Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene

We were so very lucky to have had little damage from Hurricane Irene.

We lost our power for less than 24 hours but many, many folks in our town and surrounding towns are still without and will be for some time.

Traffic lights out everywhere. (It's like the Wild West driving out there.)

Many stores and restaurants closed. (The one and only grocery store in my town is still closed.)

Many, many beautiful old trees uprooted. (I HATE that.)

In my yard, we lost one of my favorite trees. An ash tree that I planted about 20 years ago when it was literally a tiny stick, less than 3 feet high.

It was sad to watch it fall over slowly throughout the day.

Out of sheer boredom, I played with my Flip camera all day and tried to get the final fall on video, but only succeeded in making a very boring video. (Luckily only 54 seconds long)

It was weird to see the things that got tossed around. This inner tube was stashed way up under a shed and then shielded with a ladder and it still managed to escape.

Ruby was a little freaked out and watched the goings-on from the safety of the screened porch, which was covered with a blue tarp. Matty slept through the whole thing.

My heart goes out to all those who are still suffering from the effects of this terrible storm.

I am blessed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

I'm discombobulated (what a great word!) by that dang storm.

Will get back on the blogging track tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Boy Scout motto

Be prepared.

I'm ready for Hurricane Irene.

Circle of Secrets

Just finished Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little.

Ooooo la spookily mysterious, fast-paced suspenseful, in a fascinating setting.

I really can't say it better than Richard Peck:

An incantational tale of Cajun magic and gators in the bayou and of the love and silence between mother and daughter.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

P.S. Stubby toes inherited from my dad.

Artsy photo a result of boredom while cast on and much playing with iPhone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I love kids

I've been doing a writing workshop at one particular school for many years now (13!!). Years ago, a kid asked me what I do about writer's block and I told him I eat a lot of Oreos. The next day, the teacher brought in Oreos and milk. (What a cool teacher, huh?)

So each year after that, the teacher has one of his students ask me that question so they can have Oreos and milk. (Sometimes I tease them and tell them I eat steamed broccoli. hahaha They hate that.)

This year, I received this from a student at that school:

I like your cure for writer's block. I think our whole class should get writer's block more often.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scholastic Storyworks Magazine

I'm excited to announce that I'm this year's author for Scholastic Storyworks' Create a Character Contest, just announced in the September issue.

Students submit a fictional character. (There are literally thousands of entries.)

I will help choose the winning entry, and then write a story using that character for the magazine!

Why I love Etsy

There are just so many cool things on Etsy.

Like, this wreath made from a vintage school dictionary:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sir, yes, SIR!

Ruby graduated from Doggie Boot Camp.

BTW, I realize I am TERRIBLE at Photoshop. Heh.....I try

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

If you're feeling charitable

This is a wonderful organization that helps schools, students, and teachers with much needed items.

I just made a donation to help rebuild the schools destroyed by the tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

From the website:

"On May 22, 2011, the town of Joplin, Missouri was hit by an EF5 tornado. The entire school was ruined. Ninety percent of our students lost their homes. The kids need something to look forward to and to make their lives feel normal again."

I was introduced to this organization when a school asked for donations to buy a classroom set of one of my books.

Here is part of the letter I received from the teacher after I donated:

These new books have meant so much to my students and to myself, and this donation has really gotten the school talking, now other teachers are posting projects left and right, which is wonderful for our budget restricted school! I now have a group of eager third graders coming to me next year, and many of them have come by my room to tell me how excited they are to read all of our new books, I know we have a year of wonderful memories to make together and for many classes to come after them. This year I'm going to try and implement literature circles and more discussion groups with the students now that we have enough copies for every child! Thank you so much for your generous gift and kindness, I can never repay you enough.

To paraphrase a line from How to Steal a Dog, "Sometimes the trail you leave behind you, is more important than the path ahead of you." All of you wonderful donors have surely left a beautiful and thoughtful trail behind you and more. Myself, twenty five little kids and many more to come, have been left with an impression that will last a lifetime! Thank you!

You can donate ANY amount.

Go on over and take a look.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I love kids

From a fan:

This is me with a cast on my arm after my thumb surgery:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cruise dance

My favorite Saturday nights are those spent sipping wine with my husband, listening to Frank Sinatra on the radio. (I know, I know....)

There is always a commercial on the radio on Saturdays for a Frank Sinatra cruise.

I have, therefore, choreographed my famous Saturday Night Cruise Dance:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lessons from Blondie's University of Experience

When your car registration renewal comes in the mail, don't throw away the envelope before taking that little license plate sticker out.

Don't do it once....

...but definitely don't do it TWICE!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Votive candles

Anyone who has spent a summer evening on my porch knows how much I love candles.

I have everything from cheapo Target votives to lovely Waterford votives.

Now, thanks to this blog post by friend, Kirby Larson, I MUST have these hand-blown Glassybabys.

(photo lifted from Kirby's blog)

They are gorgeous!!!!!

While you're at it, go vote for this talented artist for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I love kids

Letter from a reader:

you know i realy want to publish a book but i think my storys are kinda lame and i think im a bit to small. Do you think im to small to publish a book?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Lost Crown

The Lost Crown
Sarah Miller

One word review: Brilliant

More-than-one-word-"review" (Note: I'm not a book reviewer and I don't even play one on TV. I know! I'll call myself a book reactor, since, after all, that's what we do....react to books, right?)

I knew absolutely zero about Russian history before reading this. Sarah Miller brought history to life for me. She showed me history through the eyes of the living, breathing people who experienced it.

A brilliant, fascinating read.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lessons from Blondie's University of Experience

Lesson #62

When teaching a class of fourth graders how to speak Pig Latin, do not use the word "grass" as an example.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simmons College Summer Institute

Saturday I got to spend the day immersed in children's literature at Simmons College's Children's Literature Summer Institute.

So much fun.

I got a chance to listen to and chat with lots of talented folks, including David Small, Jack Gantos, and my Freak Sister, (a little inside joke) the sweet, smart and talented Jo Knowles.

One highlight for me was finally meeting my friend, the uber-talented, smart, kind, friendly, lovely, author Helen Frost.

Here we are looking a little blurry. We are much sharper than this.