Finding Home

What the heck?

Good morning from chilly, foggy Vermont. Note that I didn’t use an exclamation point after Vermont, because I just received my first round edits back this past week, and it turns out I have over 400 exclamation points in Quill Point, and my first task is to whittle them down to 15. So I’m practicing.

About those edits. I’m stuck on page five, where the editor states:

“There seems to be a plethora of detail.  It gets to be wearing for a reader.  It also, in the case of naming characters, can raise expectations that the character will have more than a walk on role.

Also, it seems like there might be too many items being described like the desk.  When describing and modifying, it helps to have a reason in mind.  For me, I can’t picture the setting.  At the beginning of each scene establish time and place so the reader can imagine it.”

What the heck? My last editor told me I had to describe more. Now, this editor is telling me I have to describe less! (Oh gosh, that exclamation point slipped out.) Are my descriptions wearing on you, reader?

This morning I planned to work through fifty pages, piece of cake. But now I’m stuck on page five. Do I take the editor’s advice and restructure my book? Or do I just cut out a few descriptive terms and move on? Darn. I don’t know what to do. There is good news. So far she hasn’t used the word “stupid.”

The way I see it, there’s nothing else to do but put my big girl pants on and get ‘er done. Thanks for your comments about your relationship with darkness. So many of us are moving from wrestling with the dark to accepting it.

Back to my book! (Whoops.) Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.


Home Office, Workstation, Office




I had to be very brave.

Good morning from warm and cloudy Vermont. It rained last night, but I got the rain sounds mixed up with the fan noise, so I didn’t realize it until I took the dog out and saw the puddles. I’ve just finished a book about finding blessings and new knowledge in the dark. The author, a former Episcopalien priest, took a year off to discover the dark and then write about what she learned. She spent a lot of time outside, away from the reach of electric lights, and also went through simulations on blindness. She explored her fear of the dark, and noticed the many times darkness was treated reverently in Bible passages.

Last night at work I watched part of a documentary about the 500 asian lions living in the most western province of India. The filmers used a thermal camera to capture and view what the lions were doing at night. So many of them were directly by the road side as vehicles went by. I got spooked. When I drove home, I kept looking for lions and leopards and jackals. It’s good that I live on the outskirts of a small village in Vermont. I’m not so good with lions, and apparently not so good with the dark. Thermal cameras freak me out. I mentioned this to Serena last night and she told me not to watch the Blair Witch Project. That spooked me even more, and I had to be very brave to climb the stairs and go to bed.

When the kids were little, Tim used to bring them out for night walks. He pointed out constellations, satellites, shooting stars. They camped and got familiar with the dark in the same way that I did, with late night kick the can games, catching fireflies, and star gazing. I also fetched the cows and brought them back to the barn before the sun rose. But once I stopped physically interacting with the dark, my imagination introduced ways to fear it. And that’s currently where I am, except that I now am conscious of what I’m missing out on.

Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor, is a good guide book to reacquainting yourself with the dark, if you need that sort of prompt. Which I did. Tonight, step out of your porch light and find the darkest spot you see. Mark the spot with an X and feel how your feet meet the earth. As Taylor says, that is your beginning.

What’s your relationship with the dark? Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.


Sky Stars Constellations Astronomy Galaxy





“For sharing.”

Good morning from tentatively sunny Vermont. I’ve so strong an urge to comment about all things political occurring this past week. But that’s not my focus or mission with this blog, so instead I’ll tell you what will happen this week.

Today I start my fall term hours, Sunday through Thursday, noon to eight PM. When I go to work today, there will be students in the library activating their computers and asking where the bathrooms are. I’ll put my “On Call for Research” sign up at the Information Desk, and finish two lesson plans in my office for the literacy classes I’ll teach once classes begin tomorrow.

I’m nervous. Remember that dip in the stomach that you used to get at the start of a new school year? That happens to me every fall. I read somewhere recently that this particular feeling is the feeling of possibility, and I agree. Everything is possible at the start of a new school year. Still, those nagging questions remain. What if they don’t like me? What if I screw up and scar them for life when I talk about information bias? What if my new boss tells me I’m doing everything wrong? What if I have to move my office into the broom closet? What if I lose my job??

When I was young, my way of coping was to imagine the worst possible scenario and match it with a tolerable ending. Okay, I still do this. So even if the worst happens, I’ll be okay. Some new possibility will rise up and I’ll catch a ride, and it will turn out to be the best thing ever for me and my family.

But back to today, here’s a bright spot. I’m bringing a new carton of half and half for all my cups of tea this week, and I’ll write on it with a black permanent marker, “For Sharing!”

I leave you with my new photo for our college directory. It’s big, and that’s because I didn’t know how to make it smaller. I plan on using it for the back cover of Quill Point. Doesn’t it make me look bookish?

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.


Kent, Lisa_1.jpg




A chunk of change.

Good afternoon from warm and sunny Vermont. I just returned from Stowe, where I and my husband went out to lunch in celebration of our 23rd anniversary. Twenty-three years is a chunk of change. Every year, I ask myself, knowing how challenging our marriage has been, if I’d make the same vows. And every August 19th, I say yes. I remember in particular this homeade vow: “I promise to use the magic within me to warm and strengthen our relationship.” I recited this vow with such sincerity, such conviction. Of course, I had no clue what lay ahead for us. But that’s the thing about marriage. You go into it not knowing. And you learn along the way to fill in, survive, fail, or rejoice in the blank spots.

We don’t have a typical marriage, or typical kids, or a typical life. I know this not because I figured it out, but because enough objective people have told me so. Still, our dreams are typical. Tim and I want to learn and play golf together when we’re older. We want to meander across the country with a camper in tow. We want to fly overseas and soak in EuropIMG_0071ean atmospheres. I think the main theme here is time. We want to spend time together. And that’s what we did today. Perhaps this new year of marriage will bring us more of that, whether it’s sitting on the sofa and watching the Red Sox, or walking the Rail Trail with the dog. In any case, it’s been a good day.

One loose end to tie up. A reader posted the question, “Where is the Yes You May Cafe?” It’s a cafe that sits in a building Stella Ramone Queen owns in Hardwick, Vermont–a real town but a fictional character and building. It’s part of my next book, which I hope to finish by the time Quill Point comes out in July of next year.

Stella does dream work with dream interpreter Rose Lewis. There are things she needs to work out about her past, and since Rose lives just around the corner and discounts if you pay in cash, Stella feels Rose is as good a person as any to help her get the kinks out. Are you starting to get a feel for her?

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.




The clock, my friends, is ticking.

Good morning from partly sunny Vermont. My assigned editor for Quill Point is a woman named Sharon. She has exactly one month to make corrections and suggestions and return them to me. Then I have exactly one month to implement them and return them to her. The clock, my friends, is ticking.

Today is a delicious Sunday, because I don’t have to do a million things. In fact, I’m spending this precious day reading, knitting, writing, and visiting my dad’s grave and my mom’s kitchen table. Add a Red Sox game (if they are playing) and a few loads of laundry and two main meals, and maybe a walk on the rail trail with Scout, and that’s what I call a Sabbath.

Here is one thing I told you I would do and didn’t: running barefoot. Here is one thing I said I would do and am doing: heading toward zero-waste. Somehow, it’s important for me to keep track. Do you keep a balance sheet? Check in next week for another segment of Finding Home.


P.S.: The Yes-You-May Cafe uses local eggs, meat, cheese, bread, and fruit and veggies when in season. The rest comes in bulk from Costco. The owner keeps to a tough budget.

Blueberries Summer Fruit Healthy Fresh Swe




The little Martin and the big Taylor.

Good afternoon from humid, sunny Vermont.  This morning I dropped Liv off at Camp Daybreak up in the Champlain islands. I’m not sure if it was the right camp, however, as she didn’t recognize anyone milling around. Still, it’s the same place I dropped her off at last year. She would have called by now, right?

Yesterday several good things happened. My sister showed up bright and early to transform our garage with bins and storage units. Thanks to their all-day effort, I can now drive Mrs. Potts into the garage and back out without any obstacles. And all the bins are marked so I know exactly where things are. Thanks to them, I am no more embarrassed, ashamed of, or overwhelmed by our garage. Thank you Gisele and Franny!

Franny also brought a very chic rolling storage unit to better organize the girls’ room, now that they are sharing it. She waved her magic wand, and poof, the room got organized. Well, mostly–there’s still some sorting to do on Liv’s side.

Also, we met our old neighbors from Montpelier (they aren’t old; our time knowing them is!) at Lost Nation Brewery, and ate great food and talked up a storm. We are so lucky to call them both friends.

All this goodness came just in time, balancing the difficult weeks we’ve had with Serena trying to adjust to the air at Soft Landing. Her best breathing place continues to be in the hallway with her head facing the screen, and on the porch on her new zero gravity chair. Since this situation won’t work long-term, we are considering every possible idea, no matter how wild. Currently, as we wait to hear from our potential builder of her tiny house, Tim and Serena are planning a trip out West to find out whether she does better in hot, dry, clean air. I think it will do them a great amount of good to “get out of Dodge” for a while. More next week as things develop. They’ll go some time in September.

I have not received my first round corrections, so I’m devoting the spare time I have this week to playing my dad’s guitar and learning a few songs. The next time I go to Montpelier, I hope to drop off both of my guitars to get restrung and tuned up. The little Martin and the big Taylor. From my dad. That’s quite a legacy.

That’s it for today. Check in next week for another segment of Finding Home.


Wood, Tree, Outdoors, House, Nature





Good afternoon from sunny Vermont. A short post today because I’m behind, befuddled, and bordering on bezoinkment, which Serena says is a new word that means “very, very bad!” Actually, I’m just tired, my normal state. This next week I hope to get my book blurb finished and submitted, along with my idea for Quill Point’s cover. I want a small New England town scene with a hardware store, library, school, and a sidewalk. Maybe I can get the illustrator, who is from Russia, to come to Vermont for a few visits to some real New England towns. When you see the cover, think of this post.

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.


Town Street Main Street Quaint New Hampshi



The well had run dry.

Good morning from gloomy, rainy Vermont. This is my third time trying to post in WordPress. I’m not sure why the site isn’t working correctly. I just know it wouldn’t publish my posts. So it’s a new day and I’m trying again. Sometimes, if you ignore a problem, it goes away.

My book is coming out in July 2019, so I hope you all can stay with me until then. It’s a long time off, isn’t it? I’m now waiting for my first round of edits.

We spent last week in Harpswell, Maine–beautiful islands there, but the rental house sure gave us challenges. An hour before arriving, we were notified that the well had run dry. From there, it was all downhill in regard to house problems. Still, it was an amazing place to stay in an amazing location. I came back a bit more rested than when I left, so that’s something.

News on Serena. She’s moved back in with us so we can care for her better. We are going ahead with our plans to build a tiny house for her. We don’t know how long her sickness will last, and want her to feel as independent as possible. Hopefully she can move in by spring. We hope to find a handful of sponsors to partially fund it, but right now we are focused on finding the right builder.

We used my new (used) hybrid for the trip, and I love my car so much I drove it all the way home from Maine. While looking at a map of coastal Maine, I saw Potts Point. That led me to Sleeping Beauty, and finally a new name for my car: Mrs. Potts. Zoom!

Do you name your vehicles? Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.



The well had run dry.

The well had run dry.

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