moss & murder

My brother & sister-in-law (let me stop right there, I sort of dislike the “in law” thing, who invented it?  sounds cold, distant, legal)  Regrouping, our “best friends” live in Vermont.  Yesterday, it warmed up to 4 degrees.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Below zero temperatures are more the normal for them this time of year.  ouch.

Son #2 lives in Southern California.  The place where it “never rains in Southern California”.  Last night he had to take a detour home, because the roads were flooded.

Our niece lives near Boston.  I don’t need to explain the weather she is dealing with.  Because she lives in a basement apartment, all she can see out her windows is white.  The windows are completely covered in white.  They have predicted, you guessed it more snow.

winter.

moss 3As you know I live in the western part of Washington state.  While we deal with mold, dampness and musty closets………….we have no snow to play in or to photograph.  Everything is soggy and moss is growing to beat the band.  (whatever the heck that saying means)

Sunday, we had 65* and sunshine.  We opened every single window and door in our home.  Good by bad germs, hello fresh air.  Now, before you get your panties in a knot, as I was pressure washing our deck, I forgot that the sliding door was open. The screen was closed, to allow all that fresh air in and keep the chickens out.  ………… I will wait a moment while you giggle and guess what the carpet looks like inside our home.  Geesh.

Note to self:  close sliding door prior to pressure washing deck.

Now, don’t get all fussy about the 65*.  It is gone.  It was only a taste of spring to come. moss 2

I adore the winter.  I am a winter girl.  Well, the Pacific Northwest Winter kind of girl.  We can drive to the snow.  We can play and ski and snow shoe within an hour of our home.  We actually get a day or two a year of snow.  Yes, we own a snow shovel.  It is out in the backyard shed.  It doesn’t get much play time.

Today, I am wearing “Life is Good” socks.  Beautiful color, cozy warmth, perfect for around the house.

I love the kind of winter days that keeps you indoors to create and dance around to music and cross stitch.  I like biking 5 miles indoors.

I love to spend time cooking and sewing.  I adore getting chores done, work done, dinner prepared ahead then spend 3 or 4 hours in the sewing room quilting and creating.

I am thankful that I am learning to appreciate and value and be thankful for time spent at home.  I am learning to appreciate the value of creating and breathing and not running to the next thing.  I don’t have to be going and doing all the time.  I know, our society puts some sort of bizarre kudos on the person who is driving here and there, running from one thing to another.  Lots of people seem to think it makes them better people if they are “busy”.

I am getting stronger and healthier every single day.  Part of that is taking the time to breathe and give my body a chance to build its self up.  There is great wisdom in learning to be at peace in my sanctuary.  Learning to be okay with me.  Instead of racing to the next social event, learning to thrive in my own environment.

mossI love to spend time, fussing.  I think my grandpa used to call it “puttering”.   Time well spent to me means…. spending time inside, fluffing and puffing and rearranging our nest.

Yesterday, we had an hour of sunshine.  I felt annoyed.  haha.  I know, I am a weirdo.  Enough sunshine to showcase the dusty coffee table and make me feel guilty if I didn’t go out and breathe it in.

Okay.  Stop everything.  Go walk the dog in the sunshine.  You will feel better.

Well, yes, I did. She typed with a silly smile on her face.

I also put my lawn chair out in the middle of the yard and read my library book for 30 minutes while wearing a short sleeve t-shirt (and pants and socks and sneakers, geesh).   My deeply moss4disturbing, murder mystery thriller book which I love to fall into.    A real who done it.  Nothing better than a good old fashion yarn with murder woven in.

Yes, the one thing I do entirely for myself.  I love to dive into an intense murder mystery.  Pure escape.  I sort of forget my own real life for 2 hours.  Sometimes, the murder is so interesting, I can’t put it down.  I read while biking.  I read while putting on make up.  I read while waiting for the water to boil or onions to caramelize.

I think in my other life, I was an excellent detective.  A stunning tall woman, who wore beautiful deep plum-colored lipstick and really high heels.   I think I would have use the initial W for my middle name.  No name, just a mysterious initial.

my book

The door bell rang.
I went to the door.
A box.
20141217_110624I opened it gently and peeked inside.
Books, a stack of books.
Real hard covered books.  Books that you can buy.  They smell like books.
The pages feel slippery and real.
There is a dust jacket with words about me, the author.  For heaven’s sake, there is an ISBN number!20141217_110641
20141217_111026My book.  The back cover even has a picture of me!
I wrote a book for my grands.
I have a good lump in my throat.
I can’t believe it.
If we still filled out IRS forms and you had to write what you do…………………………..
instead of housewife, mom, grandma and business owner…
I would write: author20141217_111807
Amazingly happy author. 

no books for grandkids

There is a really great program called Page Ahead Program.  “Giving Kids in Need the Chance to Read”.  It is a charitable organization located in Seattle, Washington.

