all the world's a page

You have been warned: I am all over the place with the following post.

I usually live with two people--the darling Birdy and my husband.

However, I've had guests these last two months, and I don't mean the fruit flies. I've been living with two more people, named Jamie and Claire. Claire is good to have around if you are bleeding or have suffered a concussion or if you need some really gross tea to drink. Jamie is handy if you want someone nice to look at, or to kill those who are after you, or to fix your leaky roof. I really like the two of them, and am sad to see them leave. I've gotten to know them over the last two months and have loved nearly every minute of it. Their family is great too, and I love hearing about them and their adventures.

The visit has been nice. It's their imminent departure that's a little strange. The main reason is because Claire and Jamie don't actually exist. It's hard to say goodbye to something that doesn't really exist, you know.

For you see, dear reader(s), Claire and Jamie are characters in the Outlander series, and I finished the seventh and most recent book tonight.

I'm feeling lonely.

When I'm reading something that interests me and has compelling characters, I get lost in their world. I become emotionally attached. I wonder what so-and-so would do if they were me, or vice versa. I become a part of the story. Which is great, but is also not so great.

When I finish a good book, I am a little emotionally, and sometimes physically, wasted for a period of time. It's like having a kindred spirit with you all the time who suddenly vanishes. I am left alone to my thoughts. In a way--and this isn't to sound dramatic, but the most apt way to describe it--I die a little when I finish a good book. If there is an especially sad part (Matthew dying in Anne of Green Gables, Dumbledore dying in HP6, the fricking whole of White Oleander [which isn't even a book I would dream about reading again, but an example of a story with a compelling character]), I can't really function the rest of the day. I'm so close with that character or characters that it becomes something that happens to me, and I'm dealing with it the same way they do. The story becomes something that takes place in my mind. When I'm reading, I have little comprehension about time passing or pages turning.

I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way. I'm certainly one of the few people I know who read so much, but one of the only people in my acquaintance who view books as friends. I regard The Little Princess, the Little House Books, The Twenty-One Balloons and others as real people, people who have helped me through hard times and exposed me to new ideas. My friend Brianna is the only other person I've met who I think might feel the same way about books or stories, but I've never really asked her outright. If I'm feeling a little discouraged, Laura and her Ma sort me right out. If I'm feeling lonely, Sara Crewe puts me to rights with her tale of abandonment and optimism. If I miss the particular thrill of a first love, then it's Twilight for sure. Each book and each character bring me the comfort of a good, old friend.

The stories I read simply become a part of me. I live a hundred different lives every time I look at my book shelf. It can be, in a word, exhausting.

However, it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can't imagine my life without books and stories. My mom in a way realizes this love of stories (she was named after Beth in Little Women). Every room I had since I was in kindergarten until I graduated high school had a specific reading corner--a nook in Pennsylvania and a window seat in Washington. She would also take us to the library any time we wanted, regardless of what she was in the middle doing, planning to do, or thinking about doing. I think that was one of the best things she ever did for me.

(Side note: I couldn't believe that I got to have a window seat in my room when I saw the plans for the house. It felt so...bookish. Like something a character in a book would have, which thrilled me to no end.)

Brandon loves reading too, though I just described to him how I feel about reading and he looked at me like I'm nuts. I don't really blame him. Maybe Birdy will understand.

I've just read all that I've written here. I think the following says what I mean in a more economical way:

I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson
photo courtesy of loxosceles


le sigh

I think it's finally happened. I can't say I'm surprised, given that anyone around me would agree that perhaps, just maybe, I read too much. Not that they would say it really, but I get smirks and glances when I settle down for a few stolen moments with a good book. And a few stolen hours in the evening. And during the day too, if Birdy is taking a nap. But anyway.

I think I may have reached the point in my life where I might have read too much. In particular, I might have reached critcial mass with historical fiction.

This is Birdy, eating her cheese and "bapples" for lunch, a la my Grandpa Bill.
See the nice plant in the right of the picture? It's a good plant. It's from Ikea. It also has had fruit flies in it for the last month, regardless of what I've threatened or done to them. But this time, at this lunch, I'd had enough.

