Tag Archives: books

Books & Reading: Legacy & Healing

My parents met because of books. Mom was a bookseller, Dad a book collector.

Books saved my life. For decades, I read compulsively first thing in the morning and last thing at night. They were my only constant: no matter how bad or good the day was, the words on the page remained the same.

The abused, wounded little girl I was to the young woman I became, desperately needed a constant. God had been blocked from me, as had any belief system or group of people — as part of that abuse.

Then I met this quiet 6’1 man who decided he was going to take the person he said was, “the most cynical person I’ve ever known,” and be the rock she needed. It worked, but it took years.

During those years, I still read compulsively. I opened the shop, in part to thank the literary world for saving my sanity/life. Then, at 45, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and the therapist, DH and I slowly but steadily unpicked the knot of my abuse and traumas.

My therapist said that when people get PTSD, the first thing which eases the pain becomes the addiction. In my case, I was 3 and it was books and reading.


(Not sure where I got the image, I’ve used it before, sorry!)

More years, more books, more healing. The store closed in 2005. Sometime afterwards, about the time I started knitting (2015), I stopped reading compulsively first and last thing every day.

I’d gotten to where I almost resented books. I had too many, they cluttered up my life and were a continual reminder of how wounded I’d been.

I count people who write, illustrate, publish and edit as some of my dearest friends. There are 6 books with my name on the cover, and two more scheduled to come out late this year or early next.

One of the future books is the memoir and that’s the period, for me, on the end of the abuse/PTSD sentence. If one person, just one, doesn’t commit suicide or tries to find another way — just once — the ten years it took me to write will be worthwhile.

Behind that 10 years are hundreds of hours of therapy, both effective and not. Also behind it are thousands of hours of reading: recharging my batteries, giving me hope, giving me respite, and telling me to try again and again.

Recently, I plucked a copy of Helene Hanff’s Q’s Legacy from a box. I was completely prepared to get rid of it, and will, but I hadn’t read it. I’ve read everything else she wrote, except her text books, and I skimmed those! So I picked it up and started.

In the course of reading about how she became the person associated with the Marks & Co. bookshop and all that happened to her because of that association, I found a new way to adjust for my past. Having books and reading is fine. It’s no longer my refuge, safety and salvation, it’s a pleasant way to spend some time.

I still have way too many books — but somehow, it’s hard to resent it.



Books & Projects

Well, I have a lot, right? That isn’t new. There are 5 books out there with my name on them (and someone else), with a 6th coming out in August September. I’ll post links to them in a bit. But there are these unfinished pieces too:

A book about me and my hubby.

The memoir, no longer called Teacup of Water by the way! However, this is the piece that’s the closest to complete.

The kitchen book. I don’t know if I can actually do what I wanted. The book I’ve always wanted is what I intended to write. I discovered that the reason it had never been done was that it is nearly impossible to do as I had conceived of it….

The frugality book (this is the least finished and will only get done if a proposed project actually flies.)

I had promised my co-editor that I’d probably have our new website up in April. There are technical issues DH is working on, he’s the webmaster. I have the content all ready, we bought the domains. But the framework isn’t up and working. Without that, it can’t fly. So I’m in “hurry up and wait” mode. He does tech support for a living and has had one or two long term problems to deal with in the past week or so. That puts computing things for the wife waay down the queue. So I hurry up and wait!

Sept. 2018: The website for the books with me and someone else has been put in place.

There’s another book project I didn’t talk about here, the cleaning plan and the workbook for that. There’s another blog on wordpress for that: sevenlevelssite.wordpress.com .


Tomorrow Was Indeed

better, although I’m still pretty discouraged. The antique store WILL take furniture again and the money issue I had with them has been resolved too — all good.



The shop where I had craft supplies for sale is undergoing a huge change of methodology, so I’ve pulled all my stuff. That will be the basis of my inventory for the flea market, next week. This makes things much easier, as I didn’t really have items pulled for a flea market. Had some but not enough.

I need to get to the antique store today, move in the Hoosier, pull the oldest things  and rearrange the space. I have new merchandise to catalog and put in too. I have a lot of stuff to do with a lot of “stuff.”

