My Town Monday: Little Free Libraries

DSCN0442 edited for web



DSCN0438 edited for web

This one was a Mother’s Day gift last year from the homeowner’s husband and children. I am in love with it for many reasons — including the glass door knob and the decorations on top, which from a distance look like real books.

DSCN0440  edited for web

SnakeMaster takes piano lessons on this street, so I have the pleasure of seeing this particular LFL on a regular basis.


DSCN0444  edited for web, Hemlock


There is also a Little Free Library mere blocks from my own home. I’ve been blessed to pick up books while out on a stroll around the neighborhood. Right now there is quite a good selection from which to choose.

Do you see anything you'd like to read?

Do you see anything you’d like to read?



Senior Spring

It’s that time of the month… the season of highs and lows, when high school seniors anxiously check their e-mail for messages from various universities.  At my house, there is an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of things because H-J applied to ten different universities, and that’s how he rolls. As of 3pm yesterday, he had heard back from 8 out of 10 schools. He’s received acceptances from two of them, and has been wait-listed at four universities. Two schools sent a letter of non-acceptance (you can call it denial — H-J did). Clearly, some of these universities were a huge stretch. Of the two acceptance letters, one comes from his desired “safety” school and there is certainly no shame in choosing to attend there.

He’s been a rather big fish in a small pond at his high school here, where he’s been enrolled in a fantastic program headed by Cambridge University (yes, that Cambridge). It’s a blessing that it’s never gone to his head. Of the remaining two schools he has yet to hear from, one was chosen to be included due to its promise of full coverage of all fees if  he was accepted and if he put it as his first choice on the National Merit Scholarship list.  (Yes, H-J is NMS-level smart.) We are assuming that one will come through but we don’t know if he’s going to choose it in the end.

Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champagne

Arizona State

H-J doesn’t seem bothered at all by the unknown.  Sure, he would have really enjoyed heading off to his #1 choice in September, but that’s not going to happen. His #2 choice might happen… or it might not (he’s been wait-listed). No matter what, he’s been accepted at a good school with the program he desires. Life is good.

This particular teenager has learned to stretch beyond his comfort zone: from building sets for the school play to actually trying out for a part; from being an academic in the classroom to participating on the track team (where he never advanced beyond JV but continued to try to improve even after the season officially ended); from being a self-focused introvert to paying attention to other people and caring about them.
Yes, I am a proud mama.

Today’s Reader Questions:

When faced with choices, do you reach for the stars, out of your comfort zone or do you choose to work with the familiar and known?
Do you go with the “safe” choice or do you wait on what might be a better option?


Unexpected Art

I work in a building that is nearly 100 years old. I’m usually bent over and jiggling my key in the office door, but occasionally I look up and appreciate this sight:

DSCN0412 Knox hall wall art, cat

Sometimes the best thing to do with an ugly hole and jutting wires is to bend the wires into whiskers.

Ready-made cat: just bend whiskers

Ready-made cat: just bend whiskers

Patience Crabstick’s recent post inspired this one.

Thank you, Hilary, for this award!


MTM: Green Water and Guinness

DSCN2800, cropped and re-sized for web sharing GREEN

Today (just in case you live under a rock and didn’t already look around you) is/was St. Patrick’s Day. My grand idea was to go on a lunch date with SuperDad at my favorite Irish pub downtown, so for the past two days, I’ve been thinking Guinness, Guinness, Guinness! At noon we walked into the pub which was, of course, standing room only. For some inexplicable reason, I had not connected lunchtime with party time when it comes to Irish pubs. After all, the big parade was on Saturday and this was a work day, right? Someone should have reminded me that Limerick, Ireland is one of our sister cities.  Dreams of sitting down and eating lunch at the pub were, for today, dashed against the very bar we couldn’t get near enough to touch.

In his glass-half-full voice, my dh suggested we go to a different place just around the corner. Happily, they had plenty of available tables and advertisements of Guinness plastered on the door. We had a much quieter lunch (fish’n’chips, minus the chips, plus a salad) and a pint apiece. Our lunch date was saved. And even better, we agreed to go out for lunch at O’Doherty’s on a less festive day in the near future. They have excellent Reuben sandwiches and skilled builders when it comes to a proper pint of Guinness.

Since I was at a baby shower on Saturday, I won’t be able to show you the sights from the parade — and I neglected to take a picture of the shamrocks painted on the city streets and sidewalks. But I did note that the water looked rather green as it raced pell-mell, tumble-bumble over the lower falls.

DSCN2798 cropped, Lower Falls, Spokane River

No color added

The Upper Falls weren’t too shabby, either, although they didn’t look green to me:

This is actually only one part of the Upper Falls; the other half is to the left of the photo on the other side of those rocks that make a small island in the river.

This is actually only one part of the Upper Falls; the other half is to the left of the photo on the other side of those rocks that make a small island in the river.

I made a short video so you can listen to the roar of the water here:

St. Patrick’s Day at Riverfront Park  [please click on the link]

Raise the beverage of your choice and join me in saying: Sláinte!

Pictionary answer

Last week I posted this picture and asked for your answers:

DSCN2767 Pictionary, conceited (Gaston)

It was an actual Pictionary game we were playing. H-J’s card instructed him to draw the [green D for Difficult] word CONCEITED.

First he drew Beauty & the Beast (on the left, obviously) and then he added Gaston and his sidekick. Gaston is holding the gun to hunt down the Beast and as we know from the Disney film, Gaston is incredibly conceited.

