Category Archives: Blogging

Early December

Interior with the Artist’s Daughter, by Vanessa Bell, 1935-36

Hello, dear friends,

We are well into the holiday season now. and I wanted to check in and wish you all a very happy season.  I hope you are well and enjoying life and family and good books. And as for the stresses and strains that also seem to be part of the holidays, I wish for you some quiet and some time to just enjoy the present moment.

I feel like I’ve been away forever, and I am hoping to get back to some consistent blogging again. I am getting back to my reading, choosing kind and gentle reads for now. Poetry is a balm for me. Books about grief (some of them), are helpful and appreciated. And when I found a book of poetry about grief that really spoke to my own experience, I was thrilled. Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without, by Natasha Josefowitz, sits beside me right now as my solace and one of my guides through this journey.

Recent fiction reads, such as Farewell to Fairacre, by Miss Read, and The Bookstore Sisters, a short story by Alice Hoffman, have been my bedtime reads. My non-fiction afternoon reading included Michelle Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, which I felt was an enriching audiobook to listen to. She is, as always, full of wisdom and compassion, and hope. I really enjoyed it. I also read a library find: A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives, by Lisa Congdon. It was inspiring and I enjoyed each short biography of many different women who found their passions and careers later in life.

After two-and-a-half years of pandemic lockdown and the extra precautions we had to take due to my husband’s cancer, I am beginning to get back to some of my used-to-be normal activities. I have started going back to my exercise class at the gym, although I know that Covid is still here. But I need my exercise friends, the three-day-a-week routine, and the exercise! It’s so nice to be back. I’m also getting back to my morning walks, although the weather always seems to play havoc with that routine at this time of year. And I’m also getting back to my reading. It all feels so good!

 

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

To all my dear blogging friends…

I’d like you all to know that my dear husband, Byron, passed away Wednesday night, almost exactly two years after his cancer diagnosis. He was a courageous fighter, and accepted his continually changing condition with grace and acceptance. At the end, he was where he wanted to be — at home, lovingly surrounded by his family.

Your kindness and lovingly supportive comments on my various posts throughout this journey have been deeply appreciated. I haven’t been on my blog much during his decline, but I will now take some time to mourn and regroup, and redesign my life without him. I will return, before too long though, to my reading and to this blog.

With love,
Robin

New!

Welcome to the family, new computer! It’s a late Christmas present to ourselves. We couldn’t decide what we wanted for Christmas 2021. Finally settled on a new desktop computer. I can sit in the bay window area and work on my photos and my blog. Heavenly!

15 Years Old


Fifteen years ago on a quiet January morning, I started this blog. During those fifteen years, I’ve made many wonderful reading friends. I’ve been inspired by all of you, dear friends, as I’ve shared with you my own love of reading. The book blogging community is warm and supportive, and my life is greatly enriched by my interactions with all of you. So today I celebrate fifteen years full of great reading and great friends. Cheers!

My 2007 reading spot and my blogging spot in the background…

A New Blog Feature


I love to take photos! It started when I was six years old and won a Brownie camera in a coloring contest, so my interest in photography started at a young age. And later, when my kids were little, I took a photography class called “Ways of Seeing.” It was taught by an architecture professor, who was also a photographer, and she sparked in me a passion for photographing what I see every day.

I post many of my daily photos on my Instagram account, but I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog and use some of them as my header, changing it often. The inspiration came from Nan, at Letters from a Hill Farm, because I love going to her blog to see the photos she chooses for her header.

I hope you enjoy this new feature as much as I enjoy sharing my ‘way of seeing’ with you!

Ketchup

When I taught Sixth Grade, there were times in the afternoon that I would occasionally bag the lessons I had planned and call for a catch-up time, which my students affectionately named  “Ketchup time.”  Life and responsibilities gets overwhelming sometimes and it’s good to remember to give yourself a break from what you think you should be doing and just give yourself (or your students, in that case) a gift of time to catch up with yourself. The students would cheer when Ketchup time was called, and would finish assignments, read a good book, draw, create art projects, or watch what was happening out the window. Those were many of the happiest times in my classroom over the years, for the teacher and for the students!

I am so far behind on my reviews of books I’ve been reading! So I’m going to give myself some “Ketchup time.” I’ll write reviews, or make a list of books I’ve read during the pandemic (without the pressure to review them), or just spend some time looking out the window. So please bear with me as I Ketchup with myself and my blog. Reviews will be coming.

