Photo Challenge: Mirror

via Photo Challenge: Mirror

I do not have a post about a mirror.  I just wanted to comment on the picture of the airstream featured in the photo challenge.   Our daughter worked at the plant in Jackson Center and we took a tour this summer.  Interesting place that builds each camper as the customer orders it.  Our daughter’s time there is a reflection of her interests and her actions mirror our desire for adventures.



Humble Thy Self

Getting things rolling in the book store is stretching the boundaries of my personal comfort zone, and now I am beginning to get a new picture of how inexperienced I am.   The stuffed animals are so sweet and cuddly looking that the raw edges of my  are visible.  The elegance throughout the store is inspiring.  Each section carries a polished style rarely seen in a stately historic site downtown.

Just because it is a great adventure does not mean I am ready for business. Maybe posting a sign in my booth to state “under construction”  to apologize for the cluttered look would be adding to the chaos, so it is time to buckle down.  Just because getting started seems like a great idea, does not mean there is any congruence for the presentation.  Setting up an eye pleasing display is a gut wrenching experience and yet it leaves me very hopeful for what will be viewed as appealing.  Not there yet, a color scheme is not obvious.  The actual items are random and clunky feeling.  If only the center of the booth had an amazing furniture transition piece.


Expert – in Awe of the Night Sky


This was one of those hot days that led me to do the evening barn chores late.  When it is hot and muggy the goats do not eat much.  They instinctively know that high temperatures could bring on a sour stomach.  A goat is naturally a hundred degrees plus, when digestion begins their body temperature rises slightly.  To ensure they would get a good session of browsing outside their pen this evening I arrived after dark.  Sitting down in front of the barn on a clear night shows the most amazing light show in the sky.

Experts know what stars are in each constellation.  Experts know what heavenly bodies are stars, planets and whatnot.  It does not take an expert to enjoy the consistency of the night skies though. To provide that scene we recite all the time in verses from Psalm 23, I serenade the goats during their dinner. The verses that include ” You make me lie down in green pastures..” and also “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” remind me to hum or sing lyrics from songs in calming tones.  While listening to the patterned sound of tearing grass, a slow steady tempo leads me to songs from long ago.  I sing to them after dark so they know I am there listening and prepared to chase off any uninvited intruders.  The darker it gets outside the closer they walk near me.  Especially when I stop singing.

They were glad the temperature had dropped below seventy five degrees and it was not raining.  When the stars distracted me to the point of  silence they headed back into the barn. The goats act so brave during the day and will walk far away from me.  After dark they proceed with more caution.  Trying to explain why having goats that no longer provide milk and do not provide income is not needed when an invited guest joins us for star gazing.

When it is time to tuck the goats, dog and cats in for the evening we spend time around the back of the barn and face the northern sky.  By that time the big dipper and Cassiopeia’s shapes nearly jump out like store signs.  We have learned enough to know that between these two constellations is the little dipper and the north star.  No matter how the night sky rotates the north star is relatively stationary.  My thought is there is an expert involved in placing that map in the sky.  That provides me with a large dose of comfort.  When it comes to big things in my life, I have decided to leave the details to the experts.  That seems to work out.



Contract is Signed, the first stuffies are on the shelf. Relax

No picture today, just a breath of relief.  The grandson is home from the hospital.  My Mother-in-law is expected to return to her care center on Monday, and that date keeps changing.  Colleen and I are setting our ground work for how I fit into her business floor plans.  Price tags need to be placed, the book case needs to be filled with the initial selection of books and inventory lists need to be turned in for updating.

How does this seem like kindergarten for me?  How can I contain my excitement? If you see me in town, I might be annoyingly excited.  Do I sharpen pencils for my first day?  Do I plan to sort books and adjust signs?  Can I be patient enough for this business to grow from the seeds of excitement toward a mellowing of generosity and promises fulfilled?  So many questions and so much potential for learning moments.

The transition from peeking through the window to setting out our first merchandise for sale has been a Dorothy in Oz whirlwind of all thing expected.  Remembering to breath deeply enough to function has been a struggle.  So, then how is it that as I drove away from signing the contract to rent a space in the booktique a man stopped me to ask if I help veterans.  Then he said he needed something for a child.  Then he said something about how the internet had done him wrong.  I decided to ask him where he came from.  He said Minnesota.  Really, how did he say the state I am from?  So, I asked him what city he is from and he replied Minneapolis.  That floored me, so I asked what county that is and he said Duval or something odd.  That he shook his head and said that was not right and said Hennepin.  I laughed at him and said that is wrong, based on the first county he told me, not on the second and correct answer.  How strange that he named the town next to where I grew up.  I did not have a sense of peace about his request and drove away.  How very odd though.  If it was a scene in a movie, I will be waking up to an altered reality and everyone else will be living a parallel life.  How very odd.

