Five Things: Last Day of School Edition

monday morning walk

This week has been so good. I had the day off on Monday (!) and George and I walked our long route. Sunlight on water is one of my favorite things. The hope is that this weekend shapes up similarly – a blend of work and down-time, out with friends and staying home, time with the girls and time out with adults (babysitter! tonight! in one hour!).

last day of K for cate - crazy girls!

1. As of 3:02 this afternoon, Cate is finished with Kindergarten! Telfer and Jane dropped Cate off this morning for her last day. I love that the girls are wearing winter hats in the middle of June. Telfer and I picked her up this afternoon and we found her sitting and sobbing at one of the little tables in her classroom. She loves school and loves her teacher Kari and loves her friends. Cate is a feeler. I love this about her.

summer list :)

2. The girls and I worked on our Summer 2015 list last weekend. I reminded them of the trips we have planned and then asked about anything they wanted to do before summer ends. Cate wants to swim and eat lots of ice cream. And Jane wants to invite herself over to dinner with a family from church and visit Telfer at work. Love it. We also need to get cracking if we’re going to finish all of this before September.

rachel's ginger beer (watermelon & lavender)

3. On Wednesday, I was able to sneak away to Seattle for the afternoon and evening to visit three bookshops (here and here and here). I wanted to check our prices against some other shops and also to look for inspiration. I enjoy going to Anthro to see how they display merchandise. Some shops do it so well and I still have a lot to learn on that front. I met Elizabeth for dinner at Oddfellows which was so restful and fun. I spent an hour at Rachel’s Ginger Beer working. A needed break.

origami in children's section

4. Speaking of windows, our pediatrician is a compulsive origami maker and she made these garlands just for the shop. I think they are magical. One of the things I love about this whole venture is how people other than myself contribute to making the bookshop a vital and beautiful place.

word. at the shop.

5. This picture is really two favorites. I love the words of this woodcut stencil. I bought it at Elliott Bay Books and hope to find a few to sell at the shop. The whole Margaret Atwood poem here. But also, I love the shoes I am wearing. I bought these clogs at the end of April and have barely taken them off. They are so comfortable and they are just the best color of cognac. It feels a little silly to love a pair of shoes so much but there you have it. Happy weekend friends.

Five Things: June Afternoon Edition

It’s Saturday afternoon again and I am patiently waiting for one of my employees to get here so I can leave and enjoy the the sunshine. Telfer is at the hospital and the girls are with Papa on a park adventure. It’s been another good week but boy, I am looking forward to a day off. (Monday!) Training a new employee is a necessary part of small business ownership and I am taking notes on what is working and what isn’t and how I can best support her learning with time and and kindness and patience.captain o' the ship out the boat me and cate on the boat! 1. Last Sunday we went on the boat and it was SO FUN. I love being out on the water with Telfer and the girls. We boated into a little cove and saw five (5!) Great Blue Herons and then motored on to Boston Harbor for ice cream and wine. The girls played in the water and Telfer and I sat and chatted. Summer is here. Happy Anniversary to Us. 2. Yes to 14 years together. We had a lovely time together on Tuesday. We met at the restaurant which for some reason, feels both grown up and romantic. We shared a few small plates and arrived home in time to put the girls to bed. Also romantic in its own way (and full of reality). making soup last night 3. Yesterday was a bit of a wash, full of work and necessary things but nothing on my agenda actually finished. Cate had early release and spent the afternoon with me. I picked up Jane later than planned but we finally made it home. The girls made pumpkin leaf soup. Jane stirred. I regrouped, Papa brought by lamb khorma (my favorite) and the girls and I watched Brave (also my favorite) cuddled up on the sofa. daybook: journal of an artist by anne truitt 4. I finished Daybook: A Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt earlier this week. I am most definitely not an artist, but my work is creative in its way. Or said another way, I find meaning in approaching my work creatively. Building a small business, parenting, running a house is such creative, life-sustaining work but it is work. Truitt is so inspiring to me here:

The second major decision was to increase my energy output and to use it as wisely and as fully as I could. Again fortunately, during the years from 1948 to 1961 I had formed the habit of working in my studio almost every single day. Rain or shine, eager or dragging my feet, I just plain forced myself to work. This habitual discipline came up under me to support my revved-up schedule. I simply got up early every morning and worked straight through the day in one way or another, either in my household or in my studio. Before I went to sleep, I loosely organized the following day’s schedule – loosely because there were, of course, always unexpected events. But I tried to hold course in accordance with my values: first – husband, children, household; second – my work. The periods of time left over from my practical responsibilities were spent in the studio. If there were fifteen minutes between shopping and carpool, I used them. If I had an hour, or two hours, I rejoiced, but didn’t even waste time feeling happy, just worked…One element is clear, however, and that is that the capacity to work feeds on itself and has its own course of development. That is what artists have going for them.

reading now... 5. I am the happiest when I am reading lots of great stuff. These are all my current reads. Still Writing is a reread because I love it so much and needed to revisit. I really don’t have big dreams of writing but writing books are the best for reminding me to live my life with intention and creativity. A lovely pile of books, no?


dumbo selfie!

And somehow, our wedding was 14 years ago today. We were babies! Telfer is more kind and loving with every passing year and I am so thankful I am his person.