Thirteen Years

Thirteen years ago, I started this blog. It was a wonderful reading world to enter and I was welcomed warmly by so many of you. The friends I’ve made through this blog are cherished.

Book blogs have changed a lot in thirteen years, but the love of reading and sharing with fellow readers hasn’t changed. You have all expanded my world exponentially!

I am grateful for all of you, my blogging/reading friends.

The Month of May

Dear friends,
I must start this post with an apology for disappearing into silence on this blog. April and May have been a particularly busy time for me as well as an emotional time. (We call May our “tender-hearted month” in my family.) Unfortunately, once I get off track with my posting, I find it hard to get “back in the groove” again. But I have continued with my reading, even being able to read on the porch again when time has allowed, and I am here now to say HI and to reflect on my May reading.

May has been a completely enjoyable reading month. I’ve squeezed in as much reading as I can in between multiple trips to Washington State helping our daughter move and get settled into her new home; helping my husband, Byron,  with his shed building project in our backyard (I’ve always been his construction assistant); trips to the State Legislature with my Moms Demand Action group; and my continuing efforts to get the yard and garden in shape (it still feels like a wilderness area!). I’ve read mostly mysteries, and all have been very enjoyable. I am also half-way through the audiobook of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and am almost finished reading Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October which I wanted to read before Hubby and I watch the movie again (one of our favorites). I also downloaded the audiobook version (free) of the Mueller Report and am very slowly making my way through it. I feel it is a very important work to read, no matter how long it takes me.

Busy, busy time…and as my friend, Les (Coastal Horizons) said, “Who knew retirement would be so busy!”

Here are the covers of my completed May reads.

 

Thank You

Today this blog turns twelve! Thank you, dear friends and followers, for visiting and reading my varied thoughts about books and the importance of reading in my life. Thank you for your thoughtful responses and caring support. And thank you for sharing your book love with me!

I appreciate each one of you!

 

Blogging, Friends, and Lots of Life

Book blogging buddies

There has been a lot of LIFE happening in the last few months, some of it difficult and some of it absolutely lovely but also time-consuming. As a result I have gone missing from my blog once again! But  I have continued with my reading, just not with writing about it, and have quietly visited many of your blogs when time allowed.  But after meeting two lovely blogging friends for lunch yesterday, Les @Coastal Horizons, and Kay @Kay’s Reading LIfe, I am inspired again to return to my writing and sharing about books and life. Thank you, Les and Kay!  But before I tell you what books I’ve been enjoying (I promise another post devoted to the books I’ve read since April), I must tell you what LIFE has been like around here recently.

The major focus for me in the last few months has been my mother’s health. Those of you who have followed me over the years, know that my mother is a great reader, my mentor and best friend, and my reading buddy. Since we live in different states, this blog was started as another way to communicate with her and share what we are reading. My amazing and resilient mother is turning 99 years old in August! And she continues to be an avid reader. We always talk about books  during our daily phone conversations, but recently she has begun to have some more serious health problems, so we fully realize that these days and our daily conversations are precious.

In the last six months, I have made a number of special trips to see her. On one trip, I took my daughter, and then a few months later, I took my son and grandson to see her. Each trip was wonderful and full of special memories. My husband and I visited her in May, and we are heading out next week for another, longer, visit with her. My brothers and their wives will all be there as well, so it will truly be a celebration of family and an early birthday celebration for her. She and I will definitely be talking about books during that visit and I will treasure those moments.

The other focus in the last few months has been on my garden! Yes, gardening is definitely therapy for anxiety and anticipated loss, but it is also my new passion. My husband, my daughter, and I all share in the work on these garden projects, and it’s been a delightful way to spend our time!

The garden project we’ve been working on (started last Fall) is my “Butterfly Garden,” a project inspired by the butterfly garden built by the 2nd graders in my school before I retired. We have turned a narrow piece of our property, on the south side of the garage and along the alley way, into a beautiful garden! We can’t see it from the house, so we’ve put chairs out there so we can sit and watch the flowers grow, the bees do their thing, and a few butterflies that are finding their way to a place designed specifically for them. I hope you enjoy this slideshow of the butterfly garden as it has progressed!

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