Obvious- Leaves Me Cringing


When the picture was taken the cat in the tree seemed obvious to me.  Now there does not seem to be an image of a cat.  When a conversation centers around a topic that everyone else considers to be obvious, I stare at the floor wondering what is being discussed.  When I start to giggle due to the obviously funny connection others stare at the floor wondering what I see as humorous.

How can my perspective be so far away from the next person’s?  When the dreaded words “drive that way, you can’t miss it” are spoken I wonder what the person sees that is not obvious enough to me.  Every time I attempt to follow directions like that, I miss it.  If you want me to get lost just throw the statement into the middle of the directions, “you can’t miss it”.  If you had a G.P.S. tracker on my vehicle, it could prove to be quite entertaining.  The number of times I drive around the block again or turn around again has probably worn out more than one set of tires.  I tend to wear down the outer edge of tires due to turning and turning and turning around.  Is it possible that I may settle into a routine of getting there correctly the first time?

One of my goals is to be included in the subject that seems so obvious to everyone else during the correct time span.  I tend to be the person who gets a joke after the common level of laughter dies down.  I kind of sigh and say, “Oh, now I get it.”  Maybe the “Obvious” reactor in my brain is just a bit slower than those located in the brain’s of the people who succeeded in advance placement classes back in high school.  When will my reactions be in sync with the rest of the conversation?  That is hard to say, since I am still mulling over conversations from three days ago.  Obvious

Probably should be Offline, Quite a Storm

First day off work and at home in weeks.  As our grandson was born on the 11th and still in the hospital we have driven to see him several times already.  Worked six days in a row, so even though there is a thunder storm going on I feel like logging in some typing time.  My cover picture has a saying, “If you are cinnamon, you are new”.  The caption is over a herd of bison we visited before Sarah moved to China.  We travelled through Wisconsin for a family wedding and she insisted that we stop at the farm this time.  We got there just as the store was scheduled to close.  The owner was kind enough to stay open for us.  We purchased frozen meat, took pictures and talked for quite awhile about stuff.

When we went through the barn to the observation deck and looked at the herd, I got excited to see a cinnamon colored calf.  Sarah and the owner explained that for a short time they are cinnamon colored after they are born.  Since I am new to writing and learning how to navigate in the blog world, I think I am currently cinnamon also.  In the rush of getting Sarah shipped off to China, I had forgotten the name of the Bison ranch in Wisconsin.  After searching a bit online, I quickly found the name of the place.  It is called Silver Bison Ranch.  Now, on Friday, I will go downtown here in town to read through contracts to rent a space in the Silver Linings Booktique.  Interesting coincidence.

Life is getting interesting.  I wonder what Colleen will think of the name Silver Bison Ranch.  Have I even told her how comforting it was for us as we walk the halls of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and each leaf on the floor is outlined with a thick silver line.  The common silver thread is bringing more comfort while we venture into this journey one step and one book at a time.


Blue Bell Barn If you are cinnamon, you are new.

Miniature – Not My Comfort

As a tall person with a taller husband next to our very tall son, our daughters seem to have an advantage within the region of height.  Our barn cats are small though not miniature, our dachshunds are mini dogs.  Our son’s dog is a giant among German shepherds.  His wife’s dog is a tiny chihuahua and tells the big guy where he may be in their house.  The tiny dog could be described as a miniature dog with a big presence.

Some small children refuse to say hello to me as they see a giant and probably think about how scary they are in their stories.  If I am sitting or behind a cashier’s counter many children are calmer about my size.  When a child has that look of “how could one person have that much tall inside and out” I often squat down to a more regular size and their eyes seem to draw back into their sockets.

We do not get to pick our own size, so getting fussy about how people react to something we cannot control leads me to giggle.  The rare crack about how the weather is up here leaves me to wonder.  Professional weather guys are not considered accurate.  Maybe folks are asking for a more accurate weather prediction so they can be prepared?  If giving someone the scoop on what is coming up for the weather is helpful, than it could be worth a try.  Getting a weather rock might be just as helpful.  We have several rocks at our garden plot behind the local food pantry and in our garden at the house  also.  Our yard at the house is large, and our house is not.

Most of the rooms in our house are small although our house is not miniature.  When the grand-dog walks through the doorways with me the house seems too small. When my feet hurt, walking to the back door seems too far away.  Our bathroom is tiny, but since the interior walls and cabinets are missing as construction has halted, it feels larger than usual.

I would love to have draft horses such as Halflingers and Clydesdales and when it comes to considering cattle I would enjoy managing a herd of miniature Dexters and miniature Jerseys.  Maybe the idea of big cow pies is less appealing than little cow pies.  The smaller cattle are more in line with my vision for homesteading as the smaller sizes are a more accurate image of the heritage of farming.

