Sunday, June 8, 2014


On the weekends, I love to get up early (before my busy little family awakens), make a cup of coffee, go out to my porch swing in my pi's, wrap up in my blanket, and watch the world slowly catching up to me...Love watching the robins start to hunt bugs on my lawn, cocking a cautious eye in my direction every 2 or 3 steps, just to make sure I'm not a predator, love the sounds of the other birds waking up to their day and going about the business of doing whatever it is birds do, love the smell of the fresh, early morning air, before cars start spewing exhaust into the air, before various smells start to float out of windows and doors, and before my neighbor comes out for his early morning hit of marijuana, (which is followed by his mid-morning hit, lunchtime hit, lunch dessert hit, mid-afternoon hit, and so on and so on and so on, until he goes to bed...No wonder he lives at home with his mother). I love watching the sway of the trees and the movement of the clouds across the early morning sky as it brightens...Maybe it's a little romantic and cheesy of me, but I do love it anyway.

And, while I enjoy the serenity of the very early morning hours, I also love to hear the sounds of my neighborhood coming to life. By the end of each day, I usually feel pretty disgusted with people in general. The rudeness and selfishness that pervades our society in so many ways, both large and small, frustrates and confuses me. But, in the morning, my optimism flourishes. It feels like a fresh start each time. A chance for everyone to be better, to do better...

There's my elderly neighbor walking down to buy his morning paper around the corner. We always wave and smile, but we never speak, maybe because neither one of us wants to be the one to break the morning silence. There's the sound of the little girls across the street, 3 houses down, starting to giggle and argue and play. There's the increase in traffic on the street perpendicular to our quiet little cul-de-sac, joggers and cyclists passing by, people walking their dogs.....Ahhhhh, there it is -- the smell of bacon. Someone's always cooking bacon. There's my friend across the street, bringing her new puppy out to "go potty." She looks sleepy, still in her pajamas, rumpled from the night before, not yet ready to really begin her day.  The puppy looks like she's ready to roll and probably has been since 4am. That is, after all, how little ones of all ages and species tend to be, isn't it? Speaking of little ones, I can hear the high-pitched voices of my boys, mixed with the rumbling baritone of my husband inside my cozy little house. They're up. It's only a matter of time before the chorus of "Where's Mom?" begins. And, here come the wafts of my neighbor's morning marijuana breakfast drifting over the bushes....Time to go in. Optimism intact.

Cheers!  Beth

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Old Friends

I am a big fan of books. Y'know, books? They're roughly rectangular-shaped, usually come with colorful covers, and have pages that you actually turn by hand. They have a unique papery, inky smell that improves and deepens with time. Sound familiar? By the time my kids are reading this, I'm afraid  that books may be a thing of the past, like LP's and floppy discs. Everyone will just be glued to his or her electronic device, be it Kindle or iPad or, more likely, something brand new that hasn't been invented yet...People won't be able to hand off a well-loved book with coffee stains on the cover and dog-eared pages to a friend. We won't be able to buy a book from a musty, dusty secondhand book store, smell that uniquely "book-y" odor, read the personal dedication written on the inside cover and wonder about the backstory..... Who is "Aunt Marge" and is "Veronica" her favorite niece? Is that why she sent her this particular book? Are "Liz and Amy" still "Best friends forever"? Do they still share favorite books back and forth with one another? Is "Cheryl" still "Mark's one true love, always and truly"? (I get a kick out of imagining the stories behind the dedications!) You just don't get any of that from an e-book.

Now, in the spirit of brutal honesty, I have to admit that I have read a couple of books on my husband's Kindle and a couple more on my iPod. The convenience is nice, I'm not gonna lie. The back-lighting that means you don't have to turn the light on in the middle of the night when you're up with insomnia is kind of a sweet perk. And, at my age, being able to make the font bigger, so I don't have to find my elusive glasses or do that telescoping thing, where you're constantly moving the book towards you and away from you in little increments until your eyes can focus, is also kind of a sweet perk. Sigh. And, eBooks do save trees. It's hard to argue with that one.

But, it's just not the same... If you're escaping from life with a hot bath, a glass of wine, and a good book, and the book falls in the tub....No worries. It'll dry out, and the pages will have that nice, wrinkly, bumpy thing that will remind you, forevermore, of that relaxing time when you dropped it in the tub. You can't do that with your Kindle! And, as mentioned, above, you can't hand off a copy to a friend or leave it in the coffee shop or hotel for the next person to enjoy, which is one of my favorite things about books! You can't put it on a bookshelf with other well-loved tomes, where you can take a glance at your collection and immediately be transported back in time to the memories associated with the first time you read each one. Look, there's Watership Down, snuggled in between The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World and The Stand. And, there's The Far Arena, right next to The Lord of the Rings and Outlander. (Ahhh, my heart still flutters when I think of red-haired, Scottish Jamie...)

So, I guess I'm a hybrid. I will occasionally go the eBook route, but my heart will always belong to solid, old-fashioned, paper books. And, with that in mind, on this early Saturday morning, I'm going to put away my laptop, grab another cup of coffee, and curl up on the porch swing with my well-worn copy of Misery, which I'm reading for the umpteenth time, because Stephen King's writing just gets better the more you read it, as I watch my sleepy neighborhood (and my sleepy family) wake up and come to life...