Friday, May 30, 2008


I get so frustrated sometimes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Year Ago Today...

I bought Green Mountain Books and Prints.

and it changed my life. I cannot believe how much stress I used to function under in my previous job. I am so grateful that I've been given/earned this opportunity. I struggle for the words to properly express how delighted, content, truly happy I am doing the work of the bookstore. People often ask me how it has been, how things are going and I always tell them things are good, everything is fine, the store is great and so am I...this is true but it is so much more.

I am eternally grateful to my partner of 14 years who was obligated to get himself a full-time job to make this enterprise successful. Without him I certainly would not have been able to take this on. I am grateful and thankful for the previous owner of the store who did everything in her power to help me buy the store. I am thankful to all of the customers who believe in the value of a local independent bookstore and continue to support the store on a weekly basis. I am thankful to my family who had to give up much of their time with me when I left teaching and a teacher's schedule. I am full of thanks.

I am still scared. Afraid I will fail. Pushing through that and continuing.

Goals for year two:

Website, website, website.

More non-author events

Redo the childrens room.

Figure out a memoir section...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Camping, The Dems, and Reeve Lindbergh

Sleeping outside in a lean-to is the way to go. If I could I would do it all summer long. Friday I stayed up until 2am with a dear friend, just being together and really talking. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was the dawn birdsong, so loud!, so alive! and the sound of a nearby river rushing over stones.

I awoke and was immediately worried, places to go and people to see. I convinced myself it was late in the day and got up, it was 5:45. I went off to the showers, campgrounds have all the amenities (I live in a house with no running water or electricity, so a shower was heavenly), no hot water, but my hair smelled intensely of woodsmoke so I had to get in. The water was so cold it made my brain cramp. I got out as quickly as I could. Took another look at the hot water contraption and got it working. Ah...steam after the cold was so good.

I then had a 45 minute Tai Chi workout near the river and felt wonderful, full of energy.

Onward to the Vermont State Democratic Convention and book selling. I arrived early and headed into chaos. There were so many people just milling around...I eventually found our table, then went to wait for my colleague. She arrived, we set up the books and voila! started selling them. Okay she's set...onward!

To Green Mountain Books and Prints for a book signing with Reeve Lindbergh. This was crazy I tried to take a back route so I could go home and see my dogs, the town I tried to go through was "Closed". Okay, literally they said a major route was "closed". When I asked for the alternate route they told me there wasn't one. WHAT! I pulled out my trusty Gazetteer and found my own alternate route. Yipes.

The book signing was a success, several people came and the discussion was lovely. Ms. Lindbergh stayed for a couple of hours and then was on her way. So was I, back to the campground.

Back to the lovely river, a spinach and cheddar quesidilla, ice cold beer and horseshoes.

A day in the life of a bookseller.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blue Sky and Breath

Tai Chi this morning on the green grass with a light wind and blue sky. Birds, the only music, new green leaves a tapestry...breath.

I was fluid motion, movement without effort...the green of the leaves was piercing against the color of the sky, each leaf having a life of it's own.

I am centered, I am here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In this moment

Here I am in this moment writing. I am not doing a half a dozen other things I could be doing. I am here, now, present.

Life has taken on a pace that leaves me feeling giddy. My brain is functioning at a high rate, one much higher than anything my body could keep up with. In layman's (woman's) terms I am very busy. What tends to happen to me when life gets like this is that I forget all about the beautiful present moment and I focus on what's coming up, trying to plan and prepare, and I miss what is happening right now. I think to some extent this is what happens to all humans as they age, we focus on the future and take ourselves out of the now and then we say, Where did the time go? How many people have lived and forgotten to notice it?

I often wish I could find the focus that I very rarely fall into when doing Tai Chi. I stop noticing my body and my thoughts and I just am. Time slows down and I become more fluid, this has actually only happened to me once so far, but that one time occurrence leads me to believe it is possible, I know it exists that state of being where one just is. The reason I continue with Tai Chi is because these things happen, they happen often enough for me to believe anything is possible, that someday I will be filled with energy like golden light and I will feel it surging through me. Sometimes I feel I am on the cusp of that...

