Day #211: A Universe of Stories

Earlier this week, Steve and I drove to Cannon Falls where we visited the gorgeous public library. What a friendly space! They are in the midst of their summer reading program, the theme of which “A Universe of Stories” has been met with stellar success. To all the children’s librarians in all of the public libraries across America, thank you for caring so much about kids and reading that you put forth supernova efforts to bring readers and non-readers into the library.

Day #185: Preserving Our Democracy

On this weekend, as we remember the sacrifices made by so many of our citizens to preserve our democracy, I am grateful for the words of Scott Pelley, who reminds us that “we are all woven into the tapestry of stars.” Have a listen to “Divided We Stand? Scott Pelley on Our American Flag and Our Common Purpose

American flag
An American flag flaping boldly in the wind.

Day #148: Chapter & Verse

I am ever so grateful for the several Chapter & Verse Book Clubs around the country who have been meeting to discuss children’s and teen books since 2008! (good heavens) We meet monthly and we always have a good discussion, especially when some of us like the books more than others. We’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ve laughed a lot, too. I love each and every one of you! Anyone is welcome to join us. Start a group in your area—we’ll help. 

West Metro Chapter & Verse
West Metro Chapter & Verse
Red Balloon Chapter & Verse
Red Balloon Chapter & Verse
Duluth Chapter & Verse
Duluth Chapter & Verse
Redbery Books Chapter & Verse
Redbery Books Chapter & Verse

Day #144: Carl Larsson

I have had three Carl Larsson prints hanging in my home since I first lived on my own. I love his intricate line, his colors, but most of all his subjects: home, family, and everyday life. The book Carl Larsson’s Home was first published in the 1890s and there are still versions of it in print! He had a rough childhood, but he persevered, creating a lovely home life for their children with his wife, artist and interior decorator Karin Bergöö. His art helps me recognize when I am content.

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson

Day #112: Recipes

I’ve written before that my grandmother was a wonderful cook. One of her specialties was peach pie. She left us without a recipe. When I asked her to write it down, she was reluctant. I don’t know why. I would watch her make it, using pinches and handfuls to measure. She used tapioca to thicken the sauce, nutmeg, and she cut fresh peaches. I’ve hunted for a recipe that is similar. I have been unable to replicate her pie. Do you have a beloved food that you’ve been hunting elusively? I’m grateful to people who write down their recipes for posterity.

peach pie

Day #104: Library of Congress

Are you guys aware of the astounding digital resources available at the Library of Congress website? I am SO grateful for access to a plethora of research possibilities. Yesterday, I needed information on Alan Lomax, the folk musicologist.Here’s a short paragraph:

“This presentation contains more than 500,000 pages of Alan Lomax’s personal papers and office files from his time at the Library of Congress (1932-1942) and from his post-Library career through the 1990s. Featured are Lomax’s writing projects such as Land Where the Blues Began (1993), the unpublished Big Ballad Book, as well as documentation of his extensive work in radio for the CBS and BBC networks. Also included are thousands of pages of field notes and correspondence associated with his field projects beginning in the 1930s.”

THOUSANDS of pages. And this is only one collection in the vast holdings that are increasingly being made available to all of us. I LOVE Libraries.

Lead Belly and Josh White playbills as collected by Alan Lomax, from the collection at the Library of Congress

Day #102: Trisha Yearwood

I need all the inspiration I can get to pursue our commitment to cooking our food from scratch and eating at home. Now it’s becoming something of a mission for me to encourage other people to do the same … but I recognize the need to be very subtle about this. Someone who is not subtle at all, but provides me with tremendous encouragement, is Trisha Yearwood with her show Southern Kitchen. She is ebullient, loves cooking, shares her efforts with humor, friendship, family, and love. For me, those elements have become the reasons for preparing good food. Through her show, I have discovered that southern recipes involve LOTS of sugar, so we adjust. I suppose sweet tea should have been my first clue. I am grateful to Trisha Yearwood for sharing her camaraderie and her love for cooking. [below: Trisha Yearwood and her sister Beth Bernard]

Trisha Yearwood and her sister Beth

Day #91: Sunsets

After living in a succession of apartments, each of them facing west toward the sunset, Steve and I moved into our first permanent home 20 years ago. The house sits on a lot that is cattywampus. One corner is oriented north. another corner faces west. This, and a forest of trees, makes it difficult to see the sun setting.

When my father-in-law was eating supper at our house, I mentioned that we miss our daily sunsets. On his next visit, he arrived with this framed photograph he’d taken across a beautiful Minnesota lake. It is displayed near my desk where I can see it every day, reminded of his thoughtfulness, and the healing beauty of a sunset.