Skylights

One of the many things I am learning from moving is appreciating the details. One of the details that I have in this new house is a skylight. Two of them actually. It may seem like a silly thing but this is something I’ve never had before and love the idea of letting more light into the house.

It reminds me of the ceiling in the Great Hall in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. That ceiling always shows what is going on outside; whether it’s day or night, sunny or snowing. My skylights are doing the same thing and its magical.

Since I moved in I have been in love with the skylights. They let in as much light as I had hoped. The angles of them are fascinating. They flare out from the roof so there are no boring angles. And when the sun hits them they leave the most wonderful playgrounds of shadow and light. 

Sunlight & Frost

Sunlight & Frost

 

I catch myself stopping to see where the light is hitting at various times of the day and realize that this will be an ever-changing progression to watch as the angle of the sun changes constantly. How amazing!

I love being able to look up and see the sky. Or watch as clouds slide by. My favorite so far has been looking up one night and seeing the full moon in one of them. I wish I had taken a picture!

I wonder if I will ever get used to the sound of rain tapping on the glass above? Or waking on a sunny winter morning to see them filled with Jack Frost’s artwork? (Rise of the Guardians fans will understand the importance of acknowledging Jack Frost!)

Frost Art

Frost Art

During the blizzard last month it was fun to see how quickly they were covered with snow making our home a warm, calm cocoon in that wild storm. And then observing how one melted away quickly while the other one stayed covered for a few days.

I look forward to many years of seeing what these snapshots of the sky show me.

The Wisdom of Kittens

Just for fun, this is a small list of watching kittens exploring the new world they find themselves in. We can look at the world like it’s all new again when we watch the young do this.  I hope you enjoy some of these things in your own life. What would you add to this list?

-Look at anything new that crosses your path with curiosity and wonder. Then play with it!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

-Play a lot.

-Remember to notice even the simple things in life. Take nothing for granted.

So that's the sky!

So that’s the sky!

-Enjoy the comforts life offers like a big warm pile of laundry. 

Warm clothes.

Warm clothes.

-Sometimes you just have to run at full speed because you are so full of the energy of life! Plus its fun.

-Play until you can’t keep your eyes open for another second.

-Eliminate the negatives in your life by swiping at it, slapping it, shaking it until it can’t hurt you anymore.

-Get plenty of rest.

-Cuddle with a friend. 

Cuddling

Cuddling

-Take care of the ones you love.

Good to Be Back!

Lucky Rainbow

I can’t believe it has been more than three months since I’ve posted! Where have I been? Moving. Twice.

My husband and I have been talking about moving for a long time. The kids are on their own and our home was becoming too big and the yard was too much to take care of so we started looking at our options. A very long story short is we stumbled upon a perfect townhouse way out in the country. And that was all it took.

We listed our house and it was under contract in four days with the stipulation that we had to be out in a month. So we scrambled and were determined to make it happen. That deal fell through and without going into all of that stress, we put the house back on the market while continuing to hope our new place wouldn’t sell in the meantime.

Well we did sell our old house. We were able to put a deposit on the new house. We moved out the week of Thanksgiving. Our new house was done on the outside but wouldn’t be completed inside for another month. So we lived in our motor home for a month. With our two cat-sized kittens! The good news is that it went very well which was a relief.

The week of Christmas we moved into our new house. We managed to move during the two busiest holidays of the year. Which really made me think hard about what is most important about Thanksgiving and Christmas; spending it with family and friends.

So far our new home is wonderful! It’s in a new neighborhood so there is a lot of construction still going on but when I saw that beautiful rainbow, I took it as a sign that we are meant to be here.

All of my energy and concentration went into this hectic time. I’m very far behind in reading all of your wonderful blogs. I kept checking in when I could. I’ve missed the blogging community and plan on posting here again.

I may try to write about the whole moving experience a bit. There is a lot to talk about there! I always manage to find something to share.

Anyway, I hope everyone made it through the holiday season okay. I look forward to catching up again. It’s good to be back.

The Librarian Who Writes

Guess what? I got to write a guest post for published author Erin McCole Cupp. She is finishing the sequel to her book Don’t You Forget About Me (which is a really good book!) and needed some guest posts for her blog so she could work. I’ve never done this before but figured I would give it a try. So please visit her blog to read what I had to say about how being a librarian informs my writing:  http://erinmccolecupp.com/?p=1563.

And while you are there, please check out Erin’s blog and her books. I’ve read her books and she is a terrific writer.

And Erin, if you read this, hurry up and finish that sequel! I can’t wait to read it!

 

When is a Weed Not a Weed?

Back Garden

It has been hot and the older I get the less I enjoy a hot humid day so my gardens don’t get the attention they should.

The other day I finally grabbed a bucket, gloves and pruners and set out to clean up and weed my gardens. I have one garden that is in the far back corner of the yard and has been looking very nice from the house so I assumed it would be a weedy mess when I got up close.

To my surprise, I discovered that two kinds of weeds had grown in between the perennials I planted. That there were weeds didn’t surprise me but what I found amazing is that these two weeds have filled in and layered themselves into a beautiful garden!

Being the garden geek that I am I looked up what kinds of weeds they are. I have a terrific weed reference book called Weeds of the Northeast written by Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal and Joseph M. DiTomaso. If you ever want to know what is growing in your yard, I highly recommend this book. 

