How many is that?

Two Million: How many is that? Since March 2020 I’ve been recording COVID-19 statistics. Every morning I check the official government websites for the latest numbers. I record cases in the U.S., Washington State, Yakima County and Belgium, where our youngest daughter and her family live. For a while, I could close my eyes and imagine 100 people dead by thinking about how many seats there are in a theater or several thousand seats in a stadium or the Mall in Washington D.C. filled with prone people, not the usual standing crowd. Eventually, the numbers got too big to imagine and the heaviness of heart that resulted also made me realize that this daily ritual, sandwiched between my time with God and going to work wasn’t very good for my soul.

So, now I am checking statistics once a week, recording the numbers, but I’m also realizing the numbers don’t register the loss in the same way. The numbers are too big. I can’t fathom that many deaths in a few month’s time. The thing that has changed, however, is that the previously nameless and unknown to me now include faces I know. An older, much admired woman, the brother-in-law of dear friends and a disabled brother of a friend in France are among those whose names I record so they won’t be forgotten when they are shuffled quickly out of a much-needed ICU bed for the next occupant.

Each of the two million have left friends and family. When that kind of pain is multiplied, my heart breaks. The muliplication of this loss all over the the planet is just causing exponential pain. Sometimes a dull ache, always a sadness that never lifts, and sometimes a fear that steals our hope and joy. And anger. How many lives were lost because of failure to wear masks and protect others? Is anger an appropriate response to this rampage of death, our final enemy?

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Revival of a Blog

I’m so pleased that WordPress doesn’t erase your blog even though it has been two years since you’ve posted. Just Some Thinklings was started to be a place to write about life, culture, ideas, questions, matters of faith, grandchildren, books, nature, funny events and just life. Life has been marching on, but I have changed some of my electronics at home. I have an iphone and an ipad, but I no longer tote my laptop home every night as I did for about 13 years. I bought a bluetooth keyboard a few years ago and loved it, but I accidentally left the tiny thing in a hotel room during a book convention. I didn’t realize it was gone until months later because I had been procrastinating splendidly and assumed it was safely tucked in my tote bag/briefcase. It wasn’t.

Writing on a ipad is awkward and slow. I type fairly fast, so my creativity flows better with a regular keyboard. Tonight, I bought a new one, hooked it up “my ownself” and am now transferring thoughts rapidly through my fingers once again.

As far as the media, I haven’t consumed much of it lately. There was that amazing Seahawks game yesterday. At least I heard it was amazing. I went to visit my mother-in-law with about 7 minutes left in the game. Those 7 minutes made history and they came from behind to win. A few hours later we watched Downton Abbey and were troubled by Mary’s choices, rejoiced with Daisy’s progress in algebra and worried for Bates. What is it about that show that draws us back week to week?


Published in: on January 20, 2015 at 4:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Lincoln and the Hobbit in the Land of the Impossible


It as been a month of movies for us. The weather has been mostly bleak, with our Valley inversion pressing down the clouds and the mood. But, my mood can be immensely cheered by a movie. I love going to the movies. I might love them more at home on Netflix if DISH network was not so slow, stopping to buffer and sputter at the worst times. At home, I tend to get very, very sleepy if I sit still, but the lightening of my wallet at the movies causes me to sit up and pay attention.

One of the most anticipated movies for us was The Hobbit. A couple of years ago, while on holiday in New Zealand (that’s how they say it: “Holiday”, which sounds so much more festive than a vacation) we visited Hobbiton, the site of much of the filming of the movie. We squatted to peer in Hobbit houses and walked where Bilbo walked. It was such fun to see how the sets were developed and maintained – down to the replacement of sunflowers and cabbages to match yesterday’s scenes and the application of yogurt to the fences to make them look lichen-covered. Watching it in 3D was a nostalgic return to the set for us. Gollum is so creepy, yet so pitiful, I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. And the song of the dwarves is still echoing in my head. Lovely set up for the next two installments, though the wait is long.

Lincoln did not disappoint and I thought Tommy Lee Jones as Stevens was fabulous. Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln were equally good. I loved the thoughtful, simple way that Lincoln determined to be the President that would end the evils of slavery. A great movie about a great man.

The Impossible was somewhat disappointing to me. It told the true story of one family’s amazing survival during the disaster, but though the disaster scenes were believable and sobering, the constant “Jaws-type” music from the first minutes would have been better left until the actual disaster. I think that normalizing the vacation anticipation and ordinary-ness of the family would have made a better cinematic experience.

Next up: Silver Linings Play Book

Published in: on February 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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They are Four W’s this year:




More WAKING (earlier)

Does this count as the WRITING portion?

Published in: on January 4, 2013 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why all the Pinterest Interest?


Sunday.  At work.  Learning about how to use a Pinterest page for the store.  I’m so excited about what Renee has wrought thus far!  The viral sharing of ideas and loves on Pinterest is going gangbusters and I love seeing the amazing creativity that people show.

I hope you will consider finding us, not only on Facebook, but on Pinterest!  All things to do with Inklings and the reading life.  Rad!

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  


A scattered Saturday.  A little laundry, a little frisbee tossing for Tilly, a little reading, a little book buying.  Lots of coffee, some tea and Pandora playing Rosie Thomas.  The house is quiet.  After spending 5 weeks in the rental car and a then two weeks trying to re-enter my regular bookselling life, complete with shared office and ringing telephones, this day was a gift. 

Grieving the loss of a pastor friend this week.  I’m thinking back to last Saturday when we sang Amazing Grace to him.  When I reached out to touch his arm when we left, I had the feeling he was going to be in heaven soon.  And he is.  There is grief, but also so many joyous memories mixed in. I think he wrote an amazing chapter for us about how to die. Next Saturday we’ll celebrate his life together and I’m thinking the church will be full.

