It’s Monday! What are you reading? – a little of everything

I have not posted for awhile because I try to always post after I have finished reading a book or two. At this point in my year I have reverted back to my ADHD self and am reading three, four or more books at a time. In truth none are getting finished and it is not the best way to read but it seems to be where I am right now.

It is hard to say if this scattered style of reading is due to heart meds that have left me a bit brain fuzzy or the stress of health issues, my usually ADHD self or just a change in the seasons but I can’t seem to be able to stay with one book.

Here is a short list of my reading:

  • Jefferson’s Sons –   (MG)(goes well with the Hamilton’s America just shown on PBS) imgres-3
  • The Great Work of your Life (AR -adult read)
  • imgres-4Upstream: Selected Essays from Mary Oliver (AR)
  • The Passion of Dolssa (YA)
  • Two cook books
  • The Horn Book Magazine
  • Garden Illustrated Magazine
  • The Grace of Silence (AR)
  • A Conscious Stillness: Two Naturalist on Thoreau’s Rivers ( AR)
  • There are two more nature books waiting at the library for me – I can’t remember their names but I am sure they are good and Ashes by Laurie H. Anderson in on the way in the mail.

Well, you get the idea!

imgresYou know this kid in your room who is just like me – on Monday he begins to read Eragon written by Paolini  by Tuesday he is reading Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke, Wednesday he is reading Snowy Day by Keats and Thursday he is back to Eragon but starting over since he can’t remember what happened in the first few chapters. It is imgres-1now Friday and you are ready to sit him down and give him a talking to.  READ ONE BOOK!

imgres-2STOP! Don’t get mad at him/her. Take time to chat and see what they are thinking, what is going on in their life and why have they chosen to switch books so much. I am guessing there is a reason even if they can’t articulate it.

Reading is a quiet, solitary activity. It is a time when emotional thoughts and feelings can float to the surface when we don’t expect it. It may be uncomfortable for them to sit quietly and read for long periods.

Given them a chance to reflect on their reading, the likes and dislikes, what is easy and what is hard, why they picked up certain books to read on certain days. They may need to talk about other things not related to reading at all.

Then gently steer them into a mid level reading book of high interest to them. Let them know they can move on if needed but setting a goal to read 1/3 of the book before they switch might help.

There are times in our life when even the best of readers lose focus and become scattered when reading. It’s ok to wander for awhile among the genres. Just watch and slowly nudge them back into a steady reading pattern as the rest of their life settles or be ready to provide support to other parts of their life so that they can then focus again on a great story.

For me I am making a list and setting goals to finish each one. Like our kids as my health issue settle and I feel more in control my reading life goes back to being in control as well. One book at a time – ok well maybe two – I have always kept a children’s book and adult book going at the same time.

Happy Fall Reading!


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Autumn -a time of gathering and sowing

leaves-on-the-deck“For man, Autumn is the time of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”  -Edwin Way Tealle

The rain was in charge last night. Rivers were running down the curb side dragging leaves and sticks along. It was only 20 or 30 minutes but in that time the world was filled with water, leaves of multiple colors and wind.

It is fall in the northern mid-west. We are in the time of weather swings. The morning had dawned with sun, blue skies and temperatures heading into the 70’s and humid. A bit odd for an October morning in Minnesota but hey I will take it. A long walk along the creek provided canopies of color – stark yellows, brilliant oranges with red highlights.

By late afternoon the sky was dark, the winds had begun to blow and in one full swish all we could see was water. Rain coming hard and fast filling open pots, cascading over curbs and walls and creating a waterlogged world.

This rain and wind did what it does best. It scattered the leaves, and the seeds in all directions. It cast out into the world the embryos of next years growth. It relieved the bushes and tress of this years growth -casting them out to make colored collages out of your yards and decks.

Some trees managed to hang on to bits of their fall color design to sparkle this morning in the early sun while others were left bare to share the rich dark color of their bark. peppers

I had gathered the dregs of my garden over the weekend so the winds were free to blow without my worry. I could enjoy the weather swings of warmth, to rain to frosty morning sunshine.

