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On Broken Hearts and Second Chances


So, I had a heart attack 3 weeks ago. Apparently, I was dealt a genetic joker. 2 stents later I’m still left with the prospect of further procedures of the coronary kind.

Not something you plan for at 48. Nor is being a type 2 diabetic. I’ve gone from zero medications to eight.

Some of this is my fault. I’ve always battled with food. It’s been my crutch. I am definitely in the “eat my feelings” camp.

My weight has yo-yoed between a 330-pound high to a 200-pound low. I’ve been fit and I’ve been fat. In the past decade my body had settled in the 225-245 range.

Ah but then I discovered this past week of my little genetic anomaly. Basically, had I been one of those uber healthy/hyper conscious/regular gym goers I may have deferred my heart attack by 5 years or so.

So yeah, there’s that.

Regardless, I’ve been given a second chance. I won’t squander it. Many of my friends and family members will tell you, I excel at following a plan. I know what lies ahead and how to get there.

I went into the hospital weighing 225 and I currently weigh 214. Weight is the enemy. It taxes your heart and screws with your blood sugar. The goal is 180 and to give up the Diabetic meds. The blood thinners, blood pressure and cholesterol meds are with me for life.

Life is change. I learned that at an early age. I stopped fighting it in my 20’s. Change is my friend. It’s not to be feared.

It’s why Mark and I were able to pick up and move this store from Sebastopol to Tracy in 15 days. Once you see what the path ahead is, why fight it?

Impermanence is the Universe’s primal constant. Everything. Everywhere. Ends.

When Mark and I left Sebastopol we both felt bad. Not because of the change. Because we were leaving the town without a used book store. The whole reason for starting Mockingbird Books was the loss of the used book store in 2012.

When we opened, we had a business partner. Brandy was Sebastopol’s book maven. She managed Copperfield’s Used Books prior to their closing. She was a fixture in town.

It was an obvious choice to ask her to join us in opening an independent bookstore. We did well as a team for a while. But differences emerged and we parted company in 2015. Mark and I bought her out and we went our separate ways.

Mark and I learned from a mutual friend recently that Brandy opened a used book store in our old space in Sebastopol. Second Chances Used Books. As I lay in my hospital bed recovering, I got to peruse pictures of the elegant, thoughtful, beautiful space she has created.

I couldn’t be happier.

Brandy taught me many things but there was one lesson that stuck fast and hard. Brandy loves books. They sit at the core of her being along with writing and a love of old, worn, unique cast offs.

Her new store reflects that.

As a used book store owner, you rejoice when another temple of knowledge opens. The chorus can always use a new voice. We only ever gain when there’s another place to find the chronicles of human endeavor.

As someone who worked with and came to know Brandy, I am ecstatic! That she gets to fulfill a life-long dream in a place she loves with a community that loves her with the same passion, is the stuff of the novels we sell. The happiness I feel for her is indescribable.

So, if you’re ever in the North Bay please stop in and see what Brandy has wrought. It is a wonderous thing. I can promise you, the books that line her shelves have never been more loved.

Second Chances Used Books is located at 6932 Sebastopol Avenue Suite E, Sebastopol CA 95472

Best of luck Brandy! You SO deserve this. I mean that from the bottom of my slightly worn heart.


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