In the ongoing book purge, we took 4 books to a donation bin last night while we were running errands. That is still ongoing, daily. It may never be enough, but. . . .


Flea Market was a Success

We got rid of stuff, made a little money, and donated a batch of things which didn’t sell afterwards.

That was Saturday. Sunday we rented a truck and moved about 1/2 the storage unit. Tomorrow I get to work on this some more. Oh joy.

Not surprisingly, We’re both tired! We figure we picked up, loaded truck with, picked up unloaded truck to dolly and then picked up and stacked in the storage about 600 lbs of books. When you figure that we moved those books at least 4 times pick up from old storage, put in truck, unload from truck to dolly (only had dollies on the receiving end, they aren’t ours) then unloaded dolly to stack in new storage.

Both of us said, “Never again!”

I was surprised. I thought there were only hardcover and large format paperbacks left, but no, there were boxes of rack-sized paperbacks and magazines too. So, I’m sure our dump will be the happy receiver of some of those, as well as a few local libraries. I have a few books here and there I’d like to find, as well as a few authors.

(The image is NOT my storage unit!)

storage unit

There’s some obvious mostly junk boxes. Those I’ve started to pull out (there’s 2 in the car) and I’ll go thru them tomorrow before I go work on some of the others. Hopefully, I can get through those fairly quickly. The plan is that my helper and I will move the remaining boxes of books tomorrow. Then I’ll work on the odds & ends. My goal is to be out of the old storage by the end of the week. We’ll see! The move tomorrow may not go as planned, or any other piece of it may not. . . .


4/22 note: Didn’t make that goal. Still working on this, sigh!


Wanted to read a new book. My way of finding out if a book is worth the $ to buy it is to check it out of the library. This state has a great interlibrary service. Except my local, small library got computerized, I don’t (now) remember my user id (I could get that tomorrow) and we don’t have the necessary software to read books on my desktop computer. I don’t remember what the issue was, but DH didn’t want to load the reader software. I can’t read the book I “checked out” on my phone. So, I checked out an ebook, but can’t read it.

Just found 2 more books I wanted to look at. Solution? I’m going to bite the bullet and just buy them. This will make like 6 books I’ve bought in the past 2 months — for me, that’s nothing, but it’s irritating when I thought I wouldn’t have to buy anything at all.

Not that it’s a hardship to have books, it’s just that I already have so many and then I’ll have to get rid of that many more if I decide to keep these. And, I’m spoiled. I’m used to buying books wholesale, not retail. (Yes, I know, you have no sympathy — and why should you?)


I’ll look into the problem again, but I don’t remember what DH’s issue was, only that he had one. It could have been a software update was needed first or he didn’t have time right then, but I think it was technical. Until that gets straightened around — I guess I’m stuck with paper and ink books!

Doing a Major Purge

Partly because I’m sick o’ all the stuff, and I have an opportunity to maybe donate a large qty of books, without having to ship them. The shipping problem has kept me from getting books to dealers in IN and VT because I just can’t make myself spend the $10+ a box to give away books, when I can just put them in a box for free in many places.

So, there will be a lot less books in my life next Monday, one way or the other. Huzzzah!

Also, for a change, I’m selling things at the antique shop. In the past 2 months I’ve sold a bookcase, a pair of end tables, and a magazine/display rack. They were $20 each, which apparently is the  price point where not otherwise great furniture just sells. The bookcase was in fine shape, but it was tiny. The end tables were particle board. The magazine rack was painted plywood and had some issues. They’re gone.

What’s in the booth now is a large COVO tin with a lid and handles. It’s more than $20, so I have no idea when we’ll sell it. The image was swiped from ebay. Mine is in better shape!

covo rin


Also we have a Mermite tin. These are used by folks for motorcycle side cases. (It sold, finally.) Again, mine is in much better condition and the pic came from ebay.

mermite container

But no furniture. I have the last spinner, a banker’s chair and then I’m not sure what else to get out of storage and to the booth. I have a few pieces to get out of storage and bring home as well. And our old dining room table needs to leave here and go to the antique store as well. I have a bookcase I’ll probably give away.