Just so happens Mr. Right’s place of employment is holding a book drive.  WooHOO, something I can get behind!  Love that they are collecting books.  They have set a goal of collecting 50 books.  A very attainable goal. Each family does a little and we will have this nailed.

http://www.pageahead.org/

20141009_204600Today, I gave myself a budget of $20.00.  The grand total came to $20.21.  Oh my goodness, I am one fabulous shopper!!!!   (fyi, I chipped in the extra 21 cents).

I chose three perfect books, then I zeroed in on a Space book.  Oh, it looked so cool.  Geesh, that was going to blow my budget.  darn.  I would have loved to read that book….. what kid wouldn’t love that book?   Then I read the sign.  On sale, plus 75% off that.  Oh my stars, my lucky day.  I got the book for $1.49 .  Again, my fabulous shopping skills (read that as lucky) come into play!!!

Now, here is the tough part.  I was there to buy books for kiddos that don’t have many books.  I was trying to stay focused and send oodles of good karma to those kids.

It felt strange.  It was hard.  I actually bought four books and not one more.

I did not buy one book (today) for our grands.  

Luckily our grands have book shelves filled to overflowing with amazing books.  New books, picture books, chapter books, well-loved books………….yes, our grands are surrounded with books.

“There are worse crimes than burning books.  One of them is not reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass

In the next week or so, do yourself a favor.  Fill your spirit with grace and goodness.  Buy one book.  Donate it.  You will feel amazing.  promise.

Ps.  Four hours after I wrote this blog post, my door bell rang.  Best girlfriend ever, standing there smiling.  She brought me FOUR brand new AMAZING books to donate.  Then she said, I beat you!  What?  She challenged herself to my $20.00  goal.  Haha…she came in at $19.65.  She wins!  WAIT, the kids win!!!!Sincere and Heartfelt thanks for playing along.  You make my world so much more fancy!

 

turn the page

Years ago, when I was learning to be a mom, my sister-in-law was a really good example to me.  I drank in everything she did.  She was raising a polite, well-behaved, smart little cookie.  Hey, I want smart, polite, well-behaved little cookies, too!

One time, she told me that her very, sweet, adorable, blond-haired, perfect daughter decided to be a bit naughty.  Oh my………….I waited to hear what the punishment was.  How does a kind and loving mom handle “naughty”?

Really, you took all her beloved books away?  That must have been three horrible, no good, rotten, crummy days?  Did it work?  She never again disrespected her books.   Ah, I was catching on.  She was teaching her daughter and me at the same time.

DSCN5318About 25 years ago, the same niece gave many of her favorite books to her stinky boy cousins (or I am assuming that is what a  pretty, blond, fancy, sweet girl would call her boy cousins secretly).  She generously gave us many well taken care of books.    Our boys devoured them. They read them over and over.  We the parents, were asked to read them over and over and over.   Books were respected in our home.  Books were and are valued in our family.  We read those books while living in Oklahoma.  We boxed them up took them to Germany.  We brought them back to Washington state.

You know how the pages get almost “soft” from so much use?  Yes, exactly like that.  The spines of many of the books were worn, very worn.  I think it would be politically correct to say “well-loved”.   I am not even sure if a used book store would want them.

I want our Grands to have “new” everything.  Bright and shiny.  I want homemade things to grace their lives.  I want them to have the very best of the best.   We love buying brand new books, the latest, greatest authors, funny , silly, high quality art work, top of the line brand new books.

However, I wanted them to have and experience their Dad and Uncle’s books.  I wanted them to understand what a gift they were looking at.   These books are a part of our whole family.

We cared for those books.  We saved them.  Then a couple of years ago, we brought them back out and read them to our sweet, fancy grandgirlies.  We taught them to treat them with respect.  They would hop on the sofa and quickly sit and ask for a favorite to be read to them.  We the grandparents would read them over and over and over.

In less than a couple of weeks, Grand #3 will be making his arrival.

Over the weekend, Papa and I gently and with care, packed up oodles of books.  It is time for the books to head to California.  Yes, they are worn, soft and well-loved.  It is time for a new family member to be given the chance to love them.  DSCN5320

Heartfelt and Sincere thanks to our wonderful niece who was brave enough and kind enough to share with her stinky boy cousins.

