Archive | June, 2020

Walking with Lucy

30 Jun

The first walk comes early
out the back door
just as the sun is coming up.
It is followed by breakfast
and a nap.

The second walk comes later, still early,
as the street awakens with
cats, dog walkers,
and neighbors beginning
the journey to work.

The third walk comes mid morning
sometimes against her will,
mostly for my benefit.

The fourth walk comes after lunch.
On a sunny day
she might lay down on the sidewalk
taking a sunbath.

The last walk comes after dinner
her tummy full we take
one more turn around the street
before returning to the house
and she puts herself to bed.

0

 

Jinx

23 Jun

In 1982, I went to Denmark as a Rotary exchange student. I knew I was to have three host families before I left. I hadn’t expected though, how much I would love them.

In fact, I loved my first family so much that I wished I didn’t have to move to the second. When the unthinkable happened just before the move – my second host dad was shot in a serious hunting accident – I thought it was my fault. I knew  it wasn’t, but I couldn’t help feel that I was a jinx.

The good news is that he recovered fully and I came to love that family even more than the first. But the feeling of being a jinx has never really gone away.

I was supposed to leave for Chicago on Thursday. I was supposed to attend the ALA Annual Conference and meet the members of YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee, of which I am the chair. Even though I know that I am not the cause if the conference’s cancellation and transformation into a virtual conference, once more, I feel like a jinx.

Even though I know it was COVID-19’s fault, there is a wacky part of my brain that believes I caused it because of a journal I purchased.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was revisiting bookbinding. In my pursuit, I thought I’d search Etsy for a nice handmade journal for my niece’s graduation from the University of Ottawa. I found a lovely maker who had some with maps on the cover.

You know how shopping sometimes goes – you find the perfect gift for your loved one, and a little something for yourself. Well, I found a journal with  Portland boards which I knew my niece would love.

il_300x300.1704208556_qus5

And then I saw one with Chicago covers. I had recently started a journal to keep track of my work as committee chair and knew this would help me do a better job. I purchased both. And that is when I jinxed the conference, although I didn’t know that for several more weeks, when the announcement came.

unnamed

Our committee met this week using Zoom. Our discussions were fruitful and have moved our work forward. But I can’t help wondering what’s going to happen in January, when we are supposed to meet, face-to-face in Indianapolis to select our winner at the ALA Midwinter meeting. There’s been a lot of what if thinking going on in my head these days as I navigate the ongoing COVID crisis, wondering what school will look like in the Fall, when this will all end. Maybe you have experienced this, too.  The only thing I know for sure is that I will not buy an Indianapolis journal, no matter how beautiful it might be.

 

 

 

 

A visit to the library

16 Jun

School ended for kids on Thursday and for teachers yesterday. That’s big news. But the best news was that I finally went somewhere new.

In normal times, I go to the library at least once a week. My last visit was on March 9th. When it was announced on March 17th that public libraries would close, I regretted not stopping on my way home from my last day at school to pick up my holds.

Two weeks ago, Multnomah County Libraries announced that they would begin offering holds pick ups. The first branches would open on June 8th. My local branch would open on the 15th. I was elated. On Thursday, I called the number they posted and made an appointment for 10 a.m. on the 15th. I can’t tell you how excited I was.

I arrived early, but they were already open. There was only one person ahead of me so I stood on the spot that marked our new norm

unnamed-1

The process was quick and efficient. I walked up to the table that filled the library’s doorway and gave my name. They found it on the 10 a.m. spreadsheet.

“You have quite a few,” the masked librarian told me.

“I know. I brought a bag,” I replied, holding up my library bag.

She walked over to the piles of books in neatly arranged around the lobby and grabbed  my stack. Back at the table, she placed them on a tray and slid them towards me. I stuffed the books in my bag and she slid the tray back.

“Do you need to see my card?” I asked.

“No. They are already checked out,” she replied.

I had already read one of my new books, so I dropped it in the book drop. When I made my appointment, the person on the other end of the line told me that any books I returned would be quarantined for a few days before being checked back in. It seems a reasonable precaution.

As I walked back to the car, I looked through the library windows and saw piles of books stacked atop bookcases in the children’s section. Must be the rest of today’s pickups, I thought.

Through the next window, I saw the books in quarantine. Apparently, I’m not the only one happy to be able t use the library again.

unnamed

Frozen in Time

9 Jun

Lucy and I were a little ways down the street when my neighbor came down the front steps of the Normandy Court Condominiums where we both live.

I waved.  She waved. It was that strange moment when, before, we would have moved closer to each other to chat. This day, as we do now,, we chatted from afar.

“Can I ask you a strange favor?” she asked me nervously.

I assumed she’d ask me to water her plants. It’s not a strange request – we’ve watered each other’s plants before, but so many things seem strange these days.

“Sure,” I said. “What do you need?”

She went on to tell me that, despite walking to work instead of taking the bus, she’d gained almost 17 pounds. That led us to a discussion of self-medicating with carbs and the need for second breakfast. Then came The Ask.

“I’ve signed up for Nutrisystem,” she began, “and they are sending me a month’s worth of food. Some of it is frozen and I don’t know if it will all fit in my freezer. If it doesn’t, and if you have room, would you be able to store some for me?”

I smiled. It was a strange request, but I said yes. I went on to tell her how, in the first two weeks of shutdown, when toilet paper had disappeared off the shelves, and we all felt as if time had frozen and every day was the same, I stocked up on food in my freezer. I made batches of soup and chili and stew and packed the freezer. For weeks, I didn’t touch the frozen food, unsure about what was going to happen. Over the last few weeks, I’ve begun eating them. So, I have some freezer space I can share and told her so.

We chatted a little more, then Lucy and I carried on down the street to take care of business.

screen-shot-2017-12-02-at-6-09-23-am

 

 

 

 

 

On my street

2 Jun

When I first moved to the home where I now live, I noticed a patch of asphalt that had writing carved into it. It was a little hard to read, but it was a memorial  to someone who had been killed.

Yesterday, as I was walking home from Whole Foods, I looked up and noticed that the signcaps on top of the street signs had Amharic writing. I stopped. How had I never noticed this before? Were these signs new?

I was a little surprised to find that the signcap at the top of my street was the same. How is it that I never looked at the sign? I have a vague memory of noticing that signcaps had been installed a few years ago, but I had never bothered to read what they said.  Most of the signcaps in this part of Portland, just say the name of the neighborhood, so I never looked. I just assumed.

Once home,  I did a little research. I learned that the signs were put up on November 13, 2018 to commemorate the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, by white supremacists. That was a Tuesday, so I would have been at school and missed the ceremony that occurred.  And I put two and two together and realized that the section of asphalt I’d never been able to read must have been about Mulugeta Seraw’s murder. After doing my research, I went back out to read the asphalt.

It had been paved over.

So here I am, putting together a lot of things we’ve all been thinking about these last few days.

What are other things I have seen but never looked at?

What other things are being paved over?

How can I do better?

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: