked, so we took them off.

Here's the before:

And this is after:

I read recently where you should have a color repeated three times in a room, to incorporate it as a "theme." I have a few pictures with black frames, and the light over the dining room table is black -- actually very dark metal, but close enough.

I don't have much of a knack for arranging things artistically, but I'm a collector of knick knacks and particularly family heirlooms, so it's nice to have another place to display things.

I'm still on a roll with painting. I'm debating what my next project will be. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meet the author, John Shors

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite new authors! John Shors, the author of Beneath a Marble Sky and Beside a Burning Sea, was at one of our local book stores to introduce his newest book, Dragon House.

I went with my friend, Liz, to the Boulder Bookstore where about 20 people were in attendance. The event was fairly informal with lots of time for questions and discussion. Besides hearing about the inspiration for each of his books, it was interesting to learn about the author's writing habits and the process that each book goes through from writing to publishing to even a possible movie deal. Mr. Shors first book, Beneath a Marble Sky, has generated lots of interest from Hollywood and contracts are underway for movie rights.

Interestingly, my favorite of his books is the one that he is least fond of! When Shors wrote Beside a Burning Sea, a novel set in the Pacific during World War II, he was under contract by Penguin Books and had time constraints that weren't in place for his first novel. He had become involved in the business side of writing and publishing, which involves several hours a day of interacting with publishers for book promotions, as well as international publication. Beneath a Marble Sky has been released in over 30 countries.

Being a novelist as a career demands organization and time lines, something that you don't think of when you're reading a great book and imagining a writer having endless days to bask in the creative process. He sets a goal of writing 10 pages a day and editing 50. He'll often take walks around his neighborhood where he lives in Boulder to process a story, or he'll take a legal pad and a pen and find a parking lot somewhere to just sit in his car and write, to avoid the distractions of the computer and the myriad of business tasks that get in the way of the actual writing.

The newest book, Dragon House, is a story close to Mr. Shors' heart and is drawn from his travels in Asia. Unlike the first two novels, it is set in contemporary time and was inspired by the interaction he had with street children in Vietnam and throughout Asia. A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to an organization that helps such children.

It was such a treat to meet the person who wrote some of the favorite books that sit upon my book shelves. I found John Shors to be a gentle, down-to-earth, funny and compassionate man. I look forward to reading this newest book and the others that are already in the works!