lisamoniquekent

Finding Home

Good afternoon everyone from chilly, rainy Vermont. Just this morning it was Alleluia Chorus Autumn, so pretty, with all those fuzzy caterpillar colors mixed in with reds. I love the foliage. It’s the cold I dread.

This is what I’m learning about: regenerative agriculture, courtesy of Anderson’s One Size Fits None, fungal balls in sinus cavities, and how to darn. Mom said she used to have this wooden thing that she stuck in the bottom of socks. I guess it made her work easier, and the stitches lasted longer. I couldn’t visualize this contraption so I Googled it. My goodness–it looks like a rattle! Of course now I want one–with my zero waste push, I thought I was done with wants. Still, a nice antique darning egg in my stocking at Christmas? It sure beats fungal masses!

There’s progress on my book. My publisher sent me “the files” (the final draft, the cover,etc.) but I can’t find them in my email. I’ve asked him to resend, and hopefully he’ll see the message soon. I’m still looking to get these in my hands and available on Amazon by the end of October. Oh, and great news about how we are doing at the Mall. We just got our first check and sales breakdown and we sold lots of tees and books. I’m trying to set up two book signing dates, one Thanksgiving weekend, and one in December. Hopefully I’ll work the logistics out this week.

That’s it for me. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home. (Photo courtesy of Serena)

Lisa

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Under the radar.

Good morning from bleakish Vermont! Yesterday we were at almost peak foliage here, and what a thrill it was for our senses. I sat out back on our red bench with the dog bundled up in my lap. He sniffed, I saw, and then we switched. (Neither of us barked.) I’m in a great mood, my brain is spiffy, and I’m ready to write. It helps that I have the day off, since the students are on break. Anyway, Friday my sister and I attended the University of Vermont’s Women’s Health and Cancer Conference, my first time, her zillionth. In one of the sessions, I heard a survivor’s philosophy that cancer is a lifestyle change, like starting a new job. I thought of Serena, with her chronic illness, and my perspective shifted. She too has had a lifestyle change–this seems to me a more positive way to think of it. And then at a session on mindfulness, I heard this wonderful equation:

Suffering = stress x resistance. Isn’t that spot on?

That got me thinking about my bucket list, and how I had never made one. So right then and there, as the words of the presenters wove their way in and out of my ears, I started one. I even gave it a formal title–Lisa’s Bucket List (I know, pretty original).

  1. Live on the Maine coast and explore it with joy for at least ten years.
  2. Visit France, England, Scotland, and Italy.
  3. Tour parts of the United States and Canada with Tim in an RV.
  4. Learn how to play pickle ball and become part of a sports community again.
  5. Finish our wedding album.
  6. Finish my photojournalism autobiography project.

Notice there’s no “write another book” or “clean the garage” or “attain zero waste.” Those are all things I expect will happen over the course of my remaining years, so they aren’t bucket list material. But the six I have, they’ll be a stretch. They’ll be major; yet, from where I am right here and now, they are attainable.

I also attended a cooking demonstration on digestive health (which is why today I will make a Superfood Quinoa Salad). And this is the nugget of information that I gleaned: Be more consistent with your fiber intake and your stomach will have an easier time digesting. I thought I’d slip that in under the radar.

My book is happening but I’m being quiet about it just in case. We should know soon how our sales have been at the Mall. And finally, last year, a bit damp in the heart, I started listening to Christmas music at this time. This year, I think I can wait until November.

I leave you with a photo of a bucket. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home (if I remember, because last week I plain forgot).

Lisa

Old, Rust, Boiler, Metal, Rusted, Door

 

 

 

 

 

A large glass of wine.

Good evening from hazy Vermont. I miss blogging in the morning when my mind is clear and fresh. At this point in my life, I can’t seem to manage getting up before 6:30 AM to write before work. My mother–now she’s an early bird, often waking around 4 AM. I suspect when I’m older I’ll need less sleep myself. For now, I’ll keep to Sunday afternoons after work, and you’ll just have to deal with my brain fatigue.

