Be like a turtle

It’s April and the turtles are out again. In Burnett Woods, they are out on their log, basking in the sun, soaking up spring. The Spring Grove Cemetery turtles gather in large groups on rocks; some are so chill they don’t even have their legs out to make a quick exit. Legs in, eyes closed, heads directed to the sun, I think I can learn from them.

We’re not in that horrible place of a year ago; hope is there but all of us have weathered loss and fear. Maybe that’s why some days I feel like what the Brits call tetchy. I looked it up to see if my memory is correct and yep, “peevish” and “cantankerous” are right. What the heck is my problem? My kids are back in school; loved ones are vaccinated.

The turtles at Spring Grove. Some are so comfortable, their legs are in.

It reminds me how I felt when Calvin was done with chemo; exhausted. When you’re in the battle, it’s almost easier, as strange as that sounds.

I do have a lot of gratitude but I also have those down days that feel a little extra hard right now. I continue to take lots of walks; the trees are showing off right now. I look to my favorite authors and podcasts for relief. And guess what? I’m not the only one struggling with the balance of gratitude and sadness. It’s just who we are.

In Kate Bowler’s podcast, Everything Happens, I’ve found a lot of comfort and laughs. In an episode with writer Kelly Corrigan (love her), Kelly shares how she’s caught between moments of insight and seeing the big picture and “just like that I slip into the mundane irritants and I feel a sense of shame.” She seeks clarity/an answer with a mediation teacher and he says, “It’s like this.” I plan to check out her latest book Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Things I’m Learning to Say.

This tree reminds me of myself. A little battered but the blooms are pushing through.

I devoured Anne Lamott’s new book, Dusk, Night, Dawn. That Anne. For more than 20 years she’s been helping me and she doesn’t even know it. She addresses her fears, times of extreme tetchiness. Now that she’s in her 60s, she says she cycles through the hard patches faster.

Writer Glennon Doyle reminds us that bad days are going to happen and they make the good ones sweeter.

That’s what art does, right? It helps you.

The other night, my friend Samir said she loves being 40 because she just doesn’t care what people think and knows herself. I kind of looked at her in awe and thought, I’m 51 and for God’s sake, I’m still figuring it out. But I’ve always been a late bloomer.

Today, I’m going to try to be a turtle, legs in, face to the sun. Other days, I’m going to have my legs out, ready to jump in the pond. And that’s ok.

Martha Lee, Carol, faith

During the last nine months, my mother-in-law, Martha Lee, has been a bright light. At 96, she’s stuck in the house but has done what she does best – reaching out to others. She sends letters and cards to her large circle of friends and family.

My own kids have been the recipients of some Grandma artwork.

“Don’t tell them,” she said this week. “I’m making them Valentines with my crayons.”

She sent me a cookie recipe and traced her cookie cutters in case I didn’t have any and wanted to get some ideas.

If you know her, she also has a dash of sass, which is fantastic and funny. The last time this life-long Catholic attended my church with me, she threatened to genuflect. I told her no one would care.

And they wouldn’t. I attend Clifton United Methodist for the community, singing and message of hope, acceptance and social activism.

grandma and kids
Martha Lee, Calvin and Max on her 95th birthday. I wish I had a photo of her with Carol.

Two years ago, I read about an Interfaith Thanksgiving service at Hebrew Union College. The Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings had just occurred. Like me, Martha Lee was disturbed by the political climate and heartbroken by the hate. I figured she would enjoy the Interfaith Thanksgiving service, a gathering of Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Muslims, and Presbyterians from the area. She wanted to go and I asked my friend Carol as well.

Carol has ties to Hebrew Union College and her beloved mother Eleanor had passed away two years prior to this. I hoped the service and time with Martha Lee would be comforting. 

Martha Lee sent me tracings of her 50-year-old cookie cutters. We used the recipe she sent.

It was a small gathering but beautiful. Hebrew Union College is the largest Jewish seminary in North America and people of all faiths attend classes at its Cincinnati campus. 

Martha Lee made loud comments during the service, making me giggle. When the Rabbi told a story about World War II, she said, “I remember that!” And you know, she does, so I think she has the right to say it. 

