The Friday Five!

1. It’s been a sad week around here, as my Aunt Bobby passed away last weekend. She was my mother’s sister, and a big part of my life, especially in the summers when she lived next door to us in Cape Cod. Bobby was the coolest. She was a voracious reader—I’ll remember her always on her sunporch, drinking coffee with a book in her hands—a Peace Corps volunteer, mother of three, grandmother and great-grandmother several. She worked at a bookstore, taught English As A Second Language, and loved a nice cocktail, but only after 5pm. She had the BEST advice about motherhood, wry and funny, and believed that most things could be solved by coming to the Cape and just staying awhile. More than once, I found her to be totally right. She was living independently until her eighties, when her health began to decline, and eventually she was moved to an Alzheimer’s unit, where I was able to visit her a few days before she passed. She was mostly sleeping by then, but I am so glad I got to just sit by her, tell her I loved her, and hold her hand. She died with the people she loved around her, and I know that in whatever Heaven exists she’s back at that table in the sunporch, book and coffee nearby, always ready to turn her head and beckon you in when you knocked on the door. She’ll be missed. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of her, on the beach, which, like me, she loved:

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2. In other news, my appearances for THE MOON AND MORE are slowly winding down. But wait: they’re not over yet! Tomorrow, Saturday the 3rd, I’m at McIntyre’s Books at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro at 11am. And then NEXT week, on Thursday the 8th, I’m at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, NC at 7pm. Then I get a nice long break before I hit the Book Festival in Austin at the end of September. Which I will TOTALLY need, as I am doing an event with Rob Thomas, YA author AND the creator of Veronica Mars, a show I am so obsessed with, even now, years after it ended. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I’m going to be MEETING him, much less expected to talk coherently in front of an audience. It’s a good thing I have time to prep myself. For more info on the festival, go here.

3. I just got back from a shopping trip with my daughter where I purchased—sob!—a lunchbox for when she starts kindergarten. Over on Twitter, it’s becoming a running joke that people tell me to put a dollar in the water bottle, like Emaline and Benji agree to in THE MOON AND MORE, each time I mention the end of summer. Which is totally fair. I mean, it’s only JUST August. But the truth is, I have to be getting ready, both literally (lunchboxes) and emotionally (oh my God my baby is going to go to school ALL DAY WITHOUT ME HOW IN THE WORLD IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?). I am better at the former, apparently, but just barely. I know this is a good thing, that school will be great for both of us, but each time I think about it…my heart just clenches. I keep reminding myself I felt the same way about preschool, though, and we ended up loving it. So it WILL be okay, because it has to be. But until then, I will just continue stuffing dollars in the proverbial water bottle and keep the tissues handy. Sniffle.

4. Before all THAT happens, though, I’ve been called for jury duty next week. This is a first for me: the one time my name came up before, it was in Durham right after we moved back to Chapel Hill, so I didn’t have to do it. ¬†Since I am reading in Asheville on Thursday, and may have report to the courthouse on Tuesday, I’m a BIT nervous that I might get chosen and throw everything all askew. I think you can ask to defer for a “good reason” but I don’t know if being scheduled to read in a town four hours away is one of them? I have been told I should bring a copy of the Malaprops signing flyer with me to make the point that I cannot, um, be replaced there. If all goes well, I’ll get excused when I call the night before. I do not want to skirt my civic duty, by any means: but this is kind of bad timing. Keeping fingers crossed…

5. Finally, a thank you to everyone who expressed concern and gave good wishes to my dog Coco, who had to go to NC State Vet School this week to see a specialist for her urinary tract issue. She was there most of the day Tuesday, and some Thursday, and the upshot is…well, we don’t know anything yet. It could be an infection, or irritation from a previous surgery OR something worse but right now we’re waiting on test results. Meanwhile she’s playing tug with Goose, biting my fingers whenever I give her a treat due to her utter excitement and running from my daughter, who keeps trying to bandage her with her first aid kit. So I’m trying not to worry. In a week when there have been a lot of transitions, some sad, some not, I’m just grateful for one thing to stay steady, even if it’s not the best steady. It’s not worse, at least. I have long been a person who has tried, and failed, to get things to that “perfect” place where everything hums along like a well-oiled machine. But I’m realizing, finally, that doesn’t happen. I saw a quote recently that said, “Life isn’t cured. It’s managed.” I’m just managing, these days, and that’s got to be good enough. And for now, it is, for Coco and everything else. This is what’s behind me as I’m writing this. I’ll take it.

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Have a good weekend, everyone!