Five Things This Week

ombre tree

It’s Monday night and my laundry is still in piles all over my bedroom floor and the bed still needs fresh sheets. Telfer should be home at some point. But! I am writing this and I just finished the season finale of Scandal so all is right in the world. Telfer put a television in the basement for me and so now I can run/walk/and watch TV all at the same time. Life-changing, I tell you. funny girls These girls are so funny. This picture was a high moment for the week. The girls are really into making fairy houses and they are showing showing me all the little areas in their fairy house. Not pictured (at all) is what felt like a very challenging parenting week.

holding hands, watching the diver and fishes.

We went to the aquarium in Seattle on Saturday morning and the girls held hands while they said hello to the fishes and the diver. They are sweet sisters so much of the time. I should also be more encouraged by this. I sometimes think I might be raising at least one sociopath. Not true. Evidence above. Still, very challenging at times.

socks with saltwater sandals

And, there’s this outfit photograph that Telfer took. What the what? You know when you buy your kid a new article of clothing, say a pair of patterned shorts, and you have a definite idea of how they will be worn and then they get up early and put together their idea of how the same article will be worn? Well, this is exactly what happened here. I tried to make the outfit a little bit better and it just kept getting worse.

lucinda williams with liz!

Lucinda Williams came to Olympia last week and Liz came down to go with me. The show was amazing and it was so much fun to have Liz with me. If you aren’t familiar with her music, read this New Yorker article from a few years ago. Nerdy note that puts all of this into context: I listen to the Lucinda Williams Pandora station at the shop. I love her. I have trained the station to do exactly what I want and it’s just so, so good.

department of speculation by jenny offill

In book news, I finished Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill today. I think this is one of those novels you either hate or love and I loved. Quote: “Some women make it look so easy, the way they cast ambition off like an expensive coat that no longer fits.”  Beautiful language here. Also read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell this week and loved. Both are novels I want to foist on people and say READ THIS! (And guess what, I get to do this every day and it’s so much fun). literary pairings: empathy exams and an unquiet mind

Still loving this literary pairing series I have going on instagram for the shop. Also at the shop, we are going live with an inventory system (bookstore software) early next week. Right now I doing all of the behind the scenes setup and later this week we will have staff training and am I hoping I can get all the equipment to work and talk to each other. The shop has never had an inventory system so think of us as we enter at least 75,000 books into a database in the next few months. As a librarian, not being able to tell a customer if we have a book has been a maddening state of affairs. I need my metadata!

Five Things: Hot Sunday Afternoon at the Shop Edition

bargain carts

It’s sweaty here in the shop today. I can keep the place really cool — the magic of cross ventilation — until it’s about 88 degrees outside. And it’s 92 today. Good times. There’s still a steady stream of people coming through the doors…We close in about an hour and I am looking forward to going home and relaxing with Telfer and the girls. Hopefully with a cold drink in hand.

here we go...

1. We have sold quite a few copies of Go Set A Watchman at the shop. For the record, I did read it and in full disclosure, I pretty much hate it. It’s unedited and unfinished and the publication is so clearly motivated by money and murky dealings with a diminished Harper Lee that I am just beyond irritated by the whole thing. If the publishers had released the book as a scholarly critical edition with essays placing the novel in context with To Kill a Mockingbird it would be one thing but that’s so clearly not the case here. I can kind of work myself up about this. Anyone else read it? Opinions? 

lunch with rachelle!

2. RaChelle was in town for a family reunion and stole away for lunch with me. Highlight! We shared a couple of sandwiches and talked for a couple of hours. So good, so good.

solo dinner!

3. My week improves infinitely when I take a few hours over the weekend to prep a bit. I love messing about in the kitchen, doing little projects. Last Sunday I cut, washed and prepped a huge bowl of garden lettuce. I boiled farro, roasted beets, and rinsed and seasoned chickpeas. And then dinner was ready to go for a good chunk of the week. Telfer ate with me one night and had meetings the other two nights but I had a healthy, beautiful meal all ready to go. Not that ice cream for dinner is all bad once in awhile…

gresham! and two griffiths!