This week we have two guests coming to the library, Rick Prashaw, the author of Soar, Adam, Soar, and VT Attorney General TJ Donovan, who will speak on the criminalization of poverty. Responsible for their both visiting and the success of the events, I’m imagining worse case scenarios in all directions. I will live through it, and maybe even enjoy it and learn a thing or two. But planning events? Not my ken. I suspect by Friday I’ll be ready for a large glass of wine.

Here’s the latest on my zero-waste journey. No more toothpaste or deodorant tubes, no more shampoo bottles, no more plastic toothbrushes. What I’m really struggling with is remembering to bring containers to grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes. I need a special travel kit that’s always with me. I’ll see if I can assemble it from bits and pieces here, and report back next week.

Not much news on my book, except that its Welcome to the World date is October 15th. I’ll do a cover reveal in a few weeks. Things at the Mall have been quiet–not too many books or tees sold. We are hoping that we’ll get more sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As backup, I’ll participate in the Bishop Marshall School craft fair again. My local readers always come through for me.

My writing today seems so drab. That’s the difference for me between writing in the morning and writing in the evening. In the morning, I’m ready to explore new words and magically turn a phrase. At night, I can barely articulate. Darn.

I leave you with Serena’s shot of Lake Elmore. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

elmore photo fall

 

 

Blood over ivory.

Good afternoon from cloudy Vermont. Did you know that we have just over 300,000 elephants left on our planet? That number comes from the 2016 results of the Great Elephant Census. I never want to visit elephants in the wild, but I sure want them to always be there. Blood over ivory–it’s unfathomable to me how greedy and mind-twisted we humans can be. Since I just finished reading up on the tenets of Stoicism, I’ll practice one of them right now: letting go of things that are out of my control, and moving onto something that I can.

Now that the publishing of Quill Point is actually underway, I’m ready to resume work on  my fifth story, With Regards, Stella Ramone. Stella’s been hanging out in my brain for months, but I’ve been so preoccupied with how to get Quill Point in your hands that I’ve just left her hanging out in Hardwick. This is what I know about her: Stella does not hunt. She does not have children. She has a dog, a little white dog who doesn’t shed. She is mostly prudent and occasionally impulsive, though she used to be mostly impulsive and occasionally prudent. She has a long scar from just under her left eye to her lip, which she tries to hide with foundation and blush. I love Stella. She’s broken and brave and knows how to balance her checkbook to the penny. I wish I could do that.

If all goes well, I’ll have my cover reveal next week. Until then, look at this elephant’s eyes. How can you not fall in love?

Tearing, Cry, Elephant, Eye, Nature

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

 

 

 

 

If I can see the letter H…

Good afternoon from cloudy Vermont. There’s a nip in the air–that’s for certain, and as soon as I got home from work I threw on my overlarge Red Sox hoodie. I just can’t bear to turn on the heat just yet.

Tim updated our booth at the Mall and it’s looking mighty spiffy. He added half-mannikins to display Serena’s tees, and a shelf for my books. He plans on acquiring some wooden crates to add more merchandise. Won’t it be fine if I can add my fourth book in time for the Christmas season? I think I’m scheduled for a book signing there on September 14th, Saturday, from 1 to 3 PM, just my old books, but they are certainly new to the Burlington market. Perhaps I’ll see some of you there.

Regarding Quill Point, if all goes well, it will be published and in our hands by October 15th. Though I’m not 100 percent sure all will go well, since this book was supposed to be out in July, what is there to do but hope? And you know me–if I can see the letter H, I’ll grab it.

I’ve had a change at work. I no longer work afternoons and evenings, but the regular hours of 8 to 4 PM. What a joy it is to be home with my family at night–I guess I should thank my early-developing cataracts for that, as they are keeping me from driving and seeing clearly at night. It feels like cheating to be here–what is it about yankees that they can only process joy if it’s tinged with a touch of suffering? I gotta work on that.

I leave you with a photo of our display. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

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A Soft Opening

Good morning from sunny, cooler Vermont. It’s one of those days–when you want to be outside for no good reason except to feel the nip in the air, watch the leaves change, and be present and accounted for as part of life’s great adventure so you don’t miss a single good thing. I myself feel the pull of outside, and once I’m done blogging and finishing a few chores, you’ll find me on the porch, messing around with my container plants, all three of them.