The different faiths were woven into the service and I soaked it in when a group sang “Give Thanks to a Grateful Heart,” a regular song at my church. 

At the end, the Rabbi asked if anyone wanted to share a story of gratitude and Martha Lee stood up quickly, a force. She said that every day she is thankful for her grandson Calvin who had a brain tumor. And I find it pretty great that a woman who has lost her husband, siblings, three children and two grandchildren, still finds light and peace.

She told the story in her interpretation of events – not mine – but it was sweet and made Carol and I cry. 

“One day,” she said. “My grandson Calvin kept falling down and then he stopped walking. I said to my son, Eddie, you should take him to the doctor. Well, he did the next day and he had an 11-hour operation. Well, I prayed and prayed and today he is 9-years-old and just fine. And Julia, right here, is his mother.”

She looked at the group triumphantly. 

“Well, who wants to follow that?” asked the Rabbi. 

We attended a reception afterwards and Martha Lee was a hit, talking to people of all faiths, including an Imam and his wife, a physician, who in their late 70s took a shine to her. 

Martha Lee and Carol bonded and are now fast friends. They exchange cards and will visit again when it’s safe to do so. 

When I think of this story, it’s a balm for hard times and hope for brighter days ahead. 

A British chat show and diverse books

I found one of Max’s new favorite authors on a British chat show. If you’re not familiar with The Graham Norton Show, I suggest you look it up on YouTube or BBC One right away.

Graham, who long ago surpassed Ellen DeGeneres as my favorite, is a cheeky and funny host. His guests interact while sitting, chatting and drinking on a red couch. (This was prior to Covid-19) It’s looser and more relaxed than most programs and it doesn’t matter if you know the U.K. stars as they often are more amusing than the familiar American guests.

This is how I discovered David Walliams, actor, writer and comedian. (He’s wildly successful and his books are in 53 languages.) Max just finished Bad Dad, telling me I would like it.

When I pressed for more info, he said, “I just liked it. I know you’re trying to blog about it but I can’t tell you anything else.”

Max reading The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale.
(It is a graphic novel about Harriet Tubman.)

Fair enough. I read Walliams’ first book, The Boy in the Dress, a sweet story about a boy who …surprise…likes to wear dresses. The book captures the immediate fallout when he’s discovered and the eventual resolution that being different is a strength.

While writing about boys that wear dresses is easy for me, I’ve struggled how to lift Black and marginalized voices in this space since the death of George Floyd and many others this year. I’ve drafted a couple of posts, fretted and not posted. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing or coming across like I think I’m an expert (far from it) but decided not saying anything is worse.

Instead of looking back at the books we read when the boys are younger, I’ve turned to what they’re reading now.

I’ve found that the graphic novels Calvin likes to read are wonderful representations of the gender spectrum, Black, Indigenous and people of color and people with disabilities. These books have led to some good conversations at our house. The characters and the beautiful illustrations in these page-turning stories will stick with you.

A few favorites include:

For more resources, I recommend checking out the Kids’ Nook of my local and new favorite bookstore, Downbound Books. It’s an amazing shop with a beautiful and helpful website for kids and adults. You can have your purchases mailed or pick them up. 

Calvin reading

Calvin at Downbound the day before the world shut down in March.

Here’s a good article: These books can hep you explain racism and protests to your kids

Looking for a beautiful moment

I’ll confess – sometimes I’m writing a story in my head while it’s happening. I know I’m not the only writer that does this. You think to yourself, I can use this beautiful moment for content.

But that’s not how life works is it?

Since the pandemic, I’ve been visiting our local park almost daily. One afternoon, my husband and I were treated to the sight of six baby ducklings. They crowded their mama, much like my twins used to do to me.

The next day at lunch, I announce to my ten-year-old boys that we were going to do something fun and go find the ducks! It was a gorgeous sunny day without the usual Ohio humidity.

three ducks
The ducks as preteens. Photo by friend Megan.

I knew when they saw the ducklings they would love them but these days (even in a pandemic!) they often moan and whine about leaving the house. I wonder if this is foreshadowing to the teen years.

