Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Rog!

On a much happier, more enduring note, Roger and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary today! There are many, many reasons why I'm glad I married him! We've been a good match through the years, and I think we're making a fine life for us and for Jack.

I sure love you, Rog. Happy anniversary!


I think the past two months of publicly dismantling our business has caught up with me. If I had to choose one word to describe the way I feel it's brittle. Like if someone bumps into me the wrong way I'm just going to break into a million pieces.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yikes! 43 Years Old Today

A few years ago, I started a tradition on my birthday to help me feel like I was actually accomplishing something rather than just letting the years fly by. I started a list of unusual or particularly meaningful things that I had done over the years, and the number of items on the list has to match the number of years I've been alive. So every year I need to add one thing.

Things on the list include important milestones like graduating from college, marrying Roger, adopting Jack. I've also included things that make me seem more important than I actually am, like having dinner with the governor or having my picture in Business Week. I've included things that I loved doing, like becoming a certified scuba diver or going on study abroad to Paris.

I'm trying to decide what goes on the list this year. It might be going nuts and joining three book groups in addition to the book group here at The Read Leaf, but I'm not sure feeding an addiction qualifies as an actual achievement. It might be going to study Spanish with my sister in Mexico, but I don't really speak Spanish yet, so that one has to wait.

I think it might be starting this blog. It's a little thing in the whole scheme of things, but it's required follow through and that's something I can feel good about!

Friday, July 28, 2006


I'm beginning to get a sense of the weight that will be lifted from me when we no longer own the store. It's manifesting itself as I dream of traveling to far flung places nearly every night lately. I smell new adventures and freedom!

Here are just a few things I won't miss while I'm off exploring the world:
  • Enjoying an amazing book and then coming to a passage that means I can't freely handsell it in a market where the most often asked question is "Is there anything in this book that will offend me?"
  • Coming to work sick or reworking carefully laid plans because someone else can't work.
  • Telling Jack over and over and over and over that he has to wait because customers come first (not that it hasn't been good for him to learn patience on occasion!)
  • Cutting, pasting, typing, saying thousands and thousands of ISBN numbers. And I'm getting out of the business just in time--in January, ISBN numbers are changing from 10 digits to 13.
  • Serving customers who, for example, watch their child gnaw on a book and then leave without even offering to pay for it. By the way, I am exercising great retraint in providing only one example of the many varied joys of being open to the public.
I need a road trip!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

For Body and Soul

This morning I woke up early and decided to take a walk on the bike trail up Hobble Creek Canyon, which is about a mile from our house. Last summer I walked and ran on the trail nearly every day and felt fabulous! It wasn't just the exercise that made me feel so good--it was the sun and the fresh air and the connection to nature that did my soul a world of good.

This summer I've been on the trail quite a few times, but very sporadically. I plan to get back to making it a habit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jack Pics

Here's Jack with his two older half sisters, who came by with their grandparents on Sunday. So, so glad Roger's digital camera is working again!

News Coverage

Both major Utah papers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, published articles this week about The Read Leaf closing. Reporters from both papers came to the store to interview us, and we are exceptionally grateful that they wanted to cover our story.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Set Back

We found out yesterday that Jack's birthmom has reconciled with the father of the baby she's carrying. We also found out that she has health problems that might preclude any more pregnancies, which puts an entirely different emotional spin on this pregnancy for her.

According to her parents, who stopped by yesterday, the whole thing--their daughter's relationship and the possible placement of her baby--is still really up in the air. But I'm not sure how much of that is wishful thinking on their part coupled with sheer exhaustion from the emotional roller coaster they've been on with their daughter and her varied, generally unsuccessful relationships.

