What I am Reading

I haven’t been finishing books at my usual rate since we have been back from vacation in late August. Split shifts are my reality this month. I work until school is out, do the usual good family things – dinner, bath, bedtime – then I go back to work for a few hours. Our online selling has been such a mess since we switched over to an inventory system. I basically have to start from scratch and it has taken quite awhile to set everything up on the new system. I have started to add things back to our online platforms just in the last couple of days. Since our online sales make up 20% of our overall sales, this is a priority for sure.  I think I have said this before but the previous owner had a very elaborate sticky note and paper notebook system that made me want to poke out my eyeballs. I had to put listings up on the online platforms separately and then once the books sold, take them down separately as well. The new system will be so much better but right at this moment, it’s just a lot of work. Anyway! All of that to say, I haven’t been reading all that much.

Last night I finally finished The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth and final novel in the Neapolitan Novels. I was talking to a customer of the store, a surgeon that works with Telfer, who is also compulsively reading the series. The books do get a little soap-opera-y at times but by books two and three and four, I was so enmeshed in the lives of Elena and Lila and their neighborhood in Naples that I just could not stop. If you want a Fall reading project I highly recommend these four novels though. I have never read anything quite like them.

my bright abyss

I finished My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer (on my Shelf Project #2). Wiman is a poet with cancer and his book is dense and searing and if you are me, really encouraging. An example: “To experience grace is one thing; to integrate it into your life is quite another. What I crave now is that integration, some speech that is true to the transcendent nature of grace yet adequate to the hard reality in which daily faith operates. I crave, I suppose, the poetry and the prose of knowing.”

good-bye to all that

I also finished Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves, a memoir/autobiography of his time as a soldier in WWI, also on my Shelf Project #2.


I started Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff this morning so it’s too early to tell what I think. It’s A Big Fall Book with lots of buzz and reviews. I *loved* Groff’s other books, especially Arcadia, so I am quite thrilled to be reading this. It’s nice to get away from Naples for a bit.

UntitledOut a bit: Isn’t this the prettiest copy of Persuasion you ever did see? As I read this novel about once a year or so, I think it’s next on my list…

Out of curiosity, what are you reading?

And the Friday Five

I am thankful for Friday evening. The girls are just finishing Charlotte’s Web and Telfer and I are sitting outside thinking about making/eating dinner here in a bit. It’s been such a full week. First grade! Jane is five! The light is different, the mornings are chilly, the afternoons flashy hot and then by 7:00 PM, so cool and lovely and just a little bit too dark. Last night after the girls were in bed I went down to watch a ten-year-old friend perform in a local production of To Kill a Mockingbird. For me, that story is never old (maybe it’s partly because I have little girls?) but even with the new book out, it’s still fresh and funny and heartbreaking and true and so very relevant.

Oh and #1 on the Friday Five was the couple of hours we spent on the boat the day before school started. The clouds (photo above) were beautiful although Telfer didn’t catch any salmon. I read a bit and snuggled the girls a bit. Perfect couple of hours.


2. All my people on one sofa.

ears pierced girl


3. Last Saturday both girls got their ears pierced. My party line on ear piercing is as soon as you want to sit in the chair and not freak out, you can get your ears pierced. Jane totally led the way and went first. They haven’t complained much and both are really, really into cleaning and twisting their earrings. Cate’s face here is pretty great.

jane on her new scooter :)

4. Jane’s officially five! Yesterday she spent most of the day with me at the shop, then arrived at her little school with cupcakes in tow and then in the evening we met Grammy & Papa at our favorite Indian restaurant for dinner. Up until last night, she has only had take-out. She ate as much as I did for sure. Cate, on the other end of the spectrum, was not at all impressed.

le pens

5. These are really pretty pens that we just restocked at the shop. Everything is going well. We still have many, many books to inventory and not all of them are quite worth keeping around. It’s such an interesting, active challenge to shape an existing space and inventory and customer-base. I keep adding good things and subtracting the noise and I hope that the overall feeling of the shop errs on the side of relevant. It’s getting there. We still have a ways to go, but I can see it. It’s hard to be patient though.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

FIRST day of first grade & Jane will be FIVE tomorrow

sisters hugs
ready for school!!

first day of school

riding bikes!

It’s been a big day people! Cate started first grade this morning. It went so well although she is exhausted tonight. She is in a first grade/second grade split and most of her friends from last year (her K/1 split) moved up together. Her teacher this year is her student teacher from last year. We had a very smooth morning. All three of us were in the bathroom this morning getting ready together, chatting away, and I was struck with how much life has changed since the baby days. I love having these older girls who get dressed, brush their teeth, have opinions, and are just great little people.