Underlying this is the fact that we’ve been trying to cut down technology all summer. A friend told me her kids have to complete everything on a list before they have technology time. This was not a popular suggestion at my house and honestly, my attempt didn’t last long since I’m working from home and my husband is at work in the mornings.

Back to my beautiful moment, Max and Calvin agree to ride bikes to the park.

Calvin is riding his new bike is a big deal. I feel grateful and hopeful, emotions that are hard to tap into these days.  

As they ride, Max zooming, Calvin quite cautious, I snap a photo. I think to myself, “I’m killing it as a stay-at home-working mom today.”

The universe put me in my place.

We go to lock up the bikes so we can navigate to the ducks on foot. A fight breaks out. The easiest of tasks often elicit high emotions.

We get down to the path by the pond and the rain has made it a mess. I tell them to walk around the path but this makes it worse and we sink. Calvin gets mad that his new shoes are muddy. This is my fault, of course.

We get to the dock where we spied the ducks and they are nowhere to be found. I keep up my sunny spirits and we look for turtles too. But everyone is grumpy and their lives are hard because I made them do this. They continue to bicker. Calvin cries; Max rides ahead. I keep my cool but am thinking, “I need to get back to my desk. “

I’m not having a beautiful moment.

Being a parent is like that for me. There are many times where I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing. I remember asking my friends when they had babies, “How do you know what to do?”

They would tell me, “You just know.”

I now understand how you can apply this to babies but each age comes with a new challenge and I still question myself. It’s exhausting.

You would think I wouldn’t sweat the day-to-day stuff since Calvin was diagnosed with a brain tumor when the boys were two. We’re lucky and grateful but the lasting repercussions of chemotherapy are not always easy. (Read more in a previous post.)

I get frustrated that people don’t understand but that’s probably just the pain I feel as a mother. One thing Calvin has struggled with is his balance. He used to fall down a lot and in preschool his teachers were very concerned. On the flip side, his doctors tell us they wish all kids with his tumor would do so well.

He’s improved with time. Last summer when Max got a new bike, Calvin wasn’t interested and we didn’t push it. This year, during the stay at home orders, he expressed his desire for a bike.

It hasn’t been an instant fix. He’s frustrated and wants to be as good as his neighborhood friends. He chose a pink bike and helmet. Calvin is always true to himself.

When we get home, I go back upstairs to work, leaving Max to pout about not getting the computer. Calvin decides to go out.

On his bike.

From my desk, I watch him bike up the street, slowly but surely.

Hey, I got my beautiful moment.

Calvi on a bike
Calvin on his bike

Now for the books

It’s hard to believe my babes will be eleven this week. I feel like I just wrote this post about them turning six. I’m excited to give them some new books and will share in the future.

Max has been rereading Charlotte’s Web. (Read about the first time here.)

One of Calvin’s recent picks are Snapdragon By Kat Leyh. (I loved this special book and recommend it.)

Walk, Annie, acorn, coffee, chit chat

On a hot summer Saturday I took to the streets of Clifton, trying to walk out my woes. At one point during this pandemic, my pastor David Meredith suggested stomping out my anger on a walk. But it was in the high 80s, so stomping seems hard.

I head to the park near my house – Burnet Woods. This gem (and sometimes misunderstood) of a green space has been a real gift during the pandemic.

The shade of the giant trees felt like a reward after my climb up the hill to the bandstand area. Trees surround this gorgeous structure and last summer was home to Wednesday evening concerts. Kids would run and play while adults danced, toe tapped and socialized.

bandstand in park

The Burnet Woods bandstand.

In early August, acorns are already falling. I stop to breathe and think about how Eddie and I would bring the boys here when they were toddlers. They loved picking up acorns and putting them in their wagon. The day of Calvin’s fateful but life-saving MRI, we did this walk to distract him and ourselves, I suspect.

Now we’re all dealing with COVID and things often feel hard and uncertain. I pick up an acorn and think, ‘Calvin is now ok. It will be ok.’ Certainly the days and months to follow were a series of highs and lows as he navigated brain surgery, chemo and recovery but he’s almost 11 now, healthy and happy.

I held an acorn and felt better. So, this is where I end my story with some advice that I know we’ll all get through this, yada yada yada but I’m not wired that way.

kids in wagon

The wagon days. I miss those little Justin Timberlake hats.

