"Out of the heart the song rises. The mind searching for notes to capture it's flight."
Murray Bodo

Tuesday night we invited friends over for pizza who haven't visited in a couple of years.

They were busy raising up two beautiful little girls. (6 and 3).

What little charmers. Adorable. Well mannered and polite, too.

The girls watched a movie for a bit while us grown ups played a game. The settlers of Catan. It's been a long time since Duncan and I played a board game and we had great fun.

Neither one of us won, but hey, it was our first time with this game.

Besides, winning isn't the point. It's friendships. Laughter. And a good time spent together. (But we did issued a playback challenge.) We're up for some more fun!

Somewhere in the middle of the game the girls having lost interest in the movie, came up from down stairs, (playing in a special place under the stairs), a perfect place for little people, and presented us with a play. One was a fairy princess and the other one was a dragon.


Then the proper thespian bow, and off they went to their imaginary friends.

I remember the years growing up, spending time with family and monopoly, and card games, puzzles and the kind of play our little friends shared with us.

Those were very good times.

Our sons, now in the last half of the 30's, when they were still living at home, we used to play Pit, Kings Men, Chess, Civilization, card games, and any number of others which I can't remember the names of. They were also full of imagination, too.

I remember those times with warmth and fondness. Yes, good times.

It makes me smile just thinking about them.

In these days of shorter cash flow, where the money doesn't always meet the end of the month. The games we play could help keep us all a little more sane and a lot more happy.



"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said
the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

Lewis Carroll

When I came home yesterday from shelving books, I think I fell down the Rabbit Hole.

I went on an adventure through the Maze called Blog. What fun to get lost and try to find my way back to some fun thing, or serious thing, or interesting thing I'd read. I kept loosing my way.

Happy to meet you!

At least in a way. Here we are all connected by a thread. Some fine filament of words and thoughts. Getting the juices flowing.

So many creative people out there in the world. Interesting people. Some weirdly strange and wonderful.

Sometimes I envy God, who gets to know them all as I never will.

Still...the small facet I see in the Maze is enlivening.



"Books, books, and more books."
Me. I say it everyday.

Saturdays are particularly busy these days. I had 97 people in the door yesterday, and over 300 books came with them.

Lately I've had to go back to work on Sunday afternoons because my intake table is still holding books I couldn't get to on Saturday, and I don't like to leave them for my employee.

What a problem to have, right?

Actually, I'm told, it is a sign of health. But also a lot of work. Someone has to price, clean and shelve all of those books in order to make it all work.

I average around 200 books coming in a day. That would be about a bookcase and a half worth of books. About all one person working alone can manage, and still take care of the customers.

I do have a friend who volunteers a few hours a week, we have fun working together and visiting, mostly after hours. My husband helps too, after he leaves his store. We have "His" and "Hers" book stores.

My employee works Mondays and Tuesdays and I'm closed on Sunday. That gives me time to work uninterrupted when filing so I can clear the way for the two days I'm not there.

I actually love being in the store alone, it's very peaceful and I can get a lot done. I listen to music or audio books while I work.

I really enjoy what I do for a living. People, books and my cat comes with. What could be better?

Well, maybe...time enough to read them all.



"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures."
Jessamyn West - American Writer

My favorite genre is science fiction/fantasy. I've often thought this type of fiction reveals truths, that some other fiction doesn't even aim for.

As a child growing up poor in a bookish family, treasuring story, I learned to appreciate the finer points of Truth in fiction.

We didn't have T.V., my Mom read to us. We would talked about the stories, the meanings, the feelings, the other possible choices the characters might have made. And what we would have done in those circumstances.

Mom loved poetry. I particularly loved the story poems, like the Highwayman, and Beth Gillart.

She loved fairy tales too. She read me all of the Grimes brothers and others, anything we could find.

Mom never seemed much interested in making me think exactly like her, she just wanted me to think. "It's O.K. to be a follower, but think about what you're following."

She would say, "I always feel uneasy when you go out with _____. I worry about you when your with them." Then we would talk about why she would worry, four or five things she saw as potential problems I might have to face because of choice they might make.