Here I am noticing, slowing down, enjoying moments, living...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Busy with Books

Wow, the Kunin booksigning led to bigger things. Hurrah!

Green Mountain Books and Prints will be selling "Pearls, Politics, and Power" at the Vermont Statewide Democratic Convention on Saturday May 24th. The former governor will be signing books at our table after her keynote speech. Hopefully I'll be able to move all of the stock I have. For some reason this makes me feel like I've arrived as a bookseller. Ego, ego, ego.

It is exciting to have so much going on with book signings and is tight right now, so all of these events make me feel hopeful that all will be well.

Actually I must remember that all is well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Post/Pre Book Signing

The book signing with the former Governor of Vermont, Madeline M. Kunin was a success!! It was actually really easy, much of this ease can be attributed to Ms. Kunin. She is a gracious and lovely women. Her discussion of the book was all I hoped it would be. I definitely highly recommend it to anyone. Her passion about the issue of women in politics comes through in her every word and gesture.

It was also great to have lots of community support. The Caledonia County Dems came out in full force and there were several women from the NEK Business and Professional Women. Also there were several people who saw the ad in the newspaper.

It was fun and interesting, but basically I'm just glad it's over and I don't have to think about it anymore.

I am hosting another book signing on May 24th. Reeve Lindbergh will be signing her new book "Forward From Here: Leaving middle age and other unexpected adventures". Reeve is a local author and I'm sure several people will be out to see her. The pressure here is different, I was told I needed to have a minimum number of people for Ms. Kunin's signing so that was nerve racking. Reeve lives in St. Johnsbury (one town over) and knows the bookstore well. She is a highly recognized author and I'm sure the event will be well attended.

It feel as if the summer season has begun.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Borrowing A Kid

My partner and I borrowed a kid for the weekend. Her parents went to the Red Sox/Brewers game on Saturday so she hung out with us on Saturday and Sunday. She is four.

Four is a pretty fantastic age to be and to be with. S is an amazing child, she has so much curiosity and really notices the magic in the world. I have known her since she was born and it is so interesting to watch her grow. Her stages of development are really obvious and she is now at a stage where she is really watching how people interact with each other. You can see her learning about men and women and men and women a way it's scary.

One of the blessings of being an Auntie is that I get to be with lots of children in a way that is so different from what a parent experiences. The children I spend time with are always happy to be with me, they listen when I give them directions (because I don't have to do it all the time.) and in general are very well behaved. I find this is not always true when they are with their parents. I don't think this is a safety issue, all the children I spend time with have known me for most of their lives, I think it has to do with the fact that spending time with me alone is a bit of a novelty for them, and I'd like to think that they have fun with me, I'm not too demanding, and they like me.

So if you have friends who are parents, be an ally, borrow a kidfor a day!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Signing

I am hosting an event tonight. Madeline M. Kunin, the former governor of Vermont, will be signing her book "Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women can Win and Lead". Great title huh? She is going to speak and sign books at our local library. I made this happen. (Just trying once again to stay focused on noticing my significance!) It is a big event and I'm a bit nervous, but mostly I'm excited to meet her and hear her speak.

The book is an interesting read for any woman, it is inspiring and real. She focuses on a lot of American women in politics and has quotes from them discussing what is difficult about being a female politician in a field dominated mostly by white men. She also addresses the unique issue that many women face, how to be a mother and a politician. She discusses time and how valuable it is, and how really there is none to lose. Another salient fact she writes about is the perspective women have on leading and how much it differs from the style most men lead with. She tends to see women building community and collaborating with others more often then men. This will be a powerful asset in the years ahead. The other piece of the book I really like is 12 short vignettes about different women leaders throughout history. She discusses who they were and how they effected change in the world. Overall it is a powerful book and I'm excited to here her speak about it.

I am a bit nervous about hosting and introducing and needing to be savvy...I am not the slickest person around, but I am good natured and will try really really hard.

The joys of being a bookseller.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

One of the things I love about Tai Chi is that it is possible to focus on the microcosm and have that in turn, effect the macrocosm. Physically doing Tai Chi makes me feel strong and grounded, I gain energy which allows me to effect the world around me. It gives me the strength to to what must be done...but also a focus, so I have attention for other people, I can listen and think well about them. I also like that focusing on working with and on my body leads me into thinking about my emotional state and how those emotions effect me physically. It is physical, mental, emotional, inner, outer, on and off, yin and yang... such a balance.

