Well, hello there. I wanted to share some photographs from the summer in an effort to liven things up here. We had a lovely summer. Two trips, one to California and one to the Oregon Coast, a lot of boating and crabbing, our garden (is still) productive and the girls are healthy and happy. Telfer and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. The shop was busy all summer and I would say we are more than 90% where I want it to be in terms of how it feels. It’s all very scientific.
That’s the macro version. The micro version: Cate was a potholder making machine. If you are related to us, you probably received a potholder. Jane was her helper and color coordinator and many evenings I had to shut it down. No more potholders! But bedtime is fluid in the summer. We ate a whole lot of salad from our garden. Sometimes with fish, mostly with chickpeas. I don’t really cook in the summer. We went through a brief but intense fish taco moment. The girls watched every Star Wars movie approximately 14 times while Telfer and I watched absolutely no television. We were either working or sitting outside with a book in hand. It was a lovely summer.
It’s the Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend and I am at the shop all day. It’s cool and a bit rainy outside and I just enjoy being here. It’s been a steady stream of customers but not at all overwhelming. I joked today on Instagram that working all day means all Lucinda Williams all the time. And there’s no one else here to change my music up. When my employees are here, I will walk out the door for five minutes, come back and my music has been mysteriously changed. I tend to listen to the same things over and and over which I am sure is a little annoying.
The girls had the stomach flu last weekend and into this week. They have had one little cold each during the school year so I feel like we were due. Poor Cate was *really* sick and Jane thew up only twice but was so inordinately proud of herself (“I threw up! I don’t have to go to school! I am so sick now!”). We had a girls sleepover on the floor next to the bathroom one night. It was epic. I don’t love having sick kids but I did love having them to myself (and staying in our pajamas) for a couple of days. Jane didn’t have school yesterday and spent the day with me at the shop. We took the bus downtown and she’s so fun to hang out with. Telfer sent me the picture of Cate above. Just reading in the car. Looking like a teenager (!).
Speaking of pajamas, this was my drop-off outfit on Friday. I walked Cate up to school with my glasses on, old see-through sweatpants, unbrushed teeth, and coffee cup in hand. In September, I would have been dressed and looking put together but by the end of May, all bets are off. Who cares? The other parents certainly don’t. They all look like I do – like they rolled out of bed and got their kid to school on time. Boom!
I realize Mother’s Day is not current, but this is the little sheet Jane filled out in her Pre-K class as a gift. Note that I am only 27 years old. And that I am as pretty as a diamond. Best Mother’s Day present ever.
So many things going on at the shop. We have started hosting more events and we had our first book club meeting last week. We read The Sellout by Paul Beatty. In true English-major-fashion (can you still say that 15 years out of college? Thoughts?) I didn’t read any bit of the book until a couple days before the meeting. Then I had a panic attack because I knew it would be a bunch of white people sitting around drinking wine and talking about a very racially sensitive satirical novel. However, our discussion was intelligent and thoughtful and represented many points of views; I was so thrilled with the way it went. We have the next two months lined up (if you are local). We will be reading The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes (local author – he will actually be at the meeting) in June and Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann in July.
We do have a family day planned on Monday. I am so looking forward to it. We are hoping the weather is warm enough to get the boat in the water for the summer. I have learned that boating is never seamless so cross your fingers for us! A happy long weekend to all.
Our Birch trees have leafed out which for me, is the last and maybe the truest sign of Spring. It signals long evenings outside with good light. By which of course I mean, good reading light. At least I am consistent!
This morning was Muffins with Mom at Jane’s school. She was so excited. She served me coffee, we had a muffin together and then she gave me a flower pot with a sunflower starter. In true Jane-fashion, she also brought a bunch of stuff from home wrapped up for me. A tin full of markers, small plastic figurines and loose change. Amazing. I read somewhere that Marie Condo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, had a baby a few months ago. I would like to talk to her in about five years. New working title: The Life-Changing Reality of Children: The Art of Multiplying Tiny, Very Precious Objects. I think it works!
Here’s a throwback to a few weeks ago: It’s been a long time since we were able to go to the Lake House overnight. We made it for one night and Telfer and I are recommitted to spending time out there. Neither of us get cell phone reception which feels like heaven. The girls sometimes have trouble settling to one activity, but this time, I think due to weather (and being another six months older) played well together. It’s a hassle getting ready to go out – mostly corralling the necessary food and kitchen items but sometimes, an hour of hassle is worth the subsequent relaxation. And there is this ridiculousness: this is the pile of books I took for one night:
We had a wonderful Spring Arts Walk at the shop. We had live music both days and the shop was open late. Our upstairs is completely finished and it was so fun to invite friends and customers upstairs for wine and chatting. We are also plugging our FIRST book club on May 19. We are going to read The Sellout by Paul Beatty. You can buy the book from us and get 15% off whether you show up for the book club or not.