We are planning on painting redoing the hallway and bookcases,but not acquiring any new furniture this year otherwise, so things should get fairly empty — I hope! With luck, I’ll be able to paint the living room before June.

That’s what is going on with us. I’ve been under the weather the past few days with a gum infection. And I’ve been writing books off, which I find depressing, but necessary!

Hope everyone is enjoying our early spring!


Being Parker Brown: Using What Works

Who’s Parker Brown? Parker Brown is a fictional character created by Nora Roberts. She’s a wedding planner and obsessively organized, etc. If you’re interested in the character, you’ll find her in The Bride Quartet books.

Many of my role models are derived from or are fictional characters because frankly, the people in my life family haven’t been people I wanted to emulate. In many cases, I don’t even want to remember the people in my life family. Is this their fault? To some extent. But what I do with what I’m given is up to me, not anyone else.

What media models do I use?

  • Dragonflight and Citizen of the Galaxy and other science fiction taught me as a kid that maybe I could survive hell and triumph in the end?
  • I’ve used “Hey Jude” almost since I first heard it.
  • I’ve used “It’s a Wonderful Life” most of my adult life too.`
  • I use romances, like the Bride Quartet books, to relax and recharge. My husband calls them my “mind candy.”

As long as I can remember, I’ve had people telling me, “That stuff is fiction, you have to deal with reality.” They didn’t understand that my reality was so awful that without fiction (or something) I would have been overwhelmed.

My point here is that you use what works.

For me academia/learning was a family trap. I  couldn’t ever learn enough: about literature, science, math, engineering, art, religious history, horticulture, animation, ancient art, etc. to be “worthwhile” as anything other than “the person to be better than” in my childhood home. Knowledge and data were commodities to be continually compared and contrasted (like living in a perpetual English essay!) — and I started at a disadvantage — I was the youngest by more than a decade. There was no provision made for me to catch up. I was supposed to be “interesting” and when I wasn’t? Well, obviously, I wasn’t worth spending time with or on. So, surprise? I did REALLY poorly in academia! Forget knowledge-based achievements.

Athletes were viewed as folks who were physical because they couldn’t do anything else (that is, use their brains). The fact that my close family consisted of two obese people and an asthmatic wasn’t discussed. I could have done athletics, but didn’t. When offered the chance, I hadn’t given up trying to measure up in the knowledge regurgitation stakes. (See academia, above.)

Money/Status/Power/Career was held to be more important than if you were happy/content/stable and was supposed to be the focus of your life. If you were nice to people, they’d be nice to you. If you made money and were nice to people, they’d be nice to you, and you’d be happy.

All of us endured some bullying, nerds do, obese folks do. And, although I was neither a nerd nor obese, I was tiny and emotionally flaky, and easy to rouse.

I’ve already talked about religion here. I won’t repeat myself.

The point of all of this is pretty simple: I had a dysfunctional family whose models didn’t work for me. It seemed impossible that I could ever do enough, be enough to be worthy, and in fact it was — because all of their insecurities would keep them from acknowledging that I’d done something worthwhile. I lived in a world whose models didn’t seem to work either. This left me few options.

Fiction worked when I was a kid and still does.

Do I want to be Parker Brown? Sure, I’d love it! Ms. Brown comes from a monied family, was loved, nurtured, and has the ability to love & nurture in return. She has 3 close friends and they’ve all been friends since they were small. She has a surrogate mother/housekeeper who is a caring individual. Sounds like heaven to me! Oh yeah, she’s also ruthlessly organized. She clears her desk every Sunday so she starts Monday with a clean desk and organized.

I cleaned my desk off last night thinking about Ms. Brown.

You’re welcome to get your role models where you’d like, most of mine come from fiction. And, given the background I’ve got? If you challenge me about it, I’ll likely get mildly nasty.

In my world? In my world, you grab whatever help you find, from any source, with both hands and are GRATEFUL. I’ll keep reading popular fiction; it’s the only way I ever believed I could have a happy ending.

You think it’s not worthwhile? Sorry, I know it is, for me.  (I’d have kept trying to kill myself or self-destructing another way without it.)

You can be a culture snob in whatever way you want. that’s on you. Just don’t stand in my light — I’m reading!