The amazing thing was that she was always right. One or more of those things we discussed would happened, and I'd be able to see it coming and make choices that would keep me out of trouble.

I began to see and understand how reality often obscures truth.

Truth may not always be fact, that doesn't make it any less the truth.

In Fact, sometimes facts can lead to anything but the truth.

Who's truth? My truth? Your truth?

We make some very serious choices based on what we decide is truth. All our experiences, the good stuff and the bad, education, things we've read, people we've known, all this goes into making up what we call truth.

It is all just a work in progress.



"It is not true that life is one damn thing after another - it's one damn thing over and over."
Edna St.Vincent Millay

Something you fear, is something you will have to face.

And a lesson unlearned, is one you will have to repeat.

Whether it be a people at large or one person in specific. The harder we run from what we need to know, the more we are faced with the same situations over and over.

The only way to get out of the loop, is to get into it, face the cycle and break it.

Facing those same damned things that have plagued and bedeviled. It's hard work. It's staying awake. It's not letting fear anesthetize. It's looking at the choices we make that put us in the loop in the first place.

And it's about making different choices.

What is the definition of insanity? That we keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

It seems to me, fighting wars to bring peace is a lot like that.

It's not working.

How long do we have to keep repeating the same failed thing expecting different results?

War on a national level or a personal level will never bring peace or happiness.

There's got to be a better way, than over and over.



"Relationships are more important to God than accomplishments! Your willingness to play by the rules doesn't matter to God as much as how much you love Him and others."

Some people might see this as a ridicules statement, and believe that there are many things that are of greater worth than relationships.

Lots of money, grand houses, fancy cars, extended vacations to exotic places.

We certainly see relationship suffer due to the value we place on these things. Children are often left with things, as parents go out the door, singing, "We did it all for you!" as they head off to another social event that requires their presences.

Most people will never say, they value things more than relationships, but action bare fruit, and what does it produce?

In families where relationships are of supreme worth, and all choices are based on that, mistakes don't matter because love will correct them.

In families where things are of supreme worth, love starves.

Under nourished relationships produces bitter fruit.

Thinking of my family, back to grandparents, down to my sons, my husband, and extending out to friends. I know I have been well loved. We have often lived on the edge of need, but family has always been front and center. I'm grateful to my mother who past this value along to me.

This sense of "We."

I recently watched the video on YOUTUBE "We Are The Ones song, created out of one of Obama's campaign speeches. It is all about the "WE" of relationship.

It is the way to a healthy nation. A changed paradigm for our time. All people's well being matters more than the high standing of the few who can amass great amounts of wealth for them selves alone.


They may swim in pools of money. But money wasn't meant for swimming pools. And until we learn what it is really meant for it will continue to isolate, shut down, and cripple us.

"We", here in America, are big with the"I". It is sort of a cultural center post for us, and has become so large we've lost sight of the "We", the we that used to be, or maybe never truly was, but should have been.

We have a new chance now, to start again and be more mindful of the supreme worth of relationships, of what it really means to be a community. Of what it takes to be a neighbor. Of what makes family.

Time spent together.

Invest in your portfolio of relationships. You will get huge dividends.



In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this."

Friday was a hard day. Wondering what Panga was going through. I nip out of the store six on the dot and head over to the vets office to pick her up.

Dr. Vet takes me to her cage, a cage, the Duchess in a cage. Of course I knew she would be, where else?

But she looked so bedraggled. So dopped.

When she sees me, she perks up, as if she thought I'd abondoned her. She had wet in the cage and her tail was laying in it. I picked her up holding her backside away from me so Dr. Vet could dry her off and clean her up a bit. He touches her tail and she turns and hisses at him.

Very politely, of course.

Then he proceeds to show me how to pop the pills neatly down her throat with a long pill plunger. He makes it look so easy! Panga looks so willing. No problem! I can do that.


As we're leaving, half way to the door, Panga turns back to him and hisses tiredly, "And that's what I think of your establishment!"

He laughs, "I like you a whole lot more than you like me, I think."