I walk down the hill back into the neighborhood. I see my friend Annie in her car and she pulls over. Annie emanates joy and comfort wherever she goes. Sure, she has her struggles but there’s something special and magical about her. She asked me how it was going and through my mask, I started to cry. It’s not like I forgot about the acorn and the wonder of Calvin but my problems didn’t leave in those 10 minutes. I’m not that Zen. But perhaps Annie is because standing in the hot sun, I feel better. Sometimes we just need to be heard and loved.

I walk to the local coffee shop and find my neighbor at the register. I often see this woman and her roommates walking her dog; during the shut down my entire neighborhood seemed to bond. We chatted and you know what, I felt great. Something had been restored.

Walk, acorn, Annie, tears, coffee, chit chat.

Maybe it’s my new mantra.

Stay safe friends.

Back with the books next time. 

Community in a pandemic

I sent my neighborhood friend a text. “It makes me happy to see you walk by my house……oh, I guess that is creepy.”

She sent me a creepy clown emoji and an lol.

I’ve spent the last weeks working from home in our bedroom upstairs while Eddie tackles the schooling downstairs. Sometimes, the sound of bickering floating up the stairs stresses me out. Other times, a cute kid will pop his head in with a question or story – even if I’m in a virtual meeting. Often, I realize the privilege of my safe perch – a bay window in our sunny room, a cat snoring on my bed.

When I’m not engrossed in my screen, I’ll give myself a break and look out the window. (I have to put my glasses on or it’s all a blur.) I have a spectacular view of our street – green lawns, spring blooms and whoever is walking by.

These days, my view and my daily walks have led me to ponder (when I’m not having a pity party, let’s be frank) my good fortune to live where I do. I think of all the people nestled in their houses, sheltering in place. I consider that I’m lucky to be able to visit a park, walk in a beautiful neighborhood and have six feet conversations with my multiple neighbors.


I’m lucky to be able to walk to Burnett Woods. I wish I had taken a daily shot of this view every day of the pandemic. 

Walks and chatting at a distance are a balm. My family ran into her our former next-door-neighbors a few days ago. It was lovely. Physically seeing them reminded me of how neighborhoods are made for connections.

My neighborhood friends have certainly both supported and celebrated with my family in the past. In my slice of community, I see kindness all around. My neighbors are stopping to talk as they walk their dogs (the poor dogs don’t understand why others won’t pet them) or work in their yards. Some are checking in on each other through phone calls and texts, dropping off baked goods and generally cheering each other on. I’m so lucky to be around these good people.

These are things I try to hold on to on the days it feels like too much.

Now for the books

Calvin has been cracking up at Mr. Wolf’s Class by Aron Nels Steinke. (There is a mouse called Dr. Cheese.) I think Max has started the third Harry Potter book. Honestly, we just need to get through the last week of school.

I just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. Two friends (hello Kathy and Harper) have been raving about it and they were correct – it’s good. My book club is reading Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. Also amazing. I feel like I’m making progress that I can actually focus on some good literature. (Shout out to Greg at Downbound Books for the delivery.)

Class of 2020

I need to recognize two special young women that are missing their senior year. My former sidekick, Meredith Morgan, and my Ivory Soap baby, Frances Porter. I can’t give them back what they are missing but I am proud of them both. (For Mariemont readers, their moms are Karen Sabo and Eloise Waters.)


Here’s Calvin and our favorite turtle. My kids have a thing for turtles

Checking in with Frau Connor

It’s fun when your cat has friends you didn’t know about. Frau Carol Connor, the librarian at Fairview German Language School, reached out to me that she knows our cat Freddy.

(If you’re wondering if this blog is starting to be a book/cat blog…who knows!?)

Frau Connor volunteers at Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay & Neuter Clinic (OAR) and saw that we had adopted Freddy. (She also knows Max and Calvin from school.)

“He’s special and a snazzy dresser,” she wrote. (Freddy used to wear a sweater due to his neck wounds.)

I had to take the opportunity to connect with her about cats, books and missing her students.

What are you missing about your library right now?

I am missing seeing 733 faces a week! I miss the regular students who come into the library every morning before school and exchange books.