Nature continues to move us through cycles of early yellow green sprouts, deep dark green summer growth and the wild release of colors and falling leaves in the autumn. This prepares us northlanders ready to settle into the quiet, gentle stillness of winter. A time when the landscape goes white, silent and we retreat into the warmth of stories by the fire and time for creating garden designs. A time for our eyes and soul to rest while preparing for the coming growth of a new year.    


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Sharing the Bounties

It has been a wonderful fall in the mid west. The days are cool, sunny and a bit of a breeze to blow the crisp leaves around. There are days you can walk swishing leaves and smelling decay of leaves, flowers and the summer garden plants. Our soil is moist with evening rains and a few of the annuals are continuing to bloom even after nights in the upper 30’s.

It was a summer of flowers and veggies. A fall of discovery that so many fruits provided a great dinner for the neighborhood critters. They have eaten many a tomato, green beens and flower heads.  I had left one last plant to pick just now before Halloween. There is a prickly plant of thorns called Pumpkin on a Stick. It grows tall and besides leaves with thorns it grows small orange pumpkin type fruits along its branches.

I did not want to pick it early for fear it would dry out before Halloween. So yesterday I decided it was the day. I marched out to tangle with this sticky plant. I had promised many people a branch or two to decorate their homes and now was the time.

pumkin-on-a-stickThis plant is in a raised bed with a fence around it and it is thorny – right I told you that but it did not matter. The squirrel family decided they wanted to have them for lunch or dinner or to store them for winter. I have know idea but there sits the plant with no orange pumpkins.  Absolutely none!

So once again I have generously share the bounties of gardening with my “friends” in the neighborhood!

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World in a Blur

When our small world changes it is easy to have things fall behind. September has sailed past in a blur. I thought I was so together. I was reading, walking, going to cardiac rehab, and working a bit. I was told I looked good, and I was feeling ok!

But – now as October comes into view and I really am feeling better I realize the blur was not just time moving fast but more my not being fully connected to things. Like the books I read, yes – books – the problems is I can only tell you the name of one of them. It is  the one I read just this week. I finished reading The Round House by Erdrich.  I have no idea what the children’s books were that I read.

I created schedules for work only to have wrong dates or sending them out without attaching them. I started my Map My Walk and then didn’t turn it off or stopped it but didn’t save the workout.  Yes, rehab people I really did go walking and up hills as well!

Writing – well forget that.  My Monday and Tuesday blog posts have just not happened! Writing on my novel  – well that I didn’t even think about. Putting words to paper is tricky when stressed.

It is amazing to me that we can function in the world but miss so many little things. When we are tired or we are holding stress, fearful or feeling unstable it affects us is so many little ways.

It make me think of all those children trying to learn to read and write and do math with lives that are unstable – sleeping on couches, in cars and wondering about the next meal. The kids who know there are guns at play in their neighborhoods or those who have traveled from war torn places. I get why learning is hard. It takes time, peace and a feeling of being safe to really focus and hold on to the learning.



We all need to be secure, loved, have a good nights sleep and good food if we are to be readers and writers. I know as I get healthier, rested and feel secure in knowing my heart is working I can read and write again with easy.

It makes me think about little ones in stress today!

Let’s help out children find health and safety! imgres


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Daily Tasks with Stories

dsc0904-704x1024We fill our days with so many events, activities and tasks. We hurry from place to place, from shopping to work to the coffee shop and back again. Even those of us who are retired can get caught up in the movement of the day. Do we listen? Do we hear and see the stories that are flying around us?

I love that flow of activity and the stimulation that being out and about provides to my thinking. There are voices, colors, sounds, animals and people who slip in and out of my thinking as I move from one place to the next.