I thank him, take the meds, the weary cat, and my jangled nevers and go home. Panga is so please to see home. She wants in the bed, under the covers right away. I wash her up with a warm, damp cloth and tuck her in. She sleeps till around nine or so, till Duncan goes to check on her.

She comes out and sits in her nightly throne of Duncan's lap.

Everything seems to be getting back to normal. Right. I take her to work with me. She hibernats in the Pangalarium, (her nest place in the back room), doesn't come out to visit till late in the day. I understand, she's been through a truma. (Me too!)

At home that night, the big pill event.

Duncan and I both try. One holds, one shoots. She spits it out. "Hmmm, I don't understand what we're doing wrong? It's exactly what he showed me to do. Only she never really fought him like this."

So the pills went into some wet food, something she has never eatten before that day. (She has always been a dry food cat - with small servings of banana, cantalope, and watermelon on the side ocassionally.) I had tried the wet food at the store around fivish, so I knew she would eat it. Was delighted with that, as Dr. Vet said she should have it once a day.

Panga took one sniff of the pill ladden food and walked away. Just two small spoonful and she turned her nose up at it.

Someone suggested Velveta cheese as a cloking device, "Works every time!" She likes cheese once in a while. Sure, I'll try it.

Last night we went back to the pill plunger. This time Duncan was successful and managed to get two of the three down her and she hadn't eaten anything all day so I mixed the thrid pill with some wet food, and Bingo, she ate it.

Big sigh of relief. Maybe we will all make it through this inflamed bladder after all.

Now that we know there are no stones, no crystals, no tumors, just odd kidneys.

"Maybe now you guys can get back to the proper adoration and respect due me." says Panga, the Duchess of Leaf House



"A meow massages the heart."
Stuart McMillan

Maybe for a couple of weeks now I've noticed that our cat, Panga, has been a Hair Off Fine.

How can you describe the gut feeling you have about an animal who can't speak in words to tell you if they have an ache here or a pain there?

She spends most of her time with me at my store or with us at home, so we know her ways pretty well. She has always been an excellent cat. She doesn't climb on counters, or tables, she was easy to discipline as a kitten, the spray bottle was all it took to correct some unwanted behavior.

Panga is a mellow, sweet natured cat who has never been hurt by animal or human. Anyway no more than the slap on the face by a neighbor cat, or the step on the tail because she likes to sit next to our feet.

So, I notice when she seems just a little extra clingy.

Just a feeling at first.

Then I find a wet spot in front of the washing machine. That was Monday. On Tuesday she squats right in front of me and lifted her tail and tries to pee. Just a dribble. I snatch her up and put her out, even though she has just come in.

This is alarming. As she has never in eight years done anything like this.

I'm thinking she is trying to tell me, "There is something wrong with me!" So I call the vet and make an appointment for Thursday.

I think that was as traumatic for me as it was for her, even though she is so good while we're there. I just carried her in on my shoulder. She's never been in a cat carrier, that would really freak her out.

The vet confirms it is bladder, kidney related, as I thought, and listed several things it could be. They do an ex-ray of her and it was clear of any tumors, that was good. One of the odd things though, is that her kidneys are round, like ping-pong balls, and slightly smaller than they should be for a cat her size.

Dr. Vet tried to get a sample of urine from her bladder with a syringe and I could hear her in the next room howling in fear and pain. Just about undid me. Unfortunately he couldn't get the sample and I had to take her back this morning to stay all day. They are going to sedate her in order to take the sample. I'll pick her up after work.

They said she wouldn't remember any of this, but when I pull into the parking lot she howled. I carried her in on my shoulder and the poor thing just clung to me.

When I put her over the shoulder of the nurse, she sure tried not to go. When the transferee was complete she looked at me as I was leaving, eyes big and round, as if to say, "You're not leaving me here are you?"

I felt awful, even though I told her she'd feel better once she was all fixed up.

Her plaintive little meow wasn't so much a massage to the heart as a squeeze.



"Liberal in one's views; permitting free thought, especially in religious matters: very tolerant of the differing opinions of others."
Webster's Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary

Yesterdays theme at church was Believe. In the adult class we talked about some things that cause conflict in our world.

