USA Trip and Book Acquisitions

On Wednesday I got back from my first trip to the USA in two years. It was for the special occasion of my mother getting remarried, so was well worth the extra complications of pandemic travelling. While quarantining at my sister’s house for a week, I observed the chaos of a household with FIVE members in virtual schooling. When it all got too noisy for me, I’d retreat upstairs to read with Pierre the cat.

I also spent some time, as always, going through my boxes of mementoes and books in her basement. I later sold back several boxes’ worth of books that I’d weeded out, but of course I acquired more as well. Below are a super-belated Christmas 2019 gift, my Wonder Book haul, hand-me-downs from my stepfather, two Dollar Tree purchases, and my 2nd & Charles haul (mostly from the clearance shelves). Subtracting buyback credit, my total spend was $3.76!

Almost purchased, just for the title.

The wedding itself (and meeting my new stepfather and his daughters) went beautifully. We had hot but not unbearable weather, and bright sun for picture-taking. The below passage from Carol Shields’s The Box Garden, which I’d noted last year while buddy reading it with Buried in Print, felt particularly apt for the occasion.

I also acquired two new U.S. releases to review for BookBrowse.

I squeezed most of the new acquisitions, plus another 37 books from storage, into my suitcases. I focused on bringing back books I’m eyeing up for certain challenges, appealing memoirs, and books I want to reread (the far left stack below).

As for those mementoes, I made some amusing finds, including my childhood blankie; the “medical kit” I made at about age nine, inspired by a visit to the National Museum of Health and Medicine and my love for the television show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; and a few early writing attempts. “A Day in the Life of a Gangster” is a story I wrote at probably age seven. I love the old typewriter font, but my “About the Author” note was the funniest bit – I am so not a mystery reader anymore, and I doubt I’d been on a single proper hike at that point in my life. Newsboys: Take Me to Your Concert was my co-written entry for the Write-a-Book Contest in eighth grade, and What Is a Llama? I wrote and illustrated with my own photographs at age 14 as a county 4H project. I even won a ribbon and a cash prize in the random amount of $4.34.

Back in self-isolation here in the UK, I had seven review copies waiting for me, and another five have arrived in the last couple of days, so the cycle never ends: acquire books, read books, write about books, part with or figure out how to store and/or display books…

On with the summer reading!

27 responses

  1. Congrats to your mum! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! She deserves to be happy after the drama with my dad and years of loneliness.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely picture! Your interest in medicine goes back a long way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does! I laughed to go back through the explanatory booklet I made some years later and see all the things I’d scrounged and made and what ailments they were supposed to treat. This includes a blood-letting kit and various things that seem closer to magic than science, so I was clearly more in tune with ancient than modern medicine…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pierre! Heart-eyes emoji!

    Congratulations to your mother. Glad you could make the trip over and come back with suitcases full of books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pierre is generally very sweet and I am always glad to give him some extra attention while I’m over there. However, I accidentally touched his belly on my last night in the country and he gave me a nasty bite on my arm that has come up in a bruise!

      I wouldn’t have missed the wedding for the world. The books were a good bonus 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, kitty bellies can be tricky!

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      2. My seven-year-old nephew had explicitly warned me that, even if the cat rolls over and shows his belly, that doesn’t mean he wants it touched! I think it happened while I was trying to keep him from lying down on my book.

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  4. My jaw dropped when I saw you’d brought all those books back with yiu. Wouldn’t have liked to have to lift your suitcase!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Remarkably, I was only 0.6 kg overweight on the one, and bang on target with the other. With rolly wheels and a luggage strap to keep them together, it was easy even for someone of my small frame to drag them 🙂

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  5. What a lovely trip. Pierre looks beautiful (though ouch, I see from a previous comment) and congratulations to your mum. Well done for getting all those books back!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My seven-year-old nephew had warned me not to touch Pierre’s belly! I think what happened was that I was trying to rescue my book before he flopped down right on it, and I ended up touching his belly and/or feet as I reached under him. He’s overweight, but this photo captured his good side 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your mum looks RADIANT. Congratulations to her!! You (+sis?) also look gorgeous 😍 And yay, books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yes, that’s my big sister at left. My aunt said that this is the most at peace she’s seen my mother in years.

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      1. That’s awesome and says so many good things about your new stepdad. Hooray!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a gorgeous post Rebecca – that photo of you and your Mum is just lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What fun: I feel as though I’ve travelled right along with you! I’m so glad you have your own blanky now; I feel badly when items like that are stuck in a parent’s storage and not with their “proper caretakers” given that they are usually such well-loved items! That must have been one noisy household at times, but it’s nice to have a free place to say…and quarantine too. Betcha you’re glad to be home, though?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes and no. I’m glad the trip went well and the Covid procedures weren’t too onerous, but I had a sense of letdown as soon as the wedding was over. And much as I like a quiet household where I set my own routines, it felt like there was a lot more “real life” going on at my sister’s. My USA trips always leave me confused as to where “home” is.

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  9. What a wonderful reason for a trip! I’m so glad you were able to go. Totally worth the complications!
    I love seeing the photos of your family and Pierre the cat, and of course all the books. I spotted some good ones in there.
    I kind of want to know why Mug thinks he shouldn’t have picked Jug as a hostage…
    And, you didn’t take your blankie to University with you? I lost mine when I was 6, and nothing could ever replace it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I left you hanging on that story, eh? I must admit, I didn’t reread the whole thing! I went through all the mementoes in one go during my first full day of quarantine so that the task wouldn’t hang over me. (I was actually searching for some important documents … which I ended up not finding and had to order replacements for!)

      I guess I decided I was a proper grown-up at that point. (How wrong I was.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too bad you didn’t find your papers! But at least you got to look through some fun stuff. 🙂

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  10. I’m glad the wedding went well! Love the juvenilia too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t bear to read the stories in their entirety; they made me cringe! The llama picture book I made was pretty cute, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How wonderful–especially the wedding and the mementos. And more and more books. Sounds like a good trip!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was an odd trip in that there was a lot of waiting around at the start (7 days of quarantine), then a few busy days of errands, then a couple of whirlwind days of wedding events, and then suddenly everything was over and there was a sense of letdown. But I’m so glad I got to be there. Two years was a long time between visits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Two years is a really long time!

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