Today, somewhere in the University Mall in South Burlington, a store is having its soft opening. The store contains about 80 booths, each filled with wares from crafters all over the state. We are one of them. From September through December, we’ll be selling my books, my daughter’s tee shirts and totes, and other art-based odds and ends. The manager of the store takes care of actually selling and restocking products, so besides my doing a few book signings, the whole enterprise should take care of itself. My husband is running the show from home–I hurt my back this summer and don’t have the oomph to check in and do whatever has to be done. We should be fully stocked by next weekend. If you are in the area, please stop in. We appreciate feedback as well. One of my goals today is to find and design compostable business cards.

Speaking of compost, my zero-waste journey continues, though I have to tone down my zeal. I think I made our good friends feel uncomfortable as I went on about what I’d given up or replaced. I don’t want to have that effect on people. Then again, I am joyful about my new toothpaste bits.

Quill Point hasn’t been published yet. The publisher and I are emailing regularly, and I’m hopeful that he’ll turn it out by the end of the year. Meanwhile, I’m happy that my other books are meeting the Burlington market.

That’s it for this week. Though I enjoyed my summer break from blogging, I’ve missed the craft of writing and the connection it brings to all of you. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

container garden

 

 

It looks like a bird’s nest.

Good morning from moody Vermont. Today I am 57. I’m outside in our backyard on our bench. I plan to stay outside for much of the day; that is the best way I know how to celebrate myself.

There’s a story about our backyard. Since we moved to Soft Landing, it has been A Backyard, not any place for us to hang out, because other dog owners would bring their dogs here to do their business. It was annoying, but we figured it was common land. The last few weeks, I’ve been having some dog issues with other dog owners (dogs not on leashes, etc.) and I finally reached out to the owners of the complex. I asked what the deal was about leashes, and also asked if we had backyards. It turns out that yes, we do have backyards, and other dogs and their humans aren’t supposed to be hanging out in them. So that’s why we now have a bench here and why we are actually using the space. It’s nice to see other neighbors now doing the same. The lesson here? Ask boldly!

I haven’t heard from my publisher, and while I figure all that out, I’ve decided to take the summer off from blogging. You are all a patient bunch and I know you’ll understand. I’ve also decided that my experiment of growing out my hair needs to stop as well. It looks like a bird’s nest, and the only way to get it in some sort of order is with a lot of product or a perm. Neither are options, so next Saturday morning I’m going back to my short and sassy look. I want to go back to that “up in the morning and off to work” feeling instead of “Oh my God is that a squirrel?” (Don’t laugh–one time it was…)

I wish you all a happy summer, and I’ll see you in the fall.

Lisa

Nest, Empty, Home, Animal, Bird Nest, Straw, Wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

“Too small for you.”

Good evening from rainy Vermont. On the way back home from a refreshing overnight in Freeport with my brother and sister in law, Tim and I listened to David Whyte converse with Krista Tippett on her weekly podcast On Being. Way long ago, back in the 90s, I remember hearing about his book The Heart Aroused. But I didn’t read it–I thought it was written for men’s groups. Years later, here I am, drawn into his poetry and wisdom, through a chance interview while crossing Crawford Notch. Serindipidous? Perhaps. All I know is that I need him right now, this very minute. I dug his book out of the shelf and will start it tonight. And tomorrow at work, I’ll request every other piece of published material he has written. That’s the luck and blessing of being a librarian.

My quest to zero waste continues. I now have bulk Darjeeling tea, and will transition to loose leaf from buying boxes of tea. Over the weekend I was given a contraption that acts like a French press; just two scoops, boiling water, and a 15 minute steep yields two strong mugs of tea. One I’ll have hot, and the other iced. Perhaps I’ll miss my PG Tips, but I won’t miss the packaging.

On my book front, I haven’t heard a peep from my publisher. Perhaps they’ve left the country. And perhaps I have no idea what to do next. Whatever it is, at this stage of our lives, it can’t involve using our precious funds to publish a book. So I’ll live in the unknowing for a while, and thus, so will you. We can wait together.

I leave you with a quote from Mr. Whyte.

