Saturday, January 28, 2012


I'm feeling sad for books.

With the new technology of devices that you can read books and newspapers and magazines on now, I'm a bit torn. On one hand, there is the reduction of paper production when using these readers... but on the other hand we have the need to make more of these electronic devices as people stray away from books. I recently listened to an episode on This American Life that reminded me (about what I already knew) about the production of these fancy electronic gadgets that make us all so happy. Reminders are good sometimes.

And what about all of the books out there that already exist? We don't need contribute to the production of new paper to buy those. One of my favorite stores to visit in my town is a used bookstore called Yellow House Books. I have been selling some of our good books that we are ready to pass on and receiving store credit. My 5 year old has been really into the Magic Tree House series, so it has been great to go in there and add to his collection from books already in production.

We also love to give books as gifts, so this makes it fun to pick out a "new" book for someone without contributing to the production of something new. And we can support a local business at the same time.

There is something so magical about going into a used bookstore and not being sure what you are going to find until you find it. Not only do you totally miss out on this experience when you read books on an electronic device, but you also completely miss out on any human interaction that a bookstore could offer you.

I know that some sources say that there is absolutely no difference between reading a book on an electronic device and reading a real book, but they seem to have forgotten to consider other things like how light affects our sleep... as I'm sure at least a few you like to read before going to bed.

And then there are libraries... oh, how I love the library. In fact, I was just there yesterday thinking about how wonderful libraries were and much people need them. How could they exist if people stopped reading real books? it was amazing to watch how community formed in the downstairs children's section of my local library. Children were doing homework and browsing the shelves, younger ones with parents and older ones just off the bus killing time before going home. Yes, electronic devices played a role there too - some kids checking their email on the computer and some adults using the wifi to keep themselves busy while their children searched for books to read.

But what would we do without libraries?

The truth is, I feel like I would rather not be getting magazine subscriptions and instead be reading them online or... on something. I know that I could get magazines from the library too, but I haven't quite worked this one out just yet. Maybe if I go in this direction of an electronic device for this, I might be able to get my hands on something second hand... but it's a thought.

And what about when the power goes out? You can only read on a reader so long before the battery dies, but a little candle light and a paperback and maybe a little of this:
and I think you will have one happy (over 21) camper.

Hows that for a quick lead in? I just wanted to add that I have now committed myself to buying local alcohol whenever there is an option... and it just so happens that we have this great local company that seems to make quite a selection of recreational drinks for us grownups. Not that I buy a lot of alcohol... but for some reason I was letting myself slide on the local purchasing when it came to this category. Well, not anymore.

Ok, off to do my homework... which just so happens to involve reading a real life book!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Appreciating the simple

Sometimes it's difficult to appreciate the simple things in life with so much going on around us all of the time. While practicing positivity has definitely been a huge help for me these past few weeks, appreciating the simple has certainly been important:

The simple act of kindness from a friend who was ready to loan us money to put propane in our tank when we ran out of heat last week.

The simple solution (for now) of getting a new battery for the car when it died last week.

How simple it was to communicate about an important matter with the right people... and how positive the outcome was, even if a solution was not reached.

And there is the smaller stuff, the stuff less stressful than running out of heat, being temporarily broke and having a car break down.

The power went out here the other day and it was actually kind of nice. It wasn't long enough for the heat to be an issue (even though it was something like 9 degrees outside, or less maybe) and we always have plenty of candles and bottles filled with water lying around... it was in the evening and all three of my kids had spent the day working on a project together while I was at work - they were making a newspaper. And while it might not have been a completely appropriate newspaper (it had a PG-13 rating, which seemed uncomfortably accurate after my assessment), it did keep them creatively busy and cooperative with each other for a whole day.
At the moment when the power went out, my daughter was reading my youngest a bedtime story, and my oldest was busy working on the newspaper. It was suddenly very dark in the house but it didn't take us more than a few minutes to locate some candles and for the kids to go right back to what they were doing without missing a beat. It was a nice feeling to think that if they had been watching a movie or playing video games or even using the computer, we would have had some grumpy kids wondering what to do next. Instead it was just us grownups thrown off (recording studios don't work without power, sadly)... so we played my favorite game by candlelight.
And it was way better than watching a movie or using a computer.

Ok, I used my cell phone to take the picture without power but it is 2012...

And now today, I am feeling off. I write this post on a day that I am fighting the stress and searching a little harder to find the positivity in things. It's not too hard, but some days it requires a little extra work.

But a simple drink with some fresh fruit makes me feel a little better.

And the fact that someone is willingly driving my oldest home from drumming class for me while I make dinner certainly helps.

And the simple fact that at this very moment in time, we have everything that we need in life... and even more.

It's simple really... the hard part is remembering that.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Simple day

Today was a simple day.

I basically just read. I read this whole book - it was really good. The author herself gave me the book just a few days ago and it was really worth it to take the day off and just read it. I only cried a few times, but in that feeling connected and affected by her words kind of way. It's actually the first book that I've made the time to read in quite a long time... so long that I just don't remember the last book (unrelated to school) that I've read.

Anyway, when I was done reading I took a nap. A real honest to goodness nap!

When I woke up I went and picked my daughter up from the bus stop, took the kids to the library and then returned home to lay down again while the kids read.

The sky was beautiful while we were out, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to capture the amazing pink clouds.

My partner has been kind of sick so maybe I'm fighting it off, but whatever the reason was, I needed to just read and sleep today and I'm super glad I did it.

When dinner came, we grabbed some "just in case" cans of soup from the pantry and heated them up. I didn't even care because it was just what we needed. We ate some bagels and left over roasted potatoes with it.

And now I'm sitting on the couch getting ready to put my youngest to bed so that I can do nothing some more and then go to bed and sleep some more.

It seems that simple was just what the doctor ordered for us today.