I miss reading books to kindergarten and first graders and hearing them laugh.

I miss connecting students with books I think and hope they will love! I miss teaching students how to find books, use books for information, connect books to other aspects of their lives and I miss sharing the love of books with anyone who wants to come into my classroom. Gosh, right now, I even miss re-shelving books! Well, maybe not…


Frau Connor’s cat Oliver is 14. He’s handsome!

Any reading suggestions for students?

Keep reading! Many students have books checked out from my library and I encourage them to read them again or read them to a sibling!

  • They can access ebooks that we have in our collection as well as many more from the public library.
  • Students need to check the various platforms their schools are using; Schoology, Google Classroom, Class Dojo, etc., to find all kinds of links or postings of these sites as well as sites where authors are reading their own books. I hope to record myself reading and then post those too!
  • April is National Poetry Month and I have been posting poems and encouraging students to write poetry. What a wonderful way to express our feelings and emotions about this trying time with poetry. Poetry is a way to share a good laugh with poets like Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.

Just know that your teachers and librarians are working so hard to ensure that you are connecting with them and continuing to learn and grow.

We care about you so much and want to make sure we are enriching your lives as much as possible even though we are not together face-to- face.



Why did you become a school librarian? How long have you been a librarian?

Fourteen years now.  Librarian is actually my second career. I worked in engineering for a large utility company until I married and started a family. While at home with my three kids, I earned master’s degrees in English and education and started teaching part time at a couple of universities in Cincinnati.

I absolutely fell in love with the library at Xavier University and made many friends there. I decided that I  wanted to be librarian and my friend told me how. It was another master’s degree (!) but I went back to school once more. I started working at a public library as a children’s librarian and loved it. I found myself visiting schools and supplementing the need for librarians, as the need for school librarians was at an all-time high. I was able to secure a position with Cincinnati Public Schools and now have a wonderful career at a school I love.

Please name a couple of your favorite children’s books. 

Wow, that’s like naming your favorite child!

  • My all-time favorite book is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
  • A close second (because it mirrors the first) is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.
  • I’ll name some favorite authors/illustrators – A.A. Milne, Sandra Boynton, Mo Willems, Eric Carle, Chris van Allsburg, Kadir Nelson, Jerry Pinkney, JK Rowling. Smile

Let’s talk about your love of cats – how long have you been volunteering at OAR?

I started volunteering at OAR in September 2019. I have a good friend that has volunteered with them for years and she would reach out to me if they needed supplies, towels for surgery or food. I gave when I could or donated through Amazon.

This past fall, all of my children were off to college or on their own and I found that I had time to really contribute to OAR. I decided to start small with cat care,  a once-a-week cleaning opportunity. We have a set team each Sunday morning and a great leader, Liz. I love to sing to the cats as I clean their rooms and then cuddle and play with them afterward.

I feel it’s important to reassure them that they are in a place that is safe and where they are loved.

I also volunteer as an Adoption Host, which means you work at the shelter during adoption hours and talk about the various cats and try to match potential new owners to the perfect cat for them. It is so wonderful to see cats that may have been abandoned, stray or once feral, or sent to shelters for possible euthanasia, find a perfect home where they can feel safe and loved.

How did you start volunteering? What are the names of your three cats?

My friend encouraged me to start volunteering and I am so glad I did. One danger is that you want to bring home every cat you work with. I am so happy to see my little friends get adopted but have cried many happy tears when they leave the shelter because I will miss seeing them. I have always had a cat since I was seven years old. I am very partial to black and white cats because that was the color of my first!

  • I have had many cats in my life and currently have Oliver, 14, a big grey tom, who was dumped off with a litter at my veterinarian’s office.
  • Maggie, 13,  adopted me as a kitten when she walked into my daughter’s school while I was hosting the book fair. Maggie loves my computer and often joins me in my virtual meetings with other teachers and librarians.  She loves to play the virtual cat games on my Ipad.
  • A solid black grand cat, Waldo, 2, who was found in a Walmart parking lot as a tiny kitten.

Thanks, Frau Connor. Stay safe.

Now for the books

Back when my kids were in first grade, I wrote about volunteering at the school library. (It’s a pandemic – I’m trying to keep you entertained!)

