July 30
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.


Jlsathre's Links

FEBRUARY 1, 2015 12:00PM

Disoriented In Mexico

When I opened a used bookstore several years ago, I knew I'd need some days off, but I also knew I needed to be open on at least one weekend day. I ended up closing the store on Sundays and Mondays and spent the next few years never knowing what day… Read full post »

The holiday season is a time for making lists. Wish lists, grocery lists, lists of presents you've bought and presents you haven't, gifts to return and gifts to keep, New Year's resolutions. The list goes on.

And, in my case, includes nonsense lists like "25 things I've learned from living in… Read full post »

DECEMBER 18, 2014 11:00AM

When Santa Speaks Spanish

My grandson has a very specific wish list for Santa. Batman and Play-Doh. Nothing else. No surprises. No binoculars that he's been talking about since September. Just Batman and Play-Doh.

But he doesn't want to talk to Santa.

"He'll speak Spanish, Grandma, and I won't understand him."

We've been thro… Read full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2014 12:37PM

Driving to Tapalpa

I spent last weekend with my older daughter, her husband and my two grandsons in the magical mountain town of Tapalpa. It was a good trip, with fun shopping, a quaint hotel, the best hot chocolate I've ever had, and scenery completely different from the cityscape of Guadalajara that I'm becoming… Read full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2014 11:06AM

Shopping With Pesos

The day will come, I suppose, when I'll find myself thinking in pesos instead of dollars. When that $169 price tag on the scarf at the H & M in the mall in Guadalajara won't feel like sticker shock.

But that day isn't here yet. Every shopping trip still makes me… Read full post »

OCTOBER 31, 2014 10:22AM

A Happy Halloween

We arrived in Guadalajara in August with a three-year-old who never remembers to stay in his seat at the dinner table but remembers every detail of the trick-or-treating he did once, nearly 12 months ago.

As the days grew shorter, and all he wanted to talk about was whether he should… Read full post »

OCTOBER 25, 2014 7:24AM

Learning Spanish From a Three-Year-Old

       After two months, I'm finding some things to do in Mexico besides walking. As of yesterday, I'm writing a column in The Guadalajara Reporter, an English language newspaper. This was my first piece.


There used to be a game show in the United States called, "Are You… Read full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2014 5:08PM

Kitd's Open Call: 5 Things I Love to Do

1. Walking my three year old grandson home from school. I walk him both ways, but in the morning we're usually in a hurry, particularly if he's stopped to have a bi-lingual chat and fist bump with the grounds-keeper. In the afternoons, there's no reason to rush and we have plenty of… Read full post »

1. This first one is easy.

I've learned that I'm a procrastinator. Kitd did this Open Call on September 29th. I read it and immediately said, "I'm going to do this. It'll be fun." It's now 15 days later, everyone's forgotten about the Open Call, and I'm just getting around… Read full post »

OCTOBER 7, 2014 12:02PM

The Perfect Paragraph

And then, one day, in his later teens, he looked up at the sand-swirled ceiling and recalled with fond nostalgia how he used to see the face of God up there, and only then did he realize that God was gone, that he'd lost track of Him a few years back.Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 28, 2014 1:50PM

The Tiger's Tail

In my last post, I wrote about getting familiar with Mexico through my daily walks--excursions that I enjoy and that have helped me feel somewhat at home.  

While that post was mostly true, it seems that I omitted a certain bump in the road that's found me eyeball to eyeball… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2014 1:56PM

Finding the Familiar

When you move from country to country in the foreign service, your car and most of your possessions follow behind by a couple of months. You arrive with whatever essentials you can fit in two suitcases, which ends up being too much underwear and not enough books. 

Someone meets yo… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 1:19PM

From Ashes to Snakes...

'When you're dead, you turn into a snake," my three year old grandson told me yesterday as we walked home from school.

"Where'd you hear that? People don't turn into snakes," I told him.

"Yes they do!"

"No they don't."

"Yes they do!" with a foot stomp.

"No! They don't!" trying for&nbs… Read full post »

AUGUST 30, 2014 12:33PM

The Wedding Present

Every time I pack up and move, I have the same two thoughts.

"Why am I still carrying this around?" and "I really wish I had held on to that."

The first usually refers to some dress I haven't worn in years, but can't seem to toss because someone once told me… Read full post »

AUGUST 25, 2014 9:12AM

Crossing the Border


Getting through the first two weeks here without a car, a phone, TV, internet, or English newspapers was its own sort of foreign experience.

Mexico, by comparison, almost feels like home.

The few hitches have come from my lack of Spanish and the number of khak… Read full post »

JULY 29, 2014 8:52AM

It Could Be Me

I've gotten lost every time I've tried to drive home from Reagan airport in DC traffic. The roads split too often, signs come too late, cars speed by too fast, and all the honking distracts me.

I've never been much of a honker myself. There's a likely beep of warnin… Read full post »

JULY 18, 2014 11:04AM

Write small

When my daughters were struggling to write college application essays, my advice was always the same. "Write small. Write about one small event or one moment in time, not the story of your life or your opinion on some major issue. You'll be surprised how the little moments will explain the big… Read full post »

JUNE 30, 2014 9:53AM

The Empty House

The two little girls walked out of the house and into the car crying. Loud sobs that I heard from a back deck across the street, two houses down.

They were leaving their empty house for both the first and last time. Toys gone, closets empty, walls bare. No bikes in the drivew… Read full post »

10. "My kids are perfect."

9. "My kids are near perfect."

8. "Extra butter please." (Actually, I say this pretty often. I always wanted to say it without guilt though.)

7. "They fixed it right the first time!"

6. "I want to thank the Academy, the entire cast, and my date, Robert… Read full post »

JUNE 15, 2014 12:32PM

Dad Taught Me Well

My girls and I had just moved into a new house and I was in the back yard building a sandbox. Our neighbor, a father of six, walked over to see if I needed help.

"I think I've got it," I said, as I dragged the last 2 by 12 into place.

He watched as… Read full post »

JUNE 11, 2014 10:49AM

Grandma Needs a Lock On Her Door

My sister called the other night. She thought I might have some advice to pass on to a friend who's moving in with her son and daughter-in-law to be the live-in nanny for her new grandchild. 

"So, this is what it's come to," I thought. No more requests for book… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2014 12:22PM

Run, Baby, Run

"Serious runners should move to the front," the man with the bullhorn announced.

No one moved.

Apparently, a 3K with no entry fee, no sign up, no time clock, and no numbers on runners' chests is not the most serious of races.

My grandson and I waited for the gun, watched his mom… Read full post »

After my parents died, my sister and I got out the letters that Dad had written to Mom while he was in Burma during World War II. They had never met at the time they started writing, but wrote back and forth for the last two years of the war. When it… Read full post »

MAY 22, 2014 10:21AM

The Origin Of Selfies

 A long time ago, in a generation far, far away...

Land lines ruled and princess phones with extention lines were the height of coolness. The internet was not even a spark in Al Gore's imagination and Kodak could envision nothing more futuristic than … Read full post »

I was in a store the other day when someone asked me what size I was.

It's a question with no easy answer.

I think of myself as a "4." But that's mainly because I'm an optimistic sort. I also think that someday I'll actually find an age appropriate dress at H & M… Read full post »