Plant Pic, 101917 edition


The morning glories have invaded the honeysuckle. During summer, this simply will not do, as I don’t want it choked off. This late in the season, I simply admire the juxtaposition of colors and make note to keep an eye on things.


Pet Pic, Zen bunny edition

Wild rabbit with eyes closed

Wild rabbit with eyes closed

Our newest yard pet. We have found it numerous times just steps away, and today it has spent much of its time in the immediate vicinity of not only us humans, but the Lab assistant, who is 10 and pays it little mind.


#4 The Strain

Cover of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's "The Strain"

Cover of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's "The Strain"I’ve just finished this in the last five minutes, so my thoughts haven’t fully gelled.

I found The Strain as a TV show on FX, where Guillermo del Toro’s involvement instantly had my full attention. I loved the show, so learning there were books (!) that came first was immensely exciting.

On holidays, my children know I want books. For my February birthday, my son asked what was on my list. I mentioned The Strain and he presented me with the whole trilogy. He likes matching sets, he explained, and was concerned I wouldn’t be able to find the same edition later.

If you’re a fan of the show, there are character absences to get used to – Dutch, easily understood, and Eichorst. No Eichorst, taunting Setrakian as A230385? But he too is unnecessary in this new but older scheme of things.

There are several shifts and losses here – Setrakian from a God-fearing teen to a man who knows evil roams the earth with little to check it, Eph Goodweather from a doctor who heals to someone who must rearrange his notion of death and learn to kill. But I’m early into the tale, and these explorations are best saved for when everything has unfurled.

This book taps into the most exciting part of dystopia – when the world is crashing down and those left are still trying to figure out the new rules. In this case, there is someone who believes he knows the rules, but even he does not have all of the information needed.

You know how when you finish a good book, you wish it hadn’t ended, that there was more? That’s what’s so great about trilogies. I’m picking up the next one in just moments.

Yay for another library!

Little Library on a wooden post in Bay City, Michigan

I first saw a Little Free Library downstate when I was taking my dog for eye specialist appointments. Bay City, Michigan, where I live isn’t small by some standards at just short of 35,000 residents, but it’s safe to say that most trends show up downstate first and then trickle upward.

I LOVED this idea, so much so that on one of my last trips to the area, I made certain to contribute some books. I also wanted to host a library, but not all my home’s residents were keen on inviting traffic to the yard.

Bummer, I thought. Bay City could use this.

Needless to say I was quite excited to spot one the other day as I was driving down Center Avenue. I knew immediately what it was:

Little Library on a wooden post in Bay City, Michigan

It’s at 2600 Center Avenue, just two houses off the rail-trail, so an excellent location. But its contents seemed a little sparse:

Closeup of contents of Bay City Little Free Library

Easy to solve. I gathered five contributions without even dipping into storage:

Covers of five books

The storage and gardening books I got from a friend who was cleaning out a parent’s house; the first I won’t use after all and the second covers information I have in other books. The “last suppers” was interesting but I won’t reread it. The Barnes & Noble edition of Frida Kahlo I also am done with, but I’m hanging on to the Dali book.

I’m most thrilled to get my talented friend Karen Totten’s work into someone else’s hands. I wanted to give some poetry away and wasn’t sure what I could part with, then found I somehow had two copies of this chapbook.

My husband had seen me leaving with books, so when I returned he was surprised to see one in my hand – Marie Kondo’s tidying cult manual. “It’s a library,” I reminded him. “I’ll read it and return it.”

I’ll probably send it back with some paper friends.

UPDATE, April 10: We get one in our neighborhood! I contacted the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, which tends Discovery Preserve a few blocks from my house, to see if they would want to host a library. Turns out they’re installing one on Earth Day that was donated by the Bay County Library System and Bay City Noon Rotary Club, and plan to stock it initially with field guides and nature-oriented books for people of all ages. So now I can adopt that one.