We agreed that the main things that cause conflict are Nationalism, Religion, or Greed.

At the root of every war, goes back to its seeds, look and you will find one of these; Nationalism, Religion, or Greed.

We always seem to think that what ever it is we are, or have, or think, is best, couldn't possibly be any better. Mine is so good and yours is so repulsive you deserve to die for it.

How dare you even think bad thoughts about my bad thoughts of you!

The toll in human misery because we can't seem to stand on the line the Golden Rule draws in the sand, and reach across and shake hands, live and let live. Giving honor and respect to all of Gods children. No matters who's tent they live under.

In class we talked about how for these past two thousand years the people with the best record for non-violence are the Buddhist. You don't hear them joining a war and killing people. They have walked in peaceful demonstrations and been killed, but I've not heard of one Buddhist shooting anyone.

None of their young people go home cracked and broken with war wounds of every kind.

Maybe understanding what they believe and how they practice their beliefs would help us become better Christians.

I am so sick of the killing, the fighting, the meanest, the thoughtlessness, the ego-centric self-centeredness in the world.

Aren't you?

I know it isn't simple, when two people get together things become complex, multiply that by thousands of people involved in group think and the complexity can go off the chart, because even in an ideological mind set of one kind or another, people are unpredictable.

I'm not naive, I know not everyone out there thinks of the good of all.
I know that often the people who rise in power, rise because they are the sociopthic froth that beats its way to the top, no matter who's head they have to smash to get there.

I know that appealing to their better nature is pointless. I believe the only way to change things is to take away their power, by not playing there games. Not going were they send us, not barricading ourselves behind walls of fear, right were they want us, frozen and controlable.

And not, not ever letting hate win.

Use anger to build something, or clean up something, or help someone.

Resist the urge to smash things or people, physically or emotionally, even when they hurt you. Just get away from them, don't give them the fuel you supply. You don't have to be their wood.

You deserve a happy life. We all do.

With mutual respect and a little common courtesy, and an inherent belief that all people are of great worth to God, yes, even the ones on the other side of what ever, we might even find the world is a brighter and a happier place.

We may not be able to stop a war today. But...maybe something we start today will stop one next year, or prevent it from even stating.

Maybe that crop we plant today will feed the starving next season.

Maybe the donation to that food pantry will help your neighbor.

Maybe the smile given to that stranger, will lift the spirits of tens.


Just Maybe.



"Life is a riddle. The longer it gets, the shorter it is."
R.A. Riggs

I"ve been saying for years, "The older I get the faster time goes." Some days it just seems to speed down the track.

I don't understand this trick of time. This slight of Mother Natures hand.
You get out of bed in the morning to a beautiful day and before you know it, zip, zap, it's time to climb back under the covers.

You might say that sounds like the good fortune of an active, busy life.

You, would be right. The blessings of good health, more interests than I can pursue, in several life times, maybe one would do - if I were more ambitious. (Lassitude)
I have enough books in reserve to last a good thirty years. I'm not only a slow, deliberate thinker, but a slow reader too, I love savoring a good sentence. A good thought.

But, can you imagine?

If I read all those books on meditation and prayer, relationships and community life, personality and self discovery, crafts, novels, and how to write them, what kind of grand and wonderful person would I be?

There is flute music to dream into existence, and record, sewing projects, crafts of several types... and poetry yet unwritten.

To say nothing at all of the wonderful friends I have, and the time that stretches thin... Never enough.

If only I could find the secret formula in one of my books. Or sing it into the air by the voice of a flute, discover time in a bottle on some dusty old shelf in the basement.


More time would be nice.

Church this morning was a gift.
Working in my store when it was closed re potting a tree, quite and peaceful.
Talking to one of my sons, always good.
Spending the evening watching a documentary on real live dragons with my husband.
Its a beautiful full moon tonight.

Yes! More time would be nice, but I'll take a near perfect day and go to bed happy.



"Fable Town is quiet now."
Fables - an early issue.

I sat for two days in calm waters. No wind in my sail. No motor in my boat. The Languors!