So. I got out a toothpick (you know, like a pike).

And then I killed a fruit fly (which I thought about beheading, but realized that I didn't have the precision instruments to do so).

And then I put his body on the toothpick. As a warning to his friends and comrades that their time is numbered.

I'll just be over here, thinking about the things I've done. Don't mind me.
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burning bright in the forests of the night

You know what's weird?

My grandpa died Sunday night.

It seems very surreal. I go back and forth between sad and glad that he's no longer a prisoner of his body, constantly limited by what he can't do.

We didn't expect him to go so soon. He fell on Thursday night (some time after 8, when they go around and check on the residents where he lived), and was found Friday morning on the floor. They took him to the hospital that morning, and luckily my mom doesn't work Fridays and was able to be with him during the admitting process. He seemed very confused by the whole affair, and couldn't remember how he fell or how many people were around him when he woke up. On Saturday, he couldn't remember who was at the hospital with him the day before, though my mom and my aunt were both there all day. Sunday was the same. They also found out on Sunday that he had pneumonia, which when compounded by the small heart attack they think caused the fall as well as some breathing and swallowing problems led to bigger issues. The doctors didn't think that even with treating the pneumonia that he would be the same as he was before he fell, and would most likely need to be in a nursing home. My mom, aunt, and uncle had to make the tough call to decide that they wouldn't put him on antibiotics and to make him comfortable for his last few days.

We didn't expect him to go so soon.

My mom called me while she was waiting to pick up dinner for my her and my aunt when my grandpa passed away. I'm glad my aunt was there with him; I'm sure it meant a lot to her to be with him when he passed.

I'm also sad because Birdy will never be able to know the vibrant people that her Grandma Lorraine and Grandpa Bill were. She never got to have my grandma's Christmas pears, or her amazing pie, or see her paint. She'll never get to have my grandpa teach her how to walk on stilts, or to see him tie a fly, or smell cigar smoke on him when she would give him a hug. She'll never get to have dessert and coffee while playing rummy tile on their big dining room table, which was my first rite of passage into the cosmopolitan world of adults when I was ten.

That is what I'm going to miss--the fact that she'll never have those things; the things that mean a lot to me.

In honor of my grandparents, we had a friend over tonight and had dessert and coffee and played a card game. I have to say that while it was nice, it wasn't the same.

I miss my grandparents. I miss them a lot. I miss who they used to be. I always thought they would outlive us all by sheer will. Then, my grandma fell down the stairs and broke her collarbone, and it all began to move downhill. My grandma wasn't the same afterwords, and from the moment she fell they began to change. They both became old. They became frail. They began to loose the part of themselves that made them who they were to me. My grandma decided she had enough of it--she couldn't take care of her apartment, my grandpa, or herself very well. She decided (with that sheer force of will that she had) that she was done, and decided to stop eating and drinking. When my mom called and told me her decision, I wasn't surprised. The quality of life she had wasn't all that great and she was becoming increasingly frail. I admire that she had the ability and mental strength to decide that enough was enough and that she wanted to leave on her own terms. Would I do the same thing? I'm not sure.

After she passed away (her memorial service was on the same weekend we found out a family member miscarried her baby...it was a shitty weekend, to say the least), my grandpa became more distant and began showing more overt signs of dementia. My mom and her siblings got together and talked to him about not driving anymore, and about moving to an assisted care facility. Without my grandma to boss around (and her not there to boss him around too :-) ), there wasn't a lot for him to do. He would sit and watch TV for most of the day. His daily calls to my mom and aunt grew erratic, and all the siblings (and the sibling's spouses and grandchildren) noticed that things were getting worse. And then he fell on Thursday. And here were are.

I can't imagine what it must be like to loose both of your parents. I think about losing my dad and mom, and it fills me with such a feeling of loneliness. The people who have known you the longest and loved you all the time you've been on this planet suddenly not being there is so profoundly sad to me.