My book club

My book club met virtually last night to discuss The Glass Hotel (thumbs-up). We had a surprise guest – our friend, Claudia, who moved to Woodstock, NY two years ago. A bonus of the pandemic? Claudia is picking our next book and joining us again on Zoom. It was fairly easy to pick a date this time – our calendars are open. 😉

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Fear and gratitude

A friend shared with me the idea that fear and gratitude can’t exist in your mind at the same time. I’ve been trying to hold on to this as I keep my “monkey mind” and anxiety under control.

(Monkey mind is often used in yoga to describe a restless mind – something I struggle with all the time.)

I don’t know about you but I’m not my best lately. Fairly often, I’m cranky, scared, stressed. I’m eating a lot of carbs.

My writing teacher, Mary Pierce Brosmer (know by some as Mary PB or Mary peanut butter and jelly) would say, there is light in the shadow moments. Here’s what I came up with when thinking about moments of gratitude and light:

  • Several friends, neighbors and coworkers have sent tokens of affection: a dinner gift card, brownies, cookies, a ceramic 50’s cat for me, cute mugs for the boys. A neighbor gifted the boys his old iPods after a conversation about technology and the boys wanting my phone while I worked.
  • Spending time one-on-one with each kid is rare and something I savor. Max and I went on a bike ride. Calvin and I chalked the driveway. We keep visiting our favorite turtles in the local park.


Calvin and I decorated the driveway with chalk.

  • We’ve been jumping on the trampoline. I very cautiously did a “butt bounce” today. “Mama, you’re pretty good for 50,” Max assured me.
  • IMG_2098

    The trampoline. Mama’s “butt bounce” not included.

  • Texts, calls and Zoom meet-ups have been fun. (My brother informed me his DNA is more Italian than mine! How can that be? I called him a meatball. Anyway, our Zoom call was good for my soul. I’m lucky my brother is also my friend.)
  • My 95-year-old mother-in-law, Martha Lee, made a homemade Easter card for the boys.


    Easter card by Martha Lee.

“She’s going back to her roots as a child,” Calvin said.

“I miss Grandma,” Max added.

We all miss each other, don’t we?

Keep safe, people. Hoping you are keeping the “monkey mind” and fear away as much as you are able.

And now for the books

My book club’s April pick is The Glass Hotel,  not to be confused with the amazing The Glass Castle. Max has joined Calvin in reading the Amulet books. I’m attempting to do an interview here but Max is resisting…stay tuned.

A story about Freddy by Margot

Hey friends, my niece, Margot Mace, and I have a lot in common. We love reading, writing and cats!

She hasn’t met our new cat – Freddy –  but she did write this cool story about him.

(Scroll down to the bottom for book suggestions that some you sent me, thanks!)

Thanks, Margot! When social distancing is over, you and Freddy will have a playdate.

Freddy, a brave and loved cat

Hi! I’m Freddy. And this is how I became a brave and loved cat.


I’m Freddy. When I arrived at the Mace/Rush house, I was sporting this sweater.

It was a day in December when I heard….“He’s got worms, so you won’t be able to adopt him, at least not yet.” A person said to a family with twin boys. This family was practically the only family that wanted me  I could tell that the mother kept eyeing me. And I was eyeing her. I really don’t know exactly where I was at the time, but I was sure it was a shelter. The people at the shelter called me Adam. But more than ever I want someone to take me home, like that family that had just been here and was probably coming back. Why I am called a rescue cat is because I was saved from a hurricane in Florida.

I’m missing teeth

I was in quarantine for two months because I had worms. Not to mention, they had to remove lots of my teeth and I have lots of scars. I looked a bit rough, but I was and I am a cute cat. By the way, the same family came two more times. But then the day I was waiting for came! They had taken me to their home that was now mine too. This was in late February. Once they had taken me home they decided to name me Freddy. Which in my opinion I think it suits me better than the name Adam. Speaking of names I quickly catched on to learning their names. The mom was named Julia and the dad was named Eddie. The twins were named Max and Calvin.


Sometimes I get a little wild.