Jane also turns five tomorrow. Can you believe it? It’s been five years since we had the rough start in New York. She is healthy, happy and I think my obsession with food while on bed rest was transferred through the umbilical cord… We gave Jane a bunch of choices for dinner tomorrow night and she chose to go to our favorite Indian restaurant for her birthday. She’s only had takeout thus far and so this is her first time eating at the restaurant. Curry for all! Cate is less than pleased on the restaurant choice as I am sure you can imagine.

And just like that.

haystack rock

on the beach

on the beach

14th street stairs in astoria

view from our bedroom window

lobster rolls!

telfer & the girls @ fort george

chatting on the porch

reading, reading

Our time at the Oregon Coast, as you can see, was pretty wonderful. We rented a really great house in Rockaway Beach for five days. There was a shark head with antlers above the mantle and an arcade in the basement and a hot pool (tub) for the girls which they got in and out of 47 times a day. Eleanor stayed with us while most of Telfer’s family stayed in Cannon Beach. Telfer had lobster rolls delivered as a last hurrah for my birthday and Eleanor’s birthday. I will take it! Then we packed up stayed in a hotel in Cannon Beach for a couple more days. All the adults went to EVOO which was lovely as usual. All together, the week was a really good mix of extended family, our family and alone time. It’s really my favorite week of the year.

Summer feels over. This last week has been so rainy and it’s lovely and we need it but yesterday felt like October not the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. But today the sun is shining and I am hoping to make that summer feeling last a bit longer. I have the day off, Telfer is doing an epidural and I suspect will be at the hospital most of the day. The girls and I are hatching little plans. I think the park and a stock-up trip to Trader Joe’s is on the docket. Also, my butcher block counters are giving me the stink-eye. Theoretically, I don’t mind oiling them every few months but this last stretch has gone on entirely too long.

First grade starts on Wednesday (!) for Cate. Mama is ready and Cate is *more* than ready. One example: one morning she woke me up before 7:00 a.m. whisper-yelling: “Mom, school starts in SEVEN weeks. We need to order a new dress for the first day of school.” Yes, seven weeks, we’d better get on that Cate! She picked out her yearly pair of converse yesterday and I am thinking she needs at least a new pair of jeans and a couple of cardigans here soon.

And note: I am going to post every couple of days for the next few weeks just to relearn the habit of posting here. I am not sure why I stopped? I hate when good habits fall by the wayside. It’s so depressing.

Five Things: Feels Like 18 Edition


Whew, what a week. I love the birch trees in our yard – I took the photograph at about 9:00 PM on Friday night. Telfer was at work, the girls were asleep in their beds, and this was what I was doing:

friday night quiet. just what i needed.

Exactly all I had energy for: reading outside with my little George.zoo tunes greatest hits!

On Wednesday night though, we took part on what has become a summer tradition around Elizabeth’s birthday – Zoo Tunes at the Woodland Park Zoo. This year we saw Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell and it was awesome. Lucinda and Emmylou in one summer. Add Brandi and it would almost be too much. We pack a picnic, some drinks (thank you Telfer), the girls and meet Liz for the evening. This was the girls’ second year going with us and outdoor concerts with kids are really fun, especially once it’s not as hot (looking at you JANE. Also, yes, Jane is wearing a pirate costume in the photos. It was pirate week at her preschool and Wednesday was the day she could come in costume and clearly did not want to change for a concert).Untitled

dancing to emmylou

We drove home that night, put the girls to bed and I was unpacking the car and Telfer was watering our garden when George was hit by a car right at the foot of our driveway. It was 11:00 PM and the car was going much too fast on our quiet street and well, we are so very thankful that he had only a broken leg, a few staples and another little wound on his non-broken leg. I spent five hours (!) at the vet ER with him that night and he is such a sweet little guy. So now George is in a cast with the cone of shame for the next 4-6 weeks. Poor baby. He is still quite fast even hindered with a cast and gets to sleep with me and Telfer instead of his crate which makes him so very happy.

day after. poor little georgie...

money can't buy happiness but it can buy books which is kinda the same thing

There were some really good moments this weekend. The parenting front has thankfully calmed down. Telfer took the girls out with friends on our boat (that’s another story) while I worked. On Sunday we went to Hood Canal and toodled about. Ice cream was involved. Telfer and I stayed up much too late last night chatting. It’s so good to be married to someone you really enjoy. And now it’s a new week somehow and I am in the thick of going live with the inventory system at the shop on Wednesday (cross your fingers – it’s been complicated) AND hosting our first book event (signing and reading) on Thursday.

*Oh, and p.s. all my book places are updated.