The Ocean in January


One of our New Year’s decisions/resolutions/whatever: build one weekend night a month to get away with our girls. Both our jobs bleed into nights, weekends, holidays and there’s not much separation between the days. We don’t have very many evenings where it’s all four of us together at home. When we leave town, I feel like we can relax in a way that we can’t when we’re here.

Most of the time, I think we’ll go out to the Griffith Lake House for a night but last weekend, due to a weather moment (nearly 60 degrees! Windy but almost warm!), we opted to go to Astoria for a night. We were strategic and one night stretched into two days. We left Olympia on Saturday near noon, walking the beach at Fort Stevens by 2:00 PM, eating dinner (my favorite fish & chips ever) at Fort George Brewery by 5:00, and relaxing in our room at Hotel Elliott (tagline: wonderful beds!) by 7:00 PM. Maybe it’s my imagination, but the ocean in January seems wilder than it does in August. I could have stayed for hours.

The girls never seem to settle in a hotel room unless the TV is on so we did have a misalignment of goals in the morning. Parents: read books. Children: create mayhem. We recovered, brunched, walked the town and then went to an afternoon showing of The Greatest Showman. Drove home in the dark, listening to E.B. White read The Trumpet of the Swan. Observation: our girls are so different. Cate has always loved a book out loud – she still loves when I read to her. Jane has never enjoyed a read aloud- she makes it work by dressing a doll, arranging a space, always doing something. So car trips are pretty funny. It’s basically three against one every single time.

This week has been a good one. Telfer and I started the show Big Little Lies on HBO on Sunday night when we got home and got the girls in bed. I had seen it before but wanted him to watch it. We are so not usually binge watchers but we stayed up until almost 2:30 in the morning on Sunday (Monday) and then finished rest of the series on Monday night!

A good week and good reading. Finished two slim books:
Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor.
It’s often said that life is short. But life is also simultaneous, all of our experiences existing in time together, in the the flesh. For what are we, if not a body taking a mind for a walk, just to see what’s there? And, in the end, where do we get to, if not back to a beginning that we’ve never really left behind?

Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge.
I was consumed by all that I saw and I shut out the noise. You cannot wait for it to get quiet. Not in New York, nor anywhere else. You must create your own silence.

Re-reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich for the store book club on Thursday.

I miss this space.

Does anyone read blogs anymore? I do love instagram but I miss thinking about my life and writing a little more long-form. I am hoping to be here more in 2018.

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Telfer and I spent the first minutes of the year with our front door wide open. I can’t exactly remember where I read this, but it’s some sort of a real tradition – open the front door to the new year. I love this. Fresh air, new year, open.


When you own a busy (yay finally!) retail business in December, no one quite gets how spent you are at the end of December. How behind you are on absolutely everything. I read a lot between Christmas and New Year’s and then got back to work. Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward is my first book finished in the New Year. It deserves all the things. I am completely in awe of the power of this novel. It’s about the search for home and family and it’s both universal and specific to the American South. It’s a must-read. I can’t wait till it’s out in paperback so I can convince the book club at the store to read it.

Other news. Cate is in 3rd grade and Jane is in 1st grade. They are a delight. They are growing and happy and creative. Telfer and I both love our work but 2017 has been a stretch year in so many ways. I will be 40 in 2018 and I have to say, I am not sorry about it.

Hoping to make this space more of a priority. I see more and think more when I write here.

Scenes From the Summer

in the airport - these girls are so funny
My baby an evening on the boat
in a serious potholder moment family on the 4th!
yes, amazing. early morning with jane
OH my word... Sweet Cate
sisters at cannon beach tomatoes from our garden
cannon beach sunset

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.

More soon.

Five Things: At the Shop on a Saturday Afternoon

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.

just reading
my little helper

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 (!).

this is what school drop offs look like at the end of maySpeaking 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 am as pretty as a diamond AND only 27!   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.

hello, bookstore

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.

friday evening readingI have read so many good books this year it’s truly ridiculous. I still have two Louise Penny books to read before the new Inspector Gamache book is published in August. I finally started LaRose by Louise Erdrich last night and it immediately bowled me over. I am still reading Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett. Tonight Telfer is hanging out with a friend and I am anticipating a stretch of lovely reading time.

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.

Five Things on a Wednesday Afternoon

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!

muffins with mom!
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!

all my little loves 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:
books for one night away
trying not to be creepy

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.

louise penny obsessionI 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!