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet

confinement of your aloneness

to learn

anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.”

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

swk 2018 lilacs

“I’m here to help you”

Good morning from partly sunny Vermont (I’m being generous here). This morning Liv and I traveled to Montpelier’s Hunger Mountain Coop to stock up on bulk items with our bags and empty containers from home. The entire experience went well, although now I have to figure out the cost benefits and losses–you know, everyday math. I’ll blog on that some other time. Because here’s what I really want to concentrate on:

“Quill Point–Chapter One.

Leave it to Shawn to ruin her day. As Eva looked back on the Quill Point realtor’s visit, she remembered seeing the victory drain from his eyes when he realized she already knew about the energy company Gesco and its interest in her farm. Why else would the old potato field show up featured in a nature documentary abut natural gas pipelines invading the Northeast? To think that her beloved home might be destroyed by the consequences of fracking–it was enough to send her right back to the emergency room.

Shawn put on his best “I’m here to help you” face, and explained what might happen with her farm if she didn’t have someone like him representing her. She listened with all the respect she could muster, and then showed him out. His wasn’t the kind of representation she had in mind.

Gesco. What was it? A quick Google search answered her question–a large energy corporation from New Jersey, with natural gas partnerships somewhere in northeastern Quebec. Eva, dressed in lightweight red flannel pajamas and moose-patterned grey socks, sat down at her kitchen island. She removed her hair tie and freed her curly shoulder-length brown hair. As she stretched her neck and shoulders to release tension, she grabbed a pen and a note pad at the corner of the island. Time to formalize a plan.

“Number one,” she spoke aloud as she wrote. “Call Finn. Number two. Call Mr. Crowley for the name of an environmental law attorney. Three. Attend select board meetings. Four–stay healthy. Five–research Vermont environmental law.”

Gil, her kitten padded into the kitchen from the dining room and jumped onto her lap. Eva let him settle while she picked up the phone to call her boyfriend and housemate, Finley Crowley.

Finn picked up at once. “Hey, girl, what’s wrong? Are you sick again?”

Eva had recovered from surgery for the ulcers she developed after her parents, Emma and Randy Blanchard, died in a car crash, but the people she loved weren’t convinced she felt strong and fit again. So, they kept asking.”

And that was page one, everybody. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Town, Street, Main Street, Quaint

Joy all around.

Good morning from a possibly sunny Vermont. Happy Mother’s Day! Me, I feel quite celebrated, thanks to the gluten-free orange, cranberry scones Tim made me for breakfast. And I get to celebrate my mother later on for lunch. But now I have a fun story to tell you. Friday morning, after several reschedules, I met my dear friend Amy for tea at the Fork and Gavel in Hyde Park. It’s a new, little, breakfast and lunch place where Sweet Crunch used to be. Anyway, after we had chatted a bit, Amy reached into a bag and pulled out a package wrapped in hot pink tissue. Clueless, I opened it upside-down, but still knew exactly what it was–a stack of handkerchiefs of all ages and colors and patterns. The coolest present ever! She had gathered them over the years and didn’t know what to do with them, and after she read my blog last week, she knew she’d found an owner. I laundered them on the delicate setting, and then one by one I placed them into my Mason jar, fluffy side up. I used my first one yesterday; it was white with blue flowers around the edges.

But that wasn’t all! Amy went back into her bag and pulled out another package of red scarves. Beside myself with excitement, I was. And it got better. When I got home and later showed both girls the scarves, they immediately made piles for themselves and started to figure out how to arrange their hair with them. One of them asked, “Does she have a set in yellow?”

So now I have a set of beautiful hankies, red scarves, and a wonderful memory of spending time with Amy. That’s a good story in my book of life. Next on my zero waste list is to get brave enough to bring my glass containers to the Hannaford’s meat department. “Two chicken breasts in this jar, please, and a pound of ground beef in this one.” (I’m practicing.) I think my sister the quilter is up for making me cloth bags for holding my bulk dry goods. Joy all around.

There’s something wonderfully settling about sitting on the couch with the dog next to me, and knowing that today I really don’t need a thing. Except maybe a piece of Mother’s Day cake.

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

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