Your generous gift is still being taken care of and loved.   You will now be making a difference in the life of yet another stinky boy cousin.

elephants don’t wear pants

I try, oh I give it the old college try.  I try and forget the day and numbers.  Some days I am successful.  Other days and weeks, I am like an elephant, I can’t forget. It has been 1 year, 6 months and 17 days since I was told the dreaded words.  You are very sick.  Yuck, no one wants to hear those words.

Rally the kids and Mr. Right, let’s do this thing.  I have the best cheer leading family around.  I have a couple of friends who will talk me through medicine at lunch and listen when I send my daily email about the latest health nugget I have discovered.  I indeed have a couple of friends who will let me vent and chatter on and on about this or that.  Mr. Right keeps making juice even when I whine about it tasting more like medicine, less like cheerful juice.  My kids are experts at sending daily laughs and giggles.

Seems like lately, I have lost some mojo.  I have lost my motivation and get up and go.  I have to dust myself off and jump back on the bike and get back in the spirit of things.   It all seems to weigh heavy on my shoulders.  Finding I am waking up at night again, worrying about this or that.   Sometimes it is rather lonely telling the dog my troubles.  I find myself choosing who I whine to.  The dog is the best choice ever.  She never rolls her eyes, she never laughs at what I am having to do, she listens until I can’t whine anymore.

Writing makes me happy.  When I write, I can be anyone I wish.  I don’t have to have my feelings too close to the surface.  I don’t have to take medicine or drink juice.  I can use all different colored pens and doodle and write and make huge smiley faces.  I can underline the parts that I like best.  I can use a red pen to cross out the goofy parts.

However, when it all gets to be a bit too much, too heavy, too dramatic,   I write.  I write for me.  I write on my blog or I find myself in a world all my own, writing a children’s book.

“Flossy eats 300-400 pounds of food a day.  She doesn’t eat peanuts.  Everyone knows elephants don’t eat peanuts”.

Yes, I wrote a children’s book!   I am tickled to even say that.  Once before, I wrote a children’s book.    I learned quite a bit.  I poured my heart and soul into that book and then sent it (the only copy) to the illustrator in Minnesota.  Never to be heard from again.  Some where out in the world  is “A Very Busy Dragonfly”.  

20140708_205517 (1)I penned this story to go along with the polka dot elephants I am making for Christmas gifts.  Each a different color polka dot, each for a very special kiddo,  each with a red tail (the elephants, not the kiddos).

I really like elephants.  I love that with each stuffed toy comes with a bed time story.  I love that toy elephant has a jingle bell inside their belly.

“Flossy walked as fast as she could to a nearby herd of elephants.  Everyone knows elephants can’t run”. 

It is one of my Christmas in July projects.  I swoon at the idea of opening a sealed box, around November 15th and realizing that I have four elephants and books to go with them.  Oh look,  there are our Christmas return labels that I ordered back in July, too!

“Elephants are very intelligent, which is another word for smarty pants.  Everyone knows elephants don’t wear pants”.

When you fall into story land, you can forget the world.  You can forget your troubles.

Just like I want the kids to do, when they fall into my story about Flossy and her swishy red tail.

 Smiling they fell asleep and think about elephants……

The End.

 

book look

Spring has developed into glorious days of sunshine, here in our neck of the woods.  Each day I take my bike out onto the deck and pedal through the glowing sunshine and drink in oodles and oodles of natural,  healing vitamin D.

Some days I text and ride.  Yep, it is okay to chat with girlfriends while you are biking nowhere.  Pretty safe and four miles of biking goes by in a flash.

Other days, I take my book of the day out with me.

seven year switchYesterday and today, found me flipping the pages of Claire Cook’s book, Seven Year Switch.  It is quick, only 237 pages, fun, a bit silly and happy.  Believe it or not, no murders and no mystery.  Just a light-hearted, delightful story of love.  A feisty single mom trying to stitch together a future.  It sort of feels like a summer beach read.  You know, the kind of book you read on vacation?  Your mind doesn’t work hard, you are more easy-going and relaxed.  Just for fun and happy.

I would highly suggest you find it at your local library.  Well worth a look.

Hey, while you are inside the library, may I suggest a book by Michael Moss?  Salt Sugar and Fat.  Amazing book, filled cover to cover with information that will rock your world.  It will also lend itself to a healthier life for you and your family.sugar salt fat

 

What books are you currently reading?  Love to hear about your good finds.  Happy Reading, friend.