NOTE: We launched a new shop website so all my book links from now on will be from my own bookshop which is very cool. Also, NO PRESSURE but you can order all your new books from Browsers and have them sent to your house. If you are local, you can have books sent to the shop so you don’t have to pay for shipping. I haven’t broadly rolled out the new website because there are quite a few little typos and other things I want to fix up before I make a big announcement.
I managed to get a horrible cold (Telfer says I may have a man-cold – not sure how offended I should be?) right after ArtsWalk. This is my first cold/sickness of this school year so I shouldn’t complain too much. I have been worthless most evenings so I am devouring Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series (link to first one in series). I finished The Brutal Telling last night and whew, I love these books. Customers have been telling me to read the series for so long and I am so happy I finally listened.
And one final note: if you want to get a shop newsletter (email), please sign up on our new website (it’s on the righthand side when you scroll down a bit). The first one is going out this week!
We had such a good run of weather there for a bit. I know it will come back again but I am still enjoying these pictures of the girls I took one warm evening. I feel like the photos are very representative of the girls right now. Cate was telling me a story from her school day and Jane was just being Jane.
The girls and I went to Seattle one day during Cate’s spring break and we did our usual Top Pot / Aquarium run. When they walk ahead of me and hold hands it gets me every time.
On the last weekend of Spring Break, Cate was invited to a sleepover birthday party (her first). The invitation specified “fancy dress” which put Cate into a complete quandary. She has a few dress-up clothes but many she has grown out of and my suggestion of wearing her pirate costume was not popular (at all). She came up with the idea of maybe going to Costco to see if there were any fancy dresses? Both my girls have longed for Costco dresses their whole lives. Longed. I have never seen such complete excitement and love directed toward a $18.99 Costco dress. Most of the money for the dresses came from their piggy banks and picking out the actual dress seen in the photo above was very intense. Sizes and colors and matching vs. unique? Lovely little girl drama.
Today makes me believe that Spring might stick around. Yesterday was Easter and today the sun is shining. I can see the merits of starting the calendar year in early Spring rather than January 1 for sure. This afternoon I had time to take George on our long walking loop. The other walkers and I kept beaming as we passed each other – the sun, the sun! The girls came home from school and immediately turned on the hose (it’s 58 degrees). Classic.
March has been a bit of a blur. A lot going on and it’s been cold and gray and rainy. More so than usual. There have been bright spots however. I went to Portland for a book meeting and had a wonderful dinner with RaChelle at Bollywood Theater. Nana turned 88 and Chris and Mendy had such a lovely party for her. Michael Scofield visited for a few hours on a couple of different days.
Easter was lovely. We had an egg hunt the day before at Grammy & Papa’s house with cousins. The girls had such a good time. Telfer worked most of the weekend and after the egg hunt, I hit a wall. I was so tired! I decided to read my novel instead of preparing for Easter brunch. It was a good decision. Brunch still happened, everything tasted delicious and the mood was warm and easy. We went to church and then had brunch at our house with the usual suspects (C&M, Nana, Duerre family, Liz & friend). Note: I have been making this fritatta recipe for ten years now. It’s very good.
Last weekend we took the girls whale watching in Port Townsend. Cate is doing a research project on whales which served as the the impetus to go. It was such a fun day! The four of us hadn’t spent a whole day together in too long. We watched a gray whale for about an hour – it was mesmerizing. He would break the surface a few times, spout water, his tail would come up and he would head down to eat at the bottom of the Sound. Repeat. I could have watched him all day. I think the girls secretly loved the hot chocolate on board the boat best of all.
The shop is looking wonderful. We replaced the back floors a couple of weeks ago which was such a big job. We moved all the books and shelves off the floor on Saturday night, Telfer and his friend Tony put down the new floors all day Sunday and an employee and I put everything back late Sunday night to open again on Monday. We took the opportunity to move around a bunch of shelves and sections and I have to say it has made a huge difference. Everything is looking cohesive and open and bright and welcoming. We are also making progress with our upstairs space. The table and chairs were delivered right before the floors were finished. We are hoping to have groups start using the space in the next couple of months. We will also host a Browsers-run book club as well – probably our first meeting will be sometime at the end of May. Any ideas for the first pick?
I am about 100 pages away from finishing A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I have not been able to put this novel down and when I have, it’s impossible for me to stop thinking about it. I have actually had a Jude-infused dream. The novel is roughly about four college roommates making their way in New York after graduation. Jude is the central character and as the story progresses, it becomes clear he will never escape the trauma of his past. I have rarely been so moved or devastated by a novel. I am not sure if this is a convincing sell but if one of the reasons to read literary fiction is to develop a sense of empathy and compassion, this is a novel to read.
Today I finally faced the fact that Cate has conference week the rest of the week (she gets out at 11:45 – tell me, what is the point of this? Why not get conferences over with Tuesday and Wednesday and give everyone Thursday-Friday off?) and then Spring Break next week. Sigh. I think it will be easier next year when both girls are on the same schedule. Then I will plan to take the entire week off if possible. One more year of cobbling it all together. I meant to leave off on a less cranky note…