Selfie in New York earlier this year. We are looking forward to walking down to a local restaurant tonight for happy hour (without our babies). Such a treat on a Tuesday evening…

Five Things: Saturday @ the Shop Edition

george is photobombing our cocktail moment

This is most definitely NOT where I am right now! But I am hoping this scene maybe recreates itself after the shop closes? This week has been a short week, but very work heavy. We are in flux at the shop. Our lovely new employee, Clare, started working this week but she isn’t quite ready to be here by herself. One of the longtime employees finished on Thursday and my other employee needed today off. So I am here all day on this beautiful Saturday. I am really not bothered in the least. It’s fun to be here. Seeing what people read and the very specific things they are into will never get old for me. The only rub in this is Telfer and the girls are out on the boat as I am writing this. But I did my mom duty and told the girls they needed to wear life jackets whether I am there or not there!

I did not do a good job taking photos this week. But it was a good week. Dinner outside almost every night, Telfer was home quite a bit, and I made it to yoga twice in one week. Good stuff. Here are the five things:

sucker for planners.

1. My Get to Work Book arrived this week! I am such a sucker for paper planners. The one I am using I just don’t like at all – it’s a daily and I feel like I repeatedly write the same thing down every day because really, a week is the smallest block of time that is actually helpful for me to set goals and project plan. This new planner starts in July and I am excited to start using it.

Nora Webster by Com Toibin

2. I finished Nora Webster by Colm Toibin this week and it’s just so good. If you liked Brooklyn, you will love this novel as well. Nora is a recent widow with four children to raise, a strong woman, but still figuring out how to live without her husband. It’s a quiet novel but absolutely stunning in its depiction of the interior life of a woman. I also just finished The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos this morning (not her best) and I am listening to Delia Ephron’s Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog: Etc for about the fourth time.

cate is here today!

3. Cate had a fever at bedtime on Thursday night and ended up missing school on Friday which of course coincided with a Very Big Day at her school. The entire school goes up to a camp and does outdoor activities for the whole day and families can even spend the night. She was completely devastated to not go…but rallied once a morning roll and hot chocolate were mentioned. I do love having Cate around for a few hours on a school day.

literary pairings at browsers...

4. I am doing a literary pairings series on Instagram for the shop. Two books that can be read together. Read Middlemarch and then My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. This is just a little too much fun for me. I have a whole bunch planned already. Sometimes I can’t believe this is my job.

yes! motivation!

5. This print was included in my preorder of the Get to Work Book (side note: I love Elisa Blaha Cripe’s blog and podcast. She’s got such good stuff to say about owning a small business and just doing the work). This has been one of the those weeks where I have second-guessed myself on staffing decisions among so many other things. Did I get this right? It’s hard to let a longtime employee go. I also made a few mistakes on the handling-all-the-people front. I feel every week I am learning more – how to be gracious and kind while also not being a pushover. Unfortunately, I learn more when I make the mistake and err on being not kind enough or not quite gracious enough side. It’s humbling for sure. I know I am selling books and I have two employees and it’s not all that complicated on some levels but building a thriving small business is also not at all simple. Anyway! Thoughts on a Saturday afternoon…

Five Things! Start of a Long Weekend Edition

It’s Saturday morning and the girls and I are doing Saturday morning things. Cartoons and novels are involved and we just had eggs and toast for breakfast. In a bit here, we are headed to yoga and then maybe a stop at the bookshop to give my employee a break (the girls do not know that part yet). Long, holiday weekends, especially ones that are call-filled, used to feel me with dread. I am so thankful for older children! Telfer isn’t working the entire weekend – we went to a lovely dinner last night and we are meeting good friends at the park this afternoon. He will join us part-way through. I am opening the bookshop on Monday, but Telfer will be home. We are also plotting the perfect Memorial Day hamburger…

Here are five things that made my week.

Sweet Sisters #2

1. These two girls. I love being their mom and watching them play and love each other.  I was sitting with them while they ate their dinner this week (english muffins and eggs – we are fancy) and asked if I could send Daddy a picture of them together being sweet sisters. Of course, they fight and have unkind moments, but a good chunk of the time they are becoming increasingly good friends.

Good-bye Don Draper.

2. Telfer and I watched the finale of Mad Men on Sunday night. It packed a punch. Telfer made Manhattans of course and I sort of leaked all the way through the episode. I have been worried about Don for so many years…I won’t give anything away because everyone should watch this show at some point but! I was very satisfied with the ending. (I tend to be satisfied with most endings. I get that I am not the writer).

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Roz Chast

3. I finally read Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast this week. Such a moving, funny, and infuriating portrayal of her parent’s last years. I am never going to drink Ensure! We have sold so many copies of this at the bookshop and I feel vaguely like a terrible person recommending a book that I have not read. I am in the same boat with Americanah which is still sitting on my shelf giving me the stink eye.

And this is my new friend: THE TANGLE TEASER

4. This, my friends, is The Tangle Teaser. I read about it on a blog and approximately 19 seconds later ordered it. Cate’s hair is really thick and she’s never been able to comb it herself. Picture post-bathtime hair combing. It’s never been fun, for her or for me. But she can Tangle Tease! Yes, it’s already a verb in our house. Life-changing.

Puffin in Bloom!

5. I have been posting on Instagram the various sets we have at the bookshop for possible collection candidates. Which also make great presents. So far, I have posted Puffin in Bloom and Penguin Threads and of course I am going to do Penguin Dropcaps and Harper Perennials. Am I missing any others? I am going to gather as many as I can and post all of them on the shop blog at once. Thoughts?