I like that Tai Chi is a centuries old practice, used martially and medicinally. There is a history there which feels important and profound. (It is one of the reasons I love baseball too.) It leaves me feeling connected.

"Be as still as a mountain,

move like a great river."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The End of the World as We Know It???

I am experiencing an underlying low level anxiety in my day to day life right now. It is all about money and what is happening here in the U.S with our economy. In a way I believe that this is the beginning of the end of capitalism. For this I should cheer!! However, as a business owner it also entails a lot of stress.

There are many good reasons why capitalism needs to come to an end and whatever needs to come next (hopefully something better, please. So far us white people don't have a great track record...) needs to come next. It is the transition that is difficult. I am willing to live through a revolution, but I'm also terrified of losing everything and everyone I have. I don't know if this will happen in my life time, but it is beginning to look more and more possible.

I just keep telling myself people will always need books. Especially as our communication systems break down and our lives become smaller. People won't travel as much, everything is already getting more and more expensive. A nice night at home with a cheap used book will probably start sounding pretty good to people. In addition to this books are good resources for all of the things we are going to need to learn how to do, preserving food, making clothing, making alternative energy sources, etc. I could probably have a nice little barter/trade shop.

Ah...the possibilities.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Some reasons put forth by notable Historians for the fall of the Roman Empire:

1. The changing character in native population brought about by pressure on porous borders.

2. The creation of an increasingly unwieldy and rigid bureaucracy whose survival is it's first and foremost goal.

3. The despising of the military and avoidance by leading families, meanwhile opening the offices to men to whom its ranks had once been closed.

4. The increasing concentration of the populace into richer and poorer by way of a corrupt tax system.

5. The aggrandization of executive power at the expense of the legislature.

6. Ineffectual legislation put forth with great show.

7. The moral vocation of the man at the top to maintain order at all costs, while growing blind to the dilemmas of ordinary life.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else out there?

Are we standing at a point in history now that will be looked back upon and recognized as the end of the American Empire? Is that a bad thing?

Or is it more than just America that is falling? When I think about Myanmar and now a huge earthquake in Western China it makes me wonder how much longer the Earth will tolerate a human presence wreaking havoc.

This world we live in, this country I live in, how does one continue with a quiet mind and a peaceful heart?

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Grump Uglies

Wow, what a wicked case of the grump uglies I had this morning. I awoke at 5am to the last of the dawn chorus, lovely wild birds twittering and chittering away. I should have stayed up, but the bed looked cozy and I crawled back in...mistake. The second time I awoke, one hour later, I was befuddled. I left the house and was not in anyway prepared for the day. Bad went to worse the closer I got to town. (Friday mornings are early because I have a breakfast date at the local diner and we have to be there by 7am.) I got to the store around 7:30am, we don't open until 10am; I decided to read and finished "The Darkness Under the Water". A YA book by a local author. (It comes out in September and is a very good read, I highly recommend it!) Still befuddled I headed next door to the bank to make my daily deposit. I was grumpy, felt dark and distant...then I was assailed by the scent of cedar mulch and KABAM! I was lifted out of the grump uglies into a glorious May morning. That scent woke me immediately and I fell back into myself. It was incredible.

Here I am back at the store, with fresh eyes and a light heart. Thanks be for cedar.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rampant Sexism


Sexism is destroying our lives. Men and women and children. I hate it that most men cannot show their feelings because of societal oppression. I hate it that many women cannot use their voices to show their intelligence. It is really frustrating. So many of us humans are not "allowed" to access our emotions with each other. Yuck.

There are so many battles to face in this world:
sexism, racism, anti-semitism, ageism, classism...the list goes on and did this happen to us as a species on this planet?? Why is it so hard for people to see that we are all equal, intelligent, creative human beings? Sometimes I just don't get it.