These are things I know for sure:
  • That we will continue to move forward on the adoption approval process so we are prepared for any contingency.
  • That if she calls either when the baby is born or even months from now wanting us to adopt her son, we will do it without hesitation.
  • That Jack is excited about having a baby brother whether he lives with our family or lives with hers, but, he says, "we'll be lucky if he comes to live with us."
  • That I want (need) her to make her decision to keep the baby or to place the baby freely, without feeling pressured into it by her parents, his parents or by us. (Actually, I feel pretty certain that she is immune to pressure like that!)
  • That if she keeps the baby, she will do everything in her power to do right by him, and that if she places the baby with us it will be because she wants to do right by him.
  • That if she keeps the baby, we will ask, for Jack's sake, to meet him and to see him from time to time as he grows up. And we hope we'll see more of Jack's two older half-sisters as well. I'm pretty confident that this is something Jack's birth mom wants too.
So there you have it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

30% off

Today we're dropping prices at The Read Leaf to 30% off lowest marked price (please spread the word to anyone who may be in the market for books and who lives anywhere near the Springville, Utah, area!).

We've still got so many great titles left. That's the nice thing about small bookstores. None of us can afford to bring in everything so we have to be highly selective. As a bookstore owner from the west coast once said at a trade show, "We might not have every book on orchids, but we have the best books on orchids."

Not that we haven't ordered in books that haven't moved.

Every night I update our database, celebrating when we've sold one of the quirky ones--the single copy of an interesting title I ordered in for the one customer who would delight in finding it--or one of the downright tough ones, like a special order that was never claimed or a copy of Bad Dogs or Clinton's My Life--fine examples of books that swept the nation but that we can't sell to save our lives (and, by the way, that was not an intentional juxtaposition of titles!).

Now when I update the database, I'm also doing a bit of mourning. Oh, that was the last copy of Bel Canto we'll ever, ever sell. Or Stargirl or Pride and Prejudice or Animals Nobody Loves.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Here's a wacky confession and today is just the day to make it.

Most of the time I was growing up, I lived at 713 Main Street. My parents still live at that address.

Almost every day, and sometimes several times a day, I see the number 713 somewhere. I catch the digital clock at exactly 7:13. A purchase I make comes to $7.13. I see 713 on a license plate. Someone at the store pays with check number 713. I pay our cable bill and our account number ends with 713. Today's date is 7/13.

It's actually pretty amazing how often I see 713. And every single time I see it, I think of home and remember that my parents love me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

At the Mercy of the Medical Profession

So the three of us--me, Roger and Jack--all have to have medical checkups as part of the adoption process. Roger and I have to have a doctor sign off on the fact that neither one of us is about to die from some dreadful illness. I'm sure Jack has to have a doctor sign off on the fact that we are feeding and nurturing him properly.

Basically it's all good. Roger and I are both overdue for our annual exams so this is a good push to get that done. I went this morning, and Roger has an appointment on Monday. But the soonest we can get Jack in to see his doctor is July 28, and we made that appointment nearly two weeks ago! We're pretty sure that the baby will be arriving earlier than his August 12 due date. It's just cutting it awfully close.

We're meant to speak to Judy at Jack's doctor's office to see if there is any way the doctor can squeeze him in. Roger called five times while we were in Wisconsin and could not reach Judy. I called yesterday and actually spoke with Judy (Roger didn't really believe it). She said she would check with the doctor and that I should call back today at 1:00. So at precisely 1:00 I called and was told that Judy had just left for lunch.


But now that I have written all of the above, the story has a happy ending. Judy just called and the doctor can see him tomorrow at 11:50. Yay!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back to Work

First day back at the store after a week of fun. I'm really doing okay! I think spending a week with lots of family, lots of sun, lots of water, lots of good sailing, lots of time with Jack, lots of sleep, lots of reading, lots of fireworks, lots of fireflies, no computer, no tv, no fast food, no car, no clock and no to do list did me a world of good. I can handle this transition. It's even starting to feel cathartic.

It's crazy, but I've spent the past five hours ordering thousands of dollars worth of books (special orders and school orders). And all the while, books are selling off our shelves never to be restocked (unless I really can't help myself, which happened this morning with Shannon Hale's books

I better get back to work!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Walking Away

I woke up the morning and realized that when Jack and I leave for the airport this afternoon, we're leaving The Read Leaf pretty much for good. "Storewide Liquidation" is now painted on our front window, and when we get back a week from now, it will just be a shell of its former self. The inventory is already noticeably depleted.

I had to come down here to the store to see it again one last time before we go and have a bit of a cry. I feel like I'm leaving a very good friend that I'll never really see again.

Okay. It's time for me to walk away.