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Welcome to my weekly update for January 7, 2024!
Last week was fairly quiet as I was just trying to catch up on things after the holidays. We’re currently near Asheville, NC, my hometown, for a few months with my husband’s job. We’re not finished traveling but we decided that he could work closer to home this winter so we could have more meaningful time with our friends and family. It’s been nice to see everyone without being in the rush we usually are when we just come home for a week or so.
I found out last week that the mom of one of my friends from high school passed away. My friend and I were drum majors of the marching band together. I spent a lot of time practicing with him at his house so I knew his parents well. I haven’t seen him in about 25 years but since I’m home, I wanted to go pay my respects. When I saw him, it was like those decades of time had never intervened. We shared the longest hug while we muttered about how we couldn’t believe how long it had been. There’s really no friend like an old friend, is there? Several of us from our marching band days showed up, so it was a little mini reunion. There’s also no friend like a marching band friend.
My husband and I tend to hibernate in the winter months here in the mountains of North Carolina so I don’t have many pictures to share. We did visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Historical Site back in November. I can’t believe it’s just over an hour from where I grew up and I’d never been before. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author/poet who may have been most famous for his biographies of Abraham Lincoln and his collections of stories for children, Rootabaga Stories. His home is beautiful (he and his family named it Connemara) but best of all, there are so many books, it practically feels like the house was built from them when you’re inside! There are currently over 11,000 books still on the property. Can you imagine? The view from the front porch is spectacular. Mrs. Sandburg wrote, “We didn’t just buy two-hundred and forty-five acres when we bought Connemara, we bought a million acres of sky!” She was a world-famous goat breeder and the site still has a small goat herd. We wandered out to the barn after we finished touring the home and combed the goats and petted the barn cats. There are hiking trails on the property but we weren’t prepared for that so we’ll go back when the weather warms up. At the end of the day, we drove to a nearby park called Jump Off Rock and watched the sunset.
This is the poem from Sandburg’s work that I’m most familiar with.
Fog by Carl Sandburg The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.
All images © Jennifer G. at Introverted Reader 2023
- Connemara, the Carl Sandburg home, sitting on the hill
- View from the front porch of Connemara
- A study in Connemara. Every wall was lined with overflowing bookshelves like this. Most shelves actually reached the ceiling.
- Sunset from Jump Off Rock
My Top Ten Books of 2023 (with my husband’s top three as a special bonus)
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe, read by Caitlin Kelly–4 Stars
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson
American Christmas Stories, edited by Connie Willis
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, written and read by Issa Rae
I’ve been trying to finish up a post that summarizes my reading year and points out my favorite books in various genres that might not have been highlighted in my top ten. Hopefully I can finally get that finished up and posted this week.
What did your week look like?