From what I can tell the weeds are Virginia copperleaf and Pennsylvania smartweed. The copperleaf plants are taller and are growing further back towards the middle where the Disco Belle hibiscus is. And the Pennsylvania smartweed fills in down to the edge of the garden and is full of tiny pink spike-like clusters which accent the hibiscus. The dark green textured leaves of the copperleaf is setting apart the light gray-green foliage of the Russian sage.

I couldn’t have planned it to look any better. This garden has taken care of itself and has that nice natural look that I love. What a wonderful gift.

Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when we let her.

So when is a weed not a weed? When two weeds have grown in harmony with the garden.

Picture Book Meditation

I work in a library and patrons ask for recommendations all of the time. I try to read the new picture books as they come in. That made me think about how much I loved picture books as a child. Which led me to wonder why I didn’t seem to enjoy them as much as an adult.

The most obvious answer about why I loved them as a child is the memory of my mother reading to my sister and me. We belonged to a Dr. Seuss book club and I vividly remember whenever a new book arrived in the mail we stopped everything to sit on the couch while Mom read us the story. As she read, I devoured the illustrations. It was wonderful. When the story was over, I sat with that book practically memorizing every illustration. Then the next time the story was read to me I followed along more fully engaged.

Today, when I read a picture book I’m at work and busy. So I read it as quickly as I can and move on. It was making me a little sad that I didn’t seem to enjoy them as much and I wondered if it was one of those childhood things that we lose as adults. It eventually occurred to me that I wasn’t reading them the way they are meant to be read!

I checked out a few of the books that appealed to me and brought them home. Picking the books depended on the illustrations, the title and what the story seemed to be about. I’m a sucker for watercolor drawings but have since learned that when done right the style of the illustration should compliment the written words.  And now I’m more open to many different styles of illustration. There is greatness when the pictures enhance and deepen the story. It’s art.

Recently I sat on the couch and tried to put myself in the same frame of mind I had as a child. Reading silently didn’t work because I read too fast. I discovered that the words needed to be read out loud so I could savor each word and each page of illustrations. Slowing down to enjoy a book is something most adults forget how to do but doing this adds a depth and dimension to the story you don’t get with a quick read. The great thing about a picture book is that it’s short so it doesn’t involve a big time commitment.

Then a wonderful thing happened. I lost myself in the story. Despite the fact that picture books are only 32 pages on average, the combination of the right words with the right illustration becomes magical.

As adults we all need to slow down and be in the moment. Savoring picture books can be a form of meditation. Of losing yourself in the story. Who could have guessed that picture books are a wonderful way of doing that and we can still enjoy them as adults.

I can’t wait for the new books to arrive!

Here are just 3 of my favorite summertime picture books today:

The Raft by Jim La Marche

883993

Water is Water by Miranda Paul 

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayer

22540206

 

Kitten Confession

One reason I haven’t been posting is because I have been obsessed with kittens.

We have had two cats in our family and they were both males. We adopted the first one when he was about 6 to 8 months old. Magic was with us for 13 years. Shortly after he died, we adopted Jake when he was a few years old. We enjoyed him for about five years until he died last year. I thought I was done having cats because it was so painful when they left.

As time passed, I have missed having a cat in the house. A gal I met in my writing group started a cat rescue in her home. I followed the progress of the rescue.

I’m a believer that cats find their forever homes and choose their people. I knew that if I was meant to have one I would recognize the signs.

My husband and I decided to get a kitten. We’ve never had a kitten and thought it might be a good idea since we would like a cat that will be happy traveling with us in our motor home. We figured a kitten would adjust to how we live right from the beginning.

The obsession started in April when I saw a picture like this posted on Facebook on the Fosterlings page. Sierra I saw this face and couldn’t stop looking at her. Then when I heard that her name was Sierra, I knew that was my sign. There’s a lot of reasons for that which I won’t bore you with but suffice it to say that everything clicked.

I went to meet Sierra April 17th.

Sierra at almost 4 weeks old.

Sierra at almost 4 weeks old.

 While I was there I met the rest of her litter. A little gray tabby named Tango kept crawling into my lap. I pondered the idea of getting two but dismissed it as a crazy thought. Plus I didn’t want another male. But he sure was cute!

Tango & Sierra

Tango & Sierra

A week later I brought my husband to meet Sierra, who I was already smitten with! Well, didn’t Tango climb into both of our laps and steal our hearts! Long story short, we decided to adopt them both.

A couple of weeks later we found out that Tango, who we had renamed Rocky (we had a mountain theme going here, see?) was a girl! Since she was so changeable, we named her Mystique, or Misty for short. (Misty continues the mountain theme since there are the Misty Mountains in the Lord of the Rings books which are my favorites!) Now we had two sisters that we loved.

I spent the months of April and May obsessed with these two adorable fur balls. We couldn’t wait to bring them home! On May 25th we did.

Sierra & Mystique

Sierra & Mystique: first day home.

Sierra and Mystique were all I was thinking about and doing. They kept me busy and smiling.

This is what they look like now. They are growing like crazy!

Sierra & Misty 7/31/15

Sierra & Misty 7/31/15

Now that we have had these fun furry people living with us for a couple of months and we are all settled in I can think about other things like writing.

I’ll try not to overdo the kitten posts but I can’t make any promises.

By the way, check out Fosterlings website. They do wonderful work in finding homes for cats and kittens.