None of us guessed it but it was obvious when he explained it to us after the timer buzzed. 🙂

Congratulations to Meredith! She is the WINNER of the book drawing.

Fairy Tale Family pic

I had a plan for My Town Monday which involved taking more photos than I managed to take over the weekend. Perhaps it can show up on Friday as a two-fer (2-for-1 post).

Instead, I can offer you this Time Warp Tuesday shot from the spring of 1995:

Schloss Heidelberg, May 1995

I spent nearly an hour searching for this pic for my husband this morning. “We were standing on the parapet at the Heidelberg Castle. You were wearing your navy blue pea coat.”  I couldn’t find it. He finally remembered that it was in an album he had in his closet. He needed me to photograph it so he could use it in a PowerPoint presentation this Sunday (he’ll be giving a message on the Heidelberg Catechism).

That boy with the determined look on his face is now 21 years old and will be coming home this weekend for his spring break.


Caturday: highlights from Mrs. G’s collection

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to spend time with Mrs. G. of Derfwad Manor.

kitty gigantica

This is her infamous cat painting, which has caused a great internet stirring on both sides of the opinion fence.

If you have never read about the Siamese Cat, you really ought to do so now. It is a classic post.

This painting of a Siamese Cat is not a small picture.

This is the lovely Mrs. G. and the infamous kitty picture.

This is the lovely Mrs. G. and Kitty Gigantica.

It's almost like sleeping in a cat art museum!

It’s almost like sleeping in a cat art museum!

Da Kitty now hangs on the wall in Mrs. G.’s guest room (because Mr. G. could not abide having it watching him sleep) along with a collection of other cat art.

DSCN2747 web-sized

DSCN2743 cropped

click on pic to embiggen

click on pic to embiggen

DSCN2742 classy cat

DSCN2748 cropped

I had no trouble sleeping under the watchful eyes of these cats.

kitty gigantica

Kitty Gigantica behaved very nicely.

Mrs. G. with Gus and Chewie

Mrs. G. with Gus and Chewie

Mrs. G loves her dogs, too.

Can it please be Spring now?

DSCN0384  resized

DSCN0385, snowshovel croppedI love winter — until I hate it.

The month of March ushered in my intolerance for frozen white stuff that sticks around and becomes ugly on our streets… so ugly that I didn’t bother to take photographs. (That presented a problem here on the blog, but I will give you credit for your imaginative powers.)

Luckily (?!?) it has been alternately raining and sunny here since Monday afternoon so most of the snow is now gone.  Hello, localized flooding with avalanches in the mountains — perhaps spring is coming after all!

This is how we do homework at my house.

This is how we “do” homework at my house.  The 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table soon distracted H-J from his Chemistry assignment.

Spring skiing is where 2 family members are headed this weekend.  That may or may not be why SnakeMaster was wearing his ski helmet while reading a book on Tuesday night. Right after I snapped this photo, I asked if he had any homework. More specifically, I asked if he had completed a book report for February. “Uh… no.”  I’m glad I took the photo before I asked!

I think my kids are pretty typical: we have to ask them about homework on a regular basis. Even the resident scholar has many moments when he’d rather goof off than do his work.

At 14, SM easily “forgets” to practice his baritone or the piano, and homework — when he hasn’t been able to complete it during school hours — is also easy to forget. It’s not that he is avoiding the work as much as he has other things on his mind.

SnakeMaster still loves snow… on Sunday night, he set up a shelter and slept in the backyard while additional snow fell in the darkness.

Crazy winter camping child

Crazy winter camping child

DSCN2762 SnakeMaster winter campout



**Have you entered the book giveaway yet? Go here to enter!**

X is for…

Count your blessings, name them one by one…


It’s back! After a hiatus of several months, I’m following through on my promise to using Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’ve challenged myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

I suspect some of you thought I’d given up on finishing the alphabetized list of counting my blessings. As cliché as it may be — and yes, it is indeed a  cliché — it is also true: I’ve been really busy.  I’ve also found that it is difficult to be a dedicated blogger and work 20 hours or more each week. Frankly, that is close to the amount of time I spent on blogging at my strongest, when I kept up with so many of you on a daily basis. These days, there are often more than 100 unread posts in my Feedly reader, and it isn’t that uncommon for there to be over 200 unread posts waiting for me there.  *sigh*
I don’t have a solution, except that I chip away at those posts when I have the energy to face such a daunting task. But back to business here…

Welcome to week!

This letter was challenging for me. I just wasn’t that fond of my old Xanadu record album, and I haven’t had good reason to be thankful for X-rays. I had to dig deeper…

X is for eXtra bright moon on a foggy night

X is for extra bright moon on a foggy February night

X is the sun bouncing off and shining through the icicles.

X is the sun bouncing off and shining through the icicles.  (Can you see an X ?)

X is for the extra splash of joy in my day when I look out the window and see my bottle tree -- a gift from my dear husband.

X is for the extra splash of joy in my day when I look out the window and see my bottle tree — a gift from my dear husband.

And I'm especially grateful for this boy whose name contains an X. He has brought exceptional happiness to our lives.

And I’m especially grateful for this boy whose name contains an X. He has brought exceptional happiness to our lives.

Now it’s your turn…

Please share some things for which you are thankful…


**Have you entered the book giveaway yet? Go here to enter!**