Educate, educate, educate.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Garden

The garden is calling my name. It is a perfect day to be digging and planting and getting dirty. However, here I am at the bookstore, looking at books on gardening and digging and planting and getting dirty. It is a bit disheartening. I wish I could choose which days will be glorious and which will be dark and rainy and let's face it also glorious. Saturday, Saturday, Saturday rain or shine I will plant spinach and peas and lettuces. I will till and dig and be happy.

Until then I will sell books. I will discuss religious freedom, racism, eugenics, babies, ogres and goblins, presidents, movie stars, Dora vs. Amelia Bedelia, Judaica, Witches, homeopathy, yoga, home decorating, sewing, fishing, birding, macrobiotics, and a plethora of other subjects. I didn't even touch on fiction... I will talk to people of all ages, class backgrounds, ethnicity and religions. I will make mistakes. I will be annoyed, thoughtful, grateful, hopeful, and impressed. I will sell books.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I ran into a customer I really like at the laundry mat today. He invited me for coffee at this great bakery just behind the laundry mat. (Yes I know, we are talking about little Lyndonville Vermont, we have one Laundry mat and one bakery, they just happen to be next to each other, making this description sound like NYC).

We are having coffee together, and I'm thinking about how the former owner of the store really didn't like this guy. She thought he was arrogant (he is a bit) and a general asshole. I think he is an independent thinker who is way outside of the box. He chooses not to pander to people ever. I like that about him.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I feel really great about our conversation. I was intelligent and well-spoken and I can tell that now. I'm not second-guessing anything about what I said or how I said it. A rare occasion, but one connected with knowing my significance I think.

Life is so very very good.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I went to a Re-evaluation Counseling workshop this weekend. (For more information on Re-evaluation Counseling click the link below.) Here is a piece of information/theory that I received.

It is important for human beings to know their own significance. When we doubt our significance we not only make it hard for ourselves, but we make it really hard for other people. When someone tells me I matter to them, by doubting them because I don't believe it possible to be significant, I demean them and their caring for me. Perhaps no one else in the world doubts their significance, but I certainly do doubt my own. This information makes it easier for me to work in the direction of knowing my own significance, to other people, as a human being. I've got a lot of work to do in this direction, but this knowledge is a beginning.

It is amazing how bad most people feel about themselves all the time. The reality is that we are all born good, we make mistakes, but essentially we are good.

I've also noticed that most people feel lonely most of the time. The reality there is that we are not alone, never have to be alone, and in fact are all connected as human beings, just by the virtue of being alive. (Pretty sweet theory huh?)

When you read this, take a shot at feeling good, not necessarily good about yourself, just good. And know that there is one human being out here that you have connected with and who you are important to.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Sister

My sister is three years older than I am. Tomorrow is her birthday. I will not be able to be there because I am going to a weekend long workshop.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have a sibling and not be closely connected. I often hear people talk about having brothers and sisters that they don't like or get along with; as far as I am concerned, my sister is one of the most important people in my life.

As the younger child I looked up to her and learned from her from the very beginning. Although I don't remember this I can observe it in other young children I know now. I am blessed with having a 5 year old and a 2 and1/2 year old in my life. I am very close to them and I am learning a lot about my relationship with my sister from watching them.

My sister has lived her life to the fullest. She is adventuresome in a way that I am not, but so long to be. She takes risks all the time and is very brave. In many ways she has always been my hero. We were not always so close, when we were young she lived with our father and I lived with our mother, we did not even see/communicate for years. Then she came after me. She refused to allow me to isolate myself and through her my life has become what it is, full, rich, vibrant. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for her.

She doesn't always remember to notice how really great she is, but I will always keep noticing for her and reminding her.
Happy Birthday.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


The energy that I talked about in my last post is out of control!! Life is speeding down the tracks and I hardly have time to notice I'm breathing. Things outside of the bookstore are very busy so when I'm at the bookstore I'm just waiting to get out and move on to the next thing. I've got to slow down.

I am scattered on the wind and fishing for something to write about. I've been thinking about the concept of time and wondering who came up with the idea that we could negotiate it into a 24 hour day. I've been pondering anger and the usefulness of that emotion. I've been thinking about my sister who is having a birthday in two days, which I will miss (physically at least). On top of a lot of mundane day to day things that need to be organized and dealt with...

at least I have the energy to do it all.

The Store

The Store
in all it's glory