It has been very busy at the store this week and when I get some time to sit down and write my cat wants on my lap, or I fall to sleep, or nearly so.

As I sit at my desk this morning there is a beautiful pale white blue sky streaked with fiery pink. The black silhouettes of naked trees sway in the wind like rehearsing ballerinas.

I love the gloaming times, between day and night. There is something healing and magical about it. A slow warming up to the day. A slowing down into night. It's like earth is taking a deep breath and letting it out on a long sigh of sheer contentment. What a pleasure.

We often see sunsets from our back deck, but sun rises are more rare for me. Not that I'm not awake, but I'm usually reading and not paying attention to what is going on out side.

So, I think I'll just sit here awhile.



"It is always the right time to do the right thing."
Martin Luther King

The book group that meets at my store, met last night. Diane Ackerman wrote the book we read for December. The Zookeepers Wife. She is a naturalist, and has written several books.

She also writes poetry. Beautiful poetry.

The Zookeeper's Wife, set in Warsaw Poland during the Nazi invasion of World War ll. This is the true story of the Zabinski's. Jan was the zookeeper of the Warsaw Zoo. His wife, Antonina, worked along side him in caring for the animals. When the war broke out and things got bad fast, their family joined the underground movement. Helping save the lives of thousands of people.

They housed people, short term, and long term poviding them with false papers, in their home where they had many hiding places.

Over the month, as I read this book, I kept seeing the Martin Luther King quote, about five or six different times in different places. It kept drawing me back to the fears and horrors that this family lived through. And thousands of others like them. The heroes of the world.

We hear story's like this today, in many place under seige by hate filled people. Heroic folks risking their lives to save others, sometime very unlike themselves.

It is always the right time to do the right thing.

Most of us have never had anything so big to face, but in the small things we face everyday, do we sometime turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, and say nothing.

It's none of my business!

I know we do. And it's true, sometimes it isn't.

But can we make ourselves ready through the little things we're willing to get involved with on a local community level to do the right thing when we see it and know it?

Or on a personal basis, in our relationships, going the extra distance, even though there is no end result in veiw and the fear of exposing our own vulnerablilities is high.

(Do I step back into the shadows, unwilling?)

They say, timing is everything.

Certainly, for those people helped through the underground, the Zabinski's timing, to do the right thing, was everything.



"We are the flow, we are the ebb. We are the weaver; we are the web."
Shekinah Mountainwater

I'm having one of those quiet afternoons off, after all the errands of the day have been done and things put away. Some time for reading, and sitting and thinking.

Years ago I was really into Carl Jung's books and what others wrote about him and his books. One of the things that so impressed my sense of inner adventure and self discovery was were he would go when he wanted time away from the world.

He had a round tower, not very big, not many amenities, only a few floors and a fireplace a bed, and lookout. (which by the way, he built himself)

He would take walks in the woods nearby.

He had a favorite rock he would sit on sometimes, to think. He would slow his thoughts down, try to think like a stone. To still the mind.

I love these images. They are so restful, and invigorating at the same time.

Maybe the vigoration comes after the rest. Which ever, times off to ones self to think and be slow like a stone, or one with the earth, or part of the web, is so vital for balance in this world born under a crazy star.



"Imagination is everything."
Albert Einstein

I recently read Glory Rose and the Gloaming, by S.M. Brandsma. A fantasy adventure for young and 'older'. I would like to write young adult novels myself and have several on the back burner. I'm a good starter, have some good ideas, but let life derail my writing projects all to often. Then a new idea or character comes along and I'm off again following that new star of imagination.

Glory Rose was fun because it had a mix of traditional and new ideas. S.M. Brandsma used her 'imagination' to create something new and unexpected. I'm looking forward to the second book,"Glory Rose and the Book of Shadows".

Duncan and I recently watched a documentary on Star Trek. All the things that have been invented since Star Trek hit the cultural psyche and started mushrooming. I Dare say, Einstein was right, imagination IS everything.

One of my regular customers was in the store today and we got to talking about what the world would be like minus imagination? (I can't even imagine that).

"Without vision, the people perish."