Miniature can be a confusing word as I see doll house furniture and hundreds of pounds on a farm animal and they share the same descriptive word. Speaking of jersey cows, it is time to drive to the local FreshStart Farm for fresh milk.  The store is small and the glass jugs are filled with milk from the cows I say hello to as I drive up the driveway.  There is nothing small about the taste of their dairy products. If only I could give you a Fresh Start FarmMiniature glimpse of how wonderful their cookies and cream milk tastes.



The new chapter has begun

Since September 1st is just around the corner, and contracts are being drawn up, it is time to make an announcement or two.  Silver Linings Booktique will have a new addition downtown in Sidney.  BlueBell Books will be presenting Squishable stuffed creatures and used children’s books.  The first glimpse is in the store now.  A rocking chair and dresser set are on display and the price is being considered this week.  The furniture arrived so fast there is not a picture yet.  I do have a picture of our grandson though.

Our grandson, Roman James, has arrived a bit earlier than expected and has had a bit of a rough start.  Fortunately, he is receiving wonderful medical care and plenty of snuggle time to let him know how excited we are that he is here now.  The silent keyboard is due to the trips to see him and working extra hours at the grocery store.

Check out Silver Linings Booktique on Facebook to see the new Swan Creek Candles and also vintage items for sale.  This is a special place and is a wonderful addition to our thriving downtown business community.  Stop by and check out the new uses of the old building.  Gift giving will be easier than ever with our ever changing selections of books, boutique jewelry and furniture.

sleepy time roman

No Joke – Believe Has Been Our Main Word This Year

Believe Paintings

No joke. This is another book that we  purchased last week.  When the cases of titles were stacked in the kitchen and in everyone’s way, I sorted one case at a time to find books of high enough quality for the Silver Linings Booktique in downtown Sidney.  As the case was approved from the initial sort I “randomly” set this book in a box closest to my nightstand.  Somehow I imagined having the books along the edge of our room might inspire dreams as we prepare for our new adventures.

My lights were turned out and it was time to roll over for the most comfortable sleeping position.  A glow caught my eye.  What was it?  Just a reflection from the street light sneaking through window blinds?  Not sure what the glowing bit was, I turned the light back on only to realize the title of this book glows in the dark.  I charged the front cover under the light bulb for a minute or two.  Then I set the book across the top of the box so the title glowed in the dark.  What an amazing way to fall asleep knowing our main word for this year was glowing right next to me.  I kept opening my eyes to see it boldly glowing with all of its encouragement.

I chuckled several times today thinking of how “Random” it was to have the glowing book set within my range of sight.  I am sure those are not chicken feathers in the wings in that painting.  How many sets of hands have handled this book before it came to rest next to me the night before I discussed plans to sell children’s used books and other merchandise at Silver Linings?

Today, I  met with Colleen and discuss where I fit in with her business plan.  How does my vision for business fit in with hers?  We talked today and she showed me around the building. We began to see parallels in our ideas that had us gasping, getting chills and forgetting to finish stories.  A couple of times we might have even finished each other’s sentences.  Contracts need to be drawn up, vendor agreements need to be arranged and schedules need to be penciled in our calendars.  Some of my space in the booktique will be in vignettes.  I hope this is how it is spelled, the word for the cabinet is too cool to misspell.


Are you chicken?


Are you chicken when it comes to new adventures?  When we moved here to Sidney we were going to open a bookstore downtown.  That was 2003.  We do not have a bookstore downtown yet.  How time has slipped by without getting established near the courthouse could take entire chapters to describe without many interesting stories to catch your attention.   It is time to face my fears and decide, am I too chicken to jump into a smaller version of our dream?  This may be the tomorrow I have been planning for since 1999.  There was once a song that has that line, “Dance like it is 1999”.  Even though it is currently 2016, it is time to dance.  The announcement will be posted after agreements are made, handshakes have been exchanged and papers get signed.

The picture is of a welsummer rooster and his hen.  These are some of my favorite chickens, since we have ten years of pleasant chicken memories and the sweet attitude of this breed.   We do not currently have chickens.  Something took all of them away.  One day we had two dozen chickens, and then we had five.  The next day we had two chickens and then we no longer had chickens.  Instead of replacing the birds that were mysteriously removed from our barn, we chose to return to our original goal of opening a bookstore.

Our options seemed to disappear each time we got a lead on a building.  Instead of taking that as a hint to not pursue this dream, we pursued other angles for getting started in business.  Dead end after dead end has left our business plans in cardboard boxes and in notebooks filled with what if plans. Our chickens were brave and were not able to protect themselves from a predator bend on their destruction.  Will we be protected as we venture out as pioneers into the business of matching customer needs with our inventory and services?  Will we just mysteriously disappear like our sweet and gentle chickens?  We will have to get started with the moments of tomorrow in order to test these waters.