Meet Agatha ... otherwise known as Ag, Aggie, Agatha Goop 'n Slime, and my favorite, Thunderella, because ... let's just say she was never light on her feet.
Do you have a dog?
Does going for a walk sometimes feel like a chore?
That's how I felt sometimes ... especially when it came to walking a nose-to-the-ground, scent-sniffing basset hound. Agatha liked to walk, but more than that, she liked to sniff and smell ... ALL the smells.
And more often than not, it meant we did a whole lot of stopping and not a lot of walking.
It was frustrating ... until I started looking around and discovered all there was to see. It changed everything.
And that's why I wrote, Things I Notice When I Walk the Dog, available this Friday, October 7.
It's a picture book ... dedicated to Agatha, to dogs, walking, and nature.
A book for dog owners, people who like to walk (with or without a dog), and children and adults alike who whine and whimper when it's time to walk the dog.
Things I Notice When I Walk the Dog is a delightful picture book filled with inspiration and insight. Throughout the book, there are more than 25 things to notice ... how many will you spot?
And how many things will you notice the next time you go for a walk?
Sign-up for the Waystation Whistle newsletter and get an email when the book is available to order.
I'm starting in on my next book: Birds & Birding.
As I decide what to cover in the book, it occurred to me a mind map would be a good idea.
I'd love to know what you'd like to see in a book about birds and birding. Send an email, or post a comment and let me know.
And what about you? Do you create bird art, go birding, or have some other bird related activity you might share? I'd love to hear about it.
And give them something to hold on to
It's hard being apart from the people you love and like best. Texts, phone calls, and social media are great, but sometimes it's just not enough.
What can you do?
Write a letter. Yes, an old-fashioned pen on paper letter. And mail it. Write to a friend or family member. Tell them you're thinking about them. Write about what's happening in the neighborhood, that disaster of a recipe you cooked last night. Or the yummy cookies you baked today.
No, it won't replace a hug or having a conversation across the kitchen table, but it will give them something to hold onto.
And people love getting mail. They really do.
Embarrassed by your handwriting?
A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice will help.
Was you school one of the schools that dropped cursive writing from the curriculum? Has it been a while since you've handwritten ... well, anything?
A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice has instructions for writing each letter of the alphabet, tips for improving your handwriting, and all you need to get started writing letters:
- ideas for who to write to and what to write about
- how to address an envelope
- where to the stamp
- how to set up your letter
For the love of books
There is a brick and mortar library in the neighborhood, but still, just five blocks away, there is a Little Free Library, a “take a book, return a book” exchange.
As part of our stay-at-home routine we walk around the neighborhood and every day we pass the Little Free Library box. Two weeks ago we put three books in the box and watched and waited to see how long they'd last.
The day after we put them in the box, one of them was gone. But then it took over a week for the second, and today, two weeks later, the third book was gone.
People love to read
Started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, the Little Free Library network has spread. In 2020, there are "100,000 registered libraries in more than 100 countries worldwide." People like to read.
Though book exchanges are not a new idea, the Little Free Library keeps a registry of each through a community website.
Build your own
The project has inspired readers and carpenters alike. If you're interested in having a book sharing box in your neighborhood, the Little Free Library site has plans and tips for building and installing your library.
Not sure? There is a delightful gallery of images on their Instagram site.
Wondering if there's a book box in your neighborhood? The Little Free Library website includes a map page where you can look up your location. That’s where I discovered there are three within just a couple of miles of where I live.
Maybe there's one in your neighborhood?
Today is World Book Day.
I thought of the library yesterday and realized, I miss the library.
Going to the library is my hobby, my passion, my pastime. It's where I go when I need information or am looking for a particular book. It's where I go when I'm restless.
Where I go to check out of this world and into another.
It doesn't cost anything, nobody expects anything from me while I'm at the library, I get to pick and choose what I like, and I leave with stacks of books that make me feel as though I'm holding all I'll ever need.
I'm hopeful the library will do curb-side pickup or find some way we can get books again.
I miss the library.
Clear the clutter, clear your mind.
So, I’ve got papers that need filing, drawers that need organizing, cabinets that are a jumble, and closets that ... well, you know.
January is Get Organized Month, and the biggest challenge I find getting and staying organized is setting aside the time. I tell myself I’m going to do it, and then I don’t. It’s frustrating and I'm disappointed with myself when I don’t do the things I tell myself I'll do.
But I’ve found a system that helps. A lot.
It’s the Pomodoro Method developed by Franceso Cirillo. It’s based on using blocks of time to get things done. Cirillo developed the method using a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato; pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato.
With the Pomodoro Method, you set the timer (usually for 25 minutes), take short break (just a few minutes), and set it again.
What I’ve found is that I’m still able to tackle big projects by grouping my work in multiple 25 minute blocks, using the short breaks in between to get smaller tasks done: file a few papers or organize just one drawer. It also keeps me moving and I'm not sitting for long stretches of time as I sometimes do.
I put the timer far enough away from my desk so I have to get up to shut it off.
At first I thought it would be too disruptive to stop every 25 minutes. In fact, I find the opposite to be true. Stepping away from my desk every 25 minutes helps me reorganize my thoughts, and with the short break I make progress in areas I wouldn’t have even considered while I was working on the project at hand.
I had a chicken timer for a while (couldn't find a tomato), but that busted, so now I use the timer on my phone.
Where did I learn about all this? At the library. The book, The Pomodoro Technique, was on display at the library. So I borrowed it. If you're not sure it will work for you, check and see if your library has a copy.
It's great for working, studying, and setting aside time for what's really important, time for your hobbies, passions, and pastimes.
What do you think. Is it tomato, tomahto, or something in between?
It’s National Handwriting Day and I’m excited to preview a page from my upcoming book: Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter.
The workbook brings together cursive writing practice and letter writing—one of my all-time favorite pastimes.
This page from the workbook features the "I Write Letters to Say" series that showcases the storytelling side of letter writing. And because reading cursive can be a challenge for a lot of people who have never been taught cursive, each entry features handwriting samples from different people.
The book is in the final stages of editing, scheduled for publication this spring.
What will you write about?
Today is Thesaurus Day
Finding the right words to express yourself can sometimes be challenging and a thesaurus can help you uncover the emotion, thought, or mood you're after.
For Peter Roget, words were an obsession (a passion, a hobby, a lifelong pursuit).
Starting when he was a young boy, Roget was so intrigued by words, he started making lists. List after list after list. Of words. A series of lists that would eventually become a book.
First published in 1852, Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words And Phrases, remains a popular reference tool. Today, over 150 years later, updated versions of Roget’s thesaurus continue to be sold.
On my bookshelf you’ll find a well-worn copy of Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus and another book, The Right Word, Roget and His Thesaurus, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Though the book is written for children, Sweet’s illustrations take readers of all ages on a journey of discovery. The book is a celebration of words, ideas, and knowledge.
If you love words, this book is a feast ... a banquet.
Today is Thesaurus Day and I hope that you, like Roget, will pursue whatever amusement, curiosity, or activity you find most rewarding.
Where words and paper come together