In January 2008 we took the train to NY to see friends and art. It was a pre-dawn departure, and my husband, trying to cat-nap, wished aloud that his hoodie had more cushioning. So I sketched this idea for him, which he said was NOT exactly what he had in mind, but I think it’s an awesome invention. I can’t understand why I don’t already see them everywhere. I would like one just for sitting on the sofa.
The dinner hour is pretty much the only time the whole family is together, and we customarily begin the meal with a verse. Sometimes it’s our old standbys; but, to avoid the meaninglessness engendered by repetition, I have illustrated a number of the verses we use in homeschooling and keep a binder of them at the table. Some are seasonal, like this one; a few are humorous; many are simply reminders to be conscious of and thankful for our blessings.
I was looking through sketchbook-calendars and came across this drawing from a January 15 years ago, with Devin (about the age Eileen is now) and Jim playing a post-Christmas game of Enchanted Forest. How poignant it is from the perspective of 2010 to read the events so simply stated on an old calendar.
A few days before the end of the year I chanced upon (although I don’t actually believe in chance encounters) a book by Gail Blanke called Throw Out Fifty Things. The book is small but filled with humorous encouraging suggestions for detaching from our stuff, both physical and psychic. I can’t believe I’m promoting a self-help book on only my fourth post instead of something intellectually or artistically elevating for the new year. Oh well. Maybe it will help someone else throw out a few things too. That’s how we spent New Year’s Day here, out of necessity when the laundry tub overflowed. What a blessing in disguise.
On my list of things for which I am grateful is the public library, which I consider one of the greatest blessings of modern civilization and which is one of the first things I think of when I pay taxes. I have memories of libraries going back to childhood and recall wandering the stacks in cool semi-darkness, making my selections, then walking home on a hot summer day with a stack of well-worn cloth-bound books, prepared to curl up and enter other realms. Now I see my children with the same passion, choosing the library as a pleasurable destination: “Can we stop at the LIBRARY?” A world of wonders open to us all, free of charge. Thank you, Andrew Carnegie! Thank you, dear Library and Librarians everywhere!