4. This weekend has been work-heavy due to employee vacation and a gigantic book sale in town that I scouted out for books for the shop. Telfer has the weekend off and took the girls out to the lake house Friday night with four other dads a total of 11 kids. They had a great time. The girls were up until midnight (!). I stayed home but it wasn’t exactly relaxing. I did meet a friend for drinks at the Brotherhood (first time! so fun!), fixed a cash register emergency and then came home and basically went straight to bed.


books + george. a good combo

5. Then, in the morning, all these books happened. It’s work to schlep books around. I put them on my dining room table to desticker them and then I am going to take them to the shop…Found some really, really good stuff. Owning a used bookstore is…not glamorous. Satisfying and deeply fun, yes, glamorous, no.


Five-ish Things: The Unhurried Edition

yep yep.

I am loving my new mug. It’s especially relevant today as lately, most Mondays I work from home. Both of the girls are in school for a chunk of the day. I check in with the shop – this morning I was down there for about an hour –  but have some quiet space to get uninterrupted work done – mostly planning, money to-dos and putting books online. I take breaks here and there to change the laundry, to walk George, and today, to write this. As the shop has become busier and my staffing is still very minimal, it can be impossible to complete any given task, even really short ones, from start to finish without interruption. Which is great – we are busier! But these quiet Mondays are such a gift.

judah and his fire hat
jane and cora on the paddle board

We spent the 4th of July weekend out at the lake house with my family. We switched cell phone carriers recently and I get absolutely no cell phone reception at the lake now which means I didn’t carry my phone around which means I hardly took any photos. It was hot, we ate well, Telfer made his famous ribs (two ways this year – one traditional, one with a spicy dry rub). It’s good to be with family. On a walk, Judah met a real, live fireman in a firetruck who gave him a little plastic red hat. He was so thrilled. Telfer also bought a paddle board for the lake house and all the kids had so much fun trying it out. I went out a couple of times and loved it too. The demand was high over the weekend but I am planning to go back soon and paddle for a much longer time and distance.

papa reading to the girls (a picture book on his iPAD :)

This last weekend was a good one. Chris came for dinner and read to the girls (on his iPAD). We may not have a working boat right now but that won’t stop us from eating crab at least once this summer. I made the Canal House crab louis with greens from our garden and eggs from our chickens. I also made this pecan galette from the cover of Bon Appetit this month. I switched out the blueberries with marionberries and raspberries. So lovely and the leftovers were just as good.

on our way to the MOVIES

We took the girls to see Inside Out at the theater on Saturday afternoon. I loved it. It’s a rare movie that engages kids on one level but is so thoughtful and really, magical, for the adults in their lives.

summer rain dance!

Late Saturday afternoon it rained! This is Cate doing a rain dance for me. Summer rain feels like such a gift, especially this year, with the heat we have had and the drought-like conditions. Our garden is so happy. And I was so happy when I took the photo, work done for the day, puttering around in the kitchen.

new old fashioned stamp for our book mailings

We sell quite a few books, particularly our collectibles, online through two marketplaces. When the book sells, the marketplaces do a good job of hiding the identity of the individual bookstore that is actually providing the book. I could go on but trust me on this. So Nate helped me with putting our logo on an old-fashioned wooden stamp that I ink with an actual ink pad. It’s all very satisfying. Our books going out in the mail are now branded and in my humble opinion, look quite beautiful.

reading with my little georgie


I am on a Penelope Fitzgerald kick lately. I read The Bookshop on vacation and finished The Blue Flower (on my blue sofa) last week. Both such different books, both so good. I am also having a great time with my literary pairings series on instagram. Anyone want to throw out an idea? Obvious candidate for tomorrow: To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set a Watchman

Five Things: Pre and post vacation edition

happy to be home

We all felt a little bit like George in this picture when we got home on Saturday night. It’s always good to come home. I love the Ann Patchett quote: “I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.” Except perhaps on the weather front: It was in the low 70s in San Diego when we flew out and 94 in Olympia at 6:30 in the evening. Not sure how I feel about this current heat wave. Here a few things vacation and pre-vacation:

teller's shot of a pelican

1. Telfer went deep sea-fishing with medical school friends the first day we were in California and this picture was definitely the highlight of his trip as he found out the hard way he suffers from massive and unrelenting seasickness on the open sea. Poor guy. But! Once on land and after throwing up 20-30 times on the boat, he managed to throw down fish tacos and a beer. He’s my favorite.

vacation reading...

