Thrift Store Bounty…

thriftstorebooksAs I’m of the many who enjoy prowling through thrift shops, I had an hour to spare last weekend, so off I went to one of our local (and biggest) ones. I went with the intention of looking for things to put on Cowboy’s head. Found several objects which will help with the project, and heavens to Betsy, if I didn’t also accidentally on purpose find some books which were looking for a new home.

(Well, I had to buy them, right? Don’t want to be rude…)

So, as can be seen in the photo above, here is what made it home with me:

  • The Iceman Cometh – Eugene O’Neill (play)
  • The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins (F)
  • The Soul of an Octopus – Sy Montgomery (nature NF)
  • Full Catastrophe Living – Jon Kabat-Zinn (NF on meditation etc.)

I’ve been itching to read a play lately. We went to a local playhouse to see a version of an Agatha Christie murder-mystery, and it was surprisingly good for a local am-dram, and so I ended up with the O’Neill. I read him during my classes in graduate school, so I’m curious to see if if the experience will be similar or whether it will be radically different. I’m a very different person now, so I’m interested to find out how or if this impacts the reading of this play.

The Girl on the Train – loved the movie, so am v interested in reading the book the film was based upon.

The Soul of an Octopus – I rather like octopi and have heard only good things about the nature writing of Montgomery.

And the Jon Kabat-Zinn book is just going to be a good reminder about living a principled life through a Buddhist perspective.

So, I have some good finds there, and am glad that I can add them to the TBR pile, ever-growing as it may be. It’s good to have choices!

Traveling: Ruidoso, New Mexico


We happen to have some great friends who invited us to share their cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, over Memorial Day. It was great fun and I also happened to spot some curious signs as we drove our way and around town. There was also a large meeting of the Bandidos, although we weren’t invited to their hang-out…. 🙂

So thought I’d share some of these finds with you:


Seen in store window downtown.

(Above) – Appropriate for the area, methinks…


(Above) – Groaning of my writing soul….


Above – Using apostrophes comes with responsibility… 🙂




I certify that all the above signs are truth… 🙂

And the local bookshop was great. Props to Books Etcetera for implementing their Book Blind Date idea…


So, of course I had to buy a book (Support a local independent bookstore today!) I ended by buying New Yorker editor’s “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” by Mary Norris. Joy in my heart!

Bookish Vermont…

The Middlebury Inn in VT: Highly recommend this historical inn if you're in the area.

The Middlebury Inn in VT: Highly recommend this historical inn if you’re in the area.

Our recent trip to Vermont also yielded some fab booky-related places and things as well (naturellement), so here’s a brief sampling of some of what we found:

This bumper sticker really sums it up nicely. (Plus the dog sticker made me laugh.) (Plus the Vermont Book Shop featured is really really good and had nice people as well.) :

read bumper sticker

Followed by this sign (which cracked me up as it can be read in several different ways)…

reading fun mental sign

And then with my newish craze and adoration of the fountain pen, I loved this sign:

writing sign

And then this person (below) is obviously a big fan of Dame Agatha…


Hooray for booky people!


CA Trip Update…

davis_luggageNot too long ago, I went to visit my (identical twin) sister who lives in Northern CA. (And yes, we look alike.) Very pretty small town in a very pretty area and so close to even more amazing natural areas. (It’s quite unfair how the Geographic Gods tend to cluster all the beautiful places close to each other. Spread them out, I say. Spread them out. Share the wealth.)

My sis lives in Davis which is a cool little town and which has a great indie bookstore called The Avid Reader which I thought I would give a shout-out to…  It’s a well stocked store with helpful people who work there. Plus it just looks pretty inside. 🙂

The Avid Reader DavisAnd Davis is also rather a Nirvana for sustainable lifestyles/green living etc., and so it amused me to see this flyer for an ongoing event this Spring there:


Fabulous trip all around.  Visited San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum for lots of good art and an amazing Holocaust Memorial which was breathtaking. Sat on a rocky beach for a while just listening to the wind (Great.). Walked a hand-made labyrinth at the top of a nearby cliff that overlooked the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. (Beyond words.)  Saw a guy riding a real restored penny farthing  bicycle up a very steep hill, but not sure how he got on the bike or off or really even stayed on. (Interesting.) Watched the 1951 movie, The African Queen with Katherine Hepburn who played a really strong female role in this film – perhaps in others as well? (Good way to spend the time.)