I went in tonight to Birdy's room and picked her up from her crib and hugged her for a long time. Someday, she's going to be old. Someday, she's going to pass away. And I hope, I really really hope, that she has people who love her nearby. I hope they are there to comfort her in her last minutes, even if she isn't aware of it. I want her to die a women who was well loved. I want her to be at peace in the end, even if her body is broken.

I want a lot for Birdy, but most of all?

Most of all, I want a lot of time on Earth with her, and I hope that she loves me as much as my mom and her siblings loved their parents.


I have a confession.

I want to learn how to sew. Badly. I want to be able to make things. Things like this:

And this:

And this:

Also, if I could think like the person (or persons) who get all the stuff for Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, that would be great too. And while I'm at it, I'd like to lose 60 pounds, sing opera, and go running every day.

But first, with the sewing, I'd need a sewing machine. And then I would need patience. And then I would need either Diana Brandon or Helen Louise Thompson living next door to me (or in my sewing closet) to give me constant guidance and validation. And then I would need a nanny because mommy would be too busy not sewing her hands to her latest project to make lunch or change diapers or play with blocks for the millionth time today. And somewhere in there, I'd need to get some fabric.

But then, if all those conditions are met, I could be a sewing master! The world would be a better and prettier place if I sewed. I promise.

I leave you with this, dear reader, do you have something you wish you had the time and money to do? And "taking a nap" doesn't count because everyone would do that, duh.

photos from grace violet, pottery barn kids, and heather bailey


super mega awesome sunday morning spectacular


It's been a good Sunday so far. Let me break it down for you, including the bad parts so that the good parts seem even better.

1. Birdy woke up at 7. Boo!
2. It's cloudy today. Woo!
3. I had Cinnamon Life today for breakfast. Woo!
4. Birdy had a good bath. Woo!
5. She cried a lot because Brandon kept coming and going. Today she's a daddy's girl. This is a boo and a woo.
6. I vacuumed already! Woo!
7. I ironed Brandon's shirt! I'm a wifey! Woo!
8. Birdy is asleep. Woo!
9. I have a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee. Woo!
10. Brandon has to work today because of preview tours. Boo!
11. Brandon bought doughnuts for the people helping with the tours, but they didn't eat them and now they are in our apartment. Woo!
12. I have coffee, a doughnut with Halloween sprinkles, and am watching Scrubs. Also, I don't have to drive anywhere like church because Birdy is asleep. I hate driving around here, by the by. Only going places like Target and Costco make driving tolerable. So, in conclusion of bullet #12, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, boo, woo woo.

Also, I'm making this and this for dinner tonight. Anyone who reads this is more than welcome to join us. And no, I'm not kidding.

Also, I ordered this last night. Get it? Brackets? It will only say "Brandon & Heather" since it already has 2 brackets on the side! Ha! You know you want mail from me so you can see the sweet stamp. It's okay. I'll send you something.

Also, and this is the last also, but I just went to Etsy's homepage and saw this. I think I'm in love.



To begin, on the news right now, a man named Raccoon is being interviewed. He is very clearly homosexual. He has a coon skin cap, a festive scarf, and large glasses. Toto, I'm not in Eastern Washington anymore.

Secondly, I've become a bit of a walker.

It all started a few weeks ago when Nicole (who is my first peep here) and I took an innocent walk to the park near by. Then we walked to the rose garden. Then we walked to the library. Then we walked to an awesome bakery. The bakery trip was today, and it was awesome. It's called Greenlee's, and seems to be a landmark here in San Jose. I had a chorizo breakfast burrito, and it was so good I nearly saw Jesus and/or a majestic unicorn. It was faint vision due to my eyes rolling back into my head, so it was hard to be sure. But be sure that if you come and visit, I'm taking you.

Nicole also has a daughter, who is just the bee's knees. She's just a bitty baby--5 months old. Birdy is becoming a big fan of her too, which has proven to be adorable. Yesterday, Birdy gave Nicole's baby a hug and a kiss. Adorable.

I do have some new photos to put up, I just have to get them off the camera. As many of us know, that camera might as well be on the moon with the frequency with which photos are transferred to my computer, so be patient grasshoppers.