2. I read SIX good books on vacation. I so needed a break…Basically, on vacation I like to read and swim with the girls and then read some more. I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to see everything there is to see, I just want to be with Telfer and my girls and read. Hausfrau is definitely a highlight of my summer reading…not exactly light summer reading but beautifully written (and that cover!). Links to books (clockwise): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

first greens of the year!

3. Before we left on vacation we ate our first greens of the year. Such a big moment for gardeners. I bought humboldt fog, a baguette from the bread peddler and made some boysenberry (subbed blackberries and raspberries) fruit compote to celebrate. Lovely.

luke and telfer and break

4. The Sunday before we left for vacation we took the Duerres out on our boat. We planned to catch crab and let the kids play in the water at Boston Harbor. And about forty-five minutes into our trip, the boat engine started smoking and then made a terrible grinding noise with five children and four adults on board. Gemma (the terrible name of our boat) has officially sailed her last voyage. But not before the Harbor Sheriff had to tow us back to our slip. Sherry and I may have giggled while we documented the event in photographs. I wouldn’t want to be stranded on a boat with anyone else – such good friends and it helps that they are CALM.


5. Michael Scofield spent a day with us in California and he took this (high resolution) shot of the girls swimming with Telfer. Michael cares about my family which I so appreciate and the girls expect to see him when we go to California. I love that. Telfer is also so much more FUN in the water than me!
sailing on a sea of books

6. This is a window my new employee Clare and I did right before I left on vacation. Get it? Sailing on a sea of books! It looks prettier in person. And most of the books are blue with shades of green. Cate helped with the construction of the little boats but Clare definitely did most of it. I enjoy having artistic employees. I can come up with an idea but my piles of “waves” were a little too orderly.

jane's hair is amazing.

7. The girls are little fishes this year. Both have taken swim lessons and are so fun to watch in the water. They dive for bars and for rubber squids endlessly. After an afternoon in the pool, Jane’s wispy hair is crunched into crazy dreads and it’s about my favorite thing.

It’s Thursday night and we are getting ready to join my whole family out at the Griffith Lake House tomorrow for the 4th of July weekend. When it’s this hot (over 100 today) and you don’t have air conditioning, I find it hard to get much done past 8:00 PM. Which is why I am sitting outside enjoying the slight breeze and writing this instead of preparing for a weekend away. Enjoy the 4th of July friends.

Back from vacation


I am going to do a proper post tomorrow but we are back and I am sorting through piles and pictures and I spent the day catching up on shop finances and etc. items. We spent a week+ in California and I tell you, this vacation was needed by everyone in our little family, probably especially me. We spent a week lounging about the pool and our “apartment” (as the girls call it) at Welk resort in Escondido. We read and swam and ate simply and I will go on and on in length tomorrow but here are a bunch of Disneyland pictures from last Friday.

I have a complicated relationship with Disney. I love it, I hate it, am appalled and delighted all at once. I do think the desire to take the girls to Disneyland has more to do with me than the girls. But it was fun and the girls loved it and definitely served as an anchor moment for the summer. Neither girl holds it too closely which makes Telfer and I proud in a weird sort of way. Can you tell we have spent some time talking about this?

We spent one night at the resort and one day at both parks. We managed to see and do everything on our list without much trouble, even on a busy Friday in June. It was too hot in the afternoon, especially for Jane but both girls held up well. Highlights included meeting Anna and Elsa, riding on the teacups, pulling Chip’s tail during a character breakfast (only Cate and Jane, sigh) and picking out new “friends” to take home – baby Arista & Simba. Cropic Share File

Cropic Share File-2

Cropic Share File copy