We had a regular patron at the library who was for a long time living with her cats in her car. She was friendly and open about it, so we all knew. When staff members started bringing the situation up to me, asking if there was something we should do, I kept saying we should stay out of it. She hadn’t asked for our help, so we should leave her alone. She did want a library card, though–a stickier issue, since she didn’t have an address, and we aren’t supposed to issue cards to people who don’t have addresses. The … Read the rest
I first encountered 1943 Caldecott Medal winner The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton via the Disney cartoon short adaptation that I loved when I was a child. This was in the days before VCRs, even, so I had to be grateful whenever I managed to catch the short on TV, and it was never often enough. The story’s essential distrust of human nature spoke to 5-year-old me, and I think this interest is what grew and flourished into a lifelong love of dystopias, post-apocalyptic scenarios, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
But I digress.
I had no idea that my … Read the rest
As I think is true of many people, my Christmas lights philosophy comes straight from my father. It doesn’t matter if the lights are one color or multicolored or even if they match. What matters is that there should be a lot of them. My dad’s theory is that if it isn’t potentially visible from space, it’s not Christmas. I can’t say whether the transmission of this philosophy is nature or nurture, but it feels closely related to other things my dad passed on to me, like a love of heat and fires and some goddamn decent water pressure.
Something … Read the rest
On our recent trip to Maine, Tammy and I took pictures of each other, like this time, when I caught Tammy doing this:
And she caught me doing this:
This illustrates a bit of the difference between Tammy and I. Tammy is having a nice time there in her picture. In mine, you will note that my one hand is gripping the rock because I am in a place where I should not be standing, so much as taking a picture.
I was on more solid ground here:
Taking this picture:
That was the day we got split up and … Read the rest
When my husband realized he was dying, he insisted on taking pictures.
From the time I was a little girl, I’d been someone who collected snapshots in albums, but I’d lost the habit in those final few years of Brian’s illness. I was so tired, and we were so often in hospitals. I began to question the worth of almost everything that felt frivolous as my twenties wore on, like photos and decorations and even cake.
A few months before he died, though, Brian realized that death has its power and that people do whatever a dying person asks them … Read the rest
I’ve been spending more time with my godson Lucas this summer because between work and life and other things, I wasn’t seeing him as much this last school year. And I missed him. He’s fourteen now–both bigger and stronger than me–and I hit that moment when I began to fear that maybe I didn’t know him anymore.
I still know my godson, though I’ve found there’s more to learn about him.
I remember when he was in fourth grade and read his first book I hadn’t: that is when he realized that there were books in the world I … Read the rest
This morning when I went for a run, I found a dry(ish) creek bed up the road from our (temporary) beach house and decided to run on that, which led me to this:
Someone must have gone through a lot of effort to get that there, as the area is heavily wooded. If you were much taller than me, you’d probably be running into branches as you went along, though clearly that wasn’t a problem for me.
It wasn’t a problem for the mosquitoes, either, who seemed fond of the dry(ish) creek bed. They seemed fond of me as well. … Read the rest
My cat Ella has a bladder infection. Learning this was a multi-day, messy business that involved two trips to the vet during which Ella made me feel like I was what was wrong with her and that ended with prescriptions for two pills I have to give her “at bedtime,” according to the bottles. I am not sure what bedtime even is for a cat, particularly an elderly arthritic cat like Ella. All the time is her bedtime, so I decided to interpret these instructions as my bedtime–although what that has meant is that right before I go to bed, … Read the rest
“For me, I took the exact right path. The cranky, independent one. And I’ve never looked back on it with anything but joy.”
-Betty Fussell in “Still Blazing Trails” by Melissa Clark, NYT, August 6, 2014… Read the rest
I recently reread this Horn Book article about Mother Goose rhymes, which has gotten me all into reading nursery rhymes again, because apparently I didn’t have enough reading to do. Every time I revisit Mother Goose, I am surprised. For instance, somehow I’d missed this one all my life:
Come under my hat,
And I’ll give you a slice of bacon,
And when I bake,
I’ll give you a cake
If I am not mistaken.
Bacon, cake, and bats all in one rhyme, and somehow I managed to go almost two decades without ever making it into a … Read the rest