We beat the path down to the dark ages, all the things that wouldn't have been invented or discovered, or created without it. Back farther, the stone age. We'd be there still, without a healthy dose of inquisitive imagination.

True! Some inventions or things discovered might better have been left in the ether. But as the artist would say, you have to throw a lot of pots before you get that one perfect piece of art. You have to write a lot of words before one good novel takes shape. You have to play that piano every day before a recital happens. Fill in the blank with what ever you love to imagine.

Imagine the best things you've ever wanted to do and go try them. Try them over and over. Make that one perfect song. Even if you're the only one who hears it. Store the beauty of it in your heart and live expecting possibilities.

Go! Imagine!


Who's Life Is It Anyway?

"What are we really saying to each other? I want you to change, so I won't have to."
Trudy Sheets

Duncan and I met at the Fairwell Bend Writer's Round Table 26 years ago. (don't blame us, we didn't pick the name)

We first came to know each other through the things we wrote. We made many good friends some of whom still attend this same writer's group. We've met in the homes, which was quite fun, then the college for a time, back to the homes and now we meet at my bookstore, The Bookmark. 7:00 - 9:00 the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month.

Somethimes I think of the different stories shared for critique over the years and the people who have come and gone, and how they have touched my life.

Trudy sometimes read little excerpts from her journals that she had made into quotes and printed up on velum paper and glued to broken stone tiles, with a hook on the back to hang on the wall.

The above quote was the one that really spoke to me. How often we stubbornly cling to our own faults, blindly at times, but find it so easy to see the faults of others? We say; "It would be easier to live with you, or be your friend, if only you wouldn't... or would..." and the lists begin.

We can make ourselve crazy by focusing on what we may think of, or what actually could be, someone else's short comings and want to change them, make them the perfect people to fit our every need.

To bad, so sad, it doesn't work that way.

What you find, what you always find is the other person has needs too.

One of my greatest blessings in this life is my husband, the man who while we were dating, once said, "Why would I want to change you? Or make you quit doing _______ (Fill in the blank with what ever you might love doing, reading, movies, going to church)Those things make you the interesting person you are to me. What's good for you is good for me!" When he said that I knew he was a keeper.

We've been married 25 years now and he still sees my faults and loves me anyway. We like each other. I have a great respect for his integrity, honesty and humor. We have fun together.

So, when you want someone to change to make your life more comfortable, who's life is it anyway?


May You Have a Frugal New Year

"Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without!"
Effie Carroll Cardwell

I don't know for sure where this saying really came from, but it was one of my Grandmother, Effie's, favorite sayings. When times were tough she would remind us of how people had to live on less and make do.

My Mother was in her teens when the Great Depression struck, and the effects it had on forming her frugal behavior was lasting. I would send her letters and I'd get the same envelope back turned inside out. We would always laugh, but really I very much admired my Mothers ability to live on so little, and be happy .

Her life, of necessity, had to be lived frugally, living on S.S. in her Sr. years, but even with that she was the most generous hearted person I've ever known.

Vivian Cummins went the extra mile!

For family, friends, and even perfect strangers. And the funny thing about that was, she always had what she needed. She live a deep and joyful life. Not that there weren't sorrows, but she had a quality of contentment that drew you in.

So, I ask myself, in this changing world, and when don't things change, how can I express just wants, and not exceed into greed for things. When is enough enough? But in the mind set of frugality, still remain open hearted and generious? There is so much in the world to want. I use to think alot about if I had to much of what I really don't need, does that mean someone else is going without the bare necessities? I've read in the scriptures, "There is enough and to spare, that no one should have to go hungry." and yet there are hungry people. (Certainly in America there are many of us who have more than we need. How many of us are making new years resolutions to lose that extra?)

In my used bookstore I have a big jar for donations to a local food pantry. Chaitable giving is down they say but this has remained pretty steady. I'm thankful I can be a small link in the chain of community here and now. And thank my customers who give as they can.

The times we are living in may call for personal or family frugality, but the call of the heart must be for generosity, warmth and welcome.

May the fruits of your labor come back to you a hundredfold.