One day I made a terrible mistake. I was getting vicious (because cats can be savage sometimes) and I bit Calvin! I felt really bad and I’m glad he forgave me. So, then I decided why not be a bit wild, but this time not hurt anyone. I went to my litter box and after I was done doing my business I just started running around fast! I’ve got to admit, it was fun. Also, I got to meet some of their neighbors. And a very sweet lady named Martha Lee. This is Eddie’s Mother. I liked meeting all those people because what’s better than being the center of attention?!

My sweater

I wished these scars I have would go away! I had been wearing this sweater to make sure I didn’t hurt the scar on my neck by scratching it or anything. At one point Julia had taken it off of me, but I couldn’t help myself. I had to scratch my neck! Sure enough Julia had to put the sweater back on me. I mean I guess that was the right thing to do so I wouldn’t injure myself.

As you can see I love my new life. I can’t wait for what awaits for me in this luxurious house to live in. It is way better than a shelter full of cats. So this is how I became and brave and loved cat. Because I am Freddy.

By Margot Mace


Margot and her cat Buzz.


Margot and her cat Galileo.

And now for the books

Thanks to all of you who sent me what you’re reading. I’m almost finished with Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. Max has discovered Calvin’s collection of Big Nate stories. Calvin was last reading The MidWinter Witch. (I love this one too.)

Suzanne Fountaine suggests Pachinko and is rereading the Elegance of the Hedgehog. (I give both a thumbs-up!)

Myra Pucci is reading The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek. She and Lisa Daumeyer are also reading The Dutch House. (Thumbs-up from me.)

Annette Christianson has read two young adult books The Poet X and On the Come Up. She’s also read the classic, Angela’s Ashes and some romance novels.

Abby Klare suggested In Five Years.

A request for my next post

Please send me any random acts of kindness that you’ve seen or received. Text, message, email me. Thank you!

Diary from an uncertain time

Friends, I’m not sure I have anything new to offer that hasn’t already been said. Everyone I know is worried about something – aging parents, incomes or sudden lack of incomes, those working in health care or grocery stores, isolation, parenting, you name it.

I have found some spots of humor. Who knew I would be talking to my parents about how many rolls of toilet paper they have?

I’m working from home, Eddie’s business is closed, the kids are home. Our new cat, Freddy, is loving the family time. (It’s a good time to have a new pet.) Sweet highs and hard lows give the day a rhythm.


One of the highlights of our week: Freddy got on the bed! He’s on the left, Lion is in the middle, Max is on the right. 🙂 

Technology – the thing I’m usually fighting about with my kids – has been helpful. Max and Calvin had a Zoom chat with their bell choir yesterday – they loved reconnecting with these friends.

I let Max FaceTime and play a game with another friend. Listening to their conversation while I was working was hilarious.

“Should we make these two horses have a baby?” I head Max say.

Our neighborhood kids are doing a daily LEGO challenge and texting the images to each other through the parents. I connected with two friends on a Zoom chat. It’s all helping.

I’m posting more on my Instagram channel @DistractedbyFashionCincy for a fun…distraction.

Now for the books

The day our libraries closed, Calvin and I went to our branch in its last hour. Was this smart? I don’t know. I wiped off all the books with Clorox wipes. They were already not accepting returns as that point.


Our last library hall. Lint Boy is one of our favorites. 

Reading has always soothed me. Since things shut down, I’ve read The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. (My book club met her once, yes we did.) I’m currently reading and liking This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillips. It’s one of the books I picked up on our library dash – it’s fun, a good distraction, and has serious moments.

My kids are making their way through their own books again. Calvin is revisiting favorites like Be Prepared by Vera Brogsol and Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Calvin and saw her in the fall.) Max is rereading the Wimpy Kids series by Jeff Kinney.

What are you reading?

If you’re up to it, send me your thoughts. I’d love to share in this space. Trashy novels, kids books, magazines, let me know.

Buying books?

If you are in the market for books right now, Downbound Books (a lovely new store) is closed but selling. Read the owner’s statement, Bummer Camp.

 Joseph-Beth and Carmichael’s are both shipping books.


Another kid on my pink bed. This one is reading Big Nate’s Greatest Hits. And his sweatshirt is coordinating with the decor.