I have a book review and an article to write, a presentation to prepare for and always more to do than I can squeeze into 24 hours.  But now I’m heading for my old green plaid robe and my nighttime routine.  Saturday night.

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 6:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Weak End. Strong Beginning.

On Friday, my mind starts to wander. I ponder what the weekend holds yet feel too tired to make plans. Often, a movie is the perfect thing when I’m feeling exhausted. Cowboys and Aliens, though it had a good rating on Flixster, was only mildly entertaining and weird. Harrison Ford makes any movie good, though A popcorn supper made the do-nothing evening complete.

Yesterday, a car ride with my husband included the Ellensburg Farmer’s Market where we scored a bag of nectarines and some late Rainier cherries. I was hoping to go to a family reunion, but we needed to stick closer to home. We tooled around, sipping a Claasen (best coffee drink in the whole world and found only at D&M coffee in Ellensburg, WA), spitting cherry pits out the window and enjoying each other’s company Sittin’, spittin’ and grinnin’! My current car read-aloud is Inside of a Dog by Alexander Horowitz, which is helping us to stop attributing human emotions and intellect to our pup, Tilly. Insightful, but I still think she looks sad when we drive away.

At church this morning we took communion. My prayers were for many friends who have needs right now. Finishing our morning with the newspaper, basted eggs, whole-grain toast and coffee on the patio while the summer day wrapped us up was so enjoyable. A nice visit with in-laws, a video of our granddaughter’s first words, a cool evening walk and now my couch and my book. Ahhhhh. I have so much to be grateful for. I’m also reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and thinking a lot about what it means to be happy. I guess thinking about being happy is a start and a good way to go into the work week. What kinds of things make you happy? I’d love to hear from you.

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 4:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Cue the Music.

It is Monday at 8:58.  I am a bookseller.  The store opens in two minutes. I am not at the store. I am sitting by my fire, in my robe (sorry, no picture – too scary). Two intrepid booksellers are at the store, turning on the lights, booting up the computers and already answering the telephone. Stashing their lunches in our little refrigerator and mentally calculating if coffee is more needed now or in the late afternoon, they may add a review to, or face a new book out after hearing an NPR review this weekend.

Cue the music. Nice browsing music. Seven days a week for over 10 years this dance has not stopped. It has officially become a Dance Marathon. Most days it is a rhythmic waltz and some days it is a frenzied Boot Scootin’ Boogie, but the Dance goes on.

They don’t just dance. They read! Reading is vital to the heart and mind of each bookseller. The bonus is that they also genuinely like people and are equally as interested in what customers are reading. They are honest, hardworking, undercompensated, and loyal. My customers trust them to guide them to their next book. One of the most wonderful wisps of melody that floats back to my attention in the office is hearing a bookseller tell a customer at the counter about the last book they stayed up late to finish. Often that will include favorite passages and animated hand gestures Some might call that handselling a book. I call that enthusiastic sharing with another human being about the things that enrich their lives. Music to my ears!

The most meaningful bookselling involves, perhaps requires, interaction and sharing of ideas, recommendations and favorites. That is what makes us tick at Inklings, and I dare say, at all other bookstores – especially independents.

So I, too, am a reading bookseller. Torn between staying here in my cozy chair and waltzing deliciously into Jonathan Evison’s book, West of Here, or getting to the Ball before the stroke of Twelve. Torn, I tell you. But my feet are itching to dance.




Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Glimpses of Glory

Thanks to so many of you who asked about our safety during the destructive earthquake in New Zealand. As you can read in my previous post, we didn’t feel it. When I last wrote we thought the fatalities and damage would be minimal because of the relatively small magnitude of 6.3, but it turned out to be devastating with over 160 people from all over the world losing their lives and an entire city’s infrastructure reduced to rubble.

Of course now, as painful and real as the Christchurch earthquake was, those reports have been eclipsed by the unimaginable numbers of dead and missing in the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week. CNN coverage was incredible as Jim and I actually watched live helicopter shots of vehicles, buildings, roads and people being swept away with little warning. Latest reports say that over 7000 lost their lives and 10,000 are still missing while radiation leaks from several nuclear facilities. Unquestionably, the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV.

In a blink we went from idyllic surroundings of warm weather and beaches, rest and no worries, to 24 hour coverage of terror. Many times during our vacation we heard Kiwis talk about their paradise, their Eden, their little piece of heaven, and I would agree it is the closest thing to that I’ve ever seen The reality, however, is that this is not heaven yet. it is a world of pain, and the glimpses we have of Glory are just that, glimpses.

So we can sit around the tellie, clucking our tongues and shaking our heads until the next happy thought flies by our window, or we can become glimpses of Glory to all those who hurt right now. A generous check for relief efforts, a caring card to an hurting friend, and for me, my presence at a memorial for a dear young man, my cousin, taken too soon, or so it seems to me.

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Zealand – land of extremes

A big earthquake in Christchurch on the South Island. Fatalities reported Hospital evacuated. We are safe and sound and significantly north. New Zealand, not unlike Alaska, has high mountains, big waves and swift streams. Earthquakes are fairly frequent but this appears to be more damaging than an earthquake of higher magnitude in September. Though there are no dangerous insects, snakes or wild animals here there are some other risky things to watch out for, in fact, there is a cyclone warning for tomorrow!

In the meantime, we are safe. Still safely driving on the right side of the car – left side of the road. Sun is shining, sunscreen applied and we are thankful we decided not to visit the South island this trip.

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 1:46 am  Leave a Comment