 

 

 

book look list

library book bagsYesterday while schlepping to the library, I cringed.  I am still carrying a plain, black, heavy-duty, scratchy, canvas, nondescript, thick handle book bag.  Last year, I had envisioned  sewing a heavy-duty, pretty, fancy, carefree, artsy, lovely library book bag.  I even bought a pattern.  The year sort of became bigger than me, and I “misplaced” the pattern.  I am determined to locate the pattern and give it my attention.

Books.  This is on my resolution list.   To weed out some in our home, re-organize our personal library AND To keep track of the titles I read this year.   While some book titles I have to keep track of …”Thankless in Death” by J.D. Robb, because she has written more than a three dozen “…in Death” titles.  I just can’t remember them all.  I have a little book I take with me to the library or when I order library book on-line.    I am beginning a new series by John Sandford “Prey” …a suspense series.  I already know I will have to try and keep  over 20 of them straight.   I want to see how many books I read over the course of a year.

While I love the weekly trips to the library, I thought there must be a quick, easy, useful way to keep track of books for the year.  I came across several apps for your phone.  I found geekdad who helped me narrow the field.  I have already given a couple a try and am trying out a third for a trail run.  Mr. Right says, I can always just keep a spread sheet.  Well now there is an old-fashioned idea, I could try on for size.  Or even more “crazy”, just keep a handwritten list in a spiral notebook.  Gosh, why didn’t I think of that?   http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2013/02/tracking-the-books-in-your-library/

May I pry and gently ask you the reader how you keep track?  Is it more of a modern twist with an app for your phone?  A written list in a scribbler?  A spread sheet?  Or a dedicated site that you follow and keep the list up to date?  Please for the love of Mike…( who ever he was) do not share, if you:  don’t read, can’t remember the last book you read, think reading is a waste of time, or don’t have time to read………….because it will hurt my heart.  Seriously, reading is such a huge part of our family that my heart will literally hurt if I hear reading books: amazing, wonderful, stunning, entertaining, life changing books are not part of your being.

I was sad to end my book review club on-line.  I kept it going for about three years.  The most common comment?  “I didn’t find time to read the book”.  Sort of hits me in the gut, and takes the wind out of my sails.  When I see Library patrons, coming out to their cars with grocery bags of videos, not books I am disappointed.  Happy the library caters to all needs, just disappointed there are no books going to that home.

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”   ― Cassandra Clare

library booksI am not completely in love with the idea of keeping track of pages, weight of the book, dimensions of the book (yes, the different “keeping track people” have several ways of tracking the books.)  I was thinking:  author, title and year I read.  I already belong to https://www.goodreads.com/.  However, I have never used the “share” feature with my friends or friends on face book.  Heck, you know I/we keep track of lots of numbers.  I could just add a tick mark to the calendar each time I finish a book and call it good.

I am toying with the idea of having a day of the week this year, that I review a book I am reading.  I am not sure I want to keep the world informed of every book I check out of the library.  I have varied interests and different days of the week, different genres grab my attention.

Yesterday’s book bag included 15 potential gems:   -if you learn one thing from each book……..time well spent

“Thankless in Death”  J. D. Robb

“Silken Prey”  John Sandford

“Storm Prey” John Sandford

“Jelly Roll Quilts” Pam & Nicky Lintott

“Evergreen Tabletops” Robert Waite

“Share” Edited by Alison Oakervee

“The Art of Decoration” Nina Campbell

“The Modern Quilting Bee, Block Party” Alissa Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks (2nd checkout)

“The Way we Live with the things we Love” Stafford Cliff

“Mason Jars” Melissa Averinos

“New French Country” Linda Dannenberg

“Brave New Quilts” Kathreen Ricketson

“dog joy” the editors of the Bark

“Nosh on This” Lisa Stander-Horel

“Felt Fantastic” Sarah Tremelling

15-20 books are about my limit per library visit.  That is about the number that fit into my heavy duty, well used, dull, uninspired library book bag.  In the olden days, when we home schooled, we never had library fines.  We had Library day every Thursday.  We were teaching responsibility.  Now, when I pay 30 cents one week and 40 cents the following month, I think of it as “such a great deal”.  Where else on earth can you borrow a book, read it and return it four days late, and ONLY pay 40 cents?   We, for the most part, try our very best to be good stewards of the Library system.

I am very grateful that part of my taxes go to help support the library system.

 “Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”   ― Gustave Flaubert