Thanks to the Twinster for a great trip!

The African Queen movie

HOWL-ing in San Franciso…

Had a really good trip in California to see my identical twin sister (and yes, we really do look like each other). We met up in San Francisco – what a great city! I have been there several times, but as I had done my homework prior to visiting, this was a very different trip as I was more aware of the history of the city, and the various landmarks. (I highly recommend researching the place to where you are going to get the most out of your trip. It makes a *huge* difference (or at least, it does for me). )

I had emailed my sis and requested that we visit two places during my hours in SF: the first was the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, and the second was a visit to the City Lights bookstore. Sis was very open to this, and so off we went walking all over the city.

Living in the South Plains of West Texas, I am more acquainted with flat landscape so it was very different to have to lean forward to climb the steep streets of SF – and what a view you had at the top! Definitely worth the hike.

So – Grace Cathedral’s labyrinth …

This is outside the actual building so is available all the time, 24 hours a day (I would think), and is completely free. It’s a labyrinth (or sort of maze) which is created in the concrete floor and follows the template of the original labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France. It’s an ancient tradition (12th century or so), and is an excellent escape from the stimulus of a large city as when I was walking the labyrinth, it’s remarkably calming and meditative and I found myself concentrating inwardly and ignoring the racket of the city that surrounded us. Absolutely loved it and will be looking for other labyrinths now when I travel.

(A labyrinth is a meditative walk through a predetermined pattern on the floor; it looks complicated, but there is only one way into the center of the labyrinth and one way out. It is not a puzzle (like a maze), but more contemplative. You do it slowly and with purpose, and it’s really nice.)

So, after the labyrinth (which didn’t take that long to complete but whose effects lasted for ages), we tooled off down the streets to find the famous City Lights bookstore , the home of the original Beat Poets and the Ground Zero of an important First Amendment court case back in the 1950’s. (More on that later.)

It’s in an unassuming building which is tricky to spot at first as it blends in with the other shops and restaurants around. However, once inside, it’s another labyrinth (!), but this time filled with books of all descriptions. The rooms were packed to the rafters with new books, and although I didn’t really get the details of the organizational system they used, it was clear enough that both fiction and non-fiction were on separate floors.

 My sister is as much of a bookworm as I am, and so we spent some pleasant time walking around looking at the many books, and being ensconced in all that literary loveliness. It’s hard to find a nicer place to be than a place filled with books, sometimes, I find. So, seeing as I am a big fan of independent bookstores, I ended up buying a book (naturellement) and postcards. (Well, we were in the Ground Zero of Beat Poetry et al.)

So – as to why the City Lights bookstore is an important fixture in books and first amendment rights: in 1956, the bookstore owners (through their newly established publishing arm) published (in its entirety) “Howl”, the long poetry work by Allen Ginsberg. As this was the tail end of the 1950’s, this publication caused a stir mentioning (as it does) homosexuality and other controversial (at the time) topics. Thus, the bookstore’s publishing imprint was charged with obscenity, and the trial that followed drew widespread attention to the Beat Poets, the book store and to alternative culture,  and established an important legal precedent for “publishing controversial work with redeeming social importance.”

Anyway, a fun time to spread a few hours (and a few dollars) in San Francisco. A cup of tea was in order after that, and then back to the small Utopia where my sister lives for the rest of the weekend. This was where I met this little guy:

A very sweet little dog whose nickname is “MonkeyLamb” as he has the eyes of a monkey and the fur of a lamb. 🙂

Fun times!

Friday – My Motto for the Weekend

Here is my motto for this weekend, kindly adopted from The King’s English bookshop in Salt Lake City, UT.  I haven’t been able to read quite as much as I would have liked to the past few nights, so am planning on hitting the books tonight. A couple of ILLs arrived, I am still reading the history of Bedford (my town in England), and The Diary of a Provincial Lady is at the top of the TBR… I foresee a happy weekend for me. May you enjoy some happy reading time as well.