Each of these places and people have stories to tell –

  • This morning sitting in the sun at the tea shop with an old friend – I was listening to her many stories of family, weddings and friends struggling.
  • A beautiful lady walks by in multi colored stretch pants and top – black at the edges with brilliant oranges, reds, greens and yellows creating a design all up and down her legs and arms – how marvelous!  What is her story? Where is she going with that coffee and wonderful outfit?
  • A quick drive to the doctors appointment left me wondering about the story of a young man in a wheel chair, unable to speak his mind but with eyes watching and alert – what stories are hiding in his thoughts?
  • From there I travel home for lunch where my husband has stories from his morning walk, work and coffee. There is always a story from the local coffee shop.
  • Then on to cardia rehab – a busy room of elderly people today with oxygen tanks or imagesgrandchildren watching – all with stories. One story started to slipped out as I was working with the hand weights – an older man asking for support on getting stronger so he did not have to use the walker in front of him. He was loaded down with a portable oxygen tank but looking to get moving – he references his work as a first responder in his younger days.

Stories – they are swimming in the air around us. We just need to take time to listen, hear and then find a quiet moment to reflect and write.

Time for writing stories – what stories did you hear today?

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Sit still and watch the rain


It is a dark rainy morning in early September and I am now fully two weeks out from a heart attack. They fixed my heart! Right? I should be good to go but there is the small issue of the rest of my body and mind that are desperately trying to sort out what happened.

It is really odd to feel your heart on a physical and emotional level all at one time. The heart has been working since before we are born. It pumps away without stopping. We know it is there, we feel it and at times we even stop and count its beats but it is something else to fully understand the life it gives us.

Stop to think about the flow of blood through your body. Think about it – with each beat of your heart blood is running up to your brain and out to your limbs. It is carrying oxygen throughout your body. It is one amazing system that works without our even needing to pay attention. It just does its thing.

Well – it just does its thing until it doesn’t. This is when modern medicine steps in to help us out. It does this well. The body is repaired but the emotional body takes a bit longer to sort things out. One day you are walking long distances and the next day it seems almost impossible to make it around the block. One day you are scraping wall paper, running around town and the next you are sitting quietly watching the day go by as you breath deeply.

The switch in thinking is slow. I get up ready to move a book case for the painters or I start out for a walk and see a large hill looming in front of me and I stop. At first thought I am ready and going but then a slow bug says is your heart ready for this? I stop and realize the heart may be ready but the rest of me is not.

My muscles, as well as my heart muscle are still healing. My emotional muscles are also healing. A bit of fear rises up as I look at the hill or decided on what activity I can or cannot do. My heart attack did not happen during any activity, I was sleeping, and yet movement seems to trigger an emotional response – is this to much?!

What I know is it takes time – time for our bodies to heal, time for our emotions to catch up and heal as well. What I also know is how hard it is to be still when asked to heal.

So I am trying to take each day as it comes. Planning activities and events then cancelling them when I realize that I am not ready. The act of doing, doing anything, is hard right now. Doing is what I want more than anything. I am not a sitter but doing is what triggers fears, makes me tired and really is just a bit to much right now.

So I am grateful for the dark and raining morning. A morning ripe for reading, writing and sleeping. A morning that says sit still and watch the rain.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? fiction as always

imgresI joined the group of people reading Summerlost by Ally Condie.  This is a great middle school read with warmth, friendship loss, sadness and renewal. Condie has lots of young adult books out but this is the first I have heard of her. My head must have been under a rock since Ally is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010 plus there are sequels, CROSSED and REACHED.

Summerlost follows Cedar’s summer with her mother and brother Ben as they try to settle into the new life of a family of three – a family missing their father and one very important brother.  Condie slowly fills us in on the accident that has take the two family member away and the impact these people had on their lives. We see the world through Cedar’s reflections and actions as she steps back into the world of friends and activities.

Living in a small town for the summer Cedar befriends Leo and finds herself with a couple of jobs at the local theater festival and a town mystery. She develops from being shy and withdrawn to stepping up to support her friend in many ways. In the process of helping others Cedar also finds ways to help herself and in some way her family as well.

This is a quiet read with no magic, no real scary scenes or wild adventures but readers will find honesty, emotions and friendships are clear and present. This a great read to help students look at relationships and loss.

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